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Karmic Transformation

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A bear killer's just desserts.

"One of you?! You would make me one of you? Filthy! Slimy! Freaks!"
Cleopatra, Freaks

A Karmic Transformation is when a character is transformed into something they hate (or at least something they think they're superior to). It can be either temporarily or permanently. It is either way ironic and often Anvilicious. The most popular version of this is perhaps that of a white racist turning black, followed closely in popularity by sexists becoming the opposite sex because these are easy targets. Then there is "the hunter becomes the hunted" plotlines where the hunter is completely or partly transformed into the animal they were hunting.

Note that this isn't always a good idea, especially if the character won't learn a lesson from it. If the transformed character figures out some way to make the transformation Cursed with Awesome, they may use their new abilities to exact a very unpleasant revenge on whoever transformed them.

The transformation can be made doubly maddening when the transformation is inflicted to save their life, as an Emergency Transformation. If the character continues to hate whatever it is that they were turned into, the situation might smack of Boomerang Bigotry.

A variation is when the character hates members of another group because he envies them, and resents the fact that they (supposedly) have it better than he does. In this case, the transformation will likely teach two lessons: to be sensitive about other people's problems and to be happy with who you are.

Color Me Black is a sub-trope of this. If the transformation is self-inflicted and not loathsome, that might be Black Like Me. Many consider this to be a Cool and Unusual Punishment, especially to the Broken Angel. See also: Karmic Death, In Another Man's Shoes, Self-Perception Shapeshifting, and Beauty to Beast.


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  • The Capri Sun drink commercials featuring the Disrespectoids have each of the titular kids morphed as a penance for how they "disrespected" the Capri Sun pouch; for example, a girl who sat on a pouch is turned into a walking whoopee cushion.
    — "Respect the pouch! Respect it!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • Armitage III: The titular character is a Ridiculously Human Robot, and her partner is a policeman who hates robots and synthetic humans, but who slowly needs more and more cybernetic parts.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure!: This is what Inori finds her body-swapping situation with Tarte due to her fear of ferrets.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: The Homunculus Pride, who is known to detest humans, is turned into a tiny human fetus by Ed.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): Shou Tucker, a Mad Scientist who turned both his wife and daughter into chimeras, ends up turned into a chimera himself.
  • The Legend of Zelda (Akira Himekawa): Skull Kid turns Kafei into a child because Kafei (walking home from his bachelor party, late at night) turned down an invitation to play with the Skull Kid by saying "Kids like you should be in bed!"
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy: Emilia Ludowell is a pureblooded demon who is racist against humans and human/demon hybrids. When she makes the mistake of attempting to murder Anos Voldigoad's human mother and hybrid friends, the enraged Anos kills her, then immediately reincarnates her in the body of a hybrid. When she realizes what has happened to her, she is horrified and attempts suicide, but Anos informs her that he put a curse on her that she will reincarnate as a hybrid every time she dies, until the end of time.
  • Nyan Koi!: Junpei Kosaka is cursed to change into a cat because he accidentally knocked the head of a statue of a feline god. He treats cats badly because he's allergic to them, but to break the curse he needs to help 100 of them.
  • Origin: Spirits of the Past: Shunack, who not only caused the Forest to overrun the world but is attempting to destroy it, gets turned into a tree along with Agito. Agito gets better, but Shunack doesn't.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Ranma himself becoming a Sex Shifter is a debated example. He's a brash, macho guy who regularly insults his fiancee's femininity, but has his own masculinity undermined by constantly turning into a short, cute girl (and the various humiliations this leads to). However, readers are divided on how much sexism is an intended character flaw of Ranma's or just the manga showing its age.
    • Herb, who gets the same curse, fits much more clearly. He is the leader of a civilisation of truly horrid misogynists who shunned all contact with human women and kept up their numbers (and bred for strength) by using Jusenkyō to change animals into women. Their children were taken from their mothers and forbidden any contact with the opposite sex once they were weaned. Attempting to create a "test girl" in this way led to him getting a Nyanniichuan curse and then getting stuck in female form for added measure. He was able to remove the latter on-panel, and though not seen afterward, could probably access the Spring of Drowned Man to cure himself fully.
    • Anime-only Kin'nee is a hulking thug who loves to destroy things and mindlessly obeys the orders of his crazy cult because it means he gets to hurt people. His Spring of Drowned Priest curse turns him into a tiny, weak, pacifist, and devout Buddhist whenever he gets splashed with cold water.
  • Saiyuki: Chin Yisou deliberately turns Hakkai into a youkai literally seconds after he went on a revenge-driven rampage against the youkai who kidnapped and raped his sister. More specifically, a human who slays 1,000 youkai becomes a youkai, combining this trope with He Who Fights Monsters. In Hakkai's case, Chin Yisou happened to be #1,000.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Kaneki starts out as a normal young man with fairly typical attitudes who regards Ghouls as monsters. He isn't malicious so much as uninformed but soon finds himself transformed into a Half-Human Hybrid and forced to deal with life as a Ghoul. Initially, he insists that he's still human and not a "monster", which earns him both a verbal and physical beating from Touka. He quickly changes his tune and realizes he is perhaps the only person capable of seeing both sides of the conflict.
    • In the sequel, :Re, Aogiri has been kidnapping Ghoul Investigators for use in experiments to create another Half-Human Hybrid just like Kaneki. The choice of subjects seems to be one part practicality (most are Badass Normals), and one part this trope.
  • Uzumaki: When the snail people start to appear, the bully who torments the first one becomes a snail himself. After the teacher destroys the eggs produced by the first two snail people, he also transforms.
  • You Are Being Summoned, Azazel: This happens to anyone who betrays the contract with their contracted demon without the protection of a grimoire, like Okada and Himoi.

    Comic Books 
  • Animal Man: The final demise of Dr. Myers, a scientist who has been involved in animal experiments. He is turned into a gorilla and suffers the same fate.
  • Billy the Cat: After spending so much time tormenting animals, Billy ends up trapped in a cat's body.
  • Camelot 3000: Tristan raped a woman trying to protect the infant Mordred, and is subsequently reincarnated as a woman.
  • Captain America: In "Man and Wolf", Deadly Nightshade is injected with the same serum she's been using to turn people into werewolves to motivate her to cure all the others while she's still got her mind left.
  • Iznogoud: "The Doggy Flute" sees the title object used by a Chinese wizard to turn rude people into dogs, so Iznogoud buys it to use on the Caliph. He first transforms the wizard into a dog as practice, then returns to the palace, playing the melody all the while so he doesn't forget it and turning everyone he passes into a dog. But when he tries to perform in front of the Caliph, a competing flautist causes him to forget the melody, so he rounds up all the dogs he has transformed and plays the melody that undoes the transformation, one dog at a time (in each case, getting beaten up by the irate victims of his spell) until he finds the wizard — who delivers Laser-Guided Karma to Iznogoud by grabbing the flute and turning him into a dog.
  • Spawn: In issue # 30, Spawn turns the leader of The Klan into a black person, and then the leader gets lynched by the rest of the Klan members.
  • New Krypton: Lucy Lane uses magically-enhanced Powered Armor to attack Kryptonians, not caring if they are good like Superman and Supergirl -her main target- or bad like General Zod. In Who is Superwoman?, her super-suit gets destroyed during a battle, causing her body to get destroyed and reconstructed as a Kryptonian/human hybrid. This would be awesome, but her father and former allies now hate Lucy or regard her as a guinea pig.
  • X-Men:
    • House of M has Magneto becoming human, with other characters pointing out that he's now been turned into something he considers worthless.
    • Ultimate Marvel has a similar thing. Again it's Magneto, but it's only a mental transformation.
    • And Magneto again in Ultimatum Turns out that Ultimate Marvel mutants are all genetic experiments caused by a form of Super Soldier Serum. Magneto's as human as most others.
  • Youngblood (Image Comics): In a Very Special Issuenote  of the 90s spinoff Bloodpool, the titular team attends a concert that's attacked by a disgruntled rock band pissed that the club rejected their act in favor of a trio of black songstresses. After their inevitable defeat, the molecule-manipulating hero Fusion uses his powers to make them "black".

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County: This was the plan Oliver Wendell Jones had, upon learning about apartheid in Africa. He invented a pigment-changing camera, which basically temporarily turned white people black. He tried to send Cutter John with it to Washington DC to use it on the representative from that region (who would have been white), but it doesn't pan out because Cutter John never actually makes it there. When the camera is tested on Steve Dallas, it's hinted that he thinks he became black as karma for various racial slurs he's spouted over the years. He then becomes convinced he's in an episode of The Twilight Zone and starts looking for Rod Serling in the bushes.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Alan Jonah performs horrific experiments on disposable vagrants, essentially mutating them into mindless, part-Ghidorah zombies. After falling under the severed Ghidorah head's influence, Jonah himself ends up getting turned into the same kind of creature and sharing in his victims' fate.
  • All Because of Uncle Gary: Abigail’s transphobic Girl Posse are eventually transformed into boys by Uncle Gary’s Imperfect Ritual.
  • Android Scam: A teenager who is nicknamed Android due to having a prosthetic leg lies to Jenny about being a robot so that she'll protect him from bullies. Later he gets infected with Cluster nano-probes that consume him from the inside out and turn him into the real deal. While his change frightens him and his family at first, he learns to accept his new biology and is happy to know Jenny, someone who understands what it's like to be a machine.
  • The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum: This happens to Verity Carter from the Last Train From Oblivion side story. She was a member of the Human Liberation Front, who are little more than Right Wing Militia Fanatics with a genocidal mindset towards all ponies, regardless of whether they're PHL defectors or not. While it's still not known just how it happened, Verity was turned into a pony but still managed to retain her personality and free will (unlike the newfoals, who are completely mind raped into becoming unquestioning machines that follow the Solar Tyrant's every command). Naturally, the HLF turned against her for becoming "one of the enemy" (though she doesn't hold it against them that much). Being turned into a pony has given her quite a bit of perspective, even though she still shares her unit's anti-pony views.
  • Fall of Equestria: Equestria Stands: This becomes the ultimate fate of the caribou king Dainn. After invading Equestria and corrupting a majority of the ponies, with all of the mares forced into sex slavery, Tirek turns Dainn into a female as punishment for his crimes. And not just that, but Dainn's turned into a caricature of an idealized female with a massive bosom and Hartman Hips that just look downright freakish and difficult to handle. Suffice to say it's a perfect cherry to top off the Humiliation Conga he suffers through at the story's end.
  • Family Guy Fanon: In the series, Francis usually calls his son Peter a fat stinkin' drunk both in playful and insult manners. However, after accidently falling into a vat of lard during a factory tour at the Quahog Lard Factory in "A Star is Born... Kind Of", Francis himself ends up becoming as fat as Peter and gets the mockery of the family the same way he did to Peter. He does revert to his original weight at the end, but it still stands.
  • The Heart Trilogy: Smaug has always considered himself superior to humans and other non-dragons, but, at the end of the first story, his human lover Kathryn unwittingly turns him into a human while saving him from certain death. He finds himself vastly less formidable in this new form he loathes, only a select few people know his real identity as the Dragon Dread, and his stolen treasure is back in the hands of dwarves while he can do nothing about it even after he learns to shift between his dragon and human forms. Even his first transformation back into a dragon is a full-blown Body Horror procedure since it's triggered by the draconic urges he still wishes to pursue, and he once again needs to be rescued from certain death by Kathryn so that he can regain his true form.
  • The Karma Circle: Invader WHO?: Zim wakes up one day to find that his robots and lab have all disappeared, the wig and contacts of his Paper-Thin Disguise have seemingly become real hair and eyes, and his PAK has apparently disappeared but without leaving him dying, which altogether leaves him as essentially the normal human child with a skin condition he's always claimed to be. This is revealed to be the result of a pair of aliens forcibly transforming him as punishment for his crimes, and, with Dib and Gaz (the only ones in the know) playing along with the story that Zim being an alien is just a game they played that Zim took too seriously, Zim is left in the position that Dib has long been in. Namely, insisting that he's an alien, but everyone writing him off as crazy.
  • Knows if You've Been Naughty: Gaz shows some particularly nasty behavior on Christmas Eve, beating up a man desperate to buy her new Game Slave off her for his own kid. As a result of this, Krampus assaults her and abducts her to the North Pole, where she's transformed and brainwashed into a helpful elf. She's then put to work making toys for nicer children for the rest of her life.
  • Prayers to Broken Stone: Thorin's lust for gold causes him to start slowly transforming into a dragon. He learns later on that this is the result of a greater curse inflicted on his bloodline by an ancient dwarven clan as punishment for his ancestors not helping them in their time of need; since the clan were forced to resort to letting evil forces painfully transform them into dragons to survive, they decided that it would be fitting for the dwarves who refused to help them to suffer the same fate if they came into contact with dragon gold for too long.
  • Ranma ½: The Abridged Chronicles: Ryōga hates his curse even more, given that the creators made him Jewish, and pigs are the most commonly-known un-kosher animals. Of course, that doesn't stop him from taking advantage of the benefits of being a cute little piggy. (Human meat ain't kosher either.)
  • Star Wars: Galactic Folklore and Mythology: An Arcona myth tells of a man who, during a famine, murdered and cannibalized his own son. When he woke up the next day, he found that he had been transformed into a figure of living sugary dough; after losing several body parts to starving neighbors and wild animals, the transformed cannibal ultimately devoured himself.

    Films — Animation 
  • Variant: In The Ant Bully, a child who'd taken out his frustrations on ants is reduced to the size of one, and has to learn to live among them. While he only shrank to ant-size rather than becoming one, the karmic elements of this trope still apply.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, a spoiled prince turns an old woman away for being ugly. The woman then reveals herself to be a beautiful enchantress. Since the Prince judged her for being ugly, she turns him into a hideous beast.
  • Brave: The legend implies Mor'du wasn't the best person, so his transformation could be considered karmic retribution. If the spell is the same one Merida used, it's clear the spell is a karmic response to the pride/ego of the requester — only upon "mending the bond broken by pride" can the spell be reversed. Since Mor'du killed his brothers, mending the bond wasn't possible for him, so his curse stuck.
  • In Brother Bear, Kenai obsessively hunts down and kills the bear he believes is responsible for killing his brother Sitka. In doing so, he orphans the bear's cub. So the spirits of his tribe turn him into a bear and see to it that he has to confront the consequences of his actions.
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, bratty Inca Emperor Kuzco arrogantly wants to destroy the home of a llama herder named Pacha to build his own personal waterpark, causing all the farmers to be homeless and put out of business. Later that night at dinner, a botched assassination attempt turns Kuzco into an animal... guess what it is? Though kind of ironic considering his llama form was entirely coincidental.
  • In Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus Artemis transforms Gabrielle into an animal to force Xena to help the gods. Later on, Hera transforms her into an animal, too.
  • In The Incredibles, it was Mr. Incredible's actions that heralded the temporary end of the superhero age because of unwanted collateral damage and injury that drew public disfavor. In an ironic twist, he is given the civilian job of an insurance claims adjuster.
  • There's a big transformation, reflecting the townspeople's greed, at the end of Jiri Barta's stop-motion version of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
  • Ratatouille: Metaphorically speaking. Skinner hates rats (especially Rémy), but when Linguini inherits the restaurant and replaces him as the new head chef, Skinner gets banned from the restaurant and treated by his former employees as if he were a rat too.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Evil Queen's jealousy of Snow White's beauty surpassing her own ultimately leads her to disguise herself as an old peddler with a magic potion. Said-magic potion physically transforms her into an ugly Wicked Witch for the remainder of the film. Even though it's implied that the Queen has a spell that could reverse the transformation, she never got the chance because she ends up falling to her death when attempting to escape the enraged Dwarfs. Thus she dies as the ugliest of them all, a fitting end for one so obsessed with her looks.
  • The 1988 Hungarian cartoon Willy the Sparrow is about a boy who's turned into a sparrow by the Sparrow Guardian after she discovers he enjoys shooting sparrows for fun.
  • In Wolfwalkers, Robyn initially wants to hunt wolves like her father Bill, but she ends up becoming a Wolfwalker after accidentally being bitten by one. Later on, Bill becomes a Wolfwalker as well.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the live-action version The Adventures of Pinocchio:
    • Lorenzini (Udo Kier) is kicked by Donkey!Lampwick into the fountain that causes wayward boys to transform into jackasses, and swallows too much of the water. He leaps off a cliff into the sea, and becomes Monstro the whale.
    • After finally becoming a real boy, Pinocchio (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) tricks Volpe and Felinet (Rob Schneider and Bebe Neuwirth) into drinking from the same fountain. They turn into a Fox and a Cat.
    • While we're on the subject, Pinocchio's wish to become a real boy is only granted by learning to do the right thing and be a good person, essentially being a positive version of this trope.
  • In the French film Agathe Cléry, the eponymous racist white skin care business owner played by Valérie Lemercier suddenly becomes black.
  • Avatar: The Way of Water: Quaritch, the main villain from Avatar, is brought back to life as a Na'vi Recombinant permanently (since his human body has long decayed), a fitting fate for a ruthless and proud human colonel who looked down upon Na'vi as savages and destroyed their homes. And while he does enjoy the benefits that come with the new body, it does force him to see and appreciate what Pandora has to offer beyond his short-sighted perspective.
  • Cleo Leo: Leo takes advantage of women, treating them as disposable sex toys. He is reincarnated as a woman himself. (twice)
  • In Constantine (2005), Gabriel, a Knight Templar angel who disliked humans and wanted to help the demon Mammon wage war against them, is forced to live as a human for her sins.
  • The main plot of District 9 involves our asshole protagonist Wikus being slowly transformed into a "prawn" — but as he becomes less physically human, he becomes a far better man.
  • At the end of the second Dragonheart movie, the Big Bad reveals that it happened to him years ago: He was turned into a human. Of course, he didn't learn the lesson, since he's still the villain...
  • In Epic Movie (2007), a parody of Mystique seems to be a rather popular woman in school and makes fun of people like Peter, who is considered a loser. Later, when she decides to seduce and have sex with Peter, due to him turning out to be a king, she lets him request what she should shapeshift before they have sex. Despite starting out with rather normal requests like bigger breasts and a larger ass, he ends up demanding a monobrow and for her to transform into an obese woman with flabby "grandma arms" before he pulls her down to have sex with him, essentially turning her into a rather unattractive (though not to Peter) loser herself.
  • In The Fly II, Bartok, who was experimenting on a mutated dog that Martin befriended, is forced to absorb Martin's fly DNA and becomes a... thing. Then we see it being kept in the same pit the dog was kept in.
  • Freaked: The entire board of the EES (Everything Except Shoes) Corporation are sprayed with the mutation-causing fertilizer they wanted to use on every person in the world, and gets turned into a single giant mutant fleshy shoe. Yes, it's that kind of movie.
  • In Freaks, Cleopatra, the beautiful trapeze artist, attempts to seduce one of the titular freaks for his money and murder him. His fellow sideshow performers mutilate her into a "Chicken Woman" as punishment, making her one of the "disgusting, slimy freaks" she had sneered at.
  • Destro from GI Joe The Rise Of Cobra. After being badly burned, he was forced to have a face of metal, just like his ancestor. Though this is nanotech metal and not actual metal.
  • The film Goodbye Charlie has a womanizing male chauvinist die and come back as a woman.
  • The film The Hot Chick has the Alpha Bitch main character make fun of a shabby-looking guy (who turns out to be a criminal), only to find herself body-swapped with him.
  • The teenagers in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle but particularly Bethany. Bethany is a self-centered popular girl who primarily only cares about her looks. When she's sucked into the game she's transformed into an overweight, middle-aged man (in the form of Jack Black).
  • The Pedro Almodóvar thriller La piel que habito is about this trope; a surgeon kidnaps his daughter's rapist (the daughter was Driven to Suicide by that) and surgically turns him into a physical double of his dead wife.
  • In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Chairman wants the Blue Monkey diamond, a diamond that can turn people into monkeys, to change the entire world into monkeys to have them work as ACME slaves. Guess what he is turned into in the end.
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Debbie Stevens is a tough girl with a fear of insects. Freddy kills her by trapping her in a roach motel, turning her into a cockroach, and crushing her.
  • From Nine Lives (2016): Tom, the main character, hates cats. Guess what he turns into?
    Perkins: It's the not the end of the world, Tom. You're a cat.
    Tom: But I hate cats.
    Perkins: That's what makes this so perfect.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Davy Jones abandoned his duty to guide lost souls as captain of the Flying Dutchman. As a result, his body gradually transformed from a normal man to a blend of crab and octopus, as did his ship and crew.
  • Sam: After being rude and disrespectful about women to the proprietor of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday, He-Man Woman Hater Sam wakes up the next morning and discovers that he has become a woman.
  • The Sex Trip: Eddie literally wrote the book on how to manipulate and take advantage of women, then is transformed into a woman himself.
  • Sorry to Bother You's notorious plot twist is a Double Subversion. Like an inverted Pinocchio, workers of the evil corporation WorryFree are little more than overworked slaves, eventually transforming into literal workhorses called equisapiens. The Corrupt Corporate Executive tries to convince the protagonist Cassius "Cash" Green to represent them as a sort of equisapien Martin Luther King Jr. after he abandoned his friends and fellow workers to climb up the corporate ladder. However, he refuses to go with this plan and instead frees the equisapiens, thus avoiding the transformation...until the very end of the movie where the transformation suddenly begins when everything seemed calm and he was having sex with his girlfriend. Aside from the main story dealing Cash karma in this way, there's also a secondary aspect where, upon meeting the equisapiens, he talks to them in a condescending, slow tone, implying he subconsciously sees them as less than human. This causes the equisapiens to tell him to knock it off because they can still speak and hear normally. Becoming an equisapien himself makes Cash more sympathetic to their condition and The Stinger has him lead a raid on their boss's home.
  • Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 has a machine that transforms a person into their true form. Bill Biscane uses it and turns into a baby, the thing he hated the most.
  • Switch (1991): Steve disliked women in general and took avantage of them, only to be transformed into one himself.
  • Trading Places: Louis Winthorpe, a snobby blue blood investment banker, gets turned into a poor man through a bet by his employers, the Duke Brothers. When he finds out about it from Billy Ray Valentine, who was also being manipulated, Winthorpe initially plans for a shooting spree until Billy Ray tells him "the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people." So instead, they trick the Duke Brothers into making bad investments through their own plan, which drives the Dukes into bankruptcy.
  • In the first segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, William Connor, after making hateful racial remarks in a bar towards Jews, African-Americans, and Asians is transformed into a Jew, African-American, and Vietnamese person. (He doesn't actually transform and the same actor appears throughout, but he appears as minorities to his different tormentors.) He then learns what it is like to be persecuted.
  • This is the central premise of Watermelon Man, which is unusual in that the actor playing the white bigot was Godfrey Cambridge, a black actor, made up to look white.
  • Since the titular genie of Wishmaster takes the jerkass title and cranks it until the dial falls off, this is his favorite form of Forced Transformation, because it makes it suck that much more. One wish that he granted was an extremely vain sales clerk who wanted to be young and beautiful forever and ended up a mannequin. Who was still completely sentient.
  • It is implied in The Movie of Wizards of Waverly Place that Giselle's transformation into a bird was a punishment for her misusing her powers.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • In X-Men Senator Kelly hates mutants, but is transformed by Magneto into one. The transformation ultimately kills him. Branching off of that, Magneto's master plan for this film is to transform the human dignitaries at a summit on Ellis Island to make them identify more with mutants.
    • In X-Men: The Last Stand, this is turned around on Magneto, with the humans developing a "cure" and Magneto being robbed of his mutant powers. Though the final scene reveals that the cure is already starting to fail, as he's able to make a metal chess piece move slightly.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Hank's transformation into Beast is tragic, but he brought it on himself. He makes it a little more karmic by being a complete asshole to Raven just before using it. She tells him he's perfect just the way he is and doesn't need the "cure," and he responds with:
      Hank: It behooves me to tell you that even if we save the world tomorrow, and mutants are accepted into society, my feet and your natural blue form will never be deemed beautiful.
      (Raven shifts back to her human-looking morph.)
      Hank: You look beautiful now.
    Bonus points for his mutation being relatively minor before it becomes much more pronounced after taking the serum. It doesn't help that he uses it on himself as the first test subject, without even considering that it might turn out wrong. Although to be fair, it's not exactly like there's a big potential pool of test subjects for something like this.

  • Trapped in the Circus of Fear features an evil ringmistress who runs a Circus of Fear (like the title says), who delights in abducting children and turning them into sideshow freaks to be added to her collection. In one of the good endings, you managed to steal her magical amulet which grants her transformation powers, and turns her into a chimpanzee.

  • In Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony, Demon warlord Leon Abbot, a firm believer in Might Makes Right, has his mind transferred into the body of a guinea pig.
  • Book of Imaginary Beings: Literally, in this case. There once lived a monk who liked to insult people by calling them things like "dog-head", "horse-head", "monkey-head" and so on when they made a mistake. When he died, his life’s accumulation of karma from these insults caused him to come back as a monstrous fish with a hundred animal heads.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace is changed into a dragon. The narration justifies this by stating that it was because he was resting on a dragon's hoard, thinking dragonish thoughts. He gets better thanks to Aslan. C. S. Lewis was drawing on Norse mythology for that one — Fafnir the dragon, formerly a man or dwarf, and later slain by Sigurd.
    • Rabadash the Ridiculous, who was turned into a donkey by Aslan. He stays human as long as he's in his capital, which forces him to abandon his dreams of conquest and become a Reasonable Authority Figure instead.
  • A couple of examples in Discworld — Mr. Pounder, the ratcatcher in Maskerade, gets reincarnated as a rat, for example. Not to mention the New Firm in The Truth. Mr. Pin gets reincarnated on a potato after killing his partner to save himself from a fire he started, with the explanation, "I wasn't born to fry!" Said potato gets fried. It makes more sense when you read it.
  • The 1891 novel Doctor Huguet by Ignatius L. Donnelly has the title character, an affluent white Southerner, wake up one morning to find he's been turned into a Negro called Sam Johnsing.
  • Double Star is about a Martian-phobic guy who becomes the body double and later, permanent replacement after complications of a kidnapping/poisoning for an Earthling diplomat.
  • In Empire State by Colin Bateman, the Klansman villain disguises himself as a black man, but gets struck by lightning and the makeup gets fused to his skin.
  • Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles:
    • In Dealing With Dragons, the dragon Woraug spontaneously turns into a toad after his plans to steal the throne by conspiring with wizards fall apart. Kazul explains that that's what happens when a dragon stops acting like a dragon.
    • In Calling on Dragons, the rather ridiculous Arona Vamist, who had made a career out of chastising the magically-inclined for not being "traditional" enough, was turned into a seven-foot, blue, perpetually hovering donkey with wings, an accumulated Forced Transformation picked up by a rather stupid rabbit named Killer the heroes had been traveling with.
  • In the stage play Goodbye Charlie, Charlie had a low opinion of women, seeing them as objects, yet is transformed into a woman himself.
  • An online supplement to Harry Potter gives us a Revenge by Proxy example. After Lyall Lupin describes werewolves as "soulless, evil, deserving of nothing but death," the werewolf Fenrir Greyback—an infamously savage Fully-Embraced Fiend—bites Lyall's son Remus, infecting the poor boy with The Virus. The silver lining is that raising a werewolf leads Lyall to change his views and to care for his son as best he can. This supportive upbringing leads Remus to grow into the lycanthropic version of a Token Heroic Orc.
  • In the Oz book The Lost Princess of Oz, Ugu the Shoemaker attempts to conquer Oz, and Dorothy punishes him by transforming him into a dove. She later offers to return him to normal, but by then he prefers his new form.
  • In Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger, a family of hunting enthusiasts grow wings, shrink to the size of small birds, and are forced to live in a nest in a tree while a family of anthropomorphic ducks move into their house.
  • Inverted by the Evilutionary Biologists in Jack Chalker's The Moreau Factor (note the title) who got transformed into Half Human Hybrids using their own technology before their collective Face–Heel Turn. Their shady employers' attempt to keep them under permanent control by making them unable to leave ended up backfiring spectacularly by giving them nothing to lose instead.
  • My Lady Jane features this twice; the prologue briefly recounts an alternate history of England in which King Henry VIII repealed many laws persecuting Eðians—people with the hereditary ability to turn into animals—after transforming into a lion in front of his entire court. His daughter Mary openly despises Eðians in spite of her own heritage. After maneuvering herself onto the throne, her first act is to have her cousin Jane and Jane's husband—both Eðians—arrested and sentenced to burning at the stake. When she's dethroned at the climax, however, she flies into a rage and transforms into an ass, revealing that she had latent Eðian abilities all along. It's noted that, unlike most Eðians, she never figured out how to change back.
  • This was the rationale behind Pleasure Island turning children into donkeys in Pinocchio. The lesson was that children who ignore their responsibility to education, virtue, and work will grow into "jackasses" whose only options force them into manual labor for the rest of their life.
  • Oscar Wilde's short story The Star Child features a very beautiful but vain child who insults and turns away a beggar woman for her ugliness, calling her an adder and a toad. The next day, he discovers that he's transformed into an ugly creature resembling an adder and a toad.
  • In Swan Song, after a nuclear war many survivors wind up with a condition called Job's Mask, where growths overtake their face where they were injured in the bombings. Once these growths fall off, they leave the person more attractive than they were before — if they're good people. The Job's Mask is said to bring forward the "true face", meaning the bad guys who get them wind up hideous (and in some cases monstrous) when they fall off.
  • Features in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, including one instance where a jackass Prince becomes... well, guess.
  • In The Tower and the Fox Calatians, the setting's magically-created Beast Men, are frequent targets of Fantastic Racism by humans. In the second book, Farley, one of the more violent bigots, loses control of a demon that transforms him into a Calatian, specifically a marmot.
  • In The Wheel of Time
    • Forsaken Balthamel was quite the womanizer. When he has to resurrected later, he is brought back with the new name of Aran'gar. Oh, and he's also now a beautiful woman
    • Also for Graendal. She's one of the beautiful women in the world and prides herself on it. After being killed for her repeated failures and betrayals, she is brought back as a hideous old woman.
  • In The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, a tomte (a small magical creature in Swedish folklore resembling a gnome or an elf) turns Nils into a small tomte who understands animal talk, so that he can learn a lesson to be more selfless and respectful toward others, especially animals.
  • Theodore R Cogswell's "You Know Willie": Willie is a local Klan leader who's just been acquitted of murdering a black man, and a black witch has cursed him, saying that the victim will come back at the first full moon. He stays up with his friends on that night, and they convince him to go to sleep cause they're on watch. He does, and come the moon, the victim does come back... in the form of Willie physically turning into him...while he's in bed with his white wife, and his armed Klan buddies are just downstairs. They kill the invading black man.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • After Raina finally induces her terrigenesis, she's horrified to discover that her power, rather than a beautiful and useful ability, involves her transformation into a spike-covered monster. When she confronts Cal/Mr. Hyde for answers, he lampshades this trope and rather bluntly tells Raina that she got exactly what she deserved.
    • Likewise, in Season 4, Shockley, a key member of a group who despises Inhumans, believes a senator might be one because her brother was. He thus breaks a Terrigen crystal in front of them...only for Shockley to be the one to transform into an Inhuman. The senator actually laughs about it... until it turns out Shockley's power is to transform himself into a living bomb who blows the senator to pieces.
  • In the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale of the Hunted", an Egomaniac Hunter gets turned into a wolf and hunted down by her own father (who was unaware of the transformation and thought the "wolf" had killed her). She manages to survive and get changed back, with a newfound respect for life and nature.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Cordelia, after her boyfriend Xander made out with Willow (they were in a near-death situation), makes an impulsive wish which summons Anya, a demon who represents all scorned women and grants wishes. Anya hates men, everything about men, and appears to Cordelia in the form of a teenage girl. The wish, much to Cordelia's horror, changes history and basically causes everything to go hell (which delights Anya). After the wish is undone, Anya loses her powers and is permanently trapped in the form of a teenager, with all that comes with it. Including liking boys, no matter how hard she tries to resist.
    • During a "What Do They Fear?" Episode in Season 1, Buffy is buried alive by the Master and transformed into a vampire. It only lasts for the episode. The fear of becoming a vampire was actually Giles' worry of what may become of his Slayer, but it still counts, since she spends her nights slaughtering them.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Ghost Light", an anti-evolutionist Victorian clergyman is turned into a missing link-style apeman (complete with a banana). Similarly, Smith gets devolved by Control at the end.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", the supremacist Daleks have resorted to using the DNA of hated humans in order to keep their species surviving.
    • In "Planet of the Ood", Mr. Halpen, the head of the company which enslaves and lobotomizes the Ood, is himself turned into one.
    • The Master's Yana and Harold Saxon incarnations were blatantly sexist and disparaging towards women; the latter eventually regenerates into a woman, dubbed as "Missy". The trope is subverted, however, as Missy has no issues with being a woman, and happily identifies as one.
  • A humorous example in an episode of Full House was when Uncle Jesse refused to have any part in Michelle's circus-themed birthday party because he hates clowns. Then he accidentally gets himself and Michelle locked in a service station so that she misses her party, and is forced to cheer her up by putting a funnel on his head to resemble a pointy hat and applying black grease to his nose and cheeks to make himself look like a (dirty) clown. Ultimately a subversion, since the experience doesn't encourage Jesse to take a more positive view toward clowns.
    Michelle: Uncle Jesse was a clown!
    Danny: Uncle Jesse was a clown? Jess, you hate clowns!
    Jesse: More than ever.
  • Goodbye Charlie: Charlie had a low opinion of women, seeing them as objects, yet is transformed into a woman himself.
  • Goosebumps (1995):
    • "Be Careful What You Wish For" has a teen dealing with a Literal Genie situation. She has three wishes, but at the end, she gives up and wishes someone else had found the wish-granting Gypsy. Which in turn is the local Alpha Bitch who wishes to be beautiful and adored forever. In which she turns into a statue in the middle of the park, with people commenting on her beauty.
    • In "Chillogy", Jessica uses her lemonade stand in Karlsville to try to scam the townsfolk by holding back her supply to drive up the demand. When this is revealed and she's called a "greedy little pig", she turns into a Pig Girl.
  • A racist in one episode of M*A*S*H has his skin stained darker and is fed watermelon by the doctors, who say it's because his blood transfusion came from a black man.
  • While the Mission: Impossible team attempts to free an anti-apartheid resistance leader in the episode "Kitara", they use drugs to temporarily turn a white supremacist African governor's skin black, and more drugs to give him false memories of a black grandfather. Said governor is immediately suspected to actually be the resistance leader, and the team springs the real one during this diversion.
  • Mork & Mindy: Mork was inflicting this punishment on a group of racists who had been terrorising Mindy because she's Polish. view here
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • The episode "Tribunal" has one of the best examples. An old Nazi war criminal who escaped justice is taken as an old man back through time and put in the camp he ran, now in the outfit of a prisoner. Combining this with Karmic Death he is then shortly executed by his past self as just another worthless Jew.
    • The episode "The Grell" has a guy who was racist against aliens turned into one. He learns his lesson and treats them with compassion in the end.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina turns Libby into a geek. At first, it seems to work, as Libby's old Girl Posse turns on her and she has nowhere to go but the other geeks. Then it backfires spectacularly, as Libby leads them to rule the school with an iron fist and mercilessly mock other students for not being geeky enough.
  • It happens to the Omnipotent Q in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode when he is punished by being turned into a human. Admittedly, it was his own choice. (Although he had only "a split second" to decide, that could be forever to a Q.) Nor does Q hate humans. He certainly, however, did need to understand them a little better. Conveniently, Q being turned human results in him appearing exactly as he did before.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager Janeway and Seven of Nine are abducted by an alien whose race was destroyed by the Borg. In revenge against the crew for their Enemy Mine situation with the Borg a while back, he plans to direct them into Borg space so they'll all be assimilated. Janeway and Seven escape, but the alien does not.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Inverted. At the end of the show, when the tide of the war finally turned against the Dominion, the disease affecting the Changelings finally destroys the female shapeshifter's ability to shapeshift, locking her into a single form. Not only does she have to witness the defeat of everything her people stood for, but she has to do it in the form of the creature her people most loath: a solid.
    • Inverted earlier in the show: other Changelings lock Odo in a human form because he cared too much about humans.
  • In a Season 3 episode of Supernatural, Sam and Dean are being chased by Gordon Walker, a Well-Intentioned Extremist hunter who specializes in vampires, but also hunts demons. Gordon wants to kill Sam to stop him from leading a demon army. Sam and Dean happen to be hunting vampires in that episode, and Gordon gets kidnapped and turned into a vampire, with Sam decapitating him at the end of the episode. Interestingly, after he transformed, Gordon planned to allow himself to be killed after killing Sam.
  • In That's So Raven, vegetarian Chelsea feels guilty after accidentally eating a hamburger and starts wearing a button with a cow's face on it, Raven (whose burger it was that Chelsea ate), tells Chelsea she's overreacting. However, they end up becoming what they eat, as the button disrupts a magic spell and starts turning them into cows.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959)
  • At the end of WandaVision, this is how Wanda defeats the Big Bad: by forcing her to become Agnes the Nosy Neighbor, the cover identity she took on within Westview as she attempted to steal Wanda's power, for real. Given how everybody else in Westview reacted to Wanda once they were freed from her spell, this is portrayed as a Fate Worse than Death, and the villain knows it.
  • In one Whose Line Is It Anyway?, we had a look into the dreams of Colin Mochrie. After Greg Proops did a skit involving him massaging his hair, Colin looked upset since this is the umpteenth time he's been the subject of a bald joke. Ryan has the next one be of himself, Wayne and Greg, bald and screaming.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: In "Beware Wolf", Justin starts dating a werewolf girl he met on Wiz-Face and repeatedly ignores his family's warnings about the dangers of trusting people he meets online. It wasn't until he kissed her and became a werewolf himself that he realized his family was right all along.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Ovid's Metamorphoses is an entire book of mythological Greco-Roman fables devoted to transformation stories, many of them karmic in nature—making this trope Older Than Feudalism.
    • Lycaon was a tyrannical and cannibalistic king of Arcadia who tested the divinity of a disguised Zeus by serving him human flesh. Zeus turned him into a wolf, but Lycaon retained some of his human features. His name is the origin of the word lycanthrope.
    • Actaeon was a hunter who had the extreme misfortune of coming across Artemis bathing and ogled her. She turned him into a stag so his own hounds would tear him apart.
    • There's also the story of the prophet Tiresias, whom the gods transformed into a woman for killing a copulating female snake (supposedly because he found the act of mating repulsive). An additional element, not mentioned by Ovid, makes the punishment especially karmic: during the seven years he spent as a woman (before he found a way of reversing the process), Tiresias became a well-renowned prostitute.
  • The title Metamorphoses was also used a few centuries later by Antoninus Liberalis for a collection of story summaries. It doesn't just have the same theme of transformation as Ovid's same-named work, many are effectively Compressed Adaptations of the same stories with different character names, though often remixed in ways not depicted in any other known source. For instance, Actaeon's equivalent is a Cretan boy named Siproites, who saw Artemis' naked body and was subsequently gender bent into a girl, instead of being killed.
  • A spectacular case of Karmic Transformation happens in Celtic Mythology to Gilfaethwy and his brother Gwydion after they rape their Uncle Math Mathonwy's handmaiden, somehow forgetting their uncle is a powerful wizard. After Math marries his handmaiden to preserve her honor, he punishes his nephews thusly: They're transformed into a breeding couple of three different animals (deer, boar, and wolves) for a year each. The resulting child of each species are adopted and turned into humans by Math and his wife.

  • Balrasht the forest giant gets hit by this in The Fallen Gods. In order to punish him for trying to break into the house of someone smaller than him, Chandrathar the wizard curses Balrasht to be incredibly small.

  • In the musical Finian's Rainbow a racist white senator is turned black. Thanks to laws penned by himself, he finds he has "no rights in this state — not even the right to stay black. Interestingly, the transformation doesn't do much to improve his racist views. A leprechaun notices this and uses magic to make him more open-minded. While this does make him much more tolerant, the fact that he's black means he doesn't have the power to defend the people of Rainbow Valley anymore.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Absolutely endemic to Ravenloft.
    • One of the sample paths of corruption for misbehaving player characters was to transform from a thuggish human into a towering ogre, at which point your character has fallen so far into corruption the DM takes him away from you.
    • Then you have Twisting in The Carnival, where unprotected members eventually get physically warped to reflect their inner nature (for example a very shy girl becomes transparent, and an agent for a long-extending secret police has her arms replaced with tentacles). Can be Cursed with Awesome or Blessed with Suck depending on the specific twisting.
    • Alfred Timothy, the natural-born werewolf darklord of Verbrek, is described in the Arthaus 3E products as having been cursed to revert to his human form if he ever lets himself get carried away by his ferocious lupine passions. A frail, wimpy-looking human form, of exactly the sort his lycanthropic followers would consider an easy kill.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has a term for this: Cleopatras (see Film entry above). Cleopatras are former models, movie stars, or just insufferably vain people who are targeted and embraced into the Nosferatu clan for no good reason than because they really like to Break the Haughty. This goes all the way back to the Clan's founder. According to Kindred legend, Absimiliard was a hunter who was chosen by his sire both for his incredible prowess and unearthly beauty. Depending on the version of the story, he killed her either because the Embrace left him with a minor scar that would never heal, or because becoming a vampire alienated him from nature. Caine's response to this was to turn him into an unearthly wretch.
  • In Pathfinder the qlippoth hate demons, who have taken control of the Abyss from them, and mortal life, because their sins spawn demons, and seek to destroy both. Several have been transformed into demons themselves; Dagon was a mindless beast who devoured so much mortal and demon life it infected his essence, and while immensely evil has given up his vendetta and enjoys his new intelligence, while Cyth-V'sug set himself up as a god to increase his power but found the desires of his mortal worshippers changing him, and now hates mortals, demons, and himself. Jubilex was also mindless but didn't gain a mind as a result of his transformation, and may not have noticed it happened.

    • Pridak is a quintessential example. As an arrogant would-be-conqueror who is essentially the epitome of Pride, he couldn't understand how "lesser beings" could live with hideous appearances... and, of course, gets transformed into a monstrous shark-like creature after being defeated in his conquest attempt and banished to the Pit when the prison is destroyed and the mutagenic water transforms him and his fellow prisoners. He repeatedly mentions he would have preferred to die on that day, but he makes the most of it by commanding armies of sharks and being a "king of the sea".
    • The character Nidhiki was a guy who betrayed his fellow heroes and suffered from insectophobia. He defected to a band of mercenaries who were less than merry and was mutated into an insectoid monster shortly thereafter to make sure he would never be able to leave and become a hero elsewhere. The transformation still left him a very large, physically strong beast with all his previous intelligence and a grudge against his old comrades; however, it was why they kept him as a member and didn't just kill him there.
    • Metus counts, too. After betraying his own people to the enemy, he got transformed into what he really was (according to Mata Nui): a snake. Why they still let him roam freely a mystery, though, as he still proved to be a threat this way.

    Video Games 
  • In the Age of Empires II Saladin campaign, the narrator remarks that the Crusaders invaded the Holy Land with stories that the Saracens were a bloodthirsty and ferocious people. At the beginning of the campaign the Saracen leaders, particularly Saladin are shown as being wise, cultured, and benevolent. By the end of the campaign, they have become as violent and bloodthirsty as the crusaders they defended against. May also be Truth in Television depending on your view of the crusades.
  • Most of the bosses fought in Bloodborne were members of the Healing Church who succumbed to the Scourge of Beasts after imbibing Old Blood and transformed into horrifying monsters as a result. Considering that the scourge was spread in their attempts to communicate with, and ascend to the level of, Eldritch Abominations they definitely deserve it.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest VII: Deathpal/Hackrobat. After transforming all of the humans in Orph/L'Arca to animals (and vice versa), he himself becomes human due to being drained of his power. He's reduced to using his scary voice to intimidate other monsters, because if they saw him they would attack him. He decides to make it up to Ruff for cursing him earlier by changing him back into a wolf, but only succeeds in letting him talk just like a human...but as it turned out, he prefers his new human form.
    • Dragon Quest Builders tells what would have happened should the Hero from Dragon Quest have joined the Dragonlord in exchange for half the world: After inevitably being betrayed, the Hero holed himself up in his consolation prize of a pitiable small fortress labeled "Half the World", whereupon he progressively became further and further mad until the time the Builder arrived, at which point he was a gibbering lunatic who believed he really did rule the world. The transformation part comes in with how he'd lived that long: over time, he became a literal monster; specifically a Hoodie in a regal mantle.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series's backstory, Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, grew powerful in a time before recorded history. The other Daedric Princes, fearful and jealous of his growing power, came together and cursed him into becoming his own antithesis: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. At the end of every Era, Jyggalag is able to return to his true form in an event known as the Greymarch. During this time, he retakes and destroys the Shivering Isles (his old realm, now Sheogorath's), only to return to the form of Sheogorath at the end. In Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion, Jyggalag devises a plan to finally break this Vicious Cycle while passing the mantle of Sheogorath onto the Champion of Cyrodiil.
  • The animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy's are implied via Easter Eggs to be haunted by children whom a man murdered in the establishment. Come the third game, and it's shown that said murderer later received a Karmic Death via an animatronic/costume hybrid, and as Springtrap he haunts it exactly like his victims had done.
  • In Heroes Of Incredible Tales, we have the story of Spider Queen Yulla. When she was a human, she would be unfaithful with the husbands she was with, even when one of them begged her not to leave him. Since this angered her husbands, she decided to murder them so she could continue looking for more husbands. Unfortunately, she encounters a seraphim who curses her into a spider hybrid for betraying him, deciding if she was going to act like a black widow she was going to live like one as well.
  • Bertrand in inFAMOUS 2 activated the Ray Sphere in his backstory, killing hundreds of people in the process, in the hopes of awakening his Conduit powers. He got the power to uncontrollably turn into maggots.
  • Jak 3
    • Count Veger spends half his screen time getting annoyed at Daxter, an Ottsel. He eventually succeeds in his goal of becoming a Precursor... and almost immediately learns that Precursors are Ottsels.
    • At the end of the game, Daxter's girlfriend Tess makes an idle wish, and the Precursors decide to grant it in a way that turns her into an Ottsel as well. As this removes the species barrier between the two, it's seen as positive karma, and everyone's happy with it.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, most residents of the Dark world take on monstrous forms. Most of them went there to search for the Triforce. The magic of the Dark World changes one's outer appearance to match what is in their hearts. So, their monstrous forms reflect their selfish greed.
  • Gengar was a human who transformed into a Pokémon after abandoning their Gardevoir in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.
  • In the first Quest for Glory game if you harm the spitting plants or the stag, the dryad will turn you into one.
  • In Runescape, the events of the Zogre Flesh Eaters quest involve an ogre burial ground being overrun by zombie ogres. Why? Because a wizard who is a member of Humans Against Monsters (H.A.M.) caused it to happen. Once you get evidence that Sithik did it, the secretary of the Wizard's Guild gives you a potion to lace Sithik's drink with in order to get him to tell you how to undo the necromancy. Sithik hates ogres. Guess what the potion does.
  • Wander spends the entirety of Shadow of the Colossus hunting down and murdering the titular Colossi, despite them being simple animals not bothering anyone, in order to fulfill his end of a Deal with the Devil to revive his lover. At the end, he gets possessed by the devil in question as part of the bargain and is transformed into a giant monster fighting for its life against small but relentless foes.
  • In Tradewinds Caravans, one of the possible characters you can unlock to play as is a dragon known for terrorizing caravans. His story starts when the gods of karma turn him into a camel — a common caravan animal — to teach him some humility, and only when he acquires enough good karma can he be changed back.
  • Utawarerumono The jerkass scientists get to live forever, just like they wanted and have the indestructible bodies they wanted. It's implied that they got to keep their sentience, but all they can really do is manage a bizarre screaming sound. So, they do get to scream. Yay! Well, it turns out that inflicting horrible mental trauma on godlike beings you don't understand is a bad idea. Who knew?
  • Featured in Wonder Boy In Monster World: The Dragon's Trap for the Sega Master System (rebranded Dragon's Curse when it was ported to the TurboGrafx-16). After slaying a dragon in the game's opening level, the main character is cursed by being transformed into a fire-breathing reptile himself. The player spends the entire game searching for an artifact to reverse the transformation, with the hero transformed into a different creature after each successive boss is defeated.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Most of the Scarlet Crusade in the Cataclysm expansion. After the events of the Cataclysm, it is revealed that in the ruined city of Stratholme, the dreadlord demon Balnazzar, thought to have been defeated by adventurers, killed all the Scarlet Crusaders in the city, and turned all of them undead. A similar fate has befallen the Scarlets in nearby Tyr's Hand.
    • There is also a daily quest for the Knights of The Ebon Blade, in which you are supposed to kill some Scarlet Crusade members and then turn them into ghouls.
    • A lot of Gilneans were turned into worgen when trying to fend them off.
    • Sylvanas is also raising her enemies as undead; some of them, like Lord Godfrey, are not too happy about this.

    Web Animation 
  • Happens to the Egomaniac Hunter in the short animated film Blackface, with a hint of Stable Time Loop at the end.
  • The animated short film The Werepig has two American tourists visiting Spain getting kicked out of the tour bus for their unhygienic and crass behavior. They seek refuge from an old couple running a meat farm, only for one to realize too late that the couple delves in dark magic and their pigs' bites turn people into pigs themselves by nightfall (as the title suggests), and the couple eventually kills and eats both.
  • Red vs. Blue has a variation on this. After being promoted to Captain and being given leadership of his own squad, Grif suffers a mental breakdown and begins acting like his Sitcom Archnemesis Sarge. When he realizes this, he understandably freaks out.
    Grif: Tucker, tell me I'm cool and don't play by the rules!
    Tucker: What?
    Grif: (wailing) I DON'T WANT A SOUTHERN ACCENT!

  • Dominic Deegan:
    • The misogynist Stunt eats a vegetable with a random transformation power and turns female. Before being turned back to normal, he comically comments on his fear of his reduced mental capacity.
    • Not a punishment, but karmic nonetheless. Later, in the arc "The War in hell", Lady Loxo eats a soul (don't ask) and turns into a snakelike demonic creature. Apparently, she was manipulative untrustworthy-a "snake"-before she died. She tricks Bulgak into doing so, and he turns into a lumpy orc-like shape.
  • In an El Goonish Shive filler strip, Dan tries to inflict this on Justin by turning him into a girl for messing with the narration when he was tasked with it. This backfires because, since Justin is gay and desperate to be with a guy, he views it as an opportunity to "ask out every cute guy [he] sees".
  • Linda in Endtown was a Topsider devoted to the cause of destroying all mutants before Wally knocked her out and exposed her to the mutagens in the air.
  • Housepets! had an Animal Wrongs Activist transformed into a dog by a gryphon here. Though it turned out the gryphon was planning to use him as a piece in his Cosmic Chess Game and once the game ended he decided to stay as a dog.
  • Subverted in Anti-heroes, a webcomic inspired by The Order of the Stick, Lana defeats a vampire hunter and instead of killing him, attempts to turn him and then flee. Next time we see him, it turns out he hasn't become a vampire, because he can't ever become one again, having been one before, and found the cure for it.
  • Various comics by The Transformistress have one be the impetus for a closeted transgender person realizing they're happier as the opposite gender, including but not limited to:
    • A misogynist gamer ticking off multiple witches and cursed to be a girl that becomes more empathetic and feminine the more popular she gets online.
    • A male rogue that stole from the temples of skilled clerics dying to a Chest Monster and then resurrected as a woman-chest monster hybrid due to a low-level cleric's resurrection spell gone awry.
    • A male vampire hunter whose life is saved by monsters becoming a female vampire after an emergency blood transfusion.
    • A tall male basketball player mocking a short witch's height and cursed to become the shortest girl in their university.
    • A transphobic squad of abnormality containment personnel turning into fox girls compelled to expand their sisterhood with trans girls due to an escaped abnormality.
  • The Wotch,
    • The "D.O.L.L.Y." arc has Anne (who tends to throw around Gender Bender spells for fun) getting scouted by a group of militant feminists. When she eventually squares off against them, she finds that the most effective way to scare them off is to... turn them into men! It also had the more practical effect of neutralizing Feminine Pride's effect on them, since men don't have feminine pride.
    • Anne's personified feminine pride turned a bunch of male chauvinists into girls too, but in that case they don't remember being male or at least most of them don't, and they are apparently the only ones with the fake memories, everyone else just assumes the guys went away, or are oddly accepting in their families case and they got their own spin-off: The Wotch: Cheer!.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe example: Trevor James Goodkind is a Sheltered Aristocrat, one of the heirs of the Goodkind fortune. The Goodkinds hate mutants and privately support a lot of the anti-mutant organizations worldwide. Also, he supports his father who rails against transsexuals because older brother Greg was one and ran off. No points for guessing what Trevor turns into: an intersexed mutant who can't even pass as a guy anymore. Incidentally, this isn't consistent with how the metahuman gene normally manifests in this 'verse, and this is happening to Trevor — who really didn't do anything to deserve it besides taking everything his dad said as gospel instead of thinking for himself — because some Random Omnipotent Being felt like screwing with him.
  • The Knight Shift: Ellpagg, the Prince of the Arkn, is a haughty, prideful boy with a burning hatred for Dekn and one of the highest Dekn kill counts in the kingdom. Then he agrees to negotiate a reconciliation with The Carver, and accidentally kills him — causing The Carver's power to transfer into his body. This strips him of his Arkn traits, and transforms him into a strange being that is more Dekn than Arkn (but qualifies as neither). To add insult to injury, the Arkn royal council secretly arranged the whole thing, anticipating that Ellpagg's famous temper would cause negotiations to fail and lead to his corruption — which they intend to exploit to prolong the Arkn-Dekn conflict. Ellpagg's newly acquired quasi-omniscience makes him fully aware of this. His initial reaction is exactly what you'd expect; his secondary reaction, somewhat less so; his tertiary reaction, creating a neutral third party that will slaughter both sides if they don't agree to end the conflict, is something no one anticipated — and it begins with a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that destroys those who reveled in his suffering. Including the royal council.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: The main antagonist, the Lich, has spent his entire existence attempting to extinguish all life. He is finally (for now) defeated in "Escape From the Citadel" when Finn throws Guardian Blood on him, regenerating him into a harmless, living infant—the very thing he's spent all of his unlife trying to eradicate.
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Alien Force: Albedo, Azmuth's former assistant, creates an Omnitrix of his own ignoring Azmuth's warnings. However, since Ben's DNA is linked, Albedo accidentally becomes transformed into a clone of Ben much to his disgust. Azmuth punishes Albedo by keeping him trapped in that form.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse: Will Harangue, the reporter who made Ben Tennyson a Hero with Bad Publicity and turned his life into a living hell, motivated by his xenophobic hatred for anything alien, gets turned himself into a particularly disgusting (by human standards) alien, by none other than Ben as payback.
  • Beware the Batman featured Harvey Dent, an opportunistic District Attorney who ran a mayoral campaign that denounced and spread zealous hatred of costumed criminals, particularly Batman. Over the course of the season, Dent became more corrupt in his quest to bring down Batman, and after being constantly humiliated and disfigured, was on his path to becoming the deranged, colorful criminal he once denounced.note 
  • Centaurworld: In "What You Need", the Tree Shamans grant wishes, but instead of giving people what they want they give them what they think they need. After hearing Ched bad-mouth horses, they decide to teach him a lesson by turning him into a horse.
  • Gargoyles:
    • The human-hating Demona ends up becoming human during the daytime thanks to Puck. As much as she hates it, Demona does take advantage of the practical benefits.
    • In a more spiritual manner, Jon Canmore becomes the Hunter, even when he tries to get the others out of it at first, he finally succumbs to anger and rage and "transforms" to John Castaway.
  • DuckTales (1987): A variation occurs in "Down and Out in Duckburg". The episode begins with Scrooge McDuck telling a shopkeeper he's raising his rent while commenting on how inefficiently he's running his business. The shopkeeper protests that he could run the place better if he could afford to hire some help, but can't because most of what little profit he ears he spends on rent. He then goes to the docks to tell a seaman he's impounding his boat because he hasn't made a payment in a few months, only for the seaman to respond that what money he had he used to fix the boat. Scrooge is indifferent. As he walks home, a woman collecting money for charity asks Scrooge for a donation but says she can't break a $1,000 bill. Then, the descendant of a creditor shows up at Scrooge's door saying that because Scrooge's ancestor failed to keep his part of a business deal, everything in the McDuck estate belongs to him now, and evicts Scrooge, with the boys, Duckworth, Mrs. Beakly and Webby following suit. As Scrooge lost his fortune, he asks the shopkeeper for a job but tells him that because of the high rent, he can't afford to hire him. When he bumps into the woman collecting donations, she too refuses to help. When the boys tell Scrooge to ask the seaman for help, Scrooge refuses, thinking that he'll turn them away after the way he treated them. The seaman agrees to help, citing the golden rule. After he gets his fortune back, Scrooge lowers the rent on the buildings he owns, willingly donates a $1,000 bill, and gives the seaman his personal yacht.
  • The Emperor's New School:
    Hilariously enough, he does like them and rescue them from being dissected before assuming a superhero-like persona as Red-Eyed Tree Frog Man.
    • In another episode, Kuzco is cursed to take on the physical features he mocks in others.
  • A twofer in The Fairly OddParents! episode "The Boy Who Would Be Queen": when Timmy makes condescending talk about girls, he says "Like I wish I was a girl!", which Wanda takes as a request to turn him into a girl even though he didn't mean "wish" like that. When Cosmo and Wanda then mock "Timantha" over her current state of being, she's rightfully incensed and wishes that Cosmo was a woman and Wanda was a man, and they're forced to comply.
  • In the Family Guy episode "No Meals on Wheels", when the Griffins run a restaurant, Peter welcomes the idea of Joe and his buddies coming in to hang out because Peter assumed that Joe would bring the rest of the police station's personnel to eat at there. When Joe brings the members of his wheelchair support group instead, Peter puts up with the restaurant being full of wheelchairs because it's good for business. Eventually, Peter decides to ban physically challenged people on the grounds that they are trying to ram their lifestyles down his throat, which causes a confrontation that leaves Peter in a wheelchair. Peter thinks he can easily endure the time in the wheelchair, but ends up breaking down in tears after a couple of kids throw stuff at him for being in a wheelchair, and because he couldn't slap Meg in the face after she accidentally spilled his drink during dinner. This results in Peter apologizing to Joe for giving him such a hard time.
  • Garfield and Friends: In the episode The Fairy Dogmother the titular character turns an enthusiastic dogcatcher into a cat. He is then promptly chased away by the very dogs he had been attempting to capture. The Fairy Dogmother remarks that the spell will wear off soon and that he's "learned his lesson".
  • The short-lived animated sitcom Gary the Rat was about an Amoral Attorney whose dirty tactics inexplicably got him turned into an anthropomorphic rat.
  • One episode of Johnny Bravo has the titular character get turned into a woman by a fortune teller to be shown how the ladies he continuously harasses feel like.
  • Moville Mysteries:
    • "The Novelty Kid" centers around Norman, a greedy jerk who thinks he can swindle the Ace Novelty company just as easily like his schoolmates, only for said company to turn him into one of their products after he refuses their final notice.
    • "Pet Shop of No Return" ends with Emil, a boy who abused and neglected all of his animals, being turned into a rat by the reincarnations of his dead pets.
  • The Owl House: Ironically, Emperor Belos obsession to destroy witches and magic led to a chain of events that mutated him into a magical abomination that can barely be considered human, something he more or less invoked on himself by his own decisions over an extended period of time, and yet it's clear that he cannot recognise his own faults in creating his current condition. When Luz brands him with a coven sigil, the Draining Spell is actually killing him faster than the other magical inhabitants because unlike them, he is completely made out of magic.
  • In Regular Show, Rigby eggs a wizard's house, who replies by turning Rigby into a house, egging him, and then murdering him.
  • Sheep in the Big City:
    • In "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", one of the depicted scenarios explained away as just being a dream (much to the narrator's annoyance) has General Specific, who's spent the entire series trying to capture Sheep and use him in a sheep-powered ray gun, suddenly transform into a sheep.
    • "Beauty and the Bleats" ends with Sheep being attacked by Lady Richington, who continually antagonizes him because she hates sheep. Having tricked a genie into giving him three more wishes and used the first one to wish he was a sheep again, Sheep wastes his second wish on a fancy hat and uses his third wish to turn Lady Richington into a sheep. Lady Richington wasn't pleased by the transformation one bit.
  • When Baron Dark and Prince Lightstar broke the Lightstar Crystal it kick-started the plot of Skeleton Warriors transforming the Baron into the first of the eponymous Skeleton Warriors and granting him the power to use the darkness in peoples souls to transform them into more of his kind. Prince Lightstar and his sister were granted the powers of energy channeling and flight, respectively. Their brother, Prince Joshua however, had sided with the Baron but when he learned of his plan he pulled a Heel–Face Turn at the last moment and is caught between the two when the crystal shatters, transforming him into a half-skeletonised human with glowing eyes and a gravelled voice. This also results in his being able to walk through shadows and teleport between them but gives him a psychic link with Baron Dark.
  • In Skywhales the protagonist kills one of the titular creatures for its meat and later is transformed into one himself.
  • South Park
    • In the episode "Ginger Kids," after Cartman starts a crusade against gingers, the other boys try to stop him by dying his hair red and using makeup to turn his skin pale and freckly. But then Cartman just changes his tune, starts a "ginger power" movement, and tries to wipe out all non-gingers. He stops and begins preaching tolerance after Kyle explains to him that he's not really a ginger.
    • Funny enough, a later episode reveals that Cartman's real dad was Scott Tenorman's dad, whom Cartman had killed and fed to Scott. This makes Cartman half-ginger all along, despite his bigotry towards ginger. Bonus evil points for him being horrified at this revelation- not that he killed his own father, but rather that he is half-ginger.
  • On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "I Was A Teenage Gary", Spongebob asks Squidward to watch his pet snail Gary while Spongebob goes to a jellyfishing convention. Squidward says he will and promptly blows it off, causing Gary to nearly starve to death. Spongebob was supposed to inject him with snail plasma, but was terrified because he gets very squeamish around needles, he asked Squidward to do it for him. Squidward insisted Spongebob do it, causing him to prick himself, turning himself into a snail. In turn Snail Spongebob starts stalking Squidward scaring the crap out of him until he accidentally got pricked with the same needle and also turns into a snail.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • In the animated movie, Turtles Forever, Hun from the 2003 series comes into contact with both the mutagen from the 1987 series and the 1987 Donatello and 2003 Raphael. This turns him into a monstrous mutant turtle. He ends up using his mutation to his advantage, now being able to defeat eight turtles without a sweat.
    • The 2003 series has another example in the form of Mephos, a villainous avian supremacist who believes the avians are inherently superior to surface dwellers. When he led a failed coup against the avian rulers, his punishment was to have the wings torn from his back and being exiled to the surface to live among the people he despises.
  • In Yoo Hoo And Friends, a group of money crazy Corrupt Corporate Executives pollutes the world with every manner of pollution imaginable, most of which are destroying animal habitats. Until Father Time appears and transforms them into adorable, cuddly animals and forces them to undo all the damage they did to the world if they ever hope of turning back.


Video Example(s):


Kenai Turns into a Bear

After Kenai kills Koda's mother as revenge for Stika's death, the Great Spirits and his recently deceased brother turn him into a bear, in order for him realize what he has done.

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Example of:

Main / KarmicTransformation

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