Things are not as they seem. What you see is not what's truly there. It may be a building rendered Invisible, or a person who has taken the guise of another. It may be Invisible to Normals, hidden by thermoptic camouflage, holographics, a Perception Filter, a Glamour, or even some kind of implausibly specific hallucinogen. Whatever the case, to see to the heart of the matter, you need the True Sight. This trait cuts through illusions to show objective, absolute truth, rendering all of that stuff above useless. Of course, it may well come at a price, either on a per use basis something or more permanent, such as the loss of your earthly vision. On the other hand, it may just be hereditary, or a natural ability of your particular race, in which case, lucky you. Or it could be an ability bequeathed by some special object. If possible, try not to overuse it, because it might be hard on your sanity. While True Sight always involves true perception, it doesn't always give the user the ability to properly interpret what they see. Thus, they may see the truth and still come to an incorrect conclusion, and there may be reliable ways of fooling them. Additionally there can be "degrees" to True-Sight. If the illusions looks faded out to the user for example, then the True-Sight user would know that there was an illusion there. However if the True-Sight pierces right through the illusion (making them see things EXACTLY as they really are), then a True-Sight user might fail to point this out to others around them (like not pointing out an illusionary hole in the floor to the party because they think everyone else should be seeing such an obvious hole in the floor). Often a function of the Magical Eye. Not to be confused with precognition, the domain of Seers, or clairvoyance, usually the viewing of distant places. Often bundled with Supernatural Sensitivity and/or Aura Vision. Supertrope of See-Thru Specs, glasses or other lenses that have this ability, and See the Invisible, which affects only Invisibility. Contrast Glamour Failure, when the illusion has some flaw that can be perceived by normal sight.
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Anime and Manga
- The Hunter Quent Yaden from Wolf's Rain can see through the wolves' humanoid illusions when drunk.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World has Nanami, who has the ability to see through illusion. She alerts the group to a Shadow Tribe assassin (who was in human guise) at Arlaman and, later, proves pivotal during Makoto's showdown with Galus atop the Eye of God.
- The problem is that she simply can't see the illusions themselves, so most of the time she assumes everyone sees the same things as her.
- The "Rabbit of Truth" from The Voynich Hotel grants this to the wearer.
- In Sight Ichigo has ability to see Zanpakutou spirits, which the manifestations of the wielder's soul, making Ichigo become an empath and a Living Lie Detector through seeing them. The price of his ability that it gets stronger the zanpakutou can interact with him and the world around him, meaning the spirit can touch or hurt him if they desired to. It has gotten strong enough that he can have other people physically interact with their Zanpakutou spirits.
- The sunglasses in They Live! reveal that certain people are really aliens, as well as the presence of subliminal messages.
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army: Krauss provides the BPRD with special goggles capable of seeing through magical glamour; the BPRD uses them to find trolls disguised as humans. As a Continuity Nod to the first film, when Hellboy himself is seen through these goggles, he's shown with longer horns and a fiery crown—accoutrements of the Prince Of Hell role that Hellboy has been rebelling against.
- Buckaroo Banzai from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension receives the ability to see through the Lectroids' human disguises from the Black Lectroids. This proves to be bad news for the Red Lectroids.
Buckaroo: There they are.
Perfect Tommy: There who are?
Buckaroo: Don't you see them?
Sydney: See who?
Buckaroo: There! Evil pure and simple by way of the Eighth Dimension!
- Witches and Wizards on the Discworld have not second sight, but First Sight, and can see what's really there rather than what they expect to be there. This is partly because of magic and partly because they have no Weirdness Censor. In The Wee Free Men, Tiffany is told that the way to find the "witches' school" is to stand on a hill, open your eyes, and then open your eyes again. She realises (eventually) that witches' school isn't a place, and just means seeing the world properly.
- Wizards in The Dresden Files can use their Sight at will, with the caveat that anything they see, however wonderful or horrible, can never be forgotten, ever. It remains in their mind's eye, as fresh as if just seen, for the rest of their lives. When Harry catches a glimpse of an ancient horror, he has to rearrange the way he thinks just to make the seizures stop, and even then it's a good while before he stops shuddering.
- Also, in some novels, Harry creates an ointment to see through the Sidhe's glamour, which acts like a lesser version of True Sight, with the advantage that non-magic users can benefit from it as well.
