She can fly!? Needy:
She's only hovering. It's not that
Do you have to undermine everything I do?
Just like Power Glows
, and makes your voice deep
, it also floats.
Floating is a favorite pastime for many different character types among many different genres. Heroes and villains going into a Super Mode
or becoming a One-Winged Angel
will likely learn to float, as their powerup makes them defy gravity
. The Mineral MacGuffin
, Cosmic Keystone
, or any shiny
object of power will be floating over a pedestal draped in light. Witches, wizards, and psychic types will float or fly as a spell, or reveal themselves capable of it because I Am Not Left-Handed
of various stripes will also enjoy floating, like vampires, ghosts, angels, etc. The early risers in particular like to use it in a Pivotal Wake-up
Generally, this is seen as Bad Ass
and dangerous (on par with Unstoppable Rage
) because it's far less natural than outright flight. Even though the floating itself is usually harmless, it can really freak enemies out because it implies the floater is capable of much more powerful feats. In short that he is defying physics just enough
to float because it's cool
, but with more hurt hidden up their sleeves just waiting
to come out.
This is often augmented because Power Gives You Wings
. Of course, this can get devalued really fast if most everyone in the series has Flight
Don't expect this to let you pass the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence
though. Expect to see some Midair Bobbing
. The most common stock pose associated with this is the Levitating Lotus Position
, although the Standard Powerup Pose
can be seen as well. Contrast Ghostly Glide
, when a form of this trope is used to unnerve. See also Chunky Updraft
. And if the power of love causes it, it's Lovetation
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Anime & Manga
- In Dragon Ball Z, all of the main characters can fly. When someone brings out their Super Saiyan Battle Aura, it adds to the mix rising currents of Dramatic Wind and Chunky Updraft lifting stuff up around them as they leave the ground. As an added bonus, this often happened not by having characters rise off the ground, but by having a small section of the ground blown out from under them with their Battle Aura. They simply couldn't be bothered to fall a measly four inches.
- Played with in Ah! My Goddess. All the paranormal types can and do float on occasion; however most of these (i.e. Belldandy) aren't especially menacing.
- Grove from Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust. When the others need him to, he uses a super powerful spirit form that glows and floats as he attacks. It's quite deadly.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, it's expected that wizards are to fly using wands or brooms, but at the particularly high levels, anyone may float in the air. (Konoka, Nagi and Fate; Evangeline didn't count, for being a vampire with assumed flight ability). It was even used as a secondary clue that Fate was a high-level opponent ("and, y'know, he's floating").
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the forced transformations of Hayate and Vivio into their respective Superpowered Evil Sides were both preceded by their bodies floating in mid-air while surrounded with their overflowing magical energies. Not to mention that pretty much the entire cast list of A's seems to have no problem with standing in thin air. It's like gravity doesn't want to pick a fight with any of them.
- Bleach: Subverted. Characters cannot naturally fly in this story, although it does look that way. What they actually do is stand on air. Different spiritual groups have different names for the techniques they use to achieve this, and the techniques themselves can be slightly different. However, it boils down to manipulating the energy particles in air (called reishi) to create a platform of air that the character stands on or runs across. The platform isn't visible (although visible platforms can actually sometimes be created).
- There's plenty of Roof Hopping and Le Parkour, but no actual flight; muscular effort is always required. Then the Big Bad is shown hovering in midair above Konoha prior to unleashing his ultimate jutsu. Oh, Crap.
- Later, it seems like the Tsuchikage had the trope going on, but it turns out that he actually knows a technique that lets him and his subordinates fly.
- Unlike his reverb effect, Masami Eiri does not float in his first appearance in Serial Experiments Lain but does for most of the rest of the series.
- Natsume/Sabrina from Pokémon, more so in the anime than (her illustrations in) the games.
- Kaworu Nagisa from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Kyubey picks this up in Puella Magi Oriko Magica. Because he wasn't creepy enough already.
- Shiki, the Big Bad of One Piece's tenth movie, has this as a power. In addition to being able to float himself, he can make battleships or islands float... or just let them fall.
- Dr. Manhattan does it in Watchmen.
- In the surreal 1989-1990 Larry Hama comic Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja , the Reality Warper Alphie O'Meagan floats off his bed the first time he truly activates his power, after having a conversation with his subconscious in the form of a giant animated face coming out of his ceiling.
- Many powerful mutants in The X-Men are able to levitate, but usually there is a concrete reason besides sheer badassery.
- Storm, for example, can control the weather (and therefore could do neat things with the air around her to hold her aloft).
- Magneto's costume is (sometimes) made of metal, though it's explained when it's introduced (fun fact: neither Magneto nor Polaris could fly until Chris Claremont came along) that just as Polaris manipulated Earth's magnetic field to get rid of Krakoa, it can be used on a much smaller scale for single-person levitation.
- However, there are many Big Bad class X-villains who are seen flying, even when the other powers they use don't suggest they should be able to.
- Black Adam has a tendency to float a few inches above the ground. Such a frequent tendency that he apparently even does it when there's no particular need to be intimidating. Lampshaded when an ally asks him to stop doing it because of how disconcerting it is.
- The Sandman also mentions that angels never touch the ground, with the exception of the fallen angel Lucifer of course. When Remiel is forced to take over Hell, after much pleading and whimpering, he is also forced to land.
- Doctor Strange can hover unaided and likes to meditate in a Levitating Lotus Position. His Cloak of Levitation enables him to fly.
- The elite warriors of the most powerful faction in Universal War One float thanks to miniaturised anti-gravity devices.
- While Wiccan of the Young Avengers is perfectly capable of flight, when casting spells he tends to start floating and glowing blue.
- In Lord of Illusions, the Evil Sorcerer Nix uses his powers to levitate and walk through the air several times, including standing on top of a near-bottomless chasm while holding one of his victims.
- This is part of Jean Grey's powers.
- Storm can fly through wind manipulation.
- Magneto can fly by manipulating the Earth's magnetic field.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows we learn that Voldemort has invented a way of flying without the aid of brooms or anything of the sort.
- In Stephen King's The Stand, Randall Flagg likes to spend his downtime hovering and meditating on his own awesomeness. The first sign of his Villainous Breakdown which begins after Nadine kills herself and his unborn child is that he can only hover a few inches, and not for very long at that.
- Just before the final fight in Thief of Time, Newgate/Jeremy floats gently, while glowing. He's learned Rule One — "Never act incautiously when facing a small wrinkly bald smiling old man!" Still doesn't go too well for him.
- Ravenor. Stephen Hawking plus psychic powers in a floating wheelchair.
- Willow of Buffy the Vampire Slayer during her attempt to take revenge on Glory and later on when she seeks vengeance against Warren.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor does this at the end of the third series, post revamp.
- The opening credits for Teen Wolf in season three show Scott hovering, apparently intentionally invoking this trope to clue the audience in on his growing power as a werewolf. Specifically, his transformation into a "true Alpha."
- Angel. In "Birthday", Cordelia has to become part-demon to handle her visions. She wakes up and is delighted to discover she doesn't have horns and a tail. She then has a vision, which she casually describes without any of the usual pain and passing out. Our heroes all gape in amazement...because Cordelia is floating in mid-air.
Myths & Religion
- Older Than Print: Christian folklore holds it that angels constantly float, even when not actually flying, as their feet are never to touch base earth.
- Quite a few saints levitated or outright flew, so much that it has its own article on The Other Wiki. St. Joseph of Cupertino is the most well-known.
- Warhammer 40,000
- The C'Tan like to slowly float over the battlefield as they kill everything in sight, though this is largely because they consider the laws of physics to be optional. Similarly, the enormously psychic Tyranid organisms known as Zoanthropes float to get around, since their brains are superdeveloped at the expense of the rest of their body — their tiny, atrophied legs can't possibly support them. Going by how the models' brains are clearly visible, neither can the rest of their bodies...
- Dark Eldar Haemonculi go in for this in a big way too, though in their case they have to rely on high-tech suspensor crystals to do the job. They find it a fitting tribute to their own monstrous egos that they don't have to walk like their inferiors.
- Psykers in Dark Heresy et al. can — depending on the circumstances — subvert, invert, or play this trope straight; either intentionally through power use, or accidentally through the Psychic Phenomena and Perils of the Warp tables (in particular, the Falling Upwards result constitutes a very nasty inversion, to say nothing for The Surly Bonds Of Earth)
- In Warhammer, the Slann are huge frog-like creatures, lords of the Lizardmen and some of the most powerful wizards in the world. They get around by sitting on rock thrones that hover a few metres above the ground. It is left unclear as to whether this hovering comes from lost technology or their magical powers.
- Many other wizards also get in on the act. A good number of wizard miniatures exist that are sculpted to appear as if they float above the ground, particularly among the Elves.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Elocater Prestige Class's 1st class ability, "scorn earth," causes you to float a foot off the ground at all times. The ability's description implies that you're so powerful, you've just decided to ignore the ground entirely. In fact it lets you float as high as you like, but at more than 1 foot above the nearest flat surface they lose a lot of speed and stability. Still, nothing is stopping you from floating up to the tower's topmost window and gliding through.
- Forgotten Realms has this included in most cases of Power High. The old Mystrylan ceremony of Starflight did this separately... but was often combined with Magefire cleansing ritual into one long Power High trip.
- The Ashura of Legend of the Five Rings appear to be samurai with moth wings that float above the ground. Although they are powerful, they aren't deliberately floating — they are so utterly corrupt that the earth itself repels them.
- In Wicked, when Elphaba realizes she shouldn't be afraid of the Wizard, but he should be afraid of her, she sings "Defying Gravity." When the guards storm the attic and seize Glinda, Elphaba shouts that they should release Glinda, because she's not the one they want, it's her (Elphaba.) At this moment, Elphaba levatates FOUR STORIES ABOVE THE STAGE and sings:
"So if you care to find me, look to the western sky! As someone told me lately, 'everyone deserves the chance to fly!' And if I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free. To those who'd ground me, take a message back from me... Tell them how I am DEFYING GRAVITY!!! I'm flying high-defying gravity, and soon I'll match them in renown. And NOBODY in all of Oz, no Wizard that there is or was is EVER GOING TO BRING ME DOWN!!! BRING! ME! DOWN! DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!"
- BIONICLE: When Brutaka fell into the Antidermis pool and soaked up the spirits of the unborn Makuta, he gained instant powers and super-knowledge. For the remainder of the story, he floated.
- City of Heroes
- The first of the flight powers is "hover", but it's essentially extremely slow flight. Well, it used to be only that. Recently, it was changed so that instead of just being in the "superman" pose but going comically slow, the character remains upright, with arms held out to the sides. It looks much more badass. And, of course, it can be used to invoke the trope: a very high level, powerful character who suddenly starts hovering above the ground can be, depending upon what they're saying, a visual shorthand for "you REALLY should be respecting me more" to "don't worry about it, I'll clear the entire map."
- There is also the Soul Storm power, which will raise the user into the air, flight or no flight.
- Soul Calibur IV: Algol perpetually hovers a few inches above the arena, surrounded by an ethereal blue aura. Only rarely does he ever touch the ground, during certain attack animations, or when he's been defeated.
- Bloody Roar 3: Uranus' pre-fight introduction has her float several feet above the arena, with her legs crossed and her hands clasped atop her knees, as though she's reclining in an invisible chair. She remains above the ground throughout the match and can levitate herself and her opponent higher during air combos. Yes, she's so broken that even the laws of gravity don't apply to her.
- Super Smash Bros.
- Kingdom Hearts
- Final Form in Kingdom Hearts II. Apparently this is because you only unlock Final Form after completely merging with Roxas by defeating him in a fight. Yes, Roxas can float. And summon pillars of light. They never explain why. Since Final Form is formed from a combination of Sora and Roxas, Sora inherits the ability to float.
- Wisdom Form also has a little bit of float to it as well.
- Also from Kingdom Hearts, Riku/Ansem from the first game. Coupled with Riku's echo-y voice and new outfit, this just screamed that you were in for one hell of a fight.
- When you play as Xemnas in 358/2 Days he does not walk as the other characters do, but floats instead.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- There are plenty of characters who do this in the Tales Series, usually villains.
- Dhaos from Tales of Phantasia does this whenever he's moving, though he's always doing it in his final form.
- Miktran in the remake of Tales of Destiny does it both of his forms.
- Shizel from Tales of Eternia is another "only while moving" example.
- Colette from Tales of Symphonia provides a heroic example while in combat.
- Duke in the battle against him in Tales of Vesperia. Rita can also get in on the floating with her Levitate ability, though it rapidly expends TP while it's active, due to being able to levitate out of the reach of many enemies. Estelle does it in both of her Hi-Ougis, as well.
- Emeraude and Solomos from Tales of Graces.
- The gods of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters float. Effortlessly. All the time. You do not want to tangle with them.
- Metal Gear Solid
- Psycho Mantis.
- And The Sorrow from MGS3, although he is technically a ghost.
- Tons of powerups and other items in videogames, especially networked deathmatch franchises like Quake and Unreal Tournament.
- While it's not really floating as much as it is slowing her fall, Justicar Samara from Mass Effect 2 can use her biotics to float herself through the air for short periods of time. Given that she can send hundreds of Collectors flying with some effort, she could probably support herself for a while. Why she would is another question.
- Mega Man Battle Network
- Bass/Forte. His trademark float is just one of those little things that make him even more badass.
- Guild Wars
- Your character levitates into the air while casting spells.
- Mursaat are constantly levitating. Mursaat are also near-godlike beings that can kill you by just being near you.
- The World Ends with You
- In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Empire of the Rising Sun has a special unit named Yuriko Omega who can float. Her unit description? It basically boils down to "she floats because she enjoys rubbing in the fact that she can kill us mere humans with her mind." This does have a practical purpose in that it allows her to cross water at a reasonable speed. (Other commando-class units have had extensive swimming training; her "education" didn't include much in the way of P.E.)
- In Sword of Mana, when you finally get to fight Julius, he floats a few inches off the ground. This is before he actually goes One-Winged Angel, but then, his Vandole blood has basically taken him over by now, and he's also leeched most of the Mana Tree's power too.
- Dimentio of Super Paper Mario is only ever seen standing or floating, never walking.
- Chrono Trigger
- Characters casting high-level magic will rise to a foot or so off the ground for the duration of the spell. Magus, a powerful sorcerer, prefers to skim along just above the ground in a dramatic pose, since running is apparently for chumps.
- Significantly, the Chrono Cross masked magician Guile also hovers serenely while the rest of the party is jogging. At least, this would be significant had the developers not discarded developing his story so they could include forty-four other characters...
- Dark Samus from Metroid Prime qualifies quite adequately, also displaying an ability for full-scale flight in the third game.
- Every time Samus got a new suit in Metroid Prime 1 and 2, she would rise into the air while glowing energy surrounded her and she equipped the suit. In Metroid Prime 3, this was reserved for when she released phazon into Leviathan cores, again glowing, but this time with phazon.
- Her Final Smash in Zero Suit form in Super Smash Bros. Brawl involves getting her Power Suit back (as well as dealing massive damage to anyone unlucky enough to be standing next to her during it), so it also has her floating as the suit's pieces form around her.
- Polvakian Gem Slugs in Startopia are so rich, lazy, and haughty that they loco-mote on hovering wheelchairs.
- Dot Hack GU
- Azure Kite very, very rarely walks, or even stands. He just floats two inches off the ground, even when you later get to recruit him into your party.
- None of the Avatars walk either; when an Epitaph User summons one, he appears to be floating (Avatars themselves are invisible to normal players).
- In Final Fantasy XI, float is forbidden magic, so only certain very bad, Badass characters can actually float. This includes the Arcangel Tarutaru, Kam'lanaut, and Eald'narche. Not to be out done the Big Bad from the Wings of the Goddess expansion, Lady Lilith, is so Bad Ass that she can actually fly. On the good side, Selh'teus can fly because he bonded with the Terrestrial Avatar Phoenix.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, anytime a high-level wizard or mage character casts a high-level spell, they levitate several a foot or so off the ground while performing the spell. The other two powers also occur, as the character gets a glow around them and the chants start to echo.
- In Mega Man X8, Lumine spends the entirety of his first battle phase floating around the battlefield in a figure eight pattern.
- In Touhou Hisoutensoku Yuyuko, Iku, Cirno, and Utsuho only ever touch the ground when crouching or knocked down. Of these, Cirno is a definite non-example, only being especially powerful by fairy standards. Utsuho is the strongest example, having no particular reason to float other than being badass.
- In the Valkyrie Profile games, the bonus character, Freya, is always floating off the ground, and is usually one of the most powerful people you can add to your party (or, similarly, one of the most powerful bosses you can face).
- Otani Yoshitsugu from Sengoku Basara sits in a floating palanquin and attacks with floating prayer beads he manipulates with his Mind over Matter powers. The only times he ever touches the ground is if you knock him down or kill him.
- While all the Deities in Asura's Wrath can fly, Karlow levitates on low ground, and can even flip upside down.
- The God of light Fortinbras from Onimusha not only has this as a basic powert, he can even Walk in the Air.
- In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy Gol Acheron and his sister Maia are only ever seen floating. Gol even has weights tied to his waist, probably to prevent him from drifting off.
- Neptunia: You'll never see a CPU or CPU Candidate actually using their feet when they've activated HDD.
- In The Last Story, anyone casting a spell will float for a few seconds.
- In Devil Survivor, you see Naoya doing this on routes where you fight him. Whether it's because of his powers or if it's just a reference to his preference for demons that have Flight, Devil Speed and Phantasma isn't certain.
- The High Templars of StarCraft float, leave glow-y afterimages as they move and echo while they speak. They are arguably the most powerful casters in the game and one the most powerful characters in the games' lore was one of them. Two High Templars can also merge and form an Archon, one of the absolutely most powerful units in the game, and adds a much deeper voice to the already impressive list of clue-ins concerning their powers.
- The expansion, Brood War, also adds the merged form of two Dark Templars; the Dark Archons, beings with powers so immense they can completely mindwipe any unit that gets in their way. Ulrezaj, another one of the grossly overpowered characters in the games' lore, is a Dark Archon formed by the merging of seven Dark Templars. He is closer to an Eldritch Abomination with the potential to invoke a Cosmic Horror Story more than he is a Protoss.
- In the sequel, the Hybrid Destroyers float all the time and are incredibly powerful being Protoss/Zerg hybrids that more closely take after their Protoss heritage. They're basically Protoss Templars on steroids.
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, Zara does this to avoid fighting you directly.
- In Dark Souls II, two of the more dangerous bosses encountered, the Pursuer and the Darklurker, float all the time.
- In the Dawnguard expansion of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim if you choose to become a vampire; when you transform into the Vampire Lord you can either walk on the ground and use your claws or hover ominously and use your unique spells.
- In Sluggy Freelance, Gwynn tends to float and glow when she starts really channeling her witchy powers.
- The Way of the Metagamer. The Colour Drops all float, as do spellcasters when preparing spells.
- Magick Chicks has a scene where Melissa requests power from Genius Loci and receives a wand. After touching it, she is found unconscious, floating in midair inside a hamster-ball of force and whirl of sparkles. When the girl who fought her approached, she gets encased in another floating hamsterball.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace can float when in her Omega form. This is justified as she floats using telekinesis and so far only in that form does she have enough power to levitate herself.
- In anti-HEROES, Quentas the Psion is always floating above the ground, never bothering to walk.
- Angelo Souballo, one half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Our Little Adventure and arguably the world's most powerful spellcaster, usually floats a few feet off the ground — even when preening at the bathroom mirror.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender floats, makes his voice echo, and glows, although the tendency to float seems tied to using the Avatar State as Unstoppable Rage rather than Super Mode.
- Ron floats and glows when he taps into his inner monkey in the real Kim Possible finale.
- The Venture Bros. has wizard Dr. Orpheus, who often levitates for no reason at all.
- The Heart of Kandrakar is often seen floating, usually above (or between) Will's hand(s). It's also got the glowing effect down pat.
- The villain of Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, Lady Kale, once managed to take over most of the magic in Avalon and rule the kingdom. When the Jewel Riders broke into the Crystal Palace, they found her at Queen Anya's throne — or more specifically, "sitting" on it by floating high above.
- The Rooster Talisman in Jackie Chan Adventures grants the user levitation and telekinesis. Anyone using it ends up floating pretty much constantly. Other characters also invoke the trope on occasion too, such as Tso Lan the Moon Demon and Drago in the series finale after he aquires all of the Demon Chi powers.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle and her friends hover above the ground whenever they harness the Elements of Harmony, and in the Season 4 finale, the Rainbow Power, which also gives the non-winged Mane Six members full flight ability.
- All of the ghosts in Danny Phantom both float and have a glowing aura.
- Dawn is shown to levitate as seen in the first episode of Total Drama Revenge of the Island, which also scares Mike.
- According to the French wolves specialist Gérard Ménatory, the bipedal position of humans is, in the eyes of the wolves, the equivalent of this trope and the reason why they are scared by us and never stay close to big human settlements: "Since this animal can casually stand, walk, and run with only two paws, they must be insanely strong and we better not mess with them" was what he claimed to be the basic reasoning of wolves. Considering the man spent most of his life living with wolves and could literally summon wolf packs by howling he certainly knew what he was talking about. (Maybe it's because the only other thing that can stand on two legs in a wolf's natural habitat is a bear.)
However, it's all a matter of image since, according to the same man, an unarmed man has absolutely no chance to prevail in a fight against an adult wolf, especially if said wolf is a female with cubs. Though some combat martial arts taught to special forces and commandos include techniques for use against guard dogs; these ones are useful against wolves, too.