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The Heartless

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"Don't bother, your voice can no longer reach him where he is. His heart belongs again to darkness! All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, it grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came! You see, darkness is the heart's true essence."

The Heartless are monsters born out of people's negative emotions. They can be a special case of Body Horror, but can also be a part of the victim's Soul Anatomy that has been separated from them, and like a ghost they may not have a physical body at all — in which case, they may be considered a kind of Tulpa. This part of the soul may represent all of a person's animalistic desires without any of the restraint, similar to a Jekyll & Hyde situation, or all of their feelings of suffering, sadness and anger condensed into a distinct figure. They can be a convenient Monster of the Week, since they are an unlimited resource; there always seem to be plenty of victims loaded with problems and angst for The Heartless to feed on. They can also have a self-propagating "zombie" effect.

The trouble for the heroes is that these are difficult to get rid of, especially if The Heartless still displays an awareness of the world (usually, as a ruse of the Enigmatic Minion). If an established character becomes one of The Heartless, they may act as if they have undergone a Face–Heel Turn.


The All-Loving Hero's power is usually to combat The Heartless, or even to heal them. The Anti-Hero or Well-Intentioned Extremist usually insists the victims are too far gone and should be put down before more people get hurt. Occasionally, a victim who is Fighting from the Inside can resist The Heartless' control.

Depending on the context, this trope may be a subtrope of Abstract Apotheosis. This is because nearly every series that this trope is used in presents these critters as An Aesop about them being in everyone's hearts. Contrast/See also Made of Evil.

Obligatory Heart Drive link thrown in for good measure.

Not to be confused with the Let's Player of the same name, the film Heartless (2009), or the single Heartless by Heart.



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    Trope Namer 
  • The Kingdom Hearts video games name the trope, with the manifestations of the darkness that exists in people's hearts; the darker the heart, the more powerful the resulting Heartless, which explains why Sora's Heartless turned out to be a Shadow (a lowly mook). They mindlessly seek out other hearts to steal (and thus increase their ranks), and tend to allow themselves to be directed by those who have control over darkness, or simply by those powerful enough. However, they are described as having started out decidedly less destructive before the series' Big Bad, Xehanort, started his experiments on them and created the Emblem Heartless.
  • The Unversed, which are the 'opposite of human life', are born from raw darkness. They apparently feed off of negative emotions, in a different way than the Heartless do. There's also Vanitas from the same game, who is the darkness from Ventus's heart, removed and made into a separate entity. The Unversed simply extend the process; each is a living incarnation of one of Vanitas's emotions, so, effectively, they are the Heartless of a Heartless (in terms of this trope's definition). Once Vanitas dies, however, they cease to be.
  • The Dream Eaters of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance play it a bit differently. Dream Eaters are the naturally occurring manifestations of the Darkness that exists within Sleep and Dreams, and they are split into two kinds. Whereas Nightmares are bad and devour happy dreams, Spirits consume the Nightmares and act as helpful and friendly Mons.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Nephrite eschews using typical Energy Absorption tactics, preferring to concentrate dark power into a single highly motivated (and increasingly obsessive) person to get the best energy. His predecessor Jadeite worked in a similar way by amplifying negative traits in people, except he worked with large groups of people—Education Mamas, obsessive dieters, etc.—instead of just one person at a time. Zoisite and Kunzite just possess people.
    • There is also Phages in the final season, and the Lemures of the one before it. The former are humans without a 'Star Seed' whereas the latter are appearently people without their dreams (in the anime version).
    • The Big Bad of the entire series is a God of Evil born from the malice of all living beings called Chaos, and he ends up having his essence scattered into the hearts of everybody across the universe... to defeat him. Chaos also spawned the Big Bads of all the previous four seasons, being lesser Eldritch Abominations compared to Chaos.
  • Runaway Spirits from The World God Only Knows are a variation of this. They do not originate as The Heartless, but become them after restoring spiritual power by hiding in their victim's bodies.
  • The monsters and the second season's Big Bad in Magic Knight Rayearth were born out the despair of Cephiro's citizens.
  • Elfen Lied. The Diclonius's DNA Voice could be the result of their constant abuse at the hands of humans.
  • Bleach. When ghosts linger in the world too long, they become consumed by their emotions and transform into Hollows. Their hearts are transformed into masks that hide their faces, leaving holes in their chests, and they become creatures of base emotion and insatiable soul-hunger, driven to hunt and kill any humans with spiritual power. Powerful Hollows that lose their masks regain a part of their lost hearts and become capable of higher reasoning. They usually hunt other Hollows rather than humans, mostly because they're now too powerful to be sustained by human spiritual power. Soul Reapers and Quincies have warred for a thousand years over what to do about Hollows, with Soul Reapers purifying them back into the cycle of reincarnation and Quincies forever destroying them.
  • A repeated, enigmatic symbol — particularly suggestive shadows — in the movie version of Revolutionary Girl Utena hints that Anthy is missing her heart. However, in an inversion, it is because she is the victim/captive of a monster, not the monster itself. This (probably deliberately) echoes the line about "a doll without a heart" in the TV series.
  • The Zonder, in the Humongous Mecha series GaoGaiGar are a variation on this; they don't feed on or arise from negative emotions in general so much as they feed on stress specifically. The forms they take on when they transform into Robeasts typically have something to do with the source of their hosts' stress, and destroying them leaves the victim feeling quite mellow.
  • My-HiME. Yatagarasu, Shiho's Child, is described as residing in the darkness of the human heart.
  • Akuma in D.Gray-Man are souls of the dead who have been bent to the will of the Millennium Earl. Often grieving for a lost loved one the bereaved person calls their soul down into an Akuma at which point the soul of the lost loved one is imprisoned and has no will of its own. The Millennium Earl orders the newly made Akuma to kill the person that made them an Akuma and wear their body. So they're sad and in pain and become increasingly tortured and tormented as the Akuma develops its own personality around them. The main character, Allen Walker, has a special eye that allows him to see these trapped souls, and aims to release them from their pain... which means killing them. The rest of the Exorcists kill them just because they're monsters, and most of them wouldn't understand or take kindly to Allen's sympathy for them. It's not that the Exorcists don't know how the Akuma are made, but rather that they tend to forget, because they're not constantly seeing it.
    • One of Noah claims that if an Akuma self-destructs, rather than freeing the soul, the human soul is destroyed. She then demonstrates this to Allen, who watches in horror as the soul is torn into screaming pieces.
    • More generally, it's stated that the human soul will be released only if the Akuma are killed by an Innocence weapon. Any other method will destroy the soul. It's just that since normal humans don't have a chance of killing an Akuma in the first place, the question never comes up.
  • Miss Michiko from Den-noh Coil, though not technically a monster, is born from Isako's rage and hatred.
  • The ending of the Chrono Crusade anime strongly implies that Aion was born from humans' negative emotions and as such, can resurrect himself at will as long as people suffer or hate. EVIL!
  • Magatsuhi from Inuyasha is a spirit born from the wicked and corrupted feelings of the Shikon Jewel.
  • In King of Thorn, most of the grotesque monsters came to existence as embodiments of the deepest, primal fears of scientists infected with the Medusa virus.
  • At a metaphorical level, Knives in the Trigun manga fulfills the definition too, as he might be viewed as an embodiment of the worst 'sins' of humankind. It is significant that in Trigun Maximum, he starts of as a loving and philanthropic kid and grows extremely fast into a crazed sociopath as a result of trauma or, more symbolically, of absorbing humans' violence and hatred. As such, he fits the Shadow Archetype not only for Vash but also for humans.
  • Naruto:
    • The Zero-Tails from the second Naruto Shippuden movie is a demon made from the hate or other dark thoughts of others. It can also possess people feeling these emotions.
    • As part of Naruto's test at the Falls of Truth, the hatred that exists within Naruto's heart is given form for Naruto to confront it. He can't beat it in a battle but realizes the key is to accept the emotions he'd been repressing and avoiding.
  • At a metaphorical level, the homunculi from the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime may be seen as embodying the 'darkness' or despair in the heart of the alchemists who created them and whose memories of a lost loved one they often carry. Or even of the original person or humankind itself. Their Theme Naming following the Seven Deadly Sins helps this interpretation.
    • In the manga, they are manifestations of Father, the original Homunculus's cruelty and sins - what he is and whether he could be The Heartless himself is up for debate, though.
  • The X-charas in Shugo Chara! can be seen as a form of this: Usually, when a child needs help in fulfilling their dreams, these dreams materialize and become a "Guardian-chara". However, if the child has already GIVEN UP all hope, the dreams instead get corrupted with lack of self-esteem, the feeling of being useless and other negative-emotions and become an "X-chara" instead: A little, black creature, determined to destroy everyone and everything around it with the power of the dream, it was originally supposed to embody. The owner of the X-chara usually falls in a comatose-state, with his or her inner voice mourning about how useless he/she is. Amu usually tries to heal such Charas, by using the powers of the humpty-lock, while others, like Ikuto and Rima (at least in the beginning) prefer to simply destroy them — turning the owner into a child without any hopes for his/her life.
  • The Big Bad of Digimon Tamers started out as a computerized cleanup system that takes its programming a bit too seriously, but once it gets inside the head of Juri, the agents it starts conjuring begin to take the shape of her worst memories. This is how it finally figures out how to "delete" organic matter.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, Dagomon's realm is formed by people's dark desires.
  • The Idea of Evil, the God of the Berserk universe, is created from mankind's desire for an explanation for why we suffer. Qlippoth creatures are also reflections of humanity's darkest side.
    • In addition, there's the Hellhound, Guts's personal Heartless and Superpowered Evil Side, which was born from all the negative emotions that arose in Guts after the Eclipse went down, and which worked in concert with him during the Retribution/Conviction arc, but now works against him as his focus has turned to protecting Casca.
  • Shikabane in Corpse Princess are formed when someone dies with regrets or an attachment to this world, which turns them into a monster.
  • In the original Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist Kingdom arc, Ghost Kaiba was the embodiment of Kaiba's negative emotions, given life from Yami's Penalty Game. (Only in the dub; in the original, he was an Eliminator who was either a shapeshifter or a very convincing illusionist.)
  • The Dark Signers from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's are a third this, a third The Corruption and a third The Virus.
  • In the Shaman King manga, Oni, which are dangerous spirits conjured by a shaman's ridiculously strong negative emotions. Namely loneliness.
  • The Gaichuu in Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee. They are large armored insects that lost their heart and are drawn to "heart," such as that contained within letters, which is why being a postman is such a dangerous job in Amberground. The only way to kill them is to use a Shindanjuu to shoot Shindan bullets powered by the user's heart, at the gaps in the Gaichuu's armor.
  • The witches of Puella Magi Madoka Magica are embodiments of despair. Specifically, the despair of the Magical Girl they used to be and became unwillingly by being consumed by it. So they are only a part of their character, NOT the whole person. In the ending Madoka Ret Goned witches from existence and the despair of mankind instead manifested in different, separate creatures referred to as majuu/wraiths.
  • The daemonia from Day Break Illusion are a deconstruction of how this trope is usually handled in Magical Girl anime... killing them kills the person they're born from as well.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Sedna is revealed to be the combined form of the islanders' sorrow.
  • Lady Jewelpet has the Beasts, born of the world's negative emotions and residing inside the Door to Chaos.
  • QQ Sweeper has bugs and stains in people's minds that are made of negative emotions and energy, and if they linger too long they'll devour it completely.
  • Unicron's portrayal in Transformers Armada claims that he feeds on hatred, violence, et cetera. He's a Planet Eater, but the energy from hatred and violence is what gives him the strength to metaphorically get out of bed in the morning. The planet eating is mostly because all life offends him and he wants it gone. This is part of his upgrade from Giant Space Flea from Nowhere in G1 (eventually revealed to have been whipped up by some Mad Scientist on a whim) to God of Evil in the modern TF franchises. He'll exist As Long as There is Evil (well, so long as there's hate), and his goal is the complete eradication of all universes in The Multiverse, resulting in a Void so empty that even space itself as we think of it no longer exists. He's done this to entire universes before.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • The Desertrians from HeartCatch Pretty Cure! are created by fusing a wilting Flower Heart, signifying a person under heavy distress and grief, and a random object.
    • The Jikuchuus from Doki Doki Pretty Cure are created with the selfish and petty thoughts of a person's heart without the need of possessing anything, making them a more straight example.
    • The Saiaks from HappinessCharge Pretty Cure! are a rare inversion: they are created with the positive thoughts of a person that will eventually turn terrible if the monster is not defeated.
    • The Zetsuborgs from Go! Princess Pretty Cure are another inversion: they are created by stealing the dream of the victim to power up the monster. The dream will be gone forever if the monster is not purified.

    Comic Books 
  • The emotional spectrum entities in Green Lantern are creatures born from, and embodying the emotions of sentient beings. Naturally, the ones born from fear, greed and rage are particularly nasty.
  • Despite the whole Zombie Apocalypse motif, this is what the Black Lanterns from Blackest Night really are—the unresolved emotions of the dead given form; they just pretended to be the actual (zombified) person in order to trigger emotions in their victims, which they fed on. The dead person's real soul was not involved, and if the person had died in peace, they couldn't be duplicated.
  • Nega-Scott in Scott Pilgrim (comics only; the movie version is completely different).
    • To explain: In the comics, Nega-Scott is basically an Anthropomorphic Personification of Scott's repressed memories and his denial to admit he's been a Jerkass since he started high school. Scott doesn't really "defeat" him; rather, through revelation of his true high school past through Kim (which was altered into him being an eternal moral do-gooder by both his repression and Gideon's tampering), and through contemplation during Nega-Scott maiming him, Scott accepted his own faults and absorbed Nega-Scott back into himself. In the movie, it's just a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that Gideon sends to fight Scott at the end, which backfires when they become instant friends.
  • The main villain of one Aquaman story arc is "The Thirst", a golem which is animated as the shadow self of the chosen waterbearer should they use their power to harm rather than heal. His only desire is to drink life itself. They take this role to the waterbearer, their strength proportional to the bearer's negative emotions. Only after Aquaman finds it in his heart to forgive his archenemy can he muster the strength to defeat him. And when he's then betrayed by said villain, the response leads to him doing a Fusion Dance with The Thirst, leading from a fake ending into a far worse scenario.
  • Marvel Universe: Mephisto's "son" Blackheart was born from the evil of Christ's Crown (named after the crown of thorns used to torture Jesus), a place with a dark and bloody history.
  • Several Supergirl enemies are born from her dark emotions: Satan Girl, Kara's negative side given shape and sentience by a fragment of Red Kryptonite; Nightflame, her death wish's embodiment; and Dark Supergirl, who is born from her self-loathing, grief and Survivor Guilt.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has the Spirit of the Fallen Fortress, which is composed of the pain, and anger, and suffering of all the thousands of beings that died in the Fortress and aspects of their spirits were trapped there, before the resultant entity started hunting in earnest.
  • In Part 2 Clash of the Elements, the trope namers themselves have appeared as of Chapter 21
  • Crowns of the Kingdom has the Dispirations, although it's not so much that they eat negative emotions as that they crave any thought pattern that might bring them closer to reality.
  • Hellsister Trilogy has Satan Girl: Supergirl's dark side's embodiment, born from her repressed dark desires and impulses.
    Supergirl: It happened some years ago, both in my time and yours. I was coming to your era to attend a Legion meeting. Just routine business, but the bylaws stated that a member had to attend a minimum number of meetings to keep her status, and I chose this one. And just after I popped into your time, I ran right into a chunk of Red Kryptonite.
    Shrinking Violet: That's the stuff that always has crazy effects on Kryptonians. Makes 'em fat, or crazy, or giants, or gives 'em ant's heads, and like that.
    Blok: Please continue, Kara.
    Supergirl: All I knew at the time was that I had a fainting spell. While I was out, the real Red K effect came through. The thing... it... I was cloned! It cloned me, and the clone was, well, my evil side. My dark side. And it was just as real as... as real as me.
  • Her Inner Demons: The fic argues that Midnight Sparkle was the result of Human Twilight's feelings of alienation and bitterness.

  • In Forbidden Planet, the Monsters from the Id are invisible, invincible, incredibly strong beings of pure vengeance. Their existence is a side effect of the Deadly Upgrade.
  • The Brood is about a woman who gives birth to her inner demons.
  • The Nothing in The Neverending Story is the result of children no longer believing in fairy tales. However, in the original book, it's implied to be more a result of increasing cynicism and loss of imagination, as it's spread by people lying.
  • The curse in Ju On was created by a fit of rage.
  • The Pink Slime in Ghostbusters II was generated by the negative emotions of New York. The substance itself is actually neutral, but New York is just that cynical and negative a city.
  • Played with in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World where the titular character is forced to face Nega-Scott and demands to face him alone. A few minutes later the two emerge together, laughing and talking, and Scott says they decided to just talk instead:
    Scott: We just shot the shit. He's... he's just a really nice guy. We're gonna get brunch next week. We actually have a lot in common.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: A computer virus that copies and replicates insecurities in systems ends up scanning Ralph and picks up his emotional insecurities. It responds by creating a ton of Ralph copies that embody all his negative traits, like his possessiveness and fear of abandonment, which have no other desire but being friends with Vanellope... whether she likes it or not.

  • The Spectres of His Dark Materials.
    • The truth is much worse than that: as it turns out, they're really Eldritch Abominations spawned from the Abyss, the great void of nothingness between Universes. They devour the souls of unfortunate people who happen to be near them. They're also created whenever the Subtle Knife is used to cut between the worlds. They destroyed civilisation in the world that originally created the Knife. Oh, and you can't kill them by physical means.
  • Harry Potter
    • Dementors are a borderline case. We never learn how they came to be, or, indeed, if anyone knows this at all, but their presence drains the positive emotions of everyone around them, and they will swallow the souls of anyone too weak to fight back if given the chance. The Ministry actually uses them as prison guards, although some (such as Dumbledore) question the wisdom of this approach—with good reason, as they defect to Voldemort almost as soon as he asks, since he doesn't impose any restrictions on them.
    • Boggarts are another borderline case: they take the form of what the person nearest them is most afraid of.
  • Forest Kingdom: Across the series, the demons are just humans who've been taken over by the Darkness, completely against their will. There's also something of an extension on the the trope by having the Infernal Devices (swords) chosen to fight the demon armies capable of burning the humanity right out of the user, in essence making them the same or worse than the things they're fighting.
  • In Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Odin thrives on death and Loki on chaos. Shadow thwarts both of them by standing before the impending war of gods and explaining exactly that. The gods go their separate ways, and the death Odin was counting on to resurrect him evaporates.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is about how Jekyll tries to chemically rid himself of negative impulses and emotions, but instead leads to his transformation into the embodiment of them.
    • Hyde could be seen as the Ur-example of this trope. Also unmentioned above but relevant to this trope and the quote, the story not only makes much of Hyde's utter lack of any kind of positive emotion or morals, but also points out that because he has none of these things, and hence no limits, he has an unrivaled love for life. It is this addictive sensation that actually draws Jekyll into continuing the experiment until it is absolutely too late to turn back.
    • In the second volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mr. Hyde discusses this with the others; he explains that he's been getting bigger over the years while Jekyll's been wasting away because Jekyll kept all the restraint for himself.
  • The Beast in Lord of the Flies is initially thought to be a physical threat, but eventually we come to understand that it is the darkness of man's heart, and is the corruption of human kind's minds. Though the Beast is never actually seen because it's all in the characters' minds.
    • They do, however, mistake other people for the beast, one being a dead airman who has ejected from his aircraft above them and the other being Simon, who they kill and who Golding gives a beautiful burial.
  • In "The Fisherman And His Soul" by Oscar Wilde, a Fisherman cuts his shadow (which holds his soul) free from his body so that he can live in the sea with his love, a mermaid. The soul, lacking a heart, becomes evil.
  • The Serpents in The Death Gate Cycle were created by magic gone mad fused with their creators' fear and hatred- their goal is to turn the universe into "a prison house of suffering and death" because negative emotions give them power and prolong their existence. Unlike a lot of examples they're actually very smart (most of the time), and can take whatever shape they want to further their goals, though they prefer appearing as hideous snakelike creatures in order to best terrify people.
  • The Overlook Hotel in The Shining is depicted as being The Heartless in architectural form, if you go by the interpretation that the paranormal side of what's happening in it is genuine.
  • The Shadowen in The Heritage of Shannara are very much this trope: smoky, bodyjacking wraiths made up of people's negative emotions and hatreds.
    • From the same author, the feeders in The Word and the Void are creepy, shadowy beings that feed on negative emotions, and induce them in people to boot. The demons, on the other hand, are closer to The Soulless.
  • The Fearlings in The Guardians of Childhood, shadowy wispy spirits that spread fear into the minds of children by turning their dreams into nightmares and convert them into their ranks if overdosed.
  • The Voices from Of Fear and Faith are powerful demonic monsters created by humankind's negative emotions that instill these emotions on anyone who gets near them.
  • The un-named shadow-creatures in Lamplight only prey upon those who have become completely socially isolated, both physically and electronically.

    Live Action TV 
  • Somewhat inverted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, with regard to Angel/Angelus being basically two variations on the same character, with/without a soul.
  • Red Dwarf makes ample use of this trope in many episodes, such as:
    • In one episode, the crew land on a moon that forms itself to mimic the mind of Rimmer, who is... all the worst traits of humanity. They are trapped, and decide to build up Rimmer's self-esteem in order to escape. This culminates in giving Rimmer a group hug.
    • "Polymorph", which features a monster which feeds on emotions such as fear, guilt, rage, and vanity, and changes its shape in response to each person's inner demon in order to elicit these emotions.
    • Rimmerworld, which is populated entirely by descendants of Rimmer who have weeded out any trace of bravery, kindness or loyalty, in favor of all of Rimmer's worst qualities. They're all named Rimmer.
    • Legion, a "gestalt entity" comprised of the four crew members' combined consciousnesses. They defeat it by knocking themselves unconscious.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Mara are parasitic beings of pure hate and rage that requires the fear of its victims to survive. As the Doctor learns from a mystic in its second appearance, "fear is the only poison". When forced to reveal itself, it looks like a rather pathetic giant carnival snake.
    • The Valeyard is the Doctor's worst possible future self, created by the Time Lords to condemn him. In return, he would get the Doctor's body. He's so bad, he terrifies the Master, who once held the universe to ransom.
    • The Dream Lord is more a Master of Illusion and personification of the Doctor's darkness and self-hatred than the Valeyard.
  • In one episode of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, Applied Phlebotinum splits the heroes into separate beings embodying their good and evil sides (although their 'evil' sides are selfish more than anything else).
  • The creature Armus from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Skin of Evil describes himself as having come from a race of Titans who learned to physically manifest the dark part of their natures as a second skin, which they then discarded. Armus is the amalgamation of all of the discarded evil, or potential for evil, of a race. To say the least, he's a bit peeved about being left behind.
    • An interesting example in that Armus is defeated by confronting him with that fact that he is less heartless than he first appears.
  • Ultraman 80 had a whole series of monsters created by negative emotional energy that was called "Minus Energy." Examples include:
    • Hoe is considered the most iconic of the bunch and arguably presents the trope better than any other Minus Energy kaiju. The creature forms from despair and depression, constantly cries tears of explosive acid, and can breathe a beam of Minus Energy. He tends to reappear in other Ultra Series.
    • Crescent, a dinosaur-bear kaiju, is the very first one and also 80's very first enemy.
    • Delusion Ultraseven, an Evil Twin of Ultraseven that manifested from the anger of an Ultraseven-loving kid whose soccer game was ruined by 'bosozoku'' (Japanese bikers).
    • Plazma and Minazma were the final ones to appear in the show and considered the most powerful Minus Energy monsters. While pretty strong on their own, their combined strength almost defeated 80 until Yullian transformed for the first time.
  • The Shadow (created as a side effect of the leyline Nexus under the manor), the Source (an Ultimate Evil bestowed on the Underworld's leader) and the Hollow (a parasitic entity Above Good and Evil which feeds on both forms of magic) from Charmed. Cole became host to each power once.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Shadows from Wraith: The Oblivion. Each wraith has a nihilistic voice in the back of their head, urging them away from the things that defined them in life and towards oblivion. Wraiths who give in to this voice too deeply become Spectres, agents of Oblivion focused on destroying all existence.
    • However, the reverse is also true: Spectres have a Psyche, the voice of life and hope that tries to talk them into doing 'the right thing'.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse also had Bane Spirits, spirits of violence, anger, misery, and corruption used to harrow humans and turn them into fomori and servants for the Wyrm. While the Bane Spirits are born of mankind, the gameline makes it clear that just shoving an anger spirit in someone doesn't make them the Hulk; they need to give into its subtle insinuations first...
  • In Inferno for the New World of Darkness, demons are the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope, seeming to be created from human evil (although due to their universal Lord of Lies ability, this is nearly impossible to verify). They start off as bodyless, nameless voices called Whisperers, spirits transformed by a combination of human evil and...something, Enemies Without who gained a life beyond that, and the ghosts of the evil. After tempting people to sin or write Testaments for them, they evolve into Dominions, who exist to make themselves more powerful through spreading sin and darkness.
  • Fan-made expansion Genius: The Transgression has an interesting variant in Manes, who represent popular concepts disproved by science. Entire worlds can be created this way — the moment the Viking probe sent back pictures of Mars as a barren wasteland, the Martian Empire came into existence. They're not always bad though, they just want to continue existing.
    • Additionally, while they're more like normal people than most, the Clockstoppers are anti-Geniuses; they possess no spark of creativity and reduce wonder and Wonders to emptiness. In place of a creative "spark" they possess a gnawing "void" that essentially means they run on spite.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: While many Darkspawn are born from those who cross (or are pushed across) the Moral Event Horizon, others are composed of random bits of negative emotions that congeal together until they attain a crude self-awareness, or composed of sadism and despair given body by dark rituals.
  • In GURPS Fantasy II, the various monsters infesting the Mad Lands not only are often humans corrupted by their dark sides, but their naming even follows the "-less" format. E.g. people who don't speak out when they should become Soundless, people who are too quick to take offense become Skinless, etc.
  • The four gods of Chaos in Warhammer 40,000 are born from base emotions. Khorne is the God of Hate, Rage, Blood, War, Honor and Killing. Tzeentch is the God of Change, Hope, Ambition, Manipulation, Scheming and Sorcery. Nurgle is the God of Decay, Despair, Love, Destruction, and Disease. Slaanesh is the God of Decadence, Excess, Pain, Pleasure and Self-Indulgence.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, there is the Fihyr (from the Monster Manual II.) To quote the description, "Fihyr are the collected fears of humanity made corporeal."
  • Demons in Pathfinder are born from the sins of evil souls, and it's mentioned that even a single such soul can spawn hundreds if not thousands of demons.
  • The Nightmares from Don't Rest Your Head are things from unfeeling bureaucracy to sleazy journalism to hatred itself given flesh, either by a person transforming into one due to severe insanity, or by more exotic means — the Ladies in Hating are either trained in the High School or created from young girls poisoned by the blood of other Ladies in Hating, while legend has it that Mother When came from... somewhere else when someone tried to pick the lock on a door out of the Mad City during the Thirteenth Hour. They are almost universally cruel, twisted, and vicious, incapable of mercy, compassion, or kindness... and the very fact that the Wax King doesn't match this description is sometimes taken as proof that he isn't actually a Nightmare at all.
  • Most Deadlands monsters are of this variety. The setting runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe Fear, and the Big Bads, who are the primary Heartless of this verse, harvest human fear and use it to animate anything the local populace fears, be it jackalopes, wendigos or living blast shadows. These created abominations are powered by fear too, so they are also The Heartless.
  • The Horrors of Earthdawn and Shadowrun are Eldritch Abominations from another dimension that feed on pain and negative emotions. They vary wildly in their intelligence and habits, from near-mindless beasts that slaughter indiscriminately to diabolical masterminds who start wars and plagues. Then there are those like Yserthgrathe and Chantral's Horror, who go for quality over quantity - find a single "perfect" victim and dedicate your existence to inflicting misery on them, including making them immortal so that there is never any escape.
    • As Shadowrun has had to break away from the Horrors due to a number of licensing deals, new horrors have cropped up in the setting - such as Shadow Spirits, entities that drain the life and power of metahumans in order to feed on their lust, their fear, their sorrow, their violence, or their creative urges.
  • Magic: The Gathering gives this sort of origin to devils (as having come from demons) on the plane of Innistrad, as described in the flavor text of Riot Devils—"Devils are demons' unearthly desires made flesh."
    • Demons, angels and devils are all created from mana (aka the magic-powering energy directly tied to your philosophy and emotions), so potentially any of them can be born of negative emotions, provided there's enough mana.

    Video Games 
  • The Malice-class enemies from Disgaea 4 are a rare occurrence where instead of being fueled by rage, sadness, anger or any other usual negative emotion that you’d normally see with this trope, the Malice-class enemies are only fueled by one emotion: Malice (or spite, if that's what you want to call it). Also, unlike most other examples, they are only fueled by one guy instead of humanity itself. Plus, they only appear at the end of the game, wich is again unusual because The Heartless usually appear as the main enemies of the story itself instead of simply appearing only at the end.
  • In the first Bakugan video game (known simply as Bakugan Battle Brawlers, just like the anime), it’s revealed later on that Leonidas is this. He was born from the anger, hatred and despair of the Bakugan trapped in the Doom Dimension. However, despite that (and some rather violent tendencies), he’s actually not an enemy and is actually on the Player Character’s side as their partner Bakugan. Thanks to the Player’s influence, he starts to change, becomes a bit less aggressive and defrosts as the story progresses.
  • Dark Force from Phantasy Star is a variation of this. While the ultimate villain of the series, the Profound Darkness, is locked in another dimension, its hatred is strong enough to break through the seal and take physical form, manifesting as the series's reoccurring nemesis.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The spawn of Dark Gaia in Sonic Unleashed are, according the the in-game bestiary, negative emotions which have manifested physically using Dark Gaia's energy. In addition, they'll also possess people at night, completely turning their personalities arounds, usually for the worse.
  • Monster Rancher Evo has these, but it's only apparent on the overworld stand-ins, as during actual battle the enemy monsters looks the same as if you were controlling them.
  • The Fiends from Final Fantasy X are the souls of anyone who died without being purified, either in the lack of regret in their soul in death, or via ritual after.
    • The Aeons on the other hand are the manifestation of the souls in a more positive way. By technicality they still are pretty darn close to the monsters in concept because they chose to become an unsent. However, unlike the monsters, they willingly gave up their bodies to aid the summoners so they retain their humanity.
    • The fiends a particularly tragic example, as unlike most they are not forcibly converted. Rather, they're left in an And I Must Scream state until the combination of their latent emotions and the solitude drives them completely insane.
  • A good many monsters in Final Fantasy XII were also created by powerful negative emotions.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Cecil must battle the very incarnation of his own sinful past at the top of Mount Ordeals in order to become a Paladin.
  • Final Fantasy XIV
    • This is a key element of the Dark Knight questline: The person introduced to you as Fray Myste is, in truth, Dead All Along, their body taken over by a malevolent spirit born from your character's resentment over their Chronic Hero Syndrome leading them to minimal reward for all of the good they do for the realm, and their desire to become The Unfettered and mete out justice without being constrained by morality. Your discovery of the deceased Fray's soul stone allows this dark side of your personality to manifest in Fray's body and try to coax you to act out your desire for unrestrained justice — and when that doesn't go to plan, to attempt a Grand Theft Me.
    • The Terminus beasts encountered in the final dungeon of the Shadowbringers expansion are apocalyptic manifestations of the deepest fears of the ancient Ascians, who had lost control of their ability to create anything with a thought due to a cataclysmic event.
  • The monsters in the Silent Hill series.
    • Amusingly deconstructed in Downpour, as the Bogeyman represents the dehumanization of an object of revenge, hence why Anne sees Murphy as the Bogeyman at the end of the game.
  • The Shadows in the Persona series, Anthropomorphic Personifications of the negative aspects of humanity's Collective Unconsciousness:
    • In Persona 2, Nyarlathotep is revealed to be the grand Anthropomorphic Personification of the negative emotions of humanity as a whole — fear, hatred, anger, and every other flaw of the species. He's the Evil Counterpart to Philemon, who is similarly an Anthropomorphic Personification of human strength and positive emotions... and it's further revealed that the entire series up to that point was little more than a pissing contest between the two to see which was truly the more powerful aspect of humanity. And you do actually get to punch Philemon for this.
      • At one point during the events of Innocent Sin, Nyarlathotep also uses his power to make rumors reality to bring out Shadow versions of your entire party.
    • The Shadows of Tartarus in Persona 3 are essentially this, being born from the collective desires of any human who ever wished for death. This eventually brings about the The End of the World as We Know It when a mentally unstable man opens the door for them to call forth an Eldritch Abomination-level Shadow like Nyarlathotep: Nyx, the manifestation of death. In the end, the hero gives up his/her soul, not to heal the heart of humanity, but to seal Nyx away from the collected weight of their negative emotions until such a time that humanity can stop wishing for death.
    • Persona 4 takes it even further: The game features Shadows born from collected negative emotions of all people, Shadows formed from individuals, born from the parts of themselves they tried to repress or deny, Shadows who don't want to be Shadows anymore and try to become human instead, and yet another Eldritch Abomination-level Shadow: Izanami, an avatar of humanity's desire for self-deception and lies.
    • Persona 5 builds upon Persona 4, with your party targeting dozens of Shadows that represent corrupt individuals repressed emotions, who can in turn be forced into seeing the error of their ways in order to reform their human selves. Further, you can talk to pretty much any Shadow now, as they all are pieces of human consciousness. And as usual, the Big Bad turns out to be an Eldritch Abomination level Shadow. This time, he was born from the collective desire to maintain social order, but has gone so out of control he plans to absorb reality and "save" humanity from The Evils of Free Will.
      • Interesting enough, Persona 5 actually provided two inversions with Shadow Futaba and Morgana. Shadow Futaba is made out of the positive emotions Futaba has due to how self-loathing she was, and Morgana is literately made of humanity's hope.
  • In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, the Hiruko are what happens when The Heartless gets combined with Body Horror, resulting in a race of parasitic monsters bred from the despair, hate and fear of the residents of the Capital who at the slightest provocation will erupt in a Nightmare Fuel-laden scene, converting the hapless victim into a Red Cape, or outright bursting out of the body. Neither variant is particularly pleasant.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV shows a twist on this: the citizens of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado turn into demons merely by reading the Literature the Black Samurai freely gives away. Turns out that for Casualries, who have been deprived of certain ideas (the most basic of socialist principles is treated as dangerous sedition), the realization that the system is heavily dependent on the Casualries being Gullible Lemmings drives them to demonic insanity.
  • The Noise in The World Ends with You follow this trope to a tee. Not only are they created from negative thoughts and feelings, they are drawn to them and can covertly possess people so that they appear to be "in a rut." Unsurprisingly, this game was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and much of the team who made Kingdom Hearts.
  • Matias in Tales of Innocence formed from Asras' collected pain and anger when he was stabbed by his own lover with his BFS.
    • Zerom in Tales of Hearts are creatures that feed on life force, causing a wasting disease called Despir Sickness that not only puts the victim into depression, but eventually leaves it a petrified husk. They are apparently drawn to people who are in the grip of negative emotions like fear, doubt, and grief, because people who have had such emotions amplified by MacGuffins invariably come down with a bad case of the disease.
    • In the second half of Tales of Legendia, every member ends up fighting a despair driven doppelgänger of themselves in their own respective character quest.
  • Darth Nihilus from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords became a living entity of pure hunger when The Dark Side consumed him. His most infamous power is a life drain that can instantly cause the extinction of a planet.
  • The Shades in NieR. They are actually the spirits of humans that were seperated from their bodies and kept in storage as part of Project Gestalt, a plan to save humanity from a deadly plague. Unfortunately, the plan didn't quite pan out, leading the souls to go insane from being disembodied for too long and transforming them into monsters.
  • Dark Brain of The Great Battle and later Super Robot Wars, who feeds on negative energy and gets more powerful. He CAN get punched out by the heroes, but they can't kill him, since there's no way they can destroy the negative energies of humanity.
    • To that extension, Destiny's evil group Ruina also feeds on negative energies to make them powerful, doubled that they reside in a Crapsack World where lots of such things exist.
  • It's suggested several times that the power infusing DarkChips in Mega Man Battle Network 4 and 5 comes from people's hatred. (It also seems to come from a dark dimension called Murkland, but the two aren't necessarily contradictory.) As usual in these dark/light games, the bad guys are always ranting at you about how everyone is evil deep down, which makes it very satisfying when Mega Man smacks down Duo in the ending of 4:
    Mega Man: Living creatures all have both good and evil in their heart. No duh!
  • The original-series antecedent of the above storyline is Mega Man 8's "Evil Energy". Rather than coming from dark thoughts, this stuff feeds on them — and it finds Wily an excellent source.
  • The demons of the Shadow Hearts universe thrive on and are fueled by the negative emotions and hatred of the world, Malice. One of the perils of being a Harmonixer, one who takes on demonic form to fight against the demons, is that killing them causes Malice to build up in one's soul, as well, risking the destruction of the Harmonixer's mind.
  • The Pokémon Shuppet feeds on the negative emotions of people.
    Pokedex: "Shuppet grows by feeding on dark emotions, such as vengefulness and envy, in the hearts of people. It roams through cities in search of grudges that taint people."
    • In the Pokémon anime, this seems to be a good thing. When a shuppet feeds off someone's dark emotions, they feel a lot better. The Shuppet also means no harm.
    • While not a true creature, the Bittercold from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is a corruptive force in the form of an immense snowflake. It's created from the hopelessness, despair, and bitterness of the Pokemon world that's powerful enough to cause its end. It's so strong that anything near it is so overwhelmed with its power that it suffocates from the negativity. Even the player character, who is supposed to be immune to it!
    • In a similar vein, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has Dark Matter, a manifestation of the anger, hatred, jealousy, and other such negativity found in the hearts of all Pokémon that is capable of turning Pokémon into stone — even Legendary Pokémon — and feeding on their energy to empower itself.
  • The Final Boss Devil in Battle Moon Wars is a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that is the this trope, also apparently any land area that has magic will generate evil spirits that oddly looks like Shout Outs to various anime series.
  • Bogmire in Luigi's Mansion. More precisely, as the quote says, it's a manifestation of the fear and despair of the mansion itself: A product of the mansion's fear and despair. He's not sure who to fear or what to despair these days.
  • One of the bosses in Hype: The Time Quest is the titular character's dark side, although it is never elaborated upon, and as such may not satisfy the trope fully.
  • Since Psychonauts takes place largely inside people's minds—-in particular, the patients of a mental hospital—-most enemies in the Mental Worlds are this in some form. Perhaps most explicit are the Nightmares, demonic-looking beasts that appear in Boyd's mind and locked up inside Milla's.
    • The Censors are, in some ways, the opposite of this—-they're essentially antibodies of the mind that destroy thoughts that don't belong, such as forms of insanity. Unfortunately, since you don't belong in other people's minds, they consider you fair game.
  • Dracula in the Castlevania series is occasionally described as this; people describe him as the product/manifestation of the collective evil in humankind and our bastardry is what's bringing him back, and as of the Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow duology, he's described as God's Evil Counterpart who comes back because the balance of nature requires it (or something like that).
    • The Lords of Shadow from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow also count. When the three founders of the Brotherhood of Light ascended to Heaven as beings of pure good, the evil they abandoned possessed their mortal bodies and became the Lords of Shadow responsible for so much misery in the world.
  • The Ixupi from Shivers are ancient Mayincatec demons that suck away the life essence of any nearby human beings.
  • The Negativitron of LittleBigPlanet 2 was born of the negative personality aspects of the creators of Craftworld. This is technically a spoiler, but the name alone is kind of a giveaway, and it's foreshadowed along the way besides.
  • In Ultima IX, the Guardian, dimension conquering threat from the previous several games, is revealed to be the Avatar's Enemy Without: specifically, the embodiment of all the evil and darkness he cast off when he became the Avatar.
  • The Sha in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria are born from the negative emotions of the people in Pandaria. Each Sha is aligned with a specific negative emotion, and their size is a direct measure of how strong that emotion is among the populace of Pandaria. At least six Shas are known at present: Anger, Despair, Doubt, Fear, Hatred, and Violence. The seventh is Pride.
    • Turns out that they are the aimless breath of an Old God's corpse that only stops spreading when the corpse is drained completely of power. They're still The Heartless but they aren't actual negative emotions but rather parasitic Emotion Eaters Made of Dead Old God Breath.
  • The Gohma from Asura's Wrath are a combination of this and Gaia's Vengeance, being the embodiment of the planet's suffering sent to Kill All Humans.
  • Demons in Albion are physical beings intentionally created out of emotions of fear for use as living weapons.
  • Fate/stay night has Angra Mainyu, which was apparently created from the soul of a man who was made to suffer the burden of all of the evils of humanity. This soul later came into contact with a wish-granting artifact (the Holy Grail) which resulted in the soul graduating to full blown Eldritch Abomination, becoming an embodiment of all mankind's evil in fact rather than figuratively.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising gives us the Underworld Army who are an extreme case Chapter 22 reveals that Hades uses the souls of fallen soldiers to create Underworld monsters, and thousands of souls are used to create one monster, thus wasting them entirely.
  • The Inkies in de Blob are a cross between The Heartless and Mecha-Mooks. The ink they're made out of is harvested from Greydians who've been made utterly miserable, and the Inkies are then assembled out of said ink on a factory production line.
  • The first antagonist you meet in The Longest Journey is the Chaos Vortex, a black thick cloud that menaces Arcadia. It's one half of Gordon Halloway's Literal Split Personality - his chaotic, emotional part. The other, back in Stark, is The Soulless, coldly logical and speaking in a creepy monotone. It's also quite deadly.
  • Shall We Date?: Destiny Ninja 2 has "Ayakashis," which are black monsters in various forms. They are made of a black mist coming from the symbols of the four seasons, and they began to manifest because of the negative emotions of nearby humans. When killed, they turn back into mist.

  • The Order of the Stick: This is how vampires work, witnessing and being shaped by the darkest points of their host's life at the moment of their creation.
    High Priest of Hel: And that's who I am. Your worst day, personified.
  • In Unsounded when people die their memories all remain in the khert, where devoid of a living mind to keep them unified they scatter, like calling to like, creating "ghosts" coagulated from many different people's worst experiences. Of course this does happen with other sorts of memories too. The First Silver monster Delicieu creates acts as a beacon to these negative ghosts, drawing them into the world in massive numbers, while Boo proves so full of good memories that the monster can't harm it.

    Web Original 
  • The Yamiko in the Sailor Nothing novel are a particularly gruesome version, with the interesting twist that their being pure evil also makes them incompetent, with no self-control or self-discipline (see the Quotes page for the full version of the page quote). This may be considered a deconstruction of sorts.
    • The Yamiko are also interesting in that they're made by magically cloning a human, with the cloning process doing nothing more harmful than knocking out the human. The first act of a newborn Yamiko is usually to murder the original, but not only is it possible for the whole and unaltered human to come face to face with the living embodiment of their dark side, it happens a few times over the course of the story, and if a Yamiko has let their human counterpart live, it's usually so they can be Forced to Watch as their Yamiko copy brings their whole world crashing down in the most sadistic manner possible.
  • Though Word of God says that the Devilbirds are supposed to be Mortasheen's demon-equivalents, they fit equally well under this trope. For those who don't know, they're Boschian bird-monsters each embodying a negative emotion, which feed by inducing said emotions in other people . Let us take the Devilbird of Gluttony for example. It feeds by inducing a hunger so fierce in a bystander that they will eat anything in sight. They then are psychically forced to go back to the Devilbird's nest and vomit up what they've eaten in said Devilbird's mouth. In the advanced stages of this hunger they may become so ravenous that they begin to eat themselves just to fill their hunger. And yes, almost all of the Devilbirds are this horrible. Even the one based on positive emotions turns its victims into hopeless addicts. The only exception is the Devilbird of Sloth, which is so overcome with its negative emotion that it doesn't do anything — harming and exploiting others or even hatching from its egg are far too much work for a creature that completely slothful.

    Western Animation