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One-Winged Angel
Maleficent scales up.

"Behold my true form, and despair!"

Classic Big Bads have the tendency, when push comes to shove, to turn into big honking monsters. A Mad Scientist in a fit of urgency might down his own Psycho Serum, or a practitioner of Black Magic might mutate himself into an Eldritch Abomination, or ... you get the idea. Bets are good they'll become way more bloated, ugly, or plain disfigured.

This indicates that the villain means business and it's time for the heroes to get cracking.

Named in honor of Sephiroth, Final Boss of the video game Final Fantasy VII.note  Video games in general absolutely adore having their final boss do this, even when their original form is scary enough anyway. In fact, it's gotten to be somewhat of an arms race: thanks to the popularity of Frieza in 1991, three-form bosses are now somewhat common, and those games going for "epic" will sometimes go for even more. In JRPGs, particularly, it is rather common to see two stages of One-Winged Angel: the "bizarro" form, that is huge and scary, and the "angel" form, that is winged, eerily beautiful and accompanied by Ominous Latin Chanting (the original One Winged Angel, Sephiroth, is the codifier of this subtrope). Once beaten, or on becoming even more powerful, the villain may cross the Bishonen Line and into safer territory for an Evil Makeover to work its magic (though it's a huge case of Tropes Are Not Bad; as much as it's used, you'd be hard pressed to complain when they turn into something completely awesome). Usually accompanied by the stock phrases "No one who has seen me in this form has lived to tell about it!!!", "I have only begun to fight!", or "Now you'll face my true power!"

Sometimes you never even fight their human form at all and they immediately turn into a monster. Can count as The Unfought if they showed fighting ability in their human form. This is more popular among minor video game villains who will often transform into tougher versions of earlier monsters like in the Breath of Fire and early Final Fantasy games, as it takes time to create a unique battle sprite for them.

Interestingly, heroes, particularly transforming characters, have been known to occasionally use this "turn into a big scary monster" tactic for their Super Modes as well. It's extremely rare for it not to cross into Superpowered Evil Side territory. And for those with firmer morals, this qualifies the villain as a monster, making it fine to kill him.

One way to defeat a villain who became giant is to become one yourself. A fight of giants can be even worse than a single giant, but it may be done anyway if there are no other options left.

Scaled Up and Make My Monster Grow, Lovecraftian Superpower are major subtropes. Super Mode is a sister trope. See also Power-Upgrading Deformation, I Am Not Left-Handed. Compare Emergency Transformation, Came Back Wrong, and Not Even Human. Some subversions are to make it a Clipped Wing Angel or Power Up Letdown. When the transformation is caused by the character's pain or anger it's Hulking Out.

For those looking for actual winged people, see Winged Humanoid and Our Angels Are Different.


Examples


One-Gender RaceOtherness TropesOperator Incompatibility
The Oldest Ones in the BookPt/Índice de TraduçãoOnly Sane Man
Morph WeaponShapeshiftingClipped Wing Angel
One Bad MotherVillainsOpportunistic Bastard
Parental AbandonmentOverdosed TropesSealed Evil in a Can
Necessary DrawbackPower at a PriceThe Paladin
The Middle AgesImageSource/Animated FilmsPrincess Classic
The Oldest Ones in the BookJustForFun/Tropes of LegendOnly Sane Man

alternative title(s): Behold My True Form
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