"I need you to let me touch it. The human soul — it's pure... energy. If I can siphon some of that off, I might be able to bring Sam and Dean back."A subtrope of Elemental Powers. This is the power over spirits, or spiritual energy. People using this power are likely to be able to manipulate this energy, which may or may not equate to magic, depending on the setting. Expect them to be able to speak to the spirits of the dead, as well as have some authority or control over them. Possession and Mind Control may also be within their powers. This can be either a villainous or heroic power, depending on how it's portrayed and used. (If portrayed negatively, this may overlap with power over darkness) If it is used by a villain, be very careful — it's likely they have some very nasty powers, like being able to remove people's souls from their bodies or draining their life force. This may or may not instantly kill them. People using this power are also likely to be quiet, creepy, and stoic. Can be Element Number Five. Unlike some of the other Elemental Powers, this power is more closely associated with subtlety, subterfuge and deceit rather than blasting stuff, though there are exceptions, such as spirit blasts and Faux Flame. Oh, and be careful if you try to kill these people — it's very likely that they'll come back as ghosts, possibly even stronger than they were in life. At extremes they may become a Psychopomp with complete control over the forces of life and death. Keep a can handy to cram them into, and look out for external containers they might use to sustain their life or powers. Super Trope to Soul-Powered Engine. Compare Your Soul Is Mine, which involves actually acquiring or stealing souls (and its subtrope Soul Eating), and Psychic Powers. It may be the justification for why The Devil wants to make deals to claim a human soul for his own. Depending on the setting, this may or may not overlap with Ki Attacks. Some of the ways to use this power overlap with Power of the Void, though conceptually they're not that similar. Contrast Necromancy, which is a power over death and manipulation of The Undead, although both can overlap. See also Our Souls Are Different. Not to be confused with the concert documentary Soul Power. Also has nothing to do with Tom Morello's guitar.
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Anime and Manga
- The Cancer saints in Saint Seiya have a cosmo affinity and an attack spread based around summoning or banishing the dead. This means they routinely travel to the underworld, attack with the ghosts of the dead, and are pretty hard to kill. Even Thanatos, the god of Death, had a handful and got shoved into a box.
- Bleach: The powers of incorporeal beings are based on their "spiritual power", otherwise known as Reiryoku, and their ability to control it. The energy that is actually used manifests as "spiritual pressure", Reiatsu, which determines the strength and durability of a spirit. This includes Soul Reapers (kido spells, shikai/bankai, resistance to injury) as well as Hollows. Some humans are able to use spiritual pressure/powers as well (Orihime, Chad, Quincies like Uryu, Bounts, etc.). Soul Reapers and Hollows are effectively spirits or ghosts. Humans who possess spiritual power, even if they don't have extra abilities from it, can see ghosts and therefore can interact with both Soul Reapers and Hollows as well as normal ghosts.
- Several characters in YuYu Hakusho have variants of soul power. Yusuke, Genkai, Kuwabara , and Sensui all have attacks based on "reiki" or spirit energy. Kuwabara also has a heightened spirit awareness. Kaito is able to remove souls from bodies by the application of his taboo power.
- Soul Eater characters have Soul wavelength which they can use to resonate with others usually between Meister and Weapon.
- Black*Star and Stein can attack using their soul wavelengh without a weapon.
- Shaman King obviously
- The AT Fields of both the Angels and Evangelions from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The Movie eventually reveals that every living being has one, and that is all that keeps them as separate entities. When GNR neutralises the AT Fields of everything on earth...
- One Piece:
- It turns out this is the true power of Brook's Revive-Revive Fruit. He can seperate his soul from his body and channel Ghostly Chills through his sword.
- Big Mom has eaten the Soul Soul Fruit, who has the ability to take souls (actually life spans) from people and can store them inside unanimated objects, trees and animals, giving them life. It is said that she cannot put souls inside corpses.
- Natsume of Natsume's Book of Friends has it, which lets him see youkai, draws youkai to him and makes him taste good to them, and lets him punch youkai clear across a room even though he only has average strength.
- In Slayers, the fifth branch of Shamanism is Astral/Spirit Shamanism, which focuses on spells dealing directly with souls and the astral plane. Example spells include blasts of pure astral energy that can actually harm Mazoku (which are pretty much immune to other forms of shamanistic offense) and dispelling effects. The form of White Magic has been hinted at by the author as being a specialist form of Astral Shamanism focusing on healing and exorcising.
- Thanos from Ultimate Fantastic Four has power over souls, and may transfer the soul of someone into another body as a way to reward or punish. He has also shown the ability to project his own presence into the bodies of others, quickly burning them out in the process.
- In Supergirl story Demon Spawn, villain Nightflame can remove souls from their bodies. She pulls Supergirl's soul out from her body and makes off with it back to her home dimension.
- In Superman story Kryptonite Nevermore, the titular hero loses most of his power and Wonder Woman's mentor I-Ching helps him get his powers back. Ching can use his mystical knowledge to pull souls from bodies and cure them.
- A Crown of Stars: Avalon’s Royal Family has soul manipulation powers: they can remove them from a body, talk to them, heal them, mend them, split them…
- Shinji and Asuka witness this first-hand when Rayana pulls Yui's soul from Unit 01 and Daniel mends Kyoko's soul.
- Scar's Samsara has magic based on African shamanism, where characters can commune with spirits and harness their power.
- It turns out the Element of Desire that Dark World!Rarity ends up with in the Pony POV Series has this. Rarity can allow ghosts to inhabit her body with her, which gives her the ability to project them as golems to help her fight. She also nearly takes Fluttercruel's One-Winged Angel form Odyne's soul to seal it inside herself, but Odyne fends her off.
- This applies to every man, woman, faunus, and animal in RWBY Second Generation. Just like in the main series, everyone has an aura that is a manifestation of their soul. The kicker? The manifestation is different for every individual.
- The Lord Marshal of the Necromongers in The Chronicles of Riddick was transformed into a "Holy Half-Dead" because he visited and returned from the Underverse, the Necromongers' promised land. He shows particular mastery of souls, as he can move his own soul seperate from his physical body, giving the illusion of Super Speed. He can also directly take hold of anyone else's soul, with the victim dying as soon as he releases it.
- Gul'dan's powers in WarCraft center around manipulation of souls - he can remove souls, take a soul of one thing and put it in other, giving the latter life, or use souls as pure fuel to power his spells.
- Necromancy in the Old Kingdom trilogy works like this, since necromancers have to literally cross over into the realm of death and bind spirits to their will in order to summon them as undead.
- This is Shroud's and Graffiacane's main power in Dis Acedia. The former uses it to create familiars, the latter for necromancy.
- The Dresden Files:
- Soulfire. Generally a power of angels, Soulfire draws on the soul of the user to form a foundation that strengthens his magic, especially constructive magic. Fallen Angels can grant Hellfire, which also turbocharges magic, but is especially good with the destructive spells.
- Souls also seem to be an aspect of magic due to the similarities of its various (intricate but internally consistent) rules to those of "normal" magic.
- A wizard can put Soul/Hellfire to both Good and Bad uses, depending on the wizard and his/her intent and purpose. Harry spent a while fueling both his shields and attacks with Hellfire, and was able to make both constructs and attacks with his Soulfire. He even charged a Theugy ritual with some Soulfire!
- Using too much Soul/Hellfire will drain your soul and thereby kill you, just like how using too much magic will kill you by draining you of all of your energy. Need that ATP to do bodily functions? Not anymore you don't!
- General interactions seem to affect changes in one's soul - something as simple as a hug can be seen hours later by Bob.
- This is apparently the mechanism of how true love protects someone from a White Court Vampire, for example - in consumating that love, some of the couple's soul is shared, and that soul defends their love.
- The Idrians in Warbreaker believe Awakening works this way; it draws upon Breath, which their religion holds is a person's soul. The people of Hallandren are not so sure, and don't see losing one's Breath as a particularly terrible thing, especially if they get paid well for it.
- Word of God is that Breath isn't a person's whole soul, but it is a part of it, and not having it does have some detrimental effects (it makes a person inclined to be irritable and depressed, and also more susceptible to disease).
- Mina in Dragonlance is a villainous example of this trope, as a Dark Messiah necromancer.
- Lissa and Adrian's brand of magic in Vampire Academy. They use spiritual energy for a variety of effects.
- Soul Power in the "The Zombie Knight" manifests in the ability for Servants to make something tougher or to make an attack more potent. It is the only way to harm a reaper, the source of a servant's life and strength, and Aberrations. Soul power can also be used to prevent a weaker servant from using their unique ability. It can be a major deciding factor in fights because of this and as soul power can only increase with age older servants can completely stomp scores of younger ones.
- Hraesvelgr in Unlimited Fafnir can manifest its soul outside its body, giving it complete immunity to physical attacks. It can also do this to humans, which paralyses them and allows it to consume their souls.
- There are several soul manipulators in Supernatural:
- Over the course of Season 6, it is revealed that angels can use souls to gain extra power. In the season finale, the angel Castiel absorbs all the souls in Purgatory and declares himself the new God. This backfires badly since souls aren't the only residents in Purgatory.
- Demons are also able to use Soul Power, as Crowley considers dealing and soul-numbers the most important aspect of Hell, and in season six, he wanted half of the Purgatory souls. Also, when he is King of Hell, he seems to have more personal power, which is implied to be because he personally owns more souls.
- The Men of Letters can use the power of their own souls to perform particular feats of magic, such as Time Travel.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The slightly obscure Spirit Shaman class from 3.5 is an unusual good-to-neutral take on this trope. The class learns to banish and manipulate spiritual entities such as ghosts and elementals, perform spell-like Ki Manipulation, and eventually even to shove souls back into their bodies to revive people.
- 3.5's slightly less obscure Incarnum concept is this in a general sort of sense — incarnum is soul energy, and the incarnum-using classes get to shape it in various ways, but as their methods essentially just borrow free-flowing soul energy from the immensity around in reality, they can't actually do anything special with specific souls.
- Magic: The Gathering splits the field between White and Black magic. The White variant tends to be benevolent, summoning phantom guardians and offering protection, while Black favors malevolent spirits and corrupting, enslaving, or even consuming souls. Naturally, characters and factions that use both tend to emphasize this power.
- In BlazBlue, half of the setting is this, since Nox Nyxtoires are powered by human souls. Also, the titular BlazBlue/Azure Grimoire is this in a nutshell.
- All ether-elemental characters in MARDEK, particularly Qualna. (Qualna has the opposite personality from the one described here, however.)
- All annunaki have this to a certain extent, since they can perform "soul transfers" upon dying that will allow their souls to inhabit another body.
- The Sorrow in Metal Gear Solid 3.
- The Feys in Ace Attorney: Mostly this is used for channeling the dead, but spiritual power can also be used as a sort of lie detector. (One, likely non-canon, manga shows that there's even a hidden technique to "channel" people who are still alive, just to get them someplace they can't go at the moment.)
- The Ghost type in Pokémon.
- There has been a Ghost user in every generation except for Generation VI: Agatha, Morty, Phoebe, Fantina, Shauntal, and Acerola.
- Kulkumatz in The Reconstruction.
- Demon's Souls is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Pretty much every game mechanic — leveling up stats, upgrading equipment, learning new spells and miracles, etc. — requires souls of some kind. The game specifically refers to this as "Soul Arts", and unfortunately, overuse of this kind of power also caused the whole mess that you're trying to fix in the first place.
- Dark Souls uses souls as currency, much like Demon's Souls. The souls that are really important to the plot are the Lord Souls. These Souls manifested themselves as flames that appeared before a select few — Gwyn the Lord of Sunlight, Gravelord Nito the First of the Dead, the Witch of Izalith and her seven Daughters of Chaos, and the oft-forgotten Furtive Pygmy — and granted them the power to slay the immortal Ancient Dragons and shape the world to their liking. The Pygmy's Lord Soul, the Dark Soul, was inherited by the player character whose true destiny is to bring an end to Gwyn's Age of Fire and begin the Age of Darkness.
- Dark Souls II even has spells that cost souls to use (they're pathetically weak if you don't have any) and an Infinity +1 Sword that does more damage the more souls you are holding (it needs one million to do full damage).
- Dark Souls III has Ludleth of Courland, whose specialty involves using an artifact known as a Transposing Kiln and boss souls to create spells and equipment.
- Rin Kaenbyou from Touhou spends her days carting corpses to a furnace in hell. She can also command their "Spirits" to attack you.
