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I Can't Sense Their Presence

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Xander: Can you still sense Willow? Knowing her location would be a real big comfort right about now.
Anya: No, I can't. Which means whatever she's feeling, it's gone way beyond simple vengeance.

A Stock Phrase used by a Sensor Character. If used at the end of a fight, this is a convenient way of saying that someone is probably dead without any of the nasty gore. In other situations, it's an easy way to show that something is not quite right with a character; despite them being perfectly visible, they can't be detected by supernatural means. They might be Dead All Along, an Energy Being, or simply something other than human.

Related to Never Say "Die" and Disney Death. See also My Significance Sense Is Tingling. Compare Fainting Seer and Poke in the Third Eye.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Clover: Asta has no magic, so magical characters often underestimate him because he has no magical signature. If they can't see or hear him, they can't tell where he is.
  • Bleach:
    • Whenever someone gets really messed up, their friends become unable to sense their Reiatsu. Though so far, this rarely means death. When a person's Reiatsu gets really powerful, they can only be sensed by beings of comparable power. This uses a metaphor that a two-dimensional being can't detect a three-dimensional one.
    • Monsters from Hell called Jigoku no Gaki don't emit Reiatsu and cannot be sensed.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijou has Imagine Breaker, a right hand that acts as Anti-Magic. He cannot be detected by scanners for psychic energy, which causes him to be labeled a Level 0. In the Deep Blood arc, Stiyl Magnus explains that magical characters can't sense him either because Imagine Breaker erases mana in his presence. However, Stiyl then explains that an experienced magic user could simply look for an area where they can't sense anything and find him that way. The organization GREMLIN does just that to keep track of him.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Kimi Shundan cannot be detected by scanners for psychic energy and is labeled a Level 0. She is apparently a holistic esper, which is different from regular espers.
  • Demon King Daimao: When Kena Soga turns invisible, her mana signature also cannot be detected.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Used a lot in Dragon Ball Z, in part because of the fact that characters can hide their presence and in part because most characters have some form of sensing power.
    • Used for the most drama at the beginning of the Android Saga. The heroes arrive at the city where Future Trunks predicted the androids would begin their rampage, but can't sense anything unusual. Yajirobe arrives, drops off some senzu beans, leaves in his sky-car — and gets blasted out of the air by the villains, with the heroes unable to even tell where the shot came from. This is because Androids don't emit life energy. This presents something of a problem for Cell, who despite possessing similar ki sensing ability as the heroes has no more luck finding Androids 17 and 18 on his own. Instead, he senses Piccolo's power spiking during his battle with Android 17 and, correctly deducing that only the Androids at this point are powerful enough to force him to go all-out like this, follows his energy right to them all.
    • During the Cell Saga, Goku comes up with the Full-Powered Super Saiyan mode, where he and Gohan can remain in Super Saiyan mode without needlessly radiating energy.
      Vegeta: What's happened to them? They look like Super Saiyans, but I don't feel the energy...
    • During the Buu Saga, Gohan is knocked unconscious by Buu and later teleported to the Kai's realm. Since nobody could sense him anymore, being far too distant, they mistakenly believed Buu killed him. Once Goku is back in the afterlife, he's close enough to get a reading and teleport there.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon, the heroes couldn't sense Hirudegarn. This is bad because Hirudegarn is a Kaiju who can turn intangible, meaning they have almost no way to detect, much less defend against his attacks aside from the brief moments he reappears to their senses.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, deities such as Beerus and anyone who reaches Super Saiyan God can no longer be detected this way. They still have ki, but divine ki is apparently completely different and can only be detected by other deities. Over the course of Super, Goku and Vegeta slowly begin to learn how to sense it (even outside of their Super Saiyan God forms).
    • In Dragon Ball Super, this is to show that Black/Black Goku can't detect Future Trunks, because Future Trunks has traveled through time.
    • The heroes are unable to sense the ki of the Trio De Dangers (Bergamo, Lavenda, and Basil), even when they are exerting themselves and using ki powers. This gives Lavenda an advantage when he manages to blind Gohan. Fortunately, Gohan figures out he can bounce his own ki off Lavenda's body like sonar or radar and figure out where he is that way.
    • Later in the same arc, Beerus is alarmed to realize that while Universe 4 has four competitors left, only two of them are visible. No one has even seen the other two, or sensed them at all beyond a very faint presence. It later turns out that one of them is invisible, and the other is so small you can hardly see him.
      • Later still, nobody can sense Goku's presence after Jiren deflects the Spirit Bomb back at him, which makes his friends worry that he'd been vaporized by his own attack. About a minute later he reappears on the fighting stage, having somehow achieved a new level of power by absorbing the Spirit Bomb's energy.
  • Inuyasha: Kanna has no scent and no aura. The only way to detect her is to see or hear her.
  • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, when Tohma was taken over by his Black Knight form, Isis notes that she is no longer able to detect any magic from him nor read his thoughts; it was as though he was just a walking corpse.
  • In RG Veda, when no one can sense Ryu-ou's presence anymore.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! 4Kids dub, Yami says this after Pegasus's Shadow Game finishes Yugi. In the original Japanese version, there's no implication—it's straight out said that he's dead, even though he's not exactly so.
    Yami: Yugi! Yugi! I can't sense his spirit. I can no longer feel the presence of his young mind. No. He...he can't be gone!

