Follow TV Tropes


Anthropomorphic Transformation

Go To
"We've got a saying on my planet. If God intended us to fly, he wouldn't have taken away our wings."

When an animal is uplifted via some sort of Applied Phlebotinum, it's not enough for the animal to simply become smarter and gain the ability to speak. Sometimes, the animal will transform physically as well.

It will transition from quadrupedal to bipedal, the forelimbs will either gain Feather Fingers or Humanlike Hand Anatomy, the hindlimbs will develop Humanlike Foot Anatomy, and its realistic animal eyes will turn into Cartoony Eyes.

As you can probably guess, a lot of the above would involve a radical change in internal anatomy, but this is rarely acknowledged.

While this trope and Uplifted Animal can overlap, one does not necessarily require the other. An Uplifted Animal can become smarter without changing much in appearance. Conversely, it's possible for an animal that was already intelligent to begin with to be physically changed into a more anthropomorphic form.

See also Anthropomorphic Shift (when an animal gradually becomes more anthropomorphic as a series goes on), Humanity Ensues (when a non-human fully transforms into a human instead of merely gaining human-like traits), Uplifted Animal, Bishōnen Line, and Artificial Animal People (when they are transformed via super science). The inversion is Unanthropomorphic Transformation.

Compare Transforming Mecha.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Common with lupine Digimon:
    • In Digimon Adventure, Garurumon undergoes this when he digivolves into WereGarurumon.
    • In Digimon Data Squad, Gaogamon becomes more humanoid when transforming into MachGaogamon.
    • The Digimon Xros Wars manga gives Dorulumon an anthropomorphic evolution in the form of JagerDorulumon.
  • In Kemono Friends, exposure to Sandstar transforms animals into Little Bit Beastly girls, even if their original form was male.
  • When an animal is turned into a familiar in Lyrical Nanoha, they gain the ability to shapeshift into a Little Bit Beastly form.
  • One Piece:
    • The Zoan-type Devil Fruits give their eater the ability to transform into a specific animal, wholly or partially. There are multiple Zoan related to humans or humanoid mythical creatures, which when eaten by animals grant sapience in addition to shapeshifting. Most notable is Straw Hat member Tony Tony Chopper, a reindeer who ate the standard Human Human Fruit.
    • "Homies" are anthropomorphized animals and inanimate objects given life by Big Mom's Soul Soul Devil Fruit. When an inanimate object like a cake or a tree is turned into a homie, they usually maintain their original form just with a mouth and eyes, but when an animal becomes a homie, not only do they become intelligent, they also change shape, with many quadruped animals like rabbits and crocodiles walking as upright bipeds, along with their forelegs turning into hands.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Doom Patrol: In Doom Patrol (2016), Lotion the Cat was once a normal cat until he was fed a full box of $#!+, an alien foodstuff peddled by Terry None, and gained a humanoid form.
    • Legion of Super-Heroes: In the Postboot continuity, Sensor was a sapient but non-anthropomorphic giant snake. As a result of exposure to Hypertaxis energy later on, she was transformed into a lamia-like form.
  • Shazam!: In the original Fawcett Comics/DC Earth-S contunuity, Mr Tawny was a tiger cub who was befriended by a boy in India, who just happened to wish he could talk at the same time as a mysterious hermit randomly showed up with a serum that could do exactly that. When Mr Tawny travelled to civilisation, he began walking on his hind legs and acquired a suit, apparently purely out of a desire to fit in.
  • Marvel Universe:
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The titular reptiles started out as ordinary pet store turtles that were mutated by a chemical that turned them human-sized and anthropomorphic. In the original comics, this also happened to Master Splinter, being an ordinary rat who was turned into an anthropomorphic one, but most later adaptations had him be a human who was transformed into a giant rat instead.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes has a variant with Hobbes the tiger, which six-year-old Calvin sees as a large anthropomorphic Intellectual Animal but everyone else sees as a little stuffed toy.

    Film — Animation 
  • Professor MacKrill in Help! I'm a Fish has a potion that can turn humans into fish, as well as an antidote that can reverse the effect. This antidote can also transform realistic-looking fish into cartoony and anthropomorphic versions of themselves, and if too much is consumed, the fish will become a human. This is how the villain, a power-hungry pilot fish named Joe, is defeated, as humans cannot breathe underwater.
  • In Pom Poko, the tanuki have the ability to transform from realistic non-anthropomorphic raccoon dogs to Funny Animals that almost resemble Care Bears.
  • Captain Neweyes from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story has a magic cereal called Brain Grain that turns dinosaurs from savage, unintelligent beasts with more realistic designs, to stylized, big-eyed, talking cartoon characters. His evil brother Professor Screweyes has a pill that can reverse this effect, but the human child characters manage to turn the dinosaurs back into their cartoony selves simply by hugging them.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, it's mentioned that the Star of Astoroth is what turned the animals on the Island of Naboombu into animated Funny Animals, implying that they were regular live-action non-talking animals beforehand.
  • In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Toto is played by a regular prawn in a fish tank in the mundane world, and Pepe the King Prawn in Oz.

  • In the Bernice Summerfield novel Oh, No It Isn't!, Benny and her friends get transported to a world based on Panto tropes. Wolsey, an ordinary cat in the real world, becomes an anthropomorphic character similar to Puss-in-Boots. In the Audio Adaptation by Big Finish, he's voiced by Nicholas Courtney.
  • Downplayed in The Chronicles of Narnia: animals that were gifted the power of speech by Aslan are more inclined to walk bipedally if it happens to be convenient, and seem more dexterous with their paws, but are otherwise in their original shapes and capable of doing all the things non-speaking animals can do. More noticeable is the change in size: those that were much larger or smaller than humans were adjusted accordingly, but only to a moderate extent.
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau is a disturbing early unbuilt version of this. The titular doctor tries to turn animals into humans via hypnosis and surgery without anesthetic, driving them mad. (Later adaptations use genetic engineering instead.)
  • The magic crocodile tongues in James and the Giant Peach have the ability to turn regular bugs into giant clothes-wearing versions of themselves. This is made more explicit in Henry Selick's film adaptation, where we see Ms. Spider as both a small realistic live-action spider, and a gigantic stop-motion spider with a human-like face. In this case, it's implied that the bug characters were already intelligent even before they transformed.
  • Playing with by David Brin's Uplift. The titular Uplifted Animals are typically also modified to let them use tools. While dolphins mostly just have neural jacks that let them command robotic arms, chimpanzees had their spines straightened and their hands modified. And of course the countless alien races have made countless modifications to their "client" races, but whether that qualifies as "anthropomorphic" is anyone's guess.
  • War With No Name: The Change causes most surface animals to become bipedal and sapient, with opposable thumbs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition: This edition has a supplement, Pages from the Mages, which features a spell called Evolve, which will change an animal to make it look more humanoid. This can include giving it an upright humanoid shape, two arms and two legs (adding or subtracting as necessary), hands (so it can manipulate objects), and a human-like face.
  • Pathfinder: The Anthropomorphic Animal spell temporarily or permanently transforms an animal into a humanoid version of itself, complete with prehensile limbs, the intelligence of a (very dim) human, and the ability to speak Common.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness: The player characters are formally normal animals that were mutated just like the Ninja Turtles and Splinter (though there is a 14% chance that the character was born that way).
  • Traveller: The Vargr are an intelligent race descended from Earth canines that were genetically manipulated by the Ancients. They were adapted to stand upright on their back feet and their forepaws were altered into hands so they can manipulate objects.

    Video Games 
  • The "Day of Awakening" in the backstory of Bug Fables granted insects plus a few spiders human sapience and lifespans alongside a number of other human features.
    • All became bipedal, losing a pair of legs in the process, with the exception of the spiders.
    • All who had ocelli lost them with the exception of the Mantises.
    • Mantises gained fingers in place of their scythe-arms.
    • Many lost their mandibles and have a simple human looking mouth. Some butterflies, moths and mosquitoes retain their proboscis. Strangely, a few mosquitoes have both a mouth and a proboscis.
    • When Zasp gets indigestion during the Eating Contest, he clutches his midsection like a human would, implying the organs are in there and not inside the abdomen.
  • Crash Bandicoot and the other anthropomorphic members of his cast were transformed from normal Australian fauna to Funny Animal characters thanks to Dr. Neo Cortex and his experiments with the Evolvo-Ray.

  • In an El Goonish Shive filler strip, Jeremy the cat with hedgehog spines is shown as a humanoid.
  • Freefall: Overlapping with Adults Are More Anthropomorphic, Bowman's wolves like Florence are born looking like normal red wolf puppies but as they mature they develop speech, shift to a bipedal stance, and grow fingers.
  • While Schlock Mercenary has several uplift species (dolphins, various apes, polar bears), the elephants qualify for this trope — willing to stand on two legs, able to grab and use rifles, and one strip had a joke based on "Want to thumb-wrestle?". (The polar bears may also qualify; Captain Landon, part of one police force's Internal Affairs division, can also hold guns; this suggests better fine motor control and 'fingers' versus 'toes' to do so.)

    Web Original 
  • "Feral to anthro" (or vice versa) is a uncommon theme in furry art, some of them even having one species turning into another (for instance, an anthro wolf turning into a feral gazelle). Non-anthro animals sprouting breasts can be either Fanservice or Squick depending on who you ask.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake: Cake goes from a realistically-proportioned cat to a Funny Animal with a bipedal egg-shaped body, thanks to Prismo's magic. She spends the next few episodes fascinated by all the things she can do with hands. Although in this case, it's her getting back to her natural state after magic went away from her universe.
  • Darwin from The Amazing World of Gumball started off as a regular pet fish for Gumball, but soon learned to talk after bonding with him, although it's implied that he was intelligent even before this. Eventually, he developed legs and lungs through sheer determination to make his way back to Gumball after they were separated.
  • This is actually the origin for Rath-Amon from Conan the Adventurer. Starting out as a Stygian Sand Lizard, he was uplifted by Rap-Amon, who wanted to make something more competent than his human servants. He succeeded. Interestingly, though he does maintain a human form, or a humanoid-lizard form if near star-metal, he's apparently still subject to his original biology. Feeling mysteriously weakened, he goes to Set to find out why, only to be told that, as a sand lizard, he still has to periodically shed his skin, something he has to resume his original form to accomplish.
  • In the DuckTales (2017) episode "Double-O Duck in: You Only Crash Twice!" firing an intelligence ray at an ordinary non-anthro white mouse makes her humanoid, and start wearing a purple jumpsuit. Her equally familiar-looking friends are similarly affected.
  • In an episode of Earthworm Jim, Peter Puppy is revealed to have originally been an ordinary dog until he got sucked into a portal to heck where Evil the Cat had a demon possess him which makes him anthropomorphic and grants him heightened intelligence and the ability to talk. When Jim and Peter confront Evil to have the demon removed (In an effort to get rid of Peter's monster form), Peter loses all of these features. However, Peter takes the demon back at the end.
  • Legends of Chima: The various tribes of Chima were once normal animals until exposure to Chi made them evolve into sapient creatures.
  • In the live-action music video for the song "Party Tonight" from Regular Show, Rigby is briefly played by a real raccoon before going behind a trash can and coming out as a human actor in a raccoon costume.
  • Road Rovers has a team of five dogs transformed into anthropomorphic superheroes.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Sandy Cheeks turns into a realistic live-action squirrel whenever she is on land. The other characters will also sometimes turn into live-action versions of themselves on dry land depending on the episode.
    • Inverted in the episode "Feral Friends", which has Neptune's Moon coming up and temporarily turning everyone except Sandy into realistic non-anthropomorphic versions of their respective species. The episode ends with Neptune's Sun turning Sandy into a non-anthro squirrel. It doesn’t have this effect on the less anthropomorphised puppet character Potty the Parrot, instead turning him into a (cheap puppet) pterodactyl! (And Patchy, a human, into a caveman)
  • SuperMansion: Cooch was an ordinary cat until she was evolved by an "evo-ray". She has retained a very feline personality and attention span.
    • Happens temporarily to Robobot, too; while in the world of mythology, a magic potion turns him human, and he delights in every sensation — even defecating.
  • The premise of Wild West COW Boys Of Moo Mesa is that most of the main characters were ordinary animals (most notably cows) that were transformed into Funny Animals by a random meteor.


Video Example(s):


Rex on Brain Grain

A Tyrannosaurus rex gets fed a brain enhancing cereal and not only gains the ability to talk but his features become far more cartoony with human like eyes.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnthropomorphicTransformation

Media sources: