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Best Magical Catchphrases Of All Time

Some superheroes waste precious seconds getting into their costumes before swinging into battle. Others need to invest in an entire robot pit crew to bolt them into their armored suits piece by piece.

Then there are those superbeings who really lucked out. These guys can transform into their powered forms just by crying out a single word or catchphrase. It doesn't matter if they're suffering from a bad hair day or forgot to wear clean underwear — as soon as those magic words leave their lips, they're ready to face their opponents and pose for the cameras.

Now, let's be honest: we've all tried these catchphrases on ourselves at some point, hoping a bolt of lightning, a magic castle, or a random explosion would appear and grant us great hair, amazing muscle tone, and a spectacular tan. Sure, we might not have gotten the results we wanted — but if you're willing to give it another go, here's a list of the best magic catchphrases to scream at the heavens. Good luck!

With One Magic Word...

Let's start with the magic word kids have been shouting since the 1940s — SHAZAM!

First uttered by young newsboy Billy Batson in "Whiz Comics" #2 (1940), SHAZAM is actually an acronym created by a wizard that imbues one with the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Courage of Achilles, the Power of Zeus, the Stamina of Atlas, and the Speed of Mercury. Also the self-styled name of the wizard, the Power of Shazam has been used by multiple champions over many centuries.

But it's not just the powers that fans find appealing — it's the fact that when Billy utters the word "SHAZAM," he's immediately transformed into a powerful adult version of himself. For kids who grew up in the Depression Era (and frankly any child who grows up feeling powerless in a world full of adults), having the ability to gain instant adult status is probably the best superpower of all, especially when you want to buy beer.

I Have the Power!

What's better than shouting out a cool catchphrase? How about shouting it while holding up an awesome sword? That's how Prince Adam powers up in all the different animated series and comic book versions of "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe."

Granted the magic sword by the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull, Adam was also apparently gifted with a hammerspace scabbard to store it in. How else could he simply reach behind his back in times of need, draw out his sword, and yell the iconic words: "By the Power of Grayskull!"

Every kid who grew up in the 1980s knows what happens next. Consumed by a massive burst of power, Adam is transformed into the mighty He-Man while the image of Castle Grayskull appears behind him. In the original cartoon series, this simply required Adam to gain a dark tan and a barbarian-style outfit. In more modern versions, a skinnier Adam gains about 200 pounds of pure muscle instantaneously.

That's not the end of the transformation though. As if one catchphrase wasn't cool enough, He-Man gets to proclaim, "I have the power!" before using the sword to electrocute his pet cat Cringer and transform him into his noble steed Battle-Cat. A sword, superpowers, a castle, and a steed? Let's face it — when it comes to superhero paraphernalia, Prince Adam's got the whole toy set.

It Takes Two...

Some magic words work best when shouted in tandem. That's definitely the case for Zan and Jayna, the extraterrestrial "Wonder Twins” who joined Hanna-Barbera's animated TV show "The All-New Super Friends Hour" back in the 1970s. Dressed in some skin-tight purple outfits and sporting Spock-style pointed ears, Zan and Jayna didn't look particularly dangerous — until they gave each other a fist bump and shouted out their special phrase:

"Wonder Twin Powers — Activate!"

Thus triggered, Jayna gains the ability to transform into any animal ("Form of... a brontosaurus!") while Zan can transform into any state of water ("Shape of... a waterspout!"). While some fans thought Zan got the raw end of the deal, his water forms could be very powerful, especially when he turned into a blizzard, liquid nitrogen, or even an ice giant.

Assisted by their pet Space Monkey "Gleek," the Wonder Twins made a powerful addition to a team that already included Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. For those of you who'd like to leap into battle with your sibling, this is one magical catchphrase that's built for two.

(Don't) Say My Name!

Magical catchphrases might make fighting crime convenient for superheroes, but sometimes they can be a bit too convenient. Just ask Freddy Freeman, who used to shout the words "Captain Marvel!" to transform into his superhero form of... Captain Marvel Jr.

Why Captain Marvel? Well... back when he first appeared in "Whiz Comics" #25 (1941), Freddy was gravely injured by the villain Captain Nazi. Wanting to help, the hero Shazam (who was calling himself Captain Marvel back then) passed on some of his powers to Freddy — allowing the boy to transform into a teenage superhero when he calls out the name of his benefactor. However, there was a slight issue with Freddy's new name.

See, whenever Freddy shouted "Captain Marvel," he would gain superpowers. But when he shouted "Captain Marvel," again, he would revert back to Freddy — meaning he couldn't introduce himself as "Captain Marvel Jr." without accidentally depowering himself. Over the years this became a running joke, and Freddy tried renaming himself "CM3" to get around his embarrassing problem, only for people to confuse his superhero name with a boy band.

Jokes aside, Captain Marvel Jr. was a popular character, and Elvis Presley himself was a big fan of the superhero — with some believing he styled his hair and costume after Captain Marvel Jr.'s look. These days, Freddy Freeman uses the catchphrase "Shazam!" to change like the other members of his family, but we still remember when his magic word was more complicated.

Girl Power!

He-Man may have set a trend when it came to magical sword transformations, but his sister Adora had her own memorable take on his catchphrase. The twin sister of Prince Adam, Princess Adora defended the planet Etheria from the tyrant Hordak and his Evil Horde in her animated TV show "She-Ra: Princess of Power." Granted the "Sword of Protection," Adora had her own distinctive catchphrase that she shouted out in times of need:

"For the honor of Grayskull!"

Much like He-Man, Adora would then be transformed into the superpowered champion She-Ra while both Castle Grayskull and the Crystal Castle show up in the background. And just as He-Man rode Battle-Cat, Adora could transform her horse into the winged steed Swift Wind.

For a character who began as a spin-off of He-Man, She-Ra has since come into her own, with a Netflix animated series "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" breathing new life (and distinctive new anime-influenced character designs) into the franchise. One thing that didn't change, however, was She-Ra's famous catchphrase. Why mess with the classics?


Over in Japan, the superheroes from both live-action TV shows and anime series have their share of memorable catchphrases. In fact, it's practically a given that most Japanese heroes get to shift into their superpowered forms with the help of a magic word.

One of the most common transformation words is "Henshin!" Literally translated as "Change!" or "Transform!" this word was used by characters ranging from the various Kamen Riders of the popular "Kamen Rider" television show. Some Riders embellished their battle cries by adding words like "Rider Henshin!" (Kamen Rider 1) or "Sky Henshin!" (Skyrider).

Over in the "Viewtiful Joe" video game franchise, however, the title character takes his "Henshin!" catchphrase to an entirely new level of weird. Determined to distinguish himself from all the other "henshin" heroes out there, Joe yells out, "Henshin-A-Go-Go-Baby!" while sticking out his thumb, middle, and pinky fingers to form the letters "VJ." It's a bit goofy, but no one can deny that it's memorable.

It's Morphin' Time!

If there's one group of heroes with a lot of memorable magical catchphrases, it's Japan's Super Sentai heroes — and their U.S. versions, the Power Rangers. Known for their colorful spandex-style outfits, acrobatics, and flashy weapons, each superhero team has its own transformation call, including 1977's "Himitsu Sentai Gorenger"'s simple "Go!" call and the iconic "It's Morphin' Time!" battle cry of the first U.S. Power Rangers.

What's cool about these magical catchphrases is that after the initial "transformation call," each team member has their own individual catchphrase. For some rangers, it's as simple as calling out the color of their outfit or their superhero name. Others, however, call out the totem animal they draw their power from (who could forget Trini Kwan (Thuy Trang)'s "Saber-Toothed Tiger!" battle cry?).

And while it did seem to take an unusual amount of time for all the rangers to go through their elaborate transformation sequences (seriously, after the first few times you'd think the bad guys could just use the downtime to destroy the city while their opponents were getting suited up), you can't deny the cool factor of seeing a group of heroes pose dramatically while random explosions filled the background. Iconic!

Don't Say This at Work

Some heroes are known for a single iconic battle cry. Others, like Yugi Mutou from the anime and manga "Yu-Gi-Oh!" have several — and some of the unofficial ones aren't exactly the things you shout in polite company.

Originally a young boy who became host to a powerful spirit, Yugi would transform into his powered form while the title phrase "Yu-Gi-Oh!" echoed in the background.

Yugi also had multiple catchphrases — in the original Japanese anime he would call out, "Saa, geimu no jikan da!" or "It's game time!" The second anime also had him state, "Sore wa dou kana" ("We'll see about that!"). In the English dub, Yugi often cried, "It's time to duel!"

However, in the fan-produced parody, "Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged," Martin Billany (aka LittleKuriboh) re-edited and dubbed the anime to include some ... spicier lines. One of the most popular was Yugi's new transformation catchphrase, "Super Special Awesome Ultra Special Super Sexy Transformation Sequence!" In another, Yugi parodies the "Da-da-da-da-da-da! Puppy Power!" catchphrase used by Scooby-Doo character Scrappy-Doo by calling out, "Da-da-da-da-da-da! Puberty Power!"

Granted, these lines were far from official canon catchphrases, but their popularity did cause them to become part of the fan culture — although some fans may have thought twice before belting them out in public. And not for copyright reasons.

Let Our Powers Combine!

"Captain Planet and the Planeteers" was one animated series with a socially minded mission — it sought to teach kids how to take better care of the environment and reduce pollution. As such, the young heroes of the show were each gifted with a special ring by the Earth goddess Gaia (Whoopi Goldberg and Margot Kidder) that gave them control over the four elements (Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire), with the fifth "Planeteer" Ma-Ti (Scott Menville) wielding the Heart Ring that grants him a level of telepathy.

Similar to Japanese anime heroes, the Planeteers would have to shout out their power in order to activate it through their rings. When things got really rough, however, they'd combine their powers, calling on Earth's champion, Captain Planet, who had his own awesome catchphrase:

"By your powers combined — I am Captain Planet!"

Imbued with the power of the Earth itself, Captain Planet would make short work of whatever villain of the week was polluting the world. He'd then vanish, reminding the Planeteers (and the viewers), "The power is yours!" In truth, having a superhero who could instantly stop deforestation or toxic waste dumping was a bit simplistic, but one can't deny the show's good intentions or relevance. 

ThunderCats! Ho!

Okay, show of hands — how many of you screamed out this battle cry on the school playground while waving a homemade sword made of aluminum foil? "ThunderCats" was a popular animated TV show from the 1980s about a race of humanoid cat creatures who came to "Third Earth" and defended it from the evil demon priest Mumm-Ra.

Led by their fearless leader Lion-O, the cats used all sorts of special skills and weapons to thwart Mumm-Ra's latest scheme. When things got too hairy though, Lion-O would bring out the big guns by drawing his dagger and uttering the show's famous catchphrase:

"Thunder. Thunder. Thunder! ThunderCats! Ho!"

With each "Thunder," the dagger would grow in length until it became the mighty Sword of Omens, a weapon capable of shooting blasts of energy, slicing through practically anything, and granting Lion-O mystic powers like "sight beyond sight." The 1980s was a great time for sword lovers, and while fans may debate on whether Lion-O's sword could take on He-Man's, everyone agreed the Sword of Omens' incantation was a lot of fun to say.

In Brightest Day...

A lot of the short catchphrases above are easy to spout out. But if you really want to show off, you'll want to commit the entire Green Lantern Oath to memory. A chant uttered by all the members of DC Comics' Green Lantern Corps while recharging their rings, the oath was both a magical catchphrase and a pledge:

"In brightest day/In blackest night/No evil shall escape my sight/Let those who worship evil's might/Beware my power — Green Lantern's light!"

In actuality, the Lanterns didn't need to recite the oath to charge up their power rings in certain comic book continuities. Still, it's a testament to the dedication of the Corps members that they took the time to voice their commitment to the team before flying off to bash some bad guy's head in with an emerald green boxing glove. Comic book heroes regularly experience crises of faith, so it's nice that the Lantern catchphrase includes reminders of what a Green Lantern is supposed to do.

Over time, DC introduced different Lantern Corps, including the Blue, Red, Indigo, Orange, Violet, White, Black, and Sinestro (Yellow) Corps. Each Corps had its own Oath to recite (with the Orange Lantern Oath, "What's mine is mine and mine and mine. And mine and mine and mine! Not yours!" being particularly fun to recite).

Still, if you're looking to go old school, nothing beats the Green Lantern Corps Oath, which continues to send shivers down the spines of new initiates.

The Rhyming Demon

Most of the catchphrases on this list are spoken loudly and proudly by teams of heroes. However, there are some magical catchphrases that work best when spoken from the shadows.

Take Jason Blood. Once an ordinary man living in the 6th century, Blood was mystically bound to the demon Etrigan by Merlin. Granted immortality thanks to his link with the demon, Blood walked the earth for centuries, releasing Etrigan in times of need with an eerie summons:

"Change! Change, O form of man!/Free the prince forever damned!/Release the might from fleshy mire!/Boil the blood in heart of fire! /Gone! Gone! The form of man —/ Rise the Demon Etrigan!"

What was fun about Etrigan was that he liked to rhyme, so the verses didn't stop after the original incantation. In "All-Star Section Eight" #5, Etrigan even engaged in an epic rap battle with DC's supernatural champion The Phantom Stranger, at one point breaking the fourth wall to tell the reader:

"Commercial break over!/Enough this jammin'!/We return you now to yo' normal programmin'!"

As it turns out, Etrigan doesn't need to always speak in rhymes. Even Blood sometimes changed his incantation to summon Etrigan in other ways (in one comic, he playfully insults his demon counterpart by chanting, "Gone, oh little man so tame,/Arise the demon ... Whatsisname?"). Comics are full of demonic heroes, but few have Etrigan's distinctive style.