Fanart Friday returns, immovable as the mountain stone (because I just like sitting in front of my computer, okay?). Last week, we boned up on our knowledge of Studio BONES, but this week we're starting a month-long look at the Five Elements--well, my definition of the Five Elements. See, five-element systems are a core tenet of many classic philosophical studies--they're not all the same, but you'll see lots of overlap, as they all seem to contain Fire, Wind, and Water, with a few containing Earth, and other specific elements like Void and Aether. We're taking a slightly more Captain Planet-ish approach to this, and will be covering (in order) Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Metal, because Heart is not an element (or is the best element?).
Starting things off with EARTH makes sense--all life comes from the Earth, and it symbolizes life and growth and creation just as easily as it symbolizes sheer lethality through crushing, burning, or suffocating with foliage. I've had to kind of bend the rules since there aren't very many pure Earth-element users in anime and manga, so you'll see a few charactes wielding plant-based abilities, or who personally symbolize the Earth and nature, along with a few that I think pass as Earth instead of other elements. Let's get started!
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Let's start with Ultraman Gaia, who takes the name of the Greek goddess of the Earth itself. While Ultraman is always badass, his trademark pose leaves him very open to a kick square in the nuts. But hey, he's Ultraman--I trust that he'll be able to defend himself.
Like I said earlier, we kinda bent the rules for this installment--you don't see quite as many pure Earth elementals in anime and manga, so a lot of characters actually follow the lead of Batman villain Poison Ivy and her plant control.
Sorry, W.I.T.C.H. fans, there's only one Cornelia I recognize, and she's royalty. However, as I know nothing about W.I.T.C.H., I'll have to leave it to the show's fans to say something about this Cornelia! I actually enjoy seeing you guys getting all excited about shows in the comments!
inFamous: Second Son's Delsin Rowe has mainly shown off his smoke-based powers, but his control over concrete (a very cool ability, and incredibly useful in a city) is an interesting take on the standard geomancy!
It's hard for me to call One Piece's Akainu a villain--yeah, he's a jerk, but it's all in the name of doing what he feels is right. Also, I very strongly believe that he's more of an Earth elemental than a Fire elemental--lava is basically boiling-hot rock in liquid form, so yeah... Akainu is Earth.
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION
And then you have the characters who are just plain made of rocks, like the giant, adorable Golem from Monster Rancher.
Going back to the DC Universe (or in this case, one of the now-several DC Animated Universes), Terra brought some rock-slinging artillery to the Teen Titans!
But of course there are Earthbenders in this installment! I'm actually expecting Benders to show up in every single Fanart Friday this month, with one or two repeats at the end of the month. Lin Beifong is a badass, take-no-prisoners supercop in The Legend of Korra, and was very quickly added to my "favorite characters" list in that show.
Flame of Recca is another series whose characters will probably all show up this month: Recca is Fire, Fuuko is Wind, Mikagami is Water, and Domon here is the strong, unflinching Earth.
Not gonna lie, I'm always kinda happy when someone requests something other than anime or manga, and Centurions' Jake Rockwell really hit the spot. The Centurions had a pretty straightforward team--a guy in the air, a guy in the water, and a guy on land, and you were covered from all angles! POWER EXTREME!
At least in my opinion, the only actual Earth elementals you'll see running around in anime and manga tend to control sand, like long-term One Piece bad guy Crocodile! What's that? Whitebeard, you say? Eh, kinda... he had earthquake powers, which were more about impact and destruction through shaking, doing things like breaking the air with his punches. Crocodile hits the mark a little more cleanly.
Okay guys, I'll need you all to explain this one for me since I just add what people ask for and don't really ask any questions. D-Frag's Chitose Karasuyama is based off a train... or a train station... or something... and has the character for Earth in her name. How does she belong here?! YOU GUYS ASKED FOR HER. YOU EXPLAIN HER.
Earth Girl Arjuna isn't so much about a girl with Earth-based powers, but more about a girl who represents the Earth as a whole and is "in tune" with the planet. Nothing quite represents the Earth like watching TV (it's what we do as a species)--I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Juna is watching reruns of K-Town. Ugh.
"Of course there's a team of bad guys," I thought while watching Arata: The Legend, because it's a Yuu Watase series, and she's so damn good at putting together groups of really, really ridiculously good-looking men who all have unique, often elemental powers, like Akachi here!
Seeing Blue Exorcist's Amaimon and Shiemi here is kind of a weird pairing, but it works for this installment--Amaimon is the "King of Earth," and Shiemi has her whole deal with plants.
Last week, a reader asked for Sailor Uranus, but unfortunately she represents the sky. If any of the Sailor Senshi/Scouts/Saleswomen/whatever fit the bill, it's the group's strongman, Sailor Jupiter, who's also gifted with plant control!
Fairy Tail has such a huge cast that I have no idea who Azuma is! At least, I don't remember him very well... as far as I can tell, he's the one black guy in Fairy Tail, and according to you guys he's an Earth mage! So yeah!
Hakuryuu, who I keep wanting to call The Lord of the Friendzone, not only has a handy (HA) wooden arm, but he lends his plant-manipulation powers (and a razor-sharp kwandao) to the team in Magi! While I'm on my soapbox: guys, stop being babies about "the friendzone." If a girl you like shoots you down, just roll with it and say "okay, cool," and be glad that you're still friends. Don't be like Hakuryuu.
Also don't be like Brock, who spends all his time with Ash because that little punk needs a sidekick. I was originally going to post individual pictures of Brock/Takeshi and a Rock-type Pokemon or two, but I thought this one was much more impressive.
Back on the sand-control thing, Gaara is one character where I just felt bad for him the whole time he was on-screen (until he got his shit together and stopped hating himself so much). The poor guy got spit on by his entire village, treated like a weapon and a monster, and then allowed to run buck-wild and murder whoever he wanted, until Naruto gave him some headbutt therapy.
There she is! Our first long look at Earthbender culture, Toph Beifong got incredibly creative with her style, turning the Earth into liquid, destabilizing opponents' balance with very slight shifts, and straight-up creating Metalbending. What a badass.
by M. Monkey
But really, my favorite Earthbender is Bolin, because why the hell do you need anyone else when the great, powerful, and incredibly derpy Bolin is here to save the day? The Legend of Korra needed somebody like him.
Y'know what, let's check in with Gaara one more time. After all, it's been a while since we've seen him in Naruto Shippuden, so he should be--oh. Ow. Maybe you should get a back brace or somethin', dude. Lift with your legs!
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everybody--who are your favorite Earth elementals? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
As always, your work is welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Want to submit some art? Just PM me a link to your work and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on MAY 9th, we're burninating the countryside with FIRE! Countless characters represent or are powered by an element that offers life, death, creation, destruction, protection and danger all at once. Which (literal) firebrands do you want to see next week? Let me know in the comments! THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on MAY 16th, board up your windows and get ready for some gale-force WIND! Who are your favorite wind-generating blowhards?
-On MAY 23rd, we'll be hydrating after all that heat and wind with a cool glass of WATER! Water can refresh... but it can also f**k you up, easily.
Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday! Have any suggestions or requests for future themes? PM me and we'll work something out! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by again next time!