Follow TV Tropes


Life Energy

Go To

"Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter!"
Yoda, Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back

Spiritual fuel that runs the body and mind, generally invisible to ordinary folks (but not those with Aura Vision). Life Energy may be the same thing as the spirit, or rather just some sort of spiritual Life Meter. Even the hardest of television Science Fiction can't seem to help but use this trope at one point or another. Relatedly, even the hardest-nosed Nietzscheans and Randians have been known to go on (the latter at length, of course) about the "life-force".

In anime, is often the vampire alternative to drinking blood, but also is often used to explain why human blood is better for vampires than non-human or why they can't feed on the dead. It just sates their Horror Hunger better. Many anime antagonists, especially enemies of Magical Girls, are thaumovores: they feed on Life Energy or use it to power their evil plans. A clear sign that a character is a life-force sink is the spontaneous death of flowers around him or (usually) her.

The victim of Life Energy theft may recover if only a little of it is taken, or else may end up in a coma that is unexplainable to mundane doctors. Other results include becoming older, becoming a walking Empty Shell, or outright dying as the body becomes a skeleton or even crumbles to ash.

In the west, stealing Life Energy tends to be less common than giving Life Energy. Infusing someone with Life Energy (or sometimes Generic Energy) can be used to revive those who are critically injured, or to grant temporary superpowers, or even to create lifeforms. Watch out for Phlebotinum Overload, however.

It's connected to souls, Hermetic Magic, Ki Manipulation, Psychic Powers and other superpowers; see also Mana. In Role-Playing Game terms, it's the combination of Hit Points, Magic Points, and Experience. Transferring it may cause physical changes that are Liquid Assets. Occasionally, part of an Equivalent Exchange to power an Artifact of Doom or Evil Weapon.

It should be noted that somehow many spacecrafts' Everything Detectors can scan for it, and yet somehow only pick up humans or things like humans. Bugs, rats and the vast trees of Canada-in-the-Pegasus-Galaxy do not make the grade, so obviously life signs automatically imply sentience (or at least really-bigness).

Anyone whose life energy is especially Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious is in for a hard time.

See also Aura Vision and Anatomy of the Soul. If this is used to power a device, the thing powering it is a Living Battery; see also Powered by a Forsaken Child.

Compare Soul Power, the ability to manipulate souls (and usually life energy with it).


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach makes this what constitutes all souls, including nonliving things. Hollows can increase their amount of it by eating other souls, including (and especially) each other. Quincies can increase it by forcefully breaking down their surroundings and absorbing them. Soul Reapers have various ways to increase how much of it they have, but no special feature to speak of. (They can undergo training, release Bankai, etc.) However, unlike normal human souls, they must eat, and they release their spirit energy constantly. A notable point of interest is that Soul Reapers and Arrancarsnote  release their spirit energy through their wrists. An anime filler arc features vampire-like creatures called Bount, which drain the life force out of their victims (directly) as opposed to blood.
  • Bokurano:
    • The giant robot is powered by the Life Energy of the pilot. Win or lose, the pilot dies after the battle — it just isn't followed by the the entire universe dying in case of a win.
    • The manga even hints that the younger the person, the more life energy he/she has, and the more powerful Zearth becomes.
  • Buso Renkin has the Black Kakugane, which drains all nearby life energy.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Tenshinhan from Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z's signature technique, the Kikoho (Tri-Beam in the original dub, translates as Ki Control Cannon), uses his life energy, making it one of the most powerful techniques in the series even after Tenshinhan himself is left far behind in power compared to the non-human characters.
    • Goku's ultimate technique, the Spirit Bomb, draws in small amounts of life energy from everything around it and unleashes it in a huge explosion. In this case it's too small an amount to actually be harmful to those giving the energy (and can also draw from non-living sources like stars), though apparently it's far more effective when sentient beings voluntarily offer up their energy.
    • The Tree of Might from the Dragon Ball Z movie of the same name absorbed the life energy of everything on the planet. However, unlike Goku's Spirit Bomb, which generally requires a voluntary contribution of small amounts, the Tree of Might siphoned just about everything it needed for itself.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, while alchemy largely draws on natural energy, such as plate tectonics, the greatest source of energy is the Philosopher's Stones which are in fact concentrated liquid souls. Ed soon realizes that if the souls of others can be used as energy, so can his own; since then he has shown the ability to transmute using his own soul to achieve normally impossible human transmutations.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), sacrificed life energy is revealed to be the actual source of all alchemic power, and it's not even people from Al and Ed's universe who are providing it.
  • Life Energy is a major theme in many Gundam works. Various Gundams in later UC stories have Gundams powered by various bits of Magitek in all but name that run on their pilot's life energy. Used much more blatantly in the less serious G Gundam. Gundam Wing uses it less, but it does feature killer robots who can sense the life energy of their targets, even through metal, Infrared X-Ray Camera-style.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Nen is life energy that all humans and later generations of Chimera Ants after a Queen devours a pair of human children possess. Once a person unlocks their Nen potential their Nen manifests as a Battle Aura that can only be seen by other Nen users.
  • In Inuyasha, there are two kinds of souls: one is your true self, and one is the power that animates the body. Seeing how nobody reacts to Kikyo as a soul-stealer, she is presumably surviving on this second kind.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The series takes a new angle on this with Sendo, a Supernatural Martial Art that involves a special breathing technique which allows its user to amplify his or her own life energy. This "Hamon energy" can be moved throughout the body to cure ailments or heal wounds, or it can be directed out of the body to manipulate one's surroundings and hurt undead creatures. This power serves as the main weapon of the protagonists during the first two story arcs, but is phased out during the third to be replaced with a new power called a Stand.
    • In the 5th part, Giorno Giovanna has the Stand "Gold Experience"note , whose abilities primarily revolve around giving life energy. With it, he can turn inanimate objects into living creatures, and if used on other people, it supercharges them with life energy, causing their senses to be overwhelmed, making pain last longer.
  • Key the Metal Idol has a Corrupt Corporate Executive engage in Life Energy harvesting far more effectively than the Dark Kingdom ever did. For example, random people at rock concerts, where it's expected for there to be fainters.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's had the antagonists stealing magical power from mages (magical beasts when they could, though) in order to complete the "Book of Darkness." Fortunately, people can recover from that, and depending how young they are, their powers can also completely replenish.
  • Michel of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch steals it from powerful beings. This usually means absorbing them into himself (as he tried to do with Seira), but he left Kaito alive to blackmail Lucia with. Near the end, his Villainous Breakdown propels him to kill his own followers to take their energy, even when they haven't provoked it.
  • Chakra in Naruto is a combination of a person's physical and spiritual energy. While it can be used to power jutsus and enhance the body, it is also required to keep the body functioning. If you use up enough that your body has less than the minimum needed for the body, you suffer from chakra exhaustion. If you use up absolutely all of it you die.
    • Natural energy found in the world acts as a third component of chakra if a person is able to learn how to use it. It's present wherever there's life and greatly enhances the body, but drawing too much will overwhelm the user's own chakra and transform them into stone.
    • Chiyo can also use life energy to heal, albeit with Equivalent Exchange involved. The first time, she transfers her life energy to heal a mortally wounded Sakura, saving Sakura but bringing herself to the brink of death. The second time, she brings Gaara back to life but dies in the process.
    • In a twist, it was revealed that the Tailed Beasts are composed of the fragmented chakra of an Eldritch Abomination defeated centuries in the past. In an even bigger twist, all chakra has been revealed to originate from the Ten-Tailed Beast when it existed as the God-Tree. The Beast is attempting to reclaim its stolen power and will drain a shinobi completely dry of chakra in seconds. As noted above, losing all your chakra is fatal.
  • Pokémon: The Series features Aura (described by Mei Ling as "life force") which is normally used by Lucario and, to a lesser extent, Riolu (oh, and there's the occasional human with Aura abilities). Needless to say, an awful lot of cool powers come with it. How about unlimited vision when you've got your eyes closed, so you'll technically never go blind? Or a cool ball of energy that you can summon out of nowhere?
  • The plot of Prétear pretty much revolves around Life Energy (Leafe). In the manga version, this gets downright cruel: the Knights can only use their Elemental Powers at the expense of their own Leafe; as a result, whenever Himeno is performing attacks as the Pretear, she drains the Life Energy from whichever Knight she is currently merged with. The Pretear can also create Leafe, though. Needless to say, the monsters and the Big Bad of the series really like stealing Leafe...
  • In Reborn! (2004) there's Dying Will, which started out as just something that tapped into your hidden potential to keep you from dying without fulfilling some desire. Later on though, it became the basis for all forms of attack and even has seven differently colored types with various powers and appearances, and is accessed through your personal resolution. They have a sky theme (Sky, Sun, Storm, etc) as well as seven more flames with an Earth theme (Earth, Forest, Swamp, etc).
  • First-season Sailor Moon villains, The Dark Kingdom stole life energy from humans in to free the Big Bad from her prison, as did the mini-arc villains in the second season, Ail and En who feed it to the magic tree that kept them alive.
  • In Saint Seiya, the key to the Saints' power is their cosmos. Whoever can burn his cosmo to the higher level wins, no matter how injured or weakened they are.
  • Goes by the name "Power of Existence", or just "Existence", in Shakugan no Shana. Losing any amount of it turns a human into a Torch at best, doomed to eventually have never existed.
  • At the end of the second season of Star Blazers, Trelaina resurrects Mark Venture by transferring her life force to him, through tubes like a blood transfusion of glowing energy. It's implied this will kill her, and it's her last act before she sacrifices her life to savethe Earth from Prince Zordar.
  • In [[Anime/Transformers Super-God Mastwrforce]] life enegy called Chōkon Power can be utilized by Godmasters a type of Transformers bonded to humans on a super natural that can use three types of it called Tenchōkon Heaven Super Soul that can use aultimate energy of the univeree,
Chichōkon Earth Super Soul that uses the energy of the Earth, and Jinchōkon Super Humsn Soul that uses the life enegy of humans to keep on going. The Legends mangs would explore and discover more typed of it like Beast and Dream typed of Chokon Power.
  • In World Trigger, all living beings are able to produce a special form of energy referred to as "Trion" from an invisible gland that serves as "a person’s second heart". Trion is like an alien blood that serves as both hit points for combat avatars (called Trion bodies) and fuel for the weapons deployed by them. If Trion count drops to zero by either sustaining too much damage, using up too much Trion for attacks, or a combination of both, then the Trion body will crumble and self-destruct.
  • The premise of YuYu Hakusho implies that life energy is essentially the same as spirit energy but is the necessary portion reserved to keep the body running. It seems to be a fair amount, to the point that a person drained of spirit energy can still throw a large enough energy attack to win a battle, provided that they're okay with being dead afterwards. All but one of the four major characters are guilty of this at one point or another, and the main character employs it as a reliable backup strategy. Seeing that he's half-demon and can pretty much reincarnate at will, this tactic is pretty cheap.

    Comic Books 
  • This is, to all intents and purposes, the source of Captain Atom's power; he's plugged into the quantum field, the life energy of the universe, allowing him to manipulate all forms of energy. (This is why Nathaniel ended up fighting Nekron—because he's integrated with the quantum field, Nekron could use him to drag the quantum field into his realm, and every living creature in the universe with it.)
  • This may be what the planet-eating Galactus feeds on.
  • The Life Entity of the Green Lantern mythos is the embodiment of life, and thus, is a Energy Being using this energy.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth: In Flash Annual #9, Tristan Mallory imprisoned his brother Bryan in a special chamber for 300 years after he received his speed. The chamber siphons off Bryan's life energy in order to make the once frozen planet lush and green and to keep Tristan alive indefinitely. As the process is unstable, Tristan gathers his people together for Green Day once every 20 years and uses Bryan to siphon off their energy in the same manner. After Tristan's follower Deborah releases Bryan from his confinement, Tristan is forced to drain the people's energy to the point that most of them become elderly and decrepit within hours.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: Into the Past, Raoul Reichmann runs a Path of Inspiration ashram where he drains life energy from the attendees and funnels it to the Cabal to power their magic.
  • Marvel Comics villain Selene is a mutant who can psychically drain life energy from people to sustain and empower herself. Her lifespan can be measured in millennia thanks to this power. If she ever stopped feeding for too long, those millenia would catch up to her in an instant.
  • In Supergirl story Demon Spawn villain Nightflame tries to suck Supergirl's life-force out of her.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Nazi that Zenna Persik is hunting creates a machine powered by the life force of captive children that gives him telekinesis.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction; dominating, killing and/or consuming an opponent to gain its power is a recurring literal and metaphorical symbol throughout the story. Besides Monster X and Ghidorah's Vampiric Draining, ancient Bone Singers believing that to claim a person's head means to claim their soul. Word of God also states that Ghidorah's severed pieces are reliant on an internal power reserve to remain animate, and this reserve can be fueled by absorbing energy from their surroundings, but it can otherwise run out and render the piece dormant.
    San: maybe they killed and ate to consume the enemy's power this one and brothers do the same
  • The Good Hunter: It is established in the MGE 'verse that all creatures have mana, some a little, some a lot. If there were a being without mana, said being shouldn't even be alive. Furthermore, mana can be manipulated by others into spell-craft (aka magic). Since monsters are generally better at doing this than humans, it is very clear that the former faction has the upper hand. At the same time, Cyril Sutherland is a, if not the only, living being that has no mana at all, and thus his existence is considered to be an anomaly to both factions alike.
  • Paul in With Strings Attached has so much of this that when two wraiths feed on his life energy, they explode from overeating.

    Films — Live Action 
  • This is essentially what one immortal gets from another in a Quickening in the Highlander films and TV series.
  • Lifeforce, the naked space vampire movie, is all about Life Energy vampirism. And boobies.
  • In The Man Who Turned to Stone, a group of 18th-century scientists, led by Dr. Murdock, have remained young after all these centuries by using electricity to suck the life energy out of young women.
  • In Scanner Cop II, it's shown that scanners possess psychic energy that can be consumed by certain other scanners, absorbing the victim's power into their own.
  • In Shandra: The Jungle Girl, Shandra 'feeds' by forcibly having sex with men and draining their life energy during the act.
  • The Force in Star Wars is a sentient energy field produced by all living things that binds the galaxy together. Everything that lives is made from the Force and returns to it upon death.
  • In Victor Frankenstein, the Lazarus Fork device is an alloy that tirns electricity into "Vital Force."

  • One of the Angel tie-in novels, The Longest Night has a story where a search for a missing boy leads to the boy’s father, who’s terminally ill, trying to steal Wesley’s life energy. There’s a part where the rest of the team find Wes looking old and wrinkled before they manage to reverse it. They do have pity on the father, and the life energy ends up briefly in the boy, letting his dad see him as a man before he dies.
  • The Earth Current from Awake in the Night Land, which not only is a power source but also have mystical and spiritual properties.
  • Magic in The Broken Earth Trilogy works like this, and thus can be used for things like healing or killing someone by draining it. However, it can be also found in anything that once was alive, however long ago, such as rock like limestone that originated as living organisms. It's also in the Earth, which is actually alive and sentient.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's short story "The Colour Out of Space", the title monster feeds on the life energy of creatures that live near to where it lairs.
  • In the Dark Visions series by L. J. Smith, Gabriel is a "psychic vampire", which makes him dependent on other people's life energy to survive.
  • In Dead Silver, shamans, like Hawke, are in tune with the life energy around them. This allows them to speak with animals and sense living things. They can also imbue objects with their own life energy, which can then seriously harm undead.
  • Gets mentioned in Discworld occasionally. In Reaper Man, Death Takes a Holiday, meaning the excess life energy is piling up and things don't die properly. Cue compost piles coming to life and the dead rising up and being very cranky. One or two characters muse that the passing of the seasons is sort of the planet's "heartbeat", causing life energy to flow in and out of the ecosystem.
  • In The Dresden Files, living things have a magical essence that is necessary to sustain life, but can be fed on by White Court Vampires and some other things. As a result anyone with magical talent also tends to be a tastier snack for such predators. It also allows Wizard (or presumably anyone with sufficient magical talent) can tap into to power a 'Death Curse', an incredibly powerful spell cast at the cost of one's life, effectively used as a Dead Man's Switch to discourage trying to kill the Wizard in the first place.
    • Also, in a later book, there is Soulfire. It allows the user to supercharge the magic by infusing it with a little piece of their soul. Harry is understandably concerned about the concept of burning up their soul, but is assured that it's okay since souls regenerate over time, and can even be recovered faster via activities that are "good for the soul."
    • And, in Ghost Story, we find that ghosts can only attack or defend by using their memories—-and all a ghost is, is memories, so...
  • The real threat in Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi is that the Big Bad set up the Essence Stealer which tears away and stores the life energies of anyone who touches the books. He's aiming to get a Force-Sensitive's energy. People who've been drained can be restored if their energies are returned, but until then they appear dead and get stuck in People Jars.
  • In the Harry Potter universe, Dementors require (and enjoy) feeding off people's happiness, making them quite depressing to be around. (Aptly, considering they are based off of J.K. Rowling's period of clinical depression following the death of her mother.) The effect seemed to be amplified based on how much sadness you've experienced, so most people "just" feel horribly depressed, like they'll never be happy again, while people with more traumatic lives (like Harry) become nearly-catatonic with. they can give someone a "kiss" by sucking out their soul and leaving behind an Empty Shell.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Magic uses the casters life energy, and requires roughly the same amount of it would take to do it without magic, often resulting in mages being very tired, hungry, and thirsty after large acts of magic. The energy can even be stored in gemstones to be pulled out to either cast bigger spells or simply get a boost of energy. However due to the Exact Words nature of the Language of Magic it's possible to kill yourself by trying to do something that takes too much energy. Eragon eventually learns a technique for pulling energy from surrounding life, generally killing it in the process, but avoids doing so, as it requires experiencing the death of whatever you're taking energy from, which tends to be pretty overwhelming.
  • Mercedes Lackey's works:
    • The Heralds of Valdemar series uses a fairly well-developed magic system that is based almost entirely around this concept. All living beings generate Life Energy, which drains away from them into the ambient environment, eventually collecting into Ley Lines. Where two or more Ley Lines meet, you have a Node, which is a massively powerful energy source that only Adepts can hope to use without burning themselves out. The ultimate destination of this energy is the nether plane, from which it then reenters the world through living beings. Mages are people who have the innate capability to store additional magical energy within themselves, see this energy, and instinctively manipulate it. It's also possible to manipulate it without mage talent via rituals or Blood Magic. A person wholly drained of life energy, whether from Blood Magic or spellcasting beyond their capacity, will lapse into a coma and die. Accordingly, it can also be used to heal people, although this is most efficiently performed by those with the specific talent for it.
    • Children of the Night has 'psi-vamps' who drain energy from others. In this case the energy is tied to emotions — they drain excitement at first, and later hate and fear. Also, a completely drained victim is usually not physically dead, but is emotionally/mentally burned out (described as a mindless hulk, with no chance of recovery).
    • In the Dragon Jousters series, the Magi are deliberately encouraging the war between Tian and Altan to continue, as they're using the deaths of the fighting soldiers to extend the lifespans of themselves and the Altan rulers. They also start seeking out those priests/acolytes that are 'god-touched' and Healers-by-touch in order to drain them for power to fuel their spells. After enough draining, the victims either die or end up stripped of their powers.
  • The Night Watch (Series) of novels has the "Others", a group of superpowered and supernatural humans forced to choose between good and evil when they first gain knowledge of their gift, can get energy from taking the emotions of normal humans and store it for later use. Some are actual vampires, and do need blood in addition to any life energy they get, albeit not necessarily human blood. The good Others take happiness and joy, leaving those they take power from depressed and likely to kill themselves, while the evil Others take fear and depression away, leaving their victims happier and feeling more capable of dealing with problems. Although when it's not a simple one time feeding they establish a cycle where the Others create the emotions they feed off in their actions. So a famous Pioneer Camp is used as a rest resort, the Light feed during the days while helping the kids have fun, while the dark ones feed of the same kids fears at night.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls, this is happening to Illvin to keep powering up his Dead All Along brother.
  • In Bujold's The Sharing Knife books, Lakewalkers' magic is all about the manipulation of Life Energy.
  • Sime Gen, the human race has become divided into Gens who produce large amounts of life energy (called "selyn"), and Simes who don't produce it and must take it from Gens. Unfortunately the process of taking it is almost always fatal to the Gen. The plot of the series revolves around "channels" — Simes who can take selyn from Gens without hurting them in the process and pass it on to other Simes. Unfortunately, by the time the first channel is discovered Simes have been killing Gens en masse for centuries and therefore there is a lot of Fantastic Racism on both sides to be overcome before the two kinds of people can finally live in peace with each other.
  • In Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, Abyss are monsters which can absorb the life energy of living things by eating them. This is first demonstrated when Yggdrasil consumes hundreds of other Abyss in order to fuel its Healing Factor and Adaptive Ability. It turns out that this is the original purpose of Abyss, to gather life energy in order to create the Super Serum Elixir.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, Life Energy is measured in "Breaths", which can be removed from a soul with consent of that soul (Everyone starts with one Breath). Once accumulated, these Breaths enhance you in specific ways, allowing you to discern colors and musical tones with higher fidelity, "sense" other lives around you, and become functionally immortal. Furthermore, these Breaths can be placed in an inanimate object, animating them to follow a specific Command. However, the sheer number of Breaths required to achieve these powers (200 to achieve perfect musical tone recognition, all the way up to 2000 Breaths to become immortal), and the state of those left without Breath, make the practice of accumulating Breath highly controversial in some cultures. The book mostly takes place in an area where there's no taboo related to trading breath, although it is very valuable.
  • The Locked Tomb breaks down the practice of necromancy into the manipulation of thanergy (i.e., the energy created by death and entropy) and thalergy, which is this. At one point, a necromancer who's just about had it and sees no other way of ending a problem detonates all the thalergy in their body at once. The effect is compared to a very localized supernova.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 has Captain Sheridan die but then get resurrected with an infusion of life energy. He was told, however, that regardless of medical procedures, his body would just "stop" after a period of time. Another plot involved an alien artifact that transferred life energy (it was used for capital punishment and occasionally for medical purposes too).
  • Doctor Who:
  • Kamen Rider Kiva features Fangires, a stained glass-based vampire race that materializes crystal fangs in midair, sticks them into their human targets' neck, and drains the life energy out of their bodies for food, leaving the victim as a glass corpse that can be shattered with a single touch. (The words Life Energy are always in English for some reason.)
  • In Lost in Space, the most valuable substance in the universe is known as cosmonium and described as the quintessence of all life. The space miner Nerim has devised a method for producing it from raw minerals, with some unfortunate collateral damage to the planets he mines them from. Even a few drops of cosmonium are capable of giving life to an inanimate object, such as a statue.
  • In the Korean Drama My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox the titular multi-tailed fox (who has taken form as a beautiful human woman) gives a mortally injured man an "energy bead" to keep him alive.
  • The Lifeforce Megazord from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, which uses the rangers' energy.
  • The Dark Kingdom in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon stole energy from people in various ways, just as their animated counterparts did.
  • Emotions are drained in the Red Dwarf episode "Polymorph". A polymorph snacks on the most powerful emotion from four distinct characters. It's never explored what would happen if multiple emotions got drained from the same character, but when you strip away Lister's sense of fear, you get suggestions like: "Why don't we take a nuke and strap it to my head — I'll head-butt the monster into oblivion!"
  • The Wraith in Stargate Atlantis are essentially Life Energy Vampires. There are, however, some Technobabble attempts to explain it as hard science, essentially implying the exact process is badly understood, and that speaking of "Life Force" is a handy though incorrect shortcut. The overall effect of Wraith "feeding", which is done through a special organ in their palm, is similar to Rapid Aging. They can also give back some of the stolen Life Energy, rejuvenating the subject or even bringing him back to life.
  • In Tin Man the Witch possessing Azkedellia kills at least two people with this ability and murders DG as a child While she got better, their mother had to give up most of her magic to do it, leaving her powerless later to defeat the Witch.
  • Tracker used this heavily. Each fugitive was in the form of a life force that took over a human body and killed the original occupant. Cole sucked out the life force into his collector when he caught up with them. Apparently, they were drained of life force when they were put in prison, and the life force was slowly returned as the sentence was served.

    Other Sites 
  • SCP Foundation
    • SCP-1716 ("Imperfect Life Extender") is a device that transfers life force from one person to another. The process is inefficient, with the recipient gaining one tenth of the lifespan lost by the donor.
    • SCP-1807 ("Home Sweet Okapi"). Anyone who touches SCP-1807 will disappear as their life force is drained from them. The life force is stolen to act as an energy source for a civilization living in another dimension.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Alternity supplement Beyond Science: A Guide to FX. The school of Necromancy is based on the manipulation of this in both living and dead bodies. Spells are similar to those cast by clerics/priests in Dungeons & Dragons, such as animating the dead, healing wounds and speaking with the dead.
  • Call of Cthulhu. The Colour Out of Space monster feeds on this, just like the original version in the H. P. Lovecraft story.
  • Champions adventure Wrath of the Seven Horsemen. The villain Dread is a summoned wraith that can drain the life force of opponents and thus lower their Constitution score for the duration of the adventure.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The game has many creatures that can drain life energy levels, such as many undead, succubus demons and so on. Class Levels being certainly the most hardly-earned feature of a PC, such creatures are greatly feared — especially in 1st and 2nd edition, where such drains were permanent with no saving throw. Later editions have somewhat nerfed this power, to the regret of any serious GM.
    • Spelljammer also included lifejammers — a spelljamming helm was a chair which allowed one to pilot a vessel into space by draining spell energy; a lifejamming helm ... well, you can figure it out from there. Lifejammers were particularly popular among evil beings such as neogi and undead, who were fond of subjecting their slaves and captives to this. Lifejammers could be used by volunteers, since they only drain 1d8 hit points per day... a high level party could easily take this in turns and heal back up in between. Unfortunately, there's also the daily DC 13 save or die; no matter what bonuses you have, someone's eventually going to roll a 1, and that's going to be bad. The manual points out that some Lifejammer captains prefer tough creatures with lots of HP, while others go the "endless supply of expendables" route.
    • In a number of D&D cosmologies living creatures ultimately basically "ran" on "positive energy" (as opposed to the "negative energy" powering undead), which might even have its own plane of existence dedicated to it. Healing spells basically channeled an extra dose of just that energy into the recipient to help patch them up, and positive and negative energies cancelling each other out when they met explained why Revive Kills Zombie.
    • In several editions, too much life energy was a bad thing — the Plane of Positive Energy would heal you, since, well, it's the plane of life energy. Then, once you're fully healed, it'd keep on infusing life energy right up to the point where you go from 'have lots more (temporary) hit points than usually' to exploding.
    • Dungeon magazine #41 adventure " A Way with Words". Vampire moss drains the life energy (Hit Points) of creatures within ten yards of it.
  • GURPS Aliens. The Gloworms feed on this by touching other living creatures. They can feed on animals but prefer sentient victims.
  • Essence in Shadowrun is kind of this: Put simply, it's how 'in tune' your personal magical field is with your corporeal body. People can lose Essence by getting their auras disturbed (being attacked by The Undead or becoming burn-out addicts to a narcotic for example) or by replacing too much of their body with cybernetics. Essence Loss is very bad for mages since it limits their ability to do magic, and too much Essence loss causes emotional problems, dissociative mental issues and eventually death.
  • Mummy: The Curse treats Sekhem, the game's power stat, as this. It's less the energy of humans and more the passing life force of the universe as a whole. One of the antagonists in the game line is a corporation that harvests Sekhmen from mummies and the Relics they guard... and uses this primarily to make outstanding, benevolent leaps forward in medicine, including taking steps towards an AIDS vaccine.

    Video Games 
  • Mantra from Asura's Wrath is this. Along with powering up technology and the demi-gods genetically modified to use it, it also can be used in weaponry. It was initially sourced from human prayer, but it turns out human souls are much more convenient and potent, if you don't care about the corpses. Also played around with, in that it's actually the creation of Chakravartin, the source of all mantra. Though after he dies, people still live, but Mantra is no longer around, meaning the technology powered by Mantra is lost forever.
  • One character in the Chzo Mythos is able to draw out the life energy of others by using a sacrificial knife.
  • Dark Souls, like its predecessor, Demons Souls, has its entire level-up system revolving around this. A new type of life energy called Humanity also plays a major part, and losing it eventually turns one into a Hollow (somewhere in between The Heartless and an Empty Shell).
  • In Demon's Souls, the level-up system, magic, and demons all make use of this. Leveling up is performed by taking the souls of fallen enemies and bringing them to the Maiden in Black, who feeds them into your own, making it stronger. Arcane magic is fueled by this, which is partly why magic is considered a dark thing at best. Demons and most of the whole conflict revolve around demons taking this from humans.
  • In Dragon Age this is the true source of magical power. Magic draws power from the Fade, the realm of dreams and thought, which draws energy from life. Magic can be fueled by blood or lyrium which turns out to be the blood of the Titans.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, "the energy of living things" falls within the sphere of the Daedric Prince Meridia, who is also associated with Light and Beauty. As a result, she has an extreme hatred for anything undead, as well as any other entities of cruelty, darkness, rot, filth, or decay. Thus, she will stop at nothing to destroy them, even if it means causing collateral damage to innocent people or her own followers, bordering on being a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Both Fallen London and Sunless Sea seem to have this in some manner, even if it's never referred to as anything other than just life. Within the Neath itself it can actually be moved from place to place, and larger amounts make it harder for someone to die, which is part of why Death Is Cheap in the Neath. Certain kinds of special diamond-like gem seem to irradiate it intensely, too. The real reason everything in Polythreme is alive and sentient is because the King with a Hundred Hearts was given one in place of his real heart, and the sheer amounts of vitality just spilled all over the surrounding area. And the biggest of them all is the heard of the Mountain of Light, also known as the goddess Stone, which is why the Elder Continent is the way it is, with really vicious and powerful wildlife, plants that grow everywhere in a matter of minutes and immortal people that can be turned to smears on the ground and come back the next day perfectly fine.
  • Life Energy was first offhandedly mentioned in the Fire Emblem series in Genealogy of the Holy War under the name Aegir, but had a much bigger role as the Big Bad's main power source in the seventh game, where its name was localized as "Quintessence".
  • Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series typically feeds on the souls of the slain, but he can also snack on friendly humans. If he only drains a little, they'll get tired but eventually recover. Too much and they'll die, and then the other humans stop being so friendly.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, it is revealed that the Toads' life energy is called vim. Without it, the Toads would wither away, and eventually die. Unsurprisingly, the villains capture a ton of Toads to suck out their vim and use it to power their ships. The poor victims are insanely close to death by the time you come across them. Fortunately, seeing how one of said victims is seen alive and well during the ending, it shows that they are revived in the end.
  • Meritous: Revival at a Checkpoint Tile costs "some of your natural vitality" so it can be only done a limited amount of times. Merit can do it five times.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: According to the instruction manual, the cyborg known as Samus has a space suit that can absorb the power of those "he" defeats to replenish his health and restore "his" ammo, which is why the Space Pirates fear "him." Later games clarify that Samus's suit does indeed absorb life energy from defeated foes (usually represented in game by floating purplish orbs).
    • Metroids drain the life energy from any creatures unfortunate enough to encounter them. The Space Pirates tried to use science to explain the phenomenon, but could find absolutely no trace of this "life energy" (it isn't blood or any other vital liquid), only the proof that something vital was obviously being drained.
  • Prevalent in Nasu Kinoko's works (the Nasuverse).
    • Tsukihime: Akiha's ability ("Plunder") is taking the life energy (and heat, apparently — there may not be much of a difference) of others through Prehensile Hair that moves at the speed of thought, hits like a sucker punch or a spear, holds like a python, and is invisible even to her own eyes. Fortunately, the drain itself doesn't start or finish instantly.
    • Fate/stay night: the Mages (Masters) and their Servants have the ability to manipulate the life energy of others (mana) both willingly and unwillingly.
  • In Odin Sphere, Phozons are the source of life in Erion. Fairies are composed of Phozons and when they die, the Phozons return to the land to be used anew. Psyphers, themselves made from crystals forged from masses of Phozons that have accumulated together, utilizing their powers by absorbing Phozons are actually destructive because of that. Armageddon becomes truly kicked off when King Valentine commands the Crystallization Cauldron to absorb every Phozon in Erion, which immediately starts causing the land to be struck by natural disasters and consumed by the rising ocean as the world begins to die.
  • The Quest for Glory series uses this as a plot point at times. It is implied that mana is basically Life Energy, and the death of a wizard causes a flare that can be perceived around the world (unless it is instead used to power a Dying Curse). Demons are known to feed on life energy, which is why they are trying to start a war in the third game.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the collective life energy of the now-deceased human race is known as a substance called "magatsuhi," which flows around the Vortex World in great channels that demons flock to, trying to collect it for themselves.
  • The Chromotap device in Syndicate Wars draws Life Energy from the recently dead to heal your agents (who probably killed them.)
  • Mana from Tales of Symphonia. When the world decays, a Chosen sets out to restore Mana, and takes it away from the parallel world, causing them to spit out a Chosen to tilt it back again.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 represents life energy as fire, which both the Kevesi and Agnian armies seek to take from the other by slaying them in battle with their Blades in order to fuel their side's ever-diminishing Flame Clocks. It doesn't take long at all for the party to discover that the Flame Clocks of both armies are constantly draining because they're being fed on by a third faction called Moebius, who've orchestrated the entire war to farm humans for their energy and sustain their immortality. It takes them somewhat longer to find out that this is because Life Energy is the only energy source powerful enough to stave off the antimatter annihilation event that's underway from the two universes colliding.

  • Tristram's power in Earthsong is the draining and replacement (thereby, healing) of Life Energy.
  • Medicine in Girl Genius seems to rely on "Galvanic energy," which is usually fed through big machines, or from the waters of the Dyne.
  • Guilded Age: Gravedust can count enemies through walls by sensing it.
  • In Thunderstruck, it is explained that vampires don't feed on blood per se, but on the Life Energy it carries.

    Web Original 
  • In Elcenia, this is the fuel used for kamai. Kyma can refuel with food and sleep, pretty similarly to if they had physically overexerted themselves, and they can also sense life energy.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, various sorcerers who know the ways of the Black Shamans, such as Drishnek and the Master of the Totenkopfs, can suck lifeforce out of people.
  • Tied into ley lines (as used by mutants like Fey) and also Ki (as used by mutants like Chaka) in the Whateley Universe.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, the Queen uses Life Energy to create psychocrystals, which power Slaverlords, wraith-like beings she can see, hear, and speak through. Humans Are Special in a BAD way in this universe, as they are the best species she's found to power the things. Fortunately, she only was able to make two human crystals in the entire course of the series, and only able to hold onto one. Unfortunately, that one crystal happens to be made from Zach's wife.
  • Adventure Time's King Worm feeds on life energy, even referring to it as such.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Futurama, with the Professor repeatedly insisting that the life force is a scientific thing and completely different from a soul.
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "The Invisible Monster". The title creature can eat any kind of energy, including that found in a living body. Near the beginning it consumes both its creator Dr. Isaiah Norman and a native villager.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Lorelei Signal". The females of the second planet in the Taurean system can only survive by draining the life energy of male humanoids, which causes the males to age and die.
  • The Parasite in Superman: The Animated Series is basically a male villainous equivalent of Rogue (though Parasite was created first). Humans usually wind up unconscious and twitching a little. He can also gain access to their memories, and sound like them. When he does it to Superman, however...
  • The Transformers: Elita-1 can stop time with in a fifty foot radius of her position. Unfortunately this drains all her life energy and is, in most circumstances, fatal.
  • In Wakfu, the Life Energy is called... wakfu. It is the power source of all magic, and present in every living being, plants like animals. Nox, the Big Bad of the first season, aims at draining as much wakfu as possible, so he can then feed it to the Eliacube, an Amplifier Artifact that can boost his powers beyond those of any time-magic user before, or even beyond those of his god, Xelor, in order to complete the Beyond the Impossible mission of forcibly turning back time 200 years to save his family from death and prevent his own villainy in the process.
    • In Season 2 Qilby wanted to drain the wakfu of the entire planet to fuel the space ship and go to another planet. With Nightmare Fuel setting in when you remember his story of them traveling from planet to planet gathering enough wakfu to get to the next planet.

    Real Life 
  • Starting with Franz Mesmer's "magnetic fluid", every few decades someone will propose essentially the same theory, which all fall under the label of "vitalism". After Mesmer there was Carl von Reichenbach's "odic force", then Wilhelm Reich's "orgone energy" and most recently zero-point energy and other quantum mechanical phenomena have been adopted.
  • Not exactly "life energy", but scientists have proposed that one way to look for life in other planets would be to study compounds as, for example, methane present on their atmospheres that could have been produced by lifeforms on that planets.