"Why didn't anybody ever tell me tasting things tasted so good?"
Humans being the kinds of creatures we are, we tend to take a lot of things for granted. Eating, for example. As a basic biological process, it gets old fast. We never really give it any thought unless we happen upon a particularly good meal.
This isn't true for entities who have, for whatever reason, assumed human form
. Everything we take for granted is brand new
for them. In particular, whenever a nonhuman becomes humanlike, they go absolutely nuts about taste.
This often happens to nonhumans who can transform
, and who only rarely choose a humanlike form just to hang out with others
. It's even more especially true for really alien Aliens
with Bizarre Alien Biology
, and even more so for creatures who don't even normally have a physical form
. This and Sense Loss Sadness
are two of the big reasons why Humanity Is Infectious
Oddly, this sort of thing is almost guaranteed to be totally ignored if the alien in question assumes a physical form other than human. Given the Mysterious Animal Senses
trope, that's actually pretty intriguing. (But then again...
Compare Orgasmically Delicious
, Hugh Mann
, Showing Off the New Body
, Limb-Sensation Fascination
, and (ahem) Shapeshifting Squick
... And speaking of Squick
, see Man, I Feel Like a Woman
or Breaking In Old Habits
for a very specific version
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Anime and Manga
- In Sailor Moon, Green Esmarude- your typical Vain Sorceress strolls into a fancy shin-dig, causing heads to turn at her hot elegance - until she discovered the food table, there she immediately matches Usagi dessert for dessert in stuffing her face. This caused her extreme embarrassment once she snaps out of it.
- A non-alien example: in chapter 386 of Bleach, Kaname Tosen goes off his rocker after his Resurrecion grants him eyesight. He is so overwhelmed by his new vision that he leaves himself open to a sneak attack by his own former lieutenant Hisagi.
- The eponymous Ponyo goes crazy for HAM!!!, it being the first human food she ever tastes (as well as imprinting on the first human she meets in a biiiiig, world-threatening way). It seems a minor recurring Ghibli theme of late - gaining human desires is what turns Noh-face from a neutral (if creepy) spirit to an apparently evil one in Spirited Away, and (although largely off-camera) even becomes an inverse Mysterious Animal Senses in Pom Poko (where Tanuki transformed into humans, ultimately as a side effect of their habitats being destroyed, like it so much they stay in their new form).
- In Wild Wind, once Olgrius loses his immortality sex becomes a lot... sexier. And more taxing.
- Referred to several times in Fullmetal Alchemist by Al, who lost his human body, and whose soul currently inhabits a suit of armor. We see greater and lesser degrees of this actually happening in the finale, when he gets his human body back.
- The Martian Manhunter is a ridiculously overpowered shapeshifting alien — who can't get enough Oreos. There was an adorable reference to this in a Breather Episode of the otherwise fairly serious Justice League animated series.
- Let me emphasize this even more: one of the most powerful superheroes of all, the guy with all of Superman's superpowers plus some, quite literally has an Oreo addiction. OK, so maybe it's not quite to the point of an addiction, but... the man likes his Oreos!
- Actually, in Martian Manhunter, Vol. 2, #24, it became canon that for Martians, Oreos (or in this case Chocos are addictive. Fridge Logic sets in when one considers why exactly it's processed cookies, rather than say, chocolate.
- In an unfortunate twist, an arc in The Authority has, as the villain, a Prohibition-era mobster who was fused with an Energy Being seeking to psychically uplift humanity while getting a blowjob. The Energy Being was "blown away" by the physical pleasure, resulting in a fusion who had all the powers of the original Energy Being, but the power-hungry, hedonistic personality of the mobster, and who proceeded to create a multiverse-spanning corporation that sold off the natural resources of universes. Not a good thing.
- Batman used this to his advantage one time. With the Bad Future world about to be destroyed by Darkseid, and being observed and recorded for posterity by Metron, a literal god, Bats convinced him he needed to make himself mortal to completely record the human experience before it was wiped from existence. When Metron did as suggested, Batman coldcocked him and stole his Mobius Chair to send Aquaman, The Flash and Green Lantern to the past to save the day. Sucker.
- Something of a subversion, too - Metron finds being human utterly boring.
- Death comments that of all the ways mortals absorb energy, she finds eating the best, topping even photosynthesis. Several others of the Endless also seem to delight in such human pastimes, as do other non-human cast members (and there is a reference to the Martian Manhunter noted above).
- In Preacher, two fallen angels open up a hotel/casino in Vegas and indulge themselves. After doing a line of cocaine, one former angel tells his friend that he would have gotten himself kicked out of heaven centuries ago if he knew what life on Earth had to offer. He then gives a speech about how awesome sex is, his only regret being that he didn't fall back when Joan of Arc was still alive.
- In the Sailor Moon fanfic Suburban Senshi, after deconstructing The Power of Love for all it's worth, Miss Dream emerges from Hotaru's subconscious into the real world and... promptly gets distracted. Being a dream creature that has never felt anything, she starts touching everything she gets her hands on, eating all she wants and going to the spa, giving the senshi enough time to come Back from the Dead.
- The My Little Pony fanfic "Human Shining Armor Gets Twilight Sparkle Pregnant" (disregard the title, it's a better story than it sounds.) When the pony protagonist becomes a human, he discovers that he has a lot more trouble controlling his emotions, and he's surprised to find out that his libido is acting up despite the fact that he cannot smell any in-season females.
- Milo from the Harry Potter/Dungeons & Dragons crossover Harry Potter And The Natural 20 becomes this once he tries out Hogwarts food and realizes what he's been missing out on (having eaten practical but tasteless Everlasting Rations his whole life).
- Ghosts (Humans who spend most of their time outside a physical body) in Transcendent Humanity refer to the sensation as Skin Shock. One even tells the Geth that she fully expects to be fascinated by toast or something equally mundane when she returns to her organic body.
- In The Gift, Hikari accidentally summons and merges with an Esper. Given that the spirit hadn't had a body in over twenty thousand years, she ends up masturbating furiously after accidentally groping herself.
- In K-PAX, the main character, who claims to be a Starfish Alien who is inhabiting a human body to learn about Earth, says that the food available was worth the long trip. He says this while he eats an underripe banana — peel and all!
- The 50s Science Fiction film The Brain from Planet Arrous was about a sense freak alien brain called Gor who possessed a human body with wonderfully over-the-top results.
- This is actually one of the reasons why the Angels in the beautiful film Wings of Desire even consider giving up everything to become ordinary people — and it is a big, big reason.
- In Bicentennial Man, once Andrew has a central nervous system installed, he practically begs Portia to poke him in the eye, just so he could feel the joy of pain.
- In the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the cursed pirates of the Black Pearl go on and on about what sensory experiences they've most missed during the curse, and therefore what they plan to glut on once they have their nerve endings back. Captain Barbossa says the first thing he plans to do is... eat a lot of apples. In the scene this seems like an Unusual Euphemism for raping his female captive, but it later turns out he was dead serious and continues to eat apples at every opportunity throughout the series.
- In the movie Cool World, Holli Would lectures Detective Harris about how humans "really" experience everything, especially sex. "When they do it, they reeaally do it!" When she finally becomes real, she practically acts like she's having orgasms from everything she touches.
- Kim Basinger, again, in My Step Mother Is An Alien: alien takes human form, has this reaction to food and sex. Also, gets drunk on caffine.
- (Also discussed on Editorial Synaesthesia) - Pretty much a core protagonist motivation in Avatar, though only the big, obvious, club-you-in-the-head one actually gets any expo; Jake (re)gaining the powers of lower body sensation and motor control. Addictive enough on an immediate basis to make one side with a previously barely-known alien race in their takedown of your birth species, even though the latter could give you just the same at the other end of a cold sleep space jaunt. That and, of course, being able to mentally interface with other natives, animals, and even planet-spanning plant networks via some kind of braid-wang thing that it probably doesn't do to think much about. Other minor stuff, such as suddenly having a tail (which appears to just flap around randomly), near-indesructibility from blunt trauma, and presumably altered vision, hearing, smell/taste, vocal cords, etc are barely touched on if at all.
- The Cenobites of the Hellraiser series are what results when this trope is taken to a truly extreme level. Though according to the comics, the Cenobites themselves can't truly feel anything anymore.
- TRON: Legacy: Quorra has a look of absolute bliss on her face when she sees a sunrise in the real world for the first time.
- Inverted with a Tear Jerker in Superman II— Superman has depowered himself for Lois. He then gets in a fistfight with a bully to defend her honor — and discovers what pain is like. He seems as much surprised as anything: "Blood! My blood..."
- Of course, he underwent the transformation so he and Lois could have a, um, very different sort of human sensual experience.
- Inverted in Man of Steel, where when essentially human Kryptonians gain superhuman senses like X-Ray vision, it's so terrifyingly overwhelming as to debilitate them until they get used to it.
Live Action TV
- Slaanesh in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 is a God of this. In a Cosmic Horror kind of way.
- Slaaneshi followers tend to have their senses dulled out by constant exposure to all kinds of stimulation, forcing them to commit more and more extreme thing to be able to feel anything. Probably the ultimate expression are the Noise Marines from 40k, who use devastating sonic weapons because anything less loud won't even register to them anymore. In older versions of the models these were modified electric guitars. Their armor is painted in eye-watering pink and black, one of the few combinations of colors that even registers anymore.
- Vampires in the Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem can't eat or go out in the sun. While they like to mope about it (or not), those who have the Disciplines necessary to posses people or animals become possession freaks. Spending days or weeks on end possessing a host to experience all the living pleasures denied to them until they either kill the host from overindulgence/imprudence (and get a new one) or starve themselves.
- There's also at least one Bloodline which is based entirely around having the power to eat and drink.
- And then there are the strix, who are believed to be the source of the Beast that nags at the back of Kindred minds. They have the ability to possess humans as well as vampires in torpor. Once upon a time, their purpose was to make sure that Kindred (especially the humane ones) suffered, but after Rome (and with it, the vampiric government of the Camarilla) fell, their purpose slowly drifted, to the point that all they care about nowadays is experiencing everything a body can provide. And sometimes it's really hard to tell which driving ethos is scarier...
- In Unknown Armies, possessing demons are actually dead human souls who come back and take over living humans because of an overpowering desire to experience the pleasures of physical existence again. If they were a bit monomaniacal even while alive, they're likely to go completely over the top; e.g. a demon who was an alcoholic while alive is likely to drink his host body to death in short order.
- Dungeons and Dragons, with its many monsters, has several expressions of this trope. Perhaps the best is the Shadar-kai, which in 3.5 were a race of Fey who unwillingly tied themselves to the Plane of Shadow. To avoid fading away into nothingness, they constantly sought extreme sensations to stimulate them, though like followers of Slaanesh their actual ability to feel was degraded. Traditional "tools" for this purpose include the charming Gal-Ralan, spiked bracers of 'cold iron', a metal that pains Fey with its mere touch, which mount the spikes inside the bracers. Yes, you read that right; they drive a dozen spikes, six up, six down, all the way through each arm. In 4th edition, they were originally planning to reuse this, but they've instead gone for more of a Cenobite theme.
- 3.5 also had the Binder class, who summon strange spirits called Vestiges, which are generally remains of destroyed deities and similar beings. While the book acknowledges that they can easily be played as eeeevil, their default fluff is this trope: they do NOT have any agenda other than being able to EXIST again, and each of them would be more than happy to be "bound" to all sides of all conflicts everywhere, as well as every single bystander.
- The boggarts in the Magic: The Gathering setting Lorwyn are "addicted to new sensations" and will do all sorts of strange and dangerous things just to discover what they feel like. There's even a card called Sensation Gorger. The goblin in the art has his eyes pried open, ear trumpets in both ears, a skunk across his nose, a frog in his mouth, and sharp sticks stuck in all eight of his fingers.
- In the Earthdawn and Shadowrun series (which are connected), dragons are said to occasionally spend time shapeshifted into humans or other similar races (just as human magicians can shapeshift into animals). While often this is done to be able to go undercover in a way that a 50-foot reptile can't, at least one has remarked on the lovely-sensitive version of touch that we have. Dragons have vastly superior sight, hearing, smell, and taste, but all those super-armored scales get in the way of fine tactile sensation. The Great Dragon Vasdenjas even admitted that this applies to the "romantic arts," a concept which entirely squicked his ghost-writer.
- The Society of Sensation, aka the "Sensates", from the Planescape campaign setting. Their entire ethos is based around the fact that they live in a physical universe, and the only way to enlighten/fulfill yourself is to go out there and experience and sense as much of it as you possibly can in your lifetime. Furthermore, Sensates tend to carry items called "sensory stones" that record the sensations they encounter. This allows other sensates to vicariously re-live the sensation merely by touching it. They have entire libraries' worth of these stones, for perusal by their faction members.
- Despite that, they're not The Hedonist, and have a very specific plane where they dump members who join up only to focus on pleasurable sensations.
- In Dragon Age: Origins this what drives all Demons to attempt Demonic Possession. They want to experience mortal life and indulge in the emotions they are aligned with such as Rage, Sloth, Hunger, Desire, or Pride. It doesn't always turn out so well if they get stuck in less than ideal hosts, such as corpses or trees.
- In Mass Effect 3, a salarian angry wonders if humans being "so deprived of stimulus" is the cause of our apparent fascination with touching things.
- Parodied relentlessly in Futurama in the What If? story, quoted above, where Bender is transformed into a human. After tasting food (and drinking beer and smoking - and throwing up) for the first time, it was just such an instant shock that he couldn't stop eating and ended up a horrifying humanoid blob that weighed 900 pounds and could barely move — after only a week! Then he died at a party in his honor.
- While she was an Energy Being possessing a human, and not transforming into one, the Phoenix Force in the 'X-Men cartoon fits this trope to a T; after possessing Jean Gray to fulfill her duty to protect the M'Krann Crystal, the cosmic entity became duly aware of the human senses she now had access to, becoming addicted to them and opening herself up to be manipulated by an evil BDSM mutant group (no, seriously) and turning evil, herself. She was only stopped after Jean had been killed, cutting the Phoenix Force off from the mortal's senses and reverting her back to her normal self.
- Truth in Television, babies love to put stuff in their mouths and stare at stuff. 
- A personal account of a person working with children who cannot eat by themselves and require tube feeding. Said person has found that these children tend to react very positively to sweet flavors like orange juice or cherry chap stick when given the opportunity to taste them.
- Being on ecstasy generally turns people into gluttons for sensation, especially touch. The drug doesn't change how much sensation you're physically capable of perceiving, so this is a nonstandard example, but it does make your brain filter out less of that sensory input and therefore the effects are similar.
- Note that it isn't universal; your sense of taste and smell are rendered almost null compared to sight/sound/touch, as is common with many other stimulants or psychedelics such as LSD. The urban legend persists of a boyfriend dumping his girlfriend after having incredibly intense sex with her on ecstasy, it never being the same afterward.
- Marijuana, however, is famous for heightening your sense of taste, i.e. The Munchies.
- The berries of Synsepalum dulcificum (usually called Miracle Berries) have glycoproteins that bond with the taste buds that detect sour flavors, making it so sour foods taste sweet for around half an hour. Some people have started organizing "flavor-tripping" parties to sample as many different kinds of foods as possible while the effects last.
- Can happen to smokers who quit, since they often have their sense of smell/taste deadened a lot and it returns after quitting. Of course this can also lead to Fridge Horror when they discover what other smokers can smell like to a nonsmoker...
- According to UFO lore, The Men in Black were once reported trying to drink a jar of jelly.
- There is a theory among neurobiologists that individuals become this due to a serotonin deficiency. "Adrenaline Junkies" seek out dangerous activities in an effect to get their brains to produce pleasure hormones. What is thrilling to a neurotypical person just brings them up to normal.