[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/TwoKinds http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/20091104b.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-Turns out that concentrated magic is very explosive.-] ]]

->''"Whoa! I could have missed it, but I'm pretty sure a giant beam of energy shooting up into the sky wasn't in the mission briefing..."''
-->-- '''Devlin''', ''VideoGame/{{Singularity}}''

When an event of great celestial, magical or ultratech power occurs, it is often heralded by a beam of light -- usually blue or white -- that shoots straight up into the sky from ground zero, often evaporating whatever clouds are unfortunate enough to be in its path. Sometimes it starts out narrow and expands in diameter as it climbs.

In the case of more disastrous events, the Pillar of Light is just an extension of the PreExplosionGlow; in other cases, it can be part of a truly cosmic BattleAura. The rest of the time it is relatively benign, if exciting to watch.

It should be noted that a Pillar of Light usually travels upwards. A Pillar of Light that comes ''down,'' more often than not, is a KillSat, which tends to be far less benign. See also {{Sphere of Destruction}} for the globular variant.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Touma accidentally causes this when he redirects a powerful spell cast by [[spoiler:Index]] upwards, which just so happens to destroy the city's satellite/supercomputer, Tree Diagram, in its wake.
* When Belldandy grants Keiichi's wish in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'', a beam of light blasts from her forehead up to heaven (coincidentally blowing a hole through all the intervening floors of the building they're in at the time). Fortunately nobody was standing in the way -- the whole reason why she was able to grant the wish is that Keiichi was dorm-sitting while ''everyone else'' went out and had fun.
* ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' TV series uses this as the special effect for Hitomi's teleportation power -- which, besides being central to the plot, came up pretty frequently.
* In ''Anime/FutariWaPrettyCure'', the protagonists' TransformationSequence is performed within a Pillar of Light, and is one of the most pyrotechnically impressive transformation sequences known.
* A [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic cross-shaped version]] is often seen as the results of Angel attacks in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''.
* ''Anime/MaiOtome''
** The Harmonium Organ.
** ''Anime/MaiOtome0Sifr'' has [[spoiler:Lena's Artemis]], which comes down from the sky in a potential homage to its ''Anime/MaiHime'' [[spoiler:KillSat]] namesake.
* In ''Anime/TheBigO'', a pillar of light effectively triggers the end of the world... [[GainaxEnding maybe]].
* ''Anime/{{Gasaraki}}'' has an inversion -- when Yushiro performs the ritual that is at the center of much of the Gowa family's attention, the pillar comes ''down'' out of the sky to him.
* ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'' has one for the Day of Flight.
* In ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'', Vash The Stampede gets PuppeteerParasite into firing his weapon at full power against an enemy. He manages to redirect the aim to the sky, and when the weapon fires a huge Pillar of Light rises up to the planet's moon and bores a large crater in it.
* The CombinedEnergyAttack in ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'' uses five pillars of light, [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience color-coded to each girl]]. Ichigo's, of course, is the biggest, and right in the middle.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''
** The anime did this in the first episode: Pikachu's final attack on the Spearow caused a pillar of electrical light to appear.
** Mewtwo's destruction of the laboratory he was born in, and how he blew up Viridian's gym. Then later in the sequel when he sent the lake underground.
** Used as a sign that [[spoiler:Latios was dying]] in ''Anime/PokemonHeroes''.
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha''
** This happens in the very first episode of the original season of that series, when Nanoha first activated [[EmpathicWeapon Raising Heart]].
** Near the end of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'', [[spoiler:the return of Hayate and her Wolkenritter]] is accompanied by one of these.
* In the anime version of ''Anime/SailorMoon'', Chibi-Usa frequently emits one of these from the moon mark on her forehead when she's frightened or upset due to [[spoiler:the Silver Crystal being inside her body.]]
* In an episode of ''Anime/{{Beyblade}}'', Ray beats his rival with a move which is accompanied by his beyblade emmitting a green beam of light that smashes through the roof of the arena, causing one of the {{Combat Commentator}}s to [[DeadpanSnarker quip]] "That's probably going to take down a couple of satellites!"
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima''
** Especially large-scale magic tends to do stuff like this. Especially the time [[spoiler:the bad guys used Konoka's latent magical powers to summon a giant demon.]]
** Of particular note is [[spoiler:Chachamaru's KillSat Artifact, ''Al-Iskandaria'']].
* In the anime ''Manga/NabariNoOu'', a pillar of light accompanies the Shinrabansho's activation.
* Many of the events of the anime ''Anime/BoogiepopPhantom'' appear to be precipitated by a mysterious pillar of light that shot into the sky. [[spoiler:As revealed in "Boogiepop and Others", this was the result of Echoes' transmitting himself as information back to the higher plane he came from.]]
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', the first hint of God Eneru's presence and power is a column of light that vaporizes people who make "blasphemous" statements. After Eneru actually appears on-screen, it is used as a particularly devastating attack.
* ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'': After beating [=VenomVamdemon=] and his demon crotch, the heroes use one of these to return to the Digital World. Also, if the exaggerated StockFootage {{Transformation Sequence}}s are to be believed, Digivices blast one through the crests and into the sky every time evolution to the Perfect level happens.
* Bad stuff happens when this shows up in ''Manga/{{Saikano}}''. ''Really'' bad stuff.
* The perfected form of the [[KiAttacks Shishi Hokodan]], in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', looks a lot like this. The user launches a bolt of depression-generated ki straight up into the air, forming a brief pillar of blazing energy that then colaesces into a pulsing fireball, then goes emotionally limp and lets it fall back down, smashing everything around the user. The biggest problem with this move is that, if the user gets snapped out of being emotionally hollow at the wrong time, the move will crush ''them'', too.
* ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' has one of these at each summoning ceremony -- and yes, the pillars are ColorCodedForYourConvenience.
* In the ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' arc set in Asgard, Hilda's God Warriors are awakened when their Cloths emit great pillars of light to match the stars of Ursa Major.
* Any sufficiently powerful attack on ''Manga/DragonBall'' or ''Anime/DragonBallZ''; especially when it's a deflected beam attack.
* The Tower of Babel superweapon in ''Anime/NadiaTheSecretOfBlueWater'' shoots a column of light upwards towards an Atlantean satelite (basically a mirror orbiting the earth) and redirecting it in the specified target.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''
** In a ''Shippuden'' filler Arc, a young boy named Yûkimaru has the power to partially control the Three-tailed Beast. Whenever he uses this power, his chakra would shoot up into the air, which looked like a pillar of light.
** All jinchuuriki do this when entering the [[BattleAura Version 2]] state, but with a pillar of ''burning blood and dark chakra.''
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', when the huge demon Lullaby is destroyed, a pillar of light rise in the atmosphere. It also leaves a huge crater behind.
* In ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'', activating a [[SpecialAttack Cyber Key Power]] requires summoning the Cyber Key by doing this with one's BattleAura.
* In ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', yellow lightning strikes the spot where the Colossal Titan appears, whenever it does. [[spoiler: Titan Shifters]] also get this effect.
* ''Anime/GaoGaiGar'': Zonders de-cored by [[YinYangBomb Hell and]] [[FinishingMove Heaven]] release a vertical blastwave when destroyed, although unusually for this trope, it does appear to give off shockwaves and heat; the Goldion Hammer makes Zonders [[DisappearIntoTheLight turn into light]], but also sends up a shaft of glowing energy in addition to the wavy, floating beam of glowing particles. The Eraser Head missile also produces this effect, shunting 99% of the energy into space.
* This sometimes happens on ''Anime/YuGiOh'' when a powerful monster is summoned, especially if said monster is an [[PhysicalGod Egyptian God]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/HelOnEarth'', when H'el activates his [[TimeMachine Star Chamber]], it emits a gaint beam of light that shoots through the sky and into outer space.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/UndocumentedFeatures'', [[Manga/AhMyGoddess Yggdrasil]] in Asgard emits one to continually show it hasn't been compromised. This was added as a safety feature after it was nearly destroyed (and with it, the world).
* This happens in ''Fanfic/NeonExodusEvangelion: The Motion Picture'' when [[spoiler:five Evas and Lucifer use their AT fields to contain [[TakingYouWithMe the explosion]] of the BigBad]].
* ''WebVideo/AvatarTheAbridgedSeries'': See "Western Animation" below for the original context.
-->'''Zuko:''' That light, it could only be someone opening an iceberg piñata... AND NOT SHARING IT WITH ME!!!
* ''FanFic/MyLittleMagesTheNightmaresReturn'': One of these occurs when [[BadassPreacher Applejack]] casts her massive Undead-killing prayer spell.
* ''Fanfic/TheBridge'': Happens whenever one of the transformed kaiju get hit with enough magic to return to their original form. Often bright enough to light up the night and be seen miles away.
* ''[[Fanfic/TheAlarmaverse Alarm Clock]]'': In Ditzy's [[StoryboardingTheApocalypse dream of the an eldritch horror destroying the world]], she sees a pillar of light that widens and incinerates everything it touches.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* At the conclusion of ''Anime/FinalFantasyTheSpiritsWithin'', the [[spoiler:Phantom Gaia, having been countered by the Spirit Wave, leaves Earth in the form of a pillar of light that stretches from the Leonid Crater and into outer space, taking its Phantoms with it]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'' movie, the De-Pelter Turbo unleashes a Pillar of Light that obliterates a passing satellite, roasts marshmallows and pops popcorn a few feet away, and can be seen from outside the galaxy.
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', one of these is used to kill cybugs at the end of a round of Hero's Duty since they do not know they're in a game. [[spoiler: Ralph later creates an improvised one with Mentos and diet cola lava in the climax to kill the cybugs that invaded Sugar Rush and Turbo.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls'':
** In the first movie, Sunset Shimmer is engulfed in a Pillar of Light the moment she put the crown on her head, marking the start of a TransformationSequence.
** In the prologue of ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsRainbowRocks Rainbow Rocks]]'', the very same Pillar of Light is shown to have attracted some attention. First from the Dazzlings, [[spoiler:but also with Twilight Sparkle's human counterpart]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
Many examples [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OSPnJyAPRw here]] (although some are KillSat, and there's also an animation, ''Disney/WreckItRalph'')

* The "God" in ''Film/StarTrekVTheFinalFrontier''.
* Leeloo in ''Film/TheFifthElement'', [[spoiler:at the end where she releases the title element.]]
* Minas Morgul produces one of these in the ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings Return of the King]]'' movie, shooting a gigantic, green pillar of light into the sky moments before disgorging a horde of orcs led by the Nazgûl. The book tells us that this particular pillar is produced in response to one from Barad-dûr. The exchange is essentially Sauron (at Barad-dûr) asking "Are you ready?" and the Witch-King at Minas Morgul replying "Yes!"
* In ''Film/IronMan1'', [[spoiler:overloading the large Arc Reactor]] results in this.
** The Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse ''loves'' this trope. The Bifrost bridge in ''Film/{{Thor}}'', the [[spoiler:Tesseract event, heavily implied to BE a Bifrost transportation]] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', and the [[spoiler:portal to summon the Chitauri]] in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}.'' A JustifiedTrope, as all of these examples are implied to be derivatives of the same Asgardian technology. ''WebVideo/HonestTrailers'' even cited "shooting a blue beam into the sky" as part of the MCU's StrictlyFormula in the Honest Trailer for ''Iron Man''.
* In ''Film/{{Ghostbusters 1984}}'', when the ecto containment unit explodes. ''Film/{{Ghostbusters 2016}}'' has one in the portal to the spirit world ([[SicklyGreenGlow green]] as it spews ghosts, [[spoiler:red once the Ghostbusters do a ReversePolarity and make the spirits be sucked instead]]).
* One comes out of the book when [[spoiler: the witches are utterly inexplicably resurrected]] in ''Film/HocusPocus''.
* I/O Towers in ''Film/{{Tron}}'' have a beam that shoots into the sky at an angle and enables communication between living programs and their [[DeityOfHumanOrigin Users]]. In addition, the [[MasterComputer Master Control]] [[BigBad Program]] essentially ''is'' a Pillar of Light with a face.
* ''Film/TronLegacy'' also has a Pillar of Light, when the Portal to the real world is activated by Kevin Flynn's disc.
* ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' has one created by TheArkOfTheCovenant.
* In ''Film/{{Superman}}'' (1978), on Krypton, the three criminals Zod, Non and Ursa are kept arrested within an independent, seemingly emitter-less Pillar of Light.
* In ''Film/TheChroniclesOfRiddick'', New Mecca has many large constructions which emit Pillars Of Light. These shut down as the Necromongers attack.
* What [[spoiler:The Network]] appears as in ''Film/TheWorldsEnd''.
* There is one in ''Film/DarkCity'' towards the end when the dark world disintegrates.
* Appears several times in ''Film/ThisIsTheEnd'', [[spoiler:when people are pulled into Heaven]].
* ''Film/FantasticFour2015'' has one in the portal Doom opens in the alternate dimension.
* In ''Film/HotTubTimeMachine'', when transporting the group back to the present, the hot tub builds a glowing vortex reaching into the sky.
* In ''Film/{{Maleficent}}'', when the title character realizes that her childhood friend betrayed and mutilated her for a chance at political power, she punctuates her StartOfDarkness with a SkywardScream and a pillar of {{sickly green|Glow}} light that terrifies said former friend from a kingdom away.
* Both ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesOutOfTheShadows'' and ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' have one that's a teleporting portal (bringing the Technodrome battle station in the former and planet Cybertron in the latter).
* Part of Enchantress's device in ''Film/SuicideSquad2016''.

* In the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse book ''I, Jedi'', the title Jedi is caught in a massive firestorm of explosives. He absorbs all of the energy and sends most of it straight up. (For extra points, he uses some of the power to weave a city-wide illusion of a [[HugeHolographicHead giant spectral Jedi]], with the pillar as the blade of his lightsaber.)
* When the Crippled God is [[spoiler:freed from his captivity]] towards the end of ''Literature/TheCrippledGod'', book ten of the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', [[spoiler:his soul rides up to the jade statues of his followers]] in a bright ray of light.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', ''Traveller'', when [[spoiler:Jor-El restores Kara's memories and powers]].
** In ''Instinct'', when [[spoiler:Tess Mercer and a scientist mess with a kryptonian crystal. HilarityEnsues when Maxima recognizes the kryptonian beam and comes to Earth in search for a mate.]]
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', the characters, having [[spoiler:travelled back in time]], see a pillar of light shoot up into the sky. Subverted in that it is later revealed by Locke that it was [[spoiler:perfectly ordinary lightbulb light from the hatch, and he comments that at the time he thought the light was somehow significant, when in reality it was actually completely meaningless]].
* In the fourth, self-titled ''Series/{{Quatermass}}'' serial the Planet People are a sect who believe they are being transported to a wonderful new planet by beams of light that descend to the Earth. Professor Quatermass discovers that the beams have a much deadlier purpose.
* In the ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' miniseries ''Children of Earth'', a pillar of light coming down from the sky was how the [[spoiler:456 emissary]] arrived on Earth.
* An episode of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' shows a Pillar of Light coming down to a village from the [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Wraith]] [[LivingShip hiveship]] in orbit. Sheppard goes to check it out but never reveals what he found, and no-one bothers to ask him. No such beam has been seen on the show before or since.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' one of these was produced when Lucifer was freed.
* The DVD edition of the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E1DayOfTheDaleks Day of the Daleks]]'' includes a version with new special effects. One of these is a narrow column of light shining upward from the Daleks' headquarters when they switch on the Time Vortex Magnetron.
* In the episode ''Doomworld'' of the second series of ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'', a pillar of light erupts from Star Labs when [[spoiler:Eobard throws the Spear of Destiny into the reactor, destroying it]].

* The Music/BlueOysterCult pioneered the use of lasers as part of their live shows in TheSeventies. Commonplace today, back then it was new and spectacular (albeit dependent on unreliable technology). Live concert footage preserved as part of the ''Some Enchanted Evening'' CD/DVD package shows a Pillar of Light rising during the song ''[[Music/SecretTreaties Astronomy]]''.

* The Portal from ''Pinball/TronLegacy'', most notably in the first edition release.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', there is a Solar-Circle Sorcery called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Total Annihilation]], which results in a pillar of light that is five miles high. And a Solar Exalted's BattleAura essentially becomes a non-destructive PillarOfLight plus other special effects when it's at full power. Ironically it's a drawback to using maximum power, since it advertises the Solar's presence to the setting's "Shaolin death squads".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/MegaMan''
** Copy X from the ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' games uses a big blue pillar of light to heal himself, if the player's rank is high enough to warrant it.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManX'''s Zero makes use of the Pillar of Light to hurt enemies and stay temporarily invincible. Two variations: a colossal, screen-wide vertical [[BeamSpam shower of beams]] in ''X6'' or a more benign Pillar Of Light in ''X8''.
* Frog earns one of these in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' (complete with ThemeMusicPowerUp) by attuning himself to the Masamune blade, just before the party's assault on Magus's castle. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3pRXgMv2GE Watch!]]
* ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'': Asura creates one after coming out of a 12,000 year exile of Gaea.
* Occurs in the opening animation of Jedah Dohma, the BigBad of the third ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' game ''Vampire Saviour'', except the pillar is made of blood instead of light. He appears from the top of the screen, slowly hovering down into place, before the pillar dissipates.
* Terry Bogard's Power Stream from ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'' is one of these, though it was probably inspired by Geese Howard's Raging Storm, which is a ''cage'' (or claw) of light.
** Rugal, Vice, and Mature can cause them when they use certain "slamming" Desperation Attacks (Rugal and Mature when they press the foe against the stage "wall" and when Vice hits her power bomb). Usually the image of a skull can be seen within. Rugal's son, Adelheid, can also do it with his wall press super.
* One of the death animations from ''VideoGame/ScorchedEarth''.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer''
** The American superweapon from ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' fires one of these... which is then reflected off of the KillSat in orbit and back onto the battlefield, where it acts like a huge cutting laser.
** In the ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSeries Tiberium]]'' series, the GDI's KillSat Ion Cannon. It fits the Pillar Of Light idea a bit more; Kane himself was shown to have [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything treated it like a beam of light from God himself]].
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** The finishing move "Blasting Zone" of Squall's LimitBreak in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' involves a Pillar of Light that's visible from orbit, which is impressive since it's generated by his gunblade.
** An optional boss uses this as one of its attacks. Granted, it doesn't go straight up but straight through the target, but since it's named "Light Pillar", this trope still applies.
** The Guardian Force Eden, when summoned, turns ''the entire planet'' into a magical cannon that shoots the enemy into outer space using a continent-wide Pillar of Light. Overkill? [[ThereisNoKillLikeOverkill Naaah.]]
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', after Sephiroth obtains the Black Materia and begins casting Meteor, the Planet's [=WEAPONs=] are awakened in an enormous column of Lifestream that shoots straight up from the Northern Crater.
** And, in the ending, the ultimate White Magic, Holy, rises from the same place in the same manner.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'''s ultimate Eidolon, Ark, smashes the enemy down with a magical explosion so potent that it's [[DistantReactionShot briefly seen from outer space]] as a brief pillar bursting from the ground.
** The opening Sequence of ''Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates'' has [[spoiler: Princess Tilika]] exploding into a pillar of light.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'': Vaan's level one Quickening, Red Spiral, shoots a [[NonIndicativeName mostly blue spiral]] into the air, before calling down a pillar of glowing red-yellow light. How far off it's visible is hard to determine, however, given that Quickenings seem to take place in a nullspace where dropping meteors or hurricanes on the enemy does no damage to the surrounding environment at all.
* In ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'', Palutena's preferred method of direct attack when needed, used against the Hewdraw if Pit takes too long [[spoiler: and later against Pit himself during her BrainwashedAndCrazy boss fight]], is a giant blue vertical beam. It returns in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' as her Up Smash, and the standard attack with the tallest hitbox in the game.
** In ''Smash Bros'', Pit's Three Sacred Treasures ''[[LimitBreak Final Smash]]'' ends with a series of light pillars in random locations across the battlefield.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'':
** ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'': When Samus finally [[spoiler:places all the artifacts]], a beam of light shoots up from the central structure. What does it do? I don't know, [[spoiler:Meta Ridley comes along and breaks it]]. Presumably, it would have done what the pulse afterward does, which is [[spoiler:teleport Samus into the Impact Crater]].
** In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'', restoring the energy to all four temples and gaining the Light Suit allows Samus to [[WarpWhistle teleport between the temples]] by riding their Pillars of Light. You also use one to enter the final level.
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''
** When Neku levels up.
** Also, Pillars of Light of varying magnitudes are Joshua's secondary attack method after a certain plot point. It's more this than BeamSpam, because they come out of the ground instead of from Joshua.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2: Episode 2'''s superportal beam might count, other than that it is not in the straight line.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', a giant Forerunner artifact left buried in Africa emits one of these when it's uncovered and activated.
* [[BigBad Nowel]] of ''VideoGame/MagicalBattleArena'' calls down four of these for her super move, which is then followed by four massive, highly-damaging explosions. If you see her preparing these, for goodness sake, ''run!''
* In ''Magic and Mayhem: The Art of Magic'', the "Judgement" spell appears as a column of light.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''
** Subverted in ''Super Robot Wars [[OriginalGeneration Original Generations]]''. Wodam Ymir's final attack summons a sword made of PureEnergy to destroy his surroundings in a SphereOfDestruction preceded by a Pillar of Light. The aftermath of the explosion shows the pillar still shooting into the sky... then pans down to show that it's just his enormous energy sword being held vertically in a post-AsskickingPose.
** Similarly, [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Ganleon/Gunleon]]'s final attack in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Z'' ends with a [[VictoryPose "victory" pose]] in which ''the robot itself'' cries ManlyTears for its fallen opponent. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7WaRZpOV_I It then roars and fires those tears into the stratosphere.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'': The [[CosmicKeystone Seven Needles]] briefly turn into beams of light when pulled.
* A textbook Pillar of Light can be seen in the third ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' game [[spoiler: when Garrett activates the Final Glyph. The streets around it also briefly flood with light, creating an intricate symbol from the City itself.]]
* Several offensive Druid spells in ''VideoGame/{{World of Warcraft}}'' cause downward-traveling Pillars of Light. Most frequently seen (and also most awesome-looking, especially with the latest graphic change) is Moonfire.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} 3'', this is a pretty common effect for spells. Off the top of my head, this happens during Hero level ups, resurrections, Holy Light, Mass Teleport, and more.
* ''VideoGame/GodOfWar''
** This happens twice in the series; once when you kill [[spoiler:Ares]] and then again when you kill [[spoiler:Athena]].
** And then again when [[spoiler: you finally kill Zeus and AGAIN when Kratos commit suicide.]]
* In ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'', following [[spoiler:Fayt destroying the Vendeeni battleship]], talking to [=NPCs=] will have them wondering what that pillar of light was.
* The "Alpha Strike" in ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' is of the downward variety. And there are a ''lot'' of pillars (one from each of an entire space armada), since it is meant to ''raze the entire planet simultaneously''.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne''
** This is how the [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon Tower of Kagutsuchi]] appears.
** The [[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney Schwartzwelt]] ''starts'' as one. [[WorldWreckingWave As for what comes next]]...
* The Smiting Prayers elite skill Ray of Judgment in ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' calls forth a pillar of glowing white light that heavily damages (and sets on fire) anyone foolish enough (or knocked-down enough) to remain within its radius.
* Done beautifully in ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfileCovenantOfThePlume'' by Garm [[spoiler:[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQGlaeZEhkw /Ailyth]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' when the Archedemon is slain. The whole of the Fereldan army sees it from a distance.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' the [[spoiler:bomb Anders planted in the Chantry creates a pillar of red light during the explosion]].
* Done in the ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'' with the Evil Seed. When Siegdfried becomes Nightmare, an evil Pillar of Light occurs that causes widespread madness and bloodlust.
* As of ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl'', the attack Solar Beam has this as its animation.
** Judgment, the signature move of [[{{God}} Arc]][[OlympusMons eus]], is depicted in various media as pillars of divine light raining down from the sky.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', the Gaia spell is a blasts the enemy with light and levitating rocks from undergound.
** Certain summons also have this effect.
* The Demichev Reactor in ''VideoGame/{{Singularity}}''. Provides the page quote.
* ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore''
** ''Armored Core 4'' provides a classic instance of this trope with the tower-like Ehrenburg Anti-Satellite cannon. If the player fails to destroy it, it will fire a huge [[CaptainObvious pillar of light]] into the air, destroying the GA surveillence satellite. The mission which it appears in is also (amusingly) called... "Pillar of Light".
** And then they come back in ''Armored Core: For Answer'', except they appear significantly smaller this time and there are three of them around a huge lake (although like the ''[=AC4=]'' version, they are in Antarctica). However, the player only sees them fire in the final cutscene of the ORCA Ending, where they are used to [[spoiler: destroy the [[KillSat Assault Cells]] that keep the human race bound to the Earth, the goal that ORCA was working towards; however, it is a BittersweetEnding, because the player is the last surviving member of the ORCA Brigade, and millions suffocated due to pollution when the Cradles crash to earth as a consequence of the player's actions.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', a ''very'' high "Light Side" alignment cause your character portrait to be backlit by one of these.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' uses these as beacons, with colour-coded beams showing the way to each of the main overworld areas. You can place additional ones on the map as reminders.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' has:
*** Pillars that show the position of any treasure you have a chart for as long as you're not too close,
*** Pillars that warp you out of the Boss Arena,
*** and even a Pillar that shines briefly before stopping to reveal a stone with the instructions for the Command Melody on it.
* Happens when Crocodile Isle explodes and sinks into the sea in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry2DiddysKongQuest'' after K Rool gets thrown into the island's core.
* Minor variant: Slain colossi in ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'' leave pillars of light as beacons to their areas, if the player wanted to rebattle them in Reminiscence Mode.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'': This serves as one of the strongest [[LightEmUp light]] attacks available to certain Keybearers - Roxas's [[LimitBreak Limit Breaks]] Magic Hour and Event Horizon, Sora and Mickey's ability Faith, and one of the limit breaks for Xion's final form.
* Like the movies they're based on, pillars of light factor heavily in ''VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh'', representing an escape route from a particular level.
* The ''VideoGame/TalesSeries'' has the recurring spell Judgement, which brings destructive pillars of light down randomly across the field. Tear Grants from ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' also has this as her default LimitBreak, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmVOvuL1QMM Innocent Shine]].
* One of Nightwolf's [[FinishingMove fatalities]] in the ''MortalKombat'' franchise.
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'': Excalibur tends to cause a giant, golden pillar of light whenever its power is unleashed. Archer's Caladbolg II arrow also causes a big one in the anime adaptation.
* In ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'', one of these accompanies each time someone summons one of the Gigas.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonsCrown'', if you take too long fighting the Arch Demon, the injured female warrior monk you met earlier will eventually manage to put the holy symbol in place on her own, causing pillars of light to continuously rain down from the heavens and deal heavy damage to the Arch Demon and his minions. However, killing the Arch Demon with divine intervention means you won't get full credit for beating the boss and you won't receive the Blue Talisman.
* The ending of the combined ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic IV'' and ''V'', ''World of Xeen'' shows that is the first visible effect of the Unification -- a pillar of light ascending high into the sky (high enough to be at least as tall as the world is [[FlatWorld long]]). Then light from the top of the pillar curves down to meet receivers at the edges of the world, which sends curved pillars of light up on the ''other'' side of the world, where they meet and make a pillar of light down exactly opposite to the first pillar... [[spoiler: turning a flat world into a round one evidently requires lots of light.]]
* In the good ending of VideoGame/Infamous2 where Cole activates the RFI it shoots a beam that can be seen from space!
* ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' has the Beacons, which, you guessed it, you have to gather and build yourself. The Nether Star in particular requires building and killing The Wither. In addition to the Pillar of Light, it grants you up to two status effects while you're in range.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'': In the ''Bohrok Online Animations'', 6 of them occur when the Bohrok are defeated.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* When ever people ascend to the next floor in ''Webcomic/TowerOFGod'', a beam transports them there.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'', after Jillian attempts to persuade her to [[LastSecondChance switch sides]] and promises to find and croak Stanley, Wanda responds by unleashing a [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0106.html massive attack spell]], complete with a Pillar of Light as wide as Efdup Tower.
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'', Fructose Riboflavin's escape pod appears to Galatea [[http://bobadventures.comiecgenesis.com/d/20091027.html in a pillar of light.]]
* In ''Webcomic/TwoKinds'', shattering the mana crystal in a Templar tower leads to one of these, as demonstrated by the page image.
* In ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'' this is the form that [[spoiler:portals leading out of Hell]] take.
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', when Miko Miyazaki crosses the MoralEventHorizon, her gods hit her with one, [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0407.html taking away her paladin powers]].
* Whisper Song of ''Webcomic/MagicalMisfits'' [[http://www.drunkduck.com/Magical_Misfits/5065955/ caused one]], and since this was [[http://www.dragoneers.com/halloween2008/ during a crossover]] it appeared/was referenced in several other comics as well.
* In ''Webcomic/OurLittleAdventure'', [[http://danielscreations.com/ola/comics/ep0084.html when Julie activates the Magicant Pendant,]] a Pillar of Light shows up. It also unfortunately attracts the attention of the bad guys.
