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Elemental Shapeshifter

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Hydro-Man, Hydro-Man, does whatever a hydro can...

The Human Torch, Fantastic Four

An Elemental Shapeshifter is a Shapeshifting character who can turn into one of the Elements of Nature (typically air, earth, water, and fire, though this might vary according to the work). Depending on the story or situation, the character might be able to only partially change part of himself into the element involved, and may or may not retain his original shape after the change.

Often invokes Elemental Baggage. A subtrope of Elemental Powers and Shapeshifting. Super Smoke (the ability to turn into air/smoke), Ride the Lightning and Ball of Light Transformation are subtropes of this.

May overlap with Blob Monster, An Ice Person, Chrome Champion, Making a Splash, Made of Air, Taken for Granite, Wreathed in Flames, and Dishing Out Dirt. Also see Elemental Embodiment.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, the Logia Devil Fruit users are essentially this, since the ability to transform into their element is one of the three main attributes granted to them with Logia Devil Fruits. Their elemental forms can be toggled on or off, and they can either transform partially, or their entire body. However, most experienced users will have the ability to transform instantaneously by reflex, with one character being to do so even while asleep. Interestingly enough, almost all users of Logia Devil Fruits choose to keep their outward appearances the same even when in elemental form, contrary to many western examples (although they can change this if they wish, as illustrated with Enel's Amaru transformation). When attacked, their bodies will disperse into their element, allowing most physical assaults to pass harmlessly through their fluid bodies (since their outward appearances give no hints of their Devil Fruit power, many enemies learn this the hard way). A rare counterexample is Kuzan, whose element is ice, and can't simply dissolve out of harm's way in a fluid manner like the other Logia users. He usually just tanks the attack and shatters into ice, only to reform his icy body moments later, unharmed. The only time non-Haki based attacks will affect a Logia user is when it's an element-specific weakness (such as water negating sand, rubber negating electricity or magma negating fire).
  • Magic Knight Rayearth:
    • Innouva's true form is something like this. He turns into a white wolf that can control (and sometimes looks like) lightning.
    • Hikaru becomes Wreathed in Flames near the very end when she briefly gains the power of the Pillar.
  • Juvia from Fairy Tail can transform her body in water.
    • Also, Gajeel can turn his limbs into iron weapons.
    • Both Mystogan and Laxus can transform themselves into mist and lightning, respectively, using it as a way to nullify harm to themselves as well as traveling purposes.
  • Naruto:
    • Like Juvia, Suigetsu can also transform his body into water; it seems that his clan as a whole has this ability.
    • Kabuto spliced Suigetsu's DNA into himself, enabling him to use a variation of this ability.
    • Kakuzu can turn his skin into metal, and Konan, who can turn her entire body into paper.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi has Raiten Taisou and Raiten Sousou, and Homura can transform into a fire spirit. Quintum, the Averruncus of Wind has an ability similar to Negi's transformation.
  • Levia from Princess Lucia does this primarily to travel through water systems.
  • Like Gajeel of Fairy Tail, Diane from The Seven Deadly Sins can transform her body into metal.
  • Tessai, one of the Eight Devils of Kimon from Ninja Scroll, can turn his body to stone except for his eyes.
  • Swim Swim from Magical Girl Raising Project has the ability to turn into liquid form.
  • Sloth in the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime can convert any part of her body mass into water and back again at will, and control it. Greed has a downplayed version in both anime and manga: He can convert the outer layer of his skin (which consists of Carbon-containing cells) into diamond to become Nigh Invulnerable.
  • Takeshi, the hero of UFO Warrior Dai Apolon, controls his Humongous Mecha by turning into electricity and combining with its circuitry. He had no other electricity-based powers, however.

    Comic Books 
  • The Human Torches: Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, and his predecessor from the Golden Age, an android (ironically not actually human) that due to some accident in his manufacture, catches fire when exposed to oxygen.
  • Spider-Man villain Hydro Man can transform all or part of his body into water.
    • Similarly, Sandman has the ability to change his body into sand.
    • At one point the two got mushed together into a monster called Mud Man.
  • Then there's the Golden Age super-hero Hydroman, created by Bill Everett for Eastern Color Printing. He could transform any part of his body into water and control its form and movement.
  • Bill Willingham's Elementals had Fathom, who could shoot, control, turn into, or breathe water.
    • The Top Cow comic Fathom is about a race of beings with similar powers.
  • The DCU villainess New Wave can transform her body into any form of water, including steam and acid rain.
  • The X-Men have a decent number:
    • Magma can transform into magma and rocks.
    • The original X-Man Iceman originally could only cover his body with snow or ice, but he eventually learned to turn his entire body into organic ice.
    • Colossus can turn into metal.
    • Dust can turn herself into a sandstorm.
    • Rockslide and Onyxx are big guys made of rocks.
      • In the case of Rockslide, he is actually a psionic entity and is theoretically able to form his golem-like form using any earthen matter, such as rocks, lava, etc.
    • Husk can turn into any solid substance, though alternate versions had her able to become liquid as well.
    • Emma Frost can turn her skin to diamond.
  • Stone Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a Substitute Legionnaire who can turn into an immobile statue. However, he manages to use this power effectively anyway.
  • Variation: The Avengers villain The Absorbing Man can absorb the properties of various materials just by touching them.
  • Volcana, who originated in Secret Wars then became the Molecule Man's girlfriend originally only had a fire form, but then gained a rock form and an ash form which was remarkably like sand.
  • Cinder from Titans: Villains for Hire has the ability to transform her body into flame, and has enough control to only transform certain parts. In a somewhat infamous moment, she's introduced in the comic setting a child molester on fire with her vagina.
  • One-story Superboy guest character Fluid Man used "a formula of his own creation" to grant himself this "truly bizarre" power.
  • The Batman villain Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength. He's one of the few recurring villains Batman admits to being no physical match for. Amusingly, Poison Ivy once defeated him by planting a tree in his body.
    • Unusually for a character with this power, Clayface is able to pull off more conventional Shapeshifting, which is justified by the fact his elemental body is made of clay, so he can reshape it and color it to imitate human flesh.
    • He was once parodied in the Wanted comic with Shithead, a monster created by mingling the poo of history's 666 evillest people.
  • The DC Universe character Metamorpho The Element Man can transform into all chemical elements, including the ones that make up air, water and dirt. He can't directly turn into fire, but he can shift into a highly flammable element.
  • Justice League International has Bea da Costa who can transform into green fire.

    Fan Works 
  • In Keepers of the Elements, the Keepers have this ability, as they can all turn into their Element.
  • John in With Strings Attached can turn himself into water, except it traumatizes him to do so, and he changes back as soon as possible. What sort of control he has over himself and water during this time is unknown.
  • In the Negima fic Still Waters Book 1, Okochi Akira becomes this in the late chapters as a high powered water elemental.
  • In Dreaming of Sunshine, Shikako can now change into shadow, via her Gelel stone.
  • In Raindancer, Izuku's Quirk, "Liquid Body", allows him to becoming living freshwater and produce a seemingly endless amount of it. He can also fly by manipulating his body in liquid form and turn his body into ice to intercept oncoming attacks.

  • David Banner in Hulk, taking elements from the Absorbing Man. After injecting himself with Bruce's reformed DNA, David becomes a very strong and diverse shapeshifter, but he really takes after the elements in the climax, going through electrical, rock, and water-based forms in quick succession.

  • The Amos Daragon books also feature this, as the main character is able to become water. At one point a maid unknowingly washed the floor with him.
  • Loki from Runemarks can change himself into fire.
  • All the sylphs from Let The Sky Fall.
  • The Earth-Masters and Morgon in The Riddle Master Trilogy.
  • In Touch, we have both the main character, James, and his grandfather, Hideyoshi; of the Made of Air and Wreathed in Flames variants respectively.
  • The New Humans has Maelstrom and his mother, who can turn into water in all its states.

