The bow is one histories most prolific weapons, with almost every culture over the entire globe having their own variant of it. While crossbows saw use as early as 1st century AD though not coming to popularity until the Middle Ages. With good reason these weapons reigned supreme in battles and hunting for their ability to sling sharp missiles much further and more accurately then javelins and slings until firearms begun to render them obsolete. Bows and their variants are just as popular if not more so in fiction then they where in real life, especially when they can be taken to ridiculous(ly awesome) extremes when not bound by reality by using Improbable Aiming Skills to pull things off like the Multishot and the Trick Arrow. Likewise the Horse Archer, Arrows on Fire and the Rain of Arrows are also extremely popular and of course have Truth in Television. These weapons are typically wielded by the Archer Archetype, Crossbows are also very popular with The Hunter (especially their fully automatic variants), and likewise both weapons can find themselves in the hands of rank and file type characters because of Fantasy Gun Control. If used in a modern setting where firearms are the norm the the character is following The Straight and Arrow Path. The Energy Bow can be seen as this weapons counterpart to the Laser Blade, although it prefers fantasy roots rather to sci fi.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- The Quincy from Bleach wield Energy Bows though some of their bows are solid and only fire energy arrows.
- Housei from Juushin Enbu wields a bladed bow which can split into a pair of swords.
- The Miko Kikyo and her Reincarnation Kagome in InuYasha both wield bows that they concentrate their spiritual magic through.
- This is the ultimate attack of Sasuke's Susanoo Instant Armor in Naruto which manifests in an enormous magical entity that fires massive arrows at ludicrous speed. A bow and arrow made of hardened spider's silk is also the ultimate ability of the villainous Kidomaru of the Sound 4
- The Emishi prince Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke uses a bow as his primary weapon and was even a skilled Horse Archer although he rode something closer to an elk.
- Amir from Otoyomegatari is a skilled Horse Archer and hunter as is customary in the nomadic tribe she comes from.
- Fuu from Magic Knight Rayearth was on the archery team at her school before she was whisked away to Cephiro and because of this her initial weapon before getting her Evolving Weapon was a bow.
- Green Arrow and his sidekicks Speedy and Red Arrow/Arsenal are all famed for their use of a bow and arrow.
- Hawkeye of the Avengers is likewise a master of archery and the Trick Arrow.
- Elves of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are the Trope Codifier's of the Archer Archetype. Likewise there is also the famed Bard the Bowman who slew the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit.
- Katniss from The Hunger Games is a dead-eye with a bow an arrow from hunting to provide for her family.
- Susan and Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia are both portrayed as skilled archers, Susan even receiving a special bow from Father Christmas.
- The twin Gods Apollo and Artemis of Classical Mythology are always depicted as a pair of archers gifted with arrows that represent the rays of the Sun and Moon respectively.
- There is also Cupid who uses magic arrows to make people fall in love.
- Odysseus wielded a bow that took such strength that he was the only one who could string it. Its only after doing it that he is able to prove to his wife Penelope that he isn't an imposter after being stranded at sea for decades.
- Surprisingly not as common as it could be in Final Fantasy. Bows are available for use for multiple characters in II, III, V, XI, XII, XIV and the Tactics sub series but only a short list of dedicated archers; Maria, Rosa, Fran, Serah, Trey and Shara. Vaan and Firion both also carry a crossbow and longbow respectively in Dissidia: Final Fantasy although it is just one piece of a much larger arsenal in their case.
- The Legend of Zelda has a bow as one of Link's weapons in every game and it is usually one of the most important tools you can find for fighting and solving puzzles. Some games even include magical or bomb arrows and horseback archery.
- Warcraft features elves as the settings primary archers though far from the only ones and any race that can be a Hunter in World of Warcraft is welcome to using them.
- Fire Emblem features many archers as a standard unit type in every game, while some other classes can pick up new ones after promoting to a Prestige Class.
- Dragon Age and Dragon Age II have bows as primarily a rouge weapon and are used as the main weapon by a few allies such as Leilana, Varric (Who actually uses a crossbow) and Sebastian.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, has the famous Yu Yan Archers who's skill is so great they can pin a fly to a tree without killing it. There is also Longshot of Jet's Freedom Fighters who is an expert bowman skilled in guerrilla warfare.
- Merida in Brave is something of a Badass Princess who's main weapon throughout the movie is a bow much to the dismay of her mother who wishes she would pursue more ladylike hobbies.
- Artemis of Young Justice who is sponsored by Green Arrow mentioned above to join the team despite her criminal background as daughter to the super-villain Sportsmaster. Also appearing in the show are Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal.
- Speedy also makes an appearance in Teen Titans first as a rival to Robin and later as a member of Titans East.
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