Due to its nature as an object that provides warmth and light, the sun has played symbolic and important roles throughout the history of fiction. Undead or demonic creatures have been depicted as being vulnerable to it, likely to its associations with light and fire. If associated with malevolence, can go in line with Light Is Not Good—imagine sunburns, imagine merciless UV rays scorching everything they touch. This can get even worse with monsters and antagonists that are either made of those elements and/or are able to utilize them without any ill-effect to their being.
On the other end of the spectrum, the moon also has connotations of light, but it's been associated with The Undead and other supernatural creatures. Lycanthropes, the most famous example, are depicted as having their transformations trigger when the moon is full. Can also go in line with Light Is Not Good, although it can go with Dark Is Not Evil when dealing with characters like Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. The moon does give light in the darkness, and just because it's less constant and more mysterious doesn't make it bad.
The contrast between the two is a common Cosmic Motif. Compare Red Oni, Blue Oni and Elemental Powers. Light/Darkness Juxtaposition can apply when the moon is associated with darkness and the sun with light. Given that the sun is a fiery ball of energy and the moon is responsible for the tides, this trope can also lend itself to Fire/Water Juxtaposition. See Night and Day Duo if this contrast is evident in a pairing of characters.
The sun and moon have also been personified by having both of them be a specific sex. For example, the pairing could be a masculine and harsh sun paired with a feminine and soft moon. In historical religions, the sexes associated with the sun and moon vary greatly, and in some cases, both a male and female deity may be ascribed to a single celestial body. According to Wikipedia, it is somewhat more common to view the sun as male and the moon as female due to the prevalence of that portrayal in Greek and Roman religion. (It might also have something to do with certain other 28-day cycles.)
Fridge Logic may apply to any reference to moonlight affecting beings or objects since the moon has no actual light of its own (it's a hunk of space rock orbiting Earth) and its glow is just the sunlight that is being shone on the moon and reflected by it. Hence, in theory, anything that moonlight should trigger, normal sunlight should actually be triggering as well. Of course, one may then theorize that this light somehow "changes" when reflected...
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Solf J. Kimblee has alchemic circles on his hands that feature the sun and moon. He happens to invoke Light Is Not Good.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei is frequently associated with the moon, initially as a visual motif, but later it turns out to be foreshadowing. Asuka is occasionally visually paired with the sun, but outside of suiting her Fiery Redhead personality the only real plot significance is to contrast her with Rei.
- Cardcaptor Sakura has the eponymous cards each being of solar or lunar aspect, and ruled by either Cerberus (Kero) for the sun or Yue for the moon. Kero and Yue have strongly contrasting personalities and powers, befitting this split — Kero is both figuratively and literally firey, and Yue can be cold and distant. Eriol's replacement familiars, Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon, have the same degree of contrast in their personalities but running in the opposite direction. It's also lampshaded that Sakura's power is neither that of the sun nor the moon, "but your own mere power of the stars."
- Heart Catch Pretty Cure has Itsuki and Yuri, Cure Sunshine and Cure Moonlight respectively. Especially telling as their personalities contrast one another (Itsuki's more friendly and outgoing while Yuri's quieter and reserved). This continues on through to three other characters — Tsubomi (who, as Cure Blossom, contrasts Itsuki), Erika (who, as Cure Marine, is said to contrast Yuri) and the Dark Precure who is Yuri's "sister".
- In Fairy Tail, two of Eileen's subordinates are named Juliet Sun and Hein Lunesea.
- In Naruto, two of the primary jutsus for the Mangekyo Sharingan are Tsukuyomi and Amaterasu, named after the Japanese god of the moon and goddess of the sun, as noted in the Mythology folder.
- Invoked in Hunter × Hunter with the ability called Sun & Moon: Paired Destruction, which puts a marker of a sun with a plus symbol on one surface and a marker of a moon with a minus symbol on another. Though purely symbolic, the ability's main effect is that the surfaces will explode if the sun marker and the moon marker touch.
