Pinocchio Syndrome

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The extreme of I Just Want to Be Normal. The character either isn't human to begin with, or has a Curse that has taken away their humanity. Often involving an artificial being such as a robot wanting to be a flesh-and-blood creature—or at least closer to one in ways it feels are important, like becoming Creative Sterility.

They are looking for a way to obtain it. Despite Applied Phlebotinum and magic being able to do everything else, it seems the power to turn someone into a mortal human being is incredibly rare. In those cases where someone does get the instant magical cure, they'll often throw it away, saying they want to earn it, or "it's the path, not the destination." Whatever that means. Of course, Failure Is the Only Option, at least until the Grand Finale.

This is often a goal of robots, vampires, werewolves, and so on. In these circumstances, sometimes a more Genre Savvy character will be taken in by this trope, but instead make some important logical deductions. Namely, that if you're a robot, you probably already act like a normal human, to the point of being able to pass the Turing test. If you're a vampire or werewolf, you're substantially stronger and hardier than a typical human. As a result, as cool as these "emotion" things may be, it may not be worth being Brought Down to Normal just to enjoy them. In these cases, the character in question can often be found looking for a third option that will allow for the best of both worlds.

Named, of course, for the puppet who wanted to Become a Real Boy, but much older than that. Likewise, the Shapeshifting Lover or the Talking Animal who is really a victim of a Baleful Polymorph Curse are figures of long standing in Oral Tradition.

Very often overlaps with What Measure Is a Non-Human?. Contrast Humanity Ensues. See also Humanity Is Infectious, where a human mindset is catchy.

Not related to Pinocchio Nose. For the sister trope Become a Real Boy, see The Adventures of Pinocchio.

Examples of Pinocchio Syndrome include:

Anime & Manga

  • Astro Boy is perhaps the oldest anime expression of this trope.
    • At first, anyway. When he gets upgrades that allow him to experience pain and fear, he begins to wonder if humanity is all it's cracked up to be.
    • Also subverted in the manga story "Astro II", where a new Astroboy is built to replace the original who apparently died in the final episode of the 1960s anime. Mark II is designed to be as human-like as possible... and as a result he's as shiftless, greedy & sex-crazed as the real Astroboy wasn't.
  • Deconstructed in the anime version of Kikaider, with deliberate allusions to Pinocchio—the "Gemini" circuit to give Jiro/Kikaider a conscience, for instance. The ending of the OVA sequel is a full subversion, with Jiro only becoming "real" by Shooting The Dog:

Reiko/Bijinder: "And so Pinocchio became a real boy. And they lived happily ever after." And yet, I wonder. In becoming human, did Pinocchio truly find happiness?

  • Inuyasha
    • The half-dog demon from the Anime series by the same name originally wanted the series MacGuffin to become a full demon. However, after spending time with Kikyo he decided to become a human. After that didn't go over well, he decided he wanted to become a full-demon again, but appears to care less and less about it as the series went on. In the end he just stays a half-demon; the only "right" wish to make of the jewel was to destroy it.
    • Played straight by the anime-only character Gyuoh. He's the son of a minotaur-like she-demon and a human scholar, who transforms from a good-looking human in the day into a creature like his mother at night. In his demon form, all birds and animals except carrion eaters flee from him, while his presence causes flowers to wilt and die, two facts that enrage and upset him greatly. Like most of the characters in the series, he wants to use the power of the Shikon Jewel- in his case, however, he wants to become all human. He also decides that, rather than risk life and limb seeking the fragments, he'll create a new Shikon Jewel by using certain mystical lore to fuse the requisite four souls together, deciding on Inuyasha for Aramitama (Courage), Miroku for Kushimitama (Wisdom), Sango for Sakimitama (Love) and Shippo for Nigimitama (Friendship), with Kagome's spiritual powers binding the four together.
  • This is the entire series basis for Fullmetal Alchemist, with Ed wanting to get his limbs and Al's human body back by finding (or creating) the Philosopher's Stone. In the first anime, becoming human is also the primary drive for many of the Homunculi, Lust especially.
  • This is one half (pun intended) of the basis for the Anime, Manga and OVAs of Ranma ½—Ranma wants to find a way to stop turning into a girl... Results are evenly split between "it's a fake"/"it's just a legend", finding it, but having to destroy it to save someone and the Applied Phlebotinum not working as advertised.
  • Key the Metal Idol wants to be human, and is told that she'll become one if she collects 30,000 (yes, thirty thousand) friends. Her solution is to start a career as an Idol Singer. She actually was human all along.
  • Sara's motivation in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, especially in the manga, comes from the fact that Tarou abandoned her out of guilt and, in the manga, sabotage from a well-intentioned servant. Screaming that she didn't ask to be born a mermaid yet alone a princess, she decides that if she can't be with a human, she'll destroy everyone on Earth.
  • In Corrector Yui, the Big Bad Grosser claims that he wants to be alive and not just a part of the Com.Net that must be re-booted
  • Inverted in the "Resurrection" volume of Phoenix, where Leon, a human that is 60% robot, wants to turn full robot so as to be able to be with his love, Chihiro.
  • The main character of Princess Tutu is a duck that uses a magical pendant to become a girl. She often angsts about how she's "just a bird", and towards the end of the series she admits that she wants to stay a girl so she can keep dancing and stay with her friends. But in the end, she gives up her pendant to save Mytho, and returns to being a duck--thanks in part to Fakir, who encourages her to be her true self, and also promises to never leave her.
  • Inverted in Galaxy Express 999, where the main character wants to have his brain put into a robot body.
  • In 3x3 Eyes, the two main characters want to stop being immortal and become normal humans.
  • In Slayers, Zelgadis is all angsty about having been turned into a human/golem/demon chimera, and wants to find a cure. Other chimeras that he and his companions come across (mostly in the Light Novel series), especially a particular one in a a special side story, share the same sentiment.
  • In the Sailor Moon S Movie, after falling in love with a human scientist named Kakeru, Luna becomes sad knowing that she cannot be with him because she is a cat. She later becomes human for a short time and encourages Kakeru to be with his childhood sweetheart, Himeko, because that is who he truly loves.
  • Tieria Erde goes through this to some extent in season two of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, to the point of denying that he isn't human, or insisting that being "human" is relative, anyway. At the end of the series, after his "death", he tells Setsuna that he is happy to have been an Innovade, because it was the key to saving everyone in the end and learning their true purpose. Incidentally, all of the others of his type are very happy being what they are and look down on humans except possibly Anew.
  • Chachamaru of Mahou Sensei Negima has been known to angst over whether or not she actually has a soul. She does. Apparently the rule is that if you're capable of that kind of emotion, you must have a soul. Alternately, Negi will kiss you so hard that it gives you a soul.
  • In the second series of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Joe Asakura is revealed to have just barely survived at the end of the first series and turned into a half-cyborg by a scientist. He's more powerful than ever, but all he wants is to be human again.
  • As revealed in the third Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS through a Video Will implanted in Reinforce Zwei's memories, a variation of this was the first Reinforce's small wish. While she didn't want to become fully human and definitely didn't want to become completely normal, she did dream of the day to live as a human, gathering around the dinner table with Hayate and the Wolkenritter, and sharing smiles with each other from time to time. Alas, as an Artifact of Doom and and Artifact of Death, such a wish could never happen unless a small miracle would occur, a miracle that never came, she noted sadly, as she concluded the recording before proceeding to her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Celia, resident mermaid of Rave Master briefly expresses this desire, hoping it will allow her to be with Haru.
  • Eureka, the heroine from Eureka Seven, secretly in her heart wishes to be a human in order to be with her lover Renton. She was revealed to be an alien life form who had an appearance of a human form with no special powers whatsoever. Technically there is no such way known for her kind to turn into a pure human being. Despite having regular human appearance, she constantly feels insecure about the way humanity is going to view her if they find out and fearful of losing the right to stay by her lover's side. In the TV anime version, She had turned non-human in appearance by growing wings out of her back, which is permanent, but Renton still loves her regardless and they continued to be with each other in the ending.. However, in the anime film version, Eureka mysteriously was shown to be an ordinary human girl (without wings and circular red eyes) appearing naked with long hair alongside her lover Renton who was unconscious during her climatic "incident". (the movie never showed what really happened to her, leaving viewers to ponder about her fate). She also ended up completely losing her memories and unable to speak, like that of a newborn infant. Eureka had become an existence that depends on Renton's survival/memories, meaning if her lover dies or lost his memories, she will cease to exist. (though no solid evidence to suggest whether this is true) Despite these setbacks, she still ended up falling for Renton by kissing his cheek and holding his hands in the ending
  • Boota of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is kind of a roundabout case, where it's revealed near the end that Boota's most precious wish was to have a humanoid form so he could be more helpful to his friends. Also, Yoko's tits.
  • Robot girl Nano from Nichijou wants to feel like a real human being. This means getting to go to school is the thrill of her life. Her efforts are hampered, however, by the big wind-up key she has on her back courtesy her eight year old creator (who likes to slip in other modifications when Nano isn't looking).
  • The evil knight gundam Deathscythe of SD Gundam Force has this- being obsessively in love with the princess of Lacroa, he feels that the only thing keeping them apart is the fact that she's human and he's not, and the crux of his schemes is obtaining enough magical power to turn himself into a human.
  • Beyblade: Zeo is revealed to have this. Dr. Zaghart had a son, who was killed in an accident. So he built a robot version of his son as a Replacement Goldfish. He reveals this to the robot (who was unaware of the truth until that point), which proved to be a real Tomato in the Mirror moment for the poor kid. He is convinced that he must take all four of the Bladebreakers' Bit-Beasts so that he can use their combined power to become a real boy. He loses to Tyson in the end, and Tyson convinces him that as a robot, he would have abilities that a human would never have anyway!

Comic Books

  • Livewires subverted this trope—the protagonist, Stem Cell, was an Artificial Human built with all the emotions of a human, who needed to learn to alter those emotions in order to survive.
  • Swamp Thing's origin changed him from a man into a living pile of vegetation, and his main goal was to return to normal. In a twist, when Alan Moore took over the book (in his first major writing gig for DC), he took away this motivation with a Retcon that didn't directly contradict any previous material. Swamp Thing discovered that he was not a man who became a plant monster; he was a mass of plants possessed by the memories and spirit of that man, who was, in fact, dead. Regaining his humanity was then no longer a goal, and he instead became an Anthropomorphic Personification of nature.
  • Comet the Super-Horse from pre-Crisis DC. He was originally a centaur called Biron who wanted to be fully human, unfortunately Circe made a mistake and made him fully horse instead. The reason he has superpowers is because the spell couldn't be reversed, so Circe gave him superpowers to try and make up for it.
  • Likewise, Scud the Disposable Assassin is fond of stating, "It's cool to be a robot." When a screenwriter tells him of a script similar to his life, Scud is disappointed at the ending, where the hero is rewarded with humanity. He hangs a lampshade on it by asking the writer to not pull a Pinocchio. "Make him proud of what he is, and you've got my $7.50."
  • Mr Eff from JtHM was a Styrofoam pastry display. His master fed off Nny's imagination to make him more real when he needed. Unlike Psycho d-boy, who only wished to please his master and get Johnny to commit suicide, Mr Eff tried to keep Johnny alive and killing for as long as possible till he can become fully real. He failed. Johnny killed himself at the end of Issue #4, and issue #5 he was "Taken back into" his master, along with Psycho d-boy, saying "Fuck! I was so close!".
  • Subverted in The Mighty Skull Boy Army, Unit 1, a cute, toy-like robot, once voices his hopes to never be a real boy...because he fears puberty, and all those snips and snails...
  • X-51, aka Machine Man, aka Aaron Stack, of Marvel Comics has wanted to be/believed he really is human in most of his incarnations. In Earth X, Uatu the Watcher strips him of his human appearance. Late in the trilogy, an alternate universe version of himself appears who used his creator's DNA to create a human body for himself and tells his robot counterpart that his programming makes him human enough already.
  • Played with in Elf Quest. After the defeat of Big Bad Winnowill, who spends some time in human form, Mender (who has the same fleshshaping/shapeshifting powers as Winnowill - though none of her experience) decides to try it out for a while too. He doesn't do very well.
  • Fables. Many of the non-human characters want to become human simply so they can get out of 'The Farm' (or in the case of Reynard the Fox, seduce Snow White). The Farm is a grand place but a gilded cage is still a prison. Too bad the magical resources are expensive and limited. What there is tends to be turned towards survival. What's worse is that most of the non-humans are immortal. Hundreds of years have passed by the time the series starts and there is no end in sight. No wonder there was a civil war. Later on, it gets better. And complicated. New lands are accessible for all.

Fairy Tales

Fan Works


  • David (Haley Joel Osment) in Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Anviliciously, complete with a Blue Fairy. Specifically noted as being so inspired, too.
  • The entire plot of the Princess and The Frog revolves around this (featuring the song "When I'm Human").
  • Number/Johnny Five in Short Circuit, who has gained self-awareness and understands himself to be alive; thus he must fight to prevent being "disassembled" (which for him would be "death") and convince others that he does have human emotions and thought processes. Though he is an extremely fast reader, in the second film, he intends to study the books Pinocchio by Collodi and Frankenstein by Shelley more closely, clearly identifying with the plights of both the puppet and the creature.
  • Andrew in Bicentennial Man. He's a robot who was accidentally created with a quirk in his hardware that allowed him to feel emotions and learn unlike other robots of his kind. The major plot line involved him wanting to be officially recognized as being human, and involved his many decades of work on inventing artificial organs and other life-sustaining techniques, which he applies to himself in addition to marketing them for general use. In the end, he's finally recognized by the government as being human, as he dies on his 200th birthday. Having replaced his entire body with his self-invented artificial organs, he has become mortal, a prerequisite for humanity.
  • The backstory of Edward Scissorhands reveals he almost was exactly like an ordinary human, but his Inventor died before he could furnish him with proper hands; thus he is virtually unable to touch others. It's suggested in the film that there's the possibility he could still be made "complete" in that way, but that never comes to pass. Perhaps more importantly, when he falls for Kim, he does whatever he can to make her aware of his love for her in hopes she will reciprocate it, despite what he is.
  • The Robot boy Electronic from Russian film Electronic's Adventures also wishes to become human, which is especially funny given that his human double Syroezhkin envies him.
  • Green Snake: The Green Snake and her sister White Snake are two female ophidian spirits who seek to become human in order to raise their status on the karmic scale and incidentally experience human love.
  • Return to Oz has The Nome King desiring to become human By turning everyone who lived or knew of Oz into stone or an ornament. Needless to say he was he was not pleased when this was ruined by the luck of a little girl.
    • Not present in the original book, by the way; in that one the Nome King just did it for shits, and also a few giggles.
  • The android Sonny in I Robot shows symptoms of this. He reveals what could be slight envy of Spooner for his boast of artistic talent. Sonny also shows gratitude just for being referred to "as someone, not something." Spooner's closing words to Sonny: "find your way just like the rest of us..." leans this way even more.
  • Seth Brundle from The Fly loses his humanity through the course of the movie. His syndrome drives him to kidnapping his ex-girlfriend in an attempt to fuse with her, as she is pregnant with his unborn child, possibly the last of his humanity.


  • Pinocchio, of course.
  • Isaac Asimov's The Bicentennial Man is about a robot who, over the course of two hundred years, deliberately becomes more and more human.
    • In the end in order to be recognised as human by the world's government body, he decides that the last most important remaining difference between himself and humanity is that his positronic brain could conceivable keep working for centuries. He then arranges an operation to cut that time down drastically. The World government declares him human shortly afterward.
  • A fairly rare example of an animal with Pinocchio Syndrome and a rare example of someone who wants to be human for all the wrong reasons is King Iofur from Northern Lights/The Golden Compass (depending on which side of the pond you are from). It is also a quite rare example of where a character wants to be perceived of human by their actions but knows that there is never going to be a chance of physically becoming human.
  • Several characters from Charles de Lint's Urban Fantasy novel Memory and Dream.
  • The classic Little Mermaid story.
  • Minerva in Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. An administrative computer who learns to be human and falls in love. Eventually has a human body created so she can implant her personality into the body and experience love as a human, and not incidentally become the lover of the man she fell for in the first place.
  • The Cat Who Wished To Be a Man by Lloyd Alexander is about a cat that wants to be a man.
    • Arguably more of a subversion, since Humanity Ensues after the first five pages.
  • Zora Zombie from Xanth would've been happier to be alive or all-the-way dead, but was content to muddle through until she got to Become a Real Boy. Well, real girl, but same idea.
  • The children's book The Velveteen Rabbit is about a toy rabbit who wants to be real.

Live Action TV

  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation has this as his central character arc, and Riker points out Data's similarity to Pinocchio as early as the pilot episode. Interestingly, when Q offers Data the choice of being turned into a human Data rejects it - he wanted to become human by himself, not to have it handed to him magically.
    • There's an interesting scene between him and Spock, who as a Vulcan would rather be more like Data. Each has what the other wants most and can't enjoy it, it seems...
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • Subverted with the Doctor who's more than happy to remain a piece of emergency software (his strongest wish is that people will remember to shut him off when they leave Sickbay) but is forced to grow through his circumstances and with the gentle support of Kes. Eventually the Doctor becomes quite enthusiastic about expanding his abilities (sometimes to the annoyance of his colleagues) but the scenes where he's most passionate are not about the Doctor becoming human, but about him having the same rights as a human being.
      • This may be related to the fact that many similar holograms, even using same appearance as the good EMH, are used for grueling slave labor, and unable to do anything about it because they're constructs of light, force field, and programming, and not legally people as such.
    • Likewise Seven of Nine, a human who was assimilated at a young age and is quite proud of being Borg, with no desire to Become A Real Girl. By the final season however she is raising surrogate kids and cooking meals with the best of them.
  • Also subverted with Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine who claims that he will never forgive other changelings for putting him into a humanoid body.
  • Parodied (of course) by Red Dwarf, as Kryten wants to be able to lie and cheat like humans.

"Over the years I have managed to develop some serious character faults of which I'm extremely proud!"

  • Parodied in episode 507 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 "I Accuse My Parents," in which Tom Servo decides he wants to be a real boy, and repaints himself Caucasian pink. Also in episode 610, "The Violent Years" Tom replaces his dome with an extremely disturbing ventriloquist's dummy head. The name of the trope also comes from an earlier episode when they were reading about Data in a magazine.
  • Nick Knight the vampire from Forever Knight.
  • Similarly, Mick St. John the Vampire Detective Series in Moonlight.
  • Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows, yet another of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. (He predates Angel and Nick Knight.)
  • And Varney the Vampire pre-dates even Barnabas by over a century, though he sure as hell wasn't a Friendly Neighborhood anything. Heck, he was a rotten neighbor, period.
  • And for the final member of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire pack, Angel. At least, when he wasn't Complete Monster Angelus.
  • Mack from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, about five seconds after finding out.
  • The Cylons from the new Battlestar Galactica series designed themselves as (nearly) humans and try to procreate in the human way, rather than building new copies.
    • Inverted by Cavil, Cylon Model Number One, who loathes his humanity, and The Five for making him human. He just wants to be a real robot.
  • Being Human (UK) has this concept as its basic premise with a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf trying to find some level of normality.
  • An interesting variant occurs in Stargate Atlantis with a group of Replicators who want to ascend. They don't want to be human initially, but eventually come to realize that ascension is only possible for mortals (they are essentially high-tech machines) and so set out to become human.
  • Ankh of Kamen Rider OOO gets hit with this late in the series, after having spent most of it latched onto a human body. He doesn't necessarily want to be human, but he wants to truly be alive and able to enjoy things and feel satisfaction instead of being cursed with the insatiable desire that is common to all the Greeed.
    • Hajime of Kamen Rider Blade, resulting in Kenzaki giving up his own humanity so that Hajime can continue living as a human.

Tabletop RPG

  • The overriding goal of the player's characters in the role-playing game Promethean: The Created is to complete "the Great Work"—transforming from dismembered, animated corpses into human beings. This is actually possible (if very hard), making this one of the few examples of the trope where the goal can be achieved in the end. Sadly, achieving that goal almost invariably involves creating more of your kind, an endeavor in which success is immoral, and failure is... undesirable.
  • Maligno, the "carrionette" darklord of Odiare in the Ravenloft D&D setting, thought he was the real son that Giuseppe created him to be, but the parents of the children he entertained destroyed his delusion. In revenge, Maligno murdered them with the help of other animated toys.
  • The "Transformed Animal" archetype in Feng Shui are animals that managed to become humans (or their offspring, in later Junctures) because being human offers better opportunities. However they fear magic since it may cause them to revert to animal form, which spells the end for the character as far as playability goes. In other words, they've all become "real boys", and just want to avoid going back.
  • In their current incarnation in Warhammer 40,000, there are several Necron who are looking for ways to become mortal again after having survived as robots for a very long time.

Video Games

  • This is the goal for most of Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts II, although they were humans before losing their hearts. The leader, Xemnas, instead would rather become a "great being", just like every other incarnation of Xehanort.
  • Xenosaga inverts this with Ziggy, who used to be human, but is now mostly robot. He wants the rest of him to be robot too.
  • Aigis of Persona 3. She gradually does become more human as the game goes on in terms of personality.
  • Sora in Ever 17, complete with its very own reference to the Pygmalion Plot. She's a little worse off than many of the characters here: She doesn't even have a body. No really, she doesn't.
  • In World of Warcraft's new expansion, Cataclysm, the Worgen of Gilneas have developed a cure to allow them to retain their humanity while transformed into their Werewolf forms, but are still looking for a way to get rid of the curse completely.
  • While part of Yomiel's deal with the blue people in Ghost Trick is for revenge, he also wants them to find some way to have an artificial life. His real dream is to grow old in a society that accepts him and die surrounded by loving family, rather than "living" forever as a ghost in isolation.
  • The goal of Daniella in Haunting Ground is to become "complete". Understandable, given that she's a homunculus. But in order to do that, she's got to slice open the protagonist to get her Azoth first...
  • The villain of Comix Zone has liberated himself from the comic book he was formerly a character in, but is still a 2-D drawing. In the Game Over sequence, the death of his creator embodies him in true flesh and blood, giving him the potential to Take Over the World.
  • One possible ending of Dragon Age reveals that Shale the golem plans to seek a way to become a dwarf again, which she once was, despite her frequently expressed disdain for "soft, squishy" beings.
  • In the first chapter of Dragon Quest IV, Healie the healslime wants to become a human. He reasons that since he wants to become human, if he hangs around humans, he'll become one so he joins Ragnar on his quest. It actually works and he leaves Ragnar to start his own life after Ragnar joins the hero/heroine in the fifth chapter.
  • In a very extended version of the ending to Mischief Makers, Marina is turned into a real girl.


  • Humorously subverted in a letter to Ask Dr Eldritch: a robot writes in to ask why everyone around him thinks he secretly desires to be human, when he's actually quite satisfied with being a robot, something he considers to be far better than being human.
  • Grace from El Goonish Shive went through this between the Painted Black and Birthday Party arcs by refusing to use her abilities to shapeshift from her full human form. She was still willing to use other means to transform i.e. via the Transformation Ray Gun and only used her abilities to transform back to human when she was told it was the only way to do so and even then she only used them reluctantly.
  • The "Suicide Fairies" from Gunnerkrigg Court need to be killed by someone else in order to pass some manner of test in order to become human. This is apparently something that happens with reasonable frequency among the creatures of the Gillitie Wood, although why they want to become human is something the comic has yet to explore. There's also an inverse version; humans can take a test to become creatures of the wood, although in their case it apparently doesn't involve getting killed.

Web Original

  • In the Paradise setting, humans are randomly, permanently transformed into Funny Animals. Pinocchio Syndrome affects most characters after the Change, especially the ones who changed gender at the same time. One particularly poignant case affects Christopher Mattiaz, a character from MatthiasRat's stories, who changed genders six days after getting married and hasn't been able to be intimate with his wife for the past two years at the time the story begins.

Western Animation

  • Subverted by Futurama where Bender's transformation into a human in a comedic What If episode was disastrous.
  • Jenny in My Life as a Teenage Robot, despite the fact that without her powers Earth would have been enslaved and/or destroyed dozens of times. (But you can't expect her to think rationally, she's a teenager after all.)
  • Spot/Scott in Teachers Pet.
  • The version of Mega Man seen in Captain N: The Game Master.
  • Brainiac 5 becomes a Real Boy (...somehow) in the finale of Legion of Super Heroes season two, after he defeats the Brainiac 1 programming within him. The fact that he was already a Mechanical Lifeforms was actually lampshaded: "I was emotional as a robot, can you imagine me as a human?"
  • The four main characters of Street Sharks spend some of their time trying to figure out a way to get turned human again. Mostly they seem more concerned with finding their dad though. Also, when they did find a cure in one episode, they ultimately chose to turn back into sharks to continue to fight crime.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 (the first animated series) had an episode where the Turtles found tainted cookies that would've turned them human. Michelangelo swipes some because he was sick of being treated like a freak by the people of New York. Of course his brothers had to turn him back because the transformation would've eventually killed him.
    • As he was Hamato Yoshi in this version, Splinter wishes to return to human form and does in "Splinter No More". After he mutates back into a rat and realizes Humans Are the Real Monsters, he no longer has the desire.
  • Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot, the main character Rusty is turned into a human boy by a villain in one episode. Unfortunately this means he has to deal with pain when trying to fight, when his normal catch phrase is "No pain receptors!" He's glad to be back to full robot at the end of the episode.