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Mental World

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What else could the mind of a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder possibly look like?

Razputin: So this is it... the mental world.
Elton: It looks like a dentist's office.
Razputin: A mental dentist's office!

A Mental World is any world that exists inside a person's mind (or heart, soul, whatever, but not their physical body). Similar to Dream Land and Cyberspace, a Mental World does not follow the regular laws of physics, and may ignore or respond badly to characters trying to use logic or force. This world is usually entered by some type of telepathy, either magical or technological; if the character whose mind contains the Mental World is sleeping or unconscious, then their individual dreamworld may be attached to a larger Dream Land or collective unconscious, which makes it enterable by other dreaming or meditating people.

Symbolism is king here, sympathetic magic may be in operation, and puns, metaphors, and metamorphoses may be common. Because this world is based on an individual's (possibly incorrect) beliefs, it may contain multiple Evil Twin versions of both the owner's personality and that of anyone else (s)he knows, especially the people exploring the world. Sometimes this works in the other direction, and changes made inside the Mental World may change the beliefs of the individual who is the source of the world in question.

In other cases, this Mental World is more like a magical pocket dimension where the controlling mage can wage battles, imprison others, hide themselves from enemies, or even take a friend for a vacation. In this case the world does not necessarily exist strictly inside the character's mind, but still behaves as if it does because it is woven out of that person's magic and actively connected to that person's mind (and still generally representative of their "self").

Oftentimes the world is surreal and barren and may be a space-like void with stars, multiple suns, and small chunks of floating rock or debris that may be used to get about, like stair-steps.

See also Vision Quest and Ghost in the Machine. Tends to be a Wackyland, especially when exploring one's personal mind. Not to be confused with Womb Level.

Subtropes include:

  • Black Bug Room, a place within the mind where the character's negative/dark feelings fester, and the character may visit if they break under some sort of strain.
  • Happy Place, a usually peaceful place within the mind that the character uses as a refuge from the troubles of reality.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind, when a character goes inside their Mental World or that of another character.
  • Memory Palace: An area in the mind, usually in the form of a house or palace, used to organize certain thoughts and memories of an individual.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dr. Kanzaki from Black Cat has the tao power of "Warp World", which creates one of these. He has total control over the contents and the senses of the people within.
  • In Bleach, all shinigami have an inner world where they commune with their zanpakutou spirit. However, only Ichigo's has been detailed to the readers. His consists of a city of skyscrapers and gravity is at right-angles to normal, meaning he fights his mental battles on the sides of buildings rather than the roofs. When he starts turning into a Hollow in the Shattered Shaft, however, gravity rights itself and the buildings begin to dissolve. Underneath the ground is a flooded world which represents despair. When his world floods, it means he's either in, or sinking towards, a Heroic BSoD.
  • There are a few of these in Chrono Crusade, mostly shown when Rosette "dives" into a person's soul. Azmaria's world looks like a graveyard in pouring rain (although it's possible this was influenced by the demon possessing her at the time). Chrono's looks like the grave he was sleeping in when Rosette found him. It's also possible that Rosette's is a train, but given what was happening when we see her there, it's quite likely that was just her world's version of Purgatory.
  • Code Geass:
    • The World of C is the link between human consciousness (including the memories of the dead) and the waking world, and has a link to Geass... that no one ever explains, or possibly even knows about.
    • Also, there's the White World, a mental world that C.C. and Lelouch appear in once, butt naked, while their minds are linked or something...
    • Finally, C.C.'s World of Memories. When C.C. locks away her own code, she buries herself in a world filled with paintings that represent her memories... with some sort of caretaker C.C. walking around. Which, again, never explained, though perhaps the concept is common enough for people to understand.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: The sleep demon Enmu's power is to step inside your inner world through dreams. If your spiritual core in the subconscious part of that world is destroyed, it leaves you mentally crippled and a shell of your former self. The mental world is a reflection of your personality (i.e.: Rengoku's is a wide burning plain of tiled stone floors, Inosuke's is a maze of winding underground tunnels, etc.).
  • Road Kamelot from D.Gray-Man can draw people's minds into a world where she has total control. The one time we've seen her use it, she Mind Raped Lavi by confronting him with his Becoming the Mask.
  • His Coool Seha Girls: The final episode reveals that everything that happened in the series took place in the minds of the creative geniuses at Sega, and graduation meant each girl would venture forth into the real world as a video game console.
  • The ID-wells in ID: Invaded are a rather different take on this, being simulated worlds created from a "snapshot" of a serial killer's murderous intent via Magical Computer. Protagonists Akihito Narihisago and Koharu Hondomachi have to figure out the internal logic of each ID-well to deduce the killer's identity so that the Wellside agents can prevent that killer's next murder.
  • In the memorypunk universe of Kaiba a relatively common device is utilized which allows one to literally step into the mind of another person or simply click through their memories like a slideshow.
  • At the very end of the series of Lupin III: The Italian Adventure, Lupin enters the mind of Rebecca to prevent her mind being assimilated by Leonardo Da Vinci, who is able to manipulate and distort her mind through his paintings, creating deserts, artic landscapes, floating islands and a creepy castle... thing that holds and absorbs all her memories. What makes it worse is that every single Italian is trapped alone in a similar dream with Da Vinci, and if they don't defeat him in a show of their best ability (e.g., swordplay), they become assimilated into his subconscious.
  • Naruto:
    • The main character oftentimes finds himself inside of his own mind, face-to-face with the Kyuubi for which his body serves as the container.
    • Also, one of the abilities of the Mangekyou Sharingan is the ability to trap an enemy's mind in a mental landscape complete with crosses and a weird red moon, in which time is altered so that days pass over the course of seconds.
  • Negi of Negima! Magister Negi Magi was once trapped in his own Mental World represented by the Elaborate University High he teaches at with his Sink or Swim Mentor Evangeline slaughtering him for days in a world he can't completely die in. This was required to unlock his Deadly Upgrade. A bit of physical Blood from the Mouth was in order.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji frequently lapses into a hallucination of himself sitting in a commuter train at sunset. He's usually accompanied by a child version of himself sitting in front of the sun though at later points he sees Rei instead; sometimes he sees both at the same time with Rei standing to his left. The topic of conversation is always piloting. In End of Evangelion, he gets both Rei and Asuka at the same time: Rei sitting in her usual seat and Asuka standing right in front of him, one leg propped up onto his seat.
    • While he's swallowed up in his Eva, he gets a radically different and very vivid hallucination implied to have been caused by his mother Yui/Unit-01.
    • And, of course, there is the original depiction of Instrumentality: the subject of the hallucination sitting in a chair, surrounded by various people while they mercilessly dissect his/her personality.
  • In Psyren, Lovable Coward Kabuto's powers are derived from a mental world, where a subconscious creature named Yoyo resides.
  • The Witch's Labyrinths from Puella Magi Madoka Magica act as Mental Worlds that reflect the Witches that reside in them. Humans who stumble into a labyrinth usually do not leave alive, and a Magical Girl takes her life into her hands every time she enters one in order to fight a Witch.
  • In the TV series of Record of Lodoss War, Neese has to fight the spirit of Naneel within her own mind, over control over their shared body.
  • In Rozen Maiden, everyone's dream worlds are connected through the World Tree. Somewhere inside any given person's dream world is a tree that represents that person's mental and emotional well-being.
  • Soul Eater has several examples.
    • When the Weapons are transformed, they seem to exist (naked, usually) in a black, infinite empty space, which can sometimes be seen from outside as uncanny reflections on their metallic surfaces. Liz and Patti seem able to actually move around (Patti on one occasion turning up on Liz's “side.”)
    • Soul's soul is depicted as a red and black decorated room with a piano in it. This may or may not be down to his having been infected with the black blood (we see it only after the Italy episode, but he has a longer history with the piano and what it seems to represent for him).
    • Tsubaki's soul changes between a dark world filled with long, looming shadows and a clear blue sky over water, depending on whether or not her brother is involved and how it's being used.
    • Crona's soul is depicted firstly as an empty desert in which Crona is sitting in circle, where their insane/sad side is shown as a shadow. When Maka enters her soul and convinces Crona (both represented as young children) to leave the circle, the desert is replaced by an island with a blue sea surrounding it. The anime later uses this imagery when Crona runs out of Death City into an actual desert and somehow ends up in a big hole.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the Millennium Puzzle, the mind of Yugi is separated into two worlds. One is like a toyroom, to symbolize Yugi's naivete and innocence, as well as his love for games. The other of which is a mishmash twist of traps, mazes, and planes that defy the laws of physics to symbolize the depths of Atem's soul. To note though, if you fall to one of Atem's traps in the area, even if he did not want to kill you, you can still end up brain dead.
    • One issue also shows Anzu's mental world, which is filled with things that emphasize her dreams of becoming a dancer.

    Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Caerdroia", the villain, Kro'ka, uses a Mind Probe to enter the Doctor's mind, hoping to interrogate him. But he quickly finds it so scary and chaotic a place (amongst other things the Doctor's mind contains a croquet course, a waterslide, and some bits of old cheese) with the Doctor acting as a Killer Game Master that he quickly wants to leave.
    The Doctor: Why did you even come here? You thought it would be different, didn't you? What did you expect? A room with a stack of boxes? An endless row of files? A library containing a book entitled All the Doctor's Secrets: Abridged? Or was I supposed to be writhing on some sort of floor, ready to tell you anything? I bet it's the last one. Your imagination seems to run to the hackneyed.

    Comic Books 
  • The Broken Man from Astro City lives in an otherworldly plane of shifting thoughts where he crafts plans against the Oubor. In Astro City proper, he's a drooling, barely conscious mute restrained in a straitjacket at a high-security psychiatric hospital.
  • Les Compagnons du crépuscule: The knight has recurring dreams in which both Mariotte and Anicet are sucked into.
  • The Innerverse from Demon Spawn is a world which exists inside Supergirl's mind, created by her repressed inner darkness and populated by weird demons and misshapen goblins. Because her lighter side is growing stronger, though, the Innerverse is decaying and dying.
  • Elsewhere in Finder is one of these, though outsiders can visit Magri's brain via technological means.
  • From Hell involves the concept of a "London of the mind" made out of the shared history, memory and thoughts of its residents. Jack the Ripper's goals have their roots in this concept.
  • In Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, Jonas assumes this of Genesis when he first sets foot in the Dream World, but Alan explains it's actually created by the subconscious dreams of humanity.
  • Subspace in Scott Pilgrim is Another Dimension seemingly connected to the minds of people. It's commonly used as an Extradimensional Shortcut, and people who have "Subspace Highways" in their heads can really cut off time from someone's commute. When people sleep, their dreams occur in their personal Subspace and can be physically entered through it.
  • Sleepwalker was banished from the Mindscape and trapped in the mind of human college student Rick Sheridan, and could emerge into the human world whenever Rick slept. When Rick was awake, Sleepwalker was forced to stay in Rick's mind and often interacted with different parts of Rick's personality and memories.
  • Spider-Girl:
    • May Parker has ventured both into her own mind and that of her father. The first is a typical Journey to the Center of the Mind, but the latter is much more up-front, as May struggles to free her dad from being mentally enslaved by the Green Goblin.
    • We're also shown Darkdevil's mind during an attempted exorcism and the Dream Land mindscapes of Normie Osborn and the Kingpin.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Used more frequently than you would expect from a series about robots. First used in "Resurrection!", although this is influenced by Limbo beings. Next utilised in "Salvage", in which Megatron engages in (what should have been) his final battle against Straxus.
  • X-23's inner world (as we see in her eponymous series) is barren and hellish, filled with the skeletons of everyone she knows and populated by only ravens and white wolves (and Satan, but it's unclear whether this being is actually demonic or just a manifestation of her self-hatred). Given that she's a suicidal, badly traumatized Tyke-Bomb, this is very fitting.

