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Beehive Barrier

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A specific and often striking type of Deflector Shield, often made out of Pure Energy, that takes the form of geometric shapes which connect to form the overall shield — often hexagons, as they tessellate conveniently well. It's not mathematically possible to create a sphere-like shape from regular hexagons alone, but one can come close by throwing in a few pentagons (twelve, for a complete sphere), and some objects in the real world (like fullerene molecules and soccer balls) have such structures. Named after the hexagonal wax cells of honeycombs.

In older games or computer animation, this may have been because an object composed of hexagons was much easier to convincingly render than a sphere; it now mainly owes its existence to Rule of Cool. A favorite of the Barrier Warrior. This design actually has a veneer of plausibility, since two-dimensional hexagons and pentagons can be used to enclose a three-dimensional volume without leaving cracks, and with excellent distribution of stress.

Sub-Trope of Deflector Shields and High-Tech Hexagons. Despite the name, these shields almost never involve actual bees.

This item is available in the Trope Co. catalog.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Mental Models of Arpeggio of Blue Steel can generate and use them as weapons.
  • In Bleach, Nanao creates a wall-shaped barrier after a smoother version is destroyed. However, this is actually said to make the barrier weaker, with the intention of baiting the enemy into a trap that is never seen because they see right through the ploy.
  • Buso Renkin: While it is a solid barrier rather than a force field, Captain Bravo's jacket buso renkin, the Silver Skin, is made up of tiny, Nigh-Invulnerable hexagons that become viable when it is struck, and can regenerate extremely quickly if something does manage to break through. Due to these abilities, the Silver Skin is considered the best defensive capabilities of any buso renkin.
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch's personal Knightmare frame, the Shinkirou, uses a nearly impenetrable defense field made out of hexagons. The barrier isn't a complete sphere, but the individual pieces can be manipulated in any fashion; however, doing so requires a very quick mind, playing to Lelouch's strengths.
  • EDENS ZERO has force fields in this form called a Protection Matrix.
  • Gundam:
    • The Devil Gundam can generate one in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, matching up with the hexagonal pattern of its DG Cells. In the same series, the battle arenas of the Gundam Fight finals are enclosed by a hexagonal-patterned shield, mainly to protect spectators from the Gundams' attacks.
    • The Lightwave Barrier in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, as used by the asteroid fortress Artemis.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!: Cure Sunshine's Sunflower Aegis is a Beehive Barrier shaped like a sunflower. Holds up just as well.
  • The hedron shields of Heroic Age were a multipurpose psionic tool created by the Golden Tribe. In addition to functioning as a shield, it can also create Slow Lasers, repair and even create spaceships out of nothing, and create a region of livable atmosphere and temperature.
  • IRIA: Zeiram the Animation overuses this kind of barrier for everything. Besides military use, it is excellent as an umbrella, a roof for your car, a window for your house, or as a prison cell. Finally, it can even be used for a weapon that can cut anything if it's activated so it intersects the target's body, while at the same time imprisoning it.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Rarely used, but Vita's Deflector Shields do take this form during her first battle against a newly upgraded Nanoha in A's.
    • Precia's energy shield is shown to consist of hexagonal bits when Arf, in response to Precia abusing Fate one too many times, flipped out and attacked her.
  • In MÄR, Phantom, one of the three main baddies, uses a beehive barrier to defend from ranged attacks, and once even fires it at his opponent afterwards.
  • Older Than the NES: The Mazinger series already used the trope in The '70s:
    • The Photonic Research Institute in Mazinger Z uses a Beehive Barrier to protect the facility when under attack.
    • And so did The Fortress of Science from Great Mazinger.
    • Since Mazinkaiser is a reimagination of the original series, it includes this trope.
    • And in the Shin Mazinger Zero manga, Minerva X used a Beehive Barrier to protect Kouji Kabuto and Mazinger Z.
  • In My-HiME, Yukino's element takes the form of several hexagonal mirrors, which are used for defense.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has them as AT fields: a series of hexagons originally located in a fractal shape but the Rebuild series has them either in an irregular formation or lots of layers sandwiched together (take a look at Zeruel, for example). It is established knowledge that AT-fields are all but impenetrable and can only be brought down by either destroying the power source or using your own to partially cancel it out. Once it is weak enough, Evas can usually breach them (either literally tearing them apart like paper or, as Rebuild 2.0 show us, shatter it like glass).
  • Phantom of M? uses a Beehive Barrier in the form of a flat wall, rather than a dome or bubble.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, Ash and the others enter a beehive. One of the walls, a barrier between the heroes and Vespiquen, is made out of Combee, literal beehive barrier.
    • In a later episode, the move Light Screen is depicted as a more usual version of this trope.
  • Rahxephon uses these as part of its shielding.
  • These show up whenever a barrier, literal or figurative, is called for in Sgt. Frog. Knowing the series, it could well be an extended parody/homage of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Used by Xellos in one early episode of Slayers NEXT. In fact it looked uncannily like an AT field, too.
  • One of the characters in Trinity Blood had a shield entirely too similar to Evangelion's AT fields to be anything but a deliberate homage.
  • In Vandread, the Nirvana, Jura's Dread, Gascogne's service vehicle, and some others are surrounded by a Beehive Barrier — the only time we ever see a barrier that ISN'T of this form is when Jura's Vandread utilizes its planetary shield. The individual panels shrink and expand when under stress, too — adding a additional visual element.
  • In Zoids, buildings and certain Zoids were equipped with this.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Zorian eventually becomes skilled at using this type of shield spell in Mother of Learning. It's worth noting that the hexagon-style barrier isn't the gold standard for most serious combat mages; rather, it suits his Weak, but Skilled style, using excellent levels of magical control to compensate for limited mana reserves. The shield has the special property that breaking one cell of the honeycomb will not disrupt the entire shield, reducing the number of times he needs to burn mana to cast it.
  • The Star Wars novels often describe Coruscant's planetary shield as two layers of hexagonal spheres, with missing hexagons allowing ships to enter and exit. In this case the hexagons were invisible, turning the visual trope into a tactical element: only authorized ships could safely navigate the shields and enter or leave the atmosphere. And in case of a battle, those openings would be normally be closed entirely, making it impossible for any lucky shot during an orbital bombardment to bypass the shields. This was also the justification for all the warships in Episode 3 being so close together. Of course, like everything else in Star Wars the real reason for that scene was Rule of Cool.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Tortoise Fist user Maka in Engine Sentai Go-onger vs Juken Sentai Gekiranger uses this kind of shield, patterned after a tortoise shell.
  • In The Gifted (2017), Lauren's power is something she describes as "pushing things together", able to use whatever material is around to make what pretty much amounts to force fields, such as her usual technique of condensing the air around her until it's as hard as a wall. When she uses it to its maximum, it looks like a dome or wall of translucent hexagons.
  • Star Trek:
  • In Viper, the CGI sequence of the Viper Defender's transformation to its armored form consists of hexagonal panels covering the car then morphing into a gray Dodge Viper. (As a bonus, the hexes made the car look like it was covered in snakeskin. Get it?) (In its syndicated form, the effect was simplified, using large rectangles instead of small hexagons.)

    Video Games 
  • Agent Hugo: RoboRumble: TEX2000's shield mode makes a barrier made up of triangles cover Hugo whenever he flies over a green tile.
  • The Inhibitor bloodline of Bloodline Champions has a Rune Shield ability which does this. It reduces damage taken, but the real best part of it is if it takes enough damage, it will end, exploding - which means it damages and stun enemies around the shielded target.
  • In Crash Fever damage reduction effects appear this way, gaining more tiles the more potent they are.
  • Disgaea uses these in the physical and magical barriers.
  • In End of Nations, the Patriot class can use the hexagon-layered Asgardian Dome Support Power to protect affected units from all attacks for a short time.
  • All bosses from Gaia Seed: Project Trap has hexagonal force-fields which allows them to deflect your attacks, though they'll dispel them automatically to attack you.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3 has the Bubble Shield. The shield will completely stop bullets, plasma bolts, grenades, rockets and explosions of all sorts. This Beehive Barrier doesn't offer complete protection, however — players and vehicles can pass straight through as if it didn't exist.
    • Halo: Reach includes a similar shield with the Drop Shield armor ability, which also incorporates health-restoring properties.
    • In the later games, a beehive-esque energy shield becomes visible whenever a Sentinel is shot.
  • They're everywhere in the Kingdom Hearts games whenever you come across the border of a particular level.
    • There's also the Reflect and Dark Shield spells in KHII, which momentarily create a Beehive Barrier around the user. The former follows up with a burst of magic if an enemy attack actually connects with the barrier, making it one of the most dangerous spells in the game once it's been levelled up.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ , Aqua creates a barrier around someone else (Terra) in the secret movie. It's also her regular guard ability in Birth by Sleep and 0.2, emphasising her Magic Knight / Squishy Wizard status. By Kingdom Hearts III she even has the ability to make arena borders using this magic.
    • By Kingdom Hearts III, Barrier abilities are available to Riku, Mickey, Aqua, Kairi and a few of Sora's Formchanges, while Mickey, Aqua and Xion collaborate on a massive Reflect shell large enough to shield the whole party.
  • METAGAL: If one of Meta's attacks doesn't do damage to an enemy, an energy shield with a honeycomb design will briefly flash in front of it.
  • Nelo: The Nightsithe can generate a red sperical shield with a honeycomb pattern on it around their bodies, rendering them impervious to attack,. Luckily, it doesn't stay up permanently.
  • Wipeout HD has this.
  • In Mega Man X 7 and X8, if you shoot an enemy when it isn't vulnerable, bits of Beehive Barrier appear to let you know. Zero also projects one when using one of his weapons (a fan) in the latter.
  • Bass.EXE had a geodesic aura protecting him in the first Mega Man Battle Network game. (It was spherical in all his later appearances.)
  • Near the end of Skies of Arcadia, a barrier like this is put up around Soltis, forcing the heroes to regroup and try to figure out how to get around the thing. Also, beehive barriers are what "Evasive Action" looks like in ship-to-ship combat.
  • Used in the semi-unreleased game SCARAB, where your Beehive Barrier has to be rotated or your opponent will simply shoot out one of the hexagons, then shoot you through the hole.
    • Additionally, when one of them has been hit and no longer stops incoming fire, it also turns opaque, allowing people to see how damaged the shield is, and preventing the victim from seeing where the fire is coming from.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time had a green Beehive Barrier appear while blocking attacks.
  • Certain enemies in Rogue Galaxy are protected by barriers (until broken by a special gun) which are momentarily visible as Beehive Barriers when struck.
  • In Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, a Beehive Barrier indicates bosses with "absolute defense."
  • In the .hack games, Data Bug monsters are covered with green hexagons.
  • Square-Enix's The World Ends with You features Beehive Barriers (simply called "walls") as part of the Reaper's Game. Every day has the Reapers limiting players limited to a given region, and trying to travel to any inaccessible section leads to a characters running into Some Kind of Force Field (occasionally with a cutscene. Some can be lifted, usually by meeting the conditions of a nearby Support Reaper.
  • The Auger in the Resistance series can project one of this as secondary fire, it's an oval wall rather than a full circle as most of them, but the look stays, the Wrath does one as well in Resi 2.
  • As one can tell from Zone of the Enders and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Hideo Kojima sees the world in sheets of electrified hexagons. "That is what technology looks like, damn it."
  • In Too Human, named/boss-styled Goblins have a glowing red Beehive Barrier that needs to be knocked down before Baldur can start eating away at their actual HP.
  • Pretty common in Final Fantasy games as well.
  • In the console Pokémon games, starting from XD: Gale of Darkness, the moves which raise defense take this form.
    • In a more literal sense, Vespiquen's Defend Order.
    • The animation for Aegislash's signature protecting move, "King's Shield," looks like this.
    • In the Player Versus Player mode of Pokémon GO you can use up to 2 protect shields that looks like this.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the Barrier spell and the shield protecting the Garuda monster are Beehive Barriers.
  • In Destiny, Valus Tlu'urn projects one at the end of the Shield Brothers strike.
  • Several rings in zOMG! summon Beehive Barriers. Improbability Sphere summons one around an ally as a general, while Turtle Summons one around yourself as a "OH SHI-!" shield.
  • Some of the wards in The Last Remnant appear with a beehive pattern in front of the target.
  • Several protective spells in Neverwinter Nights 2 look like this.
  • In Mass Effect, one of the abilities creates a single hexagon barrier in a likely homage to this trope.
    • In Mass Effect 2, all the barriers display a beehive shape when first forming: Geth, Collector, Tech Armour, Krogan fortification, you name it. Not biotic barriers, though; they're always smooth surfaces, which makes them more visually distinct from tech-based shields.
    • This continues into Mass Effect 3, with the Leviathan artifact in the DLC of the same name being secured within a cylindrical shape made of hexagons to prevent it from sending out mind control waves.
  • The Age of Jalak Dador in Uru: Ages Beyond Myst has a force field you can toggle with your KI, which helps since the thing it protects is a giant stone game board that you're able to adjust to rather staggering heights.
  • In Rez, the third boss (the Venus (Tera) security system) is protected by one of these, and you have to shoot out each individual cell when it flips over to fire its lasers at you.
  • Not surprisingly, Wild ARMs 4 and Wild ARMs 5 feature this, given the HEX battle system.
  • In the Wii version of Trauma Center, the bomb from the bomb defusal mission is surrounded by a solid field of hexagonal plates that rotate about the place in 3D.
  • Appears when guarding in Baten Kaitos.
  • The Leviathans in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption protect themselves with glowing blue barriers composed of interlocking hexagons. As does Samus herself with the Hazard Suit upgrade.
  • The A-gear of Ace Online gets one of these, perfect for negating all missile damage for a bit.
  • Champions Online:
    • The tutorial missions begin with a section of Millennium City enclosed by a Beehive barrier by the Qularr aliens. However, the hexagons aren't exactly perfect, and sort of float through the barrier as you watch.
    • Also a partial, shield-shaped Beehive barrier is an optional block power in the Power Armour powerset.
  • In World of Warcraft, this is called Shell Shield, a powerful ability that reduces all damage taken by 50%. This is mitigated by the fact that the only ones who can actually use it are turtles.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, you have the Nanoswarm, which fades away towards the top, but is still present. It functions as a sort of domed room with no exit, with stuff going in but not coming out until it dissipates. Great for waiting out a Soviet nuke Vacuum Implosion device.
  • FEAR 2 has this for Enemy elite Power Armour. Curiously, they player's version is missing this particular feature-which is remedied in the third game.
  • The Protoss immortals from Starcraft II have special hardened shields that take this form to distinguish them from the normal plasma shields.
    • The early development version of Starcraft II had a Protoss air unit called the Tempest which had a special energy shield made of tessellating hexagons. It was stronger than normal shields, but only worked against attacks from ground units.
  • Cover Shield ability for Engineers in Star Trek Online. Not a full sphere, but very hexagonal. Some of the defense grids around planets in missions are of this type as well.
  • Justified in Homeworld Cataclysm, as the protective shells are created by surrounding the core ship with several dozen minute Sentry drones that serve as the apices of the prospective force-field polyhedron.
  • The Class 9 and 10 shields in Freelancer have this effect when the ships using them are attacked. Specifically the shield is normally invisible and is more or less form fitting, but when struck it will become partially visible, revealing tessellated hexagons.
  • In Crysis hexagons are used in several parts of the Nanosuit design. Especially in Armor mode.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden has the AEGIS System, a series of shield satellites set up around the Earth to protect it from the gravity wave unleashed by the death of the Big Bad from the previous game. In this case, the shield is powered by the world's Super Robots from a power station set up on the Moon (intended to be the precursor to Gundam X's Satellite System).
  • Mother 3 has this in the form of PK Shield and PK Counter.
  • League of Legends uses this for some shields, such as Morgana's magic-blocking Black Shield or Poppy's unbreachable Diplomatic Immunity. In addition, the summoner spell Fortify (before it was discontinued) used to deploy invulnerable, but short-lived shields of this type around every friendly turret.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, the Monado Shield art briefly creates one around the party when it's used.
    • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the ability to generate these is a basic common ability of Blades and Artifices. Malos is also capable of deploying a more distinct and powerful version of it, since he wields a Monado of his own.
  • In Digital Devil Saga, whenever an attack is reflected due to game mechanics, a Beehive Barrier of thousands of tiny tesselated hexagons will briefly flash as the inertia of the blow or the magical energy bounces off it and hits the caster.
  • Paladins has Fernando, Khan, Makoa and Barik use these. Justified for Makoa, given his shell comes out of his back, and his shell is made of those beehive shapes to begin with.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, Ral seems to create large, physical versions of these using raw mechanical materials in the mission where you fight them. They don't actually use it in combat, though.
  • In Borderlands 2, Axton's Sabre turret can, if you've taken the right skill, deploy a bubble shield around itself. Players can walk and shoot through it, enemies can't. ION Loader enemies can project a much larger one, though in this case players can walk through it — they'll just get zapped by the loader until dead if they do. Your personal skills have a similar effect.
  • In Ragnarok Online, using the Parry skill as a Lord Knight will trigger a beehive barrier hemisphere special effect that will briefly cover the character.
  • Shields in FTL: Faster Than Light are shown as an oblong shell of hexagons around your ship. The hexagons grow brighter and more pronounced with every layer of shielding gained.
  • In the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance, various characters use this kind of shield, the most notable being Barrier Warrior Recue, who have three different variations, sphere, half sphere and flat.
  • Overwatch:
    • The shields generated by Orisa, Reinhardt, and Winston are all beehive barriers, but the transparency makes it hard to notice, unless you're looking at it at an angle. Mei's beekeeper outfit has much a much more obvious one in place of the typical face netting, bringing a new meaning to the phrase Beehive Barrier.
    • With the rework of Symmetra in June 2018, her ultimate ability creates a temporary flat beehive barrier that extends indefinitely.
  • The various high-tech walls in Prismata look like this.
  • TerraTech's late-game Havoc shield generator creates one of these.
  • In Destroy All Humans!, most Furon shields have this pattern.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: The MEC Trooper's Absorption Fields ability generates a barrier like this when they're hit.
  • The Sun at Night: Laika's shield looks like this when it's activated.
  • Star Fox: Assault: Usually seen in the strongest Aparoids and shield generators. In the intro scene prior to the final mission, the entrance to the Aparoid Homeworld's core gets blocked by a shield like this that blocks the Arwings' laser fire. Peppy then rams the Great Fox against it to clear the path for Fox and the others to fly inside, apparently sacrificing himself in the process.
  • Your dark matter force field in The Persistence takes the form of a bunch of blue hexagons that fade and fizzle out when an enemy breaks it.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Agents North and South of Project Freelancer use the Halo barriers, once weaponizing it, and North using Theta to open small windows allowing him to fire through the barrier while under full assault.


    Western Animation 
  • Legion of Super-Heroes has Brainiac 5's force field.
  • Futurama: The Earth is shielded by one made of plates of some ridiculously named artificial diamond in The Beast with a Billion Backs. Diamondilium! Which beat out Farnsworth's Diamondium after a game of deathball.
  • Code Lyoko: Aelita uses her power to create a Beehive Barrier (as a curved wall instead of a sphere, though) for the Skidbladnir in "Replika"
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: The Castle of Lions shields itself with a dome made of hexagons. Three of the lions were hidden away in similar shields.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, anyone who wields the Turtle Miraculous can create one of these. So far, the only person who has been seen doing such is Nino Lahiffe, aka Carapace.
  • Steven Universe: Future: As Steven's latent Diamond powers develop in his teenage years, he adopts as his primary power a basic hexagonal hard light projection, which he can shape into walls, spikes, etc. at will. At one point he creates a hemisphere bubble shield very similar to the one in the trope picture.

    Real Life 
  • Literal example: In some parts of Africa, farmers use fences with beehives in order to prevent the elephants from crop-raiding.
  • May be considered a case of art imitating life, since geodesic domes (buckyballs like Spaceship Earth at Disney's Epcot Center, for example) and other hexagon/pentagon based spheres like soccer balls are much stronger the more individual pieces they have.
  • Nothing in video games is truly round, unless some game is using real-time-tessellated shapes such as NURBS, Bezier patches, or Catmull-Clark patches. So it's likely this trope became a stylish way of pretending a barrier was spherical back when tessellation was intractable, but looked cool enough that it stuck.
  • The Eden Project, the world's largest greenhouse, is comprised of several domes built from hexagonal segments.
  • Chobham armour, currently the tank armour used by the US and British, uses ceramic tiles embedded in hardened plates for extra strength. One of the tile shapes used is hexagons, presumably to minimize weak points.
  • NASA heat shielding (or at least that of the Apollo missions) is made of honeycombed metal, each filled with a special plastic to absorb the heat of reentry.
  • Chicken wire used for fencing uses hexagonal mesh to spread pressure more evenly.
  • Hexagon Park, or Bursa stadium.
  • Kikko is a type of feudal Japanese armor similar in concept to European brigandine, but which uses hexagonal plates of iron or hardened leather attached to a cloth backing. Named for the hexagonal plates on a tortoise shell they resemble, it is possible that this led to a more general association between hexagonal grids and lightweight flexible/curved protection.
  • Graphene, a material that is incredibly durable, has its molecules take the shape of interlinking hexagons.


Video Example(s):


Cover Deployed Here!

Turtle can deploy a shield to block bullets and explosives. It features a hexagonal design, befitting its use as an energy shield.

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