By the Power of Grayskull!
Lots of Phlebotinum
is voice activated: Kirk
talked to the computer, Michael talked to KITT
talked to Cursor. But there is no place where a voice activation is more universally required than when triggering a Transformation Sequence
You are, more or less, not allowed to transform to your super-powered alter-ego without ranting some special key-phrase. This phrase may or may not be descriptive, but it should almost certainly be pithy. If your transformation Catch Phrase
is lame, you will not be allowed to keep transforming.
In situations where the hero explicitly cannot transform without magic words
, rest assured that Easy Amnesia
or a silencing attack will rear its ugly head at least once, making the change impossible when needed the most. If the phrase also untransforms the hero, expect him to do this by mistake sometimes. Villains in particular will often be tricked into saying their power-down phrases.
And woe betide
anyone who mispronounces the transformation phrase, as horrible, horrifying things may result.
The trope originated with comic-book character
Billy Batson, who first used the Catch Phrase
"Shazam!" to transform into Captain Marvel
For some heroes, the phrase can be omitted when time does not allow, especially if the full Transformation Sequence
is omitted. Superheroes who do not go through an explicit Transformation Sequence
) are exempt.
A common Anime
phenomenon, where it may be a form of Calling Your Attacks
. In the Japanese dialog of Sentai
, the word "Henshin" — meaning roughly "change" or "transform" — is often found in the phrase, and is sometimes the entire
phrase. Other times, the phrase may be entire sentences, or even magic spells (especially in the case of some Magical Girl
anime), which again can be one word or entire phrases.
Differs from In the Name of the Moon
in that By The Power Of Grayskull is the activation password for the Applied Phlebotinum
, while In the Name of the Moon
is a harangue directed at the opposition.
This is the magic Catch Phrase
that actually causes or facilitates the transformation. For one that is simply a cool kind of rallying cry or way to get the adrenaline pumping ("Flame On!", for example), see Invocation
. When either of these contains (or is) the name
of the hero's new form, it's Transformation Name Announcement
See also: Transformation Trinket
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Anime and Manga
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the first season of the English "dub", Yugi's transformation into the pharaoh is usually precipitated by his shouting the title of the series.note
- The title of the series, Yu-Gi-Oh is one of the pharaoh's titles, which translates to "king of games".
- Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series with various shouts when Yugi transforms, the most memorable of which is "Super Special Awesome Ultra Special Sexy Transformation Sequence GO!"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has the Barians shout "Bariarphose!" to turn back into their true forms.
- Guyver: Likewise, Sho initiates his transformation by emitting the series title in a long, loud shrill. The live-action Made For TV Movies abbreviate the delivery, making him look a lot cooler. The live-action movies have a different character (American college student Shawn Barker, as opposed to Japanese High School Student Sho Fukamachi). Also, other Guyvers throughout various incarnations of the series have shown a few different ways of activating this. In the 2nd film, the Guyver-Zoanoid transforms by yelling "Bio-Morph." In the 1st animated series, Guyver II (in the Japanese version) didn't need a word at all. Guyver III went from yelling "Guyver" to "Bio-Boost" in later episodes. Guess at the end of the day the word just helps one focus.
- The 1st transformation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha involved Yuuno making Nanoha repeat a long, complicated speech that Nanoha later complains is too long and hard to remember; however, to his surprise, she's later able to transform by saying only "Raising Heart, set up!"
- She also starts her spells with "Lyrical Magical!" (hence the title). Or at least she's supposed to... you could probably count on your hands the number of times she actually does so.
- She does do the full speech again for the final battle of season 1, just to up the drama.
- In the Japanese version, season one, her activation phrase is "Raging Heart, onegai", meaning that please really is the magic word (onegai means please).
- Getter Robo, the majordomo of piloted Super Robot anime, used the phrase "Change, Getter X", where X was the number/name of the form to be assumed. The actual change was just assembling the combiner team in a new order. Later on in the series the phrase "Open Get" was used to disconnect the component vehicles.
- Each of the Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon went through several different activation phrases over the course of the series, on the order of one or so per arc/season, as they improved their powers and combat ability. The general formula was "[Planet Name] [Something] Power, Make Up!" The Nineties English dub of the anime dropped the "Make Up" bit. The Dub also mucks around with the names themselves (despite originally being in English) sometimes resulting in made up stuff like "Moon Cosmic Dream Action". One really bad time had the Girls calling the first part of the phrase solo, then all at once calling "Make-Up!" The dub, due to the sheer omission of "Make-Up" resulting in it ending up as "Mars Star Power, Planet Power!"
- Sailor Jupiter's pre-attack powerup invocation probably counts. "Guardian Jupiter! Stir up the storm, summon the clouds, send me your lightning! Supreme Thunder!" She drops everything but the attack name later on, though. Though it does appear a few times later, making the attack seem more Bad Ass then normal.
- The Sailor Hellblazer Cross Over Fan Fic spoofs this when John Constantine accidentally sets his Transformation phrase as "bloody friggin' hell."
- this counts: "I call upon the powers of Zeus himself, infuse me with your heavenly thunder, which is actually lightning, but no one seems to notice. Pika-chuuu!"
- There is, however, one notable aversion: In Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8, Minako does not call out "Venus Power, Make Up!" because at the time she's still posing as the Moon Princess.
- Possible subversion: in Mai-Otome, the Otome's Phlebotinum-based powers require a vocal authorization from the Otome's bonded master before the Otome herself can verbally invoke her Transformation Sequence.
- Spoofed in One Piece: Franky the shipwright is a Schizo Tech cyborg who activates his powers by shouting "Hentai!" (abnormality) instead of the traditional Toku phrase "Henshin!" (transform). While "hentai" can also mean "metamorphosis", its more common meaning of "weirdo" or "pervert" creates obvious humor, as other characters comment he is a weirdo/pervert for running around in nothing but a speedo and a Hawaiian shirt. However, he doesn't even activate his powers this way, and just likes saying the word.
- In Futari wa Pretty Cure, Nagisa, at least, is quite surprised to hear herself call out her and Honoka's key phrase ("Dual Aurora Wave") when they begin their first Transformation Sequence. This also happens with their after-transformation speech and their attacks. No explanation of any kind is ever given.
- Tokyo Mew Mew had "Mew Mew X Metamorphose!", X being the name of their eponymous food (strawberry for Ichigo, pudding for Bu-ling, etc.)
