Telepaths reach out to look for the minds of other characters. Others might detect lifeforces or auras, or perhaps a specific type of phlebotinum. A more realistic version might be a character with enhanced hearing or sense of smell who can track others down. Depending on the setting, it might be the special skill of a single character or a basic secondary power anyone can use. Compare Aura Vision and Third Eye. For the technological counterpart, see Everything Sensor. May be related to Enemy Scan. See also The Force Is Strong with This One
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Anime & Manga
- It's a basic secondary ability of anyone who is spiritually aware to be able to sense the reiatsu of other spiritually aware/active beings. How well they can interpret and react to it depends on their level of exposure to the spirit world, however. Even characters who are said to be bad at reiatsu-control have no problem sensing the reiatsu of others, unless anyone is actively working to suppress their reiatsu.
- In the first filler arc, mod souls which can specifically sense the Bount are introduced.
- Early on in Dragon Ball Z, the ability to sense ki/power levels without a scouter or other device is part of what separated the good guys from the bad guys. Vegeta is the only non-hero on Namek with the ability, having picked it up on Earth. As the series went on, more and more people are able to do it on their own.
- Certain ninja in Naruto, actually called sensors, have the ability to detect the chakra of other ninja. This is also one of the innate abilities of ocular jutsu, namely the Sharingan and Byakugan. It should be noted that sensors (but not the eye powers) were a minor ass pull as they were never mentioned before their introduction in the 2nd half even though they would seem pretty useful for finding, say, Sasuke.
- Claymore features several characters whose uncanny abilities at sensing the yoki (demonic energy) have led to them being mainly used for remote observation of other Claymores and yoma. Case in point: "God Eye" Galatea and "Tracker" Dietrich.
- In Cyborg 009, one of the nine cyborgs is a woman whose only special ability is super-senses at long range. The nine are intended to function as a unit, and her job is to detect incoming threats (though she does get a laser gun to defend herself with).
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Xingese warriors like Lan Fan have the ability to detect the Qi of others. Lan Fan can detect the homunculi because of their twisted life energy.
- In Darker Than Black, emotionless children known as "Dolls" are used for remote scouting and searching. They're capable of sending their senses out through some medium — the exact medium varrying from Doll to Doll. The most common type — used en-masse by the antagonists — sees through powerlines and electrical appliances. Other types we've seen can see through any surface of water, or any surface of glass. Often, they work in concert with Contractors, spotting targets for them.
- Shamal of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has this role in addition to being The Medic. Her ability to detect enemies is advanced enough that she could spot someone hidden from more conventional magical and technological sensors employed by The Federation. Other characters can also use spells like Area Search.
- InuYasha: Youkai can sense the aura (jyaki) of other youkai. Spiritually capable humans such as monks and miko can also sense these auras. This also applies to humans who don't have spiritual abilities but who have been trained to deal with youkai, for example, professional youkai-exterminators such as Sango and Kohaku.
- In Soul Eater, certain Meisters are capable of using something called Soul Perception, which allows them to see the souls of individuals, including other Meisters and enemies. It's stated to be a sixth sense of sorts.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaya Irimi has such exceptional senses that she is able to serve as Mission Control for her group. She simply sits on a hillside overlooking the enemy stronghold, and listens to track the movements of their allies and enemies in a multi-story and multi-building complex. She teaches these skills to Hinami, another Ghoul with exceptional Super Senses.
- Pretty much any telepathic mutant (Prof. X, Jean Grey, Emma Frost...) can fill this role.
- On the same subject, Wolverine's senses are so high-tuned he can recognize and track people by individual scents — this ability also allows him to see through shape-shifter disguises.
- The Marvel Universe character Rachel Summers was forced to use her psionic abilities to detect and hunt down mutants in a dystopic alternate future.
Films — Live-Action
- All Force-sensitive individuals in Star Wars can sense the presence of other Jedi, Sith, etc., as well as powerful emotional outbursts from normal people.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: The Necromongers have their fallen soldiers modified into units known as Lensors, who have received cybernetic implants that their comrades can use to detect things like bodyheat, sounds, air composition, and even starships outside a planet's atmosphere.
- Ward of Hurog can find people. He just has to concentrate on a person, and he immediately knows where they are. This doesn't always make him happy, as he doesn't know whether they are safe. When he senses his sister several metres below him, he's horrified, as she could be severely hurt by a fall. She isn't. This ability also causes some Nightmare Fuel when he tries to find his mother, who is nearby, and can't find her - her body is there, but she isn't. There is also Oreg, who can sense the presence of magic in others, and also how powerful they are.
- Over the course of the first few The Wheel of Time books, Perrin's connection to wolves grants him a sense of sight and smell on par with that of a wolf. He routinely notices people walking up behind him by catching their scent before they make a sound.
- Wizards in the Black Company series can learn to be those. In fact, the company owes most of their victories to Boring but Practical applications of magic (as opposed to Stuff Blowing Up favoured by the villains).
- The Dresden Files:
- Harry Dresden can sense the presence of magic in others. He can even tell how skilled a user the other person is from minimal contact.
- In-universe, Halloween is a very powerful time magically when all sorts of status quos can change. Naturally, a number of major showdowns happen then. In order to counteract this trope, one of the early Merlins (successor to the Merlin) invented Trick-or-Treating so that the immortals wouldn't know if they were about to try and snack on a squishy human or a not-so-squishy deity. Lulz presumably ensued.
- In the Twelve Houses series, Cammon can sense the presence of people nearby as a side effect of his Empath mystic powers.
- In The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, the title Ear, Eye, and Arm are mutant detectives with super sensing — hearing, vision, and some vague empathetic/psychic power (as well as really long limbs). The Ear and the Eye have to wear earmuffs and very dark sunglasses so that normal sights and sounds don't overwhelm them.
- Tobias of the Animorphs has several major strengths, and this role as a Sensor Character is perhaps the most important. He is Mode Lock ed into the form of a red-tailed hawk, and therefore he has extremely superior vision and hearing. The other characters can also change into hawks or the like, but since Tobias spends all of his time in the form of a hawk, he is still better at using these hawk senses than they are. The aliens also provide more fantastic examples, like Ax with his ability to sense the passage of time as accurately as a clock, or the Leerans with their psychic senses.
- Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation worked this way when she was well-written.
- Cole can sense the alien fugitives on Tracker.
- Current or former hosts to Goa'uld symbiotes in Stargate SG-1 have the ability to detect Naqadah at close ranges due to having traces of it in their bloodstream. This means that after a brief stint as a host in season three Carter can usually tell if there's a disguised host somewhere in the area, even if she isn't sure who it is.
- Stargate Atlantis: As a result of experiments performed on her ancestors, Teyla can sense the Wraith, allowing her to warn her fellow Athosians of impending attacks. She is later able to tap into that ability to spy on Wraith ships, use their technology, and even (briefly) take over the body of a Wraith Queen.
- Babylon 5: Telepaths have the ability to sense each other or the thoughts of mundanes unless special care is taken to block them (extreme mental discipline on the part of the person trying to hide, forcing the telepath to take ability-suppressing drugs, or having another telepath provide Psychic Static).
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- Each faction in Dawn of War has units that can detect infiltrated enemy units; all psykers, for example, are detectors.
- Touhou: Star Sapphire, one of the three fairies of light, has the ability to detect living beings around her. Worth noting is the fact that she seems to be a step above the chronic stupidity that plagues fairies in this setting, most likely because of her ability to detect trouble and just move away from it, usually leaving her partners in crime to recieve the punishment for whatever mischief they just caused.
- The Grey Wardens of Dragon Age are able to sense the presence of Darkspawn due to being subjected to a suspended assimilation into the Darkspawn hive mind. In return, Darkspawn can sense Grey Wardens. The more senior a Grey Warden is, the better his understanding of the Darkspawn becomes, to the point that some of the older ones can understand the Archdemon. When a Warden feels their sense of the Darkspawn growing stronger, they go on a Suicide Mission to the Deep Roads to take down as many Darkspawn as they can before dying. In the unlikely event that they survive long enough, the Darkspawn will eventually come to consider them a fellow Darkspawn and ignore them.