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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
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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 just why is there a control room in the brain in the first place.

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Compare Mobile-Suit Human, where the human is actually a manually controlled robot. Compare also Puppeteer Parasite and Demonic Possession.

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


Examples

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     Anime And Manga  

  • 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!"

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     Comic Strips  

     Literature  

     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.

     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.

     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.
  • 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.

     Music  

  • Happens in the music video of "Dare" by Gorillaz from Demon Days, where Noodle has control over a large head.

     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 monsters'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: The Mechonis

     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 if 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" where 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?
    • 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.
    • The fear center was seen in a previous episode: Ozzy turned everything off so Hector would go on a nausea-inducing carnival ride and vomit up a disease-ridden corn dog.
  • 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 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.


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