A type of trio. Sub-Trope
of Power Trio
Also a form of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors
, in which the three elements of Earth
are made a trinity
Land is usually depicted as steady and stable, Sea as unpredictable, and Sky as free spirited. Land may also involve death because of burials, and sky will often be the "king," especially in works created before human flight, since no matter where you are, you're always under the sky. The "sky is king" motif has become less common since flight became a thing, however.
Sea is usually depicted as the most hostile of the three; considering most of the time humans are at sea, they're on a pretty small (relatively speaking) ship, and at the mercy of the extremely unpredictable sea, which could decide to throw storms, whirlpools, tsunamis and other unpleasant things at you at any moment, this is hardly surprising.
In an Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors
setting, expect Sea to overcome Land note
, Land to overpower Sky note
, and Sky to defeat Sea note
These are considered to be the three classic Theatres of War, each with its own branch of the military (Army, Navy, and Air Force respectively) specialized to fighting in it.
See also Four Element Ensemble
and Fire, Ice, Lightning
, another common elemental trio.
Anime & Manga
- The Bigs from The Big O fit the common characterizations of their spheres; Big O (land) Big Duo (sky) Big Fau (sea)
- Magmatron from Beast Wars Neo is made of three units: Landsaur, Skysaur and Seasaur.
- In Bleach, there's a subtle name theming referred to these three elements in the Shiba siblings: Kaien (Kai = Sea), Ganju (Gan = Rock, hence earth) and Kukaku (Ku = Sky).
- The Amazon Trio from Sailor Moon: Tiger's Eye (land), Hawk's Eye (sky) and Fisheye (sea).
- 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 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.
- Dairugger XV there three teams with vehicles which combine into the titular mecha, they are Kurugger (Air), Kairugger (Sea), and Rikurugger (Land).
- 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 this can be seen as the lava/magma which lies beneath the earth.
- The three forms of Getter Robo are sky, land, and sea. Especially obvious for the G Getter.
- First half of 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.
- 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 Great Beasts, Behemoth (Land), Leviathan (Sea), and Ziz (Sky).
- In Greek Mythology, Zeus got sky, Poseidon got the ocean, and Hades drew the short straw for the Underworld. Land was left for humanity.
- Also, there are the primordial gods Gaia (the earth), Oranos (the sky), and Pontus (the sea). Gaia, the first and born out of Chaos, conceived Uranus 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.
- A common referent in Celtic Mythology.
- 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.
- 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 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 Lord of the Rings also had 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". (Though these two were somewhat conflated in the mythology; Maedhros actually cast himself into a "fiery chasm".)
- In Septimus Heap, during the Triple Restore, Septimus, Jenna and Aunt Zelda take the roles of the Air, Water and Land during the spell.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 either Fire or Non-Elemental depending on which show you're watching). 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.
- 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. There's also one Mecha Expansion Pack for each category, and the various villain groups qualify as one has a Space Base (representing sky), one has an Elaborate Underground Base, and the third as an Underwater Base.
- 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.
- The transformations in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask; Deku is air (flower helicopter), Goron is land (stone rolling), Zora is Sea (dolphin swimming).
- Also used in The Wind Waker; the first three MacGuffins are collected from the sky spirit Valoo, the earth spirit the Great Deku Tree, and the sea spirit Jabun.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mega Man X4 has three of Repliforce's high ranking members of the Army (Slash Beast), Navy (Jet Stingray) and Air Force (Storm Owl).
- Somewhat coincidental with the rock-paper-scissors part of the trope, Jet Stingray's weapon is strong against Slash Beast (Sea beats Land).
- 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.
- Trubbish/Garbodor, Grimer/Muk, and Koffing/Weezing in terms of pollution.
- 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).
- Resident Evil 5: the Earth, Sea, and Sky Emblems used to open a gate in one level.
- The Theme Naming convention for Sora (sky), Riku (land), and Kairi (sea), along with Ventus (wind), Terra (earth), and Aqua (water) in Kingdom Hearts. 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).
- 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.
- 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 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".
- 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 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.
- 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 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).
- 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.
- Centurions features Max Ray ("brilliant sea operations commander"), Jake Rockwell ("rugged land operations specialist") and Ace McCloud ("daring air operations expert").
- 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).
- The US Military has the Army, Navy and Air Force.