Okay, everyone knows that Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, right? And The Spock or Emotionless Girl can't really understand why humans do such crazy things. And don't even get me started on gods and Eldritch Abominations.
This is when some being (often one on a higher plane of existence) finds humanity interesting, amusing, or otherwise engaging, often enough to attempt to become one of them (or at least disguise themselves as such). This is often the source behind Half Human Hybrids, where the inhuman half is Intrigued by Humanity enough to marry or mate with one. An Emergent Human or someone with Pinocchio Syndrome may have this as their reason for becoming more human. This trope is probably related to Humans Are Special—even god-like beings and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens find us fascinating!
This trope isn't always related to Pinocchio Syndrome though. Oftentimes you will see incredibly powerful beings who would consider themselves far superior to humans, and would be outright insulted at any suggestion that they may wish to become human. And yet they still find humans to be fascinating little critters. Most entomologists would find insects to be intriguing and fascinating, after all, and yet...
Note that this is a purely intellectual trope, seen from the side of the one Intrigued by Humanity. Humanity finding itself fascinating doesn't count, nor does every instance of inter-species romance where one partner is human.
Compare Humanity Is Infectious, The Xenophile (the human equivalent). Alien Arts Are Appreciated may ensue. Klingons Love Shakespeare is a subtrope where a specific aspect of human culture holds aliens' interest. In the case of the Green-Skinned Space Babe, this becomes equivalent to What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?. See also Humans Are Special. A Fantastic Anthropologist will often be this.
- In Death Note, Ryuk, a god of death takes an interest in the human world when he grows bored of his own. After meeting the sociopathic Villain Protagonist Light, he decides humans are fun.
- Aiwass from A Certain Magical Index bases all of its plans on what is most interesting, and screwing with and observing human lives takes the cake.
- Kaworu from Neon Genesis Evangelion is characterized by this. He's an angel, but he has a human appearance, likes classical music and heavily empathizes with Shinji, who he sees as a prime example of mankind's ability to persist even in the face of despair and hopelessness, eventually taking the decision of making the ultimate sacrifice for him. It is this love of humanity which makes him so notable, since he's much better adjusted than anyone else in the series. One might say this is the source of his popularity.
- In Shakugan no Shana, the Crimson Denizen Annaberg expresses his amazement at human ingenuity and inventions. Unfortunately, he likes to destroy things to force the humans to rebuild them bigger and better. He marvels at the construction of the Empire State Building, then tries to blow it up before he is stopped by Margery and Yuri.
- The Familiar of Zero has Luctiana, an elf who is fascinated by humans and desires to learn more about them, even kidnapping Saito and Tiffania to question them on aspects of humanity. The other elves consider her odd for this interest.
- Blue Exorcist's Mephisto Pheles is definitely interested in humans, to the point he "helps" the True Cross Order with dealing with demons and even train new generations of exorcists. Ultimately he's actually an Otaku who treats the world as his stage and acts like a one-man(demon) audience.
- Lelei La Lelena from Gate is fascinated by the humans that come from Japan, and studies their culture, language, and science with zeal.
- Future Card Buddyfight has the Third Omni Water Lord, Miserea, who was so intrigued by humanity that he lived numerous lifetimes as one over the centuries after the Omni Lords were stranded on Earth, assuming the identity of Kiri Hyoryu every time.
- Wonder Woman: Variation; Diana usually tends to be intrigued by "Man's World," given how different it is from her home island. She experiences both the good and bad of it, helping her to grow as a person and better helping her in becoming an effective heroine and teacher.
- The Beyonder of Marvel Comics' Secret Wars.
- Most Silver Surfer stories are written around this trope being experienced by the titular character.
- Marvel Comics's Aaron Stack the Machine Man has been alternately fascinated and repulsed by humanity over the years. For most of his life, he experienced full-blown Pinocchio Syndrome, even if he did often get frustrated with our shortcomings. However, after a series of personal catastrophes (winding up Mostly Dead, being reactivated with his mind infected by Sentinel programming, getting a big chunk of his memory erased, getting kidnapped by aliens and then abandoned by them without explanation), he has become far more cynical in general and tends to view humanity mainly with disgust. His best friend these days isn't human either—Howard the Duck.
- In Shadowpact, Doctor Gotham spent a very long time sealed away and cut off from the rest of humanity. When he returns to the outside world to complete the Evil Plan he spends a moment admiring the city around him.
- The Mighty Thor might as well be the poster boy for this, developing into a love for Earth that transcends millennia, to the point that even as a very old man, he's willing to fight Galactus for the sake of Earth, despite the fact that it's dead and deserted, because he still loves it and because he loved humanity. Asgardians in general classically tend to be, at the very least, curious about humanity, and while some regard humans as being lesser, most of them have a definite respect for humanity's courage and perseverance and a strange fascination with our numerous foibles.
- A "New 52" issue of Superman opens with Orion of the New Gods musing that while humanity may be weaker than his people in dozens of ways, he finds humans more interesting.
- First Contact, a Mass Effect fanfic that is based on the premise of a Council exploration ship discovering humanity in 2034—hours before humanity lands on Mars for the first time.
- Among My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans, there is a great deal of content depicting background pony Lyra Heartstrings as being infatuated with humans, in a world where they do not exist. She obsesses over these mythical bipedal creatures to the point of wanting to become one herself, mostly so she can trade in her hooves for hands, even though her unicorn magic* already enables her to handle objects with as much control as hands would allow. This personality is entirely fan-generated, and has its roots in one famous scene from an early episode where she is seen sitting upright on a bench, while every other pony in the series tends to sit on all fours like normal horses.
Of special note is the fanfic Anthropology, in which Lyra behaves much like an obsessed ufologist in our world, convinced humans are or at least were real. The series deals with the problems and worries this causes her surroundings, Lyra's growing paranoia that the Government is covering up the existence of humans and the revelation that humanity is real, but extinct in Equestria. However, there are humans in a parallel that appears to be our planet Earth. Of a bigger revelation is Lyra herself used to be human until certian happens and it's implied her obsession with humanity stems from her subconscious remembering she was formerly human.
- This seems to be something of a staple in Child of the Storm. Thor is firmly convinced that Humans Are Special and that Humans Are Warriors (though after a chat with Dumbledore and on consideration of Tony Stark, he revises this to Humans Are Survivors). Loki, being Reformed, but Not Tamed, seems to regard humans as somewhat primitive, but respects them and notes their achievements, their adaptability and combat skill (to the point of considering the Winter Soldier to be the most dangerous assassin in the Nine Realms) and their rate of development. Asgardians, much like their comic counterparts, are generally curious about humanity. While some regard humans in general as backwards and primitive - which, since they were last regularly on Earth during The Dung Ages, is perhaps unsurprising - they greatly admire the heroism of Captain America and the Avengers, and find intriguing how much humanity manages to fit in with such a limited lifespan. And, apparently, are addicted to coffee, to the point where Loki wryly considers that Fury could extract diplomatic concessions by placing an embargo on coffee.
- Mar-Vell seems to be even fonder of humanity than usual - though this may have something to do with the implied fact that he fell for Peggy Carter - to the point of being established as humanity's 'Protector' and giving SHIELD the so-called 'Mar-Vell Files', a series of technological advancements that have largely been mothballed since Earth doesn't yet have the technological development to use them properly (and every attempt to do so has gone horribly wrong).
- And, of course, there's Jor-El, who saw something special in humanity.
- A Mighty Demon Slayer Grooms Some Ponies does this to Heart Throb, a My Little Pony 'n Friends character (a highly romantically-minded pony.) She has read so much of Megan's human stories that she finds herself unrealistically pining for a grand wedding with a handsome hunk, and thinks only among humans can truly beautiful love be found. Unfortunately, at the time the ponies are still desperately trying to preserve their species which has a highly unbalanced gender ratio, so every mare must become a part of a stallion's harem.
- In Sly Wits Paradise, when Celestia and Luna were very young, they were very fascinated on humans in general when their father Whip Scar told stories about them. Though he doesn't like to recall his life with his previous owner, who was very abusive (thus Whip Scar's name).
- The German film Wings of Desire (and its (a) sequel Faraway, So Close! & (b) Foreign Remake City of Angels) depict an angel who becomes human for the love of a good woman.
Starman: We are... interested in your species...You are a strange species, not like any other — and you would be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
- In the 2005 The War of the Worlds film, the invading aliens stop to admire a bicycle tire, having never invented anything as simple and practical as the wheel. This is based on the original book, which states that all Martian technology uses legs instead of tires.
- Averted in Avatar. Relations between the humans of the Hell's Gate colony and the Na'vi used to be better, with Grace and the AVTR program even setting up a school for teaching English and the like. However, whatever fascination the Na'vi might have held for the Sky People has long since been buried beneath hatred and disgust - to the point of full-fledged xenophobia - at the RDA's destructive mining operations and rather trigger-happy security forces.
- Francisco's comment to Sykes in Alien Nation:
You humans are very curious to us. You invite us to live among you in an atmosphere of equality that we've never known before. You give us ownership of our own lives for the first time and you ask no more of us than you do of yourselves. I hope you understand how special your world is, how unique a people you humans are. Which is why it is all the more painful and confusing to us that so few of you seem capable of living up to the ideals you set for yourselves.
- In Dark City, the whole reason the Strangers create the City in a Bottle is to study humanity in order to become like it and reverse the death of their species.
Murdoch: You know how I was supposed to feel. That person isn’t me—never was. You wanted to know what it was about us that made us human. Well, you're not going to find it <<points at his head>> in here. You were looking in the wrong place.
- In one particularly Mind Screw-y Animorphs, Jake is transported into the dystopian future (where he was captured, ending the resistance) by an unknown alien presence. When faced with a Sadistic Choice at the climax, we aren't told what he did, but a huge voice says "INTERESTING CHOICE. THEY WILL REQUIRE MORE STUDY, THESE HUMANS..." before sending him back to the story's beginning.
- The Andalites also find humans, especially their food and sense of taste, to be absolutely astounding. Apparently, cinnamon buns are one of humanity's best inventions ever.
- Death of the Discworld finds humanity very interesting, and has created his domain in the style of a human house, even if he hasn't grasped all the subtleties of why the fittings and items inside look like they do.
- And played with in Thief of Time with the Auditors. They think themselves to be above humanity, and they despise (or they would if they had emotions) any individuality, but when they assume a human body, they become intrigued about their new feelings and senses, as much as they refuse to admit it.
- This trope has actually led to such improbable Character Development as the original Bogeyman evolving into the Tooth Fairy over thousands of years because he had the epiphany that young children were so vulnerable, as using even a single tooth with a spell could make the child believe whatever the caster wants, someone should protect them.
- Mr. Weasley from Harry Potter qualifies, being a wizard obsessed with all things muggle. He seems to prefer making up his own explanations than doing actual research though. His intrigue is a little off, however. He's fascinated by things like "muggle money" despite wizards also having money (with a direct exchange rate).
- In Tales of Kolmar the Kantri have a word for the ardent desire to talk with other intelligent species and see the world from different points of view - ferrinshadik. All of them feel it, some more than others. Some try to ease it by learning to speak to trees, but that takes a long time even by their lengthy standards and trees don't have much to say. Demons are intelligent but also Kantri's mortal enemy. That leaves humanity, and time and again those Kantri who don't simply dislike humans too much to talk quickly become enchanted by one or another, delighted by the smallest exchanges. Exposure to humans also makes Kantri more inclined to think in terms of hours or days as much as months or years, which can be good and bad.
- Webmind, the AI in the WWW Trilogy, finds humans to be a source of endless fascination and amazement, and is generally fond of us.
- In Star Darlings, Scarlet's greatest wish is to live on Wishworld (Earth), and she loves studying about it.
- In the Uplift series, a handful of alien races find humanity humorous and/or charming, such as the Kanten, the Tymbrini, and the Synthians. (Most other extraterrestrials are indifferent to humanity at the very best and, at worst, fighting each other over the opportunity to be the ones to exterminate humankind.) A separate example comes with humanity's fellow settlers on the refugee planet Jijo, where the other races come to appreciate the culture and skills humanity brought with them, which differs to varying degrees from the respective races' off-Jijo counterparts.
- Illir the West Wind from The Spirit Thief is absolutely fascinated by humanity and has gone to great lengths to learn as much about them as possible, including publishing books to see if literature can change people's behaviour and establishing the setting's KnowledgeBrokers to learn everyone's secrets.
- Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation — a being of almost limitless power who spoke disparagingly of humanity (and put it on trial), yet was also fascinated by humans, devising countless annoying and dangerous ways to explore our natures, and appearing as a human each time. The one time he was really turned human, as a punishment, he was not particularly happy about it, though. (But then, he was given the choice of which less-advanced alien to be turned into, and chose to be human.)
- Although it's hinted that it's not so much humanity in general he's intrigued by, but Picard in particular.
- Other Star Trek characters, such as Data and Odo, have elements of this: though they interact with humans as equals and have emotional (or the nearest equivalent) connections as well as intellectual interest in humans, both also spend time observing and analyzing the people (human and alien alike) around them. Data even states in the pilot that he wants to become human, and Riker calls him Pinocchio in response.
- On one TNG episode, an alien entity caused itself to impregnate Troi and become her baby, to be born and live as one of us. He accelerated the process so that he did all this over a few weeks, rather than months or years. When the child realized his presence was endangering the ship, he died so he could revert to his natural state and leave the ship, thus removing the risk, and thanking Troi for the experience as he left.
- Spock himself is a particularly interesting example: he often seems to know more about Earth history and culture than the human characters, which at first seems odd but makes sense considering his dual human heritage—he may shun it in public, but is obviously intrigued by it in private.
- The Doctor in Doctor Who (old and new versions both) loves humanity and is fascinated by it far beyond his general fascination with other species and the universe in general. Most of his companions are humans, and he's constantly begging them to come travel with him not just in space, but in time, so that they can look at humans throughout their whole history. In fact, Earth is sort of an informal protectorate of the Doctor's: in the new series' fifth season premiere "The Eleventh Hour," he faces down an attacking alien ship while asking them to check their databanks to see whether this planet is defended. When they do, and see just who it's defended by, they hightail it out of there immediately.
- It's never explained exactly why the Doctor has such a soft spot for humans in particular, but this may be due to the fact that his teenage granddaughter, Susan, was a fangirl of Earth and wanted to go to school with humans, and he picked up his first human companions, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, Susan's teachers, while hidden on Earth so that Susan could attend school. Their influence changed the Doctor from a rather amoral, aloof jerk to a hero.
- The Doctor has a deep affinity for human literature as well, and has enthusiastic conversations with Earth writers whenever he meets them, including Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and Agatha Christie. He tells various Companions that works by these authors endure for millennia after even the Companions' time.
- Illyria from the fifth season of Angel, which is definitely a precursor of a more serious Pinocchio Syndrome. As God King of the Old Ones, Illyria starts out purely contemptuous of humans. But being reborn into a human body with full access to the human's memories results in her becoming more and more intrigued by them.
- Babylon 5: At first, G'kar is mostly intrigued by Earth women, but later he gains an appreciation for human ideas and integrates them into his own Narn beliefs—which then become part of a new religion.
Londo: But as a culture grows decadent, it grows intrigued by art, by trinkets, by eccentricity. And the humans had art and trinkets and eccentricity to spare.
- In the television movie "In The Beginning", Londo reflects that a reason why the Centauri Republic cultivated its diplomatic relationship with the Earth Alliance was mainly because of Centauri fascination with humanity itself. He also notes that while he personally had already worked with them for years, he gained a newfound respect and admiration for them in their defiance during the hopeless and genocidal war against the Minbari.
- Michael in The Good Place, a celestial being specifically, a demon, finds humanity fascinating, and so has a bunch of tchotchkes like wax lips and a cheesegrater around for some reason. In Season 2, the main characters declare him an "honorary human" and give him a box of random junk - car keys for him to lose, a stress ball with a corporate logo for him to contemplate throwing out and so on. He's genuinely touched.
- Space 1889 The cause of all the player characters troubles in Beastmen of Mars is that a powerful being is scheming to lure humans to him simply so he can satisfy his curiosity about them.
- This is the Hat of the Court of Wine in Bleak World they frequently go to Earth to indulge in their baser desires and then bring the humans they like the most back to Uranus with them.
- Elvis of Perfect Dark is described as a "terraphile", which would explain why he speaks English, how he chose his name and why he wears a vest with an American flag pattern.
- If an alien doesn't consider humans annoying or dangerous, they're feeling this trope in Mass Effect.
- This even extends to the Reapers, ever since Commander Shepard started screwing up all of their plans
- In Mass Effect 2: The justicar Samara admits that humans are weirdly individualistic and divisive, and she likes them. She does know that a justicar is closest to being a knight errant (with a dash of samurai), in human culture's terms.
- It turns out that the Cloud of Darkness feels this way after being defeated by the Onion Knight for the second time in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Seeing his resolve in the face of total annihilation led the perplexingly female-looking Anthropomorphic Personification of the Void to muse about how interesting humans are.
- She's also amused when Laguna flirts with her in the sequel.
- The Outsider from Dishonored often interviews or intervenes with various people whom he finds "interesting".
- At the same time he's pretty convinced that humans are by and large jerks. Corvo choosing to spare Daud, the assassin who murdered his beloved Empress, out of nothing but simple mercy, is the one thing in the game that will shock the Outsider.
- N's curiosity about humans, despite his conviction that they're heartless abusers to Pokemon, leads him to fight/befriend the player character of Pokémon Black and White. Discovering that humans aren't heartless makes him even more curious about the matter, which ultimately forces him to reevaluate his worldview.
- In Undertale, even though humans are treated with suspicion among the monsters of the Underground, Alphys is a huge anime geek. Undyne too, to an even greater extreme in fact.
- The ancient Morrigi Empire in Sword of the Stars regularly visited the Earth (and the homeworlds of the Tarka and Hivers) for the purposes of cultural exchange (basically, trading art). According to the fluff, Morrigi see alien-made art and cultural impulses as status symbols, and possessing something as exotic as a human-made bronze age axe or a piece of ancient meso-american poetry may have made a Morrigi male very attractive to the opposite sex.
- New Dangan Ronpa V3 has Korekiyo Shinguji, the Ultimate Anthropologist, who is deeply fascinated by humanity's different cultures, traditions, customs, legends, folklore, poetry, etc. He believes have all humans have unlimited beauty, even the parts of themselves that they consider ugly. He also wonders what kinds of beauty his fellow gifted inmates will display in their distressful situation.
Kuku...kukukuku...Humanity is beautiful.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Princess Voluptua has pointed out that she is the only member of her species who has spent enough time around humans to have developed some respect for them. She's trying to spread the word among her people that we're not totally worthless.
- The punchline and hovertext of Dinosaur Comics #889.
- The Clockwork Raven: Kio and Karla play with this trope. They are humans, technically, but humans trapped on a flying castle, fascinated with people on their world's surface and longing to join them.
- The short flash game The Majesty of Colors is about an Eldritch Abomination who falls in love with "the majesty of colors" (it discovers a balloon) and then decides to investigate humanity. The player then chooses whether to play an angry, rampaging beast, or a kindly, helpful one.
- The Salvation War: Archangel Michael. In ancient times, he thought he humans were these wimpy, subservient beings beneath his notice. But as humanity grew in both technology and in reason, he found himself fascinated and impressed with human goods and ingenuity. It's also why he betrays and overthrows God in the end, since he knew it would only be a matter of time before humanity got to Heaven, and he wanted to protect the Angelic Host from destruction.
- Scarlet in Star Darlings is fascinated by Earth and her dream is to one day go there. She gets her wish when she is chosen to be one of the twelve Star Darlings.
- Starfire from Teen Titans seems to be fascinated by human culture.
- Marvin the Martian at the very start of "Mad as a Mars Hare" observes Earth with fascination through a powerful telescope. Though he believes there is no intelligent life on Earth, he doubtlessly finds humanity fascinating... he thinks "Man is the most interesting insect on Earth!"
- Some of the Gems in Steven Universe have a certain fascination with humans, but none more so than Rose Quartz. While initially seeing them as little more than cute animals, her relationship with Greg led to a much deeper love and understanding, to the point where she chose to have a child with him at the cost of her physical form. Amethyst isn't quite so enamored, but she does have a soft spot for cheesy sitcoms and human food (even though she doesn't need it and it may not actually BE food). Peridot also grows begrudgingly fascinated by human culture while working to save the Earth (but mostly herself) from the Cluster.
- It turns out Pink Diamond had the same fascination as Rose, although to a much darker degree, to the point of keeping several in a zoo.