There are many different phantoms of all shapes and sizes, each one generally feed off the darkness in people and corrupt the 'good' in one's heart. They have a certain fondness for the smell of gods and shinki. It is unknown how the phantoms are able to exist on the Near Shore alongside humans, but they can be expelled and killed by shinki (either wielded by gods, or using borderlines). They cannot be seen by humans under normal circumstances, but animals, small children, and people who are especially perceptive to beings of the Far Shore can see them.
Although doing so normally results in extensive blight (and oftentimes, death), gods are able to name phantoms using the following incantation:
My name is [god's name]. Grasping your true name, I affix upon you a mask. Holding a false name, you become my servant. Here I gather your name. You cannot disobey my command. You swear allegiance on this mask. Descend, [chosen name]!
All phantoms look different. Some have cute appearances whilst others appear scary. They can range from being small enough to fit in the palm on one's hand or large enough to tower over a city. They appear slightly transparent and are usually black, white, grey, or a mixture of fluorescent colors.
Some of the Phantoms resemble real animals or objects based on animals. Some notable examples are:
- Bunny Plushie
- Dinosaur Fossil
Some of the Phantoms resemble other objects. Some notable examples are:
- Coin Purse
Main article: Masked Phantoms
Masked phantoms are created using the Locution Brush. Visually, they are no different from regular phantoms, except for the presence of either a physical mask or a two-dimensional pattern of the mask. In terms of abilities, masked phantoms are capable of both understanding and using human speech, and are shown to mindlessly obey the orders or their creators.
- Hiyori is a Half-Phantom. This is because she was almost run over by an oncoming bus while trying to save Yato. This seems to be an extremely rare phenomenon, as neither Yato nor Tenjin are sure how it can be reversed.
- Yukine has nearly turned into a Phantom a total of three times, but was twice saved due to an ablution ceremony and once saved using the Locution Brush.
- Nora is noted to have a second, phantom-like form, which is the reason why she doesn't get stung.