Created By: pawsplayFebruary 25, 2012 Last Edited By: PsiPaula4March 19, 2013

Fanned Fingers Of Elemental Wrath

A character shoots fire, electricity, or glowy stuff out of their fingtertips, cackling optional

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Caption:
Ok, let's not kid ourselves here. Sometimes,Evil Is Cool.

A character fans out their hands, curling their fingers in a menacing fashion and lets loose a blast of trendrilous energy like a living flamethrower. Powerful, perhaps even claw-like gestures are necessary. For best effect, use a a nice close-up of the wrathful blaster. The overall effect often suggests the blast are an extension of the hands themselves, extending from the wielder. Though a popular trope for villains, it can also be a particularly expressive form of vengeance by a heroic character. In grim and gritty settings with psi or magic, everyone may be doing it.

This trope seems to have gained popularity with the release of Disney's Sleeping Beauty, including other fantastical works since. Improvements in special effects techniques in the 1980s, examplifed by the 1983 film Return of the Jedi and the 1984 special fx blockbuster Ghostbusters, made the lightning and fire that typify this effect more practical for live action.

Energy beams flying from the hands is Hand Blast. Power Palms covers attacks that project from the palm; if this is a Ki Attack, this trope and Power Palms may overlap. See also Hand Blast for something that projects a coherent blast of energy like a laser. For more pointy-shooty ballistic attacks, see Finger Fire Arms.

A Stock Superpowers and Ranged Energy Attack Tropes trope.


Examples:

Anime And Manga

  • Presea Testarossa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has the Photon Bullet spell, which she casts from her fingertip, allowing its use at point blank range, as Arf learns the hard way.
  • In Full Metal Alchemist Kimblee often spreads his fingers out before creating an explosion.

Film

  • Gozer does this with lightning in Ghostbusters.
  • Emperor Palpatine does this in both Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. His understudy, Count Dooku, demonstrates this ability in Attack of the Clones.
  • In Your Highness, a signature magical power of the Big Bad and the witches.
  • Prominently featured on the promo poster for Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief.
  • In Big Trouble In Little China, Thunder can manipulate storms and lightning using his qi.

Role Playing Games

Video Games

Ganon: "You DARE bring LIGHT TO MY LAIR? YOU MUST DIE!!!" *shoots energy from fingertips*
  • There aren't any combat graphics, but the description for Paula's PSI Fire in Earthbound says that she sends out a sheet of flame from her outstretched hands in this fashion.
  • In Skyrim, the first, starter set of Destruction spells looks like this. You can shoot fire, cold wind and lightning out of your fingers. One of the load screens shows a female wizard fanning her fingers (but no actual spell effects).

Western Animation

  • In Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent has this power over hellfire.
  • In Avatar The Last Airbender, lightning bending is sometimes shown this way.
Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • February 25, 2012
    MorganWick
    Wait, are we talking about fingertips, hands, or both?
  • February 26, 2012
    pawsplay
    Hands fanned outward with the energy flying from the fingertips. Needs A Better Name, definitely.
  • February 27, 2012
    Arivne
    The Burning Hands example in the OP is from Dungeons And Dragons.
  • February 27, 2012
    NateTheGreat
    Isn't this called Finger Beams?
  • February 27, 2012
    pawsplay
    I hope not. That doesn't even make sense.
  • February 28, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    Ganon in the infamous The Legendof Zelda C Di Games Cutscene.

    Ganon: "You DARE bring LIGHT TO MY LAIR? YOU MUST DIE!!!" *shoots energy from fingertips*
  • February 28, 2012
    KZN02
  • March 1, 2012
    MorganWick
    "Finger Beams" comes from Atop The Fourth Wall (and maybe some other TGWTG series). I was going to suggest it until I asked for clarification what it was actually talking about.
  • March 1, 2012
    PaulA
    pawsplay, why do you have two identical YKTTWs?
  • March 1, 2012
    pawsplay
    There was an older one which had to be discarded because of a YKTTW bug. I discarded it, but the other entry might still be floating around. I'll look.
  • March 1, 2012
    chico
    When the heroes of Latitude Zero mount a rescue raid against the villain, the gloves attached to their protective outfits are able to emit a laser beam, flames and gas from different fingers.
  • March 1, 2012
    pawsplay
    Now taking applications for better names. The idle name would obviously distinguish this from sister and super tropes, would convey the idea of the claw-like curling of fingers and fanned hands, and apply well to a variety of examples.
  • March 1, 2012
    chico
    Finger(tip) Death Ray or Finger(tip) Energy Beam?
  • March 2, 2012
    pawsplay
    This trope really isn't about beams or rays, though, but tendrils or tongues of energy.
  • March 3, 2012
    Koveras
    • Presea Testarossa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has the Photon Bullet spell, which she casts from her fingertip, allowing its use at point blank range, as Arf learns the hard way.
  • March 3, 2012
    JohnDiFool
    Big Trouble In Little China had an Oriental sorceror who did this (he was mostly for show* however).

