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Morphic Resonance

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It could be worse; at least they're bright and punctual.
"The chieftain had been turned into a pumpkin although, in accordance with the rules of universal humour, he still had his hat on."

In fiction, when people turn into things, often times, the things will... look like themselves. Characters will often retain specific traits between physical forms. In some cases, this is as easy as hair and eye color, which makes sense to a degree. Things get a little confusing, though, when characters end up keeping a color scheme or markings based on, say, the clothes they were wearing.

It's done, of course, so the viewer/audience/reader can tell them apart from other animals or other people wearing the same outfit, if they're infiltrating and pretending to be someone else. It can also extend to the shapeshifter's voice, retaining their identifying vocal range, regional accent, and personal inflections regardless of whether their current body should be able to speak in that manner or not (sort of a non-malicious version of Voices Are Mental).


If these identifying cues become relevant to the plot, it will probably become a Glamour Failure.

Named after a not-so-popular hypothesis by biologist Rupert Sheldrake, in which the forms of organisms are imprinted upon "morphic fields", which in turn influence the forms of subsequent organisms (at least, before the term was hijacked by science-fiction authors to name this trope's concept), and for that see Lamarck Was Right. May be brought upon by being subject to a Baleful Polymorph. If the retained traits are indicative of an evil nature, see also Red Right Hand. See also Shapeshifter Default Form, and Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing. Contrast Fisher Kingdom.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In both her human and bird forms, Nero/Secre Swallowtail from Black Clover has her horns and slanted eyes. Even her black dress in her human form resembles feathers.
  • Pokémon:
    • There was an episode with a Ditto owned by Duplica who had this problem — it could turn into anything, but it always kept its own face, which usually looked downright RIDICULOUS. It is eventually stolen by Team Rocket, who flat out threatened the poor thing, eventually teaching it to make a perfect transformation. Duplica returned in Johto with a second Ditto with yet another transformation issue — it could transform perfectly... just not its size when it came to big Mons. Duplica eventually decides that she'll make it her goal to try and capture an entire team of Ditto with various transformation quirks.
    • The un-transformed face, however, has since gone on to become a characteristic of all Ditto in the anime and other adaptations.
    • In the Johto-arc episode "Hocus Pokémon!", Ash is transformed into a Pikachu for a few minutes. As a Pikachu, he still had the same eyes and hairstyle.
  • Deathmon always keeps the same face no matter what it transforms into in C'mon Digimon. Metamorphmon's eyes are always off compared to whatever it turns into in Digimon V-Tamer 01.
  • When Griffith incarnates as Femto in Berserk, one of his primary features is the demonic hood he wears, which is very similar to the helm that he wore as the leader of the Band of the Hawks. Explained in the deleted chapter, where he specifically asks to the Idea of Evil to "give him wings", implying that he chose exactly his demonic form.
  • In Princess Tutu, Ahiru's duck form has a sometimes disturbingly human face and retains her trademark hair-style. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that her human form retains the trademark feather-style of her duck form.
  • In Ranma ½, most of the transforming characters retain some of their regular characteristics.
    • Some are minor and make sense, like Ranma retaining his hairstyle because there's nothing in the transformation that would require undoing his braid.
    • Genma's panda form has round black circles around the eyes, looking very much like the glasses he never part with in human form. Of course, it's not like real pandas have such markings, ranging from bead-like to perfectly round.
    • Ryōga retains his Cute Little Fangs as P-chan, though that's nowhere surprising for a piglet. His trademark bandanna also almost always end up tied around P-chan's neck, and then returns to his head when changing back. Which made the "Charlotte" collar that was put on his pig form unusual, because it stayed on his neck (despite the collar being small and, unlike the bandanna, very tight) when he reverted to human.
    • Shampoo's cat-form markings match the clothes she wears most of the time, and her fur is an unusual shade of pink and purple in the anime. She also always keeps the bell-like, round hair decs tied to her bangs.
    • Mousse keeps his fringe of hair as a duck, as well as his Opaque Nerd Glasses. The glasses don't shrink, however — he owns a second pair sized for his duck form (this can be seen clearly in the manga, book 10 chapter 5).
    • An Imagine Spot where the characters envision Happōsai changing into a tiger, a monkey, or a snake, has them all imagining animals that clearly have Happōsai's features.
    • Rakkyōsai's tiny ponytail and swirly spiral markings on his cheeks remain in place whether he's a child or a tiny old man.
    • A monkey thrown into Nyannichuan, which had a very unique and nearly-human look compared to the rest of Takahashi's monkeys, retains her basic facial appearance as a human.
    • Weirdly, Rouge's translucent pants disappear whenever she becomes Asura and come back when she reverts, even though her lower body (and the rest of her wardrobe) doesn't change at all. Her waist-length hair also disappears, though that may simply be due to how hard it would be to draw long hair for one head with three faces.
    • This has also caused no end of controversy as to what the extent of curses' transformation really is. The common consensus is that cursed characters transform into "what they would look like" in the alternate form, and this is proven right by the Musk Dynasty saga (wherein another Gender Bender victim of Nyannichuan looks nothing like female Ranma, but like a female version of himself, and various animals thrown into the spring also have unique appearances and the similarity between two Nyannichuan victims is described as so rare it's actually a plot point), but muddled by the Phoenix saga (where the Phoenix people "somehow" manage to create a spring which does turn you into an exact duplicate of the original).
  • Inuyasha:
    • Shippo always keeps his tail. See the mention of the kitsune in the Myths folder below.
    • Naraku, much to his frustration, retains the spider-shaped burn scar that marks him as part-human. The latter is so persistent that ripping the skin from his back or burning it off (which his Healing Factor enables him to do without any long-term consequences) will only result in his skin growing back with the mark intact. The same applies to all of his detachments.
  • Averted in Wolf's Rain. It would have made perfect sense for the wolves' fur color to match the hair of their human forms, but the colors are reversed for Kiba. Having black hair in his human form actually makes a lot of sense — it makes his skin and eyes stand out a lot, so it's not too much of a stretch that the guy with light eyes and pale skin is really a white wolf.
  • In Little Witch Academia Akko's signature spell is one that transforms her in various animals. They all retain her top knot.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Chichiri does an impeccable impersonation of cold, calculating Nakago...except he brings his own propensity for going Super-Deformed. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Graf Herrmann from Negima! Magister Negi Magi keeps his horns when he's pretending to be a human. To be more accurate, his horns turn into a strange, curving hairstyle that look like his horns.
  • Slayers:
    • Filia's human and dragon forms share a similar hairdo and a pink bow.
    • This is actually true of both dragons and mazoku who transform into humans. Xellos, for example, keeps the color scheme of black and purple between human and swirling cone forms.
  • In a meta example, Gundam Sousei (a Dramatization of the creation of Mobile Suit Gundam) depicts the show's voice actors as looking like their characters. This varies between people: Shuichi Ikeda looks like an older, black-haired Char, while Toru Furuya looks exactly like Amuro.
  • As witch apprentices, the main characters of Ojamajo Doremi can turn into pretty much any animal they want. However, no matter what form they assumed, their fur will always be of the girls' signature colors and Doremi will always end up with her trademark Odango Hair somehow, even if the animal in question doesn't even have hair. Likewise, Hazuki somehow never loses her glasses upon transforming.
  • There are several instances of this in Hell Teacher Nube, especially when it comes to shapeshifters:
    • An accident with a magical artifact temporarily shoves Miss Minako's soul into Miss Ritsuko's body, resulting in a mishmash that calls herself "Miss Rinako". Her appearance is a combination of both women right down to the outfit and hairstyle.
    • Whenever Nube is completely taken over by the Oni Hand, he looks nothing like Baki, the actual Oni sealed in his hand, but as Nube himself with monstrous features.
    • Hayame the mermaid, who has several distinguishing features in her true form (such as webbed hands, large gills on her ribcage, and fin-like ears,) keeps her exact same face and hairstyle as a human.
    • Subverted with Tamamo, the yohko. This type of kitsune steals human skulls for his own use, which grants him the exact appearance of whoever the previous owner was (up to and including hairstyle.) This causes some discomfort when the fiancée of his last victim shows up, thinking that her missing fiancée has finally come back from his hiking accident.
    • A mystic tree in the school's playground releases insects that have a heavy resemblance to whoever sticks their finger in a knot and gives it some blood. As in, when the girls tried it, they got butterflies and moths that looked exactly like them but with wings. However, these insects quickly degenerated into horrifying "halfway" states. Nube settled the commotion down by producing Nube-faced Hercules beetles complete with gloved Red Right Hands that subdued the monstrous bugs.
    • The spirit of bedridden Ill Girl Ayumi, who attends school via astral projection, still wears her glasses even though a projection wouldn't need them. She clearly does this to preserve her self-image, since she, Tamamo, and Nube (who taught her how to project) can modify their projections at will, to the point they could be blobs of ectoplasm if they wanted.
    • The Oni Siblings are all over the place: Baki's human form is heavily muscled, has wild hair, and prefers intimidating clothes like biker jackets and chains, and he closely resembles his original shape. Zekki's human form is a wispy bishonen that is nothing like the huge and horrific monstrosity of his Oni appearance. Minki looks exactly the same whether human or Oni, just minus the horn and the monstrous right hand from the latter form.
  • Partly averted in Yaiba, where the some of his transformations made with the Gold Orb are complete, but played straight by Shiro Amakusa who retains his whiskers and sometimes his collar while transforming.
  • 007 of Cyborg 009 can turn himself into anyone, but he always retains his decided pronounced belly button, and reverts to his original form if it is pressed.
  • In Transformers Cybertron, as per usual the Transformers' keep their existing colors when they scan new modes. Additionally, their weapons and their Cyber Key slots and components impose themselves on the new form.
  • Attack on Titan, this is the case for most Titans, who retain at least some of their looks from before they were transformed. Notably, the Kawaii/Peering Titan looks almost exactly like his human self (an Eldian restorationist), and Connie holds up a picture showing the eerie resemblance between the House Titan and his mother.
    • This is also used as Foreshadowing for the identities of the Titan Shifters. The Rogue/Attack Titan retains Eren's hair and eye color, the Armored Titan has Reiner's short blonde hair and distinctive Heroic Build, the Colossal Titan has Bertholt's eye color, and the Female Titan looks pretty much exactly like Annie would if she were 15 meters tall, had her hair down, and didn't have any skin.
  • In Gintama, a story arc has Gintoki transformed into a cat by a curse, but he retains his curly silver hair, dull eyes, and voice. Katsura suffers the same fate, but it's downplayed in his case, as he only retains his hair color and eye color and isn't readily identifiable until he uses his Catchphrase.
  • This rule holds true for all characters in One Piece who have eaten Zoan-type Devil Fruits, which allow them to turn into specific animals. Usually, they keep their headgear, if any, and often their hair. The most prominent example is Kaku, who has a long, rectangular nose, and whose giraffe form has a long, rectangular snout (and whose body is even more box-like).
  • Played for Laughs in the Hot Springs Episode of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid when everyone imagines what Kobayashi would look like if she was a dragon and all their Imagine Spots keep her head unchanged.
  • In The Wonderful World Of Puss In Boots, Lucifer the ogre sorcerer keeps his crown, necklace, and beard whenever he shapeshifts. Though not always, sometimes the color of his clothes appear as the fur color of whatever animal form he takes, such as a purple cat or a large mouse with green-tinted fur.
  • Played with in Fullmetal Alchemist. Envy shapeshifts for missions in order to instigate conflicts and gain intel, so they only appear as other characters. When their true form is revealed, it turns out they were doing this the whole time. Envy actually looks like a monster with black hair, an alchemic pattern on their forehead, and no discernable gender- all traits they have in their preferred form (albeit in a more attractive way).
    • Subverted in the 2003 anime, where they actually closely resemble Hohenheim, their father whom they hate. As such, they create a preferred form that looks nothing like their real body.
  • Yo-kai Watch Jam The Movie: Yo-kai Academy Y - Can a Cat be a Hero? (and its spinoff series Yo-kai Watch Jam - Yo-kai Academy Y: Close Encounters of the N Kind) features human versions of several Yo-Kai Watch yo-kai. They still look a lot like their yo-kai versions, such as Jibanyan's red Anime Hair resembling cat ears.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: Whenever Kuroe Akaishi transforms into Harugon, not only do her eyes stay the same, the horns she sprouts resemble two spiky tufts of hair she has as a human.
  • In Jewelpet: Magical Change, the Jewelpets can turn into humans by using their Jewelwatches while Airi's pendant gives them a boost in magical power. Their human forms all retain some features from their pet forms, primarily relating to their color schemes, but they do keep some other physical features as well; for example, Ruby as a human wears a ribbon in her hair similar to her animal form's rabbit ears, Labra wears her bear ears as an accessory, Peridot has tufts of hair on the sides of her head that look like her Ear Wings, and she and Sapphie both keep their dog tails.
  • In Sarazanmai, whenever the three main characters turn into Kappa, they still retain their hairstyles and Enta still wears his glasses. Reo and Mabu still have their hair and eyes as well, along with Reo keeping his sharp teeth and Mabu keeping his own glasses.
  • In Urusei Yatsura, Kitsune transforms into the other characters by essentially becoming slightly more human-like, putting on the same outfit and hairstyle as the person he wants to turn into. It never fools anyone (since he often doesn't lose the tail), but everyone plays along since he's so cute.

    Card Games 
  • One of the Pokémon TCG expansions included cards of Ditto mimicking various Pokémon: they all have in common Ditto's wide mouth and dotty eyes.
  • (Almost) every Magic: The Gathering creature card with the Morph ability from Onslaught block has a "morph spider", either the creature itself or in the form of a subtler object, hidden in its artwork. It was only occasionally heeded to when it returned in the Time Spiral block, but was largely ignored. When Morph returned in Khans of Tarkir, though, a new clue in some artworks was shown: a yellow ball of energy with a bunch of swirling "tails" that kind of look like dragon tails. For the second block in the set, Fate Reforged, a similar mechanic, Manifest, had a similar signifier: blueish-white versions of these energy balls.

    Comic Books 
  • In One Disney's Aladdin comic, the genie switches Aladdin and Jasmine's bodies to teach them a lesson, and their clothes change colors to reflect their normal colors. (Aladdin as Jasmine's top and pants are purple and white, and Jasmine as Aladdin's vest and pants are blue.)
  • Plastic Man could become almost anything, but kept his colors. Whether or not he has to keep his goggles and other facial features depends on the writer and/or medium. His power is actually being semi-fluid and he is therefore able to stretch/contort into the shape of anything. He does not actually turn into the thing. There is a JLA comic where Plastic Man turned into an aeroplane that could actually fly. And, with tremendous effort, he once turned the tip of his nose blue. Of course, this particular trait has gotten him caught out a few times, such as when he disguised himself as a dress to be worn by Big Barda. Averted during Grant Morrison's run on JLA when Plastic Man managed to successfully disguise himself as the Joker, turning his skin white, his hair green and his costume purple.
  • The Impossible Man character in the Marvel Universe and all the other Popuppians. He can shapechange into different forms but always keeps his green and purple coloration. This is, in fact, how he lost a Shapeshifter Showdown once. After trying to impress each other with a wide variety of assumed shapes for the entire issue, his opponent Warlock (with a little help from his teammates, who felt the whole thing was getting out of hand) hit upon the idea of changing color, which he could do and Impy couldn't.
  • Warlock at one time was only able to shapeshift into black things with yellow circuitry. But he got better at shapeshifting and that quality went away.
  • Obscure but awesome Marvel character Dirtnap's forms always kept the smiley-face (classic yellow-circle smiley thing) on the stomach.
  • Changeling (a.k.a. Beast Boy) from the Teen Titans is always green in his various animal forms. New 52 made him always red instead (as they'd tied him into The Red, the metaphysical manifestation of the Animal Kingdom which Animal Man draws power from, and the animal equivalent to Swamp Thing's The Green), though it only lasted a couple years.
  • Snowbird from Alpha Flight is always albino.
  • As is Virginia Dare in Marvel 1602 (which is loosely based on the legend that she could turn into a white deer).
  • In X-Nation 2099, the mutant Willow always has a particular marking around her left eye, even though her shapeshifting powers are otherwise so precise that she can duplicate another person's form right down to their DNA.
  • In Avengers: The Initiative, secret Skrull spy Crusader has a flashback to a combat training exercise on his homeworld where his opponent K'rtem gave him a scar. Crusader vowed to keep the scar no matter what form he took in tribute to K'rtem's might.
  • In Astro City, the Spirit of Counterculture has taken many forms over the years, every one of them being some stripe of Fad Super (Bouncing Beatnik, Jazzbaby, Mr. Cakewalk, Halcyon Hippie, Glamorax, Zootsuit), and frequently changing in age, gender, and ethnicity. However, all of them have black hair and gold skin, their outfit is always some mix of black, white, gold, and red, and many of the ones we see have a prominent diamond shape in their design.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, the Bakugou of Earth-2018.688 modified the Venom costume to suit his tastes, retaining his spiky hair and having the features of the Hero costume he wanted to wear if he managed to attend U.A.
  • Hakkōna: No matter what form Kiku takes on, his eyes retain their piercing ebon color. Feliciano figured out he was the Last Obake due to this.
  • Kaitō Kokoro: Feliciano noticed a strong resemblence between Kiku's and Nihon's eyes. It's because they are one in the same.
    A jovial laugh rang out. "Well, I highly doubt there are any other Clouded Leopards that are black all over and have bodies five feet long." Piercing ebon orbs widened as his cheeks were cupped, brought close to hazel. "But his most memorable feature is his black eyes...which look so much like yours." Realization dawned on him. "They look exactly like yours! I wonder why?"
    "M-Maybe it's just a coincidence?!" This is not good! Not good at all!
  • The kaiju upon entering the Equestrian realms in The Bridge retain some of their original traits such as coloration and key features. For example in the human subrealm from the Equestria Girls movies, Monster X comes out wearing a long scarf that hangs down and resembles his true form's twin tails.
  • This gets inverted in some World of Warcraft stories such as Crossroads to Ravines where spending too much time in animal form causes Druids to resemble said animal. Shamar a.k.a. Fuzzik spent months as a Hunter's pet and even afterwards, bares a distinct resemblance to a bear.
  • The Scaly Raptor has this for both humans and dinosaurs when in their alternate forms. Owen and Claire's dinosaur forms have markings resembling their facial hair and hair respectively while Blue's human form has tattoos resembling her markings.
  • A number of Supernatural fics involve the characters being turned into some kind of animals, usually via witch or some other magic. Dogs are popular, although cats and other animals occur, too. Eyes are often emphasized as identifying characteristics, particularly Castiel's if he's involved. One fic had Castiel turn into a horse, and not only were his eyes notable, but the horse was the color of his trench coat!
  • The Heart Trilogy: The great dragon Smaug is in his human form seven feet tall and toned like a warrior, and he retains his eye color of golden fire as well as the scar inflicted on his chest by Bard's Black Arrow. Kathryn is also able to notice in his face subtle resemblances to his draconic face.
  • FAITH is a comic where Misty is turned into a Pikachu. She keeps her eyes and hairstyle, but Ash still doesn't notice the resemblance (unlike Gary).
  • Inverted for the Triptych Continuum iteration of Fluttershy. She theorizes that her talent works in part by causing animals to see her as a somewhat-oddly-shaped-and-behaving member of their species... which unfortunately means that they have a tendency to treat her as a member of their species.
  • In misakiyu's illustrations of SilfofinaDragon's Sengoku Basara fanfics, Date Masamune and Katakura Kojuro change into a horse and a panther respectively from potions brewed by Kyogoku Maria, they retain some of their human features (such as their eyebrows) with Masamune's hairstyle as a mane and Kojuro keeping his scar.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Playmobil: The Movie, since she wasn't touching a Playmobil figurine, Marla's Playmobil form looks like a stylized version of her as a human.
  • In Shrek 2, Harold keeps his eye color, crown and goatee in his frog form.
    • Shrek in his human form retains his eye color and nose shape.
  • The Emperor's New Groove:
    • As a llama, Kuzco keeps his human hairstyle. The entire last bit of the movie has him retain both the black of his hair and the red of his old imperial garb across the animal kingdom.
    • Similarly, Yzma turns into a purple kitty, keeping up with her theme. To her chagrin, though, her voice becomes high-pitched and cute.
  • Disney's The Sword in the Stone:
    • When Merlin and Arthur transform, Merlin retains the blue of his cloak, his glasses and his bushy moustache, while Arthur has the earth tones of his clothing and his page haircut.
    • Madame Mim changes into animals who are fat, pink and have green eyes and purple hair. Even her dragon form has the eyes and the hair, but it's purple instead of pink because the rules of the duel explicitly forbade "pink dragons".
  • Aladdin:
    • Happens with all of Genie's transformations, which keep either the blue color scheme, or the facial features of Robin Williams.
    • Also, when Abu is turned into an elephant, he retains his hair, red vest, fez, and, strangely enough, his long tail.
    • Snake Jafar at the end of the film keeps the Red and Black and Evil All Over color scheme of his clothes.
  • The Princess and the Frog:
    • Naveen and Tiana's eyes stay the same after they're changed into frogs and Lawrence's eyes stay the same after he's changed into Naveen.
    • The various animals Mama Odie turns her snake Juju into keep the snake's coloration as well as his big pink eyes, green skin, forked tongue and his long tail.
  • Lumiere & co. from Beauty and the Beast keep their general appearance while turned into animated items. The Beast keeps his blue eyes and hair color (with the former ultimately enabling Belle to recognize him when he reverts to his human form).
  • Ralph, the All-Purpose Animal and Male Lead of Twice Upon a Time, can shapeshift at will, but always has the same rather dorky face.
  • In Help! I'm a Fish, when transformed into fishes, Fly keeps his hat and a tuft of hair, Chuck keeps his glasses, and Stella keeps her skirt and pigtails.
  • In Megamind, the eponymous alien, no matter the form he uses, has big green eyes.
  • When Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty turns into a dragon, she retains the black-and-purple color scheme of her wardrobe, along with the horns. Even if you hadn't seen the movie and were just shown stills of Maleficent as a fairy and as a dragon, it wouldn't be hard to tell they're the same character.
  • When Kenai is transformed into a bear in Brother Bear, if you look very closely, you can actually tell that his bear form has the exact same facial features as his original human form. Also, his fur is the same color as his clothing.
  • Merlock, the Big Bad of DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, actually retains his mustache and goatee whenever he turns into (in order of appearance) an eagle, a rat, a bear, a cougar, a cockroach, and finally, a gryphon.
  • Cars:
    • When Mater disguises himself as a Lemon tow truck in Cars 2, he actually retains his hazel eyes (and yes, the opposite is true). And his body style when he decides to have fun with his disguises, such as a German SUV wearing lederhosen, a Dracula-esque hearse, a yellow drag racer, and a taco truck.
    • And Rod "Torque" Redline's Gremlin disguise. Since his disguise is made up of a retractable metal shell instead of a voice-activated hologram projection, the only thing about him that doesn't change are his hubcaps.
  • Aisling from The Secret of Kells is a white-haired girl with green eyes. This is reflected through the animals she can shapeshift into (mainly a wolf, but the first few minutes of the film show that she can become a salmon and a deer as well) since they will always have white coloring and green eyes to show that it's her.
  • The Unicorn from The Last Unicorn has a white mane and purple eyes. She keeps these two aspects of herself when she's transformed into a woman.
  • In Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, Dark Heart has a red motif no matter what he turns into; he spends most of the film looking like a human boy with red hair, eyes and clothes. His eyes turn blue when his Heel–Face Turn causes him to Become a Real Boy.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • Both Twilight and Spike still look like themselves when turned into a human and a dog, respectively; Spike even mentions it. Twilight keeps the same hair style and skin color as her pony form, and her cutie mark is embroidered on her skirt. The same can be said of all the characters with pony equivalents, but here it isn't through shapechange but alternate-universe counterparts.
    • Same thing in "Mirror Magic" when Starlight Glimmer crosses the the portal to the other world. Her human appearance shares many similarities with her true form, including skin and hair color(s) as well as hairstyle. This is such an accepted fact, in truth, that Sunset Shimmer can reasonably conclude she'd never seen Starlight's human counterpart in Canterlot yet, despite only having just met Starlight Glimmer in pony form at the moment.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): As is usually the case in the main series, transformations leave the characters still easily recognizable. When the Mane Six turns into seaponies, they keep their faces and color schemes. The manes and tails become head frills and caudal fins, respectively, but still conserve their shape and color. The cutie marks still appear on a dorsal fin, and the winged ones have bigger lateral fins. Even small details are still reflected, like Applejack's freckles translating into shinier scales in spots. Same thing for Spike as a puffer fish, who keeps his eyes, mouth and color distribution.
  • Disney's Moana features Maui, a shapeshifting demigod, who, in all his shapeshifts, still has a pattern of his hook on his animal body somewhere.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Whatever shape Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi is in, her face is usually recognizable (and her crown features somewhere on her person). Also, her color scheme tends to stay consistent, mostly composed of red, orange and yellow bricks. This double as a subtle foreshadowing, since those are the colors of the heart Emmet created as a gift to the DUPLO aliens.
  • In Animal Crackers, whatever animal Owen becomes he always keeps his blue eyebrows.
  • Wolfwalkers:
    • Mebh, who's a Wolfwalker, keeps her red hair, green eyes and the dots under her eyes as a wolf. Mebh's mother Moll, who Mebh strongly resembles, also keeps these traits in her wolf form.
    • Downplayed with Robyn, who has blonde hair as a human, but grey and white fur as a wolf, though she keeps her blue eyes. It's the same case with her father Bill, who's also blond and blue-eyed; as a wolf he still has blue eyes and the fur around his face resembles his sideburns, but his fur is black and grey instead.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gellert Grindelwald from the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has a distinctive undercut (a hairstyle later appropriated by the Nazis and other fascists) that he shares with Percival Graves, foreshadowing his later reveal.
  • In Godzilla 2000, the Millennian spacecraft has a distinct beetle-like shape and an laser cannon on its left-front side. When the Millennians absorb some of Godzilla's DNA, they turn into the Kaiju Orga, whose upper half has the same rough shape as the spacecraft as well as a similar laser cannon in its shoulder.
  • In the X-Men Film Series, Mystique's eyes occasionally flash yellow when she's shapeshifted into someone else as an indication it's her. She also keeps the scars Wolverine gave her in the first movie no matter what form she takes.
  • In The Adventuresof Pinocchio, near the end, Pinocchio (now a real boy) tricks Volpe and Felinet (two humans) into drinking a water charm to win many gold coins, and as a result Volpe and Felinet become a Fox and a Cat.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the actors all used a specific mannerism, looking upward at the camera in a sinister fashion, to indicate it was the T-1000 using its mimetic abilities.
  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the shapeshifting Martia has the same eye color and the same voice, whether she looks like an attractive woman or a hulking apeman. However when she disguises herself as Kirk the appearance is much more perfect, including perfectly mimicking their voice.
  • In the live-action Perspective Flip film of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent, her pet raven Diaval is usually changed into a normal-looking human (albeit later wearing black clothes resembling his feathers). Other times, he becomes a wolf, a horse and a dragon, all retaining some raven-like features.
  • In 7 Zwerge - Der Wald ist nicht genug, Rumplestilkin retains his prominent facial mole while shapeshifting. Strangely, no-one is able to recognize him while shapeshifted, despite it being the Distinguishing Mark of his normal form.
  • In Cinderella, the animals the Fairy Godmother transforms into humans all retain some animal-like attributes (green skin and pointy teeth on the lizards, for example), with their clothing also reflecting said animal's colors.
  • The Lobster: People who can't find a romantic partner are turned into an animal of their choice. Nosebleed Woman's best friend is proud of her long blond hair. She doesn't say what she wants to become, but when we see a pony with a long blond mane, it's probably her.
  • In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the Jumanji board game shapeshifts into a video game console in order to get people to keep playing it, because board games were becoming passe. Just as the original board game had an old-fashioned appearance in contrast to more modern games of its type, being a wooden box that opened up to reveal the game inside, the console it takes the form of resembles a second-generation machine, a la the Atari 2600 or the Intellivision, with wood paneling and cartridges in contrast to the contemporary PlayStation machines of both 1996 and 2017.
  • In Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Howard's Ditto retains its black beady eyes, so it wears Sinister Shades to hide them when in human forms.

  • In The Belgariad, Polgara the Sorceress keeps her Skunk Stripe in any animal form she assumes. Justified in that the mark is supernatural and she can't remove or dye it as a human either.
  • In Castle Hangnail, Molly finds a spell for turning a cow into a dragon for one minute, and tries it out on several other animals, resulting in a donkey dragon that's grey with long ears, a bat dragon that's small and agile, and a goldfish dragon that's a foot long golden sea serpent. It may be that the transformations are incomplete because she's not using the spell for its intended purpose, in which case a cow would be completely transformed, but there aren't any cows around so she never gets to find out.
  • Discworld:
    • On the Discworld in general, nothing, not even a god, can change the nature of his or her (or its) eyes. Pterry even refers to "morphic resonance" several times in the series, implying it's a real phenomenon on the Disc. It's probably quantum.
    • In The Last Continent, the Librarian gets a magical illness that makes him turn into all kinds of things, all of which have shaggy red fur. This includes a book, various pieces of furniture, and a dolphin. For added hilarity, his orangutan form isn't even his original shape (he was once human). Apparently he's been an orangutan for so long that it's permanently imprinted on his morphic resonance field. Paul Kidby's drawings of the Librarian in his original Horace Worblehat form, and the TV adaption of The Colour of Magic, apply this trope in reverse, giving him prominent cheeks and thick auburn hair. He really does look like he's waiting to turn into an orangutan (and indeed, it's repeatedly stated he's much happier that way).
    • And Angua, a werewolf with long blond hair, turns into a wolf with long blond fur.
  • Transformations in Feline Therapy have the animal's fur match their original hair, with grey-haired Izzy becoming a grey kitty. Their friend Sasha, who has a streak of green dyed hair, is shown with green tufts on their head and tail.
  • The Animagi in Harry Potter, particularly McGonagall and Rita Skeeter. Their animal forms both have their "glasses", in that the characters "wear" glasses-like patterns on their animal faces. This is at first hinted to be deliberate, as Animagi have to register and have distinguishing marks, but then Rita's an unregistered Animagus and she has such markings, so it's apparently intrinsic to the process. This even extends into their personality in some cases (though it's a "chicken-and-egg" question as to whether their animal transformation affects their personality or the other way around). Sirius is often described as having "a bark-like laugh" and shaggy black hair. He transforms into a large, shaggy black dog.
  • Heckedy Peg, a children's picture book by Audrey and Don Wood, features a unique take on this that's critical to the plot: A witch turns seven children into seven different inanimate food items, and their mother has to guess which child is which in order to rescue them. While each child's food form is otherwise indiscernible from real food, it turns out that they had each turned into a type of food that matched the present they had asked their mother to buy for them earlier in the story (the child who turned into bread had asked for butter, the child who turned into cheese had asked for crackers, etc.).
  • Journey to the West: Sun Wukong, the Stone Monkey, can use Taoist arts to perfectly change into many different animals — but if he tries to become a human, he can only change his head and must conceal everything else.
  • In the German novel Krabat, the Master, the Evil Sorcerer can turn into different Animals, but they will always have only a left eye. The same counts for his students, whose Animal forms always mirror their appearances as humans.
  • The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul: The eagle which harasses the characters throughout the book has concentric rings faintly visible on its wings—a reminder of its origin as a RAF military plane.
  • In Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tales, faeries keep a trait when they transform. The troll Ravus, for example, turns into a human with golden eyes.
  • Old Kingdom: In Lirael, when Lirael is exploring the Great Library, she uses various shapeshifting spells to turn into animals. For one of her later explorations, she's using an otter-form and notices that the fur seems darker than normal. As otters are colourblind, it's not until her friend, the Disreputable Dog, tells her that "otters shouldn't have red bellies" that Lirael realises that she has subconsciously changed the fur to match her promotion within the Library to a red waistcoat.
  • In Pact, faerie glamour has this as an explicit requirement—something of the original creature must remain constant in spite of the change in appearance and shape. When Blake Thorburn gains the ability to use glamour that he won in battle against a fae swordswoman, his tattoos of birds and branches remain constant no matter what form he takes.
  • In Holly Webb's Rose series, when Mr. Fountain's familiar Gus turns into a human, he will have white hair, one yellow eye and one blue, and a thin tongue, and his clothes will be white and fur-lined.
  • The Witches of Eileanan: People transformed by Maya's Baleful Polymorphism occasionally retain some of their physical traits: Lachlan kept his hereditary Skunk Stripe as a blackbird, and Khan'gharad still had his red hair as a horse.
  • Dragons in The Heartstrikers almost always have the same color eyes in both human and draconic form.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Whenever a Fused takes a new body, it imposes its own marbling patterns on the body.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Beastmaster, King Zadd is turned into a donkey with the same tattoos. Although one character finds them familiar, it doesn't become Glamour Failure in time to be meaningful.
  • In Good Omens (2019), when the demon Crowley transforms from a snake into human form, he still has slitted pupils and his red hair and black clothes mirror his snake form's red and black coloring.
  • Since Kamen Rider Decade, who has the power to transform into his predecessors, needs to access the DecaDriver to use his own abilities, the Driver appears on all his forms.
  • In That's So Raven, Raven and Chelsea are turned into cows on the Halloween episode, but to distinguish them, they still have their hair.
  • The titular character of the kids' game show Raven can shapeshift between human and bird form as seen in the title sequence and some episodes of the 3 spinoff shows. As a human, he has some feathers on his cloak and in his hair and a talon over one finger on his right hand as a reminder of his other form.

    Myths & Religion 
  • According to tradition, Satan can transform into any creature, every part of him — other than his feet (either cloven hooves or chicken feet). Fridge Brilliance: This must be why he prefers snakes. Nothing would give him away in that form.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Older Than Print: Odin can also turn into various animals (his favorites are Ravens and Wolves), but like him, they would always have only one eye.
    • Loki has the same limitation: his transformations would always have scarred lips (from having his mouth once sewn shut by an angry dwarf).
  • The alp, a nightmare-inducing, blood (and breast milk)-sucking creature from German folklore, derives its shapeshifting abilities from its magic hat, which it always wears, and which is always visible in some form no matter what it shapeshifts into.
  • In Japanese Mythology, kitsune (fox spirits) can shapeshift but will retain their tails and sometimes their ears and/or paws (like the examples from Inuyasha and Dungeons & Dragons). Therefore, they must cover up their tails in a more conventional manner to hide their true nature. The Korean kumiho works similarly, with some interpretations of the fox demon being unable to transform without retaining at least some visual characteristics of their natural form, be it body parts, shapes, or having a general foxlike appearance.

  • In Interstitial Actual Play, after morphing into RPM Series Black, Edith's gun changes to look like...herself. It's a shotgun shaped like her unmorphed body where the bullets fire from her mouth. It's terrifying!

    Puppet Shows 
  • On the Roger Miller episode of The Muppet Show, an outbreak of cluckitis, a disease which nearly-instantaneously turns the afflicted into chickens after they sneeze, sweeps the cast. The Swedish Chef retains his mustache and eye-covering eyebrows. Lew Zealand, Rowlf, Miss Piggy, and Janice keep their respective eyes; Kermit does, as well, and even has his pointy collar. Only the main cast retains Morphic Resonance, however, and some don't even get that: extras and even some of the main cast turn into indistinguishable chickens. Maybe they'll have a hat or necklace, which they keep.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Dagger has two forms: a flying cartoon vulture form, and a live-action puppet humanoid form. In his humanoid form, his nose is long and hooked, like a vulture's beak. He also has a small helmet in both forms.

  • Fauna of DC Nation maintains her blonde hair, bipedal form, and cannot change her height.
  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
    • Some of the Trainers tend to retain some physical traits when they transform into Pokémon. DS, for example, keeps her glasses as an Eevee, then her green eyes when evolves into an Espeon. Tagg keeps a mole under his left gill when he turns into a Mudkip (later Swampert).
    • Similarly, Diane — who had spent most of her life as a Staraptor — retains qualities such as her black-and-red hair resembling a Staraptor's crest.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The hengeyokai race in the 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures. When they shapechange into human form, they always have a distinctive feature from their animal form, such as a sparrow hengeyokai with a long nose like a bird's beak.
    • Dungeon Magazine #21, adventure "The Chest of the Aloeids". The goddess Athena is noted as always having grey eyes, no matter what form she assumes.
  • Lunars in Exalted each have a unique body feature called a Tell, which is retained regardless of what they transform into. Their magic makes their Tell difficult for normal people to notice, but once you do, you'll always be able to identify that Lunar at a glance, regardless of form.
  • Pookah from Changeling: The Dreaming tend to resemble the animals they change into in their human forms, both in their Fae Kith and human Seemings.
  • One of the sample archetypes in Mutants & Masterminds is an Indian woman with a blue costume and a bindi dot on her forehead. She transforms into blue animals with little red dots on their foreheads.
  • When Chaos Lords and Sorcerers of Warhammer 40,000 transform into Daemon Princes, there's a good chance that they'll still be clad in the remnants of their old power armor. That being said, not much else is recognizable...

  • BIONICLE: Word of God says that Kanohi Masks generally retain their basic shape if their wearers willingly shapeshift, but there's not much in the merchandise and media to suggest this.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Early on, you could encounter a "bully and his friend" within the Dark World. The bully's friend takes on a form of a spherical creature due to him "not being able to make up his mind". By sheer coincidence, his human form face happens to be just as round.
    • The masks in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Link always has his green hat, though it becomes the size of his entire body in Deku form for some reason, and in Zora form it's the tail-like head extension colored green.
    • Also in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link retains his blue eyes and earrings in his wolf form.
  • Pretty much any video game where you turn into something beyond just a standard power up.
    • The vehicles in Yoshi's Island are all Yoshi-colored and resemble Yoshi's face with a few vehicular embellishments.
    • In Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo always has his yellow shorts and blue backpack.
    • Often averted in Final Fantasy games, but played straight in the remake of Final Fantasy IV — characters turned into frogs or pigs will bear a resemblance to their original selves. In the original, you just turn into a generic looking pig/frog/tiny person.
    • In World of Final Fantasy, Lann and Reynn meet distressed ribbiting toad with this trait. It has grey skin, a distinctive tuft of blond hair, and a bandana — an early tip-off that it's actually Snow when you cure him of his Toad status shortly afterward, since they have the same color palette and bandana.
    • Luke in Project Altered Beast keeps his Cross shaped scar in all his forms except the UWH.
    • Boo Mario or Luigi both keep their respective hats and mustaches of their true human form. The star-shaped ears of the Lumas' star bunny form keep the same coloring as the body of the Lumas' true form.
    • In Super Mario Odyssey, anything that Mario manages to Capture with his hat will gain Mario's cap(regardless of what his current hat is), his mustache and blue eyes. This ranges from Goombas to tanks and even realistic-looking dinosaurs.
    • A majority of the titular Shantae's transformations keep her tiara when turning into other creatures. Most notably her signature monkey and elephant forms, which also retain the purple colouring of her hair.
    • All of the transformations in Yooka-Laylee keeps the duo's green and purple color scheme, and every one except the piranha transformation keeps Yooka's frills.
    • In the Deluxe port of New Super Mario Bros. U, Toadette's Peachette form retains her Girlish Pigtails, gray eyes, mushroom-like spots on her dress, and brown shoes despite otherwise looking just like Princess Peach. The artwork showing the before and after of the transformation even gives her the exact same pose in both forms.
  • During the Shannon boss fight in God Hand, Shannon can turn Gene into a chihuahua with one attack. His fur keeps the skull pattern from his jacket.
  • The status effect Ovum from Breath of Fire III turns the affected into an egg. Your party members keep their primary color scheme as eggs (and, in weretiger Rei's case, his tail).
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Druids: Elves keep their long eyebrows and Pointy Ears (even if this makes their bird forms rather silly-looking), and Tauren keep their horns. In Cataclysm, with the addition of Troll and Worgen druids, Trolls keep their tusks and mohawks, while Worgen's forms have glowing eyes and manes.
    • Worgen in general play this trope straight. Every aspect of a worgen's human form has an equivalent in worgen form. For example, darker skin in human form results in darker fur in worgen form; braided hair in human form equals braided hair in worgen form, and so on.
    • Also, Alexstrasza still has her horns, glowing eyes, and necklace in humanoid form as in her dragon form, along with a wing-like cape. Her sister Ysera gets similar treatment. Black dragons also always have humanoid form as humans or elves with black hair.
  • Shows up in the Kingdom Hearts series from time to time.
    • In the first game, Donald Duck and Goofy change into a half-octopus (cecaelia) and sea-turtle respectively in the Atlantica level, though they still have their distinctive faces.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, in addition to the Atlantica level, there's also the Pride Lands level. Donald is a bird, and Goofy is a tortoise, both with their own faces. Sora is also transformed for the Pride Lands level; he's a lion cub, with his blue eyes, crown pendant, and distinctive Anime Hair.
    • Furthermore, abuse of his Super Mode can randomly transform Sora into a Heartless version of himself, completely black and with glowing eyes. Which is funny because he actually became a Heartless in the first game, and he looked like a small basic enemy indistinguishable from any other Heartless.
  • In King's Quest VI, the genie appears throughout the game, spying on or trying to trick Alexander. His glinting Supernatural Gold Eyes are always a dead giveaway.
  • In Scaler, after being turned into a lizard, Scaler retains the blue-and-yellow colour scheme of his clothes, and also a sort of scaly, spiky version of his blonde hair. Likewise, when transformed into other types of lizard-y creatures, Scaler still keeps a blue-and-yellow colour scheme.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • You can always anticipate who "Louis Cypher" will be because he (or she, as the case may be) will always have intensely golden hair and blue eyes, regardless of the setting of the game. Except Shin Megami Tensei IV. And in all but one case, he will also have long hair. Especially notable in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, where he assumes two different forms to mess with you.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, after Jimenez fuses with Bugaboo, the resulting half-demon looks exactly like half-Jimenez, half Bugaboo, with half of the latter's face acting as a mask to cover Jimenez'. This is a very unique transformation because fused demons always result in a completely different kind of demon.
    • In Persona 3, the Ultimate Persona of the Death Arcana, Thanatos, wears a mask that is like a highly stylized version of the Nyx Avatar's head, as both are basically the same being. Additionally, when fusing Thanatos and Orpheus, the resulting Messiah shares traits from both, retaining Orpheus's facial features but carrying Thanatos's coffins.
    • In Persona 4, most of the Personas earned by the protagonists look like the Shadows they originally were, with minor differences to make them less nightmarish and more heroic, not to mention generally more humanoid. Amusingly, although Take-Mikazuchi looks little like Shadow Kanji, he DOES have the skull-and-bones-on-black motif that Kanji's clothes have.
    • Persona 5:
      • Morgana shares his fur color and patterns between his humanoid and house cat forms. Less noticeably, his house cat collar is the same yellow as the bandana he wears in his other form.
      • When party members are turned into mice via either a status effect or a dungeon gimmick, they retain their masks and their eye colors.
    • In Nocturne, Noah, the demonic sponsor for Isamu's Reason, eventually grows a face like Isamu's. And his HAT.
  • In Catherine, all the characters that appeared in both the Nightmare and Stray Sheep retained elements of their design in the Nightmare, despite being sheep. Even Vincent, although we don't see him as a Sheep, is referenced to be a sheep with a fro.
  • In Version 6 onward of Ao Oni, your friends will transform into an Oni if they are killed... but retain their human hairstyle.
  • In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, one of the earlier "miracles" by the Masked Gentleman had him turning random townspeople into horses, with the victims retaining a few items of clothing. In reality, this was just an invoked trope. The Masked Gentlemen had accomplices hidden in the crowd, who (whilst the crowd were distracted) slipped away, replaced by horses (wearing the same clothing items) which were sent out from their hiding places in alleyways, tricking people into thinking that a transformation had occurred.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Both of Regent Cid's Baleful Polymorph-induced forms - an oglop and a frog - retain his characteristic crescent-shaped moustache.
  • In Ōkami, the Oina tribe can shapeshift to and from wolf or dog forms. They all wear masks in their humanoid forms, while their canine forms have faces closely resembling those masks as well as fur coats the same color as their clothes.
  • Pokémon:
    • At least in early generations, any Ditto who used Transform would become a perfect copy of the enemy sprite, but would retain its purple palette.
    • As in the anime, the Ditto in Pokémon Snap also have a problem with their faces not changing. In fact, it's the only way to tell them from normal Bulbasaur (which they will register as) until you hit them with a Pester Ball to make them change back.
      • The Clefairy that appeared for Bonus Rounds on the Slot Machines in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl occasionally had a similar Ditto face.
      • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, one of the side stories involves a Ditto who is attempting to protect a Time Gear. In doing so, it poses as a Bellossom and a Sentret, and in both cases it retains the traditional Ditto face in its character images.
  • In Plants vs. Zombies, the Imitater will turn into any non-upgrade plant, but will stay in grayscale after transformation.
  • In Splatoon the protagonists are the Inklings, characters who can shift between humanoid form and squid form. Their humanoid form shares several elements with their squid forms, including gel-like "hair" with two strands that look like big tentacles, Pointy Ears that look like squid fins, and the 10 limbs real squids have being fully represented in their humanoid form.
  • In Skullgirls, whenever Double transforms into one of the other characters during her attacks she retains the palette that the player selected.
  • Gandrayda always has the same pink spark effects left behind no matter what she turns into in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, although this is pretty easy for her to hide when she actually cares about blending in.
  • In the TurboGrafx-16 CD version of Ys II, Adol retains his red hair after Dalles turns him into a monster.
  • Bayonetta:
    • The titular character can transform into into a Panther, a Crow, a swarm of Bats, or a giant Snake, all of which keep a bit of morphic resonance with her normal appearance, usually through the shared color of black and similar accessories. These even change between games, with her transformations being more black and red in the first game, while in the sequel they are black and blue, following her new color scheme. Unlockable characters keep this same motif going, with Jeanne's transformations all being red, Rosa's all being dark like her daughter's but more regal-looking, and Balder's being white and gold, all similar to their default appearances.
    • In the first game there are one species of angels called Joy, which act as a Mirror Boss to Bayonetta right down to copying her appearance if they choose to. They actually do this in an attempt to trick Cereza into following them, however once the real Bayonetta steps in its obvious the Joys suffer one crucial bit of morphic resonance, the glowing Holy Halo above their head.
  • While not a "transformation" in the traditional sense, Xenoblade Chronicles has the Face Mechons, which are revealed to be mechs piloted by brainwashed and cybernetically altered Homs. They are given weaponized appendages similar to the tools or weapons they used before being turned into Faces. Thus, Mumkhar has his metal claws, Xord has his smithing hammer, Fiora has her twin blades, and Gadolt has his gun.. A more traditional example would be the Telethia; any High Entia turned into one sports frills, appendages, and other features resembling the clothing and armor they wore before their transformation.
  • The Binding of Isaac: The True Final Boss for the Afterbirth+ DLC, Delirium, is a prolific shapeshifter, but always keeps his bone-white coloring and melted-looking mouth no matter the form he takes, which helps distinguish him from the enemies he summons.
  • Whenever Alucard uses his bat transformation in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the wings will match the color of his currently equipped cape (including if said cape is translucent).
  • Harvest Moon: Light of Hope: The blue-haired Harvest Goddess can turn into a Blue Bird at will.
  • In Diablo III, the Demon Lord Belial appears at several points disguised as a human,Hakan the child-emperor of Caldeum. As part of this disguise, he appears to be wearing an oddly shaped and ornate hat that mimics the horns of his true form.
  • Shantae can transform into several animals and all of them have something in common with her human form. All of them have her normal eyes, the monkey shares her hair color, and the mermaid and spider have her body shape.
  • In Paper Mario: The Origami King, Olivia can transform into any of the four Vellumentals after Mario defeats them. Her versions of the Vellumentals have her eyes (the originals don't have eyes at all) and her crown. Olly does the same thing with his Vellumental transformations, which all share his purple color, eyes, crown, and Peek-a-Bangs.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Voluntary Shapeshifter Dudu is missing an eye, and as a result every form he takes also has a closed eye with a scar over it.

    Visual Novels 
  • When the dragon in Dra+Koi takes human form, her eyes stay slitted and reptilian and she keeps her fangs, though mostly in cute form.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
    • When Maya or Pearl channels someone in the games, they change their size and faces to the channeled, but they retain their hair style, color, and their clothes. This is arguably because hair and clothes are "dead" and can't be affected by living tissue. Their full bodies change completely into the channeled person.
    • A strange, non-supernatural example: when de Killer testifies in court in the second game, the transceiver he's using to communicate with the court has a button resembling his monocle.

  • Awful Hospital:
    • Jay, Chip, and Crash are all subjected to a "Q-36 Procedure", which swaps their "cores" (essentially, their consciousnesses) between bodies; Jay is placed in Chip's body, and Chip in Crash's.note  Jay-as-Chip ('Joe') has Jay's lanky build and blue coloration, while Chip-as-Crash's computerized head retains Chip's coffee-mug head and apron.
    • You can always tell which Slobs used to be instances of Fern by the fact that, no matter how severely they mutate, they'll always retain her iconic hairstyle. For some reason, though, that doesn't seem to be the case for Jayslobs.
  • Whenever Myan transforms in Cat Nine, she gets to keep her magic collar, her facial markings and her eye and hair color.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the artist Dan Shive often draws characters transformed into animals or anthropomorphic shapes (sometimes pertaining to the storyline and sometimes not), but they always retain their original hairstyles. Often, the fur will be the same color as their hair. As for Grace, well, her use of this trope is apparently down to the strange synergy of her mixed Uryuom and Lespuko genes, which enable her to instinctively blend the most desirable features of all her available forms — such as maintaining the expressiveness and speech-ability of a human face while in an animal-form.
  • Evilish features a character that can change into almost anything, but will always keep triangular facial markings under his eyes.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, when the Kershaws undergo a Metamorphosis into birds, the feathers on their heads mimic the hairstyles they had as humans.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Princess Voluptua's alien butterfly form retains her long red hair and has roughly the same silhouette as her human mask (except for the wings, of course).
  • Last Res0rt has this enforced on Alice, sort of; she can't change the color of her eyes. This would be more of an issue if her eyes hadn't already changed into the same red-pupils-in-black "Dead Eyes" that every Djinn seems to have, but among the limited cast, it's trouble enough.
  • Also seen in The Order of the Stick, where shapeshifters keep their overall color scheme.
    • Like with Leeky Windstaff the druid using Wild Shape to turn into a bear. His skin color become the brown fur of the bear, except for the underbelly which is the same tan as his robe, his grey bread and hair reflect over the claws and fangs, and even the green of his holy symbol ends up as the bear's eye color.
    • Vaarsuvius the wizard, whether they shapechange voluntarily or are victim of a baleful polymorph, keep a pink and/or violet scheme, matching their hair and magical aura.
    • As for Sabine the succubus, when she takes various human forms, she tends to retain her black hair and dusky skin tone (as well as showing red eyes from time to time).
    • Bloodfeast the Extreme-inator is an Allosaurus; when turned into a lizard by Baleful Polymorph, he's still stocky and with the same brown-and-red stripes.
    • When Durkon turns into a bat as a vampire, he's a bald, bearded bat.
  • The Aces (animals turned human) in Pandect have morphic resonance with their animal forms and frequently increase the effect with their clothing and hairstyle.
  • Danny, the title character in Shifter, has eyes and a mouth that appear on whatever form he takes, identical to the eyes and mouth on his human face.
  • The students in Wizard School keep their glasses when shapeshifting to play Transmogritus.
  • In Charby the Vampirate Tony does this on purpose seeing as the yellow eyes with split slit pupils he maintains across all of his transformations are not what his eyes actually look like when he's not transforming them. His tarnkappe on the other hand will always be on him when he transforms as he can't do so without it.
  • An unusual variation in The Wotch: there's a Running Gag that every time Jason is turned into a girl, he gets red hair (unless the spellcaster specifically wishes otherwise), even though his normal form has blond hair. For him, even transformations unrelated to gender-swapping tend to produce forms based on that redheaded female form rather than his normal form.
  • Each of the Mons in But I'm a Cat Person has a few visual traits that stay consistent across all human and animal forms, if only for the convenience of the reader. Cybele's pink eyes, Patrick's brown-and-blond hair/fur, Reseda's sharp teeth and claws, and so on.
  • Genome-Heritor in Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game Gusto Fan Comic. When he shapeshifts into another number, he always wears the mask.
  • In Runewriters, whenever Sev shapeshifts his new form tends to have greenish skin or fur to match his hair.
  • Nimona: Nimona the shapeshifter is a redhead, and thus about all her alternate forms have red or pink tones. She actually exploits it once by using a rat painted pink as a diversion.
  • Inverted in The Last Days of FOXHOUND , where resident shapeshifter Decoy Octopus creates such perfect copies of whoever he's imitating that it's impossible to tell apart. The trope comes full circle when it's revealed that his image of himself is just a trenchcoat and fedora without anybody inside them.
  • In Satan and Me, Satan and the Archangel Zadkiel both shapeshift fairly regularly. They both keep their eyes and eyebrows no matter what their form looks like, and Zadkiel always has a lip piercing.
  • In Murphy's Law, Tinder is a green dragon who takes a humanoid form, but he still has green hair, fangs and stunted wings, looking like a half-dragon. This is pointed out as unusual since a dragon's polymorph power is usually perfect, but Tinder is quite young and sucks at changing shape.
  • In The Sanity Circus, an Instruman's human form resembles their instrument form. Luther (the cello) has a long brown coat with a long black division down the centre and black embellishments on the sleeves resembling string instrument sound holes. Steven (the flute) has a long silver outfit with many band and buttons for the buttons on the flute. Their Weapon of Choice resembles their instrumental form too — Luther has a bow cutlass, and Steven carries a shotgun. Steven's heterochromia in human form is apparently a carry-over from the damage he sustained as a flute before being brought to life.
  • In The Selfish Beast And The Selfless Maiden, the Maiden is transformed into a dragon with red scales, the same colour as her hair when she was a human.
  • Khut of Star Trip can change into any creature they can imagine, but they always have a horn in the middle of their head.
  • Wilde Life:
    • Cliff is a ginger teenager who can turn into a red wolf.note  Seems to be common among the wolf-based animal people whom we see. Cliff also has Supernatural Gold Eyes that look more like a wolf's than an average human's.
    • Raven is capable of Human Shifting as well as human-to-animal, but each form looks basically the same, just with different ages and genders. He also has black hair, presumably to match his raven form.
  • In one of the more fantastical arcs of Housepets!, Thomas Milton gets turned into a camel for trying to take cursed gold out of the temple in the forest. His new form has a dark area along his snout that resembles his moustache.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Copycat can copy the appearance, abilities, and languages of another person, but always retains his purple eyes. Mao has used this to identify him and distinguish him from who he's previously copied.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: A character seen in spirit-bird form retains the haircut they had as a human.
  • Latchkey Kingdom: Bridget keeps her barcode-like stripes when she shapeshifts.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, whenever Nergal Junior transforms into a different shape, he always keeps his signature lime green eyes, jagged yellow teeth, and nerdy glasses.
  • Teen Titans: Just like in the comics, Beast Boy can transform into any animal, but he is always green. If the animal has teeth, then his snaggletooth is also kept. In one episode where the villain makes it so he can only transform into inanimate objects, he still maintains his green coloring.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Shane Gooseman always keeps a bipedal form and roughly the same mass. He usually also keeps the blond hair.
  • Adventure Time: Any vessel that the Lich possesses gains his Glowing Eyelights of Undeath, and occasionally have his curling horns as well. The Lich, being the Genius Bruiser he is, catches on quick that this is giving him away and proceeds to find a way to hide it; when he needs to impersonate Billy, he doesn't possess him, but rather kills him and wears his skin in order to conceal his deformities. It works.
  • Falina in The Amazing Feats of Young Hercules still has green eyes as a sable, and her red hair has become red fur.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long:
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a running joke is that Meatwad can change shape, but only into either an igloo, or a hot dog. Both of these still have the same texture and color as Meatwad, and still have his face. In earlier episodes, he could change into other things, such as a Meat Bridge and a statue of Abe Lincoln with a Samurai sword (it was supposed to be a statue of Wayne Gretzky). He became a hammer in a much later episode, too. In The Movie, he turns into a full-size office building and a giant monster designed to fight a rampaging exercise machine. It makes sense in context. Sort of. He retains the previous clues to his identity, the texture and face and whatnot. Justified since Meatwad isn't a true shapeshifter. He's just a ground meat patty than can change his shape.
  • The title character of the animated Beetlejuice has transformations (apart from the likes of Mr. Beetleman, Cousin BJ etc.) that often exhibit his stripes (usually the black and white ones seen on his suit), color palette and/or facial features (sometimes including the whole face).
  • Ben 10:
    • Each of Ben's alien forms has a "timer" resembling the face of the Omnitrix, in addition to an outfit design similar to that of Ben's signature black-and-white T-shirt if they wear clothing. At least one of them has the design (a black stripe on a background of white) on its skin.
    • As of Alien Force, all of Ben's aliens share his green eye colour (when their eyes are visible, at least), including appearances of ten-year-old Ben's aliens in Ultimate Alien and Omniverse that originally did not.
      • Acknowledged in the Grand Finale for Alien Force, where Gwen identifies Swampfire as Ben via his green eyes rather than his Evil Twin Albedo's red.
    • In "Gwen 10", the colors become light and medium blue, reflecting her one T-shirt.
      • In his Omniverse appearances, any clothing on Albedo's aliens matches his black and red colour scheme to mirror Ben's black-and-green.
    • All later installments ditch the clothing match-up, though the Omnitrix symbol remains. This is justified, as the symbol still is the actual device, morphed to fit the new form. The reason being to act as a method for the user to quickly swap between forms without the need to wait out the timer and turn back to their original species, should the user be skilled enough with the device. This is why the symbol from Alien Force onward is always on the chest of aliens, with older ones being redesigned in the 2016 reboot series to follow suit.
    • Acknowledged in the Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Ben Again". Younger and older Ben team up in the climax, and when both turn into one of older Ben's standards, younger Ben retains the white shirt and black stripe.
  • Although he's not a shapeshifter, Danny Phantom's green eyes show in the face of whoever he's overshadowing. And that's true for other ghosts as well. When he turns into his ghost form, the suit he wears is the same one he wore when he first transformed into a ghost.
  • Gargoyles:
    • No matter what form the Weird Sisters take, they always look identical to each other, except with blonde, black and white hair, respectively.
    • When Oberon disguises himself as a human in "The Gathering," he basically just changes his clothes and blue skin.
    • An advanced example: not only does Demona look pretty similar in her human form, the Hunters analyze "Dominique Destine" and realize that she and Demona have the same musculoskeletal structure, correctly surmising that she can shapeshift.
  • When Transformers reconfigure themselves to have different vehicle forms, their robot-mode bodies tend to look roughly similar to their previous forms.
    • For example, Generation 2 gave Optimus Prime a new "Hero" body that still had his distinctive red truck cab chest, even though his chest actually became the underside of his new vehicle mode (which had a white cab of a completely different design).
    • Mind you, that's a major improvement over the original series, which applied the same concept going backwards in time. G1 Bumblebee had VW Beetle hood halves on his feet long before he turned into one (indeed, long before there was any such thing as a Beetle, or Volkswagen, or automobiles, or Germany, or anything resembling present-day humans).
      • It's not just Bumblebee. Soundwave still had his cassette tray and buttons, Megatron's chest was still the side of a Walther P-38, Optimus Prime still had a semi truck's grille and windows on his chest, and the Seekers still had F-15 cockpits and wings, just to name a few examples.
    • This is something in several series (but not in just as many others). Rather than make two designs for every character, a pre-Earth one that will only be in part of the premiere as well as their standard form they'll have the rest of the series, the standard robot modes will be used in Cybertron scenes and they just won't transform (except in G1, where alien vehicles transform into robots and 'grow' their eventual Earthen vehicle parts on the way.) Transformers Animated seems to be the only series so far that gives everyone pre-Earth and Earth forms in vehicle and robot mode (they've all got toys, natch. At least, the main Autobots do) They actually get quite a bit of mileage out of the pre-Earth forms: characters still on Cybertron will be the Cybertronian forms repainted; apparently, there are only so many body-types a 'bot can start out with, and it's through scanning new ones on their own later that more unique forms are obtained.
    • And who can forget the episode "Only Human"; when Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, Springer, and Arcee are forced into human bodies, not only does Arcee's hair resemble her robot form's helmet, but they almost immediately find a building with jumpsuits in their robot forms' color schemes for them to wear.
    • Animated did a similar plot in the two-part "Human Error". This time, the resonance was justified by the world where the Autobots were human being a simulation run by Soundwave, who was brainwashing their bodies to fight for him while their minds were preoccupied.
  • This happens in one of the later episodes of The Magic School Bus, where the kids learn about animals living in the city, and their hairstyles are kept when they're changed into animals. The same could be said for any of their other transformations, including those The Bus undergoes.
  • Wakfu:
    • The ancient dragon Grougaloragran retains his bushy eyebrows and beard, as well as a general dark color, whether he transforms into a human or a giant kralamoure.
    • This is also true for Adamaï, a younger dragon, who can take many shapes but keeps his white-and-blue color scheme and peculiar eyes.
    • Same goes for anyone possessed by a Shushu, as they resemble something that is half themselves and half evil monster. They tend to get much bigger, though.
    • In season 2 episode 5, Yugo, Amalia, and Evangelyne are turned into piglets, but retain some recognizable traits, like Eva's green eyes and freckles, or dark skin and tufts of green hair for Amalia.
    • Also happens with the heroes changed into Thursters in season 2 episode 13. You can still recognize them, which make the scene where Evangelyne and Sadlygrove try to touch each other that much more pathetic.
    • And again in season 2 episode 21, when the Bellaphones turns the male members of the party into apes or monkeys.
  • Here's a tip for new viewers of Samurai Jack: if Jack encounters a character or creature with red, green, and black predominantly featured in its color scheme, it's going to be Aku in disguise. Yes, this even applies when said character is the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter.
  • On Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the Chameleon's eyes would flash to indicate it was him wearing whatever shape he was in.
  • Strangely enough, on Superfriends the Wonder Twins have differing shapeshifter tells: it was Zan whose face was usually visible as a reflection on the surface of whatever water-based item he turned into. Jayna maintained her purple eyes no matter the form she took.
  • All fairies from The Fairly OddParents maintain their primary characteristic when they change into something else. Their crowns frequently remain above their heads no matter their shape as well. This is also true for other non-humans.
    • Cosmo's and Wanda's hair colors are their primary trait, so they turn into green and pink items. Wanda and Cosmo's unlikely colored forms are often Lampshaded by anyone with enough attention to notice that dogs shouldn't have pink or green fur. This went to Serial Escalation levels when they agreed to switch roles with Timmy and transforming themselves into looking like him — except their hair, voice, and eye color remained the same as their default forms. This became a source of confusion to Timmy's dim parents whenever they encountered one of them breaking house rules.
    • Jorgen Von Strangle has a Lantern Jaw of Justice, so whatever he turns into tends to have one as well.
    • Juandissimo Magnifico turns purple, like his eyes. His godchild's parents even called him Purple when in his ferret form.
    • Alien Mark Chang keeps his big square teeth and his red eyes in his human disguise or while otherwise using his image fake-ifier.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A Couch Gag parodying human evolution actually showed various prehistoric animals resembling Homer Simpson gradually turning into, well, guess. There is also an octopus resembling Mr. Burns, a dragonfly resembling Lenny Leonards, a pterodactyl resembling Agnes Skinner, a Tyrannosaurus rex resembling Bart, a Stegosaurus resembling Lisa and a small mammal resembling Moe Szyslak (which did evolve from Cave-Moe — or Cave-Moe devolved back into a Moe-like rodent, to keep with the theme of his occasional attempts at suicide).
    • The third segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIII" is about Dr. Hibbert being a mad scientist who turns people into animals that retain characteristics of who they originally were: for example, we have Homer as a walrus, Marge as a jaguar with a beehive hairdo, Bart as a spider, Lisa as an owl, and Maggie as an anteater.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Son and Daughter's gargoyle and gryphon forms retain their respective coloring, and in the Daughter's case her Holy Halo.
  • The mascaritas' Signature Moves from ¡Mucha Lucha!. For example, Ricochet's "Pulverizing Pinball" has him turn into a large sphere colored to resemble his wrestling mask, and Buena Girl's "Bulldozer of Truth" has her turn into a bulldozer with her outfit colors.
  • Yam Roll of the so-named cartoon can transform into pretty much anything, but that anything will be colored like his yam filling and wearing his trademark cowboy hat. His mentor has similar powers, always turning into something brown with a white beard.
  • Tom Terrific, the 1950s TV cartoon character, could transform himself into anything — but always kept his face and trademark funnel hat.
  • In an episode of Justice League Unlimited, Gorilla Grodd succeeds in his plans to turn every human into an intelligent ape, leading to an amusing scene where Lex Luthor looks at himself in a mirror and sees that despite being covered in fur, his head's still as bald as ever.
    Ape Lex: Of course...
  • In YooHoo & Friends the protagonists' fur retains the colors of their human forms.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony TV Specials: In Escape from Catrina, Rep can turn himself into a variety of other creatures such as a bird, a bull, a pony or a dragon, but always retains his dark green color scheme and his hat.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies": When Twilight turns herself and her friends into breezies, they retain their usual colors schemes and become breezie version of themselves.
      • Discord, the spirit of chaos and disharmony, can take many shapes on a whim, but he often retains some aspect of his true draconequus form, typically his antlers, lopsided tooth and yellow/red eyes, or some aspect of his Fashionable Asymmetry, if only with the color scheme. In "Twilight's Kingdom – Part 1", this is downplayed when he turns into a stallion, as it would give him away, but he still keeps the overall grey color scheme of his head (including his unicorn horn remaining light blue to match his normal goat horn).
      • Almost all of the forms Ocellus, a shapeshifting changeling, takes maintain her usual light blue and red color scheme, adjusted to fit the anatomy of the creature she's turned into.
      • In "Frenemies", Queen Chrysalis retains her distinctive blue-green eye color when in her cragadile, goat and ophiotaurus forms. While this is absent in her ursa form, several of its component stars shine the same color as her eyes. Only her roc form doesn't bear any signs of her usual appearance.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Gems are capable of Voluntary Shapeshifting, but all their different forms maintain the same unusual skin and hair colors. Their gems do not shapeshift, and will often be visible when they change form. This makes sense given that their shapeshifting powers stem from their bodies being Hard Light projections produced by their gems. Gems also fuse with one another, creating larger forms that will generally borrow features from both of their components to differing degrees. For example, every single one of Garnet's fusions seen thus far has kept her Cool Shades, albeit in different shapes.
    • Pink Diamond, in her disguise as Rose Quartz, manages to cleverly fine-tune her shapeshifting to work around this trope. She Palette Swaps her bright pink skin with her light pink hair - which also makes her look remarkably human - and rotates her gem 90 degrees into her body so that the pavilion faces inward instead of upward, hiding the distinctive brilliant cut and making it look like an ordinary quartz gem. She does retain her nose shape and pink lips.
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero plays with this. Both the heroes and villains have recognizable features and accessories that remain with them no matter what form they take (Larry and Sashi's glasses, Boone's braces, etc) but the resonance can only be seen by other part-timers, normal citizens just see them as the person they're pretending to be.
  • In Ever After High, Bunny Blanc retains her white hair color upon shifting into rabbit form... and, less explicably, her black eyeshadow.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power:
    • Imp typically retains his blue and black coloration whenever he disguises himself.
    • Likewise, when his master Hordak does a full-body shapeshift, his new form will have the same coloration as well as his FACE on it.
  • Inspector Gadget: The quick-change magician Presto Change-O has shifty-looking eyes and British Teeth in his default form. Whenever he disguises himself as another character, his disguise always has the shifty eyes, slightly crooked teeth, and visibly paler skin-tone. (Since his disguises fool everyone around him, though, it's entirely possible that the trope is played strictly for the audience's benefit.)
  • In the Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz episode "Locket Locket in My Pocket", Wilhelmina's magic locket turns the wearer into the person whose portrait is in it. When she uses it to turn herself into Dorothy and has a run-in with the real one, her disguise is seen through because her hair retains a green streak from her real form. Likewise, when Dorothy's friends wear the locket themselves, they put their own spins on her gestalt: Toto's hair is the same gray as his fur and he keeps his tail, Scarecrow's hair is blonde and looks like the hay under his hat, Tin Man keeps his funnel, and Lion's hair is amber like his mane and he also keeps his tail.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Shapeshifter Visual Cue, Shapeshifter Identification



While in her many animal forms, primarily the wolf one, Aisling's white fur and green eyes are carried over, as to show that it's her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MorphicResonance

Media sources:

Main / MorphicResonance