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Just Woke Up That Way

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And from here on in, his day just gets worse...
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

It's morning; time for you to wake-up. You're still groggy, but you manage to roll out of bed, same as always. Maybe you feel weird; maybe your bedroom seems out of place somehow, but you're still too tired to think about it. So you stumble to the bathroom, splash some water in your face, blink the sleep from your eyes, look at yourself in the mirror and...


It's not your face in the mirror! At least, not the face you had last night. Maybe you've switched sexes; maybe you've become the one thing you hate most; maybe you've switched bodies with someone or turned into a giant insect, but whatever it is, you're not you anymore. You have been transformed without your knowledge or consent and it happened while you were sleeping. You don't know how or why it happened; you just woke up that way!


This is extremely common in stories about involuntary shapeshifting, particularly if the writers are trying to shock the audience. Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing may supplement, to added shock effect. In situations where the source of the transformation is not rapidly explained, this overlaps with Ontological Mystery. Just don't be surprised if it turns out to be All Just a Dream.

Likely also an Oblivious Transformation, if the transformed character takes a long time to notice something is amiss. When this is discovered via a mirror, it's a Mirror Reveal.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Loser Protagonist Isao Komori wakes up in the body of school idol Mari Yosikawa in Inside Mari with no idea how he got there and sets out to determine if it is a "Freaky Friday" Flip or a Grand Theft Me. The truth turns out to be both more prosaic and more appalling. He's a split personality, spawned off when Mari fell in love with a socially outcast female classmate and couldn't reconcile it with the pressure of keeping up appearances.
  • Nyotai-ka: Frustrated Dogged Nice Guy turned Internet G.I.R.L. Makoto wakes up female after a goddess turns him into an actual girl to teach him a lesson.
  • Ah! My Goddess: Happens to Skuld when she wakes up in the morning (due to the failure of the Yggdrasil system) turned into an adult much to her shock (and delight).

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Freaky Friday (2003), after the characters switch bodies.
  • Big
  • 13 Going on 30
  • Watermelon Man, where a white bigot wakes up one morning as guess what color?
  • Bruce Almighty: Grace Connelly, girlfriend of the title character, says to her boyfriend, while he eats the breast beckfast ever, that she woke up that morning and felt like her boobs were bigger. Considering her boyfriend had God's powers at the time, they were.

  • In the Animorphs book The Familiar, Jake wakes up as an adult in a Bad Future.
  • Elantris begins with Raoden waking up and feeling weird, only for his servant to run away screaming and the man himself looking in the mirror and discovering that he's turned into an Elantrian.
  • The origin of George Shrinks in the original books. In the animated series he was born that way.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, the magic surges that turn people into monsters seem to be more attracted to sleeping people, often resulting in this.
  • In Imogene's Antlers, the titular character wakes up one day with antlers growing from her head and she and her family have to spend the whole day getting used to them. When she wakes up the next day, her antlers are gone... but she now has a peacock tail.
  • 1980 children's book Louis the Fish by Arthur Yorinks (a book once featured on Reading Rainbow) is an unusual case where the eponymous human butcher's metamorphosis occurs at the tail-end of the story rather than the beginning of it; suddenly waking up as a giant salmon one morning after having a series of fish and meat-related hallucinations throughout the story. Given that Louis hated his life before said transformation, though (having lived an unpleasant life under his overbearing parents and forced into the butchery business against his will by them, of which his only escape from was studying and drawing fish), he welcomes this change with open arms (er, fins) and gladly lives on a fish.
  • The canonical example is probably Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, who wakes up one morning transformed into a giant insect.
  • In Orlando: A Biography, the title character's Gender Bender takes place in just such a way, with the notable difference that she is not in the slightest perturbed by it.
  • Things Not Seen is about an Invisible Main Character teenage boy who inexplicably wakes up like that one day. He actually doesn't notice until he's taken a shower in the dark and then looks in the mirror, at which point he returns to bed on the assumption that he's dreaming.
  • The Worst Witch: Mildred is suddenly woken by the sound of her bedroom door being slammed; to the discovery that her tabby cat has grown to the size of a mammoth, everything is her room is much bigger than usual, and she has amazing jumping powers. She then sees in the mirror that she has been turned into a frog.

    Live-Action TV 

  • The King Missile song "Detachable Penis" starts with the lead singer waking up to realize that his penis has disappeared. However, this a surprise for the audience, not for him: It's soon revealed that he can remove it at will and occasionally misplaces it.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • In A Midsummer Night's Dream the clown Bottom wakes up with a donkey head. He doesn't seem to notice in the slightest, and if he does, he takes it surprisingly well.

    Video Games 
  • The first two Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games start off with the main character, waking up in another world, having turned into a Pokemon, yet with total amnesia. All s/he knows is that s/he was a human before. This is averted in Gates To Infinity in which the character falls into the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon world from the sky.
    • The Pokedex entry for Kadabra in Fire Red states: "It happened one morning - a boy with extrasensory powers awoke in bed transformed into Kadabra."
  • In Them's Fightin' Herds's Book of Lore [1], Oleander the Unicorn says the trope name almost exactly when she tries to explain why her normally pure white coat has turned dark, outing her as an user of forbidden Dark Magic.
  • In Hometown Story, the village sentient scarecrow remembers being transformed into a scarecrow from something else. Once his initial form is revealed, he goes more into detail about how it happened and the story includes this trope.
  • In the world of ARMS, it's apparently possible to wake up one morning with Extendable Arms that you can use to fight in the eponymous tournaments with, which is the case for many of the playable characters. Why? How? Even in-universe, no one is sure and just cites this trope as the reason.
    Spring Man: I was shocked at first, but having arms like this is actually pretty rad.


    Web Original 
  • This is a suprisingly common form of transformation fetish on art hosting websites such as DeviantArt, with fictional (or photoshopped) characters waking up only to realize in shock they now have a mermaid tail or whatever else. As popular is the version with characters just accepting the change and going on their lives as usual, only to face Operator Incompatibility later on.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko allowed that avatar's bison to go free and seems set up for a Heel–Face Turn. His body suffers a dramatic fever in the process; after collapsing and spending days in bed, he wakes up, goes to the mirror, and discovers his scar gone, his hair shaven and covered in air-bending tattoos. Its just a nightmare, though, but the initial shock is in the spirit of this trope.
  • The premise of Gary the Rat, as an Amoral Attorney wakes up transformed into a giant rat.
  • This is the premise behind the French animated series Martin Morning (Martin Matin), as Once an Episode, he wakes up in his bed in the morning to find himself turned into a fantastic and/or legendary being and is forced to go through his day like this, ie: One day he's a wizard, the other day he's a pharaoh, and another day he's a vampire.