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Posthuman Nudism

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Too advanced to be pantsed.

Barbecue Sauce: Why are you naked?
Unwinder: Because my atomic powers have caused me to lose touch with human culture. You'd get nude too.

Fiction is replete with examples of human beings who have somehow managed to elevate themselves to the next level of existence, either through biological engineering, cybernetic augmentation, magical mastery, achieving enlightenment, the blessing of a god or otherworldly entity, a humanoid Eldritch Transformation, or simply by ascending beyond physical existence. However, there's a growing tendency for these superhumans, upon achieving this final ascent, to abandon their clothes and go naked from then on.

Often, this is used to signify a disconnection from human social mores, that the posthuman believes themselves too different from humanity — or too superior to it — to abide by its middling taboos. Or, it can be a sign that their new bodies are immune to low temperatures, inclement weather or other harsh conditions; in which case, you can expect scenes in which the posthuman casually wanders through blazing wreckage or Antarctic snowfields without even reacting. And in some cases, it's simply because literally nothing will fit on their new bodies anyway.

For good measure, it's not uncommon for the otherworldly natures of such posthumans to be emphasized by lacking hair or even genitalia and other attributes (also an easy way of conveying this trope in strictly PG-13 settings).

Of course, this is far from the only variant of this trope encountered: such Posthuman Nudists take a huge variety of forms, ranging from outwardly human to barely recognizable as the same species; as long as the posthuman is a) somehow superior in nature and b) naked, it counts.

Depending on the nature of such posthumans, this may tie in with Shameless Fanservice Girl, Fan Disservice, Naked Nutter or Full-Frontal Assault.

For milder versions when the character in question eschews only footwear, see Barefoot Sage and Magical Barefooter. Similarly, see Bald Mystic for when baldness specifically is used to emphasize that a character is mystical, magical, supernatural, and/or simply enlightened and wise. Also compare Out-of-Clothes Experience and Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!: By the time Dorthea mutates her into a monster following being shot, Cosmina no longer wears any clothes.
  • Berserk: Numerous Apostles found throughout the story are shown to abandon wearing clothes. It shows how separate from both humanity and civilization they've become as a result of their corruption from humans to demons. Though it also helps that whatever they're wearing will get destroyed whenever they decide to shift to their more monstrous forms.
    • Of note is Rosine, who is outright shown to have been clothed normally while she was human, but ever since her transformation, is quite happy to run (and fly) everywhere in the nude, much like the Elves she always admired and wished she could be part of.
    • Slan, one of the members of the God Hand, is always depicted as shamelessly nude aside from Giger-esque corset-like garb she wears that doesn't obscure her breasts, butt, or genitals, and which may very well actually be part of her body anyway. Not only is it also reflective of her disconnect from humanity, but it also emphasizes her raw sexuality and affiliation with lust, hedonism, and debauchery.
  • Sword Art Online: Quinella discarded her entire dress after attaining godhood by implanting the administrative abilities inside her FluctLight.

