Created By: MarqFJA on November 3, 2012 Last Edited By: Morgenthaler on October 23, 2016
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Soul Eating

Consumption/digestion of souls.

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin ur druft

Needs a Better Description.
This is about a character, or creature, who eats souls. How exactly they devour souls vary from story to story, but the case is almost always the same: the soul becomes a replenishment for someone/something else.

The effect eating souls have, aside from satiating hunger, may be either restoring your health, youth, Life Energy and/or Mana, increasing one's lifespan, gaining their power or knowledge in life, etc.

Many of those who eats souls do it for a living, due to it being the thing that keeps them alive (especially for soul-eating monsters and other creatures), or because they want to live forever or keep their youth, or because they're getting stronger and healthier with every soul they devour. Some rarer cases, however, may occur only once or twice, especially for "mundane" beings who normally don't eat souls.

What happened to the souls they eat, you say? Just as how food gets broken into nutrients in our body, souls tend to get "broken" into their components that nourishes the eater, so the souls effectively cease to be aware or exist. Sometimes, however, the souls that they eat may remain intact in the eater's person, and might even be able to be taken out of the eater. Either way, eaten souls can't go to any afterlife (at least until they're freed, somehow).

If someone has a Soul Power and/or necromancy ability, they may be able to do this.

Sub-Trope of Abstract Eater and Your Soul Is Mine. Often overlaps with Vampiric Draining, Cannibalism Superpower, and/or Horror Hunger. Compare Soul-Powered Engine for engines that "eat" souls to work, and Soul-Cutting Blade, weapons that harm souls.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Hollows feed on human souls, and a Gillian-class Menos Hollow is created when hundreds of Hollows descend into an inter-cannibalistic frenzy and eat each other.
    • The intelligent minority of Gillian — as opposed to the mindless, bestial majority — are also forced to devour other Hollows (Menos or otherwise), either partially or entirely, in order to avoid regressing back to a bestial state, as well as to gradually ascend the Menos evolution ladder (Gillian to Adjuchas, and then to Vasto Lorde).
    • Then we have Aaroniero Arruruerie, the Noveno Espada (#9), who goes even further by combining the trope with Cannibalism Superpower, and by the time he debuted he had eaten 30,665 Hollows (including one that had assimilated a dead Soul Reaper's body via a somewhat different method).
  • In Soul Eater: Humans with the weapon bloodline (essentially a gene which allows them to become an Equippable Ally) can eat the souls of other humans to grow stronger (the good guys only consume the souls of corrupted humans, villains tend to be less picky), so long as they also consume at least one witch's soul. Those that indiscriminately eat other humans slowly become Kishin.
  • Big Mom of One Piece ate the Soul-Soul Fruit, which lets her physically interact with people's souls. The first time she demonstrates this power is during a hunger filled rampage where she eats a portion of one of her children's souls, shaving 40 years off his life and killing him.
  • Naruto: one Dangerous Forbidden Technique summons the Shinigami with the user's body as its conduit, which then rips the enemy's soul and then devours them. As the payment for this technique, the user's soul will also be consumed by it and get locked in a fight with the souls its user ripped.

    Literature 
  • In C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, demons eat the souls of other demons as well as of humans.
  • In Harry Potter, the Dementors generally feed on human emotions. Their deadliest attack, the Dementor's Kiss, literally sucks out the soul of a person's body, turning the victim into a body that lives but can't feel any emotions or think any thoughts. This is treated as a Fate Worse Than Death.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem: This is how vampire-on-vampire cannibalism, named "Diablerie", works.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Dark Eldar, who drink the souls of their victims, whom they torture for death for amusement. The main reason they devour souls is in order to maintain their youth, thus preventing them from dying and feeding Slaanesh with their souls.

    Video Games 
  • Raziel in Legacy of Kain is a vampire whose blood-hunger is replaced by soul-hunger.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion pack Mask of the Betrayer, your character is inflicted with a curse called 'the Spirit-eater', which requires them to periodically nourish themselves by devouring spirits. Initially it only works on elementals, fey and incorporeal undead, but you can learn how to direct the hunger at souls and corporeal undead.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, creatures with dragon souls can consume other dragon souls to a) boost their own souls' power and b) destroy the other soul permanently (the only way to destroy the otherwise immortal dragons). Apart from dragons themselves, history knew a handful of humans and humanoid creatures born with dragon souls as a result of manipulations by the Daedric Prince Haermeus Mora, known as "Dragonborn", who can also do that. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Player Character is a Dragonborn and devours the souls of the dragons they slay.
  • Mega Man ZX: Cyber-elves, like in the previous series, are Energy Beings infused with the consciousness and data of an AI; a soul with an energy medium, essentially. In this series, it's also possible to turn living beings into Cyber-elves, as the line of humans and robots in the setting have become blurred. The Slither Inc. is revealed to be responsible for turning mass amounts of people into elves without the populace knowing, so that they'll become food for Model W.
  • BlazBlue: Ragna's Drive ability "Soul Eater" eats the souls of people. In-game, this is translated into Life Drain attacks. There's also the Eldritch Abomination of the verse, the Black Beast, who devoured mass amounts of souls in its rampage. Ragna's source of his ability is the Azure Grimoire, an artifact made out of Black Beast's corpse.
  • One of Tichondrius the dreadlord's lines in Warcraft III is "I must feast on souls!"
  • Mortal Kombat has Shang Tsung, who is cursed to devour the souls of his enemies in order to maintain his youth (and much more importantly, his life). His sorcery is also fueled by the souls of those he devours, making it doubly important that he devours more in order to maintain his power.
  • Shadow Fiend from Dota2 take souls to power his attack through Necromastery and release an unholy surge of energy through Requiem of Souls.
    "So, you're curious where I come from? There's one easy way to find out for yourself."