- Three of the members of Tsukino Talent Productions unit Growth had previously been with a company called Sun Productions, which they left because they weren't treated well after a change in management. In their anime adaptation, their rivals, who did debut as a unit with SunPro appear and their feud is shown.
- Moon Knight gets more powerful as the moon waxes and less powerful as it wanes. Under a full moon he's got the strength of 10 men but under a new moon he's only got his own strength. The 2018 series gives him a new enemy called Sun King, who claims to have the same connection to Ra as Moon Knight has to Koshnu.
- Wonder Woman: The contrast of twin gods Artemis as goddess of the moon and Apollo as god of the sun are played up in the New 52. Their normal versions avert this as the focus is usually on Artemis' hunting, archery and protection of maidens with no mention of her connection to the moon, and Apollo is generally more of a Satellite Character to his sister with a focus on his ties to oracles and healing.
- In Dreaming of Sunshine, sunlight is often used as a visual metephor, or motif, for when Shikako is content or healing. On the other hand, sad or pivotal scenes usually take place at night, such as Shikako's big conversation with Kakashi after "discovering" Naruto is a jinchuriki, and later Shikako convincing Sasuke not to defect.
- Skyhold Academy Yearbook: Sun and moon imagery features in the wedding in Disorienuptials, which makes sense when it's remembered that the bride's In-Series Nickname is "Sunshine."
- The Sun Gorons and Moon Gorons in the doujin novel, Zelda and the Manacle of Cahla. While basically the same, Sun Gorons are the canon volcano dwellers, and Moon Gorons are paler, have ice-like plates, and live on a snowy mountain. The two tribes are strongly prejudiced against one another, and a side plot revolves around Zelda uniting them.
- The Emperor's New Groove: In the cut song "Snuff out the Light" from an early version of the movie, Yzma praises the moon and calls on all things evil to extinguish the sun. Furthermore, Yzma and Kuzco seem to represent a sun/moon relationship. During the production stage of the film, the movie went by the working title Kingdom of the Sun, with Kuzco being the emperor of the titular kingdom. Even in the finished version, Cuzco wears warm and bright colors like red and yellow, while Yzma wears mostly dark and cold colors black and purple.
- Hale County This Morning This Evening: There are many shots of the sun and moon rising, setting, coursing across the sky. One sequence is a surreal depiction of the moon sort of bouncing and shaking around the picture frame, followed by a shot of the sun doing the same thing.
- Tolkien's Legendarium:
- In The Silmarillion, the sun and moon are fruits of the Trees of Valinor, Telperion and Laurelin, that were put in hallowed lamps and carried across the skies by two maiar spirits (equivalent to lesser angels) as a warning to Melkor and a beacon of hope to the Children of Ilúvatar. Traditionally, the sun is seen as female and the moon male since those are the respective genders of the forms the Maiar spirits that carry them clad themselves in. Evil things, like orcs and Nazgûl, have no love for either sun nor moon but they will operate at night whereas only the strongest of dark things can walk freely during the day.
- In The Lord of the Rings, two regions of Gondor, Ithilien and Anórien, and Elendil's two sons, Isildur and Anarion (whose respective heirs were Kings of Arnor and Kings of Gondor), are named after the Sindarin words for the moon and the sun.
- In Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain, the sun and moon are emblems of two ancient royal houses. The emblem of the House of Don is the sun, on account of the fact that the Sons and Daughters of Don are descended from the Lady Don and her consort, Belin the Sun King. Meanwhile, the emblem of the House of Llyr is the crescent moon; this is because of the fact that they are descended from Llyr Half-Speech the Sea King, and the tides of the sea are governed by the phases of the moon.
- The poem "Rivalry v1" explores this theme. The animosity between sun and moon was caused by the latter rejecting the former's warmth.
and it was so
the two brothers
always destined to fight...
