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Love is in the air
—John Paul Young, "Love is In the Air"
Love Potions are finicky, delicate beasts. It should come as no surprise that especially poorly made or potent ones combine the far reaching effects of the Hate Plague and the Love Potion into a deadly smog that makes even the most Chaste Hero and throngs of Innocent Bystanders fall for the drinker.
When Love Is in the Air, you may see a decentralized "Love Flu" that makes everyone who comes in contact experience a rebirth of the sixties and free love. The other possibility is it acts as an amped up airborne Love Potion, making anyone of the opposite gender fall in love and sometimes those of the same enter a murderous jealous rage (or unexplainable attraction).
Has a friend in Smells Sexy; and the role of sex pheremones, the purpose of which (in Real Life, that is) is to communicate one's biological availability to other members of the same species (and only that species), primarily useful if you only go into heat for a few days per year and don't know whether you'll survive the other 364 days to get another chance later. Compare Glamour, where a character emits Love Is In The Air naturally.
Anime and Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima used this trope in in the first volume of the manga.
- There was a chapter of To Love Ru that featured Lala accidentally handing a Love Potion to everyone in her class. Hilarity Ensues.
- In the 2006 version of Kujibiki Unbalance, a love-inducing perfume used by Shinobu in order to get her brother Chihiro to love her ends up causing her to be chased by the entire school, and its zoo.
- In Seto no Hanayome, Nagasumi unwittingly drank a love potion that made him irresistible to any females... and also had the side effect of making him completely hated by any males.
- In Akazukin Chacha a love potion accidentally gets mixed into a school lunch, dosing students and teachers alike. They chase the target person around and threaten to get into jealous fights until she hides and it wears off.
- In episode 2 of To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, Kuroko tried ways to get Misaka to drink a love potion she ordered via delivery, but ended up drinking the potion herself by mistake.
- In Episode 15 of Inukami!, Keita obtained a "love" medicine that makes anyone he sees fall for him, but doesn't seem to work towards Yoko, his love interest.
- Franken Fran tries to make an actor more "charismatic" using pheremones in chapter 36, but her calculations are a little off and the situation gets out of control. Notably, she acknowledges that pheremones don't normally have much of an effect on people, but somehow makes it work anyway.
- Batman villainess Poison Ivy secretes potent pheromones from her skin. In her first canonical appearance, it's enough (combined with her generally desirable appearance) to make a man leave his wife on the spot to accept a hallucinatory kiss from her. Batman himself is affected, and later on in the Batcave he won't stop talking about how beautiful and sexy Ivy is. Until Alfred turns the water in his shower freezing cold.
- New X-Men featured Wallflower, a mutant girl who could cause people to experience any variety of emotions through pheromone release. She inherited her powers from her father, who had used them to seduce her mother. The father was also introduced in the series, but Wallflower was killed off before the subplot could go anywhere.
- Recent Marvel villain Daken has this ability, and uses it CONSTANTLY. Considering he's a bad guy, that's not that surprising.
- Fellow Marvel baddie the Purple Man beat Daken to the punch by about thirty years. And for extra-special-squick, he used it to father at least one daughter with a mind-controlled ladyfriend. That daughter, known as the Purple Girl, inherited the power, and used it to mind control Northstar in her first appearance. (The worst part? The editorial slant on the subject was: Purple Man uses the power for this purpose, he's a monster. Purple Girl uses it for the same purpose, she gets invited to join a superhero team.)
- The Anime Addventure features a Hentai story thread where an actual infection called the Lemon Flu infected the globe. Its effects include gifting men and women with perfect bodies, and behaving like an aphrodisiac.
- Nobody Dies has this as the effect of Lilith's Anti-AT Field: any men and women caught in it immediately feel compelled to make babies. It takes extreme willpower to resist (although repeated application of cold water can help). Family members are exempt from this, fortunately. Hilarity Ensues when Shinji accidentally starts projecting the same Field at his school.
- Love Potion No 9 starts with a basic Love Potion (although one that works continuously and can affect anyone with the right orientation that hears the imbiber's voice), but moves into this trope when a prostitute takes the concentrated version and empties a church just by clearing her throat.
- A variation was used in Max Keebles Big Move. The titular character and his friends ended up adding in animal pheronomes into Principal Jindrake's mouthspray, so whenever he ends up using it, Animals will end up either crawling over him, biting him in the leg, pouncing and jumping on him, and even chase him, and was primarily done to humiliate him.
- Perfume is about a sociopath who is trying to create the perfect smell. The catch? His perfume is made from the scents of murdered virgins. Once finished the perfume was so potent and delightful, that it induced a massive orgy in a enormous crowd, with just few drops.
- Ring World has a rather Nightmare Fuel-ish example in the Ringworld Vampires, a species of non-sentient hominids which use pheromones to draw in other hominids so that they can feed off of them. This gets even more disturbing when it is revealed that they would have been destroyed long ago, except that every time there was a serious push to eradicate them, some City Builder with more lust than sense would keep a secret enclave of de-fanged vampires as sex toys, or in order to make perfume from their pheromones, and sooner or later a breeding pair would escape into the wild...
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe has at least two different alien species packing cross-species pheromones. Both of them seem to have weird effects on people, and questionable ideas as to what constitutes consent. Oh yeah, and one of the two species can bottle pheromones and produce a Love Potion for anyone who can pay. Surely such things are always used responsibly.
- One of the two species mentioned above is the Falleen. There is, against all reason, a Falleen Jedi. He does, in fact, use his pheromones to help on Jedi missions (it helps that this is the new Jedi Order) - but then, everybody else would just use the Mind Trick. And one of his squadmates threatens bodily harm if she ever finds out he's using it to "get dates".
- The other species is the Zeltrons, a race of rosy-skinned near-human hedonists with powerful pheremones. However, they also have strong receptive empathy, so it really is in their best interest to make sure everyone around them is truly happy and consenting. That said, I do recall reading of a sadistic Dark Side Zeltron somewhere.
- Bruce Coville's book Juliet Dove, Queen of Love had the titular character come into possession of a necklace formerly owned by Helen of Troy. Predictably, the necklace causes every boy in her school to fall in love with her (and cause a commotion by piling up in front of her house), and cannot be removed after being put on.
- Henry Sackerman's novel The Love Bomb fits in here better than anywhere else: A Human Aliens from a peaceful and uninhibited planet lands on earth, and is mystified and chagrined with how violent and prudish the natives are. So, after many misadventures, he ends up getting his buddy to drop a chemical weapon which basically neutralizes people's hostilities and inhibitions. (For example, two juvenile delinquents are fighting on account of one of them having slept with the other's sister. They destroy their knives, talk the situation over like civilized young men, and Air Hug. A man who despises his wife for a mean old cow—and is despised by her in turn for a pathetic slacker—buys her roses before he comes home, convinced that the gesture will be lost on her. He finds her cooking his favorite dish and looking dewy-eyed. And so on.) In many cases, it acts as an aphrodisiac.
- On Darkover, the kireseth pollen laden Ghost Winds have this effect. Another of the many effects is temporary amnesia, which can result in paternities being in doubt.
- In the second book of the Sir Apropos of Nothing series, Apropos comes into the possession of the "One Thing to Rule Them All". This...thing...attaches itself to his...southern region...and once it does, he can't get it off. And every woman he comes into contact with jumps his bones. In fact, at one point they tie him down just so every woman can have a turn. He's freed of the Thing by a set of adventurers and a quest he'd rather not go into.
Live Action TV
- A few Star Trek episodes did this over the various series, notably also causing drunkenness as a symptom.
- "The Naked Time" in Star Trek: The Original Series had Sulu getting rather amorous for Uhura, though she wasn't so interested in him.
- "The Naked Now" in Star Trek: The Next Generation followed up on this with a similar effect (on which the original cure from Kirk's time did not work, however) getting most of the crew drunk and horny to the point that Tasha Yar basically jumped Data (though he was also intoxicated at the time) and Dr. Crusher tried to seduce Picard in his office.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Fascination", a virus grossly magnified everyone's attraction to each other. No actual horizontal lambada-ing was involved, by express order of the captain.
- Thanks, Captain.
- Though Bashir and Kira did do a bit of vertical lambada-ing...
- In Star Trek: Voyager, while playing Queen Arachnia in the Captain Proton holoprogram Janeway uses her vial of "irresistable pheromones" to make Dr Chaotica release her. Unfortunately Chaotica moves out of sniffing range, leaving her to get slobbered over by his ugly henchman Lonzak instead.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander tries to get Cordelia attracted to him again by casting a love spell; it backfires, and every female he gets near except Cordy starts throwing herself at him. Probably only 'didn't work' on Cordy because she already loved him.
- In Red Dwarf Rimmer tries some of the 'sexual magnetism' virus that causes every female to be smitten with him. He is later seen limping round the corridors after having injecting his groin with anesthetic (and smacking it with a hammer) with women still looking at him suggestively. In the same episode, Lister tries some as well as a test for his ex- when she starts tearing his clothes off he quickly (and inadvertently) has some of the 'luck' virus to cancel the effect.
- There was one episode of Eureka where Sheriff Carter was exposed to some weird, ancient spores in the sewer that made every woman in the town want to tackle him, rape him, and eat him.
- Lois and Clark has the villain of the week, after causing limited chaos with her love potion, trying to invoke this trope by spreading a potent form of the potion over Metropolis in a crop duster. Fortunately, Superman is immune.
- In The Tenth Kingdom, the magic love town of Kissing Town makes this trope quite literal, since not only are there magical hearts floating everywhere around every happy couple getting married, but every time Virginia seems ready to dismiss Wolf as a love interest, in swoop the hearts to change her mind and turn her into a hopeless romantic. They even form a gigantic heart over the pair's heads when they share their first kiss.
- In Fraggle Rock, Wembley decides to get a dose of Love Potion #9 to win the heart of a female Fraggle he's smitten with. Unfortunately, he falls into the water, causing the potion to mix with it and vaporize into a gas that apparently the whole Fraggle colony inhales. They immediately go berserk mobbing Wembley with amorous intentions.
- The Cirque Du Soleil Widget Series Solstrom, in which magical sun creatures wreak mischief in different places on Earth, uses a variation on this concept as the premise for the episode "Wind of Romance". The "solar wind" blown about an Italian village has mostly positive effects, from bringing a bickering couple back together to bringing a painted poster of Columbine to life for a lonely fellow.
- Toby creates superpheromones in an episode aptly named "Love Potion Number 9".
- Stargate SG-1 villain Hathor does this, though she uses it (and in show, it's treated as) Mind Control.
- Batrean women in Talislanta give off pheromones that are just this side of mind control. Luckily, not only are most Batrean women basically nice people, but the pheromones can be countered by wearing nose plugs.
- In Mana Khemia 2 Fall of Alchemy, one of Chloe's side stories has her testing out a love potion on Enna, which causes any girl he meets to go completely psycho for him.
- In El Goonish Shive, some of the Transformation Ray variants (especially Ellen's Venus Beam) cause the target to produce super-pheromones, which makes them attractive to everybody regardless of gender and sexual orientation. The effect wears off after about 48 hours. One result of this was that Nanase acknowledged her feelings for Ellen by rationalizing them to be a result of the latter's pheromones, then found out that there were no such things. (Dan Shive has explained that he originally intended for Ellen to be a recurring villain, and that the pheromones were meant to make her a super-seductress; when this was dismissed as being far too silly, they were adapted into a part of a Coming Out Story.)
- In this Perry Bible Fellowship comic, Cupid stores his arrows improperly and accidentally sets them on fire, resulting in the acid rain from the love smoke washing the love potion all over a city. The result: massive orgy in the streets.
- While (thank DEITY NAME HERE) it's not love but rather unwavering loyalty, the Jägermonsters of Girl Genius apparently identify Agatha as a Heterodyne heir by her scent.
"She smells very nize"
- A Phil Foglio comic that does play this trope straight is Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, in which brothel-madam-porn-superstar Louisa Dem Five has apparently had a procedure done enabling her to produce massive amounts of pheremones on cue. To the point of being able to charm both Buck, who is of a genetically-altered Heavyworlder subspecies and explicitly shouldn't be capable of finding low-grav women attractive, and a cyborg space pirate, who is mostly machine and shouldn't be finding her attractive. This becomes a plot point; she can't turn on anyone else on the Gallimaufrey, leading to the discovery of a motivation-sapping bioengineered virus on the station...
- Heartbreaker from Dino Boy uses this as her weapon du jour, brainwashing men into doing her bidding (which includes stealing, opening bank vaults for her, you get the picture). It works on the titular hero too, but this is justified because he is part-human.
- Janine from Murphy's Law drank a Love Potion which caused this effect.
- Marena from Keychain of Creation, here.
- In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy Valentine's Day special, two cupids who resemble Sarah and Jimmy make Edd and May Kanker fall in love, and at one point defuse a food fight by making everyone in the room fall in love. This was finally counteracted by Rolf with dirty mop water: "The harsh realities of your miserable lives have been restored! Thank you."
- In an episode of the animated Jumanji series... that one was the result of a Love Potion that was just a BIT too effective...
- Scooby Doo Mystery Inc episode, "Where Walks Aphrodite" has the whole town under a love spell. Animals (Like Scooby Doo) are the only one's unaffected by it.
- Who can forget the Love Potion Jimmy Neutron created on said series, Jimmy Neutron. Used not once, but twice.
- The US Army worked upon, but finally dropped, development of a weapon dubbed the "Gay Bomb" - a chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers fall for each other. The reasoning was that it would not only incapacitate them, but also embarrass them enough to lower their fighting potential afterwards. Apparently they never thought about what might happen if they turned out like the
SpartansSacred Band of Thebes...