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Transformation Fiction is a genre of fiction depicting a transformation or shapeshifting of one form or another. Whether it's a willing transformation or not depends on the piece of fiction, as well as whenever it's reversible or not, and whether they can transform or shapeshift into more than one type of being. The transformation would most likely be depicted as a Bit-by-Bit Transformation, but this isn't required.

While a piece of Transformation Fiction might have some Author Appeal or be slanted towards specific Fanservice, transformation can also be used to explore such themes as gender roles, racism, feelings of isolation/not belonging, and the maturation process.

Types of transformation seen in Transformation Fiction include but are not limited to:

This genre is Older Than Dirt. Almost every world mythology has tales involving Forced Transformations, Emergency Transformation, Transflormations, and Shapeshifters — the Youkai; The Fair Folk; Skin Walkers; the Norse, Greek, and Roman gods; the Djinn of the Middle East, the Coyote and Raven tales of Native American Lore and many more.

The transformation can be Played for Drama in a Beast and Beauty, Fish out of Water, or Freakiness Shame tale. Played For Fear with Transformation Horror or Played for Laughs or as An Aesop in a Trickster's tale. Transformations can begin The Hero's Journey and can have the story end either in a Downer Ending or a Bittersweet Ending, although examples of them ending with a Happy Ending also exist. Compare Henshin Hero (which is more about switching back and forth from a superpowered form). Compare Xenofiction (stories told from the viewpoint of a non-human-like character) See Transformation Causes for a list of possible ways one would transform or shapeshift into a different form within the story. See also Werewolf Works and Werebeast Works.

A Transformation Comic is a type of transformation fiction dealing with transformations within comics. May overlap with any trope in the Shapeshifting index.

As an important note, having a being who transforms or shapeshifts throughout the story doesn't mean the work is necessarily of this genre. In order to count, the transformation(s) have to be the focus of the story in some way.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • Digimon Frontier: The chosen transform into Digimon themselves so that they could save the digital world from threats.
  • Pom Poko is about tanuki using their shapeshifting powers to fight humans developing their forest home.

