Created By: Telcontar on September 18, 2012 Last Edited By: Telcontar on October 6, 2012
Troped

Limb Sensation Fascination

A character focuses on their newly acquired/used body parts.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Moved! The muscles tautening and relaxing, flex, extend, miraculous cells working their collective way to move great heavy bones and sacs of skin and organs, shift them balance them so delicately. The joy of it was too great. It erupted for her in -- what was this convulsive spasming of her diaphragm? What was this gust of sound erupting from her throat? It was laughter. How long had she faked it with computer chips, simulated speech and laughter and never, never knew what it meant, how it felt. She never wanted to stop.

People don't always keep the same number or shape of limbs during a story -- that'd surely be boring. So sometimes, a character ends up getting completely new limbs, possibly of a type they've never used before. They can also just get a temporary extention to their body; either way, it's a chance for them to explore new sensations and abilities.

This gives the creator a chance to show off their descriptive skills, explaining new things the character feels and how they're using their reshaped body. This page may contain spoilers if a character only gets new limbs or a different form at the end of the story.

The body parts can have been changed through someone shapeshifting, getting Artificial Limbs, being cursed, or just randomly Sprouting Ears. On occasion, the person has a whole new body instead, which may or may not be used for hilarity if they're naked. When downplayed, this trope is simply a character using their existing limbs in a new way or finding new sensations.

Supertrope to Showing Off the New Body; see also Artificial Limbs, Voluntary Shapeshifting, and Sense Freak. How Do I Shot Web? is a variation to do with superpowers.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In the Osamu Tezuka manga Dororo, the swordsman who Dororo travels with was magically mutilated as a child, and so is made mostly of artificial parts. When he defeats one of the demons involved, he gets back a random real body part, and the new sensations are often both thrilling and painful.

Fanfiction
  • Melanism, a Harry Potter fanfic taking place in the Marauder Era, has Nyx's initial Animagus transformations. She is a black panther, and when she is learning she is fascinated by her tail and paws; once she masters the whole thing, the author takes care describing her enhanced senses of hearing and smell.

Film
  • Jake of Avatar lost his human legs in battle, and one of the things he loves about his avatar body is that it is whole. When he first "wakes up" in it, there is focus on his exploring new things he can do, like running and jumping.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, the android Data is captured by the Borg and then has patches of organic matter -- actual skin -- grafted onto his exterior and integrated into his systems by the Borg Queen. Notably, when he tries to escape, one of the patches is cut, allowing Data to experience pain for the first time; the experience confuses and fascinates him so much that he agrees to allow the Borg to graft more of it onto him.
  • At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke gets a new hand. After being pricked with a needle to check pain sensation, he flexes his fingers a bit and clenches a fist while examining his bionic hand.

Literature
  • In Septimus Heap, a millipede is transformed into the shield bug that will eventually belong to Jenna. There's a passage narrating what it feels like for him to lose his many precious legs and instead find himself with just six, complete with fingers. He considers hands useless and clumsy, though he does get used to it.
  • Dr Paul Brand's Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants goes into detail about how, after getting surgery to restore finger movement, leprosy patients explore the new motions their hands can do and will practise things like squeezing a rubber ball.
  • In Children of the Mind, the third sequel to Ender's Game, the AI Jane gets transferred in the human body of Valentine's clone. She describes the process at like fitting into a glove, individually finding each part and fitting into it. Each new feeling surprises her, from touch to crying, etc. When she briefly returns to her AI network a few chapters later she finds it lacking, as even virtual omniscience pales to the visceral taste of life.
  • Animorphs:
    • Ax, and Andalites as whole, do not have mouths and if they morph into a creature with one then the feeling of taste drives them mad. Every time Ax turns human his friends have to stop him from devouring everything from cinnamons buns to cigarette butts.
    • Yeerks naturally are blind slugs, and possession of their victims is intoxicating because of all the new senses they gain. Even Visser Three, the Yeerk Dragon-in-Chief, fell in love with the sense of sight.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Richard gets a replacement for the foot he lost in the war. The first thing he does is faint. The second is spend a day reliving the marvel of having two fully functional feet.
  • Halo: The Fall Of Reach: Midway through the book, the SPARTANs all marvel at their new Powered Armor, Samuel in particular spouting "I think I'm in love." Averted earlier with their physical augmentation. There the SPARTANs' reactions are mostly dizziness and confusion post-surgeries.
  • After Wormtail cuts off his hand at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he is given a new, silver one through magic. He stares at it in disbelief, then experiments with motion and crushing a twig between his fingertips.

Live-Action TV
  • In Now and Again, Michael Weisman dies and his brain is stolen by the government to be used in an experimental procedure, putting it into a new body. When he wakes up, one of the first things he does after realizing he's in a new body is check out his package. He is pleasantly surprised.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Bodyswap", Lister agrees to let the hologram Rimmer take over his body for two weeks, in return for Rimmer taking on an exercise regime to get Lister's body in shape. However, Rimmer is overwhelmed by the experience of having a physical body for the first time since his death, and goes on a two week binge of eating, drinking and smoking.
  • When 10's hand gets chopped off in Doctor Who, shortly after his regeneration there's a short focus on it as he grows a new one. "I've got just enough residual cellular energy -- to do this. *regrows hand* ...Wanna know the best bit? This new hand is a fightin' hand."
  • An episode of Smallville has Lionel and Clark switch bodies; Lionel then admires his new body in a mirror.

Myth and Legend
  • The legend of Icarus contains a variation on this trope, likely making it the Ur-Example. When Icarus gets given a pair of wings (made from wax and bird feathers), even though they just strap on rather than being actual appendages, he explores what he can do with them. His delight in seeing how close to the Sun and low to the sea is what leads to his death.

Video Game

Web Video
  • Kickassia: When 2D Lee becomes 3D Lee, he spends most of the following episodes touching things and exulting in how he has tactile stimulation now.

Western Animation
  • One of the main events in The Little Mermaid is Ariel's transformation into a human. The film focuses briefly on her feet and how she's excited to have toes.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled finds grass strange and new after being kept in a small tower all her life. When she tentatively touches it for the first time, she wriggles her toes in it slightly.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Sonic Rainboom" has fashion-minded unicorn Rarity gain beautiful butterfly wings in an attempt to get a friend of Rainbow Dash's up to Cloudsdale - because only pegasi can walk on clouds, and giving a unicorn or earth pony wings somehow counts. However, Rarity winds up obsessing over how better things are now that she has her wings, instead of cheering Rainbow up, which only increases the stress the pegasus's currently undergoing.
  • One Family Guy episode has Joe Swanson gets new functional legs transplanted, and he proceeds to show off his old athletic and martial arts abilities to the point of becoming arrogant and rejecting his old friends for new ones who can keep up with him. In the end he becomes paralyzed again in An Aesop about pride.

Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • September 18, 2012
    Telcontar
    This trope is being split off and then expanded from Foot Focus per this TRS thread. No Launching Please, but do edit the description and examples at will. Input on the name is needed.

    Indexes: Shapeshifting and Anatomy Tropes.
  • September 18, 2012
    SKJAM
    • In the Osamu Tezuka manga Dororo, the swordsman Dororo travels with was magically mutilated as a child, and so is mostly artificial parts. When he defeats one of the demons involved, he gets back a random real body part, and the new sensations are often both thrilling and painful.
  • September 18, 2012
    Khantalas
    Don't know if this counts as an example, but in Kickassia, when 2D Lee becomes 3D Lee, he spends most of the following episodes touching things and exulting in how he has tactile stimulation now.
  • September 18, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Also not sure if this counts, but I might as well toss 'em out here for you to be the judge:

    • Not a limb, per se, but Lt. Commander Data, who was utterly incapable of feeling emotion, gains an emotion chip that his creator, Noonien Soong (no relation to Khan Noonien Singh), created to overcome this design limitation. He first gets a taste of emotion in the two-part episode "Descent", when his twin brother Lore (who'd stolen the chip in the earlier episode "Brothers") uses it on him remotely. Recovering the chip at the end of the story, he then installs and activates it outright in Star Trek Generations, and then spends the entire film reveling in them.
      • For a slightly more straight example - but still not 100% straight - in the next film, Star Trek First Contact, Data is captured by the Borg and then has patches of organic matter - actual skin - grafted onto his exterior and integrated into his systems by the Borg Queen. Notably, when he tries to escape, one of the patches is cut, allowing Data to experience pain for the first time; the experience confuses and fascinates him so much that he agrees to allow the Borg to graft more of it onto him.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen the first one mentioned in another trope somewhere on the wiki, though (specifically the "That's it! I hate this [drink]! It is revolting!" "More?" "Please!" scene), so I'm not really sure if it's this trope or not - emotions aren't exactly something physical (unless you're an android, I guess).
  • September 18, 2012
    Damr1990
    Super Trope of Showing Off The New Body
  • September 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Now And Again Michael Weisman dies and his brain is stolen by the government to be used in an experimental procedure, putting it into a new body. When he wakes up, one of the first things he does after realizing he's in a new body is check out his package. He is pleasantly surprised.
  • September 19, 2012
    Telcontar
    Added all except the example about Data's emotions; I think it's best to stick to physical examples. I'll ask in TRS later, though.
    Lord Of The Rings: Once Sauroman is expelled from Theoden in the film, the king regains proper control over his body and mind. The first thing he tentativly does with his hands is grasp his sword, which helps them regain strength.

    Do you guys reckon that's an example?
  • September 19, 2012
    ShadowHog
    ^ That's fine - I knew it was a stretch when I suggested it.
  • September 19, 2012
    Omeganian
    It can also overlap with Sense Freak.
  • September 19, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Oh, man, how'd I forget this one?

    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Sonic Rainboom" has fashion-minded unicorn Rarity gain beautiful butterfly wings in an attempt to get a friend of Rainbow Dash's up to Cloudsdale - because only pegasi can walk on clouds, and giving a unicorn or earth pony wings somehow counts. However, Rarity winds up obsessing over how better things are now that she has her wings, instead of cheering Rainbow up, which only increases the stress the pegasus's currently undergoing.
  • September 19, 2012
    JakeTheYak
    Not a new limb, so much as a whole new body. Would this fit?

    • In the Red Dwarf episode "Bodyswap", Lister agrees to let the hologram Rimmer take over his body for two weeks, in return for Rimmer taking on an exercise regime to get Lister's body in shape. However, Rimmer is overwhelmed by the experience of having a physical body for the first time since his death, and goes on a two week binge of eating, drinking and smoking.
  • September 19, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • In Children of the Mind, the third sequel to Enders Game, the AI Jane gets transferred in the human body of Valentine's clone. She describes the process at like fitting into a glove, individually finding each part and fitting into it. Each new feeling surprises her, from touch to crying, etc. When she briefly returns to her AI network a few chapters later she finds it lacking, as even virtual omniscience pales to the visceral taste of life.
    • Animorphs: Ax, and Andalites as whole, do not have mouths and if they morph into a creature with one then the feeling of taste drives them mad. Everytime Ax turns human his friends have to stop him from devouring everything from cinnamons buns to cigarette butts.
      • Yeerks naturally are blind slugs, and possession of their victims is intoxicating because of all the new senses they gain. Even Visser Three, the Yeerk Dragon In Chief, fell in love with the sense of sight.

    I could get a quote from Children of the Mind come this weekend and see if there's an good ones for this article from the chapter. Also I get the feeling that this page could hold a lot of spoilers. Maybe a spoiler warning might be good?
  • September 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Not sure if these count.
    • In Doctor Who when 10's hand gets chopped off shortly after his regeneration there's a short focus on it as he grows a new one. "I've got just enough residual cellular energy - to do this. regrows hand...Wanna know the best bit? This new hand is a fightin' hand."
    • Men In Black: During a Good Cop Bad Cop routine K shoots a man's head off. As Jay is yelling at him about it, the camera focuses on the man, who grows a new head right before their (and our) eyes. "Do you have any idea how much that stings?"
  • September 20, 2012
    Telcontar
    Getting a quote would be nice, Tuckerscreator. Also, I'll see about working such a note into the description; since there are no spoilers on the page as of yet and there's a variety of examples, I doubt it needs a bolded warning.

    The Men In Black one doesn't count; it isn't about the character discovering new things to do with a regenerated head or something like that, just mild annoyance at having to do it. I've added the Doctor Who example for now.
  • September 21, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Averted in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy when Ford greets Zaphod with a casual "Great to see you, you're looking well, the extra arm suits you." Played straight in The Movie where Zaphod's second head is a plot point.
  • September 21, 2012
    Telcontar
    I don't see the character exploring new sensations or abilities in the H 2 G 2 one.
    Do you guys think this trope should extend to feeling emotion for the first time, or stick to physical things?
  • September 22, 2012
    robinjohnson
    ^ Sorry, was under the impression that the trope included reactions to another character's new body parts; I should have bothered to read the description...
  • September 23, 2012
    Telcontar
    I've redone the laconic to be clearer. More examples, people -- if you don't think more are needed, then hats please?
  • September 23, 2012
    surgoshan
    • In Robert Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Richard gets a replacement for the foot he lost in the war. The first thing he does is faint. The second is spend a day reliving the marvel of having two fully functional feet.
  • September 23, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    She was astonished with the wholeness of this body. She realized, now that until this moment she had never been a self before. What she had been for all those centuries was an apparatus, not a self. She had been on life support, waiting for a life. But now, trying on the arms like sleeves, she found that, yes, her arms were this long; yes, this tongue, these lips move just where my tongue and lips must move.

    Moved! The muscles tautening and relaxing, flex, extend, miraculous cells working their collective way to move great heavy bones and sacs of skin and organs, shift them balance them so delicately. The joy of it was too great. It erupted for her in -- what was this convulsive spasming of her diaphragm? What was this gust of sound erupting from her throat? It was laughter. How long had she faked it with computer chips, simulated speech and laughter and never, never knew what it meant, how it felt. She never wanted to stop.

    Two quotes I found from Children of the Mind that fit pretty well. Hope you like them. Take your pick.
  • September 23, 2012
    Earnest
    See also Appendage Assimilation.

    Though this probably won't fit in the Autonomous And Artificial Appendage Index, it has a lot of tropes that could link to/from this.
  • September 25, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Aw, I actually liked the second quote more. But no matter.

    Does the title work for everybody? I associate the trope more with euphoria rather fascination, and something to emphasize that their limb or body is new should be included. New Limb Euphoria? It does lose the alliteration, though.
  • September 25, 2012
    Telcontar
    Hey, if you don't express a preference how can I know? :P Quote changed.

    I don't think the feelings of getting a new limb have to be good, though; a character might wake up with a tail and be horrified.
  • September 25, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Only real gripe I have is that the image should probably be on the right instead of the left, but it's not a huge deal.
  • September 25, 2012
    saintdane05
    When Tychus gets his new Power Armor in Starcraft II, the first thing he does is clench his fist.
  • September 25, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    True, hadn't thought of horror. But wouldn't that be a subversion instead? The "new" part at least is a definite part of this trope.

  • September 25, 2012
    Telcontar
    Shadow Hog: It will be when it's launched, 'cause of the quote. However, caption-width-right markup doesn't work in YKTTW.

    Tuckerscreator: Hm, good point. I don't mind; on the one hand, I do like the assonance/near-rhyme, but on the other "new" is part of this trope. Looking through the examples, though, extreme happiness doesn't seem to be a common reaction.

    What do other people think -- Limb Sensation Fascination or New Limb Euphoria?
  • September 26, 2012
    legendofhugh
    Could you count Luke Skywalker at the end of Empire Strikes Back? Sure he knew exactly what he was getting, but he still looked intrigued by his new cyborg hand.
  • September 26, 2012
    ShadowHog
    ^ I was tempted to suggest that, but IIRC he has his fingers pricked one at a time, goes "ow" each time, and then just moves on to watching some Rebel ships fly off outside the window, kind of taking the hand for granted.
  • September 26, 2012
    Telcontar
    Just rewatched that bit, and he flexes/clenches his fingers as well as examining his hand. Adding.

    If anyone has more thoughts on the name, that'd be good.
  • September 27, 2012
    trissofredwall
    Does the Rapunzel example really fit this trope? She hasn't grown new feet, she's just enjoying the feel of grass on her feet.
  • September 27, 2012
    ShadowHog
    "When downplayed, this trope is simply a character using their existing limbs in a new way or finding new sensations."

    Rapunzel never left her tower, and as such never felt grass before. It's not as obvious as a new limb, but she's using her existing ones in a new way.

    Wondering if we should make that a little more obvious in the description, though. The trope's about new feelings from limbs in general, not just new limbs entirely, right? I'm not sure opening it up with a paragraph all about entirely new limbs is the right way to go as such (although that's definitely an important subset).
  • September 30, 2012
    Telcontar
    I've edited the description a little; does it need a more significant reworking? I reckon that just feeling/doing new things without other changes is downplaying rather than a normal example so I've put less emphasis on it.
  • September 30, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    There was a Family Guy episode where Joe Swanson gets new functional legs transplanted, and proceeds to show off his old athletic and martial arts abilities, to the point of becoming arrogant and rejecting his old friends for new ones who can keep up with him (is there a trope for that btw?). In the end he becomes paralyzed again in an Aesop about pride (or as close to "an Aesop" as a show like this would produce, lol).
  • September 30, 2012
    isk2837
    IIRC, there's a moment in Smallville, in the episode where Lionel and Clark switch bodies where Lionel admires his new body in a mirror.
  • October 2, 2012
    Telcontar
    If there is no further feedback on the name/description, I will launch this in a few days.
  • October 6, 2012
    Telcontar
    Successfully launched as Limb Sensation Fascination on Saturday the 6th of October. 29 wicks including two indexes (Shapeshifting and Anatomy Tropes) and one redirect (New Limb Euphoria).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=jtx69dapjydcwqtjq7clack6&trope=LimbSensationFascination