Due to its nature as an object that provides warmth and light, the sun
has played symbolic and important roles throughout the history of fiction. Undead or demonic creatures have been depicted as being vulnerable to it
, likely to its associations with light
. If associated with malevolence, can go in line with Light Is Not Good
— imagine sunburns, imagine merciless UV rays scorching everything they touch.
On the other end of the spectrum, the moon
also has connotations of light, but it's been associated with The Undead
and other supernatural creatures. Lycanthropes, the most famous example, are depicted as having their transformations trigger when the moon is full. Can also go in line with Light Is Not Good
, although it can go with Dark Is Not Evil
when dealing with characters like Friendly Neighborhood Vampires
. The moon does give light in the darkness, and just because it's less constant and more mysterious
doesn't make it bad.
The contrast between the two is a common motif. Compare Red Oni, Blue Oni
and Elemental Powers
The sun and moon have also been personified by having both of them be a specific sex. For example, the pairing could be a masculine and harsh sun paired with a feminine and soft moon. In historical religions, the sexes associated with the sun and moon vary greatly, and in some cases both a male and female deity may be ascribed to a single celestial body. According to The Other Wiki
, it is somewhat more common to view the sun as male and the moon as female due to the prevalence of that portrayal in Greek and Roman religion.
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Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Solf J. Kimblee has alchemic circles on his hands that feature the sun and moon respectively. He happens to invoke Light Is Not Good.
- Kannazuki no Miko: Chikane is associated with the Moon, Himeko with the Sun. The symbolism is further explored when Himeko, who believes herself to be an utterly ordinary girl, wonders what the start student and school idol Chikane sees in her. Chikane then proceeds that, just like the Moon only shines with the reflected light of the Sun, so is Chikane inspired and motivated to "shine" in all things by her relationship with Himeko.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei is frequently associated with the moon, initially as a visual motif, but later it turns out to be foreshadowing. Asuka is occasionally visually paired with the sun, but outside of suiting her Fiery Redhead personality the only real plot significance is to contrast her with Rei.
- Seto no Hanayome: Sun and Lunar tend to be associated with the sun and the moon for obvious reasons. Sun is an honorable woman and kind to everyone she meets while Lunar has a bit of a rotten side and is Sun's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis.
- Cardcaptor Sakura has the eponymous cards each being of solar or lunar aspect, and ruled by either Cerberus (Kero) for the sun or Yue for the moon. Kero and Yue have strongly contrasting personalities and powers, befitting this split — Kero is both figuratively and literally firey, and Yue can be cold and distant. Eriol's replacement familiars, Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon, have the same degree of contrast in their personalities, but running in the opposite direction. It's also lampshaded that Sakura's power is neither that of the sun nor the moon, "but your own mere power of the stars."
- Heartcatch Precure has Itsuki and Yuri, Cure Sunshine and Cure Moonlight respectively. Especially telling as their personalities contrast one another (Itsuki's more friendly and outgoing while Yuri's more quiet and reserved). This continues on through to three other characters - Tsubomi (who, as Cure Blossom, contrasts Itsuki), Erika (who, as Cure Marine, is said to contrast Yuri) and the Dark Precure who is Yuri's "sister".
- Moon Knight gets more powerful as the moon waxes and less powerful as it wanes. Under a full moon he's got the strength of 10 men but under a new moon he's only got his own strength.
- The World's Finest (the duo of Superman and Batman) can be considered this as Superman gets his powers from the sun and Batman mostly works at night.
- The Emperor's New Groove soundtrack album: villain Yzma, in Snuff Out the Light praises the moon and calls on all things evil to extinguish the sun.
- In Gremlins bright light will hurt Mogwai, and sunlight will kill them.
- The sun is the official symbol of the kingdom in Disney's Tangled, a fact which plays heavily into making Rapunzel realize who she really is.
- In The Silmarillion (the extended backstory for The Lord of the Rings) the sun and moon were fruits of the Trees of Valinor, Teleperion and Laurelin, that were put in hallowed lamps and carried across the skies by two maiar spirits (equivalent to lesser angels) as a warning to Melkor and a beacon of hope to the Children of Ilúvatar. The stars were actually put in the sky before that (they are dew from Teleperion) and their placement marked the awakening of the Elves by the waters of Cuivienen. The first rising of the sun saw the arrival of Men in Beleriand. Traditionally, the sun is seen as female and the moon male since that's the gender of the forms the Maiar spirits that carry them clad themselves in. Evil things, like orcs and Nazgűl, have no love for either sun nor moon but they will operate at night whereas only the strongest of dark things can walk freely during the day.
