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Living Bodysuit

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A Living Bodysuit doesn't get a say in who wears him.

In the process of Demonic Possession, Grand Theft Me, or similar Body Snatching abilities, a Living Bodysuit is a type of Meat Puppet and Host that acts somewhat like that of a Soul Jar, as it allows the hijacker to act from within the character/victim via mental or spiritual projection.

The purpose of a Living Bodysuit varies just like when regarding other forms of Meat Puppets. Usually, the L.B. is used as a disguise, however, sometimes it is also used as a way of gaining immortality, or power via the intellect of the host's mind and experience.

Unlike the average meat puppet, the Living Bodysuit is also completely under the hijacker's direct control (though there are exceptions to the rule); this can usually leave the possessor's real body (if any) prone to attack, due to being comatose without a soul, or mind, which can in itself lead to a Demonic Possession from another Body Snatcher.

Also, should the body of the possessor be destroyed, the hijacker either becomes a permanent resident in the Host (usually the occurrence when regarding soul possessors), or dies along with its physical presence, (this usually happening to mental possessors) thereby freeing the host of control. If the L.B. suffers physical damage from being possessed, it's because of Possession Burnout.

Not to be confused with Living Clothes. If the possessing entity is technological in origin, see Wetware Body.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, the secret Big Bad, Sid, is a weak demon who late into the series shows to have the power to literally wear humans like the trope's name suggests, gruesomely tearing the skin from the body and using black magic to make himself appear as the now dying or already dead victim.
  • D.Gray-Man: Akuma are made by making a deal with The Millennium Earl to bring back a recently deceased loved one. The price, unbeknown to the victims, is that the victim's soul is sealed in a skeletal machine forced to obey him, and the first thing they are forced to do is kill the person who wished them back and wear them like a Halloween costume — and this is only the beginning.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 has Malomyotismon hiding out in Owikawa.
  • During the 3rd Tournament Arc in Dragon Ball, Kami takes possession of a man named Shen in order to infiltrate the Budokai and capture Piccolo. When Piccolo turns his trapping technique against him, Kami releases the Shen just before getting sucked into a jug. Upon waking up, Shen has no idea how he ended up in the tournament ring, or why everyone is applauding him.
  • The unnamed Sludge Villain from the very first story arc of My Hero Academia attempts to invade Midoriya's body, referring to him as an 'invisibility skinsuit'. Sludge intends to use Midoriya to hide from All Might until he can escape the city. When he fails to take over Midoriya's body, he happens upon Bakugo and tries to do it again, with moderately more success — albeit much less subtlety — but is still taken out and arrested before he can properly take over a body or cause anyone permanent harm.
  • Naruto:
    • Orochimaru, one of the main villains and a former member of the Akatsuki, is obsessed with Immortality. He succeeds at this by transferring his soul into the body of anyone unfortunate enough to be his victim once every three years. It is still debated as to whether this is a minimum time required to switch again or the limit to how long he can use the body.
    • The Yamanaka clan is a family of ninja capable of mind jutsu. Their most frequent technique is a form of possesion which allows them to send their mind into an enemy's body and use it against them and their allies.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Evangelions. Whether or not they have the souls of the pilots' mothers in them, they're biologically engineered organisms, restrained and controlled in a case of armor.
  • Medusa in Soul Eater uses a snake, then a little girl called Rachel after being killed. In the manga, she later steals Arachne's body, but in the anime, Maka gains a handy "only harms evil" ability to kill her without harming the girl.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! centers around the main character of Yugi Moto, who acts as a Living Bodysuit for an ancient Pharaoh's soul, while another character, Ryo Bakura, acts as such for a less benevolent spirit.

    Comic Books 
  • Excalibur (Marvel Comics): Excalibur once fights a pack of extradimensional creatures called Warwolves who work for Mojo who can do this to any prey that they kill — they drain the victim's life essence, causing every part of the body except the skin to discorporate, and then wear the skin as a disguise, the Warwolf changing its shape to accommodate. Ironically, when one of them named Ducks tries to do it to Kitty Pryde, she turns the tables on the creature, using her phasing ability to use Ducks as her own Meat Puppet, which leads to Excalibur capturing the other four (although Kitty needs help from the rest of her team to separate from Ducks).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • End of Days has a couple of moments where Satan possesses people to disguise himself... while being very indiscreet.
  • Rasputin in Hellboy (2004) is this. He has some part of the Eldritch Abomination creature inside of him, which, when released is much bigger than Rasputin's normal body.
  • In Howard the Duck, the Dark Overlord of the Universe takes over the body of one Dr. Jennings.
  • The djinn in Wishmaster does this with a dead body he finds in a med school lab.

  • The Cthulhu Mythos has Nyarlathotep, The Crawling Chaos, who in Robert Bloch's story "The Shadow From the Steeple" (arguably non-canon), has one form that can possess humans.
  • In Desperation, the shapeless ancient evil entity called Tak has to possess others to interact with the world. Tak uses the body of a Sheriff's deputy to incarcerate travelers so it can use them later. When Tak occupies a body, it wears it out quickly.
  • Discworld:
    • The climax of The Light Fantastic: Rincewind expects the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions to break through in the sky above Ankh-Morpork, tentacles waving, but all they really need to do is break into Trymon's mind.
    • They do the same thing with Simon in Equal Rites. Unlike Trymon he gets better.
  • Ghosts and other incorporeal spirits in The Dresden Files are able to briefly possess willing living bodies, such as when Harry himself possesses Molly Carpenter in Ghost Story and casts one of his own spells using her body.
  • Narcoblixes from the Fablehaven series can take over the bodies of sleeping people.
  • In both the film and novel The Host (2008), the Souls (alien symbiotes) make almost all of humanity into this. Almost all Souls are very gentle, and the main character (Wanderer/Wanda) does not realize that she is destroying the consciousness of other beings.
  • The Patternist series features a body-hopping entity named Doro. While he typically switches bodies at will (effectively wiping out the victim's soul/consciousness as he does so) he also involuntarily inhabits the nearest body if his current one is killed, making him effectively immortal.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • When Illyria tried to return to life, its body had been destroyed eons ago, requiring it to find a new one. It takes Fred's, though the process kills her body. Fred is now Back from the Dead, however, and sharing her body with Illyria.
    • Cordelia is revealed to be acting under the control of Jasmine in Season 4.
  • In Babylon 5, Lyta Alexander is Kosh's suit whenever he wants to travel or run errands incognito.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the TV movie, the Master possesses Bruce the paramedic, but his ultimate goal is to take the Doctor's body. He wears a Badass Longcoat with Cool Shades to hide the fact the host body is dead and starting to decompose around him.
    • The Slitheen use literally hollowed-out human suits, with zippers in the forehead, to disguise themselves while on Earth.
    • In "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", the Family possesses (and kills) four people so that they could leave their suspended animation and hunt The Doctor.
    • The... thing in "Midnight" uses Sky as one of these.
  • The Pah-wraiths on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine like to do this, and the Prophets will do it on occasion if they need to. Both Keiko O'Brian and Jake Sisko have served as unwilling hosts to Pah-wraiths, Gul'Dukat a willing host, and Kira a willing host to a Prophet.
  • Supernatural:
    • Both angels and demons. Rank-and-file demons can possess just about anyone; angels need people who are "vessels", and a vessel needs to give the angel permission to possess them. The most powerful angels, such as Michael (and Lucifer, who's also technically an angel) have one specific person as their designated vessel. It's implied that a vessel has some kind of "toughness" beyond that which is possessed by most mortals, as when non-vessels have been seen in encounters with angels, their eyes get burned out.
    • Lucifer spends most of Season Five wearing a fellow called Nick whose wife and child had recently died; containing him does visible damage to the body, so they had the actor in creepy makeup. Exactly how inheritance and destiny interrelate on the subject of 'true vessels' is never elaborated upon, nor is whether Nick is related distantly to the Winchesters or to that guy Gabriel's always wearing, or if he's a lower class of vessel like Jimmy, whom Old Nick is making work short-term. Probably not related to either of Raphael's bodies, given they are black.
    • The kid warlock in "Swap Meat" does this with Sam, although (apparently unexpectedly) this also lets Sam walk around wearing him. This is shown by having the actors port with the characters, so while mirrors and all other characters and the physical world agree that Sam's scenes involve a scrawny little asthmatic, magic viewer-vision still sees Jared Padalecki.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, a spell is used to possess Alaric with the ancient vampire Klaus. Given the level of Klaus' apparent paranoia, this is likely to avoid exposing his real body to danger.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Frankly to many things in Bleak World, but most notably is the Legion classification of the Experiment Gone Horribly Wrong race. Unlike most Experiments, their prime consciousness is not their original consciousness and is either a demon or a ghost possessing the body.
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • World of Darkness: Immortals has a race of humans known as Body Thieves, who could take complete and permanent control of their victims, their last body dying as if through natural causes.
    • Vampire: The Requiem has a discipline called Domination, which holds as its highest level of power the ability called "Possession" allowing the vampire in question to transfer his/her mind into the body of any living bodysuit until that body falls unconscious (this can be a serious drawback however, if the vampire uses this ability and doesn't move their own body away from possible exposure to sunlight).
    • It's also one of the favourite party tricks of the Seers of the Throne in Mage: The Awakening, usually through an Artifact of Power called a Profane Urim.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Version 3.5 has a necromancy spell called "Magic Jar" which allows a spell caster to possess a Living Bodysuit while the body's original soul is sent to a jewel of a container. Also, Psionic characters have the chance to switch minds or dominate those of their victims, allowing for a Living Bodysuit to be made with a mere thought!
    • Ghostwalk is a setting that details on a city of ghosts characters can venture to, and become part of. One type of ghost the characters can choose to be allows for them to possess specific races they choose after gaining the ability.
    • There's also a race of creatures called the Tsochar who use meat puppets to pass off for humanoids in order to gain power and control.
    • The skinthief, an obscure monster from Ravenloft, invokes this trope by being Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Illithids can make people suits, from humanoids, that give them a bonus on disguise checks.
  • Excruciators from Monsters and Other Childish Things have a particularly nasty way of rendering people into a Living Bodysuit. They're bizarre and overly-tentacled monstrosities, so to hide their true nature they literally hollow out a person, then use their (still living and conscious) outer layer as a suit to disguise themselves as human. Oh, and there's no indication in the game that the bodysuit can be saved or returned to normal.
  • Old World of Darkness:
    • The Dominate discipline from Vampire: The Masquerade also has the Possession ability. The Animalism discipline has a similar ability that only works on animals.
    • The Earthbound from Demon: The Fallen usually have their Thralls hollowed out of all free will so that they can ride the meat puppets as they wish.


    Video Games 
  • In Alan Wake, the Dark Presence wears the skin of Barbara Jagger to lure Alan and his wife out to her cabin on Diver's Isle, but strangely never drops this disguise even when it becomes obvious what she is. It eventually reveals itself to be a swirling tornado of darkness. This is the closest thing it has to a "true form".
  • BioShock's Big Daddies are perhaps literal examples of this trope, as they are made by grafting human organs into a diving suit.
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem has Bonethieves. They like to burrow down people's throats and then control their host's joints directly. The victims are still conscious but are unable to control themselves.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 has the thousand-year-old malevolent spirit Shuyin, who uses first the Youth League leader Nooj and later the New Yevon leader Baralai to do his bidding.
  • Geist was famous for the possession mechanic, as you made everyone your personal costume and disguise. The Big Bad is also incorporeal, so it takes over the wheelchair-bound old man heading the corporation which had accidentally released it.
  • Eddie from Guilty Gear is actually the shadow that Zato-One manipulates for his attacks. However, after a bout of Real Life Writes the Plot following the death of Zato-One's seiyuu, Eddie was made the primary host of the body with Zato-One merely acting as the vessel through which it connects to reality.
  • The sweet little girl Wild Flower in Jade Empire has two entities battling for supremacy inside her. You end up having to forcibly evict one of them.
  • Kingdom Hearts gives us Ansem or Xehanort's Heartless. Not only did he do this to Riku earlier in the game, but he can command his Guardian to temporarily possess Sora ("Submit!"), causing continual damage to the latter and opening him up for a follow up ("Come, open your heart!"). However, this also means the Guardian is not around to block hits for him, so if you're good at avoiding the Guardian's attacks, you can retaliate.
  • League of Legends has a varied example regarding celestial beings known as Aspects, where any human who could complete the perilous ascension up Mount Targon would become imbued with their power, sharing in the celestial's powers and inheriting their title, a form of cohabitation-induced ascension to godhood. Most Aspects retain their mortal identities and autonomy while also driven by the Powers That Be, but one major exception is Pantheon, the Aspect of War, who prefers to entirely possess his hosts as if they were armor, shunting their mortal consciousness into a state of dark limbo.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Impa gets possessed by Veran in order to sneak into the Oracle's sanctuary with Link. She later controls the Oracle of Ages, Nayru and falls back on controlling Queen Ambi later on. She tries to do this to Link but he dodges her soul effortlessly.
  • In Mass Effect, the Reapers can commandeer their mooks and boost their combat abilities significantly. Sovereign can even resurrect Saren's mostly cybernetic body for this purpose, while Harbinger relies on genetically engineered mooks.
  • In the H-Game School Mate 2, the female lead accidentally desecrates a shrine to three sisters, who take revenge by possessing her until she performs a series of tasks, all of them sexual, with the assistance of a male acquaintance who was present. Any of them can hijack her body at any time, switching hair, eyes and bust to each character, but they're also capable of manipulating her without taking direct control. In the end, it was all an excuse to get the leads hooked up, and enjoy some pleasures of the flesh while they're at it. There was no curse to be broken so they can still seize control, but by that point they have a more cooperative relationship.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
  • Super Robot Wars BX: Until Neo Black Dragon recovers from his previous loss at the hands of Knight Gundam, his soul possesses the Zwauth and uses it as an avatar.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "The Lich", Finn discovers that Billy is dead and the Lich has been possessing his corpse.
    • Jake often uses his elasticity to act as armor for Finn. In "Jake Suit", the situation is reversed so Jake can control Finn to see how much he can take.
  • Whenever the protagonists of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero enter a new dimension, they possess the bodies of existing heroes. This process allows them to roam about without being noticed and ensures that the original hero will get credit for saving the day.