I Just Want to Be Normal

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    "Maybe I should just tell Zoey the truth. I mean, she's chill. She can handle multiple personalities right? She won't just think I'm some freak-ish weirdo right? Right?!"

    They didn't want these powers, this magic, this curse, or whatever it is that was foisted upon them. The responsibility to save the world? Forget it! All those exciting adventures and the ability to potentially do anything? Take it away. They want nothing to do with it.

    Needing to be normal often comes in waves. Often, it hits critical levels, and the character threatens to quit, or even does so temporarily.

    While this is all well and good, most writers conveniently forget that after such an exciting and exceptional existence, everything else will seem dull and meaningless to most people. Not only are special abilities usually given up, but sometimes also cherished friends. Some people psychologically will be unable to adjust, and most will acquire deep-seated mental issues about the whole process.

    This can also include situations where overt powers or the like are not involved, wherein the characters are involved in an exceptional situation. It can also occur when characters, for no particular reason other than that the show is ending or that they're leaving it, have a sudden and usually implausible epiphany that they really want to live a "normal" life. Somehow this almost invariably includes them cutting ties with the entirety of the rest of the characters and locations.

    When done well, this can be an interesting metaphorical exploration of how even the most blessed can feel isolated and abnormal. When done poorly, it comes off as cheap angst that will get tiresome, especially if the premise of the show relies in some part on that "Special-ness".

    One common subversion is Can't Stay Normal where the character finally becomes normal, but is not able to adjust to it, and longs for their old life back. Or just as they achieve their normality, something happens where they need their abilities back, particularly to save the Love Interest. Either may be a Ten-Minute Retirement, the former may be a Sequel Hook. If someone is constantly being forced by the plot to do heroic things, when really they want to be left alone, they're Heroic Neutral.

    See also Cursed with Awesome, Internalized Categorism, It Sucks to Be the Chosen One, Who Wants to Live Forever?, and Refusal of the Call. Contrast Jumped At the Call, where wanting to be normal never even occurs to the hero. Naturally, the opposite of this trope is I Just Want to Be Special. See also Blessed with Suck, when the hero has every reason to want to be normal. related to I Just Want to Have Friends when the character wishes to be normal to develop relationships. Also related to Give Him a Normal Life, when they leap at the chance to arrange this for their offspring.

    Not to be confused with Plot Detour where the writer prevents the character from progressing (possibly to string out the length of the story). Compare and contrast Nominal Hero, where a character ends up fighting for good even though they lack morally positive motivations.

    Examples of I Just Want to Be Normal include:

    Anime and Manga

    • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4 Big Bad Kira Yoshikage's main motivation was to live a normal and uneventful life. When you consider what his main hobby is it makes his goal kind of contradictory.
      • Yoshikage stated that he has an uncontrollable desire to kill. Even if he wanted to stop, he really couldn't.
    • Most Magical Girls, especially Usagi of Sailor Moon, who spent all of the first arc of Sailor Moon R saying this and got two separate chances at it via reincarnation-induced amnesia - once before the show started, once at the end of the first series.

    Usagi: "I wake up in the morning. The white lace curtains sway in the breeze. The cuckoo clock in my room tells me it's seven o'clock. "If you sleep longer, you'll be late!" Mama cries out. I nod off thinking, "Just let me sleep three more minutes." I'm late, just like every other day. Teacher makes me stand in the hall. I fail another test. On the way home from school I eat crepes with my friends. A party dress decorating a show window catches my eye. Such little things delight my heart.. It's that.. that ordinary life I want back.. I want it back.

      • Eventually she resents her Sailor life so much that her powers give out entirely. It's after encouragement and realizing that being Sailor Moon also brought the benefits of True Companions and romance that she finally accepts her Destiny as Sailor Moon and Princess Serenity. At this point although she occasionally gripes about how fighting the baddies is irritating and inconvenient she mostly accepts what she is and no longer seeks to be normal.
        • In the manga Usagi specifically comes to the conclusion that while being Sailor Moon is painful because of the endless battles and the loss she suffers, she's glad it happened because she got to meet everybody she now loves and has the ability to protect them. Of course, she had a lot less of the "I want to be normal" bits in the manga in general.
      • Exception: Nanoha, from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and Yui, from Corrector Yui, both of whom jump into the weirdness with both feet. Yui does this because she is a Genre Savvy Magical Girl Otaku, Nanoha because she is looking for a true calling. Shugo Chara is somewhere between the two extremes. The powers didn't seem to bother Amu,it's the charas that annoyed her.
        • They don't annoy her: She was just afraid of the changes they were going to bring. Until she finally realizes, of course, that they were born out of her desire to change, at which point she starts to treat them as very special friends and parts of her own self, since they came from her, even if, and even because of, the fact that they are slightly irritating and argumentative.
      • And now the justified version: Sailor Nothing. Oh, Sailor Nothing.
        • Usagi is pretty justified too, what with the whole "having powers will kill you and your friends" angle. She even cried when she does get her powers back in Sailor Moon R because getting them back also means she remembers watching her friends and her lover all die in battle right in front of her.
      • Parodied with Pretty Sammy, whose whole motivation for not wanting to keep her powers is because her outfit is lame and being an oddly-clad superhero is really embarrassing.
    • Ichigo of Tokyo Mew Mew wanted to be normal out of fear that her crush Masaya would reject her if he found out -- fighting aliens is really not a big deal compared to this.
    • Prétear, on the other hand, is a strange case. By the time Himeno receives the Call to Adventure, she already doesn't consider her life to be "normal", since she is all of a sudden a member of a rich family and feels ridiculously out of place there. Turns out that something even weirder—namely, being a Magical Girl—actually fits her better. To the point when she almost gets a Heroic BSOD upon being Brought Down to Normal for one episode.
    • Chisame Hasegawa in Mahou Sensei Negima was fed-up with her strange classmates even before she got a Adorably Precocious Child for a teacher. Naturally, things go downhill from there.
      • She eventually just gives up entirely after traveling to the Magic World with Ala Alba.
      • Another of the less blatantly eccentric ones, Asuna, turns out to only be normal because she succeeded at this, with the help of some Laser-Guided Amnesia. When the aformentioned Adorably Precocious Child appears, she goes back to paranormal of her own will not as a deliberate choice, but because she doesn't remember choosing to become normal in the first place, much less being abnormal. Remember, always analyze what you would do if you didn't know what you know if you plan on getting rid of that knowledge.
      • It's brought up again subtly with Evangeline; she admits that the reason she hates Asuna is because Asuna was actually successful at becoming normal, but gave it up anyway. Eva is pissed because the person who got what she most desired threw it away, while Eva never got a chance to be normal to begin with. The fact that she lives in a brightly decorated room filled with adorable dolls and teddy bears in private hints that her Vampy and sexy Evil Overlord act is just a defense mechanism, and that she really wants be to an innocent and happy little girl again.
    • Kahlua from Galaxy Angel Rune and Galaxy Angel II, as a child, had tried to save a friend with her magic, but said friend was less than grateful, instead scared away by her strength. The result was a fear of not being normal, and she mentally sealed away a large percentage of her own power by choice. This created her Super-Powered Evil Side, Tequila.
    • A Little Snow Fairy Sugar rather poorly handles this in its resolution.
    • Haunted Junction, in its two-part finale, shows very clearly that a life of "normalcy" is in fact nothing to enjoy and criticizes the trend.
    • It is fairly common in Real Robot series for the main character to wish for a return to their regular life, usually because their unique situation is brought on by warfare.
    • Bleach: It takes a while for Ichigo to accept the responsibility of having shinigami powers since he'd always regretted being able to see ghosts. It takes over 400 chapters, however, for him to fully face up to his desire to be normal and to realize that, once he got his wish, he actually wanted his shinigami abilities after all. Once he gets his powers back, he no longer complains about them.
      • Ryuuken Ishida tells Uryuu that his desire was to be a normal human but unfortunately for him he's actually incapable of getting rid of his powers. As a result, all he can do is ignore his powers and refuse to use them.
      • Coyote Starrk wanted nothing more than to be able to live among a group of True Companions without killing them simply by existing in their general area, to the point of wishing he were weak. Aizen recruits him by indirectly giving him what he wants (instead of making him weak, he gives Starrk companions that are strong enough to withstand his presence).
      • Ichigo believes this is true of Aizen after feeling the loneliness pouring off Kyouka Suigetsu and concluding Aizen desired nothing more than to be a normal shinigami.
      • The fullbringers want to be normal humans. In the end, it's revealed only Jackie genuinely wanted this and the others had been lying about it. Like Ichigo, Jackie gets her wish to be normal and regrets the loss her powers.
    • A variant of this occurs in Hayate the Combat Butler. After finding out Hayate wants a normal girl and normal life, Nagi finds Ayumu Nishizawa, essentially the most normal person in the cast. (The narrator pointed this out.) and follows her all day, learning how to be "normal". In the end, she realizes that normal is "an extremely scaled down version of what I normally do."
    • We're still not sure what the hell's going on in Suzumiya Haruhi, especially in relation to Kyon. He continually mentions how he wishes Haruhi would just settle down and be a normal, well-adjusted schoolgirl (Hell, it's even in his Image Song), but the fact that he's an Unreliable Narrator (in regards to his feelings, anyway) and that he was once stuck in a universe where everything was normal and he still attempted to revert it to its very Haruhi, abnormal state may prove otherwise...
      • And how can we forget Yuki Nagato, starting in Disappearance, which essentially makes her The Woobie.
      • Another remarkable fact is that if you look closely, you have to wonder if it's actually Haruhi and not Kyon who is really the I Just Want to Be Normal character. As Koizumi keeps pointing out, Haruhi actually enjoys very much doing all those ordinary activities that she does with the SOS Brigade members. The SOS Brigade actually reduces Haruhi's interest in the supernatural, and focuses it more on the ordinary, and she's very happy that way.
      • From the most recent novels we have Sasaki, who is essentially a villainous antagonistic version of this trope.
    • In Guyver, Sho doesn't want to have the powers. When he technically has the opportunity to get rid of them (when the Guyver Remover is found), he still keeps them because he needs to protect his friends. The new anime adds a nice twist to this, with Tetsuro picking up the G-Unit first and then passing it to Sho only when it started sprouting tentacles.
    • In Ranma ½, most of the characters just want to be rid of their curses. Granted, most would be pretty damn weird even without their curses.
      • The characters of Ranma 1/2 fit this trope only tentatively. They have absolutely no complaints with their abnormal lives or their superhuman abilities, and most would probably hate being forced into normality in that fashion; the sole element of their lives they want gone are their Jusenkyo curses, which all but one character finds at the least annoying and at worst actively harmful to their lives. The one exception grew up with his curse... and also happens to go from cruel, egotistic Bishonen to a giant monster that the best martial artists of his generation have serious trouble defeating.
    • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion really, REALLY doesn't want to pilot a giant mech and save the world. Subverted when he runs away and realizes that without the Eva, he has (and is) nothing.
      • Rei Ayanami in the Alternate Continuity spinoff Angelic Days takes up this role. She transfers schools so often that she just can't find any time to adapt to her surroundings and make any stable friendships.
      • The fact that she cannot die, that she will always be replaced by another clone, really bothers her as well.
    • Tsuna Sawada from Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Of course he's not a mafia boss, really.
    • In Naruto, unlike virtually everyone else in a cast of thousands who are either trying to become heads of state, living legends, outright immortals, gain the acceptance of their persecutors, avenge horrific wrongs, or various combinations thereof—Shikamaru Nara's driving goal in life has ever been to achieve a basic level of competence as a ninja, meet a decent girl, get married, have two kids, and stay alive until retirement. Poor bastard never had a chance.
    • Nagisa spends almost all of the two Iczelion OVAs whining and crying about being chosen to bond with the Iczel.
    • Simon of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is both an example and an aversion. It was a constant of the first few episodes that he would plead with Kamina to return home once the Ganmen Of The Week started pulverizing them, but Kamina's Manly Spirit (TM) forced him to repeatedly change his tune, eventually reaching the point where his obligatory Heroic BSOD is completely shattered and the trope abandoned in favour of Simon delivering a never-ending stream of awesome wins.
      • In the first page of the spin off manga, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Guren Gakuenhen, Simon prays to his dead parents "Please, Please! Let me have an extremely normal life". In the second page, Kamina kicks down his window in an attempt to be Moe Moe.
    • Martian Successor Nadesico: "I JUST WANT TO BE A CHEF, GODDAMMIT!"
    • In One Piece, at the end of his fight with Zoro, Kaku expressed regret that he never got to lead a normal life, having been raised to be an assassin. In the manga, him and the rest of CP9 take a stab at this with the World Government hot on their tails.
      • Earlier there's Captain Kuro, who was genuinely sick of being a pirate and wanted to live a nice, safe civilian life. Unfortunately, he wanted to be normal and rich, and was willing to kill to get that life. He ultimately fails and is forced back to the sea.
    • In Strawberry Panic, Amane doesn't want to be Etoile and didn't ask for her legions of fangirls—she just wants to ride her horse in peace. Her rival, Kaname, finally makes the point to her that only she can win the Etoile election for Spica; the whole school has placed its hopes with Amane, and like it or not, that gives her a responsibility. It's strange how this particular Aesop feels more Broken with a normal human being than with a superhero, Slayer, or whatever.
    • Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh is a deeply shy girl who's cursed with being Tall, Dark and Bishoujo. Other girls mistake her silence for coldness, and this has made her an idol—which embarrasses her, but she's too shy to say that either. Sakaki would much rather be small and cute like Chiyo-chan... who would much rather be big and tall like Sakaki.
      • Arguably, Osaka as well; her Image Song "Shikkari! Try La Lai" has some shades of this in places.
    • Zelgadis in The Slayers is a prime example. Cursed with Awesome in the form of being merged with a stone golem and a demon, in the anime his quest can actually make him seem motivated by vanity, because his warped body isn't unattractive in an exotic sort of way (almost a Cute Monster Guy), he doesn't really care about people anyway (which makes their being afraid of him when they see him have less impact), and most importantly his body gives him super powers. It boosts his energy reserves, allowing him to cast more spells than either of his companions, allows him to go for ages without food or water, gives him superhuman strength, speed, hearing and stamina, and makes him Nigh Invulnerable to all practical purposes (only incredibly powerful attacks can hurt him—Demon Lords, the Sword of Light, etcetera).
      • In the Light Novel series, it's a different matter entirely; he isn't completely motivated by vain in regards to his appearance, but rather, it's revealed here that after his great-grandfather Rezo cursed him, he was forced to serve as his bodyguard and fulfill gruesome and morally questionable tasks (it's implied that one of those tasks involved getting together with a woman and murdering her) for Rezo's sake. So rather than vanity, Zelgadis wants to be normal so that he can eradicate his past as "the Evil Swordsman" (his given moniker) and live life the way he wishes to.
    • Night Wizard's Renji is one of the most powerful Wizards around and can easily save the world with very little work. Except he wants to stop going on missions and actually get a chance to finish school, which is all but impossible with the number of times Anzelotte keeps calling him away.
    • Oboro from Basilisk would just love to marry her fiancé Gennosuke and live Happily Ever After. However, they're both the heirs and leaders of warring Ninja clans...
      • There's also Genki Boy Yashamaru, who views the clan truce as his chance to get married to his beloved fiancée and fellow Iga Ninja Hotarubi. They both get bloodily killed off. Sniff.
    • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Kenichi is usually pretty happy with the changes in his life due to meeting Miu (i.e., Miu herself), Training from Hell aside. However, he's less than happy with the fights that he's forced into as a result. It's best illustrated here as he sneaks into the cruise ship of a worldwide criminal organization led by some of the most dangerous martial artists in the world, whose disciples want to kill Kenichi to prove their Badassitude.

    Kenichi: Where did I go wrong in life?

    • The main character of Nurarihyon no Mago starts this way, wanting to just live a normal life as a human despite being the heir to a huge clan of youkai and a quarter-youkai himself. But it's averted early on in the first real story arc, when he begins to fully understand his youkai nature and learns of the impact his attitude is having on others firsthand. He decides that while he does want to live a peaceful life, protecting the people close to him and leading his clan is far more important.
    • In a rare non-supernatural example, K-On!‍'‍s Mio. She chose bass instead of guitar because she doesn't like to be the center of attention. Subverted in the anime; Mio's forced to take lead singer Yui's place in the first live show the girls perform.
      • There's also Mugi, who comes from an incredibly wealthy family, but gets much enjoyment from doing ordinary everyday things that most people would take for granted.
    • Judai in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX becomes notably less cheerful when suddenly the only thing stopping all his friends from dying and the world ending is the card game he loved so much. And up until this point he was the only one who really did seem to treat it as a card game. Eventually the stress becomes so bad that he surrenders to his super powered evil side and starts taking over the duel monsters world, requiring two heroic sacrifices to get him back to efficiency. He doesn't start enjoying dueling again until a decent bit into the next season... at which point the next big bad starts trying to implement Instrumentality. Sucks, huh?
    • Averted with Onpu the grade-school idol in Ojamajo Doremi. Even though some of the negative aspects of it are there (her mom's too busy to be with her on Christmas) she loves the attention she gets and the work itself.
    • The entire plot of Cardcaptor Sakura was this from Clow Reed, even the very existence of the titular heroine. He was so damn powerful he couldn't control his own powers, mostly seeing the future, which took away all the pleasures of life. So he created a more powerful witch (Sakura) who could divide his power between his two reincarnation-like versions, one of them being Sakura's father Fujitaka.
      • Only in the manga, though. In the anime, Clow just died so everything else happens equally, except the Sakura's dad being half of Clow and the dividing power thing.
      • Sequel series ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle go into more detail about why he wanted to divide his power so badly—just by wishing someone (his girlfriend Yuuko) wasn't dying, he turned her into an immortal zombie, eternal unliving as everyone around her ages and dies. He took this even harder than she did, somehow.
    • Inuyasha: Kikyou, one of the most powerful miko who had ever lived, just wanted to be a normal girl and live a normal married life with Inuyasha. She and Inuyasha wanted this so much that Inuyasha also agreed to his give up his Youkai heritage and become a normal human boy to make that dream come true. Their plan was ruined by another which became the entire reason for the plot of the story.
    • Alphonse from Fullmetal Alchemist wants his normal body back, and wants Ed to get his limbs back.
      • This is also the whole motivation of the homunculi in the first anime, especially in the case of Lust.
    • Rocket Girls: After becoming an astronaut and going into space once, and getting international attention for it, Yukari Morita says she just wants to be a normal high school student. When she has the chance at a normal life and letting Akane Miura (who Jumped At the Call) take over for her, Yukari goes back to being an astronaut.
    • Nabari no Ou‍'‍s Miharu really does not want to be an all-powerful Sealed Evil in a Can. It pretty much makes everything suck.
    • Lucia from Rave Master comes off as an odd example. As the Big Bad with no real superpower who opted to take over the main criminal orginization he doesn't seem like the type to express that sort of desire. However he's the descendent of the sole survivor of The End of the World as We Know It (who created a 'false' parallel world where humanity didn't die off) and is therefor cursed to suffer every misery the universe can throw at him.
    • Parodied in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei through Nami Hitou, the "ordinary girl" in a class where everyone else has some sort of character trait taken to the extreme.

    Nami: "Don't call me normal!" (Futsuu tte iu na!)

    • Fairy Tail: Fresh from a Defeat Means Friendship, Gajeel is smart enough to realize that it'll take a lot of time for most of Fairy Tail to forgive him. In addition to protecting his new friends, Gajeel goes to huge lengths to be accepted. This is usually played for laughs, since Gajeel doesn't have much of an idea as to how that works. For example, he once tied up the guild's singer and hijacked her concert so he could sing a ballad.
    • Durarara!!‍'‍s Shizuo Heiwajima may be a nigh-indestructible, vending machine-tossing Badass, but he'd give that up in an instant if it meant he could go a day without hospitalizing someone in a fit of Unstoppable Rage.
    • The very wish of Eureka to be a normal human in Eureka 7. She broke down in tears in episode 45 upon knowing her body is undergoing bizarre changes.
    • Yuu from Holyland really doesn't want to have to keep fighting just so he can stay out at night, though he doesn't run away from the challenges either.
    • In The Secret Agreement, it turns out that Yuuichi was the only member of a life-force stealing clan who functioned like a normal human being. When his supernatural side suddenly starts awakening, his (fake) uncle explains the situation and congratulates him. Considering this means that he will kill the love of his life and that they don't genuinely love each other (it's only a delusion to help the murder) Yuuichi understandably wishes he stayed normal.
    • In The Twelve Kingdoms, Keiki chose a young woman named Joukaku as the Fisher King of the Kei Kingdom. Joukaku, however, is a very insecure young woman who never wanted to be the Queen and felt that she wasn't up to the task, suffering more than one Heroic BSOD. Add her Unrequited Love for Keiki and her Yandere tendencies, and... well...
    • Maya Matsumoto from Working!!. Ironic in that, in her attempts to be normal in a restaurant full of strange characters, she comes off just as weird to the other employees.
    • Suletta of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury just wants to go to school and have normal (or, at least, normal from the prospective of someone whose entire knowledge of what "school" is is based on anime) interactions with her friends and classmates. Instead her piloting skill ensures she's wrapped up in her mother's complicated revenge scheme, corporate infighting between branches of Mega Corps, Earth/Space relations, the schoool's use of Mobile Suit duels to settle disputes, and being accidentally engaged to another girl. Made worse by how, since she's from a dying and isolated former boom town, she has never actually interacted with anyone in her age group before leading to predictable results.

    Comic Books

    They, "society," hate you because they don't want your help. You remind them of how weak-willed and sheep-like and unspecial they are. How gleeful they are, deep down, to be ordinary. They don't want heroes. They don't want special people around them. Because if there are special people and they aren't one of them-- well, who wants that? Who wants a constant reminder that they aren't even trying to be special? See, the difference between you and I is that you really are just a child. You benefit from the wide-eyed optimism of youth. I do envy that, somewhat. But... like many of your decisions in life... it's just naive. And I don't envy that harsh cold slap of reality that will come your way soon enough. But I guess it's inevitable. People don't want to be special. I do think that.It is my philosophy. They-- people want to be told what to do and how to live and they want men like me to tell them. They want to go to work and do as little as they can possibly get away with, and they want a big cookie at the end of the day for doing it. And they want men like me to give it to them."
    Kingpin to Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man #80
    • This is also common for mutants in the Marvel Universe, who tend to become social pariahs if their status becomes public.
    • The Teen Titans comic inverted this, with Beast Boy losing his powers in a particular Story Arc. Everyone assumes that he'll be happy about being normal again, until he states that he never wanted to be normal.

    Beast Boy: Why can't things just go back to the way they were? You were so happy then.
    "The Schoolgirl": Things were never the way you remember. Now just leave me alone.

      • The Titans comic also played it as straight as can be with Beast Boy's best friend Cyborg. Half-human half-machine Vic Stone has struggled with I Just Want to Be Normal for decades.
      • Titans supporting character Frances Kane has tried very hard to be normal over the years; unfortunately, a combination of Super-Powered Evil Side and the writers' desire for a Chew Toy tends to get in the way.
    • And before the Titans, there was Doom Patrol. Robotman, in particular, was unhappy about his Blessed with Suck condition (more extreme than Vic Stone's). However, the comic's premise was that, by the time you get to the Patrol, you're too far gone to even come near normal again. After a few disasterous attempts, he's more or less resigned to his condition.
    • Used in a rather awesome way in the third Blue Beetle comic series, when the villainous Eclipso grants the Blue Beetle all his deepest, most secret desires. Turns out he wants to be a dentist.
      • The awesome thing is, she expected that a mild-mannered teenager would dream of power. She planned to turn him into some kind of monster and use him to get the MacGuffin back. Unfortunately for her, the only kind of power he dreams of is a high-paying, reliable job... which isn't very useful to get MacGuffins.
    • Runaways character Karolina Dean would rather be a normal, Hollywood teenager, rather than the lesbian child of two alien criminals.
      • Only when things go awkward, as when she tried to kiss Nico and turned out she wasn't interested. At the end of the first series she was the first one who ran out of her foster house and contacted everyone, as she wanted to "fly again".
      • Most of the main characters in Runaways experience this to some degree or another. Molly has a really heart wrenching dream in which her parents are still alive and she believes that she imagined all of the previous events. Chase tries to destroy Nico's Staff of One so she can have a normal life. Victor yells at Gert to go back in time with her parents' time machine to save his mother. Of course, given that the group are fugitives from both Social Services and the law and that several members have been killed or lost over the course of the series, it makes sense that they'd want to go back to their old lives at some points.
    • Ben Grimm, The Thing, is the poster boy for this trope. Despite his complaints about being an orange rock monster, every time he's be "cured", he finds a reason to become The Thing, again. He actually enjoys being the FF's strong man and "The Idol of Millions", but just wishes he could walk down the street without being stared at.
      • Which by this point is probably more because of the whole "Idol of Millions" thing than because of his appearance, so he's got nothing to complain about.
        • Apart from having non-reinforced floors give way under him.
    • In The Bulleteer, both Alix and her "archnemesis" Sally Sonic wish they were normal people; It was this intense desire to live a normal life that led Sally to provoke Alix's husband to killing himself, because she so wanted to be in her place and be genuinely loved by a normal man.
      • Alix also can't stop meeting up with people who are the opposite, especially the uber-pathetic Mind Grabber Man.
    • Subverted with Man-Thing. A scientist who was transformed into a walking, empathic compost heap should be all over this trope, but most of the time he doesn't simply because his transformation cost him his mind—he's little more than, well, a big plant, and any human memories are gone.
    • In more recent works, Superman does cherish his Kryptonian heritage but thinks of himself as Clark Kent first. At one point, Mr. Mxyzptlk threatened to turn him into a powerless human who would have to live a normal life, but...

    Mxy: But wait. Deep down, that's what you really want, isn't it?

    • In the second issue of Dan Slott's run on She Hulk, Jennifer Walters represents Dan Jermain, alias Danger Man, a mild-mannered industrial worker and family man turned into a superhuman paragon of might in an on-the-job accident. He's suing his employers in the Roxxon Corporation because looking like Mr. Olympia and being stronger than a stampeding elephant herd has caused him nothing but pain. He tears his clothes with the slightest sudden movement. He rolls over in bed and nearly crushes his wife, who worries that he'll leave her to become a superhero. People stare at him on the subway, but the people who pretend to not look are worse. The climax of the issue sees Danger Man using his atomic powers to have a literal meltdown, because then at least his family will get to collect on his life insurance, before being talked down by She-Hulk. They won the lawsuit; Danger Man received a healthy sum to go to family counseling and, hopefully, some sort of cure. If he ever was cured, the reader was never clued in, though.
      • As it happens, this is a fairly interesting aversion to Comes Great Responsibility; at no point does anyone try to tell Danger Man it's his duty to put on long johns and beat up bad guys now.
      • Let's not forget Banner. At least She-Hulk only suffers this briefly since she has the luxury of turning back to mousy Jennifer at will. Banner never catches a break; even when he had an integrated personality and leadership of an international crime-fighting army, there's always someone who just has to poke him with a stick.
    • Tron: Ghost in the Machine: Jet's discovery of Cyberspace and the Fridge Horror of what being a User actually means shakes him hard.

    Jet: It's an entire universe in there, one we created, but it's beyond us now. Really. It's outgrown us. You know, every time you shut off your computer...do you know what you're doing? Have you ever reformatted a hard drive...destroyed an entire universe? It's too much. It's too much power. I never wanted this. I never wanted the responsibility. I just wanted to make games.

    • Mild subversion in WITCH: Cornelia has admitted twice she'd love to return being a normal girl, but only after passing her powers to the next generation of Guardians (those times she had been Brought Down to Normal by a power-stealing villain she did anything she could to take back her powers to prevent abuse), and when she was finally given the occasion to pass her powers to the next generation the others convinced her to face the tasks to keep them.

    Fan Works

    • Having been Blessed with Suck, both Paul and John in With Strings Attached are terrified of going home as is, with all the life-ruining complications their new bodies and magic would entail. When told they have to be returned to normal to go back to Earth, they're delighted. The other two are... not as delighted.
    • Kairi Niko in the Knights of the Old Republic fic Destiny's Pawn is an amnesiac bookworm with skills she can't explain and really didn't want to know where she learned them. She flat-out asked the Masters if they could "shut off" her Force sensitivity, and only agreed to her conscription into the Jedi because there wasn't another option. Given her druthers, she's just quit and become a translator, but seeing as she's the ex-Dark Lord...
    • My Immortal gives us Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, who likes to remind us that being such a special snowflake isn't really a good thing

    "Yeah but everyone is in love with me! Like Snape and Loopin took a video of me naked. Hargrid says he's in love with me. Vampire likes me and now even Snaketail is in love with me! I just wanna be with you ok Draco! Why couldn't Satan have made me less beautiful?... Im good at too many things! WHY CAN'T I JUST BE NORMAL? IT'S A FUCKING CURSE!"

    • My Little Avengers: Big Macintosh spends a good portion of the story regretting ever finding Mjolnir and becoming Thor, but eventually comes to turns with it. This contributes to his Heroic BSOD when Loki steals Thor's powers from him, and after he gets them back, it's shown that he's fully embraced his role.


    • In Gladiator, Maximus, a powerful Roman general, is offered the Emperor's throne by aging Emperor Marcus Aurelius but would rather return home, live as a family man, and tend a farm.
    • Violet from The Incredibles personifies this trope, at least in the beginning of the movie.

    "We ACT normal, Mom! I wanna BE normal! The only one who's normal is Jack-Jack, and he's not even toilet-trained!"

    • Sally Owens (Sandra Bullock) in Practical Magic.
    • Matt Damon's character in Hereafter is a psychic whose ability to communicate with people's dead relatives is more of a curse than a gift. He refuses to exploit it for money and prefers a life of a blue-collar factory worker.
    • Extreme example: in The Matrix, Cypher wants to return to life in the Matrix so much that he makes a deal with the machines to help them capture Morpheus, on the condition that they plug him back in and erase his memories of life outside. Admittedly, he does request that he be turned into someone important, like a famous actor.
      • An entire faction of enemies in the sequel game The Matrix Online shares Cypher's point of view, however it is revealed that such a process is actually impossible.
    • Susan in Monsters vs. Aliens, who spends the first half of the movie fantasizing about shrinking back to normal and having a normal life with her husband-to-be. She eventually comes to terms with her new body and ability, culminating in taking the name Ginormica as her own.
    • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah includes a scene of two psychic women at the UNGCC base, discussing the fact that their Psychic Powers are slowly disappearing. One of them says that she wants to live a normal life, with a husband and kids, earning her a look of purest bewilderment and contempt from the other.
    • This is the premise of Hancock.
    • Bethany in Dogma. Jesus is said to have also been like this for some years—the ones not recounted in the Bible.
    • Which brings us to the film The Last Temptation of Christ. The entire scenario of the film is that Jesus was tempted with, not power and glory, but a completely normal life. According to the film, if Jesus could have a wish just for himself, it would be his own carpentry shop, a loving wife and some kids. (Yes, and doing all the stuff with his wife that gets all those kids.)
    • On the direct flipside, Damien Thorne in The Omen series of films has a very brief moment of this when he comes to a full realisation of what he is and why. "Why? Why me?" he screams to empty air, but his Wangst doesn't last long. If only it had...
    • John Conner from The Terminator.
    • A large part of the plot in X-Men: The Last Stand revolves around a cure for mutants. As a result, some of the characters must contend with whether or not they actually want to be normal and take the cure. Eventually, Rogue decides it's what she wants and takes the cure; however, one alternate ending shows her not taking it, and holding hands with Bobby wearing gloves.
      • This is also Hank and (initially) Raven/Mystique's attitude towards their mutant forms in X-Men: First Class, leading to Hank's disastrous attempt with a "cure" that turns him into his Beast form in the first place.
    • Megan, the protagonist of But I'm a Cheerleader. She wants to be straight, dammit!
    • The reason that Canon Foreigner Skinner (the invisible man) joins The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is because the Powers That Be promised him a cure for his invisibility.
    • Last Action Hero: Jack Slater deconstructs his action hero status.

    Jack: I just want to be a good cop! Instead I keep getting caught up in these crazy adventures!

    • Played with in Megamind.
      • At first it's just hinted at, with the titular blue alien trying to fit in at shool. Then it's averted for awhile... before being hinted at even more strongly when he pretends to be human for Roxanne.
      • Later played straight with Metro Man.
    • The protagonist Dave from the 2010 film The Sorcerer's Apprentice said so at least once in the film when he was forced to take up the role of being a Prime Merlinian. Balthazar later revealed that his lover Veronica wished for the same thing as well.
    • John Rambo. The guy goes home after going to Hell and back, just wanting to live a peaceful life and to process his inner demons. But he was continually antagonized and attacked, and always had to respond.


    • Discworld:
      • In her first appearance in the novels, Susan Sto Helit refused to believe she was Death's granddaughter. In later appearances she still attempts to maintain a "normal" life, and insists on being sensible and using logic, often denying her own abilities. Ironically, because she lives on the Discworld, what she thinks of as the "normal world" is actually just as illogical and fantastic as the underlying world of her grandfather.
        • By Thief of Time, she seems to have accepted her powers, even if she's still irritated at being occasionally tapped by her grandfather for help. As a teacher she uses them to make her students' lessons more... interesting, such as taking them to view ancient battles firsthand. She also, at the end of Thief of Time, takes them to see Nanny Ogg, which, as she says to herself, is the equivalent of two lessons.
      • There's also Rincewind, an unremarkable wizard whose main ambition in life is to be bored. He's constantly being dragged into dangerous quests to save the world, and he hates every second of it. He's even quite aware of it, but still insists that he wants to go home. When people try to say that he must enjoy it, he retorts that he rather likes being bored, as it generally means no one's trying to harm him. In one book (Sourcery, perhaps)[please verify] he meets a man who complains about how there's no excitement in his life, and Rincewind greatly envies that man.
    • In the short story Flowers for Algernon, the low-IQ protagonist Charlie Gordon undergoes an operation to boost his intelligence, because he wants to be normal (i.e. as smart as those around him). Although the operation is a success, he sadly finds out being a genius isolates him even more from people he thought were his friends.
    • Two of J. R. R. Tolkien's books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings use and subvert this trope. In The Hobbit, Bilbo gets swept up into an adventure that hobbits usually despise in favor of a quiet life; at the end, he returns to that quiet life and enjoys it, but later on in LOTR Bilbo expresses interest in going on an adventure again. Frodo has a talk with Gandalf expressing this trope, and is almost ready to go back to living a normal hobbit life after reaching Rivendell (which is only the beginning of his journey).
      • The end of the third book explores this more, probably somewhat due to Tolkien's own war experiences. The Hobbits return to the Shire, but in the end, Frodo cannot stay due to his lingering injury and his exposure to the One Ring. Samwise lives an unusually long and successful life as husband, father and Mayor, until eventually, when he is aged and widowed, also following Frodo and Goes West with the Elves. Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, on the other hand, never having been Ringbearers, live out their days in the Shire.
        • Actually, both leave the Shire in old age and end their days in Gondor. Merry is called to Rohan by the dying Eomer and goes to see him. After Eomer's death, he and Pippin go to Gondor, where they both die a few years later and are buried in Rath Dinen, where the Kings of Gondor buried.
    • Subverted in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, where the protagonist spends most of the book (or series) trying to get back to his normal life, and when he finally succeeds, realizes he doesn't want that any more, and returns to London Below.
    • Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files repeatedly mentions he'd have liked to live a normal life and especially not know about all the supernatural nasties out to get/eat humans. He makes a similar note about The Archive, a little girl who has all of humanity's accumulated knowledge and thus never really had a childhood. She also all has all the memories of her maternal ancestors, including her mother who committed suicide to avoid bearing the burden of being The Archive while being jealous that her daughter would otherwise avoid it all her life. Thus the girl carries the memories of her mother's hatred towards her.
    • In the Andalite Chronicles, a spin-off set of books from the Animorphs series, Elfangor, the Andalite prince who gave the Animorphs their powers in the first place, gives up his life as a war leader to live on Earth with a human woman, until the Ellimist shows up and makes him give it all up. It's later revealed that he had a son on Earth, who 'became' one of the Animorphs.
    • At the end of Good Omens, Adam Young has decided not to use his reality-warping powers in any form for good or evil and to continue his life as a normal human. Which is fortunate for the world and all we know of it, as he was originally created to bring about the Apocalypse with his powers.
      • Although, from the ending, it seems he lied. "Human incarnate", as Crowley puts it.
    • In Lisa Shearin's Magic Lost, Trouble Found and sequel Armed and Magical, main character Raine Benares is an average magic user who specializes in finding lost items. Then she forms a psychic link with the Saghred, an ancient stone with apocalyptic power that eats souls for breakfast. The books focus on her trying to break the link with the Saghred while being pursued by villains who want to harness the Saghred's power.
    • The titular character in the Alex Rider series has an I Just Want To Be Normal moment at least once in every book he's been in...and he's been in seven.
      • Not only does he want to be normal again, he never wanted to do it in the first place! They bribed him. Not hard to do since MI 6 is his legal guardian, but still...
    • Hugo Danner, the world's first superhero, suffered from this. Philip Wylie wrote the novel Gladiator in 1930, featuring Hugo who was super-strong, fast, and with skin too tough to be pierced by a machine gun. Naturally he mopes about it for 332 pages before being struck by lightning and reduced to ash. On the bright side, two Jewish kids from Cleveland read the novel and came up with a more cheerful version.
    • Flinx, the major protagonist of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth universe, frequently has occasion to wish he did not have empathic powers as the result of a genetics experiment by a group of Evilutionary Biologists. Especially when the Badass allies, Cool Starship, and the whole exploring the galaxy thing get overshadowed by being told he's The Chosen One fated to confront an Ultimate Evil; being pursued by people who want to variously "fix" him, imprison him, or kill him for being The Chosen One; and possibly his brain exploding from his evolving powers. Wangst, thy name is Flinx.
    • Nudge in Maximum Ride. In fact, in Max, she so desperately wants to go to a "normal" school, that she's willing to cut her own wings off. She doesn't, though, because Max lets her go. After a while, she comes back, wings and all.
      • Max herself is pretty desperate, hence why she is so attached to Dr. Martinez and Ella (the only two people besides Jeb and the Flock to act like a actual family to her. She also is desperate enough to move closer to "normal" at one point that she tries to hack a chip in her arm out with a jagged piece of sea shell and nearly bled to death.
    • Garion in The Belgariad. The phrase "Why me?" becomes a running joke over the series.
    • Arthur Penhaligon in The Keys to the Kingdom spends five whole books of a seven-book series wishing for a normal life, ultimately making things much harder on himself to avoid becoming immortal. At one point he even re-breaks his own leg to stay normal. By the sixth book, he realizes that if he hadn't become the Rightful Heir, he'd be dead, so best suck it up and get on with things. Of course, by this point he was already irreversibly immortal, so perhaps this was merely his way of dealing with it.
    • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Encarmine, Arkio says he wishes he were—well, not normal normal, but Space Marine normal. Sachiel persuades him that that is impossible. Alas. At the end of Deus Sanguinius, Rafen disclaims being anything special, saying the Spear of Telesto used him as its instrument, and declining a Field Promotion to captain that he didn't think he was ready for or had earned.
    • Eilonwy, in the Prydain Chronicles, spends the entire series being more or less comfortable with the idea that she's "half an enchantress" and has latent magical powers, even though she can't always access them the way she'd like. At the end, however, when she learns that these same powers are the reason she has to leave the man she loves forever, she emphatically wishes that she could be rid of them. Fortunately, she's been carrying around a little Chekhov's Gun that can make her wish come true.
    • Played out strangely in The Last Unicorn. After Humanity Ensues, the titular unicorn slowly becomes lost under her new self as a human woman, until at the end the "Lady Amalthea" protests that she Just Wants To Stay Normal, marry the prince, and live happily ever after. Just to twist the knife a bit, it is the prince who tells her the story can't end that way.
    • Raamo from the Green-Sky Trilogy is like this. The high priestess believes he's The Chosen One foretold in a prophetic dream she had, others look to him with hope in their eyes, and the more he hears things like that the more he backs away and says "I am only a Kindar." The high priestess says that in itself is the example she thinks he will set. He doesn't have to do anything. Later on in the series his sister and her Erdling friend get tagged as Holy Children and are worshipped by everyone to the point that they become virtual prisoners in the palace; at the very end of the book we find that they have put this trope into simple, direct action, causing worldwide panic.
    • Codex Alera has an inversion: it's a world where every single person has Elemental Powers, except for one who's just a normal human. What would normally be I Just Want to Be Special is this trope for him.
    • Shinsou of The Longing of Shiina Ryo would like nothing more. The universe just does not wish to oblige him.
    • Mihcael develops this shortly after being unwillingly experimented on to gain magic in the Knight and Rogue Series. At first his new strangeness actually makes him physically ill it disturbs him so much, and even after having two years to get used to the idea it still makes hiw nauseas.
    • Belisarius in Belisarius Series just wants to be a blacksmith. As his job involves killing conspicuous amounts of people one can understand.
    • In Agatha H and The Clockwork Princess, a footnote explains that Jagers often take up human hobbies in an attempt to reclaim some of their lost humanity.
    • A variant with Lirael. She wants to be normal - but for a Clayr, normal is having precognitive powers. She gets over it after she realizes she's Abhorsen-in-Waiting.
    • Sefalet is a freak of nature, even to Pentexore in A Dirge for Prester John. She has no face, her eyes and mouths (yes, mouths) are in her hands, and one of her mouths is apparently possessed. She'd settle for just having control over her left-hand mouth again.

    Live-Action TV


    Buffy: I just want to be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don't even know what a tea cozy is, but I want one.

      • In a season 3 episode Buffy is unknowingly weakened to prepare her for an upcoming test. As she lives her life without her powers, she realizes that she can't be her old LA cheerleader days self anymore, both because she can't ignore the monsters who are out there and because she can't stop standing up for herself and other students.
      • In Season 7, Buffy and Faith had a discussion about how being Slayers have screwed up thier lives, but concluded that being hot chicks with super powers helped take the sting off.
      • Technically subverted in the series finale when Buffy becomes "normal" by making thousands of other girls Slayers as well thus ending her uniqueness but preserving her powers.
    • So did the witches from Charmed
      • That is an understatement. It is the plot for every other episode.
      • Phoebe seems to like being a witch, though. In spite of having the lamest power of all of them.
        • She did like being a witch until she married Cole. After losing all of her powers, she was happy with it since she hated being an Empath.
      • This trope is practically Piper's mantra.
      • Played straight and then totally averted with Paige. At first she's wants nothing to do with the magical powers that be, and then becomes almost obsessively proactive in being both a Witch and a Whitelighter.
    • Although The A-Team didn't have any special powers, they sort of fit into this: they became fugitives due to a string of events completely out of their control. All of them have, at some point, expressed a desire to live normal lives, but Face seems the most affected by it. Despite his apparent love for conning people out of anything and everything he can manage, above all else, he really just seems to want a normal life where he doesn't have to scam people and run from the military police on a daily basis.
    • Claire Bennet from Heroes. Conversely, Hiro Nakamura and Peter Petrelli both desperately want to have powers, even and especially when there's very little evidence to suggest that they do. (As does Sylar. Heh, heh.)
      • In season two, Claire becomes the classic inversion—now that she's in hiding and being forced to act as normal and unexceptional as possible, she's discontented and wants to do great things. She follows through on this new desire in Season Three, sacrificing the chance for a normal life (including not being hunted by the government) to help other fugitives.
        • The thing with Claire is that she constantly has a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality. Whenever her powers are put at the forefront of her life she wants to be normal, and when placed in a situation where she's basically allowed to live a normal live she complains about hiding "who she really is." She is eventually called out for it in the most recent season, but not long after just says screw it and reveals her powers in front of several news reporters. Surely, nothing bad will come of that.
      • In Volume Four, former villain Doyle decides that he wants to go back to his old life as a puppeteer. With the government rounding up people with abilities, he is forced to turn to Claire for assistance. This is doubly ironic - not only did Claire use to want a normal life, but the last time they met, Doyle held Claire and both her mothers captive for hours.
      • And now, in Volume Five, Matt has been trying to give up his powers out of the feeling that they're controlling his life, and Sylar is trying to suppress his powers in an attempt to be more human.
    • In the classic series of Doctor Who, several companions left to resume "normal" lives, after having adventured through time and space. Big examples are companions like Ian and Barbara, although Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter, proves to be a curious and conspicuous addition, especially given that she was not human.
      • Exceptions: In The Sarah Jane Adventures and several Expanded Universe works, several ex-companions are revealed to have had trouble adjusting to normalcy after leaving. In the new series, Rose explicitly references this.
      • In the new series two-parter "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", The Doctor himself becomes John Smith, a normal human living a normal life, but has to give it all up again to save the world.
        • In the novel the episode was adapted from, he did it specifically to find out what being a normal human was like.
      • The new series in particular has often made the point about how the Doctor, while capable of so much, is incapable of living the simple, normal life taken for granted by mere humans. He's occasionally expressed envy about this, but he's never really shown a desire to actually be normal (outside the abovementioned Human Nature example).
        • Given what we're shown of "normal" Time Lord life in The War Games, The Deadly Assassin etc, this is perhaps not that surprising. (Presumably for the Doctor to want to be a normal 21st century human would be like us wanting to go back to Medieval times, or maybe even Biblical times...)
    • Similarly, in Star Trek: Voyager, some of the crew expressed uncertainty as to how they would adjust to life on Earth if they ever reached it.
    • The entire premise of Forever Knight revolves around the main character wanting to be normal.
    • Ditto Angel, who took some comfort in a prophecy that said he would one day become human... though not till after the apocalypse.
      • In an early first season episode, Angel actually becomes human. However, once he realizes that this would mean he couldn't fight the baddies, as his superhuman strength would be gone, he goes to the extreme of undoing the change. He still likes the idea of becoming human, just not while there are bad guys to fight.
      • In the series finale, Angel is confronted with a choice—he can either abandon all hope of ever fulfilling the prophecy, or abandon his campaign to stop the Big Bad. He chooses the former without hesitation (as he had to, or his cover would be broken), but we see him upset about it later.
      • In the canon comic follow up, Angel is currently a human. However, the powers responsible for it have less than benevolent reasons for changing him.
    • A recurring theme in Highlander the Series was main character Duncan MacLeod bemoaning his immortal status.
    • Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie are undoubtedly amongst the oddest examples of this trope. Not so much Samantha or Jeannie - that is a fairly clear case of Love Makes You Dumb. Darrin Stephens and Tony Nelson, on the other hand, are men so heroically attuned to dullness and normalcy that their response to the beautiful, supernaturally powered women who are in love with them is to ignore and reject the supernatural bits. Major Nelson is particularly bizarre in this regard since he doesn't have to deal with a mother-in-law like Endora who might sour him on magic and he has an exciting job (astronaut)!
      • An episode of Bewitched actually played with what would happen if this trope was ever subverted and Darren was happy and even encouraging Samantha to use her powers for their own benefit. In the end, Samantha herself was unhappy because she really just wanted to be a normal housewife and use her powers relatively sensibly instead of rewriting reality to bend to her will and she and Darren agreed to hit the Reset Button and revert things to normal.
        • Really, Samantha could be seen as an inversion, since bending reality on a whim is normal for her and her people. Major Nelson, on the other hand, plays this trope straight, almost to the point of Insane Troll Logic.
    • River Tam of Firefly actually has a rather heartbreaking speech in the episode "Objects in Space" where she says that she just wants to be accepted by the crew and be a normal person. The heartbreaking part is this is a farewell speech she says as she surrenders to a bounty hunter so her friends can be safe and not hunted by the government anymore.
      • Though it turns out this is was a Batman Gambit to get him outside the ship and lead him into an ambush.
      • According to the commentary on Serenity, this is why River wants to hear Mal tell her his wisdom with his own voice at the end of the movie - she just wants to hear it the way normal people speak.
      • Simon also mentions several times that he wished he was still at home, advancing his medical career, rather than being on Serenity. Of course, he tries to hide this from River (who is the reason he had to drop his old life), but she usually figures it out anyway. On the other hand, the end of the series implies that he's at least gotten used to being on the ship, even if he did still miss his old life. His crush on Kaylee probably helped.
      • YMMV but slightly subverted by River's admission to Simon that she doesn't want any more of the drugs he gives her to remain coherent because she's knows it's not going to last and she'll slip again.
    • The main character in the 2000 The Invisible Man series spends a great deal of time trying to get rid of the implanted gland that gives him his invisibility powers, though more because of the side effects than because he objects to the invisibility itself.
    • The main character of New Amsterdam is immortal until he meets his true love. You'd think he'd want to avoid doing this, but he can't wait to meet her/get rid of the immortality so he can stop outliving his girlfriends, wives, and children.
    • Sam from Quantum Leap wanted to return to his life in the future, but when the opportunity arose, he had to leap back in to save Al from being killed, thus returning to the cycle and forgetting much about his past/future.
    • Sam from Reaper. In early episodes, he was even trying to run away from/hide the vessels he was to use to capture the escaped souls. They followed him. However, in later episodes, he's wised up, even telling the Devil to "just cut to the chase," so to speak.
    • In Smallville, Clark has said numerous times that his goal is to live like and be an ordinary human. Somehow, many viewers doubt this will be the case.
      • In one episode, he lost his powers, but still managed to beat the snot out of three superpowered bad guys, and believed he didn't need his powers anymore. Unfortunately, in the next episode, a nuclear missile gets launched at the town, leaving him with no choice but to regain his powers to save the day.
    • Both Supernatural boys have gone through this phase at some point.
      • Sam leaves the family business, running away to college to pursue a normal life. And then his girlfriend gets torched by the same demon that killed his mother and infected him with demon blood. He still spends a great deal of Season one talking about going back to a normal life, but after finding out he had demonic powers and getting a taste of The Dark Side, he now considers himself too much of a freak for that to be a possibility.
      • Dean has been tired of this life pretty much since the beginning of season two, when he found out he might have to kill his brother. Season four, with Sam choosing the demon blood-born power he thought would prevent the Apocalypse over Dean, really broke him. By season five, he was ready to settle down or die, and didn't seem much to care which. At the end of Season Six, Dean gets a normal life with a family for a year, but loses Sam.
      • Runs in the family. Their hunter mother desperately wanted to get out, raise a family and live a normal life. Well, at least she managed for ten years, right? Until her payment came due.
      • Jimmy Novak, Castiel's vessel. He really thought it was over.
      • Subverted in the Season 5 Episode "Swap Meat":

    Sam: I'm telling you, kid. I wish I had your life.
    Gary: You do? ...Thanks.
    Sam: Get on out of here. <Gary leaves>
    Dean: That was a nice thing to say.
    Sam: Totally lied. Kid's life sucked ass. All that apple-pie family crap, it's stressful, believe me. We didn't miss a damn thing.

    • In Young Dracula, Vlad wants nothing more than to be a normal boy with a normal family. Jonathan definitely does not want to grow up to be a vampire hunter like his father.
    • Ace Lightning's Mark Hollander regularly just wanted to be normal, rather than the elected sidekick of a hero from a videogame.
    • In a more mundane example, House has had moments of just wanting to be normal. The most notable example would be a Season Three episode where he wants to harvest the patient's (a girl who can't feel pain) spinal nerves and replace his damaged thigh muscle. He doesn't go through with it, thanks to an attack of conscience/Wilson, but it's still rather pathetic.
      • One of his recent patients was a genius who had been taking cough syrup and vodka to lower his IQ because his wife was 91 points lower than him: "She's closer to a gibbon than to me. Sex with her would be an act of bestiality."
    • Jen on The IT Crowd who at one point screams that the geeks she works with have turned her into one of them.
    • The Big Bang Theory's Leonard Hofstadter, the genius who wishes he wasn't.
    • Ned in Pushing Daisies is actually pretty good about avoiding this, despite being very much Blessed with Suck. He's had a few moments of it in the show proper, and almost certainly felt this way all the time as a kid. Chuck, on the other hand, while not actually having powers, seems to want a normal life, or at least a more normal one.
    • Played with a lot in Misfits, where the superpowered characters aren't remotely bothered about saving the world and are just trying to get on with their lives. Although the show is mercifully free of Wangst, you get the constant impression that the protagonists don't like their powers much. Alisha in particular really hates her ability (a form of pheromone manipulation which causes anyone who touches her to be overcome with such violent lust that they try to rape her) but then she is well and truly Blessed with Suck. And Kelly mentions a couple of times that she would block her Telepathy if she knew how, as she hates hearing what people think about her.
      • The only protagonist who does whine about the situation is Nathan, who seemingly doesn't have a power.
      • In the series two Christmas Special, they're given an opportunity to get rid of their powers, and they take it immediately. Simon is hesitant, since he knows this is a bad idea because it didn't work out in Superman II.
    • This is pretty much the entire concept behind Being Human (UK). Annie wishes she were still alive and married to Owen, Mitchell hates being a vampire, and George desperately wants to be rid of his lycanthropy. All three do manage to find comfort in their various states (as well as with each other) by the end of the first season.
    • This was the main motivation of Chuck Bartowski in Chuck for the first two seasons. His normal life was pretty crappy (or at least, boring and Wangsty), but constantly being shot at was not the kind of excitement he wanted. Around the end of the second season, though, characterization marched on and he realized he liked the excitement, the co-workers and making a difference.
    • Patrick Jane, The Mentalist, has a lot of fun with his Sherlock Scan abilities as a police consultant, but...

    Lisbon: Okay, I am not jealous and resentful. That is nonsense.
    Jane: Yet you recall my exact words. There's no shame in it. I feel that way too sometimes. Why does everyone else get to have a normal life?

    • Jaye Tyler from Wonderfalls doesn't take too kindly to becoming a divine instrument (okay, it's not made entirely clear that that's what she is, but it's strongly implied). As the series goes on, she does seem to become significantly less bitter about it, especially after an encounter with a man who just wants to be special:

    Jaye: I'm not so sure my burden is actually...a burden. I mean, other people seem to want it, and that should always give you pause before you give something away.

    • Dexter sometimes expresses the desire to be able to feel like a normal person, free of his drive to kill, at times when he is able to distinguish whether or not he feels anything at all.
    • House of Anubis had an interesting subversion: Joy Mercer once told her friend Patricia that she wanted to be normal, then in a twist, it turned out that she had been normal the whole time.
    • Lance & Cally of Dark Oracle would deeply like the comic (that lets them see the future) to just go away. It was bad enough when it was just predicting horrible events; by the second season Blaze & Violet were actively trying to escape the comic and pull Lance & Cally in, leading to numerous attempts on their part to just get rid of it and go back to normal.
    • In True Blood, Sookie says she is a freak for being able to read minds, and wishes she was normal like everyone else. she later finds out that she is a fairy, and does not quite like that, either.
    • In The Secret Circle, the main character learns she is a witch, and freaks out, does not want anything to do with magic, just wants to be "normal"
    • In the pilot episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, this is Sabrina's initial response to her father when he tells her that she is a witch.
    • The protagonist of the later part of Stephen Spielberg's Taken miniseries says this quite frequently.
    • Played several times in The Nine Lives of Chloe King.


    • The Radiohead song "Creep" is about a secret admirer/stalker of a girl, who longs to be "special" like her.
    • The narrator of the song A Tongue That Cannot Lie by Karine Polwart. Specifically: "Afflicted, addicted / I pray for a potion / to take all these visions away"

    Video Games

    • In a non-superpower example, Solid Snake of the Metal Gear series made one attempt to live a normal life in the isolation of Alaska, attempting to escape the cycle of violence and death that had killed so many people around him. Without fail, he was back fighting the titular Humongous Mecha within a few years at most.
    • Chun Li in the Street Fighter franchise. Within the games themselves, she is often mentioned as wanting to go back to living a normal life after she avenges her father. However, since she just Can't Stay Normal, her attempts at living said normal life tend to go astray mainly because she actually does like street fighting.
      • Parodied in Jun the Swan's ending in the Wii version of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. If you choose the option to try being a normal woman, you see her and the other heroines in the game (including Chun Li)... and none of them have the slightest idea of how to be normal.
    • In The Sims 2, this is generally how sims without the knowledge aspiration react to being turned into a monster. They will constantly have the want to be normal come up in their slot, or the want for one of their friends or family to be normal. You can just ignore this with no negative consequences though, or you can cash in on the points and buy the curing potion. Note that sims who do have the knowledge aspiration have this a fear instead.
    • Vayne in Mana Khemia.
    • Terra Branford in Final Fantasy VI. She actually gets her wish when she spends a year taking care of orphans, and her powers regress to the point she actually can't fight even when she tries. Once she rediscovers her fighting spirit, she jumps back into the fray when she realizes the world has gone to hell, and she doesn't want the kids to be stuck growing up in a world like that.
    • It's implied that Joshua from The World Ends With You felt this way in the stinger ending.
    • Roxas spends most of Kingdom Hearts II like this. He's perfectly happy in his nice normal town, doing nice normal chores with his nice normal friends. When the villains and the Keyblade come to call, telling him of some grand former life he used to have, he really doesn't care. He just wishes they'd all stop bothering him.
      • In the first Kingdom Hearts, Sora fits this trope. He journeys not to save the Universe (which he ends up doing), but to find his friends. Once he has done that, he still needs to restore his homeworld.
    • In Wild ARMs 2, Anastasia Valeria AKA the Sword Magess states that she used to be a normal girl before destiny intervened. She suffers a total breakdown when it looks like Ashley is going to leave her alone, pretty much invoking the trope by name.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, this is the whole plot of the game. The main hero, Marche, despite being in a world of fantasy that apparently has no negative consequences if he just accepts it, just wants to escape the world of Ivalice and live in reality with his friends and brother.
    • Several mages in the Dragon Age franchise feel this way about their magic. One mage in the Origins prays to the Maker apologizing for her very existence and thinks she is a monster. Ander's friend Karl in the sequel says that he would gladly give up his magic if it didn't also mean being turned Tranquil. In the DLC "Legacy" Hawke's father Malcolm's lingering memories reveal that Malcolm hated his magic and hoped none of his children would share his burden.
      • Hawke's sister Bethany vocalizes her desire to be normal several times in party banter.
    • Shinjiro Aragaki in Persona 3 would like nothing better than to be rid of his Persona - with good reason, since he once lost control of it during a mission, causing the death of an innocent woman and orphaning her eight-year-old-son. He stubbornly rejects Akihiko's efforts to bring him back into the fight, and goes so far as to poison himself with Persona-suppressing drugs. In the female protagonist's route in the PSP version of the game, he all but says the trope name word for word during his Social Link.
      • Mitsuru in the same game also struggles a little with wanting to be normal; in her case it has less to do with her Persona and more to do with the fact that she's the heir to a large corporation and thus a lot of her life has been shaped by the expectations on her to live up to her role. All things being equal, she'd like to be able to wear the same kinds of clothes and frequent the same hangouts that other students her age do, but instead her clothes are chosen for her by her family's stylist and she's engaged to a man twice her age who she feels she must marry in order to secure the future stability of her family's company.
    • Argilla from Digital Devil Saga. Originally just another emotionless combat drone, the release of the Demon Virus charged her with emotions, which neither she nor anyone in her Crapsack World had ever experienced. As her personality started forming, she developed a wish to know more about what had happened to her. Then she was informed she had shifted into a powerful demon form and slaughtered an enemy battalion. It was comprehensible she uttered the trope verbatim, as an emotionless existence was very much preferable to what she was becoming.
    • Jarod Shadowsong, a night elf from Warcraft. In the novel The War of the Ancients, he is a simple guard from the city of Suramar who gets wrapped up with major lore characters in the fight against the Burning Legion. When the general of the night elven army dies, Jarod is given the job of commanding the army comprising of night elves, tauren, furbolgs, Earthen, and demigods. He knows the job has to be filled, but wants nothing more than to go back to just being a faceless guard. After the war, Jarod vanished instead of taking up the offer of being co-leader of his people. He would reappear in World of Warcraft Cataclysm when Mount Hyjal was threatened by Ragnaros, this time much more willing to take command after his Ten-Thousand Year Retirement.
    • In MDK, janitor Kurt Hectic reluctantly dons the Coil Suit to save the day against alien invaders. In MDK2, the aliens manage to capture him and take the suit. Kurt tells Dr. Hawkins this, relieved that he doesn't have to fight anymore now that it's hopeless and he can go back to being a regular janitor again. Hawkins then reveals that he has a bunch of backup Coil Suits ready for Kurt to wear. Kurt once again resigns himself to being the savior of humanity.

    Visual Novels

    • In Fate/stay night this was Saber's entire motivation to win the Holy Grail, though with the intent of remaining normal so the country she led would have a better ruler.
      • Additionally, Shirou, for a good bit of the initial stages of the war, wanted to—and tried to—withdraw from the war. Didn't get far on that one. (You get the option in the game, but if you do quit, Ilya and Berserker eat you.)
        • Shirou did not wanted to be normal. He'd be a lot cheerier about the whole thing if Kotomine didn't poke a giant hole in his fun by pointing out that superheroes need tragedies to happen in order to fix them.
        • Shirou put himself at great personal risk with his magic training; this doesn't indicate a desire for normalcy. However Sakura, whose own magical training was mercilessly inflicted on her, desperately saw in him the chance for her to have a role in a normal life.
    • Shiki from Tsukihime had a similar problem. To be fair, his power was truly lethal, even to himself and people around him.

    Web Comics

    Web Original

    • The Fabulous Frog-Man, a mutant hero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is super-agile, can leap the length of a city block, can heal quickly from most injuries, and has a six foot long, prehensile tongue. He's also green, warty, and has big googly eyes. He'd give up his powers and his life as a superhero to look normal again.
    • None of the protagonists in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes want their super powers. Of course, that doesn't stop some of them *coughRobcough* from enjoying them.
    • Emma uses the exact phrase in the Lonelygirl15 episode "Decision Time". The series also contains a non-superpower-related example, which Daniel expresses in "The Ascension". Jonas does too, to a lesser extent.
    • The title character of The Saga of Tuck has a fairly active and mad life, but his discovery of his intersex medical condition leaves him longing for the past.
    • Many of the characters in the Whateley Universe enjoy their abilities, but some, especially those whose mutations have turned them into hideous freaks, or made it impossible to live without life support, certain wish they were normal. Of the main characters, the intersexed Ayla Goodkind is actively researching ways to change back to a normal-looking male, and Chou Lee is still angsting about her transformation, and the tasks the Tao requires her to perform.
    • Siberys from Darwin's Soldiers is an experiment created with strong telekinetic powers. He agrees to be the test subject for a bioweapon that permanently disables the powers of psi-experiments because he doesn't want his powers any more.
    • The Onion: "Archaeologist Tired Of Unearthing Unspeakable Ancient Evils"

    "All I wanted to do was study the settlement's remarkably well-preserved kiln," said the 58-year-old Whitson, carefully recoiling the rope he had just used to clamber out of a pit filled with giant rats. "I didn't want to be chased by yet another accursed manifestation of an ancient god-king's wrath."


    Western Animation

    • Several episodes of My Life as a Teenage Robot deal with Jenny's quirky attempts to achieve normality.
    • In the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon episode "Legacy," Alexis dismisses her trillionaire heiress Lonely Rich Kid/Rich Bitch lifestyle with "I Just Want to Be Normal." As her first real friend apparently ever, she tries to hold on to her relationship with Superman, and thus normality, by scheming and manipulating and eventually going completely off the deep end into supervillainy, Luthor-style, giving up on normality in favor of Revenge.
    • Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender, in regards to being the Chosen One. Even after being forced to accept the call, he still holds some desire to be a normal kid. In the third season, he goes as far as to take the huge risk of enrolling in a Fire Nation school just to experience what it's like being a normal kid, despite his friends' protests.

    Aang: You don't know what it's like, Sokka -- you get to be normal all the time.

    • A main plot point of the 80's Dungeons and Dragons cartoon was the kids wanting to leave their new sword-and-sorcery life behind and return to the normal world.
    • In The Spectacular Spider-Man Peter Parker suffers a brief bout of this. When Peter is caught having taken pictures of his alter-ego's battle with mutated geneticist the Lizard, after claiming he was going home, his friends and superiors at the ESU labs distrust him, and fire him from his internship. Stealing a gene cleanser from the lab, Peter briefly considers taking it before remembering his credo. He does, however, keep it hidden under his desk.
    • In Transformers Animated, Blackarachnia is obsessed with removing her organic side and becoming fully robotic again despite being both Cursed with Awesome and tremendously physically attractive to about half the cast.
    • Used and subverted in Disney's |Hercules. Because Hercules' strength often causes accidents, Hercules is shunned by the community, even though he just wants to fit in. This desire fades after he becomes a hero and puts his strength to good use. Late in the movie, Hades forces him to give up his powers to save the life of his love interest. After being drained, Hades pins Herc to the ground by throwing a barbell at him and stands over him taunting, "Now you know how it feels to be like everyone else. Isn't it just...peachy?"
    • In the season two finale of The Venture Brothers, Dean ends up admitting this during a fit of delusion. It's become his defining motivation.
      • Deep down, this is all Rusty Venture really wants as well.
    • In South Park, Craig is shown to be The Chosen One who will defeat the giant Guinea Creatures as foretold by an Incan prophecy, though he states throughout the episodes that he doesn't want to get involved in any weird adventures and just wants to stay away from the main characters (whose every schemes always ends up in Hilarity Ensuing). Subverted in that his attempts at refusing the call ends up leading him to fulfill his destiny and defeat the Guinea Pirate, with him noting that life is unexpected in the end (though he still learns to never trust the gang with anything).
      • Mysterion, a.k.a. Kenny, is tired of being immortal because no one remembers his deaths.
    • Heathens! Don't you recall ... the most famous reindeer of all?
    • In Danny Phantom, Danny tries to split his ghost and human halves to have some plain fun...with mixed results. Similarly, in the finale, Danny permanently gets rid of his ghost half so he can be normal, even if he does eventually get his powers back.
      • Not to mention in the pilot episode, he expresses the desire to be fully human again early on ("If my dad can invent something that accidentally made me half-ghost, why can't he invent something that turns me back to normal?!")
      • In The Movie, his future self has Vlad separate his human and ghost halves to help him deal with the death of his family and friends. It doesn't end well. At all.
        • That's more of an inversion; Danny explicitly wanted to remove his human side. Well... he succeeded.
    • In Jackie Chan Adventures Jackie would love nothing more than to go back to his life as a quiet and unassuming archaelogist rather than his current life as a secret agent who routinely defends the world from demons and what not.
    • In one of the My Little Pony animated specials, Lily Lightly is the only unicorn whose horn glows when she's excited or really happy, so she tries to hide it from everyone else. She even has an "I Want" Song about it.
    • Nightcrawler of X-Men: Evolution was like this, but you couldn't really blame him given that he looked like a furry blue demon. Unlike the other mutants, who were actually fairly good about being exposed as mutants, Nightcrawler was really reluctant to let go of the illusion that he wasn't a mutant, but eventually did, and never let go of the human appearance given to him by his image inducer (can't really blame him, again).
    • The three princesses from Mulan II would love nothing more than marry someone who loves them for who they are and live out a normal life.
    • Generator Rex, though the Rex enjoys fighting, and helping people, he's not a fan of the life he has to lead when he's not on missions, which seems to consist of training and waiting around. He sneaks out often. Leading the higher ups to hire a kid to be his friend.
    • Quasimodo's "I Want" Song, Out There From The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    • This is how Teen Titans ends. After spending the whole episode trying to convince The Schoolgirl / Terra that she is the Terra he thought he knew, she delivers what can be considered the saddest line in the series. "I'm not a hero. I'm not out to save the world. I'm just a girl with a geometry test next period and I haven't studied." As later revealed in the Teen Titans Go comics, this is one of the few cases where Brought Down to Normal not only is permanent, but regarded as a change for the better, even by Terra's own brother.
    • Inverted and played straight in Zevo-3.
    • Hank Pym from Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes would rather study science than fight crime as an Avenger, which conflicts with his Technical Pacifist beliefs.
      • Colonel James Rhodes explains that he rarely dons the War Machine armor because he's not interested in becoming a superhero.