"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
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