- In Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, the sun and moon are emblems of two ancient royal houses. The emblem of the House of Don is the sun, on account of the fact that the Sons and Daughters of Don are descended from the Lady Don and her consort, Belin the Sun King. Meanwhile, the emblem of the House of Llyr is the crescent moon; this is on account of the fact that they are descended from Llyr Half-Speech the Sea King, and the tides of the sea are governed by the phases of the moon.
Live Action TV
- Helios of Greek Mythology is literally the Sun himself, while his sister Selene is the Moon. Even today, Helios and Selene are the Greek words for the Sun and Moon.
- Apollo, the God of Light, eventually became combined with Helios in popular thought, but was never "officially" called the Sun God until long after Christianity replaced Greek myth. Artemis, his twin sister, likewise only became tied to the Moon when Apollo displaced Helios.
- In Egyptian Mythology, the Sun was associated with many deities. Horus was a special case as it was claimed his eyes were both the Sun and the Moon, him being the personification of the sky.
- In Japanese Mythology, Amaterasu is the goddess of the Sun, while her brother Tsukuyomi (who is rarely mentioned) is the god of the Moon. Amaterasu's Arch-Enemy figure is her sort-of mother Izanami, who is an undead goddess who rules the underworld.
- In Necronomicon, the "Cult of The Bloody Tongue" table includes the Solar Engine and Lunar Engine ramps.
- Exalted. Namely, the Solar and Lunar varieties, though there are other types too.
- Dungeons & Dragons Dragonlance setting. The phases of the three moons of Krynn affect the strength of magic corresponding to each moon's moral alignment (Solinari = Good, Lunitari = Neutral, Nuitari = Evil). The closer the moon is to full, the more powerful its magic.
- The Solrock and Lunatone from Pokémon, along with various other Pokemon who evolve according to the game's day/night mechanic.
- Bayonetta's universe has the Lumen Sages representing the Sun and the Umbra Witches representing the Moon.
- The Boktai series is big on this, though with a dash of Dark Is Not Evil applying to the lunar half of the trope.
- One Dual Boss in Kirby's Adventure is Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, an anthropomorphic moon and sun who alternate their attacks.
- The sun/moon balance is the reasoning behind Tauren getting paladins in the most recent World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm. Their druids are trained by the Night Elves who worship the moon goddess Elune as their primary deity. In the Tauren's own cosmology the sun and moon are the eyes of the Earth Mother and they have adopted paladins with solar imagery (known as Sunwalkers) so that both aspects are represented.
- Balance druids are gaining a mechanic where casting nature spells moves them closer to the moon and increases the damage they deal with arcane spells, while casting arcane spells moves them towards the sun and increases damage done with nature spells. The intention is that they maintain a balance between the sun and the moon.
- A theme in Sengoku Basara 3, where Ieyasu represents The Sun while Mitsunari represents the moon. The final battle in Sekigahara is represented by a solar eclipse.
- Nine times out of ten, if a Super Robot Wars installment has Daitarn 3, the robot that uses The Power of the Sun, then its moon-based counterpart, Zambot 3 is more than likely to be right beside it. Especially telling is when their ultimate combination attack, the Combination Crash, starts out with them using their finishers, respectively the Sun Attack and Moon Attack.
- Digimon World Dawn and Dusk has the two mascot digimon Coronamon and Lunamon whose respective Mega Forms, Apollomon and Dianamon, are the digimon representatives of the Roman Gods of the sun and moon.
- Several instances in Touhou
- Of the Three Fairies of Light, two of the members are the bright and energetic Sunny Milk, who has the power to refract light and is powered up by sunlight, and the clumsy and pessimistic Luna Child, who has the power to silence sounds, and is powered up by moonlight. The third member, Star Sapphire is has power of detection, and is not affected by weather.
