Damn 'em, they do
eat, but they don't need to!
That's the rare part! A month, you say, without food? Lud, Sir, you be modest! ... Devil take ye, those cursed things have been howling down there ever since Curwen was done for a hundred and fifty-seven years gone!
This trope is a trait of some supernatural beings. These beings are not bound by the natural limitation of needing to feed to survive
. Yet for one reason or another, they do so anyway.
The being in question might have once been human, and eats because they still enjoy the taste of food. Or they might eat because they are among Muggles
and need to maintain the Masquerade
In stranger cases, the being has no need to eat but still hungers. If this is the case, then they can be vulnerable to a Fate Worse than Death
. They can be trapped or imprisoned without food indefinitely, forever starving, yet never starving to death
Such beings also vary in intelligence and in their choice of food. Some are as sentient as any human and enjoy the same foods normal humans do, while others are mindless man-eaters.
If a story has man-eating monsters, then having this trait makes them even more monstrous. Most natural beings eat so they can survive. These guys don't even have that excuse.
[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
- In Vexille the nanite-transformed metallized humans still eat as a way of maintaining a semblance of normalcy in their lives, despite no longer needing food.
- Haruhi Suzumiya: Yuki Nagato is an artificial humanoid interface, which is either a fancy way of saying she's a Ridiculously Human Robot, or simply an alien. Whichever is the case, she explains (to Kyon) that she doesn't need to eat, and only does so to blend in, which is necessary in order to observe Haruhi.
- Outlaw Star: Melfina is a highly advanced bio-android, created by Professor Gwen Khan. Even though eating isn't necessary to her vital function, she finds she enjoys certain foods, after being prompted by Jim to try some. She was even surprised to learn she could distinguish different tastes.
- In many incarnations of Superman, Supes doesn't need to eat, but often will out of habit or because he enjoys the taste.
- In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence David, a robot child, enters into an eating competition with his human sibling which results in David becoming broken.
- In the H.P. Lovecraft story The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the protagonist confronts Ward after exploring the catacombs under his ancestor Joseph Curwen's farm. "Ward" is actually Curwen, who has killed the real Ward and assumed his identity. When he mentions the abominations that have gone unfed for the month since his commitment to the insane asylum, he replies:
Damn 'em, they do eat, but they don't need to! That's the rare part! A month, you say, without food? Lud, Sir, you be modest! ... Devil take ye, those cursed things have been howling down there ever since Curwen was done for a hundred and fifty-seven years gone!
- When Harry Potter visits Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, there's a banquet of rotten food laid out for the ghosts. Harry figures they let the food rot so that the flavors are strong enough for the ghosts to actually taste.
- Death of Discworld likes takeaway curries. Don't think about how he manages to swallow, or where the food goes next.
- Several youkai races in the Touhou games have this trait. According to the Universe Compendium Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, fairies don't need to eat, but do so in an attempt to imitate humans. Magicians also don't need to eat. Alice Margatroid eats anyway, as she is a former human (at least according to the book) who became a youkai magician and still isn't used to not needing to.
- In Kid Radd, sprites can eat and drink, though they won't suffer if they don't. Word of God explained that since sprites are human creations, they're imprinted with various human drives and habits.