"One of you?! You would make me one of you? Filthy! Slimy! Freaks!"A Karmic Transformation is when a character is transformed into something they hate (or at least something they think they're superior to). It can be either temporarily or permanently. It is either way ironic and often Anvilicious. The most popular version of this is perhaps that of a white racist turning black, followed closely in popularity by sexists becoming the opposite sex because these are easy targets. Then there is "the hunter becomes the hunted" plot lines where the hunter is completely or partly transformed into the animal they were hunting. The transformation can be made doubly maddening when the transformation is inflicted to save their life, as an Emergency Transformation. If the character continues to hate the being they were temporarily turned into, the situation might smack of Boomerang Bigotry. A variation is when the character hates members of another group because he envies them, and resents the fact that they (supposedly) have it better than he does. In this case, the transformation will likely teach two lessons: to be sensitive about other people's problems and to be happy with who you are. See also: Karmic Death, In Another Man's Shoes and Beauty to Beast. And Then John Was a Zombie is a subtrope of this. Many consider it a Cool and Unusual Punishment, especially to the Broken Angel. If the transformation is self-inflicted and not loathsome, that might be Black Like Me.
— Cleopatra, Freaks
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- A common branch of Fanon in Ranma ˝ attributes this effect to the Jusenkyo Curses, despite Word of God that the reasoning behind any given character's curse was Rule of Cool slash Rule of Funny. Canonical Jusenkyo curses seen lean more towards Personality Powers then anything- Genma Saotome is gluttonous, slothful, a petty trickster and a terrible father, who now changes into a panda. Most of the characters actually don't mind their curses, more or less, which takes the karmic "sting" out of them. Ranma does hate his Gender Bender curse, but grows to tolerate it due to it having certain benefits, not to mention the fact that the idea he is some kind of chauvinist or pervert is, itself, purely Fanon. The only other person in the main cast who hates his curse is Ryoga Hibiki, and seeing as how he goes from a Made of Iron martial artist with Super Strength to a defenseless, tasty little pig, that makes him Blessed with Suck (the fact his cursed form is so adorable and thusly popular with the girls keeps it from simply being a Baleful Polymorph). Only two examples of Jusenkyo victims with actual Karmic Transformations show up in the series, and neither is a main cast member.
- Anime-only Kin'nee is a hulking thug who loves to destroy things and mindlessly obeys the orders of his crazy cult because it means he gets to hurt people. His Spring of Drowned Priest curse turns him into a tiny, weak, pacifist and devout Bhuddist whenever he gets splashed with cold water.
- Herb, from a late manga story, is the leader of a civilisation of truly horrid misogynists who shunned all contact with human women and kept up their numbers (and bred for strength) by using Jusenkyo to change animals into women. Their children were taken from their mothers and forbidden any contact with the opposite sex once they were weaned. Attempting to create a "test girl" in this way led to him getting a Nyanniichuan curse and then getting stuck in female form for added measure... though it's entirely plausible that he got cured off-screen after the story arc ended.
- Ryoga hates his curse even more in Ranma Abridged, given that the creators made him Jewish, and pigs are the most commonly-known un-kosher animals. Of course, that doesn't stop him from taking advantage of the benefits of being a cute little piggy.
- Human meat ain't kosher either.
- Armitage III, the title character is a Ridiculously Human Robot, her partner is a policeman who hates robots and synthetic humans, but who slowly needs more and more cybernetic parts. They Fight Crime!!
- Furuichi from Xam'd: Lost Memories.
- In Nyan Koi! the main character is cursed to change into a cat because he accidentally knocked the head of a statue of a feline god. He treats cats badly because he's allergic to them, but to break the curse he needs to help 100 of them.
- In the final episode of the anime, amid claims of a second season, he does transform.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, The homunculus Pride, who is known to detest humans, is tuned into a tiny human baby by Ed.
- In Saiyuki Chin Yisou deliberately enacts this trope on Hakkai, turning him into a youkai literally seconds after he went on a revenge driven rampage against the youkai who kidnapped and raped his sister.
- This is what Inori in Fresh Pretty Cure! finds her body swapping situation with Tarte due to her fear of ferrets.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki starts out as a normal young man with fairly typical attitudes who regards Ghouls as monsters. He isn't malicious so much as uninformed, but soon finds himself transformed into a Half-Human Hybrid and forced to deal with life as a Ghoul. Initially, he insists that he's still human and not a "monster", which earns him both a verbal and physical beating from Touka. He quickly changes his tune, and realizes he is perhaps the only person capable of seeing both sides of the conflict.
- When the snail people start to appear in Uzumaki, the bully who torments the first one becomes a snail himself. spoiler:After the teacher destroys the eggs produced by the first two snail people, he also transforms.
- The X-Men comic The House of M has Magneto becoming human, with other characters pointing out that he's now been turned into something he considers worthless.
- In Spawn # 30, Spawn turns the leader of The Klan into a black person and then the leader gets lynched by the rest of the Klan members.
- Animal Man: The final demise of Dr. Myers, a scientist who has been involved in animal experiments. He is turned into a gorilla and suffers the same fate.
- Lucy Lane, who used Powered Armor to attack Kryptonians, not caring if they are good like Superman or bad like General Zod, finds that she has somehow been turned Kryptonian. This would be awesome, but all her former allies and family now want to kill her.
- In a Very Special Issuenote of the 90s Youngblood spinoff Bloodpool, the titular team attends a concert that's attacked by a disgruntled rock band pissed that the club rejected their act in favor of a trio of black songstresses. After their inevitable defeat, the molecule-manipulating hero Fusion uses his powers to make them "black"note .
- The Capri Sun drink commercials. "Respect the pouch! Respect it!"
- This happened to Verity Carter from the Last Train From Oblivion side story of The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum. She was a member of the Human Liberation Front, who are little more than Right Wing Militia Fanatics with a Kill 'em All mindset towards all ponies, regardless of whether they're PHL defectors or not. While it's still not known just how it happened, Verity was turned into a pony but still managed to retain her personality and free will (unlike the newfoals, who are completely mind raped into becoming unquestioning machines that follow the Solar Tyrant's every command). Naturally, the HLF turned against her for becoming "one of the enemy" (though she doesn't hold it against them that much). Being turned into a pony has given her quite a bit of perspective, even though she still shares her unit's anti-pony views.
- In Fall of Equestria: Equestria Stands, this becomes the ultimate fate of the caribou king Dainn. After invading Equestria and corrupting a majority of the ponies, with all of the mares forced into sex slavery, Tirek turns Dainn into a female as punishment for his crimes. And not just that, but Dainn's turned into a caricature of an idealized female with a massive bosom and Hartman Hips that just look downright freakish and difficult to handle. Suffice to say it's a perfect cherry to top off the Humiliation Conga he suffers through at the story's end.
- In My Life as a Teenage Robot fanfic Android Scam a teenager who is nicknamed Android- due to having a prosthetic leg- lies to Jenny about being a robot so she'll protect him from bullies. Later he gets infected with Cluster nano-probes that consume him from the inside out and turn him into the real deal. While his change frightens him and his family at first, he learns to accept his new biology, and is happy to know Jenny, someone who understands what it's like to be a machine.
- With all the Racism in Code Geass, this was bound to show up somewhere. Lulu's Bizarre Rebellion has this occur via a Jojo style Stand: with Kusakabe gaining the ability to turn things that offend him Japanese.
Films — Animated
- Variant: In The Ant Bully, a child who'd taken out his frustrations on ants is reduced to the size of one, and has to learn to live among them. While he only shrank to ant-size rather than becoming one, the karmic elements of this trope still apply.
- Kenai from Disney's Brother Bear was turned into a bear, the very creature he was hunting obsessively.
- In The Emperor's New Groove, bratty Inca Emperor Kuzco arrogantly wants to destroy Pacha's ancestral home to build his own personal waterpark, causing all the farmers to be homeless and put out of business. Pacha is a Llama herder, guess what Kuzco turns into... though kind of ironic that that form was entirely coincidental.
- The 1988 Hungarian cartoon Willy the Sparrow is about a boy who's turned into a sparrow by the Sparrow Guardian after she discovers he enjoys shooting sparrows for fun.
- There's a big transformation, reflecting the townspeople's greed, at the end of Jiri Barta's stop-motion version of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
- In Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus Artemis transforms Gabrielle into an animal to force Xena to help the gods. Later on Hera transforms her into an animal too.
Films — Live-Action
- Freaks. "Behold! The amazing Chicken Woman!"
- Freaked. ] The entire board of the EES (Everything Except Shoes) Corporation are sprayed with the mutation-causing fertilizer they wanted to use on every person in the world, and gets turned into a single giant mutant fleshy shoe. Yes, it's that kind of movie.
- Pirates of the Caribbean. Davy Jones, prior to the events in the movies.
- This is the central premise of Watermelon Man, which is unusual in that the actor playing the white bigot was Godfrey Cambridge, a black actor, made up to look white.
- In A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Debbie Stevens is a tough girl with a fear of insects. Freddy kills her by trapping her in a roach motel, turning her into a cockroach, and crushing her.
Hank: It behooves me to tell you that even if we save the world tomorrow, and mutants are accepted into society, my feet and your natural blue form will never be deemed beautiful.(Raven shifts back to her human-looking morph.)Hank: You look beautiful now.
- In X-Men Senator Kelly hates mutants, but is transformed by Magneto into one. The transformation ultimately kills him.
- In X-Men: The Last Stand, this is turned around on Magneto, with the humans developing a "cure" and Magneto being robbed of his mutant powers. Though the final scene reveals that the cure is already starting to fail, as he's able to make a metal chess piece move slightly.
- In X-Men: First Class, Hank's transformation into Beast is tragic, but he brought it on himself. He makes it a little more karmic by being a complete asshole to Raven just before using it. She tells him he's perfect just the way he is and doesn't need the "cure," and he responds with:
- Bonus points for his mutation being relatively minor, before it becomes much more pronounced after taking the serum. It doesn't help that he uses it on himself as the first test subject, without even considering that it might turn out wrong. Although to be fair, it's not exactly like there's a big potential pool of test subjects for something like this.
- In X-Men Senator Kelly hates mutants, but is transformed by Magneto into one. The transformation ultimately kills him.
- Since the titular genie of Wishmaster takes the jerkass title and cranks it until the dial falls off, this is his favorite form of Baleful Polymorph, because it makes it suck that much more. One wish that he granted was an extremely vain sales clerk who wanted to be young and beautiful forever, and ended up a mannequin. Who was still completely sentient.
- In Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, a mob boss wishes for his enemy's head. Guess what happens...
- The film Goodbye, Charlie has a womanizing male chauvinist die and come back as a woman.
- As does the film Switch.
- The film The Hot Chick has the Alpha Bitch main character make fun of a shabby looking guy (who turns out to be a criminal), only to find herself body swapped with him.
- In the first segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, William Connor, after making hateful racial remarks in the a bar towards Jews, African-Americans, and Asians is transformed a Jew, African-American, and Vietnamese person. (He doesn't actually transform and the same actor appears throughout, but he appears as minorities to his different tormentors.) He then learns what it is like to be persecuted.
- At the end of the second Dragonheart movie, the Big Bad reveals that it happened to him years ago: He was turned into a human. Of course, he didn't learn the lesson, since he's still the villain...
- In The Fly II, Bartok, who was experimenting on a mutated dog that Martin befriended, is forced to absorb Martin's fly DNA and becomes a... thing. Then we see it being kept in the same pit the dog was kept in.
- The main plot of District 9, which involves our asshole protagonist Wikus being slowly transformed into a "prawn" - but as he becomes less physically human, he becomes a far better man.
- In Constantine, Gabriel, a Knight Templar angel who disliked humans and wanted to help the demon Mammon wage war against them, is forced to live as a human for her sins.
- The Pedro Almodóvar thriller La Piel Que Habito is about a Karmic Transformation; a surgeon kidnaps his daughter's rapist (the daughter was Driven to Suicide by that) and surgically turns him into a physical double of his dead wife.
- In the live action version of The Adventures of Pinocchio, Lorenzini (Udo Kier) is kicked by Donkey!Lampwick into the fountain that causes wayward boys to transform into jackasses, and swallows too much of the water. He leaps off a cliff into the sea, and becomes Monstro the whale.
- A special case in Bruce Almighty. Bruce Nolan curses God after having a rotten day, calling Him "a mean little kid with a magnifying glass." God shows up and challenges Bruce to do a better job of running the universe, endowing Bruce with all His power. What's unusual about this example is that Bruce doesn't so much hate God as he is envious of Him, and at first he thinks having all of God's power is pretty awesome. It only gradually dawns on him that being God comes with enormous responsibilities, and doesn't mean getting one's own way all the time.
- Destro from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. After being badly burned, he was forced to have a face of metal, just like his ancestor. Though this is nanotech metal and not actual metal.
- The entire course of The Human Condition is spent dehumanizing Kaji into what he loathes.
- Trading Places: Louis Winthorpe, a snobby blue blood investment banker, gets turned into a poor man through a bet by his employers, the Duke Brothers. When he finds out about it from Billy Ray Valentine, who was also being manipulated, Winthorpe initially plans for a shooting spree until Billy Ray tells him "the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people." So instead, they trick the Duke Brothers into making bad investments through their own plan, which drives the Dukes into bankruptcy.
- This is how the formula from Swamp Thing is said to work.
- Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 has a machine that transforms a person into their true form. Bill Biscane uses it and turns into a baby, the thing he hated the most.
- In Empire State by Colin Bateman, the Klansman villain disguises himself as a black man, but gets struck by lightning and the makeup gets fused to his skin.
- A couple of examples in Discworld - Mr Pounder, the ratcatcher in Maskerade, gets reincarnated as a rat, for example. Not to mention the New Firm in The Truth. Mr. Pin gets reincarnated on a potato after killing his partner to save himself from a fire he started, with the explanation, "I wasn't born to fry!" Said potato gets fried. It makes more sense when you read it.
- In Swan Song, after a nuclear war many survivors wind up with a condition called Job's Mask, where growths overtake their face where they were injured in the bombings. Once these growths fall off, they leave the person more attractive than they were before—if they're good people. The Job's Mask is said to bring forward the "true face"ť, meaning the bad guys who get them wind up hideous (and in some cases monstrous) when they fall off.
- Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles:
- In Dealing With Dragons, the dragon Woraug spontaneously turns into a toad after his plans to steal the throne by conspiring with wizards fall apart. Kazul explains that that's what happens when a dragon stops acting like a dragon.
- In Calling on Dragons, the rather ridiculous Arona Vamist, who had made a career out of chastising the magically-inclined for not being "traditional" enough, was turned into a seven-foot, blue, perpetually hovering, donkey with wings, an accumulated Baleful Polymorph picked up by a rather stupid rabbit named Killer the heroes had been traveling with.
- In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace is changed into a dragon. The narration justifies this by stating that it was because he was resting on a dragon's hoard, thinking dragonish thoughts. He gets better thanks to Aslan.
- C.S. Lewis was drawing on Norse mythology for that one - Fafnir the dragon, formerly a man or dwarf, and later slain by Sigurd.
the Peacemakerthe Ridiculous, who was turned into a donkey by Aslan.
- In The Wheel of Time Forsaken Balthamel was quite the womanizer. When he has to resurrected later, he is brought back with the new name of Aran'gar. Oh, and he's also now a beautiful woman
- Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star is about a Martian-phobic guy who becomes the body double and later, permanent replacement after complications of a kidnapping/poisoning for an Earthling diplomat.
- In the Oz book The Lost Princess of Oz, Ugu the Shoemaker attempts to conquer Oz, and Dorothy punishes him by transforming him into a dove. She later offers to return him to normal, but by then he prefers his new form.
- Inverted by the Evilutionary Biologists in Jack Chalker's The Moreau Factor (note the title) who got transformed into Petting Zoo People and Half Human Hybrids using their own technology before their collective Face–Heel Turn. Their shady employers' attempt to keep them under permanent control by making them unable to leave ended up backfiring spectacularly by giving them nothing to lose instead.
- Heck, Jack Chalker made an entire career out of this trope. Virtually every Chalker villain who isn't killed undergoes a Karmic Transformation, and for many it's both.
- In The Green Mile the Hate Sink guard Percy Wetmore is constantly bragging about how his family connections will soon get him out of the prison and into a much easier job in a mental institution. Percy eventually does go there... as an inmate.
- In Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger, a family of hunting enthusiasts grow wings, shrink to the size of small birds and are forced to live in a nest in a tree, while a family of anthropomorphic ducks move into their house.
- In Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony, Demon warlord Leon Abbot, a firm believer in Might Makes Right, has his mind transferred into the body of a guinea pig.
- Features in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, including one instance where a jackass Prince becomes... well, guess.
- Combined with Karmic Death in "You Know Willie," a short story by Theodore R. Cogswell. Willie is a local Klan leader who's just been aquitted of murdering a black man, and a black witch has cursed him, saying that the victim will come back at the first full moon. He stays up with his friends on that night, and they convince him to go to sleep cause they're on watch. He does, and come the moon, the victim does come back...in the form of Willie physically turning into him...while he's in bed with his white wife, and his armed Klan buddies are just downstairs.
Live Action TV
- A racist in one episode of M*A*S*H has his skin stained darker and is fed watermelon by the doctors, who say it's because his blood transfusion came from a black man.
- Doctor Who:
- In "Planet of the Ood", Mr Halpen, the head of the company which enslaves and lobotomizes the Ood, is himself turned into one.
- In the serial Ghost Light, an anti-evolutionist Victorian clergyman is turned into a missing link-style apeman (complete with a banana). Similarly, Smith gets devolved by Control at the end.
- In The Parting of the Ways, the racial supremacist Daleks have resorted to using the DNA of hated humans in order to unable the species to survive.
- The Master's Yana and Harold Saxon incarnations were blatantly sexist and disparaging towards women, with the latter later regenerating into a woman, dubbed as "Missy". This trope is subverted, however, as Missy as no issues with being a woman and fully identifies as one.
- A The Twilight Zone WW2 story had a Glory Hound soldier in the Pacific Front who repulses his battle-weary mates by acting like a Blood Knight Psycho for Hire. The other soldiers tell him that by this point the enemy is Not So Different (and probably much worse off), to no avail. Later, Glory Hound discovers that he's transformed into a Japanese soldier, and is sickened when his own bloodthirsty words are spat back at him by his "commander". Naturally, it was All Just a Dream.
- Mork from Ork's Crowning Moment of Awesome was inflicting this punishment on a group of racists who had been terrorising Mindy because she's Polish. view here
- The Outer Limits (1995):
- The episode "Tribunal" has one of the best examples. An old Nazi war criminal who escaped justice is taken as an old man back through time and put in the camp he ran, now in the outfit of a prisoner. Combining this with Karmic Death he is then shortly executed by his past self as just another worthless Jew.
- The episode "The Grell" has a guy who was racist against aliens turned into one. He learns his lesson and treats them with compassion in the end.
- It happens to the Omnipotent Q in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode when he is punished by being turned into a human. Admittedly, it was his own choice. (Although he had only "a split second" to decide, that could be forever to a Q.) Nor does Q hate humans. He certainly, however, did need to understand them a little better. Conveniently, Q being turned human results in him appearing exactly as he did before.
- In Star Trek: Voyager Janeway and Seven of Nine are abducted by an alien whose race was destroyed by the Borg. In revenge against the crew for their Enemy Mine situation with the Borg a while back, he plans to direct them into Borg space so they'll all be assimilated. Janeway and Seven escape, but the alien does not.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Inverted. At the end of the show, when the tide of the war finally turned against the Dominion, the disease affecting the Changelings finally destroys the female shapeshifter's ability to shapeshift, locking her into a single form. Not only does she have to witness the defeat of everything her people stood for, but she has to do it in the form of the creature her people most loath: a solid.
- Inverted earlier in the show: other Changelings lock Odo in a human form because he cared too much about humans.
- In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina turns Libby into a geek. At first, it seems to work, as Libby's old Girl Posse turns on her and she has nowhere to go but the other geeks. Then it backfires spectacularly, as Libby leads them to rule the school with an iron fist and mercilessly mock other students for not being geeky enough.
- In a Season 3 episode of Supernatural, Sam and Dean are being chased by Gordon Walker, a Well-Intentioned Extremist hunter who specializes in vampires, but also hunts demons. Gordon wants to kill Sam to stop him from leading a demon army. Sam and Dean happen to be hunting vampires in that episode, and Gordon gets kidnapped and turned into a vampire, with Sam decapitating him at the end of the episode. Interestingly, after he transformed, Gordon planned to allow himself to be killed after killing Sam.
- In the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale Of The Hunted", an Egomaniac Hunter gets turned into a wolf and hunted down by her own father (who was unaware of the transformation and thought the "wolf" had killed her). She manages to survive and get changed back, with a newfound respect for life and nature.
- While the Mission: Impossible team attempts to free an anti-apartheid resistance leader in the episode "Kitara", they use drugs to temporarily turn a white supremacist African governor's skin black, and more drugs to give him false memories of a black grandfather. Said governor is immediately suspected to actually be the resistance leader, and the team springs the real one during this diversion.
- A humorous example in an episode of Full House was when Uncle Jesse refused to have any part in Michelle's circus-themed birthday party because he hates clowns. Then he accidentally gets himself and Michelle locked in a service station so that she misses her party, and is forced to cheer her up by putting a funnel on his head to resemble a pointy hat and applying black grease to his nose and cheeks to make himself look like a (dirty) clown. Ultimately a subversion, since the experience doesn't encourage Jesse to take a more positive view toward clowns.
Michelle: Uncle Jesse was a clown!Danny: Uncle Jesse was a clown? Jess, you hate clowns!Jesse: More than ever.
- In one Whose Line Is It Anyway?, we had a look into the dreams of Colin Mochrie. After Greg Proops did a skit involving him massaging his hair, Colin looked upset since this is the umpteenth time he's been the subject of a bald joke. Ryan has the next one be of himself, Wayne and Greg, bald and screaming.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Cordelia, after her boyfriend Xander slept with Willow (They were in a near-death situation), makes an impulsive wish which summoned Anya. A spirit representing all scorned women and grants wishes. Anya hates men, everything about men, and appeared to Cordelia in the form of a teenage girl. The wish much to Cordelia's horror changes history and basically causes everything to go hell (Which delights Anya) After the wish is undone, Anya loses her powers and is permanently trapped in the form of a teenager, with all that comes with it. Including liking boys, no matter how hard she tries to resist.
- During a "What Do They Fear?" Episode in Season One, Buffy is buried alive by the Master and transformed into a vampire. It only lasts for the episode. The fear of becoming a vampire was actually Giles' worry of what may become of his Slayer but it still counts since she spends her nights slaughtering them.
- In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Raina finally induces her terrigenesis, she's horrified to discover that her power, rather than a beautiful and useful ability, involves her transformation into a spike-covered monster. When she confronts Cal/Mr. Hyde for answers, he lampshades this trope and rather bluntly tells Raina that she got exactly what she deserved.
- Likewise, in season 4, Shockley, a key member of a group who despises Inhumans, believes a senator might be one because her brother was. He thus breaks a Terrigen crystal in front of them...only for Shockley to be the one to transform into an Inhuman. The senator actually laughs about it... until it turns out Shockley's power is to transform himself into a living bomb who blows the senator to pieces.
- Goosebumps: In "Chillogy", Jessica uses her lemonade stand in Karlsville to try to scam the townsfolk by holding back her supply to drive up the demand. When this is revealed and she's called a "greedy little pig", she turns into a Pig Girl.
- "Be Careful What You Wish For" has a teen dealing with a Literal Genie situation. She has three wishes, but at the end she gives up and wishes someone else had found the wish granting Gypsy. Which in turn is the local Alpha Bitch who wishes to be beautiful and adored forever. In which she turns into a statue in the middle of the park, with people commenting on her beauty.
- In That's So Raven, vegetarian Chelsea feels guilty after accidentally eating a hamburger and starts wearing a button with a cow's face on it, Raven (whose burger it was that Chelsea ate), tells Chelsea she's overreacting. However they end up becoming what they eat, as the button disrupts a magic spell and starts turning them into cows.
- "Forced Gender Reassignment" by Cattle Decapitation is about a transphobic christian who is captured, tied down, and forcefully given sex-change surgery. Without anesthesia.
- An entire book of mythological Greek fables (Ovid's Metamorphoses) is devoted to transformation stories, many of them karmic in nature—making this trope Older Than Feudalism.
- Lycaon was a tyrannical and cannibalistic king of Arcadia who tested the divinity of a disguised Zeus by serving him human flesh. Zeus turned him into a wolf, but Lycaon retained some of his human features. His name is the origin of the word lycanthrope.
- Actaeon was a hunter who had the extreme misfortune of coming across Artemis bathing and ogled her. She turned him into a stag so his own hounds would tear him apart.
- Ironically, a similar situation happened to Artemis once again: a Cretan boy named Siproites saw her naked body as was subsequently gender bent into a girl, instead of being killed because he was only a child. Damn, Artemis, don't bath in the middle of the woods!
- There's also the story of the prophet Tiresias, whom the gods transformed into a woman for killing a copulating female snake (supposedly because he found the act of mating repulsive). An additional element, not mentioned by Ovid, makes the punishment especially karmic: during the seven years he spent as a woman (before he found a way of reversing the process), Tiresias became a well-renowned prostitute.
- It earned him a second Karmic Transformation of a sort: later, Zeus and Hera, arguing over which gender got more enjoyment out of sex, asked Tiresias since he'd had experience as both. When he answered "Women", Hera got upset and blinded him. Zeus couldn't fix the blindness, but compensated by giving Tiresias the gift of second sight, making him the original Blind Seer.
- A spectacular case of Karmic Transformation happens to Gilfaethwy and his brother Gwydion after they rape their Uncle Math Mathonwy's handmaiden, somehow forgetting their uncle is a powerful wizard. After Math marries his handmaiden to preserve her honor, he punishes his nephews thusly: They're transformed into a literal couple of animals (deer, boar, and wolves) for a year each, switching between genders and their children note are adopted by Math and his wife.
- Some believers in reincarnation believe that this can, in fact, happen.
- In Native American Mythology, ticking off a spirit is a good way to earn this fate.
- This was the plan Oliver Wendell Jones had, upon learning about apartheid in Africa. He invented a pigment-changing camera, which basically temporarily turned white people black. He tried to send Cutter John with it to Washington DC to use it on the representative from that region (who would have been white), but it doesn't pan out because Cutter John never actually makes it there. When the camera is tested on Steve Dallas, it's hinted that he thinks he became black as karma for various racial slurs he's spouted over the years. He then becomes convinced he's in a Twilight Zone episode and starts looking for Rod Serling in the bushes.
- A positive example is Saul, a persecutor of Christians, being struck by light from Heaven on his way to Damascus and persuaded to convert to Christianity himself. He then becomes known as Paul - and the rest is history.
- In the musical Finian's Rainbow a racist white senator is turned black. Thanks to laws penned by himself, he finds he has "no rights in this state — not even the right to stay black."
- Interestingly, the transformation doesn't do much to improve his racist views. A leprechaun notices this and uses magic to make him more open-minded. While this does make him much more tolerant, the fact that he's black means he doesn't have the power to defend the people of Rainbow Valley anymore.
- Absolutely endemic to Ravenloft. One of the sample paths of corruption for misbehaving player characters was to transform from a thuggish human into a towering ogre, at which point your character has fallen so far into corruption the DM takes him away from you.
- Then you have Twisting in The Carnival, where unprotected members eventually get physically warped to reflect their inner nature (for example a very shy girl becomes transparent, and an agent for a long-extending secret police has her arms replaced with tentacles). Can be Cursed with Awesome or Blessed with Suck depending on the specific twisting.
- Alfred Timothy, the natural-born werewolf darklord of Verbrek, is described in the Arthaus 3E products as having been cursed to revert to his human form if he ever lets himself get carried away by his ferocious lupine passions. A frail, wimpy-looking human form, of exactly the sort his lycanthropic followers would consider an easy kill.
- Vampire: The Masquerade has a term for this: Cleopatras (see Film entry above). Cleopatras are former models, movie stars, or just insufferably vain people who are targeted and embraced into the Nosferatu clan for no good reason than because they really like to Break the Haughty.
- The character Nidhiki was a guy who betrayed his fellow heroes and suffered from insectophobia. He defected to a band of mercenaries who were less than merry, and was mutated into an insect shortly thereafter.
- Metus counts too. After betraying his own people to the enemy, he got transformed into what he really was (according to Mata Nui): a snake. Why they still let him roam freely a mystery, though, as he still proved to be a threat this way.
- Utawarerumono The jerkass scientists get to live forever, just like they wanted and have the indestructible bodies they wanted. It's implied that they got to keep their sentience, but all they can really do is manage a bizarre screaming sound. So, they do get to scream. Yay! Well, it turns out that inflicting horrible mental trauma on godlike beings you don't understand is a bad idea. Who knew?
- In Jak 3: Wastelander, Count Veger spends half his screen time getting annoyed at Daxter. Guess what happens when Veger's quest to become a Precursor coincides with the reveal that Daxter has been a Precursor all along.
- Featured in Wonder Boy In Monster World: The Dragon's Trap for the Sega Master System (rebranded Dragon's Curse when it was ported to the Turbo Grafx 16). After slaying a dragon in the game's opening level, the main character is cursed by being transformed into a fire-breathing reptile himself. The player spends the entire game searching for an artifact to reverse the transformation, with the hero transformed into a different creature after each successive boss is defeated.
- In the Age of Empires II Saladin campaign, the narrator remarks that the Crusaders invaded the Holy Land with stories that the Saracens were a bloodthirsty and ferocious people. At the beginning of the campaign the Saracen leaders, particularly Saladin are shown as being wise, cultured, and benevolent. By the end of the campaign they have become as violent and bloodthirsty as the crusaders they defended against. May also be Truth in Television depending on your view of the crusades.
- Most of the Scarlet Crusade in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. After the events of the Cataclysm, it is revealed that in the ruined city of Stratholme, the dreadlord demon Balnazzar, thought to have been defeated by adventurers, killed all the Scarlet Crusaders in the city, and turned all of them undead. A similar fate has befallen the Scarlets in nearby Tyr's Hand.
- There is also a daily quest for the Knights of The Ebon Blade, in which you are supposed to kill some Scarlet Crusade members and then turn them into ghouls.
- A lot of Gilneans were turned into worgen when trying to fend them off.
- Sylvanas is also raising her enemies as undead; some of them, like Lord Godfrey, are not too happy about this.
- In the first Quest for Glory game if you harm the spitting plants or the stag, the dryad will turn you into one.
- Bertrand in inFAMOUS 2 activated the Ray Sphere in his backstory, killing hundreds of people in the process, in the hopes of awakening his Conduit powers. He got the power to uncontrollably transform into a giant maggot.
- In Runescape, the events of the Zogre Flesh Eaters quest involve an ogre burial ground being overrun by zombie ogres. Why? Because a wizard who is a member of Humans Against Monsters (H.A.M.) caused it to happen. Once you get evidence that Sithik did it, the secretary of the Wizard's Guild gives you a potion to lace Sithik's drink with in order to get him to tell you how to undo the necromancy. Sithik hates ogres. Guess what the potion does.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Jygallag, the Deadric Prince of Order, became the enemy of each of the other Daedric Princes. In revenge they gathered together and cast a spell that changed Jygallag's fundamental nature, turning him into Sheogorath the Daedric Prince of Madness, the antithesis of everything he used to stand for.
- In Heroes Of Incredible Tales, we have the story of Spider Queen Yulla. When she was a human, she would be unfaithful with the husbands she was with, even when one of them begged her not to leave him. Since this angered her husbands, she decided to murder them so she could continue looking for more husbands. Unfortunately, she encounters a seraphim who curses her into a spider hybrid for betraying him, deciding if she was going to act like a black widow she was going to live like one as well.
- The animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy's are implied via Easter Eggs to be haunted by children whom a man murdered in the establishment. Come the third game, and it's shown that said murderer later received a Karmic Death via an animatronic/costume hybrid, and as Springtrap he haunts it exactly like his victims had done.
- Most of the bosses fought in Bloodborne were members of the Healing Church who were corrupted by the Paleblood laced with the Plague of Beasts and became horrifying monsters as a result. Considering how the plague was spread in their attempts to communicate with EldritchAbominations they definitely deserve it.
- In Tradewinds Caravans, one of the possible characters you can unlock to play as is a dragon known for terrorizing caravans. His story starts when the gods of karma turn him into a camel—a common caravan animal—to teach him some humility, and only when he acquires enough good karma can he be changed back.
- The "D.O.L.L.Y." arc of The Wotch, has Anne (who tends to throw around Gender Bender spells for fun) getting scouted by a group of militant feminists. When she eventually squares off against them, she finds that the most effective way to scare them off is to... turn them into men!
- It also had the more practical effect of neutralizing Feminine Pride's effect on them, since men don't have feminine pride.
- Miranda's Shoot the Dog treatment of their leader.
- Anne's personified feminine pride turned a bunch of male chauvinists into girls too, but in that case they don't remember being male or at least most of them don't, and they are apparently the only ones with the fake memories, everyone else just assumes the guys went away, or are oddly accepting in their families case and they got their own spin-off: The Wotch: Cheer!.
- In Dominic Deegan, the misogynist Stunt eats a vegetable with a random transformation power and turns female. Before being turn back to normal, he comically comments on his fear of his reduced mental capacity.
- Not a punishment, but karmic nonetheless. Later, in the arc "The War in hell", Lady Loxo eats a soul (don't ask) and turns into a snakelike demonic creature. Apparently, she was manipulative untrustworthy-a "snake"-before she died. She tricks Bulgak into doing so, and he turns into a lumpy orc-like shape.
- Subverted in Anti-heroes, a webcomic inspired by The Order of the Stick, Lana defeats a vampire hunter and instead of killing him, attempts to turn him and then flee. Next time we see him, it turns out he hasn't become a vampire, because he can't ever become one again, having been one before, and found the cure for it.
- Housepets had a character transformed into the dog "king" by a gryphon here
- In an El Goonish Shive filler strip, Dan tries to inflict this on Justin by turning him into a girl for messing with the narration when he was tasked with it. This backfires because, since Justin is gay and desperate to be with a guy, he views it as an opportunity to "ask out every cute guy [he] sees".
- Considering the unfortunate implications, in actual canon comics, Justin is NOT a fan of getting T Ged.
- Linda in Endtown experiences the Emergency Transformation variety.
- Whateley Universe example: Trevor James Goodkind is a Sheltered Aristocrat, one of the heirs of the Goodkind fortune. The Goodkinds hate mutants and privately support a lot of the anti-mutant organizations worldwide. Also, he supports his father who rails against transsexuals because older brother Greg was one and ran off. No points for guessing what Trevor turns into: an intersexed mutant who can't even pass as a guy anymore. Incidentally, this isn't consistent with how the metahuman gene normally manifests in this 'verse, and this is happening to Trevor -who really didn't do anything to deserve it besides taking everything his dad said as gospel instead of thinking for himself- because some Random Omnipotent Being felt like screwing with him.
- Happens to the Egomaniac Hunter in the short animated film Blackface with a hint of Stable Time Loop at the end.
- In Ben 10: Omniverse, Will Harangue, the reporter who made Ben Tennyson a Hero with Bad Publicity and turned his life into a living hell, motivated by his xenophobic hatred for anything alien, gets turned himself into a particularly disgusting (by human standards) alien, by none other than Ben as payback.
- Demona being made human during the daytime in Gargoyles by Puck. She ended up using it to her advantage by becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
- In a more spiritual manner, Jon Canmore becomes the Hunter, even when he tries to get the others out of it at first, he finally succumbs to anger and rage and "transforms" to John Castaway.
- The Emperor's New School:
- Kuzco mentions that he hates red-eyed tree frogs (though this was in an episode he had to dissect, which he didn't want to). Three guesses as to what he gets turned into.
"You may have noticed that Ms. Rip Van Winkle here plans to turn me into a frog, the exact creature I was bad-mouthing earlier. Coincidence, or cleverly orchestrated device to teach me a lesson? You be the judge."
- Hilariously enough, he does like em and rescue them from being dissected before assuming a superhero-like persona as Red-Eyed Tree Frog Man.
- In another episode, Kuzco is cursed to take on the physical features he mocks in others.
- Kuzco mentions that he hates red-eyed tree frogs (though this was in an episode he had to dissect, which he didn't want to). Three guesses as to what he gets turned into.
- In the South Park episode "Ginger Kids," after Cartman starts a crusade against gingers, the other boys try to stop him by dying his hair red and using makeup to turn his skin pale and freckly. But then Cartman just changes his tune, starts a "ginger power" movement, and tries to wipe out all non-gingers. He stops and begins preaching tolerance after Kyle explains to him that he's not really a ginger.
- Funny enough, a later episode reveals that Cartman's real dad was Scott Tenorman's dad, whom Cartman had killed and fed to Scott. This makes Cartman half-ginger all along, despite his bigotry towards ginger. Bonus evil points for him being horrified at this revelation- not that he killed his own father, but rather that he is half-ginger.
- In the animated movie, Turtles Forever, Hun from the 2003 series comes into contact with both the mutagen from the 1987 series and the 1987 Donatello and 2003 Raphael. This turns him into a monstrous mutant turtle. He ends up using his mutation to his advantage, now being able to defeat eight turtles without a sweat.
- "Some people just can't handle change."
- The 2003 series has another example in the form of Mephos, a villainous avian supremacist who believes the avians are inherently superior to surface dwellers. When he led a failed coup against the avian rulers, his punishment was to have the wings torn from his back and being exiled to the surface to live among the people he despises.
- In Skywhales the protagonist kills one of the titular creatures for its meat and later is transformed into one himself.
- On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "I Was A Teenage Gary", Spongebob asks Squidward to watch his pet snail Gary while Spongebob goes to a jellyfishing convention. Squidward says he will, and promptly blows it off, causing Gary to nearly starve to death. Squidward later gets injected with snail plasma by accident and turns into a snail.
- Actually it goes even further than that, Spongebob was supposed to handle the plasma injection for Gary, but was terrified because he gets very squeamish around needles, he asked Squidward to do it for him but Squidward insisted Spongebob do it, causing him to prick himself, turning himself into a snail. Which in turn Snail Spongebob started stalking Squidward scaring the crap out of him until he accidentally got pricked with the same needle.
- When Baron Dark and Prince Lightstar broke the Lightstar Crystal it kick-started the plot of Skeleton Warriors transforming the Baron into the first of the eponymous Skeleton Warriors and granting him the power to use the darkness in peoples souls to transform them into more of his kind. Prince Lightstar and his his sister were granted the powers of energy channeling and flight, respectively. Their brother, Prince Joshua however, had sided with the Baron but when he learned of his plan he pulled a Heel–Face Turn at the last moment and is caught between the two when the crystal shatters, transforming him into a half-skeletonised human with glowing eyes and a gravelled voice. This also results in his being able to walk through shadows and teleport between them but gives him a psychic link with Baron Dark.
- In Regular Show, Rigby gets transformed into a house and egged after egging a wizard's house.
- The short-lived animated sitcom Gary the Rat was about an Amoral Attorney whose dirty tactics inexplicably got him turned into an anthropomorphic rat.
- In Yoo Hoo And Friends, a group of money crazy Corrupt Corporate Executives pollutes the world with every manner of pollution imaginable, most of which are destroying animal habitats. Until Father Time appears and transforms them into adorable, cuddly animals and forces them to undo all the damage they did to the world if they ever hope of turning back.
- The main antagonist of Adventure Time, The Lich, has spent his entire existence attempting to extinguish all life. He is finally(for now) defeated in "Escape From the Citadel" when Finn throws Guardian Blood on him, regenerating him into a harmless, living infant-the very thing he's spent all of his unlife trying to eradicate.