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Toon Transformation

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Technically, he's illustration.

"I... I'm a cartoon!"
Richard, The Pagemaster

When somebody might end up in another world, artists and crew members might cut the budget, just by making them into a cartoon or the such. Whether it's through being taunted, going through a magic portal, or whatever else, but on the other side, those live action folks end up as cartoons.

Media that has this trope usually ends up as mostly a cartoon.

Not to be confused with Medium Blending or Art Shift.



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  • There were a handful of "Crunchatize me, Cap'n!" commercials for Cap'n Crunch cereal in which the kids would get surrounded by a hail of cereal and emerge as cartoons.
  • Some Esurance insurance commercials had Erin Esurance turn live action people into cartoon characters.
  • In the late '90s, Kids' WB! had a "Kids WB! Yourself" series of commercials where fans of the show would go into a magical booth and emerge as cartoon characters.
  • A UK advert for Sky Movie Channels has a family "entering the world" of Sky Movies, becoming Muppets in Muppets Most Wanted, minifigs in The LEGO Movie and CGI characters in Frozen (2013).
  • Burger King did a campaign called "Simpsonize Me" in conjunction with the release of The Simpsons Movie. This included a commercial where Kang and Kodos transform live-action people into cartoon Simpson characters. While most people become characters that at least visually seem to match their cartoon counterpart, some transformations border on Victimized Bystander territory, such as a slim cop becoming the fat Chief Wiggum and a bride turning into Selma Bouvier - leading her husband-to-be to scream in shock and try to run away.
  • A Japanese commercial for Lotte Fits' gum had a man interacting with several women who spontaneously transformed into characters from Haruhi Suzumiya, perhaps in his mind. It contained, oddly, three Yuki clones in cat ears.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the strictest sense not really an anime example per se, but this was what a company called Toon Makers had planned for Sailor Moon if they had gotten the rights instead of DiC's eventual Cut-and-Paste Translation. They were going to have the civilian scenes filmed in live action and then the girls would turn animated in a very Filmation's She-Ra: Princess of Power-esque style when they transformed. Also they were going to go literally sailing... in space. See here the only available clip of (which was recorded from a convention screening on a camcorder hence the low quality and background noise) of what is commonly nicknamed "Saban Moon" due to people assuming the company who made it was Saban.
  • In early Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pegasus' Toon Monsters consisted of this — rather than summoning them, he had to use Toon World to turn either his own monster or stolen enemy ones into Toons. Once Duel Monsters became a real game, this shifted in line with the real-world rules.

    Comic Books 
  • The Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog special, Sonic Live. Sonic pulls two live-action kids into their television screen, turning them into cartoons.
  • The Marvel Comics character The Awesome Slapstick. Junior high school class clown Steve Harmon's molecules stretch across 3741 dimensions, turning Steve into a cartoon clown.
  • In relation to the Roger Rabbit deleted example below, Dylan Dog enters the cartoon world to pursue a homicidal pink rabbit, and gets an "actual" (toon) dog face over his own head. Much like Eddie Valiant, he is eventually able to remove it.

  • In the 1996 movie adaption of James and the Giant Peach, James, and an assortment of insect and arachnid friends, become claymation figures when they go inside the peach. Justified, since it is a magic peach, enchanted by crocodile tongues.
    • Subverted at the end of the film where even though James changes back after climbing out of the peach, the insects all remain claymation.
    • This is because the transformation was done by the tongues themselves. James' change-back was due to coughing his up.
  • The Fat Albert movie has an inversion. Fat Albert and the gang start out as cartoons, then become live-action when they jump through the TV screen.
  • On the movie of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha and Fearless Leader become live actors as they go through a television screen.
    • When Rocky and Bullwinkle do the same, they simply turn into Cel Shaded versions of themselves, a discrepancy that is Lampshaded later on.
  • The Pagemaster - A prominent example. A wave of paint covers the library, turning the main character and the library into a cartoon.
  • Enchanted, where it's also the invert: A cartoon princess becomes a live actor in real life. However, a straight example occurs when Nancy ends up falling in love with Prince Edward and goes back with him to the cartoon world to marry him
  • Cool World is an in-verse sitch, apparently. Any "human" who is killed by a "doodle" resurrects as a doodle themselves. The artist is also afflicted when the dimensional barrier is broken. Holli's goal is to become "real" by having sex with a human. It works, but the effects are unstable, and she starts going back and forth between cartoon and live-action.
  • Stay Tuned, where Roy gets Trapped in TV Land and after one channel switch, and becomes a cartoon mouse menaced by a giant cat.
  • The end credits of the TV movie Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, in which the rock star Slash plugs into a tricked-out amp, with a spark of electricity that travels down the wire to his bass, which spreads to his body turning him from live action to animated.
  • In Rock-A-Doodle, the owl sings musical notes, turning the little boy into an animated cat (as well as his room).
  • The 1970 movie The Phantom Tollbooth, in which Milo enters a tollbooth, which makes him animated (he messes with this quite a bit, realizing what the tollbooth does), to get to the Kingdom of Wisdom.
  • A Deleted Scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit originally has Eddie Valiant gain an animated pig's head over his own head when he enters Toontown.
  • Happens to Milo the Jack Russell terrier at the end of The Mask after donning the Mask of Loki to fight off Dorian Tyrell's mooks.
  • The fish in the film adaptation of The Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers.
  • Zig-zag: Yellow Submarine caps off with the live action Beatles telling what they took with them from the movie as souvenirs (Paul's "love" appears in his hand animated), with John telling the others that singing will stave off an impending Blue Meanie attack.
  • The 1991 film Volere Volare, at the time touted as the "Italian Roger Rabbit", features a man dubbing sound effects for old cartoons suddenly turning into a cartoon character himself — with cartoon Male Frontal Nudity!
  • Hoomania is about a boy who gets transported into a board game where the pieces come alive. The scenes in the board game world are done in Claymation.
  • The Incredible Mr. Limpet has Don Knotts as a cartoon fish fighting Nazi subs.

  • There is a book called The Painted Cat about a world where many people are affected by a disease that causes them to permanently transform into toons during puberty. Is also possible for humans to turn themselves into toons temporarily using special paint and prosthetics.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This happens on Fringe, and even allowed Leonard Nimoy to make a guest appearance after his last live-action TV appearance.
  • If there had been another season of Quantum Leap, there were plans that Sam would leap into an animated character.
  • The second Eureka Christmas Episode "Do You See What I See", in which a wave of color turns the city into multiple styles of animation and cartoony effects, which also makes Jack's jeep come alive, Andy becoming a cartoonish robot, and Jo becoming a Disney-like princess. All of this was the result of an interactive storybook unexpectedly interfering with a large-scale holoprojector.
  • The 2006 Cartoon Network television movie Out of Jimmy's Head, where Golly temporarily turns Jimmy into a cartoon knight on a horse, to save Robin from being run over by a train.
  • There was a lot of this going on in the (partially animated) Farscape episode "Revenging Angel," which transitioned between "live action in the real world of the show" scenes, and the "live action cartoon scenes" and "animated cartoon sequences" inside John Crichton's head.
  • In Life On Mars as a result of accidentally ingesting a drug which one depends on whether Sam's really in a coma or really back in time, Sam has a hallucination in which he, Gene Hunt and a random sexual predator are all rendered in the same stop motion animation as in Camberwick Green.
  • In the Angel episode "Smile Time" Angel finds himself turned into a muppet like felt puppet, not strictly speaking a cartoon but related.
  • The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park has a live action little girl and the normally live action costumed Splits turning into cartoon figures after entering a mysterious billboard.
  • The intro to the TV special Free to Be, You and Me has all of the carousel riders eventually turning into animated characters when their horses detach from the carousel. They are also seen turning back during the ending sequence.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Scoobynatural" (a crossover with Scooby-Doo), Sam, Dean, and later Castiel all end up trapped inside the cartoon show, transforming them into animated characters in the process. As it turns out, the ghost in the episode is also from the "real" world.

    Music Videos 
  • The hero of the music video for Aha's "Take on Me" switches between being a drawing and live-action several times.
  • In his video "Wasting Your Time," Carlos Jean turns into a cartoon character after playing a toy piano and washing his face.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The '90s intro to Plaza Sésamo, where some of the puppets and kids get on a bus, and go through a strange rainbow, taking them to an animated Plaza Sésamo.
  • In the Sesame Street DVD special Elmo's Alphabet Challenge, Elmo, Telly and Abby Cadabby enter Abby's tablet computer and become CGI versions of themselves. At the end it's inverted, when the antagonist of the computer game follows them back to Sesame Street, and becomes a Muppet.

  • The late 90's/early 00's show at Disney MGM Studios, Disney's Doug Live!. It's the invert this time: Doug's animated friends jump out of the projected screen, and become live actors.

    Video Games 
  • In Skullgirls, Peacock used to be a girl named Patricia, but after being rescued from slave traders by the Anti-Skullgirls Lab, she was turned into a living weapon. Due to her love of cartoons and the psychological trauma she recieved from the slave traders, the weapons mostly manifest themselves as typical cartoon gags such as a falling flowerpot, Cartoon Bombs (that are alive) and using a Portable Hole to teleport.
  • In Toonstruck, Drew is injected with a "mutagen ink" by Count Nefarious that will gradually transform him into a Toon, leaving him unable to leave the cartoon world. When he does return to the real world later on, the stuff finally kicks in, Drew transforms, and he's immediately sucked back into the cartoon world.
  • In Stay Tooned!, once a group of cartoon characters jump out of your TV, the CGI apartment building you're in gets "tooned" into hand-drawn graphics. A live-action boy even gets changed in the process. Your objective is to search the apartment building and find the remote control that can send the toons back to TV Land and reverse this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • The Doodlebops Rockin Road Show, where the animated Doodlebops play their instruments to create a tornado, that turns the selected kid who needs help into an animated character.
  • The direct-to-video series The Wacky Adventures Of Ronald Mc Donald, where Ronald gets onto a type of slide, and turns into an animated caricature of himself.
  • Kidd Video - the band goes through a mirror after being taunted by Master Blaster (the Big Bad), and goes to the Flipside (an animated world) through a mirror.
  • The Simpsons: In the second segment of a Halloween episode Bart and Lisa were sucked into a Itchy and Scratchy cartoon.
  • Captain N: The Game Master, in which Kevin, and his dog Duke, played by live-action actors in a physical room, are sucked into Videoland by the Ultimate Warp Zone where they become cartoons..
  • Bobby's World, where Howie Mandel occasionally turns into a cartoon for the show, during the Cold Open.
  • Inverted several times in the opening theme for Jackie Chan Adventures.
  • This happens to Lucky Piquel in Bonkers, which is a curious case as he was already animated but he changes from a realistic looking Disney human into a miniscule comedic looking toon. Much to his dismay given his attitude to toon shenanigans being less than a glowing one.
  • The opening of The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley has a live-action Ed (in stop-motion animation) getting out of bed and putting on a cartoon Ed Grimley outfit.
  • The opening of season 3 of The Beatles cartoon has live still shots of the Beatles dissolving into their cartoon counterparts.
  • A later episode of The Real Ghostbusters had an evil spirit take the form of cartoon character Sammy K. Ferret, who comes to the real world and starts transforming people into toons (including Egon into a bird, Ray into a pig, and Winston into a dog.)

    Web Videos 
  • Hewy's Animated Movie Reviews has a studio in the second dimension, where Hewy can host guest co-reviewers who are 2-D themselves. It gets destroyed when he tries to duplicate Flint Lockwood's food machine from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
  • When sent to Cartoonland in Season 2 of World's Greatest Adventures, Rufus is transformed in an animated chalk-drawn stick figure.
  • The Cartoon Man saga revolves around several people who "transform into cartoon characters." However, aside from one character's eyes, they remain live-action. However, he transformation causes them to take on a more over-the-top appearance, act like cartoon characters, and operate under Toon Physics.
  • Reviewer Unshaved Mouse became a 2D cartoon character in June 2015, after spending years reviewing various animated movies.

Alternative Title(s): Turning Into A Cartoon


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