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Our Souls Are Different

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The Iron Giant: I die?
Hogarth Hughes: I don't know. You're made of metal, but you have feelings, and you think about things, and that means you have a soul. And souls don't die.
Giant: Soul?
Hogarth: Mom says it's something inside of all good things, and that it goes on forever and ever.

How does the mind work? Is it contained entirely in the brain, or is there something more? Whichever it is, the "something more" is generally referred to as a soul. However, as something that is by definition intangible, there hasn't been much agreement on what it is that a soul actually does. Is it essential for life, or can a person live on without it? What exactly does it give you - life, or wisdom, or will, or morality? Does it have weight? What happens if it's stolen or sold? Is it an Energy Being? Does it taste like strawberries or chocolate?

Authors of fiction explore some possibilities on how the nature of a soul, and its absence, affects a person.

Here are some common side effects of losing your soul:

Other aspects of this:

See also Heart Trauma, where one's literal heart is synonymous with one's soul. If there's more than a one-piece soul inside of a person, it is likely that a whole Soul Anatomy is in there. Sometimes, a soul is a Piece Of God. See also Brain in a Jar, which presents a more scientific variation in which the brain either is the self (with no spiritual aspect) or somehow contains the soul.

Compare Our Spirits Are Different.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Serial Experiments Lain: Soul, mind, data, it's all the same. We Are All Connected...
  • Ghost in the Shell: The central premise, in pretty much all its iterations, is the exploration of the true nature of souls and minds. People believe that even when almost the entire body and brain is replaced by implants, cybernetics do not eat your soul and that some unique part of a person always remains. The main evidence is that cybernetically-enhanced humans all have a special region visible online, called a "Ghost", that is strongly tied to personal identities. Ghosts can be hacked to implant Fake Memories or perform brainwashing, and it's even possible to perform a destructive copy of a human's Ghost to create more convincing artifcial intelligences, but only human beings have Ghosts. In various incarnations of the series, it's shown that highly advanced AI such as the Puppetmaster can create rudimentary Ghosts on their own. This causes a philosophical crisis for the heroine Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg with only her organic brain and her Ghost to call her own.
  • Bleach has a lot of this; die in the real world, your spirit goes to Soul Society, or you become a Hollow. Get killed after you go to Soul Society or the Hollow world, you're reincarnated back in the real world. Screw up way too badly in life, and you leave the loop — you go to Hell. This cycle is essential to keeping the universe intact; there must be a balance of dead souls in Soul Society and living ones on Earth, or else everything will fall apart. Some variation is acceptable since entirely new souls can be born as well as the reincarnations, but if the balance gets too far out of whack only extreme measures (such as killing large numbers of people in Soul Society to force their reincarnation on Earth) will work to immediately fix the problem. According to one of The Movies, if you die in Hell, you regenerate in Hell; no escape. The manga adds another element to the system in "The Lost Agent Arc" — souls also reside in "matter" as a whole, not just living beings, and is the basis behind Fullbring.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has significant plot points that revolve around the nature of the human soul, which is apparently a required component to make some of the important technology work.
    • It is apparently possible for a human mind and body to function with just a fragment of a soul - but not very well and not without drawbacks: the first and only time Rei III externalized her AT-field, her body started falling apart on the very next day.
    • Conversely, it is possible to transplant a human soul into another biological body - even into an Evangelion which results in the soul's co-existence with the Evangelion's Ax-Crazy inner consciousness for eternity.
    • Forcibly removing a human soul from its body causes the body to instantly liquefy, collapsing into a puddle of primordial ooze; this is apparently a reversible process as a disembodied soul can reconstruct its physical form if sufficient raw materials (read: primordial ooze) are available and the soul's desire to be isolated from others is strong enough to manifest an AT-field.
    • Disembodied souls clumped together form a Hive Mind where everyone has full access to everyone else's memories, personality and just about everything imaginable. Like a large, metaphysical group hug.
    • It is unclear just what exactly the dummy plugs are: artificial souls, soul-copies or just an AI emulating one? Who knows?
  • Shaman King: Souls, at first sight, appear to be destroyable, but then it's discovered that every soul is able to be recovered from the Elemental Spirits, since they are fragments of the Greater One, so, the Spirit of Fire doesn't technically burn souls to oblivion, or even eat them, only absorbs these to become stronger.
  • YuYu Hakusho: In one arc, the protagonists encountered a character who had the power to capture a person's soul if the person spoke a certain taboo word. Characters whose souls were taken were frozen in place and glowed with something resembling electricity until the only character who didn't break the taboo won their souls back.
  • Venus Versus Virus: The Virus preys on civilians, eating their souls.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: While not literally showing souls, drills are apparently supposed to represent them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Souls can jump/be sucked in and out bodies, millennium items, the Shadow Realm, Virtual Reality games, cards and other lifeless objects; they can float in mid-air, possess other bodies (both with and without the original owner still present, and with or without his permission/knowledge), or even split up into different parts, which can be diametral opposites or identical copies, depending on the situation. The only rule that stands is " 'you' go where your soul is", but (because of the split-ups) some can be in several places at the same time. Bodies without a soul usually go into a coma, unless some other soul comes along for a ride.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: After Daitokuji's death, his soul often gets consumed by his cat Pharaoh.
  • Soul Eater, obviously enough. Weapons are designed to eat souls, but there's a moral code that only the souls of those on Lord Death's list about to become kishin are allowed; otherwise, eating human souls is a very bad thing. Also, if weapons and meisters have their souls in sync — Soul Resonance — massive fighting power can be unlocked. The size of one's soul wavelength reflects their potential strength (physical and otherwise), and Lord Death (the leader of the good guys) has a soul large enough to contain an entire city. Potentially, the souls of gods can cover the entire planet (which, if one in-universe god is Death, is actually quite appropriate).
  • Souls in Fullmetal Alchemist are a known physical phenomena that can be affected by alchemy:
    • Philosopher's Stones are made of condensed masses of human souls, and the homunculi are created with special Philosopher's Stones extracted from the body of their Father, who's basically a living Philosopher's Stone.
    • The act of removing one's soul and attaching it to another person corrodes the soul and renders it incapable of sustaining a body. Barry the Chopper's original body is revealed to actually still be around, moving because an animal's soul is inside it, causing it to decay, though 'his' current body is okay. Alphonse realizes the same is happening to his own suit of armor, different in that it causes him to black out occasionally and will lead to a violent explosion at an unpredictable point in time. Seems that souls are indeed paired up with one body and one mind in this series.
    • Interestingly, souls do not appear be immortal at all. A person dying normally causes their souls to disintegrate while releasing its spiritual energy, just as their body will eventually decompose and have its components reintegrate into nature. Putting souls into Philosopher's Stones simply delays this until their energy is used up.
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), souls are what power alchemy. In turn, people actually have a smaller version of the Gate of Alchemy within their own souls, which pulls souls of the dead from a parallel world (read: our real world, circa WWI) to power alchemy. The Philosopher's Stone is in turn made from condensing a metric ton of souls into one object. This is also why attempts at human transmutation fail and produce homunculi: equivalent exchange can account for the physical elements that make up a body, but not for the soul. Homunculi are thus soulless abominations, though it's shown that what truly makes them a homunculus in the end (and gives them their overall life and power) is eating red stones, which are lower-power versions of Philosopher's Stones. The element of a soul and body requiring one another is also touched upon in this version, as Hohenheim reveals to Dante towards the end of the series.
  • Mushishi: A story features a Mushishi who had his soul replaced with a Mushi (essentially making him "the can") because he couldn't see mushi, which would have made him useless in protecting another "can". Most of the time he's merely The Stoic, but occasionally the Mushi-soul leaves and he becomes The Spock.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: The rule is apparently that if you think you have a soul, you do. Details on this are fuzzy, but it appears to only be necessary for certain aspects of magic such as forming pactios and dark magic. Plus the whole 'Am I a real person and not just a robot?' thing. Chachamaru's sisters presumably do not have one while she herself does. This is likely because Chachamaru is part robot part magic puppet. Note that Chachazero also has her own distinct personality.
  • In One Piece, Brook's Devil Fruit power is that after he died, his soul returned to his body (though not until after it had rotted to a skeleton because he got lost in the fog and took a year to find it). Later on, during the Time Skip, he figures out how to force his soul out of his body have it fly around.
  • In Sailor Moon, souls are represented by Star Seeds, which can be readily stolen by Sailor Galaxia and her minions. When a normal human loses their Star Seed, they become a phage, when a Sailor Soldier loses hers, she dies.
  • In Karakuridouji Ultimo, Dr. Dunstan said that he successfully broke down human souls and put them in robots known as the karakuri doji. The only way a doji truly dies is if you crush their soul sphere.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Soul Gem is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The souls get transformed into one as a part of a contract with Kyubey. The girls' emotions seem to appear as magic energy, so while a girl's wish gives her positive magic, the despair equal to the wishes the girl creates darkens the Soul Gem and turns it into a Grief Seed, turning the girl into a witch. In addition, being too far away from your gem causes you to enter an Empty Shell state until it's returned, and if it's ever destroyed, you die. In one route of the spinoff visual novel, Sayaka is away from her Soul Gem for a few days, and by the time she gets it back her body has started decomposing. Right in front of Kyousuke. Poor girl.
  • Nasuverse: Souls are eternal, indestructible "concepts", but require a physical body to tether them to the world. The soul is linked to the body, and when the body dies, it returns to Akasha, to await reincarnation. Ordinarily when a soul is reincarnated, it retains no memories from any of its previous lives, but there are ways around this, as seen with Roa. If a person does manage to preserve their soul beyond the death of their original body, usually by transferring it directly into a new body or by becoming a vampire, then the soul will decay. The Third True Magic, as explained in Fate/stay night, can overcome this problem. Also, Aozaki Touko has a method of transferring her consciousness and soul into an identical artificial body with no apparent negative effects. Souls in the Nasuverse are normally indestructible, but someone with the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, such as both of the Shikis, can kill the soul itself.
  • Windaria: When people die they turn into red light shaped like birds and fly to this airship in the sky over the ocean. What this ship is never gets explained, at least not in the movie.
  • Gantz: A member of a technologically superior alien race tries to prove the main characters that human life has no worth by bringing some of their loved ones back to life and then blowing them to a pulp. It also tells them that there is no God. When they ask it if there is no soul either it responds: Apparently, this data keeps on migrating from individual to individual after their deaths. Also, the souls that have shared a "relation" in life keep close to each other even after they die and reincarnate into the living world.
    "When humans die, approximately 21 grams of data detaches and migrates to a separate dimension. Is this data what you refer to?"
  • Undertaker Riddle: People's souls take the form of butterflies and they're fuel to evil spirits.
  • Digimon: A Digimon's DigiCore is their soul in everything but name, housing their primary data. If a Digimon loses its DigiCore, it just stops functioning. Most Digimon only have one DigiCore each, usually hidden deep inside their body. However, most undead Digimon such as SkullGreymon have their DigiCores exposed due to their bodies rotting away. And then there are the Digimon Sovereigns, who each have twelve DigiCores floating around their bodies.

    Comic Books 
  • Spawn had soul-negating demons, who could cause angels and demons to become Deader than Dead. It was later revealed that the title character had several thousand souls in his body.
  • In Lucifer, demons don't have souls. Lucifer demonstrates his power by creating a soul for one just so he can sentence it to eternal suffering.
    • That may refer only to some demons, since many are angels who originally fell with him, and presumably retain the souls that they had. The demons that came from elsewhere may be soulless.
    • It's also explained that souls are absolutely indestructible, but can be "unraveled" into a broken state that takes millennia to come back together into a conscious entity.
  • The DCU:
    • Green Arrow: The idea of body and souls is tackled in the resurrection of Oliver Queen. When he returns from the dead, it's discovered that he only remembers about as far as the Bronze Age (thus having no knowledge of Parallax, Arsenal, etc.), and has none of the character development he experienced since. After some digging around, Ollie finds out that when he was resurrected his soul didn't come back, so he's really just an empty shell (his "quiver"). It appears the soulless body still possesses free will but can't grow or change emotionally and is stuck in whatever period he remembers, like a projection, and it's alluded that when it dies, the consciousness inside will just cease existing. As for Ollie's soul, it decided to stay in heaven even when being offered outright a chance to come back to life by reuniting with his body, deciding it preferred heavenly bliss and using it as an excuse to duck his lingering problems back on Earth. Turns out that not having a soul made Ollie's body an easy target for possession by any demon who stumbled on him or even an Earthly sorcerer, and he winds up almost being taken over by a Satanist warlock who wanted immortality. At the end of the story, Ollie reunites with his soul, bringing with him all the memories of what's happened since his death and foiling the warlock's plans.
    • Infinity, Inc.: Hector Hall, later used in The Sandman (1989), is a weird case. He was born without a soul. The major effect of this was that it let him be taken over by Hath-Set later, and was eventually reincarnated as a version of Doctor Fate. The idea of someone without a soul being reincarnated, when reincarnation by definition involves a soul, was never explained. One also notes that he ended up trapped in Dream's realm after his death, though it's never explained what part of him this is, and Hector's not quite right.
    • Sebastian Faust, the son of Evil Sorcerer Felix Faust, doesn't have a soul. He doesn't have one because his father sold his infant son's soul to a demon in exchange for power (as his Meaningful Name would suggest, Faust has a penchant for making Faustian bargains). The silver lining in this whole mess was that the demon screwed over Faust for the hell of it and gave Sebastian the power instead. Unusually, lacking a soul hasn't had any obvious negative effect on Sebastian; he more or less makes do without one.
    • Teen Titans: Raven demonstrates that Superboy, who was also born without a soul, developed one over time as he lived his life.
    • The implications of this story for Sebastian Faust, Hector Hall, and everything that comes out of Cadmus are just another example of how metaphysics in the DCU work however the current writer wants them to.
  • In X-Factor, Layla Miller's true power is revealed as the ability to resurrect dead people, albeit without souls. Trevor Fitzroy's role as a longstanding Bishop villain is thus explaining as Layla restoring the once good Trevor, but without a soul. Sometime later, she does the same thing to Guido Carosella. While Guido apparently doesn't feel anything wrong about himself, he's shown acting more erratically and less restrained than usual, with Layla utterly distraught at his condition.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye goes into new details about just how Cybertronians function and where they come from.
    • A Transformer's soul is their "Spark", a physical object within their chest (and separate from their brain), and destroying it means death (an afterlife called the Afterspark is posited but unproven). New Cybertronians are "born" when Vector Sigma, a supercomputer at the core of their planet, releases a pulse that ignites Sparks on the surface. Sparks can also be manufactured artificially from the Matrix, a MacGuffin with a connection to Vector Sigma. These Sparks are implanted in manufactured bodies, known as being "Constructed Cold", and there is some Fantastic Racism against them from bots who were "Forged" (born naturally, and implied to grow their own bodies). Killing a Transformer usually involves destroying either their Spark or their Brain Module, but because the personality comes from the Spark, that's the surest way to guarantee death.
    • Tarn of the Decepticon Justice Division has a unique ability to harmonise his voice with a Transformer's spark and cause it to gradually fail and implode. It's a refinement of the ability to disrupt machines he had back when he was an Outlier, basically a Transformer with a mutant power, known as Glitch.
    • Also worth noting is that for whatever reason Vector Sigma hasn't released a new pulse in millions of years. With the recent destruction of the Matrix, and Cybertron coming off a four million year war that killed billions, it would seem that it is now impossible to make new Cybertronians, and the race is doomed to a slow extinction despite being functionally immortal. This ends up being averted when it's revealed that Caminus, along with the other lost colonies, still has active Spark "Hot Spots" where new Sparks are born, and Rung/Primus's Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the Lost Light comic restores Cybertron's hot spots to full function - although the Cybertronians born there have Rung's distinctive "glasses" and his tendency to fade into the background.
  • Revival: When a Passenger is split from its body, the resulting reviver gains a Healing Factor and limited Telepathy but loses emotional connections. If they are reunited they combust, leaving nothing.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: In this setting, souls have different colours or sizes depending on the nature or power of the owner. They may be removed from a body and placed into another, split or mended. A person may transfer part of his or her soul into another person’s to heal it (Daniel’s soul has many scars due to this). If someone loses a portion of her or his soul (like Asuka’s mother), she can keep functioning but the trauma may drive her crazy.
  • The Blue Blur of Termina: The Heart Containers are the metaphysical manifestation of a person's soul. The more powerful a person is, the larger (and more crystallized) their Heart Container will appear. Heart Containers of particularly powerful entities can even take on their own separate forms, should they be separated from their "bodies". Beings of godlike caliber harbor Heart Containers of truly limitless power.
  • In The Jewellery Box, the main characters have been in a form of spiritual stasis and are awakened when their dragon friend "invokes" their element. They also forgot everything about their past lives while in stasis.
  • Pony POV Series: A being's soul is composed of two parts — a Light of Existence (the heart) and a Shadow of Existence (the appearance), both containing parts of the being's personality. If erased from existence, the Shadow ends up in Entropy's Realm (the Light, according to Word of God, returns to Fauna Luster from whom all souls spring, or in the case of some of the G3 ponies, entered the afterlife, or was reborn as a new individual). What's more, it's stated that there's not a "Law of Conservation of Mass" when it comes to souls, meaning the same person can have multiple reincarnations (Dark World!Twilight being the reincarnation of G3 Minty's Light and Minty Pie being the reincarnation of her shadow, for example), but the soul will still exist independently of the reincarnation.
  • Black Queen, Red King: Rex gains the ability to see souls. He describes them as brilliant, flaming figures that glow an impossible color. His own soul is described as a horrifying monstrosity that damages the eyes of those who look at it and that it "glowed with a blindingly bright darkness." This world is of the "Lose your soul, you die" variety, and soul eaters do exist.
  • Dæmorphing is a Fusion Fic between Animorphs and His Dark Materials where all of the humans from the former have daemons. The other alien races have their own connections to the Dust, called "anchors":
    • Andalites' anchors are their guide trees (a minor concept from canon), which can communicate telepathically and bloom when their Andalite emotionally matures. A guide tree will be connected to many Andalites throughout its lifespan.
    • The Hork-Bajir lack a physical anchor; instead, they can see the dust. The Arn created them with this ability partly to maintain Dust creation on their homeworld, and partly because physical anchors are a burden.For example...  Turns out the Chee had this ability too, but they disabled it when the Pemalites went extinct because they couldn't bear the pain.
    • The Yeerks' anchors are other sapients, be they hosts or other Yeerks. Solitary confinement is a Fate Worse than Death for them, and all of the Empire's Yeerks are spiritually starving because they've been taught to close themselves off from others' feelings.
    • The Taxxons' anchors are the Living Hive, a telepathic super-organism that grows in soil and helps regulate their hunger. The Empire's Taxxons are also spiritually starving because they're far away from it. A group of rebel Taxxons smuggled a Living Hive to Earth, and helped Aftran & Eva to smuggle another one onto the Pool Ship.
    • It's possible to change one's anchor. Approximately two years after Arbron became a Taxxon nothlit, he changed his anchor from his guide tree to the Living Hive.
  • Puella Magi Lyra Magica: A girl from the His Dark Materials universe who had undergone intercision tried to regain her daemon by contracting and forming a Soul Gem. The plan kind of worked...
  • In With Strings Attached, George's ring proves to have soul-bonded to him, which he finds out when someone takes it forcibly from him. He describes it as having his soul's arm ripped off, and he is left badly shaken and despairing, though his sanity is saved because he can feel the missing piece out there. Later, when faced with the prospect of going home without the ring—having his soul transferred into his original body (the four are in cloned bodies)—he panics. Varx does some tests and discovers that George's soul “kind of overlaps” the ring, and that the transfer process should send his entire soul over. Given that neither epilogue mentions anything wrong with George after he goes home, one must assume the process worked.
  • Blooming Dreemurr, being a fanwork of Undertale, has this going. Particular attention is brought to it beyond Undertale due to the blog directly having characters preforming experiments to try and figure out any way to create an artificial soul for Flowey.
  • The Mansionverse: Souls are "sentient ectoplasmic constructs". Living beings naturally develop a soul, their mind shaping their shell of magic into a copy of itself, that can then materialize separate from the body after death — that's ghosts. Souls can be created in other ways as well. While their ectoplasmic form can be harmed or even destroyed, demon Ammit the Devourer is the only known force in the universe who can permanently destroy a soul.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, being an atheistic Deconstruction Fic, operates on the premise that souls don't exist. Ghosts are magical imprints caused by the burst of magic released on death, and are demonstrably non-sapient. The Horcrux exploits the ghost-imprint process to imprint the caster's personality onto an object, instead of the deceased, and let them commit Grand Theft Me later — with the obvious drawback of being an out-of-date personality imprint, on top of requiring physical contact from your victim. Ironically, the closest confirmed thing to a soul is Voldemort's "Horcrux 2.0", which manages to keep an up-to-date copy of the user's mind, but left him helplessly stuck in his Horcruxes until Quirrell stumbled upon one. He was only able to rectify that flaw by adding the Resurrection Stone, which allows his Horcrux-copy to manifest as a spiritual projection.
  • In The Confectionary Chronicles, Gabriel confirms that humans are the only beings on Earth to have souls, with even near-human creatures having something different, although part-humans such as Fleur do have souls, allowing Fleur to pledge her devotion to Loki despite being part-Veela rather than a pure human. Nephilim conceived with non-humans, such as pagan gods, also lack souls of their own, but have greater power than most of their other parent’s kind.
  • In Buffy meets Star Trek, Data is possessed by an ancient evil known only as 'Darkness', which is so powerful that it would eventually poison any organic body it possessed. However, Giles notes that Darkness can only possess an entity that has a soul, which leads to a powerful moment when Captain Picard and Commander Riker consider this evidence that Data truly is alive, even though they both already saw Data as such. After Data is freed from Darkness, Willow admits that she can't explain how Data has a soul or when he might have gotten it, but affirms that he can be truly considered alive even if he started out as a machine.
  • "A Slayer Transformed" opens with Faith suffering serious injuries after she saves Optimus Prime from a demon attack. The subsequent medical treatment is so traumatic that Arcee volunteers to bond her spark to Faith's soul to give Faith the strength to survive the treatment, giving Arcee a link to Faith on a spiritual level. After arriving in Sunnydale, Arcee is able to quickly confirm that Angel is different from other vampires as the Autobots have identified the wavelength of a human spark, Arcee able to confirm that Angel is generating that wavelength.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, the story is set in Remnant, meaning that it follows many of the same conventions as RWBY. All living beings have a soul and they can awaken their Auras to gain the ability to produce Deflector Shields, utilize Ki Attacks, and fuel powerful Semblances that grant almost magical abilities. The primary difference here is than an unlucky few people are born "Broken". Their souls are fundamentally flawed in some way that weakens them to the point that they'll never develop an Aura or a Semblance. Izuku falls squarely into this category until he meets Toshinori and obtains One For All, a unique Semblance that's passed down from wielder to wielder and can grant an Aura to a Broken Soul.
  • Resonance Days takes place in the afterlife, meaning that the entire cast is nothing but soul. Specifically, the soul appears as a kind of intangible smoke coloured according to the magical girl or witch's Color Motifs. However, since the mind is used to having a body and arriving in the afterlife without one would be disorienting, it is contained in a shell that looks, feels, and functions like the body did in life, but if injured simply bleeds "soul stuff" before healing almost instantly. Said soul stuff is also like blood in that losing part of it isn't an issue, and it will recover shortly. Kyouko also notes that she can feel her skeleton and bones when touching her skin from the outside, but if she pierces the skin with a sharp object there is nothing inside it.
  • TITANOMACH puts a new spin on the Resurrective Immortality of paracausal entities like the Guardians by establishing the existence of a soul within each living being: normally, upon dying, their souls eventually return to the Nothing (the domain of the Nine); however, paracausality throws a wrench into the natural order of things, as both Light and Darkness are capable of manipulating souls, allowing paracausal entites like the Guardians or the Hive Gods to tap into their Resurrective Immortality.
    • On the other hand, since souls can be interacted with, then they can also be destroyed, which leads to a final death of the entities involved.
  • In the There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton universe, human souls are apparently functionally eternal, so Cessation of Existence isn't a possibility. Atheists that end up in the Underworld, since Hades takes in the souls that don't qualify for the afterlife they grew up with, are given the choice of a Death of Personality via a drink of Lethe water, but that's the closest it can get. Ghost Zone ghosts are formed when souls with Unfinished Business binding them to Earth are infused with massive amounts of ectoplasm.
  • With This Ring: Souls are structured accumulations of magic, which naturally gather around living beings. This process normally results in everyone having a soul by the time they're born.
    • As a newcomer to universe 16, Paul learns that he doesn't have a soul. Since that makes him very vulnerable to magic (having nothing to resist it with), and takes steps to rectify it, contacting John Constantine to help him gather magic and force it into some kind of structure. He eventually ends up with something, made of a mishmash of mostly orange light, although its exact nature baffles all the wizards he speaks to, and it's so different from regular Earth souls that he can't use most kinds of Earth magic (eg the Danner formula).
