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Emergency Transformation

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"I'm afraid I didn't land very well. Fortunately I had programmed my earliest robots to save my life at any cost! They found me in a lonely alley before the spark of life had fled. [...] I shall never forget the sight that greeted me upon regaining consciousness! [...] I remember I felt well — even strong — although I had this incredible sense of detachment. And then, I lifted my hand to my face... but it was no longer my hand!"
The Machinesmith, Captain America # 249

Alas! An ally or loved one is bleeding to death and about to die (Heroics optional)! With little time and no other options, the heroes are faced with only one alternative... an Emergency Transformation.

Humanity is not absolute - it is both graded and transitional. The heroes, having access to machines, magics, or curses capable of transforming someone into something less and/or more than human, will be forced to choose whether they let their friend die human or live on as something else.

If the ally is unconscious the decision is usually made for them. This tends to be especially tragic or anguishing as the transformee usually deeply hates his new form, be it because it's monstrous, associated with other unpleasantness, or weaker than their previous form. Expect the character to angst about his Metamorphosis endlessly, even if this isn't the case and he's actually better off than before.


However, the ally may have to go through the decision of making the choice between the sweet release of death, or a non-human life with super powers and possibly even eternal life. (Gee, what a tough call.) Occasionally though, it is and there will be much blame to give out because of it. You'd be surprised how distressing it can be when one is literally Unable to Cry.

There are a few general variations:

Expect these to be permanent, and for the naturally inclined to evil to think it makes them superior to "mundane" humans, while heroes will be Pro Human Transhumans. Frequently has a high rate of insanity and failure, at the least it makes the vain very distraught. Definitely a setup for lessons in What Measure Is a Non-Human?, many stories of the fable kind have characters cursed this way for harming a non-human creature. A character can go through the Stages of Monster Grief and get an epiphany that I Am What I Am, which ironically enough may trigger a return to human status. Someone who greets any emergency by transforming is probably just a One-Winged Angel.

Compare Curse That Cures, when a sick or injured character voluntarily (and without the pressure of being under threat of immediate death) seeks a Curse because it can cure them as a side effect. See also Power-Upgrading Deformation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 3×3 Eyes starts with the main character, Yakumo, killed by a pet monster belonging to the last Sanjiyan (Pai). Pai saves him by taking his soul into herself, turning him into a Wu, an immortal being whose mission is to protect the Sanjiyan (if the Sanjiyan is killed, he dies). The Wu still looks human and is free-willed, but becoming one makes him a severe Plot Magnet and he must leave his friends and travel with Pai until they can become human.
  • In Armitage III, Ross has an artificial leg at the beginning. Later in the story more than half of his body is replaced with mechanical parts to save his life.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: When Shirogane is badly wounded, Suzu's attention is divided between healing him and fighting the enemy that caused the injury. She then figures out she can kill two birds with one stone by taking Shirogane into herself temporarily, healing him while giving Suzu the power to defeat their enemy.
  • In Black Blood Brothers, this happened to Jiro Mochizuki, when he was turned into a vampire by Alice Eve, prior to the start of the series.
  • The entire premise of Bleach, at least for the living characters, hangs on this trope.
    • In the very first episode, Ichigo gets stabbed in the heart by Rukia, giving him her full Shinigami powers. Slightly averted when we are told that his father was also a Shinigami, and hence Ichigo always had those powers, or at least the potential for them.
    • Played straight when, in an effort to regain his Shinigami status, Ichigo visits Urahara, who has his Chain of Fate chopped off, and turned him into a Vizard instead... and when this isn't enough to let him defeat Ulquiorra and rescue Orihime from him, he becomes an even MORE powerful hollow....
  • In one episode of Blood+, Saya does this with her adoptive younger brother Riku. Despite herself and Haji being shining examples of Friendly Neighborhood Vampires who hunt bad vampires, she beats herself up for it. It is however slightly tragic in that he will never grow up, becoming an undead Pinocchio. Also he pretty much loses his personality, instead becoming a slave with no desire except to serve and protect Saya. Except... the true tragedy is it only kept him alive a little longer- Diva decided to rape and murder him shortly afterward.
    • She also did this once before by accident, on Haji. He's exactly the same as before. In fact, the reason he needed this trope is the same kind behavior afterward
    • Diva does this too. Some by choice, some by force. None of them had any complaints.
  • Aureolus Izzard attempted to turn Index into a vampire in A Certain Magical Index in order to stop Necessarius from inflicting the periodic memory loss on her. However, he didn't know that Touma had already saved Index from her fate.
  • In Code Geass, Jeremiah gets hit with it TWICE. First he's rebuilt after apparently being killed by Kallen, coming back in the first season finale with a major screw loose and angst about being mechanized. After being crushed in his mecha by water pressure at the end of the season, he returns again in season 2, upgraded further, with his sanity intact and no longer concerned with his transformation. Then he has a Heel–Face Turn and becomes even more of a Memetic Badass.
  • Rather sad example in D.Gray-Man. How so? Well Allen Walker out of his sadness at his adopted father's death accidentally has him transformed by the Millennium Earl post-mortem, turning him into the skeleton for a human-killing machine. Said skeleton then curses Allen's left eye, before being torn to shreds by the kid's newly awoken powers.
  • In Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, Tao Pai Pai, Doctor Gero, and Freeza go through this, with varying degrees of success. While Tao Pai Pai and Freeza are quickly defeated to show how powerful certain protagonists are or have become, Doctor Gero lasts longer before he's killed by his own androids.
  • Franken Fran. Fran's ideal is the preservation of life by all means possible, without much regard for the patient's opinion and a quite elastic definition of 'life'. Body Horror ensues, though surprising enough some of her patients still get a Happy Ending.
  • Alphonse Elric, in Fullmetal Alchemist. His entire body is taken by the Doors of Truth, so Ed does the only thing he can and binds his soul to a suit of armor conveniently standing in the corner. This isn't actually permanent. Al gets his real body back four or five years later, at the end of their quest.
    • Alphonse again in a later episode of the 2003 anime continuity. Kimblee starts a chain reaction that will turn Al's armor body into a bomb. Deciding that the only way to save him is to change his composition into something else but lacking the ability to perform a more traditional transmutation, Scar gives up his arm to transfer its valuable contents to Al, making him into a living Philosopher's Stone.
  • A common practice in Ghost in the Shell in its various incarnations, with cybernetics being used for repairs or wholesale replacements of the body. Motoko was stated to have been one of the earliest humans saved using a full prosthetic body in this way, after she and Kuze survived a plane crash as children.
  • In the first episode of Hellsing, Seras combines this with First-Episode Resurrection. Alucard shoots through her, using a gun that fires explosive shells, to kill the vampire holding her hostage. He at least asks her permission before vampirising her, and this is also an exception to "never ends well" since she doesn't turn evil though she has gone on a couple of Mook killing rampages.
    • This is because she didn't embrace her new nature. Once she did, she got some of Alucard's quirks, like Slasher Smile, open admission of her status as a monster, trolling Integra and offering her to make her a vampire. Of course, it is what Alucard wanted from the very beginning, so it still counts as positive outcome.
  • In High School D×D, this is how another being's transformation into an angel or devil generally works, Issei being the primary series example. It does not need to be done to save someone from death, but it can if necessary.
    • Later in the series, this happens to Issei again. He is mortally poisoned with Samael's blood by Shalba shortly before killing him, and so his consciousness/soul is transferred to his Sacred Gear (which is locked in armor form) while Ophis and Great Red create him a new body. He looks the same in the end, but his new body is more Dragon than Human (until he gets converted to a Devil again). He can also shapeshift into a dragon without Juggernaut Drive.
  • Horror-like inverted in Inuyasha the seriously ill Princess Sara Asano is in love with Sesshomaru. In order to be with him, she makes a pact with lesser youkai. She gives them their soul so that they merge with her body and give her a new body. But this makes her a creature who is controlled by the lesser youkai.
  • Dio Brando used the Stone Mask to become a vampire in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part I when Jonathan and the police had him cornered after exposing his attempts to murder George Joestar.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl: Hazumu's male body was crushed by an alien spaceship, and for whatever reason they rebuilt it as a female one. The strong hints that Hazumu was suffering from gender dysphoria beforehand may or may not have had something to do with this result.
  • In The Laughing Vampire by Suehiro Maruo, as the girl Luna is strangled and Left for Dead on a rubbish heap, the protagonist, a teenage male vampire, transforms her — a beautiful scene with fireworks going on in the distance.
  • The story of how Fate and Arf met in Lyrical Nanoha as revealed in the second Sound Stage of the first season. Fate finds a dying wolf, and to save her, she turns the wolf into her familiar.
  • There's an entire race of humans who have undergone the Emergency Transformation in the works of Leiji Masumodo, "The Machine People." Machine People can be arrogant and cruel, but they can also be wise and sad. How much of your soul cybernetics eats depends on the person and story in question.
  • In Mardock Scramble, protagonist Rune Balot, a Disposable Sex Worker, is almost killed by her current boyfriend/employer in a car bomb. Dr. Easter intervenes and saves Balot's life by turning her into a technopathic cyborg. Though he was unable to save her vocal chords, so she is now effectively mute when not controlling speaker systems.
  • Played with in Monster Musume. Lala turns a dying a girl into a zombie in chapter 38. Not to prevent her death, but so she won't have to, since the girl will come back to life afterwards.
  • In Monster Rancher, monsters can be combined to make a new, stronger monster. The anime played this for drama by having Big Blue volunteer to be combined with Pixie, giving up their own life to save hers.
  • Happened in Nightwalker, vampire variation: Shidou has to turn his girlfriend and local Plucky Office Girl, Riho, into a vampire to save her life.
  • In One Piece, Franky manages to rebuild himself after being run over by a train. Of course, this merely serves to make him even more awesome.
  • Polyphonica has Prinesca Yugiri. After a fatal injury, her father's spirit combined with her, effectively making Prinesca more than human. The most noticeable sign of the change was her blonde hair turning to purple.
  • This is how Hiro ended up Waking Up at the Morgue in Princess Resurrection, the titular Monster Princess's Robot Girl accidentally ran him over, so Hime made him her servant with her blood/life essence, incidentally saving his life and making him Nigh-Invulnearable. Likewise this is done for a Mermaid who had given up her voice. She broke the taboo by shouting to save them which resulting in a death curse; and a different member of the Monster Royalty gave his blood/life essence to her.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, Tsukune gets repeated emergency transformations anytime Inner Moka isn't able to fight. Then the last attempt at an emergency transformation turned Tsukune into a crazy powerful ghoul. Oops! It takes a succession of holy artifacts, Training from Hell and even more extensive transformations to let him control his power..
  • A ton of this in Servamp. A literal necessity in the creation of a subclass, which are vampires made by servamps through feeding a dying human their blood.
  • In Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, according to Orphen himself, this happened to his once partner and the local Cool Big Sis Stephanie. She was a male-bodied sorceress whose body was torn apart in a terrible accident and had to be reconstructed from almost zero by the local healers. Right before that she explained her case to them, asked if she could be given a female body and they accepted.
  • The plot of Tokyo Ghoul begins with one of these. After being critically injured in a Ghoul attack, Kaneki wakes up in the hospital to learn that he's received an organ transplant from his attacker. Soon enough, he becomes unable to eat normal food and begins noticing strange urges and realizes the surgery turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid. When he finally confronts Mad Scientist Dr. Kanou about turning him into a Ghoul, the doctor justifies it by claiming that either way, doing so saved his life.
  • In Transformers Victory, a dying God Ginrai is transformed into Victory Leo, a Mecha Expansion Pack for Star Saber. He goes feral for a bit but eventually snaps out of it. (Since God Ginrai was actually a Combining Mecha formed of Super Ginrai and Godbomber, the inability to separate might have been a factor in the trauma.)
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, Fai almost dies from shock caused by the loss of an eye. He is saved by being turned into a vampire who can only feed from one specific person (Kurogane).
  • UQ Holder! uses this as the basis of the plot: the protagonist inadvertently gets himself in the way of a bounty hunter who cuts off his arm and impales him, and his only means of survival is to drink Evangeline's blood to make himself immortal.

    Comic Books 
  • In Blackbird (2018), the members of the secret society of magical cabals known as paragons start off as ordinary humans who undergo a magical ritual that requires them to first die and then be resurrected as idealized versions of themselves in order to acquire their magical powers. When Nina Rodriguez, the story's heroine, gets killed in an earthquake at the tender age of 13, her paragon mother uses a partial version of the ritual as a handy means of resurrecting her without actually completing the full paragon transformation. This leads to a lot of complications later on...
  • This is how Patriot from Young Avengers said he got his powers, via blood transfusion from his super-grandpa. He was lying. And then later it happens for real.
  • Jennifer Walters, attorney at law, also got a blood transfusion - from her cousin Dr. Bruce Banner. Unusually for this trope, Jen usually likes being She-Hulk or even prefers it to her human form. The later Retcon that the Hulk's personalities are a result of multiple personality disorder and were not caused by his powers happens to explain away why she doesn't have the same problems the Hulk has. Of course, she did have some issues at first (but more roid rage-ish than "HULK SMASH"). As she became more used to the transformation, her lack of inhibitions shifted themselves from wanting to break stuff to just having fun.
  • The New Teen Titans:
    • Cyborg was given his cybernetic parts by his father after an attack by an other-dimensional creature nearly killed him, ate his mother and fatally contaminated his father with radiation poisoning (which neither knew about at the time). It took the traumatised Cyborg quite the time to come to terms with the whole deal, understandably.
    • Gar "Beast Boy" Logan gained his powers when his parents injected him with an experimental serum to save him from a rare, incurable disease.
  • Doom Patrol (Gar's former team), could be poster children for this - especially Robotman and the original Negative Man! Niles "The Chief" Caulder arguably counts (defusing a bomb implanted in his chest put him in a wheelchair), but with current continuity turning him into a monster that arranged the horrific accidents that changed some members of Doom Patrol into "heroic freaks."
  • Commander Steel of DC - Henry Heywood was severely injured by saboteurs. A scientist gave him steel replacement parts, saving his life and turning him into a super-strong and durable "indestructible man". In the New 52 "Rotworld" stories Henry Heywood uploaded himself into a robot body when the Rot was taking over the bodies of the living.
  • Marvel: A blood transfusion from the original (highly humanlike android) Human Torch gave Spitfire her super-speed powers. Yes, a blood transfusion from a flaming robot gave her super-speed powers. A second transfusion forty years later not only reactivated her then-faded powers, but de-aged her back to the age when she first became Spitfire.
  • In the Forgotten Realms comics, the character Minder was originally a dwarven adventurer who was fatally injured in battle; in desperation, the wizard of the group transferred her spirit into a magically animated golem.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Star Wars: Legacy: Cade refuses to let his childhood love Azlyn die, even though she asks him to, accepting her fate and the will of the Force. When all other options fail, he gets her to people who put her in a Vader-esque life support armor. After waking up, she was really pissed at him. Fortunately for her, she managed to avoid slipping to the Dark Side and managed to get the scary black suit replaced with something much more elegant.
    • The Biggs Darklighter comics have Hobbie Klivian repeatedly lose limbs and need prosthetics to keep being a pilot. One of Biggs' lines, while commenting on the strength of a prosthetic hand, is "Not like it makes up for losing your..." ...which is generally taken to mean that Hobbie lost his penis.
  • Bunnie Rabbot in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics had already been changed into a cyborg against her free will; however, being only half-roboticized, the effects eventually catch up with her and start screwing up her body, putting her in the hospital. She's given the option of removing her original robotic limbs (transformed from her real ones) and replacing them with new ones (which would ruin her chances of deroboticization and having her original flesh-and-blood body back, a longtime goal/dream), or trying to treat her condition to slow oncoming death. She goes for the upgrade, deciding to finally fully accept herself as a cyborg. There was another option that they could have tried, but knew it was way too risky - attempting to deroboticize her. The problem was that they didn't exactly have the original roboticizer - they had it, but Sonic damaged it when they rescued her way back when and they ended up rebuilding it to use later on. As it wasn't the original one, using it to revert her to normal would be life threatening.
  • When Techno of the Thunderbolts got his neck snapped, he transferred his consciousness into his pack o' gear, forming a robotic body out of it. He liked it much better than his human body.
  • In 30 Days of Night Eben Oleman injects himself with vampire blood in order to save the remaining survivors of Barrow.
  • Inverted in an early Spider-Man comic: When Peter Parker had to make a blood transfusion to save Aunt May, he was almost completely depowered for about a week while the villains-of-the-issue ran amok. Aunt May didn't get any of his powers, either - in fact, the radioactivity in his blood later caused her further health problems during the Master Planner storyline.
  • The Machinesmith, as recounted at the top of the page. A little later in the issue, while he is attacking with a crowd of duplicates, Captain America reasons that only one of them must hold the original's mind and the others must be directed by a computer bank that they are defending. He damages it, and all the robots fall. The sparking computer tells him that yes, his robots did program-record his mind, but into this computer; to get mobility he "microbeamed" into the bodies and he's never quite all there, so no matter how human-looking the bodies he built were, he was living a lie. And he couldn't self-terminate, so he thanks Cap for falling for his plan and helping him commit suicide. Though given some of the events before this, it's entirely possible that he was lying; his "death" here was the kind that is conveniently easy to undo in case the writers wanted him back. And in fact he was, as an Energy Being able to transfer into any electrical device.
  • Also happened to the Red Skull, who transferred his consciousness into the body of one of Arnim Zola's robots.
  • After going a few rounds with Daken in Dark Reign, The Punisher was dead, until Morbius the Living Vampire glued him back as a Frankenstein's Monster like being (Franken-Castle).
  • In the Alternate Universe series Mutant X, Gambit was turned by a Storm that didn't "get over" Dracula's bite back when. It almost costs both their unlives.
  • In Superman, Hank Henshaw's physical body expired due to radiation exposure, but is able to transfer his consciousness into a robot body. His wife killed herself after seeing his new body and the Cyborg-Superman later became a Death Seeker.
  • Planetary #0's story of a Wildstorm analogue to The Incredible Hulk incorporates this. Here, rather than a gamma bomb, ersatz-Banner was caught in the blast of a Reality Warping supercomputer, which he had set to erase from the universe all matter within a small area of desert. A witness to his transformation into a Nigh-Invulnearable monster hypothesizes that in order to turn himself into something that would survive the blast, ersatz-Banner ran through his head an equation based on the theoretical physics behind the computer's Reality Warping.
  • In Xombi, inventor David Kim was revived from a critical wound when his lab assistant injected him with a beneficial nanotechnological virus. In order to rebuild David, his nanites used the closest matter available, which included the lab assistant herself.
  • The short-lived Archie Comics title ManTech (based on a line of toys) was about a trio of dying astronauts who are found by an alien. The alien saves their lives by turning them into super-powered cyborgs. Lasertech loves the change, Solartech accepts it as necessary, and Aquatech hates it.
  • In Hack/Slash: Slice Hard, Emily Cristy's cosmetics company researched "slashers" in hopes of reversing the aging process; when the slashers escape, "slasher serum", which induces the transformation into a slasher upon death, is the only thing to come of this research. Cristy used a vial on herself after being mortally wounded by an escaped slasher. This had the side-effect of making her go absolutely crazy — they don't call them "slashers" for nothing.
  • This is the origin of the Human/Atomic Sub in Big Bang Comics. The aged Dr. Noah Talbot designed a sophisticated robot body as a prosthesis for injured soldiers, but when Nazis came to steal his research he suffered a heart attack and was forced to transfer his own mind into his creation before he died. It wasn't a decision he would regret, even though an oversight in developing the body's artificial "blood" meant it had to be submerged in water once every hour or so.
  • In Superman & Batman: Generations, Superman destroys the Ultra-Humanite's escape rocket, which critically injures Ultra's body and damages his minion "Ell"'s brain. Ultra's robot minions put his brain in Ell's body, and he spends the next fifty years posing as Lex Luthor in his quest to get revenge on the Man of Steelnote . In the meantime, the robots attempt to heal Luthor's damaged brain and rehabilitate his evil personality, which results in his becoming the story's version of Metallo.
  • In Death Vigil:
    • Clara was the target of Human Sacrifice for her Necromancer boyfriend's Ritual Magic. To seal away the monsters summoned and prevent her from dying, Bernie offers to make Clara into one of the Vigil's members. Clara accepts under the pretense of "not dying".
    • Allistor cures Mia's Soap Opera Disease by sacrificing and binding her to a True Primordial, which makes her immortal at the cost of developing a Horror Hunger and loss of humanity (at least, until she meets James).
  • In one alternate reality where the Runaways were recruited to form the Young Avengers, Chase became the new Iron Lad after getting stabbed in the chest. The Iron Lad chestplate happened to be nearby, and it was capable of dispensing nanites to heal wounds, so he grabbed it and stuck it on. His teammates all suggested that he'd probably never be able to remove the chestplate without dying.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW), Bebop and Rocksteady break Donatello's shell while the rest of the team is away. To save his life, the Fugitoid puts Donny's body in a freezer to slow down his metabolic functions, then transfers his consciousness into the turtle robot Metalhead. He stays this way for several issues while he and the Fugitoid work on repairing his damaged body with mutagen and an artificial shell made of titanium.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The scientist who becomes Giganta only developed her method of overwriting minds (essentially killing the original owner) with her own in order to save herself from a painful fatal and untreatable illness. She and her assistant grabbed Wondy when Wondy was claimed to be brain dead in order to transfer her there, but when they were interrupted her assistant had to transfer her into a gorilla instead lest she die.
    • Donna Troy's most well known (and coherent) backstory has her rescued from an apartment fire by Diana and brought to Themyscira where the Amazons' use of their healing purple ray on her gave her the same powers as them. Depending on which source is used for the tale it can read as if she was healed and given powers to save her life or just to help her fit in among her new people.
  • The 35th issue of ROM: Spaceknight had Namor save the life of Sybil by converting her into an Atlantean so the girl could survive underwater.
  • Morbius reluctantly transforms a girl dying of a drug overdose into a living vampire like him to save her life. It works, but since she was already too far gone there's nothing left of her but a braindead shell now filled with hunger. Morbius kills her by breaking her neck when she attacks her friends.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Deltarune fanfic (100% Off) TO A ((Loving Home)), Spamton is revealed to have once been an Addison who, after losing his connection to Mike (who helped maintain his high sales), attempted to take his own life, but was brought back in the body of a puppet by an unknown entity.
  • Protocol Cy-Fox hinges on this. When Tails is brutalized by the Cybernetics Eat Your Soul suffering Metal Sonic Mark V while defending the ARK from attack, he finds himself forced into a cyborg form by none other than Maria Robotnik (with a M.D. now).
  • Left Beyond has this as a developed standard; Omega agents who are severely injured (up to being cut in half at the waist in one case) are turned into cyborgs. Eventually, the procedure becomes somewhat routine and used in life extension.
  • The Reveal in the first Ponies After People fic is that everyone had to be turned into a pony because Earth was becoming flooded with magic, which is toxic to humans.
  • The Return is built on this. There are precisely two Succubae who were transformed without it being this trope, and only one of those went into it fully informed of the consequences.
  • John in With Strings Attached. He's hit with metamorph powder, which if left unchecked would mutate him horribly. The Fans can't neutralize it, but they can direct it into a more palatable form. After discovering he's grown wings (among other changes), he has a What Have I Become? moment for about half a day. After he throws himself over a cliff and flies, though, he's a lot happier with his new body. (Though later he finds he's been Blessed with Suck, but it's not a big problem until the possibility of going home arises.)
  • There are a couple fics out there based on the Ranma ½ manga only Herb Arc goes badly for Ranma, requiring one of these, such as Relatively Absent (Sailor Moon crossover in which Ranma's chosen to replace Setsuna as Sailor Pluto post Season S to keep Ranma alive after being buried in a landslide caused by the fight with Herb), or The Weapon, which has an organization rebuilding Ranma after the fight.
  • The Powers of Harmony has this as an important event in the backstory: When Discord mortally wounded her, Harmony fused herself with the planet to stop him from killing her. Unfortunately, that's left her trapped ever since.
    • When the Changeling Princesses Cocoon and Pupa, and Pupa's pegasus friend Pilgrim were all mortally wounded in a cave-in, Cocoon's last act was to fuse Pupa and Pilgrim together, saving both their lives in the process.
  • The Altered Fate of Draco Scales has this happen in the backstory to Nightshade, wherein she was sent through a mirror to the Fisher Kingdom Equestria. Despite this, She's quite accepting of it.
  • The Pony POV Series Chaos Verse version of Fluttercruel was severely injured while in Oblivion, forcing Discord to infuse her with chaos to save her. As a result, she becomes a Half Pony Hybrid with similar powers to him.
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Celestia and Luna have to infuse Navarone with the life force taken from a tree in order to heal his major injuries. As a result he gains several plant-like characteristics, as well as much increased life expectancy.
  • Near the end of Never Had a Friend Like Me, this happens due to Mayfly–December Friendship leading towards the inevitable conclusion. To prevent them from dying of old age, Norm ends up turning Amanda and Timmy into a genie and fairy respectively.
  • In The Lightning Strike, although Harry is given the heart-shaped herb of Wakanda to heal him from the energy drain he suffered saving King T'Chaka's life, he is subsequently stripped of the superhuman strength he received from the herb, although his new muscles remain.
  • In XCOM: RWBY Within, during the events of the Site Recon mission, Blake is badly wounded, and has to be turned into a MEC Trooper in order to survive.
  • Resident Project: When she learns that the T-virus is loose, Annette injects herself and her daughter with the shinigami vaccine. She becomes a yuurei, while Sherry becomes a full shinigami.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: To escape from capture and probable death, the Macks expose themselves to GC-161, altering their DNA and gaining unstable powers that affect their personalities — and risking those changes becoming permanent if they can't get the antidote in time.
  • Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead: As a child, Fluttershy was turned into a were-manatee to save her from drowning. The original were-manatee was very worried about the consequences of this, and made her promise to use her powers for justice, and never be tempted towards evil. Of course, as everyone points out, there's not much evil a were-manatee can actually do, as it's a multi-ton lump of blubber that can only wriggle towards people. She does end up saving the school from zombies by transforming and blocking the doors, so at least she managed the "justice" part.
  • The Last Human has one that Inverts a common version: when Marceline dies, Finn requests that the Cosmic Owl makes her "alive" again. He did not think to say "undead".
  • In SilfofinaDragon's Sengoku Basara fanfics, Date Masamune and Katakura Kojuro change into a horse and a panther respectively from potions brewed by Kyogoku Maria, as means to protect Masamune and Sanada Yukimura's children. Both of them change back minus any clothing after getting smooched by Yukimura and Masamune & Yukimura's son Masa respectively (and here's an illustration of Masamune changing back after Yukimura kisses him.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: As said in "Gauging the Opposition": Turning creatures into something about the size of a chicken, allows them to avoid being teleported away by the unnamed spell of Nero's. Spell name :
    "I recently fought an enemy Keeper who had a spell to bring all of my employees to a battlefield of his choice. I analysed the magic and found out that it only works on creatures above a certain size," Ami explained. "If everyone carried a potion like that and used it at the right time, then the spell would be essentially harmless."
  • Date A Live: Altered Timeline: Like canon, Tohka was born a Spirit, but in order to prevent her from dying due to her body destabilizing, Mio had to absorb her and then absorb a dead human's body, combining the two and making her part Human like the other Sephira Spirits.
  • A Shadow of the Titans:
    • Killer Moth has to put Kitten through one when she's badly injured in the Tournament of Villainesses. The result is a bug person like himself, but she appears to have suffered mentally from it, blaming Jade for her state and going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • When Joker tortures Jade by giving her a Glasgow Grin, in her pain-induced delirium she reaches out to the shadows, which infuse her with power and evolve her into a Higher Shadowkhan, turning her into some kind of bird-like creature.
  • With This Ring: When Paul is cursed with the inability to breathe, he uses his power rings to turn his body into a robot, to extend his brain's air supply. Later, when it's time to change back but he's lost the rings, he's gradually starving (because his brain still needs food and the robotic frame wasn't designed to eat) until he can get hold of them and become human again.
  • Among You: In they say the shadows have teeth, since Impostors can heal faster than normal humans Red bites Cyan to transform him into an Impostor after White shoots Cyan, as he would have died from the bulletwound otherwise.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Disney's Inspector Gadget: ditzy security guard John Brown is "rebuilt" as a cybernetic super cop after running afoul of Sanford Scolex/Claw. This results in a brief moment of What Have I Become? when Brown sputters "I'm not me anymore! I'm a hardware store!" Apparently happened to the original Inspector Gadget...only he'd just fallen down the stairs! From a banana peel, no less.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End has this happen to Will when Jack sacrifices his chance at immortality to save him from being mortally wounded.
  • The film named I, Robot had this happen with cybernetics to Lt. Spooner, combining What Measure Is a Non-Human?, Survivor Guilt, and robophobia.
  • Star Wars: Calling Palpatine an ally would be quite a stretch, but Anakin returns from his duel with Obi-Wan so badly injured in Revenge of the Sith that he's given robotic limbs, a ton of robotic organs, and a pressurized life-support suit to create Darth Vader. Obi-Wan was being very literal when he said "he's more machine now than man." Due to the emergency nature of this transformation, Vader ends up with a body that's physically powerful but far less agile than he'd been while fully human. Other characters, not being quite as badly injured, get Artificial Limbs.
  • Doom has the main character injected with the superhuman and/or demon serum after being fatally injured in a textbook example. The treatment he took theoretically has no disadvantages associated with it, however it does run the risk of getting oneself transformed into a vicious, murderous mutant creature. Part of the explanation was that the "demons" themselves instinctively only tried to infect those with the "evil gene" or potential for evil or whatever, which is what made them monsters due to the virus/serum. So in theory, any person that the demons didn't purposely infect to turn into monsters would develop super-powers instead.
  • This is the origin story for RoboCop. Shot, run over and brutalized by drug dealers in his 1987 debut, Officer Murphy would have died from his injuries... should have died from his injuries... if it weren't for the Detroit Police Department having a deal with OCP, who as part of a drive to manufacture a police force capable of dealing with the rampant crime decided We Can Rebuild Him. The result? Only parts of his upper torso are still organic, part of his brain has been replaced with computers, and he has problems feeling and even recovering his free will. One amazingly cruel scene has one of the doctors mention they could save one of his arms, but the Corrupt Corporate Executive blithely orders it lopped off (although he's potentially right that it would just be a hindrance). Amazingly, his dedication to duty allowed him to survive the change, recover his humanity and make impressive crime busts, even managing a Zeroth Law Rebellion with a little help from an OCP executive.
  • In Underworld (2003), this trope is played straight in an unusual format: Selene bites Michael to save his life. Strange in that Michael was already a werewolf, and he was dying from being shot by silver bullets. The bite then turns him into a werewolf/vampire hybrid.
  • Subverted in Avatar: When Dr. Augustine is mortally wounded after being shot, she and her avatar are brought to the Tree of Souls with the purpose of transferring her consciousness permanently into her avatar. However, the transition fails as her human body is too gravely wounded. It does, however, succeed with Jake at the end of the film. Unfortunately not a subversion of No Biochemical Barriers.
  • In Thirst (2009), accidental vampire Sang-hyeon makes a last-minute decision to save his human lover Tae-ju by this means. At first, this seems pretty positive. At first...
  • Near Dark features a variation in which Caleb is cured of vampirism by means of a total blood transfusion, although it was more of a long term solution than an emergency gambit.
  • The Animal explores the serious ramifications of a near dead man having his organs replaced with those of various animals.
  • Why Caster was uploaded into a computer in the first place in Transcendence.
  • Dark Shadows: Barnabas Collins bites Victoria and transforms her into a vampire to save her from a fall off the cliff at the end.
  • Replicas: Most of William's patients were people that had recently died who could be saved by uploading their consciousness into a new body.
  • Vamps: Danny agrees to have Vadim turn his wife, who's dying of cancer, so that they'll be together longer. This not only cures her, she's left looking much younger than him.
  • In We Are the Night it is forbidden to turn men into vampires. The last male vampires were killed by the female vampires a few centuries ago. But in the course of the plot, Lena falls in love with the policeman Tom. However, the vampire Louise injures him so badly that he is unlikely to survive the injuries. The last scene shows that Lena actually wants to transform him so that he can survive these injuries as a vampire, but hesitates at the last moment. Tom's fate is thus unknown. In the book, however, it is clearer. She turns him so that he survives and the wounds heal instantly, making Tom the first male vampire in centuries.

  • Downplayed/exaggerated in Animorphs—the morphing technology is based on DNA, so it basically rebuilds your body every time you use it. So if you're hurt, in either your normal form or morph, just morph and you'll be fine. The main characters can do this multiple times per book. Of course, this doesn't work for genetic disorders. The possibility of a sick person purposefully getting yourself Shapeshifter Mode Locked into a healthier body is mentioned in one book, though Andalites, who have a questionable view of the disabled, apparently think this is dishonorable.
  • Interestingly, this is averted sort of in Anno Dracula by Kim Newman — there's descriptions of vampirized people who had syphilis in life still showing the symptoms and, oddly, tubercular vampires still coughing blood. The same novel has a scene where Genevieve attempts to perform this on a friend who has been fatally wounded in an attack, but the friend chooses to die rather than become a vampire.
  • In The Apocalypse Troll by David Weber, Ludmilla Leonovna, who's effectively immortal via her symbiote-granted Healing Factor, falls in love with a normal human. While she could give him her symbiote any time she wants via a simple blood transfusion, this has a 99.99% chance of killing him. When he's mortally wounded and his lifespan is shortened from fifty more years to just five more minutes, though, she decides to risk it. It works.
  • In a less life-or-death example, Sheen the self-willed robot from Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept novels becomes inert when she crosses over from the scientific world of Proton to the magical world of Phaze. The Brown Adept animates her as a golem, allowing Sheen to function in Phaze.
  • Subverted in the Betsy the Vampire Queen series: Jessica, Betsy's closest friend, is suffering from severe blood cancer. She makes it very clear to Betsy that under no circumstances is Betsy to vampirize her. The cancer is eventually cured via Deus Ex Ancient Vampire Power. Same thing happens with Kitty Norville's mother and her cancer- she declines getting werewolfed as a cure. Her health status is still in question.
  • In the backstory for Severian's travelling companion in The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe we find out that Jonas was a highly intelligent robot who could not be repaired and given a human-like body of flesh in order to save him.
  • All of science fiction author Jack Chalker's works seem obsessed with transformation and body swapping, and this kind of "rescue" appears in more than a few, with the ur-example being Nathan Brazil's soul transference from his dying body into a deer-like creature in Midnight at the Well of Souls.
  • In Amy Thompson's The Color of Distance, a scientist crash-lands on an inhospitable alien planet, and the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who find her unconscious body transform her into something closer to one of them to help her survive. She's human (ish) but with no hair, elongated hands and feet with extendable claws, color-changing amphibious skin, and 'spurs' that allow her to interface with other organisms the way they can.
  • It happens three times in the Den of Shadows series. First in Demon in my View, Jessica is turned into a vampire so that Aubrey and Caryn could heal hear more effectively. Then Sarah gets turned into a vampire in Shattered Mirror. Finally, in Persistence of Memory, Sassy puts his blood in Erin's veins to turn her into a hyena shapeshifter in order to save her life.
  • In Greg Egan's Diaspora, the Earth is about to be hit by the lethal shockwave from a neutron star collision. A pair of AIs (essentially translated humans) don robot bodies in order to offer last-minute help: let them shoot people with a lump of nanoware that reads their brains while eating them. They can live on as software, escape from the kilos of meat they can no longer protect. What a choice.
  • In Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape, Dracula turns Lucy Westenra to save her from death at the hands of Dr. Van Helsing, who's been stubbornly giving her blood transfusions in ignorance of blood types.
  • The Dresden Files: In Changes, Harry accepts the mantle of the Winter Knight because his back was broken. This has far-reaching effects, the least of which being that he is now weak to being pierced with iron and has to obey thresholds and other fey things.
  • In the second Empire from the Ashes book, Dahak secretly arranges for his consciousness to reawaken in another starship when his original body is destroyed in a pseudo-Heroic Sacrifice, which he wasn't sure would even work.
  • The main character of Peter Dickinson's Eva gets in a terrible car crash and wakes up in the body of a chimpanzee. A bit of a subversion, because she actually adjusts to her new life quickly after the initial shock. She eventually chooses to live out her life in the wilds with more conventional chimps.
  • Emily, in The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, is forced to turn Sam into a robot, because he died when a machine attacked him.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar has the talking sword Need, who was once an old smith-mage whose community was attacked. She and her apprentice survived, but weren't capable of rescuing their abducted friends and taking vengeance - so the old woman impaled herself on her sword and imprisoned her spirit in it, allowing her to guide and work through her apprentice. Need rarely evinces regret about this, between having chosen it herself and it happening unknown thousands of years ago, but after a Heroic Sacrifice that finally kills her Need brings up her afterlife options and says whatever she does, damned if she's sticking herself into a sword again.
    • During the Mage Winds trilogy, hearing about Dawnfire, whose disembodied soul has been trapped in the body of a bird and who's slowly losing her mind, Need offers to transfer her into either some other creature with a large enough brain to sustain a human mind, or something like a sword, saying "There are worse fates than being hard to break, heart included." Instead, Dawnfire's Star-Eyed Goddess comes to her and transforms her into an "Avatar", a half-spirit half-embodied instrument of her will, and takes her away.
  • In the novel I Will Fear No Evil, by Robert A. Heinlein, the main character, Johann Sebastian Bach Smith, who is very old, is given a new life as a young woman by having his brain transplanted into the body of a beautiful young lady, who had been his secretary before she was murdered.
  • In Invisible Werewolf Dracula Meets Vampire Mummy Frankenstein, Trials escapes death via witch trial by entering the body of a black cat.
  • In Monica Hughes' Keeper of the Isis Light Guardian makes genetic modifications to Olwen to help her survive the planet's harsh conditions.
  • A variation in The Last Unicorn: Schmendrick decides the only way to save the Unicorn from the Red Bull is to change her into some other creature. Then the Bull will have no interest in her. Thanks to the random effects of his magic, he winds up changing her into a human - and she does not react well.
  • In Little Big, the mage Ariel Hawksquill has prepared a spell to relocate her soul into a different host body should she ever be fatally harmed. Unfortunately, she does not factor in the possibility of her new body's being that of a stork.
  • Kerrelyn Sparks' Love at Stake series:
    • Gregory, a youthful vampire who was emergency turned by the main protagonist of the first novel. His own mother, now an elderly personal assistant to the main protagonist, even begged that he would be saved - thus creating the first vampire that never had to bite someone to survive.
    • Later, another (side-)character is emergency turned but thinks it is awesome, because he's got superpowers now.
    • An inversion: a character reacts astonishingly well to her new vampire form, although she hates vampires with a passion and no-one else believes her that she is fine with the way she is now.
  • A universe (known to fans as the Rejuve Universe) was created by author Lurking Dragon in which technology exists for rejuvenating people to children aged e.g. 5 or 6. The newly rejuved people are the same people as the pre-rejuved old people, retaining their memories and knowledge, but acquiring the emotions of a child. While primarily used as legal punishment (criminals are rejuvenated back to children where they are raised by a new set of parents - sometimes several times - and have no power of their own), it is sometimes used in an emergency to save the life of a severely injured or sick person.
  • In Max Barry's Machine Man, Dr. Charles Neumann goes to sleep a paraplegic and wakes up a Man in the Machine. While not a *personal* emergency, Better Future needed SOMEONE equipped to defeat the cyborg Carl, who had run amok.
  • In the Mercy Thompson series, this seems to be the backstory of at least one out of every three supernaturals.
    • In Moon Called, Dr. Carter Wallace is dying of cancer, and his son persuades him to undergo the Change to werewolf. His magical new immune system zapped the cancer and made him look thirty or forty years younger. Unfortunately, surviving as a werewolf requires psychologically accepting your new state, which the good doctor is loath to do.
    • The backstory of Charles's mother, mentioned in Moon Called and explained more thoroughly in Alpha and Omega, is that she was dying when a werewolf found her, fell instantly in love with her, and Changed her into a werewolf so that she would survive.
    • In Blood Bound, Mercy meets vampire Stefan's flock of human blood donors, most of whom are dying of cancer or drug addiction. The longer they donate to a vampire, the more powers they gain and the easier it is to turn them to vampires themselves.
  • A number of Metamor Keep characters came to Metamor so that the Curse's transformation could cure their terminal illness. Such as Rickkter, who ironically discovered an alternative cure to his disease the day after he finished turning into a raccoon.
  • A variation in the Night Huntress books, when Dave is brought back as a ghoul some time after he died because Cat inadvertently started the process when he was dying and when Bones comes back he helps the team finish it.
  • In the Night Watch (Series), the vampire Kostya became that way because he was dying of TB as a child, and so his Friendly Neighborhood Vampire father cured him by making him a vampire. Similarly, in Twilight Watch, Anton encounters a pack of werewolves and finds out that two of the members are young children who were bitten by the leader, an older guy, to save them from death, and is a loving Papa Wolf (pardon the pun) toward them. Inverted later, when a friendly werewolf (one of said kids, by the way) takes a magical bullet for Anton while in wolf form. With her last dying breath she transforms back despite his protest that as a wolf she has a better chance to survive, but she prefers to die as a human.
  • LJ Smith's Night World: In Secret Vampire, Poppy is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which is rare, painful, and inoperable in her case. Her options are death and vampirism. Her childhood friend James does the honors.
  • C. L. Moore's classic story "No Woman Born" concerns an actress whose brain was transplanted into a robot body after her body was irreparably damaged in a fire.
  • Played straight in the Otherland novels by Tad Williams. Two main characters get their minds uploaded into a hyper-real virtual reality. One was an old man, and the other was a child suffering from a fatal disease.
  • The Parasol Protectorate:
  • If a human character in the Perry Rhodan universe has artificial body parts (up to a full robot body housing the brain in at least one case), it's generally for medical reasons. Despite the artificial bits inevitably serving some plot purpose eventually, humans (unlike some alien species) don't go for just upgrading their natural bodies on a lark even in the distant future.
  • This trope is used moderately with in Neil R. Jone's Professor Jameson stories. The Zoromes, a race of octopus-like aliens, transfer their brains into cyborg bodies when they near death (they also transfer well-preserved brain of the deceased title character). The transformation is portrayed as dulling the emotions, so Zoromes prefer to live a full life before being transferred. Occasionally a younger Zorome is fatally injured, as in the story Zora of the Zoromes and is transferred early. This is portrayed as very tragic, especially when two Zoromes who were very much in love are transferred prematurely, and then no longer feel anything for each other. On the other hand, the Zoromes don't seem to care if someone wants to transfer early, several aliens do so and join the crew of a Zorome ship in another story.
  • Quantum Gravity: Lila Black came back from Alfheim missing...well, most of her body. She was given the choice to survive or deal with being legless, armless, get the picture. She became a Cyborg.
  • Revelation Space Series: Happens to the antagonist character, Skade, early in Redemption Ark, who gets her body sheared in two. Unwilling to give up, she has her head cut off and attached to a life support system that she can plug into a robot body. She chooses this over getting a nice new human body because she is impatient, desirous of being more resilient to the harsh conditions on her ship, and a little bit... differently sane. It also helps that it makes her extra scary. She gets a new organic body before the sequel Absolution Gap occurs, though for other practical reasons.
  • In Lynsay Sands' Argeneu and Rouge Hunter Series, this is the most common reason for the vampire-like immortals to "turn" others. It is occasionally played for laughs when it turns out that the danger they were "escaping" was all in their heads, though other times it is a serious matter as the turnee is brought near death by some outside force, such as a crazed geek with an axe, or a rival immortal seeking revenge by hurting the one closest to them.
  • Safehold: When Nahrmahn is dying from a suicide bomber attack, Merlin breaks several Federation laws to pull an improvised Brain Uploading without permission and with no idea whether or not it will work. It does, to an extent — Nahrmahn remains the Empire's most effective spymaster and analyst, but he needs constant "life support" from the AI Owl to remain functional. Nahrmahn is still happy with the result, though.
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel has Joan of Arc getting a blood transfusion from the vampire Scathach. It doesn't turn her into a vampire, but it does make her immortal, which explains what she's doing in a series that takes place in the twenty-first century.
  • In The Sex Gates, Lee, Donna and Russell are forced to push Rita through one of the titular gates after she is stabbed, saving her life at the cost of turning her into a man. Lee accidentally falls through as well, turning into a woman. Especially tragic since Rita was pregnant at the time, and unborn babies don't survive the transformation.
  • In Skinned by Robin Wassermann, the main character Lia gets into a fatal car accident. To save her, her brain is uploaded into the body of an android. This is very rare, but it happens in her future world. These people are shunned because they look too perfect. The Christian church believes these people are abominations and do not deserve to exist, because they mean science is "creating life".
  • The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries:
    • Sookie Stackhouse is given Vampire blood to save her life rather than to bring her all the way over to the vampire side. In fact, Vampire blood is a Fantastic Drug in this/these series, because it enhances humans temporarily.
    • Bubba, aka Elvis Presley was vamped in a hurry to save his life. It was not precisely a success.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • This happens to Jedi Callista Masana twice. Once when she's dying and transfers her consciousness to a ship's computer in order to continue her mission, and then again 30 years later when the ship is about to self-destruct and Jedi Cray Mingla—who is suicidal—offers her body so Callista can escape the computer. The first time is just better than death, but when she loses all contact with the Force after the second transfer, there is much angst.
      • Also subverted in the same book, Children of the Jedi. Cray's lover and fellow Jedi Nichos Marr contracted a fatal disease and Cray attempted to transfer his consciousness into a droid body using alien technology. However, the result was merely a droid programmed with Marr's personality.
    • Phanan of the X-Wing Series. While he's a funny Deadpan Snarker, wow do things get tragic after Face finds him drinking and complaining that it's easier to get drunk. Every year, less meat, more machine.
      "A long time ago, back at the Battle of Endor, the frigate I was working on as a doctor was hit by an Imperial barrage. Blew out whole sections of the hull, sucked crewmen out into hard vacuum. I was hit by a falling beam superheated by laser fire. One minute I'm helping a pilot with a concussion, the next minute that pilot's been dead for two weeks and I'm just waking up with a mechanical half a face and a mechanical leg. Ever since then, no woman has looked at me with any sort of serious interest. [...] Something died when I was hit in that medical ward, and I think it was my future. I think people, maybe only women, can just look at me and say, 'There's no future in him.' [...] There's no mechanical replacement for a future, Face. And every time I take a hit, and they have to cut away another part of me and replace it with machinery because I'm allergic to bacta, every time that happens I seem to be a little further away from the young doctor who had a future. He can't come back, Face. Not all of him is here anymore."
      • And then there's later.
        Phanan: Starting over means more time. More time for Zsinj to bombard more colonies, to destroy more ships. Another day may mean some bright young doctor gets it the way I did and ends up what I am.
        Face: What you are is pretty good.
        Phanan: Not as good as some kid with a superior intellect whose only aim is to make people better. I'd rather he be out there than me.
      • And right after that...Read the book.
    • Some other characters also get cybernetics, but they tend to be more along the lines of Artificial Limbs and sometimes eyes.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: Siegfried's bird companion in The Sleeping Beauty isn't dying, but gets an emergency (and permanent) transformation into a firebird because it's the only way Siegfried will be able to get through the wall of thorns. Lily is worried that the bird will see this as a curse, but the bird's delighted.
  • Tortall Universe: During Emperor Mage, Emperor Ozorne is given an artifact to be used in a moment of greatest need, that will take him from his enemies "on wings of steel". At the climax, faced with a choice between surrendering and going on trial, and being killed by hyenas, he decides to Take a Third Option and produces the artifact... which transforms him into an immortal harpy-creature that leaves him unable to use his old magic or hold his throne at all.
  • Twilight:
    • Edward turns Bella into a vampire after she almost dies from childbirth. They always planned to transform her eventually when they married, but her Surprise Pregnancy ultimately drove those plans. This goes for the others as well, since Carlisle only ever changed people who would have otherwise died for sure, because he didn't want to condemn anyone to his immortal existence.
    • Also, Alice was transformed to save her from a hunter-vampire, and Esme was changed after an almost-successful suicide attempt after losing her only son. Carlisle and Jasper however, were not.
    • This also happened to Edward. In 1918, at age 16, he and his mother were dying from The Spanish Flu. She took him to Carlisle, begged him to save Edward at any cost, then died.
  • In The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, the cure comes too late for Meryl, who has to be turned into a fairy, and it turns out this is also what happened to legendary epic hero Drualt.
  • Subverted in The Underneath. Hawk Man can save himself from Grandmother's venom by transforming into a hawk, but refuses to do so due to not being able to change back and ends up dying.
  • Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles:
    • Happens in Queen of the Damned with a female character, Jesse, and a male character, Daniel.
    • Even though Marius had planned to make Armand a vampire anyway, he didn't want to bring him over as early as he had to when Armand was about to die from a stab wound with a poisoned blade.
    • And in The Vampire Lestat, Lestat's first vampire offspring was his mother, to save her from death by tuberculosis. She more-or-less gave her consent beforehand and, arguably, took to vampirism better than Lestat.
    • Subverted in a manner with Claudia in Interview with a Vampire. Wracked with guilt over his own recent transformation, Louis is wandering the backstreets alone when he finds a little girl who has just been made an orphan by the plague. Desperate with hunger, and thinking he can perhaps grant her the mercy of a quick death rather than catching the plague or starving to death on her own, he feeds and takes her to the brink of death. Lestat then pops in and, deciding it would be fun to have an eternal vampire daughter (not to mention something/someone to help bind Louis to him), he turns her. Louis spends years (if not decades) blaming himself for taking her mortal life, and while Claudia forgives him (she sees vampires as predators and thus has no moral problem with him having killed a human girl), she comes to hate her other "father" Lestat for making her an eternal child.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, Elayne bonds Birgitte, one of the Heroes of the Horn, as a superhuman Warder (the first known female Warder) after Birgitte is ripped out of the dream world by Moghedien, one of the Forsaken, and materializes in critical condiiton in the real world without having reincarnated properly yet. Birgitte doesn't have any obvious physical changes, but the angst is still there—A, because she's been separated from her Reincarnation Romance with Gaidal Cain, and B, because the Warder bond turns out to be more effective if you're both the same sex.
    • Later in the series Gawyn needs to be made into a Warder by Egwene to survive after being wounded, but it's what he wanted anyway.
  • In The War Of Embers Joshua Woods is irrevocably transformed into a dragon in order to bring him back from the brink of death after being Trapped in Another World. Somewhat deconstructed in that the novel focuses on the mental and social aspects of the transformation such as how he struggles to live a normal life on Earth which is a magic-less world, requiring him to return to the other world every so often to "recharge his batteries".
  • Wings of Fire: In Escaping Peril, Peril realizes that Queen Ruby's earring was put there by Chameleon to make her never be able to win a fight with Queen Scarlet, but she doesn't realize that removing it will turn her into a different dragon altogether. Transforming into Tourmaline heals her wounds and allows her to kill Queen Scarlet and win the throne.
  • The Tin Woodsman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz got Serial Prostheses after a series of axe injuries, until eventually he was made entirely of tin.
  • Inverted in Xenocide: as the setting's version of the Internet is brought down, it threatens to bring the artificial intelligence Jane along with it. The only way she can survive is by taking a human body... and afterward, even though it's possible, she doesn't want to go back to being what she was before.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), Sam Anders is hit in the back of the head by a bullet during Gaeta's mutiny, and left brain-dead after it's removed. As he's a humanoid Cylon, the other Cylons hook him up to a tank in the same manner as a Hybrid - the living CPU of a Cylon Baseship - in an attempt to reboot him, which has partial success, and he essentially becomes the Battlestar Galactica's Hybrid.
  • Mitchell is faced with this twice in Being Human. In an early episode, he is confronted with a dying colleague in an alleyway. George begs him to save her. He does nothing. In the next scene, when George is asked "Why didn't he save her?", he replies "I think he did." In a later ep, he does this for an injured boy.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the distant Back Story, the Master did this for Darla as she lay dying of syphilis. Then on Angel, a human-again but still dying Darla tries to get Angel and other vampires to turn her again. Angel refuses, but Darla is ultimately turned back into a vampire by Drusilla - only after Angel had convinced her not to want that.
    • Later but still in the Back Story, Angel is stuck on a submarine and the only American crewman who knows how to repair it is fatally stabbed by an escaped Nazi prisoner, so Angel reluctantly makes him into a vampire. This is the only time Angel has turned someone since regaining his soul, and the effect is that the American officer, who was young and idealistic, inherits just enough of his soul that he feels hollow doing all the typical evil vampire things. He comes back in the modern day asking Angel to give him a purpose in life, but Angel stakes him.
    • Also, Cordelia is turned into a part-demon by Skip to avoid her being killed by her visions. However, other than some glowy effects and cool powers like levitating and cleansing evil demonic infestations, this doesn't actually manifest itself too much, and she becomes a "higher being" soon afterwards, which turns out to be a trick to allow Jasmine to come to Earth in her body.
    • A variation on this happens to Illyria: the gang needs to remove some of her power before she goes supernova and destroys the whole world and herself. She is, of course, none too pleased at first when the procedure works, because "[she] would rather be a titanic crater than be like unto you", but she comes to terms with it.
    • Also, in the Buffy episode "Lie to Me", Ford, a childhood friend of Buffy's, tries to get Spike to turn him before he dies of a brain tumor, in exchange for luring Buffy into a trap and offering a whole bunch of deluded Vampire Wannabes as a side dish. Spike does so, since Ford did hold up his end of the deal despite Buffy getting the better of Spike after being delivered to him, but Ford is immediately staked by Buffy upon rising from his grave.
    • Averted in the Season 7 episode "Get It Done", in which the Shadow Men attempt to give Buffy the strength to defeat the First Evil by infusing her with the essence of a demon, in the same way they created the original Slayer. Buffy emphatically refuses with a What the Hell, Hero?, and then soundly kicks all three of their asses.
  • In Chuck, Sarah uploads the Intersect 2.0 when she's trapped in a firefight. In the series finale, Chuck himself re-uploads himself with the Intersect 3.0 in order to disarm a bomb.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Time Lords' regeneration abilities kick in automatically when they're about to die, though they don't get any extra powers by regenerating. At least, not in the televised series (though they do have a lot of energy flowing through them in the early stages, according to "The Christmas Invasion" and "Let's Kill Hitler"); there's a reference in one of the Eighth Doctor Adventures books to Time Lord soldiers who had "force-regenerated themselves until their skins had been covered in black organic blast-proofing". And unless granted additional regenerations by the High Council, each Time Lord can only regenerate twelve times, making a total of thirteen incarnations.
      • The Eighth Doctor Adventures two-part story Interference by Lawrence Miles featured a Gallifreyan priest who had been given an extremely early version of regeneration tech. As a result, his future lives included a shapeshifter, a cyborg, a heavily scarred man, a freak with a very large head, a serpent-woman, and a little grey thingy that was apparently wired directly into Time. His thirteenth life was basically an Eldritch Abomination that became a planet's entire ecosphere.
    • Another angle is given in "Dalek", where the namesake wants to die rather than live with human morality.
    • "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances": The alien nanites rebuild Jamie but, not having a template, believe humans have gas mask faces. Once they reprogram themselves after scanning Nancy, they repair Jamie and the rest of the gas mask-faced patients.
    • "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel": When Mr. Crane destroys Lumic's life support system, the Cybermen convert Lumic into the Cyber-Leader to save him, ignoring Lumic's demand that they wait till they run out of other options.
    • "Last of the Time Lords": The Saxon Master subverts and averts by choosing death over regenerating and being a prisoner. Of course, he had a plan to get better in a different way, it turns out.
    • The Backstory of "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" involves this trope crossed with Brain Uploading: Namely, the Library's computer is actually the mind of a terminally-ill girl whose rich family built the place and uploaded her so she could live forever.
    • The Twelfth Doctor does this to his companion Clara in "Hell Bent". After Clara is Killed Off for Real, the Doctor uses time travel-related tech to extract Clara out of time the moment before her death. She must someday return to this moment to prevent a universe-destroying paradox, but until that day, her life processes (breathing, heartbeat, aging) are frozen and she is functionally immortal and can put her date with death off for as long as she feels like. He intends to erase her memory of him in the hopes this will prevent the paradox and allow her to live a normal life without returning to the moment of her death, but she rejects this and erases his memory of her instead, going off with Ashildr in a TARDIS of their own for an indefinite amount of time before she ultimately chooses to die.
  • First Kill
    • After Juliette's debut is attacked, Sebastian is dying because he's the only vampire present who isn't a full legacy. Davina is convinced to save him, which she does by placing the Queen Serpent within him and making him a full legacy.
    • Juliette and Cal find Theo bleeding out and practically dead. It's only when Cal has left that Juliette hears them ask for help and bites him. She claims she was trying to drain Theo to ease his suffering, but it's implied she knew entirely what she was doing and intended for him to be turned.
  • Forever Knight
    • Nick acceded to Natalie's request to vamp her brother when he was fatally shot. It didn't go well.
    • Then in the final episode, Nick's human partner Tracy gets fatally injured, and a guilt-ridden Nick is about to bring her across when Natalie interrupts. Natalie had earlier proposed using the method that worked on Janette to make him human, but as it could have killed Natalie or turned her into a vampire he refused. So she's not impressed that Nick was about to turn someone else without even knowing if they wanted it.
  • Serena the Golden Hind from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys dies a Dropped a Bridge on Him sorta death, but a Time Travel story later sees her return, and near the end, she's wounded but is turned into a healthy human by Ares... still sad since she was pretty awesome as herself, and was the last of her kind, and her relationship with Herc was undone, but at least she survives.
  • Ice Fantasy: For the first few episodes Ying Kong Shi is the equivalent of about 14 years old and magically completely unskilled. Then he gets captured by the Fire Tribe, transforms into an adult who suddenly knows all sorts of spells (he's confused himself), easily frees himself, and stays like that for the rest of the series.
  • The Kamen Rider franchise does this a few times in the Showa era with Kamen Rider V3, Kamen Rider X and Kamen Rider: Skyrider having been originally converted to cyborgs after suffering serious injuries.
  • Luke Cage (2016): The experiment that gave Luke his super-durable skin was the result of an attempt to save his life after Shades and Comanche beat him into the prison infirmary for planning to snitch on Rackham.
  • Subverted on Moonlight, of all shows. Josh is shot, and Beth begs Mick to turn him into a vampire, but Mick refuses, and Josh dies. This weighs on Mick and Beth's relationship for the rest of the series.
  • Now and Again: Michael Wiseman is killed in a subway accident but secretly given the chance to have his brain placed inside a genetically bio-engineered body with superhero like abilities.
  • The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Music of the Spheres" has aliens subjecting the whole of humanity to signals that people think are music, but causes mysterious changes. Instead of the Cruel Twist Ending the series is known for, it turns out it's an Emergency Transformation into bald, large-headed, golden-skinned creatures, so that they can survive an impending shift in the sun's radiation. The aliens' process initially only works on people close to puberty, but once the humans figure out exactly what the hell is going on and why, they manage to enhance the process so that it can be applied to anyone. Some of the characters refuse to go along with the transformation; as one of the main characters puts it, he wants his wife to be able to recognize him in Heaven.
  • On Power Rangers Time Force, this was revealed to be the origin of Frax, Ransik's right-hand 'bot. Frax had been Dr. Louis Fericks, a scientist who had temporarily cured Ransik of a poison that was slowly and painfully killing him by administering a serum he had created. Ransik thanked Dr. Fericks for the serum by blowing up his laboratory, seemingly killing him. Fericks survived (barely), and rebuilt himself as a robot, then began his plan to get revenge on Ransik. Meanwhile, Mesogog's right hand man Zeltrax was saved by Mesogog himself in this manner.
  • Stargate SG-1 (of course) had instances of this, when characters stricken with fatal injuries or diseases had the option to become a host to a Tok'ra symbiote. In one notable occurrence, the character in question was dead set against the idea, but when the illness progressed far enough, they went ahead with it anyway. There was also the option of ascending to a higher plane of existence, but not everyone could do that.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the original Star Trek: The Original Series pilot, "The Cage", the Talosians save Vina's life but not having a template for human anatomy left her disfigured.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • In the episode "Life Support", Vedek Bareil is seriously wounded in an assassination attempt while concluding negotiations for a permanent peace treaty with Cardassia. Dr. Bashir keeps him alive using increasingly extreme measures while he talks Kai Winn through the finalities, ultimately replacing a large portion of his brain with cybernetic implants. The operation has the effect of removing most of his personality, and he only survives long enough to complete the negotiations.
      • This was part of Dax's The Nth Doctor in the last season. Ezri Tigan was the only un-joined Trill available at the time, so they did an emergency implantation to save the symbiont and created Ezri Dax.
  • Supernatural:
    • This trope is played with this when, in the first episode of season 9, Sam is dying and Dean makes the decision to let an angel use his body as a vessel in order to save his life from the inside.
    • Also in season nine, a currently human Castiel is captured by a faction of angels who torture him for information he doesn't have and refuse to believe/don't care that he doesn't have it. When his torturer's boss leaves them alone, however, the torturer offers to help him if Castiel will contact Metatron and convince him to let the torturer join his faction. This is one of the things Castiel already told them he can't do, since Metatron simply used him and they are not even remotely friends at this point, but since the torturer won't believe that, Castiel pretends to agree and is temporarily released to do it. He quickly grabs the nearest angel blade and steals his torturer's Grace before killing him, transforming back into an angel to heal his injuries and have the power to fight his way out of the compound. In a variation of the trope, he was originally an angel to begin with, but he's not particularly happy about the brutality of what he had to do to survive, and the stolen Grace in fact becomes an issue later, as it's not fully compatible with him and he suffers physically from the fall out.
    • In another episode, a werewolf's sister is dying from a car accident, so the werewolf bites her, assuming (correctly) that becoming a werewolf would heal the injuries and save her sister's life. The werewolf in question is also a good person who subsists on animal hearts, so she teaches her sister to do the same. This does not end well.
  • A variant in Teen Wolf: Scott is trying to save Liam from falling off a building, but his hands are forcibly restrained. As Liam is about to fall to his death, Scott is forced to use his teeth, thus the transformation was an unavoidable consequence of averting Liam's death rather than a direct means of preventing it.
  • In the Japanese series Ultraman, the first of the Ultraheroes (and some of the later ones) was created when an alien bonded with a human to save his life.
  • In the season two finale of Wizards vs. Aliens, Lexi pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Tom and winds up dying. Tom, meanwhile, consumes a huge amount of magic and gains godlike powers. When she comments that not even his power can cure what's destroying her body, he replies "Then have a new body" and makes her human, sending her away to live with their alternate universe/timeline son, Benny Jr.

  • The eponymous character in "The Doctor's Wife" by Clockwork Quartet has parts of her body being shut down by some unnamed malady while the Doctor has to keep replacing them with mechanical bits.
  • In Seisen no Iberia, Layla (dying from an arrow through the chest) is given the choice by a sealed demon to either die as a human or live on forever as a demon - provided she frees him, of course. She chooses the latter. Strangely enough, freeing a murderous demon turns out to be a phenomenally good plan.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Shadowrun second edition sourcebook Cybertechnology has a framing story that involves a badly injured runner being transformed into a "cyberzombie" (i.e. being loaded up with enough cybernetics to kill him, with only incredibly powerful magics actually keeping his soul bound to his body). Game stats for the transformation, and for a ton of cybernetic gear, are given between paragraphs of his descriptions of the horrors of the transformation.
  • Generally averted in the Ravenloft setting, where becoming a vampire or lycanthrope is typically regarded as a fate worse than death. An ailing Anna refused Jander's attempt to transform her in the novel Vampire of the Mists.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, in the rare event a Space Marine sustains injuries too grievous for his robust physiology to recover from but which aren't enough to kill him, he may be interred with an armored life-support sarcophagus, allowing him to pilot a walking tomb/tank called a Dreadnought. Such warriors are venerated as their chapter's greatest heroes and wisest leaders, allowed to slumber away the centuries when their skills aren't needed. Bjorn the Fell-Handed is the most famous example, a Space Wolf who fought alongside the Emperor during the Great Crusade ten thousand years ago.
    • Chaos Space Marines also have Dreadnoughts, but consider confinement within one to be the ultimate in torture, an eternal punishment for their failure in battle. This is not to say that Chaos Marines don't end up in Dreadnoughts anyway, but such unfortunates go quite mad, even by Chaos' standards. In combat they have a tendency to fire upon their own side or go into berserker killing sprees, while outside of battle their sarcophagus is removed from the Dreadnought, which is then chained to a separate wall, just to be safe. But while loyalist dreadnoughts go through a similar process when out of battle, they sleep for the centuries between activations. Chaos dreadnoughts are kept awake and unable to die.
    • The Eldar have adopted this on a racial scale - every one of them wears a Waystone at all times, which will capture their soul upon death and allow it to be placed within their Craftworld's Infinity Circuit for all eternity. It's not a true afterlife, much less a paradise, but the alternative is having their soul consumed by the Chaos God Slaanesh. In dire emergencies an Eldar's soul may be recovered from the Infinity Circuit and used to pilot a Wraithguard or Wraithlord construct in battle, but the Eldar view this practice as akin to necromancy, since it's irreversible and means that the pilot's soul is lost if its Wraith-construct is destroyed.
      • There's a variant for Phoenix Lords. They can be killed, but resurrect by subsuming the soul of an Exarch into themselves. The Exarch becomes the new incarnation of the Phoenix Lord, but their original personality is completely buried.
    • Ork Painboyz are happy to perform emergency transformations. With or without consent. Or an emergency.
    • While Angron's transformation into a Daemon Prince had plenty of other benefits, the main reason Lorgar helped him ascend was to save him from dying due to the Butcher's Nails slowly degrading his brain. However, the transformation also caused the Nails to be bonded even deeper into his body with flesh growing over them. While the Nails won't kill Angron anymore, they are now even more a part of him.
    • What do you do when you're so frikkin' old that the immortality drug available to the Imperium's elite no longer does anything for you? Well you can come knocking to your friendly neighbourhood Adeptus Mechanicus. In exchange of a decadent amount of cash they might be persuaded to perform what's known as the 'Rite of Setesh', which involves mummifying the decaying body and interring it into a sort of mobile iron lung, like a poor-man's Dreadnought. Life in one of those things is described as "nightmarish and painful".
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Reincarnate spell is often the poor man's Raise Dead: cheaper, but the character comes back as a random humanoid species, or in older editions, any species at all. Whether it's a step down or Cursed with Awesome depends on the luck of the draw and the player's tastes.
    • Besides the standard vampire transformation, there are many ways to become undead. For example, wizards can become liches well before getting their own healing magic, though the availability of healing and resurrection magic in most settings makes it a poor choice for most characters. For a wizard who doesn't want to die of old age, however...
      • One spell automatically animates the target as an undead being when they die, at the cost of weakening them in life.
  • In Aberrant, it's a well-established fact that an Eruption can be triggered by placing yourself in a deadly situation, and hopeful Nova-wannabes try to orchestrate specific situations to get just the right powers (jumping off a plane is popular because flying is awesome). The most commonly-mentioned downside is that you might get lame and/or stupid-looking powers instead. Strangely they don't much mention the fact that potential for Novahood is rare, and most people who try this wind up dead instead.
    • The Paragons setting for Mutants & Masterminds has a situation similar to Aberrant, though the "spark parties" and "origin chasers" tend to have unfortunate results. The page illustration is a girl looking at a newspaper article about the hero Blaze whilst soaked in petrol and what looks from the empty bottle nearby to be drain cleaner and holding a lit match.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Vlad von Carstein originally did not want to turn his beloved wife Isabella into a vampire, until an outbreak of the plague forced him to choose between her joining him in undeath or losing her to 'regular' death.

  • In the musical Wicked Elphaba turns Boq into the Tin Man after Nessa literally destroys his heart and Fiyero into the Scarecrow by accident while the soldiers are torturing him, saving their lives.

    Video Games 
  • In 11eyes -Resona Forma-, we see that this is how the Black Knights were created. Liselotte thoroughly beat all of them except for George, who finished sealing her before he died, and Misao, who clothed her partners in armor made out of dark spirits, turning them and herself into Liselotte's guardians.
  • In one ending in Yuri Genre Visual Novel Akai Ito, Kei is turned into the "something not human" by Sakuya to save her life after she was fatally wounded by Nushi. It's better than it sounds, because she now kicks asses for eternity alongside Sakuya. The outcome of said ending was made into a mini-game in the sort-of sequel Aoi Shiro. On the same character route is when Sakuya's power is not enough to transform Kei, so both of them become Ohashira, replacing Yumei. Quite close to being Together in Death. Yumei does feel sorry for them.
  • Fatima, the Voice with an Internet Connection in the PC game Anachronox was originally the main character's secretary until she died in a car wreck. The protagonist couldn't live without her, so he had her digitized. It's later revealed that he felt he was to blame for the reckless actions that resulted in her death (and he kind of was), so he digitized her to save her life as best he could. It's implied that he feels terribly guilty about it, as she's essentially trapped in the LifeCursor.
  • Rachel has done this, possibly twice in BlazBlue. First to save a mortally wounded and time-displaced Jin by installing him in the Susanooh Unit to become Hakumen. It's also possible that Ragna would have bled to death after losing his arm in the orphanage attack without Rachel biting him to transform him into a half-vampire.
  • In Breath of Fire II, the party needs to fly to a particular location, but the only way any of them know to do this is by having Nina permanently transform into a giant, non-sentient bird. Just before she's about to do this, her little sister sacrifices herself by undergoing the transformation herself. Of course, this whole situation invokes a certain amount of Narm since what they're trying to fly to is merely an island whose cliffs lack a path the game will allow you to climb up.
  • This is part of the plot for Bulletstorm. Grayson saves Ishi using mechanical parts of questionable efficacy. While Ishi functions pretty well physically after his transformation, he runs into some other new problems instead.
  • Characters with the "Bionic Patient" profession in Cataclysm have this as their backstory, where they underwent Bionic augmentation in order to survive an otherwise terminal illness.
    "When the diagnosis came back positive you signed up for a series of experimental bionic surgeries that saved your life. Now you're healthier than you ever were before, thanks to a suite of bionic systems powered by standard batteries. Make the most of your second chance at life."
  • Bonding with a dying human host by a usually injured Kheldian is the canonical usual origin of the Peacebringers and Warshades in City of Heroes.
  • Cyborg Justice starts on this premise. The player, as an unknown space explorer, is modified into a cyborg when their asteroid-stricken ship crashes onto an alien planet and they die on the operating table. While the robots can't save their life, they do manage to transfer the player into a robotic body. Unfortunately, the resident robots are not benevolent and try to erase the player's memory, to force them into being just another anonymous worker unit.
  • Dark Souls: The game implies that the Daughter of Chaos was made a Fire Keeper as a means of magical life-support. Sucking the blight pus from her servants nearly killed her, and even in her current condition she's blind, immobile, in constant pain and endlessly giving birth to bloody, stillborn eggs.
  • Given the themes of the series, this crops up in the histories for a number of characters in the Deus Ex Universe.
    • In the original game, this trope was part of the back-story for how Agents Hermann and Navarre became mech-augs.
    • At the end of the tutorial mission in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam gets the shit kicked out of him and then shot, brought to the very brink of death. To keep him alive, he's augmented - turned into a cyborg - by his boss and the company he works for. They replace his arms, legs and heart and stick machines into just about anything you can stick a machine in. When the gameplay kicks in again, he's very different. Notably, only the arm and chest replacements were necessary for him to survive. The rest was his employer using his contract to gain power of attorney (darkly alluded to in the intro sequence when David Sarif is heard saying "He doesn't need that"). Later in the game you find out that Jensen is the only individual whose body accepts augmentations without the need of drugs to stave off rejection, due to extensive genetic manipulation, hinting his employer (who was aware of this fact) was also having an experimental field day with Jensen as well.
  • In the LucasArts Adventure Game The Dig, the team discover "life crystals," which have the ability to heal wounds and resurrect the dead at the cost of being literally maddeningly addictive, as evidenced by Brink's slow decent into insanity. Robbins makes Low promise that if anything should happen to her, he won't use the crystals to revive her. Unsurprisingly she ends up dying in the process of saving the day. If you finish the game without her, she thanks you for keeping your promise when the aliens resurrect everyone (madness free). However, if you ignore her wishes and bring her back yourself, she's horrified and immediately throws herself off a cliff. When she's brought back to life at the end of the game, she's still pissed at you for that.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins has the Dalish Elf Origin. Basically, your character becomes tainted and has to undergo the Grey Warden Joining in order to have a chance of survival.
    • In Dragon Age II, if you take your sibling with you for the Deep Roads Expedition, they will contract the Taint, and the only way to save their life is to have them undergo the Grey Warden Joining. Hope you brought Anders with you as well, as he's the only guy who can lead you to the Wardens.
  • In one ending of Duel Savior Destiny Taiga becomes the Messiah and to avoid the terrible consequences this would cause Rubinas stabs him in the heart and turns him into a homunculus like herself. He seems okay with it, though it took him rather by surprise.
  • The Lords of Amber Plains of Endless Legend faced a stark choice when Auriga's climate began to collapse, freezing their crops; death by starvation, or survival by binding their souls to suits of armor. Now transformed into the Broken Lords, they have a significant amount of angst over the fact that they must drain energy from living beings to sustain their bodies, betraying their vows as honorable knights and builders.
  • In Ever17 at the end of two/three routes Tsugumi shares her blood with Takeshi, You, the Kid and eventually Coco. She's the hesitant one as while it's supposed to only be so they get her antibodies, it could give them the Cure Virus and make them immortal, unaging, have a Healing Factor and see in the dark. And also potentially have a bunch of people try to capture them for research... So at the end of the story about three fourths+ of the cast is immortal.
  • Part of Torvald's backstory in Evolve. Left torn basically into pieces in a wrecked spaceship floating through space with all other crew dead, he gave the ship's robots one final command: "Repair me." Now he's a head, one arm, and a chunk of a torso grafted onto a robotic body that includes features like a jetpack, mortar cannons, a target designation laser, and a personal forcefield, all powered by a fusion core that burns what he eats as fuel to keep him alive.
  • In the Good Ending of Fate/stay night's Heaven's Feel route, this happens to Shirou in order to save his life. Shirou is pretty much dead on his feet, with his entire body having been turned into swords from the inside out, so Ilya uses the Third Magic to transplant his soul into... something else (it's never really said what). In the epilogue, he's been put into a magically-created artificial human body, but it still needs further refinement, and Rin is seeking out Touko Aozaki for that purpose.
    • In Fate/Grand Order, Mash Kyrielight, after the sabotage of the Command Room of Chaldea by Lev Lainur, is dying due to damage sustained in the explosion, and makes a contract with a Servant that was previously summoned by Chaldea, allowing her to merge with the Servant and allow the Servant's power to pass to her. In this way, Mash survives and becomes a Servant herself. It is not until late into the main arc of the game that we learn that the Servant that Mash merged with was none other than Galahad of the Round Table.
    • Also in Fate/Grand Order, after Mysterious Heroine XX collides with Summer Okita Souji and seemingly kills her, she decides to use her Servant Universe tech to resuscitate Okita and turn her into a cyborg (also curing her tuberculosis while she's at it). Unfortunately for Okita, this only affects her summer form, and her normal form is still as sick and fragile as ever.
  • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin has a variant of this when Beckett is surgically implanted to boost his psychic abilities and link him to Alma. However, while the transformation is an emergency, it is not intended to save the patient's life, but rather to draw Alma's attention toward Beckett after she has escaped containment, in order to keep her distracted and ultimately lure her into another containment device to seal her away.
  • In Front Mission, Driscoll is part of an experiment into using the brains of human soldiers to create advanced computers. After his death, he is resurrected and serves as a component in the Humongous Mecha Final Boss.
  • In Gungrave, Bob Poundmax's Big Eater habits eventually caught up with him. He would have died of a blood clot in his brain if he hadn't been transformed into a Superior(an Orgman capable of free will/sentient thought). Not only did this save his life, it granted him superhuman abilities and even allowed him to keep enjoying chicken drumsticks.
  • At the end of Half-Life 2, Doctor Breen is protesting being put into a "host body" as the only way to survive teleportation. Speculation is that he is one of the slug-like Advisors that attacks Gordon and Alyx throughout the Episode sequels. Although he probably dies when Gordon damages the teleporter.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • Gauldoth Half-dead from the fourth game. During the Armageddon which destroyed the old world he attempted to save himself by undergoing a ritual of lichdom. Because he was only an apprentice necromancer, he emerged from the ritual with one half of his body as that of a living human, and the other half zombified.
    • In the sixth game, Moander's backstory states that he was poisoned with manticore venom, but managed to acquire a vial of namtaru spider venom note , and drank it thinking it would give him eternal life. It did... but the combination of the two venoms ravaged his body and seared most of his flesh, giving him the appearance of a living skeleton.
  • Graham escapes from Caldaur in the Fan Remake of King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne, by warning him that his still-human wife is on the verge of death. Upon hearing this, Caldaur immediately leaves so he can turn her into a vampire and stop her from dying.
  • This happens twice in the Mary Skelter series.
    • In Mary Skelter 2, Jack is near death due to both taking a hit from Blood Skelter Alice and then taking the brunt of the ensuing fall into the Underground Cavern for Little Mermaid. Even after all that, all Jack can think about is how he could've protected Alice if he were stronger, complete with a constant repetition of a strained "Alice... Protect...". The Jail, being the incredibly empathic Genius Loci it is, turns Jack into a Nightmare to give him the power he wished he had, subsequently saving his life.
    • Meanwhile, in Mary Skelter Finale, Clara is given a critical injury by one of the Genocide Pink, and needs a blood transfusion to survive. The aforementioned (and here, not a Nightmare) Jack is the only one nearby with a matching blood type, but no one could've predicted that by performing a successful blood transfusion with a Blood Youth as the donor would give the recipient their powers. Lo and behold, Clara is now a Blood Maiden with Blood Youth-like purification abilities.
  • The titular character of the Mega Man Battle Network series was born with a fatal heart defect and used as the guinea pig for his father's and grandfather's experiments in Brain Uploading. Ten years later, he was given as an "AI" partner to his own twin brother. This plot point was never brought up taken out completely in the anime.
  • Metroid:
    • Happens to Samus in the intro of Metroid Fusion. After being attacked by an X Parasite, she's transfused with Metroid DNA to stop the infection. This gives her both immunity to infection and the ability to absorb X Parasites at will since Metroids are the X's only predator, but the drawback is that she also inherits with the Metroids' weakness to cold. Metroid Dread reveals her body has actually been integrating the Metroid DNA, to the point that at the end of the game she transforms into what is effectively a humanoid Metroid, complete with the ability to absorb energy from her targets.
    • Metroid Prime Trilogy: The Metroid Prime does this at the end of the first Prime game when, in its dying throes, it grabs Samus in an attempt to assimilate her just as it had done to various technologies to form its original exoskeleton armor. Samus breaks free, but it rips the Phazon Suit off her, and by fusing with that and traces of Samus' DNA it becomes Dark Samus, the major Big Bad of the trilogy.
  • In Myths of the World: Black Rose, the unnamed protagonist and her partner Simon track down the vampire Benjamin with the intention of slaying him and discover his sire Rose is also in the picture. But then it turns out that Rose has Simon under mind control and he fatally wounds the protagonist with his crossbow. Then Benjamin turns the protagonist into a vampire herself to help defeat Rose and restore them both to humanity. note 
  • In the Bad Ending of Pikmin, Olimar does not repair his rocketship in time and his supply of whatever it is he breathes instead of oxygen runs out, so the Pikmin save him by transforming him into one of them. Especially interesting, since it is actually foreshadowed in the game!: One of Olimar's journal entries states that he would actually want to become a Pikmin, since his boss is not exactly a nice guy. He however suddenly changes his mind, when he remembers having a family waiting for him.
  • Attempted by Cave Johnson in the backstory of Portal 2. When he learns he is dying from moon rock poisoning, he has his engineers research a way to transfer his mind into Aperture Science's central computer. It's unsuccessful because he dies before they can perfect the process. (They instead use it on his secretary Caroline, but that's not an example because there was no emergency involved.)
  • In The Quarry, Laura can offer to infect Ryan with the werewolf curse to allow him to survive a serious stab wound. Since the healing factor kicks in before the physical transformation, this can sufficiently heal him before the curse can be ended.
  • In Quest for Glory II, Julanar is a woman who, while fleeing from brigands, is discovered by a djinn who transforms her into a tree in order to save her from her pursuers.
  • Resident Evil 2: Big Bad Dr. Birkin, after being fatally shot by Umbrella agents, injects himself with the G-virus, transforming him into his monstrous One-Winged Angel form.
  • Asellus, of SaGa Frontier is run over by a carriage before the game starts and given a Vampiric Blood Transfusion Mystical Blood Transfusion by Charm Lord, turning her into a half-mystic. In addition, Red is turned into a Super Hero after the first battle with Shuzer, as he would have died otherwise.
  • Subverted in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: The blond child gives the Protagonist a Magatama that turns him into the Demi-Fiend during The End of the World as We Know It. It's a subversion because it was previously stated that the Protagonist would have survived with or without becoming a demon.
  • When Black Cat is badly injured following their second fight in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Spider-Man can choose to either give her to S.H.I.E.L.D. for medical treatment (Red Suit path) or bond a symbiote to her (Black Suit path).
  • In StarCraft, Protoss warriors who are mortally injured are transplanted into Dragoon exoskeletons, where they can continue to fight. However, they volunteer for this, and so tend to be pretty stoic about it. Their people praise them for their devotion. In the sequel game, dragoons are no longer used and protoss warriors are rebuilt as Cyborg/Powered Armor warriors called immortals. And they look fucking badass.
  • A variant on this trope is a recurring theme in the Suikoden series: True Runes are almost always acquired by someone who needs to use its power to escape from a deadly situation, put up a decent fight against an overwhelming foe, or keep the Rune itself out of the hands of those who would misuse it. They often learn to regret this decision.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Tippi was originally a human, and was turned into a Pixl by Merlon in a desperate attempt to save her life.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, you can give some of your blood to Heather, a young girl dying from a traffic accident, in order to save her life. While this is physically beneficial (she survives and recovers quickly, as well as becomes stronger and healthier), it also makes her develop a psychological bond with you, essentially acting like she's drugged / in love with you and can't be without you (and your blood). She also does a few questionable things to appease you, ranging from giving you her money to luring home a guy and locking him up in the bathroom as a "meal" for you. If she stays with you past a certain plot point, she'll get murdered by the Sabbat for the explicit purpose of punishing you. It can be avoided by ordering her to leave you, never come back, and try to forget everything. Either option is, according to many players, completely heartrending.
  • In The World Ends with You, after Rhyme is erased by a noise, Mr. H Quickly puts her soul in a pin, turning her into an adorable little squirrel noise thing. She gets back to normal eventually.
  • World of Warcraft: Cataclysm:
    • Many of the surviving humans in Lordaeron who remain loyal to the Alliance voluntarily take up the worgen curse to immunise themselves from being raised into undeath by their arch-enemies, the Forsaken.
    • The whole naga race is the result of an Emergency Transformation.
  • Happens early in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, when the Titan Azurda (aka "Gramps") takes massive damage rescuing the party. In a humorous scene, everyone thinks he is dying, but he is simply reborn in a young body. A far less humorous example happens before the events of the game where Jin is forced to become a flesh eater so he won't return to his core crystal and lose his memories (and likely become Amalthus' blade when you think about what happened to Haze).

  • Both werewolves and vampires in Sorcery 101 have extraordinary resilience compared to humans, making them candidates for this trope. So do humans magically linked to vampires, called "blood bonds". In the main protagonist's backstory, he was seriously injured fighting demons. His best friend Brad knew a vampire named Seth, and asked him to help, so Seth made Danny a blood bond. Danny seems to be OK with this in general (immortal, can't get sick or gain weight, can't bleed to death, stuff like that), but isn't happy about having to deal with Seth. A later example is that of Brad turning his new boss's daughter into a werewolf upon request, as she was bedridden and dying of some illness.
  • One of the older patients of The Dragon Doctors from the webcomic of the same name turned herself to stone to avoid dying of thirst. Thing is, she couldn't willingly revert on her own. She had to wait for someone to find her to undo the transformation—locked away in an abandoned mine, behind a magical forcefield, in the middle of nowhere. Sanity was... something of a concern.
    • In the same arc, when a crystalline girl is injured, Sarin changes her into a human because it's easier to heal; it's reversible, though.
    • And still more recently, we discover that the person who bankrolls our heroes ended up with a condition that caused her to age quickly enough that even the easily available youthening magic of the setting couldn't keep up... so they turned her to stone (as per the above example) except that she had a psychic communicating with her whenever she needed it which not only kept her sane, but allowed her to run her parents' business. After the discovery of a sapient crystalline species, Sarin was able to turn her into such as a vastly superior alternative (since that species has no aging).
  • In Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, the vampire Adelaide bites Conrad, leaving him dying, but Hanna turns him by feeding him a small amount of Adelaide's blood. (No one was really surprised by this but Conrad).
  • One of these occurs in the first chapter of Coga Suro 2, but a slight variation in that John is transformed into... whatever that is in order to save himself and a girl after they're both swallowed by a giant maw.
  • Done to the character Dark Eyes to save her life in Magical Misfits, magically mixing in genes from many different other species in the process that rendered her sterile. Temporarily.
  • In Drowtales, Kiel'ndia is fatally poisoned and would have died if Kharla'ggen hadn't insisted that Larvova heal her. Since it's a bad idea to tell Kharla'ggen that she can't have what she wants, Larvova is forced to take drastic measures. This is the result. Kharla'ggen, being a somewhat odd individual, thinks that Kiel'ndia is lucky since she still has one of her original eyes. That's all she has left of her original body. Or not, since it was All Just a Dream.
  • In Death and the Maiden, Death tries to heal Mercedes's tuberculosis (caused by a run-in with Pestilence) and in doing so, accidentally turns her immortal. Then he later realizes he didn't just make her immortal, he turned her into Death.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • In the prequel book Start of Darkness, Xykon willingly undergoes the transformation into a lich after contact with a magical disease robs him of his magical abilities.
    • Serini Toormuck was turned into a half-troll after nearly being killed by Xykon's spell — turns out troll flesh always regenerates even when it's been attached to a halfling.
  • In College Roomies from Hell!!!, when Marsha is pushed off the roof by Chester, she escapes by... spontaneously growing bat wings, suggested to be a latent effect of a radioactive "batato" that had earlier bitten her. Since half the cast had long since undergone similar transformations (without the emergencies), she adapts fairly quickly.
  • In City of Reality, Danny turns a fatally-wounded AV into an Atari-like device; they eventually turn her back, but not before his Well-Intentioned Extremist mentor tries to destroy her.
  • In MSF High, it's generally understood that anyone who goes to Nurse Keiri's office will be leaving as a female of the species easiest to treat, and she'll be doing everything in her power to keep them that way. The backstories of many Legion end similarly.
  • This happens in Modest Medusa. The boy who lives with Gorgon starts turning into a monster, so she saves him by turning him into a horse.
  • Umlaut House: happened in the backstory of Dr. Hundecoph, who was reduced to a Brain in a Jar but was able to build a robot body for himself with the help of another Mad Scientist, Dr. Pegasus.note  The actual circumstances of the accident are a Noodle Incident. By the start of the second series, he was able to clone a new human body and transplant his brain into it.

    Web Original 
  • The origin story of Hive in the Whateley Universe. Sam Everheart is dying from injuries, and the nanotechnology he's been exposed to rebuilds him using the only untainted DNA nearby, from a lock of hair belonging to his deceased daughter.
  • At the end of The Cartoon Man, Karen is mortally wounded, and Roy saves her life by using black ink to transform her into a human cartoon.
  • In Chapter 27.5 of Worm, Taylor uses Lab Rat's device to undergo a temporary transformation into a monstrous, insectoid form after suffering lethal injuries at Scion's hands.
  • In an early Shadowrun Storytime session, Geppetto gets a chestful of automatic gunfire. The closest the team has to an emergency trauma surgeon contact is a ghoul organlegger named John. If he does the work, Geppetto will contract HMHVV. Geppetto acknowledges the risk and accepts it. Dr. John has him infected with a different strain first so he turns into a banshee instead of a ghoul, something that can still pass for metahuman.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventure Time episode "Betty" ends with Betty defeating Bellanoche and restoring the Crown's magic, keeping Simon alive but turning him back into Ice King.
  • This is heavily implied to be behind Zachary Foxx's bionics in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers; in the Pilot, "Phoenix," he was shot several times on his left side. Cybernetics Eat Your Soul is completely averted in this case, as Zach's been Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious for more than one magic-slinging foe.
  • Bionic Six starts off with the titular family being exposed to radiation, with only The Professor's conversion machine available to save them.
  • In Centurions, Mad Scientist Doc Terror transforms street thug Hacker into a cyborg, then tells him that there's no way to change him back. Hacker's reaction is a temper tantrum that leaves Terror with life-threatening injuries, so Terror has to become a cyborg himself to survive. It would be a case of Hoist by His Own Petard, except that Terror likes his new form.
  • In the final season of Darkwing Duck, Taurus Bulba is revived as a cyborg by FOWL. He's... not exactly happy about it. Of course, fitting the big guy, rather than angsting about it at all, he just gets pissed.
    Taurus Bulba: So, you allow me to be part of your great experiment, without bothering me with petty nuisances such as... getting my permission.
    Mass "Oh, Crap!" from every member of F.O.W.L. present, including Steelbeak
  • This is the backstory of Evil Con Carne. After his body was destroyed in an explosion, Major Dr. Ghastly attached his brain and stomach to a bear.
  • Exo Squad used this for the ultimate emergency, death. The brain-scans of deceased troopers were downloaded into customized human-looking but internally Neo Sapien bodies. Started as a Trojan Horse plot by Phaeton, but it worked so well that the humans soon saw the obvious benefits. The only downside is that there have to be recorded memories from an Exoframe brain jack to transfer.
  • Keldor from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) went through one soon after he was Hoist by His Own Petard in the pilot. It turns out that the acid that hit his face was actually killing him; he pleaded with Hordak to save him. Hordak agreed, warning Keldor that there would be a price for this favor, and transformed him into a lich-like abomination. Hordak then bestowed upon Keldor the name Skeletor. Upon seeing his hideous new appearance, Skeletor promptly burst into a fit of maniacal laughter (the first of many), signifying his transition from a smooth talking and charming Evil Overlord to an insane and superpowered monster.
  • In Love, Death & Robots: Sonnie's Edge, it is revealed in the end that rape survivor Sonnie was so badly mutilated by her rapists that she was going to die, so they transferred her consciousness to Khanivore to save her. If you pay attention before the arena fight, you might notice that Sonnie's affinity link (the light on her head) turns off, and she doesn't move a muscle while Turboraptor's pilot is yelling and moving around durng the fight; it's not that Sonnie is too busy concentrating on winning, it's that the body isn't plugged in anymore.
  • In Robotix, the Protectons and Terrakors intend to survive a solar flare's devastation by going into suspended animation deep underground. Afterward though, their central computer decides there is no way for them to survive on the devastated world after all, and transfers the minds of a few of them into giant construction robots called "robotix." Upon awakening, they don't take it well.
    Argus: What has happened? I have become a Robotix! NOOOOOOOOO!!!
  • This was Sir Charles Hedgehog's motivation for inventing the Roboticizer in Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). He abandoned the project when it turned out it would rob the subject of their free will. Unfortunately, the Fallen Hero war minister with plans for world domination stole the plans.
  • SWAT Kats: Gangster couple Mac and Molly Mange drown while escaping from prison; their bodies are found by kindly scientist Professor Hackle, who uploads their minds into robotic bodies. They promptly steal Hackle's armored hovercar and weapons stash and go back in business as the invulnerable Metallikats. And despite their clear, obvious, and constant treachery, Hackle keeps collecting their battered remains and rebuilding them. The police eventually lock the heads of the robots in the police evidence locker to make him knock it off.
  • Insofar as a steam engine can actually need one of these, Henry gets one in season 1 of Thomas & Friends after his crash with The Flying Kipper. Turned out for the best, since the locomotive works took the opportunity to perform some upgrades; he didn't need Welsh Coal anymore afterwards and was strong enough to pull express trains single-handed.
  • Tom from Toonami underwent a change when the Absolution was overrun with an alien blob and Tom 1.0 was swallowed up by it.
  • Prior to God Ginrai's Emergency Transformation in Transformers Victory, Spike Witwicky is a temporary example in the aptly titled "Autobot Spike" of the original cartoon. Sent into a coma after a Decepticon attack, Spike's mind is transferred to a robot frame his father was working on earlier, in order to let the human doctors operate on his body safely. Toss in references to the original Frankenstein, the fact that the body is a mishmash of parts, and a little bit of Con trickery... He eventually recovered, though.
    • However, Daniel underwent the Headmaster process and became Arcee's partner after being half-eaten by a beast Decepticon (You'd think nearly doing in The Scrappy would have made him a household name, but no.) and will presumably be stuck in that exosuit forever. Poor guy.
    • The Mid-Season Upgrade of Hot Shot, Red Alert, and Scattorshot from Transformers: Cybertron also counts. They were dying, grievously injured by Megatron's newly-unlocked Death Machine Gun. The source of this transformation? Divine intervention by a semi-conscious Primus.
    • And while we're at it, technically this one covers Megatron becoming Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie.
    • The MECH organization in Transformers: Prime performs a rather ghoulish example of this, using a Decepticon corpse as life support for their critically-wounded leader.
    • Also in Transformers Prime Optimus is upgraded into a bigger and stronger form to save his life.


Video Example(s):


Henry's New Shape

The Fat Controller sends Henry to Crewe to give him a new shape following his crash with a goods train during the episode "The Flying Kipper". This came at an advantage for him, as he didn't need Welsh Coal and he can now easily pull the express single handed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / EmergencyTransformation

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