[[quoteright:280:[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CastlevaniaAlucardShapeshift_4294.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:280:Not depicted: [[DeadlyGas Refried Bean]] [[SuperSmoke Gas Cloud]].]]

Shapeshifting or transformation is the ability to completely change one's body from one form to another, usually by magic or AppliedPhlebotinum. Common in SpeculativeFiction, and folklore and myths are replete with tales of princes transformed into frogs, gods turning themselves into animals, and so on. Several of these tropes are OlderThanFeudalism.

There are a ''wide'' variety of ways that this can occur, but thematically it can be sorted into two broad classes:

* '''Shapeshifting''': A character can transform their own body as a special power or ability. Obviously enough, they are called [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifters]], and often ply their powers for fun and profit (whether good or evil), or simply to trick or play practical jokes on normal folks.

* '''Transformation''': An otherwise non-shapeshifting character has a transformation cast upon them from an outside source (again, usually by magic or AppliedPhlebotinum). This is typically PlayedForDrama; it may be part of a character's backstory, or even form the central conflict within the work. {{Curse}}s are a popular source here, as it requires the character to go on a {{Quest}} to satisfy the CurseEscapeClause. A list of possible causes for transformations can be found [[TransformationCauses here]].

Related indexes:
+ AutonomousAndArtificialAppendageIndex
+ DisguiseTropes
+ WerebeastTropes
!!Tropes related to Shapeshifting as a power or ability
* DualAgeModes: The ability to change between an "older" and "younger" form.
** OlderAlterEgo
* ElementalShapeshifter: Transforming oneself (in whole or part) into an elemental energy.
** BallOfLightTransformation: Transformation into a luminous form shaped as a flame, orb, star, mote, etc.
** RideTheLightning: Turning oneself into lightning for quick transportation.
** SuperSmoke: Transformation into a gaseous form like smoke, air, mist, etc.
* GrowingMusclesSequence: Bulking up as you transform.
* HenshinHero: A character who gains superpowers by transforming.
* {{Humanshifting}}: The ability to only transform into humanoids.
* InvoluntaryShapeshifter: If you can't control when/where your shapeshifting powers kick in.
** EmpathicShapeshifter: If other people dictate what you transform into.
** HulkingOut: The YouWouldntLikeMeWhenImAngry version.
** ShapeshifterIdentityCrisis: Mental instability causing you to transform into whatever identity/persona is currently dominant in your mind.
** ShapeshifterSwanSong: Uncontrolled transformations triggered by a critical (or fatal) injury to the shapeshifter.
* KaleidoscopeHair / KaleidoscopeEyes: Some forms, where you can change your hair/eye color repeatedly.
* LimbSensationFascination: So ''that's'' what a tentacle feels like.
* LongNeck: What happens when your head needs to be way over there but the rest of you stays put, with out detaching.
* MagicPants: What happens to all your clothing when you transform (or more importantly, transform ''back'')?
* MetamorphosisMonster: It may be cute and cuddly now, but just wait...
* MorphicResonance: When a shapeshifter's forms all have some common feature that the audience can identify them by.
* MultiformBalance: When there are trade-offs between various forms
* MyInstinctsAreShowing: Behavior is frequently influenced by another form's instincts, during or after the morph.
* NarrativeShapeshifting: A [[TheSpeechless silent]] character recounts a story by playing shapeshifting charades.
* OurWerebeastsAreDifferent: Not all of them are wolves with a lunar trigger.
** OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: Some Werewolves turn completely into wolves...
*** WolfMan: Others just acquire wolf-like characteristics
** BeastMan: They don't have to be based on wolves...
** SelkiesAndWereseals: Or even terrestrial animals
* RubberMan: He can stretch and flex himself into almost any needed shape.
* SexierAlterEgo: Transform into a more attractive or otherwise sexually appealing form.
* SexShifter: The ability to alter one's sex, male, female or other, rather than shape: a non-permanent GenderBender.
* ShapeshifterBaggage: Some forms are smaller/larger or lighter/heavier than others.
* ShapeshifterMashup: When attempting to mix-and-match multiple forms [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]].
* ShapeshifterModeLock: A PhlebotinumBreakdown that leaves a shapeshifter BroughtDownToNormal and/or trapped in one form.
* ShapeshifterShowdown: Shapeshifter vs. shapeshifter! [[RuleOfCool Awesomeness ensues]].
* ShapeshiftingSeducer: Shapeshifter trying to get in your bed? It'll just turn into the most desirable person you've ever seen.
* ShapeshiftingSquick: Shapeshifters must have a ''very'' interesting love life...
** ShapeshiftersDoItForAChange
* {{Sizeshifter}}: The ability to alter one's size, rather than shape.
* SkinWalker: A supernatural skin-thief of Native American legends, but isn't always a bad type as some Skin Walkers are empowered by good spirits instead of RitualMagic.
* SlowTransformation: The change happens gradually.
* SproutingEars: A little extra number and type of ears when SuperDeformed.
* SwissArmyHero: Shapeshifting where each form has some kind of exclusive ability. A popular manifestation for VideoGames.
* TechnicallyNakedShapeshifter: A shapeshifter whose clothes are part of their body.
* TotallyNotAWerewolf: A shapeshifter becomes mistaken for whatever creature or monster they appear as.
* TransformationIsAFreeAction: because it would be a vulnerability if it wasn't.
* TransformationSequence: Activating one's superpowers may also induce a physical transformation. May become StockFootage in serial works.
* TransformingMecha: Shapeshifting for robots!
** KibblesAndBits: Why does that car have sections that look like fists? Why does that robot have pieces of car dangling from its back?
* TransformingVehicle: Normal cars (and other vehicles) can shapeshift too.
* TrickingTheShapeshifter: If you can't defeat a shapeshifter in one of his forms, convince him to transform into something you can.
* VoiceChangeling: The ability to imitate anyone's voice, rather than their shape.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: The "standard" shapeshifter package.
** PartialTransformation: Mix-and-match shapeshifting to create one sleek HybridMonster.
** ShapeshifterDefaultForm: Whatever form they're usually seen in when not actively using their powers.
** ShapeshifterGuiltTrip: Impersonating the form of an opponent's friend or teammate during battle, to mentally break the opponent down.
** ShapeshifterWeapon: Using your shapeshifter powers to create weapons from your own body.
** UnstableGeneticCode: A more scientific explanation for shapeshifting.
* YouSexyBeast: For cases where a less human form is considered more attractive.

