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Thunder Drum

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The sound of thunder is loud, powerful, and booming. What common objects can create a similar sound? Certain types of drums. It is thus not surprising that drums tend to be paired with thunder and, by extension, lightning. Sometimes it can be used visually by having lightning striking whenever a drummer plays their drum as if they are summoning it. Sometimes the drums are more directly connected by having them be the cause of lightning.

Older Than Feudalism. In Chinese Mythology, Leigong ("Thunder Lord") is described as a musclebound deity who creates thunder by hammering his drum as early as 1st century CE. In Japanese Mythology, the thunder god Raijinnote  is also commonly depicted with having a ring of drums behind his back.

May overlap with Instrument of Murder if the drummer is summoning lightning to attack their foes. Not to be confused with the dragon species from Dragons: Riders of Berk.

Compare to Thunder Hammer, Sub-Trope of Shock and Awe and Elemental Weapon. See also Lightning Gun, Shock Stick, Static Stun Gun and Lightning Lash.



Anime and Manga

  • In One Piece, Eneru has the ability to control lightning, and one of the ways he channels it is by striking a ring of drums behind his back.
  • One-Punch Man: Maiko Plasma is a monster with eight Tomoe drums attached to her back. They fire lightning bolts when she hits them with a drum stick.
  • In the fourth Eldoran series, Daiteioh (which never made it past a promo reel and was only developed more in Super Robot Wars), the Super Mode combination sequence starts with Daiteioh ceremoniously rattling a giant pellet drum while riding atop dragon-mode Dairyuuoh, prior to the two combining.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō: Kaminari, the Youkai of thunder and Raijin-lookalike, carries a ring of tomoe-marked drums on his back he can use to summon lightning by playing them. He can also use the ring in combat to restrain his opponents, but will lose his electrical powers if separated from it.

Live-Action TV

  • One song interlude from Captain Kangaroo teaches children not to be fearful of thunder. One coping mechanism the song proposes is answering thunder with drum percussions.
    "Who's afraid of thunder? / Thunder's just a lot of noise. / Who's afraid of thunder? / Like the noise we make with toys. / When thunder comes with a boom boom boom, / We get out our drums and we room toom room."
  • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger/Power Rangers Ninja Storm: The monster Undaigo/DJ Drummond could summon lightning by playing his Taiko-drums. Part of the Gouraigers' plan to defeat him in the Sentai is a Taiko drum-off, with both sides channeling lightning with their drumming.


  • In AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", the drums get emphasized during the "Thunder!" chanting in the beginning.


  • As mentioned above, Raijin from Japanese Mythology is the local god of thunder, lightning, and storms, who is commonly depicted having a wheel of drums on his back which he pounds to create thunder and lightning.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced D&D supplement Oriental Adventures (1985). One of the Asian magic items is the Drums of Thunder. When they are played they can be used to cast a Control Weather spell (which can create a thunderstorm) or send forth a lightning bolt that does 20-120 Hit Points of damage.


  • In The Rainmaker, one of the props Starbuck carries on his wagon is a big bass drum, which he directs Jim to give several resounding beats on to make the rain come. When a real thunderstorm does break out at the end of the play, the sound is mistaken for the drum (as well the audience might in The Musical version 110 in the Shade, which accompanies it with an orchestral kettledrum beat).

Video Games

  • In Ōkamiden, The Thunderclouds have large drums which Chibiterasu can use to get to higher places, and some of the inhabitants of the place use drums, alongside other instruments, to create electricity. After clearing the place, Chibi also gets a pellet drum item that makes him immune to electricity.
  • In Persona 4: Arena, one of the items that Teddie can throw is a small pellet drum that calls down lightning where it lands, based on the Ball Lightning item from Persona 4.
  • In Touhou Project, Raiko Horikawa is a drum tsukumogami who has two spell cards that involve her creating streams of electricity.
  • In Senran Kagura, both Renka and Tachibana are electricity-users; Renka pounds on her taiko drums to create electricity, while Tachibana uses drumsticks clad in electricity.
  • Raijin in Smite channels his thunder and lightning via the drums he beats. However, instead of using the circle of drums with which he is traditionally depicted, he uses four large drums.
  • In Makai Kingdom, drums are one of the many weapon types, resembling a ring of six drums. All Weapon Skills with the drums involve electricity, mainly by the character "drumming" on them. They are mainly used by Raiden and his boss, Alexander.
  • Raijin in Muramasa: The Demon Blade is able to summon a bunch of drums around her, and one of her attacks involves rapidly drumming on them with her dumbbell-like objects to generate lighting orbs. She can also send them around while they are charged with electricity and shoot lightning from them.
  • In Monster Hunter Frontier, the Hunting Horn you can craft with Kirin's material is a drum, and like all of Kirin's weapons, has Thunder element. World also has a weapon called Lightning Drum, this time crafted mainly from materials from Tobi-Kadachi.
  • In Cultist Simulator this is the Thunderskin's whole schtick. The drum, incidentally, is his own flayed skin.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Electra is a Electric-elemental Blade whose default weapon is a taiko drum-themed hammer which even makes drum sounds when she hammers the ground during her awakening cutscene. She also has an idle animation where she drums the air, creating small electric bursts with each strike.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, the final Instrument of the Sirens needed to wake the Wind Fish is literally called the Thunder Drum.
  • Zan Partizanne, a boss and playable ally from Kirby Star Allies, uses a set of Raijin drums as her Signature Attack. Every pound of the drums generates a homing spark of lightning, but they can be shorted out with water-based attacks, leaving her vulnerable.
  • One of the penultimate bosses of Densetsu no Stafy is a large lobster creature called Crabolt. They attack using bolts of lightning and wear a ring of thunder drums on their back.

Western Animation

  • At the beginning of "Forces of Nature" from Teen Titans, Thunder is shown drumming thunderclouds to whip out a storm alongside Lightning. Note that otherwise, he has nothing to do with drums.