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Cosmic Motifs

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Space has fascinated humanity since time immemorial, and continues to feature as a theme or character motif to the present day. Characters and objects are given Cosmic Motifs to evoke the awe-inspiring mystery and nigh-infinite scope of space. Because Space Is Magic, there may also be power and mysticism involved as well.

Common Cosmic Motifs include:

  • The Sun: Along with the moon, one of the most prominent and well-known of the heavenly bodies. A fiery ball of gas that has connotations of life, and is the center of The Solar System. See The Power of the Sun for sun-related powers.
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  • The Moon: Like the sun, similarly prominent in real life and fiction. A calm, melancholy, and mysterious body that reflects light from the sun. See Lunacy for moon-related powers, and Solar and Lunar for when its duality with the Sun is noted.
  • The Stars: Fixed, bright points in the night sky. See Star Power for star-related magic. Constellations are common star motifs. Celestial Body or Star-Spangled Spandex might be other visual indicators of stellar motifs.
  • Planets: Large, round-ish bodies with their own gravitational fields that orbit stars. Creators usually refer to the familiar planets within The Solar System. See Planetary Tropes.
  • Comets: Icy bodies orbiting the sun that become visible when they release gas. Most traditionally used as a Portent of Doom — see Comet of Doom.
  • Meteors and meteorites: When not associated with fiery Death from Above, are seen as pretty, romantic events. See Wish Upon a Shooting Star for another connotation.
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  • Black Holes: Formed from collapsed stars, not even light can escape their gravity. See Unrealistic Black Hole for how fiction portrays them.
  • Spacecraft: Machines designed to fly in outer space. They bring to mind exploration and scientific progress.

Because many things in space are named for figures in Classical Mythology, this can easily double up with Mythical Motifs. This can also go hand-in-hand with Stellar Name if the characters are named appropriately. See also Artistic License – Astronomy for when liberties are taken with their attributes.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Jinzō Konchū Kabuto Borg VxV: The Amanogawa family follows cosmic motifs, with the surname itself meaning "Milky Way". While Ryūsei means "shooting star", Ginga's full name is pronounced the same as "Milky Way Galaxy" in Japanese. Their father, Taiki, only means "great brightness", but his villain alias as Big Bang does follow the pattern.
  • Both Shirogane and Hayasaka from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War have a stellar motif, though of different types. Shirogane uses real stars and constellations, while Hayasaka has more generic star fields. This ties into their respective relationships with Kaguya (who is named after the moon princess from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) since the moon is always accompanied by stars.
  • Thirteen of My Hero Academia, nicknamed the "Space Hero". Their costume resembles a space suit, they are named for the Apollo 13 mission, and their Quirk (named "Black Hole") gives them "black hole fingers" that can disintegrate matter at the atomic level. Uraraka, who has a gravity-based Quirk, looks up to them and partially patterns her hero identity on space as well.
  • Sailor Moon most prominently has this among the Sailor Senshi — there's one for each planet (including Pluto) and the moon. Some of the supporting cast are also named or themed after objects in space; for example, the cats have moon motifs and lunar-related names.
  • Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure has a space theme. The main Pretty Cutes are Cure Star, Cure Milky (after the Milky Way), Cure Soleil, and Cure Selene (after the sun and moon). Their goal is to save the 12 Star Princesses (based around the Western Zodiac) from being captured by the alien Notraiders.

    Comic Books 
  • Northstar and Aurora of Alpha Flight are twins with Stellar Names and Wonder Twin Powers that produce light.
  • Legion Of Superheroes: Being futuristic superheroes from various planets, cosmic motifs feature into many of the designs and concepts of its members. Its members included Cosmic Boy (later Polestar), Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Dawnstar, and Sun Boy, all with appropriate space and science fiction powers.

    Fan Works 

    Music 
  • Sleeping At Last's Atlas collection has a "Space" segment, comprised of several songs themed around both human relationships and the planets.
  • Gustav Holst's suite The Planets, composed between 1914 and 1916. Divided into seven movements (Mars—The Bringer of War, Venus—The Bringer of Peace, Mercury—The Winged Messenger, Jupiter—The Bringer of Jollity, Saturn—The Bringer of Old Age, Uranus—The Magician, Neptune—The Mystic), it's still a very popular and commonly performed piece of Classical Music.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: The Celestial Incarnae, seven powerful gods, are personifications of the five closer planets, the sun, and the moon. The five planetary personifications have duties related to their respective Classical Mythology god.

