"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight

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I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That was why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now.
Luke Skywalker (to Darth Vader), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Egad!! Your best friend, loyal Nakama, or long standing love interest has been taken over by The Virus, Brainwashed and Crazy, mind controlled, possessed or subjected to Red Kryptonite, Green Rocks, some sort of MacGuffin or mind-bending Applied Phlebotinum!

You're the hero and your friend is now evil - a fight has to happen. But the obviously weaker opponent is winning! The hero can't bring himself to fight at full power against someone he loves. They know that the loved one is still there somewhere. The hero will win this fight by talking the friend out of the evil influence, usually because of The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love.

Often accompanied by the phrase "I know you are in there somewhere." The hero stalls the fight trying to snap the friend out of it. Sometimes the effect is less than total salvation, only giving the friend the willpower to off themself or let the hero off them. This can be especially tragic if they've been Fighting From the Inside just to give them the opportunity.

Only the Ideal Hero can pull this baby off. It's usually saved as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for them, to show just how amazingly, totally, completely awesome they are. It's also a pretty big deal for whoever manages to snap them out of it.

A modern subversion is for the Genre Blindness to discover, to their horror, the friend actually was Not Brainwashed. Another popular subversion is for a Wrong Genre Savvy hero to use this line, and it turns out it really is too late to save them. And in some of the more tragic cases, something actually remains of their friend, but it is only a faint echo, who can barely muster to come through long enough to beg the hero to either run away and save themselves, or kill them and put them out of their misery. An inversion of this trope is Heroic Willpower, reversing the hero and sidekicks roles.

See also Battle in the Center of the Mind, Fighting Your Friend, and Defusing the Tykebomb. Contrast Sheathe Your Sword, where the hero wins without fighting, but usually there isn't a relationship between the protagonist and antagonist. See They Still Belong to Us Lecture for the villain version. Compare Deprogramming, a far more drawn out process. See also Resist the Beast.