    • Blaze is half-human, but was conceived and born in hell. So she has a soul that resembles a human's in structure, but is made of demon magic instead of Earth magic. Paul goes looking for a way to change it when he's recruiting her for the Justice League and wants to turn her into an angel; her demonic soul isn't compatible with the wings by default.
    • The Renegade encounters research by evil Mad Scientist Desaad that details how to alter a human soul to allow for more expansion, letting a person continue accumulating magic beyond normal limits and grow over time into a minor god. Naturally, he tries it out on himself when having a soul constructed from scratch.
    • Orange light "identity theft" appears to consume souls as well as bodies, which later leads Paul to discover that he can use his rings to devour any kind of magic and thus disrupt spells he encounters.
  • In Tower of Babel souls are intrinsically tied to mind and magic. If someone’s magical matrix is damaged, their soul eventually destabilizes and their mind is destroyed. AI can only be created through magic and if their minds are sufficiently complex, they can gain a soul.

    Films — Animated 
  • In 9, souls essentially act as a life source, and their forcible removal can be... nasty. It would also appear that they can be split into parts, each functioning as a separate entity, with their own personality (which is speculated to be) based on a particular part/trait of the original soul owner's personality.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Short Circuit: Number Five gets struck by lightning, there is a glitch in the programming and he gains a soul. In the sequel, he foils the bad guys, is legally recognized as a person and swears the oath of citizenship.
  • Ghost Rider (2007): An interesting variation occurs, where Johnny Blaze seems to lose his free will as a consequence of selling his soul to Mephisto, as he is unable to refuse to become the Ghost Rider, or even to get off his bike when Mephisto doesn't want him to. Once his big mission is complete and his soul restored, though, Blaze has no trouble refusing the Devil's offer to free him of the Rider or in using the powers of the Rider against Mephisto's plans on Earth.
  • Cold Souls: Extracting your soul is as common as, say, wiping away bad memories. Creative Sterility happens to Paul Giamatti (as himself) when his "chickpea-sized" soul is removed to prevent anxiety, and he later gets involved in Russian soul-smuggling.
  • In The Serpent and the Rainbow, a movie that deals with Haitian voodoo, shows rainbow-colored souls being stored away in ceramic pots.
  • Bedazzled (1967): It's said that the soul is a lot like the appendix and is of no real use. Of course, given the source and what they were selling at the time, it's probably not that accurate...
  • Bedazzled (2000): A person the protagonist meets in a jail cell most likely God Himself tells him that while humans do have souls, they are not able to sell them as the owner is God, a universal spirit that animates and binds all things in existence.
  • The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake: These are bound to witch doctors when a shrunken head is made, and can be sent in skull form to torment people.
  • Kwaidan: These resemble their bodies, and can be drank by others. They are not the same as a person's ghost, but the soul being harmed does harm the ghost.

  • Harry Potter: Losing your soul robs you of all willpower and memory, you simply "exist" as an Empty Shell, conscious but unable to think or act; while acts such as murder breaks the soul apart makes you less human (and immortal, if you know how to work it the right way). It appears that the mind is a semi-separate entity that remains with the largest piece of a split soul. In addition, ripping it apart and dying with your soul not in one piece will condemn you to eternity in agony, as the act is a "horrible crime against nature". Hermione implies that repentance can potentially put a torn soul back together, but it hurts a lot.
  • Peter F. Hamilton loves this subject so much that he wrote The Night's Dawn Trilogy, a whole Space Opera series about possession in the 2600s. The soul is basically sentience (that is, YOU), but in a form that retains cohesion after death, without physical support (like the brain). This is linked to a theory of strata-less computing, which says that computation (read 'thought') can be accomplished without energy consumption and support if there is no input or output. A dead guy loses his "input" (senses), and, so Hamilton says, the Universe is wired so that sentience survives and is either transported to the 'beyond' (an input-less hell where souls pass the time by raping each other for memories), or is transported to the end of time, to contribute with its memories to the creation of a new universe. Also, for some reason, if a soul is given the chance to take over a living human body (after suppressing the occupant), its remaining part which is still in the beyond dimension can serve as a massive source of energy for all sorts of evil powers.
  • In The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump children with apsychia are born without a soul and apparently simply stop existing after death — no afterlife, no nothing. It is seen as horrendously tragic. An experimental medical treatment is being investigated, in which tiny pieces of many souls are fused into, essentially, a synthetic soul which can then be implanted in the apsychic child. Whether this can actually work is unclear.
  • Pump Six and Other Stories: In Pocketful of Dharma, your soul is the same as your consciousness, and consciousness can be digitalized and stored in data cubes, cheap, throw-away pendrives of the future. This is but a premise to a story involving a young beggar accidently getting his hands on a data cube with consciousness of Naed Delhi, the 19th Dalai Lama. And there will be no 20th one, ever, as long as his soul remains trapped in the electronic medium, thus being unable to reincarnate. Only the destruction of the cube can release him free.
  • "The Bear at the Gate" is a short story about a teddy bear who earns a soul through a good deed and gaining emotions, which results in it getting into heaven.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, souls and consciousness are the result of "angled space" intersecting with the consciousnesses of the various unknowable "archetypes" or outer gods, at least according to "Through the Gates of the Silver Key". However, the outer gods and Azathoth also have their own shared soul, Nyarlathotep, who seems to have his own consciousness independent from theirs.
  • The Little Mermaid: In Hans Christian Andersen's original version, mermaids do not have souls but can gain them, giving them access to the Christian afterlife; without one, they'd "dissolve like the sea foam" upon death.
  • Piers Anthony's works:
    • Xanth: Characters without souls are less introspective and less capable of empathy than those with souls, but can earn souls through self-exploration and consciously trying to think of others more. Souls can be taken apart, and regenerate; babies' souls are grown from bits of the soul of their mother and father.
    • In Incarnations of Immortality, it's eventually revealed that the entire universe is essentially a soul-sorting machine. The titular incarnations represent the various important aspects of it - the Fates collect raw soul-stuff and weave into people, while Death is ultimately the one who has to figure out which bits are evil and which are good, only showing up in person for those which are extremely finely balanced. Unfortunately the system has broken down because the current God isn't paying attention and a line of Evil incarnations have been genuinely evil. Satan, the latest one, comes to realise that his job is actually supposed to be to reveal evil and purify it from souls as the end part of the whole process; he ultimately convinces the other incarnations of this and works with them to replace God because he's upset at being sent so many souls that should be going to heaven.
  • Dragaera: A person's soul can only be destroyed by a Morganti weapon. If they're killed any other way, they can reincarnate. It's implied that wizards keep their souls separate from their bodies, but otherwise they're treated inextricably linked.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • A soul, along with the body and spirit, is a component of a person, depending on the species. Humans have all three, animals have body and possibly a spirit, demons and fae have body and spirit, angels are all soul, and ghosts and spirits are, well, all spirit; and there are many other beings who have different configurations. The relationship between the soul and the spirit is complex and never fully explained, but most think that, on the death of the body, the soul will go on to an afterlife, and what happens to the spirit isn't entirely clear, but it appears to either disperse or carry on as a ghost if there's "unfinished business". A ghost is widely accepted to be a discreet and separate entity from the person that they were, even though they have the name, memories, and personality of the person that they were/came from.
    • Although its existence is taken for granted, the soul remains far more mysterious than the spirit, and it appears to be even more noncorporeal and metaphysical. Even Harry, Chicago's resident wizard, isn't entirely certain that the soul exists as, and continues on as, most religions describe. Bob describes "the soul" as equivalent to "life force" or "chi": "the part of you that is more than merely physical." He also notes (to Harry's dismay) that you can lose a significant chunk of it. Bob isn't worried about it, as lovers exchange parts of their souls regularly and you still remain "you" when you simply lose a part (small sections can grow back in about a week, and the process can be accelerated by "lifting one's spirit," perhaps almost literally in this case).
    • In Small Favor, Harry gains "soulfire", a form of magic strengthened with soul energy in much the same way that concrete is strengthened with rebar. Archangels use soulfire, but they have a lot more soul to work with. Using it does, however, damage the soul by using it up a little at a time. Bob complains that humans get too upset over phrases like that, though he acknowledges using Soulfire too much could be fatal, up to leaving no soul behind.
    • In Ghost Story, the concept of a soul is finally settled by one line from Archangel Uriel.
      Uriel's smile blossomed again. "You've got it backward, Harry," he said. "You are a soul. You have a body.
  • C. S. Lewis:
    • In The Screwtape Letters, it is implied that the souls of those in Hell are devoured by demons, and this is in fact the fate of all the damned, including the demons themselves minus whoever's last. (Theologically, this can be seen as a parody/inversion of the Christian belief in Heaven as eternal communion with God, where the Devil's version of that communion is an eternal domination and violation of all lesser souls.)
    • In The Great Divorce, on the other hand, souls in Hell (which looks like an English industrial town on a perpetually cold and rainy evening), isolate themselves there out of refusal to give up some single vital facet of their self, becoming a twisted, damaged version of their former personality. Divorce plays with the idea that souls can leave Hell of their own will (in which case it will merely have been Purgatory), if they have not placed themselves beyond redemption — it can be difficult to tell if a person has crossed the line. (A "Solid Person" who has made it to heaven questions whether a woman whose fate is up for grabs is still a grumbler, or merely a grumble going on and on mechanically.)
  • His Dark Materials (crazy spoilers ahead).
    • The whole trilogy has quite a lot to say about the nature of the soul, and may be considered a long meditation on the subject. In a child, losing the soul causes schizophrenia-like symptoms: catatonia, delusions that your soul is still there, etc. — presuming, of course, that the subject survived the process in the first place. One character who goes through this dies of apathy. Another gradually wastes away. Some characters, especially adults, who manage to survive that part are Stepford Smilers, the "nothing underneath" variation. On top of this, much of the series takes place in a world where the soul resides outside the body as a sentient, autonomous entity with its own (highly symbolic) physical form.
    • Of course, those are only the effects if your soul is cut away. If your soul is eaten away by a Specter, it leaves you a completely hollow body that does not react to any stimulus whatsoever, which is why there are apparently no adults in Cittàgazze.
    • The first book also has soldiers dying outright when their daemons are killed, which might explain the taboo against touching another's daemon.
    • His Dark Materials also holds that the mind and the soul are separate, though intrinsically connected, and that a person's mind (ghost) retains its composition upon death, while a soul (Dæmon) dissolves upon death. The mind feels incomplete however. On the bright side, a dead-but-still-intact ghost is the perfect fighter against the aforementioned soul-eating Specters.
    • Iorek Byrnison mentions that his armor is his soul- bears make their own soul.
    • Furthermore, if your Dæmon is injured or separated from you by a certain distance, it causes the both of you intense physical pain. Physical contact with another person's Dæmon is all but forbidden (except for certain circumstances, If You Know What I Mean). And the final chapters of the third novel explain some of the ways around all of these handicaps.
    • Dæmons are also described as being made from Dust, as are angels, and in fact the product of the interference of the fallen angels (the result of the fruit of knowledge, or the wheel oil). While the panserbjørne's existence seems to prove this is not necessary for intelligent life, their attachment to armor and a stricter culture could be seen as a suggestion that it helps, and lacking it a surrogate needs to be found. Then again, we only have the one example to go on.
  • Dante played with the idea of separating the soul from the body before death in the Inferno, where in Hell, he ran into one of the more notorious historical figures of his time who was in fact still alive while he was writing, the idea being his sin had been so bad he had fallen to Hell immediately, while a demon had come up to Earth to mind his body until it died.
  • Handled interestingly in Oscar Wilde's The Fisherman And His Soul, where the titular Fisherman gives up his soul in order to be with the mermaid he loves. His soul is shown as being intellectually completely different from himself. In fact, his life only changes for the worse once his soul returns. The spell the Fisherman performs to separate himself from his soul involves cutting his shadow free from his body, whereupon it is animated by the soul and goes about getting into misadventures. The soul, left on its own, is apparently Heartless.
  • Meredith Ann Pierce's The Darkangel Trilogy: when you die, your soul ascends to the sky ("deep heaven"). Once there, it is possible for it to return to earth temporarily to speak to living people, though this happens rarely. However, the soul can be removed from the body and stored in a vial. When this happens, the soul's owner becomes a wraith which retains the power of speech but very little memory. Souls can also be consumed by demons like darkangels and lorelei, in which case the owner's consciousness is completely obliterated. Soulless beings are always hideous to look at.
  • In "The Boy Who Couldn't Die", removing the soul from a living thing's body makes them immortal. The soul can only be retrieved from the recently deceased or dying; it requires some voodoo crap to pull out, and the proper container to keep it in. Damaging the soul is instant death.
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath series, a person's soul is what casts a shadow (in many respects it IS the shadow) and thus someone whose soul is missing doesn't cast one. Members of the Kencyr races can give their soul to another who has the ability to accept it; this makes the giver very hard to kill, and makes it so that dishonorable acts that must be done do not stain the soul, since it isn't there. Souls may also be stolen or consumed, and heroine Jame and her mother are able to reap souls, drawing them from the body and taking them.
  • H. Beam Piper flip-flopped about souls. While one of his Paratime novels featured reincarnation as a scientific fact, which makes no sense without some kind of soul...there was also a story in Federation which revolved around the attempt to settle down a planet's main religion, who were convinced The Last Hot Time was coming and were going a bit psychotic with fire-frenzies. To pacify them, a Terran who was very friendly with their culture explained not only that Armageddon wasn't coming, but also that humans needed the main local product (biocrystals) to build themselves souls, following a curse (It Makes Sense in Context). When another member of the cast objects to this, a military man comes up with this gem:
    Foxx Travis: Can you prove that was a lie? Let's see yours. Draw-SOUL! Inspection-SOUL!
  • Souls in The Hollows novels are a nebulous thing that is referenced often but ill-defined. The souls of living vampires are destroyed maybe when they die and reanimate and they seem to lose their conscience and the ability to feel emotion. Souls of living beings can be temporarily removed by demon magic without appreciable harm to the person though what change this makes in the person is never explored. Black Magic creates 'smut' on the soul that is visible to magical creatures. This is considered a bad thing though the negative consequences of having this smut is never explained. This smut can be transferred to another person's soul. Finally the existence of souls is an established fact and its loss and destruction can be detected by an unexplained process. To add more confusion a person's aura is linked yet separate from their soul in an unexplained manner.
  • In The Salvation War, people's souls become tangible (with all attendant sensation) as corporeal bodies in another dimension, immortal, and gain a Healing Factor upon the person's death. Unfortunately, that's the better to let demons abuse you forever, since everyone goes to Fire and Brimstone Hell when they die. Despite the fact that in this series, human race invades and occupies Hell and eventually even Heaven and kills God, where souls come from is still a Riddle for the Ages by the end.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth mythos, the precise nature of the soul (fëa, in Quenya), and its fate after death varies depending on race: the souls of Elves are bound to this universe, and when they die they go to hang out in the Halls of Mandos, eventually to be reincarnated (unless they've committed acts of irredeemable evil in life) in a body identical to the old one. The souls of Men, on the other hand, are only meant to stay in this world for a limited time; after death they make a brief stop in the Halls of Mandos and then depart from the universe for an unknown destination. Disembodied Elvish souls are capable of refusing the summons to the Halls of Mandos, in which case they will drift around wherever they like-but such souls are then susceptible to being captured and controlled by black magic (remember how Sauron was sometimes called the "Necromancer"? Yeah...).
    • It's uncertain what happens to dwarves, not being part of the original divine plan for the world, but they believe that Aulë their maker (who they call Mahal) has prepared some sort of afterlife for them. Tolkien speculates in The Silmarillion that Aulë made some sort of arrangement with Mandos to get his creatures a space in his Halls. Hobbits, as a kind of sub-species of Men, are probably subject to the same fate as them.
  • Wayne Barlowe book series that takes place in Hell has a rather terrifying prospect for all human souls who go there. Apparently, the underworld does have a food chain, but humans are at the bottom of it. And that's not counting the fact that humans are the main building materials for demons, their livestock, vehicles, and war machines all made out of souls.
  • Michael Swanwick wrote a short story in which dead souls fall up to the heavens to be absorbed into creation. However, power lines and cold iron would stop this (if for example, you died in a building with reinforced concrete ceilings) so ghosts could avoid that undiscovered country and stay themselves while they navigated an upside-down otherwise intangible world constantly holding on to iron or powerlines. There was also a soul eating monster.
  • In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Luke loses his soul. He's comatose, but he can now possess his nephew Jacen.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Souls are reincarnated countless times throughout history. What happens between incarnations isn't discussed. The souls of Heroes get a slightly different treatment-they spend their time between lives in Tel'aranh'rhiod, but lose their memories between the time they are reborn and their next death. Birgitte proves a soul can be forced into the real world before its time, but the full effects are far from certain.
    • The Dark One can also reincarnate his followers at the instant of their death. Balefire can be used to retroactively kill someone before the Dark One knows what's happening, denying it the ability to reincarnate its servant into a new body, instead of forcing the soul back into the normal cycle of reincarnation.
    • Machin'Shin (The Black Wind) is an entity of the Ways. An encounter with it may be fatal, or it could destroy the soul, leaving the victim alive but an Empty Shell.
    • Interestingly, ghosts aren't generally a thing that happens in this 'verse and are only seen during "bubbles of evil" from the Dark One.
  • In Lord Dunsany's short story "The Kith of the Elf-Folk", a little Wild Thing from the marshes longs to have a soul so it can worship God and know the meaning of music. It has none, but the other Wild Things make a soul for it out of what is around them, although the Oldest of the Wild Things warns that "if you got a soul, one day you would have to die, and if you knew the meaning of music you would learn the meaning of sorrow, and it is better to be a Wild Thing and not to die".
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, it is taken for granted that the humans that Professor Maxon creates have no souls. At one point, Number 13 goes to murder him and stops because it would be the act of a soulless creature. Von Horn becomes quite envious of him because a soulless creature acts better than he does.
  • Charles Stross's The Laundry Files is couched in mathematical and scientific language, based as it is off the Cthulhu Mythos. The word "soul" refers to the electrical impulses that make up a human being's brain: thinking, feeling, calculating; some of that information remains as "echoes" when a person dies, but there are ways—and creatures—capable of erasing those echoes entirely. Certain beings feed by increasing entropy, and erasing information generates a lot of it.
  • The World Gates Trilogy by Holly Lisle involves several artifacts (necklaces and such, usually) that bring someone back if they die while they're wearing them. At one point a character who was so revived is told that she has no soul. Her sister ends up going to the afterlife, where it is revealed that losing a soul is not all that uncommon and that someone who has no soul can essentially grow a new one by good deeds and so on. There's no indication that soullessness has any particular effect on a person's life, although those who get revived by these artifacts more than a few times tend to become cruel.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, a soul is an aspect that allows you to resist transformations; The Mind Is The Plaything Of The Body applies only to the soulless. Humans have them naturally; other beings, apparently, can acquire them.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, The Fair Folk have no souls. They cannot venture on holy ground. And a nixie is explaining that certain barbarians offer her Human Sacrifice, and her reaction is a light observation that she's not, as they think, a cannibal, but the sacrifices do wear nice clothes — and gives Holger an innocent look because she has no soul.
  • Souls in The Parasol Protectorate are discussed as a quantifiable substance. Those with excess soul can be turned into a vampire or werewolf, or become a ghost upon death. Others, such as the protagonist, have no soul at all, and are capable of turning such beings mortal (or dead, in a ghost's case) through physical contact. However, it's hinted that these phenomena have much more to do with how an individual interacts with the aether. Whether actual 'souls' are involved is left ambiguous.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, the nix stole Jenny's soul. This not only put her body into Faux Death, it meant that she did not have to go to the Fairy Queen voluntarily; the nix could hand over the soul, and the queen takes the body.
  • In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, they discuss the soul while talking of their planned trip to Hell.
  • In Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey, the fey have no souls. This means they do not survive their bodily deaths but melt back into the Nevernever. One also says they are conscienceless because of it.
  • In The Tygrine Cat, a cat's spirit/consciousness is called the second self and can exit the body to traverse Fiåney. It is possible for the second self to get lost and for the body to eventually die, trapping the second self in Fiåney permanently.
  • Souls in Coiling Dragon are tied to the type of magical abilities that a deity can use. When someone becomes a demigod, they bond their soul to a divine spark of a certain type of magic and can then use only that type of magic. Unless they split their soul and create a new body for the divine spark.
  • Souls are inextricably tied to magic in the Chalion series, as a living soul is literally the interface between the spiritual realm and the material. Even the gods, as wholly spiritual beings, are unable to perform miracles without a willing soul through which to channel their powers. All other forms of magic have something to do with souls as well, usually binding something else to a human's soul to make them a shaman or sorcerer.
  • Talion: Revenant: Souls can be drawn out of the body by a Talion Justice. This kills the person, but some souls retain their vitality, although not memories, and are called rhasas. Talion Justices must be cleansed of these souls in a special ritual. A rhasa soul can be placed into a corpse and this reanimates it, along with this leaving the undead being stronger, quicker, and easier to train. A person can also use them to enhance or heal themselves. Souls appear as colored lights, rhasas being white.
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Each person has three souls, with different functions - and losing each soul has different effects. The world-soul connects the person to the rest of the world, losing it causes you to become a Lost one; the clan-soul is responsible for morality (explained as a sense of belonging to temper the strength of the world-soul) and losing it causes you to become a demon; if you lose the name-soul you become a ghost, losing your memories - the name-soul is also your reflection, but we don't see if the reflection is lost too. Soul-sickness happens when one of the souls is corrupted - even though you stay you, the effects are the same.
  • The Cosmere's universe comprises Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual realms; the latter contains the "spiritweb" of every living thing, which represents their identity, passes into the afterlife upon their death, and houses the "spiritual DNA" that accesses the setting's various Functional Magic systems.
  • I Am Mordred: Mordred eventually decides to cope with his prophesied fate by removing his soul from his body. He plans to give his soul to Arthur for safe-keeping, but it is stolen by a raven sent by Merlin. The soulless Mordred is unable to feel emotion (which was Mordred's purpose for the procedure, he was tired of the pain) and has no sense of morality. It is this soulless Mordred that kills Arthur, while Mordred's soul becomes trapped in the raven (in fact raven!Mordred is the book's narrator). It is possible that raven Mordred has some connection to his body still as parts of the book are told from the perspective of the soulless Mordred. Also, apparently putting a human soul in a raven makes said raven immortal and sentient.
  • I Sit Behind The Eyes: Just as the mind controls the body, the soul controls the mind. The mind stores memories and handles thought processes (both conscious and unconscious), but the soul decides what the mind consciously thinks about. The study of the soul is referred to as 'Psychology-ology'. The titular Entity is essentially an alien soul possessing the mind and body of a little girl and reveals itself as such when it starts discussing Psychologyology, as its soul controls minds in a different way to humans. When this happens, the suppressed soul is able to regain partial control over the mind. Psychopaths have souls that are damaged, usually as a result of having a diseased mind. It is never made clear what happens when a soul is destroyed, but it is presumed that they either die or cease to exist.
  • SD Gundam The Last World has G-Souls. G-Souls are the souls of SD Gundams, and they can absorb other G-Souls to acquire powerful weapons or turn into giant forms more reminiscent of traditional fullscale Gundams. Later on in the story it's revealed that they're actually copies of characters throughout the SD Gundam multiverse, with similar skills, personalities, and even memories to match. So in a way they're a weird combination of souls, clones, and data.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Vampires in the Buffyverse are typically soulless and Always Chaotic Evil, since the essence of one of the first demons comes in and parks in the vacated spot. Their vampiric personalities are generally twisted parodies of the original person and never get any closer to goodness than a Noble Demon (and even Noble Demon vampires are very rare). A vampire can, through magic, actually regain a soul, and with it a complete human identity, morality, and guilt over their former crimes. Non-human demons may or may not have their own versions of souls, and they can range all the way from Omnicidal Maniacs to Knight in Sour Armor heroes. There are also Half Human Hybrids, and the dialogue suggests that, whatever other metaphysics apply, they do have human souls. Having a soul, however, is no guarantee of morality: as a demon points out, the worst serial killers and tyrants in human history also had souls. It could be considered that having a soul gives you a conscience so that you'll feel guilty about doing bad things, but that conscience can be misguided or suppressed. Lack of soul removes the guilt, and the demon essence gives you evil.
    • There are also ghosts in the Buffyverse, and they seem to be disembodied human souls that haven't moved on to the afterlife (more than one episode dealt with either helping a ghost pass on, or at least come to terms with their current status as a ghost). The recently ensouled vampire Spike also became something like a ghost for a while, but the story made it clear that, despite his intangibility, he wasn't really a ghost, and his condition was the result of magic designed to mimic the effect. Another vampire who indirectly gained a soul before she died, Darla, later appeared as a ghost although, since she was sent as a messenger for the Powers That Be, this was likely the human Darla's soul (or the First Evil, your guess is as good as ours). For more speculation on the metaphysics of the Buffyverse, see here.
      • One of the creepier episodes of Angel involves Ryan Anderson, an otherwise-normal human child who is explicitly stated to be soulless. He is so monstrous that an age-old demon was Driven to Suicide by accidentally possessing him.
  • Dead Like Me:
    • A soul is attached to a body, even after death, and can only be removed by a reaper who usually does so right before their death to spare them the pain. A person without a soul will continue to act as they are programmed to, typically walking right into whatever death fate had in store for them.
    • There's an unusual case, where if a person's fated death is avoided, their soul is imprisoned in their body and unable to affect anything. According to Rube, this causes the soul to "rot."
    • George screws up and decides to skip one of her appointments. She later finds the soul was trapped inside the body since she wasn't there — and had to sit through its own autopsy, unable to do anything.
  • Preacher (2016) the live-action adaptation of the Garth Ennis comic series Preacher souls appear as a glowing, silvery-white liquid. It is shown to be a currency in Hell used by some characters to make deals with Satan directly but also to be a transferrable material between humans with multiple shadowy figures and organizations Including the Grail stealing, storing, and trading souls which can be consumed by others.
    • Also appears to serve as the mechanism by which Jesse’s Compelling Voice (Genesis) is able to function. He needs to have his soul to power it but the person being compelled also needs to have a soul unlike in the comic. Shown when he was unable to compel the Saint of Killers until he injected him with a tiny fraction of a human soul (his own).
  • Souls, as far as Engine Sentai Go-onger is concerned, are highly marketable. The team's mecha sidekicks need to have them placed into their bodies to return to their normal size, but only for ten minutes, as a side effect of being in the Human World. Even the human souls in the series work like this, as proven when Sousuke shoots his soul at his own body to reverse a "Freaky Friday" Flip.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Measure of a Man", when the android Data has to stand in court to prove himself a sentient being (with the right to refuse to be dismantled by a less than competent scientist), the judge's final verdict deals with something to this effect.
    Phillipa: We've all been dancing around the basic issue: does Data have a soul?
    • The TNG novel Ghostship also deals with the idea of whether Data has a soul.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Once More Unto the Breach", Kor is sent on a suicide mission and promises to convey Worf's greetings to Jadzia in Sto'Vo'Kor. While Ezri is back at Deep Space 9 chatting in Quark's Bar. Which makes one wonder. What does happen to the souls of a Trill's previous hosts?
    • Jadzia even (re)introduced herself to some old friends of a previous host with the phrase "Don't mistake a new face with a new soul...", clouding the issue a bit. The symbiont which carries the memories to new hosts might be counted as having its own soul, mingled with but distinct from the soul of the individual host.
  • The Tales from the Crypt episode "Doctor of Horror" features a scientist who theorizes that the human soul can be physically found, in the form of a pinprick of light, at the base of one's spine.
  • Supernatural:
    • It is possible to sell your soul, typically via the traditional Faustian Deal with the Devil. Later in season six, it was revealed that when Sam was pulled out of Lucifer's prison, his body was freed from the Pit, but not his soul. Without it, he lacked empathy and a conscience, and didn't need to sleep.
    • Souls can also be eaten (by Famine), turned into demons via torture in Hell and used as an incredibly potent power source by various beings. Interestingly, while humans, monsters, and demons all have souls or are souls, angels apparently don't have them, although apparently, they're like batteries, and touching one can recharge a wounded or winded angel back to full strength.
    • According to Death, souls can be twisted, corrupted, and outright destroyed but never broken. It is impossible, even for a cosmic entity such as Death, to split apart a soul.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dead Inside is based almost entirely around the loss, gain, and expenditure of souls and soul energies. In most games, new characters start off as someone who's had his/her innate spiritual "shell" cracked open, and their soul scooped out, leaving nothing but the last few dregs of soul power to them. The overarching objective for anyone in such a position is to either grow (through doing good deeds or engaging in character building) or steal a new soul. Soul energy powers magic is the basis of trade, and is the basis of self-improvement: you perform rituals at various stages to "lock" your soul energy into a fully-developed soul. Once you have your soul back, you become known as a Sensitive, and if you cull another soul's worth of energy and perform the proper ritual, you become a Mage. The more developed your soul, the easier magic is to perform, and what happens to you when you die is different depending on whether you're Dead Inside, Sensitive, or Mage.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a pretty simple notion of a soul that seems to represent one's mind and sentience but is also a metaphysical-magical entity that can leave the body. Soul-trapping spells leave the body comatose, and the soul is what departs to various afterlives after death.
    • First and second edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons declared that elves didn't have "souls" in the same way that humans and most other races did, but instead had "spirits". These spirits were functionally the same as souls in almost every way, including afterlives, except they couldn't be restored to a body by a Raise Dead spell. An elf that died would require a Resurrection or Reincarnation spell instead. In practice, this was an attempt to give a racial disadvantage to elves, which were generally a more powerful race than other races in the Player's Handbook. Later editions of D&D dispensed with this, and treated elves as having normal souls and Raise Dead affecting them normally.
    • Planescape elaborated on the afterlife and the fate of souls in 2nd Edition, some of which 3rd Edition retained. When a mortal dies their soul moves on to the Astral Plane where the mind is peeled off and left behind to form a "memory core" (which enterprising scavengers can then find and break into for knowledge), while the soul passes to an Outer Plane that matches their Character Alignment, or the home of their god(s). There they become petitioners, which are basically naked souls, and work to merge with their plane or god. Some petitioners are instead the least forms of demons, devils, angels, and other Outer Planar races and can ascend the ranks of these races instead of merging with the plane - or, more likely on the evil planes, become currency in the hands of demons and devils and spent to fuel their endless wars. Some non-mortal races, such as the aforementioned Outer Planar races and Elementals, have souls that are fundamentally different in that they are one unit with their bodies (whereas mortals have a dual nature).
    • Eberron has a more ambiguous system for souls. The soul is still a unit of consciousness that can be moved around by spells, but they don't go to the outer planes - all of them go to the bleak, apathetic plane of Dolurrh, where they gradually hollow out and fade. Some religions believe this is a stopover on a path to another afterlife that sucks much less, while others, usually those descended from the elves of Aerenal in some way, hold The Nothing After Death as the final fate of souls and come up with systems for avoiding it. Weirdly, warforged function in all mechanical respects as though they have a soul, they can be affected by magic jar and raise dead etc, but nobody has ever found a warforged soul on Dolurrh, and whether they have souls or not is a matter of some debate and a degree of Fantastic Racism in-setting.
  • In Pathfinder, the soul is a combination of the positive energy that animates a living being and their mind. Spells like magic jar and astral projection allow one to separate their soul from their body but leaving their body comatose in the process or instantly killing it should the spell fail while the soul is outside of the body. After death, the soul becomes an entity known as a petitioner that moves on to the afterlife, where they will eventually transmute into an outsider, which will in turn eventually be destroyed and have their energy subsumed into their home plane.
    • The supplement The First World: Realm of the Fey reveals the purpose for the existence of souls in the Pathfinder cosmology: none of the gods could trust the others to divide the divine energy that welled up in the Positive Energy Plain fairly, so they divided it into discrete packets, gave those packets free will, and allowed them to choose - by dedication to a god or Character Alignment - which outer realm they would end up in.
  • Exalted has a complex but fairly well-defined soul-ecology. Normal people have two souls, the lower and higher, whereas celestial Exalts have a third soul that grants them their powers. On death, each faces a separate fate. The lower ghost becomes a bestial grave guardian until the body rots away; it then is simply a mindless beast that hunts in the underworld. The higher usually has its memories destroyed and then goes on to be reincarnated, but "lucky" souls that cling to life can become ghosts, and very unlucky ones can be consumed by oblivion. Solar shards first go back to Lytek, the God of Exaltations, who prunes some of their memories, and then sends them to an almost always adult person who is somehow worthy in the eyes of the Unconquered Sun, thereby exalting them. Lunar shards face much the same process, although Luna's standards are different than the Unconquered Sun's. Abyssal shards have to slink back to the underworld and their deathlord, carefully, because sunlight hurts the shards. Infernal shards are pulled back inside a brutally tortured little girl until the Yozi feels like making another Infernal. Sidereal shards are fated to Exalt someone at a specific time, shortly after a specific Sidereal dies. Fate itself thus prepares them for their life as an Exalt as they grow up. The problem is that both Sidereals and Sidereals-to-be can be killed ahead of schedule by beings capable of defying fate, in which case the Sidereal shard Exalts someone completely unexpected and unprepared, which throws the whole system out of whack. And there are a lot of creatures that exist outside of fate running around Creation these days...
    • Also note that all the Shards have their memories pruned - except the Infernals. While the Ebon Dragon has the necessary tools, he sees no particular reason to use them.
    • Autochthon himself fell afoul of this soul ecology; since he left Creation before too much was known about the underworld, and he requires a supply of lower ghosts to nourish himself, he now has a massive pressurized vat of confused accumulated higher ghosts. Similarly, because Creation can produce new souls as necessary but Autochthon can't, there is now a massive soul shortage and an epidemic of stillbirths among the Autochthonians. And then we throw in the whole 'soulgem' thing and stuff gets complicated. Alchemicals have just their own souls, but those souls are soul gems that have gone back into the cycle multiple times and demonstrated unparalleled heroism in each life, around which the Alchemical is built
    • The Primordials' own souls are pretty unusual, too - essentially, each Primordial has multiple soulsnote , each of which is a separate, sapient being. These each has seven souls of their own, which are also separate, sapient beings. Most of these have humanoid forms, but some manifest as geographical features, or weather, or even odder thingsnote  instead (or even use multiple forms simultaneously). The Yozis' souls also pull double duty as Our Demons Are Different.
  • It is possible to lose your soul in In Nomine by having all your Celestial Forces destroyed; on top of various mental disadvantages, you cease to exist when you die. Undead in the same setting is not strictly soulless, but the trade-off for physical immortality means that they too cease to exist when or if they die.
  • Sorcerer leaves it up to the individual gaming group to decide what a sorcerer's Humanity attribute (which can be damaged by too much consorting with demons) represents in concrete terms; one possible option is that Humanity measures how much of the sorcerer's soul still remains intact.
  • In the New World of Darkness, the soul is a concrete spiritual presence, capable of being affected by powerful magic. Should it be separated from the body, the person thus deprived slowly undergoes a horrific spiritual withering, eventually becoming a shriveled mockery of their original self that can be easily possessed by ghosts and spirits. The soul is completely separate from the mind, and apparently interchangeable with all others; attaching any soul to a victim of soul-theft will restore them to normal in due time. Each individual game deals with souls in various ways:
    • Mages must have their souls to work magic. Some Mages, more properly known as Reapers, steal souls for various purposes (such as the Tremere Liches, who prolong their existence by consuming the souls of others). These mages are sometimes known by an apt description: "sociopaths".
    • Werewolves are not entirely human, and their "souls" are likewise not entirely like human souls. It's implied they are half spirit, which is borne out since as they go down the Karma Meter they act more spirit like with strange behaviors, weaknesses, and bans.
    • It's believed that Changelings have their souls ripped to shreds on the Thorns when the True Fae first abduct them, and manage to gather and knit back (most) of the pieces unconsciously when they escape. However, this is only conjecture, and if it's true, whatever's left isn't affected by soul-targeting magic (and they worry a great deal about the connotations).
    • Prometheans seek To Become Human so that they can transform the Divine Fire within them into a soul.
    • Vampires seem to keep their souls after being Embraced, but now the soul is trapped in an animated dead body with a hungry demon-thing (The "Beast") that occasionally takes control. As if that weren't bad enough, the soul can now be eaten by other vampires in an act called Diablerie; doing so risks damaging the eater's soul, addicting them to devouring souls, and stains their aura with black veins for decades, but in the process, they absorb a measure of their victim's own power.
    • The process of becoming a Sin-Eater bonds a geist, an archetypal embodiment of death, to the prospective Sin-Eater's soul. To all intents and purposes, the geist becomes part of the Sin-Eater's soul and removing it will have devastating consequences.
    • To Arisen understanding, the soul is a complex mixture of elements with distinct characteristics, primary among them being the five Pillars - Ab (Heart), Ba (Spirit), Ka (Essence), Ren (Name), and Sheut (Shadow) - with each of the Arisen defining themselves through one Pillar in particular. In addition, the Arisen does not believe in the body/mind/soul division; all three are aspects of each other. This perspective enables them to use the Pillars to accelerate their healing and boost their innate capabilities, but also means that in the event they need to find a new body, it has a detrimental impact on their mind and soul.
      • The Sixth Guild, the Deceived, share their Arisen cousins' perspective on the soul. However, they find themselves having to spiritually co-exist with a fragment of one of the inhuman Shan'iatu, separating briefly from it whenever they die.
    • Whether or not there is an afterlife is unknown, so what happens to souls after death is an open question.
    • Ghosts don't seem to be a person's soul, but a few Mage and Thaumaturge powers can create ghosts by removing a person's soul and anchoring it to an object in a means similar to the above-mentioned soul-theft which is similarly reversible.
  • In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, the soul is the core of sentience and emotions and also the foundation of magic and psychic ability; this also makes it the primary fare of the universe's Eldritch Abominations. Losing one's soul while still alive essentially renders one an inert lump of meat.
    • Pariahs are essentially soulless from birth and have no detectable presence in the spiritual reality called "the Warp" as any non-Pariah does. This is hugely disconcerting to all around them, although those so offended rarely know why. This is especially dangerous to those with powers drawn from that realm but is no protection from their powers. Those ultra-rare individuals who passively block or diminish supernatural powers are referred to as 'blanks' or 'untouchables', and with the exception of Warp users reacting badly to them, there is no indication that they are anything but fully souled. This confusion is not helped by Games Workshop is extremely vague in the manner, often using the terms interchangeably between different media. The current consensus on their differences and exact capabilities, and if they indeed are the same thing, appears highly diffuse.
      • The Liber Chaotica and Liber Necris sourcebooks go into deep detail on Warhammer souls, eventually concluding that they must comprise at least seven divisible parts.
    • Necrons also lack a Warp presence, because their Eldritch Abomination masters stole theirs and they are mostly mindless and entirely emotionless killing machines.
    • The Tau do have souls but are described as psychically 'Blunt' as opposed to 'Blank', meaning they have a minimal warp presence/soul. There have also been several hints that they were guided and/or genetically modified to develop this trait. Somebody dropped their ruling class on them and saved from extinction, for this exact reason according to some sources, but their identity and purpose remain murky.
    • The Eldar are stated to have particularly strong souls that retain consciousness after death, which is particularly horrifying as their souls are promptly torn apart and devoured by an Eldritch Abomination of their own creation unless they make use of special methods (ie, a Soul Jar) to avoid such a fate. Asdrubael Vect even mocked how humans could define something so complex with a single word 'soul'.
  • In Ars Magica the "Limit of the Soul" is one of the Limits of Magic and prevents wizards from affecting human souls with their magic. This means it is impossible for most magicians to perform resurrections, or create living people via their magics.

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In general throughout the series, all living things seem to have souls, with the souls of more intelligent and stronger creatures typically being "larger" (more powerful). Under ordinary circumstances, the mind and soul of a mortal are one, with the soul closely connected to both its animating consciousness and the form of its body. Souls are generally immortal, though can be trapped and in some cases, utterly destroyed. When a mortal dies, his soul typically travels to Aetherius, and, depending on the mortal's religious beliefs may inhabit a specific part of Aetherius (such as Sovngarde or The Far Shores for a Nord or Redguard). To get into more esoteric "lore speak", souls in Aetherius may then enter the "Dreamsleeve", where they are broken down, combined, and reforged into new beings. In some cases, souls may not make it to Aetherius, such as if the soul is trapped, bound to the mortal world for some reason, or claimed by a specific deity (such as a Daedric Prince). In these cases, the soul may end up in the bleak Soul Cairn or in the realm of a Daedric Prince.
    • There are also known to be several "types" of the soul:
      • "White" souls are those of creatures, monsters, beings of lesser sapience (such as Goblins or Giants), and less intelligent lesser Daedra.
      • "Black" souls are those of intelligent, fully sapient creatures (with the exception of Dragons and presumably other Aedric beings, more on that below). Black souls are those of the humanoid mortal races (Men, Mer, Beast Folk) as well as the greater of the lesser Daedra, like the Dremora, Auriel, and Mazken.
      • It is also possible for creatures with Black souls to have their souls become White over time. For example, the Falmer (Snow Elves) were once another race of Mer similar to the Altmer. In an attempt to escape the genocide of their race at the hands of the invading Atmorans (ancestors of the Nords), some of the surviving Falmer fled to their Dwemer cousins. In exchange for their protection, the Dwemer forced to the Falmer to blind and debase themselves through eating poisonous mushrooms before forcing the Falmer to serve them as essentially slaves and test subjects. The process also affected the very souls of the Falmer, turning them from Black to White. Similarly, the Dreugh also went through such a process. A race of humanoid octopi, the Dreugh once formed underwater civilizations of "glass and coral", and were known to inhabit Tamriel before the arrival of the Aldmer. These Dreugh were highly intelligent, able to speak, and capable of using magic. According to some sources, the Dreugh come from a previous "kalpa", or cycle of time, in which they ruled the world in service to Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. However, that world (known as "Lyg") was destroyed and the remnants were one of the 12 worlds assembled to create Nirn during the Dawn Era as described in many Creation Myths. Conflicts with hunters (particularly the Dunmer) over thousands of years are believed to have contributed to the destruction of Dreugh civilization as well as their devolved intelligence. Like the Falmer, this also affected their souls, which are now White.
      • There are also the souls of dragons, which as lesser Aedric beings, have special properties of their own. While any being of sufficient ability can physically slay a dragon, only another "Dov" (dragon or Dragonborn) can permanently kill a dragon by absorbing its soul. This blocks the dragon from being resurrected and also grants the recipient a portion of the knowledge and skills of their fallen opponent. Dragonborn are special mortals gifted with the soul of a dragon by Akatosh, the draconic chief deity of the Aedric pantheon. The player character of Skyrim is a Dragonborn. According to some theories, Dov (including Dragonborn) are not so much the "children" of Akatosh, but are fragments of his very being. One Dov absorbing the soul of another causes that Dov to increase in power because these "fragments" are recombining.
    • As mentioned, all souls have Soul Power which can be used in the enchanting process to create items imbued with magical power. "White" souls can be trapped in the standard soul gems, which range in size. The more powerful the soul, the larger the soul gem needs to be in order to capture it. In order to trap a "Black" soul, a special black soul gem is required. The creation of black soul gems involves putting standard "Grand" soul gems through a dark ritual. When a Black soul is trapped, the energy part remains in the gem and is used to enchant/recharge an item. The "consciousness" part goes to the aforementioned Soul Cairn. There is currently no known way to utilize a dragon soul in this process, though there is historical evidence of a divine soul being trapped and used in a similar fashion. When Tiber Septim needed a power source for the newly acquired Numidium, his Imperial Battlemage, Zurin Arctus, crafted the Mantella. Said to be an "unimaginably powerful" soul gem, Arctus, according to some of the more heretical tales, successfully soul-trapped and slew (with the help of a large group of Imperial Legionaries) Wulfharth Ash-King, a former ally of Septim's who is believed to be a Shezarrine, a mortal incarnation of the soul of the "dead" creator god, Lorkhan (known as Shezarr to the Imperials). Arctus successfully trapped Wulfharth's soul in the Mantella, but not before Wulfharth was able to kill Arctus "with his dying breath". This act is believed to have merged the two individuals into the being known as the "Underking", who was then tied to the Mantella. For additional information on these individuals and the events surrounding them, see their entries on the series' Historical Figures page.
    • The souls of Daedra also come with a special caveat. They technically do not have "souls" as we understand them, possessing instead an animus called a "vestige". Functionally, however, it is largely the same. While the vestige of lesser Daedra can be trapped and used in the same way as mortal souls, all forms of Daedra possess Complete Immortality. As such, slaying the physical form of a Daedra (be they a lesser Daedra or the avatar of a Daedric Prince) is possible, but the vestige will just take a metaphysical swim through the cosmic sewers and be reformed in Oblivion. (Though this process is said to take time and is considered an "embarrassing" and "humiliating" experience for the Daedra in question.)
    • The Elder Scrolls Online adds another element to the mix in the form of the "Soul Shriven". Soul shriven are mortals who have had their souls taken by Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Corruption and Domination. Cultists devoted to Bal ritually sacrifice victims, who are pulled into Coldharbour (Bal's Daedric realm), their souls stolen and replaced by Daedric vestiges at the moment of death. For the Player Character of ESO, if anything it's beneficial, as you are apparently immortal. If your physical form is slain, you can reconstitute at the nearest wayshrine.
  • Demon's Souls, souls just kind of plop onto the ground when their owners die and are usually taken by whatever killed them. They can be absorbed to increase the power of the one who took it, which is how this game's leveling works, and particularly powerful souls can be used to make powerful weapons.
  • Done to a head-scratching degree in the Devil May Cry series.
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, the souls of defeated demons turn into Devil Arms/combat Styles for use by whoever gets them, but it's never known what exactly happens to a human soul once their bodies are destroyed.
    • In the first game, devils are pretty much referred to as having no souls at all to speak of, and the same is said about humans that "become devils" in Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 4.
    • Anyone expecting Devil May Cry 4 to be consistent with the concept of devil souls presented in Devil May Cry 3 is going to get very confused at Echidna, Bael, Dagon, and Berial not turning into Devil Arms after being beaten.
    • In DmC: Devil May Cry, the Lost Souls are human souls who are trapped in Limbo. They are found stuck on walls and wail in agony when Dante gets close. "Collecting" or attacking them releases Red Orbs.
  • Kingdom Hearts: All beings are composed of the soul, heart, and body, with the heart fulfilling the role traditionally assigned to the soul, while the soul is more akin to a battery. The heart contains all your intentions, emotions, and the connections you've made with other people and the soul the spark that animates the body, and its loss is fatal. Later games in the series elaborate on the nature of the heart: anything that has emotional connections to others can gain a heart. This includes people who've lost their hearts, who can naturally recover if given the chance.
  • Touched uponn frequently in the The Legend of Zelda series:
    • Twilight Princess has Jovani, who lost his soul (and his mobility) to greed. To restore it, you must collect the sixty pieces of his soul from Poes scattered around the land.
    • Majora's Mask features the ability to extract the last regrets and thoughts of a dying soul into a mask... which you can promptly don and gain whatever wicked cool abilities the deceased may have possessed. It is also implied that the masks allow the soul to possess the wearer.
    • Continuing the above trend is Spirit Tracks, where the Big Bad removes Zelda's soul so he can use her body for his own purposes. Her soul then possesses a suit of armor. Yes, really.
  • The Legacy of Kain series largely revolves around the various effects of souls and the corruption thereof. Losing your soul will kill you while returning a soul into its dead body will apparently create a vampire. A corruption of the soul leads to a creeping physical corruption - Kain's vampire lieutenants grew into increasingly inhuman monsters instead of just stronger. Also very importantly, souls are food for various beings, almost all of them tied into the biggest soul-devourer of them all, the Elder God. A purified soul, on the other hand, will enable a being to see said god. There's a lot more, but these are the most noteworthy points.
  • Souls are an important part of Mortal Kombat, as the battle for them throughout the tournaments makes up the premise of the series. Several characters (such as Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, and Shao Kahn) have the ability to take other people's souls as their own, and this primarily results in the demise of the victim and the granting of more strength to the victor. The only way to live without a soul in the Mortal Kombat universe, other than having it return to your body or being reanimated as a zombie by a sorcerer, is to get turned into a cyborg by the Lin Kuei.
  • In Final Fantasy X, when a person dies, their soul must be sent on to the Farplane by a summoner's Sending. If not one of two things will happen: Either the soul will form with other souls and become a Fiend, which is the major source of monsters all game or a strong-willed soul will give itself a physical form by pulling together a type of supernatural matter called pyreflies, becoming an Unsent. Several major characters are Unsent (including Auron). An Unsent can voluntarily leave for the Farplane (as happens to Belgemine in X and Maechen in X-2) or be Sent against their will. There are anomalies, however: in X-2 Shuyin’s immense hatred and despair render him unable to be Sent until after you defeat him.
  • Every episode of Sam and Max Season 2 involves souls in some way, and it appears that the "You are your soul" theory seems to be in use here. Your soul has two forms: a gloopy blob and a transparent version of your body. Zombies are created by Jurgen with his Soul Sucker, which separates the soul from the body and causes both soul and body to retain personality, effectively causing two copies of the same person, soul, and zombie. Not the same personality though; Sam and Max's souls are fed up with Sam and Max's mindless violence and poor moral compass, and refuse to go back to their bodies. Jurgen then sends the souls off to T.H.E.M to be crushed by depressed Moai heads, and then finally the grim reaper takes them to the Soul Train on the River Styx which sends them to Hell.
  • It turns out that if you're the child of a god, you can keep going without your soul in Baldur's Gate II. And it has some other interesting effects.
  • Darwinians in Darwinia have digital souls. When a Darwinian dies, its soul floats off to a soul repository in the middle of Darwinia. Soon it'll float back and its intelligence is processed after being sent to spawning grounds to be reborn again. However, soul destroyers and in Multiwinia, dark forest can destroy their souls.
  • In Chzo Mythos, the soul is one of a person's three aspects, the other two are the body and the mind. The soul is described as the entity that dreams and hopes, and are therefore regarded as a symbol of the future. A soul can feel pain if someone or something very dear to the person it belongs to is killed and/or destroyed, but since this permanently cripples the soul, it can only be done once. A soul can be completely destroyed if it is bound to an object and that object is destroyed. Furthermore: A mind separated from its soul will go insane and lose its perception of reality, an effect that increases the further away the soul is.
  • In SaGa Frontier 2, the ability to use magic, or 'Anima', is considered the physical manifestation of one's soul. The stronger your Anima, the stronger your soul. Occasionally, someone is born without the ability to use Anima; these few are scorned and looked down upon, and even rumored to be 'soulless'. Naturally, one of the main characters, Gustave XIII, can't use Anima and has to cope with this prejudice and hatred on top of all his other problems.
  • Albion has two different versions. 'Soul' in a traditional sense is an abstract concept used by Terrans to make a distinction between sentient and non-sentient beings. The closest thing the game has to actual souls is called Ens, which is defined as life-force.
  • In The World Ends with You, "Soul" is a form of matter that comprises everything in the UG.
  • Borrowing from Eastern religions and mythologies, Touhou Project has interesting characters when it comes to the souls:
    • Most people's souls —or at least the human ones— are made of 3 "high" "kon" and 7 "lower" "paku". Part of Youmu Konpaku's souls is outside her body and is visible to everyone. Because of this macabre soul-arrangement, Youmu resists anything that specifically targets only the living or only the dead. Meanwhile, Yuyuko (Youmu's ghostly mistress) has some ghost lights orbiting around her, each of them is themselves a souls.
    • Hourai elixir renders one immortal: the soul gains the ability to materialize the physical body, which is no longer tightly coupled to the soul. A Hourai immortal can be blown to bits and the soul will regenerate the body; this is a painful process that strains the soul (This gory dismemberment has happened to Mokou multiple times).
      • Other kinds of immortals simply become immortals because they kick the arses of every Grim Reaper who come to claim their soul (much to Komachi Onozuka's grievance). Apparently, you can be immortal if both your soul and your body are badass enough.
  • One of the few coherent and understandable portions of Limbo of the Lost involves souls. Those who end up in Limbo receive their souls in a vial and are responsible for keeping it safe. There's a legend, however, that someone who can claim seven souls by any means can escape Limbo, which causes a bit of havoc. Briggs is unusual as, being a living person thrown into Limbo by outside intervention, his soul is inside his body.
  • In Dante's Inferno, souls, depicted as glowing orbs, are collected by defeating enemies, breaking open fountains, crates, and other containers, doing the absolution minigame, and completing the challenges in the circles of fraud and deceit before their time limits are up. They are used as currency for purchasing moves, upgrading existing ones, and purchasing relic slots, and upgrades to the health and mana bars. Also, after the final boss, they help seal away Lucifer again. Sort of.
  • In the Infinity Blade series, souls are called Quantum Identity Patterns or QIP. The Deathless are immortal because they can transfer their QIP to specially prepared clone bodies upon death. The fully charged Infinity Blade along with the other Infinity Weapons forged by the Worker of Secrets, the being who created the Deathless can disrupt the Deathless' QIP, permanently killing them or in Ausar's case, erasing his memory. When describing the latter event in the opening of the third game, the Worker even says that the Infinity Blade's light burned Ausar's very soul.
  • Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages calls souls threads. All living things (even bacteria and fungi) have them, and they can be used to generate power. A ship with a threaded core made from something as small as a fungus thread can have essentially unlimited power.
  • This is pretty much the central theme of Pillars of Eternity, where reincarnation is known as a fact and animacy, the scientific exploration and experimentation on the exact nature and properties of souls, is becoming a powerful but extremely controversial political and cultural force. Pretty much every form of magic interacts with souls in some way, and there are a disconcerting number of ways a soul can be contorted, annihilated, imprisoned, or otherwise screwed with horribly.

  • Undertale: While both humans and monsters possess SOULs, human ones are much stronger and can linger indefinitely after death thanks to the power of determination (which monsters can't naturally produce in large enough amounts; artificially giving them determination makes them melt instead). Monsters can obtain human SOULs to become more powerful, and gaining at least seven of them can make one godlike, which led humans to fear and wage war with monsterkind. Asriel is a special case in that he was revived as Flowey during Alphys' experiments with determination. Because he was reborn without a SOUL, he couldn't feel empathy, which eventually turned him into the game's Big Bad.
  • Pony Island: Try not to have an existential crisis as you read this. But apparently, Theodore's soul is both simultaneously inside and outside the arcade cabinet machine. He's trapped in not just Limbo, an empty arcade, but also in the Devil's game machine. He can't move, until he either surrenders his soul, or tears down the prison itself. Not just him, but thousands of other damned souls too. Each in their own empty arcades, stuck in their own profiles.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. fangame (Mario) The Music Box: Spirits are said to mostly lack corporeal forms (even though most if not all spirits in the haunted house have a physical body), and angels are even mentioned once. Spirits that do have corporeal forms also tend to be hostile with few exceptions. Entities are mentioned (though they aren't given much explanation) and only two of them exist: Alice and Anna. The circumstances that allowed said characters to become entities are also different in nature.
  • The Kirby series has its interpretation of souls usually as the Final Bosses of their games—the antagonists after being defeated once unleashing all their power at one final attempt. Left up for interpretation in most of the games, but given a chilling light in Planet Robobot, by having Haltmann's soul absorbed into his powerful machine Star Dream before getting erased from existence.
    • Kirby and the Forgotten Land shows that souls can be shattered into fragments which Leongar suffers at the hands of Fecto Forgo leaving the body as an empty, comatose shell, ready to be taken over as an appropriate vessel. If all the soul fragments are collected though, the soul can be repaired and the body revived with no ill-lasting effects.
    • The mysterious Morpho Knight takes the form of a "butterfly of paradise" and appears to be a Psychopomp capable of crossing dimensions. It is believed to appear on days of judgement and is drawn to those with powerful souls that it then proceeds to feast upon, granting it the ability to use whatever powers the soul possesses in battle. It is implied that this same butterfly has been following Kirby for some time but for whatever reason, is unable to absorb Kirby's soul. In Forgotten Land, Kirby can evolve his Sword Ability into that of the Morpho Knight Sword and for Kirby, wielding it is a breeze.
  • Fallen London: Souls are a fairly easily tradable commodity, being one of the base-level items a player can buy in the Bazaar. They're usually collected exclusively by spirifers using their spirifing forks and devils with their inborn abilities, but even groups like the Ratticus Fabers and Urchins manage to get their hands on souls, and it's implied they don't exactly purchase them but they can be held and used as a resource by pretty much anyone. Losing your soul can have a variety of effects, sidebar text stating "In simpler times, Hell would take a soul on the death of the body. Death is more complicated in Fallen London, though not unknown. So it's not terribly uncommon to meet someone who's short a soul. Some of them become mumbling, dead-eyed husks: some of them simply turn to occupations where soullessness is a professional advantage".
    • In Sunless Sea, set in the same world, you don't really face serious penalties when you lose your soul, either to a Devil or to the Pentecost apes of the Empire of Hands. That said, given some of the stuff your captain can pull, it could easily be argued that zeefaring is one of those occupations where a certain measure of soullessness is advantageous! London has also set up certain controls on the soul trade, with you facing customs duties for failing to successfully smuggle unstamped crates of souls past the Revenue Men; picking up some stamped crates at Dearly Departed is a decent way to squeeze a little extra profit out of a trip to Khan's Shadow.
    • It turns out that souls are effectively parasites that collect the owner's experiences and, upon death, float into space and are eaten by the Judgements who then gains the previous owners' memories, making it even more omnipotent. The more valuable and intense the memories it has (unpleasant or otherwise), the stronger the individual soul, and particularly powerful ones can become suns themselves.
  • In TinkerQuarry, each toy has their own specialized soul, called an Essence. It takes the form of a floating object that is visible in the toy's chest in battle. Word of God states that each toy actually is their Essence, with their bodies being simply vessels. If needed, a toy's Essence can be placed in the body of another toy, and they can continue on as if nothing happened.
  • In NieR human souls can be removed from their bodies. They are colored black and gold, look somewhat translucent, talk in Black Speech and bleed red. Go figure.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, mortals (two subspecies of humans and two subspecies of orcs) are said to have souls made of salt. To that end, you can offer salt to the gods, who turn it into pearls of soul stuff, which are then used to increase your mind, body, and magic prowess, depending on where those pearls are inserted in the Tech Tree. The god's souls are said to be made of light, and the Big Bad is a mortal who is desperately trying to turn his salty soul into light so he can be a god too, using the prayers dedicated to the newest three to do it with. It doesn't work (whether because the myth is untrue or because it's not possible to turn salt into light isn't stated), leaving him with a desiccated (and mouthy) scarecrow for a body and a giant suit of Animated Armor containing his soul.
  • Tales of Hearts has "Spiria", which, keeping in line with the game's heavy Rock Theme Naming, manifests as a metaphysical flower-shaped crystal. If handled improperly, it can be shattered, which results in the person either becoming an Empty Shell or going into coma, and eventually dying, if it's not restored. Each such Spiria shard represents an aspect of personality, like kindness, cowardice, or courage. They can latch onto other people, influencing them in accordance with the aspect of the shard. The power of Spirias powers "Somas", the setting's Empathic Weapon, which in turn can be used to handle Spirias. Spiria Core (the crystal itself) is surrounded by Spiria Nexus - a labyrinth that protects the Core. Sometimes, the Nexus can be infested with parasites known as "xerom", requiring a Soma user to go into the Nexus and clear it out.
  • In Dark Souls, souls don't actually represent one living being. A person's soul is actually comprised of about 50 or so motes of soulstuff, and those motes can be sent to the Afterlife through a Bonfire. They grant the player character their physical attributes in gratitude, though, justifying how leveling up works. However, only undead and demons can collect these motes, and both use them as a sort of ersatz currency. Souls are able to crystallize, forming the preserved chunks that players collect around the place, and certain powerful beings (read: bosses) have unique, twisted souls that can be turned into unique weapons and items by people trained in the art of soul transposition and/or using a tool called a transposing kiln. Dark Souls II repeatedly has NPCs tell you that holding onto a lot of souls will stop you from going Hollow and losing your identity; this is Gameplay and Story Segregation, since the actual mechanic that reduces Hollowing in II is the use of human effigies to restore humanity and souls have nothing to do with it.
  • ULTRAKILL: Hell handles souls by way of manifesting Husks to contain them in, which are basically fleshy forms whose completeness, size and power depend on both how well-remembered the soul is by others alive and dead and the subject's own willpower. Unremarkable people end up as mutilated, outright incomplete Filth and Strays, among others, but those with greater impact and will can have more complete, more intelligent and more powerful forms; King Minos' husk was outright Kaiju-sized and smart enough to turn Lust into a paradise. And for the epitomes of importance and willpower, they can become Prime Souls, which don't even need a Husk to manifest physically and are so devastatingly powerful Heaven is genuinely afraid of any coming to exist. Notably, souls and Husks can be separated, going by King Minos' example again: His Corpse was left to ruin Lust's cities, while his soul was imprisoned in Gluttony before it could go Prime (which it does as soon as you break it out).

  • Drow Tales: Faeries have what is occasionally referred to as an aura or soul. A soul is basically a body of Mana, a special form of energy that keeps them young, in strong health, and allows them to manipulate their environment. However, a Fae's "soul" is almost every bit as mortal as their physical body, and the setting is explicitly confirmed to lack an afterlife, leaving Cessation of Existence as their ultimate fate when their mana inevitably dissipates.
  • Last Res0rt: Souls are a form of 'creative energy' that naturally occurs in living beings, often in a set amount known as a 'Sterling'. Being born with more or less energy (or having it altered later on, in the case of the Dead Inside) leads to remarkable powers.
  • Zebra Girl: At the end of the Magi-Net arc, after the wizards lose their souls, most of them die, and the few that are left lose their magical talents and become permanently insane.
  • Dominic Deegan: Destroying a soul causes a huge explosion. Now that's metaphysics!
  • El Goonish Shive: According to Nioi, people created by the Dewitchery Diamond have completely new souls, rather than being reincarnations. Because she believed that being a new soul in an older body could lead to madness, she cast a spell on Kaolin and Ellen which made them have dreams in which they re-lived the lives of Alternate Universe versions of themselves up past their current age.
  • Sins: If you are a host for the Sins — and just picking up their Soul Jar is enough to become their host — then your soul is shattered into pieces, costing you access to any afterlife. This doesn't seem to impact daily life beyond making animals hate you, but Word of God states that when you die, it is naught but the Nothing After Death for you. Which sucks.
  • Misfile doesn't say where your soul goes when you die, but wherever it is, you go there naked.
  • Looking for Group: Richard has partially settled the final question of the first paragraph of this entry. Monk souls taste like chocolate, other souls apparently do not.
  • Msf High: All that is known is that souls are immutable. No magic can influence a soul. Period, end of the story.
  • A Modest Destiny: Gilbert had his soul stolen as an infant. He says that he can't feel emotions and that when he dies he will cease to exist because of this.]] Also, it makes it so that after Deo Deo temporarily inhabits his body, he can't get it back. Ironically, Gilbert was only working for Deo Deo so he'd be immortal and wouldn't have to cease to exist. Deo Deo "forgot" to tell him the problem. However, it's later revealed that Gilbert didn't lose his soul, he lost his destiny, as in the part of him that was supposed to make him a righteous hero of justice, to Maxim.
  • Sluggy Freelance: A person's consciousness and personality go where their soul goes. If their soul is sold or stolen, their body is left in a coma. It is apparently possible to "kill" a soul/spirit, but whether this leaves them Deader than Dead or just sends them somewhere else is unknown. Souls also take on the same appearance as the body they used to inhabit (with a few ghostly attributes added); the exception being Aylee, who, due to being a shapeshifter, has a far more amorphous soul. Soul "bodies" are also material if they enter a spirit world. Ghosts seem to be souls left behind in the normal material dimension, where their bodies are incorporeal. (Yes, incorporeal bodies. This kind of thing is why notions of a soul can be so confusing.)
  • DDG: The principal characters are all disembodied souls, this leads to a certain amount of both voluntary and involuntary shapeshifting
  • Archipelago: Souls play an important part in the plot. The Big Bad seeks to free himself with the souls of the descendants of the six heroes who imprisoned him. The Dragon collects the souls by tearing them out of bodies with his magic mechanical arm. When a soul is removed, the body remains alive, although it loses its personality and becomes an Empty Shell that obeys simple orders but mostly sits around. The souls themselves remain in the physical world, wrapped in a layer of protective magic. They are small, weightless, retain the individual's magic capabilities, and are extremely cute.
  • Off-White: All spirits are shades of gray, except that each species has a single White Spirit and Black Spirit to keep the balance between the other spirits. The White and Black Spirits at least can be reincarnated, and even the bugs have spirits.
  • L's Empire: Souls apparently develop along with the mind while the body is still a fetus. The only difference is that the soul develops backward in comparison to the mind (the mind develops selfishness then compassion, and the soul develops compassion then selfishness.)
  • The Dragonslayers: According to the character pages and story material, Soul (AKA Mecha) an immortal lycan-fae, joined the other Daemonslayers when demon prince Lord Saragon (whom Blackjack had dissed earlier by killing his lover and torturer, Aster when he tried to recruit him back into his armies by holding his comrade and lycanthrope, Shade, hostage) tore out part of her soul to return to his lost demon lover. Still alive, she was saved by Blackjack and Shade before the prince could kill her and now looks forward to the day she can kill Aster and reclaim what was hers.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: They aren't specifically identified as souls, but people have some sort of spiritual presence that endures after death and needs to be led into the Aether by a Psychopomp. Mort is a person who decided to stay around for a while before passing on. This might also be the part that temporarily exits the body through Astral Projection.
  • Awful Hospital doesn't have "souls" per se, but the thing that makes a person a person is a "concept core". It "doesn't exist and is not real", but makes itself exist nonetheless through one or more bodies in the Perception Range, (called "perceptoids") perpetuating itself by perceiving and being perceived as any abstract idea. Humans are seen as pitiably limited by having their cores tethered to individual, transient bodies, rather than to an arbitrary number of alternate-universe manifestations like most perceptoids. The practical issue with this is that, once a human dies, their core dies as well and their entire personal history is lost, while other perceptoids are able to endure in some non-specified way through their other iterations across the multiverse. Worms (any sort except for maggots, who are actually baby flies) are said to be able to destroy concept cores when they eat something whole, causing them to "unexistalize" and die for realsies. Word of God summarized this in layman's terms by saying that in this universe; "Everyone is pretty much the arm of a starfish."
  • We Are The Wyrecats: Discussed. The characters try to determine what the digital size of the human soul is and whether it can be saved on different hardware.
  • Unsounded: The soul is a quantifiable metaphysical interface between a human and the Background Magic Field of the Khert that lets humans use Functional Magic, backs up memories, and delivers those memories to the Khert upon death. Scripture holds that the self is refined, freed of mortal memories, and Reincarnated until it's ready to join the Gods, but there's no empirical evidence that any sort of individual identity survives the process.

    Web Original 
  • Goodbye Strangers: The equivalent of a soul in this setting is called a thoughtform.
    • Humans and animals both have thoughtforms, but gain their thoughtforms through different processes. Animals naturally develop their own thoughtforms, while most humans bond with a free thoughtform during fetal development. A human who develops their own thoughtform is called a blank. While blanks are not able to see strangers, they can sense other things that normal humans can't. Oddly though, animals apparently can see strangers, but are mostly immune to the effects that strangers have. A human who has lost their thoughtform is called an empty.
    • A ghost is a thoughtform that does not have a body. While ghosts are intelligent, they cannot gain new memories.
    • Strangers do not have a thoughtform, and because of this they don't appear to actually have a proper mind even though they display emotions.
    • The nature of ghost strangers is unclear.
    • Entities from the Fade, such as gosdragons, do not have a thoughtform, but instead have a nurenform, which have very different abilities than a thoughtform. Nurenforms gain power to affect reality as they transcend from the limitations of their body, while thoughtforms mainly expand their awareness of reality as they transcend and don't gain significant power.
    • What other sorts of entities have for a soul has not been well described yet, although the Alphabetarians can assimilate thoughtforms into themselves and the Probotaxazatonians can also steal thoughtforms and use them as drugs.
  • The Mad Scientist Wars explores this a bit. Souls are basically an imprint or image of a person that is tied to the body and constantly updates. Upon death, they go to either heaven or hell depending on their deeds. The mind of a person is something else entirely and can be copied, moved, or altered, but the soul will still be the same. Intelligent creations that were not physically born need to pass a test to see if they should exist and have had existence (i.e. If they fail it, they will have never existed at all).
  • Shadowhunter Peril focuses on souls quite a bit.
    • There exists a creature called an Ushubaen, which boils down to a human imbibed with demonic energy. Normally this would kill the human, but if the human is also imbibed with enough souls to counteract the corrosive demonic energy, then they become a perfect mix of the two (in contrast to fairies, which are half angel half demon but aren't perfect mixtures). Unfortunately, because they have multiple souls in them, and demonic energy taints the mind as well as bestowing powers, all Ushubaen are insane, genocidal monsters who want to destroy everything they can. They can even kill angels.
    • Demons don't have souls, instead, they have Pure Energy. This grants them life, but not a place in the afterlife. Umbra's desire for a soul is pretty tear-jerking. No matter how hard he fights against his own kind and tries to protect innocent humans from the wrath of other demons if his physical body is destroyed he will be sent straight to Hell and have to force himself back to the surface to fight for the humans all over again. This later gets rectified, as he gains a soul and turns into an angel.
  • Chrono Hustle: In #9, the original Jack makes a deal with Merlin in the Middle Ages, agreeing to give him a Demi-God's soul in exchange for some information. He tells him it'll take some time to get the information and to meet him in the year 3007, where the exchange will take place. So in the year 3007, Merlin takes Agent Jack's soul in exchange for that information when he and Melinda show up. It's yet to be revealed what exactly a soul is, or what losing it even means as Agent Jack doesn't seem to be any different afterward.
  • Magical Girl Policy: The Spirit Guard are revealed to be reincarnations of ancient warriors from another civilization, and their souls carry "investiture" from their past lives.
  • RWBY: All living beings have a soul except the Grimm. Souls create Aura, which can be locked, trained, or manifested passively. Aura can create effects such as a Deflector Shield or Ki Attacks, and fuel Semblances, an ability unique to its user. Aura can also be channeled into inanimate objects, empowering weapons and armor; science has even created an Aura-using robot though this was actually done by taking part of the creator's aura. Rare, secret events can cause soul and Aura mergers that risk the loss of the original, independent selves. Thanks to the God of Light, Ozpin -originally Ozma- has been doing this for millennia and his current host is a farm boy named Oscar. Additionally, anything Grimm is always soulless, even parts used as prosthetics will remain that way, and are thus impossible to protect with Aura.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Bart loses his soul (or just thinks he does, depending) and loses his sense of humor, his breath can't fog glass, and animals fear him (not to mention that he doesn't activate automatic door openers). He and Milhouse seem to believe that a soul is essentially a get-into-the-afterlife-free ticket. In a dream, Bart imagines the soul as a duplicate individual to interact with; since he sold his, the other Bart joins the two Milhouses.
  • Transformers offers sparks. Note that only transformers have sparks. Humans do not. And at least in Transformers: Animated it is possible for a Transformer to still live and function without their personal spark.
    • Humans don't need Sparks. A Transformer's spark physically functions as their heart as well as a soul. We don't need them; we have hearts. Only Transformers have sparks, meaning their souls can be transferred into a different functional body, by dint of being manifest. But by the same token, they can also be directly attacked, while a human's spirit cannot by dint of being an intangible force. See, a Transformer's Spark is a combination of soul and heart. If a Transformer's spark is extinguished, then without divine or MacGuffin intervention they're doomed.
    • In Transformers: Animated they even seem to have an afterlife, the Well of All Sparks. While its existence has been proven, virtually no properties have been established for it. A similar concept in the Beast Wars series called the Matrix seems to exist, it is the place where the sparks of the departed commune. All these sparks being there is what makes the Matrix what it is, though, rather than it being an otherworldy place that may or may not exist and you'd have to die to find out. This concept is also called the Allspark until the movieverse made its Allspark a MacGuffin - since then, it's been called the Well of All Sparks or the Afterspark.
    • Apropos of nothing, in the "Shattered Glass" Mirror Universe, Sparks have an opposite charge and are called "Embers," which was sorta cool.
    • Notably, sparks can have unique properties just like the Cybertronians who have them. In Beast Wars, Starscream's spark is revealed to be functionally immortal and able to inflict a form of demonic possession on people; attempts to replicate this immortality with mad science created the monstrous, almost indestructible Serial Killer Rampage. Expanded universe material also explained that Waspinator's spark was unusually small and located in his head, explaining why repeated decapitations were more irritating than deadly.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender souls exist and are reincarnated seemingly forever but with different minds and identities. The most interesting example is that of the titular Avatar: which is a human soul twinned with a powerful light spirit. The previous lives of the Avatar also stay in the spirit world in order to lend the current Avatar their power in the Avatar State.
  • In Ugly Americans souls are physical objects resting in the stomach and are enlarged by good deeds and shrunk by bad ones. Mark's soul is dangerously engorged, to the point that it's pushing on his other organs. They can be removed and sold to demons, although this can cause feelings of emptiness, which can be counteracted by medication.
  • My Little Pony: In the multiparter "Bright Lights", several ponies and other beings have had their shadows stolen. They start becoming sick and tired, with no explanation or cure. The long-term victims are half-alive and zombie-like. Galaxy, The Empath, even states that it's not just the patch of obstructed light that's missing.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Scaredy Pants":
    Mr Krabs: Like I was saying, the Flying Dutchman swoops down and starts stealing people’s souls. (holds up a pickle)
    SpongeBob: Do souls look like pickles?
    Mr Krabs: Aye, as a matter of fact, they do. And he puts them where you can never get them... in his soul bag. (drops the pickle into a bag that has the words "Krusty Krab" crossed out and the word "soul" written above it. Mr. Krabs laughs evilly as Squidward appears behind SpongeBob in a pirate suit)
    Squidward: I've come for your pickle! (SpongeBob jumps up screaming)
  • Steven Universe: A variation occurs concerning Steven's gem. In the season five finale, the Big Bad forcibly separates Steven's human and Gem halves. Since his gem is literally half his soul, if not a container for the whole thing, the human half becomes sickly, pale, and unable to stand without help because of the pain. His gem, meanwhile, manifests a Hard Light body like any other Gem, but it’s a glowing pink version of Steven that demonstrates barely any sentience, a frightening degree of power, and a mechanical fixation on reuniting with him.