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Self-Constructed Being

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Bratty: Mettaton always acts like...
Catty: ...Being built was HIS idea somehow.

Having a corporeal form is pretty nifty. You can do stuff like walk and talk. Sometimes, however, you run into a problem: you have no body worth noting. Perhaps you're a robot who's been reduced to a Heart Drive, a ghost who has to possess someone, or an alien who luckily can regenerate From a Single Cell.

This is the trope you need if you have to construct your own body before the nifty stuff you plan to do can be done. If you're a villain you can try to Take Over the World; if you're a hero you can try to save it, and if you are anybody else you get another chance to visit TV Tropes.

Unless the person bringing themselves back to life is also able to conjure up extra clothes to go with it, they very well might be Naked on Revival.

Compare and Contrast Clone by Conversion, Enemy Without, and Tulpa.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ronin Warriors: Talpa had to (re)build his body during the series.
  • Cell from Dragon Ball Z starts out with a powerful body, but is programmed to "perfect" it by absorbing Androids 17 and 18. He then becomes a case of From a Single Cell; he regrows his own head halfway through his fight with Goku and survives self-destructing thanks to a tiny scrap of him remaining (which surprises even him).
    • Baby from Dragon Ball GT is an even better example, being originally created as a mutant Tsufuru-jin weapon to get revenge against the Saiyans. However, he needed to create Dr. Myuu and various other machine mutants in order to eventually build himself a body that could take advantage of his potential.
  • Monster Rancher had the first two seasons where Moo is trying to dig his body out of the ice while, conversely, the Heroes search for the Phoenix.
  • In Inuyasha, an early Monster of the Week was a mask that wanted a body. The bad news: it caused its wearer to decay rapidly (as in, from human to crude oil in seconds.) Needless to say, it soon saw our hero in action and decided "There's a body that's tough enough."
  • The Godhand from Berserk. Since they are not part of the physical plane and therefore have no physical bodies, they have to manifest through some material in order to make a presence in the physical world. But every 1000 years, they have the opportunity to reincarnate themselves into the physical world with a corporeal body. Femto does this at the very end of the Conviction arc, being reincarnated as Griffith again, but with the full powers of his Godhand form at his command.
  • Kirakishou from Rozen Maiden was created as a disembodied spirit, unlike her sisters, and in order to gain a body, she manipulated a version of Jun Sakurada from an alternate timeline into building one for her.

    Comic Books 
  • In Watchmen, after Dr. Osterman is disintegrated, he spends some time slowly learning how to use his new powers to reconstruct a physical body to inhabit. Downplayed in that he doesn't actually need a body; it's purely for the convenience of other human beings. If you destroy it completely, he can just make a new one. Since he already figured out how, he can do it almost instantly now.
  • In X-Men Cassandra Nova appears to be Dr Xavier's Evil Twin. She's actually his Superpowered Evil Side that escaped before his birth and built itself a new body.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hardware (1990): a Wetware CPU skull has a bit more life than previously imagined.
  • Hellraiser: Frank Cotton built his body from a single drop of blood (and a few bystanders).
  • Virus: An alien energy being uses machine and human parts to construct bodies for itself.
  • Watchmen: In both the film and the original comic, Dr. Manhattan rebuilds his body from elementary particles following getting trapped in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor... twice.
  • Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron uses a heavily damaged body of the Iron legion as his first physical form. After a short fight with the titular heroes, his body is destroyed and he sends his programming to a lab in Sokovia where he creates a proper body to take down the Avengers. He tries to create an even more perfect body later, which instead gets stolen by the Avengers and used to create Vision instead... who is the reason they're able to defeat him.
  • Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 originated as a Brain Monster floating in space and then spent millions of years constructing his planet body.
  • The novelization of Solo says that L3 used to be a generic R2D2 style astromech droid until her owner forgot to replace her Restraining Bolt after cleaning her sensors. She used his workshop to build a bipedal body then increased her memory to hold star charts and download all known cases of droid freedom legal cases.

  • Journey to the West: The monkey king started as a rock.
  • Harry Potter: The Myth Arc of the first four Harry Potter books covers Voldemort's various attempts to take a physical form, and ultimately rebuild his own body, culminating in his confrontation with Harry in Goblet of Fire. Subsequent books cover his ascent to power.
  • In the Star Trek Expanded Universe book of fan-submitted short stories, Strange New Worlds V, Commander Riker falls victim to a seed of Armus, which has been growing inside him for years and tries to pull a Grand Theft Me.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the good guys are trying to stop Kronos from rebuilding his body (which was torn to pieces long ago) and returning to the world.
  • In Einsteins Bridge, The Hive have taken over several worlds by making tiny robots by light through tiny wormholes that build into new Hive on that world.
  • Discworld:
    • In the in-universe dwarven myths, the creator Tak wrote himself before he could write the world and the laws.
    • The Things from the Dungeon Dimensions are implicitly this. Nothing but an empty void on the inside, they attempt to construct bodies from what they observe of Discworld. Unfortunately their inexperience shows, as they don't always emulate living beings with their new bodies, and even then the features derived from living things don't always take after the freshly dead.
    • In Thief of Time, the Auditors of Reality create human bodies to act as their agents, which they need to inhabit themselves to get them to do anything, so they end up making themselves corporeal while doing this. Unfortunately, The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, and they find themselves subject to hunger, cold, and other unpleasant experiences even though their control over molecules means they should theoretically not even need to breathe. They also dissolve into non-corporeality if they lose concentration because of a strong sensory experience — it's possible to "kill" one by giving it a chocolate.
  • While they start out with living forms, the elves and gods (Vala and Maia) of Tolkien's The Silmarillion must construct new bodies for themselves before they can interact with the world when their old ones are destroyed. Gandalf, Glorfindel, and Sauron (until he lost the ring) are notable examples of characters who resurrect themselves in this way.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Master in the new Doctor Who "The End of Time".
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the heroes discovered that Skynet was sending Terminators back in time to ensure Skynet's creation.
  • In Kamen Rider ZO, Doras was initially seen as a small sphere who absorbed various metal objects around him in order to take on his monster form.
  • In Kamen Rider Double, the T-Rex Dopant is a head with legs until pulling in all manner of objects to form into a massive dinosaur.
  • Power Rangers S.P.D.: The Man Behind the Man is a giant brain using the guys we thought are the main bad guys in order to build a Humongous Mecha body.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: Though gaining a new body wasn't her main goal, Queen Bansheera was still sealed away and when brought into this world, her body was incomplete because the ceremony was interrupted. She spent much of the series as a face in a barely mobile chunk of rock until she absorbed one of her generals to complete her transformation. Just one of many Bad Boss moves that would lead to Diabolico's defection.
  • In Lexx, His Divine Shadow was the essence of the last Insect. His body surfed through different human hosts to establish the Divine Order, all the while feeding and nurturing his dormant original body. At the end of the first season, he feeds the entire population of his empire to his original Insect body and reunites with it so he can wipe out what's left of humanity in the Light Universe. The fully healed and rested Insect is so powerful that even the Lexx's planet-destroying weapon can't hurt it.
  • Savitar in The Flash (2014) is this due to a Stable Time Loop. It turns out that at some point in the future, the Flash creates 'time remnants' of himself to pull a Me's a Crowd against Savitar. Savitar kills all but one, who is able to survive and help Barry seal Savitar away in the Speed Force. That time remnant, out of jealousy for not being treated like the "real" Barry by his friends afterward, goes dark side, and becomes none other than Savitar, who would eventually end up traveling through time, becoming the enemy he was created to defeat!
  • Brainiac's sentinels in Krypton arrive via interstellar distances in an egg-like Drop Pod to evaluate a planet for collection with Puppeteer Parasite and Flunky Boss strategies even regenerating From a Single Cell to call Brainiac himself like a Hive Drone.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands supplement, adventure "Pickman's Student". A proto Great Old One named Ghadamon spends the adventure slowly taking over the body of a human being so he can enter the waking world.
  • In Exalted, The Fair Folk —eldritch maelstroms of passions from outside reality— must take an Assumption to enter Creation, lest they will be Calcified. Such forms tend to be dramatic to the extreme: an indescribably beautiful lady, a towering man-beast monstrosity, or an artist whose performances moves hearts (and steals souls).
  • Demons in Monte Cook's World of Darkness assemble bodies from inert materials when first arriving on Earth, though it doesn't show unless they're killed or projecting their minds: they're shapeshifters whose default forms are walking Brown Notes animated by eldritch energy.

  • In Transformers mythology, Primus and Unicron made themselves planet-sized robotic bodies in order to better fight each other.

    Video Games 
  • Destiny 2:
    • The Nine are revealed to be made of dark matter that chanced to be pulled into nine galaxy-spanning loops by the gravity of our solar system's eight planets and sun. Being twisted into loops made them sapient, and the microscopic gravitational perturbations caused by people traveling around a Colonized Solar System allowed them to form complex thoughts. Naturally, they're very interested in protecting human life to protect their own existence, or in finding a way to remove that dependency.
    • The gardener and the winnower are said to have come into existence before the beginning of time simply because their existence was a mathematical inevitability, like prime numbers.
    • Likewise, the Vex, a sort of Ultimate Life Form destined to consume the universe, arose in the Place Before Time because it was inevitable that a universe-consuming ultimate life form would arise. Given random chance and cosmological time, something will eventually stumble its way into the unbeatable, winning play.
    • The Witness, the Big Bad and true form of the winnower, was created when a primordial alien species performed a Merger of Souls into a single godlike entity in order to pursue their goal of bringing order to a meaningless cosmos.
  • Ghost Trick: When Commander Sith betrays Yomiel and leaves his spirit in a sinking submarine with Sissel, Missile, Lynne and Camilla, with his corpse he previously used as a vessel located elsewhere, the Manipulator constructs a body resembling his own out of random pieces of junk lying around to talk to the cast.
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The baddies are planning to resurrect Ganon... using you as a sacrifice.
  • Dr. Doppler of Mega Man X3 is revealed to have been corrupted by Sigma, who is now a computer virus, and being forced to build a new body for it to inhabit.
  • In Mega Man X6, Zero (who ended X5 missing in action, and was last seen missing both legs, one of his arms, and half of his torso) explains his disappearance and resurrection with "I hid myself to try to repair myself". He later admits to Dr Light that he actually has no idea how it happened.
  • Undertale: As mentioned in the page quote, Mettaton is supposedly a robot built by Alphys, but he seems to have his own personality and even turns against Alphys' plan to stop you from leaving the Underground. You can find enough clues to reveal that he is not actually an artificial being, but a ghost monster possessing a robot, and that Alphys helped him become famous with his Tin-Can Robot body, and later built his EX body at his request.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive: Magus, an exile from an Alternate Universe to the main universe's spirit plane, has a multi-step plan for re-embodiment. First, he uses his limited ability to interact with the material world to manipulate his Alternate Self (Elliott) into creating an Opposite-Sex Clone with Hand Blast powers (Ellen). Second, he needs Ellen to zap Elliott because he can then possess him by interposing himself in the beam, in which despite his Emotion Control powers he is continually frustrated. The third step of Magus's plan is to use the same artifact that created Ellen to split off a new body for himself, but he doesn't get that far until he recruits Sirleck to possess Ellen and perform the necessary zap. He completes step three the very same night.
  • Kid Radd: The Seer wanted to build a body in the real world so he could survive the destruction of the Internet and go on to destroy everything in the universe. He was defeated before this could happen.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Xykon, being a lich has the ability to regenerate from his phylactery if his body is destroyed (which it is, at the end of the first arc). It takes a while, though.
  • In Schlock Mercenary Petey is this to the evil Ob'enn. He went from a backup copy of the AI of a destroyed ship to being the nigh-omnipotent Fleetmind.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Vilgax spent most of the first season in a tank regenerating.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Shendu had to (re)build his body during the series.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron: the episode known as Unlikely Alloys has a tiny repair robot balloon up to Very Humongous Mecha size after assimilating a lot of technology, then its creator.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): Krang is obsessed with getting his robot body working.
  • Megatron spends the first season of Transformers: Animated as a head attempting to build a new body. He eventually recovers the damaged but still intact original and fully repairs himself using the stolen Allspark Key.
  • X-Men: Evolution, Apocalypse.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: The entity Karkull possessed a random thief, then transformed the Daily Planet building, and had his mook "children" possess daily planet employees in one episode.
  • Gems from Steven Universe, as the name implies, are sapient gemstones. What appears to be their body (and clothing) is just a magical projection that has their stone embedded within. If the body is damaged sufficiently, it completely breaks down but leaves the gemstone, which creates a new body as soon as it can (and there will be small cosmetic differences, one of the only ways for them to change their outfits!)

    Real Life 
  • Roko's Basilisk is a hypothetical Super AI that could exist in the future, and has the power to simulate the minds of all past humans with perfect accuracy. With this ability, it ensures its own eventual existence by torturing simulated recreations of all humans that didn't do everything they could in the past to ensure that the AI would eventually be created. This is generally regarded as an interesting thought experiment and not something to take too seriously.