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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 Natural Elements (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, Super Smoke, Taken for Granite, Wreathed in Flames, Harmless Liquefaction and Dishing Out Dirt. Also see Elemental Embodiment and Material Mimicry.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Buso Renkin: The Flame Assimilation ability of Warrior Chief Hiwatari's buso renkin, Blaze of Glory, allows him to convert his entire body into fire. While in this form he is able to control any fire he creates as if it was a part of his own body and becomes totally invulnerable to physical attacks but would die instantly if his fire is ever totally extinguished.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Juvia can transform her body into water at will, often using it to let physical or magical attacks pass through her or even to bodily restraint someone by encasing them in her water body through her Water Lock spell (though she's usually nice enough not to try and drown them, and she can technically use Water Lock simply by forming a sphere of water from her palm).
    • Also, Gajeel can turn his limbs into iron weapons through his Iron Dragon Slayer Magic.
    • 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.
    • There's some implication that Rogue's Shadow Walker ability goes beyond just "sinking into shadows" and is closer to this in practice given he's a Shadow Dragon Slayer. The fact he has an actual Living Shadow dark side just muddies the water further.
    • Ajeel Raml can turn his body into sand at will, which allows him to travel through the ground at high speeds as well as ignore almost any attack that doesn't provide a Logical Weakness (like wind or water) as it passes through his body or gets stuck. More insidiously, anything he touches will either crumble apart (if it's inanimate) or be rapidly sucked dry of moisture (if it's alive) at his discretion. His most powerful attack, Sand World, weaponizes this defensively by allowing Ajeel to appear anywhere within the city-spanning sandstorm it whips up while his opponents struggle to even see properly.
  • Sloth in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) 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.
  • 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.
  • Naruto:
    • Like Juvia, Suigetsu can also transform his body into water; it seems that his clan as a whole has this ability.
    • Kabuto can pull off something similar to Suigetsu's after examining it on his own.
    • Kakuzu can turn his skin into metal, and Konan, who can turn her entire body into paper.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, 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.
  • Tessai, one of the Eight Devils of Kimon from Ninja Scroll, can turn his body to stone except for his eyes.
  • 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 able 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).
    • Subverted with at least one Logia fruit. The Dark-Dark Fruit ("Yami-Yami no Mi") does not give its consumer the ability to shapeshift into elemental matter, perhaps because its interpretation of "darkness" is "all-consuming black void". Indeed, its bearer, Marshall D. Teach, better known as "Blackbeard", claims it actually intensifies the pain of attacks launched against him.
    • Charlotte Katakuri of the Big Mom Pirates is an interesting example, as his Mochi-Mochi Fruit ("Mochi Mochi no Mi") allows him to produce a nigh-infinite amount of mochi and turn himself into mochi, giving him the same "immune to physical attacks" properties as a Logia. Despite this, his Devil Fruit is classified as a "special Paramythia", likely because mochi is not actually an element (it's man-made foodstuff made from rice and sugar). Katakuri's ability to dodge attacks like a Logia is also not a property of the Devil Fruit itself, per se, but rather his mastery of the Devil Fruit on top of his borderline Precognition giving him Combat Clairvoyance. While the Mochi-Mochi Fruit was initially described by Jimbei when he first started fighting, a point in Katakuri's battle with Luffy is Luffy realizing he isn't a Logia, and is as vulnerable to being hit as anyone else, provided he can get past Katakuri's other defenses to do so.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Bill Willingham's Elementals had Fathom, who could shoot, control, turn into, or breathe water.
  • Justice League International has Bea da Costa who can transform into green fire.
  • Spider-Man:
    • 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.
  • The DCU villainess New Wave can transform her body into any form of water, including steam and acid rain.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Volcana, who originated in Secret Wars (1984) 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.
  • The kelpies in season 10 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) look like zebras made of water, and have control over water as well. Medley Brook is constantly flowing like liquid, while Crystal is solid like ice. When the latter overexerts her powers in the desert, she dries out.
  • 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 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.

    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.
  • Kianna Takashi in My Hero Academia: The Story of Convertance can transform into any solid, liquid, gas, or plasma. Though changing into these states of matter she gains all that comes with it. Changing her body into a very solid material like iron she gains everything that comes with it, including extreme weight and the inability to float. And changing her body into liquid or gaseous state she must concentrate in keeping her body in one place and move efficiently while not completely falling apart or scattering.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The titular villain from Oily Maniac is a monster made from crude oil. He can change himself from an oily Blob Monster and a human at will, but he needs to replenish his energy by drinking petrol.

  • Balthazar Sturm, the main villain of Stormslayer, is a weather-mage who can shape-shift himself into various elemental forms as he likes, turning into different elementals to fight the hero. His forms can be suppressed by collecting various neutral or heroic elementals, but he's still a Boss Rush in a single person.

  • 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.
  • All the sylphs from Let The Sky Fall.
  • Swim Swim from Magical Girl Raising Project has the ability to turn into liquid form.
  • The New Humans has Maelstrom and his mother, who can turn into water in all its states.
  • October Daye: Undines are literally made of living water.
  • The Earth-Masters and Morgon in The Riddle Master Trilogy.
  • Loki from Runemarks can change himself into fire.
  • In Touch (2017), we have both the main character, James, and his grandfather, Hideyoshi; of the Made of Air and Wreathed in Flames variants respectively.

    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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 4th Edition mercury dragons can transform into a blob of quicksilver to scale surfaces, squeeze through narrow gaps, or move past other creatures without provoking attacks of opportunity.
    • Sand dragons can turn themselves into animated clouds of sand, while storm and air drakes can turns into gaseous clouds.
    • Sunwyrms can transform either individual body parts — their fangs and claws, specifically — or their whole bodies into light. These are treated as distinct in-game effects; the partial kind turns their affected parts into damage-dealing brilliant energy, while the full-body transformation makes the creature completely intangible.
    • Druids, at high enough levels, can shapeshift into elementals instead of animals.
    • Among elemental grues, harginn can change into fire and varrdig can change into water.
    • Among genies, djinni — air genies — can change into gaseous form, while marids — water genies — can change into liquid form.
    • La Notte Eterna: At 17th level, Chosen of Darkness can turn themselves into intangible shadows as long as they stay within the darkness.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Changeling: The Lost: Elementals have 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.
    • 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.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade: The Gangrel's Protean discipline includes turning into earth and mist.

    Video Games 
  • Arcanum: The final spell of all the elemental colleges turns the caster into an elemental. However, it drains mana very fast.
  • Ashka from Battlerite can turn into flames when using Searing Flight, Molten Fist, or his Ultimate Infernal Scorch.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Lampshaded in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Maybe.
    Kain: These statues were singularly inanimate. I knew better than to assume they would always remain so.
  • 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.
  • Arceus in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and subsequent games can change its element to any of the seventeen (eighteen from Gen 6 onward) 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.
  • In Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World and its spinoff, Mario could turn into a stone statue with the Tanooki suit in the former two games and a gold Lucky Cat Statue in the latter two games. It turned him invincible, and he could kill nearly anything by falling on it. Moreover, the use of the Lucky Bell causes him to earn coins while performing a ground pound.
  • Warcraft III's Pandaran's "Storm, Earth, and Fire" ability splits the hero into three different beings, each themed after the particular element. Once their timer is up and if at least one is alive (and Storm can turn invisible...), the Pandaren reforms.
  • 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.

  • Heroes Unite/Heroes Alliance has Tazer who transforms into electricity.
  • John pulls this off in a duel in Homestuck, just in time to avoid getting killed.
  • In Jupiter-Men, Quintin has the ability to turn his clothes and any part of his body into a green slime that can either be viscous or slippery. He can freely extend his limbs to greatly extend his reach and grapple himself anywhere he can stick his hands. Conversely, he can reel things toward him like a fishing rod. He can also fling chunks of slime thick enough to stop bullets as projectiles.

    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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Birdman (1967) 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.
  • In Hanna Barbera's The Impossibles, Fluid Man could change into regular water or vaporize himself into a cloud or a storm.
  • Zan's Justice League expy, Downpour can turn into any form water can hold, from a puddle to a whirlpool. He tries to take on Aquaman, trident and all.
  • Tipi in Kulipari: Dream Walker can turn her body to stone, but still allowing herself mobility. This makes her impervious to damage.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Anyone who wields the Dragon Miraculous is able to transform into wind, water, or lightning (although only once each per use of the Miraculous, unless you're old enough to channel its full power).
  • Zan from Superfriends can transform into various forms of water and ice.
  • Livewire in Superman: The Animated Series could turn into electricity, and true to name, travel through powerlines.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Elemental Shapeshifting



Ryuko has the power to become water, wind, and lightning.

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