Follow TV Tropes


Liquid Assets

Go To

A form of Applied Phlebotinum where it's possible to, in effect, "drain", or "transfer", or "reverse" physical conditions.

The usual form this takes is related to Life Energyif you drain someone's life energy, they start to show the physical signs of aging. Transferring life energy ages the victim and youthens the recipient. This treats aging as if it's the presence or lack of a substance. With the right set of in-universe rules, this becomes both possible and reasonable with the right kind of Functional Magic or Applied Phlebotinum.

A variation simply has characters "aged" or "youthened". There's no actual drain or transfer, but age is still treated as a substance, where it can be added or removed and you'll automatically get a whole host of physical changes. This can be extended to where someone is youthened into a baby, or a baby aged into an adult. There are also other kinds of Physical Attribute Swaps that can get triggered this way, such as by draining someone else's height, weight, or musculature.

It is sometimes used for Fairest of Them All. It may also be a Power Source to some villains or powers, or as the food for Horror Hunger. If the character is using this to live forever, it's Life Drinker. It helps when you use Powers as Programs. Empathic Healer is a more heroic inverse of this trope, where someone heals another person by transferring the other person's wounds to themselves. The assets may be acquired via a Blood Bath. Supertrope to Level Drain, Life Drain, Mana Drain, Soul Eating and Transferred Transformation.

Not to be confused with Pooled Funds.


Transfer or drain for aging

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • One of the monsters of the week in Zanki used leeches to drain the blood of schoolgirls, leaving them withered husks and making herself young and beautiful in the process.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe villan Selene, in her earlier appearances in New Mutants, was an energy vampire; as she sucked the life out of her victims she became younger and more beautiful; as she used her powers up, she would look older.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfette's Inner Beauty", Hogatha the witch uses the Spell of Syphonia on Smurfette to transfer her youth and beauty onto herself, causing the witch to transform into a young ginger-haired beauty while Smurfette became old and wrinkled and aging toward death.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The movie Lifeforce (1985) and the book it was adapted from, The Space Vampires.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the knight guarding the Holy Grail explains that, "The true Grail will give you life, and the false Grail will take life from you." When Donovan drinks from the wrong Grail, he ages rapidly until he dies, his body decomposes and turns to dust. Notable for the fact that Donovan grows a considerable amount of hair during the ageing process, and may well have died of starvation for all we know.
  • In The Princess Bride Wesley has at least 31 years of his life drained away to the point that he's Only Mostly Dead.
  • Featured in the MST3K classic Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders: the Jerkass subject of one story makes liberal use of a book of magic spells, but finds that afterwords he's suddenly been turned into an old man, since magic use drains Life Energy. His solution is to use the book's recipe for a Life Energy-restoring potion, but winds up overdoing it (or something) and turning himself into a baby.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Used partially in X-Men. After Rogue (having absorbed a large part of Magneto's power) is used as a battery for the machine that gives normal people powers, she becomes drained of energy, and her hair gets a grey streak. In fact, Magneto used her for this because using it was expected to kill the user.
    • In The Wolverine, Yashida intends to drain Logan's Healing Factor from him.
  • In The Dark Crystal, captive Podlings are drained of their "living essence" in order to provide the Skeksis with mindless slaves. Drinking the essence gives a temporary "youth boost", at least in appearance. Very temporary. "It always worked better with gelfling..."
  • In the 2002 The Time Machine film, the Morlock leader gets partially thrown out of the time machine, hanging from Alex's neck. Alex then sends the machine forward, rapidly aging him to dust, similar to the Indiana Jones example above. This is even more strange, as this means he was basically hanging for centuries without trying to do anything about it. If anything, his hands should've been cut off the moment the machine began moving through time.

