The Ball of Light Transformation is a peculiar form of a Voluntary Shapeshifting
, where a character becomes not another creature but a flying orb, mote, speck, flame or tiny star made of light. Size, color and brightness can vary.
Such a form is often invulnerable, light being immaterial, or at the very least very hard to hit thanks to its small size and mobility. Some can even goes through walls, or slip through tiny spaces. Although many will just use this form as an alternate means of Flight
This is a power commonly associated with fairies and similar creatures. Can be a variant of Elemental Shapeshifter
, with light or Pure Energy
substituted to other elements.
Contrasting with this transformation as a standard power, it can also be a one-time event when a character is metamorphosed, resurrected, ascended to a higher plane of existence
or other life-changing event.
The popularity of this trope in film or live-action TV can be linked to it being a very easy special effect.
Compare with Energy Beings
and Ghost Lights
, for things that have this shape permanently.
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Films — Animation
- The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio first appears as a bright light that looks like a star before taking the form of a beautiful woman. Then she departs in the same way.
- DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: Unlike other genies who would rather turn into smoke, the genie in this movie (and anybody he brings inside the lamp with him) becomes a small cloud of sparks or a mote of light to enter/exit the lamp.
Films — Live-Action
- Legend. The fairy Oona can change into a small ball of light and fly around. She does so in Darkness' dungeon to escape a prison cell and obtain the key to the cell.
- The Principal from Sky High can transform into something similar to a mini-star, it gives her the ability to fly at a very high speed with drastic changes in direction and angle.
- The hero of Space Sheriff Gavan can transform into a blue ball of light to fly around at his enemies. He once met an opponent with a similar power, and they tussled for a while in the air as blue and red balls of light, respectively.
- From Power Rangers S.P.D., Sam/SPD Omega Ranger can turn into a ball of light from time travel... changing his body into light energy, or somesuch.
- In Charmed this is an ability of the Whitelighters, called orbing, and their primary means of transportation. Although the "ball" shape is probably based on episode budget, because it isn't used every time. Their transformation looks more like Star Trek teleportation.
- Babylon 5. "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" has a being who's watching the events of the episode do this to reveal that he's in the future, and that humanity has evolved into Energy Beings much like the Vorlons before them.
- In Stargate SG-1 and the rest of the Stargate Verse, people who Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence take the form not of a ball of light, but of a luminous blob with waving tendrils, sometimes dubbed a "light jellyfish". Ascended Ancients can then take this form at will, but they're pretty much Energy Beings all the time by this point — though they can also resume a material form if they wish.
- This is the true form of the Organians in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Errand of Mercy". The amiable old men turn into blindingly bright light at the end of the episode — their humanoid appearance was simply A Form You Are Comfortable With.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The boggart is the immature form of a will-o'-wisp. It is a Shape Shifter that can change its form between that of a small demihuman/humanoid and that of a will-o'-wisp (ball of light).
- Most types of Eladrin (fairy-like outsiders from the Chaotic Good planes) can turn into a ball of light, depriving them of most of their abilities but allowing them to become incorporeal, fly and shoot energy blasts.
- Arcane casters can duplicate this with the 3.5 Edition Eladrin Form spell.
- In BIONICLE, Umbra has this ability and uses it offensively.
- Mega Man Zero: Cyber Elves are beings of data that are contained in floating balls of light. The previous hero Mega Man X, now becoming a cyber-elf himself, can take on either this form or a holographic version of himself.
- Seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when Link uses the Ocarina to warp to the various temples. The Sages also seem to be able to do this as well.
- As with the tabletop examples above, Dungeons & Dragons Online features Ghaele Eladrin that can take the shape of a lantern archon.
- In the 3D Metroid games, Samus takes this form inside the Morph Ball, a process that the Space Pirates were unable to replicate.
- In The Legend of Kyrandia: Fables and Fiends, the purple spell from the amulet allows you to transform into a Will-O-Wisp (a group of purple, floating lights). You can float over things that have no ground, can travel in cavern rooms indefinitely (you light your own room, so cannot be hurt by the beings that lurk in the dark).
- Ys II:
- At the beginning, Adol assumes this form during his flight from Darm Tower to Ys.
- The goddesses do this when they Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence at the end, leaving their physical forms behind as statues.
- XRS: When flying at speeds above mach 3 the XRS is engulfed in radiation, becoming a being made of pure energy. When in this form The suit is virtually invulnerable to any physical attack and capable of destroying any man made object on impact. In this form the suit can reach tested speeds of at least Mach 30 or 22,836 miles per hour.