    Live Action TV 
  • An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Sabrina struggling with trying to learn this technique; it finally clicks for her by the end of the episode in a moment of anger and frustration, and she easily turns into fire, air, water, and earth.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. features the aforementioned Absorbing Man, Carl Creel. Here, he gets an intelligence upgrade, being capable of ploys like shifting his body makeup for stealth, most notably when he escapes from custody by absorbing the transparent bullet-proof plastic of his cell, making him effectively invisible, and allowing him to jump a guard who foolishly looks inside to see how he escaped.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Genies. Djinni can change into gaseous form and Marids can change into liquid form.
    • Elemental Grues. Harginn can change into fire and Varrdig can change into water.
    • High level druids can shapeshift into elementals instead of animals.
  • Elementals in Changeling: The Lost get access to a Contract that allows them to control an element (surprisingly enough). The highest clause of the Contract allows them to transmute into said element, with certain benefits — insubstantial elements (such as fire, air, and lightning) can only be harmed by certain kinds of damage, whereas substantial elements (such as stone or metal) grant heavy armor and physical bonuses.
    • Its predecessor, Changeling: The Dreaming, includes the Inanimae, a race of fae born from inanimate objects, whose kiths and powers are based on the elements.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, the Gangrel's Protean discipline includes turning into earth and mist.
  • In Mage: The Awakening, this is doable in a number of ways through adding additional Arcana to the normal Life-based shapeshifting spell. Forces allows the mage to turn into living fire, Death allows turning into Living Shadow, and Matter allows turning to stone or almost any other physical substance.

    Video Games 
  • In Kameo: Elements of Power, several of Kameo's elemental warrior forms fall under this trope, most notably Rubble (a pile of sentient magnetic rocks) and 40 Below (an ice-man).
  • In Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 3D Land, Mario could turn into a statue with the Tanooki suit. It turned him invincible, and he could kill nearly anything by falling on it.
  • Warcraft III's Pandaran's "Storm, Earth, and Fire" ability splits the hero into three different beings, each themed after the particular element.
  • In World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria, Shamans are gaining the ability to become an Ascendant for a short time. Ascendants are living humanoid elementals that were previously restricted to the Twilight's Hammer cultists.
  • Arceus in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl can change its element to any of the seventeen types in the game. Granted, Arceus is the god of the Pokémon world...
    • Also, some Pokemon in all the games, such as Vaporeon and Grimer and Muk, can learn Acid Armor, in which the user melts in order to raise its defense.
  • Toxic Seahorse in Mega Man X3 can turn into acid. According to background info, his body is made of a liquid metal-like substance, which allows him to do this.
    • Similarly, Heat Man in Mega Man 2 also becomes a blazing fireball as he charges you.
    • Mercury in Mega Man V can turn into liquid metal.
  • Lampshaded in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Maybe.
    Kain: These statues were singularly inanimate. I knew better than to assume they would always remain so.
  • in Dota 2, Morphling can create copies of other heroes and replace them immediately. With Aghanim's Scepter, Morphling can transform into an allied hero and use all of their abilities excluding their ultimate ability.
  • Ashka from Battlerite can turn into flames when using Searing Flight, Molten Fist, or his Ultimate Infernal Scorch.


    Web Original 
  • In New Vindicators, the fourth Vindicators team was a group somewhat similar to the Fantastic Four, composed of one guy who covered himself in fire and three shifters-Coach Crag made of rock, Miss Mist (made of air), and Professor Splash (made of water). There are other characters, such as Fathom, who can also turn into water.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Vulnapyezdka ("Wave Rider" in Russian) can turn into water.
  • There was an SCP that could do this with all five (wind and lightning being separate) before it was destroyed.
  • Worm has Acidbath, a supervillain who can turn his body into acid.
  • In Touch, we have both the main character, James, and his grandfather, Hideyoshi; of the Made of Air and Wreathed in Flames variants respectively.

    Western Animation 
  • Wonder Twin Zan from Superfriends can transform into various forms of water and ice.
  • As can Zan's Justice League expy, Downpour.
  • In Hanna Barbera's The Impossibles, Fluid Man could change into regular water or vaporize himself into a cloud or a storm.
  • In the finale of W.I.T.C.H., the Guardians learn how to transform into each of their respective elements of earth, air, fire, water and lightning. Unfortunately they almost lose themselves to the process and are nearly unable to change back.
  • Livewire in Superman: The Animated Series could turn into electricity, and true to name travel through powerlines.
  • Birdman episode "Skon of Space". The title villain is a triple threat version of this. He can change himself into fire, water and stone.
  • On various occasions, Captain Planet has been seen transforming into water, a flame, and a tree.
  • Tipi in Kulipari: Dream Walker can turn her body to stone, but still allowing herself mobility. This makes her impervious to damage.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: In "Prophecy of Peril", Queen Maya takes this to the logical extreme; she can take the form of any scientific element, solid, liquid, or gas.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Anyone who wields the Dragon Miraculous is able to transform into wind, water, or lightning (although only once each). The only wielder seen so far, Kagami Tsurugi, has only used the first two.

Alternative Title(s): Elemental Shapeshifting


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