Follow TV Tropes


Brainwashed and Crazy

Go To
Ax-Crazy in this case.

The more dangerous form of Brainwashed, for everyone concerned.

A character is hypnotized/mind-controlled/whatnot and sent to kill their friends or do something similarly destructive. This may lead them to believe that their once-friends are enemies they have to take down.

This trope has been tested and busted by MythBusters in regard to hypnosis; most hypnotists and hypnotherapists (and plenty of fictional villains, for that matter) agree that this kind of mind control through hypnosis isn't possible, as the subject must want to go through with the suggestion for it to work or, at least, have no good reason to object. Which means an alternate interpretation would be that the brainwashing victim wanted to go through with it, if "hypnosis" is used as the explanation for such behavior.

On the other hand, if a writer wants to convey that a Brainwashed and Crazy character is indeed such and got that way unknowingly or unwillingly and/or is acting against his or her own interests, the writer will not depict hypnosis as the method of mind control, because there are far more effective (and far more frightening) ways an individual can be manipulated and/or controlled to act in a harmful or dangerous manner. The Real Life Trope Maker for this would be Nazi Germany, though a continuing situation of Domestic Abuse in Real Life is a far more common example.


It may require Deprogramming to cure, if the mind-controller doesn't try to force them to break an Intrinsic Vow. Also may result in an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, ultimately resulting in a Dying as Yourself if they cannot be cured or freed and thusly must be destroyed, or kill themselves to spare their friends.

A subtrope of Face–Monster Turn. This trope is the inverse of Heel–Face Brainwashing. See also Mirror Morality Machine.

Please do not add Real Life examples here. It is sufficient to say they do exist, but they find their place better under the trope Tyke Bomb, which overlaps heavily with this trope.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Lucifer in Angel Cop. Already a powerful psychic she'd actually volunteered to be experimented on and turned into a psychic super soldier because she believed she was helping mankind. Sadly, she's brainwashed to the point that she believes viciously murdering innocent people and her former allies who woke up from the brainwashing is all for humanity's sake.
  • In Ao no Fuuin, Soko gets brainwashed by Takao to make her more willing in resurrecting the Oni tribe and it causes her to attack Akira when he tries to rescue her.
  • The eponymous drug in Banana Fish is used to brainwash people into doing things they would normally never do, including committing suicide or attacking their friends.
  • In Battle Spirits Brave: Duc is turned into The Prison General by Zazie and Geraid, becoming outright sadistically murderous.
  • Bleach:
    • In a filler arc, the zanpakuto of most or all of the soul reapers in Soul Society are turned against their masters by a rogue zanpakuto named Muramasa.
    • This happens to Rukia in the third movie thanks to Shizuku and Homura.
    • And this is also the modus operandi of one Shukuro Tsukishima, who does this via using his memory-altering powers to convince his victim that he's their dearest person ever.
    • Later, the Vandereich either brainwash Jidanbou and the Mission Control squad members into killing each other so they can't relay information anymore, or use them as People Puppets so they start killing each other.
  • In Digimon Frontier, Kouichi is brainwashed by the Big Bad into believing that he is a digimon and into forgetting about his human life. Later on, Kouichi remembers that he's human, and Cherubimon has to start manipulating his emotions and memories.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • In the Majin Buu arc, it is Vegeta who is brainwashed and made to fight against his former allies. The brainwashing also gives him a major power boost. In fact, that's why Vegeta decided to let Babidi take control of him: so that he could be on even ground with Goku at long last. He eventually manages to break free of the mind control, but the trope is subverted before then, as Vegeta reveals that he could break free at any time.
    • In the Garlic Jr. filler, the black water mist does this to all the supporting characters, turning them evil. Piccolo and later Krillin fake being infected, in order to free the currently captured and bottled-up Kami and Mr. Popo.
    • In the second movie, Piccolo is captured by Dr. Wheelo and Dr. Kochin and forced to fight Goku.
  • It is played in Dragon Ball GT when Baby controls almost all the Earth population. The only ones that weren't controlled were Goku, Pan, Mr. Satan, Majin Buu and Uub.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass has the power to give commands that cannot be resisted, meaning that he can do this at will. Unfortunately, he's not always able to control it, as evidenced when he accidentally Geassed Princess Euphemia into killing the Japanese, leading to the Euphinator incident.
    • It also happens to him, twice, thanks to his father who possesses a Geass that lets him manipulate memories. The first time he tried turning him into a military strategist for Britannia. Second time he just made him an ordinary high school student to bait a trap for C.C. Both times it fails ultimately.
  • Jellal, a massive expy from Fairy Tail, is made out in flashbacks of when he was a kid to be perfect hero material. He has a strong sense for justice, he risks everything for his friends, and he doesn't bow down to the enemies. At the time the story begins, though, he's trying to revive the Fairy Tail world equivalent of Voldemort using forbidden resurrection magic by sacrificing his childhood friend. Three guesses why.
    • Juvia Lockser also became a victim of this trope when, while fighting against Vidaldus Taka, she was almost completely transformed by the magic of the enemy into a sadistic version more self-confident of herself (and whose rocker clothing was a reflection of that of her manipulator ).
  • Played for laughs in Full Metal Panic!, where Sousuke puts his high school rugby team through Training from Hell (fit for navy seals), which results in them becoming brainwashed and crazy killers that completely annihilate the other team. Their eyes are even shown glowing red.
  • Fushigi Yuugi is fond of this device.
  • In GaoGaiGar FINAL, Guy is captured and chemically brainwashed into a berserk destroyer by the villains, placed in a copy of his Humongous Mecha GaoFighGar, and sicced on Sixth Ranger J along with similarly reprogrammed copies of the rest of the robot team. Right as Repli-GaoFighGar is about to Drop the Hammer on King J-Der, the Repli-Nakama resist the reprogramming and sacrifice themselves to stop Guy and give the remaining heroes a chance to get him back.
    • In the original series, all four of the machine kings are all subject to this trope, with all eventually getting redeemed some time into the show, with Primada and Polonaise suffering Redemption Equals Death sort of, while Pizza and Penchinon both get restored to their original forms, Soldato J and the main computer of the J-Ark, respectively.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, this happens to any fairy forcibly transformed into a monster.
  • This was the modus operandi of Goldie Musou in multiple arcs of the Gunsmith Cats manga. It's explained fairly well by her use of the drug Kerasine and her skills in hypnotism to convince her tools that their targets (ranging from complete strangers to beloved family) are possessed by demons, shapeshifting aliens bent on conquest, and the like. Indeed, the murders often cement her hold, by making a return to reality too painful for the subconscious to permit.
  • In Hekikai No Aion, the mushis infect a human host. The victims look normal but them become this when they take a look at Seine's face.
  • In Infinity Game, the previous DM caused all the NPCs to go completely insane and kill everybody, though they were somewhat aware of what was happening as Trishia's sisters beg her to kill them or else they'll kill her first.
  • InuYasha:
    • Big Bad Naraku uses this on Action Girl Badass Normal Sango's brother Kohaku nearly every time he appears on the show.
    • This happens to poor Inuyasha an awful lot, given how many times he gets forced into his homicidal full demon form by various villains.
    • Happened to Kagome once, when Tsubaki the evil Miko contaminated the Shikon no Tama shards with her own dark energy. She then tries to make Kagome attack Inuyasha with her own arrows, despite Kagome's own struggles to not harm him.
    • Happens to Sango in episode 131. She gets possessed by a demon egg, resulting in an epic battle where Miroku fights to free her from demon control.
  • In Kill la Kill, Ragyo's Mental Refitting forces special Life Fibres called Marionette Threads into her victim's brain, turning them into mindless drones that do her bidding without question. In Episode 18, we first see this used to enslave the entire 1-Star student body of Honnouji Academy. Made even worse when she used it on Ryuuko. She managed to fight it off, though, and physically pull the Marionette Threads out of her own brain with her bare hands!
    • This also happens when somebody is "worn by their clothes", and the Life Fibres in their garments forcibly bend the wearer's will to their own. This happens to Ryuuko when she's forced to don Junketsu in Episode 20, with the aforementioned Mental Refitting.
  • In the Alternate Universe manga The King of Fighters: G, several people are in this state at one moment or another. When Goenitz arrives to the Grand Finale and starts wreaking havoc, almost at the same time Kim Kaphwan and Robert Garcia are briefly brainwashed but bring themselves out on their own (Kim beats Chang and Choi but is released immediately afterwards; Robert attacks Ryo, but reacts when the other doesn't even flinch at the sight); similarly, the maddened Mr. Big is easily defeated by Wolfgang Krauser.
    • There are also several cases of More Than Mind Control; specifically Benimaru, Mai and Leona. In the first two cases, their inner struggles are greatly amplified by Goenitz's powers and they're sent into temporal Unstoppable Rages; in the third, Goenitz himself awakens Leona's Orochi blood.
  • In the Kirby anime Knuckle Joe's father, a renowned Star Warrior, is kidnapped and brainwashed by Nightmare himself. He is sent to attack his former allies, and his best friend Meta Knight is forced to kill him.
  • Kishin Douji Zenki:
  • In the The Legend of Zelda manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link befriends a baby dragon. Seven years later, Ganondorf brainwashes the dragon, and Link is forced to kill him. It's not just any baby dragon. It's Volvagia.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers, Ginga is brainwashed by the villains, and is then sent to kill her younger sister Subaru. In typical Nanoha fashion, she is subsequently cured of this by the application of a Wave Motion Gun at point-blank range.
  • In both version of Mai Hi ME, this happens to Mikoto Minagi, where it takes a Cooldown Hug from Mai to undo the brainwashing.
    • In the anime, Mikoto is controlled by a pendant similar to the one worn by her older brother Reito, who himself is possessed by the Obsidian Lord.
    • In the manga, she's possessed by one of the spores from Shiho's CHILD, and attacks the heroes as they attempt to rescue Mashiro from kidnappers.
  • Mashin Hero Wataru Series: Almost all floor bosses and their subordinates are normal residents of Soukaizan and Seikaizan whom the Big Bad turned into their minions. Upon clearing a floor level, those affect are turned back to normal.
  • It happened several times in the Mazinger trilogy:
    • Mazinger Z: The Hero Kouji Kabuto was brainwashed by Viscount Pygman, and later by the Vegans in the UFO Robo Grendizer Go Nagai manga, the UFO Robot Grendizer tai Great Mazinger movie and Super Robot Wars MX in Chapter 10. Professors Morimori, Sewashi and Nossori also were brainwashed by Baron Ashura into one of the earlier episodes of the original anime series. AND in another episode three workers of the Institute were brainwashed into piloting several Mechanical Beasts.
    • Great Mazinger: Boss was brainwashed by Warrior Monster Psychoveia in one of the first episodes to kill The Hero Tetsuya. Tetsuya himself also was brainwashed by Vegans along Kouji in the UFO Robo Grendizer manga.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Brunhild, Duke's best friend back in Fleed was brainwashed by the Vegans into murdering Duke. Also, Kouji and Tetsuya were brainwashed to destroy Grendizer with their own Humongous Mecha.
  • DG Cells have this effect in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Once the metal plague gets into the victim's brain, they become subject to the Dark/Devil Gundam's will. It's also known as the Devil Gundam's ability to self-multiply.
  • Neo Roanoke in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny is yet another example, as he's truly Mu La Flaga from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, after having miraculously survived the utter annihilation of his mobile suit... in space. Go figure.
    • Stella, who is really just emotionally fragile and naive, but is brainwashed into freezing up or panicking whenever someone mentions death, and to calm down and absolutely trust anyone who vows to protect her. After being programmed and deprogrammed so many times by Phantom Pain, then Shinn, then Phantom Pain again, her main response now is to go crazy and panic over anything she even loosely relates to death. Which is bad if she's at the controls of a truly giant mecha with about fifty-bazillion Wave Motion Guns and no-one can talk her down.
  • In Monster, Gillen hypnotizes Nina in order to draw out her childhood memories. She refuses to tell him anything, and attempts to strangle him for good measure.
  • This is what happens to four of the main characters Gainer, Cynthia, Gauli and Sara in Overman King Gainer forcing the last main character, and the supporting cast to fight the Overdevil and them at the same time.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • Happens to Annabel during the Emerald arc.
    • This happened to Blue during the RGB arc.
    • This was revealed to be the reason that Bruno is in the Elite Four.
  • Pokémon:
    • Arguably, also happens to Celebi in the fourth movie.
    • Happens to Pikachu a few times: Once from Cassidy and Bunch ("Pikachu Re-Volts"), thrice from Colress in the N arc. And when his Nice Guy tendencies are subverted, he gets scary.
  • Pretty Cure
    • In the second Futari wa Pretty Cure MAX HEART movie, Freezer and Frozen use their powers to turn Cure White against Cure Black. Cure Black constantly pulls a I Know You Are Somewhere In There Fight, but refuses to actually lay a hand on her friend. This bores them and causes them to turn Cure Black. Thankfully, they shake off the brainwashing just in time to save each other from a painful death.
    • In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, Seiren suffers this partway through the first half of the series as she starts having doubts over their mission.
  • The wolves (and possibly sharks) in Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, making it so that Luke is unable to talk to them.
  • Ranma ½:
    • The super-ninja Konatsu is brainwashed by his Evil Stepmother (who bears a scary resemblance to Edward G Robinson) into attempting to kill Ranma. It is only the Power of Love that undoes it.
    • The Phoenix People are also able to use something like this (or possibly More Than Mind Control); they have magical eggs that they can throw at people, which then expand and envelop the person. When the egg is cracked open (it doesn't hatch otherwise, but thankfully seems to put the victim in a state of suspended animation), the victim "imprints" on the first person they see, becoming their helpless slave. Kiima does this to Shampoo and then orders her to kill Ranma. To her credit, Shampoo manages to ask Ranma to instead allow her to use one of the eggs on him, so that she won't have to fulfill her orders, but Ranma (understandably) refuses. She then attempts to get Ranma to have sex with her (whereas, up until now, she's always aimed for romance and at one point actually got offended when she was made out to be trying to seduce him), going so far as to threaten Akane Tendo's life to make this happen. Ranma cures her by sticking her in another egg, and Mousse then shows her a mirror, so she imprints on herself. She later cures Genma, who she had managed to capture in an egg of her own, by telling him to snap out of it.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Mamoru was at least twice brainwashed into doing this to the Senshi. in the Stars manga, Sailor Galaxia does this not only to him, but to all the Seishi who are mind-controlled to attack Usagi. In the manga, it's made abundantly clear that the senshi are actually already dead.
    • Ami is also brainwashed in a R episode where she is made to think all of her friends hate her for being a nerd. She sees through the ploy and blasts the monster.
    • Also in Sailor Moon R, Chibiusa is brainwashed into attacking the rest of the cast, and is made to believe everyone hated her (thanks to the Big Bad altering her memories/taking out important bits of them).
    • There's also Professor Tomoe in the anime, who gets brainwashed and crazy as a consequence of a Deal with the Devil with Big Bad Pharaoh 90 to save Hotaru from death.
    • In the Stars anime, Haruka and Michiru pretend that they are brainwashed by Galaxia to actually attempt to fight her (going as far as killing Setsuna and Hotaru with their own hands) but fail and ultimately die. This event is redone multiple times in the musical adaptations based on the Stars series.
    • In the manga the Shitennou/Generals of the Dark Kingdom (Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, And Kunzite) are this. Unfortunately, Jadeite, Nephrite, and Zoisite are revived by the Silver Crystal with the memories of their past lives only to turn into their respective stones. Poor Kunzite is re-brainwashed and dies fighting the Inner Senshi as Beryl's puppet and also turns into his stone. But hey, after all that they eventually are reunited with the person they were born to serve Mamoru/ Prince Endymion and get to hang out with him from the stones their spirits now reside in.
    • In the live action version, Mercury is kidnapped by Kunzite and brainwashed, becoming Dark Sailor Mercury. She is later healed by Sailor Moon (with a My God, What Have I Done? moment included), with no memory of the events In the finale Mamoru takes the Queen Meteira into his body and thus is brainwashed by her.
  • Both the Crystal Saint (anime only) and Leo Aiolia in Saint Seiya. Their brainwashing was so through that it took death to release them. Crystal had to die, Aiolia had to see someone else die. Both cases end up in tears.
  • Ikuto from Shugo Chara! when controlled by his evil jerkass of a stepfather and forced to transform into Death Rebel. He's not necessarily crazy when brainwashed at first, just rather cold and emotionless. But, sadly, the control over him eventually escalates to he point where he's trying to murder his childhood friend Tadase and the girl he loves, Amu. Luckily, in more recent chapters of the manga, he's shown to be back to normal thanks to Amu.
  • Happens very briefly in most parts of any Slayers media, usually to townspeople. There's Rezo controlling Zelgadis during season 1, and Hellmaster Fibrizzo controlling Gourry during season 2.
  • In Soul Eater a student named Crona debuted in the series by attempting to kill the two protagonists. This was because Crona was infected with a substance called Black Blood, which is a blood replacement fluid that can be controlled by a human weapon, which sacrifices the user's sanity for invincibility. After being restored to sanity, Crona was allowed to attend the DWMA, but as of recent chapters has been recaptured and rebrainwashed by Medusa and in chapter 104 was revealed to be the series Big Bad, much to the dismay of characters and audience. Until chapter 106, anyway.
  • All of Zaitel's followers in Space Carrier Blue Noah have been brainwashed into believing he is their savior.
  • Happens briefly to Izawa and Isurugi in Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu, as a result of over-exposure to the Evil AI's sound.
  • In Toriko, Joa the Dark Chef has this power. Joa can "cook" others with a few slices to alter their "flavor", changing them into completely different people. Teppei falls victim to this and is now an emotionless fighting machine under Joa's command.
  • In Umi Monogatari, Sedna does this to sea creatures and eventually Marin and Kanon's friends.
  • Variable Geo: Satomi and Chiho both wind up being enslaved by The Jahana Group, albeit for different purposes:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Original series:
      • Marik brainwashes Joey and Tea. Marik released Tea only when she put herself in a Death Trap whereas Joey broke free over the course of the duel with Yugi.
      • To a degree, also used by Pegasus against Kaiba. When Kaiba got ready to duel him, Pegasus showed him that he had captured and de-souled Mokuba... via making the brainwashed kid come into their presences and hand Pegasus his deck, in front of a very pissed Kaiba and the horrified Yugi and his friends (Yugi himself even is driven to Tender Tears at the sight).
      • There's also Shadi, who uses his Millennium Key to brainwash Sugoroku's friend Professor Yoshimori into attacking Yugi's friends in the manga. In the Toei series, Shadi brainwashes Honda instead; he'd already disposed of Yoshimori prior.
      • Let's not forget about Dartz doing this to Mai. Even worse, Dartz himself is brainwashed by the Orichalchos.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
      • Chazz/Manjoume in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was brainwashed by the Society of Light and sent to force-recruit everyone else at the Academy, including his friends. Not quite the same, but considering the Society was an apocalyptic cult, it might as well be.
      • Happened to Bastion and Alexis as well. In Alexis' case, she was much more dangerous because she was serious about it, unlike Chazz's "I've seen the light!" cult ranting. Meanwhile, Bastion released himself by realizing that what he thought he wanted wasn't what he really wanted after all.
      • In fact, Saiou himself, the leader of the cult, qualifies, maybe especially so. He was brainwashed by the greater evil directing the cult and became its pawn. At times, there was a conflict within him, and occasionally, his sanity broke through temporarily but his madness always returned until the climax of the arc.
  • Kolulu and Koko fall under this trope in Zatch Bell!: the former has a psychotic personality that comes out when her bookkeeper reads spells, and latter becomes sadistic and evil because Zofis tampers with her heart, although he claims he couldn't have done it if the impulses weren't in Koko to begin with. He lies, as revealed after his defeat - the only difference between Koko and his other mind slaves, who had no memories of their time spent brainwashed and crazy, was special tampering intended to drive Koko mad with guilt by keeping all the horrible memories with her, in case she survives Zofis' defeat.
  • In the manga series Zodiac PI, Lili's rival, Sirius, is brainwashed into trying to kill her, her friend, and her father. Finally broken thanks to both The Power of Love and the shock of cold water.

    Comic Books 

The DCU:

  • This sort of thing seems to happen to Superman on a semi-regular basis. Probably the fact that Superman is glaringly not immune to magic and mental powers, coupled with the possibilities inherent in showing just how badass a character is by having him/her hold off frickin' Superman while at the same time giving the character in question a good reason for why they're fighting a good guy, makes this kind of story just too big a temptation for comic writers to resist.
  • Batman:
    • An old World's Finest comic in which Batman is brainwashed into being a sadistic warder at a prison for Superman has him reflect that hypnotism cannot make anyone do something against their nature, before the narration explains "But this is super-hypnotism, of a kind never before experienced by anyone on Earth!" (It's almost a shame that this was written in the days of simpler storytelling, as a modern telling of the story would have it revealed that Batman would certainly be a warder on Superman's prison if he thought Superman went rogue...)
    • In Death of the Family, Damian "Robin" Wayne finds himself facing...his father Batman?! Ultimately subverted: it's a martial-arts master in costume who fell behind on a debt to Joker. However, Joker does come dangerously close to pulling this on the entire Batfamily.
    • After massive reader backlash, this explanation was used as a hasty Author's Saving Throw to explain the massive Face–Heel Turn of Cassandra Cain.
    • In Gothtopia, The Scarecrow has all of Gotham in a gas-induced hallucination, making them think everything is wonderful while attacking anyone who thinks otherwise. This includes the heroes, they eventually break free of the hallucinations and try to figure out what's going on.
    • Jean-Paul Valley has what is known as The System, a deep brainwashing program used by the Order of St. Dumas for those chosen to be their Avenging Angel, Azrael. The trance is usually activated when the person dons the Azrael costume, turning them into an efficient, though very brutal, assassin. However, when Jean-Paul took over for Bruce Wayne, his first supervillain encounter happened to be the Scarecrow. When he got nailed by Crane's Fear Gas-coated barbs, the System kicked in to get him through it... and never shut off. This sent Jean-Paul over the edge as time passed, leading to him getting more and more brutal with his enemies, nearly killing Robin when he tried to stop him and culminating in the death of Abattoir and Bruce Wayne needing to come back in order to fix things.
  • In Secret Six Vol 2, the Riddler did something to Sue Dibny to convince her that she's in love with him and to attempt to blow up the Six.
  • Supergirl:
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton Darkseid brainwashes Kara into becoming one of his Furies and attacking her cousin.
    • In Superman/Batman issue #77, Scarecrow's fear toxin makes Kara believe that Robin is her parents' killer Reactron so she fights him.
  • Justice: Most of the Second Generation of heroes -Supergirl, Batgirl, Robin, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel...- were mind-controlled by the Brainiac's worms and forced to fight the Justice League.
  • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, Lex Luthor kidnapped a Masai warrior and brainwashed him into guarding his secret lair's hidden door.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Superboy gets a heavy case of this in Teen Titans, courtesy of his genetic progenitor Lex Luthor. Highlights include shaving his head, cutting an 'L' into his T-shirt, and kicking the shit out of the entire team.
    • Originally Terra from The New Teen Titans arc "The Judas Contract" was a pure example of an unapologetically evil and antagonistic mole. A flashback from a 2000s comic decided to give her some more backstory and retconned it so that Deathstroke had injected Terra with drugs to make her psychopathic, much like he later did with his daughter Ravager.
  • In Hex, Jonah's girlfriend Stiletta was kidnapped and brainwashed into become a bloodthirsty competitor in the Gladiator Games. Jonah is later forced into the arena and Stiletta attempts to kill him.
  • Young Justice:
    • The team including Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Arrowette fall victim mind control that makes them fight Supergirl at one point, and she helps snap them out of it.
    • Darkseid himself takes an interest in Secret's vast powers and manipulates her mind to make her fight alongside him against her friends and allies.
    • At one point a cult worshiping the evil goddess Kali does this to a million children via a television show, and compels them to try and kill their parents.

Marvel Universe:

  • The Avengers:
    • Thor has been turned against his allies many times over the years, usually delivering a Curb-Stomp Battle until he comes to his senses.
    • During the "Ends of the Earth" story arc, Doctor Octopus does this to all the Avengers at once, but is tricked into increasing this to Villain Override over Thor, which renders him unworthy to wield his hammer.
  • Betty Ross. By M.O.D.O.K. when she was Harpy and The Leader early in her time as Red She-Hulk.
  • The Black Panther storyline "Return of the Dragon" has the title hero fighting Iron Fist after the latter is brainwashed by the brother of the Dragon King.
  • In Cable & Deadpool, Deadpool is brainwashed by the Black Box to kill the biggest threat to the public safety. After managing to convince Deadpool that this is not a) clowns; b) Simon Cowell; c) Galactus; or d) Karl Rove, Deadpool goes off to kill Cable, who he sees as the next biggest threat. After fighting Prester John and then going through several alternate universes in order to find (and save) that person, he then gets back and tells everyone that he was only looking for him to kill him. He is restrained until the others can remove the effects of the brainwashing. If you understand DP at all, a), b), c) and d) shouldn't have been too much of a surprise.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The reporter Ned Leeds once is captured by Hobgoblin (the original, Robert Kingsley) that brainwashes him making believe him to be Hobglobin, deciding it would be better to have a scapegoat in case he is unmasked. Ned's regular brainwashings by Kingsley cause his marriage and professional relationships to fall apart. Only years after Ned's death, his name is cleared.
    • Mr. Negative, a new Spidey's villain on the block since Brand New Day, has this of a superpower to do to other people. Inverting their colour scheme, and having them proclaim glory for Mr. Negative while beating the tar out of others they're sent after.
  • The title character of The Punisher, Frank Castle, premiered as a vigilante who kills criminals. Writers who disagreed with the concept sometimes took it, and Castle over the top, having him kill or attempt to kill petty criminals such as jaywalkers. When Marvel made the decision to give The Punisher his own series, they had to retcon this to make him acceptable even as a dark hero. So they declared that during his crazy periods he had been under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
  • X-Men:
    • One storyline in X-Factor concerned a villain using brainwashed and crazy assassins to kill targets — including a woman's own mother, Monet, and Shatterstar.
    • Pick pretty much anyone hijacked by Apocalypse to serve as one of his Horsemen. Even after they're rescued and deprogrammed, the former Horsemen suffer lingering emotional and physical effects, particularly over the things they were made to do while under Apocalypse's control.
  • One of the scariest and most effective instances of this trope occurred when Hydra and the Hand teamed up under the Gorgon to target and kill low-powered but highly-skilled heroes, then resurrect them as Hand assassins. Their first target was Wolverine, who tore through most of Marvel's New York heroes before he was brought down. One of his victims, Northstar took years to get their brain unscrambled, and SHIELD had to resort to decapitating corpses to keep the Hand from getting at them.
    • The Gorgon himself was recruited to the Hand through the same method. He was already bad though, the Hand just made him worse.
  • Laura Kinney aka X23 falls victim to this whenever she is exposed to the Trigger Scent. Thanks to the Facility's conditioning, Laura suffers a Pavlovian response to the scent that makes her into a true Living Weapon who will not stop until the people marked with the scent are dead. She blacks out all conscious thought during these times and only comes back after the scent is gone. Just to illustrate how powerful her response to the scent is, in her origin story Innocence Lost she killed the only two people she ever really cared for and who cared for her under the influence of the scent. She also nearly killed her aunt and cousin who only survived because they were able to wash off the scent in time. Emma Frost once claimed that the Trigger Scent response is so deeply ingrained into Laura's brain that Emma can't remove it with her Psychic Powers.


  • All Fall Down: Along with receiving a new pair of legs, Pronto is conditioned to attack his closest friends, and to love the idea.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog
    • During the "Enerjak Reborn" arc, Knuckles was brainwashed by Dr. Finitevus into absorbing the Master Emerald's power and becoming the new Enerjak. It took his father's Heroic Sacrifice to snap him out of it.
    • This happens twice during the Iron Dominion arc: First, the Iron Queen uses her Magitek powers to take control of Monkey Khan and use him to destroy the Dragon Kingdom Freedom Fighters. Then, she uses those powers to reprogram NICOLE and use her to effortlessly take over New Mobotropolis. Khan was released by the Queen when she didn't need him anymore, and NICOLE was soon returned to normal by Sally (though she continued to pretend to be brainwashed for a while).
  • The brainwave scanner in the G.I. Joe comic was a feared—and painful—method of brainwashing. It could eventually be broken by a strong-willed individual, and if one was a master of the "Arashikage mind-set" one could free others as well.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Death likes to do this to some of his victims, mind controlling them to go on killing sprees. He made Judge Kraken an honorary Dark Judge to help in carrying out "judgment" on the people, leaving Kraken aware enough to know what he's doing and being able to do nothing but weep as he slayed. Several Death impersonators also went crazy and started to think they actually were Death.
  • Lady Blackhawk was brainwashed by Killer Shark into becoming the villainous Queen Killer Shark in the Silver Age and it was even hinted that she had a sexual relationship with Killer Shark when she was brainwashed.
  • In Violine, Violine's father is hypnotized into killing Violine.
  • In Y: The Last Man Yorick's sister Hero falls under the influence of Victoria, the man-hating cult leader of the Daughters of the Amazon, so much that she's prepared to kill her own brother, as well as shooting a young girl in the head on Victoria's order. Even after Victoria is killed Hero still has her voice inside her head.

  • Last Child of Krypton: It turns out that Kaworu is this when he transforms into Black Adam, courtesy of a Mister Mind Expy. Shinji manages to resolve the situation with some well placed heat-vision.
  • Twilight Sparkle has raised Nyx like a daughter, but eventually Spell Nexus blesses her in order to get her to attack her...
  • Neo in Ruby and Nora.
  • Child of the Storm has a lot of telepaths and villains who dabble in other forms of mind control, so this happens semi-frequently.
    • The Winter Soldier a.k.a. Bucky Barnes, though he steadily breaks through the control and conditioning... before being brainwashed again. It's indicated that this was a semi-regular occurrence throughout his time as the Winter Soldier, though his partnership (and relationship) with Natasha accelerated it. Eventually, with the help of Doctor Strange, he breaks free completely at the end of the first book.
    • The sequel has the Red Son, the Winter Soldier's Superior Successor, appear to be this - specifically, Harry. As it turns out, he's actually an Empty Shell, with Harry's mind having been removed and hidden by Maddie.
    • Peter Parker, also in the sequel, spends the first half of the Bloody Hell arc as this, as a Dhampyr of the Grey Court, one of Dracula's minions. Harry breaks his sire's telepathic control, though it is reasserted by Dracula, and its further restoration is a constant risk, triggering the Crazy Enough to Work plan to cure him and break the link with a goblet of Harry's blood.
  • Averted in With Strings Attached; Bayanis orders the ensorcelled Paul to go kill the others, but whoops, it turns out he's been faking it all along and ties her up instead.
    • Unfortunately played straight in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, when a brainwashed Ringo throws John off the mesa.
  • The writer of Undertale: The Surface seems to be a little TOO fond of this trope, most notably happening to Chara, who winds up traumatized afterwards.
  • All of the ghosts in Sweetie's Mansion are under the control of Specter Yield including the ghosts of the Mane cast. All of them, save for Ghost!Fluttershy, are happy to carry out the order to capture or kill Sweetie Belle to become a ghost, until they are brought back to normal.
  • In Clash of the Elements, this is implied to be the case with The Sin Samurai
  • The Immortal Game: Rainbow Dash spends the first portion of the story controlled by a Mind Rape spell called the Insanity, which forces her to obey Nihilus. She's eventually able to break free thanks to help from Fluttershy's Stare.
  • In the MLP AU story Rainbooms and Royalty, Shining Armor, two of his pegasus guards, and Ditzy Doo/Derpy Hooves are all corrupted into Nightmare Moon's servants — the former as her Dragon, the latter three as the first Shadowbolts.
  • Thanks to Danzo, this happens to Hinata in Naruto:Asunder. In her case however she channels the crazy (along with lust) to one person and only one person: Naruto.
  • In the climax of Paper Mario X 2, shortly after taking over Peach's body, the Shadow Queen brainwashes Zelda and Amy to be on her side and fight their friends. The others (especially Link) were not happy by this.
    Link: It's one thing to possess one girl, but three is definitely crossing the line!
  • Played with in Frigid Winds And Burning Hearts: Luna acknowledges that her long imprisonment drove her mad, but Celestia messing with her mind to make her assume the role of Nightmare Moon didn't help, either.
  • Occurs a few times in The Lion King Adventures:
  • The Disgaea fanfic The Curse of Blood has the mother of Laharl controlled by original charcter, Milady. Later on a previously killed Laharl becomes mind controlled as well.
  • Queen of All Oni: During the second half of the story, Jade abducts Viper and force feeds her Ikazuki's chi, transforming her into the Shadowkhan General Hebi, who's conditioned to be utterly loyal to Jade.
  • Fallen King has Yami Bakura brainwash Tea to attack Joey and Tristan, thanks to the Change of Heart card.
  • Pokéumans: Minions of Pokextinction are fanatically loyal to Mr. X and his ideals, thanks to a little mind control.
  • In Mega Man Recut, this happens to any robot affected by Wily's reprogramming gun.
  • In Crowns of the Kingdom this happens to King Louie and his servants, who are brainwashed by the Dispirations.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Splash Woman's song does this to Mega Man, Rush, and Plum, as well as sharkbots and other mechanical fish.
  • Graduate Meeting Of Mutual Killing implies that Nebulous Evil Organization Diavolos Avante uses an early version of the Junko Enoshima AI to brainwash the Main Board members. The exact purpose is unclear for now, but it's hinted that it may be to break down any moral inconveniences the Board Members may have.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
    • Missingno and 'M end up possessing numerous beings and having them attack the proto-J-Team during the J-Team Assemble Saga.
    • What happens what Pokémon are Mind Raped into becoming Shadow Pokémon.
  • Mirror's Image: Princess Celestia, of all ponies, thanks to the previous Changeling Queen being a Knight Templar Parent. Usually whenever something triggers it, she suddenly enters an Unstoppable Rage and tries to petrify whoever's standing in front of her. Like say, Twilight Sparkle. Even worse, any attempt to remove the brainwashing also triggers it, which is bad news for one unfortunate doctor (though he manages to avoid being turned to stone).
    • Later on, Prince Blueblood thinks this is what's happened to everypony else, and refuses to believe otherwise. It doesn't end well.
  • From Maim de Maim: Ryuuko and Senketsu. Through some help, they get better.
    • Izanami Nishimura, the fiance of Satsuki's late ex-bofriend Masanori Kakinomoto, is also this in the second half of the fic and is convinced by Dr. Richard Batty that Satsuki killed her lover out of jealousy.
  • Street Sharks Redux has this happen to Slammu. The exact mechanics of the mechanism used for the job are never explained, but given the mention of its prototype rendering a test subject braindead, it seems to be a more... direct form of mind control.
  • In Origin Story, Hydra dosed Carol Danvers and other characters with the Puppet Master's mind-control compound.
  • In the Magical Girl Crisis Crossover Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, at least one person from each of the five Magical Girl universes has been brainwashed into serving Dead End, including Sailor Uranus, twenty of the Clow/Sakura Cards, Cure Moonlight, and the Wolkenritter. The Madokaverse is the one exception: Mami and Kyoko are turned into near-mindless Hybrid-Witches and thus can't be said to be truly brainwashed, and Sayaka joins Dead End willingly to get revenge on Homura.
  • The Darth Vader Saga has Jason, Kimberly, Katherine, Karone and Ryan get turned into The Psycho Rangers along with Tommy, Hunter and Blake turning into evil Rangers for the villains. This is due to all of them having been evil at some point of time, as the villains wanted to rewake that evil.
  • Break it down, Butterfly: Paon Bleu's first power "Golden Eye", allowing her to control civilians (the number of civilians at a time making it harder to maintain).
  • Infinity Crisis:
    • Happens in Gamma Relations when Captain Marvel briefly falls under the Leader's control and attacks Iron Man and War Machine.
    • A downplayed example in Powers and Marvels: the Mandarin uses his mento ring to take control of Kimberly's mind, but he 'just' threatens to make her kill herself unless the other Rangers hand over their power coins.
  • Victor in Kaleidoscope gets a dose of this courtesy of Eros, a Monster from Beyond the Veil equipped with Yuuri's skillset/physical attributes and none of the humanity. He gets better via a Tap on the Head.
  • In A Prize For Three Empires, an alien spirit known as Zennan mind-controls Wolverine into attacking Carol Danvers.
    Wolverine had lashed out with his six claws of bone and torn three gashes in Carol Danvers's stomach.
    For a nanosecond, she wondered why he had done it. He must, some rational, stand-apart portion of her mind said, be under outside control. Logan was a bosom friend of hers from before she had even gone to work at NASA.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Despicable Me 2, Eduardo and Dr Nefario kidnap some of Gru's Minions and mutate them, turning them into mindless, indestructible monsters. This is reversed later by Nefario's antidote
  • Disney-Pixar's Toy Story 3, when Lotso has Buzz reset into demo mode and convinces him that Jessie and co. are enemy prisoners. Later, when Woody returns to Sunnyside to save everyone, the gang tries to re-reset him and somehow turn him Spanish.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, it's later revealed that the Sugar Rush characters were made like this thanks to King Candy, who is actually Turbo in disguise, hacking into the system and turning Vanellope into a glitch.
  • In the Sakura Wars movie, Orihime Soletta gets ambushed by Patrick Hamilton, who then brainwashes her, and later controls her to fight the other members of Flower Division. She snaps out of it after her fire energy attack that meant for the Flower Division blows up and wrecks her Eisenkleid. She then says to Leni (Reni) after regaining consciousness, "I'm so sorry. I guess I really blew it this time."
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Toothless gets brainjacked by the King/Alpha Dragon. Starts off with him attempting to kill Hiccup — Stoick pushes him out of the way and takes the fatal hit. Later, Toothless serves as Drago's mount until Hiccup saves him with The Power of Friendship.
  • Heavy Metal 2000: Tyler is shown to be a normal asteroid miner before he came in contact with the Loc-Nar. As soon as he does, he immediately murders his co-worker with an ore drill while having a Slasher Smile on his face.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (2013): After Sunset Shimmer finally puts on Twilight's crown in the human world and turns into "a raging she demon" she brainwashes everyone in the school, turning them all into her own personal zombie army that she plans to use to invade Equestria and conquer it. Everyone is released after Sunset Shimmer is defeated.
    • This shows up again in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks when The Dazzlings use their magic to spread a Hate Plague around the school, turning everyone who doesn't have their own equestrian magic into a Competition Freak and overall jerks. The longer they are under their spell the more power they get until they eventually regain their true magic and their siren forms. Their spell is broken in the finals when they are defeated and robbed of their magic, making them Hollywood Tone-Deaf.
  • In Incredibles 2, the Screenslaver uses Epileptic Flashing Lights to control people. She also uses goggles for constant brainwashing, using them to control various superheroes with the intent of preventing the Super Registration Act from being overturned.
  • In Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, this is Slade's ultimate plan: using a powerful machine and Robin's movie, he wants to put the entire world under his control. He succeeds during the climax, and uses the newly-brainwashed superheroes (and Robin) to keep the Titans from destroying the machine.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Probably the most iconic example is Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, who is hypnotized into killing people in his sleep as part of a psychological experiment. Or is he?
  • In Carefree (1938), Tony hypnotizes Amanda into believing she hates him and loves Stephen. Tony gives Amanda a suggestion that "men like him should be shot down like dogs." Later, Amanda grabs Stephen's skeet-shooting rifle and attempts to shoot Tony with it. It's Played for Laughs.
  • In the first The Naked Gun movie, Reggie Jackson is brainwashed to kill Queen Elizabeth II during a baseball game, and Jane Spencer is brainwashed to kill Frank Drebin. (And later in the series, she'd inflict upon him a fate worse than death: marriage.)
  • The central plot of Woody Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Allen and his prickly female counterpart are hypnotized at an office party. What at first seems like a simple joke (the hypnotist makes them pretend to be newlyweds on their honeymoon) is really a plot to make them rob their employer on the hypnotist's behalf. Lampshaded in that another character points out at the end that you can't make a hypnotized person do anything they don't really want to...
  • In the 1994 movie The Shadow, Shiwan Khan sends a mind-controlled Margo on a mission to kill the Shadow. The Shadow breaks her hypnotic trance after she mistakenly shoots a mirror showing his reflection. Margo realizes that, despite Khan never mentioning The Shadow's name, it was Lamont Cranston she tried to kill, because Lamont and The Shadow are one and the same. It turns out that Khan counted on her learning The Shadow's identity, though he didn't count on The Shadow not killing her to keep it a secret.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X2: X-Men United:
      • Done to Nightcrawler with a mind-control serum to make him kill/try to kill the President (it's not clear if he was meant to succeed or die in the attempt). He snaps out of it and escapes when a bodyguard shoots him. This is also done to Cyclops later in the movie and had already been done to Lady Deathstrike.
      • Also Charles Xavier, by William Stryker's mutant son Jason, who is himself Lobotomized and Crazy.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The prototype Sentinels were constructed entirely from polymer, but Magneto controls them through metal he fused to their components.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Wolverine, when he's discovered by Jean, Scott and Kurt in the Alkali Lake base, has been turned into a mindless weapon. Jean mentions that Logan has lost his humanity and been experimented on. When he emerges, he massacres Stryker's troops in a rage without hesitation, and is only stopped when Jean reminds him of his humanity and removes his helmet.
      • Unlike most versions of the character, the film version of Apocalypse notably does not use this method to "recruit" his Horsemen. This comes back to bite him during the final battle when two of his Horsemen turn on him and side with the X-Men, helping them to ultimately defeat him.
  • Revealed to be the reason why The Baroness was working with Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • The major plot point of Zoolander is that Mugatu offers Derek a trip to a "day spa" to prepare for his runway show, the spa is actually a facility where Derek is brainwashed to attack the Malaysian Prime Minister when the song "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood is played. Makes Sense In Context.
  • In TRON: Legacy, Tron attempted to hold off and defeat Clu while Flynn escaped, seemingly being derezzed in the process. In actuality, Tron was brainwashed by Clu into becoming Rinzler, and evidently became a merciless killing machine until Flynn wonders what Clu did to him during the chase, in which he regains his original memories and turns against Clu.
  • During one scene in the Firefly movie Serenity, River, the resident heroic Ax-Crazy and whimsical-in-the-brainpan Woobie, is exposed to a subliminal message buried in a Fruity Oaty Bars commercial. This activates River's deadly martial-arts-killing-machine programming put into her mind by the Alliance, and she proceeds to methodically wipe out a whole bar full of people, even taking down Jayne when he tries to restrain her, and is only stopped when her brother intervenes with a code-phrase in Russian that serves to put her to sleep.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers gives Loki the ability to easily turn people over to his side by tapping their heart with his scepter. Unusually for this trope, the brainwashing seems to simply change their perspective on the world rather than actual mind control or manipulation, and they maintain their usual personality and knowledge while working for the other side. It utterly fails when he attempts to do it to Tony Stark, thanks to his Arc reactor blocking the heart. All we hear is a "ding" of metal on metal. Tony makes a joke about "performance issues", further pissing off Loki.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the title Winter Soldier (who oscillates between Walking Spoiler and It Was His Sled depending on whether you've read the comics) is revealed to have been brainwashed and turned into a weapon by HYDRA, and that he is really Bucky Barnes, Steve's best friend.
  • In the first Wishmaster, a cop wishes that a criminal who has gotten away on seven counts for a crime (not stated what kind) would just commit something that the cops could easily nail him for. The Djinn then controls his body from a distance, and causes the guy to turn into an almost-supernatural killer who immediately grabs a cop's gun and starts a shooting frenzy in the police station. He kills a half-dozen cops before he dies from his own wounds.
  • In Videodrome, Max eventually becomes compelled by the Videodrome tapes to murder his partners at Civic TV in cold blood. When he goes after Bianca O'Blivion, she reprograms him to kill her enemies (the people who programmed Max to become an assassin in the first place) for her.
  • In Cube Zero, Haskell is remotely reprogrammed by activating the military chip placed into his brain from when he was a soldier. He tries to kill Wynn and Rains before they escape him.
  • Played with in Angel Heart. Johnny/Harry kills several people under Satan's influence, but it's left deliberately vague whether the Devil is directly compelling him to commit the murders or if he's allowing Johnny Favourite's vile personality some freedom to indulge in these acts and Johnny is keeping Harry from finding out the truth about himself.
  • In Ra.One, Sonia is brainwashed by the titular villain, via a glowing ball of "electricity" to the head, and sent off at the helm of a Runaway Train.
  • Scanner Cop: Various people around the city are brainwashed by the villain to respond to a hallucinatory trigger. This will make them perceive police officers as monsters and murderers so they will kill the innocent cops in what seems like self-defense.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Peeta has been tortured and conditioned to associate Katniss with mortal danger, so upon seeing her he immediately attacks her and tries to kill her.
  • Hardcore Henry: All of Akan's cyborg soldiers have had their memories altered in order to induce loyalty to him and Estelle.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: The War Boys are conditioned and trained by Immortan Joe to see him as a godlike figure Back from the Dead. They believe that if they "die historic" and "shiny and chrome" in service to him, that he has the power to resurrect them in Valhalla. This makes merely wounding a War Boy an extremely dangerous prospect as they have no moral compunctions against a Suicide Attack.
  • In Pacific Rim: Uprising when the Shao Industries drones, which were created to replace the Jaeger program as earth's sole defense against the Precursors and their Kaiju, go haywire and start attacking the Jaeger instalations, Newton "Newt" Geizler and Hermann Gotlieb investigate and try shut them down, only for "Newt", who had kept a Kaiju brain in his apartment, to reveal that he was orchestrating the return of the Kaiju to finish the job of making earth habitable for the Precursors. When Hermann tells him to not obey the precursors' commands, "Newt" says he's not strong enough to do so, and escapes to set the plan in motion.

  • An example in Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events, with Klaus in Book the Fourth; he even appears to have Mind-Control Eyes on the cover.
  • One early example is Richard Condon's book (twice adapted to film), The Manchurian Candidate, wherein a group of soldiers captured by the Chinese in the Korean War are brainwashed. (The term brainwashing is, in fact, believed to have originated during the Korean War, in reference to the coercion that the Chinese would use on prisoners.) One of them becomes a Manchurian Agent for the Chinese, against his will and without his knowledge.
  • Dean Koontz used this in False Memory, in which the victims had two sets of code words to prevent accidental triggering: a particular haiku (specific to each person), and the name of a character - sometimes a very obscure character - from The Manchurian Candidate.
    • Also used in Night Chills and in a way in Mr. Murder where the assassin Alfie is controlled by a special phrase.
  • Peeta in The Hunger Games, using a toxin that causes any memories invoked while under its influence to be associated with intense feelings of fear, and therefore making anyone included in those memories (in this case, Katniss) seem like a threat to be destroyed.
  • Appears several times in literature set in the Warhammer 40,000 'verse. Unusually and unfortunately, killing the controller does not cure his victims; they either die immediately afterwards or continue doing the dead villain's bidding.
    • In Dan Abnett's Sabbat Martyr, Pater Sin's child psykers have the ability to turn soldiers of the Imperium against their comrades. Only a single individual manages to throw it off through an oddly straight version of the Power of Friendship, as his friends and comrades care too much about him to allow him to be swayed. In an interesting variety, the bad guys realize this and decide to just skip over that guy completely.
    • And in Sandy Mitchell's Cain's Last Stand, Warmaster Varan has the psychic ability to corrupt anyone he speaks with into his service. Even Adeptus Sororitas, a loyal and likable governor, and a Commissar-in-training, all of whom were portrayed as innocent victims but remembered forever in history as foul traitors. On the other hand, the commissar-in-training, broken free by Jurgen's blank ability, managed kill himself before he succumbed again, and Cain fulfills his last request.
    • It's also used liberally in the background by both the powers of chaos (dominating psy powers) and the Imperium's Ecclesiarchy - the latter using a combination of mind control, lobotomy, combat drugs and cybernetic implants to turn heretics into arco-flagellants, Ax-Crazy combat monsters sent into battle against other enemies.
  • Happens in the 2nd and 3rd Mistborn books. Emphasis on "crazy".
  • The Imperius Curse in Harry Potter, one of the three Unforgivable Curses and essentially the magical equivalent of your average mind control device. Bartimus Crouch, Jr. (alias Professor Moody) was quite fond of it.
  • The House Of The Scorpion: Takes place 100 years into the future, where clones are raised to provide organs for a corrupt drug lord and victims trying to cross the border to the United States or Aztlan are forced to become opium-picking zombies programmed by computer chips in their heads.
  • Early in The Legacy, Wulfgar is convinced that his fiancée, Catti-Brie, has been cheating on him with Drizzt, so he goes and tries to kill Drizzt. Later in the book, it's revealed that he was hypnotized into thinking this and into feeling homicidally angry about it.
  • Stevie of The Fallen becomes like this, poor kid.
  • In the Time Scout series, this is one of the effects and causes of Jack the Ripper.
  • The Mortal Instruments:
    • In City of Fallen Angels, after his rebirth, Jace is left vulnerable to demonic possession; his death erased the protective effects of a magic ritual all newborn Shadowhunters are given to protect them demonic possession. Lilith takes advantage of his new Achilles' heel, sending him nightmares and forcing him to do her bidding. Even after she's defeated, Jace is then forced into a corrupted form of the parabatai bond, wherein Sebastian imposes his will and beliefs onto Jace.
    • Amatis Herondale in City of Lost Souls, after Sebastian captures her and forces her to drink from the Infernal Cup, turning her into a Dark Shadowhunter.
  • A double subversion in A Clockwork Orange, where Villain Protagonist Alex is already The Sociopath and an incredibly dangerous human being, and is brainwashed into harmlessness by a Pavlovian reflex that makes him cripplingly ill when he thinks of violence. Unfortunately, this just makes him crazier and angrier, and though he can no longer harm others...
  • Everyone under the control of the Ix in The Last Dragon Chronicles.
  • The Mirrorworld Series: Will, who nearly kills his own brother after smashing through a wall while unable to recognize him.
  • Happens to George in a Nancy Drew book, though she doesn't harm anyone, just spends the book bed-ridden and terrified and constantly begging Nancy to drop the case, lest harm come to her.
  • This is what happens to the listeners in The Stormlight Archive when they evolve into stormform or one of their other Voidbringer forms, since those forms can only be entered by bonding with a fragment of the Cosmic Principle Of Hatred.
  • There are a couple ways of accomplishing this in The Wheel of Time.
    • Compulsion is a magical technique that in its most basic form causes the victim to adore and desire to serve the user and can be further adapted for more subtle, complex commands; many of the Forsaken are fond of it, particularly Graendal, who in the last book actually creates a small, mobile army from Compelled good guys. Compulsion can be reversed by a skilled healer, though if it was strong enough it can leave permanent psychological damage.
    • Turning is even nastier. A circle of thirteen dreadlords working in concert with thirteen Myrddraal can force any channeler into the Dark One's service. This process turns the victim into a twisted reflection of themselves and is apparently irreversible, though those who knew the victim well can usually tell that there is something very, very wrong with them. This technique is talked up heavily throughout the series but never shown until the last book, when it turns out Mazrim Taim has been using it heavily to recruit for the Shadow.
    • Finally, Padan Fain can induce this effect in people he interacts with, thanks to being a walking Hate Plague. However, while his influence can drive people mad with hate and paranoia, it doesn't actually let him control them directly; he has to fall back on being a Manipulative Bastard for that.
  • Harahpin has both Eyrco and Euron start acting uncharacteristically aggressive not long after arriving on Untoria's surface. They snip at each other more frequently and become easily irritated by Saphillin. It eventually gets to a breaking point when Saphillin's innocent question causes Euron to react in fury, which in turn causes Eyrco to get sucked into the conflict and try to bite out his throat. Only the shine of Euron's feather was enough to break them out of the spell.
  • In the Star Trek Shatnerverse novel The Return, Kirk is brainwashed by Romulans to become a masked agent.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Emperor Palpatine, as he's falling down the reactor shaft to his death, puts a compulsion into the head of Emperor's Hand Mara Jade to kill Luke Skywalker. She can fight it, but it makes working together the next few times they meet a bit dangerous. Eventually, Luke helps her get the compulsion purged from her mind. Mara makes light of it after they fall in love, saying it isn't exactly the best way to start a relationship.
  • Clip from Malazan Book of the Fallen spends most of his time in the books annoying people and getting himself into entirely avoidable trouble. Then he gets posessed by the Dying God and starts murdering Nimander's group one by one and trying the same with Mother Dark upon her return. For a character who was at best a minor nuisance up to that point, it takes considerable resources to stop him.
  • Villains Don't Date Heroes!: Rex and CORVAC brainwash Fialux into trying to sex Night Terror to death. She snaps out of it once Night Terror cuts the power to the mind control device.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ace Lightning gets one of these in episode thirteen of his first series complete with dreary monotone voice. He was snapped out of it by a data transfer, because you know, he's a video game character, they can do that.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daniel Whitehall uses the Faustus Device to brainwash valuble "assets" into working for HYDRA, often as hired thugs or assassins, including Carl Creel, Donnie Gill and Agent 33.
  • Angel has Jasmine brainwashing the entire town of L.A. into becoming her servants. When Fred, later Angel, and then the rest of the team are freed from her control, she proceeds to send all her possessed minions after them.
  • In season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike is brainwashed by the First Evil to start killing again whenever he hears the tune "Early One Morning."
    • In Season 8 this happens to Angel, who kills Giles under the control of Twilight.
  • Two different episodes of Charlie's Angels has one of the Angels being hypnotized into killing people; in "The Séance" it is a spur-of-the-moment tactical decision by the villain, while "Attack Angels" has the villain running a business that turns women into programmed killers-for-hire.
  • Charmed (1998): Prue was brainwashed by the demon of fear and Paige was brainwashed by the Source of All Evil. All the sisters and their boyfriends and children have at times been collectively brainwashed, such as the time they became warlocks, became "too good", had their morality reversed, etc. etc.
  • In Chinese Paladin, this happens to Ah Nu near the end of the series, due to making a Deal with the Devil to save her lover Tang Yu. She unknowingly kills her own father in this state.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Jo Grant, in her first appearance ("Terror of the Autons"), gets brainwashed by the Master and sent to open a box at UNIT HQ — which contains a bomb. The Doctor specifically defines it as this trope, saying that an ordinary hypnotist can't force anyone to do something they don't want to do. Yet the Master can manipulate people any way he likes.
    • The series contains numerous other examples; the instance in "The Masque of Mandragora" is interesting, as Sarah Jane, in her altered state of mind, becomes after thirteen years the first companion to notice the oddity of everyone in the universe speaking English.
    • "The Unicorn and the Wasp" contains an accidental example: The villain is acting like a typical Agatha Christie murderer taken way over the top. This is because he's a Half-Human Hybrid whose human birth mother was left with a necklace designed to beam him his true identity the first time he assumed his alien form. However, she happened to have been reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd at the time, thus adding in Christie's murder mystery format and making him think that's how the world works.
    • A particularly serious example of this is the Twelfth Doctor in "The Lie of the Land", who is not only brainwashed along with the rest of humanity by the Reality Warper Monks but becomes their Propaganda Machine, ensuring their continued hold on Earth. Though it turns out he's just faking it.
  • In Dollhouse, this is what happens to the entire world in ten years' time.
  • The Equalizer. The episode "Splinters" features an experimental setup in which sidekick Mickey's memories of McCall saving his life are switched out for a scenario of cruel betrayal, thus giving him the motivation to assassinate McCall. And it still doesn't work, since it turns out that The Power of Friendship is enough to break through his conditioning.
  • Used in several episodes of Hawaii Five-O. One episode explicitly made the "can't do something they wouldn't do otherwise" statement, but then showed a theoretical way around it when, as a demonstration, one character was hypnotized to "shoot" another (with an unloaded weapon) by the hypnotist telling him the person was a double who was about to start a nuclear war and shooting him was the only way to stop it. Other episodes, however, including the Pilot Movie, used the standard fictional "make 'em do anything" portrayals.
  • In Helix, The Virus NARVIK-B has incredibly "focused behavioral patterns" that cause its victims to behave in this way, as they are compelled to spread the contagion. Though violent and paranoid, Vectors are also cognizant enough to form plans to access uninfected, like Patient Zero Peter Farragut, who manages to find a workaround for a biometric lock via Borrowed Biometric Bypass, severing the arm of a security tech at the research base where he works.
  • Most of the Kamen Rider "construction" involves this as a stage in the building, however, before that stage usually happens, they get out. There are a few exceptions, such as ZX, Shadow Moon, and Ichigo.
  • Knight Rider. The Villain Of The Week does this to Bonnie in order to get his hands on KITT. It gets bad enough that she pulls a gun on Michael.
  • In an episode of Lois & Clark, Lois is one of a group in a medical facility who are brainwashed into being contract killers before being killed their selves by the doctor at the facility.
  • Logan's Run: In "Carousel", Logan is struck with a dart containing a memory warp. He loses his memory of the past year and is convinced that he is still a loyal Runner-killing Sandman.
  • The main antagonist of Lost, the Man in Black infects certain people with a sickness which turns them into crazy psychopaths. Known victims of the Sickness are Claire, Sayid and most of Rousseau's science team.
  • In the Magnum, P.I. episode "Did You See the Sunrise" it turns out that Magnum's friend TC was brainwashed to become a sleeper assassin by Russian agents while he was a P.O.W. of the North Vietnamese.
  • In the BBC'S Merlin:
    • Merlin is infected with a snake creature by Morgana and brainwashed to kill Arthur. Fortunately, the snake apparently makes him forget about his magic, and he proves to be the single worst assassin in the history of mankind.
    • Several of Arthur's knights later suffer this at the hands of Lamia.
    • In season 5, Gwen falls prey to this at the hands of Morgana.
  • The newer series of Mission: Impossible had a psychiatrist at his facility "hypnotizing" select patients, with a combo of drugs and bio-microchips, then sending them out as hitmen. He gets ahold of undercover Nick.
  • NTSF:SD:SUV::: The team thinks that Trent has been brainwashed to assassinate the President of the Navy when he returns from his holiday in Hawaii with a Surfer Dude persona. Meanwhile, Alphone has just returned from his holiday "with the great and hospitable people of Yemen", but everybody just ignores how obviously robotic he acts.
  • The Outpost: In Season 2, Garrett is captured by the Prime Order. They then proceed to use a combination of torture, drugged medication, a "friendly" nurse, and faked evidence to break his will and convince him that Gwynn is an imposter who deceived him into serving her. By the time they're done with him, Garrett has been rendered an utter fanatic dedicated to serving The Three.
  • Easily half of Power Rangers' main characters have had this happen to them at least once. Tommy Oliver, the first Green Ranger, had it happen three times. (In fact, that's how his whole career as a Ranger started.) Brainwashing tends to be magic-based, not hypnotic, in this show, and numerous characters have had "spells" make them act a certain way until the monster-of-the-week who placed it on them has been destroyed. Sometimes the Monster of the Week is a character who was forcibly transformed and brainwashed and crazy all at once.
  • In Smallville, Delete, Clark, Lana, Martha and Jonathan are brainwashed into attempting to murder Chloe violently.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In "Family" (2x08), Rya'c is brainwashed in this way by Apophis.
    • In "Enemies" (5x01), Teal'c, Rya'c's father, has the same thing happen, again inflicted by Apophis. A whole episode is devoted to making Teal'c rethink his life and fight through the brainwashing. Initially, he manages to convince everyone on the base that he's been cured... until his mentor Bra'tac looks into his eyes.
    • Za'tarcs are another form of brainwashing. This this case, the subject becomes a Manchurian Agent, acting normally until triggered by a specific event.
    • Adria tries to do this to Daniel, but the remnant of Merlin in him protects Daniel from her powers, although he convinces Adria that she succeeded.
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "Murder on Voodoo Island", Hollywood Voodoo causes Starsky to try to kill Hutch. Weirdly, once he's shocked back to normal it's ignored for the rest of the episode.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Mind's Eye", in which Geordi LaForge is brainwashed by the Romulans to kill a Klingon dignitary, draws heavily on The Manchurian Candidate.
  • In Supergirl (2015), the second season finale has Superman brainwashed into fighting Supergirl. Specifically, he has been made to think Supergirl is General Zod.
  • Supernatural:
    • Sirens can evoke this trope with their saliva, as once dosed (usually through kissing, but sharing a drink also works just fine) the victim becomes obsessively devoted to the Siren and will be perfectly willing to murder their own family members if the Siren wants them to.
    • Castiel is this in season eight, having been "programmed" through some sort of horrifying process to obey Naomi, no matter how reprehensible he might find her instructions. Although the "and Crazy" bit really only manifests a couple of times — when he's ordered to kill Samandriel and then Dean . Most of the time he's a Manchurian Agent who just gathers intel. Interestingly, even at his most brainwashed there's some part of him that's still completely rational and can make contact with Naomi to beg her to stop making him hurt people.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • In "Night School", Scott gets this from Alpha Peter Hale. He snaps out of it pretty quickly, but still...
    • Jackson as the Kanima. Can be snapped out of it when people he cares about are in danger to be hurt by him.
  • In Titans, the Nuclear Family are a group of brainwashed assassins, conditioned to perform horrific acts of torture and murder without question or remorse, all while acting like a cheerful, polite old-fashioned Nuclear Family.
  • Total Recall 2070: A mine worker is implanted with a brain chip that forces him to assassinate a union leader in public.

  • In The Hidden Almanac, Drom spends most of the Fathers arc as this, having to doublethink her way into helping Mord. Unfortunately, the doublethink doesn't hold out forever.
    Pastor Drom: Okay, so you take the hypotenuse of the worthiness of the two sides MORD LOOK OUT I’VE GOT A STUN ROD AFTER ALL

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Common in Fighting Opera Hustle, where most of the more successful members of the Takada Monster army where well known professional wrestlers brainwashed and turned into monsters.
  • At CHIKARA The Bobliographon on May 24, 2009, The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple (UltraMantis Black and Crossbones) confronted Delirious and used the Eye of Tyr to force him into the group. As a result, he lost his usual manic energy.
    • At CHIKARA Disk on April 2nd, 2016, Hallowicked and Frightmare used the Eyenote  on Mantis, causing him to be possessed by Nazmaldun. This led to Mantis hexing The Batiri, Icarus and "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti, with their group being named the heXed Men.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: Most Exalted have a Presence charm that allows them to give other characters compulsions. If your character is an Abyssal, the result will probably be this trope.
  • Various RPGs have various powers used to control or influence others, such as the Dungeons & Dragons spell suggestion, and the charm and dominate series of spells.
    • At least in the third edition, Charm explicitly didn't work like this, despite being used as such in every game. It only makes the victim think of the caster as a friend, but it doesn't let them forget their other loyalties, meaning they'll likely be rather confused and anguished when their friends attack each other.
      • Dominate also cannot make a person do anything directly self-destructive ("stab yourself with your sword", "jump off the castle wall"), and if a dominated person is ordered to do something that is against their nature, they receive a new saving throw, with a cumulative +2 bonus. (A good demonstration is found in The Order of the Stick when they attempt to break the spell on a dominated paladin by disguising Belkar as lord Shojo, said paladin's master and lord.)
      • Order of the Stick also provides a good example of how Charm works, again with Belkar. He refuses to kill his friends and give their magic items to Nale... but since he's Chaotic Evil and a greedy bastard, he has no trouble killing them while singing the complete score to Meet Me In Saint Louis as long as he can keep their stuff.

    Video Games 
  • In Bendy and the Ink Machine, Alice "modifies" Boris, turning him into her brutish henchman and ordering him to kill Henry.
  • It's hinted that this was Sergeant Kelly's fate in Doom 3. Before you were sent to Hell, Kelly gave you the mission to use a card with a plead for reinforcement to Mars. After either you send the message or not, Kelly orders you to get yourself to the Delta Labs and meet him there, so that both he and you can take care of the portal. When you're there, he's nowhere to be seen and you have to take care of the portal yourself. Once you came back from Hell, you no longer have radio contact with him, and later, you find out that Kelly had become a monster named Sabaoth. Whether he was allied with the demons in the first place or was simply brainwashed is unknown, but it should be the latter, since he seemed bent on defeating the demons, and Dr. Betruger was shown to transform marines into elite demons.
  • In Everlong, the main character (or rather, the character you started off as) was taken over by the evil spirits planted within him and ends up trying to kill his friends... four times.
  • Happens with disturbing regularity in Super Robot Wars Original Generation, with Kusuha, Excellen, and Seolla. Along with Ouka, Ingram, Tenzan (Even though he starts crazy), Tenzan again. And let's not get into the times it happens in a Humongous Mecha series, and is replayed in one of the other SRW games...
    • Original Generation Gaiden adds more people in this trope: Shouko, Lamia and Fernando (Though Fernando has actually fallen into this trope since his debut in Compact 3)
    • Happens to Touma in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, though it's not like he's subjected into brainwashing by the enemy. Using his mecha's system too much caused him to gain an Ax-Crazy version of Mind-Control Eyes, and he went really berserk as if the system brainwashes him... all because he's pumped with too much hot blood essences.
    • And apparently, the first Banpresto Original to receive this treatment was Tytti Noorbuck in Super Robot Wars Gaiden. No, Shu, with all your Marty Stu -ness, you don't count.
    • Also happens to Brooklyn Luckfield (aka: Bullet) in Alpha 2.
  • In the Virtua Fighter anime and games, Sarah Bryant is kidnapped and brainwashed by the Judgment 6 organization into attacking her brother Jacky and (in the anime) their friends Pai and Akira.
  • Takes place once in a while in Fire Emblem:
    • The effect of the aptly named Berserk Staff is this. It's usually enemy-only, but in Genealogy of Holy War, if Sylvia didn't have children, you can get Sharlow, and if you also recruit his adoptive father, they can talk, and Sharlow will get the staff. (Time to have fun with the Demonic Spider. Enjoy.)
      • Also, in the Jugdral games there is a Sword that has the same effect as the Berserk Staff, but doesn't cause the insanity as much, and often times is pointless— enemies with or hit by the sword are still at range 1 when the effect kicks in, often attacking the sword wielder again.
    • In the last chapter of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Archbishop Manfroy kidnaps Julia and brainwashes her to attack your army. Since Julia is necessary for defeating the final boss, you must carefully distract her without killing her while sending the rest of your army to assassinate Manfroy and free her.
      • Making this even worse is that Manfroy did the same to Julia, Julius and Seliph's mother, Deirdre, to make her marry Julia and Julius' dad Alvis. In her case, she stayed brainwashed for years, only breaking through when Julius fatally struck her down.
    • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, a captured Mareeta was given a cursed sword that consumes her mind and turns her into a battle-crazed swordswoman that attacks even her own adoptive mother Eyvel. When she joins for good, she gains control over the sword, renames it "Mareeta's Sword" and breaks the game with it until she breaks it.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Ninian is brainwashed while in an Heroic BSoD into almost opening the Dragon's Gate, which would bring The End of the World as We Know It. Nils, her little brother, snaps her out of it.
    • This is a favorite tactic of Anankos, the Greater-Scope Villain of Fire Emblem Fates.
      • Before the game's events, Anankos had King Garon of Nohr killed and replaced with a monster loyal to him. He then had Garon kill King Sumeragi of Hoshido, and raised both him and Garon's second wife/Azura's mother Arete from the dead as his mindless servants.
      • In the Birthright route, Takumi falls into the Bottomless Canyon and is placed under Anankos' thrall. Fortunately for him, Azura gets to him quickly enough to snap him out of it. It flares up again towards the end, but Azura breaks him out permanently this time.
      • In the Conquest route, Anankos gets Takumi again. This time, however, there's no Azura to save him, and said brainwashing ultimately costs him his sanity and his life.
      • In the Revelation route, Sumeragi and Arete are both properly revealed to the heroes. In addition, Anankos brings back Mikoto and Scarlet to serve as his minions and possesses Gunter the same way he got Takumi in the other routes; this time, it's Corrin who brings him back to his senses.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, it's said that the members of the Royal House of the Emblian Empire are susceptible to fall victim to sort of evil influence that has plagued the royal family for generations. Two of the Emblian royals are seen, and they both manifest this brainwashing in different ways: the Dark Magical Girl Veronica says that she sometimes hears a voice that speaks to her and compels her to "kill", whereas the "Mysterious Man" (later revealed to be Veronica's missing older brother, Prince Bruno) seems to be fully aware of it and actively trying to fight it, and even warns the heroes to stay away from him.
  • King Dedede tends to get brainwashed often by the Eldritch Abomination of the week in the Kirby series (or in another case, a spider-like being).
    • Meta Knight tends to suffer from this, but less commonly. The most notable example is when Meta Knight was brainwashed into becoming Mecha Knight. Kirby returns Meta Knight to his senses by breaking the Mecha Knight mask.
  • Castlevania is fond of this trope, especially if being bitten by a vampire counts:
  • The majority of Count Bleck's direct army in Super Paper Mario are minions of Bowser's, working under Bleck courtesy of Nastasia and her mind controlling powers. The most notable use of her powers is using them on Luigi and giving him a Paper-Thin Disguise, resulting in Mr. L.
    • During Chapter 5, the Floro Sapiens are using "Floro Sprouts" to enslave the Cragnons into working for them and their. A rare non-malevolent example (or at least not entirely), since their primary reason for doing this is to stop the Cragnons from polluting the river the Floro Sapiens need to survive. Dimentio also employs one to use on O'Chunks near the end of the Chapter, resulting in "O'Cabbage", and he later uses another on Luigi in order to fuse with him and the Chaos Heart to turn into Super Dimentio.
  • In the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series, the Time Breakers can subject others to brainwashing that makes them more powerful and more violent. So potent is their brainwashing that it can even turn Mr. Satan into a legitimate threat! In Dragonball Xenoverse 2, this can also happen to the players during Expert Missions, causing the player to lose control of their character as their bodies attack their allies. They can break free of the brainwashing by either beating the evil influence out of them, or having a teammate beat some sense back into them.
  • In The World Ends with You, multiple characters are brainwashed into attacking the main character; some of them, admittedly, already had done that once, but this time it was against their will. To list a few: Shiki, Uzuki, and Kariya.
  • Metal Slug 6 has one mini boss fight where you have to fight one of the other playable characters who is brainwashed by aliens.
  • In Vanguard Bandits, this is the special power of the Zulwarn ATAC. Falkner uses it in three of the endings: in the main "good" ending, he uses it on several of the minor heroes, forcing the heroes to sacrifice their friends for freedom; in the main "bad" ending, he hits Bastion with it, forcing him to attack his allies; and in the Cecelia ending, he attempts to use it on Cecelia as punishment for her Heel–Face Turn = which torques off Bastion and causes his ATAC, Ultragunner, to blast Falkner with a counterattack.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 does this for Adelle in one of the late story missions and Luso has to talk to her several times in battle to help her regain her senses.
  • Early on in Tales of the Abyss, Guy gets stuck with a Curse Slot that allows the bad guys to control his actions. Later on they activate it, causing Guy to get Mind-Control Eyes and attack Luke. However, this is revealed to be a subversion of this trope's usual modus operandi: the Curse Slot cannot control a person's actions; rather it manipulates the person by stirring up certain memories. Long story short, Guy would never have attacked Luke unless, at some point in time, he wanted to kill Luke.
  • Three characters in Final Fantasy IV qualify. Kain becomes mind-controlled by the villain Golbez. Although he later breaks free of Golbez' control and joins the party, still later in the game Golbez again takes control of him. This leads to Kain breaking free yet again at the time that Golbez is revealed to have been mind-controlled all along by the game's real villain, Zemus. Also, though a case of mind control, at one point in the game Yang winds up with amnesia and is recruited into Baron's guards. Being defeated by the party cures him.
    • Unlike other examples, the way Kain and Golbez were mind-controlled actually relied on their internal weaknesses. Golbez exploited Kain's jealousy, which led to his brainwashing, while Golbez's weakness was his own self-loathing, which was how Zemus brainwashed him. Also unlike other examples, they also feel regret because it WAS their own weaknesses that led to their mind control.
    • Cecil gets mind-controlled in The After Years.
  • Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII, at the point in the game that the party has acquired the Black Materia needed to summon Meteor (Doomsday Spell), gets his mind broken by Sephiroth. Not only does he hand the Black Materia over to the original One-Winged Angel, he beats the tar out of Aeris, the one person who could stop Meteor once it was summoned.
    • This happens again later on when Cloud nearly kills Aeris himself, only to snap himself out of it at the last second.
  • World of Warcraft has been big on this ever since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, filling much of Northrend with mysterious whispers in certain locations; turns out the uniting element is the Saronite Ore being mined in all these locations provides a direct link to its creator, the Old God Yogg-Saron. He's managed to Mind Screw everyone from newly-arrived homesteaders from the rest of Azeroth all the way up to his own Titan-appointed jail keepers through his years-long mental barrages.
    • This is a major fight mechanic in the Yogg-Saron encounter. You start with a sanity meter at 100, depleting when you suffer from Yogg-Saron's various maddening abilities or stare directly at the laughing skulls within the hallucinations inside his mind. If it goes to zero or you remain trapped inside his head when the hallucination sequences end, you go mad for the remainder of the battle, attacking your allies. The players who suffer from this even perceive their allies as faceless horrors while Yogg-Saron whispers his insane drivel to them! This insanity persists even if they die and get resurrection during the fight by their allies, only destroying Yogg-Saron or a complete raid wipe removes this madness.
    • The Sha in Mists of Pandaria use this. They feed on and exploit specific dark emotions, allowing them to drive a mortal mad and eventually controlling their actions through the emotion. The Sha of Fear was perhaps the most successful, managing to take control of nearly the entire Mantid swarm.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: The sad thing about Shura and Serion is that the seal placed on them by Imposter Zenon caused them to forget the very promise they made to their son, Adell - the long-reaching psychological damage that caused him to be lifebound to every promise he makes, as well as the denial about his demon heritage. The few moments of lucidity they get to enjoy from then on out are used to help Adell carry on where they failed and ask for a Mercy Kill; otherwise they are completely bound to their new master's whims. To this day Adell still does not know that they are his parents; whether or not the others do is up to NIS to decide, but if the truth ever comes out, it won't be pretty.
  • In Resident Evil 5, Jill Valentine is captured by Albert Wesker and brainwashed through a device attached to her chest that pumps some sort of mind-control drug into her. She is then set on Chris and Sheva and does her best to kill them. Among other things, the device/drug allows her to run up walls and do insane mid-air stunts. She also gets a vinyl body suit.
  • Towards the end of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Dr. Doom does this to several of the NPCs, turning them against their friends. Thanks to the fact that some of these characters were made playable in the next-gen versions as well as DLC content, namely Colossus, Cyclops, and the Hulk, this keeps them from getting brainwashed and and the evil versions are instead presumably duplicates.
    • Happens again in the sequel, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, only done by the Fold instead. Seems like the programmers like forcing you to beat the crap out of everyone in the game, regardless of whether they're on your side.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • In Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex Crunch is brainwashed by Cortex to work with the Elementals and try to kill Crash.
    • In Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced, Crunch, Coco and Fake Crash are brainwashed by N. Trance into trying to kill Crash.
    • In Crash Nitro Kart, N. Trance brainwashes Polar, Pura and Dingodile to form a race team to put against the Bandicoot.
    • In Crash of the Titans, Coco is brainwashed to work on the Doominator (thus trying to wipe out Wumpa Island...and kill Crash).
    • In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Crunch, Coco, and a lot of mutants are brainwashed with the NVs to turn evil...and try to kill Crash.
      • Let's do some Maths; not counting the mutants, there have been TEN cases of brainwashing, SIX individuals involved, across FIVE games, with TWO of the individuals being brainwashed and crazy THREE times. This does not take into consideration all the mutants in the lattermost game, which could make the individuals and cases into the hundreds or thousands. Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the whole deal with the Cortex Vortex and Cortex Commandos. If Code Geass is "Brainwashed: the Series", Crash Bandicoot is easily "Brainwashed and Crazy: the Series"
  • In the "Rebirth" expansion for First Encounter Assault Recon this trope is applied to the Player Character. You end up losing contact with your squad and fightign ghosts, only to find that the "ghosts" were your squad, who're now trying to cure the crazy the only way they know how (i.e. euthanasia). The rest fof the game consists of fighting past them so you can become the new Paxton Fettal.
  • In BioShock, Jack is programmed to find and kill his biological father. Is justified in that Atlas has manipulated him so well that his suggestions come across as reasonable, to the character and the player.
  • This is known as indoctrination in the Mass Effect universe. Spend enough time in the presence of a Reaper, and you will succumb to its will permanently. More horribly, it's implied that you are fully conscious of the effect, but can't do a thing about it. This is also known as "a sour note from space", with which Sovereign compelled the ancient rachni into fighting a Bug War until they became (almost) extinct.
    • Don't think of Reaper indoctrination as mind control; think of it as someone forcefully destroying your free will. The worst part is that Reapers usually have it happen slowly: most of the time, their victim doesn't even realize they're being manipulated, and think that these thoughts, which just happen to help the Reapers, are their own and are perfectly reasonable.
    • The Leviathan has a similar ability: the difference is that the Leviathan's mind control isn't permanent (it only lasts as long as the Leviathan is directly thinking about it), and it doesn't necessarily destroy a person's mental faculties (although it certainly can). Since the Reapers were built in the image of the Leviathans, their indoctrination is a more advanced and developed form of the Leviathan's control.
    • Jack, aka Subject Zero, is a more direct version of this Trope in Mass Effect 2. She was injected with drugs as a kid to equate killing with pleasure.
    • In a strange twist, you can get this ability. If you side with Morinth, you can learn her loyalty ability, Dominate. It stuns enemies, gives them a biotic shield, and makes them attack their allies for a few seconds before they come to their senses. Essentially, it's AI hacking, but for organic opponents.
    • In Mass Effect 3, it's revealed that Cerberus troops are Indoctrinated and have been implanted with Reaper technology, making them appear semi-Huskified. The Illusive Man has also fallen under the spell of Indoctrination, which you can make him realise at the end of the game.
    • Somewhat subverted with Kai Leng. Despite being heavily Indoctrinated, it hasn't appeared to have altered his personality whatsoever.
  • The pyramid in Stationfall slowly turns all machinery, intelligent or not, against their creators. And that includes your Robot Buddy, Floyd.
  • Edgar in King's Quest VII, though he's stalling as much as he can.
  • In The Legend of Spyro, Cynder is the unfortunate victim of this by The Dark Master. He had her kidnapped and brainwashed her into his loyal and powerful (and also surprisingly literal) Dragon. Spyro finally beats her and returns her to her normal self, but she's so guilty over what she did, it haunts her most of the series. Then in the Grand Finale, Malefor uses a Hanibal Lecture to confuse her enough for him to brainwash her again to turn her against Spyro. Thankfully, she's saved this time by the Power of Love.
  • Venus, from the non-canonical Metal Gear Acid 2, attempts to kill Snake 2.0 after recovering the Lucindia File because Wiseman ordered her to, and it is heavily implied, if not outright stated, that Wiseman removed her free will when creating her, meaning she really did not have any other choice but to comply.
    • In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, there is Null, the Perfect Soldier: He used to be a war orphan named Frank Jaeger, but he ended up taken by CIA agents from a relief center as a test subject. As he was the only surviving and successful test subject, Null had no emotions, doubts or even memories, and presumably no free will, as he had only one purpose: to complete the mission.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn:
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops, it is revealed that the player character, while interned in a labor camp, was mentally conditioned to seek out and kill the President of The United States when read a certain string of numbers. However, his unusual degree of willpower allowed him to resist... whereupon he was brainwashed into channeling the dying wishes of a Russian prisoner. Futhermore, he's one of hundreds of sleeper agents scattered across the United States, all of whom have similar programming. The icing on the cake is when, in the ending cutscene, it's implied that despite killing the man who imprisoned and hypnotised him, the player did end up succumbing to the conditioning and carrying out the assassination.
  • Eternity swords can be very difficult to handle properly in Eien no Aselia. As evidence, Kyouko's mind is devoured by Void almost as soon as she gets it and at the end of the game the Shun that Yuuto once knew is dead, similarly devoured by The World.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has Jecht, and the prequel Duodecim has Tidus, Terra, and reveals that in the original, Kuja was this as well. One wonders if Chaos just has recruiting problems or something.
    • Averted, however, with Cloud, who is simply doing his job, until Sephiroth attacks Tifa in an attempt to get Cloud to fight him. He defects in time for the last cycle.
  • Strictly speaking, the Zerg in the original Starcraft are this, as the Xel'Naga instilled them with an overriding biological imperative to absorb the genetic potential of other species into their own, whereas they were previously peaceful and harmless worms low on the food chain of their homeworld — no, this isn't a spoiler, it's All There in the Manual. Starcraft II reveals that the Overmind actually orchestrated his own death and groomed Kerrigan as his successor in order to finally grant the Zerg true free will, as she was not hampered by the same imperative.
  • Happens by accident in Drakensang: the Dragon Carbuncle you give to the Dwarf King Arombolosch turns out to be infested by a Demon, which eventually takes over the dwarf king, forcing you to defeat him in battle.
  • Sword of the Stars II reveals that the Screamers are actually Morrigi who were turned against their own by Suul'ka.
  • Kerrigan in Starcraft, for she was forcibly infested and transformed into a slave of the Overmind against her will.
  • BlazBlue has Tsubaki Yayoi, who performs a Face–Heel Turn after being mind raped by Hazama and led to believe that her life and chance to be with her love are ruined by her best friend's very existence, so she sets out to remedy it. Thanks to said best friend, said love interest, and a mutual friend of all three, she returns to normal.
  • In Street Fighter Alpha, this happens to many characters. More exactly, there are two big cases:
    • The whole deal with Bison's Bodyguard Babes the Dolls relays on a group of teenage girls from all over the world being kidnapped and subjected to this treatment to end up as an Amazon Brigade. Only when one of them (Cammy, Bison's Opposite-Sex Clone) starts breaking through, and the survival instincts of two Dolls (Juni and Juli) prove to be stronger than the brainwashing, the whole plan begins to crumble down. However, it takes much more than mere defusing to get them back to something similar to normalcy, as in the Street Fighter IV Juri OVA we see that the girls must receive extensive medical treatment in Shadaloo capsules. Later, T. Hawk and Cammy's paths reveal that Juli has become an Empty Shell Emotionless Girl and Juni is amnesiac in a British hospital; while it's not certain that the first will ever get better, the second is in her path to a slow but sure recovery.
    • Midway through Alpha 3, several story paths intersect thanks to this trope. Ryu is captured by Bison to become his "host body", then is infused forcibly with the Psycho Drive's energy and ends up like this. Sagat is horrified when he finds out, has a Heel Realization and tries to snap Ryu out of his state; meanwhile, Ryu's friends Ken and Sakura fight Bison off. It takes both Sagat's prodding and Sakura being seriously injured by Bison to fully get Ryu defused.
    • To a smaller degree, there's also Ken being caught and brainwashed by Bison in Ryu's path, in a Shout-Out to the animated movie.
  • This is the reason why Kyo's father Saisyu is seen as The Dragon to Rugal Berstein in The King of Fighters 95. You have to fight and defeat to get him out of such a state.
    • In the KOF: KYO manga, this happens to Kyo Kusanagi himself, as during a fight with Iori he falls in a frenzied state that's actually Kyo's own version of the Riot of the Blood; Athena says he's "entranced by Orochi" and both Mature and Vice confirm this to Iori and Billy, though unlike Iori and Leona's completely savage states, Kyo is in an Orochi-empowered Tranquil Fury. Saisyu is the one who snaps him out of it via fighting Kyo on his own and reminding him of his purpose in life.
    • In the Tales of Ash saga, this happens to both Chizuru Kagura in 2003 and Rugal's daughter Rose in XI. More exactly, both are controlled as a sort of People Puppets by Botan from Those of the Past. Chizuru is recovers almost at the end of 2003, right before the fight against Mukai; Rose remains like this and is freed only at the end of XIII.
  • MOTHER 3 combines this with Cybernetics Eat Your Soul for a truly tear-jerking example: Lucas's twin brother, Claus, goes missing early on in the game after leaving to avenge the death of their mother. Three years later, while Lucas is on his journey to save the world, they encounter a masked man on multiple occasions. This man is completely subject to Porky's control, commands the army of Pigmasks, and has the ability to pull the Seven Needles just like Lucas can. After six of them are pulled, Lucas and the Masked Man confront each other in front of the seventh. The Masked Man is revealed to be none other than a thoroughly brainwashed Claus.
    The Masked Man removed his mask
    His face looked just like Lucas's
    It was Claus.
    • In general, the humanoid and some of the animal enemies in the MOTHER series are suffering this, leading them to attack the party. Once defeated, they "turn back to normal" or "regain all senses."
  • A strange example in Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's revealed in Revan, the prequel novel to the latter that the real reason that Revan and Malak originally fell to the Dark Side was the result of torture and mind-control at the hands of the Sith Emperor, being sent back as vanguards for the Sith Empire's invasion, but with no memory of the event. In Revan's case, this ironically ended up being broken when the Jedi also tried to brainwash him, causing the latter brainwashing not to entirely stick.
    • In the Foundry Flashpoint for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Revan is (possibly) implied to have undergone this again in the three centuries they've been held in stasis and tortured by the Emperor. His plan was to use the Foundry to create an army of Droids that will wipe out all those with Sith DNA, accounting for 98% of the Sith Empire (and a large amount of individuals in the Republic as well). It's left vague whether Revan's Kill ’Em All plan is due to Sanity Slippage or if he might not be entirely correct about resisting the Emperor's control.
  • This happens to the Romulan player character in Star Trek Online, who due to bad luck with an Iconian portal ends up falling into the Tal Shiar's hands and ends up a test-subject for brainwashing into a loyal agent. Fortunately, you get broken out of it before they do any real damage — a deep-cover agent of the Republic manipulates the intricacies of what the brainwashing does to trick you into letting him un-brainwash you while you're still in the 'testing out how well the brainwashing took' stage of the process, and while you did some seriously bad stuff, they were bad stuff that would have happened (and just as easily) anyway — the only reason why you specifically is tapped to help put together a Thalaron weapon and implant Borg devices into a captive until she becomes a drone is to test how well the brainwashing took.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The "Story" mode of Sonic Pinball Party begins with Dr. Robotnik having kidnapped Sonic the Hedgehog's companions, Tails and Amy, and hypnotized them against him. This leads to Tails and Amy acting violent towards Sonic and having red eyes and a Slasher Smile. Knuckles is the only one not to fall under this, as he simply wants to beat Sonic. Sonic is able to snap Tails and Amy out of the trance by beating them.
  • Everyone (or at least, all of Bowser's troops and all the native wildlife) in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Fawful managed to hypnotise or mind control just about everyone in sight to worship him as some of celebrity/deity cross before physically altering their appearances to look exactly like himself, with the same creepy Slasher Smile and green colouring. You can even save the Chain Chomps from this fate by vacuuming away the parasites controlling them.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, after being kidnapped, the next time you see Mokuba, he's been brainwashed by Reshef. Kaiba won't duel him, so your character does instead.
    • The ending reveals Pegasus was under Reshef's control the entire time.
  • In Kingdom of Paradise, it is said that only the Ruthless Clans and the Kirin Lord can induce Chi Disruption on anyone, which is basically this trope. Sui Lin becomes victim to this... twice. The first time this happens is in the Old Mine in Southern Suzaku, where she displays Mind-Control Eyes, giggles madly and attacks Shinbu while "declaring" that she loves him. She ends up at the Suzaku throne room where Lord Xiuk Yu was able to suppress the Chi Disruption. However, this was only a temporary measure, as Sui Lin can only be freed from mind control if the user decides. If this keeps up, Sui Lin could die. The second time this happens ends up being a Hoist by His Own Petard: It turns out that Lord Jok Xiu was controlling Sui Lin to try to get the clan swords before the Kirin got their hands on them. Under the influence of Chi Disruption, Sui Lin ends up killing Jok Xiu with the Byakko Clan Sword. After the act was committed, Sui Lin breaks down before being taken away by the Kirin.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule GB, Seto Kaiba and his subordinates have been brainwashed by the Millennium Ring.
  • In Star Ocean, Erys was kidnapped, had her memories repressed, and brainwashed into becoming an assassin.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour, Para, Dox, and Pegasus were mind-controlled by Noah. After the brainwashing wears off, they become friendly to the player.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM has an unusual example for a Yu-Gi-Oh game in that you get brainwashed and are forced to attack your friends, along with the usual plot of your friends being brainwashed to attack you.
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag provides the protagonist with a blowpipe that, among other things, can fire berserk darts, which cause the victim to go...berserk...and attack their own allies, then fall over dead when the effects wear off. The sequel, Assassin's Creed: Rogue, ups the ante with berserk grenades, which release a gas that affects entire crowds, including civilians and even animals.
  • In Sands of Destruction, Morte ends up this way briefly, under the mind control of a certain Beastlord. The ensuing fight will net you a Nonstandard Game Over if you accidentally kill your companion.
  • In the first Bayonetta game, its revealed that Jeanne was brainwashed by the Big Bad, Father Balder, into being The Rival to Bayonetta in order to force her memories to return so that she would awaken the powers of the 'Left Eye of Darkness'. She's able to shake off the brainwashing, though, the moment before the big bad decided to dispose of her, and is able to escape her demise.
  • In Black Desert Online, Chancellor Jordine goes out of his way to do this to himself (and combine it with Demonic Posession) in the interest of taking revenge against Calpheon. When you beat him up and snap him out of it, he's unapologetic.
  • Overwatch has Widowmaker, a cold-blooded and heartless assassin who was once known as Amélie Lacroix, a perfectly sweet innocent civilian. However, she was married to high-ranking Overwatch member Gérard Lacroix, who foiled the schemes of terrorist organization Talon at every turn. So instead of fighting him head on, they instead kidnapped his wife, and subjected to her intense brainwashing, neural reconditioning, torture, and the complete obliteration of her original personality, and then returned her (seemingly) unchanged as a sleeper agent, who killed him in his sleep soon after. Afterwards, they completed the process and turned her into the perfect weapon for assassination through means of biological alteration. There is little to be left of the old Amélie at this point, making her one of the most tragic characters in a game that's not lacking in tragedy.
  • The main villain of Pokémon Sun and Moon, Lusamine, gets hit with this bad. She's infected with the toxin of UB-01 Symbiote, a.k.a. Nihilego, which causes those it infects to become aggressive towards those around them and protective towards the creature itself. As a result of the infection, Lusamine became abusive towards her children, Lillie and Gladion, until they ran away from home; by the end of the game, her obsession has become so great that she willingly fuses with one of them, creating one of the most horrifying entities ever seen in the series. Oh, and the ending implies that she may have been at least partially conscious throughout all of this, and that she is horrified by what she did in this state. However, in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, this was removed, with Lusamine wanting to defeat Necrozma. Her Mother Beast form is never fought, and the battle is replaced with Necrozma, who subjects Solgaleo/Lunala under Necrozma's control to fuse into Necrozma's new forme. Solgaleo/Lunala comes to its senses after defeating Ultra Necrozma.
  • In NieR: Automata, this is what happens to any android or robot afflicted with the Logic Virus. They go crazy and attack absolutely everyone, leaving their friends and allies in despair.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes: The Secret Character known as Shadow Lady is Chun-Li from an Alternate Universe where she was forcibly turned into a brainwashed cybernetic minion for Shadaloo. Before she was forcibly roboticized, Chun-Li routinely foiled Shadaloo's plans at every turn, and in retaliation, Shadaloo kidnapped, experimented and cyborgized her for the sake of turning her into a pawn against Interpol. When the task was completed, they turned her into a living weapon, complete with a new name and transformed her into M. Bison's top operative. Unlike Shadow—a roboticized Charlie Nash, who escaped shortly after being transformed—Shadaloo added a Restraining Bolt to Shadow Lady's programming and internal systems so the cyborg would remain fully obedient and loyal to Bison, and complete her missions by having her body be remotely controlled, essentially making her a Dark Action Robot Girl. As Shadow Lady, Chun-Li's formerly cheerful personality was obliterated, and her body's physiology altered so it experienced no emotion apart from being a ruthless but highly effective killing machine and assassin for Shadaloo - in essence, she is essentially a completely different person inhabiting her body and mind (being more machine than human), and serves as nothing but a weapon against her former allies and Interpol. It's also been implied that deep down, the old Chun-Li is still there on some level, and is at least partially aware of what she has done. Even if her allies ever managed to revive her, Chun-Li would have to deal with the guilt of being a tool for Shadaloo, not to mention the fact that being a brainwashed robotic minion wouldn't go away overnight should she become a good person again. Aside from retaining a few moves from her non-cyborgified variant, she has built-in high tech weaponry, and all of this was augmented to her robotic body, like the T-X from the Terminator series, thus making her more faster and stronger than Shadow, but at the cost of becoming a brainwashed minion for Shadaloo. She shoots homing/heat-seeking missiles from her back, thrusts forward with a drill, encases herself in a electric barrier (that also deflects attacks and stuns opponents), miniaturized Vernier thrusters in her feet that enable her to jump much higher (and allow her to kick more rapidly) and fires a large beam (Big Bang Laser) from her palms. In her ending however, she manages to overcome Shadaloo's brainwashing, regain her original memories as Chun-Li, and join forces with Shadow in taking down Shadaloo. Despite this, she retains her robotic parts even after the brainwashing broke.
  • Ristar has the manual state that the leaders are brainwashed by Greedy to do his bidding. In reality, though, some of the bosses are sent by Greedy, for instance Riho, who controls the Elder who sent Ristar, and the only boss that Greedy does brainwash is Adahan, who gets an armor while he is brainwashed. According to the credits in the Genesis version, after Adahan's defeat, the other moles glare at Adahan.
  • In Splatoon 2 Callie is brainwashed by DJ Octavio and his "hypnoshades", complete with an Evil Costume Switch. She comes to her senses after Marie shoots the shades off with her Hero Charger.
    • Agent 3 also shares a similar fate in the Octo Expansion DLC when they are partially santized by Commander Tartar, and forced to fight Agent 8.
  • Moshi Monsters has a downplayed example in one of the missions. The villain mesmerizes a university's students and they do go a bit insane, breaking items and making a mess, but they don't actually hurt or kill anyone.
  • Mega Man has the robot masters reprogrammed to fight alongside Wily, but Mega Man puts a stop to Wily's schemes.
    • In another case, Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch V 5 B onward has Wily using a device to reprogram the robot masters from the first and sixth games again so that Mega Man would not die. The device is used on the player as well, but before this can complete, Mega Man uses the last of his strength with the Super Arm to completely destroy the device, freeing the player from Wily's grasp.
    • In Mega Man Super Fighting Robot, Proto Man seems to be the main villain like Mega Man 5, but unlike Mega Man 5, Wily had brainwashed Proto Man into turning against the heroes. He comes to his senses after Mega Man defeats him.
  • Dynamite Headdy has four bosses that have keys on them. It turned out that Dark Demon/ Smiley brainwashed them into going after Headdy.
    Dark Demon/Smiley: Fingy...? As I suspected, hypnotizing the Key Masters was a failure.
  • Warframe: An accident in the Void drove all the adults on the Zariman 10-0 insane, while the children gained incredible Void powers and eventually became the Tenno. Rell, an autistic boy, seems to believe that the adults have been possessed by a Void entity that he later names the Man in the Wall. Whether he's right or not is unclear.
    Rell's Mother: [wielding a knife] Mama's here.
    Rell: Mmm. Not mama... not anymore. Mmm. Something... else. Haven't figured it out yet...
  • A significant gameplay and story consideration in Phantom Doctrine: any agent you hire, and any agent that you "lose track of" for any reason, may be brainwashed by your enemies, which effects including informing on your activities (making them more dangerous), turning against you during combat or an infiltration, or even sabotaging your base of operations. Canonically, in the CIA storyline, Fender is this when you meet him. However, you get the opportunity to turn the tables by building the MKULTRA Facility, which allows you to interrogate and brainwash enemy agents to work for you in the same way (though you have to steal the enemy brainwashing technology to do so). Double and Triple Agents are possible, and killing captured agents quickly becomes a waste of resources.
  • Eternal Twilight: The Blood Magi have the ability to revive the dead into a seemingly living state, all while controlling them. Verona, Zaryte, and Devi are killed by the Blood Council and revived as bosses for the party to defeat. Miranda was revived so that the Blood Magi have a means of infiltrating the Enclave and stealing the COSMOS relic.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Primals. godlike beings made of aether, brainwash anyone they come in contact with known as tempering. Once someone is tempered, they completely lose their sense of self and do their primal's bidding. This can be extremely dangerous since a tempered person can attack innocents or steal crystals to give their primal more energy. Only death can sever the victim's link to the primal.
    • Near the climax of the Shadowbringers story, the citizens in Elumore start acting strangely and then attack the protagonists. It's soon discovered that Vauthry was able to mind control his people by having them continuously eat a specific food that is made out of Sin Eater flesh.
  • Nabooru in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time gets kidnapped by Koume and Kotake during the Young Link timeline. When Link finds her again in the Spirit Temple as an adult, she's in the suit of an Iron Knuckle and attacks him due to her being brainwashed. When Link defeats her, the armor falls apart and she regains her senses before the twin witches kidnap her again.
  • Taiko Drum Master: Alumi from Dodon~! to Nidaime! is brainwashed by her creator, Dr. Waruru, into wreaking havoc on the festival and fighting her friends. Don manages to bring her back to her senses, but she stops functioning as a result of her defeat.

  • In the Order of the Stick. Nale, the Evil Twin brother of the bard Elan, casts Charm Person on the party's halfling ranger, Belkar Bitterleaf. The first attempt ("If you see any of your allies before I get back, kill them and bring me their magic items") fails because the spell won't allow the command to go against the character's basic nature, but the second ("If you see any of your allies before I get back, kill them and keep their magic items for yourself") succeeds, even when Nale adds, "While singing the complete score to Meet Me in St. Louis." Hilarity Ensues, of the actually hilarious variety.
  • This trope is a huge theme of Oasis's in Sluggy Freelance.
  • This tropes causes major plot twists in It's Walky!.
  • Homestuck: One of Vriska's more impressive displays of her Mind Control abilities is an example of this. She controls Sollux and forces him into a Superpower Meltdown, and then uses the resulting Eye Beam explosion to kill Aradia. She later pulls off a fairly impressive "double psychic reacharound" to control Tavros and his Beast Master skills to in turn mind control Terezi's lusus and permanently blind Terezi. However, Vriska soon finds her powers are far less useful on humans; the best she can do is make a human fall asleep instantly ( Jade's chronic narcolepsy was in fact Vriska testing the limits of her powers on humans).
    • The Condesce later takes this Up to Eleven: Because she possesses the combined abilities of all the trolls, including the aforementioned powers of Vriska and Tavros, she is able to give Dogtier Jade a Grimdark form. She immediately commands Grimbark Jade to zap the Tiaratop onto Jane's head, converting her to the Borg-like Crockerdark form.
  • In Sinfest, Satan can BOMF people to bad. Except that the power appears to be decreasing as the strip gets Lighter and Softer.
  • In MS Paint Masterpieces, Wily snuck in virus type programming into all the original robot master's to get them to defect. The POV comics with Cut Man's desperate struggles to remain himself are... disturbing and heartbreaking. Then you have the likes of Ice Man jumping headfirst into it and helping to spread the Mind Control.
    • Also, anyone under Quintet's Mind Control or using one of his support units.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Dex is manipulated into attempting to kill Noah, Grace and Greg (even though it would kill him too).
  • Subverted in Exiern: Niels is attacked by a magic user and controlled to steal Peonie, then it's revealed that the spell is just controlling his body and while he can still talk and think, he's powerless to stop it, he apologizes, and then says that he can't do anything about it, so he's gonna have fun playing a bad guy.
  • Happens to Spock in Ensign Sue Must Die.
  • In Erfworld, the Wild Card bordering on Chaotic Stupid behavior of Jillian Zamussels, notorious for attacking pretty much anyone at random, makes a lot more sense when you read the prequel and learn that her mind was tampered with to try and forcibly remold her base personality to one that her captors considered more suitable during a procedure to cure her addition to heroine buds.
  • Rosmaster does this to Almond in the third chapter of Cucumber Quest. Almond is brainwashed into viewing Loveable Coward Carrot as so weak and useless that he might as well be a villain for her to fight, and strikes at him with her sword until he's driven over the edge of a cliff. Afterwards, Almond is incredibly shaken and simply runs into Carrot's arms, crying. She also becomes very angry when the others (who were knocked out at the time) edge towards Cry for the Devil.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Some of the main characters are survivors of an island settlement got an outbreak of The Plague from one of its inhabitants getting brainwashed into smuggling a Plague Zombie rat past the island's security measures, deliberately infecting themselves, then going to a bake sale while the disease's Typhoid Mary phase was well underway.

    Web Original 
  • Dice Funk: The campaign really doesn't begin until mind-controlled miners show up and attack the party in the street.
  • Any and all dark Creturians who attack the protagonists in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Jessica ends up brainwashed by the Clergy of Mardük and is sent to steal a magic sword from her friend Refan and kill Refan in order to leave no witnesses. Kaizoku and Tanya also end up brainwashed by the same clergy although Kaizoku eventually breaks free from the clergy's control.
  • Kaori from The Impossible Man went through this when she fought Wolfgang alongside Yuki.
  • This happens to The Nostalgia Chick and Todd in the Shadows in To Boldly Flee when they underwent Unwilling Roboticisation through Mechakara.
  • What has happened to Alpha, Fen, Karkat Vantas, Solaire of Astora and Jekyll/Hyde in the Keep the Flag Flying arc of Our Avatars Were In A Room The Continuation, thanks to some Cold-Blooded Torture
  • Prolecto has this as the MO of Azazel. Anyone infected by Azazel's Ichor is turned into a slave of Azazel, and has their personality warped under the control of the core.
  • In Chrono Hustle Melinda was brainwashed by the TDD to bring them Jack and Mary in order to erase all of their memories of the situation in 2347, as well as capturing Aphrodite for some reason not yet revealed. They had also attempted this on her partner, the second Jack, but he was immune, unbeknownst to them.
  • In Journey of the Cartoon Man, Oswald Sherzikien uses the Glove of the Animator to turn cartoonified people into his mindless servants.
  • The Legendary Birds are forcibly evolved and brainwashed by special armor created by Team Rocket during the Team Rocket arc of We Are Our Adventuring Avatars. If this armor is broken, the mind control is lifted.
  • Dreamscape: The Overlord of Evil is capable of inflicting this on people to do his bidding, such as Melissa.

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko Happens almost everytime someone is xanafied. Special mention to Aelita, William and Jeremie.
  • The Disney short film Education for Death describes this brainwashing process painfully well.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: This is Hawk Moth's modus operandi; he finds normal people who are feeling negative emotions and turns them into supervillains under his command.
    • It's surprisingly common for these brainwashed villains to have mind control powers of their own, and it's practically a Running Gag at this point that Chat Noir will fall victim to them.
  • In the three-part pilot movie of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Zurg uses this to send all of Star Command after Team Lightyear, the variation is that he actually uses a Hive Mind technology to actually become everyone he possessed all at once.
  • In one episode of Captain N: The Game Master, Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo brainwash Simon Belmont with a literal brainwashing machine (complete with detergent), changing him from Vampire Hunter to N-Team Hunter.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars saw Megatron inflict this trope on Rhinox, who became so evil Megatron was forced to change him back. Apparently learning his lesson, in Beast Machines he completely changes the personalities of Silverbolt and Rhinox when he puts them in Vehicon bodies. So much so, in fact, that the Maximals don't recognize them until Rattrap hacks into Rhinox's memory banks. This time, unfortunately, Rhinox does not become good again once his memories resurface.
  • Teen Titans: Brother Blood brainwashed the Teen Titans East (Aqualad, Mas and Menos, Speedy and Bumblebee), and he plans on using them to destroy Cyborg and/or turn them into his new H.I.V.E. academy students. It was so well-done that they used to provide the picture above.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Joker and Harley Quinn brainwashed Robin/Tim Drake in into essentially becoming another Joker. However, this ended up backfiring when Tim broke through the brainwashing when ordered to kill Batman and instead killed the Joker.
    • Also, no hypnosis was involved here at all; Joker turned Tim into "Joker Junior" through Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman is brainwashed by Granny Goodness and Darkseid. Once he comes to, he is not happy.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, in the episode Lake Laogai, Jet is brainwashed by Long Feng into attacking Aang.
  • The Human Torch gets brainwashed in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes "Johnny Storm and the Potion of Fire" episode making him much more powerful and giving him more power over fire, but makes him attack his sister. His willingness to end her life was what snapped him out of it. The increase in power might make this also With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Space Ghost episode "The Sandman". Jan and Jace are Brainwashed into capturing Space Ghost.
  • In Jimmy Neutron's "One of Us", an alien disguised as a kindly old lady uses televized mass hypnotism to turn all the citizens, including Jimmy's parents, into happy, mindless meat puppets forcing others to join the fold.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Moooving Day", Timmy wishes for his mother to sell whatever house she touches. It works, although she ends up selling her own house as well, forcing Timmy to move into a neighborhood where everyone, including his friends and family, act the same. It's revealed that the milk that comes with the new homes turns anyone who drinks it into a Stepford Smiler obsessed with milk, including his parents and godparents, who try to persuade Timmy into becoming like them. All orchestrated by wealthy businessman Doug Dimmadome to earn more cash.
  • Inspector Gadget: Gadget was once hypnotized by Claw's lackeys into robbing a bank, once again forcing Penny and Brain to clean up his mess.
  • Justice League: Ancient sorceress Morgaine le Fey partially brainwashes Martian Manhunter to steal the powerful Philosophers Stone with promises of reuniting with his home and dead family. He almost hands her the stone, but the memories of Etrigan the Demon (who was one of her earlier victims), finally allows him to break control of the spell and shatter the stone, noting that the price would be too high.
    • In the Unlimited episode "Grudge Match", minor villainess Roulette uses Gorilla Grodd's mind control technology to "recruit" female heroes into fighting in gladiatorial combat games to fund Lex Luthor's machinations for reuniting with Brainiac. BC and Huntress have their work cut out for them trying to get the mind control devices off of their teammates, but once they do, the real fun begins as Roulette reveals the next contestant: Wonder Woman. It's all the four women can do to keep their heads attached as the League's number one warrior barrels into them like a female god of war. By the time Huntress and Black Canary shut down the mind control signal, Wonder Woman was a split second from smashing Vixen and Hawkgirls' skulls together.
  • Ned's Newt: Newton becomes brainwashed by a group of sirens in "The Man Who Would Be Flemking" into rowing his and Ned's boat to the point of crashing into a rock.
    "We just gotta learn a number that makes people applaud instead of rowing to their death."
  • Samurai Jack: As Jack passes through a town, he discovers that all the children of the town are going to a rave party and have been hypnotized by Aku's music played by an evil DJ, which is being played on the outskirts of town, turning the children violent and keeping them away from their parents. In addition, with or without the brainwashing, the children are dressed in what seems to be a "candy raver" style.
  • In the Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures episode "Thoughtscape," Jessie is brainwashed by Jeremiah Surd via Questworld, so that she will destroy her family, or at least be the bait to bring Race Bannon to Questworld so Surd can kill him directly. It almost worked, too: She destroyed half the Quest Compound!
  • In one Adventure Time episode, the Fight King brainwashes Finn and commands him to kill Jake. It's later revealed that Finn was faking it as part of a plan.
  • In the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Le Purrrfect Crime", the episode's villain takes advantage of Dale's Easy Amnesia to turn him against his friends.
    • And again in the episode "Chocolate Chips", where a mad chocolatier uses Mind Control drugs to turn the rest of the Rangers against Dale, reversing the previous scenario.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic example: Word of God re: Nightmare Moon is that Princess Luna was jealous of how all the ponies pranced and played in her sister's bright daytime but slept her beautiful night away, but she kind of kept it to herself and tried to carry on as usual. But a dark force saw that jealousy and used it to invade her consciousness and wreak havoc as Nightmare Moon; when the mane six hit her with the Elements of Harmony it was driven out and all that was left was a remorseful Princess Luna. This dark force hasn't been seen or mentioned since. (Or ever; onscreen, Luna repeatedly references it as her greatest regret, with nary a hint of it being anything but a mistake she made because of jealousy and is now ashamed of.)
  • In Young Justice this happens to the entire Justice League in the season 1 finale. The Team assumes its brainwashing initially, until its revealed to be more like a puppet-master controlling them; giving an advantage to the heroes, because the mind-controlled have to wait for instructions to do anything.
    • A more traditional case would be Red Arrow who had specific subconscious commands plugged in. The same fate would have awaited Superboy if he hadn't been rescued in the first episode.
  • More than one example in Super Friends.
  • One episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) features Eldritch Abomination Sh'Gora, who turns the Sorceress into a cackling harpy-like creature and sics her on the other heroes.
  • One of the last episodes of Codename: Kids Next Door reveals that The Delightful Children from Down the Lane are actually the missing Sector Z of the Kids Next Door, abducted by Father and run through a process known as "delightfulization" that made them the creepy, adult-loving sycophants they are. Because the process was unstable, the condition is permanent; any attempt to revert them to their former selves will ultimately wear off.
  • In Mega-Pinocchio Mega Man was controlled by Wily thanks to a mind-control chip. Under Wily's influence Mega Man destroyed a skyscraper, reprogrammed his father's robots, tried to kill his own family by crushing them in a dumpster, attacked Washington DC, and tried to kill his sister again.
  • Ivanhoe: The King's Knight: Rowena is given a potion by Prince John and sent to kill Ivanhoe in "The Assassin and the Potion." When she fails, Prince John attempts to make her marry him.
  • The shtick of more than one villain on Totally Spies!, with Sam almost invariably being the victim.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: During the final episodes of the series, Sprx is corrupted by the Fire of Hate, which causes him to have a Face–Heel Turn and join the villains. Eventually, however, Nova's love for him snaps him out of it long enough for the rest of the team to use their Power Primate to purify him completely.
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: In the episode "Oh Brother," Mario is kidnapped by King Koopa via a fishing rod whilst having an argument with his brother, Luigi. He is then brainwashed with a helmet to do the guy's plumbing, since his pipe burst that was being used in a device to slowly flood the Mushroom Kingdom through rain. When Luigi goes to save him, Mario is prompted to destroy Luigi, and he listens willingly, trying to whack Luigi with a wrench. Luigi tries to bring him back to reality by yelling about their childhood, but it doesn't work. He finally un-brainwashes him by pulling the helmet over his eyes, jerking on his suspenders, and tugging on his moustache to mess it up. Mario screams, "Oh, I hate when you do that!" and the helmet pops off, forcing him back to reality.
  • In Sonic Sat AM, anyone roboticized by Dr. Robotnik is compelled to follow his orders no matter what. To make it even worse, Uncle Chuck reveals that all roboticization victims are fully aware of what's going on and everything they're doing, but they can't do anything about it.


Video Example(s):


Dark Cupid's power

Everyone who gets hit by Dark Cupid's arrows is driven to destroy what they love.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / BrainwashedAndCrazy

Media sources:

Main / BrainwashedAndCrazy