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Limb-Sensation Fascination

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"Moved! The muscles tautening and relaxing, flex, extend, miraculous cells working their collective way to move great heavy bones and sacs of skin and organs, shift them balance them so delicately. The joy of it was too great. It erupted for her in — what was this convulsive spasming of her diaphragm? What was this gust of sound erupting from her throat? It was laughter. How long had she faked it with computer chips, simulated speech and laughter and never, never knew what it meant, how it felt. She never wanted to stop."

People don't always keep the same number or shape of limbs during a story — that'd surely be boring. So sometimes, a character ends up getting completely new limbs, possibly of a type they've never used before. Maybe their existing limbs have gained new functionality. They can also just get a temporary extension to their body. Either way, after getting over noticing Hands Looking Wrong, it's a chance for them to explore new sensations and abilities.

This gives the creator a chance to show off their descriptive skills, explaining new things the character feels and how they're using their reshaped body. This page may contain spoilers if a character only gets new limbs or a different form at the end of the story.

The body parts can have been changed through someone shapeshifting, getting Artificial Limbs, being cursed, or just randomly Sprouting Ears. On occasion, the person has a whole new body instead, which may or may not be used for hilarity if they're naked. When downplayed, this trope is simply a character using their existing limbs in a new way or finding new sensations.

Truth in Television for people and animals who receive transplants and prosthetics.

Supertrope to Showing Off the New Body; see also Artificial Limbs, Voluntary Shapeshifting, Sense Freak, Baffled by Own Biology, and Stumbling in the New Form. How Do I Shot Web? is a variation to do with superpowers.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dororo: Hyakkimaru is magically mutilated as a baby, and so is made mostly of artificial parts. When he defeats one of the demons involved, he gets back a random real body part, and the new sensations are often both thrilling and painful.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Ash's Dragonite was so happy to have arms upon evolving from a Dragonair that one of the first things he did was give Ash a Bear Hug.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Like most newly-ponified fanfiction characters, Agatha from Mare Genius finds having a tail a bit weird.
  • Any non-human characters who undergo Humanity Ensues can fall into doing this, like with their hands if their front limbs lack digits (e.g. a horse hoof) aren't built for holding things (e.g. a dog/cat paw or a fish fin), or even lack certain limbs at all.
  • Melanism, a Harry Potter fanfic taking place in the Marauder Era, has Nyx's initial Animagus transformations. She is a black panther, and when she is learning she is fascinated by her tail and paws; once she masters the whole thing, the author takes care describing her enhanced senses of hearing and smell.
  • "Apex Predator" features Harry becoming the permanent mate to Fleur when he's only fourteen, with the subsequent bond causing a range of physical changes in terms of his sexual organs in particular. As Veela pheromones are intended to enhance his ability to please and impregnate his partners, most notably in the form of his testicles becoming subtly larger as they become more heavy with his seed.
  • Ashes of the Past often features moments right after a Pokemon's evolution where they're getting used to a new body shape. Grumpig in particular ends up shouting-out "The End of Time, Part 2" after he evolves.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Little Mermaid:
    • The Little Mermaid (1989): One of the main events in the first film is Ariel's transformation into a human. The film focuses briefly on her feet and how she's excited to have toes.
    • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: Reversed in the sequel, when Ursula's sister Morgana turns Ariel's daughter Melody into a mermaid. She gets a musical number about figuring out her new fins.
  • In Raya and the Last Dragon when Sisu the dragon (of the more Eastern benevolent long variety) recovers her sister Pranee's dragon gem she immediately gains the ability to shapeshift into human which she wasn't expecting. Sisu is delighted, partially as it will make disguising her easier but partially as she finds the body changes fascinating - wiggling her toes, feeling her face, waving her arms, and shaking her rear.
    Sisu: Look at my people arms and my people face. Look how close my butt is to my head!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the beginning of Alita: Battle Angel, Alita wakes up at Doc Ido's home and finds out (with delight) that she has been given a cybernetic body (she was only a torso and head in the dump beneath Zalem a couple hours/days before), and progressively discovers its possibilities, from walking and touching things all the way to performing Panzer Kunst martial arts. She's similarly delighted and experimental once she's given the URM berserker body after the previous cybernetic one got cut to pieces.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man, Dr. Connors injects himself with a serum that allows him to regrow his lost right arm. When he realizes it worked, he regards the limb with the appreciation and fascination as if it was his newborn child, and laughs when he accidentally burns it on a desk lamp.
  • Jake of Avatar lost the use of his human legs in battle, and one of the things he loves about his avatar body is that it is whole. When he first "wakes up" in it, there is focus on his exploring new things he can do, like running and jumping. (There's also a downplayed moment of implied Sense Loss Sadness the first time he wakes up back in his human body.)
  • At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke gets a new hand. After being pricked with a needle to check pain sensation, he flexes his fingers a bit and clenches a fist while examining his bionic hand.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, the android Data is captured by the Borg and then has patches of organic matter — actual skin — grafted onto his exterior and integrated into his systems by the Borg Queen. Notably, when he tries to escape, one of the patches is cut, allowing Data to experience pain for the first time; the experience confuses and fascinates him so much that he agrees to allow the Borg to graft more of it onto him... all the while playing along with being seduced to their side by the Borg Queen after resolving an eternal moment of a loyalty dilemma.
  • Played for Laughs in Inspector Gadget (1999): John Brown wakes up from the surgery and is almost horrified at the sight of gadgets popping out of his fingertips.
    "What have they got me on?!"
  • In Self/Less, when Mark Bitwell comes back to life at the end of the movie, he stares at his hands and feels his face before going to check the laptop in the room.
  • In the fourth movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the main reason that Voldemort moves so specifically in his introduction is because he's enjoying the use of his body once again.

  • Animorphs: Given the premise, the books go into some detail about what it feels like to suddenly have a tail/fins/wings/etc.
    • Ax, and Andalites as whole, do not have mouths and if they morph into a creature with one then they quickly become total Sense Freaks. Every time Ax turns human, his friends have to stop him from devouring everything from cinnamon buns to cigarette butts.
    • Yeerks naturally are blind slugs, and possession of their victims is intoxicating because of all the new senses they gain. Even Visser Three, the Yeerk Dragon-in-Chief, fell in love with the sense of sight.
  • Older Than Feudalism: nearly anyone healed in The Bible.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Richard gets a replacement for the foot he lost in the war. The first thing he does is faint. The second is spend a day reliving the marvel of having two fully functional feet.
  • In Children of the Mind, the third sequel to Ender's Game, the AI Jane gets transferred in the human body of Valentine's clone. She describes the process at like fitting into a glove, individually finding each part and fitting into it. Each new feeling surprises her, from touch to crying, etc. When she briefly returns to her AI network a few chapters later she finds it lacking, as even virtual omniscience pales to the visceral taste of life.
  • Fortress Series: Tristen does this with his fingers after Mauryl's big spell brings him to Mauryl at the start of book one. Unfortunately, for Tristen this includes sticking his hands into the fire.
  • Halo: The Fall of Reach: Midway through the book, the Spartans all marvel at their new Powered Armor, Samuel in particular spouting "I think I'm in love." Averted earlier with their physical augmentation; there the Spartans' reactions post-surgery are mostly dizziness and confusion.
  • After Wormtail cuts off his hand at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he is given a new, silver one through magic. He stares at it in disbelief, then experiments with motion and crushing a twig between his fingertips.
  • Dr Paul Brand's Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants goes into detail about how, after getting surgery to restore finger movement, leprosy patients explore the new motions their hands can do and will practise things like squeezing a rubber ball.
  • Rebuild World: After Akira loses an arm, he gets fitted with a medical prosthetic in the hospital to help adjust his culture-grown replacement arm. Akira plays with it, which prompts his Virtual Sidekick Alpha to take advantage of their Brain/Computer Interface connection to simulate Thanks for the Mammary to tease him. When the prosthetic is linked up to the nerves of his transplant arm, Akira manages to move both of the arms differently, which gets him pestered by the doctor to become Multi-Armed and Dangerous, which Akira thinks would be too weird.
  • In Septimus Heap, a millipede is transformed into the shield bug that will eventually belong to Jenna. There's a passage narrating what it feels like for him to lose his many precious legs and instead find himself with just six, complete with fingers. He considers hands useless and clumsy, though he does get used to it.
  • Valhalla features Tikaris, new body parts in the form of an insectoid robot that lives in the chest of its user. When Violet gets hers, she explores having the new part by flying, looking through its eyes and more.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor typically spends a while inspecting their new body's features post-regeneration, e.g. swinging their arms around as if trying out their altered length.
    • When Nine spots a mirror, he's quick to notice his large ears.
    • One of his first acts as Ten was to notice that his teeth felt different. Then, in the Children in Need special, he spends a bit more time discovering his new body.
      Ten: Let's see... Two legs, two arms, two hands... [rolls wrist] Slight weakness in the dorsal tubicle... [runs hands through hair] Hair! I'm not bald! [continues petting hair] Ooh, big hair... [feels sides of face] Sideburns, I've got sideburns! Or really bad skin... [pats stomach] Little bit thinner, that's weird! Gimme time, I'll get used to it. [freezes] I have got... A mole. I can feel it. Between my shoulderblades, there's a mole. [smiles] That's alright! Love the mole!
      • Then, in "The Christmas Invasion", after regrowing the hand that got cut off in the duel with the Sycorax leader because it's been less than 15 hours since he regenerated, Ten informs his opponent:
        "Do you wanna know the best bit? This new hand... it's a fighting hand!"
    • Eleven is just happy about the fact that he still has limbs. So happy, in fact, that his first words are "LEGS! I've still got legs!" followed by him kissing his own leg. He then frantically checks his arms, hands ("Ooh!"), fingers ("Lots of fingers!"), ears, eyes, nose ("I've had worse"), chin ("Blimey!"), hair length ("I'm a girl?!"), Adam's apple ("No, no, I'm not a girl") and hair colour ("STILL not ginger!").
    • The first thing Twelve noticed about himself was the fact that he had gained new kidneys.
      Twelve: I don't like the colour!
      Clara: ...of your kidneys?
    • Thirteen averts this, as the first thing she says after seeing that she's now a girl is not at all limb-related.
      Thirteen: [with a bright, ecstatic grin] Oh, brilliant!
    • After Thirteen regenerates into the same form as Ten, his first words are "Wait, I know these teeth!", followed by running his hands over his face to check out its shape.
  • A downplayed example in the Firefly episode "War Stories" when Mal keeps fiddling with his newly reattached ear and Simon has to tell him to leave it alone.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure: Upon being turned into a human, Nixie starts making footprints in the sand right after she figures out how to stand.
  • In Now and Again, Michael Weisman dies and his brain is stolen by the government to be used in an experimental procedure, putting it into a new body. When he wakes up, one of the first things he does after realizing he's in a new body is check out his package. He is pleasantly surprised.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Bodyswap", Lister agrees to let the hologram Rimmer take over his body for two weeks, in return for Rimmer taking on an exercise regime to get Lister's body in shape. However, Rimmer is overwhelmed by the experience of having a physical body for the first time since his death, and goes on a two week binge of eating, drinking and smoking.
  • An episode of Smallville has Lionel and Clark switch bodies; Lionel then admires his new body in a mirror.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine features the shapeshifter Odo. After he begins exploring more of his powers near the end of season 2, he breathlessly explains the joy of feeling air underneath his wings.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The holographic doctor has his program damaged during an Away Mission in "Heroes and Demons", resulting in the disappearance of his hand. A cut later, and he's staring in fascination at his new hand.

    Myth and Legend 
  • The legend of Icarus contains a variation on this trope, likely making it the Ur-Example. When Icarus gets given a pair of wings (made from wax and bird feathers), even though they just strap on rather than being actual appendages, he explores what he can do with them. His delight in seeing how close to the Sun and low to the sea is what leads to his death.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Inverted in Phoebe and Her Unicorn without any shapeshifting or body switching. In this strip, Marigold (the unicorn) theorizes that having toes must be like having tarantulas on the end of one's legs.
    Phoebe: That's creepy, but it isn't inaccurate.

    Video Games 


    Web Videos 
  • KARA: When the eponymous Robot Girl first receives her legs, she takes a few steps on them with a look of wonder on her face, hinting that she's becoming sentient.
  • Kickassia: When 2D Lee becomes 3D Lee, he spends most of the following episodes touching things and exulting in how he has tactile stimulation now.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: When Cell transforms from his first to his second form, he spends a little while enjoying having lips for the first time by making various mouth sounds.

    Western Animation 
  • After Krieger of Archer gives Ray a pair of bionic legs, he shows off by dancing a jig.
  • In the Batman Beyond episode Meltdown, Mister Freeze has his consciousness transferred from a Brain in a Jar to a cloned body. After the completion of this process, he walks to the window, puts his hand to it, and says "cold" (it's winter) with a look of absolute joy on his face. He has been numb to the sensation for decades.
  • One Family Guy episode has Joe Swanson gets new functional legs transplanted, and he proceeds to show off his old athletic and martial arts abilities to the point of becoming arrogant and rejecting his old friends for new ones who can keep up with him. In the end he becomes paralyzed again in An Aesop about pride.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Sonic Rainboom" has fashion-minded unicorn Rarity gain beautiful butterfly wings in an attempt to get a friend of Rainbow Dash's up to Cloudsdale - because only pegasi can walk on clouds, and giving a unicorn or earth pony wings somehow counts. However, Rarity winds up obsessing over how better things are now that she has her wings, instead of cheering Rainbow up, which only increases the stress the pegasus's currently undergoing. She gets a swift lesson in pride when she literally flies too close to the sun, destroying her wings and sending her plummeting back to Earth, spurring Rainbow Dash to discard her insecurities and save her friend.
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero has the characters undergo a transformation every time they enter a new dimension. While some transformations are minor, others give them entirely new bodies and limbs, which the characters will either be annoyed or pleased about depending on what the circumstances are.
  • The Transformers has this show up from time to time when a character gets reformatted to a new alt-mode, particularly if it's something flashy like a sports car, big cat, or significantly different from their previous mode.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): New Limb Euphoria


Sisu Shapechanges

Sisu the Dragon gains one of the dragon crystals and with it the ability to shapeshift into human form.

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Main / Weredragon

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