Created By: DmMJune 29, 2012 Last Edited By: DmMAugust 18, 2012
Nuked

Animal Metaphor

An animal symbolises the relationship between two or more characters

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Sometimes an animal (or two animals) can symbolize of a character or characters (humans or anthropomorphized animals) in a work. If the characters are human, these animals will generally be their pets, but in works of fantasy it's not uncommon for the characters to be transformed into animals and have to work together to return to safety and human form, learning more about each other along the way.

The most common form of this trope is the portrayal of two animals whose relationships mirrors or symbolizes the relationship between their owners.

Can be case of Truth In Television in that pets' behaviour tends to reflect their masters' moods.

Related to What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic. Subtrope of Animal Motifs.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
  • Toradora is something of a Portmanteau for the animals both leads have Animal Motifs of: Taiga as the Tiger ("Tora"), and Ryuuji as the Dragon ("Doragon"). They were aware of this early on.
  • In Bleach, Yoruichi and Soi Fon are symbolized by the cat and the hornet respectively. Yoruichi's personality is playful, and somewhat fickle, much like a cat's; in addition to her unexplained ability to actually turn into one, at will. Whereas Soi Fon, who's name literally means "break/broken hornet", has a personality befitting her namesake; being that she's slow to anger, yet deadly when provoked. This is also reflected in her zanpakuto, Suzumebachi, which is named after the asian hornet. The chapter in which they fight is even titled "Cat and Hornet".

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
  • In the film Definitely Maybe, the daughter tells her divorced parents that penguins mate for life, but sometimes the husband and wife penguins get separated 'cause of their migratory patterns and sometimes they're apart for years, but they almost always find each other.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • In Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, the violent relationship between Hermione's cat Crookshanks and Ron's rat Scabbers triggers and comes to symbolise the breakdown in their owners' friendship. Of course "He's not a rat. He's a man.".
    • Ron's decision to check whether or not Crookshanks likes the owl Sirus gives him at the end of the book symbolises Ron and Hermione's repaired friendship.
    • Harry's Patronus is a stag because so was his father's, and his father could transform into a stag.
    • James Potter's Patronus is a stag. Lily Evans' is a doe.
    • Snape's Patronus is a doe because he's in love with Lily
    • In Half Blood Prince, Tonks' Patronus has changed to become a werewolf because she's in love with Lupin
  • In the Five Find-Outers and Dog books by Enid Blyton, Bets' love for Fatty's dog Buster (and the fact that she's Buster's favourite) symbolises her hero-worship of Fatty and his love of her attention.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes short story "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" Holmes remarks to Watson that you never see a sad dog in a happy family or vice versa.
  • Little Bear the dog, in Tamora Pierce's Circle Of Magic series. The four main characters fully cooperated for the first time in order to rescue him, so he's a symbol of their bond. When three of the four young mages leave their temple home to go travelling, Little Bear goes with Tris -- the one most reluctant to leave. This ties in to the main characters growing independence...and distance from each other. By the time they return, their bond is so badly affected that it verges on non-existent, by which point Tris has left Little Bear at the temple with another young mage (see Its All Junk).
  • A The Onion article has an entire family attempting to use the family dog as a metaphor for their relationship difficulties--The father for example saying that the dog feels confined and needs to run free, while the youngest child says the dog just wants some attention...
  • In the Erast Fandorin novel The State Councilor, Needle (a terrorist liaison) compares her romance with Mr. Green (a terrorist leader) to a picture of two giraffes she once saw, where the animals were depicted as awkwardly clueless on how to express affection for each other.

[[/folder:]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • In Friends Phoebe compares Ross & Rachel's relationship to lobster, because they mate for life. According to her you can actually see old lobster couples in a lobster tank holding claws.
  • There's a Boy Meets World episode where Cory wants to get back together with Topanga. He follows her to Disney World to win her back. There he talks to a dophin who is sad because it has lost it's mate. He tells it that he believes Toganga is his mate.
  • In Robin Hood, the relationship between Will and Djaq is associated with symbolism about homing pigeons.
  • The Frasier episode "You Can Go Home Again" contains an extended Flash Back to the day of Frasier's first radio show, during the course of which Niles describes his relationship with Maris by saying "Like the Arctic Puffin, we mate for life". It's doubly symbolic given Maris' constant association with coldness and ice throughout the series.
    • Invoked and parodied in another episode when Eddie gets depressed. A pet psychiatrist claims that his depression is probably being caused by the behaviour of one one of the humans he sees regularly, and encourages Martin, Niles, Frasier and Daphne to act cheerful around him. Roz joins the others and they attempt to analyze themselves to discover the root of the problem. They discover that they're all in some way depressed, but then Eddie finds his favourite toy and cheers up. They joke about how they were following his lead, but their problems can't be solved by a cheap treat, only to perk up when Daphne's cookies finish baking.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
  • The video for the song "Say You Don't Want It" by For One Night Only uses the relationship between a stray and a rich woman's pampered lapdog to symbolise the relationship between the streetwise, cocky lead singer and his sheltered, better-off girlfriend (played by Emma Watson). If the dogs' relationship is anything to go by, their romance won't work out...
  • The song "Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades" by Brand New, which is about a failing relationship, contains the following line:
    He is the lamb: she is the slaughter
    • A small, featureless picture of a white lamb is a recurring image in the video.
    • And yes, the song is about sex...
  • Indeed, there was a whole Forgotten Trope genre of songs (occurring, for instance, in Gilbert And Sullivan operas) where Interspecies Romances or even relations between inanimate objects symbolize unrequited love.
  • Angus Stone's song, "Bird on a buffalo" uses the titular animals' symbiotic relationship to represent unconditional love between two people.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
  • 'Lovebirds' have become symbolic of romance in Western culture.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • On Adventure Time, Finn point out to Ice King that swans mate for life and shows him an elderly swan couple. One of the swans then swallows the other whole.
  • A very odd example, considering the couple in question are themselves animals, occurs in The Lion King 2. Kiara wistfully watches a pair of doves fly off together before she starts the "Love Will Find A Way" number where she and Kovu are reunited.
  • Played with in Total Drama Island, where two squirrels "lip synch" a conversation happening between two of the contestants in a mocking fashion.
  • The Disney version of Pocahontas does this with the title character's raccoon and the Englishman's dog. These two animals serve as a symbolic representation for the friction between the natives and English. By the end of the film, the animal mascots are friendly, and all hostilities are seemingly resolved between the two peoples.
  • This is mentioned in the Pokemon episode "Bye Bye, Butterfree" when Brock claims that a relationship between two Butterfree equals a relationship between their trainers. Several Ash/Dawn shippers say the same in later seasons.

[[/folder]]

Community Feedback Replies: 87
  • June 29, 2012
    RJSavoy
    It needs a title that is less narrow. "Animal Relationship Motif" is the obvious one, but I think we can do better. The title should not suggest that this is merely about loving relationships, or birds.
  • June 29, 2012
    Prfnoff
    Indeed, there was a whole Forgotten Trope genre of songs (occurring, for instance, in Gilbert And Sullivan operas) where Interspecies Romances or even relations between inanimate objects symbolize unrequited love.
  • June 29, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Friends Phoebe compares Ross & Rachel's relationship to lobster, because they mate for life. According to her you can actually see old lobster couples in a lobster tank holdnig claws.
  • June 29, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks! I went for that name because it was the best I could find that wasn't as generic as "Animal Relationship Motif". I mean, I'm no expert on when something becomes a meme, but the Carlos/D.A. peregrine falcons gag has been bouncing around the internet for so long that it must be getting close to meme status, so I figured it was the least obscure Trope Namer. Also, unless we're going to suggest that Viewers Are Morons, why should we assume that they'll think this is just about birds? Do people think Stupid Jetpack Hitler is about stupid Hitler on a jetpack, or Hitler on a stupid jetpack, or Eva Braun saying "Stupid jetpack, Hitler"? Should we call it Nazis With Advanced Or Science Fiction Technology? Do people think Idiot Ball is a dumbed-down version of Calvin Ball? (Or, indeed, that Calvin Ball is a team-sport that was only played by 16th-century Swiss protestants?) Is Idiot Plot a plot written by an idiot, a plot intended to be understood by idiots, the kind of criminal scheme comedy incompetent mooks come up with or a plot about idiots? Why does Avengers Assemble have a pagequote from Buffy? Surely she never teamed up with Iron Man? (now, there's a fanfic...)

    I know I'm being a bit over the top here, but half the joy of This Very Wiki for me has been discovering new works through trope names, page quotes and so on. Besides, as a self-professed semi-nerd, if we're gonna name tropes after obscure cheesy 90s fps games, or let Joss Whedon have about a million tropes named by his works and/or with pagequotes from his works, why don't we remember that there are gonna be plenty of people reading those entries who won't get the reference, and change them too?

    Again, I know this is a bit unreasonable of me, and I swear as I sit here typing this I'm not angry, not annoyed, just vaguely irritated. It's just (and I'm not picking on you), that I've seen a lot of this happening on YKTTW threads recently. It hasn't happened to me (and there's a perfectly reasonable name-change debate going on on one of my threads here, currently called Ship Tease Pile Up Edit: now called Castaway Of The Ship Tease Pileup Resolution) but I've noticed a lot of people replying on threads with "this name is too specific/too obscure a reference" and I've found myself thinking "well, there's a good dozen launched pages with more obscure/specific names than that..."

    I end up thinking it's just Complaining About Titles You Dont Like (why isn't that a trope lol...) Just because you don't get the reference doesn't mean other people won't. Now, I'm not saying this applies to you, RJ Savoy , in fact, your comment indicates that it doesn't, but such comments have annoyed me to the point where I'm taking the attitude that if people want blanded-out hyper-general cover-all-the-bases trope names, we should start with the ones that are already on the wiki. It'd spoil the fun though... think about it: the most memorable trope names are the ones with a sense of humour and/or a specific image/work associated with them. (What would we have to rename Indy Ploy? Making It Up As They Go Along?)

    @ Randomsurfer: I can't believe I forgot that! Phoebe's claw-holding gesture makes for quite a memorable moment...
  • June 29, 2012
    lexicon
    • There's a Boy Meets World episode where Cory wants to get back together with Topanga. He follows her to Disney World to win her back. There he talks to a dophin who is sad because it has lost it's mate. He tells it that he believes Toganga is his mate.
  • June 29, 2012
    DmM
    thanks!
  • June 29, 2012
    TonyG
    On Adventure Time, Finn point out to Ice King that swans mate for life and shows him an elderly swan couple. One of the swans then swallows the other whole.
  • June 29, 2012
    dotchan
    I believe I remember the wife of a man who discovered that he was having an affair bitterly talk about how swans mate for life on Touched By An Angel, but don't take my word for it.
  • June 30, 2012
    MorganWick
    "I mean, I'm no expert on when something becomes a meme, but the Carlos/D.A. peregrine falcons gag has been bouncing around the internet for so long that it must be getting close to meme status, so I figured it was the least obscure Trope Namer."

    That may be a sign you've been hanging around Magic School Bus fandom too long.
  • June 30, 2012
    DmM
    I'm not part of the MSB fandom. I haven't even watched the show since I was around 12 or 13 (I'm 22 this year). If I was to engage in Fan Myopia over this one, I'd have named it after "Sic Transit Gloira... Glory Fades". Sad but true :)

    Once again, as someone who fulfills some but not all of the prerequisites for being some sort of geek/nerd, I can't help but feel that a lot of pages on This Very Wiki engage in Fan Myopia to some extent. I point to the fact that Avengers Assemble isn't named for the Marvel characters, or the classic British TV series The Avengers or the Marvel film (released as Avengers Assemble in the UK and Ireland to avoid legal issues because of a recent film reboot of the aforementioned spy show). The Trope Namer is Buffy. Y'know, a lot of people nowadays haven't seen Buffy...

    And then there's the Hatedom. Did you know that, up until recently, the description on the Fall Out Boy page said they were more ridiculous than Spinal Tap? (Doubtless a valid opinion, but out of place on the main page of an article). It still lists "impregnating Ashlee Simpson" as one of their major achievements. In fairness, whether you like or loathe them or their style of music, they deserve a bit more recognition than that!

    My point here is simply that a lot of the contributors to this wiki have "unquestioned assumptions". That's in quotes because I'm nicking the concept from the essay of the same name by Ursula K. Le Guin. She listed a series of unquestioned assumptions in western fiction, the main ones being we're all male, we're all straight and we're all white (this is shown in fiction through the Male Gaze, token black characters always having their race mentioned when they appear, stereotypical token gay characters, etc). This wiki's unquestioned assumptions seem to be

    I could list more, but you get the picture. Now, I'm not complaining. Most if not all of those points apply to me. I'm just saying that this is mass myopia and a kind of cultural insularity that leads to "I don't get that reference, so it's obviously too obscure". Again, I'm not particularly picking on anyone involved in this conversation, its something I've seen on a lot of YKTTW threads. Even the wiki itself can be pretty patchy. Do you realise we have a trope page for a fan-made game where nothing much happens that started out as a Half-Life mod, but not for the most consistently critically-acclaimed rock band to come out of the US in at least the last 12 years? (and yes, I'm a Brand New fan. Doesn't stop it being true. Someday I'll have the time to start a page for them...) Everyone has their own preferences and prejudices, so we should take advantage of that. The best, quickest easiest way to have this wiki cover the widest possible range of cultures, subcultures and works is to give everyone's preferences equal priority (within the bounds of reason and practicality, of course)

    Having said all that, if someone thinks of a good, memorable name for this trope, please let me know! Also, that was an enjoyably wry use of a hyperlinked phrase, Morgan Wick. In fact, that kind of humour is one of the reasons I love this site and one of the ways I've discovered new stuff
  • June 30, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Animal Interactions Parallels? Animal Interactions As Metaphors? I'm not sure what to use, really, but we need something more broad than what you picked.

    Even as a Magic School Bus fan, (though I'm not really familiar with the fandom, nor with the meme you cite) I dislike the title because it sounds like it's specifically about animals that mate for life, rather than the more broad subject of animal interactions as metaphors for human interactions. (Granted, the literal interpretation is that it's about falcons in particular but I don't think the average troper is that literal-minded.)
  • June 30, 2012
    DmM
    Sadly, the person who left the first comment did.
  • June 30, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ No, RJ Savoy said we need a title that doesn't make it sound like it's about birds. This doesn't mean RJ Savoy actually interpreted the trope itself that way.
  • June 30, 2012
    DmM
    ^ I meant he/she thought other tropers could interpret it as being about birds. To which all I can say is Stupid Jetpack Hitler. I agree it probably needs a new name, I'm just annoyed with certain unspoken attitudes on the wiki, and this discussion gave me an opportunity to vent. Incidently, I will do horrible things to the first person to tell me to Take It To The Forums. I will Take It To The Forums, I just don't have time at the moment. Hopefully it'll make for an interesting discussion :)
  • June 30, 2012
    DmM
    Animal Relationship Symbolism? Still too bland, but getting there?
  • June 30, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Not only is the current title too narrow, but the picture is JAFAAC. Both have to go.

    How about Monogamy Metaphor?
  • June 30, 2012
    DmM
    Nope. If the 'mate for life' element of the current name is too narrow, Monogamy Metaphor definitely is. And given that, until we get a better name, that is a picture of the goddam Trope Namer, it's not JAFAAC. It will be, but it isn't yet...
  • June 30, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Oh yes it is. Images of a Trope Namer are actually more likely to be JAFAAC, because the submitter assumed everyone will recognize it and instantly make the mental connection to the trope definition. That is what makes a JAFAAC, Trope Namer or otherwise.

    More on topic, if the underlying definition is about any animal's social behavior being invoked as an analogue for human social behavior, then yes we need a title that is sufficiently broad to cover it. Even Agent Smith's "man is a virus" rant could be a valid example.
  • July 1, 2012
    DmM
    Good example :) The only question I have is what the hell do we call this thing?
  • July 1, 2012
    lexicon
  • July 2, 2012
    DmM
    Pretty good! Maybe Creature Relationship Symbolism?
  • July 3, 2012
    DmM
    Better?
  • July 3, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Much better.

    Still wouldn't hurt to think about alternative titles to see if there's room for further improvement, but the current one is at least decent.
  • July 3, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks! I agree the current title is poor though. If we can't come up with a better one soon I'll add a Needs A Better Title tag to see if that attracts some new opinions. And out of interest, does this wiki have a policy of no longer accepting specific/obscure trope names? I go back to Stupid Jetpack Hitler - too specific and an in-joke about an in-joke about a cartoon. I'm honestly wondering, because I've only been on here a few months so I'm still learning :)
  • July 3, 2012
    Generality
    In The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess, Link's relationship with Ilia is facilitated through discussion of caring for the horse Epona.
  • July 3, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^^ It wouldn't hurt to have a "better name" tag as it is.
  • July 3, 2012
    MiinU

    Video games

  • July 3, 2012
    DmM
    @ Hidden Faced Matt: Gotcha :)
  • July 3, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ I'll add it, then.
  • July 4, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ x 6 @DmM: "...does this wiki have a policy of no longer accepting specific/obscure trope names?"

    Check out Trope Namer Syndrome and Everythings Worse With Snowclones for two specific policies of this type.
  • July 4, 2012
    DmM
    @ Hidden Faced Matt: sorry, got distracted by real life and forgot... *facepalms*

    @ Arivne: Everythings Worse With Snowclones... (*head explodes from irony overdose*) Thanks for the clarification! Won't this cause dissonance with existing pages in the long run? Perhaps that won't matter though: those obscure jokes could end up being as a monument to the site's early days :)
  • July 4, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ When I asked Fast Eddie about existing Stock Phrases compared to new ones, he said something along the lines of "stop the toilet from overflowing before cleaning up the mess."

    I'm guessing a similar thing applies to bad snowclones; first priority is to discourage new ones, and apart from that people look at the existing ones on a more case-by-case basis to see which should stay and which should go.
  • July 5, 2012
    DmM
    ^ sounds reasonable to me :) thanks for all the advice!
  • July 8, 2012
    DmM
  • July 8, 2012
    PaulA
    • In Robin Hood, the relationship between Will and Djaq is associated with symbolism about homing pigeons.
  • July 10, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • July 10, 2012
    FantiSci
    Subtrope of Animal Motifs.

    • Little Bear the dog, in Tamora Pierce's Circle Of Magic series. The four main characters fully cooperated for the first time in order to rescue him, so he's a symbol of their bond. When three of the four young mages leave their temple home to go travelling, Little Bear goes with Tris -- the one most reluctant to leave. This ties in to the main characters growing independence...and distance from each other. By the time they return, their bond is so badly affected that it verges on non-existent, by which point Tris has left Little Bear at the temple with another young mage (see Its All Junk).
  • July 10, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • July 11, 2012
    DmM
    YKTTW Bump. More examples? Is the name ok? Can I, in fact, launch this in the near future?
  • July 14, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    IIRC the "5 hats" thing is a guideline, but not necessarily a strict rule. Still though, I'd wait a little longer before launching this to see if others can come up with better titles. I might try to think of a few myself...
  • July 15, 2012
    DmM
    ^ Thanks!
  • July 15, 2012
    Blubble
    As a title, how about Linked by the beast?
  • July 17, 2012
    DmM
    I like that! How do other people feel about it?
  • July 17, 2012
    Stratadrake
    The current working title is good (though I'm more partial to "metaphor" for some reason), but the quote doesn't work.
  • July 18, 2012
    DmM
    Can you suggest a different one?
  • July 18, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Don't have one ready, sorry. That one's just too long.
  • July 20, 2012
    DmM
    Fair enough, I'll try to dig out another one :)
  • July 20, 2012
    DaibhidC
    In Futurama: Bender's Big Score, Leelu the narwhal represents Leela, and the fact Fry has to let her go back to the ocean and meet another narwhal represents accepting Leela has chosen Lars. Of course, it's not that simple.
  • July 21, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • July 21, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^ I'm not sure if that should be an example, because the metaphor is presented via a human/animal relationship and not a same-species animal/animal relationship.
  • July 22, 2012
    DmM
    ^ good point. I haven't seen the episode, so I'll trust your judgement. Should it go?
  • July 28, 2012
    cygnavamp
    Here's a very odd example, considering the couple in question are themselves animals. In The Lion King 2, Kiara wistfully watches a pair of doves fly off together before she starts the "Love Will Find A Way" number where she and Kovu are reunited.
  • July 28, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Perhaps a better wording would be "humans, or anthropomorphized animals." Typically examples of the latter are based on examples the former anyway.

    That reminds me... I think this should be broadened to something like Animal Interaction Parallels, since the wording "relationship" is prone to giving the wrong impression, and broadening the trope to any case of "what's going on among animals has parallels to what's going on among humans" will get around some of the questions about what does or does not count as Creature Relationship Symbolism...
  • July 29, 2012
    DmM
    @cygnavamp: Thanks!

    @Hidden Faced Matt: good idea. I like that name, but perhaps Animal Interaction Parallel? Not sure about the plural. I'll change the wording too and we can see if it clarifies things :)
  • July 29, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    In hindsight, while better than Creature Relationship Symbolism, my alternative does not seem near sufficient. I suggest you take this to the YKTTW workstation thread, as this could use a bigger variety of alternate title proposals.
  • July 29, 2012
    Stratadrake
    And perhaps some reworking of the definition.

    For example, In Pirates Of The Caribbean: At Worlds End, when the Pirate council is debating whether to go to war against the East India Trading Corp, Jack compares them all to cuttlefish, noting that if they simply wall themselves up in the safety of Shipwreck Cove, they'll probably end up killing each other off.
  • July 29, 2012
    Rognik
    • Played with in Total Drama Island, where two squirrels "lip synch" a conversation happening between two of the contestants in a mocking fashion?
    • The Disney version of Pocahontas does this with the title character's raccoon and the Englishman's dog. These two AnimalMascots serve as a symbolic representation for the friction between the natives and English. By the end of the film, the animal mascots are friendly, and all hostilities are seemingly resolved between the two people.
  • July 30, 2012
    DmM
    @Hidden Faced Matt: Human Animal Parallel? Animal Interaction Symbolism? I'll take it to the workstation...

    @Rognik: thanks!

    @Stratadrake: thanks, but I think that example would just go under Animal Motifs :)
  • July 30, 2012
    SKJAM
    • Ab The Onion article has an entire family attempting to use the family dog as a metaphor for their relationship difficulties--The father for example saying that the dog feels confined and needs to run free, while the youngest child says the dog just wants some attention....
  • July 30, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • July 30, 2012
    Stratadrake
    So if this is a Sub Trope of Animal Motifs, where do we draw the line? I'm not seeing it in any of the recently suggested examples, where the animals themselves are used as a symbol rather than the natural interactions of animals being the symbol.
  • July 30, 2012
    lexicon
    What about calling it Man Is Like An Animal?
  • July 30, 2012
    DmM
    @Stratadrake: good point, I need to revise the examples list. Bear in mind that some of the 'animals themselves' symbolise relationships through an implied relationship. So, the doe/stag patronus thing, or Eddie getting depressed and ignoring his owners. In fact, I've a feeling he ignores another dog as well...

    @Lexicon: nice title. Not sure it conveys the symbolism of the interaction/relationship though...
  • August 1, 2012
    MrRuano
    Toradora is something of a Portmanteau for the animals both leads have Animal Motifs of: Taiga as the Tiger ("Tora"), and Ryuuji as the Dragon ("Doragon"). They were aware of this early on.
  • August 1, 2012
    WolfBloodstone
    This is mentioned in the Pokemon episode "Bye Bye, Butterfree" when Brock claims that a relationship between two Butterfree equals a relationship between their trainers. Several Ash/Dawn shippers say the same in later seasons.
  • August 2, 2012
    PapercutChainsaw
    • Angus Stone's song, "Bird on a buffalo" uses the titular animals' symbiotic relationship to represent unconditional love between two people.
  • August 2, 2012
    Koveras
    • In the Erast Fandorin novel The State Councilor, Needle (a terrorist liaison) compares her romance with Mr. Green (a terrorist leader) to a picture of two giraffes she once saw, where the animals were depicted as awkwardly clueless on how to express affection for each other.
  • August 2, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • August 4, 2012
    DmM
    OK, so this now has 5 hats and 3 tags... can I get some opinions on whether it's launchable or it needs more work?
  • August 4, 2012
    lexicon
    I'm ready any time you are but I have one more examples to add first.

    • In the film Definitely Maybe, the daughter tells her divorced parents that penguins mate for life, but sometimes the husband and wife penguins get separated 'cause of their migratory patterns and sometimes they're apart for years, but they almost always find each other.
  • August 4, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • August 7, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    I think the only thing launching this should wait on, if any, is a better title. I'm not sure if asking the staffers for help in naming this trope might be useful...
  • August 8, 2012
    DmM
    @Hidden Faced Matt: thanks for the advice. I might put the call out for help if you think it'd be useful: I went ahead and put a request up on the workstation, but all that seems to have done is got us more tags...

    By the way, thanks for being so patient with me. I know I was a bit brusque at the start about the naming thing, but if it wasn't for you and a few of the others this would probably have been discarded by now :)
  • August 8, 2012
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

    • In Bleach, Yoruichi and Soi Fon are symbolized by the cat and the hornet respectively. Yoruichi's personality is playful, and somewhat fickle, much like a cat's; in addition to her unexplained ability to actually turn into one, at will. Whereas Soi Fon, who's name literally means "break/broken hornet", has a personality befitting her namesake; being that she's slow to anger, yet deadly when provoked. This is also reflected in her zanpakuto, Suzumebachi, which is named after the asian hornet. The chapter in which they fight is even titled "Cat and Hornet".
  • August 9, 2012
    DmM
    Thanks!
  • August 9, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^ How is that not just regular Animal Motifs? It is using individual animals as symbols for individual characters, not the natural relation between said animals as a symbol for the relation between the characters (not that there's much relation between a cat and hornet anyway).
  • August 12, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Also, I'd suggest scrapping the Prisoner Of Azkaban mention from the description. First off, it might seem semi-spoilerish (granted, it's not that crucial a plot point, but someone who has yet to watch it might get the impression it is) and second, I don't think descriptions are supposed to use examples from specific works. I'd recommend just saying "a specific sub-variety of this involves what's going on between different characters' pets representing what's going on between the characters themselves."
  • August 13, 2012
    DmM
    ^Gotcha :)
  • August 13, 2012
    lexicon
    If you're still interested in a new title how about Animals Are Us?
  • August 14, 2012
    DmM
    I like that! What does anyone else think?
  • August 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Catchy title idea, but which definition are we using for it again?
  • August 16, 2012
    DmM
    ^ Sometimes an animal (or two animals) can be symbolic of the relationship(s) between two or more characters (humans or anthropomorphized animals) in a work. If the characters are human, these animals will generally be their pets, but in works of fantasy it's not uncommon for the characters to be transformed into animals and have to work together to return to safety and human form, learning more about each other along the way.

    A common form of this trope is the portrayal of two animals whose relationships mirrors or symbolises the relationship between their owners.

    We need a consensus on the ones that don't fulfill that and I'll remove them :) I agree that the hornet one probably needs to go, beyond that I won't act without backup in case I mess it up.
  • August 16, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    One problem with Animals Are Us is that it makes it sound like it's about selling animals or something. Though granted, at this point it seems like almost any title we come up with will have flaws of its own...
  • August 17, 2012
    DmM
    hmmm...

    ...

    ...

    I dunno, maybe we can pass off the alternate interpretation as an Incredibly Lame Pun?
  • August 17, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^^ I don't exactly see that borne out in the suggested examples, IMO. I just see a lot of "animal X is used as a metaphor for character Y".

    In which case, we can probably just call it Animal Metaphor.
  • August 18, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Animal Metaphor sounds better. Of all the titles proposed so far it seems the least prone to causing misunderstandings. If we rename this to Animal Metaphor, I say it will be ready to launch.
  • August 18, 2012
    DmM
    Ok! Thanks for all the help guys :) Launching now...

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable