The Needless

"I finally came upon the sage floating cross-legged in the air with no visible means of support, for he had no need of a job. He drew his sustenance from the universe itself, plus the occasional para-drop of Martian spice pudding from well-meaning admirers."
Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space

A character that doesn't require the same physical or mental needs to survive or remain healthy as humans. Or, at least, they lack one need. It could be anything from eating, "waste excrement", heat/warmth, sleep, breathing or even companionship (we're talking an entire lifetime of complete isolation here, not just being The Stoic). They just don't need it, unlike those poor old Homo Sapiens. They may still choose to do these things (if they can, for that matter), but it's not a requirement.

Super Trope of The Sleepless, Batman Can Breathe in Space, Super Not-Drowning Skills and Bottomless Bladder.Compare Perpetual-Motion Monster. Not to be confused with manga and anime NEEDLESS.

Common character types that fit this trope:


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Namekians of Dragon Ball Z don't need food, only water. Justified, in that they're actually a type of humanoid, sentient plant species. On a related note, Frieza (and presumably the rest of his family/species) doesn't need to breathe for long periods of time.
    • Piccolo does eat — apparently he got in the habit of it while on Earth. Justified since, unlike the rest of his species, he doesn't get as much sunlight (Namek is close enough to multiple suns that it never has night).
  • Played for Drama in Fullmetal Alchemist. Alphonse Elric, whose soul is currently bound to a suit of armor, cannot eat or sleep and it brings him much sadness and frustration on his quest to get his body back.
  • Angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion are said to have eaten from the "Fruit of Life" (metaphorically), thus they require nothing to continue living, and will never die of old age or disease. Their Core, the S2 Organ, provides an inexhaustible amount of energy for them. NERV is able to control the Evas because they don't have S2 Organs. If the Evas go out of control NERV can simply cut off the power. Problems arise when Eva-01 eats an Angel to claim the Angel's S2 Organ for itself.
  • The Data Weapons in GEAR Fighter Dendoh, justified as they are living data.
  • The title character Anpanman doesn't seem to eat anything at all whenever the other characters eat or drink. Some viewers think it's based he's based on bread, but the other main heroes that are based on bakery goods don't really seem to have that problem as there's times they eat and drink normally. This was even joked on this fan comic.
    • The official website stated that the anko filling in his head makes him sustenance, which makes sense in a way. Though one of the early edutainment specials from the early 90s shows him that he's about to eat a soft-served ice cream cone, until he trips over ans cries about it.


