I Am a Monster

"I'm a monster. Monsters... can't live with humans. All we can do is destroy."
Chrono, Chrono Crusade

When a character feels they are not human, due to a certain situation that occurred, they may ask What Have I Become? and declare themselves as a monster or a freak. When the character is either not human or is a Half-Human Hybrid, they may feel like a monster if others are scared of them or call them a freak.

This trope can also apply to non human characters, as long as something about them makes them stick out compared to other characters who are the same race/species. If a character utters My God, What Have I Done? (if they killed or hurt someone for example), this will very likely be followed up by I Am a Monster and declare themselves not human for doing such a sinful act. Once a character call themselves a monster, they will most likely tell supporting characters to back off and stay away from them so that they won't be hurt or hurt further. Unless they are a Card-Carrying Villain, which is where they boast about how much of a monster they are.

"Be Yourself" may not be good advice here.

Compare Heel Realization. See You Monster! for when other characters consider them evil or an abomination.

SPOILERS AHOY for non-human and half-human characters.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • A variation occurs in Chrono Crusade when Joshua accuses Chrono, a demon, of being a monster. The statement makes an impact on him, which he later shows by echoing the statement, claiming that he's a monster and "all I can do is destroy."
    • Of course, his self-perception as a monster has a lot more to do with personal trauma and the fact that as part of Aion's revolutionaries he slaughtered hundreds of other demons on a battlefield in Pandemonium, then got Mary killed, and is now slowly consuming Rosette's soul, than with his race, though he's not wholly comfortable with that anymore either, especially vis-a-vis most of his friends being church-folk and the whole soul-consuming thing. But that still falls under this trope.
  • Vash from Trigun feels directly responsible for Knives's crimes and it is strongly hinted that he believes that independent plants are monsters who pose a direct threat to mankind. In the manga, he is terrified of their potential uses of plant power and is shown struggling with the ethical implications of his existence and Knives's. He even thinks at least twice that they shouldn't exist: at the end of the Jenora Rock incident, he thinks that Knives and him shouldn't have been born. At the end of the manga, he also tells Knives of his decision that they should both die together because they are too powerful and have no place in the future of Gunsmoke. (Ironically, though, Vash and Knives are strongly implied to be (fallen) angels come to pose judgement on mankind—which is what Wolfwood seems to believe.)
    • He does do some "stay away from me," especially to the girls in the anime. Most notably, at the end of 'Diablo,' after the plot finally starts.
    • Wolfwood has a little bit of this himself, when he's feeling particularly down. Anime Wolfwood in purely moral terms; manga Wolfwood, who is a much more dyed-in-the-wool utilitarian and cynicnote , about the combination of moral issues and his fucked-up body. He has nightmares about going back to visit the kids at the orphanage where he grew up and drowning in the blood on his hands.
    • And manga Wolfwood, while he may think 'angels,' is also pretty much totally in agreement with Vash about the monster plant thing, and for a while intermixes heartwarming defense of Vash to outside parties with moments where he thinks things like "he's got his back to me, and I could probably put a bullet in his skull right now and get one of them out of the way."
      • And Vash is completely aware of this. Vash is so fucked up.
  • In the first season finale of Code Geass, Lelouch and CC have a discussion about this. CC reveals that everyone called her a witch because of her immortality, to which Lelouch responds, "If you are a witch, then I am a warlock."
  • in the new Shin Mazinger Zero manga, Kouji has a moment of this after a moment of unnatural Unstoppable Rage in which destroys a rogue manufacturing robot with his bare hands
    Sayaka: What? How in the world did you do...that!?
    Kouji: I...I don't know. It just happened
    Sayaka: It "just happened?" Kouji, that wasn't even humanly possible...
    Kouji: ...Does it scare you?...I'm like a monster, huh?
    [Sayaka's response to this question is not what he was expecting]
  • Setsuna, Mahou Sensei Negima!'s local albino half-Tengu demon hunter, has severe personal issues about her past. This is somewhat fixed by Konoka telling her she looks good and Setsuna becoming an fairly important part of Negi's True Companions.
  • Played with in the manga Takumi Dash. Takumi plays this straight in the series proper, but in the one volume long Mirror Universe, his counterpart has a very different view on being Blessed with Suck.
    Alternate!Takumi: I am a monster, a jackass, a man slut and a demon, and it is awesome. Good God, I love my life! I'm gonna go rob a McDonald's!
  • Van Hohenheim from Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • This is his catchphrase for at least the first half of the manga. (Usually in the form of 'What the hell are you?!' 'A monster.') Once we get his backstory and he joins up with the rest of the main plot, he more or less stops saying this. Partly because he had to reassure one of his sons that he was human.
    • Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist, has a variation. It's only when he's fighting real monsters like the Homunculi that he feels human.
  • Tiger & Bunny's Kotetsu used to have this attitude towards himself when he was a child, both because of the ostracism he had to endure for being a NEXT and because of the destructive, uncontrollable nature of his powers. He's mostly over it, but he didn't emerge from it entirely unscathed. (Word of God says his childhood fear of hurting others still lives on as a reluctance of worrying people with his problems.)
  • A recurring motif in Armitage III: the titular character feels like "some kind of monstrous doll" for her robot nature, and has salt rubbed into those wounds by other characters repeatedly calling her a monster when they become aware of her non-humanity.
  • In Holyland, this is Yuu's view of himself in chapter 101 after he loses control in a friendly boxing spar.
  • In Attack on Titan, this happens more than once.
    • During his trial, Eren is repeatedly accused of being a monster. When paranoia breaks out in the court room and someone accuses Mikasa of not being human, he lashes out by stating that he might be a monster but she has nothing to do with it.
    • While unleashing a You Monster!! speech against Reiner and Bertolt, Eren states that their crimes mean neither has any right to human emotions like guilt or remorse. Reiner agrees that he's a monster, and later refers to himself and his allies as short-lived mass-murderers.
  • Princess Mina Tepes from Dance in the Vampire Bund occasionally invokes this. One of the more showy examples involved her ripping another vampire's throat with her teeth then gutting him like a trout with her bare hand before the horrified eyes of a woman who had been sheltering her from a rival faction she had escaped; then telling her, "This is what you have been trying to protect with your puny human life! Now go, and forget that you ever saw me." The effect was undercut when she promptly extracted a solemn oath from the head of the retrieval squad to leave the woman and her young daughter unharmednote  before submitting to being shackled and led back into her enemy's clutches.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
    • This happens to Sayaka, when she realizes that becoming a Magical Girl displaces your soul into a Soul Gem, making her very much a Lich by any other name. Fittingly enough, this is part of what precipitates her transformation into an actual monster.
    • Homura displays this in a more subtle manner. Whenever someone calls her out for her cold affect and callous actions she responds by pointing out her inhumanity, rather than consider how spending the better part of a subjective decade dealing with all manner of trauma may affect a human.
  • In Kill la Kill, Ryuko Matoi discovers that she's a life fiber hybrid, courtesy of her villainous mother Ragyo. She doesn't take the discovery well at all, and after she wakes up from trauma-induced sleep refuses to wear Senketsu, shouting aloud that she's a "Life Fiber Monster". She does find her way eventually.
  • Used repeatedly in Tokyo Ghoul and its sequel, both as a negative and a positive.
    • The most iconic example comes from Kaneki's narration during the 10-days of being tortured by Yamori.
    Kaneki:"My fingers and toes regrew as if they were nails and hair, over and over and over and over. They regrew every time. And I felt like I was truly a monster."
    • While fighting his sister Touka, Ayato demands to know whether she enjoys being friends with humans because it helps her forget that they're monsters. Flashbacks reveal he frequently called himself a monster while arguing against her trying to live as a human.
    • Yoshimura's Badass Boast, in which he states that he is aware that he is evil and launches into a particularly bloody Mook Horror Show.
    • In the sequel, Seidou Takizawa has become a Half-Human Hybrid and provides a counterpoint to Kaneki's angst from the original series. He explains to a pair of cornered Red Shirts that if you become a monster, you don't have to be afraid of them anymore.
  • Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure opens with Jotaro locking himself in jail because he believes himself to be possessed by a demon when his Stand first manifests. It takes his grandfather's appearance to sort things out.
  • Vivio views herself this way near the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S when she discovers that she's nothing but a clone made for the purpose of powering a massive battleship. She even stops calling Nanoha "Nanoha-mama" and instead calls her "Nanoha-san" since she doesn't view herself as human. Bear in mind, she was six at the time. Nanoha helps her the way she knows best; some kind words and copious amounts of firepower.
  • Tekken: Blood Vengeance:
    Ling Xiaoyu: Jin! Don't let your hatred turn you into a monster!
    Jin Kazama: But I am a monster. It's all that's left.

    Comicbooks 
  • This seems to be the near constant mindset of Morbius which he's more than willing to monologue about.
  • Paul Moses, the protagonist of Red is a self-admitted Retired Monster, and tries to warn people away from him. They don't listen.
  • Many Marvel characters have fallen under this trope from time to time, particularly many of the X-Men, but the Ur-Example has to be The Thing from the Fantastic Four. He even named himself according to this trope.

    Fanfiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • Alex in Madagascar says this once his lion instincts start kicking in out of hunger, and his friends start turning into Meat-O-Vision steaks.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo says he's a monster without actually having done anything wrong, because Frollo raised him to believe he was. Overcoming this is most of his Character Development.
  • In Frozen, Elsa thinks this of herself after she almost killed her little sister, or at the very least, she thinks that she's too dangerous to be around other people.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When the Operative says the exact words of the trope title to Mal in Serenity, that is not an example of the trope. But when River tells Simon after the brawl on Beaumonde that she should just put a bullet in her brainpan that is.
    • Also implied in this exchange:
    Mal: (to River, who has him at gunpoint) I've staked everything on the assumption that you're a real person, actual and whole. And if that's not true, you'd best shoot me now.
    River cocks her gun.
    Mal: (quickly) OR we could talk some more about it.
  • Said by Lawrence Talbot in The Wolfman (2010): "I am what they say I am... I'm a monster".
  • Loki from Thor:
    Loki: What, because I... I... I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?
  • X-Men:
    • In one of the TV spots for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Sabretooth utters this chilling line.
      "I'm not your friend... I'm an animal who dreamed he was a man. But the dream is over... and the beast is awake. And I will come for you, because it's my nature."
      • This is either a Shout-Out or a ripoff of Seth Brundle's "insect politics" speech, which itself is an homage to the Japanese poem, "I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?"
    • X-Men: First Class: Erik Lehnsherr calls himself Frankenstein's Monster, believing that it was Sebastian Shaw's (whom he views as his "creator") experiments which turned him into a freak of nature.
  • The titular character in Ghost Rider calls himself this when faced with his Love Interest.
  • Nathan Wallace in Repo! The Genetic Opera calls himself this in "Legal Assassin," taking it one step further by saying he is the villain.

    Light Novels 

    Literature 
  • Twilight: "THIS IS THE SKIN OF A KILLER!"
  • Both Shizuo and Anri from Durarara!! have issues concerning this — Shizuo because of his combination Super Strength/Unstoppable Rage and Anri because she's the host for the Evil Weapon Saika.
  • Kerovan from The Crystal Gryphon: his mother intended him to be the Witch World's equivalent of Damien Thorn, and while it didn't work out that way, he still has Supernatural Gold Eyes and cloven hooves for feet. He tells his fiancee Joisan, "No fit mate for any human woman am I." She thinks, "He has been named monster until he believes it—but if he could only look upon himself through my eyes—"
  • In John Dies at the End, Dave discovers that he is actually an "evil" clone that killed and replaced the real Dave, and has been this way for quite a while. After this revelation, his friends don't let him be alone for fear that he might try to kill himself. Again. His friends are aware that he's only done good deeds up to that point (aside from killing the real Dave, which he has no memory of), and eventually convince him to live. In the end, it turns out to not really matter, and his true nature only comes up occasionally when John jokingly refers to him as Monster Dave.
  • John Taylor is constantly asked why he returned to the Nightside and stayed there after living in the normal world for five years. His answer? "I belong here—with all of the other monsters."
  • Michael develops shades of this at the end of The Last Knight in the Knight and Rogue Series when he develops magic. Fisk eventually manages to pull him out of it, mostly. Whenever the issue comes up Michael is still incredibly fearful of it.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion Lannister, the much despised dwarf (as in a human with dwarfism rather than the more traditional fantasy race), says this a few times. Normally he says it to manipulate people in some way and doesn't actually believe it himself, but the nature of the Crapsack World he's in keeps pushing him more and more, so he skirts very close to truly thinking this of himself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buster on Arrested Development screams this every time he accidentally hurts somebody with his hook hand.
  • Sylar from Heroes, among other characters.
  • Dexter has become so comfortable with the notion that he's a monster that he usually just mentions it in passing, cracking Inner Monologue jokes about it. The most dramatic it ever gets is when it occurs to him that he may not be as monstrous as he previously thought.
  • Supernatural:
    • Said by the Monster of the Week in the episode "Heart" while pleading with Sam to kill her.
    • In "Fresh Blood" Gordon declares himself a monster after being turned into a vampire. He fully intends to kill himself, but is determined to kill Sam first.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster. But you treat me like a man and that's..." Though Spike's breakdown towards the end of "Never Leave Me" is a bit closer to the trope.
    Spike: If [Buffy] turns to me for comfort, well, I'm not gonna deny it to her. I'm not a monster.
    Xander: Yes. You are a monster. Vampires are monsters. They make monster movies about them.
    Spike: Well, yeah...you got me there.
    • In "Conversations With Dead People" Buffy describes herself as a monster re: her sexually abusive relationship with Spike in Season 6.
    • Demon cyborg Adam escapes from the lab where he was created in "Goodbye Iowa". He meets a young boy playing with his toys and asks "Who am I?" When the boy tells him that he's a monster, Adam replies calmly, "I thought so" then kills the boy.
  • Angel. Lampshaded but averted in "Five by Five" — a flashback scene shows a starving and ensouled Angelus who beats up a woman's protectors and tries to feed on her, all the time shouting "I am a monster!" He is unable to go through with killing her. Likewise Faith after a rampage of violence and torture is reduced to flailing ineffectually at Angel's chest while shouting "I'm evil! I'm bad! I'm evil! Do you hear me? I'm bad!" and begging Angel to kill her.
    • She's more accepting of it after a spell in prison. When Angel becomes Angelus Wesley breaks Faith out to capture him. Angel's son however wants to kill him. Faith makes him back down by claiming she is a murderer (true) and she will kill him if she had to choose between him and Angel\us.
  • In the first episode of Sliders, Quinn meets a wisecracking alternate dimension version of himself who tells him that this is his eighth slide and gives him the remainder of the formula he needs to complete his own sliding machine. Many many episodes later, Quinn meets the same double, but he has long grey hair and speaks in a monotone. His sliding adventures have turned him into a monster; he knows this and wants "our" Quinn to kill him.
  • Once Upon a Time: In the fairy tale world Rumplestiltskin becomes a monster and eventually comes to terms with the fact that it's true. In Storybrooke, after the curse is broken, he realizes that, while now returned to his human form, he's still a monster at heart, which is why he tells Belle to leave. She replies that that's exactly why she should stay.
  • In the Sanctuary episodes "Nubbins", a young woman who has just found out that both she and her grandfather have extrasensory perception due to an unusual brain formation reacts this way. At one point she says she feels like a freak who belongs in a sideshow.

    Music 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Kane reminded us of this many times after he removed his mask on WWE Monday Night Raw. "Look at me JR! IAMAMONSTER..." (he said something else then lit JR on fire)

    Tabletop Games 
  • As the page quote indicates, this is actually a survival mechanism in Vampire: The Masquerade. Since you're now a vampire, you're going to have to assault people for blood. You can do it secretly as part of seduction, or you can do it in a flat-out ambush, but odds are, they never asked for it. But by admitting that what you're doing is awful and knowing when to stop, that keeps you from seeing killing as "just another thing" and losing yourself to the Beast. Well, unless you're Sabbat, in which case, good luck.
    • Not quite. The quote's meaning is closer to "I hunt humans and drink their blood so I don't turn into a mindless, frenzied beast in desperate hunger, because that's not pleasant for anybody." It's one part I Am a Monster, one part I Did What I Had to Do.
  • Baby Cakes suffers from this when his barbarian goes too far.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • At the end of day 2 in Parasite Eve Aya starts to grow afraid that because of her powers being similar to Eve (Aya is a human while Eve is a mutated human whose mitochondria have changed her), she may become a monster like her.
    Aya: I... I think I may be a monster...like her!
    Daniel: What?! What are you saying, Aya?!
    Aya: I don't know. What if... What if I end up by killing you ?! Please, Daniel! I don't know! I just don't know anymore! Please go away from me!
    A few moments later.
    Aya: Even if I am a monster, I don't ever want to kill you, Daniel...please...! I...I could never forgive myself if I killed...you...
  • Raziel in Soul Reaver 2 has this exchange with his past self, after said past self killed Janos Audron.
    Sarafan Raziel: You're a righteous fiend, aren't you?
    Raziel: Apparently, I am.
    • Also turned on its head in one encounter in Defiance:
      Demon Hunter 1: [pointing] Monster!
      Demon Hunter 2: Where?!
      Raziel: [sliding into frame] Here!
  • A slight variation appears in Fire Emblem 8, said by Myrrh to Saleh in their A support:
    Myrrh: It's because I'm a dragon. My father explained it to me. We are both human and monster. And because we are both, we are also neither. [. . .] We have the power of dragons; therefore, we cannot live together with humans... We have the hearts of humans; therefore, we do not belong with monsters. We are outcasts in this world, never a part of either community. And so we live our lives alone, never to be understood by anyone.
  • In the Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core, Angeal displays his degeneration-wing and announces that he's become a monster. Zack, the protagonist, replies that it is the wing of an angel. Not that it's *that* reassuring...
    Angeal: Don't monsters usually want either world domination or revenge?
  • The intro of Prototype:
    Alex Mercer: My name is Alex Mercer. I'm responsible for all of this. They call me a murderer, a terrorist, a monster. I'm all of these things.
  • From Borderlands 2, We have Krieg. Good Lord, Krieg. He even says the trope.
  • If you pursue a Rivalry with Anders in Dragon Age II, he will come to believe this after destroying the Chantry and sparking the Mage-Templar war. He explains that his hatred and resentment corrupted Justice into a demon, and Anders/Justice is just another murderous abomination that needs to be put down. If you do go through with killing him he will only say that "you should have done this years ago."
  • A rather nasty subversion can be found in Smite. Scylla, the Horror of the Deep, is a Creepy Child per excellence who is also a sadistic monster to boot, her Ultimate skill is this trope name, but she said the words with glee, not angst. This can only mean that Scylla is bonafide evil and she's proud of being herself, a monster.
  • Ellie in Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars considers herself one due to being a Stillblood, which is a being just above the level of a thinking zombie. However, in exchange for being a Stillblood, all of them are forced to carry out secret assassinations for the church to ensure everyone in the world isn't brainwashed or killed.
  • Slash Em Extended has hostile demons randomly utter "I AM... I AM A MONSTER! ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... coach.", an obvious Shout-Out to DeliciousCinnamon's playthrough of Pokemon Vietnamese Crystal.
  • Sol Badguy in Guilty Gear Xrd, who calls himself a monster with both meanings. He has vowed to hunt down and slay every Gear in existence because he's ashamed of creating them and the destruction they have brought to the world, even though he's a Gear himself. When Ky Kiske asks him why he cares about Dizzy and Sin (Ky's wife and son, who are both half-Gears), he can't give a straight answer, prompting a little Character Development.

    Visual Novels 

    Webcomics 
  • White Mage in this 8-Bit Theater strip.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Galatea firmly believes this about herself. Of course, she thinks this makes her superior to humans.
  • Dan from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , who has feared this since learning his mother was a succubus and his own 'Cubi abilities emerging. This may be self-fulfilling, since Dan has been told by multiple people that not learning to control his new abilities (Dan refuses to attend the school the 'Cubi have set up for just that purpose) dramatically increasing the chance that he'll lose control and become the monster he fears.
  • Archipelago's Tuff despised his half-shark side so much he ran from his hometown to escape the Fantastic Racism he faced there. However, he has to come to terms with this when he finds himself uncontrollably transforming into a full shark form.
  • UNS Intelligence wet-worker Kowalski in Schlock Mercenary tends to agree whenever he's called a monster. Given the number of people who die when Kowalski gets going - especially since Kowalski's basic strategy relies upon using nanotechnology to download his brain into other people's bodies, eliminating the original personality - it's hard to disagree. Culminates in this little speech, where a recorded message left by a recently-deceased mind-clone of Kowalski, downloaded into a female police officer, encourages Sorlie not to go down the same road and asks if the mercenaries could kindly kill the original Kowalski.

    Web Original 
  • By the end of Worm, Taylor is convinced she is this, haunting her even as she is given the chance to live a normal life-though whether it's due to looking back on her Moral Myopia or because of how much she became in sync with the Eldritch Abomination that gave her her powers is debatable.

    Western Animation 
  • Blackarachnia of Transformers Animated believes herself to be a freak and a monster due to her partially organic robot form (the result of using her powers while damaged by a giant alien spider's venom — really), and subsequently joins the Decepticons and reinvents herself as a Femme Fatale. However, a lot of it seems to be in her head, as she now posesses a number of spider-related powers in addition to her original abilities, and most of the non-Decepticon Transformers she encounters seem to find her smokin' hot.
    • Then again, the Decepticons seem to regard her with tolerant disgust at best. And Sentinel Prime leaves out the "tolerant" part entirely. Given that he was one of her closest friends, she might have a point.
    • It's worse than that; Sentinel was dating her when it happened, though it's obvious that Optimus had a thing for her as well. One of the other reasons why she never returned to the Autobots is that she fear being dissected for science — considering that Perceptor, one of the Autobot council, deleted his personality in order to store more information (according to the manual, at least), this is probably an honest concern.
  • During the episode "The Beach" in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula wistfully admits that her own mother thought that she was a monster before quickly perking up and saying that "She was right, of course, but it still hurt." While this is at first played off as a Card-Carrying Villain-esque joke, it later turns out that Fire Lord Ozai's upbringing has basically turned Azula into a mental and emotional wreck of insecurities and self-loathing.
  • In Batman Beyond, Batman pleads with the Magma Man of the Terrific Trio to not destroy the city by continuing the experiment that gave them their powers, because he's a hero. Magma disagrees:
    Magma: No, I'm not a hero. I'm an accident. Heroes had a choice, we had none.
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Hard Knocks", Ben tells Bruce that, "Us monsters have to stick together." Bruce then retorts that the Thing is not a monster; the Hulk is.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius says this, not in response to his Faux Affably Evil nature, or all the Kick the Dog moments, but because his horns have been ruined.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, after having thrashed Mikey and realized what he had done in the "Hunted" episode, Leatherhead tells the turtles and Splinter to stay away from him and states his belief that he is a dangerous monster before running away. Things calm down for him later, however, when he realizes that Mikey is indeed fine as the turtles rescue him from a crocodile hunter.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Putting Your Hoof Down": Fluttershy chides Rarity and Pinkie Pie, making both of them cry. When she discovers Iron Will's lessons made her lash out at her friends, she calls herself a monster.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "On the Run", Amethyst is revealed to have a good deal of self-loathing about her origins in the "Kindergarden", even describing herself as an "evil-parasite".

Alternative Title(s):

Im A Monster