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Unwilling Roboticisation

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Well, the furries may be sad about Sally Acorn's fate, but at least the robosexuals will be happy.note 
"I never asked for this. They say they saved me, but I'm not sure 'saved' is the right word."
Adam Jensen, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Science fiction often portrays cybernetics as the way forward. Replacing lost limbs, augmenting abilities, even allowing body transplants. But on occasion, a story involves characters who don't want to surrender their fleshy bodies. And that can be handy to know for a villain. This is normally done by dictator and other control freak types. This can be to suppress rebellion, to remove individuality, forcibly convert someone into a minion, or to create a robot armyor a combination of the above.

This is a common plot of The Assimilator. Related to Cybernetics Eat Your Soul. Can sometimes be portrayed as a very special kind of Body Horror, akin to zombification (especially in cases where the procedure begins with brain harvesting). Also see We Can Rebuild Him and Emergency Transformation. May also occur as Serial Prostheses if the conversion isn't done all at once.

Some devices that inflict roboticisation use nanomachines, resulting in graphic scenes of the person being slowly mechanized while screaming in pain as they are being rebuilt into machines. May be resisted with Heroic Willpower. May lead to Sheep in Wolf's Clothing. See also Man in the Machine, Full-Conversion Cyborg and Hypno Trinket. Compare and contrast Brain Uploading.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • None of the heroes from Cyborg 009 wanted to become cyborgs. All of them were kidnapped and forcibly transformed by Black Ghost, leading to understandable angst, frustration and all nine becoming Phlebotinum Rebels as soon as they could. Most of the later cyborgs were created under similar circumstances; however, Black Ghost had learned from their prior mistakes and ensured they couldn't follow in the first nine's footsteps and become anything more than Tragic Monsters.
  • Daitarn 3: The Meganoids' master plan is doing this to all humans to "improve" the species.
  • Androids #17 and #18 in Dragon Ball were once normal teenagers before Dr. Gero kidnapped them and turned them into powerful cyborgs, planting powerful bombs in them for good measure. As soon as they're switched on (at Gero's reluctance), they show him how thankful they are.
  • In Galaxy Express 999, while Tetsuro originally tries to GET Roboticized, after witnessing that such operations do not make everything immediately better he decides against it. Cue Queen Prometheum trying to forcefully turn him into, as Tetsuro describes it, a bolt.
    • Then again, Queen Prometheum decides to turn all organics who do not undergo conversion into Food Pills for her bot citizens.
  • This is how Renee Cardiff Shishioh from GaoGaiGar initially became a cyborg.
  • Gatchaman: For the sequel, Joe Asakura's essentially-dead body was scooped from where it was found and turned into a cyborg. Dr. Rafael, the scientist who did it without bothering to ask, had a vendetta against the Galactor organization and wanted a weapon to use against them. Several of the 105 episodes of the original series showed Galactor turning other victims into cyborgs as part of their plans; one story had a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers kidnapped and irreversably transformed within a single episode.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, The Major's Backstory has elements of this. Technically she was turned into a full-body cyborg (essentially making her a Brain in a Jar with a gynoid body) to save her life, but it's implied that she didn't have much choice in the matter. In the third movie the Puppetmaster takes control of Togusa and tries to force him to force his daughter to undergo surgery to become a cyborg, making it a case of unwilling unwilling roboticisation.
  • None of the cyborgs in Gunslinger Girl were given any choice about their conversions, and most of them know no details of how they became candidates for conversion (the circumstances were varying but uniformly horrific, and little if anything remains of their old identities). Whether they can be happy that it was done to their previous selves is one of the questions the anime considers. The answer is probably "yes, but ..." seen from the points of view of the individual cyborgs, and possibly "no way, let me die if that life is how I'll end up" from the original girls' unavailable point of view.
  • Inuyashiki: Both Inuyashiki and Shishigami get turned into cyborgs after they are nearly killed by some wayward aliens crashing into Earth. Inuyashiki is initially freaked out by his transformation before deciding to use his new powers to help people, while Shishigami takes his transformation in stride and uses his newfound powers to become a serial murderer.
  • Kagerou Project: Haruka, who has had an attack and is sent to the hospital, is killed by Kenjirou. His soul is sent to the Daze while Kenjirou starts making experiments on his body. His experiences in the aforementioned place and the scientist's interruption drives him to a point where he unintentionally uses his newly gained powers to reshape/robotize his body. He was kind of okay with it at first, but he probably didn't expect the 'lose all your memories' part of the deal.
  • The master plan of the main antagonist in Macross Frontier is to institute mandatory cybernetics implantation for every single person in the universe as part of an Assimilation Plot.
  • Mazinger Z: All Mooks and all Co-Dragons but Gorgon are Cyborgs created by Big Bad Dr. Hell. He never gave anyone a choice in the matter or asked them if they wanted to be turned into half-mechanical beings (and since Baron Ashura and his Mooks were corpses he revived by using cybernetic implants they could not refuse either). And in the case of Count Brocken, in one of the manga versions he states bitterly he was grateful to Hell because he saved his life... but he never wished serving him.
    • Baron Ashura may have subverted the trope in other versions, though: Even he/she was still converted to a cyborg unwillingly, in Mazinkaiser he requests Dr. Hell making him/her in a part of his latest Mechanical Beast to fight Mazinkaiser hand-to-hand. And in Shin Mazinger Zero he/she wanted being turned into part of another Robeast with the same purpose.
  • In Mother Keeper, Ricalna gets turned into a cyborg so he can help the people he's meant to be fighting.
    • Syal is turned into a cyborg after Jim misunderstands her pleas for Elsa to be saved and is pretty upset about it to begin with. She eventually comes to appreciate what Jim did for her.
  • The Kikai Empire in Nekketsu Saikyo Gosaurer.
  • An Alien queen in episode 108 of Urusei Yatsura turns disobedient crew members into robots, who are dropped into a worker robot shell Badnik style.

    Comic Books 
  • Avengers Arena's Rebecca Ryker was forced into becoming a cyborg by her father.
  • The Batman and the Outsiders foe the Duke of Oil thought that he was a human brain transplanted into a cyborg body. Upon learning that there was no brain and he was just a set of memories downloaded into a robot, he went slightly mad.
  • Both DC and Marvel in their main universes have plots where large numbers of ordinary humans were (themselves unknowingly) roboticised, to serve as sleeper weapons against superhumans. In the Marvel case, it was part of Bastion's plan to get rid of all mutants (at the time in the '90s when most non-mutant heroes were thought to have died in the battle against Onslaught). In the DC case, it was the O.M.A.C. project (one of the preludes to Infinite Crisis).
  • Robotman of Doom Patrol has never been comfortable with his transformation, and even less so after finding out that the Chief was responsible for his fateful accident.
  • In Gold Digger, Dark Bird ends up merging with her transforming jet thanks to her sister's evil machinations.
  • Green Lantern: The Guardians of the Universe skirt dangerously close to the trope with the creation of the Alpha Lanterns, which in effect are Lanterns converted into cyborgs, having their lanters incorporated into their bodies as power source, and a permanent link to the Book of Oa, which subsumes the Lantern's original personality under layers upon layers of programming; in fact, the only thing that stops it from being so is the fact that the Guardians only convert elite volunteers. Then the Cyborg Superman takes control of the conversion chambers and starts churning Alpha Lanterns out by the bucketload.
  • The eponymous heroine of Lady Mechanika was turned into a cyborg by persons unknown. She has no memory of who she was before she awoke in the lab.
  • The short-lived series ManTech (based on a toy line of the same name) revolves around three unconscious and fatally injured human astronauts who are rescued and cyborgized by a benevolent alien. Of the three, SolarTech accepts that it was the only way to save their lives, and LaserTech loves his new super powers, but AquaTech hates his transformation.
  • In Supergirl's tie-in to The New 52: Futures End, she suffers from this as well at the hands of Brainiac and her father, the Cyborg Superman (a.k.a. Zor-El). After some counter-brainwashed behavior from the latter (known as Herald One then), she serves him as The Dragon, becoming Cyborg Supergirl (aka Herald Two). Five years after this whole process, she learns what was done to her. Horrified about this, she briefly goes insane, and tears out all of her robotic implants, including severing her own cybernetic arm.
  • As with their video game source material, various Sonic the Hedgehog publications feature this trope:
    • Sonic the Comic mostly followed the games; Robotnik's main forces were simply shells which weren't organic, and were powered by an organism. Most of them were nameless one-shot characters, and several of the Freedom Fighters had been temporarily captured and converted into Badniks before being promptly broken out at various points. Shortfuse the Cybernik was a more permanent example of this trope, being used in an experimental creation made of Megatal, with no readily-available means of getting him back out.
      • This was inverted with Metamorphia. She started out as an apparently cybernetic artificial life-form, was turned into a Badnik and transformed into an organic character.
      • Vermin the Cybernik averts this, however, as he willingly went along with Robotnik's plans and was loyal to him.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) takes it more literally. The furry holocaust that served as the backstory of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) (the Trope Namer) the was the result of Robotnik using the invention, known as the Roboticizer, to turn Mobians into mindless slaves to do his bidding. Ironically, the original Roboticizer wasn't even created by Robotnik; it was created by Charles Hedgehog, Sonic's uncle, as a way of keeping critically ill or injured patients alive until a cure could be found. When the whole "mindless automaton" thing couldn't be resolved, Charles dumped it as a failed experiment... then Robotnik stole the machine, using it as the basis for his takeover, and decided Charles should become his very first mindless slave. Just to pile on the tragedy, Charles's original test subject was his brother (and Sonic's father), who had been mortally wounded. To this day, Jules is the last remaining "Robian", because de-roboticizing him would restore his old wounds and kill him.
      • An early issue featured an alternate-universe Robotnik, driven to desperation by his imminent defeat, turning the roboticizer on himself — resulting in one of the creepier villains produced by that series.
      • In Issue 39 this happened to Sonic himself, and it became the focus of the Mecha Madness arc. To fight him, the good guys roboticised Knuckles. Yes, it was awesome.
      • It's a complete inversion with Overlanders/Humans in that if the subject isn't willing to be roboticized, they'll turn into an immobile metal statue.
      • Sally was roboticised willingly. She wore a chip to allow her to keep her free will, escape, and study the effects. Unfortunately, the damn thing fell off right before she was changed. Bad stuff happened. It happened to her again in issue 230, though for rather noble reasons; when the events of Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide caused a Continuity Reboot, she was de-roboticised by the Cosmic Retcon.
      • Inverted with an alien race that developed a process to convert robotic lifeform into organic lifeforms and carrying an idiot ball caused genocide when they used it on an alien robotic race whose world couldn't support organic life (Sonic had to defend an alien who used the process to reverse the roboticization on the current victims of unwilling conversion and was due to be executed for it as the prohibition against the use of the technology made no distinctions between returning organic beings who'd been unwilling converted and forcibly converting robotic lifeforms).
      • And in Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, Robotnik teams up with Dr. Wily. Finding that entities from one of their universes have a hard time travelling to the other universe alone, they solve the conundrum by creating a Crossover Combo Villain of two worlds: Sonic's captured friends turned with Mega Man robotics into the "Roboticized Masters", each with a different Robot Master weapon. However, a combination of Sonic's Spin Dash and Mega Man's Charged Shot and weapon copy system can turn them back to normal. Tails was the only one restored this way, as he modified Mega Man's Mega Buster so that the Charge Shot mimics Sonic's Spin Dash and do the work in one step.
      • In Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite, this happens to Sonic and Mega Man themselves, turning them into Sonic Man and M'Egga Man respectively.
      • At the point the Archie run ended, Robotnik was looking for a new power source to build a new roboticizer.
    • The second major arc of the IDW Sonic comics is built around this, as Eggman unleashes a viral plague which causes all those infected to transform into mindless robot slaves, or "Zombots". A major part of the arc's drama is that Sonic himself is infected, and has to fight to keep the transformation at bay. Most of his allies are not so lucky: three are Devoured by the Horde, while the rest opt to sacrifice themselves and Hold the Line until they succumb. Because Eggman released the virus in an imperfect state, he eventually loses control of the Zombots to his rivals, the Deadly Six. It takes the combined power of Sonic, Silver, the Chaos Emeralds, and a mysterious warpstone to finally cure and de-roboticize the world.
  • The Superior Iron Man series has Tony Stark, still inverted by the events of AXIS, spread out "Extremis 3.0" across San Francisco, granting the people their physical perfection. However, it's a "Freemium", and Stark reveals that if they want to keep it, it's $100 a day, unleashing a massive crime wave. This ends up pissing off the city's protector, Daredevil.
  • Several iterations of the Superman villain Metallo invoke this trope. Most involve his human brain being moved into a robotic body after horrific injury to keep him alive, without his consent (being unconscious from said injuries at the time of the transfer).
  • Cyborg of the Teen Titans never asked to be made into a cyborg. Victor's father did it to save his life after the same Eldritch Abomination that ate Victor's mother and fatally poisoned his father with radiation tore him apart, but Victor was initially so horrified by his new body that he wished he had died instead and spent years hating his father. Making things worse, Victor was a great athlete, and his condition meant he could never participate in such activities again. Even aside from the fact that being a cyborg would be considered cheating in athletic competitions, Victor had always taken great joy in being able to push past his limits through hard work and determination, but unlike human muscles his cybernetic parts can't be improved via exercise. Victor eventually made peace with his new body and his father when he learned his father was dying from radiation poisoning.
  • Fugitoid from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage) comics is an unintentional example; One Professor Honeycutt was wearing a helmet that was supposed to give him telekinesis when he and his robot were struck by lightning, transferring the professor's mind into the robot.
  • The "Latverian Prometheus" arc of The Mighty Thor has Doctor Doom doing this to Asgardians — partly in an attempt to discover how their bodies work and duplicate their immortality, and partly to create the ever-popular zombie-cyborg army.
  • In The Transformers Megaseries, the Machination captures Hunter O’Nion and converts him into a cyborg Headmaster against his will.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In Volume 1, Queen Atomia shrinks down humans and forcibly converts them into her mindless slaves by putting them through a machine that converts them into the almost entirely robotic "mindless Neutron" and "Proton" forms of her subjects. They retain enough of their gray matter that they're susceptible to Wonder Woman using a Jedi Mind Trick on them, but their transformation appears to be permanent and they are considered dead.
    • In Volume 2, Poor Vanessa Katapelis is nabbed and modified with cybernetics into the new Silver Swan; then, when Diana thinks that she's gotten her to help, Vanessa is nabbed again with the doctors hiding the fact that she'd been taken, delaying any attempt to rescue her as no one knew that she'd been taken to be experimented on some more.
  • The Phalanx and the Technarchy from the X-Men comics have this as their gimmick, along with elements of The Virus. Both groups can convert organic life to techno-organic life by touch. The Phalanx use this as a recruiting tool; the Technarchy can do the same thing, but usually avert it by immediately eating whatever they convert. They actually use the same virus to do this. The Phalanx are supposedly spawned from the Technarchs' leftovers and are treated by the Technarchs in much the same way humans treat moldy food, though per X-Men (2019), the truth is something closer to the other way around.
    • Cable has a metal arm and bionic eye for this reason. As an infant, Apocalypse infected him with the techno-organic virus, which converts living cells into organic steel and spreads liquid metal throughout his body. He actually has to constantly expend some of his vast telekinetic powers to keep it in check, otherwise, his entire body will be consumed. Whenever his powers slacken or the virus gets super-charged, the results are usually high-end Body Horror.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • One alien abduction later, Jacob Morgan from Assimilation is now a self-aware mass of nanites, held together by his consciousness emulation.
  • The whole backstory of Blue Sky.
  • Evil Jack from Calvin & Hobbes: The Series tries to invoked this.
  • In the Real-Person Fic Case of the Technology members of Girls Aloud and Melanie C are subjected to this, which forces the narrator and a team of doctors to finish up on the latter.
  • Child of the Storm has Marvel's Techno-Organic virus, which is violently infectious and incredibly hard to stop — it's implanted, dormant, into the Red Son (a.k.a. the Blank Slate of Harry) and later activated when he's losing a fight against Magneto. The results are more than a little horrifying, and result in him losing an eye, an arm, and a large chunk of the left side of his body before it's stopped with a colossal EMP.
