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There's all sorts of ways to see someone or something with Invisibility.

See-Thru Specs is a Sub-Trope. Compare Invisibility Flicker, for when the invisible entity makes itself visible through some flaw with their invisibility, and Visible Invisibility, where the invisible character is visible to the audience.

Examples of See the Invisible include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Dragon Ball, Yamcha defeated the Invisible Man after the Turtle Hermit (aka Master Roshi) had a nosebleed that spilled all over the Invisible Man.
  • In Keroro Gunsou, the Keronians' anti-barrier makes them invisible to humans, but they also have control over who can see them. In rare cases, a person is able to see them regardless.
  • In Gantz, the hunters get controllers with the ability to turn their user invisible by "changing their frequency". Those who are also invisible and thus on the same frequency and see each other. The vampires carry with themselves special glasses and contacts with which they can see through the camouflage. Also some of the aliens, for example the Nurarihyon, can see the invisible without any sort of equipment at all.

Film - Animation

Film - Live Action

  • In the Predator movies, the title creature's invisibility device shorted out when immersed in water.
  • Skinner from the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wears white makeup so people can see his face. He also wears clothes, of course.
    • Another invisible man (Sanderson Reed, actually) becomes partially visible when covered in dust. Also, Skinner later gets burned with a flamethrower, showing charred skin.
  • The invisibility process in Hollow Man doesn't stop the subjects from showing up on thermal cameras. The villain is also accidentally revealed just prior to an attack by the smoke from his victim's cigarette. In the climax, the heroes throw around paint to try and make him visible, or at least make sure his footprints show up.


  • Fairy Tales and other magical lore indicate that a seeing stone also allows one to see things that have magicked themselves invisible.
  • In the Harry Potter series, we've been shown several ways in which Invisibility Cloaks can be thwarted. The ability of dementors to sense people is not impaired by invisibility cloaks. Moody's magical eye can see through invisibility cloaks. A person wearing an invisibility cloak still shows up on the Marauder's Map. Mrs. Norris may or may not be able to see through invisibility cloaks. There are also some mundane constraints, such as the fact that the wearer remains solid, remains capable of making noise, etc.
  • The wizards' Sight in The Dresden Files series can, among other things, pierce any kinds of veils and invisibility tricks. The downside of it is that not only does it show you that something is there, it shows you its true form, which is the last thing you want to see with the most supernatural heavy-hitters. Plus, there is a small fact that you can never ever forget anything you've seen with your Sight.
  • In the novelisation of the Doctor Who serial "The Daleks' Master Plan", the Doctor and his companions, on a planet inhabited by invisible monsters, throw one into a swamp to render it visible. The scene isn't present in the original serial.

Live Action TV

  • In 1983's Invisible Woman Pilot Movie, during the climax, Alexa Hamilton got covered in mud, making her visible.
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, the humans were fighting an invisible enemy called the Reetou, but are given devices from the Tok'ra (Transphase Eradication Rods, or TERs) that can render them visible.
    • These rods show up again when Nirrti develops a personal cloaking device based on natural Reetou ability. They also sweep the base several time throughout the series using TERs.
  • In the Sci-Fi Channel Invisible Man series, Darien shows up on thermals not because he's hot but because he's cold, as quicksilver blocks visible light.
  • In Lost Girl, Bo could see auras, or at least sexual auras, and as such saw an invisible man when he was near the women he loved.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons has several examples.
    • Early articles advised spreading dust/flour on the floor (to see footprints) or throwing flour/dust/water in the air (so it coats the opponent and reveals an outline).
    • Certain spells can be used this way, such as True Seeing and True Sight.
    • Dust of Appearance makes anything invisible it's sprinkled on become visible for everyone. Reveal Invisible (Al-Quadim) and Invisibility Purge (D&D3) spells do the same. Glitterdust doesn't remove invisibility as such, but anything corporeal dusted with sparkles becomes very noticeable.
  • Star Fleet Battles: It's possible to see cloaked Romulan ships with the "flash cube" effect (detonating a transporter bomb or mine).
  • Call of Cthulhu
    • Supplement Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, adventure "Devil's Canyon": A race of invisible monsters can be seen if looked at through camera lenses prepared using Cthulhu Mythos knowledge.
    • When the Powder of Ibn Ghazi is sprinkled on invisible monsters, it makes them visible.


  • Bionicle: in the Mata Nui Online Game, a Muaka manages to snatch Kopaka, who was using the mask of invisibility, in its jaws after determining where Kopaka was by looking at his footprints in the snow.

Video Games

  • In Eternal Darkness, there's a level where you must (well, if you want some goodies, including a BFG, anyway) protect the player character's servants from an invisible monster. You can make this a lot easier by using the "reveal invisible" spell.
  • Nethack: The grammatically suspect Ring of See Invisible and Potion of See Invisible grant this ability. You can acquire this power permanently by eating the flesh of a Stalker.
  • The Lens of Truth in The Legend of Zelda games allows Link to see invisible things, as well as see through illusionary things like fake walls or floors.
  • Tohno Shiki's power in Tsukihime prior to his near-death experience was "to see things which are hidden" - within the story it lets him see the normally invisible projections of a magical attack. After his near-death experience he can also see where death is hidden in every object and person, giving him One-Hit Kill powers but also threatening his sanity with the result that he must block his power with special glasses.
  • Team Fortress 2: bumping into a cloaked spy reveals his outline. Fire is effective in revealing cloaked Spies, hence the importance of a Pyro's spychecking. Jarate and Mad Milk can be used to short out a Spy's cloak and reveal him to yourself and allies. Weapons that inflict bleed can be used to track cloaked spies if it hits.

Western Animation

  • Jonny Quest once had this invisible monster which was created by some Applied Phlebotinum and went on a rampage. Jonny and Hadji dumped a bunch of paint over it, which not only made it visible, but also made it look much less terrifying.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "The Invisible Mouse", Tom tries to find an invisible Jerry by throwing flour on the floor so that Jerry would leave footprints. When he does, Tom tries to hit him with a frying pan. Moments later, the words "Missed me" appear on the flour.
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