    Comic Books 
  • Sillage: As a human, Navis' mind can't be read and she cannot be detected by psychic scans. This caused the aliens who came to her planet to initially think it was completely uninhabited. The aliens later employ her as a spy, as pretty much every alien is psychic, so her being invisible to psychic scans is quite useful.
  • Spider-Man:
    • In most versions, one of the things that makes Venom such a threat is that he doesn't trigger Peter's Spider-Sense.
    • The Spot doesn't trigger the Spider-Sense when he uses his Teleport Spam.
    • Spider-Man's clones (Ben Reilly, Kaine, etc.) also don't trigger his Spider-Sense, as it reads the clones as Spidey himself and thus doesn't perceive them as a threat.
    • The Spider-Sense often doesn't trigger for Peter's close loved ones, like in one embarrassing and hilarious scene in The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #114, where Aunt May mistook him for a burglar and smashed a vase over his head.

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls:
    • Human Starlight and her co-conspirators use cloaks that suppress their reiatsu when infiltrating the Seiretei.
    • In a flashback, Gaia Everfree is initially shocked that she can't sense Chrysalis's power at all. Upon closer inspection, she realizes that Chrysalis is concentrating the power close to her body like it's an armor or barrier, demonstrating that she has not only raw power in spades, but control of it as well.
    • Pinkie can slip past Grogar's senses because it would be funny if she could, not that Grogar gets it. After she completes her Fullbring and hits the ground with her hammer, Grogar senses her reiatsu throughout the area, as if she's everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
    • When Medley of the Zero Division first appears before the Humane Seven, while Pinkie's Pinkie Sense goes ballistic, the other six don't understand what she's freaking out about so badly before Medley readjusts things so they can actually feel her spiritual pressure, having forgotten that only people like "little Scorpan" are used to feeling reiatsu at her level.
  • Fate DxD AU:
    • When Ritsuka Fujimaru sets up a Bounded Field, no one can sense what happens inside.
    • Raynare pretends to be the human Yuuma Amano by using a spell to conceal her energy signature. However, it works too well and Ritsuka immediately becomes suspicious because he can't sense anything from her, not even a normal human's energy. This causes him to see her attack coming.
    • When Ritsuka Installs an Assassin Class Card and uses Presence Concealment, no one can detect him.
  • God Slaying Blade Works:
    • When Illya discovers a way to sense others, Athena and her allies simply set up a ward so that they can't be detected.
    • One of Mordred the Black Knight's Authorities is his black armor. As long as it is on and intact, no other character can sense him, even other gods. Because of this, Shirou cannot Trace his weapons. Shirou gains this after managing to kill him.
    • Shirou keeps his copy of the Jewel Sword Zelretch in a special box that stops it from being detected. When he opens it, everyone is shocked by how powerful the sword is and how they didn't notice it until then.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • When Diamond Tiara becomes a Nightmare, no other character can sense her, even when she flares up a Battle Aura. However, Featherweight is able to tell where she is when she tries to hide, because hiding is his special talent.
    • This turns out to be an ability of Demi-Gods: their mortal halves shield their divine halves from detection, meaning the means one would normally use to detect a deity won't work on them even using their full power. This is part of why Venus reconstitute's her deceased son Cupid's concept through his Reincarnation Lovestruck: it will allow her to rescue ponies trapped by Discord's endgame at full power without risk of being detected, as the full gods would be if they did more than send avatars to aid.
  • Realm of Entwined Science and Sorcery — Academy City:
    • Presumably because of his Imagine Breaker, Touma Kamijou's life force doesn't show up on Chaldea's instruments. Dr. Roman on Mission Control thinks that Ritsuka and Mash are talking to themselves until he is able to get visual.
    • Partial example. The instruments can detect the life force of Espers, but since they are calibrated for mana and not AIM (psychic energy), the instruments register them as regular humans no matter how powerful they are.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act VI: As revealed in chapter 53, Moka's Evil Knockoff is completely invisible to all but the naked eye; not even Gyokuro can sense her, and the Fairy Tale scientist who helped in her creation specifically refers to her monster energy as non-existent.
  • Worm Grand Order: For some reason, none of the Capes with mind reading, empathic, or clairvoyant powers can detect Taylor Hebert, though they can detect her Servants.
  • Rocketship Voyager
    • The Delaney sisters are involved in an experiment in using Twin Telepathy to communicate with deep space vessels, with Jenny Delaney on Voyager and Megan Delaney on Mars. Tom Paris begins to suspect they're a very long way from home when Jenny tells him she can no longer "hear" her sister.
    • During the climatic battle against the Psiborg Collective, Chakotay demands the radio operator put him through to the Space Marines only to be told they're not receiving telemetering from any spacesuit outside the hull.
  • Transposition F: Ki-sensing doesn't work on The Creatures of Grimm, nor does it work on those with magic. Krillin makes mention that he can't sense Raven at all due to her Spring Maiden powers despite seeing first-hand she's one of the strongest people on Remnant and being able to sense the buried power of other Remnantians. Nor can Ruby be sensed when she's using her Silver Eyes. It's eventually revealed these are because the Grimm and magic technically have roots in the divine, which as in Dragon Ball canon can't be sensed by normal ki-sensing. The Grimm were born from the essence of Doyadano, the God of Destruction for the Prime Universe, magic originated from the four Relics that contain the power of the Two Brothers, Doyadano and Dehadikeh (the Supreme Kai for the Prime Universe) that the people of Remnant extracted and imbued into themselves, and Ruby's Silver Eyes in particular are a mark that she has true divine essence buried within her with the possibility of becoming a goddess herself.

  • In Dragon Bones, Ward can sense where people are. Close to the end of the novel, he tries to find his mother ... but can't, even though she is right there and he can see her. Her mind has left, her body lives on. Doesn't come as much of a surprise, as she has been abusing herbal drugs for the whole novel, and was never quite there, but having it confirmed in that way is still creepy.
  • Fate/strange Fake:
    • Servant Watcher is a mysterious ghost-like being whom hardly anyone can detect, not even their own Master. Only False Lancer and False Caster, who have better detection abilities than the others, can barely tell someone is there.
    • Filia, while being possessed by Ishtar, is able to contract her aura around her and stop it from radiating outward. As a result, she can fight and fire major spells without her opponents being able to sense her.
    • False Rider sends several characters into Tsubaki Kuruoka's dream world. People in the real world cannot sense them and vice versa.
  • The Obsidian Trilogy: After the final battle, Vestakia notes that she can't sense her father the Demon Prince any more, showing that he is finally dead.
  • Jedi in the Star Wars Expanded Universe have this happen to them quite often. Unusually, it's often taken not to mean death, because Jedi can feel the deaths of other Jedi particularly strongly. Someone ceasing to be detectable usually means something even more bizarre has happened. (Ysalamiri are a common culprit, along with any other way someone could conceivably be separated from the Force.)
  • In the Sword of Truth series, Adie, who sees solely using magic, is alarmed to discover that she is unable to see Richard's half-sister Jennsen, because she is one of the "pristinely ungifted".
  • Alice from The Twilight Saga can only see the futures of humans (which she has been) or vampires (which she is). Anything else is a blind spot to her, including Jacob and his pack, and Nessie, Bella's Half-Human Hybrid daughter.
  • In The Wheel of Time Aes Sedai bond Warders as a means of protection. This bond forms an empathic link between the two allowing them to sense the direction and distance to each other, as well as emotional and physical state. If either member of the bond dies, the loss is very noticeable to the other. An Aes Sedai will experience serious depression from the death of a Warder. The Warder will usually either die of shock or fly into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Villains", Anya, having become a vengeance demon again, can sense Dark Willow's thirst for vengeance on Warren for his murder of Tara, and uses it to help Buffy and Xander track her. By the next episode, "Two to Go," Willow has killed Warren and is after his cohorts Jonathan and Andrew; after saving those two, Anya tells Xander and Buffy that she can't sense Willow anymore, meaning that whatever she's feeling has "gone way beyond simple vengeance."
  • Leo from Charmed would often do this, especially when one of the sisters were missing.
  • Doctor Who: In "Spyfall", the Kasaavin can be seen, but the Doctor can't get a reading off them with any of her gadgets or sense their physical presence.
  • Heroes: In "Powerless", Molly Walker attempts to find Maya's brother Alejandro, but can't, because Alejandro was killed by Sylar.
  • On Star Trek: The Next Generation one Betazoid - who generally get their mind-reading powers at puberty but in his case they manifested when he was a baby, so he's been inundated with others' thoughts all his life & can't filter them out - is very pleasantly surprised when he can't hear Data's thoughts, since Data is an android.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "The Gift", on being awakened by the crew, Borg drone Seven of Nine starts to speak in her usual arrogant manner, then her voice cracks as she suddenly realises she's no longer connected to the Hive Mind.
    Seven: The others. I can't hear the others. The voices are gone...
  • Tracker (2001) has a version of this, but not because of death. Cole has a harder time keying into his targets' life forces as they adapt more and more to Earth's environment.

    Video Games 
  • In The Caligula Effect, the Go Home Club end up begging Aria to tell them that the Shadow Knife that just fell off the Landmark Tower was another one of the previously used shadow clones. Aria admits that she looked at his digital parameters and they were those of a real person, and that she cannot read any further life signs from it.
  • In Persona 3, Fuuka notes that she can't sense Chidori, or anyone near her, i.e. Takaya or Jin. Ikutsuki lampshades the strangeness of it.
  • Persona 4 has a variation. During the climax of the game, Rise notes that while she can sense that Adachi is in the TV World, she's unable to pinpoint his exact location.
  • Late in Persona 5, Futaba dejectedly states that Akechi's signal is gone after his Heroic Sacrifice against Shido's cognitive version of him.
  • Koishi Komeiji from the Touhou Project series is stated to have no presence as a consequence of sealing her heart away. Characters that possess magical detection abilities, up to and including mind- and soul-reading, are incapable of detecting Koishi with anything other than their physical senses. Koishi can also amplify this trait, rendering herself completely unnoticeable even if she's standing directly in front of you.

    Western Animation