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[[quoteright:270:[[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lightningaxe_4627.png]]]]

-> ''"One strike becomes three! A swift jab becomes two dolphins!"''
-->-- '''Francisco Guerra''', ''{{Webcomic/Paranatural}}''

KiAttacks and ElementalPowers are cool, but what if you want something more appealing than the usual KamehameHadoken wave or [[PlayingWithFire fireballs]] or [[ShockAndAwe lightnings]]? The answer is to give your attack a special form.

It can be anything, including weapons, objects and animals. Usually it's strictly done for RuleOfCool or for characterize the user of said powers, for example a [[AnimalMotifs bird-related character]] will make avian-shaped attacks. [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons Dragons tend to be a popular choice too]]. It may overlap with WeaponOfChoice in some cases of weapon-shaped attacks.

Don't confuse with EnergyWeapon, which is usually perpetual while the "Shaped Attack" is only temporary. When used to create a weapon it becomes a form of SpontaneousWeaponCreation.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Used a lot in ''Manga/OnePiece'', expecially with [[ElementalPowers Logia users]]. [[ShockAndAwe Eneru was a big offender]] and all the [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking admirals]] have at least one attack modeled after their animal theme.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'''s [[FuumaShuriken Rasenshuriken]] and many elemental jutsu, starting with the "Water Dragon Jutsu". Furthermore, outside elemental releases we have Nagato (a huge soul-devouring dragon), Hinata (a Lion-shaped attack), and Gai (a punch that ''shapes air'' into a tiger head).
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'' [[ExtraOreDinary Gajeel]] shape his metal Dragon Slayer in form of several weapons and of course both [[AnIcePerson Gray and Lyon]] can do the same with Ice Make magic. [[spoiler:Laxus tries to kill Natsu with a pike made of lightning.]]
** Natsu sometimes turns his flame attacks into draconic limbs like wings or claws.
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', one of Hiei's most powerful techniques is the [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons Dragon]] of [[CastingAShadow Darkness]] [[PlayingWithFire Flame]].
* The Bao Zakeruga from ''GashBell''.
* In ''HunterXHunter'' the resident BadassGrandpa assassin Xeno Zaoldyecks can make a literal Dragon out of his [[KiAttacks Nen]]. [[MegaManning Chrollo's]] Ghost fish attack may count too.
* Manga/DragonBall
** Goku's Dragon Fist attack.
** When he pierced King Piccolo's chest, he used a technique that took the form of a Great Ape.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' the [[BladeOnAStick Sokyoku]] is a gargantuan halberd used for capital punishments. When activated it turns in a colossal Phoenix made of energy which proceed to [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill annihilate the victim with the raw power of a million of zanpakuto.]]
** In the VideoGames series, [[LittleMissBadass Yachiru]] can use her [[PantheraAwesome feline-shaped]] BattleAura as a ramming attack, but this isn't confirmed by WordOfGod... yet.
* In ''Anime/KnightsOfTheZodiac'' the Silver Saint Sagitta can shape his cosmo into deadly golden arrows.
* A lot of elemental attacks (especially [[ShockAndAwe lightning-based]]) in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' take the form of spears. Kotarou's [[CastingAShadow shadow hounds]] may count too.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha''
** ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' has Rio Wesley and her Twin Dragon spells, where she uses her elemental magic to form a Flame Dragon and a Thunder Dragon that home in on her target. She can also use just one of them.
** ''Anime/{{Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd As}}'' depicts Signum's Sturmfalken as a [[ArrowsOnFire flaming arrow]] that takes the shape of a falcon that sears through anything it touches when launched and explodes in a blazing inferno that could engulf a massive {{Kaiju}}.
* In ''{{Digimon}}'', there's ''Fist of the Beast King'', which fires a lion head energy projection, and is usually used by Leomon, a lion humanoid.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', the move Dragon Rush is rendered as a blue energy dragon surrounds the {{mon}} using it.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'', being equipped with, well, a GreenLanternRing, use this superpower. On one occasion he used the ring to manifest sumo wrestlers and sic them at some mooks.
* In ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, Jean Gray can unleash her "[[SuperpoweredEvilSide Phoenix Force]]" in the form of a phoenix made of fire and psychic energy. Another mutant, Psylocke, can create a literal psychic knife.
* The Human Torch can do this. His most well known application being the ComicBook/FantasticFour signal flare.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series the Expecto Patronum spell goes from a silvery mist to a shapeless mass of light but to, when mastered, the form of the character's [[AnimalMotifs animal spirit.]]
** Fiendfyre is also described as taking the shape of raging animals -- dragons, lions, serpents, anything dangerous. It does this in the film as well, and [[spoiler:takes Voldemort's form when a horcrux is consumed]].
* In an early ''WheelOfTime'' book, the Amyrlin Seat demonstrates that it's possible to shape a sword out of [[BlowYouAway Air]], which is even fairly strong, but says it's [[AwesomeButImpractical less practical than just pushing things around.]]
* {{Justified|Trope}} in ''Literature/CodexAlera''. There are lots of animal-shaped attacks because ElementalPowers come from [[BondCreatures furies]], and the most powerful ones typically have a preferred shape (for instance, Bernard's earth fury is a [[BigFriendlyDog dog]], Amara's wind fury is a [[CoolHorse horse]], and Gram's fire fury is a [[KillerRabbit hummingbird]]).
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[[folder:Film]]
* In ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', the Balrog seemingly made his sword and whip out of pure fire. In the book they're simply described as [[FlamingSword fiery weapons]].
* The physical manifestations of the music in the band battle between Sex Bob-omb and the Katayanagi Twins in ''Film/ScottPilgrimVersusTheWorld''.
* ''Film/KungFuHustle'' features a pair of {{Musical Assassin}}s who shape their music into blades and eventually a ''army of Chinese ghost warriors''!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' the player character is actually suggested to give his spells a distinctive form, like using a star-shaped fireball, but the spell has its limits. There's also the "animate breath" spell which can make a temporary mook out of a breath weapon.
** In the ''DragonLance'' setting there's a spell that can create spears of lightning.
* As suggested by the page image (Lightning Axe), MagicTheGathering has its fair share of these sorts of spells. They often show up in red or black, the two colors most likely to produce a direct magical attack.
** Lava Axe
** Flame Javelin
** Flame Fusillade
** Tendrils of Corruption
** Demonfire
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'' [[BlowYouAway Greham]] has an attack that makes spears of energy, while the [[LightEmUp White Silver Dragoon]] can make arrows out of light.
* In ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' Dante [[spoiler:with the Sparda Devil Trigger]] can toss a ''dragon'' made of crimson energy at his foes. Vergil and Nero both have Summoned Swords but with different designs - Vergil's Summoned Swords is shaped like Force Edge, whereas Nero's is more along the lines of a two-sided shuriken.
* Masou Kishin bots in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' can use ultimate attacks that take energy and shape it into animal-like forms, like Cybuster's Akashic Buster.
* Burn in ''PsychicForce'' can shape his [[PlayingWithFire flames]] to form pentagrams and fowls.
* In the first title of ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'', Amakusa can fire some ghost-shaped fireballs, Ukyo can send a swallow-shaped blast from his sword and the WarriorMonk Gaira can smash and stun his enemies summoning a shining Asura demon made of energy.
* [[TheWoobie Oichi]] from ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara 3'' can shape her [[CastingAShadow darkness]] in the form of two or more huge black arms. However in this case is unknown [[DemonicPossession who controls who]].
* [[LargeAndInCharge Kenshin Uesugi]] from ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' can summon phoenixes and wolves made of energy, and in late games even a temporary, huge copy of himself made of transparent light.
* The Ghost units in [[BattleForWesnoth Wesnoth]] can send [[MakeMeWannaShout "wails"]] in the form of purple face-shaped attacks.
* An attack similar to the above-mentioned wail happens in ''{{Splatterhouse}} 2'' with one boss.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' there are Megagash and Gigagash, which consist in huge sword-shaped energy streams. The hero can also learn a Dragon-shaped energy attack similar to the [[Manga/DragonBall Ryuuken]] attack.
* ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe'' has several dragon-shaped attacks, including the "Red Hot Dragon Kick" ([[DivingKick Red Hot Kick]] when Zoomed in).
** Joe's [[BattleCouple girlfriend]] Sexy Silvia utilizes a few of these of her own. Unlike Joe's [[PlayingWithFire Red Hot Kick]], using VFX Zoom on her [[VideoGame/StreetFighterIII Cool Blue Kick]] creates an [[ShockAndAwe electric]] dragon.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' gives [[VideoGame/FZero Captain Falcon]] the Falcon Punch, a powerful punch attack surrounded by a falcon-shaped flame.
* As a general rule, any spell in the ''Franchise/{{Tales|Series}}'' series with "blade", "lance", or "sword" in the name will look like ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Certain melee attacks also qualify, and there are even a few shaped ''healing'' spells.
* Shang Tsung of MortalKombat throws fireballs with skulls inside them. They might actually be souls, considering the character, but he definitely does it for the intimidation factor.
* PathOfExile allows players to purchase and customize certain attacks to make them look different. A good example of this trope is allowing the standard low-level amorphous firebolt to turn into a pretty awesome looking dragon.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/{{Phaeton}}'' we have:
** Trayen's boomerang shaped "windblades" and rapid fire bubble "wavebeam".
** Trayen's elemental orbs.
** Jodie's psychic weapons.

[[/folder]]

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