Examples of "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Violinist of Hameln has many, but there is one in special where Raiel tries to bring Hamel back after he transforms into a Mazoku. It's a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when you realize Raiel is still Hamel's best friend even after he KILLED RAIEL'S PARENTS, during his first inadverent Mazoku transformation, and is constantly bullying him.
  • In Dragonball Z, Son Goku attempts this with Vegeta during the Buu Arc. Subverted, as Vegeta willingly let himself become possessed by Babidi, does not even follow any of the wizard's orders, and can snap out at any time. He eventually does so, before knocking Goku out and making a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Dragon Ball GT has a subversion of this as well with the Super 17 saga, when Android 18 joins the fight between Goku and Super 17. After 18's speech to 17 about being weak and cowardly for being the doctors' assassin rather than make his own decisions, Android 17 takes enough control of his Super self to turn around and kill Dr. Myu… then continues the fight, but lets Goku see his weakness and defeat him.
  • In Devil Children, Setsuna do this to Zett who's by that point, become Zebul. He succeed.
  • Happens every so often in Yu-Gi-Oh!! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, usually during the Cult and The Virus arcs. To complicate things, since Defeat Means Friendship, the only guaranteed way to free the victim is to defeat them.
  • Subverted in Gankutsuou, Albert convinces the Count to revert back into a human, but doing so makes the now-mortal Count vulnerable to a wound he received earlier, which kills him.
  • Played straight in Revolutionary Girl Utena multiple times, during the Black Rose arc, in which Utena both fought her rivals and tried to talk sense into them. Notable example is Wakaba: Utena didn't feel safe "using the sword (of Dios) against a friend," so despite Anthy's warnings she resorts to disarm Wakaba first, then use Wakaba's own sword (pulled from Saionji's body) to defeat her.
  • It's a common tactic when Magical Girls have to fight their Brainwashed and Crazy loved ones, and often reserved for the Grand Finale.
    • Sailor Moon towards evil Endymion, evil Hotaru, evil Chibi-Usa a.k.a. Black Lady and many a Monster of the Week.
    • This was in nearly every episode during the Rainbow Crystal arc in Season 1, specifically with Urawa and Rei's grandfather.
      • And evil Galaxia, for that matter. And how about the Ayakashi Sisters in the second season and the Amazoness Quartet in the fourth? And Nehelenia, in the fifth? Hell, Sailor Moon is MADE of this trope.
        • In the case of the Sisters, there was a small variation in that only one of them was "brought back" by Moon, and that was Calaveras. Koan was snapped out of her Villainous Breakdown by Mars, she then did the same to Berthier, and after Moon redeemed the aforementioned Calaveras the three teamed up to recover Petz, who was under More Than Mind Control thanks to Rubeus.
      • For that matter, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon with Dark Mercury, as well as in the Grand Finale. Dark Mercury actually fails. After the speech she promptly cuts Moon down anyway, and the shock of realizing she nearly killed a friend snaps her out of it.
  • The whole point of 75% of the Filler episodes of Wedding Peach, usually requiring The Power of Love. It happens a lot with Yousuke and Takurou.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch put a twist on this. Main character Lucia Nanami wasn't the one that talked down The Man Behind the Man each time he or she was revealed to be an important figure to their quest and relations. No, it was Hanon, the lovestruck schoolgirl whose teacher turned out to be in love with Sara. Hanon eventually convinced Sara that she was still a princess and a hero. Similarly, when the Great One in the second arc revealed his origin, it was his son, Rihito, that reached his original feelings.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura, during the Final Judgment; Sakura couldn't hurt Yue, the true form of her crush Yukito, and so she lost the first time around. Once Kaho uses her bell as a Reset Button, Sakura tries it again and succeeds.
  • In the second Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart movie, Cure Black tries this on the Brainwashed and Crazy White, but it doesn't work, and Black herself ends up in the same condition. Eventually they each snap out of it on their own.
    • Nozomi tries this on the other four in Yes! Pretty Cure 5, mid-season, with the same result as the Max Heart example. [[spoiler:
    • In the Heartcatch Pretty Cure movie, Cure Blossom tries to snap out Oliver of his brainwashed state by talking to him. When that doesn't work, Cure Marine yanks out Blossom's hair bow, her loose hair snapping him out of it when Oliver realizes Blossom is Tsubomi (she had spent a good time with him with her hair down, not in her tradition twin tails).
    • In the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 movie, Cure Dream faces down a mind controlled Coco and, because of it, she's slowly turning into chocolate. Dream continues to call out his name and it slowly snaps him out of it, but it only takes hold once she ends up throwing her arms around him, murmuring "Remember me", then kissing him.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has two of these in its finale. Subaru Nakajima vs. her sister Ginga Nakajima, and Nanoha Takamachi herself vs. her adopted daughter, Vivio.
    • Further used with the Dark Magical Girl of the Season, Lutecia, after she's mentally altered to see Erio and Caro as threats to her mother Megane being revived, resulting in the two splitting duties, with Caro working on Lutecia while Erio's stuck trying to talk Lutecia's bodyguard summon Garyuu into not killing them both in the meantime. Unique in that Lutecia has been an antagonist the entire time and this is the first time she's bothered talking with the heroes. It seems Nanoha's habits as The Messiah rubbed off on her trainees.
    • She did this earlier, in A's, when her friend Hayate snapped and was taken over by an evil magical artifact. It failed, but Hayate fortunately snapped out of it by herself.
  • Prétear: Himeno/Pretear v.s her stepsister Mawata, taken over Takako/Fenrir. And later, Himeno again, against Takako herself.
    • In the manga, Mawata and Himeno team up and deal one to Mawata's mother Natsue, possessed by Takako/Fenrir.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Seldomly works and almost every individual Story Arc has a Downer Ending. However, the actual "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight moment of Watanagashi-hen does kinda work. Remember? "I don't understand... Why am I hesitating?"
    • Also of note is the rooftop battle in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, when Keiichi succeeds in snapping Rena out of her Hate Plague-induced insanity.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ling Yao's body is taken over by the homunculus Greed, but Ed knows Ling is "still in there" because he hesitates during a fight when Ed mentions the name of Ling's loyal bodyguard, Lan Fan. Indeed, Ling does make a Heel Face Turn and eventually performs a Heroic Sacrifice necessary for Ed to defeat Father.
  • Subverted, so far, in Guyver. Sho has repeatedly tried to appeal to his brainwashed former ally Murakami, and has failed every time.
  • In Bleach, the Bount arc featured the enemy Mabashi who used his doll to possess Rukia. This was followed by a prolonged battle between Rukia and her ally Orihime, in which Orihime (a peaceloving girl who's rarely willing to hurt even the villains) refused to hurt her and resort to talk her out of it. Even when Rukia's companions (and pre-possession Rukia) urging her to just go attacl. She succeeds with a Cooldown Hug mixed with her Barrier Warrior powers.
    • In the manga (chapter 352), it's tremendously subverted. Ishida attempts to prevent Ichigo (who has succumbed to his Super-Powered Evil Side) from killing a seemingly defeated Ulquiorra. Ichigo, however, uses his sealed zanpakutou to push him away. Orihime, pulling herself out of her Heroic BSOD, starts calling out to Ichigo again, but then Ulquiorra jumps in... and smashes Ichigo back to his real Shinigami form. Ichigo can't recall what happened.
  • Kanata Kara has a nice subversion: Izark is a hero with a Super-Powered Evil Side who recently managed to change back intentionally. When he fights Swacka, an opponent who also shapeshifts involuntarily, Izark scrambles for the right phrase to describe what made him able to end his transformation. Nothing works. Then he reminds his opponent of the teachings of the Gray Bird tribe, which is the tribe Swacka belongs to. Miraculously Swacka changes back. Asked admiringly if he is a tribal master, Izark answers that he had no idea what he was talking about and made it all up as he went along.
  • The second Inuyasha movie makes good use of this trope when InuYasha begins to be transformed into a full demon (for good this time!), but Kagome snaps him out of it with a kiss.
  • A very slight variation is used in the GetBackers manga: When Ginji tries to fight the Brainwashed and Crazy Kazuki, he's already pretty beaten up. He does try to appeal to "Kazu-chan's" true self, but doesn't get any results and focuses instead on appealing to Toshiki, the one currently in control of Kazuki and once a good friend of his. He finally resigns himself to death when Toshiki and Kazuki attack him together, as he can't bring himself to kill his friend. Cue Juubei's Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Berserk plays with this. When he first got his cursed armor, Schierke had to reach out and calm down Guts so he wouldn't kill himself and their Comrades. Later in the port city battle, Schierke pulled Guts out of the armor's influence just enough to let him think clearly.
  • The talk is inverted in Sonic X. Eggman, being who he is, obviously isn't going to try and talk Dark Sonic down nicely. No. Instead he mentally berates the guy and tells him to get the hell outta there before anyone else gets blown up. Amazingly, it works. This is probably Eggman's Crowning Moment of Awesome in the Sonic X series.
  • In Gundam Wing, Trowa and Quatre pull these on each other. When one is brought mad by the Wing Zero's Zero System, the other snaps him out of it. Trowa pulls it first, then Quatre follows.
  • Cruel subversion in Narutaru. Hiroko Kaizuka aka Hiro-chan has gone all batshit after being cruelly abused by her classmates and not having her parents' support, killing bullies and parents alike and threatening to kill Shiina's father, Shunji, to force her join her cause. Shiina attempts to talk Hiroko out of it, but Hiroko says she can't go back and that Shiina can't save everyone with kindness, while her Shadow Dragon Oni (which she used to commit the murders) breaking Shunji's arm and almost strangling him. Cue to Hoshimaru snapping Hiroko's neck to save Shunji, and to a traumatised Shiina screaming and going into an Heroic BSOD when she sees that her father is safe, but Hiroko is dead.
  • Satella tries this on her sister, Florette/Fiore in Chrono Crusade, but it fails. She's forced to disable her opponent instead, by freezing them in crystal in the manga and killing them outright in the anime.
    • There's also Rosette and Joshua's fight in the manga. In this case it does work, except Rosette has to shoot one of Joshua's horns to free him from their powers enough to bring him back.
  • In Princess Tutu, Fakir and Mytho have a sword duel that turns into one of these, including Fakir showing the other boy his reflection in his sword and shouting "Remember your true self!" It appears to have failed, and the now-evil prince raises his sword and brings it within an inch of Fakir's face, only to stop himself at the last second. Mytho then tells Fakir and Tutu "don't come near me!" and flees. This turns out being slightly subverted, however: the next time we see him, he's as evil as ever, if not worse.
  • In Mega Man NT Warrior and much better in the original Japanese Rockman.EXE with Dark Blues/Proto Man and Enzan/Chaud. Axess episode 49 is in fact widely considered one of the best episodes in the series due to how this was done.
    • Also done in the original season where Roll was turned into an evil dominatrix by a corrupted chip. This time Megaman's efforts to snap her out of it fail completely (Save for one moment that is actually Dominatrix!Roll pretending to be good again to get Megaman to drop his guard), and it is only by Mayl being told how to purge the chip from Roll's program in the physical world that Roll returns to normal.
  • In The Prince of Tennis OAV, Genius Bruiser Inui pulls this on his Tsundere partner, Kaidoh, when he falls into an Unstoppable Rage state during their doubles match against Renji and Kirihara. It works and Kaidoh calms down, but they lose anyway since Inui was too injured to continue.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: A subversion—or just very sinister straight example—would be first fight between Saitou Hajime and Kenshin early in the Shishio arc, where Saitou attempts to drag Kenshin's Battousai side to the surface. He succeeds... and then damn near strangles Kenshin to death. Kaoru attempts to stop them since she has brought Kenshin back from the Battousai state before, but it doesn't work; it takes the arrival of a high-ranked minister whom both Saitou and Kenshin knew from Restoration times to stop them.
    • During the Kyoto arc, it's played straight. Kenshin attempts to drag the more gentle persona of his Worthy Opponent Shinomori Aoshi to the surface. He's become a Blood Knight after the cruel deaths of his Quirky Miniboss Squad and Kenshin doesn't want to kill him in battle, having promised Misao that he'd bring him back. Mentioning Misao's Tender Tears and how Aoshi was running away from the truth works pretty well, and Aoshi comes back to his senses.
    • Also played with in Seijuro Hiko's fight with Fuji, who's under the effect of More Than Mind Control, and by Sanosuke towards his Evil Mentor Anji.
      • Poor Anji. Though Sano more trash talks him into repentance than calls out to him per this trope, since Anji'd been like this for about nine years since a Break the Cutie deal caused his Face Heel Turn, and Sano first met him last week. Sano did have extremely good points, though... Like how his dead adoptive children would've never wanted him to take revenge for them, and how Anji had pretty much lost himself in his way to get revenge. "Don't you see them cry among the blood you've spilled!?"
      • And Hiko continues a colossal dick while doing his thing for Fuji. Again, It Makes Sense in Context: not only he was snapping Fuji out of his funk, but showing him what an asshole his "master" Saizuchi was. And considering that Saizuchi was an irritating Smug Snake and the one who and manipulated an innocent and desperate Gentle Giant like Fuji, well...
  • The ending of Overman King Gainer has Gain doing this to Gainer, but Gainer is too brainwashed so the minor character gives Gain the Planeta coat so that Cynthia, Gain, and Sara can hear the thoughts about friendship. Earlier, Adette tries to do this against Hughes Gouli, threatens to shoot him, tries to shoot him, before screwing the whole thing and just kissing him which works.
  • Saji Crossroads tries this on his ex-girlfriend, Dark Action Girl Louise Halevy in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Doesn't really work since Louise's conditioning kicks in, but at least Saji manages to survive the encounter..
    • In episode 24, Saji tries again. It works this time (with help from Setsuna's Trans-Am and the sight of a certain promise ring) and he makes Louise come back to her senses. Aaaaaawwww.
    • And before that, it was horribly subverted. Lyle "Lockon" Dylandy tries to appeal to his girlfriend Anew Returner, a Manchurian Agent who was forcibly reverted to her true Innovator side, so he won't have to kill her. Anew actually rejects said Innovator side and is about to take the Last Second Chance... only for her boss FUCKING RIBBONS to re-brainwash her, and Setsuna has to snipe poor Anew to rescue Lyle.
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell: Sherry Belmont struggles to wake Brainwashed and Crazy Koko, who insists that she turned evil out of her own free will. For a moment, Sherry starts to really believe that it's true, until she notices some earrings Koko is wearing that are a symbol of their friendship...
  • Played with in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon repeatedly tries to get his lover Nia, as the Anti-Spiral messenger, to snap out of it. At the critical moment of episode 22, he realized that the reason she kept appearing to him—and the reason she's still wearing their engagement ring—is that on some level she wanted him to save her. He then proceeds to drive straight for the core drill slot she's standing in front of, without bothering to ask her if she'll get out of the way. She does, and starts behaving like her normal self, just before she's summoned back to the Anti-Spiral homeworld.
    • Before that, Kamina has to convince Simon not to go berserk and drive their shiny new base directly into a volcano, you know, after Kamina DIED for 10 minutes. His resurrection didn't last all that long.
  • Used in Naruto, when Sakura uses this and a Cooldown Hug to stop cursed-seal!Sasuke from pretty much murdering the Sound Genin who seriously beat her up. Subverted later: she attempts it on Naruto when he's under the effect of the Kyuubi, but fails.
  • Reversed in the final battle of X 1999, where Kamui saves Fuma from his brainwashing, and simultaneously the entire world, by forgiving Fuma for killing him when Fuma takes advantage of Kamui's refusal to fight.
  • In Ayashi no Ceres, confrontations between the Shiso-possessed Aki and Aya (who has rather more control over her possession by Ceres) go like this. Each time, Aya tries to keep Ceres from killing Aki, in hopes that he might get free from Shiso. In the end, since Shiso will not let Aki re-take control, Aki chooses to let Aya/Ceres kill him.
  • Also played with in Fruits Basket, where Tohru Honda resorts to gently speaking to Akito Sohma during the latter's enormous Villainous Breakdown, replying to her opponent's threats, slaps, screams and knife swinging with kindness and understanding. She finishes her speech with a friendship offer at the corner of a cliff... Then, the ground breaks and poor Tohru falls off, getting severely injured. That, however, makes Akito snap out, as she starts screaming for medical help for Tohru instead of indulging into Evil Gloating, marking the start of her Heel Face Turn.
    • She actually used it before, against Kyo's cursed form. It looked like it'd fail, but worked like a charm after a while.
  • Used for intense drama in the Vampire Princess Miyu OAV. A young woman sacrificed herself to the Shinma Lemures to bring her husband Back from the Dead, but he Came Back Wrong as a servant of said Shinma and without any memories. Miyu noticed this and deduced that the now-Shinma wouldn't stop killing people unless he remembered his past, so while fighting him she showed him visions of his past and tried to make him remember his wife and his own passing. And he did... but since he was now a Shinma, he was shot to death by the police.
  • Garcia's ill-fated Mexican Standoff with Roberta in Black Lagoon.
  • Subverted in the second season of Sorcerer Stabber Orphen: Ellis tries it on the Brainwashed and Crazy Majic, but fails and is knocked out. Played straight immediately afterwards: Orphen tries it again, combining words and magic fighting, and he is successful.
  • Suou tries this on Tanya in the second season of Darker than Black. This being the show it is, just when it seems like it might be having an effect, Tanya gets killed by a sniper.
  • Ox does this with Kim in the Soul Eater manga when she's enjoying being a "true" witch a bit too much (for the uninformed, this is not a conscious decision, but an effect of the Morality Manipulator). It works, in spite of his Combat Pragmatist of a partner deciding she was too much of a threat to his meister and stabbing the girl.
    • If this is one tactic tried on the Face Heel Turned Kid (possible, as emotional connection is bound to be Liz's angle) it would be great - because the somewhat Cute and Psycho Patti would think nothing of shooting some sense into him. He's a mini Physical God (if not an Eldritch Abomination), though, so he can take it.
      • Considering chapter 76, Black Star tries this. "I'm bringing you back even if I have to drag you!", indeed. It works in the end, and Kid's back now.
    • As of 88, Maka has been told that Chrona is now beyond salvation, having been driven back into insanity after destroying a town in Ukraine, killing its Guardian and then murdering Medusa. Maka says she doesn't want to kill Chrona, even when Kid has told her it's hopeless, so we wouldn't put this trope past her.
      • In chapter 96, Maka makes her first try but doesn't work. Soul attempts this as well, but he ain't much more succesful either. It still doesn't deterr either of them.
  • Doing this to the real Saji Genpou is Sonken Chuubou's Crowning Moment of Awesome in Ikki Tousen Great Guardians.
  • Allen Walker tries this on Lavi in D.Gray-man after Road mind raped him. In the middle of the fight, Allen hugs his friend close and asks, "Lavi, can't you hear my voice?" Doesn't quite work and Allen continues to get wailed on, but fortunately it turns out Lavi had been Fighting From the Inside the whole time and eventually manages to stop himself.
  • Suiseiseki in Rozen Maiden manages to pull this one off in the reboot of the manga, when Souseiseki's body has been possessed by Kirakishou. She manages to put a plan in motion that would ultimately remove Kirakishou from Souseiseki's body by getting Jun to sign a contract with Souseiseki's ring and inserting a rosa mystica into the body. She ultimately sacrifices her own rosa mystica after Suigintou, who has Souseiseki's, refuses to hand it over out of arrogance. Granted that despite her general attitude, this is very in-character for her.
  • Subverted in Fairy Tail in the fleshed out history of Lisana. Mirajane, the one who was supposed to be doing most of the work taking out The Beast, made a mistake. Elfman used his own version of the siblings' Take Over magic to grab control of it, but in doing so began to rampage. Lisana arrived and tried to calm him down, soothing him with talk about how much she and Mirajane loved him... only to get brutally killed in a single strike. Small wonder both survivors had severe personality flips after this.
  • An interesting subversion in One Piece. Ivankov is supposedly one of the few people Kuma fears, so Ivankov initially refuses to fight, instead trying to get him remember who he's attacking. When he learns that Kuma has been turned into a cyborg and no longer remembers his past life, Ivankov decides to beat the fear back into him.
  • Takato tries this on Rika in the second Digimon Tamers movie while she is being controlled by Parasimon. True to the darker tone of Tamers, it doesn't work and Guilmon just hacks the thing off her back.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The fight against Oktavia (Sayaka), in two different timelines. It turns out about how you'd expect -- it fails. In the third storyline, Homura has to kill her with bombs; in the actual one, Kyoko chooses a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Fans speculate, perhaps hopefully, that it didn't entirely fail during this timeline. Oktavia does seem to hesitate. The real roadblock is that there's nowhere else to go from there. As puella magi, their only real skill is killing witches; they have no means of healing them.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure has Inori trying this on Lucky, who is turned into a monster. It worked, if it wasn't for Eas stopping it.
  • This is tried on the comatose, completely-in-the-middle-of-the-rewriting-ritual Asuna in Mahou Sensei Negima. Except that Negi won't be the one doing it, but the girls from 3 A. And by "the girls", we mean not just the Ala Alba ladies (Setsuna, Konoka, Kuu Fei, Haruna, Nodoka, Anya, Yue, etc.), but all the girls of the class - including these who were Muggles until few ago (Ayaka, the Narutaki twins, the cheerleaders, etc.) The only ones who aren't there are Eva (who's fighting with Ala Rubra) and Chao (still in the future, but we wouldn't put a sudden arrival past her).
    • As of 334, it has worked. Asuna snaps out of her coma and returns to the action. And in the middle of this, she stops a little to thank the girls for saving her.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, Kotetsu becoming Unpersoned and declared a killer means that he soon find himself being pursued by his own superhero friends, who have had all their memories of him altered courtesy of the show's Big Bad. The trope is subverted in that Kotetsu tries to make them remember him but has little luck (except maybe with Karina, who has a crush on him).
    • Played more or less straight when Kotetsu has the same fight with his partner Barnaby. At no point during the actual battle (or the relentless reminiscing Kotetsu does in-between) do Barnaby's memories show any sign of returning -- but when Kotetsu addresses him using the Embarrassing Nickname he gave him in a previous episode, he regains his senses.
  • Did no one mention Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne would have one? Her best friend, Miyako, is manipulated by Fin into attacking her. Jeanne has almost done it, if it wasn't for Fin keep on hindering it. It failed, but the bright side is that Miyako herself snapped out of it with Noin's help.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma tries this in one of his fights with a brainwashed Shampoo. It doesn't work.

Ranma: We're your friends! Shampoo, try to remember!
Shampoo: Shampoo have no friends!

  • In Street Fighter IIV, Ken and Guile are forced to use this trope on the brainwashed Ryu and Chun-Li, who are in this state thanks to Bison.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • They love this one in superhero comics, no matter the publisher. Apparently yelling "Remember who you are!" is enough to undo all but the fiercest and most long-term brainwashing... and even then, you've got a shot.
  • In the Marvel universe, even the characters know this. And they know not to bother trying it with victims of the Puppet Master because they're not being mind controlled, they're being body controlled and that's different.
  • Spider-Man repeatedly tries this with various opponents he faces, such as Venom. It never works, although his Alternate Universe daughter, Spider-Girl, has a considerably better track record when it comes to such things.
    • The series finale of Spider-Man: The Animated Series has an exception, although Spidey really had to work for it. It involves Spider-Carnage, an insane alternate-dimension version of himself, and a not-dead Uncle Ben from another alternate universe getting through to him. Even then, it was only enough for him to break free for a moment and kill himself before he could relapse.
  • Rogue and Gambit have at least two of them during the period in which Gambit has been turned into Apocalypse's Horseman of Death.
  • Happens quite a lot during Blackest Night. Sometimes, the fallen hero's friends are actually "in there somewhere", but most of the time words are useless and the possessed Black Lanterns are nothing more than mindless shells with super powers.
    • Bonus points if the possessed mindless shell convinces the more gullible hero that s/he is actually in there somewhere.
  • Danielle Moonstar has a link with Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane) also of the New mutants. When Wolfsbane was mind-controlled by Amahl Farouk (via Karma's possession power) it took a direct mind to mind appeal to break through.
  • Early in Ben Dunn's Ninja High School, Ordinary High School Student Jeremy was brainwashed into being a sort of combination Mad Scientist and Evil Overlord (in a rather Nazi-looking uniform). On at least one later occasion, he relapsed. ("Using what I could salvage from your school's workshop, I was able to take control of every civilian satellite...." He'd also built a bunch of robot soldiers. All this in less than a day.) Ichi dragged him back to sanity by hugging him while tearfully saying, "Please. You're not this person. You're not this person."
  • Inverted in Ultimate Marvel, in a team-up between the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. One of the Sentinels from the future, patterned on Wolverine, insists that (paraphrased) "I didn't do it, I'm still you inside". So far it's unknown if it was telling the truth.
  • After Wolverine gets brainwashed by Apocalypse, the X-Men try this strategy... combined with beating the living hell out of him, blowing him through walls, and having Psylocke use her Psychic Powers to try to break the conditioning. Eventually his normal personality is restored by the power of Jubilee's love and Archangel's magic sparkly wings.
    • Fun fact: Wolverine only got that way because Apocalypse was either going to choose him... or Sabretooth. Realizing that Sabretooth would never want to be snapped out of being "Death" (and would be unstoppable), the Dangerously Genre Savvy Wolvie subjected himself to Apocalypse on purpose, with the hope that the X-Men would be able to pull him out of it. And they did.
  • In the DCU, brainwashed Teen Titan Kid Devil gets talked out of an Unstoppable Rage by Miss Martian before he can kill a similarly brainwashed Hardrock.

M'gann: Eddie. No. Eddie, Please Listen... This isn't you. You're not a killer. What they did to you -- what Clock King said to you... None of it's true. You're not a monster. You're not alone. You're not unloved. You're a sweet boy who had a dream to be a superhero sidekick and got to live that dream. You're thoughtful, funny and earnest. You're a Teen Titan, Eddie. You're a good guy.

  • A vicious subversion in Teen Titans' The Judas Contract. Turned out Terra wasn't the confused-but-good type she became in the animated series...
  • In Ms Marvel's own series her fellow Avenger Wonder Man gets mind controlled by M.O.D.O.K.. For a variation she manages to break it by planting a passionate kiss on him.
  • In Mega Man, Mega Man tries this on the first Robot Masters. It works on half of them, but the other half are determined to follow their new programming to destroy Mega Man. This leads to the two sides fighting it out, allowing Mega to slip away. The two sides eventually comprimise by destroying the Copy Robot.
  • Attempted over and over again in World War Hulk—only for those who try it to discover that Bruce Banner is as angry as the Hulk, agrees with the Hulk, and is working with him.
  • In All Fall Down, members of the Pantheon try to reach out to Pronto this way. They don't quite succeed.
  • Danael tries this on Saryn after she was stung by a Darkhellion and turned into a Chaos Shade in Les Legendaires: Origines. It's horribly subverted, as turns out it's too late, and Jadina has to kill her to save Danael.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Zig-Zagged in Ridyr's Tron: Legacy fanfic "Survivor's Tale." Yori was captured and Clu decided to have Rinzler execute her, as much for dramatic irony as to get her out of the way. Yori figured out who was under that mask and started trying to talk him out of it, more for his sake than hers. With Clu shouting orders from one end and Yori arguing from the other, he becomes paralyzed by confusion. Later, after Yori's been rectified, Rinzler was still too confused by her presence to dismiss her as just another drone, and inverts the trope by frreing her, despite being unable to either free himself or completely understand his reasons for doing so.
  • Winter War When it is revealed that Ichigo has lost control of his Hollow side, Ikkaku envisages pulling off something like this, during/followed by a massive fight which would end in Ichigo regaining control and running off to kill Aizen. Much later on, Ikkaku's angry speech has no effect on Hollow!Ichigo.
  • Used by Valjean on Javert in this page of Roommates. Also used by Shadow!Erik on Mortal!Jareth with some mixed results.

Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, the end of the movie has Ryu fighting Ken who is under Bison's mind control. Ken is eventually snapped out of it and they defeat Bison.
  • The Movie of Batman Beyond, Return of the Joker, condenses this down to having the badly beat-up Batman merely mutter "... Tim." as his previous Sidekick turned Brainwashed and Crazy is about to murder him. It's just about enough to make Tim kill someone else instead of Batman, but it takes a year of intensive therapy to render poor Tim even partially sane. He's still suffering from after-effects of the brainwashing 40 years later.
  • The Iron Giant: "You don't have to be a gun".
  • In the straight to DVD movie The Invincible Iron Man, Iron Man defeats the Mandarin who takes the form of a ghost that possesses the romantic interest this way. This is a bit anti-climatic as a follow up to the the Fin Fang Foom fight.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Alice and Nemesis in Resident Evil: Apocalypse
  • Terminator 3 has a variation of this overlap with Fighting From The Inside, as John under threat from the reprogrammed T-850,, knowing full well that reasoning won't work, starts speaking the Terminator's language, and start to take hold of his mantle at the same time in this exchange:

John Connor: "WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?!?"
Terminator: "To ensure the survival of John Connor and Katherine Brewster."
John Connor: "You are about to FAIL...that mission..."

