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Anime and Manga
- Ronin Warriors: Talpa had to (re)build his body during the series.
- Cell from Dragon Ball Z starts out with a powerful body, but is programmed to "perfect" it by absorbing Androids 17 and 18. He then becomes a case of From a Single Cell; he regrows his own head halfway through his fight with Goku, and survives self-destructing thanks to a tiny scrap of him remaining (which surprises even him).
- Monster Rancher had the first two seasons where Moo is trying to dig his body out of the ice while, conversely, the Heroes search for the Phoenix.
- In InuYasha, an early Monster of the Week was a mask that wanted a body. The bad news: it caused its wearer to decay rapidly (as in, from human to crude oil in seconds.)
- The Godhand from Berserk. Since they are not part of the physical plane and therefore have no physical bodies, they have to manifest through some material in order to make a presence in the physical world. But every 1000 years, they have the opportunity to reincarnate themselves into the physical world with a corporeal body. Femto does this at the very end of the Conviction arc, being reincarnated as Griffith again, but with the full powers of his Godhand form at his command.
- In Watchmen, after Dr. Osterman is disintegrated, he spends some time slowly learning how to use his new powers to reconstruct a physical body to inhabit. Downplayed in that he doesn't actually need a body; it's purely for the convenience of other human beings. If you destroy it completely, he can just make a new one.
- In X-Men Cassandra Nova appears to be Dr Xavier's Evil Twin. She's actually his Superpowered Evil Side that escaped before his birth and built itself a new body.
- Hardware: a Wetware CPU skull has a bit more life than previously imagined.
- Hellraiser: Frank Cotton built his body from a single drop of blood (and a few bystanders).
- Virus: An alien energy being uses machine and human parts to construct bodies for itself.
- Watchmen: In both the film and the original comic, Dr. Manhattan rebuilds his body from elementary particles following getting trapped in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor... twice.
- Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron uses a heavily damaged body of the Iron legion as his first physical form. After a short fight with the titular heroes, his body is destroyed and he sends his programming to a lab in Sokovia where he creates a proper body to take down the Avengers.
- Journey to the West: The monkey king started as a rock.
- Harry Potter: The Myth Arc of the first four Harry Potter books covers Voldemort's various attempts to take a physical form, and ultimately rebuild his own body, culminating in his confrontation with Harry in Goblet of Fire. Subsequent books cover his ascent to power.
- In the Star Trek Expanded Universe book of fan-submitted short stories, Strange New Worlds V, Commander Riker falls victim to a seed of Armus, which has been growing inside him for years and tries to pull a Grand Theft Me.
- In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the good guys are trying to stop Kronos from rebuilding his body (which was torn to pieces long ago) and returning to the world.
- In Einsteins Bridge, The Hive have taken over several worlds by making tiny robots by light though tiny wormholes that builds into new Hive on that world.
- In the in-universe dwarven myths of Discworld, their creator Tak wrote himself before he could write the world and the laws.
- While they start out with living forms, the elves and gods (Vala and Maia) of Tolkien's The Silmarillion must construct new bodies for themselves before they can interact with the world when their old ones are destroyed. Gandalf, Glorfindel, and Sauron (until he lost the ring) are notable examples of characters who resurrect themselves in this way.
Live Action TV
- The Master in the new Doctor Who "The End of Time".
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the heroes discovered that Skynet was sending Terminators back in time to ensure Skynet's creation.
- In Kamen Rider ZO, Doras was initially seen as a small sphere who absorbed various metal objects around him in order to take on his monster form.
- In Kamen Rider Double, the T-Rex Dopant is a head with legs until pulling in all manner of objects to form into a massive dinosaur.
- Power Rangers S.P.D.: The Man Behind the Man is a giant brain using the guys we thought are the main bad guys in order to build a Humongous Mecha body.
- Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: Though gaining a new body wasn't her main goal, Queen Bansheera was still sealed away and when brought into this world, her body was incomplete because the ceremony was interrupted. She spent much of the series as a face in a barely mobile chunk of rock until she absorbed one of her generals to complete her transformation. Just one of many Bad Boss moves that would lead to Diabolico's defection.
- In Lexx, His Divine Shadow was the essence of the last Insect. He body surfed through different human hosts to establish the Divine Order, all the while feeding and nurturing his dormant original body. At the end of the first season, he feeds the entire population of his empire to his original Insect body and reunites with it so he can wipe out what's left of humanity in the Light Universe. The fully healed and rested Insect is so powerful that even the Lexx's planet-destroying weapon can't hurt it.
- Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands supplement, adventure "Pickman's Student". A proto Great Old One named Ghadamon spends the adventure slowly taking over the body of a human being so he can enter the waking world.
- In Exalted, The Fair Folk —eldritch maelstroms of passions from outside reality— must take an Assumption to enter Creation, lest they will be Calcified. Such form tend to be dramatic to the extreme: an indescribably beautiful lady, a towering man-beast monstrosity, or an artist whose performances moves hearts (and steals souls).
- Demons in Monte Cook's World of Darkness assemble bodies from inert materials when first arriving on Earth, though it doesn't show unless they're killed or projecting their minds: they're shapeshifters whose default forms are walking Brown Notes animated by eldritch energy.
- In Transformers mythology, Primus and Unicron made themselves planet-sized robotic bodies in order to better fight each other.
- Kid Radd: The Seer wanted to build a body in the real world so he could survive the destruction of the Internet and go on to destroy everything in the universe. He was defeated before this could happen.
- In The Order of the Stick, Xykon, being a lich has the ability to regenerate from his phylactery if his body is destroyed (which it is, at the end of the first arc). It takes a while, though.
- In Schlock Mercenary Petey is this to the evil Ob'enn. He went from a backup copy of the AI of a destroyed ship to being the nigh-omnipotent Fleetmind.
- Ben 10: Vilgax spent most of the first season in a tank regenerating.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: Shendu had to (re)build his body during the series.
- SWAT Kats: the episode known as Unlikely Alloys has a tiny repair robot balloon up to Very Humongous Mecha size after assimilating a lot of technology, then it's creator.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): Krang is obsessed with getting his robot body working.
- Megatron spends the first season of Transformers Animated as a head attempting to build a new body. He eventually recovers the damaged-but-still intact original, and fully repairs himself using the stolen Allspark Key.
- X-Men: Evolution, Apocalypse.
- Superman: The Animated Series: The entity Karkull possessed a random thief, then transformed the daily planet building, and had his mook "children" possess daily planet employees in one episode.
- Gems from Steven Universe, as the name implies, are sapient gemstones. What appears to be their body is just a magical projection that has their stone embedded within. Should their gems be damaged, their bodies will undergo uncontrollable malfunctions until the gem is repaired.