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Loose Spirits ( () (りょう) , shiryou) are the wandering souls of dead humans who passed on through murder or accidents.

These souls have the capability of becoming shinki if they are named by a god, at which point they gain various abilities including transformation into a vessel, as well as usage of spells, songs, Shinki/Abilities#Curses, and borderlines. Because of this, if they remain unnamed, they are vulnerable to being attacked by phantoms. In that event that they become corrupted by a phantom, their vessel form will be damaged in some way if they ever become a shinki.[1]

Appearance

Loose spirits can take many different forms. According to Nora, this is due to the existence of multiple different religions and belief systems concerning life after death.[2]

Daikoku as a loose spirit.

For example, Mineha appears as regular human.[1] When Daikoku was a loose spirit, he was shown to be mostly human-like– but he lacked legs and feet, floating in the air much like a yūrei.[3] Hiyori's grandfather took on a shadowy, vaguely humanoid figure after death because he wanted to see his wife and his wife wanted him to take her with him.[2] Yukine appeared as a sudama.[4]

However, once they become shinki, all loose spirits take on a fully human-like appearance. Should their name be revoked, they seem to maintain their human form instead of reverting to their original spirit form, as demonstrated by Mayu,[5] Sakura,[6] and Momo.[7]

Pristine Souls

Yukine as a sudama.

Pristine Souls ( () (だま) , sudama) are the most base form of a spirit. Loose spirits become sudama after a long time wandering; although the exact duration remains unspecified, it takes less then thirty years, as evidenced by Yukine.

Appearance-wise, they are pale, dandelion-like orbs with beady eyes and triangular lips. They seem to be about palm-sized, but grow smaller over time.

Sudama are subject to many possible fates. They can descend and return to the mountains with the change of seasons; they can be reborn; they can be named by a god or corrupted by a phantom; or after some time they can eventually just cease to exist. It is implied by Nora that the fate for each sudama was predetermined while they were alive. Yukine was apparently too young to have his fate decided, so once he became a sudama he remained in that form.[2]

Memories

Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode.

Loose spirits at first retain some or all of their memories, which then fade over time. Nora claims that Yukine had probably been wandering in the mountains with all of his memories intact, until eventually his spirit dissolved into sudama form.[2] Additionally, a loose spirit that Yukine met did not realize she was dead and remembered that her mother was supposed to come pick her up at six o'clock.[8]

It has been stated that when a loose spirit is named by a god, their posthumous name seals away the memories of their first life.[citation needed] This may partially explain why the God's Greatest Secret becomes so traumatic for shinki, as they are suddenly bombarded with unfavorable memories that had previously been locked away. Despite this, loose spirits and shinki are still capable of retaining fear-based emotions that stemmed from their deaths: Yukine is afraid of confined spaces and the dark[citation needed] after being locked inside a refrigerator,[2] and Mayu is uncomfortable around large fires[9] after being burned alive.[10]

Characters

Characters who were introduced as loose spirits:

Characters who have become loose spirits:

Characters who have been retroactively shown as loose spirits:

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Chapter 13: Signs (Vol 4)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Chapter 86-2: The Box (Vol 22)
  3. Chapter 42: Causes Nothing But Disaster (Vol 11)
  4. Chapter 3: Like Snow (Vol1)
  5. Chapter 1: The Man in the Sweatsuit (Vol1)
  6. Chapter 46: Children At Play (Vol 12)
  7. Chapter 78: Object of Desire (Vol 20)
  8. Chapter 5: Borderline (Vol 2)
  9. Volume 16: Surprise Character Trivia Part 2 (Author's Notes)
  10. Chapter 43: Secrets (Vol 11)
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