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Transformation Conventions

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If an animated series features an episode in which the characters change into animals, such as via a Transformation Ray or other piece of Applied Phlebotinum, the transformations, even if supposedly random, will often be surprisingly suitable, playing on Animal Stereotypes.

A Genius Bruiser or Gentle Giant will become a bear, rhino, elephant or other large mammal, which only increases his close combat abilities. The Fragile Speedster will become a cat or bird, which makes him faster. The Lancer will become a wolf or other canine, and the leader will also receive a suitable form, like lion or bird of prey. The chance of any given female character becoming a cat will be quite high, as will the odds of one character receiving an "ironic" animal form; for example, a taciturn, moody character becoming a fluffy bunny.


See also Personality Powers and Animal Motifs.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Ikumi Mia and Yoshida Reiko have stated that the kemonomimi of Tokyo Mew Mew were given suitable animal forms: Ichigo is a cute and wilful cat, Minto a prim and graceful bird, Retasu a sweet and shy porpoise, Bu-ling a lively and talented monkey, and Zakuro, well, a "lone wolf". A combination of this and Personality Powers.

     Comic Books  

  • An issue of the modern Super Friends comic had the JLA turned into various non-human primates. Superman became a gorilla (which is the strongest primate), Batman became a gibbon (one of the more agile primates), Green Lantern became a chimp (which uses tools), Flash became a patas monkey (which is the fastest primate), Aquaman became a proboscis monkey (which swims), and Wonder Woman became a bonobo (which is sexy...I mean peaceful).note 


  • Animorphs: While the team often uses the same morph, everyone's main combat morph is at least tangentially related to their personality: The Big Girl Rachel goes elephant or grizzly bear, The Leader Jake goes tiger, Cassie the Friend to All Living Things goes wolf, while Ax and Tobias keep their usual bodies due to being an Andalite with a bladed tail and stuck in the body of a hawk respectively. Subverted with Marco, who's a snarker and usually the first to look for holes in a plan, who has a gorilla that brute-forces his way through enemies (and despite being acknowledged as the single worst driver of the bunch, is the only one with a morph capable of driving).


     Video Games  

  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • This is one of the consequences of the "magical air" of the Dark World in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It is implied that most all of the monsters in the world, including Big Bad Ganon, are greedy and cruel humans transformed. And Link, of course, becomes a cute fluffy bunny as per his nice nature. Very life-affirming, but totally useless in fighting said monsters.
    • The Twilight Realm of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess transforms Link into a far more noble and combat-worthy wolf. Because the Triforce glows on Link's hand right before he transforms, we can assume that the Triforce intentionally caused this transformation to both protect Link and enable him to complete his quest.

     Western Animation  

  • In the Teen Titans (2003) episode "Bunny Raven", Mumbo changes Cyborg into a bear, Starfire into a tiger, Robin into a monkey and Raven into a bunny. As for Beast Boy who can already change into other animals? He gets changed into a lamp limiting his transformative abilities to inanimate objects.
  • In the Totally Spies! episode "Wild Style", Clover gets turned into a cat-girl. Later on, the same thing happens to Alex.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee has "The Great Escape" where June and a bunch of magical creatures are turned into animals so they can be kept captive and have their own magical powers drained from them by another magical creature named Gigi... it's a long story.
  • Ben10 frequently has the Omnitrix overriding Ben's choice of Alien Hero to match plot or comedy requirements.
  • In the Transformers franchise, most of the Transformers turn into something that suites either their personality or their function. 'Old' Transformers often choose military and public service vehicles, while 'young' Transformers have a tendency to choose new, hip, fast and badass cars. This happens even when they don't personally choose their alt mode. Hence, for example, the medic Ratchet became an ambulance, the dedicated soldier Ultra Magnus becomes a car carrier, fitting because he is a pillar of strength that the other Autobots rely on, and Sentinel Prime becomes a Snow Plow, because he's stubborn and a dipshit. There are also examples of the ironic alt-mode: for instance, Manta rays are gentle, easygoing creatures, but Depth Charge, who turns into one, is belligerent, violent, and obsessed with vengeance.
    • Worth pointing out that Depth Charge's other alt mode is a much more suiting starfighter, so he fits the trope twice in two different ways.
  • Somewhat justified in Visionaries: The heroes and villains were all given their animal forms by a wizard, based on abilities and personality traits they'd displayed in the quest to reach him.
  • In one episode of Disney's Hercules, the sorceress Circe turns Herc, Adonis and Icarus into animals. Cloud Cuckoolander Icarus becomes a duck-billed platypus and the vain Adonis changes into a peacock. Hercules, for some reason, is turned into a ring-tailed lemur, albeit a super-strong one.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: G.R.A.D.U.A.T.E.S." featured the children of the world being transformed into animals. Some Transformation Convention examples include Japanese KND Numbuh Three becoming a crane, fat Numbuh Two becoming a hippo, and Australian Numbuh Four becoming a koala. The best, though was the misanthropic Irish operative Numbuh 86 becoming a dog, at which a bystander commented "Well, that figures."
    • Interestingly enough, the Big Bad of the series, a shadowy man known as "Father", is hit with the animal transformation as well. He turns into a panther. Funnily enough, he still has the smoking pipe he always has still sticking out of his mouth.