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Not Quite Back To Normal

A character is unshackled from a Baleful Polymorph — changed back from a frog, cured of their lycanthropy, or just had a Gender Bender undone — but after sighing with relief, they slowly realize that they aren't 100% the same as they used to be. And it's not just because they've walked in another creature's shoes and improved as a person.

Maybe their tongue is a bit longer than they remember, and they have this inexplicable hunger for flies. Or they've still got a wolf tail (and all their friends burst into laughter whenever they turn around.) Or, psychologically, they've retained an uncontrollable fear of cats. At any rate, they've got leftovers.

Usually played for laughs (and often an Ending Trope) but it may be a plot point in a greater arc. Brainwash Residue has considerable overlap. See Close Enough Timeline for the Time Travel equivalent. Some overlap with The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, where a shapeshifter's mind is altered depending on the form they're in.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In ClanDestine, Walter's powers involve Hulking Out into a large blue form. When he changes back, sometimes a few body parts remain blue and over sized for awhile.

    Films — Animation 
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: A temporary case is seen where Susan is drained of Quantonium and shrunk down to her original size. Her hair, which became white when she first became a giantess, did not return to its original brown.
  • In Shrek the Third, Puss and Donkey got their minds switched accidentally. At the end, Merlin switched them back... except for their tails.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie's curse is eventually undone but she still retains the silver hair color from her old woman transformation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Wayne tests the shrink ray on his neighbor Russell. After being brought back to normal, Russell finds that his baseball cap is a little big for him.
  • The ending of Young Frankenstein — after the procedure that stabilizes the "monster," the creature has inherited the intelligence and mild manners of his creator. Frankenstein himself has inherited some...interesting side effects if his assistant's reaction is any indication.
  • James and the Giant Peach: At the end, even though James Henry Trotter was changed back to a live action boy after remaining stop-motion throughout a majority of the film, the insects that live inside the eponymous giant peach, however, actually stay huge and stop-motion animated.
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger : The evil sorceress Zenobia doesn't have enough shapechanging potion to turn completely from seagull to human, so spends the rest of the film with one giant webbed bird's foot.
  • At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man, it turns out the antidote hasn't completely countered all traces of the lizard serum present in Connors.

    Literature 
  • In the Discworld book Sourcery, Lord Vetinari is changed into a lizard for much of the novel. When he gets changed back, he notices a new habit of sticking out his tongue. This can be a side effect of "Borrowing" (inhabiting the mind of another creature). When Granny Weatherwax does it, she tend to return to her body with some animalistic behaviors and urges. Fortunately, she is iron willed enough to shrug them off after a while.
    • It's shown that the animal habits eventually disappear on their own, as when Esk Borrowed the mind of an eagle and later returned to normal.
  • In John Morressy's Kedrigern book, A Voice For Princess, although Kedrigern restores Princess to her former self from frog shape, the spell which made her a frog was more complicated than he realized. She becomes a beautiful princess who croaks like a frog.
  • In The Witcher, princess Adda has spent her entire youth turned into a monster. She looks perfectly normal but still likes raw meat.
    • Better then some versions, where she ends up retarded, with a strange hair color, and generally not good.
  • In Jules Verne's fantasy novel, Adventures of the Rat Family, the family undergoes multiple transformations, and the comic-relief character always ends up with the tail of whatever the last thing was (for example: they get transformed from rats into fish, he's a fish with a rat's tail). At the end, when they're all human, he's still got an animal tail, and is apparently stuck with it for life.
  • In Animorphs, Tobias gets Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a hawk in the first book, and gradually his body's predatory instincts begin to affect his personality. Much later, he gains the ability to temporarily turn into his former human form - but he still has the tendency to stare intensely at people like a hawk, and has to put significant effort into forming facial expressions.
  • Hermione in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Seraphina: Though she cannot experience the emotion, Linn still remembers her love for Claude Dombegh once returning to dragon form, and wants it back.

     Live Action TV  
  • An episode of Red Dwarf had Rimmer make his holographic body look like Christine Kochanski in an attempt to manipulate Lister. He still had a boob after he changes back, but was in no rush to get rid of it.
  • Sanctuary: Tesla is deeply depressed upon being devamped and complains that he's "ordinary." He then realizes he has magnetic powers.
  • A subversion is Played for Laughs in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Bashir, O'Brien and Dax and their runabout are shrunk and restored to normal at the end. Odo suggests that the men seem a couple of centimeters shorter than normal.
    Dr. Bashir: "Infirmary!" (He and O'Brien rush offscreen.)
    Quark: (to Odo) And they say you don't have a sense of humor.
    • And then Quark and Odo step down from the half-ledge they were on while standing next to O'Brien and Bashir.

    Theatre 

  • John Adams's opera A Flowering Tree is based on south Indian folklore. A girl (named Kumudha in the opera) has the power to transform herself into a flowering tree. She arouses the jealousy of the prince's spiteful sister, who tricks her into transformation and then ravages her, picking all the flowers and breaking the branches. Kumudha is unable to resume human form, and she crawls about the land as a misshapen half-human, half-tree thing.

    Webcomics 

    Video Games 
  • In Monster Girl Quest, "Witch Hunt" sidequest involves a witch turning human girls into tentacled monsters. After the witch is defeated, Luka apparently "seals" the girls' transformations... except not really, and they still can sprout tentacles at will.
  • The story mode of Soul Calibur V has a serious variant at the end with Pyrrha Alexandra breaking free of Soul Edge's influence. Eyes normal? Check. Voice normal? Check. No longer obsessed with gathering souls for the evil sword? Check. Monsterous Right Arm reverted to something presentable in polite company? Sorry, you are out of luck there.
  • Sarah Kerrigan from StarCraft got infested by the Zerg in the original opus, who used Viral Transformation to turn her from a human with psychic powers to a powerful Terran/Zerg hybrid as well as a Brainwashed and Crazy Magnificent Bitch. In StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, she is cured from her transformation and brought back to her human form and personnality. However, she turns out to still have some zerg mutagene inside her, resulting in her keeping the hair from her zerg form as well as some of her abilities. This becomes a plotpoint in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, where she uses what remains of her zerg abilities to take over the Zerg again, and eventually turns her back in her Zerg form, with her regular personnality in confrol this time.
  • At the very end of the Freedom ending in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the now-human-again Demi-Fiend awakes in his room and goes to meet his friends to visit their teacher, as they intended to do before the cataclysmic events of the Conception. All seems normal again... and then an e-mail by Lucifer implies the guy has retained all of his demonic power and one day will be forced to fight for his world again...

     Western Animation  

  • An episode of Futurama gave Bender a sex change. When Farnsworth turned him back to normal, he found that he had become more in touch with his "feminine" side (but denies it).
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The "Freaky Friday" Flip episode has many different body swaps going on, but eventually everyone seems to be back to normal- except that at the end it turns out Bubbles' body was still swapped with the Narrator.
  • In an episode of The Legend of Zelda animated series, Link is transformed into a frog. At the end of the episode, after he is cured, he still reflexively grabs and eats a fly.
  • In Duck Amuck Daffy ends up completely erased by the sadistic animator and testily asks to be redrawn. He gets his wish in the worst way possible, but it's not until the animator draws a mirror in front of him that he notices (including the fact that he's inexplicably gone quadruped!).
  • In Grim And Evil episode 5 during the Evil Con Carne segments Devolver, Part 1 and Devolver, Part 2, General Skarr keeps devolving into different species due to accidentally being exposed to Major Dr. Ghastly's devolving ray. In the end, Ghastly and Hector manage to expose Skarr (who has become an amoeba by that time) to a re-evolution ray, turning him back to his normal self... except he still has a monkey tail (though only Hector and Ghastly seem to notice it).
  • In The Emperor's New Groove the villain, Yzma, is transformed into a kitten in the end. By the time of the sequel, she is human again, but still possesses a tail and some catlike behavior (which is an Actor Allusion; Eartha Kitt is best remembered for playing Catwoman)
  • In one episode of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Juniper is turned into a lemur, but when she is changed back at the end of the episode, she still has a tail. Psych, no it was just Ray-Ray telling her she still had a tail.
  • One Treehouse of Horror episode had Homer Simpson get turned into a bizarre chimera with a chicken's body. When homer turns back to normal at the end of the episode, it turns out that he still has the body of a chicken... ...and lays an egg.
    • In another Treehouse of Horror he went back in time and kept changing the past. In the finale one everything was back to normal...except everyone ate with long retractable reptile tongues. Homer just shrugs and says "Eh, close enough".
  • American Dragon Jake Long: In one episode, a soul-sucking nix sucked the souls of several students during a school dance. In the end, everything went back to normal. Except that Trixie and Spud were now in each other's bodies. They were back to normal in the next episode but it's never revealed how they did it and it was never been brought up again. (note: It happened before they learned about Jake being a dragon)
  • An episode of Freakazoid! had the hero going back in time through a vortex and winding up averting World War 2. Upon returning to the present, he finds things have changed: Sharon Stone can act, Rush Limbaugh is a bleeding-heart liberal, cold fusion works, Euro-Disney a hit, and no more Chevy Chase movies. It is topped with where the episode began, aboard Air Force One. Only the president is now the Brain.
  • The 1961 Popeye cartoon "I Yam Wot I Yamnesia" delved into the bizarre, as bumps on the head suffered by Popeye, Swee' Pea, Wimpy and Olive has their personalities and voices switched with each other (Popeye is Swee'Pea and Swee' Pea is Popeye; Olive and Wimpy are switched similarly). After a second bump return everyone to normal (and a sock from Swee' Pea/Popeye on Brutus), only Brutus and Popeye are still reliving their infancies.
  • An episode of Garfield and Friends has Garfield entreating the viewers to watch the story unfold and pick out all the graphic incongruities within. It ends with Garfield calling the up-to-then unseen Odie to follow him. Only it's not Odie—it's Marmaduke.
  • One episode of Aladdin has Jasmine and Iago respectively turned into a rat and lizard by a curse. Genie is ultimately able to turn them back to their true forms by the end of the episode, but they still have some leftover traits of the previous forms: Jasmine still has a rat's tail while Iago is stuck with his umbrella-like neck.
  • Inverted in one episode of The Flintstones: When Fred gets amnesia and believes he's a three-year old, Barney takes him to a doctor in order to get him to recover. Said doctor is a mad scientist who swaps Fred's mind with his lab animal. Although he tries to turn him back to normal, things get ridiculously more out of hand when he winds up also swapping the brains of Barney, the wives, the pets, and even his assistant. By the very end he's able to get them all back to normal... and they all really are too. He however isn't, as he winds up taking some of Fred's personality and voice and now also believes himself to be the real Fred Flintstone.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Bats", Fluttershy is turned into a Vegetarian Vampire pony. Twilight is able to change her back, but during the Everybody Laughs Ending, the camera zooms in to show Fluttershy with Cute Little Fangs.

Mutagenic GooShapeshiftingScaled Up
No Romantic ResolutionEnding TropesNow Do It Again Backwards
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