- The "dub" changed it to "Power Pendant, Mew-tamorphosis!"
- In Akame Ga Kill, the Imperial Arms "Incursio" (Bulat's armor, later passed to Tatsumi) is activated by holding its key and shouting its name.
- Trinity Blood: "Nano-machine Crusnik 02, starting operation at X percent level!". Every time Abel says that, he transforms from a big ditz into an incredibly badass killer.
- Used quite often in Bleach
- The Empathic Weapons need their wielder to say the magic Catch Phrase in order to switch into a more powerful form. The Catch Phrase is unique to each weapon (though always including the weapon's name) and must be learned from the weapon itself. The phrase can range from the short ("Snap", "Shatter", "Dance") to longer ("Reign over the frosted heavens", "Shoot to kill", "Sting all enemies to death") to very long ("Flower wind rage and flower god roar, heavenly wind rage and heavenly demon sneer", "All waves rise now and become my shield, lightning, strike now and become my blade", "All things in the universe turn to ashes").
- The more powerful form, Bankai is activated by saying just that, although everybody tends to say its name afterwards anyway.
- Unlocking said form also allows one to use the first form without any declarations. For example, while fighting Starrk, the two with the longest release 'phrases' - Kyoraku and Ukitake - activate the first release simply with the names of their swords and without fanfare (contrast with Stark's rather more showy transformation). Helpful given the potential for such lengthy verses getting interrupted by the Genre Savvy. (Rest of the time, everybody says their phrases anyway because they're cool.) This aspect is first revealed during Renji's fight with Byakuya...cluing Byakuya into the fact that Renji has achieved Bankai.
- It's also parodied. Urahara tells Ichigo that the only way to activate some "magic armor" is to yell "TAKE THIS! THE POWER OF JUSTICE! JUSTICE ARMOR! JUSTICE HACHIMAKI! EQUIP!" note at the top of his lungs. Ichigo eventually figures out it's useless, but not before humiliating himself. It later shows up as an actually useful item in a filler arc, leading to much outrage from Ichigo.
- Aside from the zanpaktou, there's also kido, which can be unspoken by very high level users, to short phrases, to requiring scrolls to keep track of. Using a kido without the chant weakens it, even for the highest-level users, and when a less skilled user tries, it also increases the chance of the spell failing entirely (and possibly blowing up in the caster's face, as frequently happens with Renji).
- In their variant of being Hollow-Shinigami hybrids, the arrancar usually go into Resurreccion mode by saying a specific word or phrase followed by the name of their zanpaktou. For example, Starrk says "Kick about - Los Lobos!", Barragan says "Rot - Arrogante.", and Nnoitra says "Pray - Santa Teresa!" By contrast, Vizards don their masks silently (they still have zanpaktou with the whole fanfare, of course)
- In Coffin Princess Chaika, in order to activate their Iron-Blood Transformation, Tohru and Akari recite one that doubles as a Badass Boast:
I am steel. Steel knows no doubt. Steel knows no fear. When faced with my enemy, I hesitate not. I am a weapon to destroy these. Iron-Blood Transformation!
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The shift from "civilian clothing" to bird suits was triggered by speaking the phrase, "bird go!" into a special wristband. When the show was brought to America as Battle of the Planets, the phrase was "transmute!" In the G-Force permutation, the phrase was "G-Force, Transform!"
- "Transmute to Fiery Phoenix!"
"Kagaku Ninpou: Hi no Tori! (Ninja Art: Firebird!)"
- In Eagle Riders (which was based on the second series), the phrase is "Eagle mode, now!".
- "Bird, go!" is one of the few holdovers from the original series present in Gatchaman Crowds, though the heroes shout it while holding aloft their NOT Es instead of saying it into a wristband.
- Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers used this to don their armor. Usually, they took a transformation stance, yelled out "Armor of X," and some sort of incantation. For Wildfire, this was Tao Jin("the way of virtue"). The subarmor could be summoned at will, and it was donned before entering battle. Apparently, when not in use, their armors took the form of glass spheres with their corresponding Confucian value(depicted with kanji) inside it.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!: Western mages have personal "key" phrases to say before reciting spells. (For example, Negi's is "Ras tel ma scrir magister") There's also a 'training' key phrase for novice mages who don't have a personal one yet.
- And Pactio cards, which summon a magical artifact for the user with the activation key "Adeat".
- Modified in the Karas OAVs, where the transformation sequence is spoken by the hero's handler. (It's also one of the coolest transforms ever, albeit very long.)
- Wedding Peach had two for each hero, because they each had two transformations.
- This only happens in the anime, however. In the original manga, they all said the same phrase.
- Spoofed in Wedding Peach Abridged with, "Bridal Striptease, Go!"
- Done in just about every Digimon series:
- Digimon Adventure had "[name]mon, Digivolve to... [new name]mon!" in the dub, and "[name]mon, evolve! [new name]mon!" in the original Japanese, which gets re-used in every series (with variations added), in addition to the phrases said by the humans.
- Digimon Adventure 02 had "Digimental Up!" in Japanese and "Digiarmor Energize! (or rather, "Digiarmor Ener... gize!)" in the dub. The mon in question would then go through the usual call, but with "Armor Digivolve to/Evolve."
- Digimon Tamers had "[card name], Card Slash!" in Japanese and "Digi-Modify! [card name], activate!" in the dub. Evolution/Digivolution being achieved through different cards, except for evolution to Ultimate/Mega which gets "Matrix Evolution!" in Japanese, and "Biormerge, activate!" in the dub.
- Digimon Frontier has "(Double/Hyper) Spirit Evolution!" in Japanese, and "Execute, (Beast/Fusion/Unified) Spirit Evolution!" in the dub, plus "Slide Evolution!" when switching between Human and Beast Spirit.
- Digimon Savers has "Digisoul - Charge!", "Digisoul - Full Charge!", and "Digisoul Charge - Overdrive!", plus "Charge! Digi-Soul Burst!" for the final Mode Change. The dub replaced "Digisoul," with "DNA," and changed the Burst Mode phrase to "Charge! DNA Burst Mode!"
- Digimon Xros Wars has numerous variations of "DigiXros!" ("DigiFuse!" in the dub), including, but not limited to "Double Xros," "Great Xros," "Xros Up," ect..
- Magical Angel Creamy Mami: Yuu's transformation required the phrase "Pam puru pim puru parim pompun! Pim puru pam puru parim pompun!"
- Persia, the Magic Fairy says "Perukko Raburin Kurukuru Rinkuru" to turn into her Older Alter Ego.
- Floral Magician Mary Bell says "Mary Bell's Flower Magic!"
- Unlike the previous Studio Pierrot magic girl series which involve magic words, in Magical Stage Fancy Lala, Miho transforms into Lala by saying an actual henshin phrase: "Toki no kioku ni omoi wo komete, ima, Fancy Lala ni karei naru seichou!" which translates as "Bringing my thoughts into the memory of time, grow now magnificently into Fancy Lala!"
- Hellsing had Alucard use the phrase "Releasing control art restriction to level (#)..." when he goes from merely terrifying to Horror Incarnate.
- Voltron: "Activate interlocks, dynatherms connected, infracells up, megathrusters are go! Let's go Voltron Force!... Form feet and legs!... Form arms and torso/body!... And I'll form... the head!"
- This doesn't happen exactly in the Japanese version (Golion). Before the lions combine into Golion, they do say "Let's Golion!". However, there is no "Form feet and legs..." part; the sequence itself doesn't have any dialogue except at the end in later episodes when Akira Kogane/Keith shouts "Golion!!".
- In the Sequel Series Voltron Force, the mode change command "Form [color] center!" was added. The various weapon commands ("Form, Blazing Sword!" and its variants) are somewhere between this and Calling Your Attacks.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam has the protagonist shouting "Rise, Shining Gundam!" whenever he decides to call his Humongous Mecha. It's not quite a transformation sequence, but close enough.
- GaoGaiGar: FINAL FUSION!! SYMMETRICAL DOCKING!! MEGA FUSION!! SYSTEM CHANGE!! SANMI ITTAI!!
- Shinkon Gattai Godannar!! had "Drive change go," "Volspinner slave on," "Mushin ittai Godiner," and "Change Genesister."
- Princess Tutu averts this trope, but Princess Tutu Abridged throws one in.
- Ahiru still has a transformation sequence, but it's all visual, with an allegorical egg of light and the same little dance every time.
- Punie-chan's activation in Dai Mahou Touge (Magical Witch Punie-Chan) is classic: "Lyrical Tokarev, Kill Them All!"
- Genesis of Aquarion: Pilot 1: "Nenshin!" Pilot 2: "Gattai!" Pilot 3: "Go! Aquarion!"
- In Sekirei, the Sekirei gain power with a kiss and a chant, called a norito. Each Norito is unique to that Sekerei:
- Musubi - These are the fists of my pledge, crush the catastrophe before my Ashikabi
- Kazehana - Wind of my pledge, blow away the dark clouds of my sekirei
- Homura - These are the flames of my pledge, burn the Karma of my Ashikabi
- Tsukiumi - This is the water of my pledge, purify the evil residing in my Ashikabi
- Shiina - Decaying streams of my pledge, wither the cross of my Ashikabi.
- Transformers: This trope is actually almost exclusively present in the Japanese-original series for most of the time in the American-original series, transformation is simply treated as something like breathing, in that it requires little to make it happen.
- In Transformers Super God Masterforce, their transformations were always voice-activated, in a straight example of this trope.
- From Transformers Headmasters: HEAD ON!
- In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Transformers Armada, Transformers Energon, and Transformers Cybertron, Optimus Prime could achieve a secondary transformation by declaring, "Optimus Prime, super mode!"
- In episode four of Robots in Disguise, Sky-Byte had his mouth full of the MacGuffin, and was unable to transform because he couldn't say "Sky-Byte, terrorize!" around it.
- Transformers Cybertron: CYBER KEY POWER!!!!!!!!!]]
- In Japan, the transforming call for normal vehicle-to-bot stuff is simply "Transform" or "[name,] Transform" in English, but in the Beast era, it becomes "Henshin," which means the same in Japanese and quite familiar to fans of Kamen Rider. This means RID and BW 2 give us "Henshin" from the beast bots and "Transform" for the vehicle bots. Of course, the US version of RID leaves "Transform" as "Transform," as it would in the Unicron Trilogy, and gives the Predacons their familiar "Terrorize" command.
- Brave Command Dagwon Try Dagwon!
- Cardcaptor Sakura: "Oh key that hides the power of the dark, reveal your true form to me. I, Sakura command you under the contract! RELEASE!!!!!!!!!" Since CCS is somewhat of a magical girl parody, it doesn't actually cause HER to transform (that's Tomoyo's job as a costume designer; never the same outfit twice! Sakura says it's unnecessary and kinda embarrassing; Tomoyo disagrees.), it just causes the key to transform back into the full-sized wand so she can use it to control the cards.
- Dites in Chrome Shelled Regios are activated by saying "Restoration!" If the Dite has multiple forms, a number is appended to select the specific form: "Restoration Zero-One!"
- Kaze no Stigma: Ayano summons Enraiha by calling it while clapping her hands together.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Za Beasto!
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon calls out the transformation of Cathedral Terra to Supergalaxy Gurren Lagann, while doing a reverse Glasses Pull (or crying tears of blood in The Movie). Viral goes Audience Avatar and responds "I was waiting for these words!" Seconded.
- Kamichama Karin: AI AMU GODDO! (Other characters opt for Latin or actual Japanese catchphrases when transforming.)
- In Is This a Zombie? Ayumu and Haruna transform into a Masou Shoujo their keyword is, Nomobuyo, Oshi, Hashitawa, Dokeda, Gunmicha, De, Ribura."
- Black*Star in Soul Eater calls out to Tsubaki to get her to change weapon forms.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Panty and Stocking have an elaborate chant while powering up their lingerie into ghost-slaying weapons. The full version is used once, and later parodied when it quickly decays into apathetic mumbling. Their demonic nemeses, Scanty and Kneesocks, have their own Power of Grayskull chant.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation Divine Wars the main character, Ryusei Date, shouts out 'Variable Formation' whenever he and his two team mates combine in the Super Robot SRX. It's a homage and a parody of this trope because 'Super Robots always have to have a cool combination battlecry.'
- In Hyper Speed GranDoll, Hikaru shouts "Gran Change!" to transform.
- The girls of Makeruna Makendo say "Ma-ken-do!"
- In Jewelpet Twinkle the girls transform with "Twinkle Twinkle Magical Charm Winkle Winkle Jewel Flash" while boys transform with "Grilla Grilla Magical Charm Winkle Winkle Jewel Flash". They also begin each spell with "Twinkle Twinkle" or "Grilla Grilla" respectively. In one episode, the fact that boys' and girls' magical phrases are different is a plot point.
- Tekkaman Blade has "Tek Setter!".
- COME HERE! DAITARN 3!
- The Weapons of Light (both the original Darkstar weapons and the knockoff; most notably, Gourry's Sword of Light) in The Slayers require the phrase "Light, come forth!" to activate their Laser Blade goodness.
- The original Darkstar weapons are actually the followers of Dark-Star Dugradigdu, another plane's equivalent of Ruby-Eye Shabranigdu—instead of his followers becoming lords in their own right like Hellmaster Febrizo and Demon Dragon Garv, Dark-Star's lieutenants became weapons. In the series' main plane, the local Mazoku are invoked by a litany of titles at the beginning of Black Magic spells; the most famous is probably "O (that which is) darker than twilight, O (that which is) redder than flowing blood, buried in the stream of time", the invocation of Ruby-Eye himself, from the beginning of Dragon Slave.
- In Mon Colle Knights, both Mondo and Rokuna chant the sentence of "With us, you can do it!" before merging with the monster they choose.
- Roger's oft-used phrase to active The Big O is "BIG-O! SHOWTIME!".
- Subverted in Haiyore! Nyarko-san, where it's shown that Nyarko can change into her combat form with just a thought; she simply chooses to pose and shout "Henhin!" because she's a total Tokusatsu fangirl and thinks doing so looks awesome.
- Cutey Honey has "Honey Flash!"
- ''World Trigger has "Trigger ON!" for activating said Triggers and the Trion bodies
- Yuusei Shounen Papi (AKA: "Prince Planet") has the title character Papinote changing to his superhero form by taking his medallion and shouting "Piiiiiiii....PAPI!". The dub keeps the first part, but changes the second part to "PAZOW!".
- Megaton Man uses the word "Overkill" to transform into his ridiculously muscled superhero form from his ridiculously muscled alter ego.
- In The DCU, Jason Blood is changed into Etrigan when a certain poem is read, by him or by someone else. The full version is:
Change, change the form of man.
Free the prince forever damned.
Free the might from fleshy mire.
Boil the blood in heart of fire.
Gone, gone the form of man,
Rise the demon Etrigan!
- Shazam: Captain Marvel's "Shazam!". Along with Cap, the entire Marvel Family uses this magic transformation word. (Except for Captain Marvel Jr., who uses "Captain Marvel!", making him possibly the only superhero who cannot introduce himself) The Captain Marvel villain IBAC changes back and forth from his identity by saying his own "super" name, as does Junior's villain Sabbac.
- DC is constantly messing with them, though. Billy Batson (calling himself simply Marvel) is now the wizard who gives the others their powers, Freddy Freeman (formerly Captain Marvel Jr) is trying to become a superhero named Shazam (who still uses his name to transform, but has thankfully gained the ability to make that optional, so he CAN say his name without transforming now), and, in a fit of nostalgia, Billy Batson/Marvel changed Black Adam's word from Shazam to "Chocolate Egg Cream" in an attempt to keep Black Adam from transforming. It didn't take. Black Adam then got rid of the powers himself by transferring them to a powerless Mary, creating Black Mary Marvel. Which went well...
- A different Captain Marvel (There've been at least half a dozen, if not more, superheroes named Captain Marvel, none of which are related) had as his phrase the word "Split!" This would activate his power... the ability to split his body into pieces, even down to individual fingers. This was, apparently, necessary, but it doesn't make a lot of difference since for obvious reasons it wasn't a very long-lived comic.
- Marvel Comics Captain Marvel parodied this once. Rick once shouted "Shazam" while switching places with Genis and he didn't understand what was that supposed to mean.
- Thunder Girl, Big Bang Comics' Captain/Mary Marvel pastiche, had the word "Alakazam!" Her evil Nazi counterparts (who more closely resemble the rest of the Marvel family, with another Mary thrown in for good measure) have "Gotterdammerung!"
- Golden Age hero Johnny Quick activated his abilities by reciting the formula "3X2(9YZ)4A". His daughter Jesse Quick did the same, until she lost her powers. It's not enough just to say the formula: you need to understand the four-dimensional construct it describes, and you also need a certain mental state and/or link to the Speed Force.
- Towards the end of Johnny Quick's run (pun not intended), other speedsters attempted to point out to him that the formula was really pointless... his powers were simply an ability to tap into the Speed Force. This proved true when, in the process of his Heroic Sacrifice he started his formula several times, then finally simply thought "The hell with it" and ran at superspeed without using it.
- Perhaps ironically, an even later issue of The Flash had our hero Wally West spouting the equation out of desperation to be faster during a particularly large disaster. Not only did he speed up, but time actually froze around him — keeping the world in a frozen moment of time that only fellow speedster Max Mercury could reach for a few minutes before being dragged out again. Time resumed its natural flow when Wally was finally able to let go and allow time to resume. 'Pointless' indeed.
- Johnny Thunder commanded his magical (though literal-minded) genie through the mystical phrase "cei-u". In his early issues the running gag was that he wasn't aware of this, and the magic would happen at seemingly random times without him realizing that it was always after he has spoken the words "Say, you". Needless to say, he wasn't portrayed as very bright.
- And then, to cue the amnesia part, he got Alzheimer's. He got better. Those magical genies are tricky.
- Due to a later retcon, both "cei-u" and "say you" were revealed as backwards misspellings of the genie's name: Yz. Turns out he was a fifth dimensional entity, like Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite. Legacy Character Jakeem Thunder's genie is named Lkz, or as Jakeem pronounces it backwards, "So cool".
- Parodied in Defenders Indefensible, when a shockingly calm Bruce Banner attempts to stimulate a change into the Hulk, with such gems as "Hulk On!" and "Shazulk."
- Also parodied some years before in a series in the Marvel humour comic Not Brand Echh entitled "Super-hero Daydreams". Each one-page strip had an ordinary person finding themselves in a situation, dangerous or mundane, where super-powers would be handy — such as being on the subway when the conductor fainted or in a queue at a cafeteria when a queue-jumper barges in and grabs the last serving of a particular dessert — or needed, as in the case of the guy about to be beaten up by a gang. In each case, the daydreamer imagines saying "Sha-Marvey!" and being transformed into a super-hero and saving the day. Most such heroes are Marvel characters, though some are made-up Expys, e.g., "Wonderful Person".
