Created By: treelo on March 8, 2011 Last Edited By: treelo on March 13, 2011
Troped

Ear Notch

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Trope
Bob the Mouse is from the wrong side of the tracks, a true scrapper from the bad side of town but how do you show this easily? Add some notches to his ears for that tried and tested "been through it all" indicator. The ol' 'chunk out of the ear' character design trick has been around for some time and most commonly on animated Funny Animal characters (though can appear on any anthropomorphic character including Petting Zoo People) it tells the audience very quickly if a character is tough or evil and generally different from the notchless characters. It usually pops up for characters within the rodent subspecies but can also appear on cats and other species with ears large enough to show it off.

Sometimes can be used for added character in a Cute Little Fangs sense where the character isn't at all gritty and/or bad. Tangentially related to Good Scars, Evil Scars.

Examples:

Anime And Manga

Western Animation

Film - Animated

Literature
  • The Dresden Files has Harry's dog Mouse with a notched ear. When Harry first gets the puppy he notes that its probably a sign the pup is either more brave or more stupid than the rest of the litter.

Comic Books
  • Gen in Usagi Yojimbo has a broken horn.
  • In the comic strip Outland by Berke Breathed, Mortimer Mouse (a parody of Mickey) has a bite taken out of one ear--supposedly the result of a scuffle with Disney exec Michael Eisner.

Webcomics
  • Kevin & Kell: Subverted a little, Rudy tries to convince Kell to let him get a designer ear notch. Of course, she is less than enthusiastic about the notion.
  • Buwaro in Slightly Damned has ear notches. He's got Cute Little Fangs too, for what that's worth.

Real Life

More examples are needed, might already exist
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • March 8, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Subtrope of Good Scars Evil Scars ?
  • March 8, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Li'l Sneezer and Mrs. Brisby have ear notches? I'm not finding an image showing it.

    Film - Animated

    Real Life:
  • March 8, 2011
    Speedball
    Gen in Usagi Yojimbo has a broken horn for his facial scar. Related?
  • March 8, 2011
    KeybladeSpirit
    Perhaps a human variation would be an earing on a man?
  • March 8, 2011
    treelo
    Updated with some new additions mentioned and the removal of the characters I wrongly identified.

    @Speedball: Yes, related. The ear notch trope is similar to a facial scar but doesn't have the same connotations as the same character can have facial scars also. It does bear resemblance to Good Scars Evil Scars to a point like mentioned further up but is the Funny Animal (and related anthropomorphic sliding scale points short of human) specific variant which is usually Lighter And Softer in how it's approached.

    @KeybladeSprit: Earrings on a man aren't usually sinister or indicative of a tough guy.

  • March 8, 2011
    PaleHorse87
    Literature
    • The Dresden Files has Harry's dog Mouse with a notched ear. When Harry first gets the puppy he notes that its probably a sign the pup is either more brave or more stupid than the rest of the litter.
  • March 9, 2011
    BlackDragon
    Doctor Mordin Solus in Mass Effect 2 - he's missing most of his right 'horn', or whatever those things are called. The 'Lair of the Shadow-Broker' DLC reveals what most players likely already suspected - that he lost that horn during an operation with the Salarian Special Tasks Group. On the same mission where he killed a Krogan with a farming-tool, even.
  • March 9, 2011
    TooBah
    In the comic strip Outland by Berke Breathed, Mortimer Mouse (a parody of Mickey) has a bite taken out of one ear--supposedly the result of a scuffle with Disney exec Michael Eisner.
  • March 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    This may need a better title. Scarred Ear? Gnawed Ear?
  • March 9, 2011
    TheChainMan
    Boss in Hamtaro.
  • March 9, 2011
    ced1106
    Also shows for humans, except they wear at least three studs of earrings. And leather. Leeather.
  • March 9, 2011
    Stratadrake
    No, this is specifically an animal trope.
  • March 9, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV

    Not sure if this counts:
  • March 9, 2011
    GymQuirk
    Kevin And Kell: Rudy tries to convince Kell to let him get a designer ear notch. She is less than enthusiastic about the notion. (Situation is comparable to teenagers asking permission for extensive piercings and tatoos.)
  • March 9, 2011
    SinusPi
    (Lumpy's mismatched antlers are an indication of utter idiocy, not of toughness, though.)
  • March 11, 2011
    treelo
    More updates, was considering splitting this into two types but the Cute Little Fangs variant for characters which aren't gritty or evil doesn't come up as frequently. I think the Kevin And Kell example is pretty good example of the trope becoming meta. The title, Ear Notch, worked best out of the choices I thought of. For one, that's the actual term for it and is rarely referred to as scarring. It doesn't hold the same weight as a scar does as sometimes it has as much significance as an earring would on a human like the Kevin And Kell example shows.
  • March 11, 2011
    FalconPain
    Remember when Pokemon was making a big deal about a Pichu with a notched ear? It was a minor character in Pokemon Arceus And The Jewel Of Life and was available in the games via event... and it could never evolve into Pikachu.
  • March 12, 2011
    mrcoolantspray
    Buwaro in Slightly Damned has ear notches. He's got Cute Little Fangs too, for what that's worth.
  • March 12, 2011
    Rolf
    Real life: Mike Tyson gave one to another fighter.
  • March 12, 2011
    Bailey
    In real life, a notch in the left ear can also mean a stray cat has been fixed, which is somewhat less badass.
  • March 13, 2011
    treelo
    Pretty much ready to launch, see what else can be fitted in and will launch later on.
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