- Wild Cards: One book introduces Bahir, a man with golden eyes who only seems to show up during the day, and Lilith, a woman with silvery eyes who only seems to show up at night. A connection between them is hinted since they have the same teleportation abilities. Turns out they're the same person, who has gender swapping powers in addition to teleportation.
- In Phaeton every Phaetonian has a solar or lunar celestial affinity, controlling when they are most active and granting them celestial beams based on their affinity. Combining a sun-and-moon beam of equal power triggers Solarnight, a power so old, no one remembers what it does, and no one wants to find out.
- In Power Rangers Mystic Force, the sun and moon are two more natural forces that magic-wielders can be connected to (we start with the Five-Man Band, which is the usual classical-elements-plus-lightning. The Mentor is ice and snow, her apprentice is moon, the Sixth Ranger is sun. Sun and moon aren't depicted as two sides of the same coin, though).
- In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Masks, an ancient probe imposes the solar and lunar mythology of an alien race on Data and the Enterprise. Picard is forced to take up the guise of the moon.
Data: Masaka is waking.
- The Beatles' Beatles for Sale has a track called "Mr. Moonlight" and another named "I'll Follow The Sun".
- King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King: The moonchild in "Moonchild" is "waiting for the smile from a sun child".
- Carries into the next song, "The Court of the Crimson King," where the first lyrics are "The rusted chains of prison Moons / Are shattered by the Sun." This, paired with the colorful and fiery imagery, seem to imply that the titular Crimson King himself is the Sun.
- Captain Beefheart's "Full Moon, Hot Sun" from Unconditionally Guaranteed
Full moon, hot sun
Enough to make a good girl run
Get in the shade of the burning hot sun
Better hide, baby, before the full moon come
- Helios of Greek Mythology is literally the Sun himself, while his sister Selene is the Moon. Even today, Helios and Selene are the Greek words for the Sun and Moon.
- Apollo, the God of Light, eventually became combined with Helios in popular thought, but was never "officially" called the Sun God until long after Christianity replaced Greek myth. Artemis, his twin sister, likewise only became tied to the Moon when Apollo displaced Helios.
- In Egyptian Mythology, the Sun was associated with many deities. Horus was a special case as it was claimed his eyes were both the Sun and the Moon, him being the personification of the sky.
- In Japanese Mythology, Amaterasu is the goddess of the Sun, while her brother Tsukuyomi (who is rarely mentioned) is the god of the Moon. Amaterasu's Arch-Enemy figure is her sort-of mother Izanami, who is an undead goddess who rules the underworld.
- In several Chinese mythical tales, the immortals Hou Yi and Chang'e are later associated with sun and moon respectively, after Chang'e got lifted to the moon by drinking an immortality elixir, and after he died, Hou Yi was given a palace in the sun after in life he shot down nine suns to death. They use this setup to visit each other, and later get associated with the Yin Yang theme.
- In Necronomicon, the "Cult of The Bloody Tongue" table includes the Solar Engine and Lunar Engine ramps.
- Exalted: The two "top" tiers of Exalted are the Solars and the Lunars, the chosen of the gods of the respective celestial bodies, though there are other types too.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- In the Dragonlance setting, the phases of the three moons of Krynn affect the strength of magic corresponding to each moon's moral alignment (Solinari = Good, Lunitari = Neutral, Nuitari = Evil). The closer the moon is to full, the more powerful its magic.
- Two paired Dragon magazine articles, "The Eternal Sun" and "The Eye of Night", described the symbolism and magic of the Sun and Moon, including two character classes linked to each (the Illuminated Monk, the Paladin of Light, the Moon-Warded Ranger and the Lunar Rogue), new solar and lunar religions (the Order of Eternal Light, with access to the unique Hope domain, and the Church of Linara, with access to the unique Emotion domain) and astrological feats a character could get from being born under a certain position of the sun or phase of the moon.
