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[[quoteright:284:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/images_3_2672.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:284:Who needs actual wings, anyway?]]

->''"White feathers for innocence...''
->''Black feathers for darkest sin!"''
-->-- '''Tsubaki Yayoi''', ''VideoGame/BlazBlueContinuumShift''

If a motif is a recurring element with symbolic significance, then obviously a feather motif is any time feathers appear recurringly in a story. They can be tied to a specific character or they may span an entire work as a whole.

Feathers have certain connotations depending on their use and color. White or glowing feathers often represent the divine because of their connection to [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angels]]. Black feathers usually represent death or even evil, not only because they are the "opposite" of white but also since they are associated with CreepyCrows, which are scavengers that feed on the dead. Peacock feathers can represent vanity or, more rarely, flamboyance. Feathers of any color may represent flight or freedom due to their association with birds. Like anything symbolic, this can also be a case of FauxSymbolism or merely there because [[RuleOfCool someone thought it looked really cool]].

When the motif is associated with a character, that character may have wings or feathers (both real or represented) on their clothing or accessories. In {{Anime}} and VideoGames, it is not uncommon for a character with a Feather Motif to have powers that are accompanied by feathers, or [[FeatherFlechettes using feathers as weapons]], or even have fully feathered wings, although it should be noted that feathered wings alone do not make a Feather Motif.

Characters with a Feather Motif may display PerpetualMolt.

Compare CherryBlossoms, PetalPower, SymbolicWings, FluffyFashionFeathers, GoodWingsEvilWings.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'' has this frequently in the anime. First off, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjp5_tGEnKg her transformation sequence]] in ''Sailor Moon R'', in which glowing feathers and wings were just part of the transformation sequence, then later in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPmveBY1eK4 her Eternal Sailor Moon]] henshin, in which real wings and feathers are part of the sequence until the wings turn to fake wings. Her [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGfkSDYrOZ0 first]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_gmmpNwMns second]] attacks in that series involve what can only be described as ''hurricanes'' of feathers. In the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], Eternal Sailor Moon bears real feathered wings, as does Sailor Cosmos, who also has the feather wing motif on parts of her costume and staff.
* ''Creator/{{CLAMP}}'':
** In ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle'', the whole series is largely about the search for Sakura's memories which take the form of white feathers.In addition, the very last chapter reveals [[spoiler: that Sakura and Syaoran's true names are both Tsubasa, the Japanese word for wings. It's a symbol of both their connection to each other (since wings always come in pairs) and the vast journey that they've undertaken.]]
** The feather motif also briefly shows up in ''Tsubasa'''s [[CrossOver sister series]], ''Manga/XxxHolic''. After receiving a visit from [[spoiler: Syaoran and company, Watanuki is inspired to take on a wing symbol as his magical signature. The symbol is also exactly the same as the ''Tsubasa'' logo.]]
** Very prevalent in ''Manga/{{X1999}}''. Feathers are shown falling mostly during visions of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], especially in the manga and are largely associated with Kotori, the resident PurityPersonified heroine which name means "Little Bird".
