Follow TV Tropes


Transformation Is a Free Action

Go To

"I just love how easy it is to get away with this sh*t with you people! I want to transform, you just sit there and let me! I want to blow the planet up, you just sit there and let me! I want to reach 100% power, AND YOU JUST SIT RIGHT THERE AND LET ME!"

Why are you just standing there? She's totally going to kick your ass when she's done transforming. Oooooh! You're doing that thing where you're being uncharacteristically chivalrous even though you just murdered her entire defenseless family for some cheap laughs. Well, it's your funeral, buddy.

This is where a character will obligingly wait for another character to finish his transformation before proceeding to bloody murder. This is separate from a Transformation Sequence in that while the sequence can be ignored, in this case it IS ignored.

Characters may have several reasons for doing this.

Whatever the case may be, it ultimately comes down to the character being Genre Blind, and it rarely works out in their favor. Overall, whether you're okay with this trope or not reflects your stance on Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

Even if the villains attempt to attack the hero mid-transformation, usually a magical barrier of some sort knocks weapons, attacks, and even bodies away. This most commonly happens with the Henshin Hero, though there are a few other examples outside of this.

Works that don't normally feature a Henshin Hero as a protagonist sometimes parody this by having a nameless extra being shot and killed in the middle of transforming. When a straight example of a Henshin Hero subverts this trope however, it tends to take the form of making the initial triggering of the transformation the part that can be interrupted instead of the sequence proper, so whilst the transformation itself is a free action, pulling out the Transformation Trinket and activating it isn't.

