Follow TV Tropes


Pinocchio Syndrome
aka: To Become Human

Go To
Image by Grusborg. Used with permission.

Tom Servo: Today I begin anew, no longer Tom Servo, mere robot; I emerge from my metal chrysalis, Tom Servo—real live boy! Haha! Snips and snails and puppy dog's tails, that's what Tommy's made of!
Joel: Yeah, really.
Crow: No, paint, actually.
Joel: Tom, y'know, I knew this was gonna happen sometime. You're experiencing the Pinocchio Syndrome!

The extreme of I Just Want to Be Normal. The characters either aren’t human to begin with, or Was Once a Man before being the subject of a Baleful Polymorph curse or transformed via The Virus into monsters or otherwise made into something else that is decidedly not human. Often involving an artificial being such as a robot wanting to be a flesh-and-blood creature — or at least closer to one in ways it feels are important, like becoming creative.

Whatever the reason, the nonhuman beings want to become human, or in the case of formerly-human beings, they want to be human again. Despite Applied Phlebotinum and magic being able to do everything else, it seems the power to turn someone into a mortal human being is incredibly rare. In those cases where those who do get the instant magical cure, they'll often throw it away, saying they want to earn it, or "it's the path, not the destination" (whatever that means), or it will come at a horrendous moral cost. In other words, Failure Is the Only Option, at least until the Grand Finale.


This is often a goal of robots, vampires, werewolves, and so on. In these circumstances, sometimes a wiser character will be taken in by this trope, but instead make some important logical deductions. Namely, that if you're a robot, you probably already act like a normal human, to the point of being able to pass the Turing Test. If you're a vampire or werewolf, you're substantially stronger and hardier than a typical human. Or maybe, in the most extreme cases, you'll become convinced that Humans Are Bastards, and you're better off being what you are. As a result, as cool as these "emotion" things may be, it may not be worth being Brought Down to Normal just to enjoy them. In these cases, the character in question can often be found looking for a third option that will allow for the best of both worlds.


Named, of course, for the puppet who wanted to Become a Real Boy, but much older than that. Likewise, the Shapeshifting Lover or the Talking Animal who is really a victim of a Baleful Polymorph Curse are figures of long standing in Oral Tradition.

Very often overlaps with What Measure Is a Non-Human? and often suggests that Humans Are Special. Contrast Humanity Ensues, and the exact opposite attitude that Being Human Sucks. See also Humanity Is Infectious, where a human mindset is catchy.

