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For many people, spiders are scary
and disgusting. For many other people, snakes
are scary and disgusting. So, what happens when you combine the two?
In fiction centipedes, caterpillar and similar creatures are sometimes used as a fancy alternative for the everyday Giant Spider
or Scary Scorpions
, even moreso in eastern fiction. Sometimes, a human-centipede hybrid will appear, usually sporting multiple limbs
and venomous bite
. In Video Game
settings, expect to see it detatch its own body parts
and/or cutting one body segment at time, as if it's some kind of organic train. Another apparent power is their ability of curling up like a wheel/ball and roll over their foe.
Compare Big Creepy-Crawlies
, Attack of the Killer Whatever
and Segmented Serpent
. Also Bug War
if they come in mass.
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Anime and Manga
- Astro Boy goes up against a robot monster known as Gadem in various continuities. He's usually a Combining Mecha made out of 47 headless androids, but in the 2003 series he was redesigned as a collection of gold and jewels morphed into the shape of a centipede by a powerful electromagnet.
- Loly's release in Bleach is called "Escolopendra", and gives her poisonous Combat Tentacles looking like giant centipedes.
- The very first Youkai appeared in InuYasha was the Mukade Joro (Mistress Centipede), who was partially woman. Several huge centipedes appears as recurring Cannon Fodder among Naraku's hordes.
- In Naruto Sasuke kills an oversized centipede in the Death Forest. Later he realize that they're trapped in an illusion when he recognize the same dead bug. Also, one of Pain's summons is a colossal centipede... who's offed by Sakura.
- In the anime he summoned numerous centipedes, one of which fought Shikamaru.
- After Jubei in Ninja Scroll: The Series splits a random giant mook open with his Razor Wind, it turns out that it had a giant centipede inside it. Then Jubei uses his Razor Wind again and that's that.
- Epoida from One Piece is a minor character who appears to be able to turn in a giant caterpillar-man. One of the movies shows a huge centipede-like Sea Monster amd several of the recurring Sea Kings have a centipedean design.
- Yaiba meets a Centipede-Man during the Underworld Arc, wielding several swords at once. However, despite his fierce look he was a mere Elite Mook.
- In Toriko, Tommyrod of the Gourmet Corps can also breed and spit out of his mouth several centipede-like monsters to fight for him, specifically a winged one called "Butterfly Worm" which gruesomly kills Yun's parents and is killed with a certain difficulty by the combined effort of Toriko, Takimaru and Match. Other huge centipedes/millipedes monsters exists in the world of Toriko, though they're rarely seen.
- Another member of the Gourmet Corps named Boneless wears a centipede-like bug on his head and all around his body.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki comes to be associated with them as his Animal Motif starting with the Aogiri Arc. Many chapters of that arc feature a seemingly-random shot of a centipede, leading up to Yamori sticking one in Kaneki's ear while torturing him. After the timeskip, he begins wearing an Eyepatch of Power with a centipede pattern on it and is given the alias "Centipede" by CCG after developing an insect-like partial Kakuja form.
- In Lucifer, one assassin antagonist is a demon with a humanoid torso on a centipede body.
- In the Atari Force first series, Martin Champion fights with a giant alien centipede-like creature. It's a rather subtle Shout-Out to Atari's arcade game Centipede.
- Made much less creepy (but not much less menacing) in DC Comics' own pack-in comic book for the Atari 2600 Centipede.
- The Human Centipede, despite not involving a real one, brings the "Hybrid" concept to a new horrorific level.
- In Attack of the Clones, after the failed assassination attempt with explosives, Zam tries to assassinate Amidala with two centipede-like bugs.
- There's a giant centipedes scene in the Peter Jackson version of King Kong.
- A centipede and some spiders appear for added creepiness when the hobbits are hiding from the first Black Rider in The Lord of the Rings.
- The Sea Serpent in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sports a centipedean body with lots of tiny legs.
- The low budget B-Movie Centipede! involves a giant, mutated centipede along with her spawn dwelling in a cave in India.
- In Monsters, Inc., Randall Boggs is a lizard/snake-y creature with a long body and multiple pairs of legs. Basically, his design is a hybrid of Creepy Centipedes and Reptiles Are Abhorrent.
- A "copper centipede" is mentioned during the song "Golden Afternoon" from Alice in Wonderland.
- A giant centipede can be seen chasing the explorers out of an underwater cave at one point during their journey to Atlantis in Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
- Centipede Horror, in which we have an Evil Sorcerer who uses centipedes as killing tools, at one point making a woman vomit some.
- In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Willie is afraid of reaching into a hole that contains a lot of bugs, including centipedes. Actually justified, as centipedes can be quite venomous.
- In one James Bond novel (Dr. No), the killer tries to murder Bond with a poisonous centipede. In the movie adaptation it was discarded in favor of a tarantula. Probably they thought that the audience ignored that centipedes are poisonous.
- Newsflesh has a scene in Deadline wherein we discover that Rebecca "Becks" Atherton, who cheerfully goes into zones where zombies are still a threat, cannot deal with centipedes, even in closed-in lab setting. Just seeing them makes her flinch and twitch.
- Averted with the heroic giant centipede in James and the Giant Peach.
- Piers Anthony's Xanth series has nickelpedes. They're centipedes with 500 legs and pincers that can gouge out a slice of flesh the size of a U.S. nickel coin. They're very dangerous in large numbers.
- There are also quarterpedes and dollarpedes, which are bigger, and dimepedes which are slightly smaller but gouge out twice as much flesh per bite as a nickelpede.
- Prince Dhojakt from The Prism Pentad is part man and part cylops. That means that he has the body of a giant centipede from the knees down, and also unusual maws and bulging eyes.
- The Taxxons in Animorphs.
- The Hundred Eyed Demon King from Journey to the West is a centipede-based demon, who can master light and fire and fight with a sword. Sun Wukon is forced to summon forth Pilanpo Boddhisatva, to whom he surrenders.
- In Wicked Bronze Ambition, the sorceress Tara Chayne conjures a black supernatural centipede to fight and spy for her.
- Harry fights a gigantic centipede in Lea's garden in Changes.
- Fu Manchu kills foes with a centipede that leaves a kiss-shaped blister where it bites (the Zayat Kiss) in his very first novel.
- The giant prehistoric relative of centipedes Arthropleura was featured in the Carboniferous Period segment of Walking with Monsters, where it was shown chasing off the titular Mesothelae and then facing off with an unnamed crocodile-like amphibian. The "fight" with the amphibian ended with the Arthropleura losing its balance and impaling itself on a bush stump.
- The TV series Primeval also has an arthropleurid (thought by most fans to be an Arthropleura) in the first season. If centipedes weren't bad enough, this one is aggressive and afraid, making it very liable to lash out, has a deadly venomous bite, and is frakking fifteen feet long! It's also a herbivore, so it won't eat you; you're in for a long, slow death...
- A number of centipedes put up their dukes on Monster Bug Wars. They tend to win, too.
- Invoked in Agents Of Shield with the shady Project Centipede, that gives powers through a centipede-shaped gizmo.
- An episode of Warehouse 13 deals with an artifact called the Spine of the Saracen, a centipede-like metallic device that attaches itself to the spine of a person, amplifying aggression and endurance, causing the person to go after those he or she really hates. The person under the control of the Spine can kill with an extremely-powerful electric shock. The artifact was originally discovered in the 60's by a Warehouse agent, who was "taken" by the Spine. The agent chose to entomb himself to keep the Spine contained. After being freed, the Spine, eventually, ends up taking control of Pete. Myka ends up using the Tesla to get the Spine to detach from Pete, at which point it's destroyed by smashing it with a fire extinguisher.
- Knife Party has a song called "Centipede" which first opens with a nature documentary narration that explains their hunting abilities, and wobbling basslines that couldn't be any dirtier if they tried.
Mythology and Religion
- Calvin almost learns how creepy centipedes are the hard way while playing a game of Twenty Questions involving guessing what he has in his hands.
Hobbes: Is it loathsome?
Hobbes: Is it some big centipede with poison pinchers?
Calvin: ...Centipedes have poison pinchers?
Hobbes: I think so.
Calvin: [Climbing onto Hobbes looking very scared] Man, it's a good thing you guessed it so fast!
- Dungeons & Dragons features huge centipedes and also swarms of regular centipedes. They're pretty much on the top of the giant vermin heap thanks to their potent venom.
- The Dark Sun settings has a couple.
- The stegocentipede from D&D 1st edition is a colossal monster with an armor-plated hide and dorsal spikes.
- In 3rd Edition centipedes could grow up to 120 feet long.
- Hollow Earth Expedition supplement Mysteries of the Hollow Earth
- The Arthropleura is 6 foot long, has 50 pairs of legs and a vicious bite.
- The giant centipede grows up to ten feet long and two feet wide and has a pair of forcipules (poison-injecting pincers).
- The Voracious Centipede boss from American McGee's Alice. The wise Caterpillar is a notably aversion, as he's a good guy.
- Several Oomukade appear as a boss fight in Kisuke's story mode in Muramasa: The Demon Blade. In that case, the body of the monster function as his own health bar.
- Huge caterpillar appears as enemies in Metal Slug 3.
- In Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams Mitsunari Ishida has a centipede theme in his clothes and armor, and can turn his arm in a bunch of centipedes. As Claudius he's a gargantuan, flying Oomukade monster with huge scythe-shaped jaws and poisonous miasma.
- Resident Evil 0 offers us Centurion, aka this fellow◊. Furthermore, the stage-two Plagas and Cephalo are centipede-like. Bosses with similar attributes include Bitores Mendez and the Popokarimu in games 4 and 5 respectively.
- In Resident Evil 6, one of the arm-mutations that J'avo can suffer transmutes the limb into Combat Tentacles that look kind of like this. Though the creature design artbook claims it was actually based off of a silkworm.
- Bigger-than-normal cetipedes are a minor enemy in some Castlevania games, including Super Castlevania IV.
