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I Just Want to Be Normal

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Peter Parker’s finally tired of Spider-Man’s messes.

Frodo Baggins: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf the Grey: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.

They didn't want these powers, this magic, this curse, or whatever it is that was foisted upon them. The responsibility to save the world? Forget it! All those exciting adventures and the ability to potentially do anything? Take it away. They want nothing to do with it.

Needing to be normal often comes in waves. Often, it hits critical levels, and the character threatens to quit, or even does so temporarily.

While this is all well and good, most writers conveniently forget that after such an exciting and exceptional existence, everything else will seem dull and meaningless to most people. Not only are special abilities usually given up, but sometimes also cherished friends. Some people psychologically will be unable to adjust, and most will acquire deep-seated mental issues about the whole process.


This can also include situations where overt powers or the like are not involved, wherein the characters are involved in an exceptional situation. It can also occur when characters, for no particular reason other than that the show is ending or that they're leaving it, have a sudden and usually implausible epiphany that they really want to live a "normal" life. Somehow this almost invariably includes them cutting ties with the entirety of the rest of the characters and locations.

When done well, this can be an interesting metaphorical exploration of how even the most blessed can feel isolated and abnormal. When done poorly, it comes off as cheap angst that will get tiresome, especially if the premise of the show relies in some part on that "Special-ness".

One common subversion is Can't Stay Normal where the character finally becomes normal, but is not able to adjust to it, and longs for their old life back. Or just as they achieve their normality, something happens where they NEED their abilities back, particularly to save the Love Interest. Either may be a 10-Minute Retirement, the former may be a Sequel Hook. If someone is constantly being forced by the plot to do heroic things, when really they want to be left alone, they're Heroic Neutral.


See also Cursed with Awesome, Internalized Categorism, It Sucks to Be the Chosen One, Who Wants to Live Forever?, and Refusal of the Call. Contrast Jumped at the Call, where wanting to be normal never even occurs to the hero. Naturally, the opposite of this trope is I Just Want to Be Special. See also Blessed with Suck, when the hero has every reason to want to be normal. Related to I Just Want to Have Friends when the character wishes to be normal to develop relationships. Also related to Give Him a Normal Life, when they leap at the chance to arrange this for their offspring.

Not to be confused with Plot Detour where the writer prevents the character from progressing (possibly to string out the length of the story). Compare and contrast Nominal Hero, where a character ends up fighting for good even though they lack morally positive motivations.

For the Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic Reluctant Hero, look here.


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  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4 Big Bad Kira Yoshikage's main motivation was to live a normal and uneventful life. When you consider what his main hobby is it makes his goal kind of contradictory. Yoshikage stated that he has an uncontrollable desire to kill. Even if he wanted to stop, he really couldn't.
  • A few Magical Girls, especially Usagi of Sailor Moon, who spent all of the first arc of Sailor Moon R saying this and got two separate chances at it via reincarnation-induced amnesia - once before the show started, once at the end of the first series.
    Usagi: "I wake up in the morning. The white lace curtains sway in the breeze. The cuckoo clock in my room tells me it's seven o'clock. "If you sleep longer, you'll be late!" Mama cries out. I nod off thinking, "Just let me sleep three more minutes." I'm late, just like every other day. Teacher makes me stand in the hall. I fail another test. On the way home from school I eat crepes with my friends. A party dress decorating a show window catches my eye. Such little things delight my heart.. It's that.. that ordinary life I want back.. I want it back.
    • She even cried when she does get her powers back in Sailor Moon R because getting them back also means she remembers watching her friends and her lover all die in battle right in front of her.
    • Eventually she resents her Sailor life so much that her powers give out entirely. It's after encouragement and realizing that being Sailor Moon also brought the benefits of True Companions and romance that she finally accepts her Destiny as Sailor Moon and Princess Serenity. At this point although she occasionally gripes about how fighting the baddies is irritating and inconvenient she mostly accepts what she is and no longer seeks to be normal.
    • In the manga Usagi specifically comes to the conclusion that while being Sailor Moon is painful because of the endless battles and the loss she suffers, she's glad it happened because she got to meet everybody she now loves and has the ability to protect them. Of course, she had a lot less of the "I want to be normal" bits in the manga in general.
    • Exception: Nanoha from Lyrical Nanoha, Yui from Corrector Yui, and Nozomi from Yes! Pretty Cure 5, all of whom jump into the weirdness with both feet. Yui does this because she is a Genre Savvy Magical Girl Otaku, Nanoha and Nozomi because they're looking for a true calling. Shugo Chara! is somewhere between the two extremes. The powers didn't seem to bother Amu, it's the charas that annoyed her.
    • Parodied with Pretty Sammy, whose whole motivation for not wanting to keep her powers is because her outfit is lame and being a skimpily clad superhero is really embarrassing.
    • Ichigo of Tokyo Mew Mew wanted to be normal out of fear that her crush Masaya would reject her if he found out — fighting aliens is really not a big deal compared to this.
    • Prétear, on the other hand, is a strange case. By the time Himeno receives the Call to Adventure, she already doesn't consider her life to be "normal", since she is all of a sudden a member of a rich family and feels ridiculously out of place there. Turns out that something even weirder — namely, being a Magical Girl — actually fits her better. To the point when she almost gets a Heroic BSoD upon being Brought Down to Normal for one episode.
  • The Wolkenritter in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's are a quartet of immortal super-warriors who have been fighting an even battle against the entire multiverse for centuries. Their one true wish in the series is for a peaceful family life with the one person who has ever showed them kindness—a nine-year-old paraplegic Japanese girl who is being slowly devoured by the very thing that allows them to exist. "It was only a small wish," indeed... That said, they merely want to live normally, not be normal, as all four of them take great pride in their abilities, and Signum in particular loves combat.
  • Ao no Fuuin has the heroine Soko, who is the resurrected Queen of the Oni and the key to the rise of the Oni family and, as an Oni, she has to feast upon humans or their energy to live. And all Soko wants to be is normal, so she tries to find a way to rid herself of her Oni status and powers, which makes up part of the story's goals.
  • Chisame Hasegawa in Mahou Sensei Negima! was fed up with her strange classmates even before she got an Adorably Precocious Child for a teacher. Naturally, things go downhill from there.
    • She eventually just gives up entirely after traveling to the Magic World with Ala Alba. In fact she's so accepting of it that she can't be trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine because deep down, she's completely content with her crazy life.
    • Another of the less blatantly eccentric ones, Asuna, turns out to only be normal because she succeeded at this, with the help of some Laser-Guided Amnesia. When the aformentioned Adorably Precocious Child appears, she goes back to paranormal of her own will not as a deliberate choice, but because she doesn't remember choosing to become normal in the first place, much less being abnormal. Remember, always analyze what you would do if you didn't know what you know if you plan on getting rid of that knowledge.
    • It's brought up again subtly with Evangeline; she admits that the reason she hates Asuna is because Asuna was actually successful at becoming normal, but gave it up anyway. Eva is pissed because the person who got what she most desired threw it away, while Eva never got a chance to be normal to begin with. The fact that she lives in a brightly decorated room filled with adorable dolls and teddy bears in private hints that her Vampy and sexy Evil Overlord act is just a defense mechanism, and that she really wants be to an innocent and happy little girl again.
  • Kahlua from Galaxy Angel Rune and Galaxy Angel II, as a child, had tried to save a friend with her magic, but said friend was less than grateful, instead scared away by her strength. The result was a fear of not being normal, and she mentally sealed away a large percentage of her own power by choice. This created her Superpowered Evil Side, Tequila.
  • It is fairly common in Real Robot series for the main character to wish for a return to their regular life, usually because their unique situation is brought on by warfare.
  • Bleach
    • At the beginning of the series, Ichigo wishes he could be a normal human who cannot see ghosts and spiritual beings. When he finally gets that wish, So What Do We Do Now? and Can't Stay Normal kick in as he realizes he's lost his ability to protect his friends and family.
    • Ryuuken Ishida tells his son Uryuu that he is incapable of getting rid of his (hated but considerable) Quincy powers so all he can do is refuse to use them. When he was a teenager, Ryuuken was extremely invested in protecting the future of the Quincy clan, until events shook his faith in his ability to do so. Unknown later events tipped him over the edge from shaken to resentful. It appears to be linked to the Quincy King's purge of all "impure" Quincies, which successfully killed his wife and tried, but mysteriously failed, to kill Uryuu.
    • Coyote Starrk wanted so desperately to be be able to exist among other hollows without killing them with his presence alone that he created Lilynette out of part of himself simply to have someone to talk to. Aizen recruited him with the promise that the other Espada would be strong enough to withstand his presence.
    • Ichigo ends up believing that the loneliness that came from not being normal was the driving force behind Aizen's actions.
    • The Fullbringers are motivated by the desire to be normal humans. In the end, it's revealed only Jackie genuinely wanted this and the others had been lying about it. Like Ichigo, Jackie gets her wish to be normal and regrets the loss of her powers.
  • The premise of the Light Novel series "Didn't I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?!" is a Child Prodigy worn out by the social isolation her intelligence brought her and the expectations of her family, so she asked to be reincarnated as somebody totally average after dying in an accident. As such, in her next life, everything about her is a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. However, since she didn't specify the scale on which she is to be considered average, and she reincarnates in a fantasy world, 10 is not peak human, it's peak ability for rare mystical creatures. Peak human is more like a low 3, making her incredible by human standards.
  • A variant of this occurs in Hayate the Combat Butler. After finding out Hayate wants a normal girl and normal life, Nagi finds Ayumu Nishizawa, essentially the most normal person in the cast. (The narrator pointed this out.) and follows her all day, learning how to be "normal". In the end, she realizes that normal is "an extremely scaled down version of what I normally do."
  • We're still not sure what the hell's going on in Haruhi Suzumiya, especially in relation to Kyon. He continually mentions how he wishes Haruhi would just settle down and be a normal, well-adjusted schoolgirl (Hell, it's even in his Image Song), but the fact that he's an Unreliable Narrator (in regards to his feelings, anyway) and that he was once stuck in a universe where everything was normal and he still attempted to revert it to its very Haruhi, abnormal state may prove otherwise...
  • In Guyver, Sho doesn't want to have the powers. When he technically has the opportunity to get rid of them (when the Guyver Remover is found), he still keeps them because he needs to protect his friends. The new anime adds a nice twist to this, with Tetsuro picking up the G-Unit first and then passing it to Sho only when it started sprouting tentacles.
  • In Ranma ½, most of the characters just want to be rid of their curses. Granted, most would be pretty damn weird even without their curses.
  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion really, REALLY doesn't want to pilot a giant mech and save the world. Subverted when he runs away and realizes that if he leaves, everyone he knows will die. He has no choice but to come back.
    • Rei Ayanami, quite literally, has no choice despite having a death wish and wanting just one normal life. Accustomed to the knowledge that if she dies she would be replaced by a clone, when it happens she is just pissed off and tired of it that she gets fed up with going along with Gendou's plans and enacts her own.
  • In Naruto, unlike virtually everyone else in a cast of thousands who are either trying to become heads of state, living legends, outright immortals, gain the acceptance of their persecutors, avenge horrific wrongs, or various combinations thereof — Shikamaru Nara's driving goal in life has ever been to achieve a basic level of competence as a ninja, meet a decent girl, get married, have two kids, and stay alive until retirement. Poor bastard never had a chance. Given his Character Development in Shippuden, it would appear that his goals have become somewhat more lofty.
  • Nagisa spends almost all of the two Iczelion OVAs whining and crying about being chosen to bond with the Iczel.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
    • Simon is both an example and an aversion. It was a constant of the first few episodes that he would plead with Kamina to return home once the Ganmen Of The Week started pulverising them, but Kamina's Manly Spirit (TM) forced him to repeatedly change his tune, eventually reaching the point where his obligatory Heroic BSoD is completely shattered and the trope abandoned in favour of Simon delivering a never-ending stream of awesome wins.
    • There's also Viral, who in the alternate universe where all of one's wishes are granted, he's shown having a wife and daugther living in the countryside.
    • In the first page of the spin off manga, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Guren Gakuenhen, Simon prays to his dead parents "Please, Please! Let me have an extremely normal life". In the second page, Kamina kicks down his window in an attempt to be Moe.
  • One Piece:
    • At the end of his fight with Zoro, Kaku expressed regret that he never got to lead a normal life, having been raised to be an assassin. In the manga, him and the rest of CP9 take a stab at this with the World Government hot on their tails.
    • Earlier there's Captain Kuro, who was genuinely sick of being a pirate and wanted to live a nice, safe civilian life. Unfortunately, he wanted to be normal and rich, and was willing to kill to get that life. He ultimately fails and is forced back to the sea.
  • In Strawberry Panic!, Amane doesn't want to be Etoile and didn't ask for her legions of fangirls — she just wants to ride her horse in peace. Her rival, Kaname, finally makes the point to her that only she can win the Etoile election for Spica; the whole school has placed its hopes on Amane, and like it or not, that gives her a responsibility. It's strange how this particular Aesop feels more Broken with a normal human being than with a superhero, Slayer, or whatever.
  • Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh is a deeply shy girl who's cursed with an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl appearance. Other girls mistake her silence for coldness, and this has made her an idol — which embarrasses her, but she's too shy to say that either. Sakaki would much rather be small and cute like Chiyo-chan... who would much rather be big and tall like Sakaki.
    • Arguably, Osaka as well; her Image Song "Shikkari! Try La Lai" has some shades of this in places.
  • Slayers
    • Zelgadis is a prime example. Cursed with Awesome in the form of being merged with a stone golem and a demon, in the anime his quest can actually make him seem motivated by vanity, because his warped body isn't unattractive in an exotic sort of way (almost a Cute Monster Guy), he doesn't really care about people anyway (which makes their being afraid of him when they see him have less impact), and most importantly his body gives him super powers. It boosts his energy reserves, allowing him to cast more spells than either of his companions, allows him to go for ages without food or water, gives him superhuman strength, speed, hearing and stamina, and makes him Nigh Invulnerable to all practical purposes (only incredibly powerful attacks can hurt him — Demon Lords, the Sword of Light, etcetera).
    • In the Light Novel series, it's a different matter entirely; he isn't completely motivated by vain in regards to his appearance, but rather, it's revealed here that after his great-grandfather Rezo cursed him, he was forced to serve as his bodyguard and fulfill gruesome and morally questionable tasks (it's implied that one of those tasks involved getting together with a woman and murdering her) for Rezo's sake. So rather than vanity, Zelgadis wants to be normal so that he can eradicate his past as "the Evil Swordsman" (his given moniker) and live life the way he wishes to.
  • Night Wizard's Renji is one of the most powerful Wizards around and can easily save the world with very little work. Except he wants to stop going on missions and actually get a chance to finish school, which is all but impossible with the number of times Anzelotte keeps calling him away.
  • Oboro from Basilisk would just love to marry her fiancé Gennosuke and live Happily Ever After. However, they're both the heirs and leaders of warring Ninja clans...
    • There's also Genki Boy Yashamaru, who views the clan truce as his chance to get married to his beloved fiancée and fellow Iga Ninja Hotarubi. They both get bloodily killed off. Sniff.
  • The title character of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is usually pretty happy with the changes in his life due to meeting Miu (i.e., Miu herself), Training from Hell aside. However, he's less than happy with the fights that he's forced into as a result. It's best illustrated here as he sneaks into the cruise ship of a worldwide criminal organization led by some of the most dangerous martial artists in the world, whose disciples want to kill Kenichi to prove their Badassitude.
    Kenichi: Where did I go wrong in life?
    • At the start of the series, Miu tries very hard to fit in at their normal school. While she enjoys her thoroughly abnormal life as a martial artist, being gorgeous, smart, and an exceptional athlete has led to jealousy from her peers, so she wears non-prescription glasses and keeps her hair braided. Part of her character development is her no longer pretending to be normal.
  • The main character of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan starts this way, wanting to just live a normal life as a human despite being the heir to a huge clan of youkai and a quarter-youkai himself. But it's averted early on in the first real story arc, when he begins to fully understand his youkai nature and learns of the impact his attitude is having on others firsthand. He decides that while he does want to live a peaceful life, protecting the people close to him and leading his clan is far more important.
  • K-On!:
    • In a rare non-supernatural example, Mio. She chose bass instead of guitar because she doesn't like to be the center of attention. Subverted in the anime; Mio's forced to take lead singer Yui's place in the first live show the girls perform.
    • There's also Mugi, who comes from an incredibly wealthy family, but gets much enjoyment from doing ordinary everyday things that most people would take for granted.
  • Judai in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX becomes notably less cheerful when suddenly the only thing stopping all his friends from dying and the world ending is the card game he loved so much. And up until this point he was the only one who really did seem to treat it as a card game. Eventually the stress becomes so bad that he surrenders to his super powered evil side and starts taking over the duel monsters world, requiring two heroic sacrifices to get him back to efficiency. He doesn't start enjoying dueling again until a decent bit into the next season... at which point the next big bad starts trying to implement their Assimilation Plot. Sucks, huh?
  • Averted with Onpu the grade-school idol in Ojamajo Doremi. Even though some of the negative aspects of it are there (her mom's too busy to be with her on Christmas) she loves the attention she gets and the work itself.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • The entire plot in the manga was this from Clow Reed, even the very existence of the titular heroine. He was so damn powerful he couldn't control his own powers, mostly seeing the future, which took away all the pleasures of life. So he created a more powerful witch (Sakura) who could divide his power between his two reincarnation-like versions, one of them being Sakura's father Fujitaka.
    • Sequel series ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- go into more detail about why he wanted to divide his power so badly — just by wishing someone (his girlfriend Yuuko) wasn't dying, he turned her into an immortal zombie, eternal unliving as everyone around her ages and dies. He took this even harder than she did, somehow.
  • InuYasha: Kikyou, one of the most powerful miko who had ever lived, just wanted to be a normal girl and live a normal married life with Inuyasha. She and Inuyasha wanted this so much that Inuyasha also agreed to his give up his Youkai heritage and become a normal human boy to make that dream come true. Their plan was ruined by another which became the entire reason for the plot of the story.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse wants his normal body back, and wants Ed to get his limbs back. This is also the whole motivation of the homunculii in the first anime, especially in the case of Lust.
  • Rocket Girls: After becoming an astronaut and going into space once, and getting international attention for it, Yukari Morita admits she just wants to be a normal high school student. (Like that's going to happen.)
  • In Nabari no Ou, Miharu really does not want to be an all-powerful Sealed Evil in a Can. It pretty much makes everything suck.
  • Lucia from Rave Master comes off as an odd example. As the Big Bad with no real superpower who opted to take over the main criminal orginization he doesn't seem like the type to express that sort of desire. However he's the descendent of the sole survivor of The End of the World as We Know It (who created a 'false' parallel world where humanity didn't die off) and is therefor cursed to suffer every misery the universe can throw at him.
  • Parodied in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei through Nami Hitou, the "ordinary girl" in a class where everyone else has some sort of character trait taken to the extreme.
    Nami: "Don't call me normal!" (Futsuu tte iu na!)
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Fresh from a Defeat Means Friendship, Gajeel is smart enough to realize that it'll take a lot of time for most of Fairy Tail to forgive him. In addition to protecting his new friends, Gajeel goes to huge lengths to be accepted. This is usually played for laughs, since Gajeel doesn't have much of an idea as to how that works. For example, he once tied up the guild's singer and hijacked her concert so he could sing a ballad.
    • Mirajane also suffered from this when she was a kid. Her powers got her and her siblings chased out of their home. Now averted, as she realized she needed her power to protect her True Companions.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Shizuo Heiwajima may be a nigh-indestructible, vending machine-tossing badass, but he'd give that up in an instant if it meant he could go a day without hospitalizing someone in a fit of Unstoppable Rage.
    • Then there's Anri Sonohara, a quiet girl who is aware that supernatural things are going on around her (though she doesn't know all the details), and just wants to be left alone. If that means using her Yandere magic sword to mind-control people into leaving her alone, then so be it.
      Anri: I will have peace in my life.
  • The very wish of Eureka to be a normal human in Eureka Seven. She broke down in tears in episode 45 upon knowing her body is undergoing bizarre changes.
  • Yuu from Holyland really doesn't want to have to keep fighting just so he can stay out at night, though he doesn't run away from the challenges either.
  • In The Secret Agreement, it turns out that Yuuichi was the only member of a life-force stealing clan who functioned like a normal human being. When his supernatural side suddenly starts awakening, his (fake) uncle explains the situation and congratulates him. Considering this means that he will kill the love of his life and that they don't genuinely love each other (it's only a delusion to help the murder) Yuuichi understandably wishes he stayed normal.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, Keiki chose a young woman named Joukaku as the Fisher King of the Kei Kingdom. Joukaku, however, is a very insecure young woman who never wanted to be the Queen and felt that she wasn't up to the task, suffering more than one Heroic BSoD. Add her Unrequited Love for Keiki and her Yandere tendencies, and... well...
  • Maya Matsumoto from WORKING!!. Ironic in that, in her attempts to be normal in a restaurant full of strange characters, she comes off just as weird to the other employees.
  • This is a major part of the plot to Tenchi in Tokyo. In this universe, Tenchi Masaki isn't an alien prince, he's the latest of a long line of protectors of the Earth. However, he doesn't want any of that. He separates a set of gems that turn into a sword and gives them to the six girls who stay with him, then decides to move to Tokyo for priest training, where he ends up falling in love with a girl there. This forms a wedge between the seven so that, by halfway through the series, Big Bad Yuugi's manipulations have driven Ryoko, Mihoshi and Kiyone off-planet, Washu has disappeared into her lab, and only Ayeka and Sasami are trying to pick up the pieces.
    • This is also attempted in Tenchi Muyo! and Tenchi Universe. In Muyo!, while the girls don't leave, Tenchi's thankful that the craziness with Kagato is over with and he doesn't have to put up with that anymore. But, being with the girls proves that going back to normal won't cut it anymore. In Universe, after Kagato's dealt with, everyone goes their separate ways, but when Ryoko suddenly returns to Earth, she points out that the others are following right behind - they liked how things were and want to return.
  • Nano, the resident Robot Girl from Nichijou, who just wish to pass as a normal girl, which she would perfectly do, if it wasn't for the big Wind-Up Key on her back and pointless add-ons her creator insists on keeping.
    • Particularly amusing given that she's still easily one of the most normal people in the cast.
  • Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions's Yuuta just wants to spend his high-school days in relative normalcy after treated as a virtual pariah due to his middle-school-age delusions of grandeur. Alas, along came Rikka.
  • Ennil El toys with this around the middle of After War Gundam X. She starts working in a bar and gets an offer of marriage from an ordinary Nice Guy around the same time she gets an offer of a brand-new mobile suit. She chooses to keep piloting and eventually learns that her would-be fiancee was executed after the Federation conquered the island.
  • Zeheart Galette from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE. He confesses to Asemu that his greatest desire was to marry the person he loved and raise a family, right before he dies
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Accelerator, of all people, really seems like he would have lived a much happier life if he didn't have his incredible powers. He expresses several times a desire that people would just stop attacking him all the time, but due to his power, they never will. Indeed, when he's left to his own devices, he's pretty passive and doesn't have any desire for violence or destruction. It's only when he or his loved ones are threatened that he goes psychotic Blood Knight.
    • Kakeru Kamisato used to be an Ordinary High-School Student when he suddenly gained the ability World Rejecter, making him one of the most powerful characters in the series. He greatly dislikes this and being thrust into the role of a hero. Also, he believes the girls in his Unwanted Harem only like him because of his power. His dislike of having powers is so great that he starts attacking the Magic Gods, believing they were responsible for giving him his powers.
  • In the beginning of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Sorata is this by wanting to leave the local Quirky Household ASAP—he was sent there because he wanted to keep a cat. Eventually, an identity crisis driven by the said place's Bunny Ears Lawyers and being the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder for an Idiot Savant caused him to opt otherwise.
  • Nanami Momozono from Kamisama Kiss is an Ordinary High-School Student who inadvertently becomes a Shinto Land God. Her main thought about the situation is how the hell is she going to find a way to go back to being an Ordinary High-School Student. She later changes her mind and gets used to being a Physical God.
  • Haruka from Kotoura-san. You can't blame the girl after all the hell she's gone though because nobody understood her gift and how to cope with it.
  • Nurse Angel Ririka SOS - the heroine is in the middle of a really happy childhood full of warm, quirky, supportive relatives and warm, thoughtful, reassuring friends. So when protecting her loved ones starts leading into moral dilemmas and Survivor Guilt, it produces a lot of Emotional Torque.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: Bosco is a vampire, who's trying to kick the habit and has mostly succeeded, through controlled exposure to crosses, garlic, and high-powered UV lamps. As a result, he's become immune to them and can freely walk around in broad daylightnote . All so he could be together with Makiko. It's left him anemic and severely weakened but, if you ask him, she's Worth It.
  • Ghost Talkers Daydream: Misaki never had a choice, since spirits have always been drawn to her and all it's ever done is alienate the people around her. As a child, her classmates made fun of her, their parents thought she was strange and kept their children away from her, and her father sent her to live with her grandmother (who was also a medium) to have her train Misaki. The only ones who want anything to do with her are her father, who enlists her aid as an exorcist, and her clients at the Roppongi S&M Club, where she works as a dominatrix. The worst part being, she's stuck with the gift, so she's justifiably bitter.
  • After a lot of Character Development Chimera Ant King Meruem from Hunter × Hunter professes that he wishes he was born a human.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has numerous examples of this, with just a few being listed:
    • Touka Kirishimi is one of several Ghouls that desperately wish for the normal, peaceful life that humans enjoy. She attempts to live like an Ordinary High-School Student, but her Horror Hunger prevents her from ever being able to truly have a normal life. When Kaneki first learns of his Half-Human Hybrid status, he begs her to teach him how to live as a Ghoul — she gives him a scathing reply, demanding to know what cake tastes like, or what it's like to live without constant fear of being discovered.
    • In Jack, this is also implied to be the case with the then young CCG investigator Arima, with him wistfully noting that he never got to experience a normal life. When he does finally get a brief experience at a somewhat more normal life while masquerading as an Ordinary High-School Student he admits that he did find it "fun".
    • Also in Jack there's Lantern, who's really schoolgirl Minami. While an unrepentant serial killer who saw their murdering of criminals and delinquents as actually helping society, their Motive Rant revealed that ultimately, she just wanted to be a normal girl attending High School like everyone else. Unfortunately, like with all ghouls, their Horror Hunger made that entirely impossible.
  • Yuumura Kirika in Noir hates the fact that she can easily murder people in all kinds of ways and not feel any remorse for it. Her desire is to just be a normal school girl and artist. Later in the series, it's revealed that she lost her memories because of a mental breakdown and her willfully wanting to forget who she was. She gets assigned to Japan with a fake ID to do a job, but doesn't remember what that job was and instead decides to live a normal life as a high school student. Hard to do, however, when Sodat agents kept showing up trying to kill her, forcing her to confront her past with some help.
  • Dragon Ball
    • Gohan has the potential to become the strongest fighting in the universe, far surpassing his dad and the other hybrids. Instead, he chose to live a peaceful life as a scholar and family man, and only fights if there is an immediate threat. At least Gohan is a bit of an exception as he does step up when he has to and doesn't descend into complaining about having to play the hero (heck, he even became a Protectorate in his late teens), he just has better things to do during the down times and his passions in life are different from his father's.
    • Despite being a badass who saved the world from the androids and kept Majin Buu from being revived, Future Trunks is envious of Gohan since he can live his dream and have a happy family, while Goku Black stole everything from him including his mother and Mai (so he thinks). Just being reminded of the life he could of have if Black never came to Earth reduces Trunks to tears.
  • The first episode of Space Patrol Luluco spells out from the very beginning that Luluco wants nothing to do with with all the aliens and weirdness in her city and just wants to live a normal life of a normal middle school student. It's implied that a lot of this has to do with the fact that her parents were always fighting when she was a child due to their opposing natures. But by the end of the series she comes to love and embrace all the weirdness around her.
  • Iceland in Axis Powers Hetalia is this way. He's constantly exasperated and embarrassed by the eccentric behavior of the other Nordics, pretends he can't see his brother Norway's magical creatures, and tells his Puffin not to speak when in the company of other people, as they'd "think him pitiful" if he was seen talking to a bird. He's absolutely horrified by the thought that out of all of the Nordics, he may be the "weird" one.
    World☆Stars, Chapter 103: He doesn't want to be treated as 'the kid who sees things,' so he pretends he can't.
  • Matoi the Sacred Slayer: This is Matoi's wish in life. Unfortunately for her, as an exorcist girl, she keeps dragged into battles with the demonic Nights.
  • Turns out to be the case for Q from Bungou Stray Dogs. While being used by the enemy for his powerful and mostly-uncontrollable ability to create hallucinations, he says that he never asked for this ability and wonders why he was forced into a life of hurting others.
  • When Maria in Destruction Flag Otome was younger she was admired for being a friendly and pretty little girl. However, she activated magic when she was young, scaring away her friend even as she healed her injury. As a result of her magic, she became isolated in the community because it made her special and different. On top of that, it tore her family apart because of constant rumors that it must mean she's an illegitimate child since magic tends to run in noble families and she's a commoner. Her father started staying away from home and her relationship with her mother became strained. Maria just wants to go back to being normal and having friends again, but since that's not possible she begins to hope that she can make friends at magic school instead. And she does, eventually, but only because the main character of the story is way nicer than she's supposed to be.
  • High School DXD: It turns out that in spite of his Blood Knight attitude and constant desire to push his abilities to the limits in battle, this is Vali Lucifer's deepest desire. When he was caught in a Lotus-Eater Machine, his ideal world was living a peaceful, ordinary life with a loving family.
  • Zig-zagged with the title character of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.. While Kusuo does like the convenience of some of the many powers he has, the feeling of picking up a book without reading the thoughts of everyone who ever touched it or not having to worry about how much he warped reality if one of his hair bobbles fell off really makes him wish he didn't have them. And despite him going through arcs where he depowers (turns out not having telepathy means everyone is unpredictable, who knew), Kusuo still wouldn't think of any other goal. He happily gets his wish at the end of the series.

    Audio Plays 
  • The Elysium Project has the escaped test subjects that the story centers around. They don't want their powers and they regret ever getting involved with the Elysium Project, but they're stuck with the powers and none of them have lives to go back to anyway.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker has attempted to give up the Super Hero life several times, only to come back when someone is in need. Such an attempt was the foundation of the second movie's plot.
    • The page image above was only his first attempt to quit, done in issue #50. He'd try again and again during his career, one attempt resulting in the infamous "six-armed saga" when his attempt to cure himself of his powers only made him more spider-like. (Oddly enough, the What If? tie in where he keeps the six arms as Spider-Man actually has his life turn out okay, a rarity for that series.)
    • The Kingpin ties this into Tall Poppy Syndrome and Muggle Power in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
      ''They, "society," hate you because they don't want your help. You remind them of how weak-willed and sheep-like and unspecial they are. How gleeful they are, deep down, to be ordinary. They don't want heroes. They don't want special people around them. Because if there are special people and they aren't one of them— well, who wants that? Who wants a constant reminder that they aren't even trying to be special? See, the difference between you and I is that you really are just a child. You benefit from the wide-eyed optimism of youth. I do envy that, somewhat. But... like many of your decisions in life... it's just naive. And I don't envy that harsh cold slap of reality that will come your way soon enough. But I guess it's inevitable. People don't want to be special. I do think that.It is my philosophy. They— people want to be told what to do and how to live and they want men like me to tell them. They want to go to work and do as little as they can possibly get away with, and they want a big cookie at the end of the day for doing it. And they want men like me to give it to them."
      Kingpin to Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man #80
    • It is important to note that Ultimate Peter Parker is not a reluctant superhero. Although due to comic book time, he only wore the alias for a year and a half.
    • It seems there is truly no way out for Peter. In the Superior Spider-Man series, Doctor Octopus took over his body, and for a while, Peter's personality was believed obliterated, Deader Than Dead. No such luck, Pete. After Doc Ock realized he was a poor replacement, Peter re-emerges when Ock deletes himself.
    • This also happens to Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales after the new Venom killed his mom.
    • After his resurrection during Spider-Island, Kaine, Peter's morally ambiguous clone, decided and regularly proclaimed that he wanted nothing more to move to Mexico, sit on the beach and drink margaritas for the rest of his life, on the grounds that he'd spent most of his life, such as it was, dying. However, he ends up stopping at Houston and reluctantly taking up the mantle of the Scarlet Spider, taking in Aracely and doing the hero thing, albeit grumpily, violently and constantly wondering why, with the consistent belief that he's a monster. After he transforms into the Other to save Houston from Shathra and is rejected by the thoroughly freaked out Houston residents, including his girlfriend, he simply tells Aracely to stop Shaming the Mob and just let it go, before trying to re-enact the famous ditching of the costume. Later, he and Aracely end up dragged into the reformed New Warriors, much to his displeasure, but, after a return to Houston and a pep talk from Justice, who points out that if he believes that he's a monster just waiting to happen, he should hang around those who force him to be better, after which Kaine finally seems to accept the heroic legacy. Then he's seemingly killed during Spider-Verse.
    • At the end of Superior Spider-Man, Mary Jane decides she's had enough of New York and moves away so she can have a normal life away from super heroics. When we next see her in the All-New, All-Different Marvel reboot of The Invincible Iron Man, she's started up a new life as a club owner in an entirely different city... and she still can't get away from the hustle and bustle.
  • In the new Spider-Woman comic, Jessica wants very much and tries very hard to give up the super-hero thing for good, for the sake of her baby. Unfortunately, trouble is drawn to her like a magnet, as is temptation and boredom. Eventually, she checks into a max-security alien hospital recommended by Carol and Alpha Flight, but it only gets worse, as a renegade gang of Skrulls manage to break into the place, requiring Jess to go into action again, going into labor halfway through, and fighting the bad guys after doctors deliver her baby with an emergency C-section. (The baby's okay, but on the final page, Jess and Carol laugh at the thought that she can ever be normal again.)
  • This is also common for mutants in the Marvel Universe, who tend to become social pariahs if their status becomes public.
  • The Teen Titans comic inverted this, with Beast Boy losing his powers in a particular Story Arc. Everyone assumes that he'll be happy about being normal again, until he states that he never wanted to be normal.
  • And before the Titans, there was Doom Patrol. Robotman, in particular, was unhappy about his Blessed with Suck condition (more extreme than Vic Stone's). However, the comic's premise is that, by the time you get to the Patrol, you're too far gone to even come near normal again. After a few disastrous attempts, he's more or less resigned to his condition.
    • Somewhat subverted with Crazy Jane, who during her initial run sought therapy to re-integrate her 64 personalities. Altough merging Babydoll and Scarlet harlot to result in "Baby Harlot" is a bit squicky.
  • Used in a rather awesome way in the 2006 Blue Beetle comic series, when the villainous Eclipso grants Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes all his deepest, most secret desires. Turns out he wants to be a dentist.
    • The awesome thing is, she expected that a mild-mannered teenager would dream of power. She planned to turn him into some kind of monster and use him to get the MacGuffin. Unfortunately for her, the only kind of power he dreams of is a high-paying, reliable job... which isn't very useful to get MacGuffins.
    • In the 2016 series, Jaime's quest to become normal leads him to billionaire industrialist Ted Kord in the hope he can remove Jaime's powers. Unfortunately for Jaime, Ted turns out to be a superhero fanboy who decides to join forces with him and find out how to use his powers to help people.
  • Runaways character Karolina Dean would rather be a normal Hollywood teenager, rather than the lesbian child of two alien criminals. Although only when things go wrong, as when she tried to kiss Nico and turned out she wasn't interested. At the end of the first series she was the first one who ran out of her foster house and contacted everyone, as she wanted to "fly again".
    • Most of the main characters in Runaways experience this to some degree or another. Molly has a really heart wrenching dream in which her parents are still alive and she believes that she imagined all of the previous events. Chase tries to destroy Nico's Staff of One so she can have a normal life. Victor yells at Gert to go back in time with her parents' time machine to save his mother. Of course, given that the group are fugitives from both Social Services and the law and that several members have been killed or lost over the course of the series, it makes sense that they'd want to go back to their old lives at some points.
    • Later member Klara wanted absolutely nothing to do with superheroics, coming as she did from a world where almost everyone with superpowers abused them, but Karolina and Molly's well-meaning attempts to help her escape from an abusive guardian ended up creating a situation where her only options were joining the Runaways or dying.
  • Ben Grimm, The Thing, is the poster boy for this trope. Despite his complaints about being an orange rock monster, every time he's been "cured", he finds a reason to become The Thing again. He actually enjoys being the FF's strong man and "The Idol of Millions", but just wishes he could walk down the street without being stared at.
    • Which by this point is probably more because of the whole "Idol of Millions" thing than because of his appearance, so he's got nothing to complain about. Apart from having non-reinforced floors give way under him, that is.
    • His Ultimate counterpart hates his super-powered self and wants nothing more than to be normal again. It's driven him to attempt suicide at least once.
    • Sue Storm once got fed up with the superhero life and yearned for a more domestic one.
  • In The Bulleteer, both Alix and her "archnemesis" Sally Sonic wish they were normal people; It was this intense desire to live a normal life that led Sally to provoke Alix's husband to killing himself, because she so wanted to be in her place and be genuinely loved by a normal man.
    • Alix also can't stop meeting up with people who are the opposite, especially the uber-pathetic Mind Grabber Man.
  • Subverted with Man-Thing. A scientist who was transformed into a walking, empathic compost heap should be all over this trope, but most of the time he doesn't simply because his transformation cost him his mind—he's little more than, well, a big plant, and any human memories are gone.
  • Superman: This is the accepted reason why The Big Blue maintains a civilian identity: There are things he can do as Clark that he can't do as Superman, like talking to people, or cooking your own food.
    • In more recent works, Superman does cherish his Kryptonian heritage but thinks of himself as Clark Kent first. At one point, Mr. Mxyzptlk threatened to turn him into a powerless human who would have to live a normal life, but...
      Mxy: But wait. Deep down, that's what you really want, isn't it?
    • Kryptonite Nevermore: Superman's powers are being drained by a strange force, and he seriously considers letting it happen, because he wants to be a normal person, deep down. He is talked him out of it.
      I-Ching: You would renounce your strength... speed... invulnerability? You wish to remain an ordinary mortal?
      Superman: That's exactly what I wish! I've had a taste of the glory of being normal! To win through determination... courage... to be no more than myself — and no less! For years I've been dreaming of working and living as a plain man — without the responsibilities... the loneliness... of Superman!
      I-Ching: Your attitude is understandable! But I beg you to reconsider... one does not choose responsibility! It is often thrust upon one! To refuse it is to commit the worst act of cowardice! Look around you... See a world burdened with misery... with untold agonies — a world which has need of you — as you were!
    • "The Strange Death of Superboy" from 1969's Superboy #161 is about teenaged Clark becoming sick of his double life and longing to be normal. He uses carefully controlled doses of kryptonite to bring himself down to a human level, and enjoys it briefly, only for disaster to strike and make him realize that Superboy is desperately needed, so he risks his life to get his powers back. By the end, he seems happily enough reconciled to how complicated his life will always have to be.
    • For the Man Who Has Everything, an absolutely brilliant story by Alan Moore that was adapted in Justice League Unlimited, shows that he wouldn't mind a normal life on Krypton either.
    • What Ever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow: Jordan Elliot is ecstatic to be normal, changing diapers and what-not. He sneers at Superman as being "too wrapped up in himself" and "thought the world couldn't get by without him."
    • Also echoed in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series where a bomb planted in Clark's car makes everyone assume he's dead. Superman survives, of course, but as he tells his foster parents, he needs his civilian identity, as being Superman all the time would likely drive him over the edge.
  • Supergirl:
    • The eponymous heroine often expressed this desire during the Bronze Age. Unlike her cousin, Kara remembers having a normal life back on Argo City, when she was a normal teenager. After growing into adulthood, she was torn between her desire to have the life of a normal woman and the responsibilities that come with her powers. In Superman vol 1 #282 she explains her cousin that she is thinking of giving up her Supergirl identity because she wants a normal life:
      Superman: Still thinking about giving up your Supergirl identity, Kara?
      Supergirl: I don't know, cousin Kal-El — Maybe! This life of a super-heroine takes up too much of my time... sets me apart from everybody else! I want an ordinary life — with a husband and children some day — free to do what I choose!
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman turn to Mister Miracle and Big Barda when they need to go after Darkseid. Both New Gods are living in a neighborhood, trying to lead normal lives.
      Batman: Which brings us to the home of Mister Miracle and his wife, Big Barda. Former residents of Apokolips. They are trying to achieve something that resembles a normal life.
  • Batman has been shown to be willing to give up ever becoming Batman if he could live as Bruce Wayne with his parents instead. This was actually a plot point when Clark and Bruce traveled through time, and Bruce stopped his parents from dying.
    • Some of his Rouges would also qualify, most notably Killer Croc, who, regardless of what interpretation of him it is, typically has wanting to find a cure for his mutation as a core character trait.
    • Dick Grayson is a notable aversion. Even though his parents died in front of him as well, and it was also sort of his fault, he's said that he wouldn't give up his life as a superhero for anything.
  • In the second issue of Dan Slott's run on She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters represents Dan Jermain, alias Danger Man, a mild-mannered industrial worker and family man turned into a superhuman paragon of might in an on-the-job accident. He's suing his employers in the Roxxon Corporation because looking like Mr. Olympia and being stronger than a stampeding elephant herd has caused him nothing but pain. He tears his clothes with the slightest sudden movement. He doesn't need to eat, frequently damages his property by accident; he rolls over in bed and nearly crushes his wife, who worries that he'll leave her to become a superhero and 'team up' with a more attractive heroine. People stare at him on the subway, but the people who pretend to not look are worse, since now he has super hearing and knows they are jut waiting for him to turn into a hero or villain. The climax of the issue sees Danger Man using his atomic powers to have a literal meltdown, because then at least his family will get to collect on his life insurance, before being talked down by Jennifer (in human form). They won the lawsuit; Danger Man received nearly a hundred million to go to family counseling and, hopefully, find some sort of cure. If he ever was cured, the reader was never told, though.
    • As it happens, this is a fairly interesting aversion to Comes Great Responsibility; at no point does anyone try to tell Danger Man it's his duty to put on long johns and beat up bad guys now.
    • At least She-Hulk only suffers this briefly since she has the luxury of turning back to mousy Jennifer at will. Bruce Banner never catches a break; even when he had an integrated personality and leadership of an international crime-fighting army, there's always someone who just has to poke him with a stick.
      • Banner's case is even worse since his real problem isn't actually his gamma mutate powers, it's the psychological disorder born from his horrific childhood thanks to his murderous abusive father. Bruce wasn't "normal" even before he was exposed to gamma radiation.
  • Tron: Ghost in the Machine: Jet's discovery of cyberspace and the Fridge Horror of what being a User actually means shakes him hard.
    Jet: It's an entire universe in there, one we created, but it's beyond us now. Really. It's outgrown us. You know, every time you shut off your you know what you're doing? Have you ever reformatted a hard drive...destroyed an entire universe? It's too much. It's too much power. I never wanted this. I never wanted the responsibility. I just wanted to make games.
  • Mild subversion in W.I.T.C.H.: Cornelia has admitted twice she'd love to return being a normal girl, but only after passing her powers to the next generation of Guardians (those times she had been Brought Down to Normal by a power-stealing villain she did anything she could to take back her powers to prevent abuse), and when she was finally given the occasion to pass her powers to the next generation the others convinced her to face the tasks to keep them.
  • In Bazooka Jules a micro-robotic weapon fuses with Jules giving her superpowers. It's illegal for super-powered individuals to not register as superheroes with the government, So Jules is pretty much forced into the superhero life. She does state if she had the option to safely remove the weapon she'd take it.
  • Several X-Men, particularly the younger ones, have this.
    • Rogue, for a long time, had this trope personified, she couldn't touch anyone with her skin without putting them into a coma. She really just wanted to be able to get close to people.
    • Wither can't touch anything organic without it rotting away, and thus has the same problem as Rogue.
    • Mercury, whose skin is made of... Mercury, has this problem. However, as a former cheerleader, it's more about her appearance than any functional problem. She was okay with it when she had a crush on Wither, but once he rejected her, she went back to this.
    • Surge sort of has this problem. Even though she can't be in water, she's okay with it and embraces her role as the New X-Men's leader... That is, except when it comes to her family, since she was disowned by her dad for being a mutant.
    • X-23 was created to be a living weapon, and suffered severe emotional trauma during her Training from Hell. She doesn't want to be a weapon, but her life constantly conspires against her, and she just can't seem to escape her violent upbringing to live a normal life.
  • Played for Laughs in the nineties comic The Trouble With Girls which is about Lester Girls, a man "cursed", so he feels, with a James Bond lifestyle who yearns for a Ward Cleaver one.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, Zuko is actually relieved when he finds the letter written by his mother that seemingly confirms that he isn't really Ozai's son since it means he can escape being the Firelord. In the end, Zuko discovers that the letter was a lie and he really is Ozai's son and he accepts his responsibilities.
  • The single motivation that has remained a constant throughout all of Morbius' appearances since his introduction is the desire to undo the scientific accident that made him a living vampire and become a normal human being once more.
  • In Avengers: The Initiative, Abigail Boylen, a.k.a. Cloud 9, had no aspirations toward being a superhero, despite possessing the ability to fly by generating a gaseous cloud she could ride on like a surfboard. Due to the Super Human Registration Act she was essentially conscripted into the Avengers training program. After several issues of Break the Cutie, followed by Norman Osborn's takeover of SHIELD, Captain America met with Abigail, announcing that the SHRA was repealed. Her first action was to tear up her registration card, drop her uniform at the Captain's feet, and embrace having a relatively normal life. She later took up the mantle of superhero during Fear Itself, but on her own terms.
  • This was the whole point of the short-lived series Major Bummer, which centered around Lou Martin, a slacker and average Joe who was accidentally given super strength and intelligence by aliens who confused him with a Martin Louis. He's Superman's equal in terms of strength and smart enough to cure cancer, and could be a powerful super-hero if he had the motivation or the inspiration; the problem is, he has neither; he just doesn't think such things are worth his time, preferring to use his super-intelligence to steal cable. In fact, when the two aliens show up at his house, what he's most upset about is that they ate the last of his macaroni and cheese.
  • Astro City: Astra has an example similar to Ben Grimm. She knows she's a super-powered Energy Being, and a member of a superhero family, and has absolutely no problem with joining in to save the world when needed. It's what happens between world-saving that gets to her, like being home-schooled and never meeting anyone her age, having to keep a special diet which usually tastes like crap (manganese-flavoured breakfast cereal, anyone?), being restricted in her romantic life and not really having any career choices other than the Family Business...
  • In Tales of the Jedi, Nomi Sunrider is extremely reluctant to train in spite of her Force potential and her husband's encouragement. She's even more so after he's murdered on the way to his would-be Master Thon and she's forced to kill in self-defense. Though she does consent to training in the Force, she still refuses to pick up a lightsaber again and subject herself and her daughter to the dangerous, demanding path of the Jedi. Eventually she's forced to act as a Jedi to defend Thon and accepts it, and in the end winds up Grandmaster of the Order.
  • Wally West was this Pre-Crisis, but due to Cosmic Retcon because one of the DC universe's greatest examples of Jumped at the Call after Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Kamala Khan went through this period thanks to Civil War II. Kamala was already feeling crummy after her Broken Pedestal moment with Carol Danvers, losing her friendship with Bruno and having to watch Hawkeye kill the Hulk, but when other events happen, culminating in long-distance ally Red Dagger accidentally being interviewed, Kamala decided to walk away from everything - superheroics, her old school life, everything - and shove herself into a private academy so she can start anew. This worries both friends and a few allies and once trouble really starts brewing, she ends up being found and convinced to come back into action, allowing Kamala to make up with Carol.

    Fan Works 
  • In Forged Destiny, Pyrrha Nikos came to Beacon academy to escape the fame and expectations placed on her in Mistral due to her being a Champion.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Kara is getting tired of the constant battles and light-and-death struggles and expresses her desire to live like a normal woman:
    Supergirl: But I'm... oh, Sheol, I'm so tired of all this stuff. Fight after fight after fight. We save the universe, we kill Mordru, we kill Satan Girl, we come back, and here somebody throws Darkseid in our face again. Can't there ever be an end to it? [...] Well, it's gonna have to start coming somewhere else before long. I'm tired of this. I wasn't born to be a, a super-heroine. I just wanted to be a normal girl from Argo, and, and get a good job and a good man and settle down...
  • Having been Blessed with Suck, both Paul and John in With Strings Attached are terrified of going home as is, with all the life-ruining complications their new bodies and magic would entail. When told they have to be returned to normal to go back to Earth, they're delighted. The other two are... not as delighted.
    • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the situation changes somewhat. First, everyone now knows it's temporary, so John, at least, can view their second trip to C'hou as a vacation rather than a curse. (At least until he realizes what a Crapsaccharine World C'hou has become.) Not so with Paul, who suffered tremendous psychological difficulties when he returned home because he couldn't shake the feeling that he was going to kill his family by touching them. He had just gotten over that when he was sent back. And Ringo, who discovered he was hopelessly addicted to his mindsight after he lost it, must now choose between keeping it, thus staying on C'hou and giving up his new love Barbara Bach and everything else in his life, or returning home and giving up his magic. (George, who is not connected to his magic like the others are, mostly views his ring as an experience; he hardly thinks it's worth giving up his family for. And he's certainly not willing to trade his freedom just for a little magic.)
  • Kairi Niko in the Knights of the Old Republic fic Destiny's Pawn is an amnesiac bookworm with skills she can't explain and really didn't want to know where she learned them. She flat-out asked the Masters if they could "shut off" her Force sensitivity, and only agreed to her conscription into the Jedi because there wasn't another option. Given her druthers, she's just quit and become a translator, but seeing as she's the ex-Dark Lord...
  • My Immortal gives us Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, who likes to remind us that being such a special snowflake isn't really a good thing
    "Yeah but everyone is in love with me! Like Snape and Loopin took a video of me naked. Hargrid says he's in love with me. Vampire likes me and now even Snaketail is in love with me! I just wanna be with you ok Draco! Why couldn't Satan have made me less beautiful?... Im good at too many things! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!"
  • My Little Avengers: Big Macintosh spends a good portion of the story regretting ever finding Mjolnir and becoming Thor, but eventually comes to turns with it. This contributes to his Heroic BSoD when Loki steals Thor's powers from him, and after he gets them back, it's shown that he's fully embraced his role.
  • In White Devil of the Moon, between not having a princess or real leader to rally around and fighting a losing war against the Dark Kingdom, then finding their princess only to find she's Nanoha, queen of the workaholics, the Inner Senshi want this so damn bad. They get it in the end when Nanoha absolves them of their duty to her, though Ami does choose to go study magic in Mid-Childa, her role would be more passive, and the other senshi resume civilian lives in Japan. Also, while Artemis did not specifically want this trope, he was certainly more willing to become a normal housecat than Luna was.
  • In the Transformers fanfic A Child Shall Lead Them, Swoop is like this after gaining the Matrix and becoming leader of the Autobots — he feels rejected by both the Autobots and the Dinobots due to his new position, and at one point even throws the Matrix at Grimlock in an effort to reject his position. He ends up coming to terms with his new role as he undergoes Character Development.
  • In The End of Ends, this gets subverted and possibly deconstructed depending on how you see it. Terra's decision to lead a normal life drove Beast Boy over the edge and caused him to gain a Superpowered Evil Side simply because the only person who actually liked him dumped him. When the former finds out what her actions of trying to be normal caused, not to mention the whole void thing going on, it made her reconsider her decision.
  • Celestia breaks down at one point in Diaries of a Madman, and laments that she would have preferred being a simple healer instead of a ruler.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Mega Man struggles with feeling this way throughout the story.
  • Petra in Draknophobia never asked to be Dragonborn. All she wants to do is to live her life out in peace earning coin and getting enough to get by. Events at Helgen and the Western Watchtower cause the titular phobia to which Petra runs away to Riften where Brynjolf finds her in her sorry state and convinces her to join the Thieves Guild. She becomes a skilled thief and enjoys that because she gets to be on her own and it keeps her away from anything particularly major. Fate decided otherwise when an encounter with a dragon leads to Brynjolf eventually finding out about it. Everything just spirals downwards after that.
    • It happens to Brynjolf as well, as their adventures take them to disturbing revelations like Mercer's betrayal and the reveal that he's Bryn's father, but he's also the descendant of Tiber Septim, and the Grand Dragon Priest Zoklitinhaar and how the latters spirit is encased in his body. he just wants to do his part as second-in-command.
  • A common trait in Mary Sues is the Sue bemoaning their perfection and wishing they could be normal. But what if an ordinary person were forced to become a Sue? Consequences Of Unoriginality points out just what it would mean if every character were to fall in love with a "perfect" character in a world where only they can save the day—in shorter, every other character tries to violate him, while monsters spontaneously come into being to destroy the innocent for the sole purpose of making him show up to fight them. He ends up voluntarily ripping out one-third of his being in order to become normal, but the world remembers what happened because of him.
  • The Bridge: Godzilla Junior's greatest dream is to live the rest of his life in peace. As long as there are evil Kaiju and evil aliens threatening the world, he will continue to fight and lead the Defenders.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, both Kara and Buffy remember what to be a normal, powerless teenager was like; and often they'd like to be normal again.
    Supergirl: Sorry, I wasn’t trying to put anyone down by comparison. I know what it’s like, believe me. I didn’t always have powers.
    Buffy: Neither did I. Sometimes I think I’d like to be back there.
    Supergirl: That makes two of us.
  • Since it's basically the title from Reluctant Hero, Zuko's stubborn desire to go back on his ship with his uncle doesn't come as a surprise. Alas for him, the Universe needs the Avatar and finds a way to force him on the path to his destiny.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku is horrified by his growing array of Combo Platter Powers after he nearly killed Katsuki Bakugou, whom he considered his best friend, when they got into a fight as kids. This piles on top of his angst over being an alien on a planet that hates aliens. Because of this, he swears off his dream of becoming a superhero until the day he meets All Might.
  • In the Child of the Storm universe, this is one of Harry's defining characteristics. He'd really, really love to have a normal life. Sadly, being the Boy Who Lived, son of an Avenger, second in line to the throne of Asgard, and the keystone to Doctor Strange's plan to prepare Earth for the coming of Thanos, all means that that is unlikely to happen.

    Film — Animation 
  • In the beginning of Frozen, Elsa does her best to conceal her powers, thinking they are nothing but a curse. However, after she accidentally reveals them in front of the entire kingdom and runs away, she embraces them, and is never happier than when she is using them to create.
  • Used and subverted in Disney's Hercules. Because Hercules' strength often causes accidents, Hercules is shunned by the community, even though he just wants to fit in. This desire fades after he becomes a hero and puts his strength to good use. Late in the movie, Hades forces him to give up his powers to save the life of his love interest. After being drained, Hades pins Herc to the ground by throwing a barbell at him and stands over him taunting,
    "Now you know how it feels to be like everyone else. Isn't it just...peachy?"
  • Quasimodo's "I Want" Song, Out There From The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Violet from The Incredibles, at least in the beginning of the movie.
    Violet: We ACT normal, Mom! I wanna BE normal! The only one who's normal is Jack-Jack, and he's not even toilet-trained!
  • Played with in Megamind.
  • Susan in Monsters vs. Aliens, who spends the first half of the movie fantasizing about shrinking back to normal and having a normal life with her husband-to-be. She eventually comes to terms with her new body and abilities, culminating in taking the name Ginormica as her own.
  • The three princesses from Mulan II would love nothing more than to marry someone who loves them for who they are and live out a normal life.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The protagonist of Barely Lethal is a teenage assassin who wants nothing more than to be a regular high school student.
  • Megan, the protagonist of But I'm a Cheerleader. She wants to be straight, dammit!
  • Bethany in Dogma. Jesus is said to have also been like this for some years—the ones not recounted in the Bible.
  • In Gladiator, Maximus, a powerful Roman general, is offered the Emperor's throne by aging Emperor Marcus Aurelius but would rather return home, live as a family man, and tend a farm.
  • This is the premise of Hancock.
  • Matt Damon's character in Hereafter is a psychic whose ability to communicate with people's dead relatives is more of a curse than a gift. He refuses to exploit it for money and prefers a life of a blue-collar factory worker.
  • I Shot Jesse James: Robert Ford just wants to marry his sweetheart and settle down on some farmland. Unfortunately, his reputation as the killer of Jesse James makes this hard to achieve, as everybody either thinks he's a coward or wants to shoot him to earn their own reputations as gunslingers.
  • Last Action Hero: Jack Slater deconstructs his action hero status.
    Jack: I just want to be a good cop! Instead I keep getting caught up in these crazy adventures!
  • Which brings us to the film The Last Temptation of Christ. The entire scenario of the film is that Jesus was tempted with, not power and glory, but a completely normal life. According to the film, if Jesus could have a wish just for himself, it would be his own carpentry shop, a loving wife and some kids. (Yes, and doing all the stuff with his wife that gets all those kids.)
  • The reason that Canon Foreigner Skinner (the invisible man) joins The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is because the Powers That Be promised him a cure for his invisibility.
    • On the other hand, he would be perfectly willing to keep the invisibility provided he was able to use it at will. After all, it's an invaluable tool to someone who steals for a living.
  • The young Clark's reaction after finding out he's a super-powered alien in Man of Steel.
    Clark: Can't I just keep pretending I'm your son?
  • Extreme example: in The Matrix, Cypher wants to return to life in the Matrix so much that he makes a deal with the machines to help them capture Morpheus, on the condition that they plug him back in and erase his memories of life outside. Admittedly, he does request that he be turned into someone important, like a famous actor.
  • On the direct flipside, Damien Thorn in The Omen series of films has a very brief moment of this in Damien: Omen II when he comes to a full realisation of what he is and why. "Why? Why me?" he screams to empty air, but his angst doesn't last long. If only it had...
  • Sally Owens (Sandra Bullock) in Practical Magic.
  • The protagonist Dave from the 2010 film The Sorcerer's Apprentice said so at least once in the film when he was forced to take up the role of being a Prime Merlinian. Balthazar later revealed that his lover Veronica wished for the same thing as well.
  • Transformers has examples of both "I just want to be normal" AND "I just want to be special". Specifically, Sam Witwicky uses the exact phrase "I just want to be normal" 16 or 17 minutes into Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and spends the first half-hour of Transformers: Dark of the Moon looking for work but declining menial jobs because he just wants to be special.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • A large part of the plot in X-Men: The Last Stand revolves around a cure for mutants. As a result, some of the characters must contend with whether or not they actually want to be normal and take the cure. Eventually, Rogue decides it's what she wants and takes the cure; however, one alternate ending shows her not taking it, and holding hands with Bobby wearing gloves.
    • Hank's and initially Mystique's reaction to their mutant forms in X-Men: First Class.
    "I'd give anything to just be normal."
    • In The Wolverine, Wolverine is tempted by the option of growing old and dying like everyone else because it could mean a more mundane life. He later reconsiders it.
  • In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Miki Saegusa, resident psychic of the Heisei Godzilla films, notes that her psychic powers have been fading away lately, which worries her. Meru Ozawa, in contrast, says that she can't wait for her own powers to fade away, since it means she would be able to start a family as a normal person. Miki's reaction to Meru's response seems to indicate that she agrees with her colleague's sentiments more than she had realized.
  • Leonardo from The Way He Looks gets fed up with the special treatment he gets for being blind, specially from his mother.
  • In Selkie, this is Jamie's reaction after he first turns into a seal and finds out why. He comes to accept it by the end of the movie, backing out of a ritual that would have turned him permanently human.

  • In Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, a footnote explains that Jagers often take up human hobbies in an attempt to reclaim some of their lost humanity.
  • The titular character in the Alex Rider series has an I Just Want To Be Normal moment at least once in every book he's been in...and he's been in seven. Not only does he want to be normal again, he never wanted to do it in the first place! They blackmailed him. Not hard to do since MI-6 is his legal guardian, but still.
  • In the Andalite Chronicles, a spin-off set of books from the Animorphs series, Elfangor, the Andalite prince who gave the Animorphs their powers in the first place, gives up his life as a war leader to live on Earth with a human woman, until the Ellimist shows up and makes him give it all up. It's later revealed that he had a son on Earth, who became one of the Animorphs.
    • The Ellimist himself goes through this after his "game" with Crayak goes awry and annihilates countless alien races. Ironically enough, he does it in a manner similar to Elfangor, hiding out in the Andalite homeworld in a mortal form and living among the primitive Andalites. It takes a while, but his Andalite wife's determination for their children to survive eventually pays off, and the Ellimist returns to the "game" with the resolve to keep creating more life than Crayak could destroy.
    • Any of the Animorphs would rather not have their powers and just have a normal life, at least until they're personally affected by the Yeerks. Except for Rachel, that is. One of the Megamorphs books has Jake wish that the Animorphs had never formed and due to a deal made between the Ellimist and another being, the wish is granted, with relatively predictable results.
  • The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga: Blaine McFadden initially became this in Ice Forged after being exiled to a Penal Colony and having to give up his old identity as a Donderan nobleman, adopting the moniker "Mick". However, once there, he developed a reputation for being a good man deft at settling disputes and not to be trifled with, which for the other colonists makes him a shoe-in to represent them on the new town council after an uprising overthrows the warden and his guards when magic disappears. Then he finds out that he may be the only chance to ever restore magic and is forced to become a warlord in the ruins of Donderath, including resuming his Blaine identity.
  • Garion in The Belgariad. The phrase "Why me?" becomes a running joke over the series. Though, at the same time, it gets approached seriously at least once and the answer is simply: "Who else?"
  • Belisarius in the Belisarius Series comments, in various places, that all he's wanted to be is a blacksmith. As his job involves killing conspicuous amounts of people, one can understand.
  • Subverted in Carrie: the eponymous girl is bullied at school and abused by a psychotic fundamentalist mother. When she begins to develop her Psychic Powers, she becomes more assertive to her mother in her desire to be treated normally, this desire extending to her powers: she had read in the library about psychic phenomena and found she wasn't the only one gifted with her powers.
  • The kids from the CHERUB Series get to be child/ teenage spies, live on an amazing campus out in the middle of nowhere and get the best education and toys money can buy. They are all, due to the nature of the organsation, also orphans, and there's a general feeling that they'd each give up being a Cherub in a heartbeat if they could have their families back.
  • Circleverse: Tris is fine with having magic, but she would much rather be a normal mage doing normal mage things, instead of having lots of ambient weather magic that makes it hard for her to have a steady living and cause most other people to either be afraid of her power, jealous she has so much, or think she is lying about how much she has.
  • In Cloture Of Yellow and its sequels, Kyle Marlon has absolutely no desire to be king, and would much rather spend his life as a painter.
  • Codex Alera has an inversion: it's a world where every single person has Elemental Powers, except for one who's just a normal human. What would normally be I Just Want to Be Special is this trope for him. The Marat all have a telepathic bond to a specific creature, and organize themselves into clans based on their chala's species. Except one, Kitai, who wound up bonded to a human by accident (the same one mentioned above, in fact). She is, initially, not happy about this at all. Even after she comes to terms with it, she regularly reminds him that she wanted a horse.
  • Sefalet is a freak of nature, even to Pentexore in Dirge for Prester John. She has no face, her eyes and mouths (yes, mouths) are in her hands, and one of her mouths is apparently possessed. She'd settle for just having control over her left-hand mouth again.
  • In her first appearance in the Discworld novels, Susan Sto Helit refused to believe she was Death's granddaughter. In later appearances she still attempts to maintain a "normal" life, and insists on being sensible and using logic, often denying her own abilities. Ironically, because she lives on the Discworld, what she thinks of as the "normal world" is actually just as illogical and fantastic as the underlying world of her grandfather. By Thief of Time, she seems to have accepted her powers, even if she's still irritated at being occasionally tapped by her grandfather for help. As a teacher she uses them to make her students' lessons more...interesting, such as taking them to view ancient battles firsthand. She also, at the end of Thief of Time, takes them to see Nanny Ogg, which, as she says to herself, is the equivalent of two lessons.
    • There's also Rincewind, an unremarkable wizard whose main ambition in life is to be bored. He's constantly being dragged into dangerous quests to save the world, and he hates every second of it. He's even quite aware of it, but still insists that he wants to go home. When people try to say that he must enjoy it, he retorts that he rather likes being bored, as it generally means no one's trying to harm him. In one book (Sourcery, perhaps) he meets a man who complains about how there's no excitement in his life, and Rincewind greatly envies that man.
  • Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files repeatedly mentions he'd have liked to live a normal life and especially not know about all the supernatural nasties out to get/eat humans. He makes a similar note about the Archive, a little girl who has all of humanity's accumulated knowledge and thus never really had a childhood. She also all has all the memories of her maternal ancestors, including her mother who committed suicide to avoid bearing the burden of being The Archive while being jealous that her daughter would otherwise avoid it all her life. Thus the girl carries the memories of her mother's hatred towards her.
  • Near the end of Flat Stanley, Stanley, who is starting to be constantly teased for being flat, decides he wants to be round and normal again. His brother, Arthur, succeeds this by pumping him with a bicycle bump.
  • In the short story Flowers for Algernon, the low-IQ protagonist Charlie Gordon undergoes an operation to boost his intelligence, because he wants to be normal (i.e. as smart as those around him). Although the operation is a success, he sadly finds out being a genius isolates him even more from people he thought were his friends.
    Charlie: Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other men.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, Nikita sometimes wishes that she never manifested as a berserk of have a father that wants her dead, and that she could simply move in with her brother and spend the rest of her life working in a library.
  • Hugo Danner, the world's first superhero, suffered from this. Philip Wylie wrote the novel Gladiator in 1930, featuring Hugo who was super-strong, fast, and with skin too tough to be pierced by a machine gun. Naturally he mopes about it for 332 pages before being struck by lightning and reduced to ash. On the bright side, two Jewish kids from Cleveland read the novel and came up with a more cheerful version.
  • At the end of Good Omens, Adam Young has decided not to use his reality-warping powers in any form for good or evil and to continue his life as a normal human. Which is fortunate for the world and all we know of it, as he was originally created to bring about the Apocalypse with his powers. Although, from the ending, it seems he lied. "Human incarnate", as Crowley puts it.
  • Raamo from the Green-Sky Trilogy is like this. The high priestess believes he's The Chosen One foretold in a prophetic dream she had, others look to him with hope in their eyes, and the more he hears things like that the more he backs away and says "I am only a Kindar." The high priestess says that in itself is the example she thinks he will set. He doesn't have to do anything. Later on in the series his sister and her Erdling friend get tagged as Holy Children and are worshipped by everyone to the point that they become virtual prisoners in the palace; at the very end of the book we find that they have put this trope into simple, direct action, causing worldwide panic.
  • In Hallow Mass, Mercy O’Connor really doesn’t want to be one of the last defenders of mankind against the monstrosities summoned at Dunwich. What she really wants is to have another drink, make some money off of selling formula, and possibly land a decent boyfriend. Circumstances dictate otherwise, however.
  • Harry Potter: While not exactly "normal" in the usual sense, all the titular character has only ever wanted to be a normal wizard. However a prophecy about him that caused the death of his parents and the Big Bad's utter refusal to leave him alone, along with his Chronic Hero Syndrome and massive Guilt Complex prevented this from happening for all of his seven years at Hogwarts. When it's all over and Harry has the chance to wield the most powerful wand in history, perhaps even becoming the most powerful wizard in history?
    "That wand's more trouble than it's worth. And quite honestly, I've had enough trouble for a lifetime."
  • Flinx, the major protagonist of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth universe, frequently has occasion to wish he did not have empathic powers as the result of a genetics experiment by a group of Evilutionary Biologists. Especially when the badass allies, Cool Starship, and the whole exploring the galaxy thing get overshadowed by being told he's The Chosen One fated to confront an Ultimate Evil; being pursued by people who want to variously "fix" him, imprison him, or kill him for being The Chosen One; and possibly his brain exploding from his evolving powers. Wangst, thy name is Flinx.
  • John Doe, a character in the Douglas Coupland novel jPod, was born crow well mountain juniper (all in lower case, because no letter is more important than any other letter) and raised in a militant lesbian commune. He tries to counter his upbringing by attempting to become as statistically normal as possible.
  • Arthur Penhaligon in The Keys to the Kingdom spends five whole books of a seven-book series wishing for a normal life, ultimately making things much harder on himself to avoid becoming immortal. At one point he even re-breaks his own leg to stay normal. By the sixth book, he realizes that if he hadn't become the Rightful Heir, he'd be dead, so best suck it up and get on with things. Of course, by this point he was already irreversibly immortal, so perhaps this was merely his way of dealing with it.
  • Michael develops this shortly after being unwillingly experimented on to gain magic in the Knight and Rogue Series. At first his new strangeness actually makes him physically ill it disturbs him so much, and even after having two years to get used to the idea it still makes him nauseous.
  • Played out strangely in The Last Unicorn. After Humanity Ensues, the titular unicorn slowly becomes lost under her new self as a human woman, until at the end the "Lady Amalthea" protests that she Just Wants To Stay Normal, marry the prince, and live happily ever after. Just to twist the knife a bit, it is the prince who tells her the story can't end that way.
  • In The Lighthouse Duet, all Valen wanted was a safe place to recover from life-threatening wounds. Unfortunately, the abbey where he ended up turned out to be part of a secret society dedicated to preparing for the End Times, and he happens to possess a book that is crucial to their plans.
  • Shin-tsu of The Longing of Shiina Ryo would like nothing more. The universe just does not wish to oblige him.
  • Captain John Geary in The Lost Fleet series hates that his Last Stand became the stuff of legends in the 100 years he's been a Human Popsicle, turning him into "Black Jack" Geary, the greatest hero of The Alliance. Half the captains he deals with think he's the legendary hero who returned to save the Alliance in its hour of need. The others think he's been damaged by the long sleep and is no longer the same hero. Either way, being thrust into the seat of the fleet commander deep behind enemy lines means he must, reluctantly, take charge and lead the fleet home. It doesn't help that a good number of the captains consider him to be a genius of fleet tactics when, in fact, what he's doing was normal for his time. By this point, "tactics" have degraded to Attack! Attack! Attack! with each ship acting individually, partly thanks to the myth of "Black Jack" Geary. He's stated several times that he only stays in command for as long as it takes the fleet to reach the Alliance space. After that, he'll likely resign his commission and find a nice planet to settle down on, although many of his supporters wish "Black Jack" Geary to become a dictator and win the war.
  • In Lisa Shearin's Magic Lost, Trouble Found and sequel Armed and Magical, main character Raine Benares is an average magic user who specializes in finding lost items. Then she forms a psychic link with the Saghred, an ancient stone with apocalyptic power that eats souls for breakfast. The books focus on her trying to break the link with the Saghred while being pursued by villains who want to harness the Saghred's power.
  • Maximum Ride
    • Nudge. In fact, in Max, she so desperately wants to go to a "normal" school, that she's willing to cut her own wings off. She doesn't, though, because Max lets her go. After a while, she comes back, wings and all.
    • Max herself is pretty desperate, hence why she is so attached to Dr. Martinez and Ella (the only two people besides Jeb and the Flock to act like an actual family to her. She also is desperate enough to move closer to "normal" at one point that she tries to hack a chip in her arm out with a jagged piece of sea shell and nearly bled to death.
  • Subverted in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, where the protagonist spends most of the book (or series) trying to get back to his normal life, and when he finally succeeds, realizes he doesn't want that any more, and returns to London Below.
  • A variant with Lirael in the Old Kingdom series. She wants to be normal — but for a Clayr, normal is having precognitive powers. She gets over it after she realizes she's Abhorsen-in-Waiting.
  • The Power of Five: All five of the kids wish this at some point.
    • Richard occasionally does this too, as it's implied he has some role in taking down the Old Ones. It turns out that his role was actually to stab his best friend in the heart.
  • This is a mayor plot point in The Progeny, as it is the reason why Emily aka Audra even wiped her mind to begin with. She was tired of being hunted as she's a Progeny, so she wanted to live a normal life. More specifically, she did it for her daughter.
  • Eilonwy, in the Prydain Chronicles, spends the entire series being more or less comfortable with the idea that she's "half an enchantress" and has latent magical powers, even though she can't always access them the way she'd like. At the end, however, when she learns that these same powers are the reason she has to leave the man she loves forever, she emphatically wishes that she could be rid of them. Fortunately, she's been carrying around a little Chekhov's Gun that can make her wish come true.
  • Mocked heavily in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Hugo, Colette, and Kevin are carnival freaks who want to be normal people... only their "freakishness" consists respectively of a hunchback, double-jointedness, and ambidexterity. Eventually, the villain tempts them to evil with... heavy coats to conceal Hugo's hump and Colette's contortions, and a rope so that Kevin can tie a hand behind his back and pretend to be right-handed.
  • Witkacy of Shaman Blues would gladly get rid of his powers if he could, as for the majority of his life, they were all burden, no benefits — and right now, the benefits are somewhat unclear as well.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • A New Dawn: Kanan Jarrus wants nothing more than for the Force to leave him alone, as being a Jedi in the time of the Empire is like having a target on your back at all times. He eventually gets over it, though.
  • Edgedancer (a novella of The Stormlight Archive): Wyndle often bemoans the fact that he was bonded with Lift and thus doomed to a life of danger and bizzare adventures. He would much rather bond a cobbler, as was the original plan, and spend his life making shoes.
  • In "Jesus H. Christ", a story in Time After Time, a collection of short stories about time travel and alternate histories, Jesus just wants to be normal and not have to die on the cross. He doesn't get his wish.
  • Two of J. R. R. Tolkien's books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings use and subvert this trope.
    • In The Hobbit, Bilbo gets swept up into an adventure that hobbits usually despise in favor of a quiet life; at the end, he returns to that quiet life and enjoys it, but later on in LOTR Bilbo expresses interest in going on an adventure again. Frodo has a talk with Gandalf expressing this trope, and greatly wishes to go back to a normal hobbit life after reaching Rivendell (which is only the beginning of his journey).
    • The end of The Return of the King explores this more, possibly somewhat due to Tolkien's own war experiences. The Hobbits return to the Shire, but in the end, Frodo cannot stay due to his lingering injuries and his exposure to the One Ring. Samwise lives an unusually long and successful life as husband, father and Mayor, until eventually, when he is aged and widowed, he follows Frodo and into the West with the Elves. Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, on the other hand, never having been Ringbearers, contentedly live out most of their days in the Shire and die in Middle-Earth.
    • This trope is used in the latter book, in Sam's case for a moment of awesome. At the pass at Cirith Ungol, Sam picks up the Ring and it presents him with a vision of a colossal garden the size of Mordor for him. He then realises that there's no way he could tend to a garden that size all to himself, and using servants to do it would be unfitting, and so Sam puts the Ring down. To reiterate: the Soul Jar of the most utterly evil being to have ever lived in Middle-Earth, which has been known to sway men into darkness in a matter of mere seconds of taking it up, grasped at straws to try and corrupt Sam and completely failed. There's a reason why Tolkien considered Sam the real hero of the story.
  • Mina and Matty Grekov of Uncommon Animals, for different shades of normal. Mina wants a real job, and something to be outside of a monster hunter. Matty wants to be able to talk to people.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Encarmine, Arkio says he wishes he were — well, not normal normal, but Space Marine normal. Sachiel persuades him that that is impossible. Alas. At the end of Deus Sanguinius, Rafen disclaims being anything special, saying the Spear of Telesto used him as its instrument, and declining a Field Promotion to captain that he didn't think he was ready for or had earned.
  • In Warrior Cats:
    • Dovewing, who hates the fact that her powers set her apart from the rest of the Clan and that it causes a rift between herself and her sister. She even says the phrase exactly in Fading Echoes.
    • Lionblaze, to a lesser extent. He even sympathizes with Dovewing's situation in The Fourth Apprentice.
  • In A Wolf In The Soul, Greg very strongly wants to get rid of his werewolf curse, but it's difficult for him to maintain that desire; it feels too good to be able to leave behind the responsibilities of being human.
  • Xiapo in The Awesome Adventure of Xiapo Yellip Zump doesn't even believe the prophecy that claims he must save the world, and only sets out on his journey because he lacks the backbone to argue with his village elder.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ace Lightning's Mark Hollander regularly just wanted to be normal, rather than the elected sidekick of a hero from a videogame.
  • Ditto Angel, who took some comfort in a prophecy that said he would one day become human... though not till after the apocalypse.
    • In an early first season episode, Angel actually becomes human. However, once he realizes that this would mean he couldn't fight the baddies, as his superhuman strength would be gone, he goes to the extreme of undoing the change. He still likes the idea of becoming human, just not while there are bad guys to fight.
    • In the series finale, Angel is confronted with a choice — he can either abandon all hope of ever fulfilling the prophecy, or abandon his campaign to stop the Big Bad. He chooses the former without hesitation (as he had to, or his cover would be broken), but we see him upset about it later.
    • In the canon comic follow up, Angel temporarily becomes human. However, the powers responsible for it have less than benevolent reasons for changing him.
  • Arrowverse:
    • In The Flash (2014) Season Three, Caitlin Snow will do anything to get rid of her powers, terrified that she will turn into a supervillain like her Earth-2 counterpart. Unfortunately, her obsession with finding Dr. Alchemy so he will remove her powers leads her to becoming the very supervillain she is trying to avoid becoming.
    • Supergirl (2015): A variant. Kara wants to be a perfectly ordinary girl... an ordinary Kryptonian girl, not a human one. She hid her powers while growing up on Earth and thought becoming Supergirl would make this feeling go away, but superheroics were never ordinary for Kryptonians either. In the end, she just has to accept that she is not and will never be normal.
  • Although The A-Team didn't have any special powers, they sort of fit into this: they became fugitives due to a string of events completely out of their control. All of them have, at some point, expressed a desire to live normal lives, but Face seems the most affected by it. Despite his apparent love for conning people out of anything and everything he can manage, above all else, he really just seems to want a normal life where he doesn't have to scam people and run from the military police on a daily basis.
  • This is pretty much the entire concept behind Being Human. Annie wishes she were still alive and married to Owen, Mitchell hates being a vampire, and George desperately wants to be rid of his lycanthropy. All three do manage to find comfort in their various states (as well as with each other) by the end of the first season.
  • Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie are undoubtedly amongst the oddest examples of this trope. Not so much Samantha or Jeannie — that is a fairly clear case of Love Makes You Dumb. Darrin Stephens and Tony Nelson, on the other hand, are men so heroically attuned to dullness and normalcy that their response to the beautiful, supernaturally powered women who are in love with them is to ignore and reject the supernatural bits. Major Nelson is particularly bizarre in this regard since he doesn't have to deal with a mother-in-law like Endora who might sour him on magic and he has an exciting job (astronaut)!
    • An episode of Bewitched actually played with what would happen if this trope was ever subverted and Darren was happy and even encouraging Samantha to use her powers for their own benefit. In the end, Samantha herself was unhappy because she really just wanted to be a normal housewife and use her powers relatively sensibly instead of rewriting reality to bend to her will and she and Darren agreed to hit the Reset Button and revert things to normal.
      • Really, Samantha could be seen as an inversion, since bending reality on a whim is normal for her and her people. Major Nelson, on the other hand, plays this trope straight, almost to the point of Insane Troll Logic.
  • Best Friends Whenever: Cyd and Shelby never wanted to be heroes after getting the power to time travel since they've only been using it to fix personal problems. When they learn that Janet Smythe wants the power of time travel for evil purposes, they decide that time travel does more harm than good and opt to remove their powers. However, after Janet kidnaps their friends forcing them to save the day with the help of their future selves, they reconsider that time travel can be a good thing and embrace their upcoming adventures together.
  • The Big Bang Theory's Leonard Hofstadter, the genius who wishes he wasn't.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy often has bouts of wanting to be normal.
      Buffy: I just want to be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don't even know what a tea cozy is, but I want one.
    • In a season 3 episode Buffy is unknowingly weakened to prepare her for an upcoming test. As she lives her life without her powers, she realizes that she can't be her old LA cheerleader days self anymore, both because she can't ignore the monsters who are out there and because she can't stop standing up for herself and other students.
    • In Season 7, Buffy and Faith had a discussion about how being Slayers have screwed up their lives, but concluded that being hot chicks with super powers helped take the sting off.
    • Although Buffy grows more accepting of her Slayer duties as time grows on, the desire to be normal never completely goes away.
    • Technically subverted in the series finale when Buffy becomes "normal" by making thousands of other girls Slayers as well, thus ending her uniqueness but preserving her powers.
    • One Cracked article pretty mercilessly mocks Buffy for the tendency to do this:
      What's a "normal life" in the Buffy universe? How does she even have a concept of what normal is? Keep in mind, it's not like the demons only reveal themselves to her because she's a slayer, and everyone else gets to spend Saturday at the mall. The demons are real for everyone — Sunnydale is a war zone. The only difference is that everyone else is helpless and she isn't.
      Over seven seasons, we see enough bodies pile up in that town to know that the idea of normalcy doesn't exist for anyone. The show is set in a horrifying universe where every day, "normal" people have to worry about their organs being harvested, getting eviscerated by She-Mantises or being eaten by bullies possessed by demonic hyenas. Well over 10 students and faculty die every season at Sunnydale High School, and 100 percent of those deaths are murder by some supernatural creature. Being "normal" means being a vulnerable hunk of meat just burning time before getting eaten by a demon.
      Buffy hasn't sacrificed her life for her powers; her powers are the only thing ensuring that she has a life. She is one of the few people capable of even stepping foot outside her house at night without having to worry about something crawling out of hell and planting eggs in her chest.
    • Ampata, a former Incan mummy from the Season 2 episode "Inca Mummy Girl" chosen as a sacrifice to protect her people, raises herself from the dead and is determined to lead a happy 16-year-old girl's life—even if she has to kill at least one person a day to keep up the façade.
  • Charmed (1998): The witches. It is the plot for every other episode.
    • Phoebe seems to like being a witch, though; in spite of having the lamest power of all of them. Until she married Cole, at least. After losing all of her powers, she is happy with it since she hated being an Empath.
    • This trope is practically Piper's mantra.
    • Played straight and then totally averted with Paige. At first she's wants nothing to do with the magical powers that be, and then becomes almost obsessively proactive in being both a Witch and a Whitelighter.
  • This was the main motivation of Chuck Bartowski in Chuck for the first two seasons. His normal life was pretty crappy (or at least, boring and Wangsty), but constantly being shot at was not the kind of excitement he wanted. Around the end of the second season, though, characterization marched on and he realized he liked the excitement, the co-workers and making a difference.
  • Lance & Cally of Dark Oracle would deeply like the comic (that lets them see the future) to just go away. It was bad enough when it was just predicting horrible events; by the second season Blaze & Violet were actively trying to escape the comic and pull Lance & Cally in, leading to numerous attempts on their part to just get rid of it and go back to normal.
  • Dexter sometimes expresses the desire to be able to feel like a normal person, free of his drive to kill, at times when he is able to distinguish whether or not he feels anything at all.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the classic series, several companions left to resume "normal" lives, after having adventured through time and space. Big examples are companions like Ian and Barbara, although Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter, proves to be a curious and conspicuous addition, especially given that she was not human. (In Big Finish, Susan is now 20 years older, and still firmly of the opinion that being normal is just fine for her.)
    • Exceptions: In The Sarah Jane Adventures and several Expanded Universe works, several ex-companions are revealed to have had trouble adjusting to normalcy after leaving. In the new series, Rose explicitly references this.
    • In "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", the Doctor himself becomes John Smith, a normal human living a normal life, but has to give it all up again to save the world. John Smith is terrified of the Doctor, and not happy that he has to become an alien again. The Doctor's reasons for becoming human, by the way, were because he was avoiding the villains out of fear of what he could do to them.
      • In the novel the episode was adapted from, he did it specifically to find out what being a normal human was like.
    • The new series in particular has often made the point that the Doctor, while capable of so much, is incapable of living the simple, normal life taken for granted by mere humans. They've occasionally expressed envy about this, but never really shown a desire to actually be normal (outside the abovementioned "Human Nature").
  • Firefly:
    • River Tam actually has a rather heartbreaking speech in the episode "Objects in Space" where she says that she just wants to be accepted by the crew and be a normal person. The heartbreaking part is this is a farewell speech she says as she surrenders to a bounty hunter so her friends can be safe and not hunted by the government anymore. Though it turns out this is was a Batman Gambit to get the hunter outside the ship and lead him into an ambush. According to the commentary on Serenity, this is also why River wants to hear Mal tell her his wisdom with his own voice at the end of the movie - she just wants to hear it the way normal people speak.
    • Simon also mentions several times that he wished he was still at home, advancing his medical career, rather than being on Serenity. Of course, he tries to hide this from River (who is the reason he had to drop his old life), but she usually figures it out anyway. On the other hand, the end of the series implies that he's at least gotten used to being on the ship, even if he did still miss his old life. His crush on Kaylee probably helped.
  • The entire premise of Forever Knight revolves around the main character wanting to be normal.
  • Nick in Grimm has as his first reaction when he starts to see the Wesen is, "How do I get rid of it?"
  • Claire Bennet from Heroes. Conversely, Hiro Nakamura and Peter Petrelli both desperately want to have powers, even and especially when there's very little evidence to suggest that they do. (As does Sylar. Heh, heh.)
    • In season two, Claire becomes the classic inversion — now that she's in hiding and being forced to act as normal and unexceptional as possible, she's discontented and wants to do great things. She follows through on this new desire in Season Three, sacrificing the chance for a normal life (including not being hunted by the government) to help other fugitives.
      • The thing with Claire is that she constantly has a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality. Whenever her powers are put at the forefront of her life she wants to be normal, and when placed in a situation where she's basically allowed to live a normal live she complains about hiding "who she really is." She is eventually called out for, but not long after just says screw it and reveals her powers in front of several news reporters. Surely, nothing bad will come of that.
    • In Volume Four, former villain Doyle decides that he wants to go back to his old life as a puppeteer. With the government rounding up people with abilities, he is forced to turn to Claire for assistance. This is doubly ironic - not only did Claire use to want a normal life, but the last time they met, Doyle held Claire and both her mothers captive for hours.
    • And now, in Volume Five, Matt has been trying to give up his powers out of the feeling that they're controlling his life, and Sylar is trying to suppress his powers in an attempt to be more human.
  • A recurring theme in Highlander: The Series was main character Duncan MacLeod bemoaning his immortal status.
  • In a more mundane example, House has had moments of just wanting to be normal. The most notable example would be a Season Three episode where he wants to harvest the patient's (a girl who can't feel pain) spinal nerves and replace his damaged thigh muscle. He doesn't go through with it, thanks to an attack of conscience/Wilson, but it's still rather pathetic.
    • One of his patients was a genius who had been taking cough syrup and vodka to lower his IQ because his wife was 91 points lower than him: "She's closer to a gibbon than to me. Sex with her would be an act of bestiality."
  • Joy Mercer on House of Anubis wanted a normal life during season 1, when she was being held up like a prisoner in her own house and forced to never contact her friends because she was the "Chosen One". She even said, "I want to be normal."
    • Later on she DOES get her normal life, as it is discovered she is not the Chosen One at all.
  • The main character in the 2000 The Invisible Man series spends a great deal of time trying to get rid of the implanted gland that gives him his invisibility powers, though more because of the side effects than because he objects to the invisibility itself.
    • Interestingly, the final episode before the cancellation has Claire repair the defect in the gland that causes the side effects (thanks to Arnaud, who put the defect in there in the first place). Darien immediately quits the Agency and tries to resume his old life as a thief. He quickly realizes that he doesn't want to steal anymore (he returns the suitcase full of cash he easily steals) and goes back to the Agency on his own terms.
  • Jen on The IT Crowd, who at one point screams that the geeks she works with have turned her into one of them.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Malcolm is a kid genius with a 165 IQ, capable of solving incredibly complicated equations in a matter of seconds...and, in the early seasons, hates every second of it. He desperately wants to be seen as normal, and worries that his friends and family will dismiss him as a weirdo if they know exactly how smart he is.
  • Patrick Jane, The Mentalist, has a lot of fun with his Sherlock Scan abilities as a police consultant, but...
    Lisbon: Okay, I am not jealous and resentful. That is nonsense.
    Jane: Yet you recall my exact words. There's no shame in it. I feel that way too sometimes. Why does everyone else get to have a normal life?
    • This may have less to do with his abilities and more to do with the tragedy he suffered (not to mention his very abnormal childhood).
  • Occasionally played in Merlin, not by our resident warlock, but by Prince Arthur. He disguises himself once so that he can compete in a tournament without having his title get in the way, and once admits to Guinevere that he sometimes dreams of becoming a farmer far away where he has no more royal expectations. Merlin, despite having played with this in his earlier years, has ultimately rejected it, embraced his powers as a gift and accepted his destiny to save the kingdom in secret until magic becomes legal.
  • Played with a lot in Misfits, where the superpowered characters aren't remotely bothered about saving the world and are just trying to get on with their lives. Although the show is mercifully free of Wangst, you get the constant impression that the protagonists don't like their powers much. Alisha in particular really hates her ability (a form of pheromone manipulation which causes anyone who touches her to be overcome with such violent lust that they try to rape her) but then she is well and truly Blessed with Suck. And Kelly mentions a couple of times that she would block her Telepathy if she knew how, as she hates hearing what people think about her.
    • The only protagonist who does whine about the situation is Nathan, who seemingly doesn't have a power.
    • In the series two Christmas Special, they're given an opportunity to get rid of their powers, and they take it immediately. Simon is hesitant, since he knows this is a bad idea because it didn't work out in Superman II.
  • Although Taylor from Mortified doesn't possess any magic powers, she does wish her parents' talents for embarrassing her will disappear.
  • Played by Elliot throughout Mr. Robot. He often internally monologues about life free of social anxiety and dearly wishes to be able to connect and maintain relationships with other people. Growing up with an abusive mother after his father died of luekemia doesn't help.
    • The viewer gets a first taste of this during the pilot in a scene with Elliot crying in a crevice in his apartment.
      Elliot: I hate when I can’t hold in my loneliness. This crying’s been happening too often; every other week now. What do normal people do when they get this sad? They reach out to friends or family, I think. That’s not an option.
  • The main character of New Amsterdam is immortal until he meets his true love. You'd think he'd want to avoid doing this, but he can't wait to meet her/get rid of the immortality so he can stop outliving his girlfriends, wives, and children.
  • Colby Granger of NUMB3RS expresses this desire shortly after the reveal that he'd been a triple agent for his entire FBI career. He'd already hinted that he wasn't fond of that assignment, but this scene makes it clear just how far outside the plan this was.
    Colby: What I want is to go back and start over. Have a regular job at the bureau. No lying, no pretending.
    Don: Well, then the question is, can you be happy with a regular job at the bureau?
    Colby: I mean, that's what I set out to do. If I wanted to be a spy, I would have applied somewhere else.
    • He does get his wish. In the following episode, Don decides to keep him on the team. It takes him and David a little longer to work through some of the residual tension, but by the middle of the season, Colby is, for all intents and purposes, a regular field agent, and he remains so through the end of the series (and the series finale implies he doesn't intend to change that).
  • Person of Interest: Reese occasionally reveals his wish to live a normal life but feels that it is beyond his reach at this point. This is most obvious when the team is forced to activate his most comprehensive cover identity; it's basically a What Could Have Been scenario, constructed on the idea of him giving up his military career for the love of his life. The FBI agents investigating him find a normal, well-adjusted veteran working middle-management at a tech company, well-liked by his co-workers but otherwise unexceptional.
  • Ned in Pushing Daisies is actually pretty good about avoiding this, despite being very much Blessed with Suck. He's had a few moments of it in the show proper, and almost certainly felt this way all the time as a kid. Chuck, on the other hand, while not actually having powers, seems to want a normal life, or at least a more normal one.
  • Sam from Quantum Leap wanted to return to his life in the future, but when the opportunity arose, he had to leap back in to save Al from being killed, thus returning to the cycle and forgetting much about his past/future.
  • Sam from Reaper. In early episodes, he was even trying to run away from/hide the vessels he was to use to capture the escaped souls. They followed him. However, in later episodes, he's wised up, even telling the Devil to "just cut to the chase," so to speak.
  • In the pilot episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, this is Sabrina's initial response to her father when he tells her that she is a witch.
  • In The Secret Circle, the main character learns she is a witch, and freaks out, does not want anything to do with magic, just wants to be "normal".
  • Jim in The Sentinel frequently wants to get rid of his senses.
  • In Smallville, Clark has said numerous times that his goal is to live like and be an ordinary human. Somehow, many viewers doubt this will be the case. Of all incarnations of Superman, he's by far the most reluctant and where, Superman in the comics inspires a new generation of heroes, many of those same heroes go public first in this incarnation and inspire him. That said, he's typically more unwavering in his dedication than the others once he finally makes up his mind about it.
    • In one episode, he lost his powers, but still managed to beat the snot out of three superpowered bad guys, and believed he didn't need his powers anymore. Unfortunately, in the next episode, a nuclear missile gets launched at the town, leaving him with no choice but to regain his powers to save the day.
    • At the beginning of the Grand Finale, Chloe Sullivan is shown reading a Smallville comic to her son. The very first panel involves Clark thinking exactly "I Just Want to Be Normal".
  • Similarly, in Star Trek: Voyager, some of the crew expressed uncertainty as to how they would adjust to life on Earth if they ever reached it.
  • Both Supernatural boys have gone through this phase at some point.
    • Sam leaves the family business, running away to college to pursue a normal life. And then his girlfriend gets torched by the same demon that killed his mother and infected him with demon blood. He still spends a great deal of Season one talking about going back to a normal life, but after finding out he had demonic powers and getting a taste of The Dark Side, he now considers himself too much of a freak for that to be a possibility. Nonetheless, at the start of Season 8, we find out that while Dean was in purgatory, Sam went back to a 'normal life' with a dog and a girlfriend.
    • Dean has been tired of this life pretty much since the beginning of season two, when he found out he might have to kill his brother. Season four, with Sam choosing the demon blood-born power he thought would prevent the Apocalypse over Dean, really broke him. By season five, he was ready to settle down or die, and didn't seem much to care which. At the end of Season Five, Dean gets a normal life with a family for a year, but loses Sam.
    • Runs in the family. Their hunter mother desperately wanted to get out, raise a family and live a normal life. Well, at least she managed for ten years, right? Until her payment came due.
    • Jimmy Novak, Castiel's vessel. He really thought it was over.
    • Subverted in the Season 5 Episode "Swap Meat":
    Sam: I'm telling you, kid. I wish I had your life.
    Gary: You do? ...Thanks.
    Sam: Get on out of here. <Gary leaves>
    Dean: That was a nice thing to say.
    Sam: Totally lied. Kid's life sucked ass. All that apple-pie family crap, it's stressful, believe me. We didn't miss a damn thing.
  • The protagonist of the later part of Stephen Spielberg's Taken miniseries says this quite frequently.
  • In the Tales from the Darkside episode "Deliver Us From Goodness", a common housewife gains incredible powers from God for being a saint. While she takes advantage of them a few times, she tries to get rid of them because they freak out her husband and daughter and she wants to get back to her daily routine. In the end, the power transfers to her mother. The housewife admits that she was just starting to like the power and will miss it, but her mother promises she will put them to better use.
  • In Teen Wolf, Scott isn't chuffed about getting bitten since it involves near-death experiences, Derek trying to recruit him, getting hunted by the Argents, getting hunted by the Alpha, painful full moons and complications with Allison. In the first season he bargains with Derek for a cure.
  • In True Blood, Sookie says she is a freak for being able to read minds, and wishes she was normal like everyone else. She later finds out that she is a fairy, and does not quite like that, either.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Elena has this after she learns what happened to her mother.
  • In Wolfblood, both Maddy and Rhydian had moments of wanting to fit in and be normal. Largely this was because they felt isolated and kept having to lie to their friends. Of course, when they lost their powers for an episode, Rhydian spent most of the time complaining that being human sucked.
  • Jaye Tyler from Wonderfalls doesn't take too kindly to becoming a divine instrument (okay, it's not made entirely clear that that's what she is, but it's strongly implied). As the series goes on, she does seem to become significantly less bitter about it, especially after an encounter with a man who just wants to be special:
    Jaye: I'm not so sure my burden is actually ... a burden. I mean, other people seem to want it, and that should always give you pause before you give something away.
  • In Young Dracula, Vlad wants nothing more than to be a normal boy with a normal family. Jonathan definitely does not want to grow up to be a vampire hunter like his father.
  • The Tick (2016) has Arthur, The Tick's reluctant sidekick, really not liking being a superhero. At several points in the early episodes, he tries to give back the suit that gives him his powers to the bad guys, but circumstances keep him stuck in it.
  • There was an episode of Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum where Nino wanted to go to school, but wasn't accepted into a single school due to his age (the main characters are hundreds of years old).

  • The Radiohead song "Creep" is about a secret admirer/stalker of a girl, who longs to be "special" like her.
  • The narrator of the song A Tongue That Cannot Lie by Karine Polwart. Specifically: "Afflicted, addicted / I pray for a potion / to take all these visions away"
  • Inverted in Avril Lavigne's Anything But Ordinary.

    Myths & Religion 
  • This trope is Older Than Feudalism, appearing in The Bible with the first two chapters of the Book of Jonah. After being selected by God to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy against it "for their great wickedness is come up before me", Jonah did not want this responsibility, and tried to flee by going to the city of Jaffa and then sailing to Tarshish (which was in the opposite direction from Nineveh). When a storm threatened to sink the ship, the sailors suspect that Jonah is the cause, and he admits it. They toss him overboard, which causes the sea to calm, but Jonah's life is saved when he is swallowed by a "big fish" who carries him to land after three days. During that time, Jonah prays to God, and decides to accept the task given to him.
  • The Lord our God does not take 'no' for an answer. Moses' efforts to persuade the Burning Bush to look elsewhere for the savior of the Hebrew people is downright hilarious; 'but nobody will believe me!', 'but I don't speak Hebrew', and so forth.


    Video Games 
  • Advanced V.G.: Chiho comes from a long line of ninja, dating many generations back and, as the only child of the Masuda Clan, she's next in line for succession... except she doesn't want it. She'd rather live her life as a normal highschool girl. So she runs away to join the VG Tournament, in hopes of winning the prize money to fund her new life.
  • In a non-superpower example, Solid Snake of the Metal Gear series made one attempt to live a normal life in the isolation of Alaska, attempting to escape the cycle of violence and death that had killed so many people around him. Without fail, he was back fighting the titular Humongous Mecha within a few years at most.
  • Street Fighter zigzags the trope in regards to Chun Li. When she debuted back in Street Fighter II, she was out for revenge against M. Bison. Yet, in her character ending, she said she wanted to live a normal life. Like many things in SF, this was retconned years later, beginning in the Alpha series, which portrays Chun Li as a dedicated agent of Interpol. But by SF III, she's retired from Interpol and teaches at a dojo of her own.
    • Parodied in Jun the Swan's ending in the Wii version of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. If you choose the option to try being a normal woman, you see her and the other heroines in the game (including Chun Li)... and none of them have the slightest idea of how to be normal.
  • In The Sims 2, this is generally how sims without the knowledge aspiration react to being turned into a monster. They will constantly have the want to be normal come up in their slot, or the want for one of their friends or family to be normal. You can just ignore this with no negative consequences though, or you can cash in on the points and buy the curing potion. Note that sims who do have the knowledge aspiration have this a fear instead.
  • Vayne in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.
  • Terra Branford in Final Fantasy VI. She actually gets her wish when she spends a year taking care of orphans, and her powers regress to the point she actually can't fight even when she tries. Once she rediscovers her fighting spirit, she jumps back into the fray when she realizes the world has gone to hell, and she doesn't want the kids to be stuck growing up in a world like that.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2 Last Mission, Rikku is upset with Yuna for living a life that is normal and being, but Yuna tells her that she's happy with normal, that it's what she wants.
  • It's implied that Joshua from ''The World Ends with You' felt this way in the stinger ending.
  • Roxas spends most of Kingdom Hearts II like this. He's perfectly happy in his nice normal town, doing nice normal chores with his nice normal friends. When the villains and the Keyblade come to call, telling him of some grand former life he used to have, he really doesn't care. He just wishes they'd all stop bothering him.
    • In the first Kingdom Hearts, Sora fits this trope. He journeys not to save the Universe (which he ends up doing), but to find his friends. Once he has done that, he still needs to restore his homeworld.
  • In Wild AR Ms 2, Anastasia Valeria AKA the Sword Magess states that she used to be a normal girl before destiny intervened. She suffers a total breakdown when it looks like Ashley is going to leave her alone, pretty much invoking the trope by name.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, this is the whole plot of the game. The main hero, Marche, despite being in a world of fantasy that apparently has no negative consequences if he just accepts it, just wants to escape the world of Ivalice and live in reality with his friends and brother.
  • Several mages in the Dragon Age franchise feel this way about their magic. One mage in the Origins prays to the Maker apologizing for her very existence and thinks she is a monster. Ander's friend Karl in the sequel says that he would gladly give up his magic if it didn't also mean being turned Tranquil. In the DLC "Legacy" Hawke's father Malcolm's lingering memories reveal that Malcolm hated his magic and hoped none of his children would share his burden.
    • Hawke's sister Bethany vocalizes her desire to be normal several times in party banter.
  • Shinjiro Aragaki in Persona 3 would like nothing better than to be rid of his Persona - with good reason, since he once lost control of it during a mission, causing the death of an innocent woman and orphaning her eight-year-old son. He stubbornly rejects Akihiko's efforts to bring him back into the fight, and goes so far as to poison himself with Persona-suppressing drugs. In the female protagonist's route in the PSP version of the game, he all but says the trope name word for word during his Social Link.
    • Mitsuru in the same game also struggles a little with wanting to be normal; in her case it has less to do with her Persona and more to do with the fact that she's the heir to a large corporation and thus a lot of her life has been shaped by the expectations on her to live up to her role. All things being equal, she'd like to be able to wear the same kinds of clothes and frequent the same hangouts that other students her age do, but instead her clothes are chosen for her by her family's stylist and she's engaged to a man twice her age who she feels she must marry in order to secure the future stability of her family's company.
  • Labrys from Persona 4: Arena is an advanced robot designed to fight Shadows. However, she hates fighting and her true desire is to be normal high school student, to the point of forcing herself to hallucinate that's what she really is. Her Shadow Self decides the true way to become normal is if everybody else has the same Dark and Troubled Past she did. Namely, forcing them to kill their loved ones.
  • Argilla from Digital Devil Saga. Originally just another emotionless combat drone, the release of the Demon Virus charged her with emotions, which neither she nor anyone in her Crapsack World had ever experienced. As her personality started forming, she developed a wish to know more about what had happened to her. Then she was informed she had shifted into a powerful demon form and slaughtered an enemy battalion. It was comprehensible she uttered the trope verbatim, as an emotionless existence was very much preferable to what she was becoming.
  • Jarod Shadowsong, a night elf from Warcraft. In the novel The War of the Ancients, he is a simple guard from the city of Suramar who gets wrapped up with major lore characters in the fight against the Burning Legion. When the general of the night elven army dies, Jarod is given the job of commanding the army comprising of night elves, tauren, furbolgs, Earthen, and demigods. He knows the job has to be filled, but wants nothing more than to go back to just being a faceless guard. After the war, Jarod vanished instead of taking up the offer of being co-leader of his people. He would reappear in World of Warcraft Cataclysm when Mount Hyjal was threatened by Ragnaros, this time much more willing to take command after his Ten-Thousand Year Retirement.
    • The novel Wolfheart reveals that he left because he fell in love with another night elf (not Shandris), and they decided to run away to have a normal life together. He only returned because she got sick (a side effect of the loss of immortality).
  • In MDK, janitor Kurt Hectic reluctantly dons the Coil Suit to save the day against alien invaders. In MDK2, the aliens manage to capture him and take the suit. Kurt tells Dr. Hawkins this, relieved that he doesn't have to fight anymore now that it's hopeless and he can go back to being a regular janitor again. Hawkins then reveals that he has a bunch of backup Coil Suits ready for Kurt to wear. Kurt once again resigns himself to being the savior of humanity.
  • Inverted with Tails in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Tails is a young fox with two tails instead of one, which got him bullied by other people for it. Rather than wishing he was a normal fox, Tails shrugs it off and accepts who he is and he actually uses his tails to fly and to propel him really fast when he runs.
  • Recently-turned vampire John Turner in Immortal Souls really wants to go back to be human, or at least try to just live as normal a life as possible as a taxi driver. Unfortunately for him, everyone keeps either trying to pressure him into doing heroics for them, or trying to kill him for what he is. There was also an incident when he was human where he tried to give up being an ace street racer after the races started getting too deadly and dangerous for his tastes, but the people he raced for tried threatening him into continuing anyway.
  • Aya Brea in Parasite Eve 2 occasionally angsts over how the mitochondria in her body gives her a youthful appearance and special powers no matter how old she gets and wishes to live just one normal life.
  • Hamil of Tears to Tiara 2 just wants to travel. But he has to protect his people the Canaanites from The Empire, and then actually destroy The Empire. The Legendary King Eshmun, known in the stories as a Berserker Blood Knight, turns out to have felt the same way.
  • In Star Trek Online Lieutenant Miral Paris just wants to be a good Starfleet officer like her parents. This is made rather complicated by a Klingon sect that considers her to be the Kuvah'Magh. In her words to the Federation Player Character:
    "For every Klingon who wants to worship me, there is another who wants to kill me. It makes it hard to have anything resembling a normal life."

    Visual Novels 
  • Shiki from Tsukihime has the ability to see death conceptualized as lines and points that only he can see. Not just people or other living things, but also walls, buildings and even the walking dead. It's incredibly disturbing because it makes the world seem like it could fall apart at a touch. And, if it was him doing the touching, it very well might. Most of the time he wears special magic glasses that seal off this ability because not only would it be impossible to remain sane if you could see death all the time, but it also causes him brain damage to see things that humans weren't meant to see.
  • Chigara from Sunrider is a downplayed example. She is a mechanical genius who built two custom mecha by herself, can create fully functional devices in her sleep, and is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Sunrider and her mechs as the ship’s acting Chief Engineer. She is happy enough to do all this, but she would much rather settle down to raise a family and open a bakery.

    Web Animation 
  • Ruby Rose from RWBY is a strange Zig Zagged Trope: she wants to be a badass Huntress, but she's terrified of the social pressure that could result if word got out that she was let into (what amounts to) college two years early, at the Headmaster's personal request no less. She wants to be special in a normal way, not special in a special way.
    • Pyrrha Nikos is another example: for a long time, all she ever knew was combat, no social skills, no relationships, nothing like that. As such, people only recognized her for her accomplishments, rather than who she really is. Due to this, everybody she ever met had her placed on a pedestal, and never bothered to interact with her because, in their eyes, Pyrrha was just too good for them. But when Jaune comes along, he knew nothing about her, and even when he was told of Pyrrha's fame, he still treated her like anybody else. This is one of the reasons why she has a crush on him (which, naturally, he was very slow to reciprocate).
    • Volume 3 ends up Defying this trope, however — Pyrrha's forced into a position where she'll have to be special to protect the powers of a Physical God, which tears her up emotionally, only to lose that chance when the Big Bad steals it from her. When the Big Bad murders her, it ends up awakening powers inside Ruby she had no idea she had, which meant she was brought into Beacon because she was special.
  • Dreamscape: Dylan is very reluctant to tackle big, world-saving missions and adventures, and just wants to hang out with his friends.

    Web Comics 
  • Nowhere University: Edward has a brief spell of this after discovering Psychic Powers, but quickly thinks better.
  • In Arthur, King of Time and Space, Arthur doesn't want to be High King of Britain (or High King of British Space, or C.E.O. of Excallicorp), but his sense of responsibility is too strong to give it up.
  • In Agents of the Realm, at first Norah doesn't want the be a Magical Girl Warrior, preferring to live a normal college life instead, but circumstances make her Resigned to the Call.
  • Snatcher from Sidekicks viewed her superpower as a curse after them manifesting left her bald.
  • Zoe is like this a bit in Sluggy Freelance. She just wants to graduate from college and get a good job, while all her friends are more interested in summoning demons, exploring other dimensions, building giant robots, fighting vampires, or conocting various Zany Schemes. It doesn't help that, while the other characters can cast spells, build Mad Scientist style inventions, or kill demons with a swing of their sword, Zoe's "power" is turning into a camel whenever someone says "shupid" (which her friends do whenever they're feeling a bit vengeful).
    • In the Stormbringer arc, she appears to muster up her will in an attempt to avert this trope. Except that amongst her circle of friends, taking a shotgun into a time-travelling go-kart is normal.
  • In Misfile this is Ash's eternal lament. What with the Gender Bender, the drunken angel posing as her boyfriend, and being treated like the local badass's surrogate little sister you can't really blame her.
    • Interestingly, Emily is actually enjoying her new life more than her old one, and is beginning to disagree with Ash's desire to return to the way things were.
  • Played straight by Kei in Circumstances of the Revenant Braves, until he realizes that having the power to do real good is what he's always wanted.
  • Girl Genius - ironically, the deepest thoughts on the subject are given by the supposed CloudCuckooLander.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Summer Mighty has inherited her father's powers, which caused her former friends to avoid her. It's also why she's been reluctant to train herself to control her powers, something her boss calls her out on.
  • In The Wotch, Anne has a burn-out after finding out how her magic has been screwing up the lives of people and tries to quit. It doesn't last very long.
  • A Magical Roommate provides quite a few interesting spins. Aylia wants to be a wizard, which is normal in her world, but is sent to college instead. Nicole wants to have a happy average life, but winds up getting quote "Three Wierdo Roommates!" unquote. Alexis just wants to live as a human instead of having wings. Everybody else is apparently fine with being abnormal.
  • Sin Fest: Jesus thinks about getting married and having a normal life, and maybe opening up a Jewish IKEA. His Dad says no.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Sandy, whose mother wants her to be a model, but Sandy would like to actually have the chance to spend some time with her long-distance boyfriend Mike, rather than constantly being ripped away from normal life to go to shows.
  • Titular character of Jayden And Crusader, Crusader, being the artist of the webcomic he is in, has struggled with his powers throughout the series but after gaining complete and total control of all reality decided it was something he didn't want and went back to his friends.
  • Bob, from TRU-Life Adventures, gets some of this once he learns that his powers will likely drive him insane.
  • Shelly of Wapsi Square isn't very happy about all the paranormal stuff she ends up involved in, especially when it leaves its mark on her. She gets a bit better eventually, but she is still upset after learning her strength falls a bit outside the human norm.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Vlad is abnormal even among shapeshifting chimera in that he was made using the DNA from so many different animals that he can't transform without risking death. This leads him to be jealous of his "brothers" ability to transform into human forms and blend in with society. He gets his desire partially fulfilled when he is transformed into a human woman by Ellen's beam becoming Vladia.
  • In Strays, when Meela objects that Holland should have told her he's a prince, he asks whether she would have treated him differently, and when she agrees, says that's why.
  • The print-only bonus issue of Spinnerette reveals that Heather's roommate, Sahira, is a Differently Powered Individual who can copy the powers of anyone she touches. Heather, being an Ascended Fangirl herself, doesn't help by being over-enthusiastic about Sahira being her sidekick. A talk with the more experienced heroes ends with them both coming to the conclusion that just because Sahira has a superpower, it doesn't mean she can't live a normal life as a civilian.
  • Same New Woman Marita, an ordinary librarian who wakes up one morning with a hyper-muscular body and extraordinary strength. She wants her normal body back while trying to go on with her old life but finds her world increasingly out of control.
  • In When She Was Bad, Amber Price is declared to be The Chosen One by an order of mysterious caped figures and given superpowers, but initally wants no part of it. This stands in sharp contrast to her counterpart, Villain Protagonist Gail Swanson, who upon accidentally receiving some of Amber's power jumps into her new life as a supervillain with gusto.
  • In Inverloch, Lei'ella is a Severed elf, exiled for being born mortal and subject to Fantastic Racism if she reveals her race in the human towns she lives in. She dreams of things like getting married and raising a family—ordinary, simple things, but it keeps her going.
  • The Artist and the Machine has Art, a magical girl. She is not happy about this at all.
  • In Agents of the Realm:
  • Amusingly deconstructed in minus. Several kids talk about this sort of plot, and all agree it's the best way to go... right up until the local Reality Warper floats by on a cloud. At that point we're reminded that they're kids.
  • One of the main conflicts in How to be a Werewolf is that Malaya is afraid of her power after injuring her brother out of jealousy as a child, to the extent that she becomes The Shut-In. Elias's goal, and the point of the story, is for her to embrace her powers and her werewolf side so that she can live life outside her incredibly small comfort zone.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Played with. In Allison's first visit to Throne, she wants nothing more to get home. Once she does, she takes some time to compose herself and returns the next day. She claims that she still just wants to rescue Zaid and get the Key out of her forehead, but both Cio and Zoss scoff at this.
    Cio: You came back. That means you chose this. Ain't it about time to stop pretending?

    Web Original 
  • Averted on NeverMedia. Lydia embraces her otherness and immortality and chides other vampires for not doing the same.
  • The Fabulous Frog-Man, a mutant hero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is super-agile, can leap the length of a city block, can heal quickly from most injuries, and has a six foot long, prehensile tongue. He's also green, warty, and has big googly eyes. He'd give up his powers and his life as a superhero to look normal again.
  • None of the protagonists in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes want their super powers. Of course, that doesn't stop some of them *coughRobcough* from enjoying them.
  • Emma uses the exact phrase in the lonelygirl15 episode "Decision Time". The series also contains a non-superpower-related example, which Daniel expresses in "The Ascension". Jonas does too, to a lesser extent.
  • Jonas is still like this in the first chapter of LG15: the resistance.
  • The title character of The Saga of Tuck has a fairly active and mad life, but his discovery of his intersex medical condition leaves him longing for the past.
  • Many of the characters in the Whateley Universe enjoy their abilities, but some, especially those whose mutations have turned them into hideous freaks, or made it impossible to live without life support, certain wish they were normal. Of the main characters, the intersexed Ayla Goodkind is actively researching ways to change back to a normal-looking male, and Chou Lee is still angsting about her transformation, and the tasks the Tao requires her to perform.
  • Siberys from Darwin's Soldiers is an experiment created with strong telekinetic powers. He agrees to be the test subject for a bioweapon that permanently disables the powers of psi-experiments because he doesn't want his powers any more.
  • The Onion: "Archaeologist Tired Of Unearthing Unspeakable Ancient Evils"
    "All I wanted to do was study the settlement's remarkably well-preserved kiln," said the 58-year-old Whitson, carefully recoiling the rope he had just used to clamber out of a pit filled with giant rats. "I didn't want to be chased by yet another accursed manifestation of an ancient god-king's wrath."
  • Lana from The Gungan Council has an affinity to psychometry, yet believes it's simply a curse to her life as an outlaw.
  • Traumador the Tyrannosaur from The Tyrannosaur Chronicles just wants to live a normal life... as an intelligent dinosaur. However, with all the adventures thrust upon him, it's rather difficult to achieve this.
  • In The Platoon Of Power Squadron, Virginia is so opposed to the idea of having powers, she tries to get a friend to come up with a cure not only for herself, but for her to slip into the drinks of her other super-powered friends. Jonas isn't very eager to use his powers either, saying that Donald's whole "Fate gave us these powers for a reason so we have to experiment with them and save everyone and be heroes!!!" mentality rubbed off on him to the point where he lost control over them enough to use them in his sleep.
    Donald: I'm sorry, I thought this was a comic store. I didn't realize this was where the We Don't Use Our Powers convention was being held.
  • In Worm members of the Travelers like Noelle and Sundancer wish they had a nice, normal life without their powers. Presumably holds true for others who would have gained powers from trigger events.
  • One of Cracked's 4 Things Movies Always Get Wrong About Awkward People is that people with No Social Skills necessarily want to be cured.
  • After he starts transforming into a crazy cartoon character, Roy spends much of The Cartoon Man saga just wanting to be normal again. The transformation is reversed midway through the second movie, but he soon finds that he Can't Stay Normal.
  • Enter The Farside: Despite being gifted with immense strength and physical durability, Shaun just wants to be a normal person who goes through school and has a regular life.
  • These Days: Considering that Lilly was not only confessed to by her best friend, in the weeks since then she gained the unstable ability to mind read, time traveled, and nearly got killed, thrice, it's no wonder she feels that way.
  • Irene in Void Domain has quite grievous complaints about all the abnormal events that occur around the local Wizarding School. Shalise qualifies to a lesser extent.
  • Robert Dreese in Magical Girl Policy experiences this when he learns of the plans that Fate has for him.
  • The Red Guy from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared just wants to be left alone with his friends, rather than having to be taught by a time-traveling clock or a magical sketchbook.

    Western Animation 
  • Several episodes of My Life as a Teenage Robot deal with Jenny's quirky attempts to achieve normality.
    • Even the theme song has hints of this in it!
  • In the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon episode "Legacy," Alexis dismisses her trillionaire heiress Lonely Rich Kid/Rich Bitch lifestyle with "I Just Want to Be Normal." As her first real friend apparently ever, she tries to hold on to her relationship with Superman, and thus normality, by scheming and manipulating and eventually going completely off the deep end into supervillainy, Luthor-style, giving up on normality in favor of Revenge.
  • Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender, in regards to being the Chosen One. Even after being forced to accept the call, he still holds some desire to be a normal kid. In the third season, he goes as far as to take the huge risk of enrolling in a Fire Nation school just to experience what it's like being a normal kid, despite his friends' protests.
    Aang: You don't know what it's like, Sokka — you get to be normal all the time.
    • The funny things is that "normal" for Aang still involves Elemental Powers, just not being the Avatar.
    • Inverted in The Legend of Korra. Korra defines herself so much around being the Avatar that she can't bear the thought of being Brought Down to Normal — even "merely" an airbender, the rarest kind of bender in the world. Or even living a normal life with mom and dad, while still having all her powers.
  • A main plot point of the 80's Dungeons & Dragons cartoon was the kids wanting to leave their new sword-and-sorcery life behind and return to the normal world.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man Peter Parker tends suffers from this. When Peter is caught having taken pictures of his alter-ego's battle with mutated geneticist the Lizard, after claiming he was going home, his friends and superiors at the ESU labs distrust him, and fire him from his internship. Stealing a gene cleanser from the lab, Peter briefly considers taking it before remembering his credo. He does, however, keep it hidden under his desk.
  • In Transformers Animated, Blackarachnia is obsessed with removing her organic side and becoming fully robotic again despite being both Cursed with Awesome and tremendously physically attractive to about half the cast.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Juke, who has a boombox for a head, can only speak (and write) in beatboxing because his arms are too short to reach the speech switch behind his head. He's been trying to tell that to everyone for a year. In "the Night", Juke dreams he can finally speak, but now everyone else speaks in music.
    • William just wants to be friends with Gumball and Darwin, but since he's a mouthless winged eyeball, they think he's a weirdo who just silently creeps up on people.
    • In the episode "The Night", Hector's dream reveals he hates being a giant, and he's so happy to be normal-sized, enabling him to roam freely without destroy the neighborhood, to hug people without hospitalizing them, to take the bus, to sit in the classroom like everyone else, to buy clothes, to use a toilet instead of a volcano and to have a girlfriend. It's so good a dream that he doesn't want to wake up. Unfortunately, he's a sleepwalker.
  • In the season two finale of The Venture Bros., Dean ends up admitting this during a fit of delusion. It's become his defining motivation. By season 5 Dean finally admits to his dad he doesn't want to be a scientist or boy adventurer. What he doesn't tell him is that it's because he knows that his brother and himself are both clones after they've died over 14 times in the past.
    • Deep down, this is all Rusty Venture really wants as well.
  • In South Park, Craig is shown to be The Chosen One who will defeat the giant Guinea Creatures as foretold by an Incan prophecy, though he states throughout the episodes that he doesn't want to get involved in any weird adventures and just wants to stay away from the main characters (whose every schemes always ends up in Hilarity Ensuing). Subverted in that his attempts at refusing the call ends up leading him to fulfill his destiny and defeat the Guinea Pirate, with him noting that life is unexpected in the end (though he still learns to never trust the gang with anything).
    • Mysterion, a.k.a. Kenny, is tired of being immortal because no one remembers his deaths.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Don't you recall ... the most famous reindeer of all?
  • In Danny Phantom, Danny tries to split his ghost and human halves to have some plain fun... with mixed results. Similarly, in the finale, Danny gets rid of his ghost half so he can be normal, though he does eventually get his powers back.
    • Not to mention in the pilot episode, he expresses the desire to be fully human again early on ("If my dad can invent something that accidentally made me half-ghost, why can't he invent something that turns me back to normal?!")
    • In The Movie, his future self has Vlad separate his human and ghost halves to help him deal with the death of his family and friends. It doesn't end well. At all.
      • That's more of an inversion; Danny explicitly wanted to remove his human side. Well... he succeeded.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures Jackie would love nothing more than to go back to his life as a quiet and unassuming archaelogist rather than his current life as a secret agent who routinely defends the world from demons and what not.
  • In one of the My Little Pony animated specials, Lily Lightly is the only unicorn whose horn glows when she's excited or really happy, so she tries to hide it from everyone else. She even has an "I Want" Song about it.
  • Nightcrawler of X-Men: Evolution was like this, but you couldn't really blame him given that he looked like a furry blue demon. Unlike the other mutants, who were actually fairly good about being exposed as mutants, Nightcrawler was really reluctant to let go of the illusion that he wasn't a mutant, but eventually did, and never let go of the human appearance given to him by his image inducer (can't really blame him, again).
  • Generator Rex, though Rex enjoys fighting, and helping people, he's not a fan of the life he has to lead when he's not on missions, which seems to consist of training and waiting around. He sneaks out often. Leading the higher ups to hire a kid to be his friend.
  • This is how Teen Titans ends. After spending the whole episode trying to convince The Schoolgirl / Terra that she is the Terra he thought he knew, she delivers what can be considered the saddest line in the series. "I'm not a hero. I'm not out to save the world. I'm just a girl with a geometry test next period and I haven't studied." As later revealed in the Teen Titans Go! comics, this is one of the few cases where Brought Down to Normal not only is permanent, but regarded as a change for the better, even by Terra's own brother.
  • The title character of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee practically embodies this role. Being the magical guardian seems cool, but most of her free time is consumed and she is actually bound to live in her area, unable to leave.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long also has the same. While having dragon powers are cool, Jake often wrestles with being the protector of the Americna magical community along with the issues it brings to his personal life (especially not being able to tell his dad and losing his girlfriend... twice). It comes to a head in the ultimate episode where he sabotages himself in order to get himself the punishment of having his "dragon chi" confiscated... all so he could enjoy his middle school graduation in peace.
    • His overachieving sister, Haley, gets a taste of what Jake goes through as she has to take up the mantle.
  • Inverted and played straight in Zevo-3.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • Hank Pym would rather study science than fight crime as an Avenger, which conflicts with his Technical Pacifist beliefs. Opposite of his girlfriend Wasp, who loves being a superhero (and isn't happy that Hank doesn't feel the same way).
    • Colonel James Rhodes explains that he rarely dons the War Machine armor because he's not interested in becoming a superhero.
  • Rodimus Prime never really felt worthy of succeeding Optimus Prime as the leader of the Autobots and bearer of the Matrix of Leadership. When Optimus apparently came back from the dead, Rodimus immediately handed over the Matrix and felt overjoyed when he reverted to Hot Rod as a result. He had to take it back when Optimus turned out to be an Ax-Crazy zombie. Though Optimus came back for real, and Rodimus was reverted back to Hot Rod for real.
    • Done again in Transformers Prime, once he learns he's been chosen by the Matrix to be the next Prime Smokescreen seems to want the position less and less as the series progresses (not that he wanted to be a Prime in the first place, he just wanted to be a great soldier). He even goes so far as to try and push the future responsibility onto Bumblebee.
  • For a couple of episodes, April tries to get on with her life and pretend that mutant reptiles and aliens don't exist. She succeeds and meets the first normal human boy, but she's sucked back into the crazy mess she was trying to avoid.
  • In one Gummi Bears episode, the whole kingdom is overjoyed when Sir Paunch the royal candymaker is coming back, only to be disappointed to find he's only there to say hi, as he's retiring. While everyone loves him and his famous taffy, he's tired of all the attention, claiming it's "the pits". Unfortunately, while he seems to get his wish, he still does not divulge his secret recipe, claiming he cannot do so until he finds a worthy successor. (And after Cubbi, Tummi, and Sunni copy it and nearly blow up the castle trying to make it, one can hardly blame him.)
  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic suffer a bizarre mix of this and I Just Want to Be Special. They all want to have the Cutie Mark that every pony have in their flanks and that they themselves hadn't gotten yet. Problem is, a Cutie Mark only appears in a pony after they realize what his or her unique talent really are, so the poor fillies are Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life just to fit with everypony else. They finally get their wish in Season 5 when they realize their special talent is helping others find and understand their special talents.
  • The Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Turner Classic Birdman" reveals that this is why Harvey Birdman became a, well, attorney at law: he was tired of the constant stress of being a superhero and desired a more mundane life. A pity all his allies and enemies followed him into law, ensuring his law career was as crazy as his superhero career.
  • The titular character of Kaeloo has a condition where she winds up Hulking Out whenever she gets too angry and does mean and sadistic things to whoever made her angry, which seem to be beyond her conscious control. She doesn't want this "power" and has tried numerous times to get rid of it, but she never can.

    Real Life 
  • Although this has nothing to do with superpowers, many mentally ill patients (ASD, ADHD, Bipolar, etc.), believe it or not, feel exactly this way about their lives a lot of the time. It can be hard for them to hold a “normal” job, have their own home, build long-term relationships and the like.

Alternative Title(s): Reluctant Hero