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Being Human Sucks

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"I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays! I want to hear X-rays! And I want to — I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to — I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me! I'm a machine! And I can know much more! I can experience so much more. But I'm trapped in this absurd body!"

Sometimes writers portray various forms of Transhumanism, cyborgs, vampires/werewolf and other transformations as a bad thing. This trope is the complete opposite. It comes in the following forms:

  • A person undergoes traumatic transformation into something non-human, but instead of angsting they celebrate because they didn't like their former life anyway;
  • A non-human being transforms into a human and angsts about how lame their new form is;
  • A human dreams of becoming non-human because they just want to be special. How close they will come to an actual transformation depends on the setting.

Good friend of Puny Earthlings. Puny Earthlings is more about how other species as a whole see us, this is the view from individuals who are human (or have been). It's a setting trope, this is a character one. This trope may be brought on by an individual realizing they are/were a Puny Earthling. See also Humans Are Flawed.

Often the reason behind Transhuman Treachery. See also I Just Want to Be Special, Cursed with Awesome, Puny Earthlings. Contrast Tragic Monster, What Have I Become?, Karmic Transformation and Face–Monster Turn. The inversion would be Humans Are Special.

Not related to the quality of the BBC Three supernatural soap opera, or its US remake.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Youkai in Inuyasha are so powerful that ordinary humans have no chance against them. Even the common youkai are tough opponents, but those who look like humans are more powerful than a human could ever be. And so you see many youkai effortlessly destroying entire armies of humans during the plot.
    • Hanyou (half-youkai) transform into ordinary humans one day or one night a month. Koga and Inuyasha independently say that most of the Hanyo go into hiding at this point because they know that as humans they would be almost helpless against their enemies. For Inuyasha himself it is a great development of his character that he trusts his friends so much that he stays close to them on the nights of his transformation. Even if it still bothers him that he can't fight. Jinenji hides under a blanket on his human day, which is probably why nobody but his mother knows what he looks like as a human. He is so big and massive that he would probably also be very strong as a human.
    • Unless a human happens to have powerful spiritual powers, such as Midoriko, Kikyo, Miyatsu, and Kagome, the only way for them to defend themselves against youkai is to make a pact with minor youkai, and in this way to do a monstrous type of hanyou become. This is how Onigumo became Naraku.

    Comic Books 
  • Transmetropolitan:
    • Foglets, who are nanite clouds that were human and underwent a process to become nanites, usually for this reason.
    • Transients: Genetic engineering has allowed people to alter their bodies in many ways, but being an animal isn't all it's cracked up to be. Being an alien, however, has a certain appeal.
  • Jennifer Walters vastly prefers being She-Hulk to her original form, and there have been situations where she is confronted with the loss of her powers and is horrified. Considering the fact that, as She-Hulk, she has Super-Strength, is Nigh-Invulnerable, (without suffering the bad effects her cousin, The Incredible Hulk, the has to deal with) and considered extremely attractive by numerous people, it's hardly surprising.
  • Played With in the first revival of Dial H for Hero, with the current holder of the Dial being a combination of this and I Just Want to Be Special. He felt powerless and pathetic — then he got the dial, got powers, and none of those feelings went away.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin is known to espouse this on occasion. At one point he decides to live as a tiger, only to discover that A) Hobbes is either trolling him or genuinely has no idea how wild tigers live, and B) that tigers are an endangered species.

    Fan Works 
  • Fate of the Clans: Cú Chulainn Alter absolutely hates being half human.
  • In The Return, this is Eve's reason for becoming a Succubus. She is more than happy with her new species and all the perks it comes with. Actually most Succubi seem happier with their new species after conversion no matter how (un)willingly they went through it...don't stop to think about that though.
  • In Mass Effect: Human Revolution, Johnathan Scholar, CEO of a human Bio-Augmentation MegaCorp, believes that his fellow men are Master of None:
    "Take it from me, boy, there's no such thing as perfection. Your biotics are exceeded by the Asari, your reflexes are exceeded by the Fiera, and don't get me started on your strength, stamina, and resilience. The rest of the galaxy offers far, far better."
  • Used in the DC story With This Ring, where one of Grayven's allies is a Pony from the MLP-verse, who became human when she traveled to the Renegade-verse. She hates it, as not only does she have trouble adjusting to just walking on two feet, she dislikes the lack of fur, AND that human females go into heat once a month.
  • Megami no Hanabira's main villain, Father Archibald Phillips is revealed to be a staunch believer in this, despising his race for its physical weaknesses and proclivity toward sin and considering angels to be the Ultimate Life Form: he's ecstatic once he gains angelic powers from Metatron.
  • The Story of a Gardevoir That Became a Trainer: Downplayed so far, but Night is now realizing some extra needs she has to tend to, such as food and bathing (she only needed sunlight and water previously as a Gardevoir).

    Films — Animation 
  • In Kubo and the Two Strings, the Moon King thinks human beings have terrible lives. He took his grandson Kubo's eye, and wants the other, out of a vicarious desire to see his progeny lifted from "this hell" called Earth, into an immortal life in the sky. Kubo refuses such a thing because, unlike humans, inhabitants of his kingdom are necessarily devoid of compassion and empathy.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Merlin threatens to transform Archimedes into a human if he doesn't do what he says. Archimedes answers that Merlin wouldn't dare.
  • Zigzagged in The Last Unicorn. The titular unicorn ends up human in an Emergency Transformation and initially has a near breakdown at the loss of her immortality ("I can feel this body dying all around me!") Over time, as her humanity becomes more evident, she forgets being a unicorn and begs not to be turned back because she'll lose the man she's come to love.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: The Dazzlings certainly think so. Originally Sirens from Equestria, they are stuck in their human forms after their banishment to the human world. They also no longer have the magic they had in their native world, with Rainbow Rocks showing they need to subsist off what little strife they can generate. Once their gems are destroyed and they become truly human, they lose even that, with Sunset's Backstage Pass showing they still can't sing and have to actually work to get by, and they hate every second of it.
  • At the end of Brother Bear, after Kenai realizes that he was the hunter responsible for killing Koda's mother, leading to his Karmic Transformation, he ultimately decides to remain as a bear permanently so that he can remain with Koda forever, with Kenai acting as a surrogate older brother figure.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: Jake Sully was more than happy to completely abandon his crippled human body and permanently transfer his mind into his Avatar body.
  • Fright Night. "Evil Ed" is bitten and changed into a vampire. He apparently loves it, enthusiastically hunting down and attacking Peter Vincent.
  • The World of Kanako: The narrator gives a very saddening speech about how great it would be to not be imprisoned in this human existence where he can be bullied at any moment just because he's alone and weaker than his tormenters.

  • The Twilight Saga:
    • Bella hates being a plain human among vampires, crossing over with I Just Want to Be Special.
    • So does Bree Tanner. Edward seems to as well, going off of his narration in Midnight Sun.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld stories, the Librarian of Unseen University is an orangutan who used to be a human wizard. He's very happy with the practical advantages of his current form, like the ability to climb shelves without a ladder or the ability to intimidate people into returning borrowed books on time and undamaged.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan: Steve wants to be a vampire, so he can be an asshole and kill people he doesn't like.
  • Jody from Bloodsucking Fiends and sequels develops this opinion after becoming a vampire: now that she's got a full suite of superpowers, why would she want to go back to being a mortal who didn't even feel safe walking the streets of her home city?
  • British neurologist Oliver Sacks reports in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: A man suffered brain damage from drug use and, as a collateral effect, gained a dog-like sense of smell for a few weeks. After the effects wore out, he says the world felt gray and flat and devoid of beauty.
  • In Victoria, this is how the leaders of Azania see things. Especially being a woman, weak and oppressed by men throughout history. To break free from this, they have embraced transhumanism to eliminate female weakness and "oppressive" biology (such as pregnancy and motherhood), aiming to become a society of superhuman Amazons.
  • The Vampire Chronicles: The vampire Lestat romanticizes mortality right up until he gets a "Freaky Friday" Flip with a human in Tale of the Body Thief and has to urinate for the first time in centuries. After one day without the Super-Strength, Speed, Toughness, and Senses of a vampire, he's desperate to regain his body.
  • Zigzags in The Last Unicorn. When the unicorn becomes a human woman, she is initially horrified at the loss of her immortality and her Healing Hands. Over time, her humanity becomes evident, gains substance, and becomes her own woman — who is able to make her own argument for the beauty of mortal pleasures like love. Alas, she 'dies' when the unicorn retakes her rightful form.
  • Animorphs.
    • Tobias is permanently trapped in his form as a bird of prey. When he can later transform himself back into his human form, he always notes that birds of prey have much sharper eyes and ears. It also bothers him that he cannot fly in this form.
    • Played for Laughs with Ax, who can't control his instincts while in human morph, which manifests as him going wild over food. (He's an Andalite, a species of grazers that eat through their hooves.) He also has no idea about human behavior, and is mistaken for a madman by people who don't know that he is a transformed alien.
      • It gets more serious, however, when Ax is in a dangerous situation and gives up his human morph for fear of not being able to defend himself.
  • In The Shadowhunter Chronicles, common humans called Mundanes are actually completely helpless against the dangers that exist there. They can't even recognize vampires, werewolves, fairies, and witches for what they are, let alone defend herself against them. Not to mention demons. Without magic or superhuman physical strength, one is completely inferior in this world. However, mundanes can choose to become vampires, werewolves, or shadowhunters at any time.
    • There is also Simon, who has been turned into a vampire. He is dissatisfied with this existence and would rather be human again. Raphael cannot understand this in the slightest and enumerates the advantages of vampirism to Simon. In addition, Simon is one of the few vampires who are immune to sunlight.
    • The Seelie Queen enumerates all the advantages of fairies over humans and shadowhunters. This also includes a long life expectancy, which is measured in centuries or even millennia. When Jace once said that Nephilim and fairies are both related to angels, but fairies are also related to demons, so that they belong to hell, the Seelie Queen replies that the real hell consists in getting old after a few decades and to die.
    • Half-fairies play with this from the faory perspective. They are born when one of the parents is a fairy and the other is a mundane. Fairies have several weaknesses, such as cold iron, mountain ash, and holy water. Besides, they can't lie either. But half-fairies do not have these weaknesses, or at least they are much less pronounced. While half-fairies who grow up in the fairy realm can become very powerful, half-fairies who grow up among humans are only slightly more powerful than ordinary mundanes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brother Cavil from Battlestar Galactica (2003) provides us with page quote and embodies this trope to a T. Interestingly, he himself is not a human, but a Cylon in the shape of a human. The page quote is a big Motive Rant all about how he hates the limitations of his human body and wants to become a full machine. His mother/creator's response is that she's disappointed he never tried find a way to become this "perfect machine", instead taking out his frustration with his form and his limitations on humanity (and the other humanoid Cylons) in what essentially amounts to a genocidal temper tantrum. Ironically enough, Cavil's desire to become greater is a pretty deeply human motivation in itself.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Anya changes from a demon into a human, she complains about a number of abilities she lost in the switch. Probably her biggest concern is the simple fact that she is now doomed to die, whereas a demon can live forever so long as it doesn't get killed.
  • True Blood: One girl was more then happy to find out she's a vampire now, telling how her human life sucked.
  • Supernatural:
    • In the episode "The End", Dean is flung into an After the End future where Hell has overrun the Earth. With the Heavenly armies departing the planet, Castiel the angel becomes human, and immensely depressed.
      Castiel: I'm human.
      Dean: Well, welcome to the club.
      Castiel: Thank you. Except I used to belong to a much better club.
    • Regular timeline Castiel in season 5 is also slowly losing all his angelic powers after his rebellion, until he's just a flesh and blood human after he burns himself out completely. He starts moaning to Bobby (who is a wheelchair-bound cripple at that point) how useless he feels, for which Bobby gives him an earful—at least Cas can still walk.
  • Star Trek:
  • In Grimm, after Juliette becomes a Hexenbiest, and a powerful one at that, she quickly grows to like it and resists efforts to reverse the process or suppress her new abilities. This culminates in her betraying Nick and trying to kill him, earning her a pair of crossbow bolts from Trubel for her trouble (no pun intended).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Companion, adventure "Paper Chase". A book lover named Douglas Kimball meets some ghouls, goes to live with them and eventually becomes one himself. He keeps his original personality (except for starting to eat human bodies) and he loves his new life. He doesn't need money, have to dress for dinner or meet people (living ones, anyway). He can spend all of his time reading.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, the standard human is considered one of the worst races in the game. They have the highest stat total of any race, gaining a +1 to every stat, but it's likely that two or three of those +1's will go toward boosting a Dump Stat, most other races will have a higher individual stat thanks to getting a +2 bonus to one stat, and humans don't get any actual traits outside of high stat total. Averted with the 5th edition variant human and humans in any other edition, as detailed in the game's entry on Humans Are Special.
  • The entirety of Exalted runs on this. If you're born to a Dynast family and don't Exalt, it's profoundly embarrassing.
  • This is one of many attitudes a person might have about being enNobled outlined in Nobilis.

  • Lord Selnikov takes surprisingly little time to reach this conclusion in Girl Genius. After having his War Stomper blown up under him, he finds himself "resurrected" as a head in a bottle. Dr. Sun assures him that they'll build a new body for him if he'll answer some questions, and he seems to like the idea, commenting that "My original was no great shakes, after all." He was upset about being Legally Dead, but when he realizes it means that he's automatically divorced from his wife, he perks up even more. "Can I get a brass plate that says 'Reanimated Abomination of Science' bolted to my forehead?"
  • The webcomic Aim for the Stars has a nice little info page listing the various ability's of the other casts races. Like how Plutonians are effectively immortal, Venusians have such a high healing factor they dont need an actual brain, while all it says for humans is how fragile and short-lived they are.
  • Nick Zerhakker from Skin Horse eventually comes to this conclusion when he sees a sexy scientist change clothes inside him: When human, he was a pathetic no-life who had never seen a girl up close. Not to mention the satellite connection. And the weapons. And the fact that he can fly.
  • Parodied in The Order of the Stick. The resident humans don't have any problems with it, but their elf, dwarf and halfling companions wonders how humans can see or hear anything at all with their (comparatively) dull senses. Not to mention that due to their heightened sense of smell, humans tend to stink something awful. Durkon, being a dwarf, also dislikes human alcohol, which is weak and tastes like moose piss compared to dwarven ale (nevermind that the alcohol content of dwarven booze would kill humans).

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Captain Atom thinks humans without superpowers are pretty much incapable of doing anything a superhero would be asked to do, even calling Batman dead weight. When he loses his power, it convinces him of this sentiment even more, despite saving everybody without them.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Albedo is a Galvan who tried to make his own Omnitrix, but it synced to Ben's, meaning he can only use the alien forms Ben can use, and he has the same default form as well, becoming Ben's Evil Twin. Unlike the cosmic-type characters who Descended From a Higher Plane of Existence, Albedo's original body was that of a small, weak froglike alien, and he retains his Galvan intelligence when he's a human. Doesn't seem so bad to us, but the way he sees it, he's stuck as a giant alien with no way to be himself again.
    Albedo: I am stuck in this stinky, sweaty, noisy, hungry, hairy, smelly teenaged human body, constantly craving chili fries and scratching myself in places I suspect are inappropriate!
  • In The Dragon Prince, elves can naturally use magic because they are born with a connection to it. Humans, on the other hand, do not have such a connection that they cannot work magic and have to resort to dark magic, which corrupts them. This has led to a rift between humans and elves. At the end of the second season, however, Callum gains a natural connection to magic. So maybe there is a way for some humans to learn natural magic after all.


Video Example(s):


Man or Mouse?

Jacques a.k.a. Jaq learns being human isn't everything he thought it would be and that sometimes it's better to be a mouse than a man.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BeingHumanSucks

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