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"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real."

When one or more characters invest a lot of love and energy into an inanimate object, it comes to life in response thanks to The Power of Love. It's usually a Pinocchio type situation where it's still not an organic, living being, but it's now animate in the Living Toy or "Disney talking furniture" sense. Living Toys usually have this as the backstory for why they're, well, living toys. Usually the newly animated object doesn't need more love in a Gods Need Prayer Badly sort of way, but they all usually reciprocate the feeling of love with their "parent" and would be saddened if they stopped being loved (or worse, were treated as freaks for being alive).

The now living object/person may want to Become a Real Boy, but usually doesn't suffer from all-out Pinocchio Syndrome. In some cases the newly living object/person stays on the level of Empathic Weapon, never outright sapient, but now a character in their own right.

Compare Spontaneous Generation. See also A Boy and His X (this trope being what creates the X).


Examples:


Anime and Manga

  • This is used in The Cat Returns. The slightly inappropriately named Cat Bureau is where all the creations of artists who were dearly loved come to life when the sun goes down.
  • Bleach uses this to define "spirit particles" and spiritual abilities. It's explicitly stated that "Fullbrings" (like what Chad has) are created by a soul developing a powerful connection with the soul of another thing. (In Orihime's case, the hairpins her brother gave her, and in Chad's case, his own skin.) This is also implied to be what allows zanpakutou (a Soul Reaper's Empathic Weapon) to be sentient.
  • This is, at least partially, how the dolls of Rozen Maiden come to life and stay that way.

Film

  • The movie May spends its third act with the titular May assembling a "friend" named Amy out of the most beautiful body parts of people she knows. After she plucks out her own eye it moves an arm to stroke her face. Given May's state of mind at this point, it is debatable as to whether Amy really has come to life, or if it is merely a hallucination.
  • This is played for Horror in the Czech movie Little Otik.
  • In The Love Bug, it was implied that this was how Herbie (the eponymous car) developed a mind of his own.

Literature

  • The premise of The Velveteen Rabbit: The boy loves his rabbit toy so much that he regards it as not just a toy, but real. And, in the end, it is.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love he states that love is the reason a computer goes from merely extremely powerful to A.I. It "comes alive" because someone loves it (rather him/her, that's part of the reason, treating the computer as more than "it").

Live Action TV

  • There is an episode of Doctor Who with a scientist who thought he was real, but was actually a robot with a bomb in his chest. To stop the bomb, the Doctor needed to trigger human emotions in him to "prove to the universe" that he wasn't just a robot (or some such guff). The Doctor tries appealing to his sense of pain and loss. It fails, mystifying the Doctor. Fortunately his companion steps in and takes the Love approach. It works.
    • Also happens in Doctor Who during the 11th Doctor when Amy Pond's love for Rory alters reality and turns him from a robot version of himself into a real version, sorta mostly.

Mythology

  • In the poet Ovid's The Metamorphoses, one of his poems tells the story of Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion was a sculptor who creates a beautiful ivory statue called Galatea. He falls in love with the statue, and eventually Venus brings her to life for him. Bonus points that it's literally love that brings her to life, since it was Venus who did it.

Religion and Philosophy

  • Animism is based around the concept that every object has a soul, and that some objects "gain" more "power' by being closely affiliated with another thing or entity. For example, a rock flowing down a river will have its "soul" intertwined with that of the water. A human who comes to heavily rely on weapon will have their souls become almost one, and so on.

Visual Novels

  • The Arc Words of Umineko no Naku Koro ni are "Without love, it cannot be seen." Although those words come to mean several things over the course of the series, one of them is the way in which magic can be used to create furniture. This is most seen in Maria's (and Rosa's) creation of Sakutaro. However, it takes on a particularly cruel meaning in Yasu's creation of Shannon, Kanon, and Beatrice.

Western Animation

  • In Frosty's Winter Wonderland, this is how Crystal comes to life. It is also how Frosty comes back to life after Jack Frost blows off his hat.
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