- Miracleman: The early Captain Marvel knockoff Marvelman, better known now as Miracleman, used the transformation phrase "kimota" (spell it backwards). His sidekicks use the phrase "Miracleman". Alan Moore's Miracleman series used both the amnesia and trick power-down cliches.
- His alter-ego, Mike Moran, spent years not realizing he was a superhero, but was nagged by the near-memory of the word he just couldn't remember. While at a crisis at a nuclear plant, he sees the word "ATOMIC" on a window; since he's looking at it from behind, he sees it as "[C]IMOTA" (with the "C" reversed), which is enough to trigger his memory.
- The aliens who pioneered the technology have multiple bodies, and swap bodies by using power words. The mad scientist who plundered the alien technology to create Miracleman put in a few little tricks. For example, when Miracleman hears a particular magic word, "Abraxas", he transforms back into a human, and can't change for an hour.
- Said mad scientist also experimented on a dog...who, being just a dog, obviously couldn't speak, but would still transform from normal dog to outright monster when hearing someone say its catchphrase, "Steppenwolf". Mike Moran, under the effect of the "Abraxas" shutdown, is about to be eaten alive by the dog-monster, until he catches on: he shouts "Steppenwolf!" and turns it back into a puppy.
- The magician Zatanna and her father Zatara speak their spells backwards. (Remember: words backwards, sentences forwards!) However, Zatanna has sometimes explained away the need to do this as being merely a focus exercise.
- The first Blue Beetle would shout "Khaji da!" and thus cause his Scarab to activate his powers.
- There's a reason for this: "Khaji da!" is the Scarab's name, a point revealed in Blue Beetle #25 (of the most recent series).
- General Glory, also from The DCU. He forgot his magic catch phrase after being mindwiped by the government. He finally tracked it down via the propaganda comics the government used to issue so they could deny his very existence. "You saw General Glory beating up a tank? Sure... stop reading so much, soldier."
- A similar situation occurred with Wildstorm Captain Marvel Expy Maximum Man, whose alter ego, Kyle Trueblood developed Alzheimer's and afterwards spent every waking minute saying every word in every dictionary in every language he could find. His former archenemy remembered it and kept it from him out of spite. Eventually there was an emergency, and he told Trueblood what it was: Hecatean.
- Golden Age (now Public Domain) superhero the Green Lama used as his transformation phrase the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum". Since the Lama was supposed to be Buddhist this makes a sort of sense.
- Fellow Buddhist-based hero Thundermind, of the Great Ten, used the same mantra. It means "All hail the jewel in the lotus," by the way.
- Marvel heroine Go Go Tomago transforms into her powered form by saying her own superhero name.
- Hawk and Dove, from the DC Universe, would magically gain their superpowers and costumes by shouting out loud their super-hero names. This would only work if there was danger afoot, however.
- Kid Eternity, from both Shazam and Teen Titans, could say "Eternity" to summon a historical or mythological hero, who would then disappear after a certain amount of time. His archenemy, Master Man, could say "Stygia" to summon a historical or mythological villain, who would then disappear after a certain amount of time.
- Issue #24 of Plop! contained a story called "The Bella Button Caper", in which the titular character was legislating to ban all comic books forever. In response, the "Great Comic Book Spirit" gave a twelve-year-old called "Comic Book" Mc Fiend the power to turn into a different DC superhero by saying - what else - "Plop!". After he finally cornered a remorseful Bella, the spirit told her to say "DC", which turned her into a comic book.
- The trope was parodied in issue #23 of the Stephanie Brown Batgirl series, where she confronts the Reapers, the (Somewhat pathetic, although admittedly dangerous) villains she has faced for the majority of the tail-end of the series. When she finds herself outmatched by the numerically superior Reapers, she shouts SHAZAM! at the top of her lungs. The Reapers pause momentarily in confusion, and question one another on if Batgirl is magic or not, before the Teen Titans burst to the rescue, having been waiting for the signal to come charging in. They proceed to effortlessly annihilate the Reapers, some of whom do not even bother to look at the Reapers as they defeat them.
- Colt Noble and the Megalords is a parody of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, so naturally it comes complete with this. Prince Jaysen transforms into Colt Noble, Paladin of Power, by saying the "activation code" "Activation Code!" (shut up), and changes back by saying "Deactivate!" See, he was given this power by a weird robot intelligence and he didn't understand what was going on at first ("Choose your activation code." "Activation code?" "Now, choose your deactivation code." "urr, 'deactivate'?")
- Also from writer Tim Seeley is Colt Noble's Mini-Comics Included stablemate Superbeasts, where a nerdy kid named Marvin turns into Dracula Man by saying "Dracula On!" (or maybe just "Dracula") and turns back by saying "Alucard!" This is also a rare case of cross-racial transformation — Melvin is black, but Dracula Man is white.
- The Green Lantern Corps have their famous oath, which serves as a battle cry and is also the password for recharging their rings:
In brightest day
In blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power—Green lantern's light!
- Every other corps gets one too, except for Larfleeze (he, of course, wants one). Sinestro's is notable for mentioning himself by name and inverting the first two lines of the Green one ("In blackest day, in brightest night"); the Indigo Tribe's oath is in the strange language of their homeworld, and mentions Abin Sur (Hal Jordan's predecessor) by name.
- There is/was a GL from a planet that was always in total darkness, and the natives had no concept of light/colors. His ring was transformed into a bell, and he was given a sound-centric oath that went, "In loudest din/In hush profound/My ears catch evil's slightest sound/Let those who worship evil's knell/Beware my power, the F-sharp bell!"
- Also, not every Green Lantern uses the same oath; it's explicitly stated that the precise words don't matter ... it's a matter of timing and focusing the mind, so whatever works for any given member to accomplish that is fine.
- In the Duck Dodgers parody/homage episode, Dodgers' attempt is "In blackest day or brightest night, cantaloupe watermelon yadda yadda, a superstitious and cowardly lot, with liberty and justice for all!"
- Alan Moore's Promethea is an unusual and creative example; in order to change into the form of Promethea, Sophie Bangs has to create a poem off the top of her head. One time, she rattled off a poem that transformed her into Promethea, while imbuing her mother, her best friend and a nurse with the identities of past incarnations of Promethea.