- The Prismriver Sisters is a lesser example. The eldest sister, Lunasa, wears a hat with a moon decoration, and has the power to produce depressing sound with her violin. The second child, Merlin, wears a hat with a sun decoration, and has the power to produce uplifting sound with her trumpet. Meanwhile, the youngest child Lyrica wears a hat with star decoration, and can produce "illusionary sounds" with her keyboard.
- In Dragon Vale, the Flavor Text for the Sun and Moon Dragon suggests that the world was created when the first Sun Dragon met the first Moon Dragon?
- In Might and Magic VII the Good party get sent to attack the Temple of the Moon and the Evil party get sent to attack the Temple of the Sun. The clerics of the former cast Dark magic, and the latter, Light. However, part of the world is a wasteland because both orders were obsessed with destroying the other regardless of collateral damage, which doesn't speak well of the Sun temple's supposed goodness.
- Majesty allows you to build temples to certain gods and recruit their followers as heroes. These include the sun and moon gods, Helia and Lunord. Unfortunately, their temples are mutually exclusive; if you built temples for one, you cannot build any for the other.
- League of Legends have the Solari tribe and Lunari tribe, both worshiping sun and moon, and having connotations on both the light and dark sides of both sides:
- The Solari is dedicated to protect those in need, and this is very exemplified on their chosen one, Leona, who was born from a tribe of Proud Warrior Race Guy yet rejects their brutal lifestyle and believes that strength was meant to protect others. Yet... the Solari has a dark secret that they may be responsible on the disappearance of their rival tribe, some suspect genocide. The elders of the Solari were so adamant in keeping the existence of the Lunari to never be revealed that they'd declare anyone who peeked too deep to be heretic and will schedule for an immediate execution for the secret discovery.
- The Lunari, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. However, with how they were treated by the Solari, one can infer they symbolize the benevolent side of the moon, as it drew one of the Solari, Diana, into a sense of comfort when she's under the moon. Diana also happens to be the eventual 'Heretic' mentioned above, and shortly before her execution, she received the power of the Moon as their chosen one... and due to a combination of trauma and betrayal, it transforms her into a murderous fanatic whose mission is to make everyone she comes across worship the moon and she will slaughter those who dares disobey.
- Solstice in Heroes of Newerth has two different forms for day and night, and while her abilities between each form are mechanically similar, their properties change accordingly. During the day, she is fully adorned in armor, as she would literally burn without it, and her abilities make her presence more visible and gives her a more tanky presence. At night, she sheds her armor, and her abilities have subtle effects that obscure her presence and her damage output is increased.
- Hellsinker has Sol and Luna. In the context of the game mechanics, Sol is collected over time or by picking up yellow chips, and is used to fire your Smart Bomb, while Luna is collected with purple chips and used to make your main weapon's shots more dense, decreasing the more you fire your main weapon.
- In Phaeton every phaetonian has a solar or lunar celestial affinity, controlling when they most active and granting them celestial beams based on their affinity, combining a sun and moon beam of equal power triggers Solarnight, a power so old, no one remembers what it does, and no one wants to find out.
- RWBY gives us a symbolic example at the end of the "Yellow" Trailer; Ruby, who is associated with wolves and has silver eyes, is standing with the moon above her, while Yang, whose theme color is yellow and has a fire motif, stands behind a rising sun.
- A common theme in Welcome to Night Vale. The titular town is represented by the moon and night; it's dark, and the shadows hold deep secrets. In contrast, the much nicer town of Desert Bluffs is symbolized by the sun, and the light and warmth it brings...except, in reality, Desert Bluffs is far worse than Night Vale. While DB's sun blinds and burns, the darkness in NV can be soothing and protective, even if it is dangerous.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Waterbenders and Firebenders draw strength from the moon and sun, respectively; a Waterbender's strength is greater when the moon is up, and at its absolute greatest when the moon is full, while a Firebender's strength is greater while the sun is up. Additionally, Waterbenders and Firebenders lose their bending during their respective eclipses.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia makes the sun rise and set, while her sister Princess Luna does the same for the moon. With Luna's Face-Heel Turn and subsequent thousand-year imprisonment, Celestia took over the moon duties as well, but after Luna's redemption, she's ready to take the moon back. So Dark goes evil, but comes back.