    Fan Works 
  • All For Luz: All For One resides in Luz's mindscape after his death in his own world, Luz is not at all happy to have the spirit of a Card-Carrying Villain in her head that can drag her here anytime she falls asleep after inheriting his Quirk. It resembles a black void with two chairs, a fireplace and cages contains the vestiges of the Quirks Luz has taken. After Luz's "Quirk Awakening" it transforms, resembling a more regal throne room with a firepit much to All For One's delight.
  • Becoming a True Invader: During the Final Battle, Zim ends up inside his own mind after Minimoose takes over his body. This also allows him to enter Minimoose's mind in return, and learn everything about his past.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Harry's mental world briefly appears when he's possessed by Chthon. It is, unsurprisingly, dark and barely lit by flames, considering the circumstances.
    • In the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, he, Jean, and Maddie end up in one created by Laevateinn. Since it's influenced by Harry's mind, it resembles the Gryffindor Common Room.
    • Later, Harry's mental world reappears, as a more haphazard and TARDIS like arrangement with a 'control room' of screens showing sensory input, and a number of corridors leading to memories, doors leading to particular secrets or areas of his mind that are either overtly labelled or pretty obvious.
  • Hours 'Verse: Almost all the cognitive spaces here (and in the canon games) are linked to a particular person's mental state, with various characteristics based on what caused it to develop. The dungeons of Persona 4 are created by a person's repressed self, whereas the Palaces of Persona 5 are created by a person's distorted desires — Hours suggests that the culprit's "dungeon" was actually a Palace, and Futaba's "Palace" was actually a dungeon. The series also creates a few types of its own: Akechi's breakdown has him create a "Heart World" characterised by his being a Wild Card with a fragmented self and inspired by Maki's world in Persona 1, and the Thieves' Shadows take refuge in a "stronghold" in My Kingdom for My Heart after Wakaba theorises about the existence of cognitive spaces designed to protect the self back in Intermezzo.
  • Intercom: Well, it is based off of Inside Out — only this time, Riley's going to be visiting it and talking to her emotions.
  • In The Mind of the Doctor, one of these is briefly created from the Doctor's mind when the War-Feeder and evil side of him try to gain physical form.
  • Like the aforementioned Bleach example in the anime section, magical girls in Mœbius have one, though accessing it is not as easy. The only ones that are seen are those that are also inhabited by Witches, and come off as ideal versions of their labyrinths untainted by trauma and pain their original self can access after they are restored to normal. When a magical girl becomes a witch, a corrupted version of the mental world becomes their labyrinth.
  • A Protector's Pride takes the Bleach concept of manifesting a Zanpakutou a step further: it's theoretically possible to manifest a Shinigami's entire inner world.
  • A recurring subplot in Queen of All Oni is the looks inside Jade's mindscape, and the struggle for control of her mind between the Aspects of her personality, primarily Hero (representing her inherent goodness) and The Queen (Jade's Superpowered Evil Side). The mindscape itself is a sea of clouds (literally, they act like water) containing islands whose landscapes are made up of and represent Jade's memories and interpretations of things in her life.
  • In Tower of Babel, the characters undergoing some types of Fusion Dance can briefly see each other in a Mental World that's either white and endless or based on their memories.
  • ToyHammer has the 'mindscapes' which seem to be a Mental World mixed in with Forge Mode of Halo; characters can create and use weapons, buildings and whatever they wish to create and fight in this manner. Used to its full extent with weapons being thrown away in favor of creating new ones, buildings being used in miniature Colony Drops and a literal wall of Gatling guns for... crowd control.
  • Zero Context: Taking Out the Trash depicts the inside of the protagonist's mind. It shows a translucent floor with a multitude of fractals floating beneath it, with the floor marked by a green laser-like grid. There is also a giant floating viewscreen which allows the mind's residents to see the outside world through the protagonist's eyes. Everything else is nothing but an inky black void.

    Films — Animation 
  • Elephant's Dream takes place inside a giant machine which, according to Word of God, is a representation of an idea that only the main character, Proog, believes in or understands, which is why the deutoragonist, Emo, doesn't seem to notice many of the things going on around him.
  • Inside Out takes place primarily in an eleven-year-old girl's Mental World, with her anthropomorphized emotions, who are in charge of the decisions she makes, serving as the main characters. Most other mental concepts are depicted as places, such as the Halls of Long-Term Memory, Imagination Land, and the Train of Thought. It is shown through brief asides into other characters' heads that everyone's mind works this way.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree: When Sunset Shimmer gives a try at reading Pinkie Pie's mind, we get an utterly Mind Screw scene with Pinkie strolling among anthropomorphic sweets (from which she eats some parts in passing) and other wacky characters in a complete Sugar Bowl environment. The novelization makes it even wilder, with multiple Pinkies diving into a giant swimming pool filled with fudge, and a giant jelly bean handling her a marshmallow towel (which she eats).
    Sunset Shimmer: [visibly disturbed] That... explains so much...
    Pinkie Pie: Yep!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Being John Malkovich features a climactic chase scene through the titular character's unconscious mind.
  • The Cell is about a psychiatrist entering a now comatose serial killer's Mental World to find the whereabouts of his last captive before it's too late.
  • In Dreamscape, certain people can go into the mindscape of dreamers, only the dreamer may not survive the encounter. Cue our hero Alex trying to save people from a psychopath who has learned how to enter dreams and then control them.
  • In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, an old man has a magic show in which he transports people into their own minds. Then he and the Devil present them with a choice to pursue beauty/truth/imagination or selfish id-fulfillment.
  • Most of Inception takes place in a dream within a dream within a dream. But what really takes the cake is Limbo, where a dreamer can construct their own entire world, completely from scratch.
  • In Labyrinth, the eponymous labyrinth seems to be a magical extension of the mind of Jareth the Goblin King, and the crystal balls he uses each contain an illusionary world in which he can appear.
  • Though it seems to swallow up a person's body, the Nexus in Star Trek: Generations has all the aspects of a Mental World.
  • In Sucker Punch, the brothel and fantasy worlds take place in Baby Doll's mind.

  • In Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, the reader goes into Artemis's head a couple of times where Artemis is trapped inside his own head. His mind takes the form of his office back in Fowl Manor, though he does acknowledge that none of it real and is simply his mind putting some order to the discord in his brain.
  • Black Trip is about a private investigator who unwittingly enters a man's Dying Dream to explore.
  • Burying the Shadow involves a realm called the soulscape, which connects all people on a subconscious level. An individual's soulscape reflects their mental and spiritual health.
  • In the Discworld books, Samuel Vimes's mindscape is the city of Ankh-Morpork, empty at night, and it is always raining. The half-demonic entity trying to take him over in Thud! finds itself completely lost in this dark, unwelcoming city for a while before it's eventually kicked out. Remember, Sam Vimes loves dark and rainy nights.
  • In The Great Divorce, Hell is a place where the damned can make their thoughts quasi-real. Since they aren't actually real, their functions are a bit impaired — houses don't keep out the rain, for instance. Really real things are the province of Heaven, and aren't subject to the whims of mere human thoughts.
  • In Kieshara, falcon shapeshifters who surrender to The Corruption fall into the ecl, a comatose, depressive state where they are trapped in their own Mental World. It's possible to escape ecl, but it requires an insane amount of Heroic Willpower and, often, the assistance of a person outside in the real world. But only falcons have the telepathic magic necessary to contact someone in the ecl, and doing so would risk that they themselves fall into the ecl, so people hardly ever escape from it. Hai's mental landscape is chaotic, constantly warps the laws of physics and has a lot of snake and falcon imagery, no matter what form it takes. The latter is a hint as to her hybrid parentage. The series' usage of this trope actually has a lot of clinical depression subtext, if you interpret it symbolically. In particular, the dialogue between Nicias and Hai while he is trying to save her from the ecl is very reminiscent of that between a therapist and his patient.
    Hai: You can't help me.
  • Pat Cadigan's virtual reality novels and short stories, especially Mind Players, feature characters exploring their own or others' minds, often for therapeutic purposes.
  • Paprika involves people's Mental Worlds — or rather, their dream worlds — leaking out into reality.
  • C. S. Lewis' The Shoddy Lands explores a drab and self-centered landscape inside the head of a young woman.
  • Melissa Scott's Silence Leigh trilogy (a.k.a. Roads of Heaven) has one character doing telepathic therapeutic work inside another's mind.
  • In the Thousand Sons trilogy, Ahriman’s mind contains an elaborate—and literal—memory palace where each of his memories is stored in its own room. He can use his powers to bring other people into this palace for the purpose of showing them his memories.
  • The entire Unwoven Literary Universe takes place inside a mentality, but it's not clear whose it is until Unwoven 2019.
  • 1970s short-lived modern pulp series Weird Heroes has Doc Pheonix, a shrink who can enter patients' minds to fix them from the inside. One story has him treating a girl whose mental landscape is a nightmare version of Oz, with a demonic Raggedy Man standing in for her abusive father.
  • In the Young Wizards book A Wizard Alone, the protagonists enter the mind of an autistic wizard several times.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens quite a bit in the Battlestar Galactica (2003) finale, as it's shared by several characters. What makes it interesting is that becomes a waking hallucination for everybody involved.
  • The Attic in Dollhouse is revealed to be a long chain of nightmarish Mental World scenarios chained together to be a giant supercomputer.
  • Farscape:
    • Since the implantation of Harvey, a neural clone of Scorpius, Crichton has a shipload of mental world scenes — some based on places taken directly from his memory, others completely fantastical. The most memorable is the Road Runner parody cartoon.
    • One episode also allows a neural clone of Crichton to enter Scorpius' mind, depicted mostly as a dark shadowy landscape obscured by thick clouds of fog.
  • Used as a premise for Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, in which all scenes where Benedict Cumberbatch takes over the narration from Hawking are presumed to be thought experiments playing out within the master physicist's mind.
  • In Kamen Rider Wizard, these are called the Underworlds, and are the spiritual landscapes of Gates, people with magic potential and where Phantoms are "born". In order to defeat them before they can kill the Gate and wreak havoc in the real world, Wizard has to embark on a Journey to the Center of the Mind.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Mind Over Matter", a computer technician can use a specialized mainframe to enter the mental world of people trapped in comas. He uses this to try to save his love interest. Unfortunately, he forgets that A.I. Is a Crapshoot, with unusual results.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Terrorform", the crew encounter a "psi-moon", a physical planet that warps itself into the representation of someone's Mental World. Unfortunately, it chooses Rimmer, leading to them being attacked by little, black-cloaked figures that represent his self-loathing.
  • Star Trek loves these:
    • When Captain Picard is almost fatally injured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Tapestry", he meets Q in a Blank White Void and is told he is dead. While Q gives him a chance to change his past and prevent his death that way, his body is shown to still be in sickbay, so most of the episode purely takes place in his mind. Q really only wanted him to understand why he is the man he is now. Unless It Was All A Dream.
    • The holodeck is variously used to represent the subconscious of Data or that of the Enterprise itself. The holodeck allows the crew to see their inner workings through metaphor and symbolism (with Counselor Troi helpfully pointing out their meanings). Justified in that both are essentially computers, so they can be interfaced with the holodeck.
    • The Prophets in Deep Space Nine usually communicate with people within their minds, appearing as people the person knows well in a place familiar to them (which also saves a lot of money for special effects).
  • The series finale of St. Elsewhere reveals that the entire show was a product of an autistic child's mind.
  • Supernatural loves mental worlds:
    • The Djinn in the series grant wishes by putting people in a mental world that creates what the person thinks would have happened if they got that wish. Since Dean wishes his mother had never been killed, he wakes up in a world where he lives an ordinary life as a mechanic and has a loving girlfriend but is estranged from Sam. He eventually realizes it's a mental world and kills himself in the dream so he can wake up.
    • Dean and Sam also enter Bobby's nightmare world, where they learn he became a hunter because he had to kill his beloved wife when she was possessed by a demon.
    • For humans, Heaven itself is a mental world and Lotus-Eater Machine, in which they experience their happiest memories over and over again, rarely even realizing they are dead.
    • Sam is stuck in one in the season 6 finale after Castiel destroys the mental barrier that is keeping his traumatic memories from potentially turning him into a vegetable.
    • In "Hunter Heroici", a powerful psychokinetic has retreated into one due to his advancing age, which is causing problems in the real world, but the man is oblivious to Sam's attempts to talk to him. So Castiel ports both Sam and himself directly into the man's mind, which appears as a cartoonscape, then turns to static and technicolor bars once the guy realizes that there are people in his head and starts talking to them.
    • Later, Gadreel puts Sam, who he has possessed, into a mental world where he is on a standard hunt, and it is Crowley who must enter it in order to signal he has to fight Gadreel for control. The same thing happens in a later season with Dean when he is possessed by Michael, and Michael puts him in a world where he has retired from hunting and owns a bar.

    Music & Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, high essence Green Sun Princes can get something like this. It's a soul world rather than a mental world, but same basic thing.
  • In the New World of Darkness, both Mages and Changelings can travel into, and warp both their own dreams and the dreams of others.
    • Mages can go further beyond the mere subconscious and into a person's Oneiros (one of the three Astral Planes), which is their own soulscape. It contains the Anthropomorphic Personification of their desire for self-improvement, their darker urges, their fears, and their Flaws and Derangements (if they have any). It also contains the sum total of all a person's knowledge and experience, albeit shrouded in metaphor and symbolism (or in the case of memories, the subjectivity of the experience). It's possible to travel even deeper into the Tenemos, which is the collective unconscious of humanity.
    • Archmasters can make internal sanctuaries called chantries by finding a location they identify closely with and forming a physical reflection of it within their souls. Though not as mutable once they're made, they are manifestations of the mage, who is as aware of the chantry as of their own body.
  • Warhammer 40,000's Warp is a collective Mental World of the dreams and emotions of every sentient creature in the galaxy. It's also the only afterlife and home to 4 Chaos Gods (plus a few more) and an arbitrarily large number of demons. That's mainly because most sentient creatures in the galaxy don't have very much love or friendship. The Chaos Gods actually represent both positive and negative emotions, just taken to the extreme. Since they gain power from the emotions, they want their followers to feel as strong emotions as possible, so the daemons of the god of love rape you to death. It's also home to the Ork gods Gork and Mork, the psychic manifestation of the Ork race. Given that the Orks' vast numbers and simple mentality (endlessly enthusiastic and no real concept of defeat or despair), Gork and Mork appear to be invulnerable and portrayed as simply laughing off any attacks by Chaos gods. Fortunately for everyone else they seem to have no plans other than cheering on the Orks and bashing each other over the head.

  • The titular castle in Duke Bluebeard's Castle is generally held to represent Bluebeard's mind/soul, as it's not strictly in the physical realm, each room reveals something about Bluebeard, and is heavy on symbolism.

    Video Games 
  • Absented Age: Squarebound: Near the end of the final dungeon, the talking flower reveals that the Sunken City map that Karen often arrives at is actually her Heart's Core, and her existence will be maintained as long as this place is safe from the Gangers. The flower claims that the image of a sunken city is deeply ingrained into Karen's memory and caused the map to look like this, but how she acquired this memory is unknown.
  • Following in Silent Hill's footsteps somewhat, Alan Wake has the Dark Place, a Eldritch Location were reality can be rewritten.
  • American McGee's Alice has Alice fighting in Wonderland, a world that represents her mind. Given that at the time Alice is in an asylum, Wonderland is virtually a nightmare, twisted by her insanity and depression.
  • The sequences from Batman: Arkham Asylum where Batman has to battle through the nightmares in his psyche created and ruled by Scarecrow.
  • In City of Villains, there are a few missions where a power psychic will send you into his mind so you can defeat his various paranoias and fears.
  • The setting of The Company of Myself exists entirely in Jack's mind, representing his murder of Kathryn. The Prequel, Fixation, zigzags it a bit; sometimes you're in a real world with a few aspects reflecting Kathryn's problems, and sometimes you're in a world entirely based on Kathryn's mental state — although other characters seem to be able to interact with it as well. However, the lasers don't affect them because they're Kathryn's problems, and Jack's duplication ability — which in Company of Myself was definitely a metaphor for self-reliance — turns out to be something he can actually do.
  • In Die Reise ins All, the heroes land in individual dream worlds, twice — first an ideal world, the second time nightmares. Both times, those worlds are Martian Mind Traps, used to stop them on their way. By the second time, the heroes know that the worlds aren't real, but still have to fight to get out.
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth has the protagonist dive into the mind of Makoto Yamashina, a lead EDEN developer, to get vital information by way of connect-jumping into a machine that he's hooked up to. This inside of his mind looks like a series of pathways set against an animated background of various technical-looking pictures and words. Hacker's Memory sees Keisuke enter Erika's memory server, which contains all of said character's memories. Within, this character's memories are represented as vibrantly animated drawings.
  • The Fade in Dragon Age, a place of dreams and imagination where those connected to the Fade go when they sleep.
  • Both The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2 take place inside an artifically-generated version of these, created by a device called the STEM. Ruvik, the Big Bad of the first game, created the technology as a byproduct of his plans to resurrect his sister Laura by mind-wiping some host and rewriting their psyche with his memory-based version of her. Mobius co-opted Ruvik's technology with plans of using it to "free humanity of suffering by removing individual desires".
    • The Cosmospheres exist within every Reyvateil's mind, and the hero will do an activity called Diving inside the Reyvateil's Cosmosphere, which consists of entering these worlds to solve their inner problems and find the feelings they can use to craft more powerful song magic.
    • The Cosmospheres are divided into nine levels, with even stronger songs could be crafted by diving further down the level. However, Diving into the deeper levels of the Cosmosphere (from Level 5 and beyond) would unveil the Reyvateil's true selves hidden deep in their subconsciousness. As their desires that are expressed there are unrestrained by morality which they had as their conscious selves, diving into the deeper levels poses a significant risk to the Diver.
    • The second game has the Infelsphere, a dream world which can be accessed by using Soope as the pillow where one of the heroines can contact the other after the latter was absorbed into the faulty continent Gaea during the Phase II. It was later revealed that the Infelsphere's main purpose is to nurture the bonds between the two Maidens in order to be able to successfully sing Metafalica, with the Hymn Crystal for the second part of the Metafalica as the clear reward.
    • The prequel series Surge Concerto also features a type of mental world called Genometrics, which exist in every single living being. Unlike the Cosmosphere, the Dive Level is an access delimiter rather than a linear progression stage. Additionally, the heroines can chain their Genometrics as the game progresses, allowing the Diver to access new worlds they can obtain a new song or Genometric Crystals from.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: With Alma being almost a copy of Alessa of Silent Hill (below), the last fight in F.E.A.R. 2 takes place in a Mental World, which is a bleak and chaotic as one would expect.
  • Ajna's Inner Realm in Indivisible functions very much like one, as it's where all her Incarnations (read: various party members) hang out when not engaged in combat. Some non-combatant NPCs also hang out in here, too. The scenery resembles a group of floating islands with bridges connecting the lowermost levels and floating rocks connecting each individual level. None inside this realm may do harm or come to harm in any capacity; this irritates both Ajna and Dhar, as they were locked in combat before Dhar got trapped inside. Ajna so much as having this realm in the first place serves as proof that she's not human; it is later discovered that she is but an aspect of the deity Kala, who was sealed away sixteen years prior to the game's events.
  • The Dive to the Heart in Kingdom Hearts is a place that exists, as its name suggests, within each person's heart. Each person's consists of one or more "stations", enormous stained-glass pillars topped with platforms showing the person and prominent people, places and objects in their lives. In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II the place acts as a tutorial level. Kingdom Hearts III reveals that they can be reached by sleep or by the Power of Waking, both of which take one dangerously close to the Final World. At various points in the series, we see stations for Sora, Ventus, Aqua, Terra, Riku, Roxas, four of the Princesses of Heart, and one for the remaining three Princesses. Official artwork also exists for several more.
  • Mother:
  • Peacemaker: Glorious Princess: The Unifier can take the user and others into the user's mind. In the final battle, Darknight uses the Unifier and his Marionette Strings to trap the population's spirits in his mental world, where he fuses their spirits with his to form a Giant. Since the Giant has yet to gain a physical body, the Final Boss fight takes place within Darknight's headspace.
  • Persona:
    • Most of Persona takes place inside Maki's mental world, which looks very similar to the real world with some key changes that are for either pleasure or symbolism (for example, some teachers act nicer, and some locations have been swapped out due to unpleasant circumstances).
    • The dungeons in Persona 4 are created from the subconscious of people who are kidnapped and thrown into the TV World. The ending reveals that the TV World itself is a reflection of humanity's collective unconsciousness.
    • Similarly, the Palaces in Persona 5 are created from the distorted views of the world of the people the Phantom Thieves targets (the Jerkass gym teacher who abuses his students sees the school as a castle where everyone else is his slave, the art mentor who steals his students' artwork and passes it off as his own sees the shack he keeps his students in as an art museum where the students are nothing more than exhibitions to be shown off, the greedy Mafia boss who blackmails high school students sees Shibuya as a giant bank and everyone is an ATM that he can drain of money, etc.) Like in 4, the alternate world the Palaces are located in, the Metaverse, is itself formed by humanity's collective will.
  • In the final dungeon of Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One is trapped in a mental prison that causes his previous incarnations to resurface, which have always lingered as fragments in his subconscious. To escape, the Nameless One must negotiate with and absorb these incarnations, becoming stronger in the process. There's even a possibility for the Nameless One to recover his true name.
  • The entire premise of Psychonauts is based around entering the mental worlds of others and fighting their Freudian Excuses. Some examples: An army-obsessed drill sergeant wannabe's mind is a Remilitarized Zone obstacle course (Starting, as the page quote alludes, in a recruiting office). A Stoic's mind is a perfect, flat cube. A fun-loving lady's mind is a dance club with a perennial party going on. A paranoid schizophrenic's mind is a twisted neighborhood where everyone and everything are disguised agents of a malevolent conspiracy, etc., etc. A great deal of thought is put into each available mind's quirks, to say the least.
  • Sirush's sidequest in The Reconstruction takes place in one... maybe. It could just be an example of bad dreams.
  • The 1999 Christian Religious Edutainment game Saints of Virtue takes place entirely within the mind of a believer, with various sins being represented as physical locations and aggressive masks. Some virtues are also represented as places.
  • In Shadow Hearts and Covenant, Yuri's Mental World is a Graveyard, which alone says a lot about his mental state. It draws in souls of dead monsters, allowing Yuri to fuse with them into superpowered forms. In the first game Graveyard in inhabited by Four Masks — weird creatures that apparently want to devour Yuri's soul, and take Alice's instead, when she comes to bargain. In Covenant, it's revealed that dead humans can also end up here, which is exactly what happens with Jeanne and Albert Simon.
  • One key aspect of Silent Hill is the blurring between the physical world and the Mental World of a powerful psychic. Also, many of the monsters that appear in the town take shapes directly related to the personal fears and troubles of the protagonists, and in the case of Maria can only be explained as creations of the protagonist's mind. In Silent Hill 4, the main character is jumping across a number of an undead serial killer's memories.
  • The adult Bara Genre game Strange Flesh has you, The Bartender, travel into the mind of Joe in order to help him with his repressed issues; Joe's mental landscape has six levels: Surface Level, Office of Repression, Streets of Liberation, Garden of Vice, Den of Lust, and Innermost Desires.
  • Implied to be the case in Twisted Metal: Black, given the impossibility of such things as No-Face and Dollface being unable to consume any food in their current states. Minion's story mode specifically says that it's all taking place inside Needles Kane's head, if you translate his Cypher Language.
  • Yume Nikki centers on exploring the vast dream world of Madotsuki, a girl who refuses to leave her bedroom. The locations and creatures within her dream range from bizarre and whimsical to off-putting, grotesque, and sometimes even vaguely sexual. The complete lack of story or dialogue only adds to the experience.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Nasuverse, this is used as a powerful rare ability called a "Reality Marble", where the user can temporarily overwrite the surrounding reality with a landscape representative of their soul/meaning. The term "Reality Marble" ("Innate Bounded Field" in Japanese) comes from a metaphor. In a bag of a hundred marbles, 99 are black and one is white. "Marble Phantasm" is the ability of spirits or elementals to work with reality such that they will always draw the white one, no matter what; "Reality Marble" is the unnatural ability to turn all the marbles white.
    • Fate/stay night has this as a major plot point, as the only thing that Archer (and Shirou, by extension) truly gained in his lifetime was his Reality Marble: Unlimited Blade Works, an endless, barren landscape littered with swords. It's the basis behind all of his techniques — all of the weapons he recreates come from this world of his, which is representative of his lifelong conflict between ideal and reality.
    • In Fate/Zero, Iskander, a.k.a. Alexander the Great, possesses the "shared" Reality Marble Ionioi Hetairoi ("Army of the King"), which recreates the battlefields of his past and resurrects his army, many members of which have become Epic Spirits themselves, but come at his call even after death. It is this display of kingship that finally forces Gilgamesh to recognize him as a Worthy Opponent.
    • In Tsukihime, Canon has it that in Yumizuka Satsuki's (nonexistent-but-eventually-will-exist) route she has her own Reality Marble representative of her continuous loss-without-gain called Depletion Garden, which sucks all the mana in the surrounding area dry (of course, it doesn't really benefit her directly).
    • Other Reality Marbles include Gransurg Blackmore's Nevermore, Fina-blood Svelten's Parade, Zepia Eltnam Oberon's Night of the Blood Liar, The Forest of Einnashe, White Len's Summer Snow, Michael Roa Valdamjong's Overload, Nrvnqsr Chaos' Lair of the Beast King, Jeanne D'Arc's La Pucelle, Oda Nobunaga's Demon King of the Sixth Heaven, and Nursery Rhyme's Nameless Forest. In many of these cases, these people either don't have the skill or simply refuse to utilize their Reality Marbles in the "proper" way, instead calling upon aspects of their inner world to perform more localized feats that only affect themselves (for example, Nrvnqsr keeps his Reality Marble within his body to modify it, Jeanne manifests hers through her sword in the form of a Suicide Attack, and Nobunaga can manifest hers in the form of a Fighting Spirit).
    • Also, Kagetsu Tohya for a non-Reality Marble example. That would be spoilered, considering it's part of The Reveal midstory... but it's kind of obvious.

  • Virtually the entirety of 9th Elsewhere takes place in this type of setting, called 'elsewhere' in-universe.
  • In Ava's Demon, Ava gets drawn into one when she makes the pact.
  • In Charby the Vampirate, alps can enter these, and Kavonn likes to make his more literal than it needs to be.
  • Apart from the communal Dream Land, a part of which is the titular City of Somnus, Dream Walkers have their personal dream worlds, where they can rest up and be themselves, or invite friends over if they want to. The personal worlds reflect the dreamers' personalities and tastes.
  • Comedity's storyline sometimes shows the various sides of Garth's personality sitting around a conference table discussing what he should do next. It got particularly interesting when Karen fell through a plot hole into this mental world.
  • Orion from Beyond Reality is in his own in the current story arc, and it looks like it may be leading to a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
  • Dominic Deegan does this occasionally to confront his enemies. He has no combat experience or knows any offensive magic, but within their minds even powerful mages have few chances to beat him.
  • Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg Court has a mental world that resembles a very dark version of the city where she grew up, and is inhabited by various... things. For an extra dose of Blessed with Suck, she has little control of when she enters or leaves, whether or not she pulls other people in with her, and whether or not those things hitch a ride back out.
  • In Hero Oh Hero, one of protagonists, Noah, discovers that his power is to enter these. His body disappears when he enters another's mind and reappears next to the host when he leaves. So far, we've seen:
    • Mind of Detlef the elf — a memory of the first time he met Empire soldiers, whom he sees as demonic suits of armour speaking gibberish and setting things on fire with their Eye Beams. In the real world Detlef tried to kill Noah, but younger him in his memories didn't recognize the victim, saved him from Hungry Jungle and demonic soldiers and was quite friendly.
    • "Home" — presumably, the magician's own mind, in the form of a subway station.
    • Cow's mind — an infinite flat grassland, where the cow is the only landmark. Exiting it proves tricky. Noah needed a place the cow didn't know. He had to dig a pit with his bare hands.
  • In Homestuck, the Dream Bubbles are these maintained by the dead or sleeping individual whose memory it is. They can manipulate it at will, once they become aware that it is a memory. Witches and Sylphs of Space that have reached God Tier can travel to others' dream bubbles at will.
  • Nenshe from Rumors of War goes on a Journey to the Center of the Mind in the fifth Story Arc, which adds a heavy dose of Mind Screw to the story. He seems locked in a "Groundhog Day" Loop (Madness Mantra?) that returns him to the same sequence of thoughts until the voices in his head (represented by his teammates) help him break free.
  • In Shifters, Ferrah ends up in her own one of these while hypnotized or dominated by a vampire's mental power. She also shows up there Naked on Arrival.
  • In Strong Female Protagonist, a Journey to the Center of the Mind reveals that Patrick's mindscape is a walled city, representing the way he shut out anything he perceived as a weakness so that he could survive his terrible childhood. A memory shows his telepathic view of his sociopathic mother's mindscape, which is an abstract scene of vague colored objects, representing her utter lack of human connection.
  • Since Three Jaguars is about three facets of the writer/artist's personality and their interactions, it's all taking place in a mental world.

