Before the Ordinary High-School Student
(or a hidden Bad Guy) can access her (or his) secret powers, there must be a power-up. This usually involves a change of form or at least costume, although the precise mechanisms usually vary by type. In Japanese television, this is called (a) henshin
. By genre, this usually goes as follows:
- Magical Girl: Our heroine usually utters a key phrase, accompanied by certain gestures and/or using some sort of magical device, and then hovers into the air over a magical background, then has her clothes disappear as her hero costume glows into existence over her until all her ribbons, jewels, feathers and assorted frippery have formed. Despite being strongly associated with Magical Girls there are several "magical boys" who have comparable sequences, though their outfits are usually more like uniforms or armour and the strip-down is generally averted.
- Henshin Hero: Similar to the Magical Girl but usually less elaborate and more awesome, our hero uses his special device (often a weapon) and/or shouts his transformation phrase to turn into his superhero form in a faster but equally flashy sequence, that for some reason often involves lightning, glowing or shining, and the hero announcing himself. This includes many American characters and series, like Captain Marvel (widely considered the first Henshin Hero) or He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983).
- Super Mode: An already-powerful hero or villain becomes even more powerful to face the latest threat. While generally not as elaborate as the previous two transformation sequences, it often signifies a more intense upgrade. The raised power level is usually indicated by a colour change, glowing eyes (or hair) or appearance altered in other ways than a wholly new costume and accessories.
- Monstrous Transformation: A darker and more physical sequence, usually when a humanoid character becomes more monstrous before our eyes — often involving bulging muscles, ripping clothes, (to various extents) and often implications of pain, especially in a horror-themed series. Werewolves, Jekyll & Hyde, and other magical or chemical induced transformations usually fall under this. It's often a way for the villain to get serious during the Grand Finale... and become something viewers won't mind seeing the heroes kill.
- Mechanical Sequence: A Humongous Mecha or Power Armour wearing hero gets into battle mode, whether through transforming, combining, adding the gear, and/or just plain launching into battle. Usually contains as much Technology Porn as time and budget will allow, and are very often tool-assisted in some way as the base's machines use mechanical arms and such to remove and add components.
- Size Increase: An already formidable monster or hero doesn't make many physical changes but simply increases their size massively, often to Kaiju levels.
- Other Sequences: Ones that aren't covered by or overlap with the above include Mon "evolution" sequences (which are sometimes permanent), characters combining into one, or more mundanely, a superhero donning their outfit via conventional (if accelerated) means.
Transformation Sequences are good for a show's budget because they provide a large amount of Stock Footage
that can be (and often must
be) reused each episode
. They also provide nice filler for the writers. If a particular transformation sequence occurs multiple times in one episode, a shortened version will often be used after the first time (hopefully).
Rarely is there a special-effects sequence for changing back
It seems to be an unwritten rule that evil characters almost never get a Stock Footage
transformation sequence, instead opting for a special-effects-assisted "insta-transformation", a single sequence in the case of one-shot villains, or just transforming offscreen. This is a good way to spot the Sixth Ranger Traitor
or a Noble Demon
looking to make a Heel-Face Turn
somewhere down the line.
Note that many transformation sequences are actually just for the viewer's benefit (and to eat up air time
), and the actual change as experienced by the character is instantaneous — or at least very brief. This might explain why bad guys (almost) never attack a hero during his transformation sequence
, although the Dangerously Genre Savvy
usually will not let the opportunity slip by. This may result in an unstable Partial Transformation
Compare Gorgeous Garment Generation
, Creation Sequence
, Fighter Launching Sequence
, Lock and Load Montage
, and Suit-Up of Destiny
Anime and Manga has its own page.
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- The Ur Example has got to be Billy Batson shouting "Shazam!" and transforming into Captain Marvel with a magic bolt of lightning. Notably, in the Golden Age, it was part of the magic of the transformation that nobody standing nearby noticed this happening unless he wanted them to. Well, Depending on the Writer, anyway. The other members of the Marvel family would transform the same way.
- Marvel Comics' Captain Mar Vel gained a version of this when he would swap locations with Rick Jones in a flash of light after banging his two wristbands together; ditto for his son Genis, who also ended up swapping places with Rick.
- Of course, the Ur Example of the more straightforward changing-your-clothes version would be Clark Kent changing clothes in a phone booth or broom closet.
- The Clown from Spawn becoming the terrifying devil Violator. The detailed transformation in the movie is particularly disturbing.
- Iron Man occasionally has one, depending on the title and era (for instance, it's very rare to see him activate the suit in an Avengers comic). The most typical one involves assembling the armor from a briefcase. This was abused a bit during the late 90s and early 2000s when every new writer on the Iron Man title introduced their new, super-advanced armor technology, like the SKIN armor, Tin Man and Ablative armor.
- In the first issue of Blue Beetle (New 52), Jaime's first transformation into Blue Beetle is shown in nine detailed panels. His later transformations usually take one panel.
- In WanderingWordsmith's Thawing Permafrost, Pandora the Shikigami explodes into a weird white goo, then reforms into the commanded form if it can manage it; otherwise, it just flips back to its normal form and collapses, exhausted.
- Kuso Miso Technique's Michishita Masaki has one in this fanvideo into his powerful, naked form.
- In Mega Man Reawakened, Robert and Roll get one when they activate their battle modes.
Films — Animation
- Beauty and the Beast has a famous transformation sequence; the inverse of a monstrous transformation.
- The sequence at the end of the first Shrek is a double subversion as 1) she is already a monster and 2) she doesn't actually transform. It's also a Shout-Out to the scene in Beauty and the Beast.
- Space Jam has the tiny Nerdlucks transform into the gigantic Monstars thanks to the powers they stole from five NBA players.
- In The Book of Life, Manolo gets one when the gods bring him back to life.
- in The Little Mermaid, Ariel's transformation when turning from mermaid to human. + 1 as she's mostly naked afterward.
- There's another transformation sequence in the same movie, though without the nudity. All the in-between stages of Ursula's transformation into Vanessa are extremely creepy, and her Evil Laugh doesn't help.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs brings us the awesome transformation of the Wicked Queen to her witch form.
- Hal Jordan also got one of these in Green Lantern: First Flight.
- Brother Bear has the scene near the beginning of the film where Kenai is actually transformed into a bear as punishment for betraying his late older brother.
- Disney's Atlantis The Lost Empire has the scene where Cree Summer's character, Kidagakash, is transfomed into a beautiful goddess-like sprite after merging with the Atlantean Crystal.
- Wreck-It Ralph: Vanellope Von Schweetz transforms into a princess after crossing the finish line of her game Sugar Rush at the film's climax. It confused her until she found out she was Sugar Rush's true ruler before King Candy/Turbo sabotaged the game and made her an outcast.
- While many versions of Cinderella either imply this trope or directly invoke it whenever she gets her gown for the ball, Disney's version is especially notable for this, although it only takes a few seconds.
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls:
- In the climax of the movie, we get a classic sort of transformation for the Bearers of Harmony, adding Little Bit Beastly pony traits to the girls.
- Sunset Shimmer also has one of the monstrous kind when she goes One-Winged Angel after stealing the crown.
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls:
- In the sequel, the transformations are activated by the band members' instruments. They are different than those of the first movie, adding "Rainbow Power" hair to the mix.
- Notably, when a reformed Sunset Shimmer gets her own transformation, it's instead in the same style than in the previous movie.
- The villain trio of the Dazzlings gets their own, more sinister-looking transformations, when they reach the apex of their powers. The ribbons of red lights that envelop them might be a Sailor Moon shout-out.
Films — Live-Action
- An American Werewolf in London and The Howling both have werewolf transformation sequences of the most painful and terrifying kind you can imagine.
- Underworld and Underworld Evolution, with static vampires (except for the main vamp boss with the somewhat typical beastly demon-form) but human-werewolf transformations, and their werewolves have
inverted knees digitigrade legs.
- Not much outright transformation was shown in the first movie, the most notable sequence being one shot where two lycans change back, as well as one sequence where a character had an aborted change. The second film had some decent shots of man-to-wolf changes, but they went quick because they were mooks.
- There are a number of these in Van Helsing, most notably the werewolves who transform by ripping their skin off.
- Fright Night had something like this with Evil Ed turning back into a human from being a wolf, and the vampires have 3 stages of transformation.
- The remake The Fly (1986), though that happens by degrees over a long period of time. They're also completely terrifying.
- Ghostbusters has the scene where Dana and Louis turn into Terror dogs; it's quite a disturbing process, though.
- The Nutty Professor:
- The '90s remake had some surprisingly gruesome ones with plenty of Body Horror.
- And the original has Jerry Lewis going through some grotesque transformations quite out of the tone with the rest of the movie.
- Videodrome is just plain weird in general but the transformation parts are even weirder.
- Steven Chow's God of Cookery takes this to absurdity with Magical Chef Transformation Scenes. A character (not the lead) takes a power pose, his clothes fly off in all directions and underneath he is already dressed as a chef, all that is required is that he put the trademark hat on.
- Gremlins has a very important rule: "Don't feed them after midnight." If you do, the Mogwai goes into a slimy cocoon and mutates into a hideous monster. Unfortunately in the movie somebody makes that mistake as well as getting them wet (causing them to multiply, which looks incredibly painful).
- There are several gruesome gremlin-related transformations in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, including those involving a bat, spider, fruit, electricity, and even a woman!
- The Witches of Eastwick has the final scene in which the three witches mix up the body parts of a voodoo doll that resembles the main antagonist Daryl (Jack Nicholson) who at first turns into a giant, but then turns into a worm-like thing.
- The Jekyll and Hyde transformations from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
- Pretty much every adaptation of the Jekyll & Hyde story, though the transformations are often fairly restrained in the less campy versions.
- The 1932 film is not very campy, and its transformation sequence was at the time a major breakthrough in special effects.
- The musical does an interesting variation: Jekyll changes into Hyde by... turning his head to the left, hunching a bit, and having the lighting change. However, if the actor is good enough, it works, especially at the end when he's doing a duet with himself and changing back constantly.
- In Mary Reilly, John Malkovich undergoes one of the most gruesome and spectacular Jekyll / Hyde transformations ever committed to screen. Then, afterward, he looks exactly the same.
- The A Nightmare on Elm Street series has quite a few of these. For instance, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, fitness girl Debbie is turned into a cockroach and then trapped in a roach motel by Freddy.
- Eustace' transformation from dragon to boy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe plays around this:
- Tony Stark puts on his suit different ways:
- The Mark II and III armors were placed on him by JARVIS-controlled droid arms, stored either in a safe platform inside his garage or in his helipad. The Mark IV and VI armor are also put on this way.
- The Mark V travel armor, also known as the "briefcase suit" is what you would imagine it to be, with a button pushed for its handles to appear. Tony then places it across his chest/arc reactor and it assembles neatly around him.
- The Mark VII is probably the most egregious: Tony would wear tracers on his wrists, with the armor (in a large capsule shape) summoned via voice-activation to latch onto the tracers and form around his body. It is practically useful on-the-go... or falling downwards after pissing off a megalomaniac Big Bad.
- The Mark 42 is relatively low-key. Tony tries to design it for an effective sequence, but it often goes wrong due to being a prototype. On the other hand, the armor can assemble on anyone he points to, such as Pepper or the Big Bad.
- Since The Avengers, Tony modified the Mark VII and built his armors from then on so that they can open up for him to simply step in after which they close up around him, making the transformation even more low-key. They can also form around him in midair like the original Mark VII but at a much faster rate. Even Rhodey's Iron Patriot armor has this feature.
- Bruce Banner, being who he is, can (a) be triggered into becoming the Hulk under stressful conditions or (b) lets it out freely. Whatever is happening could be determined whether he is struggling or he seamlessly transforms.
- Thor, while spending almost an eternity wearing his Asgardian dress armor, loses it after being sent to Earth. After sacrificing himself to the Destroyer, Mjolnir flies to him and strikes him with lightning, forming his traditional armor. His helmet, apparently, is a separate piece and not always worn. Later movies show that Mjolnir also allows Thor to change between different forms of his armor, whether it be by summoning a storm or just magically changing his clothes.
- Several of the Star Wars movies will have starfighter pilots immediately precede a space battle with an order to "Lock S-Foils into Attack Position.", a process that usually involves the wings unfolding or splitting apart. Given George Lucas's love of old war movies and airplanes, it was likely a nod to the Dive Brakes that dive bombers would extend before going into a dive, as seen in this footage.
- The many and varied Ultra Series usually involve a man-to-giant-alien-robot-thing transformation.
- Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (2003-2004) showcased several different transformations managed via digital effects. The results ranged from Moon's clumsy and cringeworthy transform (the first created by the production team) to Dark Mercury's showstopper (the final transform created, after the team had gained months of experience with their tools).
- As with its animated counterpart, we see only one or two instances of de-transformation, and these also appear to be simple acts of will.
- Additionally, we get to see one transformation — Minako to Venus — from the "outside", as an eyewitness on the scene would. Instead of all the fancy effects, it's an instantaneous, blink-and-you'll-miss-it change that she performs while running, thus validating years of fan speculation.
- A later sequence, however, has Ami transforming. Unlike Minako, however, she gets a blue glowy thing.
- They also fondly parodied the trope in one of the supplemental shorts: Mamoru becomes "Tuxedo Mask" just by putting on a tuxedo, top hat and mask, but the one time he does it on camera, it gets all the same fancy shots, edits, and sound effects as the girls' magical transformations.
- Many, many, many Kamen Rider characters had this... until 1989. Actual sequences were common in the Showa era; even the enemies had transformation sequences, even if they amounted to little more than the camera zooming in on them, blurring a bit, and revealing the monster from its disguise. For the revival era (Kamen Rider Kuuga and onward) they were mostly phased out in favor of transformation special effects done on the fly. (By now, though, they're as elaborate as any full sequence.) Just about the only Heisei series to use honest-to-goodness stock footage Transformation Sequences is Kiva, and only then for form changes (and Dark Kiva.)
- In several early Kamen Riders, the pre-change gestures were as epic as the sequences (also not so much nowadays; you may get the Transformation Trinket held in the air during the call of "Henshin.") and enemies sometimes stopped the henshin gestures by attacking during the middle of the gesture, or setting traps that would halt them. The first Rider's pose is very iconic and recognized in Japan, to the point that even the How Do I Shot Web? sequence in DokiDoki! Precure has the new hero yell "Henshin!" and do the Rider-1 pose.
- Likewise, episode 2 of Kamen Rider Gaim has Kota trying out several transformation poses in his bedroom, including Amazon and Super-1's. Interestingly, in Gaim, only the more idealistic Riders like Kota and (initially) his little brother-figure Mitzusane/Micchy bother with transformation poses; their more cynical rivals like Kaito and his minions just don the belt, say "Henshin", and change.
- The "transformation chivalry" was humorously acknowledged in the first Kamen Rider Den-O movie: the Big Bad's minions attack Ryotaro as he attempts to transform, causing Momotaros to angrily shout "Bastards! You're not allowed to interrupt the transformation sequence!"
- Similarly, Kamen Rider Decade has a scene where Yuusuke/Kuuga attempts to transform in order to fight Kaitou/Diend, only to be interrupted mid-pose when Kaitou points his own Transformation Trinket, a gun, at Yuusuke's face.
- Subverted in Kamen Rider Double when the Arms Dopant fires a goo "bullet" that plugs up Shotaro's belt, preventing him from transforming.
- The "chivalry" aspect was parodied in the net-exclusive comedy shorts produced for Double. Kirihiko asks Isaka why he didn't attack when Accel transformed into his Super Mode, Trial. Isaka responds that he was "obeying traffic laws"note .
- The Darker and Edgier Heisei series like Kamen Rider Blade and Kamen Rider Faiz tended to have transformation chivalry less frequently, with characters often walking or even fighting in mid-transformation. Debut appearances always played it straight, though; probably best illustrated in the first episode of Blade, where Kazuma's belt orbits his body several times, trailing a "tail" of cards, before finally settling in place around his waist.
- Transformation chivalry is enforced in some series by the Sphere of Power or other transformation effects being absolutely impenetrable, deflecting attacks and painfully repelling villains who attack in midmorph. The aforementioned Blade series was the first to do it: the card-shaped field of energy with his spade symbol on it that passes over him to change him (unless he's pissed. Then he charges straight through it instead of waiting.) is something you do not want to smack into facefirst.
- Kamen Rider Decade and its Super Sentai counterpart (see below) Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger both feature variations on the theme, since both those shows focus on heroes who can use the powers of their precursors. When Decade changes into a past Rider, it's represented by that Rider's usual Transformation Special Effect, except that it's happening to a suited-up Decade rather than an untransformed human as normal. For the Gokaigers, the initial transformation into Gokaigers is a straight Transformation Sequence while their changes into past teams are more simple (usually: team emblem flies out of their Transformation Trinket, lands on their body, and their suit changes in a flash of light), except in the special episodes where they unlock a past team's true power by coming to understand that team; in these cases, they get honest-to-goodness Transformation Sequences based on the originals.
- Gokaiger's past Ranger powers are the powers of the actual past sentai heroes, meaning few returning characters get to change and fight, so we don't get to see a lot of old morphs done with modern effects like Decade below does. However, we do get one for the Black Ranger of Choujin Sentai Jetman, because he is actually still dead. However, when the Gokaigers do the above-mentioned focus episode transformation sequences, we get some idea of what the old sequences would look like if made today.
- Also, these series feature old-school characters with modern effects, and in Kamen Rider terms, modern rules, which means we get to see what several transformation sequences look like in "real life." Kamen Rider Black and Kamen Rider Black RX get to change side-by-side with real-space versions of their classic sequences, and it is awesome. (Mind you, in those actual series, when Kotaro would transform with no stock footage sequence it would simply be a flash of green.) Also, in The Movie of Decade, we get to see Shadow Moon's transformation for the first time ever (as in Kamen Rider Black proper, Nobuhiko was in this translucent cocoon-thing until emerging in Shadow Moon form once his powers matured.) Interestingly, Kamen Rider Kiva still has form change sequences when Kiva himself is doing them (Decade's Kiva changes, like all his changes, are real-space.)
- And it is also seen in Saban's adaptation, Masked Rider. It's brand new, as Kamen Rider Black RX's change was nothing but the belt appearing and getting glowy, at which point the transformed Black RX would be seen in real-space (in fact, several old Riders' transformation sequences are elaborate belt-summoning and activations without showing the actual suit formation - the poses, not the actual change, was the ceremony.) but it looks very much like something you'd see in old-school KR. The form changes are RX stock. Also, Robo Rider gets to transform onscreen (no sequence) where Shadow Moon didn't.
- Another adaptation, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, gets a much fancier transformation than the Kamen Rider Ryuki original did, complete with the monster-repelling Sphere of Power seen in more recent Japanese KR series. No stock footage sequence, though - it's all real-space, like modern KR. However, one small part is stock footage: the closeup of the Advent Deck being inserted and spinning is the same every time. Of course, that didn't save 'em much time and money, as there were thirteen Ridersnote and one Advent Master, and we only saw some characters change once.
- Interestingly, the "chivalry" was justified in Ryuki: The Mirror Monsters that attacked the people would run away back to the Mirror World after they finished eating or the Riders fended them off in the real world. Since they have no intention of coming back out until they feed again, the Riders had all the time they needed to perform their poses and transform. Even when Rider vs. Rider battles happened, the transformation was still justified, as the Riders just wanted to have an actual fight and power up their Contract Monsters. The only exception was when Ouja bruised Shinji's arm before their second real fight, and even then that was because he just wanted to be a dick.
- Power Rangers: In the earlier seasons, the usage of Stock Footage became quickly grating, as the rangers would look the same at the beginning of the sequence, regardless of what clothes they'd been wearing beforehand or changes in their hairstyle. In later seasons, it became standard to use clever tricks to downplay this; many seasons have the Rangers wearing uniforms or otherwise having a Limited Wardrobe before the (full) sequence begins. In several other seasons, the sequence is cut such that their pre-transformation clothing is hidden during the sequence using close-ups and visual effects.
- Beetleborgs has the drawn characters leap from the comic book which opens up, then the kids, drawn up as a comic book page, standing side by side. The armor appears slowly, then the three Beetleborgs step forth, with the Koosh Explosions turning into real flashes of yellow light as the Borgs go from comic-booky to real life Metal Heroes. Later in the series, the pictures of the kids morph their chosen suits.
- VR Troopers gets them, with the VRT actors' faces beneath what's mostly the Metal Heroes' original Japanese transformations. Holding up the Virtualizer pendants is new.
- Speaking of the Metal Heroes franchise, the Space Sheriff Trilogy makes it perfectly clear that the Transformation Sequence is for our benefit. After an instant "flash of light, morphed now!" change, we'd get "[Hero name] takes 0.0[small number] seconds to equip his suit. Let's take another look at the [morph command] process." and then the changing sequence, which is a flashback.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie shows that the Gokaigers actually morph even faster than a Space Sheriff. Tokumei Sentai Go Busters clocks in slower at a full half-second. (Mind you, their morph seems to take much longer than this - the in-scene morph is used much more often than their stock footage one, and it actually does take several seconds.)
- The Makai Knights of the GARO franchise are quite minimalistic in their sequences, which usually involves them swishing their weapons (swords/staffs/spears/bows and many others) into creating a hole in reality through which their Makai Knight armors would assemble in their body at split-second rates. Quite justifiable in that the enemy Horrors of the Makai Knights have no concept of chivalry at all.
- Superhuman Samurai Sybersquad gets a hybrid of the real-space scenes and the stock footage sequences. Sam striking the 'power chord' on his guitar is half new footage (constant angle-changing for drama. The alternate angle is stock footage.) as is his transforming into energy and flying into the computer. The energy entering the Servo form on the screen and Servo flying into action is stock footage, as well as Servo's 'decompressing' into his proper size. (The original series is a Spiritual Successor of the Ultra Series, so decompression replaces the heroic Make My Monster Grow to building size.)
- An earlier Filmation production of Shazam! from the 1970s had the magic-word-and-lightning transformation between Billy Batson and Captain Marvel. It was usually paired with a similar show, Isis, which had its own transformation sequence.
- In a case of typical Filmation cheapness, the detransform from Captain Marvel back to Billy was handled by simply running the transform footage backwards, even though that meant the sequence ended with a lightning bolt unstriking Billy.
- In the 1970s The Incredible Hulk series, David Banner (Bill Bixby)'s transformations into The Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) would usually be made specifically for each episode, but there were a few stock sequences that were sometimes used, involving multiple close-ups of Bill wearing colored contacts, his skin turning green, the shirt tearing on his back, and/or a full shot of the Hulk whipping off the remnants of the shirt. In later episodes, it would often happen almost entirely off-screen after the initial shot of Bill's glowing eyes, only the distinctive sound effect indicating anything was happening.
- The 1970s Wonder Woman series iconically featured the character spinning in place as she changed from Diana Prince to Wonder Woman. The original version of this sequence showed her spinning and rapidly changing into Wonder Woman (still holding her old clothes and needing to dispose of them). Later in the season, as this effect was more expensive to shoot, this was replaced by Diana spinning in place as an optical effect played over her, changing her into Wonder Woman instantly (and not requiring her to deal with her civilian clothes). Here's six solid minutes of every single transformation from the first season.
- The Twilight Zone pulled off an impressive transformation scene despite limited special effects in The Howling Man. A man walks down a pillar-lined hallway as the camera follows alongside him. As he passes behind each pillar, he gets more and more demonic (ending with a cliche horns and tail). It's cut so that it appears to be one long take, but there's no effects on screen at any point.
- Masters of low-budget kid shows, Sid and Marty Krofft had a few of these. "Activate Electra-Change!" turned Lori and Judy into Electra Woman And Dyna Girl, and a magic horn turned the junky Schlep Car into Wonderbug.
- The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg, the ancient Irish Power Rangers.
- Manimal, starring Simon MacCorkindale. Though he could transform into any animal, there were transformation sequences only for three animals. And they never explained why he always returned to human form fully clothed despite the transformation sequence's clear depiction of his clothes ripping.
- George's werewolf transformation in Being Human, heavily influenced by An American Werewolf in London.
- "POWER ON!" By pressing the team's distinctive phoenix insignia, Captain Power and his cohorts would activate the Power Suits which would transform from "patterned longjohns" worn under their uniforms, into actual plate armor with weaponry and personalized devices. Heavy damage to the Power Suit would make them fade back into their inactive shape.
- Kitchen Nightmares — in the UK show at least — has Gordon Ramsay "transform" from normal everyman into Super-Badass-Chef-Ready-to-Save-the-Fucking-Day by stripping out of his civilian clothes into a brand-spanking new chef's coat. Estrogen rises predictably.
- KITT in the last season of Knight Rider and KI3T in the 2008 TV movie and show.
- On Teen Wolf, when the Alpha twins Aiden and Ethan to perform their Fusion Dance to transform into a giant "Super Alpha". Both strip off all the clothes on their upper bodies. One of them drops to his hands and knees. The standing twin then slams his fist literally into the kneeling twin's back. Their bodies are then pulled together, complete with bones visibly shifting around as they become one.
- In the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove werewolves have a particularly gruesome transformation sequence. Their wolf body forms within their human form and slowly rips itself out. Then shakes off the remaining gore and eats it.
- The first segment of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" has Michael transforming into a werepanther.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic undergoes a transformation sequence at the start of his video "Fat" that fortunately does not strip him nude in the process.
- Similarly enough, the music video for "Right Here, Right Now" has a transformation sequence based on the theory of evolution.
- In World of Warcraft, the Worgen race can switch between a human form and a werewolf form. When becoming a werewolf out of combat they exhibit a rather elaborately animated transformation scene; but since they have to be in werewolf form to participate in combat, entering werewolf form in combat is basically instantaneous.
- Princess Waltz has a transformation sequence Magical Girl style, but despite it being a hentai game, the fanservice level isn't worse than you average Sailor Moon episode (albeit minus the glowing Barbie Doll Anatomy effect.
- Sonic the Hedgehog regularly delves into this trope with the titular character's Eleventh Hour Super Powers. The most notable are Super Sonic and most related transformations, and Excalibur Sonic.
- Subverted in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, when Etna shoots two Sentai members during a transformation sequence because, hey, they were wide open during it. Turns out that was the dumbest thing she could have done...
- Then again Disgaea 3 and the PSP remake of Disgaea 2 plays this straight with the "magichange" feature (which allows a monster type unit to "merge" with a humanoid unit by acting as a weapon for them), although only the monster unit transforms.
- One of the combination attack animations in Disgaea 4 has the participants put on a simplistic, multi-person centipede costume, accompanied by dramatic visuals, sound effects, and camera angles.
- Also features a brief one when monsters combine for the size increasing type of transformation.
- Parodied in Silent Hill 3 (Of all places...) when Heather equips her ridiculous Princess Heart outfit, triggering a lengthy transformation.
- The early Mario and Castlevania games actually pause the action around the player character while he's transforming, though the change in form was fairly instantaneous and without frills otherwise.
- The SRX from Super Robot Wars has an impressive combinations transformation which has its own theme called "Variable Formation".
- The Breath of Fire series is the king of this trope for video games, since the main character of each game (all named Ryu) can transform into a dragon, with a more elaborate sequence in each game. Furthermore, in the first and third games, a second character has a transformation sequence (Karn in Breath of Fire I, and his Fusions; Rei in Breath of Fire III, and his Weretiger transformation), and the fourth game's antagonist, Fou-Lu, is playable and can also transform into a dragon in a sequence largely identical to Ryuu's.
- SaGa Frontier: Red had one but nobody could see it because he needed to maintain his Secret Identity. But a good Secret Identity Change Trick (Power Outage, Mecs only in party, Characters stunned/blinded) allows him to go Alkaiser no problem.
- The Legend of Dragoon has individual anime-like transformations for every single playable character in the game, as they turn into their Dragoon forms. One villain also gets a mid-battle transformation into a Dragoon with his own sequence. Dart, the main character, gets a second Dragoon form late in the game with an even more over-the-top sequence.
- Luckily there was a menu option to replace the sequence with a much shorter "Normal form Flash Dragoon form" sequence.
- But you still got the full transformation sequence of the character who initiated the "transform all" Special command.
- Saiyuki: The Journey West features characters who can transform into monsters. Each one has an elaborate transformation sequence and an equally elaborate reversion sequence. Furthermore, there's two more sequences for transformation and reversion used in cutscenes (even though they otherwise use the same sprites!)
- More minor transformation sequences are used in Final Fantasy VII (Vincent's Limit Break) and Wild ARMs 2 (Ashley's transformation into Knight Blazer). These pretty much are of the "original character fades out, new form fades in" variety rather than the flashy sequences mentioned above, though.
- This trope is arguably the entire point of Final Fantasy X-2. Luckily, there's an option to shorten or turn off the transformation sequences after the first time the girls have changed into their new Dresspheres.
- The character of MOMO in XenoSaga gets powerups that can be used once per fight that include transformation sequences.
- Mega Man ZX "Model X! Model Z! Megamerge!"
- Every single villain and hero also transform in the Star Force games, though admittedly usually everyone except for Geo gets theirs shortened to a quick fade to white and back.
- The Tekken series has quite a few. Including Devil Jin's ending from the fifth game and Ogre's transformation into True Ogre in Tekken 3.
- Transformation sequences were an oft-requested feature in City of Heroes, and a small set of four costume-change emotes were finally released in 2009 with the Magic Booster Pack, as well as four generic transformation sequences. By the time the game closed, there were thirty-three in all. They ran the gamut from emulating Wonder Woman ("Spin") or Captain Marvel ("Lightning"), to being reminiscent of the arrival of time travelers in the various Terminator movies ("Energy Morph"), as well as less-flashy changes like jumping out of frame and landing in the new costume ("Ninja Leap") or simply saluting ("Salute") or backflipping ("Backflip").
- Kheldians and Nictus, the game's resident body-stealing shape-shifting aliens, follow this trope to a T. Switching into their forms involves a moment of concentration and a big, screen-shaking flash of Kheldian/Nictus energy, whereas switching back just makes the human silently pop into existence where the alien used to be. (Kheldian characters could also use this sequence for a regular costume change)
- Super Smash Bros.. Melee has a relatively quick transformation sequence between Zelda and Sheik. This is lengthened in Brawl because of loading, and Pokémon Trainer goes through a similar "transformation" when switching Pokémon, but the character transforming cannot be damaged or intercepted from the time the sequence starts to when it ends. There is still a lag period at the end, though.
- Altered Beast has a momentary pause before buffing up when one of the magical floating balls is collected, followed after a third time by a transformation sequence to make you into a werewolf, dragon, or giant cuddly bear with halitosis. The werewolf one◊ is particularly detailed.
- The Japan- and Europe-only PS2 game Project Altered Beast has horrifying transformations. The player takes the role of a "Genome Cyborg" investigating a town that has been overrun with "Genome Mist" transforming all its inhabitants into horrifying monstrosities. The main character appears as a human but has the ability to take various forms. No matter which form is chosen, it is accompanied by a gruesome CGI video detailing every aspect of the transformation as limbs blow up and regrow and various organs are mutilated and reshaped, with no limit on the amount of gore.
- Diablo 2: In the cutscene before Act IV narrated by Marius, he has the misfortune to witness The Wanderer's horrific transformation into Diablo. Spikes burst out from his back, his face distorts horribly, and it ends with Diablo casting aside what's left of his human shell like a dirty rag.
- Pokémon evolution features the creature fading into its outline, and then the outline shifting into the new evolution, before fading back in. You can glitch this process in the first game, resulting in a near-endless stream of (impossible) evolutions.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has earned its fame as the darkest of the Zelda titles partially due to the transformation scenes, which involve Link gasping and cringing to the background transformation sound effects, culminating in a scream as the sequence finishes. Skippable by pressing a button, but only after the first time. Transforming back triggers a short scene involving a halo effect around his head as he pulls the mask off, reappearing as human.
- Gitaroo Man's can be seen here about a minute into the video. His transformation is sort of rushed in further levels, though.
- In Mass Effect 2, when Harbinger engages his Villain Override and takes control of a Collector, the Collector's body goes through one of these. Note that he is not invulnerable during the transformation sequence, allowing a quick-witted player to whittle down his shields and armor before he starts attacking. The transformation sequence elevating him above most structures serving as cover certainly helps getting a few good shots in.
- Prototype: Alex Mercer goes through a lot of morphing, but acquiring a power during a cutscene, the camera zooms in for a sequence with writhing sinews of biomass in the full spectrum of color from black to grey consuming him before he emerges with his new Red Right Hand.
- You can also do the long version of the sequence at any time by holding the D-pad for the quick-change instead of just pressing it. This lets you see the sequence for powers you acquire as upgrades like muscle mass, whipfist, and the vision powers.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 has the Empire's Tengu launching into a backflip and transforming mid-air when switching between mecha and jet forms. In-game.
- To a smaller extent, the Striker VX does it as well. The intro even shows it extending two spindly legs just prior to landing then folding back it's propeller before firing off-screen.
- Or for that matter, every single amphibious unit in the game does a Transformation Sequence when going from land to water or the opposite; from Allied Prospectors expanding an air cushion to Soviet Stingrays extending six legs and climbing ashore, Spider Tank style.
- Ar Tonelico 3 did this in a reverse effect. Reyvateils remove their clothes during their zoom-in transformation sequences. Strangely enough, they reequip their clothes in a flash when they begin using their ultimate attacks.
- Carbuncle from Puyo Puyo, in this commercial, does the usual intro... right before Carbuncle transforms into a handheld with Carbuncle himself inside it.
- In the Digital Devil Saga games the characters all transform into demons to fight. The player characters and major NPCs emit glowing Tron Lines from the sigils tattooed on their bodies which extend across them before morphing into their monstrous forms, while minor enemies just summon a cylindrical energy field to surround them before being replaced by their monster shape. The sequence is not often seen though, as players almost always start battles already transformed and only start in human form when ambushed. Although they do have the option of switching back and forth between human and devil form in battle, this is rarely a good idea as human form is, unsurprisingly, much weaker. In the second game the player characters also gain access to a 'berserk form' which randomly happens when solar noise is at maximum, forcing them into a half-transformed state with massive attack power and critical chance, but low accuracy, all spells and skills apart from hunt skills sealed and 0 defence.
- When a CPU or CPU Candidate in Neptunia activates Hard Drive Divinity, the user switches into a Stripperific bodysuit, her hair grows (or changes to drill hair in Uni's case), her eyes glow and sport power switch shaped pupils, and her weapon will increase in size or at least change how it looks to fit the appearance of the user; in Neptune's case, her voice is also changed. The Transformation Sequence is very Sailor Moon-esque in the first game and rather lengthy at that, but can fortunately be skipped with the press of a button. Arfoire likewise gets a transformation in the first game as well; into a colossal and powerful dragon, that is.
- In Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock's Quest mode, every character gets one when you play their encore song for the first time and they transform into their warrior form.
- Angelic Buster has one in MapleStory in the beginning of her class showing her transformation from Tear to Angelic Buster. You can play it as many times as you want.
- In Arcana Magi Zero, when Alysia Perez calls for Saga and Megumi Miyazaki calls for Fable, their magic circles would go through their bodies forming their magical outfits and armor.
- Yuki Shimizu in The Impossible Man has a Transformation Sequence off scene. The plausible reason was to hide her identity from everyone, even her co-workers. Unfortunately her co-workers already figured out her secret identity and she know its too, but she still goes off scene in their presence when there are no vilains around to transform.
- Linkara's had a few Power Rangers styled ones in Atop the Fourth Wall, and then there's Spoony turning into Dr Insano in Kickassia
- The Metaverse has two notable examples.
- Tom Fury attempts to replioate Ultraman's transformation into his signature gear...but he hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet.
- Kid Sideburns becomes the superhero Captain Mental to defeat Coyle Commander byputting on a mask and having his clothes magically change,
- Prior to the climax of Return of the Cartoon Man, Roy undergoes a transformation back into a Cartoon Man so that he can stop Simon's diabolical scheme.
- Bee and Puppycat has a downplayed version. Bee's transformation is less exaggerated than most, and Bee groans in complaint the entire time.
- Manatee Girl The Movie features one that is roughly a minute long (of a 4 minute 30 second film) and has manatees in space floating in the background. The length is Lampshaded when the mid transformation sequence the main villain checks his watch.