- Darna is a Philippine example that first appeared around the same time as Captain Marvel.
- Archie and his pals had a spell where they were superheroes. Jughead summoned his super alter ego Captain Hero by this chant:
Teeny weeny magic beanie
Pointing towards the sky,
Give me valor, vigor, strength,
Form a super guy!
- In Mega Man Reawakened, Megaman and Roll say a special phrase to transform into their battle modes.
- The Lathe of Heaven has Doctor Haber use hypnosis so that George Orr will begin his "magic" dream state whenever Haber says "Antwerp".
- Averted in the Tortall universe, in which the most powerful shapeshifter in the world quite frequently shifts into something else without saying anything at all.
- After her series ends, she gets pregnant with a baby shapeshifter, and has to change shape whenever the baby does so she doesn't kick her way out. Another character comments that it is quite distracting to try to talk to the shapeshifter when she has to change shape every few minutes.
- The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden casts his spells using Latin... ish phrases. He justifies this in his narration by explaining that words in foreign, unfamiliar languages provide a sort of insulation from the raw power of a spell for a wizard's mind. One time in Fool Moon he cast a spell when he couldn't speak. The spell worked fine, but he was badly disoriented for some time after. Presumably if Harry ever worked on his Latin he would have to start casting spells with another, even more obscure language, like most wizards do.
- In a story by Wilhelm Hauff, the hero and his friend use the magic word "Mutabor" to turn into birds - and promptly forget how to turn back. They rediscover the magic word by spying on the bad guy bragging about how he tricked them.
- In Anthony Boucher's story "The Compleat Werewolf", the magic word "Absarka" transformed the main character out of his werewolf form. (There was another word to change him into wolf form, but it's just called "The Word" in the story, i.e. the author doesn't reveal it.) There were just two problems with this: (a) as a werewolf, he had to get somebody else to say the word for him and (b) when he changed back into a human, he was naked — either that, or a helpless wolf inextricably entangled in a gray three-piece suit.
- In Bruce Coville's The Monster's Ring, the main character had to recite some doggerel in order to make the titular ring work, one verse to turn into a monster and another to change back.
- In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Black & Blue Magic, the main character had to recite a flying-related verse while rubbing a certain magic oil into his shoulder blades in order to grow wings.
- In Leonis, an obscure French-Canadian fantasy novel set in Ancient Egypt, the hero had the power, given to him by the goddess Bastet, to transform into a white lion at will as long as he shouted the words Lion Child three times in a row.
- In Scott Meyer's Off to Be the Wizard, adding a new wizard to the shell involves said wizard saying a series of phrases in a bastardized version of Esperanto: "Supren supren. Malsupren suben. Lasis dekstra lasis dekstra. Bee aye komenco." This translates, roughly, to "Up up. Down down. Left right left right. B A Start." Yep, that's the Konami Code. Also, activating spells (i.e. macros) involves gestures and commands (usually, in Esperanto). Martin's salutation during his "graduation" dinner is activated by saying "EH NEEEK CHOCK!" (a Shout-Out to Apache Chief from Superfriends), which involves Martin growing into a giant composed of flying boxes. Later, he changes the activation phrase to a simpler "Groovy".
Live Action TV
- Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future: Members of the Future Force transformed into armored form by calling, "Power on!"
- 1970s Wonder Woman rip-off Isis forced the titular character to recite a full-sentence incantation to activate her powers. Also, she apparently had to activate powers in a certain order (i.e. she couldn't skip around on her spell list) or an incantation wouldn't work.
- Thankfully, not so much when she entered The DCU.
- Every Power Rangers series. Ever.
- Although in Operation Overdrive there were double-figure instant morphs. Still needed words for everything else, but when there was emotion involved, woohoo baby, they went for the silent approach. Similarly, Power Rangers in Space completely skipped the morphing sequence and the catchphrase in their Series Fauxnale.
- They weren't afraid to spoof it from time to time. Even as far back as the first season, whenever Billy did the call, he would often say it in technobabble, i.e. "It's time for molecular transmutation!"
- It is not entirely clear in which cases the phrase is By the Power of Grayskull!, and in which it is an Invocation. For the original rangers, saying the name of their respective animal was required (Zordon tells them to summon their powers thus), and the now-famous prelude, "It's morphing time!" was absent in the very first morph (Zordon is the first to use the phrase in the second episode). With every team since (except Zeo), it was the team call, not the individual call, that triggered the morph. Time Force is a strange case: the Quantum Ranger's morpher was voice-activated, and this is explicitly different from the way the Time Force morphers worked. Doesn't stop them from saying "Time for Time Force!" to morph.
- RPM justifies the catchphrase as a voice lock for the morphers.
- Other series have it weird, for example those Rangers (like Space and Lightspeed Rescue) whose morpher has a password keypad and is used as such, still have team call (and intricate hand gestures before typing their codes).
- And just for fun, let's list them all in order!
- *Head Desk*.
- VR Troopers: used the phrase "Trooper Transform! We! Are! V!R!" to initiate their transformations. It's the "Trooper Transform" that's actually needed for the change.
- Their foe, Karl Ziktor/Grimlord, did this as well, straddling the line between this trope and Invocation: "Forces of darkness, empower me! Take me back to my Virtual Reality!"
- Beetleborgs: "Beetle-Bonders! Beetle-Blast!" (Cue Theme Music Power-Up.). "Back-Blast!" reverted them to human.
- The Metallix season had: "Data-Bonders! Input card! Beetle-Blast!" for their Beetleborg forms and "Bug out!" and "Bug-back" to go to and from their bug forms.
- The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg: "Fire within me!" "Earth beneath me!" "Air above me!" "Water around me!" "Forest before me!"
- Rohan, The Hero, had Battle Fury Armour, which he activated by shouting... go on, guess. Battle Fury!
- Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad had "Let's Samurize, Guys!" (for Sam, The Hero), "Let's kick some Giga-butt!" (for Tanker, The Big Guy), "Pump up the Power!" (for Sydney, The Smart Girl), and a random non sequitur (for Amp, the Plucky Comic Relief) that essentially lampshaded the whole pointlessness of the henshin phrases (at least, until he was replaced: Lucky London, the second comic-relief guy, just said "Surf's up! ")
- In the episode where everyone's personalities changed, Tanker and Sydney actually switched phras es.
- Kamen Riders traditionally use "Henshin", though Showa-era Riders would occasionally use variants, such as Kamen Rider Stronger's "Henshin Stronger".
- The two Kamen Rider productions to completely avoid this trope are the deconstruction film Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue (whose protagonist bore more similarity to The Incredible Hulk than a typical Rider), and Kamen Rider Hibiki (except for some goof-ups slipping by Kamen Rider Decade's endgame).
- In the scheme of things, all Riders saying "Henshin!" is relatively new. From the top:
- In the original series, Rider-1 simply exposed the belt to air pressure by revealing it when jumping or riding his Cool Bike. At first.
- When the actor's injury caused his temporary replacement by Rider-2, his belt had a cover. "Henshin!" was the command to open it, and he'd flip into the air to generate air pressure like his predecessor.
- When Rider-1 returned permanently, it was with the all the transforming ceremony that Rider-2 had brought to the franchise. As he makes the now-iconic transformation pose, he would declare "Rider Henshin!"
- Kamen Rider V3 said "Henshin! V3!"
- Kamen Rider X said "Setup!" instead of "Henshin!" for most of his series, and switched to "Dai Henshin!" towards the end. His most recent Reunion Show appearance has him going back to the old call.
- Kamen Rider Amazon did not say "Henshin" but rather "AAAAAAAA-MAAAAAAAAA-ZOOOOONNNNNN!!!"
- With Kamen Rider Stronger, it was "Henshin! Stronger!"
- Finally, Kamen Rider Skyrider came after a hiatus and was intended as a Continuity Reboot, and originally, the show and its protagonist were known only as "Kamen Rider." He only said "Henshin!" because it's not like there were other Riders to need to be distinct from. However, it came back into continuity in a big way by becoming a Reunion Show, with every one of his predecessors making multiple appearances, but just saying "Henshin" stuck and was used by all of his successors to this day, with the exception of Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue, Kamen Rider: The First, and Kamen Rider: The Next, which were all Darker and Edgier films with no room for cute phrases and elaborate poses that monsters are polite enough to rarely interrupt.
- The Henshin belts for Heisei era Riders sometimes contribute their own phrases to accompany this:
- Kamen Rider Faiz: "Standing by... Complete."
- Kamen Rider Blade: "Turn Up"/"Open Up."
- Kamen Rider Kabuto: "Henshin!"/"Cast off! Change Beetle!"
- Kamen Rider Den-O: "Sword Form"/"Rod Form"/"Ax Form"/"Gun Form"/"Climax Form"/"Liner Form"
- Kamen Rider Kiva: "Re-a-dy! Fi-st On!"
- Kamen Rider Decade: "Kamen Ride... Decade!"
- Kamen Rider Double: "Cyclone! Joker! Cyclone Joker!"
- Kamen Rider OOO: "Taka! Tora! Batta! Ta-To-Ba, Ta To Ba TATOBA!"
- Kamen Rider Fourze: Three... Two... One..."
- Kamen Rider Wizard: Shabadoobie touch to henshin! *repeats until he actually touches his transformation ring to the Wizardriver. When he does...:* Flame, please! Hi! Hi! HI HI HI!"note
- Kamen Rider Gaim: "Lock on!" "Soiya! Orange Arms!"
- Gaim had a lot of fun with it. After "[fruitname] Arms!" would come a catchphrase for each form of each rider, some in or containing Gratuitous English, some in song, etc. We also get an in-universe explanation for the talking Drivers for once: the guy who made them was having fun, and put it in because it was cool. The higher-ups in the Mega Corp. that made them for their mysterious true purpose didn't have the catchphrase - that is, except for the inventor of the Rider gear himself.
- Kamen Rider Drive: "Start your engine!" "Drive: Type Speed!"
- The English versions gave us—
- Madan Senki Ryukendo has the protagonists shout out the name of their Empathic Weapon to turn them from a portable form into full-sized weapons. Since this is Ryukendo, it was Lampshaded in one episode where Kenji is in a large, echoey cave with some civilians a little way down another passage and a Secret Identity to maintain. He tries to whisper the name and his weapon retorts, "Can't hear you."
- The Chou Sei Shin Series series used "Souchaku!" ("Equip!") as their standard transformation phrase. Chou Sei Kantai Sazer X, in keeping with their Xtreme Kool Letterz, would upgrade this to "X Souchaku!"
- In Cutey Honey The Live, Honey transforms by touching two fingers to a little heart charm on her neck and calling "Honey Flash!". Her transformation is a naked/sparkle scene a la Sailor Moon, but the catch is that the people around her can see her naked and sparkling. This goes for all animated incarnations; she's a more tech-based Magical Girl-like character; her transformation is caused by a device in her body that disassembles things on an atomic level and reassembles them, similar to the replicators in Star Trek. In the seconds that her clothes are temporarily vapor, she is very much naked in the real world and every character can see it all (camera angles mean you see enough to make it Fanservice instead of an outright X-rated affair.) When it comes to how she feels about this, it depends on the portrayal: the early semi-ruthless, rebellious, and pragmatic Guile Hero typically couldn't care less if you saw her butt for five seconds, and if you were a male opponent, getting Distracted by the Sexy would prove painful. However, Go Nagai couldn't resist putting in the odd Accidental Pervert moment with Butt Monkey detective Seiji Hayami. The more recent portrayal, including that seen in the live action version, is a Fun Personified Genki Girl Genius Ditz who can calculate Pi to the zillionth digit but is like a child personality-wise, which makes her hilarious, but makes the darker moments truly tragic because of who they're happening to - you will cry. She doesn't even seem to notice that people react quite differently to her when she's without clothes than when she's in them.
- Super Sentai, the show Power Rangers get their basic concept from. For most of the earlier series that used it, the transformation call was simply the name of the team or form, but later series started to switch it up a bit. Most of these phrases are also used along with some action done with the Transformation Trinket. (Feel free to fill in the phrases of missing series.)note
- "Go!" (Himitsu Sentai Goranger)
- "Fever!" (Battle Fever J)
- "Denzi Spark!" (Denshi Sentai Denziman)
- "Vul Eagle!" "Vul Shark!" "Vul Panther!" (Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan. There wasn't a team call, just the individual ones. If all were together, we'd just have Red saying "Vul Eagle!" and then all would be transformed when the stock footage ended.)
