ByMatthew Bailey, writer at
Husband. Father. Gamer. Cinema Lover. Mix it all together, and there I am. I love all things pop-culture and coffee; but coffee is the best.
Matthew Bailey

The element masters in comics, video games and anime (especially) are some of the more unique characters in each genre. Whether they are hero or villain doesn't change the fact that they have complete control over their unique elements. This control can manifest itself in various ways allowing the character to move, alter, mix, create or shape that element itself. Although it's similar to telekinetic powers, the actual control over matter through elemental mastery is often far more complex than just using pure psychic energy to manipulate the matter.

Every element is unique and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the various characters and their own take on being an elemental master. Here are some of the more common element-based powers.

Water is patient, Adelaide. Water just waits. Wears down the cliff tops, the mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins. - The Doctor (Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars)

Having control over water is more useful than people assume. Through water manipulation these characters can manipulate the state of water itself (gas, liquid or solid) and interact with it in various ways including:

  • Generating tidal wave & whirlpool
  • Creating constructs like armors, weapons and walls
  • Surfing or flying on the water currents
  • Aid with healing abilities

Characters that can control it:

Mirajane Strauss & Juvia Lockser (Fairy Tail) - Sailor Mercury (Sailor Moon) - Tia Halibel (Bleach) - Aquaman/Aqualad (DC) - Hydro-Man (Marvel) - Rain (Mortal Kombat)

Nature? Fire? Bah! Both are chaotic and difficult to control. Ice is structured, latticed, light as a feather, massive as a glacier. In ice, there is power! - Heidar, Rimewind Master (Magic the Gathering)

Similar to water control, having power over ice is quite useful. These characters can manipulate water in its solid form (but can convert gas or liquid to solid ice through freezing) and while in solid form they can interact with it in various ways like:

  • freezing anything to its atomic level making it brittle
  • compression of ice crystals to create weapons, armor and walled constructs
  • Surfing on ice or climbing on it
  • Creating solid decoys, and even have them interact and move realistically

Characters that can control it:

Killer Frost (DC) - Toshiro Jitsugaya & Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach) - Gray Fullbuster & Ultear Milkovitch (Fairy Tail) - Mr. Freeze (DC) - Iceman (Marvel) - Subzero & Frost (Mortal Kombat)

Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire. - Jaya Ballard, task mage (Magic the Gathering)

Often seen as the adverse power to that of a water powered character, control over fire is often seen as a strictly aggressive power to wield. Control over fire often allows these characters to interact with fire in the following ways:

  • Creating armor and weapon constructs
  • Burning or melting other elements
  • Causing chemical reactions and combustion
  • Interacting with other sources of heat and light to create fire

Characters that can control it:

Pyro (Marvel) - Fire & Isis (DC) - Natsu Darneel, Bora, Totomaru & Makarov Dreyar (Fairy Tail) - Sailor Mars (Sailor Moon) - Fire Lord Ozai (Avatar) - Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Love Aikawa & Shuske Amagai (Bleach) - Miyu (Vampire Princess Miyu) - Spitfire & Kazu (Air Gear) - Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist) - Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)

The key to Earthbending is your stance - you've gotta be steady and strong. Rock is a stubborn element. If you're going to move it, you've gotta be like a rock yourself. - Toph (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Control over earth tends to be one of the strongest powers as it can have an impact on a grandiose scale. Characters who can manipulate earth often are able to do the following:

  • Cause avalanches, earthquakes, mudslides and quicksand
  • Creating armor and weapon constructs
  • Hurl solid chunks of earth and manipulate them in air
  • Affect the density hardness and sharpness of constructs
  • Burrow and move through earth

Characters that can control it:

Terra & Geo-Force (DC) - Magma, Petra & Crystal (Marvel) - Jura Neekis, Sol & Celestial Spirit Virgo (Fairy Tail) - Tremor (Mortal Kombat) - Skaar (Marvel) - Tenshi Hinanawi, Patchouli Knowledge & Suwako Moriya (Touhou Project)

I am a leaf on the wind... Watch how I soar... - Hoban Washburne (Firefly)

Control over air or wind is one of the most versatile powers out there, and ultimately one of the strongest even though it is often seen as a weak power. Characters that control air tend to have abilities like these:

  • Create/generate and manipulate all forms of wind (zephyrs, gales, tempests, tornadoes, whirlwinds), even giving air solid form to create weapons and armor
  • Repelling projectiles by controlling air current
  • Augmenting strength by altering air pressure
  • Enhancing their speed and allowing for flight

Characters that can control it:

Red Tornado (DC) - Storm (Marvel) - Wind Dancer (Marvel) - Fujin (Mortal Kombat) - Sui-Feng & Kensie Mugurama (Bleach) - Mystogan, Wendy Marvel & Erigor (Fairy Tail) - Itsuki Minami (Air Gear)

There's nothin' like a fistful 'o lightning, now is there? - Atlas (Bioshock)

One of the more common elemental powers that we see throughout comics (and anime especially). The characters that wield this power can often interact with lightning and electricity in some of the following ways:

  • Generate, absorb and even conduct electrical currents
  • Manipulating the atomic structure of objects to alter their electromagnetic charge
  • Vaporize matter by generating enough electricity
  • Creating armor and weapon constructs

Characters that can control it:

Virgil Hawkins/Static (Static Shock) - Iroh, Ozai, Azula & Mako (Avatar) - Aphrodite (Clash of the Titans) - Sailor Jupiter (Sailor Moon) - Jin Kariya, Chojiro Sasakibe & Candice Catnipp (Bleach) - Laxus Dreyar, Mirajane & Erza Scarlett (Fairy Tail) - Thor (Marvel) - Livewire (DC) - Raiden (Mortal Kombat)

There are so many other 'elements' that we have seen controlled through anime, manga, comics and graphic novels. Basically, you name the element and there's a character who controls it, yet every character wields it in a unique way.


What's your favorite elemental power?


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