Follow TV Tropes


I Just Want to Be Normal

Go To
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 them 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. That said, for most, those things might be preferable to the things that come with living "exciting" and "exceptional" lives, such as regularly being put in life-threatening and traumatizing situations, going through near and more often than not actual death experiences, participating in brutal fights, and having your social and romantic life impacted.

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?, Refreshingly Normal Life-Choice and Refusal of the Call. Contrast Jumped at the Call, where wanting to be normal never even occurs to the hero and Keeping the Handicap, where the character chooses to stay disabled (or similar) even if they could feasibly cure it. 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. If the character isn't human, they may want to Become a Real Boy.

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.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    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.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ducktales The Movie Treasure Of The Lost Lamp, the Genie of the Lamp has come to this, what with people abusing his wishes as well as being trapped in his lamp in between. At the end, Scrooge uses his last wish to turn Genie into a normal boy.
    Genie: It's not my fault Merlock's after me. I didn't ask to be Mr. Popular. All I wanted is a life of my own, like your nephews.
  • At 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 Herc is drained, Hades pins him to the ground by throwing a barbell at him and stands over him, taunting:
    "Now you know how it feels to be just like everybody 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. Then the Adrenaline Makeover makes her realize how awesome she is when she has confidence, and uses her powers to protect her family and fight crime.
    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!
  • Megamind.
    • At first it's just hinted at, with the titular blue alien trying to fit in at shool. Then it's averted for a while... before coming back into play when he pretends to be human for Roxanne. He even toasts "to being normal" during their date, but unfortunately for him, his cover is blown at the absolute worst possible time and he bounces right back to villainy. He ultimately gets a better outcome and subverts it in a different way than before.
    • Later played straight with Metro Man, who felt that he never chose to be a superhero, and faked his death to live a comparatively mundane life as a musician.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Before he even gets his powers, Miles Morales wants to be a regular teenager and not have to deal with the academic and social challenges presented by his prestigious new school, Brooklyn Visions Academy. After the fateful spider bite, he freaks out and tries to persuade himself that this is just puberty. His character arc in the film is about him learning to live with the uncertainty by stepping out of his comfort zone and taking a leap of faith.
  • In Turning Red, Mei runs into this in two ways: the obvious one is that she doesn't want to transform into a giant red panda instead of being an average kid. But the other is that she wants to be an average kid, having fun and doing things other than being "perfect little Mei-Mei"... and her Superpowered Alter Ego lets her do that. As such, her Character Arc is about being torn between the two sides of being "normal," and the Aesop is ultimately about embracing both sides of herself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Artemis Fowl, Mulch Diggums is a "giant dwarf," or Dwarfus Giganticus, but wants desperately to be short like other dwarves.
  • 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!
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • 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?
    • Harley Quinn calls El Diablo out on this in Suicide Squad, due to his haunting guilt of having accidentally killed his family due to Power Incontinence. Doubles as Fridge Brilliance since she too wishes she could have a normal life than be a psychotic criminal, even fantasizing that she and the Joker are Happily Married with kids and without their clown makeup.
      Harley: What did you think was gonna happen, huh? That you can have a happy family, coach little leagues and make car payments? "Normal" is setting on the dryer. Please like us, we don't get "normal"!
  • Bethany in Dogma. Jesus is said to have also been like this for some years — the ones not recounted in the Bible.
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It: Dracula's daymare, where he can walk in the sunlight and apparently cured of his vampirism, suggests that he secretly wishes to become a human again, as he is overjoyed when apparently drinking Lucy's blood has cured him.
  • Dune (2021): Leto Atreides tells his son Paul that he would rather had been a pilot instead of a Duke and head of the House.
  • 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.
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: In the Omni Productions dub, 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. Averted in the Japanese version, where Meru's reaction is actually the opposite — she relishes having psychic powers and even says that she uses them to find out if the boys who loved her would ever marry her.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Margarita with a Straw: Laila dislikes not so much her disability but being treated differently, and she wishes people would just act like everyone else with her. Those that do are whom she's most happy with. However, she's willing to use it once, as her professor offers an assistant to help her write which she accepts after seeing he's very handsome.
  • 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.
  • Now You See It...: Danny, being someone who has uncontrollable and unexplained magical abilities, just wants to feel like a normal kid, and actively pushes Allison away when she tries to, in his eyes, take it away from him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Shoes Of The Fisherman: Cardinal Leone admits that he would have rather been a simple parish priest who knew just enough Latin to get through Mass and enough theology to hear confession instead of being a high ranking Vatican official.
  • The first leg of the documentary Showbiz Kids discusses the differences between being a child actor and being normal, as your childhood is essentially taken from you — there's no real way one can be 'normal' on a film set. Some of the interview subjects say that they are or were hesitant for their own kids to be in the spotlight, and a rising child star featured, Demi Singleton, expresses the desire to go to sleepaway camp with her friends.
  • 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.
  • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter really wants to just enjoy his vacation and not do superheroics for a while, leading to him snubbing Nick Fury. Unfortunately for him, Fury has other plans.
  • Transformers (2007) 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.
  • Leonardo from The Way He Looks gets fed up with the special treatment he gets for being blind, especially from his mother.
  • Where Hands Touch: This is Leyna's desire, and Kerstin also wants it for her. Of course, it's impossible under the Nazis for that to happen.
  • 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.

  • Starting with Book Two, Navaeli from Heralds Of Rhimn gains a newfound determination to stop capitulating to Silamir… but that requires her to remove her Heraldry. The idea of no longer being a Herald brings her a lot of relief and a little guilt, since people look to her as a potential savior from Gardhe’s reign.

  • 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"

    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 wickedness has come 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's 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.

  • Binary Break: Penny's friend Billy desperately wants to be normal and not draw too much attention to himself, and he wishes Penny would do the same. Unfortunately, Penny loves telling everyone about his conspiracy theories and doesn't register when he's being made fun of.
  • In Interstitial: Actual Play, Marche desperately wants to return to normalcy after the events of his home series. As soon as he lands in the world of High School Musical, he acts like a proper student in an attempt to regain that feeling.
  • In The Magnus Archives, Agnes Montague was born and raised to be The Antichrist for the Cult of the Lightless Flame, and was largely kept away from normal society, especially as her powers developed. However, the episode "Burning Desire" reveals she chose to spend a significant chunk of her free time essentially cosplaying as a normal woman, going to a café each week, ordering a coffee, and sitting there looking out the window for an hour. The statement giver remarks that she never even touched her coffee or ordered any food, nor did she speak to anyone unless spoken to, but she always seemed genuinely delighted to order her drink and sit there, as if it was a really novel, special thing for her to do. When she's asked out by a friendly waiter, she's shocked, but agrees, and enjoys their brief courtship, which consists mainly of walking around talking about perfectly mundane things. He remarks that he doesn't think he has a destiny, and she sadly says that sounds nice. When she realized it was time for her to enact the cult's ritual, her last words to her boyfriend before granting his request for a kiss was to thank him. It's then revealed that the kindness and affection he showed her was enough to sow the seeds of doubt in her mind, and in turn, completely mess things up for the cult, because he inadvertantly confirmed her suspicion that the normal world was worth saving. Not bad for a guy who is, by his own description, a completely unremarkable and average Joe.

  • 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 anymore.
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Jacob desires to get rid of his superpower and return to his regular routine. Unfortunately for him, the others keep roping him into abnormal situations when he'd rather try to lay low.
    • Jenna's power transformed her from an ordinary teenage girl into a free-floating consciousness that collects a swarm of insects to use as its body. Understandably, she's horrified with her new form and wants to get back to her old self as quickly as possible.
    • Much like Jenna, Katheryn's power turned her from a regular human into a sentient mass of ink. She can't speak and has to struggle even to move. She implores Finn to find a cure for their superpowers as soon as he can.
    • Zia's power is telepathy, allowing her to read minds up to fifteen miles away. Except she can't turn it off and is frequently overwhelmed with people's private thoughts that she doesn't want to hear. She wants to go back to normal — in one Bad Future, she gets her wish.
    • Simon wants a normal life, and it's not just his superpower that's preventing him; he also suffers from nightmares and an evil split personality. At every opportunity, he tries to distance himself from any unusual happenings, with little success.
    • Devin is a variation, in that it's not his superpowers that he wishes he could be rid of. Instead, it's his dead nerves, rendering him unable to feel pain. He's been ostracised throughout his life because of it, and would rather just be a normal kid.
  • Lana from The Gungan Council has an affinity to psychometry, yet believes it's simply a curse to her life as an outlaw.

  • The character of Prince Harry in King Charles III after he has dated commoner and outspoken Republican Jess for several months. note . The characterization of Harry leans towards the Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life, and he begins to express the opinion that he might finally find happiness and fulfillment if he settles down and leads an average life. Towards the middle of the second act Harry goes so far as to ask Prince Charles to remove his titles and demote him to the status of a commoner. But Harry changes his mind after Prince Charles is forced to abdicate and William is to be crowned instead and decides he'll remain with his family and support the institution of monarchy.

    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 high school girl. So she runs away to join the VG Tournament, in hopes of winning the prize money to fund her new life.
  • Eirik from Dead In Vinland was happy living as an artisan with his wife, daughter, and sister-in-law, and never aspired to anything different. Unfortunately, he's the bastard son of the recently deceased jarl, making him a potential rival for the new jarl's title and even his family a possible threat, meaning that they had to flee town on a stolen boat so they wouldn't be murdered. He has a huge Guilt Complex about being the reason his family is stuck on an uncharted Island of Mystery, and he'd much rather grow vegetables than be the reluctant leader of La Résistance that he's become.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Quest V: Prince Wilbur has no interest in ruling a kingdom and prefers to be just a regular kid.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kahlua from 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 powers. 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 Alter Ego, Tequila.
  • Genshin Impact: Keqing has tried and failed on occasions to discard or destroy her Vision, which she believes is the gods' way of cursing her for her wish of human independence. She fears that people will attribute her accomplishments to her Vision rather than her own work. As she does not want the Vision to fall to the wrong hands, she had no choice left but to accept it as part of her life; still, she only sees it as just another tool without any divine will attached.
    • By his own admission, the only reason why Alhaitham helps the Traveler to overthrow the corrupted system of the Sages, and free the current Dendro Archon is not out of selflessness nor thirst for power, but simply because he enjoys his job as a scribe, and he won’t settle for anything less nor more.
  • The protagonist of I Was a Teenage Exocolonist can feel this way after having their first wave of visions since landing on Vertumna. They decide not to talk about their "dreams" to others because they want to be a "normal" kid.
  • 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.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: Sora 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.
    • 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.
  • Vayne in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.
  • Max: An Autistic Journey: While furious at himself, Max exclaims that he hates his autistic brain and wishes he didn't have autism. The King of Monsters (his Imaginary Friend and conscience of sorts) talks Max out of it, assuring him that autism is not a bad thing and that it gives him special gifts that he should be proud of.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes: Fiona isn't very interested in leading an army of undead soliders, especially not because of the... circumstances of her situation leading to that. She just wants a happy life alongside her brothers.
  • 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.
  • Persona 3:
    • Shinjiro Aragaki 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 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. To make things worse, her company is responsible for all of the events in the game, including the Dark Hour, the Fall, her company name is actually a severe burden. 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.
  • Hikari from Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth has constantly wanted to become "normal" because being different from other people is what got her into being humiliated by her primary school teacher, isolated by her secondary school friends and her film director profession rejected by her relatives in the first place. Aside that while "becoming normal" in this instance supposedly means fulfilling society's expectations such as studying in a regular university or finding a regular and less risky occupation, it likely isn't for Hikari. In fact, by becoming "normal," she probably meant shutting herself off from reality and other people forever, so she wouldn't have any personality to begin with.
  • Puyo Puyo: Lightly implied. While Sig is largely shown to not mind having a demonic arm, a few scenes and character descriptions show that he does have the desire to know more about it, and to possibly "cure" it. This is most apparent in his interaction with Akuma from the latter's 15th Anniversary story mode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The Wolf and the Waves: The player character is a werewolf who travels to a remote island seeking a cure to his lycanthropy.
  • It's implied that Joshua from The World Ends with You felt this way in the stinger ending.
  • Zigzagged in Yandere Simulator: Emotionless Girl Ayano started pretending to be normal not so much because she wanted to be, but because her father (who was desperately hoping she wouldn't be a Yandere like her mother) wanted her to be. As she got older, however, she started to resent being emotionless and was willing to do anything to feel an emotion like a normal girl for the first time. Then she met Senpai...

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, Amy doesn’t want to be a princess, and she goes to summer school in order to be like everyone else her age. Even her Twitch channel is an effort to make money on her own efforts rather than getting it from her family.
  • Minotaur Hotel:
    • Asterion doesn't outright state it, but it's clear that he wished that he was born a human and didn't have to deal with the trials his life gave.
    • Storm's whole desire, as he never had a charm that would let him fit into human society. Once P gives him such a charm, he's overjoyed to finally being able to appear human towards other people and restart his life.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: Dylan is very reluctant to tackle big, world-saving missions and adventures, and just wants to hang out with his friends.
  • HunterTheParenting: Kevin and Shitbeard are shown to hate being vampires and wish they were human again. Of course, they were both Embraced against their will, shoved into the extremely abusive vampire society, and deprived of all the little joys of life, so it's understandable that they hate being vampires. Kevin even tries to maintain his ties by humanity by keeping his apartment and caring for his pet cat.
  • RWBY:
    • Ruby Rose 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. 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 Cinder steals it from her. When Pyrrha is murdered, it ends up awakening powers inside Ruby she had no idea she had, which meant she was brought into Beacon because she was special.

  • In Agents of the Realm:
  • 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.
  • The Artist And The Machine has Art, a magical girl. She is not happy about this at all.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 a later arc, she finds out that a power-suppressing drug exists, but her mother won't let her have it until she's older (not to mention that it only works for a few hours a dose and taking two doses without a two-day wait in between can be lethal).
  • Fate/type Redline: Kanata Akagi was born with magical powers, but is completely uninterested in improving them and prefers to live a normal life.
  • Girl Genius — ironically, the deepest thoughts on the subject are given by the supposed CloudCuckooLander.
  • 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.
  • Inhibit: Victor’s goal is to get a license to live a normal life despite his powers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 Weirdo Roommates!" unquote. Alexis just wants to live as a human instead of having wings. Everybody else is apparently fine with being abnormal.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gumiya from NEXT!!! Sound of the Future is a Ridiculously Human Robot who was manufactured to be an Idol Singer. Living the exceptional life of an idol never felt right to him, so he quit and tried to get a normal job instead. By the present day of the comic, he has a more mundane lifestyle as an accountant and is much happier with himself that way.
  • Nowhere University: Edward has a brief spell of this after discovering Psychic Powers, but quickly thinks better.
  • 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.
  • Snatcher from Sidekicks viewed her superpower as a curse after them manifesting left her bald.
  • Sin Fest:
  • 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 concocting 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 When She Was Bad, Amber Price is declared to be The Chosen One by an order of mysterious caped figures and given superpowers, but initially 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 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.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Mao wants to be rid of his curse. As indicated by Copycat and Fahrin, this would mean losing his cat-like features and sharper instincts.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • None of the protagonists in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes want their superpowers. Of course, that doesn't stop some of them *coughRobcough* from enjoying them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jonas is still like this in the first chapter of LG15: the resistance.
  • 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.
  • Robert Dreese in Magical Girl Policy experiences this when he learns of the plans that Fate has for him.
  • Averted on NeverMedia. Lydia embraces her otherness and immortality and chides other vampires for not doing the same.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 — certainly 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.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Reluctant Hero



Fed up with his failings as a hero, Danny uses the Ghost Portal to reverse his accident and remove his ghost powers to become an ordinary human again.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / DePower

Media sources: