Metamorphosis is a theme that permeates anime. The process excites viewers and sometimes leaves them in awe. It’s that amazing moment when the protagonist or antagonist of the story goes through a transformation so distinct it leaves you speechless. Over the years, there have been many extreme anime transformations which you can’t help but watch more than once.
Often when viewers think of a character transforming, the image of a magical girl transforming into a colorful warrior might pop to mind. While these enchanting sequences can be enjoyable, anime character transformations aren’t limited to the magical girl genre. In fact, there are many great titles that show anime characters who transform into something more sinister, unusual, or just plain ol' bonkerballs nuts. You're not going to find anything cutesy on this list, unless your perception of "cute" is way outside normal parameters. In which case, you know what, good for you! It takes all kinds of fruit to make a salad.
Ichigo Kurosaki possesses Shinigami (or Soul Reaper) powers that allow him to lay souls to rest and fight dangerous lost souls called Hollows. Ichigo, confusingly, also has Hollow blood running through his veins. When Ichigo is battling against Ulquiorra, he gets a massive hole blown in his chest. Instead of dying, Ichigo calls upon his Zanpakuto (his magic sword) to obtain more power.
However, he ends up calling his Hollow powers instead, allowing his inner demon to take over and transforming him into a Vasto Lorde (the strongest of the Hollow castes). Upon changing into this Hollow form, Ichigo’s appearance changes as well; he grows longer hair, gains insane muscular definition, and wears a menacing twisted horned mask.
Naruto Uzumaki is a skilled fighter and ninja. In this story, he's mastering the art of "jinchuriki," which gives him the ability to connect with his tailed beast’s chakra. Proficiency in this talent allows him to transform into a powerful vulpine creature, increasing his power, strength, and granting him various beast-like abilities.
When Naruto transforms, he’s able to take on the chakra form of a red, fox-like creature fortified with thick bone armor. Oh, and he's massive. Out of his many tailed beast’s transformations, the Nine-Tailed Fox is the most menacing and destructive.
Kanike Ken was once a normal university student with a gentle nature. However, his life changed after a transplant in which an organ called a kakuhou was placed into his body. He transformed into a half-ghoul, half-human creature with one eye.
Although Kanike undergoes a series of mental and physical transformations throughout the series, his Centipede transformation is an extreme form that alters his appearance the most drastically. This transformation stems from psychological issues created when Kanike was captured and tortured. While transformed into Centipede, Kanike becomes a merciless killer and grows red insect-like arms that protrude from his back.
Alucard is a "true blooded" vampire that works with the Hellsing Organization, fighting against evil forces and other vampires. Able to summon fell powers, Alucard can achieve frighteningly hellish forms that help him do his bidding. One such fearsome transformation is a demonic beast known as a Hellhound.
In a battle against Luke Valentine, Alucard calls upon his dark powers to transform most of his body into a hellish storm of vicious fanged beasts, demonic eyes, and a brightly glowing fire. Mixed in the darkness and confusion of elements, he is almost unrecognizable as his body phases in and out of a recognizable, definitive form. This is especially apparent when Alucard is in a full rage. This gruesome transformation leaves nothing of an opponent but a pulp of flesh and blood.