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Face–Monster Turn

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"Ma-ya... hurry... run! Before... I change...!! Hur... rry..."
Ulala Serizawa, just before transforming into a Joker, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

Basically this is when one of the good guys becomes a villain not out of choice, but because they were transformed into one one way or another (this makes it a supertrope to several tropes as outlined below). This can also apply to non-sapient entities, such as computers that go nuts, mons that are Turned Against Their Masters because someone else is giving them orders, and so on. As long as it was happy with its allegiance and something other than its own whims changed it, it fits. Subtrope of Was Once a Man.

Subtropes include:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie
    When a protagonist who has been fighting monsters is literally transformed into one such monster (assuming their allegiance changes).
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil
    When someone is tortured until they join the side of their torturers.
  • Brainwashed
    When someone with a different allegiance takes control of someone's mind, making them do their bidding.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy
    When brainwashing is used to turn a person to violence against their former friends.
  • The Corruption
    When a force of evil gives its victim superpowers while it mutates them into a monster.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul
    When replacing body parts with machinery causes a living person to lose their humanity or face other drawbacks.
  • Demonic Possession
    When something else with a different allegiance hijacks the subject's body.
  • Eldritch Transformation
    A character is transformed into an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Main Character Final Boss: The main character becomes the final boss either of their own volition or as part of the main villain's machinations.
  • Many Spirits Inside of One
    When multiple beings hijack a subject's body at the same time.
  • More than Mind Control
    When brainwashing together with other factors changes someone's personality or allegiance.
  • Murder Into Malevolence
    When a good or neutral person rises from an untimely death as an evil undead entity.
  • Personality Remnant
    When a transformed person is still influenced by some of their original personality or attachments.
  • Possession Burnout
    A possessed host's body suffers damage and decay that may quickly destroy it from being possessed.
  • Psycho Serum
    A serum that gives a person powers also messes him or her up psychologically.
  • Reforged into a Minion
    When the character is turned into one of the villain's minions.
  • Resist the Beast
    When they try their hardest to stop the inevitable monster from emerging and resist the urge to kill, and warn others around them to stay away lest they face their doom.
  • Self-Perception Shapeshifting
    When believing themself a monster physically transforms them into one.
  • Split-Personality Takeover
    When a different personality starts calling the shots.
  • Superpowered Evil Side
    For when a different personality is more powerful when it's in control and a little more interested in co-habitation (or at least can't get rid of the "face" personality).
  • Tragic Monster
    When this happens either to someone the hero knows and/or cares about, or a backstory is given in such a way that their loss of humanity is to be seen as tragic.
  • Transhuman Treachery
    When the original personality is still there, but their allegiance and morality has been warped with their form.
  • Transformation of the Possessed
    When demonic possession also involves transforming into a demonic appearance.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation
    When the person is forcibly turned into a robot or other machine.
  • Vampire Refugee
    When the character fights their transformation and hopes to find a cure before it overtakes them completely.
  • Villain-Possessed Bystander
    When the villain transforming random people into minions is a common occurrence.
  • The Virus
    When the cause of the transformation is being "infected" by the enemy.
  • Viral Transformation
    When a transformation that physically changes humans to non-humans can be spread virally.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
    Being corrupted by an increase in power.
  • Zombie Infectee
    Where this trope could occur at any moment.

Aversions and Subversions:

  • Emergency Transformation
    When the transformation is induced to save a character's life. These characters can change alignment, but not all do.
  • Heroic Willpower
    Through sheer willpower, love and loyalty the character maintains their Face status.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman
    Despite no longer being human, the character still sympathizes with humans.
  • Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
    When they use their transformation to aid their fellow humans.


Please only put examples here that don't fit into any of the above subtropes.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Zanpakuto Tales filler arc of Bleach, the shinigami's Living Weapons are given human forms (turning them into something closer to Equippable Ally) and brainwashed with More than Mind Control into fighting them. The following arc deals with clearing up all the "sword beasts" (Zanpakuto who killed their shinigami before being turned back and went rogue).
  • In Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, the villains are able to turn normal students from the protagonists' school into the Monster of the Week by corrupting them when they're angry about something.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, this happens to Falin. She gets mutated into a harpy-like monster by the Big Bad, and can likely never be human again. She can, however, be close as possible... maybe.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Zenitsu almost has this happen to him. He was once bitten by a spider which was to go on to mutate him into a mindless demonic human-spider hybrid and a minion of the Older Brother Spider Demon. He was saved by Shinobu and eventually had his shrunken limbs restored to normal. Later in the series, however, actual examples are shown, first the Upper-1 of the Twelve Kizuki, Kokushibo, is revealed to be a former Demon Slayer of the 1500's, older twin of the legendary Yoriichi Tsugikuni, who betrayed the Corps out of immense jealousy, insecurities and fear of death; then Kaigaku, Zenitsu's former elder colleague in Thunder Breathing, lost a fight to that same Kokushibo and was offered the same path of betrayal, he takes it. In the end, the last tragedy is Tanjiro himself turning into a demon, however, he was forced into it, and everyone alive focused their efforts on curing him then and there before it became an irreversible situation, thankfully Tanjiro is brought back fast enough.
  • In Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, after being defeated and captured by the servants of the Moon Dragon God, Selene, Natsu and Gray are brought up to entertain Selene and her court, while Happy, and the girls of the team, are all transformed into cruel, predatory yokai, who barely remember their own identities, and have no qualms trying to kill either of the boys.
  • In One Piece, it's implied this happens to Bartholomew Kuma as he turns more and more into a Pacifista, to the point that he says that he will technically die soon since his free will shall be taken away from him by the World Government. Though only a handful of people like Dragon, Ivankov, and Sabo, his fellow former Revolutionaries; and Bonney his adoptive daughter and her crew (and his friends in Sorbet) are aware that Kuma was ever not a monster.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this happens to Sayaka and any other Magical Girl whose Soul Gems don't get purified.
  • Soul Eater:
    • This happens to Death the Kid while trapped in Eibon's book.
    • The whole Dark Side of the series is made of 'madness' and its effects.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Urameshi Yusuke pretends that this (v.1) has happened when he comes back from the dead the second time, just to mess with the racist assholes from the Spirit World who'd been sent to vaporize his corpse to make sure he couldn't arise as a superpowered demon. The dub version ends his Face–Heel Turn speech with "PSYCH!", and in all versions, he puts a shoe on his head and sticks his tongue out. Very funny. It works, and also freaks out Koenma very badly (to a My God, What Have I Done? level for a couple of seconds over protecting the corpse), as well any readers/viewers who couldn't keep ahead of the plot and predict the crazy man.

    Comic Books 
  • In Amulet, this often happens to Stonekeepers who draw too much on their Amulet's power and become overwhelmed by it in the process, or fall prey to the manipulations of the Amulet spirit. Particular mention goes to Emily in Firelight, who turns into a giant, flaming phoenix.
  • The Batman Vampire trilogy basically sees this happen to Batman after he is transformed into a vampire, his determination to continue acting as a hero eventually faltering as he succumbs to the thirst for human blood, only able to control himself just enough so that he doesn't kill innocent people but only targets Gotham's existing criminals.
  • Bruce Banner when he turns into The Incredible Hulk, particularly in the original comics, in which the Hulk starts off as a power-hungry sociopath who almost considers killing a teenager who knows who he really is.
  • Revolutionaries: After he dies, Domitius Major is reanimated by the Talisman... as a nightmarish Worm That Walks zombie that attacks anything the Talisman tells it to.
  • Spider-Man: Curt Conners is by all accounts a good man: devoted husband and father, brilliant scientist, and dedicated to helping amputees... by developing experimental lizard gene therapy that turns him into the Lizard.
  • Poisons in Venomverse and its sequels operate by infesting symbiote hosts, which turns the host and symbiote into a Poison connected to the Hive Mind. Characters who are very mentally powerful (Jean Grey) or just plain bonkers (Deadpool, Carnage) are shown to have a degree of resistance to it, but the majority of characters who are infested turn almost instantly.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Aladdin: When Jafar finally gets his hands on the lamp, thus controlling the genie (who has to obey his evil master even though he doesn't want to harm Aladdin).
  • Vakama in BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows. While he was shown to be on shaky terms with his team even prior to his mutation into a half-beast, he only turned evil due to Roodaka taking advantage of his bestial impulses.
  • In We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, when the dinosaurs sacrifice themselves to be part of Dr. Screweye's circus to allow the kids to go free. They get scary looking too...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy is made into a zombie-slave, though he later recovers.
  • In Resident Evil: Apocalypse, a hero from the first movie is turned into Nemesis and sent to fight Alice and the heroes. Eventually she does manage to reach him and get him to break their control.
  • The clone troops who are forced to turn against the Jedi by an implanted command in Revenge of the Sith.
  • In Street Fighter, this is the goal of Bison's Super-Soldier program, starting by turning Guile's friend Blanka into a green monster. Thankfully, while he was being brainwashed the scientist in charge switched the "Evil" off and turned the "Good" on, allowing for a 40 / 60 % mix of Evil to Good, respectively (more or less, it's been a while).
  • In Van Helsing, the titular character gets bitten by a werewolf and turns into one. Although he fights and ends up killing Dracula, he is still a monster and ends up killing his female companion before she can cure him.

  • The Empirium Trilogy: Eliana's mother was a genuinely good parent who only wanted to keep her children safe from the Undying Empire. Upon being abducted by Fidelia, though, she underwent a transformation into a crawler, a not-quite-human beast. She manages to retain a bit of her humanity at the last minute when she asks Eliana to kill her.
  • Fate of the Jedi: Abeloth after she drank from the Fountain of Power and took a bath in the Pool of Knowledge to be like the Ones.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • In Vampire Academy, Natalie turns Strigoi in an attempt to get her father out of jail.
    • Dimitri is turned Strigoi against his will at the end of Shadow Kissed.
  • The Witchlands: Kullen turns on his former friends after he Cleaves.
  • In WorldEnd: What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?, this eventually happens to the main character after he starts turning into one of the 17 Beasts. While still able to exert some control over his actions, it’s a losing battle, and he inevitably becomes the final antagonist of the series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted, inverted and played straight in the case of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: he was a jackass who was turned into a monster, was forcibly given back his soul and instead of returning to his jackass original personality, became a good guy, who was then turned back into a monster, and back into a good guy several times. It's the reason why he doesn't go by his former human name even when he's a good guy; he's not that person anymore. By the time he gets cursed with a soul, he'd been a vampire for about five times longer than he was ever human. He still considers himself a monster, just one capable of feeling guilt for his actions.
  • In Charmed (1998), it becomes a Running Gag how often each of the girls gets transformed into a wendigo/vampire/demon/Fury and has to be saved by the others. (They also turn into good creatures a lot, too.)
  • Highlander: Immortals can be corrupted by absorbing to much evil from the quickenings of wicked immortals and in turn pass on that corruption in the form of a dark quickening. Duncan is only known immortal in the canon of the TV show to overcome being turned by one.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Kiva, a villain turns Wataru into a scary-looking CGI monster and brings him under his control. He eventually breaks free and uses the monster form to kick his would-be master's ass. We see "Kiva Emperor Flight Style" only once more after that, sadly.
    • In Kamen Rider Gaim, while Hase isn't a face, he's an ineffectual antagonist and one whose antagonist status comes out of innocent bickering between dance teams rather than genuine malice. As soon as his Driver is broken, however, he loses his protection from the compulsion to eat the fruit of Helheim, and shortly thereafter demonstrates that anyone who succumbs to the temptation is transformed into a mindless monster. He also, however, demonstrates that having worn a Driver makes the transformation take noticeably longer and leave more of the human intact, and Kaito later uses this same process to his advantage in order to ascend to the position of Big Bad by taking on a very powerful, very intelligent monster form.
    • In Kamen Rider Geats, Michinaga flirts with this trope by using a Jyamato Buckle when he turns heel, which he's warned will turn him into a plant-based monster with enough usage on top of how overusing his existing powers have already turned him into a zombie. However, Michinaga successfully wins the Jyamato Grand Prix before he can actually turn into a monster, and wishes himself back to full health alongside gaining a new powerup that's far better than the Jyamato Buckle. He turns face again shortly afterward. Daichi, meanwhile, does go through with turning himself into a Jyamato, but turns face near the end of the show while keeping his new Monster Lord form, thus turning all the Jyamato face along with him.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Star Trek:
  • Supernatural:
    • Sam undergoes this in Season 6 due to Castiel accidentally resurrecting him without a soul.
    • Dean is transformed into a demon by the Mark of Cain in the Season 9 finale, and remains so for four episodes before being cured.


    Professional Wrestling 

  • Tamamo-no-Mae Asahi no Tamoto: Lady Hatsuhana a.k.a. the titular Tamamo-no-Mae was a decent woman chosen to become the Emperor's concubine before she is possessed by an evil fox spirit for no apparent reason. She then sides with Prince Usugumo to start a coup against the Emperor and take over the country.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman: Police detective Ethan Bennett gets accidentally turned into Clayface by the Joker, and he goes back and forth between being a good or evil character throughout the series.
  • Generator Rex: Being mutated into an EVO can have this effect if the victim is severely unlucky. Most formerly-human EVOs can keep their minds if they remain humanoid, but others become feral and animalistic, don't recognize friends from foes, and in the worst cases, start eating people. Van Kleiss eventually gains the ability to create EVOs loyal to him by activating the nanites in unmutated life forms, with their new allegiance signified by a yellow handprint left where he touched them.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the main villain, Hawk Moth, has the power to turn normal people into the Monster of the Week by preying on them in moments of anger or depression. One of Ladybug's powers is to purify the akumas that possess them, turning them back to normal.
  • This happened in the Backstory of Steven Universe. Those monsters the Crystal Gems are always fighting? They're other Gems. At the end of the Gem War, Homeworld deployed a Fantastic Nuke that mutated and corrupted every Gem caught in its range. Pearl, Garnet, and Rose were the only Crystal Gems who escaped it, and they spent most of their time since capturing their former friends and enemies to stop them from hurting people.
  • In Steven Universe: Future, of all people, Steven himself suffers one of these during his mental breakdown in the episode "Everything's Fine". His self-hatred, combined with his unchecked PTSD, feelings of purposelessness, and his uncontrollable powers, corrupted him and turned him into a pink Kaiju-like monster. He gets better at the end of "I Am My Monster".
  • Transformers: Animated:
    • Blackarachnia actually turned to the side of the Decepticons after mutating into an organic spider.
    • Wasp also became a Decepticon after Blackarachnia mutated him into an organic wasp shortly after he vowed revenge on Bumblebee for (accidentally) sending him to prison, though he'd been trying to take Bee down for some time before. The Decepticon symbol his new form inexplicably has is basically there 'cause the toy has it.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Nerissa creates two additional Knights of Destruction as her minions, turning Matt (Will's boyfriend) and Mr. Huggins (Matt's pet dormouse) into Shagon and Khor, respectively. Most of the time, the girls aren't aware that Shagon and Khor are actually their friends turned into evil monsters.


Video Example(s):


Cyborg Hacking the Grimm

Cyborg is able to take down any Grimm by plugging his arm into them and hacking them, but doing it will also convert him into a Grimm.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HackYourEnemy

Media sources: