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Anime and Manga
- Parasyte, when the parasites don't kill you by absorbing your head.
- Project Arms, cyborg bits with artificial intelligences.
- Hell Teacher Nube, although closer to Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can then usual. Although he's extremely skilled and powerful even without the help of his Oni Hand, many of the critters he encounters would be unbeatable or at least extremely difficult to approach without it.
- The Aburame clan of Naruto act as human hives for armies of destructive bugs, who live off their chakra and can swarm and poison enemies.
- In Bleach, Ichigo's Hollow powers are the result of the remnants of the proto-arrancar White that had infected his mother Masaki being passed on to him at birth. These remnants merged with Ichigo's natural Shinigami powers which he inherited from his father and became his Zanpakuto Zangetsu.
- In Creature Tech, an alien parasite rips Dr. Ong's heart out, then attaches itself to his chest and serves as a replacement heart. It also provides him with several extra limbs, skills in hand-to-hand combat (the thing can learn kung-fu by watching movies), and when Ong gets really upset, teleportation powers.
- Marvel Comics' Captain Universe. Different in that that entity bonds with a different person each time, until recently.
- Marvel Comics' Dark Hawk is a young man who literally stumbled onto alien tech.
- DC Comics' Jonni Thunder: timeshare with an alien energy-being.
- Marvel Comics' Sasquatch, from Alpha Flight, originally thought he was that way due to gamma rays (a la Hulk) but it turned out he opened a doorway into another dimension, through which a Great Beast was able to come through and bond with him.
- Venom tries to be this at times, depending on the host (Eddie Brock pulled off a decent Anti-Hero, Mac Gargan faked it, and Flash Thompson is this until the symbiote freaks out and starts eating things). Anti-Venom tries, but Eddie's a little too... off in the head by now to pull it off for extended periods.
- Spider-Man was this during his time with the symbiote, though for most of their time together he didn't even realize it was in the passenger seat.
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The T-Virus gives Alice super abilities, which she uses to fight zombies.
- Severed Ties (1992): A desperate scientist injects himself with a reptile based regeneration serum to return his arm count to two, which worked out fairly well as long as one didn't mind the mouth, or teeth, or eyes ... and fed it.
- In Dis Acedia, most of Shroud's powers come from Shade/Manah, the manipulative spirit inhabiting his cloak.
- Parasite Eve. For the most part, the Neo-Mitochondria (Mitochondria who have developed a Hive Mind sentience) are simply The Virus, but in a few people with just the right DNA (read: Aya Brea) it instead becomes a powerful, symbiotic force, granting Super Strength, Hyperactive Metabolism, Pyrokinesis, and the ability to kill people on the cellular level with your MIND. And probably pick out winning lottery-tickets, too.
- Dark Future: Krokodil becomes the Host of the Ancient Adversary, the Pawn of the Nullifiers. Exactly what the nature of the Ancient Adversary is is never made entirely clear during the series. However, it seems to take the form of a crocodile and is connected in some way to the Moon. It's certainly been around as long as Seth and the Dark Ones have and it's probably not good, just antithetically opposed to them. Being its host gives Jessamyn some degree of supernatural invulnerability and some extra super-strength on top of the cybernetic augmentations she already had.
- Seen in Perry Rhodan once in a while. For a time, the eponymous protagonist himself had "Whisper", an intelligent alien symbiont who could be worn like a cloak and in exchange for regular baths in a protein-rich nutrient fluid endowed his wearer with telepathy and enhanced night vision; for another example, part of the entire culture of the Duchy of Krandhor was the common use of "spoodies", tiny insectoid creatures that implanted themselves under the host's skin (usually on top of their skull) and provided a measurable intelligence boost.
- A short story titled Idiot's Crusade has an alien quietly fuse with the stupidest kid in town to study humans For Science!. A side effect of this is that the boy gets a massive amount of powers (and total control over them), but without any enhanced intelligence. This leads to a rather disturbing ending, where the boy, in an effort to make the world "happier", decides to go to the UN building to use his powers to improve the moods of the world leaders (while still lacking the mental capacity to think out the effects or ethics of his actions). Meanwhile, the alien realizes there is no way for him to detach from the human, meaning the idiot is guaranteed his powers for quite a while.
- In Pact, after Blake Thorburn invites various local spirits in to fill the gaps in his being, they take the form of mobile bird tattoos on his arms. He can remove them to send them to do minor tasks for him, such as moving objects or powering Sympathetic Magic, but at significant cost to his own metaphysical stability.
- A Mage's Power: After a trial in a desert, Eric is given the spirit of Dengel, a legendary mage. He has access to all of Dengel's knowledge which gives him a leg up on older mages. However, he does not have Dengel's spiritual might and so he has to make up the difference with guile.
- The heroes of The Kane Chronicles serve as vessels of the Egyptian gods.
- Nearly all Surgebinders from The Stormlight Archive are this. They get powers from having spren bound to them by having a quality matching the quality that the spren stands for. Kaladin, for example, is an honorable person and thus is bound to an Honorspren. The powers increase as they choose to embody the ideas of their spren, with the spren eventually becoming an extremely powerful living weapon. If they reject that quality or idea, they kill the spren instead.
Live Action TV
- Blending with a symbiote in Stargate SG-1 can result in this: the human (or other creature) gains greatly increased healing abilities, a near-perfect immune system, and an elongated lifespan. They also get the sum total of all the knowledge of the symbiote. The downside? They have to share their body and mind with another intelligent creature. The Tok'ra believe that equal sharing of the body between symbiote and host is the proper way to do this, and only take unwilling hosts in extreme circumstances. The Goa'uld do not share such morals.
- Kamen Rider has a couple of examples:
- Ryotaro Nogami, Kamen Rider Den-O, is (by his own admission) a Non-Action Guy; but as a Singularity Point he can still maintain control of his body even when possessed by Imagin. His good nature and Heroic Willpower are what brings the team together and creates both of Den-O's Super Modes, Climax Form (which requires the Imagin to work together as a team) and Liner Form (in which Ryotaro fights on his own without being possessed).
- Haruto Souma, Kamen Rider Wizard, became a magic-user by resisting his Despair Event Horizon through Heroic Willpower (those who don't are killed and replaced by their own inner Phantoms). Since then, he's made it his mission in life to be the "final hope", preventing others from falling into despair and becoming Phantoms. When his Phantom was destroyed, he ended up bringing it back to life in order to protect his friends, and thus created his Super Mode Infinity Style. For its part, Haruto's Phantom gradually goes from Teeth-Clenched Teamwork (since if he dies, so does it) to actually respecting him and being a willing partner.
- Exalted: This is how Infernals are made: a minor demon bearing an Infernal exaltation envelops the body of the Infernal to-be in a chrysalis, as the body and mind of the Infernal adapts to the exaltation. The soul of the demon (designated a 'Coadjutor') is absorbed into the Infernal; it remains sentient (though not always active) and may act as the other voice inside the Infernal's head.
- Alex Mercer survived the Blacklight Virus and got powers from it. Or so it seems. It turns out it's not that he survived but that the virus is him. The guy 'hosting' him was also a complete bastard - so spectacularly evil that the flesh-eating super-virus that ate him was an improvement.
- James Heller, same powers, is also an example; perhaps even a purer one.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has Lucifer inject the main character with a parasitic demon called a magatama near the start of the game, transforming him into a half-demon.
- Skullgirls has a couple of these, most prominently Filia, who plays host to Samson (not the one from The Bible). She combines her own fighting prowess with Samson's Combat Tentacles.
- Sora from Kingdom Hearts managed to do this twice: the first is with Ventus at the end of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, and again with Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II, giving him the ability to Dual Wield.
- The spirits in Shining the Holy Ark allow our three main heroes to do things mere mortals couldn't possibly do.
- Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 5, thanks to the anti-bodies in her system from her T-Virus infection in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, is completely immune to the mutagenic effects of the countless viruses that Umbrella has spawned. Unfortunately, this is also the reason Wesker's Mind Control chest-thing worked on her without killing her.
- Resident Evil 6 gives us Sherry Birkin and Jake Muller. Sherry still carries the G-Virus in her body from her infection in Resident Evil 2: The vaccine she received stopped her from mutating but gave her a ridiculously sped-up Healing Factor. Jake on the other hand has a variant of the Progenitor Virus in his system which he inherited from dear old dad, which boosts his physical capabilities and makes him immune to the C-Virus.
- The Seru from Legend of Legaia grant their human host a variety of superhuman powers as part of a mutual fusion, which may include (depending on the Seru) Elemental Powers, Super Strength, or flight. In the presence of the Mist, however, this turns to Demonic Possession; the main character's Ra-Seru are immune to this downside.
- Abbey from Gnoph. Her powers come from the symbiote Scut, who lives in one of her lungs. Gnoph in general work this way, and are implied to be in common use on Abbey's homeworld.
- In the Futurama episode "Parasites Lost", Fry gets infected with worms. These worms make Fry stronger, smarter, and healthier. The Planet Express crew travel into Fry's body to get rid of the parasites, then Leela stops them because she likes the new Fry better. And then Fry removes the parasites anyway because he wants to know that Leela likes him and not what the parasites made him into.
- In MIB: The Series, when a Symbiote attaches to you the upside is nigh immortality via healing/rejuvenation, rubberman-like expansion tied to an epic shapeshifter baggage, varying amounts of shapeshifting for yourself, on and off again ability to breathe fire, and a "lay on hands"-ish ability to heal others. the downsides, however, are that you could get attached to an annoying Symbiote and you have 20 hours before you merge permanently.
- Avatars in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra serve as earthly vessels of Raava the Avatar Spirit, who enables her hosts to channel her (along with the spirits of her former hosts) and harness Elemental Powers.
- One theory of the origin of mitochondria. The cellular powerplant organelles have their own DNA separate from the nuclear DNA, and it is similar to some bacterial DNA. It's theorized that these proto-bacteria had superior biochemical processes when it came to metabolism, and in exchange for some form of mutualistic symbiosis, linked with other proto-life that had much bigger cells. They became so intertwined as life evolved that these bacteria just became another part of the cell.