Some habits die hard.
"If you doubt your courage or your strength, come no further. For death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!"
You know, fangs. Those pointy things that, whenever they're in the mouth of someone or something, usually indicate
that they're probably
evil and/or Badass
and probably looking for an excuse to bite you with them
. They're usually paired with Femme Fatalons
and Pointy Ears
to create a predatory look, and they're pointy so very...very pointy
! And really, what's the point
in having pointy teeth if you don't do stuff with them like rip apart the flesh of the living? Opening beer cans for kicks? Removing the shrink wrap from DVD boxes?
, and monsters in general
make this trope very common. It indicates that the creature in question is probably predatory and that you have dropped a rung on the food chain. The prey animal instinct in us never fails to feel wary about teeth that look like weapons and writers have always known to make use of a Primal Fear
. Of course, it helps that the canines were specifically evolved for ripping and tearing flesh.
For trope purposes, this includes fangs, tusks, and an entire jaw of purposely sharpened teeth
. Cute Little Fangs
is the subversion of this. (Except when dealing with Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear
or other tropes for which Cute Is Evil
.) May be paired with Horned Humanoid
for a demonic look. Related to Scary Teeth
. May also involve Phlegmings
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Anime and Manga
- Taken to its logical conclusion by Hiruma of Eyeshield 21: All of his teeth are fangly, they're visible pretty much any time he opens his mouth (which is often), and when you see them, he's definitely being a dangerous trickster.
- Played straight with Kamiya Taiga of the Magaki Wolves, whose little fang is just one of the many lupine qualities he has.
- The Oni in Ao No Fuuin are always depicted with long fangs, used of course to eat human flesh.
- The less morally righteous folk and many non-human creatures of the Slayers series usually have more intimidating fangs than the usual endearing variety. The half-demon half-dragon Valgaav has the most menacing fangs, while the affable demonic priest Xellos has a smaller, but no less scary set. Creatures such as trolls and werewolves also have fangs.
- The cursed chimera Zelgadis also has a set of less-than-adorable fang-like teeth on his upper jaw, but they're almost never seen unless he's completely livid.
- Viral from Gurren Lagann is a crossbreed of human, cat, and shark — with the teeth to match.
- In Hellsing, every vampire is shown to have a full mouth of razor-sharp teeth. This trope is often subverted with Seras, but she later subverts it as well when she drinks Pip Bernadotte's blood, becoming a full vampire.
- They seem only to have the mouthful of fangs when they choose to; even Alucard has given a few wide smiles without showing anything sharp. Makes sense, considering how fluid their physiology seems to be in general.
- Played straight in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure when someone puts on The Mesoamerican Stone Mask and splashes it with blood, turning the wearer into a vampiric monster.
- In Wolf's Rain, the wolves' fangs don't mean they're evil (being the main characters, they're portrayed very sympathetically), but it certainly means they're dangerous. The wolves are realistically drawn, and on top of that, the animators added wolf growls/snarls at the appropriate
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, the female humanoid adorned on the berserked self-defense program comes with four pointy fangs. They wonderfully complement her red eyes, red lines, naked body, and other traits that complete her appearance as the Omnicidal Maniac out to destroy your world.
- Played straight in Dragon Ball with Piccolo.
- In the second series, Dragon Ball Z, this was subverted with both Piccolo himself and the introduction of his race, the Namekians. Despite even having the aforementioned pointy ears and claw-like nails, they're mostly gentle, simple villagers - even the few warriors among them only seem to act in self-defense. Why a race of vegetarians have fangs is never explained.
- It makes perfect sense. Gorillas, also herbivorous, have big fangs. They're used for shredding tough plant fibers.
- Which raises another question: namely, why a species that needs only water to survive would develop to eat anything.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni: There's a reason why two out of the three faces selected for this shot◊ are fangy.
- However, it should be noted that Cute Little Fangs are also much in evidence, as they appear to be a genetic trait of the Ushiromiyas. But then, at least in Maria's case, they aren't mutually exclusive...
- When Galvatron is resurrected as Super Megatron in Transformers Return Of Convoy, he gains a set of fangs.
- Excel Excel's Cute Little Fang would be a double-subversion. Since her introduction in the Daitenjin manga, she's been the Perky Female Minion of an Evil Overlord. Even her Angelic side has been arrested for murder.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, the homunculus Greed, who, for some reason, has shark-like teeth, is an example. Kinda...while the homunculi are the antagonists for the series, Greed's also the least homicidal of the group and the only one to pull not only a Heel-Face Turn, but also a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Johannes Krauser II, from Detroit Metal City. Krauser is actually the main character Negishi's shocking and violent stage persona, complete with an intimidating costume. The fangs always appear when Negishi puts on the costume and make up but, at least in the OVA series, it's never shown whether he puts them on as part of the costume, or if they just inexplicably grow when he takes on the role of Krauser.
- Ashley from Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru.
- In Fairy Tail, all Dragon Slayers have fangs, the sizes of which seems to reflect the personality of the character. Shy Wendy has two pairs of little ones; exuberant Natsu has two pairs of medium sized ones, or sometimes two rows of them, if his mouth is wide open and dark; and brooding Gajeel's teeth are huge and sharp all the time.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyouko balances between this and Cute Little Fangs. Sure, she might be mischievous, but that definitely does not stop her from being crazy.
- Both subverted and played straight in Inuyasha, and by the same character: the main character has Cute Little Fangs most of the time, but when he transforms into his Ax-Crazy Super-Powered Evil Side, his fangs grow longer and get distinctly more terrifying.
- It makes perfect sense for Inuyasha who is half dog demon.
- 9th from Mirai Nikki in her more crazy and villainous moments tends to be draw with fang-looking teeth.
- Axe Crazy Shinigami Grelle Sutcliffe from Black Butler has a mouth full of shark teeth. Just to drive the point home, she reveals them immediately after being caught red-handed performing the last of the Jack the Ripper murders.
- Spider-Man villains Venom, Carnage, and the other evil symbiotes. Generally, when a symbiote possesses someone good, there's no mouth, but when it possesses someone bad, there's a mouth full of fangs. Toxin is a neat example. When the host is in control, there are no fangs. When the host lets the symbiote take over, it gets fangs.
- Similiar with Flash Thompson as Venom - his default mode has no mouth, but fangs tends to appear when he is losing control to the symbiote.
- The Helghast in the Lone Wolf series have fangs in their bottom jaw.
Films — Animated
- Freddie as FRO7: El Supremo has these, seemingly for no other reason than that he's evil.
- Several Disney Animated Canon villains have prominent fang-like teeth, including the actual supernatural beings like Hades (all of his teeth are pointy) and Maleficent, but also some evil humans like Jafar (in snake form) and Shan-Yu.
Films — Live-Action
- Nosferatu is interesting, because Count Orlock's fangs, rather than being his canines, are his front teeth, giving him a ratlike appearance and causing him to look far more grotesque than most vampires.
- The Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow has filed teeth. (It Makes Sense in Context; despite being headless for most of the movie, he does eventually get his head back, complete with pointed teeth).
- Victor Creed/Sabretooth. Which he pairs with his Psychotic Smirk.
- The cannibal tribe of The Colony are identified by their sharpened teeth.
- This may be why the mostly-friendly vampires of Twilight are literally fangless.
- Subverted in that vampires that eat humans far outnumber ones that don't, and yet all vampires lack fangs.
- Varney the Vampire was the first vampire to have fangs. Despite how bad that book is generally considered to be, fangs have caught on enough for Dracula to have them.
- Most of the vampires found in folklore around the world had a piercing tongue or mosquito-like proboscis for sucking blood. It was only in European Gothic literature of the 19th century that fangs caught on as their indispensible physical characteristic.
- The Anzati, vampire-like aliens in the Star Wars Universe, are like the former. Except they suck brains instead of blood.
- The 'possessed' in The Night's Dawn Trilogy have the ability to shapeshift their form and often take on the appearance of monsters of legend. Several of the first ones to appear keep their appearance, but with fangs, presumably in imitation of vampires.
- The Mixitor in Spaceforce are not real supernatural vampires, but they can still extrude venomous fangs and sink them into the neck of their prey.
- In Magnus, all the Fallen Angels have vampiric fangs to signify their evilness.
- A tribe in Discworld sharpens their teeth to points. Not for any particular reason; apparently, they just like the effect when they grin.
- The vampires have these, of course. Even the ones who aren't interested in biting people.
- In Wicked, Elphaba was born with a full set of sharp fangs, and it was a painful and nightmarish experience for her mother to try breastfeeding. But as she grew older, her fangs fell out and were replaced with normal teeth.
- A card played by Elves against Humans in the ''Witcher Saga''. Humans have canine teeth, and therefore are clearly hardly better than wild beasts. Incidentally, Elves in the Witcherverse are herbivorous.
- Every time Vlad in Count and Countess is about to take a bite out of someone, he grins. The glimpse of artificially sharpened teeth serves as the victim's first and last warning.
- Despite Chester's claims about Bunnicula having fangs (and cute ones, at that!), this trope is subverted.
- Enobaria, one of the Victors from The Hunger Games, is infamous for having ripped out a Tribute's throat in the Games she won. Afterwards, she had her teeth sharpened to a point and inlaid with gold.
- In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, those Randir personally bound (i.e., loyal and magically sworn) to their house's Evil Matriarch Rawneth file their teeth to sharp points.
- Candorville directly correlates the size of the fangs with the evil of whatever has them—Susan's dog even gets bigger fangs when it's being scary than when it's being friendly. It's uncertain whether this is an artistic conceit or something else, given that the dog is apparently an evil shapeshifter, as is every fanged humanoid that has changed its fang length at one point or another.
- The robot snake in Viper uses this to establish its menace.
- In Vampire: The Requiem, this is a good way to tell a Kindred's mood. Generally, retracted fangs = good mood = keep watch, showing fangs = angry, hungry, or frenzying = RUN!
- In Dungeons & Dragons (and quite a few other fantasy works), sharp teeth are standard-issue for evil humanoids—goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, orcs, ogres, trolls, etc.
- Averted in Warhammer 40,000 by the Space Wolves, an army of boisterous bruisers who are about as close to good guys as the setting gets and are notable for having elongated canines. Since these grow longer as the Wolves get older, their veterans are even known as Long Fangs.
- Also averted by the Blood Angels, who have fangs as part of their vampire motif and are also among the nobler Space Marine chapters. Unless they hit the Black Rage, in which case things can get...ugly.
- And then played straight with the Tyranids.
- As of patch 3.0, Night Elves in World of Warcraft have fangs to show off their feral nature. And Orcs and Trolls have tusks.
- In Kirby Super Star, Marx gets fangs after Nova grants his wish to rule Popstar. In Kirby Super Star Ultra, his fangs get bigger when he is resurrected as the final boss.
- The World Ends with You: Sho Minamimoto the lion's teeth look like they could take off an arm.
- The Witcher has a weird variation on this trope. This is one of the reasons elves tend to look down on humans. Elves in the Witcherverse have no canine teeth. Humans, of course, do. So clearly humans are just savage beasts in many of their minds; they even have fangs!
- In Ace Attorney Investigations, the Interpol agent Shi-Lang has sharp fangs to compliment his wolflike nature. He hates prosecutors, arrests people for little to no reason, and is a bit of a jerk to Edgeworth. However, he is presented sympathetically and even provides a Big Damn Heroes moment when he gets Alba's diplomatic immunity revoked.
- Played straight with Furio Tigre, an intimidating and badly tanned loan shark who, through a Paper-Thin Disguise and everyone else being idiots, managed to actually impersonate Phoenix Wright because they had the same spiky hair.
- Mortal Kombat's Baraka and Mileena! Baraka, as well as the rest of the Tarkatans, could send a shark running with a single grin. Mileena, a half-human, half Tarkatan Evil Twin of Kitana, inherits the hardware, though she keeps it hidden behind a veil.
- Averted in the third installment of Star Control by the menacing but ultimately honourable Harika.
- Ganon's bestial forms generally have large curved tusks, though he typically doesn't actually use them in combat.
- The Unreal series has this in spades. In the first game, two of the three big time enemy alien species, the Skaarj and their bio-engineered heavy assault units, the Brutes, have tusks protruding from their lower jaws (the Skaarj's are particularly large). The only other mook species that fits their bill, the Krall, have quite a nasty set of them by the time Unreal Tournament III rolls by.
- And, of course, Girl Genius has Jagerkin. Although many of them have a Boisterous Bruiser bent and fight alongside the good guys (for a certain value of good).
- In The Order of the Stick, this is part of Vaarsuvius' Paint It Black switch after that character accepts a Deal with the Devil.
- The Always Evil Goblinoids of this 'verse have fangs AND tusks. Eat your heart out.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace, Chaos, and Raven have these whenever they get really angry. Catalina has them all the time. Grace's and Catalina's double as Cute Little Fangs.
- In a subversion, most of the time Florence Ambrose doesn't show teeth, even when talking, but when she smiles, people start getting awfully cooperative, for some odd reason.
- Richard of Looking for Group seems to have fangs under that cowl of his, if the x-ray vision we were treated to by troll shamans in an early page is anything to go by.
- Yigs in The Water Phoenix King have small fangs that protrude from the lower jaw, but despite this and other traditional Orcish attributes, they aren't any more Evil than humans or other races in this setting.
- Zimmy in Gunnerkrigg Court has her mouth full of jagged, sharp teeth. She has a hostile, insensitive personality, but she's hardly evil, making her something of an aversion.
- Lower caste orcs from Fairy Dust have their tusks ripped out to make their low status visible. The adult males who still have their tusks can be assumed to be combattive enough to maintain their high position.
- Scourge was supposed to have fangs, if one of the early scripts of Transformers: The Movie is any indication. In some scenes in the Season 3 episode ''The Burden Hardest To Bear", it does look like he has fangs, especially when Broadside is holding him.
- Ravage, on the other hand, has always been shown as having fangs. He is a robotic panther, after all.
- The Transformers Prime version of Megatron invokes this.
- Vlad Plasmius and Dark Danny (Dan Phantom) in Danny Phantom both qualify.
- Nega-Timmy, Anti-Fairies in Fairly OddParents. Butch Hartman must LOVE this trope.
- Yuck from Yin Yang Yo, too.
- Demona from Gargoyles. Strictly speaking, all gargoyles have fangs, but Demona really enjoys showing them off, and she's evil.
- Discussed in a sort of Fantastic Racism sense in ReBoot; Mouse is suspected of several abductions in one episode, and another character denies that it has anything to do with the fact that she's got fangs.
- Megabyte and Hexadecimal also have fangs. Megabyte's fangs are hard to notice until he drops his Faux Affably Evil persona and starts acting like the vicious predator he is. Hexadecimal's fangs only appear when she switches to her Nightmare Face.
- These, along with every other part of his look, make Machestro from Xyber 9 New Dawn seem rather cat-like.
- Aku of Samurai Jack fits this trope to a T.
- The Minions of Set as well. At first it looks like they don't even have mouths, until one of them decides to open theirs revealing they actually have huge◊ mouths that contains nothing but fangs.
- Nightmare Moon in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. A pony with carnivorous, meat-eating fangs can't possibly be on the side of the angels.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: NOS-4-A2 and Wirewolf. Since they're an energy vampire and robot-devouring werewolf, respectively, this obviously makes some sense.
- Mr. Burns in The Simpsons, who was an especially cruel, corrupt and downright evil old man in early seasons, is shown to have a pair of dentures with fangs on them.
- Averted in Batman: The Brave and the Bold with Wildcat and B'wana Beast, whose fangs are too big to be Cute Little Fangs but who are definitely good guys.
- First played straight, then subverted on Adventure Time. Marceline and the Ice King both have fangs, but Marceline is only a villain for one episode before becoming friends with the main characters. The Ice King, meanwhile, is eventually revealed to have been a human antiquarian who had his mind warped by an Artifact of Doom. So he turns out to be more misguided and oblivious than evil, and we later see that he had the fangs even when he was more unambiguously good.
- Corvax from Muzzy In Gondoland has a set of sharp teeth.
- Thunderstick. It severely laps into CuteLittleFangs...ehm, YOU tell him that. (Interestingly, no image of Vipra with snake fangs could be found.)
- Subverted in that Humans have the smallest, dullest canines of all our primate brethren but that does not make us less devious or dangerous. The change is related to our decreased reliance on biting things and increased reliance stabbing things with pointy objects and then setting them on fire. We still bare our teeth as an expression of anger, but without the fangs it's just not the same.
- Cats are known to have fangs. Whether that makes this a subversion or a played-straight example is up for interpretation.
- Dogs too. They are canine teeth, after all.
- In general, any animal with fangs is much more likely to eat you. Small animals with fangs tend to be venomous at least often enough for it to be a safe, albeit not always correct, assumption that anything with fangs is venomous.
- The Reptiles Are Abhorrent trope page notes that writers tend to draw all reptiles as villains, except turtles. It can't be a coincidence that many reptiles have fang-like teeth - except turtles, who are toothless.
- Gorillas are a notable aversion. Despite their large fangs, they are completely herbivorous, and quite docile.