Fantastic Voyage Plot

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Mike: Hello, class! Today we're going to shrink down and go inside someone, probably a classmate and invade his or her privacy!

Brad: Why, that doesn't sound immoral, illegal or dangerous at all!

A plot that involves characters being shrunk to enter someone's body. Usually animated. Travel is often via submarine and scuba variants. Lighting is rarely a problem. Often has a time limit parameter, and at least one scene of just barely squeezing through a stomach opening as it closes.

See also Incredible Shrinking Man. If there are normal-size invaders inside a giant's body, then you have been Swallowed Whole. Curiously, giant bodies tend to be filled with large open spaces for movement and even extended travel within, even if one was swallowed.

Named for the granddaddy of them all, a movie co-starring Raquel Welch, which also spawned its own Animated Adaptation. An episode with this plot will usually use a homage to or parody of said name.

Strangely, the title of an episode with a Fantastic Voyage Plot will almost always reference Journey to the Center of the Earth instead of the Trope Namer, with the person's name or a noun that describes them in place of "the Earth".

Not to be confused with the funkarific song by Lakeside.

Compare and contast with Journey to the Center of the Mind, Ghost in the Machine, and Animate Body Parts. If somebody's body just happens to be the Adventure Towns this week, you're probably just flying in a Womb Level.

Examples of Fantastic Voyage Plot include:

Anime and Manga

  • In episode 10 of Keroro Gunsou, Keroro's mouth becomes infested with microscopic, cavity-causing aliens, and a good chunk of the rest of the cast (including a robot duplicate of the sergeant mentally controlled by Keroro) shrinks down and enters his mouth to fight them off.
  • In DragonBall Z, during the fight versus Buu, Goku and Vegeta (fused together as "Vegetto") get absorbed by Buu, and end up travelling through the villain's body so they can rescue their allies.
  • Due to some extremely trippy Applied Phlebotinum, the final battle of the IL arc of GetBackers takes place inside the opponent's body. Thus, hitting Makubex (who was in there with them...) caused the whole landscape to warp and shake.
  • In the third part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, when Steely Dan implants his Stand, The Lovers, into Joseph's head, Polnareff and Kakyoin shrink their own Stands to the same size and enter his brain to battle it.
  • Galaxy Angel has an episode where the team needs to enter Volcott's body because of some strange thing that make him change his body into several crazy stuff. Mint got haywire and it turns even crazier, which in the end result in Volcott turning into a baby.
  • Doraemon where he and Nobita go inside Shizuka's body to retrieve a diamond she accidentally swallowed.
  • Pokémon did this with the Tree of Beginning in their eighth movie, 'Pokémon: Lucario and The Mystery of Mew.
  • The Joseph Lai Mockbuster psuedoanime Space Transformers is about a mecha and its young pilots entering the body of a woman... who has a small galaxy inside her body.
  • In Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, Kyouka turns the family into a microscopic virus-fighting squad and takes them inside Ouka's body.
  • In one episode of the anime Parappa the Rapper ("Did You Say You Didn't Sleep?!"), Parappa's friend PJ gets infected by a virus, which causes him to grow into a giant every time he eats. This causes Parappa and his friends to get absorbed into his body and get rid of the virus in order to turn him back to normal.

Comic Books

  • In ABC Comics' Tom Strong, Tom and his gorilla sidekick Solomon have to shrink themselves to enter the body of the malfunctioning robot butler Pneuman (which is more complex than it sounds because Pneuman had originally been a Steampunk robot in the 1890's and had been upgraded continuously right into the 21st century, so his innards contained everything from gears to vacuum tubes to atomic reactors to nanites).
  • This troper recalls one comic, probably from DC's silver age, in which The Atom (Ray Palmer) had to enter the body of a patient to fight an infection. (Given his powers, I would be somewhat surprised to learn that that's the only time that happened.) Then Superman had to get himself shrunk and go in after him when the observers on the outside figured out that the microscopic creatures he was trying to get rid of were actually themselves fighting the infection rather than causing it.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage volume 4 featured a variation similar to Futurama's: instead of shrinking down, the turtles sent millions of mentally-willed NanoTurtleBots into April O'Neil's body, which had been infected by millions of NanoBaxterBots.
    • Later they have a straight example, going into April's sister's body to fight off "alien cancer".
  • In this Disney story, Gyro shrinks Donald Duck (and a submarine) so he can go inside Uncle Scrooge and save his life.
  • Ant-Man of The Avengers got to do this when he had to get inside his teammate The Vision in order to fix a malfunction inside him. He did it again in New Avengers to retrieve a device on Luke Cage's heart, bringing Doctor Strange with him.
  • The Silver Age Supergirl, when she was affected by three Red Kryptonite meteors, got shrunk to microscopic size, which she used to her advantage to take care of some infectious viruses that were inside Dick Malverne's adoptive father.
  • In The Simpsons comic, Mr. Burns has become ill from suppressing his need to burp for decades. To undo the blockage that built up in his system, Burns' scientists plan to drop a shrunken submersible into his body. Though the pod can be remote controlled, they still need a pilot in case of an emergency. Since even 'an anthropod will do' Homer is selected.


  • Fantastic Voyage, the Trope Namer, naturally.
  • In a rare permanent case, the film Osmosis Jones and the cartoon series it spawned were about cells, germs and viruses living inside a human being as if they were citizens of a city.
  • Beetlejuice
    • In the movie, the Maitlands meet Beetlejuice in Adam's model of the town.
  • The movie Innerspace.


  • In one Animorphs book, several members of the team chase some really tiny aliens inside Marco's body with the help of a convenient shrink ray. This is made more complicated by the fact that Marco can shapeshift, and everyone is nearly crushed to death when he turns into a cockroach.
    • Note that Marco's morphing was dangerous to the Helmacrons too, not just to the Animorphs. So if they had thought of it, they wouldn't have had to go to all the trouble of going inside Marco, they could have just had Marco morph repeatedly, as long as it took to get the Helmacrons to surrender and come out of his body. Naturally, though, that wouldn't have made for a dramatic story...
  • In the fifth novel in the Young Wizards series, Wizard's Dilemma, Nita and Kit travel into the body of Nita's mother, though they do so in a metaphysical manner rather than by shrinking themselves, with her body's metaphysical representation taking on the appearance of New York City.
  • In The Thirteen and A Half Lives of Captain Bluebear the main character that gives the book its name must venture through a giant's brain in order to get to the other side of a mountain chain, as the giant has died fallen asleep and its head is blocking the pass through the mountains.
  • Besides the film novelization that he wrote (which is in itself notable for being a movie tie-in that's still in print over forty years after the movie was in theaters), Isaac Asimov wrote a Spiritual Sequel novel in the 1980s called Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain.
  • Show Within a Show version: in Dream Park, one of the park's many popular attractions is the Mr. Digestion roller coaster.
  • The story "The Space Cow" inverts this; a normal-sized veterinarian enters a gigantic alien organism to attempt to diagnose its apparent illness. The animal is perfectly healthy, it's just lethargic because its young are ready to leave its stomach and begin independent living.
  • In A Wind in the Door, Meg Murry and several other characters shrink to microscopic size to enter Charles Wallace's mitochondria and save him from the rebellious farandolae destroying him from the inside.

Live-Action TV

  • There's a Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode where a live action version is done — Sabrina enters Libby's brain.
    • Later, Sabrina went inside herself to make room in her heart for a new beau.
  • In the Doctor Who serial The Invisible Enemy, miniaturized clones of the Doctor and Leela entered the Doctor's body to fight a virus. They failed, but clone-Leela's dissolving corpse imbued the Doctor with immunity.
  • Another live-action example is an episode of Homeboys in Outer Space.
  • The series adaptation of Honey I Shrunk the Kids did this accidentally, but when the family's fully submersible (just in case) minivan wound up inside Grandpa, they did some impromptu cholesterol removal with the laser windshield de-icer.
  • In one of the more clever Lost in Space episodes, Will Robinson and Dr. Smith find a severely malfunctioning robot who has become a giant due to his problem. The two have to physically enter the robot's body to fix him. However, the major complication is that they know that the second they are successful, the robot's body would start shrinking to normal size and they would have only seconds to escape before they are crushed. Naturally, the pair escape just in time.
  • There's an episode of The Mighty Boosh called "Journey to the Centre of the Punk", when punk Vince is infected with a Jazz Virus, and Howard and Lester are shrunk in order to destroy it. This is probably the strangest one ever, especially the antibodies singing a song with Howard while he's trying to convince them he's their friend.
  • Joked with in an episode of House by Taub and Kutner.
  • The Middleman episode "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol" had Wendy go inside Ida's body to stop nanobots from making her explode. The snarky subtitles referred to it as "Like Fantastic Voyage. Or Die Hard in an Android".
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place there's an episode where Mason, Alex's ex-boyfriend swallows Dean, Alex's other ex-boyfriend.


  • The song Samut and the Dragon (found in Peter Alsop and Bill Harley In the Hospital) details a young boy with cancer who uses imagery to help his body heal. Every evening he dresses up like a knight and rides a white stallion into his own body, "by the bloody steaming rivers... through the mighty sinew forest, under tendon trees and bone," until finally he finds the cancer, a dragon, and uses his "healing sword" to strike it down, leaving his body to heal in peace. Of course, the dragon's always back by the next evening, but one hopes it's getting a little weaker.


  • In Series Three of Old Harrys Game, Satan and the Professor take a journey into Scumspawn's brain, discovering it to be a wide empty space, containing only tumbleweed and lumbering demon-thoughts. The title of this episode does somewhat reference the Trope Namer- 'The Reasonably Fantastic Journey'.

Video Games

  • La-Mulana: The Ruins of La-Mulana are the Mother's body, and the true form of the final dungeon is a hybrid ruin/WombLevel
  • The text adventure game version of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy included a sequence where Arthur would find himself exploring his own brain.
  • In one of the missions in Elite Beat Agents, the EBA enter a track star's body in order to encourage his immune system (anthropomorphized as a nurse) in its battle against a rather nasty virus.
    • In the original Japanese game, the Ouendan squad helps antibodies fight off what appears to be food poisoning in a musician.
  • In Irem's shooter X Multiply, the spaceship X-002 gets miniaturised and injected into a space colonist's body to defeat an alien virus. You even get to see the X-002 coming out of the tip of a syringe at the very beginning of the game.
  • Done twice in Okami. First, a shrunken Amaterasu has to enter the Emperor's body, through his mouth, to stop whatever it is that is making him exhale a noxious gas. A much longer trip involves a full-sized Ammy leaping down the gullet of the Water Dragon and exploring its innards, causing such wounds in the process that the Dragon dies from internal bleeding.
  • The ZX Spectrum game Blood And Guts, in which a miniaturised character must collect bits of a submarine and reconstruct it in the brain in order to escape through the eye, all the while using a laser to fight infections, random white blood cells to clear growths, and collecting red blood cells for oxygen. Eventually Quicksilva decided to abandon all pretense and re-released the game as Fantastic Voyage.
  • There is a level in Devil May Cry 3 which takes place in Leviathan's body. Leviathan isn't big enough to hold all of that space, but his in-game profile says that his body serves as a gateway to the "jealousy hell" (in a nice Shout-Out to Leviathan's traditional role as the patron demon of envy).
  • The third dungeon of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and the seventh dungeon of Oracle of Ages are set in the belly of the Zora God-fish Jabu Jabu.
  • In SaGa 2 The heroes must travel inside Kai in order to fight off micronized soldiers of Ashura and extract the Magi from Kai. Doing this saves her but it also means that she can't heal you afterwards since the Magi gave her the healing powers she had.
    • Tanzer serves as this kind of dungeon in SaGa Frontier. You are swallowed by him randomly.
  • The last part of Space Quest 6 involves series hero Roger Wilco being sent into the body of his friend/love interest Stellar, to save her from being killed/possessed by nanites. Although Roger has a shrunken shuttlecraft for part of the voyage, much of the action takes place on foot; many of the puzzles involve figuring out how to navigate through Stellar's labyrinthian innards. Among other things, he uses digestive juices to break open a medicine capsule, carries out an improvised balloon angioplasty (using alveoli) to clear a path through a blocked glandular duct, rides a tapeworm through the small intestine to avoid being digested, and jabs her brain with a paper clip to trigger a debris-dislodging cough.
  • In level 3-4 of Yoshi's Island, Kamek shrinks Yoshi and Froggy swallows him. The boss fight takes place inside Froggy's stomach. It utilizes the Super FX chip's 3D graphics, and it is very cool.
    • And the look on the frog's face after Yoshi "warps" down out of Froggy's stomach is priceless. Yoshi looks very disgusted though, but I'm sure we all felt that way.
  • The plot of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has the brothers working with Bowser after the latter ended up sucking them up inside of him.
  • Gears of War 2 has Delta Squad swallowed whole by a giant riftworm that's been sinking human cities. Marcus and the gang have to kill it from the inside out using freaking chainsaws.
  • There is a very obscure game called Voyager (at least, I had it on CD Rom and never saw anything more) that was set Twenty Minutes in The Future and involved a crack team of commando-doctors trained to pilot fighter ships that were shrunk and injected into a patient's body, where your task was to shoot germs. Considering this came out years before Trauma Center, some of the bugs were just damn HARD.
  • The Full Motion Video game Microcosm was a space shoot-'em-up with this plot.
  • Amiga game Vaxine had you fighting diseases within different organs of the body, only the playing field was an infinite chessboard and the diseases were represented by bouncing balls.
  • Midgame in Final Fantasy II you are swallowed by Leviathan and must fight your way out of him.
  • Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon for the SNES.
  • Gradius series has Life Force for the NES/Arcade
  • Kingdom Hearts has a Monstro Womb Level, which has more anatomical detail then the film it's based on.
  • Breath of Fire II has you go inside a whale and a queen.
  • The Intellivision game Micro Surgeon had this as its plot.
  • The fanmade SPORE adventure "Eaten".

Web Animation

  • Seppuku's episode in the World of the Damned storyline of Banana-nana-Ninja! has him shrinking down and swimming through his opponent's intestines and bloodstream.

Web Original

  • In an episode of 1visualFXguy, Matt shrinks down and enters his clone's body.
  • Greg's Crazy Cool Shrinking Machine, a video where a guy and two girls go inside a sick guy's body.
  • The Annoying Orange episode "Fantastic Voyorange".
  • Any Let's Play of Bowser's Inside Story.

Western Animation

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "Unremarkable Voyage": After Meatwad swallows an experimental computer chip, Frylock shrinks himself to go in and get it. Thanks to a few screw ups, both he and a miniturized Carl eventually wind up inside Master Shake. They then have to beat their way out of Shake's eye, killing him in the process. No worries though.
  • On Captain Planet and the Planeteers, the shrunken Planeteers battle microbes from polluted water inside Kwame after he accidentally drinks them.
  • In an episode of CatDog, Cat goes inside his and dog's own body after Cat eats Dog's pet fish. Very, very confusing if you haven't seen it.
  • Danger Mouse has an episode where DM and Penfold use Baron Greenback's shrink ray to follow the villain inside Colonel K. to defeat the toad's terrible plot.
  • Family Guy: Stewie shrinks himself and enters Peter's body to prevent his parents from reproducing. Apparently all sperm are their potential human counterparts flying around in fighter jets. Stewie also meets a comrade in sperm form who shares the same sadistic tendencies as Stewie. He actually gets born in a later episode after Peter donates sperm.
  • Futurama, "Parasites Lost", although with a twist: Zoidberg and co. are sending miniature robot replicas of themselves inside Fry. Gives Leela (well, a miniature thereof) the opportunity to slice and dice them up without any long-term ramifications. Farnsworth's scientific explanation as to why they don't shrink themselves: "That would require extremely tiny atoms, and have you priced those lately?"
    • The "tiny robots" method also allows for an unusual take on the trope - later in the same episode, Fry creates his own tiny robot, thus effectively allowing him to go inside his own body (though this was earlier done on Doctor Who, with clones instead of robots—see above example).
  • Kids Next Door, "Op SPROUT," in which Numbuh Four accidentally eats a Brussels sprout, and Numbuhs One, Two and Five shrink themselves to retrieve it.
  • Inverted on a later episode of The Ren and Stimpy Show; a boy genius inflates Stimpy's body with a bicycle pump to ridiculous proportions, so that Ren can enter his body and find out why Stimpy is acting even stupider than usual.
  • Rugrats, "The Inside Story": Tommy and co. go inside Chuckie to retrieve a watermelon seed, though in keeping with the relatively mundane setting, it's All Just a Dream.
  • Sealab 2021, "Craptastic Voyage": When Captain Shanks refuses to get treatment for a brain tumor because of his religion (a thinly-disguised parody of Christian Science), Stormy, Quinn, and Debbie Dupree shrink themselves to microscopic size and travel through Shanks' body to deal with it themselves. Subverted in that the episode's mostly Star Wars parodies, not Fantastic Voyage.
  • On an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Buster, Babs, and Calamity shrink to enter Plucky's head and examine his brain to watch his fantasies.
  • The plot of one of The Simpsons Halloween short. Marge references Latex Space Suit when she asks why her suit is so flatteringly cut. Homer replies, "But Marge, that's what turns a Mediocre Voyage into a Fantastic Voyage!"
  • ReBoot, "The Great Brain Robbery": Megabyte miniaturizes a mercenary named Mouse and his flunkies Hack and Slash and sends them to probe secrets from Bob's brain. Except they accidentally end up in Enzo's body instead, and Bob goes in after them.
  • Several Looney Tunes shorts inverted this, by sending Bugs Bunny or another character running over and through the body of a giant as if it were a building (including pulling shades down over the giant's window-eyes). These no doubt influenced the Ren and Stimpy version above.
    • In one episode of the Beetlejuice cartoon, BJ got a bad case of Easy Amnesia after being hit by a falling satellite, and a psychiatrist shrinks himself, Lydia, and a duplicate of Beetlejuice so they can enter the original BJ's body, work their way to the brain, and fix the problem.
  • In the "Mundane Voyage" episode of Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse the New Adventures, Mighty Mouse is miniaturized and sent into the President's body.
  • The Magic School Bus once took a tour through the human body in one of the books that spawned the TV series, and then five times in the TV series: Arnold was the "victim" in the book and the show's adaptation of it, with him accidentally ingesting the shrunken bus while eating a snack, while Ralphie and Ms. Frizzle had their turns as well, to investigate the body's immunity system, and muscular systems respectively. Then they wound up going inside Arnold again to figure out what had made his skin turn orange. Finally, Arnold cousin Janet gets her turn when the class goes inside her nose to study smell.
    • There was also a computer game where you - you guessed it - go inside Arnold. Poor kid. (Incidentally, this troper blames said game for her phobia of Womb Levels.)
  • South Park did a twisted parody of this trope, in which a gerbil named Lemminwinks had to find his way out of Mr. Slave's ass. And then it happened again with Paris Hilton.
    • Come to think of it, did she ever make her way out?
  • Invader Zim miniaturized himself and his spaceship to go invade Dib's brain after Dib manages to get proof of Zim's alienness in the episode "Nanozim".
    • Dib then swallowed a nanobot and had Gaz remote control it, eventually leading to Dib's robot and Zims robot fighting near Dib's brain.
  • Used in an episode of Teen Titans where Beast Boy turns into a bacterium to fight a computer virus that has taken over Cyborg.
  • An episode of the '90s Iron Man cartoon does this; Hawkeye's spine is injured in a fight, and Tony has a technological fix but no way to safely insert it. So naturally he goes for hand-delivery. This is further complicated when a similarly-shrunken Ultimo tags along.

"You're giving him a heart attack!"
(Tony is trapped in a ventricle) "Yeah, and it's me it's attacking!"

  • The titular character of Chowder once ate a really sour fruit that made his lips pucker so tight that he created a portal that sucks himself into his own mouth. He then had to get rid of the pieces of fruit in his mouth, led by "Lord Souron", with sweets and a musical number to get back.
  • There is an episode of Cow and Chicken called Journey to the Center of Cow where Chicken was accidentally swallowed by Cow. This is a rare example of when some one was not shrunk.
  • An episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series where they must chase after an experiment of microscopic size that is inside Pleakley's body.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron where he and Sheen go inside Carl's body in order to get DNA for Jimmy to make a cure to an illness. Of course, there is then the trouble of how you get out...
    • But they soon decide that they should make Carl sneeze them out.
  • Dexter's Laboratory where he goes inside Dee Dee's body to combat a cold she's having. He ends up in the dog instead.
  • Phineas and Ferb: On the episode "Journey To The Center of Candace", When Isabella's dog Pinky eats her sash, the boys try to go inside and retrieve it, but are accidentally eaten by Candace.
  • The Batman: The Brave And The Bold episode "Journey to the Center of the Bat!", starring Aquaman, the Atom, and the cutest lymphocyte EVER.
  • A episode of Muppet Babies had Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo and Skeeter use their imaginations to shrink down to germ-size and give Scooter's bumbling immune system a hand when he catches a cold.
  • In the season finale of The Secret Saturdays, the final battle between Zak and Argost takes place inside the body of the super cryptid Kur fake Kur.
  • In the finale of Transformers Return of Convoy, the Battlestars are swallowed by Star Giant and have to fight their way out from within.
  • Pinky and The Brain did this in order to foil an intelligibly-enhanced cat's Dance Sensation plot from being carried out properly by a band, by shrinking themselves and letting themselves get ingested by one of the band members. Unfortunately for them, they get eaten by the completely wrong guy, but they made the best of the situation by having the guy stand in for them.
    • Done also in the comic book, in which they attempted to enter the President's brain, but ended up inside the First Dog.
  • In a tongue-in-cheek episode, Samurai Jack once had to enter an ailing dragon's body to cure its devastating flatulance.
  • The Fairly OddParents: "Tiny Timmy" - Timmy shrinks down to microscopic size to do a biology report and ends up inside Vicky.
  • Done in Mona the Vampire, in the episode "The Sam n' Ella Infiltration", to enter the body of someone who is sick.
  • Quack Pack had an episode where a germ-loving scientist invades Donald's body, with Huey, Louie and Dewey being shrunk and sent inside their uncle in order to stop him.
  • Rex the Runt, "Holiday in Vince": The dogs voyage into Vince's brain in a shrunken submarine in an attempt to cure his Random Pavarotti Disease (he frequently blurts out short bursts of opera). Eventually they find his tuning knob and retune him to Radio 4 (so he now blurts out gardening tips and the shipping forecast instead).
  • Invoked and lampshaded in The Venture Brothers episode "The Diving Bell vs. the Butter Glider". For some reason, Doctor Venture is paralyzed, and they can't use an MRI because there's too much metal in his body, so the logical solution from Billy Quizboy is to get a submarine, shrink it down, and go inside to find the problem. Which turns out to be a clot in Doc's bloodstream caused by a previous shrunken submarine piloted by previous clones of Hank and Dean, whose skeletons are still there.
  • Godzilla: The Series had Nick and Monique venture inside Godzilla Jr / Toonzilla. For obvious reasons, shrinking wasn't required.
  • Totally Spies!: Sam, Alex and Clover shrunk down to the size of microbes to fight a trio of villains inside Jerry's brain.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob and Patrick once entered Squidward's body in order to remove a clarinet reed stuck in his throat. Unfortunately, after completing the task, Patrick accidentally made them re-enlarge while still inside Squidward. While he didn't burst, he did swell up big time from having a full grown submarine inside of him.
  • Happens in the episode of Arthur where Buster Baxter gets asthma.


  • EPCOT used to have a simulator ride called "Body Wars" based on this plot... until they closed down the entire pavilion that used to host it.