The Four Gods are the central figures of an ancient Chinese system of astrology and geomancy which was imported to Japan and absorbed into Onmyodo
mysticism, among other beliefs. In this system, there were 28 'star houses' (constellations) which ran the circumference of the sky. The Heavenly Emperor divided the sky into the northern, southern, eastern, and western quadrants, each with 7 star houses; each quadrant was ruled by a divine beast. In the original Chinese version, there was one more divine beast
, Huánglóng, the Yellow Dragon of the Center, embodying the element of Earth. He is very notably missing from the Japanese version, where the center represents void. Void, being nothingness, has no divine beast associated with it. The closest Japanese version of him would be Ouryu. This is probably the biggest reason why you will not see him in Japanese culture.
These gods were (Chinese, Japanese, then Korean names):
- Qīnglóng — Seiryū — Cheonglong; (The Azure Dragon, representing Spring and Wood) to the East
- Zhūquè — Suzaku — Zuzak; (The Vermillion Bird, representing Summer and Fire) to the South
- Báihǔ — Byakko — Baekho; (The White Tiger, representing Autumn and Metal) to the West
- Xuánwǔ — Genbu — Hyeonmu; (The Black Tortoise, representing Winter and Water) to the North
- Huánglóng — Kōryū or Ōryū — Huanglong; (The Yellow Dragon, representing the Changing Seasons and Earth) to the Center
Common variations of the above are Xuánwǔ actually being a two-headed turtle/snake hybrid, a turtle with a snake coiled around it, or a turtle and a snake having sex
— and Báihǔ and Huánglóng occasionally being replaced by Qílín/Kirin, a unicorn-like chimera.
Also of note is the fact that many people confuse The Phoenix
with Zhūquè. While they seem similar, they are entirely different entities; in fact the Fènghuáng
(Hōō) is a closer representation of The Phoenix
The remains of this belief system can be found in temples and shrines all over Japan, and even in the architecture of places like the city of Nara. It is part of the Japanese cultural heritage, although not always a prominent or even well-remembered part.
Over the course of the years, several anime, manga and video games have drawn upon the imagery of the Four Gods. The most prominent of these is Fushigi Yuugi
, in which they are active deities overseeing a land found inside a magic book called "The Universe of the Four Gods". When she falls into the book, the heroine finds herself thrust into the position of priestess to Suzaku, with the power to summon the god.
In other cases, it is used as a stock name for a Quirky Mini Boss Squad
in an evil organization; see Four Is Death
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Anime and Manga
- Fushigi Yuugi, as noted above, is one of the most well-known examples.
- Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai uses the Four Gods and Onmyodo mysticism as the foundation for its deceptively slapstick story.
- Tokyo Majin averted this, with the Yellow Dragon indeed represents Void/Destruction.
- Author Ken Akamatsu has noted that the Four Gods appear in Love Hina in the form of various pets: Genbu is Onsen Tamago, the hot springs turtle; Byakko is Kuro, Kanako's cat; Suzaku is Shippu, the mysterious bird owned by Tsuruko (Motoko's elder sister); and Seiryū is Leon, the chameleon owned by Ema Maeda (a manga-only last-episode character).
- YuYu Hakusho, features "The Four Saint Beasts", a Quirky Miniboss Squad of demons based on the Four Gods. In sequence, they were:
- Genbu, defeated by Kurama
- Byakko, defeated by Kuwabara
- Seiryū, defeated rather quickly by Hiei (17 slashes in a split second!)
- Suzaku, defeated by Yusuke.
- Flow: In a modern world where everyone is born with a mythological creature who can grant them powers and a single wish, people with powerful gods gain extra education and special privileges, and those who wait to make their wish wind up having their gods disguised as animals following them around. Leerang is followed by the cat god, the most boring and useless of the gods, guaranteeing him an average life at best. However, when tragedy strikes and the cat god offers to turn back time by one day in order to undo the accident, it turns out that his cat god may have been the White Tiger, one of the most powerful gods ever known in disguise.
- In Samurai Deeper Kyo, the main character uses the Four Gods as names as well as concepts for his ultimate sword techniques.
- The Digimon franchise has the Four Holy Beasts, a set of Olympus Mons based on the Four Gods. Digimon Adventure 02 marked their anime introduction with Qinglongmon, based on Seiryū, being important to the plot. Digimon Tamers introduced the remaining three; Zhuqiaomon (Suzaku) was initially an antagonist, and Baihumon (Byakko) and Xuanwumon (Genbu) play relatively minor roles. The fifth god, Huanglongmon (Kōryū), existed in supporting material for years but didn't make his anime debut until a decade later in Digimon Xros Wars, but was only a Monster of the Week in it.
- The shinigami in Yami No Matsuei could summon "shikigami", helpful minor gods. Only two appeared in the anime, based off of Suzaku and Byakko. The manga, however, features the four of them.
- The four gods also appear in the anime Karasu Tengu Kabuto.
- In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui", the heroes use a clue about the four gods to locate one of the episode's Plot Coupons. (The episode apparently assumes its audience knows what "the four gods" are and doesn't explain further, leaving Western audiences in the lurch.)
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann includes mecha named after the Four Gods, each belonging to the General roughly corresponding with the God's element: Byakou (Thymilph, fire), Sayrune (Adiane, water), Gember (Guame, earth), and Shuzack (Cytomander, wind).
- The Four Gods appear as antagonists for an arc in Angel Tales.
- Koi Hime uses the "girls of the four seasons"� bit explicitly. Each girl is a daughter of one of The Four Gods.
- The anime version of Dokyusei (English title, End Of Summer) is more subtle. In this case, they pared the list of girls (from the game) down to four. The follow-on OAV set (not released in the US) has the school nurse reminding Wataru that he can't keep all four of them forever.
- One of Code Geass' central characters is named Suzaku; his late father's name was Genbu. The characters were designed by CLAMP, who are known for making references such as this.
- Seiryū, Suzaku, Byakko and Genbu are the names of Nekoyashiki's spiritual cat companions in Rental Magica. They're useful for everything from shields to attacking to creating a gust of wind.
- In InuYasha, Saint Beast-inspired ninja are one of the many, many Quirky Miniboss Squads the team faces in yet another filler arc.
- They also face off against a group like this in the last movie, though those guys were all actually powerful.
- The Four Elemental Kings in Berserk.
- Four enemy characters from Rurouni Kenshin are named after the Four Gods and each fights with an appropriate weapon and fighting style — Seiryū uses a longsword and reads his opponent's attacks, Suzaku has twin shortswords and copies his opponent's moves, Byakko uses spiked bracers and relies on physical strength, and Genbu has a sectional staff and uses strategic planning to play the long game.
- In The Slayers, the good dragon-gods of the world, as opposed to the evil chaos-demon-gods, are based on this pattern: four gods, each representing an element, and the supreme (actually, penultimate) god Ceipheed. The evil demon gods are based on Goetic demonology.
- Each of the girls in Hyakko's Four Girl Ensemble corresponds to one of the four gods. A broader Theme Naming based on the twelve animals of the Zodiac is present in the rest of the cast.
- The B'ts of the four Spirit Knights in Bt X correspond to the Four Gods, with the slight variation of the Spirit Knight of the West having a Kirin (Horse) B't instead of a Byakko.
- Hacchi has a technique named after them in the latest Bleach spoilers.
- In A Certain Magical Index, the global spell that swapped everyone's appearance was accidentally set in to motion by Touma's father collecting supposedly mystical figurines that represented The Four Gods and placing them in each of their associated directions. And Tsuchimikado gets rid of it by using accordingly-colored paper figurines placed in certain directionsnote to directly invoke the Gods and fire a magical Wave Motion Gun at the house.
- Saint Beast happens to feature...well, yeah.
- Parodied by the "Devoted Four Goddesses" that make up the Stolen First Kiss Team in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, with Suzuka as the Suzaku (represented by a bird), Tatsuko as Seiryū (represented by a sea horse, which in Japanese myth is seen as a baby dragon), and Nanaki as Genbu (represented by, well, a turtle). Kuroe then asked just who the White Tiger Byakko was supposed to be, whereupon Taiga appeared as the fourth member of the group.
- The Four Spirit Kings Yamatohime, Genbu, Byakko and Seiryū in Kurohime.
- The four royals who appear in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Gogo are a dragon, a red/pink bird, a tiger and a turtle.
- The four swords of the ancient heroes in Basara are named after The Four Gods.
- The main four characters of Beyblade each have a bitbeast that corresponds to one of the four gods. They're even referenced sometimes as the four holy beasts, therefore ranking them higher than all the other bitbeasts in the series.
- Their villainous expies in Beyblade Zero G also use beys ased on this motif, but a little more blatant.
- They haven't appeared as characters in Gate7, but each volume's front cover features Hana with one of the four gods: Suzaku on volume 1, Seiryu on volume 2, Genbu on volume 3, and presumably Byakko on the yet-to-be-released volume 4.
- In Kill la Kill, each of the Four Guardian Students of Kyoto's Abekamo Academy shares their surname with one of the four gods, and even produce a holographic image of their respective beast.
- In TateNoYuushaNoNariagari, the protagonist seems to be modeled after one of them.
- In The Shadow Hero, the Green Turtle is empowered by the Black Tortoise. The other three gods also appear.
- The four incredibly destructive water volcanoes in Embers are modeled off of this concept, but with different names given: Shirotora (the White Tiger), Asagitatsu (the Blue Dragon), Akitori (the Vermilion Bird), and Kurokame (the Black Turtle). Of these, Shirotora and Asagitatsu are important in the story- Zuko's mother's home domain of Byakko has retained a measure of autonomy from the Fire Lord by being the only people who can reliably keep the volcano nicely dormant, while the lack of anyone doing something similar about Asagitatsu (whose last two eruptions killed Avatars and made life difficult worldwide for years afterwards) is a major plot point.
- In Gamera 3: Awakening of Iris, Gamera (as a monster turtle) is equated with Genbu, whereas Suzaku is equated with the film's titular villain.
- In fact the film even points out the similarties between Genbu's rivalry with Suzaku and Irys's desire to kill Gamera.
- Loosely referenced in the Conan the Barbarian movie, where Asian character Subotai mentions he prays to the Four Winds.
Live Action TV
- Yet another Humongous Mecha example. Though colors are switched for the Tiger and the Dragon, together these four make up the Combining Mecha of Justiriser.
- The Shigenshou in Juken Sentai Gekiranger and Phantom Beast Generals of Power Rangers Jungle Fury are based on this trope (though Jungle Fury downplays it): Sanyo the Basilisk/Snapper the Snapping Turtle (Genbu), Sūgu the Chimera/Whiger the White Tiger (Byakko), Mele/Camille the Phoenix (Suzaku), Long/Scorch the Dragon (Seiryū), and Rio/Dai Shi the Griffin (Huánglóng). Lampshaded with Sūgu, as his prior identity had white tiger powers and he was nicknamed "Byakko" because of it.
- Speaking of Power Rangers, one should mention that by a string of coincidences Tommy has had powers and mecha of a green (Western) dragon, a white tiger, a red phoenix, and a black, er, sauropod (hey, considering some of the depictions of Genbu, it's not that farfetched).
- While the colors are off, four of the Mythical Chi Beasts from Gosei Sentai Dairanger are meant to invoke the Four Gods: the Red Dragon, the Pink Hōō, the White Tiger, and Daimugen, their ally.
- And as Dairanger draws heavily on Chinese mythology, Huanglong/Koryu shows up near the end in the form of the giant dragon Daijinryuu.
- Coincidentally, Power Rangers Megaforce and Tensou Sentai Goseiger also has A Pink Ho-o, and A Red Dragon like the above, As well as a Yellow Tiger and a Black Snake.
- The Mandarin names of the suns in Firefly. The English names are somewhat less inspired (Red Sun, Blue Sun, White Sun, Georgia and Kalidasa).
- Changeling: The Lost features the Directional Courts of China among the other Great Courts that changelings swear oaths to in order to avoid the notice of The Fair Folk. The courts are patterned off of The Four Gods and supposedly embody associated values (the North Court is made up of ascetics who use suffering to escape memory of their durance at the hands of The Fair Folk, the East Court values material wealth and draws power from envy, the South Court consists of artists and other creatives who value ecstasy, and the West Court is made up of honor-bound warriors).
- In Kindred of the East, some character traits were actually dependent on a character's alignment with the Four, or rather Five - including "dharmas", an equivalent to Clans in Vampire: the Masquerade. While not all dharmas referred specifically to one of the gods, sometimes even switching the animals (such as South/Red-attuned Devil Tigers or North/Blue-attuned Resplendent Cranes), secondary traits were more in line with the original legend.
- Exalted has a similar setup with Gaia's Elemental Dragons, with the main difference being that all five are dragons; Mela (Blue, North, Air), Daana'd (Black, West, Water), Hesiesh (Red, South, Fire), Sextes Jylis (Green, East, Wood) and Pasiap (White, Center, Earth). Also, the four guardians at the shine of the Cup of Fire (aka, the Aidenweiss) are carvings of a coiled blue serpent facing east (Cherulong), a vermillion swallow facing south (Jujak), a white tiger facing west (Bayrakan) and a black tortoise facing north (Hymonmu). They come to life if the Aidenweiss is touched without permission, or if a creature of darkness even sets foot there.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, Each "Sylvan" Xyz Monster and Naturia "Synchro" Monster except Naturia Leodrake is based on one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations.
- Subverted in the SD Gundam toyline BB Senshi Sangokuden — the four gods do not appear as characters, but as symbols for the four kingdoms. Sho, led by Ryūbi Gundam, is Seiryū; Gou, led by Sonken Gundam, is Byakko (yellow instead of white); Giga, led by Sōsō Gundam, is Suzaku; and the unnamed forces of Tōtaku Zaku and Ryufu Tallgeese are Genbu (purple instead of black). Each faction has a stylised symbol indicating the god that represents it, on a corner of the boxes, while the Gundam designs would often carry elements of the gods (Ryūbi Gundam's dragon head crest, for example), even after defecting to some other faction at some point (Kochō Serpent, now a Giga general, retains the turtle motif from his days under Tōtaku Zaku's command.)
- Ryufu Tallgeese comes banded with the Tengyokugai weapons platform, able to turn into four forms for each of the faction leaders to use. While the four forms are modelled after the companion mecha for the Gundams that Ryūbi, Sonken and Sousou are based on (Sonken/GP03 with the Tengyokugai Tiger form/Dendrobium Orchis is a fan favourite), they are officially named for the Four Gods, with little golden heads on each of them depicting the corresponding god for good measure.
- The toyline would later introduce the Tenkaisyo weapon system, based on the Four Gods (a dragon head, tiger claws, phoenix wings and a turtle shell shield), but these are all in gold rather than the usual colors.
- On an added note, the defunct Kishū faction led by Enshō Bawoo has no animal symbol assigned to it, though Ganryō Galus-L and Bunshu Galus-R are themed after a bull and a horse.
- The Lunar series references this. In addition to the Goddess Althena whom gave life to Lunar (and, despite not being a dragon herself, could be seen as The Ōryū as she holds the same power and can also be controlled like them depending on the game), there are four dragons, each with a color matching one of the four gods and a similar appearance to the appropriate god to boot. The similarities are strongest in Lunar: Dragon Song: The Red Dragon is covered in feathers and has a hooked muzzle resembling a bird's beak. The White Dragon strongly resembles a large cat with wings and has stripes along its body. The Black Dragon is more or less a giant tortoise with a more dragon-like face and build. The Blue Dragon resembles a giant serpent.
- In Kingdom of Paradise, the world of Ouka is based around the Four Gods. The player character hails from the eastern Seiryu clan and journeys to the southern, northern, and western parts of Ouka during the course of the game. Each clan is protected by a God of the same name (which Shinbu eventually must battle), as well as a special clan sword. Notably, the Center God is featured; the corresponding realm is called "Kirin".
- The Last Blade series featured four characters that each represent one of the Gods. Kaede = Seiryū, Kagami = Suzaku, Okina = Genbu, and Shigen = Byakko.
- Don't forget the final boss of Last Blade 2 and the master of Kaede, Moriya and Yuki, Kōryū (Japanese for Huánglóng, making a rare Japanese appearance).
- The set of Perfect Run Final Boss songs in beatmania IIDX 13 DistorteD, collectively called "Cardinal Gate", were themed around the Four Gods; each of the four songs unlockable from the start were written by artists that took their names as pseudonyms. A fifth song, by an invented 5th entity, "Kinjishi", was available after doing well on the first four. 3 of the artists (Suzaku, Genbu, and Seiryū) have released songs after DistorteD.
- One level of Killer7 requires Smith to slide four screens together to lower a bridge. Each screen represents one of the four gods, and is located at the proper compass point.
- In Final Fantasy XI, you can summon and fight four incredibly powerful powerful monsters based upon these deities, sharing their names and likenesses (well, FFXI equivalents — Seiryū is a differently-colored version of a smallish dragon, and so on). Most players refer to these as "Sky Gods". (Although older players sometimes still refer to them as "Shijin".) There is a center god as well but it's a Kirin rather than a dragon.
- Kirin is notably of the Earth element and like the original center dragon god, is the powerful of the five.
- Ōryū is also in the game as an earth-based Wyrm. His fights are completely unrelated to the gods in Tu'Lia.
- In Final Fantasy XII, there are four creatures in the game's penultimate dungeon who are based on the Gods: a large stone tortoise called Pandemonium, a large blue fish named Slyt, and a white tiger-like biped named Fenrir. Later in the game, a side quest takes the player to the same location to hunt down a Seer who is said to control powerful beasts. After defeating a Phoenix along the way, the Seer himself summons all four of the aforementioned bosses over the course of the battle.
- There is a "Four Gods' Shield" found in all three Final Fantasy Tactics games.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 has four countries named after the four beasts, and the beasts are prominently featured on the flags and coats of arms of the countries.
- The four gods appear as the bosses of each major world in Makai Toshi SaGa (The Final Fantasy Legend in the West), each guarding a sphere that allows you to continue climbing the tower, and Kōryū (called "Ko-run" in the English version) is also present as both a random encounter monster type and a form that Monster player characters can turn into. In SaGa 2, Monster characters can acquire any of their forms. In a slight variation, each one also represents one of the four western elements, with Genbu as Earth, Seiryū as Water, Byakko as Air, and Suzaku as Fire.
- The four elemental schools of magic in Romancing SaGa 3 are named after the Four Gods.
- Four of Maria's subweapons in the Castlevania series are based on these four — an overhead fire attack with birds, a running lightning cat that hits repeatedly, a flying dragon that hits for ice, and a turtle shell shield. The Item Crashes for these, where applicable, summon the actual Gods, and she also uses their power to revive Richter and grant him invincibility if he's defeated at the start of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- The MacGuffins in the early part of Shadow Hearts are sacred paintings imbued with the powers of the four gods.
- In Super Robot Wars Alpha, its sequels, and Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, RyuOhKi (Seiryū) and KoOhKi (Byakko) are ancient guardian golem-gods which absorb a pair of Humongous Mecha and gain the ability to combine into RyuKoOh or KoRyuOh (they can switch forms at will).
- Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 introduces equivalents for Genbu and Suzaku, which merge with the other two to form the devastatingly powerful Shin RyuKoOh/Shin KoRyuOh.
- Later on, Second Original Generations expanded the Genbu and Suzaku counterparts, showing that they could merge together like the Seiryuu-Byakko pair into JakuBuOh or BuJakuOh. This combination actually exists from the Alpha backstory, just not shown. Also from both games, turns out the huge dragon ridden by Son Ganlong is supposed to represent Ouryuu/Huang Long.
- Also in Super Robot Wars Advance, though not as obvious (and this also carries over to the Original Generation universe). Axel Almer's Soulgain has attacks named after the Four Gods, though when it's translated to US, the reference becomes less obvious (Seiryū Rin -> Dragon Scale, Genbu Gōdan -> Black Warrior, Byakko Kō -> Tiger Bite, Mai Suzaku -> Phoenix Dance). Oh, and it also adds up the Qílín legend (Code: Kirin).
- Aschen Brodel from Endless Frontier has moves call Tigress Bite, Genbu Strike and Dragon Scale. Her overdrive attack is Phantasm Phoenix.
- Arcana Heart has Chinese Robot Girl Mei Fang, who has attacks named after the Four Gods, and following Soulgain's trend, she also has an attack based on Kirin called Kirin Jacket.
- In Lost Kingdoms, four of the six most powerful cards in the game are based off of the four gods: The White Tiger, the Blue Dragon, the Phoenix, and the Great Turtle.
- The Four Gods appear in the Shin Megami Tensei game series, and in Persona 2 they have a fusion spell (Celestial Veil/28 Mansions Protection in Japanese) that blocks all elemental damage, which is useful for exactly one battle, right after you technically gain the ability to cast it.
- Persona 3 and Persona 4 both have the Four Gods as Personas, along with Kohryu, who can only be obtained by fusing the Four.
- Devil Survivor also features four guardians associated with the cardinal directions, but it's a different set, consisting of the Four Heavenly Kings, instead. Oddly, Seiryū still makes an appearance, albeit as a mundane demon and without the other usual three.
- The Four Gods and Huánglóng are also in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where they have their Chinese names. The Four Heavenly Kings also return.
- In Digital Devil Saga, the Four Gods and Huánglóng return. The first four are simple extra bosses who appear after killing Ananta; Huánglóng appears after killing the four others as a brutally vicious Bonus Boss.
- In the Devil Children series (known simply as DemiKids outside of Japan) the Four Gods can be obtained by fusing through the Relic System. You have to get their Soul to resurrect them, otherwise they will simply be zombies (Byakkozom, Suzakzom, Seiryuzom, Gembuzom).
- Referenced in the Wild ARMs series — in almost every game of the series, the player characters can summon four different "Guardian" creatures that correspond to the Four Gods, in addition to other "Guardians".
- The Four Gods appear as Bonus Bosses during the post-game segment of Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū Tobidase Nabe-Bugyō! You're able to capture them after going through the Celestial World and defeat them along with the rest of the game's major enemies; they have the advantage of performing unique combination attacks when paired up with certain main characters.
- Mega Man Zero 4 contains the boss "Heat Genblem." Three guesses what it's supposed to be.
- In Gotcha Force, there are 4 Robots that can merge together to total 4 different combinations, each one named after a different one of the four gods.
- Mahjong Fight Club uses them to represent different aspects of Mahjong skill. Each player, upon reaching 1st dan rank, is classified under one of the four based on which aspect of their play is the strongest:
- Seiryuu: Players who are lucky and/or have many dora tiles in their winning hand.
- Suzaku: Players who frequently win hands.
- Byakko: Players whose winning hands are frequently high-scoring in value.
- Genbu: Defensive players who seldom discard the final tile that someone else needs to win.
- The game also has a fifth: Kōryū, the Yellow Dragon, based on Huánglóng. Kōryū replaces the player's classification when they surpass the Master rank.
- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de's local Cast Full of Pretty Boys consists of eight guardians who are explicitly connected to the Four Gods: two guardians — for Heaven and Earth — corresponding to each of the Gods. The Gods themselves originally protected the capital before they were stolen by the villains, and much of the original story revolves around getting them back. On a side note, Haruka does technically have the "central dragon" as well, in the form of the Dragon-God, whose powers are wielded by the main heroine (although it is actually white rather than yellow).
- The Dragon-God also happens to have Yin and Yang sides (Dark Dragon and White Dragon), the former controlled by the Dark Magical Girl. To further complicate the matter, there's also the Black Kirin, apparently under the Big Bad's control.
- In Seiken Densetsu 3, Kevin's has a technique (and associated gear) corresponding to one of the Four Gods for each possible final class. Namely, Seiryuu Death Fist, Suzaku Sky Dance, Byakko Shock Wave, and Genbu 100 Kick.
- The Legend of Dragoon, in keeping with its Cliché Storm status, has an attack called Summon Four Gods. Surprisingly, it is just a non magical martial arts technique, and not a spell that unleashes the End of the World as We Know It. It looks pretty cool though, and the old guy who pulls it off displays fantastic acrobatic skill for his age.
- The Lords of the Burning Dawn of Tenchu 2 are named after the Four Gods.
- One of the "secret skills" in the first Star Ocean allowed the unlocking of super techniques which augmented existing techniques with the power of the Four Gods.
- In Guild Wars Factions, the mission to become "Closer To The Stars" has the players defeat celestial creatures inspired by the Four Gods (with a kirin in place of a tiger). Interestingly these celestial avatars actually look like constellations, with visible stars and traced lines making the "skeleton" of the creature.
- In Mega Man 10, the Dual Minibosses of Solar Man's stage are two phoenixes. One of them is named "Suzak".
- Bloody Roar played with this a little throughout the series. The tiger came first in Beastorizer (later renamed Bloody Roar 1) through Long (who is a zoanthrope of a tiger), whom later had an evil clone in the form of Shenlong (who is an albino tiger) with a yin-yang theme between the two (before Shenlong eventually grown more compassionate and less evil). Next came Primal Fury (the same as Extreme) which had Cronos, who, besides being a penguin, is also a flame-covered phoenix. Then comes Bloody Roar 4, in which there was Ryoho who was a water dragon of Gaia that was so powerful his dragon form had to be sealed off every so often. Finally, in the rare manga Bloody Roar The Fang (which takes place along Primal Fury's time), the trope is played straight with powerful zoanthropes representing the four gods, among the prominent ones being a tortoise zoanthrope with a snake for a tail. Out of them, only Long and Shenlong aren't considered as godly in status.
- Tokimeki Memorial 2 has the local Delinquents gang, the Four Heaven Kings, using the Four Gods themes, each of them wearing on their coats' back a symbol of the respective god they represent : Sou-Banchou, the leader, is Seiryū ; Kinniku-Banchou is Genbu ; Hi no Tama-Banchou is Suzaku ; and Kogarashi-Banchou is Byakko. Baito-Banchou, on the other hand, being the Sixth Ranger in the gang and the only one of the Four Heaven Kings you don't have to win against, just survive until she goes for her next part-time job, as she's Nigh Invulnerable, doesn't have a Four Gods theme.
- In Digimon World 3, the four cities of Asuka Server are named Seiryu City (East Sector), Suzaku City (South Sector), Byakko City (West Sector) and Genbu City (North Sector). Amaterasu Server names its counterparts of the same cities using their Chinese names - Qing Long, Zhu Que, Bai Hu, Xuan Wu. The actual mons based on the Four Gods (see above) don't make an appearance, though, but they do show up in most other Digimon games past that point.
- The Legendof Zelda Majoras Mask: The four giants of Termina. They don't line up perfectly with the four gods, but there is one of them in each direction:
- The giant in the south rests in Woodfall, in the middle of a swamp region.
- The giant in the north rests in Snowhead, a snowy mountain.
- The giant in the west rests in the Great Bay, a sandy beach with warm waters.
- The giant in the east rests in the Ikana Canyon, a cursed land where the Ikana civilization once lived.
- AdventureQuest Worlds features the Four Creatures of the World for its Chinese New Year seasonal event (Black Tortoise, White Tiger, Red Bird, and Blue Dragon).
- Bujingai has one level set in a temple hidden inside a mountain and dedicated to the four gods. You have to activate the altars of Seiryū, Genbu and Suzaku in order to reach the inner sanctum of Byakko.
- The four factions in Acclaim's 9Dragons's Wu-Tang Clan are named after these.
- Sengoku Rance has the four apostles of Demon Xavier who are named after the four gods: Rengoku/Byakko, Shikibu/Seiryuu, Madou/Genbu, and Gigai/Suzaku. Of the four Apostles, Gigai's "transformation" (the transformation seen in the game is not a true transformation) is closest to what is depicted in the Four Gods. We don't get to see Shikibu's transformation. Their personalities, however, are pretty much true to their gods.
- The bosses of Sega Golden Gun are historical characters posessing the Four Gods. Zhang Jiao is Genbu and Da Ji is Byakko, but the hosts of the other two gods consist of Gao Qiu and Sun Wukong.
- World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria introduces the August Celestials. Yu'lon the Jade Serpent in the east, embodying wisdom, Niuzao the Black Ox in the west, embodying fortitude, Xuen the White Tiger in the north, embodying strength, and Chi-ji the Red Crane in the south, embodying hope. They (or at least Yu'lon) go through a reincarnation cycle where they infuse their life into giant statues before they die, and the statues then come alive and become their next life. There's even a version of the Yellow Dragon: Tsulong, another Chinese dragon who guards the Terrace of Endless Spring (though he is never place among the August Celestials).
- In BlazBlue, while references are not entirely direct, Litchi Faye-Ling may call out the names of the Four Gods when she uses the move to relocate her Mantenbou without launching it. If she's on the ground, she called out either Genbu or Byakko. If she's in the middle of jumping, she called out either Seiryuu or Suzaku.
- When using the Construction Mode in Wolf Fang, it's possible to get a mecha that, at least in the Japanese versions (no specific names in non-Japanese releases besides the mecha type number), can be named for one of the Four Symbols. More specifically:
- Seiryuu/Qinglong (#62) is a combination of Electrigger/Stun Gun, Knuckle Shot, and 6-Wheeled.
- Suzaku/Zhuque (#39) is a combination of Flame Launcher, Pile Bunker, and 2-Hover.
- Byakko/Baihu (#06) is a combination of Homing Missiles, Iron Claw, and 2-Walker.
- Genbu/Xuanwu (#28) is a combination of Grenade Launcher, Knuckle Shot, and 4-Walker.
- Subaru Septentrion, the penultimate boss of Chelsea's path in Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils, assumes 5 forms, each one named and patterned after one of the gods:
- Suzaku Force, a red, winged form that either flies across the screen or floats in the center firing projectiles
- Genbu Force, a green, circular form that rolls and bounces across the stage.
- Byakko Force, a grey, four-legged form that runs along the ground and off the walls.
- Seiryu Force, a long, serpent shaped blue form that weaves through the air, occasionally stopping to shoot at you.
- Kirin Force, a yellow form with four short legs and a very long neck that simply walks forward firing projectiles
- The Four Gods in Arcana Magi are known as The Sentinels of the Four Elements, while in Arcana Magi Zero they are known as The Four Mythic Elements.
- The familiars of the Gods of Time and Life in Tasakeru. The Time God has Byakko and Suzaku, and the Life Goddess has Genbu and Seiryū.