Johnny Turbo's unprovoked attack on FEKA is vindicated
that the Big Bad
is actually not even human
(or at least not anymore
) but rather a monster, alien, robot
, or some other manner of non-human, and thus evil and okay to kill after all
This specific trope tends to fall into camp
territory, because usually this revelation is made without any kind of foreshadowing
or even any particular relevance to the plot- you can remove the plot twist and the rest of the story will still make sense. Like Kick the Dog
, the main purpose here is to remove any doubt about whether the bad guys were really evil
See What Measure Is a Non-Cute?
and What Measure Is a Non-Human?
This phrase actually shows up in comics a fair amount used by villains against heroes who are not technically human. Of course, from the reader's perspective they always fall on our side of What Measure Is a Non-Human?
, so it just makes it seem like sadism for being willing to torture a sapient being.
In video games, this overlaps with One-Winged Angel
, but only if the boss yells "Behold my true form!" beforehand.
It should go without saying, but this page is loaded with spoilers. But as mentioned above, none of these plot points are particularly relevant overall, so don't fret too much about it.
Compare Just a Machine
, which deals with this trope specifically for robots. Contrast The Man Behind The Monsters
, where everyone but
the leader is a non-human.
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Anime and Manga
- Martian Successor Nadesico pulls an inversion reveal when it turns out the Jovians are really rebellious colonists with a lot of Imported Alien Phlebotinum. This just turns Akito from "scared" to "pissed off". In this case, it actually is an important plot point.
- In Hellsing, it turns out that the Major is a full-conversion cyborg. Subverted in that he still claims humanity because he has a human brain, and that they would be perfectly willing to kill him if were human anyway.
- Inverted in Vandread. The idea of harvesting body parts from humans is so repulsive to the main characters that they assume their foes cannot be human. They are human, and from Earth to boot.
- The final episode of Burst Angel. Turns out that an Ancient Conspiracy is behind everything. Yeah, that's quite an Ass Pull.
- In Naruto, this is the opinion many people have in regards to jinchuuriki, and people doing so is a serious Berserk Button for the titular Naruto.
- When Naruto powers his way into the 4th Ninja War, he's told that the enemy army consists of plant-monsters and undead ninja. His response is basically, "Good! Now I don't have to hold back!" In this case, it's more a matter of "The enemy won't die so I can beat on them with impunity."
- One of the old Johnny Turbo comics ends with this revelation against the strawman "Feka" corporation. Actually somewhat necessary to inflame the reader and justify Johnny Turbo's excessive violence, since the only crime Feka commits during the comics is doling out inaccurate information about video game systems. And making little kids cry by doing so.
- Amusingly, the Robotic Reveal only comes about because of said excessive violence, making it utterly ineffective as a justification.
- Shortly after Doom 2099 has taken over the US, he learns that Avatarr, CEO of Alchemax and one of the main Big Bads of the 2099 universe, is in fact an alien trying to rule the world via Mega Corps. Of course, Doom only learned this after he shot the guy's eye out.
- Dr. Doom in countless appearances anywhere in the Marvel Universe will turn out to be a Doombot.
- In Runaways, it was a Doombot working for Ultron.
- Magic: The Gathering novels:
- In the climax of The Brothers War, it's revealed that Urza's brother Mishra has been cyborgified, showing Urza that there's no hope left for peace or even victory. Foreshadowed earlier, plus there's the fact that the Big Bad himself is an even-more-advanced cyborg. Cue most awesome scene of mass destruction ever.
- Similarly, in the prequel novel The Thran, Yawgmoth's troops in the final battles are bizarre Magitek cyborgs, including some former colleagues of the main characters.
- Later, in Planeswalker, Urza is trying to eliminate Sleepers, Phyrexian artificial humans secretly infiltrating the population of his home world of Dominaria. Heck, Planeswalker proved that Yawgmoth was most definitely asleep at the helm, er, hub, of Phyrexia when the first batch of Newts were made. The kicker — somehow, despite having once been fully physical and human himself, a few millenia ago, Gix managed to forget that humans have different genders and reproductive, as well as waste, systems. The entire first batch of Newts (the Sleepers) looked human, but mostly teenaged boyish, with no genitals whatsoever — and glistening oil for blood. Way to go there, Gix, you schlep. This was improved on in later batches, of course, but this mistake proved costly for Gix...
- It is emphasized in Harry Potter that Voldemort has made himself less than human in some ways. Namely, by splitting his soul.
- Although no one suggests that it's okay to kill him because of that, it seems it's okay for the heroes to try to kill him because he's a murdering psychopath specifically trying to kill Harry. (Though being a murdering psychopath is a prerequisite for splitting your soul in the Potterverse, so there's some overlap.) And : he eventually gets killed in self defense. Although destroying the horcruxes is, in a way, partially killing him, and that is not done in strict self-defense.
- And, in the case of Harry and his friends, it's also self defense, as he's trying to kill Harry.
- Inverted in an early HP Lovecraft story, in which a man lost in a pitch-black cave hears something large and mysterious shuffling nearby and kills it with a rock. When his guide returns with a lantern to find him, they realize that the dying creature is a human being who'd been wandering in the cave for years, degenerating into an ape-like state.
- The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia is actually half Jinn and half Giant.
- In The Silver Chair, the Green Witch turns into a giant snake, at which point Rilian believes it's all right to kill her. Though this isn't just because she's no longer human, but because she's no longer a human woman; Rilian Wouldn't Hit a Girl.
Live Action Television
- In BIONICLE, Kiina and Ackar are reluctant to kill the seemingly-humanoid Rahkshi. However, after one attacks Kiina, Ackar decapitates it and its Kraata falls out, revealing that "They're just slugs in armour". Our heroes have no problem hacking them to pieces after that.
- In the Ursula Vernon webcomic Digger, when the creepy figures with black wordbubbles serving a buried god are revealed to be ordinary living hyenas.