  • Episode 10 of Final Stand of Death, Spice Girls undergoes this. This ends up being subverted when it turns out that it wasn't as bad as they think, with Emma being eager to get her upgrades a try. Melanie C has her done the most, at least her tattoos were among the parts of her former body that was left alone.
  • In Hunters of Justice, Cinder Fall is subjected to this after she gets captured by Brainiac, whom was curious about her powers as the Fall Maiden.
  • Similar to the SCP Foundation example, anyone infected with The Machine Plague in Justice Society of Japan turns into a soulless clockwork robot. Shirley Fenette, however, managed to avoid losing her mind thanks to her recently-discovered technopathic powers.
  • The Other Light in Left Beyond installs bootleg Metabolic Extension Controllers into their peasants, so that after they die they can be partially resurrected as cybernetic zombies for the purpose of doing unskilled labor. They attempt to use the technology to cause a Zombie Apocalypse but are preempted by both the Temple and the Omega being ready for it and putting the cyber-zombies out of their misery relatively quickly.
  • In this Mortal Kombat fanfic, the Tekunin (Cyber Lin-Kuei) abduct Kitana and forcibly robotize her into a far advanced version of their cyber ninjas.
  • More often than not, should you come across a What If? fic about the ending of Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, Doof-2 will fulfill his threat to make Phineas into a boy-borg, and Break the Cutie situations abound.
  • In Shadow Lady: An Origin Story, Chun-Li herself is kidnapped and forcibly subjected to a combination of this and Reforged into a Minion by Shadaloo, transforming her into Shadow Lady. The cyborgization process itself is not pretty. Cammy herself is subjected to this when she notices Chun-Li has gone missing for quite a while. That both of them were Strapped to an Operating Table while undergoing the cyberization process speaks volumes.
  • Many, many Sonic the Hedgehog fanfics love to elaborate on this trope.
  • A Technological Singularity presents the Borg Collective, a company made up entirely by Borg Drones. The Borg Collective eventually gains so much influence that criminals and dissidents are forcefully assimilated.
  • Implied in That Guy with the Glasses in Space.
  • Transformers has a few fanfictions that feature characters which this happens to. One in particular has the ex-human slap the person who was responsible for her transformation. Others are usually self-insert fanfictions.
  • The Loud House Fan Fiction It's a Kid's World features this trope quite heavily. The main antagonist, Lord Viribus, erases all the world's adults so he can have an easier time upgrading those within the remaining population he considers worthy of evolution into his robotic servants. The rest he just turns into mindless zombie foot soldiers.

    Films — Animated 
  • Happens to Perry the Platypus-2 in Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension after he was defeated by Dr. Doofensmirtz-2 and is thereafter known as the Platyborg, the general of Doof-2's Norm-Bot army. He gets better though, kinda.
    • Same thing can be said of 25 more of O.W.C.A.’s agents in the episode sequel Tales from the Resistance: Back to the 2nd Dimension, as Doof-2's wife Charlene-2 turned them into cyborgs to help serve for the Doofenshmirtz family. However, just like Platyborg, they would later get better, except for Pandaborg.
  • In the final scene of Ratchet & Clank, following the Deplanetizer being destroyed and Dr. Nefarious seemingly with it, it's revealed that he had barely survived and was discovered by a bunch of overeager repair drones which mistook him for a robot and "repaired" him, resulting in him taking on his iconic look.
    Nefarious: I am NOT A ROBOT! (Looks down at his new body and lets out an Evil Laugh, complete with Dramatic Thunder)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Black Hole the Cygnus' compliment of robotic crew members are actually revealed to be the lobotomised remains of the human crew who Reinhardt and Maximilian converted into subservient cyborgs after they tried to mutiny.
  • DC Extended Universe: Much like in the comics, Victor Stone never asked to be turned into a Cyborg, even though his father Silas did this to save his life after suffering from a horrific car crash. He even accuses his father of having "created a monster". In both versions of Justice League, however, he eventually makes peace with it and reconciles with his father (albeit in different ways).
  • At the end of The Fly (1986), the Brundlefly is merged with one of the telepods. It's not pretty.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Freddy merges Dan Jordan with a motorcycle as the teen's driving it down a road. The transformation sequence was so horrible that most of it was cut out of subsequent video and DVD releases.
  • Samira, a Middle Eastern terrorist, was captured by the CIA and made into an obedient cyborg in 1987's Programmed To Kill (aka The Retaliator). Their plan goes horribly wrong.
  • RoboCop: Officer Alex Murphy wasn't given a choice about being rebuilt as the title character in the first movie, and neither was Cain in RoboCop 2. Both of them do still take it better than the two cops that were roboticized before Dr. Faxx came up with using Cain: the first shot the scientists before committing suicide, the second ripped out its life-support by removing its helmet. Murphy's dedication to law and order and his religious devotion which precluded the notion of suicide was why he survived being rebuilt. As for Cain, the researcher behind the Robocop 2 project wanted the brain of a psychopath that she could control by means of his addiction to Nuke. Needless to say, the project backfired.
  • In Star Wars, the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader was carried out on the orders of Palpatine, regardless of his apprentice's opinion. And it was done without any form of painkillers to toughen him up. Because, you know, losing your limbs and skin to lava wasn't quite enough.
    • Supplemental materials reveal that Palpatine wasn't just a Sadist, the sheer pain of the transformation was supposed to increase Vader's power in the Dark Side.
    • The Expanded Universe revealed that General Grievous was created this way as well. He was originally a fully organic general among his own people, until Dooku arranged an "accident" that left him needing a new body. Dooku's surgeons made sure to cut out his conscience while they were at it...
  • One trailer from Sucker Punch shows us the creation of one of the German Steam-Zombies through the eyes of one poor battlefield casualty, injured enough to be paralyzed, but not killed.
  • During the climax of Superman III, the super-super-computer drags Vera Webster into its internals and covers her skin with metal plates.
  • In Terminator Genisys, John Connor is attacked by a Terminator who infects him with technology that turns his cells into mechanic ones, turning him into one of the killer robots himself.
  • All the freakish, zombie cyborg monsters in Frankenstein's Army used to be either Nazis or their families, until Doctor Victor Frankenstein II got ahold of them. This is apparently in revenge for sending him to a concentration camp, and then forcing him to run a Super Soldier project.
  • Mecha Gomora from Ultra Galaxy Gaiden: Ultraman Zero vs. Darklops Zero. Despite showing no organic features, he was once a normal Gomora until he was "modified" by the Alien Salome to serve them.
  • Universal Soldier: The Return: S.E.T.H. has subjected Luc's deceased partner Maggie to this by placing a neural implant in her brain similar to what he did earlier to a new Uni Sol, resulting her to be revived as one, much to Luc's grief. After kidnapping Luc's daughter Hilary, S.E.T.H. decides to subject her to the same fate to cure her of influenza and raise her as his own daughter. Obviously, Luc is not on board with this and brutally shatters S.E.T.H. to pieces.
  • The V/H/S/94 segment "The Subject" is about a Mad Scientist, Dr. James Suhendra, who does this to people. The protagonist is a woman, known only as "Subject 99", who had most of her head from her lower jaw on up removed and replaced with cameras and speakers, and her right hand removed so a modular Arm Cannon can be attached. We also see a human head attached to robotic spider legs, a man with a camera mounted to his skull who's had his lower arms replaced with retractable blades that he uses to kill the SWAT team who comes to bust Suhendra, and a woman still in the middle of roboticization (while conscious) who's had an arm and a foot removed and most of her internal organs replaced with machinery.
  • The Energy Being in Virus does this to an entire ship's worth of Russian scientists, and two American salvage crewmen. One of them prefers the state, retorting "Nothing, now" when asked what is wrong with him.
  • The World's End. All but three of the residents of Newton Haven (plus thousands of other towns across the globe) have been replaced by identical robots with their memories retained as part of a scheme to aid the remaining humans to fulfill their potential and join the Galactic Community. However, people generally tend not to like being replaced by a doppelganger and recycled as fertilizer.

  • In the 1998 novel Aliens: Berserker it is revealed that the MAX robot was run by convicted felons. Although the convicts are offered a reduced sentence for their services, it is not possible to survive their stint as the suit's operator due to the constant chemicals pumped into them and the countless wires run in and out of their bodies which reduce them to a living husk.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure is a series known for inflicting morbid deaths on the character if the reader chooses the wrong path, but one of the scariest occurs in Your Very Own Robot where the protagonist is cut to pieces and reassembled as a robot. And this one was intended for "younger readers"; none of the other bad endings in the book are very unpleasant at all. (The editors eventually decided it was too dark for kids, and changed that ending for the reprint so the protagonist was magically transformed, but it was still rather scary.)
  • In The Court of the Air, revolutionaries obsessed with leveling all social disparities take over a city, then begin forcibly converting its organic inhabitants into Clockpunk proto-cyborgs so they'll be "equal" to the city's animated-construct inhabitants.
  • In Heart of Steel, Jim is turned into a cyborg after Scarface the shark-man rips him in half. In Alistair's (slight) defense, the procedure was intended as a gift for Julia, but his jealousy spurred him to make Jim an ugly, clunky mashup of man and metal. Jim subsequently fights his way free of the neural dampening and goes berserk.
  • Fletcher Pratt's Invaders From Rigel involves a comet striking the Earth somehow turning humans into robots. (Aliens were involved.)
  • In Max Barry's Machine Man, Dr. Charles Neumann undergoes this. What's curious is that while the good doctor was perfectly content to replace his legs and right hand, he had no desire to become a Man in the Machine or a Brain in a Jar. Both end up happening to him.
  • Played with in Stanislaw Lem's Memoirs of a Space Traveller, where Ijon Tichy, touring an asylum for robots, meets a robot friend of his who has developed a delusion that he was previously a human who one day woke up transformed into a robot, and that "they" have "stolen his body".
  • Enga from The Outside was made into an angel against her will. Because of her resistance, the procedure caused severe brain damage, rendering her mute and almost immobile. Thanks to computer programs and decades of training, she can now move better than most angels, but she still can't talk
  • Robopocalypse features this as the robots experiment on humans during their attempt to eradicate their creators. Anything from replacing a guy's hand with a metal claw to ripping out a young girl's eyes and replacing them with electronic equipment.
  • A novelization of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) had this happen to side-character Bunny Rabbit. Luckily, Sonic could save her before the process was completed, turning her into Bunny Rabbot.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Darth Bane, it's shown that during the New Sith Wars a Sith Lord by the name of Belia Darzu used Sith alchemy and nanomachines to create a virus called the Nanogene spore that inflicted this on its victims. The nanobots would consume living tissue, replicating themselves within minutes while simultaneously growing metallic tumors on the body of the victim. Throughout the infection, the virus instinctively moved towards the brain of the subject and lobotomized their frontal lobe, rendering the victim incapable of higher thought and turning them into cyborg slaves known as technobeasts. During the campaign against Darzu known as the Sictis Wars, one Jedi Knight managed to prevent the virus from infecting his brain through the Force but failed to prevent the Body Horror, becoming known as the "Technobeast Jedi".
    • In The Truce at Bakura, the Scary Dogmatic Aliens known as the Ssi-ruuk practiced a form of this called "entechment" in which they would drain people's Life Energy to power their droids and ships, turning what little remained of their consciousness into mechanical slaves. Their Evil Plan was to fill the Evil Power Vacuum left by The Emperor's death by using Bakura's resources to expand their entechment capabilities and take over the galaxy.
  • In the The Truce at Bakura, the Ssi-ruuk's forces consisted of several members of other races who had been "enteched," turned into battle droids. Turns out their souls are still alive and in agony.
  • The Machmen by James Schmitz.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man is repeatedly attacked by his own ax, which has been bewitched by the Witch of the East. His limbs and body are cut off one by one, and he gradually has to replace them all with a body and head of tin.
  • In The Gap Cycle, the principle antagonist Angus Thermopylea, a vicious space pirate more interested in the damage he can do than the money he can steal, is captured and "welded", cybernetically enhanced against his will and mind-controlled with brai implants to work undercover for the United Mining Corporation Police.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This is a major plot point in the Babylon 5 episode "Spider in the Web". Abel Horn, a (former) authority figure in the Free Mars terrorist group, is rebuilt as a cyborg post mortem, the cybernetic part controlling his body while his mind is fixated on the moment of his death by means of a telepathic deep scan.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This is the Cybermen's modus operandi. What started as the end result of people on a dying planet willing to throw away their humanity and all emotion to survive, now seeks to bolster its numbers by "upgrading" other life forms, whether they like it or not. To quote the Doctor, "it's just like being an organ donor, except you're alive, and... sort of... screaming." (Although it's a bad example because organ donors are volunteers, the people 'upgraded' into Cybermen are not given a choice, they are 'upgraded' into Cybermen whether they want to be or not.)
    • Even scarier are the Robomen from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" and its film adaptation, Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.. Jenny, a resistance member, explains: "There aren’t that many Daleks on Earth. They needed helpers. So they operated on some of their prisoners and turned them into robots... The Transfer, as the Daleks call the operation, controls the human brain. Well, at least for a time... I've seen the Robos when they break down. They go insane. They smash their heads against walls. They throw themselves off buildings or into the river."
      • The Robomen in the original television version are particularly chilling. In the film, they simply seem to be under mind control, but the television ones it's clearly implied are effectively dead from the moment the transfer is carried out –- there is no way they can be "cured" or "freed" as the film versions can; the only freedom is death. In some ways, they make the Cyber-alternative look almost merciful. But then, that's the Daleks for you... The movie version aren't ever shown being "freed" or "cured" in any way, either. They all get killed at the end of the film as part of a delaying action to provide time to throw a Spanner in the Works of the Daleks' plan.
    • Daleks can be produced from humans. Specific methods include harvesting the humans for "good" materials and using them to construct Daleks, and using nanogenes to convert corpses into mechanical (but humanoid) soldiers. There's also such a thing as a "full conversion" for those they consider too intelligent to waste, like Oswin.
  • This trope is a major staple of Showa-Era Kamen Rider. Played straight with #1, #2, Tackle, Kamen Rider ZX, Kamen Rider Black and Shadow Moon who were unwillingly turned into cyborgs by evil organizations that they'd later battle (except for Shadow Moon, who is loyal to his converters). Riderman, Kamen Rider X and Skyrider were cyborgized as means to save their lives. One of the 90s movie-only Riders was like this as well. Subverted by Kamen Rider V3, Kamen Rider Stronger and Kamen Rider Super-1 who got turned into Altered Humans willinglynote . Almost all cases contained scenes of very painful looking surgery without any anesthesia. The Movie Kamen Rider: The First was less graphic on Painful Transformation, but still given us a lot of screaming and implications of drill to the skull. The only Showa Rider to completely avert it is Amazon, whose powers come from a mystical Mayincatec armlet.
  • In Lexx, Kai was the victim of this in the pilot after his doomed attack against His Shadow's flagship. His Shadow stabbed Kai to death and had his body converted into a Divine Assassin as a "punishment beyond death" and absorbed his memories for good measure. Kai was decarbonized (a process that removed all organic material in his body and replaced it with inorganic material), had cybernetic implants installed, and given unnatural "life" via protoblood. The result was a nigh indestructible killing machine wholly loyal to His Shadow with only an outward resemblance to the heroic Brunnen-G Kai was in life bereft of his willpower and memories. An unlikely chain of events and a chance encounter with the Divine Predecessor holding his memories restores Kai's willpower.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, this is what sentient computer virus Venjix does to create his Mecha-Mooks. This was also what happened to Dillon and his sister, Tanaya 7 and, in the finale, unknowingly to many of the people of Corinthe, who were being slowly roboticized by a virus since the war started to act as sleeper cells.
  • An episode of Sliders had them finding a world where the Cold War went hot, and the resulting arms race (of the non-nuclear sort, presumably) has resulted in fighter jets becoming faster and more maneuverable, with the pilots now having to be implanted with augmentations that allow them to survive flying these things. However, the military is interested in further turning the pilots into mindless drones that are capable of even greater feats... with or without the pilots' permission.