  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg is implied to not have to eat or breathe - he's immortal unless he's killed by the current owner of the ring to which he's bound. Suicide is not an option, so implicitly starving and drowning can't happen. He probably doesn't need sleep, either.
  • This is the case for the mechs in Robin Wasserman's Skinned trilogy. Being human consciousnesses uploaded into mechanical bodies, they're unable to eat, sleep, and breathe, have bodies that are self-healing and cleaning, and are unable to die. Of course, they think of it as Blessed with Suck.
  • In the Land of Oz, the Sawhorse is a saw horse which Pip brought to life using Old Mombi's life-giving powder. Later Jim the (real) Cab Horse comes to Oz, and tries to convince the Sawhorse that being a meat and bones horse is better than being a wooden horse magically brought to life, but all the examples that Jim gives actually come out in the Sawhorse's favor: for example Jim says that he can bleed and that's good because people can know where he's hurt - the Sawhorse points out that he doesn't get hurt, so he doesn't need to bleed. Jim is the only animal from our world who, having come to Oz where he can talk, begs to go back to the real world where he's just a dumb animal.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Melisandre, the red priestess of R'hollor, needs no food and barely any sleep. However, she keeps up the pretense needing a bed and eating breakfast so as not to unnerve her companions. Moqorro, another red priest, also survived several days in the sun without food or water. Their magical powers seem to sustain them, at least for short periods.
    • Cersei's champion and newest member of the Kingsguard, Ser Robert Strong, has never been seen eating, drinking, sleeping, or even using the privy. Unlike Melisandre, he doesn't even make a token effort to fit in (being, most likely, a mindless automaton), which deeply disturbs the people around him.
  • The vampires in Twilight don't need to breathe, eat or sleep.
  • In Wedge's Gamble, Ooryl Qrygg, a Gand, reveals that the inhalant nerve gas in the room they need to get into will have no effect on him because he doesn't breathe. Turns out Gand get all the oxygen they need from their food. When asked how he talks, he responds that the air goes in, crosses the vocal cord equivalent, and goes right back out.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Kalak doesn't need to sleep. He doesn't need to rest. He used less water than his companions when crossing a desert, though Daniar put her foot down on that last one.
  • In Elantris, Elantrians are a Blessed with Suck version of this. They are immortal and cannot die even if gravely injured or deprived of food and water indefinitely, but they also cannot heal, meaning that any wound they take, from a stubbed toe to a sword through the guts, perpetually hurts exactly as much as it did when it was new. Most of them go mad relatively quickly. Even though they don't need to eat, they still feel hunger, and they have no way of getting food other than stealing the small amount given as part of each new Elantrian's funerary rites. Somewhere between a third and half of them have gone mad just from hunger. They've even tried eating each other, but for some reason Elantrian flesh tastes so horrid that not even they could stomach it.
  • Blood Meridian: Judge Holden never seems to sleep. He also doesn't seem to age. It's implied that he's some sort of malevolent, supernatural being, or possibly even the personification of human evil.
  • Exotes/Gragals in Moon Rainbow series don't really need neither food, nor oxygen, because they have an intracellular symbiotes that are essentially living nanomachines, which provide all cellular need by direct matter-to-energy-and-back conversion. Unfortunately, convincing one's body that it doesn't need to, say, breathe is an another matter, and is a rather significant problem for the uninitiated.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Star Trek, Vulcans are always immune to some disease or can do things "illogical humans" can't do.
    • Played for Laughs in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Muse". Tuvok says that like all Vulcans he can go for weeks without sleep, then ends up snoring loudly on the bridge after falling asleep in the command chair.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Jem Hadar, soldiers of the Dominion, don't need to eat or sleep. Instead they need a very specific chemical for the rest of their lifes, or they'll die.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also has Changelings, a race of shapeshifters who do not need food, water, or oxygen. Laas travels in space without the aid of a ship, suggesting that they do not need heat or pressure to survive. Subverted with Odo, who needs to rest in his default liquid form every sixteen hours or suffer ill effects.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg are also an example, as we see them travel around in the vacuum of space with no difficulty. It's left vague what food sources they need to sustain their biological components.
    • Data, being an android, also doesn't need the regular biological necessities to sustain himself. Side material explains that Data does require a kind of special nutrient compound to fuel himself. It is much more energy efficient than typical biological food, and even without it he does not "die" but only shuts down and can be reactivated later (as seen in "Time's Arrow"). He requires nothing else to function, like air or rest. He can't self heal however, so any damage to his body needs to be manually repaired. His lack of sleep factors into a few episodes, and because of it he always takes command of the night shift.

    Multiple Media 
  • In BIONICLE, the Makuta race lost almost all their needs after their evolution into Energy Beings. The only thing they do need to survive is an intact armor to house this energy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, many types of creatures do not need food or sleep, such as Constructs, Elementals and Outsiders (beings from other planes). Elves meditate instead of sleep (even when hungover). Players can take advantage of some spells for the same effect, and there is the Tattooed Monk whose Ocean Tattoo causes him not to have adverse effects from not eating, drinking, or sleeping. They still can, but they don't need to. The Vow of Poverty from The Book of Exalted Deeds restricts a character from owning almost anything but also gradually gives advantages making sure they don't need to, including freedom from the need to eat. The psychic race Elans can spend one Power Point to sustain themselves for 24 hours.
    • Like elves, thri-kreen don't need to sleep. It's an important part of their psychology.
    • Warforged (a playable race) and other constructs don't need to eat, drink, sleep or even breathe. Neither do vampires or other undead races. While generally rarely played, there are numerous races that qualify as The Needless.
    • The Ring of Sustenance is a commonly-purchased item that prevents the need to eat or drink, and reduces sleep requirements. A psionic power does the same thing.
  • The "Life Support" power in Champions.
  • A slew of advantages in GURPS. Doesn't Eat/Drink, Doesn't Breathe, and Doesn't Sleep are only the beginning.
  • In Exalted, various Adorjan charms will remove an Infernal's need to eat, sleep, and breathe (most of these charms are Powered by a Forsaken Child, requiring that the Infernal kill someone every so often to use them).
    • Malfeas can also remove your need to sleep, except to recover Willpower; sadly, when you do, you suffer hellish nightmares.
    • Yozi charms have 'transhuman transcendence' theme in them. By learning those charms (most of which are permanent), one can far exceed the limitation of humans while getting closer and closer to the nature of the source Yozis. And all Yozis are sustained by existing according to their nature (e.g. by being a wind, or a desert, or an ocean, or a backstabbing super-dick).
    • Most of the Abyssal charms to do this have names like "Corpse Needs No Food"; they can be used in temporary form, or taken as Taints to have permanent effects and equally permanent drawbacks (in the listed case, you don't need to eat - but that's good, because you physically can't).
  • Warhammer40000 has Space Marines, genetically engineered supermen who either severely reduce or eliminate altogether many human needs. To wit, they only need a couple of hours sleep a night to be fully rested, and that's in ideal conditions - in battle, they can continue fighting for hundreds of hours nonstop by resting parts of their brains in sequence, although long-term use of the ability can be deleterious; they can breathe underwater and in most poisonous atmospheres; they have limited needs for eating and drinking, as their body/armour is capable of recycling waste; and they are generally immune to nearly every disease and toxin that wasn't specifically designed to target them and their heightened immune system. Basically, Space Marines are capable of surviving just about anywhere, under any conditions.

    Video Games 
  • Many video games, while not making this an explicit part of the canon, implicitly do not require players to sleep or eat due to Rule of Fun.
  • This is part of why Wiseman wants to turn everyone into Magnus in Baten Kaitos Orgins.
  • In Touhou magicians who are turned into youkai don't need food or sleep, though they do both out of habit or leisure. They don't age, either.
  • Most player characters don't have normal needs but Fallout: New Vegas has a optional hard core mode where you need to eat, drink and sleep to stay healthy.
  • Dwarf Fortress has a number of tags deciding if a creatures needs to breath, eat, drink, sleep or stop exerting themselves. Goblins, for instance don't need to eat or drink, but still sleep and get physically exhausted while a number of inorganic creatures are full Perpetual Motion Monsters.
  • Angels, in Tales of Symphonia, although this can be altered with the correct Key Crest on their Cruxis Crystal, since said crystals are a powered-up form of Exsphere. Causes some dismay from a character who just wants to be normal feeling that she's losing her humanity as a result.
  • Inverted in Diablo III.Tyrael, an Angel who was The Needless originally became mortal and found out what it's like to have to worry about biology.
    Angel: My stomach feels strange.
    Lorath: Did you forget to eat again?
    Angel: No. In fact, I decided to get the day's eating out of the way all at once. I kept at it until I couldn't take another bite.
    Lorath: Oh, it sounds like you ate too much then.
    Angel: Being a mortal is very complicated.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has the Lanius, who do not need to breathe and, in fact, drain oxygen from the rooms they are in.
  • Cole from Dragon Age: Inquisition is a Fade spirit who somehow manifested a human body rather than possessing one. As a result, he doesn't need food, although this may change if you pick "person" over "spirit" in his personal quest.

  • Sluggy Freelance: Though Aylee the alien certainly needs to eat, and has quite an appetite, there are some funny-unless-you're-the-human moments when she forgets that unlike her, humans need to do things like sleep and breathe.
  • Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court doesn't need to eat, sleep, or breathe, and also can survive immersion in lava or encasement in ice. She probably doesn't strictly need social interaction either, but she does engage in relationships with men, apparently just because she wants to.
  • Matilda of DMFA doesn't need air to breath, but does need it to talk and breath fire.

    Web Original 
  • Various characters in Phaeton are like this.
    • Lalita and food(as long as she has water)
    • Shine and her heartbeat
    • Russel Lazar and everything
    • Frost and water (to drink) and heat.
  • Multiple characters from Worm are this in one form or the other:
    • Miss Militia doesn't need to sleep.
    • Legend requires less and less sustenance the faster he flies. By the time he's going relativistic, he requires neither food nor sleep nor rest and becomes unaware of (and unaffected by) the passage of time.
    • Night Hag can go without food or drink indefinitely without adverse consequences.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Men In Black animated series, it's revealed that Jeebs (whose species can regenerate from being blown to pieces) and his Psycho for Hire brother don't need to eat. Then the former brags that they don't even need to breathe oxygen to live, only to regenerate. Since they're in space at the time, J promptly opens the airlock and shoots said brother.
  • Action Man: After assuming his metallic form in the series finale, Dr. X no longer needs food, water, or air to survive.
  • Transformers Depending on the Writer and the continuity: sometimes they're portrayed as needing to consume energon and periodically go into stasis (sleep) to continue living, but at other times they just need energon for their equipment and stasis is only something they do to stave off death from injury long enough to be repaired.
  • The Crystal Gems (With the exception of Steven) possess super strength, don't age, and don't require food, water or sleep to function.

    Real Life 
  • Anaerobic Organisms may qualify depending on how you define this trope, as they do not need Oxygen in order to survive (and in fact it typically is toxic to them). However, they use other chemicals in place of Oxygen, which Aerobic organisms use as a waste electron acceptor, meaning while they don't use Oxygen, they use other chemicals to fulfill the same function.

Alternative Title(s):

Absence Of Needs, Self Sustenance, Self Sustenance Powers, Supernatural Self Sustenance Trait, Needs Nothing, Lives On Nothing