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Sucking-In Lines

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When a powerful spell, weapon, or device is about to fire, it often gives several seconds of warning by dramatically sucking in glowing lines or orbs. Sometimes it is actually gathering and condensing energy or matter from the environment, but not always. A Wave-Motion Gun or Combined Energy Attack will almost always do this. Usually it coalesces into a single glowing ball that is then "thrown" or "spat" at a target when it's Blasting Time.

When a character or object starts to suck in lines, you can be sure it's about to do something massively destructive.

In video games, a weapon often displays this as the visual cue for a Charged Attack, and sometimes continues doing so even when the weapon has reached its maximum power level.

This is a subtrope of Power Glows. Usually not related to Speed Stripes, but is thematically similar. Often paired with Throat Light.


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  • One of the first examples is in Space Battleship Yamato, where the long charging time of the Wave-Motion Gun is accompanied by both sucking in lines and a pitch-changing charging sound.
    • Justified as tachyons travel faster than light. If you could see tachyons escaping from the barrel, they would appear to be sucked in.
  • The first time Ryoko manifests her energy sword in Tenchi Muyo!, numerous glowing dots first appear in the air around her and Tenchi, which then streak into her hand to become the blade.
  • Zinv's ultimate attack in Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure consists of sucking in lines, then blowing everything up. Probably justified, since the big attack consists of using Zinv's gravity manipulation abilities to make a micro-black hole, absorb, and then redirect energy weapons.
  • Raising Heart does this in Lyrical Nanoha whenever Nanoha does one of her more impressive attacks, such as Starlight Breaker. (Which does gather and condense energy from the environment. It's All There in the Manual). Mirua's Starbright Blade attack (which is basically a kick version of Starlight Breaker) also does this.
  • The Emerald Ri Maajon in Simoun does this.
  • While most Ki Manipulation in Dragon Ball Z don't do this (since they come from the character), the Spirit Bomb does.
    • Interestingly, Kamehamehas performed by Goku as a child (Both in DB and DBGT, and respective video games) show this relatively often.
    • Broly also does this for most of his energy attacks.
  • Ryu's Ha-Do in the Street Fighter II anime.
  • Digimon does this frequently. Notably, War Greymon does not do this though he really is taking in energy from the environment around him. Dynasmon, on the other hand, does this briefly before doing his Dragon's Roar/Dragon Thrower (with his voice, it's hard to tell) and sure enough, he is absorbing energy from around him. The manifestation of the attack depends on what he sucked in to generate it.
  • The Hollow/Arrancar Cero attack in Bleach has small bits of energy collect into a sphere before they fire it. More noticably, the Quincy Final Form and the Bount (in the anime) can break down the surrounding matter, convert it into lines and absorb it.
    • And the lines sucked into cero vary from user to user. Ulquiorra uses simple lines and circle before it fires, Ichigo's is tri-focused and the lines are curved, Grimmjow's Gran Rei Cero has jagged lines...
    • Averted with Starrk who can instantly fire cero.
  • In Naruto Shippuden, Four-Tails Naruto performs an attack where he creates chakra "bubbles", condenses them into a tiny black orb, then swallows it to unleash an insanely powerful laser (powerful enough to injure the Nigh-Invulnerable Big Bad after disintegrating three thought-to-be-invincible barriers in its path).
    • This is later named the Bijuudama (literally, Tailed-Beast Ball), and is revealed to be a standard-issue attack amongst Tailed Beasts and (in certain conditions) their Hosts.
    • Tobi's teleportation power manifests itself with these around his Sharingan.
  • Several spells in Slayers do this, notably Lina's signature spell, the Dragon Slave. The Giga Slave also does this when cast through the Sword of Light.
  • The Wing Gundam's Buster Rifle does this when it fires fully-powered shots; in a potential Lampshade Hanging, background info claims that it ionizes the particles in the area, captures them, and then condenses them into superheated plasma to produce a maelstrom of energy.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED you have; Aegis and Calamity's Scylla Beam Cannons, Arcangel and Dominion's Lohengrin Positron Cannons, Forbidden's Hresvelgr Plasma Cannon, and Raider's Zorn Energy Cannon.
  • In Kaze no Stigma just about any large-scale magical attack forces the mages to draw in little appropriately coloured orbs of light.
  • Synchro Cannons in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.
  • Charging up Magical Arrows in Negima! Magister Negi Magi apparently has this effect. Jack Rakan mentally compliments Negi on his skill in pulling them together.
  • Sailor Uranus in Sailor Moon has an attack called 'World Shaking' which sucks in lines of power from all around her while she assumes a pose that lets us know that it is Blasting Time.
  • Many of Inuyasha's Sword Beam attacks do this just before vaporizing somebody.
    • Miroku's Wind Tunnel will do this every time he uncovers it. Justified, because it really is sucking in everything around it.
  • The Charged Particle Cannon of the Death Saurer and Geno Saurer and Breaker does this in Zoids. The Death Saurer and Geno Breaker also have an intake fan and converter that also suck in lines (ostensibly where the particles for the beam are being drawn from), which still doesn't change the effect at the barrel of the gun.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami Tomoe's Tiro Finale gets this when she aims it at Gertrud.
  • Pokémon:

     Films — Live-Action  
  • The "Hammer" in Independence Day uses a blurry variant of the lines. Ironically, it's first mistaken for a sign of communication, leading to many very surprised deaths.
  • In Mortal Kombat: The Movie, Sub-Zero sucks in particles to charge his freezing powers.
  • The Tanaka Alien from the live action adaptation of Gantz does this, but it's only really visible once.
  • Iron Sky has a laser weapon that does that before discharging on a Nazi ship and instantly destroying it.

  • The flameweavers (fire wizards) of David Farland's Runelords book series do this quite literally - to work their magic, they draw various forms of energy (mostly heat) out of their immediate environment, feeding off of nearby fires and other sources of heat. They can even draw in sunlight, darkening and chilling the immediate area as they pull "ropes" of light into their hands to create fireballs and other spells.
  • Wizard's Fire from The Sword of Truth series works by drawing energy from the surroundings. This fact is even used offensively by at one point, when the heroes encounter an underworld creature immune to normal magic. Chase drops it into a fountain, and Zedd creates fire by sucking all the heat out of the water. The creature is frozen solid and hacked apart.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden also took advantage of the necessity to draw heat from his surroundings to produce fire. To give his allies a route off a docked ship, he fired a massive blast of flame upwards, temporarily freezing over the surface of Lake Michigan.

     Live Action TV  
  • Super Sentai / Power Rangers. Precedes pretty much anything that could be considered a Finishing Move.
  • The end of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer features a statue of a demon that has the power to destroy the world if certain magic conditions are met. They are, and the demon opens his mouth to... suck the world into Hell...? and a fake-looking swirly-line effect starts coming out of his mouth, which isn't so much scary as... round.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine The phaser cannons on the USS Defiant do this as a bright flash before each blast. Happens quickly because the weapons are capable of rapid fire. Depending on the special effects these are either white or orange in color.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has an interesting variation of this. Whenever the USS Enterprise gets serious and really wants to do damage to another ship, it draws an energy ring around the saucer section before firing a phaser blast at the target. These shots take a few seconds longer to blast out than other phaser emitters located around the ship. More closer to the Yamato Cannon tradition of this trope, the Enterprise once tries a makeshift superweapon against a Borg Cube using its navigational deflector to fire a super blast that's heard (though not exactly seen) drawing a massive amount of energy before firing. Unfortunately, though it looks cool, the Borg are able to No-Sell it thanks to Locutus.

  • On the side of the backglass and cabinet of Black Hole, the titular object displays these.

