Page Type: trope
So you are planning on a series where every episode your hero will fight a different opponent. But you also want to show him as a nice soul that wants to help any extra that crosses his path, so you want to add a victim as well, but that seems too crowded for a single episode, wouldn't be better if you could condense it a little? Maybe by combining up some things?
Enter the bystander possession. Instead of creating his own monsters, or fighting directly, the villain will take a random person from the audience and transform them into a minion. This can be really convenient in a family-friendly show since it creates an in-universe reason for not killing. These are normal people that cannot help themselves so the duty of The Hero is not only to stop them, but help them get to normal.
Since the villain creating monsters from literally any random person would be too powerful, and because the villain needs to be, you know...a villain, in most cases the selected victim tends to be someone that recently suffered some kind of distress, most likely emotional so, while they may be willingly lured into helping, once the transformation takes place they tend to be too controled by the villain to make any real choice. (but exceptions might apply.)
While it can be used a single time it tends to work better in a Monster of the Week format as the villain Modus Operandi (or at least a frequent strategy.) since it provides more time to know the victim, and allow to use more victims as well. And while is normal for a villain to be the responsible for this, is not necessary; it could be natural or caused by a non-sentient force, as long as someone can be infected (and it can be solved in a single episode.)
- Corrector Yui presents an interesting case in which not even the corrupter is at fault. In this case is a little girl who happens to be a virus, so whenever someone interacts with her, their code gets infected and become monsters.
- In Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z this comes about due to a substance that the professor created. He used it to destroy an iceberg, but then beams infused with this substance hit many other people or things, but they tend to remain oblivious and keep their normal lives until they suffer a letdown and then the powers activate. An interesting case since this can not only affect people but also animals and even inanimate objects.
- Flint the Time Detective combines this with Gotta Catch Them All. Flint and company need to collect all the Time Shifters so they don't damage the timeline, but they are nice creatures not doing it on purpose. But Petra Fina can stamp them to control them and transform them into hideous forms called Con forms which the heroes must revert through the Power of Friendship.
- Has happened in various entries of Pretty Cure
- Heartcatch Pretty Cure has people with wilting Heart Flowers turned into Desertrian (the Monster of the Week, combined with an inanimate object) who the Cures need to purify. Notably, both Erika and Itsuki were Victims who then became magical girls themselves.
- Doki Doki Pretty Cure has a similar concept, where people with selfish hearts called Psyches turn dark and become Jikochuus. Notable, the villains enhance or corrupt the victims' selfishness with force. In contrast to Heartcatch, almost every victim is just a random bystander.
- In episode 24 of Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger, Giganoid #6: Giant, is just the Abarangers' friend Emiri made into a giant.
- In Kamen Rider Den-O, the monsters are Jerkass Genies who distort peoples' wishes (which are, with perhaps two exceptions, well-intentioned or merely misguided. The Hero, a very compassionate young man, makes helping the Victims as much a priority as fighting the monsters.
- Kamen Rider Fourze has the MOTW, which is created by a human "Switcher" using a device called an Astro Switch; the Switcher is someone with a grudge who's so hell-bent on revenge that they're blinded to the fact that the Switch will eventually kill them. So instead of just beating up the MOTW, Fourze and his team reach out and try to befriend the Switchers so that they know there's somebody who cares.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: In episode "Attack of the 60' Bulk", Bratboy is actually Bulk transformed by Rita and Zedd's magic.
- In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards The first three bosses Kirby encounters are the friends that will help him along the game. All of them were too close to one of Dark Matter's pieces and got possessed to attack Kirby.
- Happens twice in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Fire boss Fyrus, who is actually Goron Patriarch Darbus; and ice boss Blizzeta, who is a calmed yeti woman named Yeta. Both keep helping you after their defeat.
- Mega Man Star Force: Since the current incarnation of Mega Man is a boy who merges with an (Energy Being) alien, most of his enemies naturally consist of other humans who merge with other similar aliens. Specifically for the first two games, the evil aliens prey on the humans' negative feelings in order to manipulate them to merge with them and cause the chaos of the scenario. When they're defeated, most of said aliens (and the humans that bond with them) become good, or at least neutral, guys.
- This is the whole strategy of the main villain in Miraculous Ladybug. He will send an Akuma to any person that recently got disappointed and is holding a grudge (justified or not) so he can offer them a "chance for revenge" in exchange of them helping him to take the miraculous of Ladybug and Chat Noir.
- In Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja the Sorcerer has the ability to "Stank" any person that has been heartbroken or is going through emotional trauma.
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