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Killing Intent

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Worf: He decided to kill me while I was looking him right in the eyes, and I never saw it. But Kurn did, and he was three meters away.
Jadzia Dax: Worf, I don't think you can tell someone's going to kill you by looking at them.
Worf: A Klingon can. It is an instinct. The ability to look someone in the eyes and see the decision to kill.

Particularly common in Eastern works is the idea that when someone intends to inflict pain or death, their "Killing Intent" can be felt as a slight pressure or chill, even to people unaware of their presence. The effect is amplified if you look into their eyes, or if they want to hurt you in particular. Trained and vigilant warriors generally radiate low levels of Killing Intent at all times, and anyone who constantly radiates high levels of Killing Intent is either evil or obsessed with combat (and may feel kinship towards other people who possess it). There's generally a noticeable difference between "hot-blooded" and "cold-blooded" Killing Intent too. Sometimes this is considered a form of Ki, or has an effect on Ki.

While most people can only detect Killing Intent subconsciously, people who have enough combat experience (or are just perceptive) can notice it so well that it borders on Spider-Sense or Detect Evil. Likewise, some particularly vicious characters hone their Killing Intent to the point where it can leave people nearby paralysed with fear or even inflict hallucinations. In either case this will be treated as a mundane skill and not a supernatural ability, and can easily show up without comment in works which don't otherwise have any fantastic elements. Some people will even tell you it's possible in Real Life.note 

While having some degree of Killing Intent is normally required to fight effectively, sometimes a character will be able to attack without exuding any Killing Intent at all (through Lack of Empathy, controlling their emotions or even spacing out while fighting), making them an unpredictable combatant or even a Hero Killer. A lack of Killing Intent where it would usually be expected may also indicate a character is holding back or merely feigning aggression.

In some works Killing Intent can be used as a rough way to measure Power Levels, as someone with sufficient willpower to resist an enemy's Killing Intent will necessarily be at least as strong as them.

Since it's hard to depict a sixth sense through a visual medium, Killing Intent is often represented in Anime and Manga by Art Shift towards a more serious style, or even a Battle Aura (the metaphorical version), though this has become less common over time. When Killing Intent is considered a form of (or augments) Ki, it can be represented by a non-metaphorical aura.

The Japanese term for this is sakki (殺気note ), which is primarily used by practitioners of Ninjutsu; "Killing Intent" is the most literal translation, with "Bloodlust" as a close second. The Chinese equivalent is sha qi, or saat hei in Cantonese (殺氣).

Compare Detect Evil and Allergic to Evil, which can overlap with this trope if a character's sensitivity to Killing Intent is enhanced by supernatural means. Can be used as a justification for Spider-Sense, The Force Is Strong with This One, and Kung-Fu Clairvoyance. See also Awesomeness Is a Force, Death Glare, Ki Manipulation and Magical Sensory Effect.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Martial artists in Angel Densetsu are constantly amazed at being unable to sense Kitano's killing intent. They always assume he is so skilled that he can hide this, instead of realizing he has less anger than an angel.
  • In Aoharu × Machinegun, the female protagonist of all people, emits this in the form of bloodlust, when she gets particularly excited in survival games, or when somebody angers her. Other people can actually feel it in the air from a few meters away from her.
  • Nagisa from Assassination Classroom can freely intimidate or paralyze his opponents by emitting killing intent. He once used it, along with a single (theoretically nonthreatening) sentence and a calm smile, to send middle-school bullies home in tears; he's also used it in combat to scare the living daylights out of elite, trained government special ops soldiers. For the record, Nagisa is a small, kindhearted, fairly unremarkable middle school student in a bottom-rank class, and is so physically dainty that he's been mistaken for a girl several times. It should be noted that his killing intention is more of a natural talent. It is commented that he is born with talent at the wrong era. Had time been different, he would have been an assassin without equal.
  • Parodied in Ayakashi Triangle: We get an ominous closeup of Suzu as Reo smells how lustful Suzu's intent to Matsuri is at the moment.
  • In Basilisk the Dojitsu is an ability that can turn an attacker's killing intent back on them, leading to the would-be assailant violently attacking themselves.
  • Bleach:
    • While he's training Ichigo, Urahara points out how Ichigo lacks resolve and is instead consumed by fear and doubt. He them gives him a little pep talk about how, unless he can cast off his fear and muster the resolve to defeat his enemies and protect his allies, he's going to get himself killed. Ichigo takes the lesson to heart and matches Urahara's killing intent with his own, earning the latter's approval. Onlookers comment on how their Zanpakuto are resonating with their killing intent and crying out how they "can't wait to cut each other down".
    • The force of Kenpachi Zaraki's killing intent causes Ichigo to hallucinate that he is being stabbed as he approaches.
  • Parodied in Busou Shinki, where Clara becomes alarmed and claims that she's "never felt so much killing intent"... shortly before a letter falls on her head (she's 15cm tall, but still).
  • Death Parade gives us two examples in episode 8. The guests are both murderers who have already killed their respective victims, but don’t remember anything about it. When they finally recall their Killing Intent, their body language and expression change so drastically that they both notice and comment on the other’s behavior.
  • Digimon Ghost Game: The Monster of the Week in Episode 57 "Ghost Taxi" is a vicious Lilithmon who abducts people in a Ghost Taxi and inflicts them with a deadly curse if they can't find any Angel Digimon for her to kill. To give you an idea how dangerous a Digimon like that is, as soon as she emerges from her taxi she froze every other human and Digimon in place just by slowly walking towards them and causes Gammamon to writhe in pain. Airdramon even quotes this trope word-by-word. Had Bakumon not came in at the right place and the right time, she would kill everyone right there and there's not much they can do.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Beerus says that he has a refined ability to detect a person's killing intent (which is distinct from ki in general), as part of his powerset as the God of Destruction. He uses this to judge that Zamasu truly does intend to kill his mentor Gowasu, though he doesn't take the killing intent as proof and confirms his suspicions before taking action.
  • This is the implied reason Bando from Elfen Lied is able to sense and predict Lucy's vectors even when he has no prior experience (or even knowledge) of what a Diclonius is capable of: Lucy's immense hatred for humanity and desire to wipe them out bleeds into her vectors, which are otherwise invisible and selectively-tangible. Bando can't see her vectors directly, but due to his combat training and own love of life-and-death combat, he can get a sense of when and where Lucy's attacks are coming from.
  • Weaponized by the main character in The Eminence in Shadow during a duel. Through subtle movement of his eyes and changes in posture, he's able to project his killing intent so vividly to his opponent that she hallucinates being stabbed or decapitated each time she tries to approach him and ends up completely shut down.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • Kenshiro manifests one of these which freaks out a Fang Clan Giant Mook, a nearly feral beast who goes into a panic when he senses Kenshiro's sheer badassery and intent to wipe out the entire Fang Clan.
    • In addition, it was Played With in a final test to determine who would be the successor of Hokuto Shinken. The test involved Kenshiro and Raoh coming face-to-face with a tiger. When faced with Ken's killing intent the tiger just bows its head towards Ken in submission, Raoh takes this as a sign that the tiger doesn't consider Ken as a threat, and then proceeds to emit his own killing intent, pushing the tiger to attack, ending up with Raoh killing it. In truth, the reason the tiger bowed to Ken was because he peacefully accepted his own death when faced with his killing intent, while Raoh's violent killing intent made the tiger freak out and attack.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • This is how Riza figures out that Selim Bradley is actually the homunculus Pride.
    • Later, Kimblee figures out he's being lured into a trap because he can feel the killing intent of the snipers nearby.
  • In the manga version of Hellsing Pip makes a reference to how vampires, even the artificially created vampires of Millennium, can read killing intent and turn it into a sort of limited Combat Clairvoyance, as at least in close combat they can tell the how an opponent intends to move or attack. This is why Pip's first line of defense around the Hellsing manor is a field of landmines and remotely activated bombs. There's no killing intent for the vampires to detect as they across an open field, and even if they could tell that someone hundreds of yards away wants to do them harm, it doesn't help when said person simply pushes a button and sets off a claymore mine in front of the vampires.
  • One of the many appliances of Nen in Hunter × Hunter. It's worth noting that people unprotected by their own aura could potentially die or suffer serious psychological trauma if they were to be attacked by a strong enough killing intent.
    • At one point in the Chimera Ant arc, Knov sneaks into the enemy base, only to catch a glimpse of a malevolent aura pouring out from deeper within. He mistakenly thinks it's Neferpitou's aura, when it's actually Shaiapouf's. Nonetheless, he's so terrified just by seeing how malicious that aura is that he suffers a breakdown over the fear of what torture the Chimera Ants could subject him to if they captured him.
  • Inuyasha: The title character displays a lot of this when he succumbs to his Superpowered Evil Side. Goshinki, one of Naraku's incarnations who used Telepathy to predict his opponents' next move, is completely unnerved to discover that Demon!Inuyasha's only coherent thoughts center around rage and killing intent, which renders him unable to predict what Inuyasha will do next.
    Goshinki: What's the meaning of this? His heart is completely different now. He has none of the indecision or sadness or fear of before. I sense only anger, and he delights in the thought of killing me.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, every martial artist senses or projects killing intent at one time or another. On at least one occasion, Sakaki has blown away an entire room of people. And with disciple-level fighters it can be used to make the opponent lock up and break their focus.
  • In Lone Wolf and Cub, every half-way decent martial artist possesses this ability. One memorable story played with the trope, when Ogami Ittō's target was a monk whose lack of killing intent was so strong that it would reflect the intent of attackers back on themselves; not even Ogami could overcome it at first. After meditating and learning how to kill without emitting killing intent, Ogami returns to finish the job. (The priest compliments Ittō on his accomplishment after being split from scalp to sternum.)
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In the manga version of Mega Man X4, Zero arrives at a hilltop near the Kagikira Forest just a few moments after X has slain the murderous Repliforce sub-commander Web Spider and saved a city from being destroyed by him. Then, the Reploid Magma Dragoon suddenly appears behind Zero, surprising him. Zero pulls out his saber and asks what Dragoon wants from him, but the latter merely tells him to calm down and says he has no interest in fighting Zero. Zero is cautious as he feels an aura emanating from Dragoon, but nonetheless apologizes and puts his saber away. Dragoon then walks past him, and Zero notices in shock that Dragoon has killing intent. They both part ways without fighting however, as it is ultimately X who piques Dragoon's interest for a battle, not Zero.
  • In Monster, the eponymous Serial Killer is so evil that he can terrify people just by being in the same part of the building.
  • For a split second in Murciélago, right before Kuroko gets serious with fighting Yukari, Yukari sees a vision of a multi-armed skeleton tangled around her with a scythe around her neck and Kuroko's trademark giant tongue sticking out of its mouth.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Stain shows evidence of this after being captured by Midoriya, Iida, and Todoroki during the Field Training Arc - he escapes, kills the Nomu trying to abduct Midoriya, and declares that the only hero worthy of killing him is All Might. Even Endeavor, the #2 Hero, is frozen in his tracks during this declaration. The anime represents this by having black fog with a reddish tint envelop everyone present, with glowing red eyes appearing over them as Stain finishes his speech. Note, this character already had a different ability established, which means this wasn't a power. He made everyone present freeze with utter terror from sheer force of will.
    • Big Bad All For One displays something similar, his mere presence provoking a panic attack in those around him, while simultaneously making it apparently difficult for them to breathe; the first time Izuku and his friends lay eyes on him, they experience vivid hallucinations of their own deaths.
    • Eventually Shigaraki develops the ability to do this too, after inheriting the All For One quirk and being turned into a super-human.
  • Nagasarete Airantou: Most main characters feel the killing intent when they are about to be attacked or when someone's very angry about them even from somewhere else on the island. In one case the girls felt a strong killing intent from outside the island when Misaki found Ikuto's letter and is jealous that he's living with only girls.
  • In Naruto most experienced ninjas can explicitly use killing intent, and using it to paralyse enemies is a recognised strategy (most famously used by Orochimaru, and the first clash between Zabuza and Kakashi). This ability explicitly does not use chakra.
  • One Piece:
    • This is one of the functions of Haki: people with Conqueror's Haki are able to One-Hit KO scores of Mooks through the strength of their ambition. Zoro does this as well. His "Kiki Kyutoryu: Asura" is said by Kaku to be a illusory manifestation of his killing intent.
    • Hawk-Eye Mihawk is introduced with his monstrous glare that can make anyone freeze up in terror, at point even Luffy, who has a will that can best be described as indomitable is stopped in his tracks when he meets Mihawk's gaze. While it's likely to be Haki, it's never been confirmed if he has Conquerer's Haki, meaning it may just legitimately just be his glare is that intimdating.
  • A silly example in One-Punch Man, where Carnage Kabuto's combat instincts cause him to see the protagonist with heavy shading and surrounded by dark flames... but he's still drawn in a simple style and with a baffled expression.
    • At first King seems to have this effect on monsters even accompanied by a thumping sound said to be King's immense willpower preparing for battle Although it's revealed later that it's just his heart beating from his own incredible fear of whatever he's facing.
    • Played straight with Garou later on during his fight with Tanktop Master Although it's revealed in the Webcomic that Garou never actually intended on killing any of the heroes he hunts.
  • The titular creatures in Parasyte project this when threatened or about to attack. It's usually drawn as an Animal Battle Aura.
  • Deconstructed in Psycho-Pass. Having a Lack of Empathy is illegal, and can lock you out of most jobs... but if Lack of Empathy upgrades to Killing Intent, the cops gain instant authorization to use lethal force with no repercussions or oversight. And an adrenaline rush counts as Killing Intent, regardless of why you're having an adrenaline rush, which often leads cops to execute the people they just saved from dangerous murderers.
  • The martial artists in Ranma ˝ can sense if someone is about to attack them. Ranma is so good, he sometimes dodges attacks in his sleep. Unfortunately for Ryōga, his "danger sense" is also affected by his terrible sense of direction.
  • Rurouni Kenshin uses this, while leaving it ambiguous whether it's based on Ki or just body language. The only time Kenshin had significant trouble fighting against someone of a (slightly) lower skill level was Soujirou, whose combination of being a Stepford Smiler and super speedster made him both difficult to read and difficult to react to. Additionally, swordsmen of high enough caliber generate Battle Aura that can cause minor destruction.
  • Played for Laughs in Tomo-chan Is a Girl!, where Misaki is told that he can't match hardcore martial artists like Tomo and Junichiro because he's such a Nice Guy and is utterly lacking in killing intent. Then comes an incident where he mistakenly thinks that some thugs sexually assaulted his Love Interest Carol and gets so pissed off that even working together, Tomo and Jun have a hard time keeping him from actually killing the thugs. Afterwards Tomo's father (who's also their martial arts instructor) notices the change in Misaki and says he's worth training now.
  • Toriko has killing intent manifest as monstrous Animal Battle Auras known as "Intimidations".
  • Shows up repeatedly in Vinland Saga.
    • The most notable example is probably when Thorkell gets hyped for a fight and his opponent visualizes his killing intent thusly.Said opponent never even gets to lift his weapon; his mind breaks from sensing Thorkell's killing intent and he spends the rest of the series as a vegetable.
    • A more subtle example shows up in the second major arc. Thorfinn, in the middle of a years long major Heroic BSoD, doesn't move an inch and stoically endures numerous minor cuts and wounds from an outlaw nicknamed "Fox". Fox doesn't intend to kill Thorfinn (yet), he wants to scare Thorfinn, and between his depression and sensing the lack of serious killing intent Thorfinn makes no response to Fox's attacks, even when Fox slices off part of Thorfinn's ear. Moments later Fox's boss "Snake", after stopping Fox, apologizing for Fox's deeds, and seeming like an all around around nice guy, takes a second to draw up some truly serious killing intent and takes a swipe at Thorfinn. Thorfinn reacts instinctively by dodging the blow and defending himself, shocking even himself it was a purely Reflexive Response, and his brain didn't catch up to his body's reaction until it was over. Snake laughs and points out that as miserable as Thorfinn feels, the fact that he's instinctually trying to defend himself against someone with actual killing intent means that some part of his subconscious hasn't given up on life yet.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batgirl (2000), Cassandra seeks out Lady Shiva to request her aid. Before she even knows Shiva is there, Cassandra feels a "wind like a thousand knives" so cold that it affects her, despite her saying that she's never really felt cold before.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Different Type of Anger, Naruto manifests killing intent strong enough for the Sand-Sound Invasion to never happen as everyone present was either paralyzed with terror or just desperately wanted to go home. It's explicitly stated that said killing intent is entirely Naruto and has nothing to do with Kurama.
  • In Fate/Starry Night, Lancer is able to tell that Ritsuka's Shadow Scáthach is not the real thing because it lacks the overwhelming bloodlust that a Blood Knight like her would exude when the opportunity for them to fight comes to pass.
  • In Holo-Chronicles, there are multiple cases of people sensing another person's bloodlust, most notably all of the observers of the fight between Gura and Anya when Gura enters her pre-evolved state. Killing intent seems to be strongest within the animal-kin demihumans, with active use of the Predator Trait letting them release their killing intent as a sort of pulse that tends to scare off any small animals in the vicinity. Botan once uses it to knock out someone trying to smuggle a demihuman out of Holo-City, while Fubuki used it to outright kill a group of thugs (and this wasn't quick in the slightest, they died slowly and painfully). The latter case was felt over a radius of 30 miles all around her even by those it wasn't directed at, causing them to freeze up in fear for a moment.
  • In Infinity, Lindy invokes Dissonant Serenity after Fate is injured so as to focus on arresting the person responsible, but her seething Mama Bear rage still ends up leaking through her otherwise cheery demeanor, terrifying poor Amy.
  • In the work Strandpiel by A.A. Pessimal, eight-year old Ruth Smith-Rhodes-Stibbons has a terrifying "dream" where she revisits a desperate fight from many years before she was born; she is forced, by a malevolent external agency, to spectate the desperate fight her mother hadnote  with a brutal psychopathic killer intent on murder. Despite being terrified, Ruth — who has a streak of magic inherited from her father, Ponder Stibbons - realises everybody has an aura and can be seen as enclosed in a halo of coloured light. A gifted artist, she resolves to try and paint this later. Ruth watches as the angry and evil colours surrounding the killer gather themselves. And then send out lightning flashes of scarlet light aimed at that part of her mother where her unborn sister is. She also sees her mother's Battle Aura put out everything it can to deflect this. She realises, then, that fights are not just conducted on the physical level with swords. Being the daughter of an Assassin, she grasps this too.
  • Megami no Hanabira: Demons sense and run off of this: the more murderous their master feels, the more effectively they will fight.
  • In Naruto: The Game of Life, Naruto can detect this from others thanks to his Detect Bloodlust skill. This allows him to know when someone is trying to ambush him.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • The narration occasionally describes Kyril manifesting "malice", either via an aura, a gaze, or his Soft-Spoken Sadist voice. People around him feel a chill, a sense of dread, knowing that he is capable of killing everyone in his vicinity if he so chooses. Kaguya even refers to this as "malevolent ki" in the original version.
    • The Hunters are able to detect killing intent due to their training, combat experience and superhuman capabilities. For example, while having a meal at Talon Bar, the five are able to sense that someone is about to attack or ambush them and, the moment they see their attackers rushing in, instantaneously draw their weapons and end their attackers before they could even begin a fight.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Rango, Rattlesnake Jake blows open Rango's Fake Ultimate Hero act by daring him to shoot point blank with a revolver, and observing Rango's terrified expression — As Jake puts it, "You got killer in your eyes, son? I don't see it." In the final confrontation, after plenty of Character Development, Rango has Jake at gunpoint, and while the rattlesnake attempts to call it a bluff, he balks after getting a look at Rango's unflinching Kubrick Stare.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hero (2002), the emperor keeps a number of candles between himself and any visitors allowed to come within a hundred paces, claiming that the flames are disturbed by "murderous intent" (all of them blowing towards the emperor when Nameless is thinking of killing him, and then blowing in random directions when his resolve wavers). No sort of magical explanation is given for this, and Nameless' unquestioning acceptance of it suggests that he is familiar with the idea, presumably making it a variation of this trope, rather than a separate sort of Detect Evil magic.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, Sing is sent to retrieve The Beast near the end of the movie. When he ends up right outside the room The Beast is in, he hallucinates a wave of blood bursting through the door Shining-style.
  • In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Chirrut, a blind monk that was once a guardian of a Jedi temple and may or may not be Force-sensitive asks if Captain Andor has the face of a killer. His colleague Baze said he doesn't; he has a kind face, the face of a friend. Chirrut says that the Dark Side of the Force stirs around those who have intent to kill, and Jyn (with added observation by K2S0 that his rifle was in Sniper configuration) deduces that Andor intends to assassinate her father.
  • In the live-action adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin, Jin-e can stop people from breathing by looking into their eyes. He explicitly states that it's not supernatural, despite the fact that it can supposedly only be broken by killing Jin-e.

  • In Ascendance of a Bookworm people are terrified of Myne when she's angry, which comes as a surprise because she's the size of a toddler and in poor health. She isn't even malicious in her 'revenge'. It turns out that she has a lot of Mana in her body which is released when she gets angry, which manifests as an aura that causes fear and intimidation to those near her, meaning she lets off a killing intent without any intent to kill.
  • Beware of Chicken: Powerful cultivators can manifest their Intent with such force that it can paralyse someone much weaker than themselves.
    His face became stone, and he looked back up. His eyes focused directly on Yingwen.
    His intent.
    It was like the Dueling Peaks had decided to lean in from their positions. That the entire mountain was directly over his head, looking down upon him, and finding him wanting.
  • In the Black Lagoon Light Novel Shaitani Badi, Revy radiates a serious level of Killing Intent as she shows fake rapper Jake her gun.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Vento of the Front's "Divine Punishment" causes anyone in the world who aims hostility at her to be knocked unconscious unless protected by powerful magic. Amata Kihara is immune to its effects due to being a Sociopath who can murder people without feeling any hostility towards them at all, comparing it to pulling up weeds.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sōsuke's past as a child soldier has given him the ability to sense killing intent, which he uses to set traps for assassins targeting him. This was also used to torment him. One of Mithril's agents would observe him via the scope of a rifle, and find that Sōsuke actually got visually agitated when he did this. It's implied that much of Sōsuke's misbehavior in school is caused by him sensing the agent's killing intent without being able to tell where it's coming from, causing him to lash out against people nearby.
  • Nico di Angelo demonstrates a weaponized version of this in the last book of The Heroes of Olympus. When someone threatens to have one of his friends executed, he strips him of his identity and sends him to the Fields of Punishment through willpower alone.
  • In Overlord (2012), Sebas can control his Killing Intent with incredible strength and precision, to the point where he can stare into a group of hardened warriors and reduce one of them to a gibbering wreck without alerting the others. Normal people exposed to his Killing Intent could literally die of fright. At one point Sebas even uses this as a form of Training from Hell, teaching Climb a "mental overclock" ability by having him experience what it's like to be a hair away from death.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil doesn't name it as such, but Named can create an aura like this by flaring their power. As for what happens if you threaten to steal Ranger's fun...
    The blade did not move, and neither did the hand that held it. And yet for a heartbeat I felt like my throat had been cut, like blood was gushing out. The intent had been so strong it had almost become a fact.
  • Lina Inverse of Slayers has been known to use this to tell when somebody's sneaking up behind her in a fight. Gourry and Zelgadiss may also be capable of it - they've been known to react to attacks they couldn't have seen coming.
  • In The Spirit Thief, people who are very good at killing can identify others like them upon looking at them, and sense their desire to kill. Josef is using it as a Spider-Sense of sorts, telling him when to treat a fight seriously.
  • The Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith novelization makes a point of averting this for the clones when they carry out Order 66. Since they're Just Following Orders without malice, they catch the Jedi completely by surprise.
  • Sword Art Online refers to the ability to sense killing intent from monsters in the game as "Hypersense", which may or may not actually exist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Lie to Me, the Lightman group try to use their observational abilities to find an assassin by detecting his or her Killing Intent. The nature of the Lightman group's abilities means that they have to see the person's face for detection. Played with at one point — Lightman thinks someone has murderous intent and is planning to kill someone else, but it is actually suicidal intent. They manage to stop her before she goes through with it. Just because you have killing intent doesn't mean you're planning to kill someone else.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the episode "Sons of Mogh", Worf states that Klingons can see murderous or violent intent in a person's eyes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 has the detect hostile intent psionic power. While active you can sense the presence of people with violence on their minds, are immune to surprise attacks (unless the attackers' minds are somehow shielded), and can use the Sense Motive skill as a free action.
  • Pathfinder has a monster called a polong, an undead creature with an ability called Murderous Intent. This creates a seething aura of unrestrained violence and malicious intent that demoralizes anyone close enough to sense it.

    Video Games 
  • In Vampire Savior/Darkstalkers 3, B.B. Hood, a bloodthirsty Special S-Class Darkhunter, is so malevolent that her stare alone can instill a paralyzing fear into the lower-ranked Darkstalkers of Makai. This same darkness in her heart was what caught Jedah's attention and allowed her to enter his Majigen. Let it be said that B.B. Hood is the Token Human of the cast.
  • A Played for Laughs variation comes from Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, as Mao suddenly senses a large amount of Killing Intent rolling in, only for fellow party member Sapphire Rhodonite, Princess of the Human World, to sheepishly admit it was her.
  • Dragalia Lost has Yachiyo, a wandering samurai from Hinomoto who wants Euden to be her 1000th duel and pesters him until he gives in. She had been quite friendly throughout her story, though once her sword is drawn, she emits a black aura and Euden is momentarily paralyzed with fear. Her personality becomes colder with an intent to kill as well.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2, Vegnagun can sense hostility and flees at the first sign of it.
  • In Ghost of Tsushima, the "Ghost Stance" has Jin effectively triggering this, immediately putting every nearby enemy in a terrified state and allowing him to insta-kill up to three enemies. Visually, this causes the game to go into a Deliberate Monochrome that flashes red whenever you execute enemies and Dramatic Wind to start billowing intensely.
  • Persona 5: Parodied in one classroom event, where a teacher catches Joker slacking off. Joker will think "I feel a murderous intent" just before the teacher throws a piece of chalk at him.
  • The Pokémon game franchise has the attack Dark Pulse, introduced in the fourth generation. It's described as "a horrible aura imbued with dark thoughts", and may cause enemies to flinch.
  • Street Fighter utilizes the Ki-based version as a major element known as the Satsui no Hadou (Surge of Murderous Intent). Akuma is considered a master of this energy and as such fights and kills anyone who faces him. Ryu also temporarily gets possessed by this energy as Evil Ryu, and tends to go further than Akuma. This is an especially present element in the Alpha series and the Ryu Final Manga. Oni is Akuma consumed beneath the Satsui no Hadou and turned into a monster that seeks only to kill and radiates his killing intent as a terrible aura around him.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, while chatting with Otacon, Snake mentions Ganondorf is "giving off a murderous vibe." He's also uneasy with trying to fight him - "even getting close to him makes my skin crawl."
  • Undertale:
    • Killing intent is actually the entire reason your attacks damage monsters at all, as monsters are weak to strong negative emotions (being made of magic and all) and few of your weapons (such as a stick, a glove, ballet shoes) are much use as actual weapons. As a result, bosses in a No Mercy run, in which you go out of your way to kill everyone you meet, tend to be One Hit Killed. Conversely, in a Pacifist Run, when Undyne challenges you to a rematch during her "date", you'll deal only 1 damage whether you use the "Fake Hit" command or Fight her for real, because to even get to this point you have to go out of your way to never kill anyone.
    • Monsters seem able to pick up on your killing intent pretty easily; despite the lack of any physical changes neutral monsters will treat a pacifist Player Character very different from one who's killing regularly or especially on a No Mercy run.
  • In Yakuza 6, Tohru Hirose is described as intimidating enough that he was able to make a crime boss break out in sweats despite the two negotiating in his own hideout.

    Visual Novels 
  • Reinhard's presence from Dies Irae is so intense and overwhelming that, even when he appears as a mere hologram-like shade of himself, he makes people like Bey and Schreiber, who have never experienced fear in their lives, shake at their knees. When he first appears in person like this in the common route, both Ren and Kei freeze up like someone hit an off-switch on them.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Keiichi refers to being able to feel (or not feel) "murderous intent" and sometimes uses that to decide if someone is trustworthy.
  • In the Nasuverse, skilled fighters can do this.
    • In the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night Shirou is able to sense that he is being followed by Archer because he is taunting Shirou with his killing intent. When Shirou calls him out on it, he is impressed that such an unskilled magus could detect it. Shirou also uses Archer's killing intent to tell from where he is launching his attack against Berserker during their fight in the graveyard, and notes that it's directed at more than just Berserker.
    • And then there's True Assassin's Presence Concealment skill, which renders him virtually impossible to find, unless he's preparing to attack a target in which case his own massive Killing Intent betrays him and makes him much easier to find. Though, in all fairness, when this time comes it's generally already too late.
  • Angela from Princess Waltz is right there with with the likes of Kenpachi in terms of bloodlust. In many occasion her glare has caused hardened warriors to flinch and even think that they were vomiting blood after being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice just from being 'hit' by it.

  • Early in The Dragon Doctors, the invisible Murder, Inc. assault is detected in advance due to so many people radiating killing intent at the same time.
  • Played with in El Goonish Shive. People can subconsciously sense when others have strong connections to magic, but it usually manifests in an ephemeral way. But when a spectacularly powerful magic user is pissed at you...
  • The Gamer: Played for Laughs. Jee-Han gains the ability to sense killing intent, which manifests (like all his other powers) with a system popup. He most often gets these popups when he's hanging out with a girl, and one of the other girls sees them together.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons discusses this at length, as a key part of Meti's philosophy. Specifically, it's the fundamental and final block of her particular style of Swordsmanship, or rather the Art of Cutting. Rather than any special techniques or artful movements, true Swordsmanship must focus on the Act of Cutting Down Your Opponent: Essentially, to understand there is nothing elegant about what you're about to do, become one with the violence you intend to inflict, and just commit your entire being to a swift, singular act of brutality that could sever God's head from his shoulders. If it takes more than one swing, you're doing it wrong. Meti at her peak could kill with the intent alone, as in simply intending violence with a thought and suddenly her enemies lay bisected and beheaded all around her. This approach is very hard on the practitioner mentally, however, if only because of the realizations it brings: Meti herself was more convinced than anyone that swords were just ugly pieces of metal and their users utter morons after mastering the blade.
    Existence and the act of combat are absolutely no different, and the essence of both, the purity of both, is a singular action, which is Cutting Down Your Opponent. You must resolve to train this action. You must become this action. Truly, there is very little else that will serve you as well in this entire cursed world.
  • One Nerf NOW!! arc featured a RED Engineer on a Tranquil Rampage Of Revenge after his Sentry Gun is destroyed. A BLU Heavy-Medic pair confront him, but are intimidated by his obvious rage. They think better of fighting him, and as a result they manage to survive their encounter with him, where BLU Scout, Sniper, Demo, and Soldier did not.
  • In Weak Hero, Jake ends up comparing his battle with Juwon to his battle with Ben, with the main point of difference being that he can sense Juwon's intent to kill. Despite that, he finds the battle to be more boring, because Juwon only kills for the sake of expanding his gang while Ben fights passionately for the sake of protecting his friends and school.

    Real Life 
  • As mentioned above, Killing Intent can occur in everyday life, to an extent; i.e., body language, verbal cues, and the way you can just feel it when someone is glaring at you.
  • Ever been walking along and all of a sudden you feel the hair on the back of your neck start to stand, or you feel a twinge in your gut, you look around and realize that a person or an animal is staring at you? You may not see, hear, or smell anything consciously, but your subconscious mind still picks up on these cues and reacts to them.
  • A case of “Killing intent vs Killing intent” is matching the hostile vibes the other person is emitting. To a third party (you or another person),it will come off as intense. In a way it’s the equivalent of a face-off you see in MMA fighting leagues.


Video Example(s):


Oliver versus Nanao

"Sword Arts". Professor Luther Garland places a dulling spell on the swords of Oliver Horn and Nanao Hibiya before they face off for a sparring match on their first day of sword arts class. Knowing that Nanao can't yet consciously use magic, Oliver thinks he can go easy. Nanao, an ex-samurai from the Far East, has other ideas: Oliver quickly realizes she has killed with the blade before and is AT LEAST his equal as a pure swordsman: even his use of a "Grave Soil" spell to trap her foot barely slows her down. A strange connection forms between them, and they cast off the dulling spells and go for the kill for real... and Professor Garland stops the duel on the spot because they broke the rules.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeadlySparring

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