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Hell Seeker

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Well, if you insist, buddy.

"I have no idea what hell's like. It's a pretty rough place, right? Mean guys everywhere? Hot? I bet it's an ideal place to train. I wanna go there someday... Can you talk to someone, get me in?"

A Hell Seeker is a character who is actively trying to get into Hell. Literally Hell, as in the afterlife of endless torment. Maybe he thinks that he will like it there, being allowed to "reign in hell" rather than becoming one of the tormented souls, perhaps thinking that he might even become one of the demons. (Such a character is usually eventually proven wrong, ending up at the bottom of the hellish food-chain.) Maybe he's a hardcore masochist who thinks that an eternity of torture and violation sounds great. Maybe he's concerned he'll otherwise wind up nowhere at all, or vanish entirely. Or maybe he's just trying to punish himself. Or maybe he lives in a setting where Hell is something much cooler than the horrors believed in by certain Real Life religions. It might also be that someone he loves has been damned and he prefers to spend eternity with them or is trying to rescue them. The Blood Knight might view Hell as a kind of Warrior Heaven where he gets to beat up demons all day, especially if Hell Is War. Or maybe, despite all the fire, brimstone, agonizing torture, and "What's New Pussycat?" playing on an endless loop, Heaven is even worse.

A variation of the Hell Seeker tries to find and open the Gates of Hell, but does not plan on actually going inside — instead, he means to release the Legions of Hell, presumably so that they, in gratitude, will do his bidding. Of course, again, Evil Is Not a Toy, and, should he succeed, this variation will probably get eaten by the beasties he releases.

Since most religions forbid suicide, one wonders why these people don't just shoot themselves.

Contrast Heaven Seeker and Escaped from Hell. Also contrast To Hell and Back and Deal with the Devil. The former is for characters who want to go to hell but want to get out afterwards, while the latter is when the character accepts hell after death in return for getting good things in life but not having going to hell as a goal in itself, is likely to try to escape from the deal. This in turn can be contrasted with I'm Going to Hell for This. See also Dystopia Justifies the Means, when they decide to just settle for recreating Hell.

If there happens to be an Easy Road to Hell, so much the better.

Not to be confused with the Hellraiser: Hellseeker, although that movie is an example.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Tetsu from Saikano wants to go to hell (quote: "I still haven't killed enough to go to hell"), because he thinks that's where he'd go after death and that death is the only way out of his misery. May be simply a Death Seeker, though.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Younger Toguro is one of these, in addition to being a Death Seeker. He chooses to be punished in the deepest level of Hell, even though he could have gotten off with a lighter sentence, because he feels that he could never be punished enough for what he let happen to his old martial-arts pupils and the aftermath of such.
  • In Hellsing, the members of Iscariot are like this, although it's less seeking and more resigned to their fate. They believe it is their duty to "Form square in hell" and battle the daemons there.
    • In the anime series, Incognito breathes this trope. He's quite explicit about it.
  • One episode of Hell Girl centers around a teacher who wants to go to Hell because he has nothing left to live for. He does ultimately get sent to Hell, but is horrified when he finds out that one of his students will be joining him one day since she sold her soul to make it happen.
  • In Dragon Ball GT, Piccolo starts wrecking Heaven so he can be sent to Hell in order to rescue Goku and get him back to Earth.

    Comic Books 
  • Carnage (2022): Previews for Issue #6 show Carnage breaking into the Norse afterlife of Hel looking for the Dark Elf warlord Malekith the Accursed, who was killed during the War of the Realms.
  • Some Chick Tracts feature Straw Loser characters who believe that hell is cool. They are, of course, always proven wrong.
  • Inrutat of Pondus has a double subversion: A Death Metal satanist comes to heaven, looking awfully disappointed. An angel explains to him: "Oh, but this is your hell".
  • Steve Dallas on Bloom County mentioned this a few times, although it wasn't clear whether he wanted to go there or was simply resigned to the fact that he would.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the short story "Down Satan!" by Clive Barker, a wealthy businessman becomes convinced God doesn't exist, and decides to find out whether the devil does by building a literal Hell on Earth. This has also been issued as a fairly grotesque Comic Book.
  • In Hideaway by Dean Koontz, the Serial Killer antagonist calls himself Vassago, believing he is the human incarnation of one of the demon princes of Hell and that by hideously murdering enough people, will be allowed to return to Hell at Satan's right hand. After killing them, he arranges their corpses in ways that symbolically/artistically represent the sins he fancies they committed, but truly knows the reason for doing this has nothing to do with punishing the guilty. It's also hinted at that his beliefs of demon heritage may not be so delusional after all
  • Hattie Durham is one briefly in the Left Behind series, after deciding that she does believe in God and the Bible, but doesn't believe she deserves to go to Heaven. She comes around eventually.
  • Quentin from The Sound and the Fury entertains the idea of going to hell with his sister for committing incest (which he didn't commit), in order to protect her. Or something.
  • Alma from Suffer the Little Children attempts to sell her soul to the Devil - she's from a very abusive family who are all convinced they are going to heaven, and she wants more than anything to escape from them. (It's a story by Aleister Crowley, who went through pretty much the same experience in his childhood.)
  • Mapleshade from Warrior Cats was this when alive: she hated StarClan and wanted to go to the Dark Forest.
  • Madison Spencer from Damned had her reservations at first, but grew accustomed to living in Hell and convinced anyone she could reach through her telemarketing work that they should do everything they could to join her there.
  • In the Wizard In Rhyme book The Witch Doctor, the evil Queen Suettay of Allustria believes that her Deal with the Devil will give her a privileged rank in Hell and let her keep on tormenting people beneath her. Judging from the screams after she's Dragged Off to Hell, the Father of Lies was less than honest about her retirement policy...
  • Before he was killed by the Other King, the Comet King, Jalaketu West from Unsong sought to invade Hell so he could destroy it and free every soul trapped there, but when his armies fought their way to its antechamber he discovered he couldn't affect Hell with his power without first becoming part of it. And as the resident Big Good and the actual, literal Messiah (unlike Jesus), his chances of going to Hell when he died were pretty much nil, and he feared even doing evil deeds might not send him there if it was ultimately for the greatest cause possible. Knowing this, his wife Robin West sold her soul to Hell, forcing Jalaketu to follow. The Comet King might not go to Hell if he did incredible evil for the sake of all humanity, but doing incredible evil for the selfish goal of rescuing only his wife is another story. Hell will be destroyed either way. So he became the Other King, killed a body double, and set about becoming an Evil Overlord.
  • Ink Catherly of Hitherby Dragons seeks Hell because she's 'an explorer.' She wants to map out places no one's ever come back from, because anything unmapped and unmappable is an incomprehensible void that harms the world. (Though there are strong implications later in the story that she also is seeking Hell to find a justification for her own suffering.) Her concept of Hell, though expressed as a physical place, is described primarily in psychological terms - a place where there is suffering you cannot get used to and cannot let go of.
  • The Vampire Chronicles: Downplayed by the vampire Magnus. With centuries of undeath eroding his sanity, he assumes he's damned and is merely curious about what awaits him in the afterlife. His last word on the subject before he immolates himself is that he wants to set eyes on the Prince of Darkness and spit in his face.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Niragi in Alice in Borderland states outright that he has every intention of going to Hell when he dies, and hopes that it happens really soon.
  • Yaguruma/Kick Hopper and his accomplice Kageyama/Punch Hopper in Kamen Rider Kabuto. Their quest to reach Hell is more metaphorical than most, as it seems to revolve around embracing suffering and despair rather than reaching a physical location.
  • Akumaro in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger wants to break the barrier between worlds and literally bring about hell on Earth. It's the only way he can see hell, because he was born a Gedoushuu (monsters of that series) instead of being a mortal who fell to The Dark Side.
  • In Blackadder, when the title character is made Archbishop of Canterbury he has to talk a dying landowner into leaving his lands to the Crown instead of the church. Since the landowner is convinced he'll go to hell (and has good reason too, considering that everyone present including Edmund and his father are shocked at the sheer number of his crimes) Edmund resorts to convincing him that hell is awesome.
  • A common goal for Big Bads in the Buffyverse
    • The Master at the end of season one, and Angelus and Drusilla in season two, are both "open the Gates of Hell" examples. While their demonic status helps explain this, Spike points out that most vampires only talk about destroying the world and are actually quite happy here, making genuine Hellseekers the anomaly.
    • Ascension (which the Mayor was an example of) involved a mortal becoming a true demon.
    • Glory was a perfect example. Everything she did was an attempt to return to the hell dimension she ruled.
    Buffy: That's it? That's Glory's master plan? To go home?
    • Anya initially sought to regain her demon status and go home when she became mortal. She also teamed up with Vampire Willow, who at least wanted to get back to her hellish alternate reality.
    • The climax of Dark Willow's rampage, although she was really more of an Oblivion-seeker.
    • Basically what the First attempts in season seven, with the Ubervamps replacing legions specifically from hell.
    • Holtz knowingly trapped himself in a hell dimension, along with baby Conner, knowing this would be the ultimate revenge on Angel.
    • This was the intent of releasing Illyria, although it turned out hell isn't what it used to be.
  • In the The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "A Nice Place to Visit", Rocky becomes increasingly frustrated with the afterlife because he's bored with getting everything he wants with no effort. Finally, he declares that he wants to go to "the Other Place", only to be told that he's been in Hell all along.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • In the Buddhist tradition, a noble version of a hell seeker appears in form of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha (Dizang in Chinese) also known as "Buddha in Hell." While he has achieved enlightenment and is ready to become a Buddha, he seeks to find his way to and stay in various hells as that is where the sinners are and he seeks to redeem them. He will not leave until all hells are emptied.
  • In some versions of Christianity, Jesus Christ descended To Hell and Back upon His death on the cross as a result of bearing the Original Sin of mankind. As He was also the Messiah, His death actually brought the salvation of either the virtuous pagans that had died before He was born, or every damned soul in Hell, an event known as the "Harrowing Of Hell".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Diabolists in Ars Magica take it as a point of professional pride that they'll be consigned to Hell upon death, whether in the (misplaced) belief that they will be elevated to devils and escape punishment or out of (one-sided) loyalty to their demonic masters; and tend to be quite insulted by the accusation that they'd try to weasel out of their final damnation. It is, of course, inconsequential that a highly specific and situational spell exists to give a damned soul a chance to elude the devil sent to collect it...
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The 3.5 Edition Fiendish Codex sourcebook answers the question of why anyone would make a Deal with the Devil by explaining that most cultists are misinformed about the true nature of Hell, and assume that their relationship with their fiendish patron will spare them its torments, or fast-track them to the top of Hell's hierarchy - "Neither evil kings nor fanatical cult leaders look at a lemure and imagine it to be their most likely eternal form." In rare cases a damned soul may be promoted directly into the form of a higher devil and retain their memories and personalities, but most are subject to the usual mind-shattering tortures that reduce an incoming soul shell into an non-sentient devilish foot soldier.
    • In the Forgotten Realms setting, devils are allowed to bargain with deceased mortals awaiting judgment in the Fugue Plane due an agreement they have with Kelemvor, the ruler of the place and the god of death. While not allowed to lie to or kidnap the dead souls, they may try to offer souls a bargain in exchange for coming with them, such as wealth for living families on Faerun, vengeance against still-living enemies, or even rapid promotion to stronger forms in the infernal hierarchy. Some mortals who worshipped cruel gods and/or lived lives where they violated their faiths may actually think Hell is better than the fate that awaits them, so while the devils' success rate isn't all that high, it's enough for them to keep at it.
  • Infernum has the Faustians; Black Mages who tend to deliberately move to Hell because a) time stands still for mortals so long as they are there, and in effect it can make them immortal, and b) it's easier to access the mana they need to fuel their spells there. It helps that all humans gain some low-level Reality Warper powers in Hell, that their magical abilities are potent enough against demonkind that they are granted "honorary demon status" by infernal law, and finally they legitimately can ascend to become full-fledged demons in their own right, so Hell is actually not so hellish for them compared to how it is for other humans.
  • In In Nomine, many who make a Deal with the Devil do so with the promise that they'll get preferential treatment when they finally bite it and go to Hell. Very rarely, their masters even keep their bargain.
  • Weirdly zigzagged in Demon: The Descent. Demons in this setting are fallen angels and the basic assumption is that a given demon wants to find its way to Hell... however, "Hell" is not only seen as a positive place, but is a highly individual concept; one demon may want to lord over a traditional Fire and Brimstone Hell, but another may just want a quiet, normal life with a human family. The rationale is that Heaven is Hell in the human sense of the words, as it means being a tool of the alien/malevolent God-Machine with no free-will of one's own; with this in mind, "Hell", defined as "a complete and total separation from God", becomes a paradise.
    • That said, there are degrees of "Hell." One faction of Tempters, the Devils, are noted as trying to make their own paradises free from the sight of the God-Machine... where they not only get to service as masters over their own domain, but to torment all the souls they see as "worthy" of eternal punishments. It's noted that, if any demon is ever outed as having these ethos, nearly every other demon in the area will make sure they meet a painful end, because they have limits.
  • Many of the Nephandi (fallen mages) in Mage: The Ascension. By the time they Descend they are already twisted enough to actually enjoy it in there.
  • In Warhammer, champions of the Dark Gods tend to make their way to the Chaos Wastes at the top of the world in hopes of attracting their patrons' attention and reaping great rewards.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Warboss Tuska grew so fond of fighting daemons during Warp travel that he led his Waaagh! into the Eye of Terror and found a Daemon World of Khorne where he and his boyz are now trapped in an endless cycle of carnage, death and rebirth. "Told yer I knew where da best fightin' woz."
    • The Space Wolves' Primarch Leman Russ was last seen leading the chapter's first company directly into the Eye of Terror in search of something to cure the Emperor's mortal wounds.

    Video Games 
  • There is an old gamer joke about a hardcore Doom player who finds a Genie in a Bottle and is granted three wishes: IDDQD, IDKFA, and a one way trip to Hell.note 
  • In Doom (2016), according to the Slayer Testaments, the Doom Slayer is said to have chosen to stay in Hell because of his pure, unrelenting hatred of demons and desire to keep killing them forever, until he is the only thing that Hell fears anymore.
  • The backstory of Zork has the legend of Saint Yoruk, who travelled to Hades to meet with the Devil and learn the secrets of magic from him. When Yoruk died, his soul went to heaven, but as he'd gotten used to Hades, he fought his way back there.
  • In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, the player can choose to perform mean/non-charitable options five times. If he does so, he enters hell when he dies.
  • Cassus Vicus of Clive Barker's Jericho was the only person who sought out the Pyxis on purpose. Coincidentally, he's the only one who has all his perverted, twisted, and depraved desires fulfilled, with no catches.
  • In Darkness 2 Jackie intentionally goes to Hell to save his Love Interest, Jenny, as The Darkness is holding her hostage there. He ends up being trapped there by the Angelus.
  • In Twisted Metal 3, Minion (a demon) wishes to be sent to Hell in his ending. Calypso complies... and sends him to Hell, Michigan.
  • The undead in Deadbolt are so desperate for warmth that some actively seek out a trip into the fires of Hell.
  • Rogue demonologist Theodore Wicker of The Secret World spent a long and bloody quest trying to send himself to the Hell Dimensions in physical form, even modifying his body just so he'd be able to survive the Hellish environment - transforming him into a Demon of Human Origin. As it later becomes apparent, he did this to stage a revolution against the rule of Eblis and liberate demonkind.
  • Final Fantasy II: The Emperor dies in battle with the heroes, promptly overthrows Satan, and comes back to the living world with new powers and a more omnicidal outlook on life. It's not clear whether this was an intentional Thanatos Gambit or simply making the most of a bad situation, however.
  • During Goku's special interaction with Cell in Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Goku reveals that he is interested to see what Hell is like and even asks Cell to help him visit it someday, as it's seemingly hot and full of mean guys, and therefore may be a good place to train.note  Hilariously, Cell responds by telling Goku that Hell is filled with nothing but sorrow, misery and "other things", refusing to divulge any more than that.
  • The protagonist of Helltaker plunges headfirst into Hell to find himself a harem of demon girls.
  • Bjorn Hammerparty from Helheim Hassle is a viking teenager who is a pacifist sick and tired of the viking Martyrdom Culture (Everyone in his village including his family is looking forward to getting killed in battle to go to Valhalla) and after dying in an accident he looks forward to being sent to Helheim before Odin sends him to Valhalla on a technicality (He fell of a cliff by accident and landed on a bear, which counts as a Mutual Kill fighting the bear) to fight to the death every day only to come back to life for all eternity which is not what he wanted his afterlife to be so he tries to weasel out of it and get to Helheim.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Contract Demon, when Eleni doesn't have her summoning equipment anymore, she decides to go to Hell to see her demon crush.

    Web Comics 
  • In Jack
    • Lita wanted to go to hell so she could kill her father, again. Of course, she had no idea he had become one of the Seven Sins and she ended up helping him.
    • There are also people who were masochists killed themselves wanting to be tortured and fetish nuts in life who don't mind being violated by demons in various ways. Hell proves smarter than them however, as the former are put in a calm, peaceful, cheery place that makes them think they're in fluffy cloud heaven, and are tortured mentally. The latter's soul ultimately meanwhile ends up in a re-creation of a Christian abstinence camp.
  • Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater wants to get to Hell to rule it. He succeeds...for a time. One thinks he's got to die again eventually, though.
  • Ink Catherly from Hitherby Dragons is a preteen adventurer determined to reach hell "because I'm an explorer." In this case, hell is located in an infinitely-tall tower inside her closet.
  • In Zodiac the super-villain Hellhound is a devout believer who derives horrible pleasure from burning others to death with his flame powers, seeing Hell as his vision of Heaven surrounded by an eternity of burning flesh.
  • This Buttersafe's comic "The Worst Best Firefighter" features a devoted firefighter who deliberately act like a monster in hope he get sent to Hell. He actually want to deafeat the hellfires themselves.

    Web Original 
  • The Other King in Unsong is actively trying to commit so many atrocities that he can't possibly be denied entrance into Hell when he dies. The reason why he's worried about being denied damnation is that one, he's trying to balance out a truly epic number of good deeds and virtuous actions performed back when he was still the Comet King, and two, Thamiel will take every excuse to bar his way into Hell since he knows perfectly well that if the Other King were to fully enter Hell he'd proceed to destroy the place.
  • Sailor Moon Abridged plays this for laughs with Sailor Mars, to the point that when The Scouts die in Episode 40, the others are dragged there with her, even Amy.
  • Parodied in the Newgrounds cartoon "The Grim Reaper Show". When the Grim Reaper has to judge where to send a Satanist who really wants to join the Devil's infernal legions, he carts him off to Heaven because "you're actually a pretty easygoing kinda guy". Mind you, this is immediately after he had already sent every Christian to Hell.
  • An interesting take in the Creepypasta "How To Survive In Hell." The protagonist tells about the legend of someone in Hell known simply as "The Slaughter Man", rumored to be a particularly brutal Viking berserker. It's not so much that he wanted to go to Hell, but rather he thinks he's somewhere else entirely.
    The fleeing slavers heard it as the Slaughter Man tore their tribe apart. Naked, bloody and surrounded by corpses, the Slaughter Man looked up to the storm-wracked sky and bellowed a single word...

    Western Animation 
  • Disenchantment: After Bean is trapped in Hell, Elfo — who died and was sent to Heaven — tries to get God to send him to Hell so he can save her. God casually disregards Elfo committing various blasphemies in favor of philosophical and theological debates with Jerry, until Elfo insults Jerry, with God banishing him to Hell. However, God admits to Jerry that things went exactly as He planned, with Jerry calling him out on being a manipulative passive-aggressive jerk.