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Energy Weapon
Power Glows meets Weapons And Wielding. Science and logic need not apply — the Rule of Cool is in charge here.

Some will argue it is made of or propels Pure Energy.

A Super Trope to:

Contrast to Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better, which is when the fiction uses weapons just like or similar to Real Life Weapons despite the tech level of the story. For various technobabbly reasons, when two energy weapons meet, Like Cannot Cut Like.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • In Gundam, normal energy weapons are fine for the small fry, but energy-based melee weapons are just about the only thing that can settle a duel between Gundams. An especially egregious example is Deathscythe's energy scythe in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, which knows both how to come to a point and to curve. In this case, though, you do get an answer: The plasma used in beam weapons can also be guided and shaped by specially-aligned magnetic fields, essentially forming a surface tension around the 'blade'. When it makes contact with a solid object, the field is disrupted around the point of contact, allowing the plasma to do its work. See Minovsky Physics (wikipedia), even if it is extensive technobabble and handwaving.
    • Then there's the ridiculousness of Mobile Fighter G Gundam's Argo Gulskii. He wears a pair of gigantic beam manacles — the bracelets are metal, as are the first links attached to them, but if he pulls them too far apart, a blue beam chain snaps between them. Yes, with individual beam links. This is even worse with his Gundam, the Bolt Gundam. Aside from the obligatory head-mounted vulcan guns, the only armament it has is the Graviton Hammer — a ball of metal with a handle that fires a super-long, super-huge version of the beam chain between his handcuffs. What's worse is that the beam chain doesn't burn anything — he can hold the chain and swing the ball in a smaller circle, and even gets tied to a gigantic spire of rock by his own weapon once!
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED attempts to justify it with the anti-ship sword, a giant solid sword with a beam blade running the length like the wire portion of a cheese cutter. Hence, there are two terminals between which the beam runs, and the weight of the solid part gives extra power to the user's swings, which is what makes it anti-ship.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 subverts the beam saber stereotype, establishing such weapons as highly impractical in its setting, as energy is an extremely scarce resource. Thus far, melee energy weapons are only available to a small number of Super Prototype Humongous Mecha.
      • It also subverts in a different way, with Gundam Exia's GN Blade, an enormous metal blade that was designed to penetrate GN Fields, something that normal beam sabers couldn't do.
      • It actually makes sense since the GN fields are condensed particles held by a field. A similar weapon like a beam saber which functions under similar principles would be unable to penetrate since the field holding the saber together would be disrupted and the particles would just disperse. This would result in the need for a humongous amount of particles to rupture the field, much less damage the unit it's protecting (which the O-raiser did by freaking creating a giant beam saber on the Empress). GN blades, on the other hand, were solid weapons; as a result, after meeting the GN Field head on, it could simply push its way through the field to hit the unit. Although it was thrown in on episode 25 and read as a Deus Ex Machina, it wasn't justified due to the GN Arms having PIERCED the Alvatore's GN field before said revelation.
      • In the same way, the Seraphim Gundam in season 2 had to fight the Garazzo which was using a GN field to protect himself. In response, the Seraphim's hands were forced through the field so that the barrels would be beyond the scope of the field before having clearance to fire.
  • The Third Angel (Sachiel) in Neon Genesis Evangelion came equipped with what was essentially an energy spear. The Fourth Angel (Shamshiel) had energy whips in place of "arms". In a typical Evangelion subversion, the Evas themselves had nothing but giant-sized versions of mundane weapons to work with — and even then, no swords, only knives (sonic knives, though), spears (The Lance of Longinus, to boot) and guns (really big guns, larger than your average ship based artillery cannon). The only time an Eva got to wield an Energy Weapon, it was a monstrous particle beam sniper rifle that sucked down the entire power output of Japan to fuel a single shot.
    • There is actually a second version, designed specifically to be used by an Eva mentioned as not being powerful enough to damage the 5th Angel. The only time it sees use is against the 15th Angel... right before it Mind Rapes Asuka making the few shots she does get off go wildly astray.
  • Zegapain not only has weapons made from light, but also armor made from light. Result: a cool-looking glow on the mechs.
  • Megazone 23
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has energy scythes, energy whips, energy swords, energy daggers, and who knows what else. Of course, they're also magical.
  • In Code Geass, Luciano Bradley's Knightmare wields an arm-mounted energy drill, essentially a weaponized version of the Deflector Shields seen at the start of the series.
  • Bleach: Traditionally, Quincies are archers made famous by their mastery of the Energy Bow, which either functions as Hard Light or, with advanced training, can become such condensed energy they look completely solid. When they modernise their organisational structure and uniform, they also modernise their techniques and weapons. With the exception of the Ishida family, they fight with any weapon that suits their personality rather than using bows. However, they can still fire arrows from their weapons, even if it's a sword or an axe or something else.
  • Yaiba features several of these, especially during the Pyramid Arc. Unlike other examples, they're often totally made of energy.

     Film  

  • Star Wars isn't limited to lightsabers. For instance, "light whips" — which make a bit more sense than a lightsaber, as the "energy" tendrils actually have a solid metal core.

     Live Action TV  

     Tabletop Games  

  • BattleTech has a whole class of Energy weapons. They come either as lasers or particle projectile cannons (ppc). Energy weapons are very accurate, lightweight, and powerful, but they generate massive amounts of heat in the mech, so a mech that carries around a lot of lasers is going to explode if it fires them all. If a mech is armed with only energy weapons, they require lots of heat sinks to keep themselves from overheating.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, there are "power weapons", which are a variant on this. The common models are not pure energy, but have a physical sword or gauntlet or set of claws and a surrounding field of energy. There are actually pure-energy models, but those are very rare. Nevertheless, like most expressions of this trope, they cut through other materials with ease. In the tabletop game's rules, no armour saves are permitted against an attack from one.
    • Eisenhorn had a power sword that was one of the energy-blade variants. He also had magic psychic powers and worries about falling to the dark side. He lost his sword, and actually used a metal power sword for the rest of the series, including in his fight with a cybernetic, psychic, dark lord. It's also important to note that his nemesis was not his father, and Eisenhorn was the one who was crippled. Eisenhorn still won.
    • There are at least five or six different sizes and varieties of "plasma cannon", including one actually that.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has Brilliant Energy weapons that ignore armor bonuses to AC because they pass through armor, but they cannot hurt undead, constructs, or objects.
    • Certain editions also features energy firearms, either as 'magic' weapons found in certain adventures, or examples in chapters about varying the setting from the default-assumed norm of vaguely medieval-ish — for example, 3.5 has rules for laser pistols/rifles and antimatter rifles.
  • GURPS has lasers (UV, IR, blue-green, X-ray, gamma-ray, polychromatic), masers, force blades, force glaives, force whips.

