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Demon Slaying
aka: Demon Hunting

Abe Sapien: Behind this door — a dark entity, evil, ancient, and hungry.
Hellboy: Oh, well. Let me go in and say hi.
Hellboy

So you're being attacked by The Legions of Hell. They're enslaving your innocents, terrorizing the citizens, and generally wreaking havoc. Who You Gonna Call? This guy.

Experienced and equipped with Implausible Fencing Powers, Improbable Aiming Skills (probably with Depleted Phlebotinum Shells), demolitions expertise, or all of the above, this character tends to be Weak, but Skilled—relative to their prey, that is. They can come in several varieties, including:

They're frequently also an Occult Detective or some kind of mercenary. Whether they hide the existence of Hell or slay demons openly usually depends on the setting and specific variety of demons. Also keep in mind that He Who Fights Monsters...


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Sango from Inuyasha, and her entire village, for that matter. They fit into the demonic protector and mercenary type.
    • Itinerant monks like Miroku and shrine maidens and priestesses like Kikyo and Kaede also perform a good number of exorcisms, which may range from waving ofuda at an incorporeal spirit to beating monsters with a ceremonial staff.
  • Guts in Berserk. As the Black Swordsman, his role fits squarely into The Hunter, thanks to him being madder than hell about the events of the Eclipse, and the actions of Griffith in particular. Eventually, he stops actively seeking out Apostles to kill in order to focus on healing Casca's insanity, but still runs into them, largely because of the Brands of Sacrifice borne by both of them.
  • The Demon Hunter Organization, the Nanaya clan, and (to a degree) The Church in the Nasuverse.
  • Devil Hunter Yohko. Three guesses what it's about.
  • The Shinmeiryu in the Akamatsuverse (used by Setsuna and Motoko) is a demon-slaying sword style. Within the Negima series is also Mana Tatsumiya, who fits into both the mercenary and priestess type (yep - a price on spirituality). Setsuna's job as a demon slayer is rather ironic, though, considering she's half crow demon herself. Mana is also half demon, making her a half-demon mercenary priestess.
  • Fairy Tail: After the Dragon Slayers and the God Slayers, we learn of a new type, Devil Slayers. They function pretty much the same. Ironically enough, the first and only known user of this type of Magic so far happens to be a member of a guild composed almost entirely of demons.
  • Yuugen Kaisha: Phantom Quest Corp. is a for-profit organization, lead by Ayaka Kisaragi, which specializes in the occult and the paranormal. She and U Division's Detective Karino track down all manner of spooks across Tokyo and take 'em out.
  • The titular characters in Claymore are an entire organization that exists purely to hunt down and destroy demons preying on humanity, provided the side that's being preyed on requests their aid and pays an adequate fee afterwards. If they don't...
    • It's only made worse that the central organization of the Claymores are the ones creating the demons as an experimental weapon.
    • The Claymores are actually part of a centuries long project to create the ultimate dragon slayers.
  • YuYu Hakusho: The job of the Spirit Detective
  • Dororon Enma-kun. Technically, Enma isn't supposed to slay the demons he fights (only capture them), but he doesn't care.
  • Tetragrammaton Labyrinth has the Organisation, which was created several hundred years ago by one of the main characters to fight demons.
  • Ao no Exorcist is basically this, only with exorcists. Most of them fall under a job or family business, with a few for personal reasons. Rin falls under personal reasons and Hunter of His Own Kind due to his Half-Human Hybrid status. He's not the only one there, as it's mentioned that there are other half-demons out there who work as exorcists.
    • Judging by what we know from Rin, the half-demons serving as Exorcists or otherwise getting involved in the war against demons isn't far-fetched; they naturally can see demons, due to their bloodline, while others have to have a masho (spirit wound) inflicted to see them.
  • The new magical girl system in Puella Magi Madoka Magica changes into this.
  • D.Gray-Man's baddies are called akuma, which normally gets translated into "demons". So yep, D.Gray-Man is pretty much this.

    Comicbooks 
  • Hellboy, naturally.
  • Devil-Slayer from Marvel Comics.
  • John Constantine of Hellblazer from the DC. Not only does he slay demons, but he cons them classically.
  • Spawn always ends up fighting them sooner or later.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 
  • In the film Constantine, based ever-so-lightly on the Hellblazer comics, the titular character hunts down demonic "halfbreeds" who violate the Balance and sends them back to Hell. In the comic, he's more of a street magician who basically fights anyone who pisses him off or helps people who come to him (if he doesn't laugh them away). See Trenchcoat Brigade.
  • While the Ghostbusters don't target demons specifically, preferring "Ghost"-busting and all, they're more than happy to zap-n-trap any demon who makes trouble in NYC.
  • Ash Williams of the Evil Dead universe has the unenviable task of battling demon-possessed undead and not a few demons as well, being that he was the one who accidentally unleashed them upon the world through mishandling of a certain Artifact of Doom.

    Gamebooks 
  • The Fighting Fantasy book Dead of Night was this trope IN SPADES. The main character was a Demon-Slayer, a Warrior Monk specifically trained to hunt down and destroy the demons of the setting. During the course of the book, he averts a demonic invasion of Gallantria engineered by the Demon Prince Myurr. Virtually every opponent in the book is either a demon or someone working for them. The overall tone of the book was very dark.
    • This was a recurring trope throughout the series in general, as the reader would be pitted against everything from Fire Demons to Mirror Demons to Hell Demons to Ice Demons at different times.

    Literature 
  • Solomon Kane in the Robert E. Howard book series. If he counts, then so do King Kull of Atlantis and Conan of Cimmeria. None of them slay demons as their day job, but have been forced to the task by the circumstances more than once in their careers.
    • Solomon Kane fights evil in general and is happy to kill bandits and pirates. It's just that he keeps running into supernatural monsters. Conan kills whoever has the most loot.
  • Colt Regan's first book is titled Demon Hunter for a reason
  • Many, many government-employed wych-hunters (despite the name, they hunt gribblies (wych-kin), not witches) in The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, and for most of the reasons above. The protagonist, Thaniel Fox, is also following in his father's footsteps: "the only reason [his mentor and friend] Cathaline Bennet needed was that she was odd."
  • The title character of Magnus is a demon slayer. His Flying Brick powers along with immortality makes any demon fighting him suicidal.
  • The Special Circumstances unit is occasionally called upon for doing this, as part of their job to battle supernatural villains.
  • The Shadowhunters' whole schtick in The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices.
  • In books by Raymond .E Feist, most temples are said to have a 'material' segment of the order, who mostly deal in fighting demons, along with whatever that particular God finds offensive. They tend to be able to hurt demons with mundane weapons, despite others not being able to, and many have traditional demon-banishment spells.
  • In The Pardoner's Tale the main characters don't slay demons; they have a method that traps demons in inescapable steel pellets. Since the demons don't need to eat, sleep, or excrete, this may actually be worse than death.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Inquisition of Warhammer 40,000 has the Ordo Malleus, an entire branch of investigators dedicated to finding and rooting out daemonic influences. Most of their agents are a mixture of State Sec and holy warrior, but they can also call upon a specialist Space Marine chapter for aid: the Grey Knights. These guys are considered badasses even by other Space Marines, armed and armored with consecrated wargear and protected by formidable psychic powers that make them extremely good at what they do. Even the less experienced ones kick serious ass. The more veteran ones tend to turn up wearing suits of armour that can endure being stomped by a Humongous Mecha, fitted with equipment like flamethrowers that burn souls.
  • Demons and devils are among the most powerful enemies that Dungeons & Dragons Player Characters can face, and high-level adventures will often have PCs heading To Hell and Back, usually to destroy a particularly powerful demon lord such as Orcus.
    • The Knight of the Chalice is a Prestige Class that is dedicated to fighting demons and devils. Many characters who take this class are some combination of ranger and either cleric or paladin.
    • The Church of the Silver Flame in Eberron have their entire religion built around this. When they are not a Corrupt Church or Knight Templars, they do this, and they do it fairly well, having developed a few unique tricks like Silver Flame Exorcists and Silver Pyromancers. Aside from evil outsiders, they also hunt undead and lycanthropes (and not all of the latter are really evil, which has earned them a bit of a bad rep among them and their Shifter cousins).
      • The Druidic Sect of the Gatekeepers have been doing it for longer (not saying much, as the Silver Flame as an independent religion isn't very old), focusing more on Eldritch Abominations from Xoriat than actual demons, however.
      • The members of The Chamber are also prone to this. However, it's worth noting that the Chamber is an organization composed entirely of dragons.
      • The Giants of Xen'drik also, presumably, had something similar to tackle Quori possession, but since their solution to the Quori problem all but annihilated their own civilization, no one's entirely sure anymore.
    • In Pathfinder, there are several classes that can be tooled specifically for this, such as Rangers, Inquisitors, and Paladins. Of course, any character class can have Demon Slaying as a job as far as roleplay is concerned, but these three classes are highly conducive to the job as far as class mechanics are concerned.
  • This is, in theory, what the Wyld Hunt in Exalted is all about. Of course, the dogma of the Immaculate Faith being what it is, their definition of 'demon' includes most typical player characters...
  • Dwarf Daemon Slayers in Warhammer. In a twist, Daemon Slayers aren't in it for any greater or more noble purposes beyond the purely personal: if you are a daemon slayer, that means you've already tried to meet your end in glorious battle against trolls and giants...And failed. Daemons and Dragons are pretty much all that's left to challenge you, and dragons in the Warhammer setting are rare.
  • The Demon Hunter template from the third edition of Big Eyes, Small Mouth is dedicated to fighting demons, many of which come from the hell dimension of Bazaroth.

    Videogames 
  • The Castlevania series is earliest and best known example in gaming, as the entire point of each entry is to protect the people of Transylvania, by battling your way through Count Dracula's legions, to face-off against the Count, himself. Earlier games in the series chronicled the exploits of the Belmont Family, though later games featured all new protagonists and, occasionally, the Count's son, Alucard, siding against his father.
  • Dante of Devil May Cry, who is the god of this trope, even before we listed it. He mostly fits into the mercenary type. As a half-demon, he also happens to be a Hunter of His Own Kind.
    • Nero as well in the fourth game.
  • Dante of Dante's Inferno is also a Demon Slayer, though this Dante is more of a crusader/paladin with holy power and a scythe taken from Death himself. He's in this to rescue his beloved from Hell.
  • Enoch of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, a human who wields the weapons of God to punish and purify the Watchers, a group of angels bent on corrupting mankind.
  • Demon Hunters in the Warcraft-verse. They follow the path of the (in)famous Illidan Stormrage, using the demons' own Fel powers against them. Also, Paladins, who have Light-granted abilities that specifically deal damage, or deal extra damage, to demons and undead.
  • Both the Old and New versions of Worlds of Darkness have Hunters (detailed in The Reckoning and The Vigil respectively), humans with supernatural abilities to fight the PCs from the other games.
  • Mario, amid all the many other myriad things he has done over his career, took care of a demon in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. It was the Shadow Queen, the Big Bad.
  • Most non-Persona Shin Megami Tensei games have the main characters act as this, while allying with a handful of 6-12. Though only one group actually does so for a living.
  • Adell's title in Disgaea 2 game is Demon Hunter. Before Disgaea, this was the mission of the Church of the Maiden of Light in La Pucelle.
  • Amaterasu of Ōkami spends her time roaming the ancient land of Nippon and hunting down demons strewn across the land.
  • Inverted in Bayonetta where the title character kills angels instead of demons. Is it ironic that her game, Ōkami, and the first Devil May Cry were all made by the same guy, Hideki Kamiya? He deserves his own page for the amount of tropes that he and Clover Studios (and Platinum Games) use, this one included.
  • The protagonist of the Doom games, affectionately nicknamed Doomguy. As a Space Marine, killing demons isn't exactly in this guy's job description, but when the monsters from hell go on the loose, it's up to him to blast them right back where they came from with a heaping helping of serious firepower.
  • The Diablo series is ALL about demon slaying.
    • Diablo III has the Demon Hunter class. They are composed of people who have survived devastating demon attacks and dedicated their lives to eradicating them wherever they are found.
  • The Onikiri from Girls Love Visual Novel Akai Ito and its sort-of sequel Aoi Shiro. But then, their definition of "demons" is very loose...
  • Garcia Hotspur of Shadows Of The Damned is a professional Demon Hunter on a quest to save his girlfriend Paula from Fleming, Lord of Demons.
  • Many of the Heroes in the Dragon Quest series have slain countless demons (Big Bad, Mooks, and everything in between) in the numerous installments. In fact, most Dragon Quest games are more about fighting Demons than Dragons.
  • While templars in Dragon Age II function mostly as Mage Killers, they also have bonuses to damage while fighting demons, likely because blood mages will often have demons in their service.
  • In Demon's Souls, the player character becomes a demon slayer out of necessity since demon souls are the only currency accepted in the Nexus.
  • Played with in Asura's Wrath. The Gohma heavily resemble Demons and might as well be them for setting and story purposes, and the job of the protagonist and the other Demigods is to fight them. They're not actually Demons or anything like it at all.
  • This is the job of the Vigil of Stendarr in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, formed after the events of the previous game.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, your job as the Player Character is to close the Gates of Oblivion by stepping through, killing your way through lots of Daedra, and grabbing the Sigil Stones used to power the gates.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Jefferson Twilight from the Venture Brothers. When not running around with the Order of the Triad, he hunts Blaculas to avenge his mother. And no, he doesn't call them African American Vampires. Sometimes he hunts British Vampires. He doesn't know the P.C. term for Blacula.
  • Hoss Delgado of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is an equally opportunity monster fighter.


Demonic PossessionParanormal TropesElectromagnetic Ghosts
Creature Hunter OrganizationBig Trope HuntingThe Dragonslayer
Demi HumanSpeculative Fiction TropesDemythtification

alternative title(s): Demon Hunting; Demon Slayer
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