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Aura Vision

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The ability to perceive normally invisible Life Energy of others, often colour-coded for good/evil, emotions, amount of life, Power Level, etc. This can be presented as Functional Magic, Psychic Powers, related to spirituality, a biological gift, or even technological.

Auras can be seen as a glowing outline or colouring on a characters skin. For extra clarity the character/monster of week's vision may be shown in black and white to make the auras more distinctive.

Supertrope of Detect Evil. Subtrope of Psychic Powers. Sister Trope of Enemy Scan and The Force Is Strong with This One. When the Aura is representative of something else, see Editorial Synaesthesia, Power Glows, Fluorescent Footprints or Battle Aura.

For other information displays within a persons field of view see HUD and Stat-O-Vision

Examples of Aura Vision include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • The scouters from Dragonball Z allow the user to view a person's power level, which is essentially their Chi energy. Many characters can also naturally sense power levels.
  • In Pokémon, Riolu and Lucario can sense auras to read people's emotions and see when blindfolded.
    • And there's Ash's power, as shown in the Pokémon: Lucario and The Mystery of Mew movie. Interestingly, it is called "the wave" in the original version. Some would say Rui from Pokémon Colosseum and Yellow from Pokémon Special manga have similar powers (despite appearing first).
    • Ash has been shown to still have the power twice or thrice. It's just that he doesn't train them and has no special equipment to channel them (he probably left Aaron's gloves behind after the movie) so they are rather underdeveloped and not really good for anything, except finding runaway Riolus.
    • Sir Aaron, the movie Lucario's master, can do this as well.
  • Yuuto in the manga Hands Off! has this ability.
  • In Hunter X Hunter, a person's aura is normally invisible to everyone save for Nen practitioners, who gain the ability to see it as part of their basic training. Nen practitioners in turn have developed techniques that mask their aura from their peers, as well as to bypass such countermeasures.
  • In Soul Eater several characters are able to do this by having an ability to see another person's soul (which is typically several times the size of their body if they have any level of power) called "Soul Perception". One of the protagonists, Maka, can even use it to track people.
    • True, but as others can do it (some of the kids, and common amongst the staff) it's not what makes Maka a special case. That would be the fact she can possibly use it to see through witches' Soul Protect. One other character had that ability, and he died because of it.
  • In Naruto, the Hyuga clan's Byakugan is both X-Ray Vision and Aura Vision: it sees the chakra networks inside people.
  • In the French Comics Les Légendaires, one of the heroes uses it as a vision substitute after the Big Bad ripped her eyes.


Comics Edit

  • Briefly, Superman had this power.
    • It, and all of Superman's vision powers, are given quite the spotlight in the Superman origin graphic novel Superman Birthright. Whether another form of the many frequencies of light Clark can see or something else entirely, all living things emit an ethereal glow that tragically fades as soon as they dies. The aura is equally strong for all animals, and is mentioned as influencing Clark's decision to become a vegetarian.
  • The Marvel Comics New Universe character Justice could read auras to determine if people were good or evil.
  • The graphic novel Walk In, where everyone has a different colored aura.
  • Linda Tavara from the Heroes graphic novels can also absorb people auras, killing them and giving her their power.
  • The Black Lanterns can apparently see where individuals fall on the emotional spectrum at any one time; in order to harvest a person, that individual must be driven entirely towards one emotion or another (given that we're talking super zombies here, it's more often than not fear).
  • Madman can do this as well, it seems. "Bad vibes" is a phrase he often uses.


Films -- Live Action Edit

  • Ivy Walker from The Village. She's blind, but she can see some people's auras.
  • In The Matrix sequels, Neo can see Smith's aura when Smith hitches a ride into the real world. Neo retains this ability even after he becomes blind.


Literature Edit

  • Others in the Night Watch books are able to see and read people's auras.
  • From Good Omens, Anathema Device, occultist and professional descendant, is psychic enough to see auras. She unfortunately misses the Antichrist's, "for the same reason that people in Trafalgar Square can't see England."
  • In Thieves' World, Nikodemos once demonstrated that a Bandaran Adept can not only see aura, but reliably track known individuals by traces of aura left on the environment through the city (i.e. mess of spurious signals). Of course, Niko "Stealth" is spec.op. guy in the elite company, so it's one of powers he needed to refine.
  • In the novel Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Lissy not only sees auras, she has the ability to manipulate them. She can matchmake people, thwart a bad guy, and disentangle a siren from her prey if necessary.
  • Emily from Avalon: Web of Magic can see the "magical auras" of people with, well, magic.
  • Luna and Orlene from Incarnations of Immortality.
  • This is one of the powers of vampires in Mario Acevedo's Felix Gomez novels.
  • Dragonbait has this power in Azure Bonds instead of the paladin's traditional 'detect evil' ability.
  • One of the characters in Deep Secret is a new-agey woman who claims to be able to read auras and keeps button-holing people and telling them their aura is in a terrible state. After spending some time with her, the protagonist (who has real magical ability and training) determines that she really does have Aura Vision, but her own psyche is so messed up that she can't see through it when she tries to read other people.
  • The character Morning Star from the Noble Warriors Triology by William Nicholson is able to read peoples "colors", an aura that hangs around them that can tell her what they are feeling.
  • There's an equivalent for this in some of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars Expanded Universe books. Jedi can feel someone's presence or "sense", which is like a second face which changes to reflect emotions and mental states - if someone has a sudden idea or comes to a resolution, a Jedi will notice. It's an equivalent because it's not really visual - Luke talks about "listening" and feeling someone's sense, though he does mention a few times that it's dark.
  • Michael's ability to feel magic in things develops into this at the end of the first book in the Knight and Rogue Series. He treats this new, incredibly convenient power like the end of the world.
  • Oakelves in The Edge Chronicles have this.
  • Characters with powers in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series have Aura Vision. As well as Aura Smelling.


Live Action TV Edit

  • The Twilight Zone TOS episode "The Purple Testament" is about a soldier who can see the auras of men who are about to die. At the end of the episode he happens to glance at a mirror...
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Geordi La Forge can see an electronic aura around his friend Data, and it is suggested than he can see similar things around people.
  • Played for Laughs in Dave Chappelle's infamous Rick James sketch, when Charlie Murphy mentions that Rick James had a "kind of aura" around him. Cue shot of James surrounded by an orange glow.
  • Referenced in the first episode of Friends, when Ross tells Phoebe to "stop cleansing my aura". Whether Phoebe can see auras or not is never made clear, since it's never brought up again.
  • Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer sensed that Buffy wasn't really Buffy, after Faith did the body switch in Who Are You? because her aura was "fragmented," as if someone had forced something into it that didn't belong.
  • Bridge Carson in Power Rangers SPD. With his gloves off, he can wave his hands and see auras, which of course correspond to their character. Once he described a suspect as "burnt umber."
  • Bo from Lost Girl found an invisible fae using this. Given that she is a Succubus, its probably Sex Aura Vision.
  • In Frasier, Daphne claims to be a bit psychic, and can see auras around people.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Dungeons and Dragons has a bit of everything, so it should not be surprising that The Complete Psionic's Handbook of AD&D 2 ed. has Aura Sight power - it works as a limited range life detector and allows to appraise level and discern alignment, and Aura Alteration, to make a fake aura disguising the same traits or remove curses and similar effects.
    • Forgotten Realms newcomers saurials has holy warriors who, according to novels, mostly resemble paladins, but instead of Detect Evil have much better "shen sight" that allows to discern not merely "all the myriad types of evil" or absence thereof, but subject's spirit strength as well as attitude and motivations up to which emotion or influence suppresses which. In a color coded form. The obviously downside of sensitivity is that a city gives too much noise: in Masquerades Dragonbait was overwhelmed by a crowd so that even detecting thugs seeking to murder him among the relaxing and drinking folk was hard.
      • Some Forgotten Realms spells have similar side effects: (Stavros's) Life Bolt makes from the caster's lifeforce a bolt harming The Undead and colored by Chaos-Law part of the caster's alignment; Rainbow Shield applies another spell to those attacking the caster in melee[1] and is colored by the caster's current emotions.
  • In Shadowrun all magicians (and some "physical adepts", a.k.a. Superpowered Martial Artists) get this for free.
  • A power common, in one way or another, to all supernatural beings in the Old World of Darkness. It comes with an extensive chart of colors relating to emotions. Supernatural auras have their own modifiers (a vampire's colors are pale, a werewolf's is frantic, a ghost's flickers like a dying candle...).
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade, a vampire can learn to do this. This can be used for various purposes, from reading emotions to identifying a vampire who has commited diablerie (stole another vampire's power by sucking out his soul -- a vampire equivalent of cannibalism, considered the most heinous crime).
  • The Detect power in GURPS can give any character this power, mages get a minor version for free with Magery.
  • In Warhammer 40000 Daemonic creatures (including the ones hiding inside people) see this way all the time. Because of this, they are never affected by low light situations.


Video Games Edit

  • Pokémon: Lucario, at least in Super Smash Bros Brawl. Snake's box just wasn't enough...
    • Rui, from Pokémon Colosseum. She's the only character able to see the dark purple glow Shadow Pokémon give off. Or, she was until Michael gets his scouter-esque Aura Reader in Gale of Darkness.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, at the cost of making him nearsighted, Link's senses can be honed so he can see spirits, insects of darkness, and digging spots when in wolf form.
  • The title superpowered psychopath from the Half-Life mod "The Hidden" has an "aura view" vision mode, letting him easily spot other players in the dark or even through obstacles and walls.
  • In the Alien vs. Predator FPS games, Xenomorphs have the passive ability to see life forms' auras: humans are surrounded by a blue glow, other Aliens with a red one, while Predators have a green aura. However, Synthetics have no such glow, which occasionally allows them to get the drop on what is otherwise an apex predator.
    • Although the manual suggest they are perceiving pheromones.
      • The Predator's vision modes are similar in that humans give off body heat while synthetics and xenomorphs have detectable electrical fields.
  • In Left 4 Dead, you can see outlines of your team-mates that tell you of their status.
    • In Versus mode, members of the Infected team can also see the survivors' auras, which clues about their health.
    • Realism mode in the sequel removes the aura visions for an added challenge.
  • Altair and, later, Desmond from Assassin's Creed both have this ability. (refereed to as eagles vision) You can use it to tell if people are hostile (red), friendly/ have important information (bright blue), neutral (white) or an assassination target (gold)
    • Expanded on in the sequel, where in addition to the above uses, it now highlights hiding spots, reveals secret glyphs, and plot relevant NPC's you need to tail leave a glowy trail.
    • Expanded further in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, in which Ezio can see where important enemies have been making it easier to figure out where they are.
    • In the multiplayer, the Templars have something similar called Templar Vision.
  • A temporary ability in Battlefield Heroes allows players to see an aura outline of other players through walls and buildings.
  • The spell effect "Detect Life" in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has a similar function, allowing you to see enemies as a vague, pink cloudy form, even in darkness or through walls.
    • Although 'life' is fairly broadly defined, undead and non biological enemies like wisps are also detected.
  • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim has two spells (which are Colour-Coded for Your Convenience) and a shout with this effect. "Detect Life" does just that (With blue for allies and neutrals and red for others), "Detect Dead" will show undead as well as dead creatures (Blue for (un)dead non-enemies and sleeping undead, orange for dead enemies) and the shout "Aura Whisper" which allows you to see all creatures which are not dead but display friend and foe alike as red.
  • Rayne from Blood Rayne can use this to assess health and if someone is aware of her presence.
    • It return is Blood Rayne 2, sans awareness sense but with the added ability to see and access vampire gates, pinpoint objectives and indicate climbable surfaces.
  • Nick Scryer from Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, allows him to see levels of awareness, the past, aura beasts and stealth mines.
  • Nanaya Kiri in the Tsukihime supplementary material had eyes that could detect the emotions and, apparently, humanity of people he was near. It's unknown how this really helped him apart from "this guy, Kishima Kouma, is immensely dangerous because his aura is bright red." Blue and silver were similarly inhuman but were noble and possessed by allies.
  • Prototype has Infected Vision, allowing you to see active/inactive infected, and water towers that are currently incubating hunters.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum Batman has built-in lenses in his cowl that when activated give him an almost X-Ray like view of any nearby characters or surroundings. Enemies carrying guns are marked as entirely red. Anyone else, whether they be enemy or not; are marked as light blue. Objects that can be affected by one of Batman's tools are similarly highlighted.
  • In the second Knights of the Old Republic, your crewmate Visas is a Miraluka, a species that can only see this way, and your similarly blind mentor Kreia chooses to see this way. If you're on good terms with her, you can ask Visas to teach you.
  • Halo 3: ODST uses this as an IFF system.
  • Pyan Pau from The Spirit Engine 2 claims to have this, though we must take his word for it. Mostly it tells him there's something wrong with Ionae, in case it wasn't already obvious.


Web Comics Edit

  • Dan Shive shows us how it's done in this installment of El Goonish Shive, where a "Bloodgrem" gets a good look at Elliot's power level.
    • Anyone powerful enough glows from the perspective of the reader, so this is nothing new for Shive.
  • Tina from Wapsi Square, who find reading emotions easier than figuring out expressions and body language.
  • Vanity Thorn from Sequential Art can apparently see Auras as well as ghosts.
  • Flayer in Mindflayed began to see aura traces when he developed his mental powers... well, some of them.
  • Lucy from Moon Crest 24 has this in the form of reading heat signatures, as she's able to detect ghosts
  • In Magick Chicks Faith (who got a wide assortment of powers) during one incident mentioned that a girl's aura "is positively growling", but "there's no killing intent" in it. She is evidently too overconfident to use this ability for trivial things like checking people she invites to her house - which allowed a little misunderstanding with Layla.


Web Original Edit

  • Shroud of the Whateley Universe has this, among other powers. She can't see normal light, but she can see the emotions people have, along with being able to 'see' magic and some mutant powers.


Western Animation Edit

  • Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender claims to have this ability, as she occasionally makes reference to the colors of other people's auras. While at the circus, she remarks that her aura has "never been pinker!" One season later, in "The Beach", she says that Mai's aura is a "pale, dingy, gray...." Considering Mai's personality, this is hardly surprising. No word on what color the other characters' auras are, though, since it never really came up outside of those two instances.
    • It's really ambiguous whether she really has this power. Mai doesn't believe her, and for what we saw, Ty Lee just makes obvious statement about the person's mood.
    • Plus, she's not exactly reliable.
  • In the first season of Winx Club Bloom discovers that when she's on Earth, she can see people's auras. This power was shown again in an episode of season two, but it seems that the writers forgot that she had this power in season four...
  • The dragons in Wakfu have this power. Grougaloragran used it to find a suitable adoptive parent for Yugo, and can also Detect Evil with it. Elaitropes can learn to do this too, and Yugo is taught by Adamaï while they travel by themselves.
    • Likewise for Nox's cube vision. Justified in that the cube is closely related to Eliatropes.
  • Shirley from Tiny Toon Adventures has this power, as seen in How I Spent My Vacation.


Real life Edit

  • There have been frequent claims that what Kirlian effect (aka Gas Discharge Visualization) allows to photograph are auras. Matter of jargon naming convention, of course.
  • Not auras, exactly, but many aquatic animals such as sharks, dolphins, and platypi are able to detect the electrical energy generated by the nervous system of living animals, effectively functioning as a "life-detector".
  • Some other animals, including cats, snakes, and mosquitoes, can see infrared light, which radiates off of living animals. It might as well be Aura Vision - to one of these animals, you will appear to glow. Mosquitoes can even use it to find good spots for biting.
  • Michael Crichton claims he has this in his autobiography Travels.

Notes

  1. one fireball is used to fry the attackers repeatedly, instead of blowing up the whole room once

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