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Literal Transformative Experience

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Everyone changes as a result of their experiences in life. But in some cases, the change is the experience that leads to character growth.

To put it another way, some transformations aren't as simple as undergoing a purely physical change: regardless of whether the transformation is permanent, reversible, fast, slow, voluntary, accidental or deliberately inflicted, it can impact the character of the shapeshifter quite dramatically, alter their personalities and leave them with a vastly different outlook on the world.

In some cases, this overlaps with Karmic Transformation, with a villain or other unsympathetic figure being taught a lesson in humility through a suitably embarrassing change of shape and the experiences that ensue. However, this trope is not limited to karmic backlash: it can be used as a means of improving sympathetic characters, perhaps making them braver, nobler, or less restrained. It may coincide with a character's liberation from a previously inescapable outlook on life. It may be used in a Be Careful What You Wish For scenario, with the character learning what is really important thanks to their new form. It can even be used in a negative context, with characters being corrupted or traumatized as a result of their experiences.

Whatever the case, it's not uncommon for a degree of symbolism to be involved in these transformations, especially if there's meant to be some kind of lesson involved. For example:

The Butterfly of Transformation is a common motif associated with this trope.

Compare and contrast The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, in which the mind of the shapeshifter is directly altered by the natural instincts of their new form, and usually only while in that form. Contrast Evil Makes You Monstrous, in which negative character development influences a transformation, and Transhuman Treachery, in which a transformation proves inherently corrupting. Closely related to Karmic Transformation and Color Me Black, where a bigot is transformed into a member of the group they hate and learns a lesson about tolerance.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • A Hollow's body, abilities and personality are inexorably linked. Thus, when one undergoes a change, the other two will also be forced to change in kind. This is most demonstrated with Nelliel, who sustained a head injury and turned into a child afterwards. While in said state, she gains a far more playful personality, and also gets a Precocious Crush on the protagonist, Ichigo—both of which remain even after she turns back into her adult form.
    • This is standard for how a "Visored" gains control of their abilities, as best demonstrated by Ichigo. Early into the series, Ichigo nearly transforms into a Hollow, but the transformation is stopped partway whereas he only manifests a sinister mask. However, the mask and the Hollow in his soul continue to reappear whenever his life is in danger, and his alter ego to completely overtake him if Ichigo is weak in order to protect his life. He is thus forced to learn to control and suppress this state so that he can use the Hollow's power at will. This eventually culminates in a battle with Ulquiorra in which Ichigo is mortally wounded, and then Hollow takes control and brutally murders Ulquiorra against Ichigo's wishes—a result which horrifies Ichigo, haunts him for the rest of the series, and briefly leaves him unable to use the full extent of his abilities. Later subverted when it's revealed that Ichigo was born with said Hollow in his soul, and that it is the true form of his Soul Reaper powers. It isn't until Ichigo accepts this that his true powers are revealed.
  • Claymore: If a Claymore "Awakens", the resulting change in personality is permanent. They become a carnivorous and sadistically violent creature called an Awakened Being, and although they can also shapeshift back into their "normal" forms if they choose, they are no longer the person they used to be. Even beginning the transformation and turning back to normal before it's complete leads to a slight shift in personality, as well as several new abilities. The sole two exceptions are Isley, the strongest male Claymore, whose sheer pride and Heroic Willpower gave him the ability to Awaken at will and keep his mind just to protect his comrades who had already turned...and Clare, the protagonist, who is already unique amongst Claymore because her body is fused with Teresa—the strongest Claymore in history—and instead of her own Awakening, Clare gets Teresa's Awakening, which is stated to be a combination of Clare's heart and determination, and Teresa's power and wisdom. This not only makes them the most powerful being known in the Claymore canon, but Teresa can fully turn back into Clare at any time.
  • Devilman: Akira became much more aggressive after his transformation.
  • Dragon Ball: Super Saiyan transformation brings forth sadistic and violent urges from the Saiyan, making them even more Smug Blood Knights than they were before. Some Saiyans, such as Goku and Gohan, become naturally horrified at things they did or wanted to do under the influence of the transformation and force themselves to suppress these urges. Characters like Vegeta give in wholeheartedly to it. However, even after turning back to normal the urges are never truly gone until the Saiyan spends time in said form learning to control the anxiousness bubbling inside of them.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, pretty much all of the Major/Makoto Kusinagi's backstory revolves around becoming a full-body cyborg (essentially nothing but the original person's "ghost" remains of their original body — effectively something akin to a soul which can be transferred like data, but not copied perfectlynote ) at a young age, at the very least serving as a Cynicism Catalyst and leaving her feeling detached from humanity, although this varies from continuity to continuity:
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie starts out insecure and (as self proclaimed) plain and unlovable. After being turned into an old woman, she learns to be more confident in herself.
  • In Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Ryu Yamada is a high school boy whose tough Delinquent reputation and poor grades leave him with no friends at his preppy school. Urara Shiraishi is a high school girl whose Shrinking Violet, Extreme Doormat personality leaves her similarly friendless and subject to lots of Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics; she is so disillusioned with her high school life that she doesn't plan on going to college despite being a bookworm out of fear it will just be more of the same. A mutual tumble down the stairs results in them discovering that they can have a "Freaky Friday" Flip whenever they kiss. So Ryu in Urara's body fends off her bullies and earns her the respect of their female classmates, Urara in Ryu's body does his tests for him and earns him the respect of the teachers, and the Supernatural Studies Club that they help restart with several other students who want to investigate and exploit the body switching power leads to them having a growing number of friends. This is explicitly brought up when Ryu notes that the powers the eponymous witches take on are influenced by what they want in life; Urara's dissatisfaction with her life resulted in her gaining the body swap ability.

    Comic Books 
  • In the New 52 version of Batman, Basil Karlo started out as a prospective actor hampered by his lack of confidence and nondescript appearance. After seeking help from the Penguin, he was provided with a sample of clay rumored to be the origin of the Skinwalker myth, allowing to shape and contort his face: his confidence skyrocketed as a result, especially once he expanded his powers to actual Voluntary Shapeshifting and catapulted himself into stardom. Unfortunately, Penguin then demanded he repay the debt by using his talents to become the crime-lord's monster-for-hire, gradually driving Karlo insane and transforming him into the narcissistic supervillain he has been reduced to by the start of his story.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Gravity Falls fanfic All The World's A Toybox features a very prominent case of this in the form of the Shapeshifter, AKA "Shifty." As it turns out, he used to be Dipper, having had his timeline linked up with the Shapeshifter's by Bill as a sick joke. When he escapes from the Bunker and finally discovers who he really is, Dipper's dormant identity merges with that of the Shapeshifter: as a result, he retains his original personality, but now has access to Shifty's confidence and bad temper. For good measure, thanks to Shifty's time trapped in the bunker or frozen in cryogenic suspension, Dipper now suffers from claustrophobia and a crippling aversion to the cold.
  • Better To Reign In Heaven: Mattie begins the story as a directionless young man looking for his father in the hope that it'll make his life start making sense again; he has little confidence, a serious case of imposter syndrome, and a tendency to agonize over doing the right thing. However, while being subjected to numerous transformations by Braun - getting regressed to childhood, turned into a fetus, competing in an exhaustive Shapeshifter Showdown - Mattie is coached to become more confident by Tessa Dithers; eventually, he starts learning to believe in himself and trust his own judgements, to the point that he's able to humble Braun on his own turf. By the end of his time in the simulation, Mattie has embraced his own legend and accepts his title as the Lone Wanderer.
  • Several cases crop up in the Wicked fanfic The Land of What Might-Have-Been:
    • Subverted in the case of the alternate-universe Elphaba: after being magically "de-greenified", Elphaba seems to lose a good deal of her bad temper upon being accepted by the people of Oz, even becoming calmer and more contemplative over time. Except it's nothing to do with her personal experiences: it's due to Madame Morrible altering her personality to make her easier to control. Worse still, the brainwashing progress gradually drives Elphaba insane, transforming her into the Empress of Unbridled Radiance AKA "Alphaba."
    • It's eventually revealed that the alternate-universe Cowardly Lion took part in an experiment involving Voluntary Shapeshifting via magic potion; the sense of freedom and power he achieved went a long way to gradually eroding his fear - as by the time we meet him in the present, he's become the First of the Shapeless, the effortlessly-confident leader of the Amorphous League.
    • The alternate Shenshen and Pfannee fell victim to the final outbreak of the Plague of Transformations and were horribly merged into a single being. Though this was only a temporary change, it was enough to make them rethink their lives: in the present, they're found to have joined the Amorphous League; quite apart from having gone from shallow fashionistas to heroic spies working alongside our universe's Elphaba, they've also used their shapeshifting powers to permanently fuse themselves into a gestalt entity.
    • Several members of Unbridled Radiance's think tank have been afflicted with a condition that cases them to dramatically regress at random, sometimes all the way back to infancy. As many of these researchers were extremely arrogant prior to affliction, this proves to be a major case of Break the Haughty, especially after being locked in a hidden nursery and treated according to their apparent age by the caretakers for the last few years. For example, Dr Lintel, a notoriously racist Mad Scientist, has been reduced to a contrite child by the time the present narrative catches up with him, and only occasionally recaptures a hint of his old megalomania before being gently discouraged. It's also revealed that the constant regressions and humiliations are eroding the memories of their past lives, effectively leaving the researchers as children in mind as well as body, retaining only instinctive knowledge of magic and science (plus the random regression syndrome). Before long, Madame Morrible is one of the last members of this cabal to retain an adult mind - and even that won't last for long.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Disney Animated Canon provides several examples featuring a Jerkass character getting transformed into an animal and then taking a level in kindness as a result:
    • Beauty and the Beast: A selfish, brash prince, after refusing to give shelter to an old beggar woman, is cursed to become a hideous Beast Man. If he doesn't fall in love and learn kindness and selflessness before his 21st birthday, he'll remain a monster forever. Belle, a girl from the nearby village, first becomes his prisoner, but the two eventually warm up to each other and the prince becomes a better person on the way.
    • The Emperor's New Groove: Kuzco, the selfish, egotistical ruler of a Mayincatec kingdom, gets transformed into a llama by his treacherous advisor. Over time, he is forced to team up with a peasant (whose village he originally planned to demolish for a fancy vacation home), learning a lesson of friendship and humility before he eventually turns back into a human.
    • Brother Bear: a reckless young hunter named Kenai kills a bear and is transformed into a bear himself; he ultimately teams up with the orphaned cub of the very same bear he killed, learning love and respect on the way.
    • The Princess and the Frog: Naveen, the party-loving, irresponsible prince gets turned into a frog after a foolish bargain with Dr Facilier. Tiana, the Workaholic waitress, kisses him on his request and turns into a frog herself. The two of them team up to find a way to break the curse, and learn lessons from each other on the way, Naveen learning responsibility and Tiana learning to loosen up and enjoy life.
  • Disney also has an example where the character is already nice, and the transformations are about teaching other lessons: The Sword in the Stone.
  • In FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Zak starts out as an uncaring employee of a logging company in the progress of destroying the eponymous rainforest, right up until Crysta accidentally shrinks him down to fairy size. The experiences that follow - falling in love with Crysta, seeing the beauty of the forest up close, and helping to stop Hexxus - gradually awaken his sense of empathy, and once he's returned to normal size, he leaves Fern Gully with the intention of putting a stop to any further logging.
  • Spies in Disguise features arrogant superspy Lance Sterling being transformed into a pigeon by a gadget gone wrong; after a bit of Break the Haughty, he gradually begins to warm to inventor Walter Beckett, eventually returning him to normal as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • In Turning Red, the experiences Mei goes through after gaining her giant red panda form result in her gaining the confidence to stand up to her mother and make a Declaration of Personal Independence.
  • Willy the Sparrow: Willy is a bratty kid who is rude with his sister, plays rough with their pet cat, and shoots at sparrows with his slingshot. After the Sparrow Guardian (a fairy) turns him into a sparrow, he joins a sparrow flock where he learns friendship and respect.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Wikus van de Merwe begins District 9 as a cheery, non-violent happy-go-lucky bureaucrat, unconcerned with the plight of the Prawns and actively participating in MNU's exploitation of the alien refugees. After being sprayed with a mutagenic substance and undergoing a Slow Transformation into a Prawn himself, Wikus is reduced to a desperate, panicky shell of his former self, prepared to do just about anything to survive and be reunited with his wife; more importantly, he also ends up growing a conscience and taking the side of the Prawns by the end.
  • Nine Lives (2016) features Tom Bran being trapped in the body of a cat and forced to reconcile with his estranged family in order to regain human form, eventually realizing just how badly he took them for granted along the way.
  • Plötzlich fett (German for "Suddenly Fat") tells the story of a personal trainer named Nick who disdains fat people despite being Formerly Fat himself. An overweight woman named Eva who won a training session from him in a raffle is among those he makes fun of. One day they wake up to find they've swapped weights overnight, Nick turning fat again and Eva becoming svelte. Nick starts to see how hurtful his previous attitude was now that he's the one being pitied for his weight while also falling in love with Eva for being the only one who still treats him kindly.
  • In Sam, the title character is a He-Man Woman Hater who undergoes a Gender Bender Karmic Transformation into a woman after he makes a misogynistic rant to the proprietor of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday. As a result of his time as a woman, Sam not only reevaluates his attitude towards women, but also his attitude towards love, and his relationship with his best friend Doc. At the end of the movie, Sam is offered the choice to turn back but decides to remain a woman and be with Doc.
  • Wolf: Will Randal is an aging editor at an influential publishing house, his skills and overall drive on the wane due to age and boredom. Before long, he loses his job to his disloyal protege and discovers his wife is cheating on him with the same man, leaving him dejected and feeling a failure. However, after being bitten by a werewolf late one night, Randal is revitalised, dramatically increasing his aggression, assertiveness and sexual appetite. With his passion restored, he manages to regain his position, excel at his job, and start a new relationship with his boss's daughter.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men, the arrogant anti-mutant Senator Kelly is transformed into a mutant by Magneto's test run of his mutation machine. After getting to grips with his unstable new powers - and being regarded with fear by other human beings - he swallows his pride and seeks help from his former enemy, Jean Grey. Tragically, his mutation proves fatal, and he dies while sharing a heart-to-heart moment with Storm. Magneto's end goal was to forcibly impose this trope on the world leaders to make them more sympathetic to mutant-kind.
    • Throughout X-Men: First Class, Mystique has been using her shapeshifting powers largely to pose as an ordinary human being and is actually quite shy compared to her future self. However, as her relationship with Magneto grows, he begins encouraging her to spend more time in her true form; now inclined to regard her scaly blue real self as beautiful, she gains more and more confidence - until at last she becomes the sly, acrobatic temptress encountered in the first trilogy. And then X-Men: Days of Future Past takes most of her villainy out of the equation, but that's another story.

  • In All the Birds in the Sky, Patricia's first use of demonstrably real magic is to transform into a bird to escape her tyrannical older sister. The confidence and sense of freedom she achieves as a result ultimately paves the way for her saving Lawrence from military school, learning how to use her powers consciously, and eventually leveling up into a Blue-Collar Warlock hero.
  • Animorphs:
    • Tobias was a shy, lonesome Bully Magnet constantly shuttled between a neglectful aunt and uncle; after he'd been given the morphing power and first transformed into a red-tailed hawk, he would not shut up about how awesome flying was - which might explain why he took his Shapeshifter Mode Lock so well after getting trapped in bird morph during the team's first mission. Later in the series, he starts living as a hawk (hunting his own food and defending his territory) for so long that once he gains the ability to morph back into his old human body, his behavior is no longer entirely human: he stares at people when he forgets to check himself, and since hawks don't show emotions he becomes The Stoic (which actually saves his life after he learns that his father is Elfangor and he doesn't react, so the Yeerks trying to use the info to catch him are fooled into thinking he really is just a mundane human).
    • Ax starts off as a naive Andalite cadet overcompensating some aspects of the Andalite Proud Warrior Race ways. Transforming into a human also lets him get a better idea of how they work (especially their sense of taste), and when they meet other Andalites later on, he realizes how much he's changed due to the circumstances (serving under a non-Andalite commander, for starters).
    • Really, most of the Animorphs experience this over the course of the series: because their ability to morph is tied with their status as Child Soldiers, their use of it often ends up with them either being horribly traumatized (especially after morphing social insects like ants and termites) or growing increasingly cold as they're forced to use these morphs to kill sentient beings. Rachel goes from a sporty Action Fashionista to a borderline-psychopathic Blood Knight; Marco turns from the Sad Clown / Plucky Comic Relief to a Machiavellian schemer with a vengeful streak; and Jake, the responsible, good-hearted leader of the group, turns into a driven, desperate commander willing to commit war crimes if it means stopping the Yeerks.
    • In The Ellimist Chronicles, the Ellimist himself grows weary of his constant defeats at the hands of Crayak and decides to temporarily abandon the life of a technological demigod in favor of a simple existence as a primitive Andalite. For many years, he enjoys a life in the company of others, reveling in marriage and family life while also suffering the death of his firstborn daughter. When the time comes to reclaim his old Sapient Ship body, he returns to his role as the Ellimist with renewed vigor and certainty, having finally learned the way to outfight Crayak: "more children, some live."
  • Colony:
    • Eddie O'Hare begins the story as a Nervous Wreck on the run from Mafia debt collectors, powerless to save anyone but himself and continuously paralyzed by indecision. However, after suffering fatal injuries and being rebuilt as an extremely clumsy cyborg several centuries into the future, Eddie gradually begins taking decisive steps to save the crew of the Willflower - even risking his life to save Apton Styx from death in space. When he finally meets the dreaded debt collector for the second time, he refuses to flee or beg for his life, instead opting to fight him to the death.
    • Paulo San Pablos provides a very dark version of the trope: prior to stowing away aboard the Willflower, he was a Faux Affably Evil Debt Collector pursuing Eddie for money. After getting caught, being executed, then resurrected as a cyborg like Eddie, he goes completely insane from the loss of his body and degenerates into a Serial Killer prowling the ship for victims - and for revenge.
  • In Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger, a family of hunting enthusiasts sprout wings, shrink to the size of small birds and are forced to live in a tree in their garden, while a family of anthropomorphic ducks move into their house. The ducks eventually threaten the hunters with their own guns, but the hunters swear to renounce their lifestyle and become vegetarian, at which point the ducks allow them back into the house and the transformation wears off. After this, the father is seen smashing the family's guns with a hammer while the mother lays flowers on a makeshift grave for the many victims of past hunts and the children scatter birdseed for a huge flock of birds.
  • During the visit to Brakebills' southern campus in The Magicians, fourth-year students are taught how to transform into arctic foxes; as it turns out, this is another part of the Training from Hell, this one ensuring that the students are humiliated by the end result of combining animal instincts with several months without sex. However, the experience encourages Quentin and Alice to take their relationship to the next level and become lovers. For good measure, Alice also experiences another spike in confidence, driving her to refuse the offered magical ingredients from Mayakovsky and tackle the Ultimate Final Exam - walking naked to the South Pole with only her magic to defend her - entirely on her own; she jokingly attributes it to having a few fox traits left over from the transformation.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • While trapped in the eponymous VR game in Better Than Life, Rimmer finds himself suffering an escalating Humiliation Conga as the game begins taking cues from his self-loathing, concluding with him ending up trapped in the body of a prostitute in the company of two psychopathic fugitives. He's quickly subjected to increasingly demeaning treatment by the fugitives, ranging from sexist condescension to outright physical abuse. In a rare moment to himself, Rimmer reflects on his attitude towards women, and how most of the female characters in his BTL fantasy were based on women who rejected his advances, were out of his league, or already taken, here reincarnated in the game as sex objects to fuel his ego. As a result, he is finally able to realize how miserable and screwed-up he really is especially after discovering that the woman he was going to marry before the body swap was a younger version of his own mother. Perhaps as a result of this, after escaping from BTL with the rest of the crew, Rimmer is a much nicer person - to the point of deferring to Kristine Kochanski in Last Human - though he never loses his trademark sarcasm.
    • In Last Human, Lister is forced to sign up for a Suicide Mission in exchange for being released from Cyberia, but is allowed to spend his final night with an enslaved symbi-morph by the name of Reketrebn. Though she attempts to make him happy by taking on the forms of various loved ones, she's ultimately encouraged to relax in her Shapeshifter Default Form - leading to them sharing a meal together and becoming genuinely friendly. Later, Reketrebn assumes Lister's form and finally understands just how miserable her current host really is while separated from Kochanski, leading to her helping him escape from prison.
  • Invoked by Merlin in The Once and Future King, who changes Wart into a variety of animals, as insight into the kind of compassionate perspective-shifting he'll need to be a good king.
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Eustace starts out as a bigoted, selfish Spoiled Brat who suffers a Karmic Transformation into a dragon. While transformed, he comes to realize that he's The Load to his traveling companions and soon regrets his bad behaviour; eventually, Aslan restores him to human form and he begins to Take a Level in Kindness.
  • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils: Nils Holgersson is a lazy, bratty teenage boy who torments farm animals. After capturing a tomte (a small, gnome-like magical creature from Swedish folklore), he's turned into a tomte himself. In his new, tiny form, he joins a flock of geese for a journey across Sweden, during which he becomes more heroic, less selfish and a better person in general.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Farscape episode "DNA Mad Scientist" features Aeryn being slowly and forcibly transformed into a Pilot by a crazed geneticist, resulting in a lot of Body Horror until she's finally saved by Crichton restored to normal; this ultimately forms a major part of her first-season Character Development in transforming her from a bitter, lonely exile to a rounded crewmember who knows she can trust in others. For good measure, the fact that she now shares DNA with Moya's Pilot becomes a big component of her Odd Friendship with him.
  • My Babysitter's a Vampire: Before being bitten, Erica was a shy nerd, awkward and unpopular. Her transformation into a vampire not only increased her beauty, but also gave her a personality makeover; she was suddenly a confident Alpha Bitch. This contrasts the other new vampires in the film, Rory and Sarah, who pretty much keep their personalities intact after being bitten.
  • This is the main premise behind One Hundred Deeds For Eddie Mc Dowd; Jerkass Eddie McDowd is changed into a dog, and he won't change back until he does 100 good deeds, proving that he's become a better person in the process. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled before Eddie made serious progress in that direction.
  • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, reformed former Big Bad Astronema, now Karone, completes her Heel–Face Turn when she rescues the Pink Quasar Saber and morphs into the new Pink Ranger for the team.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo ends up having his shapeshifting powers locked by the Founders as punishment for siding with the "solids" over his fellow Changelings. After a long period of adjustment and gradual acceptance, the episode "The Begotten" features him unexpectedly becoming a Parental Substitute to a sickly infant Changeling. With the help of his estranged mentor, Dr Mora, he begins teaching the young shapeshifter how to use its powers; despite being vocally opposed to the use of Mora's harsher teaching methods, he reluctantly makes use of them after another argument - even coming to understand the pressure his own surrogate parent was under when they first met. Tragically, the baby fails to recover from its initial sickness and dies, but not before restoring Odo's powers. Now back to being a Changeling, Odo has also developed a better relationship with Mora and vows not to fall out of contact with him this time.
  • The 10th Kingdom: The immature Royal Brat Prince Wendell gets usurped, transformed into a dog, and chased out of the kingdom. The Break the Haughty experience, combined with being forced to cooperate with and rely on others for the first time, forges him into a much better person by the time he regains his human form and throne.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • According to Celtic folklore, Gwion Bach started out as a lowly servant of the goddess Ceridwen with no prospects or ambitions in life. After accidentally drinking a potion of knowledge meant for Ceridwen's son - and incurring the goddess's wrath in the process - Gwion fled in terror, using the magical knowledge he acquired to transform into a number of forms he thought could be used to outrun his former employer; unfortunately, Ceridwen could shapeshift as well, forcing him to take the form of a grain of wheat in an attempt to hide. Ceridwen just transformed into a hen and ate him... only to somehow become pregnant as a result. Despite still being angry with him, the goddess couldn't bring herself to kill her former servant, and allowed him to be reborn as her son before sending him away. After all this transformation, the lowly, unambitious Gwion Bach starts a new life as Taliesin, a brilliant young man who eventually became a legendary bard and prophet - in some versions of the story, even a protege of Merlin and a member of King Arthur's court.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Mage: The Ascension, the Verbena character template known only as "Shapeshifter" started out as a Shrinking Violet with an unattainable desire to escape from her routine-bound life. However, everything changed when she fell in love with a Verbena mage: not only did she end up losing her virginity to him, but she ended up Awakening in the process, the two of them transforming into animals as they had sex. Now, the character is described to have become "like a house pet gone feral," taking on any persona or form imaginable on a whim, living life with exactly the kind of joie de vivre she always wanted.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade:
    • The Nosferatu clan have a particular hate-on for attractive individuals with attitude problems. As a result, it's not uncommon for such figures to be Embraced and forced to endure the transformation into a hideously-deformed Nosferatu - sometimes with the justification of teaching the "Cleopatra" a lesson, sometimes just For the Evulz. Whatever the case, the few Cleopatras who don't end up self-destructing may eventually mature into responsible, level-headed members of the clan in full support of its mission... and in time, they may end up Embracing Cleopatras of their own.
    • The Tzimisce clan have the power to alter and transform their bodies with the unique Discipline of Vicissitude, either making themselves inhumanly beautiful or deliberately monstrous. However, the use of the Discipline is tied with the practice of disregarding human perspectives; the more they experiment with the transformation of their bodies, the more they progress along their unique Path of Enlightenment. Consequently, the oldest Tzimisce bear only a remote resemblance to human beings and possess viewpoints that are almost incomprehensible even to other vampires.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age
    • As a whole, it's repeatedly demonstrated that Magic can have devastating and permanent effects on a being's physical and mental well-being depending on how direct the application is. For example, Magic and magical substances that directly invades a persons body (such as injesting lyrium) can have effects ranging from developing an intense addiction to being irrevocably mutated or poisoned. Invading a person's mind is much harder, requiring stronger or more concentrated types of magic, but the effect can be even worse—with mortals winding up brainwashed and mind raped or even physically transformed into Abominations. Spirits, likewise, can wind up completely altered and changed into another spirit (or worse, a demon). Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that even mortals or spirits that are saved and reverted from these states are permanently altered and emotionally scarred.
    • The Mage origin of Dragon Age: Origins introduces Mouse, a mage trapped in the Fade during his Harrowing. With his body now dead as a result of failing the test, his spirit is condemned to roam endlessly, often taking on the form of a mouse in order to avoid being preyed on by demons - appropriately coinciding with his personality having turned despondent and fatalistic by the time you meet him during your Harrowing. However, with a little effort, you can find a way for him to transform into a bear and join you in combat, netting him a massive boost in confidence. And then it turns out the whole thing's a lie: he's actually the pride demon you were sent into the Fade to duel wits with, and he was just trying to trick you into letting him into your mind.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, Regent Cid of Lindblum has been transformed into an oglop by his wife, Hilda, as revenge for his repeated affairs, eventually paving the way for a depressive period in which his once-revolutionary airship designs all fail and Lindblum is devastated in a surprise attack by Alexandria. However, in Disc 3, the Regent is finally reunited with his wife, forgiven for his infidelity and transformed back into a human: not only is Cid able to return to work with renewed confidence and design the Cool Airship of the game, but he enjoys a much better relationship with Hilda from then on.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: Kiana underwent the transformation into Herrscher of the Void courtesy of Otto Apocalypse. She became sadistic and destructive, and had to be stopped by her mentor, Himeko which costed her life. But the most significant part is what Kiana becomes after she goes back normal - the transformation brought back the knowledge and memories of what she used to do/be, and after the experience she loses her cheerful, brash and silly personality and turns into an emotional wreck, in part because she fears how destructive she can be. She then struggles with depression, loneliness, and especially guilt over what she had done. Then she undergoes this again, but this time it's more positive: she tries to conquer her "inner demon" with the aid of her friend, Fu Hua, and eventually succeed, allowing her to command the greater power inside her with her own will, with the side effect of her transforming her looks; now she looks more mature, and she's more serious and straight-laced than before.
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream features Benny, previously a vain and arrogant military commander who murdered several men under his command for failing to live up to his Darwinian standards, being transformed into a hideously-crippled "ape-thing" by the deranged supercomputer AM. By the start of the story, he's been starved for so long he's become obsessively focused on eating, and AM hopes to tempt him into sinking to new lows in his attempts to assuage his hunger. However, if played correctly, Benny gradually learns compassion from his experiences as a mutant, seeks forgiveness for his crimes, and can ultimately sacrifice himself to save a child.
  • In Portal 2, GLaDOS is transformed into a potato battery when Wheatley takes over the Enrichment Center halfway through the game. Following a long Humiliation Conga featuring bird attacks, electrical malfunctions, and being forced to team up with Chell, it looks as though the ex-Big Bad is actually becoming a better person, especially once the Dark and Troubled Past is revealed and confronted. And then it's subverted all to hell once GLaDOS reclaims her position as an all-powerful supercomputer: having worked out where her compassion resides in her brain, she deletes it and goes right back to being the snarky, heartless psychopath she's always been... or so it seems.
  • Issue 10 of The Secret World reveals that an instance of this lay in the Black Signal's backstory: previously a shy, socially-inept young man desperate for friends, he was brainwashed into becoming a suicide bomber for the Fear Nothing Foundation - only for the Fantastic Nuke he was equipped with to transform him into a living Filth signal when it finally detonated. Now liberated from danger by his newfound power and freedom, the nervous young man has since become a slick, chatty trickster with a childishly sadistic streak.
  • Combined with Laser-Guided Karma in Sunless Skies. If you pull a fast one on the Amiable Vagabond before he can sacrifice you to Old Tom's Well, he will end up being taken instead and transformed into a tree at the bottom of the Well. However, saving him at the last minute allows him to live on as an officer... but still partially transformed, living out his days in a planter aboard your locomotive. Unable to travel on his own or play the fiddle, the now-Dendrified Vagabond's charm and lust for life is completely lost, reducing him to a chronically-depressed shell of his former self, stranded alone in his cabin by crewmembers who now despise him for his crimes. As a result, he's pathetically grateful for any attention you pay him.


    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Life's Ruff", Luigi meets King Windbag, an obnoxiously arrogant king. After Hip and Hop steal the king's magic scepter and turn both of them into dogs, the two of them have to chase them around to get the scepter back. During the adventure, King Windbag ends up learning how being rude with other people all the time is not the right way to behave. After turning back to normal, Windbag uses his scepter to make a dognapper that kept chasing after him and Luigi fall asleep and transforms him into a poodle for a few seconds, so that he can feel in his dreams how it feels to be a stray dog in order to get a small life lesson of his own.
  • Throughout The Midnight Gospel, Clancy has been a reckless, irresponsible Manchild who frequently shies away from situations that might leave him emotionally vulnerable, especially ones involving family. However, in the episode "Mouse Of Silver", Clancy meets his mother in the Universe Simulator - and almost immediately regresses to infancy. Over the course of their time together, Clancy grows up all over again, even ending up older than his mom as they discuss psychology and society... until it's finally revealed that she's dying of cancer (hence Clancy's behaviour), eventually driving a now now-elderly Clancy to express the full extent of his grief. In the finale, the two of them transcend their physical bodies and become planets, whereupon the two of them are finally parted by a black hole symbolizing death. Clancy is emotionally crushed for the first time in the story but, after being forced to flee into the Universe Simulator by events back in the real world, is able to begin his next adventure with a clear heart and a new outlook on life.
  • Mutant League: a character who hates mutants is doused with toxic waste and mutates. He ends up playing on the hero's team for a time, and though the mutation is temporary, the former baddie grows to respect mutants and continues to do so even after he's back to normal.
  • The B-Plot of the Rick and Morty episode "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy" features Summer having a breakdown after her boyfriend dumps her for a girl with bigger breasts (exacerbated by Beth all but ignoring her). She tries to use one of Rick's inventions to enhance her bosom, only to end up accidentally turning herself into a giant; worse still, Beth's attempts to fix the problem not only make Summer even bigger, but also render her completely incoherent and turn her inside-out! Eventually, after the hideously-deformed Summer storms off to take out her frustrations on her boyfriend, Beth is able to coax her off the metaphorical ledge by transforming herself in the same way, allowing the two inside-out giantesses to share a heartfelt but completely unintelligible reconciliation. As a result, the relationship between the two improves, Summer is able to move on with her life, and Beth becomes a much better mother.
  • Summer Camp Island: After an encounter one night, Hedgehog becomes a werewolf in "Hedgehog Werewolf". Whilst initially panicking and wanting to be cured, after getting to enjoy the freedom that comes with the transformation she decides to stay a werewolf at the end, and in turn focus more on what she wants over her future.
  • Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series has one episode where a particularly aggressive and underhanded rival hockey player agrees to undergo a transformation by the bad guys into a beast to take out the Mighty Ducks. Having an epiphany when Grin shows him mercy after everything he's done he realizes he's as monstrous on the outside as he is on the inside. Once turned back to normal, he's become a much more noble person, deciding to ensure fair games as a referee so firm no player with an attitude like his would go against him.