     Video Games 

  • Pick a space "sim". More often than not, the primary weapons on your ship are energy-based. It would be easier to list exceptions.
  • The Disgaea series tends to include some of these, like the Beam Javelin, Laser Axe, and Energy Blade.
  • All of Zero's weapons in the Mega Man Zero series are energy melee weapons, with the Z-Buster being the exception (it's a ranged energy weapon). The Rod series of weapons were the most bizarre, as they started off with an energy spear, then an energy whip (which also doubled as a grappling device), then an energy tonfa, finally ending up with an energy fist.
  • Super Smash Brothers Brawl has Zero Suit Samus's energy whip, because the Paralyzer from Metroid: Zero Mission wasn't cool enough before. Unlike most of the whip examples on this page, this one's actually made of energy, not just coated in it.
  • Phantasy Star Online used what was known as Photon weapons. What this meant is that every weapon in the game had a glowing Lightsaber-like part on it. Even the guns.
    • Of course, the Phantasy Star series as a whole, with its sci-fi setting, had several breeds of "laser" weapons, notably swords, knives, slicers, claws, and axes. Though stuff made out of laconia managed to be superior.
  • City of Heroes has unlockable skins for most of the weapon powersets based on this trope. The Talsorian blades, available from Vanguard, are tintable blades of energy available for Broad Sword, Katana, Battle Axe, Dual Blades, and Archery (and Trick Arrow) powersets. Yes, there's a Talsorian bow. But not a mace or hammer, for stylistic reasons (which the developers have justified with self-aware Technobabble).
  • In Castlevania, the Vampire Killer is often lampooned by cynics for its ability to destroy vampires (among other evil creatures), in spite of the fact that it is only a whip/long morningstar (depending on game and power level). However, The Vampire Killer's true form is shown in Castlevania: Bloodlines, where, when powered up to its full potential, it manifests as a light whip.
  • Descent has most of its primary weapons consist of energy weapons that draw from your ship's energy banks, which can be recharged at certain areas. However, the truly damaging Game Breaker weapons tend to be kinetic, partially because they AREN'T Painfully Slow Projectiles and are Hit Scan, unlike the "lasers".
  • Some of the additional graphics in the Neverwinter Nights Community Expansion Pack allow you to have bladed weapons with lightsaber-like blades, including laser spears, laser halberds, and laser battleaxes in addition to the ubiquitous laser sword.
  • This is a specific kind of skill in all games of the Fallout series. They are generally more powerful, with the tradeoff of less available ammunition.
  • Many of the weapons in the Unreal series shoot plasma or nondescript energy rounds.
  • A rather unique example from FreeSpace. The Shivans appear to have Laser Blades mounted on their forelegs and a Death Ray on their backs. The latter weapon appears to be a part of the Shivan anatomy, but we don't know enough about the Shivans themselves to know for sure.
  • The Eridian Cannon and Mega Cannon from Borderlands
    • All Eridian weapons fire energy projectiles (with infinite ammo). One can argue that electrical damage weapons are also energy weapons, but those consume "normal" bullets, so who knows.
    • Borderlands 2 introduces E-Tech weapons, guns made via the Eridian tech above. Depending on what type of gun, they either fire off plasma blasts, lasers or blobs of energy.
  • In Intrusion 2 The blaster is a laser rifle and the machine gun and double rifle may be some sort of plasma gun. Maku wields a large laser cannon, and MACE shoots lasers out of its eyes.
  • Xi Wang Mu from Strider uses a pair of knuckles which can generate pure energy constructs of any weapon she desires. In gameplay, however, this is limited to the three weapons used by her students.
    • Plasma-based weaponry became some sort of vogue in Strider 2, as a lot of enemies use them. Types range from huge plasma cannons to smaller portable guns and even melee weapons like a plasma lance.

     Webcomics 

  • Parodied in the webcomic Isometric, where a villain facing defeat proclaims himself inventor of the electric whip when the hero corners him, only for the hero to point out that he had merely pulled electric cables out of the wall.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 

  • In the original Transformers series, the second episode featured Optimus Prime using his laser axe against Megatron's... laser flail.
    • The tradition continues in Transformers Animated with Prime's energon axe (but rocket-powered this time!), Sentinel Prime's energon lance and shield, and Jazz's energon Nunchuks. Interestingly, these weapons all have physical components that spread out and so do not touch when the weapon is "turned on", and are only held together by Pure Energy. Rule of Cool, again.
    • Interestingly, the 2007 movie Prime was supposed to have an energy sword, but the CGI model looked for all intents and purposes like a superheated/molten metal blade.
    • Transformers Energon has the creation of weapons such as these as one more thing the titular Applied Phlebotinum can do. Plug in an Energon Star and you can get an energy ax, or even a gun made out of energy that shoots energy. (However, one of the many problems with the series is its failure to make things like this look as awesome as the other series do. Two uses, the star runs out of power and the weapon goes away. And it's not super-powerful or anything.)
  • Hank's bow from Dungeons & Dragons could not only fire energy bolts, but even fire "energy arrows" that could wrap around foes.
  • When the Bravest Warriors rub heat-sensitive stickers on their armor, they summon their animal-themed energy weapons: Danny's Dog Sword, Beth's Cat Lashes, Wallow's Falcon Ax, and Chris's...Bee With Excellent Leadership Skills. Beth's father's sticker summons a copy of the Aeon Worm.


Dyson SphereFuturistic Tech IndexEnhance Button
Energy EconomySpeculative Fiction TropesEnforced Technology Levels
Weak Turret GunWeapons and Wielding TropesBeam Spam
Electric SlideRule of CoolEverything's Better with Dinosaurs

alternative title(s): Energy Weapons
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