- "Goggle (color)!" (Dai Sentai Goggle Five)
- "Dyna (color)!" or just "Dynaman!" (the gag dub had different calls entirely)
- "Let's Change!" (Dengeki Sentai Changeman. Or, alternatively, "Change [animal]!" if just one is changing, or if they're feeling particularly dramatic. However, sometimes, the "Let's Change" is omitted.)
- "Prism Flash!" (Choushinsei Flashman)
- "Aura Mask!" (Hikari Sentai Maskman)
- "Liveman!" (though earlier on they said their designations)
- "Turboranger!" (or alternately their titles, like Red Turbo)
- "Five (color)!" or "Fiveman!"
- "Cross Changer!" (Choujin Sentai Jetman)
- "Dino Buckler!" (Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger)
- "Kiryoku Tenshin! Aura/Kiba Changer!" (Gosei Sentai Dairanger)
- "Super Henkei! Doron Changer!" (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
- "Chouriki Henshin!" (Chouriki Sentai Ohranger)
- "Gekisou! Accel Changer!" (Gekisou Sentai Carranger)
- "Install! Megaranger!"/"Keitaizer! Install!"
- "Ginga Tensei!"/"Kishi Tensei!" (Seijuu Sentai Gingaman)
- "Chakusou!" (Rescue Sentai GoGoFive)
- "Chrono Changer!"/"Time Fire!" (Mirai Sentai Timeranger)
- "Gao Access!" (Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger)
- "Ninpuu / Jinrai / Tenkuu! Shinobi Change!" (Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger)
- "Bakuryuu Change! HA!" (Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. Mikoto, on the other hand, doesn't do the last "HA!")
- "Emergency: Dekaranger!" for the core five. Other Rangers got to personalise it: "Emergency: Dekabreak / Dekamaster", etc.
- "Heavenly Saints, grant us the power of magic! Mahou Henshin! Maagi Magi Magiiro!" / "Tenku Henshin! Goolu Golu Goldiiro!" (Mahou Sentai Magiranger)
- "Boukenger! Start up!" / "Go Go Changer! Start up!"
- "Boil!/Echo!/Sharpen! Power/Cry/Blade of the Beast! Beast on!" (Juken Sentai Gekiranger. Power Trio gets the first, violet gets the second, white gets the third.)
- "Change soul, set! Let's Go On!" (Engine Sentai Go-onger)
- Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: "Ippitsu Soujou!" / "Ikkan Kenjou!"
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger: "Change card, tensou!" (Tensou is used when activating any Gosei Card power, not just the transformation into Goseiger.)
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: "Gokai Change!"
- Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters: "Let's Morphin'."
- Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger: "Juumousou!"
- Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger: "Kyoryu Change! Fire!"
- Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger: "To Q Change!"
- Seiun Kamen Machineman: "DOLPHIN!!!"
- Several Ultraman in Ultra Series have them. The earliest ones said nothing (or just a stylized grunt).
- Iron King: Iron Shock!
- BIMA Satria Garuda: "Berubah!", Indonesian for "Change!".
- Parodied - On the 29th January 2001 edition of WWF Raw, Taka Michinoku (of tag team Kaientai) once invoked The Power Of Grayskull while challenging the Dudley Boyz for the Tag Team Championship; they got curbstomped.
- Done quite a lot in most RPGs that involve magic. Incantations and the like.
- Most tabletop games don't require the player to chant anything, as it's assumed the PC says whatever he needs to say to get the desired spell activated (ie, Power Word Kill doesn't specify the word used).
- Actually, the majority of the incantation is done during the prepariation step. The actions they take to unleash it are simply finishing the last part of the spell. (Sorcerer's use the words to help them focus as their power is largely instinctive).
- Subverted in Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition, as a player can take Silent Spell as a feat, allowing one to cast spells without speaking when speaking is usually required, at the cost of a higher level spell slot.
- There's also the Nonverbal Spell feat in one of the supplements which allows a spellcaster to bypass the use of words as long as they use some other sound (grunting, mumbling, or even singing). This was initially so that one race which didn't speak could still become a spellcaster. It also allows for a cheaper way of being stealthy than Silent Spell since it doesn't affect the spell slot level.
- However, GURPS has an optional rule for spellcasting using cantrips; you can prepare in advance (or invent on the spot) a poem to cast a spell; longer poems give better effects. The player, not the PC, must recite or read the actual cantrip, and you're not allowed to "stop time" to make up a poem, so you'd better be good at improvisation or have a prewritten one at the ready.
- Spells in Kobolds Ate My Baby require the player to perform the correct action/speak the correct words. The phrase for casting "Wall of Beer" was "Tappa tappa kegga, wall o'Beer omega!". Being invisible required the player to cross their arms and do their best to look like a brooding vampire.
- Explained away in a Shadowrun book. People in the Shadowrun-verse yell, wave their hands in elegant motions, point, say things quite dramatically, and other magicky stuff, but when asked this, a mage says that it's all used to help focus mana. It's not necessary, though.
- An exception to the "most tabletop games don't require the player to chant anything" rule was the first edition of The Dark Eye, which did in fact require exactly that (plus the expenditure of astral points and possibly a die roll). If the player couldn't remember the correct rhymed incantation, their character simply couldn't cast that spell. This was gradually dropped later on, though a number of spell names still reflect their early-day origins.
- Spoofed on Homestar Runner with the Strong Bad E-mail "lunch special", in which Strong Bad thinks that getting Bubs to say his name backwards without the first B (in other words, "sbu") will make him give away a free lunch special. Eventually, Bubs says it, and reveals that it doesn't make him give away a free lunch special but rather makes him lose his ability to fly (though he could really only hover a few inches above the ground anyway).
Bubs: Why are you trying to get me to say Sbu?
Strong Bad: THERE! You said it! Now you gotta give me a free lunch special!
Bubs: No, no, no. Getting me to say my name backwards minus the B just makes me lose my super power!
Strong Bad: What super power?
Bubs: Being able to fly.
Strong Bad: You can fly!?
Bubs: Well... not anymore, I can't.
Strong Bad: Oh, right.
- The email "shapeshifting" pokes fun at this, with Strong Bad imagining himself gaining the ability to shapeshift and, in addition to having to put up with pointless rules and restrictions, having to activate the power out loud:
"Shapeshift unto... a Sumatran tiger!" *DWAYNE!*