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Four-Element Ensemble

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A Sub-Trope of Elemental Powers, but more specific or "classic" form.

Despite the idea of the "four elements" being obsolete, writers love to play with the idea in fiction. Sometimes, a writer will merely use the idea of the "four elements" for an Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors system. Other times, however, writers will base not a character, but an entire ensemble on the classical elements.

This can sometimes be used literally by giving each member of the ensemble power over the particular element. Other times, however, it can be used on a more symbolic level, by giving each person personalities associated with the element in question or by using Theme Naming to assign each person an element.

The classical Western set is commonly used in the band. The set is made up of earth, air, fire, and water. This also tends to correspond with the Four-Temperament Ensemble, though there are other interpretations. Sometimes the water will be the only woman.


If you pick four characters randomly, there is an approximately 9% chance of this happening.

Usually, there will be four elements represented, but shows/games that absolutely need a Five-Man Band will possibly add another: western creations prefer something like Heart and eastern creations will use light or lightning, which will probably end up in the hands of The Hero. See Element No. 5.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index: God's Right Seat follows this trope with Vento of the Front, Terra of the Left, Acqua of the Back, and Fiamma of the Right.
  • EDENS ZERO: Drakken Joe, the "Dark Alchemist", is served by four powerful minions with elemental-based Ether Gears which appropriately form the basis for Drakken's own Alchemy Ether Gear: Laguna can manipulate water and turns people who cry in his presence into water, Fie can turn into flames to move around and has fire-based sniping abilities, Sylph can conjure and control wind and the earth-themed Daichi can sprout and manipulate vegetation from his and other's bodies.
  • Fairy Tail has the enemy team of Element 4: Aria of the Wind, Totomaru of the Fire, Juvia of the Rain, and Sol of the Earth.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure starts out with the trio of Cure Flora, Cure Mermaid, and Cure Twinkle representing, respectively, land, sea, and sky, and halfway through the story adds Cure Scarlet, representing fire.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The series gives the original lineup of Sailor Senshi power over a different element. Sailor Mars is Fire, Mercury takes Water, Jupiter swaps Earth for Lightning note  and Moon of course takes Air. When Sailor Venus joins them she of course has Light.
    • The Witches 5 from the first anime's S season have this too. Eudial is Fire, Tellu is Earth, Viluy is Water/Ice and Cyprine is Air. Mimete appears to be the odd one out as her attacks involve shooting stars from her guns.
  • The four generals in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are not only generals of their respective element, but half of their Theme Naming comes from a traditional Elemental Embodiment. There's Thymilph for fire, Adiane for water, Guame for earth, and Cytomander for air. Oddly, the embodiments Thymilph and Cytomander are named after are swapped in regards to their elements.
  • Tsukipro is these as idols — SolidS is Fire, Quell is Water, SOARA is Air, Growth is Earth. The units' music reflects their elements — SolidS is heated, sexy, and always changing; Quell is calm and soothing yet also dark and deep; SOARA is light and youthful; Growth is the one that subverts expectations — their interpretation of "earth" is that they're world-traveling (or multiverse-traveling) princely flowers, and their music is fantasy-tinged Baroque Pop.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: According to an artbook by mecha designer Kunio Okawara, the five Gundams each had an elemental association with them during the design process. The quick and stealthy Deathscythe represents air, the walking arsenal Heavyarms represents fire, the desert-themed and heavily armored Sandrock represents earth, and the martial arts-themed Shenlong represents water. The book doesn't list an elemental association for Wing, but since it's the Jack of All Stats among the five it most likely corresponds to void.
  • While the end result varies, Ash from Pokémon usually ends up with a Pokemon team that follows this route. Oftentimes the starters he ends up obtaining represent the Water, Fire, and Earth elements (In Pokemon, Grass often fulfill the traditional role of Earth). He also obtains a flying type to fulfill the Air role. Occasionally, Ash may also obtain an actual Ground or Rock types and sometimes he may get a Pokemon that fulfills two roles, such as Palpitoad (Water and Earth), Talonflame (Air and Fire) and Rowlet (Air and Earth).
  • In Accel World, the Elements, the four elite members of Nega Nebulus, are this, since each one has one of the four elements. Sky Raker, who was the duel avatar closest to achieving flight before Silver Crow, represents air. Ardor Maiden, a powerful long-range type, represents fire. Aqua Current, as the name implies, has water-related abilities and represents water. Graphite Edge represents earth. Kuroyukihime had planned for the four of them to take on The Four Gods guarding the Imperial Palace in the Unlimited Neural Field, with each member challenging the Enemy with the same element, so that they would have some protection from that foe's ability (e.g. Maiden had to fight Suzaku).
  • In Soul Hunter, the Four Saints of Kuryuujima have elemental Paopei invoking the four classical elements: Kongenjuu (Coalescence Bead) summon and manipulate seawater, Hekichijuu (Earth-splitting Bead) can move and shape massive amounts of dirt, Bankojuu (Yellow Strikes Bead) allows the user to fly freely in the air, dodge any incoming attack and shoot light beams, while the Kaitenjuu (Heaven-opening Bead) can cause fiery explosions.
  • In the Naruto universe, there are five dominant chakra elements: Fire, Wind, Water, Earth, and Lightning. Each has an established Shinobi Village to represent them, though a mixture of the elements can exist within techniques. Unfortunately, all of the villages have had some degree of bad history, from the Hidden Mist's violent in-fighting, to the Hidden Stone's treacherous scheming.
    • With the Hidden Cloud Village having Lightning as its dominant element. They are by default the odd-ones-out, being unique mostly for having the most Black (or at least African-American influenced) characters in the show. Hell, even their leader is typically a Scary Black Man.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Batman and the Outsiders: The villain team the Masters of Disaster features characters with water, earth, air, heat, and cold powers.
    • Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: The four star riders who aren't Wonder Woman have elemental powers relating to the four traditional elements. Ice (water), Solara (fire), Star Lily (earth), and Dolphine (air).
    • Batman/Superman: World's Finest features a group of medieval Chinese heroes who possess the powers of earth, air, fire, and water.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Fantastic Four: The Four's powers, while not all are Elemental Powers, they are still evocative of the elements.
      • Reed: Water. Like liquid, he is able to change his shape and fit through obstacles that solid objects can't.
      • Ben: Earth. In addition to being super-strong and resilient like rock, his appearance is similar to that of a golem.
      • Johnny: Fire. He has the power to self-ignite, so it's fairly obvious.
      • Sue: Air. She has the power to become invisible and can make the air exert force, like the wind.
      • John Byrne's very first Fantastic Four story as writer and artist has Diablo create elemental beings with earth, air, fire, and water powers, and sent each of them to attack Sue, Johnny, Reed, and Ben respectively. Once the team traded partners to fight the opponents who more closely matched their powers, the elementals were easily outmatched.
    • The supervillain team Force of Nature consists of Firewall, Aqueduct, Terraformer, and Skybreaker.
    • Spider-Man: Four members of Spidey's Rogues Gallery fall into this category: Cyclone (wind), Hydro-Man (water), Sand-Man (earth), and Molten Man (fire).
  • W.I.T.C.H. has the four elements for Irma (water), Taranee (fire), Cornelia (earth), and Hay Lin (wind), plus Energy for Will.

    Fan Works 
  • Unmentionable, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic, has elemental auras as a subplot and how they work with each other; Tara is Earth and Willow is Air, while Buffy is Fire and Spike is Water.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GSTART has the Sykonetyks, a strange street gang who dress in thematic jumpsuits and wield Decks of their corresponding Attribute. Their nicknames are even the Greek-derived prefixes of their elements: Hydro, Aero, Geo, Pyro.
  • Sky Blade Academy: Of the four main characters' actual Metria, we have Nagito as Terra/Earth, Shiki as Ventus/Wind, Kaiba as Pyro/Fire, and Atsuya as Aqua/Water.
  • Moving House describes the Cybertronian equivalent of the four elements — Metal (Earth), Smoke (Air), Lightning (Fire) and Oil (Water). Every Cybertronian or creature is aspected towards one of the four elements, with Jazz being Lightning aspected.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules: The four Titans fit each element: Lythos the rock Titan (earth), Hydros the ice Titan (water), Pyros the lava Titan (fire), Stratos the tornado Titan (air). As the climax reveals, the combination of the four is quite... explosive.
  • Frozen II has this as its plotline. The elements are four nature spirits: a gust of wind named Gale (wind), a literal fire salamander named Bruni (fire), the horse-like Nokk (water), and the colossal Earth Giants (earth). A fifth spirit is said to exist, but it's not an element, but a bridge between magic and humanity. As it turns out, it's Elsa and Anna.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Craft: Nancy represents Fire — she is the most passionate and dangerous of the girls, Sarah represents Earth — the most grounded and mature of them, Bonnie represents Air — she is the most in tune with her surroundings, and Rochelle Represents Water — she is a swimmer.
  • The Avengers (2012): A subtle one:
    • Iron Man is surrounded by fire in the first movie (captured in the desert, spends time in a cave lit by flames and forges his armor in the heat), fires and manufactures weapons, gets blasted through many flaming explosions, has a lit fireplace constantly in the background of his Malibu house, and paints his costume red and gold.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger has water and ice as his motifs; discovered frozen in ice, created via injection with blue liquid, film subtly tinted blue with scenes of rain and shots of snowy mountains throughout, chases a starter villain into the water in his first scene as Captain America, falls into the ocean at the end of the sequel, and his costume is colored primarily blue.
    • Thor naturally has air and thunder, being the God of it and all. In addition, he lives in the elevated land of Asgard, first arrives in a tornado-like thunderstorm, flies by twirling his hammer to create a gust of wind, first appears in The Avengers flying through the sky, onto an airplane; can summon his hammer through the air, wears a winged helmet, and his costume is colored grey.
    • The Incredible Hulk and earth; not only are the Hulk’s powers derived from physical strength, commonly associated with earth, but he's also frequently underground, being grounded or on the run in verdant lands, and is colored green.
  • Ghost Rider uses this to justify villain Blackheart's Quirky Miniboss Squad's theming of Air, Water, and Earth — with the Rider himself handling Fire.
  • Home Alone 3: This may be completely unintentional, but the Amusing Injuries the four spies suffer on the film cover are related to the four elements. Unger is electrocuted, which makes his suit (and farts) burn (fire); Jernigan is ice-covered after falling into a frozen pool (water); Alice is covered in dirt after several incidents in mud (earth); and Beaupre has black paint in his face, coming from a gas-powered spray can (air).
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009): The four murders planned by Blackwood correspond to the four classical elements:
    • Earth: Reordan is buried in Blackwood's dirt-filled coffin after being killed.
    • Water: Sir Thomas is drowned in his bath when Blackwood sneaks a paralytic chemical into it.
    • Fire: Standish is burned to death when his pistol backfires.
    • Air: Everyone in Parliament is nearly killed by poison gas. Instead, Blackwood ends up hanging himself from a very high place.
    • This is never mentioned, at all. Presumably, they wanted to be careful around another recent movie that had coincidentally pulled exactly the same trick.
    • Additionally, the elements are paired with their opposites for each murder.
      • Earth: Reordan is Buried Alive and dies from a lack of air.
      • Water: Sir Thomas dies submerged in water that is heated by fire.
      • Fire: Standish is immolated by fire, hastened by the fact that he was soaked in a chemical he took to be water.
      • Air: Parliament would have been killed by poison gas pumped in from beneath the earth. Blackwood dies from a fall, denied the safety of solid ground.
  • In Sucker Punch each of Baby Doll's fantasies when she's dancing is based around a different element. The first takes place in a snowstorm (water/ice), the second in the trenches of World War I (earth), the third involves getting something from a dragon (fire) and the last takes place on a monorail in the sky — as well as trouble arising when a jet pack doesn't work (air).
  • Midnight Special has each time Alton uses his powers corresponding with one of the elements. He first wrecks a house in an earthquake (earth), then brings a satellite down from the sky (air), controls his powers by watching the sun rise (fire) and crosses dimensions while standing in an everglade (water).
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army has four characters trying to save the world; Abe Sapien (an aquatic Fish Man), Liz (a woman with pyrokinetic powers), Dr. Krauss (a ghost made of smoke-like ectoplasm) and Hellboy himself who has a hand made of stone. Therefore we have water, fire, air, and earth.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan's speech during the coronation refers to the four elements:
    • Water: "To the glistening eastern sea, I give you Queen Lucy the Valiant."
    • Earth: "To the great western wood, King Edmund the Just."
    • Fire: "To the radiant southern sun, Queen Susan the Gentle."
    • Air: "And to the clear northern sky, I give you King Peter the Magnificent."
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) plays its four headliner Kaiju this way.
    • Water: Godzilla himself, whose aquatic nature is heavily emphasized. He is also associated with the colour blue.
    • Air: King Ghidorah. A Giant Flyer whose three heads spit chains of garishly golden lightning. Ghidorah is also associated with cold (often linked to the classical Air element), as he's spent the last few millennia sealed in South Pole ice, making the lifeless Mysterious Antarctica a kind of Empathic Environment for him — and what he'll turn the rest of the world into if he wins.
    • Earth: Mothra. Although another Giant Flyer like Ghidorah, Mothra is connected to nature, healing, and life itself. Notably, we first meet her in an ancient Chinese temple overgrown with foliage, and she tends to glow with a warm green light.
    • Fire: Rodan. The most overt example, Rodan is first introduced emerging from an erupting volcano, looks almost like he's made of molten rock and lava, and seems to be the most consistently, instinctively aggressive and Hot-Blooded (literally) of all the movie's monsters. We're also told that he appears in ancient folklore as "The Fire Demon", linking him to Appease the Volcano God traditions, and he's associated with the colours red and orange.

  • Angels and Demons uses the theme of the four elements in the murders of four Catholic Cardinals and in the clues to the location of the Illuminati's meeting place.
  • In Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern, the four female leads could qualify. Isi is a wind ie. air speaker, Enna is a fire speaker, Dasha is a water speaker and Rin is a tree speaker, which could be reinterpreted as earth
  • Harry Potter:
    • J. K. Rowling has stated that the four Hogwarts houses are based on the four elements. Gryffindor is fire, Hufflepuff is earth, Ravenclaw is air, and Slytherin is water. This can be subtly seen in some of the Houses' more prominent members: Slytherin is headed by Snape, a Potions professor who spends most of his time brewing liquid concoctions; Hufflepuff is headed by Sprout, an Herbology professor who spends most of her time potting plants in her greenhouse; Ravenclaw is headed by Flitwick, a Charms professor who is first seen teaching the students how to magically levitate feathers; the most prominent (adult) Gryffindor in the series is Hagrid, who is infamous for his obsession with dragons, and is most often seen in a cabin with a roaring fireplace.
    • Their dormitories also reflect on it: The Slytherin dormitories are in the dungeons, close to the lake. The Ravenclaw dormitories are in the highest tower. The Hufflepuff dormitories are underground. The Gryffindor dormitories are not located anywhere specifically related to fire, but the common room has a prominent fireplace.
    • According to Word of God, the Triwizard Tournament was originally going to have four tasks with each one based on a classical element. However, Rowling had difficulty coming up with tasks for all of them. In the end, the First Task combines air and fire while the Second Task is water and the Third Task is earth, giving the Tournament a Land, Sea, Sky motif instead.
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel has the Four Swords of Power. Clarent is the sword of Fire, Excalibur of Ice/Water, Durendal as Earth, and Joyeuse as Air. The twins also intend to learn each of the four Elemental magics though only Sophie ends up learning them all and Josh only learns Fire, Water, and Air.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: According to August Derleth some of the deities are associate with one of the four classic elements. The most prominent are Cthulhu with Water, Ithaqua with Air, Cthugha with Fire, and Shub-Niggurath with Earth. Cthugha was created specifically to round out the cast since there wasn't already a character associated with fire.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, as hinted at in the title, plays a lot with elemental motifs. Though they're all over the series, Martin seems to have been particularly inspired by Ice and Fire, the defining elemental forces of Norse Mythology. To elaborate:
    • The primary supernatural factions in the mythos (which generally stay separate from the political human factions) are all associated with different elements. There's Children of the Forest (Earth), the Others (Ice), and the Dragons (Fire).
    • Westeros's various religions and deities, both old and new, have their own elemental associations. There are the Old Gods (Earth), the Drowned God (Water), the Seven (Air), and R'hllor (Fire). The Old Gods are classic pagan spirits who are said to be present in nature, and their worshipers communicate with them through trees; the Drowned God is a mysterious figure who is said to dwell under the sea; the Seven are distant figures who are said to dwell in the sky, and act as personifications of human virtues; and R'hllor is a fierce deity who commands his followers to burn heretics alive and built pyres for false idols.
    • As the series rolls on, it gradually becomes clear that the two main protagonists of the Myth Arc are Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. Daenerys is associated with Fire, as she comes to command a trio of dragons, and plans to invade Westeros to take back her ancestral throne. Jon, her foil, is instead associated with Ice; he hails from the frozen North, he spends his days battling the icy Others, his animal companion is a snow-white direwolf, and he's instead devoted to defending Westeros from invasion.
    • Most of the major houses of Westeros are associated with the classical elements, which is pretty handy for keeping them all straight. The Starks of Winterfell are Ice, the ousted Targaryens (who have a dragon sigil) are Fire, the Arryns of the Eyrie (who have a bird sigil) are Air, the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands and the Tullys of Riverrun (who have a kraken sigil and a fish sigil, respectively) are Water, and the Tyrells of Highgarden (who have a rose sigil) are Earth. Even the Lannisters of Casterly Rock, who frequently use gold motifs (being the wealthiest house in Westeros), roughly correspond to the element of Metal.
  • East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Mercer Mayer's retelling has the role of the four winds filled by the Salamander (fire), Father Forest (earth), the Great Fish of the Sea (water) and finally the North Wind (air).
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: Covens are traditionally made up of witches who represent any combination of the four classical elements, usually three out of four (though having all four together makes spells more powerful), drawing strength from the presence of their respective elements. Molly is water, Olivia and Brian are air and Elsie is fire, while Dorothy is earth when they discover her.
  • Serwa Boateng: Asase Yaa gives Serwa's friends the powers of the four elements. Mateo is air, Gavin is water, Roxy is earth, and Eunju is fire.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charmed (1998) naturally features this, being a show about witches:
    • Paige's past life, the Evil Enchantress had the power to conjure the elements. She can conjure up a strong gust of wind to represent air, she can set fire to Paige's apartment, Paige is seen counteracting fire with a blue light possibly representing water, and she possibly controls the iron portcullis with earth.
    • Another episode has the sisters using the four elements in a spell to reveal the Eternal Spring. They use dirt from the garden, a fan to create wind, matches to create fire, and some water from the tap.
    • The house itself is built on a spiritual nexus, surrounded by notable elemental points. Oddly this episode used the five Taoist elements instead of the classic ones. Wood was used instead of Earth and the fifth element was Metal.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Houses: Targaryen, Lannister, and Martell (Fire), Greyjoy and Tully (Water), Arryn and Baelish (Air), Stark (Ice), Baratheon, Tyrell and Clegane (Earth)
    • Creatures: Dragons (Fire), Children of the Forest (Earth), White Walkers (Ice).
    • Gods: The Drowned God (Water note ), The Lord of Light (Fire note ), The Old Gods (Earth note ), the Seven (Air note )
  • The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg: "Fire within me! Earth beneath me! Air above me! Water around me!"
  • Nowhere Boys: Intentionally, and stated in-script.
    • Felix represents fire.
    • Andy represents water.
    • Sam represents air.
    • Jake represents earth.
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers often use this setup with their Five Man Bands, though with a fifth member it's a little loose with who the resident "Earth" Ranger is: the combination of elements is usually Fire/Water/Air/Earth/Wood (Kakuranger, Shinkenger/Samurai) or Fire/Water/Air/Wood/Lightning (Gingaman, Magiranger/Mystic Force).

    Myths & Religion 
  • Wiccans and other magic practitioners summons for their rituals and spells the help and/or protection of the four guardians of the Elements; Djin for Fire, Neksa for Water, Paraldas for Air, and Ghob for Earth (the names may vary depending on the tradition). Some summons the elemental themselves, generally Salamanders for Fire, Ondines for Water, Fairies or Elves for Air, and Gnomes for Earth.
  • The ritual of the Kabbalistic Cross, a protection ritual in Ceremonial Magick, uses the four archangels each with an element associate; Uriel for Air, Raphael for Earth, Gabriel for Water, and Michael for Fire.
  • Eliphas Levi linked each of the Tarot's symbols on the Minor Arcana to a specific element as; Batons for Fire, Cups for Water, Swords for Air, and Pentacles for Earth.
  • The Four Classic Elements are sacred for Zoroastrians as they are thought to be the purest manifestation of the Creator. Therefore they don’t bury their dead as such thing would contaminate earth, don’t cremate them as that would contaminate both fire and air, and do not toss dead bodies on water as that would contaminate water. They left the bodies in especial towers for the vultures to feed on them. This could be seen as horrible for some cultures but for them is not only the only way not to pollute the elements but also a way to give life from dead.

  • In Mozart's Magic Flute the hero and heroine undergo ordeals of Earth, Fire, and Water; Air seems to be missing until you realize that the Flute itself is a wind instrument.
  • Spice Girls
    • In Holler:
    • In Let Love Lead The Way:

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions adventure "The Coriolis Effect": Donnah Hannah and three anonymous NPC's are transformed into elemental-themed villains (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) by the Black Enchantress.
  • Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting: The Ashari are a collection of four tribes dedicated to guarding four portals to different dimensions, one for each classical element. In keeping with that theme, each tribe has developed elemental magic corresponding the portal they guard, as reflected in the stat-block each Ashari has at the end of the book.
    • The Zephrah Ashari are known as Skydancers and can fly using artificial wings known as a sky sail.
    • The Terrah Ashari are known as Stoneguards and have a special ability to turn their skin to stone as a reaction, halving all non-magical damage against them.
    • The Pyrah Ashari are known as Fire Tamers and can actually grow into ten-foot-tall behemoths made of fire.
    • The Vesrah Ashari are known as Wave Riders and can transform into sharks or octopi in addition to being able to talk to marine life.
  • Dungeons & Dragons had the Elemental Princes of Evil: Cryonax (cold), Imix (fire), Ogremoch (earth), Olhydra (water), and Yan-C-Bin (air) and their Good counterparts. But neither set ever teams up.
  • Promethean: The Created: The original five Promethean Lineages were associated with an element that corresponded to this, but it's drifted away from it somewhat in subsequent editions: the Frankensteins' corresponded to fire (with the caveat that fire is extremely lethal to Prometheans, so they got Lightning as "symbolic" fire), Galateans air, Tammuz earth, Osirians water, and Ulgan's were Element No. 5 as ectoplasm. Then subsequent books introduced the Zeka (radiation), Unfleshed (Oil), and Extempore (can be of any element). It also introduced the Amirani, the extinct fire-associated lineage predating the Frankensteins, and since the fire-bad rule still applied they were instead created with forged metal in their bodies, representing the heat of the forge.
  • Warhammer: The Chaos gods.
    • Khorne — the raging fire. To extrapolate, red is his color, his forges are powered by his rage, and his spiky armoured silhouette and the silhouettes of his demons also look like a men on fire.
    • Nurgle — the hungry earth. The god of rot, decay, acceptance, and humility (the most "down to earth" god). His mansion is located in a garden, and his colors are generally brown and green.
    • Tzeentch — the uncatchable air. His color is blue, "The winds of change" is a saying used in Warhammer Fantasy rather often, he's constantly in motion/change just like air, he has flying chariot demons, and his greater demons are birds.
    • Slaanesh — the beguiling water. The Eldar refer to her as "She who THIRSTS", her demon steeds are tamed by giving them a drink (of the milk of loyalty), fond of reflective surfaces (Slaanesh's palace is filled with them), and many of Slaanesh's demons are crab-themed.

    Video Games 
  • Battle Realms: The four clans can be seen as this. The Dragon clan are water, as they are about meditation and discipline, the Serpent clan are fire, as they freely use gunpowder, and fire, the Wolf clan are earth, as they have a close connection with nature, and use stone and shale as weapons and armor, and the Lotus clan are wind, as their warlocks cast bolts of lightning, and are quick on their feet.
  • Blackout: The Player Character's Split Personality manifests as four distinct personalities, each of them associated with an element. Depending on which actions the player makes him do, he will tend to identify with one over the three others.
    • The air personality is a carefree and easygoing Gadfly, who is constantly rather chipper.
    • The fire personality is characterised by his extremely cynical world-view, and his voice is fully of ice-cold fury. He also has a latent sadistic streak and is obsessed with getting revenge on those he feels have wronged him, as well as casually inflicting cruelty upon others just for the hell of it.
    • The earth personality is quiet, distant, shy, and modest, and believes he is not very interesting. He does, however, have some clear hints of being Obsessively Normal, especially in how he tries to downplay the severity of the Player Character's Dark and Troubled Past.
    • The water personality is childish, skittish, and fearful, and is plagued by feelings of abandonment and loneliness.
  • The Bloons Tower Defense series has four of the five Boss Bloons — Bloonarius for Water, Vortex for Air, Dreadbloon for Earth, and Blastapopulos for Fire. They also have powers associated with their element:
    • Bloonarius spawns massive tides and deluges of bloons every time it loses enough health.
    • Vortex uses air currents to speed up Bloons and emits a radial air blast (in Bloons Monkey City) or lightning blast (in BTD 6) to stun towers around it. It can also use a storm barrier that deflects slower-moving projectiles aimed at it.
    • Dreadbloon has lead armor properties that make it immune to many unbuffed attacks, and can also grow rock armor on itself for extra health
    • Blastapopulos throws fireballs at your towers to stun them.
  • Boktai gives you access to earth, fire, water, and wind type elements each with their own propertiesnote . You also get solar as the default attack, lunar which expends no energy but inflicts no damage, and dark which is reserved for the New Game Plus. It only gets more complicated in the sequels.
  • In Brave Frontier, four of the six elements (Fire, Water, Earth, and Thunder), forms a variant of this ensemble, where they form an elemental wheel.
  • Breath of Fire IV: Nina uses wind, Cray uses earth, Scias uses water, and Ursula uses fire. There are, however, two more characters in the party, with Ershin getting the most powerful spells of all elements but have little mana to use them regularly, and Ryu's dragon forms focusing on fire but also having access to wind and earth.
  • In Brütal Legend, the elements of the world of Heavy Metal are Fire, Noise, Blood, and Metal. Fittingly, this fits with the four classical elements; Fire is obvious, but Noise is Air, Blood is Water, and Metal is Earth, they've just been rebranded for Heavy Metal aesthetics.
  • Dragon Quest VII has the heroes awaken and round up the four Elemental Spirits. They're also Bonus Bosses.
  • In Earth and Sky, Austin and Emily have earth and air-themed powers, and the final chapter of the series reveals that their parents have fire and water powers from the same source.
  • The much maligned Fantasia for the Sega Genesis has four levels, each based around a classic element using the movie's segments: the first is Water (mostly "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", which had the brooms creating a flood), the second Earth (the dinosaur parts of "Rite of Spring"), the third Air (the various flying creatures from "The Pastoral Symphony" and "The Dance of Hours") and the fourth Fire (the Fire and Brimstone Hell of "Night on Bald Mountain").
  • Final Fantasy frequently has four elemental crystals — Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Often there's the Four Fiends to go with them. Both pop up in Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IV, and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Final Fantasy IX brought the Four Fiends back but not the crystals, and Final Fantasy III has the crystals but not the Fiends.
    • Final Fantasy IV has the Fire, Ice, Lightning trio of Ifrit, Shiva, and Ramuh, with the Earth-elemental Titan as slightly stronger, but remakes and the sequel bump Titan down to their level of power and importance for a four-summon ensemble.
    • Near the beginning of Final Fantasy V, each of the four protagonists is associated with one of the four elemental crystals along with a personality trait associated with said element. Bartz gets wind and quest, Lenna gets water and kindness, Galuf gets earth and hope, and Faris gets fire and courage.
    • Like the four main characters of V, the four main characters of Final Fantasy VII's party all correspond far too closely to a cardinal element for it to be coincidental, although unlike V it is never relevant to the plot or highlighted:
      • Cloud — Wind. Wind-related name, uses a sword (associated with Air in tarot), wind-themed attacks, compelled to wander, introspective and strategic, acts detached, and looks down on others.
      • Aerith — Earth. Earth-related name ("I, Earth"), gardener, grew up in an underground slum, her magic is drawn from the Planet, practical, stubborn, nurturing, sensual. Cloud and Aeris's first meeting even involves him falling down from the sky and landing in her flowerbed.
      • Tifa — Water. Dolphin-themed hairstyle, uses water-themed attacks (both Waterkick and Dolphin Blow are in her Limit Breaks), bartender who pours drinks for the rest of the cast, giving and kind, fluid and accommodating, likes to act as group peacemaker. Her Journey To The Center Of Cloud's Mind, where she gets him to see things her way, is caused when they both fall into (Lifestream-filled) sea. She is also associated with a Hearts motif (her surname is Lockhart, her ultimate weapon is the Premium Heart), the card suit analogous to the tarotic Cups/Water.
      • Barret — Fire. Fire-themed tattoo, fire-themed attacks, associated with firearms, terrorist, Hot-Blooded, hot temper, impulsive, passionate, powerful.
      • Note that its remake does not use the four classical elements, instead having Fire, Ice, Thunder and Wind as its elements, some of which are less fitting for each character (for instance, Ice fits Cloud more than it does Tifa, and Thunder does not fit Aerith at all).
    • Final Fantasy X actually reduces the traditional series of elements down to just four (there had always been about eight or nine in previous games). Lightning and Ice replace Earth and Air. It also mixes up the strengths/weaknesses a little, with lightning and water being opposed to each other, and the same with fire and ice. There's also the fifth Holy element (Which is good against most things, but especially undead), but it's very rare and hardly ever used.
    • The Crystal Chronicles subseries designed the four playable races this way. The clavats' down-to-earth nature, earth-toned hair and eye colors, and their reputation for farming represent Earth. Lilties, with their reputation as hotheads, propensity for blacksmithing, and their hairstyles that variously resemble flames, represent Fire. Yukes, with their wings and their reputation for being spacy, represent Air. Selkies, with their hair and eyes coming in various shades of blue and teal, having their only independent settlement being on an island, and being named after a type of mythological water being, represent Water.
  • In both Golden Sun games, each of your party members maps to a specific element, and the characters of each element in the original and the sequel even look alike. But when you get access to the first game's characters in the sequel, you can put together parties of whatever you like. Continued in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, where you eventually end up with two party members for each element as in The Lost Age.
  • Kingdom Hearts coded has Fire, Ice, Wind, and Thunder variants for a lot of commands, and each of the four elements goes beyond the usual third-tier of spells into advanced commands that parallel each other.
  • In League of Legends, the main map has a set of dragons that periodically appear and can be fought as set of neutral objectives. Introduced in 2016, dragons were directly based on this scheme, each one providing different buffs (including an extreme "Dragon Soul" gained from slaying four dragons), and different terrain-altering effects: the Infernal Drake increases damage and scorches apart terrain, the Mountain Drake increases defense and creates terrain, the Cloud Drake increases speed and creates large fields to speed up navigation, and the Ocean Drake increases regenerative stats and forms additional brush and honeyfruits. 2022 saw the addition of two new Magitek-themed dragons that broke from the formula: the Hextech Drake (which attacks with lightning) and the Chemtech Drake (which attacks with poisonous gas).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Since the series often relies on Rule of Three, the elemental setpieces in each game merge wind with either fire or earth (depending on the game) while representing the remaining two autonomously. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for example, has the Spiritual Stones (the Kokiri Emerald, spiriual stone of the Forest (Air/Earth); the Goron Ruby, spiritual stone of Fire, and the Zora Sapphire, spiritual stone of Water). The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has the Goddess Pearls (Valoo and Din's Pearl representing jointly fire and sky, Great Deku Tree and Farore's Pearl representing Earth, and Jabun and Nayru's Pearl representing water). Both The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap do represent the four elements equitably with the four Element jewels and (especially in the latter) the dungeons where they're found, however.
    • The four villains trying to revive Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games consist of Koume (who uses fire magic), Kotake (who uses ice magic), Onox (who can summon tornadoes and can turn himself into one), and Veran (who forces the people of Labrynna to build the Black Tower and smothers the surrounding area in dust as a result).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the four pieces of the Mirror of Twilight can be found in the Arbiter's Grounds (which contains many lamps and torches), Snowpeak Ruins (which is filled with ice and snow), the Temple of Time (which is a stone building located inside a Forest), and the City in the Sky (which is suspended in the sky and contains air geysers).
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has this with the four Magic Wands Link can purchase from Ravio over the course of his adventure: Ice Rod (frozen water), Fire Rod, Tornado Rod, and Sand Rod.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has the four Divine Beasts, each representing a classical element, and each is plagued with a Blight Ganon that makes use of that element. Vah Rudania is the fire one, Vah Ruta is the water one, and Vah Medoh is the air/wind one. Vah Naboris is primarily themed around lightning (and its boss is Thunderblight Ganon with electrical attacks), but it is also associated with earth.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: The Winds of Destruction, despite the collective group being named after wind, do fit this trope:
    • Jetsream Sam is associated with wind. He has two wind-themed names, Minuano and Jetstream, more than any of the other Winds of Destruction, and his theme song describes high-altitude winds in particular. As a playable character, his in-game light and heavy attacks are named "Piercing Winds" and "Stiff Breeze". His personality is the most carefree and adventurous out of the Winds, and his rivalry with Raiden echoes a Shinto rivalry between lightning and wind gods. Sam dies after a duel in the Colorado badlands accompanied by tumbleweeds blowing through the area, and a red and gold sunset which got its color from high-altitude clouds and atmospheric dust.
    • Sundowner is associated with fire. His name refers to a wind known for causing forest fires, and Kevin refers to him as "the Californian wildfire" in a cutscene. Beyond that, his personality is the most passionate and hot-blooded out of the Winds, he causes and feeds off of chaotic destruction like a fire does, his theme song describes a wildfire, and Raiden kills him by using an explosion to propel him into a Blade Mode frenzy.
    • Mistral is associated with water. She's named after a wind that heads into the Mediterranean, her theme song describes adrift at sea, her fighting style is the most graceful and fluid out of the Winds, and she's killed when Raiden freezes her in liquid nitrogen and shatters her.
    • Monsoon is associated with earth. His namesake winds are known for producing both mudslides and dust storms, his speech to Raiden can be described as "grounding" in multiple senses of the word, his battle song describes sinking into the mud, one of his battle quotes is "back to the earth with you!", and his magnetism powers let him control metal ore. Finally, Raiden kills Monsoon by pressing him into the World Marshal logo, an image of the earth, before viciously cutting him while he's immobilized.
  • In Monster Sanctuary, every attack falls under one of the classical elements, or is Non-Elemental. Fire is self-explanatory, but water encompasses ice, earth encompasses plants and poison, and air encompasses electricity.
  • The Ninja Kids: Hanzo is water, Sasuke is wind, Akane is fire and Genta is earth; all of this is apparent when you use their ninja magic against foes.
  • Quest for Glory: Used throughout the series, especially in the second game, where Shapeir is threatened by four Elementals representing the four elements. Four of the five games in the series (discounting III, which was made at the last minute and thus is the Odd Name Out) also represent the four elements, with I representing earth, II fire, IV air, and V water. There is a fifth "pizza" element, used mostly as a joke, though the AGD Fan Remake of II includes a Pizza Elemental as a Bonus Boss.
  • SaGa:
    • Romancing SaGa has 4 Elemental Lords; beings that embody the elements: Pyrix (Fire), Adyllis (Earth), Strom (Water), and Avi (Air). Fighting them is optional; however, failing their Ecology Quests forces you to fight a corrupted yet stronger version of them.
    • Romancing SaGa 3 has the main antagonists, The Four Sinistrals. They're a quartet of elemental demons that rule over The Abyss: Alloces the Sinistral of Earth, Forneus the Sinistral of Water, Aunas the Sinistral of Fire, and Buné the Sinistral of Wind.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji has the five dark ninjas represented by an element in their boss fights. (Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Metal).
  • Super Robot Wars: The Elemental Lords/Masou Kishin robots use the classic formation of Earth-Wind-Water-Fire. There's Cybuster (Wind), Granveil (Fire), Goddess (Water), and Zamzeed (Earth). These are the highest order of the elemental robots, there's tons more lesser robots corresponding to those elements too.
  • Super Metroid: The four Space Pirate leader bosses are associated with the four elements. They are the following; Draygon (water), Kraid (earth), Phantoon (air), and Ridley (fire). Draygon is fought underwater, Kraid is the only of them who is fighting from the ground and he spits rocks at you, and while both Phantoon and Ridley are airborne and attack with fireballs, Phantoon can turn invisible, and Ridley has his lair inside the fiery Norfair.
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms: The four factions and their monarch are based on the four elements they have control over. Elsin of Aramon-earth, Kirenna of Veruna-water, Lokken of Taros-fire, Thirsha of Zhon-air.
  • Wrath Unleashed: The four factions and their leaders Aenna water demigoddess, Epothos fire demigod, Durlock earth demigod, and Helamis air demigoddess.
  • Bayonetta: There are the Auditio, also known as the Cardinal Virtues, which are angelic physical representations of Divine Will, but also are each associated with one of the four Western elements. They act as major antagonists in the game, working in ensemble with the Big Bad, and include; Fortitudo, Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude and the Bringer of Flame, Temperantia, Cardinal Virtue of Temperance and Manipulator of Wind, Sapientia, Cardinal Virtue of Prudence and Controller of Seas, and Iustitia, Cardinal Virtue of Justice and Giver of Life (who represents Earth).
  • In Luxaren Allure, there are the Fire, Ice, Bolt, and Nature elements.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest has the Elements of Waters, Winds, and Warmth, plus the Spirit Tree serving as the Earth element.
  • CrossCode uses a Fire, Ice, Lightning trio augmented with Wave, which seems to represent both water and sound. Each one primarily gets juxtaposed against its opposite: Heat with Cold, and Shock with Wave. Strangely enough, the god representing Cold also holds dominion over rock, apparently making it the earth representative in the elemental quartet.
  • Rayman Origins has the Four Kings: Carnivora, Mocking Bird, El Stomacho, and Creveton.
  • Ring Fit Adventure: Played with. The player's moves are classified into different exercise types — arms, legs and thighs, core (torso), and yoga. Enemies are more vulnerable to certain types, so using the correct exercise for each encounter is important.
  • World of Warcraft: The four Elemental Lords — Ragnaros (fire), Al'Akir (air), Neptulon (water), and Therazane (earth). All four of them served the Old Gods in the past, but in Cataclysm, Ragnaros and Al'Akir are the enemy, while Therazane and Neptulon become hesitant allies of the protagonists. There's also the Ascendant Council in the Bastion of Twilight, with Ignacious (fire), Feludius (water), Terrastra (earth), and Arion(air), all of whom are Twilight Hammer members who have turned into elementals.
  • Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero has four temples and four gods based on the typical four elements. While three of the gods would never be seen again after the game, the one representing air, Fujin, would reappear in later games as a playable fighter.
  • Escape Lala: In the second game, Lala has gods for each of the four elements: water, earth, fire, and air. They are represented by stone faces placed around the map. There is a glass bottle that you must fill with each element and put in the corresponding stone face to open a door.
  • Puyo Puyo~n: There are four characters who join your party and use the powers of one of the four elements. They are the Draconic Humanoid Draco Centauros (fire), the mermaid Serilly (water), the witch named... Witch (wind), and a tribal-looking girl named Chico (earth).
  • Stella Glow: Four of the Witches inherit respectively the attributes of the four classic elements: Lisette (water, and later ice too), Popo (wind, and later lightning too), Sakuya (fire), and Mordimort (earth). The fifth Witch is Hilda, who has control over time and space instead and later joins the good guys' side when she's revealed to have been Good All Along.
  • Zork Nemesis: Each of the four alchemists are initiates of the Classical Elements: Bishop François Malveaux (Fire), Madame Sophia Hamilton (Water), General Thaddius Kaine (Earth) and Doctor Erasmus Sartorius (Air).

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In the Remnant fairy tale "The Story of the Seasons", four sisters become the Four Maidens after an old wizard is so moved by their kindness and compassion that he gifts them with his magic so that they can better help others. Spring, who is intimately connected to the earth, can create and control plants; Summer gains the gift of fire, Fall gains the gift of wind, and Winter can freeze water into ice. A subverted and invoked trope. When introduced, the real Maidens turn out to be able to use all Elemental Powers. The fairy tale was created by the real "Old Wizard" to hide their existence from the world; each season is a code-name for each Maiden, and each Maiden is responsible for protecting one of the four divine Relics.

  • Blonde Sunrise: The four witches, who control earth, wind, water, and fire. The Earth and Wind Witches are met over the course of the story (With the former getting killed by the latter), the Water Witch was killed several years beforehand, and the Fire Witch remains at large.
  • 8-Bit Theater: Played with when the Dark Warriors find the elemental orbs of light and divide them amongst themselves. Two were clear cut (the Earth Orb for the elf and Water Orb for the pirate), but the other two were just given to whoever.
  • Homestuck: Each one of the four kid protagonists is associated with a classical element (among other things). John is wind, Rose is water, Dave is fire, and Jade is earth. Read more about it here.
  • Kevin & Kell: There's a strip where the Dewclaw family are defined by the elements: Solid and reliable Kevin is Earth; adaptable working mom Kell is Water; intellectual flight-lover Lindesfarne is Air; hot-tempered artist Rudy is Fire; and carnivorous bunny Coney is "maybe that weird 'plasma' thing that no-one can define".
  • Sleepless Domain: The magical girls of Team Alchemical each have Elemental Powers over one of the classical elements of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. Their fifth member and team leader Alchemical Aether has control over Pure Energy.

    Web Original 
  • In the hybrid webcomic/browser game Demon Thesis, the four main characters find themselves gifted with these powers after a mysterious entity from another dimension starts interfering in our world. There is one exception though: Sam's powers are actually over ice rather than water.
  • From the Fictional Video Game in which Noob is set:
    • The Phoenixes that serve the setting's Source of life are a group of four women affiliated respectively with fire, water, air, and earth. Pironess, the fire one, is a recurring Quest Giver in the later part of the webseries, while the three others have made various appearances in the novels and movies taken together.
    • The possible specializations of the elementalist class, which according to the novels and webseries, include swearing fealty to one of the Phoenixes. Water makes you a Combat Medic, fire a Playing with Fire Squishy Wizard, earth a Stone Wall, and air a Fragile Speedster.
  • The Sanders Sides form one, with Roman as Fire, Virgil as Water, Patton as Air and Logan as Earth — which all has a lot of implications on astrological level. Additionally, Thomas can be regarded as Element No. 5.

    Western Animation 
  • Action League NOW!: The Flesh represents Earth (has strength far surpassing an ordinary Chuck-o-mation character), Thunder Girl represents Air (her super ability is flight), Stinky Diver represents Water (he's a scuba diver, no doubt), and Meltman represents Fire (what else but fire, or Heat, to have giving him his melted form?).
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Zach: Earth (very connected to his family, very literally grounded, augmented strength, Lawful Good leader), Shane: Water (shapeshifter, friends with dolphins, names his horse after a sea god), Niko: Fire (Fiery Redhead, psionic blasts), Doc: Air (Air is the element of ideas, communication, and bullshit — and he's well-stocked on all three)
  • Adventure Time has an alternate selection of elements from tradition, and this is represented in their present-day Elementals: Flame Princess is the Fire elemental, Patience is the Ice Elemental, Princess Bubblegum is the Candy elemental and Slime Princess is the Slime elemental. It is later revealed there is the fifth element, Lumps.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The heroes are made up of a Five-Man Band (in the second half of the third season), though one of them, Sokka, is Non-Elemental. Sokka jokes about it in the finale:
      Sokka: Team Avatar is back! [series of dramatic zooms] Air! Water! Earth! Fire! [grabs some large leaves for himself and Suki] Fan and sword!
    • The four nations themselves are based around the elements they control, the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads.
    • In The Legend of Korra the party tends to shift over time, but the core group is Korra (water), Mako (fire), Bolin (Earth), Tenzin and his family (air), and Asami (technology/Badass Normal). The Red Lotus in Book 3 is a villianous counterpart.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: The five members have the powers of earth, fire, wind, water, and... heart.
  • In Code Lyoko, the sectors reflect the elements. The desert sector is fire, the ice sector is water, the mountain sector is air and the forest sector is earth. In fact, sector 5 could be considered the aether.
  • The Xiaolin Monks of Xiaolin Showdown each control one of the four elements, Omi (water), Raimundo (wind), Kimiko (fire), Clay (earth).
  • Young Justice: T.O. Morrow created his "Reds" to have powers over the four elements: Red Torpedo (water), Red Inferno (fire), Red Tornado (air) and Red Volcano (earth).
  • The Cluster's Alliance in Shadow Raiders is made of four planets; Fire, Ice, Bone, and (reluctantly) Rock. Planet Water was destroyed at the beginning of the series.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Shendu and three of his siblings have these elemental powers while the other four derive their power from thunder, mountain, sky, and moon.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, four of the new alien forms Ben obtains have these powers: Water Hazard (water), Terraspin (wind), NRG (fire), and Armadrillo (earth). The fifth one, Ampfibian has lighting, though this one is a case of Lightning Can Do Anything.
  • The original four-ninja team of Ninjago control the main Elements of Creation that correspond to the Golden Weapons used to create their world: Kai (fire), Jay (lightning), Zane (ice), and Cole (earth). Water and Wind serve as secondary elements instead, among many others.
  • Among the many unicorns in Mia and Me are the four Element Unicorns, the Water Unicorn, the Wind Unicorn, the Earth Unicorn, and the Fire Unicorn.
  • The four kings that make up the elements in Tigtone are Metal, Blood, Lightning and Pain.

    Real Life 
  • Electromagnetism, gravity, and strong and weak nuclear forces are the four fundamental forces in particle physics.
  • States of matter. Earth, water, air, fire? Solid, liquid, gas, plasma. (Fire is sometimes plasma, sometimes not. It's complicated. But many people consider it to be plasma because strong fires can be affected by magnetic fields.)
  • Sources of renewable energy: Geothermal (Earth), Hydroelectric (Water), Wind (Air), and Solar (Fire). Probably the closest thing to Elemental Powers in Real Life.
  • On the other side of the same coin, natural disasters. Eruptions, earthquakes, avalanches, and mudslides (Earth), floods and tsunamis (Water), tornadoes, hurricanes, and windstorms (Air), and droughts (sun -> Fire) as well as... Fires.
  • Four things plants need to feed and grow: nutrients from the earth, CO2 from the air, the sun (representing fire), and water.


Video Example(s):


Avatar Aang

During his intense battle against Firelord Ozai, Ozai inadvertently frees up Aang's twisted chakra, allowing him to finally gain full control of the Avatar State. Aang then uses its full might to call upon all four elements against Ozai.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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