->''"It will take more than head games to stop me. You may have invaded my mind and my body...\\
but there's one thing a Saiyan always keeps... '''his pride!'''"''
-->-- '''Vegeta''', when Babidi tries to control his mind, ''Anime/DragonBallZ''

In a world where getting {{Brainwashed}} by evil AppliedPhlebotinum is a common occurrence, what's worse than seeing a teammate taken over by TheVirus, subjected to some DemonicPossession, be NotHimself or act all BrainwashedAndCrazy?

Finding out that they're '''not''' actually brainwashed (or crazy); they've genuinely [[FaceHeelTurn joined]] TheDarkSide by their own volition, or had a legitimate FreakOut and their personality is as real as it is new. And you just can't bring them back the same way as you could with anyone else who ''was'' brainwashed, [[MoralEventHorizon assuming you can bring them back at all]].

This is often held back as a dramatic (and tragic) reveal after a long montage (or whole episode) of the heroes performing [[MagicAntidote all]] [[IKnowYouAreInThereSomewhereFight manner]] [[ThePowerOfFriendship of]] [[ThePowerOfLove attempts]] to break whatever control the BigBad has over this character. The reason it doesn't work? Because the BigBad doesn't actually ''have'' any control over them to begin with; they insist they are Not Brainwashed, and they're right.

There's also the comedy option, where a character, having gone into a seemingly dangerous situation, finds out that it's actually not what it appears, while their allies (who haven't realized it) attempt to [[UnwantedRescue rescue them from the "brainwashing."]]

Having one person out of a million Not Brainwashed is becoming more and more common. Not so much a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] as the [[CyclicTrope natural cycle]] of the trope.

Related to MoreThanMindControl. Contrast with PretendToBeBrainwashed. Compare NotAnAct.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''[[Anime/PrettySammy Magical Project S]]'', turns out Pixy Misa wasn't a brainwashed persona, but the repressed aspects of Misao's personality.
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', Vegeta falls under Babidi's Majin control, which brings out the evil of whoever is placed under it and brings them under his control. After Goku tries to get him to snap out of it, Vegeta reveals that he's not truly under Babidi's control; he ''let'' himself be affected because he felt he was going soft, and knew Babidi could bring out his evil side and allow him to finally surpass Goku (however, this implies that he is at least ''partially'' under Babidi's influence, and when Babidi puts some effort into exercising it Vegeta has to muster a lot of his will to successfully resist it).
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** [[spoiler:[[BigBad Aizen]]'s]] Zanpaktou can cast illusions that can fool anyone, if they have ever seen the sword using its power. [[spoiler:However, Tousen is blind, thus unable to see the sword. It is then revealed that he joined Aizen of his own will.]]
** Played with in Orihime's case when [[spoiler:she was kidnapped to Hueco Mundo. At first, everyone thinks Aizen mindwashed her, but actually she was [[SadisticChoice forced to come along as to save her friends]]. Aizen then says [[FromACertainPointOfView she came of her own accord]]]], and the less... brainy Espada try to twist this even more to say [[BlatantLies she is one of them]], even trying to convince ''her'' about it as a part of the massive BreakTheCutie process they're subjecting the poor girl to. Only for the lectures to be [[ShutUpHannibal put down]] by ''Ichigo'' of all people.
* Kaiser in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''. He's a champion of a game notorious for causing [[SplitPersonality Split Personalities]] and [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Superpowered Evil Sides]] in players, and his FreakOut and EvilCostumeSwitch take place during the MoreThanMindControl arc, but in his case, he really just snapped after a humiliating loss. He tells his [[MentorArchetype mentor]], his best friend, and his brother that when they try to "cure" him by dueling him since DefeatMeansFriendship: "There's no darkness inside me. I am not captured by darkness. I just want to know what brings out the power to win!" Originally, he was still a cold, aloof loner, but at least he had a strong sense of respect for his opponent. [[spoiler: He eventually gets better.]]
* Another Yugioh example in ''Anime/YuGiOhZEXAL'': the BiggerBad - who corrupted humans with hatred and FakeMemories - was defeated, but the last Barian standing (Nash) was still intent on taking [[TheHero Yuma]] down. Understandably, Yuma refused to fight his friend, claiming he still was under the influence of the curse. But Nash explained his memories were not toyed with, that the real curse was his own, conscious vow to protect the Barian World at all costs, meaning their duel to the death was inevitable.
* ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' had Domon's mentor, Master Asia, turn against him. Domon didn't give this much thought at first, since he had seen many people become {{Brainwashed}} by the Devil Gundam before then, and was mighty displeased to discover that Master Asia was serving the Devil Gundam purely by choice.
* This trope appears in the last story arc of the live-action adaptation ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon''. Queen Beryl, who up until this point has been brainwashing her four lieutenants, resigns herself to certain death and releases Jaedite from her spell, so he can escape. His personality doesn't change at all: he reveals that he's always been her willing servant, and he intends to remain by her side no matter what.
* In ''Manga/InuYasha'', Sango's brother Kohaku is brought BackFromTheDead with EasyAmnesia to work for Naraku. He kills women and children while under Naraku's influence, but then regains his faculties. His sister's attempts to "break" his brainwashing at this point convince him that the best way to protect her (and make up for what he's done) is to continue working for Naraku in order to find a way to permanently destroy him.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', [[spoiler: BattleButler Walter]] is seen de-aged and on the side of the Nazi Vampires. When Alucard fights him, everyone assumes that he's been brainwashed. While it's left slightly ambiguous, it's heavily implied that not only was he doing it all of his own free will, but [[spoiler:he has been TheMole all along]].
* In ''Manga/SaintSeiyaTheLostCanvas'', {{woobie}} Alone is chosen as the vessel for [[EverybodyHatesHades Hades]] and subsequently begins to [[KillEmAll kill everyone]], planning to end all life on Earth. [[spoiler: Turns out this has nothing to do with the influence of Hades, as he was never possessed; being chosen as the vessel for Hades simply gave him the power to execute a plan that was his own from the very beginning.]]
* In ''[[Anime/ParallelTroubleAdventureDual Duall]]'' Kazuki assumes that [[spoiler: Mitsuki Sanada]] has been hypnotized to fight him since the same thing had happened to Mitsuki Rara earlier. Turns out that [[spoiler: she had willingly agreed to help the Rara army so that they would help her and Kazuki return to their own world]]. Once she realizes how close she came to killing Kazuki and how dumb her choice was she keeps the truth to herself.
* In ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'', Yuji gets possessed by the Snake of the Festival. Shana tries to reach him and get him to fight it, until he reveals the Snake is not controlling him; they are partners. [[spoiler:The Snake turns out to be GoodAllAlong, and he and Yuji had a plan to permanently end the war, they just needed to be WellIntentionedExtremist to do it.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' [[ComicBook/TheJudasContract Judas Contract]] Arc: Moreso in the comics than the cartoon, Beast Boy/Changeling initially hoped Terra was being brainwashed or manipulated somehow by Deathstroke/Slade before he could accept that her alliance with Slade was completely voluntary. In the cartoon, while she is manipulated by Slade, she is very voluntary about doing his dirty work for him. Having his own traumatic experience with Slade, Robin shares the hope that Slade's forcing her into it, and Terra has to spell it out for him: "I DON'T NEED SAVING! I'm not some sad little girl who's waiting to be rescued! I wanted to be this way! I wanted to go with Slade! I wanted to annihilate you and your pathetic friends!"
* In the 90s, when Colossus abandoned the ComicBook/XMen for ComicBook/{{Magneto}}'s Acolytes, his team-mates -- specifically ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}--wanted to believe that he was under mind-control; Colossus immediately denied it and for a while it was the official explanation that he was not being compelled. Eventually Professor X decided that Colossus had committed this FaceHeelTurn because of an undiagnosed brain injury (he had a huge dent in his head at the time and was trapped in his armored form. This led to an ''ComicBook/{{Excalibur}}'' issue where Xavier [[SuperDickery has Colossus's ex-girlfriend trick him into coming back to Earth so they can abduct him]], then treats the injury. It was specifically asked by one of the characters, "what do we do if he still wants to go back to the Acolytes after we heal him?" The answer turned out to be "we let him go back" and that's exactly what Colossus did. It was kind of refreshing. He remained an AntiVillain with the Acolytes for a few years, real-time, which only ended when the Acolytes' space station was destroyed and the survivors got scattered across the Earth, forcing the team's disbandment.
* Not quite brainwashing, but ComicBook/{{Quicksilver}} had underwent a FaceHeelTurn (to WellIntentionedExtremist) during- and served as the BigBad of-''ComicBook/HouseOfM'', and followed it up with a lot of, if not outright ''villainous'', morally questionable and inherently selfish actions, such as stealing and unleashing the [[ComicBook/TheInhumans Terrigen Mists]] on the Earth in an effort to restore the powers of de-powered mutants. After ''ComicBook/SecretInvasion'', when it emerged that several heroes and villains had been replaced by shape-shifting Skrulls, Quicksilver explained his previous actions by claiming that he has been replaced as well- cue a private moment with his Inhuman daughter, Luna, who points out that she is a LivingLieDetector and tells him she knows he is making it all up, and is guilty as sin.
* When Lucas Bishop first returned from the Future after his mad crusade to kill [[MessianicArchetype Hope]] failed and being left there by ComicBook/{{Cable}}, it first looked like as if he was possessed by the Demon Bear. [[SubvertedTrope However]], it turned out that everything he did (including butchering ''billions'' of innocent people just to get Hope) was all him without any brainwashing. He just had a {{Heel Realization}} later.
* There's a variation in ''ComicBook/HalJordanAndTheGreenLanternCorps'', where the involved person never actually went evil. The Corps had suddenly vanished, with an unknown foe using their rings to pull them to the previous universe. Soranik Natu would have shared this fate, but her father ComicBook/Sinestro had forewarning of the event, and pulled off her ring just in the nick of time. She's inducted into the ComicBook/SinestroCorps, which is trying to take the Green Lanterns' place as the universe's lawkeepers. The GL Corps eventually does make it back, but Soranik working with their greatest enemy looks ''very'' questionable. She has to explain that, no, she did ''not'' pull a FaceHeelTurn at all.
* ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis:'' When the BigBad is revealed, and explains what they've been doing to Power Girl, manipulating events behind the scenes for years, she takes it to mean that their manipulations are why Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have been on the outs through the event. She's promptly told that nope, that's just their own fault.

[[folder:Fan Works]]

* The ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'' has this turn out to be the case with Rainbow Dash, who really ''did'' take Discord's SadisticChoice. She only ''pretended'' to be Discorded and try to run from the others because Discord [[ExactWords just drove Cloudsdale insane]] when she got there and she could bare to face the others. [[LivingLieDetector Applejack]] eventually finds out and acts as her SecretKeeper for awhile. Eventually, the guilt of it nearly causes her to [[SuperpoweredEvilSide go nightmare]] (and in one AlternateUniverse, actually do so and become Nightmare Manacle) before the others snap her out of it and calm her down.
** Turns out to be the case with [[BigBadWannabe the Valeyard]] in [[BadFuture Dark World]]. He's not the Discorded Doctor, he's a pure evil regeneration of him. [[spoiler:The Doctor ''was'' Discorded, however, and Twilight's Memory Spell reverses it, allowing the Doctor to regenerate when they eventually kill off the Valeyard incarnation.]]
** [[spoiler:''Inverted'' with Dark World!Fluttercruel. It turns out she was ''born'' Discorded, something not even her father Discord was aware of. When she {{Body Surf}}s into Sparkler's body, Sparkler's memories of Derpy break the Discording, causing her to be capable of actually starting to think about whether or not her actions are wrong. [[VillainousBSOD She doesn't]] [[VillainousBreakdown take this]] [[SanitySlippage well.]]]]
** [[spoiler:Double Subverted in that, after her brainwashing is broken, she ''continues'' to protect her father.]]
* In ''Fanfic/FaithAndDoubt'', after finding out the same source that turned Luna into [=NightMare=] Moon is behind Twilight's new aggressive behavior, the others assume he's brainwashed Twilight. It turns out this is pulled double. Not only is Twilight not brainwashed, neither was Luna. Allowing the eternal night to occur was against [[spoiler: Doubt's]] wishes, and as such he abandoned her just before her battle with Celestia.
* D. Gray-man. Pretty much every [[spoiler: Noah!Allen]] fanfiction in existence.
** Often used to bash the character who believes him to be an example of this trope.
*** Or, to make said character appear to be naive or in denial.
** [[spoiler: Used to the point that it's slowly becoming cliche.]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheRiseOfDarthVulcan'', the eponymous character (whose real name is Ted) ends up in [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Equestria]] and is empowered by the [[ArtifactOfDoom Alicorn Amulet.]] After a fight with Rainbow Dash, the Mane 6 see him with the Amulet, and blast him with the Elements of Harmony, thinking he was corrupted. Since he wasn't corrupted, not only do the Elements not work, but he believes that the Mane 6 were trying to brainwash ''him'', which only serves to fuel his anger.
* Implied in FanFic/RainbowDoubleDashsLunaverse. In the Celestiaverse, it's stated that Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon was partially due to the influence of an alien presence (the Nightmare), and that the reason Luna could pull such a quick HeelFaceTurn was that the Elements purged the Nightmare from Luna. But given the fact that Corona rejected Luna's offer of redemption, this implies that Celestia was not effected by any external force, and became the Tyrant Sun entirely on her own.
** And in ''Crisis On Two Equestrias'', when Trixie accidentally teleports herself to the Celestiaverse, she quite naturally assumes that the differences between the two universes are the result of Corona MindRaping her friends. While her memory transfer spell is able to "restore" their Lunaverse memories, the Celestiaverse Elements of Harmony are not fooled.
* [[spoiler: The Inquisitor, a [[VideoGame/MassEffect Reaper]]]] from ''Fanfic/WhenThereWasATomorrow'' boast that it did not require [[spoiler: [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Indoctrination]] to bend [[ScaryDogmaticAliens The Covenant Leadership]] to its will. It instead pretended to be a Forerunner AI and exploited their religious fanaticism to forward its EvilPlan]].

* In ''Film/TheShadow'' movie, Lamont Cranston assumes Dr. Reinhardt's assistant, Farley Claymore, has been telepathically controlled into helping Shiwan Khan, until he tries to snap him out of it and Claymore boasts he is helping Khan of his own free will, hoping to be rewarded with power. Given Cranston's earlier life as the vicious drug lord Yin-Ko, he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and really should have considered that possibility.
* In ''{{Film/Dragonheart}},'' this is the main conflict--Bowen hates dragons because he's convinced that King Einon, whom he mentored as a child, only turned evil when he bound his heart with a dragon's to save his life. The viewer, however, can see that Einon was [[EnfantTerrible pretty messed up]] even before his injury; it just takes Bowen most of the movie to accept it.

* In ''Trader'' by Creator/CharlesDeLint, Max Trader has [[GrandTheftMe involuntarily swapped bodies]] with another character. When his teenage neighbor Nia learns this, then sees her mother kissing another woman, she assumes her mother has been swapped too. Not so. Her mother is really a lesbian and just hasn't come out to her yet.
* Multiple examples in Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/TheSharingKnife'' series, due to Lakewalker magic having accidental [[{{Brainwashing}} beguilement]] as a common side effect.
** Fawn is constantly asked if the sorcerous Dag has beguiled her into marrying him, when they are really just in love.
** In ''Passage'', [[spoiler:Alder]] is not beguiled by the rogue Lakewalker.
** In ''Horizon'', a halfbreed Lakewalker beguiles a farmer into loving and marrying her, only to learn that beguilement wears off over time and her husband is staying with her of his own free will.
* Bujold also plays the comedy situation for dramatics in ''Literature/ShardsOfHonor''. [[spoiler:Most of Beta Colony believes that Cordelia has been brainwashed by the Barrayarans, when she's really just in love with Admiral Vorkosigan.]]
* In Bujold's ''Literature/TheSpiritRing'', sorcerers can attach the spirits of the recently deceased to inanimate objects and compel them to do their bidding. The heroine decides to skip the compulsion in favor of asking nicely, leading to an unexpected failure when the bad guy tries to destroy her animated [[spoiler:statue]]:
-->'''[[spoiler:Uri]]:''' You cannot release me. I am not bound.
* Kyp Durron in the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' is a rather ambiguous case. While he wasn't "brainwashed", he was certainly ''influenced'' mentally by [[BigBad Exar Kun]]. But it largely worked because Kun was telling Kyp what he ''wanted to hear'', and it's never 100% clear how much was Kun and how much was Kyp. Using a superweapon to blow up the stars of Imperial-controlled systems as revenge for his life of slavery and the death of his family was all Kyp, though, which leads to some heated in-universe debates when other characters, particularly his mentor Luke Skywalker, point-blank refuse to believe he was responsible despite all the available evidence.
* Horribly subverted in ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' where "Quislings", humans who pretend to be zombies ([[BelievingTheirOwnLies to the point of literally believing they are zombies]]) are just so much more zombie chow.
* Ruthlessly exploited in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books: In the backstory, many of the BigBad's willing supporters escaped prosecution for their crimes by claiming to have been under a mind control spell.
* [[http://wikinfo.org/index.php/Tarra_(Doctor_Who) Tarra]] from ''[[Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures The Ancestor Cell]]'', at least in [[ChivalrousPervert Fitz's]] conception. He thinks she's led on by Kellen, but it's obvious she's leading the rich kids on and is the ManBehindTheMan. Her "first name" is [[spoiler:[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Mother]], the title of a Literature/FactionParadox agent, a vicious {{Cult}} engaging in {{Temporal Paradox}}es and whose goal is to destroy the structure of time itself.]]
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', the Knights of the Blackened Denarius are a group of FallenAngels that [[SealedEvilInACan inhabit]] the ThirtyPiecesOfSilver. If a human picks up one of the coins, they expose themselves to the Fallen's influence. Most of these people are MindRaped into submission, but a fair few of the coin holders are working with the Fallen on their own free choice, for various reasons.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' the world is being invaded by {{Puppeteer Parasite}}s, but it's noted that a fair number of the human hosts actually agreed to be infested voluntarily, either because they're quislings or because they were just so depressed and alone that they would join any group that [[FauxAffablyEvil seemed to offer them kindness]]. Although it's implied even many of the "voluntary" Controllers didn't really know what they were getting themselves into, like [[spoiler:Tobias]] in "[[ForWantOfANail Back to Before]]."
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia: Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' Diggory and Polly stumble upon a room of very realistic statues, along with a bell. A poem next to the bell challenges anyone who comes to ring it, and notes that if they don't, they'll have to spend the rest of their lives wondering what would have happened. Diggory rings it over Polly's objections, thus waking up the "statue" of [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen the evil Queen Jadis]]. He tries to play this off like the poem was magic and forced him to do it, but under [[BigGood Aslan]]'s scolding he admits that he was really just curious.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* A perfect example is Connor in ''Series/{{Angel}}'''s fourth season. Jasmine has the power to enthrall anyone who sees her; only contact with her blood can break the spell, at which point the victim sees her true, horrific face. Fred is accidentally freed this way, and she manages to free the rest of the cast one by one. But when they try to cure Connor, he betrays them -- turns out that due to their blood relationship, he's ''never'' been under Jasmine's spell. He's just so tired of fighting and being manipulated that he's willing to go along with her UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans thing.
** Another episode involved a boy who was apparently being possessed by a demon. When the demon is finally exorcised, he reveals that the boy was already more evil than he was: he was so evil, in fact, that he was not so much possessed by the demon as ''imprisoning'' him.
** After Wesley conspired to kidnap the baby Connor (and got his throat cut for his trouble) Angel visited him in hospital. Angel was at pains to stress that he was still Angel (and not the soul-less Angelus) before proceeding to try to smother him with a pillow.
* In a series fraught with EvilTwin and BrainwashedAndCrazy Power Rangers, ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' chose to break the chain and give us the A-Squad, a team of "elite" Rangers thought to have been lost in space ([[Series/LostInSpace no pun intended]]), but had really faked their disappearance to voluntarily join with the Troobian army, believing it'll eventually crush the SPD and wanted to be on "the winning side" when it happened. All well and good...until a CanonDisContinuity in the ''Magazine/DisneyAdventures'' follow-up comic reversed it back to BrainwashedAndCrazy...
** This {{Retcon}} does illustrate how it can often be hard to tell when somebody's ''really'' Not Brainwashed: somebody who really has been brainwashed is ''rather unlikely to say so'', after all. If they did it would mean they were brainwashed ''really poorly''.
*** This is debatable as at the start of the season before they were captured, one of the B-Squad Rangers notes something is off about the A-Squad.
** On a lighter note, ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' plays with this between Zedd and Rita. At first, she used a love potion. Later, Goldar will use a love potion antidote on Zedd. No effect. Goldar concludes to this trope, although it's possible that the antidote worked only on the love potion displayed in this episode, not on the one used fifteen episodes earlier.
* In an episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Worf and the legendary Klingon warrior Kor find an ancient heirloom which has the power to create a new golden age for the Klingon Empire. As the episode unfolds, they become increasingly at odds with one another over who should be the one to present it to the Empire, and even who gets to ''carry'' it. The ''fans'' were expecting some kind of [[TechnoBabble silly tech explanation]] for this behavior (i.e. that the artifact was brainwashing them), but no - it was just ordinary jealousy and petty macho posturing. Is this trope therefore TruthInTelevision, do you think?
* In ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'', Stefan believes this is why he and Damon fell for [[ManipulativeBastard Katherine]]. Damon disagrees, and tells Stefan he was never compelled (he would know, since the compulsion would have worn off once he became a vampire himself) and knew she was an evil, murderous vampire... [[spoiler: but did not know she was having sex with Stefan as well as him.]] Katherine herself says that she only took away Stefan's fear, which seems to be the truth. She's never shown telling him, under compulsion, to love her. And let's be honest, his reaction to seeing her vamp face was the base caveman reaction of fear of something he didn't understand.
* In the ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' episode [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS2E3MakingFriendsAndInfluencingPeople "Making Friends and Influencing People"]], Ward, a HYDRA [[TheMole mole]] who betrayed the team in Season 1, reveals during an interrogation that HYDRA sometimes uses MindControl to force people to join them, but Ward quickly makes clear he was never brainwashed and everything he's done was of his own free will. {{Downplayed}} though since he was recruited and conditioned as a troubled young teen by charismatic [[TheSociopath sociopath]] John Garrett, so technically he fits the more traditional real-world definition of "brainwashed" by being a victim of indoctrination, which puts him in a murky gray area even after he starts pursuing more selfish end goals for himself (since he's clearly AxCrazy and not entirely sane from a combination of that and an abusive childhood).

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* In 2011, Wrestling/{{TNA}} had a lesbian love triangle storyline where [[Wrestling/KatarinaWaters Winter]] used a LovePotion to make Wrestling/AngelinaLove dump Wrestling/VelvetSky and hook up with her instead, while viciously assaulting Velvet. Eventually, Angelina reveals that she's snapped out of it, but loves Winter anyway and genuinely wants to hurt Velvet.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' most Orcs believed their enslavement to the Burning Legion was forced on them by Gul'dan. Grom revealed that the chieftains had willingly accepted the Legion's offers of power in exchange for serving them, with Grom being the most eager.
** There is also one in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. The players are sent to assassinate Emperor Dagran Thaurissan, the Evil Emperor of the Dark Iron and rescue the captive Princess Moira Bronzebeard. It however turned out that she took a liking to him and the two were HappilyMarried with a child on the way, much to the player's surprise.
** In the Stonecore, there's a rock giant that you're tasked by Therazane to kill named Ozruk. At first, she sent agents to free him from whatever magic binds him to this Twilight's Hammer dungeon. "No such magic was placed upon him."
** One [[EpilepticTrees theory]] about Garrosh Hellscream's increasing aggression was some form of mind control, but [[LikeFatherLikeSon like his father]] it turned out to be a simple desire for power and conquest with little thought to the consequences.
* In ''Videogame/EarthBound'', Ness's "friend" Pokey is often seen with brainwashed humans, even claiming to have been brainwashed and subsequently freed following the Happy Happy Village incident. Halfway through the game, he finally just flat out admits that he is actually working for Giygas of his own volition.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration 2'', much of the early plot revolves around surviving members of the "School" on the opposing side trying to "save" one of your pilots from obvious brainwashing. Of course, she's on your side entirely by choice, and ''they're'' the ones undergoing brainwashing.
* ''Series/KamenRiderDecade''; on [[spoiler:[=DiEnd's world=]]] it turns out that [[spoiler:Junichi]] is working for the villain and is not under his control as everyone has believed.
* In ''VideoGame/SuikodenI'': [[spoiler:The BigBad of the game has most of the empire's soldiers under her MindControl, and everyone (including her) thinks she has the king under that power, too. At the very end of the game, though, he reveals that he was never really under her control, and was acting the way he did [[LoveMartyr because he genuinely loved her]].]]
* In ''Videogame/FinalFantasyIVTheAfterYears'', this trope was used when Kain - who was repeatedly brainwashed in the first game - insists that he is acting under his own volition when he attacks several of his former allies. It is later discovered that he wasn't brainwashed at all... [[spoiler: He was an EnemyWithout]]
* In ''Videogame/MegaManBattleNetwork 5'' a signal that makes people aggresive starts spreading out and the player (immune via PlotCoupon) must shut the signal in each area down, usually meaning he has to fight his teammates first. One of the fights, however (Charlie in Team Protoman, Dusk in Team Colonel) reveals that the character wasn't affected, he just wanted to fight Lan.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', while [[spoiler:Mumkhar]] probably ''was'' brainwashed (since he was [[spoiler:ReforgedIntoAMinion]]), anything about attacking his former allies and stealing the Monado was redundant. To prove his point, [[spoiler:he threatens to kill Fiora a second time, despite the fact that she had been turned into a Face like him, just to torment Dunban]].
** Additionally, when [[spoiler:Dickson]] is revealed to have been EvilAllAlong, several of the party members initially believe [[spoiler:Zanza]] has him brainwashed, telling him to snap out of it. He quickly shoots this down:
--> '''[[spoiler:Dickson]]:''' You can quit your bellyaching! I'm in total control! I've ''always'' been like this! Ever since long before any of you lot were born!
* In the ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' "Bonfire of the Vanities" DLC, Ezio must assassinate a number of Savonarola's assistants who shout his propaganda from rooftops and high walls. One of them turns out to be a true believer without the influence of the Apple. He laughs at Ezio for thinking that the Apple is the only way to make people believe something.
* ''VideoGame/YuGiOhTheFalseboundKingdom'' has several of Yugi's actual friends brainwashed into enemy roles in the in-universe video game. Bakura attacks under similar circumstances... and turns out to be his [[DemonicPossession evil alter ego]]. [[SarcasmMode Act surprised.]]
* Michalis of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia'' killed his own father, took the throne of Macedon and ruled as a power-hungry tyrant. When his sister Minerva finds him NotQuiteDead in the sequel, she assumes he was brainwashed by Gharnef. (And since Gharnef brainwashed at least two other characters into being evil, she's right to be suspicious.) Turns out he was a case of this trope, Gharnef had in fact used MoreThanMindControl, playing on his ambition and desire to improve Macedon's standing in the world. The FaceHeelTurn was completley genuine. [[spoiler:Of course, this also means he's able to pull a genuine HeelFaceTurn later.]]
** This is basically the biggest plot twist of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'' if you choose to follow Ephraim's path. [[spoiler:Turns out [[BigBadFriend Lyon]] was never possessed by the Demon King. He simply summoned his soul by using dark magic, drew power from it and then ''pretended'' to have been possessed in order to easily control his followers. Of course, at the very end, upon Lyon's defeat, the Demon King's soul does end up truly taking over, and implying that he let Lyon get away with what he was doing because it was good for his plans too.]] None of this happens if you choose to follow Eirika's path. [[spoiler:In this latter version, Lyon really was possessed the whole time.]]
** This happens again in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemHeroes''. Most Heroes are forced into the service of the Emblian Empire by being placed under a contract that makes them fight for them. [[VideoGame/FireEmblemFates Xander]], on the other hand, decides to continue to follow the Emblians even after he is released from his contract because he believes BigBad Princess Veronica is just [[DarkMagicalGirl a lonely girl that he needs to help]].
* Halfway through ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'', the heroes find out that the supposed Big Bad Dhoulmagus was actually possessed by the spirit of Rapthorne contained within his scepter. This force possesses several other characters over the course of the game, so when Marcello picks up the scepter and imprisons the heroes, and they hear that the Lord High Priest is dead and Marcello has taken over the church, they naturally suspect he's the latest victim. As it turns out, Marcello resisted the possession and killed the Lord High Priest of his own free will, for AmbitionIsEvil reasons. It's possibly he was still being influenced, albeit more subtly than the other holders of the scepter.
* In ''VideoGame/Macross30TheVoiceThatConnectsTheGalaxy'', a number of heroic characters are found to be brainwashed to fight for the BigBad. It's therefore a surprise to see that [[Anime/MacrossZero Shin Kudo]] is ''not''. He's fighting for the enemy of his own will. [[spoiler:His reasons turn out to be because the BigBad told him [[ApocalypseHow what happens to Earth]] at the end of the Zentraedi War, and he's desperate to prevent that from happening. Understandable that he'd feel this way: he's the only heroic pilot from ''before'' the Zentraedi War, and thus the only one who never imagined such a thing could happen, while for everyone else it's simply a fact of history.]]
* ''VideoGame/TokyoMirageSessionsFE'': Until chapter 5, the party deals with artists who've been brainwashed into a state of insanity by powerful Mirages. Towards the end of chapter 5, they face [[spoiler:Yatsufusa]] and they assume he's brainwashed like everyone else before him. But no, he's fully aware of his actions and is working with the Mirages of his own free will; he's completely insane and wants to destroy the world because he thinks that'd be the greatest form of entertainment.
* In ResidentEvil7Biohazard, it is slowly revealed that the HillbillyHorrors you meet are in fact BrainwashedAndCrazy. Except for the PsychopathicManchild Lucas. He turns out to have been already a murderer even before all of this, and just hangs around after escaping the brainwashing for the [[HealingFactor perks]].
* ''VideoGame/YsMemoriesOfCelceta'' uses this trope, although not particularly sanely. The Bad Guys start kidnapping villagers and making them wear magic masks which gives them super-strength and also makes them obey their new masters. And the sub-boss is the village chief's son Remnos. Oh no! He was clearly mind-controlled too! ...actually he was just faking it, and only got the super-strength from the mask, because he was nebulously awesome and good at everything, including resisting mind control? (Also awesome at fighting, art, music, scholarship. He was just hiding his true talents the whole time to... not shame his elder sister with how awesome he was in comparison.) Why he went along with the bad guys plan which involved wounding and stealing from the villagers (including his father!), and why the bad guys let him keep tagging along after he reveals he wants to "help" them of his own free will, is a question better less unasked. The narrative treats Remnos as a Good Guy spy of course rather than a villain... despite this not really happening...
* Disgaea5AllianceOfVengeance: It is revealed that TheDragon to BigBad Void Dark, General Bloodis, is none other than NobleDemon martial arts master Goldion, having been defeated and brainwashed into servitude by Void, his own son. Luckily, Goldion's students Killia and Zeroken manage to master the "final technique" of his teachings, Avidya Holy Water, which has the power to break him free. And it doesn't work, Bloodis stays loyal to Void. They try again, but still he remains Bloodis. However, it is eventually revealed that they ''did'' break him free the first time; Goldion simply pretended to still be evil in order to secretly help the rebels and act as a StealthMentor.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX4'': In a series where Reploids regularly get infected by the [[ContagiousAI Sigma Virus]] and turn violent, the entirety of Repliforce as well as (possibly) Magma Dragoon are Mavericks that are not infected. [[BigBad Sigma]] just managed to [[BatmanGambit play their]] attitudes to his advantage in order to incite their Maverick behaviour on their own accord -- [[BloodKnight Magma Dragoon]] was tempted by Sigma into destroying the Sky Lagoon on the notion that it would goad X or Zero into fighting him (he ''really'' wanted to fight and defeat them), and [[HonorBeforeReason Colonel]] refused to get Repliforce to stand down after being suspected in involvement with the Sky Lagoon incident, causing the main conflict of the plot to occur.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The final arc of ''Webcomic/ItsWalky'' deals with several mind-controlled former teammates... and one who, it turns out, switched sides by choice.
-->"He wasn't hypnotised, merely disgruntled."
* In ''{{Webcomic/Erfworld}}'', Jillian [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0105.html concludes]] that Wanda rejects her [[LastSecondChance urging to desert Stanley]] because she is bound by a loyalty spell. When an ally with spell-detecting abilities informs her that Wanda is ''not'' under any loyalty spells, she flatly refuses to believe it. But she comes around for the most part when Wanda [[PillarOfLight tries to kill her]], though.
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' #640, after [[spoiler: Vaarsuvius]] takes great pleasure in killing an opponent (and their entire extended family) it is revealed that the DealWithTheDevil they made had no effect on their alignment or actions-- essentially, the character merely revealed [[WhatYouAreInTheDark their true self.]] The character was told the spell ''could'' affect their alignment, with the implication that this was done to give an excuse for indulging their own darkest impulses.
* At the end of chapter three in ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'', the "Roselings"--little plant-minions whom the Guardener had been brainwashed from his own Guardlings--reveal that they served Rosemaster willingly, because she was much nicer than the Guardener was. (And also that he wasn't their master in the first place; he'd just shown up and started bossing them around.) [[spoiler:Cucumber gives them Rosemaster's Disaster stone, effectively her remains, so they can look after it.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' episode "The Brave and the Bold", [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys Gorilla Grodd]] uses a mind control helmet as his main weapon. Once it's broken, it turns out that the scientist who was assisting him was in love with him all along.
--> '''Flash:''' Internet romances huh? Go figure.
* In the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'', our hero is surprised to find his ex-partner Warp Darkmatter is not only alive, but [[TheDragon working]] for the BigBad. Unable to accept that his buddy was EvilAllAlong, Buzz offers [[WrongGenreSavvy several tried-and-true possible explanations]]:
-->'''Buzz:''' But how... of course! [[CriminalAmnesiac Amnesia!]]\\
'''Warp:''' No.\\
'''Buzz:''' [[CloningBlues Evil clone.]]\\
'''Warp:''' No...\\
'''Buzz:''' ''[[EvilKnockoff Android replica!]]''\\
'''Warp:''' ''No.''
** As Warp himself points out, with a name like "Darkmatter", how could he ''not'' be a villain?
* In ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'', Spud makes a deal with an evil Gorgon who claims that she will make his [[AllGuysWantCheerleaders cheerleader]] crush Stacy [[LovePotion fall in love]] with him. And when Stacy does decide she likes Spud, he thinks that it's because of this supposed "love spell," even though she continues to act far more fickle than you'd think someone truly under a love spell would act. In the end, like any other DealWithTheDevil, Spud has to break off his alliance with the Gorgon, and prepares himself for Stacy to break up with him now that she's not enchanted anymore. But Spud is relieved to find that there was never a love spell, and Stacy was Not Brainwashed.
** But that would mean that the Gorgon lied to Spud and broke her end of the deal.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce'' episode "Above And Beyond", the Plumbers' Helpers thought Ben was BrainwashedAndCrazy when he raoded an attack on them and Max in a satellite station. Except that he wasn't, he was only acting to [[SecretTestOfCharacter test their skills of teamwork]]

* ''{{Transformers}}: WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'':
** Optimus Primal believes that Megatron has brainwashed Rhinox and turned him into the villainous Tankor. While technically correct - he was brainwashed at first - after his spark is awakened, Tankor continues to oppose Optimus, as he has grown disillusioned with him after the failure of the Beast Wars.
** An interesting variation was Silverbolt, who was originally an intensely noble paladin-type and got brainwashed by Megatron into [[spoiler:Jetstorm]]. When he was eventually freed of the brainwashing, however, he was quite upset - he had actually found it liberating to be freed of his own strict code of honor. He decided not to be re-brainwashed when he had the opportunity later, however.
** [[spoiler:Comedy-relief punching bag Waspinator]] got brainwashed into [[spoiler:the motorcycle-based Thrust]]. When he was finally freed of his brainwashing he was quite upset as well, since "[[spoiler:biker-bot was cool!]]" and he liked being cool for a change.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'':
** When Peter learns that the symbiote has bonded to Eddie Brock (who is like a brother to him in this continuity just like in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics), he thinks that it's corrupting Eddie like it tried to do to him and begs him to fight its influence. Eddie responds by saying that he's not being controlled, he just shares the symbiote's desire to destroy Peter (the symbiote [[IfICantHaveYou wants to kill Peter because he rejected it]], and Eddie wants to kill him because Peter's actions indirectly screwed Eddie over). Eventually Eddie reveals that he's always resented Peter, because even though their parents died in the same accident, Peter was taken in by his aunt and uncle, and Eddie ended up all alone... until now. [[DownplayedTrope That being said]], as it had already been established that the symbiote can and does affect the character of whoever wears it by bringing out their dark side, it is possible that Eddie was simply in denial- while he may indeed have unconsciously resented Peter for all those reasons, it is likely that the symbiote exaggerated and played upon it while smothering the more genuinely positive feelings towards him that he had displayed earlier in the series. HumansAreFlawed, after all.
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanUnderTheRedHood''. Given his background, [[spoiler:Jason Todd]] proposes this is what's causing him to cross the line but he himself doesn't seem totally sure, as the Lazarus Pit's influence on his mind could also be to blame (the Pit's side effect is to induce madness in the subject).
** Batman puts forward that he knew [[spoiler:Jason]] was going to be dangerous someday. [[spoiler: That's why Batman made him Robin, to try and keep him on the straight and narrow.]]

!!Comedy examples:

* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', when Bob the Skull tries to get Harry to let him out for a night:
-->'''Harry Dresden:''' No way. Last time I let you out, you got into a frat party and started an orgy.
-->'''Bob the Skull:''' I didn't do anything another couple of kegs of beer wouldn't have done!

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers'' "Zooing Time": The supposedly brainwashed Norbert is genuinely disappointed at being rescued from a zoo, because he actually likes it, but Daggett thinks that he's saying that because he was brainwashed. (And he's taking responsibility for getting Norb sent to the zoo to begin with.)
* Same goes in ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', "Operation: C.O.L.L.E.G.E.", with Nigel participating in snow cone research.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LiloAndStitchTheSeries'' episode "[=HunkaHunka=]", Lilo's friend Keoni has a crush on Pleakley (in his horrible disguise as a human woman). Lilo, Stitch, and Jumba are quick to blame the MonsterOfTheWeek, but no, he ''actually does'' have a crush on Pleakley. (For context: Pleakley has green skin, one eye and three legs.)
* On ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark,'' Henrietta ''herself'' believes that she's been brainwashed to turn from a {{Goth}} to an {{Emo}} ([[FandomRivalry which is totally different]]!) It turns out to be a prank done by a reality TV show, with Henrietta being suggestible enough to fall for it. Seeing how embarrassed she is, her friends play along with the idea that she really was mind controlled. In the same episode, [[spoiler:Firkle]] turns out to be TheMole rather than even fake-brainwashed, though he wasn't in on the prank either.