Created By: EnlongJune 17, 2010 Last Edited By: EnlongJune 17, 2010
Troped

The Power Of The Sun

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Trope
Ah, the sun. Gentle celestial object around which our world turns. A ball in the sky that brings light to darkness, life to plants, and warmth to all. It's also, of course, a giant nuclear furnace more than three hundred thousand times the mass of our puny little planet that burns more than four million tons of hydrogen into energy every second, so it's understandable that one might want to harness or replicate that kind of power.

See, sometimes, the power of the sun itself is classified as a sort of Elemental Power. The effects of sun-power are many and varied: you could shoot ultraviolet rays to give people nasty sunburns, perhaps channel a beam of light to fry a vampire, maybe heal people with the mystic power of sunlight... somehow. And of course, you could always just go straight to the nuclear fusion. Atomic fire is always a nice way to make sure your target is dead, and it's much easier to Hurl It Into The Sun if you can make a little mini-sun.

The power of the sun is a lot like a fun little cocktail of Playing With Fire and Light The Way, with an occasional side of nuclear weapons. If elements oppose each other, the power of the sun will generally be opposite Lunacy

If a device is simply powered by solar panels, photosynthesis, or even by a Dyson Sphere, it doesn't quite count as this trope: it generally has to utilize sunlight, or solar rays, or nuclear fusion to qualify as the power of the sun.

Examples

Video Games
  • In the Boktai games, the protagonist Django uses a "gun del sol", a solar-powered gun that shoots sunlight. Very useful for a vampire-hunter. What was especially interesting was that the game had you power the gun using real-life sunlight. A UV sensor on the game cart made sunlight shine into the game world when it detected sunlight.
  • In Pokemon, there is the move Solarbeam: a powerful grass-type move that has the user charge up sunlight for a round, and then fire a beam of pure solar energy at the foe. There is also Sunny Day, which generates intense sunlight for 5 turns. During that time, Fire moves are empowered, Water moves are weakened, and Solarbeam's charge-turn is eliminated, making "Sunnybeamers", pokemon with Sunny Day and Solarbeam, extremely powerful, especially if they also know fire moves. The move Weather Ball changes its typing and becomes twice as strong during abnormal weather: it becomes a Fire-type move during intense sun. Finally, there is the move Morning Sun, which restores a pokémon's health. How much is restored is dependent on the weather, and it heals the most during a sunny day.
    • Some pokémon Abilities are dependent on sun. Cholorphyll doubles a pokémon's speed during intense sun, and Solar Power makes them stronger in sunlight but also hurts them. Meanwhile, Castform has the Forecast ability, which changes its form in weather: in intense sun, it becomes a Fire-type that looks like a sun. Cherrim has the Flower Gift ability that boosts several stats during sunlight. It also changes shape, but not type.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics A 2, the Geomancer spell Shining Flare generates an intense burst of sunlight for fire damage. It can only be used when the weather is sunny.
    • While not explicitly coming from the sun, the Flare spell in many Final Fantasy games is described as generating a nuclear fusion reaction. This leads to variants like Flare Star, which at least looks more like a sun going nova in the party's face, and the rename of Bahamut's signature Mega Flare attack in Final Fantasy VI's SNES translation: Sun Flare.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth's flashiest attack is Supernova, where he attacks the party by blowing up a (our) sun at the party. Funny thing: he can use it multiple times and it cannot kill the party.
  • Two different characters in the Touhou Project have been seen using solar power:
    • Patchouli Knowledge has Sun as one of her seven elements (alongside Fire, Water, Earth, Metal, Wood, and Moon). Spells with this element include Royal Flare (alone), Hydrogenous Prominence (Sun and Water) and Royal Diamond Ring (Sun and Moon).
    • Utsuho Reiuji, on the other hand, swallowed the corpse of a sun-god, giving her the power of nuclear fusion. This manifests in, among other things, gigantic nuke-bullets, attacks based off of suns, stars and various constellations, and the ability to create artificial suns. She was led to get that power so that she could be used to build and maintain a nuclear power plant running off of suns made from her nuclear fusion.
  • In Mega Man 10, one of the robot masters is Solar Man, from whom Mega Man acquires the Solar Blaze weapon.
  • In Chrono Trigger, the power of the sun was the major power source of the Kingdom of Zeal. Eventually though, the seemingly limitless power of the Sun Stone, which stored the solar energy, was all used up, and they turned to the power of Lavos. That didn't turn out too well. The player is able to take the now-powerless "Moon Stone" and place it in a patch of sunlight (on an island that for some reason never changes its position for millions of years or is affected by an apocalypse) and retrieve it in the future, where it has finally absorbed enough sunlight to be used to create Lucca's strongest weapon and a very powerful accessory.
  • In several installments in The Legend Of Zelda series, Link gets the Mirror Shield, which he uses to solve various puzzles by reflecting sunlight. Generally, beaming sunlight into a Redead, Gibdo, or other undead abomination will stun it, if not destroy it outright.
  • In Hexen the Sun Staff shot ridiculously damaging rays of light.
  • Mega Man Star Force has the boss Apollo Flame, who uses the Solar Barrier and has attacks like Solar Flare.
  • Sun mana is a type of mana in the Fall From Heaven mod for Civilization 4.

Film
  • Dr. Octavius' device in Spider-Man 2 was meant to create "the power of the sun in the palm of my hand." Specifically, a controlled nuclear fusion reactor. Which, admittedly, would be extremely revolutionary.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons And Dragons. In the 2nd Edition Al-Qadim setting: there are a few sun-powered spells: Sun Stone (a stone held in sunlight becomes an incendiary missile), Sundazzle (sunlight causes blindness), Sunfire (solar-powered Fireball), Sunwarp (powerful, though limited mirage-based variant of Mirror Image)
    • Some or other Sun deity is almost obligatory in any setting and the priesthood of each, of course, has sun-related spells and powers.
      • For example in 3.5, clerics of the sun god Pelor can take the Sun domain. Which, in addition to giving them many heat and light-based spells, including the extremely powerful Sunburst, which lights up everything within 10 feet of the cleric, allows them to perform a "greater turn undead", which focuses powerful sunlight instead of positive energy. Instead of merely scaring undead away, a Greater Turning turns them to dust on the spot.
    • Sun Mages in Spelljammer campaign Astromundi Cluster. The Antilan Empire wizards purchased the secrets of sunmagic from the Arcane and kept as a secret weapon.
    • "Sun" (Radiance) quasielemental priests in Dark Sun. Though they are messed up unlike the rest of the bunch, without a good explaination.
  • From The World Of Darkness: Mage The Awakening and Changeling The Lost have "spells" that work like this. The major difference between these and ones that make a lot of "fake" light is the ability to mess with vampires.

Comic Books
  • The Marvel Universe has a number of sun-using heroes: the original Sunfire, his sister Sunpyre, and the Exiles' Sunfire. As well as Sunspot, who in his current incarnation can absorb sunlight and release concussive blasts of solar energy, with a considerable heat and light projection component.
  • An early issue of Marvel's Epic Illustrated anthology has a story about a project to provide unlimited energy by tapping the core of the sun itself. This does not end well.
  • Legion Of Super Heroes has Sun Boy.

Western Animation
  • In The Venture Brothers, there is the troubled superhero Captain Sunshine. His superpowers are solar-powered and involve firing high-energy "Sunbeams" that cause painful sunburns at least.
  • Hanna Barbera's Birdman, who also needed sunlight to recharge his powers. He could fire "solar rays" from his fists and create a "solar shield" to protect himself. He would later give up these powers in favor of the power of attorney.
  • In The Secret Saturdays, Drew has a Flaming Sword that is powered by the light of the sun. It also has a blue setting that is powered by moonlight, which is, after all , reflected sunlight.
  • In The Mysterious Cities Of Gold it's one of the city's secret - they can channel sunlight into an energy weapon.
  • In the My Little Pony episodes "The End of Flutter Valley," we learn that Flutter Valley is kept perpetually green thanks to the power of the Sunstone, which appparently amplifies the sun's rays. When the Sunstone is stolen by the bees of Bumbleland, Flutter Valley starts to wither away. Newly situated in Bumbleland, the stone at first turns it from a frozen wasteland into a beautiful forest, but after a few hours the rays become too powerful and the forest starts to burn.
  • In Avatar The Last Airbender, Firebending is tied to the sun. While firebending still works at night, it is much weaker at that time. During a solar eclipse, even the most powerful firebenders are unable to conjure more than a spark.

Literature
  • Slaver Sunflowers in Larry Niven's Known Space setting. When in groups, they can collect and concentrate sunlight on a specific target, incinerating it.
  • Short story "Sign Among The Stars" (1958). A sun furnace (a pair of giant mirrors) can concentrate sunlight and use it as a beam weapon.
  • A short story that appeared in an old Analog magazine (can't find it). Someone programmed all of the movable mirrored windows in a large building to be at just the right angle to reflect all of the sunlight hitting the building into a specific room in a nearby building, murdering the person inside.

Live Action Television

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Community Feedback Replies: 46
  • June 7, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Yellow sun energy gives Superman his power.
  • June 7, 2010
    BlackDragon
    I know there's a solar-powered mutant in the Marvel Universe... japanese chap. Can't really remember his name... Sunfire, maybe? Either way, he draws energy from the sun and uses light and fire-based attacks.
  • June 7, 2010
    Chabal2
    • In Golden Sun, the final summon is Iris, who sends enemies into the sun and fully heals your party, requiring Fire and Water elementa Djinni to pull off.
    • There was this one game, can't remember the name, that had as a gimmick a solar panel in the specially modified cartridge; the game handled differently depending on how much light the panel was receiving (stronger/weaker attacks, etc.).
  • June 8, 2010
    BlackDragon
    The game you're talking about is the above-mentioned Boktai - at least, AFAIK it's the only game to use the solar-panel gimmick.
  • June 8, 2010
    Arivne
    There are/were at least three Japanese solar-powered mutants in the Marvel Universe: the original Sunfire, his sister Sunpyre, and the Exiles' Sunfire.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Spells
        • 2nd Edition Al-Qadim setting: Sun Stone (a stone held in sunlight becomes an incendiary missile), Sundazzle (sunlight causes blindness), Sunfire (solar-powered Fireball)

    Western Animation
    • Hanna Barbera's Birdman, who needed sunlight to recharge his powers. He could fire "solar rays" from his fists and create a "solar shield" to protect himself.

    Edit: added Birdman's powers to make it clear he fits this trope.
  • June 8, 2010
    Enlong
    Hm... I'm starting to wonder if Superman and Birdman belong on the list. Yes, they are solar-powered, but their powers don't manifest as anything sun-like. Captain Sunshine, however, attacks explicitly with solar rays, so he definitely fits. Of course, as the person making the trope, I admit I'm still trying to fully define it. Thoughts?
  • June 8, 2010
    Meophist
    The Mega Man Battle Network games also have Gun Del Sol. The same one from Boktai.

    In The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time, Link can use the light of the sun to do stuff using the Mirror Shield.

    Mega Man 10 has Solar Man, from which Mega Man can get the Solar Blaze weapon.
  • June 8, 2010
    macroscopic
    Dyson Spheres should get a mention in the description.
  • June 9, 2010
    Arivne
    Comic Books
    • Add Marvel Universe: Sunspot, who in his current incarnation can absorb sunlight and release concussive blasts of solar energy, with a considerable heat and light projection component.
  • June 9, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Film Real Life
  • June 9, 2010
    SweetMadness
    Don't forget Chrono Trigger, where the sun and the magical power derived from it play a big role in defeating Lavos.
  • June 9, 2010
    LeeM
    Comics: An early issue of Marvel's Epic Illustrated anthology has a story about a project to provide unlimited energy by tapping the core of the sun itself. This does not end well.
  • June 9, 2010
    Enlong
    Added a few things. Also, I feel I should explain why I've not put up any Golden Sun examples yet. Iris isn't quite this trope: all she does is Hurl It Into The Sun. Meanwhile, the Golden Sun itself isn't an actual sun, it's just a huge golden ball of pure alchemy power.
  • June 9, 2010
    Meophist
    Mega Man Star Force has the boss Apollo Flame, who uses the Solar Barrier and has attacks like Solar Flare.
  • June 9, 2010
    Lego3400
    To add on the the Pokemon example, The pokemon Cherrim and Castform change form when Sunny Day is active. Cherrim opens up it's folower and is mainly cosmteic while Castform becomes a Fire type. Also Cherrim's ablity, Flower Gift raises Attack stat and Special Defense stat in sunshine by 50% but it is not linked to it's form shifting. While castform's ablity (Forecast) is linksed and does not work for any other pokemon if it's stolen via skill swap (or ablities that copy other abilities) and will lock castform if it's taken (via various moves)

    Weather Ball also becomes a fire type Move and any pokemon with the ablity Dry Skin loses 1/8 of it's HP every turn the sun is out.
  • June 9, 2010
    TBeholder
    • An Astrologer's Song by Rudyard Kipling sort of presents the concept (from 2nd verse on).
    • More xD&D examples:
      • Some or other Sun deity is almost obligatory in any setting and the priesthood of each, of course, has sun-related spells and powers.
      • Sun Mages in Spelljammer campaign Astromundi Cluster. The Antilan Empire wizards purchased the secrets of sunmagic from the Arcane and kept as a secret weapon.
      • "Sun" (Radiance) quasielemental priests in Dark Sun. Though they are messed up unlike the rest of the bunch, without a good explaination.
  • June 9, 2010
    WharfRat
  • June 9, 2010
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    From The World Of Darkness: Mage The Awakening and Changeling The Lost have "spells" that work like this although it seems the only difference between these and ones that make a lot of "fake" light is the ability to mess with vampires.
  • June 9, 2010
    Enlong
    Added a few things. I'll have to read through An Astrologer's Song in a bit to make sure if it's fitting with the trope.

    And Wharf Rat, could you explain what becoming SUN GOD does in Bloons Super Monkey?
  • June 10, 2010
    BlackDragon
    The Scion tabletop roleplaying-system also has a 'Sun' domain, for the children of the various sun-gods/goddesses. I don't have the sourcebook handy, but it includes most of the powers you'd expect - releasing blasts of blinding light, lighting up dark places, summoning the Chariot of the Sun to show 'em how you roll... at higher levels, you can even pluck the sun out of the sky and wear it like a crown, sucking in an neutralizing most energy-attacks directed at you. (Combine it with the Moon Domain to create the dread Eclipse Crown, granting you high resistance to any ranged attack. Say, do we have a trope for 'Eclipses are Always Important', anyway?)
  • June 10, 2010
    Arivne
    11 x ^, @Frodo Goofball Co TV: According to the original post: "If a device is simply powered by solar panels...it doesn't quite count as this trope...". So Scaramanga's solar powered laser gun in The Man With The Golden Gun and Real Life photovoltaics don't fit. However, the "giant mirror" would, because it just reflects and concentrates the sunlight.

    And some more examples, inspired by Frodo Goofball COTV's suggestions:

    Comic Books
    • In a very old DC Universe comic (possibly Green Lantern?), the villain used a number of futuristic weapons, including a giant flying magnifying glass (complete with handle) that concentrated sunlight to roast his enemies like ants.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Gamma World had a Fusion Rifle that fired radiation.
    • Traveller had the FGMP (Fusion Gun Man Portable) that fired plasma that had undergone partial fusion.
  • June 10, 2010
    Enlong
  • June 10, 2010
    TBeholder
    one more of Al-Qadim spells: Sunwarp - powerful, though limited mirage-based variant of Mirror Image.
  • June 10, 2010
    SalFishFin
    In Avatar The Last Airbender, Firebending is tied to the sun. While firebending still works at night, it is much weaker at that time. During a solar eclipse, even the most powerful firebenders are unable to conjure more than a spark.
  • June 10, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    How about call this Solar Power?
  • June 10, 2010
    Enlong
    That's a possibility. The current title is just a reference to Sunny D, but that sounds like a good possible replacement title. I'll sleep on it (like, literally. I'm going to be asleep inside of 10 minutes, maybe.)
  • June 11, 2010
    Surenity
    Pretty much every mythology had some sort of Sun God.
  • June 11, 2010
    Enlong
    Now that I think about it, I think that calling the trope Solar Power would lead to people mistaking it for a trope a bout solar-powered machinery, which is not what I'm going for with the trope, should they only see the trope's name and not read the page itself.
  • June 12, 2010
    Ghilz
  • June 12, 2010
    perlmangle
    The spirit bomb in DragonballZ is many times more powerful if it is constructed while the sun is up.
  • June 12, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • June 12, 2010
    Evalana
    In the My Little Pony episodes "The End of Flutter Valley," we learn that Flutter Valley is kept perpetually green thanks to the power of the Sunstone, which appparently amplifies the sun's rays. When the Sunstone is stolen by the bees of Bumbleland, Flutter Valley starts to wither away. Newly situated in Bumbleland, the stone at first turns it from a frozen wasteland into a beautiful forest, but after a few hours the rays become too powerful and the forest starts to burn.
  • June 12, 2010
    DorianMode
  • June 12, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    How about Sunlight Might?
  • June 13, 2010
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Slaver Sunflowers in Larry Niven's Known Space setting. When in groups, they can collect and concentrate sunlight on a specific target, incinerating it.
    • Short story "Sign Among The Stars" (1958). A sun furnace (a pair of giant mirrors) can concentrate sunlight and use it as a beam weapon.
    • A short story that appeared in an old Analog magazine (can't find it). Someone programmed all of the movable mirrored windows in a large building to be at just the right angle to reflect all of the sunlight hitting the building into a specific room in a nearby building, murdering the person inside.
  • June 14, 2010
    Enlong
    Sunlight Might.

    What do the rest of you think about that idea for a title?
  • June 14, 2010
    Ghilz
  • June 14, 2010
    Enlong
    Changed the name to Sunlight Might. Just seeing how people like the rename.

    If you think I should Just Launch It Already, feel free to let me know.
  • June 14, 2010
    DarkSasami
    Um...I think Sunlight Might is really awful, especially compared to The Power Of The Sun or Solar Power. It sounds so...sixties dishwashing liquid commercial. And raises the question "sunlight might what?" Plus, unlike the other two, it doesn't say exactly what it is.
  • June 14, 2010
    Ghilz
    ^ true, but The Power Of The Sun and Solar Power will make people add examples that are about litterally solar powered devices, which isn't what this trope is about.
  • June 14, 2010
    Enlong
    Hmmm. Yeah. Got a better name? I think I'll change it back to The Powr Of The Sun for now...
  • June 14, 2010
    Meophist
    As for a name... The Sun Is In Your Hand (The subtitle of the first Boktai game)? Maybe Solar Fusion? Sol Power?

    Oh yeah, I was meaning to say but the organization makes it seem like the Gun Del Sol is a secret weapon in the Mega Man Battle Network series. It's not secret at all, and it's technically a chip rather than a weapon.
  • June 15, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    This actually looks like two or three tropes.
    1. A character powered by sunlight. Call that Solar Powered Hero or something.
    2. Using the sun or sunlight itself for power.
  • June 15, 2010
    Enlong
    ^ I'm trying to make sure that #1 isn't what's here. Hm... Maybe I should actually look at those marvel heroes I linked, because I'm only trying to do #2. Birdman and Captain Sunshine are #2 because they actually use sunbeams/etc. for weapons.
  • June 16, 2010
    Ghilz
  • June 17, 2010
    Enlong
    Understood. I think this is ready, so unless anyone has a request for another name, I'm going to launch this... 3 hours from now. Just givin' ya a deadline.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable