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Bit-by-Bit Transformation

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A minor prob-llama.
A type of transformation in which, most likely due to a curse, spell or potion, portions of your body start to turn into that of a creature until the whole body is changed. The order can vary depending on what animal or on the work. Often happens with a Forced Transformation. Can lead to Stumbling in the New Form if, for example, one leg gets changed but the other doesn't, leaving the victim with an uneven gait until the change is complete.

See also Partial Transformation, when the transformation stops at just part of it, and Slow Transformation.


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    Films — Animated 

  • In Pinocchio, bad boys turn into donkeys in this manner. The first sign of the transformation is a donkey bray replacing a normal laugh, than the ears change, followed by the tail sprouting from the back. This is followed by the head, arms and legs changing before the final stage of losing their ability to speak.
  • Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night has the infamous scene where Pinocchio is turned back into a puppet with different parts of his body become lifeless wood. Thankfully, this scene was trimmed or cut from most TV airings.
  • Possibly a Shout-Out to the above, Kuzco's transformation into a llama in The Emperor's New Groove. The ears change first, then his neck changes, followed by his right hand, face and left hand. We don't see anything below the waist, however.
  • Beauty and the Beast: Happens at the end when the Beast returns to his human form. The hands change first, then the feet change, and his head changes too. We aren't shown anything else, though. The Enchanted Christmas shows a flashback showing the prince's transformation into a beast, where the only part that's completely shown are his hands.
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, this happens to Wallace, when he becomes the titular Were-Rabbit.
  • In Bartok the Magnificent, Ludmilla drinks a potion that amplifies your inner self ten times and slowly transforms into a dragon. First she grows a tail, then her hands grow bigger and grow claws, then her breasts grow to a ludicrous extend, then her lower body transforms, her arms grow, she balloons to an enormous size, she sprouts horns, and finally her face turns into that of a dragon.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Happens to Scrappy when changing into giant form in the first live action Scooby-Doo (2002) movie. One of the few to deal with ill-proportioned transformations.
  • This happens to Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn after he's bit by a vampire. First his teeth start changing, then his hands...


  • Like the film it was adapted into, The Adventures of Pinocchio has this when Pinocchio and the other boys turn into donkeys.
  • Although using a shorter time frame than most examples, shapeshifting in Animorphs works this way. For added fun, the process is randomized every time. With practice, they can exercise some control over which part turns into what first (Jake manages to start a wolf morph just enough to change his throat to change his voice, Cassie impresses the Andalite sharing her brain by making Hork-Bajir arm blades appear in sequence). Turned into an artform by Andalites (who call it morphdancing).
  • Goosebumps: The book called Chicken, Chicken where two kids slowly transform into chickens over the course of a few days.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Godai initially transforms into Kuuga this way, until he figures out his henshin pose, in Kamen Rider Kuuga.
  • In the That's So Raven Halloween special, "Don't Have a Cow", Raven and Chelsea perform a spell that accidentally starts turning them into cows which continues as the episode goes on. They get (In order) cow ears, tails, snouts, hooves, and tongues. They also act more like cows as it goes on in which they eat and moo frequently. During the costume contest announcement the rest of the parts come and they are completely transformed until it's revealed that it was all a vision.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "The Dark Age", Jenny Calendar is possessed by the demon Eyghon. At first the transformation is just in her attitude, becoming sexually forward (which an off-his-game Giles attributes to an earlier head injury), but quickly turns scornful, then growly-voiced with some forehead distortion. When she later returns, she's in full-on pointy-ear, big-forehead glowy-eyes mode.
  • In an episode of The Outer Limits (1995), "Quality of Mercy", a human has been captured by aliens. He meets another captive, who is being subjected to numerous surgeries to gradually change her body into that of the aliens. Turns out she was actually an alien spy being reverted out of her human disguise, all the while playing on his sympathies to gain information.
  • Ang Lihim ni Annasandra, a Filipino fantasy TV series (fantaserye), has this when Annasandra turns into a boar and back.
  • In the first season of Once Upon a Time, August (Pinocchio) turns back into a puppet this way.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The After Hours", Marsha Cole begins to become plastic again after learning that she is a mannequin. Her right leg is the first part of her to transform and she has to drag it in her fruitless attempt to escape from her fellow mannequins. It is followed by her right arm and then her left leg. Refusing to accept her fate, she still tries to escape but soon her head is the only part of her that is still human. In the final scene, she has become fully plastic and is on display in the department store Satler's with all of the other mannequins.


  • In the Radiohead music video for "There There", Thom Yorke's transformation into a tree starts with his left foot, and progresses through his right foot, legs, torso, and arms. His face, still frozen in a scream at the end of the video, changes offscreen.
  • Ozzy Osbourne's "Shot in the Dark" music video focuses on one female fan, who goes to an Ozzy concert and has a good time... until she notices her fingernails have turned black. Her panic increases as more features are altered. The end of the video shows her on a billboard (advertising the concert) as its lone character.

    Video Games 

  • LEGO Dimensions: In the Midway Games-themed "Retro Wreckage" level, Gamer Kid becomes a Rampage-esque gorilla (and later, reverts back to a human minifigure) a piece or two at a time.
  • Lego Marvel Superheroes: When Bruce Banner changes into the Hulk, his chest expands first (looking like a distorted minifig body, rather then a "big minifig"), then his arms and legs, and then finally his shirt shreds completely as he goes into full "big minifig" mode. When "Hulking down", he gets Bruce's head first, then his torso and legs shrink down but he keeps the big minifig arms for a moment.

    Web Animation 
  • The Big Dad Wolf: Holan's transformation into a Werewolf happens this way. First he notices his arms turning into werewolf arms, and heads out to a water cooler to calm down and turn them back into human hands. Then his chest fur pops out, followed by his head becoming a wolf's, then his ears changing into wolf ears, and the rest of his body following soon after.


    Web Original 

  • In The Cartoon Man, Roy transforms into a humanoid cartoon character bit by bit, beginning with his gloves, then his hair, and finally his eyes.

    Western Animation 

  • American Dragon: Jake Long: In a variation of this trope, Jake and Hayley can willingly change certain body parts into that of a dragon's for whatever situation.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: In "Oh Brother, What Art Thou", Ray-Ray becomes a dragon this way. First, his hands and feet enlarge, followed by a tail growing. We don't see anymore after that and he's a full dragon the next time we see him.
  • Happens in Turbo Teen whenever Brett turns into a car and back.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • The episode "Sickly Sweet" has Grim put a spell on Mandy that would cause her to gradually turn into a donkey/dragon hybrid when she acted mean.
    • "Grim for a Day" has Grim and Billy turn into each other this way.
  • In the Looney Tunes short Yankee Dood It, whenever the Shoemaker says the word "Jehoshaphat", the elf gradually transforms into a mouse (which can be undone by saying the word "Rumpelstiltskin"). First he gains a mouse's tail, then mouse ears, and finally into a full mouse. At the end of the cartoon, when the elf king visits the Shoemaker to check on his business, the shoemaker declares his next line of shoes to be named "the Jehoshaphat Boots", and the King goes straight into the complete mouse form.
  • In a first season episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie suffers bit-by-bit petrification over the course of the episode.
  • In Adventure Time, Simon Petrikov's initial transformation into the Ice King occurred very gradually. In the episode "Betty", the Ice King temporarily became Simon for short period of time.
  • In the Sabrina: The Animated Series episode "Board and Sorcery", Harvey turns into a snowman this way. His nose becomes a carrot, then his arms become twigs, before he's a full snowman in a flash.


Video Example(s):


The Real Ludmilla

Having just drunk a magic potion that will bring out her true self, Ludmilla rhapsodizes on how she'll no longer have to hide her tyrannical nature once she takes the throne... all while undergoing a progressive transformation into a dragon - which she doesn't notice, but definitely enjoys.

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