Created By: KZN02 on May 22, 2013 Last Edited By: KZN02 on June 20, 2013
Troped

Improvised Lightning Rod

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Do We Have This One??

My first entry was simply lightning rod, but I believe that was too general, I hope I can get what I was getting at before.

Usually involving situations with Shock and Awe, an improvised lightning rod is a useful tool in amplifying or drawing in electricity. Maybe an enemy is too fast or too tough to hit with electricity, so a lightning rod, whether jammed into or an actual feature of the target, can be aimed for more accurate attacks. In other situations, placing such a rod can protect one from electric attacks as they are drawn into the rod.

In other situations, a great surge of electricity is needed, so that's where the improvised lightning rod comes in to hopefully charge whatever device or being needs a jolt. This is often done in time periods prior to the widespread availability of modern electricity, especially involving time-traveling.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Used in the Tear Jerker ending of Movement 1 in the unfinished Legend of the Forest by Osamu Tezuka.
  • Pokémon
    • In the episode "Riddle Me This", Ash instructs his Pikachu to "Aim for the horn" on Blaine's Rhydon as it would otherwise No Sell Pikachu's electric attacks, thus allowing Pikachu to defeat Rhydon.
    • In the Indigo League episode "The Fourth Round Rumble", Pikachu's electric attacks have no effect on Bellsprout, which simply digs its root-like feet into the ground to disperse the electricity. This is an exaggeration of the game's mechanics where grass-types are resistant but not immune to electric attacks; also, this episode came well before the games introduced the "Lightningrod" ability, and even then Bellsprout's evolutionary line doesn't have it.

Comic Books
  • In the French comic Rahan, the eponymous caveman once defeats a Tyrannosaurus rex throwback by planting an iron spear into the dinosaur's head during a thunderstorm, thus attracting lightning and frying the T. rex.
  • In IDW's Infestation series, a group of Autobots and humans, including Nikolai Tesla, attempt to revive Optimus Prime using a kite and a lightning storm.

Film
  • In Back to the Future Doc Brown uses the Clock Tower as a lightning rod to gain the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity the DeLorean needs to get back to the future.
  • In The Brave Little Toaster, Lampy uses himself as a lightning rod to recharge the battery the appliances are using to keep alive.
  • In The Avengers, Thor uses a building as a makeshift lightning rod to attack the Chitauri aliens and Leviathians.

Literature
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Pyramids, Pteppicymon the Twenty-Third, last Pharaoh of Djelibeybi, climbs the malfunctioning Great Pyramid whose power has awoken several thousand deceased monarchs and allowed the gods to walk the earth. Using an Assassin throwing knife as a desperate lightning conductor, he earths the cosmic forces that have run rampant and allowed all this chaos to happen. He inhumes the full Set, as it were.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Torment of Tantalus", SG-1 ends up trapped in an alien castle with a broken dialing device, rendering them unable to get home. They end up sticking a metal frogman's helmet on the roof and wiring it to the gate, drawing lightning into the gate and allowing them to dial out by rotating the ring manually.
  • Highlander uses the Eiffel Tower as one,with Duncan figuring out that he can kill his opponent and the Quickening will travel through the tower to fry the villain's computer before it releases the info on the immortals the villain was using to try to force Duncan to surrender.
  • In Raumschiff GameStar, when the crew of the eponymous starship is stuck in The Middle Ages, they obtain the energy necessary for their time jump back to modernity by catching a lightning with a flying kite (and redirecting it to the ship with a frying pan).

Video Games
  • In Chrono Trigger, Crono and Frog have a combination attack called Spire, in which Frog leaps at the enemy and impales them with his broadsword, then Crono hits the sword with a lightning spell.
  • In Day of the Tentacle, Hoagie is trapped in colonial times and needs a super-battery to power his time machine. He must help Benjamin Franklin perform his legendary kite experiment, hiding the battery in the kite so that lightning strikes the kite and charges the battery.
  • Generation III of the Pokémon games introduced an ability literally called "Lightningrod" that causes single-target electric-type attacks to automatically target the Pokemon with the ability. Most such Pokemon are already electric-type (which resist such attacks) or ground-type (which are completely immune). Generation V would add an immunity as well as an increase in Special Attack for every time the Pokemon is hit with an Electric attack.
  • In the The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, to effectively fight Demise, you need to use the Master Sword as a lightning rod.

Western Animation
  • Inversion: In an episode of The Transformers, the Autobots have to stop a plot by Decepticons but there's a lightning storm going on, and if a bolt hits a Transformer, something very bad happens. So the Transformers go into battle riding on other Transformers who are in their Vehicle modes; the rubber of their tires on the road grounds the Transformers riding on top so they're safe.