Sub-trope of Transformation Sequence. Compare Distracting Disambiguation, Talking Is a Free Action. Somewhat related to Mook Chivalry.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Zig-zagged in Attack on Titan. When Eren attempts to transform in the presence of enemies, they take immediate or preventative measures to prevent him from doing so, and usually are successful. When enemy Shifters transform, all the protagonists attack with lethal force to stop them, and usually fail.
    • Averted with Lara Tybur's first transformation into the War Hammer Titan. While her Titan body is still in the process of forming, Eren attacks her, punching her in her fleshy face, knocking her to the ground, and continuing to relentlessly pummel her afterwards.
    • Also, in general, when a Titan Shifter begins to transform, most people cannot attack during so due to the large release of hot steam and a burst of energy, which is almost akin to lightning. So, unless you're a Titan, any human close to the Shifter would either be blown away or cooked by the steam and energy. Colt Grice ends up being killed when his brother Falco, who's standing next to him, is involuntarily turned into a Titan, while Eren handcuffs Pieck to a hostage in order to discourage her from transforming.
  • Bakugan:
    • The show subverted this, mostly in the second arc of Mechtanium Surge. At the very beginning, as Gunz was preparing to throw Reptak out, he was struck by Mechtavius Destroyer. In many of the battles, Wiseman would order an attack before the Bakugan got to combine. Most notably in the episode "Evil vs. Evil" when Mechtavius Destroyer won't let Betadron, Kodokor, and Mutabrid combine and actually kills Mutabrid in the process. Surprisingly, he didn't try this in his battle against the Brawlers three episodes from then.
    • In the episode "Enemy Allies", he actually attacked Dan upon his attempt to call Dragonoid Destroyer. This was also played with in "Enemy Infiltration" when Mandibor tried to stop Radizen and Roxtor from combining; however, he missed due to the animation of their combination (they leap into the air and hold each other; Mandior aimed at the ground they were standing on).
  • Played straight in Berserk for most of the time: When Apostles go One-Winged Angel, people tend to become so scared that they are unable to do anything else but stare in horror. Averted later when Guts gets to wear the Berserker Armor for the first time. Guts hacks the Apostles down so fast that one of them complains about it:
    No... no fair! Attacking while we're transforming!
  • Parodied in The Big O. Recurring Harmless Villain Beck has executed yet another plan to defeat the protagonist, this time employing a Combining Mecha. The mecha executes a lengthy assembly complete with heroic cries, sparklies, and 70's music. During said transformation, the protagonist is unconcernedly fixing his tie and donning a new watch. The two mechas face off and Beck's begins the lengthy preparation for an attack. In the midst of the ensuing attack prep, Big O opens up a Gatling gun and demolishes Beck in two seconds. And it was awesome.
  • Bleach transformations are almost never interrupted and there's no real good explanation as to why.
    • Except for Byakuya Kuchiki getting his Senbonzakura halted by Yoruichi in the middle of transformation, and being forced to block one of Renji's attacks before he could release his shikai.
    • Grimmjow Jeagerjaques was also a very unlucky guy. He tried transforming twice before his final battle with Ichigo, but he is first interrupted by Tousen, and later by Ulquiorra. In both cases, Grimmjow was stopped before he could finish his activation phrase, rather than having the transformation itself interrupted.
    • When Nelliel started transforming, Nnoitra went "Oh, Crap!" and tried to attack her, but her Battle Aura knocked him back.
    • While Tesra is beating the crap out of Ichigo, Ichigo sees Nnoitra threatening Orihime. He gets angry, starts to get a Heroic Second Wind, and starts powering up. Tesra suddenly breaks his arm, crippling him with pain and cutting his power up off.
    • While technically it wasn't stopping the transformation, Soifon managed to land two lethal strikes on Ggio Vega while he was busy activating his final form.
    • Aizen's "transformation" after fusing with the Hogyoku averts this to the extreme, taking a very long time to completely during which everyone feels free to attack him (not that most of the attacks do anything).
  • Also averted in Blue Dragon, a robot is going to transform into a big robot, much to Kluke's excitement, but Zora blows it up before it can finish.
  • Mostly played straight in Coffin Princess Chaika. When Toru and Akari undergo their Iron Blood Form transformation, they have to chant an incantation that takes a few seconds to complete. A few times, the two took measures to distract enemies so they could finish it uninterrupted. However, no one has ever actually tried to stop them from doing it, even when standing right in front of them.
  • Usually played straight in Cutey Honey, but not always, as in the original manga and a few other versions Honey can and will attack the enemy during her own transformation sequence. Justified by Honey's nature: straddling the line between Artificial Human and android and having inside herself a device that destroys and recreates things, including her clothes, literally from thin air, Honey acquires the power to fight at the start of the sequence while she's getting stripped naked, the rest is the clothes and items of the form being created, and she's pragmatic enough to punch them in the split second they're distracted from her suddenly getting naked.
  • In the second season of Darker than Black, Suoh has a very traditional Magical Girl transformation sequence which so far has been played straight, to the extent no one comments on her being defenseless during the transformation period (she hasn't been in combat yet though). On the other hand, there is something of an aversion of the trope in the times where Hei, the Anti-Hero has killed Contractors before they could complete their Remumeration and "recharge" their powers.
  • The Demon Girl Next Door brings two examples; Episode 8 of the anime adaptation shows them both without their usual fanfare to demonstrate how fast they actually take.
  • Though usually played absolutely straight in Digimon, in the movie "Our War Game", Infermon is smart enough to attack Greymon and Kabuterimon before they can finish digivolving. Later in the movie, when he's already fighting WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon, he Digivolves to Diaboromon and immobilizes Patamon before he can Digivolve and give him someone else to have to fight.
    • Lampshaded in Abridgimon:
      Tai: Well that only took, like, five hours. You do realize that we could all be dead right now.
      Agumon: Tai, if you don't shut up, I'm gonna eat your parents.
    • The aforementioned subversion took place in the internet, where Infermon was particularly adapted. Normally, the sequence is instant to outside observers.
    • Digimon Adventure: (2020) has Digivolutions mostly take place in real time instead of using stock footage (with the exception of Agumon from episode 4 on). In the very first episode, Agumon stops his enemy's attack mid-Digivolution and completes the transformation to Greymon while restraining the enemy at the same time.
  • Parodied in Dorothy of Oz, as Mara's Transformation Sequence involves her clothes tearing themselves apart and reforming in real time. The reason why nobody attacks her is so that they can enjoy the stripperific Fanservice.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The franchise has quite a reputation for this. After two decades of parody, most viewers expect at least five minutes of some guy glowing, getting bulkier, and going "AAAAARRGGGGHHHHH" with nobody doing anything about it besides commenting on how much stronger he's getting. In practice, powering up more "normal" attacks tended to go exactly like this (especially as the series wore on), but really dramatic ones (the Spirit Bomb, infamously, was interrupted the first three times Goku tried to use it) and major transformations almost always had the enemy at least trying to disrupt them. Sometimes it worked, usually not.
    • In the original Dragon Ball, Goku ran up and punched King Piccolo in the gut while he was powering up, and chided him for leaving himself open.
    • A notable example of characters trying to subvert this and failing: in the Cell Saga, when Cell finally achieves his "Perfect" body, the transformation takes quite some time. Future Trunks immediately tries to destroy Cell, but the mere Battle Aura that the villain sheds during the metamorphosis is more than enough to protect him from any assaults.
    • In the Namek saga, Captain Ginyu threw a boulder and then a few energy blasts at Goku while he was powering up, only for Goku's Battle Aura to protect him.
    • Broly got away with doing this because there was literally nothing anyone could do to stop him. None of their attacks were doing anything and after a while all they could do was just stare in disbelief as he grew even stronger.
    • Another interesting case: in the Freeza saga, The Hero Goku lets Big Bad Freeza power up to 100% so he can prove to the genocidal villain that he's no threat to a Super Saiyan. Goku later explains this to Freeza in what is likely the greatest blow he could make to Freeza, as it struck his ego.
      • Somewhat earlier, when Goku is going Super Saiyan, Freeza, confident that Goku was no threat to him, just stands there watching him, not sure of what Goku was doing until after the change. Could be possible that Goku felt like he was just returning the favor when he let Freeza power up. Although, most of that was because Freeza had no clue what was happening to Goku. He can't sense energy so he couldn't tell that Goku was getting stronger. Before then, the only known Saiyan transformation was their Great Ape forms.
      • In the manga, Goku turns into a Super Saiyan on Namek in a single panel instead of a three-minute gruntfest, so Freeza obviously didn't have any time to respond.
    • A notable parody is when Trunks and Goten try to do their Fusion Dance against Majin Buu. Before they can manage, he quickly strikes and punches them. However, they manage to make him wait for the fusion by convincing him how cool the result will be.
    • In Battle of Gods, the heroes figuring out how Goku can become a Super Saiyan God is inter-cut with Beerus relaxing with a soda. This particular example is actually justified, because Beerus is only there in the first place so he can find this mythical being and have a good fight, so he has nothing to gain by interrupting them.
    • In Dragon Ball GT, this is subverted during the final battle with Super Yixinglong. SS4 Gogeta completely had him outmatched in every way, but when the Fusion wore off sooner than they expected (likely the SS4 form was straining the Fusion), Super Yixinglong would not and did not allow them to fuse again, interrupting them whenever they tried.
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • While powering up to Super Saiyan Blue against Freeza, Goku closes his eyes. Freeza considers blasting him, but Goku - without looking - reminds Freeza that he can sense him and tells him to knock it off.
      • Champa orders Hit to attack Goku while he is powering up, but he refuses because he considers Goku a Worthy Opponent and wants to fight him at his best.
      • In the manga, when Goku Black and Future Zamasu are about to do a Potara Fusion, Goku quickly realizes what they're doing and immediately tries to stop them. Unfortunately, he is not able to blast them in time for them to fuse together into Fused Zamasu.
      • When the Kamikaze Fireballs begin lengthy Transformation Sequences (being parodies of Magical Girls), Android 17 just blasts them in the middle of it. Toppo gets angry at him, saying it's unjust to attack someone in the middle of a transformation (he's a sentai parody, so it's understandable he'd think that way). Goku and Vegeta let it happen mostly because they enjoy fighting people at their strongest, and wanted to see what kind of power the trio had. 17 is ultimately convinced to stand down and let them finish. This one is odd, however, as in their initial appearance, it was shown the Fireballs' transformation was of the "instant magical girl transformation" variety.
  • Generally played straight a few times in Fairy Tail, mostly with Erza's transformations into her magical suits of armor. Episode 8 of the anime involves her transforming right in front of the face of the enemy, and he doesn't do a thing. In fact it's stated outright that part of Erza's strength is the speed at which she can switch weapons and armor. She effectively has this as an explicit ability. Anime's Adaptation Expansion of the Pandemonium battle showcases that in detail as she swaps gear on the fly to deal with different abilities of the demons she's facing, such as swapping to a fire-resistant armor in the split second between a fireball being launched and actually reaching her.
  • Parodied in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA 2wei!, where Rin and Luvia faceplant into a bog and Illya and Miu transform to fish them out. During the entire sequence you can hear Rin and Luvia struggling for their lives in the background while the girls undergo the lengthy transformation and when it's done Rin and Luvia appear to be lifeless and motionless in the muck. When pulled out Rin asks why they took so long to rescue them.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • During their first encounter in the sewers, Bradley cuts off Greed's arm and manage to capture him before Greed could attempt to transform his entire body into protective armor. Notably, the transformation only takes a second or two and doesn't immobilize Greed at all, so interruption shouldn't be an issue; Bradley is just that fast.
    • Ed tricks Zampano into transforming from his chimera form into his human form by claiming that he can't trust that they're on the same side due to not having seen him before. When Zampano takes the bait and transforms, Ed bashes him on the head and mocks him for falling for it; Ed's goal all along was to stop Zampano and his partner from capturing or killing Scar before Ed could get to him.
    • Played straight with Envy, since their transformations are usually fast and thus don't really give their opponent an advantage. However, subverted when Hawkeye sees through Envy's Mustang guise, and shoots them as they revert back.
  • A Zonder has tried to attack GaoGaiGar mid-Final Fusion at least twice. The first one couldn't even get past the swirling energy barrier, and the second got through, only to be knocked right back out by GaiGar himself, who interrupted the combination on his own to force him back out.
    • EI-15 (GGG Spare Parts Robo) got through too, and at a time when the Final Fusion program was disabled, forcing GGG members to pilot the GaoMachines. Big Volfogg grappled the Zonder to get it off.
    • During the Final OVA, Palpareppa allows Guy to perform Final Fusion into GaoFaiGar before him uninterrupted, as he wanted to allow Guy a chance to fight him on an even footing before crushing him. In a later episode, he appears to allow Guy in the restored GaiGar complete Final Fusion into Genesic GaoGaiGar even though he expresses shock at the Genesic Gao Machines revealing themselves.
    • An amusing spin on this trope also happens in the first episode of Final: The reason Gimlet wasn't able to lay a finger on GaoFighGar during its transformation sequence is because the Gao Machines smashed into him a few times during it.
    • The earlier Brave show The Brave Express Might Gaine actually did feature at least one incident involving a villain interrupting the gattai sequence. To explain: said villain managed to succeed in preventing the combination of the individual Braves using the robots Raijin and Jinrai, by firing an anti-combine magnet from the base and having Raijin and Jinrai surround it to disrupt the combination. Luckily, Might Gunner ended it by firing at the ship's antenna which provided the anti-combination mechanism, and the villain gets it. By having said villain's ship getting rammed with the good guys' combined ultimate Finishing Move: Joint Dragon Fire.
    • Brave Police J-Decker also features a funny moment in which a giant panda grabs Deckerd mid-transformation and starts playing with him like one of the action figures he exists to market.
  • Getter Robo:
    • In Getter Robo Armageddon, they actually subvert it when Shin Getter Robo catches Invader Dragon Machine before it can combine with Liger and Poseidon to become Invader Getter Dragon, due to the Original Getter Team being far more skilled with their craft and finishing their combination first. Ryouma even taunts the pilot, Professor Saotome, before destroying the plane. This was adapted from a similar scene in the Shin Getter Robo manga. An earlier scene has Ryoma and Musashi attempting to recombine their Getter Machines into Getter Robo One, with an autopilot-controlled Getter One ship unable to keep up and getting destroyed by the Invaders.
    • In other Getter Robo media, some of their transformations are justifiably uninterrupted because they either make use of obstructions to combine outside of the enemies' field of vision, or because they have become skilled enough to combine their Getter Machines at extremely high speeds, faster than their foes can track accurately.
  • Considering how much Godannar enjoys playing with anime-tropes, it comes as no great surprise that Dannar and Okusaer can perform their minute-long combination into Godannar, literally while the enemies are in mid-jump.
  • The Gundam franchise, being a set of Real Robot shows, is generally known to avert this trope.
    • Probably with the exception of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, one example being that G-Armor has to hide behind a hill to separate into G-Fighter and Gundam.
    • Averted in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, Usso's forced to run around without the Leg Flyer of the V Gundam after its shot down until they can get a new one set up for him. It's later recreated in the Game Boy game, Super Robot Wars 2 G.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn justifies this whenever the RX-0 goes into Destroy-mode: the Unicorn deploys an I-field around itself while it transforms, so firing on it while it does so would be a waste of time and energy.
      • In the side-story U.C. 0096: Last Sun, the Unit 2 and 3 Unicorns "Banshee" and "Phenix", come under attack by a Rebawoo, a ZZ-era Neo Zeon suit modified with Psychoframe technology. The Phenix freaks out and transforms into its NT-D mode. Before the Banshee follows suit to stop its rampage, the Phenix averts this by grabbing the Banshee's horn to prevent it from transforming then chops its head off.
    • Played straight with Shinn's Impulse Gundam in SEED Destiny: no matter how opportune the moment is for an enemy to simply destroy the Core Splendor or the Flyers while they combine (especially considering the Core Splendor jettisons its missile packs, the only means by which the Impulse can defend its flyers pre-combination), they never do. Especially egregious when the Impulse's sudden appearance and subsequent transformation can stun an Alliance mobile armor and its three pilots into panicked staring for about forty seconds, and, later, Kira Yamato. Kira at least has the excuse that he lowered his weapons upon seemingly delivering crippling damage (Kira being strict to his principles of not wanting to kill Shinn, something Shinn exploits in their fight repeatedly) and Shinn ejected the damaged upper body at him and blew it up with his machine guns in response, which knocked Kira into the ground to the point where by the time he got Freedom Gundam back in the air Impulse had already swapped it's parts. The Alliance pilots have no justification, they just stand there and watch.
    • Played with for all its worth in Gundam Build Fighters Try. The Winning/Star Winning Gundam is an SD with multiple forms and many opponents will try to take potshots at it. However, the Gundam Trion 3 does its amazing Super Robot transformation... and stuns everyone stupid because of it. In the latter case, it turns out the maker had a barrier set up to ensure no one can attack the Tryon 3 during the transformation sequence.
