Anime is full of incredible powers. There are characters who can summon elementals, cast spells, shoot energy beams, breath fire, fly, teleport, and perform many other otherworldly feats. One of the most powerful but underrated abilities in anime is shape shiftingthe ability to transform one’s body into something else.
Shapeshifting is relatively common in anime, but there are as many versions of shapeshifting as there are shapeshifters. Some can only transform into objects or animals, whereas others can transform into anything they want. Some characters can transform at will, while others must meet rigid requirements. Because of these variables, some shapeshifters are more memorable than others. Here are some of the musticonic shape shifters in anime.
8 Ranze (Tokimeki Tonight)
With a vampire father and werewolf mother, it’s no wonder that Ranze Etoh of Tokimeki Tonight can shapeshift. Though Ranze once believed that she may not have any powers, she comes to learn that she can transform into a copy of anything by biting it. Being able to transform into objects as well as people makes her more versatile than many other anime shapeshifters.
At first, Ranze struggles with her power, especially when it comes to eating, since Ranze is just as capable of transforming into the foods she bites into as anything else. Ranze’s journey as a shapeshifting inTokimeki Tonight shows the challenges faced by a young character who hasn’t mastered their power, which is a welcome break from seeing the most powerful anime characters.
7 Akko (Himitsu No Akko-Chan)
Himitsu no Akko-chan is one of the earliest magical girl series, paving the way for Sailor Moon and other iconic franchises. In it, Akko buries her favorite mirror after breaking it, and a spirit from the Mirror Kingdom is so touched it gives her a magical mirror.
Akko’s mirror gives her the ability to transform into anything she wants, but if she transforms into a real person or object, she sometimes takes on unintended traits, such as when she copied someone in the hopes of learning English only to find out they spoke Spanish instead. The quirks caused by her magic mirror make Akko one of anime’s most interesting shapeshifters, though not its most powerful.
6 Melmo (Marvelous Melmo)
Melmo receives a gift from heaven after the death of her mother: red and blue transformation candies. One candy makes a person younger, while the other makes them older. Eating both candies together allows Melmo to alter her DNA and become any animal she wants.
Marvelous Melmo adds a twist to these transformations, however, since changing back to the character’s original form requires them to eat the candies. Melmo’s brother becomes trapped in his new form after transforming into a frog too small to eat the candies, evidence that just because a character gets power from a weird source doesn’t always mean they should use it.
5 Tony Tony Chopper (One Piece)
One Piece is one of the longest-running and most sprawling anime series, overflowing with eccentric characters. The Straw Hat Pirates’ doctor, Tony Tony Chopper, is the perfect example since he was once an ordinary reindeer until he ate the Hito Hito no Mi Devil Fruit which allowed him to take various forms.
His transformations (called Points) include Brain Point (his normal, chibi form), Walk Point (his reindeer form), Heavy Point (his human form), Guard Point (a glorified fur ball), and Monster Form. Having distinct transformation states each with their own names and clear identities helps distinguish Tony Tony Chopper from other shapeshifters, helping him stand out from the crowd in One Piece.
Envy can assume either the form of an existing person or an original persona of Envy’s design. Combined with the ability to copy the voices of others, this power makes Envy extremely dangerous in Full metal Alchemist. Envy is a homunculus, the embodiment of father’s envy, as his name implies. Envy is not only one of the most talented shapeshifters in anime but also one of the most dangerous.
His whole purpose is to cause suffering,making him evil whether or not he knows it, and since he can transform into anything that doesn’t exceed the size and weight of his true (gigantic) form, Envy can cause incredible destruction when he wants to, then transform into an inconspicuous person to disappear. He can even transform individual limbs into weapons rather than changing his entire body, making him perfect for combat.
3 Eren Yeager (Attack On Titan)
Attack on Titan is full of characters blessed (or cursed) with the ability to transform into gargantuan, people-chomping Titans, but the most iconic is series protagonist Eren Yeager. Eren can transform when injured, and he often triggers this transformation himself by biting his own hand.
Most anime treat shapeshifting as a coveted power, and though it is powerful in Attack on Titan,most characters would rather die than experience it. Eren’s role in the story changes a great deal from the beginning of the series to the end, but what remains the same is his willingness to go to extreme measures to accomplish his goals, and with the power of Titan Shifting at his disposal, there’s little that can stand in its way.
2 Goku (Dragon Ball)
Goku is a lot of things: martial artist, alien, and borderline god, but as a Saiyan he’s also a shapeshifter, imbued with the power to transform into a Great Ape. Saiyans only possess this ability while they have their tails, and Goku loses his in childhood, but the time he spends shifting between a smiley, ramen-eating kid to a mountain-smashing ape makes Goku’s shapeshifting unforgettable.
Transformations are nothing new in the dragon ball universe, with many characters changing form as they grow in power throughout the series. The Saiyan transformation into a Great Ape is different, however, radically changing the character’s size and physiology instead of just adding some sparks to their color and dyeing their hair.
1 Ditto (Pokemon)
Ditto looks like someone dipped a starfish in bubblegum, which makes it all the more impressive that this smiley pink pokemon is one of the most recognizable shapeshifters of all time. Goku may be a better-known character overall, but when it comes to shapeshifting, Ditto is the first character on most anime fans’ minds.
Ditto can change into objects as well as other Pokémon, though the specifics of what traits Ditto copies during its transformations (such as moves, stats, and weaknesses) change throughout the series. Everything about this adorable blob screams shapeshifter, including its minimalist, amorphous original form, helping make it the most iconic shapeshifter in anime.
More: Best Splatterpunk Horror Anime, Ranked