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If you're wondering about "what if a group of things are shown as humans, what would they do", look no further than this trope. This is Older Than Dirt, as people since the beginning of time tended to assign personality and (usually humanoid) form to the phenomena of the world, usually because humans understood them better that way: this is the basis for many mythologies. Similarly, works with this trope are made because of the potential human perspective of the things that are personified, or at least the chance to see what they would say or how they would interact with the world.

Usually, the work will treat the personified characters like the things they originally were, only with them being able to talk to each other and act like humans. Sometimes, however, they might lampshade their "humanity" as something alien to them; among other things, they may question why or how they became humans (or why they got sapience or sentience to begin with), or lament about how lame humanity is, or how good being "humans" may be, etc. They may also sometimes get an equivalent of Furry Reminder in that they hang a lampshade over what they originally are.

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How they actually become personified is usually not addressed; however, some works may either show them turning into humans, or have them question how they become humans in the first place, if not actively seeking answers for it.

Sub-Trope of Anthropomorphic Personification and Moe Anthropomorphism. Compare Cute Monster Girl, which is when monsters or other inhuman beings resemble attractive human girls, Nations as People, which is about the personifications of countries appearing in a work regardless of whether the cast is mostly personifications or not, Animate Inanimate Object, where inanimate objects are given life but not human form, and World of Funny Animals, where the work takes place in a world where everyone is an animal with some amount of human traits. Those tropes and this one can overlap, though this trope is more about non-human objects and concepts being depicted as humans.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Audio Play 
  • Come to Hoshizora Hall♪ features a personified orchestra, coming to life because of the love and care their previous owner gave them and performing and transforming during the nighttime.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Sandman, the main characters are "The Endless", a family of seven anthropomorphic personifications of universal concepts, around whom much of the series revolves. From eldest to youngest, they are Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (formerly Delight). Also, various other gods, demigods, angels, fallen angels, demons and other creatures from diverse mythologies are represented in this comic book series by Neil Gaiman.

    Films — Animation 
  • The five main characters of Inside Out are the personifications of the emotions of a little girl named Riley. Other human characters (and even a cat and a dog) are shown to have the same emotion characters operating inside their heads. Other, minor characters in the movie are personifications of other things in your mind, such as fears, dreams, memory, and more.
  • Osmosis Jones depicts the human body as a city and the various cells as its citizens. White blood cells, like the title character, are cops, while germs and viruses are criminals.

    Literature 
  • The titular American Gods. The old gods are characters from old-world mythology and are a hit-or-miss with this trope, depending on their traditional domains, but they interact with the new gods, which are personifications of modern crazes (eg. media, technology).

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The twelve Olympian gods and the numerous minor gods all represent a specific concept (be it an abstract concept or a natural phenomenon). Ares/Mars represents war, Aphrodite/Venus represents love, Hades/Pluto represents the dead, Poseidon/Neptune represents the sea, Dionysus/Bacchus represents wine, etc. In the case of minor gods, their name often literally is the Greek/Latin word for the concept their represent: Nike/Victoria means "victory", Thanatos/Mors means "death", Eros/Cupid means "desire", etc.
    • Even deeper are the primordial gods and Titans who represents much bigger concepts; such as Erebus ("darkness") and Gaia ("earth"). Compare the sun titan Helios and sun god Apollo.

    Music 
  • Tsukiuta is the months of the year as idols. There's a boy and a girl for each month. Their parent agency, Tsukipro, has groups based on the elements (fire, earth, air, water) and on birthstones, also including a group that's a bunch of personifications kf Glico brand sweets.

    Toys 
  • Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls personifies the solar system as a diverse group of women who wear roller blades, though the physical planets still exist.

    Video Games 
  • Food Fantasy is a mobile game in which you summon Food Souls- personified food- to battle Fallen Angels and manage restaurants. The Food Souls are said to be spirits that inhabited the food, and have ver human-like appearances. Foods from around the world are personified.
  • Kantai Collection is a game where you as an Admiral gather and organize "fleet girls" (kanmusu), warships that take form of girls, in a war against horrors of the sea, called the "Abyssal Fleet". Specifically, the fleet girls personify ships that took part in World War II, and bring with them the characteristics and history of each ship in question. At first the ships are taken from the Imperial Japanese Navy, but later updates give us ships from Germany and Italy, and even later ones give us ships from the Allies' side as well.
  • Touken Ranbu has you as a time-traveling sage gathering various Japanese swords and give them life and human forms - as pretty boys, that is. Specifically, they're the swords used by various historical Japanese figures, such as Okita Souji or Oda Nobunaga, and brings with them characteristics and history of each swords in question (along with their former owners). Unlike KanColle above (both this and that game are made by DMM), this game explains how they came to be.
  • Warship Girls is pretty much the Chinese's response to Kantai Collection above, as it also features personified World War II warships, in form of girls. The difference is that they featured ships of multiple countries right off the bat as opposed to just the IJN.
  • The cast of the Neptunia series consists of personifications of game consoles, videogame companies and videogame franchises. Villains also often personify some videogame-related concept, such as digital piracy. This isn't present for all sides of the console wars, however: the PC nation has none due to there being so solid console for PC gaming (the closest they've got to one is the anime universe's Setag), while mobile gaming is presented as something everyone does rather than an aspect of who anyone is.
  • Disco Elysium does this with the Player Character's skills. As skill points are invested into the skills, they start manifesting as voices inside his head and essentially becomes party members in their own right, chiming in with advice, their own opinions, conflicting desires, and even personal sidequests as you encounter different situations. You banter back and forth with them throughout the game, even stopping in mid-conversation with other people to hear them out or argue with them. Interestingly, skills can also become too strong if too many points are invested in them. What begins as advice can eventually become a compulsion, restricting what dialogue options you can choose in certain circumstances or just becoming overbearingly loud compared to the other skills.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Her Tears Were My Light, all the characters are the Moe Personifications of aspects of the universe, namely time, space, and the void. They all have the forms of young women who have powers related to what they personify.

    Web Comics 
  • Grayling features the Elementals as its main characters, who embody abstract or physical ideals such as death and fire.
  • Sins has anthropomorphic personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins as its protagonists, with personifications of the Seven Heavenly Virtues, the Tarot, vices, fates, etc. as supporting characters.
  • Deities is about the personifications of Death, Fate, Time, Love, Chaos, Law/Order, Nature and God and how they interact with the world around them.
  • Planetary Moe is a comedic Slice of Life comic about the personifications of various celestial bodies interacting with each other. They have the appearance of attractive young humans, and have pseudonyms that they use when visiting Earth. Yes, even Earth themself.
  • Afganisu-tan explains the history of the relationships between the nations of Central Asia by personifying them as cute little girls. The contrast between the playful antics of the characters and the somber explanations of what historical event it represents is striking.
  • Scandinavia and the World is a comedy that centers around the personifications of the Scandinavian countries interacting with each other, with less frequent appearances from other countries.
  • (Pictured above) Nebula is a story about the personifications of the solar system, who act out various space phenomena- Earth gets into other planets' personal space and asks them intrusive questions, Sun is in charge because everyone is intimidated by him, etc. They're all shown as Monstrous Humanoids who lack faces and who are nearly immortal unless killed.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia uses anthropomorphic personifications of various nations across the world as the main characters, using typical stereotypes to create the exaggerated personalities.
  • Periodus is about the personifications of four elements on the periodic table living together in one house.
  • Consolers is about the personifications of the three biggest video game companies, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, with their antics riffing on the interactions between the companies. Personifications of smaller companies like Namco and EA also appear, though they aren't as focused on.
  • Most of the transdimensional aliens from Awful Hospital are "conceptoids," who are an embodiment of, well, a concept. Chip, for example, is a Soul-Sucking Retail Job represented by a nervous young man wearing a Starbucks uniform, with a cup of coffee for a head. Another, Maggie, is more or less a goddess of maggots, who manifests as a Cute Witch and a Worm That Walks at different points in the story

    Web Original 
  • Personifications is a roleplay about the personifications of the Seven Heavenly Virtues and the Seven Deadly Sins interacting with each other. While they are mostly immortal, they can be killed and a new entity personifying that thing will come into existence. Personifications of things other than virtues and sins also exist in that universe, such as Money and Love.
  • Fandomstuck takes this to a new level: it's a largely tumblr-driven Shared Universe that revolves around the personifications of various fandoms that have sprung up around popular tv shows, books, animes, and webcomics — including but not limited to Homestuck, Axis Powers Hetalia, Supernatural, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, etc...
  • My Senior, IE-kun is an independent "Office slapstick comedy about a silly Senior and his competent juniors".note 
  • Earth-Chan, which is a bunch of comics where the solar system (plus a black hole) is depicted as cute anime girls.

    Western Animation 
  • Il était une fois... la Vie (Once Upon a Time... Life) is an education animated series about the human body, with most of the characters being personification of white cells, red cells, microbes, virus, nutrients, and "workers" inside the cells themselves. They do look like the Universal-Adaptor Cast of the other series in the franchise, and we do also see the humans whose activities lead to whatever drama happens inside their bodies.

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