Element Number Five


(permanent link) added: 2010-04-28 14:29:15 sponsor: SomeGuy (last reply: 2010-05-06 12:20:00)

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The four classical Elemental Powers of Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water usually appear simultaneously inside the same setting. It is tacitly acknowledged these are the four forces of nature, and so naturally, there is some form of magical ability associated with each of them. Sometimes mages are restricted to only one school.

But wait- what's all this talk about a mysterious fifth element? That's right, boys and girls, turns out there's actually another element on top of these that is so incredibly bad-ass, it defies the normal classification system. Magic of this element is about as strong as the other four put together. Where a wind mage has control of, in general, wind, this element controls pretty much everyting. It will have very few restrictions, but it will also be quite difficult to use.

Is most commonly used as a distinguishing feature from fantasy work to fantasy work. In order to combat the relative commonality of this fifth element its nature will often vary, to the point that this trope can often turn into Our Fifth Element Is Different.

Not to be confused with Boron, everyone's favorite metalloid.

The obvious name for this would be The Fifth Element, but we'll have to go with grammatical awkwardness here since that title would inevitably be confused with the movie.

Examples:
  • Zero no Tsukaima features Void, an element about which the general population knows nothing but that is nonetheless incredibly powerful. Void users are very rare, and only appear once every several centuries. The easiest way to identify one is apparently they always summon the familiar "Gundolf", a normal human from another world.
  • Captain Planet featured the element of Heart, which was described as important, and indeed, has pretty powerful abilities when you think about it, but ended up a source of derision in pop culture writ large because of how poorly utilized it was.
  • The Fifth Element uses this trope as a central plot point, as the title implies. However, it's not until the very end that this is explained, and it's never explained why this futuristic society places such emphasis on classical elements when, you know, things like spaceships sort of operate on the assumption that all that stuff is superstition.
  • Appears late in Avatar: The Last Airbender .
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