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Shapeshifting comes in a lot of forms (in every pun-laden sense of the word). Most shapeshifters, however, stick to using a single concrete form at a time; this is true even if they swap shapes quickly during a Shapeshifter Showdown, or when truly skilled shapeshifters mix-and-match elements of their alternate form with their normal human form.
Sometimes, though, a shapeshifter gets the idea that if more is better, why limit themselves to just one shape at a time? Why not transform into all of their forms, all at the same time, and become the ultimate Shapeshifter Weapon?
Long story short, It Got Worse.
This attempt at creating a unique One-Winged Angel Super Mode will tend to encounter a slight problem: Instead of merging the best elements of their various forms into one sleek and awesome Hybrid Monster, it will literally combine and merge their various forms together, producing a chimeric Biological Mashup that only an Eldritch Abomination could appreciate. It may feature one head from each form; all the arms, claws, paws, legs, Combat Tentacles, fur, scales, and Body Horror that goes along with them; a half-dozen mismatched wings, and -- like the proverbial cherry on top -- the original head and/or upper torso of their Shapeshifter Default Form.
Despite the patchwork nature of this form, it does still have some advantages. Like the power of intimidation, its supermassive size, and an Anatomy Arsenal stocked with every variety of Breath Weapon known to man (if not more), and can easily wipe out entire armies that approach anywhere within its Instant Death Radius.
However, the drawbacks are just as significant: because Monstrosity Equals Weakness, this form likely has severe drawbacks over the individual component forms, and it's likely to be highly unstable or prone to catastrophic failure. If the shapeshifter can't keep focus he may enter a Superpower Meltdown where the Loss of Identity causes the body's components to attack each other, with the potential to become the very goriest of Shapeshifter Swan Songs.
Because of all the above drawbacks, this is sometimes used as a nasty Curse, typically a Baleful Polymorph that Mode Locks the victim. The independent body parts in this case are usually Guardian Entities outside of the victim's control, but won't attack him or her. They may however respond to his or her emotional cues, like a gorgon's snake hair or an owner's pets.
The Shapeshifter Mashup is usually the penultimate step in the Bishonen Line, right before a return to a humanlike appearance.
Compare and contrast Fusion Dance, where a single character combines multiple transformations to create a new form, and Partial Transformation, where the shapeshifter chooses to mix-and-match the various elements between two specific forms. This might be considered a gory way to demonstrate Hybrid Overkill Avoidance.
Anime and Manga
- In Bleach, the Arrancar Aaroniero Arruruerie has absorbed the powers of thousands of Hollows, and for his final attack in his released form he transforms into a monstrosity combining many of these powers.
- Raphaello in Bt'X exhibited traits of every living being it had absorbed.
- In Inuyasha, recurring enemy Naraku frequently uses a mash-up form of the demons he's assimilated. This is especially true during his periods of weakness (something all half-demons go through regularly) since he's stuck as a giant mass of organs and tentacles, overdoing this trope to the point that he can't really move around.
- Mr 2 Bon Clay from One Piece once used a mash-up of the most ridiculous facial features he knew during his fight against Sanji, in an attempt to throw him off-guard with laughter. Unfortunately, 90% of said features are his.
- Aptom from Guyver can (quite graphically) absorb zoanoids into himself, gaining their individual power, form or if he wants to can combine the best traits from all those he has 'eaten' into one superior body.
- In DC Nation, Fauna can use this trick, but it's quite difficult, and runs the risk of turning her feral.
- The Thing's final form is this.
- Happens to Marco in Animorphs, "The Proposal" when he gets emotional over his dad's remarriage. He morphs a skunk/spider cross and a poodle/polar bear cross at various points.
- Ephaniah Grebe in Septimus Heap is a product of Shapeshifter Mashup. He was turned into a rat by a rogue Darke spell, and while the Witch Mother Morwenna Mould managed to revert part of the spell, he is now stuck in a half-rat-half-human body shape.
- Krahka attempts to become a fusion of the Toa Metru in Bionicle, but she is unable to control their combined powers.
- Also done by the Makuta, on two occasions: first, he fused with three other characters, and ended up being a monstrous combination of their features (In the comics, books and his toy-form, at least. Subverted in The Movie, where they simply slapped wings to his pre-existing animation model.) The second example is his Alternate Universe-self, who merged with his entire Brotherthood, to become the only living Makuta.
- A common theory about Metroid Fusion is that the SAX's penultimate form is this.
- Kefka in Final Fantasy VI has a half dozen penultimate bosses who are all merged into a grotesque spire of amalgamated shapes.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Hojo's form in the second stage of his boss battle appears as nightmarish conglomeration of himself and his two minions from the first stage (to the extent that his limbs can still be targeted separately). By the third stage, he's got a full-on One-Winged Angel form going and looks human from the waist up again.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's Scylla, as pictured above.
- In El Goonish Shive a shapeshifter engaged in the telekinetic grapple with a monster to prevent it from killing her friends. Her friend reminded that she passed out after doing this before and urged to switch to "a better form for this" if she can. One bout of panic, instinctive shape change and messy explosion later--
Sarah: Um... uh, what form is this?
Grace: (looking at herself) ...well... if i had to guess, i'd say... all of them?" ...but it didn't include all her innate forms yet.
- After this point Grace could engage in this with any or all of her forms on a whim .
- Kevin of Ben 10 turns into one of those in the episode "Framed". During it, he has all the transformations Ben has due to draining energy from the Omnitrix in the previous season, 'and he can do Partial Transformation. After taking enough damage and after an insult, he's locked in said mashup form. The result is a conglomerate of all ten forms and his own hair...
- Invoked in an episode of Batman Beyond, where Terry's facing the genetic engineer responsible for the splicing craze, who's injected himself with the DNA of three forms to become an apex predator. Terry then injects him with a whole fistful of syringes, and... hoo boy.
- Alpha of Men in Black The Series is a former human who's taken to tearing parts of various aliens and grafting them to his own body to become a superior being. At his most benign, he's an old man that can sprout about a dozen tentacles on a second's notice. At his most extreme, it's impossible to tell that the thing you're looking at was ever a human.
- ↑ of part of the monster