Created By: NoirGrimoir on October 14, 2011 Last Edited By: NoirGrimoir on November 23, 2011
Troped

Multiple Tailed Beast

Something has more than one tail, or a tail that is split half way up.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Also Split Tailed Beast.

No creature in nature has more than one tail. Not so in fiction. Any creature at all can have more than one tail, often to establish it's other-worldliness. Sometimes the tails look like they might come from different creatures entirely. Usually such a creature is some form of supernatural or semi-divine spirit being, elemental or demon. Youkai especially are known for having multiple tails, the most famous of which that does is the Kitsune, which is depicted with up to nine tails. The Nekomata is another commonly portrayed multi-tailed youkai, which has the appearance of a two-tailed cat.

This trope comes in two main forms:

  • A Split Tail: in which the creature has what appears to be a single tail starting from the base of its spine but it splits partway along into two or more tips.
  • Full Multiple Tails: in which the creature has more than one complete tail springing directly from the base of its spine.

Compare Kitsune, most instances of which will fall under this trope. Doesn't have anything to do with Twin Tails.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Kuro the demon cat from Ao no Exorcist has two tails of the split version.
  • Obligatory Touhou example, Yakumo Yukari has her familiar a Kitsune, Ran, and Yukari is so powerful that her familiar has her own familiar, Chen, a nekomata (however she doesn't show any of the classical nekomata misfortunes, and acts like more like a simple Nekomimi
  • Naruto the titular character and a few others are the containers for various multi-tailed animals. (Wanna guess which one is Naruto?)
  • Moro, the female Wolf God that raised San in Princess Mononoke had a two-pronged split-tail.
  • Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito stars two kitsunes, one with nine tails and one with just two.

Film
  • King Ghidorah, who appears in several Godzilla movies. He has two long tails.

Literature

Live-Action TV

Mythology
  • The Seth Animal, the creature that the Egyptian god Seth is supposed to have the head of, has a forked tail.
  • Aside from the nekomata and Kitsune, there are other Youkai with multiple tails. The Isonade is a giant shark with three tails (one larger and barbed), the Orochi is a Giant serpent with eight heads and sometimes eight tails, and the Raiju, or Thunderbeast, is depicted as various animals, sometimes described with multiple tails.

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons. The demon lord Demogorgon has two tails. The Warped Beasts also have multiple, flail-like tails.

Web Comic

Video Games
  • Many species in Pokémon have multiple tails, such as Vulpix (six), Ninetales (obvious), and Tauros (three). Espeon has a forked tail with two tips, as do Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf. Buizel and Floatzel have two (they even use them as propellers), as well as Ambipom and Electivire. There are also some ambiguous cases such as Grovyle (which has branching fern leaves for a tail) and Suicune (which has two ribbons for a tail).
  • Miles "Tails" Prower in the Sonic the Hedgehog series has two tails, and frequently uses them to helicopter around.
  • In the video games of Harry Potter, there are several references to the Gytrash, which are ghostly dogs with forked tails. The gytrash is a creature in English folklore, though only the Harry Potter games describe it with a forked tail.
Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • October 14, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Miles "Tails" Prower in the Sonic The Hedgehog series would seem to be a rather obvious example.
  • October 14, 2011
    Damr1990
    also from on the Japanese Folklore there is The Nekomata a two taled cat, apparently they were sign of bad luck and dissease
    • Obligatory Touhou Example Yakumo Yukari has her familiar a Kitsune, Ran,and Yukari is so powerful that her familiar has her own familiar, chen, a nekomata(however she doesn't show any of the classical nekomata misfortunes, and acts like more like a simple Nekomimi
    • PokĂ©mon also has Vulpix and it's volution Ninetails also based on the kitsune(and the fact that they grow extra tails as they grow older
    • Naruto the titular character and a few others are the containers for various multitatled animals(wanna guess wich one is Naruto?)
  • October 14, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Obligatory name suggestion: Multiple Tailed Beast?

    Pokemon has a lot of multi-tailed Mon species. Vulpix has six, Ninetales don't make me say it, Tauros has three, Espeon has a two-pronged tail (as do Uxie/Mesprit/Azelf), Buizel/Floatzel have two (they even use them as propellors), Ambipom, Electivire ... there's also ambiguous cases such as Grovyle and Suicune.
  • October 15, 2011
    Bisected8
  • October 15, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Editing the Videogame examples. Avoid using personal references ("I", "you"), and don't say that something "might" or "arguably" or "seem to be" be an example -- make the examples absolute. In other words, don't just copy and paste the examples other people suggest, give them a quick polish check.
  • October 15, 2011
    Koveras
    Yami To Boushi To Hon No Tabibito stars two kitsunes, one with nine tails and one with just two.
  • October 15, 2011
    Generality
    The devil is often described with a "bifurcated tail", but this may be a misuse as he is usually illustrated with a barbed tail.
  • October 15, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^^Please allow me to make suggested changes, and don't edit other people's comments. It's one thing if it's a few type-os but you completely rewrote the example (and added a random semi-colon that made no sense...), when it was sitting there as a place-holder to begin with and not in final form. It's kind of rude. This isn't Up For Grabs. When this gets posted, anyone can make what changes they feel necessary. Until then, please let me to take care of it, that's the general policy.
  • October 15, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Semicolons really are an undervalued piece of punctuation. Otherwise ... yeah, you're right, YKTTW etiquette.
  • October 15, 2011
    Vidor
    Live Action TV: Korean drama My Girlfriend Is A Nine Tailed Fox, in which case the eponymous girlfriend is a magical spirit, a nine-tailed fox, taken human form.
  • October 15, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^Yeah, it's kind of weird, they are really disappearing in use (but that one really was pointless, it wasn't attaching an independent clause or acting as a super-comma). I've always preferred em-dashes anyway, though.
  • October 16, 2011
    Arivne
    Multiple Tails

    Tabletop RPG
  • October 16, 2011
    DaibhidC
  • October 16, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ That quote doubles as a Parental Bonus of the presumedly Last Second Word Swap variety.
  • October 16, 2011
    elwoz
    We need someone who knows more about it than me to write up the various East Asian mythological beings that have more than one tail.
  • October 16, 2011
    Ryuuma
    The Warped Beasts (or something similar) from Dungeons And Dragons have multiple, flail-like tail.

    ^^ About the multiple tailed asian beasts, (at least Japanese) we have:

    • Nekomata: Cat, two tails.
    • Kitsune: Fox, from 2 to 9 tails.
    • Isonade: Giant Shark, three tails (one larger and barbed)
    • Orochi: Dragon/Giant Snake: eight heads and tails.
    • Raiju: Thunderbeast, various animals, sometimes described with multiple tails.

    These are all the canonical Japanese multitailed monsters I can think of, I hope this is helpful.
  • October 16, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    You guys think it would be good to have all of them on there?
  • October 17, 2011
    Ryuuma
    ^ If you're talking about the ones over there, well, the Kistune and Nekomata are already here. I strongly recommand at least Orochi (which is a trope).
  • October 17, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Orochi is the eight-headed serpent, right?
  • October 17, 2011
    Ryuuma
    ^ Eight tails too in some myths. To be specific, he had eight heads and eight tails, was as long as eight mountains and eight valleys and trees, springs and living animals could be found on his body. In those myths is also stated that the legendary Kusanagi sword was found in his fourth or eighth tail.
  • October 18, 2011
    Dawnwing
    • In the video games of Harry Potter, there are several references to the Gytrash, which are ghostly dogs with forked tails. The gytrash is a creature in English folklore, though only the Harry Potter games describe it with a forked tail.
  • October 18, 2011
    LOAD
    Pernese dragons have forked tails.
  • October 19, 2011
    Tambov333
    Multiple tails, Web Comics:
  • October 19, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^Is that from Anne Mc Caffrey's Pern books?
  • October 19, 2011
    LOAD
    ^Yes. The cover art doesn't really ever show it, but they're described as having a forked tail, with their digestive track ending in the middle of the fork. Fan art ussually shows this when not based off cover art.
  • October 20, 2011
    Arivne
    Multiple Tails

    Film
    • King Ghidorah, who appears in several Godzilla movies. He has two long tails.
  • October 21, 2011
    InsanityPrelude
    The name's boring, but I think the rest of this is solid.
  • October 22, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I'm not married to the name, if you come up with something more interesting, changes can be made.
  • October 22, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Witty can be good, only so long as it doesn't come at the expense of 'concise' or (especially) 'clear', both of which the current name nails spot on the head.
  • October 22, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    Mythology: The Seth Animal, the creature that the Egyptian god Seth is supposed to have the head of.
  • October 22, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    This picture of Ninetails could make a good picture.
  • October 22, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I'm more partial to Okami Ninetails. fanart
  • October 22, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I'm wondering if the picture should really be of a kitsune, since we already have a kitsune page. Some other animal with extra tails would be more appropriate.
  • October 22, 2011
    ImaginationInterpreture
    Not sure if this is a Literature example or Real Life, but most How To Draw books that involve Anthros or Fantasy usually have a section that mentions this.
  • October 23, 2011
    Stratadrake
    That would probably be Literature. There are no real life examples of multiple-tailed beasts.
  • October 23, 2011
    Gatchaman432
    • How many tails did Shippou of InuYasha have? If my memory serves me correctly, I think he had two, thus making him a Kitsune (correct me if I'm wrong).
  • October 23, 2011
    CompletelyNormalGuy
    In El Goonish Shive, Grace's omega form is a three-tailed squirrel-girl.
  • October 24, 2011
    Tambov333
  • October 24, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ You mean 'Ninetales'.
  • November 9, 2011
    ladyofprocrastination
    Occasionally happens in real life, due to mutations or a partially-formed conjoined twin.
  • November 17, 2011
    Oreochan
    The Touhou example belongs in the Video Game section.
  • November 17, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Not sure if these count:

    anime and manga:

    Film:
    • In Dragonheart, Draco looks like an ordinary dragon, but the barbed tip of his tail splits in two to become a deastating weapon.

    Real Life
  • November 17, 2011
    Ekuran
    How about Multi Tailed?
  • November 18, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^^ I don't think Dragonheart is an example. It's like calling the stegosaurus "four-tailed" just because its tail has four pointy ends on it instead of one.
  • November 18, 2011
    LOAD
    ^I'm with Stratadrake. Those things on Draco's tail are probably specialized scales, not the tail itself(no spine in them).
  • November 20, 2011
    Cider
    More broad, just call it Multiple Tails, drop the "beast" part for cases of people in costumes, robots, bugs or something decidedly not beasty. (Centipedes? They seem to have two tails).
  • November 20, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Most examples are indeed some sort of vertebrate life form, "beasts" if you will. Robots aren't examples unless they're fashioned to resemble a living creatures, and bugs vary by case. Centipedes, like the stegosaurus, have spikes on their one tail, and the only reason they appear to have "two tails" is because their head and tail ends are visually similar (to confuse predators about which one is which).
  • November 20, 2011
    Cider
    Or if the robots Mechanical Lifeforms, I'm pretty sure there was a Transformer toy with two tails(can't remember who but you get the point) or if someone did Mega Microbes with two flagella. I guess calling it beast wouldn't stop anyone from adding examples but there could be any number of cases who aren't "beasts".
  • November 20, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Sinnertwin is one of them, but I'm sure there are more throughout the years.
  • November 23, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    The ninetail from naruto, and the other jinchuriki's demons.
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