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Casting a Shadow
aka: Dark Is Edgy

"I have seen the night torn into thin darkling strips and woven into shapes too bleak for dreams."

A form of Elemental Powers dealing with shadow and darkness. It can take several forms:
  • Darkness as an element is frequently portrayed as acting nigh-identically to its polar opposite, Light, with characters "projecting" darkness as you would light.
  • Shadow element, on the other hand, is usually focused on creating things— typically corrupted or imperfect copies of something else, or intangible illusions. Characters are also sometimes able to use shadows to teleport.
  • Either form is often used in systems that allow the combining of abilites to create "dark" versions of other powers by combining Casting a Shadow with other Elemental Powers or other power sets.
  • Both darkness and shadow powers frequently act as the inverse of Hard Light — shadow-beings or creations of pure darkness will be able to affect the world as if they are solid objects. If a shadow being is the Living Shadow animated from an existing being, the victim probably Casts No Shadow unless it is returned.
  • Some portrayals of elemental shadow or darkness paint it as a sort of life-devouring ectoplasmic goo.
  • In some portrayals, elemental shadow seems like little more than Pure Energy with black and purple food coloring mixed in.
  • Darkness is sometimes associated with gravity thanks to mysterious real world physics concepts like dark matter and destructive black holes, which has lead to many shadow casters doubling as Gravity Masters in recent years.
  • Other frequently invoked associations are Antimatter, and the Power of the Void.

Given the prevalence of Dark Is Evil, darkness as an element is often used by Villains in a clear-cut case of Bad Powers, Bad People. Even when Dark Is Not Evil, darkness-based powers are almost always relegated to Anti-Heroes and other morally grey individuals. It wouldn't do to have the white side of Black and White Morality use darkness-based powers, after all. Either way, darkness-based powers are frequently associated with negative emotions — fear, hatred, anger, pain, etc. As probably the most Primal Fear in the human psyche, don't expect darkness to be pleasant, even when it's not actively malevolent. Evil darkness-users will often play this up, luxuriating in their evilness, while others will usually become The Stoic (suppressing their negative emotions by suppressing all their emotions) or just have a lot of Angst to deal with.

Characters using darkness-based powers are sometimes Weakened by the Light, which may be shown by having Casting a Shadow opposed by Light 'em Up or Holy Hand Grenade in Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. When the two are combined, however, the result is a Yin-Yang Bomb.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: in the Sinnoh League, we have Tobias, whose signature Pokemon is the legendary Darkrai. Possibly lampshaded as an Actor Allusion in the dub.
  • Code:Breaker: The Prince's power is this, featuring literal edges.
  • The Nara clan of Naruto have the ability to control their shadows and can "solidify" them in order to use them to control or strangle opponents. Their reach can also be amplified by extending to other shadows (specifically, the length is not "used up" going through another shadow).
  • One Piece:
    • Blackbeard has the literal "Darkness" power. Oddly, he mainly uses it to crush his opponents with gravity; the chain seeming to go "dark->black->black hole->super gravity" or possibly the other way around. This is fairly typical of the superpower logic in One Piece.
    • Gekko Moria has power over shadows; mostly, he steals them from people and uses them to reanimate corpses into zombies, although he can absorb them himself to become more powerful or just use his own shadow to attack directly as well.
  • Takane Goodman in Mahou Sensei Negima!, #2 Darkness (Shadow) as a form of Green Lantern Ring. Prone to getting stripped, as the series has stripping disarm attacks; and when she tried to counter that by making her clothing out of Shadow, she ran up against Asuna and her magic cancel power. She usually uses her power to create golems for attack and defense, the other shadow user who has appeared used his power more like a Green Lantern, forming blades, etc. She is definitely one of the good guys, if a little over serious.
    • The Magic World Arc introduces Kagetarou, who acts like an antagonist at first but turns out to be a buddy of Rakan's. There's also Fate Averruncus' accomplice, Dynamis, who can summons swarms of Invincible Minor Minions and a humongous Eldritch Abomination, is stated to be almost as powerful as Fate himself, and tried to kill Nodoka and came damn close to succeeding, wiping out two of her friends who tried to protect her the first time, and only being driven off the second time by Setsuna (who hacked his right hand off at the forearm) and Kaede.
      • His personality and temperament are much less extreme than originally suggested, however. He's actually fairly reasonable.
      • Negi's Magia Erebea may count as well, since, basically, it is still black magic, he just prefers lightning powers over darkness. Even Rakan notes that Negi's Affinity lies in the dark side.
      • There's also Kotaro Inugami, who has at his disposal the ability to summon vast swarms of autonomous spirit wolves made of darkness/shadow.
  • Hayate Yagami of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the Queen of the Night Sky who has Diabolic Emission, a Sphere of Destruction that envelopes the land in pure darkness, as her signature spell. Oh, and she's the cheerfully optimistic Big Good of the series. The Book of Darkness, the one she inherited her powers from, seems to fits the personality type a bit better. However, it is not a pure example either. It used to be called "Book of the Night Sky" before it was corrupted.
  • In Digimon Frontier, darkness is just one more element and not inherently evil. The original Legendary Warriors — the warrior of Darkness included — were all good guys, and the new one, like every bad guy in the first half of the series, was corrupted by Cherubimon but eventually got better, joining the team as the Sixth Ranger. More of his attacks than not have "Dark" or "Shadow" or some other darkness-related word in the name and involve black energy.
  • Pumpkin Doryu, from Rave Master
  • From YuYu Hakusho:
    • Hiei's Dragon of the Darkness Flame could be considered a mixture between fire and shadow. He's a Deadpan Snarker though, so it's O.K.
    • Asato Kido uses a direct manipulation of his shadow, allowing him to paralyze Yusuke with it during their fight. He also has enough control to use it to write Dr. Kamiya's name in his own blood after being attacked in the hospital.
  • Onimaru's last Dragon in Yaiba was Dark, the demon of Darkness. He could engulf people in his shadows and send other creatures into another dimesion forever.
  • Celty from Durarara!! is a Dullahan capable of manipulating shadows and giving them physical form. The uses of this ability range from creating weaponry (usually a scythe or dagger) and restraining enemies...to instantaneously dressing herself and letting her type faster. It's also interesting to note that the shadows she manipulates aren't restricted by the presence or absence of the sun, meaning she can manifest a weapon at noon just as easily as she can at midnight. Also, her shadow is always drawn darker than all others, even when she's not manipulating it.
  • Bleach has Kyoraku's zanpakuto, Katen Kyokotsu. One of its 'games' is to attack through shadows — between Kyoraku's own shadow and whatever he wants to hit. The target must be casting a shadow, however. In this case, the shadow manipulation itself is less creepy than the inspiration for it — 'children's games' where the loser dies.
  • Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist slices, dices, and eats with his extensible shadows. He's powerless in complete darkness, though. Shadows cannot exist without light.
  • Kageyama, Jose, Simon, and Zero from Fairy Tail are all users of this type of magic, the first one weaker than the other three.
    • Well, Kageyama uses Shadow magic while the other three uses Darkness magic.
    • Mirajane, after she using her Take Over, she uses Darkness magic as well.
    • Jellal can use Darkness Magic, but it's not his primary magic.
    • Rogue, the Shadow Dragon Slayer can use this as his power.
    • As can Gajeel, when he briefly absorbs part of Rogue's power.
  • The Ah! My Goddess manga featured a demon with power over "true darkness", which she used to make the surrounding area pitch black and cancel out all light sources (including flashlights and light magic).
  • Momose from Bloody Cross has the ability to control shadows. She can summon beasts made of shadows, shoot shadow spikes, and use it for stealth (hiding in people's shadows) and for some form of teleportation (disappearing into a swirl of shadows on the ground).
  • In Saint Beast, Luca has shadow as his Elemental Power, standing in contrast to The Hero's power of light.
  • Varete of Witch Hunter show just how powerful shadows can be, with her power to control shadows. She can block swords with the shadows up her sleeve and level entire towns using the shadows cast from a tree. She is almost impossible to hit with attacks, as she can use even the shadows between her hair and her head to attack and defend, with an almost limitless amount of mana to allow her to fight for extremely long times.

    Comic Book 
  • In Marvel Comics, Darkforce users can use this, although they aren't all evil.
  • Jackie in The Darkness manipulates the dark, but broadly speaking, he's a good guy. For a mob hitman. Well, he's better than the wielder of the light powers, anyway.
  • Malice Vundabar, the youngest member of the Female Furies, could summon a shadow monster called Chessure.
  • The DCU's shadow wielders, by and large, draw their powers from an alternate dimension known as the Shadowland (or Dark Zone). Much like their Marvel counterparts, they range the gamut from hero to villain. Most interestingly, the shadows created by the Shade, were at one point analyzed by a police scientist. He went insane the moment he looked at the sample in the microscope.
  • The DCU's Phantom Lady on the otherhand uses science!. Well a Dark Light gun from a mysterious European scientist.
  • Shadow Lass/Umbra from Legion of Super-Heroes. Definitely a good guy, though her incarnations in the Postboot continuity was an ill-tempered Anti-Hero.

    Fanfic 

    Literature 
  • A non-evil example would be Arithon from Wars of Light and Shadow. He's called the Master of Shadow for a reason, having power of the darkness and anything related to it, while his half-brother is the Lord of Light.
  • Ethereal of Three of Heart, One of Blood is able to manipulate shadows to the point where she can create sentient beings with them, albeit fueled by her own personality in a sense. She also averts the Stripperific clothing rule by wearing large, conservative dresses.
  • The Dark court in Wicked Lovely. They are emotional parasites and, at the hight of their power, can manipulate shadows and form strange 'shadow creatures', which follow their leader of the time, although they serve little purpose. Generally, the edginess comes from the darkly seductive nature of them - one subspecies, the gancanagh, are addictive to mortals and the embodiment of Death by Sex. They also like tatoos, although this half-applies to all the fey in Melissa Marr's work. It's Author Appeal, as Marr herself has several tatoos.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Dark One manifests an avatar with the power to create black fire, a "sphere of black light", and generalized darkness in rooms. This may be analogous to its other unique ability, to block access to the One Power: it can destroy physical light as it can magical Light.
    • Myrddraal are terrifying, though that just may be because of their Eyeless Faces, extraordinary combat abilities, and love of rape. They possess the ability to teleport through shadows.
  • In Lord of the Rings, the Nazgűl generate terror in their enemies and are the most powerful in darkness. Since their chief weapons are fear, terror...um, and a fanatical dedication to the Dark Lord, they are Weakened by the Light.
  • In The Silmarillion, the Unlight of Ungoliant falls somewhere between Casting a Shadow and the Power of the Void.
  • In The Black Company, the Shadowmasters are aptly named. Ironically, one is afraid of the dark. Make of that what you will.
    • He's not so much afraid of the dark as the flesh eating shadows (or worst) that might be hiding in the dark.
  • Sir Sam Vimes of Discworld is infected with the Summoning Dark, a "quasidemonic force of pure vengeance" in Thud!, but manages to break its power over him before it can force him to overstep the boundaries of the law and lose his essential Vimesness. In the next book, Snuff, it's revealed that a part of the Summoning Dark merged with the Guarding Dark, Vimes' own Superpowered Evil Side, and he can call on its power when seeking "vengeance", i.e., trying to solve a murder outside the boundaries of existing law. He uses this connection to see in pitch blackness, communicate with subterranean races, and become a witness to distant events taking place in darkness.
  • The villain of Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor is a Force-user who has a different view of the Force than that of Jedi or Sith; he believes that the Force is the Dark, which is basically destruction and entropy; he induces visions of the Dark - of being alive in the eons after all the stars burn out - to cause despair that he can then use. On a metaphorical mind-battly level, his ultimate technique is to become a black hole, which makes sense in story.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Plague of Darkness from The Bible, made particularly notable by commentaries stating that not only was this particular darkness a distinct physical thing that would swallow up any light that the Egyptians tried to produce, but that, during the last three days of the plague, it became so "thick" that it froze the Egyptians in place until it dissipated.
  • This is one of Nico's powers in Percy Jackson and the Olympians due to being a son of Hades. He's capable of shadow travelin (opening portals in the shadows) and cover himself in them to stay hidden. His father is even capable of creating barriers of it
  • In Malazan Book of the Fallen there are a few flavours of this. The Elder Warrens of Kurald Galain and Kurald Emuhrlan are, respectively, the Warren of Darkness and Warren of Shadow. There is also Meanas, the younger Warren of Shadow.
  • All Necromancers in Skulduggery Pleasant.
  • Melisandre of Asshai in A Song of Ice and Fire is a "shadowbinder", and can create shadow copies of people to do her bidding. Her shadow powers are a subset of her fire-based magic, because "there can be no shadows without light" and vice-versa.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: This is Calador's awakening. Ironic since he works for an organization called "The Order of the Light" that fights shadow monsters.
  • In The Shadow Speaker, Ejii is a Shadow Speaker and has the ability to listen to the shadows.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles has in the Faerie realm a power of shadows, one of whose uses is to weave into a Shaed, a super-cloak made of shadows that can be re-sized at will, among other powers.
  • In Iron Council, Judah Low creates a golem out of shadow, capable of choking people on its "flesh."
  • The Shadowlord in Smoke and Shadows, a Sorcerous Overlord from an Alternate Universe has used shadow magic to conquer much of his world, and tries to do so with the protagonist's Earth as well.
  • In The Man With The Terrible Eyes, the shadow monsters run on something called the Void that gives them powers over darkness. The Man has the same powers.
  • In Dark Heart, Myrren Kahliana and other followers of the dark god Vraxor can conjure blasts of darkfire, an icy-cold black flame that consumes whatever it touches like acid. Myrren also demonstrates the ability to create a cloak of shadow that makes her invisible in darkness.
  • A Mage's Power: Eric the Classical Antihero finds in himself an affinity for darkness. He learns the Dark Veil faster than any other spell.

    Music 
DJ the S' "Disciple of Darkness" is a compilation remix of Darkness-based themes from video games.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mortasheen's Jabbersnatch uses a low-level version of this, being able to absorb all light in its vicinity to turn itself into a solid black Sillouette. It uses this power to be a highly effective boogeyman.
  • The Shadow Queen, a villainess in the Champions adventure The Great Supervillain Contest. She had Darkness powers, including the ability to solidify, project, and merge with shadows.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a number of monsters that create and/or use darkness and shadows as weapons, such as the shade, shadow dragon, and shadow mastiff. The shadow demon was more effective in darkness/shadow but couldn't create or manipulate it.
    • The Shadowdancer Prestige Class in Dungeons & Dragons (also available in Neverwinter Nights). Again, Dark Is Not Evil, though it does synchronize well with the Thief class.
    • One of the power sources for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is Shadow, which is the dark half of arcane magic. (This is mirrored with the Forgotten Realms own Shadow Weave in lore.) So far, Assassin is the only class released that makes use of this power source.
    • Now, however, any class can technically pull in power from it with certain feats; some classes may pick up shadow powers and/or have their own variant of the class that almost exclusively pulls from it; and there are a few races that have ties to shadow.
    • The 3.5 book Tome of Magic introduced the Shadowcasters, which were just like they sound, an entire class based on the use of shadow magic.
    • "Shadow" spells are a type of semi-real illusion. Some of these mimic other spells. The mimicry version are higher level, and act less real. If someone successfully disbelieves they only suffer how real the illusion is, other wise they suffer the full effects.
      • Min Maxer's note  [1] note  have found a way to make it MORE real than 100%. Thus if these min-maxing methods are used, someone is being attacked by the spell, or something the spell created, and victim succeeds on his saving throw to disbelieve, he is in even more danger than the regular un-mimiced 100% regular version of the spell. Sadly the guide fails in taking the final step of the process, mentioning how to make the saving throw as easy as possible for your opponent and ways to force your opponent to choose to attempt the saving throw.
      • For other game breaking wackyness you can mimic the spell miracle by compiling several loopholes into one glorious combo note . Even though it says you need the arcane disciple (luck) feat for this, you could, in theory, say that any wizard/sorcerer with that feat would let you use the trick. But that is really stretching your luck.
  • Mentioned in the backstory of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but sadly not playable on the tabletop, are the Umbra, a strange race of aliens that look like completely black spheres. They have the power to manipulate any shadows in the vicinity, turning them into huge toothy tentacles that tear people to pieces. And they can do this to any shadow. Even the ones in your pupils.
    • The Dark Eldar have "darklight" weapons that use some kind of energy that resembles tangible darkness mined from other dimensions.
  • Warhammer had a minor chaos god named Obscuras (see more here) whose powers were mainly based on shadow, and who could grant to his followers the ability of seeing without requiring light. Some people can still obtain powers based on shadow without worshipping him, however.
    • There is a whole section of common magic called the Lore of Shadows.
  • The Darklings from Changeling: The Lost have a buy-in with the Contracts of Darkness. They don't involve shadow manipulation, however, as much as they play on some of the stereotypical qualities of darkness (creepy, unnerving, etc.).
  • The Lasombra clan of vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade had the ability to control and create shadows as their signature power. When handled correctly, this made them more disturbing than their initially more monstrous allies from clan Tzimisce. Usually, it just ends up being an excuse for the use of tentacles for naughty purposes.
    • The Khaibit bloodline from the successor game Vampire: The Requiem gets a toned-down version of Obtenebration, complete with the power to interact with ghosts and spirits, teleport through shadows, and turn into a shadow yourself. Between this and their fluff (which paints them as worshippers of Set who work to keep back even darker monsters), they are quite popular in play.
    • Mage: The Awakening has this in the Death Arcana, and practioners are neither worse nor better than any other mage. The issue over how shadows are merely the absence of light is justified by that exaplation simply being part of the Lie, and that darkness is a meta-physical representation of death.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, this lies within Black's purview. It has the "negative emotion", "physical darkness", "night", and "evil" variants all represented.

    Toys 
  • In BIONICLE, the Makuta were all about this, though characters belonging to other species sometimes had shadow-based powers as well. Also, if one tapped into their inner dark side or had their inner light drained, they automatically gained shadow powers.

    Video Games 
  • Rumia of Touhou was made to play with this notion. Her power, the power of darkness, is meant to sound like the dark and powerful abilities of other characters on this page, but she is actually one of the weakest of all youkai in Gensokyo. Her darkness only blinds anyone within her field - which includes herself - and she is known for crashing headlong into trees. It is fortunate she is so weak, since she is a man-eater. The ribbon in her hair is supposed to be an amulet keeping her powers in check, however, so Wild Mass Guessing holds that she would be the unstoppable "EX-Rumia" if that amulet was removed.
  • Count Bleck in Super Paper Mario, who has the Chaos Heart. Doubles as Power of the Void.
    • Although it rarely comes up, Bowser can cast Shadow Magic - most notably, taking the form of a shadow and zipping/teleporting around the room.
    • The Shadow Queen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, who has the ability to cast shadow lightning bolts, as well as a powerful wave of darkness.
  • Treasure of the Rudra
  • Shadow from Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia.
    • A female example from Symphonia is Pronyma. And, predictably enough, she dresses like a demonic hooker.
    • Emil and Tenebrae in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.
    • Also, Rita from Tales of Vesperia can use darkness spells such as Violent Pain, Negative Gate, and Spread Zero.
    • Elise from Tales of Xillia is an odd case, as she's one of the game's two primary healers, yet all of her offensive magic is dark element, as opposed to light (Which practically all of the other healers in the series use).
  • Two types in Pokémon utilize this Trope, although the one you'd think that would utilize it is not among them:
    • Ghost-type Pokemon follow the "Shadow Element" form and several Ghost-type attacks, such as Shadow Punch, utilize "Hard Dark".
    • Shadow Attacksnote  are Anti-Light versions of otherwise normal attacks. This is due to its nature as The Corruption.
    • Although some Dark-Type attacks, such as Dark Pulse and Night Daze, also utilize "Hard Dark", the type itself is more based in trickery than Anti-Light. On the other hand, Holy Hand Grenadesnote  are Super Effective against Dark types but are ineffective against Ghost Types and don't have a different impact on Corrupted Pokemon than other attacks do. The effectiveness is better expressed by the Japanese name for the Dark type: "Evil".
  • The Shadow Element in Chrono Trigger.
    • Magus' exclusive spell line (starting with Shadow Bomb)
    • While Robo can't use magic for the simple fact that he's a robot, his Beam Spin attack counts as Shadow-elemental.
    • Combining any two elements (Light/Lightning, Fire and Water/Ice) also results in a Shadow-element attack. The most powerful magical triple techs, such as Delta Storm and Delta Force, fall under this as well.
  • The Shaman/Druid and Dark Mage/Sorcerer classes in Fire Emblem, whose arcane sorcery resemble shadows leaping from the ground or flames of dark energy.
    • Despite the fact that it is usually used by villains, this series is especially big on Dark Is Not Evil, as Canas, the current trope image, seems to subvert the typical personality attributes by being a genuinely good person, who studies elder magic out of passion to the "dark" arts rather than wishing harm to others. Even though he is the villain, Lyon and his royal mages, including Knoll, practiced dark magic in order to help Grado citizens and show that the magic feared by many can have good uses. Finally, Pelleas gained enhanced magical abilities by allowing his soul to be possessed by spirits, but only wants to be a good ruler worthy of his people. Fire Emblem Awakening is a bit more black and white, at least on the surface, as not only is the Big Bad a powerful Sorcerer, but of the two playable Dark Mages, one is a Yandere with a marked cruel streak and the other is a rather unhinged Stepford Smiler.
    • The series as a whole associates dark magic as being extraordinarily powerful, which is what makes it so dangerous. Dark magic is depicted as being able to allow people to communicate with the dead, absorb life energy, negate attacks entirely, or just outright Fantastic Nuke people. Because it's so powerful, it seems that those with weak hearts become corrupted by it (something that's actually a major plot point in the seventh game). The side-effects of failing to control the darkness range from becoming an Empty Shell to a full-on Face-Heel Turn. On the other hand, those with strong wills are capable of maintaining their sense of self - but it takes a great deal of self-control.
  • Darkness and the powers derived from it are central to the universe of Kingdom Hearts. The Big Bad Xehanort and his various incarnations mostly utilize darkness as their magic of choice (except for Xemnas). The Heartless are Made of Darkness and thus of course use it in many of their attacks. But though many villains utilize it, the heroes agree that Dark Is Not Always Evil; past deuteragonist Terra and present deuteragonist Riku have the ability to use dark attacks like Dark Firaga, Dark Aura and Dark Volley, to name a few. Riku, in fact, is the only Keyblade wielder thus far who has managed to completely tame the darkness (since Xehanort is, after all, evil).
  • ShadeMan, DarkMan, and KillerMan in Mega Man Battle Network.
  • Dark Necrobat/Dark Dizzy from Mega Man X5 and Dark Mantis from X8. The former uses darkness to stop time, the latter's a ninja who incorporates dark energy into his attacks. Naturally, both of them are weak to light-elemental attacks.
  • Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda.
  • Darkness is an effect of some attacks in Super Smash Bros.. They're mainly Ganondorf's speciality, but Mewtwo and Giga Bowser can use them as well. (And White Pikmin, though that's considered to be poison.)
  • Good ol' Dracula and Death in Castlevania. Dracula uses #4, Death uses #1.
    • Not to mention various other monsters in the series, who, between themselves, make liberal use of all four varieties.
  • In Final Fantasy, Gravity-elemental spells usually manifest as spells of darkness, appearing as orbs and/or vortexes of shadowy energy. The Gravity summon Diabolos is also a Big Red Devil that is sometimes fought in a dark, shadowy alternate dimension. Otherwise the Dark-elemental abilities you're likely to see frequently are Shadow Flare and the Dark Knight's Dark Wave/Darkside attack. The Ivalice titles like Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance work Dark into the standard Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors set-up.
  • The "Bane" element in Ogre Battle.
  • In Legend of Dragoon, Rose is the Dark-elemental dragoon and the black monster.
  • Tir and Ted, the known holders of the Soul Eater Rune in Suikoden, as well as the people who possess its child runes, the aptly named Darkness Runes. While heroes, they tend to be broody types, since the Soul Eater is guaranteed to bring tragedy to one's life.
    • As well as the "Rune of Punishment" in Suikoden IV and it's child rune, the "Condemnation Rune", in Suikoden V.
  • Marlowe in Visions & Voices specializes in Necrotic spells.
  • Jackie Estacado from the video game adaptation of the aforementioned The Darkness. Despite being a nice guy (erm, insofar as an enforcer for the Mafia can be considered "nice"; he's pretty cuddly compared to his boss), his powers include his ability to form a shield of darkness and somehow breathe in darkness to replenish his health, his ability to summon Darklings, his use of Combat Tentacles of darkness, and even imploding a small piece of darkness to create a freaking black hole! To top it off, light - any light - will weaken his powers, but a solar eclipse will supercharge them.
  • Death/darkness spells from the Shin Megami Tensei series, which are One-Hit Kill attacks.
  • City of Heroes has 'Darkness' as a stock elemental damage type and a very common powerset. Its flavour text mainly involves 'drawing power from the Netherworld' and draining souls and such, but it's equally available and used by heroes as well as villains. In game mechanics, Dark sets actually tend to be along the lines of Combo Platter Powers, but are very powerful when used right.
  • Dark Jak in Jak II: Renegade is capable of funneling Dark Eco through his body as a result of two years worth of experiments that pumped it directly into him. The Dark Eco takes the form of lightning, and all of his powers are somewhat electricity based with a purple hue.
  • The elemental affinity of the main protagonist of BlazBlue, Ragna the Bloodedge, is darkness. This is also the case for Hazama, as most of his non-chain snake attacks seem to be surrounded with dark energy.
  • In Arcana Heart, both Lieselotte Achenbach's and Yoriko Yasuzumi's default arcana's, Gier and Dieu Mort, deal with Darkness element powers.
  • Shade from Secret of Mana.
  • The "Sorcery" and "Necromancy" schools of magic in Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song deal with spells of this nature and is mostly used by monsters and evil sorcerers who attack your party. However, it can be also be used by a character who temporarily joins your party, though it turns out said character is a minion of the Big Bad.
  • The god Charnel in Sacrifice gives your wizard access to dark magic if you choose to follow him.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the Dark Beam, which is a shot of dark energy (which, when charged, freezes things).
  • Some of Exit Fate's dark-elemental characters play this trope straight, while others subvert it. They fit the character requirements, but only some of them are evil. The playable Dark-elemental characters include: among others, a Necromancer, a mercenary, a goth, a skeleton, a Mad Scientist, reclusive or enigmatic mages, a vampire, a gangster, a Ninja, a Knight in Sour Armor Atoner, and a...something. The dark status effects are poison and chaos.
  • This is one of the first abilities learned by the Sage class in Dragon Quest IX. The other class of magic they learn is from the Bang element..
  • World of Warcraft has shadow priests, warlocks, and death knights (also An Ice Person). However, Dark Is Not Evil. Pay Evil unto Evil is also very much in play for death knights and somewhat for warlocks.
  • Arguably, Guy from Street Fighter. During his Bushin Musou Renge, a shroud of darkness blinds his foes while he pummels them into oblivion. Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu, on other hand, while visually similar, doesn't count as he is actually dragging his opponent into hell.
    • Oni, Akuma's Superpowered Evil Side, plays this trope straight. His Hadokens, especially his Meido Gohado, are clearly composed from dark energy, and his Ultra Combos turn the screen black and white with evil energy.
  • Interestingly, the Death School in Wizard 101, while summoning up the undead and draining life from foes, is actually fueled by the casters heroics and courage. In other words, in order to cast Death spells, you need to be willing to face great danger without fear. So basically, yeah, you beat your enemies down with the fact that you have the courage to stand up to them; a trait thought of as good and heroic is the basis for summoning the Grimm Reaper to rip out souls and feed them to you. This is situational irony, that is 'results or reality being quite different from expectations.'
  • In Trickster Online, Dragons can either obtain the Dark or Light Pact, but not both, upon the Job Change from Shaman to Magician. This can be further upgraded to Dark Lord for more Dark-based magic. Also, takes a dip into Gravity Master with the Gravity Crush spell, which causes massive damage to up to 6 targets around the caster, but takes 3 seconds to cast and guzzles a ton of MP.
  • Fall from Heaven has Shadow Magic, combining elements of 2 and 3.
  • Many characters in Sengoku Basara, including Demon King Nobunaga himself, his sister Oichi, and his Ax-Crazy Blood Knight retainer Mitsuhide Akechi. Others include Hanbe Takenaka, Yoshitsugu Otani, Mitsunari Ishida...and Sasuke Sarutobi. Gameplay-wise, it drains health from enemies, so most dark elementals tend towards Glass Cannon territory.
  • Noob Saibot from Mortal Kombat can create a Living Shadow copy of himself.
  • Shadow Hearts has almost every character possessing an Element. Yuri Hyuuga has the Dark Element in his default form. While he's uncouth and rude, he means well.
  • In Find Mii, Miis or wandering heroes in black clothes can use their magic to darken rooms.
  • In the Real-Time Strategy Universe at War, the Masari has the ability to switch between Light and Dark at will. Dark is mainly focused on defensive capabilities, granting units weak but rapid firing weapons, faster movement speed and Dark Matter armour. The Matter Controller also charges up and fires Matterstorm, a concentrated surge of Dark Matter that immobilizes enemies caught in the storm while buffing up your own units who are exposed to it (specifically increased firepower and rapid DMA regeneration). Pursuing the Dark Matter branch further improves your army's defensive capabilities in Dark mode at the cost of losing considerable firepower. Dark seems to represent nobility and calmness, as evident by the Dark Matter branch heroine Queen Altea, the benevolent leader of the remaining Masari on Atlantea who does not use violent means but instead uses her healing powers and strong magical spells to guide and protect her troops in battle.
  • Nix in In FAMOUS 2.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, Angelo, despite being otherwise very much The Paladin, can learn the Whack series of One-Hit Kill spells.
  • Oswald from Odin Sphere is able to harness the power of the Belderiver he wields to transform into a vicious shadow creature with greatly enhanced speed and power, at the cost of having his POW meter rapidly eaten away at as long as he's in that form (and in story terms, being slowly weakened until his soul is destroyed and he's turned into a ghostly Revenant if he uses it too much.) He's also constantly stalked by Halja because of his power, who are always waiting for him to let his guard down so they can kill him and drag him off to the Netherworld.
  • The Denpa Men has Dark-type Denpa Men in the second game onwards. In keeping with the Denpa Men being Color-Coded for Your Convenience, they're purple (since black was already taken by the Non-Elemental Denpa Men). They're the rarest of the nine regular Denpa Man types. They have high resistance to both Dark- and Light-type attacks (where most Denpa Men are only resistant to their own type), but are slightly weak to all the other elements. Dark-type attacks aren't super effective against anything, but only Dark-type enemies have any resistance to them.
  • Boktai has Hell-type magic to go along with Sol and Luna, and naturally it's aligned with The Immortals and their undead servants. The only subversions are Sabata who still uses it after his Heel-Face Turn, Django when he gains the ability to become a vampire, and Red Durathor who uses Sol-based attacks because she is a plant-type Immortal (and naturally, you have to face her as a vampire).
  • Dark Souls has Abyss Sorcery, introduced in the Artorias of the Abyss DLC. It draws directly on the power of the Dark Soul and fires magic blasts of perfect blackness that deal physical damage as well as magic damage, unique among the game's magic attacks. You can learn some of the basic spells yourself, though Manus, its creator, uses several far more powerful spells that cannot be learned.
  • Abyss Sorcery returns in Dark Souls II though they are called Hexes now. Instead of dealing physical+magic damage, they deal Dark elemental damage. Hexes require a hefty investment in Faith and Intelligence, and certain Hexes can only be cast with sorcery catalysts or chimes. The more powerful Hexes also consume souls when cast. Despite these drawbacks, Hexes are for the most part the most powerful spells in the game.

    Webcomics 
  • Project 0: Ciro and Kareem can turn themselves into shadows as a stealth mode.
  • Shadowmancy in Cat Legend seems to be a mixture of 2 and 3, with some additional, potentially creepy elements such as entering others' dreams. The most prominent user, Mercutious Nymndemise, is an unusual case, since, despite initially being set up as an antagonist, he's actually a pretty decent guy.
  • Rose Lalonde of Homestuck may not be evil, but she's definitely The Unfettered and uses pretty damn powerful dark magic, as well as having a black outfit and a black Battle Aura to boot.
  • The main character in The Burned can manipulate shadows, despite being a good guy. He primarily attacks with shadow needles, which are hard to detect when it's dark out.
  • There's Shadow Dancer - as explained in the Dungeons and Dragons section above - in The Order of the Stick. The snag is that he's in a stick-figure comic where there are no shadows.
  • Tsillah of Wapsi Square has some interesting shadow manipulation powers. While the full extent of her abilities is yet to be shown, she can construct clothing out of shadows.
  • In Roommates both the Erlkönig and Jareth were shown to have power over the shadows. They can summon shadow beasts, catch things and people with tangible shadows, make a cool entrance by invoking Emerging from the Shadows etc.. Also while the Erlkönig does almost all his magic through this element (even the not directly darkness related things like teleporting), Jareth seems to avoid it when he can... except when his dark side takes over that is.
  • Curio from morphE is a Moros mage who specializes in casting shadows. His first spell during the opening chapter was coating the room with wisps of darkness.

    Web Original 
  • There seem to be a number of these in the Whateley Universe right now. Nacht is a Deadpan Snarker with a Supervillain mother, but she seems (so far) to be neutral. Sabbath is definitely in it for the crime. Blacklight may be a villain in training. They don't all have the same weaknesses, and Canon has it that some of them got the powers from a magical source, so rules of physics need not apply.
  • Several characters have these abilities in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Nearly all of them fall under Category Two. Nocturne, Eclipse (who can also manipulate light), Shadowcloak, Night Vision, Raven, Tatterdemalion, Moonshadow (who, like Eclipse, can also control light), Zmierzch (Polish for "Twilight"), Bloody Mary, Muerte Oscura, Shadowspawn, and Obsidian.
  • The Questport Chronicles: The Master of Darkness, who is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Blackfriars of the Omega Universe can teleport via a combination of angles and dark shadows.
  • Grue from Worm generates and manipulates darkness that blocks hearing, touch, microwaves, radio frequencies and radiation in addition to dampening certain superpowers. After his second trigger event, it can even copy other people's powers.
  • The Dark, an old and powerful supervillain from Brennus can create solid Living Shadows to serve him.

    Western Animation 
  • Shadow Khan from the Double Dragon cartoon used the Black Flame. His attacks were a combination of #1 and #2 (darkness based attacks that are fueled by death, fear, hate, etc) and he could create/imbue minions which darkness as well.
  • Raven of Teen Titans. Her powers take the form of darkness and her inherent demonic nature is Chaotic Evil, but she manages to be one of the good guys anyway through sheer Heroic Willpower (just don't make her angry...).
    Raven: Remember me?
    Dr. Light: (pales) I'd like to go to jail now, please.
  • In his introductory episode, Ebon from Static Shock refers to himself as a "Master of Shadows and Darkness". Not to mention his general appearance...
    • A minor character named Nightingale could create and control shadow, though the show insisted on calling it dark matter, for whatever reason.
  • Makes an appearance in the third season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, where oddly enough it is not only the episode's villain who is shown using it, but also Celestia and Twilight, made all the more conspicuous by the fact that Luna does not partake. Despite being linked to fear and despair, there doesn't seem to be any moral problems with casting it, at least at inanimate objects.
  • Pitch in Rise of the Guardians. Notably, his powers are actually constructs of black sand, so they're more physical than most examples here.
  • In ˇMucha Lucha!: The Return of El Malefico, El Malefico has a lot of Darkness based powers.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures there are the Shadowkhan, demonic ninjas that travel through shadows, but have no will of their own, only acting when summoned. In season 4, it is revealed that there are 9 tribes of these shadowy warriors, with vastly different forms, each deadly in their own way, and each serving a different Oni general, and when the masks the generals are sealed in are all brought together, the generals would be able to summon enough of the warriors to make the world dark forever, and destroy ALL good magic. Luckily, the Chans stop it.

Blow You AwayStock RPG SpellsDishing Out Dirt
Blow You AwayElements of NatureColor-Coded Elements
Big Shadow, Little CreatureDarkness And Shadows TropesCasts No Shadow
Light 'em UpElemental PowersGreen Thumb
Captain ObliviousJust for PunCat-apult
Fire Emblem ElibeImageSource/Video GamesColor-Coded Armies
Cannibalism SuperpowerStock SuperpowersCharm Person

alternative title(s): Dark Is Edgy
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