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Pillar of Light

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Republic City: taking light pollution to a new level.

"Whoa! I could have missed it, but I'm pretty sure a giant beam of energy shooting up into the sky wasn't in the mission briefing..."
Devlin, Singularity

When an event of great celestial, magical or ultratech power occurs, it is often heralded by a beam of light — usually blue or white — that shoots straight up into the sky from ground zero, often evaporating whatever clouds are unfortunate enough to be in its path. Sometimes it starts out narrow and expands in diameter as it climbs.

In the case of more disastrous events, the Pillar of Light is just an extension of the Pre-Explosion Glow; in other cases, it can be part of a truly cosmic Battle Aura. The rest of the time it is relatively benign, if exciting to watch.

It should be noted that a Pillar of Light usually travels upwards. A Pillar of Light that comes down, more often than not, is a Kill Sat, which tends to be far less benign. See also Sphere of Destruction for the globular variant.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma accidentally causes this when he redirects a powerful spell cast by Index upwards, which just so happens to destroy the city's satellite/supercomputer, Tree Diagram, in its wake.
  • When Belldandy grants Keiichi's wish in Ah! My Goddess, a beam of light blasts from her forehead up to heaven (coincidentally blowing a hole through all the intervening floors of the building they're in at the time). Fortunately nobody was standing in the way — the whole reason why she was able to grant the wish is that Keiichi was dorm-sitting while everyone else went out and had fun.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne TV series uses this as the special effect for Hitomi's teleportation power — which, besides being central to the plot, came up pretty frequently.
  • In Futari wa Pretty Cure, the protagonists' Transformation Sequence is performed within a Pillar of Light, and is one of the most pyrotechnically impressive transformation sequences known.
  • A cross-shaped version is often seen as the results of Angel attacks in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • My-Otome:
    • When the Harmonium Organ is activated, it creates a pillar of light that can be seen for miles.
    • My-Otome 0~S.ifr~ has Lena's Artemis, which comes down from the sky in a potential homage to its My-HiME Kill Sat namesake.
  • In The Big O, a pillar of light effectively triggers the end of the world... maybe.
  • Gasaraki has an inversion — when Yushiro performs the ritual that is at the center of much of the Gowa family's attention, the pillar comes down out of the sky to him.
  • Haibane Renmei has one for the Day of Flight.
  • In Trigun, Vash The Stampede gets Puppeteer Parasite into firing his weapon at full power against an enemy. He manages to redirect the aim to the sky, and when the weapon fires a huge Pillar of Light rises up to the planet's moon and bores a large crater in it.
  • The Combined Energy Attack in Tokyo Mew Mew uses five pillars of light, color-coded to each girl. Ichigo's, of course, is the biggest, and right in the middle.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • The anime did this in the first episode: Pikachu's final attack on the Spearow caused a pillar of electrical light to appear.
    • Mewtwo's destruction of the laboratory he was born in, and how he blew up Viridian's gym. Then later in the sequel when he sent the lake underground.
    • Used as a sign that Latios was dying in Pokémon Heroes.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • This happens in the very first episode of the original season of that series, when Nanoha first activated Raising Heart.
    • Near the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, the return of Hayate and her Wolkenritter is accompanied by one of these.
    • The movie version of A's has what can best be described as a pillar of darkness during Hayate's Traumatic Superpower Awakening.
  • In the anime version of Sailor Moon, Chibi-Usa frequently emits one of these from the moon mark on her forehead when she's frightened or upset due to the Silver Crystal being inside her body.
  • In an episode of Beyblade, Ray beats his rival with a move which is accompanied by his beyblade emmitting a green beam of light that smashes through the roof of the arena, causing one of the Combat Commentators to quip "That's probably going to take down a couple of satellites!"
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Especially large-scale magic tends to do stuff like this. Especially the time the bad guys used Konoka's latent magical powers to summon a giant demon.
    • Of particular note is Chachamaru's Kill Sat Artifact, Al-Iskandaria.
  • In the anime Nabari no Ou, a pillar of light accompanies the Shinrabansho's activation.
  • Many of the events of the anime Boogiepop Phantom appear to be precipitated by a mysterious pillar of light that shot into the sky. As revealed in "Boogiepop and Others", this was the result of Echoes' transmitting himself as information back to the higher plane he came from.
  • In One Piece, the first hint of God Eneru's presence and power is a column of light that vaporizes people who make "blasphemous" statements. After Eneru actually appears on-screen, it is used as a particularly devastating attack.
  • Digimon Adventure: After beating VenomVamdemon and his demon crotch, the heroes use one of these to return to the Digital World. Also, if the exaggerated Stock Footage Transformation Sequences are to be believed, Digivices blast one through the crests and into the sky every time evolution to the Perfect level happens.
  • Bad stuff happens when this shows up in Saikano. Really bad stuff.
  • The perfected form of the Shishi Hokodan, in Ranma ˝, looks a lot like this. The user launches a bolt of depression-generated ki straight up into the air, forming a brief pillar of blazing energy that then colaesces into a pulsing fireball, then goes emotionally limp and lets it fall back down, smashing everything around the user. The biggest problem with this move is that, if the user gets snapped out of being emotionally hollow at the wrong time, the move will crush them, too.
  • Fushigi Yuugi has one of these at each summoning ceremony — and yes, the pillars are Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
  • In the Saint Seiya arc set in Asgard, Hilda's God Warriors are awakened when their Cloths emit great pillars of light to match the stars of Ursa Major.
  • Any sufficiently powerful attack on Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z; especially when it's a deflected beam attack.
  • The Tower of Babel superweapon in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water shoots a column of light upwards towards an Atlantean satelite (basically a mirror orbiting the earth) and redirecting it in the specified target.
  • Naruto:
    • In a Shippuden filler Arc, a young boy named Yûkimaru has the power to partially control the Three-tailed Beast. Whenever he uses this power, his chakra would shoot up into the air, which looked like a pillar of light.
    • All jinchuuriki do this when entering the Version 2 state, but with a pillar of burning blood and dark chakra.
  • In Fairy Tail, when the huge demon Lullaby is destroyed, a pillar of light rise in the atmosphere. It also leaves a huge crater behind.
  • In Transformers: Cybertron, activating a Cyber Key Power requires summoning the Cyber Key by doing this with one's Battle Aura.
  • In Attack on Titan, yellow lightning strikes the spot where the Colossal Titan appears, whenever it does. Titan Shifters also get this effect.
  • GaoGaiGar: Zonders de-cored by Hell and Heaven release a vertical blastwave when destroyed, although unusually for this trope, it does appear to give off shockwaves and heat; the Goldion Hammer makes Zonders turn into light, but also sends up a shaft of glowing energy in addition to the wavy, floating beam of glowing particles. The Eraser Head missile also produces this effect, shunting 99% of the energy into space.
  • This sometimes happens on Yu-Gi-Oh! when a powerful monster is summoned, especially if said monster is an Egyptian God. It also happens when the Seal of Orichalcos claims the soul of someone who lost a duel.
  • In Dragon Knights, three of these mark the halfway point between the Western and Eastern continents, rarely seen as the Eastern continent is almost entirely lost.

