Created By: Sotesf on January 31, 2014 Last Edited By: AHI-3000 on November 13, 2017
Troped

Human Disguise

Where non-humans disguise themselves as a means to blend in with people.

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Trope
From gods to aliens to robots and beyond, there are always stories of non-humans disguising themselves as humans, maybe even ghosts pretending to be living versions of themselves.

Super Trope to Hugh Mann, a human disguise done badly. Sometimes accomplished using a Mobile-Suit Human. See Humanshifting for shapeshifters who are only able to change into humans from their natural form. They Look Like Us Now is when an enemy species figures out how to do this.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Wolves in Wolf's Rain have learned to project illusions that make them appear as humans in order to survive extinction. Rare humans (like Quent Yaden) can see through the illusion under certain conditions, while others must come into direct physical contact with the wolf to do so.

Comic Books
  • Martian Manhunter is a shapeshifter who disguises himself as a human when not working with the Justice League, so that he may live on Earth among humans as one of them.
  • While Superman was raised under the name Clark Kent and is a Human Alien, as an adult he refrains from using his powers in noticeable ways in public while being Clark Kent, in order to be able to keep living quietly as Kent with a job and family separate from Superman.
  • Supergirl adopts a human name and identity after arriving on Earth, which she uses as her secret identity.
  • The MAD comic "National Gorilla Suit Day" is an Overly Long Gag about various people revealing that they are actually Killer Gorillas wearing human suits.

Film

Literature
  • In the Ukiah Oregon series, the aliens are actually The Virus, but they arrived on Earth in the bodies of aliens. The last remaining original invader (referred to as Hex), is a Not Quite Human alien who uses heavy clothes and similar to disguise his differences when necessary.

Live-Action TV
  • The Slitheen of Doctor Who kill humans and use their skin as a disguise.
  • Bajorans, Romulans, Vulcans, (with a little bit of plastic surgery and perhaps a haircut) and Trill (bit of makeup to hide the spots) can do this in Star Trek.
  • The main characters from 3rd Rock from the Sun are Human Aliens that pose as a human family.
  • The Good Place: In order to secretly torture the four humans whom they live with, the demons give themselves human skins so the humans don't notice anything odd.

Web Comics
  • The many supernatural creatures living in Kellwood forest in Charby the Vampirate rarely bother with proper disguises beyond sunglasses when traveling into the nearby human city due to the super strength Perception Filter on the place. When Charby and Mye invite Yiska into town with them she insists they disguise themselves as human first although Mye points out that it's not really necessary.

Western Animation
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the short, "The Year Book Star" (part of "Toon Physics"), Babs and Plucky compete against each other to see who can star in the most photos of the school yearbook, with the loser having to suffer the humiliation of the winner's choice. During the official count-off, the two appear to have tied, until it is revealed that a human boy wearing an orange hat appeared in the background of every photo either of them was in, causing him to win easily. The Boy in the Orange Hat then reveals himself to be Buster Bunny in a latex mask and suit, who entered the competition to teach Babs and Plucky not to compete to win a bet, but all this does is prompt Babs and Plucky to beat him up as the short irises out.
    • In the episode, "Thirteensomething", Babs wishes she could audition for the titular Show Within a Show, and Buster dares her to. Knowing that the casting office only hires humans, Babs disguises herself as a human and changes her name to "Babs Bunawalskioversmith". Unlike Buster's disguise in "The Year Book Star", Babs is able to pass for human simply by covering her ears. The fact that her face is covered in fur doesn't quite go unnoticed: "You really should get a wax, dear. You have a lot of facial hair!"
  • Roger of American Dad! always dresses up as a human in public to keep people from realizing he's an alien.
  • Jumba and Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch are two aliens living with Lilo Pelekai's family in Hawaii. Both of them wear some rather poor disguises (only just sets of human clothing — female in Pleakley's case) that somehow fool most people.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • January 31, 2014
    Koveras
    I sense a strong overlap with Humanshifting, at least in speculative works.
  • January 31, 2014
    TrustBen
    Superman is a Human Alien, so I'm not sure he's disguising himself as such. Just that he can pass as a mild mannered reporter when he's not using his powers.

    The trope seems like it has potential, if developed. Another example may be the pod people from various Invasion Of The Body Snatchers media, plant beings that take the place of previously existing humans.
  • January 31, 2014
    Duncan
  • January 31, 2014
    KTera
    • Thin Men from XCOM Enemy Unknown are genetically engineered to resemble humans and can even speak several Earth languages.
  • January 31, 2014
    blackhorsebeth
    I think you need to define and explain this trope further. Are you talking exclusively about human-shaped non-humans passing themselves off as humans (such as Superman, who looks human but isn't, pretending to be human to live among society), or can this also be a case of distinctly non-humans (e.g. mutants, anthros, and the above mentioned Lilo&Stitch example) disguising themselves to blend in with human society?
  • January 31, 2014
    m8e
    This looks like Super Trope of Hugh Mann. (Hugh Mann is a human disguise done badly.)
  • January 31, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In the Anonymous Rex series dinosaurs wear human disguises in order to blend in.
  • January 31, 2014
    DRCEQ
    • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles disguise themselves in brown trenchcoats, hats, sunglasses and scarves to hide themselves in public. Even in Michael Bay's approach to his adaptation of the movie, this combo is used with fairly believable results, almost showing nothing of their green-skinned faces at all.
  • January 31, 2014
    DAN004
    We also have Humanity Ensues.
  • February 1, 2014
    Arivne
    Sometimes involves using a Mobile Suit Human.

    Film
    • Men In Black
      • At the beginning of the movie, the alien Mikey disguises himself as an illegal Mexican immigrant being smuggled into the U.S. He does so by wearing human clothes and using a fake human head.
      • The Cockroach grabs Edgar, sucks out his insides, compresses himself down and slips inside his new Edgar suit (Edgar's skin).

    The example of the Arquillian prince hiding inside the head of a human-appearing robot is already on Mobile Suit Human.
  • February 1, 2014
    DAN004
    So I guess we have a Missing Supertrope here?
  • February 1, 2014
    Snicka
    • Used in Paul with the titular alien disguising himself as a child in a cowboy costume.
  • February 2, 2014
    Dalillama
    • In the Ukiah Oregon series, the aliens are actually The Virus, but they arrived on Earth in the bodies of aliens. The last remaining original invader (referred to as Hex), is a Not Quite Human alien who uses heavy clothes and similar to disguise his differences when necessary.
  • February 2, 2014
    Mamona
    :Live Action TV
    • The Slitheen of Doctor Who kill humans and use their skin as a disguise.
  • February 2, 2014
    Koveras
    • Wolves in Wolfs Rain have learned to project illusions that make them appear as humans in order to survive extinction. Rare humans (like Quent Yaden) can see through the illusion under certain conditions, while others much come into direct physical contact with the wolf to do so.
  • February 2, 2014
    AliceMacher
    • Parodied with the Animaniacs character Chicken Boo who, despite being a non-speaking, non-anthropomorphic chicken, passes as various sorts of human performers with a Paper Thin Disguise such as a false beard. Inevitably, the disguise slips during his performance, proving right the one audience member who has seen through it all along.
  • February 2, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    We don't have a Missing Supertrope, this is more Sister Trope.
  • October 11, 2017
    AHI-3000
    I'm bumping up this draft, though it does sound a lot like They Look Like Us Now. Do we need a Human Disguise trope, or would it work better as a redirect?
  • October 19, 2017
    darkemyst
    Fixed Zero Context Examples
  • October 19, 2017
    Chabal2
    Animorphs: Ax the Andalite (a centaur-like species with no mouth and long bladed tails) gets a human morph that consists of every human Animophs' DNA, causing the others to recognize bits and pieces of themselves in this disturbingly attractive form. Unfortunately, the disguise is always ruined by his difficulty going around on only two legs, unfamiliarity with human speech (Andalites communicate telepathically, so he sounds out every syllable and repeats those he finds funny) and sense of taste (Andalites don't have tastebuds either, so every new food and non-food) he tastes sends him into a descriptive frenzy as he tries to explain what he's going through (see above).
  • October 20, 2017
    Arivne
  • October 20, 2017
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    Western Animation
    • Tiny Toon Adventures:
      • In the short, "The Year Book Star" (part of "Toon Physics"), Babs and Plucky compete against each other to see who can star in the most photos of the school yearbook, with the loser having to suffer the humiliation of the winner's choice. During the official count-off, the two appear to have tied, until it is revealed that a human boy wearing an orange hat appeared in the background of every photo either of them was in, causing him to win easily. The Boy in the Orange Hat then reveals himself to be Buster Bunny in a latex mask and suit, who entered the competition to teach Babs and Plucky not to compete to win a bet, but all this does is prompt Babs and Plucky to beat him up as the short irises out.
      • In the episode, "Thirteensomething", Babs wishes she could audition for the titular Show Within A Show, and Buster dares her to. Knowing that the casting office only hires humans, Babs disguises herself as a human and changes her name to "Babs Bunawalskioversmith". Unlike Buster's disguise in "The Year Book Star", Babs is able to pass for human simply by covering her ears. The fact that her face is covered in fur doesn't quite go unnoticed: "You really should get a wax, dear. You have a lot of facial hair!"
  • October 20, 2017
    Snicka
  • October 20, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film
  • November 5, 2017
    GirlofMassDeconstruction
    • In order to secretly torture the four humans they live amongst, the demons working in The Good Place give themselves human skins so the humans don't notice anything odd.
  • November 6, 2017
    Arivne
    ^ Under our Handling Spoilers policy, it is illegal to conceal the name of a work in a trope example, as it makes the example completely worthless.

    You should put the name of the work at the beginning of the example, as per How To Write An Example - State the source.
  • November 6, 2017
    eroock
    This needs contrasting against Human Aliens which also mentions aliens shapeshifting into human form. The Live-Action TV examples here seem to have overlap problems.
  • November 6, 2017
    Generality
    I sense this is a missing supertrope for various things we already have.
  • November 13, 2017
    AHI-3000
    We need just a couple more hats, then I think we're good to go.
  • November 13, 2017
    SparkPlugTheTroper
    • Roger of American Dad always dresses up as a human in public to keep people from realizing he's an alien.
  • November 13, 2017
    AerialQueen
    • [[Videogame/Gatekeepers]] love this trope, in regard to the invaders.
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