    Video Games 
  • In Ensemble Stars!, a few units have space motifs:
    • Trickstar is based on, naturally, stars - their outfits often feature star shapes, and one of its members has a strong love for anything that glitters.
    • Ryuuseitai literally means 'Meteor Team' and naturally takes its inspiration from meteors. Due to the Japanese term also meaning something similar to 'shooting star', this leads to them also using a lot of star motifs. They also have a generally sci-fi aesthetic, being based on a Sentai team, meaning their outfits often have a Captain Space, Defender of Earth! feel - in the 2018 April Fool's event they were outright Space Opera protagonists.
    • Akatsuki means 'Scarlet Moon'. On a basic level, this represents the unit's Japanese, Autumnal theme, but it also has symbolic meaning: Akatsuki was created simply to reflect the power of fine, which has a heavenly theme and is sometimes associated with the sun. However, in Quarrel Fest they finally overcome this and begin to challenge fine outright, with Keito declaring that Akatsuki now represents a new dawn (as 'Akatsuki' literally can mean dawn in Japanese).
  • The Stardroids of Mega Man V, aliens named after planets.
  • Path of Exile: The Reality Warper known as The Shaper is associated with this motif. His attacks resemble black holes and he summons minions that look like living clusters of stars. Maps on the Atlas of Worlds and items affected by The Shaper's influence also have a starry space background. His lair resembles a patchwork of parchment floating in the void of space.
  • Pokémon:
    • Many Pokemon are have space motifs or otherwise have extraterrestrial origins. For example, The Clefairy line is starshaped, gather Moon Stones, and dance around on full moons and nights where there are meteor showers.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon, unsurprisingly. The main legendaries, Solgaleo and Lunala, are a Night and Day Duo (with the former having a sun motif and the latter having a moon motif) that evolve from Cosmog/Cosmoem, which are based on molecular clouds (where stars are formed). The games also introduce Minior, which is a Pokemon based on meteorites. During meteor showers, they break out of their shells when they fall to the ground before rising back up into the sky.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Team Galactic, who are messing around with the Legendary Pokemon of spacetime and want to restart the world, have a space theme. Their grunts are dressed in Latex Space Suits, their boss Cyrus is named for the sunnote , and their lieutenants also have Stellar Names.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced the Pokemon Lunatone and Solrock, two Rock/Psychic types that gain power when exposed to the light of their respective heavenly bodies. Lunatone in particular is mentioned being discovered in a meteor crater, and can cause either paralyzing fear or deep slumber via eye contact.
  • The Astrologian healers in Final Fantasy XIV have an overall cosmic theme. Their MO is to read the momvement of celestial bodies to predict the future and influence it to help their allies. Their offensive spells are based on stars and gravity, and their healing is divided into Diurnal for regenerative healing and Nocturnal for shielding. Their signature armor sets are also often decorated with stars and moons.
  • Sunless Sea (and to some extent its prequel Fallen London) contains many motifs of Cosmic Horror, and among them is ascribing mythical powers to the stars, which are seen as gods (and might very well be). Our Sun has a strange relationship with those living in the Neath - drawing them back to the surface with a powerful yearning, but also capable of quickly destroying their minds from exposure to it. Furthermore, a faction of the Admiralty has split off after successfully creating a small artificial star, the Dawn Machine, on the south-western coast of the Neath, whose godlike power is apparently substantial enough to allow them to eventually rule the entire Neath.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, the Butterfly Family often names their daughters after celestial bodies, such as Comet, Moon, Star, and Eclipsa. Their access to the Royal Magic Wand gives them exclusive control over magic and their names are often indicative of stages of Mewni's history, as Solaria is revered as a hero who expanded Mewni to its farthest extents while Eclipsa is reviled as the Queen of Darkness who married a monster.

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