Not related to Pinocchio Nose. For the sister trope Become a Real Boy, see The Adventures of Pinocchio.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Astro Boy is perhaps the oldest anime expression of this trope.
    • At first, anyway. When he gets upgrades that allow him to experience pain and fear, he begins to wonder if humanity is all it's cracked up to be.
    • Also subverted in the manga story "Astro II", where a new Astroboy is built to replace the original who apparently died in the final episode of the 1960s anime. Mark II is designed to be as human-like as possible... and as a result he's as shiftless, greedy & sex-crazed as the real Astroboy wasn't.
    • Inverted in the English closing theme song of the 1960's Astro Boy; the chorus of children sing "What can I do, to be like you, and become a real Astroboy?"
  • Deconstructed in the anime version of Kikaider, with deliberate allusions to Pinocchio — the "Gemini" circuit to give Jiro/Kikaider a conscience, for instance. The ending of the OVA sequel is a full subversion, with Jiro only becoming "real" by Shooting The Dog:
    Reiko/Bijinder: "And so Pinocchio became a real boy. And they lived happily ever after." And yet, I wonder. In becoming human, did Pinocchio truly find happiness?
  • Inuyasha:
    • The half-dog demon Inuyasha originally wanted the Shikon Jewel to become a full demon. However, after spending time with Kikyo he decided to become a human. After that didn't go over well, he decided he wanted to become a full-demon again, but appears to care less and less about it as the series went on. In the end he just stays a half-demon; the only "right" wish to make of the jewel was to destroy it.
    • Played straight by the anime-only character Gyuoh. He's the son of a minotaur-like she-demon and a human scholar, who transforms from a good-looking human in the day into a creature like his mother at night. In his demon form, all birds and animals except carrion eaters flee from him, while his presence causes flowers to wilt and die, two facts that enrage and upset him greatly. Like most of the characters in the series, he wants to use the power of the Shikon Jewel- in his case, however, he wants to become all human. He also decides that, rather than risk life and limb seeking the fragments, he'll create a new Shikon Jewel by using certain mystical lore to fuse the requisite four souls together, deciding on Inuyasha for Aramitama (Courage), Miroku for Kushimitama (Wisdom), Sango for Sakimitama (Love) and Shippo for Nigimitama (Friendship), with Kagome's spiritual powers binding the four together.
  • This is the entire series basis for Fullmetal Alchemist, with Ed wanting to get his limbs and Al's human body back by finding (or creating) the Philosopher's Stone.
    • In the 2003 anime version, becoming human is also the primary drive for many of the Homunculi, Lust especially.
  • This is one half (pun intended) of the basis for the Anime, Manga and OVAs of Ranma ½ — Ranma wants to find a way to stop turning into a girl... Results are evenly split between "it's a fake"/"it's just a legend", finding it, but having to destroy it to save someone and the Applied Phlebotinum not working as advertised.
  • Key the Metal Idol wants to be human, and is told that she'll become one if she collects 30,000 (yes, thirty thousand) friends. Her solution is to start a career as an Idol Singer. She actually was human all along.
  • Sara's motivation in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, especially in the manga, comes from the fact that Tarou abandoned her out of guilt and, in the manga, sabotage from a well-intentioned servant. Screaming that she didn't ask to be born a mermaid, let alone a princess, she decides that if she can't be with him, she'll destroy everyone on Earth.
  • In Corrector Yui, the Big Bad Grosser claims that he wants to be alive and not just a part of the Com.Net that must be re-booted
  • Inverted in the "Resurrection" volume of Phoenix, where Leon, a human that is 60% robot, wants to turn full robot so as to be able to be with his love, Chihiro.
  • The main character of Princess Tutu is a duck that uses a magical pendant to become a girl. She often angsts about how she's "just a bird", and towards the end of the series she admits that she wants to stay a girl so she can keep dancing and stay with her friends. But in the end, she gives up her pendant to save Mytho, and returns to being a duck—thanks in part to Fakir, who encourages her to be her true self, and also promises to never leave her.
  • Inverted in Galaxy Express 999, where the main character wants to have his brain put into a robot body.
  • In 3×3 Eyes, the two main characters want to stop being immortal and become normal humans, though we later learn that is strictly a way to make sure that the Big Bad won't be able to absorb Pai's Third Eye and die off.
  • In Slayers, Zelgadis is all angsty about having been turned into a human/golem/demon chimera, and wants to find a cure. Other chimeras that he and his companions come across (mostly in the Light Novel series), especially a particular one in a a special side story, share the same sentiment.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In the Sailor Moon S Movie, after falling in love with a human scientist named Kakeru, Luna becomes sad knowing that she cannot be with him because she is a cat. She later becomes human for a short time and encourages Kakeru to be with his childhood sweetheart, Himeko, because that is who he truly loves.
    • In the fourth (SuperS) season the Amazon Trio eventually discover that they're merely the animals of their namesakes given human form, and have one last chance to make it permanent or else they'll revert to their original forms for good. Fish's Eye suffers a massive Villainous BSoD over this and, after conversations with Mamoru and Usagi (and figuring out that Chibi-Usa was Pegasus's host) realizes that he won't "really" be human and that Zirconia is still likely to kill him (and the other two) regardless of what he does. After Hawk's Eye dies to save him, Fish's Eye and Tiger's Eye decide to use the magic sustaining themselves to restore Sailor Moon instead of staying human. They also die (and all three do revert back to their original forms), but Pegasus changes them back and gives them Dream Mirrors of their own, noting that they're indeed human and will be fine before taking them away with him to live in the world of dreams forever.
  • Tieria Erde goes through this to some extent in season two of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, to the point of denying that he isn't human, or insisting that being "human" is relative, anyway. At the end of the series, after his "death", he tells Setsuna that he is happy to have been an Innovade, because it was the key to saving everyone in the end and learning their true purpose. Incidentally, all of the others of his type are very happy being what they are and look down on humans except possibly Anew.
  • Chachamaru of Negima! Magister Negi Magi has been known to angst over whether or not she actually has a soul. She does. Apparently the rule is that if you're capable of that kind of emotion, you must have a soul. The other fan theory is Negi's strong will and his refusal to take "no" for an answer caused the will of magic to give up and grant her a soul.
  • In the second series of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Joe Asakura is revealed to have just barely survived at the end of the first series and converted into a cyborg by a scientist. He's more powerful than ever, but all he wants is to be human again.
  • As revealed in the third Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS through a Video Will implanted in Reinforce Zwei's memories, a variation of this was the first Reinforce's small wish. While she didn't want to become fully human and definitely didn't want to become completely normal, she did dream of the day to live as a human, gathering around the dinner table with Hayate and the Wolkenritter, and sharing smiles with each other from time to time. Alas, as an Artifact of Doom and and Artifact of Death, such a wish could never happen unless a small miracle would occur, a miracle that never came, she noted sadly, as she concluded the recording before proceeding to her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Celia, resident mermaid of Rave Master briefly expresses this desire, hoping it will allow her to be with Haru.
  • Eureka, the heroine from Eureka Seven, secretly in her heart wishes to be a human in order to be with her lover Renton. She was revealed to be an alien life form who had an appearance of a human form with no special powers whatsoever. Technically there is no such way known for her kind to turn into a pure human being. Despite having regular human appearance, she constantly feels insecure about the way humanity is going to view her if they find out and fearful of losing the right to stay by her lover's side. In the TV anime version, she had turned non-human in appearance by growing wings out of her back, which is permanent, but Renton still loves her regardless and they continued to be with each other in the ending. However, in the anime film version, Eureka mysteriously was shown to be an ordinary human girl (without wings and circular red eyes) appearing naked with long hair alongside her lover Renton who was unconscious during her climatic "incident". The movie never showed what really happened to her, leaving viewers to ponder about her fate. She also ended up completely losing her memories and unable to speak, like that of a newborn infant. Eureka had become an existence that depends on Renton's survival/memories, meaning if her lover dies or lost his memories, she will cease to exist (though no solid evidence to suggest whether this is true). Despite these setbacks, she still ended up falling for Renton by kissing his cheek and holding his hands in the ending.
  • Boota of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is kind of a roundabout case, where it's revealed near the end that Boota's most precious wish was to have a humanoid form so he could be more helpful to his friends.
  • Robot girl Nano from Nichijou wants to feel like a real human being. This means getting to go to school is the thrill of her life. Her efforts are hampered, however, by the big wind-up key she has on her back courtesy her eight year old creator (who likes to slip in other modifications when Nano isn't looking).
  • The evil knight gundam Deathscythe of SD Gundam Force has this—being obsessively in love with the princess of Lacroa, he feels that the only thing keeping them apart is the fact that she's human and he's not, and the crux of his schemes is obtaining enough magical power to turn himself into a human.
  • Beyblade: Zeo is revealed to have this. Dr. Zaghart had a son, who was killed in an accident. So he built a robot version of his son as a Replacement Goldfish. He reveals this to the robot (who was unaware of the truth until that point), which proved to be a real Tomato in the Mirror moment for the poor kid. He is convinced that he must take all four of the Bladebreakers' Bit-Beasts so that he can use their combined power to become a real boy. He loses to Tyson in the end, and Tyson convinces him that as a robot, he would have abilities that a human would never have anyway!
  • In Kamisama Kiss Tomoe tries to become human so he can marry Yukiji. His efforts fail and end up triggering a curse that will eventually kill him unless Nanami can find a way to undo it.
  • In Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou, when Kikko gives the Robot Girl Earth-chan the ability dream, her dreams are of being a human girl with a family.
  • Irene Belserion from Fairy Tail is the former human variety, being cursed with the body of a dragon for 400 years as a side effect of Dragon Slayer magic, despite being given a human appearance to alleviate it. This is mainly because the human transformation is only a superficial disguise, as victims of dragonification can no longer experience human sensations. She resorts to attempting Grand Theft Me to escape her curse, first unsuccessfully on her own daughter, Erza, and again temporarily on Wendy.
  • Pino from EDENS ZERO, whose name bears more than a passing resemblance to Pinocchio's, is a little android fairy who dreams of becoming human. The earliest indicator of this is when she chooses a Little Bit Beastly human form for a Digital Avatar and takes a moment to admire her reflection in a window, and is noticeably disappointed when she returns to her tiny bot body in the real world.
  • Chapter 26 of Hell Teacher Nube stars an Eerie Anatomy Model that had been around students so much, it had gained sapience and thought itself a student too. At night, it would tidy up the entire school, which made it well-liked but nonetheless feared. Nube's class came together at night to pretend class while working towards a gentle excorcism, but the revelation it wasn't human was still a huge shock to the model. It did accept the truth and was given a few hours to play with its "fellow" students as if it were a human, allowing it to go peacefully. Nonetheless, its wish to be human was so strong that it was granted by Kannon. She didn't, however, give him full skin with it, but he's good at hiding that.
  • The Star of Cottonland is about Chibi-Neko, a cat who wants to become human so much that she envisions herself as a Cat Girl and is never shown as a real cat. Even though she's told it's impossible for a cat to become human, she still searches for a place called Cottonland where her wish can come true.

    Comic Books 
  • Livewires subverted this trope — the protagonist, Stem Cell, was an Artificial Human built with all the emotions of a human, who needed to learn to alter those emotions in order to survive.
  • Swamp Thing's origin changed him from a man into a living pile of vegetation, and his main goal was to return to normal. In a twist, when Alan Moore took over the book (in his first major writing gig for DC), he took away this motivation with a Retcon that didn't directly contradict any previous material. In "The Anatomy Lesson", Swamp Thing discovered that he was not a man who became a plant monster; he was a mass of plants possessed by the memories and spirit of that man, who was, in fact, dead. Regaining his humanity was then no longer a goal, and he instead became an Anthropomorphic Personification of nature.
  • Cardboard: Bill the cardboard Boxer wants to be human. It's implied that he got his wish in the end.
  • Superman 1960's comics have Supergirl's pet Comet the Super-Horse. He was originally a centaur called Biron who wanted to be fully human; unfortunately, Circe's transforming potion was sabotaged and made him fully horse instead. The reason he has superpowers is because the spell couldn't be reversed, so Circe gave him superpowers to try and make up for it.
  • Scud the Disposable Assassin: Likewise, Scud is fond of stating, "It's cool to be a robot." When a screenwriter tells him of a script similar to his life, Scud is disappointed at the ending, where the hero is rewarded with humanity. He hangs a lampshade on it by asking the writer to not pull a Pinocchio. "Make him proud of what he is, and you've got my $7.50."
  • Mr Eff from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is a Styrofoam pastry display. His master fed off Nny's imagination to make him more real when he needed. Unlike Psycho d-boy, who only wished to please his master and get Johnny to commit suicide, Mr Eff tried to keep Johnny alive and killing for as long as possible till he can become fully real. He failed. Johnny killed himself at the end of Issue #4, and issue #5 he was "Taken back into" his master, along with Psycho d-boy, saying "Fuck! I was so close!".
  • Subverted in The Mighty Skull Boy Army, Unit 1, a cute, toy-like robot, once voices his hopes to never be a real boy...because he fears puberty, and all those snips and snails...
  • X-51, aka Machine Man, aka Aaron Stack, of Marvel Comics has wanted to be/believed he really is human in most of his incarnations. In Earth X, Uatu the Watcher strips him of his human appearance. Late in the trilogy, an alternate universe version of himself appears who used his creator's DNA to create a human body for himself and tells his robot counterpart that his programming makes him human enough already.
    • He's been subverting the hell out of this since Nextwave, spending most of his time drinking and boasting of his robot superiority.
    • Ironically, Machine Man's Fem Bot girlfriend Jocasta, who ultimately breaks up with him during Tony Stark: Iron Man due to his being an asshole, is shown to have Pinocchio Syndrome herself, even having created a cute Black and Nerdy female alter-ego for use with an image inducer or in Tony Stark's new virtual reality program.
  • Played with in ElfQuest. After the defeat of Big Bad Winnowill, who spends some time in human form, Mender (who has the same fleshshaping/shapeshifting powers as Winnowill — though none of her experience) decides to try it out for a while too. He doesn't do very well.
  • Fables. Many of the non-human characters want to become human simply so they can get out of 'The Farm' (or in the case of Reynard the Fox, seduce Snow White). The Farm is a grand place but a gilded cage is still a cage. Too bad the magical resources are expensive and limited. What there is tends to be turned towards survival. What's worse is that most of the non-humans are immortal. Hundreds of years have passed by the time the series starts and there is no end in sight. No wonder there was a civil war. Later on, it gets better. And complicated. New lands are accessible for all.
  • B.P.R.D.: After the BPRD acquires advanced homunculi bodies, Johann Kraus, who's been an ectoplasm in a containment suit for decades, possesses one to finally feel human sensations again, heading to the closest bar miles away. Which of course means he's not there when the Monster of the Week attacks, leading to no small amount of anger on both sides.
  • The driving motivation behind the computer virus Grid, the Earth-3 counterpart of Cyborg, is to achieve some modicum of human emotion. In Forever Evil (2013), it gets its wish and experiences fear when Cyborg cuts him off from its connection to the flows of data it once controlled, leaving it trapped within its own robotic body.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, the Boggart's main goal is to become accepted in wizard society as a human (although he doesn't want to physically become human for it, instead being content with his shapeshifting abilities).
  • A lot of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fan fictions portray Cameron as an example of this.
  • Lyra in the MLP:FIM fanfic Anthropology desperately wants to become a human, even through nopony else has even heard of them. She gets her wish, and it is revealed she wasn't born a pony.
  • Pauline from the Tamers Forever Series desperately wants to be human so that she can be with her master and also for the simple fact that she doesn't have a body that can express her emotions like humans do, meaning that every feeling she has is bottled up inside her without release.
  • A significant amount of angst in the Pokéumans Fan Verse has emerged on account of this. Nobody chose or, in many cases, even wants the transformation they experienced, and then the secret war into which it plunges them means You Can't Go Home Again. Many characters still want to, and attempts to do so have resulted in everything from hilarity to Kill 'Em All endings.
  • The Story of a Gardevoir That Became a Trainer: Well, technically speaking, while Gardy never explicitly desired to be a human per se, she had always wanted to be a Trainer ever since she saw one of their Bags as a Ralts, and she assumed that being a human was one of those requirements. Courtesy of Jirachi, she gets her wish.

    Films — Animated 
  • The entire plot of the The Princess and the Frog revolves around this (featuring the song "When I'm Human").
  • Preceding "When I'm Human" by forty-two years is "I Wan'na Be Like You" from The Jungle Book (1967), sung by an orangutan who wants to become human by acquiring the secret of "man's red fire."
  • In The Little Mermaid (1989), Ariel has a desire to become human after seeing all the gadgets humans are able to invent, but it gets greater when seeing a handsome prince. Even though her father is strictly against such a dream, she asks help from Ursula, who complies to her wish if she gives up her voice. She seals the deal.
  • While Joy in Inside Out only has a shade of this in the film itself (mimicking Riley's ice-skating for one), if her room in the art book is any indication, she wishes she could live the way Riley does, including having a mom.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • David (Haley Joel Osment) in Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Literally so, as it came complete with Blue Fairy. Specifically noted as being so inspired, too.
    David: Blue Fairy? Please. Please, please make me into a real, live boy.
  • Number/Johnny Five in Short Circuit, who has gained self-awareness and understands himself to be alive; thus he must fight to prevent being "disassembled" (which for him would be "death") and convince others that he does have human emotions and thought processes. Though he is an extremely fast reader, in the second film, he intends to study the books Pinocchio by Collodi and Frankenstein by Shelley more closely, clearly identifying with the plights of both the puppet and the creature. He gets his wish, partially, at the end of the film, when after his heroics, the U.S. government decides to grant him the rights of an American citizen; the film ends with him and his immigrant friend taking the oath of citizenship at a mass-ceremony for such.
  • The backstory of Edward Scissorhands reveals he almost was exactly like an ordinary human, but his Inventor died before he could furnish him with proper hands; thus he is virtually unable to touch others. It's suggested in the film that there's the possibility he could still be made "complete" in that way, but that never comes to pass. Perhaps more importantly, when he falls for Kim, he does whatever he can to make her aware of his love for her in hopes she will reciprocate it, despite what he is.
  • The Robot boy Electronic from Russian film Electronics Adventures also wishes to become human, which is especially funny given that his human double Syroezhkin envies him.
  • Green Snake: The Green Snake and her sister White Snake are two female ophidian spirits who seek to become human in order to raise their status on the karmic scale and incidentally experience human love.
  • Return to Oz has The Nome King desiring to become human By turning everyone who lived or knew of Oz into stone or an ornament. Needless to say he was not pleased when this was ruined by the luck of a little girl.
  • The android Sonny in I, Robot shows symptoms of this. He reveals what could be slight envy of Spooner for his boast of artistic talent. Sonny also shows gratitude just for being referred to "as someone, not something." Spooner's closing words to Sonny: "find your way just like the rest of us..." leans this way even more.
  • Seth Brundle from The Fly (1986) loses his humanity through the course of the movie. His syndrome drives him to kidnapping his ex-girlfriend in an attempt to fuse with her, as she is pregnant with his unborn child, possibly the last of his humanity.
    Brundlefly: Help me be human... please.
  • Cool World revolves around the toon ("doodles" per the movie's parlance) villainess Holli Would's obsession with becoming a human woman and experience everything the "noids" can. She has to break the one law of Toonworld to accomplish this: have sex with one of them. She eventually succeeds, but the worlds start to converge and turn into a chaotic anarchy as a result.
  • The evil robot Ultron from Avengers: Age of Ultron. As if singing "I've Got No Strings" doesn't show he has a Pinocchio fixation, he tries to transfer himself into a partly biological body (which eventually becomes the Vision) and eventually goes for a plan where "When the dust settles, the only thing living in this world will be metal."
    • Vision himself is an odd version, He has no desire to become more human, but wishes only to be recognized and respected as a person as opposed to a machine or piece of equipment. This includes having a strict living will stating that should he die he is to be buried rather than examined and researched in order to create more of him.

  • The Adventures of Pinocchio: Pinocchio, of course.
  • The wendigo Big Bad from Magicals Anonymous turns out to have this goal.
  • Leroi, the Wolf Man from The Book of Lost Things is trying to become human in appearance, not realizing that it means he will eventually become too human. By the end of the book, he can't even howl.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Bicentennial Man": Andrew Martin gradually works towards becoming more human over two centuries. From the first generation of Martins, he buys his freedom. Then, he starts wearing clothes and studying robots. He begins designing prosthetic organs that allow him to eat, breathe, and even appear to have human skin. He becomes so lifelike that other robots think he's a human. However, he doesn't Become a Real Boy in the eyes of the law until he designs a new prosthetic brain that breaks down, making him deteriorate quickly and die.
  • In Fablehaven, wizards are dragons the permanently take human form in order to drastically increase their magical powers.
  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, H.I.V.E.mind suffers from this. After he and Otto start Sharing a Body, he thanks Otto for letting him see what it is like to be human. He even starts participating in conversation about girls, thanks to witnessing Otto's interactions with Lucy firsthand.
  • A fairly rare example of an animal with Pinocchio Syndrome and a rare example of someone who wants to be human for all the wrong reasons is King Iofur from Northern Lights/The Golden Compass (depending on which side of the pond you are from). It is also a quite rare example of where a character wants to be perceived of human by their actions but knows that there is never going to be a chance of physically becoming human.
  • Several characters from Charles de Lint's Urban Fantasy novel Memory and Dream.
  • The classic "The Little Mermaid" story.
  • Minerva in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. An administrative computer who learns to be human and falls in love. Eventually has a human body created so she can implant her personality into the body and experience love as a human, and not incidentally become the lover of the man she fell for in the first place.
  • The Cat Who Wished To Be a Man by Lloyd Alexander is about a cat that wants to be a man.
    • Arguably more of a subversion, since Humanity Ensues after the first five pages.
  • Zora Zombie from Xanth would've been happier to be alive or all-the-way dead, but was content to muddle through until she got to Become a Real Boy. Well, real girl, but same idea.
  • The children's book The Velveteen Rabbit is about a toy rabbit who wants to be real.
  • The short story "Feathertop" deals with a scarecrow who is given the illusionary appearance of a human. He knows he's not a human, but it isn't on his mind when the townsfolk respond with such awe at the sight of him. When, inevitably, he is confronted with his own appearance by a mirror that pierces right through the illusion, he is horrified and ends his life.
  • In The Sword-Edged Blonde, a goddess made three attempts to live like a human. The first and second attempts went wrong. The third attempt was to incarnate as an amnesiac so that she could live free of any memory of being a goddess. However, the fact that she can't remember doesn't mean that she can't be found by someone who hates her from her first disastrous attempt.
  • The Murderbot Diaries: Discussed between Dr. Mensah and Murderbot, an artificially grown Cyborg. The latter likes some things about humanity (especially soap operas) but finds other parts incomprehesible or outright distasteful and is quite secure in its own identity as a partially organic supercomputer.
    Dr. Mensah: We tend to think that because a bot or construct looks human, its ultimate goal would be to become human.
    Murderbot: That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
  • Domina: MC, the Benevolent A.I. managing the city, is given a superpower that lets her change into a human form. Personality Powers are in play; everyone gets a power related to something they wanted, though sometimes they're not obvious. She loves having the opportunity to live like a human, to actually be able to feel the sun and taste things. A week later, she's decided that being human sucks (especially everything involving bathrooms) and resolves to turn back into a machine as soon as possible. It's a slow process, and she's interrupted by an emergency, leaving her as a strange sort of cyborg.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation has this as his central character arc, and Riker points out Data's similarity to Pinocchio as early as the pilot episode. Interestingly, when Q offers Data the choice of being turned into a human Data rejects it — he wanted to become human by himself, not to have it handed to him magically. Downplayed as the series went on, going form wanting to be human to just wanting emotions (with some point out he has them, in his own way). There's an interesting scene between him and Spock, who as a half-human half-Vulcan would rather be more like Data. Each has what the other wants most and can't enjoy it, it seems...
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Subverted with the Doctor who's more than happy to remain a piece of emergency software (his strongest wish is that people will remember to shut him off when they leave Sickbay) but is forced to grow through his circumstances and with the gentle support of Kes. Eventually the Doctor becomes quite enthusiastic about expanding his abilities (sometimes to the annoyance of his colleagues) but the scenes where he's most passionate are not about the Doctor becoming human, but about him having the same rights as a human being.
      • This may be related to the fact that many similar holograms, even using same appearance as the good EMH, are used for grueling slave labor, and unable to do anything about it because they're constructs of light, force field, and programming, and not legally people as such.
    • Likewise Seven of Nine, a human who was assimilated at a young age and is quite proud of being Borg, with no desire to Become A Real Girl. By the final season however she is raising surrogate kids and cooking meals with the best of them.
  • Also subverted with Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine a Changeling who was temporarily locked into humanoid form by his people as a punishment. Odo claims that he will never forgive the other Changelings for putting him into a humanoid body. Word of God even invokes this trope; showrunner Ira Steven Behr described him as "a wooden boy who wants to become a better wooden boy."
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Parodied, as Kryten the mechanoid wishes he was able to lie and cheat like humans.
    "Over the years I have managed to develop some serious character faults of which I'm extremely proud!"
    • And then in one episode he is accidentally changed into an actual human. At first he's excited, but can't get the hang of his new station in life and eventually takes Lister's advice and changes back into a robot.
  • Parodied in episode 507 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 "I Accuse My Parents," in which Tom Servo decides he wants to be a real boy, and repaints himself Caucasian pink. Also in episode 610, "The Violent Years", Tom replaces his dome with an extremely disturbing ventriloquist's dummy head. The name of the trope also comes from an earlier episode when they were reading about Data in a magazine.
  • Nick Knight the vampire from Forever Knight.
  • Similarly, Mick St. John the Vampire Detective in Moonlight.
  • Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows, yet another of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. (He predates Angel and Nick Knight.)
  • And Varney the Vampire pre-dates even Barnabas by over a century, though he sure as hell wasn't a Friendly Neighborhood anything. Heck, he was a rotten neighbor, period.
  • And for the final member of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire pack, Angel. At least, when he wasn't Angelus.
  • Mack from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, about five seconds after finding out he wasn't human to begin with.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • The Cylons designed themselves as (nearly) humans and try to procreate in the human way, rather than building new copies. Although it wasn't about a personal aspiration, but pursuing a religious edict, "be fruitful and multiply"
    • Inverted by Cavil, Cylon Model Number One, who loathes his humanity, and The Five for making him in humanity's image. He says he just wants to be a real robot, "a more perfect machine", not an imitation of a limited organic being:
    Cavil's "Mother": "[We] designed you to be as human as possible..."
    Cavil: "I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear x-rays, and I want to... I want to smell dark matter! Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to... I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a super nova flowing over me... I'm a machine and I could know much more, I could experience so much more... but I'm trapped in this absurd body! And why?! Because my creators thought God wanted it that way..."
  • Being Human (both versions) has this concept as its basic premise with a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf trying to find some level of normality.
  • An interesting variant occurs in Stargate Atlantis with a group of Replicators who want to ascend. They don't want to be human initially, but eventually come to realize that ascension is only possible for mortals (they are essentially high-tech machines) and so set out to become human.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Ankh of Kamen Rider OOO gets hit with this late in the series, after having spent most of it latched onto a human body. He doesn't necessarily want to be human, but he wants to truly be alive and able to enjoy things and feel satisfaction instead of being cursed with the insatiable desire that is common to all the Greeed.
    • Hajime of Kamen Rider Blade, resulting in Kenzaki giving up his own humanity so that Hajime can continue living as a human.
    • Chase of Kamen Rider Drive after regaining his memory as Kamen Rider Proto-Drive and forming strong bonds with his new human friends. He even fell in love with Kiriko and eventually considers Shinnosuke and Go as his family. Becoming human eventually become his greatest dream.
  • In The Other Kingdom, the fairy princess Astral wants to learn about human ways and is excited to become human and live life without use of her powers.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "The Hunt", the android Kel wants to be a human because humans have real feelings as opposed to "analogue sensations." He believes that humans have the right to take the lives of androids in the hunt as they gave them life in the first place. The major reason for Kel's positive attitude towards humans is that he was formerly a mine foreman and was programmed to respect them because he had to interact with them on a daily basis. Unlike most applications of this trope, he abandons his desire as he comes to the conclusion that Humans Are Bastards.
  • My Roommate is a Gumiho: Woo-yeo, a gumiho, wants to become a human. His old friend Yang Hye-sun used to be a gumiho like him, but has already been turned into a human girl. In the show's final act it is revealed that human energy isn't what causes gumiho to become human, it's humanity, and Dam sets out to make this happen for Woo-yeo. When he sacrifices himself to save her, the mountain spirit decides that he has learned what it means to be human, and turns him into one so he can be with Dam.

  • "8 Bits" by is sung (with a Synthetic Voice Actor) from the POV of a Commodore 64 game character running under emulation (Giana of The Great Giana Sisters in the video) who longs for the real C64 computer of her ancestors.
  • When asked in a Reddit AMA what super powers The Aquabats! would like if they didn't have their current powers, Jimmy the Robot answered that "[he'd] like to be a real boy."
  • The Spine from Steam Powered Giraffe longs to be human, and seems to admire many aspects of human culture such as love and Spaghetti Westerns.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Korean Mythology features a tiger and a bear, who wishes to become humans. The god Hwanung (Heavenly Emperor's son) tells them to eat only garlic and mugwort for 100 days in a dark cave, without seeing sunlight. Tiger gives up, but the bear passes the ordeal and, on the 21st day, transforms into a beautiful woman (named Ungnyeo, 'bear-woman'). Ungnyeo marries Hwanung and gives birth to a boy named Dangun-Wanggeom, first king and forefounder of the Korean people.
  • Kumiho in Korean Mythology often seek to become human, but how they go about it varies between each one. Some eat people (specifically their livers), others believe True Love's Kiss will do it, and some just gorge themselves on spiritual energy they steal from people they seduce.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • The overriding goal of the player's characters in the role-playing game Promethean: The Created is to complete "the Great Work" — transforming from dismembered, animated corpses into human beings. This is actually possible (if very hard), making this one of the few examples of the trope where the goal can be achieved in the end. Sadly, achieving that goal almost invariably involves creating more of your kind, an endeavor in which success is immoral, and failure is... undesirable.
  • Maligno, the "carrionette" darklord of Odiare in the Ravenloft campaign setting, thought he was the real son that Giuseppe created him to be, but the parents of the children he entertained destroyed his delusion. In revenge, Maligno murdered them with the help of other animated toys. Ironically, while all other carrionettes can achieve this goal by possessing human victims, Maligno lost this ability when he became darklord of Odiare; despite being the most powerful carrionette and their leader, he must always have the body of a puppet. Like all darklords, he is cursed for his crime.
  • This is also a common trait of a Clockwork Swordsman, an intelligent construct (not always male, roughly half are designed to resemble females) originally found in the Red Steel campaign. While most of them try to hide it behind a dashing swashbuckler façade, the fact that they aren't truly human pains them to no end.
  • The "Transformed Animal" archetype in Feng Shui are animals that managed to become humans (or their offspring, in later Junctures) because being human offers better opportunities. However they fear magic since it may cause them to revert to animal form, which spells the end for the character as far as playability goes. In other words, they've all become "real boys", and just want to avoid going back.
  • In their current incarnation in Warhammer 40,000, there are several Necron who are looking for ways to become mortal again after having survived as robots for a very long time.
  • Most experiments in Bleak World have this going for them HARD. All of them used to be human (or at least parts of a human) and are desperate to get that back, they can succeed temporarily, but even the slightest mistake can send them back to their monstrous form (especially Radio Zombies).
  • The Reforged in Eberron are a philosophical movement amongst the Warforged ('living constructs' created to fight in war — hence the name — and turning out to be a bit more aware and living than their supposed designers thought) that has the broad scope of this trope as an ideal, wanting to embrace and strengthen the living aspect of their nature. This, it turns out, is surprisingly easy (they might still be warforged at the end of it, but with such a variety of humanoids around 'real boy' becomes a very vague thing), even easier than going the other way and becoming less alive and more like a mechanistic construct (as another philosophical movement advocates).

    Video Games 
  • Bomberman: The NES game's plot was Bomberman's quest to escape the bomb factory, thereby becoming human.
  • This is the stated goal for most of Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts II, although they were humans before losing their hearts. The leader, Xemnas, instead would rather become a "great being", just like every other incarnation of Xehanort.
  • Xenosaga inverts this with Ziggy, who used to be human, but is now mostly robot. He wants the rest of him to be robot too.
  • Persona:
  • World of Warcraft:
    • While a majority of the Forsaken have resigned themselves to undeath, there are many who see their existence as a curable disease or curse and long for a return to full life.
    • In World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm, the Worgen of Gilneas have developed a cure to allow them to retain their humanity while transformed into their Werewolf forms, but are still looking for a way to get rid of the curse completely.
  • While part of Yomiel's deal with the blue people in Ghost Trick is for revenge, he also wants them to find some way to have an artificial life. His real dream is to grow old in a society that accepts him and die surrounded by loving family, rather than "living" forever as a ghost in isolation.
  • The goal of Daniella in Haunting Ground is to become "complete". Understandable, given that she's a homunculus. But in order to do that, she's got to slice open the protagonist to get her Azoth first...
  • The villain of Comix Zone has liberated himself from the comic book he was formerly a character in, but is still a 2-D drawing. In the Game Over sequence, the death of his creator embodies him in true flesh and blood, giving him the potential to Take Over the World.
  • One possible ending of Dragon Age: Origins reveals that Shale the golem plans to seek a way to become a dwarf again, which she once was, despite her frequently expressed disdain for "soft, squishy" beings.
  • In the first chapter of Dragon Quest IV, Healie the healslime wants to become a human. He reasons that since he wants to become human, if he hangs around humans, he'll become one so he joins Ragnar on his quest. It actually works and he leaves Ragnar to start his own life after Ragnar joins the hero/heroine in the fifth chapter.
  • A sidequest in Borderlands 2 has you helping out a Loader who wants to become human, but has a rather flawed idea of what that entails. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Hinted at in the Mega Man (Classic) series and made obvious in the Mega Man X games. Endings to Mega Man games often showed the hero walking home when he could easily teleport. This seemed to imply he needed time to contemplate the totality and meaning of his adventure. In the ending of Mega Man X, the narration pointed out that X wondered how long he would have to destroy fellow robots before there would be peace. In Mega Man 7, Mega insists he "is more than just a robot" in what was a minor "No More Holding Back" Speech before the roof caved in and Wily escaped. Either way, the main characters of Mega Man consistently flirt with sentience.
  • In the original Halo trilogy, Cortana generally seems content being an AI. By the time Halo 4 rolls around, she shows signs of wanting to be human. This could be caused by the fact that she's entering rampancy which will end with her insanity and death. This statement sums it up best:
    Cortana: I can give you over forty thousand reasons why that sun isn't real. I know it because the emitter's Rayleigh effect is disproportionate to its suggested size. I know it because its stellar cycle is more symmetrical than that of an actual star. But for all that, I'll never actually know if it looks real... if it feels real.
    • For all of her vast array of knowledge, there are some things that Cortana will never be able to experience, and now, confronted with her own mortality, she regrets the things she can never have. It's subdued, quiet, and heartbreaking.
  • Valkyria Chronicles subverts this with Alicia, who is convinced that her powers mean she isn't human. She's wrong, naturally, it's all in her head, but she's so dedicated to defining herself by bad examples that the only way she can deal with them is by rejecting them completely in favor of becoming Welkin's wife.
  • Octodad is about an octopus attempting to live life as a human and trying to prevent other humans (particularly his wife and kids) from discovering what he is.
  • In Ib, the little girl Mary turns out to be one of the paintings come to life in the demented gallery. She desperately wants to escape so she can live as a normal human with Ib and Garry and be their friend. Too bad there's no way she can go about it without Garry getting hurt.
  • The Skin Bandits of Kenshi are a group of robots that wear suits made from Genuine Human Hide in an attempt to feel human.
  • Batreaux of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is this scary-looking (but friendly) demon-like creature that wants nothing more than to be a normal Skyloftian, and begs Link to get Gratitude Crystals that he hopes will allow him to transform. Successfully get enough, and he can be found in the local bazaar in a humanoid form... though he still looks slightly demonic.
  • In Fallout 4, this is the focus of Curie's personal quest, "Emergent Behavior". Curie wants to become more human because she feels that her robotic nature and lack of "human inspiration" is preventing her from progressing any further in her research. She becomes "human" by uploading herself into a synth whose memory-wiping procedure failed and left her a vegetable.
  • Takes a sinister turn in Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location. Contrary to her billing as the Big Bad, Circus Baby is actually a better Mission Control than your official mission control throughout the game. On Night 5, following her directions leads you to the Scooping Room, where it's heavily implied that the animatronic known as Ennard has actually been the one speaking to you through Baby and turns the Scooper, which forcibly removes the metal endoskeletons from animatronics, on you , because only by being human can it successfully escape and hide from those in charge of the facility the game takes place in.
  • In Dragon Quest VII, this is revealed to be a repeating situation, with several people found in towns being former monsters that decided to become human instead. However, they have a hard time fitting in, and they appreciate when the hero tells them of where they can go to follow their dreams more fully.
  • All of the Deviants in Detroit: Become Human are androids who became sentient after a glitch in their programing. This causes them to act like humans, which can also cause them to break the three laws of robotics.
  • As with its entry in the 'Comic Books' section above, Grid's appearance as a Premier Skin of Cyborg in Injustice 2 has it in pursuit of human emotion, though, at the same time, it considers humanity to be beneath it.
    Grid: Your wife's disease is tragic.
    Mr. Freeze: What do you know of my pain?
    Grid: That I would give anything to feel it.
  • In Pinobee, Pinobee wants to become a real bee. Depending on how he acts, he either succeeds in the best ending or fails miserably in the worst.
  • In Spirits of Anglerwood Forest, this is the reason Edgar is the main target for Ezra. After having his spirit corrupted for decades, he made contact with baby Edgar and said he felt like himself for the first time in decades.

    Visual Novels 

  • Black Hole: Paranormal investigator Diana Nox meets a deceased woodworker's grandson who lives with a living puppet woman named "Paizucchio." He explains that she was created to be his friend when he was much younger, and the grandfather built her a new body presumably as the grandson himself got older. Diana was contacted to help remove Paizucchio's curse, where her breasts would grow whenever she lies. The puppet also desires to be a real girl and so does the grandson, who admits to Diana that he also wanted her to help him turn Paizucchio into a human so he can marry her.
  • Interesting variant in Homestuck: Cronus Ampora is a kind of alien otherkin. While physically a troll, he claims to identify as a human, going as far as to dress like a stereotypical 1950's greaser in an attempt to seem more human. Despite this, he frequently uses his blood color as justification for poor treatment of others — which is something a human most likely wouldn't think to do.
  • Humorously subverted in a letter to Ask Dr Eldritch: a robot writes in to ask why everyone around him thinks he secretly desires to be human, when he's actually quite satisfied with being a robot, something he considers to be far better than being human.
  • Grace from El Goonish Shive went through this between the Painted Black and Birthday Party arcs by refusing to use her abilities to shapeshift from her full human form. She was still willing to use other means to transform i.e. via the Transformation Ray Gun and only used her abilities to transform back to human when she was told it was the only way to do so and even then she only used them reluctantly.
  • The "Suicide Fairies" from Gunnerkrigg Court need to be killed by someone else in order to pass some manner of test in order to become human. This is apparently something that happens with reasonable frequency among the creatures of the Gillitie Wood, although why they want to become human is something the comic has yet to explore. There's also an inverse version; humans can take a test to become creatures of the wood, although in their case it apparently doesn't involve getting killed.
  • In Sinfest, there is a Reality Zone, in which the art is far more realistic than the cartoony style, and devil characters catch on fire. The reforming succubus Fuschia no longer catches fire, but starts to crumble in it. In a Wish-Fulfillment comic, Fuschia is inside the zone without suffering any harm.
  • Parodied in this comic. Just because robots want to be alive, doesn't mean it's pleasant.
  • Sluggy Freelance: The story of Stiks is a twisted horror version of Pinocchio: A crude stick figure of a marionette made by a poor (in both senses of the word) toymaker is brought to life by the Moon Twin, but in seeking to become human, he is given advice by the malicious Basphomy, leading to his stealing his "father's" face, hands and feet to complete himself. This angers the Moon Twin, who curses him for eternity, and he goes on forever seeking replacement parts in place of what he's currently wearing rotting away. ...This counts as a bedtime story in the land of Halloween, though it also appears to be true.
  • Heroes of Thantopolis One of citizen ghosts attempts to regain life by trying to eat Cyrus
  • Parodied, subverted and inverted in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal The Velveteen Rabbit wanted to become real... until it noticed how gross bodily functions are, and now it wishes no-one were real.
  • Undead Friend: Orrick (human) and Mahalah (ghost) are strongly motivated to win the Undead Friend game so that they can bring Mahalah back to life.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Mao was a half-human prior to becoming cursed as a child, which left him as a catboy. In his efforts to break his curse and become human(ish) again, he's befriended the dangerous spirit Copycat, travelled to the Darkness Clan, and risked his life to get stronger by fighting giant beasts in an arena there.

    Web Original 
  • In the Paradise setting, humans are randomly, permanently transformed into Funny Animals. Pinocchio Syndrome affects most characters after the Change, especially the ones who changed gender at the same time. One particularly poignant case affects Christopher Mattiaz, a character from MatthiasRat's stories, who changed genders six days after getting married and hasn't been able to be intimate with his wife for the past two years at the time the story begins.
  • Happens a few times in We Are Our Avatars, most notably to 3Dee but also to Mega Man & Bass, twice, but it was inverted with Sonia Belmont, who was happy to try her hand at being a robot.
    • Repeated with Sunny via a wish and inverted with Brian by being resurrected as a puppet.
  • Hinted to be the AI Sigma's motivation in Red vs. Blue, with his obsession with theoretical "metastability" stage (where an AI is essentially a full person) and his attempts to collect other AI "fragments" that, like himself, were based on an original "Alpha" AI (he is evidently unaware that he and the other fragments aren't copies, but literal fragments after Alpha's mind was destroyed through torture) and merge them into a single entity known as the Meta.
    Counselor: The Meta never wanted to be a weapon. The Meta wanted to be human.
  • A tiny number of humanoid SCPs in the SCP Foundation suffer this syndrome. One of them is a sentient drawn girl.
  • In the Nightmare Time story "Jane's a Car," we discover that Tom's deceased wife Jane has had her soul trapped in the car she was in when she died. After spending a year and a half as an inanimate object, she's understandably rather eager to find a way back into a human body. Unfortunately, she seems to have come back wrong, and has no moral qualms about the fact that the process will involve killing some innocent woman kicking her soul out of her body so Jane's can move in.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied by the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest II" (during the segment "I, Meatbag"). In a What If? scenario, Bender the robot is transformed into a human, but the end-results are quite disastrous. As he doesn't care that his hedonistic lifestyle (of eating, drinking, and smoking to excess) is harmful for organic lifeforms, Bender slowly becomes grotesquely obese to the point of immobility, and dies within a week.
  • Jenny of My Life as a Teenage Robot doesn't want to be a human per se, but she does want to be accepted by her human peers, and thus goes out of her way to be more humanlike.
  • Spot in Teacher's Pet, a dog who wears clothes and goes to school with his owner Leonard under the name "Scott". In The Movie, a Mad Scientist turns Spot into a human, but he becomes a grown man because of dog years.
  • The version of Mega Man seen in Captain N: The Game Master. Strangely they have him become a real human at the end of the first season, but this is ignored by everything that came after. He still talks about having mechanical parts and still has all his robotic powers.
  • Brainiac 5 becomes a Real Boy (...somehow) in the finale of Legion of Super-Heroes season two, after he defeats the Brainiac 1 programming within him. The fact that he was already a Mechanical Lifeform was actually lampshaded: "I was emotional as a robot, can you imagine me as a human?"
  • Street Sharks:
    • The titular characters spend some of their time trying to figure out a way to get turned human again. Mostly they seem more concerned with finding their dad though. Also, when they did find a cure in one episode, they ultimately chose to turn back into sharks to continue to fight crime.
    • The episode "To Shark or Not To Shark" has Killamari, originally a squid from the Great Barrier Reef before becoming one of Dr. Paradigm's Seaviates, express the desire to become fully human.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the first animated series) had an episode where the Turtles found tainted cookies that would've turned them human. Michelangelo swipes some because he was sick of being treated like a freak by the people of New York. Of course his brothers had to turn him back because the transformation would've eventually killed him.
    • As he was Hamato Yoshi in this version, Splinter wishes to return to human form and does in "Splinter No More". After he mutates back into a rat and realizes Humans Are Bastards, he no longer has the desire.
    • In the San Diego Comic Con-exclusive short Pizza Friday, the Turtles use a cloaking device Donnie invented to take on human disguises, which they use to enter April's school to enjoy the cafeteria's pizza, much to April's embarrassment.
  • Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: The main character Rusty is turned into a human boy by a villain in one episode. Unfortunately this means he has to deal with pain when trying to fight, when his normal catch phrase is "No pain receptors!" He's glad to be back to full robot at the end of the episode.
  • A repeated problem for T. O. Morrow in Young Justice (2010) — his first two androids, Red Torpedo and Red Inferno, believed they were human to infiltrate the Justice Society of America, and neither turned into The Mole like they were supposed to. His third attempt, Red Tornado, knew he was an android but turned on his villainous "father" anyway. Red Volcano was his only success — and promptly killed Morrow, saying "No more Pinocchios." It turns out that this Morrow was Actually a Doombot himself, though.
  • In The Scarecrow, loosely Inspired by… the short story also mentioned on this page, the scarecrow wishes to be human and does eventually get his wish. His human appearance is initially an illusion, but there is the possibility of becoming truly human if he gives his life for another.
  • BMO from Adventure Time spends their free time talking to their reflection, claiming to be a "real living boy" while badly mimicking human activities. Likewise, the episode "BMO Noire" focuses on BMO pretending to be an adult male detective in an elaborate fantasy world they've created. Averted with NEPTR, the household's other Robot Buddy.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy takes this trope to comically dark extremes. Should you ever come across the Pinocchio of this animated universe, he will gleefully ask you a single question:"Can I roast you and eat your flesh so I can become a real boy?".
  • Similar to Astroboy, Robotboy is curious about the human condition and tries to learn all he can about it from Tommy Turnbull, the little boy assigned to watch after him.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): To Become Human, I Just Want To Be Human


"A Real Boy"

A song about how Norm wants to be a real boy instead of a robot.

How well does it match the trope?

4.64 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / PinocchioSyndrome

Media sources: