"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."
— Castiel the angel
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.
Compare Your Soul Is Mine
, which involves actually acquiring or stealing souls, and Psychic Powers
. 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. See also Our Souls Are Different
Not to be confused with
the concert documentary Soul Power
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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 pressure", or spirit energy, and their ability to control it. 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 pressure, even if they don't have extra spiritual powers 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...
- In 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Soulfire in The Dresden Files. 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.
- There are several soul manipulators in Supernatural:
- Over the course of Season 6 of , 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.
- The Men of Letters can use the power of their own souls to perform particular feats of magic, such as Time Travel.
- 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: Agatha, Morty, Phoebe, Fantina, and Shauntal.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Kazan 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.