- In Harry Potter, 'Mad-Eye' Moody's false eye can see through solid objects, clothes and incidentally, invisibility cloaks.
- Stephen King's The 10 o'clock People - Having quit smoking, and then taking it up again allows you to see the hideous alien forms of the powerful beings that have taken over the human race. They're called Batmen.
- Dean R. Koontz's novel Twilight Eyes. Only people with special purple eyes can see the creatures known as Goblins as they really are. It's later revealed that this manifests in different way including True Smell.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians certain human characters where able to see through the mist. Rachel Elizabeth Dare uses this ability to guide Percy and Co through the Labyrinth.
- Luis from Valiant and Ironside in the Modern Faerie Tales trilogy can see through glamour and is impervious to enchantments. It's described as "True Sight".
- "The Sight" is a form of magic in the Tortall Universe, which allows the gifted person to detect things such as magic, lies, illness, pregnancy, and godhood. There's also Kel's griffin feather headband, which allows her to see through illusions when worn above her eyes.
- Inverted in The Sword of Truth: Jennsen (and any of the 'pristinely ungifted') can see the real thing underneath the illusion because she's unable to see or be affected by magic at all, rather than having some magical ability that allows her to break an illusion like many of the other examples.
- "Witch Sight" in the Chrestomanci series is able to detect spells and see through illusions.
- Way back in Journey to the West, this was one of Sun Wukong's many, many powers.
- In Andre Norton's Witch World novel The Year of the Unicorn, Gillian uses moly to give herself this and correctly name a Were-Rider.
- In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jack's illusions only temporarily work on Jenny. Jack warns her that the Fairy Queen will therefore be interested in her.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Boy and the Darkness, after Danny lets a Flying go, the other Wingers punish him by cutting out his eyes. The Sunny Kitten restores his eyesight with the True Light. As a side effect, Danny's new eyesight is this trope. He is able to see through low-density objects (e.g. wood but not stone or metal) and becomes a Living Lie Detector. The Kitten warns Danny, though, that his new True Sight can cause him to see only the dark in people and develop a Holier Than Thou attitude towards the others.
- In the novel of Sentou Yousei Yukikaze, Yukikaze has a specialized sensor suite dubbed "Frozen Eye" that is far more sophisticated than any other plane in the Faery Air Force. This also turns out to be the only thing that can detect miniature JAM teleportation portals. In the first novel, it's unclear what is being detected because it only shows up as a solid straight line on the cockpit computer screen, but in the second novel, it is revealed that what Frozen Eye is actually detecting is a series of tiny vibrations in the air that outline the opening of a portal, which is invisible to both the naked eye and regular radar.
- In The Falconer the protagonist uses a special kind of thistle to be able to see fairies. There are people who can see fairies without such means, but they are very rare, and in great danger to be killed by the fairies, most of whom are malevolent.
Live Action TV
- On Grimm the titular Grimms have the ability to see wesen (creatures revealed to be the basis of all fairytales) when the wesen lose control over their ability to hide their true forms.
- Any human can see a Wesen's true form, but that requires the Wesen to actively go "full woge", which requires even more effort than maintaining their human disguise. As one episode reveals, repeatedly going "full woge" can result in the Wesen being unable to maintain his or her human appearance for long.
- Eaglebones Falconhawk from The Aquabats! Super Show! is given Eagle Vision to see his Attack Animal The Dude. "And yes, Ricky, I can see fairies."
- In Supernatural, angels are naturally able to see the demons' true faces (which are apparently rather monstrous) instead of the face of the person that the demon is possessing.
- Fairy tales frequently include a means for mortals to see the fair folk and/or see through their Glamour. Common mechanisms are a special ointment to be applied to the eyes, looking in a mirror, and looking through a stone with a natural hole in it. Having fairy ancestors also usually helps.
- One such ointment appears in a Slavic tale where a bandit hero was invited to the local lord's palace to make peace. His best friend accompanies him and, suspicious of the lord's men and their strange behavior, sneaks some of their ointment and applies it to one eye. Upon closing the other eye, he sees that the palace is really a ruin, the other guests are withered trees, the lord's men are hounds, and the lord is Satan himself.
- Dungeons & Dragons has the powerful True Seeing spell, which pierces all supernatural means of disguise and concealment. However, it doesn't help out with anything non-supernatural besides simple darkness. A few rare creatures, such as powerful demons, have innate True Seeing.
- Mutants & Masterminds includes True Sight as one of its stock Super Senses powers, allowing the user to see through all illusions, all concealment, and see that which is hidden.
- In Shadowrun, magicians can use Astral Perceiving to see a person's true aura.
- A major strategy element in StarCraft is the use of optical camouflage, concealment, and cover to be unseen by the enemy. As such, there are several units and building types that have "Detector" status, meaning they are able to thwart such tricks. The same aspect is used in Warcraft 3.
- Dawn of War has a similar feature for "infiltrating" units.
- League of Legends has invisible wards, traps and champions which can only be revealed by True Sight. This can be provided by certain wards, trinkets, defensive towers and (until the Season 4 updates) Oracle's Elixir would give the champion using it a true sight radius.
- Egoboo has this as a spell.
- The Eye of Truth in La-Mulana allows you to see Invisible Monsters.
- The Lens of Truth in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time let you see invisible objects and creatures, see through walls that were normally opaque but weren't really there, and also see the contents of chests without opening them (thus avoiding booby traps, and wasting money, ammo, etc. when you can't carry anymore.) It returns in Majora's Mask, and Link's Awakening had something similar in the form of the magnifying glass.
- Several characters (mostly those with great spiritual power) are able to see Amaterasu's true form in Ōkami.
- The Reveal Psynergy in Golden Sun, which allows one to see through illusions and invisibility.
- Jedi Knight has Force Sight that reveals invisible enemies.
- In Guild Wars during the Ascension in the Crystal Desert the player wants to achieve this. However this is for storytelling only, since the player doesn't gain any special ability and is meant to cut through the invisibility of the Unseen Gods ( The Mursaat, powerful mages). So a player who skips the middle part will still be able to see and fight the Unseen Gods properly.
- In RuneScape, the ring of visibility allows players to see certain ghosts. The player can later gain the ability to see such things without the ring.
- The Aeroprism in Phantasy Star I, Phantasy Star II and Phantasy Star IV allows the party to "see that which cannot be seen". In all three games, it must be obtained late in the game to access certain hidden dungeons.
- Baldurs Gate 2 has the AD&D version, which tends to be the go-to spell to eliminate invisibility and illusionary defenses once the party is high enough in level to cast it. It was intended to be in part 1 as well (it is mentioned in the file spell.ids), but got dummied out, probably because in a vanilla game, clerics and especially wizards are unlikely to get high enough in level to actually use it.
- In Eternal Darkness, the Reveal Invisible spell is needed at several points to progress the plot. The description does warn though that it should not be used recklessly, lest the caster Go Mad from the Revelation from seeing Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
- The Yellow Orb that Sidney uses in Grrlpower has the ability to grant True Sight to the owner as well as see supernatural but otherwise invisible effects like the radius of an aura spell. It fails to pierces mundane disguises though as someone proved with a simple newspaper mask. In this setting True-Sight likely has degrees of strength, as a succubus remarks that her illusions being pierced should have been practically impossible (thus Sidney's True-Sight is extraordinarily powerful).
- In Roommates supernatural beings may or may not see through eachother's illusions depending on specialties, experience and power level, but the only mortal known to possess true sight is Inspector Javert... he is also low key Anti-Magic. It might be a supernatural ability, or he might be just too stubborn and cynical for this crap.
- Likely has something to do with his Romani ancestry (to phrase it less politically correctly, he's at least half-Gypsy) and/or his comic-only relation to Morgan le Fay.
- Chatoyant College: In Book 1 we find out that Dawn has the gift of true sight. Later, we find out this is because Dawn's Aunt Pru was given a special ointment by a faerie man.
- Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends: The main character, Nick Logan, is capable of perceiving the true appearance of camouflaged aliens, whether they are shapeshifters (Lycanthropes), using holograms (Vampires) or installed inside a human host (like the Vodun).
- In Thunder Cats and ThunderCats (2011) this is one of the powers granted to the holder of the Sword of Omens as part of "Sight Beyond Sight" (also includes precognition and the ability to see great distances).