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Servants can do this to replenish their Mana, though the more wholesome ones are understandably quite averse to it. In one case, the Servant — a Chaotic Evil Anti-Villain — expressed a preference for evil souls, because their foulness makes them that much tastier, and souls of similar alignment are easier to digest.

    Western Animation 

Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • November 4, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    Diablerie, the vampire cannibalism in Vampire The Masquerade
  • November 4, 2012
    Astaroth
  • November 4, 2012
    Khantalas
    • Diablerie also shows up in the New World of Darkness sequel to Vampire The Masquerade, Vampire The Requiem. It is slightly less potent than the classic version, but its drawbacks are mostly temporary to make up for it.
  • November 13, 2012
    oztrickster
    Hollows from Bleach feed on human souls and the stronger ones got that way by eating other Hollows.
  • November 13, 2012
    Bisected8
    • In Soul Eater: Humans with the weapon bloodline (essentially a gene which allows them to become an Equippable Ally) can eat the souls of other humans to grow stronger (the good guys only consume the souls of corrupted humans, villains tend to be less picky). This is also averted in that they also need to consume at least one witches soul to become more powerful, and those that indiscriminately eat other humans slowly become Kisin.
  • November 13, 2012
    moriwen
    In C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, demons eat the souls of other demons as well as of humans.
  • November 19, 2012
    Chernoskill
    I think the movie Ghost Ship had this as a big reveal near the end when the antagonist describes himself as some sort of Soul Harvester... Who then proceeds to collect the souls of the dead people on the ship. Maybe someone who has seen the movie recently can chime in? ;)
  • November 19, 2012
    MrRuano
    • Mortal Kombat has Shang Tsung, who is cursed to devour the souls of his enemies in order to maintain his youth (and much more importantly, his life). His sorcery is also fueled by the souls of those he devours, making it doubly important that he devours more in order to maintain his power.
    • Warhammer 40000 has the Dark Eldar, who drink the souls of their victims, whom they torture for death for amusement. The main reason they devour souls is in order to maintain their youth, thus preventing them from dying and feeding Slaanesh with their souls.
  • November 19, 2012
    TonyG
    On Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, the guys watch a horror movie about a "cannibal ghost", who "scares you to death and eats your ghost".
  • November 19, 2012
    Chabal2
    One of Tichondrius the dreadlord's lines in Warcraft III is "I must feast on souls!"

  • November 21, 2012
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • Bleach
      • In the anime Bount arc, the Bount drank human souls. If they devoured more than they needed, they gained great power and became evil.
  • November 22, 2012
    Andygal
    See also Soul Cutting Blade, which is a weapon that damages, and may eat, souls.
  • November 23, 2012
    CobraPrime
    The thing the Player Character does to Dragons in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
  • November 23, 2012
    MisterTimor
    Denizens in Shakugan No Shana.
  • November 23, 2012
    robinjohnson
    I like Eater Of Souls. It sounds like something HP Lovecraft might have used, and possibly did.

    I'm not sure this is sufficiently different from Your Soul Is Mine, though?
  • November 24, 2012
    CarrieVS
    Related to You Are Who You Eat?
  • November 24, 2012
    orange4014
    Slender kills children and eats their souls.
  • November 24, 2012
    Bisected8
    @robinjohnson: Your Soul Is Mine is more about souls being lost or taken in general, this is definatly splittable as a subtrope.

    I also like Eater Of Souls.
  • November 24, 2012
    timo5978
    • In Naruto, this happens to Gaara. Naruto hears about it and along with several other teams and the helping hands of elders from the Sand Village beats up some baddies, bonds with his team, and cries/shouts at the other teams about the whole "Jinchuuriki" situation. All to rescue Gaara. So Once Again The Day Is Saved, Naruto-style.
  • August 25, 2016
    DAN004
    • Na Ruto: one Dangerous Forbidden Technique summons the Shinigami with the user's body as its conduit, which then rips the enemy's soul and them devours them. As the payment for this technique, the user's soul will also be consumed by it and get locked in a fight with the souls its user ripped.
    • Blaz Blue: Ragna's Drive ability "Soul Eater" eats the soul of people. In-game, this is translated into Life Drain attacks. There's also the Eldritch Abomination of the verse, the Black Beast, who devoured mass amounts of souls in its rampage. Ragna's source of his ability is the Azure Grimoire, an artifact made out of Black Beast's corpse.

    Many Necromancers and those with Soul Power may also have this ability. I heard that there are folklore monsters who eat souls, too.
  • August 27, 2016
    StarSword
    Eater Of Souls is a better name.
  • August 28, 2016
    DAN004
    Grabbing this. :)
  • August 28, 2016
    Gamermaster
    • Big Mom of One Piece ate the Soul Soul fruit, which lets her physically interact with people's souls. The first time she demonstrates this power is during a hunger filled rampage where she eats a portion of one of her children's souls, shaving 40 years off his life and killing him.
  • August 29, 2016
    Snicka
    • In Harry Potter, the Dementors generally feed on human emotions. Their deadliest attack, the Dementor's Kiss, literally sucks out the soul of a person's body, turning the victim into a body that lives but can't feel any emotions or think any thoughts. This is treated as a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • August 29, 2016
    Snicka
    I also prefer Eater Of Souls as a name: "cannibal" implies that the entity itself does have a soul, which is not always the case.
  • August 29, 2016
    Koveras
    • In The Elder Scrolls, creatures with dragon souls can consume other dragon souls to a) boost their own souls' power and b) destroy the other soul permanently (the only way to destroy the otherwise immortal dragons). Apart from dragons themselves, history knew a handful of humans and humanoid creatures born with dragon souls as a result of manipulations by the Daedric Prince Haermeus Mora, known as "Dragonborn", who can also do that. In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, the Player Character is a Dragonborn and devours the souls of the dragons they slay.
  • August 30, 2016
    LondonKdS
    In Farscape, the apparently-magical recurring villain Maldis claims to eat souls, although this might just be mystification of something like Life Energy.
  • August 30, 2016
    Katsuhagi
    • In Overwatch one of the lines Reaper may say when he spawns is "I will feast on their souls" and in-game he can absorb 50 health from each Soul Globe he collects from a downed enemy. Flavor text also mentions that the bodies of his victims are pale, empty husks drained of life, their cells showing signs of intense degradation.
  • August 30, 2016
    zarpaulus
    • In Dan And Mabs Furry Adventures Cubi are notorious for eating souls, though they can subside on mere emotions, souls extend their lifespans and increase their magic. Other creatures can do it as well, a dragon was harvesting souls from the dead of a city until Dan's grandmother killed him and accidentally glassed the region.
  • September 5, 2016
    Dr.XXX
    Dragon Fable has Roirr consume the souls of his host bodies. This bites him back big time when they are all expelled from him, leaving him a charred skeleton.
  • September 16, 2016
    MarqFJA
    Thanks for fleshing this out, DAN 004. I see that it's in capable hands. That said, you want Life Drinker rather than Immortality Inducer in the description; the latter is about things or people who induce immortality in others rather than maintaining their own immortality.

    And yeah, in hindsight "Soul-Eating", "Soul-Eater" or "Eater of Souls" is a much better title than "Soul Cannibal(ism)". In fact, I prefer "Eater of Souls", since it's about a character rather than, say, a nonliving machine that consumes souls as raw material to operate itself and/or do something or the other.
  • September 16, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    • Black Moon Chronicles: Souls from all the mortal races are devoured by the demons from hell, as well as succubi. The main bad guy also dies this way when Lucifer shows his displeasure with his failure.
  • October 17, 2016
    zarpaulus
    You know, I thought Dark Eldar ate souls because their souls were continually being slowly drained by Slaanesh.

    • In Black Butler the terms of Ciel's Faustian Bargain with Sebastian is that once Ciel has achieved his life's goals Sebastian gets to eat his soul. In the meantime he acts as his utterly loyal butler.
      • In season two of the anime Alois' brother Luca made a contract with a demon to kill all the villagers who mistreated them and his soul was eaten leaving an empty shell of a body. Alois eventually learns that it was Hannah who ate him and makes a contract with her so they can be together again. After she collects the two of them are heard talking inside her.
  • October 9, 2016
    DustSnitch
    • The Soul-Eating Monster from Kid Icarus Uprising is a serpentine monster who lives off the unfortunate souls of the Underworld. It's implied he's not alone, as the game's Big Bad occasionally compares souls to food items like taffy.
  • October 9, 2016
    zarpaulus
    • Also in 40K souls comprise the diets of daemons and Chaos gods, either mortals or weaker daemons. Notably, Slaanesh devoured all but three of the Eldar gods shortly after awakening.
    • In Werewolf The Forsaken nature spirits (possibly other types, unsure) consume other spirits to become more powerful. They often acquire traits of the consumed spirit as well, unless it was another spirit of the same type or one that would be "in its nature" to eat, an example being a fox spirit eating a rabbit spirit.
  • October 21, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    It looks like DAN was permanently banned from both YKTTW and the wiki, so his sponsored drafts are presumably Up For Grabs again. Since this one is already at 10 hats ATM, I'll go ahead and launch this one later today.
  • October 21, 2016
    mariovsonic999
    Shadow Fiend from Dota2 take souls to power his attack through Necromastery and release an unholy surge of energy through Requiem of Souls.
    "So, you're curious where I come from? There's one easy way to find out for yourself."
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