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Appendage Assimilation

The nice thing about the Healing Factor is it's capable of bringing characters back whole From a Single Cell, even with exactly their previous hairstyle! It's usually really cool to watch too, as entire limbs grow back in gorgeous CGI (or not). Usually this is helped along with liberal use of Shapeshifter Baggage to avoid that pesky "conservation of mass" physics insists is accurate. However, sometimes physics teams up with Horror and Squick and puts its foot down on these shenanigans... or rather, puts its foot 'on'.

A character who has Appendage Assimilation can regenerate from just about any wound but with one caveat: he has to attach a working limb to that stump or consume an equal amount of bio-mass for the Healing Factor to work. So you'll have this character get torn and rent to pieces, then pull themselves together and keep fighting (and/or bantering) as if nothing had happened. Usually they never die to blood loss (which makes sense, as presumably the same power on a smaller scale works to keep their blood in their veins), and any lost limbs (head included) will still function and be reattachable, if not autonomous and capable of fighting.

The root of this power varies, it may be because as The Virus, they can "assimilate" any and all organic matter into themselves regardless of compatibility (so he might improvise by attaching snakes to his arm stump). Or they might have powerful Nanomachines that can do just about anything provided enough biomass. Magical or demonic powers of some kind are also popular.

As has been mentioned ad nauseam (pun intended), this power is not pretty to look at. Disturbingly, this can be taken even further though by having foreign limbs assimilate imperfectly. The skin won't match, the "seams" will look like burn wounds, mismatched limbs sizes are common and if the character had to make do with two left feet, well he can write off any dance competitions for a long while.The result of all this reattaching will be they look like a gooey Frankenstein's Monster, though some have enough healing factor that they can make new limbs look like they're natural... err, that is to say, natural to their body. Others might decide to forgo using human limbs and graft whatever is 'handy', eventually resulting in a Shape Shifter Mashup.

To really freak out viewers and their enemies, they might be picky about whose limb(s) they use, or even use another character's face this way. Expect them to do a bit of Showing Off the New Body just to rub it in. Compare Partial Transformation and Cannibalism Superpower.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The manga Blade of the Immortal has Manji, the immortal owner of the titular blade. There's a whole story arc devoted to this trope, including a mad scientist that's trying to copy Manji's immortality onto other people by switching his limbs with others. Frequent occurances of Body Horror and Theyd Cut You Up ensue.
  • Happens fairly frequently in Claymore. As a matter of fact, this is the only reliable Healing Factor that "Attack-type" Claymores have. They can regenerate complete limbs, but it takes months and the new limb will be vastly weaker than the original one, so if a severed limb is destroyed, they've lost it permanently. "Defense-type" Claymores, however, have the full Healing Factor and can completely regenerate limbs in very short order with no loss of limb strength.
  • Aptom in Guyver.
  • In Naruto, Juugo saves Sasuke's life by using his shapeshifting ability to turn a large chunk of his body mass into an improvised skin graft. In the next battle he gets injured himself and heals his injury by stabbing an already fallen soldier with a stinger and absorbing his flesh.
  • In Ninja Scroll the series, one of the villains repaired herself through improvised surgery, going as far as using animal body parts. In the original film, the Big Bad could re-attach severed limbs and even his head with ease.
  • In X1999 the TV series, Fuuma heals his grievous injury (he got his arm and half his face blown off) by assimilating the lat of his Quirky Miniboss Squad
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Unit 01 does it against Zeruel, ripping it open and swallowing it's S2 engine to use for itself. She also rips off the angel's right arm (tentacle?) to make herself a new left one.
  • In Busou Renkin after Victor wakes up and we find out that Kazuki has the same power, to show how DBX-esque their powers are, they rip each other's arms off and put them on themselves. However, when they do the arms change to match their bodies (the beefy arm shrinks and becomes paler, while the smaller arm grows and tans.
  • Sesshomaru of InuYasha, after losing his arm, could steal the arms of other demons and attach them to the stump. Problem was, he's a ridiculously powerful demon, and every arm he used became useless in the span of a day or two. Naraku offered him a human arm containing a shard of the Shikon jewel, which was sufficiently powerful for Sesshomaru to use, with the added benefit that it allowed him to wield Inuyasha's anti-demon sword. Eventually, the arm burst into flames. He later tried using a dragon's arm, but gave up on the practice after a related near-death experience.
  • One of the Pillar Men from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure did this by taking an arm off a corpse to replace one that was severed in a fight, then remarked about how the arm "didn't fit right".
  • Takahashi's Mermaid Saga:
    • One of the creepier moments is seeing someone graft someone else's arm or leg onto her own body.
    • Probably the creepiest is the woman who switches her face through this trope. It's completely voluntary too - she cuts off one face without anaesthetic to disguise herself with the new face - then later switches them back again.
  • In Franken Fran there is a great deal of mix-and-match surgery going on; so much so that it practically drives the plot.
  • The short story version of Trinity Blood once had Abel regenerate a severed arm, by using the mouth on his other hand to eat it.
  • Zodd the Immortal of Berserk reattaches a severed arm, pausing only to bash an enemy across the room with it.
  • Trafalgar Law, in One Piece, has the ability to do this to other people (and himself), though it's not merely limited to living flesh. In a truly game-breaking example of this trope, he can slice anything from a distance with his sword and warp their fragments wherever he wishes, his only limitation being he can only warp things a certain distance. In his mischievous nature, he has inserted a second torso between a man's torso and his legs, stuck a pair of (human) legs onto a dragon's back, and cut someone up into roughly twenty pieces and put each chunk on a metal railing.

    Comic Books 
  • From Marvel Comics, the Terror assimilates all sorts of body parts. It's a necessity, since his body and any biomass he assimilates into it rapidly rot. In the "League of Losers" storyline, he even gets Arana's arm after she dies.

    Film 
  • The priest in the Uwe Boll take on House of the Dead.
  • The monster in Jeepers Creepers.
  • In Strings, set in a world of marionettes, the wealthy take replacements for their damaged limbs from slaves. As long as the titular strings are still connected to the limb it functions normally. The main villain has had his whole body, except for his head and one arm, replaced.
  • In Virtuosity, Sid 6.7 is an android made of animated glass who can regenerate from any injury so long as he can draw enough glass to restore the missing material. We occasionally see Sid pulling glass from windows to regrow limbs and even chewing on broken safety glass to heal gunshots.

    Literature 
  • In the last novel of Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space trilogy, we learn about the Scuttlers, a long-dead intelligent species of insect-like creatures who had this ability—and used it as part of their culture. A socially-successful Scuttler had a unique set of appendages from trading them with others. Scientists who believe it was a natural ability (rather than the result of genetic manipulation) theorize that the Scuttlers evolved in the equivalent of a crowded lobster tank—an environment so hostile that it was advantageous not just to be able to drop limbs, but to reattach them if for some reason they don't get eaten by the predator you were escaping from.
  • The Igors in Discworld do this for a living. At least one Igor in Ankh-Morpork has taken up veterinary surgery, meaning that a stolen horse whose markings are too distinctive for resale may reappear on the market with a different set of legs.
  • A humorous variation takes place in the space opera parody Bill the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison: As the sole survivor of a space battle the titular hero was reassembled using the random bits left lying around, which leaves him with two right hands, amongst other things.
  • In The Dresden Files the "super-ghouls" appear to flow back together no matter how badly they've been damaged. In Changes Susan severs the Red King's hand (with a holy sword no less), and the thing still crawls back up his leg and reattaches itself to his arm.
  • When Nick O'Donohoe's Wyr go from human to wolf or vice versa, parts (such as fingers and tails) fall off. The Wyr then eat their own shed appendages to conserve biomass.
  • In The Vampire Chronicles, vampires can reattach severed limbs, and Maharet, who was already blind when Khayman turned her, inserts human eyes into her sockets so she can see. Of course, those inferior human eyes sometimes need replacing...

    Live Action TV 
  • Kai from Lexx does this often — getting decapitated or bisected is his routine.
  • Star Trek: Voyager have the Vidiians, a race that suffers 'the phage', an inccurable degenerative disease. They survive by stealing bodyparts from other alien races and replacing their failing organs and other tissues. Their medical sciences are far in advance of federation standards as a natural result.
  • The Neo Organism from Kamen Rider ZO does this with metal from its surroundings.
  • Forever Knight vampires have this ability. Vachon is seen after the plane crash that killed another main character holding his severed hand in the other hand, but later on, he's completely fine.
  • A villain in an episode of Supernatural is a doctor who has discovered a scientific method for achieving immortality. Part of this process is replacing any worn out body parts with what he takes from his victims. In fact, he nearly takes out Sam's eyeball with an ice cream scoop.

    Other Sites 

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is how regeneration is described in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons.
    • A Dark Sun adventure from Dungeon 56 featured the last troll on Athas, who'd salvaged the severed limbs and heads of his necromantically-slain fellows and grafted them onto himself. The issue's cover art resembles a troll version of a Vedic deity.
    • The Heroes of Horror supplement contains a monster called a cadaver golem, the result of an accident in the creation of a flesh golem. It is highly intelligent (golems are usually mindless) and has the ability to swap out any of its body parts for those of other creatures, even its brain (which it can use to gain the learned skills of the victim).
  • Orks in the fluff of Warhammer 40,000 can assimilate any orkish body part as long as they have some means of attaching it (duct tape, staples, welding apparatus, etc). They can even regenerate from having their head cut off and sewed/stitched/stapled/welded/taped back on... And it doesn't even have to be their own body the head is reattached to.
  • An optional Bestowment for Frankenstein characters in Promethean: The Created is "Spare Parts", which lets you heal your wounds and readjust your Physical Traits by adding, subtracting, or replacing bits of yourself. The sample character with the Bestowment is a Promethean nun who doesn't quite understand that "If your eye offend thee, pluck it out" wasn't met to be taken literally.

    Video Games 
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Melchiah has to do this constantly: He was raised with the smallest part of Kain's vampiric gift, and so retained much of his human weakness, including his constantly rotting body, which he has had to remedy by flaying and grafting human flesh onto himself, becoming a giant monster made of human bodies in the process.
  • This is how you heal your player character in Prototype - by absorbing people whole.
    • At the very end Mercer is blown up by a nuke. A crow tries to eat a random piece of flesh... which begins eating the crow. This apparently is enough for Alex to start rebuilding himself.
    • More explicit in the sequel. This is how James Heller acquires his various arm mutations, by consuming someone who already had them.
  • In the prologue of Shadow Hearts, Yuri gets his arm torn off. He then calmly reattaches it. This is the only time in the entire game where he displays any kind of Healing Factor. A popular theory states that this is the game compensating for its player characters fighting all sorts of nightmarish creatures; all of the characters you meet have this ability, but they can only do it a number of times equal to their hit points.
  • Radament from Diablo II is a mummy whose limbs were replaced with animal parts so he can be more effective at fighting graverobbers. The fact that he started collecting and assimilating human limbs to reconstruct his body is the first sign that something has gone very wrong in the eastern deserts (i.e. Baal has been released).
  • In The House Of The Dead Overkill Nigel and Sebastian have formed into one.
  • This was one of Cyborg Justice's schticks, along with having obtuse controller inputs. You can grind, saw, and pull parts off enemy cyborgs and claim them for your own. A cyborg consists of a body core, a set of legs, and two arms, and only the core is irreplaceable (since it contains your brain and power supply); it's not impossible to go into a level with one set of parts, then end that level with a completely different arrangement of limbs.

    Web Comics 
  • Unity in Skin Horse is a stitched-together zombie creature who is capable of reattaching her limbs if they become detached, and also of doing the same trick with limbs that are not hers: there's a fight scene where one of her hands is mauled by a werewolf, so she replaces it from one of the corpses lying about. One of the werewolf corpses.
  • In Exiern the immortal mage cuts off a random civilian's hand to replace his own, complete with a bad pun.
  • Jigsaw from the superhero webcomic Zodiac is an interesting example, as he doesn't depend on this trope for survival. He grafts various body parts onto his body because he wants to.
  • In Unsounded Duane is shown to be able to replace damaged parts. This might be the case for Murkoph as well.
  • In Homestuck Caliborn is seen ripping off his own leg to get out of chains, then is seen replacing it with an autonomous leg.
  • After Ariel from Drowtales loses her left arm thanks to her Ax-Crazy half sister Kalki Snadhya'rune tells her that thanks to Ariel's shapeshifting powers she's capable of doing this with living flesh, and drags out a captured comrade of Ariel's to use as an unwilling "donor". Ariel however rejects using another soldier like this but later pays Kalki back for the injury by stealing her arm. She also tried to re-attach her original arm this way after she found it where Kalki had dropped it, but failed because the arm was dead flesh, though it's suggested that had she gotten it back earlier she might have succeeded.

    Western Animation 
  • The Makuta does this- absorbing Nidhiki, Krekka and Nihvawk in order to become a giant Shapeshifter Mashup One-Winged Angel form in BIONICLE:Legends of Metru Nui.
  • Men In Black has Alpha AKA Agent A. K's former mentor who got greedy with alien technology and now uses it to integrate alien body parts into his body
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XIV has Frink's father being resurrected but unhappy with the artificial organs his son made for him, so he steal everyone else's. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Transformers Prime: Megatron trades in his cannon/sword arm for an arm harvested from the corpse of a Prime, so he can wield artifacts of the Thirteen Primes.
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Farewell, Two Arms" has Molly replacing all of her limbs with more powerful appliances, threatening to replace her head with Mr. Bumpy's.
    • In a twist, the discarded parts are collected up and reassembled into the original Molly, while the "upgraded" version tries and fails to pass herself as the original to her owner and is subsequently dismantled, returning things to the status quo.
  • Similar to the Bump in the Night example above, an episode of Futurama has Hermes upgrading his entire body to be roboticized until he decides to replace his brain with a robot's. Zoidberg, who had been using Hermes' human parts for a ventriloquism act, puts the brain inside the dummy, restoring the original Hermes.

    Real Life 
  • Some species of nudibranch can assimilate the intact stinging cells (nematocysts) of the siphonophores they eat. The stinging cells remain fully functional.
  • As plants lack any immune system, grafting parts of different plants (even of different species) to one another is standard horticultural practice. Ornamental roses or cacti are commonly assembled this way, with hardy rootstock attached to a more-fragile upper stalk. Certain fruits such as avocados are propagated entirely from high-quality branches grafted onto less-marketable, but healthier, trees.
  • Due to advances in modern medicine, it is now possible to to transplant the arms and hands of another person onto an amputee. However, it has been noted that some transplants fail when the recipient realizes that their new hands came from a dead person.

Animate Body PartsAutonomous and Artificial Appendage IndexArtificial Limbs
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