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7 Truly Gruesome Body Transformations

by Lynzee Loveridge,

When you picked your New Year's Resolution this year, did you consider the possibility of turning into amorphous flesh monster? How about being possessed by an alien that restructures your cells so you can grow biological weapons at will? These are important scenarios to consider if you're trying not to become the protagonist of a body-horror series in 2016. The seven characters below failed, but you can learn from their mistakes.

Also, while Rei's transformation in End of Evangelion definitely qualifies, I didn't include it this time around simply because the film has appeared in a high number of these lists. Probably more so than any other work.

7. Eureka (Eureka Seven) Although humanoid in appearance, Eureka is a unique Scub Coral, a type of intelligent lifeform that usually look like scary, flying squids. Eureka has the ability to communicate and in one instance, almost assimilates with the Scub Coral deep within a mine. The incident leaves Eureka completely pink and covered scabby-looking growths. The crew has to call in a priest to heal Eureka. The merging with the scub coral is foreshadowing to a later event when Eureka would transform again, albeit under positive circumstances and with less pink scabs.

6. Dr. Osanai & The Chairman (Paprika) Satoshi Kon's final film is full of strange settings and confused identities. The story takes place mostly in the world of a dreams, where Doctor Atsuko Chiba uses new technology to enter people's minds as her alter-ego, Paprika. Through abuse of the technology, reality and the dreamworlds began to merge as do characters Dr. Osanai and the hospital Chairman. Sharing a singular body with two heads, they argue about what to do with Chiba. Their arm turns into a twisted mass of fleshy tentacles. When Chiba escapes with her cop and patient Konakawa Toshimi, Osanai-Chairman gives chase but is eventually shot, Osanai's head bursting into a swarm of blue butterflies.

5. Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul) Ghouls are typically born, not made, but Ken Kaneki finds himself transforming into one after an operation puts a Ghoul's kakuhō in his body. This starts Kaneki's terrifying transformation, as one eye blackens and he discovers that all human food tastes horrible. He rejects his desire to consume human flesh but it's only a matter of time. A ghoul's gotta eat. This isn't Kaneki's final form though, as he's eventually captured and tortured by Yamori. The stress turns Kaneki's hair white, but it also did a number on his personality. The previously quiet, self-sacrificing Kaneki embraces his ghoul side to became an unforgiving, brutal fighter.

4. Eren (Attack on Titan) Eren's transformation into a Titan is pretty horrifying. After injuring himself, he rapidly takes on a height of 15m, a gaping jaw, and muscular physique. Other titans are even more hideous, lacking skin entirely to became destructive, man-eating giants of tendons and muscles. Transforming back can leave behind skeletal remains and other organic matter.

3. Shinichi (Parasyte) Shinichi Izumi makes it out pretty lucky by only having a morally ambiguous transforming hand after his body is invaded by an alien parasite. The rest of the victims aren't so lucky. The parasite instead makes its way to the host's brain, replacing their personality with a cold, ravenous predator. The changes to their demeanor and appetite are only the tip of the iceberg, since the parasites are able to manipulate the human forms themselves. Mouths open like flowers full of teeth and muscle-exposed arms ending with blades spurt from anywhere on their body.

2. Gluttony (Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa) Gluttony has a cartoony appearance, even for anime. He's a pot-bellied bald guy with a bulbous nose that could easily be related to J. Wellington Wimpy. Gluttony doesn't have an insatiable desire for hamburgers, though. It's humans he prefers to eat. The Homunculus makes a startling transformation in the Conqueror of Shamballa film, having abandoned his simpler form for a giant, multi-limbed monster. Fleshy tentacles all end in sharp-toothed mouths with mouth heads protruding on Gluttony's back and multiple arms.

1. Tetsuo (Akira) Tetsuo's "evolution" into a massive, bursting infant of flesh is one of Akira's many cringe-worthy moments, right next to the weird, milk-bleeding stuffed animals and prematurely aged psychic children. Tetsuo's newly gained psychic powers became increasingly powerful and are only matched by their wielder's rage for being looked down upon by other members of the motorcycle gang and adults. He begins to lose control until his powers can no longer be contained within a corporal form. His body grows a series of masses that overwhelm Tetsuo and even other humans as they continually burst and swell.

The new poll: What is the cutest anime mascot?

The old poll: How many manga series did you buy in 2015?

  1. 0 14.0%
  2. 1-2 17.4%
  3. 3-5 23.4%
  4. 6-9 15.3%
  5. 10-15 12.1%
  6. 15-20 5.1%
  7. 20+ 12.1%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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