Literal Split Personality
aka: Starfish Character
Not multiplication, division.
A character gets split into two or more copies of themself, each of which reflects some facet of their personality. This can be similar to Evil Twin
, but the split need not be along the good/evil axis. Sometimes seen as part of a Journey to the Center of the Mind
. When this is not the case, it's usually an effect of the Applied Phlebotinum
of the week.
Often the parts have to work together, as none of them is individually capable of what the original character was. Sometimes, as they spend more time together, they start to become more like each other. Ultimately, they may come back together through a Fusion Dance
that is also a Split Personality Merge
Compare Enemy Without
, but the components are not necessarily enemies, and unlike in Enemy Without
none has any particular claim on being the "original" version. Also compare Self-Duplication
, which is similar in appearance, if nothing else. Contrast Fusion Dance
, where two or more beings become one being.
Not to be confused with Half the Man He Used to Be
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Anime & Manga
- Nana Suzuki from Seven of Seven, who was split into seven by a Freak Lab Accident involving a secret experiment of her scientist grandfather.
- Fuuko from CLANNAD might count. After the car accident there is the Fuuko in the hospital and the one in the school that everybody seems to be forgetting.
- In Ah! My Goddess, Urd gets split into her Goddess and Demon halves, with the former acting much more like Belldandy and the latter more like her mother (not to mention Demon-Urd taking the Stripperiffic outfits of regular-Urd to extremes). They eventually realize that neither Urd is the true Urd and recombine.
- Sgt. Frog has a few examples.
- In Episode 15, resident Yandere Momoka split into her shy, retiring side and her aggressive, angry side (who normally co-exist and switch depending on the situation) thanks to a Keronian G-force simulator and an ill-timed lightning strike.
- The Keroro episode "Giroro: The Man with Seven Faces (De Arimasu)" is a direct parody of Seven of Seven, and features Giroro being accidentally split into his 7 selves: evil American soldier Giroppe, shy child Girorin, housewife Girocchi, poetic girl Giroko, suave romantic Giropon, normal Giroro, and cool-looking Girosama, the one with the nice laugh.
- In Rosario + Vampire Capu2, the Lilith Mirror splits Moka into her Outer and Inner forms. Both of them are unstable apart, and since the Lilith Mirror's magic needed to be reversed, they rejoin shortly after they split, much to Kokoa's disappointment.
- Dragon Ball: When Kami wanted to become Guardian of the Earth, he expelled all of his evil, which took on a life of its own as the Demon King Piccolo. After being sealed for hundreds of years, being released, and eventually dying at Goku's hand, Piccolo reincarnates himself as his own son. Piccolo Jr. eventually undergoes a Heel-Face Turn and remerges with Kami.
- Majin Buu goes through something similar. After the pink bubblegum demon goes through a Heel-Face Turn thanks to the local Fake Ultimate Hero befriending him, said Fake Ultimate Hero nearly being killed provokes Buu's wrath. Not wanting to lose control and go back to his evil ways, Buu expels all his evil, which takes the form of a second, purely evil Buu. The two Buus come to blows and the battle ends with the evil Buu absorbing the good Buu. Eventually, they're separated again and the evil Buu is destroyed, allowing the good Buu to live happily ever after.
- Gunnm (Battle Angel) has Den, the cybernetic warlord and resistance leader who is actually a rage-driven split personality of radio star Kaos, given independent existence with a remote-controlled robotic body created by Mad Scientist Desty Nova.
- Naruto's Zetsu is a plant-man hybrid where half of his body is black, and the other half is white. Both represent a different personality: the black half is serious while the white half is more easygoing. They can split apart, with the white half being able to make copies of itself.
- An episode from from one of the second anime's filler arc called Revenge of the Shadow Clones has Naruto held hostage by 4 of his shadow clones who has 4 personalities ,The gloomy one represents his sadness and loneliness, The angry one represents his rough and proud attitude ,The happy one represents his joyful side and how he cares about everyone and the feminine girly type represents his overuse of his sexy jutsu ,However the whole thing turns out to be a dream by one of his clones who saved him from a falling rope pulley that it transfers into his mind.
- Return To Labyrinth - Mizumi, the Queen of Cups, has the power to create ablations, carving off one of a person's aspects into a new being. Moppet is an ablation of Sarah's dreams. Moulin and Drumlin are ablations of Mizumi herself, respectively her regret and hope.
- In the The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords manga, each Link (aside from Green Link, who retains the original Link's complete personality) embodies a different part of his personality. For example, the blue Link is rather hot-headed, the red link is cheery, and the purple Link is crafty and thinks a lot.
- SHUFFLE! had Sia's more aggressive split personality, Kikyou, take over when Sia was being too indecisive in what to do about Rin. Kikyou is actually Sia's dead little sister who made a pact with Sia when they were still unborn, enabling her soul to share Sia's body.
- They can literally split in one of game's endings.
- Also, Lycoris can take over Nerine at times, as shown in anime and Essence+ bonus scene.
- A Filler story of the Ranma ˝ anime had Happosai use a special incense to duplicate Ranma's female form in a separate, independent entity to do his bidding. Problem is, it was pure evil, had phenomenal Psychic Powers, and kept trying to seduce the original Ranma to drain his Life Energy.
- Father, the Big Bad of Fullmetal Alchemist, can do this at will. He expels aspects of his own personality that he doesn't like, and these discarded traits form separate individuals who typically become his minions. To a certain extent, he regards them as his children, but that's mostly because he has family issues.
- Starrk has the power to split his soul into other beings, including creating an entire pack of wolves to function as his army. Starrk and Lilinette don't know which of them was the original or whether identifying an original even matters. They were originally one being who created the other as a companion to escape their desperate loneliness.
- Ichigo's inner Hollow tells Ichigo that he and Old Man Zangetsu were originally one being that became split in two. Ichigo dismisses in the inner Hollow's rant because he regards Zangetsu as a mentor figure and the inner Hollow as an enemy that has to be beaten down and controlled. Ichigo's real Shinigami power is the Hollow. The Old Man is his Quincy power, which fought a losing battle against the ever-strengthening Hollow to prevent Ichigo becoming a Shinigami. Ichigo embraces both spirits equally, thus earning two swords.
- D'Arcmon and HippoGryphomon in the Digimon Frontier movie Island of Lost Digimon. It turns out that they were actually two halves of the villainous Murmuxmon, who was posing as leaders of the rival factions in order to resurrect Ornismon. Although it should be noted that the American dub implies it to be Voluntary Shapeshifting instead of this, which kind of makes more sense.
- One possible explanation for The Medicine Seller in Mononoke. Specifically, the character has a 'default' form and an alternate, demon-slaying form that appears when he draws his sword. However, the transformation sequences between, and some of their interactions, shows them as separate bodies- though they have the same voice and, to a great extent, demeanor.
- Often, while transitioning between the two, both bodies are present, but the markings on his face and clothes disappear, moving onto his other form.
- During the Umi-Bozu arc, the default form appears briefly to hand his mirror to the demon-slaying form.
- Amamiya Sakurako of Psyren gains one, Abyss, who she learns to fight alongside.
- The World God Only Knows: When Kusunoki Kasuga gets possessed by a spirit, her personality splits between her normal self and her cute side, which starts manifesting whenever she sees something cute and fights reacting to it.
- In Pokémon, Sabrina's shunning of her emotions in favour of focusing solely on training her psychic powers eventually caused her emotional side to split off into a Creepy Doll-like body. When a Haunter Ash had befriended got her to laugh she underwent a Split Personality Merge and learned to embrace her emotions.
- In Anpanman, Baikinman created a power-up machine that he meant to give him enough strength to easily defeat Anpanman. However, thanks to various complications, other characters have a tendency to fall into it and instead gain two clones, most commonly a sensitive (or feminine) one and a tough (or masculine) one. They still follow some of the same motives as the original (like Mushibaikinman's clones still want to defeat Hamigakiman and Horrorman's still have a crush on Dokinchan). In the end of these episodes, the original and their clones will end up landing in the machine again, shorting it out, yet merging the clones back into the original character.
- Dr. Hiyari once created a serum for Rollpanna so it can split her evil counterpart to defeat Anpanman. Unfortunately, it didn't went well as the evil Rollpanna causes mass destruction. This also weakens the real Rollpanna since she needs the two halves together.
- In Dokidoki Precure, Marie-Ange literally splits her personality in two with her own hands and sends each half off to be born as a person.
- Triplicate Girl's "Triad" incarnation from the first Legion of Super-Heroes reboot was portrayed this way, with her three split selves portrayed as The Three Faces of Eve. Since most of the other inhabitants of her homeworld were (or forced to behave as) Single Minded Duplicates, she left after a traumatizing stay at Bedlam House barely failed to "cure" her of her mental disorder.
- Jamie Madrox from the X-Men comics has a mutant power that creates duplicates of himself upon physical impact. Each tends to manifest some aspect of his personality. Originally, it (usually) didn't work that way, with dupes being exactly identical to the original unless outside forces screwed with his powers (which happened at least twice). But now, dupes always have their own personalities to varying degrees. And can come back out when he doesn't want them to, sometimes.
- One JLA storyline did this to the League's entire roster - splitting Superman and Clark Kent, Batman and Bruce Wayne, etc. Hilarity spectacularly failed to ensue: Clark was scared of heights while Superman was losing his humanity, Bruce Wayne had no outlet for his rage at the criminal element while Batman lost his motivation, etc. As for the others... it got worse. Only Wonder Woman and Aquaman were immune, and then only until they got hit with a second blast: Aquaman got split into fish and human, and Diana was split into clay statue and disembodied spirit... which was exactly what she wanted to happen. Plastic Man got split into Plas, who literally could not be serious, and Eel O'Brian, the ruthless and manipulative ex-career criminal.
- Worth noting, this wasn't intended to be a bad thing; some aliens did it because they wanted to help the heroes by giving them the chance to have a break without having to worry about crime. Or so they claimed. Then we found out their motives weren't quite so altruistic.
- Superman once was an energy being; he then became two energy beings: Superman Red and Blue. We don't like to talk about it.
- Not to be confused with the other Superman Red and Superman Blue, where the two were more or less identical (except for their costumes). This was an "imaginary story" in which the two wound up unbottling Kandor, rebuilding Krypton (eliminating kryptonite in the process), curing all evil on Earth with an "anti-evil ray" (as a side benefit, Reformed!Luthor came up with a cure for all disease), and marrying both Lois Lane and Lana Lang (one each, it wasn't that weird). We like to talk about this one, since it's so quintessentially Silver Age goofy.
- He's also been split into Superman and Clark numerous times. The moral is usually that it's the "ordinary guy" part of his personality that gives Supes his heart and sense of perspective—and without those qualities he is at best arrogant and at worst terrifying.
- The villainess Array, from Fred Perry's Gold Digger comic, had the ability to create custom-built alternate personalities while splitting them into their own bodies (which could be crafted to look like anyone or anything she wanted). However, when she reabsorbed her duplicates into herself, the personalities remained permanently distinct from the original, giving her a massive MPD. Fortunately for her, they generally get along, and allow her to be a one-woman conspiracy in the process.
- Supergirl once had an evil half released by black kryptonite. She came out wearing a black version of her normal outfit.
- This has happened to the Hulk on occasion, usually separating Bruce Banner and the Savage Hulk. Paul Jenkins' run saw a number of journeys into Banner's mind with various Hulks showing up representing different aspects of Banner's psyche.
- Jason Aaron's run kicks off with the Green Scar Hulk (a smarter version of the Savage) getting himself split from Banner. Banner doesn't take it at all well.
- Appears to be happening to the Enchantress in the first issue of Justice League Dark. Her original self lies withered in an isolated cabin, surrounded by baleful spells. Meanwhile a wide-eyed June Moone wanders the streets surveying the weirdness.
- Happens to Negaduck at the end of "Crisis On Infinite Darkwings". To the n-th degree, it turns out.
- Sandman had this happen to him once, in Peter Parker: Spider-Man by some plot. He got split into his core, his childhood self, his feminine side, and unfortunately, his evil side in order to handwave why he stayed a crook.
- The Mighty Thor has had Don Blake fissioned off from himself a couple of times. Don always winds up with Thor's sense of humility (after all, that was the reason Odin created the Don Blake persona to begin with), and without that part of his personality, Thor becomes a conceited jerk.
- World of Warcraft has this with Varian Wrynn, who was split into two parts: King Varian, a royal puppet under the control of Lady Katrana Prestor (Onyxia), and Lo'Gosh (a nickname given to him by orcs), amnesiac arena champion.
- In Prism, Kenshin is split into a thirty year old version of himself, a teenage self, and a child self. Some different aspects of his personality end up split among them as well, such as the teenage version having a short temper and little self-control, most of which went to the adult version.
- A variation occurs in Hogyoku Ex Machina when Ichigo figures out how to manifest Zangetsu and his hollow self in the real world. The latter and Zaraki end up getting along swimmingly.
- Discord does this to Twilight in Becoming Ponies. Unusually, her mind itself isn't split, exactly; only her magical power and ability is removed and installed in a new body.
- A Mighty Demon Slayer Grooms Some Ponies: All the ponies of Dream Valley were created as representations of some part of their creator's personality. This is also why there are so few stallions—their creator, Queen Majesty, did what she could with what little masculine aspects her mind had within her.
- In Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, when the protagonists journey into Socrates' mind, they find various aspects of his personality - his happiness, sneakiness, nobility, and ultimately his negativity (who made the whole dimension in the first place to rule over the other aspects).
- The central conflict of A Piece Of Pie occurs when Twilight Sparkle's experiment results in four aspects of Pinkie Pie's personality taking form and running amok.
- In Mega Man Reawakened, Gemini Man's Gemini Duality mode splits his personalities into two bodies.
- Quite commonly applied in Naruto fanfiction to the Shadow Clones. This leads to situations like Naruto brainstorming with himself, having to dispel clones that refuse to do boring things (like housework) or, in a certain fanfiction, having a defective clone perform the Oiroke no Jutsu and act like a pervert.
Films — Animated
- In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo are "remnants" of Sephiroth, who, having died but still existing in The Lifestream, was unable to create a complete avatar of himself. Instead he created these puppets, who were separate persons (and nowhere near as cool) but each embodied some part of his personality. Apparently, Kadaj represents his anger and rage, Loz his speed, strength and attachment to Jenova, and Yazoo his charisma and aloof demeanor.
- Bad Cop/Good Cop from The LEGO Movie. He's one of those minifigures whose head has two faces with different expressions and rotates to change them, the "inactive" face being obscured by the helmet.
Look, um, I watch a lot of cop shows on TV
. Isn't there supposed to also be... Isn't there supposed to be a good cop? Bad Cop:
Oh, yes. But we're not done yet. (Bad Cop's head swivels around to become Good Cop.) Good Cop:
Hi, buddy! I'm your friendly neighborhood police officer. Would you like a glass of water? Emmet:
Yeah, actually, that sounds— Bad Cop: (head switches back to Bad Cop)
Too bad! (punches glass across the room)
- Both are voiced by Liam Neeson, but Good Cop sounds nothing like him.
Films — Live-Action
- One of the Animorphs books had Rachel, shapeshifted into a starfish, get cut in half with a spade. The two starfish halves regenerated into Nice and Mean Rachel, both quite explicitly called that in the text. However, it wasn't just good and evil: in a situation inspired by the Trek version, the kind Rachel could plan complex scenarios but was incapable of focusing in the moment, and the violent one was the opposite, incapable of thinking beyond the moment. They had to work together because neither alone could function well enough to do what she wanted.
- In Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Anansi's son gets split into Fat Charlie (the uncool, apparently nonmagical one) and Spider (the god). The analogy with starfish is made explicit, using the former trope name.
- In the third book of The Dark Tower series, Roland splits apart Odetta and Detta into two separate people whereas before, they had been two personalities in the same body. The two are then theoretically recombined to make Susanna, but Detta keeps showing up on her own anyway.
- William Sleator's young adult novel The Duplicate features this, or so the duplicates think. They're wrong, even if they manage to convince the original for a while.
- Robin Hobb seems to have discovered a new use for this in The Soldier Son trilogy - it can solve Triang Relations.
- A story by Robert Sheckley involves a man who got a schizophrenia cure in his childhood by getting the other personalities siphoned into artificial bodies. He spends the story searching for them around the Solar System.
- Happens near the end of Xenocide. Jane, Ender, and company make the first journey outside of spacetime and back in, in which the travelers keep or alter themselves and their possessions by imagining them so. The purpose of the trip succeeds: Ela creates a safe replacement for the descolada with her mind. The trip also brings surprises. Ender's fractured psyche forms two extra persons: Peter and Valentine as he remembers them from his adolescence. They all share Ender's soul.
- By The Heroes of Olympus, it's revealed that most if not all of the Greek gods from the previous series have Roman counterparts that differ from the original depending on what Roman ideals are placed on them. It's hinted that these counterparts are separate from each other and can combine.
- The Nilotic in Clive Barker's Sacrament.
- In The Cosmere, each of the sixteen Shards that act as gods for various worlds are all fragments of an original uber-god called Adonalsium. When Adonalsium shattered, each Shard of his personality and power was taken up by a human Shardholder, becoming deities such as Honor, Ruin and Preservation, and Calamity.
- Kirk, in the Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within". However, the "evil" side proved to be the side with the strength to make tough decisions, proving that both halves are needed for the whole to work.
- And the seemingly meek, passive "good" side turns out to have more courage than the other, whose angry defiance hides terror of losing independent existence.
"Can half a man live?"
- In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Faces," B'Elanna Torres is split into her Klingon and human halves by the Vidiians: the Klingon is a barely contained rage factory, the human is a simpering wimp.
- A spell intended to separate Buffy's personality from her Slayer abilities in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer hits Xander instead, separating him into an "aggressive" Xander (charming, well-groomed, and confident; but hot-headed and impetuous) and a "passive" Xander (awkward, paranoid, and insecure; but with Xander's trademark sense of humor). Note that despite the negative Xander's suspicions, neither half is actually evil. Both Xanders also refer to "The Enemy Within" during the episode.
- The opening episode of Season Four introduces black kryptonite. Martha uses it on Clark in order to try and deprogram him (long story) and it causes him to split into his good and evil sides, "Clark" and "Kal-El" (all of this most likely a Mythology Gag to Superman III). Unfortunately, the "fight" is very, very brief, with Kal starting to choke Clark only for Martha to toss the kryptonite to Clark, who smashes it into Kal's chest and fuses them back together. Lex got the black kryptonite treatment (here, it's created from heating regular kryptonite) in a later episode, with the good version being sweet (but not the crybaby many "good twins" are when this trope is used) and the evil version being... Lex Luthor.
- In the Season Eight finale, Clark uses black kryptonite to separate Davis Bloome's human half from his Doomsday side, so that he could fight him without having to worry about what he was doing to the innocent human half. Unfortunately, we then find out human Davis isn't so nice after all - apparently, the things he had to do to keep Doomsday under control (namely becoming a Serial Killer) drove him crazy, and madly jealous over Chloe's relationship with Jimmy and the fact that she ran away with him just to protect Clark, he kills Jimmy.
- The show plays with this by duplicating the lead character, John Crichton, into two identical (equal and original) characters, both imbued with all the personality traits, good and bad, of the original. This happens at the same time as a split in the crew, with both halves of the crew believing that they have the real Crichton with them. This situation persists for half a season, and the repercussions run through the rest of the series. This functions as an arc-wide Reset Button for certain plot points that were almost too-neatly wrapped up. Heroic Sacrifice, anyone?
- Also played straight in the episode "My Three Crichtons," wherein John is split into a Power Trio: the original (ego), an animalistic version that acts purely on emotion (id), and a hyperevolved version that acts purely on the basis of logic and self-preservation (superego). Interestingly, the id is the most heroic of the trio.
- In General Hospital's Supernatural Soap Opera spinoff Port Charles, Livvie is split in two by her vampire lover Caleb. The bad half continues to live as Livvie. The good half has amnesia and is named Tess.
- In the Doctor Who Big Finish audio "Caerdroia", this happens to the Doctor, who gets split into "the responsible one", "the loopy one", and "the nasty one".
- A variation, from the new series: the Doctor's severed hand grows into a duplicate of him due to Donna Noble's unintended interference. He becomes half-human and apparently somewhat more callous in his strategies than the original, reminiscent of the Ninth Doctor's more desperate methods.
- In the Past Doctor Adventures book Managra, three clones of Lord Byron are featured, each one reflecting a different part of the description "mad, bad and dangerous to know".
- In an episode of Goodnight Sweetheart, the protagonist Gary gets hit by lightning at the exact instant he walks through a time-portal. He wakes up on one side of the portal, and later discovers that an unscrupulous, sex-obsessed version of himself appeared on the other side. Hilarity Ensues. Doubly applies as it is later revealed that Gary isn't actually the good side...a third version of him, a very camp, charitable man, shows up at the end of the episode, explaining that he'd been busy helping out in an air-raid shelter.
- Trey of Triforia, the first "Gold Ranger" from Power Rangers Zeo, had the alien ability to split into 3 parts, representing Wisdom, Courage, and Power...uh, I mean Heart. When he was injured, he was stuck as three beings, locking him out of using his Ranger powers and forcing their temporary transfer to someone else. They had to wait until the stars were right to recombine him and give him his powers back.
- The Red Dwarf episode "Demons And Angels" featured a triplication device, which created a Good Ship with crew (who exist in the starship equivalent of Crystal Spires and Togas, and can even make Pot Noodles edible), an Evil Ship with crew (where Rimmer's H has fallen sideways and... yeah) and a Neutral Ship with crew (i.e. the original gang). The Neutral Ship duly exploded, and it required a polarity reversal to recreate it from the others.
- There's also the Confidence and Paranoia episode in one of the early series.
- In a season 1 episode entitled "Which Prue Is It Anyway?", Prue casts a spell that accidentally creates 2 clones of her. One of the clones represents her fun, wild side, while the other clone exhibits her take-charge, business-like side.
- The same thing happens to Piper in one of the books.
- Kahlan in the Legend of the Seeker episode "Torn". The reason for the split is a magical talisman that is used to transport the casting wizard and the Confessor to Idendrill. However, the talisman is partly guided by the Confessor's desires. In Kahlan's case, her Confessor side wanted to go to Idendrill to help the people there, but her emotional side did not want to leave Richard's side. The talisman resolved this conflict by splitting one person into two. Confessor!Kahlan ends up becoming the iron-fisted ruler of Idendrill, handing out harsh, logical punishments without regard for emotional content. The other Kahlan acts only in accordance with her emotions without any reason to temper them. Which means she can go from a loving partner to a Clingy Jealous Girl in a heartbeat. Both end up having sex (Emotional!Kahlan finally has sex with Richard, while Confessor!Kahlan picks a random guy for procreation) and use that as grounds to refuse reintegration. Zedd confirms that neither is pregnant, claiming that only a "real" person can do that, and uses the talisman to put them back.
- Happens with Emma in Mutant X. She's split into her aggressive side and her passive side. They can't live without each other.
- Darrin of Bewitched gets split into his fun loving side and his workaholic side by his mother-in-law.
- Dollhouse has several interesting takes on this; the person is never "split" in any way, but they're in a room with a copy of their mind in someone else's body talking to them. The first one has a rebellious younger girl's brainscan tweaked to have the copy become "well-adjusted" and mentor the real girl into possibly getting over her traumas. In the second, hilarious instance, Topher puts an exact copy of his brain into Victor. They get along great until they're actually in the same room as each other.
- In My Favorite Martian, one of Uncle Martin's machines gets struck by lightning, splitting him into triplets, one who agrees with everything, one who disagrees with everything, and one who can never make up his mind. The Animated Adaptation used the same plot with Martin's nephew Andromeda.
- In the season 6 finale of Supernatural, Sam is stuck in a Mental World where his identity has split into three personalities: Sam, Soulless Sam, and the Sam who's been tortured in the Cage.
- Occurred in an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. When everyone was pressuring Sabrina to go to a different college she ended up splitting herself into four different versions of herself without anyone knowing. Apparently she didn't even know about it herself until all four Sabrinas meet up towards the end of the episode.
- In Kamen Rider Fourze, the Gemini Zodiarts' Transformation Trinket causes the user's dark side to manifest as a separate entity the first time it's activated. The dark side then attempts to strengthen its own existence by making people hate and distrust the original, making the "weaker" one become more fake (such as its face becoming a white mask); after 24 hours, whichever side is stronger becomes permanent while the weaker fades from existence forever. Unfortunately, this happens to Yuuki when the bad guys force her to use the Gemini Switch, but our heroes manage to save her just in time.
- In the Haven episode "Friend or Faux", Cornell Stamoran creates a copy of himself to clean up his messes and do the things he's scared to do. While he's an insecure Dirty Coward, his copy is a homicidal Badass.
Copy: He's so easy to imitate, you know. I just do me and take out the cool parts.
Audrey: So how does all of this work? You know what's in his head?
Copy: I have all of his memories, but the balls are mine.
- Warehouse 13
- In the episode "13.1", it's revealed that Hugo Miller used an artifact to try to create an AI based on his own brain patterns. The result was that his right-brain was uploaded to the computer and became a logical, unimaginative version of himself, while his left-brain was left in his body and became a Talkative Loon who was institutionalised. The Warehouse agents and Hugo 2.0 both agree that the two halves need to be reintegrated, they just disagree about where...
- In the episode "Savage Seduction" , the B-plot involves a college fraternity that uses Edna St Vincent Millay's candle (as in "my candle burns at both ends") to split the side of themselves that wants to party from the side that wants to study, so they can do everything. When the frat leader uses it on Straight Gay Deadpan Snarker Steve, the "party" version is a Camp Gay and the "dedicated" version is The Comically Serious (i.e., the camp one got the snark, leaving him as just deadpan).
- Rudy of Misfits divides into crass, selfish Rudy One and sensitive, compassionate Rudy Two. They used to have a Rudy Three, who was murderously violent, but they had to kill him.
- In Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, we learn that Project Freelancer, a military program implanting AIs into elite soldiers, was only given a single AI to work with. So they subjected this Alpha AI to stress and psychological torture until it started breaking apart, producing fragmented consciousnesses based on one aspect of the Alpha - Delta represented its logic, Gamma its deceit, Omega its rage, and so on. The problem was that the fragment embodying ambition got the idea of becoming a "true" AI by attacking the other Freelancers and absorbing its siblings, giving rise to the Meta.
- Near the end of The Strangerhood it's revealed that an accident occurred when Tovar was transported to the Strangerhood, which split him into two different people, one that was pure evil and one that was pure moron.
Religion and Mythology
- Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu
- The Triple Goddess: Maid, Mother and Crone
- One possible interpretation of the Christian Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Destroy The Godmodder has lots of this, almost always combined with Author Avatar, since players use it to spawn mini plot points and summon themselves as entities.
- And then the GM got one too...
- In 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, the Dragon God Io was cut in two by the King of Terror, Erek-Hus. The two halves then rose up as a pair of new deities, Bahamut and Tiamat, who then killed Erek-Hus. All Io's evil qualities, his hubris, arrogance, and envy, were embodied in Tiamat, while his good qualities, his desire to protect and his sense of equality, were embodied in Bahamut. Both gods inherited Io's preference for working alone, and became bitter enemies after the battle. In previous editions, Bahamut and Tiamat were instead the children of Io.
- In BIONICLE, Vezok got hit with a fusion ray set in reverse, causing his strategic cunning side to be split off. Notably, this was not an equal split, the double (named Vezon, the Matoran word for "double") had only Vezok's head for tactics; not his powers, not much of his appearance, not even his sanity. And unfortunately for Vezok, the split was permanent (even after getting a hold of the fusion device again, his teammates wrecked it out of annoyance and because him being smart again would make him harder to backstab).
- In the Transformers: Timelines fiction, Nexus Prime is a large Cybertronian who split his mind and body to form a combiner made of five individuals to help hide the pieces of a vital artifact from enemy hands. The individuals in question are unaware of this for the longest time, making some of their interpersonal dynamics (especially Skyfall and Landquake's Odd Friendship) Hilarious (or at least weirder) in Hindsight. There's also no clear way to classify which person represents which side of Nexus' personality, as they're all fairly three-dimensional personalities.
- In Mega Man Star Force, Pat has a split personality, Rey. Gemini becomes his EM wave partner. When he EM Wave Changes and becomes Gemini Spark, Gemini splits into two, and the two personalities split. Gemini Spark White merges with Pat. The dominant one (the one you hit to damage), Gemini Spark Black, merges with Rey. Thank Capcom for small blessings; in Star Force 2, both of them are damageable separately.
- The Mega Man X series has a few examples. According to supplementary materials, Colonel and Iris were the result of a failed attempt to create a second Mega Man X, but the part of the AI representing X's compassion rejected the part responsible for his martial prowess, or vice versa, so they had to be split off into sperate bodies. There's also the obscure manga and trading card series character IX (Irregular X, presumably he'd be called Ma X if he ever showed up in the English version), an evil clone of X made up of all his negative emotions created by parasitic Nano Machines. And then in Mega Man Zero it turns out that the title character himself is one of these, being a cheap knockoff of the real Zero's body that was used by the evil Dr. Weil to siphon off all the good personality traits that Dr. Cain implanted in him, leaving behind the raging psychopath, known as Omega Zero, that Dr. Wily intended him to be.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer Safiya, Nefris, and Lienna are all aspects of The Founder, AKA The Red Woman, deliberately split off into separate bodies.
- The Longest Journey features a character who was split into his logical and emotional halves. His logical side is a cold, amoral human; his emotional side is a Chaos Vortex that nearly kills the player character. When his two sides are reunited, he turns out to be a decent guy.
- Happens with the entire world in the backstory, with one Earth split up into the magical Arcadia and scientific Stark with the intention of reuniting them at a later date. This also creates several other pocket worlds.
- Twice in Sam & Max:
- In Sam And Max Save The World, Hugh Bliss 'separates Max's bliss' by symbolically cutting off body parts connected to his sins - his violent hand, gluttonous stomach, and slothful tail. These body parts are then animated into a Violent Max mindlessly blasting at everything with his gun, a Gluttonous Max mindlessly consuming everything that comes near and a Slothful Max too depressed even to move, while the rest of Max's body wonders around in a blunted, blissed-out, terrifying daze with huge chunks carved out of his body.
- In Sam And Max: The Devil's Playhouse, after Max becomes an Eldritch Abomination, he creates Spores - flaming floating heads which carry an aspect of his personality each. These include Trademark Favorite Food-obsessed Max, Drill Sergeant Nasty Max, Brooklyn Rage Nostalgia Level Max, Ship Tease Ho Yay-with-Sam Max...
- In the first Breath of Fire game, the party enters the mind of Mogu, who is in a coma, to find his personality fractured. They have to find his missing Courage in order to bring them together and wake Mogu up.
- And in the fourth Breath of Fire game, there's one of the most blatant examples. Both Ryu (series protagonist) and Fou-lu (technical antagonist and Woobie) are actually two halves of the same god, the Yorae Dragon/Arukai no Ryuu, that was summoned 600 years ago on the western continent in a desperate attempt to stop a massive civil war. Unfortunately, the summoning was botched; only half the god made it across straightaway (becoming the first emperor of the Fou Empire), the other half ending up landing 600 years in the future and literally halfway across the world. (The Fou Empire and its precessor do not have a good track record at successful summonings.)
- It should be noted the original split isn't good/evil here, but rather along Yin/Yang aspects (Fou-lu being the yin/water/cold aligned half, Ryu being the yang/fire/heat aligned half). Fou-lu is actually neutral at first; he ends up going to Omnicidal Maniac thanks to having his girlfriend used as a Tactical Thermonuclear Curse Peasant in a deliberate attempt to kill him by the very empire he founded (which does not want to give up its regency to him).
- In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, this happens with Kain. The part of him that is jealous of Cecil getting Rosa got his own body and stole the crystals in order to kill Cecil. The other half of him took on a disguise and went on as the Hooded Man to help out Ceodore.
- In Kingdom Hearts:
- Sora is split several times: Roxas is his Nobody born during the brief time Sora lost his heart, while Xion is made out of memories extracted from his mind.
- Birth by Sleep goes the Enemy Without route with Ventus and Vanitas. They're eventually rejoined, with Ven winning their fight for control over his heart, but he's so weakened he has to merge his heart with Sora's to survive. This retroactively bumps the "people existing through Sora" count even higher.
- Xehanort has a very similar situation: Master Xehanort gave up his body to possess Terra, and this created the current Xehanort with MX and Terra's hearts battling for dominance. Then Xehanort split himself into "Ansem" and Xemnas. Ansem was born from Master Xehanort's heart while Xemnas was born from Xehanort's mind and Terra's body, and as a result Ansem clearly takes after Master Xehanort while Xemnas has some fragments of Terra in him. With the way the Kingdom Hearts universe handles things, there could likely be even more incarnations of Xehanort out there with their own personalities and appearances, considering how many hearts and bodies he's gone through.
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], it is revealed that there are 12 Xehanorts, 4 of which are the man himself as he was around the time he left his home, Xemnas, Ansem, and the reborn Master Xehanort, while the others contain part of Xehanort's heart.
- Len had part of personality split into White Len and then bolstered with magic (or something) giving her an evil twin of sorts. The most notable thing besides being, you know, evil, is that White Len speaks a great deal while Len has only spoken two or three times in total.
- In the penultimate scene of Planescape: Torment, the Nameless protagonist meets some of his earlier incarnations in person - the good incarnation, the practical incarnation, and the paranoid incarnation.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), two of the big villains of the game - Iblis, a mindlessly destructive fire-demon, and Mephiles, a cunning, manipulative creature of darkness - are actually split aspects of Solaris, a god of light and time who "eats dimensions for breakfast". Naturally, they recombine for the True Final Boss of the game.
- Legends in Pokémon Black and White say that there was a great dragon that two brothers used to protect Unova. But when the brothers began arguing with each other, the dragon split its yin into Zekrom and its yang into Reshiram, who would fight endlessly. It's also theorized that a third Pokémon, Kyurem, is what's left of the original dragon. Which is probably why it looks so "incomplete".
- Confirmed in the sequels: Kyurem is the Empty Shell of the original dragon, and its reason for hunting Pokemon and Trainers around Lacunosa Town is because it wants to fill the void. Ghetsis uses a machine to painfully fuse it with N's dragon, which rebels.
- In Mugen Souls, the protagonist, Chou-Chou, is capable of splitting up her personality and how the personality looks like into eight different types which are Egocentric (default personality), Natural, Vigour, Sadist, Beauty, Tsundere, Masochist, and Cool. Unusual for this trope, this is also a game mechanic in which to convince enemies to become your slaves, you must be at an appropriate personality to get them to join you so that they can power up your Energy Ball and your ship, the Gcastle.
- Cheryl Mason of Silent Hill 1is really the innocent part of the dark and mysterious Alessa Gillespie's personality given a separate body. In the best ending, Cheryl's adoptive father receives a recombined form of Cheryl/Alessa who becomes Heather Mason, the protagonist of Silent Hill 3.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Shivering Isles expansion, there is the town of Split; an entire community made up of literally split personalities. Some explanation: The Shivering Isles is a literal Realm of Madness, which is split environmentally down the middle between two facets of madness: Mania and Dementia. One day, a wizard hypothesized that every person had both a Manic side and a Demented side to their mind, and, to test this, cast a spell on the town to divide all of its original residents into two separate beings. Unfortunately, everyone on either side detests their counterpart, so both sides each ask you, an outsider, to resolve the dilemma for them. Sadly, there is no way to reunite the two sides and you can only "fix" things by completely wiping out one side for the other.
- In Disgaea 3 in Chapters 2 and 4 Mao have various palette-swapped Maos inside his own heart.
- Jason Stryker in the video game of X2: X-Men United, where his powers allow him to project an evil adult side and a good child side.
- The end of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII reveals that Lumina is actually the living embodiment of Lightning's repressed childhood emotions.
- In 3D Dot Game Heroes, Princess Iris is secretly split into three fairies, Ai, Lee, and Sue (Lee is your Fairy Companion for the adventure, Ai and Sue can be discovered in caves.
- Chinatsu and Ojou in Suika. The former is the love and memories of the latter.
- M and Baron in Shikkoku No Sharnoth, as part of Moriarty's experiment. Also, only one of them is ever treated like the character that was originally split.
- Word of God for the When They Cry series is that Bernkastel is a collection of Rika's memories of all the Fragments where she died.
- In DRAMAtical Murder, Ren was originally part of Aoba's personality (his "restraint" facet, or his superego) but was forced to split from him and occupy his Allmate's dog-like body when the third facet of Aoba's personality (his "evil" side, or more accurately his id) threatened to overtake him completely. His consciousness then gets passed down to Sei's human body in the true ending so that he and Aoba can actually get romantically involved.
- Spoofed with a duplication ray (the "Dupe-O-Matic") in Melonpool in which Ralph is first split to form his good twin Ralphie, then Ralph was split again to form his even eviler twin Fauntleroy so in essence Ralph was being distilled. Interestingly, Melonpool instead gets split into his usual moron self and a twin who is a genius.
- The Dupe-O-Matic is also used in a cross-over with It's Walky!! to duplicate Joyce, who already had a Split Personality, creating an Evil Twin who continued to have effects far down the plot.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, when the good Doctor finds himself at death's doorway, his soul splits into two figures: his rational, scientific side, dressed in a doctor's scrubs; and his Hot-Blooded, justice-obsessed side, dressed in full ninja garb. Both sides have to cooperate to... persuade The Grim Reaper to allow McNinja to live.
- In the "Army Of One" arc, there is a sort of inversion, where the doctor has a bunch of clones of him made, they all go to college for eight years, taking different degrees, and then merge back into the original McNinja, which justifies his vast scientific knowledge and also helps explain some things in past stories (how he has a Universal Driver's License, why he occasionally argues with his Inner Monologue, etc).
- The Non-Adventures of Wonderella featured "Orgy Biv's Chromasplitter", which divided Wonderella into her two most dominate personalities: Passive and Aggressive.
- Sollux Captor from Homestuck is a semi-example: he's got two "dream selves" (most main characters have only one dream self: a duplicate who lives in a tower in Another Dimension and which they temporarily become when they go to sleep.) Each dream self apparently accounts for one of the two sides of his bipolar personality, so when one of his dream selves dies, he goes from manic-depressive to just permanently depressive.
- Theoretically all character's dreamselves should qualify, but Jade is the only other character who actually shows a major difference in personality between her dream and waking selves. Her dream self is goofier and more impulsive than her waking self. And is a blubbering pansy when brought back from the dead as Jadesprite.
- Dave and Davesprite also reflect this to a lesser extent. The latter went through a Bad Future in which he lost two of his friends and had to face down an inevitable death. As a result he's not as stoic as Dave.
- Heroes of Heart rule over an Aspect governing the self and identity. Their myth arc often involve "a journey of splintered self." Dirk has this in spades between himself and his auto-responder. Ironically, he doesn't have it with his dream self, since he runs both bodies at once with the same mind.
- In At Arm's Length, Ally spent most of the "Splitting Hares" arc divided into two versions of herself, one loyally staying by her husband Peter's side while they other half commits to her friends Sheila and Reece. Both claimed to be the "true" Ally and fought it out, each accusing the other of being inferior and making irresponsible choices. It took the threat of being erased from existence due to the instability of the split to get them to put aside their differences and come together again.
- The titular character of Jix has Multiple Personalities, in one arc she was cloned and her "Remula" personality was seemingly transferred to the clone. Unfortunately it turned out that the device only copied her.
- While rendered incomprehensible for a good stretch of the series, Haley from The Order of the Stick often got into arguments within herself, with mental versions of herself that represented fragments of her psyche. Her self-loathing was usually the one she spoke with, but she sometimes met with other parts of her, such as her optimism, her vanity, her mistrust, her latent bisexuality, and the new side of her that's sick of the emo stuff and wants to get back to comedy.
- In this Dresden Codak strip, Kimiko suddenly, somehow has a red-coloured, extroverted copy of herself split off from her. Extrovert Kimiko then proceeds to run off with the guy that Introvert Kimiko was spying on.
- The Wotch: In the 2003 "SchizophrANNEia" arc, Anne tries to fulfill multiple commitments by using a spell to make identical copies of herself. Turns out that each copy represents a different emotion, and furthermore each new copy diminishes the original incrementally. Needless to say much Hilarity Ensues before Anne is finally able to pull herself together.
- The Bandwidth Theatre episode "Microsoft: The Verdict" sees an antitrust judge order Microsoft split into its good and evil sides. The use of the classic transporter sound effect makes this a Shout-Out to "The Enemy Within", which for many is the archetypal example.
- Chad/Chaddy/Merry/Mai/Paige/Petra of the Whateley Universe. Currently in three parts: Paige, Petra, and Chaddy. Paige is at Whateley, Petra is in Italy, and Chaddy is running around in Sara's head.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Prezma ("Prism" in Russian) is a superheroine with diagnosed Multiple Personality Disorder. Normally, she has no actual super powers until she splits into seven individual bodies (one for each of her known personalities, and each matching a color in the visible spectrum). After she splits, each of her bodies has a different set of super powers based on the color they represent.
- In Film Conscience, Luke Mochrie uses Phillip, his Inner Pessimist, and Ringo, his Inner Optimist, to point out the good and the bad qualities of a film being reviewed. Sometimes, he'll even have other Inners pop in every once in a while to show their perspective along with Phillip and Ringo.
- Raven in Teen Titans. Not only did she occasionally split into lots of different personalities, their cloaks were even color-coded for the viewer's convenience. Revisited in Teen Titans Go! when she is accidentally split apart into 5 different personalities via a jem.
- Omi from Xiaolin Showdown did this when he used the Ring of the Nine Dragons in Season One. He is the current page image.
- Jack does this too. Unlike Omi, he seems to be able to split himself into alter-versions without losing his rather eccentric "genius", instead making rather unusual duplicates of himself (including a donkey-man hybrid); granted, he does this so he can play four-on-four basketball with himself while he referees the game, but still...
- Aladdin: The Series:
- Genie had an episode dedicated to this, where he was split into seven parts of his personality.
- As did Aladdin himself: in another episode his logical head was split from his emotional body.
- Near the end of the first season of Jackie Chan Adventures, the Tiger Talisman splits Jackie into yin (good) and yang (bad) sides. Good Jackie is too pacifistic to fight the Mooks, and Bad Jackie sees nothing wrong with joining them for money, until Good Jackie points out that that means he won't get to fight anymore.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode "Negaduck", the eponymous crimefighter is split into good and evil sides, which are later enhanced into super-good and super-evil sides. (Bizarrely, this is not the origin of the villain called Negaduck.)
- Later something similar would happen to Gosalyn in "The Frequency Fiends," leaving the original unaffected but creating three superpowered duplicates with single personality traits.
- Starscream's clones in Transformers Animated all embody an aspect of their creator, although he doesn't have to give up anything to create them. They represent his arrogance (Thundercracker), sycophancy (that is, kiss-ass-iness, Sunstorm), deception (compulsive lying, Ramjet), and cowardice (Skywarp), along with a female clone, Slipstream, who tells Starscream not to ask what she represents.
- Expanded Universe clones include Dirge (greed), Thrust (envy), and "Clone Black" (his lack of originality?).
- An even better example from Transformers is the G1 Combiners, like the Constructicons' Devastator, the Combaticons' Bruticus, and the Predacons' Predaking—inverted because the separated parts are the originals, but then they combine into one giant robot that has the combined mind of the five/six/seven components. With the bad guys, this tends to mean they destroy everything; the good guys protect everything. Usually. The Technobots' Computron has a problem with thinking things out too much and sometimes gets beaten by the primal-instinct Decepticons. The questionably-canonical explanation is that the combined form only has the traits all five have in common, hence urge to smash other side being about all there is to them. Predaking is the sole exception to the hulk-smashiness of combiners because the Predacons work together just that well.
- There's another case of splitting among the Transformers: In Beast Machines, Megatron's organic and machine sides are split between the new Maximal, Noble, and his base. Noble has a Jekyll & Hyde thing going, but it turns out that's all Megs stringing the Maximals along and he has full control of both forms.
- In Danny Phantom, Danny tries to use a ghost dreamcatcher to split his ghost half from his human half. It works about as well as you'd expect. Fun Danny (the human half) was, well, fun-loving, but kind of apathetic, while Super Danny (the ghost half) was obsessed with crime fighting, but reigning the boyscoutness attitude. They tried to fix it by going through the dreamcatcher again, but this just divides their powers amongst each other. It's revealed they went through the 'split' side twice, and at the end of the episode they finally go through the 'merge' side, which sets everything right.
- A case of a similar bit of Applied Phlebotinum having wildly different results: in "The Ultimate Enemy", after seeing all his friends and family blown up in front of his eyes, Danny goes to Vlad, the regular series' Big Bad, and asks him to "make the pain go away." Vlad agrees, and they decide to rip out Danny's humanity. This splits Danny into a ghost half and a human half, like the example above; this time, though, the ghost half is completely insane and very violent. We don't really get to find out what the human half was like, because before we get a chance to get to know that Danny, the ghost Danny splits Vlad into ghost-Vlad and human-Vlad, and fuses with the ghost-Vlad; this amalgamation of ghostly badness then turns on human-Danny, and brutally murders him so gruesomely that human-Vlad, a decade later, is unwilling to talk about it. ...Sounds nice, huh?
- One episode of World Of Quest had the title character split into pacifistic Good Quest who irritated the Questers with his talking about group hugs and sociopathic Evil Quest who turned Lord Spite into his butler. Upon recombining, Quest declared that he hated the good him.
- In an episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Dr. Blight develops a device that creates evil clones of whatever is put in it. The villains capture and clone all of the Planeteer rings to create pollution-causing counterparts (Super Radiation, Deforestation, Smog, Toxics, and Hate). Just like Captain Planet is formed from the power of the Planeteer's five rings, Dr. Blight's rings combine to form Captain Pollution.
- Spoofed in an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show. Ren gets split in two, but instead of getting split into a good and evil side, he gets split into an evil side, and an indifferent side. Later, Evil Ren tries to clone himself, but only gets split again into Evil Ren, and Hideously Evil Ren. Who, for some reason, is female. And the two evil Rens fell in love and promptly got married.
- Happens in Bounty Hamster. An Applied Phlebotinum machine able to separate things into their component parts, gets used on Marion creating an assortment of copies based on various aspects of his personality.
- In season 3 of Justice League Unlimited, it's revealed that the Shadow Thief is the dark side of Hawkman's mind given physical form.
- In the episode called "The Good, The Bad, and the Johnny" of Johnny Test, Susan and Mary split Johnny into his good side and his bad side. Good Johnny acted really annoying and sweet. Bad Johnny kept on doing bad stuff and got much stronger.
- Jimmy from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius splits himself into several copies◊ of himself in order to try and get his chores done faster. They all adopted one personality (and took it to the extreme, mind you). The "evil" one appears in later episodes, too.
- In Phineas and Ferb, Candace gets split into her two strongest emotions: Her desire to bust her brothers, and her crush on Jeremy.
- In one episode of the Beetlejuice cartoon, BJ gets so mad about being stiffed on a reward for breaking up a Wild Teen Party on Halloween night, he literally becomes "beside himself", splitting into a good side (an easy-going Lovable Coward with a fondness for bad puns) and an evil side (a crude, slovenly prankster).
- In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "A Bat Divided!", a nuclear accident splits Batman into the three sides of his personality: an intellectual scientific detective, an angry bruiser... and a laid-back, nacho-munching slacker. Apparently, it's Slacker Batman's heart that allows the other two conflicting sides of his personality to work together.
- Tiny Toon Adventures had a short where Babs' sense of humor was accidentally removed from her body, so while the humor side was borderline insane and ran around causing trouble, Babs was turned into a rather dull geek. Cute all sorts of wacky hijinx as Hamton and Calamity try to merge the two halves back together before sundown, when the separation would become permanent.
- In the Missing Episode of Dexter's Laboratory, "Rude Removal", Dexter's latest invention causes Dexter and Dee-Dee to split into nice and rude halves. The nice versions are friendly and speak with British accents while the rude versions swear and speak in tough east-side accents.
- Happens to Gemma in the Dogstar episode "Twice the Excitement", with one embodying all of Gemma's positive personality traits, and the other all of her negative traits. And neither can throw a rock with the skill that the original Gemma possessed.
- In the Monsters vs. Aliens series, Dr. Cockroach's teleportation device splits him in two: his serious "scientist" half and his hard-partying "mad" half.
- Family Guy had an episode in which Stewie created a clone of his evil side (a failed attempt to enhance his own evilness).
- In The Penguins of Madagascar Marlene, who was raised in captivity, turns into a feral form when she leaves the boundaries of the zoo. In the episode "Littlefoot" Kowalski attempts to get rid of her feral side, but it ends up taking on a life of its own.