    [*need appropriate trope tag here]
  • March 4, 2012
    pawsplay
    Can you find a visual on the Big Trouble in Little China example? I'm remembering straight hands and fists.
  • March 4, 2012
    Bario
    Could Palm Power work as a title? Most of the time when this happens it looks more like energy coming from the palms of the hands, as they are exposed and spread. Handy Magic could work.
  • March 4, 2012
    pawsplay
    As noted in the description, Power Palms is a Sister Trope. This is gnarled, energy-blasting fingers.
  • March 4, 2012
    pawsplay
  • March 6, 2012
    pawsplay
    Anyone feel like giving a hat, or perhaps some withering criticism?
  • March 7, 2012
    Arivne
    In the OP, Role Playing Games should be changed to Tabletop RPG or Tabletop Games. Role Playing Games is part of Video Games.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • The effects of the Burning Hands and Magic Missile spells come from the caster's fingers.
  • March 7, 2012
    Arivne
    Pawsplay/OP: I've just read Hand Blast and it covers fingertips. From that page:

    Hand Blasts are a Stock Superpower where the character shoots blasts of energy out of their hands, palms, wrists, fingertips or fists.
  • March 7, 2012
    Stratadrake
    "Burning Hands" is a bad title. However, it seems that Hand Blast covers this.
  • March 7, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    Please change that title. Honestly, I like Fanned Fingers Of Elemental Wrath. I'd give a hat, but the description looks messy.
  • March 7, 2012
    pawsplay
    This is a Sister Trope of Hand Blast, or a subtrope if "ray" is interpreted loosely. Visually, this version has a particular style. I would like to compare the gesture to something like Milking The Giant Cow, but I don't know the language to talk about curled, claw-like finger gestures.

    Since Fanned Fingers Of Elemental Wrath is the only title that's gotten any reaction at all, I'll go with that for now.
  • March 8, 2012
    Cider
    Hand Blast, short and simple. Finger Blast or Finger Shots, short and simple.
  • March 8, 2012
    Euodiachloris
    I don't think splitting Hand Blast is warranted, to be honest. It feels like splitting for splitting's sake, rather than an important enough subset. Perhaps a rename of Hand Blast might be useful (I'd like the interplay of "fanned" and "hands", for example), but let that be done the usual way. :) My tuppenceworth.
  • March 8, 2012
    pawsplay
    To me, it's just such a distinctive presentation. Hand Blast could be tweaked a bit to be the Super Trope. I see a big difference between pointing your fingers and shooting a laser, versus shrieking "Ultimate power!" and leting lightning dance from your fingertips. Likewise, Maleficent seemingly summons up fire, then commands it with her hands. Finger Fire Arms are non-guided attacks. This trope is for stuff that is almost an extension of the caster's gesture.
  • March 15, 2012
    Euodiachloris
    Just had a thought: this trope wouldn't just be for evil stuff, would it? Good-guys can gesture-and-blast spells, too: so, why the emphasis on evil in the description?
  • March 15, 2012
    pawsplay
    The evil part is actually a caption for the picture. Good characters are completely eligible to fry people for great justice as well.
  • March 16, 2012
    Euodiachloris
    Urgh - my bad. Sorry.
  • March 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    Does anyone see a problem with the way the description is written now? Any suggestions for improvement?
  • March 23, 2012
    pawsplay
    Hand Blast currently says this: "Differs from Ki Attacks and Kamehame Hadoken in that the Hand Blasts are not tied in to the subject's Life Energy or Mana; the energy source is often an external power source or some other form of Applied Phlebotinum." which would make this trope distinct.
  • March 30, 2012
    captainsandwich
    in Yu Yu Hakusho the protagonist can shoot something out of his finger
  • April 9, 2012
    pawsplay
    ^ That's Finger Gun.
  • April 9, 2012
    Edokage
  • April 12, 2012
    pawsplay
    updated the description a little.
  • April 12, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    No, Lightning bending doesn't apply. They just point one or two fingers. They don't fan their fingers.

    PS: I fixed the Wand of Gamelon example so the title looks better.
  • April 12, 2012
    pawsplay
    Actually, I googled Avatar to make sure, and lighning bending is sometimes rendered this way, which actually led to the edit about ki attacks.
  • April 13, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    ^I don't recall any episodes where lightning bending wasn't just from one or two fingers together, but okay. Like other people said, Though the caption says "let's not kid ourselves here, evil is cool" you might wanna add in the description that heroes can do this gesture too sometimes, though most examples will be from villains.
  • June 12, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    • There aren't any combat graphics, but the description for Paula's PSI Fire in Earthbound is of her sending a sheet of flame from her outstretched hands in this fashion.
  • March 18, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Full Metal Alchemist Kimblee often spreads his fingers out before creating an explosion.
  • March 18, 2013
    m8e
    Checked the Big Trouble In Little China example and I came up with a possible page image. (The current doesn't really shows the hands/fingers that well.)

    But I think this example might be zigzagging this trope as different hand gestures seem to give different effects.
  • March 19, 2013
    aurora369
    In Skyrim, the first, starter set of Destruction spells looks like this. You can shoot fire, cold wind and lightning out of your fingers. One of the load screens shows a female wizard fanning her fingers (but no actual spell effects).

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable