troperville

tools

toys

SubpagesLaconic
Main

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Power-Upgrading Deformation

You saw the beauty side of me before! Now, with great pleasure, I introduce you to the BEAST!
Zarbon, Dragon Ball Z

A Power Upgrading Deformation will make a character or creature much stronger but also make them look at the least inhuman and at the worst horrendous. Unlike the Psycho Serum where an ugly appearance can be a side effect, for the Power Upgrading Deformation the newly ugly appearance is the source of the enhancement: like sprouting Combat Tentacles, pincers, supermassive muscles, My Brain Is Big, grotesque Cybernetics, etc. Because of this it would technically still be considered a Magic Enhancement or Super Serum and not Psycho Serum.

If the setting has a Bishonen Line, this drug, technology or spell will take the character to just before the return to prettiness (or if already there, start the cycle over). It's also worth noting that protagonists and main villains may get off easy with cool looking alterations that are way more powerful while Mooks and secondary characters aren't so lucky.

The deformation may be a mix of: permanent (requiring a cure to remove) or temporary (granting a Super Mode), and perfectly stable (no more mutations) or continuously changing (risking falling to The Corruption or Power Degeneration). Because its effects are so nasty taking it tends to be treated as a Godzilla Threshold, with only the direst of situations meriting it. Villains like the Mad Scientist and Evilutionary Biologist will delight in kidnapping victims to use this on... usually paired with a Mind-Control Device of course! note  On the other hand, some villains may take it themselves, become a One-Winged Angel and proclaim A God Am I! Truly, Evil Makes You Monstrous. Mind the Clipped Wing Angel from overdosing.

Compare Dangerous Forbidden Technique, Evolution Powerup, One-Winged Angel, and Transformation Of The Possessed. See also Beauty to Beast and Deadly Upgrade. Pretty much all Lovecraftian Superpowers result in this.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Berserk: When Zondark is unable to defeat Guts, the Count makes him swallow a part of him. This not only makes Zondark physically more powerful, but gives him the ability to grow Combat Tentacles to replace lost limbs. The Count himself is one of the many Apostles, who have all been originally human. The Apostles can assume a human form but when they go One-Winged Angel "deformed" is an understatement.
  • In Claymore, this is how the titular Super Soldiers are made, grafting in a piece of demon flesh to give them some of its powers, but they eventually succumb to The Corruption, if they don't give in to their Superpowered Evil Side.
  • The Tavoo/Taboo race in Psyren all have a core known as an Illuminus, which heightens their psionic abilities, but often disfigures them to the point of not even looking human anymore, usually taking on an insectoid appearance instead. The few exceptions are the high-ranking W.I.S.E. members, and several others such as Tatsuo and Alfred.
  • Similar to Claymore example, if the Magical Girls of Puella Magi Madoka Magica falls into Despair Event Horizon, they will turn into Witches. This is actually a subversion, since Witches lose their sanity and acts purely on instinct, making them less effective in actual combat.
  • The Zoanoids in Guyver are basically mutated humans whose new (revolting) forms are always tailored to give them a specific strength or super attack. Zoalords are however higher on the Bishonen Line and look far less ugly than their underlings.
  • Zarbon in Dragon Ball Z has a powerful second form, but it makes him look fat and ugly (whereas his normal form is a Gorgeous George type), so as a matter of vanity he avoids using it.
  • Bleach gives us Ichigo's Hollowfication, as well as the Vizoreds who have similar powers. By tapping into their inner Hollow, they gain immense strength and speed, but have a bone-like demonic looking mask grafted onto their faces in the process. It is only temporary though. The mask can be broken off in battle, and it'll eventually crumble away in time. The mask's appearance varies from person to person, but all of them stop looking human.
  • High School Dx D has Issei after he sacrifices an arm to temporarily gain Balance Breaker. This sacrifice is not actually losing the arm, its that whenever the energy in the arm builds up too much it begins to look like a dragon's rather than human.

Comic Books

Film

Literature
  • In A Macabre Myth of a Moth-Man, both the titular Moth-man and Ozzy were horrifically mutated (they both used to be normal guys), but also became much more powerful as a result.

Tabletop RPG
  • Just about every Chaos mutation in Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40K, since these mutations include things like Combat Tentacles, pincers, extra mouths, cancerous growths...
    • In 40K, most augmetics (metal replacement parts, ranging from bionic eyes to replacement arms to Doctor Octopus-style dendrites) are rather crude and ugly (ork versions are even worse). The Adeptus Mechanicus see the replacement of flesh with metal as the ultimate way to better themselves, so naturally they get the worst reactions from normal humans.
    • Even becoming a Space Marine, the de facto "heroes" of the 40K universe, involves some pretty gruesome procedures, like the addition of extra organs, genetic modifications that lead to superhuman size and musculature, metallic/ceramic replacements for your skeleton, and an implanted "second skin" that interfaces with your Powered Armor. Worse still, many of these upgrades are based on non-renewable implants that have to be harvested from dead Space Marines so they can be passed on to new recruits!

Toys
  • In the fifth story line of BIONICLE, the Toa Metru are captured and injected with Hordika venom, which turns them into half-animals. Downplayed in that while greatly increasing their physical strength, it also degrades their elemental abilities to some extent.

Video Games
  • The basis for Splicers in the first two BioShock games. Specifically, they were users of a gene-modifying substance called ADAM- and along with the many cosmetic uses that it can be applied to, specially-prepared batches can give the user superpowers in the form of plasmids; unfortunately, abuse of the substance has resulted in addiction, disfiguration, and insanity. The main characters can also suffer a few of the tamer side-effects when they have plasmids equipped: Incinerate! clearly burns the wielder's hand; Winter Blast causes icicles to grow through the user's flesh (complete with blood); finally, Insect Swarm results in a mixture of nasty-looking stings across the hand (in Jack's case) or a honeycomb forming out of the palm (in Delta's case).
  • This comes up in Deus Ex; some cyborgs dislike the protagonist because they had to sacrifice their ability to look normal (thanks to the fairly obvious nature of their implants) while the protagonist's nanomachine based augments have barely any cosmetic effects (not to mention rendered them obsolete).
  • Bydo-derived Organic Technology from R-Type, under certain circumstances. For example, if the Claw Force is detached from the fighter too long, it temporarily mutates and goes on a rampage.
  • In Digital Devil Saga, everyone infected by the demon virus has access to demon form, which is stronger than human form. Said demon form ranges from looking vaguely humanoid (most of the main characters), to slimes, to animalistic, to the worst looking of Shin Megami Tensei demons.
    • In the main Shin Megami Tensei series, human-demon fusion is quite likely to leave you like this, in IV, some of the poor bastards who chose to become Demonoids were hit with Fusion Errors. If you're not careful with Reds, in the same game, you will end up as a shambling undead. Or worse. Technically speaking, the Demi-Fiend is also an example, as the parasite warped his body into that of a demon, even if he still closely resembles his human form, the horn he got was noted by Word of God to be a primitive sensory organ that grants him much of his demonic power, and the Power Tattoos are actually lines of demonic lymph coursing through his body.
  • Dr. N. Brio's appearances in the Crash Bandicoot series usually involve him drinking mutagen and turning into a hulking green monster (though by the time of Crash: Mind Over Mutant, it seems like he needs the mutagen to keep from transforming). At the end of Mind Over Mutant, Dr. Cortex samples the mutagen himself, with similar results.
  • The Binding of Isaac has this as the de jour - nearly half the permanent items upgrade Isaac at the cost of visually maiming him. For example, a coat hangar goes straight through Isaac's eye socket to increase the firing rate of his tears.
  • In Borderlands 2, one of Krieg's ultimate abilities is "Release the Beast", in which if he activates his action skill when at 1/3 of his health he transforms into a Badass Psycho: His torso and right arm grow in size while his left arm shrivels up into a tiny stump. During this state his melee damage and damage resistance is massively increased.
  • To some extent, evolution in Pokémon is this - sure, that cute little Bulbasaur will get more powerful as a Venusaur, but it's not gonna be as cute if it becomes one.

Western Animation
  • Kaijudo has The Choten's evolution drug, which transforms the series' normally one-form Mons into a new, stronger form.
  • Street Sharks has the gene splicing treatment that turns humans into sharks (and sea animals into monsters).
  • Every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had the mutagenic ooze which made them more human-like, while also mutating humans into uglier mutants.
  • The splicers in Batman Beyond used genetic engineering to become Half Human Hybrids, which generally while animalistic weren't ugly. When their boss fights Terry, he takes a boat load of them and goes One-Winged Angel... until Terry gives him a second round of drugs which pushes him into Clipped Wing Angel.


Power Strain BlackoutPower at a PricePride
Power of the VoidImageSource/Tabletop GamesProtection from Editors

alternative title(s): Power Upgrading Deformity
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
36388
39