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Un-Robotic Reveal

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"That robot has given birth to a man!"
Sideshow Mel, The Simpsons, "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot"

Inversion of the Robotic Reveal, where a machine that was assumed to be a robot turns out to hold a Man in the Machine or some other living creature powering or controlling it. They may also be an ostensibly Ridiculously Human Robot who turns out to be an actual human after all. A Mobile-Suit Human may allow this trope to be preceded by a Robotic Reveal as a Red Herring as there's a lot of machinery to expose before the actual pilot is revealed. For reveals involving a machine who used to be a living creature, see Was Once a Man.

As this is a form of The Reveal, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is the twist in one of the DOLL manga stories. A woman abuses her "Doll" horribly throughout the story and flips out when said "Doll" develops an interest in a young man. The "Doll" finally has enough and shows the woman the blood from the injuries inflicted by her and forces her to face reality — she is the woman's totally human daughter. The woman had been gangraped in her youth and the "Doll" was the result of that. The woman imagined that she had aborted her baby and replaced her with a Doll in an attempt to cope with her trauma.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, as Universe 3 is about to be erased, the robotic God of Destruction Mosco is revealed to really be a tiny imp-like creature named Mule using Mosco as a robot suit, which we find out when Mule comes out to thank his attendant angel before being erased.
  • Happens in Eureka Seven as well, when the core of the Nirvash (and therefore all other LFOs) are revealed to be organic lifeforms.
  • The ending of Key the Metal Idol reveals that Key had been human all along.
  • At first glance, Iris from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection appears to be an AI, but she's actually a human soul that had been uploaded into a computer. She regains her human form in a rather... painful manner for those around her. Double Subverted in the sequel. She's actually an Artificial Human, but the franchise has a ridiculously broad definition of humanity so it's a moot point.
  • Happens twice in Neon Genesis Evangelion, first with the Evas and then with the dummy plugs: the former are cloned Angel-like beings and the latter are Rei's clones.
  • In the final season of Sonic X, the seemingly robotic Metarex commanders are revealed to be the last male members of Cosmo's species wearing Powered Armor. For example, in "The True Form of the Metarex?! / Zelkova Strikes Back", Yellow Zelkova's armor is destroyed, revealing his true form underneath.
  • In Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, the humans are startled to discover that the Bioroid mecha have Human Alien pilots. Some, like Bowie, become progressively more demoralized about fighting the enemy as they learn how human the aliens are (with Bowie of course falling in love with one).
  • Trigun:
    • In the anime, Gray the Ninelives (one of the Gung-Ho Guns) is a robot, but in the original manga it is indeed powered by nine dwarfish creatures inside it.
    • Also, the Plants, which seem to be giant power generators shaped like lightbulbs but are actually Artificial Human inside giant containers.
  • Variant in UFO Robo Grendizer when it is revealed that the Robeasts are powered by brains of Fleedian people. When Duke Fleed got told all Saucer Beasts he had been destroying contained all that was left of his family and friends, he got a Heroic BSoD.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • In one story, Scrooge McDuck fires his old butler, and asks Gyro Gearloose to build him a new, Robotic Butler instead, believing it would be more reliable, as well as less expensive. Gyro initially delivers, but Scrooge keeps making demands for expanded features, demanding that the robot — like his old butler — be able to talk, and provide insightful commentary on day-to-day matters. Gyro is stumped, but the problem gets solved when he runs across the old, laid-off butler, who wants nothing more than to get his job back. Final solution: Gyro disguises the butler as a new robot, and the "rental and service fee" for the robot is just about the same as the butler's old salary... the butler gets his job back, and Scrooge thinks he has an infallible robot.
    • Done another time with Donald ruining Gyro's robot and subsequently dressing in a silver-painted box-suit to "impersonate" it. Unfortunately for him, Gyro intended to sell the robot for heavy-duty labour. Of course, the reason Donald borrowed it in the first place was that he wanted to avoid doing household chores.
  • In the Eppy Thatcher arc of Grendel, Pope Innocent XLII has an apparently metal prosthetic hand that turns out to be a fake covering up one disfigured by the effects of his vampirism.
  • In Invincible, the hero Robot is actually a physically handicapped genius who remotely controls a robotic drone. By the time of The Reveal, he clones himself a healthy body and starts wearing Powered Armor.
  • In the first arc of Jack Staff, robot superhero Tom-Tom the Robot Man turns out to be a paralyzed teenage girl in Powered Armor. In a later issue, there's a Robotic Reveal when Tom-Tom gets destroyed and the other heroes mourn her as dead, only to discover that she'd upgraded it to a genuinely remote-controlled machine and was safe at home.
  • In his first appearance, Timber Wolf from Legion of Super-Heroes is brainwashed into believing that he's a robot, only realizing that he's human at the end of the story.
  • In the original Magnus Robot Fighter one of his earliest one-shot villains was someone who was obsessed with robotic perfection to the point of having himself coated in metal and acting as if he were one of the robots he idolized to become more like them. After revealing the truth Magnus quickly uses that to defeat him.
  • A rather subtle example is done in Runaways. Victor Manchez is revealed to be a robot, but his father Ultron casually mentions, in the midst of his Motive Rant, that Victor's robotic parts are slowly being assimilated by his human ones. This was done on purpose, with the hopes that when he was an adult, he would go to New York, be mistaken as a superhuman by The Avengers (and not as a robot), and go on to be brainwashed into killing them.

    Fan Works 
  • In Sonic Zombie Shopping Mall, Metal Sonic appears to be the leader of the video's Monster of the Week gang. Then Sonic catches him taking a piss, and finds out that he's not fully a robot. Turns out he's actually Silver, who had to give himself a metal body after his defeat in the last video he appeared in.
  • In TRON: Invasion (a loose adaptation of TRON 2.0), Mercury is escorting Administrator Ma3a to safety. A glancing blow from an attacker injures Ma3a, and Mercury notices she's leaking blood, not energy. Since she had already seen blood when Jet was injured, Mercury realizes that Ma3a is a User like Jet is.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dester, the main villain from Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Kingdom, appears to be Queen Jeanne's robotic advisor who imposes a "Robot Reproduction Plan" to eliminate emotions from all robots. In his final scene after getting knocked out, Dester's robotic head cracks open to reveal himself to be a human, one who has a Fantastic Racism towards robots and is manipulating the human queen to his own needs.
  • In Lightyear, the Spin-Off of Toy Story, this is the twist concerning Zurg. When Buzz thinks he's "a massive robot" at first, this version of Zurg turns out to be an older version of Buzz from the future piloting a suit of Powered Armor.
  • In the short "Star Light Angel" from Robot Carnival, you're led to believe that the robot who falls in love with the unnamed brown-haired girl is, well, a robot. It's later revealed at the end of the short that he's a human wearing a robot Goofy Suit mascot costume.
  • In Steamboy, Mecha-Mooks turn out to be soldiers in Powered Armor. Discovering this is one of the reasons for Scarlet's Heel–Face Turn.
  • In "To Hare Is Human", Wile E. Coyote consults a computer to find ways of capturing Bugs Bunny, all of which fail. At the end, the computer opens up and out comes...
    Bugs Bunny: Of course, the real beauty of this machine is that it has only one moving part.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Black Hole, the Cygnus' compliment of robotic crew members are actually revealed to be the lobotomized remains of the human crew who Reinhardt and Maximilian converted into subservient cyborgs after they tried to mutiny.
  • Creepshow 3: Professor Dayton's former students believe that his future bride Kathy is a robot; she behaves as such, and doesn't eat or drink. They ultimately dismantle her when Dayton's not around... and are horrified to discover she was a human mail-order bride.
  • In The Master of Disguise, the Slapping Practice Dummy at the end is revealed to be an Italian Midget inside who also loves to slap as well.
  • Nope: The characters initially think the flying saucer is actually some sort of technologically advanced alien spaceship, but OJ eventually realizes that the saucer is the alien.
  • Played with in the Star Wars films:
    • Though it's mentioned in A New Hope that Darth Vader Was Once a Man, he still comes across as a Killer Robot until the back of his head is seen, unhelmeted in his life-support chamber, in The Empire Strikes Back, a moment that serves to humanize him, paving the way for the franchise's famous reveal.
    • Similarly, in The Force Awakens, when Kylo Ren removes his mask to reveal that, unlike Vader, he's completely human, and seemingly only dresses like Vader for the sake of dressing like Vader.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous, in what is intended as Futureshadowing for Vader's nature, is revealed to still possess internal organs.
  • In The Wolverine, Wolverine rips off the Silver Samurai's head to reveal Ichirō Yashida inside.

  • In House of Suns, an amnesiac android named Hesperas is revealed to be at least partly human underneath his robotic shell. This surprises even him, since he can't remember anything. It turns out that Hesperas, before losing his memory, is serving Machine People as an infiltrator to gain access to Vigilance, who aren't interested in interacting with robots.
  • A partial example in Railsea, when what everyone thought was Naphi's prosthetic arm gets damaged & starts bleeding. She wears it because, as Railsea is one-third Moby-Dick pastiche, she is expected by cultural norms to have both an Animal Nemesis & to have lost a limb to that nemesis. She has the nemesis, but her body still has all four limbs, so in order to be taken seriously by other captains...
  • In the second Revelation Space Series novel, Redemption Ark, a tramp freighter in the Yellowstone system is operated by a woman and her oddly protective autopilot computer. The computer later reveals that it is a fully sentient uploaded human personality of a family friend that has been playing dumb as a computer to avoid being caught for crimes he committed decades ago.
  • In Fritz Leiber's Silver Eggheads, robotic writer Zane Gort, who writes books for robots, considers this trope unsatisfying, but once used it anyway.
    Zane Gort: Come to think of it, I once did end a Dr. Tungsten chapter just that way: Platinum Paula turns out to be an empty robot-shell with a human movie starlet inside at the controls. I knew my readers would feel so frustrated they'd want to get on to something else right away. So I cut to Silver Vilya oiling herself. That always tickles them.
  • The Star Diaries: In one of his adventures, Ijon Tichy is sent to infiltrate a society of rebellious robots ruled by their crapshoot AI overlord. He finds out that at least some robots are humans in the same robotic disguise as he. Then it turns out that they're all humans pretending to be robots, including the insane AI.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The pilot episode of Barney & Friends had a scene where a robot made from cardboard boxes and a teapot for a head enters a classroom, and as a result it, Barney, and the children start singing a song about a robot that's sung to the tune of "I'm A Little Teapot." (what makes this even more obvious is the fact that the aforementioned robot's head is a teapot) When the song ends, the robot opens up, revealing it to be one of the children that are with Barney.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Daleks are not really this, as they get revealed early on as mutants encased in mobile battle armour.
    • "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" has Tricky, who's really the youngest Van Baalen brother, who lost his memories, eyes and larynx in an industrial accident. His Jerkass older brothers decided to make him think he was an android for fun. The Electronic Eyes and voicebox helped.
    • In a Shout-Out to the Turk (see Real Life below), "Nightmare in Silver" features a hollowed-out Cyberman shell that can play chess... and is actually controlled by someone hiding beneath it.
    • In "Dark Water", Missy/The Master trolls the Doctor by pretending to be a malfunctioning robot so that she has an excuse to (extremely) make out with him.
  • One episode of Eureka ended with Fargo cheating to win the annual competition to determine who'd built the most realistic robot dog by entering a real dog.
  • iCarly (2021): The episode "iRobot Wedding" has Nevel Papperman throwing a Robot-themed wedding. Odd behavior from his bride Prunella makes Carly suspect she is an actual robot, such as rapid blinking, understanding binary code, a magnet sticking to her forehead, a battery pack falling out of her dress, and the fact that she can't believe any actual woman would want to marry Nevel. It's all explained away at the end of the episode (she's not used to wearing eyelash extensions, she has a metal plate in her head, and the battery pack was attached to a belt with LED lights on it and while the wedding was initially intended to be a sham in order to trick Carly into marrying Nevel, Prunella really does love him and Nevel is so touched that he decides to marry her for real).
  • Played with in Lexx: 790 is a robot head, but he was meant to control a headless human body, except in order for the connection to work, he needs a tiny but potent cube of brain matter to control said body.
  • An internal example occurred in Sliders, where rogue robots were being collected. Two of the sliders were only discovered when they were attacked with hand-to-hand combat, and the robots noticed the blood.

  • For most of My Beloved Mother, Sinbell — an orphan Raised by Robots — assumes that his robotic caretaker, Milan, is just, well, a robot, issued by the welfare department like every other machines. Until the revelation near the end — turns out Milan was actually Sinbell's biological mother, Aya, who gave up her life to save him from a gas explosion back when Sinbell was four. In her death throes, Aya's last request is for her conscience to be programmed into a prototype robot, Milan, which means Sinbell's robot mother is housing the soul of his actual parent the whole time. There's actually a bit of foreshadowing early on when Sinbell asks Milan where he's from; her reply is "you come from mommy's tummy!" despite how robots shouldn't have knowledge of the human biology.

  • This is how Kilroy escapes from prison in Styx's "Mr. Roboto" — he kills a robot guard and wears its casing.

    Video Games 
  • Billy vs. SNAKEMAN features Robogirl, who is actually a human disguised as a robot due to an irrational anxiety of actual people.
  • In Borderlands 2, Angel is revealed to be a Siren, not a Hyperion AI like she had previously claimed.
  • Breathless, an old Amiga game, sees you battling robotic-looking enemies, but they're actually humans put through Unwilling Roboticisation. Killing them will result in a bloody red mess that confirms them to be organic.
  • In Broken Age, the computer on Shay's ship that switches between a "mother" and a "father" personality are revealed to be Shay's actual biological mother and father, who are operating out of a control room and using an interface that gives them control over the ship.
  • Corridor 7: Alien Invasion has the robotic-looking Mechanical Warrior enemies, soldiers enhanced with plenty of cybernetic implants. They appear to be machines, right up to having face-concealing helmets, but their death animations sees their armor cracking up and revealing them to be reptilian aliens.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!: KAOS is being powered by an unwitting Donkey and Diddy Kong.
  • Played for horror with the golems of Dragon Age, who used to be dwarves until a Mad Scientist encased them in rock and poured molten lyrium through the slits in the case until they stopped screaming.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the extinct Dwemer were a supremely technologically advanced race, capable of creating Steampunk machinery blended with their skill as enchanters to create powerful Magitek technology. Their greatest ancient rivals were the much more primitive Chimer, ancestors of the modern Dunmer (Dark Elves). The Dwemer were well known for creating automaton Mecha-Mooks, ranging in size from Fun Size Spider Tank workers through several humanoid forms, to outright Humongous Mecha. The in-game book Chimarvamidium speaks of how these automatons were even better known at the time than soldiers in full-plate mail armor. The book is about a group of Chimer who attempt to turn a Dwemer "golem" against its makers...
  • A variant in Final Fantasy VII: The Reveal that Cait Sith is being operated by radio. Obviously, Reeve neither fits into Cait Sith itself nor into the moogle doll, but we were led to believe that he was just a normal lifeform anyhow.
  • Somewhat downplayed in Five Nights at Freddy's 3. The only real threat in this game, Springtrap, seems to simply be Haunted Technology like all of the previous animatronics, but is later revealed to contain the corpse of the Murderer who caused all of the hauntings in the first place. Granted, it is a possessed robot doing all of the legwork, but there is still a person behind the mask.
  • illWill (2023) has an Unnecessarily Creepy Robot enemy called Spiders, which resembles a gigantic mechanical eyeball on robotic spider legs. But when killed, they bleed red like all other enemies, implying their insides to be at least flesh and blood.
  • In Gokujō Parodius, the Moon's boss first appears as a kimono-clad bunny girl, which mechanically breaks apart as she gets damaged, only to reveal herself as a puppet maneuvered by a couple of penguins.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • At the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, it's revealed that System U-D, the Unbreakable Darkness, isn't an ancient Magitek program that took human form in the same way that Reinforce and the Materials were. Instead, she's an actual human named Yuri Eberwein who was transformed into the program-like super-powered being that she is now.
  • Played for horror in Mass Effect. The Reapers are initally portayed as incredibly powerful and ancient sentient spaceships. Then we find out how Reapers are created: millions of people taken from the dominant race during a Reaper Cycle are liquefied into technorganic slurry that is fed to a Reaper superstructure. Worse, it's implied that the minds of the victims live on inside the Reaper and act as a Mind Hive. When Sovereign claimed that each Reaper was a nation, he wasn't kidding.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, after you defeat Jetstream Sam, it is revealed that, aside from his robotic arm, he has almost no cyborg augmentations and was actually wearing a suit of armor. This is made more evident in the Japanese version, where Sam's blood is red, as opposed to the cyborg's white blood.
  • Syaro from Rabi-Ribi is initially believed to be one of Cicini's robot maids. In reality, she's a childhood friend of Cicini's who disguised herself so that she could be around her when Cicini's father eventually forbode them from interacting so that she could focus on her research.
  • The SD Gundams from SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors are all actual humans from the far future of the world in Super Robot Wars UX who've evolved into Gundams... somehow.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series games, Big Bad Doctor Eggman actually captures innocent animals and turns them into robotic henchmen. Defeating said henchmen will cause their robotic shells to come off, setting the animal inside free. In Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, it is suggested that Shadow may actually be an android built in the real Shadow's likeness. In the Last Story of the latter game, during the battle with Black Doom, Eggman corrects this misconception and explains that he had a robot drone rescue Shadow from falling into the atmosphere after the final battle of Sonic Adventure 2.
  • In Sword of the Stars, the mechanical-looking Suul'ka are actualy gigantic Liir Elders wearing Powered Armor that allows them to survive in space.
  • Tanzer have you playing as a Cyber Cyclops for most of the game, until you defeat the True Final Boss. The ending cutscene have you removing your helmet where it turns out you're an attractive, unnamed young woman in a robot suit (in a homage to the ending of Metroid).
  • Played with in Undertale: while Mettaton's body is entirely mechanical, he's not actually a robot, but rather a ghost, Napstablook's cousin, possessing a robotic shell. Alphys just tells everyone he's an artificial intelligence in an attempt to impress people.
  • In the NES game Vice: Project Doom a late-game boss fight has the protagonist attacked by a super-soldier suit that he must defeat to continue. He finds out far too late that his girlfriend was inside of the suit.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Face Mechon are made by replacing most of a Homs' (read: human's) organs with mechanical parts so that they can operate in what is essentially a Mini-Mecha. Almost every character thought to be killed by the Mechon returns as a Face.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, Sigma at one point gets a cut on his hand and is startled to find that the cut is bleeding white blood. Luna tells him that the white blood means he could be a GAULEM, a form of robot with artificially produced emotions and pain, which are basically indistinguishable from humans when they've got their artificial skin on. She eventually runs a test on him and finds that he's not a robot, he just has robotic arms. The irony comes in the fact that Luna is a robot.

  • At one point in Freefall, Helix has a nightmare that all the robots are being replaced by organic impostors... including himself.
  • Jones of Gunnerkrigg Court is a prime example of Emotionless Girl. Before the story got to finally explain what she is, it was a popular theory — both among the fans, and in-universe — that she was a robot. But she isn't a human, either; she's an immortal, indestructible human-shaped thing. The Un-Reveal is that even she doesn't know what she actually is, or where she came from. She's certain about not being a robot, though.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • In in these strips, Oasis bleeds after being stabbed through the gut, revealing that she's not a robot like everyone thought. Whether she's human in the strictest sense of the word is still unknown, however.
    • Also, during Oceans Unmoving, one antagonist is a cloaked figure called Blacksoul. It's revealed that Blacksoul is actually a robot, the Obsidian Teknokon. But then it turns out that the Obsidian Teknokon was being controlled by Bun-bun all along... actually the "current" Bun-bun, whereas the Bun-bun who was being followed during the storyline was past Bun-bun before he was bought by Torg at the pet store.

    Western Animation 
  • Everyone who knows the truth about the Big Guy in Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot are careful to keep it secret from the general public, who believe the Big Guy to have a fully functioning AI instead of simply being Powered Armor. Even Rusty, the Big Guy's sidekick, an actual AI, does not know the truth. When Legion Ex Machina build a duplicate of the Big Guy, they are shocked to discover the truth when the mechanics expect a hatch to open in the "Big Guy's" back. Similarly, the show's intro depicts Rusty fighting what appears to be a giant yellow robot with a hazmat symbol on its head. Once the Big Guy throws a car at the robot, what bursts out of the robot is a green mutant biomechanical frog-like monster with a robotic arm, which means the robot was also a suit. And it gets destroyed by the Big Guy and Rusty.
  • A minor example in Bucky O'Hare: Jenny uses her psychic/mystic powers on Toadborg, believing him to be a robot. The attack fails, making her realise that Toadborg isn't a machine after all.
  • Happens a few times in Futurama:
    • In "Fear of a Bot Planet", a planet populated entirely by robots makes a horror movie where the twist ending reveals the killer is actually a human. The human (played by a robot actor) even opens his chest panel to show off his squishy internal organs.
    • Also spoofed in "Amazon Women in the Mood", in which the Femputer that rules the planet Amazonia turns out to be operated by a fembot, who in turn had escaped from a planet ruled by a male bot operating a male computer. Leave it to the geeks at Futurama to have a machine pretending to be a different machine.
      "Do you have any idea what it's like being a fembot in a manbot's manputer's world?"
    • Also played with in "Insane in the Mainframe", in which Fry is released from the Institution for Criminally Insane Robots after being brainwashed into believing himself to be a robot. After everyone else's attempts to convince him of his obvious fleshiness fail, a bleeding cut on his arm snaps him out of it.
  • In the Gargoyles episode "The Edge", the red leader of the robotic gargoyles created by David Xanatos turns out to be Xanatos himself wearing an exo-frame.
  • In Infinity Train, the Conductor is revealed to be a human woman piloting a cobbled-together robotic body.
  • In one episode of The New Adventures of Speed Racer, the heroes buy a Master Computer for their house. Turns out the salvaged brain of a deceased criminal mastermind needed their workshop's facilities to build himself a new body.
  • In one episode of Phantom 2040, one biot turns out to be a disguised human... right after Phantom shoots her, much to his distress since he never kills. She survives.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In "Jack and the Smackback", Jack is forced to fight in a deadly tournament. One of his opponents, Aqualizer, appears to be an intimidating robot, but is eventually revealed to be a small slug-like creature piloting a mecha suit.
    • In the fifth season, after fifty years of fighting increasingly humanoid robots (and the occasional green-blooded alien), Jack kills one of the very human Daughters of Aku with a knife to the neck. Jack's face afterwards reveals that he was not prepared to see red human blood.
    • The Dominator appears to be a droid, until his helmet is knocked off during his fight with Ashi. He's completely human, he's just some asshole wearing Powered Armor.
  • The Simpsons' parody of Robot Wars in "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot": After completely failing to build a battlebot (it activates long enough to tear its own head off, then collapses in pieces), Homer covers himself in armour plating (a mailbox) and enters the arena himself with a hammer. He does pretty well, albeit with numerous horrible injuries, until he has to face a robot so huge (a parody of Robocop's ED-209) it ends up squeezing him out of the suit when it stomps on him. Ironically, this means Homer wins the fight because Professor Frink, the robot's creator, programmed it with Asimov's Three Laws, meaning it can't hurt a human.
    Sideshow Mel: That robot has given birth to a man!
  • Eric Cartman manages to fool not just Butters, but every adult he meets (other than the Stotches) into believing that he is a friendly household robot from Japan in the South Park episode "AWESOM-O". No one else suspects the cheap cardboard disguise until, at the very end, Eric farts.
    Butters: Hey! Robots don't fart!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Imitation Krabs", SpongeBob believes Plankton's actual robo-Krabs to be the real Krabs. After SpongeBob accidentally blows up the robot, he realizes his mistake, and hurries to save a tartar sauce-covered Krabs from being eaten.
    • In the episode "Krab-Borg", SpongeBob, having seen a scary movie, believes — and convinces Squidward that — Mr. Krabs is a robot because he seems incapable of laughing, crying or loving. When SpongeBob and Squidward threaten to destroy his cash register (believing it to be one of his fellow machines), Krabs bursts into tears and sobs about how he loved the cash register and laughed with it. SpongeBob then remembers that at the end of the movie he watched, it turned out that there were no robots and it was all in the protagonist's head.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo? features an example of both this and a Robotic Reveal in the episode "Go West, Young Scoob", in which Scooby and the gang visit a Wild West theme park with lifelike animatronics called Cyber Gulch. It at first seems that Dr. Fleg is the founder and creator of Cyber Gulch and that John Lawman is one of the animatronics, but a splash of water from Velma causes Dr. Fleg to short-circuit and has no effect on John Lawman, proving that it's actually the other way around.
  • In Young Justice (2010), Mister Twister turns out to be a guy in Powered Armor instead of a robot. But then that guy is a robot. But then, that guy actually exists back at the villains' base, controlling a robot version of himself which in turn controls the Mister Twister armor. It gets better. A later episode reveals that the person who was controlling the robot version of himself who was controlling a Powered Armor is himself, also a robot, much to the surprise of his creations. The real man is actually an elderly man by this time, lying in a hospital bed.

    Real Life 
  • The Mechanical Turk was an automaton made in 18th century France, that was widely touted to be able to beat any human at chess. Of course, people later found out that it was completely unable to function without a human chess master hiding inside and manipulating the arms. Meanwhile, it was inspiring Charles Babbage and Alan Turing to come up with theorems about universal computing machines, which in turn inspired the first computer programs that could beat the best humans at chess.
  • Horse_ebooks, Twitter sensation and purveyor of Word-Salad Humor, was eventually revealed to have been under human control since 2011. It was a true spambot before then.


Mechanical Turk

The Mechanical Turk has a human inside

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