- In Changeling: The Lost, the oldest group of Changeling Courts contains the Sun Court (a.k.a. the Found Path, the Court of Shame, who promote righteousness and lawfulness but fall a bit short of true justice) and the Moon Court (a.k.a. the Wayward Road, the Court of Disgust, who revel in disinhibition). They have a distinctly more hostile relationship with each other than the Courts of the Four Seasons, opposing each other's works with every dawn and dusk.
- Two of the five types of outer dragons — powerful dragons associated with outer space and cosmic matters and phenomena — are the solar and lunar dragons. While a duality between them is not explicitly emphasized, they are in noticeable contrast in their stats — solar dragons are Lawful Neutral where lunar dragons are Chaotic Neutral, and they former are creatures of intense heat while the latter are closely tied to ice and cold (in fact, their breath weapons are capable of harming even creatures immune to heat or cold, respectively).
- The giant types in Bestiary 3 are very closely tied to the sun, the moon and their interactions, and contrast each other both in appearance and behavior. Moon giants are a species peaceful, gray-skinned stargazers and scholars, and tend to be Lawful Neutral isolationists as a rule. Sun giants, in contrast, are either Chaotic Good or Chaotic Evil crusaders eternally at war with the forces and natives of the Plane of Shadow, and tend to have red hair and golden skin. The third type of giant in the book, as a sort of in-between to the sun and moon giants, are the True Neutral, withdrawn eclipse giants.
- In The Mikado, Yum-Yum sings a song called "The Sun whose rays are all ablaze", about the contrast between the sun and the moon (and how Yum-Yum herself resembles both).
- Solrock and Lunatone, a pair of Rock/Psychic Pokémon that are quite literally floating rocks shaped like the sun and moon, respectively.
- The counterpart Pokémon Espeon and Umbreon and Tyrunt and Amaura evolve according to the time of day — Espeon and Tyrunt during the day, Umbreon and Amaura during the night.
- There are also two evolutionary stones, the Moon Stone and Sun Stone, although they don't evolve any counterpart Pokémon.
- Pokémon Sun and Moon is obviously built around this trope:
- The games use this for their opposite Theme Naming and the in-game clocks, which are set twelve hours apart — Sun during the day, Moon during the night. Series tradition also associates the male protagonist with the first version (Sun) and the female protagonist with the second (Moon)note , which is further enhanced by this trope.
- The same theme applies for the games' mascot Legendaries, Solgaleo (a white-and-gold lion) and Lunala (a black-and-gold bat-thing), who represent the sun and moon respectively. While technically genderless, they are considered the male and female counterparts to each other (somehow).
- Rockruff evolves into two different forms of its evolution Lycanroc depending on the game it's in — the loyal and solitary Midday form in the daytime of Sun, and the brutal and ferocious Midnight form during the nighttime of Moon.
- In Pokémon Ranger the protagonists' Canon Names are Lunick and Solana, after the moon and sun.
- Bayonetta's universe has the Lumen Sages representing the Sun and the Umbra Witches representing the Moon.
- The Boktai series is big on this, though with a dash of Dark Is Not Evil applying to the lunar half of the trope.
- One Dual Boss in Kirby's Adventure is Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, an anthropomorphic moon and sun who alternate their attacks.
- World of Warcraft:
- The sun/moon balance is the reasoning behind Tauren getting paladins in the Cataclysm expansion. Their druids are trained by the Night Elves who worship the moon goddess Elune as their primary deity. In the Tauren's own cosmology the sun and moon are the eyes of the Earth Mother and they have adopted paladins with solar imagery (known as Sunwalkers) so that both aspects are represented.
- Balance druids have a mechanic where casting nature spells moves them closer to the moon and increases the damage they deal with arcane spells, while casting arcane spells moves them towards the sun and increases damage done with nature spells. The intention is that they maintain a balance between the sun and the moon.
