->'''Counselor Tryhard:''' How do we tell which one is the real captain?\\
'''Lt Barf:''' It is a simple matter. The alien will revert to its natural state when dead. We simply kill them both.
-->-- ''Sev Trek: Pus in Boots''

{{Shapeshift|ing}}ers in general tend to gravitate to [[ShapeshifterDefaultForm their "base" or original forms]] as well when killed or sufficiently weakened, as do most victims of a ShapeshifterSwanSong, or monsters that [[WasOnceAMan were once human]].

This started with [[WolfMan werewolves]]; as monsters go, they tend to be... [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent "different"]]. One of their more peculiar traits is that they have NoOntologicalInertia, because upon death they inevitably revert back to their "true" human form. Though similar to the ShapeshifterSwanSong (which usually ends in ThisWasHisTrueForm), this is not a case of a SuperPowerMeltdown, but an example of NoOntologicalInertia regarding their [[CursedWithAwesome "curse"]]. Whatever innate [[MagicAndPowers power]] or [[TheVirus curse]] is capable of using LegoGenetics and ShapeshifterBaggage to add and remove a few hundred kilograms of fur, muscle, and teeth to or from an InnocentBystander in a few moments, it apparently has no more lasting effect than a shot of espresso. Well, at least the espresso doesn't induce a killing frenzy -- [[CaffeineBulletTime usually]]. This is usually used to show that the (sometimes) only way to cure a Werewolf is to kill them.

This is both potentially useful and frustrating for {{heroes}}, since it removes evidence of the paranormal (which might be something that they want to [[{{Masquerade}} cover up]] or [[ParanormalInvestigation prove]]) while adding the eentsy little complication of making them liable to face murder charges. No [[SelfDisposingVillain Self-Disposing Villains]] here.

When the form change stems from TheCorruption, this may be the physical manifestation to parallel DyingAsYourself. This often results in PeacefulInDeath, to show that the death really was freedom from the {{Curse}} and not a bad thing.

From a purely [[FauxlosophicNarration Fauxlosophical]] perspective, this would imply that all werewolves and shapeshifters are one specific human person rather than the sum of their multiple forms... which means that heroes killing either one ''are'' murdering [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman potentially innocent people]]. [[MoralDissonance Youch]].

Sometimes, this is inverted, with someone who appeared to be human turning out to be something ''else'' entirely upon death.

See also TheMirrorShowsYourTrueSelf and GameFace. Compare SleepModeSize for the anime super powered version. Contrast ClippedWingAngel. For the immortality/[[FountainOfYouth rejuvenation]] version, see NoImmortalInertia. Helps avoid OpeningACanOfClones. A character whose death unleashes an even more powerful persona is a OneWingedAngel.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In the ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' series, demons used to be humans, and will revert to their former human selves after they die. This causes problems for Guts from time to time, but especially during the Rosine arc, where the BigBad's pseudo-Elf minions were Apostle-spawns created from human children, leading the populace of the village she menaced to believe that Guts is a child murderer.
* Victor Freeman of ''Manga/BlasterKnuckle'', a demonslayer in many ways comparable to Guts, also has to deal with demons that revert to human form upon death. Because of this, he is an {{Outlaw}} and reviled as a murderer, which isn't helped by the fact that he's a black man in the postwar 19th Century American South, where racism was rampant.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Envy, [[spoiler:when it loses all of the [[PoweredByAForsakenChild souls that it rebuilds its body with]], reverts to that of a small worm-like creature]].
** It's heavily implied that this is true for all Homunculi, [[spoiler:but the only other one shown is Pride, whose true form is a tiny baby, about the size of a thumb]].
** There's a minor but straight "after death" version with [[spoiler:Wrath]] who, while dying, [[spoiler:suddenly looks like an actual sixty-year-old man, whereas previously, he looked a decade or more younger]]. The same is also done for [[spoiler:Hohenheim]].
** Father [[spoiler:after he is defeated and thrust into the Gate]] reverts to his true form, [[spoiler:the tiny blob of darkness that Hohenheim once kept in a flask]].
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' anime episode 291. When [[spoiler:Kaname Tousen]] is stabbed and mortally wounded while in Hollow form, he returns to his true form just before he dies.
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', Younger Toguro is eventually defeated by Yusuke in the final round of the Dark Tournament. As Toguro falls, his menacing 100% demon form ''shatters'', revealing his human self. When Toguro's spirit is being judged for the afterlife in the arc's epilogue, he looks human.
* A variant happened in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny''. Near the end of the series, Meer Campbell (who underwent surgery to become Lacus Clyne's BodyDouble to further Durandal's plans) [[spoiler:was mortally wounded, TakingTheBullet for Lacus herself]]. In [[spoiler: her dying breath]] she gave the real Lacus a picture of her pre-op self, the original Meer Campbell, so she would know her true appearance: that of a black-haired, curvy, freckled young girl.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/TheHulk rarely (if ever) gets his ass kicked. Or at least takes a hit powerful enough to bring him down in one go. When he does however, occasionally it depicts him transforming back into Bruce Banner.
* This kicked off the build-up to ''ComicBook/SecretInvasion'':
** Someone the ComicBook/NewAvengers thought was ComicBook/{{Elektra}} is fatally injured...and turns into a Skrull. No-one had any idea she wasn't the real Elektra, including [[SuperSenses Wolverine]] and Comicbook/DoctorStrange, meaning that this faction of Skrulls has considerably improved their shapeshifting powers. Naturally, they start to wonder who else might be an imposter...
** This also seems to happen to any part of a Skrull that's separated from the main body; when Crusader's hand was cut off during a training exercise in ''[[ComicBook/AvengersTheInitiative Avengers: The Initiative]]'', it started turning a little green by the time they'd reattached it.
* After the werewolf in the fifth issue of ''[[Comicbook/TheFrankensteinMonster The Monster of Frankenstein]]'' is killed, it reverts back to human [[spoiler:to reveal that it was in fact the woman whom the Monster had protected throughout the story]].

* In one of the endings, Drake in ''Film/BladeTrinity'' actually managed to hold on to the last shape he shifted into for a few hours after death, [[spoiler:having mimicked Blade as a parting gift to fool the authorities into thinking he was dead.]]
* Applies in ''Film/{{Underworld}}''. Lycans normally revert to their humanoid form when they die, but Vampires eventually discovered a serum that would keep them in their wolf form after death so they could be studied.
* The werewolves in ''Film/AnAmericanWerewolfInLondon'' immediately revert to human form upon dying. The werewolf that attacked David and Jack turned out to be an old man.
* This seems to happen to most supernatural foes the eponymous hero in ''Film/VanHelsing'' faces, including Mr. Hyde and at least one wolfman. Van Helsing even remarks on this twice, telling his boss, "I'm the one who's left standing there when they die and become the men they once were!" He also says to the female lead, whose brother was a wolfman that Van Helsing killed, "Now you know why they call me murderer." He's even a wanted criminal since the authorities always catch him near corpses.
* In ''Film/SpeciesII'' the HalfHumanHybrid woman Eve turns back from her latex-monster form to human form after being knocked unconscious. Likewise in the ''Film/SpeciesIII'' the hybrids always turn back to human form when they die.
* ''Franchise/TheMatrix'': Agents are capable of taking over bystanders' bodies. If they should be killed, the program leaves and the innocent most recent host is unmistakably dead. There are no other bodies, but all their other hosts are presumably very dead as well, or they just find themselves someplace strange with no memory of how they got there.
** Actually addressed in one of the video games. Ghost is looking at an Agent through his scope when the Agent jumps out of the body, leaving a SWAT sharpshooter with a headache, who looks around in confusion.
* Averted to a degree in the Film/HammerHorror ''Film/TheCurseOfTheWerewolf'' (1961): when Leon the werewolf is shot by his father, the father covers his body with a cloak and the audience does not see if it reverts or not.
* Played straight in both the original ''Film/TheWolfMan1941'' and [[Film/TheWolfman2010 its remake]]. In fact, in the original, this causes some problems for Larry - he beat a wolf to death with a cane, and is very confused as to why everyone keeps asking him why he killed a ''human''.
* Oddly brought up in ''Film/FridayThe13thPartVIIIJasonTakesManhattan'', where Jason is shown to have reverted back to a little child after his toxic waste bath in the sewers.
* In the 1933 film version of the H. G. Wells novel ''Film/TheInvisibleMan'', the title character became visible when he died.
* ''Film/FrightNight1985''. After Evil Ed is killed while in wolf form, he returns to human form.
* Mizuno, the eponymous character, reverts to his solid form after the theater is blown up in ''The Human Vapor''.
* The Simians, or aliens form the Third Planet of the Black Hole, in ''Film/GodzillaVsMechagodzilla'' revert back to apes upon death (full body) or when hurt (only their injured parts). This is only true for this movie -- in the sequel ''Film/TerrorOfMechagodzilla'', only one dies on-screen, but instead of warping into an ape, he rather arbitrarily tears the skin off his face, revealing a deformed head. It's a clear but kinda random reference to the ''Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes'' movies.
* In ''The Happy Ghost 5'', a dog makes a deal with the Happy Ghost to become a human for 44 days because he wants to do more for his owner before dying. At the end, [[spoiler:he takes a bullet for his mistress and is loaded onto an ambulance. Seconds later, the paramedic remarks that he can't do anything for a dog. The woman then sees her dead dog on the gurney.]]
* In ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'', [[spoiler:when Storm Shadow kills Zartan, his appearance changes back to normal.]]
* The werewolf in ''The Undying Monster'' immediately turns back to human when its shot at the climax in the cliffside, and it falls to the crashing waves below.
* In Film/RedRidingHood, the beast hunter they bring in tells them they haven't killed the werewolf because they have a wolf's head mounted, not a human head. He also relates the story (an actual werewolf myth) that he once tracked down a werewolf and cut off its paw. When he got home, his wife was cradling her bloody arm, and a look at the paw revealed it was now a human hand, wearing her ring and revealing her as the werewolf. She's still alive, so it isn't clear if the paw transformed because it was cut off or because it continued to transform as she did. At the end of the movie, when they actually manage to kill the werewolf, he does take his human form.
* Established as a shapeshifter in VideoGame/BountyHunter, this happens to Zam, the bounty hunter who is chased by Anakin and Obi-Wan in the beginning of StarWars: Attack Of The Clones, after she is poisoned by Jango Fett.
* When the heroine of ''Film/CatPeople'' dies, she shapeshifts back into a panther.
* ''Film/{{Lifeforce}}'': When one of the male space vampires receives a metal stake through his chest courtesy of Colonel Caine, he turns back into his giant bat form as he dies.
* ''Film/FullEclipse'': When a werewolf dies, their body turns human again. Seen happening to [[spoiler:Detective Davies]] after Garou kills him with a SilverBullet.
* This happens to the Wolf Man in ''Film/TheMonsterSquad'' after Rudy shoots him a silver bullet. The werewolf reverts back to his human form, who thanks Rudy before dying.
-->'''Rudy:''' Well, told ya. There's only one way to kill a werewolf.
* Invoked by [[spoiler:Loki]] in ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', [[spoiler:whose skin starts turning slate blue like a Jotun when he [[FakingTheDead pretends to die]] in front of Thor.]]

* Creator/HGWells' ''Literature/TheInvisibleMan'' became visible again when he died. This is because his method of becoming invisible only worked on living tissue, so once his body became unliving, it ceased being invisible.
* Referenced and subverted in a ''Series/TheXFiles'' tie-in novel. Standing over the corpse of a woman with natural camoflage, Mulder laughs out loud when he realizes that he's been waiting for her to turn back to normal.
* In R. L. Stevenson's ''Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde'', Hyde dies and retains his shape, but in most movie adaptations (including the [[Film/DrJekyllAndMrHyde1931 1931 version]]), he reverts to Jekyll on death, suggesting perhaps that his evil self is gone and now he is at peace.
* In the Creator/MichaelMoorcock novel ''The Vanishing Tower'', the shape shifting Oonai change back into their true pig-like forms when they die. Moonglum observes, "It's not hard to see why an ugly creature like this would wish to change its form."
* The Katagarians revert to an animal form, and the Arcadians revert to a human form when they are unconscious or dead in Sherrilyn Kenyon's ''Literature/TheDarkHunters'' series.
* In Eddings' The Belgariad/The Mallorean the Hounds of Torak do this. They are Grolim priests--minor sorcerers--transformed into enormous dogs, but they go back to being human if you kill them.
* In ''[[StarWars The Lando Calrissian Adventures]]'', [[spoiler:the BigBad is basically indestructible throughout the story. Turns out his species is actually quite small and non-humanoid, and is using illusion powers to simulate the form we know him as throughout the stories. When Lando scores a lucky shot at one foot, he strikes the ''real'' Gepta for the first time, and with the illusion gone, he's able to finish him with one squeeze. It's a bit more justified then most, in that Gepta makes it clear his illusion powers are ACTIVE illusion.]]
* ''Literature/ThePictureOfDorianGray'': When Dorian Gray stabs his portrait, he ages to his "supposed" age and dies, while the portrait reverts to depicting his young form.
* In ''Literature/WelkinWeasels: Vampire Voles'', the "wereweasel" shot by Monty changes back from a monstrously mutated six-inch-tall human into a normal weasel upon dying.
* Shapeshifters in the ''Literature/KateDaniels'' universe assume their birth form when dead or dying. Results in an "oh, crap!" moment when [[spoiler:Corwin's in the hospital and suddenly transforms into a lynx. He dies soon after.]]
* In Creator/RobertRMcCammon's ''The Wolf's Hour'', the body of a werewolf spasms at death, becoming a mishmash of wolf and human parts.
* Non-death example: In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Metamorphmagi (wizards who can change their form at will) apparently lose their power under extreme depression. Happens to Tonks in ''Half-Blood Prince'' while she's [[spoiler:pining over Lupin]].
** Also, the "raw"-looking baby-like form that is Voldemort with only a fraction of his soul left gets transformed back into a [[RedRightHand relatively]] normal-looking adult human by Wormtail's spell in book four, but [[spoiler:it's the baby version Harry sees in his AfterlifeAntechamber, while he and Dumbledore look like their ordinary selves]].
* Averted in Kelley Armstrong's ''Literature/WomenOfTheOtherworld'' books, a werewolf remains in whatever shape it was in when killed.
* ''Treasure in the Heart of the Tanglewood'' [[spoiler:outright subverts this trope towards the end. [[VillainsNeverLie The villain initially claims]] that each KnightInShiningArmor was an animal [[HumanityEnsues turned into a human]], making it a simple matter for him to turn them back into animals and kill them. He lied--while each had been a victim of a since-cured case of BalefulPolymorph, reapplied in the moments before their deaths, their initial forms were human. They still stayed animals when dead.]]
* Subverted in ''Heart of Midnight'', a ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' novel, where protagonist Casimir is a wolfwere rather than a werewolf. Harkon Lukas, his biological father, expects Casimir to revert to wolf form when he dies, but because he's struggled his entire life to be human rather than a monster, he remains that way in death.
* The goblins in ''Twilight Eyes'' by Creator/DeanKoontz were genetically engineered to switch between human and monster form at will, and to revert to human form after death.
* The main character, Horza, in the Ian M. Banks novel "Consider Phlebas" reverts to his true form after his death (but not when unconscious, that would be terrible for a member of a race of shape shifting spies and infiltrators). Considering his borderline [[MindScrew Shape Shifter Identity Crisis]] earlier on, it's not clear if this dead form is actually the face of the real Horza (assuming such a person even existed) or if he had reverted to whoever he was originally underneath all the infiltration training and psychological conditioning. The whole thing is presented as a BitterSweetEnding as the closest thing he has to [[WorthyOpponent a friend]] looks down on his body and wonders who he really was in the end..
* At the end of the ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' trilogy, [[BigBad Ruin]], the god of destruction, is killed, and he leaves behind- a human corpse, leaking the black smoke that had been previously identified as Ruin's divine power. [[spoiler:WordOfGod is that Ruin was actually a combination of a human intelligence named Ati and the cosmic force of entropy- his death knocked the two apart, leaving the human body of Ati behind.]] The same had previously happened to his opposite, Preservation, though none of the characters witnessed it.
* Creator/RobertEHoward's Literature/ConanTheBarbarian:
** In the story "Literature/TheDevilInIron", Khosatral Khel, an EvilSorcerer, turns out to be an EldritchAbomination via this trope when Conan puts him down:
--->''Conan, who had not shrunk from Khosatral living, recoiled blenching for Khosatral dead, for he had witnessed an awful transmutation; in his dying throes Khosatral Khel had become again the thing that had crawled up from the Abyss millennia gone. ''
** In "Literature/QueenOfTheBlackCoast", the hyenas transform back into men before [[NoBodyLeftBehind crumbling]].
* Averted in ''Literature/WhoGoesThere?'', the short story that inspired ''Film/TheThing1982'', the alien starts off as a blue humanoid with three [[RedEyesTakeWarning malevolent red eyes]], [[GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe blue skin]], and [[PrehensileHair tentacles on its scalp]]. Then it eats someone and [[TheyLookLikeUsNow mimics him]]. It's strongly implied that the initial humanoid shape is no more its "true form" than the human and dog shapes it takes later, because Things don't really ''have'' a true form ... they're more like colonies of microorganisms that take on whatever shape seems useful.
* In ''Literature/TheLastDove'', anyone who can Change tends to sleep in the form that fits their true self more. Considering the fact that no major characters die in the book, it's impossible to know if they would do the same when they die.
* In Creator/AndreiBelyanin's ''The Plot of the Black Mass'', a villain uses a spell to turn temporarily turn himeself into a fly in order to kill a suspect in jail. However, the guy left in charge is a simple-minded farmboy with enormous physical strength. He proceeds to swat the "fly" and smashes it against the wall. Cue the horrifying scream from the farmboy when the villain turns back into his human (albeit squished) form.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' disguises of people using the One Power disappear when the diguised die, as shown when Thom kills a Darkfriend disguised as Cadsuane when she tries to sneak into the Pit of Doom.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Lazarus Experiment" did it with a twist: Elderly Professor Lazarus is restored to youth by an experimental technique that then goes wrong and turns him into a hideous monster. When the monster is apparently killed, it reverts to Lazarus' human form; when it's ''really'' killed, it reverts to Lazarus' original elderly form.
** In "Survival", the last episode of the classic series, Karra, a werecat cheetah woman, reverts to human form as she's dying.
* Averted in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', where werewolves remain in werewolf form after dying. A werewolf hunter out for pelts even comments that "it's a little hard to skin them while they're alive."
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': werewolves revert back to human form upon death and thus must be eaten alive. A [[FanWank possible explanation]] is that werewolves of the species Lycanthropus Exterus change back to human upon death, whereas the "common" werewolf does not.
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'':
** In a blatant ''Film/{{Ladyhawke}}'' rip-off, the MonsterOfTheWeek sends a {{mook|s}} after the man he cursed into an owl. When the mook turns up with a dead owl, he asks him why it didn't revert to human upon death, and [[YouHaveFailedMe promptly zaps him]].
** In another episode, a man has turned himself into a monstrous creature as part of a plan to rescue his half-demon son from its mother's species. He specifically mentions that he would only turn back when he dies. However, [[spoiler:he's later fatally injured and turns back seconds ''before'' he would die, giving them time to heal him. He remained a human, though]].
* Tweaked in ''Series/{{Sliders}}''. A vanquished fire-breathing dragon reverts to its (true) human wizard form as it lays dying...and then becomes an even smaller cockroach when no one is looking, allowing it to scamper away. [[spoiler:Only to get stepped on moments later.]]
* ''Series/TinMan'': It's not quite clear ''what'' to make of the fact that [[spoiler:Tutor changed back into Toto when he died... aside from the fact that a dead puppy is a somewhat more tearjerking visual than a dead middle-aged heavyset guy]].
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', the illusionist Candice is knocked unconscious, but reverts to her hot and skinny illusion form. [[spoiler:When she's ''actually'' killed, she reverts to her true form, which is an obese woman.]]
** Completely averted with [[spoiler:the death of shapeshifter James Martin, who retains the appearance of Sylar, causing everyone except Sylar and Emile Danko to believe that Sylar is dead]].
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** Used when Jack the Ancient dies, reverting to his true insectoid appearance.
** When NamTar is injected with the genetic reversal serum he [[spoiler:reverts back to his original primitive ratlike form]].
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries:'':
** In "Catspaw", the two dying villains are revealed to be spindly blue aliens.
** "The Man Trap" has a shape-shifting alien that avoids capture by mimicking different members of the ship's crew. It finally returns to its true (hideous) form after Spock is forced to put it down to save Kirk.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': Changelings must revert to their true form, a liquid, every day to rest. [[spoiler: They also revert to this liquid if they are killed.]]
* ''Series/{{Misfits}}'', when Kelly's new boyfriend is shot, [[spoiler:it's revealed that before the storm, he was a gorilla.]]
* Occasionally inverted with [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent HAPs]] in ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}''. Even if they die in human form, in death their bodies will sometimes show signs of their werewolf nature. For example [[spoiler:Henry]] in "Pavor Nocturnus" or [[spoiler:Joe]] in "Animus". [[spoiler:Alistair]] on the other hand remains completely human after dying.
* Happens to werewolves and shapeshifters in ''Series/TrueBlood'' upon their death: they instantly revert to their naked human form, the injuries they sustained in animal form still carried over to their real body. At one point, Bill the vampire is trying to kill a shapeshifter that escaped him by changing into a fly. He tells his guards to crush every bug in the building to see if it shifts back. FridgeHorror to ''what exactly'' a crushed bug shapeshifter would turn back.
* A minor version occurs with ElementalShapeshifter Carl Creel in ''Series/AgentsOfShield''. He's bulletproof during his first encounter with Team Coulson, but they do recover a piece of shrapnel from his then-metallic body after the fight. It reverts back to flesh and blood while Fitz is analyzing it, which makes the team realize that they're dealing with a [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual Gifted]].
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'':
** Everyman's "default" form is a bald man with a layer of skin covering his eyes ([[EyelessFace if he even has eyes]]), because he can't even ''remember'' what he originally looked like when he was normal. When he dies in a later episode, he reverts from the form that he had been taking into that default form, but we already know that is not his original appearance.
** Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash spends most of the first season wearing the face of the dead Harrison Wells. When he "[[RetGone dies]]" in the first season finale, he reverts to his true face (only seen in a single episode before that) in his last moments.

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* Generally {{Inverted}} with the {{Youkai}}: when they are killed, sufficiently battered, or simply running out of magical fuel, they revert to their ''non-human'' form. Fox youkai will revert to being a fox, cat youkai will return to being a cat, etc.
* Various cultures in the world play this straight. In an example, some people found a stray goat or caught a wild boar. They slaughtered it, cleaned the content of its stomach, and then left the carcass for a while. When they return, they found the dead body of a man in their kitchen, missing his intestines.
** A variant has someone cut off a part of an animal (usually the paw of an animal like a wolf, cat, or rabbit, though sometimes it's the tail of a snake), only for it to change back into a severed hand/foot. This usually results in the person noticing that the limb looks ''very'' similar to those of a loved one...

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* TabletopGame/WorldOfDarkness
** In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', the Garou normally revert to their base form when rendered unconscious, as would their body parts if mutilated. The problem is that some are ''born'' in their 9-foot-tall war form and must shapeshift into normal humans or wolves. Sure enough, they revert back to the war form whenever they fall asleep. An expensive Merit gives player characters exceptional control over shapeshifting, including the form they take when knocked out. Storytellers are prone to disallowing it, however.
** Werewolves in ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheForsaken'' turn back into humans when slain, which helps them keep the {{Masquerade}} up. This also applies to any lost blood or body parts - as the book puts it, "a werewolf can spill a gallon of blood while in [[UnstoppableRage the war form]] and it will all register as human".
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Any kind of shapeshifting magic (even if it's a god's inherent ability) results in this.
** ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' module [=RM3=] ''Web of Illusion''. If {{PC}}s kill a weretiger they encounter, it will change back into its human form.
** Basic D&D (Mentzer)
*** The ''Basic Rules'' "Dungeon Masters Rulebook" said that a doppelganger changed back to its original form when it died.
*** The ''Master Rules'' "Dungeon Masters' Book" said that lycanthropes (e.g. werewolves) return to normal (human) form when killed.
** [=FROA1=] ''Ninja Wars''. Takako Shimizu was infected by an unusual tigbanua biso and becomes a tagamaling buso [[WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve at midnight each night]]. If she is killed while in tagamaling buso form she will change back to her human form as she dies.
** A rare inversion in the TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}} setting, wherein a sivak draconian will take the form of the being that killed it for 3 days.
** Module X2 ''Castle Amber''. If the {{PC}}s kill the Beast of Averoigne it will turn back into its original form: Theophile, the Abbot of Perigon. While the people of Perigon will secretly believe that Theophile was the Beast, they will publicly deny it and ask the {{PC}} party to leave town.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' adventure ''The Coriolis Effect''. The Black Enchantress changes a number of people into slavering monsters. If the {{PC}} heroes kill them, they change back into their human forms - still dead. {{Nice Job Breaking It Hero}}es.
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu''
** ''Shadows of Yog-Sothoth'' adventure "The Warren". Philip Boucher is possessed by and changes into the Franchise/CthulhuMythos deity Y'Golonac, then tries to kill the {{PC}}s. If they manage to do enough damage to defeat Y'Golonac, Boucher's body will return to normal, but he will be dead.
** ''Masks of Nyarlathotep'' chapter 2 "London", adventure "The Derbyshire Monster". If the werewolf Eloise Vane is killed while in monster form, she makes a final transformation to "ground state" (human form).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Double subverted with a murder victim in ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs''. While Bigby appears to find the head of Snow White on his front steps, it's not her; it's someone else's head, under the effects of a glamour. While the victim is killed without changing back, the double subversion comes in when the glamour's magic eventually wears off, where the victim reverts to her true form of a cave troll.
* Plenty of video game bosses are able to change back to their 'regular' selves for a [[FinalSpeech terminal conversation]] (or even mano-e-mano duel) with the heroes after being defeated in their boss-form. This is really jarring if the boss form was a [[OneWingedAngel 300' tall monstrosity with multiple heads, wings, mouths, and tentacles]]. On fire. And it exploded when you defeated it...
** Examples include ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVII'', ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVIII'', ''Videogame/FinalFantasyIX'', ''Videogame/FinalFantasyX'', ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVII: VideoGame/CrisisCore'' (notice a pattern here?), and ''KingdomHearts''.
* Also in ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVII'', if Vincent is KO'ed during his LimitBreak (where he shapeshifts into various monster forms), he'll shift back to his human form shortly after collapsing.
* Averted in one case in ''Videogame/FinalFantasyVIII'', it is implied that the Shumi tribe have multiple forms, some terrifying and vicious. NORG, a member of this race, is defeated early on in the game and his location remains a visitable point throughout the game. While the player might expect NORG to return in another "true" form to take his revenge, he never does.
* In ''Videogame/{{Diablo}}'', when you slay Diablo and pull the soulstone from his forehead, his body reverts to that of Prince Albrecht, whom Diablo had possessed. (It is unclear whether Albrecht is alive or dead at this point.)
** Oddly enough, in ''VideoGame/DiabloII'', there's no sign of this when the player removes Mephisto's soulstone from the body that used to be Sankekur. Possibly due to Diablo's "death" in the first game being planned while Mephisto's death wasn't.
** ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'': Averted in Act II. FridgeHorror occurs when you realize that Belial DIDN'T LEAVE BEHIND A BODY. Although his soul was confirmed sealed by the black soulstone [[spoiler:by someone who later betrays your party, so even her confirmation is in question]], it's disturbing as to whatever happened to Emperor Hakan II's body, if there ever WAS one. Even more disturbing is how enemy nagas who are still in their guard disguises stay that way after death, implying that almost every one of them just ran and pretended that they died.
* {{Roguelike}} Example: In ''VideoGame/NetHack'', the player (and monsters) can polymorph through various means. A polymorphed creature will return to their true form if their HP drops to 0, but strangely, this restores their HP to full. Dying in other ways, like from hunger or [[TakenForGranite petrification]], still kill you without changing your form back.
* Averted in ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''. A side mission has you hunt down and kill a shape-shifter, and he goes between a Wookie, one of your party members, a giant monster, and a small ape (he was trying to beat a hasty retreat), and after you finally kill him he reverts to a charred and unidentifiable skeleton. We shall never know his true form...
** Technically, it is possible that that skeleton was the skeleton of the shapeshifter's true form, given that it evidently is not the skeleton of the form that was killed.
* [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in ''[[FireEmblem Fire Emblem 9 (Path of Radiance) and 10 (Radiant Dawn)]]''-- if a Laguz is killed while transformed, they don't revert to human-form.
* In ''Videogame/TeamFortress2'', Spies will lose their disguise upon death.
** This behaviour is also utilised with one of his alternate watches, that causes him to appear to "die" if he is hit, but instead simply drops a replica of his corpse and turns the player invisible, allowing the player the chance to then de-cloak and continue on their way.
*** Unless he's disguised as another member of his own team, then he leaves a fake corpse of one of them.
* Druids that die in animal form instantly revert back to their default form in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. This also goes for characters killed while polymorphed.
** Averted with Worgen, however, whose corpses will stay in their human forms if they manage to die without entering combat. They even appear at the graveyard as human ghosts.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series averts this with [[OurWerebeastsAreDifferent were-creatures]]. Slain [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolves]] and other were-creatures retain whichever form they were in when they were killed. This also helps [[CreatureHunterOrganization were-creature hunters]] to avert VanHelsingHateCrimes. The in-game book ''On Lycanthropy'' mentions and even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] the idea of the this trope.
* [[spoiler:Von Zell]], a werewolf, reverts back to human form after being killed in the second ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' game.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManX8'', when you defeat each Maverick in [[BossRush the requisite rematch stage]], you'll find that they are really next-gen Reploids who shifted into the Mavericks' forms, and they revert to their true forms before they blow up. Taken to its logical extreme when [[spoiler:even your first "Sigma battle" [[ActuallyADoomBot turns out to be a shapeshifter]], and every minor enemy in the final stage is a next-gen Reploid imitating Sigma. They all shift back to their true form before they are destroyed.]]
** ''VideoGame/MegaManXCommandMission'' follows up on this (storyline-wise, while actually this game was released a few months before ''X8'') with the [[BigBad final boss]], [[spoiler:[[TreacherousAdvisor Colonel]] [[SdrawkcabAlias Redips]]. It's heavily implied between the lines that Redips was the product of [[ChekhovsBoomerang the same copy chip research that created the New Generation Reploids, illegally resumed]], enabling him to infiltrate the command team he sent to Giga City via the identity and form of [[DeathDealer Spider]]]]. By the end of the game, [[spoiler:he's grabbed the [[AppliedPhlebotinum Supra-force Metal]], transformed into a giant form called [[OneWingedAngel Great Redips]] (''God'' Redips in UsefulNotes/{{Japan}}), and declared himself [[AGodAmI the ruler of the universe]]. He goes back to his regular [[ColonelBadass Colonel]] / [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Signas]] / [[StreetFighter M. Bison]] {{Expy}} form when he is FINALLY killed off in the end]].
* Wilfre in ''VideoGame/DrawnToLife''.
* The Fake Bowsers from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros1''. They are actually seven enemies transformed by [[BigBad Bowser]] into exact copies of him to distract the Mario Brothers throught the first seven worlds while Bowser holds Peach captive in the eighth. The only way for the Fake Bowsers to reveal their true selves is to have either Mario Brother kill him with fireballs. Here are the Fake Bowsers encountered in the game:
** World 1: [[spoiler:[[TheGoomba Goomba]]]] - fire
** World 2: [[spoiler:[[TurtlePower Koopa Troopa]]]] - fire
** World 3: [[spoiler:[[GameplayandStorySegregation Buzzy Beetle]]]] - fire
** World 4: [[spoiler:[[TheSpiny Spiny]]]] - fire
** World 5: [[spoiler:[[MookMaker Lakitu]]]] - fire
** World 6: [[spoiler:[[EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods Blooper]]]] - fire and hammers
** World 7: [[spoiler:[[ItMakesSenseinContext Hammer Brother]]]] - fire and hammers
** World 8: [[spoiler:[[DeathThrows Bowser]]]] - fire and hammers
*** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBrosTheLostLevels'' featured six new Fake Bowsers, two of them being found about halfway through worlds 8-4 and D-4. These Fake Bowsers, however are slightly bluish in appearance (in ''[[CompilationRerelease Super Mario All-Stars]]'', they are colored normally), and are optional. The new Fake Bowsers encountered are:
** World 8: [[spoiler:[[DeathThrows Fake Bowser]]]]- fire and hammers
** World 9: [[spoiler:[[DeathThrows Fake Bowser]]]]- fire in FDS, hammers in SNES
** World A: [[spoiler:Goomba in FDS, [[PaletteSwap Red Koopa Troopa]] in SNES]]- fire in FDS, fire and hammers in SNES
** World B: [[spoiler:Koopa Troopa in FDS, [[FlyingSeafoodSpecial Cheep Cheep]] in SNES]]- fire in FDS, fire and hammers in SNES
** World C: [[spoiler:Buzzy Beetle in FDS, [[AirborneMook Bullet Bill]] in SNES]]- fire in FDS, fire and hammers in SNES
** World D: [[spoiler:Spiny in FDS, [[DeathThrows Fake Bowser/Bowser]] in SNES]]- fire in FDS, fire and hammers in SNES
*** A fairly accurate comparison here, but these fake Bowsers may be likened to King Boo's fake Bowser in ''[[VideoGame/LuigisMansion Luigi's Mansion]]''.
* In the story mode of ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'', when Liu Kang first meets Flash, he thinks that he is Shang Tsung in disguise (he had been magically forced to switch places with Scorpion for some reason), but he decides otherwise after defeating him, saying that "if this was Shang Tsung, he would have changed back by now."
* ''VideoGame/ImmortalSouls'' plays this straight with its werewolves changing back into (naked) humans when killed. Though oddly it only happens to members of a werewolf gang and not werewolves found elsewhere.
* ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'' does this in a strange way - if any of the [=CPUs=] on your team (Neptune, Black Heart, White Heart, or Green Heart) lose all their HP in battle, they revert to their normal form just before collapsing. When fought as bosses, however, they simply {{disappear|sIntoLight}} like any other enemy.
* In the third ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' game, the last trial centers around the death of a children's book author. [[spoiler:It turns out that the author was Misty Fey, mother of Mia and Maya, and that to try to foil a plan to kill Maya, she channeled the spirit of and shapeshifted into her murderous niece, Dahlia Hawthorne. Dahlia still set off to kill Maya, so Godot stabbed Dahlia, resulting in Dahlia being forced back to the afterlife and the now-dead Misty changed back to her own appearance. This leaves Godot with the issue of how to dispose of Misty's body.]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonsDogma'' ''Dark Arisen'': When Daimon is defeated, his body begins to melt into the ground. For a moment, the shape of his original body [[spoiler:as a former Arisen]] can be seen...before that too melts away.
* In the Chapter 4 bad ending of ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 5}}'', Red Magnus and Seraphina are arguing about the beast that they just took out... [[spoiler:only for it to transform back into a child (Usalia) and drop dead.]] Red Magnus and Killia are horrified at what they see, but for different reasons [[spoiler:(Red Magnus hates fighting kids, Majorita notwithstanding, and he just killed one in cold blood; Killia wanted to keep others from dying at the hands of Void Dark and the Lost, yet that's exactly what happened)]].
* The ending cutscene of the Empire campaign in ''Videogame/{{Disciples}}'' ''II'' shows [[spoiler:Uther's demon form melting away. Uther, reverted to his original human self, collapses and dies.]]
* Averted in Videogame/{{Bloodborne}}. There's no return from beasthood or kinhood.

* Milked for all the angst it was worth in ''Webcomic/CollegeRoomiesFromHell'', when Margaret [[spoiler:realizes she's killed Roger's mother]].
* Played for laughs in ''Webcomic/{{Oglaf}}'' when shapeshifters manage to horribly botch [[http://www.oglaf.com/kingshaped/ an assassination attempt]], as their target's death reveal [[FlockOfWolves he was also a shapeshifter]]. (Link is safe, but most other strips are ''very'' NSFW)
* After Luther the Instruman is cut in half by Posey in ''Webcomic/TheSanityCircus'', he returns in a ball of light to his original form - a cello. [[spoiler:However, this damage is revealed to not be fatal.]]

[[folder:Web Video]]
* After Jotaro dealt the finishing blow to ZZ during the Wheel of Fortune mini arc in ''WebVideo/VaguelyRecallingJoJo'', the car that ZZ drove turned into a flatbed trolley with a gasoline tank.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Were-Rabbit in the ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'' [[WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit movie]]. To some extent, this is a ShoutOut to the classic turning-back scene in Universal Studios' ''Film/TheWolfMan1941'' (and a similar scene in its predecessor, 1935's ''Film/WerewolfOfLondon'').
* ''Sev Trek: Pus in Boots'' (an Australian CGI spoof of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''). The crew find themselves confronted with two Captain [[PunnyName Pinchhards]], one of them a shapeshifting alien. The crew wonder how they can SpotTheImposter. Lieutenant Barf responds, "Simple, [[KillUsBoth we kill them both]]. The alien will revert to its natural form once dead." Needless to say the captains tell him to think up another plan.
* Changelings from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' can copy the form of any pony, but knocking one out will make it turn back to its normal bug-like appearance.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'', as [[spoiler:Savage Opress]] is dying, he reverts back to his original appearance, looking as he did before [[spoiler:the Nightsisters transformed him]].
* Non-death example: In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', Leela meets another cyclops, whom she almost marries. At their wedding though, it's revealed that he's a shape-shifter with four more weddings to attend that day with four other nearly extinct aliens (he points out how much it costs to rent a shape-shifting tuxedo even for a day). Leela and the other four brides beat the crap out of him, demanding to see his true form, until eventually he submits, revealing himself to be a short grasshopper-like creature.