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Turning Back Human

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We'll be human again, we'll be human again,
When we're knickknacks and whatnots no more
— "Human Again", Beauty and the Beast

This describes an event where someone, who is something that is not... themselves (be it a case of Forced Transformation, Taken for Granite, etc.), is turned back into their original form.

The methods often involve reversing their conditions, e.g. if he's cursed then there would be a Curse Escape Clause, if he touched Green Rocks then it either must be destroyed/removed or neutralized in some ways; sometimes, however, there might be attempts to get around this instead (e.g. a human-turned-insect or other small creature may take a Mobile-Suit Human that looks like him, or a petrified person can have its soul extracted and put in a new body). Effectively, a Reset Button for said character's form.

Compare This Was His True Form, for when a death or grievous injury is the trigger, and Dying as Yourself, for when death brings their mind back. Compare also Become a Real Boy and Humanity Ensues when a natural non-human becomes a human. Compare Back from the Dead if they turn back from death. See Self-Perception Shapeshifting if they just needed to see themselves as human.

Please note that one-episode transformations do not fall under this trope. And despite the name, the subject doesn't have to be "human" originally; the point is that he/she is back to his/her "original" form.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Dressrosa arc of One Piece, the island is full of Living Toys who were humans transformed by Donquixote Doflamingo's subordinate Sugar. When Usopp manages to knock her out, the spell is broken and the toys turn back to normal.
  • In the "Waking the Dragons" saga of Yu-Gi-Oh!, it's revealed that the three legendary dragons were actually warriors that were cursed by Dartz. During the climactic battle with Dartz, the pharaoh manages to set them free.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert for Monday 1 March 2010 has Dilbert and Asok take over Victor's project. The peculiar device transforms Asok into a goat-head minotaur. Wednesday's strip has Alice repeatedly smack Asok in the head for two hours until he's part dolphin. "Dolphin is close. One more should do it."

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, not only the Beast but also his servants are cursed — the latter shapeshifted into household objects. At the end of the movie, all of them turn back into humans.
  • At the end of Brave, Queen Elinor and the triplets, turned into bears by the witch's spell, turn back into humans. On the other hand, Mor'du, who Was Once a Man, dies, and we see his human spirit get released from his body and turn into a Will-o'-the-Wisp.
  • Subverted at the end of Brother Bear when Kenai decides to become a bear again to look after Koda.
  • The plot of The Emperor's New Groove centers around the main character being turned into a llama and trying to find a way to become a human again.
  • Turniphead the scarecrow from Howl's Moving Castle is the cursed prince of the neighboring kingdom. He gains back his human form thanks to Sophie's kiss.
  • Once the evil sea witch Ursula from The Little Mermaid (1989) is defeated, the weed-people that occupy the entranceway to her lair transform back into merman / mermaid form and swim away. This change also applies to the reduced King Triton, who restores to normal, complete with crown and trident.
  • Downplayed with Susan Murphy from Monsters vs. Aliens, who starts her day as a human bride-to-be until a Magic Meteor crashes near the chapel, exposing Susan to quantonium. Shortly thereafter, Susan grows to giant size, terrorizing the wedding party. The villain captures Susan, and drains the quantonium from her body, which restores her to normal. However, Susan has gained confidence in herself, so she confronts the villain and succeeds in regaining the quantonium, and her enormous size with it, which inverts this trope.
  • At the end of The Princess and the Frog, both Tiana and Naveen turn back into humans when the spell that turned them into frogs is broken.
  • Spirited Away has Chihiro's parents dine upon food meant for ethereal guests of Madame Yubaba's spa. Their punishment for this affront is being transformed into swine. Madame Yubaba later gives Chihiro the opportunity to restore her parents, if she can correctly identify them out of a pen of twelve. The attentive and judicious Chihiro succeeds, effectively pressing the Reset Button on her family's adventures in the Spirit World.
  • In the climax of Turning Red, Mei, her family and friends have to work together to turn her mother back human and reseal her mother's panda spirit.
  • The protagonist of Willy the Sparrow is a human boy transformed into a sparrow as punishment by the Sparrow Guardian. He turns back into human after learning his lesson, along with a sparrow friend he made.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Crystal recounts how the Ur-skeks, in their arrogance, split off a shard of the great crystal for study. This caused them to diverge into two separate races: the gentle Mystics and the sinister Skekses. In their journey to the Skekses' stronghold, Jen and Kira encounter an abandoned temple that chronicles in pictographs that fateful day. They were able to reattach the missing shard onto the darkened main crystal, which then merged the surviving Mystics with their counterpart Skekses. The result was the Ur-skeks being restored, after a thousand years of being divergent beings.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack's former crew suffers the curse of Cortez, being undead pirates that are skeletons in moonlight. Their goal in the movie is to end the curse and regain their humanity, which they do get back... right during a battle where their immortality was giving them an edge.
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger: Near the beginning, Prince Kassim is changed into a baboon by a curse. He is eventually returned to normal through ancient magic.
  • In Spider-Man: No Way Home: Three of the villains: Electro, Sandman and Lizard have been turned into non-human beings but are restored to their human condition in the course of the film.
    • In his first scene, Max Dillon is still a blue energy being like he was in his previous appearance. However, he absorbs enough electricity from his new universe to turn himself yellow, and later regains his human body after Spider-Man cuts him off from the power cables, much to his amazement.
      Max: I got my body back!
    • Flint Marko spends the entire movie as a being made of sand, apparently unable to revert to his human appearance. Fortunately, he is brought back to normal by Spider-Man during the climax.
    • Curt Connors seems to be stuck in his lizard form, but Peter manages to make him human again by administering the antidote during the final battle.
  • Weird Science: Because Chet was such a Jerkass to his kid brother Wyatt, Lisa transforms him into a dung heap with eyes and a mouth. However, before she vanishes, Lisa undoes all the damage she's done, including restoring the now-penitent Chet to normal.

  • Animorphs:
    • Played with; one of the main characters, Tobias, gets Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a red-tailed hawk by staying in morph for more than two hours. Eventually, the Ellimist repays a favor by giving him his morphing power back. This means that Tobias can take human form for two hours at a time, or do it permanently but then never morph again. It gives him something new to angst about, but at least alleviates his ongoing Loss of Identity a tad.
    • Inverted when Elfangor, after getting trapped as a human, winds up regaining his original Andalite form, also thanks to the Ellimist. He doesn't really want to, but does so in order to help protect the Earth.
  • The protagonist of Bisclavret turns into a wolf for three days each week; he takes off his clothes to change and regains human form by putting them back on. His wife takes this news badly, takes a lover and has him steal the clothes, trapping him for a year. The protagonist winds up as the oddly tame pet of the local king who eventually figures out the truth and gets him turned back.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a bunch of statues are seen, but they're not actually statues; they're people/fauns/dwarfs/giants/etc. who the White Witch has turned to stone. Late in the book, they're de-stoned and become people/fauns/dwarfs/giants/etc. again, thanks to Aslan killing the witch.
    • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace's greed turns him into a dragon. Once he has learned humbleness and getting along with others, Aslan rips the scales off of him, turning him back into a human.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Peter Pettigrew spends the first two books and the majority of the third in the form of Scabbers, Ron's pet rat. He is forced to turn back into human at the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and remains human for the rest of the books. In this rare example, the shapeshifting is absolutely voluntary rather than Forced Transformation; the character just stays in animal form to hide from the public.
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Basilisk's gaze turns people into stone. Multiple characters are petrified during the story, who are all turned back into living people (or in one case, into a ghost) at the end by Professor Sprout's mandrake potion.
  • Hurog: Oreg was Made a Slave and also made the Genius Loci of castle Hurog. After Ward kills his fake body, he is no longer bound to the castle and can shapeshift into a dragon again. As he's quarter-dragon, this is his true form. Technically, he is able to materialize a human body before, but it lacks some features, like being able to commit suicide.
  • This offer is made to the vampire assassin Madeline Giovanni in the Masquerade of the Red Death trilogy. She almost takes them up on it, but chooses to remain undead due to unfinished business that she can only deal with as a vampire.
  • In Ozma of Oz, the Nome King has turned the Royal Family of Ev into knickknacks, and Ozma, Dorothy and the rest of the Oz group have a challenge: if they can find the right ones, the Evans will be restored, but if they don't find any of the right ones, then they themselves will be transformed forever. Billina the hen manages to learn the secret via Exact Eavesdropping: the Ev family are all purple.
  • In This Is Not a Werewolf Story, loosely based on Bisclavret above, Raul's mother has been Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a wolf for a few years, and Raul winds up in the same predicament for a few months. He regains human form when one of the perpetrators, Vincent, feels guilty and gives the stolen clothes back. His mom is still trapped when the story ends, though.
  • Deliberately averted in The Witches; the protagonist doesn't have any way to turn back after the Grand High Witch is defeated, and will die of old age in 9 years thanks to his slightly boosted mouse lifespan. Played straight in the 1990 film adaptation, which apparently upset Roald Dahl.
  • In A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged spends too much time in the form of a hawk (and focused on nothing but survival), so he has to be turned back into human by his teacher, and even then, it takes a couple of days before his mind is back to normal.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • The Shanshu Prophesy says that the Vampire with a Soul will die after saving the world — which is to say, after saving the world, he'll be rewarded by becoming human again, and thus eventually die of old age.
    • In an early episode, Angel is cured of being a vampire and has a romantic weekend with Buffy. Then he realizes that as a regular human, he can't fight the forces of darkness, so he asks for his transformation to be reversed (and nobody but him remembers it).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Amy spends a couple of seasons as a rat after a magic misfire before eventually regaining human form. Her somewhat hedonistic behaviour after return to humanity is probably best blamed on her time lost as the rat.
    • Anyanka the Vengeance Demon is depowered by an Alternate Universe version of Giles and has to adjust to life as a human teenager. It is eventually revealed that she was originally human but got recruited into the Vengeance Demon business by her (former) supervisor D'Hoffryn, who remakes her into a Vengeance Demon again. When she asks D'Hoffryn to undo one of her vengeance spells, part of the price is for her to become human again, again. This time it's permanent.
  • In Forever Knight, this is Nick's goal. He hopes that if he saves enough people as a vampire detective, he'll regain his soul/humanity. He fails, and commits suicide.
  • Inverted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Odo is made human as a punishment from the Founders, and hates it for half a season before getting his shapeshifting form back.

    Video Games 
  • In Castlevania 64, the player encounters a vampire woman named Rosa. Carrie only meets her once, but Reinhart encounters her several times. She eventually sacrifices herself to save his life. In the good ending, she reappears as a human.
  • Chrono Trigger: Frog turns back into a human in the ending cinematic, though how is not explained (another ending links it to the death of the Optional Party Member responsible for the curse, but it happens whether or not you killed him).
  • In Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, if you get hit by the frog enemies in the medieval levels, the frog will kiss you, then turn into a prince.
  • Played quite cynically in the Dark Souls series. The Player Characters start off as Hollow (i.e. zombies) but by stealing the living humans' humanities (which are an actual item in the games), can restore themselves to almost-human form. Nonetheless, since the Undead Curse is still on them, they revert back to the Hollow form upon being killed and need to steal more humanities to revert again as often as they like. Oh, and just to up the cynicism, humanities are most commonly found on rat corpses (because of all the human corpses they've eaten).
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: In the DLC Dawnguard, it is possible to convince Serana the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire to seek a cure for her vampirism with careful dialogue choices (in which case she disappears after completing the DLC's main quest and returns a few days later as a human).
  • Minecraft: For a given definition of "Human", you can turn Zombified Villagers back to their human selves via dousing them with a Splash Potion of Weakness followed by feeding them a golden apple, then waiting for a few minutes.
  • In StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Sarah Kerrigan is de-infested of the Zerg. Subverted in that she re-infests herself right back to take control of the Zerg Swarm again, although she manages to hold on to some of her humanity this time around.
  • Each world of Super Mario Bros. 3 has its respective king transformed into one of the game's creatures by Bowser and the Koopalings. Retrieving their power wand from a Koopaling will allow them to return to normal and give you a letter from the Princess.
  • In the Super Mario World ROM hack Super Mario World 2+3, Perry is turned back into a human after Mario defeats Roth.

    Web Originals 
  • In Buster Girls, after a Heartless is beaten, it and all its minions revert back to human.
  • In Link and Mage, following a Witch's defeat, those turned into their Familiars turn back to normal. This also applies to Witches if they're exorcised by a Link Striker.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "Betty", the magic in the Ice King's crown fails, letting him regain the mind of Simon. Unfortunately, without the magic, Simon begins to age, so by the end of the episode, he's turned into the Ice King again. His fiancĂ© Betty vows to find a way to save him.
    • It happens to Simon again at the series finale, only this time, it's more permanent without any side effects.
  • Subverted in Kim Possible. Gill Moss is a boy who becomes a fish-like mutant after swimming in a polluted lake. After being cured, he realizes that he liked the power that came with his mutation and decides to become a mutant again.
  • In The Owl House, Eda ends up being turned into the Owl Beast when she's fully consumed by her curse during the penultimate episode of season 1, but Lilith splits the curse with her an episode later. She's still cursed, but at the very least she's back to her original witch form and the elixirs she uses to keep it under control are working again.