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File:Unrobotic reveal 2291.png

Inversion of the Robotic Reveal, where a machine that was assumed to be a robot turns out to hold a Man in the Machine or some other living creature powering or controlling it. A Mobile Suit Human may allow this trope to be preceded by a Robotic Reveal as a Red Herring as there's a lot of machinery to expose before the actual pilot is revealed.

Examples of Unrobotic Reveal include:


  • Happens twice in Neon Genesis Evangelion, first with the Evas and then with the dummy plugs: the former are cloned Angel-like beings and the latter are Rei's clones.
  • In Steamboy, Mecha-Mooks turned out to be soldiers in Power Armor, this aids in a Heel Face Turn.
  • Trigun: in the anime Gray the Ninelives (one of the Gung-Ho Guns) was a robot, but in the original manga it was indeed powered by nine dwarfish creatures inside it.
    • Also, the Plants, which seem to be giant power generators shaped like lightbulbs but are actually humanoid aliens inside giant containers.
  • Happens in Eureka Seven as well, when the archetypes of the Nirvash (and therefore all other LFOs) are revealed to be organic lifeforms.
  • This is the twist in one of the DOLLS manga stories. A woman abuses her "Doll" horribly throughout the story, and flips out when said "Doll" develops an interest in a young man. The "Doll" finally has enough and shows the woman the blood from the injuries inflicted by her and forces her to face reality -- she is the woman's totally human daughter. The woman had been gangraped in her youth and the "Doll" was the result of that. The woman imagined that she had aborted her baby and replaced her with a Doll in an attempt to cope with her trauma.

Comic Books

  • In a Donald Duck story, Scrooge McDuck fires his old butler, and asks Gyro Gearloose to build him a new, Robotic Butler instead, believing it would be more reliable, as well as less expensive. Gyro initially delivers, but Scrooge keeps making demands for expanded features, demanding that the robot — like his old butler — be able to talk, and provide insightful commentary on day-to-day matters. Gyro is stumped, but the problem gets solved when he runs across the old, laid-off butler, who wants nothing more than to get his job back. Final solution: Gyro disguises the butler as a new robot, and the "rental and service fee" for the robot is just about the same as the butler's old salary... the butler gets his job back, and Scrooge thinks he has an infallible robot.
    • Done another time with Donald ruining Gyro's robot and subsequently dressing in silver-painted box-suit to "impersonate" it. Unfortunately for him, Gyro intended to sell the robot for heavy-duty labour. Of course, the reason Donald borrowed it in the first place was that he wanted to avoid doing household chores.
  • In the first arc of Jack Staff, robot superhero Tom-Tom the Robot Man turns out to be a paralysed teenage girl in Power Armour.


  • In House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, an amnesiac android named Hesperas is revealed to be at least partly human underneath his robotic shell. This surprises even him, since he can't remember anything.

Live Action TV

  • Daleks in Doctor Who.
  • Tenaya7 in Power Rangers RPM.
  • An internal example occurred in Sliders, where rogue robots were being collected. Two of the sliders were only discovered when they were attacked with hand-to-hand combat, and the robots noticed the blood.
  • The pilot episode of Barney and Friends had a scene where a robot made from cardboard boxes and a teapot for a head enters a classroom, and as a result it, Barney, and the children start singing a song about a robot that's sung to the tune of "I'm A Little Teapot." (what makes this even more obvious is the fact that the aforementioned robot's head is a teapot) When the song ends, the robot opens up, revealing it to be one of the children that are with Barney.


  • The last stanza of "Boten Anna".
  • This is how Kilroy escapes from prison in Styx's "Mr. Roboto" -- he kills a robot guard and wears its casing.

Video Games

  • Militron from Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon: "Oh, my goodness! This is awful!"
    • Ocarina of Time features an Animated Armour Aversion with the Iron Knuckle fought before the boss of the Spirit Temple, upon its defeat it is revealed to be Nabooru.
  • KAOS from Donkey Kong Country 3 is being powered by an unwitting Donkey and Diddy Kong.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series games, Big Bad Doctor Eggman actually captures innocent animals and turns them into robotic henchmen. Defeating said henchmen will cause their robotic shells to come off, setting the animal inside free.
  • In Gokujou Parodius, the Moon's boss first appears as a kimono-clad bunny girl, which mechanically breaks apart as she gets damaged, only to reveal herself as a puppet maneuvered by a couple of penguins.
  • Played for horror with the golems of Dragon Age, who used to be dwarves until a Mad Scientist encased them in rock and poured molten lyrium through the slits in the case until they stopped screaming.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Happens in Futurama, in a horror movie for robots.
    • Also spoofed in "Amazon Women In The Mood", where the Femputer that ruled the planet Amazonia turned out to be operated by a fembot, who in turn had escaped from a planet ruled by a male bot operating a male computer. Leave it to the geeks at Futurama to have a machine pretending to be a different machine.

  "Do you have any idea what it's like being a fembot in a manbot's manputer's world?"

    • Also played with in "Insane in the Mainframe" where Fry is released from the Institution for Criminally Insane Robots after being brainwashed into believing himself to be a robot. After everyone else's attempts to convince him of his obvious fleshiness fail, a bleeding cut on his arm snaps him out of it.
  • The Simpsons’ parody of Robot Wars: After completely failing to build a battlebot, Homer covers himself in armour plating and enters the arena himself.
  • On one Looney Tunes short, Wile E. Coyote consulted a computer to find ways of capturing Bugs Bunny, all of which fail. At the end the computer opens up and out comes...

 Bugs Bunny: Of course, the real beauty of this machine is that it has only one moving part.

  Butters: Hey! Robots don't fart!

Real Life

  • The Turk was an automaton, made in 18th century France, that was widely touted to be able to beat any human at Chess. Of course, people later found out that it was completely unable to function without a human chess master hiding inside and manipulating the arms.
    • If it makes you feel any better, the chess master had to be a midget.
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