Boy Meets Ghoul
"My girlfriend is smart, beautiful, and totally in love with me. The only problem is that she really enjoys the taste of human blood. Should I be at all concerned about this?"The Undead are usually scary, but sometimes they're sexy as well, and sometimes, a guy or a gal falls in love with one. A little bit of stalking-the-night and feasting-off-the-bodies-of-the-living is no impediment to true romance, after all. When Boy Meets Ghoul, or girl meets vampire, or, in general, when a normal person meets an attractive member of the opposite, uh, side of the border between life and death, love can flourish. They say that love conquers all. Maybe it can even conquer undeath? This probably occurs more often with vampires or ghosts than with any other form of undead creature. Romance with actual ghouls is fairly rare, but the pun was too good for us to resist. If the love comes first and the (un)death comes later, that's Resurrected Romance. A subtrope of Interspecies Romance. May be a case of Mayfly-December Romance. See also: Kiss of the Vampire, Lesbian Vampire, Romantic Vampire Boy, Cute Ghost Girl, I Love the Dead. May invoke the Hemo Erotic. Contrast with Robosexual, Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex and Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?.
— Ask That Guy, "Episode 7"
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Anime and Manga
- In Black Butler, the Undertaker has a case of this. While putting a bunch of zombies on ship just to see what happens is bad enough, admitting that you think they're beautiful while holding one in your arms is just plain creepy.
- The Kurosaki children are the offspring of a shinigami and a human. Since shinigami are either born ghosts or become ghosts after dying in the living world, and dwell in the Soul Society as a result, that makes the Kurosaki children the offspring of this trope, which occurred when their shinigami father bonded with their mostly human mother after having to stick around to keep her alive.
- A possibly romantic, or possibly not romantic example between Ichigo and Rukia kickstarts the series. Frowning teenage guy who sees ghosts meets understandably surprised Shinigami who comes in through his window. Hilarity Ensues, along with over 500 chapters.
- Then the Filler did this with Ichigo's little sister and a certain Captain who is not an elementary student.
- Dance in the Vampire Bund:
- Boy meets vampire, boy falls in love with her, boy finds out that he's actually a werewolf.
- Also, boy meets babysitter/older sister stand in, she gets turned into vampire, boy eventually decides he'd rather become a vampire than live without her.
- Boy meets Headless Horsewoman and other boy meets Headless Horsewoman's head.
- Boy meets buxom girl symbiotically joined to a demon sword and controlling a pseudo-zombie horde.
- Dusk Maiden of Amnesia: Boy meets girl. Girl turns out to be amnesiac ghost of a 50 year old corpse in the school basement. Mysteries ensue.
- A typical Franken Fran story usually doesn't start with this as a premise, but that may be how it ends up.note
- Hellsing: Grizzled mercenary man meets vampire girl.
- Karin: a classic girl-meets-boy story where the girl is a cute, shy, vampire (actually, a rare type of what you might call a backwards vampire).
- Is This a Zombie?: Boy meets Necromancer, boy gets murdered by a Serial Killer, boy gets revived by said Necromancer, then boy meets Magical Girl and Vampire Ninjas and accidentally marries one of them. And another one and a Magical Girl with multiple lives who turns out to be the Serial Killer and yet takes a liking to him.
- Living Dead!: Boy meets girl and develops a crush, but can't work up the nerve to tell her. Girl dies, becomes a zombie, and moves into boy's home.
- Maburaho: Being killed doesn't stop Kazuki from having a harem.
- My Lovely Ghost Kana: Boy meets Cute Ghost Girl haunting his new apartment. Boy drowns his sorrows. Boy has long conversation with ghost about life and death. Boy accidentally gropes ghost, somehow. Ghost is surprised, then excited at the implications of a living boy being able to touch her. Boy and ghost make sweet love, then begin a bizarre, surprisingly tender romance in the apartment where the girl brutally killed herself many years ago.
- Gosunkugi from Ranma ½ developed a crush on Kogane while they spent time together during an episode. But at the end, he gets over it and continues to stalk Akane.
- Rinne has a girl meet a half-shinigami and they eventually start seeing each other in romantic lights.
- Rosario + Vampire:
- Boy meets vampire; she turns him into a ghoul, albeit accidentally. For some reason this doesn't threaten the relationship at all, despite creating the extreme likelihood of him turning into a mindless berserker.
- And of course, Boy also meets Succubus, Witch (twice!), and Yuki-Onna. And although Boy makes it clear that he's only interested in meeting Vampire, they make it equally clear they don't care. Later, boy meets a not gay Yasha who would support polyamory.
- Sankarea: Boy obsessed with the undead meets girl, girl falls off cliff and dies, girl becomes zombie, zombie-girl becomes freeloader in boy's house.
- 3×3 Eyes: Boy meets immortal, boy killed by immortal's pet, immortal absorbs his soul to resurrect him as a zombie—ahem—Wu.
- UQ Holder!: Happened in Santa's backstory. Boy meets girl, boy dies, girl turns out to be a necromancer ghost, girl brings boy back as a Revenant Zombie.
- The Voynich Hotel has two separate relationships: Professor and Tenebraum, then Mr. Haraki and Mercelo.
- Wirbelwind: Girl meets ordinary boy (initially), who then turns into undead, but it's all to the better because she's a Dark Elf and now they don't need to Wangst about their lifespans and incompatible alignments and just adventure together. And fuck, of course, because that's an ecchi adventure manga by the famous H-artist Makoto Fujisaki.
- The main plot of Tokyo Pop's original English language manga My Dead Girlfriend.
- Madman has a normal girl in love with a dead guy who looks weird enough in the costume he almost always wears, but beneath that mask is a person who looks very much like a corpse.
- In the Cherry Comics parody of Anne Rice, Cherry and Ellie have sex with a vampire, a mummy and a ghost.
- Novembersmith's RPS fan-novel The Anatomy Of A Fall is based on a boy meets ghost scenario.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball fan art, Gumball/Carrie is a popular pairing.
- Fanfics for Danny Phantom often pair Danny up with a ghost, usually Ember, Desiree, or Kitty.
- Hivefled: Gamzee has exchanged flirtatious comments with Laneen, the ghost of a troll who is probably his half-sister. Trolls lack an incest taboo, which doesn't help much, especially since both of them were sexually abused by the troll who turned out to be their mother (or as close as one can get to one with troll reproduction) and said mother killed Laneen.
- Ghost, Ghost, I Know You Live Within Me: Turian meets human girl. Girl dies, becomes ghost and stay with turian. They fall in love. Girl comes back to life and forgets their time together, somewhat...
- Gosunkugi and that one ghost girl are pretty common in Ranma ½ fanfiction.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Tim Burton must like it a lot - Beetlejuice tries to marry the 16-year-old Lydia in the movie. Avoided in the series based on the movie. Well, the marriage part.
- Byzantium has Ill Boy Frank meet and subsequently fall for vampire Eleanor.
- Casper has a Puppy Love version of girl meets ghost.
- The film Ghost features a romance between a living woman and her dead boyfriend.
- There is the classic 1947 film The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (not so much on the TV show), which does indeed involve a love triangle and the ghost leaving his beloved to the other man ... who A) is already married and B) is a Handsome Lech who has had numerous affairs already. All ends happily, though.
- In I Married a Witch, an ordinary guy falls in love with a nearly 300,000-year-old witch.
- Let the Right One In. Another Puppy Love version, though a very dark one. Boy meets a strange young girl who turns out to be a vampire. Childhood love / violent deaths ensue.
- Innocent Blood. Undercover detective meets... vampire (no points for guessing that).
"I take lives.""Ya well, if you were perfect you wouldn't still be single."
- The Lost Boys. Boy meets (half) vampire and the gang of gothy biker punk vampires who turned her. Hilarity--and carnage ensues.
- My Boyfriend's Back is about a boy who is killed, and just before he dies the girl he's in love with tells him that she'd go on a date with him if he recovered. So he comes back as a zombie in order to get that date.
- Near Dark. Boy meets vampire and her family of psychotic hillbilly bloodsuckers. Carnage ensues.
- Nightbreed by Clive Barker has the main character Boone/Cabal returning from the dead after being shot repeatedly by police and later continuing his romance with his girlfriend.
- Prom Night III: The Last Kiss. The fact that Mary Lou is a ghost doesn't turn Alex off, it's her... antisocial behavior.
- Return of the Living Dead 3 has a romance between a boy and his zombified girlfriend.
- Original Underworld: Boy meets vampire and turns into a werewolf himself.
- Scary Movie 2: Parodied when Shorty encounters a ghoul who's a real Butterface... but he immediately jumps into bed with her by solving the problem with a paper bag.
- Twilight: Girl meets vampire and werewolf and love triangle ensues.
- Bloodsucking Fiends: Boy meets freshly turned vampire on the rebound.
- Let the Right One In: Young boy meets apparently-young vampire, and, as with the movie version, puppy love + carnage ensues.
- The Vampires Beautiful Daughter: Rebecca is a half-vampire, and has to choose between undeath with her father and vampire friends or a human life with her human boyfriend Johnny. The story is told from Johnny's point of view.
- Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes features girl-meets-vampire.
- Somewhat different, as well, in that it is also boy-meets-something. Aubrey's fascination with her arises from his inability to understand what exactly she is, since she appears to have some level of psychic abilities and intimate knowledge of a world she has never personally experienced, as evident through the accuracy of the novel she has had published about Aubrey himself.
- The Peony Lantern: Boy meets ghost. She takes him with her. Although it may have just been an elaborate hoax made up by his servant so he can steal a solid gold talisman from the local temple.
- The Immortal Rules has as its protagonist a newly turned vampire struggling with her new life in a post-apocalyptic world. This trope comes to the fore when she meets and eventually falls in love with the adopted son of a priest leading a small group of survivors to find a legendary city. Unfortunately both the priest and his son believe that vampires are unholy demons that must be destroyed without hesitation, so it makes the reveal a little awkward to say the least. though by the end, he has at least accepted her vampirism once he knows the story behind it.
- The Gravesavers by Canadian author Sheree Fitch had a girl met a boy, who turned out to be a ghost from the wreck of the RMS Atlantic.
- Warm Bodies: Zombie eats boy, gains his memories, falls for his girlfriend. Then it gets weird.
- Anna Dressed in Blood: A ghost-hunting teenage boy travels to a new town to dispatch a particularly troublesome ghost. They fall in love instead.
- Ancient Chinese literature quite often features stories of men falling in love with fox-spirits or ghosts (or, in one case, living quite happily in a three-way marriage with a fox spirit and a ghost). At least one story features a man having sex with the spirit of a butterfly (although she was in human form at the time).
- Chroniclesofa Reluctant Necromancer: Protagonist necromancer raises dead girl back to life, who happens to be an assassin too, girl tries to seduce necromancer but eventually falls in love with him.
- Fafhrdandthe Gray Mouser: Fafhrd's ghoulfriend Kreeshka. Minor twist in that Leiber's ghouls are a race, not undead humans. Still, they look like skeletons with organs over them and they eat human flesh. Plus, they're "ghouls."
- Zombie Lover in the Xanth series has the titular zombie in love with a living man.
- C. J. Cherryh's Rusalka in which Pyetr, one of the two main characters, falls in love with Eveshka, a Rusalka and the title character. A rusalka is the ghost of a drowned woman that devours human life to remain in the world. And its mutual. She is brought back from the dead at the end of the book though and in the third book in the trilogy his daughter Ilyanna, her mother's Eveshka, is caught in a love triangle between a ghost she grew up knowing he also happens to be the man who murdered her mother, having been redeemed during the second book, and a boy she rescues from drowning. In the end she gets both of them due to Kavi, (the ghost) possessing the boy to save his life, and then due to complicated magical circumstances becoming unable to leave him. They manage well enough and are both so smitten with her that everyone comes out happy in the end. It's the strangest resolution to a love triangle that I've ever seen.
- In Labyrinths of Echo, The Ace of the series once mentioned that for most people the touch of a ghost is very unpleasant, but he must disagree and offhandedly added "if I'll ever want to vary my life with a dalliance, living lasses have no chance". That's from a wizard who once enchanted a deck of cards so that ghosts can handle it without problems and non-enspelled humans can't touch it. Just to see if he can turn into a "ghost" a thing that never lived to begin with.
- Inverted in the Incarnations of Immortality novel Bearing an Hourglass Orlene, a beautiful and intelligent woman is technically married to a ghost named Gawain. But, the ghost needs to carry on his family line. So, the ghost tries constantly to set her up with suitors, to produce the heir he needs so he can pass on. However, she has never seen and cannot see Gawain.
- This happens with the main character and a ghost named Jesse in The Mediator series.
- In Maggie Furey's Aurian books, Aurian's lover dies, but spends the rest of the series jumping in and out of death trying to protect and help her, despite the fact that she's found a new love by then. Death is understandably not very happy about this, and tries to claim all three of them.
- Cabal by Clive Barker, the book that the film Nightbreed was based on. The book features a graphic scene between the corpse of the protagonist Boone/Cabal and his girlfriend.
- The short story "Tomorrows Ghost" by R. Chetwynd-Hayes is based around a romance between a Regency-era woman and a modern-day (1980s) man, each of whom believes the other to be a ghost. It turns out that in a time paradox, back in the woman's own day, she killed herself because she could not be with the man from the future and was being forced into a marriage with someone else - thus is a ghost in the present.
- An attempt at this kicks off the plot of The Ghost Bride by Malaysian author Yangsze Choo. A recently dead young man wants to marry the protagonist, so he haunts his mother into proposing a ghost bride deal. (This is an actual tradition that was once observed, though not often. The basic idea was that marriage would put a troublesome ghost to rest.) The protagonist, however, is vehemently opposed to marrying him, both because he's dead and because he's kind of a Jerk Ass, so while he tries to court her and sets up an engagement dinner, they don't actually get married.
- The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Alice Kimberly features this on the side. Penelope owns a bookshop haunted by Jack, a 1940's detective, who was killed on the premises way back when. Together, they solve murders and have... something going on between them.
Live Action TV
- Bewitched focused on a man who was not only married to a witch, but attracted many supernatural women (including a nymph, a Vain Sorceress, and a demon Cat Girl)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The ABC/BBC co-production Dead Gorgeous plays with this by having "Living Ghost" Rebecca fall for living boy David. However, he seems to not be particularly interested.
- The vampire detective show Moonlight features the romance between the main character and his human love interest.
- In Vampire Diaries, Stefan and Damon both meet Katherine. A few hundred years later, Stefan meets Elena. Then, Jeremy and Vicki, after she becomes a vampire. And then Jeremy meets Anna, though initially she was just using him.
- The Masters of Horror episode "Jenifer" is a quite brutal deconstruction. Boy warms to Ghoul first out of pity, then becomes sexually obsessed with it. Ghoul pretends to love Boy to provide for it while Ghoul keeps murdering people.
- Philip from In The Flesh has managed to become enamored with a zombie, despite he himself harbouring anti-zombie views. It's gotten so bad he visits a zombie brothel and has one of the women dress up as her and spend the night watching Chick Flicks with her.
- Being Human (UK) (original series):
- Mitchell is a vampire, while Annie is actually a ghost.
- The third season gives us Pearl and Leo, who confess their love for one another just in time for Leo to die. He and Pearl go into the afterlife together, not long after.
- American Horror Story: Murder House: Tate is a ghost and Violet is alive...until she commits suicide and ends up a ghost as well.
- "Date With A Vampire" by the Screaming Tribesmen.
- "Little Ghost" by The White Stripes.
- "I Walked with a Zombie" by Wednesday 13 and "She was the Teenage Zombie" by Murder Dolls. A lot of their other stuff qualifies, too.
- "A Boy, A Girl, And a Graveyard" by Jeremy Messersmith, though the ghost in this case is male.
- "The Zombie Song" by Stephanie Mabey. "I'd never eat your brain, I just want your heart."
- "A Romance with the Grave" by The Vision Bleak. Literal example. 'Ruthless lust without disgust, dirt and dust, a romance with the grave'
- Alice Cooper loves this trope. "Cold Ethyl" is a more "subtle" example, while "I Love the Dead" drops any pretense.
- Alex Day also uses this in his song "She Walks Right Through Me".
- Escape Club had a song called "I'll Be There" about a ghost who was haunting the one he loved.
''Don't be afraid, oh my loveI'll be watching you from aboveAnd I'd give all the world tonight,to be with youBecause I'm on your side,And I still careI may have died,but I've gone nowhereJust think of me,And I'll be there.''
- The song "Mi novio es un zombi" ("My boyfriend is a zombie") by Alaska y Dinarama.
- Emilie Autumn's "Ghost" is about a woman who is in a courtly romance with a ghost, and ponders the full effects and consequences of their relationship.
- Ghost by Mystery Skulls has an animated video which features a ghost called Lewis who apparently likes the blue-haired Vivi. Lewis was her boyfriend before he died. They try to reconcile but Arthur, who Lewis has been threatening for the whole video, misunderstands and drags Vivi away before they get the chance.
- Ghosts in Feng Shui are based on the seductive ghosts of Hong Kong cinema. They're quite prone to falling in love with mortals.
- A possibility for characters in Promethean: The Created, especially Galateids. On some occasions, it might help with a Promethean's Pilgrimage, but more than likely it will end very badly, thanks to their Disquiet.
- Dungeons & Dragons (3.5 edition) has a third-party book (The Book Of Erotic Fantasy) about including sex in your games that has a few different mentions about sex with the undead, and even includes a magic item for those who aspire to be undead to preserve their bodies, so as to not be so... unappealing.
- Another 3.5 book, Libris Mortis, presents a goddess named Evening Glory, who represents eternal love so strong that even having died and turned undead is to be only a minor inconvenience at most.
- Neverwinter Nights has Boy meets Ghost Paladin. Somehow, none of the issues that would create ever come up in the game, though it is implied that she gets a new body after you return to the world of the living.
- A possibility in one of the endings of Mana Khemia, in which Vayne walks the earth with Pamela as a travelling doctor.
- One minor sidequest in Skyrim has you searching for the journals of the necromancer Arondil. As you search the barrow he is currently squatting in, it's impossible to ignore the fact that it's populated entirely by female Draugr and ghosts. As you read his journals, it becomes clear that Arondil's interest in the female undead wasn't entirely scholarly. Apparently he finds the feel of ghostly ectoplasm arousing. Eventually you get to the end of the dungeon and find a double bed... with a female ghost "sleeping" in it.
- Probably the only reason the Konpaku family in Touhou can consist of half-human-half-ghosts.
- I Saw Her Standing There has this as its premise. You have to lure a zombie girl to a cage in each level, with each "act" introducing a new gameplay twist. All the while, there is narrative text describing the love between the main characters. At the end of the game, she zombifies him, and the two sequels follow the lovebirds in this condition until they find a safe haven to live out the rest of their lives. Or unlives.
- Taiga in Duel Savior Destiny is initially thrilled to receive the confession of love from the cute Nanashi, but this turns sour when her arm falls off and she invites him back into her crypt. Despite the bad beginning, they actually get along decently well. She also has a route, where it seems that half the reason Taiga isn't willing to sleep with her like he would anyone else isn't just because she's cold and dead, but rather because she lacks much in the way of a sense of touch and wouldn't enjoy it. But hey, that can be fixed. And it turns out she's not a zombie, she's a homunculus.
- Infamously occurs in Fahrenheit, with a dose of Strangled by the Red String, between Carla and Lucas, despite there being zero leadup whatsoever to this.
- Happens with Mia/Godot (and to a lesser extent other dead/alive pairings) in Ace Attorney. The justification is that spirit mediums like Maya and Pearl can channel the souls of the dead, to the point of taking on their physical forms. And then just about anything could happen.
- An odd one appears in the internet Flash Game Guardian Rock in which the titular rock is said to hook up with a hot spirit rock chick and they live together with numerous flower filled baths and occasional quarreling for the rest of their eternal lives.
- In The Sims 3, ghosts can be interacted with, invited to live with a family, and, yes, can produce ghost children with living Sims.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: The Joy/The Sorrow. Canonically lovers. Eventually Together in Death.
- In City of Heroes some of the later content established that Positron was in a relationship with Numina, a hero who's body had been destroyed in the 60's but had survived as a ghost.
- Ghost Widow and Wretch fall somewhere between this and Like Brother and Sister.
- Hatoful Boyfriend:
- Pursuing Nageki Fujishiro ends with Nageki recovering from his Ghost Amnesia and departing for the afterlife, with a heartrending apology to the heroine.
- In the "Bad Boys Love" route of the full version, the heroine is killed and her brain transplanted into a robot; the route ends with Ryouta choosing to remain with her until she can be restored.
- In the aptly-titled Visual Novel Romance Is Dead, lucky Madeline gets not just one undead love interest but three: a zombie who's magically compelled to stay close to her, a very French vampire, and a friendly ghost.
- Tsukihime features boy meets vampire princess among its many flavors of Interspecies Romance.
- The webcomic Ghost Friend was based on having a living and undead character in a relationship.
- xkcd has this little comic, where the boy's love interest seems to be a bit deader than most.
- In The Repository of Dangerous Things Davis meets Wanderin' Laurie, the Pirate Girl Ghost.
Davis: (thinks) She was hot. But dead. But hot.
- Undead Friend: One of the more bizarre example, as the only reason for meeting said boy is for an Inevitable Tournament, and they can switch places at the cost of his life for Superpowers.
- Homestuck: Kanaya became a lot more popular with the girls after she came back as a Rainbow Drinker.
- Sluggy Freelance: Torg doesn't initially know that Valerie is a vampire, and even after finding out, he initially thinks that un-living with her forever wouldn't be that bad. But by the best guess, it isn't real love in either direction, and in any case he chooses to destroy her rather than turn against his friends.
- Unlife Is Unfair is about the other way around, a nice zombie (nando) meets a girl and falls in love of her. She only wants to be his friend though. Later on she discovers feelings for him, which can be kind of harring.
- Tsukiko of The Order of the Stick is a weird mixture of this and I Love the Dead. As a necromancer with necrophilia who believes the undead are sweet, gentle beings because they are the opposite of the living and the living are bastards, she is shown to have romantic designs for Xykon. Xykon (a lich who is perfectly willing to commit genocide under the right conditions) finds Tsukiko's affection absolutely disgusting... because he isn't attracted to the living.
"I'm not one of those perverted biophiliacs!"
- In Rusty and Co., the Princess's knight and lover is a wight.
- In Negamaki Chief Buffalo Jerky's friend Maize spends a lot of time dwelling on this. Despite both of them being dead, she's interested in pairing the Chief off with Negamaki and asks Tamago to call her if he survives being attacked by the hell-moose.
- Too Much Information. Ace (who is also The Ace) has a lot of girls gunning for him, but the first one who actually gets with him is noncorporeal. The details of how, exactly, it works, is left mostly to imagination, with only the comment of "It's... messy."
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Mort (a ghost) has a barely-concealed crush on Antimony (still alive). She does not reciprocate.
- Kev of Alice And Kev encounters a woman who doesn't seem to mind that he's a deranged, lecherous old hobo, and even responds favourably to his flirting. She vanishes when the sun comes up.
- Beetlejuice avoids actual romance between a dead guy and a 12-year-old, the level to which he is obsessed with her shows exactly what Tim Burton had in mind for the two of them during the movie. In one early episode, we see Beetlejuice has a huge shrine devoted to Lydia in his head. In another he gets split in two and starts fighting himself to impress her - he stops when he realises he's upsetting her. In another he gives Prince Vince excellent advice on how to court her, and then becomes incredibly jealous when it works very well.
- Danny Phantom: Played with, since Danny is (obviously) the ghoul (but only half-ghost. He's living and undead at the same time) and Sam(antha) is the Boy. Or rather... girl. In this case, though, Sam and Danny were friends long before he became half-ghost.
- In the "Proposition Infinity" episode of Futurama one of the couples used to demonstrate how accepting 31st century society is are a ghost and a horse.
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has Pinky, a ghost who has a major crush on Pac-Man.
- The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Mirror" is about a being called the Snatcher, who is said to once have been a mortal who fell in love with a ghost woman, used magic so that he could hold her, and was turned into a monster as a side-effect. He turns out to be Carrie's dad.