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[[quoteright:270:[[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lightningaxe_4627.png]]]]

-> ''"One strike becomes three! A swift jab becomes two dolphins!"''
-->-- '''Francisco Guerra''', ''{{Webcomic/Paranatural}}''

KiAttacks and ElementalPowers are cool. But what if you want something more appealing than the usual KamehameHadoken wave or [[PlayingWithFire fireballs]] or [[ShockAndAwe lightnings]]?
The answer is: Give your attack a special form.

It can be anything, including weapons, objects and animals. Usually is strictly done for RuleOfCool or for characterize the user of said powers, for example a [[AnimalMotifs bird-related character]] will make avian-shaped attacks. [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons Dragons tend to be a popular choice too]]. May overlap with WeaponOfChoice in some cases of weapon-shaped attacks.

Don't confuse with EnergyWeapon, which is usually perpetual while the "Shaped Attack" is only temporary. When used to create a weapon it becomes a form of SpontaneousWeaponCreation.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Used a lot in ''Manga/OnePiece'', expecially with [[ElementalPowers Logia users]]. [[ShockAndAwe Eneru was a big offender]] and all the [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking admirals]] have at least one attack modeled after their animal theme.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'''s [[FuumaShuriken Rasenshuriken]] and many elemental jutsu, starting with the "Water Dragon Jutsu". Furthermore, outside elemental releases we have Nagato (a huge soul-devouring dragon), Hinata (a Lion-shaped attack), and Gai (a punch that ''shapes air'' into a tiger head).
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'' [[ExtraOreDinary Gajeel]] shape his metal Dragon Slayer in form of several weapons and of course both [[AnIcePerson Gray and Lyon]] can do the same with Ice Make magic. [[spoiler:Laxus tries to kill Natsu with a pike made of lightning.]]
** Natsu sometimes turns his flame attacks into draconic limbs like wings or claws.
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', one of Hiei's most powerful techniques is the [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons Dragon]] of [[CastingAShadow Darkness]] [[PlayingWithFire Flame]].
* The Bao Zakeruga from ''GashBell''.
* In ''HunterXHunter'' the resident BadassGrandpa assassin Xeno Zaoldyecks can make a literal Dragon out of his [[KiAttacks Nen]]. [[MegaManning Chrollo's]] Ghost fish attack may count too.
* [[Manga/DragonBall Goku's]] Dragon Fist attack.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' the [[BladeOnAStick Sokyoku]] is a gargantuan halberd used for capital punishments. When activated it turns in a colossal [[BigBadassBirdOfPrey Phoenix]] made of energy which proceed to [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill annihilate the victim with the raw power of a million of zanpakuto.]]
** In the VideoGames series, [[LittleMissBadass Yachiru]] can use her [[PantheraAwesome feline-shaped]] BattleAura as a ramming attack, but this isn't confirmed by WordOfGod... yet.
* In ''Anime/KnightsOfTheZodiac'' the Silver Saint Sagitta can shape his cosmo into deadly golden arrows.
* A lot of elemental attacks (especially [[ShockAndAwe lightning-based]]) in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' take the form of spears. Kotarou's [[CastingAShadow shadow hounds]] may count too.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha''
** ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'' has Rio Wesley and her Twin Dragon spells, where she uses her elemental magic to form a Flame Dragon and a Thunder Dragon that home in on her target. She can also use just one of them.
** ''Anime/{{Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd As}}'' depicts Signum's Sturmfalken as a [[ArrowsOnFire flaming arrow]] that takes the shape of a falcon that sears through anything it touches when launched and explodes in a blazing inferno that could engulf a massive {{Kaiju}}.
* In ''{{Digimon}}'', there's ''Fist of the Beast King'', which fires a lion head energy projection, and is usually used by Leomon, a lion humanoid.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', the move Dragon Rush is rendered as a blue energy dragon surrounds the {{mon}} using it.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'', being equipped with, well, a GreenLanternRing, use this superpower. On one occasion he used the ring to manifest sumo wrestlers and sic them at some mooks.
* In ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, Jean Gray can unleash her "[[SuperpoweredEvilSide Phoenix Force]]" in the form of a phoenix made of fire and psychic energy. Another mutant, Psylocke, can create a literal psychic knife.
* The Human Torch can do this. His most well known application being the ComicBook/FantasticFour signal flare.

* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series the Expecto Patronum spell goes from a silvery mist to a shapeless mass of light but to, when mastered, the form of the character's [[AnimalMotifs animal spirit.]]
** Fiendfyre is also described as taking the shape of raging animals -- dragons, lions, serpents, anything dangerous. It does this in the film as well, and [[spoiler:takes Voldemort's form when a horcrux is consumed]].
* In an early ''WheelOfTime'' book, the Amyrlin Seat demonstrates that it's possible to shape a sword out of [[BlowYouAway Air]], which is even fairly strong, but says it's [[AwesomeButImpractical less practical than just pushing things around.]]
* {{Justified|Trope}} in ''Literature/CodexAlera''. There are lots of animal-shaped attacks because ElementalPowers come from [[BondCreatures furies]], and the most powerful ones typically have a preferred shape (for instance, Bernard's earth fury is a [[BigFriendlyDog dog]], Amara's wind fury is a [[CoolHorse horse]], and Gram's fire fury is a [[KillerRabbit hummingbird]]).

* In ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings The Fellowship of the Ring]]'', the Balrog seemingly made his sword and whip out of pure fire. In the book they're simply described as [[FlamingSword fiery weapons]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' the player character is actually suggested to give his spells a distinctive form, like using a star-shaped fireball, but the spell has its limits. There's also the "animate breath" spell which can make a temporary mook out of a breath weapon.
** In the ''DragonLance'' setting there's a spell that can create spears of lightining.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'' [[BlowYouAway Greham]] has an attack that makes spears of energy, while the [[LightEmUp White Silver Dragoon]] can make arrows out of light.
* In ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' Dante [[spoiler:with the Sparda Devil Trigger]] can toss a ''dragon'' made of crimson energy at his foes. Vergil and Nero both have Summoned Swords but with different designs - Vergil's Summoned Swords is shaped like Force Edge, whereas Nero's is more along the lines of a two-sided shuriken.
* Masou Kishin bots in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' can use ultimate attacks that take energy and shape it into animal-like forms, like Cybuster's Akashic Buster.
* Burn in ''PsychicForce'' can shape his [[PlayingWithFire flames]] to form pentagrams and fowls.
* In the first title of ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'', Amakusa can fire some ghost-shaped fireballs, Ukyo can send a swallow-shaped blast from his sword and the WarriorMonk Gaira can smash and stun his enemies summoning a shining Asura demon made of energy.
* [[TheWoobie Oichi]] from ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara 3'' can shape her [[CastingAShadow darkness]] in the form of two or more huge black arms. However in this case is unknown [[DemonicPossession who controls who]].
* [[LargeAndInCharge Kenshin Uesugi]] from ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' can summon phoenixes and wolves made of energy, and in late games even a temporary, huge copy of himself made of transparent light.
* The Ghost units in [[BattleForWesnoth Wesnoth]] can send [[MakeMeWannaShout "wails"]] in the form of purple face-shaped attacks.
* An attack similar to the above-mentioned wail happens in ''{{Splatterhouse}} 2'' with one boss.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' there are Megagash and Gigagash, which consist in huge sword-shaped energy streams. The hero can also learn a Dragon-shaped energy attack similar to the [[Manga/DragonBall Ryuuken]] attack.
* ''VideoGame/ViewtifulJoe'' has several dragon-shaped attacks, including the "Red Hot Dragon Kick" ([[DivingKick Red Hot Kick]] when Zoomed in).
** Joe's [[BattleCouple girlfriend]] Sexy Silvia utilizes a few of these of her own. Unlike Joe's [[PlayingWithFire Red Hot Kick]], using VFX Zoom on her [[VideoGame/StreetFighterIII Cool Blue Kick]] creates an [[ShockAndAwe electric]] dragon.
* [[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros FALCON PUNCH!]]
* As a general rule, any spell in the ''Franchise/{{Tales|Series}}'' series with "blade", "lance", or "sword" in the name will look like ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Certain melee attacks also qualify, and there are even a few shaped ''healing'' spells.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/{{Phaeton}}'' we have:
** Trayen's boomerang shaped "windblades" and rapid fire bubble "wavebeam".
** Trayen's elemental orbs.
** Jodie's psychic weapons.