Clone by Conversion

Agent Thompson: You!
Agent Smith: Yes, me. (transforms him into a Smith copy) Me, me, me.
Copy Smith: Me too.

One of the problems with cloning is how slow and inefficient it is; you have all the difficulties of creating life, letting the clone mature, dealing with it diverging from the original, Clone Degeneration and so on. One simple way around this is to start off with some raw materials...namely, another person. This can range from using Functional Magic or Phlebotinum to transform someone physically and mentally or using more mundane means like Magic Plastic Surgery and Brainwashing. Either way, the unfortunate victim becomes the original's Doppelgänger.

Since this basically involves killing the person the clone's "made" from, this trope tends to be the preserve of villains. Indeed since cloning's become possible in Real Life, (and no longer automatically brings to mind a Mad Scientist), this is a good way for a writer to keep the act of cloning someone as ethically questionable. A villain who makes a habit of it might also be The Virus (especially if the clones are able to transform people as well).

Expect all the usual Cloning Blues to be turned Up to Eleven, since the copy has to deal with a Loss of Identity on two levels; both as a copy of someone else and from losing their original identity (if they can even remember it).

Compare and Contrast; Human Shifting (where someone has the ability to transform into another person), We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future (when this is used where a simple disguise would have sufficed), Body Surf, (where there is always only one of the "surfer", barring accidents), Grand Theft Me (where someone takes over another person's body), The Virus (which transforms the victim into a member of the Virus' type, rather than into a specific individual, although this distinction may be blurred if the Virus has a Hive Mind), Face Stealer (who forcefully transforms themselves into the original rather than the other way around), and Self-Constructed Being (where any material can be used as well as focusing on the being in question).


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  • This GE Super Bowl Special commercial uses Agent Smith (see The Matrix below) as a visual metaphor for their medical assistance software's ability to be "everywhere".

    Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto features a method of bringing people back from the dead by turning still-living people into clones of them.
    • Another technique transforms a person in a walking puppet of the controller and transforms the puppet body to match the master. These copies are only as strong as the amount of energy the controller transfers to them. When they are killed, the bodies revert to their true forms.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, the card Galaxy-Eyes Cipher Dragon can take control of enemy monsters and change their names, appearance, and stats to mirror it.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Transformers (UK), when Straxus fails into transferring his mind into Megatron's body, he turns a hapless Decepticon technician into a "Megatron clone" to attempt the transfer again.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The infamous Clone Saga has Norman Osborn creating a copy of Aunt May via a "genetically-altered actress" while keeping the real Aunt May captive as part of his Ass Pull-errific master plan.
    • Previous to this, the original Clone Saga was retconned by way of The Jackal using a retrovirus to create his clones, not the virtual instant clones as originally portrayed. Once The Clone Saga kicked off, that retcon was unceremoniously dismissed in an "I Lied" reversal.
  • The Convert, one of the Justice League 3000's main enemies, does this en masse as his primary ability. It's also how the future versions of the Justice League was created.

    Fan Fiction 


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons third edition introduces the psionic power "Mind Seed" which, after a week-long incubation, turns the target into a mental duplicate of the psion (though eight levels lower than the psion when s/he infected the target).
    • This power, in turn, is one of the tools the Dreaming Dark uses in Eberron.
  • Essence of the Wild from Magic: The Gathering operates this way, turning any other creature you cast or otherwise put into play into a copy of itself. Since they will then also have the copying ability...

  • In Stardoc: Plague of Memory Cherijo's long-dead first love, Kao Torin, is sighted on the Hsktskt homeworld. He turns out to be a genetically altered Hsktskt, created from DNA extracted from Kao's corpse which was buried in space by Jorenian custom.
  • In Beta, clones are created by extracting the soul of the original person (the "First") out of his/her body, then implanting a computer chip with information into said body.
  • The MARZENA Series lay down the concept that certain people with neurochemically similar brains can form empathic states and become a singular mind when mentally linked up using the Bremen Chip. Connecting two similar brains together can cause the less-dominant brain to become more dominant-like (although the full effects can take months to manifest). This is what happens to Lauren when she connects to Marian's brain, fully maturing an Independent Psychological State allowing her brain to mimic Marian's brain activity, and thus break into Marian's brain-locked computer.

    Live Action Television 
  • Similarly to the Matrix example, The Master in Doctor Who does this to almost the entire human race in "The End of Time".
    • In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio play Mission of the Viyrans, Peri becomes the vector for a pathogen that painfully converts the entire populace of a planet, Doctor included, into clones of her.

  • A willing version of the process is very common in Visual Kei. Whether out of their admiration for other artists or out of wanting in on their success, this happens with some artists who take Follow the Leader to an extreme and become, in effect, clones of other artists' personas and sometimes even scarily close to their actual selves. Some common artists that pick up a lot of this are hide of X Japan - to the point that hide clones and cosplayers are almost their own subculture within visual kei - Kyo of Dir en grey - who was himself one of Kuroyume's Kiyoharu - and Atsushi Sakurai of Buck Tick.
    • Kisaki and Kaoru are among the many artists who are famous for hide clone attempts, though both have somewhat moved on from that phase.
    • Leoneil of Vaniru is probably the most famous Atsushi Sakurai clone yet - to the point that it is widely rumored the two are father and son.

    Video Games 
  • In Resident Evil 6 Simmons created a clone of Ada Wong (who he was a little obsessed with) by testing out the C-Virus on Carla Radames. When she got her memories back, she was not amused.
  • The cloning pod in Evil Genius works by copying the Evil Genius's appearance onto one of the many disposable mooks in your employ. The purpose of this is to get the mook killed in order to make the World Powers believe your Evil Genius is dead and lower your heat level.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, it is revealed that Organization XIII was designed to gather twelve Nobodies who could be subjected to this trope in order to serve as vessels for Master Xehanort's heart.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife and all the turns out to be this kind of clone of Sephiroth (along with countless others who were implanted with Jenova's cells, with the amount they were injected with determining whether they just get a little power boost like everybody in SOLDIER, or end up crippled, insane, and vulnerable to having their body completely taken over by Sephiroth).
    • Cloud is also one, to a lesser degree, of his dead friend Zack, whose personality and memories he partly absorbed, repressing his own due to guilt and shame after the resident Mad Scientist messed up his head. This kind of mimicry is part of the whole Jenova-cell package apparently, but it combined with Cloud's psychological trauma and major pre-existing self-esteem issues, to create a real mess of his identity
  • The King of Fighters utilizes this in K's story. He's still considered a clone of main hero Kyo despite only being injected with Kyo's genes and retaining his own appearance.
  • Halo reveals in The Forerunner Saga that the Didact from the Halo 3 terminals was the result of the Ur-Didact (the one from Halo 4) imprinting his consciousness upon a younger Forerunner. Unusually for this trope, the original personality still maintains some influence (most notably in his much more friendly attitude towards humanity compared with the original), and the act itself is portrayed as a necessary one, with the Didact imprint even promising his host that he'll return control when his mission is over, though by the time that happens, their personalities seem to have become irrecoverably merged.
  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Venom Snake is this to Big Boss, achieved through plastic surgery and hypnosis.
  • A virus transforms many demons in Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten into clones of Axel, first just acting like him, but later sounding and looking like him. The protagonists do manage to turn everyone back.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker implants his DNA and consciousness into Tim Drake, causing him to turn into a copy of him many years later.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Gaang are given a creepy guide called Joo Dee. When her veneer breaks, she's taken away and replaced by an eerily similar guide who answers to the same name and insists she's the same person. It's revealed that the city in question has an entire room full of "Joo Dee"s being brainwashed into similar guides. It's never made clear if they're based off someone, but it certainly fits the spirit of the trope.
  • An episode of Ugly Americans featured a plague that was turning New Yorkers into clones of Larry King. Apparently the plague was a rare side effect caused by the original Larry King taking too many medications that interacted in an unexpected way.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenschmirtz's -Inator in "Night Of the Living Doof" has the power to turn anyone repulsive...and we see that it does this by turning people into zombie-like clones of Heinz himself that can turn people into more Doof-clones upon contact. Chaos ensues.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, this is Monster of the Week Reflekta's primary ability.

    Web Original