    Comic Books 
  • In H'el on Earth, when H'el activates his Star Chamber, it emits a gaint beam of light that shoots through the sky and into outer space.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Bad Guys (2022), the meteorite creates a massive one when it explodes, having been set to overdrive by Mr. Snake, destroying Marmalade's complex in the process.
  • At the conclusion of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the Phantom Gaia, having been countered by the Spirit Wave, leaves Earth in the form of a pillar of light that stretches from the Leonid Crater and into outer space, taking its Phantoms with it.
  • In the Over the Hedge movie, the De-Pelter Turbo unleashes a Pillar of Light that obliterates a passing satellite, roasts marshmallows and pops popcorn a few feet away, and can be seen from outside the galaxy.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, one of these is used at the end of a round of Hero’s Duty to lure and kill Cybugs like moths to a lamp, since they do not know they're in a game and would breed uncontrollably if left alive. Ralph creates an improvised one at the climax with a Mentos volcano and Diet Cola lava to kill the Cybugs that invaded Sugar Rush, which also finally kills Turbo, as he had been consumed by one and fused with it.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • In the first movie, Sunset Shimmer is engulfed in set of Rings of Activation that coalesce into a Pillar of Light when she puts the Element of Magic crown on her head, marking the start of a Transformation Sequence.
    • In the prologue of Rainbow Rocks, the very same Pillar of Light is shown to have attracted some attention. First from the Dazzlings, but also with Twilight Sparkle's human counterpart. Later in the film, the Rainbooms’ collective magic, including that of the redeemed Sunset, coalesces into a rainbow pillar that forms the counterspell that defeats the Dazzlings.
  • Turning Red: As Mei's family begins to perform the separation ritual on Ming's gigantic panda form, a large pillar of light bursts from the circle.

    Films — Live-Action 
Many examples here (although some are Kill Sat, and there's also an animation, Wreck-It Ralph)

  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe book I, Jedi, the title Jedi is caught in a massive firestorm of explosives. He absorbs all of the energy and sends most of it straight up. (For extra points, he uses some of the power to weave a city-wide illusion of a giant spectral Jedi, with the pillar as the blade of his lightsaber.)
  • When the Crippled God is freed from his captivity towards the end of The Crippled God, book ten of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, his soul rides up to the jade statues of his followers in a bright ray of light.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Traveller, when Jor-El restores Kara's memories and powers. In Instinct, when Tess Mercer and a scientist mess with a kryptonian crystal. Hilarity Ensues when Maxima recognizes the kryptonian beam and comes to Earth in search for a mate.
  • On Lost, the characters, having travelled back in time, see a pillar of light shoot up into the sky. Subverted in that it is later revealed by Locke that it was perfectly ordinary lightbulb light from the hatch, and he comments that at the time he thought the light was somehow significant, when in reality it was actually completely meaningless.
  • In the fourth, self-titled Quatermass serial, the Planet People are a sect who believe they are being transported to a wonderful new planet by beams of light that descend to the Earth. Professor Quatermass discovers that the beams have a much deadlier purpose.
  • In the Torchwood miniseries Children of Earth, a pillar of light coming down from the sky was how the 456 emissary arrived on Earth.
  • An episode of Stargate Atlantis shows a Pillar of Light coming down to a village from the Wraith hiveship in orbit. Sheppard goes to check it out but never reveals what he found, and no-one bothers to ask him. No such beam has been seen on the show before or since.
  • In Supernatural one of these was produced when Lucifer was freed in "Sympathy for the Devil".
  • Doctor Who:
    • The DVD edition of the serial "Day of the Daleks" includes a version with new special effects. One of these is a narrow column of light shining upward from the Daleks' headquarters when they switch on the Time Vortex Magnetron.
    • In "The Pyramid at the End of the World", an orange skyward beam rises from the alien pyramid as the Americans and Russian are about to bombard it. Then the beam plucks out the bomber plane from the sky and deposits it next to it, soon followed by the Russian submarine.
  • In the episode Doomworld of the second series of Legends of Tomorrow, a pillar of light erupts from Star Labs when Eobard throws the Spear of Destiny into the reactor, destroying it.
  • Chernobyl: A faint blue sky beam emerges from the nuclear power plant once it explodes. It is ionized air that is the first clear indication that the core is now exposed to the exterior.
  • The first season of His Dark Materials climaxes with Lord Asriel blasting apart the barrier between the worlds. The results look like this.

    Multiple Media 

  • The Blue Öyster Cult pioneered the use of lasers as part of their live shows in The '70s. Commonplace today, back then it was new and spectacular (albeit dependent on unreliable technology). Live concert footage preserved as part of the Some Enchanted Evening CD/DVD package shows a Pillar of Light rising during the song Astronomy.

  • The Portal from TRON: Legacy, most notably in the first edition release.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, there is a Solar-Circle Sorcery called Total Annihilation, which results in a pillar of light that is five miles high. And a Solar Exalted's Battle Aura essentially becomes a non-destructive Pillar of Light plus other special effects when it's at full power. Ironically it's a drawback to using maximum power, since it advertises the Solar's presence to the setting's "Shaolin death squads".
  • The "Iron Gods" Pathfinder campaign opens in the town of Torch, named for an immense column of violet flame emanating from a hill in the town. The players eventually discover its origin: a jet of plasma being vented from the power core of a buried spaceship.