- Several instances in Touhou:
- Of the Three Fairies of Light, two of the members are the bright and energetic Sunny Milk, who has the power to refract light and is powered up by sunlight, and the clumsy and pessimistic Luna Child, who has the power to silence sounds, and is powered up by moonlight. The third member, Star Sapphire has power of detection, and is not affected by weather.
- The Prismriver Sisters is a lesser example. The eldest sister, Lunasa, wears a hat with a moon decoration, and has the power to produce depressing sound with her violin. The second child, Merlin, wears a hat with a sun decoration, and has the power to produce uplifting sound with her trumpet. Meanwhile, the youngest child Lyrica wears a hat with star decoration and can produce "illusionary sounds" with her keyboard.
- This also applies to Kaguya Houraisan and Fujiwara no Mokou, though more thematically than anything else. Kaguya is a fair Lunarian princess who was exiled after she drank the Hourai Elixir to obtain Complete Immortality, and Mokou is the tomboyish daughter of one of the noblemen that Kaguya humiliated in The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter who drank the Hourai Elixir in order to even the playing field with her sworn nemesis, after which she took up fire magic with motifs based upon The Phoenix. Now, the two of them are locked in an unending Cycle of Revenge, likened to the cycle of the Sun and the Moon that fall and rise as the days come and go.
- In Dragon Vale, the Flavor Text for the Sun and Moon Dragon suggests that the world was created when the first Sun Dragon met the first Moon Dragon.
- In Might and Magic VII the Good party get sent to attack the Temple of the Moon and the Evil party get sent to attack the Temple of the Sun. The clerics of the former cast Dark magic, and the latter, Light. However, part of the world is a wasteland because both orders were obsessed with destroying the other regardless of collateral damage, which doesn't speak well of the Sun temple's supposed goodness. It is also indicated that the incessant warring helped reduce both religions to mere fragments of their former stature, with both being mostly supplanted by successor faiths with less of a celestial bend.
- Majesty allows you to build temples to certain gods and recruit their followers as heroes. These include the sun and moon gods, Helia and Lunord. Unfortunately, their temples are mutually exclusive; if you build temples for one, you cannot build any for the other.
- League of Legends have the Solari tribe and Lunari tribe, both worshiping sun and moon, and having connotations on both the light and dark sides of both sides:
- The Solari is dedicated to protecting those in need, and this is very exemplified on their chosen one, Leona, who was born from a tribe of Proud Warrior Race Guy yet rejects their brutal lifestyle and believes that strength was meant to protect others. Yet...the Solari has a dark secret that they may be responsible for the disappearance of their rival tribe, some suspect genocide. The elders of the Solari were so adamant in keeping the existence of the Lunari to never be revealed that they'd declare anyone who peeked too deep to be a heretic and will schedule for immediate execution for the secret discovery.
- The Lunari, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. However, with how they were treated by the Solari, one can infer they symbolize the benevolent side of the moon, as it drew one of the Solari, Diana, into a sense of comfort when she's under the moon. Diana also happens to be the eventual 'Heretic' mentioned above, and shortly before her execution, she received the power of the Moon as their chosen one... and due to a combination of trauma and betrayal, it transforms her into a murderous fanatic whose mission is to make everyone she comes across worship the moon and she will slaughter those who dares disobey.
- Solstice in Heroes of Newerth has two different forms for day and night, and while her abilities between each form are mechanically similar, their properties change accordingly. During the day, she is fully adorned in armor, as she would literally burn without it, and her abilities make her presence more visible and give her a more tanky presence. At night, she sheds her armor, and her abilities have subtle effects that obscure her presence and her damage output is increased.
- In Ōkami, the mysterious trickster Waka (who belongs to the deceased Moon Tribe) fights alongside the reborn sun goddess in her battle against Orochi.
- In La-Mulana, the Temple of Moonlight is the backside area corresponding to the Temple of the Sun.
- The Sun and Moon Goddesses are two of the most prominent deities in the Dark Parables, and their emblems appear variously throughout the series. Most notably, in the tenth game, the warring neighbor countries of Barsia and Olesia use solar and lunar motifs. Barsia worships the Sun Goddess and takes the sun as their emblem, while Olesia reveres her sister the Moon Goddess and takes the moon as theirs.
- In Persona 4: Golden, the Sun and the Moon are two Tarot cards that can be obtained during Shuffle Time, with similar effects. Each of them grants two extra draws (minus the one needed to obtain it), but the former halves money earned, while the latter halves experience earned.
- Terraria: The sun and the moon play an important role in the game's background, especially the latter. During the game, you'll experience eclipses as random events, both lunar (also known as blood moons) and solar. The end game has you fighting against two groups of enemies, each worshipping a cosmic object: the Lihzards worship the sun (their temple is filled with tablets able to summon solar eclipses, and the boss there is able to drop the Sun Stone) while the Cultist worship the moon (their leader is called the Lunatic Cultist, and killing him triggers a series of events that ends up summoning the Moon Lord). The moon has more effects on the game, such as moon phases affecting what NPCs sell and the spawning of some enemies, and two special events involving a particular moon.
- In Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia, this is how the Great Spirits of Light, Luna and Aska, are distinguished from each other; Luna represents the light of the moon while Aska represents the light of the sun. When they are fought together in Symphonia, Luna's attacks lean more towards arcane and holy interpretations of light with spells such as Holy Lance and Judgment, as well as her unique strike arte Lunatic. Aska focuses on light as more of a physical force of nature; his Sunshine Nova arte creates a small sun in front of him which then explodes.
- Warframe features several contrasts represented with Sun and Moon motif.
- Equinox is a warframe who can switch between day form and night form to change her skillset. The day form is offence-oriented while night form is defence-oriented.
- Team-based Conclave matches pit players in Team Sun against players in Team Moon. Team Sun is coloured orange while Team Moon is coloured blue.
- The War Within introduces a Karma Meter based less on good-versus-evil and more on Emotions Versus Stoicism, with Sun and Moon each representing one end of the spectrum.
- RWBY gives us a symbolic example at the end of the "Yellow" Trailer; Ruby, who is associated with wolves and has silver eyes, is standing with the moon above her, while Yang, whose theme color is yellow and who has a fire motif, stands behind a rising sun.
- A common theme in Welcome to Night Vale. The titular town is represented by the moon and night; it's dark, and the shadows hold deep secrets. In contrast, the much nicer town of Desert Bluffs is symbolized by the sun, and the light and warmth it brings... except, in reality, Desert Bluffs is far worse than Night Vale. While DB's sun blinds and burns, the darkness in NV can be soothing and protective, even if it is dangerous.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Waterbenders and Firebenders draw strength from the moon and sun, respectively; a Waterbender's strength is greater when the moon is up, and at its absolute greatest when the moon is full, while a Firebender's strength is greater while the sun is up. Additionally, Waterbenders and Firebenders lose their bending during their respective eclipses.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia makes the sun rise and set, while her sister Princess Luna does the same for the moon. With Luna's FaceHeel Turn and subsequent thousand-year imprisonment, Celestia took over the moon duties as well, but after Luna's redemption, she's ready to take the moon back. So Dark goes evil (in part because folks were taking her and her half of the day/night cycle for granted), but comes back.
- Tangled: The Series: The magical golden flower that was seen in the film has a counterpart in the Moonstone, and both are the embodiments of the powers of the sun and moon respectively. Like most versions of this trope, the sun's ability is the healing of life while the moon's ability is the destruction of it, though it is implied that neither force is good or evil since both forces empower each other and are intrinsically driven to reunite. As she inherited the flower's power, Rapunzel becomes the sun's embodiment, while Cassandra eventually becomes the moon's embodiment.