  • The Borg from Star Trek, who seek to convert as many lifeforms as possible into more Borg to expand their Hive Mind. They don't give a flying hoot about whatever you have to say about it, as they genuinely do not see anything wrong with their actions, thinking that they're "improving the quality of all life". While they utilize nanomachines, these don't cause as much terror as they do in other series. Aside from changing skin color and causing small basic machines to appear, they mostly work to render the person compliant before the full process commences. The true horror is more understated, as this process also implements Loss of Identity at the early stage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This was one of Phyrexia's more terrifying tools in the earlier storylines of Magic: The Gathering. This being a fantasy setting, rather than a sci fi one, the cyborgs in question were monstrous in appearance and the game rules classified most as either a "Zombie" or a "Horror."
    • Revisited again in the Scars of Mirrodin storyline, wherein Phyrexia invades (and eventually conquers) Mirrodin. Creatures made compleat by the New Phyrexians have more of a sci-fi horror flavor to them but generally retain mundane card abilities (save for the usual addition of Infect).
    • Comes into play again in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. The New Phyrexians have perfected the process, and are able to compleat Planeswalkers without snuffing out their Spark. The first test subject is Tamiyo.
  • The Ravenloft NPC Ahmi Vanjuko was converted against his will into a mechanical golem by the insane darklord of Vechor.
  • In Shadowrun, this is perfectly plausible to happen to any unfortunate corps- or yakuza-employee whose boss has decided 'needs' an implant, either because the employee needs to stay competitive, or because said high-security prototype/recently stolen implant needs a suitable test subject before sale, or a good old-fashioned Cranial Bomb is needed to maintain employee loyalty. It is quite possible to play Street Samurai with an unwelcome procedure in their back-story, although most Shadowrunners will probably be paranoid of anyone who's got non-consensual chrome (who knows what his 'former' bosses might have stuffed in there?).
  • In Warhammer 40,000, one punishment the Ministorum reserves for the worst heretics or criminals is the rite of Arco-Flagellation, in which the offender's arms are lopped off and replaced with vicious close combat weapons, their brains scrambled, and combat drug dispensers are grafted onto their spines. Pacifier visors play soothing hymns and display religious imagery to keep them calm outside of combat, but when the right official gives the Trigger Phrase the visor lifts, a cocktail of drugs floods into their systems, and the Arco-Flagellants turn into snarling killing machines. By the way we actually meant that these are criminals who were pretty bad but have some chance of redemption of their souls, others are just shot.
    • Servitors are lobotomized individuals implanted with cybernetics and "bio-programming" so they can serve as menial laborers, weapon platforms, targeting computers, and other useful tasks to get around the Imperium's ban on "Abominable Intelligences." Some unlucky servitors were former political prisoners, Space Marine washouts, "retired" Imperial Guardsmen, or just Forge-World menials who were judged to be more useful as cyborg slave-drones than human beings, but others, likely most, are vat-grown clones who are designed with no memories and are implanted before the nervous system begins to develop and so are not true examples of this trope. Sometimes a heretic that would otherwise be deemed redeemable through arco-flagellation (or other form of service, usually to the Inquisition) but has committed truly heinous crimes become servitors so they suffer more in penitence, at least most arco-flagellants die in battle. Such a punishment was levied on a dictator that slaughtered many in rape gulags.
      • A form of temporary servitor is called a serfitor, which acts as a way to provide civilian service and give debtors or minor heretics who are not needed at the penal legions or as a regular prison laborer and weren't bad (or unlucky) enough to be arco-flagellated. They retain their memories by design, but perform tasks as a servitor enough to pay off the debt, then are let go free if with pretty bad scarring and the experience of spending months to years locked in and only conversing with the parole officer.
    • The Necrons used to do this to abducted humans who possessed the Pariah gene, turning them into flesh-metal hybrid units that terrified anything they came near and were particularly effective against psyker powers. Their new backstory has some of the Necrontyr resisting the transformation into immortal, soulless Necrons but being deceived and forced into the procedure anyway.
    • A Space Marine Dreadnought is a bipedal war machine that serves as the tomb of the mortally-wounded warrior interred within, and are treated as honored elders allowed to slumber away the centuries when they aren't needed for battle. Chaos Space Marines view such an imprisonment as a living hell, the ultimate in sensory deprivation, a denial of an afterlife of oneness with the Warp. This doesn't prevent some Chaos Marines from being put into a Dreadnought anyway, and as such Chaos Dreadnoughts are psychotic killing machines prone to firing upon their allies, so dangerous that outside of battle, the sarcophagus is removed from the Dreadnought, which is then chained to the wall, just to be safe. Abaddon the Despoiler came up with Defilers, war machines crewed by bound daemons, because such blasphemies were more reliable than Chaos Dreadnoughts.
    • This is why most Orks would rather go on lacking an arm than visit a painboy willingly. Sure, you might wake up again after anaesthesia (a big hammer applied to the skull) with a new bionik bit replacing whatever you lost (or some other ork's bit replacing what you lost, painboys aren't particular). You may also wake up with a brand new pair of underwater lungs you never asked for that the painboy wanted to try out, or have your feet replaced by tank treads, or wake up inserted into a Deff Dread or with your head transplanted (stapled onto) another ork's body (painboys really aren't particular).
  • Sedition Wars has one faction made up of a nanomachine plague which converts anything it can get its claws on, requiring a minimum safe termination distance for any of its units. The lower level units are infected humans, who effectively become zombies; as they slowly update and continue to be rebuilt, they become obviously more robotic, often ending up completely inhuman-shaped.

    Video Games 
  • In Achron it is heavily implied that this is the origin of the Vecgir. They were humans that were enslaved and 'enhanced' by the Coremind.
  • Standard operating procedure for mainstream Assembly in Age of Wonders: Planetfall, though some individual Assembly commanders dissent from this. (And some flavor text indicates that at least some people volunteer for reassembly.) They started out as test subjects for one of the Star Union's many unethical experiments, before assimilating those very scientists.
  • The main villain of Alundra 2, Mephisto, uses a magic wind up key to turn humans and animals into Cyborgs. The Cyborg bosses return to normal when defeated.
  • In American McGee's Alice, the Mad Hatter ran an asylum where he transformed the patients into steampunk robots.
  • In ANNO: Mutationem, much of the world was changed by the spread of the Mechanika Virus, a mysterious disease that slowly turned organic matter into inorganic machinery. In its most advanced stages, it would seriously degrade the victim's consciousness and ability to rationally think, turning them into suffering, mindless, and oftentimes violently berserk cyborgs—not that that has stopped some Transhumanism cults from praising it as the "next evolution" of humanity. By the events of the game, a vaccine has been widespread and it has gone down from "apocalyptic scourge" to "manageable part of every day life", though the scars obviously remain.
  • BioForge: The Mondite movement is building its loyal cyborg army from unwilling, kidnapped victims.
  • When Luke tries to report Nanotech’s illegal experiments to the police in one ending of Bionic Heart, Richard arrives, captures him, and turns him into Prototype 11.
  • The Big Daddies of BioShock are described in game as being the internal organs of a subject grafted into a large diving suit. Most Big Daddies are criminals, political dissidents, and other undesirables, although a handful of volunteers exist.
  • The Handymen of BioShock Infinite were once regular citizens of Columbia who were fatally injured during the civil war between the Founders and the Vox Populi; using advanced technology, their vital organs and heads were grafted into giant metal bodies with oversized hands (hence their name). Not all Handymen are unwilling, though; the procedure is used on terminally ill or injured people who request it as well.
    • That said, it is also used as a punishment. At one point you can find a list of "sins" that could lead to you being forcibly converted to a Handyman. Notably, one of them is pacifism.
  • The various cyborg drones and mooks in C-12: Final Resistance are revealed to be former humans captured alive by the hostile alien invaders, and forcefully converted into robotic mooks serving the aliens. This fate also befalls the hero of the game, Riley Vaughn, in the final level, although he's rescued before the droning process could be completed. No thanks to Vaughn's former superior — Major Dan Carter, a human who willingly supported the aliens, puts himself through Willing Roboticisation and is actively assisting the alien invaders to wipe out all of humanity to save his own skin.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. Much of the Athena's mission since Revas took over is to annihilate major colonies so the survivors can be harvested for her cyborg army. The "Ghost Drones" can be remote-controlled by the other mercs from specific control stations and are mindless automatons. Riddick encounters a guy who's in the middle of the transformation process and begs Riddick to kill him.
  • In Civilization: Beyond Earth, this is the ultimate fate of the people of Earth if a Supremacy colony manages to pull off the Emancipation victory, as their forces invade and begin forcibly upgrading the planet's population into Cyborgs. According the victory's flavour text, some humans try (and fail) to resist. Implied to be Inverted if a Purity colony invades a Supremacy colony's city, in which case it's Unwilling De-Roboticisation, as the augmented citizens either in best-case get a mental transfer into a cloned body (which, while painless, will still likely bring about psychological damage like lost aspirations, perceived violation of the soul or the sudden removal of an extended lifespan) or absolute worst-case, being tied down to the table and having their enhancements forcibly removed through very painful and intrusive surgery.
  • In the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun expansion pack Firestorm, the rogue Nod A.I. CABAL attacks civilian settlements to harvest the people for his cyborg army. GDI is responsible for shutting down one of his processing plants during the campaign.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: One mission involves saving a Buddhist monk from being forcefully cyberized by Maelstrom gangsters For the Evulz. Not only is this against his religion, but the augmentations also used are intentionally designed and installed poorly to cause cyberpsychosis - Maelstromers think going insane from cybernetic sensory overload is "enlightenment". It's too late for his buddy, who has a poorly-installed cyberarm and brain jack, but the monk says he'll try to pray for their soul anyways.
  • Bishamon from Darkstalkers.
  • Dawn of War: Soulstorm holds that Indrick Boreale is turned into a Necron if they destroy his stronghold, and that the Sisters of Battle fear this fate befalling them. As mentioned above, this only happens to certain genetically-mutated humans like Tomas Maccabeus, an Explorator Magos in Dark Crusade who serves as the Mouth of Sauron for the Necrons, and as those with the pariah gene are Humanoid Abominations to psykers, it's highly unlikely Boreale was one. Then again, inconsistencies with canon are among the many reasons Soulstorm was disliked.
  • Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, as a result of near-fatal injuries he suffered at the beginning of the game. While there's some Memetic Mutation regarding his line "I never asked for this," from the trailer, the player can play him as either resentful or as grateful as they like.
    • Adam's case is interesting because it's not only unwilling, it's also unnecessary, according to a medical report. Limbs and body parts from him were removed no matter the damage on them, if any. Then again, the player finds out later that Jensen has been conceived in vitro to receive said augmentations at some point in his life - his fatal injuries during the assault simply served as the perfect excuse to advance the plan.
    • Anyone affiliated with the Omar in Deus Ex: Invisible War will eventually be "invited" to join their Hive Mind. How? They come in the middle of the night, take you, and "upgrade" you to a full Omar with your will completely suppressed.
  • In Disgaea 4 all of the generic classes have introductory cutscenes which play when you create a new one to add to your team. The cyborg class's cutscene shows a female fighter being subject to Alien Abduction, before being Strapped to an Operating Table and transformed into one.
    • This happens to Jennifer in the first game, at the hands of Kurtis. It proves to be reversible. It also mostly seems to be limited largely to mind control; the demons were expecting a giant robotic Jennifer stomping a city, but the reality is disappointing.
  • In Double Dragon Neon, the Lee brothers get roboticized for the final stage.
  • Escape From the Planet of the Robot Monsters (Atari, 1989) features a cybernetic race called the Reptilons whose plan for conquering Earth involves transforming several blonde, bikini-clad ladies into "robo-zombies". Befitting the game's kitschy tone, said zombies turn out to be blonde, bikini-clad ladies with silver skin and a silly stiff-armed zombie walk.
  • One of the main quests in Dragon Age: Origins has the player combing through dwarven ruins to find a magic anvil that modern dwarves believe creates golems. Upon some exposition, the anvil actually invokes this trope, and has a long and sordid history of more and more dwarves being cast into it as the war underground got worse. Initially, it was only used on condemned criminals and volunteers, but by the time the situation got so bad that the city was lost, any criminals (even petty thieves), political dissidents, and low-ranking individuals of the caste system were thrown into the anvil, ending with its creator suffering the same fate.
  • This is what happened to Captain Hook's crew in Epic Mickey, with Mickey being given the option of destroying or reversing the conversion machine while on his way to fight Captain Hook.
  • In Halo 4, the Didact intends to do this to humanity as revenge for what he sees as humanity's responsibility for the end of the Forerunner race and to create an army with which he can use to conquer the galaxy. The method he uses was originally designed as a way of creating an army of Flood-resistant warriors by turning organic consciousness into AI and vaporizing the subject's original body, but it unfortunately came with the nasty side effect of driving the subject homocidally insane from the traumatic process. Plus, since the Gravemind made a hobby of corrupting AI into loyal subordinates to the Flood anyways, it still wouldn't have worked (in fact, it was the Gravemind that implanted this idea into the Didact for kicks).
  • In Pre-War America before the events of the Fallout series, the United States government partnered with General Atomics International to create robots that use organic brains for their central processors. At first only chimpanzee brains were used for the Robobrains, but the government began using the brains of executed criminals to give them a wider range of function. Some retain their former personalities, and end up enslaved to their programming (although the more sociopathic ones don't seem to mind being forced to kill people at random). Some would manage to break free of their programming restraints and attempt suicide.
  • The Old World Blues DLC for Fallout: New Vegas starts with this; your character's brain, heart, and spine are removed, and replaced with machinery. However, there's a lot of Cursed with Awesome involved. Having no brain means you can't become addicted to drugs or be concussed, no heart means you can't be poisoned or Critically hit by robot enemies, and no spine means your torso can't be crippled, and you become superhumanly strong and resilient. Your character just takes it in stride. Though putting the said organs back Nerfs the perks, a new set is introduced from choosing to do so.
  • Done to humans (both volunteers looking for privileges and anyone who rebels) by the Combine, Earth's alien overlords in Half-Life 2, to the point that some (such as stalkers) scarcely even count as human any more, and certainly haven't had the free will of a human for a very long time. It's implied by the look of some of the Combine's technology that they've done this to other species as well—for example, both gunships and dropships have a very organic look, augmented with mechanical parts.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend's extended BBL route, the characters are attacked by a scarecrow robot after they are trapped in the school. Turns out that the doctor used your character's brain to power it.
  • Inverted in In Pursuit Of Greed, which has a Willing Roboticization as the backstory of one of the main characters, Tobias. Accordingly, Tobias underwent cyborgification to complete his initiation with the Loth Mal Esch clan, whose members are all cyborgs and must allow themselves to be converted to finish their adulthood ritual.
  • In Kirby: Planet Robobot, the Haltmann Works Company does this to Planet Popstar, turning the land and many of its inhabitants into partly mechanical beings. Even Whispy Woods and Meta Knight are affected by the roboticisation.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
  • This is the modus operandi of the Reapers and their Geth allies in Mass Effect, forcibly turning humans into cybernetic zombies called Husks.
    • Even more frightening the Reapers are created by forcibly melting organics down into a liquid metal which is then fused into a massive exoskeleton.
    • When the Collector General assumes direct control of one of its soldiers, the Collector in question is effectively transformed into nothing but a super-powered collection of cybernetics.
    • The ultimate fate of Saren, following his death, was to have his corpse transformed into a cybernetic puppet of Sovereign.
    • The dialogue added by the Extended Cut DLC to Catalyst's dialogue states that Harbinger was created from Catalyst's creators. Though they wanted Catalyst to find some way to put an end to the eternal cycle of organics vs. synthetics, they didn't exactly want to be melted down and made into an Eldritch Abomination. Catalyst didn't give them a choice.
  • Metal Gear:
  • The Lin Kuei ninja clan do this to their clansmen in Mortal Kombat via the Cyber Initiative with the intent of turning them into robo-ninjas to improve their combat efficiency and prevent complex thinking. Though Sektor was a volunteer, Cyrax and, depending on which timeline out of two is in question, either Smoke or Sub-Zero aren't willing. And depending on the timeline, Cyrax and either Smoke or Sub-Zero regain their humanity, while Sektor branches out to form his own cyber-ninja clan, the Tekunin.
    • When Cyber Sub-Zero's slaving protocols are disengaged, the electronic readout in his HUD shows that his brain function was lowered. This means that the Lin Kuei did this to prevent insubordination within the rank and file.
    • In Mortal Kombat X, a Special Forces team wanted to build a working robot ninja they obtained from the Lin Kuei files, so they decided to use the data storage housing the physical and mental files for Sektor, Cyrax, Smoke and Cyber Sub-Zero, into the cybernetic body that he briefly inhabited before being converted into a revenant. Upon activation, the AI suddenly became aware (possibly because four data files overloaded its systems), killing all humans in the lab before vowing to restore the Lin Kuei to its old glory. But since Sub-Zero sullied the Lin Kuei name, the robot, now calling itself "Triborg", forms the Tekunin by saving the brainwave data of its fellow Lin Kuei onto the S-F servers and uses their resources to create new robotic bodies for them. It's also implied the dead humans in the lab were converted into Meat Sack Robots. With an army of robo-ninjas at its disposal, Triborg vows to forcibly convert many of the kombatants into cyborgs.
    • In Mortal Kombat 11, Frost — now a Cyber Ninja herself — can use this as a Fatality, where she freezes and shatters her opponent's torso, hands their brain and spine to a drone, and drops it into the body of a Lin Kuei robot. While some of the kombatants such as Shao Kahn and Kano are unpleasant to begin with, seeing them cyberized against their will is quite nauseating. This is possibly the only Fatality in the game that inflicts a Fate Worse than Death rather than just killing the victim.
      • In-story, she continues Sektor's evil work by forcibly converting her former Lin Kuei comrades into the Tekunin as a way to spite her former mentor Sub-Zero for "under-appreciating" her potential and allying with the Shirai Ryu.
      • In her arcade ending, it's unknown what became of the other kombatants once she killed them all, but it's implied she did turn them into brainwashed robo-ninjas and sicced them to enforce her preferred version in all timelines.
  • Plenty of animals had this happen to them in Mother 3 when not being spliced to other lifeforms. Some examples include the Reconstructed Caribou, the Mecha-Drago, the Almost-Mecha- and Mecha-Lion, and the protagonist's older twin Claus.
  • NanoBreaker have this happening in the backstory as the reason behind the Orgamech outbreak; nanomachines created to serve mankind has malfunctioned and started assimilating humans in a manner reminiscent to viral strain, where victims will have their internal cells assimilated with nanotech turning them into mindless mechanical abominations called Orgamechs. After the initial outbreak, by the time the player hero made it to the island which serves as Point Zero of the infection, the entire population has been replaced by Orgamechs.
  • Operation: Matriarchy have the drone enemies, who used to be humans of a space colony. After barely surviving an alien viral outbreak, they're all captured alive and forcefully grafted with machinery and implants, becoming mindless cyborg slaves.
  • Played With in Portal 2: GLaDOS, who is already a robot, is unwillingly changed into a potato-battery.
    • And it turns out, this is GLaDOS' origin too: she was initially Cave Johnson's secretary Caroline, whose consciousness was uploaded into an A.I. in order to make her immortal against her will. Audio actually exists in the game's files of GLaDOS' voice actress protesting repeatedly. This was cut as it was determined to not fit with the game's tone.
  • The brain of Dogan from Psychonauts is used to power a tank weapon when Raz enters the Brain Tumbler.
  • Quake IV: Lieutenant Voss gets abducted and the Stroggified, becoming a torso power unit of a combat robot, and you're forced to kill him in a Boss Battle. The entire time he begs you to run away, because he can't control the robot he was attached to.
  • Dr. Nefarious of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal makes this his goal out of hatred for organic life. According to the Qwark vidcomics, he was once organic himself, until he became a robot through a wedgie gone wrong.
  • Robotization: The Last Human is a horror game set after a virus causes machines to malfunction and take over mankind, turning unwilling humans into their members. By the start of the game you're the only human alive, and the game ends on a haunting note that you are eventually caught and assimilated.
  • In Rimworld, one of the possible traits a person can have is "Body Purist". People with this trait consider artificial body parts to be unethical and will get increasing negative mood penalties for each one attached to them. This is a bad thing in a game where limbs are lost on a regular basis, means of regrowing natural limbs are restricted to DLC content and rare even then, and artificial body parts and implants can improve on natural ones.
  • Song Summoner plays this for all of the Nightmare Fuel it can. The worst part is that the Machines still retain some of their humanity, but you have to destroy them anyway. One Stargazer combines this with An Offer You Can't Refuse — he cuts off a city full of starving refugees from any outside aid and offers to turn them into Machines that feel no hunger.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog's Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik is the king of this trope, although the concept was treated more lightly (the victim is used as an living battery, there is no direct transformation) than in the Trope Namer, Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), and its comic spinoff. Sonic Adventure downplayed the roboticization aspect (although it is the central plot point of E-102 Gamma's storyline) and since Sonic Heroes, it is rarely been used.
    • In Sonic Lost World we actually see the animals being put inside Badniks. Later on, the Deadly Six plan to turn Sonic into a robot in a style similar to the SatAM method, but due to a Heroic Sacrifice they wind up kidnapping Tails instead. They try to turn him into a robot anyway, but he Macgyvers his way out and pretends to have been turned into a robot, only to turn on the Six.
  • The Big Bad of Space Siege forcibly converts humans into cyborgs to fight off the resident Scary Dogmatic Aliens. If you decide to go with pilot, all humans are forced into cyborgification whether they want it or not.
  • Space Station 13 has this as an alternative to execution for murderers and the like. Subverted in that some people request this as a way to keep playing and/or redeem themselves. There's even a form for that!
  • Used as a late-game plot point in Spyro: A Hero's Tail. The villain has his underlings reversibly turned into robots to improve their combat efficiency. It's used on him before the final boss fight.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • While the Borg doing this is no surprise, what is particularly vile is the Tal Shiar doing this, seeking to use Borg technology to gain greater control over people.
      • Even worse, during the Romulan mission "Mind Game" your (brainwashed) Player Character is forced to do this to an innocent victim.
  • Star Wars:
  • Steel Harbinger have this as the fate of unfortunate humans getting captured alive by alien pods, where they're skewered and wrapped by the pods' Combat Tentacles and their skin turns metallic upon touch. The protagonist, Miranda Bowen, nearly suffers this fate in the opening, and surviving her roboticization at the cost of her memory and humanity, proceeds to fight back against the pods.
  • In Stellaris, machine empires with the Driven Assimilator civic are thinly veiled Borg Expys, so their whole purpose in life is inflicting this on any hapless meatbag empire in the neighbourhood. Pre-Apocalypse Assimilators had to conquer planets the old-fashioned way before they could begin to stuff all those nifty cybernetics into their new drones. Apocalypse, coupled with the Cherryh update, gave them a new range of options including abducting hostile pops through a special "Raiding" Orbital Bombardment stance, or simply assimilating the whole planet in one fell swoop by cyborgizing its population with the Nanobot Diffuser Colossus weapon.
    • Certain government types and Ascension paths unlock Assimilation citizen rights that forcingly convert pops from different species to your race's standard. Synthetic Ascension path does exactly this.
  • As the intro to Syndicate demonstrates, the evil future corporations recruit new agents by driving over people in the street and kidnapping them, followed by augmentation with artificial limbs and brainwashing through a neural implant.
  • Used in System Shock and System Shock 2, forming most of SHODAN's army. Notable examples include the Cortex Reaver (a spiderlike mech that takes corpses and uses their brains as CPUs but don't bother removing the rest of the body), and Cyborg Midwives (former nurses who have their entire bodies south of their collarbone replaced with machinery and their faces ripped off).
    • The protagonist of the second game is an odd situation. He was never given a chance to object, and how he feels about his new body post-op is never addressed. An interesting narrative decision, given that the two big players in the plot repeatedly try to persuade him in one direction or the other.
  • In Thief II: The Metal Age, Father Karras and the Mechanists kidnap the lesser denizens of The City and turn them into "Servants", Steampunk cyborgs that are programmed to serve their masters perfectly until Karras sends the signal for them to detonate and release toxic gas. They are not particularly happy about this arrangement; listen to them, and you'll hear them weeping about how cold it is and beg you to kill them. If you do, they thank you.
  • A major part of the Backstory in Total Annihilation.
  • Matthew Kane in Quake IV. The augmentation is standard procedure for all Strogg including POWs from other species. You can take a look here, but be warned that it is not for the squeamish.
  • Done to a character named Tsukikage, known after becoming a cyborg as Dural, in Virtua Fighter.
  • In Warframe, your Virtual Sidekick Ordis, as well as the other Cephalons of the setting, used to be flesh-and-blood humans. Being turned into a Cephalon was treated as a punishment even worse than the death penalty (though one Executor, Nihil, would hand out this sentence like candy): after being converted into a Cephalon, the condemned would then, if they were lucky, be brainwashed into fulfilling a certain role in Orokin society; the unlucky ones would be sealed in a glass bottle and left there.
  • Some gnomes in the World of Warcraft region of Borean Toundra are transformed into "mechagnomes" by gearmaster Mechazod. Interestingly, since modern gnomes evolved from mechagnomes, this is also a case of Devolution Device.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, the seventh member of the group, or the third one if you take into consideration she appeared in the prologue, Fiora, gets transformed into a Mechon. She takes it surprisingly well after breaking from the mind-control, especially considering she would have died from previously acquired injuries before her conversion and now she can use those abilities to help Shulk.
    • The same happened to Mumkhar and Gadolt but unlike the latter, the former didn't get his memory wiped. In Mumkhar's case however, while the roboticization was unwilling, he's perfectly happy with it since he's still largely independent and it gives him more power. He wanted to kill the protagonists anyway.
    • Egil's forces do this to a lot of Homs, in order to have them pilot Face units. The process is not pretty. It involves the removal and replacement of internal organs, and the reconfiguration of the circulatory system so that their blood can interface with the Face unit to which they're assigned. It's implied that the reason Fiora looks comparatively well off is because Egil's sister Vanea, who had her own ulterior motives to try and stop her brother, was the one who oversaw her conversion.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Trope Namer is Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM). The cartoon uses this trope in all of the mentioned methods, as does the Archie Comics spinoff (mentioned above). An early episode contains a scene — part of a dream Sonic has — where Sally is roboticized.note  The horrified look on her face as it happens and her agonized scream when she sees what's been done to her says it all. The cartoon's unrelated successor, Sonic Underground, does the same.
    • Ironically, the "Blast to the Past" two-parter of SatAM showed this partially happening to Robotnik himself. The series had always shown Robotnik sporting a mechanical left arm (the Archie comics usually did too, especially later on, when they started following the tone of the cartoon more closely). We learn that during the aftermath of his coup, Robotnik –- knocked dizzy by a time-travelling Sonic –- accidentally stuck his arm into an active Roboticizer. It is heavily implied that this is the reason that Robotnik goes berserk anytime Sonic is mentioned.
    • Also happened in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog's "Quest for the Chaos Emeralds" four-parter; Robotnik uses his robot transmogrifying raygun on the Mobius version of Blackbeard, a whale, a pterodactyl, and a treasure chest (the latter resembling Crabmeat from Sonic 1). For whatever reason, Robotnik never got the idea to shoot Sonic with the raygun. Also disturbingly, none of the victims were returned to normal and several were even destroyed like any other Mecha-Mook. Oddly enough, this is the only time that style of roboticization is ever mentioned in that series, though in another episode uses the game style organic battery.
    • Another example involving Sonic was his Crossover with OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, with Lord Boxman (who's ironically played by the voice of the trope namer) using the Master Emerald to power his own Roboticiser. He intended to use it on Sonic himself, but KO gets trapped in it first and thus becomes a Metal version of himself. Despite a tough fight with the Blue Blur, Sonic manages to turn him back to normal in the end.
  • The Big Bad of Centurions, Cyborg Mad Scientist Doc Terror, was strongly implied to create his drones this way. The process, so far as was shown, was not reversible.
  • Darkwing Duck; Taurus Bulba was brought Back from the Dead by F.O.W.L. using cybernetics, but to their regret, he was rather angry that they forgot some "minor" details, like asking his permission. He shows his gratitude by destroying their base and going to work on his own.
  • Happens to Wylde and Kadeem in Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers. The former survives with his mind intact, and his body completely intact except that it has an awesome-looking robot arm, the latter... wasn't so fortunate.
  • This happens to the the Joes' computer expert Mainframe in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "Nightmare Assault"; fortunately, it was only a dream.
  • In Invincible (2021), the Mad Scientist college student DA Sinclair kidnaps other young men around his campus in order to forcibly convert them into cyborgs in an attempt to make them immortal, seeing organ failures as a mere "engineering challenge".
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Brainiac takes over Lex Luthor's body and turns him into a cyborg in a rather disturbing fashion. This ends up being subverted when Luthor and Brainiac come to an agreement: their further roboticisation is entirely willing.
  • Kaeloo: Poor Stumpy suffers this at the hands of Olaf in Episode 78.
  • This trope is given an adult treatment in the Love, Death & Robots episode "Good Hunting". The supernatural being Yen is transformed into a machine bit by bit, starting with her legs, while moonlighting as a prostitute. She is eventually able to escape and contact an old friend who finds the silver lining — a custom-built new body capable or overcoming the Shapeshifter Mode Lock she's been stuck in, and will let her finally hunt among the streets of Hong Kong.
  • Dr. Wily appeared to be doing this to innocent park-goers in an episode of Mega Man (Ruby-Spears). Subverted — it turns out that he was just brainwashing them to think they were robots, then outfitted them with armor and blasters.
  • The Robot Chicken is a combination of this an Back from the Dead — a dead roadkill chicken can't agree to be turned into a cyborg, after all. After becoming robotic, the Mad Scientist just straps the Chicken to a chair and uses him as an unwilling test subject.
  • In The Simpsons, one of the stories in Treehouse of Horror II had Homer's brain being put into a robot by Mr. Burns.
  • Parodied in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Welcome to the Chum Bucket"; Plankton threatens to put SpongeBob's brain inside a robot chef if he didn't make a Krabby Patty. Eventually he does just that, but since the robot has SpongeBob's brain, he turns out to be just as recalcitrant. Lampshaded by Karen, who says to Plankton "You know that never works."
  • Subverted with Metallo in Superman: The Animated Series. John Corben contracts a rare virus while in prison and willingly subjects himself to Luthor's experiment to save himself. Initially he's happy with the results: Super Strength, Nigh-Invulnerability, and a Kryptonite power source that weakens Superman. Then he discovers that his robotic body has no sense of taste, touch, or smell. Since he's The Hedonist, this causes a Freak Out so bad that he rips off half of his artificial skin. When Superman reveals that Luthor was the one who had him infected by the virus in the first place, he temporarily halts his attack on Superman to go after Luthor.
  • In an early episode of Teen Titans (2003), the robot Fixit wants to make Cyborg 100% robot by removing what made him human. It should be noted that Fixit detects flaws in the human body and honestly thinks that he's fixing Cyborg. He probably would have left Cyborg alone had he been completely human.
    • Indeed, Fixit even made sure to create a backup copy of Cyborg's memories and personality. It's upon examining the backup copy that he realizes his error and lets Cyborg go.
    • Brother Blood returns in Titans East to re-create his school by abducting the Titans East and turning them into Cyborgs, with Cyborg's own tech. He also made several robot clones of Cyborg as well to help with this, but his main goal is to use the cybernetics to more easily control his "students"' minds.
  • Dr. Arkeville of The Transformers. He'd already had some work done on him at some point before we met him, but was injured and "repaired" by Shockwave into being more mechanical than human.
  • Vor-Tech: Undercover Conversion Squad: The series mooks where transformed with a techo-infectious plague Transhuman Treachery ensues.
  • Winx Club: In one episode, Techna, who is arguably already a cyborg fairy, was affected by a techno-magical curse that turned her into even more of a robot. Luckily, it was reversed in the same episode.

Alternative Title(s): Unwilling Roboticization



It's as painful as it looks.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnwillingRoboticisation

Media sources: