Follow TV Tropes


Shadow Walker

Go To


Some characters like hiding in shadows; these take that a step further and use them as portals.

Descriptions of this travel often involve the character entering a "shadow world" where they are able to travel further and faster than in the real world. A walker's ability to perceive and influence the real world from this shadow world (and vice versa) varies.

For obvious reasons, this is a technique usually employed by evil or at least morally ambiguous characters.

Occasionally characters are able to create their own shadows to do this, rather than using existing ones.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • A variation in One Piece: Gecko Moria can detach his shadow which can move freely far away from him. He can then teleport to switch places with it. This is used to reach great distances safely as well as acting as decoy.
  • Seiichirou Tatsumi's power in Descendants of Darkness is manipulating shadows as a means of transport and as a weapon.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: Polpo's Stand Black Sabbath has the ability to vanish into shadows. But it does have a key limitation: it can only move from one shadow to another where they intersect, rather than teleporting between them. It can be defeated by exposing it to direct light with no shadows to hide in.
  • Teleportation magic in Negima! Magister Negi Magi works by sending the user through their element in some way. Dark magic uses shadows (as Evangeline demonstrates at the end of the Kyoto Arc).
  • In Psychic Squad, Nai can teleport herself or somebody else using an existing shadow.
  • Shijima from Ninja Scroll has this ability among several other weird gimmicks.
  • In Fairy Tail, Rogue Cheney of Sabertooth as this as part of his Shadow Dragon Slayer magic. Unlike most examples though, he's actually a Nice Guy. His potential future self though... Gajeel and Sting gain similar powers from eating Rogue's shadow magic and unlocking Iron Shadow Dragon Mode and White Shadow Dragon Mode respectively.
  • Rakshas from Berserk seems to be able to pull this off. . .or maybe he's just THAT good at sneaking around.
  • Benge from Vampire Hunter D can do this, as well as killing people by stabbing their shadows!
  • Nacht from Black Clover uses Shadow Magic, able to move himself and whatever he touches from one shadow to another. He can hide in a shadow and drag enemies into it.
  • Bleach: In the Thousand Year Blood War arc, it is eventually revealed that the Vandenreich had been hiding in a parallel world inside Soul Society's shadows.
  • Dark the Kishin of Darkness from Yaiba can project a long shadow from his sword which acts as quicksand, sucking people into a dimension of sheer darkness. He can also perform a variant called "Dark Tunnel" which allows Onimaru to move his armies across Japan with ease.
  • 3×3 Eyes: Elora can move across the magic shadow she cast and even wrap herself in a monstrous form of darkness.
  • Jinyo in Ayakashi Triangle are made of shadowy matter and are occasionally shown to teleport in and out of vortex of darkness they can make at will.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Nightshade from Captain Atom, Suicide Squad and Shadowpact can do this as an ability she inherited from her mother, who hails from the Land of Nightshades.
    • The Shade, an ally of Starman, can also do this via his connection to the Shadowlands (whether a connection exists between this and the above-mentioned Land of Nightshades is unknown). A future version of the character was able to use this ability to time travel.
    • Acrata, a Mexican superhero who first appeared in Superman, has the ability to teleport whenever in shadow using an ancient Mayan symbol which represents the night.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Cloak can teleport himself and others through the dimension of darkness he has access to.
    • Silhouette from New Warriors can also transport through shadow.
    • X-Men:
      • For a period of time, after her life was saved by something weird and shadowy, Psylocke gained the ability to hop through shadows.
      • Nightcrawler both teleports and becomes invisible when in shadows, but unlike many examples, he doesn't have to be in the latter to do the former.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Different Lesson, Heian Chao is able to use his dark chi to transport his spirit-form through the shadows. This allows him to cover days worth of distance in a few seconds, and even act in two places at once.
  • In Blood and Revolution, Bakura teleports this way. Because he's a chaos demon, the results are unpredictable and sometimes amusing.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has dark mistresses and Umbra, one of Keeper Mercury's youmas, being able to teleport and hide in the shadows using this technique.
  • In Ghosts of the Past, sequel of Child of the Storm, the Red Room has an Agent Petrovna, a Darkforce manipulator who is, among other things, capable of this. Unusually, however, she's actually one of the moral members of the team from what little we see of her.
  • Loki: Agent of Doomgard gave us the Loki of Nutopia. Fortunately her range with this power was just a few yards at best.
  • In Ojamajo Doremi: Rise of the Shadows, the main antagonists, a group of living shadows, have this power so long as they use the shadow of an inanimate object or a light being. They use this to go from their world to ours almost instantaneously, and they can drag others with them if they choose. They cannot use themselves for this, though.
  • Hayden from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians fanfic Riding The Waves She is a legacy of Pluto and all.

  • This is a skill employed by the ninja in Ninja Assassin, which allows them to slaughter a Europol tactical team in a confined space. Later on, though, the good guys learn and burst into the ninjas' fortress with armored vehicles and turn on floodlights that prevent the ninjas from using this trope, then open up with assault rifles. The protagonist also learns this trick during his fight with his Evil Mentor, something said mentor was using moments before.
  • The novelization to Pan's Labyrinth explains that The Faun's ability to teleport involves merging with shadows.

  • Stepping into shadows is how the player character travels to different worlds in So Far.

  • In The Fallen Moon Skandar's magic is the ability to travel quickly and invisibly between places by passing through a 'shadow world'. The Night God's favour allows Arenadd to share this ability. In the sequel trilogy Saeddryn is also granted this power. In addition to ease of travel, it is used for advantages during fights, and for assassinations.
  • Myrddaal in The Wheel of Time are stated to have this ability, though it's never clarified what constitutes adequate shadow or how far they can move. No one knows how they do it either, even the creatures themselves. The ability is seldom shown within the books, but is enough of a threat that Borderland cities keep their streets lit throughout the night by law to keep them out, as well as a similar law that everyone must keep their heads uncovered, since Myrddraal have very distinctive faces.
  • In The Name of the Wind, Haliax uses the shadows that cling to him as part of his Chandrian power to transport the others away from Kvothe's destroyed caravan when something notices them – just in time to stop Kvothe from being killed too.
  • In Roger Zelazny's Jack Of Shadows, this is one of the title character's signature abilities.
  • Nico di Angelo from Percy Jackson is able to "shadow travel" because he's the son of Hades, he claims that every shadow is one and the same, however he can only do it a couple of times per day preferable at night, also it drains him a lot to the point the first time he used it he passed out for a whole week.
    • His father is implied to have this power too; his helmet lets him physically become darkness and thus be anywhere that darkness exists. He could be watching you right now...
  • Villains by Necessity: Sam, which turns out to be very useful in his work. This involves travelling into a shadow world which is entered or exited through shadows, though it doesn't appear to make travel any faster, just easier getting into otherwise inaccessible places. It's stated there used to be others-apparently they all went into the shadow world one by one, though, and never returned... Naturally, the assassins decided it was best to stop teaching it after that. It seems this was due to being addictive magic, since Sam grows more and more unable to stand being in the normal world after he starts using it, though this is implied to be the fault of him wearing Valerie's dark portal (which is what enabled him to shadowslip in the first place. Once he gives it back, he isn't able to travel through shadows again until the Darkgate reopens)..
  • The Others in Night Watch (Series) are able to enter the Twilight by entering their shadow. The more powerful Others are able to go to the deeper levels of the Twilight by locating their shadow and stepping into it on each subsequent level, which gets progressively harder. Time flows differently in the Twilight compared to the normal world, so an Other can appear to have teleported, when all he actually does is enter the Twilight, walk to the destination, and exit the Twilight.
  • Kingdoms of Dust: Melantha can use her magic to bypass physical objects through shadows.
  • Black Legion: Daemoness Gyre can use shadows to walk through walls and travel along short distances.
  • Underplayed in Horus Heresy - some Raven Guard can "wraith-slip"; travel through shadows, unseen by regular people.
  • Wild Cards: Moonchild, one of Captain Trips' multiple identities, has this ability, and refers to it as "walking in shadows".
  • Anachronauts makes it a part of the Winterhound power package, limited to shadows within visible range.
  • Nico of The Spirit Thief can travel through shadows far faster than she can walk through the material world, though doing so puts her at higher risk of being overwhelmed by the Master. The effect, when she does it, is akin to teleportation.
  • Some Necromancers in Skulduggery Pleasant can learn to Shadow Walk which lets them teleport up to two kilometres.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil: The drow base their entire culture on the use of "Night" (and also murder). One of the more common tricks is to turn into/ slink into a puddle of darkness and re-emerge later - for example to dodge an attack. Some drow, like members of the Longstrider-Cabal, take this one step further and use the Night for long-distance travel.
  • Pale: Abraham Musser can walk through shadows using a trick he stole from a serial killer; he claims unclaimed shadows as part of his personal demesne, allowing him to step between any two sets of shadow as if it were the same place.
  • October Daye: Cait Sidhe, cat shapechangers, can walk the Shadow Roads, a frigidly cold and pitch black space that can be used as a shortcut between any two shadows close enough to their kingdom. Their king, Tybalt, can take other people along for the ride, though doing so is extremely draining over long distances. The Shadow Roads are also the best place to kill a King of Cats, as their ability to recover from death won't work there.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Basic D&D supplement The Book of Marvelous Magic. A creature wearing the Shadow Cape could travel up to 360 feet from one shadow to another three times per day.
    • The 2nd Edition spell Shadow Walk allowed the caster and any creatures he/she touched to partially enter the Plane of Shadow. This allowed them to move at a speed of 7 miles per 10 minutes (42 miles per hour) with regard to the Prime Material Plane. When the journey was completed, they could return to the Prime Material Plane at the desired location.
    • 2nd Edition supplement DM Options: High Level Campaigns. Thieves of level 16+ could learn the skill Shadow Flight. If it was very shadowy, the thief could Dimension Door (teleport) up to 360 yards to another shadowy area once per hour.
    • In 3rd Edition (and systems derived from it, like Pathfinder) the Shadowdancer Prestige Class gains the ability to teleport between two shadows for a set amount of feet per day at higher levels.
    • The 3.5 Shadowcaster class had four mysteries (their spell equivalents) for this (being shadowcasters, usually bringing their own shadow from the Plane of Shadow), from flickering around on the battlefield, to teleporting a distance in sight, over going to other planes via the Plane of Shadow to Shadow Walk but faster and with the possibility to arrive exactly where you wanted.
    • In 5th Edition, shadow monks and shadow sorcerers can teleport up to 60 and 120 feet respectively while in darkness or dimly lit areas.
  • Warhammer 40,000. Drukhari Mandrakes live in an alternate dimension that allows them to teleport out of any shadow. Any. Shadow.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Shadow Step Caligo grants servants of darkness this power, allowing them to teleport from one unlit area (defined as too dark to read) and reappearing instantly in another within line of sight. The Calignes Nowhere Untouched (enter the Dark World from any dimly lit area rather than needing a Tainted Place) and Dark Ascension (exit the Dark World into any dimly lit area rather than needing a Tainted Place) can also be combined to produce a similar effect, trading the range limit for the necessity to move through the Dark World to get from one place to another.

  • Shadow Stealer from BIONICLE can use shadows to move great distances.

    Video Games 
  • In Overwatch, Reaper's Shadow Step ability is a straightforward example of teleportation through shadows.
  • The boss of the Mermaid Grotto in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages teleports around its arena, appearing directly behind the player in a puddle of shadow, disappearing if you turn to face it. How fortunate that the dungeon's item allows you to bounce seeds off walls.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, many characters, in particular the members of Organization XIII, are able to conjure Dark portals to walk through corridors of Darkness, accessing any place very fast.
  • League of Legends: The ninja Zed can detach from his shadow and switch places with it. His disciple and second in command Kayn can outright walk through walls via shadows, and the power grows stronger if he wins his conflict for dominance with the Darkin Rhaast.
  • In Contrast, this is the main source of puzzles.
  • Agahnim from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past can sink into his shadow and move it about the room before resurfacing. In his second fight he splits his shadow into three and has intangible clones of himself pop out of the other two to hurl additional projectiles at you.
  • The Shadow Sirens of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door are all able to teleport by sinking into their shadows. Unfortunately, Vivian's ability to do this gets gets reduced to simply hiding in her shadow when she joins Mario's side.
  • In Dark Souls, the Knight Artorias was given the title “Abysswalker” for his ability to travel to The Abyss.
  • The ninja in Trials of Mana are able to do this as one of their techniques. This includes Hawkeye, Bil and Ben (and the latter two are quite prone to doing it, too).
  • In Dauntless, the Behemoth Riftstalker combines this trope with Thinking Up Portals to teleport all over the battlefield using shadowy rifts. This only applies while it is aether-charged note , which is basically all the time.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: Cynder's basic "Shadow Breath" attack has her leaping in her own shadow to move under the enemies or certain gates as long as the button is held, and then attack from below with either claws or by jumping out, sending all nearby foes flying around. Her secondary fire, ironically, is a proper Breath Weapon made of asphixiating black fire.

    Visual Novels 
  • While she's weak to light, Kubitarou from Spirit Hunter: NG has an advantage in darkness where she can use it to teleport closer to her victim. This is how she's able to sneak up on them despite her huge figure.

  • Parodied in The Order of the Stick, a D&D based webcomic. When a Shadowdancer shows up, his powers are mostly useless because the comic doesn't have shading. He and his partner are later able to escape because an explosion is dramatic enough to warrant a shadow as they flee from it.
  • The Erlkönig in Roommates can use shadows like this. He is also one of those who can cast their own shadows.
  • Adrienne, aka Shade, from Parimetra can turn into a shadow and teleport. She uses it to fight and just to get around.
  • In 5 Elementos, this is the power of Shadow Elementals.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Copycat is able to disappear into and appear from the shadows, and invisibly spy on Mao from them. He can also travel between shadows, including travelling to and from the Darkness Clan, and was able to take Mao and Kalliv along with him while doing so.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, the Shadowkhan, a tribe of magic ninjas (among other things), can use shadows as dimensional doors.
  • Grimskull from Skeleton Warriors uses shadows to teleport wherever he wants. It's shown in the 4th episode that the shadows are linked by a bizarre, trippy "shadow dimension" full of strange, alien terrain, which explains Grimskull's difficulties in navigating between shadows at first.
  • In Static Shock, Ebon could use shadows as portals.


Video Example(s):


Shadow Magic

Nacht Faust uses shadow magic, letting him move himself and whatever he touches from one shadow to another.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShadowWalker

Media sources: