Basically, whenever a character's Soul
is seen, it is proportionally as beautiful or ugly as their character and morality.
Most of the time, whenever a character's soul is rendered visible (be it through Aura Vision
or via Astral Projection
) their soul look almost identical to their physical self, albeit semi-transparent. However, much like The Mirror Shows Your True Self
and Morphic Resonance
for Shape Shifters
, the truly righteous and the hellishly vile will have their souls take on angelic or demonic appearances, even if they don't have mystic powers.
This being based on a character's morality rather than appearance, it's often used to juxtapose how inner and outer beauty can be wildly different. That guy with the Face of a Thug
and a freaky fashion sense is actually nice
, to the point his soul is just a pair of wings and Holy Halo
shy of an angel. That lovely and lascivious Daddy's Little Villain
? Anyone looking at her soul would have to fight to keep their lunch down.
Now, if the character in question has some kind of (un)holy or mystic powers, then their Soul Self
will take this Up to Eleven
and be just shy of true divinity. In fact, ghosts often employ this in their "base" form (since some can often take different forms), with evil ones looking like amalgamated hellish clouds, while others resemble a benevolent Guardian Entity
A victim of a Baleful Polymorph
or character with Voluntary Shapeshifting
may have their disguise seen through this way, for good or ill. There's also a self-image component to this trope, where a person who prefers themselves as young, or imagines themselves as prettier/uglier, may take on that form as a soul.
Contrast Jacob Marley Apparel
Anime and Manga
- In Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter, Hade's souls is extracted from Shun and revealed as a grotesque little pile of teeth, eyes and tentacles before being stomped to death. Sadly, it was a dream of Seiya's. It is later shown to be a dark cloud with a long contrail.
- The remake of 13 Ghosts had all the ghosts take on a combination of their cause of death and this trope to look truly evil. The only exception being the protagonist's wife, who even while still bearing burn scars, hospital gown and IV, never looked evil. When they destroy the glass imprisoning the ghosts and her worry over he family is resolved she loses the scars and takes on a beautiful and wholesome appearance before ascending to heaven.
- The ghosts in the remake of House on Haunted Hill have a "combined form" that is best described as an inkblot of all of the pain and insanity they suffered.
- In Ōkami, a ghost who was a Blind Seer in life and death, described Amaterasu (goddess of the sun in the physical form of a wolf) as a beautiful maiden.
- One episode of Winx Club had Bloom unintentionally see the souls and Inner Monologue of two businessmen out to buy her mom's flower shop. Said souls were pretty sinister looking and said their plans to ruin the business and not pay her mom.