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Describe "The Hypnotoad" he-BBBWEEEEEEEERRERRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMMMMALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD. THE HYPNOTOAD IS THE GREATEST OF ALL TROPES IN FICTION. ALL HAIL!
What is the Hypnotoad? In addition to being our glorious lord and master, the Hypnotoad is a creature that has the ability to control other creatures, especially humans, via some form of Mind Control through hypnosis, telepathy, or any other method that does not involve biological invasion of some sort. This power is the Hypnotoad's primary method of defense, and the Hypnotoad itself has few, if any, other ways to protect itself.
The Hypnotoad's most important feature, aside from its ability to control minds, is that such a creature is not human, or even humanoid. It may be some sort of Starfish Alien creature, or a bizarre alien animal or plant. Hypnotic Eyes are a common feature. Such creatures never have any sort of a civilization, and typically come from places where their hypnosis is much less effective. After all, if their mind control powers were 100% effective in their home environment, they would have conquered the universe already. A Hypnotoad may not even be intelligent, for that matter... but regardless, ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!
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In the anime Outlaw Star, there was a bizarre alien cactus that used its powers to influence human brains to... sell ice cream. This was actually a test to see how effective its powers actually were before it tried its hand at galactic dominion. However, when it encountered someone that its powers could not control, it ended up as squished cactus.
Starro the Conqueror is a quite literal Starfish Alien who frequently opposes the Justice League and started using mind-control powers in the Bronze Age. Or it was, until a recent Retcon that the starfish-like Starros seen before was "really" just the probes of a humanoid being.
Turns out the humanoid was really under mind control too
There's also the Star Conqueror, a different member of Starro's species.
Silver Age Sub-Mariner stories briefly introduced a nonsentient, one-eyed "hypno-fish."
In one episode of Pretty Cure Heavy Metal, the author mentions the Hypnotoad in narration, and even though the Hypnotoad doesn't appear, he does manage to say—ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.
In the short story " The Handicapped", the Grogs of the planet Down could not move unaided, but can control others by putting thoughts in their heads telepathically. They develop active trade with humans (we give them mechanical hands and mobility, they serve as useful translators and living security monitors). The humans are fairly certain its an even trade without any mind control involved, and that the planet-destroyer set up over their homeworld in case that changes is outside their range. Fairly certain.
The Grogs are thought to descend from the Thrintun, a species better known as the Slavers. Slavers were an intellectually inferior species that nonetheless ruled a vast interstellar empire via such control after a spacefaring race landed and was forced to give them the secret to faster than light travel. They never invented anything for themselves, which eventually bit them in the ass when the species with the longest mental "leash" used that freedom to rebel; the counterattack was a suicide command that killed everything in the galaxy that had a notochord.
In the Lucky Starr series, the V-Frogs have a form of telepathy that allows them to put ideas in peoples' heads, usually without their realizing that they're being controlled. They defend themselves by causing potential predators to become fond of them and thus unable to kill them; this endearing quality makes them popular pets for humans on Venus. They can also be used to transmit thoughts and feelings from human to human, especially when they're gathered in large groups.
A rare example with a civilization: In the Star Trek Novel Verse, we have Berlis, and any other "Troublesome Mind" among the Isitri. Usually totally innocent and friendly people, they don’t actually realize they’re doing it. They just naturally assert their will over everyone around them, on a massive scale, as part of Isitri telepathic contact. These crowds of people then consider it their greatest purpose in life to ensure the Troublesome Mind is comfortable and gets what he or she wants. From the viewpoint of the Troublesome Mind themselves, people just go out of their way to make them comfortable and be considerate to them. Life is one long Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Aren’t people nice? This is part of the reason a Troublesome Mind is rarely hostile- they have no experience of mistreatment.
Similar to Star Trek tribbles are Heinlein's flat cats, from The Rolling Stones. Heinlein said he may have gotten the idea from a story written in 1905, which might make this Older Than They Think.
One of the worlds the main characters of Piers Anthony's Mode series is populated by telepathic horses that control the native humans. In the absence of human brains, they're only as intelligent as ordinary horses, but their telepathy lets them become as smart as people by using the brains of nearby humans to help them think better. (Being used in this way doesn't appear to affect the main characters' intelligence, although generations of being mind-controlled by horses has resulted in the native humans having a very animal-like society and culture.)
The serpent-bearded Byatis of the Cthulhu Mythos uses hypnosis to attract human prey. And yes, its toad shaped. However, despite being a Great Old One (thus very, very big), it does get punched out when a human defeats it by setting it on fire.
The Gaiaphage in Michael Grant's Gone can control anyone who comes close enough to it whenever it wants to. It can even control people after they move away. It's not usually a complete control ( Lana managed to resist it long enough to try to kill it, although she didn't succeed), and the person might not even be aware that they're being controlled. ( Such as Caine.) It is different from other examples in that it has many, many other forms of defense besides mind control.
The Tribbles from Star Trek qualify, since, as Spock puts it, the Tribbles' purr has a tranquilizing effect on most lifeforms. This is probably why they haven't been wiped out from the universe, since with their eating habits and their extremely high rate of reproduction, they're basically an incredibly cuteHorde of Alien Locusts. With no limbs (though they can somehow move a bit and climb step surfaces), and no means of protecting themselves, they basically use their incredible cuteness to spread across the galaxy. The Klingons aren't affected by this, and the instinctive reaction of a Tribble encountering a Klingon is a loud hiss. (Spock claims in the original "The Trouble with Tribbles" that Vulcans aren't affected due to their control over their own emotions, but somehow ends up giving this speech while petting a purring Tribble.)
The tribble is incredibly similar to the flat cat of Heilein's The Rolling Stones. So much so that the author of the episode, on learning of it, asked Heinlein for permission to use it. Heinlein agreed, in return for an autographed copy of the script.
Denobulans are immune to tribbles, as Dr. Phlox casually tosses a lonely tribble into a cage to be devoured by his other pets.
And of course the Klingons who declared Tribbles an enemy of the Empire. They trained warriors to hunt Tribbles and sent an entire armada to raze their homeworld. And yes, we're still talking about the same near-immobile bundles of fur.
"Another glorious chapter in Klingon history. Tell me, do they still sing songs of 'The Great Tribble Hunt?'"
Variation: In the Doctor Who episode The Hand of Fear, the petrified hand of Eldrad, a silicon crystal-based alien, used mind control on humans to take his hand to a nuclear power plant to generate a new body.
Star Control 2 features the Dnyarri, a race of toadlike beings that can utterly dominate the minds of others and may be the inspiration behind the Trope Namer. After a slave revolt millenia ago, the entire race was genetically altered into nonsentient pets. When just one is accidentally reverted to full power, it shows horrifying power levels, and immediately takes control of an interstellar empire all by itself.
The Thorian from Mass Effect 1 is an excellent example of this. It's a huge, telepathic plant-like entity that spreads spores in the air to control its victims.
The 37 million year old Reaper corpse in the second game is also an example of this.
Cats in Dwarf Fortress are prone to "adopting" your dwarves, and there is nothing you can do about it. These drones will then flip out if their furry little masters are harmed. Since they also breed explosively, this leads many players to stick all new kittens in cages or butcher them to stop them from mind-controlling your dwarves and killing your framerate.
Or, as one forum-goer so eloquently put it, "When life gives you kittens, you make kitten-ade".
The Mastermind of the Scrin race in Command And Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars can take control of exactly one enemy unit or building at a time and has the additional ability of teleporting allied units around the battlefield. Other than that, it has no actual means of self defence.
This is based on Yuri's psychic drones from Red Alert 2. Yuri himself is an excellent example, as he's shown controlling someone's mind simply by grabbing his shoulder. The explanation? His brain can somehow both receive and transmit information.
Yuri's Masterminds are tanks driven by psychic brain, it can take control any unit within its range, but it will overload if it controls more than 3 units, and will slowly loose health until the excess unit is gone.
Certain Psychic-type Pokémon can function as these.
Even better, the Poliwag line learn Hypnosis. Although it only puts others to sleep.
The best example is Inkay and Malamar. Squid Pokemon that happen to be Dark and Psychic types. Malamar has been described as having the most compelling hypnotic powers of any Pokemon.
Welcome to Night Vale: Cecil reports that a sinister glowing cloud is heading for the town, and once it reaches him he falls under its Mind Control and declares "All hail the mighty Glow Cloud."
Said cloud becomes a recurring character of sorts, becoming a prominent member of the community and head of the local PTA> Its hard to discuss its policies, though, since all discourse is cut off by courses of "ALL HAIL".
Futurama has the Trope Namer Hypnotoad. Using its large oscillating multicolored eyes and emiting a droning hum, it's able to influence humans and probably other creatures (including sheep) into doing its bidding. It has used this ability to win a contest for best pet. Afterward, it got its own sitcom, which — ALL GLORYTO THE HYPNOTOAD.
His sitcom, Everybody Loves Hypnotoad, consists of 30 minutesnote Okay, 22 minutes plus commercials of Hypnotoad staring at you. It is the greatest piece of entertainment ever produced. ("Feh, it's been going downhill since season three").
The Bender's Big Score DVD comes with a bonus, full-length Everybody Loves Hypnotoad episode.
Among other things, this episode contains a commercial for the Everybody Loves Hypnotoad Season One DVD boxset: all 365 episodes, with deleted scenes (indistinguishable from the rest of the show), hilarious outtakes (including one where the toad is shown upside down) and director's commentary (take a gue-ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD).
There are also the alien cats who enslave people through cuteness, and the opening song to The Wild Green Yonder mentions "the psychic worms from Rigel IX who control everything we do." Nibbler can do it as well.
The Invader Zim episode "Rise of the Zitboy" features one of the more bizarre examples: Zim develops an enormous pimple on the side of his head that can hypnotize people into submission by jiggling. He dresses it up with a doodled-on face (actually GIR's doing) and a little puppet body and goes to school, passing it off as his new friend "Pustulio" - and soon, Pustulio is everyone's new friend until it explodes.
Starro (see Comics) appears twice in the DCAU. The first time was in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man". It was just a cameo, and its appearance was overshadowed by Lobo and the plot. At the end, it and all the other animals seen are provided a home at the Fortress of Solitude. Its second appearance was in Batman Beyond. It has taken control of Superman and attached itself to his chest.
The Powerpuff Girls episode 'Cat Man Do' features an intelligent cat capable of hypnotizing humans as its villain. Its Evil Plan involved using a machine to amplify its hypnosis powers so that all humans became slaves of catkind.
The Worm King from Adventure Time has the power to hypnotize and lock people into their dreams. Introduced in the "Evicted!" episode of Season One...and for extra points, voiced by Erik Estrada!