Follow TV Tropes


Fast as Lightning

Go To
Although light is the fastest thing in the universe, it doesn't serve as a good symbol of speed because it's hard to physically represent light. There's also the tendency for light to be more associated with Faster-Than-Light Travel, which stretches the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for more "realistic" depictions of speed.

So the next best thing is something most people can visually distinguish: lightning (or electricity). As stated by the US National Weather Service, lightning travels at about 1/3 the speed of light, making it a good symbol of speed since it can be drawn, and, because it doesn't move quite as fast as light, it makes a good symbol for Super-Speed that isn't completely ludicrous. With this association, you can expect speedsters to move — often via Flash Steps — in a manner that resembles the erratic movement of electricity, like zigzag patterns, exceedingly straight lines, or jagged arches.

Lightning-powered super speed is sometimes justified as Biofeedback powers because Lightning Can Do Anything.

Regularly overlaps with Ride the Lightning, which is using electricity itself as a mode of transportation, and Electric Slide, which is moving along power lines. The characters may have lightning-based powers, or it may just be Elemental Motifs.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: When Soga goes especially fast, his eyes glow while trailing streaks of lightning. For this, he is known as the "Lightning-Fast Exorcist Ninja".
  • Black Clover: Luck is known not only for his love of fighting, but also for his speed, particularly when he has his boots made of lightning.
  • Bleach
    • Yoruichi is a master of the Flash Step and invented a move which channels lightning into her arms and legs for extra speed and strength.
    • Candice's schrift is "The Thunderbolt". Not only can she fire massive blasts of electricity from her hands but she's also incredibly fast, able to combine speed blitzing and lightning strikes to deadly effect.
  • A Certain Magical Index/A Certain Scientific Railgun: Misaka Mikoto, while she usually uses lightning itself as a medium to achieve high-speed movement or flight, can actually channel electricity through her body to massively boost her physical abilities, including speed and reflexes. During her fight with Seike in the Dream Ranker Arc of Railgun, she dodges her foe's strike by jumping so fast she leaves behind electricity in her wake and ends up dozens of feet in the air above in the perfect position to retaliate. The downside is that if she goes full-tilt or doesn't prep herself adequately, she risks tearing muscle or breaking bones from the strain.
  • Thunder Breathing from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is a swordsmanship style used by Zenitsu that channels strength into his legs, allowing him to dash at incredible speed to slash enemies with the visual effect of lightning.
  • Laxus from Fairy Tail can turn himself into lightning for a time in order to dodge attacks and quickly close the distance on foes. It's also implied he can use this for high-speed travel, as shown with his Big Damn Heroes moment in the Sirius Island arc where he arrives and blasts his way into Grimoire Heart's airship in a bolt of lightning.
  • Gamaran, the first form of the Ogame Ryu is the Ikazuchi no Kata, the Thunder God Form, which focuses on speed and sudden accelleration to attack the enemy with such speed they're usually overwhelmed, and is sometimes mixed with technique from the Kagutsuchi no Kata (offense-based fire style) or Mizuchi no Kata (Confusion Fu) to deliver deadly techniques. The third and last technique even emulates a Flash Step and in a couple of points is visualized as a stream of lightning.
  • Killua from Hunter × Hunter uses his electrified aura to move at high speed.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate Testarossa-Harlaown is a Fragile Speedster—the fastest canon character in the series so far, in fact—as well as the wielder of powerful lightning-based magic. Her Speed Stripes when going at Super-Speed even have lightning contrails woven into them.
    • Fate's adoptive son Erio, while not as fast, also specializes in speed. In fact, he is the only character in the series who has been fast enough to land a direct hit on Fate during a training match.
    • Inverted by Victoria Dahlgrün from ViVid, who has lightning magic but is actually the franchise's first Mighty Glacier.
  • Maken-ki!: Yan-Min is capable of moving so fast that even the well-trained eye cannot detect her movement. To them, it's as if she either teleported, or appeared suddenly. All that can be seen is the flicker of lightning she leaves in her wake, which has earned her the title of "Leifu": said to be "as fast as lightning and fierce as a tiger".
  • My Hero Academia: One For All, having accumulated power over nine generations of heroes, tends to cause this in it's wielders when they use it, from the sheer power surging throughout their bodies. It's primarily demonstrated through the ninth holder, Izuku Midoria, once he figures out how to tune down the sheer power the quirk grants him to manageable levels with his 'Full Cowling' technique, becoming a Lightning Bruiser with emphasis on the 'lightning'- focusing primarily on the enhanced speed and mobility his new state grants him whilst his body constantly emits green-coloured lightning. The Eighth holder, All Might doesn't really show the same effect due to having long since mastered the quirk and made it his own, with Izuku's lightning emissions being a sign of both how much power he's channeling as well as how inexperienced he is at using it at All Might's level. However, at times where he's been forced to his limits in a fight, such as his final battle with All For One, All Might has demonstrated the same effect with gold-coloured lightning around the body parts he's channeling One For All through.
  • Naruto: while there are many lightning element users in this work, the one that exemplifies this the most is the Fourth Raikage, A. By channeling electricity through his body (in a move called "Lightning Release Armor"), his speed and reflexes would increase tremendously.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, after Negi learns Magia Erebea and gains the ability to fuse spells into his body, he develops a few ways of doing this:
  • One Piece: Enel, being basically a living lightning bolt, can move just as fast as one.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Raika is a thunder beast, and can turn himself into electricity and travel along any conductor at blinding speed. Ruby quickly realizes that Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress and punches him as he comes out.

    Asian Animation 
  • Banzi's Secret Diary: In "Selfi Scam", Banzi and Namnam go so fast when they give Eungsim a makeover that there's aesthetic lightning on-screen.
  • In BoBoiBoy, BoBoiBoy's lightning duplicate has a Flash Step ability called "Lightning Speed".
  • Lamput: In "Zoom Oil", the docs create lightning bolts around themselves as they move extremely fast after applying their zoom oil.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Dunk for Victories and its tie-in movie Dunk for Future, Weslie has a move called "Lightning Break" that significantly boosts his speed and produces aesthetic lightning bolts.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 
  • Iskandar in Fate of the Clans is able to have his chariot move as fast as lightning with his Noble Phantasm Via Expugnatio.
  • Ryuji Sakamoto in Thieves Can Be Heroes! has the Quirk "Spark Speed". He can store electricity in his kneecaps like a turbine by running. He can then expend that electric energy for short bursts of Super-Speed. He eventually learns he can charge his kneecaps with lightning directly with his persona's Zio spells, giving him on demand super speed.

  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Flash is able to use the electricity itself to power a Mother Box in a Kryptonian genesis chamber, in order to revive Superman in the theatrical cut of Justice League, and his entire team in the Snyder Cut.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Sonic has the ability to generate lightning when he runs. It's because of this he causes a huge blackout across the entire Pacific Northwest.


    Live Action TV 
  • In The Flash (2014), all speedsters leave a trail of lightning behind them when they run. With some effort, they can even weaponize this lightning by directing it towards an opponent. Strangely, this happens with the Flash of Earth-90 as well, even though he didn't leave a trail in his own show. Most speedsters learn to throw lightning bolts (although only Zoom was shown to be able to catch and redirect someone else's lightning bolt as if it were a spear). XS can use a lightning whip, Impulse can throw lightning shurikens, Jay Garrick can charge up his metal helmet with lightning and throw it like Cap's shield. Godspeed solidifies lightning into what is basically a lightsaber, with Barry and Thawne following suit. During his final fight with Despero, Barry uses lightning in ways that are reminiscent of telekinesis. And thanks to his golden boots, he learns to Ride the Lightning by throwing bolts in front of him and leaping off them onto the next one in the air (naturally, while "Ride the Lightning" by Metallica is playing in the background).

  • The song Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas featured the lyrics (and page image quote):
    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting
    Those kicks were fast as lightning.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: Aerokineticists can unleash bolts of lightning, and can learn to manipulate their allies' bioelectricity to improve their speed.

  • Star Monsters: Implied. While Kyu is a plant elemental, its bio says that it spent a few days in an electricity plant after its star landed, it plays games with fast movements, and its bio is capped off with an electricity pun ("Shocking!").

    Video Games 
  • Jak and Daxter: Blue eco is one of the six types of eco in the game setting. It manifests as blue electricity and can increase speed in humans and machinery.
  • Kirby Star Allies: Zan Partizanne, one of the 3 Jambastion Mages, wields lightning power and can move as quickly as lightning flashes.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the boss Thunderblight Ganon is the smallest of the main bosses, but is by far the fastest. Its main battle tactic is to zip around the arena with its Flash Step ability, then slash with its Hook Hand. It also has the ability to control lightning, as implied by its name.
  • Fuse Man from Mega Man 11 is an electric-themed Robot Master who can quickly zip around his arena when he activates his Speed Gear.
  • In the Pokémon series, Electric-type Pokemon are generally very fast, though also very frail. Since much of them have high offensive stats, they make great sweepers. There are exceptions, however, such as the Magnemite and Shinx lines. The king of them all goes to Regieleki which is the fastest Pokemon at 200 base speed and is made of actual lightning.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog gains an association with lightning in Sonic Frontiers (possibly a carryover from the movie series), where a Power Boost at full ring capacity powers up his Boost and gains a lightning aura. Also, the final hit in a Stomp combo emits a few lightning bolts.
  • Super Robot Wars T: One of Spike Spiegel's quotes when he dodges an attack is "I done handcuffed lightning!"
  • Throughout the Super Smash Bros. games, series veteran Pikachu's Up Special, Quick Attack, allows Pikachu to quickly zip in a straight line in the direction in which the control stick is tilted, and can perform a second burst in succession when the stick is tilted in a different direction.
  • Volt from Warframe is a warframe whose abilities include powers over electricity and also "Speed", which gives a temporary but significant speed boost to Volt and his allies. This ability can be even augmented to make buffed teammates electrify enemies by running near them.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: When Harriet activates her speed Semblance, her eyes begin to spark with lightning effects that sometimes travel across other parts of her body, such as her feet. When she starts running at super-speed, she leaves a trail of lightning effects behind her.

  • Lampshaded in the commentary for this strip of Bob and George, but not in the strip itself. Electrons move almost at light speed, but their overall velocity is slow because they move in random directions, so Elec Man shouldn't move as fast as he does.

    Web Original 
  • Worm: Battery has the ability to charge up her electrical powers for several seconds to give herself a significant speed boost.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017): During her fight against Isaac in season 4, Carmilla uses lightning magic to temporarily augment her speed, zipping across the battlefield as a flash of electricity.
  • Freakazoid!'s title character literally transforms into a cartoonish lightning bolt when using his super speed.
  • Kid Cosmic: The Cosmic Stone that grants super-speed leaves a red trail of lightning behind anyone who uses it.
  • Looney Tunes: In '"Draftee Daffy'', Daffy Duck turns into a lightning bolt when running from the little man from the draft board.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Rainbow Dash has a rainbow-colored lightning bolt as part of her Cutie Mark. Fittingly, her special talent is to fly at incredibly high speeds, and her ability to break the sound barrier is seemingly unmatched in Equestria.
  • PJ Masks: Connor / Catboy has lightning in his transformation sequence and leaves lightning in his trail when using his super speed.
  • Tom and Jerry: In "Old Rockin' Chair Tom", Mammy Two-Shoes brings in a new cat named Lightning to replace Tom as mouse-catcher. Lightning lives up to his name by running so fast that he turns into a lightning bolt.


Video Example(s):


BoBoiBoy Thunderstorm

BoBoiBoy Thunderstorm has an ability called "Lightning Speed". As the name suggests, he can travel quickly at the speed of lightning.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / FastAsLightning

Media sources: