Deadly Mantis
Mantises and Mantis-man hybrids portrayed in fiction.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-03-07 13:24:18 sponsor: Ryuuma edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2013-09-17 03:43:46)

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The mantis men have officially taken over the facility! If you can get out, get out now!

In fiction, insects and arachnids can be associated with many things depending on their race. Spiders and scorpions are scary, centipedes creepy, cockroaches disgusting and flies annoying. The Mantis, however is on a whole other level.

In works there are usually four types of depictions:

  • Serene, stern and disciplined warriors, usually martial artists too. This kind is usually good or neutral.
  • Ax-Crazy psychopaths, dangerous Blood Knights always looking for carnage. This type of evil mantis characters are often seen as Always Chaotic Evil
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: a predatory and usually giant mantis. They tend to be "neutral hungry".
  • Characters, monsters or other creatures with mantis-like arms added to make them scarier or more dangerous looking. The arms also implies an Instant Death Radius and have connotations similar to those of Sinister Scythe.

When depicted as villains, its usually in a form of "heel hate" as humans typically DON'T hate them (quite the opposite actually) like they do snakes or spiders. The arms becoming twin scythes is a result of Flanderization for the purpose of Rule of Cool. This trope often has copious amounts of Instant Death Radius in play. When fighting they'll usually be Lightning Bruiser capable of Implausible Fencing Powers and sometimes even Razor Wind.

See also Big Creepy-Crawlies, Attack of the Killer Whatever, Scary Scorpions and Creepy Centipedes. Do not confuse with The Deadly Mantis, an old movie about, well, a giant rampaging mantis.


Anime and Manga

  • There's a nightmarish mantis yokai in InuYasha who feeds on women innards and then wear their skins. She's offed by Miroku, but manage to cut is Kazaana open, putting him in danger.
  • In One Piece there are giant mantises with veeery sharp claws on Jaya island. Later a similar mantis with blades instead of legs is seen in Impel Down. Last but not least, the Tenth Movie has Don Kamakiriri, a bad tempered mantis capable of taking down a gargantuan octopus with ease.
  • The Mantis Man in Yaiba appears as one of Onimaru's minions. Subverted later when he's revealed to be a goofy Punch Clock Villain.
  • A mantis man appears in Berserk. He's not particularly sadistic, just very fast.
  • Nnoitra Gilga from Bleach is an insane, mysoginistic Blood Knight who can turn into a multi-armed, shell-covered One-Winged Angel from equipped with multiple scythes.

Comic Books


  • The Deadly Mantis, which features a giant, prehistoric mantis.
  • One member of the Furious Five in Kung Fu Panda is a mantis who's pretty powerful despite being the size of a mantis.

  • K'Kriq in The Prism Pentad is a thri-keen, a four armed mantis man, who can resist to mind attacks and even magical fire balls. Unlike other examples, he hasn't got "scythe-like arms".
  • In the sf novel "Chess with a Dragon" by David Gerrold, there's a not-nice mantislike species who are hermaphroditic sadomasochist cannibals.
  • Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality novel On A Pale Horse. Zane is confronted by a "preying" mantis - a demon in the shape of a praying mantis. It's a Living Motion Detector as well as a deadly killer.
  • Discworld, the Assassins' Guild School has gone co-educational and now treaches young ladies how to inhume with style and grace. One of the all-female houses of study, supervised by Miss Alice Band, is variably described as Tump House and as Mantis House depending which side of the continuity error you're on. it is interesting that an institution teaching girls how to kill should take as its mascot the Praying Mantis - a creature where the female is famed for biting the male's head off after his usefulness is over, and devouring his body. What are we teaching young girls these days...

Light Novel

  • A bunch of mantis-like bugmen appear in The Slayers season 1, among Rezo's beastmen. Little characterization is given beyond "big creepy crawlies".

Live-Action TV

  • The She-Mantis in Buffy the Vampire Slayer' episode "Teacher's Pet". It wants to lay its eggs on Xander and another boy with the indication the babies will probably eat them after hatching.
  • Babylon 5's first season had the crime boss N'Grath in Downbelow, who was an Insectoid Alien resembling a praying mantis.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • In the Rail Shooter game Lets Go Jungle, there's a Giant Mantis as a boss at the end of the Temple Level. Unlike many examples its claws aren't very sharp.
  • Some of them are found in Bug. They're shown as psychotic murderers.
  • The Creeper in House of the Dead Overkill is a mantis-like mutant, whose scythe-like arms can easily slice steel. The arms are also his Achilles' Heel.
  • Mantis and King Mantis are two powerful monsters met in Final Fantasy II.
  • The giant mantis monsters in Titan Quest. They just roam into the chinese forests and viciously attack your hero when they sight him/her. You can also wear a special suit of armor (composed of helmet, greaves and cuirass) that makes you look like a mantis-man.
  • Dark Mantis and Deathtanz Mantisk from the Megaman X and Zero series respectively, they both use a series of quick atacks and bladed extremities on their atacks, and both curiously had law related jobs before became mavericks (Dark Mantis was a prison guard, and Deathtanz Mantisk was an executioner, but mentioned he didn't like his job (then again it was before Weil turned him into one of his warriors)), however, by the time you come to face them, they are far from being cooperative.
  • A Boss in Turok Dinosaur Hunter is a giant mantis that can spit acid.
  • The Zerg in Starcraft' have scytheish limbs that, alog with their aggressive behaviour, chitinous shells and hive-mind makes the similar to mantises.
  • The Scyther line in Pokémon. Mostly harmless (unless provoked). The line Took A Level In Bad Ass around the Diamond and Pearl generation. Also, Kabutops who has mantis-like arms.
  • Man-sized mantises appears in The Legend of Dragoon as low-level mooks.
  • The Space Pirates of Metroid, depending on the game, tend to look more or less like giant mantises.

Real Life

  • Real life martial arts style try to copy the mantis. It is a VERY close range fighting style.
    • Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu (which, incidentally, is the style Toph's earthbending is based on,) is a very close range fighting style. Northing Praying Mantis Style (also known as Seven Star Praying Mantis Style,) is a style of unrelated lineage which utilizes much longer range techniques, including whipping, circular blocks and high kicks, as well as signature "mantis hook" hand techniques which use three fingers (imitative of a mantis's claws) to strike vital points.
  • Truth in Television. Mantis' are very Bad Ass, being able to kill prey many times larger than themselves, such as snakes, rodents, and even birds. One of the only terrestrial arthropods that can overpower and kill a scorpion in a fair fight.

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