Created By: FrodoGoofballCoTV on September 16, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 17, 2014

Amulet Of Normality

To become your {{Secret Identity}}, put this on.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rolling Updates underway. Taking votes on the name.

Alternate Names:
Many superheroes, HenshinHeroes, and other characters who have two or more forms, have some sort of item that they put on, take off, activate, or deactivate in order to transform between their superpowered and mundane forms.

In some cases, a Transformation Trinket is needed for all changes, and without it, they're stuck with whatever form they happen to be in at the moment. In other cases, an item is put on to change into the superhero and removed to change back into their true form, whether a supersuit that actually gives them their powers, or an item that is only a Paper-Thin Disguise or Magic Feather. If the item is lost, the superhero side of their character may be lost with it.

This trope is about characters for whom their secret identity is merely a facade and their true self is the superhero, and to become their mundane selves, they put something on. Unlike a Power Limiter, Power Nullifier, or Restraining Bolt, this is something the character puts on willingly, because it's difficult or impossible to hide behind their Secret Identity otherwise. In fact, the item is often very precious to the superpowered form, as if it is lost, they will be unable to return to their more human side.

There are at least three subtropes:
  • Disguise: The character need the item to appear "normal" to muggles. Without it, The Masquerade is revealed.
  • Magic Feather: The item helps them to psychologically "get into character".
  • Surpressor: The item physically limits the character. Without it, they cannot take on their human form; with it, their superpowers are unavailable.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Gunslinger Girl, Claes' glasses serve as a Magic Feather. A cyborg built from a the body of a dying child, she's programmed to kill on command, but as a promise to her former "handler", she avoids showing her violent side while they're on, to the point where she must remove them to be psychologically able to enter combat.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, Moka's crucifix. It supresses her primary personality as lethal vampire Lady of War Inner Moka and allows her secondary personality, the ditzy Outer Moka, to appear.
  • In Fruits Basket, Kyo has a bracelet that keeps him from transforming into his monstrous true form.

Comic Books
  • In Runaways, Karolina's bracelet. Her Majesdanian form is natural, but she appears human with the bracelet on.

Film - Animated
  • In Megamind, the blue, giant-headed title character wears a watch that makes him look like a normal person, which he uses to get close to the lead female.

Film - Live Action

Live-Action Television
  • In the short-lived TV series Gemini Man (based loosely on The Invisible Man) the Man in question has a device disguised as a wristwatch that keeps him visible - he can turn it off to go invisible, but he can only do that for 15 minutes a day or he'll die.

Web Comics
  • In Booker's Skin Deep series, the medallions are believed to operate in this fashion, meaning that if the owner is separated enough from their medallion, they automatically revert to their mythic-beast form. However, it's not clear whether this in-universe hypothesis is correct.
  • In PS238, several of the superpowered children look weird (including Bernard, who is permanently hulked out, and Zodon, who's a cyborg in a floating chair) so when they have to mix with normal children they're given devices that project holographic disguises over them.
  • In Girl Genius, Agatha's locket was originally used to keep her Spark down. Later, it becomes a lock to keep The Other from possessing her.

Western Animation
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Kurt/Nightcrawler, who looks like a fuzzy blue demon, wears a watch that projects a hologram of a normal human over him.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • September 16, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Both the name and laconic are incredibly misleading, I Thought It Meant a Power Nullifier or Power Limiter
  • September 16, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^Can you think of a better one (please?)?
  • September 16, 2011
    Stratadrake
    The current combination of title and laconic had me thinking of Transformation Trinket.
  • September 16, 2011
    suedenim
    Seems to me there are a few problems here, some with this trope, some with others:
    • Mixing "mundane" examples of Clark Kenting with the magical/Weird Science stuff that seems to be the core of the trope. Clark Kent's suit is just a suit.
    • Transformation Trinket is pretty close to what you're talking about here, but (sigh), like many many other tropes, needs to be made non-Japancentric.
    • Then this trope could maybe be a subtrope of a rewritten Transformation Trinket, specifically for "this makes you look more mundane, when you generally aren't" examples.
  • September 16, 2011
    Bisected8
    I think this is the opposite of TT; rather than unlocking powers, it hides them.
  • September 16, 2011
    suedenim
    Hmm, except usually it's the same device that does BOTH, so whether it "unlocks" or "hides" powers is often a matter of perspective. For instance, is Don Blake's cane a Transformation Trinket that turns Don Blake into Thor, or is it an Amulet Of Normality that turns Thor into Don Blake? The answer would depend on perspective (and/or what specific era of Thor comics you're reading.)
  • September 16, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^^^Yeah, the primary trope is magic item used to keep powers fully under control. I may want to get rid of the Clark Kent example. Claes' glasses are a Magic Feather.

    ^Not familiar enough with Thor comics to know if it counts as this or not.
  • September 16, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    If the real/original identity is the 'normal identity' then it's a Transformation Trinket, if the real/original identity is the super-powered identity, then it's this. I see them as Sister Tropes. (Also yes, please remove the Clark Kent example, it really confused me. The name isn't all that bad if it's magic-only, still we can probably do better. The laconic could still use work though.)
  • September 17, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Doesn't Transformation Trinket work both ways?
  • September 17, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^Yes. It's activated to cause the transformation. This is a case where removing the trinket causes the character to transform into their more dangerous form, and putting it on surpresses the powerful side rather than causes the transformation.

    In other words, if you lose the Transformation Trinket, you're stuck in whatever form you're in. If you lose your Amulet Of Normality, you transform into the superhero and can't get back into your mundane form.

    Maybe this is Too Specific To Trope?
  • September 17, 2011
    Stratadrake

    Webcomics

    • The medallions of Booker's Skin Deep series are believed to operate in this fashion, meaning that if the owner is separated enough from their medallion, they automatically revert to their mythic-beast form.

    (I personally disagree with said explanation, but that's opinion.)
  • September 17, 2011
    MisterKent
    Would Karolina's bracelet from [url=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Runaways]Runaways[url] be an example? Her Majesdanian form is natural, but she appears human with the bracelet on. (Sorry if I didn't format my note correctly--first post!)
  • September 17, 2011
    Ronka87
    Western animation: In X Men Evolution, Kurt/Nightcrawler, who looks like a fuzzy blue demon, wears a watch that projects a hologram of a normal human over him.

    Similar example, from an animated film: Blue, giant-headed Megamind wears a watch that makes him look like a normal person, which he uses to get close to the lead female.

    Add this to Disguise Tropes when it's ready.
  • September 17, 2011
    MorganWick
    See also Restraining Bolt.
  • September 18, 2011
    PaulA
    • In PS238, several of the superpowered children look weird (including Bernard, who is permanently hulked out, and Zodon, who's a cyborg in a floating chair) so when they have to mix with normal children they're given devices that project holographic disguises over them.
  • September 18, 2011
    troacctid
    Description should link to Henshin Hero somewhere.
  • September 19, 2011
    IlGreven
    In Girl Genius, Agatha's locket was originally used to keep her Spark down. Later, it becomes a lock to keep The Other from possessing her.
  • September 19, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I want to suggest Masquerade Maintaining Medallion as a base for title brainstorming, but it's a bit long.
  • October 6, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Bump Suggestions? Concerns? Hats?
  • October 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the short-lived TV series Gemini Man (based loosely on The Invisible Man) the Man in question has a device disguised as a wristwatch that keeps him visible - he can turn it off to go invisible, but he can only do that for 15 minutes a day or he'll die.
  • October 7, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    In the film adaptation of My Favorite Martian, the martians chew gum that disguise their true form. There's a gum for every species of alien in the Galaxy, so depending on your own species and which gum you chew, it could be a Transformation Trinket or an Amulet Of Normality.
  • January 11, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    In Doctor Who, we're shown a chameleon watch. What the Doctor did, was to hide his memories into the watch. This way he could fit in as an average human in pre-WWI England.
  • January 11, 2012
    Sheba
    X Men example: Nightcrawler has one of these to disguise his somewhat demonic natural appearance from fearful humans.
  • January 11, 2012
    ScanVisor
    DN Angel has a similar amulet that can only be used once in an emergency.
  • June 19, 2012
    chicagomel
    This might count, or does it have to be a powers-related thing?: Merlin in 'Gwaine', the two villains used magic crystals to take on the identities of two knights they killed so they could enter a tournament.
  • June 19, 2012
    animeg3282
    Hmm... you know in Fruits Basket, Kyo has a bracelet that keeps him from transforming into his monstrous true form. Example or no?
  • June 19, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^^It might count if the villains are normally monsters or something. If they're normal human beings without the disguise it doesn't count.

    ^Yes, I think that might count.
  • June 19, 2012
    animeg3282
    If he takes it off, he transforms, although he'll transform back after some time. I have no idea what happens if he loses it.
  • April 16, 2014
    Sotesf
    agree with Noir Grimoir I thought it meant like a power nullifier or a redsunbracelet or something
  • April 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Power Limiter can also be put on willingly and, in fact, frequently overlaps with this trope.

    Needs to be mentioned: this is an inversion of Transformation Trinket.

  • April 16, 2014
    DAN004
    May I make the description clearer?
  • April 17, 2014
    Arivne
    • Capitalized the title.
    • Namespaced and italicized work names.
    • Corrected spelling (surpresses).
    • Capitalized (martians).
    • Deleted unnecessary colons from media section headers.
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