It's the next-to-final battle, and the heroes are moving in on the fortress. The Big Bad
dispatches his Quirky Miniboss Squad
and The Dragon
, but while they pose a challenge for a while, they too fall. He is obviously miffed, but it's not like he can go out there himself
The next thing that the fallen minions see is their boss' face looming above them. He informs them that they have failed
, and they panic and retreat — and suddenly stand up with Mind-Control Eyes
. Healed to full and twice as strong
, they rush at the heroes again, but something's wrong. The villain is possessing them
to finish the job.
A favored trick of The Man Behind the Man
, to show that he really is
the biggest threat despite hiding in the back. Also used in case of Non-Action Big Bad
, when the villain is established as lacking the ability to be a legitimate Final Boss
by the virtue of being unable to fight the heroes on an equal footing
. This may result from him being too weak
, too powerful
, or an incorporeal force that never truly dies
, and has to resort to trickery instead.
A form of Sequential Boss
. Contrast I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight
, Heroic Willpower
, and Brainwashed and Crazy
, which use heroes
as the controlled. If the miniboss(es) survive, expect a quick Mook-Face Turn
, or that they were Good All Along
Compare Berserk Button
. This is basically Mass Hypnosis
or Face Monster Turn
done to one's allies instead of the enemy.
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Anime & Manga
- In the Battle-City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, every time one of Marik's minions (the Rare Hunters) was defeated, the symbol of the millennium items (the Eye of Wadjet) appears on their forehead, and they start talking in a notably different voice as Marik is now controlling them through his Millennium Rod, having sent their minds to the Shadow Realm (though this isn't a thing in the original). Almost always preceded by "Master! I'm sorry! Please don't — *evil cackle commences as Marik takes over*"
- The finale of the Pure arc of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. It looks like the amalgamation of Knight Templar Michel and his Clingy Jealous Girl host body Michal have finally been reached by The Power of Friendship, as has the Great One, who was just as much of a pawn. The real threat, small annoying creature Fuku, fears that his plans will go to waste, and overrides Michel/Michal.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Quattro does this to Lutecia when it seemed like the words of Caro and Erio were finally getting through to her. This causes her to summon a large amount of giant insects against the two, including one that's approximately the size of Godzilla.
- Happens to the sleeper agent Anew Returner in Gundam 00 when she decides to forego her mission and stay with her boyfriend, which sadly ends in her death.
- In the final battle with Sensui in YuYu Hakusho, this happens to Yusuke! His demonic ancestor possesses him, boosting his power ridiculously high and easily dispatching his enemy. He doesn't like being made into a puppet like that, though.
- In the final episode of Sailor Moon's first season, The Man Behind the Man Metallia merges with Big Bad Queen Beryl.
- The anime only Amagai arc from Bleach features a series of weapons used by the villains. Kumoi's assassins and elite soldiers are given named Bakoto with unique abilities that grow more powerful depending on the user. The mooks are given unnamed Bakoto that only do this.
- In Naruto, the black Zetsu can hijack Obito's body due to half of it being composed of the same cells as Zetsu. Subverted when Obito resists the first attempt, then played straight with a second attempt.
- People resurrected with the Edo Tensei technique are bound to their summoner's commands but have enough free will to work against them by shouting warnings and offering tactics. To counter this, the summoner can use a seal to completely suppress their free will, although this greatly reduces the victim's combat ability.
- In Pokémon Special, the Kanto Elite Four are a villainous group... except for Bruno, who merely desires a fair fight with a strong opponent. To get him to go along with their schemes, Agatha is forced to use the Gym Badge Enhancement Device to mind control him. He perceives these overrides as blackouts and has no memory of what happened during them.
- A staple of the Dungeon Keeper games, it's no surprise that it shows up in Dungeon Keeper Ami. A Keeper can Assume Direct Control of any minion in their employ, gaining any natural abilities, talents, or skills possessed by said minion. Most Keepers also use their minions as an additional layer of armor- if the possessed minion is killed the keeper is merely ejected with minimal ill effects. Ami, as a rare heroic example, only uses her minions to complete specific tasks, and is unusually careful to keep them alive.
- In the fanfic The Immortal Game, King Titan is capable of doing this with Terra's puppets. While they don't quite have Titan's godlike levels of power and invulnerability, these alicorn puppets are still very, very hard to kill.
- In the Pony POV Series, General-Admiral Makarov, the Big Bad of Shining Armor Arc, is able to do this with his robots and Alicorn Cyborgs, due to being a reality warping Equineoid Abomination.
- Downplayed a bit in Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie — Chapter 10 reveals that one of the aliens had possessed one of Moe's friends to coerce him to get Calvin to attend Camp Pine.
- Mirrors Image: While not exactly the villain of the story, Queen Chrysalis is capable of talking through her changelings, but she usually just uses this ability to upbraid Princess Celestia.
- Aurora: At one point, Dawnbringer does this with his captured minion Midnight Dream in order to speak with and taunt Luna. After the connection is broken, Midnight Dream (who wasn't sane to begin with) is left catatonic by the process.
- Happens during the final battle at the end of TRON. The Master Control Program transfers his functions to his damaged minion, Sark, making him grow many times his size.
- Happens to the dead Septimus in Stardust.
- The agents in The Matrix can override anyone that is plugged into the system.
- Real Steel has both a heroic and a villainous example. During the final round of the climatic fight, both Charlie and Tak assume direct control of their respective robots.
- Happens in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra with a dose of Cyanide Pill thrown in for good measure. Nanomites are fun.
- In Brisingr, Galbatorix does this to Murtagh, turning the tide in the battle against Oromis.
- In The Dresden Files novel Cold Days, Nemesis pulls this on Cat Sith. Unusually, it actually makes the victim less effective.
- In Left Behind, Satan takes over Nicolae Carpathia's body to resurrect it during The Indwelling.
Live Action TV
- Super Sentai:
- The Go Go Five finale has the Big Bad do this to her Dragons for a final battle, and is killed when they are. (Power Rangers fans, you know this episode as Rise of the Super Demons. In the sentai version, "Olympius" and "Diabolico" both spoke with the voice of "Queen Bansheera" after that lightning spell thingy. If you're wondering about their bizarre death scene and the Rangers being way too happy for having just had to kill Diabolico... it's 'cause this is what was happening in the original scene.)
- In Abaranger, Desumozorlya is a disembodied consciousness who communicates by controlling the body of minion Rije/Rijewel. Near the end, he controls Rijewel almost full-time, using her to do battle. Once she gets free, he takes over his monster-of-the-week makers, Voffa and Mikela, turning them into one hideous body for himself. He survives its destruction; they're not so lucky. His last body is a non-sentient suit of cursed armor that had been passed around throughout the series.
- Speaking of Power Rangers, there's always Ivan Ooze taking over Hornitor in the final battle of the movie, although in that case the possess-e wasn't exactly sentient to begin with. After the Ninjazords destroy Scorpitron, one of Ooze's two mechs, he merges with the remaining one.
- In Exalted, every Primordial/Yozi is capable of possessing its souls and (in the case of their fetich) harnessing their own Charms through them.
- At the climax of Worm, the Villain Protagonist uses her newfound mind control powers to take control of essentially every major faction in the world- and several alternate realities- to get them to stop fighting each other and perfectly coordinate the assault preventing Scion from wiping out humanity.
- In Teen Titans, Slade takes control of Terra via the suit she's wearing after her rematch with the Titans went poorly. It didn't work out very well for him.