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- Magmatron from Beast Wars Neo is made of three units: Landsaur, Skysaur and Seasaur.
- The Bigs from The Big O fit the common characterizations of their spheres — Big O (land) Big Duo (sky) Big Fau (sea)
- In Bleach, there's a subtle name theming referred to these three elements in the Shiba siblings: Kaien (Kai = Sea)note , Ganju (Gan = Rock, hence earth)note and Kukaku (Ku = Sky)note .
- Captain Earth: the Manatsu family is composed of Daichi (earth), his father Taiyou (sun) and his mother Umi (sea).
- Dairugger XV there three teams with vehicles which combine into the titular mecha, they are Kurugger (Air), Kairugger (Sea), and Rikurugger (Land).
- The 2005 Gaiking series has Gaiking become Sea to Vulking (Land) and Raiking (Sky). It's rarely obvious due to Gaiking being The Mario and using fire-based powers, but in the fight where the two are captured, the Daiku Maryu drags the other two dragons under the ocean to take advantage of the fact that each of them suffer from Crippling Overspecialization and the Daiku Maryu doesn't. Both the original series and the remake also fit the theme with Gaiking's support machines (Bazolar and Kill Jaguar are Land, Skylar and Stinger are Sky, Nesser and Crab Bunker are Sea.)
- The three forms of Getter Robo are sky, land, and sea. Especially obvious for the G Getter.
- First half of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny featured with Earth Alliance's transformable Gundam trio: ground combat Gaia (transform into dog-like mode), aquatic combat Abyss (transform into stingray-like mode), and aerial/space combat Chaos (transform into bird-like mode) representing land, sea, and sky respectively. The first two even bearing Meaningful Name.
- In the .Hack// first series, the great heroes of The World MMORPG are Balmung of the Azure Sky and Orca of the Azure Sea. Eventually, Kite joins them, although his title is "Azure Flame" rather than earth.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Nanoha is a Tactical Instructor for the Air Force, Fate is an Enforcer who is also part of the Dimensional Navy, and Hayate is part of the Ground Forces. However, after the Grand Finale, Hayate eventually joins the Dimensional Navy as well. Chrono, Lindy, Reinforce Zwei, Teana, Shario, Griffith, Lucino, Cinque, Dieci and Wendi are part of the Dimensional Navy. Vita, Signum and Agito are part of the Air Force. Shamal, Zafira, Erio, Caro, Vice, Alto, Genya, Ginga, and Subaru are part of the Ground Forces.
- The main characters and their Mashin in Magic Knight Rayearth: Hikaru/Rayearth (Land), Umi/Selece (Sea), Fuu/Windam (Sky). Note that Hikaru's attacks use fire, but since her Mashin lived in a volcano, it's earth heat.
- In One Piece:
- One can see the three Admiral's elements in such a light: Akainu (Magma Man) is Land, Aokiji (An Ice Person) is Sea and Kizaru (Hard Light) is Sky. Is also reflected in their fighting styles, with Aokiji freezing the sea to fight and Kizaru attacking from above. Their personalities fit too, Akainu is a hardline enforcer of absolute justice, Kizaru often seems blisfully ignorant of his actions and Aokiji treats most matters with cold disdain and indifference.
- The fighting style of the Monster Trio of the Straw Hats (Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji): Luffy's style is fluid and unpredictable like the sea, Zoro is strong and unmoving like the land, and Sanji is fast and strikes hard like the sky (even moreso now he possesses an ability called Sky Walk).
- The Amazon Trio from Sailor Moon: Tiger's Eye (land), Hawk's Eye (sky) and Fisheye (sea).
- The Gundam Tryon-3 in Gundam Build Fighters Try is spitted in Riku Tryon (Land), Umi Tryon (Sea) and Sora Tryon (Sky).
- The first three cures in Go! Princess Pretty Cure are Cure Flora (Land), Cure Mermaid (Sea) and Cure Twinkle (Sky/Star). In a variant of this trope, the sky character's powers are based more on star shaped projectiles instead of wind. Later they're joined by Cure Scarlett, creating a Four-Element Ensemble instead, though the previous generation of cures in this setting still fits the bill- there was no previous Cure Scarlett.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has this motif in three of the giant Daigan mecha piloted by the Heavenly Kings: the Daigankai (Sea) is a huge centipede-like submarine, Daiganten (Sky) is a colossal airbase-like mecha and finally the Daigando (Land) is a massive, nearly invincible land-based tank.
- The three new Digi-Destined from Digimon Adventure 02 have quadruped Armor Digivolutions to travel faster over the vast Digital World: Davis' Raidramon (Land), Yolei's Halsemon (Sky) and Cody's Submarimon (Sea). Even the opening features a scene of them running to the distance.
- The Terrible Trio, a group of Batman villains introduced in the Silver Age, were criminals wearing masks of animals: Fox (Land), Shark (Sea) and Vulture (Sky).
- The big three Marvel (or rather, their predecessor Timely) heroes of World War II: Captain America is Land, Namor is Sea, and Human Torch (Jim Hammond, not Johnny Storm) is Sky.
- What The Water Gave Me: Astrid, Hiccup and Toothless respectively.
- From Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, the three kaiju who defeat the titular villain are Godzilla (sea) a larval Mothra (Land) and Rodan (Sky).
- The "Guardian Monsters", who come to defend Japan from Godzilla in Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!. There's Baragon (Land), Mothra (Sea) and King Ghidorah (Sky).
- The three monsters in Godzilla (2014) fit this trope. The amphibious Godzilla represents Sea, to the point where his initial Big Entrance involves a Giant Wall of Watery Doom and a Fire/Water Juxtaposition in the form of soldiers shooting flares past his drenched hide. The male M.U.T.O. represents Sky, being a Giant Flyer whose EMP is the one that takes down the most aircraft and whose second major scene sees him directly attacking an airport. The female M.U.T.O. represents Land, being (as far as we know) entirely land-bound and the monster that is seen furthest inland (namely, the Nevada desert).
- Hellboy: Abe Sapien is a sea creature and can breed under water, Hellboy is mostly land-based and Liz has fire powers with flames that generally expand in the air.
- In Julian May's continuity of the Black Trillium series, there are three Archwizards: of the land, sea, and sky. Binah, the only non-evil sorceress in the original book, is retconned as the Archmage of the Land.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the three tasks of the Triwizard Tournament can be categorized as this: the first task is sky, and involves Harry using his broomstick to win it, the second task is water, where the competitors have to dive under the lake, and the third task is land, and takes place in a labyrinth.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
- In the end of Quenta Silmarillion, all three of the eponymous Silmarils are distributed equally across the sky (Eärendil's Silmaril), earth (Maedhros'), and sea (Maglor's).
- The Three Rings, which followed an "Air, Water, Fire" motif instead, essentially swapping Earth for Fire. In the first draft, the Ring rhyme goes "Three rings for the Elven-kings of earth, sea and sky".
- In Septimus Heap, during the Triple Restore, Septimus, Jenna and Aunt Zelda take the roles of the Air, Water and Land during the spell.
Live Action TV
- Very common in Super Sentai and Power Rangers series, such as Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan (Vul Eagle = air, Vul Shark = sea, Vul Panther = land). The most important position, that of the Red Ranger, is usually the one with sky.
- Choujuu Sentai Liveman we have in the main trio: Red Hawk (Sky), Yellow Lion (Land) and Blue Dolphin (Sea), the same in their mechas.
- Gekisou Sentai Carranger/Power Rangers Turbo has the three Evilmagic Mecha/Divazords used by the villains, resembling a yellow lion (land), a blue shark (sea) and a red bird (sky) respectively. Since Carranger is a parody series of its own franchise, the Evilmagic Mecha parody the heroes of Sun Vulcan and Liveman.
- Seijuu Sentai Gingaman/Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has the Steel Starbeast GigaRhinos / Centaurus Megazord (land), Giant Steel Starbeast GigaBitus / Zenith Carrierzord (sea), and Steel Starbeast GigaPhoenix / Stratoforce Megazord (sky).
- The Hayate/Wind Ninja Academy in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger/Power Rangers Ninja Storm teaches these three disciplines, and the three core Rangers each wield one. Interestingly enough, the Rangers that join the team later use different abilities altogether (the next two, from a rival academy, use Thunder; and the sixth is Non-Elemental). The Ninja Storm Rangers also have corresponding extreme sport hobbies: Tori surfs, Shane skateboards (and, consequently, spends a lot of time grabbing air), and Dustin's motocross racing has him driving on earthy tracks.
- Juken Sentai Gekiranger/Power Rangers Jungle Fury actually gives this to the villains rather than the heroes in the three Fist Demons/Overlords; giving you Kata/Carnisoar (Hawk/Air) Rageku/Jellica (Jellyfish/Sea) and Maku/Grizzaka (Bear/Land). The heroes do have their own version, though, as their secondary mentors (and therefore secondary weapons and mecha) are based on the Elephant, Bat, and Shark.
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger/Power Rangers Megaforce has a team of two Rangers of each, except for sea, which only has one (Goseiger explains it as the second sea Ranger being killed off in the backstory; Megaforce downplays the motif and ignores the imbalance entirely). Gosei Knight/Robo Knight uses all three, as does the series Big Bad, a Fallen Angel. There's also one Mecha Expansion Pack for each category, and the three villain factions qualify as Warstar has a Space Base (representing sky), the UMA Beasts have an Elaborate Underground Base, and the Matrintis have an Underwater Base.
- The Three Great Beasts, Behemoth (Land), Leviathan (Sea), and Ziz (Sky).
- Classical Mythology
- Zeus got sky, Poseidon got the ocean, and Hades drew the short straw for the Underworld but he also gained control of everything found underground, including gold and precious gems, making him the richest of the gods. Land was left for humanity.
- There are the primordial gods Gaia (the earth), Oranos (the sky), and Pontus (the sea). Gaia, the first and born out of Chaos, conceived Oranus and Pontus via parthenogenesis, and then mated with them. Most notably, the Titans and Greek pantheon were the byproduct of her union with Oranos. Additionally, Tartarus (the hell-pit) was sometimes perceived as a primordial deity/force of nature
- The three monsters that attack our heroes in the video for Of Monsters and Men's "Little Talks" are a giant two-headed crow, a shambling beast, and an octopus-shark.
- The heroic trio in the modern version of Battle Beasts is Vorin the ram, Gruntos the walrus, and Merk the falcon.
- In a way, this trope and Fire, Ice, Lightning could be seen as two sides of the same coin—Land/Earth coincides with Fire (due to the Earth's molten core and the fact that fire can't travel in water or air), Sea/Water coincides with Ice (water becomes ice when frozen) and Sky/Air coincides with Lightning (lightning drops from the sky during a storm).
- In Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, the three Green Earth commanders fit: Eagle has stronger air units and is the proud leader of the trio, Jess has strong ground vehicles and tends to be very practical (her resupply power actually makes her pretty handy with air and sea units despite the attack power penalty she suffers with them), and Drake specializes in naval warfare and has very damaging CO powers.
- In the Baten Kaitos series, the three objects used to seal Malpercio are the Earth Sphere, the Ocean Mirror and the Sword of the Heavens, when the sealing is shown in the 2nd game the line " Marno Ar Hello, [Insert Name Here], accursed one, for the sake of the earth, the sky and the ocean, thy life must end!" is used. Of note is that during the games until the ending, the earth "polluted and barren", the ocean is sealed away ("and the Lost Ocean") and the lower part of the sky filled with the poisonous "taintclouds".
- Used in one of the riddles in Batman: Arkham City. Although the wording suggests the classic military interpretation the actual answer is a shipping company.
- In Clock Tower 3 at one point Alyssa must solve a riddle involving the three rooder's stones of Earth, Sky and Sea. To be specific, she must put them in the right order to free some ghosts.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 the 3 factions units emphasize on their armies strength. The Soviets are Land for their tough tanks, the Empire are Sea as their navy's excel in taking on enemy ships, and many of their units are amphibious, and the Allies are Sky because they have the most advanced air units that are fast and hit hard.
- Although the three elements are not the main source of their power, in Kingdom Hearts, Sora means 'sky' in Japanese, Riku can be translated into 'land', and 'Kai' in Kairi can be translated into 'ocean'. Sora and Riku pick up some specific wind and earth attacks in 3D - we'll see if Kairi does the same. Also applies in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Ventus, Terra, and Aqua means 'wind', 'earth', and 'water' respectively in Latin. Their Elemental Powers are more emphasised than the other trio (so far). To a lesser extent, Roxas (An anagram of "Sora" with an X added, while also meaning "red" itself, so could be interpreted to be "twilit Sky"), Axel/Lea (Meadow), and a split between Naminé (nami = wave) and Xion (shio = tide).
- In Final Fantasy XIV the Conjurer and White Mage class use the life giving elements of Earth, Wind and Water as part of their attack moveset in comparison to the Thaumaturge and Black Mage classes focus on the destructive Fire, Ice, Lightning elements.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The first three transformations in Majora's Mask; Deku is air (flower helicopter), Goron is land (stone rolling), Zora is Sea (dolphin swimming).
- In The Wind Waker, the first three MacGuffins (namely the Goddess Pearls) are collected from the sky spirit Valoo, the earth spirit the Great Deku Tree, and the sea spirit Jabun respectively. Also, the Master Sword is powered up in the Earth and Wind Temples, while the Triforce of Courage is obtained after assembling its fragments in the Great Sea.
- This extends to the Golden Goddesses themselves. Farore is associated with wind, Naryu is water and while Din is mostly linked to fire, she also formed the terrain of Hyrule itself.
- In Mass Effect 3, the three largest armies can be seen to represent this in their favoured forms of warfare. The Krogans utilise a ground-based Army and Tanks (Land), the Humans use a Space-Navy with many Carriers to quickly deploy Marine forces (Sea), while the Turians provide aerial-support and bombing runs (Sky).
- Mega Man X4 has three of Repliforce's high ranking members of the Army (Slash Beast), Navy (Jet Stingray) and Air Force (Storm Owl).
- Three of the Four Guardians of Neo Arcadia in Mega Man Zero fit this mold. Each functions as the military general of their own unit: Sage Harpuia commands the Rekku Army (the air force), Fairy Leviathan is leader of the Meikai Army (the navy), and Fighting Fefnir controls the Jin'en Army (the army). This is off-set partially by the fourth Guardian (Hidden Phantom) and his Zan'ei Army, which was Neo Arcadia's stealth force and anti-Resistance intelligence unit.
- Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken Hen has the Slates of Earth, Sea and Sky. Scattered throughout the world, you need to gather them and put them all in a machine inside the Pyramid in order to activate the Warp Whistle system.
- Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire:
- Groudon (land), Kyogre (sea), and Rayquaza (sky), all of which were based on the aforementioned Three Great Beasts. It has another one in the form of Berries, surprisingly enough. Three especially rare Berries: Liechi, Ganlon, and Salac, are described to contain the power of the sea, land, and sky respectively.
- With the addition of Trubbish/Garbodor, it completes a Poison-based parody of this trope begun in Pokémon Red and Blue, where it forms a "Pollution Trinity" alongside Grimer/Muk, and Koffing/Weezing. Trubbish/Garbodor is the Trash (Land Pollution) Pokemon, Grimer/Muk is the Sludge (Water Pollution) Pokemon, and Koffing/Wheezing is the Smog (Air Pollution) Pokemon.
- One fan used this trope to describe the three Pokémon he defined as the only truly Chaotic Evil Pokémon: Tyranitar (land), Gyarados (sea) and Hydreigon (sky).
- The fully-evolved forms of the original starter Pokemon. The Grass/Poison-type Venusaur is the land, the Water-type Blastoise is the sea, and the Fire/Flying-type Charizard is the sky.
- And then there's Kanto's triad of annoying Com Mons who turn out to be useful in the long run; Rattata (Land), Tentacool (Sea) and Zubat (Sky).
- Resident Evil 5: the Earth, Sea, and Sky Emblems used to open a gate in one level.
- The party members of Shiren the Wanderer 2 are Riku, Himakichi, and Asuka. Riku means land, Himakichi is a Kappa, and Asuka is the name of the ancient capital of Japan associated with flying birds. Oh, and the Sixth Ranger can breathe fire, making them a Four-Element Ensemble.
- In Team Fortress 2, an achievement named "The Cycle" requires a Scout to kill three enemies in a single life: one while he is airborne (sky), one while he is on the ground (land) and one while he is underwater (sea).
- Batman: The Animated Series: In the episode "The Terrible Trio" features the eponymous trio from the comics. They all are bored, rich men who inherited family fortunes from oil (land), a shipping magnate (sea), and an aerodynamics firm (air). Their disguises as criminals are, respectively, Fox, Shark, and Vulture.
- Centurions features Max Ray ("brilliant sea operations commander"), Jake Rockwell ("rugged land operations specialist") and Ace McCloud ("daring air operations expert").
- Modern militaries are devided up into an Army, Navy and Air Force.
- The mascots for the Sydney 2000 Olympics were an echidna (Land), Platypus (water, although not sea since platypi are fresh-water animals) and kookaburra (sky).
- The reptile groups that ruled the world during the Mesozoic Era could be seen as this: the dinosaurs dominated the Land, the marine reptiles patrolled the Sea and the pterosaurs soared through the Sky.
- Our fossil fuels consist of coal, petroleum oil, and natural gas. There are also the renewable energy sources of geothermal energy (land), hydroelectric and tidal energy (sea), and wind energy (sky).
- The primary states of matter- solid, liquid, and gas.