* ''Webcomic/CrimsonFlag'': One of these is has been ignited on [[http://crimsonflagcomic.com/comic.php?comicID=411 page 411]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' Rose's Light Canon uses a beam of light that can morph into the images of the Crystal Gems in order to destroy most homeworld Drones
* The title character of ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'' drew her power from a living Pillar of Light.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
** In the series premiere, Prince Zuko guesses that the random Pillar of Light that suddenly appears in the South Pole signals something of great, powerful significance, like the return of the Avatar. Lampshaded by Iroh, who thinks it might just be the natural polar lights. "We've been down this road before, Prince Zuko."
** [[BookEnds Way later]] in the GrandFinale when Aang [[spoiler:takes away Ozai's bending]], a similar-looking one occurs.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''
** The Spirit Portals, located at the north and south poles, take the form of swirling pillars of orange and blue light, respectively. In the material world, their tips split off to form the auroras, while in the SpiritWorld, they appear infinite.
** In the GrandFinale, when Kuvira's spirit weapon [[spoiler:blows up, it has so much energy that it rips open a new, green-gold spirit portal.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko''
** Whenever a monster or hero falls into the Digital Sea, a white Pillar of Light rises from the spot into the sky of Lyoko (with the notable exception of William in Season 4, since a dive into the Digital Sea doesn't harm him).
** Also occurs at the beginning of a return to the past sequence, when an expending pillar of light bursts from the holographic display in the lab.
* The signal in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' season one, "The Trigger, Part 2". Not a ''good'' thing, but a ''significant'' thing.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' -- Ankama loves this trope:
** Willow in episode 14, after getting Moon's hammer.
** Another one in episode 17, [[spoiler:when Grougaloragran is defeated by Nox and he explodes, his wakfu soaring in the sky]]. This pillar could be seen all over the world.
** And again in episode 25, [[spoiler:when the huge teleportation portal is activated]]. And [[spoiler:when Amalia is possessed by the Tree of Life]]. And [[spoiler:when Razortime's Energy Ball hits Sadlygrove]].
** Still another one in season 2 episode 6, [[spoiler:when Yugo and Adamaï activate the Eliacube]].
** [[spoiler:Rushu fusioning with his army of Shushus]] is the excuse for yet another one in the season 2 finale.
* ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'': During a flashback to their High School days, Heifer eats the potato that he, Rocko and Filburt were using for a potato battery experiment. When they realize that putting the lightbulb in Heifer's mouth causes it to light up, they stuff him with potato products, resulting in this trope.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Highly magnetised neutron stars called pulsars do this in real life, producing electromagnetic radiation focused into two beams by the star's magnetic field. Black holes with accretion disks produce jets of matter like this as well.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribute_in_Light Tribute in Light]] memorial to the September 11 attacks.
* The searchlight on top of the Luxor pyramid in Las Vegas can allegedly be seen for hundreds of miles at night. Lights on the pyramid's edges sometimes even do a streaming-upward effect to give the beam SuckingInLines.
* Within minutes after the steam explosion that caused the Chernobyl accident, a number of employees at the power station went outside to get a clearer view of the damage. One such worker, Alexander Yuvchenko, recounts [[http://ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_english/cherno-alexander_yuvchenko.htm in an interview]] that once he stopped outside and looked up towards the reactor hall he saw a "very beautiful" LASER-like beam of light, bluish light that appeared to flood up into infinity. This was most likely caused by the radiation escaping the reactor through a hole in the roof and [[https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionized-air_glow ionizing]] the air it went through.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagine_Peace_Tower Imagine Peace Tower]] in Reykjavik, Iceland consists as one of these as a tribute to Music/JohnLennon with the inscriptions "IMAGINE PEACE" carved in 24 languages. Add an aurora or two and it makes a spectacle.
* [[http://www.billdolson.com/reentryseries/Peace_Reentry-kmr.jpg Re-entry vehicles]], although the effect doesn't last very long.
* The [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazis]] [[LightIsNotGood also liked Pillars of Light]] and had one of their massive rally grounds in Nuremberg surrounded by 130 huge flak lights, called the [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1982-1130-502%2C_N%C3%BCrnberg%2C_Reichsparteitag%2C_Lichtdom.jpg "Cathedral of Light"]]. It required so much power the area had its own electric power plant.