** CLAMP series have also featured heroines named Kohane ("little feather") and Kobato ("little dove").
** Kujaku from ''Manga/RGVeda'' was accompanied by black feathers wherever he went, due to his being a WingedHumanoid.
* Both Miu and Shou Kanou from ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple''. Miu's movements and fighting style often get compared to bird's movements, and her name (美羽) [[MeaningfulName means "beautiful wings" or "beautiful feathers"]]. Kanou particularly recognizes this in Miu and for that reason falls in love with her. He himself loves birds, has a spread wings motif on the back of his leather jacket, and wears a birdcage-shaped earring. Both of them are sometimes drawn accompanied by symbolic ethereal feathers.
* In ''Manga/{{Clover}}'', Suu has a feather motif going on (as do the rest of the Clovers, to a lesser extent) as part of a "caged bird" metaphor.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': [[PaperMaster Konan]], who is an angel with paper feathers. This is significant in that Konan was one of the only Akatsuki to join for entirely non-selfish or anarchistic purposes - in a way, one of the few 'good guy' Akatsuki. Her motivations were primarily to protect Nagato and to rid the world of the pain she knew from her childhood.
* ''Manga/BlackButler'': [[spoiler: Angela]] and [[spoiler: Sebastian]] in their true forms. Especially [[spoiler: Angela]], since her dress looks like it's made out of feathers, or is at least designed to appear so. Oddly, [[spoiler: Sebastian]] doesn't show any wings, but that doesn't stop his Perpetual Molt.
* In ''Manga/BloodyCross'', whenever FallenAngel Satsuki shows up, there is a rain of black feathers.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'': Kagura is represented by a white feather. She is a [[ElementalPowers wind]]-{{youkai}} and her power of flight manifests through her feathered hairpins. The feather becomes her symbol of her desire to be as free as the wind. [[spoiler: When she [[IDieFree dies]], her soul finally finding the freedom to become one with the wind is symbolised by a feather floating away from her [[NoBodyLeftBehind dissolved]] body and soaring off into the sky on the wind.]]
* Subverted in ''Manga/PlusAnima''. The main character, Cooru, has crow powers, but is actually not as grim and dour as the people believe upon seeing his black feathers; he is a hopelessly optimistic, sunny and cheerful IdiotHero.
* White feathers and even ''wings'' are prevalent in both the Manga and Anime versions of ''Manga/FullMoonOSagashite'', mostly in regards to the main character Mitsuki. It empathizes her [[NaiveEveryGirl sweet]], [[AllLovingHero kind]] nature and [[spoiler: can be seen as foreshadowing her ScrewDestiny act in the end, when she defies her fate of dying within a year.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Aruosumente}}'', Oracles wear cloaks with angel wings on the backs, representing their ability to hear God's voice in their dreams.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'': Despite her fan reputation as a devil, Nanoha is often portrayed with pink glowing feathers, an attribute to her AllLovingHero nature. They always appear in her {{Transformation Sequence}}s and whenever she flies. The feather motif is one of her most defining attributes, similar to Fate's lightning motif.
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', these appear in a recurring flashback to Revy's younger years as she's standing over a body. We find out eventually that it's because she used a pillow as an impromptu silencer when she killed [[spoiler:her own father]].

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'', the villain Lord Shen is an albino peacock. Peacock feathers symbolizing vain/glory is especially appropriate here. However, the white feathers in this case do not hint at the divine, but rather the Eastern symbolism for madness and death.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Used in ''Film/ForrestGump''. A single feather floating in the wind is used as a transition through the movie.

[[folder: Literature]]
* In ''Literature/ModernFaerieTales'', the love interest Roiben wears armour made of black leather sculpted into the shape of feathers.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'' used an angel theme, with the team of that series known as the "Gosei Angels". The OP makes heavy use of swirling feathers around each team member, and their transformation sequences include wings and feathers bursting out of the backs of their uniforms.

* The ''Distant Worlds'' ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' albums both have a feather on the cover - a black feather against a white background for ''I'', and a white feather against a black background for ''II''.
* Each of the members of Music/LedZeppelin chose one particular symbol to represent him. Robert Plant chose a feather in a circle.
** They also have a lyric touching this in ''All of My Love
:: :To chase a feather in the wind .
:: :Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
* For Music/PoetsOfTheFall, feathers denote the magical and the eldritch.
** In the video for "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di7NMssrqsE Daze]]," Hamartia the MonsterClown jester-king sports black feathers in his ImprobableHairstyle that mimics a jester's cap.
** In the video for "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biZpPNzt3II Choice Millionaire]]," the DeusExMachina subversive against the Machine also wears black feathers on his armor, one of which he plucks off and transforms to gift an imprisoned labourer with a "[[OfficialCosplayGear Hopecatcher]]," a steel feather pendant that functions as an {{Amulet|OfConcentratedAwesome}} to aid the labourers in escaping from the Machine.
** In the full video for "[[https://youtu.be/xfvtPTvuFTA Drama for Life]]" black feathers are littered amidst the paper-filled RoomFullOfCrazy in the MentalWorld inhabited by the "madman" GhostInTheMachine who represents the rampant creativity of the singer.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* The symbol of The Fairest Seeming from ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'' is a peacock feather. Note that in this case, the feather represents neither freedom nor divinity. It represents beauty and vainglory.
* Very common in ''TabletopGame/AnimaBeyondFantasy'' artwork, perhaps because of its heavy inspiration on ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'', and not just for characters close to [[CrystalDragonJesus the Church of Abel]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreed'' Altair confirms each kill by wetting a white feather with blood. Ezio has a sidequest in the second game of collecting white feathers, and the Assassins continue to use this symbol into the present day.
* chaos of ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' has attacks that are accompanied by glowing feather-shapes. This is because he was [[spoiler: literally the ManBehindTheMan to Jesus, making him a divine figure.]]
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series is somewhat fond of this trope.
** The ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Compilation'' makes use of this trope.
*** Sephiroth is given a black feather motif in his appearances in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. This was carried over to ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'' and even the compilation itself.
*** Angeal and Genesis are also given feather motifs in ''VideoGame/CrisisCore''.
** Rinoa of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' has a feather motif to a degree - her [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Blaster Edge]] is made up of feathered wings and her LimitBreak Angel Wing begins with her growing glowing [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin angel wings]] which [[PerpetualMolt shed glowing feathers]]. She also turns a flower petal into a feather in the opening sequence.
*** Wings seem to be a symbol associated with sorceresses in general. Edea has a black feather motif, Ultimecia has black wings, and Adel has a strange winglike structure on her back. Angelic white wings seem to be specific to Rinoa, however.
*** This theme was carried over into ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'', with Squall's feather {{MacGuffin}} and with Ultimecia's black feather motif taken up a notch.
*** It was also carried over to the FanFilm ''WebAnimation/DeadFantasy'', where Rinoa is given permanent angel wings and a gunblade shaped like and decorated with a feather.
** Although there was only a single use of feathers in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' on Yuna's wedding dress, it's worth mentioning because it's a double whammy for symbolism. The obvious symbolism is the connection to the divine, since Yuna is very much a MessianicArchetype. The second is a symbol of freedom and flight. This is especially appropriate since immediately after the ceremony she [[spoiler: repudiates the marriage, tells the party she can fly, jumps off the roof, and flies away on [[SummonMagic Valefor]]]].
*** Also note that the 'Life' spells all feature feathers in their animation.
** Lightning in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' appears to have developed this motif - her armor has a half-skirt made of feathers and feathers appear when she summons her gunblade. This replaces her flower petal motif from the first game. WordOfGod has confirmed that this indicates a connection to the divine.
*** Caius' revive animation (the result of his permanent Auto-Revive status) also features white feathers (note: he also wears purple feathers in his hair), like Lightning, this is indicative of a link to the divine (specifically, Etro).
* Balmung of ''[[Franchise/DotHack .hack]]'' sports a feather motif on his armor. This may have to do with his self-appointed name of "Balmung of the Azure ''Sky''".
* In ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3'', small white feathers can be seen floating around Vergil briefly, as well as a type of demon with deceptively angelic form, complete with luminous white wings and a [[OurMonstersAreWeird face on its stomach]].
* Alphonse Michel from ''VideoGame/PopNMusic'' has this during his Fever animation. (As his hair turns blond from taking off his glasses, the white, glowing feathers appear while the book in hand opens and starts turning pages..)
* [[WarriorMonk Kilik]]'s [[FinishingMove Critical Finish]] in ''[[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soulcalibur IV]]'' has him leap up into the air as the cry of [[ThePhoenix a phoenix]] resounds in the distance. He is briefly surrounded by golden feathers as he slams his [[SimpleStaff bo]] down upon their heads for the final blow.
* Yukiko and to a greater extent her shadow from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' have heavy wing symbolism, with her Shadow being a bird with her face and her Persona's wing-like shawl-chain-thing. [[spoiler: Shadow Yukiko desires freedom from her oppressive, pre-determined life and Yukiko is one of the most fragile team members in the game.]]
* [[{{Ninja}} Fuma Kotaro]] from ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' is surrounded by black feathers almost everywhere he goes. This is interesting as he's sometimes depicted with [[WingedHumanoid wings]], and is rumored to be NotQuiteHuman.
* At least two or three characters from ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' use a FeatherMotif in an unusual way. For [[TheEmpire the N.O.L's]] elite Zero Squadron-member Tsubaki Yayoi, a PerpetualMolt accompanies many of her powers (and is directly [[{{Invocation}} invoked]] for her [[FinishingMove Astral Finish]]). [[spoiler: Tellingly, her FeatherMotif [[FaceHeelTurn turns black]] by the end of ''Continuum Shift''.]] For [[PersonOfMassDestruction Nu]] and [[LegacyCharacter Lambda]], the fact that their "feathers" are [[FeatherFlechettes eight swords floating behind their backs]] should tell the player most of what they need to know about the mecha-angels.
* Balder from ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'' wears a dead white peacock stole over his shoulder, with the tail feathers prominently displayed. When he goes OneWingedAngel for his BossBattle, the peacock itself disappears but the feathers become a part of Balder himself, acting as enormous wings, along with other assorted feathers attached to the rest of his outfit. Also, at one point during the fight, [[EvilIsCool he pulls out a feather to comb back his hair]].
* The conflict between UsefulNotes/OdaNobunaga and UsefulNotes/AkechiMitsuhide is represented with these in ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors''. Black feathers for Nobunaga, and white feathers for Mitsuhide.
* In ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile: Covenant of the Plume'', the Valkyrie's feather is dropped on every body whose soul she takes to Valhalla. [[spoiler: The Valkyrie feather in Wylfred's possession was stained with sin to give whoever it is invoked on immense power for a while, then lets them die after a battle is fought.]]
** The Valkyries themselves use this prominently. When they switch between a simple dress to walk among mortals to their armor, they do it in a cloud of glowing feathers. [[spoiler: The feathers are also used when they fuse with Alicia to recreate the true Valkyrie.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', the Four Archangels all have this, befitting their station. [[FallenAngel Lilith]] also has them, though in her case her wings are blasted to char, her hands have been reduced to talons, and her feathers are moulting.
* Feathers are a recurring element in ''VideoGame/EternalFighterZero'': When a character uses a Level 3 Super or a Final Memory, white glowing feathers accompany the activation effect; a particular example is [[VisualNovel/{{Kanon}} Ayu Tsukimiya]], who fights with her [[PowerGivesYouWings winged]] [[AwesomeBackpack backpack]], and her Final Memory has her [[FeatherFlechettes summoning feathers that zap her opponent]]; Or [[VisualNovel/{{AIR}} Misuzu Kamio]], who can grow wings to block and air-dash, and for some attacks, and can store energy feathers that allow her to call [[AssistCharacter Yukito]]; Or Kanna, who is a WingedHumanoid, and one of her Supers is a variant of Ayu's Final Memory.

* In ''Webcomic/PennyBlackfeather'', feathers act as a symbol of freedom and adventure. A [[http://www.pennyblackfeather.co.uk/?webcomic_post=page011 blue feather falling through a hatch in the ceiling]] is taken by Penny as an invitation to adventure. Pirate [[http://www.pennyblackfeather.co.uk/?webcomic_post=page-017 Nathaniel Blackfeather]] is depicted wearing [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin black feathers]] in his hair.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''Franchise/EverAfterHigh'':
** The Rebel faction, who want to be free from the Legacy system's oppression, is symbolized both in-universe and out by a feather-winged heart.
** The character Raven, founder of the Rebel faction, constantly wears a mantle of grey feathers. In the opening theme she is associated with a drifting feather.
** The trope is also used to show how different [[SugarBowl Ever After]] is, thematically speaking, than [[Toys/MonsterHigh New Salem]]. When Cupid steps from the latter world into the former, her fleshless bony wings become feathered and angelic.