  • Subverted in From Dusk till Dawn. When Seth's brother rises as a vampire, Seth threatens to kill the others if they try staking him. Instead, he has the others hold him still so he can do it himself.
  • The Nutty Professor Dr. Klump's assistant tries to "call him back" from inside the body of his violent alter-ego, Buddy Love. Eventually, Sherman DOES fight back, in a very physical way.
  • Mirror Mask. After Helena has been brainwashed by the Dark Queen (the brainwashing process involves turning her, oddly, into a Goth), Valentine The Fool appears and insists that she's still in there. It doesn't work, but juggling does.
  • At the end of the film Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker removes his mask and gives one of these speeches to Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus, encouraging him to overcome the influence of his tentacles. This is eventually followed by Octavius exclaiming to the appendages, "Listen to me now!"
  • Sort of in Serenity, with Mal talking to River: "I've risked my ship and crew on the theory you're an actual person, real and whole, and if that's ain't true, you best shoot me now. [River cocks the pistol she has trained on Mal] ..or we could keep talking." Sort of in that there's no actual fighting, since Mal wouldn't last five seconds. That theme recurs through the whole series and movie, but this is one of the best examples.
  • Luke Skywalker uses this in Return of the Jedi, towards his father Darth Vader. See the quote at the top of this page.
    • Oddly enough, in Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan doesn't try as hard as you'd think he might, given that he's known Anakin for about thirteen years. Maybe he's a Presbyterian Jedi. Or maybe he'd been drinking.
    • Maybe he remembers what he was like before he went evil and figuring dying was better than putting up with the whining.
    • Obi-Wan was being consistent with what we saw in the original trilogy: He never thought Darth Vader could be saved, and advised Luke away from trying. Luke simply had more faith.
  • Halfway through The Cell, when Catherine ends up trapped inside Carl Stargher's mind and transformed into one of his mindless dolls, Novak awakens her by reminding her of the time when her baby brother died in a car crash. Impressively enough, he managed this while Stargher was tearing his intestines out and threading them onto a spit.
  • Much of RoboCop centres on this trope, culminating in the final line:

The Old Man: Nice shooting, son. What's your name?
RoboCop: ... Murphy.

  • In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Alice has a moment like this with the Mad Hatter, though slightly inverted. When the Mad Hatter is making hats for the Red Queen, he seems almost... normal and productive and happy. She then has to remind him that he's making hats for the Red Queen, in which he snaps back to (his) normal and freaks out, and asks Alice if he's gone mad. She tells him yes, he has. And he's satisfied.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick and Kyra have one. It works, but she gets killed by the Big Bad afterwards.
  • Played nauseatingly straight in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, where our protagonist Jesse, possessed by our dear friend Mr. Kruger, is saved by his girlfriend Lisa using a combination of this trope and The Power of Love
  • Briefly and stupidly invoked in the film version of Prisoner of Azkaban, when Sirius tries to prevent his old friend Remus Lupin from transforming into a werewolf. It doesn't work.
    • SIRIUS: Remus! This is not you! This is not your heart! I’LL MAKE OUT WITH YOU IF I HAVE TO!
    • An especially stupid choice for the film adaptation since the two characters are childhood friends, Sirius witnessed countless transformations by Remus when they were students together, and learned to become an animagus specifically because Lupin's transformed state was senselessly vicious toward humans but was relatively docile around animals. The character knew that the werewolf transformation was a full overtaking and that there was no possible way for Remus to fight it, so it's completely ridiculous that they had him try this in the movie.
  • A standoff of this trope appears at the climax of From Paris with Love, in which Reese posits, Was It All a Lie?? (It wasn't). Finally The Mole comes to. Reese defuses the situation and foils a terrorist plot. Except, so not. Subverted. She can't help herself. Love be damned, he plugs her.
  • Happens twice in Undercover Brother. When Sista Girl is trying to get the title character to stop acting white, and when UB is trying to get General Boutwell to throw off the effect of the drug he's under the control of and not shoot him.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Drizzt has one in R.A. Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy against a zombified Zaknafein, his father. The zombie has all his father's amazing sword skills but is impervious to wounds. Finally, Drizzt attacks him with a maneuver that triggers his memory of one of their fondest moments, which allows Zaknafein's spirit to break his controller's hold just long enough to leap into the pool of acid they are fighting over, thus saving Drizzt and his own soul.
  • In the Animorphs series, controllers often experience this. It is possible for hosts to briefly regain control at a crucial moment, although usually not long enough to do anything lasting.
    • Also in the second Megamorphs book, Rachel talks Tobias into regaining control of his dinosaur morph by first telling him about all the human stuff from his life; this promptly fails and she resorts to bird things, which does work. He is after all, trapped with a red-tailed hawk as his "normal" form, and therefore spends a lot of time flying around. A bit strange though, because hawks are basically just weird-looking dinosaurs. Not to mention that the dinosaur morph Tobias is in is a raptor, which does a lot of things birds do anyway. They hunt prey with their talons, have flight feathers and wings, and a few species can even fly somewhat.
  • In the Grand Finale of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, Annabeth pep-talks Luke into fighting Kronos, and Luke eventually establishes enough control of the shared body to reveal his 'achille's heel' and sacrifice himself with Annabeth's knife. Cue Crowning Moment of Awesome..
  • Zigzagged in Gav Thorpe's Warhammer 40,000 Last Chancer novel Annihilation Squad. When Kage is possessed by a daemon who goes to taunt Colonel Schaeffer, Schaeffer does not appeal to Kage but bitterly attacks the daemon, "He is one of mine! I want him back!"
  • Subverted in World War Z, where millions die after trying this on their zombified relatives. Later leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when it works on orphaned children during the fight to reclaim America, children the army was planning to shoot on sight as lost causes.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time, Charles Wallace has been taken over by the evil IT; Meg saves him with The Power of Love, quite literally.
  • Subverted in Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn -- Rebellious Princess Miriamele travels all the way back to the Hayholt in an attempt to use The Power of Love to pull her father, King Elias, back from the brink of the war he's started at Evil Sorcerer Pryrates' urging. Of course, she's far, far too late to prevent the evil plan from being completed, but in an ironic twist, Elias does repent for a split second after being temporarily released from the Storm King's power, just long enough for Miriamele to kill him.
  • Creel has one of these with Velika in Dragon Slippers when the slippers take over her mind.
  • Tris faces A stuck-in-the-Simulation Tobias/Four at the end of Divergent.
  • In The Shining, Danny uses his "shining" to reawaken his father's spirit long enough for him to say how much he loves him before the Overlook Hotel obliterate what's left of his soul.
  • In the New Jedi Order novel Conquest, Anakin Solo does one of these for his friend (later girlfriend) Tahiri, who is under the control of her implanted Yuuzhan Vong personality. It's very successful, thanks to their link through the Force at first. Turns out that Riina, aforementioned Yuuzhan Vong personality, wasn't subsumed but merely banished into Tahiri's subconsciousness- she ends up forced to go through a Battle in the Center of the Mind and Split Personality Merge to finally end the problem.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Attempted in an episode of Babylon 5, and subverted with particular cruelty. The reply is simply for the Manchurian Agent to take particular glee in twisting the knife and taunting the hero about how their friend is gone, and how every nice thing they had said to them, the agent had whispered in their mind to tell them in order to get closer. A sequel-hook of sorts had been set up a season earlier that would have allowed them to bring the character back,[1] but it was never used.
  • Xander manages to talk the real Willow out of her black magic-induced big badness in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • But subverted when Angelus first emerges in Season 2 -- he taunts Buffy with it, insinuating that Angel is still a part of him, and she denies it and attacks. She can't bring herself to kill him yet, though.
    • Also subverted by Vamp Jesse. Indeed, Giles had earlier warned the characters against trying this tactic against a vampire, but Jesse's former best friend Xander still gives it a try.
    • And in a more varied subversion, this exchange between Faith and Willow in the episode "Choices":

Faith: Give me the speech again, please. "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you! You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no-one. You were a slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big, selfish, worthless waste.

It's particularly interesting since Faith's expression and reaction suggests that she wanted to be told that it wasn't too late. (Even if she did deck Willow immediately after this exchange.) It is Faith, though, so it's not that surprising.
    • Lampshaded and subverted in "Enemies." Angelus has (seemingly) re-emerged, and this exchange takes place between him and Buffy:

Angelus: Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Maybe there's still some good deep down inside of me that remembers and loves you. If only you could reach me. Then again, we have reality.
Buffy: I will kill you before I let you touch me.

  • Completely fails in the Dollhouse episode "A Love Supreme" when the Dollhouse staff tries to get the psychopathic rogue doll Alpha to not blow up one of Echo's romantic clients:

Boyd: Alpha, do not do this. There's a part of you that knows this is wrong.
Alpha: There are many parts of me that know this is wrong... none that care... and six (chuckles) that just find it funny!

    • Given that Alpha's original self was a serial killer-in-training anyway, there was no chance that negotiation would work.
    • Played straight and subverted again in the episode "The Hollow Men". When Echo and Whiskey imprinted with an evil version of Rossum co-founder Clyde Randolph fight, it doesn't work; however, when Paul and sleeper-activated Mellie fight, Mellie is able to hold onto "herself" long enough to blow her brains out rather than shoot at her boyfriend.
  • An early television example of this trope, at the climax of the 1953 six-part British sci-fi series The Quatermass Experiment, has Professor Quatermass defeat the menace, an alien plant which has absorbed three astronauts, by use of this technique. It's a pity we can't actually watch it.
    • Subverted in Quatermass 2, where the apparent success of this trope on an alien-controlled human is actually the aliens changing his orders, and instructing him to go along with Quatermass' plan (to launch a nuclear-armed rocket at their asteroid base) because they intend seizing the rocket so as to bring the rest of their race to Earth.
      • But marvellously re-affirmed in Quatermass and The Pit, wherein Quatermass himself (along with most of the human race) falls prey to possession by ancient Martian psychic energy, and his friend Doctor Roney (one of the comparatively few people immune) has to shake and talk him desperately (Quatermass is at the same time doing his best to kill Roney) - but ultimately successfully - out of it.
    • Unfortunately that scene got cut from The Movie adaptation.
  • Subverted in The X Files episode Schizogeny when Mulder tries to talk down the villain. It doesn't work and the Orchard Man fixes it.
  • There have been several such appeals to hosts of the Goa'uld in Stargate SG-1 (e.g.: Skaara) and Stargate Atlantis (e.g.: Colonel Caldwell). This almost never works completely, but a non-fatal attack (tasers or zats) is sufficient to buy time or to retrieve an important code. Occasionally, someone has to Shoot the Dog when such an appeal doesn't work, such as Teal'c having to kill Daniel's wife to prevent her Goa'uld Amonet from killing him.
    • Played with in one episode where Teal'c restrains Jack and several other characters because one of them may be a Goa'uld. Although they don't actually fight, it has all the elements of this trope up until:

Teal'c: Trust in me, O'Neill.
Jack: What if I'm not O'Neill?
Teal'c: Then I was not talking to you.

    • Also happens between Daniel and Vala when the latter has lost her memories. She holds Daniel at gunpoint when he blocks her exit, trying to get her to remember her past life rather than shoot him and disappear forever.
  • Locutus of Borg is the appellation Jean-Luc Picard takes after being (temporarily) assimilated by the Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Subverted in that Picard doesn't willpower his way out. Instead it requires surgery and technobabble to free him. He does, however, manage to force out a hint on how to defeat the Borg.
    • Subverted again in the TNG episode "Schizoid Man". Picard, realising that Data is "possessed" by the soul of Ira Graves, doesn't try to communicate with Data—he gives Ira an earful instead.
  • In Season 5 of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Iolaus is possessed by the evil god Dahak and Hercules pretty much tells him the aforementioned quote.
  • Supernatural might have subverted it in "Devil's Trap". Possessed!John is making Dean bleed from the inside and Dean is begging for his life. When he says "Daddy, please…", John manages to come back up for a few seconds and tries to hold the Demon in his body so that Sam can shoot him. The Demon escapes, of course.
    • Dean also ends up giving Sam this speech twice, once when he is possessed and once when he gets addicted to demon blood.
      • And again, when Sam is possessed by Lucifer in the Season 5 Finale; except Dean doesn't fight back.
    • Played straight when Possessed!Bobby manages to fight the demon and not kill Dean.
  • An episode of The Equalizer had Robert McCall's trusty sidekick Mickey Kostmayer kidnapped by the KGB in order to test their evil brainwashing technology. They make Kostmayer think that his long-time friend has accused him of murder and treason, making Kostmayer kill an image of McCall in blind rage. When the Real McCall is sent into the room as a test, he gets through to Kostmayer by saying he forgives him, and that he hopes Kostmayer does the same.
  • UFO ("The Man Who Came Back"). Commander Straker tries this when his friend Collins turns out to be a Manchurian Agent sent by the aliens, but to no avail.
  • Subverted on Smallville when Faora has possessed Lois and is attacking Clark:

Clark: Lois, stop!
Faora: Lois can't hear you.

    • But played straight in the finale when Oliver attacks Clark at his wedding while being controlled by Darkseid and Clark has to talk him down.
  • A variation occurs in Misfits, where most of the main characters - who are notably dysfunctional, self-destructive and rebellious - get Brainwashed into becoming eerie, do-gooding Stepford Smilers with no hint of their former personalities. Horrified by what is happening, Nathan tries to get through to his brainwashed tsundere love interest Kelly by swallowing his pride and confessing how much he liked her old personality (a big step for the guy as he's usually a snarky, sarcastic brat who refuses to appear vulnerable in any way). Unfortunately, the attempt fails miserably - even though Kelly does actually return his feelings, in her brainwashed state she's forced to turn against him. It's quite sad actually. Particularly considering Nathan's imminent "death", which totally devastates Kelly when she is returned to her natural state. And the fact that she can't even remember their final conversation.
  • In Primeval, Connor's best friend Tom is infected by a parasite that makes him want to attack other people. Connor talks him into controlling it for just long enough to allow him to die a hero...* sniff*
  • In the Lexx universe, this never works.
  • Angela and Peter Petrelli successfully use this on Nathlar. Arguably a subversion an inversion, since they're trying to convince the brainwashed personality to take control back from the real one.
  • Subverted in Jekyll, when Claire tries to resurrect the "dead" personality of her husband by pleading with Hyde for help and calling him "Tom." Hyde replies by giving her a long explanation of how Klein & Utterson "killed" Tom Jackman in the first place, making it very clear that the dead personality isn't coming back. But just to make sure, he asks the K&U executives to switch off their security cameras for half an hour while he makes sure that Tom wouldn't want to come back even if he could. Once they do, Hyde remarks "Suckers," and reveals that he isn't interested in hurting Claire or her children- in fact he wants to help them.
    • More to the point, when Tom Jackman's personality does return, it's because Hyde brought him back.
  • Played almost straight in the Doctor Who episode The Pandorica Opens: when Rory begins to be taken over by the Autons, Amy remembers who he is and insists that he will not go under their control. He doesn't, but the mental battle's only won after he fatally shoots her.
    • Also used in the Big Finish Doctor Who drama called "The Skull of Sobek", wherein Lucie and the Eighth Doctor are chosen as the champions of the two big bads, who have been feuding for centuries. The Doctor won't have anything to do with it, but Lucie falls prey to her big bad's mind control and becomes hell-bent on killing him. During the ensuing fight (though it's probably more accurately described as a chase because the Doctor won't hurt Lucie and in the end she didn't land any blows anyway), he never actually uses the phrase "I know you're in there somewhere," but he says just about everything else you might expect.
    • Subverted in "Pyramids of Mars" where Laurence Scarman tries to get through to his brother Marcus, who is under the control of Sutekh. Even though the Doctor told him point blank that his real brother was dead, Marcus refuses to believe him and ends up paying the ultimate price for it.
    • Lots of new Doctor Who series episodes have this. The only one who manages to play it straight is The Doctor himself in "42" when a friggin sun possesses him. All those who come in contact with it though don't end too good, despite the ship's captain hoping her lover is still in there somewhere. Oh and that Pig Man in Daleks in Manhattan.
    • Double subverted in Silence In The Library, where the Sexy Secretary isn't expected to fight or "survive", well, death, but in the next episode, she did exactly that, turning into a Cyber Ghost.
  • A rare non-magical version pops up in Criminal Minds. Reid begs the kinder personality to take control of the UnSub with multiple personalities who's about to kill Reid. This fails, and he ends up killing the UnSub. Then, as the guy lies dying...

Tobias: [after Reid shot him, regarding his evil personality] You killed him.
Reid: [sorrowfully] Tobias.
Tobias: Do you think I'll get to see my mom again?
Reid: I'm sorry.

  • In 3x01 of Merlin, Merlin tries this on resident Heel Face Mole and Broken Bird Morgana when she allies herself with the villainous Morgause and Cenred in an attempt to conquer Camelot out of her resentment towards Uther. She seems to listen to Merlin for a brief second, but it doesn't work. In the end, Merlin defeats Morgana and Morgause's plot fails, but Morgana takes the credit—cue them giving each other Death Glares and fueling the Foe Yay. Subverted in that Morgana isn't brainwashed and is well aware of the evil deeds she seeks to accomplish.
  • In Sanctuary the setup happens repeatedly between Helen and her Brainwashed daughter Ashley as they keep facing each other in battle but Helen can't bring herself to fight back. The appeals do work, eventually, leading to a heartbreaking Dying as Yourself moment.
    • Will tries this on Helen after she's possessed by a parasite in "Requiem." She responds by beating him up.
  • In Chuck, this is exactly what Chuck has to do in order to restore Sarah back to normal in "Chuck Versus Sarah". However, Chuck himself doesn't do any fighting, instead, trying his darndest to convince Sarah that she loves him. It doesn't quite work in the end, but Sarah does resolve to go after the Big Bad for revenge.
  • Warehouse 13 play this trope in the season 2 finale when Myka delivers the below speech to HG when she is trying to destroy the world.

Myka: You are so filled with grief and anger but there is a part of you, I know it, there is some small part of your soul that knows that this is wrong. And that part is still alive and it’s just pushing to get through. Yes…that’s the part that refuses to kill the very people who can stop you.
Helena: No! Stay away from me!
Myka: Alright. If I am wrong, then kill me. Do it! Kill me now! I mean, we’re all gonna die anyway right, so what’s the difference? So shoot me! Shoot me now. Kill me. But not like that. Not like a coward. I want you to look me in the eyes and take my life.

  • In Children of Dune, Ghanima tries to convince Alia to fight, and also tells Alia's possession to give her a chance.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Mega Man tries to pull this off with his brother in The Protomen's Act I. To say it doesn't work is putting it lightly.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Happened not once, but TWICE with Lewa in Bionicle. First his mask got replaced with an infected, mind-controlling one. Onua had to knock it off his face. Later, a Bohrok (which are machines controlled by an organic face-brain) places its Krana (face-brain) at Lewa, making him more than willing to join "the swarm" and "cleanse the island". Onua showed up again, but this time it was a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, as he refused to hit his friend. (Never mind that he gave Lewa a pretty good beating last time...) Lewa ripped the Krana of his face himself this time.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Neverwinter Nights, a good-aligned character can pull this off with Aribeth, a supporting character from the first part of the game driven to madness by her lover's execution and turned Dragon to the Big Bad.
    • Note that you can't do this unless you either did a sidequest earlier in the game and still have the reward from that quest, which has no other real value, or you have an insanely high Persuade check.
  • Same goes in Knights of the Old Republic, which largely recycled the plot of NWN in this aspect. The same character you save this way will be completely disbelieving of your naivety when she finds out you tried it on the Big Bad.
    • This is also invoked on your Player Character if you're playing female, have done the Carth romance, and chose a Dark Side ending. Carth comes up and offers a Last Second Chance to reject the Dark Side. Rather too bad you have to mod the game to get the full effect, because Sbarge earns the paycheck.
      • The Brotherhood of Shadow Game Mod for KOTOR has an epic one. After Shadow/Channa Mae/Matilda/Sera Degana is put into an Angst Coma by her now-insane former Jedi master, smuggler Kobayasi plays this card by shouting that they're Not So Different - turns out he was a failed Padawan who had to give up his own identity after his master was killed, letting her know how hard the fight will be because he's done it himself and expressing faith that she can win like he did. He comes just short of admitting he is head over heels in love with her, too.
  • Subverted in Mega Man Star Force. Fighting the first human-merged-with-alien, Mega Man is reluctant to attack because a human is in there and defeating the enemy would mean killing the human as well. Omega-Xis, the alien who gives Mega Man his powers, promptly corrects this misconception, assuring Mega Man that defeating the enemy is the only way to get rid of the alien and restore the human.
    • Played straight with Acid Ace, however. Joker, being Ace's "dark half", can corrupt Acid and drive Acid Ace into a berserk state, and he does near game's end. The first time around, you need to stall for time until Acid Ace's safety kicks in and forces him to revert; the second time you have to thoroughly beat the sense back into him, and just in time for a Heroic Sacrifice to boot.
  • In Romancing SaGa 3, the two destined children who actually have created the Giant Space Flea From Nowhere from their energies, are tried to be convinced to use the energies that they have manifested for the powers of creation instead of destruction.
  • Subverted In Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne if playing the Maniacs version, You are told this from a "Mysterious voice" when you enter the Second Calpa of the Amala Labyrinth. This is a determining factor for the True Demon Ending
  • Depending on the ending you get, Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories provides both a straight example and a subversion when Rozalin accidentally unlocks her Super-Powered Evil Side in an effort to defeat the Big Bad of the game. Of course, being a Super-Powered Evil Side bordering on the verge of Cosmic Horror, its not going to let Adell and the rest of the group walk away from the fight alive either. Depending on the amount of felonies and ally kills you rack up, this can go two ways:
    • Good Ending: Rozalin declares Adell her enemy, Adell refuses to attack, and Rozalin hesitates in blasting him long enough for him to snap her back to reality with a kiss.
    • Bad Ending: Rozalin doesn't hesitate and zaps Adell into oblivion. And if you've got really many felonies and ally kills, this further devolves into the...
    • Worst Ending: Adell fails to hold back during the ensuing fight and accidentally kills Rozalin during the fight. It only gets worse when the thing takes ahold of his body in Rozalin's place while he's BSOD-ing...
  • Then, at the end of a Task Force in City of Heroes, the player characters fight The Honoree, who those familiar with the backstory will quickly recognize as Hero-1 ("The Honoree." Get it? Get it?), who is being turned into one of the Scary Dogmatic Aliens by a bizarre biochemical transformation . This being a memorpuger, of course Status Quo Is God, and the opponent winds up fleeing, still Not Himself.
  • The final boss of Mother 3, in which Lucas must fight the Masked Man who is actually his brother Claus, is won entirely by simply defending and healing while trying to talk Claus into remembering who he really is. He eventually comes back to his senses, but not before he fries himself with his own attack and dies in his brother's arms.
    • Another fight against the same guy happens a few minutes before, though you don't get to see it, as Flint tries to fight the "Porky" that's in Claus. That is, fight off Porky's influence
    • "I'm going to where Mom is now." (suppresses a sob)
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Arado and Seolla, a set of partners from The School, are separated when Arado is shot down by the good guys. After he decides to join up with the team once he figures out that his old allies were merely brainwashing him, he gets into not one but three such fights with Seolla before finally breaking through her brainwashing.
    • Then in SRW OG Gaiden, this gets repeated when a Brainwashed and Crazy Lamia threatened to self destruct immediately to plunge the team into eternal despair for not being able to save her forever. Except she didn't do it immediately, which prompts Axel, who just performed a Heel Face Turn, to scold and point out why she didn't do it immediately, which means he knows her real self has yet to be deleted by the brainwasher, which prompts Lamia to finally revert to her own self temporarily, but enough for Axel to reaffirm that the chance for her salvation is not lost and proceeds to activate Code DTD which reverses her brainwashing and plugs her out of her machine.
  • In Fire Emblem 7, this is Nils the Bard's Crowning Moment of Awesome. He actually does it on his sister Ninian the Dancer, who may not be attacking people but has been brainwashed into summoning a dragon through the Dragon's Gate. Nils, however, gets through her and Ninian stops the ritual in the nick of time.
    • The same also occurs for Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, but also tries to avert it at the same time. Lyon summons the big bad demon that promptly possesses him, slowly and surely trying to kill Lyon's own soul at the same time as making him (on the outside) very sickly as the process goes on. Throughout the game, he is fighting between being Lyon and being the Demon King possessing him and shows that Lyon may still be him to Eirika, but a lost cause to Ephraim. Eventually Eirika has many moments of invoking this trope for him once the twins are reunited and she tries to get Lyon to fight the Demon King for his body back, which works... Until it doesn't. The Demon King averted it by screwing with Eirika and destroying one of the last two sacred stones left on earth when she fell for it. He also pretty much confirms Eirika's fears that this is a wasted trope... Until it isn't. Lyon is, in fact, still alive but barely so and certainly wasn't strong enough to take back his body. Until he does... Right after Eirika, Ephraim and the others kill him, which lets him pull a Dying as Yourself.
    • Don't forget Monsho no Nazo, where you have to get Merric, Minerva, Julian and Camu... er, Sirius to talk fast to Elice, Maria, Lena and Nyna respectively, who have been brainwashed into becoming sacrificial maidens for Medeus's resurrection. If you don't, they will be eaten by Medeus so he'll recover strength.
    • And certainly don't forget Genealogy of the Holy War! Where upon hitting the final part of the final chapter, Manfroy sends a Brainwashed and Crazy Yuria at you. Celice tries this on her.... it doesn't work outright- instead you have to kill Manfroy first. Easier said than done, due to how powerful Yuria is (and you have to deal with her attacking you) and the fact that on top of being a semi-powerful boss, armed with Fenrir, Manfroy is surrounded by Dark Mages with Hel tomes. Upon completing this ordeal, and having Celice then talk to Yuria and you're given a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming along with Narga, which pretty much is the means to the end.
    • Played with in Radiant Dawn where, in part 3 chapter 7, Haar can recruit Jill away from the Daein forces by appealing to the same sense of justice that got Jill to defect from Daein in the previous game. A little nonstandard in that Daein is *also* heroic, so it's halfway between this and a They Still Belong to Us Lecture.
  • Reversing what happened in the Street Fighter animated movie, in the Alpha games Ken is the one who pulls this on Ryu in Alpha 3, with the help of Sakura and even Sagat. More exactly, Ryu has been kidnapped and forcibly infused with Bison's power, which makes him go Brainwashed and Crazy. Sagat (who has just had his Heel Realization upon finding the brainwashed Ryu and being mocked by Bison himself) talks/fights to Ryu to make him return to his senses, while Ken and Sakura take on Bison. It only fully works when Sakura pulls a Go Through Me to protect a fallen Ryu and is hit point-blank by the fully Psycho Drive-empowered Bison, which triggers an Unstoppable Rage in Ryu that breaks through his brainwashing.
    • Played straighter in Ryu's path, where Ken is the one brainwashed and Ryu has to snap him out of it before taking on Bison himself. And then he gets infused with the Psycho Drive energy as it explodes, but manages to resist it this time.
    • If you play as Juli, the mid-boss fight with T. Hawk has him recognizing her as his childhood friend Julia and begging her to come back home with him. Since you are the one controlling Juli, it obviously fails. (She does return to his side, but much later and in different circumstances.)
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 uses this trope as well near the endgame. After ditching your clan, Adelle has a run-in with Illua. The mission you pick up at the bar is actually an encounter with a buttload of monsters and a controlled Adelle, who Luso has to talk back to her senses. Of course, to make things easier, feel free to kill the vanguard Illua entrusted to her.
  • Kingdom Hearts has, well, several instances of the trope:
    • Strangely enough, this doesn't happen in the original game. It's obvious that Riku isn't completely by his senses for the whole time, but Sora never makes any effort to actually try to bring him round; he even offends him with talk about how he choose the wrong path, and that he should be ashamed for not listening to his conscience. By the time, Sora FINALLY realizes that Ansem has been planning to possess Riku from the very beginning, it's already too late for this trope to work—which leads to every single problem Riku is going to face from here onwards to the end of KH2.
    • It does happen in Kingdom Hearts II, specifically in the fight against Beast, who goes stark raving mad out of paranoia and needs a lot of shouting from Cogsworth to calm back down.
    • Also happens a lot in Birth By Sleep. Every time a character is possessed by something/someone not quite well intentioned, the proper response is to fight them and "free their heart" or something like that. In the final chapter, this culminates in a fight between Aqua and a Xehanort-possessed Terra where the former actually says "I know you're in there". Sadly, it doesn't work.
    • A special version happens in "358Days", where Riku taunts the bits of Sora inside Roxas, to make sure he's really in thier before he gives himself up to the darkness.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Cecil tries this several times against Kain. It doesn't really work, and the still-brainwashed Kain generally takes the opportunity to beat poor Cecil up.
  • The fight between Barret and Dyne in Final Fantasy VII isn't a typical example as both combatants are using full strength, but close enough to count. The real tragedy is that Dyne is so far gone that as soon as Barret non-fatally defeats him and tells him they can go back and see his daughter together, clearly assuming the trope worked, Dyne tells Barret he can't come back anymore and commits suicide.
  • In Final Fantasy X while fighting against Braska's Final Aeon, Tidus gains a "talk" command that attempts to reach Jecht, resetting the monster's Overdrive gauge. It stops working the third time...
  • Done to death in Mega Man Battle Network. First in 4 Blue Moon with Proto Man, in 5 (both versions) with Mega Man and either Colonel or Proto Man again depending on your version, and Mega Man in both versions of 6.
  • The fight against Maverick Zero in Mega Man X 5, except X decides the best course of action is beating the crap out of Zero to bring back his true self, and does so (the fight ends more or less in a tie). Also Zero vs Iris in X4. In both cases, unfortunately, they die after becoming normal again, but for different reasons.
  • Played straight twice in Mass Effect. Benezia breaks Saren's indoctrination briefly during the fight on Noveria at Shepard and Liara's urging, and if you have sufficient Charm or Intimidate points, you can make Saren break Sovereign's control in the final fight. It's not much of a breakage in either case, though, as both kill themselves -- Benezia goes for suicide by Spectre, Saren shoots himself in the head -- rather than continue as evil pawns. This is because Reaper indoctrination is permanent. Any break is only temporary.
    • Except for Shiala, who had to become controlled by the Thorian and become subsequently freed.
  • This only happens about fifteen times in Final Fantasy IV. Rather, it might be easier to list the allies you don't have to fight.
    • It only actually happens to two characters: Kain and Yang. Yang gets a good old beatdown, while Kain breaks the control, then loses himself again, then breaks the control a final time. Golbez is also Brainwashed and Crazy, but no one knows that except FuSoYa, so they never bother trying it.
  • In Rival Schools, if you choose to play with the teachers Hideo and Kyouko, at some point they're brainwashed. Later, one of them (the first one you picked) will snap out of it but not the other, so you'll have to team up with Batsu Ichimonji (whom you have just defeated beforehand) fight your companion.
    • Variation: In any other team up with charas of the same school, one of the characters will be kidnapped, get Brainwashed and Crazy and join The Dragon Raizo. Your characters will try to talk to him or her, but will have to defeat him and Raizo in battle to get their companion back. It turns out Raizo also was Brainwashed and Crazy... by the true Big Bad, his nephew Hyo. You have to defeat the old guy to de-brainwash him too.
      • Another variation happens in the second game, when Hyo himself is Brainwashed and Crazy... by the spirit of his evil Disappeared Dad, Mugen. We see the whole deal in the Taiyo team's route, when Batsu and Co. confront him right before the final battle: Hyo manages to push Mugen aside for a second and talk to his younger brother Kyousuke, explaining what happened and begging the group to Mercy Kill him so Mugen won't use him as a Soul Jar. And sadly, this is what happens: Hyo is dispossessed, but dies in Kyosuke's arms.
  • If you play a death knight in World of Warcraft, you are ultimately given a quest to execute a helpless NPC of your death knight's own race. This NPC -- who, it can be inferred from the dialogue, knew you somehow before you became a death knight -- pulls this on you. Seeing as this leads to your death knight's inevitable Heel Face Turn, one can only conclude that it works, but there's a twist: Your superiors wonder why you're taking so long, which causes your old friend to tell you to kill them to keep up the Masquerade.
  • Both lampshaded and subverted in a memorable World of Warcraft quest in which Big Bad Arthas openly accuses Knight in Shining Armor Tirion Fordring of falling victim to this trope. Tirion, however, displays a notable lack of Genre Blindness when he tells Arthas that he just wanted to see for himself if he had lost his humanity completely and proceeds to attempt to kill him. Unfortunately, he fails.
    • It was not a complete failure, as Tirion in this encounter destroys Arthas's heart, effectively wiping out the last bit of humanity in the Lich King. So now Tirion knows that Arthas is no longer "in there".
      • Links to confirm it or it's just a Wild Mass Guess.
        • Here is the text to the event that plays along with the quest. Most specifically, the quest completion text you get from Tirion.

I do not view what we just went through as a failure, <name>... quite the opposite. By allowing me to peer into his heart, you allowed me to confirm what I needed to know. There is no Arthas Menethil anymore -- there is only the Lich King.

    • In a quest given by Tirion in Eastern Plaguelands, your character delivers a bundle of childhood memories to his son Taelan, a member of the Scarlet Crusade. It causes Taelan to realize the corruption of the Scarlet Crusade and go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge through Hearthglen until he is killed by Grand Inquisitor Isilien on his path to reunite with his father.
  • In Resident Evil 5, Chris ends up subduing Jill during the fight by talking to her, trotting out the most cliché lines he can manage. "Jill, what are you doing? It's me, Chris! Don't you recognize me? Snap out of it!" The whole thing is just to get her to stop leaping around so your partner can yank The Virus off of her chest. Alternatively, you can just shoot it off.
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance features this, requiring you to find specific quest items, go for the optional harder boss, and having a specific pendant equipped before it happens though.
  • Played with in Breath of Fire IV, where, if you choose to get the Bad Ending, you join up with your Evil Half Fou-Lu to become the Infini Dragon, and must kill your former teammates in an unwinnable (for them) boss fight. If during the fight you heal them with an item, Nina will say "that was you Ryu, right?". In the end, though, it's a fake hope, there's nothing you can do, you have to end the battle sooner or latter.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Yuri has to fight a Brainwashed and Crazy Estelle, the most innocent person in the game solo. You can go all out, even to the point of using your Limit Break on her, and even so, Yuri will be able to bring her back to her senses.
  • Baten Kaitos has one of these for a Climax Boss fight. Notably, it's the main character they're trying to save. By beating the crap out of him.
  • The same goes for Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, using the main character (just like above) as the Final Boss.
  • In BlazBlue, any encounter between Litchi and Arakune. The fights themselves include heartbreaking pleas by Litchi for Arakune to "Wake up!"
    • Ragna's dialogue before fighting Mu-12 (a Brainwashed and Crazy Noel) seems to suggest the fight between the two at the end of Continuum Shift's story mode is this as well. The conversation between Ragna and Rachel in the previous scene regarding whether Noel's personality can be brought back reinforce the notion.
  • At the end of Paper Mario 2: The Thousand-Year Door, Peach is possessed by the Shadow Queen, but overcomes her to help Mario.
  • Robo's fight with Atropos in Chrono Trigger, though she doesn't throw off the reprogramming until after she's already damaged beyond repair, and dying.
    • In the DS version, Magus's fight with the Dream Devourer. Schala only comes to her senses for a moment.
  • Subverted in the Ciel Story Arc in Tsukihime where the protagonist is the reincarnation of the Big Bad and is only a matter of time before he would be completely possessed. Before that Ciel his friend, sempai and current Love Interest who is secretly an immortal exorcist sent by the Church asks him to get to the school by night to help him. But her true intention is to fight him and kill him because she knows there is no cure and bears personal hatred against the Big Bad. It is only because the protagonist refuses to fight her to the death and to hate her for being deceived that she realizes she cannot do it.
  • Sadly subverted in Phantasmagoria. Adrienne, almost totally strapped into the Death Trap, briefly breaks through to her possessed husband Don with a little help from an old snowglobe. Unfortunately, if you don't do anything, the demon takes over and kills her. The only way to escape is to activate the trap while Don's confused, killing him instead of Adrienne.
  • Amazingly, it took five games for this to happen in the Lufia series. The first game has the "I know you are in there" without the fight, and the second does the opposite with the same character. The third game finally has both elements but without the refusal to fight back (same character again), and it isn't until the remake of the second that we finally get a fight against Erim that consists of nothing but dodging attacks while the characters reach out to Iris. It happens again in the True Final Boss fight, but this time Maxim has no choice but to fight back and kill her - and it's then subverted when she reveals that she was in control the entire time, and was making a Heroic Sacrifice in his place. Amusingly, if you let them finish their dialogue without attacking, Maxim points out that he'll actually have to fight back this time.
  • Thanks to a suggestion from Tyrell, Sveta utilizes the Psynergy at her disposal to instigate this in the Chaos Hound (read: Volechek, her older brother, "augmented" by the Dark Psynergy of Those Two Bad Guys), and goes as far as to stand between him and the rest of the party just to make certain he reemerges. To keep their plans from going awry at this development, Blados and Chalis overload him with Dark power, and are willing (at least in Chalis' case) to accept absorption into the Chaos Chimera just to keep their weapon under their control. Sadly for all involved, Volechek wins the fight... only to knock Sveta off the Apollo Lens control console, firing it at Eclipse Tower and dying in her place.
  • X-Men Legends 2 has Sabretooth trying this to Beast after he is put under Apocalypse's control. Sadly, it fails when he arrives to stop it.
  • Mentioned by the villain in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising. If the traitor is Jonah Orion, he turns out possessed by a demon, who promptly tells the protagonists:

Demon: Jonah is right here, infant. I can hear him screaming.

    • He still fights.
  • In Magical Cannon Wars this is the ending fight between Akira and Zero, trying to release the latter from the grip of "mechanical magic".
  • The final boss of Okamiden' when you battle Akuro in the form of Chibierasu with a possessed Kuni on his back. After the fight, Kuni becomes your partner again... too bad Kurow doesn't make it.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In Stupid Mario Brothers, Mario tries this out on a brainwashed Luigi (as Mr. L) before they fight. By the end of the fight it works.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • When Marge Simpson ends up in a roid rage, Homer talks her down in this manner. But not before she cripples all of Moe's regulars. And Disco Stu.
    • In the episode "Dog of Death", Burns takes in a runaway Santa's Little Helper and, through A Clockwork Orange-type conditioning, transforms him into a vicious attack dog. When Bart comes by looking for Santa's Little Helper, Burns releases the hounds on him. Bart recognizes his dog but not vice versa until, on the verge of being attacked, Bart calls out "I love you, boy!" This triggers in the dog a series of flashbacks to him having fun with Bart, and he reverts back to his old affectionate self.
      • Most of those memories are of Bart secretly feeding Santa's Little Helper.
  • In Transformers Animated Prowl jacks himself into Omega Supreme when Megatron takes control of his body, while Ratchet gives him the trope's talk from the outside. It works and Prowl helps Omega throw off Megatron's control... only for Starscream to take over instead. Oops.
  • Code Lyoko: Despite numerous fights with William since he is possessed by XANA, this approach never comes up until the episode "The Lake"; Yumi's speech actually does bring him back for a few seconds. However, it's left unclear if she actually succeeded for a short amont of time, or if it was merely a Hyde Plays Jekyll moment.
      • In the case of William, most of the people fighting William didn't know him well enough to try this trope and prior to "The Lake", Yumi was probably too distracted to try.
    • Jérémie also tries this on Sissi in episode "A Great Day", during the very first human possession by XANA's specter—to absolutely no avail.

Jérémie: Sissi! You are being possessed by XANA! You have to resist ?
Sissi: Why ? I never felt so well...

      • In retrospect, Jeremie probably isn't the most likely person to pull off this trope with Sissi.
  • Rather beautifully subverted in Beast Machines. Blackarachnia has reason to believe the spark of her lover, Silverbolt, is being used to power the villain Thrust. She traps Thrust, breaks through the "shell program", demands Silverbolt come forth... and is told "Doggie-bot not home!" The spark inside Thrust is actually Waspinator. Silverbolt is inside someone else the Jerkass.
  • Mildly subverted in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series. In one episode, the Parasite has absorbed the personality of a particularly cunning and devious villain, and the two personalities team up... for a while. Eventually it becomes clear that the clever guy is perfectly willing to let the Parasite die, since, after all, his real body and mind are miles away, and they start battling it out inside the Parasite's head. Meanwhile, Superman, on the sidelines, shouts encouragement to the Parasite personality. It's a subversion because both personalities are bad guys; Superman is just rooting for the lesser of two evils.
    • And he does it again in Justice League Unlimited, this time rooting for Lex Luthor after Brainiac hijacked his body and fused with him. Too bad for Supes that Lex was all in favor of the deal, and had even been the one to suggest complete fusion to begin with.

Luthor: I am in here... and I like it!

    • Also from Justice League, in "For the Man Who Has Everything", Superman is trapped by the Black Mercy, dreaming of a world where he is married, has a son and Kypton still exists. As Wonder Woman fights Mogul, Batman does everything he can to snap Superman out of it. When none of his gadgets work, he frantically tugs at the Black Mercy attached to Superman, telling him to snap out of it. And in his dream world, Superman continually hears Batman's voice.
  • In Ben 10: Race Against Time, Gwen does it to Ben who is turned into a young version of the villain Eon. After a while, it works. Although, they way Gwen went about doing so made it sound rather strange.
    • Later subverted in a Ben 10: Alien Force episode, where the Plumber's kids goes on a space station to save Max from Ben, who apparently went Axe Crazy. While fighting him, Pierce assumes Ben must have been Brainwashed and Crazy, and attempt this trope on him. It apparently works, as Ben seems to come partially to his mind and beg for help... only to use the opportunity to catch him off guard and mock him for falling to the trick. It's later revealed Ben was actually faking being evil as part of an act organized by Max to test the Plumbers' kid performances.
  • Parodied in Dexter's Laboratory. He tries to fix a damaged DynoMutt (a dog robot with boatloads of hyperactivity). He comes up with a supercool and super-dangerous version that is ten times more badass than the leading brand. When it goes rogue, The Blue Falcon tries to use his friendship with DynoMutt to draw out his old personality. Dexter eventually reveals that DynoMutt was such an annoying buffoon that he decided to just start over with a new version. Blue Falcon is appalled, shocked, and stunned! But then he realises that he can now simply kill the evil robot with a clear conscience—after all, What Measure Is a Non-Human??
  • This happened in the Kim Possible episode "Emotion Sickness", where Kim had an emotion-manipulating device on her neck stuck on uncontrollable rage. In the end, she finally caught up with Ron, and began to beat him up (with uncharacteristic slowness) while he tried to get through to her, without success—until Shego picked up the slack and put him in real danger.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Happened with Jet after he was Brainwashed in "Lake Laogai". Aang manage to snap him out of it by reminding him of his past as a freedom fighter, causing him to throw his sword at the brainwashing bad guy. Who dodges it and kills him without a second thought.
    • Also happens a few times non-verbally with Aang in the Avatar State. It's generally Katara either talking to him desperately or hugging him at great danger to herself.
  • Subverted on My Life as a Teenage Robot when Jenny's absorbed into a giant Cluster-bot. Her prototype sisters attempts to call out to her fail, but her youngest sister, a robot baby, pukes oil on her (seriously) manages to wake her up.
  • Winx Club has one of those as the end of Season 2. With Bloom turned into a Dark Magical Girl by the Big Bad, after her friends attempt to fight her yet cannot (half because it's their friend after all, half because Evil Bloom is VERY powerful), and after Riven almost gets killed to shield an injured Musa, it's up to Prince Sky to try talking Bloom out of it. It takes a while, but it finally works. It's also a mild subversion since this time the heroine is the one brainwashed and saved by her love interest.
  • Danny Phantom in "What You Want" and "Control Freaks". In WYW, Danny tries to get through to a ghost-powered Tucker and fails. Danny winds up tricking Tucker in order to free Tucker from his evil ghost version. In CF, Sam attempts to get through to a brainwashed Danny, succeeding once, only to have Danny put under Freakshow's control again. She attempts later in the ending and only gets to Danny after getting tossed off a train over a bridge crossing in a valley. Danny comes to his senses and saves her before she falls to her doom.
  • Invader Zim:
    • Zim tries this on his robot henchman GIR after the latter is overtaken by his "duty mode". True to the Failure Is the Only Option nature of the series, it doesn't work.

Zim: GIR, you were my servant once, remember?
GIR: Yes. I didn't like it.

    • In "Dibship Rising", when Zim puts the Dibship under mind control and orders it to do away with Dib, Dib tries to persuade the ship otherwise by reminding it that it and himself are essentially the same person.
  • In a episode of the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Masters of the Universe vs. the Snake Men), Man-at-Arms and Teela are turned into snakepeople.

He-Man: Man-at-arms, fight it!
Man-at-Arms: I can't... nor do I want to!

    • He then proceeds to smack He-Man around a bit.
  • Subverted in The Powerpuff Girls. Professor Utonium's latest invention, a pet named Beebo, goes on a destructive eating rampage throughout Townsville, even going as far as to eat both Blossom and Buttercup. He chases Bubbles around a bit until she's cornered in an alley, at which point she says "No, Beebo! No! I love you!" and stares at him with her giant glassy Powerpuff eyes. Beebo pauses, then smiles at her—then eats her anyway.
    • Also subverted when Him mind controls everyone in Townsville and makes them attack the Powerpuff Girls. When the girls cannot talk the townspeople out of Him's mind control they beat them up.
  • In Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Lilo pulls one of these on Stitch, when his programming is reversed back to "destructive little monster". A finishing "Because I love you" finally made it work.
  • Done by Sonic the Hedgehog in the SatAM cartoon to keep his robotizised uncle from doing the same to Tails and Antoine. It worked.
  • This is played with in the Super Mario Bros Super Show, of all shows. Mario gets brainwashed by an invention of Ludwig Von Kooky Koopa, and it's up to Luigi to save him. However, reminding Mario of the good times they had together doesn't work, so he plays a trick on Mario as he had done earlier while they were arguing. This apparently works.
  • Subverted in X-Men: Evolution, when Jean and Wanda try to snap Professor Xavier and Magneto respectively out of Apocalypse's mind control. Only defeating Apocalypse can free them.
    • Played straight twice before, by Kitty Pryde (against a Brainwashed and Crazy Wolverine) and Evan Daniels (towards a possessed Storm.)
    • And toyed with in regards to a Jean who experiences a serious Power Incontinence. While Scott does try to talk her down, what truly works is to have Rogue touch Jean, copy her powers, and contain her psychically.
    • Also played straight and subverted with Rogue. When all the personalities and powers she's absorbed start forcing their way to the surface, she's talked down at least twice. Each time, however, the one doing the talking makes some sort of slip that triggers one personality or another, causing her to go wild again. It takes Professor X's Psychic Powers and a pep talk from Wolverine to straighten her out completely.
  • Subverted in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, in which padawan Barriss Offee is taken over by a parasitic brain worm. When her friend Ashoka Tano tries this trope on her it has zero effect. In the end she has to rely on SCIENCE and lightsabers, followed up by some snuggly cuddling.
  • Another subversion in Galaxy Rangers episode "Psychocrypt" - By the time his team find him, Zach has already had his Life Energy ripped out and turned into a Slaverlord. Doc tries this, only to start dodging bullets. The Slaverlord-Zach also fires several direct shots at Goose, whose abilities allow him to shrug it off long enough to grab the crystal.
    • Played straight in an elegant way by Zozo in "Showtime." The normally prim and rational Andorians have been reduced to slavering brutes by captivity (captivity being so repulsive to them their mind snaps). Zozo doesn't plead with the crazed Waldo - he simply asks his friend to solve a mathematical equation, which gets Waldo to stop long enough to shake off the crazy.
  • In "One of Us", Jimmy Neutron tries this trope on his friends and parents, who have been brainwashed by an alien disguised as a kindly old grandma throught the use of televized mass hypnotism, but it doesn't work:

Jimmy: "Mom! Dad! You can't do this to me!"
Mom: "Oh were happy to do it."
Dad: "Possitively ecstatic!"
Jimmy: "But you're not supposed to be happy all the time. You have to be sad sometimes!"
Dad: "Happily that's no longer true."
Jimmy: "Can't you see, Grandma Tater's show has stolen your emotions and caused you to lose your humanity! Soon the whole world will be a pack of soulless, mindless zombies!"
Sheen: "Wondering if I care.......still wondering......NO!"

  • Averted in The Venture Brothers "The Incredible Mr. Brisby". A group called the Orange County Liberation Front try to overthrow obvious Walt Disney parody, Roy Brisby and his empire using Bizzy Bee beanies taken from Brisby's laboratories intended for mind control and using them on the Venture brothers, Hank and Dean, as test subjects. As the battle erupts between the soldiers and the bee-suit workers, the hypnotized boys prepare to attack Brock. Instead of appealing to them, Brock threatens them: "You don't want to shoot me, boys. You know me. You know what I'll do to you if you do." It works, as the boys' mind control is momentarily overridden by pure terror, long enough for Brock to lightly bash their heads together and remove the caps.
  • Brutally subverted in The Spectacular Spider-Man. The son of Dr. Connors aka The Lizard tries to get through to his rampagin mutated father. There's a flicker of recognition and hesitation in Lizard's eyes, and then it attempts to bite the kid's head off.
  • Subverted in Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes. Thor tries doing this when the other Avengers are mutated into Gamma monsters by the Leader. Sadly, it has no effect.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade tries doing this to her dog, Scruffy, after if has been possessed by the mask of an evil Oni warrior, to the point of tears. It doesn't work, but Jackie and her team of animals (who were given powers by the defeated dragon demon Shendu's talismans) and a stuffed animal (also given life by the talismans) save her before Scruffy kills her.
    • Played straight when Jade's same age friend, Paco, puts on another Oni warrior mask so that he can be scary for Halloween. The mask's evil slowly takes over him until he was willing to beat up his own wrestling idol, El Toro. On the edge of defeat, El Toro convinces him to remove his mask after he removes his own (which he and Paco agreed he would never do out of pride) and brings him back to his senses enough to fight off the demon's influence (in a rather comical, Jim Carrey-like fashion) and use Uncle's potion to remove it.
  • Subverted in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command when a villain uses a stolen, personality-swapping helmet on Booster. During the fight, Booster reveals that the helmet did not work on him, due to Bizarre Alien Biology: he has two brains, and his personality is stored in his "bottom brain." Booster is a comic relief character, after all.
  • Comically subverted in Tiny Toon Adventures, where Babs tries to convince a mind-controlled chimera-ish monster, who's obeyed into lowering her and her friends into a vat of goop that will mutate them into a monster like him, into remembering the good times together, which prompts a look of anger as she had spent the entire episode beating him up despite his Anguished Declaration of Love. It's finally played straight when she admits that she loves him and releases him from his mind-control.
  • Splinter tries this twice on mutant Donatello in one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003.
  • Numbuh 5 tries this on Numbuh 1 when he is turned into a Spanky-Happy Vampire. Sadly, it fails.
  • In the Futurama movie "Bender's Big Score", Bender is subject to this while under the power of the mind-control virus, under an order to kill his best friend Fry. He is only partly successful - still, at least it shows how much he cares about Fry.

Bender: Must obey orders. Ohhhhh. Mustn't kill friend!! Ohhhhhh! Badly want to urinate!!!!! [monotone] Entering auto destruct sequence. [normal] Awww crap, I hate auto destruct sequence! [monotone] Explosion in 7, 6-
(Fry duplicate kicks Bender duplicate back into a cryotube. Fry duplicate turns the dial to one million years)
Bender: (much later) [monotone] -4, 3, 2, 1, [normal] BOOM! (Nothing happens. Bender starts to laugh) Woah! (he explodes)

  1. one of J. Michael Straczynski's trademark plot trap doors for dealing with casting issues