17 Animorphs Storylines Guaranteed To Give You Night Terrors

Voting Rules
Vote up the dark moments from Animorphs that would surely scar any kid for life.

Animorphs is one of those series that probably would have faded into obscurity were it not for its intense commitment to leaning as hard into darkness as possible. This isn't the happy, everything's-okay-in-the-end world of many other popular YA series. There are a lot of weird things you forgot about Animorphs , and no, the fact that one of the main characters is permanently trapped as a red-tailed hawk isn't one of them. Amongst all the teen drama and thermal riding, there are some seriously dark moments in Animorphs . That wild streak, as much as nostalgia and genuine heart, is part of the reason fans are still talking about the series today.

Animorphs wasn't afraid to take itself pretty seriously for a book about teens transforming into animals to stop alien invaders. That's precisely why there are so many messed up moments from the Animorphs series: it was fully locked into its reality, meaning all the gross parts, the frightening scenarios, and the tragedy are presented with honesty. These books are as emotional as they are absolutely bonkers, all because author K. A. Applegate committed to a premise that could have easily been silly.

  • 1
    563 VOTES

    An Ant Becomes A Human And Can't Stop Screaming

    Turning into animals isn't always fun. The Animorphs struggle with ant and termite morph hiveminds, while a Taxxon morph makes them ravenously hungry. But in The Hidden, readers see the reverse happen: an ant walks across the Blue Box, gaining the ability to morph. The result is horrific, as the ant has also acquired Cassie and begins to morph into some awful combination of the two. It starts screaming and can't stop, overwhelmed with the sense of being an individual for the first time in its life. In the end, Cassie is forced to stomp out a creature that looks something like her.

    563 votes
  • 2
    437 VOTES

    Rachel Is Almost Eaten Alive By Ants

    In The Forgotten, the Animorphs travel to the jungle to retrieve a Yeerk Bug fighter and expose the creatures' existence to the world. Only this is Animorphs, so nothing goes well. Rachel, in grizzly bear form, is knocked out during a fight with Hork-Bajir, and collapses on top of an anthill. The ants swarm her, trying to eat her alive while she's unable to fight back, filling her ears and tearing flesh from her body. Jake eventually stops their assault by tearing Rachel's flesh off himself and placing it in front of another anthill, leading the two hives to fight each other for just long enough that Rachel is able to wake up and demorph.

    437 votes
  • 3
    476 VOTES

    Five Kids Trap Another Kid On An Island And Leave Him As A Rat

    The entire David subplot of Animorphs is seriously dark, but it culminates in The Solution in a scene that's so messed up it's impossible to forget. David joins the Animorphs as a sixth member when it's discovered he found the Blue Box and gained the power to transform. But he turns on the group when things don't go his way, attempting to eliminate most of them before ultimately being outwitted. They convince him to transform into a rat, and Rachel lures him to an abandoned rock out in the ocean. There, he's trapped in a cage for long enough that he becomes stuck in the morph. The Animorphs listen to his anguished, angry screams until the clock runs out and they can leave him there, a human trapped in a rat's body for the rest of his life.

    476 votes
  • 4
    330 VOTES

    Tobias Watches His Father Be Devoured By An Alien

    Though readers don't know it at the beginning of the series, Tobias is actually the son of Prince Elfangor, the Andalite who gives the kids their ability to morph. And while that scene is great, it's also incredibly traumatic. Shortly after they meet Elfangor, the kids have to watch him be devoured by Visser Three, with the Andalite screaming into their minds as he dies. So when Tobias discovers that Elfangor was actually his father in The Pretender , it's a double shock – not only is his father dead, but Tobias watched his father perish to save him and his friends.

    330 votes
  • 5
    294 VOTES

    Kids Committing Genocide Is Just A Fact Of Life

    The heroes of Animorphs have to make some horrific choices over the course of the series, but the number of times they commit genocide is more than anybody – let alone a group of teens – should ever have to endure. The Animorphs are frequently responsible for wiping out entire pools of Yeerks, with Jake personally being responsible for the deaths of 17,000 by dumping them into space, an action that is brought up as a war crime in his testimony against Visser One. In The Extreme , the group encounters the Venber, a species hunted almost to extinction. In the end of the book, they lure them to a hangar and let them expire. And in In the Time of Dinosaurs , Tobias is tasked with choosing to save humanity or save a race of other intelligent beings, with his choice ultimately wiping out the other species. Naturally, he chooses his own species.

    294 votes
  • 6
    269 VOTES

    The Alternative Universes Are Even Worse

    The world of Animorphs is cold and cruel, and it's hard to imagine this band of teens could go through anything worse. But readers don't have to imagine that: the alternate universes the Animorphs end up in are arguably worse than the one they truly occupy.

    The darkest is in Megamorphs #3: Elfangor's Secret. Jake's a neo-Nazi, Cassie owns slaves, and Rachel's trapped in a re-education camp. But that's not all. The Animorphs readers know have to stop this horrible universe from occurring, and in the process Jake is shot in the head and dies in front of everybody, which, because of a prophecy, makes the rest of them immortal.

    269 votes