- Asura's Wraths Deities gain the power for their weapons this way, either through prayer or harvesting human souls by killing them. The Karma Fortress has 7 TRILLION Souls powering it up.
- In Shining Force, the Desoul spell literally rips someone's soul out of their body and blasts them to the afterlife. It's not seen as evil, though; the heroic wizard Kazin from Shining Force II can learn it (assuming he doesn't choose to become a Sorcerer instead).
- In Bioshock Infinite The ghost of Lady Comstock has the ability to raise the dead, leading to battles where your enemies are repeatedly resurrected until you destroy the ghost itself.
- M. Bison literally uses his soul as a weapon with his infamous "Psycho Power".
- Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear has a character class called Shaman (which was part of the wider Forgotten Realms lore, but not available in other games of the Baldur's Gate series). The class is based on being able to see and manipulate spirits.
- In Fate/stay night and its prequel, Fate/Zero, the Holy Grail and the true artifact powering it, Greater Grail is actually this. It recreates the souls of dead heroes throughout the ages including from the future, and summons them as familiars called Servants. Even the way it grants wish, it materializes the desire inside the Holy Grail War winner's soul and turn it into reality. Makes sense, since the Holy Grail is actually an attempt to recreate the Third True Magic, whose domain is to materialize and manipulate soul.
- Pai in Whats Shakin uses spirit magic, which draws from the powers of creatures in the spirit world.
- Aradia in Homestuck is able to hear the voices of the dead and send them to haunt people, and has the ability to remain in the physical world as a ghost. She also has very potent Psychic Powers, and fits the Personality Powers bill after she dies. She has the opposite personality before then, however.
- Sburb players with the Heart aspect turn out to have this powerset. Special mention to Dirk, who as the Prince of Heart, which basically equates to " Destroyer of Soul", has the power to tear out people's souls, which is first shown failing against Aranea, and later seen used successfully against Caliborn, Arquiusprite, and half of Gamzee to seal their souls inside of Lil Cal during Caliborn's Masterpiece. It's said he possesses the ability to destroy them outright, but only the removal is shown.
- In The Story of Anima, this is one of the many theories as to what exactly the titular Anima power really is.
- Binder of the Canadian Shield superhero team, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is a mystic sorceress specializing in this sort of power. Her full name is "Binder of Spirits". Her teammate Ghostkeeper gains his powers from the spirits of his ancestors.
- Indian sorcerer Tauji also specialized in spirit magic.
- Maahes and Menhit are two Egyptian supervillains who gained there powers when they were possessed by the lion-spirits of bloodshed.
- Deadworks is a ghostly villain who possesses corpses and uses them for his own purposes.
- The Gentleman Ghost is a Disney-sponsored hero with ghostly powers.
- Stygian of the Whateley Universe can summon ghosts of the dead, even the long-dead. In a bizarre twist, they look out for him. He's suicidally depressed, and several ghosts routinely keep him going to classes and eating meals.
- The Entire League of Patrons from the Sporewiki Fiction Universe does this, but The Cleanser in particular seems heavily pre-occupied with this.
- Aura in RWBY is a quality found in humans, faunus, and animals (basically,anything with a soul) that can be activated to behave as, as Jaune says, a "force field".
- "Aura is the manifestation of our soul. It bears our burdens and shields our hearts.", as Pyrrha Nikos says.
- Aura can also manifest as "semblances", essentially special effects that are unique to a person that range from superpowers like Ruby's Super Speed and Pyrrha's Magnetism Manipulation to buffs like Yang's Critical Status Buff that use aura.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender learns to do this as a form of bending. It is implied that this is the purest form of bending, or the original form of it. It's likely that entering the Spirit World and entering the Avatar State(merging all the Avatar's souls into one body) were subconscious uses of this power.
- Amon from The Legend of Korra can do more or less the same, though whereas it's authentic is somewhat questionable. In the finale "Endgame" it's revealed to be fake — he's really using Bloodbending.
- After being restored by Aang and the rest of her past lives, Korra can also Energybend.
- In Filmation's Blackstar episode "The Zombie Masters", the villain Shaldemar uses this in conjunction with a Soul Jar to turn people into zombies.