Weakened by the Light
Blinded by the light...
Manfred MannBruce Springsteen
Light is a powerful thing. Some enemies, especially those who specialize in Casting a Shadow, are weakened by it, if not outright destroyed. The reason is simple: Light Is Good + Good Hurts Evil = Light Hurts Evil.
Sunlight seems to be particularly potent, which gives Cue the Sun a whole new meaning for such nocturnal nasties. Works fond of Doing In the Wizard often explain this as an aversion to ultraviolet light.
If the author is not careful, this can overlap with Weaksauce Weakness, or at least Kryptonite Is Everywhere. May be counteracted with a Kryptonite-Proof Suit. This might be one of the reasons it's Grim Up North - the longer nights give sunlight-averse creatures more time to hunt.
For a mundane equivalent, see Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes, which does not carry the moral connotations.
Anime and Manga
- Sunako from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge.
- A variation of this trope appears in Fullmetal Alchemist. Pride, the shadow homunculus, isn't generally hurt by light; in fact, he is unable to use his powers without a light source. However, if the light becomes too bright (for example, the light from a flash bomb) he is damaged and his philosopher's stone depleted.
- Beyond that, Pride needs light to use his powers by casting shadows, but he can't approach a source of light too closely, because the light would illuminate his shadows and destroy them. This is seen when Hohenheim first encounters Pride.
- Pointedly averted with Mahou Sensei Negima and its resident vampire Evangeline, who is not harmed by sunlight. It does however make her somewhat sleepy, so she's often seen with a parasol anyway. One of her many nicknames is "The High Daylight Walker", emphasizing this trait.
- Used in Gintama against Housen, The Night King. The Yato in general are weakened by light - it's why they all carry umbrellas - but Housen spent years out of the sunlight. When exposed to it for the first time in ages, it kills him fairly quickly.
- In One Piece, people who've had their shadows stolen by Gecko Moria disintegrate in sunlight.
- Ouran High School Host Club had several episodes of this with Nekozawa.
- In Vampire Hunter D, sunlight isn't immediately fatal to vampires. Rather, exposure to more than a few seconds of direct sunlight causes them to catch fire, burning painfully so long as they are exposed. Heroic Willpower is invoked if a vampire stays in sunlight to do something important, as is a vampiric Healing Factor if they make it back to shade.
- Though only the High Nobility are capable of even trying this. Most vampires are entirely comatose during the day, even if they remain underground.
- Obviously, the vampires in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, who are shattered by sunlight (and hamon, which emulates sunlight); the inference seems to be that vampirism fills you to the brim with vital energy, to the point that excess energy is like inflating an overinflated balloon. The ogre progenitors of the vampires also suffered this, but only to the degree of being petrified while bathed in sunlight, and reverting afterwards.
- The Stand Black Sabbath from part 5 is also like this, on account of actually being a shadow. Lots of light=inability for shadows to exist, so...
- The Batman Hakki from Yaiba is scorched by the sunlight and screams in pain when exposed to it. Oddly, he's fine while wearing sunglasses.
- Aaroniero from Bleach cannot stand sunlight and he cannot maintain his shape-shifting in the light.
- Van Von Hunter parodies this twice in the same arc. First, a vampire proclaims its invincibility since the moon is up—and doesn't burn until after it's reminded that moonlight is reflected sunlight. Then, the title character tries to distract another vampire until sunrise, and takes so long doing so that the sun sets again.
- In Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, Hades is severely damaged by sunlight as long as it's enough to overpower his defenses.
- Night Lass was a member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and, in some continuities, later a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Her gimmick was that she had super-strength, but only in the dark. Turn on a lamp, and she's normal.
- Ditto Greymalkin, one of the supporting X-Men characters.
- The Darkness, of course.
- The monsters under Calvin's bed in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series vanish with light. Except for Jark, because he's partly absorbed Calvin's DNA. It doesn't last, though.
- Gremlins: Strong light will hurt them, sunlight will kill them.
- Nosferatu is usually credited as the origin of the idea that sunlight kills vampires.
- Pitch Black: the alien monsters are burned by light.
- In Blade, the vampires have some kind of realism - no religious material is involved, but they're are allergic to garlic and silver, and take damage to sunlight. So Blade burns/tortures a vampire with an UV lamp, eventually burning him to death.
- In Blade II, Blade's new sidekick builds UV grenades.
- Abigail Whistler in Blade Trinity uses a bat'leth-like weapon that has a UV beam instead of a blade.
- In Blade II, Blade's new sidekick builds UV grenades.
- In the 1985 film Legend, the Big Bad is named Darkness, and is defeated with sunlight sent with mirrors deep into his underground lair.
- Older Than Television: Bram Stoker's Dracula lost almost all of his powers when standing in sunlight.
- Subverted. Dracula is weak only at sunup and sundown. Being in sunlight has no direct affect on him (he's seen approaching Lucy before the sun goes down). However since he's weak at sunup and sundown they use this to great affect when they open his coffin just as the sun sets. This is brought up in Blade Trinity that he's a daywalker like Blade.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth, the sun and moon are creations and symbols of the forces of good, and the evil servants of the Dark Lords generally have trouble with sunlight.
- Orcs are weakened and frightened by strong light and especially sunlight. They usually march under the cover of night, or under supernatural cloud-cover. On two occasions during The Lord of the Rings series, the Orcs are pushed back by the appearance of a powerful light (though, admittedly, usually accompanied by some good ol' fashioned swords).
- Subverting this was the chief advantage of the Uruk-Hai; unlike other orcs, they were part-human and thus could go about during the day without any problems.
- In The Hobbit, trolls are turned to stone by sunlight.
- The fear that radiates from the Nazgul is weakened during the day. Everything is less scary by the light of day.
- In The Dresden Files magic itself gets weakened by sunlight: Spells and wards that aren't constantly maintained tend only to last until the next sunrise. Sunlight also damages or annoys several supernatural creatures.
- The Red Court vampires get hurt by sunlight; Harry hits Bianca with a handkerchief full of stored sunlight, and it burns through her meat sack to reveal the bat-thing beneath.
- The most powerful Reds are immune to this so long as they stay in human form; in giant-demon-bat-from-hell form they're still vulnerable to it.
- Black Court vampires are forced to fall dormant during the day (whether or not they're harmed at all by actual exposure to sunlight isn't made clear). The more powerful ones can still be active during this time, but their powers are somewhat weakened.
- White Court vampires, on the other hand, avert this outright; they're never shown to experience any discomfort from daylight (probably because physically, they're humans who happen to have very hungry demons piggybacking on their souls, as opposed to the blatantly inhuman other two courts).
- Sunlight, by its nature as a force that disrupts magic, will destroy ghosts who are not in "shelter" (such as their graves) when daytime arrives. Harry learns this the hard way in Ghost Story.
- In the Coldfire Trilogy, dark fae is (according to the Hunter the only human who has ever been able to harness it) fragile enough to be weakened by a candle. However, in utter darkness it is powerful enough to stave off death itself, which is how the Hunter has cheated death for centuries.
- Alison Sinclair's Darkborn trilogy focuses around two races divided by an ancient curse: the Lightborn, who cannot tolerate the dark, and the Darkborn, who are fatally burned by light, except for firelight (they are blind and operate via an inherent sonar ability). Notably most of the main viewpoint characters are Darkborn.
Live Action TV
- "Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark, but they're wrong, because it's not irrational. It's Vashta Nerada." --Doctor Who, Silence in the Library. A definite case of Most Writers Are Human since the idea that almost every species fears the dark is... not even remotely true. However, it's possible that he was referring only to sapient species and/or exaggerating.
- In Castle, a case involving vampire fetishists uncovers a obsessively fixated 'vampire' whose skin burns when it makes contact with light. Turns out he has an exceptionally rare skin condition.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and sister series Angel vampires have a strange version of this. Direct sunlight will almost instantly immolate them, but they are portrayed as perfectly fine operating during the day as long as they remain in the shade.
- The giant winged serpent in the Sanctuary episode "The Depths is intolerant of sunlight. This is what kicks off the plot initially. Remembering this helps Magnus and Will sneak past it later in the episode.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- In 1st Edition, exposure to sunlight rendered a vampire powerless and killed it in 1 turn (10 minutes). In 2nd edition, sunlight killed vampires in 1 round (1 minute).
- In both 1E and 2E, spectres were made powerless by daylight and both shades and shadow demons were much weaker (and easier to kill) in bright light.
- Basic D&D adventure IM3 The Best of Intentions: one plane's inhabitants are sentient bubbles who are destroyed if ordinary light falls on them.
- Drow and Duergar are weakened (or dazed) by sunlight, until 4th edition anyway.
- Bodaks took 1 Hit Point of damage per round they spent in sunlight.
- In Ravenloft, sunlight is even more lethal for drow vampires than it is for normal vampires or drow, vaporizing them instantly. What's worse, even moonlight pains them, and even under a new moon, starlight makes them unable to regenerate.
- Myconids are terrified of sunlight; surface-dwellers don't know exactly what it does to them, but they do know that a myconid will die before leaving the Underdark.
- In Shadowrun, Awakened creatures (including metahuman variants) could have special allergies, such as to sunlight. Creatures with that allergy included the banshee (undead elf), barghest (dog-like), ghouls (humans infected with a magical virus), vampires and wendigo (orks infected with a virus).
- Darklings from Changeling: The Lost are humans who were reshaped by the Gentry into nightmares, terrors, and other creatures of twilight. As a result, they take a penalty to using Contracts (magical powers) during the day, one that gets worse if they try it while in direct sunlight.
- Two main things do aggravated damage to vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem: fire, and sunlight. Not only do they hurt like hell, but the mere presence of either can drive the Beast into a state of mortal fear where it hijacks the vampire's body and runs shrieking into the dark.
- In Requiem, a vampire's actions during daytime are always capped according to their Humanity; the less in touch with their human conscience they are, the harder it is to do anything during the day.
- In Masquerade, the Followers of Set's clan curse means they are affected by any sufficiently bright light as if it was sunlight. Even the light of the full moon is enough to physically annoy them.
- Exalted: Charms by the Ebon Dragon—The Shadow of All Things—are weaker or can't function at all in sunlight... of Creation. It works just fine under Hell's green sun. Also, they can't be used to defend against Holy charms.
- Luigi's Mansion: most ghosts must be hit by Luigi's flashlight in order to expose their hearts to be sucked up.
- Alan Wake: Wake must shine his flashlight on the Taken (humans who've been possessed by the Dark Presence) in order to weaken the shadows enveloping them and make them vulnerable to his bullets. Sufficiently bright light (like flashbang grenades or the flaregun) will destroy the Taken outright.
- Gears of War: Kryll have an aversion to light.
- Blind the Thief from The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past might count. You have to expose him to sunlight to reveal his true form, but it happens before the battle starts.
- A boss in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker could be damaged by letting down shafts of light.
- In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, our light is not only painful for Twili, but (at least in Midna's case, although she was cursed at the time) fatal.
- Another example is in The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask: while you can defeat the skeleton minibosses normally, they'll just keep reviving over and over unless you shine sunlight on them while they're downed.
- Playing the Sun's Song in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time near Redeads will stun them for a while and in Wind Waker, you can stun them for a few seconds by shining light on them with the mirror shield.
- A dragon boss in Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Serpent, is weakened significantly the more sunlight you reflect onto him by making use of the environment. Without that he is nigh-unbeatable.
- Played straight with the bosses in LIT, and almost any potential source of light (desktop lamps, cherry bombs, etc.) available in the room may be used.
- In Metroid Prime 2, the Ing must possess other creatures to enter the Light side of Aether, and use of the Light Beam to energize protective fields on Dark Aether can vaporize weaker Ing.
- Defied in The Witcher saga - a vampire (unhurt by sunlight) gives a lecture about how humans, being helpless in the dark, associate light with hope and by extension attribute light sensitivity to many evil creatures.
- Played with in AGD Interactive's King's Quest II Fan Remake. An enchantment-breaking talisman requires that sunlight be shined through it onto the person, creature, or item enchanted in order to break the enchantment.
- At one point in The Lost Crown, Nigel must open a window and let in some sunlight to repel a black, smokey entity that is stalking him. Subverted in that actually defeating the entity takes another step or two, and other ghosts in the game are active in broad daylight.
- Many enemies in Boktai can be killed by simple sunlight. Tricking one boss into an open window damages him greatly. The main character also uses a gun that focuses sunlight; and for enemies that would return even from this; there are ways of focusing sunlight even more.
- Kingdom Hearts: The Heartless, as beings of darkness, are weakened and destroyed by light.
- Resident Evil 4: Flashbang Grenades can kill Las Plagas instantly.
- The final form of Okami's boss, Yami, is powered up by darkness and weakened by sunlight. Fortunately, you, as the wolf-goddess Amaterasu, can Cue the Sun.
- None of the hostile monsters will spawn in Minecraft if there is enough light. In addition, spiders become non-aggressive during sunlight while zombies, skeletons and endermen will outright burn in the sunlight.
- In the Zombie Apocalypse mission in StarCraft II, the Infested Terrans will outright burn if caught out in the sun. (They don't exhibit this property in any other map; Hanson mentions Meinhoff's sun emits a ridiculous amount of dangerous UV energy.) This splits the mission into alternating phases of defense (hole up in bunkers and shoot anything that gets close) and offense (burn the whole map to the ground).
- The Legacy of Kain series varies from one game to another regarding how light affects vampires. In Blood Omen, Kain is weaker during the day than at night due to the sun's effects, though not outright harmed by it, and light from other sources has no unusual effects. In Soul Reaver, fledgling vampires are killed by exposure to sunlight, but adult vampires are unharmed (with the exception of the Rahabim, who retain their weakness to sunlight into adulthood in exchange for losing their weakness to water). Later games in the series don't mention it one way or the other.
- In Turok 2, Blind Ones, due to years of living in darkness, are allergic to sunlight, and thus Sunfire Pods kill them instantly.
- Disgaea's platforming spin-off, Prinny, takes a spin on this. The game starts during the morning, and as the stages are cleared and the story advances, time passes until it's dark out, with the difficulty gradually increasing, both seen with the stages changing and adding new elements, and the end of stage bosses getting tougher. It's generally believed that weaker demons are out during the daytime to avoid the stronger demons who come out to play at night, though there do seem to be some exceptions.
- In Famous 2 has a Dunbar Beam, a searchlight with amped up UV powers to fight off the Corrupted. No, they're not just weakened, they spontaneously combust. Even tough creatures like Ravagers fall in three seconds flat thanks to these.
- During a mission in Mass Effect 2, Shepard and his/her squad fight on a planet orbiting an unstable star. The immense radiation quickly shorts out shields, so Shepard must stay out of the sunlight to maintain a tactical advantage.
- The Big Bad of Dragon Fable the Mysterious Stranger's original form had this weakness. He spent the entire game manipulating Sepulchre, the Shadowscythe, and even the heroes so he could create a more powerful body that wouldn't have this weakness. He recently succeeded by merging with the near-dead Drakath Darkness Dragon (itself a fusion of Drakath, Fluffy the Dracolich and the Ultimate Orb) and became the Ultimate Darkness Dragon. He then summoned every spirit of darkness in the world out of hiding to blanket the world in darkness.
- Mentioned as a gag in Grandia II. Millennia screams about the accursed light of the sun the first time she is seen during the day (The sun had risen while the party was underground). Then she says "Hah! Fooled you, didn't I?".
- Touhou has vampires Remilia and Flandre Scarlet, who have the standard weakness to sunlight. The plot of the game they're introduced in, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, is kicked off by Remilia's attempt to block out the sun with a red mist, so that she can go outside whenever she wants. Unlike some stories' vampires, they wouldn't actually be killed by sunlight. It does, however, turn their skin to ash, which is then absorbed into their body and regenerates into new skin. Presumably, the process repeats for as long as they're in the sun.
- Minecraft has zombies and skeletons burst into flames if they are exposed to sunlight. However, thanks to their enhanced AI, they're smart enough to seek out shade under a tree or a pool of water to hide from the light and to extinguish the flames.
- Chaotic units in Battle for Wesnoth are weakened by light; generally this is sunlight provided by the day-night cycle, but some special illuminated hexes (such as lava tiles) and powerful light-magic auras can achieve similar effects.
- Played for Laughs in Wulffmorgenthaler, where a vampire is burned to ashes by UV light in a tanning bed.
- In Sinfest vampires are the counter-examples to the wonderfulness of The Power of the Sun. Whether vampires actually exist in that 'verse or not is unknown.
- In No Rest for The Wicked the moon's disappearance has been hardest on the poor, because it kept creatures of darkness at bay.
- In Xyber 9: New Dawn, The Machina can't handle sunlight due to the virus they're all infected with.
- The Imperium in Justice League had no resistance to sunlight.
- The Kanabo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward are weak against sunlight. Light is also Sh'Okanabo's weakness, as revealed in the penultimate episode "The Day of Awakening". Hence, why Sh'Okanabo wanted to block out the sun so it wouldn't interrupt his plans to cover the world with Kanabo drones again.
Viral: Analysis indicates that the unique wavelength of this planet's solar radiation's focus through its unusually oxygenated atmosphere has a dire effect on the emerging symbiosis. In other words...
Sh'Okanabo: All of my efforts have been in vain! The Kanabo cannot survive on Earth. (Angrily roars as he throws a temper tantrum and tosses everything around in his ship) This place could sustain us for centuries if not for its accursed sun... But perhaps... That obstacle can be eliminated. (laughs evilly)
- Being a vampire, Marceline from Adventure Time can't be in sunlight without an umbrella or some kind of shade, or she'll burn and die.
- The Powerpuff Girls episode "Boogie Frights" had the Boogie Man and his minions being allergic to the sun so they block it with a giant disco bulb, eventually once the girls destroy it the sunlight disintegrates them.
- Zartan from G.I. Joe. The experiments done on him give him amazing powers, but a severe weakness to sunlight. Exactly how it works and what qualifies as enough sunlight seems to vary from episode to episode.
- Ben 10 introduces Ghostfreak, a subconscious alien that broke free from the Omnitrix with plans to take over. When Ben used his DNA, he had a sun-proof cloak that hide his true appearance, restricted his power, and protected him from sunlight (which could burn him to death). But when he went rogue, he got rid of the sun-cloak and went out his way to make the world filled with darkness.
- Fantasia: the Black God Chernabog is interrupted when light shines on him, causing him to wince and shield his eyes.
- The Nightbreed from Static Shock. Continuous exposure to light seems to leave them very weakened and feeling sick.
- Ebon also counts, although he can come out in daylight and be just fine. Only a focused beam of light seems to weaken him.
- Mumm-ra from Thundercats 2011 has this as his Weaksauce Weakness, though interestingly enough his earlier counterpart didn't.
- In the Teen Titans episode "Haunted", Robin is infected by a gas that gives him nightmarish visions of Slade stalking and hunting him. Eventually, however, he realizes these visions can only exist in the dark. "Light's out, Slade," he says, flicking the light switch on and causing the villain to disappear.