     Video Games  
  • R-Type:
    • The eponymous ship of this series of Shoot Em Ups does this when charging up its Wave gun.
    • In the Battle Ship Raid level in R-Type Final, the battleship's main gun can actually suck you in before firing.
  • Chrono Trigger, characters casting lightning magic draw in sparks before releasing it; as well, Lucca's Flare spell pulls in balls of red energy before it detonates.
  • Used in many different attacks in the Disgaea series, and in both styles.
  • In the last level of Elite Beat Agents, the Rhombulan mothership sucks in lines before it releases the petrification ray.
  • The various protagonists of the Mega Man games use the "sucking in orbs" variant to charge up their blasters.
  • All cruise engines in Freelancer do this. Funny, considering that cruise engines aren't a weapon, but a way for all ships in the game to get to places really quickly, or as a means of escaping a battle.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the Thanix Cannon (the weapons upgrade for the Normandy SR-2, does this during the attack on the Collector cruiser that destroyed the original Normandy.
  • The Yamato Cannon on the Terran Battlecruiser in StarCraft also uses the "sucking in orbs" variant. Possibly due to the fact that the Yamato Cannon uses a magnetic field to contain and focus a nuclear blast which may attract particulate matter and- Oh, I give up...
  • The Protoss Purifier Mothership in StarCraft 2 does this while powering up its Planet Cracker beam weapon.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, both the Harpoon Cannon and Moonstone Cannon have sucking in lines, the former despite the fact that the Harpoon Cannon is a literal giant harpoon on the front of the Little Jack.
  • Samus Aran in Metroid Prime uses the straight lines version to charge up her arm cannon; some beams also keep sucking in lines while fully charged.
    • So does Mother Brain in Super Metroid, before she unleashes her supercharged draining beam of death.
  • The BFG-9000 in Doom³, but in the first two games all you get is a large, expanding glow and ominous noise coming from the muzzle before the big death ball comes out.
    • The Doom (2016) iteration visibly distorts space around the firing end as the BFG charges up its blast.
  • Same for the Bryar Blaster Pistol in Jedi Outcast.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Many of the more powerful attacks in the series do this, even sucking the light out of the surrounding scene in later titles (both villains and heroes).
    • In the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask games, charging a spin attack made one's sword suck in glowy lines and dots of stuff. In many games, dodongos and other related beasties would suck in lines of air before launching a fiery attack - a handy cue for you to show said dodongos why they dislike smoke.
    • In Hyrule Warriors, King Dodongo does this when preparing to use his fireball, thereby telegraphing the point when you should throw your bombs into his mouth. Argorok also charges up like this for his fireball attack, as does Ganon.
  • Most Final Fantasy games use either some variation of this or a reversal thereof when a spell or a Summon effect fires. A few of the newer ones, like Final Fantasy XI, will use the straight, inward version while a caster is preparing a spell and then some sort of flashier, outward-directed effect when the spell goes off.
    • Not to mention the Flare spell, which does this in nearly every game it's in.
  • Also evident in cutscenes. The Sister Ray, once mounted on Midgar and converted to use Mako shells in Final Fantasy VII, creates an accretion disk as it charges up, then sucks in straight lines of power a split-second before firing.
    • Some monsters and summons do that to, such as Bahamut (and his ultimate form too).
  • Halo:
    • Halo 2's Scarab Tank draws in energy as it charges up its main gun. Note that the Scarabs in Halo 3 do not.
    • Also, the Power Drainer of Halo 3. It works like an EMP by draining in all the nearby energy until it explodes.
  • Thunder Cross from Sexy Parodius has a charge laser weapon which sucks energy spheres inward before discharging.
  • Anyone with a ranged special attack in Street Fighter, but most notably Ryu. Shinku... HADOKEN!
    • In Street Fighter III, his Denjin Hadoken sucks in lightning (because it strikes with electricity).
  • The Egg Carrier's Egg Cannon did this in Sonic Adventure. Of course, all it did was knock a wing off a plane...
  • There is also the Eclipse Cannon from Sonic Adventure 2, which did this when Robotnik tested it on the moon and blew it in half...
  • The Galdon in Star Fox Adventures sort of subverts this by making him do this before... thrusting its head forward a short ways. Not nearly as dangerous as its breathing of fireballs, and the period of apparent intake of energy is actually when it's vulnerable to Fire Blasts.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004's Leviathan's primary weapon (when deployed) sucks in lines nearly the width of the screen before unleashing death. Also from 2003 onward, the Impact Hammer was replaced with the Shield Gun. When used in its destructive mode, it sucks in sparks as it charges.
  • The Wave Motion Guns in FreeSpace 2 suck in particles while charging up.
  • Every Special Power in Legend of Mana sucks in lines before firing, during which the character is stationary and thankfully invulnerable. That's whether the Special Power involves summoning a black hole, or doing a trio of combat rolls and slashes. Golems and Magic Instruments also suck in lines for some powers, but usually only when it makes sense or is a giant laser.
  • The Wave Motion Cannon in Oni does this right before every shot.
  • The Nexus Ray psych in The World Ends with You.
  • In the Pokémon games, several moves depict this event, such as Solarbeam, Sky Attack (more-so its console animations), Shock Wave, Hidden Power, Superpower, Fusion Flare, Fusion Bolt, and Stockpile (more evident when followed up by Spit Up). The move Charge resembles this as well, but its not an actual attack in itself - rather, it prepares the user for a twofold boost in power of the Electric-type move used on the next turn.
  • Rayquaza sucks in lines for its beam attack in its appearance as a boss in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
  • In We Build Stuff's 3rd Party Portal The Flash Game: Map Pack there are portions of the map where you have to cross a microwave field, and before it charges (to warn you to clear it, because if you're in the field when it's operating, you die instantly) it gives off a charging noise. The field shows sparks going across it, then when it goes dormant, the sparks stop, but the field gives off a charge noise just before it starts again.
  • Charged attacks in Gotcha Force.
  • The strider in Half-Life 2 sucks in light when charging its singularity cannon: Whatever is behind it appears distorted right before it fires.
  • The Sentinel in Iji does this when it's charging up its Nuke weapon. It becomes piss-easy to kick it into the electropods, however, because all available energy is being redirected from every other system just to charge the Nuke.
    • Also, to a lesser extent, enemy nanoweapons such as the rocket launcher.
  • The boss of Area 6 in Star Fox 64 had a planet-busting, sherbet-colored Wave-Motion Gun that it would telegraph by sucking in orbs... from space.
  • Raven in Tales of Vesperia does this during his Mystic Arte, Blast Heart.
  • G-Darius' Wave Motion Guns do this whilst charging to a small degree. These are the sort of WMG that puts other WMGs to shame, too!
  • In Red Alert I and II, the Tesla Coil "accumulates" electricity in its top before it fires.
  • Proto Omega's UMN Phase Transfer Cannon demonstrates this trait before it fires in the Xenosaga series, as does KOS-MOS's X-Buster
  • The final attack used by Suika in the Fighting Game spin-offs of Touhou Project starts with this. Even the lines themselves can damage you.
  • On a similar note, Adagumo no Yaorochi has a spellcard, Gathering Force 「Formation of the Blue Sky」, in Earthen Miraculous Sword and Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle that does this. True to the intent, it's charging up for Yaorochi's last spellcard (penultimate in BPoHC), 「Cloud Mowing Sword」.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, performing a heavy attack causes lines of energy to be drawn to your weapon, with various other effects (including balls of energy) for special attacks.
  • Most enemies' charged attacks in Battle Clash and its sequel do this.
  • Both Berserker Asura's Energy balls and Chakravartin's massive Faster Then Light Lasers from Asura's Wrath do this before firing. The Brahmastra does this while charging its laser attack, as well.
  • Wave Motion Guns in Infinite Space can be seen sucking in lines or balls of energy before firing, especially in cutscenes.
  • Amorphous+'s Void Eater does this before firing its Disintegrator Ray. This also happens to be the only time its "Instant Death" Radius is not in effect, meaning you have a chance to run up and attack it before it disintegrates you.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: The Cactus enemies absorb orange particles while in an Anchored Attack Stance, giving Shantae ample warning and an ability to accurately predict where the spikes that will be fired will go.

  • In Adventures of Fifine the eponymous heroine is seen performing the trope at the bottom of this page before releasing her Tornado Fist on the next.
    • Her father, Master Beserk was previously seen doing a TF without the SIL.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Terra's attack has this. As does the Taurcanis Draco's attack.
  • Many monsters in Work Sucks have special lungs that allow them to pull prey straight into their mouths. Some are even capable of creating powerful twisters or devastating storms!
  • In the Grrl Power press demonstration, Maxima shows off her abilities.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  
  • Darkmount's Fusion Cannons in Transformers: Prime prominently draw in energy while being prepared for firing.
    • Shockwave's Hand Cannon in "Out of the Past" has a small but distinct "energy being pulled in" effect just before being fired with its distinctive noise. Unfortunately when Shockwave joins the regular cast in season three the visual effect is simplified, losing the Sucking-In Lines, and the standard firing sound for Transformers' weapons is used.

     Real Life  
  • Lightning. What seems like a single flash that occurs within a fraction of a second is actually an event of intense energy building in the sky before an "electrical fork" strikes the ground.
  • A theoretical event during the core collapse of very massive stars, when they exceed the Chandrasekhar mass just before exploding as a supernova, and become a black hole or neutron star. These events are thought to generate the relativistic jets known as gamma-ray bursts.
  • Black Holes do this as well, generating an Acretion Disc from nearby matter that they absorb. One hypothesis about the end of the universe is that these black holes will eventually absorb all matter and then each other before exploding into a New Big Bang


Video Example(s):


Folded Bowser fire breath

Bowser sucks in lines of energy and releases a powerful blast of fire.

How well does it match the trope?

3.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuckingInLines

Media sources: