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[[quoteright:241:[[VideoGame/KirbySuperStar http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/d997b453e815db3b0ac32424ec04605c.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:241:Sometimes, [[YouAreWhoYouEat you really]] ''[[YouAreWhoYouEat are]]'' [[LiteralMetaphor what you eat.]]]]

->''"If you kill anyone, make sure to eat their heart, to gain their courage! Their rich,'' tasty ''courage..."''
-->-- '''Professor Farnsworth''', ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''

The Cannibalism Superpower is the ability of a person, mutant, monster, demon, alien, EldritchAbomination, etc. to [[TheAssimilator absorb super powers from other characters]] by eating them. Sometimes this also allows the user to take [[GeneticMemory the character's memories]] or [[YouAreWhoYouEat physical appearance]] too. Obviously, this is a power more suited to super villains, since eating people implies killing them. Please note, however, that [[Administrivia/TropesAreFlexible this trope is not limited to villains]] (though, admittedly, that would make for a pretty strange hero).

This is what happens when BrainFood mutates into something squickier. It's a mixture of AllYourPowersCombined with ImAHumanitarian (Of course, the victim doesn't have to be of the same species). Thinking of it another way, it's a more macabre version of PowerCopying.

See also CapturedByCannibals and {{Wendigo}}.
!! Examples


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/SoulEater'', this seems to be the only way to acquire abilities you weren't born with.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ''
** Cell gains power by absorbing people, so he has a habit of depopulating entire towns. More importantly, he gains a massive upgrade, both in terms of power and physical appearance, by absorbing each of Dr. Gero's androids.
** Majin Buu gains abilities, and character traits, from every being he absorbs. This became a plot point when it was revealed that he had previously absorbed the Grand Supreme Kai and gained his innocent nature. That was the only thing keeping Buu from going completely berserk.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''
** The 9th Espada has a power to assimilate devoured foes. [[spoiler:This allows him to assimilate another Hollow, which could itself assimilate shinigami. Unfortunately, this was the very Hollow which possessed Rukia's mentor, and gave him access to his memories and allowed him to seriously MindScrew her.]] Other Hollows also get stronger by devouring other souls, but Aaroniero is the only one who also gains their [[PowerCopying special abilities]].
** Liltotto Lamperd of the Vandenreich is revealed to have this power as a secondary effect of her power [[VillainousGlutton The Glutton]] [[AllThereInTheManual in the Bleach novels]]. Specifically, if what she eats possesses a special ability, she can use that ability once her meal digests. This power works on fellow Sternritter [[spoiler:like Pepe's [[MindManipulation The Love]] after she eats him in vengeance]] and even Hollows [[spoiler:like Loly's [[PoisonousPerson Resurreccion]] after she eats parts of it]], which would normally be toxic to a Quincy.
* In ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', the soul of someone consumed by a vampire becomes that vampire's familiar. The vampire has access to their abilities and can summon the familiar at will. [[spoiler:When Alucard's final PowerLimiter is released, it's revealed he has done this to MILLIONS of humans, vampires and other creatures alike]].
* Episode 19 of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has a [[spoiler:berserker Unit-01 eat the corpse of [[EldritchAbomination Zeruel]], in the process gaining its S2 Engine, theoretically allowing it to generate infinite amounts of energy from nothing]].
* ''Manga/InuYasha''
** Both Naraku and Moryomaru have devoured demons in order to become stronger.
** Inuyasha's sword, Tessaiga, is also capable of absorbing the aura of a powerful demon by devouring its blood [[spoiler: as explained when Inuyasha would obtain the barrier shattering form of the sword.]]
* In ''Anime/BloodPlus'', the chiropteran queens and chevaliers can take on the appearances of people whose blood they've drank.
* Taken to more literal extremes in ''Anime/{{Betterman}}'', where the seeds Betterman devours to take on his monstrous superpowered forms are grown out of dead bodies.
* Touched upon lightly in ''LightNovel/SpiceAndWolf''. To trigger her transformation from CuteMonsterGirl to CanisMajor, Holo has to either eat fresh wheat grains or human blood. She prefers the wheat option but if she has to use the blood the amount needed is nowhere near lethal.
* ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'' has [[spoiler: Clone Syaoran eating Fai's eye to gain the latter's magical powers.]]
* ''Manga/{{Guyver}}'': Aptom of the [[FlawedPrototype Lost Numbers]] makes his first appearance as a humble [[VoluntaryShapeshifter Voluntary any-Shape shifter]], who takes on the Guyver alongside his TrueCompanions. After the Guyver kills [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes his two best friends]], he's taken back to the lab and experimented on until he gains the power to physically merge with and [[AppendageAssimilation assimilate]] other Zoanoids.
* The only way immortals of ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'' can die is by absorbing one another by placing the right hand on the subject's head, which also transfers their memories and knowledge. Although the victim is not ingested, the process is referred to in-series as "eating" or "devouring", and some fans have used the term "alchemical cannibalism" to describe it. One [[BigBad alchemist]] developed a weaker elixir that would make people just immortal enough to be vulnerable to his "[[TheAssimilator cannibalism]]", but unable to eat anyone themselves.
* The aptly named Gourmet in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' has this as his power, although it eventually backfires when he eats an immortal who pulls FromASingleCell and takes over his body.
* ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'' has Mockingbird, who copies other people's abilities by consuming some of their blood. [[spoiler: Preferably. It doesn't have to be blood, but even he finds living up to this trope a little icky. Not that it stops him.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Tokko}}'' the Phantom hunting siblings Itto and Mayu can gain the powers of phantoms by eating them after they kill them.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', [[spoiler:Pride]] can absorb abilities/knowledge from those he "eats." He demonstrates this first with [[spoiler:his "brother" [[DeathByIrony Gluttony]]]] and later uses it with [[spoiler: Kimblee and the gold-toothed doctor]]. However this is a double sided blade as he also gains their negative attributes like [[spoiler: Gluttony's bottomless hunger and Kimblee's individual personality.]]
* They're not eaten in the conventional sense of the word, but most Digimon in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' get stronger by "absorbing the data" of other Digimon they kill. (Digimon with human partners are unique in that they can grow in power ''without'' doing this.)
* In ''Manga/{{Ratman}}'', Unchained became stronger by eating various animals and absorbing their strength and instincts. He also wanted to eat Ratman for this very reason. This backfires spectacularly: [[spoiler:Unchained is unable to consume Ratman's S-genes and only succeeds in awakening Ratman's berserker side. The berserk Ratman is so horrifying that the "Fight or Flight" instincts of the animals Unchained ate within him switch to "Flight" mode and he is paralyzed with fear.]]
* Kurama from ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'' tries to usurp the newly turned Land God Nanami's power by eating her heart. Emphasis on ''tries to'' since Nanami's bodyguard and familiar, Tomoe, puts a stop to that idea ''real'' quick.
* The Chimera Ants in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' are an entire species of this, though their process is a bit slower and a lot more complicated in that only the Queen has this power, technically, but passes any physical traits and abilities of those she's eaten to her offspring, seemingly at random. The Chimera Ants become a terrible threat, however, as one group managed to capture humans for their Queen, gained their intelligence, and use it to assimilate nearly every living thing around them. [[spoiler:It takes a nuclear explosion to kill the King, their top combatant--and not from the force of the explosion itself, but from irradiation from the fallout.]]
** The King possessed the even more broken ability to increase his own Nen by devouring Nen users. It's for this reason that Nen users are the only food he likes.
* In ''Manga/AnimalLand'', [[AnimalisticAbomination Chimeras]] gain animal attributes and become stronger via this.
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Fraulein Kreutune, who has an AdaptiveAbility, eventually gains the ability to acquire the powers and memories of who she eats. Despite suffering from HorrorHunger, she's a good guy and desperately tries to avoid eating people. Fortunately, Touma cures her hunger.
* In ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'', some Ghouls are noted to engage in cannibalism because of legends that it increases their power. These rare Ghouls are mutated through their serial cannibalism, developing into a [[InstantArmor Kakuja]] and often going insane in the process. The infamous One-Eyed Owl and Yamori are both serial cannibals that achieved this power, while [[spoiler: Yoshimura and Arata]] both managed to harness their power for less horrific purposes. Unfortunatrly, [[spoiler: Kaneki]] begins engaging in cannibalism in hopes of gaining power and discovers firsthand the horrifying toll the Kakuja takes on a Ghoul's mind.
* In ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', this is speculated to have something to do with why Titans devour humans. [[spoiler: Cannibalism is the preferred method to transfer the power of the Nine Titans from one host to another. When a Titan consumes the current vessel, their powers and memories are inherited to create a new vessel. This normally involves a ritual where the current vessel is ChainedToARock and their successor eats them as a mindless Titan]].
* In ''LightNovel/ReMonster'', Goburou gains permanent access to the abilities he obtains after consuming the bodies of other living things or objects, and can even make them stronger over time by eating multiples of the same thing.
* The apes in ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'' believe that if they eat Ashitaka's corpse they will steal his strength. San wouldn't let them though.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [[spoiler: Charlotte Linlin, AKA "Big Mom" of the Four Emperors, gained the power of her Soul Soul Fruit after her caretaker, Mother Caramel, "disappeared" on Linlin's sixth birthday. What makes it this trope is that Mother Caramel was earlier shown to already have that power and it's heavily implied that Caramel was eaten by Linlin.]] This implies that a Devil Fruit's power can be gained by eating someone who has already eaten that particular Devil Fruit.
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'' has a different example, where [[KnightTemplar Stain]] the HeroKiller can temporarily paralyze someone by drinking some of their blood.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* In ''ComicBook/MarvelZombies'', some of the super-zombies eat Galactus - [[OhCrap and gain the Power Cosmic and the ability to travel to other planets in order to eat their inhabitants.]] By the time they hit the Skrull Homeworld they learn how to absorb entire planets in ''Comicbook/BlackPanther''.
* Everyman, initially from the ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' series at Creator/DCComics, can assume the shape of any being he's consumed a sample of. Since ComicBook/LexLuthor was the one approving the power he got, giving "eats people" to a guy named [[SilenceOfTheLambs Hannibal]] was probably deliberate.
* This is the entire premise of the Creator/ImageComics title ''ComicBook/{{Chew}}'': the main character is a police officer who gets psychic impressions from everything he tastes. ''Everything.'' His boss thinks it's hilarious sending him to lick blood off a crime scene floor, nibble on a corpse, or even take a bite of some "whatsit" left in a bank vault.
** While main character, being a normal guy, usually eats only a litle bit of a person to get his memories (although he did get skills of several baseball players, after [[spoiler: certain lunatic force fed him their corpses]]), Vampire, that has similar abilities, [[TheAssimilator actively hunts down and eats people to get their superpowers]].
* In the ''[[ComicBook/ConanTheBarbarian Savage Sword of Conan]]'' comics, Conan encountered a CannibalTribe who believe they can become invincible for a short time by "eating the moon", which they accomplish by devouring the flesh of a HumanSacrifice bathed in moonlight. They're absolutely correct, though their invulnerability may be powered by [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve belief]]. Conan releases a cloud of smoke from a special pellet, which completely obscures the night sky and the full moon, and makes the cannibals believe he has "slain" the moon with magic. The doubt he instills removes their invulnerability, and Conan and his comrades are able to fight their way free.
* The Saurians in ''[[Creator/CrossGen Sigil]]'' (and the one who appears in ''Negation'') take on beneficial attributes of whatever creatures they eat, including physical and mental traits and information. Having long ago become the apex predators of their homeworlds, this power was forgotten and rediscovered when they went to war with humans and decided not to waste the corpses of their fallen foes.
* In one ''ComicBook/AlienVsPredator'' mini-series, the BigBad of the piece has survived for centuries by consuming dead Predators. He also makes mention of an ancient warlord who, apparently, lived for two-hundred years by consuming a Predator's heart.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' {{fanfic}} ''FanFic/AGrowingAffection'' has a Blood Drinker demon. He claims to be the source of the legends of vampires. He can suck a person's blood and store it in his body, gaining a measure of the person's chakra and the ability to use their jutsu and Kekkei Genkai.
* In the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'', this turns out to be the reason Discord is so powerful -- he ate [[spoiler: his brother Destruction and their [[EldritchAbomination Father Havoc]]'s Avatar]], absorbing their power into himself.
* In the WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fanfiction ''Fanfic/{{Jericho}}'', [[FirstPersonSmartass Jeri]][[SociopathicHero cho]] states that demons can gain the ability to speak your language by ripping out your tongue while you're alive and eating it then and there. When Jericho and his [[TrueCompanions two companions]] meet and confront the Devil's Backbone, said demon notes having eaten tongues to gain his understand of Equestrian. We then get to see a live demonstration when the Devil's Backbone summons forth [[OneLetterName C]], a skinwalker—which is basically a horrifying monster who is entirely composed of BodyHorror. [[spoiler:C rips the Backbone's tongue out of his mouth, eats it, states, "I have great hunger", and proceeds to rip and tear apart and wholly eat the still-screaming Devil's Backbone.]]
** When C appears later, his speech mannerisms have changed. When asked why this was, C casually explains that this was because he ate the tongues of several Equestrians, thus gaining a far better command and grasp of the language.
** At some point, Jericho notes that he and the ponies of his country actually eat the flesh of sentient demons for symbolic reasons of power and dominance... and [[PlayedForLaughs because sentient demon's flesh is high in nutrients]].

* ''Film/JeepersCreepers'' has The Creeper, who has eaten so many hearts that he has become NighInvulnerable.
* [[Film/RedDragon Hannibal Lecter]] invokes this to Will; "Such a brave boy. I think I'll eat your heart...".
* ''[[Film/PuppetMaster The Puppet Master II]]'' used this in one instance as humor the guy somehow got the voice of a boar ... not sure about the rest of the franchise.
* The entire point of ''Film/{{Ravenous}}''. Cannibalism can heal you from otherwise fatal wounds and makes you become stronger. The downside is that it's extremely addictive.
* In ''Film/{{District 9}}'', there is a gang leader who eats the dead bodies of prawns to gain their powers. It doesn't show any sign of ''working'', though not for lack of trying.
* In ''Film/{{Godzilla 2000}}'', Orga attempts this on Godzilla, when he bites the Big G himself, absorbs some of his powers, before he tries to swallow Godzilla whole. [[TooDumbToLive It doesn't end well for him]].
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' features the Cy-Bugs, giant mechanical insects from the shooter game [[OriginalGeneration Hero's Duty]] that 'become what they eat'. This is demonstrated by one eating Ralph's gun and gaining arm-cannons as a result. [[spoiler:This later backfires on the Cy-Bugs when they invade the game Sugar Rush and start devouring the candy environment. It makes their incredibly powerful metal exoskeleton turn into a far more brittle candy armor, allowing [[SuperStrength Ralph]] to finally go toe to toe with them. BigBad King Candy/Turbo accidentally gets eaten by a Cy-Bug too, but interestingly he seems to assimilate the Cy-Bug instead of the other way around, going OneWingedAngel. It's not clear whether this is because he's become virus-like nature or he really did die and the Cy-Bug simply assimilated his memories and personality.]]
* In ''Film/SplitSecond'', cop Dick Durkin theorizes that the killer is a demon sent from Hell who eats the hearts of his victims to gain their strength, DNA, [[YourSoulIsMine and their souls]].
* In ''Film/HanselAndGretel2013'', [[spoiler:Lillith]] claims to gain her youth from consuming children. In the sequel, ''Film/HanselVsGretel'', [[spoiler:Gretel]] gains the powers of the witches by eating them.
* In ''Film/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'', the fat guy from an AlternateUniverse explains that, whenever someone in their reality has some great insight, he is fed to Korrok, their enormous BioPunk thinking machine. Just then, another fat guy falls from a pipe and is eaten. Korrok then says "Mmm, bacon." Great insight indeed. The fat guy then explains that he plans to feed David and John to Korrok, so that Korrok may learn all about their world.

* In ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoNewAdventuresHumanNature Human Nature]]'', one of the members of the Family is a [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shape-shifter]] who can imitate any animal he's eaten part of, including humans. If he does it while they're alive, he can also gain their memories.
* The Creator/HPLovecraft story ''The Picture in the House'':
--> ''"They say meat makes blood an' flesh, an' gives ye new life, so I wondered ef 'twudn't make a man live longer an' longer ef 'twas more the same - "''
* The ''Literature/WildCards'' novel ''Down and Dirty'' brings us Deadhead, an insane Ace who can access the memories of the dead by eating their flesh. The memories are vague unless he actually eats their brain, but they're strong enough that he no longer eats animal meat.
* Ghouls in ''The Throne Of Bones'' have this ability, and consider it hilarious when one of their own number gets temporarily overwhelmed by absorbed memories, thinks it's human, and freaks out to find itself in a graveyard full of monsters.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}},'' [[BigBad Visser Three's]] twin and rival, Esplin 9466-secondary, manages to survive without Kandrona rays by finding Controllers, killing their hosts and eating the Yeerks out of their brain. Even knowing his brother, the Animorphs were horrified.
* In Joe Abercrombie's ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'' trilogy. the Eaters gained magical power (such as shape-shifting) by eating human flesh, and breaking the Second Law.
* In ''Literature/TheRunelords'' series, the Reavers gain the attributes of whatever they eat. They can even gain knowledge by eating brains, allowing them to hand down racial memories by eating their dead. If a human eats a Reaver brain, they will also gain this knowledge.
* In the Literature/{{Gor}} series a standard practice for sleen or larl hunters is to eat the heart while it's still warm from its blood, for good luck. An additional thing with a sleen is to drink a cupped-handful of its blood, then take another handful and look in it to see a reflection of how you will die - of old age, in battle, or wasted away by disease.
* ''Literature/LabyrinthsOfEcho'' has a superstition among the wizards of Uguland that eating someone more powerful improves magical power, and drinking blood lends a portion temporary, but this isn't really proven -- especially as even when one manages to win a fight with a more powerful mage, there's usually no nearby buildings left, let alone body in any shape to eat. One MadArtist got [[DoomsdayDevice less than useful]] sort of power by eating hearts of humans with one unusual magical trait, but he had to develop at least two magical rituals to make it happen. What ''works'' is drinking someone's [[BloodMagic blood]] to confuse magic of searching or [[TheForceIsStrongWithThisOne appraising power]] for a few hours, though very experienced opponents may still see through it.
* [[spoiler: D'vouran]] and later [[spoiler: Eppon]] in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', respectively from ''EatenAlive'' and ''Army of Terror'', were both made stronger by each person they ate. [[spoiler: Eppon]] actually grew [[PlotRelevantAgeUp older looking]] [[spoiler: and then turned into a large monster]]. Later, in ''The Hunger'', it's mentioned with [[spoiler: the Children]], who say that eating flesh brings strength - but as Zak notices, they're so malnourished that any protein is a boon.
* The BigBad in ''Literature/ReservedForTheCat'' is a shapeshifting troll that can and has eaten many people, which then allows her to take on the form of the person and access their knowledge. She can also take on the forms of animals, though it isn't stated if she had to eat them as well.
* Zombies in ''Literature/WarmBodies'' eat their victims brains to relive their memories.
* ''Literature/ProfessorMmaasLecture'': In the termite civilization, eating other termites' "associative substance" (brain) is the common way of transferring memories and knowledge. Of course, it's done after the donor's natural death.
* In Madeline Ashby's ''vN'' Portia's clade can download software from other {{Von Neumann Machine}}s that they eat parts of. Amy gets her grandmother's entire consciousness in her head after eating her, and after accidentally biting off Javier's thumb she gains his LeParkour and photosynthesis abilities.
* In ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'', some witches can absorb part of another human's essence by eating the brain. Additionally, in ''The Queen of the Damned'', this is how Mekare becomes the new vampire queen after killing Akasha. This is justified in-story, since the heart and the brain are where the evil spirit Amel is concentrated.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' had people who ate other people sometimes because they it expanded their life through some supernatural or other agency. There was a weakness in it. Their founder always warned them against 'turning on each other', which eventually happened. [[spoiler: One of them developed kuru.]]
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', where Sylar acquires other people's superpowers by slicing their head open and ''studying'' their brain. When asked if he eats the brains, he says "that's disgusting". The reason this trope being averted is noteworthy comes from the longstanding fandom joke/{{Fanon}} that he ''did'' gain people's superpowers by eating their brains, which was eventually {{Jossed}} because the writers (who had considered it) thought it was too silly.
* This was the premise of the ''Series/FearItself'' episode "Eater".
* ''Series/IZombie'': Liv finds that eating brains keeps her from going "full-on zombie" (ie, mindless and violent) and gives her flashes of the dead person's memories as well as aspects of their personality. In the pilot, she gains the ability to speak Romanian and becomes a klepto after eating the brain of a kleptomaniac Romanian call girl. In the second episode, she eats the brains of a famous painter and gains his talent for painting as well as his passion for life in general. Usually, the abilities and quirks fade after about a day. They also fade to be replaced by new ones after eating another person's brain. The abilities can be of a darker nature, such as when Liv unknowingly eats the brain of a sociopathic hitman. She immediately starts acting like an emotionless person full of random factual information and one of her first instincts upon finding a friend who has permanently gone full-on zombie [[spoiler:is to kill her]]. In a later episode, she gains HollywoodHacking and MMORPG skills, as well as intense agoraphobia and love for donuts, from an internet troll.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The Kroot, a race of a [[HumanoidAliens avian humanoids]] used as auxiliaries by the [[TheAlliance Tau Empire]], have the innate ability to absorb the DNA of any creature they eat. For example, Kroot who feed upon [[TheFairFolk Dark Eldar]] [[SpacePirates pirates]] become lean, agile and malicious, while those who prey upon [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orks]] quickly develop green skin, heavy jaws and big muscles - in fact, the Kroot only developed space flight after absorbing the GeneticMemory of some Ork Mekboyz who attacked their homeworld of Pech. In a {{Deconstruction}} of this trope, Kroot who eat too much of a certain food [[BlessedWithSuck get stuck in an evolutionary dead-end]], and every evolutionary niche on Pech is filled by some Kroot-form, such as Kroot Hounds or lumbering Krootox. The Shapers who lead the various Kroot Kindreds have also learned not to let their people feed upon [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong Genestealers]]' victims or anything tainted by [[TheCorruption Chaos]].
** The [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Tyranids]] make extensive use of this as part of their EvilEvolves theme. The Hive Fleets are constantly analyzing the DNA of species they consume and incorporating useful bits into the next generation of Tyranids, and you can see this in certain units: the stooped, knuckle-walking Biovores have a certain resemblance to Orks, and the frail but psychically-powerful Zoanthropes are certainly based on [[WitchSpecies Eldar]] DNA. Now some Imperial sages have suggested that [[PraetorianGuard Tyrant Guard]], with their thick armor plating, must be based upon Space Marine DNA, but this is of course heresy.
** Speaking of Space Marines, it's often overlooked, but among their BioAugmentation is the [[http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Gene-seed#Omophagea Omophagea]] implant, which allows them to learn memories from a foe they've eaten. This undoubtedly contributes to rumors that certain chapters practice cannibalism, which may or many not be accurate depending on how savage a background said chapter comes from.
* ''Tabletopgame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** An aboleth retains memories of every eaten victim--as well as those of its mother, meaning that they remember the entire history of their species. Some shapeshifters. Mongrelmen may have their ''offspring'' growing some body parts of the devoured creature, like an odd horn or antenna.
** The earliest D&D example is the brain collector, an Expert D&D monster which acquired spellcasting powers by consuming the brains of spellcasters. The Hivebrood hivemind, another CD&D monster, could do the same thing for any class ability, and also share these acquired powers with other members of its Hive.
** Intellect devourers, small brain-sized creatures (with legs) can eat a victim's brain, then insert themselves into the skull and [[PuppeteerParasite control the body like a meat puppet]]. (They can heal the grievous hole they needed to make in order to get inside.) Making matters worse, they absorb at least some of the victim's memories, making it easier to impersonate them.
** ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'':
-->''If a maurezhi kills and eats a victim, it gets the deader's memories and experiences. Xanxaost has seen hezrou general beat and imprison their baatezu enemies and then stand aside and let a maurezhi go to work. This sometimes gets them secret plans for the Blood War. This usually gets them lots of stupid things the baatezu have in their heads.''
** In 3rd Edition, mind flayers could potentially remember some piece of information from a recently eaten victim's brain (Usually a minor bonus to skill checks, but sometimes a feat or weapon skill) They didn't always, and the retention was only for a few hours, but it was possible. Illithid Savants specialized in this, [[SuperpowerLottery retaining skills of devoured victims permanently.]]
* In both ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' and ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'', there is the heinous crime of Diablerie, wherein you can boost your Generation/Blood Potency (and thus your power in general) by devouring the blood and soul of another vampire. The downside is, it leaves inky black stains on your soul (which [[AuraVision others can read like a book]]), and you can expect a quick and brutal FinalDeath if you're caught. [[TooSpicyForYogSothoth Plus, some powerful vampires may remain conscious through the process and later devour the Diablerist's soul from the inside.]]
** TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem introduces the bloated Macellarius bloodline, [[FatSweatySouthernerInAWhiteSuit fittingly nicknamed "The Gluttons"]] due to their universal belief that a gut is still considered [[AdiposeRex high class]]. Oh, and they also eat people. Hailing from ancient hedonistic Rome, these vampires are master gourmands, doing anything for a fine taste, even with the knowledge that they'll have to throw it up later by proxy of being a vampire (they enjoy the vomiting, though, since it means they can taste it one more time). Naturally, they have an intense love for human flesh, and can suck vitae out from it, and their unique bloodline discipline, [[IAmAHumanitarian Gustus]], entirely revolves around eating raw meat, from storing consumed chunks in their bodies to be converted to vitae to vomiting acidic blood to being able to steal stats from their victim.
* [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} Lunar Exalted]] are capable of assuming the appearance (and a few abilities) of animals by consuming their hearts after a ritualized hunt. With the right powers, they can extend this ability to humans, other Exalted, and gods, demons, ghosts and raksha. They can also acquire powers to decrease how much of a being they need to eat, and give others the ability to assume ''their'' appearance by consuming some of their blood.
* Having the Regeneration power in ''Underground'' requires a character to subsist on a cannibal diet. As the game's setting is such a CrapsackWorld as to contain cannibal ''fast food joints'', this is PlayedForLaughs.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has the Mimeoplasm, which eats (exiles) two creatures in graveyards, making it a copy of one with +1/+1 counters equal to the other's power.
** There's also Experiment Kraj, who upon waking stole every cytoplast on the plane, which killed and mutilated anyone who used Simic brand bioaugmentation products. His card implies this also gave him the powers of whoever he mutilated.
** Similar to the Hivebrood hivemind above, the original hive of Slivers had a queen that could create new strains of Slivers by consuming strange new creatures and then birthing new Slivers with those creatures' powers. Whenever Slivers are within an unspecified range of one another, they each gain each others' abilities.
* ''TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil'' gives us the Faithful of Shulpae, a small cult that aims to track down and eat supernatural beings (with a particular taste for [[TabletopGame/MummyTheCurse mummies]]) in order to temporarily gain their powers. They do this because they believe supernatural creatures are closer to the divine than they are, and by eating their flesh, they can experience a special relationship with the gods.
* The Jotun of ''TabletopGame/BleakWorld'' believe that eating enough humans will open a gate to their homeworld, which was taken from them by [[SpaceElves elves]].
* ''TabletopGame/DragonTheEmbers'':
** This is how [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Oroboroi]] reproduce; since they lost the ability to procreate the natural way a long time ago, they instead create new dragons by feeding their [[SoulJar Heart]] to a human whenever they feel like they have lived long enough. This results in the Heart's owner dying and the human becoming a new dragon.
** Also, there are dragons called Devourers, who like to feed on other dragons' [[SoulJar Hearts]]. Much like [[TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem the vampires' Diaberie]], it's reviled by Oroboros society (even ''more so'', in fact, since they are a DyingRace and Hearts are ''not'' a renewable ressource) and comes with [[BodyHorror very nasty side effects]]...

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Kirby}}'', in a practical approach to PowerCopying. He's so cute, most people haven't even considered the fact that his abilities and behavior are about what you might expect from a baby EldritchAbomination. This is likely because Kirby doesn't digest the creatures he eats in the same way as most creatures. Instead, it seems that he converts the creatures he eats into stars that he can spit out as projectiles or absorb for their powers. It even seems as though he can reverse the process and spit them as they were, losing whatever power he had.
* ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' has this as the theme of the game. You gain Atma by devouring your enemies, which is spent on gaining Mantras that give you new powers. Hunt-class powers grant you extra Atma, explicitly because they allow you to eat your foes more efficiently. These powers have names like "Devour" and "Feed Frenzy".
* ''VideoGame/DragonsWake'' is an 2-D indie platformer where the player character (who is a dragon) must eat the bodies of his enemies in order to heal or even increase his own abilities.
* ''Genesis Rising'', a little-known RTS, has the player building ORGANIC STARSHIPS that can acquire abilities by feeding off enemy organic starships [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin that have been beaten to a pulp]]. If by chance you "kill" the enemy ship, you can still consume it but you won't gain any abilities. Talk about extreme recycling ... IN SPACE!
* ''VideoGame/HomeworldCataclysm'' has a faction devoted to consuming ships (and their occupants) to achieve that kind of goal.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Onmyoji}} Onmyōji]]'': Gaki has a skill which gives her a chance of swallowing an enemy whole, dealing damage to them, taking their buffs and making them lose a turn (because they're in her stomach, duh). She will then ''[[{{Squick}} regurgitate the victim back]]'' if they haven't died from this attack already. The best part? This skill ''completely ignores'' Seimei's damage-stopping DeflectorShield.
* ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', devouring people can give you access to their abilities, memories, and skills--so you learn how to fly a combat helicopter by eating a pilot, learn how to effectively use military weapons by eating Drill Sergeants, and unravel the GovernmentConspiracy by eating the brains of anyone with even a TANGENTIAL relation to it.
** The sequel takes it a step further; Heller gains new viral abilities by consuming other Evolved who already possess those powers.
* Paxton Fettel from the ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon FEAR]]'' franchise. It may or may not allow him to read his victims' memories (he certainly can either way).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Nethack}}'', eating certain corpses could give you superpowers, stat buffs, or kill you horribly.
** In the expansion game ''VideoGame/{{SLASHEM}}'', there's a playable race of [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifters]]. Eating the corpse of a monster of a certain species gives a 100% success rate for shapeshifting into that species.
** ''[[VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery ADOM]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/RagnarokRoguelike Ragnarok]]'' also do this, as do other ''{{Roguelike}}''s following Nethack's lead.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadlyCreatures'', this is how the scorpion and the tarantula acquire new environmental skills -- by biting off the heads of creatures that have the skills they need. The tarantula eats a black widow and a lizard to gain the ability to web-jump and climb upside down, respectively, while the scorpion eats another scorpion and a mantis to learn how to dig and cut through grass.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Metroid}}'', Ridley's [[WhyWontYouDie near-immortality]] is HandWaved by him devouring enemy corpses for biomass. He's not hesitant to rub the fact in an orphaned Samus's face.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', if the player eats [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent President Kimball]], [[BigBad Caesar]], [[ManipulativeBastard Mr. House]] and [[ElvisImpersonator The King]], they get a perk known as "Meat of Champions" that gives you their "power" (Kimball's Strength, Caesar's Intelligence, House's Luck and The King's Charisma) whenever you eat humans.
* VideoGame/{{Touhou}} has a few examples:
** In ''Imperishable Night'', several of the {{youkai}} in the player teams suggest to their human counterparts that they eat the immortal [[BonusBoss Mokou Fujiwara's]] guts/liver, saying that a human eating an immortal's guts would grant them immortality as well. Yuyuko, on the other hand, considers eating Mokou's guts herself despite being a ghost, [[ImAHumanitarian just because she thinks it'd be tasty]].
** Utsuho Reiuji, a corpse-eating hell raven youkai [[FinalBoss first encountered]] in ''Subterranean Animism'' gained her power over nuclear fusion by swallowing the body of a yatagarasu (a divine crow with [[ThePowerOfTheSun powers of the sun]]). In Reimu and Suika's encounter with her, Utsuho expresses a strong desire to eat Reimu as well.
* The first three ''[[Franchise/SaGaRPG SaGa]]'' games (aka ''Final Fantasy Legend I'', ''II'', and ''III''), have the Monster race. They have set skills and stats, but can change into another monster by eating Meat dropped in battle.
* [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Yoshi]] gets this with Koopa shells, a lot -- though downplayed as the power only lasts as long as the shell's in his mouth. Red ones grant him the ability to breathe fire, blue ones grant him {{flight}}, yellow ones let him make small earthquakes when he lands, and flashing shells grant all three of the above. If Yoshi is red, blue, or yellow, any Koopa shell will grant the power associated with that color -- in addition to the shell's power, if applicable.
* Quina, the [[PowerCopying Blue Mage]] from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' learned new spells by eating monsters that could cast them.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' featured the late game Devour ability, allowing you to eat a weakened monster for a permanent one point increase to your various statistics, including health. Amusingly, you can use this ability on ''[[TheChick Rinoa]]'' in one battle, although it will result in an immediate NonStandardGameOver.
* The Rataka in VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic believe this to be true for their species, eating the dead warriors of tribes they conquer. The tribe that still practices it even ask the player to kill a group of Mandalorians and bring back the leader's head as a meal for their war-leader.
* In ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'', The more enemies a Guttler eats, the stronger and larger it grows.
* Kha'Zix, a champion in ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'', is a monster from the Void whose sole drive is to eat powerful creatures to gain their strength. The only creature it currently sees as a match for itself is Rengar, the ultimate hunter he once fought to a draw.
* Aeon Calcos, aka the [[ReptilesAreAbhorrent Lizardman]] has this as of ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries SoulCalibur V]]''. Bestowed new powers by [[WarGod Ares]], he can regain reason and intelligence by devouring others. This is evidenced by the use of his real name.
* In ''Party Of Sin'', Gluttony can replenish lost health by eating a non-boss enemy, though it takes a few seconds until the mook gets fully digested, before which it can be spat back out.
* In ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' one of the ways the Zerg evolve is by consuming other life-forms and absorbing their DNA, as shown in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVEoIiqeQ6I this video]]. In the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]], the Zerg Overmind absorbed the power of the Xel'Naga {{Precursors}} by, well, absorbing them.
* In ''VideoGame/TheVisitor'', an online (and highly graphic) game series, the titular "visitor" is an alien parasite that can absorb the special abilities of any animal it [[BodyHorror devours from the inside out]]. If it eats a spider, it gains the ability to shoot webs; if it eats a dog, it gains a row of vicious teeth for biting, etc.
* In ''VideoGame/DawnOfTheDragons'', the player character reminisces on a conversation with fellow adventurer Roland over a plate of bacon. Roland claimed that pork is a crucial part of any adventurer's diet for this reason. The pig's cunning and intelligence is transferred to the person who ate it. The player character then wonders if this explains why kobolds are as dumb as mushrooms and why [[DeadpanSnarker Medea]] eats so many bitter herbs.
* The mecha equivalent of this is seen in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'' and the Nod Avatar walker. It's special ability is that it can rip the weapons out of certain other Nod vehicles and use them. Normally, it's your own units, but if your opponent is playing Nod too you can use theirs.
** And the tank equivalent is in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3'' with the basic Hammer Tank on the Soviet side. By using it's leech beam weapon, it can steal health from opposing tanks and structures, and if the target dies whilst being hit with the beam it'll steal its' weapon [[note]]If multiple Hammers are hitting it with the beam, only one will gain the weapon[[/note]]. Most tank weapons can be stolen this way, including stuff like the [[KillSat Athena uplink]], [[WaveMotionGun Wave Motion Artillery cannon]] or the [[BoringButPractical Bullfrogs' AA gun]]
* The unreleased coin-op arcade game ''VideoGame/ChimeraBeast'' is a HorizontalScrollingShooter in which the player plays one of a new race of lifeforms called "Eaters", which have appeared at the bottom of the food chain with the express goal of chewing their way up it by assimilating the strengths of everything it can kill and consume. [[spoiler:The final stages have the Eaters attacking the human race, and either dying with the world they have consumed or escaping to devour the universe.]]
* In ''VideoGame/GemsOfWar'', zombies seem to work like this; their special attack is Eat Brains, which not only heals them but increases a random skill (suggesting that they've absorbed something from the brains' owners).
* ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII'': Aldrich was a human cleric who discovered one day that when he ate other people, he gained their power. He proceeded to eat so many people that he became a sludge-worm-monster thing, that nonetheless wielded tremendous magical power and had to be thrown into the First Flame itself to be destroyed (with the neat side effect of prolonging the Age of Fire). In this game, he's been resurrected, and has decided to expand his power further by ''eating the gods themselves''.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* In the (Very NSFW) ''Chocolate Milkmaid'', the title character has this, which is what results in her becoming Chocolate Milkmaid in the first place. The flashback showing when she was told about this ability makes it clear that she was suitably squicked by the implications. Fortunately for her, it turns out that body fluids work just as well.
* Sevink from ''Webcomic/GeistPanik'' is a {{wendigo}}, meaning he can die once for every person he eats (dead or alive) and continue living. It helps that he's a BloodKnight, which allows him to fight through the pain of constantly dying and grants him access to plenty of dead people. Oh, and he's one of the [[SociopathicHero good guys]].
* Bob of ''Webcomic/CaptainSNES'' is a rare (probably) heroic version. To his credit, the first time his ability is revealed, he states that he dislikes using it.
* Vampires in ''Webcomic/CharbyTheVampirate'' can gain powers and strength by eating older and more powerful vampires.
* ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'' has TeamPet, [[http://exterminatusnow.co.uk/2004-06-04/comic/a-little-blasphemy-never-hurt-anybody/hey-hey-its-for-dna/ Chao]] they eventually called Blasphemy. [[http://exterminatusnow.co.uk/2004-07-16/comic/a-little-blasphemy-never-hurt-anybody/chao-not-so-bella/ Chao!]]
* Butch in ''Webcomic/ChoppingBlock'' is intermittently convinced he has this, although it's been repeatedly proven that he doesn't actually gain anything from killing people.
* ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'' [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1993.html discussed]] the self-defeating side of this:
-->'''Ponsonby:''' Why do you want to eat them anyway?\\
'''Native:''' So we gain their abilities!\\
'''Ponsonby:''' What, the ability to be captured and eaten by a bunch of primitives with inferior weapons?\\
''Annotation: The idea of gaining the powers and abilities of a deceased person by consuming their bodies is one of the more widespread reasons for cannibalism in various cultures around the world.''\\
''Annotation: ''Do not'' let [[{{Munchkin}} players in your roleplaying games think of this]].''
* In ''Webcomic/{{Blessings}}'' it seems that this is one of the attributes of The Gourmand. If they should nibble on someone with a healing blessing, they get healed in turn. No indication for how long it lasts.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* The story [[http://wanderers-library.wikidot.com/abundance Abundance]] in ''Wiki/TheWanderersLibrary'' is centered around a character who possesses a more literal version of this ability.
* Carmilla of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse absorbs all the knowledge of the people and things she eats. Since she's a baby Great Old One, she's probably eating their ''souls'' too.
* Mokou gained her [[PlayingWithFire fire powers]] this way in Roleplay/TouhouAGlimmerOfAnOutsideWorld: she turned a phoenix into yakitori and ate it.
* In an odd example where the superpower is a political one, in ''WebVideo/DragonBallAbridged'' the Namekian Grand Elder is apparently whoever devours the old Grand Elder.
-->'''Bulma:''' Seems legit.
* From ''Roleplay/CerberusDailyNews'', we have "Devour The Hearts Of [=NKaria's=] Adversaries So That You May Take Their Power For Yourself", a side-scrolling platformer from [=NKaria=]. Distribution is banned in at least one of the setting's nations due to extreme gore, subversive religious themes, and depictions of intense violence.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', after a computer scan finds a "rectangular mass" in Hermes's colon:
--> '''Hermes''': It's a calculator. I ate it to gain its power.
** When Fry and Bender signed up for the army in "War is the H Word," Professor Farnsworth told Fry to eat the hearts of whoever he killed to gain their courage.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', Cedric doublecrosses Phobos and eats him whole. In the process, he ends up gaining the powers of the Seal of Nerissa. Thankfully, he suffers from a major case of HowDoIShotWeb.
* The only thing Marceline of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' inherited from her demon father, aside from grey skin and pointy ears, is the ability to devour souls, which in specific cases such as vampires gives her any special powers that soul had.
* The Zombie Pumpkin Magisword from ''WesternAnimation/MightyMagiswords'' gets different abilities from eating different types of pumpkins. For example, eating the seed of a giant pumpkin makes the Zombie Pumpkin Magisword grow gigantic.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* There are beliefs such as eating your foe will give you his strength or courage. In fact, the word originally meant "strong man" and was used by tribes that believed this.
** There is a statue in Tarabuco, Bolivia commemorating a victory of the native Quechua people over their Spanish conquerors. The statue shows a Quechua with an AxeCrazy face standing over his defeated Spanish foe. The Spaniard has a gaping hole in his chest and the Quechua is eating his heart. Keep in mind this is a statue...fully painted...in the town square...and was built by the Quechua...recently...as in the past 10 years.
** The Iroquois were known for doing this with their more respected (read: [[WorthyOpponent worthy of being absorbed]]) prisoners of war.
* In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Tanzania, one of the various reasons for the persecution of albinos is the belief that eating their flesh will confer superpowers to the eater (which inspired the ''District 9'' example, above).
* Certain kinds of hydras, a simple aquatic lifeform related to jellyfish, have stinging cells powerful enough to stun small fish. When a flatworm eats a hydra, it assimilates stinging caps without discharging or digesting them, but incorporates them as is. Predators who target these flatworms meet with a nasty, stinging surprise, dissuading further predation attempts. This approach saw a lot of use for stinging [[http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Cnidaria.html cnidarians]] from hydra to jellyfish and a variety of eaters up to slugs adding more "zap" to their skin or transferring kleptocnidae into their tentacles to use more offensively.
** A species of sea slug also exists that gains the ability to photosynthesize from the algae it eats.
* A lot of insects are able to make themselves poisonous by eating poisonous plants. The poison doesn't harm them and sticks around in their body for a while without being broken down, making them either taste horrible or be downright toxic to anything that decides they would be a good meal.
* An article from many decades ago called "Kill Them and Eat Them" suggested that was the way to deal with alien visitors. The killing part was presented as very rational: their very presence will disrupt our society and if they report back to their people then they will invade us. Sounded extreme but sensible. So why eat them? "To gain their power."
* Poison dart frogs become so poisonous by eating stinging ants and other venomous insects. As a result, frogs bred in captivity and kept on different diets from their wild counterparts are much less dangerous.