Follow TV Tropes


The Four Gods
aka: Four Gods

Go To

The Four Gods are the central figures of an ancient Chinese system of astrology and geomancy which was imported to Korea and Japan and absorbed into Onmyōdō mysticism, among other beliefs. In this system, there are 28 star houses (that is to say, constellations) which run the circumference of the sky. The Heavenly Emperor divided the sky into the northern, southern, eastern, and western quadrants, each with seven star houses and each ruled by a divine beast. In the original Chinese version, there was one more divine beast, Huánglóng, the Yellow Dragon of the Center, embodying the element of Earth, which is essentially synonymous with China itself. He is missing from most other versions.

The Four Gods are:

Mandarin ChineseJapaneseKoreanVietnameseEnglish
QīnglóngSeiryūCheongnyongThanh LongThe Azure Dragon
The God to the East. It represents Spring and Wood and is centered by the Heart house.note 
ZhūquèSuzakuJujakChu TướcThe Vermilion Bird
The God to the South. It represents Summer and Fire and is centered by the Star house.
BáihǔByakkoBaekhoBạch HổThe White Tiger
The God to the West. It represents Autumn and Metal and is centered by the Hairy Head house.
XuánwǔGenbuHyeonmuHuyền VũThe Black Tortoise (lit. Occult Martial)
The God to the North. It represents Winter and Water and is centered by the Emptiness house.
HuánglóngKōryū or ŌryūHwangnyongHoàng LongThe Yellow Dragon
The God to the Center. It represents the Changing Seasons and Earth and is without star houses of its own.

From the concept's earlier stages, a few variations have emerged. Before there were four and before they were associated with the sky, there were three: the long, the fenghuang, and the qilin/kirin. The fenghuang and the kirin got replaced by the bird and the tiger respectively. Because of the similarity between the fenghuang and the bird, the latter is sometimes depicted as the former. Meanwhile, the kirin is still regularly used instead of the tiger in religion and fiction, but also sometimes replaces the yellow dragon in fiction to bring together five distinct beasts.

The tortoise, as old as the other three but incorporated into the group a tad later, is a well-revered entity in China. Ancient mythology has it that all tortoises are female and to reproduce they take snakes as mates and this divine union is considered a symbol of good fortune. For this reason, the tortoise commonly gets depicted as being a two-headed tortoise/snake hybrid, a tortoise with a snake coiled around it, or straight-up a tortoise and a snake having sex. The alternative name and identity of the Occult Martial is a conceptual fusion between the tortoise and the Warrior of the North from the Four Heavenly Kings, another group of four associated with the cardinal directions. Why this happened specifically to the tortoise is unclear, but might have been influenced by the similarity of a tortoise's shell and a warrior's shield as well as the fact that there are several turtle-based insults in Chinese that you should definitely not call someone if you so much as remotely doubt you could take them in a fight. Hence why "Xuánwǔ" omits a regular word for "turtle" and uses "martial" instead. Other instances might refer to the said tortoise as a chimera of some sorts instead.

A little-known fact is that the color of the animals also plays an important part in distinguishing the cardinal directions. You see, many cultures have associated certain colors with directions, and the ancient Chinese were no exception. As can be inferred, the Chinese associated black with north, blue with east, red with south, and white with west. This association is incredibly ancient and predated the rise of the Chinese as a people, with similar (though not quite the same) arrangements being seen in places as far away as The Middle East.note 

Over the course of the years, a number of anime, manga, and video games have drawn upon the imagery of the Four Gods. Some works may forgo the Chinese elements (fire, water, wood, metal, earth) in favor of the more common arrangement of fire, water, earth, and air (sometimes with Element No. 5). Both still make the Four Gods an example of a Classical Elements Ensemble. In other cases, it is used as a stock name for a Quirky Mini Boss Squad in an evil organization; see Elite Four.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Accel World, the Imperial Palace is guarded by extremely powerful enemies based off the Four Gods, but the story takes liberties with their respective elements, having them represent fire, water, earth and wind (Suzaku represents Fire, Genbu represents Earth, Seiryu represents Water and Byakko represents Wind). All four of them possess deadly abilities that, combined with the ability to essentially spawn-camp their defeated foes until they're driven off of Brain Burst in an "Unlimited EK", make them nearly impossible to defeat alone. Worse still, all of them have to be engaged simultaneously, or else they'll regenerate health too quickly to be killed. Nega Nebulus broke apart as a result of a failed attempt to defeat the Four Gods by attacking them with the Burst Linkers of the same element, thus resulting in some of the members being trapped in the Unlimited Neural Field, unable to enter lest they be killed repeatedly.
  • The Four Gods appear as antagonists for an arc in Angel Tales.
  • The four swords of the ancient heroes in Basara are named after one of The Four Gods.
  • The Four Elemental Kings in Berserk — and until Griffith joined the party, the Godhand.
  • Beyblade:
    • The four main characters of Bakuten Shoot Beyblade each have a bit-beast that corresponds to one of the four gods. They're even referenced sometimes as the four holy beasts, therefore ranking them higher than all the other bit-beasts in the series. A blader wielding the Yellow Dragon joins up in the third series.
    • Their villainous expies in Metal Fight Beyblade Zero-G also use beys based on this motif, although there are two differences. For one, while the Suzaku expy is still a firebird, its name is Garudas, which invokes the bird deity Garuda. For two, the Yellow Dragon is replaced by a Yellow Kirin.
  • Hacchi has a technique named after them in the latest Bleach chapters. Earlier, the four gates of the walls protecting the Seireitei were color-themed after the Four Gods, with the black to the north, white to the west, blue to the east and red to the south.
  • The heads of the main guilds in Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. fit the theme. The Genbu equivalent is Maple, whose main armor is black and has a monster companion in the turtle Syrup (while the snake aspect is represented by Kasumi's monster partner, Haku). Mii, with her red attire, fire abilities and her phoenix companion, Ignis, is Suzaku, while Payne's blue color scheme and dragon companion, Ray makes him Seiryu. Byakko is represented by Velvet, who dresses in white, uses lightning based attacks and has the ability to turn herself into a white tiger.
  • The B'ts of the Four Spirit Generals in B't X are based on the group, with the kirin replacing the tiger. Though they're still "gods" in a broader sense, the two teams have nothing to do with each other, and said mythologies are constantly mixed up outside of East Asia.
  • In an arc of Case Closed, all of these holy beasts are referenced in the individual chapters' names, and the gem attached to the statue of the legendary Qilin (which is also the word for giraffe in Japanese, as explained by Conan himself) that is a substitute for the Yellow Dragon. This is, of course, another arc where Conan's pitted against Kid the Phantom Thief, who, if you've read his own manga, you'll know why he keeps doing all these stealing-then-returning-gems shenanigans.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, the global spell that swapped everyone's appearance was accidentally set in to motion by Touma's father collecting supposedly mystical figurines that represented The Four Gods and placing them in each of their associated directions. And Tsuchimikado gets rid of it by using accordingly-colored paper figurines placed in certain directionsnote  to directly invoke the Gods and fire a magical Wave-Motion Gun at the house.
  • One of Code Geass' central characters is named Suzaku; his late father's name was Genbu. The characters were designed by CLAMP, who are known for making references such as this.
  • In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui", the heroes use a clue about the four gods to locate one of the episode's Plot Coupons. (The episode apparently assumes that its audience knows what "the four gods" are and doesn't explain further, leaving Western audiences in the lurch.)
  • The shinigami in Descendants of Darkness could summon "shikigami", helpful minor gods. Only two appeared in the anime, based off of Suzaku and Byakko. The manga, however, features the four of them.
  • The Digimon franchise has the Digimon Sovereigns (Four Holy Beasts in Japan), a set of Olympus Mons based on the Four Gods. Digimon Adventure 02 marked their anime introduction with Azulongmon (Qinglongmon), based on Seiryū, being important to the plot. Digimon Tamers introduced the remaining three; Zhuqiaomon based on Suzaku was initially an antagonist, and Baihumon based on Byakko and Ebonwumon (Xuanwumon) based on Genbu, play relatively minor roles. The fifth god, Huanglongmon based on Kōryū, existed in supporting material for years but didn't make his anime debut until a decade later in Digimon Fusion, but was only a Monster of the Week in it. It was not until Digimon Survive that Huanglongmon was introduced as the Top God it is supposed to be. Digimon Adventure tri. revealed four of the original Chosen Children's Digimon evolved into the Holy Beasts, at the cost of the fifth Chosen Child's Digimon.
  • The anime version of Dōkyūsei (titled End Of Summer in English) is more subtle. In this case, they pared the list of girls (from the game) down to four. The follow-on OAV set (not released in the US) has the school nurse reminding Wataru that he can't keep all four of them forever.
  • Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest: In the guild Diabolos, the guild master Georg Raizen wields the "Four Beasts" Dragon Slayer Magic and his Dark Dragon Slayer Knights have theme after the Four Gods: Suzaku is named after Vermillion Bird and has bird-themed attire, Misaki's title is Azure Dragon and has a dragon-shaped belt, and Haku wears a coat that resembles the White Tiger that is also his title. Kirin is an odd case, representing Yellow Dragon/Qilin instead of the Black Tortoise, wearing giraffe patterned pants.
  • Parodied by the "Devoted Four Goddesses" that make up the Stolen First Kiss Team in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, with Suzuka as the Suzaku (represented by a bird), Tatsuko as Seiryū (represented by a sea horse, which in Japanese myth is seen as a baby dragon), and Nanaki as Genbu (represented by, well, a turtle). Kuroe then asked just who the White Tiger Byakko was supposed to be, whereupon Taiga appeared as the fourth member of the group.
  • Fushigi Yuugi and its Spin offs, as noted above, is one of the most well-known examples. Takiko "Genbu no Miko" Okuda, Suzuno "Byakko no Miko" Ohsugi, Miaka "Suzaku no Miko" Yuuki and Yui "Seiryuu no Miko" Hongou are thrown into the world of the Four Gods to become the priestesses of the Gods and summon them to the benefit of the country that each deity protects.
  • Suzaku Kenran in Future Card Buddyfight uses a deck based around this; they're all cyborg dragons but stylized after the four gods. Additionally, three of them have effects that limit which position they can be called in, such that if the fourth, Variablecord, is your buddy, they line up with the four positions of the gods.
  • They haven't appeared as characters in Gate7, but each volume's front cover features Hana with one of the four gods: Suzaku on volume 1, Seiryu on volume 2, Genbu on volume 3, and presumably Byakko on the yet-to-be-released volume 4.
  • The names of Vermilio of the South (otherwise transliterated as Vamirio) and Azudra of the East in Helck are blatantly taken after Vermilion Bird and Azure Dragon. They are two members of a set called Four Heavenly Kings of The Empire. Later, Vermilio is even explicitly described as a phoenix.
  • Each of the girls in Hyakko's Four-Girl Ensemble corresponds to one of the four gods. A broader Theme Naming based on the twelve animals of the Eastern Zodiac is present in the rest of the cast.
  • In Inuyasha, Saint Beast-inspired ninja are one of the many, many Quirky Miniboss Squads the team faces in yet another filler arc. They also face off against a group like this in the fourth movie, though those guys are all actually powerful.
  • Author Ken Akamatsu has noted that the Four Gods appear in Love Hina in the form of various pets: Genbu is Onsen Tamago, the hot springs turtle; Byakko is Kuro, Kanako's cat; Suzaku is Shippu, the mysterious bird owned by Motoko's elder sister Tsuruko; and Seiryū is Leon, the chameleon owned by Ema Maeda (a manga-only last-episode character).
  • Karasu Tengu Kabuto: The four gods appear.
  • In Kill la Kill, each of the Four Guardian Students of Kyoto's Abekamo Academy shares their surname with one of the four gods and are theme-named after the typical Japanese male sons names (Genbu Taro, Suzaku Jiro, Seiryuu Saburo and Byakko Shiro), and even produce a holographic image of their respective beast. Satsuki's own Elite Four are a downplayed nod, as each of them as a different color and animal motif, but they're not the classical ones (Yellow and Toads for Gamagoori, Blue and Dog for Inumuta, Red and Snake for Jakuzure, Green and Monkey for Sanageyama).
  • Koi Hime uses the "girls of the four seasons" a bit explicitly. Each girl is a daughter of one of The Four Gods.
  • The Four Spirit Kings Yamatohime, Genbu, Byakko and Seiryū in Kurohime.
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi uses the Four Gods and Onmyōdō mysticism as the foundation for its deceptively slapstick story.
  • The Four Beasts are instrumental to the plot of Maryuu Senki, as well as reinarnated in the four main characters.
  • One Piece:
    • It's very subtle, but the original Four Emperors fit this scheme. Kaido the Azure Dragon, literally as he ate a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit that allows him to transform into a giant blue eastern dragon, The name of the fruit is eventually revealed to be the Uo Uo no mii, Model: Seiryu (Fish Fish Fruit Model: Azure Dragon). The name of the Fruit being Uo (Fish) instead of Ryu (Dragon) is most likely a reference to the famous legend of the carp that swam up a waterfall and became a dragon. Shanks the Vermillion Bird, associated with the color red and is also the most mobile of the emperors. Edward Newgate aka Whitebeard has a tiger theme and is associated with the color white. That leaves Charlotte Linlin, Big Mom as the Black Turtle, contrasting Shanks' mobility, as she primarily stays in her main territory, Totto Land. After Luffy clashes with Big Mon at Totto Land, the news declares him the fifth emperor, and because he's the strongest contender to succeed Gol D. Roger's legacy and the reveal that his devil fruit is actually the Hito Hito no mii, Model: Nika, this puts him as filling the role of the Yellow Dragon.
    • Following the Wano Arc the new Four Emperors continue on this theme. Shanks maintains his position as the Vermillion Bird. Blackbeard takes Big Mom's place as the Black Tortoise, with his predominately black color scheme and large, rotund build. Buggy, who has a predominately blue color scheme, takes the role of the Azure Dragon, and Luffy, who has white hair and clothes in his Gear 5 form, takes the role of the White Tiger.
  • Seiryū, Suzaku, Byakko, and Genbu are the names of Nekoyashiki's spiritual cat companions in Rental Magica. They're useful for everything from shields to attacking to creating a gust of wind.
  • Four enemy characters from Rurouni Kenshin are named after the Four Gods and each fights with an appropriate weapon and fighting style — Seiryū uses a longsword and reads his opponent's attacks, Suzaku has twin shortswords and copies his opponent's moves, Byakko uses spiked bracers and relies on physical strength, and Genbu has a sectional staff and uses strategic planning to play the long game.
  • Saint Beast happens to feature...well, yeah.
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, the main character uses the Four Gods as names as well as concepts for his ultimate sword techniques. In order he unlocks Suzaku (summons a phoenix-shaped blast which can reform if dispelled), Byakko (a tiger-shaped blast which continuously attacks even if dodged), Genbu (a dual attack composed of a dome-shaped barrier and a snake-shaped counterattack), Seiryuu (a dragon-shaped rising hurricane) and finally Kouryuu (a blast of energy from the heavens shaped like a massive dragon-like qilin). Mibu Kyoshiro can also use an attack in which he unleashes all the four beasts at the same time, called "Four Beasts Simultaneous Attack".
  • In Slayers, the good dragon-gods of the world, as opposed to the evil chaos-demon-gods, are based on this pattern: four gods, each representing an element, and the supreme (actually, penultimate) god Ceipheed. The evil demon gods are based on Goetic demonology.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann includes mecha named after the Four Gods, each belonging to the General roughly corresponding with the God's element: Byakou (Thymilph, fire), Sayrune (Adiane, water), Gember (Guame, earth), and Shuzack (Cytomander, wind).
  • Tokyo Majin averts this, with the Yellow Dragon indeed representing Void/Destruction.
  • Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches mostly takes place in a fictional area of Tokyo called Suzaku, with the huge (apparently the country's biggest) and prestiguous Suzaku High School being the center of it all. The rivaling high schools are called Seiryu, Byakko and Genbu, but nothing is known about these except that one of the main characters transferred from Seiryu, and two secondary characters used to go to the elementary and middle school departments of Genbu.
  • The four royals who appear in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Gogo are a dragon, a red/pink bird, a tiger and a turtle.
  • YuYu Hakusho, features "The Four Saint Beasts", a Quirky Miniboss Squad of demons based on the Four Gods. In sequence, they are:
    • Genbu, a rock monster who possesses the ability to separate his body parts and send them flying at enemies. Kurama manages to steal and destroy his core, killing him, but was severely injured in the process.
    • Byakko, a tiger-like beast that can create minions from his aura and has the ability to do Energy Absorption. Kuwabara manages to defeat him, but while Byakko survives, he gets killed by Seiryū for losing to the enemy.
    • Seiryū, a blue humanoid with the ability to freeze people. He was defeated rather quickly by Hiei (16 slashes in a split second!)
    • Suzaku, the leader, is a handsome demon who can use electricity-based attacks, control insects with a flute and create clones of himself. After a difficult battle, Yusuke defeats him.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Shadow Hero, the Chinese-American superhero the Green Turtle is empowered by the Black Tortoise. The other three gods also appear.

    Fan Works 
  • Better Bones AU: The setting features four gods, each associated with a season - Midnight (spring), One-eye (summer), Sol (autumn) and Rock (winter), though they don't otherwise resemble the four this trope is based on.
  • In Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises, the central four in the story are based off of The Four Gods, only with the bird and dragon swapping colors.
  • The four incredibly destructive water volcanoes in Embers (Vathara) are modeled off of this concept, but with different names given: Shirotora (the White Tiger), Asagitatsu (the Blue Dragon), Akitori (the Vermilion Bird), and Kurokame (the Black Turtle). Of these, Shirotora and Asagitatsu are important in the story- Zuko's mother's home domain of Byakko has retained a measure of autonomy from the Fire Lord by being the only people who can reliably keep the volcano nicely dormant, while the lack of anyone doing something similar about Asagitatsu (whose last two eruptions killed Avatars and made life difficult worldwide for years afterwards) is a major plot point.
  • In Godzilla 2000: New Era, An old Miko from Odo Island identifies the current Godzilla, the grown up "Junior" from the Heisei series, as an incarnation of the Azure Dragon, Seiryū. It's not confirmed, but given this Godzilla is a Gentle Giant who protects humans, hatched from his egg in Kyoto, and is azure both in respect to the color of his energy attacks being blue and originally being green as a youth; she might be onto something.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Loosely referenced in the Conan the Barbarian movie, where Asian character Subotai mentions he prays to the Four Winds.
  • In Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys, Gamera (as a monster turtle) is equated with Genbu, whereas Suzaku is equated with the film's titular villain. In fact, the film even points out the similarities between Genbu's rivalry with Suzaku and Irys's desire to kill Gamera. Fittingly, the final battle happens in Kyoto within visual distance of Suzaku and Genbu's main temples.
  • All five are invoked in Onmyōji (2001) by Abe no Seimei as part of casting a spell at the film's climax.

  • The most prominent Chrysalis Mechas of Iron Widow are based on the four gods. Protagonist Zetian pilots the Vermilion Bird.
  • The Four Gods are a staple in Arcana Magi Universe. In Arcana Magi, they are known as The Sentinels of the Four Elements, while in Arcana Magi Zero, they are known as The Four Mythic Elements.
  • Báihǔ in particular plays a Big Good in the Breaking the Wall trilogy, though the other three make at least token appearances.
  • Cradle Series:
    • The Dreadgods; four immense Kaiju that periodically take turns terrorizing the world. The Bleeding Phoenix (a miles-tall bird seemingly made of blood), the Weeping Dragon (a serpentine dragon described as "kilometers-long" and "traveling on thunderstorms"), the Wandering Titan (resembling a stone warrior with the shell of a tortoise, tall enough to walk through mountains), and the Silent King (a white tiger with a halo of light, "merely" the size of a house). All four use Hunger madra in addition to something else (the Bleeding Phoenix uses Blood madra, the Weeping Dragon uses Storm madra, the Wandering Titan uses Earth madra, and the Silent King uses Light and Dream madra), which lets them siphon power from other sources. Therefore, there are cultists who follow around the Dreadgods to borrow their power and feed on their scraps. Each Dreadgod is absolutely impossible to kill, even for the Monarchs; it takes an alliance between Monarchs just to drive one back temporarily. Worse, if there is ever a serious chance of a Dreadgod being killed, the other three immediately rise to defend them. The last time all four awakened at once, they killed the entire generation of Monarchs.
    • There are rumors of a fifth Dreadgod, sometimes called the "father" of the Dreadgods, heavily implied to be slumbering in the Labyrinth beneath the continent): Subject One. It is supposedly the source of all Hunger madra.
    • In Reaper, we finally get answers on where the Dreadgods come from. Hunger aura is caused by Monarchs remaining on Cradle when they should have left. That aura creates Dreadbeasts, mutated animals maddened with pain and hunger. Researchers in the Labyrinth created the Dreadgods in an attempt to concentrate all the Hunger aura in one place and reduce the number of Dreadbeasts. Then the Dreadgods escaped, and everything got worse. Subject One is one of those researchers who ascended to Monarch level using Hunger madra, and is the only one still bound in the Labyrinth and sane. When he is killed, the other four get a sudden boost in both power and intelligence.
  • All four animals are referenced in The Joy Luck Club.
  • Pale: Matthew briefly mentions that an equivalent to the Judge system governing Kennet and the surrounding areas outside of the control of Lords in the East is none other than the Azure Dragon, the Vermilion Bird, the White Tiger, and the Black Tortoise.
  • Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere has the four Divine Beast Gods of War, created to stop Catholic incursion into Japan, hence the eastern god motif. Each has a power related to a different type of terrain, being Mountain for Seiryu-Bushin (lightning control), River for Hidamari-Genbu, Path for Michiyuki-Byakko (stable footing anywhere), and Swamp for Jizuri-Suzaku (creating a bottomless swamp). After being damaged in battle, they were stolen by different nations. Initially only Seiryu and Byakko's locations were confirmed, while various nations tried to pass off other Gods of War as Genbu and Suzaku.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alchemy of Souls: The Fire Bird is kept inside the mage Jinyowon to prevent it from wrecking havoc on the world. The Black Tortoise also makes an appearance.
  • The Mandarin names of the suns in Firefly. The English names are somewhat less inspired (Red Sun, Blue Sun, White Sun, Georgia, and Kalidasa).
  • Yet another Humongous Mecha example. Though colors are switched for the Tiger and the Dragon, together these four make up the Combining Mecha of Genseishin Justiriser.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • An episode of Kamen Rider Fourze mentions that the symbols on Fourze's limbs (an orange circle, a black square, a yellow triangle, and a blue X) are intended to represent the Four Gods.
    • In Kamen Rider Saber, Kamen Rider Buster channels the powers of Genbu.
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers have several examples; often as part of sets of Combining Mecha:
    • While the colors are off, four of the Mythical Chi Beasts from Gosei Sentai Dairanger (aka Thunderzords from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) are meant to invoke the Four Gods: RyuRanger's Ryusei-oh (Red Dragon), HououRanger's Seihōō (Pink Firebird, though colored Red), KibaRanger's Won Tiger (White Tiger), and Daimugen (Tor), their Green/Black Turtle ally.
      • Huanglong/Koryu shows up near the end in the form of the giant dragon Daijinryuu (Serpentera), a True Neutral in Sentai, and evil in Power Rangers.
      • The other mecha are the Green Lion (Black Lion), Yellow Kirin (Yellow Griffin), and Blue Pegasus (Blue Unicorn).
    • By a string of coincidences, Tommy has had powers and mecha of most of the Four Gods as his primary abilities, including their color schemes. This is in part due to his White Tiger Power being adapted from Gosei Sentai Dairanger. In full:
    • The Shigenshou in Juken Sentai Gekiranger and Phantom Beast Generals of Power Rangers Jungle Fury are based on this trope (though Jungle Fury downplays it): Sanyo the Basilisk/Snapper the Snapping Turtle (Genbu), Sūgu the Chimera/Whiger the White Tiger (Byakko), Mele/Camille the Phoenix (Suzaku), Long/Scorch the Dragon (Seiryū), and Rio/Dai Shi the Griffin (Huáng​lóng​). Lampshaded with Sūgu, as his prior identity had white tiger powers and he was nicknamed "Byakko" because of it.
    • Tensou Sentai Goseiger and Power Rangers Megaforce also has a Pink Phoenix and a Red Dragon like in Dairanger, as well as a Yellow Tiger and a Black Snake (the fifth was a Blue Shark). This may just be a coincidence, as unlike the other seasons listed here it focused on the Land, Sea, Sky motif rather than any sort of Eastern and/or Mythology theme.
    • Four of the six mecha that make up Gekiatsu Dai-Oh in Shuriken Sentai Ninninger are Ho-ohmaru, Seiryumaru, Genbumaru, and Byakkomaru; joined by Pandamaru and Magoimaru (a koi fish). They appear as the Blaze Zords in Power Rangers Ninja Steel.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Tezcatlipocas of Aztec Mythology are a very similar concept, being color coded gods associated with the directions. There's the Black Tezcatlipoca to the north associated with jaguars, the White Tezcatlipoca (better known as Quetzalcoatl) to the west associated with snakes, the Blue Tezcatlipoca (Huitzilopochtli) to the south associated with hummingbirds and the Yellow or Red Tezcatlipoca (Xipe Totec) to the east associated with human (flayed skin).
  • The Bacab from Mayan Mythology represent the four cardinal directions while being associated with different colors and years- Cauac (the West and Black), Muluc (the East and Red), Kan (the South and Yellow) and Ix (the North and White).
  • Native American Mythology:

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost features the Directional Courts of China among the other Great Courts that changelings swear oaths to in order to avoid the notice of The Fair Folk. The courts are patterned off of The Four Gods and supposedly embody associated values (the North Court is made up of ascetics who use suffering to escape memory of their durance at the hands of The Fair Folk, the East Court values material wealth and draws power from envy, the South Court consists of artists and other creatives who value ecstasy, and the West Court is made up of honor-bound warriors).
  • Exalted has a similar setup with Gaia's Elemental Dragons, with the main difference being that all five are dragons; Mela (Blue, North, Air), Daana'd (Black, West, Water), Hesiesh (Red, South, Fire), Sextes Jylis (Green, East, Wood) and Pasiap (White, Center, Earth). Also, the four guardians at the shine of the Cup of Fire (aka, the Aidenweiss) are carvings of a coiled blue serpent facing east (Cherulong), a vermillion swallow facing south (Jujak), a white tiger facing west (Bayrakan) and a black tortoise facing north (Hymonmu). They come to life if the Aidenweiss is touched without permission, or if a creature of darkness even sets foot there.
  • In Kindred of the East, some character traits were actually dependent on a character's alignment with the Four, or rather Five - including "dharmas", an equivalent to Clans in Vampire: The Masquerade. While not all dharmas referred specifically to one of the gods, sometimes even switching the animals (such as South/Red-attuned Devil Tigers or North/Blue-attuned Resplendent Cranes), secondary traits were more in line with the original legend.
  • A few cards or groups of cards from Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • "Vermillion Sparrow"
    • "ZW -" cards:
      • "ZW - Tornado Bringer" (Azure Dragon)
      • "ZW - Lightning Blade" (White Tiger)
      • "ZW - Phoenix Bow" (Vermilion Bird)
      • "ZW - Ultimate Shield" (Black Tortoise)
    • Summoner" and ""Empower" cards:
      • "Blue Dragon Summoner" / "Ventdra, the Empowered Warrior" (Azure Dragon)
      • "White Tiger Summoner" / "Terratiger, the Empowered Warrior" (White Tiger)
      • "Red Sparrow Summoner" / "Arnis, the Empowered Warrior" (Vermilion Bird)
      • "Green Turtle Summoner" / "Hydrotortoise, the Empowered Warrior" (Black Tortoise)
      • "Golden Dragon Summoner" / "Aether, the Empowering Dragon" (Yellow Dragon)
    • "Crystron" cards:
      • "Crystron Thystvern" (Azure Dragon)
      • "Crystron Smiger" (White Tiger)
      • "Crystron Rosenix" (Vermilion Bird)
      • "Crystron Prasiortle" (Black Tortoise)
      • "Crystron Sulfefnir" (Yellow Dragon)

  • Tsukino Empire - Unleash your mind - is about soldiers in a Space Opera setting, fighting aliens with Bond Creatures, the most powerful of which are based on these. Hajime and Prince Shun are the only ones who can bond with Genbu and Byakko, respectively, and that's only because they aren't human either.

    Theme Parks 
  • The Rivers of Light show at Disney's Animal Kingdom features four totemic "Animal Spirits" that guide viewers through a mystical journey through the natural world that eventually goes into the northern lights and stars. Three of the four animals correspond to the Four Gods, with the bird in this case being an Owl, but instead of a dragon, there is an elephant.

  • Subverted in the SD Gundam toyline BB Senshi Sangokuden — the four gods do not appear as characters, but as symbols for the four kingdoms. Sho, led by Ryūbi Gundam, is Seiryū; Gou, led by Sonken Gundam, is Byakko (yellow instead of white); Giga, led by Sōsō Gundam, is Suzaku; and the unnamed forces of Tōtaku Zaku and Ryufu Tallgeese are Genbu (purple instead of black). Each faction has a stylised symbol indicating the god that represents it, on a corner of the boxes, while the Gundam designs would often carry elements of the gods (Ryūbi Gundam's dragon head crest, for example), even after defecting to some other faction at some point (Kochō Serpent, now a Giga general, retains the turtle motif from his days under Tōtaku Zaku's command.)
    • Ryufu Tallgeese comes banded with the Tengyokugai weapons platform, able to turn into four forms for each of the faction leaders to use. While the four forms are modelled after the companion mecha for the Gundams that Ryūbi, Sonken and Sousou are based on (Sonken/GP03 with the Tengyokugai Tiger form/Dendrobium Orchis is a fan favourite), they are officially named for the Four Gods, with little golden heads on each of them depicting the corresponding god for good measure.
    • The toyline would later introduce the Tenkaisyo weapon system, based on the Four Gods (a dragon head, tiger claws, phoenix wings and a turtle shell shield), but these are all in gold rather than the usual colors.
    • On an added note, the defunct Kishū faction led by Enshō Bawoo has no animal symbol assigned to it, though Ganryō Galus-L and Bunshu Galus-R are themed after a bull and a horse.

    Video Games 
  • The four factions in Acclaim's 9Dragons's Wu-Tang Clan are named after these.
  • AdventureQuest Worlds features the Four Creatures of the World for its Chinese New Year seasonal event (Black Tortoise, White Tiger, Red Bird, and Blue Dragon).
  • In Tale of the Dragon expansion of Age of Mythology, each of the Chinese gods of the Mythic age allows you to train myth units based on the four gods:
    • Chosing Ao Kuang allows you to create Azure Dragons and Dragon Turtles.
    • Chosing Chongli allows you to create Vermillion Birds
    • Chosing Xi Wangmu allows you to create White Tigers, plus her God Power allows you to summon two Earth Dragons.
  • Arcana Heart has Chinese Robot Girl Mei Fang, who has attacks named after the Four Gods, and following Soulgain's trend, she also has an attack based on Kirin called Kirin Jacket.
  • The set of Perfect Run Final Boss songs in beatmania IIDX 13 DistorteD, collectively called "Cardinal Gate", were themed around the Four Gods; each of the four songs unlockable from the start were written by artists that took their names as pseudonyms. A fifth song, by an invented 5th entity, "Kinjishi", was available after doing well on the first four. 3 of the artists (Suzaku, Genbu, and Seiryū) have released songs after DistorteD.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 plays up the two playable heroes Gunvolt and Copen as Seiryuu and Byakko: One is a blue-clothed Shock and Awe superhuman who believes in coexistence between superhumans and muggles, the other is a Gadgeteer Genius human clad in white who believes superhumans will only destroy muggles. A noncombatant NPC, Xiao, is labeled as Genbu in side materials. Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 completes the set by bringing Kirin, the Supernatural Sealing Miko, as the Koryuu and Zed, a wielder of The Power of the Sun who loves to conjure birds in his attacks, as the Suzaku.
  • Blade & Soul features this symbolism prominently, most notably in the four main races you can choose from.
  • In BlazBlue, while references are not entirely direct, Litchi Faye-Ling may call out the names of the Four Gods when she uses the move to relocate her Mantenbou without launching it. If she's on the ground, she called out either Genbu or Byakko. If she's in the middle of jumping, she called out either Seiryuu or Suzaku.
  • Bloody Roar played with this a little throughout the series. The tiger came first in Beastorizer (later renamed Bloody Roar 1) through Long (who is a zoanthrope of a tiger), whom later had an evil clone in the form of Shenlong (who is an albino tiger) with a yin-yang theme between the two (before Shenlong eventually grown more compassionate and less evil). Next came Primal Fury (the same as Extreme) which had Cronos, who, besides being a penguin, is also a flame-covered phoenix. Then comes Bloody Roar 4, in which there was Ryoho who was a water dragon of Gaia that was so powerful his dragon form had to be sealed off every so often. Finally, in the rare manga Bloody Roar The Fang (which takes place along Primal Fury's time), the trope is played straight with powerful zoanthropes representing the four gods, among the prominent ones being a tortoise zoanthrope with a snake for a tail. Out of them, only Long and Shenlong aren't considered as godly in status.
  • Bujingai has one level set in a temple hidden inside a mountain and dedicated to the four gods. You have to activate the altars of Seiryū, Genbu and Suzaku in order to reach the inner sanctum of Byakko.
  • Subaru Septentrion, the penultimate boss of Chelsea's path in Bunny Must Die, assumes 5 forms, each one named and patterned after one of the gods:
    • Suzaku Force, a red, winged form that either flies across the screen or floats in the center firing projectiles
    • Genbu Force, a green, circular form that rolls and bounces across the stage.
    • Byakko Force, a grey, four-legged form that runs along the ground and off the walls.
    • Seiryu Force, a long, serpent shaped blue form that weaves through the air, occasionally stopping to shoot at you.
    • Kirin Force, a yellow form with four short legs and a very long neck that simply walks forward firing projectiles.
  • Castlevania:
  • In the fifth Dark Parables game, the extra chapter takes place in China and has a puzzle based on statuettes of the "Four Guardian Gods" needed to unlock the crystal shell around a magical fan. In a moment of research failure, the Dragon and Tiger have swapped place.
  • In Digimon World 3, the four cities of Asuka Server are named Seiryu City (East Sector), Suzaku City (South Sector), Byakko City (West Sector) and Genbu City (North Sector). Amaterasu Server names its counterparts of the same cities using their Chinese names - Qing Long, Zhu Que, Bai Hu, Xuan Wu. The actual mons based on the Four Gods (see above) don't make an appearance, though, but they do show up in most other Digimon games past that point.
  • The iconic Dynasty Warriors series as well as its source material of Romance of the Three Kingdoms; when bringing up the iconic Guan Yu, you can't ignore his iconic Azure Dragon Weir Moon Blade lifted from the novel, though he may not have wielded that kind of blade in real life. Even in other installments, other aspects of each of the other four gods have been referenced:
    • Qinglong:
      • Not only Guan Yu's iconic weapon, but his friend from the Wei kingdom, Zhang Liao, also used to wield a gouliandao (hook sickle blade) version of it with the same naming.
      • Zhuge Liang in his Level 11 weapon in the fourth installment's expansions is also named after it, likely as a nod to his nickname of "Sleeping Dragon" and his home faction of Shu being themed after it.
      • Also used in the Asian name of the item, Dragon Amulet (named as Dragon's Spleen in Warriors Orochi).
    • Zhuque:
      • In both Zhuge Liang and Zhang He's original fourth weapons in the Asian script, including one of Xiahou Yuan's weapons in the seventh installment.
      • Used in the Peacock Urn/Amulet's Asian name (named as the Phoenix Wing in Warriors Orochi).
    • Baihu:
      • Both Lu Meng and Xu Huang have their classic fourth weapons themed after this, though Lu Meng keeps this in the English versions; likely a reference to their historical deeds at Fan Castle (Lu Meng acts as the jaw, while Xu Huang acts as the fang). Both of them also act as foils to Guan Yu and Zhang Liao's weapons via Tiger Versus Dragon.
      • Also named in the Asian name of the Tiger Amulet item (named as Lion's Fang in Warriors Orochi).
    • Xuanwu:
      • Used only so far in the Asian name of the Tortoise Amulet item (named as Chimera Shell in Warriors Orochi).
    • Huanglong:
      • Liu Bei's classic third and fourth weapons, Guan Yu's fourth weapon and Zhang Liao's classic fourth weapon are named after this in the Asian versons. In both Guan Yu and Zhang Liao's case, they even nod to another Top God Dragon by the name of Shenlong/Shinryū (lit. God/Divine Dragon) in their fifth/level 11 weapons. Guan Yu even gets nods to both Bailong/Hakuryū (lit. White Dragon) and Heilong/Kokuryū (lit. Black Dragon) in the sixth installment as well.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy XI:
      • You can summon and fight four incredibly powerful powerful monsters based upon these deities in Tu'Lia. Most players refer to these as "Sky Gods" or "Shijin". There is a center god as well but it's a Kirin rather than a dragon. While they share their names, their appearances can differ as they use generic XI enemy models as appropriate, with the Kirin being the most drastically different as it uses a manticore model.
      • Kirin is notably of the Earth element and like the original center dragon god, is the powerful of the five.
      • Ōryū is also in the game as an earth-based Wyrm. His fights are completely unrelated to the gods in Tu'Lia.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, there are four creatures in the game's penultimate dungeon who are based on the Gods: a large stone tortoise called Pandemonium, a large blue fish named Slyt, and a white tiger-like biped named Fenrir. Later in the game, a side quest takes the player to the same location to hunt down a Seer who is said to control powerful beasts. After defeating a Phoenix along the way, the Seer himself summons all four of the aforementioned bosses over the course of the battle.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has an endgame side story involving the Four Lords of Othard. Genbu is a dungeon boss, while Byakko, Suzaku, and Seiryu are trial bosses. They are the most powerful of the Auspices, animals which have lived for over 1000 years and as a result gained intelligence and powerful magic. Koryu is also said to have been the strongest of them all before he succumbed to madness, forcing the others to seal him away in the temple that they now guard; the latter three Lords are on the verge of meeting the same fate until the Warrior of Light beats the senses back into them.
    • There is a "Four Gods' Shield" found in all three Final Fantasy Tactics games.
    • Final Fantasy Type-0 has four countries named after the four beasts, and the beasts are prominently featured on the flags and coats of arms of the countries.
  • In the Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden: Kagami no Miko game, it turns out that a cult from the Legend of the Four Gods world wants to establish a religion and new nation centered around Kōryū aka Huanglong, The Yellow Water Dragon. So when the Childhood Friends Mariko Kobayashi and Takumi Mochizuki are accidentally spirited into the Book, the group captures Takumi and brainwashes him into a Face–Heel Turn, then sets out to force Mariko to become the Kouryuu no Miko.
  • The Four Gods appear as Superbosses during the post-game segment of Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Dōchū Tobidase Nabe-Bugyō! You're able to capture them after going through the Celestial World and defeat them along with the rest of the game's major enemies; they have the advantage of performing unique combination attacks when paired up with certain main characters.
  • In Gotcha Force, there are 4 Robots that can merge together to total 4 different combinations, each one named after a different one of the four gods.
  • An event in Granblue Fantasy revolves around this trope, which is titled Rise of the Four Beasts, featuring all four of them and the additional Huanglong and Qilin for you to fight.
  • In Guardian's Crusade, creatures based on these who helped the hero Darwin seal Xizan, and hold the stones previously used for such & that Kalkanor and his crew are searching for. You can fight all five, though some are optional. The turtle's a bit of a stretch, as Ruval, its corresponding holy beast, is a golem.
  • In Guild Wars Factions, the mission Nahpui Quarter has the players defeat celestial creatures based on the Four Gods in order to become "Closer To The Stars": Kaijun Don the Kirin, Kuonghsang the Turtle Dragon, Tahmu the Dragon, and Hai Jii the Phoenix. Interestingly, these celestial avatars actually look like constellations, with visible stars and connecting lines composing the skeleton of the creature.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de's local Cast Full of Pretty Boys consists of eight guardians who are explicitly connected to the Four Gods: two guardians — for Heaven and Earth — corresponding to each of the Gods. The Gods themselves originally protected the capital before they were stolen by the villains, and much of the original story revolves around getting them back. On a side note, Haruka does technically have the "central dragon" as well, in the form of the Dragon-God, whose powers are wielded by the main heroine (although it is actually white rather than yellow).
    • The Dragon-God also happens to have Yin and Yang sides (Dark Dragon and White Dragon), the former controlled by the Dark Magical Girl. To further complicate the matter, there's also the Black Kirin, apparently under the Big Bad's control.
  • One level of Killer7 requires Smith to slide four screens together to lower a bridge. Each screen represents one of the four gods, and is located at the proper compass point.
  • In Kingdom of Paradise, the world of Ouka is based around the Four Gods. The player character hails from the eastern Seiryu clan and journeys to the southern, northern, and western parts of Ouka during the course of the game. Each clan is protected by a God of the same name (which Shinbu eventually must battle), as well as a special clan sword. Notably, the Center God is featured; the corresponding realm is called "Kirin".
  • The Last Blade:
    • The series features four characters that each represent one of the Gods. Kaede = Seiryū, Kagami = Suzaku, Okina = Genbu, and Shigen = Byakko.
    • The final boss of Last Blade 2 and the master of Kaede, Moriya and Yuki, Kōryū (Japanese for Huáng​lóng​, making a rare Japanese appearance).
  • The Legend of Dragoon has an attack called Summon Four Gods. Surprisingly, it is just a non magical martial arts technique, and not a spell that unleashes the End of the World as We Know It. It looks pretty cool though, and the Cool Old Guy who pulls it off displays fantastic acrobatic skill for his age.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features the four Divine Beasts, Magitek Humongous Mecha built in the long distant past to battle Calamity Ganon. They don't line up perfectly with the four gods, but they do reside in the four corners of Hyrule, are animals, and are associated with different elements:
    • Vah Ruta, an elephant associated with water and ice.
    • Vah Rudania, a lizard associated with fire and earth.
    • Vah Medoh, a bird associated with wind.
    • Vah Naboris, a camel associated with electricity and sand.
    • The Japanese view of the center being the Void can also possibly be represented by Calamity Ganon himself, who is sealed in the ruins of Hyrule Castle in Central Hyrule. Not only does he briefly manifest a cyborg body made from the same kind of Magitek as the Divine Beasts, his "true form" is called "Dark Beast Ganon," all implying a deliberate negation of what the Divine Beasts represent.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III and IV has Rean invoking the names of "Kōryu" and "Genbu" when he's using his critical hit rate brave order and his improved defense brave order respectively despite the fact that Zemuria only has one goddess.
  • Like a Dragon:
    • Yakuza 2 has Kiryu as the azure dragon and Ryuji Goda as the yellow dragon, with this motif being reflected by the tattoos they wear on their backs.
    • Yakuza 4 has each of the playable characters themed after the four gods, as well as having their own tournaments at Orchid Palace Mahjong.
      • Shun Akiyama is Suzaku, having gone from being a banker to living on the streets as a penniless bum after being framed for embezzlement, then rising from the ashes after getting a windfall from the 10 Billion Yen Incident. His style is about high flying, flashy kicks.
      • Taiga Saejima is Byakko, who's considered wild in combat but much more honorable than modern yakuza. It also helps that he has a tiger as his irezumi.
      • Masayoshi Tanimura is Genbu, his coat styled almost like a turtle shell while his combat is much more defense-based with specialization in counterattacks.
      • Kazuma Kiryu is Seiryu, better known in the Japanese underworld as the Dragon of Dojima who's known as a friendly neighbourhood gangster at his best and a face wrecking, vengeful beast at his most wrathful, and wears a tattoo of the Silver Dragon on his back.
  • In Lost Kingdoms, four of the six most powerful cards in the game are based off of the four gods: The White Tiger, the Blue Dragon, the Phoenix, and the Great Turtle.
  • The Lunar series references this. In addition to the Goddess Althena whom gave life to Lunar (and, despite not being a dragon herself, could be seen as The Ōryū as she holds the same power and can also be controlled like them depending on the game), there are four dragons, each with a color matching one of the four gods and a similar appearance to the appropriate god to boot. The similarities are strongest in Lunar: Dragon Song: The Red Dragon is covered in feathers and has a hooked muzzle resembling a bird's beak. The White Dragon strongly resembles a large cat with wings and has stripes along its body. The Black Dragon is more or less a giant tortoise with a more dragon-like face and build. The Blue Dragon resembles a giant serpent.
  • Mahjong Fight Club uses them to represent different aspects of Mahjong skill. Each player, upon reaching 1st dan rank, is classified under one of the four based on which aspect of their play is the strongest:
    • Seiryuu: Players who are lucky and/or have many dora tiles in their winning hand.
    • Suzaku: Players who frequently win hands.
    • Byakko: Players whose winning hands are frequently high-scoring in value.
    • Genbu: Defensive players who seldom discard the final tile that someone else needs to win.
    • The game also has a fifth: Kōryū, the Yellow Dragon, based on Huáng​lóng. Kōryū replaces the player's classification when they surpass the Master rank.
  • In Marvel Future Fight, the Korean developers made an Original Generation superhero team called the Warriors of the Sky that's based on the Four Gods; comprised of Blue Dragon, War Tiger, Shadow Shell, and Sun Bird.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, the Hand's ninja temple has a couple of puzzles in which statues of the Four Gods must be pushed around and placed upon their respective colored pads in order to unlock doors. During the first such puzzle, Iron Fist recognizes each of them as you interact with each statue.
  • Mega Man:
  • Mobile Legends: Bang Bang: The Oriental Fighters group, located in the heavily Chinese-themed area in Cadia Riverlands (Dragon Altar), correspond to the Four Gods. Their leader, the Great Dragon, can also be said to be the representative of Huánglóng:
    • Qīnglóng/Azure Dragon: Zilong, the Spear of Dragon. Wields the Great Dragon Spear and possesses various dragon imagery.
    • Xuánwǔ/Black Tortoise: Baxia, the Mystic Tortoise. Aside of being the biggest fighter, he wields two giant shields, as an alternative of a tortoise hard shell.
    • Báihǔ/White Tiger: Wanwan, the Agile Tiger. As her title suggests, she's extremely agile. There are also tiger-ish elements in her design.
    • Zhūquè/Vermillion Bird: Ling, the Cyan Finch. While his title is non-indicative (and he wears blue), his rivalry with Zilong refers to the old days where there's only the dragon and phoenix (and the nearby Qilin) as the deities, which made them rivals. Additionally, his skills have a lot of imageries of flight (like a bird flying), and he's either found leaping very high to the sky or walking above walls, like a bird perching.
  • Nioh and Nioh 2 features the Four Gods, in one way or the other, as Guardian Spirits, sometimes in disguise, with one of them, Byakko, serving as a boss fight. Namely:
    • Nekomata, the talking two-tailed cat of Hattori Hanzo, is really Byakko in disguise and after absorbing too much negative energy he turns into a monstrous version of Byakko with black wings you have to defeat. Holds the element of Thunder.
    • Suzaku first appears as a harmless sparrow guardian in possession of Torii Mototada, but reveals his true phoenix-like form when he performs his historical Heroic Sacrifice and is bestowed to William. Holds the element of Fire.
    • Genbu is represented by a large turtle with a shrine on its back and a serpent in lieu of his tail, and is the guardian spirit of Tenkai Nankobo, aka Akechi Mitsuhide . In the first game has the element of Earth, changed to Water in the second game.
    • Seiryuu is a massive blue eastern dragon and the guardian spirit of Date Masamune in the expansion, appropriately enough, but makes a return in the second game. Has the element of Wind in the first game and Thunder in the second.
  • In Overwatch, the 2018 "Year of the Dog" Chinese New Year event features character skins themed after the Four Gods. In addition to their overall appearances, each skin has a stylized glowing logo representing the god.
    • Qīnglóng: Pharah
    • Zhūquè: Mercy
    • Báihǔ: Genji
    • Xuánwǔ: Zarya note 
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King has the four Vellumentals, powerful origami beings which are modeled after the four gods: the Earth Vellumental is based on the Black Tortoise, the Water Vellumental is based on the Azure Dragon and the Fire Vellumental is based on the Vermillion Bird. The Ice Vellumental is a variation, however, as it is not a tiger but a polar bear.
  • Pokémon: Ho-Oh is a phoenix Pokémon based off the Vermillion Bird.
    • The Therian forms of the three male members of the Forces of Nature, introduced in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, seems to based on three of the Four Gods. Therian Thundurus is Azure Dragon, Tornadus is Vermilion Bird and Landorus is White Tiger. While the primary colors of their body doesn't match, the Therian forms each gained a gem on their navel that is the same color as the Four God that they are based on.
      • Pokémon Legends: Arceus introduced the fourth and only female member of the Forces of Nature, Enamorus. Her Therian form is a turtle with a snake on her back, representing the Black Turtle and completing the set after almost ten years.
  • SaGa:
    • The four gods appear as the bosses of each major world in The Final Fantasy Legend, each guarding a sphere that allows you to continue climbing the tower, and Kōryū (called "Ko-run" in the English version) is also present as both a random encounter monster type and a form that Monster player characters can turn into.
    • In Final Fantasy Legend II, Monster characters can acquire any of their forms. In a slight variation, each one also represents one of the four western elements, with Genbu as Earth, Seiryū as Water, Byakko as Air, and Suzaku as Fire.
    • The four elemental schools of magic in Romancing SaGa 3 are named after the Four Gods.
  • The bosses of Sega Golden Gun are historical characters posessing the Four Gods. Zhang Jiao is Genbu and Da Ji is Byakko, but the hosts of the other two gods consist of Gao Qiu and Sun Wukong.
  • Sengoku Rance has the four apostles of Demon Xavier who are named after the four gods: Rengoku/Byakko, Shikibu/Seiryuu, Madou/Genbu, and Gigai/Suzaku. Of the four Apostles, Gigai's "transformation" (the transformation seen in the game is not a true transformation) is closest to what is depicted in the Four Gods. We don't get to see Shikibu's transformation. Their personalities, however, are pretty much true to their gods.
  • Shadow Hearts
    • In the first game to procceed through the Disc-One Final Dungeon you need to collect sacred paintings imbued with the powers of the four gods, and place them on correct altars.
    • In Covenant some of Yuri's stronger weapons are based on the Four Gods.
  • The Four Gods appear in the Shin Megami Tensei game series, and in Persona 2 they have a fusion spell (Celestial Veil/28 Mansions Protection in Japanese) that blocks all elemental damage, which is useful for exactly one battle, right after you technically gain the ability to cast it.
    • Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5 have the Four Gods as Personas, along with Kohryu, who can only be obtained by fusing the Four after completing the Hierophant Social Link.
    • Devil Survivor also features four guardians associated with the cardinal directions, but it's a different set, consisting of the Four Heavenly Kings, instead. Oddly, Seiryū still makes an appearance, albeit as a mundane demon and without the other usual three.
    • The Four Gods and Huáng​lóng are also in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where they have their Chinese names. The Four Heavenly Kings also return.
    • In Digital Devil Saga, the Four Gods and Huánglóng return. The first four are simple extra bosses who appear after killing Ananta; Huánglóng appears after killing the four others as a brutally vicious Superboss.
    • In the Devil Children series (known simply as DemiKids outside of Japan) the Four Gods can be obtained by fusing through the Relic System. You have to get their Soul to resurrect them, otherwise they will simply be zombies (Byakkozom, Suzakzom, Seiryuzom, Gembuzom).
    • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, not only do the Four Gods and Kohryu re-appear as Personae, there is a puzzle in the second last floor of the fourth dungeon that requires knowing about their mythos.
  • Shinobi (2002) has the four Hellspawn Lords as demonic parodies of the original Four Gods, each with an elemental power and vague nod to the original. They are Shiragumo (a white Giant Spider with the head of a tiger), Benisuzume (a crimson giant moth woman), Kurokuda (a kitsune-like humanoid with a giant black snake for tail) and Aomizuchi (a humanoid green-skinned dragon).
  • The siege of Anegawa in Sengoku Basara 2 has you besieging 4 strongholds surrounding the main keep in order to reach Nagamasa and Oichi, and said Strongholds are named after the 4 Gods (though reversed on the map so that Genbu is in the south and Seiryuu on the left), each with an appropriate look: Seiryuu is surrounded by a water moat and full of respawning lancers, Suzaku has huge bonfires and archers with fire arrows, Byakko is the least defended but garrisoned with many Giant Mook enemies, and Genbu is bigger and protected by the Gohonyari.
  • One of the "secret skills" in the first Star Ocean allowed the unlocking of super techniques which augmented existing techniques with the power of the Four Gods.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha:
    • In the Alpha games and Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2, RyuOhKi (Seiryū) and KoOhKi (Byakko) are ancient guardian golem-gods which absorb a pair of Humongous Mecha and gain the ability to combine into RyuKoOh or KoRyuOh (they can switch forms at will).
    • Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 introduces equivalents for Genbu and Suzaku, which merge with the other two to form the devastatingly powerful Shin RyuKoOh/Shin KoRyuOh.
    • Second Original Generations expanded the Genbu and Suzaku counterparts, showing that they could merge together like the Seiryuu-Byakko pair into JakuBuOh or BuJakuOh. This combination actually exists from the Alpha backstory, just not shown. Also from both games, turns out the huge dragon ridden by Son Ganlong is supposed to represent Kouryuu/Huang Long.
    • Also in Super Robot Wars Advance, though not as obvious (and this also carries over to the Original Generation universe). Axel Almer's Soulgain has attacks named after the Four Gods, though when it's translated to US, the reference becomes less obvious (Seiryū Rin -> Dragon Scale, Genbu Gōdan -> Black Warrior, Byakko Kō -> Tiger Bite, Mai Suzaku -> Phoenix Dance). Oh, and it also adds up the Qílín legend (Code: Kirin).
    • Aschen Brodel from Endless Frontier has moves call Tigress Bite, Genbu Strike and Dragon Scale. Her overdrive attack is Phantasm Phoenix.
  • The Tekken fighting game franchise introduced a ranking system in Tekken 5 to show how much experience and skill a character has due to their use online and offline. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Tekken 7 added the ranks Genbu, Byakko, Seiryu, and Suzaku as ranks 20th Dan through 23rd Dan. The background for the rankings also show the associated God. Genbu is represented by a snake coiled around a turtle, with the emphasis placed on the snake.
  • The Lords of the Burning Dawn of Tenchu 2 are named after the Four Gods.
  • Tokimeki Memorial 2 has the local Delinquents gang, the Four Heaven Kings, using the Four Gods themes, each of them wearing on their coats' back a symbol of the respective god they represent : Sou-Banchou, the leader, is Seiryū ; Kinniku-Banchou is Genbu ; Hi no Tama-Banchou is Suzaku ; and Kogarashi-Banchou is Byakko. Baito-Banchou, on the other hand, being the Sixth Ranger in the gang and the only one of the Four Heaven Kings you don't have to win against, just survive until she goes for her next part-time job, as she's Nigh-Invulnerable, doesn't have a Four Gods theme.
  • While there is no real Four Gods quartet in Touhou Project, fanon has been more than happy to represent several appropriately-themed characters as such: Fujiwara no Mokou (an immortal girl with fire powers) as the phoenix, Toramaru Shou (a tiger youkai/Buddhist saint) as the tiger, Hong Meiling as the dragon (she's not really dragon-themed in canon except for being from China, but fanon sometimes outright makes her one), and either Genji (Reimu's turtle) or Kawashiro Nitori (a kappa) as the turtle.
  • In Trials of Mana, Kevin has a technique (and associated gear) corresponding to one of the Four Gods for each possible final class. Namely, Seiryuu Death Fist, Suzaku Sky Dance, Byakko Shock Wave, and Genbu 100 Kick.
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves features the Tibetan variation of the four gods in a puzzle.
  • Referenced in the Wild ARMs series — in almost every game of the series, the player characters can summon four different "Guardian" creatures that correspond to the Four Gods, in addition to other "Guardians".
  • When using the Construction Mode in Wolf Fang, it's possible to get a mecha that, at least in the Japanese versions (no specific names in non-Japanese releases besides the mecha type number), can be named for one of the Four Symbols. More specifically:
    • Seiryuu/Qinglong (#62) is a combination of Electrigger/Stun Gun, Knuckle Shot, and 6-Wheeled.
    • Suzaku/Zhuque (#39) is a combination of Flame Launcher, Pile Bunker, and 2-Hover.
    • Byakko/Baihu (#06) is a combination of Homing Missiles, Iron Claw, and 2-Walker.
    • Genbu/Xuanwu (#28) is a combination of Grenade Launcher, Knuckle Shot, and 4-Walker.
  • World of Warcraft: The Mists of Pandaria expansion introduces the August Celestials., a group of Wild Gods native to the continent of Pandaria and closely linked to the culture and religion of the Pandaren race. Yu'lon the Jade Serpent in the east, embodying wisdom, Niuzao the Black Ox in the west, embodying fortitude, Xuen the White Tiger in the north, embodying strength, and Chi-ji the Red Crane in the south, embodying hope. They also serve as the source of the magic abilities of the Monk class, similar to how the other Wild Gods are the source of magic for the Druid class.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Byakko and Suzaku appear as two of the game's titular Blades, while Seiryu and Genbu appear as two of the massive Titans humanity lives alongside/upon. The dub renames Byakko, Suzaku and Seiryu to Dromarch, Roc and Azurda respectively, leaving Genbu as the only reference to the Four Gods in the English version.
  • In Yandere Simulator, the four Student Council members working under Megami have names and looks based on the Four Gods. Whether the symbolism takes on more significance has yet to be seen.
    • Kuroko Kamenaga-based on the black tortoise, has black hair, has the Japanese words for black (kuro) and turtle (kame) in her name, and wears earrings shaped like tortoise shells.
    • Akane Toriyasu-based on the vermilion bird, has red hair, has the words for red (aka) and bird (tori) in her name, and wears a hair decoration that has red feathers in it.
    • Aoi Ryugoku-based on the azure dragon, has blue hair, has the words for blue (ao) and dragon (ryu) in her name, and has an Eyepatch of Power with a blue dragon on it.
    • Shiromi Torayoshi-based on the white tiger, has white hair, has the words for white (shiro) and tiger (tora) in her name, and wears stockings and a scarf that are white with black tiger stripes.

  • flOw: In a modern world where everyone is born with a mythological creature who can grant them powers and a single wish, people with powerful gods gain extra education and special privileges, and those who wait to make their wish wind up having their gods disguised as animals following them around. Leerang is followed by the cat god, the most boring and useless of the gods, guaranteeing him an average life at best. However, when tragedy strikes and the cat god offers to turn back time by one day in order to undo the accident, it turns out that his cat god may have been the White Tiger, one of the most powerful gods ever known in disguise.

    Western Animation 
  • In Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, there was once a legendary group of kung-fu warriors called the Four Constellations, comprising Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix, White Tiger and Black Tortoise. The current Four Constellations (all panda cubs) each have a chi power acquired from their predecessor.

Alternative Title(s): Four Gods


Honma's Synostone Form

The Green Tortoise Synostone

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / TransformationSequence

Media sources: