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Our Humans Are Different

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It might not look like a human or talk like a human, but it's still a human, at least by name. Even if they have Pointy Ears, a rubber forehead, or Psychic Powers — so what? So do all the other humans they know.

Basically, this is what you get when you call a smeerp a human.

So maybe you have an idea for a novel and want it to be original. Maybe you have seen too many stories with Our Elves Are Different or Our Monsters Are Different plots and want to make things interesting. Maybe you want to create a fantastical race but you don't want to just recycle the same ones that everyone else has already used.

The problem with making up an entirely new race is that it can be hard, especially since so many things have already been done before. This is probably why so many writers recycle the old races in the first place. Recycling old races also has the bonus of saving the writer the trouble of explaining things as much. Saying a creature is an elf, for instance, prepares the reader for the fantasy genre without the writer having to mention said genre, as well as drawing on preestablished conventions to allow the reader to quickly grasp what elves are like without having to devote quite as much page space to fleshing things out.

So what if you want the benefits of using a recycled race in a fantasy story but don't want to use elves or dwarves? What if you think that having a bunch of humanoid races who are called something not-so-human strains the Willing Suspension of Disbelief?

Well, you could just make up a fantastical race anyway and call them humans.

This trope is for when you want enough fantasy elements to make your story pop in your selected genre, but you don't want to make it as crazy as, say, Dungeons & Dragons. Maybe Middle-Earth is a little too racially divided, and you want your story to have a different feel.

It is important to note here that humans are the most common race used in fiction (probably because, well, Most Writers Are Human). Humans are usually considered to be the most mundane of all the other races, because to us, well, they are. In this sense, "mundane" is less about what is magical or not and more about what is "normal" or not.

Indeed, it might also be that a writer is tired of humans' hat always being that they're an average and unremarkable middle point between other fantasy races, or always like real-life humans even in fantastic fictional worlds, and wants to give them some special traits of their own.

It is also important to clarify what is meant by the word "human". Does the creature even have to look humanoid at all or does the writer have the right to call it human anyway, no matter what it looks like? This is made especially complicated by the fact that humans seem to be able to procreate with anything (Half-Human Hybrids, anyone?).

Ways to show that your humans are different:

  • By making humans have superpowers. This is the most obvious one, but it can be harder than it sounds. It is not the same as "my human character found a fountain of youth and now lives forever." In order to qualify, the character has to have powers because they are human, not because they chanced upon a Mass Super-Empowering Event.

  • By making humans have a different origin story/evolutionary path. So instead of saying that humans are primates you could say that they are crustaceans (or that their ancestors were). Notice that giving humans a different backstory as a species counts; but if it is events, rather than the humans themselves, that have changed, then it is just an Alternate Universe and not this trope. Also note that examples of this trope can lead to an Alternate Universe, but they are not exclusive to it.

  • By giving humans a bizarre ability or weakness that they don't normally have in real life, such as an allergy to movies.

  • Give humans a different way of thinking. You could make them Actual Pacifists or a Proud Warrior Race, to contrast with humans in real life, who do both. Or you could alter their brains to give them different abilities such as better memory.

  • Give them unusual physical traits, such as cat ears or weird hair colorsnote . You could also give them some kind of ability that has to be cultivated, such as Training the Gift of Magic or Supernatural Martial Arts.

Please note that this trope relies on the humans themselves, not any events surrounding them. Creating an Alternate Universe with Crystal Spires and Togas, for instance, does not make your humans different unless it is explained in-story that humans are Perfect Pacifist People who like to build utopian societies on a genetic level.

The opposite of Humans by Any Other Name. Contrast Human Aliens (aliens which appear indistinguishable from humans but are explicitly not) and Ambiguously Human (which is for when whether a character is human or not is not always explicitly mentioned in-universe). See the Not Quite Human index for a list of common traits that might make your humans different. Also see Humans Are Indexed for tropes about humans in general.

Compare and contrast Human Subspecies (which may or may not look like standard humans but are genetically related), Mage Species (which may be either of the above but are primarily distinguished by their ability to do magic where other people can't), and Bizarre Human Biology (which is about individual humans with strange biologies). See also Superpowerful Genetics, Randomly Gifted, The Gift, and Our Mages Are Different, although not all wizards (or Jedi, psychics, mutants, etc.) are necessarily human in the first place. Whether or not Original Man, human-descended Mutants, Differently Powered Individuals, and Transhuman Cyborgs qualify or not tends to vary depending on the setting and specific example.

While it can be difficult to draw a hard line, generally this trope is only in play when a significant proportion of greater humanity is different, not just a few special individuals — The Chosen One or even The Chosen Many are not examples of this trope (although The Chosen People could be).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Centaur's Life: All humans are a Little Bit Beastly or are Cute Monster Girls. This ranges from people with cat ears and tails, to centaurs, to merfolk who appear similar to real life humans until their legs merge at the knees. The explanation given was that in this version of Earth's past, six-limbed creatures became dominant instead of those with four limbs, giving humans diversity based on how that extra pair of limbs developed (whether that be extra legs for centaurs or wings for angelfolk). Highlighting the distinction, there are also anthropomorphic frog people, snake-like Antarcticans, and Starfish Aliens, but they are all explicitly not human.
  • My Hero Academia: Prior to the beginning of the series, humanity began to develop "Quirks", natural superpowers that range from glowing to shooting fire to growing wings. Quite a few Quirks result in people having monstrous forms or animalistic traits. This radically changed the definition of what it meant to be "human", leading to a period of unrest and strife as people struggled to figure out what to do about Quirks. By the present day, 80% of humanity has a Quirk, while 20%, like protagonist Izuku Midoriya, are born Quirkless.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Humans, like the Angels and EVAs, naturally generate AT Fields. They aren't strong enough to use as physical Deflector Shields, but are important because they're what keep humans' minds and bodies separate from each other. The Human Instrumentality Project is all about forcibly nullifying them all, causing humanity to merge together. In fact, the EVAs' ability to create AT Fields came from imitating and magnifying that of humans, hence why they turn out to be giant Artificial Humans themselves.
  • Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary: Humans undergo very dramatic, seemingly random changes during puberty; in the title character's case she went from two eyes to a single huge eye, there's also things like sprouting wings on one's back, gaining effective immortality, gradual shrinking, and many others. This makes the North American title something of a misnomer, which the author points out in one of the volume afterwards.
  • One Piece humans have some potential bizarre traits even unrelated to Devil Fruit powers:
    • Typical humans are of realistic height, but there are some around two and half to five meters high (Crocodile, Brook, Kuzan, Doflamingo, Katakuri, etc.), and some really big folk six to eight meters from head to toe, and often quite broad as well (Gecko Moria, Kuma, Whitebeard). These are distinct from giants, which are a distinct species in-universe — Word of God is that this is simply how height naturally varies in this world.
    • The author's also stated it's common for humans to live to be 140 — or in Kureha's case, reach 139 without even slowing down.
    • We've seen explicitly human characters who have simian facial features and even grow horns, apparently totally naturally. This may relate to how various "nonhuman" races like Giants and Fishmen are referred to as "tribes" and can interbreed with humans, implying they're very closely related.
    • Besides their capability for Charles Atlas Superpower, willpower and just general power can seemingly affect biology in strange ways: Ace's mom held her pregnancy in for years through sheer willpower to protect him from people seeking to end his bloodline. One of the post-timeskip Admirals states he hasn't eaten in three years because it's too big a hassle, but he's apparently no worse for the wear.
  • The Constructed World of Simoun is populated by humans who are anatomically and psychologically indistinguishable from Homo sapiens, except that everyone is born biologically female and sterile and has to undergo a permanent sex-assignment procedure at the age of 17, after which one's body gradually morphs into its final shape capable of sexual reproduction.

  • Beast Fables: All humans in Urvara are born with "The Gift", which gives them the power to turn into an anthropomorphic land animal. Because of this, they're also known as werebeasts.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe: Humans are very different from Real Life humans thanks to the Celestials' experiments on their ancestors. All humans possess the potential to manifest superpowers if the right conditions are met. Different subspecies have different triggers:
    • Eternals and Deviants are born with their powers: Eternals get immortality and the ability to manipulate cosmic energy (at the cost of constantly needing to vent off heat), and the Deviants get Lovecraftian Superpowers.
    • The Inhumans were further messed up by Kree experiments, and now manifest random powers and mutations through exposure to Terrigen Mist in a process called terrigenesis. People descended from Inhumans who mated with baseline humans also have a chance of undergoing terrigenesis or dying.
    • Mutants usually manifest their mutations at puberty, though a rare few manifest their mutations at birth. This is apparently due to an extra gene dubbed the X-gene. Certain outside conditions seem to be able to cause the X-gene to manifest more often in the human population — the detonation of the atomic bombs during World War II triggered a rise in mutant birthrates. It's also implied that every mutant is actually a Reality Warper who unconsciously alters reality in a different way.
    • Baseline humans usually never manifest powers on their own, but exposure to certain (usually life-threatening) conditions can cause them to appear. There are subgroups among these, such as the fact that excess gamma radiation usually makes humans sick but causes a select few to become monsters like The Incredible Hulk.
    • Some humans can attain psychic powers, such as Moon Dragon, or functional magic, such as Jennifer Kale through nothing but training and study that surpass even "naturally" gifted mutants in raw power, though not in versatility. Doctor Strange got both, although most people who try to get one just go crazy and even he has made several deals with various non humans due to get around that lack of versatility.

    Fan Works 
  • Dæmorphing is an Animorphs AU where humans all have daemons like in His Dark Materials, manifestations of their souls that take the form of animals, and it's brought up many times that daemons are a fundamental part of being human.
  • Diary Of A Store Clerk: Humans are, in almost all regards, exactly the same as in real life, with one caveat — for somewhat unclear reasons, living in Equestria causes them to hibernate through the winter and gives them an instinctive urge to hide food around the house in preparation for this.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger:
    • The humans from the Star Wars galaxy (referred to as baseline humans) all share a connection to the Force, which supposedly flows through every living thing. Those who possess a strong enough connection to this Force are able to wield Psychic Powers.
    • The humans on Remnant, termed "Remnantians", lack any sort of connection to the Force, yet the Force still surrounds their bodies in a personal forcefield called Aura. They also possess a strange power called Semblance, which manifests as a unique superpower in each individual. Nihilus notes that while the people of Remnant may resemble baseline humans, their lack of a connection with the Force makes them so different that they might as well be an entirely separate species.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Strange Frame, humans have colonized the Jovian moons, resulting in many humans becoming genetically engineered to survive in the differing environments of the moons. Thus, there are now humans with furrier bodies or even extra limbs who are still considered humans.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • Humans, as well as all other living species in The 'Verse, possess "midi-chlorians", mysterious organelles which have some intricate connection to the Force. Or something like that — the old expanded universe has gone back and forth over what the role of midi-chlorians actually are, though the new Expanded Universe's current stance is that midi-chlorians act as a go-between for the Living Force and the Cosmic Force.
    • The Legends continuity includes further details about humanity's nature and evolutionary history, which differs quite a bit from real life's, as would be expected for a setting that takes place in another galaxy and in the distant distant distant distant past:
      • According to some material, humans evolved from a species known as the Kumungah that was native to Tatooine when it was still a lush and fertile world. Most of the Kumungah were killed off when the Rakata devastated Tatooine with an orbital bombardment as punishment for the Kumungah rebelling against their rule, but those who were off-planet at the time — mostly as Rakata slaves — survived and eventually evolved into the human species. Other Kumungah survived on Tatooine by hiding underground and eventually evolved into the Tusken Raiders and the Jawas, making the two species very close evolutionary cousins of humanity.
      • Much later on, humans were among the first wave of sapient species to colonize the Galaxy after the old precursor empires collapsed. As such, due to the time it took for faster-than-light travel to be reinvented and for the disparate colony worlds to contact one another again, a truly impressive number of Human Subspecies of varying levels of divergence sprang up (other species had similar radiations, but the humans easily had the most). Star Wars aliens who look more than passingly humanoid are almost certainly Transhuman Aliens.

  • Anathem: While it's not clear exactly what physical features distinguish the "humans" of Arbre from the "humans" of Earth — there's a mention of cheekbones — it's enough that both can tell the difference at a glance.
  • Berserker: In this series, due to the terrible conflicts against the A.I. Berserkers, "human" is a blanket term for sentient life. In one book, a station full of Earth-descended Homo Sapiens celebrate because they encounter new "humans" — a species of giant energy clouds flying around space.
  • The Culture: "Human" is an umbrella term referring to all the species of bipedal, hairless apes (or non-primate ape analogues) that have evolved independently across the galaxy. While it's frequently glossed over and agents of the utopian Culture were able to move about on Earth with only minor modifications, detailed descriptions note that there can be enough differences in the height, proportion, skin color, and reproductive processes to qualify as Rubber-Forehead Aliens. Others have drastically altered their physical forms to the point where they're only considered human for the sake of legal and oral convenience, and some Culture expatriates have even gone on to join other species.
  • The Dark Profit Saga: Humans appear to be the "default" form of the Races of Man — they first arose when the original four races, the dwarves, elves, gnomes and sten, started to interbreed, as any interracial mixing results in a human, as will any human/human pairing.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: Humans have a natural affinity for mental and elemental magic, in contrast to the elves' affinity for Magitek and the creation of enchanted objects and the Sartan and Patryn's powerful probability-based magic. In something of a twist, this makes the humans, as a species, considerably more closely tied to natural life than the elves are — their mental magic, for instance, allows the humans of Arianus to tame dragons, which the elves cannot, while the humans of Pryan are better farmers than the local elves, who have not even mastered basic crop rotation.
  • Dragaera has two species that call themselves human; one can use sorcery and lives up to 3500 years, while the other uses witchcraft and has a lifespan more towards 100 years. Both have been modified from the same source to have their psychic and magical abilities; unmodified "easterners" came first.
  • The Fifth Season: Humans have "sessapinae" in their brains that let them sense vibrations and seismic phenomena, a survival trait in the Death World they inhabit. Those born with the Functional Magic of orogeny can "sess" the exact composition of the earth for miles around, drain energy from their surroundings, and control seismic activity in the region.
  • Hainish: The Human Aliens on various planets that originated from visits by ancient Hainish starships and that are in the process of reuniting with one another have widely diverged. The variations range from minor — Cetians have far more hair than other humans, and people from Chiffewar are all bald — to major — current Hanish have complete voluntary control over fertility, and one of the five separate human species on Rocannon's World has wings — to literal magic in the form of telepathy.
  • The Halfblood Chronicles: Humans are naturally suited for mentally-focused magic, such as illusions and telepathy, but have little in the way of magic pertaining to control of physical matter. This in contrast to the elves, who have considerable power insofar as physical magic and the creation of magical artifacts goes but cannot manage anything in the way of mental magic without the aid of artifacts. On those rare occasions where elves and humans produce half-elves, these possess the magic of both their parent species, making for potentially very powerful mages.
  • Hothouse:
    • The far-future humans are short — about a fifth as much as a modern human — and green-skinned, live very close to the bottom of the world-jungle's food chain, and rely much more on instinct than on their own stunted cognition.
    • As is revealed through the morel's plumbing of human Genetic Memory, modern-day humans were actually ape-fungus symbiotes, having bonded with a form of sapient fungi in the Oligocene to bond the animal's strength and senses with the fungus' cognition. The fungi eventually adapted to live entirely within the proto-humans' skulls, merging with their brains to become a single compound being, and allowed humanity to rise to full sapience. This lasted until the Sun began to swell and brighten in its old age, at which point the excess radiation killed off the symbiotic fungi and cause humanity to revert to a savage, primitive state.
  • King Creature Come: The ruling aliens refer to themselves as "Persons" or "humans" and to the conquered Earth humans as "Creatures". The Creatures also see Persons as a separate race and believe them to be unemotional, though one character describes them as "almost human". The main actual differences are that Persons are taller, less fecund and more technologically advanced than Creatures, and all have blonde Afros. The two races were eventually proven capable of interbreeding.
  • Known Space: What modern science knows as Homo habilis is in fact the reproductive stage of the Pak, an ancient alien species that, on consuming a specific root and the symbiotic microorganism within it, transforms into a sterile but immensely strong, agile and intelligent being called a protector, which is thereafter driven only by the unquestioned and single-minded urge to protect its genetic descendants at all costs. Earth was one of several worlds populated by Pak seeking to establish their bloodlines away from the endless warfare of their homeworld, but the lack of a chemical necessary for the microorganism to live caused the protectors to die off and allowed the breeders to speciate and evolve; modern human aging is the result of our bodies trying to undergo the protector transformation without the additional information given by the microorganism. Humans who eat healthy tree-of-life still transform into protectors, albeit with a high mortality rate; the physiological and mental differences between Homo habilis and Homo sapiens mean that human protectors are weaker and less agile than Pak protectors due to the transformation being imperfect, but are also more intelligent, mentally flexible and introspective, and also less dogmatically xenophobic.
  • Last and First Men covers the history of humanity from the dawn of civilisation through a few billion years to the end of humanity when the Sun is destroyed (no Casual Interstellar Travel here). Given the length of time involved, multiple near-extinctions followed by hundreds of millions of years of evolution of non-sentient remnants, extensive genetic modification, and ultimately several wholesale migrations to different planets along with the modifications required to survive, the final race of "men" bears about as much relation to real humans as we do to grass.
  • Lilith's Brood: By Adulthood Rites, the human race is Long-Lived on the order of centuries, resistant to disease, and sterile, thanks to genetic manipulation by the alien Oankali who rescued them After the End. All children that are born are human-Oankali hybrids.
  • "The Monsters": What little we hear of the protagonists' anatomy tells us they have structures like bladed tails or one eye, but they refer to themselves as "humans". Later on, the aliens also say that they are "humans".
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: After years of indoctrination, overworking and purging all of the conflicting and disloyal elements of society, the people of Oceania border on this. They are almost completely devoid of love or empathy for others, numb to the sight of suffering and graphic violence, and capable of Bizarre Alien Psychology like Doublethink without coercion. They go beyond Humans Are Bastards and are closer to humanity if they were Always Chaotic Evil.
  • The Prince Has No Pants: The elves routinely throw entire species into the System; once someone (anyone) agrees to entering the System, the entire species is uploaded, leaving behind their world and resources for the elves to steal. Except when they throw humanity in, things get... weird. Nearly every single thing on the planet, from humans to plants to animals to air and water and rocks is scraped up, leaving nothing but the molten core of the Earth behind. As it turns out, humanity is in fact a memetic virus upon the face of the universe, with the upright two-legged version merely being the highest caste. Everything else about the biosphere is also "human," which is why humanity has survived hundreds of extinction events and intentional genocides—even if every living "human" is killed, the biosphere itself will eventually re-evolve them. Humans therefore find themselves trapped in a massive gameworld with sharks, ants, and every other animal of their planet now intelligent and perfectly willing to help progress.
  • The Salvagers: In the 29th century, humans have an organ called a cardiodoid which gives the individual one magical talent. Those few humans who lack the cardiodoid and its resulting power are derogatively known as "dull-fingered" and have issues using certain Magitek items like prosthetic limbs.
  • The Silmarillion: Humans and elves were similar races, created by Illuvatar and referred to as his children. At that time, humans were like elves in strength and stature, but this changed later as the world aged. The most crucial difference between elves and men was that men were mortal, and elves were immortal, as well as the destinations of their souls — elves linger in the physical world as spirits if killed, while human souls depart it entirely for Illuvatar's Halls.
  • The Sun Eater: Because of the misguided "Mericanii" A.I., all of Earth's people and most of the colonies have been turned into immortal blobs of cancer that are kept in Lotus-Eater Machine. The only standard humans left are from the furthest non-American colonies.
  • Tailchaser's Song: Humans are felines instead of apes. Or at least they are according to the "Just So" Story (which is confirmed to be true in many other respects). Long ago, a cocky prince named Ninebirds was deformed by Lord Firefoot. His tail was cut off, his fur was torn off, and his body was lengthened. Firefoot cursed Ninebirds' descendants to serve cats for all eternity.
  • The Wayfarer Redemption: The humans living in Tencendor are actually descendants of the last human from Earth, 'Noah', and Urbeth, a primordial bear-sorceress. These humans seem to be the only species unable to do magic, but in reality have the potential for very powerful magic sealed within themselves. This is because Urbeth's First son, the progenitor of humans, hated magic and rejected his power, leading Urbeth to cast him out so she wouldn't eat him out of rage. The Charonites look like humans, but possess shapeshifting abilities and are specifically non-human, while the Icarii also once looked human but have since grown bird wings and are also explicitly non-human and, while not immortal, are very long-lived.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Human history is relatively the same in this series as it is in real life, except one crucial difference: human history was actually tampered with by aliens (the Vorlons and the Shadows, to be precise). The Shadows were to blame for much of humanity's warlike nature, because they taught them to fight and kill in the name of progress as a species. Meanwhile, the Vorlons tampered with human genetics, trying to create human telepaths to fight the Shadows with. Sadly, humans became little more to either side than weapons to be used against each other.
  • Stargate SG-1: After humanity discovers the Stargate, they learn that Earth was originally colonized by the Ancients, who later left the cosmos when they ascended. "Humans" as we know them are descended from the remnants of those who did not ascend. After a timeskip, it is discovered that humans eventually regain the old technology that the Ancients used, and end up with a similar society, although it is not clear whether they choose to ascend this time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • AT-43: The U.N.A and the Red Blok appear to be human, but they are actually the descendants of populations artificially engineered to resemble mankind on ancient Earth. The real Earth-born humans are the Therians, immensely powerful, transcendent beings who reached The Singularity long ago and created the ancestors of the other factions in the distant past.
  • Exalted: "Human" is defined more along metaphysical than biological lines — broadly speaking, if someone has a soul composed of two distinct parts (a "lower" or animal soul and a "high" or rational soul) and can become Exalted, they're human insofar as the setting's divine powers and metaphysics are concerned. In addition to the Beastmen, which resemble humanoid animals of various sorts, Creation's humans include the pelagothropes, the diminutive, hairless and panda-colored Djala and several other races, many tracing their lineages back to experiments done by the Solars during the First Age. Additionally, it's common for even "baseline" humans to have very peculiarly colored hair — blue, indigo and purple are common hair colors among the Western islanders, for instance, as are green in the Imperial Isle and fiery scarlet in the South.
  • Shadowrun: Humanity, now collectively referred to as Metahumanity, experienced a massive change as a result of The Awakening. Starting in 2011, children across the world began being born as Dwarves and Elves, a phenomenon that was initially referred to as Unexplained Genetic Expression or UGE. Ten years later, roughly 10% of humanity experienced "goblinization", spontaneously mutating into Orcs and Trolls. These four groups represent different gene sequences that are mana-sensitive, only expressing in the presence of high background magic count, and which also come with different sub-variants called metatypes, many of which are localized to specific parts of the globe. Despite the physiological differences, metahumanity are all collectively one species and can produce fertile offspring with one-another, although hybridization doesn't take place. There are also Changelings, who appeared during the arrival of Halley's Comet in 2061, who possess additional traits such as animal features, oddly-colored skin or mixtures of multiple phenotypes.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Humans were created by an advanced ancient civilization known as the Isu for the purpose of serving as a slave workforce to build their lavish, elaborate cities and inventions known as the Pieces of Eden. Until Adam and Eve successfully escaped the city of Eden and led an uprising against the Isu, which was abruptly ended by the Toba Catastrophe. While their creators were driven to near extinction by the disaster, humanity later rebuilt the remains of civilization and survived long enough to become the dominant species on Earth.
  • Arknights: All of Terra's Loads and Loads of Races are sometimes referred to as "humans" as an umbrella term. This includes the race that resembles demons, the race that resembles angels, and the various Little Bit Beastly and Beast Man characters.
  • Chained Echoes: In the world of Eldrea "human" is just a blanket term for all sapient races such as the Lizard Folk Lisvan, with what in the real world are consider human known as "hyoms".
  • Dark Souls: Humans are a race of beings descended from the Furtive Pygmy, who created mankind by sharing fragments of the Dark Soul. Because of this, mankind has an inherent link to the dark, with "Humanity" implied to be fragments of the dark soul watered down over the years and maintaining mankind's human characteristics. When the first flame starts to fade, mankind becomes marked with the darksign, a curse that leaks Humanity out of humans cursed onto mankind when Gwyn branded the pygmys with fire in hopes of controlling the Dark and turning them into the Undead, unable to die and slowly wasting away until they become Hollows. Conversely, get too much Humanity, and you'll lose control and become a Humanoid Abomination like Manus. An alternative title for "the Age of Dark" is even called "the Age of Man."
  • Diablo: Humans are the depowered (with a few exceptions) descendants of angel/demon hybrids. The Nephalem is a throwback to their superpowered ancestors.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code: Although Idinites look just like real life humans, they are all born with a khoshen, a metal-like organ embedded in their chest that has slots for krystallos. They are also considered a different species from Kenoman humans, and the scanners of Kenoman soldiers can tell that Ruthia has Kenoman DNA and the Idinites party members don't.
  • Grandia III: The tribe that Ulf hails from are all Little Bit Beastly, having tails and slitted pupils. People of the Verse Realm have Pointy Ears and insect-like wings, and are also implied to be Long-Lived. Alfina and her brother also have pointy ears, despite not being from the Verse Realm. Despite that, all of them are referred to as "humans" at various points of the game.
  • In Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, humans are one of the five main races in Tyria, and while typical humans in most respects they play the roles elves usually do in fantasy settings. They were once very powerful and Tyria's dominant race, but have fallen into severe decline as the younger, more energetic races begin to dominate the world. They tend to be highly conservative and shun technology, and consequently are socially stuck in the past, especially the isolated human nations of Elona and Cantha in Guild Wars 2. They also have a special affinity and respect for magic, due to it being granted to them by their gods, who brought them to Tyria. The other races view them as long past their prime and doomed to vanish from the world.
  • Jak and Daxter: Jak's species has long Pointy Ears and natural hair colors in various abnormal tones, and some have technicolor skin. They're still referred to as humans.
  • Legend of Mana: The human race encompasses a wide variety of sapient beings: from the Little Bit Beastly to full on Civilized Animals, mythological creatures such mermaids and centaurs, and various others in addition to "ordinary" humans like the player character. Basically any sapient creature that isn't said to not be human such as Sproutlings, Faeries, or Jumi is human.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Most games treat Hylians — Link and Zelda's kind, and the setting's "main" race — as a Human Subspecies. They're known for their long, elfish ears and their ability to "hear the gods" better than round-eared humans. Other than those differences, however, they're usually interchangable with non-Hylian, round-eared humans. There aren't any physical or social differences and they interbreed just fine.
    • Two of the franchise's other recurring races, the Sheikah and the Gerudo, also strongly resemble pointy-eared humans, and their exact relationship with each other, humans and Hylians is never explained. They're effectively human in most respects, with the main differences being that the Sheikah are extremely Long-Lived and have red eyes, while the Gerudo are all women — a male is born among them only every century or so, and they normally have children by coupling with Hylians.
  • Night in the Woods is one of the more difficult examples to tell, given the protagonist has frequent visual distortion, but it appears that in the setting's World of Funny Animals, all of the anthropomorphic animals are considered "human". The actual species or subspecies is seldom referenced but seems to be considered a racial equivalent; e.g., Mae, a cat, is annoyed when someone leaves a ball of yarn out (but plays with it anyway).
  • In Pokémon, humans and mons are evolutionary cousins (since even God is a Pokémon), to the point that Interspecies Romance between the two used to be common as they didn't see a difference. As a result of this, humans are able to develop abilities like Psychic Powers and endure trauma that would grievously harm or outright kill an ordinary person like the one Team Rocket Grunt who eventually walked off a Hyper Beam from Lance's Dragonite.
  • RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore: When Remi asks about Ragnoahian humans, Lore responds that the local humans "do have eyes, a nose and a mouth". But:
    But there are different lands where some have longer noses, or more hair, or even shiny skin.
    Remi: That's... not really similar to me... I can't imagine...
  • Sins of a Solar Empire: The Advent believe in heavy modification. They are psychic, have a pseudo-hive mind, and use mind control and many cybernetics and transhumanist technologies. Most human worlds kept to a certain standard of culture and technology. The Advent were considered so different that they were banished as deviants.
  • Stellaris: Invoked. The basic Humans are Adaptive, Nomadic, Wasteful, and prefer Earth-like climates. A relatively early game technology is "Gene Tailoring", allowing for genetic modification, and thus creating many human variants, from the mild (a bit stronger, or adapted to different planet types...) to the impressive (being modified into rapid breeders). Even then, when it comes to Ascenscion Perks, things get even stranger... Humans Are Psychic in the Future, or maybe they're all Cybernetic or transferred their minds into robots... or they can embrace genetic alteration to become nigh unrecognizable... or some humans could be assimilated by a Hive Mind, or Embrace the Worm-In-Waiting, becoming forever altered...
  • Undertale: Because human bodies are made of physical matter instead of magic like monsters' bodies are, their SOULs are strong enough to persist after death. It's also because of humans' tangibility that their bodies can hold more Determination, allowing them to perform feats monsters can't.
  • World of Warcraft: Early in its history, the world of Azeroth was seeded by the Titans with a variety of species crafted from earth, rock and metal. These were later afflicted by the Old Gods with the Curse of Flesh, which turned many into creatures of flesh and bone that became the ancestors of several later species. In one ancient species, the giants, the Curse resulted in the Vrykul, who while still large and powerful were much smaller and fleshier than their stony progenitors. The Curse further affected the Vrykul, giving them even smaller and fleshier — and in their view stunted and weak — children. Many of these were killed, but some were raised in secret and hidden away in another continent to live their own lives, where they became the progenitors of the human race. While otherwise fairly normal (by fantasy standards), WoW's humans are technically the smallest species of giant in the world, and technically closer kin to hill-sized beings of living stone than to elves and dwarves.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: "Homs" appear to just be Humans by Any Other Name, but there is mention of them having a higher ether compatibility than normal humans. And since the universe was split off from Earth in an ancient cataclysm, the man who created them does have something to compare them to.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Just about any sapient race that isn't a Blade, Nopon, Titan, or Tirkin is called human. Among these, the Ardainians, Leftherians, and Tantalese are straightforwardly human-like, but there are also the Gormotti Cat Folk, the somewhat crystalline Urayans, and the grey-skinned, Long-Lived Indoline, who are still considered human despite their drastic physiological differences.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 muddies things even further: due to the complicated circumstances of the world of Aionios, "humans" are now based on every single humanoid race of 1 and 2. Including all of the above, but also some that weren't considered humans back then, like the High Entia, the Machina, and even the Blades. To make things even weirder, their non-human traits seem to be mostly vestigial. All of the High Entia have hair colors other than silver (it was their only hair color in 1) and all of them have small headwings (a trait that was indicative of being part Homs, whereas pure-blood High Entia had large wings). Lanz merely has metal-colored skin instead of being a Mechanical Lifeform, and Sena's Blade traits (like her ether veins and Core Crystal) are treated like physical quirks rather than unique vital organs. (In fact, the people of Aionios seem to not know what a Core Crystal is at all, which later helps the sole real Blade left survive an assassination attempt.)

  • Aurora (2019): Humans are one of the three primary mortal races, alongside elves and the long-vanished Ancients. They're generally defined by adaptability, by being attuned to all six elements, and through that by possessing a degree of stability that the wind- and lightning-aligned elves lack. They're the most widespread species in the world and have adapted to life in multiple environments, although in the process have split into a considerable number of Human Subspecies that can vary significantly from the human baseline, such as the horned Stonekin with rocky plates in their skin, the metal-skinned Ironhill people, and the bioluminescent, ocean-dwelling Sekrai.
  • Earthsong: The titular planet is a temporary home to humanoid species from across the galaxy; humans themselves are vanishingly rare and have strong Psychic Powers, including Telepathy and mind control.
  • Genocide Man is set in a future world that was ravaged by way of Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke and that now bans any form of "genetic deviancy". The Reveal that the One World Order genetically engineered the entire human race to be more peaceful and complacent via a Synthetic Plague that killed 1.5 billion people as a side effect doesn't go over well.
  • Hero Oh Hero: Humans are able to use magic and can also randomly have strange hair colours (the latter typically being from being born in high magic areas regardless of if the person in question has any powers). The setting's elves are a race (in the non-fantasy sense) of humans with green hair, skin and Green Thumb powers who're called "elves" as a slur by The Empire.
  • Leaving the Cradle has a linguistical version of that: each species call themselves and each other by unique names, but those names are taken from the species' native languages, and all these words essentially have one translation: "a human". One of the species, raharrs, goes so far as to automatically refer to any other sapient species as also being raharrs.
  • Outsider: Humans have only recently become spacefaring and, consequently, lag far enough the other space empires in technology, numbers and infrastructure to be essentially non-entities except for two notable traits. Firstly, they very closely resemble the Loroi, blue-skinned Space Elves who are one of the setting's dominant species, which most non-human characters find suspicious to alarming. Secondly, they're the only known species in existence to be completely immune to the Loroi's Psychic Powers — some species have limited resistance, but humans are immune to the point that Loroi are unable to even psychically sense a human standing right in front of them.
  • Skin Deep: Humans have an unusual level of physical malleability when confronted with magic when compared with any other species — it's extremely easy, when in contact with magic, for a human to develop a sudden and potentially dramatic physical mutation, something which almost never happens to other species. Tim (a human who himself sports a pair of ram horns as a result of a magical incident) speculates that this is likely why so many magical species look like humans with additional or unusual features, as he believes that many likely descend from humans who accidentally gained traits such as animal legs or bird wings in this manner.
  • TwoKinds: Humans hail from a forgotten continent far over the eastern sea, have technicolor hair, and are treated the way more orthodox fantasy epics treat elves. Besides living much longer than the other sapient species, humans passively absorb mana from the environment and store it within themselves, allowing them to cast, basically, until they've sucked all the magic from the immediate vicinity (a spell exists to supercharge this and it's something of a Dangerous Forbidden Technique — once all the mana's gone, it starts guzzling up Life Energy, and having more than your fair share of that is the basis of the setting's Black Magic). Keidrans can only cast as many spells as they have mana stones, and basitins can't cast at all unless they're irradiated with a large ammount of mana (which slowly erodes their mental faculties). This affinity for magic is what led mankind to becoming Mekan's dominant sapient species.
  • Unsounded:
    • Humans are unique in that they demonstrably possess a soul, which lets them access the Background Magic Field of the Khert and delivers their memories to the Khert upon death. Other sapient beings, such as the ancient Senet Beasts and the "Two-Toe" Lizard Folk, see this with some envy or consternation, not least because the dominant religion takes this as proof that Humanity Is Superior.
    • One handy quirk of Kasslyne humans is that as their soul/mind is strung along khert lines even if their physical ears are damaged they can always hear through the khert. For Kasslyne humans there's no such thing as going deaf.
    • Alterations to the Background Magic Field in the country of Alderode affect anyone conceived within its borders, causing them to be born into a People of Hair Colour caste system that determines their appearance, magical potential, and lifespan.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Humanity might seem weak compared to some other species in the series, but they have some unique qualities to them. One is that they're one of the few species able to use mana and magic, although a few others are capable of it as well. Their other, more unique trait is that they can interbreed with any other intelligent species. Any. This includes things like Pyronites, who are literally lava people who live on a freaking sun. Nobody knows how or why they're capable of this, but a good chunk of humanity has at least some alien ancestry. However, it turned out that the supposed child of a human and a Pyronite encountered in the show was actually a full human who had some experiments done on him to infuse him with Pyronite DNA, then given Fake Memories of his parentage to cover up the existence of the group who experimented on him. So while a human and Pyronite offspring may be possible in theory, it probably isn't in practice.