There are villains that want your stuff, villains that want you to do what they want, villains that want you dead. This guy is nowhere near as wasteful. He wants what makes you you, and he wants it for himself.
When he beats you, he will take your abilities, your uniqueness, your everything and make them his own. He usually does this by literally absorbing or consuming you, though sometime he'll just take the pieces of you he likes and discard the rest. Either way, the more he gets, the stronger he gets. The stronger he gets, the more people he gets. This is his motivation.
This is a common attribute of zombies; zombie hordes tend to become more dangerous the more zombies are in them, so by zombifying humans they are essentially adding that human's strength to themselves.
This trope is about the character, the article about the plot is Assimilation Plot, oddly enough. Sometimes overlaps with The Virus and/or All Your Powers Combined. Distinct from Power Copying as it requires death or injury to the other party. A form of Human Resources, assuming the victims started as human. Compare Cannibalism Superpower, You Are Who You Eat and Unwilling Roboticisation which describes methods for acomplishing this trope. The replacement by assimilation may be part of a plan to make things over In Their Own Image.
He may fall victim to Assimilation Backfire.
- Tenome from Mononoke Soushi is a non-villainous example, she absorbs a youkai after it tries to eat Shao Tzu for a while. It's implied that's how she gets her powers.
- Akuma-She has Kiki apparently targeting swingers to absorb the best physical qualities (real or surgical) of women to become an even more appealing Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Yes, that means a/The Devil absorbed a blonde bimbo just for some implants and For the Evulz and yes, it's somehow supposed to be erotic horror.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Russia is well-known for his statement that everyone will be one with him in due time.
- The Pict in Paint it White, especially considering their similarities to the Borg.
- Szilard Quates of Baccano! routinely absorbs other immortals to gain scientific knowledge, and just 'cause he's off his rocker. All immortals have this ability, supposedly so that immortals who have grown tired of living have a way to commit suicide, but Szilard's the only one who uses it without consent in anything other than the most desperate of circumstances, even going so far as to make people immortal just so that he can absorb them in this manner.
- Aaroniero can devour dead Hollows, gaining their strength and powers, unlike other Arrancar/Hollows, who simply gain strength.
- When Aizen was going through a series of level ups, he informed Ichigo that he was letting him live because he intended to return later on and devour him. Ichigo made sure that wasn't possible.
- There is a being capable of embedding fragments of his soul into others, the fragment absorbs all the knowledge, experience and power of the victim, which he benefits from the moment he recalls the fragment to his own soul. By additionally carving an initial onto such a victim's soul, that victim becomes a means for him to spread his soul to anyone that person comes into contact as well. Recalling soul fragments kills the affected victims. Yhwach was born incapable of moving and with neither single one of his five senses functional. This power enabled him to gain the ability to interact with the world, but he has to keep doing it to avoid reverting back to his original state.
- B't Raphaello from B't X, fits this to a T.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- This was more or less the goal of Cell. He was created to be the ultimate fighter, but had to consume both Android 17 and 18 to assume his ultimate form. He also demonstrates the ability to use the signature techniques of the fighters whose genetic material was used to create him.
- Majin Buu has the ability to absorb anyone, assimilating them into itself and gaining a measure of their intelligence, power, and... uh, fashion sense. However, it is eventually revealed that this had an unintended side-effect: giving Buu the intelligence to regulate his power and use it in the pursuit of goals. When Goku and Vegeta free his victims, Buu reverts to his original form; while Super Buu is stronger, Kid Buu is basically a rampaging animal with the power to erase planets ...which he does as soon as he manifests.
- Franmalth, one of the Nine Demon Gates of Tartaros, is a demon with this power in Fairy Tail. He can absorb people, body and soul, and claim their powers for himself. This renders him immune to magical attacks and direct contact physical attacks since he absorbs them too. His sole weakness is that he can't absorb something if it doesn't have a soul so Natsu beats him to death with a really big rock.
- It's heavily hinted, though not explicitly shown, that Take-Over Magic works this way in most cases. Elfman gained access to a new form by grabbing onto the limb of a monster and then morphing his own limb to match it, and Mira assimilated the almost-dead Seliah of Tartaros' Nine Demon Gates after the arc was over.
- Getter Robo: Shin Getter's massive Getter Ray reservoir allows it to fuse with anything—at one point it combines with a nuclear missile in mid-flight. Its implied evolution, the Getter Emperor, is a much more straight example, at one point absorbing a planet by flying into it.
- Hellsing: Alucard is a heroic example, for a given value of "heroic." Anyone he eats (and more importantly, drinks the blood of) has their soul absorbed into the totality inside Alucard, who can then summon them as a familiar and access their memories, form, and abilities. This appears to be an ability of "natural" vampires (as opposed to Millenium's Magitek-created copies), as Seras Victoria is later shown to be able to do the same.
- Aptom of the Lost Numbers, from Guyver, starts out as a shapeshifter who pulls a variant of They Look Like Us Now by imitating Sho's super-powered form. He gets defeated, his TrueCompanions are killed by Sho, and he gets shipped back to the lab for more experiments. The experiments give him the power to merge with people's bodies, rip them apart at the cellular level, and gain their powers.
- Naraku from Inuyasha absorbs other demons into himself to gain power. He tried it on both Sesshomaru and Koga, as well, but it didn't go so well. Minor demons like the generic snake thingies, on the other hand, get sucked up like spaghetti. It gets to the point where he actually has to start cutting some loose because some take up space without adding much to his strength.
- While Big Bad Nyanma of Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger usually just kills her opponents, when her general, Jyuken, betrayed her, she made a point to absorb her into herself after killing her, afterwards getting an appearance change and a massive power boost from it.
- Katanagatari has Maniwa Houou. He can learn other people's abilities by grafting part of their bodies to his own. He did this to Maniwa Kawauso's arm and it's implied that he did the same thing to Emonzaemon's face. It is also implied that he could potentially gain immortality by repeatedly replacing his body parts like this. Additionally Maniwa Kyouken, who's ability is to take over other people's bodies might qualify. Once she gets a new body, her old body disintegrates to dust. She also absorbs the memories and fighting abilities of the woman whose body she steals and has inhabited 2,000 different bodies.
- In Naruto, several of the villains fit this, most notably Orochimaru and Kabuto.
- The Ten-Tails has the ability to assimilate every living thing to it once the Infinite Tsukuyomi is cast. Humans caught in it are very slowly drained of their selves until they become Kaguya's White Zetsu soldiers.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: In a very rare heroic example, the mecha Lagann is capable of assimilating other mecha into itself, resulting in the mecha of the series in the finale, big enough to use galaxies as shuriken. This initially appears to fail, as the Lagann just stabs into the cockpit of the Gurren and almost kills Kamina. It's only because of the Spiral Power of the pilots that it works later on.
- Nrvnsqr (or Nero) Chaos is a vampire in Tsukihime whose main power is to incorporate the lifeforce of animals into his body, which is then made up of the chaos. He uses these animals to fight, and sends out progressively stronger and more legendary creatures as he his cornered by Nanaya Shiki.
- The ELS aliens in Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer, though with a twist: they're not malicious, and near the end of the film, when they realize humans don't WANT to be assimilated, they stop trying and back off.
- The Pillar Men in Jojos Bizarre Adventure consume organic matter with a touch. At one point, one of them brushes up against an unlucky soldier and consumes half of his body. The worst part is that the Pillar Man didn't even notice what happened. That is how little the Pillar Men think of humans.
- In K, the Colorless King has this ability to absorb identities of the people they possessed in the past. But because they absorbed so many people, they've lost their own sense of identity.
- In Devilman, the Demons in the series are super-ancient lifeforms that gain strength from fusing and taking over other living things and even inanimate objects.
- Land of the Lustrous has Phosphophyllite. While all Gems can fuse with new material to replace lost pieces as needed, the new material must be similar in hardness to the material lost and lack inclusions (microscopic organisms within Gems that hold their personality and memories). Phos is not only capable of fusing with any material, but they can also fuse with material from other Gems, overwriting that Gem's personality while gaining the abilities and memories they had.
- From Marvel's more adult comics, there's The Terror, a living corpse whose body is continually rotting; he takes other people's body parts to rebuild himself, although these continue to decay. He gains their memories, skills, and sometimes even feelings; he has even been seen to give himself wings or a prehensile tail. He can even gain superpowers from the parts, although they have to be the parts that contain the powers (for example, he couldn't steal Cyclops' finger and gain optic blasts).
- The Makuta from BIONICLE have the ability to absorb other beings to increase their mass but have to oppress the other minds to ensure that they would still remain in control of their fused bodies.
- Green Lantern has Agent Orange, who absorbs the form and memory of those he kills, allowing him to create duplicates of them as subordinates. Having become the living embodiment of Avarice, he desires to own everything, including the very identities of his enemies.
- Sonic the Hedgehog issues state that the Iron Dominion will be "legionizing" our heroes. What that entails is thus far open to discussion, but considering this comes right off the heels of the Dark Legion (who are allied to the Iron Dominion) being installed with computer chips that allows the Dominion and their leader Lien-Da to mindlessly control them remotely (the former using Magitek), and, well... just say that there's room for one more Star Trek reference, in the comic.
- The aptly named Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover comic Assimilation2 is about the two most notable sci-fi versions of this, the Borg and Cybermen, joining forces to do this.
- The Brood from X-Men reproduce this way, by injecting their eggs into unwilling hosts. This does not so much produce a juvenile hatchling as it does turn the unfortunate host into a Brood, which has all the memories and skills of its "parent".
- The X-Men also have/had the Phalanx, who infected targets with a techno-organic virus and brought them into their machine-like hivemind.
- The X-Men's own Rogue at times also qualified, as absorbing other people's memories and powers usually sent them into a coma. Cody Robbins never awoke from his.
- In Crowns of the Kingdom, Dispirations take on characteristics of the land they're in.
- In the Pony POV Series General Admiral Makarov turns out to be particularly one. He's actually a Equinoid Abomination released from Pandora's Box by a Hooviet experiment and eats existences and imaginations, making it as if his victims never existed and taking their traits as his own.
- In Harmony Theory, Nightmare Umbra can absorb the ashes of the fallen to increase her strength, and she can summon anyone she had absorbed as an undead minion.
Nightmare Umbra: Burn, Fallen Star. Burn And Become One With Me.
- In the Magical Girl Crisis Crossover Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, Jamanen from Sailor Moon has been upgraded with new abilities, among them the ability to forcibly convert her enemies into "drones" under her control. This happens to Cure Fortune, in horrific fashion.
- Deconstructed in Biomass Effect: Blacklight no longer assimilates any organic it encounters because as a Hive Mind where everyone instantly knows everything as soon as one person learns it means there is no such thing as novelty, learning things by assimilating creatures for knowledge bores them.
- The Immortals in the Highlander series absorb the skills and memories of everyone they kill. Some of the nastier ones get off on this.
- The series explores the implications of this at one point, with a build up of all the evil absorbed from killing evil immortals eventually overpowering one guy, turning him evil, requiring some good immortal to defeat him (and thus absorb all that evil and become overpowered by it him/herself)
- The main antagonists of Meatball Machine are monsters who attach themselves to human bodies to create mutant monsters with much more useful abilities than their squishy true forms.
- The Master Control Program, Big Bad of TRON, appropriates other (sentient) computer programs to obtain their functions. Clu in TRON: Legacy "rectifies" other programs, brainwashing them into becoming an army of Faceless Mooks.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, the Cy-Bugs can incorporate anything they eat into themselves (even characters).
- In Tetsuo: The Iron Man, the main character and the antagonist end up fusing together into one massive pile of flesh and metal, they then agree on assimilating the rest of the world.
- Honeymoon: Bea is slowly being taken over by an alien intelligence and is impregnated with an alien parasite.
- The Thing (1982) is the living embodiment of this trope; it's a microscopic organism that replicates other life forms at a cellular/genetic level as it consumes the host, leaving behind a perfect imitation with all of the memories, personalities and abilities of the original - with the additional drive to infect other hosts and spread.
- The main villain of Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Drive & Gaim: Movie War Full Throttle attempts this.
- In the Ellimist's backstory, the last of his race crashes into an aquatic moon with a single organism that calls itself Father. It ensnares other organisms and reanimates their consciousness to grow, including the many alien races that landed on its world, and keeps the Ellimist alive to have someone to play mind games with. The Ellimist eventually turns this on it, and finds out that Father was nothing more than a predatory sponge that could link with the nervous system of its prey.
- The One, a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that appears in the final book, can only be described as some kind of Energy Being that absorbs anyone who it considers worthy. It does this to Ax, and in the final pages, reveals it intends to do this to Jake as well. We never find out if it succeeds.
- The Vord in Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series has elements of this. They start out as a Hive Mind with a caste system; most of them are Insectoid Aliens ranging from the size of a dog to a bear, but some are much smaller and capable of serving as Puppeteer Parasites to animate and control people. This is a permanent condition and turns the victim into zombies. However, over the course of the series they learned the value of intelligent slaves, so they began using a version of the local Functional Magic to cause Happiness in Slavery so people would serve them while still physically alive and well.
- A mix between this and Grand Theft Me is one of the abilities of The Cunning Man from I Shall Wear Midnight.
- Fate of the Jedi has Abeloth. Interestingly, when she absorbs Callista, Callista's feelings for Luke Skywalker cause her to fall in love with him too. This goes away when Luke manages to free Callista's spirit from her.
- The horror novel Full Tilt takes a more impersonal approach to the trope: if you die in the Amusement Park of Doom, your face appears somewhere—in a cloud, on a rock, even on a billboard—with a smile on your lips but a scream in your eyes. If you don't get out by sunrise, but you survive, you're enslaved for the rest of your (un)natural life, but you retain your memories and a certain degree of freedom. And if you're really, really unlucky, you go to the Works. (It's never clear what precisely is taken, but the Big Bad says at one point that as the park grows in power it comes closer to being real and all other realities come closer to being imaginary).
- Spore in Galaxy of Fear. It gives Tash a rather appalling We Can Rule Together speech.
"You will join me. You'll be a part of me. Didn't you want to become one with the Force? Isn't that what you told me? [...] The Force is nothing. If it ever existed, it belonged to Jedi who died years ago. I can offer you something more. Join me, and you will join thousands, millions of others. [...] You know, you're not strong enough to stop me. Not nearly strong enough. Once you're under my control, I'll make you my primary host. I will be you."
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort used Inferi, reanimated corpses, to guard one of his Horcruxes. These inferi overwhelm Harry and try to drown him. Harry suspects that he himself will become an inferi after he dies.
- In the Nightside novel Agents of Light and Darkness, a minor character in the story named Belle does this. She hunts down powerful creatures, taking contracts on them if possible, and incorporates their skin into either her leather outfit or herself. She has a personal power letting her preserve and use the magic of the skin's original owners. (Her last acquisition before showing up was a pair of boots made of the skin of a minor Greek god with speed-based powers.) She lasts as long as most antagonists in these books: just long enough to explain in detail how dangerous she is before offhandedly nullifying her.
- Downplayed version in Rogue Star. The newly born rogue is merely curious about the dying Cliff Hawk, so it absorbs and assimilates him—and ends up with romantic feelings for Molly Zaldiver as a result. (A result she considers terrifying.)
- The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin is about a sentient book that absorbs any reality that it is written in, devouring the souls of its occupants and turning them into mindless slaves.
- The Swarm from Wild Cards. Also, the Righteous Djinn.
- In Those That Wake and its sequel, What We Become, the villains assimilate people, though in different ways.
- The Sobornost mind upload collective in The Quantum Thief-trilogy seeks to absorb all existing minds into itself in hopes of eliminating all death and uncertainty from the universe.
- The All-Defector, a monstrous and uncontrollable creation of the Sobornost seeks to go one step beyond and become the universe, due to its nature as a perfect mirror that becomes whatever looks into it, only (subjectively) better, and when it finds out about parallel universes it seeks to become all of them, as well.
- The Odine of The Traitor Son Cycle are extradimensional parasites which intend to make all sentient creatures in the world part of their Hive Mind.
- In the short story "Stranger Station" by Damon Knight, the aliens offer Longevity Treatment elixir to humans as part of a centuries-long plan to assimilate humans with "love". Exposure to the aliens over the months spent extracting the elixir from them gradually makes the human handlers think more like the aliens — and less like humans. The protagonist is so far gone by the end of the story that he cannot understand human language anymore.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Apparently, Graviton has this ability in Season 5, an ability he did not have in the comics. Since he was infused with Gravitonium, which is different than Graviton's origin story in the comics, he gained all of its abilities, including assimilation, and he becomes host to a Mind Hive consisting of himself, Franklin Hall, Ian Quinn, Crixon, Carl Creel and, in the alternate future, Daisy Johnson. This also drives him to madness, as having all those voices arguing in one's head can have a lot of strain on a person's psyche.
- Breaking Bad: It's subtle, but Walter White appears to take on some traits of some of the people he kills.
- The Source of All Evil in Charmed, who possesses his victims and assimilates their personalities into himself, becoming more powerful and intelligent. The problem comes when after assimilating Cole Turner, his feelings for Phoebe and humanity makes him difficult to control. Eventually it backfires, because he can't hurt Phoebe or her sisters without Cole interfering and making him vulnerable to being vanquished again.
- Doctor Who:
- Despite this always having been a large part of their characterization, the new-series version of the Cybermen do this somewhat more markedly than the Classic Cybermen "upgrading" people by converting them into more Cybermen now being their main shtick this being the intention of their very human (until the Cybermen forcibly "upgrade" him into the Cyberleader) creator. One group of Daleks wasn't above using humans as raw materials in a similar way, either.
- It was also a large part of their appeal in the black-and-white days (before they turned into camp men in suits with Darth Vader voices). "You belong to us. You shall be... like us."
- In the Eleventh Doctor episode "The Pandorica Opens", a mostly dead Cyberman's head actually says "You will be assimilated." The use of the phrase by the Cybermen in Doctor Who predates the Star Trek use, as it was featured in the Cybermen's debut story, "The Tenth Planet", in 1966. It's likely an in-joke too. As River Song is examining transmitters in that same episode, the radio traffic of the Cybermen, which is audible in the background, sounds very much like the Borg Collective.
- In "Nightmare in Silver", the Cybermen are shown as even more like the Borg. Not only is their Adaptive Ability significantly more Borg-like (sometimes they don't even lose a single Cyberman before adapting), but their new Cybermites are the insect-sized versions of the Borg nanites. A handful of them can turn a person into a Cyber-something almost instantly. This may have something to do with the fact that the new Cybermen are a joining of the original Mondas Cybermen and the Alternate Universe Cybus Cybermen. Alternately, they learned a few tricks directly from the Borg during their brief alliance in the official comic book crossover.
- The Krillitanes from "School Reunion" alter their DNA with DNA from races they conquer.
- The Abzorbaloff from "Love & Monsters" works on an individual level, absorbing individuals into his body.
- Despite this always having been a large part of their characterization, the new-series version of the Cybermen do this somewhat more markedly than the Classic Cybermen "upgrading" people by converting them into more Cybermen now being their main shtick this being the intention of their very human (until the Cybermen forcibly "upgrade" him into the Cyberleader) creator. One group of Daleks wasn't above using humans as raw materials in a similar way, either.
- Sylar from Heroes, whereas Peter is more Power Copying. Doubly so since Sylar can assimilate other people's very identities, through a combination of a shapeshifting power that lets him copy anyone whose DNA he samples via touch, and a psychic power that lets him absorb memories via touch.
- The Green on Killjoys is a parasite that assimilates humans. The assimilated humans do not become a hive mind but the Green is a repository for the memories of any human who has been absorbed.
- The Borg from Star Trek are the Trope Codifiers, and the former Trope Namer.
- Their standard hail includes the phrases, "You will be assimilated", "your culture will adapt to service us" and "we will add your technological and biological distinctiveness to our own".
- In their first episode, "Q who", Q talks about how relentless the Borg are in adding to their collective.
- Dialogue between Locutus and Worf in Best of Both Worlds Part II indicates that the Borg intend to assimilate entire races.
Locutus: Worf, Klingon species, a warrior race. You too will be assimilated.
Worf: The Klingon Empire will never yield.
Locutus: Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life for all species.
Worf: I like my species the way it is!
Locutus: A narrow vision. You will become one with the Borg.
- In Deep Space Nine, it's shown that this is how some view the Federation. From their perspective, all they see is a bunch of Scary Dogmatic Aliens who travel the Galaxy, seeking out new life and new civilizations with the sole intention of eventually absorbing these new cultures into their own. After all, who wouldn't want to join the "glorious" Federation?
Michael Eddington: You know, in some ways, you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious, you assimilate people—and they don't even know it.
- Quark demonstrates this view of the Federation to Garak as only he knows how—analogy by way of a glass of root beer.
Garak: It's vile!
Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying and happy.
Garak: Just like the Federation.
Quark: But you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
Garak: It's insidious.
Quark: Just like the Federation.
- Quark demonstrates this view of the Federation to Garak as only he knows how—analogy by way of a glass of root beer.
- Ultra Series
- Ultraman Tiga had a race of aliens called the Illudo, who can basically be described as the Borg as Ultraman monsters. They are a completely mindless and emotionless race that reproduce by transforming other intelligent beings into more of their kind and share a single mind via a massive tower that stores a gigantic brain.
- Solitura from Ultraman Mebius is a Planetary Parasite that absorbs all life on a world and merges their consciousnesses and the planet with itself. Additionally, it assimilates its surroundings to take on an innocuous form, like turning into a living mass of vegetation after landing in a forest.
- Yes had a weird (but not evil) variant in all the bands it absorbed along the way, incorporating their musical styles as well. Yes absorbed New Wave band The Buggles, then "Cinema" (which was originally supposed to be a new band with Trevor Rabin as frontman), and then "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe", the last one being particularly notable as it was made up of former members of Yes being assimilated back into their former band.
- In some versions of Slavic folklore, this is how vampires work.
- The game Gargon (AKA Blob or Chain Tag) is this plus Hide-And-Seek plus Tag!. Several people are chosen to be "It" and link arms, forming the Gargon, while everyone else hides. The Gargon looks for the hiding people, and when they're tagged, they become part of the Gargon. It lasts until everyone's part of the Gargon, or the Ref calls time.
- One version of Capture the Flag uses a single flag at one end of a field and a small team of defenders (sometimes only one person) initially defending it. Whenever a member of the attacking team leaves the baseline on their of the field side, if tagged before they can reach the other end of the field, they immediately switch teams and defend. This typically results in a growing band of defenders who the attackers have to try and get through to reach the other side, but then have to run back through with the flag in order for the attacking team to win.
- The Hivebrood, an insanely complex Virus monster from the Basic/Expert/etc Dungeons & Dragons game system. Eating sentient beings lets them absorb their victims' know-how, spellcasting skills included. Don't know anything worth learning? Then they'll turn you into a Hive drudge-worker instead.
- Another DnD monster with this kind of ability: the cadaver golem, which can take bits and pieces of people to absorb their skills. It's a Discard and Draw situation.
- Played straight and subverted with the Illithids (aka Mind Flayers). They reproduce by putting an illithid tadpole into a victim's ear, which consumes their brain and turns them into an illithid. Subverted in that the new mind flayer does not retain any memories or skills from the host. Usually. They might sometimes tap their fingers in a particular way, or hum a tune the original person was familiar with. Doing so is considered a very bad sign, and they avoid it when possible. Played straighter with a Prestige Class that Mind Flayers can take that allows them to absorb skills and powers from the creature's whose brains they consume.
- There is also a drug that a host can take that offers a chance (no guarantees) that they will retain their identity and free will after being transformed, allowing them to keep their knowledge and skills as well.
- Formian Dominators are charged with bringing under Formian power anyone who is unwilling to join the Formians peacefully. Each one can control four or five beings at once.
- The Phyrexians from Magic: The Gathering. Memnarch and Olivia Voldaren have this as their abilities, first converting something into part-artifact/vampire (respectively) and then controlling it.
- From Warhammer 40,000, the Tyranids main goal, driven by perpetual hunger, is to eat everything they com into contact with. They would use your genetic material for its evolutionary advantages, and your flesh, and that of dead Tyranids, for the raw materials for creating more Tyranid life forms.
- Enslavers, a kind of noncorporeal alien, "possess" living creatures, and reshape their bodies into portals into the Warp to allow other Enslavers to pass through. The people they don't overtake in this manner are enslaved through psychic means to do their bidding, usually to fight other beings not under their control, and the worst part of it is that their "recruits" are aware of what's happening but not able to control their bodies. Previous, and perhaps retconned lore indicated huge incursions of these things into realspace nearly ended all civilization roughly 60 million years ago. Oddly, while most of the denizens of realspace consider them a real, if only occasional threat, it's not known whether Enslavers are sapient malefactors, or just animalistic beings acting on instinct.
- The rarely mentioned Khrave are a race of mind-eaters (or rather mind-overwrites), enslaving other beings to their own ends by rewriting the minds of other species. The detailed effects of this particular process aren't quite clear.
- Warmain Excrucians in Nobilis absorb traits of those they deem worthy of killing, and express those traits in future appearances.
- In the Sci-Fi RPG Cold and Dark, a species called Reapers use 2-foot centipedes that burrow into your chest and transform you into horrifying monsters. This is only one of several horrific body horror monsters throughout Ca D's universe. A few others include an alien virus that turns corpses into disgusting creatures and various alien viruses and fungi capable of disturbingly consuming humans.
- Seems to be Disney Parks's role when it comes to Universal Studios. First Disney bought out Marvel, with whom Universal has a licensing agreement for their Orlando parks. Then, in 2018, Disney also bought 20th Century Fox, meaning that Universal attractions such at The Simpsons Ride, The Adventures of Conan, and American Horror Story at Halloween Horror Nights are now using licensing with Universal's primary theme park competitor, Disney.
- This seems to be what's going on in The Breach, although it's never entirely explained. Notably, the victims enjoy it right until they lose their minds completely.
- The Eaters of Chimera Beast devour all life on a planet, and add the best features to themselves. In this case, one is also the Villain Protagonist.
- Jedah of Darkstalkers fame is on a holy quest to unite all souls into himself in order to stop the endless wars engulfing both the Demon Realm and the human world. He often uses phrases like "Now, you are a part of me."
- The Necromorphs in Dead Space are reanimated and mutated human corpses. So how do they make more of themselves? Slaughtering as many humans as they can.
- Evolva gives us a rare heroic example. Your Genohunters absorb their enemies' bodies to obtain their DNA and use it to get their attacks and skills.
- The Super Mutants in the Fallout series mutate captured humans into more Super Mutants via the Forced Evolutionary Virus. In the first game, this happens to the player character if you give away the location of your vault.
- In Final Fantasy IX, one of the evil plots our heroes have to foil is that Garland is trying to assimilate Gaia into Terra in an attempt to avert the death of his world. And it turns out that Kuja, previously thought to be the Big Bad of the game, was actually working for him in starting wars across Gaia.
- Final Fantasy XI's blue mage (or Immortal) fit this trope, a rare player-character example. Although the exact mechanism by which they get the powers of defeated enemies is never quite described, The Vana'diel Tribune said they absorbed the essence from creatures they killed and graft it onto their soul. It also mentions that "No Immortal in history has ever reached the end of his natural lifespan" due to the effects of the absorbed creatures on their hosts.
- Just to hang a lampshade on it, the armour upgrade for the Blue Mage is the Assimilator's Attire.
- In Guild Wars, it's the only way to acquire Elite skills: find the boss, beat the crap out of him, apply the Signet of Capture.
- There is every indication that The Combine from Half-Life 2 and its Episodes do this to the planets/universes/borderworlds they conquer, most obviously with their Synth units (gunships, dropships, Striders and Hunters). They appear to be in the process of doing this to humans, with designs for far more altered human soldiers created in production but removed from the final game. They also assimilate and adapt technology that they find: they're on Earth specifically for our teleportation technology perfected at Black Mesa. It's also implied that it's actually a favor to those who surrender; they are powerful enough to exterminate anything that gets in their way, and you need to convince them that your species is more use to them alive and enslaved than dead. That's essentially what Dr. Breen did to stop the Seven Hours War.
- Halo: The Flood will turn you into an inhuman combat drone so you can help spread the infection, using all the skills you had in life to help do so. Once your body is battered beyond the point of usefulness it will adapt itself into a spore carrier that will release infection forms to continue assimilation. However, when the Flood come across individuals of particular intelligence, such as pilots, captains, and scientists, they will be captured and used to form the body of a gigantic Gravemind intelligence that can allow the parasite to continue its Zombie Apocalypse. At this point, the Flood won't just turn you into a zombie, but use your body as a building block to create more powerful abominations. The Flood are so dangerous that they have already caused at least one GALACTIC apocalypse; the only reason why they haven't already consumed the entire Milky Way is because an ancient race resorted to killing all sentient life left in the galaxy, themselves included, in order to starve the Flood out. Which was after a million other plans were tried and failed over the course of centuries.
- The Beast from Homeworld Cataclysm exhibit both this and Virus-like traits.
- Parodied in Jets'n'Guns when the player meets the Beer Empire, which are an alcohol-based parody of the Borg, complete with Beer Cubes.
Beer Cube: We are Beer. You will be intoxicated. Resistance is futile.
- The Aurum from Kid Icarus: Uprising remain fairly mysterious, but if their chilling cry of "WE WILL BE ALL" during the fight with Aurum Pyrrhon is any indicator, this seems to be their goal.
- Ansem from Kingdom Hearts does this to Riku because he has no body.
- It's revealed in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance that this was the main reason Xemnas founded Organization XIII. Nobodies, having no hearts, make perfect vessels for the disembodied Ansem. In fact, had everything gone according to plan, Xemnas could have turned half the Organization into duplicates of Xehanort.
- This comes after a rather cruel reveal. It turns out that nobodies quickly develop new hearts from whatever is around them, and CAN have emotions. This incredibly hopeful reveal is immediately quashed by Xemnas revealing the above plan.
- In a subversion of this normally being a villainous trope, this is the power of the protagonist in the Kirby series.
- The Reapers from Mass Effect. Every fifty thousand years, they "harvest" the most technologically advanced species in the galaxy; the species deemed most worthy has members of its population turned into a new Reaper, while members of species slightly less worthy are turned into Destroyers. The rest are turned into cyborg abominations that hunt down and eliminate the rest of the target populations.
Harbinger: We are the harbingers of their perfection!
- Mass Effect: Andromeda has this as the goal of the kett, who kidnap other species and turn them into more kett, adding their genetic information to all kett that come afterward. The Archon claims that he is the genetic inheritor of over a thousand other species. The kett do extensive research on new species they encounter, however, and don't assimilate everybody, just those they deem useful. Those who aren't assimilated are instead worked to death in slave labor.
- Mega Man. Once a robot master is defeated, all iterations of Mega Man gain the boss' skills.
- The Mega Man Battle Network series has two sides of this: one for MegaMan, and one for Bass. In the case of the hero, after losing the Style Change ability, he gains the Double Soul power, wherein he may gain powers from a Navi he's shared a profound connection with. In the case of Bass, he goes for more of a Cell route through his GetAbility Program, wherein he consumes and kills a virus, program or Navi to gain their power.
- The X parasites in Metroid: Fusion absorb DNA from anything they infect in order to copy, multiply, and spread.
- Osmos is about controlling a primordial cell in a colony of others like it. Your goal is to absorb as many of other cells as possible and/or some special cell in question. Of course, other cells will also absorb anything small enough in their way: the difference is that they cant steer themselves around.
- Kyurem is revealed to be this in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, where it turns Reshiram and Zekrom into powerups for itself that allow it to change form into Black/White Kyurem. To be fair though, the three dragons used to be one. Kyurem just wants to be whole again.
- In a similar vein to Kyurem, the Prism Pokémon Necrozma becomes this to Solgaleo and Lunala in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, absorbing them against their will and taking control of their minds and bodies to become Dusk Mane/Dawn Wings Necrozma.
- Alex Mercer of [PROTOTYPE] eats people and other Infected to add their biomass and knowledge to his own. Eating the more powerful Infected like Hunters even grants him new combat powers in the storyline (though the Hunters themselves don't have those abilities). Eating people also grants him the ability to shapeshift into them. Chances are that by the end of the game the player will have had Alex consume hundreds if not thousands of victims. And he can still be considered something close to a hero in this game.
- It helps that as he picks up their memories, he gets a bit of their personalities as well, slowly going from the completely remorseless sociopath he was before he got killed to simply a very bad individual.
- With Alex as the Big Bad of [PROTOTYPE 2], James Heller, the new protagonist, shares many of the same attributes as Mercer did in the first game, though he's a better person from the start.
- The Strogg in Quake II and Quake IV do this via Unwilling Roboticisation, and the protagonist of the latter game gets the treatment himself, though he was rescued before the procedure was complete.
- Resistance against the Chimera is futile.
- Morphius from Return to Zork, is in the habit of looking for new character traits he can incorporate into himself, often watching potential subjects through the eyes of vultures or manifesting himself in their dreams. If he finds anything of value, he has the vultures carry them off to his Citadel, where he turns them to stone and goes about assimilating their characteristics. By the endgame, his eyes are on the player character—specifically for your strategic gifts.
- Cervantes in the Soul Series. Most "hosts" of Soul Edge too.
- Like the above Tyranids, the Zerg also want to use your genetic material for its evolutionary advantages and for raw material. The effects of this become more apparent in Starcraft II, where the Queens take on a more human-like (or possibly protoss-like) appearance.
- The Aparoids in Star Fox: Assault.
- The final boss of Steamworld Dig is this. He has assimilated the main character's uncle and assimilates the main character when you defeat it.
- Seth from Street Fighter IV. His trademark phrase being "Become a part of me."
- Gill from Street Fighter III also wants to do this. His ending implies that he succeeds too and wants his followers to dress like him if Alex is anything to go by.
- The ODE System of Super Robot Wars. If you don't wanna get assimilated, you'll be killed in cold blood. More importantly this is what the Aerogaters want (and in some cases have succeeded) to do from the first Super Robot Wars Original Generation game.
- Most Festum in Super Robot Wars UX can assimilate robots by doing this. If Morale is reduced to under 90, the unit they attack is assimilated and destroyed. Festum however do not drain very effectively, the Morale you gain from taking hits and counter-killing Festum largely ameliorates the morale lost from an attack. The Mark Sein can also Assimilate but much more effectively. Kazuki deals severe morale damage when he attacks a festum and he assimilates enemy Festum if they're reduced below 120 Morale (Even if they didn't have that much to begin with).
- In Third Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-hen, the ELS have basically the same assimilation mechanic as the Festum from UX. They reduce your main pilot's morale by 10 with each successful attack (i.e. one that causes damage, even through seishin) and if you're reduced below 80, you're killed without respect to your HP. And they all appear to have natural Barrier Pierce and Size Nullify.
- In Sword of the Stars, Zuul Mind Rape removes prisoners' memories, knowledge, emotions, thoughts, and eventually their very identities. The Zuul that performs the Mind Rape absorbs these things for themselves. As the Zuul are connected by a telepathic Hive Mind they do not have much in the way of a 'self', and therefore finds things like a name and individuality to be extremely valuable.
- The Many in System Shock 2. Theyre the ultimate evolution of the biological experiments bred by SHODAN in the first game and have a complete Hive Mind and are intent on absorbing everyone else. Throughout the game, they will even calmly urge you to join them, contrasting SHODANs cold metal with the attractive warmth of their combined biomass.
- Even so, theyre not above creating cyborgs to better protect their hatchlings. The half-skeletal Cyborg Midwives, fitted with laser weapons and created from ships nurses, are some of the most difficult and disturbing enemies in the game.
- The Alien Death Slug from The Visitor. It eats everything it comes across to absorb their DNA, and uses it to rapidly evolve from a worm to a bizarre mashup of features.
- In World of Warcraft, the Forsaken were originally a faction of undead who managed to break free from the Scourge—a force consisting of cultists, necromancers, and scores of undead, all seeking to do the Burning Legion's dirty work on Azeroth. After the Scourge's leader was destroyed, the Forsaken's leader Sylvanas Windrunner hired some of the Scourge's old minions who were capable of raising undead. While some of those that were raised by the Forsaken were free of mind like most of them, in warzones, she would raise enemy troops to be unquestionably loyal to her and force them right back onto the battlefield for her side. This got to the point where humans in the Alliance outright refused to fight the Forsaken, leaving only non-human forces (and the worgen of Gilneas) to face Slyvanas' forces (as only humans were susceptible to this form of raising undead).
- Ballpoint Universe Infinite: The Logicians are doodles that work on pure logic. Because they are so efficient, in trying to fight them, enemies usually also become Logicians.
- The Bydo in R-Type have the ability to possess and/or transform other creatures into more Bydo. They only tend to do this to really powerful individuals or weapons, though: most of the time they'll just kill you.
- The Bacterians in Gradius show the ability to assimilate, leading to entire planets' biospheres being transformed into more Bacterian flesh. Several of their Hive Queens are even assimilated beings from other races, with the minds intact.
- Demon Eater: All demons have the ability to assimilate the characteristics of other demons by eating them. It's performed by either consuming the defeated demon's lifeless corpse or performing a Fusion Dance and absorbing their personality as well. It's also worth noting that demons cannot do this to humans and the only one that tried ended up having his body saturated with rotting flesh that he couldn't consume.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: Zen Buu attempts this with Broly, but is thwarted by the efforts of U16 Vegetto, Gohan, Bra, and the Namek that pushed the button to send him back because he didn't think leaving Broly in their universe was a good idea.
- Later played straight with Xeniloum's armor.
- And he says he did that in his universe with one of the musicians at the Figrindan orchestra.
- MSF High has the Legion, who are unique in this in that they're actually good guys nowadays. A big plot point is that Legion retain characteristics from the old life, or are exactly the same (however, they've still been compared to both the Borg and the Flood). They have a hive mind.
- FTL: Kestrel Adventures: What SAI-1 has done to Peter Tiedrich, and it looks like General Key will follow. Other troops seem to have fallen to the same fate..
- The Akinator will successfully guess the character you're thinking about, then use your answers to add to its own knowledge of this character. Or if he fails to best you, he'll still increase his knowledge anyway.
- This ends up being the goal of Missingno during The Entity arc of Atop the Fourth Wall, to absorb all existence into itself.
- Mr. Popo does this to Blue Popo in Dragon Ball Abridged in a video advertising their visit to Youmacon 2010.
Mr. Popo: Okay, I'll bite, what the hell is this?Mr. Popo: No.Blue Popo: Pardon?Mr. Popo: Prepare to be assimilated.Blue Popo: Whatever do you me... [black tentacles infiltrate his blue color] No! No! No! Kami!Mr. Popo: [laughs]
- As well as to Garlic Jr., all as a set up to a single Overly Prepared Gag.
- Orion's Arm: The Amalgamation is a hyper-intelligent network of nanomachines that can infect and take over any kind of mind (living, mechanical, or AI) and add their intelligence to its own. No one's sure how this thing got started or where it came from, but combating it is rather difficult since it keeps assimilating the very weapons sent against it. Fortunately, it doesn't have the intelligence (yet) to take on the Archailects, who are smart enough to outmaneuver it at every turn and keep it away from the bulk of civilization.
- In Ben 10: Omniverse, Malware is a mutant Galvanic Mechamorph (a being of living technology), who can permanently absorb other devices in order to upgrade himself, as opposed to the rest of his kind, who can upgrade existing technology (though it is implied Malware can do this as well, but chooses not to). Before an upgrade, however, he caused anything he absorbed to corrode, even OTHER MECHAMORPHS!
- In the original Ben 10 series, we have Dr. Victor, who can take control of technology under certain circumstances (justified in Word of God info, as he is revealed to come from a Frankenstein monster-like race).
- And in between the two, Ben 10: Alien Force had the Big Bad Vilgax go on an assimilation spree, taking over planets and absorbing the abilities of their greatest heroes, all so he would be powerful enough to take on Ben again. He uses the same trick in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien to take the power of the universe conqueror Daigon.
- The Brains in Futurama seek to copy and store a record of everything, then destroy it, thus preventing anything new from happening and having complete, universal knowledge.
- In The Grim Adventures of the Kids Next Door, the Delightful Reaper is formed when Billy and the Delightful Children from Down the Lane merge with Grim's scythe, and seek to assimilate every other person on Earth.
- Cyborg!Trina in the Grojband episode "Ahead of Our Own Tone".
- Brainiac in Justice League had a similar motive to the Brains, but once fused with Lex Luthor, it/he/they decided to go full A God Am I and replace everything In Their Own Image in one master stroke.
- Alpha from Men in Black: The Series used to provide the page picture. He was the original head of MIB but now hunts aliens for body parts to make himself more powerful. The first time we see him, he's still humanoid but has a small arsenal of Combat Tentacles concealed in his body, and he only gets freakier from there. Interestingly, he moves away from this trope during the last season, modifying himself using robot parts instead.
- The Bugs from Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles do this to the most badass lifeforms on each planet they conquer.
- In Steven Universe, White Diamond has the ability to drain the color from Gems and turn them into her puppets. They speak in unison (in her voice) and follow her movements when she isn't directly controlling them. She either can't or doesn't want to escalate it to a full Assimilation Plot, and so saves this power for the few gems that don't already do whatever she says.
- The Game Master from Teen Titans wanted to assimilate the gathered heroes' various powers. He manages to absorb all but Robin; who ironically has absolutely no powers and thus nothing to give him. He then proceeds to have his butt handed to him on a platter.
- In Transformers Animated, Lockdown, a bounty hunter who takes a "prize" from each of his targets (and, quite often, whoever stands between him and his targets), is the Humongous Mecha version of Alpha.
"I remember you... EMP generator, right? I'm not good with names and faces, but I never forget a trophy."
- In the tie-in comic, it's revealed that his payment includes parts from an associate of the Decepticon who hired him. That's right, he wants parts from his employers too.
- The Spirit Drinker in X-Men seems to be this, though it was a hungry beast, and once the souls are fully consumed, they're just gone. The Phalanx, on the other hand, do assimilate people. In fact, the animated version actually said "Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated."
- Retroviruses directly integrate their own genes into the genetic code of a host cell in an attempt to turn it into a factory for more viruses, which sometimes inherit DNA from the original cell. This actually contributes significantly to the speed of evolution, and some of the "junk" DNA originated from retroviral infections.
- An unfortunate characteristic of nationalism in many countries in the past. Virtually every country, usually with force, has behaved this way toward ethnic minorities in some manner. To what extent remains a very contentious subject even now.
- The Real Life head of the Standard Oil Corporation of New Jersey, Mr John D Rockefeller Sr, referred to the process of using trusts to take control of independent oil companies as assimilation. Absorbing competitors into his monopoly was promoted as being more benevolent than driving them out of business. Possibly the Ur-Example.
- The Falcon programming language is this trope applied to language design. It purports to have integrated six different paradigms, and seem to have the overall philosophy that "if it exists, we want it".
- C++ does the same thing, although it attracted something of a hatedom for it (in fairness this is because several of the features it has absorbed are mutually contradictory). Programming languages tend to be criticized for doing this because it can end up impossible to use all of the language to do what you want, or to constrain and focus your thought process.
- Besides trying to murder every single Jewish person they could find, and to turn Eastern Europe into a German colony and the Slavs into a Slave Race, this trope is essentially what Those Wacky Nazis wanted to do to the "Teutonic" states of Western and Northern Europe (Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc.): force their inhabitants to accept the Nazis' racist dogma and to integrate them directly into the totalitarian society of the Third Reich.
- This is a basic tactic of any military empire. As an empire grows, its army must grow to defend the new land, and the only way to do that is to get the people you just conquered to join your army. This allowed tiny backwater settlements like Rome and Macedon to conquer the known world simply by doing it one nation at a time and getting a larger army every time. Some of the greatest generals of all time, such as Pyrrhus of Epirus and Hannibal, won every battle they fought but ended up losing the war because they couldn't get the allegiance of the local people.
- The extent of this depends on the empire. While the Romans might have assimilated the people their own attitudes and culture changed little. Compare that to the Normans who went from (essentially) mead drinking Vikings to wine drinking Christians in a generation, became the ruling class of a hefty swathe of the world and ended up being both among the most enthusiastic crusaders at one end of Europe and on such good terms with their Muslim citizens at the other that the most extravagant cathedral of the era boasted that its decoration had been done by skilled Islamic craftsmen. The Romans assimilated the people, the Normans assimilated themselves.
- What happened to the Normans also happened to the Mongols: they conquered vast swathe of the world and end up inheriting the culture of the conquered people. This happened in China, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Russia. The Khanate horde was eventually dissolved, since the now-settled Mongol-descendants are no longer interested in obeying the words of some tent-dwellers from half a world away.
- The United States of America. The national motto of "E pluribus unum" means "out of many, one"; the Statue of Liberty says "give me your tired and hungry, your huddled masses." Only instead of going out to aggressively incorporate other peoples (early days notwithstanding), citizens of other nations are invited and encouraged to add their culture to the national gestalt. Hence, "the Melting Pot." Inevitably, there are some who don't agree that this is a wholly good and desirable thing. The American Media Empire still works the classical way, though - spread out across the globe and introduce everyone to "The American Way", with movies, music, literature and video games which are distinctly American overtaking the charts in other nations. Like the former, not everyone agrees that this is a good thing.
- The European Union boasts a similar moto (In varietate concordia "United in diversity"), and since its inception 22 states (23 if you count East Germany) joined the 6 founding members in a—so far—bloodless process of assimilation of new territories and people that multiplied its population by three and its surface by four. Just like the US, the assimilation process (called "enlargement") is a subject of much disagreement and debate among Europeans.
- For a much older example, see China. Much of what now constitutes China, even if you only look at the "Han" parts, used to be characterized by cultural, linguistic, and political divisions as great as all of Europe. After two millennia since Qin Shi Huang Di's unification, all these civilizations have been amalgamated to become part of the Chinese civilization.
- Rome furnishes a comparable example to China in the West, except for the lack of political unity. The Roman religion (European Christianity), the Roman legal system (with the French and German modifications), and the Roman alphabet, characterize the Western civilization in the region where lived tribal peoples to whom all these were unfamiliar two thousand years ago.
- This wiki. It doesn't matter if you stopped in here for a moment just to read a couple of pages on a lark; eventually, you're going to be tempted to add an example to one of them. And then another. And another. And another. Before you know it, you'll have launched a dozen tropes through the Trope Launch Pad, created at least one page for a film, book, or series, and participated in one debate where ninety percent of the conversation is entirely in Wiki Words. But don't feel too bad. If it likes you, it rewards you by pushing you towards new media in which you previously had no interest. As masters of your time and attention go, TV Tropes is kind.
- This was also a defining characteristic of Hapsburg Austria until the end of World War I, which often expanded and consolidated its territories through diplomacy, marriage and conflict.
- Vince McMahon ran rival wrestling promoters Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman out of business and bought out their promotions. Vince would later hire Bischoff and Heyman as onscreen commentators and characters, and revive their old brands, albeit in very different forms.