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Anthropomorphic Transformation

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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.

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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, and Bishōnen Line.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In 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 comic, this also happened to Master Splinter, being an ordinary rat who was turned into an anthropomorphic one, but later adaptations had him be a human who was transformed into a giant rat instead.
  • This shows up in the background origin of Marvel Superheroine Tygra. Her people were originally ordinary cats uplifted by a wizard in order to be companions for mankind. Naturally this went off without a hitch.

    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.
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    Films — 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 a more realistic design 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. Yeah, it's that kind of film.

    Films — 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.

    Literature 
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau is a disturbing early unbuilt version of this. The titular doctor tries to turn animals into humans vis 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Ed. AD&D supplement Pages from the Mages. The spell Evolve will change an animal to make it more like a human being. 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 power of speech.

    Webcomics 
  • 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 common 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 
  • 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 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.
  • 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 Petting Zoo People by a random meteor.
  • Road Rovers has a team of five dogs transformed into anthropomorphic superheroes.
  • 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.
  • Super Mansion: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)

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