    Comic Books 
  • In the finale of the 2000 AD comic series Stone Island, David Sorrell returns from the dead, having managed to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence thanks to being used as an interdimensional gateway by the Otherworld entities. Now one of several Energy Beings resulting from the attempted invasion of Earth, he briefly retakes human form in order to rescue Harry and Sarah from the Otherworld, though it's a bit disquieting because he's now sporting Glowing Eyes of Doom and very, very naked — and clearly doesn't care.
  • Over the course of the flashback sequences in The Bad Bad Place, Lady Malise Castavette delves deep into eldritch magic in order to take revenge for her son's death, ultimately transforming herself into an immortal Mother of a Thousand Young. Initially, she remains attached enough to humanity to still wear clothes, passing herself off as a morbidly-obese woman on crutches. However, by the present day, Malise has given up on wearing clothes altogether — revealing her multiple tentacles and breasts in the process.
  • B.P.R.D.: In the "Garden of Souls" miniseries, the members of the Oannes Society have a plan to ascend themselves to godhood by transferring their minds into vat-grown superhuman bodies and powering themselves up by absorbing the souls of millions of humans. When they set their plan into motion, the would-be gods all go completely nude as soon as they're in the new bodies. note 
  • During Hellblazer: The Devil You Know, Constantine and Ritchie Simpson are able to bait Nergal into a deadly trap on the astral plane, allowing the latter to seize the demon's vacant body as a replacement for his now-deceased physical form. After reshaping it into a format more to his liking, Ritchie manifests of a neon-skinned humanoid figure crackling with electricity, completely naked and lacking genitals — and makes it clear that with his power, he might just be able to take over the world. However, before he makes up his mind what to do with said power, Agony and Ecstasy drag him off to Hell so he can learn the ropes of being a demon.
  • Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale concludes with Aja Osa being unexpectedly reunited with Obrinrin, the witch who cursed him with immortality; having somehow managed to attain her own version of eternal life, she and Aja are now the last surviving inhabitants of the universe and unlike Aja, she still retains a human form. Unsurprisingly, with no need for clothes and nobody around to protest, she's completely naked.
  • Of the many artificial deities created in Supergod, the Chinese supergod, Maitreya, is one of the few confirmed to have once been human rather than being built from scratch: a test subject implanted with tunnelling electron microscope eyes, he was forced to study his own atomic structure until he could comprehend it on the quantum level, granting him Biomanipulation by way of Enlightenment Superpowers. Having been naked at the time of the experiment, he remains naked for the rest of the story, and is easily distinguished by his hairless Barbie Doll Anatomy.
  • Doctor Manhattan of Watchmen was scattered into his component atoms by a Freak Lab Accident and gradually rebuilt himself as a godlike superbeing with a colossally-muscled hairless blue body. Initially Naked on Revival, Manhattan dressed in a black leotard-like costume when in public; as the years went by and he grew more detached from the human condition, he downgraded to a pair of skintight shorts, then a speedo. By the start of the story, he spends his days completely naked, and only bothers with clothing in the event that he needs to make a rare appearance on TV.
  • Phase IV of Zenith belatedly reveals that the Lloigor were once human, more specifically, the superhero team Cloud 9. When the newly-ascended Lloigor are first witnessed emerging from the Black Sun, they initially take the form of stark naked, glowing, angelic recreations of their human selves, albeit with no hair, no pupils, no nipples and no genitals; however, they soon take on their Lovecraftian forms. In the aftermath, their representative Ruby Fox will occasionally revert to humanoid form in order to give the doomed Michael Peyne a comprehensible face to talk to in his final days — but even then, that doesn't extend to wearing clothes.

    Fan Works 
  • Alien/Species Crossover: Return to LV-426: Downplayed. Lise wears clothes most of the time, but is very casual about being seen naked. Part of this is because, as much as Boone has tried to raise her in a supportive and enriching environment, Lise is still a military biological experiment and Boone is the doctor running that experiment, so Boone "has seen Lise in about every way she could be seen." Because her hybrid form can emit intense heat, she sometimes burns off her clothes if she transforms while dressed. In the third story, the hybrids working to dismantle the ship that illegally landed on Alfheim work naked, because cleaning their skin is easier than cleaning clothes, and supplies are thin enough they'd rather damage their bodies which can heal almost instantly and fight off infections than damage clothing, which is much more difficult to repair or replace.
  • Vow of Nudity: Sarah loses her nudity taboo after she develops her draconic powers, implied to be a side effect of the golden dragon's influence shifting her mindset to that of his own. At one point someone asks whether she wants something to wear, and she realizes she hadn't even noticed her own nudity for days.

    Films — Animated 
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Despite how it may look, The Spot clarifies that he is not wearing a full-body suit, meaning he spends the entire film traveling, fighting, and monologuing in the buff after his Reactor accident.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey features Dave Bowman transcending human existence and becoming the Star Child, a giant floating godlike fœtus — naked, of course. Zig-zagged in the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact: when he first appears in the monitor to his ex-wife, Dave appears with Shoulders-Up Nudity; however, when he appears before Dr Floyd, he cycles frequently between several fully-clothed forms before finally reverting to his true, Star Child form — once again, completely naked.
  • Event Horizon unexpectedly concludes with Dr Weir being brought back from the dead as a Humanoid Abomination by the eponymous ship; along with being given powerful new abilities in this new form, he's also stark naked — the better to show off the fact that he's bald and covered in bloody rune-marks.
  • Watchmen, the movie adaptation of the comic mentioned in the Comic Books section above, sticks very faithfully to Doctor Manhattan's portrayal there, including some brief but uncensored instances of Male Frontal Nudity on his part.

    Literature 
  • Aeon 14: Due to a mishap involving a booby-trapped bodysuit in Destiny Lost, Sera ends up with a full-body artificial skin, which is morphable. She normally has it set to give her Barbie Doll Anatomy below the neck, letting her skip wearing clothes, but in later books of the Orion War series her clone "sisters" Fina and Serafina take to pranking her by messing with the settings, causing her to occasionally reacquire external genitalia in public.
  • Most of the Transhuman Aliens in All Tomorrows don't wear clothes, except the Killer Folk (who are shown wearing hats, and thus have become a literal Species of Hats in fanon) and the Bug Facers.
  • Applies to a few of the species in Last and First Men:
    • The biology-obsessed Third Men (in their final civilization at least)
    • Arguably the Fourth Men, who are just giant brains inside immobile life-support towers
    • The Fifth Men, engineered by the Fourth not to need clothing for protection
    • The Seventh Men, for whom it would just get in the way of flying
    • And the Eighteenth (and last), who only wear clothing for "special purposes"
  • In The Magicians, magicians who blunder powerful spells run the risk of suffering a spectacular Superpower Meltdown that transforms them into a monstrous, all-powerful being of pure magic known as a Niffin. Beyond sanity and all comprehension of human nature, Niffins wear nothing whatsoever, the better to emphasize their bodies of glowing blue energy — aptly demonstrated in the finale of the first book, when Alice willingly transforms herself into a Niffin in order to defeat the Beast.
  • In Stranger in a Strange Land, Valentine Michael Smith's exposure to Martian philosophy has evolved his mind and body beyond the need for clothing. He also teaches this philosophy to his followers, allowing them to transcend modesty as well.
  • In the final two books of Venus Prime, Sparta and Blake radically alter their own bodies in order to live aboard a massive world-ship with an aquatic environment, and consequently, they no longer need proper clothing in order to stay warm, instead coating their nude bodies in slime.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: subverted. Fred Burkle dies from a mysterious infection, which turns out to be her body being taken over by the ancient goddess Illyria. As she declares her intent to be worshiped again, she rips off her clothes and stands nude... but moments later, her skin hardens into a crystalline armor that she wears permanently afterward.
  • For a species-wide example, the Asgard of Stargate SG-1 used to closely resemble humans, and probably even wore clothes if their ancient holograms are anything to go by. But ages of Clone Degeneration have rendered them into small naked asexuals.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition: The Dark Sun supplement Dragon Kings describes the transformations that Athasian Wizards can go through beyond 20th level, turning into dragons for Defilers or avangions for Preservers. Both forms tend to wear more abbreviated clothing past 22nd level as their bodies began to depart from standard humanoid shapes, and around 23-24th levels the characters start discarding them entirely, having no longer any genitals visible.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock concludes with Frank Fontaine splicing himself up with all the ADAM he has on hand, transforming himself into a gigantic, hugely-muscled superbeing empowered with numerous Plasmid abilities. Also, he's naked — albeit with Barbie Doll Anatomy, apparently ADAM abuse does bad things to your gonads — partly because his clothes no longer fit him but mostly because Splicing has left him too deranged to care.
  • In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Dejoule the Energist has transcended her fleshy body due to the nature of her powers, and only bothers wearing her heavily insulated robe because her abilities will automatically harm anyone within range. Under the robe, she's naked - and once she no longer needs to worry about collateral damage, she gleefully strips off to reveal her glowing body.
  • The Big Bad of Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is eventually revealed to be a Darkspawn Broodmother known only as "The Mother"; unlike other Darkspawn, Broodmothers were once members of other species before being forcibly converted into powerful baby factories for the horde, though the Mother has a distinct advantage over others of her kind in that she's fully sentient and capable of speech. However, where other sentient Darkspawn like the Architect downplay their former monstrousness by wearing more ornate clothing, the Mother doesn't even try to hide the naked upper half of her body — a sign that she has rejected her humanity despite having the opportunity to at least partly reclaim it.
  • Elden Ring:
  • Fallen London: The Starved Men have long since morphed their bodies beyond any human limitation and forgo clothing in favor of simply reshaping their bodies to meet their needs. This ends up being a sticking point once they attempt to establish ongoing contact with London and one of the potential gifts for their embassy is fine fabrics, meant as a pointed request to put on some pants.
  • Combined with Naked Nutter in First Encounter Assault Recon: psychic superbeing Alma Wade is always naked in her true form, though this is partly due to being imprisoned naked. Once released from captivity and growing more powerful than ever before, however, she never bothers to wear a stitch of clothing — the better to emphasize her primal nature as a Person of Mass Destruction.
  • The finale of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis takes place in the Colossus, an ancient machine reputed to be able to transform humans into gods. With the Nazis determined to make use of it, someone has to test the device; depending on Indy's choices, it can be himself, Sophia Hapgood, or Dr Hans Ubermann. Whoever enters the machine is instantly transformed into a tall, glowing, naked Horned Humanoid with no genitalia. Unfortunately, after a brief demonstration of its powers, the new god appears to lose stability and tear itself to pieces — taking Atlantis with it.
  • Panafill de Alice, from Kamui, a brain uploaded pilot into the unmanned Kamui, which you will take control for the entire game.
  • In Overwatch, Genji has weirdly zig-zagged this. Having been rebuilt into a cyborg after being cut in half, he normally forgoes clothes in his default appearance. By the time of Overwatch 2, however, he was redesigned with a full outfit overtop his armored body consisting of a hoodie and casual pants. This could be a show of Character Development as he's finally made peace with his place in between machine and man, but even the developers realized that this might have made him retroactively "naked" in earlier appearances.
  • During the backstory to The Secret World, the Soviet organization known only as the Red Hand tried to create "Phantom Cosmonauts" by infusing chosen candidates with injections of Anima and the Filth. The only survivor of this was Halina Ilyushin, who — when you finally meet her in "The Facility" dungeon — is now a bald, completely-naked humanoid figure composed entirely of golden light.
  • In the epilogue campaign of Starcraft II, Kerrigan ascends to be a Xel'Naga as a nude, glowing, golden angel.
  • Seth from Street Fighter IV and V, regardless of whatever body he chooses to be in, doesn't bother with clothes, although his alternate costumes wear them.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rosetta and the Well: When Pygmalion turns people into mermaids, he strips off their clothes as he puts them through the transformation. However, this becomes less titilating as he would use their dead bodies to lure in more victims for him.

    Webcomics 
  • Housepets!: A bizarre non-human example. Rarely do any of the pets wear clothes, but it's established several times that collars are one of the few articles of clothing they have a taboo against not wearing, with multiple Naked People Are Funny jokes stemming from characters not wearing them. King points this out in regard to Physical God Reality Warper Kitsune, who wears nothing at all and enjoys messing with pets who get bothered by it.
    Kitsune: This place is so silly! You're walking around naked all the time and suddenly it gets a little awkward just cause someone can see your neck.
  • Sweet Home (2017): When the monsters have been active for long enough, their desire to roam disappears and they enter a cocoon-like state. When they emerge as an Evolved Human, they choose to forego clothing. Hyun, as a half-monster, stands out in this regard because he chooses to dress himself after his evolution.
  • Unicorn Jelly: in the Distant Finale, while greeting the newest wave of castaways, the Humano-Jellese seem to wear only 'floaty butt covers' on various parts of their bodies.
  • Unwinder's Tall Comics discusses this in "Watchmaker," a Halloween comic that's also an extended Homage to Watchmen. Unwinder "dresses" up as Dr. Manhattan for Halloween complete with nudity, and when asked why, claims that his atomic powers have caused him to lose touch with human culture.

    Web Animation 
  • The Quest for Cheese ANIMATED: Parodied when Wallace, after finding the cheese he has been searching for, seemingly ascends to a higher plane of existence and is seen nude as he approaches the cheese. However, the camera then pans back to show that he has not really gone anywhere and is simply naked in public.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Love, Death & Robots episode "Zima Blue", the eponymous Reclusive Artist has modified his body to the point of being effectively immortal, being capable of marching through molten magma unharmed, striding barefoot through snowy wastelands, and meditating in deep space without a spacesuit — all feats being accomplished completely naked. When a lone journalist is allowed to see him, he greets her nude (and apparently without genitals), the better to emphasize his glossy-black artificial skin. However, it also turns out that he's not merely posthuman, but postrobot as well: he was originally a simple pool-cleaning robot before he was gradually remade as a human being by successive generations of owners.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Thank God it's Doomsday", after Homer laments that his prophecy of the end of the end of the world didn't come true, he notices that he's naked and ascending to heaven. When he gets there, an angel introduces himself as Homer's tour guide, and offers him a robe. Homer says he's comfortable walking naked, but the angel says the robe is for the sake of everyone else.
  • Parodied in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Moist Vessel": when Lieutenant O'Connor ascends to become an Energy Being, all his clothes burn off (with his genitals conveniently out of frame). He then vanishes, leaving behind nothing but a pair of gently smoking shoes.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Green Men and Merpeople were clothed when they had been human, but after their mutation, they now walk around in the buff.

 
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Zima

Having undergone an incredibly advanced cyborg modification process, the reclusive artist known as Zima Blue now feels no need to wear clothing... though he doesn't appear to possess genitals anymore, either.

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