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How should I scare you?

The more dangerous form of Brainwashed, for everyone concerned.

A character is hypnotized/mind-controlled/whatnot and sent to kill their friends or do something similarly destructive.

This trope has been tested and busted by Myth Busters in regard to hypnosis; most hypnotists and hypnotherapists (and plenty of fictional villains, for that matter) agree that this kind of mind control through hypnosis isn't possible, as the subject must want to go through with the suggestion for it to work or, at least, have no good reason to object. Which means an alternate interpretation would be that the brainwashing victim wanted to go through with it, if "hypnosis" is used as the explanation for such behavior.

On the other hand, if a writer wants to convey that a Brainwashed and Crazy character is indeed such and got that way unknowingly or unwillingly and/or is acting against his or her own interests, the writer will not depict hypnosis as the method of mind control, because there are far more effective (and far more frightening) ways an individual can be manipulated and/or controlled to act in a harmful or dangerous manner. The Real Life Ur Example for this would be Nazi Germany, though a continuing situation of Domestic Abuse in Real Life is a far more common example.

Inverse of Heel Face Brainwashing. See also Mirror Morality Machine. May require Deprogramming to cure, if the mind-controller doesn't try to force them to break an Intrinsic Vow. Also may result in an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, ultimately resulting in a Dying as Yourself if they cannot be cured or freed and thusly must be destroyed, or kill themselves to spare their friends.

Examples of Brainwashed and Crazy include:

Anime & Manga

  • This is pretty much one of the main premises of Code Geass.
  • In the Majin Buu arc Dragonball Z, it is Vegeta who is brainwashed and made to fight against his former allies. The brainwashing also gives him a major power boost. In fact, that's why Vegeta decided to let Babidi take control of him: so that he could be on even ground with Goku at long last. He eventually manages to break free of the mind control, but the trope is subverted before then, as Vegeta reveals that he could break free at any time.
    • It is played in Dragon Ball GT when Baby controls almost all the Earth population. The only ones that weren't controlled were Goku, Pan, Mr. Satan, Majin Buu and Uub.
  • It happened several times in the Mazinger trilogy:
  • Chazz/Manjoume in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was brainwashed by the Society of Light and sent to force-recruit everyone else at the Academy, including his friends. Not quite the same, but considering the Society was an apocalyptic cult, it might as well be.
    • Happened to Misawa and Asuka as well. In Asuka's case, she was much more dangerous because she was serious about it, unlike Manjoume's "I've seen the light!" cult ranting. Meanwhile, Misawa released himself by realizing that what he thought he wanted wasn't what he really wanted after all. He thought he wanted to be taken seriously as a duelist, when his real gifts and strengths lay in the realm of duel physics. As soon as he stopped trying to be something he wasn't (a potential pro duelist), he was a lot happier and more confident with himself.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Marik brainwashes Jounouchi and Anzu. Marik released Anzu only when she put herself in a Death Trap and The Power of Friendship allowed Jounouchi to break free in his fight with Yugi. Only Anzu wasn't really cured just yet - what was left of Malik's real personality used her as a Soul Jar later, to contact his sister Isis.
      • And Bakura brainwashes Yugi's other friend Honda in the Millennium World Arc.
    • To a degree, also used by Pegasus against Kaiba. When Kaiba got ready to duel him, Pegasus showed him that he had captured and de-souled Mokuba... via making the kid come into their presences and hand Pegasus his deck, in front of a very upset Kaiba and the horrified Yuugi and his friends.
  • Ranma One Half: the super-ninja Konatsu is brainwashed by his Evil Stepmother (who bears a scary resemblance to Edward G Robinson) into attempting to kill Ranma. It is only the Power of Love that undoes it.
    • The Phoenix People are also able to use something like this (or possibly More Than Mind Control); they have magical eggs that they can throw at people, which then expand and envelop the person. When the egg is cracked open (it doesn't hatch otherwise, but thankfully seems to put the victim in a state of suspended animation), the victim "imprints" on the first person they see, becoming their helpless slave. Kiima does this to Shampoo and then orders her to kill Ranma. To her credit, Shampoo manages to ask Ranma to instead allow her to use one of the eggs on him, so that she won't have to fulfill her orders, but Ranma (understandably) refuses. She then attempts to get Ranma to have sex with her (whereas, up until now, she's always aimed for romance and at one point actually got offended when she was made out to be trying to seduce him), going so far as to threaten Akane Tendo's life to make this happen. Ranma cures her by sticking her in another egg, and Mousse then shows her a mirror, so she imprints on herself. She later cures Genma, who she had managed to capture in an egg of her own, by telling him to snap out of it.
  • This was the modus operandi of Goldie Musou in multiple arcs of the Gunsmith Cats manga. It's explained fairly well by her use of the drug Kerasine and her skills in hypnotism to convince her tools that their targets (ranging from complete strangers to beloved family) are possessed by demons, shapeshifting aliens bent on conquest, and the like. Indeed, the murders often cement her hold, by making a return to reality too painful for the subconscious to permit.
  • Naraku, the Big Bad of Inuyasha uses this on Action Girl Badass Normal Sango's brother Kohaku nearly every time he appears on the show.
    • This happens to poor Inuyasha an awful lot, given how many times he gets forced into his homicidal full demon form by various villains.
  • In Sailor Moon, Mamoru was at least twice brainwashed into doing this to the Senshi. in the Stars manga, Sailor Galaxia does this not only to him, but to all the Seishi who are mind-controlled to attack Usagi. It's important to note, however, that in the manga, it's made abundantly clear that the senshi are actually already dead.
    • Ami is also brainwashed in a R episode where she is made to think all of her friends hate her for being a nerd. She sees through the ploy and blasts the monster.
    • Also in Sailor Moon R, Chibiusa is brainwashed into attacking the rest of the cast, and is made to believe everyone hated her (thanks to the Big Bad altering her memories/taking out important bits of them).
    • In the Stars anime, Haruka and Michiru pretend that they are brainwashed by Galaxia to actually attempt to fight her (going as far as killing Setsuna and Hotaru with their own hands) but fail and ultimately die. This event is redone multiple times in the musical adaptations based on the Stars series.
    • In the live action version, Mercury is kidnapped by Kunzite and brainwashed, becoming Dark Sailor Mercury. She is later healed by Sailor Moon (with a My God, What Have I Done? moment included), with no memory of the events In the finale Mamoru takes the Queen Meteira into his body and thus is brainwashed by her.
    • There's also Professor Tomoe in the anime, who gets Brainwashed and Crazy as a consequence of a Deal with the Devil with Big Bad Pharaoh 90 to save Hotaru from death.
  • Mikoto Minagi in both incarnations of Mai-HiME. In the anime, she is controlled by a pendant similar to the one worn by her older brother Reito, who himself is possessed by the Obsidian Lord, and in the manga, she's possessed by one of the spores from Shiho's CHILD, and attacks the heroes as they attempt to rescue Mashiro from kidnappers. Talk about unlucky. In both versions, she is saved by a Cooldown Hug from Mai.
  • In GaoGaiGar FINAL, Guy is captured and chemically brainwashed into a berserk destroyer by the villains, placed in a copy of his Humongous Mecha GaoFighGar, and sicced on Sixth Ranger J along with similarly reprogrammed copies of the rest of the robot team. Right as Repli-GaoFighGar is about to Drop the Hammer on King J-Der, the Repli-Nakama resist the reprogramming and sacrifice themselves to stop Guy and give the remaining heroes a chance to get him back.
    • Hell, in the original series, all four of the machine kings are all subject to this trope, with all eventually getting redeemed some time into the show, with Primada and Polonaise suffering Redemption Equals Death sort of, while Pizza and Penchinon both get restored to their original forms, Soldato J and the main computer of the J-Ark, respectively.
  • Both the Crystal Saint (anime only) and Leo Aiolia in Saint Seiya. Their brainwashing was so through that it took death to release them. Crystal had to die, Aiolia had to see someone else die. Both cases end up in tears.
  • This is what happens to four of the main characters Gainer, Cynthia, Gauli and Sara in Overman King Gainer forcing the last main character, and the supporting cast to fight the Overdevil and them at the same time.
  • Kolulu and Koko fall under this trope in Konjiki no Gash Bell: the former has a psychotic personality that comes out when her bookkeeper reads spells, and latter becomes sadistic and evil because Zofis tampers with her heart, although he claims he couldn't have done it if the impulses weren't in Koko to begin with. He lies, as revealed after his defeat - the only difference between Koko and his other mind slaves, who had no memories of their time spent Brainwashed and Crazy, was special tampering intended to drive Koko mad with guilt by keeping all the horrible memories with her, in case she survives Zofis' defeat.
  • Played for laughs in Full Metal Panic, where Sousuke puts his high school rugby team through Training From Hell (fit for navy seals), which results in them becoming Brainwashed and Crazy killers that completely annihilate the other team. Heck, their eyes are even shown glowing red.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Ginga is brainwashed by the villains, and is then sent to kill her younger sister Subaru. In typical Nanoha fashion, she is subsequently cured of this by the application of a Wave Motion Gun at point-blank range.
  • Neo Roanoke in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny is yet another example, as he's truly Mu La Flaga from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, after having miraculously survived the utter annihilation of his mobile suit... in space. Go figure.
    • Stella, who is really just emotionally fragile and naive, but is brainwashed into freezing up or panicking whenever someone mentions death, and to calm down and absolutely trust anyone who vows to protect her. After being programmed and deprogrammed so many times by Phantom Pain, then Shinn, then Phantom Pain again, her main response now is to go crazy and panic over pretty much anything she even loosely relates to death. Which is bad if she's at the controls of a truly giant mecha with about fifty-bazillion Wave Motion Guns and no-one can talk her down.
  • Fushigi Yuugi is fond of this device.
  • Ikuto from Shugo Chara when controlled by his evil jerkass of a stepfather and forced to transform into Death Rebel. He's not necessarily crazy when brainwashed at first, just rather cold and emotionless. But, sadly, the control over him eventually escalates to he point where he's trying to murder his childhood friend Tadase and the girl he loves, Amu. Luckily, in more recent chapters of the manga (the anime hasn't gotten this far yet), he's shown to be back to normal thanks to Amu.
  • In the Kirby anime Knuckle Joe's father, a renowned Star Warrior, is kidnapped and brainwashed by Nightmare himself. He is sent to attack his former allies, and his best friend Meta Knight is forced to kill him.
  • Jellal, a massive expy from Fairy Tail, is made out in flashbacks of when he was a kid to be perfect hero material. He has a strong sense for justice, he risks everything for his friends, and he doesn't bow down to the enemies. At the time the story begins, though, he's trying to revive the Fairy Tail world equivalent of Voldemort using forbidden resurrection magic by sacrificing his childhood friend. Three guesses why.
  • Happens to Annabel during the Emerald arc of Pokémon Special.
    • Also in Pokemon Special, Blue during the RGB arc and revealed to be the reason that Bruno is in the Elite Four.
    • Arguably, also happens to Celebi in the fourth movie.
  • In the manga series Zodiac P.I., Lili's rival, Sirius, is brainwashed into trying to kill her, her friend, and her father. Finally broken thanks to both The Power of Love and the shock of cold water.
  • In Monster, Gillen hypnotizes Nina in order to draw out her childhood memories. She refuses to tell him anything, and attempts to strangle him for good measure.
  • In a Bleach filler arc, the zanpakuto of most or all of the soul reapers in Soul Society are turned against their masters by a rogue zanpakuto named Muramasa.
    • This happens to Rukia in the third movie thanks to Shizuku and Homura.
    • And this is also the modus operandi of one Shukuro Tsukishima, who does this via using his memory-altering powers to convince his victim that he's their dearest person ever.
  • All of Zaitel's followers in Space Carrier Blue Noah have been brainwashed into believing he is their savior.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Manga, Link befriends a baby dragon. Seven years later, Ganondorf brainwashes the dragon, and Link is forced to kill him.
    • It's not just any baby dragon. It's Volvagia.
  • Happens very briefly in most parts of any Slayers media, usually to townspeople. The most noteworthy are Rezo controlling Zelgadis during the first season, and Hellmaster Fibrizzo controlling Gourry during the second.
  • In Digimon Frontier, Kouichi is brainwashed by the Big Bad into believing that he is a digimon and into forgetting about his human life. Later on, Kouichi remembers that he's human, and Cherubimon has to start manipulating his emotions and memories.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, Kiriha is brainwashed for a while. Also, anyone hit by EB Emon's attack becomes brainwashed.
  • In Hekikai no AiON, the mushis infect a human host. The victims look normal but them become this when they take a look at Seine's face.


  • In Cable and Deadpool, Deadpool is brainwashed by the Black Box to kill the biggest threat to the public safety. After managing to convince Deadpool that this is not a) clowns; b) Simon Cowell; c) Galactus; or d) Karl Rove, Deadpool goes off to kill Cable, who he sees as the next biggest threat. After fighting Prester John and then going through several alternate universes in order to find (and save) that person, he then gets back and tells everyone that he was only looking for him to kill him. He is restrained until the others can remove the effects of the brainwashing.
    • If you understand DP at all, a), b), c) and d) shouldn't have been too much of a surprise.
  • In Y: The Last Man Yorick's sister Hero falls under the influence of Victoria, the man-hating cult leader of the Daughters of the Amazon, so much that she's prepared to kill her own brother, as well as shooting a young girl in the head on Victoria's order. Even after Victoria is killed Hero still has her voice inside her head.
  • An old World's Finest comic in which Batman is brainwashed into being a sadistic warder at a prison for Superman has him reflect that hypnotism cannot make anyone do something against their nature, before the narration explains "But this is super-hypnotism, of a kind never before experienced by anyone on Earth!" (It's almost a shame that this was written in the days of simpler storytelling, as a modern telling of the story would have it revealed that Batman would certainly be a warder on Superman's prison if he thought Superman went rogue...)
  • The brainwave scanner in the G.I. Joe comic was a feared—and painful—method of brainwashing. It could eventually be broken by a strong-willed individual, and if one was a master of the "Arashikage mind-set" one could free others as well.
  • After massive reader backlash, this explanation was used as a hasty Author's Saving Throw to explain the massive Face Heel Turn of Batgirl (Cassandra Caine).
  • This sort of thing seems to happen to Superman on semi-regular basis.
    • Probably the fact that Superman is glaringly not immune to magic and mental powers, coupled with the possibilities inherent in showing just how badass a character is by having him/her hold off frickin' Superman while at the same time giving the character in question a good reason for why they're fighting a good guy, makes this kind of story just too big a temptation for comic writers to resist.
  • Mr. Negative, a new Marvel villain on the block since Brand New Day, has this of a superpower to do to other people. Inverting their colour scheme, and having them proclaim glory for Mr. Negative while beating the tar out of others they're sent after.
  • Superboy gets a heavy case of this in Teen Titans, courtesy of his genetic progenitor Lex Luthor. Highlights include shaving his head, cutting an 'L' into his T-shirt, and kicking the shit out of the entire team.
  • Another Marvel example: A recent storyline in X-Factor concerned a villain using Brainwashed and Crazy assassins to kill targets—including a woman's own mother, Monet, and Shatterstar.
  • Lady Blackhawk was brainwashed by Killer Shark into becoming the villainous Queen Killer Shark in the Silver Age.
  • Thor has been turned against his allies many times over the years, usually delivering a Curb Stomp Battle until he comes to his senses.
  • This was used to explain why Cassandra Cain turned evil (thank you, DC). The alternative was that she CHOSE to be evil for unbelievably stupid reasons. Brainwashing it is!
  • In the Sonic The Hedgehog comics, this happens twice during the Iron Dominion arc: First, the Iron Queen uses her Magitek powers to take control of Monkey Khan and use him to destroy the Dragon Kingdom Freedom Fighters. Then, she uses those powers to reprogram NICOLE and use her to effortlessly take over New Mobotropolis. Khan was released by the Queen when she didn't need him anymore, and NICOLE was soon returned to normal by Sally (though she continued to pretend to be brainwashed for awhile).
    • And earlier, during the "Enerjak Reborn" arc, Knuckles was brainwashed by Dr. Finitevus into absorbing the Master Emerald's power and becoming the new Enerjak. It took his father's Heroic Sacrifice to snap him out of it.
  • All Fall Down: Along with receiving a new pair of legs, Pronto is conditioned to attack his closest friends, and to love the idea.
  • Shadowplay in Transformers More Than Meets the Eye can be used to achieve this. Before the Great War, Sentinel Prime used it to turn dozens of Autobots into Manchurian Agents. The process not fully working on Red Alert is what caused him to become so paranoid.

Fan Fiction

  • Yamane Jun from Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Bizarrely, the brainwashing was completely unintended and it's dubious if the brainwasher even knew of their existence.
  • Twilight Sparkle has raised Nyx like a daughter, but eventually Spell Nexus blesses her in order to get her to attack her...
  • Averted in With Strings Attached; Bayanis orders the ensorcelled Paul to go kill the others, but whoops, it turns out he's been faking it all along and ties her up instead.
  • Happens a lot in SailorWednesdayMercury's fanfiction. The now-deleted "A Bluecoat Family" crossover between The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan and Winx Club has it happen once to Anne and twice to Alan, resulting in lots of drama and angst before a quick wrap-up. Another Winx Club fic has Tecna brainwashed easily after Riven hurts her feelings.

Film - Animated

  • Disney-Pixar's Toy Story 3, when Lotso has Buzz reset into demo mode and convinces him that Jessie and co. are enemy prisoners. Later, when Woody returns to Sunnyside to save everyone, the gang tries to re-reset him and somehow turn him Spanish.

Film - Live-Action

  • Probably the most iconic example is Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, who is hypnotized into killing people in his sleep as part of a psychological experiment.
    • Or is he?
  • In the first The Naked Gun movie, Reggie Jackson is brainwashed to kill Queen Elizabeth II during a baseball game, and Jane Spencer is brainwashed to kill Frank Drebin. (And later in the series, she'd inflict upon him a fate worse than death: marriage.)
  • The central plot of Woody Allen's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. Allen and his prickly female counterpart are hypnotized at an office party. What at first seems like a simple joke (the hypnotist makes them pretend to be newlyweds on their honeymoon) is really a plot to make them rob their employer on the hypnotist's behalf. Lampshaded in that another character points out at the end that you can't make a hypnotized person do anything they don't really want to...
  • In the 1994 movie The Shadow, Shiwan Khan sends a mind-controlled Margo on a mission to kill the Shadow. The Shadow breaks her hypnotic trance after she mistakenly shoots a mirror showing his reflection. Margo realizes that, despite Khan never mentioning The Shadow's name, it was Lamont Cranston she tried to kill, because Lamont and The Shadow are one and the same. It turns out that Khan counted on her learning The Shadow's identity, though he didn't count on The Shadow not killing her to keep it a secret.
  • Done to Nightcrawler with a mind-control serum in X 2 X Men United to make him kill/try to kill the President (it's not clear if he was meant to succeed or die in the attempt). He snaps out of it and escapes when a bodyguard shoots him. Also done to Cyclops later in the movie.
  • Revealed to be the reason why The Baroness was working with Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • The major plot point of Zoolander is that Mugatu offers Derek a trip to a "day spa" to prepare for his runway show, the spa is actually a facility where Derek is brainwashed to attack the Malaysian Prime Minister when the song "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood is played. Makes Sense in Context.
  • The wolves (and possibly sharks) in Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva, making it so that Luke is unable to talk to them.
  • In Tron: Legacy, Tron attempted to hold off and defeat Clu while Flynn escaped, seemingly being derezzed in the process. In actuality, Tron was brainwashed by Clu into becoming Rinzler, and evidently became a merciless killing machine until Flynn wonders what Clu did to him during the chase, in which he regains his original memories and turns against Clu.
  • During one scene in the Firefly movie Serenity, River, the resident heroic Ax Crazy and whimsical-in-the-brainpan Woobie, is exposed to a subliminal message buried in a Fruity Oaty Bars commercial. This activates River's deadly martial-arts-killing-machine programming put into her mind by the Alliance, and she proceeds to methodically wipe out a whole bar full of people, even taking down Jayne when he tries to restrain her, and is only stopped when her brother intervenes with a code-phrase in Russian that serves to put her to sleep.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki's Mind Stone Scepter in The Avengers works like this, brainwashing anyone it touches to Loki's service. Unusually for this trope, this is as far as the brainwashing goes. Their personality and skills are intact underneath it all.
    • Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with the film even showing it happening. Later MCU media suggests that the procedure merely suppressed his mind as Bucky makes clear that he remembers everything he did as the Soldier.


  • One early example is Richard Condon's book (twice adapted to film), The Manchurian Candidate, wherein a group of soldiers captured by the Chinese in the Korean War are brainwashed. (The term brainwashing is, in fact, believed to have originated during the Korean War, in reference to the coercion that the Chinese would use on prisoners.) One of them becomes a Manchurian Agent for the Chinese, against his will and without his knowledge.
  • Dean Koontz used this in False Memory, in which the victims had two sets of code words to prevent accidental triggering: a particular haiku (specific to each person), and the name of a character - sometimes a very obscure character - from The Manchurian Candidate.
    • Also used in Night Chills and in a way in Mr. Murder where the assassin Alfie is controlled by a special phrase.
  • Peeta in The Hunger Games, using a toxin that causes any memories invoked while under its influence to be associated with intense feelings of fear, and therefore making anyone included in those memories (in this case, Katniss) seem like a threat to be destroyed.
  • Appears several times in literature set in the Warhammer 40000 'verse. Unusually and unfortunately, killing the controller does not cure his victims; they either die immediately afterwards or continue doing the dead villain's bidding.
    • In Dan Abnett's Sabbat Martyr, Pater Sin's child psykers have the ability to turn soldiers of the Imperium against their comrades. Only a single individual manages to throw it off through an oddly straight version of the Power of Friendship, as his friends and comrades care too much about him to allow him to be swayed. In an interesting variety, the bad guys realize this and decide to just skip over that guy completely.
    • And in Sandy Mitchell's Cain's Last Stand, Warmaster Varan has the psychic ability to corrupt anyone he speaks with into his service. Even Adeptus Sororitas, a loyal and likable governor, and a Commissar-in-training, all of whom were portrayed as innocent victims but remembered forever in history as foul traitors. On the other hand, the commissar-in-training, broken free by Jurgen's blank ability, managed kill himself before he succumbed again, and Cain fulfills his last request.
    • It's also used liberally in the background by both the powers of chaos (dominating psy powers) and the Imperium's Ecclesiarchy - the latter using a combination of mind control, lobotomy, combat drugs and cybernetic implants to turn heretics into arco-flagellants, Ax Crazy combat monsters sent into battle against other enemies.
  • Happens in the 2nd and 3rd Mistborn books. Emphasis on "crazy".
  • The Imperius Curse in Harry Potter, one of the three Unforgivable Curses and essentially the magical equivalent of your average mind control device. Bartimus Crouch, Jr. (alias Professor Moody) was quite fond of it.
  • The House of the Scorpion: Takes place 100 years into the future, where clones are raised to provide organs for a corrupt drug lord and victims trying to cross the border to the United States or Aztlan are forced to become opium-picking zombies programmed by computer chips in their heads.
  • Early in The Legacy, Wulfgar is convinced that his fiancee, Catti-Brie, has been cheating on him with Drizzt, so he goes and tries to kill Drizzt. Later in the book, it's revealed that he was hypnotized into thinking this and into feeling homicidally angry about it.
  • Stevie of The Fallen becomes like this. Poor kid.
  • In the Time Scout series, this is one of the effects and causes of Jack the Ripper.

Live-Action TV

  • Ace Lightning gets one of these in episode thirteen of his first series ? complete with dreary monotone voice. He was snapped out of it by a data transfer, because you know, he's a video game character, they can do that.
  • In season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike is brainwashed by the First Evil to start killing again whenever he hears the tune "Early One Morning."
  • In the BBC'S Merlin, Merlin is infected with a snake creature by Morgana and brainwashed to kill Arthur
  • Doctor Who featured Jo Grant on her first appearance ("Terror of the Autons") getting brainwashed by the Master and sent to open a box at UNIT HQ—which contained a bomb. The Doctor specifically defines it as this trope, saying that an ordinary hypnotist couldn't force anyone to do something they didn't want to do. Yet The Master can manipulate people any way he likes.
    • The series contains numerous other examples; the instance in "The Masque of Mandragora" is interesting, as Sarah Jane, in her altered state of mind, becomes after thirteen years the first companion to notice the oddity of everyone in the universe speaking English.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Family" (2x08), Rya'c is brainwashed in this way by Apophis.
    • In the later episode "Enemies" (5x01), Teal'c, Rya'c's father, has the same thing happen, again inflicted by Apophis.
    • Za'tarcs in Stargate SG-1 are another form of brainwashing.
  • In Charmed: Prue was brainwashed by the demon of fear and Paige was brainwashed by the Source of All Evil. All the sisters and their boyfriends and children have at times been collectively brainwashed, such as the time they became warlocks, became "too good", had their morality reversed, etc. etc.
  • Used in several episodes of Hawaii Five-O. One episode explicitly made the "can't do something they wouldn't do otherwise" statement, but then showed a theoretical way around it when, as a demonstration, one character was hypnotized to "shoot" another (with an unloaded weapon) by the hypnotist telling him the person was a double who was about to start a nuclear war and shooting him was the only way to stop it. Other episodes, however, including the Pilot Movie, used the standard fictional "make 'em do anything" portrayals.
  • Easily half of Power Rangers' main characters have had this happen to them at least once. Tommy Oliver, the first Green Ranger, had it happen three times. Brainwashing tends to be magic-based, not hypnotic, in this show, and numerous characters have had "spells" make them act a certain way until the monster-of-the-week who placed it on them has been destroyed. Sometimes the Monster of the Week is a character who was forcibly transformed, and Brainwashed and Crazy all at once.
  • In an episode of Lois and Clark, Lois is one of a group in a medical facility who are brainwashed into being contract killers before being killed themselves by the doctor at the facility.
  • In the Magnum, P.I. episode "Did You See the Sunrise" it turns out that Magnum's friend TC was brainwashed to become a sleeper assassin by Russian agents while he was a P.O.W. of the North Vietnamese.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Mind's Eye", in which Geordi LaForge is brainwashed by the Romulans to kill a Klingon dignitary, draws heavily on The Manchurian Candidate.
  • In Dollhouse, this is what happens to the entire world in ten years' time.
  • One episode of The Equalizer features an experimental setup in which sidekick Mickey's memories of McCall saving his life are switched out for a scenario of cruel betrayal, thus giving him the motivation to assassinate McCall. And it still doesn't work, since it turns out that Mickey's loyalty is still strong enough for him to realise what's happened.
  • Most of the Kaizo-Ningen construction involve this trope as a stage in the building, however, before that stage usually happens, they get out.
    • Except for ZX, who Badan actually succeed in brainwashing.
    • And Shadow Moon.
  • The main antagonist of Lost, The Man in Black infects certain people with a sickness which turns them into crazy psychopaths. Known victims of The Sickness are Claire, Sayid and most of Rousseau's science team.

Tabletop Games

  • Exalted: Most Exalted have a Presence charm that allows them to give other characters compulsions. If your character is an Abyssal, the result will probably be this trope.
  • Various RPGs have various powers used to control or influence others, such as the Dungeons and Dragons spell suggestion, and the charm and dominate series of spells.
    • Note that at least in the third edition, Charm explicitly didn't work like this, despite being used as such in every game. It only makes the victim think of the caster as a friend, but it doesn't let them forget their other loyalties, meaning they'll likely be rather confused and anguished when their friends attack each other.
      • Dominate also cannot make a person do anything directly self-destructive ("stab yourself with your sword", "jump off the castle wall"), and if a dominated person is ordered to do something that is against their nature, they receive a new saving throw, with a cumulative +2 bonus. (A good demonstration is found in Order of the Stick when they attempt to break the spell on a dominated paladin by disguising Belkar as lord Shojo, said paladin's master and lord.)


  • It's hinted that this was Sergeant Kelly's fate in Doom 3. Before you were sent to Hell, Kelly gave you the mission to use a card with a plead for reinforcement to Mars. After either you send the message or not, Kelly orders you to get yourself to the Delta Labs and meet him there, so that both he and you can take care of the portal. When you're there, he's nowhere to be seen and you have to take care of the portal yourself. Once you came back from Hell, you no longer have radio contact with him, and later, you find out that Kelly had become a monster named Sabaoth. Whether he was allied with the demons in the first place or was simply brainwashed is unknown, but it should be the latter, since he seemed hellbent on defeating the demons, and Dr. Betruger was shown to transform marines into elite demons.
  • In Everlong, the main character (or rather, the character you started off as) was taken over by the evil spirits planted within him and ends up trying to kill his friends... four times.
  • One of the competitors in Variable Geo was brainwashed into an assassin in order to kill or at least delay the heroes.
  • Happens with disturbing regularity in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, with Kusuha, Excellen, and Seolla. Along with Ouka, Ingram, Tenzan (Even though he starts crazy), Tenzan again. And let's not get into the times it happens in a Humongous Mecha series, and is replayed in one of the other SRW games...
    • Original Generation Gaiden adds more people in this trope: Shouko, Lamia and Fernando (Though Fernando has actually fallen into this trope since his debut in Compact 3)
    • Happens to Touma in Alpha 3, though it's not like he's subjected into brainwashing by the enemy. Using his mecha's system too much caused him to gain an Ax Crazy version of Mind Control Eyes, and he went really berserk as if the system brainwashes him... all because he's pumped with too much hot blood essences.
    • And apparently, the first Banpresto Original to receive this treatment was Tytti Noorbuck in Super Robot Wars Gaiden. No, Shu, with all your Marty Stu -ness, you don't count.
    • Also happens to Brooklyn Luckfield (aka: Bullet) in Alpha 2.
  • In the Virtua Fighter anime and games, Sarah Bryant is kidnapped and brainwashed by the Judgment 6 organization into attacking her brother Jacky and (in the anime) their friends Pai and Akira.
  • Mareeta in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, in captivity, was given a cursed sword that consumes her mind and turns her into a battle-crazed swordswoman that attacks even her own adoptive mother Eyvel. When she joins for good, she gains control over the sword, and breaks the game with it until she breaks it.
    • In the last chapter of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy War, Archbishop Malfoy kidnaps Julia and brainwashes her to attack your army. Since Julia is necessary for defeating the final boss, you must carefully distract her without killing her while sending the rest of your army to assassinate Malfoy and free her.
      • Making this even worse is that Manfloy did the same to Julia, Julius and Seliph's mother, Deirdre, to make her marry Julia's dad Alvis. In her case, she stayed brainwashed for years, only breaking through right before Julius fatally struck her down.
    • In Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, Ninian is brainwashed into almost opening the Dragon's Gate. Nils, her little brother, snapped her out of it.
    • The effect of the aptly named Berserk Staff is pretty much this. It's usually enemy-only, but in Genealogy of Holy War, if Sylvia didn't have children, you can get Sharlow, and if you also recruit his father, they can talk, and Sharlow will get the staff. (You may now proceed to have fun with your Demonic Spider. Enjoy.)
      • Also, in the Jugdral games there is a Sword that has the same effect as the Berserk Staff, but doesn't cause the insanity as much, and often times is pointless—enemies with or hit by the sword are still at range 1 when the effect kicks in, often attacking the sword wielder again.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, the Bigger Bad Anankos is extremely good at this and does it to several people. The better-known victim is Takumi (Birthright, and it crosses into More Than Mind Control in Conquest); however Queen Arete, King Sumeragi, Queen Mikoto and Scarlet also fall prey to it before the gamer starts (plus mix it with Came Back Wrong), and Gunter is the chosen victim in Revelations.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has the Remire villagers, "courtesy" of Solon from Those Who Slither in the Dark.
  • King Dedede tends to get brainwashed often by the Eldritch Abomination of the week in the Kirby series.
  • Castlevania is fond of this trope, especially if being bitten by a vampire counts:
  • In Super Paper Mario, Luigi is hypnotized, given a Paper-Thin Disguise and sent to attack Mario as "Mr. L".
  • In The World Ends With You, multiple characters are brainwashed into attacking the main character; some of them, admittedly, already had done that once, but this time it was against their will. To list a few: Shiki, Uzuki, and Kariya.
  • Metal Slug 6 has one mini boss fight where you have to fight one of the other playable characters who is brainwashed by aliens.
  • This is the special power of the Zulwarn ATAC in the game Vanguard Bandits. Falkner uses it in three of the endings: in the main "good" ending, he uses it on several of the minor heroes, forcing the heroes to sacrifice their friends for freedom; in the main "bad" ending, he hits Bastion with it, forcing him to attack his allies; and in the Cecelia ending, he attempts to use it on Cecelia as punishment for her Heel Face Turn = which torques off Bastion and causes his ATAC, Ultragunner, to blast Falkner with a counterattack.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics a 2 does this for Adelle in one of the late story missions and Luso has to talk to her several times in battle to help her regain her senses.
  • Early on in Tales of the Abyss, Guy gets stuck with a Curse Slot that allows the bad guys to control his actions. Later on they activate it, causing Guy to get Mind Control Eyes and attack Luke. However, this is revealed to be a subversion of this trope's usual modus operandi: the Curse Slot cannot control a person's actions; rather it manipulates the person by stirring up certain memories. Long story short, Guy would never have attacked Luke unless, at some point in time, he wanted to kill Luke.
  • Three characters in Final Fantasy IV qualify. Kain becomes mind-controlled by the villain Golbez. Although he later breaks free of Golbez' control and joins the party, still later in the game Golbez again takes control of him. This leads to Kain breaking free yet again at the time that Golbez is revealed to have been mind-controlled all along by the game's real villain, Zemus. Also, though a case of mind control, at one point in the game Yang winds up with amnesia and is recruited into Baron's guards. Being defeated by the party cures him.
    • Unlike other examples, the way Kain and Golbez were mind-controlled actually relied on their internal weaknesses. Golbez exploited Kain's jealousy, which led to his brainwashing, while Golbez's weakness was his own self-loathing, which was how Zemus brainwashed him. Also unlike other examples, they also feel regret because it WAS their own weaknesses that led to their mind control.
    • Cecil gets mind-controlled in The After Years.
  • Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII, at the point in the game that the party has acquired the Black Materia needed to summon Meteor (Doomsday Spell), gets his mind broken by Sephiroth. Not only does he hand the Black Materia over to the original One-Winged Angel, he beats the tar out of Aerith, the one person who could stop Meteor once it was summoned.
    • Though he first had to be mentally manipulated and broken before he could be directly controlled. Also, it was more like Hynosis since it Cloud's Weak Will that allowed him to be controlled like this in the first place.
    • This happens again later on when Cloud nearly kills Aerith himself, only to snap himself out of it at the last second.
  • World of Warcraft has been big on this ever since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, filling much of Northrend with mysterious whispers in certain locations; turns out the uniting element is the Saronite Ore being mined in all these locations provides a direct link to its creator, the Old God Yogg-Saron. He's managed to Mind Screw everyone from newly-arrived homesteaders from the rest of Azeroth all the way up to his own Titan-appointed jailkeepers through his years-long mental barrages.
    • This is a major fight mechanic in the Yogg-Saron encounter. You start with a sanity meter at 100, depleting when you suffer from Yogg-Saron's various maddening abilities or stare directly at the laughing skulls within the hallucinations inside his mind. If it goes to zero or you remain trapped inside his head when the hallucination sequences end, you go mad for the remainder of the battle, attacking your allies. The players who suffer from this even perceive their allies as faceless horrors while Yogg-Saron whispers his insane drivel to them! This insanity persists even if they die and get resurrection during the fight by their allies, only destroying Yogg-Saron or a complete raid wipe removes this madness.
  • The sad thing about Shura and Serion is that the seal placed on them by Imposter Zenon caused them to forget the very promise they made to their son, Adell - the long-reaching psychological damage that caused him to be lifebound to every promise he makes, as well as the denial about his demon heritage. The few moments of lucidity they get to enjoy from then on out are used to help Adell carry on where they failed and ask for a Mercy Kill; otherwise they are completely bound to their new master's whims. To this day Adell still does not know that they are his parents; whether or not the others do is up to NIS to decide, but if the truth ever comes out, it won't be pretty.
  • Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 5 is captured by Albert Wesker and brainwashed through a device attached to her chest that pumps some sort of mind-control drug into her. She is then set on Chris and Sheva and does her best to kill them. Among other things, the device/drug allows her to run up walls and do insane midair stunts. She also gets a vinyl body suit.
  • Towards the end of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance videogame Dr. Doom does this to several of the NPCs, turning them against their friends.
    • Happens again in the sequel, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, only done by the Fold instead. Seems like the programmers like forcing you to beat the crap out of everyone in the game, regardless of whether they're on your side.
  • Done A LOT in Crash Bandicoot. In Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex Crunch is brainwashed by Cortex to work with the Elementals and try to kill Crash. In Crash 2: N-Tranced, Crunch, Coco and Fake Crash are brainwashed by N.Trance into trying to kill Crash. In Crash Nitro Kart, N.Trance brainwashes Polar, Pura and Dingodile to form an entire race team to put against the Bandicoot. In Crash of the Titans, Coco is brainwashed to work on the Doominator (thus trying to wipe out Wumpa Island...and kill Crash). In Crash: Mind Over Mutant, Crunch, Coco, and a lot of mutants are brainwashed with the NVs to turn evil...and try to kill Crash. Let's do some Maths; not counting the mutants, there have been TEN cases of brainwashing, SIX individuals involved, across FIVE games, with TWO of the individuals being brainwashed and crazy THREE times. This does not take into consideration all the mutants in the lattermost game, which could make the individuals and cases into the hundreds or thousands. Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the whole deal with the Cortex Vortex and Cortex Commandos. If Code Geass is "Brainwashed: the Series", Crash Bandicoot is easily "Brainwashed and Crazy: the Series"
    • Actually, upon Crunch's introduction he wasn't actually brainwashed, he was just made by Cortex (genetics). Although they didn't seem to give a reason for him rolling over to the good side. What with Aku's latent power for mind control, maybe the brain soap was in the other bath?
    • He is brainwashed - Defeating Cortex with One Hundred Percent Completion unlocks a secret ending where Crunch basically states that he was brainwashed, but is now free... There's not much difference, however.
  • In the "Rebirth" expansion for First Encounter Assault Recon this trope is applied to the Player Character. You end up losing contact with your squad and fightign ghosts, only to find that the "ghosts" were your squad, who're now trying to cure the crazy the only way they know how (i.e. euthanasia). The rest fof the game consists of fighting past them so you can become the new Paxton Fettal.
  • In Bioshock, Jack is programmed to find and kill his biological father. Justified in that Atlas has manipulated him so well that his suggestions come across as reasonable, to the character and the player.
  • Spend enough time in the presence of a Reaper in Mass Effect and you will succumb to its will permanently. More horribly, it's implied that you are fully conscious of the effect, but can't do a thing about it. This is also known as "a sour note from space", with which Sovereign compelled the ancient rachni into fighting a Bug War until they became (almost) extinct.
    • Don't think of Reaper indoctrination as mind control; think of it as someone forcefully destroying your free will.
    • Jack, aka Subject Zero, is a more direct version of this Trope in Mass Effect 2. She was injected with drugs as a kid to equate killing with pleasure.
    • In a strange twist, you can get this ability. If you side with Morinth, you can learn her loyalty ability, Dominate. It stuns enemies, gives them a biotic shield, and makes them attack their allies for a few seconds before they come to their senses. Essentially, it's AI hacking, but for organic opponents.
  • The pyramid in Stationfall slowly turns all machinery, intelligent or not, against their creators. And that includes your Robot Buddy, Floyd.
  • Edgar in King's Quest VII, though he's stalling as much as he can.
  • In the Spyro the Dragon reboot, Cynder is the unfortunate victim of a this by The Dark Master. He had her kidnapped and brainwashed her into his loyal and powerful (and also surprisingly literal) Dragon. Spyro finally beats her and returns her to her normal self, but she's so guilty over what she did, it haunts her most of the series. Then in the Grand Finale, Malefor uses a Hanibal Lecture to confuse her enough for him to brainwash her again to turn her against Spyro. Thankfully, she's saved this time by the Power of Love.
  • Venus, from the non-canonical Metal Gear Acid 2, attempts to kill Snake 2.0 after recovering the Lucindia File because Wiseman ordered her to, and it is heavily implied, if not outright stated, that Wiseman removed her free will when creating her, meaning she really did not have any other choice but to comply.
    • In Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, there is Null, the Perfect Soldier: He used to be a war orphan named Frank Jaeger, but he ended up taken by CIA agents from a relief center as a test subject. As he was the only surviving and successful test subject, Null had no emotions, doubts or even memories, and presumably no free will, as he had only one purpose: to complete the mission.
  • Bonus Boss Ancient Devil in Golden Sun Dark Dawn will sometimes take control of one of your party members and force him or her to fight by his side, making them an enemy. What's worse is that they can use everything they have against you, including weapon unleashes, items, Pysnergy, and even using your own summons against you should you have any Djinn on standby. Gets a whole lot worse if the manipulated character has powerful healing abilities or uses the all HP restoring Potion on the boss.
  • In Call of Duty Black Ops, it is revealed that the player character, while interned in a labor camp, was mentally conditioned to seek out and kill the President of The United States when read a certain string of numbers. However, his unusual degree of willpower allowed him to resist... whereupon he was brainwashed into channeling the dying wishes of a Russian prisoner. Futhermore, he's one of hundreds of sleeper agents scattered across the United States, all of whom have similar programming. The icing on the cake is when, in the ending cutscene, it's implied that despite killing the man who imprisoned and hypnotised him, the player did end up succumbing to the conditioning and carrying out the assassination.
  • Eternity swords can be very difficult to handle properly in Eien no Aselia. As evidence, Kyouko's mind is devoured by Void almost as soon as she gets it and at the end of the game the Shun that Yuuto once knew is basically dead, similarly devoured by The World.
  • Final Fantasy Dissidia has Jecht, and the prequel Duodecim has Tidus, Terra, and reveals that in the original, Kuja was this as well. One wonders if Chaos just has recruiting problems or something.
  • Strictly speaking, the Zerg in the original Starcraft are this, as the Xel'Naga instilled them with an overriding biological imperative to absorb the genetic potential of other species into their own, whereas they were previously peaceful and harmless worms low on the food chain of their homeworld—no, this isn't a spoiler, it's literally All There in the Manual. Starcraft II reveals that the Overmind actually orchestrated his own death and groomed Kerrigan as his successor in order to finally grant the Zerg true free will, as she was not hampered by the same imperative.
  • Happens by accident in Drakensang: the Dragon Carbuncle you give to the Dwarf King Arombolosch turns out to be infested by a Demon, which eventually takes over the dwarf king, forcing you to defeat him in battle.
  • Sword of the Stars II reveals that the Screamers are actually Morrigi who were turned against their own by Suul'ka.
  • Kerrigan in Starcraft, for she was forcibly infested and transformed into a slave of Overminds against her will.
  • Blaz Blue has Tsubaki Yayoi, who performs a Face Heel Turn after being mind raped by Hazama and led to believe that her life and chance to be with her love are ruined by her best friend's very existence, so she sets out to remedy it. Also, Saya may or may not be this.
  • In Street Fighter Alpha, this happens to several characters. More exactly, there are two big cases:
    • The whole deal with Bison's Bodyguard Babes the Dolls relays on a group of teenage girls from all over the world being kidnapped and subjected to this treatment to end up as an Amazon Brigade. Only when one of them (Cammy, Bison's Opposite Sex Clone) starts breaking through, and the survival instincts of two Dolls (Juni and Juli) prove to be stronger than the brainwashing, the whole plan begins to crumble down. However, it takes much more than mere defusing to get the girls back to something similar to normalcy, as in Street Fighter IV we see that Juli is an Empty Shell Emotionless Girl and Juni is amnesiac in a British hospital.
    • Midway through Alpha 3, several story paths intersect thanks to this trope. Ryu is captured by Bison to become his "host body", then is infused forcibly with the Psycho Drive's energy and ends up like this. Sagat is horrified when he finds out, has a Heel Realization and tries to snap Ryu out of his state; meanwhile, Ryu's friends Ken and Sakura fight Bison off. It takes both Sagat's prodding and Sakura being seriously injured by Bison to fully get Ryu defused.
    • To a smaller degree, there's also Ken being caught and brainwashed by Bison in Ryu's path, in a Shout-Out to the animated movie.

Professional Wrestling

  • Luna Vachon used to be reporter Trudy Herd until Kevin Sullivan brainwashed her.


  • In the Order of the Stick. Nale, the Evil Twin brother of the bard Elan, casts Charm Person on the party's halfling ranger, Belkar Bitterleaf. The first attempt ("If you see any of your allies before I get back, kill them and bring me their magic items") fails because the spell won't allow the command to go against the character's basic nature, but the second ("If you see any of your allies before I get back, kill them and keep their magic items for yourself") succeeds, even when Nale adds, "While singing the complete score to Meet Me in St. Louis." Hilarity Ensues, of the actually hilarious variety.
  • This trope is a huge theme of Oasis's in Sluggy Freelance.
  • This tropes causes major plot twists in Its Walky.
  • One of Vriska's more impressive displays of her Mind Control abilities is an example of this. She controls Sollux and forces him into a Superpower Meltdown, and then uses the resulting Eye Beam explosion to kill Aradia.
    • She also later uses Tavros and his Beast Master skills to permanently blind Terezi.

Web Originals

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Jessica ends up brainwashed by the Clergy of Mardük and is sent to steal a magic sword from her friend Refan and kill Refan in order to leave no witnesses. Kaizoku and Tanya also end up brainwashed by the same clergy although Kaizoku eventually breaks free from the clergy's control.
  • Any and all dark Creturians who attack the protagonists in the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes.
  • Kaori from The Impossible Man went through this when she fought Wolfgang alongside Yuki.
  • In Scootertrix the Abridged Pinkie Pie is brainwashed by Discord into becoming a psychopath who will kill the rest of the Mane Six using fan footage in Episode 25. The worst part is Pinkie is aware of what she is doing, but unable to stop herself, and the episode ends with her about to kill Twilight.
  • Smosh: In “I Was Brainwashed” Anthony goes to a meeting of a cult- I mean, group of people having a good time called Religitology for free tequitos, only to be brainwashed with a tape of the The Teletubbies into joining the cult and killing everyone in the room when someone says “Mermaid”.

Western Animation

  • In the three-part pilot movie of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Zurg uses this to send all of Star Command after Team Lightyear.
  • In one episode of Captain N, Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo brainwash Simon Belmont with a literal brainwashing machine (complete with detergent), changing him from Vampire Hunter to N-Team Hunter.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars saw Megatron inflict this trope on Rhinox, who became so evil Megatron was forced to change him back. Apparently learning his lesson, in Beast Machines he completely changes the personalities of Silverbolt and Rhinox when he puts them in Vehicon bodies. So much so, in fact, that the Maximals don't recognize them until Rattrap hacks into Rhinox's memory banks. This time, unfortunately, Rhinox does not become good again once his memories resurface.
  • Teen Titans: Take a look at the Titans East up there. No words are needed, but you can tell already that they've been brainwashed by somebody and are plotting to do a very bad thing. In case you're curious: Brother Blood has brainwashed them, and he plans on using them to destroy Cyborg and/or turn them into his new H.I.V.E. academy students.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Joker and Harley Quinn brainwashed Robin/Tim Drake in into essentially becoming another Joker. However, this ended up backfiring when Tim broke through the brainwashing when ordered to kill Batman and instead killed the Joker.
    • It should also be noted that no hypnosis was involved here at all; Joker and Harley turned Tim into "Joker Junior" through good old-fashioned torture.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman is brainwashed by Granny Goodness and Darkseid. Once he comes to, he is not happy.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, in the episode Lake Laogai, Jet is brainwashed by Long Feng into attacking Aang.
  • The Human Torch gets brainwashed in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes making him much more powerful and giving him more power over fire, but makes him attack his sister. His willingness to end her life was what snapped him out of it. The increase in power might make this also With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Space Ghost episode "The Sandman". Jan and Jace are Brainwashed into capturing Space Ghost.
  • In Jimmy Neutron's "One of Us", an alien disguised as a kindly old lady uses televized mass hypnotism to turn all the citizens, including Jimmy's parents, into happy, mindless meat puppets forcing others to join the fold.
  • In the Fairly Oddparents episode "Moooving Out", Timmy is forced to move into a neighborhood where everyone, including his friends and family, act the same. It's revealed that the milk that comes with the new homes turns anyone who drinks it into a Stepford Smiler obsessed with milk, including his parents and godparents, who try to persuade Timmy into becoming like them. All orchestrated by wealthy businessman Doug Dimmadome to earn more cash.
  • Inspector Gadget: Gadget was once hypnotized by Claw's lackeys into robbing a bank, once again forcing Penny and Brain to clean up his mess.
  • Justice League: Ancient sorceress Morgaine le Fey partially brainwashes Martian Manhunter to steal the powerful Philosophers Stone with promises of reuniting with his home and dead family. He almost hands her the stone, but the memories of Etrigan the Demon (who was one of her earlier victims), finally allows him to break control of the spell and shatter the stone, noting that the price would be too high.
  • Samurai Jack: As Jack passes through a town, he discovers that all the children of the town are going to a rave party and have been hypnotized by Aku's music played by an evil DJ, which is being played on the outskirts of town, turning the children violent and keeping them away from their parents. In addition, with or without the brainwashing, the children are dressed in what seems to be a "candy raver" style.
  • Justice League Unlimited: In "Grudge Match", minor villainess Roulette uses Gorilla Grodd's mind control technology to "recruit" female heroes into fighting in gladitorial combat games to fund Lex Luthor's machinations for reuniting with Brainiac. BC and Huntress have their work cut out for them trying to get the mind control devices off of their teammates, but once they do, the real fun begins as Roulette reveals the next contestant: Wonder Woman. It's all the four women can do to keep their heads attached as the League's number one warrior barrels into them like a female god of war. By the time Huntress and Black Canary shut down the mind control signal, Wonder Woman was a split second from smashing Vixen and Hawkgirls' skulls together.
  • In the Real Adventures of Jonny Quest episode "Thoughtscape," Jessie is brainwashed by Jeremiah Surd via Questworld, so that she will destroy her family, or at least be the bait to bring Race Bannon to Questworld so Surd can kill him directly. It almost worked, too: She basically destroyed half the Quest Compound!
  • In one Adventure Time episode, the Fight King brainwashes Finn and commands him to kill Jake. It's later revealed that Finn was faking it as part of a plan.
  • In the Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangersepisode Le Purrrfect Crime, the episode's villain takes advantage of Dale's Easy Amnesia to turn him against his friends.
    • And again in the episode Chocolate Chips, where a mad chocolatier uses Mind Control drugs to turn the rest of the Rangers against Dale, reversing the previous scenario.
  • Word of God re: Nightmare Moon is that Princess Luna was jealous of how all the ponies pranced and played in her sister's bright daytime but slept her beautiful night away, but she kind of kept it to herself and tried to carry on as usual. But a dark force saw that jealousy and used it to invade her consciousness and wreak havoc as Nightmare Moon; when the mane six hit her with the Elements of Harmony it was driven out and all that was left was a remorseful Princess Luna. This dark force hasn't been seen or mentioned since.
  • In South Park the Wall-Mart In “Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes” inflicts this on the already very evil Cartman to use him as The Mole among the boys to stop them from destroying it. Unfortunately, Cartman is rather incompetent at This.
  • White Diamond's power in Steven Universe. Any Gem that her Eye Beams touch is enthralled to her will.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Shiro is this during the 6th season, releasing a virus into the Castle of Lions and even attacking Keith. It's really a clone of the real Shiro, who actually died in the battle with Zarkon. Haggar created him to be a sleeper agent and was slowly beginning to control him during the past few seasons, causing him to be more aggressive with the rest of the team.
  • The Clone Troopers in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. If they hear a specific command, like say "Order 66", then their inhibitor chips make them totally subservient and bury their true personality.
  • Hawk Moth's main thing in Miraculous Ladybug. When he finds someone at their lowest, he brainwashes them into a supervillain via an Akuma.
  • Horde Prime enjoys this in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Valuable non-clones are implanted with chips that link them to the Horde's Hive Mind, allowing Horde Prime to bend them to his will.

Real Life