    Arts 

    Asian Animation 
  • GG Bond is about a hero pig who can transform into a variety of animals in combat. Later on, he has these powers transferred to his fellow teammates, with GG Bond himself keeping only one of the transformations.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • The Spiderses is a Troll Fic of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that involves Twilight Sparkle accidentally turning herself and Big Macintosh into spiders.
  • Medicated is about three human girls who were turned into anthropomorphic amphibians as infants, and explore their true forms after learning the truth.
  • PokÚumans is explicitly labeled as a TF fic, involving a society of humans that can turn into Pokemon and their underground Masquerade.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney & Pixar:
    • Beauty and the Beast: The back story of The Beast is that he was a human prince cursed into his current form as Laser-Guided Karma by a previously-disguised witch he refused to give hospitality of. The plot of the form involves him trying to win the heart of Belle (the titular "Beauty"), since the only way to break the curse is if he falls in love and whomever he fell in-love with loved him back.
    • Brother Bear is about a stone-age hunter who is transformed into a bear as punishment for killing a bear in anger.
    • In The Emperor's New Groove, the titular Emperor Kuzco is changed into a llama. The movie is mostly about him trying to get back to his palace and finding a cure.
    • The Little Mermaid (1989), like the original, involves the titular mermaid transforming into a human so that she could be with her love. It goes further than the original story, though, by showing how she tries to adapt to society.
    • The Princess and the Frog is about two people being transformed into frogs and are trying to find a way to transform back.
    • The Sword in the Stone: Merlin transforms Arthur and himself into animals several times, including into squirrels, fish and a full on Shapeshifter Showdown with Madame Mim.
    • Turning Red revolves around a 13-year-old girl who discovers she can transform into a large red panda when she experiences strong emotion.
  • The title of Help! I'm a Fish sums up the fact that it's about a group of people being transformed into fish. Of course, this is only part of the plot - the other part is to obtain the potion that'll reverse the transformation effect from a gangster fish who got partially transformed into a human by said potion and became sentient as the result.
  • Spies in Disguise is about a secret agent who is accidentally transformed into a pigeon.
  • NIMONA (2023) centers on a teen with magical shapeshifting abilities.
  • Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken centers on the titular girl discovering that she transforms into a powerful kaiju-sized kraken whenever she's submerged in seawater. She tries to tackle this revelation, especially after knowing there's a popular new girl who transforms into a rivaling mermaid.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • The Animorphs book series is about a group of teenagers being granted with the ability to shapeshift into any animal they touched by an alien. They can actually turn into any species, but most often use animals by necessity and circumstance on Earth. (The teens are eventually joined by a relative of said alien as the books go on.)
  • Chakona Space: Dale Perkins (AKA Goldendale) gets his story kicked off by a Teleporter Accident. Several other stories wind up doing a little of this for similar reasons.
  • Dr. Franklin's Island spends three chapters as a Robinsonade but after that the main characters are captured by the owner of the island, who's been turning animals into partly-human hybrids and sees this as the perfect chance to start testing on humans. The whole of the rest of the book is the terror of anticipation, the Slow Transformation, and trying to live with it and find a way to escape and maybe turn back after it's done.
  • Metamor Keep is a shared writing universe based on a kingdom under a Curse that transforms anyone who spends too much time there into either an anthropomorphic animal, the opposite gender, or a child. Many of the original authors are also associated with the Transformation Story Archive.
  • Ovid's Metamorphoses is a collection of poems about Roman mythology revolving around a central theme of people transforming or metamorphosing in various ways.
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a surrealist novella that begins with the main character waking up to find himself transformed into a giant bug.
  • Secret Vampire is a book in the Night World that details a teenage girl transforming into a vampire when she learns she's dying of cancer, as well as the aftermath.
  • The Silver Throne: Many humans, including Queen Elizabeth II, transform into dragons and have to deal with what comes next.
  • Spitfire is a Web Serial Novel that deals fairly heavily with transformation as a way to explore gender norms and themes of legacy and stability.
  • The Switchers trilogy is about a group of protagonists with the ability to shapeshift. The trilogy explores into the possibilities of such power as well as the downsides in using them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Animorphs is a live-action adaptation of the books of the same name.
  • In H₂O: Just Add Water, three teenagers end up in getting turned into mermaids after swimming in a magical pool of water while a full moon was over it. While they do have human forms, if a single drop of water is on them for 10 seconds, their tail returns to replace their legs. This complicates their personal lives as they aim to keep their transformation a secret, even from their families.
  • The Ultraman franchise completely centers itself around humans transforming into giant extraterrestrial warriors to battle rampaging Kaiju.

    Video Games 
  • Blush Blush, the male-focused sequel to Crush Crush, has magical water curse a variety of attractive guys into the forms of sentient animals. The only way they can be cured is by dating them and then giving them True Love's Kiss, with a regular kiss before that point granting the men a Little Bit Beastly form.
  • Changed is an adventure-horror game in which a human wakes up in a lab that has been taken over by various synthetic latex animals, which all attempt to assimilate the human and "transfur" their mind and body.
  • In Dark Chronicle, Monica's special ability is to use monster badges to morph into different types of monsters. While this allows her to communicate with the enemies in dungeons, which is rarely required to solve a puzzle, it's primarily used for fighting.
  • The main gameplay element of Dr. Muto is the Mad Scientist in question's ability to transform into various animals. You start off with a mouse form and collect more by gathering DNA samples.
  • Fear & Hunger has "Marriage", in which two characters that engage in a profane rite undergo a Fusion Dance into a grotesque, but potentially far more powerful, form; this act can be done by the player character, and many of the bosses were created by Marriage, though some backfired spectacularly. Its sequel, Fear & Hunger: Termina, also features body horror transformations, as every character besides the chosen main protagonist that lives long enough to go insane will be "moonscorched", turning from a regular human into an abominable manifestation of their own greatest fears.
  • A few games in The Legend of Zelda series involve transformation as a focus of the plot:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the plot's kicked off by the Skull Kid transforming him into a Deku Scrub. When he transforms back, he is given a mask that'll allow him to transform between his Hylian form and his Deku Scrub form at will. He can then find a few new masks to transform into members of various other races, namely Goron, Zora and a deity.
    • The story of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess involves transformation between a wolf form and a Hylian form. Initially, this transformation only happens whenever he visits the Twilight realm. However, after he has been cursed to assume the wolf form even outside said realm and then having said curse removed by the Master Sword, he gains the ability to switch between forms at will.
  • The plot of almost all the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games involves an amnesiacnote  human who had been transformed into a Pokémon, as well as they and their partner's attempts to find out who they were originallynote , how they've turned into Pokémon and why they've turned into Pokémon.
  • In String Tyrant transformation is a major part of the game, the enemies wandering the halls will transform the player and the player will then hunt down and transform their former friends.
  • One of the main gameplay gimmicks of Threads of Fate involves transforming into various monsters you've slayed throughout the game.
  • Witch Hunter Izana: Transformation is a major part of the game, with one of the primary combat mechanics being transformed mid combat. Get too transformed and you join the enemies side until the character is smacked back to sense. There's even approximately 20 forms to be turned into, and bad ends for what gets you.
  • The plot of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap involves the main character slaying a dragon, and getting transformed into a lizardman as a punishment. As the game progresses, he transforms into more animal-man forms with different abilities.

    Visual Novels 
  • Changeling Tale focuses on its cast of characters from 1900's Scotland being transformed by fae magic into a variety of mythical creatures, such as Cait Sith and a Stock Ness Monster.
  • Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme has a lab experiment result in numerous cases of Gender Bender, with a focus on multiple characters acclimating to their new status quos. Due to the lab's further experiments, other types of physical transformation occur during the story, such as Animorphism.
    • Max's Big Bust: A Captain Nekorai Tale, set in the same universe as DNA Twister, focuses on a male police officer and his associates attempting to stop the trafficking of a drug that can induce sudden transformations. In the process, the officer is transformed physically and mentally into a ditzy girl, and many other characters experience physical transformations. In the sequel, Max's Bigger Bust, further changes occur, such as Max fully regaining her mental competence.
    • My Mad Scientist Roommate Turned Me Into Her Personal Robotic Battle Maiden?!?, also set in the DNA Twister universe, focuses on a man named Sam whose mind is forcibly downloaded into a female robot body by his criminally insane roommate and their quest to return to normality. Along the way, the rest of the cast also undergo transformations, such as the titular roommate turning into a Cat Girl.
  • Mice Tea focuses primarily on Animorphism, with the titular tea enabling ordinary people to transform into animal-human hybrids or even completely into an animal form. However, some routes also feature other forms of transformation, such as Mental Change caused by exposure to hypnotic influence.
  • The Pirate's Fate takes place in a World of Funny Animals with pirate crews searching for magical coins that can transform both body and mind, altering the main cast's weight, species, gender identities, and even history.
  • Royale Harem takes place in a World of Funny Animals wherein twelve competing members of royalty, including the Heroic Bastard main protagonist, decide to settle which one of them should control the world by using magic to physically and mentally transform those they're scheming against into members of their own Royal Harem.

    Websites 
  • Searching for the term "TF" on art sites like DeviantArt tends to bring up pictures or pieces of literature of someone transforming into a creature or pre-existing character, alongside some stuff related to Transformers.
  • The Transformation Stories Archive is an old (currently defunct) site dedicated to amateur writing about transformations.
  • Shifti, spiritual successor to the Transformation Stories Archive, is another web story archive dedicated to transformation stories (such as Paradise).

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long focuses on a teenage dragon in New York with the ability to shift to and from human form. Dragons serve as the protectors of the secret magical realm, using their human forms to blend in the mundane world while their powerful dragon forms to fight off magical threats and the Huntsclan.
  • The titular character of Ben 10 has a watch that allows him to temporary transform into a limited variety of aliens.
  • Dino Squad follows a group of five teenagers gaining the power to transform into multiple types of dinosaurs upon being exposed to "primordial ooze."
  • The titular character of Martin Morning inexplicably transforms into a new character every morning, with his environment and past often changing as a side-effect as well. For example, in the episode "No Pictures, Please!", where Martin wakes up as a movie actor, his room is filled with posters of various movies he's acted in, and a talent manager and makeup artist are waiting for him in the kitchen to take him to the film studio to act in a new movie.


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