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Animorphs was a book series created by K.A. Applegate and published by the Scholastic Corporation, running from 1996 to 2001. There were 64 books in all, including 54 'main universe' books, four Megamorphs (double-sized books), four standalone novels, and two choose-your-own-adventure. In addition, there were Animorphs Transformers, video games, and a short-lived TV show on Nickelodeon.


In the series, the main enemy was the Yeerks, a species of mind-controlling parasitic slug-like aliens who enter the brain through the ear of their hosts. In order to fight the Yeerks, a group of five young humans is given the gift of shapeshifting by a dying alien named Elfangor.

The shapeshifting ability allows these humans, who adopt the name Animorphs for themselves, to absorb DNA or genetic material by touch, and then transform into that animal. They can only remain shapeshifted for a maximum of two hours, however; after this, they are unable to return to their human form as the change is permanent. This fate befalls one of the main characters Tobias in the first book and his difficulties with being stuck as an animal are explored over the series.

The six main characters are Jake (signature morph: tiger), Cassie (signature morph: wolf), Marco (signature morph: gorilla), Rachel (signature morph: elephant until book seven at which point it alternates between an elephant and grizzly bear), Tobias (signature morph: red-tailed hawk), and Aximili (an Andalite, a sort of psychic deer-scorpion taur alien). Aximili was rescued from the remnants of an Andalite Dome Ship in the fourth book. In the next (fifth) book, Marco discovers that his mother (sometimes called Eva, other times called Laura) is Visser One. In book six, Jake accidentally falls into a Yeerk Pool and ends up with the Yeerk, named Temrash, who used to be in his brother Tom's head in his. At the very end, Jake sees a Big Red Eye, who isn't named until the twenty-sixth book. The fanbase at this point was already very strong and was able to persuade Applegate to bring back the B.R.E., as the fans had started calling him. Another fan-induced idea happened in books five and thirteen when a member of the usually dumb Hork-Bajir "started talking like he had a Harvard education", as Marco put it in book five. Eight books later, a name was given to this type of Hork-Bajir: Seer. A fan named Erin K. Dover had persuaded Applegate to use intelligent Hork-Bajir. (Note: The original term Dover used was Hork-Bajir Thinker, not Hork-Bajir Seer.)

In the twenty-third book, it is discovered that Aximili, or Ax, as the others call him, is Tobias' uncle, although the fans had known this ever since the Andalite Chronicles came out.



From 1998 to 1999, a television series based on the books, aired on Nickelodeon in the United States and YTV in Canada. This series makes several changes to the morphs from the books, Rachel's first morph is a cat, whereas in the book it is an elephant. Also, in this version, Tobias' hawk morph is a Harris's hawk, rather than a red-tailed hawk. Similarly, Rachel's fighting morph is a lion, as opposed to an elephant and grizzly bear, while Marco's morph is a wolf as opposed to a gorilla in the series.

Video games[edit]

Animorphs: Know the Secret is an action-adventure game, released for Microsoft Windows. Developed by Gigawatt Studios and published by Infogrames, the players can switch control between four of the Animorphs (Cassie, Jake, Marco and Rachel). They will explore different environments searching for clues as to why the activities of Yeerks have gone down. The Animorphs have access to a number of specific forms they can change into, which can increase by finding more animals on the way.

Animorphs: Shattered Reality is a platform video game, released for the Sony PlayStation. Developed by SingleTrac, it revolves around four of the Animorphs trying to find pieces of the Continuum Crystal before Visser Three does.

A Game Boy Color game was also published by Ubisoft.


In 2020 Scholastic Audio began releasing an uncut audio version of the series on Audible. Books 1 and 2 were released on January 7, 2020, with subsequent releases on the first or second Tuesday of each month for 5 months. There was a brief hiatus, then books 11 and 12 were released on January 26, 2021, following the same pattern. After another hiatus 21 and 22 were released on November 8, 2021, following the same way. Since June 2022, Books 31 and on have been released on the first Tuesday of every month. Six narrators are used, one for each of the main characters. MacLeod Andrews narrates Jake, Emily Ellet for Rachel, Michael Crouch for Tobias, Sisi Aisha Johnson for Cassie, Ramón de Ocampo for Marco, and Adam Verner for Ax. Mark Bramhall narrates as Jake's Civil War ancestor Isaiah Fitzhenry for parts of book #47, The Resistance.

Graphic novels[edit]

Scholastic announced plans to launch a graphic novel adaptation of Animorphs via its Scholastic Graphix imprint. The first release, adapting The Invasion, was released on October 6, 2020, with art by Eisner-Award nominee Chris Grine. The second novel, adapting The Visitor, was released on October 5, 2021. The third novel, adapting The Encounter, was released on October 4, 2022. The fourth novel, adapting The Message, will be released on December 5, 2023.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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