- Gigapede from Devil May Cry 3 is a giant, floating centipede with huge jaws and electrical powers. He falls to pieces when slayed.
- Command & Conquer Tiberium Wars game features a buildable centipede unit for the Scrin in the Kanes Wrath expansion where the owner can customize the centipede by making each section a different type of weapon system.
- Parasite Eve also features a burrowing centipede as a mid-game boss. This one takes damage as a whole, but then splits into multiple independent fighting parts after taking enough damage. At least only one section can inflict poison status on the main character.
- Contra Hard Corps for Sega Genesis also features a centipede monster early in the first level with really tall legs, only the head is vulnerable to damage.
- Centipede and its sequel, Millipede.
- In Mega Man & Bass, Ground Man's level has some robotic centipedes as normal enemies and as a miniboss.
- Magna Centipede from Mega Man X 2. He can grab X with his tail and glitch him, causing X to lose his charge shot, dash and jump ability. He's also an anthropomorphic ninja robot centipede, which cuts down his creepy factor a bit.
- A more standard fare (But giant) centipede shows up as a miniboss in X3.
- Pokemon Black And White has the Venipede line. The final evolution Scolipede is an enormous centipede, in fact it's the largest Bug-type Pokemon out there. And despite its bulk, it's fast with a speed of 112 and now has Speed Boost as its hidden ability- good luck trying to outrun one.
- To a lesser extent, Giratina's altered form looks a lot more like a centipede than it does a ghost or a dragon.
- The first boss of Rocket Knight Adventures is a colossal robotic centipede that ambushed Spakster in the burning ruins of the castle.
- Shadow Hearts Covenant has a giant, mutated, flesh-eating centipede appearing in the Wine Cellar in France.
- Kingdom Hearts has Pot Centipede, a centipede made of spiders (Pot Spiders, pots with spider legs sprouting) as the boss of the Agrabah world.
- In the Star Control saga we've the caterpillar-like Ur-Quan and their even nastier brothers the Kohr-Ah.
- In Guilty Gear, Zappa, the gentleman who functions as a boarding house for ghosts, uses a twisting orb of giant centipedes as his transition between the ghosts he's using.
- Gears of War 3 features Serapedes, massive centipede-like creatures which the Locust use as war beasts.
- One boss in Silent Hill: Homecoming is a centipede composed of human female torsoes, which may have been an inspiration for The Human Centipede.
- The first boss of the Strider arcade game, Ouroboros, is a mechanical centipede composed of Soviet politicians.
- The Strider HD reboot brings in a giant mutant Millipede and a fiery variant "Magmapede" as two of its bosses.
- AAF-04 Orchidee in P.N.03 is another robotic example, also from a Capcom game.
- Vivid Conceptions has a centipede as a boss menacing the miniature protagonist, along with many, many other bugs.
- Nygtilger, the second boss in Ys I and II.
- The first boss of Impossamole.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker features Magtails and Gohma, centipede-like monsters that live in molten lava. The Magtails are about the size of a human adult, but Gohma is huge and fills most of the chamber you fight it in while still partially submerged in a lava pool.
- In The Order of the Stick Pompey use a lesser Summon Monsters to call forth several giant spiders and centipedes. When Julia face them it quickly degenerates to a Shout-Out of Centipede.
- In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Commander Badass doesn't like millipedes thanks to multiple tours on the Millipede Planet during Millipede season. Highlights include swarms of millipedes in his bunk, swarms of millipedes in his boots, swarms of millipedes in his cereal box, and a giant millipede that vomited swarms of millipedes on his head. He's a good enough dad that he let his daughter buy a millipede despite his issues with them, though he wishes she would stop trying to make him play with her hideous new pet.
- Koh the Face Stealer from Avatar The Last Airbender looks like a giant centipede whose head was instead what looks like an eye socket with interchangeable faces inside of it, surrounded by a bunch of extra legs.
- Centipedes and millipedesnote are poisonous. It's just that most of them in the real world are tiny and so the bite contains a (usually) negligible amount of poison.
- An exception is the above pictured Scolopendra gigantea, who's 30 cm long and can prey upon birds, even going so far as to prey upon things as large as bats.
- Large centipedes called "Mukade" are common in Japan, and have an extremely painful bite, which would explain the prelavence of centipede monsters in Japanese fiction.
- Arthropleura, an arthropod from the Carboniferous period and the largest known land-dwelling invertebrate, is basically a human-sized centipede, thanks to the higher amounts of oxygen in its time period. Up to 8.5 feet in length, it's practically Godzilla when compared to modern centipedes and millipedes. The largest true centipede ever was Euphoberia, which reached a more modest three feet in length (but you still wouldn't want something like that living in your basement).
- Certain tribes use millipede poison to tip their arrows with for battle.
- And certain species of monkey will literally use millipede secretions to get high.
- Subverted by small, harmless centipedes that live in libraries, as they prey on silverfish that eat book-binding glue. All but the most squeamish of librarians are usually happy to have a few of them around.