->''"However, the giants of the Sul’at League studied the Gyrderi and found a way to counter the druids—the giants enacted a terrible curse that forever bound them in the wild shapes they were wearing, trapping them and their descendants in the forms of animals."''
-->-- ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'', "Secrets of Xen'drik, Chapter 3"

You know how when you were a kid, your mother always said that if you kept making that face, it'd [[FrozenFace stay that way]]?

This is the {{Shapeshifting}} equivalent, where the shapeshifter gets stuck in a particular form, unable to use their shapeshifting powers. If they're lucky, they're stuck in their most natural or inconspicuous form (possibly their ShapeshifterDefaultForm), but if not, the body they're stuck in is either weak and pitiful, or monstrous and riot-inciting.

Conversely, milder forms of Mode Lock may lock someone ''out'' of a certain form instead of ''in'' to one, or require that they stay in the form they take for a certain amount of time. In practice, used to establish contrivance to why a shapeshifter may not look optimal to a situation.

The name is taken from ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', more specifically, from the ''Transformers: Universe'' profile for Cloudraker, where it is in an issue of the Marvel comic book, which states "His major physical problem is a tendency to suffer "mode-lock" -- the inability to transform from one mode to another."

Compare TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody, AndIMustScream, FirstLawOfGenderBending. See also PowerIncontinence. Contrast InvoluntaryShapeshifting.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/CardCaptorSakura'': Episode 58 has Eriol cast a spell on Kero and Yue so that they are unable to return to their disguise forms. Sakura eventually fixes the problem by using the Shield Card on them.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'':
** The goal of the cursed characters is to be cursed again in the Spring of the Drowned Man or Drowned Girl. That way, when splashed with cold water, they'll turn into themselves, effectively not changing. Aside from that, the more common disadvantageous type of Mode Lock appears a few times as well:
** In an early story, Ranma was the victim of a PressurePoint attack called the [[MeaningfulName Full Body Cat's Tongue]], which made him unable to bear hot water -- the trigger to turn him male -- thereby locking him into his girl mode until the cure was found. In at least the anime version, this resulted in a TwistedKneeCollapse once [[OldMaster Cologne]] told him about it, and vowed he would be cured if only he agreed to [[AccidentalMarriage honor his engagement]] to [[ChineseGirl Shampoo]].
** In an arc in the manga we find out someone with the same curse as Ranma has been locked into cursed form by the water from a magical pail and is looking for the cure. Later, when Ranma pisses him/her off in a fight, he uses it on Ranma. Mousse and Ryoga go with Ranma planning to use it on themselves while in human form to effectively remove the curse, but since it works by splashing you with cold water, you'll always be in cursed form when the Mode Lock take effect.
** Ranma also briefly had a temporary cure when he got a fever so hot it made any water he came in contact with too warm to activate the curse. Conversely, when he got a freezing cold later in the same story, the moisture in the air flash-froze in contact with him, which ''also'' made it impossible to turn into a girl (since solid ice doesn't trigger the curse).
** The second movie, ''Nihao My Concubine'', in which the villain has waters from a sacred spring that transformed the one splashed in it permanently into a man. He uses it to threaten girls to come along quietly with him, but the curse spring victims try to use it to break their curse. By the end of the movie, Ranma's falling high speed toward the spring, but [[spoiler: he has Akane falling with him, so he destroys the spring so she doesn't get stuck as a man, [[YankTheDogsChain ruining his chance to break the curse once again.]] ]]
* ''Manga/HimechanNoRibon'' has Hime-chan stuck in the form of her rival, Hibino. After being hit by a truck and revived, [[UnexplainedRecovery she got better]].
* In ''Manga/AiToYuukiNoPigGirlTondeBuurin'', Buurin gets this in the second to the last episode after revealing her secret to her classmates. Fortunately for her, after collecting OneHundredAndEight pearls, she gets better.
* When Ichigo first turns into a full cat in ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'', both she and MissionControl fear that it'll be permanent. However, she figures out [[IntimateHealing how to change back]] after [[HilarityEnsues a long and grueling day as a helpless kitten]].
** [[spoiler:Said MissionControl, Ryou, who himself has a cat form named Alto]] is specifically ''said'' to be able to stay in cat form for no more than ten minutes - or else the transformation will become permanent.
* In the second season of ''Anime/CorrectorYui'', [[spoiler: the corrector Synchro, who had spent almost the whole first season trapped in the form of Corruptor War Wolf, was forcibly reverted to his War Wolf shape when he was attacked and infected by a powerful virus.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' the more a Claymore uses her Youki power, the more her body transforms into a Youma -- the very thing they hunt (since they are part Human part Youma). If they use up 80% of their Youki power, they fully turn into a Youma and cannot transform back into human form and hunter will become the hunted (apart from some rare exceptions).
* Keel's goal of undoing his human transformation in ''Manga/BusterKeel''. He does manage to gain a few items that let him temporarily transform his arms to their original forms for fighting.
* Happens twice in ''Manga/ThoseWhoHuntElves'' - once involving a shape-change spell, once involving a lycanthrope. In both cases, having a spell segment imprinted on one's body creates a Mode Lock as long as the segment is in place.
* An example from ''Anime/FairyMusketeers'': [[spoiler:Val ''used'' to be a werewolf. However, thanks to injuries he sustained while protecting Akazukin's home village from other werewolves several years before the series began, he's now trapped in wolf form.]]
* Keiki from ''LightNovel/TheTwelveKingdoms'' is mode-locked in his beast form per orders of {{The Evil Prince}}ss Joei, as a part of her plan to usurp Youko's throne. She does so because, in beast form, Keiki can't either speak to others (to let them know that Joei is ''not'' the rightful heiress to the Kei throne), nor show that [[KneelBeforeZod he's physically unable to kneel in front of Joei]] (since having a ''kirin'' kneel in front of a prospect King/Queen is '''the''' proof of said King/Queen's worth). Youko manages to release him.
* ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' was the first series to explore this aspect of E[Digi]volution -- both Guilmon and Terriermon have some trouble in coming back to their Child/Rookie forms after the change; there was even an entire episode showing the problems in hiding the huge Growlmon in the real world. Eventually this aspect was downplayed, since they spent some 20 episodes in the Digital World, and after that the Digimon's existence was known by the public.
* ''Manga/MarvelousMelmo'' has two chief examples of this trope. Melmo, the titular heroine, is gifted by her dead mother with two types of candies. The blue candies make her older, and the red ones make her younger, [[PromotionToParent with the explicit purpose of making her able to care for her younger siblings]]. As early as the first episodes, Melmo discovers that by taking both pills at once, she can de-age herself to embryonic state, then regrow her body in another form, thus shapeshifting to another animal.
** When his little brother Totoo tries that for himself, he turns himself into a frog, spending half the series figuring how to swallow a couple of pills that now are bigger than his own stomach.
** When the angels responsible for Melmo's empowering decide that she's abusing it, by continuously aging and shapeshifting for personal reasons, they withhold their blessing from the candies. However, at the very same moment, Melmo is currently transformed into a dog, so, without her candies, she's stuck in that form, and unable to care for her little brothers. Upon getting her Aesop, she's turned back, but this time with a limited supply of candies.
* Akko-chan, from ''Manga/HimitsuNoAkkoChan'', usually had to use the mirror to switch back as well, causing problems when she would temporarily misplace it.
** In one episode of the original 1969 series, aptly named "_____", Akko-chan, upon meeting a [[LongLostUncleAesop new deaf kid]], uses her mirror, out of curiosity and compassion, to transform herself in a deaf-mute version of herself. Too bad that, since the mirror works by clear utterances of the needed transformation, and since [[LiteralGenie Akko-chan insisted on the "mute" part of her ailment]], Akko-chan couldn't ask the mirror to be changed back anymore.
*** Apparently, the mirror could have hit the ResetButton all the times, but [[spoiler:since it believed Akko-chan's desire for deafness shallow and impulsive, had decided to [[AnAesop show her how serious is an handicap]] by threatening Akko-chan with a permanent mode-lock]], with the added perk to show how badly she was missing the point: instead of trying to feel on a temporary basis what deafness is, she should have rather stopped at how her new friend was going on even knowing that he couldn't get a magic mirror to fix him.
* Happens to Moka in ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'' when she is unable to reattach her rosary and [[SplitPersonality return to her "outer" personality]]. It takes more than a dozen chapters for this to get fixed, and it's still hinted that the two personalities are slowly becoming one.
** Technically, before she met Tsukune, [[OnlyTheChosenMayWield the only one who can safely remove her rosary]], she was mode-locked as her "outer" self.
* In ''Anime/SDGundamForce'', Captain is stuck in vehicle mode after his soul drive is stolen.
* This happens to the Macross in TheMovie adaptation of ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'', ''Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove'': when a Meltrandi attack blows off its VerticalMechaFins, the [[TransformingMecha Macross]] is locked into HumongousMecha mode since those fins, aside from being its WaveMotionGun, also happen to be the ship mode's forward section. And indeed after the final battle of both the movie and the series, the Macross never transforms into ship mode ever again as it's stuck waist down in a lake.
* In ''Anime/SuitePrettyCure'', after performing a HeelFaceTurn to save her childhood friend Hummy, Siren appears to be eternally stuck in her human form, Ellen.
* One chapter of ''Manga/DNAngel'' had Dark in control of the body after Daisuke went missing (sort of) on White Day.
* Haji of ''Anime/BloodPlus'' suffers from this in a way. After being prematurely awakened in 1972 Vietnam, Saya went on a bloody rampage and severed Haji's right hand. Though it was reattached, it is now permanently stuck in chiropteran form, and he constantly keeps it bandaged up except when TheGlovesAreOff.
* In ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist: Conqueror of Shambala'', Envy transforms into a dragon before going through the Gate to our world. Since alchemy doesn't work in our world, he remains stuck in his dragon form.
* ''Franchise/DragonBall''
** In the Buu Saga of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', the Old Kai warns Goku that [[FusionDance fusing]] via the Potara earrings while in Super Saiyan form will lead to the fusion being unable to power down, when Super Saiyan can normally be activated and deactivated at will. On top of that, the strain that Super Saiyan puts on the body could prove lethal.
** This point comes up later in ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'', when [[spoiler:Future Zamasu]] and Goku Black fuse into [[spoiler:Fusion Zamasu]] using the earrings. Goku Black is in his Super Saiyan Rosé form at the time, which should bring up this issue. However, the fusion inherited [[spoiler:Future Zamasu's CompleteImmortality]], a trait that prevents the mode lock's lethality and turns it into a benefit.
* Downplayed in ''Manga/MissKobayashisDragonMaid''. Ilulu is fully capable of assuming her true form as well as changing her human guise, but she isn't very good at finer control of her shapeshifting, so she ends up looking like a petite girl with ridiculous breasts, PointedEars, and dragon claws, which is the best she can manage (though she improves enough to form proper hands later on). Tohru states that if she relaxes her control her GagBoobs would get bigger, but would presumably end up with more inhuman features in turn. Thus, she basically has to stay the way she is now to fit in until she can get better control of her shape.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* A memorable example in ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'' came when the BigBad sent a shapeshifting demon to kill Elaine. The demon in question killed her father and took his form to get close to her. [[spoiler:After Elaine escaped, the Big Bad decided to stop said demon from interfering by trapping it in that form permanently. It literally begged for death at the end, as the man's memories started to overwhelm it.]]
* In the ''Comicbook/{{Gambit}}'' solo series, Courier [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifted]] into a woman to make an appointment with Mr. Sinister, who was posing as an obstetrician. Realizing he was set up, Sinister injected "her" with a destabilizing agent, the only antidote for which was to take away her powers completely. [[MandysLawOfAnimeGenderBending Unfortunately, he didn't realize Courier wasn't originally female...]]
** Courier's not the only X-character to suffer this. Nearly any character with a civilian form and a combat form will find him/herself stuck in powered-up mode. Colossus has been trapped in metal form, Iceman in ice form, Lifeguard in [[HalfHumanHybrid half Shi'ar form]], Shadowcat as intangible (not shapeshifter but worth mention), Wolfsbane as at least part wolf, and so on.
* Parodied by the ''ComicBook/SheHulk'' graphic novel. Jennifer is told by Reed Richards that he has bad news: She's stuck as She-Hulk forever and can never change back into regular human Jennifer. After a BeatPanel, She-Hulk inquired "So what's this bad news"? It [[RetCon turned out]] that Reed was lying anyway since he's a dick.
* Averted in a ''ComicBook/WildCATs / {{JLA}}'' crossover where Maul is afraid to use his power to [[BlessedWithSuck exchange intelligence for size]] because he would become "too stupid to turn back" if he grew big enough to smash the villain's barrier. {{Superman}} solves it by giving him [[AppliedPhlebotinum an electric spark that turns him small after 30 seconds]].
* A [[ShapeShifting Skrull]] named Khn'nr was to be used in the infiltration of Earth in [[Creator/MarvelComics Marvel's]] Secret Invasion event. He was mode locked into the form of Captain Marvel, a long dead hero, and [[FakeMemories brainwashed into thinking he was him]] from the past. When he found out, he rejected his part in the invasion, and now is trying to work against it.
** Similarly, quite a few Skrulls who took the form of Dr. Hank Pym wound up losing themselves in the role/being overwhelmed by the personality of the original, and had to be put down.
*** During the period when the entire Skrull race lost their powers, they were stuck in whatever form they took at the time. Those whose jobs involved snaking through drainpipes, for example, had to be cut out. The villain who actually initiated the change was in a suit that he thought would protect him from the effect. It did not, leaving him permanently trapped inside, in agony because the "suit" was not hollow, but loaded with internal machinery that he had oozed around and between.
*** In another example, some Skrulls who invaded Earth were brainwashed into becoming cows, rendering them harmless. Unfortunately, the cows were then slaughtered, and those who ate the meat either died or gained powers along with a virus. That's the origin of the Skrull Kill Krew. Team member Riot was stuck in a monstrous bug form for an extended period of time.
* In Franchise/TheDCU, a story arc in ''ComicBook/MartianManhunter'' involved him being Mode Locked in a form resembling his usual appearance, but with four arms. This was a ShoutOut to the four-armed Green Martians in Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs' ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars Barsoom]]'' novels.
** Other instances include Manhunter being reduced to amorphous goo by a neurotoxin, being trapped in Aquaman's body and freaking out, and an Elseworlds story where all the heroes lost their powers, leaving him in his natural Martian form with all of the [[BlessedWithSuck suck and none of the blessing.]]
** The evil White Martians are initially dealt with this way by the JLA. They are given human form and have their memories removed, effectively trapping them as humans. Needless to say, problems occur when a few of them get their minds back and remember how to shapeshift.
* In ''[[ComicBook/TheTransformersMegaseries Transformers: Spotlight]]'', Soundwave gets locked by the Decepticon Pretenders when he tries to stop them after learning the full extent of their plans.
** Likewise, the Dinobots, who took their alt-modes to avoid succumbing to energon-poisoning. However, due to circumstances, they become unable to ditch these afterwards. Grimlock tries, and the most he can do is make a few cosmetic changes. By the time they get a chance to change them, they've all decided they like turning into dinosaurs.
** There's a device from the [[ComicBook/TheTransformers Marvel G1 series]] that locks a Transformer in one mode. It's used on Blaster for defying [[TyrantTakesTheHelm Grimlock]]. It's more than an inconvenience for Blaster (or Soundwave, for that matter) because of their alternate modes: not-terribly-mobile radios. It later gets used to mode-lock the Combaticon Blast-Off in his space shuttle mode in order to take a bunch of human kids for an orbital joyride.
** Toward the end of the Marvel run, Grimlock searches for a legendary energy source, Nucleon, to revive several fallen Autobots for the upcoming battle with [[EldritchAbomination Unicron]]. After the battle, he froze up, his body reforming into a new Action Master form - one which couldn't transform (see the Toys entry below for more). Other Autobots weren't immediately affected; in the IDW follow-up series ''Regeneration One'', we learn that some of the revived Autobots had unpredictable, dangerous side-effects, and Grimlock set out on a quest to find a cure, which set the second story arc in motion.
** ''ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'' introduced the [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Militant Monoform Movement]], a radical group that believed that alternate modes were a form of literal social engineering and should be outlawed. The group's main method of enforcing this seemed to be removing transformation cogs, sometimes not willingly.
* The Thing from the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'', but not in all continuities.
* Happens to [[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]] on occasion.
** Whether this is good or bad depends on the form he's stuck as. Though when he got stuck as Banner in Greg Pak's run... he proved to be dangerous even without the Hulk.
*** It's all a matter of perspective. Hulk would love to be mode-locked and never turn into Banner again. Banner would love to be free of the Hulk, but at this point knows better. Both absolutely hate the idea of being mode-locked as the other.
** His {{expy}}'s son in ''ComicBook/PS238'' is always in 'hulk mode'.
* A story arc in ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'' involved Durlan shapeshifter Chameleon Boy getting stuck in his usual form and undertaking a dangerous journey on Durla to a place that would restore his shapechanging abilities. His father, who had long ago been Mode Locked into human form by a disease, came with him, but only to provide support; he had adjusted to having a permanent form and didn't want his abilities back.
* Appears in ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' when Calvin's [[TransformationRay Transmogrifier Gun]] runs out of juice after a ShapeshifterShowdown, leaving Calvin stuck in the form of an owl until it recharges. Somehow, his mother doesn't seem to notice, but humours him.
* ComicBook/DoctorStrange foe Dormammu's sister Umar used to be the StrongerSibling. Then Umar gave birth to her daughter Clea while transformed as a human. To Umar's chagrin, this locked her into human form forever, which made her weaker than her brother.
* ''ComicBook/ElfQuest''. The female High One named Timmain regularly changed into the form of a wolf to hunt. She eventually forgot her true identity and came to think of herself as a wolf.
* In ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'', the shape-shifter Phylum, while entertaining children in hospital, [[spoiler:is permanently trapped in the form of a chimpanzee]].
* In ''Comicbook/BillyBatsonAndTheMagicOfShazam,'' Tawky Tawny is [[ReimaginingTheArtifact reimagined]] as a spirit who can shift between a human and various animal forms, usually a tiger. When fighting [[SdrawkcabName Niatpac Levram]] (aka [[spoiler:Mr. Mind]]), he tries to transform but gets hit, which, due to the instability of magic at the Rock of Eternity, traps him halfway between human and tiger shape, making him an anthropomorphic animal like his counterpart in most other ''{{Shazam}}'' books.
* In ''[[Comicbook/JusticeLeagueInternational Justice League: Generation Lost]]'', it is revealed that Comicbook/CaptainAtom had lost the ability to change back and forth between being Captain Atom and Nathaniel Adam/Cameron Scott. It was introduced out of the blue, as no previous appearance had even suggested that he was losing the ability to transform effortlessly, so it did not have much dramatic impact.
* In ''ComicBook/{{WITCH}}'' the Wise Ones of Kandrakar force this on Cedric twice, first as part of his punishment (being a shapeshifter and [[ConsummateLiar a formidable liar]] [[WickedCultured who loves books]], [[IronicHell they stuck him in his preferred human look, that isn't his true form, and locked him in a room filled with books that only include fiction and lies]]. [[ActuallyPrettyFunny He liked the joke]]), and then, when he's given a chance to reform, as a security measure (because leaving him on Earth with the ability to change his looks would just give him too many chances to wreak havoc if he stayed evil. And considering ''what'' he did in these conditions...).

* In ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', it happens to [[Music/GeorgeHarrison George]] thanks to a flaw in the ring that normally allows him to [[VoluntaryShapeshifter shape change at will]]. He gets stuck as a pigeon in New Zork and is ''not'' happy about it; he uses his ring more cautiously for a time after it happens.
** A bigger problem for George in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', to the point where he becomes afraid to use his ring lest it die completely and trap him in some other form. And, indeed, Mode Lock kills him when he gets thrown into the Hungry Sea and can't change. [[spoiler: He gets better real quick.]]
* In ''FanFic/{{Mirrored}}'' [[ItSeemedLikeAGoodIdeaAtTheTime after Harry polyjuiced himself to look like Voldemort]] the polyjuice has a reaction with the [[spoiler: horcrux]] inside Harry so he was stuck looking like Voldemort for an extended period of time.
* Natsuru, of ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'', is a MagicalGirl whose real form is [[GenderBender male]]. In ''FanFic/ResonanceDays'', she [[PosthumousCharacter dies]] and winds up in the [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Puella Magi]] afterlife, where she's now [[FirstLawOfGenderBending permanently]] in MagicalGirl form. She seems to have taken it [[HappilyMarried fairly well]], though.
* Navarone and Twilight are temporarily locked in [[{{Animorphism}} pegasus]] and [[HumanityEnsues human form]] respectively in ''FanFic/DiariesOfAMadman''. Nav later also ends up being locked in female form after his [[GenderBender gender switching]] stones backfire.
* Standard for the first 72 hours in [[http://shiloh.tvheaven.com/hall.html this]] paranormal-themed ''{{Series/Emergency}}'' fic series if a person manages to survive the initial infection that produces cat-shifters. After that, shifting comes freely.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'' fic ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/7480533/ This Is It, The Apocalypse]]'', Marinette and Adrien both get trapped in their superhero forms when their kwamis go into hibernation without warning.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Occurs in ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfKells''. After [[spoiler:allowing Crom Cruach to hurt her so she can let Brendan sneak past safely, [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Aisling is stuck in her white wolf form]], unable to speak to Brendan anymore. In the DistantFinale of the movie, however, we ''briefly'' see her in her human appearance, implying the lock is starting to wear off, or possibly already has.]]
* In ''Animation/TheReturnOfHanuman'', one of the conditions for Hanuman to be reincarnated as a human on Earth is that when he turns back into the original Hanuman, he could not turn back into human form.
* In ''Anime/HowlsMovingCastle'', [[NobleDemon Calcifer]] warns [[GentlemanWizard Howl]] that the more often Howl changes into his [[PartialTransformation semi-avian form]], the greater the chance that Howl will lose his humanity and never be able to change back. Other wizards in the film are mentioned to have done this deliberately in order to help with a war effort; Howl notes that by the time the war ends, they'll have forgotten that they were ever human to begin with.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/WesCravensNewNightmare'': When a new ''Nightmare'' movie is plagued by a mysterious series of deaths, it's revealed that an ancient shapeshifting evil that has existed in various forms throughout time but which can be contained by stories has been impersonating Freddy Krueger for the past 10 years. After being stuck as Freddy for so long, the spirit started to believe that it actually ''was'' Freddy and tries to target Heather Langenkamp, the actress who played the first FinalGirl to face him.
* Done to the goddess Calypso by the First Brethren Court many years before the events of ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd'', trapping her in the form of [[spoiler:Tia Dalma]]. She says that "it has been torture."

* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}},'' this is part and parcel of [[MagicAIsMagicA the rules of morphing]]--stay in a morphed form for more than [[TwoOfYourEarthMinutes Two of Your Earth Hours]], and you're stuck that way. Andalites call these people "''nothlits.''"
** [[HeartbrokenBadass Tobias]] getting stuck in red-tailed hawk form is a FirstEpisodeSpoiler. He spends the next twelve books still managing to be surprisingly useful to the team, at which point a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien gives him back his morphing powers, as well as allowing him to morph his own human body. This leaves Tobias a difficult choice: continue fighting in the war, even though he has to remain in hawk form most of the time, or deliberately mode-lock himself back into human form, forever.
** You can apparently (if illogically) get out of being a ''nothlit'' if your animal form undergoes a natural metamorphosis. This becomes relevant when [[TheHeart Cassie]] gets stuck as a caterpillar--once she's a butterfly, she has two hours to demorph.
** [[spoiler:[[SixthRangerTraitor David]]]] was deliberately lured into a pipe and then stuck there until he was trapped as rat. He is later dropped off on a deserted island with no-one but real rats for company.
** The Andalite [[ActionGirl Aldrea]] forsook her people after the genocide of the Hork-Bajir, choosing to permanently become a Hork-Bajir and marry [[ChildProdigy Dak]], one of the survivors.
** Two Andalite characters become nothlits in ''The Andalite Chronicles'': [[spoiler:[[FireForgedFriends Arbron]]]], trapped in [[FateWorseThanDeath Taxxon form]], and [[spoiler:[[TheAce Elfangor]]]], who deliberately becomes human and even [[spoiler:has a [[HalfHumanHybrid human kid]].]] But said SufficientlyAdvancedAlien later turns the latter back into an Andalite with full morphing abilities.
** In a more horrifying example, if the Animorphs reach the 2 hour mark while demorphing, they can be stuck mid demorph, as horribly deformed human animal mashups. Fortunately, each time this has happened they managed to fully demorph.
** [[DefectorFromDecadence Aftran]], [[SurvivorsGuilt Menderash]] and the [[spoiler:ENTIRE TAXXON RACE, as well as most of the Yeerks]] all end up doing this deliberately as a humpback whale, a human, and anacondas respectively.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** "Yennorks" are werewolves born with permanent mode-lock. Angua had a sister Elsa who was unable to turn into a wolf and her brother Andrei passes himself off as a sheepdog because of his inability to take human form. She makes it clear to Carrot that this doesn't make them a human and a wolf, they're both still werewolves, just werewolves unable to change.
*** Also used more conventionally within the series: Angua frequently worries about the psychological effects of becoming a wolf, fearing that if she stays in wolf form too long, she will forget how to be human.
*** Shown with her father, in particular, who is slowly forgetting how to be human. Mentioned also that the human/reasoning side becomes less powerful the longer they're in Werewolf form, while the senses fade in human form.
*** Angua herself is locked into her wolf form and unable to return to human form when a wily adversary gets a silver collar onto her.
** Borrowing can also cause this, in a way; if a witch borrows an animal's mind and stays there for too long, she'll forget she was ever human and it'll take a powerful witch to bring her back.
* An unusual variation occurs in the ''Literature/{{Switchers}}'' series. The titular shapeshifters [[GrowingUpSucks lose their powers at 15]] (which is to say, Midnight on the morning of their fifteenth birthday) and are stuck as whatever they happen to be at the time. This issue is directly and pointedly addressed in the second book, appropriately entitled ''Midnight's Choice''.
* Likewise in ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'', Daemons may manifest as any creature up until (once again) [[GrowingUpSucks their human counterpart grows up]], whereupon they "settle" on a [[AnimalMotifs highly symbolic]] permanant form.
* Several people in the ''Literature/KieshaRa'' series by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes have had their animal forms "bound" so that they can't transform, some intentionally as punishment. It's not a pleasant process.
** Though none have appeared in published canon, WordOfGod says that a shapeshifter who spends an extremely long period of time in his or her animal form can get modelocked as the animal. This is referred to as going feral.
* Used in Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/TheImmortals'' quartet. A strange black hawk turns out to be a powerful mage after being given enough drugs to knock out a human - he was so sick in animal form that there was no way he could do anything, much less change back. Daine also gains the ability to shapeshift later on, but often can't shift back if she panics or forgets about her human self. Also, if she ever shapeshifted into an immortal, she would be unable to change back.
* This is a subplot of a Polish story "Academy of Pan Kleks".
* Wilhelm Hauff wrote [[http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/lfb/gn/gnfb05.htm "The Story of Caliph Stork,"]] where you need a magic word (and magic snuff) to transform, but will forget it if you laugh.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Hermione puts Rita Skeeter, the nosy reporter who isn't above ruining people's lives by writing bald-faced lies about them, into a jar that makes her [[spoiler: unable to transform out of her animagus form, a beetle.]] The jar is just sealed and enchanted to be unbreakable -- thus, if she tries to change back... well, she'd be too big for the container.
** Also, Dumbledore has mentioned in ''Literature/TheTalesOfBeedleTheBard'' that anyone other than an animagus that tries to polymorph themselves would permanently become an animal, unable to use magic to change back.
** This also happens to Tonks although it's not too dramatic. Tonks is unable to use her metamorphmagus skills when she becomes depressed about her [[spoiler:love for Remus Lupin]] and thus gets stuck [[spoiler:looking rather like a girl version of him]].
* ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'', unlike modern vampires, is not killed by sunlight. However, he is unable to change shape from sunrise to noon, and from noon to sunset. He can only change shape at noon exactly and, of course, any time at night.
* In Middle-earth:
** In ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' this happens to [[{{Satan}} Morgoth]] -- "And then he took the form he had worn as the tyrant of Utumno -- a [[EvilOverlord dark lord]], tall and terrible. And in that form he remained forever after."
** Likewise his protégé, Sauron, after the destruction of his physical body in the drowning of Númenor. Even after he regains physical form, he can no longer take on a fair-seeming appearance, and is restricted to ruling through fear rather than deception (not that he doesn't make the odd off-handed attempt, but it doesn't work out too well in a world where BeautyEqualsGoodness is nearly always the rule).
** The Wizards in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', on the other hand, are good Maiar in a voluntary ModeLock in the shape of old men -- in fact, they are placed into real flesh-and-blood bodies, instead of the usual ''fana'' shapes of Maiar. This is to encourage them to use knowledge to advise and encourage other peoples, rather than use their full abilities to grab power or cow people into submission. [[spoiler: Doesn't work with Saruman.]]
* In ''Literature/AWizardOfEarthsea'' by Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin, wizards who spend too much time shapeshifted into animal forms can forget their humanity, especially when distracted by the animal's power of ''{{flight}}'' or ability to freely range the oceans. A sufficiently powerful wizard can bring them back, though in the only case that happens onscreen the wizard also had access to the shapeshifter's [[IKnowYourTrueName Name]], which may have helped.
* In ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', Belgarath mentions that sorcerers can't spend too much time in animal form without changing back, as the longer you spend as said animal, the more you begin to think and feel like that animal, and too much time in one form can bring the very real possibility that you simply won't want to change back ever.
* The succubus lead character in Richelle Mead's ''Literature/GeorginaKincaid'' series suffers a mode lock, along with all of the other demonic immortals in Seattle, when their supervising Archdemon goes missing [[spoiler:(summoned and bound by his lieutenant, with help)]]. Georgina is lucky enough to be in her default form when the lock begins -- another succubus is not so lucky and gets locked into a completely different body. This stasis removed definable abilities such as shape-shifting and aura perception due to their being normally 'distributed' via the Archdemon, but their connection to hell - and their immortality -- remained.
* In the ''Literature/{{Outernet}}'' books by Steves Barlowe and Skidmore, the shapeshifter-characters Sirius and Vega are trapped in the forms of a cat and dog, respectively. This remains throughout the whole of the series (with two brief exceptions).
* Mikey [=McGill=] in ''Literature/TheSkinjackerTrilogy'' gets stuck in his hideous monster form whenever his negative emotions overwhelm him, and it usually takes some sort of trigger to bring him back to normal.
* Inverted in ''Literature/DragonsWinter'' when Karadur is locked in his human form (he's a dragon shapechanger). Later in the novel, Hawk is also so locked. Her alternate shape should be [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin rather easy to guess]].
* In ''Prospero's Children'' by Jan Siegal, a sorceress with the ability to turn into a wolf would use her form to hunt humans for sport. One day she met a wizard who cursed her to remain in wolf form permanently until she could repent for her evil ways. After several years, she sought out the wizard so that she could show him that she had changed, but the wizard no longer had the power to change her back.
* ''Literature/CurseOfTheWolfgirl'' reveals that werewolves are unable to shift out of their human forms if there is a lunar eclipse. Then things get worse when the BigBad of the book finds a spell that can simulate an eclipse and conspires with a bunch of hunters.
* In Creator/MikhailAkhmanov's ''Literature/ArrivalsFromTheDark'' series, the Metamorph species is able to [[VoluntaryShapeshifting voluntarily shapeshift]]. Their normal form is that of an amorphous blob. There are a few individuals who have a mutation that locks the individual into the first transformation for life. At that point, only slight changes are possible. These usually become spies among other races, able to slightly alter their appearance within the confines of the race. The observer on Earth took on the appearance of a human male. He's able to change into other males of any human ethnicity but not females due to radical physiological changes.
* In ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', Treach, the Tiger of Summer, a [[VoluntaryShapeshifter Soletaken]] [[PhysicalGod Ascendant]] is said to be stuck in his tiger form for at least last 500 years and becoming little more than crazed, mindless beast.
* The title villain of ''Literature/{{IT}}'' by Creator/StephenKing can be forced into one form if several people all think of it that way at once. [[spoiler:Like a GiantSpider.]]
* There's a German children's book (main character's named Agathe) which involves witches, shapeshifting into cats and a "stay-a-cat-powder".
* Voluntary shapeshifting and other forms of {{Transhumanism}} played a big role in human society in Creator/JohnRingo's ''Literature/CouncilWars'' series until the beginning of the war imposed a Mode Lock on everyone. Results varied from unfortunate through unpleasant to instantly fatal depending upon how long the person had intended to stay transformed and how survivable the chosen form was when technology was lost. Both sides try to recruit people with useful shapes, despite the villains' purist ideology. Even though shapeshifting is a thing of the past how people deal [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody (or fail to deal)]] with their mode locks remains a plot point for years afterwards.
* Creator/GregEgan's ''Literature/{{Orthogonal}}'' trilogy features a relatively minor example. When {{Shapeshifting}} StarfishAlien Carlo's hand starts spasming uncontrollably during the light experiment, he tries to reabsorb it into his body, but can't. It's implied that he was just so [[BodyHorror viscerally repulsed by the phenomenon]] that he couldn't ''make'' himself absorb the hand, rather than actually being physically incapable of doing it, but it still qualifies.
-->Carlo began drawing the flesh in at his shoulder. He managed to shorten his arm by about a third before his body rebelled and halted the process. The prospect of bringing the afflicted hand any closer felt like ingesting something rotting and poisoned. And for all he knew, his body was right. What if it ''couldn't'' reorganize this flesh, any more than it could subdue a virulent parasite?\\
"I can't do it," he said finally. "It has to come off."
* In ''Literature/VoidCity'', one of the magical properties of the bullets fired by the gun ''El Alma Perdida'' is to prevent all forms of shapeshifting. John Paul Courtney would use it to prevent werewolves he killed from reverting to their human forms upon death, thus making it apparent that he had killed monsters rather than men.
* {{Discussed}} in ''Literature/TheLostYearsOfMerlin''--Merlin is given the ability to turn into a deer [[VoluntaryShapeshifting at will]]. However, the power will naturally wear off after a while, and if he's still in deer form when it does, well, tough cookies. Fortunately, it doesn't happen.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor's TARDIS possesses a "chameleon circuit" which, under ideal circumstances, disguises the machine by making it appear to be an inconspicuous object in the time and place it's parked. Due to a malfunction he's never been able to fix, however, it is permanently stuck in the shape of a 1960s British police box. He did fix it for one story, but then [[StatusQuoIsGod it broke again]]. It's later stated that he doesn't even try to fix it anymore, because he likes it that way. Other Time Lords that appear in the series have [=TARDISes=] with normally functioning chameleon circuits.
** At one point the Doctor says he smashed the circuit with a hammer, so it would NEVER work again. [[DependingOnTheWriter In a more recent episode]], he claims that whenever he repairs or replaces the circuit, the TARDIS herself deliberately shorts it out. [[ABoyAndHisX They both]] prefer her as a Police Box.
*** It was finally revealed in the 50th anniversary ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' comic strip that the initial malfunction - as in, the one that broke the circuit in the first place - was caused by [[spoiler:the Doctor going back in time and intentionally breaking it, so that it would gain its iconic shape and become a symbol that lived on in the minds of whoever he saved.]]
** In another episode, it's stated that the chameleon circuit is working properly. It analyzes a huge area of its surrounding environment, extrapolates an inconspicuous form for its exterior, then shifts that appearance to... a 1960s British police box. Every time. But it is, technically, functional.
** In "Hell Bent" [[spoiler:Clara and Me/Ashildr]] get their own TARDIS (complete with [[ReadTheFreakingManual instructional manual]]) but their chameleon circuit ''also'' breaks (suggesting they are the first thing to go on ''any'' TARDIS) so theirs is stuck looking like a diner.
** The Weeping Angels have a natural [[PowerIncontinence defense mechanism]] that turns them [[TakenForGranite to stone]], whenever in the sight of any living thing (including each other), forcing them to remain that way until they are no longer being looked at. Those who are ''incredibly lucky'' can manage to trick two angels into an eternal staring contest with the other, causing them to remain permanently frozen. This is hard to do, though, as the angels are well aware of this weakness and thus will usually hide their face with their hands to avoid it (hence the "weeping" part of their name).
** In the ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' strip, shapeshifting companion Frobisher got stuck as a [[EverythingsBetterWithPenguins penguin]] for a while. Even before and after that, however, it was the form he most preferred.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
** In one episode, Garak uses a device on Odo that prevents his shapeshifting. Since he cannot take his natural liquid form, his body begins to deteriorate.
** Later, Odo has his powers taken away by his people and is forced to become (and stay) biologically human.
** Still later, in the latter days of the Dominion War arc, all of Odo's race (including Odo) fall under the influence of a disease which makes them unable to liquefy, slowly killing them as above. This is revealed to be [[spoiler: a biological weapon invented by the [[SecretPolice shadowy, rule-evading part]] of Starfleet. Unfortunately for their plot, they have to infect the race through Odo, which means the good guys race to find the cure in the nick of time.]]
* This happened to the character Tommy Oliver in ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'' when the actor playing him had real life commitments; the character was stuck in his suit, then invisible for the best part of a season.
* In one episode of ''Series/DengekiSentaiChangeman'', episode dealt with Hiryū Tsurugi is stuck in his Change Dragon form. Unlike in other instances where it is treated as a minor annoyance at best, here it is treated as a real threat.
* On ''Series/{{Angel}}'', during the Pylea arc, Angel in the other dimension would get stuck in the "super" version of his vampireness. The whole demon would emerge, instead of him just vamping out whenever he wanted. He would be stuck as the ''Van-tal'' for a really long time, until he could calm down.
** It's heavily implied that the Van-tal demons were the original progenitors of the Vampire race. Which would mean that, by definition, vampires are themselves demons ''always'' mode-locked in a human body.
** After Illyria, a primordial Old One, had her powers mostly drained, she was effectively trapped in Fred's body. She did retain the ability to shapeshift... but only into Fred's human appearance.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Amy the witch turned into a rat and couldn't turn back for 3 seasons. She was never really quite the same...
** Anya was trapped in her human form when she lost her powers, and was stuck impersonating a high school student ('And I'm flunking math').
** In the HalloweenEpisode "[[WhatDoTheyFearEpisode Fear Itself]]", [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Oz]] is forced to live out his worst fear, which results in him suddenly starting to transform into a werewolf and getting stuck halfway.
** Also, ancient vampires like the Master and Kakistos are permanently stuck in GameFace. The result is really quite disgusting.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Happened to The Man in Black twice. First, [[spoiler: after killing Jacob he got Mode Locked in [[IncrediblyLamePun Mode Locke]]]]. He could still change back to the [[spoiler:Smoke Monster form, but couldn't assume other human forms anymore]]. Then, [[spoiler: the removal of the Island's cork in the Finale took that ability away as well, Locking him in a mortal body as opposed to the invulnerable Smoke form, allowing the Heroes to kill him.]]
* On ''{{Series/Fringe}}'', the shapeshifter at the beginning of Season 2 is stuck in the body of [[spoiler:Agent Charlie Francis]] after its shapeshifting device is broken. The shapeshifters' devices are unique so using another's would be pointless. The only way out is to complete its mission and go back before it is too late. [[spoiler: This doesn't happen because Olivia Dunham shoots it in the head.]]
* Happened to David Banner one time on ''Series/TheIncredibleHulk'', but in an [[IncrediblyLamePun incredibly]] strange way: in the two-parter "Prometheus", Dr. Banner got a little too close to a radioactive meteorite, and got stuck halfway between himself and the Hulk. For the duration of the ShapeshifterModeLock, he retained his consciousness and intelligence, but had difficulty concentrating and focusing, and also possessed a fair portion of the Hulk's strength. Later ''in the same episode'', he effectively got Mode Locked AS the Hulk after being captured and imprisoned by the military; his futile attempts to break free of his cell kept him pissed off enough to stay green.
* Played for laughs in an episode of ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'', where a [[TheUndead shapeshifting witch]] visits the satellite and loses control of her powers. She eventually winds up stuck as a bottle of bleach, though she can still communicate ("This is so ''annoying''!").
* In ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}'', a pregnant [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent HAP's]] body will go into lockdown to protect the fetus, because shapeshifting also changes the protean's insides.
* In ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' One of the Super-powered teens has some trouble after his [[GenderBender Gender bending power]] makes him stuck as a woman due to his [[TrulySingleParent Self-induced pregnancy]], lucky all is well by the end of the episode.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'':
** Agent 33 gets electrocuted to the face while wearing a high-tech mask that can be programmed to disguise the wearer as anyone, fusing the mask to her face and locking her in her current disguise (Agent May), with the addition of a nasty disfiguring scar over her right eye. Eventually she gets the mask repaired. It's still fused to her face, but now it's functional again, so she just programmed it to "disguise" her as herself (she can also just shut it off, but she prefers this method since it hides the scar).
** Creel has the ability to absorb the properties of anything he touches. When he's finally defeated, he goes through a ShapeshifterSwanSong before turning to stone, seemingly permanently. But as Coulson mentions, "He could always do that," and recommends treating him as a dangerous prisoner rather than a corpse.


[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Some variations of the [[SelkiesAndWereseals selkie]] myth have it that they can only go upon land a certain number of times before suffering permanent Mode Lock (either as a seal or human depending on what they were at the time).
* Another shapeshifter myth: the Margotines are fey white cats that can change into pretty human females -- or can confer a human female the power to turn into a white cat. However, if the woman is wounded while in this form, she can no longer change back to her true shape -- and the Margotine cannot turn into a human any longer either.
* In Myth/NorseMythology Loki suffered a temporary ShapeshifterModeLock in form of a mare, before giving birth to Sleipnir. ItMakesSenseInContext.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', if a Lunar Exalted's [[BattleAura anima banner]] gets too intense, the Lunar will be Mode Locked to a handful of his most iconic forms until the anima banner dies down.
* ''TabletopGame/ArsMagica''. Using Muto Corporem (shapechanging) spells is potentially dangerous. If a mage spends a month in the shape of an animal, they will start to act and think like that animal. Eventually they could lose their human personalities altogether.
* In the ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber Amber]] Diceless Role Playing'', it's possible for someone using {{Shapeshifting}} to lose the knowledge of how to shapeshift or even the ability itself, stranding them in their current form. It's also possible for them to lose their personality and take on the personality of the creature or person they're imitating, so they don't want to change back.
* ''Forgotten Futures''. A magician who transforms into an animal may come to believe that they are that animal and prolong the spell until it becomes permanent and erases their true personality.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'', when the elves, most of which were the slaves of the giants, rebelled, the Gyrderi, who were the free elves, decided to help their kin. Being druids, they had an ability called wild shape, which lets them shapeshift into animals. The giants trapped the Gyrderi, and their [[CoolHorse descendants]] in their wild shaped forms.
* In ''Rage'' (the card game based off of ''Werewolf: the Apocalypse''), Tamara Lovegrove of the Seventh Generation can lock Garou into their current form as her special ability.
* In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' itself, werewolves and other shapeshifters can "lose the wolf," permanently losing their Rage and becoming trapped in their birth-form, if they suffer too severely from depression.
* The ''[[GothicHorror Innistrad]]'' set of ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a beneficial one for [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Werewolves]]: [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Discussion.aspx?multiverseid=262700 Immerwolf]], [[BilingualBonus translating from German to "Everwolf"]]. Werewolves normally transform back and forth between their human and wolf form depending on the amount of spells cast on the last turn, and their human forms are typically much weaker. As long as Immerwolf is on the battlefield, all werewolves already in wolf form are locked into it, making them far more formidable (werewolves in human form remain free to shapeshift into beast form, but not out of it).
* An ExiledFromContinuity TransformingMecha example from ''TabletopGame/BattleTech''. A Land-Air 'Mech that takes either a gyro hit or an actuator hit is as good as stuck in whichever form it's in at the moment. It ''has'' to have a complete working set of joints in order to transform properly. This property makes Land-Air 'Mechs into extremely {{Fragile Speedster}}s.
* ''Weaponized'' by [[TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil Task Force: Valkyrie]] in ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' with their Equalizer Grenades. You know how rapidly blinking bright light can cause seizure? Same principle, but it's applied to the part of the brain that controls shapeshifting. Suddenly [[TabletopGame/WerewolfTheForsaken those werewolves]] find themselves back to human form and unable to switch back, making them easy pickings.

* The Mistika Makuta from ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' suffered from this, after being exposed to the Pit Mutagen.
* Powermasters in ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'', in theory, required their Nebulan partner in order to transform from vehicle mode to robot mode (in reality, all that was really required was to simply press a button. The toy was capable of working without it, but the partner made it a tad easier -- not to mention the toys looked better with the partner attached).
** More severe were the Action Masters, a series of ''non-transforming'' Transformer toys, stuck in their robot modes. The fluff explained that they had taken a substance called Nucleon, that had rendered them more powerful, more 'alive', but robbed them of their ability to transform into vehicles. To compensate for this, the Action Masters were all packaged with transformable ''accessories'', such as weapons or vehicles.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', the party visits Garoh, a village whose inhabitants, due to proximity to the Air's Rock, turn into werewolves in full moon nights. The mayor, though, as Kraden explains to him, he has absorbed too much Psynergy to go back to his human form.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', halfway through the game you are given a "cure" that mode locks your ability to shapeshift your body into weapons. Oddly enough though you can still shapeshift.
* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' certain units can shapeshift, but the action is considered to be a spell, and costs mana (and sometimes also has a cool down). So, if a Dark Ranger casts Silence on a bunch of Druids of the Claw, then, well, no Bear Form for you. Similar things can be done with Druids of the Talon and Spirit Walkers.
** A TFT walkthrough states that in one mission, hitting Ilidan with a bunch of damaging spells will have a high chance of distrupting his AI, preventing him from transforming into his demonic form when heavily injured.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the black dragon boss Nefarian has calls out to specific classes with specific effects on those classes. The class call to Druids ("Druids and their silly shapeshifting. Let's see it in action!") will force all Druids to shapeshift into cat form and block them in it for a while. Feral specialized DPS druids may not be affected if they're fighting in this form anyway, but druid bear tanks, healers and spellcasters will be annoyed. Of course, at the time Nefarian was at the top of the food chain DPS-specced feral druids, and for that matter any non-healer druids, were so exceedingly rare in end-game raiding that Nefarian was probably fine discounting their existence entirely.
** A slightly less obvious example existed for Warriors in the same fight. Warriors, while not traditional shapeshifters, do have the ability to switch between different stances. When Nef called them out, "Warriors, is that all the damage you can do?", they were forced into Berserker Stance - which increases damage done but also decreases defenses. Like the above druids, at this point in the game 99.99% of raid tanks were Warriors and virtually all raiding Warriors were expected to at least be geared for tanking for trash and should a boss require multiple offtanks or should the shit hit the fan. This meant that when Warriors were called the tank suddenly took A LOT more damage, and it was time to blow defensive cooldowns and heal bomb. The entirety of phase 2 of that fight was built around messing with a class's ability to do its (at the time) primary job.
* Not quite {{Shapeshifting}}, but in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', abusing Sora's [[SuperMode drive forms]] can lead to him accidentally drive into the infamous [[BlessedWithSuck Anti]] [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Form]]. Along with weakened attacks, reduced damage resistance, no healing and no allies, Sora ''can't exit this form until his drive gauge depletes'', making it a temporary (but still often fatal) example of this trope. And woe betide you if you gave yourself abilities that increase drive form duration, since they prolong Anti Form just like any other.
* Two examples from ''VideoGame/NetHack'':
** The amulet of unchanging will mode lock the player. This is usually a good thing, since most transformations are [[BalefulPolymorph unwanted]].
** The ring of protection from shape changers will mode lock all enemy shapeshifters, which renders them effectively harmless.
* An example of the ''lock out'' version of mode lock: In the current-gen console game of ''Spider-Man3'', if the player removes the black suit, they have to wait for a small amount of time before they can use it again.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', Link gets stuck in wolf form whenever he goes into a area covered in twilight. The only way he can change back, is by returning the '[[PlotCoupon Tears of Light]]' to the spirit in that area. Later in the game however [[spoiler:Zant curses Link, locking him in his Wolf form (despite there being no twilight covering the land) Once removed, said [[CursedWithAwesome "curse"]] can be re-applied and removed at will, allowing Link to change whenever he needs to]].
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'' begins with this trope. Link is changed into a deku scrub until he gets his Ocarina back and learns to play the song of healing. Of course later on you can change at will by applying [[{{Shapeshifting}} various]] [[MaskOfPower masks]].
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', a certain wonkiness in the nature of things makes it difficult--in some cases impossible--for the local druids to shapeshift. It's a story element and has no effect on the combat effectiveness of your party's druid.
* Towards the end of ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime 3: Corruption'', Samus goes to Phaaze, the source of all Phazon. However, the concentration of Phazon is so high that Samus gets thrown into a dangerous Hyper Mode has to drain all of her energy tanks in order to prevent instant corruption. And even that doesn't stop the problem since it just delays the inevitable where sooner or later, the Phazon will consume Samus so it becomes a TimedMission from the landing to the end of the FinalBoss battle.
** Towards the beginning of ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'', Samus gets Mode-Locked out of her Morph Ball after it malfunctions, forcing her to procure a replacement.
* Cornell, the werewolf protagonist of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLegacyOfDarkness'', spends the entirety of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaJudgment'' trapped in wolf form as a result of the time rift.
* Leader units in ''VideoGame/TransformersWarForCybertron'' get to inflict this on opponents as an ability, known as [[LethalJokeItem Disruption.]] In addition to causing damage, it forces anyone in robot mode into vechicle mode and vice versa, for a set period of time. This can be either pointless or deadly, given that the opponent has weapons in both forms but also can't access all of their abilties. A [[GlassCannon Scientist]] without his jet form will '''not''' last long.
** Grimlock suffers from this in the sequel VideoGame/TransformersFallOfCybertron. Shockwave modelocked Grimlock into robot mode as a failsafe until he could fully control his test subject. UnstoppableRage can let Grimlock temporaraly override the mode lock.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} II'', Dalles locks you in monster form halfway through the game, and you must go on a FetchQuest to change back.
* The player's mecha in ''VideoGame/{{Thexder}} 95'' is unable to change into jet or tank form for the first few levels.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** In ''[[FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'', it's revealed that [[spoiler: MadScientist Izuka used a PsychoSerum on several laguz, causing them to go insane and become what's known as the [[http://fireemblem.wikia.com/wiki/Feral_One Feral Ones]]. One of his victims was Rajaion, a Dragon Laguz Prince, forcing him to stay in his dragon form ''and'' make him go insane; from then on he was enslaved by Izuka's boss Ashnard, who used poor Rajaion as his Dragon Mount. He was only released by the time Ashnard was slain in battle... but by then he was so weakened and wounded that he died almost immediately afterwards.]]
** In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'', the Avatar's dragon friend Lilith claims she has a human form but cannot use it any longer because she has used up her energy. [[spoiler: She only shapeshifts back into it as she's dying.]]
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'', the [[OurElvesAreDifferent Bosmer (Wood Elves)]] possess the innate ability to transform into nightmarish beasts as [[GodzillaThreshold a final desperate act of defense against invaders]], known as "[[TheWildHunt the Wild Hunt]]." However, there is no known way to reverse this transformation, leaving them permanently stuck as these monsters. As such, it is only known to have been used twice in recorded history.
* A variant of this trope appears in ''VideoGame/InfamousSecondSon'': when Delson absorbs a new power, he becomes unable to access any other power until he masters the one he absorbed. [[spoiler:Augustine tries to use this against him in the final battle, willingly giving Delsin her concrete powers, knowing that Delsin would be at a disadvantage since she had seven years to master her own.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'': Kieri's "bunny curse" occasionally kicks in by itself and is difficult to revert.
* ''Webcomic/CollegeRoomiesFromHell'': Roger's mom is stuck in furry form (and happy that way), and tells him that it will eventually happen to him too.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Grace and her brothers could each shapeshift [[HalfHumanHybrid partially]] or [[{{Animorphism}} fully]] into whatever animal's DNA was thrown in with their human DNA. Since the brothers were a threat [[HeelFaceTurn at the time]], Grace hoped they wouldn't be able to turn back to normal if they were hit with Tedd's transformation gun. They dropped that plan when all it did to Grace was give her new forms she could shapeshift to.
** Which brings us to Vlad, who was in a de facto mode lock as his attempt to turn human nearly killed him; he ended up stuck in his hybrid wolf/bat/falcon form. [[spoiler:He's unlocked after Ellen transforms him into a woman, but the idea of losing human form again bothers her so much she refuses to be transformed into anything else. It's implied that she rejects everything about her old form, including her former gender.]]
** Also the [[TransformationRay TF Gun]] has a built in mode lock related to its original purpose: Transformations normally only last 30 days, but If you get pregnant while transformed, you stay female. (It's implied that you can always use the gun again after giving birth.)
* In ''WebComic/{{Jix}}'', the main aliens (the Ambis) have the ability to going from cute and fuzzy to large and pointy beasts. This is known as their feral form. One of the villains, Maricax, was introduced in his feral form, unable to revert back to normal. [[spoiler: That is...until another villain named Kelelder gives him super healing ability.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Nimona}}'' a comical incident in which the titular shapeshifter is briefly trapped in feline form becomes the catalyst for the webcomic's [[CerebusSyndrome Cerebus Syndrome]] and a climactic [[ChekhovsGun Checkhov's Gun]].
* ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'': Boba Fett is a shapeshifter, but acquires a childhood injury which locks him into the shape of his adopted father, Jango Fett.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Spinnerette}}'', the Werewolf of London, Ontario trained hard until he could change from human to werewolf and back again whenever he wanted. Then he forgot how to do it, and is now stuck in werewolf form permanently.
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' Princess Voluptua is an insectoid alien who routinely uses a device to appear human. In the Cone story arc, it gets ''stuck,'' which is terribly dangerous.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The horror story [[http://everything2.com/user/grundoon/writeups/We+don%2527t+make+good+wives?author=grundoon We don't make good wives]] explains why one should never [[BalefulPolymorph do this]] to a shapeshifting snake woman, no matter how much of a CuteMonsterGirl you think she is.
* The ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''-based series ''Machinima/ChronicleOfTheAnnoyingQuest'' has Hana. Unlike other druids, Hana cannot shapeshift back from his cat form at will. This shortcoming is a great source of annoyance to his fiancée, Kit.
* ''RolePlay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers''
** If an armbanded human is caught while in Pokémon form, the Vow takes precedence and the human is forced to stay as a mon unless they're released. (The armband can be taken off, but they won't shift back to their original form.) However, putting on a Pokémon to human armband can work around that restriction.
** The mon bombs used by the Seven Jerk Dragons work under similar principles, including the Pokémon to human armband loophole.
* While in the original series they chose to mode lock (making it not a real example), in ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'' Goku and Gohan stay Super Saiyan cause they ''forgot'' how to power down.
-->'''Gohan:''' Truthfully it's very concerning.
* In the ''Altered Fates'' universe created by Jennifer Adams, featuring the Medallion of Zulo, one changed by the Medallion has to wait twelve hours to change again or change back. The Medallion also tends to disappear or get misplaced at inconvenient times, leaving the changed person stuck in his new form forever.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'', not having the secrecy restriction of other ''Transformers'' series, invented excuses for the cast having to adopt and stay in alternate forms. In ''Beast Wars'', it was that all of the robots would be debilitated by energon radiation and that organic-skinned beast modes would protect them (an excuse as good as obsolete by the second season, but by then everyone had vehicle modes that gave them the advantage of speed or flight anyway). In at least one instance, having serious damage to the robot body prompted the internal system to force a Transformer back into Beast Mode. ''Beast Machines'' had the Maximals stuck in beast mode until they learned how to use their new techno-organic bodies, and had to use their alternate forms to hide from the ubiquitous wardrones.
** There was also an episode where Megatron has a beam-like device that trapped characters hit with it in Beast Mode. This lost the Maximals a chance to contact Cybertron.
** The original Marvel ''Comicbook/TheTransformers'' comics introduced Nucleon late in the run, to [[MerchandiseDriven tie in with the toy line's introduction of the non-transforming Action Masters]]. Nucleon strengthens a Transformer immensely, but, among other nasty potential side effects, always renders them unable to transform. Understandably, [[PsychoSerum most users wind up wishing they'd never touched the stuff.]]
** ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' cartoon, specifically the episode "The Autobot Run" had the Transfixatron, a weapon that trapped most of the Autobots in their vehicle modes (all land-based, all unarmed), making them very vulnerable to the Decepticons. Later episodes would imply that Mode Lock could also be the result of heavy damage, and the Headmasters were automatically stuck in vehicle mode anytime their partners (who transformed into their heads) weren't around.
*** Also in "Desertion of the Dinobots", a little bit of Phlebotinum called "Cybertonium", which all Cybertron-created Transformers (i.e.: not the Dinobots) need in order to function correctly, starts decaying, resulting in semi-hilarious malfunctions (Megatron in at one point waving his arms around wildly when trying to fly, Ironhide icing himself up). Jazz is shown as unable to transform from car mode (until Ironhide kicks him), and is later shown stuck part-transformed (robot upper body, still in car mode in lower body). During the episode, Perceptor actually says "Fortunately I am still stuck in microscope mode").
** The ''Beast Wars'' example is a double-edged sword: by remaining in beast mode for ''too'' long, the beast instincts start to overwhelm the robot intelligence until they become feral. Certain Maximals who frequently remain in beast mode, notably Tigatron, are able to overcome this.
*** After even the normal Maximals were forced into permanent Beast Mode for an episode, they too learned the trick, and proceeded to teach the Predacons a lesson in Beast Wars.
** Yet another ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' example: Optimus Primal became mode-locked in "Gorilla Warfare" thanks to Scorponok frakking around with his cyber-bee. Naturally this backfired, turning the normally peace loving Primal into a [[TheBerserker Berserker]]. (It was SUPPOSED to turn him into a coward, but Scorponok's competency can fluctuate according to the needs of the script.)
** The ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' [[TwoPartEpisode two-part episode]] "Operation Bumblebee" featured Bumblebee's T-Cog [[OrganTheft being stolen by MECH]], rendering him unable to transform into vehicle mode. [[spoiler:Eventually it was retrieved, however MECH then procceded to turn on Starscream (who'd been working with them), [[LaserGuidedKarma and steal]] ''[[LaserGuidedKarma his]]'' [[LaserGuidedKarma T-Cog]], leaving him stuck in robot mode.]]
*** [[spoiler:Starscream]] then created and subsequently murdered a clone to get THAT T-Cog and installed it in himself. Bumblebee managed to retrieve his original T-Cog eventually, though it was heavily, but not irreparably, damaged in the process.
** Swindle from ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' got stuck in vehicle mode for a long time.
* Ben in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' has this happen to him a lot, since he's basically got a BlackBox [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum from outer space]] [[ClingyMacGuffin permanently attached to his wrist]]. Even leaving aside that when he uses it, it turns him into the alien he chooses (or the one ''it'' chooses instead) until the timer runs down, then turns him back human until it powers up again, there have been a number of Mode Lock incidents, generally involving a weaker alien such as Grey Matter or Ditto.
** As a variant, Kevin winds up submitting to Mode Lock after overuse of previously-acquired Omnitrix-fueled transformation -- what Vilgax [[SarcasmMode lovingly]] calls a "misshapen, chaotic amalgamation". By the time ''Alien Force'' rolls around, he [[UnexplainedRecovery returned to human form]] in time for his escape from the Null-Void.
*** Seems to have happened to Kevin yet again in ''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce Alien Force]]'', since now he's part concrete, metal, diamond, and other stuff.
*** Also happens to Albedo, Ben's doppelganger in ''Alien Force'', who creates a duplicate Omnitrix and synchronizes it to Ben's, only to be transformed into a [[CloneByConversion copy]] of Ben because Ben's form is the "[[ShapeshifterDefaultForm default]]". When they fight, the magnetic interference caused by the meeting of two Omnitrixes causes Albedo's [[PaletteSwap colors to change]]. When Azmuth appears to tidy up the whole mess, he takes out a part of Albedo's fake Omnitrix, cursing him to stay in human form (which he absolutely hates).
*** Also a plot point in the episode "Con of Rath", wherein Ben spends basically the entire episode in the form of the titular alien (which debuted in said episode). This was due to electromagnetic interference inadvertently caused by the Luodan Prince Tiffin, whom the crew have to escort in a [[spoiler:supposed]] peacemaking effort.
*** Ben does this on purpose in ''Omniverse'', using a mode lock feature on the Omnitrix to stick himself in a form known for diplomatic skills to negotiate between 2 alien races (one of which is Rath's species). [[spoiler: Unfortunately one of the ''diplomats'' infested Ben with alien fleas, planning on ruining the peace talk by having the fleas cause Ben to ''explode''!]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Visionaries}}'', the title characters are futuristic knights who can [[{{Shapeshifting}} transform]] into animals. During the episode "Lion Hunt", one of the Visionaries gets stuck in animal mode.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheMask: The Animated Series'' featured a gypsy fortune-teller that tricked Stanley into giving her the Mask which she then used to power another magic Mask that gives enormous powers. She then discards the Mask thinking it's now useless and Stanley puts it on... only The Mask is stuck in the form of a stereotypical Scot (complete with kilt). He then gradually obtains the rest of his forms (starting with the most useless ones, as The Mask himself lampshades).
* This is the entire purpose of the Plasmius Maximus in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''. It has been used on both Danny and Vlad, modelocking them into their human forms. Other weapons/containment devices have this as a side effect of sorts.
** Don't forget the episode "Forever Phantom", in which one of Jack's weapons zaps Danny and [[TheBlank Amorpho]], forcing the former to stay in his ghost form and the latter to stay in Danny's human form...even though Amorpho still manages to (with difficulty) shift a bit more before being cured. ItsALongStory.
* Between episodes 21 and 23 of ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'', Adamaï, a young shapeshifting dragon, is stuck in Tofu form after being [[JustEatHim swallowed whole and then regurgitated]] by Igôle (a powerful beast reinforced by Xelor magic, which is what interfere with Adamaï's power). This is a case where the modelocked form is small and weak, Tofus being RidiculouslyCuteCritter birds.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' - Puck is mode-locked into one shape, [[spoiler: that of Owen Burnett]], by Oberon after rebelling against his king. Given that shapeshifting is a major part of Puck's tricks... this sucks. The punishment also included eternal banishment from their homeland Avalon. Puck wanted to spend more time living as a human in the human world, [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor and Oberon gave it to him.]]
** The only way he can get mode-unlocked is to train or protect Xanatos's son, Alexander.
** The Gargoyle's own [[TakenForGranite stone-sleep]] is a variant of this, being a unique aspect of their physiology. The curse took advantage of this by mode-locking them in it for over a millennia, preventing them from reawakening when the sun set each day.
* Meatwad in ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' practiced turning into a life sized figure of UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln ([[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway he can normally only become a hotdog and igloo]]) only to get stuck that way for the rest of the episode, as if he pulled a muscle.
* Timber Wolf in ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperheroes'' is mode locked into his half-human, half-feral form because his father tampered with his DNA too much.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Supernoobs}}'', if Kevin doesn't use his Battle Ball to turn back into a human within three hours, his DNA will permanently change and he will spend the rest of his life as his current animal form.