    Video Games 
  • In Apocalypse the first two horsemen, Death and Plague, both dissolves into vertical pillars of light into the sky upon their defeat.
  • Asura's Wrath: Asura creates one after coming out of a 12,000 year exile of Gaea.
  • Frog earns one of these in Chrono Trigger (complete with Theme Music Power-Up) by attuning himself to the Masamune blade, just before the party's assault on Magus's castle. Watch!
  • Coffee Crisis: Every now and then, the game will dispense alien mooks by beaming them downwards on pillars of light. After their defeat, they're then beamed upwards.
  • Occurs in the opening animation of Jedah Dohma, the Big Bad of the third Darkstalkers game Vampire Saviour, except the pillar is made of blood instead of light. He appears from the top of the screen, slowly hovering down into place, before the pillar dissipates.
  • Terry Bogard's Power Stream from The King of Fighters is one of these, though it was probably inspired by Geese Howard's Raging Storm, which is a cage (or claw) of light.
    • Rugal, Vice, and Mature can cause them when they use certain "slamming" Desperation Attacks (Rugal and Mature when they press the foe against the stage "wall" and when Vice hits her power bomb). Usually the image of a skull can be seen within. Rugal's son, Adelheid, can also do it with his wall press super.
  • One of the death animations from Scorched Earth.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • The American superweapon from Command & Conquer: Generals fires one of these... which is then reflected off of the Kill Sat in orbit and back onto the battlefield, where it acts like a huge cutting laser.
    • In the Tiberium series, the GDI's Kill Sat Ion Cannon. It fits the Pillar Of Light idea a bit more; Kane himself was shown to have treated it like a beam of light from God himself.
    • Red Alert 3: The Athena Cannon is essentially a giant targeting laser on treads that sends coordinates to an orbiting laser cannon. One Challenge mission in Uprising has cannons firing in sequence all over the map, limiting progress.
  • Dark Souls III has it as a castable Miracle (holy spell). Aptly called "Divine Pillars of Light".
  • Devil May Cry 5: At the end of Mission 17, V impaling a weakened Urizen causes a blue pillar of light to shoot up from where they are. It shatters the illusory background like glass, and when it dissipates, a reformed Vergil is standing in place of V and Urizen.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The finishing move "Blasting Zone" of Squall's Limit Break in Final Fantasy VIII involves a Pillar of Light that's visible from orbit, which is impressive since it's generated by his gunblade.
    • An optional boss uses this as one of its attacks. Granted, it doesn't go straight up but straight through the target, but since it's named "Light Pillar", this trope still applies.
    • The Guardian Force Eden, when summoned, turns the entire planet into a magical cannon that shoots the enemy into outer space using a continent-wide Pillar of Light. Overkill? Naaah.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, after Sephiroth obtains the Black Materia and begins casting Meteor, the Planet's WEAPONs are awakened in an enormous column of Lifestream that shoots straight up from the Northern Crater.
    • And, in the ending, the ultimate White Magic, Holy, rises from the same place in the same manner.
    • Final Fantasy IX's ultimate Eidolon, Ark, smashes the enemy down with a magical explosion so potent that it's briefly seen from outer space as a brief pillar bursting from the ground.
    • The opening Sequence of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates has Princess Tilika exploding into a pillar of light.
    • Final Fantasy XII: Vaan's level one Quickening, Red Spiral, shoots a mostly blue spiral into the air, before calling down a pillar of glowing red-yellow light. How far off it's visible is hard to determine, however, given that Quickenings seem to take place in a nullspace where dropping meteors or hurricanes on the enemy does no damage to the surrounding environment at all.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Red Mage's Verholy produces a spiraling gout of white from beneath the target. You also do a little twirl. In addition, the Monk's Level 3 Limit Break, Final Heaven, creates a pillar-like explosion.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Palutena's preferred method of direct attack when needed, used against the Hewdraw if Pit takes too long and later against Pit himself during her Brainwashed and Crazy boss fight, is a giant blue vertical beam. It returns in Super Smash Bros. as her Up Smash, and the standard attack with the tallest hitbox in the game.
  • In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Pit's Three Sacred Treasures Final Smash ends with a series of light pillars in random locations across the battlefield.
  • This happened in two endings of Lobotomy Corporation during the Tree of Light event with significantly different consequences.
    • Was repeated in the true ending of the sequil, possibly with a little more positive outcome.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X's Zero makes use of the Pillar of Light to hurt enemies and stay temporarily invincible. Two variations: a colossal, screen-wide vertical shower of beams in X6 called Rekkoha, or a more benign Pillar Of Light in X8 called Tenshouha.
    • Copy X from the Mega Man Zero games uses a big blue pillar of light to heal himself if the player's rank is high enough to warrant itnote . He also uses it in Mega Man Zero 3 regardless of their rank in that game. This pillar can also damage the player if they touch it.
    • Omega, using Zero's X-era body, also uses X6's Pillar Of Light's name but resemble X8's more. It makes himself invincible briefly and in Mega Man ZX, heals himself. Model OX's version, however, resembles the one Zero uses in X6 more.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid Prime: When Samus finally places all the artifacts, a beam of light shoots up from the central structure. What does it do? The player never finds out, as Meta Ridley comes along and breaks it. Presumably, it would have done what the pulse afterward does, which is teleport Samus into the Impact Crater.
    • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, restoring the energy to all four temples and gaining the Light Suit allows Samus to teleport between the temples by riding their Pillars of Light. You also use one to enter the final level.
  • The World Ends with You:
    • When Neku levels up.
    • Also, Pillars of Light of varying magnitudes are Joshua's secondary attack method after a certain plot point. It's more this than Beam Spam, because they come out of the ground instead of from Joshua.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 2's superportal beam might count, other than that it is not in the straight line.
  • In Halo 3, a giant Forerunner artifact left buried in Africa emits one of these when it's uncovered and activated.
  • Nowel of Magical Battle Arena calls down four of these for her super move, which is then followed by four massive, highly-damaging explosions. If you see her preparing these, for goodness sake, run!
  • In Magic and Mayhem: The Art of Magic, the "Judgement" spell appears as a column of light.
  • Super Robot Wars:
  • Mother 3: The Seven Needles briefly turn into beams of light when pulled.
  • A textbook Pillar of Light can be seen in the third Thief game when Garrett activates the Final Glyph. The streets around it also briefly flood with light, creating an intricate symbol from the City itself.
  • Several offensive Druid spells in World of Warcraft cause downward-traveling Pillars of Light. Most frequently seen (and also most awesome-looking, especially with the latest graphic change) is Moonfire.
  • In Warcraft 3, this is a pretty common effect for spells. Off the top of my head, this happens during Hero level ups, resurrections, Holy Light, Mass Teleport, and more.
  • God of War:
    • When you kill Ares.
    • When you kill Athena.
    • When you finally kill Zeus and AGAIN when Kratos commit suicide.
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, following Fayt destroying the Vendeeni battleship, talking to NPCs will have them wondering what that pillar of light was.
  • The "Alpha Strike" in Iji is of the downward variety. And there are a lot of pillars (one from each of an entire space armada), since it is meant to raze the entire planet simultaneously.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne:
  • The Smiting Prayers elite skill Ray of Judgment in Guild Wars calls forth a pillar of glowing white light that heavily damages (and sets on fire) anyone foolish enough (or knocked-down enough) to remain within its radius.
  • Done beautifully in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume by Garm /Ailyth.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins when the Archedemon is slain. The whole of the Fereldan army sees it from a distance.
  • In Dragon Age II the bomb Anders planted in the Chantry creates a pillar of red light during the explosion.
  • PAGUI depicts the spirit world's entrance as a pillar of golden light shooting from the ground, which you step into.
  • Done in the Soul Series with the Evil Seed. When Siegdfried becomes Nightmare, an evil Pillar of Light occurs that causes widespread madness and bloodlust.
  • As of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the attack Solar Beam has this as its animation.
    • Judgment, the signature move of Arceus, is depicted in various media as pillars of divine light raining down from the sky.
  • In Golden Sun, the Gaia spell is a blasts the enemy with light and levitating rocks from underground.
    • Certain summons also have this effect.
  • The Demichev Reactor in Singularity. Provides the page quote.
  • Armored Core:
    • Armored Core 4 provides a classic instance of this trope with the tower-like Ehrenburg Anti-Satellite cannon. If the player fails to destroy it, it will fire a huge pillar of light into the air, destroying the GA surveillance satellite. The mission which it appears in is also (amusingly) called... "Pillar of Light".
    • And then they come back in Armored Core: For Answer, except they appear significantly smaller this time and there are three of them around a huge lake (although like the AC4 version, they are in Antarctica). However, the player only sees them fire in the final cutscene of the ORCA Ending, where they are used to destroy the Assault Cells that keep the human race bound to the Earth, the goal that ORCA was working towards; however, it is a Bittersweet Ending, because the player is the last surviving member of the ORCA Brigade, and millions suffocated due to pollution when the Cradles crash to earth as a consequence of the player's actions.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, a very high "Light Side" alignment cause your character portrait to be backlit by one of these.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has:
      • Pillars that show the position of any treasure you have a chart for as long as you're not too close,
      • Pillars that warp you out of the Boss Arena,
      • and even a Pillar that shines briefly before stopping to reveal a stone with the instructions for the Command Melody on it.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword uses these as beacons, with color-coded beams showing the way to each of the main overworld areas. You can place additional ones on the map as reminders.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets you place one beacon each of six colors around the map that manifest as this.
  • Happens when Crocodile Isle explodes and sinks into the sea in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest after K Rool gets thrown into the island's core.
  • Minor variant: Slain colossi in Shadow of the Colossus leave pillars of light as beacons to their areas, if the player wanted to rebattle them in Reminiscence Mode.
  • Kingdom Hearts: This serves as one of the strongest light attacks available to certain Keybearers - Roxas's Limit Breaks Magic Hour and Event Horizon, Sora and Minnie's ability Faith, and one of the limit breaks for Xion's final form.
  • Like the movies they're based on, pillars of light factor heavily in TRON 2.0, representing an escape route from a particular level.
  • The Tales Series has the recurring spell Judgement, which brings destructive pillars of light down randomly across the field. Tear Grants from Tales of the Abyss also has this as her default Limit Break, Innocent Shine.
  • One of Nightwolf's fatalities in the Mortal Kombat franchise.
  • Fate/stay night: Excalibur tends to cause a giant, golden pillar of light whenever its power is unleashed. Archer's Caladbolg II arrow also causes a big one in the anime adaptation.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, one of these accompanies each time someone summons one of the Gigas.
  • In Dragon's Crown, if you take too long fighting the Arch Demon, the injured female warrior monk you met earlier will eventually manage to put the holy symbol in place on her own, causing pillars of light to continuously rain down from the heavens and deal heavy damage to the Arch Demon and his minions. However, killing the Arch Demon with divine intervention means you won't get full credit for beating the boss and you won't receive the Blue Talisman.
  • The ending of the combined Might and Magic IV and V, World of Xeen shows that is the first visible effect of the Unification — a pillar of light ascending high into the sky (high enough to be at least as tall as the world is long). Then light from the top of the pillar curves down to meet receivers at the edges of the world, which sends curved pillars of light up on the other side of the world, where they meet and make a pillar of light down exactly opposite to the first pillar... turning a flat world into a round one evidently requires lots of light.
  • In the good ending of Infamous 2 where Cole activates the RFI it shoots a beam that can be seen from space!
  • Minecraft has the Beacons, which, you guessed it, you have to gather and build yourself. The Nether Star in particular requires building and killing The Wither. In addition to the Pillar of Light, it grants you up to two status effects while you're in range.
  • Whenever you're doing a quest in Pirates of the Caribbean Online, you can create a ray of light that will guide you either to your destination or to the closest object that would help you complete your quest.
  • In Tokyo Afterschool Summoners, there are 23 pillars of light known as gates, each one in a different ward in Tokyo. They all connect to a different world based on a different mythology, with residents from those worlds, such as demons, angels, beast men, and other beings, being summoned into this world.
  • Diablo 3: Imperius summons his spear from a pillar of light, before confronting Diablo.

    Web Animation 
  • BIONICLE: In the Bohrok Online Animations, 6 of them occur when the Bohrok are defeated.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar:
    • The Last Airbender
      • In the series premiere, Prince Zuko guesses that the random Pillar of Light that suddenly appears in the South Pole signals something of great, powerful significance, like the return of the Avatar. Lampshaded by Iroh, who thinks it might just be the natural polar lights. "We've been down this road before, Prince Zuko."
      • Way later in the Grand Finale when Aang takes away Ozai's bending, a similar-looking one occurs.
    • The Legend of Korra
      • The Spirit Portals, located at the north and south poles, take the form of swirling pillars of orange and blue light, respectively. In the material world, their tips split off to form the auroras, while in the Spirit World, they appear infinite.
      • In the Grand Finale, when Kuvira's spirit weapon blows up, it has so much energy that it rips open a new, green-gold spirit portal.
  • The signal in Beast Wars season one, "The Trigger, Part 2". Not a good thing, but a significant thing.
  • Code Lyoko
    • Whenever a monster or hero falls into the Digital Sea, a white Pillar of Light rises from the spot into the sky of Lyoko (with the notable exception of William in Season 4, since a dive into the Digital Sea doesn't harm him).
    • Also occurs at the beginning of a return to the past sequence, when an expending pillar of light bursts from the holographic display in the lab.
  • In The Owl House episode "For the Future", the outpouring of energy from Luz's palisman finally hatching results in a pillar of dark purple light. It's also slightly deconstructed, since Luz and her mother were hiding from Kikimora at the time and such an obvious visual cue immediately tips her off of their location.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: During a flashback to their High School days, Heifer eats the potato that he, Rocko and Filburt were using for a potato battery experiment. When they realize that putting the lightbulb in Heifer's mouth causes it to light up, they stuff him with potato products, resulting in this trope.
  • The title character of She-Ra: Princess of Power drew her power from a living Pillar of Light.
  • In Star Wars Rebels "Twilight of the Apprentice, Part II", the lightning shooting upwards under the temple on Malachor is channeled into one of these in order to keep a Sith holocron suspended inside.
  • In Steven Universe Rose's Light Canon uses a beam of light that can morph into the images of the Crystal Gems in order to destroy most homeworld Drones
  • Wakfu — Ankama loves this trope:
    • Willow in episode 14, after getting Moon's hammer.
    • Another one in episode 17, when Grougaloragran is defeated by Nox and he explodes, his wakfu soaring in the sky. This pillar could be seen all over the world.
    • And again in episode 25, when the huge teleportation portal is activated. And when Amalia is possessed by the Tree of Life. And when Razortime's Energy Ball hits Sadlygrove.
    • Still another one in season 2 episode 6, when Yugo and Adamaï activate the Eliacube.
    • Rushu fusioning with his army of Shushus is the excuse for yet another one in the season 2 finale.

    Real Life 
  • Highly magnetised neutron stars called pulsars do this in real life, producing electromagnetic radiation focused into two beams by the star's magnetic field. Black holes with accretion disks produce jets of matter like this as well. Certain powerful types of supernovae also produce beams of radiation called "gamma-ray bursts".
  • The Tribute in Light memorial to the September 11 attacks.
  • The searchlight on top of the Luxor pyramid in Las Vegas can allegedly be seen for hundreds of miles at night. Lights on the pyramid's edges sometimes even do a streaming-upward effect to give the beam Sucking-In Lines.
  • Within minutes after the steam explosion that caused the Chernobyl accident, a number of employees at the power station went outside to get a clearer view of the damage. One such worker, Alexander Yuvchenko, recounts in an interview that once he stopped outside and looked up towards the reactor hall he saw a "very beautiful" LASER-like beam of light, bluish light that appeared to flood up into infinity. This was most likely caused by the radiation escaping the reactor through a hole in the roof and ionizing the air it went through.
  • The Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland consists as one of these as a tribute to John Lennon with the inscriptions "IMAGINE PEACE" carved in 24 languages. Add an aurora or two and it makes a spectacle.
  • Re-entry vehicles, although the effect doesn't last very long.
  • The Nazis also liked Pillars of Light and had one of their massive rally grounds in Nuremberg surrounded by 130 huge flak lights, called the "Cathedral of Light". It required so much power the area had its own electric power plant.


A Call for Aid

To meet with the Archdragon of the Sea, Ezran and Zubeia must first send out a signal.

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Main / BlowThatHorn

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