Follow TV Tropes


Climactic Volcano Backdrop

Go To
Which is hotter, that volcano or Anakin's fury?

The climax is supposed to be the coolest part of the whole story. And since Lava Adds Awesome, it's a good bet that there is going to be a volcano involved. What better way to portray the tortured, desperate emotions of the characters than to juxtapose them with scenery that could have come straight out of a Fire and Brimstone Hell?

May be some overlap with Battle Amongst the Flames, Lethal Lava Land and Lava Adds Awesome. Related to Incendiary Exponent and Chekhov's Volcano. May ignore questions of Convection, Schmonvection.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Every time the Stomach is shown in Cells at Work! and Cells at Work! CODE BLACK, it's depicted as an accident-prone geothermal power plant.
  • At the climax of the Namek Saga of Dragon Ball Z when Goku is fighting Freeza and the planet Namek is collapsing, lava geysers go off behind them — and even before Freeza blasts the planet's core, a column of lava erupts behind Goku at the climax of his "I am the Super Saiyan" speech.
  • The Final Battle between Joseph Joestar and Kars in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency takes place on the top of an erupting volcano. Combined with Astral Finale since the volcanic eruption launches the slab of rock they're on right at the edge of the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Mazinger Z: Several climatic battles happened next to volcanoes and lava pools. In episode 25 Kouji fought Aeros B2 and B3 next to Mount Fuji's crater, and lava bubbled and spilled out of the pool as they brawled, threatening with engulfing them. In one manga chapter penned by Gosaku Ota, Kouji and Holzon V3 battle took place into the crater of Mount Fuji, with the sheer walls of the volcano as background, toxic fumes rising and swirling around them and magma sizzling and churning under their feet. And then you have the episode where Mazinger-Z got dunked in lava...
    • Great Mazinger: One battle between Great Mazinger and Marquis Janus took place in Janus' Volcano Lair. As Tetsuya battled Janus and her troops, the volcano erupted and vomited lava, rocks and cinders, walls crumbled down and the place collapsed around them. It happened in the Gosaku Ota manga episodes.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the battle of the Dai-Gunten took place with a background of erupting Volcanoes. Also, from the movie Lagann-Hen, they manage to somehow, through sheer-hot-bloodedness, summon a galaxy-sized volcano In Space!
  • Transformers: Cybertron Starscream's Awesome Moment of Crowning (and subsequent three-to-five-episode-long-depending-how-you-count battle scene) happens first in, then over one.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, an episode features Shark dueling against his nemesis IV in the "Magma Field". During their duel, as both exchanged fierce blow after the other, Tron, IV's father, continuously taunted his son by saying Shark was a better duelist than he (the champion of Asia) was and pointing out how reckless he always acted. IV determinedly tried proving him wrong, but when Tron made it perfectly clear for everyone watching that IV was nothing more than a mere pawn in his plan, IV's expression showed perfectly well how his heart was shattered, cue a Volcano erupting at this exact time.

    Comic Books 
  • MonsterVerse: In the graphic novel Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, Riccio's visions of Kong's parents — which might or might not have been hallucinogenic — depict their fatal last stand against the Skullcrawlers as occurring amidst a volcanic eruption, with lava oozing and exploding all around them. When the parents are dead and the Skullcrawlers gone at the vision's end, the volcanism is gone.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): The climax of the "Birds of Paradise" arc takes place with Diana fighting a furious Pele at the base of a volcano overflowing with lava.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Eternals: The third act takes place on an isolated tropical island housing an erupting volcano. Sersi has to get close to the volcano because the plan is to put Tiamut to sleep, with both friends and foes following her.
  • Hercules (1983): There is one in the heart of Atlantis, and King Minos has used a stolen sword consecrated to Zeus to imprison the (never seen) Phoenix within its lava. By periodically sacrificing virgin maidens to it, he and his daughter retain their youth, and Cassiopeia is the next intended sacrifice. Thus, the climactic battle has Hercules fighting Minos around the lava pit she's slowly being lowered into. In need of a sword, Hercules pulls out the consecrated one despite knowing it will free the Phoenix. After killing Minos and Ariana, he and Cassiopeia flee as the volcano erupts alongside the Phoenix's escape, destroying Atlantis.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Frodo and Sam enter Sammath Naur, the Chamber of Fire in the heart of Mount Doom for the climactic scene.
  • During the climax of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, Anakin and Obi-Wan fight on the lava planet Mustafar.
  • The Northman: The climactic duel takes place beside an active volcano.

  • The eponymous school of the H.I.V.E. Series is powered by the heat generated from the volcano it is located in. In the climax of the second book, Nigel and Franz have to take down Block, Tackle, and Colonel Francisco in the cavern where the lava can be accessed and throw a huge bomb into the lava to keep it from detonating.
  • In Book Of The Dead 2006, Constance and Diogenes have their final confrontation at the Sciara del Fuoco on Stromboli. Diogenes invokes the trope, as he leads the fight there so he can use the dangerous area (which he knows well) as an advantage.
  • Subverted in Autobiography of Red. At the climax, the main character survives flying into an active volcano, but it's an Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
  • The fire primordial-powered forge of Gauntlgrym serves as the fiery backdrop of several of the books in The Neverwinter Saga, most notably Gauntlgrym, in which freeing the primordial causes the volcano to erupt and nearly sweep Neverwinter off the map.
  • In Jumanji, Peter's last turn transforms the fireplace into a volcano, requiring Judy to try and reach the finish in the midst of lava and steam.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: "The Fires of Pompeii", naturally. Notable in that the climax takes place inside Mount Vesuvius. Oh, and the Doctor has to make it erupt to save the world.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions adventure "Nova" in Adventurers Club magazine #4. The adventure takes place in a crater in a volcanically active part of Iceland. At some point during the final conflict a nearby volcano may erupt, covering the area in lava.

    Theme Parks 
  • The climax of Back to the Future: The Ride at Universal Studios is set around a flowing volcano in a prehistoric Hill Valley.
  • Lost Island Theme Park's supplementary Adventure Guide app encourages going through the park counter-clockwise to position the Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol dark ride as the climax of its story of assembling everything needed to defeat Volkanu and his lava minions within the park's volcano.

    Video Games 
  • In the sidescrolling Super Mario Bros. games, Bowser's castles almost always featured lava.
    • The 3D Mario games carry on this tradition as well. Super Mario 64 has you duking it out with Bowser on a chunk of land floating in the middle of a lava pool. The final battle in Super Mario Galaxy has the climactic fight taking place in the middle of a sun.
  • In the fire temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time you fight on top of a pillar jutting out over a huge lava pit and Ganon's castle is floating above a huge lava pit.
  • The final missions of Guild Wars Prophecies take place in a volcanic area.
  • The final story mission of Just Cause 3 is set in a volcano, it’s the only mission that takes place there. The volcano can be visited any time and seen from most high places in the Wide-Open Sandbox, making this Chekhov's Volcano too.
  • The final battle with Wesker in Resident Evil 5 is in an active volcano.
  • Pac-Man World 2: The boss battle against Blinky, the leader of and both the final and hardest member of the Ghost Gang, takes place against the backdrop of a volcano.
  • Dark Crater, the real final level of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky.
  • Arachnia in Bug has one in the background. Bug pushes the Big Bad into it after he defeats her.
  • The second stage of the fight with Mundus in Devil May Cry involves him fighting you inside a volcano. Mundus stands waist-deep in lava, with Dante having to hop on rock platforms to get close enough to attack him. He'll also summon dragons made out of lava to fight you.
  • Ninja Gaiden
    • The battle with the Vigoor Emperor in Ninja Gaiden takes place inside a volcano. For his first form, Ryu must leap from floating platforms in order to attack him, while in his second form, he stomps about in the lava while Ryu is stuck on a convenient patch of rock.
    • The third fight against Genshin in Ninja Gaiden II also takes place on top of an erupting Mount Fuji.
  • The final boss battle of Metal Slug 7/XX takes place on top of lava.
  • The Everdawn Basin in Dust: An Elysian Tail is a chain of volcanoes that the beleaguered Moonbloods make their last stand in.
  • Done twice in Pokémon Omega Ruby. The first time is the battle against Maxie, where the Pokémon used by both sides (and you if you activate a Mega Evolution) are standing on an active lava lake with glowing-hot stones flying up around the edges. The second is the battle against Primal Groudon, who stands in a large pit of lava surrounded by glowing crystals. You are out of the Magma Suit for both battles. For the battle against Groudon, it's handwaved that the Blue Orb is protecting you. While no such justification is given for the battle against Maxie, it can still apply seeing as you have the Blue Orb on you at the time. The original Pokémon Ruby instead had a standard cave battlefield with a red glow on the rocks.
  • Tekken 7 has an arena called "Devil's Pit" and is appropriately the place where you battle the Final Boss, Kazumi Mishima.
    • However, judging by the game's opening, the console version of the game reveals that the arena the opening is set is the same arena where the final chapters of the Mishima Saga take place, called "Brimstone and Fire". It is also where Devil Kazuya fights a cheap and overpowered Akuma.
  • Street Fighter IV includes the Volcanic Rim stage. While it plays no role in the story, players can set up whatever climactic duel they wish. In Akuma's arcade mode, this stage serves as the setting for his rival battle against Ryu. Its background track also doubles as the second half of the base game's intro cinematic.
  • The final battle with Handsome Jack and the Warrior in Borderlands 2 takes place in the latter's vault, which is surrounded by lava.
  • The second-to-last level of the PC version of Far Cry has you driving through a volcanic eruption, while the last level takes place in the Big Bad's Volcano Lair.
  • The final boss in Noita is fought on a destructible platform over a deep lava lake. When the fight starts, vents on the roof open on either side of the room and lava begins pouring down, potentially flooding the room unless dealt with.


    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, a lot of season 3 took place in the Fire Nation and there were at least two active-volcano episodes. "The Boiling Rock" and "The Eclipse" each had volcanic elements. And "The Fortuneteller" from season 1 had a volcano erupt in the Earth Kingdom.
    • In the sequel series, The Legend of Korra, there's an example of this in Book 3. The Northern Air Temple is built on top of a regular mountain, but a member of the Red Lotus, Ghazan, is a Lavabender. He essentially turns the entire mountain into an active volcano during their fight with Korra and the crew, which is not only very dangerous for the heroes, but it ends up destroying the temple in true Scenery Gorn fashion.
  • Transformers: Prime - Near the end of the first season, Optimus decides Megatron is beyond redemption and he has no choice but to kill his old friend. The two have a brutal fight next to a glowing volcano, complete with a gathering thunderstorm and eventually an eclipse. It turns out the volcano isn't just for looks when Dark Energon erupts from it, heralding the fact that in this continuity, Earth is UNICRON.