Deceptively-Human Robots

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Sometimes what seems to be a Ridiculously Human Robot isn't actually all that ridiculously human after all. It may look human, it may even be anatomically correct, but the illusion of humanity lasts only as long as that robot is silent or stationary, since the moment it speaks or moves the illusion goes flying out the window. Can occasionally invoke the Uncanny Valley.

Examples of Deceptively-Human Robots include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Evangeline has a bunch of maids that are Deceptively-Human Robots.
  • Tres Iqus (Trinity Blood) looks just like a young man in his early 20s but most certainly doesn't act the part, having exactly one facial expression and saying 'Positive' or 'Negative' instead of yes or no, and '"Requesting damage report" instead of, "Are you hurt?".
  • Vexille's plot revolves around Japan's insistence on building Deceptively-Human Robots even after the rest of the world has banned them.
  • This is why Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya is often considered a Robot Girl, despite being realistic enough to bleed.
  • D from Dual speaks in a dull monotone and avoids contractions.
  • Dorothy from The Big O is one, for she often speaks in a flat monotone and never changes her facial expressions no matter what's going on. There's also the fact that she's insanely heavy.
  • In the Time of Eve the robots appear to belong to this category with their human appearance contrasted by their Uncanny Valley movements and Machine Monotone speech, but it appears that they actually do this for the humans' convenience. When they are free of restraints in the titular café that allows no discrimination between humans and robots they become Ridiculously-Human Robots good enough to fool each other!

Comic Books

  • Arguably, the titular Livewires from Marvel Comics. They seem like Ridiculously Human Robots (and are anatomically correct, even), but because of procedures they performed on themselves, they totally lack fear and doubt, distancing them from any semblance of humanity by an incalculable magnitude.
  • There are also the X model androids, again from Marvel Comics—or at least Nextwave's very special corner thereof. They look human enough, but earlier models, like "Father Blood Drench Robo Crush" often spout threats like, "I MAKE YOU DIE WITH STEAMY ELECTRIC MEK BITS NOW KLAK KLAK KLAK!"
    • Though people still seem to fall for it - Father Blood Drench Robo Crush is a priest, and the response to that statement (from a little old lady) is a kindly "More tea, father?"
      • "...AFFIRMATIVE."
  • Robot from Invincible subverts this, at first appearing to be a socially maladjusted (and obviously mechanical) robot who honestly can't (and honestly doesn't want to) relate to his teammates' problems. Then it's revealed that He's actually a human who acts incredibly like a robot. Sort of.
  • Marvel's Vision. Having Wonder Man's brainwave patterns helps.
    • Also the original Human Torch.



  • R. Daneel Olivaw in Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun. Dr. Sarton spent many years overcoming the Uncanny Valley, and as a result Daneel can shake hands like a real human and even eat, but he is still identifiable as a robot even from visual clues. He breathes at irregular intervals sometimes several minutes apart, he eats in identical mechanical motions and his body is unable to "naturally" remove food waste, isntead requiring him to literally empty the food sack in his abdomen. However, because humans do not expect a robot to look human, he is passable to anybody except for robotic experts.
  • The android duplicates in Andre Norton's Victory on Janus were instantly detectable by the Iftin (and canine) sense of smell, but were otherwise externally identical to specific Iftin and human individuals, down to imitating their voices. The first android "corpse" encountered was torn apart by guard dogs, revealing that the androids didn't bleed and were obviously mechanical.
  • The Space Pirate Grey Roger liked using these as Mecha-Mooks in Triplanetary.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: In the original novel by Gaston Leroux, Erik (the titular phantom) "also invented those automata, dressed like the Sultan and resembling the Sultan in all respects, which made people believe that the Commander of the Faithful was awake at one place, when, in reality, he was asleep elsewhere." for Mehemet Alí Bey.

Live Action TV

  • The Buffybot, who didn't pull off snappy lines the way the original model did. "That'll put marizpan in your pie plate, Bingo!"
    • Also Ted, the evil robot who tried to romance Buffy's mother. He qualified for Ridiculously Human (albeit a reject from Leave It to Beaver) until Buffy kicked him down the stairs, at which point he ran into hardware trouble.
    • And April. In deliberate contrast to Ted, everyone who met her figured out she was a robot in ten seconds, leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when her creator Warren announces this as a shocking revelation.
  • Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. One Expanded Universe novel (Ghostship) even noted this in a semi-mocking tone, in that it made no sense to design an android to blend in with human society, to give it human characteristics such as blinking, drinking, breathing... and then give it chrome-colored skin.
    • Apparently it was done so that he could blend in with humans, without scaring the living daylights out of everyone who worked out what he really was. It's fairly obvious looking at him that he ain't human and - hey, people in the trekiverse are used to that.
      • You seem to be missing the point. If Data was designed so that humans could easily recognize him as an android, what was the point of giving him eyelids so he could blink?
        • Same reason we do. To remove dust and other interfering particulate matter from his photoreceptors.
        • Giving him the ability to blink and have facial expressions also pushes him further outside of the Uncanny Valley. If his face was a completely expressionless mask it'd be damn creepy.
        • And not easily recognize him as an android, easily recognize him as NOT HUMAN. If he's just another rubber forehead alien, then it's not so bad when it turns out he's an android.
        • Other possibilities - the colour of Data's skin may simply be the natural colour of "bioplast sheeting", which is what his skin is made from. Dr Soong may have originally intended to make Data (and the earlier prototypes, had they worked) look progressively more human over time, but when his colony was attacked by the Crystalline Entity and he was forced to flee he never finished his work. The episode Brothers, with its introduction of Data's emotion chip, all but explicitly states that Data was first activated in a state Soong regarded as "unfinished".

Video Games

  • Makoto from the My Sims series. Built by the mad Dr. F. to be indistinguishable from a real human, she appears to be a perfectly normal Asian schoolgirl, but has an unfortunate tendency to talk about how she is definitely a real human AND NOT A ROBOT AT ALL. This is then subverted in My Sims Agents, when two villainesses persuade her to steal a huge gizmo that no normal human could possibly lift, yet are still genuinely amazed when you later inform them she's a robot.
  • Snatchers do look and often act like the humans they're placing, this form is very delicate. Their artificial skin gets cancer with any sun exposure (and leaving a tell-tale smell), and at apparently the skin isn't that durable since at least one is shown with pieces of it missing from a fight earlier. So really, any person that's suddenly avoiding sunlight looks pretty suspicious. Also: Animals hate them.
  • In City of Heroes, Nemesis Impostor Automatons fall into this when they blow their cover. Often with hilarious dialogue.

Western Animation

  • The Chameleonbot in Xiaolin Showdown looks like Kimiko, but uses outdated slang and occasionally says, "Processing..."
  • The Lucy Liu-bot from the Futurama episode "I Dated A Robot" looked and acted just like the real thing, except it occasionally spoke in Robo Speak. "I love you more than the moon or the stars or POETIC IMAGE #36 NOT FOUND."
  • The Hardac trilogy of episodes in Batman: The Animated Series featured an AI named Hardac who planned to conquer the world with Deceptively-Human Robots. The first two parts played this straight, but the third one "His Silicon Soul" subverted it. The Batman robot started out as a Deceptively Human Robot but became a Ridiculously Human Robot over the course of the episode. So human in fact that it sacrificed itself to prevent the scheme it had set in motion from hurting people. Because like the real Batman, the robot copy is unwilling to kill, ever.

Real Life

  • Unfortunately, most robots designed to look human fall under this. Technology still has not advanced far enough to get real-life robots out of the Uncanny Valley.