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Emotion Eater

"Aw, you poor thing. Here, let me wipe your tears. Mmm, yes, yes, your anguish sustains me."
Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Some monsters get no kick from champagne. Mere alcohol doesn't thrill them at all. It's the taste of someone else's emotions that does it for them. An Emotion Eater is someone who draws psychic nourishment or power from another person's emotions, and will usually do what they can to instill those emotions in others.

Due to the Rule of Drama, an emotion eater will rarely feed on positive emotions. Instead they will more likely draw nourishment from fear, hate, envy, or lust, and the process of seeding these emotions can turn Suburbia into a gangland ghetto. If they do feed off of positive emotions, expect them to also drain the ability to feel these emotions from their victims. If they don't, we could just call it empathy.

These creatures always work to increase them, no matter how much is already in the world. Evil Cannot Comprehend Good or Blue and Orange Morality may lead to "sharing the love" in creepy ways or spreading horror that translates as narm. One way to beat the Emotion Eater can be to deny them that emotion, which can be easier said than done when the fed upon emotion is fear.

The concept has a fair degree of crossover with the "psychic vampire", a type of being that feeds not on blood, but on a person's life force. Usually, this vampirism is at its most potent when the victim is in the throes of powerful emotions. It also often has the side effect of the victim ending up drained and unable to feel any emotion... or worse.

A subtrope to Abstract Eater. Compare The Heartless and Exotic Entree. See also Made of Evil. Less closely related is Gods Need Prayer Badly. Powered by a Forsaken Child is when some sort of mechanism uses this as a power source. As Long as There Is Evil is a closely related trope, when a villain is an Emotion Eater on a human race-wide scale. An Emotion Eater may be extra-susceptible to an Emotion Bomb, or they might use them on their prey instead.

See I Know What You Fear for how one particular emotion may be 'encouraged'.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • The Big Bad in Mnemosyne likes the taste of suffering. He also has an army of monstrous angels and godlike powers at his command. Not a good mix.
  • All mazoku from Slayers draw power from negative emotion. Cheerful and happy emotions cause them pain. To feed himself Xelloss riles up the main anti-heroes.
  • The vampires of Karin nourish themselves with emotions taken along with the victim's blood. In something of a subversion, they exclusively drain negative emotions (such as despair, pride, or taking pleasure in lying), and leave their victim better off than prior to the bite (albeit a bit weak from blood loss). The effect is only temporary, however.
    • However, this trope is also played somewhat straight - there do exist vampires that feed on positive traits. Elda's grandmother drains love from her victims and suffered greatly a few hundred years before the show started because of it.
    • In the manga, at least, it's also noted that this isn't necessarily a good thing. Calera drains the ability to lie, which could be dangerous. Before the story started, Henry drained someone's pride, making her needy, according to her boyfriend. He broke up with her.
      • Karin herself (in the manga, anyway) may have inadvertently been responsible for giving one character the courage to go through her underaged prostitution plan. Bit of a shocker when you realize it.
  • Near the end of the anime version of Prétear Takako / Fenrir summons a huge tree that is powered by the feeling of despair, and makes sure she has a power source for it by using Mawata's feelings for Sasame, who already underwent an Evil Costume Switch, to drive the victim into the required state. This backfires in the last episode, when Sasame sacrifices himself to save Takako, which upsets her just enough to become the new victim of the tree.
  • One of the demons near the beginning of YuYu Hakusho
  • No Face in Spirited Away feeds off of the greed in the bathhouse and goes nuts. However, he gets better.
    • In fact, the reason why he kept following Chihiro because she was probably the only one who was nice to him and thus, probably the best tasting.
  • Feeding off negative emotions is a Godhand trademark from Berserk. Slan in particular enjoys feeding off the negative emotions that she can elicit from Guts.
  • This seems to be part of Hidan's reason for being a Jasshinist. The more pain he causes his victims before finally killing them, the more he seems to enjoy it. When he finally killed Asuma it was a narcotic high.
  • While they do not necessarily feed off them, Digimon can be greatly affected by their Human Partner/Tamer's emotions, both positive and negative, resulting in different kinds of evolution.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the cute and adorable mascot devour the negative emotions given off by Witches to stop the universe's entropy.
    • And in a roundabout way, Magical Girls are also this. They need the Grief Seeds made from the despair of Witches to cleanse their Soul Gems and keep from becoming Witches themselves.
  • In The World God Only Knows, the runaway spirits hide in girls to feed off of their negative emotions. The Goddesses feed on love instead to get stronger.
  • Inukami! has Jesei who feeds on despair. He says nothing is more delicious than provoking despair. Naturally this means pushing people past the Despair Event Horizon.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's Hollowification grows more powerful as he sinks deeper into despair. It's later revealed that it's like an overprotective brother. Hollow!Ichigo/the real Zangetsu only gets stronger when Ichigo despairs in order to completely annihilate that source of despair.

    Comic Books 
  • The Evronians from Paperinik New Adventures feed on emotions and can also use them to power their technology. That's also why they're fixated on Earth: harvesting enough emotions to both feed themselves and power their technology is beyond their natural abilities and they need to use weapons that leave the victim unable to feel emotions anymore, but Humans are so emotionally rich that one shot often isn't enough to drain them and can recover from it, meaning that Earth is an unending buffet for them.
  • Scatterbrain, AKA Fascination, of the Technet (and later/earlier, of the time-travelling Special Executive). Her reliance on emotional nutrition, good, bad or anything-except-indifferent, sometimes has her following around characters because they're annoyed— which makes her follow them more closely— which makes them more annoyed etc. etc.
    • Which... doesn't always work that well for her, like the time she did it to Captain Britain, who got so irritable that he started waving his arms around as he walked. One 'KLUDD!' later, and Scatterbrain was sprawled crosseyed against the far wall.
  • Darkseid from The DCU.
  • Mangog from The Mighty Thor.
  • X-Men supporting character Caliban feeds off fear as part of his mutant power. He's basically a good guy, except for the times when he isn't.
  • Raven of Teen Titans fame is somewhere in between, she does feed on negative emotions, like sadness, but has a hard time not absorbing any heightened emotion, such as excitement or joy. All she does is leave people feeling neutral though, so it's okay.
  • Powerhaus from Dv8 absorbed emotions to fuel his growth and super-strength. He can use his own emotions, but he's so mellow that it's not very reliable.
  • Psycho Pirate. In Crisis on Infinite Earths, he was basically The Starscream to the Anti-Monitor. He uses his golden Medusa Mask to control and feed off the emotions of the people who see it. Addicted to his powers, they eventually backfire when he pisses off Black Adam and gets the mask rammed through his head.
  • The Black Lanterns in Blackest Night feed on the emotions of sentient beings to power up their battery. They come back in the body of people with emotional connections to those that still live (heroes, villains, emotional spectrum welders, lovers, friends...) and incite emotions in many ways, usually but not always by giving them Hannibal Lectures while fighting. They feed on Rage, Greed, Fear, Willpower, Hope, Compassion and Love, which means its just as dangerous to feel hopeful as it is to feel afraid. Their vision is full of black and shades of grey, and the only things with color are sentient beings full of emotions, which makes it possible to run from them if one contains his own emotions. When their targets are full of emotion, they rip out their hearts and feed on them, powering up their black power battery.
  • The Japanese assassins Gakidou and Sakki, The Hate Furnace not only have intangibility, but can feed on negative emotions like lust and anger to boost their strengths to astronomical levels. Supergirl defeated them by simultaneously beating them up and overloading them.
    • In the same story, Powerboy revealed he can channel others' emotions to fuel his abilities, but the excess emotions caused him to go psycho on his girlfriend, Supergirl.
      Powerboy: (to a restrained Supergirl) "I feel. Feel everyone else's hate, love, pain, fear... and it becomes this..." (forms ball of black energy) "Of course, you saw what happens when it goes the other way. But I hope you understand... I did it for you."
  • A one-off alien villain in the Justice League comic books both fed off emotions and could channel the excess to others. Fear of death was a narcotic to his species, and he destroyed entire planets for the high, but he kept a little in reserve as an Emotion Bomb. (Scarecrow's failures notwithstanding, it really is possible to scare Batman into surrendering. Wonder Woman, not so much.)
  • The Emotion Entities of The DCU. As long as there is at least one being in the universe that can feel the emotions they embody, they will always exist. Although they do not feed on the emotions they embody. They are in fact the avatars of the combined power of each emotion (rage, greed, fear, will, hope, compassion, love) felt by every being in the universe.
    • The Entity of Rage, the Butcher, does play this straight. It chooses hosts full of grief and rage (it is first seen merging with a man who was being taunted by his daughter's killer while the killer was being strapped in the electric chair) and empowers them to vent their fury on their targets while feeding on their anger. The Butcher then leaves after its hosts' rage is spent to find new hosts.
  • In the Marvel Universe the demon D'Spayre feeds on the fear, anguish and despair of his victims.
  • Psyklops from the Atari Force comic book psychically feeds off the pain of his victims, and uses his power to trap his victims into reliving painful past memories.
  • The 100 from the DCU are an ancient order of landowners who resorted to any means necessary to render themselves immortal. This left them with two side-effects: that they need to tie themselves to a plot of land to draw strength from it, and that they need to feed on emotions, preferably negative ones. This usually results in them becoming slumlords of one stripe or another.
  • The symbiote from Spider-Man apparently feeds off negative emotions. One of the side-effects of being its host is that said emotions are amplified.
  • Like the Windigoes, the Gremlins from My Little Pony Micro Series Issue #2 feed off negative feelings, and use weather to continually instill these negative emotions in a perpetuating cycle.

     Fan Works 
  • The Demons in Stars Above feed on a person's emotional core, referred to as their Heart.
  • Thawing Permafrost's antagonist Kaze is an as-of-yet-unidentified emotion eater, having left Ruby for dead and drained of her emotional energy in the third story arc.
    • Chapter 37 revealed Kaze to be a Defacer.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series: Dr. Brainstorm's Fear Detector collects fear and uses it to power a fear-making machine.
    • Later, a poltergeist girl is said to feed off fear as well.
  • Lady Prismia's spell in the Cadance Of Cloudsdale story Lady Prismia and the Princess-Goddess. Based on Changeling magic, it manifests as a green ethereal snake that attaches to a victim's heart and drains all of their love, departing to their summoner and leaving the victim a spiteful mess. Cadance, due to being a Physical God Manifestation of Love, is immune to their effects.
  • The Cadanceverse has a tagasoro, a fear-powered creature from Philippines mythology, as a minor villain
  • In the Monsters, Inc. fan fiction Monstrous, Suel consumes fear to survive. As such, he encourages those he hunts to be afraid of him

    Films — Animated 
  • The Heart of Atlantis of Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a malfunctioning example, in the sense that it thrived on ancient emotions instead of recently gathered feelings.
  • The monsters of Monsters, Inc.. power their society through the screams of little children. It turns out laughter works a lot better.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.
    Mr. Dark: Your torments call us like dogs in the night. And we do feed, and feed well. To stuff ourselves on other people's torments. And butter our plain bread with delicious pain... Funerals, bad marriages, lost loves, lonely beds, that is our diet. We suck that misery and find it sweet.
  • The Merovingian's wife in The Matrix craves the emotions of others, especially love. This is why she keeps making people kiss her.
  • The Harvesters in The Deaths of Ian Stone primarily feed on fear, and encourage tales of boogeymen throughout The Multiverse so as to have an easier time harvesting it. Some time back, they discovered that the most delicious fear comes from the instant before death, and became addicted to slaughtering their victims. It turns out they're not Always Chaotic Evil, and if they get into an Interspecies Romance they can also sustain themselves on love.
  • In Ghostbusters 2, Vigo uses a river of slime beneath the city to gather and feed on people's negative emotions. The slime is later used by the Ghostbusters against him after they expose it to some positive emotions.
    • Seriously, who could hate a dancing toaster?

    Literature 
  • The White Court vampires of The Dresden Files are all psychic vampires that draw power from other people's emotions. The vampires of House Raith draw power from lust, and are incubi and succubi down to the last; the vampires of House Malvora draw power from fear; and the vampires of House Skavis draw from despair, and usually try to drive people to suicide so they can feast.
    • Thomas Raith presents an interesting angle on the feeding issue; his lover, Justine, suffers from derangement and schizophrenia. Thomas' feedings act as a form of psychic therapy and keep her condition under control sans the negative side effects seen with medications. Without him regularly feeding on her, she rapidly slips back into madness.
    • The plot of Proven Guilty brings us more Emotion Eaters in the form of phobophages, monsters who mimic the form of a subject's fears then feast on the tasty, tasty terror. The ones featured in the book draw from the mark on the national consciousness left by horror movie monsters and wreak bloody havoc on a horror convention.
    • The Skinwalker is also made more powerful by fear, and by inflicting pain.
  • Speaking of vampires, Robin McKinley's Sunshine dealt with this too. Tears stood in as a weaker substitute for blood, and anguished giving was more powerful but ultimately more destructive than 'natural' sacrifices.
  • Melissa Marr.
    • Specifically, this is the reasoning behind the plot of Ink Exchange. The faeries of the Dark Court feed off the negative emotions of other faeries, and are weakened by times of peace and happiness. In order to avoid fading away entirely, its king devises a method of feeding off of the negative emotions of humans.
  • Dementors from the Harry Potter series drain happiness and warmth from their surroundings, and can make someone relive their darkest memories. For this reason, they're kept as guards in the wizard prison of Azkaban, so that the prisoners can't work up the will to escape. You can fight off their effects with chocolate (chosen because Dementors' effects are like depression, which is weakened by chocolate) or creating a Patronus; a projection of your happiest memory which at its strongest takes the form of an animal spirit.
    • You can also get around them two other ways, more indirectly. If you're an Animagus, your emotions are simpler in animal form, so you won't suffer as much. If you have a reason to escape that isn't fueled by a good emotion—like guilt or revenge—you should be able to do so. This was how Sirius Black escaped; he took the form of a dog, and wanted revenge for being sentenced for a crime he didn't commit.
    • The Wizarding equivalent of the death penalty is the "Dementor's Kiss," which sucks out your soul. While we never see anyone who has suffered this, Lupin describes it as being an Empty Shell - you just "exist" with no memory or sense of identity.
  • Vampires in the Anita Blake series have secondary feeding methods, usually relating to drawing nourishment from a person's emotions.
  • The Spectres from the His Dark Materials trilogy drain their target's attention, turning them into mindless, apathetic bodies.
  • In the last The Dark Tower novel, Roland and friends find that Dandelo a.k.a. Joe Collins is one of these. Of course, the irony is they are warned several times to beware of the individual. The individual hides using Glamour.
  • The Wild Cards series has a few psychic "Aces" who draw power from certain rituals packed with emotion. Fortunato, for instance, draws power from the passion of tantric sex, while The Astronomer draws his power from the ritual torture and sacrifice of young women.
  • The Stephen King novella The Library Policeman focuses on an inhuman thing posing as a librarian that feasts on the fear of little children.
  • The Hunter from the Coldfire Trilogy feeds on fear, despair and other negative emotions.
    • While his is essentially parasitic, the Iezu in that universe each have a specific emotion they feed off of in a more symbiotic way. One has set up shop as the god of Pleasure, and feeds while his followers enjoy themselves. And one has set up shop as the god of Sadism, and nearly becomes the most powerful entity in the world. It's also a significant plot point that these creatures are so polarized that the opposite of their emotional attunement weakens or destroys them. Pleasure, of course, is defeated by apathy, while sadism is finally undone by altruism.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch series puts an interesting spin on this trope. As expected, the evil Dark Others draw their power from negative emotions like fear, anger, hatred, etc, but essentially make people more "good" by removing these feelings from them. Meanwhile, the good Light Others who draw their powers from positive emotions like hope, love, faith etc. leave the world a darker place as they basically suck joy out of the universe to power their magic. As such, neither side tends to be enthusiastic about seriously draining the energy of people around them. Unless, you know, the fate of the entire world rests in the balance (which seems to happen at least once every few weeks).
    • The situation still is to the advantage of the Dark Ones though, since *for the most part* they don't actually care about making the world more evil. They're mostly interested in their own power, which means that they can draw as much power as they think they can get away with.
    • As well as the Others, the first level of the Twilight is home to a blue moss which gains nourishment from emotion on general. Light Others kill this with fire, Dark with ice.
    • Occasionally, a Light one snaps and goes on a rampage taking Power from the happy people around him. Why? In order to destabilize the status quo and make the world a better place. Naturally, the Night Watch usually tries to stop them, as this gives the Dark ones a blank check to do something bad. In New Watch, one does so by going to a crowded soccer stadium and feeding off the energy of the fans of the winning team. Apparently, he amasses so much Power that not even a Mage Beyond Categorization can easily stop him. Anton uses the young mage's inexperience (the mage casts a shield that protects from any spell, instead of one to protect against spells and physical damage) to knock him out with a baton.
  • Mercedes Lackey uses this in almost everything she writes.
  • Banshees from The Hollows novels feed on negative emotions of others even unto death. In a disturbing recent development one banshee and her child learned to feed off love as well making them a double threat.
  • In Nina Kiriki Hoffman's Spirits that Walk in Shadow, there are the viri. Most viri feed off of many different people in a subtle way that causes very little effect, but one viri got addicted to the main character's depression and was making her perpetually depressed in order to feed on that feeling.
  • Sookie Stackhouse meets a maenad, a wild woman who feeds off of pride and drunken violence (as well as eating meat).
  • C.M. Kornbluth's short story "The Mindworm" had a mutant human who fed off the feelings of others, killing them in the process. He deliberately tried to induce strong emotions in his victims so he could get a full meal.
    • Too bad for him that when he starts preying on a community of recent Eastern European immigrants, they find the old ways of dispatching vampires work just fine.
  • The vampire nobles in Nancy A. Collins' Sonja Blue series feed on emotions as well as blood, and thus were closely involved with historical events like Stalinism and Nazism.
  • In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, vampires feed on emotions. Even blood-drinking vamps (who are considered the weakest class of vampire because of this. Stronger vampires don't need to drink blood to get emotions). This is used by a heroine, with permission, to make a scared and overwhelmed comrade feel better. Always nice to see a positive use of this trope.
  • S.L. Wright's Confessions of A Demon has immortal shapeshifting demons who can sense and feed off of the emotions of humans as well as other demons. Some of the more benevolent demons will feed on the sorrow and pain from others in order to alleviate their anguish. Each individual demon is associated with a particular emotion that they like to feed on most of all, although they can absorb any emotion. The emotion a demon is associated with stems from what the demon's progenitor was feeling at the time that demon was spawned, and gives each demon a particular aura that makes them inspire that emotion in others. Demons usually name themselves after the emotion they are associated with, such as Bliss, Shock, Pique, etc.
  • Rehvenge and Xhex of JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood are half-vampire, half-sympath, and a full sympath, respectively. There's even a derogatory term for their sub-species "sin-eater," though they aren't restricted to just feeding off someone's sins (they can devour any range of emotions).
  • In The 13 ˝ Lives of Captain Bluebear, hobgoblins live off emotions such as fear, despair and sorrow. They keep Bluebear alive to enjoy his crying fits.
  • In the book Demon Envy, the demon, Levi, feeds off of envy.
  • Tobduk of BIONICLE grows stronger by feeding on others' anger as well as his own.
    • Vamprah's Mask of Hunger lets him grow stronger by feeding off the positive emotions of others.
  • Stormwings, from Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe, feed off of fear although they don't suck it out of people. They're not evil—it's simply their nature, as they were created by a human who wanted to deter others from war.
  • Lord Loss from The Demonata feeds off of human pain and suffering.
  • Rasalom from the Repairman Jack and The Adversary Cycle books.
  • Song at Dawn: Estela describes Alienor's Ladies-in-Waiting as feeding off the misery of others (usually each other) and "getting fat on it".
  • Molassar, the Big Bad of The Keep is this, at least in the original book version. He pretends to be "merely" a vampire instead of an Eldritch Abomination Emotion Eater that is older than recorded history. This allows him to feed off both the fear of the soldiers he murders one by one, and to work towards destroying the faith of a Jewish intellectual when he pretends to be vulnerable to the cross. Interestingly enough, Molassar doesn't need to cause the emotions himself to gain strength from them, if he were not trapped inside the Keep, he could feed on all the psychic misery, pain and suffering going on all over the world... and since the story takes place in the early days of World War II, there is plenty of that to go around.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Polymorphs from Red Dwarf drain negative emotions, such as fear and anger, from whoever they touch.
    • The polymorph used it's shapeshifting to envoke the negative emptions out of the cast; it turned into a snake and it's main form, which happened to be an eight-foot tall armor-plated alien monster to scare Lister so it could suck out his fear; it turned into a cat woman to eat the Cat's vanity; it turned into Rimmer telling Kryten that The Cat getting attacked was Kryten's fault so it could suck out his guilt; and it turned into Rimmer's mother proclaiming it had intercourse with Lister in order to eat hid anger.
    Polymorph (as Rimmer's mom): "You should just see what he can do with alphabetti spahgetti." Holly: "Cool it Arn!" Rimmer: "ALPHABETTI SPAHGETTI?!" ''
    • Gettin their emotions sucked out resulted in the crew going through personality changes: Having no fear, Lister became a Sociopathic Soldier obsessed with sacrificing himself in order to kill the Polymorph in the most violent way possible; The Cat losing his vanity turned him into a filthy bum who didn't care about himself in any way; Kryten with no guilt became a jerk who insulted everyone at every opprotunity and wanted to hand the others over to save himself; and an angerless Rimmer became a sort of hippie who thought attacking the Polymorph ment fundraiser concerts and tee-shirts. Hilarity Ensues when they try to decide how to deal with the Polymorph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WgUktfdDy4
    • When encountering a domesticated version of the Polymorph known as the Emohawk The Cat is turned into his geeky counterpart Duane Dibley but Rimmer gets turned into his heroic alternate universe self Ace Rimmer. What a guy!
    • In that case it was because the entity in question fed on dominant personality traits: The Cat was deprived of his Cool, but Rimmer lost his cowardice as well as his bitterness and negativity.
  • Juken Sentai Gekiranger and Power Rangers Jungle Fury feature Chinese Vampire enemies who grow stronger from the power of fear. Any enemy can do this, but the primary application is to allow Mooks to upgrade to Monster of the Week.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Power Rangers Samurai use an indirect version: the water level of the otherworldy Sanzu River rises with humans' sorrow and despair, and the monsters need Sanzu water to survive and keep from drying out.
    • In Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, Deboss is one of these and his followers harvest feelings of anger, sorrow and joy for him to feed on, in order to thaw his frozen heart. Halfway through the series, they add hate to the mix in an attempt to combat the Kyoryuger's bravery.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Original Series
      • "Day of the Dove" has a big glowy entity that feeds off of negative emotions and is turned off by good ones. Kirk manages to get rid of it by laughing with a few Klingons.
      • "Wolf in the Fold". Redjac, the immortal entity that was "Jack the Ripper" and many other serial killers feeds off horror and terror (and prefers to go after women because they're more "easily and deeply terrified". Sexist much, Mr. Spock?). The episode also mentioned the Drella of Alpha Carinae V, which derived nourishment from the emotion of love.
    • An inverted version occurs in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Man of the People." Rather than feeding from emotions, an alien used victims as receptacles for disposing of harmful emotions.
  • On the darker and edgier side of the Toku Coin, Kamen Rider OOO has the Greeed which create Yummys which eat whatever the victim (Greeeds drop a coin in the victim to create Yummys) desires... Well, at least Uva's. Kazari's Yummies possess the victim and force them to eat.
    • The Utopia Dopant, the Big Bad from Kamen Rider Double, doesn't actually eat emotions but rather gains power by drawing upon the positive emotions of those around. So when our heroes charge in full of righteous fury and hope...he pounds them into pudding. Eventually defeated when Shotaro exploits the fact that inanimate objects don't have emotions to draw upon, and the emotion behind him and Phillip during the final battle is too much for Utopia to take. Katsumi Daido also exploits a weakness of Utopia's powers, as it can't draw emotions from dead things, and Katsumi just happens to be a Necro-Over.
  • One year prior to Gekiranger, "Minus Energy", created from chaos and fear, was the primary collection goal of the Jamanga in Madan Senki Ryukendo.
  • In one of the weirder examples, Farscape featured a sort of species of spider (which could take human form, natch) that first augmented the strongest features of its prey's personality—sexuality, self-control, anger, greed, determination, logic, and intelligence, in the cases of various lead cast members at the time—and then stole them, resulting in an abrupt about-face in behavior. Chiana, for example, kissed D'Argo and had him grope her, and she didn't even feel a tingle; D'Argo didn't even get slightly angry when kicked in the mivonks.
    • Also featured in Farscape was the Evil Sorcerer Maldis; though he was primarily a Psychic Vampire, he would often encourage his victims to excesses of anger and fear as an appetiser.
  • Knox from Heroes could absorb the fear of others and use it to boost his own strength. Of course, the fact that he was black raised some Unfortunate Implications.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • One demon fed off of peoples' fear, and could make people hallucinate. Bad combination. Fortunately, when they actually fought him, he was three inches tall.
    • When Clem returns in season 9, he reveals he feeds from emotions, specifically embarrassment. This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when you see who he's spending all his time with in seasons 6 and 7.
  • The Thesulac from Angel feed off fear as well, and are known for cultivating the world's paranoia. They're not so easy to kill as Gaknar the Fear Demon.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Sam, Interrupted," a wraith is roaming the halls of a psychiatric hospital, feeding on the hormones produced in the brains of the patients. Its presence can also heighten latent mental instability in people, to give it more food.
  • An episode of the poorly treated Babylon 5 spinoff Crusade featured a mystical creature in a habitation bubble that got brought aboard the titular ship. Everyone had a different reaction to it and eventually Galen thought it was getting everyone all riled up to feed its own hunger. He was proven wrong in the end.
  • In Alice, the Queen of Hearts keeps the residents of Wonderland happy (and controlled) by harvesting positive emotions (with flavors like "Bliss", "Calm", "Excitement", "Passion") from captive humans and selling them to the populace as flavored "teas" through "Tea Shops", like the one Hatter owns/operates.
  • "Twin Peaks". BOB feeds on fear and pain.
  • The Doctor Who episode 'The God Complex' features a minotaur alien which feeds on faith, such as belief in a religion or in a person, by bringing out their greatest fear and causing the person to fall back on their strongest faith.
    • The episode also uses a tear jerking version of I'm Not Afraid Of You to cut off the minotaur's supply. Amy is about to be devoured, because of her faith in the Doctor. So the Doctor purposely makes himself a Broken Pedestal- pointing out all the times he's failed, the danger he's gotten her into, the childhood he ruined, and how vain he is- so that Amy will stop believing in him and be saved.
    • The Doctor encounters another Emotion Eater in the form of a sentient star that has to be kept asleep by constant singing, and when it wakes, it seeks to devour The Queen of Years, a young girl who has been taught all the lore and songs of her people. The Doctor gives it a serious case of psychic indigestion when he force feeds it the memories of his over 1200 year life.
    The Doctor: I walked away from the Last Great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and I watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time. No space. Just me. I've walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman. I've watched universes freeze and creations burn. I've seen things you wouldn't believe. I've lost things you'll never understand. And I know things. Secrets that must never be told. Knowledge that must never be spoken. Knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze. So come on then! Take it! Take it all, baby! Have it! You have it all!
  • On Dollhouse, "The Attic" is a simulation which forces people to constantly fight horrible terrors, which are actually computer problems which the people are using their neural and emotional energy to solve.
  • Barbas in Charmed is the demon of fear, and feeds on the greatest fear of his victims. Hilariously, his Mirror Universe Good Counterpart is the demon of hope.

    Music 
  • The Nine Inch Nails song "The Collector" is about one of these.

    Other Sites 
  • SCP Foundation
    • There is some speculation among Foundation personnel that SCP-589 "The Price of Obsession" feeds off of the intense anguish it causes its obsessed victims after it leaves them.
    • Some Foundation scientists believe that SCP-708 feeds on its driver's enthusiasm.
    • SCP-932 ("Night Feeder"). These creatures find a sleeping person, pin them down and wake them up. They then consume the fear the victim feels at the situation they're in.
    • SCP-1293 ("Squeedle Deedle Dee!"). These creatures trick human beings into feeling certain emotions so they can feed on them. Type A feeds on feelings of unease and perturbation, and Type B feeds on feelings of confusion and bewilderment. Namely, As have convinced the researchers that they have to hand over their kids, so they can draw them something to reproduce from, and Bs simply show up in front of someone and do an impromptu musical act with no rhyme or reason.
    • SCP-1655 ("Sorrow Tick"). Foundation scientists believe that SCP-1655 causes negative emotions in its victims in order to feed off those emotions.
    • SCP-2018 ("Museum of You"). SCP-2018 used to absorb the emotions that the museum visitors felt as they looked at the exhibits. It was inspired to create its own virtual museum to create exhibits relevant to the lives and memories of its visitors.

     Tabletop Games 
  • White Wolf
    • In Wraith The Oblivion, all wraiths have a number of ruling "Passions" that define their drives in life and in death. They can draw "Pathos" (the game's unit of Mana) from humans who are exhibiting the emotional state that underlies said Passion; the stronger the Passion, the more energy they can potentially draw.
    • Similarly, in Demon The Fallen, demons gain their power through human faith. They most often gain capital-F Faith by revealing their true forms to humans, either benevolently or... otherwise.
    • Emotion is a strong source of Glamour in Changeling: The Lost. A changeling who's a member of one of the Great Courts even gets bonus Glamour if he attempts to reap the Court's ruling emotion — desire for Spring, anger for Summer, fear for Autumn, and sorrow for Winter.
      • Spirits in the setting can be animal, machine, idea or emotion. These last two feed on the emotions of humans, and work to instill them. However, even a Love spirit is unable to understand the emotion it feeds on— all it knows is it likes it and will go to manipulative extremes to get a favorite mortal to feel as much of that emotion as possible before burning them out.
    • In Vampire: The Requiem, the Formosae are vampiric beings that feed on a person's self-loathing and body issues. By absorbing such things, they're able to make others more beautiful... at the cost of some of their life. Ironically, the energy accumulates on the Formosae in the form of fatty deposits, which means they need to maintain their own pyramid schemes to appear thin.
  • The Fair Folk in Exalted feed off of human emotions and dreams. Said emotions don't grow back, eventually leaving any long-term victim a mindless husk. Consequently, everyone who doesn't adore the Fair Folk tends to be utterly terrified of them. Which is fine with them, as either way, they find it delicious.
    • They can have ways of feeding that don't do permanent harm, or any at allnote , the thing is those aren't as effective and they mostly just don't care.
  • Warhammer 40,000 the daemons may be born from emotions, but they don't take them away from the source. Their tendency to possess or otherwise murder people actually seems counterproductive.
    • Dark Eldar can feed on the pain and suffering of other sentient beings. This serves many purposes in their civilisation, but most importantly, it reinvigorates them and prevents their souls from being drained by Slaanesh. Also, they can apparently feed on the emotional energies of battles to become more powerful. This effectively makes them Space Vampires.
  • In the Deadlands setting, all of the supernatural weirdness is ultimately caused by a quartet of malevolent entities called the Reckoners, whose power is derived from negative emotions, especially fear. The Reckoners' goal is to cause enough fear on a global scale to give them the power to manifest physically on Earth, and in doing so, kick-start the apocalypse.
  • Shadowrun and Earthdawn have the Horrors, creatures from the Astral Plane who live on the negative emotions of others. The Horrors can only eat negative emotions caused by their own actions.
    • Shadowrun. Ka•Ge magazine Volume 1 Issue 9 short story "Wonderland". The evil monster threatening the protagonists feeds on the emotion of fear in its victims.
  • Dying Earth RPG supplement Scaum Valley Gazetteer. The Gleft are spirit creatures who gain nourishment from confusion and distress. They cause these emotions by inserting a ghostly finger inside the victim's brain and stirring it around.
  • Dungeons & Dragons.
    • Mayfair Games' Role Aids supplement Dark Folk. The troll deity Lirabyth draws energy from the fear of victims sacrificed to her.
    • In the Mystara (Known World) setting, the Darkhood (a spectral undead monster) lived off the fear it caused in living creatures.
    • Ravenloft setting's Nightmare Lands.
      • The Nightmare Court traps dreamers in nightmares and lives off the negative emotions the dreamers feel: Ghost Dancer (guilt and shame), Hypnos (inadequacy, frustration and humiliation), Morpheus (misery), Mullongan (fear), Nightmare Man (any), and Rainbow Serpent (insecurity, mistrust, suspicion).
      • Dream spawn (nightmare monsters): Ennui (fear), shadow morph (fear and horror)
    • Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix 1 Terrors of the Desert. Zhackal packs feast upon the emotions of those about to die.
    • 3rd Edition supplement Relics & Rituals. The Chaotic Evil magic sword Bloodlust feeds off the fear of its victims.
  • GURPS Supers supplements
    • Wild Cards. Both Senator Hartman (AKA Puppet Man) and The Gatekeeper (owner of the Joker's Wild cabaret) feed off emotions.
    • Mixed Doubles. The super villain Orgy can control other people's emotions. He must be exposed to strong emotions at least once per week or suffer damage.
  • Hot Chicks RPG. Demons feed off negative human emotions such as terror and suffering.
  • Mayfair Games' Chill supplement Veil of Flesh. The creatures known as Ganabes absorb the psychic energy given off from the terror and agony of their victims as they beat them to death.
  • Lejendary Adventures. The Moriant inflicts a slow and painful death on its victim so it can feed on the victim's terror.
  • Champions supplement Teen Champions. The villainess Jeepers Creepers causes other people to feel intense fear. When she does so she gains nourishment from the fear.
  • Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters adventure "Weapons Grade". A spirit of vengeance amplifies feelings of anger and aggression in people so it can feed on those emotions.

    Video Games 
  • The flavor text in the Pokédex paints Shuppet as one that feeds off of grudges and deceit, in the sense that they remove those emotions. "Victims" of a Shuppet's feeding tend to experience much more pleasant moods for a time afterwards.
    • Misdreavus feed off of fear, as well, which explains why they like to startle people and scream at them.
    • From the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, the Bittercold, the Big Bad in Gates to Infinity feeds on the negative emotions of all the Pokémon in the world.
  • An NPC named Unfulfilled-Desire in Planescape: Torment feeds off of desire, and will literally drain you of whatever wants you describe to her. It's apparently quite a disturbing experience, but you can use it to help someone overcome his alcoholism if you know about her beforehand.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, Dark Gaia gets power from the negative emotions of everyone on Earth. Even though he's basically just a mass of anger and hate, though, he somehow oozes green blood.
  • The Guardian Lords in the Wild Arms series are a cross between this and Gods Need Prayer Badly. One of the themes is that since the world is dying, Love, Courage and especially Hope are disappearing and therefore the Guardians of those emotions are doing badly and can't help to fight back. Until our plucky heroes inspire them of course. Desire is doing perfectly fine in the dying world though.
    • The spinoff Turn-Based Strategy game introduces the opposite of a Guardian, specifically an entity that both feeds off and promotes fear, fitting the trope a bit better.
  • Demons in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne fit this to a certain extent; it's not the emotions themselves that feed them, but the power that they create, called Magatsuhi. Angels and other lawful demons tend to feed on the Magatsuhi created by adulation and faith, while devils and other chaotic demons tend to feed on the Magatsuhi created by terror and anguish. Make no mistake, however - neither side is particularly positive.
    • Nyarlathotep from the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series also feeds on every single negative emotion of humanity, being the representation of humanity's negative emotions.
  • Demons in Dragon Age: Origins fit this to a tee. Desire demons in particular seem to relish the chance to experience mortal life.
  • The Big Bad in Sam & Max: Freelance Police Season One is an emotion feeder, and he specifically establishes a Church of Happyology to supply himself with blissful emotions.
  • Kogasa of Touhou eats surprise. Unfortunately, she's not very good at surprising people.
  • In some Castlevania games, it is stated that Dracula can come back just by absorbing the negative emotions of humans.
  • The Big Bad of BlazBlue, Hazama/Terumi Yuuki, sustains himself through other people's hatred of him. Which is especially problematic for those trying to end him, as he is very, very good at doing horribly hateworthy things to people For the Evulz.
  • Obscure Game Boy Advance game CIMA: The Enemy uses this trope. The eponymous villains are said to feed off of the emotion of hope. To do this they drag humans into an extra-dimensional dungeon where the thought of escape gives them hope.
  • The Ruina from Super Robot Wars Destiny feeds on negative emotions like despair, hatred, etc. Thus they do everything to ensure the world is in a dark state thus the negative emotions of these humans would be fed on them. And their leader, Perfectio, is... practically immortal.

     Web Comic 
  • MAG ISAThe demons in this comic feed off of negative emotions. That is why they like to cause pain and suffering.
  • The gods of A Moment Of Peace, are a rare example of peaceful, useful emotion eaters that have a symbiotic relationship with the mortals they feed off of. They eat gruel made of human sorrow and baked cheer, and in return answer prayers and perform metaphysical chores that benefit humanity.
  • The Hadoken from 8-Bit Theater is fueled by The Power of Love — literally; the divorce rate goes up every time Black Mage uses it.
  • The 'cubi in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures feed this way, with each demon usually having a favorite "flavor" that's more filling for them. It doesn't remove the target's emotion, though, they're sustained just by being around someone who's emitting emotion. Although it's common practice for them to provoke the emotion they want through non-supernatural means.
  • In Megatokyo, it's suggested that the magical girls gain their power from the emotions of other people and are compelled to cause said emotions. What exact emotions seems to depend on the particular girl.
  • The Demoness in Yosh! Stated by other characters to likely not actually need emotion to survive, but that it does fuel her powers.
  • Walter from Wonder Mark #548 has a nutritional deficiency with this requirement.
  • Slake from Fans! claims to be an emotion eater, but it's not clear if he really is, or just a Vampire Vannabe.
  • Every Cubi feeds of a different emotion in Project Future
    • One of the characters in the later chapter was brought Back from the Dead as an android was Cubi who fed on Surprise
    • It also mentioned that there have been Cubis who fed on Fear, Joy, Depression, etc.
  • Spirits in morphE manipulate creatures into situations that cause them to feel a certain emotion so it can drink from them. An example was given in a magic lecture of an affection spirit which would possess a cat and cause it to seek love and attention from humans. Spirits are not smart enough to know that they cannot do this non-stop without killing their charge.
  • Eerie Cuties: Tia is a pint-sized demoness, who uses her powers to sow discord so she can feed on the misery of others. Though it isn't all fun 'n games for her, since displays of kindness and happiness can cause her to become physically ill. Meaning, in all likelihood, she has to spread discord in order to sustain her existence.

     Web Original 
  • The Godzilla Fan Film Godzilla vs the Kaiju Killer has Gabara reimagined as an entity created by Stalkkus to feed on the fear of his victims.
  • In Mortasheen, the Devilbirds all definitely fit this trope, all in many terrifying ways. (Except for Sloth)
  • More than a few interpretations of the Slender Man suggest/theorize that he consumes the fear of his victims. What a shocking development.

     Western Animation 
  • Spectra of Danny Phantom. By posing as a school counseler, she is able to meet with teenagers, discover their insecurities, and pick at their pain and misery, which she in turns feeds on to keep herself looking young.
  • The Knights of Destruction in W.I.T.C.H. fed on hatred, anger, fear, and anguish. Tridart became enormous during the first attack on Kandrakar, which terrified the goodies.
    • Later this became a major weakness for the Knights as the opposite emotion they feasted on weakened them and in Shagon's case destroyed him. Not surprisingly, their boss decided to phase them out for her old team, though this may have been her plan from the beginning.
  • In the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", after getting revenge on Scott by tricking him into eating chili made from his dead parents, Cartman literally drinks Scott's tears of despair, and comments on how delicious they are.
    Stan: Dude, I think it might be best for us to never piss Cartman off again.
  • Paddywhack from Darkwing Duck devoured negative emotions.
  • Bit of a twist in Avatar: The Last Airbender with the Face Stealer Koh. He doesn't eat emotions- but he will steal your face if you show any emotion.
  • Equestria is full of these. Seriously, a significant part of the ecology seems to use emotions as sustenance:
    • Discord, the spirit of Disharmony from the season 2 premiere: the Cutie Mark Crusaders' violent argument over the meaning of his statue (actually him Taken for Granite) is apparently the factor that tips his strength enough over the edge for him to break free.
    • The Windigos seen during the pageant in "Hearth's Warming Eve" feed on hate and anger, and shroud the land for miles around in an endless winter. It's implied that they make a habit of freezing their victims alive so that they can use them as a perpetual food source.
    • Changelings, from "A Canterlot Wedding", feed on love, and use it to power their spells. The love between Princess Cadance and Shining Armor was so strong that it allowed their queen, Chrysalis, to defeat Princess Celestia in a one-on-one magical duel, an act that even shocked Chrysalis herself.
      • Issue #3 of The Comic Book shows how they actually do so: they just suck the green, gaseous life miasma right out of the victim's body.
  • Mother Mae-Eye from Teen Titans is a rare villainess who gains power from being loved. Anyone who has eaten her mind-controlling pie would think she is and has always been their mother. She then takes care of everything until her "children" love her so much that she can bake them into a giant pie and get all of their fabricated affection without meeting any resistance.
  • The giant advertising mascots in The Simpsons episode "Threehouse of Horror VI", specifically the "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesore" segment; they live off attention. The advertising agency who created them says that advertisements lose their power when people stop paying attention to them, so simply ignoring the giant monsters and denying them attention would cause them to die. With some help from Paul Anka (who stars As Himself in the episode) this plan works.
    • Parodied in "The Canine Mutiny": Homer, after telling a tearful Bart that crying isn't going to bring Santa's Little Helper back (SLH had been repossessed in the place of a dog Bart purchased with money he didn't have), he briefly theorizes that dogs might be attracted to human tears if they smell enough like dog food. Therefore, Bart has two choices: go out and find his dog, or cry while eating can after can of dog food until his tears smell enough like dog food for his dog to come back.
  • In WordGirl, this is the secret to Miss Power's strength. As long as there was people in the area who are feeling upset and uncertain, she is unbeatable. She is really good at taunting people to make them feel this way. When WordGirl finds the strength and confidence to stand up to her and ignore her taunting, Miss Power is forced to retreat.

     Real Life 
  • There are plenty of people who "feed off of" another person's emotional responses, to one degree or another. Often times this is when the Emotion Eater is in a relationship with someone and will purposely instigate fights or other such acts in order to satisfy themselves, caring little or nothing for the other party involved.
    • Bullies get satisfaction from seeing other people upset and vulnerable, and if you ignore them, they won't get that satisfaction.
    • Internet trolls get a kick out of people's emotional reactions to them, and the best way to stop them is not to respond ("don't feed the trolls").
    • Real people are a lot more likely to "feed off" of positive emotions than fictional people though. This is also known as liking to make someone happy.

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