[[quoteright:247:[[Franchise/DotHack http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1175795562760-1.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:247:[-Those glowing lines mean that someone is about to die ''very soon.''-] ]]

A classic shorthand for indicating that somebody has activated their SuperMode, tapped into their True Potential, or otherwise just got a lot more powerful: Basically, a badass-looking pattern appears on their skin, often glowing. Is related to GlowingEyesOfDoom, and the two are often seen together. This is not necessarily an indication of heroism or villainy. The trope has appearances about even on either side. Sometimes, it's a case of a character being pushed too far.

The tattoos will usually just be either nifty/badass black pattern, or a glowing red one. Can overlap with TronLines and InstantRunes. Compare and contrast with MarkOfTheBeast, for when the patterns forming are an indication of evil and PowerTattoo, the more compact version. Compare PowerupFullColorChange.



* In ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'', Akito gets a weird, glowing pattern all over his body when he activates his mysterious Boson Jump ability. Later, others who demonstrate the ability gets similar patterns, and when a character who lacks the potential attempts to perform one, a glitchy, broken version of the marks fade in and out.
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'':
** Shiryu had a Dragon tattoo appear in his back when powered up.
** His OldMaster, Dohko, had a Tiger tattoo exhibiting the exact same comportment
* Several of [[CrossoverCosmology the gods]] in ''VisualNovel/KamigamiNoAsobi'' get these with their TransformationSequence, Apollon, Loki, and Thor in particular. Character designer Kazuki Yone is fond of them - she also uses them in designs for the game ''Icchibanketsu''.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' anime episode 55. When Captain Yamamoto powers up before fighting, glowing scars appear on his body.
* [[spoiler:Post-TimeSkip Nia]] from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''.
* Takeru when he goes into his ED form in ''Anime/ThisUglyYetBeautifulWorld''.
* Jo from ''Anime/BurstAngel'' gets an awesome tattoo on her arm every time she's about to kick some damn serious ass.
* A variation occurs in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', when the BigBad of the Mahora Festival arc activates her [[{{Magitek}} forced magic circuits]]. They're mostly masked by her hair and clothing, but we're shown Negi's magic-sense [=POV=] of the patterns of glyphs [[PowerGlows glowing]] on her body.
** Used straight much later on when Negi masters a DangerousForbiddenTechnique to take on the BigBad.
* In ''New Manga/GetterRobo'', glowing green lines crawl up the Getter pilots' bodies and into their eyes when Ryoma goes [[UnstoppableRage berserk]] and starts absorbing Getter Rays like mad.
* Dio's Guild mark in ''Anime/LastExile'' appears on his forehead as his [[DangerousSixteenthBirthday 17th birthday]] looms closer. After he undergoes [[spoiler: The Rite of the Covenant and the Trial of Agoon]], it changes color and shape.
* When the Medicine Seller of ''Anime/{{Mononoke}}'' releases his sword, the red markings on his face crawl off his body and onto his other self, where they turn gold and become elaborate, full-body tattoos.
* Black Star and Tsubaki in ''Manga/SoulEater''. When activated, the Demon Blade mode Tsubaki acquired through absorbing her brother's soul covers the Weapon and her Tech in curving, black tattoo-like lines.
** In a similar vein, Death the Kid's Sanzu Lines- those white marks on his hair- connect into one or more full circles around his head to herald a SuperMode. The exact method by which this is achieved varies between the anime and manga.
* The markings of Ranmaru's arm in ''Manga/{{Tokko}}'' grow as his symbiote-granted abilities do.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Tsunade, Medical Ninja and {{Tsundere}} extraordinaire, has a small diamond marking on her forehead where she keeps an insane amount of chakra carefully stored. [[http://read.mangashare.com/Naruto/chapter-169/page014.html When she releases the seal, it expands into a spiraling pattern,]] and foreshadows the can of whoopass that she is about to open. Sakura's too.
** The fox-whisker-markings on Naruto's face get bigger and turn red when he starts to access his [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Nine-Tails Chakra.]] [[spoiler:Naruto's controlled Jinchuuriki form]] manifests symbols on his chakra shroud, which extend further when he uses a large amount of chakra, and then they darken and change form (covering most of his body in black) once [[spoiler:he befriends Kurama, and [[SerialEscalation even moreso]] when he receives Ashura's power]].
** The Sound Four, and later Sasuke, use cursed seals, small black markings which spread to cover their bodies when activated into their "First States". The Second State curse marks are [[OneWingedAngel something else entirely.]]
* The [=PROCEED=] girls in ''Anime/SoltyRei'' get red glowing FacialMarkings when they access their special abilities.
* ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'': it is normal for demons to have some sort of colored marks on their body, but if they are wearing {{Power Limiter}}s to seal their abilities and make themselves look human, the marks disappear until they decide to remove the limiters and tap into their powers again. Usually they're just FacialMarkings or a single tattoo-like spot elsewhere, though some have more elaborate ones, such as Hakkai's vine-like pattern (green in the manga, [[PowerGlows glowing red]] in the anime) that goes all over his body and can be controlled and used as CombatTentacles.
* In ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'', Alphonse gets some black markings and lines on his armor after [[spoiler:becoming the Philosopher's Stone]]. Quite interesting on a suit of armor.
* Yusuke from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' gets these [[spoiler:when his demon blood starts to act up. Blue tattoos appear all over his body and he takes on a slightly fiercer demeanor.]]
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', the patterns on [[OlympusMons Groudon and Kyogre]] start glowing when they get pissed off. On top of that, when Groudon [[DemonicPossession possesses]] Pikachu, our adorable little mouse gets the glowing pattern too. And it's ''scary as hell''. Aqua Admin Archie gets some too on his chest, but it's quite less 'awesome' than the others.
** These lines are a trait of those who are being corrupted by the Red and Blue Orbs, actually. The deeper the corruption, the more elaborate the pattern. Examples include Pikachu and Archie (both mentioned above), [[Manga/PokemonSpecial Maxie, Ruby and Sapphire]].
* Tohma of ''Manga/MagicalChronicleLyricalNanohaForce'' has a tendency to gain these whenever he uses the Divider. [[spoiler:It's implied that they may be signs of the Eclipse infection]].
* Invisible unless you look at it up close but in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'', if you perchance happen to fight a Gundam that goes trans-am, the GN particle channels light up briefly before the entire unit is flooded with GN particles and it lays the smackdown on you.
** Even worse, in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamUnicorn'', once it activates the NT-D system, you KNOW it is about to kill you.
* Tsunayoshi Sawada from ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' can tap into Dying Will Mode if shot in the head by a Dying Will Bullet or if he swallows a Dying Will Pill. When he does go into that mode, [[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100408151254/reborn/images/8/8d/Tsuna_2.PNG his usually round brown eyes]] turn into [[http://www.onemanga.com/Katekyo_Hitman_Reborn/125/01/ an angular orange, and an orange flame lights up on his forehead]]. From the Hyper Dying Will Mode, Tsuna gains a good sense of combat and an ability used by his ancestors called Hyper Intuition, which allows him to predict human movements and gain an upper hand in battle.
** When Tsuna's ShadowArchetype[=/=]EvilCounterpart (does he still count as the latter since he stopped being an active antagonist?) Xanxus's body gets covered in old scars when he goes all out/anyone mentions Tsuna. And his flames start to glow around his as well
* Wielders of the original and copies alike in ''Anime/{{Witchblade}}'' has various colored lines on the skin when transformed.
* Slightly different effect-wise, but when Natsu of ''Manga/FairyTail'' powers up by [[PhlebotinumMuncher eating the Etherion]], he gets a scaly draconic pattern around his eyes and arms.
** [[spoiler: Mirajane]] gets the non-glowing version when she uses her Take Over transformations.
* A variation in the animated adaptation of ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'': when someone is chosen as a pilot (thus gaining all the power of the [[GiantMecha Zearth]] during their turn), markings show up on their faces, often {{Foreshadowing}} the shape of the enemy they will fight. [[spoiler:But, because being the next pilot also [[PoweredByAForsakenChild means being the]] [[LivingBattery next to die]], the markings are rarely regarded as a good thing.]] These markings don't show up in the manga.
* The Wdjat Eye from ''Anime/YuGiOh'' whenever someone with a Millennium Item prepares to kick ass.
* In ''Manga/BungouStrayDogs'', Chuya gets black markings on his skin when he uses Corruption, the "true form" of his gravity manipulation ability.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Coffin Princess Chaika}}'', Toru and Akari both gain red facial marks (and a matching battle aura) when calling on the Iron Blood Form.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Creator/CrossGen comics company produced a series of titles set in what was informally dubbed "the Sigilverse", where those gifted with great cosmic power were marked by a glowing tattoo known as "the Sigil".
* ''Comicbook/XMen'' character Rachel Summers had tattoos put on her face when she was forced to work as a Hound -- a hunter of other mutants. She telekinetically hides them most of the time, but when she's angry or stressed, she gets distracted and they show up again. Making her look more than a little intimidating. Which is appropriate given [[http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/3976/phoenixnukeii5.jpg the level of destruction she's capable of.]]
* The madder incarnation of ''ComicBook/ShadeTheChangingMan'' would have swirls and concentric circles appear on his face and hands when activating his madness powers.

* Fanart of the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series often depicts Clan leaders (the highest-ranking Clan members, who have received [[CatsHaveNineLives eight additional lives]] and a new name ending in "-star" to reflect their rank) with a star on their forehead. This does not occur in the series itself.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Animation/TheReturnOfHanuman'', Maruti's mouth and cheeks occasionally turn pink to resemble Hanuman to mark that he becomes more powerful.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Rachael in ''Film/TheRageCarrie2'' has a perfectly ordinary tattoo of a thorny rose. When she goes for the big rage scene, the tattoo spreads itself all over her body from head to toe, leaving her with the image of a thorny vine curling around her body.
* In ''Film/{{Nightbreed}}'', as Boone metamorphoses, various swirling patterns form blackened grooves in his skin.

* Used in Alfred Bester's novel ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'' (aka ''Tiger! Tiger!''), with some justifying done. Gully Foyle has a tiger pattern tattooed on his face. After he has this removed, it reappears as red marks from the rush of blood whenever he gets angry.
** Possibly TruthInTelevision, depending on the removal procedure used. All procedures will leave behind some kind of scarring, and superficial/not-usually-visible scars will often flush redder than surrounding skin.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. The members of the Fellowship of St. Giles are all people who've been infected by Red Court vampires, but who haven't given in to their hungers and killed someone, so they're stuck in the state between human and icky demon thing wearing human flesh. To keep their hungers in check, they're tattooed with control sigils; when they draw upon their inherently vampiric powers (superstrength, great speed, resiliency), the tattoos become visible and start turning deeper shades of red to reflect how much self-control they have left.
* Susan Sto Helit, of ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', has a birthmark on her face from where ''her father'' was slapped by [[TheGrimReaper the skeletal incarnation of Death]]. The thin red marks, as of bony fingers, become visible when she is angry, embarrassed or otherwise flushed, so they aren't ''precisely'' marks of badassitude -- but she's a woman protagonist in a Pratchett novel, so rendering her moderately annoyed is pretty much the same thing; she's about to destroy you.
** It could also be taken, as Narrative Causality is a force on the Disc, as a literal manifestation of the expression "I'm going to hit you so hard your children will feel it."
* Inverted with Zoey Redbird in ''Literature/TheHouseOfNight'' series, who gets new magical tattoos ''after'' she does something heroic. Ordinary vampyres develop a blue [[spoiler:occasionally red]] crescent on their forehead after they stop being human, which expand to unique cheek patterns if they transition to adulthood.
* In the ''Literature/WildCards'' novels, Jack "Golden Boy" Braun earns his nickname because every time he uses his SuperStrength or NighInvulnerability, he gains a golden nimbus that is bright enough to read by in the dark.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'''s example is when Willow has her SuperpowerMeltdown after [[spoiler: Tara is killed]]. She absorbs knowledge from a whole pile of books on BlackMagic, and the arcane symbols all ink themselves onto her skin like tattoos, and her hair and eyes go [[BlackEyesOfEvil pitch black]].
** More subtly done previously in the series, where Willow's eyes simply become [[BlackEyesOfEvil huge and black]]. Done big again at the end of the series [[spoiler: when Willow makes all the potentials into Slayers, her hair goes all white and there's a white glowing light.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the Creator/WhiteWolf Game ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', the Lunar Exalted are marked by moonsilver tattoos over their entire bodies. While they can learn to hide these, drawing too deeply upon their powers causes them to shine through disguise and clothing alike. Most Exalted manifest some small markings along with their [[BattleAura Anima Banner]], but these are usually only seen on their foreheads.
** Malfeas has a charm that creates this effect, coating the user in emerald fire lines spelling out how awesome they are in an ancient language. It augments the user's ability to take damage considerably.
* Bright Wizards (the college of [[KillItWithFire fire]]) in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' tattoo their spells onto their bodies. They're said to light up when the wizard gets into serious spellcasting.
* This happens every time a werewolf enters the Shadow in ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheForsaken''; they gain glowing silvers tattoos all over their bodies, called "Spirit Brands" which detail particularly heroic deeds that the werewolf has performed.
* in MagicTheGathering, [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=205035 Liliana Vess]]. In the midst of her magical mayhem, the demonic pacts carved into her skin often show forth (as shown in the link; the rest of the time, she's just a [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=235597 beautiful human woman]] ).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The third time you complete ''VideoGame/TheBouncer'', the BigBad Dauragon C. Mikado gets up again after his normally-final form is defeated. He now has an unexplained dragon-tattoo and a LOT more power.
* The characters in the ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' games have a circuit-like pattern spread over their skin before they enter their demon forms.
** Another SMT example comes from ''[[VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne Nocturne]]'''s Demi-Fiend, who sports some mean black-and-green marks along their body after the Conception.
* Taboo Minamimoto from ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', [[TroubledButCute Fenris']] lyrium tattoos start to [[PowerGlows glow blue]] when he's drawing on their power.
** In the same game, [[DarkMessiah Anders']] SuperpoweredEvilSide causes glowing blue cracks to appear in his skin.
* In ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireDragonQuarter'', the hero's [[DeadlyUpgrade Dragonform]] resembles less a dragon, and more a black-skinned version of himself with glowing red tattoos.
* [[SuperMode Darkspine Sonic]] from ''VideoGame/SonicAndTheSecretRings'' gets white stripes running up his head, and around his wrists and ankles.
* All Eight Epitaph users from the ''VideoGame/DotHackGU'' series do this when calling their Avatar. Each character has a different pattern, likely mimicking patterns or appearances of their Avatar.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'', the more proficient you become with magic, the more mystical glowing runes appear on your body.
** In ''VideoGame/FableIII'', when charging for a flourish attack, different glowing patterns (depending on the clothing worn) appear. This is additional to tattoos which begin to glow in [[GoodColorsEvilColors different colours]] as you decide upon your moral alignment
* The more colossi you kill in ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'', the more black marks appear on Wander's body. This is ''[[TheCorruption not good.]]''
* [[VideoGame/{{Okami}} Amaterasu]]. While she does have red body markings almost at all times, they become twice as elaborate when she reaches full power via CombinedEnergyAttack.
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'': [[CreepyChild Ilya's]] [[PowerTattoo Magic Crest]] covers most of her body. Most of the time it's invisible, but sometimes it shines through her clothes, such as when she's casting spells. [[spoiler:Dark Sakura]] also has this, combined with MysticalWhiteHair.
* The protagonist of ''VideoGame/ShadowMan'' gains additional tattoos as he gains powers.
* In ''VideoGame/LuxPain'' this happens when Atsuki uses sigma.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManX8'', the red lines on Axl's body pulse when he's absorbed a DNA Core and is ready to use his A-Trans shapeshifting ability.
* [[spoiler:Liu-Shen]] of ''VideoGame/SuikodenTierkreis'', signifying that [[spoiler:he is the new Elder Scribe.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'':
** After the [[PhysicalGod Tribunal]] went against the will of [[PowersThatBe Azura]] and used the Tools of Kagrenac on the [[CosmicKeystone Heart of Lorkhan]], she either cursed the formerly gold-skinned Chimer people with the dark skin and red eyes of the modern Dunmer, or pointed out that the Tribunal had done it while using the tools. (The details are [[TheRashomon rather sketchy]] at best.)
** The physical forms of the Tribunal all changed as well after using the tools to achieve godhood. Almalexia kept her Chimer form, becoming even more beautiful and adding all sorts of adornments to her form, including complex tattoos. Vivec became half-Chimer/half-Dunmer, split right down the middle, which went along well with his mythic status as a hermaphrodite "trickster," and added a "flame" to his bald head. Sotha Sil meanwhile adopted the basic form of a Dunmer.
** When Almalexia [[spoiler: finally snaps and reveals her FaceHeelTurn to the [[PlayerCharacter Nerevarine]],]] she appears with her terrifying battle mask.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'', it's difficult or even nigh-impossible to see in the game itself, but [[http://www.giantbomb.com/solatorobo-red-the-hunter/61-30423/concept-art/52-418825/5/51-1759781/ this spoilerific piece of concept art]] reveals that Red's [[spoiler:Dahak-fused Trance form]] has TronLines, whereas [[spoiler:his unfused Trance form]] and normal, basic form do not.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Damien in ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'': His stripes start glowing when he superheats his own skin.
* Inverted in ''Webcomic/{{Magience}}'': Rune ''loses'' her markings when she becomes a Dragoon.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* When she activates her powers, Rosetta of the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' is surrounded by a mystical aura that looks like glowing green rings of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics floating around her head and hands.
* In ''Phaeton'' when the Phaetonians start using their non passive abilities, their tribal markings will glow, the more powerful the ability the brighter the glow, if the ability is used for an extended length of time the markings will fade until a stronger power is used.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Aang has ordinary tattoos, but they glow white along with his [[GlowingEyesOfDoom eyes]] when he goes into the Avatar State.
* When ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' goes Upgrade, he gets glowing TronLines along his body.
* In the fifth season of ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'', the turtles would sport these when accessing their Ninja Tribunal-granted powers.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', as Raven is getting close to fulfilling her destiny of bringing her demon father into the world, her skin begins to break out in glowing script, script that was put there by Slade.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The tiny (but deadly) blue-ringed octopus' normally-dull rings covering its body will glow bright blue when it's about to attack.
** Many octopuses will intensify in color when they are mad or about to attack, eg the Giant Pacific Octopus TurnsRed.
* Same with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pfeffer%27s_Flamboyant_Cuttlefish Pfeffer's Flamboyant Cuttlefish]]