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"Attention, all personnel. Due to conditions beyond our control, we regret to announce that lunch is now being served."
— The PA Announcer (who is never seen, addressed, or named) on M*A*S*H

A variant of He Who Must Not Be Seen. The Voice describes characters who are heard but never seen. In older time periods, they are on the other side of telephones; later on, they are brought to you by eerie Surround Sound. If the adventure is of a magical or spiritual bent, it may literally be the voice in your head. Is it a guardian angel or something rather more sinister? More often than not the very omnipotence the Voice commands puts it beyond the petty scrabblings of mortal morality.

The Voice is in fact a level up from The Faceless because whereas we have a vague idea of what we're dealing with in the latter, the former could be anything. An agent of the secret service? The organisation we are supposedly fighting? A mad computer? You from the future? Whatever it is, it's an authority so powerful that it does not even have to appear in person to see its will made flesh; just its distinctive dulcet tones are enough for the characters to quickly jump to. This trope is happy to appear on the heroes' side just as much as the villains', but it must be said that Evil is far fonder of it, for the simple reason that Nothing Is Scarier. In cases such as these, bear in mind that Evil Sounds Deep and you know you're in serious trouble when you're being addressed by the Voice of the Legion.

On the good side, this trope can easily be played for comic relief. Perhaps it is the heroes' overbearing mother, calling at an inappropriate time to ask why he doesn't keep in touch. Maybe it is a bumbling Obstructive Bureaucrat, wanting to know why the hero isn't playing by the rulebook. In these cases, the trope is used to highlight how out of touch the comic relief character is with how things are going down on the street, and how detached our hero has become with the mundane.

Occasionally, especially in cartoons, The Voice will also be The Unintelligible. This is often an authority figure, who calls up (with coincidental timing) to chew out the main character. As with The Ghost, the funny part is the reactions from the on-screen character.

In parodies, these characters are frequently the target of gags that posit ridiculous or unexpected appearances they might actually have. The opposite trope is The Voiceless, in which the character is seen but not heard.

If The Voice only appears briefly and is a famous person or character, it's a Voice-Only Cameo.

Not to be confused with the Talent Show The Voice, the Thu'um, or SiIvaGunner.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the anime version of Fushigi Yuugi, Yui's mother is heard on the phone when Miaka calls her house, but never actually seen. In the manga, both of Yui's parents are seen briefly.
  • Morgana Mode Gone from .hack//SIGN. We don't even hear her name in the series, she is just an omnipresent, powerful, resentful force; presented as a woman's voice. (Technically, she's in the credits, and her existence is explained in the games.)
  • Tieria Erde ultimately becomes this in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, after his body is shot to death but he uploads his conscience into VEDA.
  • In Naruto, Sakura's mother, though she is seen later on in Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja and in one Naruto Shippuden. episode post movie
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: All members of SEELE, with some exceptions. We do see Keel Lorenz (which is his given name and which is his surname is one of Evangelion's lesser mysteries). And in an early episode, we see the five members of their inner circle, the Human Instrumentality Committee. We just have no clue as to their identities and importance yet.
    • Throughout the series, quiet scenes set in the hospital feature an intercom voice making announcements, paging hospital staff, etc. It's never attached to a human being, and in fact the hospital staff are barely if ever seen onscreen. Inside NERV headquarters, the CPU also has a voice that announces whatever is going on, even after all but four of NERV's staff have been killed.
    • Asuka's stepmother is heard but never physically appears. She makes her first full appearance in the manga adaptation of the show.
  • Tamagotchi: Himespetchi's parents are never seen, with their voices when they call her on the phone being the only thing we ever get of them. They were eventually given physical appearances when the digital pet toyline came out with the Tamagotchi m!x, which was released after the TV show had already finished its run.
  • Dokurobee, the unseen leader of Yatterman's Terrible Trio, who communicates with them by means of radio devices and exploding recorded messages a la Mission: Impossible. Until The Reveal in the final episode.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • The handlers in Button Man are referred to as "Voices" because they are only heard over the telephone, never seen. After Harry begins to hunt the Voices, they are given faces and names.
  • In the DC Universe, several characters have heard a voice they believed to be God's. In some cases (e.g., The Spectre's) it was, and in others (Hawk & Dove) it wasn't.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peter's pen pal in B.C. qualifies. Peter will write a question on a tablet, and throw it into the sea to be carried away by the tide. After some time, another tablet comes floating back with a (usually) sarcastic answer. Whoever's answering Peter's letters has never shown his face.
  • Chester, the Barbaric Bully from Big Nate, is never shown on-panel. He's usually being annoyed by Nate, who gets beaten up in return.
  • Doonesbury used to depict the President or other real-life political figures in this manner, although this was eventually discarded in favor of depicting them on the page via symbolic icons (a waffle for Bill Clinton, a battered centurion's helmet for George W. Bush, etc.).
  • FoxTrot has had a few over the years, including Miss Grinchley (Jason's original teacher) and Denise's parents. There were at least two strips where Grinchley was seen; one of them can be seen here.
  • While adults were famously absent from Peanuts, a few early strips featured off-panel dialogue from Linus and Lucy's parents.
  • British children's comic The Sparky had a regular strip based on the denizens of the comic's editorial office, in which The Editor/Proprietor was a loud imperious and unseen voice shouting from behind his office door, and whose word was absolute law. Word of God is that this was a dig at the poor working conditions and feudal nature of being an artist, scriptwriter or other lowly creative working in what were then the rather feudal and insecure conditions of British comic publishers such as IPC or DC Thomson.

    Fan Works 
  • Ultra Fast Pony has an unknown and unseen pony who heckles all of Mayor Mare's speeches. Also, Twilight Sparkle is reduced to just a voice in "Sister Angst"—for the whole episode, she hangs around just off-screen and shouts at Rarity at the most awkward times.
  • Harry Osborn in I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC can often be heard arguing with his father from off-screen, but never actually appears.
  • The narrator of Tales of the Hunger Games is often heard when he's narrating the corresponding files for each Hunger Games, including its Victor and how they won. He makes a physical appearance during the series finale, when he explains to a younger relative of his about why he's reading those files to her.

    Films — Animation 
  • Harv from Cars, whose voice is only heard from Lightning McQueen's radio.
  • Lucius's wife Honey in The Incredibles is only ever heard talking to him from offscreen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • George Lorrison in The Bad and the Beautiful is only heard on a phonograph recording of a monologue from Macbeth.
  • In Cold Pursuit, Kim's ex-boyfriend Kurt, who is a vice cop in Denver, is only heard as a voice over the phone.
  • In Faster, Baphomet's son is only heard as a voice on the phone when Driver calls him to pass on Baphomet's final message that he was sorry, and when the son later calls back to swear vengeance.
  • The title character's mother in Gigi is just a voice occasionally heard singing off-screen.
  • The Grand Seduction: Dr. Lewis's unfaithful fiancée Helen never appears in person but is heard during a few phone calls the townspeople eavesdrop on.
  • The leader of the racketeers in the first of The Green Hornet Serials delivers his orders via an intercom in the office of his second-in-command Monroe. Actually, Monroe himself is the boss, using pre-recorded orders as a cover.
  • Rockin' Ricky Rialto, the DJ at the local radio station, in Gremlins, though the viewer does see his picture on a billboard at one point. He's also apparently the Hero of Another Story.
  • Sometimes happens in documentary films. In Harlan County U.S.A., filmmaker Barbara Kopple is heard occasionally questioning the subjects of her interviews, but she never appears onscreen.
  • Nearly everyone other than the main character, Leon, in The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh: Every character he directly speaks with is a voice on the phone, or, in one case, an unseen person on the other side of the front door. Even when we eventually see the title character in person, we hear her giving Posthumous Narration rather than speaking aloud.
  • Mad Max. An unseen female dispatcher primly announces directives that bear little relevance to the brutal gang-plagued world the underfunded Main Force Patrol is trying to keep in line.
    The Captains of the Hall have asked that pursuit officers refrain from using the slang "Bronze" for the Main Force Patrol. The word is considered disrespectful, and citizens should be actively discouraged from its use.
  • Mister Roberts. At regular intervals an unseen crewmember laconically announces "Now hear this, now hear this" followed by Captain Morton's latest act of petty tyranny.
  • "Father" in The Sacrament is only heard over an intercom for the first half of the film.
  • In Save Yourselves!, Su's mother is heard through voicemails, but is never seen in person.
  • Bill Hader is credited as "The Voice" in the Scott Pilgrim movie - he's the narrator and fight announcer.
  • A Single Man. The film's protagonist, George, receives a phone call from a relative of his lover Jim to inform him that Jim has died in a car crash, and that he's not allowed to go to the funeral. The caller is voiced by Jon Hamm, and his conversation with George is brief, but very poignant.
  • The Antichrist figure known only as The Leader is heard only in his radio broadcasts in Six: The Mark Unleashed.
  • In Slashers, Hideo, the cameraman who follows the contestants through the Danger Zone, is generally only heard not seen. The only part of him that is seen is his hand when he accepts a glass of water and wipes a spot of dirt off the lens.
  • The woman conducting the interviews in Tombstone Rashomon never appears on screen; 'appearing' only as a voice from off-camera. She has a slightly mechanical intonation, making unclear is she is actually human or some form of robot or computer.

    Literature 
  • Framed in Blood: "Mr. Big," the unnamed Miami bigwig who is the subject of reporter Bert Jackson's explosive expose. He never appears on the page but he calls Shayne a couple of times in hopes of retrieving the incriminating story. We don't find out what his position is in Miami government, nor what exactly he did, although at the end Bert's story is retrieved so Mr. Big is going to go down.
  • Rose, aka "Mother" in the Phule's Company books. Atypically for this trope, we see the real person, but off the air she is shy to the point of invisibility.
  • In Sid Stills' Blues (Three-Quarters in the Bag in Alphabet City), Damn Agent (Sid's music agent, real name Randall) never physically appears. He communicates with Sid entirely through phone calls.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the operator responsible for Control's mission and the one he reports to via phone is only known as "the Voice" to him. As a joke, he imagines the Voice as some kind of talking megalodon. The Voice is revealed to be Lowry, who we see in flashbacks in Acceptance.
  • Enforced on Echo from Too Many Curses, who was stripped of everything but her disembodied voice by Margle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Alpha House Gil John's wife is heard only by phone from his district where she is running his campaign.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard's mother. Later episodes like to tease the viewers further by having her in circumstances where she could logically appear. In one episode the only thing between the audience and her was a curtain while she was trying on clothes. Another episode had her show up at Leonard's apartment the morning after the gang had played 48 straight hours of a Star Wars MMO RPG, and ended just as she was about to enter. In 'The Spoiler Alert Segmentation', she finally appears. In the background. And we don't see her face. Unfortunately, the actress who played her passed on and her character went with her. However Howard and Bernadette's daughter took up this role as essentially her reincarnation.
    • The trope was also subverted in one episode, when Raj fell in love with the voice of Siri in his iPhone and dreamed he went to Apple headquarters to meet her, thus showing the world the face behind that snarky little voice.
  • Charlie from Charlie's Angels (dubbed by John Forsythe in the original series and movies; replaced by Victor Garber in the revival).
  • Voice, which only communicates with Hel through an implant in her jaw, in Cleopatra 2525. However, Voice did appear on camera in the Series Finale.
  • On Emergency! actual Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher Sam Lanier was the voice heard when the tones sounded, directing Station 51 — and, with large fires, other stations to the incident. The scene would always be the same. The station's tones (alarm) would sound, followed by Lanier's voice announcing which units were being dispatched, the nature of the call (fire, traffic accident, medical emergency, etc.), the address, the nearest cross-street and the time of the call. Lanier would also be heard answering whenever a firefighter character called into dispatch (Typical exchange would be as follows. Gage: "L.A., this is Squad 51." Lanier: "Go ahead, 51.")
  • Forever: For his first few episodes, Adam is only a voice on the phone. At the end of "Look Before You Leap" for the audience and "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" for Henry, he becomes The Faceless instead.
  • The Big Bad of early 1960s BBC aviation adventure series Garry Halliday was credited simply as The Voice.
  • Rasputin, the Petrovskys' Russian wolfhound on Ivan the Terrible (1976), was never allowed out of the bedroom out of which came his savage barking.
  • The Boss Man on The Latest Buzz; only ever heard as a voice at the other end of D.J.'s telephone.
  • Li'l Horrors: The headmistress Miss Morbidda never appears in the episodes, but her voice is heard addressing the Horrors during the opening credits.
  • Margaret on Little Britain. The fact that she never comes out from the back to actually help in person is justified by the revelation that she has no arms or legs.
  • Peg's mom in Married... with Children. Simply because of the fact she is described as unbelievably fat — beyond the reasonable limits for even really big actresses — and causes everything to shake when she thuds into a room. She's also considered The Dreaded and incomprehensibly horrifying to look at to Al (so we see Peg's mom in a way that upholds that view), making this unseen nature Played for Laughs.
  • The PA announcer in M*A*S*H. Sometimes problematical when such an announcement came right before or after a scene set in the clerk's office, where the microphone for the PA was located. Was the announcer broadcasting from a second location, or just invisible?
    • The announcer was voiced by a couple different actors during the show's run, both of whom actually did appear onscreen in an episode each... but playing other characters.
      • This is carried over from the film, where the PA system was used to tie scenes together as a "fix" for a film that all involved believed to be too choppy.
    • The PA announcer is quite unique in that he's a completely peripheral character whose only role is to announce news, and whom no one ever names or even discusses, but still has a distinct personality — perky, cheerful, a long-suffering smartass, eternally flippant about the horrors of war no matter how dire the news he is announcing is, and quite harshly sarcastic about the camp and its inhabitants, often insulting higher-ranking officers.
    • The episode "Who Knew?" centers around a nurse who is killed by a landmine while taking a late-night stroll after a tryst with Hawkeye. While we never see her onscreen (she's already died when the episode begins), we do hear her voice narrating her diary, which Hawkeye (who's been assigned with delivering her eulogy) reads while trying to find out more about her.
  • Mork & Mindy': Orson is never seen, but he is heard. Sometimes, in scenes that take place on Ork, his shadow can be seen, but he is never personally seen.
  • The Magic Voice from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Pretty much all we know is she had advance notice of commercial sign, she turned into an energy being when the ship hit the edge of the universe, and she doesn't get along very well with other disembodied voices, especially creepy ones who talk about sleeping with 80-year-old women.
  • Out of This World (1987): Evie's alien dad, Troy of Anterias, communicates with her from another planet via a glowing cube in her room (dubbed by Burt Reynolds).
  • Carlton the Doorman from Rhoda (occasionally appeared as The Faceless) (dubbed by the late Lorenzo Music, Jr., who was a writer on the show and would later do the voices of Garfield and Peter Venkman on The Real Ghostbusters, among other roles)
    • Lorenzo Music would revive Carlton in an animated show called Carlton Your Doorman, in which Carlton was a beer-swilling layabout who was being sexually harrassed by one of the building's tenants. Carlton also had a cat named Ringo, whom he tried to disguise as a dog at one point.
  • Dr. Kahn, the camp director in Salute Your Shorts, who is only ever heard making announcements over the camp PA system. (Lampshaded in one episode where a briefly-seen issue of the camp newspaper has the headline "Dr. Kahn: Man or Myth?")
  • Star Trek:
    • In the series (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, and Star Trek) Federation computer systems mainly responded with the same unseen voice, that of Gene Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett, though with less consistency in the earlier episodes and the first six films. She gained screen time by portraying Nurse Chapel in The Original Series, and Deanna Troi's mother Lwxanna in The Next Generation. No one ever notices that Lwxanna Troi's voice is the same as the computer, not even Lwxanna Troi herself in the episodes "Manhunt" and "Cost of Living", when she directly interacts with said computer. In TNG the computer would sometimes speak with a male voice during the first season. Her last appearance as the voice of a Federation computer was in the 2009 film Star Trek, having completed recording her lines for the film shortly before her death.
    • Judi Durand provided the voice of Cardassian computer systems such as those on Deep Space Nine and other Cardassian installations. She also provided the voice of the spacedock computer system on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as well as Federation computer systems on various Star Trek computer games.
    • Julianne Grossman provided the voice of the USS Discovery computer on Star Trek: Discovery until the sentinent personality Zora emerged, who was voiced by Annabelle Wallis.
    • The Big Bad of the first two seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise was only ever shown in silhouette; the official character name was "Humanoid Figure", but fans dubbed him "Future Guy" (which quickly caught on; even Memory Alpha used the name for a while). His true identity remained unknown, until Word of God confirmed that he was supposed to be Jonathan Archer from the future.
  • Elizabeth Collins, Sam's sister, in Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, voiced by Kath Soucie, is usually heard when relaying a message from their mother.
  • Donny on Trailer Park Boys (actually voiced by the actor who plays Bubbles). Always off screen complaining about the various antics in Sunnydale, most famously "What in the fuck?" and "Fuck off with the guns!"
  • The kids' game show Trapped has a Big Bad called the Voice. Downplayed because while the viewers see the lower half of her face, no one in the show has ever seen her.
  • Vision On had to run with a visual variant of this trope since its target audience was deaf children, thus giving us characters called the Burbles who speak in speech bubbles but are never physically seen.

    Music 
  • In Electric Light Orchestra's "The Diary of Horace Wimp", Horace Wimp is a rather shy and ineffectual chap who ends up finding true love after a disembodied voice (implied to be the voice of God) basically yells at him to man up and sort his life out.
  • Blue Öyster Cult's Black Blade is a retelling of The Elric Saga mythos of Michael Moorcock. At the end of the song the Black Sword itself is given its own voice to explain how evil and inhuman it is.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In satirical hand-puppet show Les Guignols de l'Info, the only parodied personality without a puppet is Pierre Fulla, a sport commentator, who's frequently heard but never seen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dead Inside has The Voice as a tool for the GM to use to give the players hints as to what their characters should be doing next to solve the current situation. It's stated that nobody has ever seen the speaker of The Voice, nobody knows what it is, but it's suggested that it might be the literal Voice of the game-universe's God.
  • Vox, another PDQ system game, has each Player Character Hearing Voices which are definitely more than just hallucinations - they might know things the PCs don't, for one. It's up to the Game Master and players from game to game what the Voices might actually be, as they could be guardian spirits, ghosts, God, the Devil, manifestations of some psychic gift, or wholly unexplained. A character can end up with multiple Voices, and it's not unheard-of for two or more characters to start sharing Voices. A character's Voices are played by the other players for the most part, incorporating table chatter and suggestions that regular characters couldn't actually make to one another (such as by being split up) but that players do all the time.

    Theatre 
  • The Angel in the first part of Angels in America is unseen right until her Big Entrance at the very end. She's even credited earlier on in the script as "The Voice". There are also a couple of pre-recorded announcer bits played in the second part, for which the same actress usually provides voice again.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: At act I Scene III, The play notes only show "A Voice" to describe the person threatening Montfleury, and Le Bret, terrified, identifies it as Cyrano’s voice. Only at the end of the scene we see our protagonist:
    A voice (from the middle of the pit): Villain! Did I not forbid you to show your face here for a month?
  • Similarly, one reading/performance of Hamlet takes a philosophical conversation between Hamlet and Horatio from the "bad" quarto and inserts it at the beginning; Hamlet, being a teen Nietzsche Wannabe, runs a tape recorder so that he can listen to the discussion again. When he turns it on a few scenes later, he's horrified to hear the voice of his father's ghost speaking to him through the static...
  • A professional run of The Merchant of Venice turned Tubal into this by having him call Shylock, rather than speak with him in person. This was meant to heighten the idea that Shylock is utterly alone — his only friend is that faraway voice on the other end of the telephone who can offer no help.
  • The title character of Paul Bunyan, whose non-appearance is made even more mysterious by being a speaking role in an opera.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • An unknown character from Bendy and the Dark Revival has spoken twice, but he has yet to be seen. He's spoken once after listening to Joey Drew Studios' audio logs and once to the Player Character in the gameplay trailer. In each instance, both his words and his voice itself imply him to be an antagonist.
  • In Chicken Feet, Sergant Corey is never seen in person and simply guides you over the radio with his commands. Even when it's revealed that he's the Big Bad, Eric, we only hear what he's saying in the final confrontation rather than see him in person.
  • The recorded voice of a woman is heard at the beginning of each game in the Dark Parables series, explaining to the detective just what fairy tale mystery is about to unfold. She's never identified, but is presumably the game's Mission Control.
  • The Danger Girl tie-in video game reduces Johnny Barracuda, a prominent character in the comics, into one such role, where only his voice is heard through comm-links in two missions featuring Abbey Chase.
  • Lucifer in Darksiders II and Darksiders II. He only appears through his voice in the post-credits cutscenes in a dark hallway filled by mist and ghostly wind noises, to berate Lilith for her mistakes and reveal that he has shady plans to come for the imminent Endwar.
    • Downplayed in Darksiders Genesis as Lucifer is portrayed through his Glowing Eyes of Doom in the dark when dealing telepathically with Belial (technically off-screen relatively to him), and in the end he makes an indirect apparition after mind controlling a boy to taunt the two protagonists.
  • Sparkly the Crow from Dark Souls. She asks you to leave warm and soft items in her nest, and when you quit and log back on, they've been exchanged.
  • Devil May Cry 5:
    • Kyrie never appears on-screen. Her voice is heard from off-screen in Nero's garage and in phone calls.
    • Patty only gets a brief Continuity Cameo in a phone call with Dante.
  • Ness' father from EarthBound (1994). Throughout the game, you'll likely be calling him on the various phones to save your game.
    • Hilariously, during the credits, when we're seeing every character walk past, Ness's father is represented as a telephone. Heck, according to the strategy guide, Ness's father is a telephone. And then, with his spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; not only is his spirit's image just a phone, but when fighting for the spirit, you're battling Ness... and an invisible Snake, to represent his father.
    • Ninten's father from EarthBound Beginnings is the same way, at least in the original Japanese version. The English localization (and the GBA remake) add a scene that shows him from behind calling Ninten from a phone booth.
  • Enchanted Arms has Idiot Hero Atsuma being led into an underground labyrinth under his university as he follows strange whisperings coming from his arm. This culminates into him releasing the Queen of Ice, leading to the destruction of his hometown as he transforms into a monster and gets sent to jail when he loses consciousness. And that's only the beginning of the game!
  • The 3D Fallout games all feature in game Radio stations. Many of the DJ's can be met and interacted with, but some cannot:
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, Mr. New Vegas is actually an AI, and one whose servers cannot be found in game.
    • In Fallout4's Nuka World expansion, Red-Eye is only heard over the radio, and can't be found or killed, even during Open Season.
    • In Fallout 76, Julie of Appalachia Radio is also only a voice.
  • The Five Nights at Freddy's series has Phone Guy, whose voice is heard in every game (save for the fourth game), but his face is never seen. This also applies to his Suspiciously Similar Substitute in the third game, termed Phone Dude.
  • Toni Cipriani's mother from Grand Theft Auto III and its prequel, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Their family owns a restaurant and she can be heard abusing Toni in both games from her apartment above, though she's never actually seen in either game.
    • Also, some mission's bosses are never seen in game, just heard through a payphone, like El Burro and King Courtney. (Although, El Burro has a artwork in the game cover and loading screen and King Courtney appears "physically" in Grand Theft Auto Advance.)
  • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Mr. Black, a boss who gives you hitman missions, only appears as a voice through a payphone, similarly to some bosses of Grand Theft Auto III.
  • In a variant, one of the many creepy presences in The Lost Crown can be overheard typing near the phone booth on Station Lane. Peeking in a nearby window gives you a look at an old manual typewriter, but also causes the sounds to fall silent so long as you're watching it, suggesting that the presence, whether living or ghostly, doesn't want to be spied on.
  • Messiah has a voice occasionally speak to you to guide you throughout the game. It claims to be someone who is on your side, but imprisoned and helpless. Turns out, it's Satan himself, using you as an unwitting pawn. He continues speaking to you after you discover this, though just to taunt you.
  • You never see Serena alive and well in The Persistence, since she communicates to you via radio while holed up in a secure portion of the ship. You do so the corpse of her original body, but you never see the clone you speak to throughout the game.
  • Portal: GLaDOS, the unseen AI guiding you through the test chambers, is never seen in person until the last ten minutes of the game.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has Zero, AKA Cipher. While he is seen in other games, he is only heard on audio tapes in this game.
  • The AI that talks to you throughout Portal Reloaded is never seen at all, unlike GLaDOS or Wheatley which do appear onscreen.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has many, many voices with different personalities (all referred to as "Red Crown") over the radio ordering the military and Blackwatch around. Much of the game's charm comes from the sheer amount of radio chatter they provide. The sequel cuts Red Crown down to a lone, stoic, female voice.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Swamp: Anna's boss Sergio is only heard speaking, being too cowardly to exit the basement door after Shaggy and Scooby run the errands he asks them to.
  • Fuse, Ulala's charismatic agent from Space Channel 5, never appears on screen because he's back at the station. In Part 2, he follows Ulala in a spaceship that we never see the interior of, allowing him to have a greater presence in the story while remaining unseen.
  • In Uncle Albert's Adventures, we never know what the child narrator looks like. The most we see is his arms in the last Uncle Albert's Magical Album cutscene.
  • Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey:
    • A few other cyclopes exist on the same island as Polyphemus, but are only heard as voices after Polyphemus screams.
    • The suitors' voices are heard in cutscenes on Ithaca, but they're never actually seen outside of shadows.
  • The You Don't Know Jack video game franchise has so far had five hosts (Nate Shapiro, Guy Towers, Buzz Lippman, Cookie Masterson, and Josh "Schmitty" Schmidtstinstein) and countless other staff members, and none of them fully appear on-screen. Naturally, give the kind of game YDKJ is, this is frequently Played for Laughs.
    Buzz: (after a question about The Gong Show's Unknown Comic) I mean, who wants to listen to bad jokes by a guy they never see?
  • In Zork, The Grues. (Monsters that are never seen because they only exist in the purest darkness) while most of the games lacked sound, in Zork: Grand Inquisitor they make chomping slobbering sounds as they eat you.
  • The fittingly named Narrator in The Stanley Parable, despite being ever present throughout the game and being the game's most important character (maybe aside from Stanley himself), is never seen in person. How his voice is reaching Stanley is never explained, and some lines of dialogue seem to imply that he isn't even human.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry: Hanyuu is the mysterious voice that we usually hear about. Even when she appears, she's invisible to everyone except Rika until the last arc.
  • In the Murder Mystery Visual Novel Jisei, a mysterious voice helps the protagonist with his mystery. She happens to be a telepath who can communicate with the protagonist via his mind and thoughts.
  • Several characters in Melody:
    • We hear Arnold (or rather, we see that he’s speaking) before he’s shown.
    • Trixie, of of Melody’s crew from Sharp Records, is never shown.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In The Chapel Chronicles, the readers never see any character who isn't Chapel, her brother, or her pet hedgehog (unless one counts her Alice in Wonderland-themed fantasy, and even then Lady Gaga/the Red Queen is only heard and not seen). Sometimes they communicate with Chapel by yelling from another room, sometimes she overhears their conversations, and sometimes she talks with them on the phone, but most often the artist composes the scene in such a way that they're just off-panel.
  • In Dinosaur Comics due to it's format, every character aside from the three main characters (and occasionally Batman) is The Voice.
  • Tabitha's Mother in Far Out There is presented a voice over the intercom, and that's a step up from her previous status as The Ghost.
  • In Free Spirit (2014), Winnie Goodwin's superior from the witches' realm manifests itself as a disembodied voice known as, "The Stranger."
  • Shawn, the player on the other end of the webcam, in Full Frontal Nerdity. On occasions where they are shown as their characters, his character's head is concealed by a full-face mask shaped like a webcam. Occasionally the other players forget that the webcam isn't actually him.

    Web Videos 
  • Christopher Odd almost never uses a facecam during his gameplay videos.
  • Diva from Musical Hell, aside from when she manifests as a flame, possessing inanimate objects, and the eventual artistic representations drawing her as a sexy Big Red Devil. Her bailiff is even more unseen.
  • In Noob Ystos and Sparadrap's grandmother is sometimes heard but never seen.
  • As the premise of Petscop is "someone recording videos of a game they found", we never get to see Paul, the player that provides commentary.
  • While Rocked isn't exactly camera shy, he usually doesn't appear on screen during his standard 4 minute album reviews. Subverted from 2019 onwards, where he started showing his face more often in that series.
  • Chuck "SF Debris" Sonnenburg, unlike virtually all other Video Review Show hosts, has never appeared on camera. He "explains" this in his Crossover Cameo on Atop the Fourth Wall (in which he is visually represented by his logo):
    Obscurus Lupa: Wait, where's the picture?
    SFDebris: Picture? There is no picture! Cameras steal your soul! This is all you're getting.
  • Same goes for Xiil3gendaryzetsubou, where the most seen of the two hosts are their digitally-drawn portraits.
  • Search for Sandvich: Merasmus has yet to appear in person, but his voice is heard in "The Search Continues!"
  • Unwanted Houseguest: Ghoulash is a bit of am unusual example. He appears on both his own channel and Doctor Wolfula'a, but has only ever been a voice on Houseguest's. This is likely a result of being played by the same actor as Doctor Wolfula.

    Western Animation 
  • The 1993 Biker Mice from Mars series had the Biker Mice listen to a radio DJ named Sweet Georgie Brown in several episodes. The one time he's seen in person is in the episode "Vicious Cycles", where the main villain Lawrence Limburger has him tied up while he takes over his station. Even then, his face is obscured by a brown paper bag over his head.
  • On the PBS Kids series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, both of the main characters' mothers were this, but only for the first few episodes. After that, the creators of the show apparently changed their mind and decided to actually show the mothers most of the time.
  • The General from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines is never seen in person and only heard when talking on the phone to Dick Dastardly.
  • Dragon Tales: Emmy and Max's parents are never seen and are only heard calling out to them from downstairs. Their mom is heard more often.
  • Kaeloo: Due to the show being very strict about only showing the four main and three secondary characters, the minor characters, like Jean Guillaume, Ursula and the local news reporters are all offscreen and only their voices are heard.
  • Almost every Peanuts TV special or show featured appearances by adults who stood just offscreen and whose "voices" were dubbed by muted trombones ("wah mwah mamahh mwaaaah mm waahhm wahaah," etc.).
  • Tommy's mom from Pet Alien only communicates with Tommy through speakers in his lighthouse, and never appears on-screen.
  • The Pink Panther:
    • In a surprisingly dark cartoon, "Pink Panzer", the Pink Panther is shown listening to a calm voice, telling him that he should take his lawnmower back from his neighbor. The voice becomes increasingly conniving, and tells him to do terrible things to him when his neighbor doesn't return them. The voice also tells the neighbor to get back at him. This escalates to the neighbor calling in the National Guard, and the two start a war. Subverted when the voice turns out to be the devil, and reminds the viewer to return the lawnmower they borrowed.
    • Two other cartoons had an unseen voice communicating with the Panther. "Pinkfinger" convinces the Panther he'd make a terrific secret agent, while "Shocking Pink" had the voice browbeating the Panther into doing things around the house instead of lying around in a hammock.
  • Potsworth & Company: The Nightmare Prince's Mother. The two of them interact the same way Dick Dastardly does in the above-mentioned series.
  • Several characters from Ready Jet Go! have been heard, but not shown, such as Mitchell's mom.
  • ReBoot:
    • Al, slow-witted owner and chef of "Al's Wait-And-Eat", whose dialogue is always one simple word: "WHAT?!"
      • We do see him tied up at one point, but all we can see are his legs. Though he is obviously a 1-Binome.
    • The System Voice which announces events in Mainframe and other systems — most commonly "Warning: incoming game," and "Game over."
  • In Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends, Nick's friend Cracker only exists as a voice on the other end of his phone. We never get a good look at him.
  • Splash and Bubbles: When Tidy the garibaldi fish cleans his algae bed, his annoying neighbor Chipper is often heard insulting his algae bed, but is never seen. He always replies with something along the lines of "THIS DOES NOT CONCERN YOU, THANK YOU!" or "I HEARD THAT, CHIPPER!"
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • Hera's mysterious contact "Fulcrum" was this. Not only have they only appeared as a voice, but their voice is obviously disguised, so even the character's gender was unknown. It is played this way until the season finale, where it is revealed that "Fulcrum" is female, and not only that, "Fulcrum"'s identity is Ahsoka Tano from the previous animated Star Wars series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • Season 3 reveals there are multiple Fulcrums, all of whom serve as this trope to the rebel cells they're in contact with. Season 3's Fulcrum II, by the way, is a subversion, as it's actually Agent Kallus, who has been an oft-seen character since the pilot. He also interacts with one of the protagonists in person in the first episode since he made a secret Heel–Face Turn, although said protagonist didn't know about that at the time.
  • In Tangerine And Cow, the family's father is only ever heard on phone.
  • The Thing Upstairs from British Claymation series The Trap Door is never seen but is frequently heard bellowing orders at Berk. In the one episode we get a glimpse of him ("The Little Thing"), we see a writhing flesh-colored sack. Remarks from Berk imply that 'Im Upstairs has multiple heads and can fly.

 
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Finger

Finger, Korben's boss at the cab company. He doesn't seem unreasonable on the phone, but Dallas seems genuinely worried about crossing him.

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Main / TheVoice

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