  • Notably averted in the Larry Niven book A World Out of Time. Aging is dependent on cellular poisons that can be removed. However, people who have it removed don't instantly turn young, but gradually get young as their younger cells can repair the body.
  • Magic in the Hurog duology works like this. Ward, who has magical abilities, but is untrained, can share his magical energy with Oreg, who is better at doing something with it.
  • Most magic in The Runelords books operates on this principle.
  • In Dracula and in a few of the numerous adaptations, the Count starts off as an elderly man and becomes younger in appearance over time through drinking blood. Also, when Lucy becomes a vampire, she looks healthier "dead" in her coffin than she did alive though ill (that she looks better after having "died" of said illness is a sign something is Not Right).
  • Similarly, the vampire Barlow in 'Salem's Lot initially appears as an old man but gets younger-looking as the story progresses.
  • Fistandantilus of Dragonlance routinely drained the life-force from one of his apprentices to maintain his immortality, and from the description of the process it also seems to restore at least some of his youth. He still looks impossibly ancient most of the time.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Red Nails", Tascela does this. She intends to do it to Valeria.
  • Happened to Wesley in the Angel tie in novel The Longest Night from a spell being used by a desperate, dying father who was trying to stay alive to see his son grow up. Angel rescues Wes and the boy is briefly aged by the spell, thereby letting the dad see him as an adult before he returns to being a kid.
  • In The Sword of Good, the Lord of Dark has a Wormarium, filled with worms that he drains life-force from to artificially extend his life. This is taken as a sign of great evil, but as he points out, it's objectively no worse than slaughtering cattle to eat their meat.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Farscape involves a Luxan holy woman undergoing a psychic ritual with D'Argo, which unexpectedly results in her becoming far younger because she's accidentally draining energy from Moya, who undergoes accelerated aging.
  • In the Heroes online material, Linda Niles a.k.a. Leona Mills has this as her superpower. She also suffers from accelerated aging if she doesn't use this power regularly. However, she's a protagonist, so she only drains youth from trees and pieces of wood rather than people.
    • Additionally, in the main series, when Adam loses their healing factor Or, more accurately, when Arthur Petrelli drains it from him, he ages super-rapidly and crumbles into dust. Apparently, healing factors in the Heroes 'verse merely suppress the symptoms of aging rather than reversing them or making them never happen at all.
  • Kamen Rider Double had a Criminal Of The Week with aging powers who sold his services (primarily to Stage Moms); once his Gaia Memory was destroyed, all his victims returned to normal.
  • In Lois & Clark, an evil scientist drains Jimmy Olsen's youth to rejuvenate herself.
  • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder had a Monster of the Week who "stole youth" to be used as a power source, leaving victims elderly. Since Rangers monsters suffer from No Ontological Inertia, taking the monster out caused everyone to turn young again.
  • Red Dwarf: "M-Corp" reveals that the MegaCorp M-Corp graduated to using Time as currency. The result is that when Lister swiftly exhausts his credits, they start draining his time, causing him to drastically age. They also made thinking a taxable event, which they used to dissuade people from rebelling against their control.
  • The Wraith on Stargate Atlantis. It was handwaved as "a series of complex chemical processes that we only barely understand." This, however, does not explain how the victims suddenly grow enough extra skin to be wrinkly like that.
    • This can be covered by their body rapidly going through an accelerated aging process, so it still makes more sense than their hair turning grey/white.
    • Rather than growing extra skin, couldn't they be losing muscle and bone mass? That could even help explain where Wraith get chemical nutrients.
  • In the Smallville episode "Redux", the Freak of the Week's power to absorb life energy immediately becomes apparent as the victim rapidly ages.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • This happens to Dr. Pulaski in "Unnatural Selection" when her aging disease is cured, only justified as the transporter basically restructures her body.
    • In "Man of the People", an ambassador uses Troi as a dump for all his negative emotions, which in turn ages her rapidly. When the effect is undone, Troi immediately reverts to her younger self, including her grayed hair returning to black.
  • Supernatural: "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" has a witch who stays immortal by running poker games with years of life as the stakes — after the game, players get physically younger or older to match what they've won or lost. Dean spends some time as a geriatric before Sam wins enough to get his youth back.
  • The Warehouse 13 Season 2 episode "Age Before Beauty" has Myka become an Undercover Model to track down an Artifact of Doom that's causing other models to age to death. The culprit reverts to an old man when he's Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • "Grampira", an episode of Weird Science, had Wyatt wishing for his elderly grandmother Nana to leave her nursing home by being young again. Literal Genie Lisa granted the wish by giving her the power to suck the youthful energy from anyone she touched: Nana became more active and energized, while the teens themselves acted like old people trapped in young bodies (talking about early bird specials and becoming hard of hearing, for example). The only way to set things right was for Nana to go back into the nursing home again, which, in a surprising reversal of this trope, she willingly did, explaining that she while being young again was fun, she's also quite happy to be old, too.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS has the Steal Youth spell, the most energy-efficient means of reducing a character's age, giving you a year of life for every three taken from the victim. In energy points, it's much cheaper than the Youth spell, and it doesn't have the ridiculous expense of an alchemical youth elixir. So long as you've got disposable victims, you can live forever.

    Video Games 
  • Krystine and the Children in Chains has the evil queen draining multiple children to death, just to restore her from old age. This is a one-time scene, and not elaborated upon.
  • Milkmaid of the Milky Way: Queen Amrita uses the age machine to keep the milk beasts alive, and to keep her own youth by draining her subjects. The machine can also be used to ripen some fruit, and revert a rotten fruit back to a seed.

    Western Animation 
  • The 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series has an arc based around this, with elderly villain Silvermane trying to become younger via magic and winding up turning himself into a baby. The Vulture constantly shifts between youthful and elderly form, eventually managing to stabilize himself as young by taking Silvermane's youth via the Applied Phlebotinum meant to restore him to adulthood (thus returning Silvermane to his original elderly form). Later, Venom and Carnage are recruited by a villain to steal Life Energy to release a Sealed Evil in a Can. This results in rapid aging.
  • Ducktales 2017: "The Forbidden Fountain Of The Foreverglades" reveals this is the power of the series' version of the Fountain of Youth. It's discoverer, Ponce DeLeon, having run out of crewman to feed to the fountain, has set up a Spring Break resort using the Fountain's waters as pool water to syphon unsuspecting teens' youth by drinking said water afterward.. He has dozens of bottles of such water in his office, literal liquid youth, which he uses to maintain his vitality. At least until the McDucks check in.
  • My Little Pony had a one-shot villain, a witch named Somnambula, create a carnival as a trap for the Ponies so she could drain their youth and the unicorns' magical power to herself.
  • The villain Mad Mod in Teen Titans (2003) used a magic cane in his second appearance to suck the youth out of Robin and into him. He then proceeded to rule over reality (or at least one city's worth of it) like a Beatles - and Monty Python-obsessed God until the Titans put him back in his place. It somehow sucked the youth out of Robin's clothes, turning them into old and worn-out with faded colors, and made Mad Mod's clothes regain their color and look new again.

Transfer or drain for wounds

    Anime & Manga 
  • Buso Renkin: The special ability of Ouka Hayasaka's bow weapon is that she can craft arrows that transfer wounds to herself. She uses them twice: once on her brother, and once on Kazuki.
  • In One Piece, Bartholomew Kuma is able to push EVERYTHING with his hands. Sounds useless, right? He can push even physical conditions out. The first time we see this, Kuma pushed the pain out of Luffy, which manifested as a giant red bubble. It then made a viable projectile, with a small bit of the bubble knocking Zoro to his knees. And then he took it all in. And he is more or less unconscious. While standing. The wounds weren't healed, but the 'donor' felt great after waking up.
  • If you use magic to heal someone in Ojamajo Doremi, their wound is transferred onto you. This is why healing magic is forbidden, as is magic that brings people Back from the Dead.

    Comic Books 
  • Teen Titans: Raven "absorbs the pain" and apparently the physical wounds of whomever she heals. In one memorable scene, when her demon father Trigon put the "death stare" whammy on a little girl for being too childishly honest, Raven absorbed the "blood boiling" injuries from the child in a very painful-looking scene, becoming covered with welts and blisters until she could heal herself as well. Then Trigon vaporized the kid anyway.
  • X-Men: Marvel Comics' most recent attempt at an ongoing series for Rogue took her absorption power to a ridiculous extreme; when she touches Juggernaut to absorb his powers while he is having a heart attack, she absorbs the heart attack. In a subsequent issue, she accidentally touches Gambit who is temporarily blind because of an eye injury, and is also struck temporarily blind until the absorption wears off. note 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In X-Men, Wolverine lets Rogue absorb his healing factor to save her, and instead of his healing merely being halted, his already-healed wounds returned.

  • Broken Sky does this with those that possess the yellow spirit stones, the healers. They can take on the injuries of another, whether the injury is mental or physical in nature. While they heal faster than most people, an inexperienced or reckless healer could kill themselves quite easily by absorbing more wounds than their body could handle.
  • This is Lifeforce's power in Lux. He can transfer any injury he suffers to anyone he is currently touching.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 features an alien device that transfers life energy between the people attached to it to heal illnesses, wounds, et cetera. The device was actually meant for executing criminals, a use to which it is put by the end of "The Quality of Mercy".
  • In Heroes, when the "Wonder Twin" heals people infected with his sister's illness, not only do they get healthy, but their black tears somehow disappear.
  • This proves to be Chloe's Green Rocks-given power in Smallville. Her first use of it left her clinically dead for a long time, and her second left her with a finger cut in the same manner as Jimmy's had been when she healed him.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series original episode "The Empath", the titular mute alien could heal others, but suffered concurrent damage to herself. If she healed someone badly enough injured, she could die.
  • In the Torchwood episode "They Keep Killing Suzie", the resurrection gauntlet, when used with enough empathy on the revived person (a normal resurrection lasts one or two minutes), transfers the fatal injury to the user of the gauntlet. When the connection broke, the injuries leave.
  • The X-Files: The episode "The Gift" features a monster that eats people and later vomits them out again into a mold where they take their original human form after a time. This has the effect of healing the people entirely, but passing all the symptoms onto the monster. The monster thus stacks up symptom after symptom, a living hell, until finally he eats John Doggett, who is dead at the time, thus passing the death onto the monster, who is finally free of the pain of disease-ridden life.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the game 7th Sea, there is an advantage in the Vendel/Vesten sourcebook called "Sympathetic Healer" that allows a player to absorb another's wounds into themselves. Likewise, they can transfer injuries into a target if pressed.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (from AD&D 2 on) wizard spell "Vampiric Touch" (drains Hit Points).
    • Psychic Powers "Life Draining" (drains Hit Points) and "Psychic Drain" (gains power points by temporarily damaging the victim's stats), 3 ed. has "Psychic Vampire" (drains power points, if the victim has none it damages stats temporarily).
    • Forgotten Realms has wizard spell "Morgannaver's Sting" (stronger variant of Vampiric Touch) and in 3rd ed. druid spell "Healing Sting"
    • The Psionic ability "Lend Health" from the second edition's Complete Psionics Handbook likewise works by way of literally transferring injury from the recipient to the psion using the power.

    Video Games 
  • Hard West: Lazarus has the power to swap wounds (HP and some status effects) with someone else. At its base level, he can use this power to heal a posse member by taking on their wounds, and then activate his personal self-healing passive skills by killing an enemy to recover. At higher levels, Lazarus can use this skill on enemies, which means he can throw himself onto death's door, swap wounds with some unfortunate sap, and then finish them off himself.

    Web Original 
  • Kerry Ellison (Seraphim) of the Whateley Universe. When her powers manifest, she finds she can heal people but only by getting their injury/illness for a while. And the injury/illness from previous healings at a lessened level. Which means that when she heals an old woman with cancer, she's in agony for hours. And then she's forced against her will to heal person after person, taking on all their illnesses. Squick.
  • SCP-590 is an empathic healer who follows this trope. When he heals someone's serious physical injury, he feels the pain they felt when they received the injury, and a scar appears on his body to correspond with the injury's location on the individual being healed. Unlike most empathic healers in fiction, he doesn't have an accelerated healing factor, so the damage he heals constantly accumulates in his body. When the SCP Foundation took him in, they had him heal several cases of mental retardation, permanently leaving him with the intelligence of a three-year-old child, thereby making him less able to resist his new role as the foundation's repository for suffering. It's also treated as a partial Mercy Kill: hopefully there's not enough of his mind left to properly suffer all that agony.
  • King of the Slaughterhouse Nine from Worm, who can transfer his injuries to anyone he has touched in a 24 hour period.
    • The similarly powered Scapegoat can absorb other people's injuries and then transfer them to his opponents. Unfortunately for him, he fully experiences any injuries he's carrying until he can load them off.
  • The sun-touched in A Study in Steampunk can use their ability to sense the "inner fire" in a person to heal them or to reinvigorate themselves. The latter is addictive and causes the sun-touched's aura (detectable by special glasses) to redden.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, Xergiok the ex-Goblin King heals an accidentally-broken leg of one of his birds by using a "vibrational chant" (which isn't magic, according to him) to give the bird his healthy leg and transfer the bird's broken leg to himself. He then does it again to steal one of Jake's legs and its stretching ability, leaving Jake with the bird's broken leg.

Aging/youthening without explicit transfer

    Anime & Manga 
  • Isumi's great grandmother of Hayate the Combat Butler is able to suck the blood of a target who is 'near death' to restore her youth. Isumi is hinted at having the same ability, but she's only 13, so it wouldn't have any effect.

  • L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s, The Saga of Recluce series has order and chaos magic. Natural aging is a breakdown of order in the body and an increase of chaos, which can be countered by using magic to restore and reinforce order to a person's body. While this makes a person healthier (and an order master is effectively immortal), it also causes cosmetic changes that make little sense, like gray hair returning to the person's natural color. In the first book, a secondary character goes from black to gray to black hair repeatedly while straining himself or using too much chaos magic, then recovering.
  • In the Dragon Jousters series by Mercedes Lackey, the Magi were deliberately encouraging the war between Alta and Tia to continue, since they were using the death of the soldiers fighting in it to extend their lifespans and that of the Altan rulers. Later on, Magi that were forced to flee Alta went to Tia and did the same for the Tian king. Also, the Magi were draining the priests/acolytes that were 'god-touched' in order to power their spells, which eventually killed the priests/acolytes or stripped them of their powers.
  • Mistborn: A Feruchemist can store youth inside an atium metalmind, temporarily becoming physically older than their chronological age, and then draw the youth out again to become physically younger for an equal amount of time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 had someone caught in a temporal anomaly die of old age, even though his ship didn't have enough supplies for him to live that long. And then there was the affliction Sinclair had in the two-parter "War Without End"...
  • Doctor Who:
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, O'Neill discovers a planet where people age rapidly during the night and becomes entwined in the Applied Phlebotinum that causes this. This is a semi-subversion, as Jack's hair grows very long as it goes gray, and after being cured Jack does NOT magically revert; he is told his still-actually-young cells will repair the ravages of fake age, but it will take a few weeks.
  • The Star Lost: In "The Pisces", the crew of a scout starship discover that relativistic Time Dilation has No Ontological Inertia, so that once they slowed down they started rapidly aging to their "real" ages.
  • The various Star Trek series have had instances of rapid aging caused by diseases and such. In the Next Generation episode "Rascals", an away team is also turned into children in a Teleporter Accident.
  • An episode of Tales from the Darkside, "Grandma's Last Wish," had a grandmother make a wish after her Jerkass relatives told her they were going to put her in a nursing home, and that she had one last week of freedom to enjoy herself. We don't hear the exact wording of the wish, but as the week progresses, the younger family members show all the symptoms of aging, until, on the last day, they are too old and infirm to live independently and have to move into a nursing home, while Grandma herself (who was never all that enfeebled to begin with) gets to stay out of it.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers features recurring villain Professor Nimnul trying to make an honest living. He has invented an aging ray, and tries to demonstrate it by turning a huge bottle of milk to cheese. Not that cheese works that way, and the convention hall full of the dairy industry should've mentioned that... and the ray does work to age things, notably the two cops and the police car, as well as one of the Rangers.


    Anime & Manga 
  • Accel World: Dusk Taker's power is the ability to steal the powers of other burst linkers, such as when he stole Haruyuki's Flight ability and manifested a set of demonic looking wings. The power was limited in that he could only permanently take powers from those who'd suffered mental trauma similar to his own, hence why he couldn't just straight take Like Bell's time ability.
  • In Ranma ½, victims of ki-vampire Hinako Ninomiya's Life Energy Absorption attacks don't age, but wither, to the point where they can be rolled up like used toilet paper and even flutter in the wind. She, on the other hand, spontaneously gains enough mass to grow from her eight-year-old-looking body to her real late-twenties appearance, apparently implying that all the ki she absorbed was somehow transformed into biomass. Then the reverse happens when she expels the accumulated ki and she shrinks back down into her child form. Even her hair reverts to its original length.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, The Wolkenritter can steal people's magical power to fill The Book Of Darkness.
  • Isumi of Hayate the Combat Butler is able to use the blood of someone (who Hayate fits the description of perfectly) to restore her powers in one arc.
  • One of the early enemies in Devil & Devil is a tentacled monster that can suck time out of people. This merely serves as nourishment for the creature, and doesn't cause it to change its appearance in any way, but the victims do change, as they are regressed into babies. However, because there's No Ontological Inertia, all the time that the creature had sucked out is returned once it is killed, restoring the victims to their proper ages.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: JoJolion, Josuke Higashikata is able to use his Stand, Soft & Wet, to extract various attributes from anything by touching them with special "soap bubbles" before another bubble passes on the attribute to another target. He has used this ability to steal properties such as friction and physical objects such as fur from a cat.

    Comic Books 
  • Comic book characters may, depending on the story, "lose their powers" even if their "power" is that they have wings, a tail, etc., as if "power" is a substance and the wings, which are physical structures, only exist if the substance is present. (See also Powers as Programs.)
    • Averted in Justice League when a few 'Power Disruptors' are stated by Word of God to simply be neural disruptors that prevent them from using their natural abilities. Hawkgirl gets shot by one and retains her wings.
    • In one particularly absurd example from Super Friends, a power nullifier caused Batman and Robins' utility belts to disappear.
    • Averted, optionally, in the Mutants & Masterminds superhero RPG, where superpowers can be deemed Innate, not powers at all, and thus immune to effects that negate powers, such as Neutralize or Nullify. So if your Physical God gets hit with a Neutralize, maybe he loses his lightning blasts and what-have-you, but the strength that lets him juggle small mountains? That's just the natural physical capabilities of his race, therefor is 'innate' and not technically a power, thus it is not affected. Though this doesn't help against the power Drain: if you have a strength Drain, you lose that innate Super-Strength too.
    • The Fifth Edition Hero System RPG introduced the advantage Inherent, which has the same effect as Innate in Mutants and Masterminds.
    • Also happened in the City of Heroes comic-book tie-in: The villains figured out a way to negate superpowers across the entire city. This lead to a great many Fridge Logic moments, as it even affected people whose 'powers' were magic, technological or the result of physical changes, but not those who had Charles Atlas Superpowers.
    • There are also numerous cases of Superman's powers being transferred to someone else (including normal humans), despite the fact that his powers are a product of his Kryptonian biology. Though in the Silver Age and Bronze Age it was a general property of anything whatsoever from Krypton, including dogs, monkeys, and inanimate objects like his costume. This was completely separate from the structure of any specific item, so transferring it is more plausible.
  • The character Rogue from X-Men drains other mutants' powers and anyone's life force.
    • Treating their physical forms very inconsistently in the process. She's been depicted as assuming part of Nightcrawler's inhuman appearance, for instance, but not Angel's wings; on one occasion she absorbed enough of Mr. Sinister's powers and personality that she effectively became him—but didn't turn chalk white, which one would assume to be simpler than growing fur.
    • In X-Men: Evolution, Rogue drains powers and life energy, but not physical traits. For example, when she touches Cyclops, she absorbs his eye beams, but not his Power Incontinence, since that is an effect of physical trauma and not an innate part of his power. There was one inconsistency regarding physical trait draining - once Rogue touched Sabertooth, she grew fur and abnormally big fangs. Reason for it? Making a joke about leg shaving, apparently.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Awakening of a Magus, Voldemort is slowly siphoning away his followers' power to increase his own. In case of a Death Eater who had failed him (or was captured and can't be rescued soon enough to avoid questioning), he drains all of it with extremely painful and naturally lethal results.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Space Jam, the villains suck the basketball talents from five NBA players and use them themselves in an attempt to crush the Looney Tunes.
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, without any synthetic antidote for the Medusa Serum, Private uses himself instead, allowing the machine to drain cuteness from him to transfer it back to the other penguins.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • X-Men: The Last Stand:
    • When Beast approaches Leech, his powers are drained. Apparently his powers include "being hairy", because his hair withdrew into his body as he got close, and immediately grew back when he stepped away.
    • Same happens to Mystique when she gets her shot of Applied Phlebotinum, she loses her shapeshifting ability and looks like a normal human again. A bare naked normal human Rebecca Romijn at that. note 

  • The Sime Gen series by Jacqueline Lichtenberg is pretty much built on this trope. "Simes" (consumers) must have "Selyn" (Life Energy) to live. They can get this from "Gens" (generators). Simes are mutated humans, with additional senses and tentacles added to the arms. Gens are apparently normal humans. Simes must have a 'transfer' of life-energy from a Gen once a month or die — additional transfers can power special feats. At the beginning of the series transfer always kills the Gen, and Simes do not regard Gens as people, although Simes and Gens are inter-fertile and two Simes can have a gen child and vice-versa. During the series Simes learn how to have safe transfer and to regard Gens as people.
  • In Prey, the main character uses an electromagnet to force parasitic nanobots out of his wife's body for about thirty-second intervals (then they swarm right back in). During that half-minute, since she is actually starved and abused, and the nanites are essentially acting as a layer of disguise, he describes her as becoming withered and old-looking without the nanites and more normal as soon as they flood back into her.
  • In The Saga Of Billy, Vetherr devoured the fertility and the reason of of his lovers, and used it so that he could create life and give a mind of their own to his creations.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, "Shrimp" Harper has the ability to "breathe in" the life force of others, leaving them feeling tired and run-down. In the sequel, The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, she discovers that she has the ability to "breathe in" other things than life force, such as mental confusion or even arm-brokenness, and has the potential to be an Empathic Healer. The sequel also mentions that she has a much more popular twin brother who breathes out life force, making people feel better when they spend time with him; it is not revealed whether he's sharing his own life force or somehow acquiring it some other way.
  • In Something More Than Night, a Mad Scientist devises a way to transfer insubstantial attributes in a fashion analogous to a blood transfusion. His rich sponsor rounds up a group of people with desirable attributes, including a telekinetic and a man who has lived unaging for over three centuries, and has their attributes transferred to himself. (The shopping list also includes a man of remarkable height — the sponsor is shorter than average, and touchy about it.) In the end, stealing a contortionist's flexibility proves his undoing; he begins to collapse into a boneless living puddle — one which still possesses the immunity to death he stole from the very old man as his first transfusion.
  • The second book in the Sword of Truth series has this as a major plot line - evil sorceresses drain the magical power of wizards and add it to their own.
  • Patternist: One of the Psychics in Mind of My Mind can both drain and impart Life Energy. She makes a living as a faith healer, feeding from large crowds in amounts that don't harm any one person, then using the excess energy to cure people's wounds and diseases.
  • Nowhere Stars: Discussed and Lampshaded; the main character is a Magical Girl who uses her Life Drain abilities to sap "health" from people, staving off her own terminal illness, and leaving her victims temporarily sick and weak; she can even "store" this stolen health as a pool to burn through later for a physical boost. When she meets with a doctor who specializes in the overlap between magic and medicine, the doctor points out how this makes no sense from a logical standpoint, since "health" is just a word that means "the absence of illness" and isn't an energy source you can drain and stock up on. This is to demonstrate that magic doesn't care about things like "logic" or "laws of nature" and so it works anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Superman (and in the comic it was originally based on), the villain Parasite was able to drain life force from his opponents. But when he tried to drain Superman's power, that overloaded him, leading to the villain's demise. That ending suggests that too much of a good thing is bad, also poetic justice for hubris.
  • Glory of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who drains sanity. Described as the mystical energies that hold ones mind together the loss of them leaves the victim in a Black Bug Room. Glory herself is a Chaos God sealed inside a mortal man not capable of handling our limited perception that has to periodically drain others to save herself from such a state.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Lazarus Experiment": The mutated Lazarus drains people's Life Energy, turning them into mummified husks, to sustain himself.
    • Something like this occurs with the Weeping Angels. They send you back in time to live out your life in the past, then feed on the years you "might have had". The Doctor says this isn't a terrible way to go and calls them "the only psychopaths in the universe who kill you nicely." That is, until "The Angels Take Manhattan", where they figure out they can make a "battery farm" of humans by sending them back repeatedly and feeding on them again and again until they age and die.
  • The Friday the 13th: The Series episode "Vanity's Mirror" had a woman with a special compact mirror. If the mirror reflects light on a victim, he or she will die and the person who wields the compact becomes more beautiful.
  • Both Lois & Clark and Smallville employed this trope. In both cases lightning can copy Clark's powers to someone else (in Smallville, the local Green Rocks also have to be involved) and both shows have had Clark's powers fully transferred into someone else with him losing them (in Lois & Clark it actually got passed around from Clark to Lois to Lucille back to Clark.) Both shows have also had episodes featuring youth draining abilities or devices.
  • In the Torchwood episode "End of Days", Abaddon consumes the Life Energy of everyone in his shadow, which gives him a deadly Phlebotinum Overdose when the immortal Captain Jack Harkness steps up.
  • An unusual example from Choushinsei Flashman. Whenever the squid/jellyfish-monster Kuragen is summoned to Make My Monster Grow, it fires a beam out of its' big red eye, reconstituting and growing the monster. At which point, the Kuragen shrinks, and shrinks, into a tiny little octopi creature (often seen scurrying away from the battlefield). In this case, it seems that there's only so much "big" to go around; the Kuragen is basically transferring its' size to the monster (after it shrinks, the other villains put it in a small pool for it to recharge).

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Unknown Armies, one of the perks of being a higher level Avatar of the Merchant is to allow them to facilitate the exchange of intangible qualities. They can buy your good fortune, sell your youth, or trade histories. The only rule is that the exchange must be must be mutually agreed upon.

    Video Games 
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, ugly witch Gruntilda plans to transfer the protagonist's sister's beauty to herself through a machine. You get to see the result on the Game Over screen...
    • In the sequel, Gruntilda has been reduced to a skeleton after spending two years trapped under a boulder since the end of the first game, and plans to restore her body by draining the life force out of things. The ray also goes in reverse in order to revive characters who had been killed earlier.
  • In Creatures, life and wounded are chemicals. You can't actually transfer them between creatures, but you can inject them. You can also genetically engineer them to make life out of oxygen, or, for that matter, make it out of wounded.
  • The Sadhus of Tree of Savior can use Send Prana to temporarily donate a portion of their Intelligence stat to an ally.

    Web Animation 
  • Lampooned in the Cyanide and Happiness animation "Last Call" in which a doctor purports to be able to transfer drunkenness between people by balancing out their blood alcohol levels, with the punchline being that now neither the former drunkard nor the designated driver were fit to drive after equalising their blood alcohol, with predictable results.

  • A major plot-point of The Dragon Doctors is that everything living has a whole variety of essences within them; not just Life Energy but things which determine all characteristics. The first chapter involves a cursed valley that causes everyone who goes there to be turned permanently into a woman; it turns out there was an artifact that sucked up "masculine essence" from everything around it to promote plant growth. The reason this turns men into women is that the essence of both genders exist within people and getting rid of all the manliness tips the balance. Goro the muscular war surgeon gets all of all his strength (and masculinity) sucked out of him when he tries to physically attack the artifact, winding up a skinny, sickly woman who needs a strength essence infusion at a hospital later (it's treated like an organ transplant). Most of this is justified as magic working with "concepts" rather than raw physics.
  • Vriska Serket from Homestuck can steal luck, which apparently causes catastrophic misfortune to immediately befall her victims.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Static Shock featured a power draining villain, which captured several members of the Rogue gallery to drain them for his benefit; including Talon, a villain with wings. When she was recovering from the drain, it showed her feathers growing, as if the draining caused them to shrink.
    • Another episode saw a large number of Bang Babies kidnapped and drained so Edwin Alva could restore his son from statue-form, which was the result of an earlier Superpower Meltdown from trying to combine all the potential powers of the Bang Baby Gas.
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Washingtoon" had the A.A.F.C. (standing for Adults Against Funny Cartoons, of course) chairperson, the main villain of the episode, using a machine to drain cartoon characters of their "tooniness." Buster's tooniness is too strong for the machine, breaking it and restoring everyone's tooniness (although not all of them to their proper bodies), including the A.A.F.C. chairperson's tooniness, which had been lost many years ago, and saving Acme Acres.
  • The season 4 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic saw Tirek draining magic from unicorn ponies, which would seem to make enough sense, although he also steals flight from pegasus ponies, leaving them unable to fly (but with their wings still intact) and he steals physical strength from earth ponies. Interestingly, the ponies' cutie marks also vanish when these things are removed, even if their talent wasn't related to magic, flying, or strength.
  • Played straight and then averted to a hilarious degree in X-Men: The Animated Series. While in the Savage Land, all the mutants temporarily lost their powers. For some reason this enabled Professor Xavier to walk, even though his inability to walk is related to a spinal injury and has nothing to do with his powers.note  When villains inevitably arrived, Wolverine announced "I've got news for ya, bub! There's nuthin' mutant about these!" and released his adamantium claws. However, without his healing factor he nearly passes out from the pain of grievously injuring his hands.note