    • Justified with the Asshimar in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, which uses magnetic coating allowing it to transform in less than a second.
  • The Guyver's transformation pretty much can't be stopped because it creates a massive Sphere of Destruction. It also takes place rather quickly. Yoshiki Takaya is a major Kamen Rider fan, so this may be an intentional Lampshade Hanging.
  • Hellsing Ultimate subverts this when Alucard releases Restraint Level Zero. Both the papal knights and Millennium's forces attack him all out in a desperate attempt to stop his transformation and actually deal some damage, but the damage is nothing to Alucard, and his transformation goes off unimpeded.
  • High School D×D:
    • Raynare impaled Issei while he was powering up. Issei's vulnerability as he warmed up is a glaring weakness early on and one of the first hurdles his Training from Hell has to tackle.
    • Issei wonders why Maou Ranger Red actually Sirzechs in disguise but Issei knew right away didn't attack him while he was transforming into his Balance Breaker. His response:
    Maou Ranger Red: "It's a rule that you can't attack while transforming."
    • The anime adaption only shows Balance Breaker transformations once each. Issei's happens so out of left field that his opponent gawking for a moment is entirely reasonable, and Vali was plainly just showing off and was under no threat from the "enemies" he was about to defect to anyway. Later transformations happen almost instantly, and usually before entering combat.
    • Handwaved with Juggernaut Drive. While there is a lengthy invocation, the user's power is skyrocketing during the process. If they're that far gone, you're dead already.
  • The trope itself is mentioned by Megane in Inazuma Eleven after an Otaku opponent subverted Talking Is a Free Action and tried to steal the ball from him in mid-speech:
    Megane: How dare you attack in the middle of a stirring lecture or a fusion! As a robot otaku, you fail!
  • Likewise averted in Inuyasha, whose transformations to and from his human mode were involuntary, and only took a heartbeat, although the dramatic representation in the anime usually took about three times as long as the transformation itself took. Notable is that InuYasha rarely cut himself any slack just because he was in human form, once he started accumulating True Companions.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: In the Climax of Part 5 Giorno uses the Stand Arrow out of desperation to transform his own stand to defeat Diavolo. During this however it seems to leave his stand, Gold Experience, immobile during the process. Diavolo sees a chance to kill Giorno while this is happening. Thankfully the transformation finishes right before he strikes.
  • Kill la Kill succinctly demonstrates why nobody attacks Ryuko during the transformation sequence simply by showing what it looks like to the outside observer. Tsumugu is at least smart enough to attack her before she can initiate her transformation. It's also noteworthy that that picture is from an early point in the series when she's experiencing technical difficulties with her Kamui. Later on, her transformation is shown to be instantaneous and involve little more than some star-shaped sparkles and a flash of light.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • A mage's combat transformation is pretty elaborate (especially for female mages), taking up almost a minute of screen time. However, as shown as early as the second episode, the in-universe transformation time is a couple of seconds and the transformation creates a barrier. The second Monster of the Week actually attacked Nanoha while she was transforming. He went 'tink!'
    • On two separate occasions in A's, Vita attacks Nanoha before she can transform. The first time, she resumes immediately after Nanoha finishes transforming, before she can even get her bearings back. The second time, Nanoha strolls Out of the Inferno fully-transformed, to Vita's utter shock.
    • In the first episode of StrikerS, Hayate transforms on-screen in mid-stride without missing a beat, with glowing particles breaking away from her barrier jacket as she runs towards the action.
  • Played straight in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Like many magical girl shows, this one has extremely long transformation scenes that never get interrupted.
  • Averted in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Ilulu starts to shift into her true form during her fight against Tohru, only to get blasted into unconscousness before she can finish. All other transformations in the series either happen with both combatants at once or outside of combat altogether.
  • Averted in Naruto where most transformations are almost instantaneous, and the few that aren't (Gaara's partial Shukaku transformation) happen gradually and clearly in real time. Also, even though Naruto using his Superpowered Evil Side is pretty quick, Sasuke was able to put him under a genjutsu that forced him out of it right as he was using it.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi averts this with Kotaro, who usually transforms into his demon form more or less instantaneously. Later played straight when Negi pulls out his Black Magic transformation against Jack Rakan, and Rakan doesn't do anything to stop him, allowing Negi to turn into lightning, literally, and beat the crap out of him.
    • And when he transforms again into Raiten Taisou 2, this time Kotaro has to cover him for 43 seconds.
    • And then there was that time in the Mahora Festival Tournament Arc where Kotaro decided to change into his demon form only for Ku:Nel Sanders to squash him repeatedly with gravity magic while he's in mid-transformation until he finally fell unconscious.
  • Lampshaded in Nowhere Boy:
    Fox Gahee: "What are you doing!? This isn't the time to be dawdling around! Our Hyun's in danger!
    Oh Duk Hee: "No. During transformation, there is no danger. That is the law of the transforming genre."
  • Justified in Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R, which makes a point of establishing in the first episode that the "Chan-G" takes only a few milliseconds in real-time.
  • One Piece:
    • A justified example occurs during the Thriller Bark arc, when Franky initiates the "Pirate Docking 6" Giant Robot Warrior with the crew (read: just stacking on top of one another) to try and defeat the giant zombie Oars. When Robin refuses to dock as the left arm because it's too embarrassing, we see Oars himself was watching excitedly in anticipation, and is very disappointed when they don't finish.
    • The Whole Cake Island arc subverts it thrice:
      • During Pedro's fight with Tamago, the latter is going through a second transformation, but Pedro doesn't feel fighting a stronger form and wants to finish him off while in the middle of the transformation. The Mooks try to protect Tamago from Pedro who then in turns blows himself up to kill everyone...except he is saved from his explosives by Chopper and Carrot.
      • At one point during Luffy's fight with Katakuri, the former tries to use his Gear 4th on him, but his enemy can see through the obvious power-up and stops him from doing so.
      • At the climax of the arc, when Pekoms attempts to transform into his Sulong form, Big Mom's crew attack him in the middle of his transformation since they are all fully aware of his transformed form and how it works. They even try to gauge out Pekoms's eyes to prevent him from looking at the full moon and to take away his ability to transform forever.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the series, all outside actions stop when the battles start, even when someone is in the middle of executing an evil plot that the protagonists have just meddled in. In the TV special The Legend of Thunder, though, Marina (literally) tosses her Misdreavus into a two-on-one battle, and everyone stops what they're doing — even the villains in the process of capturing the elusive and powerful Raikou — to either watch or order Pokémon around... but then Attila gets an idea.
      Attila: Just 'cause they're busy doesn't mean I can't round up Thunder-Wonder. (reaches mechanical claws out to grab the nearly-fainted Raikou)
    • Also, whenever a Pokémon evolves, it's allowed to finish doing so, regardless of what was happening prior. In official battles, this is likely a polite thing to do, but even evil teams politely wait for them to finish. Considering they turn into energy during their transformation, it may simply be useless (or even dangerous) to attempt attacking them during evolution.
  • In the Powerpuff Girls Z anime, the girls (separately or together), usually get shown in a fairly length transformation sequence, although it's often ambiguous as to just how much time this transformation takes from the perspective of other characters (it seems very little time probably actually passes). However in one particular example, the girls' transformations were prevented by the episodes villain (a demonically-charged kabuki-actor) magically causing them to begin crying non-stop. It then became a plot-point that they had to try to get Peach the digital dog to remotely auto-activate their transformation sequence for them (he was asleep back at the lab at the time).
  • Pretty Cure has justified this in two different ways. The original series had the transformation take place inside what seemed to be a barrier of light, while later casts have had scenes where the transformation is seen as nothing but a brief flash of light, implying that (like in Sailor Moon) it isn't really as time-consuming as what we're shown. This is most commonly seen in the movies because they, being longer than episodes of the show, are more likely to have the cast need to transform multiple times.
    • In one of the episodes in the second half of the first series, the Cures completed their demand for the creature of darkness to return from whence it came, only to discover that the creature of darkness had returned from whence it came (or at least run off to carry out her evil plan elsewhere) during the transformation.
    • Suite Pretty Cure ♪ has an opening before the credits where the badguys are just sitting around watching the Pretty Cures' Transformation Sequence on TV in their lair for no reason but to lampshade this trope.
    • In Doki Doki! PreCure, normal security cameras somehow managed to capture Mana's first transformation on video.
    • Explained in a live TV show in Japan. Apparently the light energy is so strong that it can power entire Japan 21 times over, so any bad guy who jumped into that will be vaporized immediately. Then a commentator thinks of a way to weaponize that...
  • Transformations in Puella Magi Madoka Magica are relatively short, and we can see on Episode 10 that they are instantaneous. Apparently, the eye candy scenes are for the viewer only.
  • This is normally played straight in Ronin Warriors, except for Episode 3, where Anubis repeatedly attacked Ryo while he was trying to transform.
  • Sailor Moon is a classic example where their transformations seem to go on forever without any of their enemies attempting to interrupt them. However, there is evidence that this is because these sequences are viewer eye-candy only; in "real time" it takes seconds and can even be instantaneous, averting this trope. It is worth pointing out that the girls very rarely (in the original anime at least) transform in front of their enemy and make a point of keeping their identities a secret compared to other continuities.
  • Saint Seiya: extremely rare due everyone being a Combat Pragmatist so they normally put on the Cloth before the battle, and always Justified:
    • During the first battle between Seiya and Shaina the latter was caught completely by surprise when the former actually managed to start the transformation sequence, as she didn't think he could ever pull it off.
      • In the manga there's no transformation sequence but they put on the Cloth the normal way (at least early on), and Seiya did so while hidden behind a rock, hurrying up before he knew Shaina was looking for him and would slaughter him if she caught him unarmored.
    • The Galaxian Wars is a tournament, so both fighters run in unarmored and put the Cloth on as fanservice to the public.
    • In Seiya and Shaina's second anime-only fight, the latter allows Seiya to put on his Cloth to prove that, as she had told him after their first fight, she'd slaughter him if they ever fought with their Cloths on. She quickly proves herself right.
    • Done on both sides during the battle between Seiya and Misty:
      • Seiya is caught without Cloth, but Misty allows him to put on his to prove that he, the strongest Silver Saint along Shaina, has nothing to fear from a Bronze Saint.
      • Misty has the habit to get a purifying bath every time he gets the blood of the enemy over himself, so after apparently killing Seiya with ease he strips naked and walks in the sea... Much to Seiya's chagrin when he wakes up and catches him in this situation. Being weirded out by the situation, Seiya refuses to attack until Misty got dressed and his Cloth back on while Misty takes his sweet time, accidentally revealing his special techniques don't work in the water by not taking advantage of Seiya's shock to kill him.
  • s-CRY-ed averts this, as Kazuma ends up getting attacked in the middle of forming his Alter a couple times over the course of the first half of the series, even when it skips the usual lengthy transformation sequence. By the second half this drops off, however, with Kazuma's second stage for his Alter seeming to be powerful enough that even anyone who would want to interrupt the transformation is simply unable to get close until it's been formed.
  • Sgt. Frog invokes and parodies this during Kogoro's transformation sequence. Tamama argues that it's the perfect time to attack him, but Keroro convinces him to not do so, telling him that it would be rude.
  • Parodied in Shakugan no Shana, when Domino's transformation takes so long that by the time she is finished, Shana and Margery have escaped.
  • Averted in the Soul Eater anime. During the climactic fight with the Big Bad, Death the Kid is stabbed through the head by his opponent during his Transformation Sequence and dies (of course, being the son of the Grim Reaper, killing him turns out to trigger an 11th-Hour Superpower, but the villain had no way to know that).
    • Played straight elsewhere in the series, particularly with Kid activating his BFG.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross plays it pretty straight — of course, this is because Variable Fighters transform lightning-fast, leaving very little if any opportunity to attack mid-transformation (and indeed, successful VF tactics involve transforming into whatever form is most suited to the present moment on the fly). The beauty-shot transformation sequences of Roy Focker's VF-0 in Macross Zero and others are explicitly done in Bullet Time.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann completely averts it with the last major transformation of the series, which takes about one episode while all hell is breaking loose around.
  • During the final battle in Tiger & Bunny 2, Barnaby's transforms into his version of Wild Tiger in mere seconds before the berserk L.L. Audurn could finish him, and is therefore instantaneous in-universe as opposed to 32 seconds (if together uncut) of the elaborate transformation sequence.
  • Averted in Tokyo Mew Mew, when Kisshu knocks Ichigo's pendant out of her hand before she can transform in Episode 45. However, once a transformation starts, so does this trope. Transformation scenes are never interrupted.
  • Transformers, particularly the Unicron Trilogy. Talking while transforming? Still a Free Action.
    • Unless you're Unicron himself. His transformation in Armada took half an episode and killed off a named character. Then again, there's a lot of him to transform.
    • The Stock Footage sequences are intended to be subversions. When somebody transforms without stock footage it takes mere seconds. The "talking" often inserted into the sequences in the dubs can be dismissed in nearly all cases as hearing the character think. After all, thinking a sentence takes less time than actually saying it. If multiple characters communicate during a sequence, do note that in the case of Transformers they could be talking to each other the way computers talk over the internet. As a further note, the shows exist to sell toys, and the stock sequences can act as instructions for transforming the toys. In some cases, better than the print instructions they're packaged with. The American-original series typically do not have these sequences, though Animated uses them on occasion.
  • Parodied and subverted in UFO Kamen Yakisoban with Yakisoboy's lengthy transformation, which makes the Legend wonder what's taking so long as he and the Demon King grapple.
    • Resident Magical Girl Momo has the requisite elaborate transformation sequence, but an on-screen timer shows that her transformation actually only takes 0.01 seconds, or even 0.008 seconds, the latter being her new record.
    • Her Friendly Enemy the titular demon girl Yuuko's own transformation takes about 0.75 seconds in real time, but it is almost always accompanied by its own elaborate obligatory transformation sequence.
  • Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid has a particularly egregious and ludicrous example. Since the Extar girls can only transform into superweapons when sexually aroused by their Liberators (who are also girls), fights usually begin with a great deal of foreplay. In one case, dozens of girls (on opposing sides!) were standing around making out with each other in order to get ready for combat.
  • Voltes V averts it at one time when the bad guy shoot at the team while doing a very long mecha combining sequence. Happens again when the Monster of the Week fire an anti-combining beam on the parts to prevent combination.
    • The same thing happened in UFO Warrior Dai Apolon when the Monster of the Week brings miniature flying robotic bugs on the combine ports of the individual units. When they try to combine, the bugs explode, interrupting the combination sequence.
    • It also happens in Voltes V's predecessor Combattler V, where the Big Bad fires an anti-super-electromagnetic beam to disrupt the team's combining sequence, and does so repeatedly, foiling several attempts, all while gloating evilly about her new trump card.
  • Voltron subverts this. The very first time they try to combine into Voltron, the Monster of the Week attacks them during the transformation. By the next episode, they've figured out how to avoid the problem in the future: by combining behind the protection of the castle's force field.
    • Also averted on at least one occasion in the vehicle version of Voltron (aka Dai Rugger XV). The monster-of-the-week attacks one of the individual units that make up the left leg mid transformation, causing it to crash. This leaves the two other units that make up the leg flying solo while the main robot is very off balance. And while it ultimately fails, it does have the sense to try and neutralize the units that couldn't combine and prevent the combination sequence from completing.
    • Discussed in this Penny Arcade strip.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Averted in the original Japanese version. The first time Yami Yugi appears he has a long transformation sequence, but in subsequent transformations, the Millennium Puzzle simply flashes, and his alter egos trade places instantaneously; especially useful for battling the mind-reading Pegasus. However, the dub tends to recycle the first sequence over and over. Even with the drawn-out Transformation Sequence, it's still justified as Yugi typically does it before playing a card game and not in the middle of melee violence.
    • Played straight instances where Yami Marik uses a Trap Card to reduce the ATK of Yami Bakura's monsters that are in the middle of being sacrificed, resulting in Ra having 0 ATK upon summoning. As usual, this kind of play is only possible in the original Duel Monsters anime, as it would otherwise be impossible to respond to the act of tributing monsters in the actual game and in later series (this move doesn't even occur in the original manga).

    Comic Books 
  • Averted, in Injustice: Year 3 #3. Jason Blood tries to turn into Etrigan the Demon as a powerful spectre is breaking through the room's magical defenses. He makes it most of the way through his transforming chant when the doors are knocked open and his flesh is instantly ripped from his bones.
  • Justified in most comic book versions of the Transformers franchise, where it's typically depicted as being a near-instantaneous process unless it's a really big character like Metroplex or Trypticon, who are just too damned powerful to interrupt.

    Fan Works 
  • An aversion occurs in chapter 19 of Digimon Trinity; Mephistomon attacks Veemon while he's in the midst of digivolving to prevent him and Stingmon from DNA digivolving.
  • Mega Man Reawakened lampshades this when Robert wonders why Bass is watching Roll transform instead of doing something, though it's implied he did nothing because Roll looked good while transforming.
  • Ojamajo Doremi: Rise of the Shadows: This happens twice. First, the Ojamajos transform right in front of the ShadowOjamajos even though canon establishes that their transformations take a lot of time to complete. The second time was when the Queen assumed her Super Witch Form for the first time; the narrative describes in detail the Transformation Sequence. Both times, the villains do absolutely nothing to stop them.
  • Played straight and averted in Claymade's The Dark Lords Ascendant, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune transform right in front of Ryouga and Ukyou when it becomes clear they already know their identities. They don't attack partially because they intend to fight them as Senshi...and because Ryouga turned his back when the sequence left them naked briefly. Later when a group of mercenaries come for Hotaru, Haruka begins her activation phrase, but one of the mercs shoots her before she can finish it.
  • Friendship Is Magical Girls, being a homage to the Magical Girl genre, naturally has this, though it's played with. Each girl's transformation sequence is only described the first time they use it, though it's implied to happen each time, and for the same amount of time. And even then, it's subverted a couple of times:
    • In Magic 7, Trixie sweeps in and steals the girls' Transformation Trinkets when they're in the middle of using them, stopping the process.
    • In Loyalty 6, at the start of Pinkie's fight with Bellosto, he charges her, and she shouts out her transformation cry really fast, giving the implication that she's speeding through it to avoid getting hit.
  • Averted and parodied on Ditto's entry in Pokédex.
    "These poorly-trained Ditto are as unable to beat a Magikarp as they are Arceus himself, for transformation takes time and opposing Pokémon (unlike most anime villains) do not respect the custom of not attacking during a transformation sequence".
  • The diverging point in the Dragon Ball Z fanfic Inheritance is Piccolo averting this and killing Freeza while he tries to go in his third form.
  • Averted in Frigid Future. Cooler's initial fight with Androids 17 and 18 goes poorly because while he could easily overpower them if he transformed, he also knows they'd rush him the moment he tried.
  • In Common Sense, both Team Rocket and their opponents will try to attack a Pokémon if they see it transforming mid-battle, not that it ever works.
  • Averted multiple times with the Impulse Gundam's combination/docking with its Silhouette Packs in the fanfiction Gundam Seed Destiny Altered. On the couple of occasions that one of the antagonists attempts to open fire on the inbound pack, one of the protagonists consistently intervenes to engage said opponent, preventing them from completing their attack.
  • Averted in No Chance for Fate. Luna warns that even though the transformation only takes five seconds, the girls are vulnerable during it. Therefore, transforming has to be done in safe places and whenever possible before making contact.
  • Natural Selection generally plays this straight, but it gets subverted in Satsuki and Ryuko's fight. Satsuki takes advantage of Ryuko's state of ecstasy during her Life Fiber Synchronization with Junketsu to wound the latter, removing his left eye and putting the pair on the backfoot. Later in the same fight, this is played straight, as Ryuko is so shocked at the idea of a rogue Kamui existing that she allows Satsuki to complete her Life Fiber Override without a similar penalty.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls:
    • Averted more often than not. If someone transforms, it's usually because they managed to distract their opponent long enough to pull it off, they use that time to transform too, it's too fast to stop in the first place, their enemy let them do it because they want a challenge or don't really care, or the sheer amount of reiatsu they release in the process is enough to stop their enemy from harming them until it's over. Otherwise, characters will go out their way to stop their opponents from powering up by any means necessary.
    • Sunset doesn't interrupt Sixth Division Captain Platinum activating her Bankai during their climatic showdown because her plan involves needing to draw out her opponent unleashing her trump cards first before countering them with her own, newly-minted Bankai included, because Platinum can win the battle of attrition and Sunset showing her hand too fast would lead to Platinum figuring out the trick. Platinum doesn't interrupt Sunset's Bankai out of a combination of pride and denial that a "child" could truly grow this strong so fast.
    • During the Quincy assault on Las Noches, Gilda attempts to invoke her Resurreccion, but Twilight Sparkle casts a silence spell on her to prevent her speaking the invocation since she didn't need Gilda getting any more of an advantage after she had decimated the Quincy cadets.
    • During the fight between Third Espada Catrina and Sternritter "I" Spitfire, the former doesn't use her Resurreccion despite the latter using Vollstandig partially because she dislikes her transformed appearance, but mostly because the few seconds it would take her to properly release it would give Spitfire the necessary time to hit her with a powerful and possibly fatal attack with all the fire she's shooting everywhere.
    • During the fight between Fifth Espada Torch and Sternritter "B" Shining Armor, the former is able to use his Resurreccion successfully for two reasons: The first is that his Hierro is the strongest of the Espada and he can endure the pain of being hit by one of Shining Armor's strongest attacks while activating it. The second is that his release creates a mushroom cloud that Shining Armor explicitly compares to a spiritual nuke that destroys the attack that was hurting him in the process.
    • The Sixth Espada Guto makes some banter with Sternritter "T" Fleur de Lis about how impressive her Vollstandig is before activating his own Resurreccion, and the sudden release of power protects him from her attempted counterattack.
    • During the fight between Second Division Captain Luna and recently-promoted Sixth Espada Adagio Dazzle, the latter is able to unleash her Resurreccion because the process is quite dramatic (as in, she's surrounded by an explosion of water while all the water in the lake below her shoots into the sky with her in the process) and she forced her opponent far enough away with her last attack to keep her from closing the distance to stop the invocation, while the former is able to release Bankai because the Espada both wants to get a full workout for her new transformation and she's buying time for her accomplices to perform their own duties. Luna is even surprised she's not being stopped and suspects a trick, but goes through with it anyways.
    • When Gilda manages to release her Resurreccion during the Camp Everfree arc, Sour Sweet's bolt is only able to get about half through the wall of released reiatsu before it dissolves. Gilda latter attempts to kill Fluttershy before the latter can finish transforming into her True Fullbring for the first time with her strongest attack, but Fluttershy doesn't even completely finish the transformation before she's able to block it.
    • Ninth Espada Grogar intentionally lets 13th Division Captain Celestia release her Shikai because his plan to fight her hinges on separating her from her Zanpakuto with a dimensional trap or otherwise she would wipe the floor with him at full power. Once that happens, he still needs to distract her from trying to tear him apart with her bare hands by dropping a powerful freezing explosive to get the few seconds of freedom he needs to unleash his Resurreccion, at which point his power rises so he's able to block her attempt to attack him with a Kido spell even while he's finishing the transformation.

    Films — Animation 
  • Played straight in Princess Mononoke, where onlookers gasp in awe during the Forest Spirit's transformations... except for Lady Eboshi, who subverts this trope in the climactic scene.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gloriously averted in Dog Soldiers when Megan starts transforming into a werewolf they just shoot them in the head. Played straight with Ryan as they don't outright kill them while they're transforming but they do get their weapons ready. Understandable because they were under a table and nobody really wanted to get that close to a werewolf.
  • Averted in The Fly (1986) with the One-Winged Angel climax of Seth's Slow Transformation into "Brundlefly" for a very good/absolutely horrible reason: He's hurrying to place Veronica in one telepod and himself in another before a two-minute countdown ends in order to genetically fuse himself with her. Just because his beloved accidentally rips his jaw off trying to escape his grip, triggering the shedding of everything that remains of his human form, he's not going to dawdle. The transformation is over and done with in less than 40 seconds, and the fact that no one stops what they're doing as it happens arguably makes it more horrifying than it would be were the trope played straight. Makeup/effects designer Chris Walas actually insisted that this trope be averted because so many horror movies of The '80s were playing it straight (his example being The Howling).
  • Justified in Iron Man 2. During the race track fight scene, Ivan Vanko waits for Tony Stark to get into his portable Iron Man costume. Justified because Vanko's aim is not to kill Stark but to discredit the Iron Man weapon and show off the power of his own suit.
  • Subverted in Iron Man 3. As Stark calls in his Mark 42 armor to help him fight Extremis-powered Killian, his opponent just stands by cockily, having already ripped through a dozen Iron Man armors and fearing no threat from this one. But instead, Stark wasn't suiting up at all, but calling 42 to trap Killian inside then self-destruct.
  • Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends: This is averted when Mebius tries to transform while fighting an Alien Shaplay so he can focus on saving Rei from the alien's kaiju minions, Shaplay simply shoots a blast from his mouth at the Mebius Brace on his wrist, damaging it and knocking him into the ground.
  • Men in Black: played straight when Edgar goes One-Winged Angel in the climax, ripping off his human skin and taking a full twenty seconds to unfold into his MUCH larger and deadlier Bug form. Kay and Jay not only stand there watching him, they don't even aim their guns until it's too late.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie:
    • Amusingly subverted in the first morph sequence, where the mooks the rangers were fighting used the length of the Transformation Sequence to run away and set up an ambush. The best part of the scene is how, after the transformation sequence and pose-striking, the Rangers act completely mystified as to where the mooks went.
    • Later in the movie, the Rangers suit up in their new "Ninjetti" outfits and announce their animal spirits. They just make it to the end of the role call before one of the mooks lobs a spear at Aisha's head. "The Bear — WHOA!"
  • During the climactic battle of Pacific Rim: Uprising, when the three Kaiju are all being fused together into the Mega Kaiju, all the Jaeger pilots just stand there like slack-jawed idiots as the giant monsters are being cut into pieces and slowly recombined into an even bigger monster, instead of attacking them while the vital organs are showing and they can't fight back. By the time the Jaegers start attacking again, the Mega Kaiju is fully formed and stronger than all four of the mecha put together.
  • Played both ways in the Transformers Film Series; sometimes the transformations would take a second or two, but sometimes they'd be upwards of 30 seconds, either because of particularly dramatic/unusual circumstances like transforming while rolling down a highway at full speed, or simply to show off the quadrillion moving parts necessary. That said, no one is ever shown outright ignoring the bots while transforming, they either just have ineffective weaponry (mostly the humans), are distracted by their own transformation, or are still stunned by/locked up in combat.
  • Underworld (2003) had a Death Dealer (vampire assassin) allow a Lycan to shapeshift completely before doing anything. Clearly someone has not attended the Indiana Jones School of Combat.
  • Subverted in Virtuosity: while the Nanomachine-powered Big Bad is attempting to go One-Winged Angel, the hero yanks out his CPU.

  • Animorphs:
    • The characters usually transform ahead of time, but occasionally are forced to transform during battle, sometimes multiple times. However aware that they are completely vulnerable while transforming and that they have to turn back into humans before morphing again (they can't let the Yeerks know they're human), they make a point to do so out of sight. Justified in the later books because they get a lot faster at transforming with practice.
    • Averted in 21 where Jake comments that, while David has the same ability, he doesn't have the experience. He then attacks while David is morphing.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair spends two paragraphs going into detail about the villain Scaling Up into a snake, then spends a third paragraph pointing out how the transformation really only took less than a second.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Animagus transformations are heavily implied (and confirmed in the movies) to be almost instantaneous so they never get interrupted.
    • When Lupin transforms into his wolf form everyone is too paralyzed with horror to do anything.
    • Justified with Voldemort's resurrection, there were four people in the graveyard that night: one was killed before the ritual began, the second was tied to a grave, the third was... indisposed due to his... contribution to the ritual and the fourth and last was Voldemort himself so of course it goes unimpeded.
  • The villain of Orson Scott Card's Magic Box has as her goal a transformation from her frail young self into a gigantic dragon. She sets up the conditions to begin it, and the hero stands helplessly as it progresses . . . and then a minor character kills her with a gun before she can finish. A bit of a pity, since there's no proper final battle.
  • Heartbreakingly averted in Oathbringer when Elokhar starts to speak the First Oath of the Knights Radiant... only for Moash to stab him before he can finish it.
  • Patternist: Zig-zagged with Anyanwu the Biomancer. She can transform instantaneously in an emergency, but it's agonizing for her and leaves her almost insane with hunger, so she prefers to take her time when she's shifting to a different human or animal form.
  • In The Red and the Rest, Hammerstein gets taken out in seconds while bragging about how his transformation will make him invincible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in the final episode of Being Human, where Herrick, a vampire bent on world conquest, would have happily snapped George's neck while the latter was oh-so-slowly and painfully transforming into a werewolf in order to kill him... if George hadn't had a Star of David to keep Herrick at bay, and locked them in a bunker under a hospital.
  • Doctor Who:
    • If a Time Lord is killed while trying to regenerate, then they will truly die. Most regenerations happen after the episode's conflict is over, but this happened to an alternate Doctor in "Turn Left" and was part of the Eleventh Doctor's faked death at the beginning of "The Impossible Astronaut".
    • "Aliens of London"/"World War Three": Whenever one of the Slitheen removes their Human Disguise, the universal reaction of military officers, government officials, civil servants and random civilians alike is to watch in stunned passive silence.
  • Played painfully straight in the original Giant Robo/Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot toku. Before he performs any attack, Giant Robo has to first go through a variety of stances, yet remains unmolested by the Monster of the Week. This is most evident during Robo's missile attack, which features Stock Footage of him swinging his forearms side-to-side and up-and-down, then holding out his hands while missiles sprout from his fingertips — all while the monster waits for the routine to finish.
  • Kamen Rider: The Showa-era shows play this one straight, while the Heisei-era shows tend to avert it by doing transformations with standard special effects rather than Stock Footage. While most of the time it's played straight and the Rider transforms without interruption, many times they need to fend off and dodge the enemies until they can find a brief moment in a safe spot to start the transformation. The "holding off Monster of the Week with one hand while triggering a transformation with the other" is often used to herald the start of a curb stomp.
    • For the most part, when a Rider activates their transformation, the energy involved shields them from incoming attacks. On very rare occasions, a powerful enough attack can disrupt the transformation midway through. Likewise, some Riders have a transitory "base" form not intended for combat, which gains armor in the transformation process; sometimes the armor shields them, while others (most prominently Kamen Rider Gaim episode 26) it doesn't.
    • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight plays this straight and subverts this. Partially justified as transformation sequence projects energy sphere that knocks everything back, protecting the Rider. Activating the transformation sequence is where the fun comes in.
    • Kamen Rider Diend sometimes plays with this; because his Transformation Trinket is a gun, he occasionally fires the "transformation energy" at an enemy, staggering them before it comes back to him and completes the change.
    • A few series (Kabuto , Drive, and Kamen Rider Ghost) have intelligent, autonomous Transformation Trinkets that can fly out and smack away an incoming enemy or attack in order to protect the Rider before they start/complete the transformation.
      • Kabuto has another level to this, as the secondary Cast Off transformation causes their heavier armor to burst off in all directions, enough to knock back anyone foolish enough to attack.
    • Played straight with Kamen Rider Double, especially with Accel. However, it gets subverted in one episode where an enemy interrupts Double's transformation by shooting a "sticky bullet" at his belt, plugging up one of the ports needed to transform and preventing him from changing.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim puts a little spin on this; transformation is not a free action, but attacking the Riders during their transformation has done nothing. The Riders are also capable of moving around during their transformation. Played Straight with Gaim's Kiwami Arms Super Mode, which summons every other type of armor and fuses it with him. This summoned armor can be used to barrage the opponent and knock them away if they decide to try and interrupt.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid brutally subverts this in Revival Of The Beast Squad special, when Emu was attacked by Asakura and beaten to unconsciousness.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O has Another Fourze attempt to attack the titular Rider as he prepares to change form, only for Zi-O's Herald Woz to teleport in, block the monster's attack, berate it for trying to interrupt Zi-O and blast it away before inviting Zi-O to continue.
      • Another Faiz tries this to Geiz the next episode, and fails at it as well, due to Geiz keeping space.
      • Geiz Revive, Geiz's Super Mode and Deadly Upgrade enforces this by having it as a mechanic built into the form, where Geiz Revive can switch from Gouretsu to Shippu and back again nigh instantly.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One lampshades the trope when it cuts away during one particularly lengthy transformation to show the villain really is just standing there waiting for it to finish. It takes so long, in fact, that he starts impatiently tapping his fingers.
      • The movie actually averts this, as the villain actively attacks Aruto and sends him flying several blocks the instant he tries to start his transformation, to the point where the bits of the suit appear where Aruto initially was and then desperately chase after him trying to form Zero One before he ends up splattered all over the pavement several streets over. It's only partially sucessful at that, as enough of the suit forms to keep him from getting too badly injured after he smashes into a car but he's still knocked unconsious before the transformation is complete. The next time he confronts the villain, he waits until the villains own transformation is dropped, and they both transform at the same time having no choice but to allow their opponent to also do so.
  • Discussed in an episode of NMB to Manabu-Kun, a Japanese talk show featuring members of the J-Pop group NMB48. The topic was "Why Are Magical Girls Never Attacked While Transforming?", and university professor Rikao Yanagita suggested, in the case of Futari wa Pretty Cure, it was because the column of energy summoned whenever Pretty Cure did their Transformation Sequence was powerful enough to vaporize anyone who tried to break through it.
  • Power Rangers does this when the giant transforming combining robots are going from five individual things to one big robot. The giant monster just sits there for something like a minute every episode of every season, waiting for the incredibly complex docking maneuvers to be completed.
    • Slightly averted in some Megazords that are in motion during their transformation and thus more difficult to hit.
    • The first transformation of the Astro Megazord in Power Rangers in Space actually does feature the attacking space ship firing on the Megazord mid-transformation. The stock footage has shield effects blocking the shots as the transformation continues (in the same way as the shield bubble of a given starship on Star Trek), allowing the possibility that similar effects are in place with other, terrestrial Megazords.
    • Similarly, the transformations of the Rangers themselves. Some seasons feature occasional "instant morphs" without the corresponding sequence, and this is taken by many to suggest that morphs are normally instantaneous and the Stock Footage used in the Transformation Sequence is just a sort of visual metaphor or slowed down just for the viewer so they can see it. The same can not be said for the Megazord docking sequence, as the Rangers will sometimes talk during it. In Power Rangers Turbo, Kat even comments on how much more complex and difficult the new Megazord's docking sequence is compared to their last one.
    • However, the Transformation version was subverted at least once when Conner was attacked during a morph and blasted out of it. Further, during Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Kat's morph is shorted out when she falls into some water before it gets completed.
    • Even if the morphs are instantaneous, they still go through a choreographed routine prior to activating their morphers, while yelling their morphing call.
    • Lampshaded by Lothor in Power Rangers Ninja Storm, explaining a Ranger must only be destroyed in their true Ranger form.
    • Double subverted in Power Rangers S.P.D.: The A-Squad morph into SWAT mode and fire at the B-Squad rangers, who have yet to transform. They must have shot from the hip, though, because the B-Squad promptly morph anyway while explosions light up behind them.
    • Subverted by the Rangers themselves in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. While the transformation itself couldn't be stopped, the monsters once managed to attack Tommy while he was reaching for his morpher, and he needed to be rescued by all the others to recover it.
      • Lampshaded in Power Rangers Turbo episode "Shadow Rangers", by Chromite. Chromite fired at them while they morphed, causing the powers to leave them and form the evil Shadow Rangers.
      • Played with in Power Rangers Megaforce. On the occasion where the villains try to attack the Rangers while they're transforming or preparing the Super Mega Cannon, the Rangers will use their Ranger Power to endure the hit or the resulting explosion from the attack will just make their transformation more dramatic.
    • As a general rule, in Power Rangers, even if we admit the transformation itself is instantaneous, initiating it is sometimes easy interruptible. Think about Power Rangers in Space, in which the Rangers had to press 3 or 4 keys on their morphers.
      • Additionally, Rangers often have post transformation callouts where they'll do some sort of move and call out their color and/or theme. Power Rangers Wild Force was big on this. While the post transformation sequence wasn't always used, it tended to get used for the most dangerous fights.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon brings the Sailor Moon example above to its logical extreme: during her first ever transformation, Sailor Mercury manages to chant the invocation phrase and go through the entire flashy sequence in midair, while falling from roughly five stories high. Again, it's hinted that the transformation is actually instant and the flashy sequences are just a symbolic representation. This is shown to be the case several times during the series such as when Rei transforms while rushing in to fight the yoma without the transformation sequence showing - flames cover her then disappear to show her in her Sailor Mars costume.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has an interesting version of this. The Gokaiger's transformations do take time, but they know they're safe while transforming and use it to protect themselves from attacks. In fact, Gokai-Oh's first formation happens while inside a huge explosion and leads to a pretty badass moment.
    • Subverted in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, transformations happen in real time and there have been cases where the Go-Busters have had to dodge while performing it while the mecha transformations happen very rapidly. Go-Buster-Oh's transformation takes longer, but the components of Blue and Yellow Busters' mecha circle Go-Buster Ace and form an energy field before it begins to protect it during the combination.
    • Space Sheriff Gavan justifies this: Gavan's actual transformation only takes 0.05 seconds, as we're told by the narrator each time it happens. We see it in an instant flash of blue, but then they go back and show the whole sequence in slow-motion so we can see the details, like the Gavan suit being beamed down from its spaceship. However, we also see the full posing routine, which apparently also took place in the .05 seconds, because when the flash happens, Gavan is usually at a full run chasing an enemy, or else quickly saving himself from impending doom, and we clearly never see him do his rather elaborate pose.
      • Amusingly, in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, the big battle starts off with a recreation of this (with Gokaiger narrator Tomokazu Seki in place of Issei Masamune), and then does the same with the Gokaiger, doing the fast version of their transformation and then going back and showing the full detailed version. (Turns out the Gokaigers' change is much faster than Gavan's .05 seconds.)
    • So of course, when Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters meets Geki Jumonji, a.k.a. Gavan Type-G, the rookie Space Sheriff from the new Gavan movie, we go through it again. Turns out the Go-Busters require a full half-second to change.
    • The actual transformation in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger is actually pretty fast, but the dance required to activate it takes place in real time. A few episodes have had drawn out transformations where the Kyoryugers have had to fight and dance around their opponents to transform.
      • And then they utterly skewer this trope in episode 25, where the team drinks some "Wake-Up Juice" in order to battle a nightmare monster; said drink peps them up enough that they perform the entire transformation sequence AND roll call in under 10 seconds (with the pre-transformation dance being run at double speed). Even funnier, when they start it up the enemy commander prepares to sit through the full roll call, and is utterly floored when they finish that fast (by everyone saying it at once).
    • Ressha Sentai ToQger does it in the most hilarious way yet: when the ToQgers start their Transformation Sequence, their ToQ Changers announce: "Commencing transformation! Please wait behind the white line!" ...and they actually summon a white line. Which the monsters keep themselves from crossing.
      • There have been a few cases where someone has not gotten behind the white line fast enough. Civilians are nudged gently across it, but monsters are violently flung across, so it's partially justified.
      • There is a reason for the white line: the flying trains that are part of the transformation for the helmet will smack anyone dumb enough to cross the white line HARD. As the Lion Inves from the crossover special found out the hard way. Since the series is aimed (more so than most) at small children, the Aesop being, even bad guys wait behind the white line when a train is coming.
    • Keeping things fair for the bad guys, in Super Sentai shows where the method to Make My Monster Grow involves a separate villain showing up at ground level to grow the monster (such as Gash from Choujuu Sentai Liveman or Nalia from Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger), or when it's otherwise theoretically possible to stop the monster from growing, the heroes pretty much never try to do so, instead just waiting for the monster to grow so they can take to their Humongous Mecha. There have been the occasional subversions of this (such as a time when the Dairangers fenced in a monster with their staff weapons to prevent it from throwing the enlargement bomb) however.
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger: Deka Gold's only appearance, which happened in a movie, lasted for only a few seconds due to her getting blasted out of the transformation immediately. The transformation itself was instant, but she was already being attacked and the enemy didn't bother stopping for her.
      • Attempted the enemy against the main team themselves later in the film as well but they manage to avoid it. The Dekarangers move to begin their transformation leading the enemy to try to interrupt it like he did for Gold, but they actually stop short of hitting the button on their Transformation Trinket and dodge the blast, and THEN transform before he can try again.
  • Ultra Series: As the Ultra heroes usually employ short transformation sequences, with the most time taken being the one where they retrieve their Transformation Trinket, this trope doesn't come into play often, but gets subverted a few times.
    • Ultraman Mebius: It's averted while Mirai is transforming he is hit with a fireball and is thrown to the ground as he begins his henshin sequence.
    • Starting with Ultraman Orb, your typical Transformation Sequence started getting fairly long. This eventually was given a Hand Wave in Ultraman Z, where Z explained that when they activate their Transformation Trinket, the people who transform into the Ultramen are pulled into a realm where time moves much faster, making it possible for this trope to happen and it was shown in previous series that it was indeed the case, as when not reusing stock footage of transformations a simple flash would happen and the Ultra would instantly transform or change orm.

    Tabletop Games 
  • For BattleTech Land-Air-Mechs LAMS avert this by being most vulnerable when transforming and getting hit could jam the transformation or even cause it to crash if converting from fighter mode.
  • In Champions, this is called "Instant Change", and is a power you can purchase if the GM agrees.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • This is usually averted with transformative spells and special abilities, meaning that a Polymorphing wizard can easily be interrupted with a solid whack on the head. Exceptions include the Quickened Spell feat, which makes the change too fast for combatants to react to; and Shapechange, the pinnacle of transmutation magic, which lets the caster do this every turn.
    • Grimalkin from the Monster Manual 2 have the ability "Alter Self", which allows them to take on the form of most animals as big or smaller than them — as a free action.
    • In 4e, transformation (using the Druid power Wild Shape) is a minor action. There are a number of utility powers and feats which can upgrade it to a free action or even immediate interrupt (meaning that you can be standing next to someone in human form, and bite their arm off in beast form as an Attack of Opportunity, before they even have the chance to shoot). There are a lot of other transformation powers too, but the Druid's is probably the quintessential one.
    • Most spells, including transformations, in 5e takes an action to complete, which in-game takes roughly 3-4 seconds. The game is played with each character taking turns, but in-universe, every turn in a round takes place concurrently, explaining why a wizard character has time to move his arms and say the required words. Any other combatants are already in the middle of doing whatever they're doing.
    • Druids of the Circle of the Moon have the special ability to change form as a bonus action, allowing them to switch into an animal or elemental form in an instant and still have their action available.
    • Transformation spells can be interrupted with the spell Counterspell. If it is successful, the Transformation spell is wasted. Additionally, most transformation spells/effects require a spell caster's concentration and the spellcaster cannot take much, if any, other action on the turn they cast it. Going up to the spellcaster and smacking them in the face can break the caster's concentration, reverting the transformation before it could have an effect.
  • Exalted: Transformation is initially not a free action for a Lunar Exalted —anyone can attack a Lunar when s/he is shapeshifting— but there is a set of Knacks to remedy that. The most powerful of those Knacks allow the Lunar to shapeshift once in every other character's turn. Which means that it's even faster than a Free Action, because after changing form a Lunar can still use any other Charms that can be used in other character's turn.
  • Legend gives us this thanks to the Vigilante track. Given what that particular track is based on, this is only fitting.
  • Averted in Leviathan: The Tempest. Shifting even a single Depth will take at least two rounds (longer if you're trying to shift several Depths in a row), during which time the Leviathan is unable to effectively defend itself.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the morph ability certainly qualifies. A creature with morph can come come into play as a face-down generic 2/2 creature, then its controller can pay the morph cost to turn it face-up, turning it into its "real body". Morphing is a completely free action to do in terms of timing, can't be responded to and is even one of the only moves one can do during a "split second stack" where players normally can't do any action. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, morphing is technically not itself an action, it is choosing to end an earlier effect. For another, the ability would be nearly useless if your opponent could freely cast removal spells on the feeble unmorphed creatures.
  • Mutants & Masterminds literally has transforming as a Free action. This includes Alternate Forms and all the various shapeshifting powers. Making them slower is a deliberate drawback you can apply to make the power cheaper, however even then they cannot be cancelled by an interruption as you can still act defensively as normal.
  • For most in Pathfinder, see the Dungeons & Dragons entry farther up, but the Vigilante has the potential for an unusually literal case... at high levels. The Magical Child archetype (class modification) and a social talent changes their technically-mundane disguise into their alternate self to a magical Transformation Sequence (by that exact name) that takes five rounds (quite significant, but roughly half the time it takes a mundane vigilanteCost ). However, there are other social talents that speed up how long it takes to switch disguises, and the top tier of those makes the transformation sequence into a swift action (swift actions being actions that take up just enough of a fraction more of time than a free action that they can only be done once a round while still leaving all your other actions untouched and usable).
  • Princess: The Hopeful:
    • Averted; much like for Werewolves, a Princess' transformation takes three seconds during which it should technically be possible to attack them, but they can spend 1 Wisp to transform instantly, and don't even have to spend Wisp if they get 5 successes or more on their transformation roll. Most Princesses won't try transforming in front of their opponents if they can help it anyway, as this would cause them to lose the cover offered by their Secret Identity.
    • The fan-made Hunter: The Vigil supplement Dark and Light, which develops how Hunters interact with Princesses, includes a sidebar mentioning some hunters did try to avert this trope in the earlier days- only to find out that, as mentioned above, the Hopeful transform way faster than in anime.

  • Normally averted in Vampire: The Requiem, though a gifted vampire can train themselves to transform instantaneously. Dracula's first bride, the Fully-Embraced Fiend Mara, was noted for using the trick extensively in combat.
  • From Warhammer and its sci-fi sibling franchise, mortal factions aligned with Chaos are capable of fielding Chaos Spawn and Greater Daemons. Sorcerors are capable of turning people into spawn, and certain champions of Chaos are capable of turning allowing a Greater Daemon to possess their body. All of this is essentially instantaneous. This is justified by two factors: Chaos spawn mutations are generally very rapid and Greater Daemons are essentially immaterial and probably don't count as an actual transformation since the body they use is essentially a summoning portal for an entity that doesn't need transformations. The second factor is that the game turns aren't representative of actual time passage.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken averts this, as it usually takes an instant action (about three seconds) for a werewolf to change forms, leaving them open to attack in combat. However, they can spend one Essence to make the change instantaneous, and don't even have to spend the Essence if the moon's in the phase they first changed under.

    Video Games 
  • Any purge transformation in Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel. Quite often justified as the enemies are busy attacking their bodyguards... or perhap both them and The Hero are just being Distracted by the Sexy?
  • Transforming into dragon form and back is a free action in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, just watch that D-Counter.
  • Easily defeating the Doppelganger boss in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse relies on this trope. Changing your active character will cause the Doppelganger to transform into that character. For you, transforming (well, technically changing lead characters) is a free action. For the Doppelganger, it is not.
  • Both averted and justified in the Destiny series; shifting to Super Mode usually takes a second or two at most, as well as giving off a burst of Light energy that can kill people who are too close, but enemies will continue to attack and may get lucky enough to kill you (which doesn't mean much given the Guardians' Resurrective Immortality). This applies in-story as much as it does in gameplay; in one scene, Cayde-6 tries to cast Golden Gun during a fight, only for a Scorn to tackle him mid-spell and make him miss.
  • Justified several times in Devil May Cry:
    • Throughout the series, activating a Devil Trigger transformation is nigh instantaneous, transforming the character from their human form to their demonic form at blinding speeds. Gameplay-wise, a Devil Trigger transformation also acts as a Combo Breaker that grants you invincibility frames, thus preventing enemies from harming you during the transformation process. On the rare occasion that the transformation does take a moment to activate, it's accompanied by other effects. For example, in Devil May Cry 5, when Dante transforms into his Sin Devil Trigger which takes about 6 seconds to complete before control is given back to the player, time around Dante slows down, and when the initial transformation is complete, the energy discharged is strong enough to damage surrounding enemies, sending them flying into the air. Dante is also Immune to Flinching during the entire duration of the transformation.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, even when Trish completely changes her appearance from that of Gloria, it is all done in the blink of an eye. Regardless, the other person near her at that time is Dante, who doesn't bother to attack her because they're allies.
    • In DmC: Devil May Cry, Dante's Devil Trigger slows down time and sends any Mook or Elite Mook floating in the air while it's active, making it impossible for them to interrupt him in the first place.
  • Famously subverted in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, where Etna shoots two Sentai characters in the middle of a transformation sequence. Which turns out to be a terrible, terrible idea.
  • In Disgaea 3 there is the magichange ability. In a nutshell, an allied monster standing next to any ally can turn into a special weapon, complete with a spiffy transformation sequence. The enemies can do it too, of course, but they don't have the same limits the player has.
    • If you want to get technical, transformation could actually be a free half action, what with getting into a correct position and all.
      • And then you have the re-release of Disgaea 2, where a modified monster can add itself into the already magichanged monster, resulting in two transformations, possibly one right after the other.
  • Averted in Dragon Age: Origins. Shapeshifting is a channeling spell, and as such can be interrupted by an attack.
  • Played straight in the original Dragon Ball Z: Budokai trilogy, where transforming is not only instantaneous but has a stun/guard break effect when used near an opponent.
    • Played straight in the Tenkaichi sequels.
      • Averted, however, if you're just charging your Ki up, your opponent is completely free to run up and kick your dormant ass. So it's best advised to fly away and hide before you charge up your attacks or transformations.
    • Averted again in The Legacy of Goku II, where Super Saiyan/Super Namek caused your character to do the transformation animation in real time and would be interrupted if you got hit, making them a pain in the ass to pull off during boss fights (luckily, most boss arenas had places you could hide behind to transform without getting punched).
    • In Xenoverse and Xenoverse 2, most transformations by the player are instantaneous and knock enemies back when completed. The ones that aren't instantaneous provide invincibility frames during the sequence, but you're still vulnerable to Guard Breaks at the start and end of the animation. Played straight with AI characters, whose transformations are always in cutscene format.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Averted in Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion with the werewolf transformation. It takes several seconds for the change to take effect.
    • Skyrim:
      • Once again averted by the werewolf transformation. It takes several seconds following activation to transform. Not helping matters is that the werewolf form itself is a Glass Cannon, which can dish out significant damage (including some One-Hit KO attacks) but is severely lacking in defenses. If you plan to use the werewolf form, it is highly advised that you activate it before initiating combat with your target.
      • Played With in the Companions questline, when Farkas first transforms. The Silver Hand members standing around him easily could have cut him to pieces in the middle of his transformation, but they just sort of stand there...
      • The Vampire Lord transformation added by the Dawnguard DLC likewise takes several seconds to complete, during which the transformee is vulnerable. In fact, the Player Character is vulnerable for even longer than it looks because, even once the physical form has changed, it can take some time for the magic spells to get ready for use.
  • Final Fantasy just loves these, take any One-Winged Angel and it's practically guaranteed to qualify.
    • Not a transformation, per se, but summoning usually involves an elaborate sequence and is a free action.
    • Transformations are also a free action in Final Fantasy X-2, where you'll be able to change costumes and still act on a single turn.
    • Fans of Final Fantasy X-2 will be in for a rude awakening when they play Final Fantasy XIII. Switching paradigms prompts a small transformation sequence but does not stop the battle. So while your characters flip their weapons and strike Sailor Moon poses, your enemies will not hesitate to shoot you in the face with a bazooka. This only happens the first time every battle, however. Every other time after, the Paradigm Shift is much quicker.
  • FromSoftware likes this trope, especially in their Soulsborne games.
    • In the fight against Smough and Ornstein in Dark Souls, whichever one you don't kill absorbs the other's power while the Chosen Undead politely waits.
    • More like "Resurrection is a Free Action" in Dark Souls III with the Twin Princes boss. After taking down Lorian, his younger brother Lothric teleports to his side and gives a lengthy speech before casting a spell to bring Lorian back. The Ashen One does nothing while this happens. Averted with further revives which take place during the boss fight itself, allowing the player to wail on Lothric as he casts the spell.
    • Another from DSIII: When you defeat the Nameless King's mount, he absorbs its soul in a cutscene to power up for the fight's second phase.
    • In Elden Ring, the fight with Godrick the Grafted pauses once you get his health down to 50%, so he can spend a solid minute cutting off an arm and replacing it with a dragon's head while the Tarnished just watches.
  • Played straight in Kingdom Hearts II, where transformations (or Drive Forms as they're called in-game) on Sora's part are not only instantaneous, they hurl enemies back and deal damage.
    • Downplayed in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Each playable character's command styles (equivalent to KH2's forms) only takes about a second to activate, and during the switch, you're invincible. However, enemies can and will attack you just after the transformation (while you're still mostly helpless), which can really screw you up if you were damaged to begin with and just about to heal (unlike in KH2, command styles don't heal you for free when they activate).
  • In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe, Super Kirby Clash and Kirby Fighters 2, this is applied to bosses. As each boss enters their second phase, they are completely invincible, shrugging off any attack until they complete their transformation. Their health bars in Kirby's Return to Dream Land and the bosses themselves in all the other games additionally glow to signify their invincibility. Most other Kirby games downplay this by allowing you to inflict Scratch Damage while the bosses transition to their second phases, with this defense buff wearing off once they complete their transformation.
  • Transforming Rean into his Super Mode in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II and III counts as a free action in-game as it's his turn again afterwards. In cutscenes in III however, he either ends up not getting his Super Mode or calling Valimar out in time because one of his friends decided to perform a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Dragoon transformations in The Legend of Dragoon appear to take several seconds but no one ever attacks someone mid-transformation. However, given that the transformations can be done in a flash of light in combat, and Dart managing to transform after a wingly had already fired a spell at him, it's likely that the Transformation Sequence is only for the audience. The transformations that do take longer, such as Dart's first transformation don't provoke any attacks, likely because Dragoons are at best a barely remembered legend so most enemies have no idea what's happening.
  • Transforming in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask causes the rest of the game to come to a standstill (which is a good thing considering some of the transformations you need to do in the middle of boss fights). After the first transformation, you can skip the transformation sequence though (also good since it looks painful).
  • Played straight in Mabinogi in that any of the many character transformations give you invincibility during the transformation sequence.
  • Averted in Mass Effect 2 — when fighting the Collectors, Big Bad Harbinger will sometimes assume direct control of one of the mooks, which gives it powerful armor, barriers, and attacks, as well as essentially setting it on fire from the inside out. However, doing so involves a several-second-long ingame sequence of the mook floating in the air and glowing orange, during which time you can take off a significant portion of its health bar without it fighting back. If you've got a powerful enough weapon, such as the Widow, you might even be able to kill it.
  • The player characters of the Mega Man ZX series go through this; the first transformations into the Model X and Model A Mega Men don't take as long as they seem to, as the camera merely focuses on different parts of the body in separate shots — one could argue it's all happening at the same time. The first transformation into the Model ZX Mega Man does take a while, though presumably because of the bodily strain and the energy being released, which vapourises all of the enemies about to shoot Vent/Aile. However, during gameplay, Mega-merging still takes less than a second.
    • Used also by Serpent, who transforms in identical fashion to the hero's in-game transformation, and also by the four enemy Mega Men of Advent, who do take a few seconds, but release powerful phenomena when they do so, which protect and obscure them (respectively: surrounded by whirlwinds, engulfed in flames, encased in ice, wrapped in shadows) and are ready to go immediately afterwords.
    • Played very straight, however, by Vent/Aile in Advent (when they're met as enemies initially), whose transformations are ludicrously over-the-top and expository, especially Aile's. Also done by Albert, who initially blows away the walls and ceiling, but otherwise floats in the air while his transformation completes itself. Both instances take a very long time to complete, and in both cases, Grey/Ashe just stand and watch.
    • In some Mega Man X games, X teleports in and then warps an armor onto himself instantly. Of course, he usually teleports in to an enemy-free area.
  • While not a transformation per se, climbing into an MS in Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation 2 provides the MS with temporary invulnerability while it activates.
  • Played straight in the Neptunia series. In fact, one of Neptune's quotes for the action is "No attacking while I'm transforming!" and a CPU can act again immediately after. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 explains the issue by canonizing the common Hand Wave — the flashy sequence is for the player's benefit (and they're all conscious of this), the In-Universe transformation is the one seen in dialog sequences — a simple pillar of light that takes about two seconds. Ironically, this part is not a free action — that pillar can be seen for miles (as a transform-happy Neptune discovers when she blows the party's cover at one point) and enemies can interrupt the process. The latter case only happens once, usually the CPUs transform one by one to protect each other. Or so they can deliver their lines with appropriate drama, given the Medium Awareness going around, both are equally valid.
  • In the Persona games, the protagonist can switch Personae without using up his turn and without being interrupted. However, he can only switch once per turn. Justified since he doesn't physically transform, but just lets another aspect of his mind become more prominent.
  • Averted in Plants vs. Zombies, in which the Imitater can be eaten by a zombie during its transformation sequence. Played straight in the second game, in which it transforms faster.
  • Pokémon:
    • Subverted with Ditto, whose only move is to transform into the opponent exactly except for HP. However, this takes a turn, and it normally gets knocked out or severely damaged before it can actually do anything due to its subpar stats. Although, in Generation V, it got an ability which transforms it immediately upon entering the battle.
    • Subverted again with evolution. Pokémon wait to transform until after the battle if they're ready to evolve mid-fight.
    • Played straight with Mega Evolutions in Generation VI, temporary form changes accessible to certain Pokémon in battle. You can transform into a Mega form and use a move in the same turn.
  • Resident Evil is very, very guilty. Countless are the times when the hero will just stand there, gun trained at the villain, who's laughing maniacally and striking dramatic poses while they are slowly mutating or being absorbed into their One-Winged Angel form.
  • Shantae (2002) averts this. If the player gets attacked while attempting a transformation dance, she needs to start over. However, the sequel, Shantae: Risky's Revenge, plays this straight. While performing a dance, everything in the background (including the enemies) will pause.
  • Used without much in the way of explanation in the Shadow Hearts series. Harmonixers, such as Yuri, can transform without using up their turn... you can even revert to human from a demonic form, transform into a DIFFERENT demon, peruse its attacks and decide that none of them are any good, revert again, pick a third demon-form, and THEN unleash one of its attacks — all while the monsters are patiently waiting for you to just get it over with already...
  • Sonic the Hedgehog, when he transforms into Super Sonic in the original games (Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and onwards), you are only suspended in the air for a second or two while you transform. In the 3-D games, anytime Sonic transforms into Super Sonic, it takes a good ten seconds to summon the Chaos Emeralds, close eyes, absorb the emeralds, then "explode" into Super Sonic in a cutscene, and only once, in Sonic Unleashed, does someone attempt to stop it. It doesn't work. This transformation goes quicker when transforming during normal gameplay in Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sonic's Final Smash is similar to the cutscenes, only, you get a quick 3-second transformation at the beginning and end of the attack.
  • Super Mario Bros.: All of Mario's transformations are instant. However, there's no Mercy Invincibility, so it's possible to pick up an item and immediately lose it due to hitting an enemy.
  • Subverted in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, when Kyosuke nails the R-Gun Rivale with his signature Revolver Stake attack, while it's in the middle of transforming... inflicting serious damage due to various parts being left exposed during the transformation, and effectively jamming the gears. Ingram is not amused.
    • And subverted as well when Ingram shoots down the R-3 Powered in the middle of transforming into the SRX. Granted, he had the help of Aya suffering psychic backlash.
    • Another subversion occurs in one mission of Alpha Gaiden, where the dinosaur empire has created a special squad of mechabeasts whose sole purpose is to stay between the getter machines and prevent them from combining. However, they were ultimately unable to stop a much higher speed, and therefore more dangerous, version of the combination mechanism.
      • Subverted in an early mission in Alpha 1 where the Getter Team was forced to defend their base from an attack too fast for them to combine. That part of the stage actually counted transforming as a Losing condition.
    •'s kind of funny, though, considering that the rule is fully in effect in all the other Super Robot Wars games — anyone who can combine, divide, transform or whatever, can do so whenever they like, without wasting a turn. In fact, you can even combine with units that have already moved this turn as long as the one who's activating the combination hasn't, which you can take advantage of by separating a combined mecha, having all but the main pilot for the combined form attack, and then have the last one combine to launch a final attack that is much stronger than any attack the individual would make (and keep the individual units from being killed during the enemies turn).
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Brawl has loading issues due to the fact that it is on a double-layered DVD. As such, Princess Zelda's transformation into Sheik now encases her in a sphere of light for four seconds rather than being instantaneous like in the previous game, Melee. You can't hurt her while she's in the sphere, though it's not uncommon for opponents to keep hitting it in hopes of hurting her the exact second she's done. Pokemon Trainer suffered from similar problems when switching 'mons, and Samus is a downplayed example (the transformation is part of her Final Smash and is intended to be punishable if she misses).
    • 4 abandoned transforming characters altogether for similar reasons: disc access times on the Wii U, and memory limitation on the 3DS.
    • Ultimate added transformations back in. Since the Switch deals only in solid state memory devices, load times are back to near-instant.
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron justifies it with Metroplex. He's so big that Decepticon mooks fall right off while he's transforming for at least 30 seconds. A Warp Cannon might have stopped it though.
  • In Trials of Mana, if you choose Kevin as one of your characters, his nighttime werewolf transformations cannot be interrupted by enemies. "Hey monsters, just gonna go werewolf here, don't mind me."
  • Happens in Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine. While Nemeroth is undergoing his transformation into a Daemon Prince, you're distracted by fighting a horde of Bloodletters. You can't attack Nemeroth anyway, as a barrier protects him. Sadly, this leads to one of the lamest final boss "fights" in recent history — a QTE button mashing affair that a chimpanzee could get right on the first try.
  • The Wonderful 101 justifies this, in a sequence parodying Space Sheriff Gavan (see Live-Action TV): transformation is not a free action — it takes three billionths of a second. Yes, really.
  • The nature of World of Warcraft transformation ranges all over, from the transformation happening instantly, everyone being unable to attack for no adequately explained reason, the boss making itself temporarily invulnerable, the boss incapacitating everyone before transforming, the transformation period being an excellent time to beat them up without resistance, to being able to stop them transforming at all by killing them or disrupting the spell.
    • High Priest Thekal in Zul'Gurub, after being defeated in the first phase, yells "Shrivallah, fill me with your rage!" before transforming and replenishing his life bar, and the players cannot attack him while he transforms.
    • The Reliquary of Souls (a large three-faced orb) in The Black Temple retreats inside a cage-like shell made out of bone for a few seconds while switching to its next face. The Devourer of Souls, a boss with the same model, shifts faces instantly and without warning, though.
    • M'uru cannot be attacked during his transformation to Entropius, but this gives the raid valuable time to kill any remaining adds before the start of Phase 2.
    • Averted with Moorabi in Gundrak; the transformation is a spell that can be interrupted, and the players get an achievement if they defeat him without him transforming.
    • Justified with Professor Putricide in Icecrown Citadel, who uses Tear Gas to immobilize the raid while he runs over and drinks a potion.
  • Enforced in 0 A.D. When a soldier gathers enough experience, he is upgraded to the next level and this is indicated by the soldier waving his weapon in the air happily, while wearing his new uniform. Since this usually happens in the middle of a battle, any damage to this unit is disabled until the transformation is complete.


    Web Original 
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dragon Ball Z Abridged regularly pokes fun at the source material's reputation for this, as seen with Freeza in the page quote.
    • Earlier, Piccolo intends to attack Freeza while he's transforming into his third form, only to get distracted by a conversation with Nail. And when transforming into his fourth form, Gohan outright asks why Krillin isn't using his Kienzan attack:
    Krillin: Yeah, you know, I keep forgetting to do that.
    Gohan: ...And?
    Krillin: Well, I kind of used all my energy to mortally wound Vegeta.
  • Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] Abridged: In Episode 10, when Archer starts setting up Unlimited Blade Works, Shirou asks Saber to attack him while he is chanting, but she stands there because she wanted to see what he was doing.
  • Magical Girl Hunters occasionally averts it. Yoi and Itami don't shoot the girls prior to transformation and are loath to do so during because it's bad business, making them look like they're gunning down innocent (and briefly nude) young girls. However, this has been how they've gotten the drop on a number of their targets and many of the rest they plug in the moment right after transformation when they're still catching their balance.
  • The If I Ever Become an Anime Villain... recommends villains avert this to get an advantage in the fight.
  • The Laws of Anime lists this as its 45th law and refers to it as Law of Uninteruptable Metamorphosis.

    Western Animation 
  • Whether or not the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers badge activation was a free action or not depended on the episode. What was clearer was that Niko and Shane's abilities could be triggered near-instatly, Zachary's Arm Cannon appeared to take a second or two, and Doc's ability was so useless in combat that he was a de facto Badass Normal.
  • One thing Princess Azula is famous for in Avatar: The Last Airbender is averting this in the final episode of the second season. When Aang starts to go into the Avatar State, and begins to glow and levitate, she doesn't wait for him to finish, but just shoots him in the back with a bolt of lightning, leaving him seriously injured and for a brief time clinically dead. It may be that for most people, the sight of the Avatar State being unleashed is just too awesome (in the old-fashioned, wrath-of-God sense) to not be frozen by it, unless you're Azula. It usually is a free action, only taking a fraction of a second. This one was special because it was his first full-powered one done on purpose instead of reflexively, and he wasn't all the way out of the meditative trance needed to unlock it yet.
  • Ben 10 averts this trope in that while Ben's transformations appear quite lengthy to the viewer, when it is shown from other characters' perspectives, there's simply a flash of green light that lasts less than a second.
  • Averted in one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) where Prince Adam is actually attacked and interrupted when he's in the middle of calling forth The Power of Greyskull, (Theme Music Powerup and all).
  • Mercilessly lampshaded in MAD during a skit that combined Dragon Ball Z with Money Ball. Vegeta takes so long to power up, that by the time he's done, people in the bleachers and dugouts are taking naps, playing chess, and watching through the entirety of Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005). And the payoff: He uses his built up power to bunt the ball.
  • Max in Max Steel (2013) emits a forcefield when transforming, preventing interruption.
  • Miraculous Ladybug averts the trope by making the actual Transformation Sequence take a matter of seconds both onscreen and in-universe, and by making a point of having the eponymous Ladybug and her partner put some effort into making sure nobody sees them. Not that this stops Adrien striking a dramatic pose when he transforms into Cat Noir, but that's probably for his own amusement. Not surprisingly given his fondness for hamming it up, Hawk Moth has one that's even more spectacular. On occasion, the transformation sequence can be cut to instantaneous when required, such as when Marinette is falling from a great height in "Weredad".
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Spoofed in "Crossover Nexus", where Strike announces that he's about to begin his "incredibly long, uninterruptible power-up sequence". It lasts for about a full minute, and by the time he's done the heroes have stolen his pen-laser and gotten their powers back.
  • Spoofed and subverted in an episode of Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero that spoofed a lot of anime tropes. Sashi took on the role of the magical girl, complete with a transformation sequence...that lasts so long that she ends up boring the audience and getting disqualified from the fighting tournament the team is participating in.
  • Parodied in Robot Chicken twice:
    • It takes Vehicle Voltron so long to transform (partially because they screwed it up and had to go back several steps to try again) that nearly everyone they were supposed to rescue is dead by the time they actually got there (and the only one left kills himself after realizing it's "not even the real Voltron, just that stupid vehicle one!").
    • Another has a monster stand by and watch Sailor Moon transform beginning to end because he was enjoying it so much he pitched a tent in his very tight pants. They're both so thoroughly embarrassed and repulsed they just call the fight off and go home.
  • Averted in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. While there is a transformation sequence when Adora turns into She-Ra, from an outsider's perspective the transformation looks instantaneous.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this is averted with droidekas. While they generally transition from their ball mode to combat mode quickly, Ahsoka and Anakin manage to kill one while it is in wheel mode and lightsaber range in the movie.
  • Netflix preschool show Super Monsters has sequences of this kind where the kids turn into monsters and then turn back into humans. To make matters worse, these two sequences take up a major chunk of each episode.
  • In the ThunderCats (1985) episode "Monkian's Bargain", Mumm-Ra attempts his transformation, only for Wilykit and Wilykat to lasso and yank him down. He wisely decides to retreat after that. Notably subverted in the 2011 series, in service of The Unreveal. In "Omens Part Two", Big Bad Mumm-Ra attempts his incantation to trigger a One-Winged Angel ("Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form...") only to be interrupted by the rising sun burning his skin.
  • This is the main difference between American-produced Transformers shows and the Japanese ones. Transformers in Generation 1, Beast Wars and Transformers: Animated tend to take only a few seconds (if even that) to transform, not leaving themselves open to attack, whereas the Japanese shows follow this trope to a T.
    • It actually varies in the Japanese series. Sometimes there are long dramatic transformation sequences, and others the transforming happens instantly. As with Power Rangers, it apparently actually looks like the in-scene morphs to the other characters. It comes into play more, though, during Transformers: Cybertron, as dialogue is inserted into Stock Footage sequences to make them more interesting. It largely works, but sometimes there are oddities like Optimus going to Super Mode, combining with Leobreaker, and explaining their role in Vector Prime's larger plan, all while Teleport Spam user Sideways is in mid-teleport and hasn't reappeared yet.
    • Note that in the American series nobody every tries to interrupt characters combining into a bigger robot, which clearly does take time.
      • It was done at least once. Slag knocked over a not-yet-complete Devastator.
    • Animated, however does both. Most of the time, transformation is instantaneous, however characters occasionally do get a transformation sequence where this trope is in effect.
    • One of the Japanese-only Transformer-style series has the baddies develop a special gun that was triggered to fire exactly in the seconds of transformation, when the robots are most vulnerable. The heroes eventually get around this by having their back-up team transform before coming on the scene, making them late to the fight but not knocked out. The villains never use this device again.
    • In Beast Wars they actually played with the fast transforming times, letting the characters utilize the various advantages of both forms (or three. Four in the case of Primal). Typically the reason they don't shoot during transformations is because they were caught off-guard or are busy transforming or readying for battle themselves. Notably in the episode "Double Jeopardy", Rattrap shoots Tarantulas in the middle of his transformation because Spider-Boy spent a few seconds gloating about catching Rattrap in the act of espionage, who had plenty of time to pull his gun and fire because he was already in his battle form.
    • The Transformers: The Movie:
      • Subverted when the Constructicons try to combine into Devastator; Rumble and Frenzy create a tremor to knock them apart mid-transformation.
      • A Double Subversion involving Unicron: when he takes robot form, Galvatron decides to blast him in his moment of weakness. He's unable to so much as scratch Unicron.
    • Subverted in Transformers: Prime. When Starscream sees an angry Megatron eager to punish him, he changes into a jet to escape. However, Megatron grabs him just before he can finish and hurls him into the hull of the Nemesis.
  • Voltron Force:
    • Subverted in grand style in one episode. A hypersonic Robeast specifically designed to attack Voltron while forming is sent to Arus by Prince Lotor. Daniel's Voltcom powers are crucial in defeating it, as his speed-based powers allow Voltron to compress its combination sequence from 36 seconds to just four. Or as it was put in the comments section on a video recording of the Flash Form on YouTube:
    • In "Brains", the trope was explicitly invoked by the writers, as Prince Lotor challenged Voltron to one-on-one combat, and the combination sequence that followed used the classic, rather than modernized, Voltron music. Prince Lotor did nothing to interrupt Voltron's combination sequence, because he wanted a direct one-on-one fight with his nemesis.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, it is left ambiguous until "Stayin' Alive", where it is subverted and lampshaded.
    Keith: I don't think the Robeast is gonna sit around and wait for us to transform.
  • The girls of Winx Club are never interrupted during their transformations. One episode of season 4 even parodies this when the wizards stand around and Ogron comments, "This silly dance again?", though it does show that transformation takes a few seconds at most.
  • Like most magical girl series, the main heroines of W.I.T.C.H. are never interrupted in their transformation sequences. One incident, where the girls' teacher catches the tail end of their transformation, is shocked by the light show, giving them the chance to manhandle him (they thought he was working for the enemy). He comes into school the next day, dismissing it as a dream.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Transformation As A Free Action


Transforming in Real Time

After Rin and Luvia drop into a bottomless bog, Illya and Miyu transform into their magical girl forms to get them out... and take their sweet time looking cute and flashy while the girls they're supposed to save drown in panic and cursing each other out.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformationIsAFreeAction

Media sources: