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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Splatoon}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/70a9fbc332c0c2bb0a25c3066cd46986.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350: [[MemeticMutation You're a kid now. You're a squid now.]]]]

A permanent, one-way case of ShapeShifting, in which the character completely changes form. As such, it's generally taken a lot more seriously by the subject, and [[StatusQuoIsGod less likely to actually happen]]. Voluntary metamorphosis is generally only agreed to after much thought; [[EmergencyTransformation involuntary metamorphosis]] provokes much angst and anger at the responsible party.

Malicious examples can be inflicted as a form of CoolAndUnusualPunishment. Benign examples can allow a character to [[{{Transflormation}} return to nature]] or AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence. May overlap with KarmicTransformation, PinocchioSyndrome, PowerUpgradingDeformation or BalefulPolymorph.

Compare with ShapeshifterModeLock and FirstLawOfGenderBending. Not to be confused with the usual TransformationSequence, despite both ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'' and ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5'' using "Metamorphose!" as their [[ByThePowerOfGreyskull trigger phrase]], and "morph" being a key word in ''Franchise/PowerRangers''.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Although the use of "Metamorphose" is unrelated, ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5'' did this with most of the QuirkyMinibossSquad in their final appearances, turning them (usually against their wills) into giant superpowered versions of themselves at the cost of apparently all their higher brain functions. The BigBad and TheDragon were similar, but dodged that last part.
* Hideshi Hino's ''The Bug Boy'' is the story of a kid who is reborn as a giant bug. He suffers pretty much the same fate as Kafka's (below) protagonist.
* ''Manga/FrankenFran'' regularly features plots like this, although the protagonist's super-surgery, the transformations usually to turn out to be reversible (and into something much worse...)
* Metamorphosis is a recurring theme in ''Anime/ThisUglyYetBeautifulWorld''. The first half of the series is all about [[{{Fanservice}} Fanservice]] and [[SliceOfLife Slice of Life]] [[JustForFun/XMeetsY meets]] supernatural weirdness. Then CerebusSyndrome and rampant [[ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth butterfly]] symbolism kick in. [[spoiler: The [[MysteriousWaif mysterious]] MagicalGirlfriend is essentially the AnthropomorphicPersonification of an [[ApocalypseMaiden extinction event]], although there's [[MindScrew more to it than that]].]]
* ''Anime/EurekaSeven'': [[spoiler:Eureka]] manifests [[SicklyGreenGlow glowing green]] [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal growths]] on her arm after [[spoiler:arriving on Earth.]] These eventually spread and become a [[spoiler:set of butterfly's wings on her back and cover her left arm, and she becomes fully covered in it just before becoming the new control cluster.]]
* In the world of ''Manga/KanojoNiNaruHi'' and ''Kanojo Ni Naru Hi Another'' [[FirstLawOfGenderBending some boys metamorphose into girls]] via a natural process called "emergence" when the gender ratios get too skewed. It usually happens to young boys. Teens have a much higher mortality rate and it's invariably fatal for adults. Naturally, the younger it happens the easier it is for everyone to adjust; the kid who emerges halfway through third grade is going to have an easier time of it than a high school senior.
* ''Tensei Shoujo Zukan'' uses metamorphosis as a blunt metaphor for puberty, with humans metamorphosing and moulting like insects.
* ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'' has the Infinite Tsukuyomi, a jutsu that traps people in cocoons while they're stuck in dreams based off of their greatest desires. [[spoiler:But over time, the humans trapped in the genjutsu eventually transform into White Zetsu.]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Delver%20of%20Secrets Delver of Secrets and Insectile Aberration]] in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', which was directly inspired by ''Film/TheFly''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Comet the Super-Horse, from pre-Crisis DC, was originally a centaur called Biron who wanted to be fully human. Unfortunately Circe made a mistake and made him fully horse instead. Because the spell couldn't be reversed, Circe gave him superpowers to try and make up for it.
* The Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles are all up in this trope. Aside from the turtles and Splinter themselves, there's Leatherhead, Bebop and Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman (in the first cartoon), the Mighty Mutanimals in the Archie comics, etc.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Megalex}}'', Zerain's hump bursts and a pair of wings sprout from his back when he and Ram win the battle of the twelve chiefs. This is a sign that he's TheChosenOne.
* In ''ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk'', Emil Blonsky aka the Abomination is a Gamma mutate similar to the Hulk. There are some key differences: the Abomination looks more monstrous and he's stronger than Hulk's baseline strength (though Hulk has the advantage of getting stronger as he gets madder). More importantly, the transformation is permanent. Even if Blonsky wanted to become human again, he can't.
* In ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'', Ben Grimm is the only member of the Four who is stuck in his powered form, a rock monster. The others can turn their powers on and off at will. Ben, barring the use of phlebotinum that usually doesn't last longer than a single story arc, can't.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* John is permanently changed into a WingedHumanoid (with [[BlessedWithSuck various attendant perks and problems]]) in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached''. It's done to save his life by the Fans.
* ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'': Chapter 16 reveals that [[spoiler:Ritsuko]] is in the process of turning into [[http://lovecraft.wikia.com/wiki/Deep_One a Deep One]] (an humanoid fish race from the Franchise/CthulhuMythos). By the end of the fic, the transformation is complete.
* Fan stories for ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' have [[TrappedInAnotherWorld girls falling into Middle-earth]]. In some stories, the girl suddenly becomes an Elf or a Hobbit. This usually sets up a FantasticRomance with another character of the same race, and is a frequent plot in SelfInsertFic.
** ''Fanfic/AmongTheEorlingas'' transforms Veronica into a horse. She is an especially strong and fast mare, but dislikes being stuck in horse form, and would like to undo this transformation. The people of Rohan think that Veronica is one of the Mearas. Théodred gives her the name Lyfgast.
** In ''Fanfic/TheAwkwardAdventuresOfMeghanWhimblesby'', as Meghan enters Middle-earth, she becomes an elf. In a sequence of surprises, Meghan discovers her new RapunzelHair, her gown, her knee-high boots (a "miraculous and somewhat thrilling discovery"), and finally, her PointyEars.
** In ''Fanfic/TheGamesOfTheGods'', Rachel and Kari become elves. Rachel also becomes taller, and her black hair becomes blonde. Rachel later identifies herself as a MarySue.
** ''Fanfic/TroubledWaters'' is in a different category. The immortal spirit of Henneth Annûn sacrifices herself to save another life, and in result, Henneth becomes a mortal woman.
* ''Fanfic/{{Pokeumans}}'': The transformation into a Pokeuman is permanent, but don't worry because a ReplacementGoldfish clone will take care of your old life while you're away. Hope you got a species of Pokemon you like.
* In ''FanFic/JusticeSocietyOfJapan'' after gaining superpowers, [[spoiler: Kallen]]'s eyes permanently turn bright red. [[spoiler: Milly also seems to be changing in some way. But while everyone can see what's happening to Kallen, only Kallen and Milly herself can see what's happening to her.]]
* [[https://www.fanfiction.net/u/475788/CoyoteLoon Coyote Loon]] wrote a series of ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'' fanfics involving a teenager who is permanently transformed into a shape-shifting android after being exposed to several Cluster nano-probes and fights crime alongside Jenny.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In Disney's version of ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', Jafar is transformed into a genie. On the other hand, ''being'' an all-powerful genie, in the sequel he gets to appear as human as he ever was whenever he feels like it.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The entire premise of ''Film/TheFly''.
* The movie ''Film/{{Wolf}}'' combines this with OurWerewolvesAreDifferent.
* [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent The transformation into a werewolf]] in ''Film/GingerSnaps'' is pretty much this.
* ''Film/District9''. [[spoiler:Wikus gets exposed to some ImportedAlienPhlebotinum, and the rest of the film details his KarmicTransformation into one of the "prawns".]]

* ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfPinocchio'': The eponymous protagonist is a wooden puppet [[PinocchioSyndrome who wants to be a real boy]]. Eventually he gets his wish.
* In Creator/RoaldDahl's ''Literature/TheWitches'', the witches plan to dispose of all children by turning them into mice.
* In Creator/FranzKafka's appropriately named story ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis'', the protagonist Gregor Samsa finds himself turned into a giant [[strike:cockroach]] insect at the very beginning.
* Evil Magician Trent from ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' has the power to turn any living creature into any other. He sometimes uses it on people who annoy him, like Cynthia Centaur who was formerly Cynthia Human.
* In the little-known 1980's SF/Horror novel ''Transformation'' by Edmund Plante the pregnant heroine is horrified to discover that an alien virus is [[BodyHorror transforming her]] into a psychic slug-and-lizard hybrid... at least until she she decides that a pregnant psychic alien slug/lizard is actually a pretty cool thing to be.
* In Creator/JackChalker's better-known 1970's novel ''The Web of The Chozen'' a human hero is transformed by an alien virus into an alien creature. One attempt at getting help from his superiors is [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters enough to convince him to abandon humanity in favor of his new species]].
* The twist behind ''The Soddit'' is that the Gandalf {{Expy}} is transforming into a dragon - as part of his natural life cycle: dragons begin life as dwarfs, grow into wizards, and finally become dragons.
* ''Some Children Wander By Mistake'' by Creator/JohnConnolly features a child being permanently transformed into a [[MonsterClown monstrous clown]], having been chosen as a fresh recruit by the other clowns several months before he was born.
* The Creator/RayBradbury short story "Chrysalis" details the metamorphosis of a man [[ILoveNuclearPower exposed to radiation]]. Other characters include a co-worker of his and a couple scientists studying him as he transforms. The entire story takes place while he is in the cocoon (or chrysalis), and everyone wonders what to do with him, if he's dead, etc. Things are further complicated when it's revealed his co-worker is showing similar symptoms and likely the same will happen to him. In the end, the man emerges from his chrysalis... and is perfectly normal. [[spoiler:Except not. The last paragraph has him fly off into outer space. It's implied his body and mind have very much transformed, but never said exactly how.]]
* The premise for Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs' ''Literature/TheLandThatTimeForgot'' is that all the creatures on the island are evolving from one species to another as they move inland and northward.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', a witch's rat-transformation spell turns out to be permanent when she uses it on herself -- or at least, she can't undo it while transformed.
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'' Delenn enters a cocoon in order to turn herself into a [[HalfHumanHybrid human/Minbari hybrid]]. Sinclair goes through the same process in reverse to become Valen.
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Odo was turned into a solid (i.e. a non-shapeshifter) as a punishment for killing another shapeshifter -- a first for the species.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Numerous Greek myths involved permanent transformations. Creator/{{Ovid}}'s ''Literature/{{Metamorphoses}}'' (the TropeNamer) featured a number of such stories.
** The nymph Scylla was desired by the merman Glaucus (although she brushed off his advances). The sorceress Circe also loved Glaucus, and in jealousy poisoned Scylla, transforming her into a [[EldritchAbomination twelve-footed, six-headed monstrosity]]. Scylla adjusted well to the change: she moved to a rock on the strait opposite Charybdis (also a transformed nymph) and took to devouring sailors from every ship that passed beneath her.
** Arachne and the goddess Athena had a [[CookingDuel weaving duel]]. There are many versions of this myth, and the only detail they can agree on is that the duel ends with Athena turning Arachne into a spider.
** Actaeon, prince of Thebes and renowned hunter, was transformed into a stag by Artemis and killed by his own hounds. Depending on the version, this was either punishment for spying on Artemis bathing, or for boasting that he was a better hunter than Artemis.
** Similarly, when Siprotes saw the goddess bathing, he got changed into a [[GenderBender woman]] instead. The difference, though, was that Actaeon had ''gazed'' at Artemis, while Siprotes tried to avoid eye contact as soon as he saw her.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Medeans in ''TabletopGame/NewHorizon'' are humans who voluntarily splice their genes with native fauna and transform into unique [[PettingZooPeople hybrid forms]]. The process can be reversed, but only with great difficulty and expense.
* The Elans of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' are humans who have undergone a secret, voluntary transformation that leaves them looking exactly the same, but they are effectively immortal, being able to live purely on psychic energy. They also give up on their previous lives and pick new identities in the process. There is just something off-putting about them that makes the normals uncomfortable, though: by game rules, they have become Aberrations like a rust monster or a mind flayer.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'':
** Changelings are the {{Half Human|Hybrid}} [[OneGenderRace daughters]] of Hags and human males. For them, puberty comes with a subtle urge to seek out their mothers, which can lead them to transform into Hags themselves. Fortunately for them, they can opt to {{Def|iedTrope}}y the Call.
** The {{Cthulhumanoid}} Deep One Hybrids are doomed to undergo an agonizing transformation into full Deep Ones [[YourDaysAreNumbered within a year]] of their 60[[superscript:th]] birthday. Their feelings about becoming [[TheAgeless ageless]], compulsively cultish monstrosities with free run of the deep sea are... mixed.
* ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasy'' and ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40K'': This is the fate of those cursed by the Chaos Gods, a hideous assemblage of flesh and random mutations, claws and tentacles. It's also the fate of those ''blessed'' by the Chaos Gods, as receiving too many mutations and gifts from them can utterly destroy the minds of a human whose will is not strong enough to resist it.

* In ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'', [[spoiler: some Av-Matoran undergo metamorphosis into [[BeePeople Bohrok]] as a natural part of their life cycle.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the modern usages of both words, "metamorphosis" would be a much more accurate term than "[[EvolutionaryLevels evolution]]" for when this happens in ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''.
* The latter character from platforming series ''Franchise/JakAndDaxter'' after coming into contact with dark eco.
* Happens to [[MeaningfulName Morph]] [[MacabreMothMotif Moth]] in ''VideoGame/{{Mega Man X}}2''. He starts out as a small chrysalis, but once his health gets to half, it retreats, splits open, and then you fight the actual moth reploid. His Japanese name is even "Metamor Mothmeanos".
* In ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' this is the primary means that the Zerg race produce their units and buildings by "morphing" larva into a unit or a drone into a building. During morphing stage the larva transforms into a chrysalis/cocoon for some time. Some units have a second stage of which makes them even more effective or change their role entirely (Mutalisks go from fast short-ranged flyers to either slow long-ranged ground attack or air attack flyers).
* ''Videogame/HeartOfTheSwarm'': In addition to the previous Zerg metamorphoses (and a few new ones, like Zerglings into Banelings), the campaign gives several units a DivergentCharacterEvolution via the evolution missions, where they can gain different traits: Zerglings can become faster more aggressive and jump over obstacles or spawn three at a time, Banelings can split into smaller banelings or jump over obstacles, Ultralisks can become radioactive or return to life after being killed, etc.
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' features this twice with the Night Elves. [[WillOTheWisp Wisps]] building [[WhenTreesAttack Ancients]] are consumed in the process à la Starcraft (non-Ancient building like moon wells don't use them up), while the Demon Hunter's ultimate spell is ''called'' metamorphosis, temporarily turning him into a demon with several upgrades and stat boosts. The transformation is permanent in Illidan's case, however.
* The Inklings of ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'' have metamorphosis as part of their life cycle. As shown [[http://i.imgur.com/VwRXAVn.png in this picture]], they are born as baby squids made of ink, and as they grow they slowly become more humanoid until they take their familiar almost human-looking form when they hit their teenage years. This metamorphosis also marks the development of their ability [[VoluntaryShapeshifting to freely swing between squid and humanoid form]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Battleborn}}'', Orendi's species the Varimorph are capable of this. The race has the unique ability to intentionally (albeit slowly) adapt their bodies at a genetic level to suit their needs and liking. This also includes being able to develop biological analogues of technological constructs they find. As such no two varimorph are the same in shape or form. It has been observed however that they have a few similar traits that could be considered common among them. These traits are alternating dark and light colored splotches on the skin; wiry, dark hair; and an utter lack of respect for any form of order or authority. In Orendi's case, she had adapted her form to assimilate the internal working of A1.Minion lasers into her hands thus allowing her to control and channel energies more efficiently than the finely crafted weapons of Minion Robotics.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'': In later expansions, a Chaos Lord can ascend into a Daemon Prince, a much larger and tougher melee unit. If it dies, the Chaos Lord has to be retrained. Bloodthirsters are summoned into a sacrificed unit, but the effect is the same.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'', metamorphosis accompanies immigration and emigration to and from Gillitie Wood. Regional Fairies and other forest-folk become humans in order to leave Gillitie and enroll at the Court, and a family of humans transform into birds before moving into the Wood.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Exiern}}'' dragons are born looking human and don't metamorphose into their true form until they reach adulthood. Adult dragons destroy human settlements and plant their young among the survivors to be raised by humans like cuckoos. The heroine's pretty sure her romantic interest is a dragon (she barely survived an encounter with his half-transformed sister) but hasn't figured out how to tell him.
* [[http://skindeep.wikia.com/wiki/Anthony_Gillis Tony]] of ''Webcomic/SkinDeep'' turns into some kind of bird creature after a spell keeping him human breaks (we think) [[spoiler:It turns out to have been some sort of karmic or cosmic backlash to the spell that turned his harpy mother into a human.]]
* [[http://www.mezzacotta.net/owls/?comic=442 This]] ''Webcomic/LightningMadeOfOwls'' strip parodies the Kafka work by having one of the characters transform into Kafka himself.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', trolls start life as grubs and, through a [[BizarreAlienBiology not-entirely-clear process]], grow up to become the horned humanoids we all know and love.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/ReceiverOfMany'' Demeter tries to transform [[spoiler: her daughter Persephone]] permanently [[{{Transflormation}} into a tree]]. It's stated that for this process to work the target needs to be a virgin.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** At the end of the third season, Twilight Sparkle is transformed into an alicorn princess. Evidently, the transformation can't be reversed, but all that's really changed about her is that she now has wings, a longer horn, got a little taller and is a bit more powerful, sharing now traits of pegasus and earth pony along with unicorn.
** In the fourth season, we have a non-living example with the Keys of Harmony; they're inanimate objects that transform into {{Cool Key}}s upon making contact with the box they're supposed to open. They do not appear to be able to change back, although we may never know, seeing as [[spoiler:they along with the box are now embedded into the Earth and have sprouted a new home for Twilight after her old one was destroyed]].
** "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS6E26ToWhereAndBackAgainPart2 To Where and Back Again Part 2]]": That is the fate of Thorax, and then of all changeling drones as they follow his example, when they choose to share love with others instead of hoarding it. They get surrounded with a radiant chrysalis and emerge as colorful, elegant hybrids of pony and stag beetle, quite distinct from their previous black, withered forms. The change is clearly permanent, and also takes care of the perpetual hunger they were plagued with. They do retain their VoluntaryShapeshifting powers, though, which are entirely independent from this.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Metamorphosis is a natural process for various species of animals, where their juvenile forms look little (or nothing) like the adult. The transformation of tadpoles into frogs and caterpillars into butterflies are two of the best-known examples, with butterfly metamorphosis transcending to the point of metaphor.