Rolling Updates

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • May 22, 2013
    StarSword
    TV:
    • In the Stargate SG 1 episode "The Torment of Tantalus" SG-1 ends up trapped in an alien castle with a broken dialing device, rendering them unable to get home. They end up sticking a metal frogman's helmet on the roof and wiring it to the gate, drawing lightning into the gate and allowing them to dial out by rotating the ring manually.
  • May 23, 2013
    TheTitan99
    Videogames:
  • May 23, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • In Back To The Future Doc Brown uses the Clock Tower as a lightning rod to gain the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity the DeLorean needs to get back to the future.
  • May 23, 2013
    TonyG
    In The Brave Little Toaster, Lampy uses himself as a lightning rod to recharge the battery the appliances are using to keep alive.
  • May 23, 2013
    1810072342
    In the second episode of Father Ted they accidentally electrocute Father Stone when he holds his golf club up in a thunderstorm.
  • May 23, 2013
    chicagomel
    Highlander uses the Eiffel Tower as one,with Duncan figuring out that he can kill his opponent and the Quickening will travel through the tower to fry The villain's computer before it releases the info on the immortals the villain was using to try to force Duncan to surrender.
  • May 24, 2013
    Arivne
    See Stab The Storm also on YKTTW, which is related to this one.
  • May 24, 2013
    Koveras
  • May 26, 2013
    ramendik
    Anime:
  • May 27, 2013
    AgProv
    Literature

    In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Pyramids, Pteppicymon the Twenty-Third, last Pharaoh of Djelibeybi, climbs the malfunctioning Great Pyramid whose power has awoken several thousand deceased monarchs and allowed the gods to walk the earth. Using an Assassin throwing knife as a desperate lightning conductor, he earths the cosmic forces that have run rampant and allowed all this chaos to happen. He inhumes the full Set, as it were.
  • May 28, 2013
    StarSword
    Did I hat this already? Yes, I did.
  • May 28, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Video Games
    • In Day Of The Tentacle, Hoagie is trapped in colonial times and needs a super-battery to power his time machine. He must help Benjamin Franklin perform his legendary kite experiment, hiding the battery in the kite so that lightning strikes the kite and charges the battery.
    • Generation III of the Pokemon games introduced an ability literally called "Lightningrod" that causes single-target electric-type attacks to automatically target the Pokemon with the ability. Most such Pokemon are already electric-type (which resist such attacks) or ground-type (which are completely immune).

    Anime and Manga
    • In the Pokemon Indigo League episode "The Fourth Round Rumble", Pikachu's electric attacks have no effect on Bellsprout, which simply digs its root-like feet into the ground to disperse the electricity. This is an exaggeration of the game's mechanics where grass-types are resistant but not immune to electric attacks; also, this episode came well before the games introduced the "Lightningrod" ability, and even then Bellsprout's evolutionary line doesn't have it.
  • May 31, 2013
    StFan
    Comic Books
    • In the French comic Rahan, the eponymous caveman once defeats a Tyrannosaurus Rex throwback by planting an iron spear into the dinosaur's head during a thunderstorm, thus attracting lightning and frying the T. rex.
  • June 3, 2013
    Djanchorhead
    In TheAvengers Thor uses a building as a makeshift lightning rod to attack the Chitauri aliens and Leviathians.
  • June 8, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Chrono Trigger, Crono and Frog have a combination attack called Spire, in which Frog leaps at the enemy and impales them with his broadsword, then Crono hits the sword with a lightning spell.

    Edit: Regarding the Pokemon example in the anime section, I think there was another episode where Pikachu defeated a Rhydon, a ground-type that should have been immune to it's electricity, by directing a shock towards it's metal horn; the Rhydon may have belonged to Blaine the Cinnabar Gym leader. Can anyone confirm this?
  • June 8, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ Yes indeed. That is Blaine's Rhydon in the episode "Riddle Me This", which is also in Kanto/Indigo League. It spawned the Internet meme "Pikachu, (aim for) the horn!" Best counts as an inversion because Pikachu had to specifically aim for the target, and instead of being a defensive measure the "lightning rod" led to the bearer's defeat.
  • June 9, 2013
    MagBas
    ^I guess that the Rhydon's example is not an inversion. Of the trope's description: "Maybe an enemy is too fast or too tough to hit with electricity, so a lightning rod, whether jammed into or an actual feature of the target, can be aimed for more accurate attacks."
  • June 9, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Inversion: In an episode of The Transformers the Transformers have to stop a plot by Decepticons but there's a lightning storm going on, and if a bolt hits a Transformer something very bad happens. So the Transformers go into battle riding on other Transformers who are in their Vehicle modes; the rubber of their tires on the road grounds the Transformers riding on top so they're safe.
  • June 10, 2013
    Frank75
    Does that make sense? I never heard of people sitting on top of cars in a thunderstorm, but I don't know whether it's safe. Cars protect you from lightning because they act like a Faraday's Cage, not because they have rubber tires.
  • June 14, 2013
    Tallens
    So, this is cases where lightning is being used to power/attack something?
  • June 14, 2013
    KZN02
    Partly, yes
  • June 14, 2013
    Tallens
    So, would Iroh's lightnng redirecting count?
  • June 14, 2013
    KZN02
    Never thought of that. That feels along the lines of Attack Reflector.
  • June 15, 2013
    Tallens
    Are they mutually exclusive?
  • June 15, 2013
    KZN02
    Well, a lightning rod is mainly about redirecting electricity to itself, not to others. So I guess it is.
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