Created By: Fool on July 28, 2010 Last Edited By: Fool on July 28, 2010
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Soul Power

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Don't worry, having a soul is overrated.

A subtrope of Elemental Powers. This is the power over spirits, or spiritual energy. People using this power are likely to be able to manipulate this energy, which may or may not equate to magic, depending on the setting. They will probably be able to speak to the spirits of the dead as well. Possession and Mind Control may also be within their powers. This can be either a villainous or heroic power, depending on how it's portrayed and used. (If portrayed negatively, this may overlap with Dark Is Edgy) If it is used by a villain, be very careful -- it's likely they have some very nasty powers, like being able to remove people's souls from their bodies. (This may or may not instantly kill them) People using this power are also likely to be quiet, creepy, and stoic.

Unlike some of the other Elemental Powers, this power is more closely associated with subtly, subterfuge, and deceit rather than blasting stuff, though there are exceptions. (Spirit blasts, and the like) Oh, and be careful if you try to kill these people -- it's very likely that they'll come back as a ghost.

See also Psychic Powers. Depending on how different the setting's souls are, this may or may not overlap with Ki Attacks. Not to be confused with the concert documentary Soul Power.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The Cancer saints in Saint Seiya have a cosmo affinity and an attack spread based around summoning or banishing the dead. This means they routinely travel to the underworld, attack with the ghosts of the dead, and are pretty hard to kill. Even Thanatos, the god of Death, had a handful, and got shoved into a box.
  • Bleach. The powers of incorporeal beings are based on their "spiritual pressure" (spirit energy) and their ability to control it. This includes Soul Reapers (kido spells, shikai/bankai, resistance to injury) as well as hollow powers. Some humans are able to use spiritual pressure/powers as well (Orihime, Chad, Quincies like Uryu, Bounts, etc.).

Literature
  • Necromancy in The Old Kingdom trilogy works like this, since necromancers have to literally cross over into the realm of death and bind spirits to their will in order to summon them as undead.

Video Games
  • All ether-elemental characters in MARDEK, particularly Qualna. (S/he has the opposite personality from the one described here, however)
    • All annunaki have this to a certain extent, since they can perform "soul transfers" upon dying that will allow their souls to inhabit another body.
  • The Sorrow in Metal Gear Solid 3.
  • The Feys in Ace Attorney. Mostly this is used for channeling the dead, but spiritual power can also be used as a sort of lie detector. (One, likely non-canon, manga shows that there's even a hidden technique to "channel" people who are still alive, just to get them someplace they can't go at the moment.)
  • The Ghost type in Pokémon.
  • Kulkumatz in The Reconstruction.
  • Demon's Souls. Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Pretty much every game mechanic from leveling up stats to upgrading equipment to learning new spells and miracles requires souls of some kind. The game specifically refers to this as "Soul Arts", and unfortunately, overuse of this kind of power also caused the whole mess that you're trying to fix in the first place.

Web Comics
  • Aradia in Homestuck is able to hear the voices of the dead and send them to haunt people, including the ability to remain in the physical world as a ghost. She also has very potent Psychic Powers, and fits the Personality Powers bill after she dies. She has the opposite personality before then, however.

Western Animation
  • Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender learns to do this as a form of bending. It is implied that this is the purest form of bending, or the original form of it.
  • This is used in conjunction with a Soul Jar by the villain Shaldemar to make people into zombies in the Filmation cartoon Blackstar episode, "The Zombie Masters."
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • July 25, 2010
    Fool
    Um, hello? People? I'm still watching this, and I would like for at least one person to give their opinions, and I also need a better title.
  • July 25, 2010
    Eustace
    Hows about this - in the Video Game Might and Magic VII (I think it was this one), one of the necromancer subtypes was 'Speaker for the Dead' - any good?
  • July 25, 2010
    Meophist
    Soul Power?

    I can't recall any examples off the top of my head, but I do remember some sort of spirit-elemental stuff in some games.
  • July 25, 2010
    Kayube
    The Feys in Ace Attorney. Mostly this is used for channeling the dead, but spiritual power can also be used as a sort of lie detector. (One, likely non-canon, manga shows that there's even a hidden technique to "channel" people who are still alive, just to get them someplace they can't go at the moment.)
  • July 25, 2010
    Fool
    Thanks for the replies. And Eustace, I'm afraid I'll need a bit more elaboration for a definite decision on whether or not to include that.

    Oh, and if anyone can improve on the description, please do, since I'm terrible at those. Any help in that area would be greatly appreciated.
  • July 25, 2010
    juancarlos
    what about the ghost type in pokemon?
  • July 25, 2010
    Earnest
    The Cancer saints in Saint Seiya have a cosmo affinity and an attack spread based around summoning or banishing the dead. This means they routinely travel to the underworld, attack with the ghosts of the dead, and are pretty hard to kill. Even Thanatos, the god of Death had a handful, and got shoved into a box.
  • July 26, 2010
    Eustace
    Sorry Fool I was thinking of that more as the trope title?
  • July 26, 2010
    Fool
    "Speaker For The Dead" is too close to sounding like a medium or something, which doesn't quite fit. Speaking to the dead isn't a required power, they're just able to manipulate spiritual energy and/or spirits themselves.

    I think that "Soul Power" sounds pretty good, honestly.
  • July 26, 2010
    SweetMadness
    • Demons Souls. Exactly What It Says On The Tin. Pretty much every game mechanic from leveling up stats to upgrading equipment to learning new spells and miracles requires souls of some kind. The game specifically refers to this as "Soul Arts", and unfortunately, overuse of this kind of power also caused the whole mess that you're trying to fix in the first place.
  • July 26, 2010
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • Bleach. The powers of incorporeal beings are based on their "spiritual pressure" (spirit energy) and their ability to control it. This includes Soul Reapers (kido spells, shikai/bankai, resistance to injury) as well as hollow powers. Some humans are able to use spiritual pressure/powers as well (Orihime, Chad, Quincies like Uryu, Bounts, etc.).
  • July 26, 2010
    RedWren
    I like Soul Power

    • Aang in Avatar The Last Airbender learns to do this as a form of bending. It is implied that this is the purest form of bending/the original bending.
  • July 26, 2010
    Fool
    Hm... This seems launchable, but I'm worried that people won't improve the description once it's launched. Something I've noticed is that people usually won't bother to improve a description if it's "good enough", even if they could make a better one... I make "good enough" descriptions at best, so many of my descriptions tend to fall into that unfortunate tendency.
  • July 26, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    I would disagree that it's soulbending in Avatar The Last Airbender, as the person it was used on was fundamentally still the same afterward. What Zuko did to himself near the end of Season 2 was more like Soul Bending -- and what was done at the end of the series was more like chi bending, IMO.
  • July 27, 2010
    Fool
    So should I remove it?
  • July 27, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Not to be confused with not-Black Lightning Soul Power from Static Shock
  • July 27, 2010
    SweetMadness
    A bit of clarification with Aradia from the Homestuck example. She's not possessing her own corpse, it's been shown numerous times that the other characters can't see her. She's just disembodied ghost.
  • July 27, 2010
    Earnest
    If you like, here's a potential pic from the Magic The Gathering card Remove Soul.

    Don't worry, having a soul is overrated.

  • July 27, 2010
    CodeMan38
    Also not to be confused with the concert documentary Soul Power.
  • July 27, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    @Fool, I'd say yes, if others agree that it's more chi-bending than soul-bending. Or if no one disagrees. :)
  • July 27, 2010
    Meophist
    There's the problem that Chi/Spirit/Soul are all inter-related concepts. I suppose you can say this is a Super Trope to Ki Attacks and include those as well.
  • July 28, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    • Used in conjunction with a Soul Jar by the villain Shaldemar to make people into zombies in the Filmation cartoon Blackstar episode, "The Zombie Masters."
  • July 28, 2010
    Pickly
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