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Brain with a Manual Control

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"Get out of my head! Leave my brain alone!"

"My brain has a control panel?"
Snap, ChalkZone

Using means such as a Shrink Ray or something similar, a character physically enters another character's body and they find out that the brain is actually a control room, complete with a cockpit that allows them to take direct control of the victim. Usually what follows is the guy behind the controls taking advantage of this situation and using the cockpit to fulfill their (often selfish) goals while the victim acts like a manually controlled robot.

Note that this does not necessarily have to be in the brain, nor does it have to involve someone invading another person's body - this trope refers to any situation where a character can be controlled from the inside of their body using a manual control device found inside. Can overlap with the Ghost in the Machine when there are actually any workers in the brain room — usually, however, there are none, which raises the question of just why is there a control room in the brain in the first place.

Compare Mobile-Suit Human, where the human is actually a manually controlled robot. Compare also Puppeteer Parasite, People Puppets and Demonic Possession. May involve Anthropomorphized Anatomy.

A part of the Mind Manipulation tropes. See also the Journey to the Center of the Mind and "Fantastic Voyage" Plot.


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    Anime And Manga  
  • Boruto: It's revealed that Isshiki Ōtsutsuki shrank himself down and hijacked contol of Jigen's brain to feed on and eventually fuse with him.
  • A variant of this is present in Poison Berry in My Brain; there is a microphone for Ichiko's voice, memory playbacks and alterings of said memory through buttons, and so on.

    Comic Books  
  • One The Incredible Hulk comic shows the villain taking over the Hulk's mind. The Hulk's mind consists of a control console with a keyboard for Bruce Banner on one side, and on the other side a Hulk-sized Big Red Button labeled "SMASH!"

    Comic Strips  

    Film - Animated  
  • In Inside Out, Riley's mind is run by five personified emotions — Anger, Joy, Disgust, Sadness, and Fear — at a console. Evidently, this goes for everyone else as well, including cats and dogs. Curiously, these emotions don't seem to have full control over Riley's actions, and instead can only suggest what her reaction should be, with Riley interpreting the input in her own way.
  • In Osmosis Jones, Mayor Phlegmming uses the manual override on Frank's speech control to compel Frank to say that he'll take a cold pill for his initial symptoms, rather than seeing a physician as he'd intended. This introduces special agent Drix to Frank's body, where he teams up with the titular white blood cell.
  • There's a variation in Ratatouille, Remy (a rat) doesn't even need to be inside the human Linguini's body to control him; Remy gains absurdly precise control over Linguini's muscles by sitting on the top of his head under his chef's hat and pulling his hair. Don't think about it too hard, because that's all the explanation you're going to get. He shows all the same ability when he appears in Kingdom Hearts III, controlling Sora with the same amount of precision despite Sora having never set foot in a kitchen before the first time the player starts the minigame.

    Film - Live-Action  
  • In Being John Malkovich, this guy Craig finds a portal in an office building that goes into John Malkovich's head somehow; he can see and hear what Malkovich is doing, for 15 minutes... then gets dumped onto the New Jersey Turnpike. After a while, however, Craig figures out how to control Malkovich's body like a puppet and not get dumped out onto the turnpike. There's no actual control room, however, just being in his mind and controlling him, but it's implied Craig's experience as an actual puppeteer helped him do it.
  • Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) has it in the last sketch. There are also manual workers who attempt to get an erection working and some saboteur in the morals section.
  • In Terminal City Ricochet, the evil corporate overlord mayor Ross Glimore has a team of scientists develop brain implants that will allow parents to control their rebellious children with a joystick.


    Live-Action TV  
  • In The Jim Henson Hour episode "Outer Space", after Digit breaks down, Kermit, Lindbergh and Waldo go into his brain to fix him. They end up controlling Digit from the inside when they are unable to reach a button to release them out of his brain.
  • The episode "Do the Bright Thing" of McGee and Me! has McGee showing off the inside of Nick's mind to the viewer, which contains a master control that shows Nick's thought processes as he makes decisions through a normal day of his life.
  • In Raumschiff GameStar, when the GameStar's communications officer Mikkl ends up on the Death Star with a bomb surgically inserted into his body (long story), the villains decide that their best cause of action is to shrink Darth Mopp to minuscule size and send him into Mikkl's brain to defuse the bomb manually. While there, Mopp discovers a control room inside and causes the GameStars a lot of trouble when they eventually rescue Mikkl.
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Nobody Nose Libby Like Sabrina Knows Libby", Sabrina and Salem are magically shrunk and trapped inside a tiny rocket ship, which (accidentally) flies up the nose of the local Alpha Bitch and lands in her brain. There is no control room in there per se, but Sabrina has plenty of space to walk around inside, see out of Libby's eyes, and after pressing a nerve to the forehead, she gains total control over Libby's body and speech.

    Modern Art  
  • Underground artist Robert Crumb drew a panel cartoon titled "The Little Man Who Lives Inside My Brain." It depicts a compartment crammed full of conduits, switches and junction boxes, with a small, naked man curled up and traumatized at the horrors he's seen.


    Video Games  
  • Bowser's brain in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is set up half like a giant computer, and half like a library. It's very user friendly when Mario and Luigi actually reach it.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police's third season The Devil's Playhouse. In the episode "The City That Dares Not Sleep", we have Sam and a bunch of experts (Sybil, Mr. Paperwaite and Yog-Soggoth) team up to enter the body of a giant monster (Max who turned into a giant Eldritch Abomination) that is destroying the city. They access various parts of his body (which, incidentally, looks like a well-decorated house) and manage to take control of the monster's arms and legs using the devices found in them; with the outside help of Momma Bosko, they can manually make the monster move in the desired direction.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: The Mechonis, a continent-sized Humongous Mecha, is normally only controllable by the goddess Meyneth, but Egil has found a way to control it using ether siphoned from its organic counterpart, the Bionis.

  • In Questionable Content, Marigold's subconscious is portrayed as a ship's engine room crewed by versions of herself.
    "Sailor" Marigold: Ma'am, I'm seeing multiple structural failure warnings-
    "Captain" Marigold: Dear god. We're... we're... We're exercising.

    Web Original  
  • Command Center features Anna Akana in charge of some policemen who work inside a young woman's head, and try to help the young woman make rational decisions.

    Western Animation  
  • In Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, in the episode "This Is Your Brain on Ickis", Ickis gets sucked into the brain of Simon, a monster hunter. Ickis can see through Simon's eyes and discovers that he can control Simon's actions. He then takes Simon on a rampage through the city streets. Soon, the word spreads about Simon being crazy and he is finally detained by doctors. Oblina and Krumm must then get Ickis out of Simon's brain before the cat scan reveals his existence.
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, in the episode "Honey, I Shrunk the Hedgehog", Sonic, Tails, and a gang of Mole Miners get shrunk by Dr. Robotnik. Towards the end of the episode, Sonic and Tails find their way into Scratch and Grounder and control them to turn against Robotnik, save the Mole Miners, and unshrink themselves. Of course, Scratch and Grounder are robots.
  • The ChalkZone episode "Calling Dr. Memory" had Snap going into his own memories to find a code number he forgot. This leads to a situation like this trope, hence the page quote.
  • In Courage the Cowardly Dog, in the episode "Mission to the Sun", a thumb-sized bacteria is shown getting inside Muriel's brain and messing with the controls found inside, which initially results in Muriel behaving in an insane way, until finally she starts destroying the spaceship's machinery and talking with the bacteria's voice. Eustace is shown also having the bacteria in his brain at the very end.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents, in the episode "Tiny Timmy", Timmy travels through Vicky's body and reaches her brain. He finds out her emotions are controlled by little people in chairs, one of whom, who represented her kindness, never showed up for work. Timmy turns on the machine himself, making Vicky a kind and caring person as a result, until one of the little people sees that Timmy left it on and turns it off.
  • In Invader Zim, in the episode "NanoZIM" (Season 1 Episode 2B), Dib sneaks into Zim's base, takes incriminating pictures of Zim without his disguise on, and puts them on a floppy disk. Zim discovers Dib and shrinks to microscopic size to enter Dib's body via microscopic submarine. Zim accesses Dib's nervous system, giving him control of Dib's arms, and, as a result, making him crush the floppy disk.
  • In Mad Jack the Pirate, in the episode "Mad Jack and the Beanstalk", Mad Jack and Snuk try to steal a treasure from a giant's castle. When the giant gets knocked out, they enter his brain through his nose, and then use the control room found inside to lead the giant to the treasure.
  • Ozzy & Drix (a sequel series to Osmosis Jones):
    • In the episode "Reflex", Ozzy the white blood cell inadvertently causes his host human Hector to tick off a bully, who challenges him to an after-school fight. Ozzy tries to amend his mistake by sneaking into Hector's brain's manual control room and linking their bodies so that Ozzy can use his martial art skills to control Hector in the fight. However, he gets caught by security in the process, turning it into What the Fu Are You Doing?.
    • The fear center is also seen in "The Globfather"; Drix turns everything off to trick Hector into going on a nausea-inducing carnival ride, so that he vomits up a disease-ridden corn dog.
    • Played With in "Dream Factory"; the subconscious parts that control dreams are revealed to be outside the Mayor's control, but that doesn't stop the main characters from intervening when Hector gets recurring nightmares; it just takes more than simply switching off the dream.
    • Subverted in "An Out of Body Experience Pt.2", when Drix tries hacking Hector's fear center to undo his fear of swimming. The network turns out to be too difficult for him to decode, but Hector ends up overcoming his fear himself.
    • Subverted again in "Where There's Smoke": Nick O'Teen tries to hijack Hector's pleasure center to make him crave more cigarettes, but Hector, remembering his crush's disapproval of him just trying one, still manages to refuse and walk away.
    • Another subversion in "A Cold Day in Hector": Ozzy tries using the brain's manual control room to keep Hector moving, but the hypothermia Hector is suffering renders the controls almost unresponsive.
  • The Patrick Star Show: In "The Wrath of Shmandor", the Shmandorian sergeant plugs himself into Patrick's brain, allowing him to take control of his voice, and broadcasts messages to the city telling them to destroy Patrick.
  • An episode of Reboot has Megabyte plan to shrink down, invade Bob's body, install a control device, and take control of the guardian to open a portal to the Supercomputer. Taking place inside a computer, this is effectively akin to adding a plugin or modifying software. Of course the plan hits a snag when they accidentally invade Enzo instead, but Megabyte quickly realizes he can make do when he discovers Enzo's bizarre behavior saw the boy he controls taken into the Principal Office past all their security and near the Core...
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In one episode, Heffer falls in love with a cute elk girl named Elkie. His heart is then seen at a control panel in his head, pushing levers that say things like "Look Stupid", "Stumble Over", "Forget Name", and "Try to Impress Her".
  • In Sponge Bob Squarepants, in the episode Plankton!, Plankton enters Spongebob's head to make him bring a Krabby Patty to the Chum Bucket, so he can discover the Krabby Patty's secret formula. While no control room was found in the brain, Plankton did attach a device to the brain that allowed him to manually control Spongebob.
  • In Strange Hill High, there is an episode where the kids find a door in the headmaster's office. This door leads inside his head, where they find a control room that resembles the bridge of a ship. Using it, they can control where he walks and what he says.
  • In Timon & Pumbaa, Pumbaa's brain is revealed to be a rather un-fittingly high-tech variant of one of these when Timon sneaks into it after being eaten by him in the episode "Beetle Romania"; apart from being able to use it to raise Pumbaa's intelligence to a rather-extremely and downright-annoyingly high level (and also lower it back down), however, Timon doesn't really seem to gain any actual control over it while inside it.
  • In Uncle Grandpa, Uncle Grandpa and Pizza Steve shrink into a kid's head and plug a controller into his brain to help him play video games. They mistake the real world for the game and send him all over the town.
  • Zeke's Pad: In "A Little Sketchy", Zeke and Jay shrink themselves down with the Pad and find themselves smack in the middle of Rachel's brain. Now Zeke and Jay have complete control over Rachel's actions. They make Rachel look like an absolute fool by making her do animal noises, walk into the wall, and say inappropriate things.


Video Example(s):


Destroy Patrick Star!

A Shmandorian sergeant connects Patrick's brain to his radio, ordering the citizens of his city to rush out and kill Patrick.

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Main / BrokenRecord

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