    Web Original 
  • This is where the start of Phaeton series 3 will occur.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Caboose is frequently subjected to mental invasion. During these times, his mind is depicted as a vast expanse of pillars populated by poor caricatures of the people he knows. Killing people inside of there (temporarily) destroys his memories of that person's real-life counterpart.
  • In the third "Hive" story of the Whateley Universe, Hive/Samantha has one. Carmilla takes it over as a psychiatrist-slash-talk show host.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: Roger's mind consists of animals made out of TVs, tall Oreo mountains and Chocodiles that turn into party balloons.
  • Beetlejuice: Lydia enters Beetlejuice's mental world in one episode. It's very wacky.
  • In Danny Phantom, Danny can use his powers to enter dreams.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Timmy travels inside Vicky and sees little people in her brain controlling her actions.
    • In a later episode, Timmy's Imaginary Friend Gary gets trapped in his mind when he stops believing in him. Gary seeks revenge for being unjustly imprisoned and uses the power of Timmy's mind dimension to imprison Timmy in his old nightmares. Timmy is able to defeat Gary when he realizes that since it is his mind, he can warp reality better than Gary can, and turns the closet monster he was afraid of when he was 5 into what it really was: a green sweater. He had since learned of real things to be afraid of, and counters Gary's attacks by conjuring an image of Vicky.
  • Final Space: In Chapter 8, Team Squad enters the mind of a Titan named Bolo; it's presented as a bizarre, colourful world split into multiple chambers and is inhabited by a sentient, short-tempered blue ball with arms and legs which also serves as the guardian of Bolo's mindscape.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Dreamscaperers", Dipper, Mabel and Soos have to hop inside Stan's own Mental World to stop the dream demon Bill Cipher from finding the code of the Mystery Shack's deed.
  • In Pepper Ann, everyone's mind is full of robots that look and act like them. For example, Nikky's mind is organized like an enormous library card catalog. When Pepper Ann tries to cram for a trivia competition, they all go a little crazy. One gets frozen from all the iced coffee she drinks to stay awake. At the end, one of them finally gets so frustrated that it screams "That's it, I quit!"
  • The Simpsons: Homer's dreamscape includes Moe's Taverns on every street corner, skyscrapers made of Duff cans, bowling pins and food and a Homer-themed rollercoaster.
  • Played with in SpongeBob SquarePants. When Squidward hypnotizes SpongeBob to make him a better waiter, we see the inside of his mind looks like a newspaper office. All the employees are mini versions of SpongeBob, with a green visored "editor" telling the workers that he "just got an order from the boss." Then this happens:
    Editor: Hurry up! What d'you think I'm paying you for?
    Worker: You don't pay me. We don't even exist. We're just a clever visual metaphor used to personify the abstract concept of thought.
    Editor: One more crack like that and you're outta here!
    Worker: [begging on his knees] NO, PLEASE! I HAVE THREE KIDS!
  • In an early episode of Teen Titans (2003), Beast Boy and Cyborg fall through a magic mirror of Raven's and wind up in a bizarre otherworldly landscape, which turns out to be Raven's own mind. They encounter spooky hazards and the personifications of Raven's suppressed emotions, including a depiction of her father full of foreshadowing for later seasons.
  • This is seen in the X-Men: The Animated Series episode "Xavier Remembers" when Professor X enters his own mind and fights the villainous Shadow King, winner-take-all — the prize is control of the Professor's body. The astral plane is of the "giant space void with tiny asteroids of sanity" variety.

    Real Life 
  • Lucid Dreaming could be considered a type of mental world in that the dreamer has the power to control everything like a god, without having to abide by any laws of logic because of their level of self-awareness, making it less of a Dream Land, and more of a seemingly real (but completely controlled) fantasy.
  • Mental landscapes can be deliberately implemented by anyone with the spare time and imagination, from the infamous "Memory Palace" or other buildings full of projects, to a much simpler Happy Place inside — though a full mental world doesn't tend to be frozen in time like a Happy Place is.
  • With people who have dissociative identity disorder, there are accounts of alters being able to interact face to face in headspace, which manifests as an actual place in their minds where they exist physically.


Inside Pinkie's Mind

Sunset gets to see what's on Pinkie's mind... which is zany.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (12 votes)

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Main / MentalWorld

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