!!Tropes related to transformations as an event
* AndYourRewardIsInfancy: When a person is transformed back into an infant.
* BalefulPolymorph: Transformation used as a weapon or punishment, to disable or dispose of an individual.
** BewitchedAmphibians, a subtrope. For whatever reason Frogs and toads are very popular animals for villains, especially classic witches, to turn people into.
* BecomeYourWeapon: When simple mastery is not enough.
* BecomingTheCostume: Particularly popular around AllHallowsEve, a curse that transforms the individual into whatever their costume resembles.
* BecomingTheGenie: [[ThreeWishes My third wish]], make me an all-powerful genie! ([[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor Wait a second...]])
* BishonenLine: Transformation from a monstrous form into a much more elegant and human-like one.
* BitByBitTransformation: Transforming into a creature body part by body part.
* ColorMeBlack
* DifferentForGirls: When a new form subjects you to new social norms
* EmergencyTransformation: When the only way to save your dying body is to have it transformed into something else. Whether or not you'd be better off dead is [[{{Angst}} up to you]].
* FisherKingdom: A world or setting that transforms your mind, mood, and/or physical form to match its expectations or requirements.
* FountainOfYouth: Character spontaneously becomes younger.
** OvernightAgeUp: Character spontaneously becomes older...
*** PlotRelevantAgeUp: ...so that a young character can quickly become old enough to have a legitimate role in the story's events.
* FreakyFridayFlip: Switching bodies with another person...
** VoicesAreMental: ...but not switching voices.
** VoicesAreNotMental: Of course, sometimes voices do remain with the original body.
* GenderBender: Being transformed into a member of the opposite sex.
** AttractiveBentGender: People start asking your new self out on dates.
** FirstLawOfGenderBending: It's easier to change into a female than it is to change back.
*** SecondLawOfGenderBending: Your new gender is ''always'' more enjoyable than your old one.
*** ThirdLawOfGenderBending: And it comes with cool new clothes!
** ManIFeelLikeAWoman: Hey, free boobs!
* HumanityEnsues: An animal (or non-human) is transformed into a human. They usually aren't happy about the change...
** PinocchioSyndrome: ...unless they already ''wanted'' to become human.
** SenseFreak: If they go wild over senses that we humans take for granted.
* IncredibleShrinkingMan
* JustWokeUpThatWay: And avoided a bunch of {{Phlebotinum}}, [[ItRunsOnNonsenseoleum Nonsenseoleum]], or FunctionalMagic by skipping straight to the results.
* KarmicTransformation: Getting transformed into something you despise or that is otherwise ironic; often caused by LaserGuidedKarma.
* {{Metamorphosis}}: A permanent, one-time transformation that occurs over the long term, and you may know about it well in advance.
* TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody: Your thoughts and instincts transform to match whatever new form you have.
* MutagenicFood: You are what you eat... literally.
* MutagenicGoo: Gooey AppliedPhlebotinum that can mutate and transform living beings into monsters.
* NotQuiteBackToNormal: When a transformation leaves residual effects on the individual even after being transformed back.
* ScaledUp: Is turning yourself into a giant snake ''ever'' a good idea?
* ShapeshiftingExcludesClothing: You may have changed, but your clothing sure didn't.
* TransformationCauses: Lists the number of ways a character can wind up transformed.
* TransformationFiction: When a work revolves around transformation and/or shapeshifting.
** TransformationComic: The above in comic form.
* TransformationOfThePossessed: When the new tenant [[DemonicPossession in your body]] decides to do a little remodeling.
* TransformationRay: A convenient way to keep the action moving when you're TravellingAtTheSpeedOfPlot
* ViralTransformation: Spreading a transformation from one person to another

!!Other shapeshifting tropes
* {{Animorphism}}: Transformation into an animal, either as a special power or a one-time event...
** AttractiveBentSpecies: When other animals think your new form looks sexy!
* AppearanceIsInTheEyeOfTheBeholder: How you look varies depending on who's looking at you.
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: Because bigger is better...
** MiracleGroMonster: But you don't have time to wait for it.
* BewitchedAmphibians: He could be a prince, he could be a lying frog...
* BodyHorror: Sometimes changing shape ain't pretty.
** PainfulTransformation: If it ''looks'' painful, what must it ''feel'' like?
* BreastExpansion: A character's bosom grows a few cup sizes (often as FetishFuel).
* CapeWings: For when a cape mysteriously transforms into fully-functional wings and then back into a cape, or wings to cape and then back.
* ChestMonster: A predatory creature that disguises itself as a seemingly innocuous object.
* FaceStealer: For when you have to harm the target to assume their appearance.
* GameFace: Revealing the true face of evil.
* LieToTheBeholder: A psychic illusion that makes you look/sound like someone else, without involving a physical transformation or shapeshifting.
* MistakenForOwnMurderer: Shapeshifting can make someone think you're a monster and killed "yourself."
* MorphWeapon: A transforming weapon.
* OneWingedAngel: When the villain shouts "Behold my true form!" before the final battle...
** ClippedWingAngel: But it proves anti-climactic
* PuppetPermutation: Transformation into a puppet doll.
* ShapeshiftingLover: Females are usually a VoluntaryShapeshifter; males are usually victim of a BalefulPolymorph {{Curse}}.
* ShowingOffTheNewBody: The individual closely inspects their new body, giving free {{Fanservice}} for everyone!
** ManIFeelLikeAWoman: Getting rather ''intimately acquainted'' with the new you.
* TheyLookLikeUsNow: Previously inhuman creatures discover a way to appear human, without [[PuppeteerParasite possessing]] or [[MindControl controlling]] actual humans in the process.
* ThisWasHisTrueForm: A reveal occuring after a shapeshifter has been killed or defeated.
** WasOnceAMan: That monster used to be human?
* ToonTransformation: Toon world physics, meet toon world biology.
* {{Transflormation}}: When a character transforms into a tree, plant, or other type of flora.
* TransformationConventions: PersonalityPowers applied to shapeshifting and transformations, often involving AnimalStereotypes.
* TransformationHorror: Disturbing shapeshifting at its finest.
* TransformationTrinket: When the transformation power resides in or relies on an amulet or similar token.
* YouAreWhoYouEat: Eating people allows non-humans to pretend to be human, and sometimes look like the person that was eaten.

!!See also:
* AdaptiveAbility: Often involves shifting, sometimes involves shapes.
* InstantArmor: The ability to summon protective armor from nowhere. May be part of a SuperMode.
* KillAndReplace: A tactic sometimes performed by shapeshifters using their natural abilities.
* MasterActor: Often a RequiredSecondaryPowers for shapeshifters.
* MasterOfDisguise: Some shapeshifters can look like anyone.
* TheShadowKnows: A particular kind of GlamourFailure hinting that a character has a dark secret or shapeshifting prowess.
* SuperMode: Sometimes involves a physical transformation.