In any work featuring both angels and demons, most of the time the angel will be female (or at least more feminine or androgynous) and the demon will be male (or at least more masculine).
The primary reason for this is that angels are supposedly beautiful, refined, merciful and noble creatures, while demons (even if they are being portrayed as Affably Evil
) are ugly, rude, crude, callous and mean. Traditionally
, the former traits are considered feminine
while the latter traits are considered masculine. All of this ignores the androgynous and sexless nature of angels, and that demons and angels were originally the same
Often, even when an angel is portrayed as being male, he will still be played by a woman. Aversions
generally seem to occur when heaven is represented as some kind of bureaucracy
. When Played for Laughs
, the relationship between the angels and demons will be portrayed as a friendly rivalry that inevitably leads to se... um... romance
In the rare cases where the genders are inverted, the angel will be indeed more masculine than the usual standard but he will mostly be here to highlight that Good Is Not Nice
and will often be cold and unemotional
. The demoness, on the other hand, will mostly be a sexoholic
, at best a Manipulative Bitch
if non-sexualized, but she will seldom be portrayed as physically
dangerous as her male counterpart. And don't expect any romance
between them if they ever happen to be on "friendly" terms because My Girl Is Not a Slut
Inversions also often occur with occult motiffs, as light is traditionally masculine and darkness traditionally feminine
Naturally, this trope often carries the Unfortunate Implication
that women are good and men are evil
. Additionally, it could be said that Wish Fulfillment
may come into play as well when there's romance involved ie the classical plot of a caring and merciful woman who redeems an evil man with love
. And since the reverse doesn't exist in fiction, the message is clearly that a good man would never bother with redeeming an evil woman, or give her any time of the day to begin with.
Or arguably, this is where All Men Are Perverts
meets with if she ain't broke, don't fix her
Notice Evil Sounds Deep
Couple this trope with All Men Are Perverts
and you get Horny Devils
. Applicable to gender inversions
as well, as said above. If people ship the two, that's Angel Devil Shipping
A subtrope of Our Angels Are Different
, Our Demons Are Different
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Anime and Manga
- In Wish, the angels are specifically androgynous, but since Tokyopop decided that would be too hard to do in English, angels were all referred to with feminine pronouns and demons male ones, except for the demon catgirls. (And yes, the romance does indeed occur.)
- The cosmology of Mnemosyne is similar to this: although men infected by time spores are referred to as "angels", they are much closer to the mindless, savage demon image, while immortal women tend to be refined and benevolent. Moreover, when Rin becomes the Yggdrasil Guardian and sprouts wings of her own, hers are much closer in appearance to classical pure-white angelic wings than the blood-red stubbled ones of the "angels" (though they are still pinkish-white, not pure white).
- In Violinist of Hameln, Hamel is a demon, after their father's side, while Sizer is an angel, after their mother's side.
- Go Nagai's Devilman had naked, beautiful hermaphrodite angels. Meanwhile, the demons (who absorb the bodies of their victims to "evolve" into stronger forms) look like Darwin on LSD.
- The Angel and Devil from Nowhere Boy.
- The front cover of the English translation of Pretty Face.
- Inverted in My Balls, the demons (including Satan) are female, Evil Is Sexy Horny Devils. There are only two angels shown and both are male, Michael is an old man, and Gabriel is a Bishōnen.
- Actually there was a female angel shown in an omake chapter and Satan becomes an angel again in the end.
- Not played completely straight but kind of in Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.
- Played straight in Black Butler with the male demon Sebastian and the female angel, Angela. That is, until near the end of the first season of the anime, when Ash, the Queen's butler/bodyguard is revealed to be Angela in male form - so it's really Hermaphroditic Angel Male Demon. The angels in this series are Knight Templar and so very, very Light Is Not Good.
- Angela and Gabrielle in Spawn.
- Inverted in Preacher, where Genesis is the offspring of a male angel and a female demon.
- Arguably inverted again almost back again, as the angel proves to be a bit of an asshole and the demon seems a nicer entity.
- PS238's Captain Ersatz of Genesis, Malphast, has the same set of parents, taken even further. The two are Happily Married and Friendly Enemies of each other. When other mortals come into contact with them, they are about equally manipulative (not to mention both are good sports about the certainty that their better half will undoubtedly manipulate them in the other direction).
- The title force of The Darkness always has a male host, who can create hordes of goblin-like creatures. On the other hand it's opposite number The Angelus is always female, and she and her creations appear angelic. Though we also get at least one female demon, and the male Legion of the Cherub Hostile.
- Marvel Comics' cosmic deities include Mistress Love and Master Hate, the living embodiments of their namesake emotions whose appearances and temperaments play directly to this image.
- In Constantine, the Archangel Gabriel is specifically portrayed as androgynous, but is played by Tilda Swinton.
- Lucifer, on the other hand, is undoubtedly male.
- There are other angels in the film that are definitely male as well, such as that one paramedic and in a cut scene Shia Lebouef's character became one post mortem.
- Sort of subverted in Dogma in that the angels (and the demons) are all androgynes... but they're all played by men. (Serendipity, played by the very female Salma Hayek, is also sexless... but Hayek is neither an angel nor a demon but a Muse.)
- God appears as both a man and a woman, as well.
- In Little Nicky, all devils are humanoid males, demons are mostly humanoid males but occasionally monsters of ambiguous gender, and angels are Valley Girls.
- Subverted in the remake of Bedazzled 2000. Satan is played by Elizabeth Hurley. She plays chess with a man implied to be God. The man appeared earlier as Elliot's cellmate.
- Extra nice because while Elizabeth Hurley is sexy and plays up the sexy a lot, she's not really a Horny Devil, but just using another form of manipulation (and Fanservice).
- And at one point, she appears as a masculine devil, possibly implying that gender is not a big part of what God or the Devil are.
- In the Made-for-TV Movie Child Of Darkness, Child Of Light, the titular children turn out to be, respectively, a boy and a girl.
- In Don't Tempt Me (originally titled Bendito Infierno), the two main characters, are both female. It's later revealed that the demon is actually male, as part of his punishment in hell was having to be a waitress there for many years.
- Inverted in The Dresden Files. The only angel we see is Uriel, portrayed by a man, and the primary demon (actually a Fallen Angel) is the female Lasciel. Uriel is Heaven's wetworks guy, probably the least 'masculine' of the primary angels (also featuring Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, the usual suspects). Lasciel, along with a number of other Fallen, (such as Tessa,) are terrifying and badass. They often do play up the sex gig, but it doesn't define their character. It's more zig-zagged than actually inverted, as per usual with Butcher's fantasy-kitchen-sink approach.
- However, an Angel of Death appears female, and there are many male demons.
- The Fae (and their queens, all six of them) generally avert this, but they do occasionally play it straight by take any chance (or technique) to get a certain Chicago wizard on their side. The males nobles? Disguise themselves and lead him into a trap, then later join up and lead a cavalry charge against Harry.
- Good Omens gives us Crowley (demon) and Aziraphale (angel)... both of whom have taken male forms. Aziraphale, however, is written as the more effeminate of the pair. Of course, they get paired together.
- Aziraphale is described as "gayer than a tree full of monkeys high on nitrous oxide"
- One of Tom Holt's books has a female angel (who's frankly kind of a bitch) and Oscar the demon (who's a bit...off). They get together in the end; this is why you should always listen to someone whose day job involves a bestselling Love Potion.
- Inverted by William Shakespeare in Sonnet 114:
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride...
- The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor has the rare inversion; a boy angel (or seraph) meets a girl demon (or chimaera) and they fall in love. Things haven't gone well for them so far.
Live Action TV
- One Charmed episode has two guardians of The Hollow, a female angel representing Good and a male demon representing Evil. Of course in this case it only appears to be symbolic and both guardians are neutral.
- The MST3K short "Out of This World" follows the trope, although the theology is rather sketchy.
- Averted/Inverted in Supernatural: Most of the angels we've seen have taken male humans as their hosts, and demons' hosts are more-or-less split 50/50. (We haven't seen the angels in their true form.)
- Inverted in the episode "Caged Heat" where the male angel Castiel gets French-kissed by a female demon. To be sure, the two of them have displayed UST signals long before that episode. Inverted in general by Ruby, Meg, Abaddon, and Lilith.
- Played straight with Anna, who is the first female angel we see, and is probably the nicest. There are more female angels besides her, but they are either villainous (Naomi) or not featured enough for us to know much about their personalities (Hester and Rachel)
- Archangel Raphael is in a male vessel most of the time, but in a couple of episodes he's in a female one.
- Inverted in the Tales from the Darkside episode "Let the Games Begin". A male angel and a female demon have a contest over a man's soul. They get together at the end of the episode.
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Beethoven's Last Night" features a female angel and the male demon Mephistopheles.
- Averted in Demon: The Fallen, where both sides were both genders. Granted, the demons started as angels. This is a Abrahamic world... to an extent.
- Subverted in Infernum where angels can be genderless or of either gender, while all demons except Malcubi are genderless. Also, there is no artwork of female angels in any of the rulebooks, and many female demons (some of which are Fan Disservice — such as one 'she-demon' that is basically a four-breasted wolf-woman with tentacles instead of legs).
- In Magic: The Gathering, all angels are female (and usually clad in some type of Stripperiffic outfit), although this was one of the first notable appearances of female angels as warriors. Demons are usually so twisted and monstrous that questions of sex hardly arise, but those that do have a human or semi-human appearance are almost all male.
- In Auto da Barca do Inferno by Gil Vicente the demon is usually portrayed by a male actor and the angel by a female actor, even if neither are identified by sex in the original work. The most modern version can be seen as a subversion though, as the angel is just as evil as the devil.
- An amateur production of Doctor Faustus inverted this; the good angel was played by an old man, while the bad angel/demons were all played by young women.
- In Peter Ustinov's The Love of Four Colonels, they appear as "the Good Fairy" and "the Wicked Fairy"... but they were also the supernatural actors in the Garden of Eden.
- Averted, somewhat, in Darksiders, in which both the angels and the demons are mostly male, and the angels can be either masculine (Abaddon) or feminine (Azrael). There are also notable females on both sides, the angels having Uriel, and the demons having Silitha, Tiamat, Lilith. It should be noted, though, that many Darksiders characters are based on figures from Babylonian/Greek/Roman/Judeo-Christian mythology.
- Angel and Devil in Tekken.
- Due to the limitations of the PlayStation, many people came away with the impression that Angel had epic sideburns, blurring the issue somewhat.
- Diablo as a picture of an female angel and a male demon for the health and mana orbs respectively. This doesn't apply to the characters on the other hands, as both Angels and Demons are shown have both male and female, with mostly male characters being portrayed for both. The backstory, on the other hand, inverts it with Star-Crossed Lovers Inarius and Lilith, with the former being a male angel and the latter being a female demon.
- The SimCity clone and all-around stellar game Afterlife uses this. It goes a step farther, portraying the Angel Aria as a Dopey Ditz and the Demon Jasper as a Magnificent Bastard.
- Heroes of Might and Magic V has female Angels and male Devils (though there are female demons). In previous games, they were both male.
- It's debatable whether angels are female or just Bishōnen though.
- Necro and Undine, Dizzy's Wings from Guilty Gear.
- Chaos and Cosmos (technically a god and goddess) from Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
- The two advisors in Afterlife.
- Zelenin (Transformed into an Angel) and Jimenez (Fused with a demon) in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.
- Inverted in Painkiller: Overdose in that the main character Belial is the son of a female demon and a male angel.
- The Secret World does this during the dream section of the opening cutscene. A "good" appearing angel (white clothing, whitish appearence, releases bees, which are associated with protecting the world) is female, while a more "evil" appearing (reddish wings, dressed in black, releases black flies) angel is male. They appear at the end of the game, after players decide whether to weaken or strengthen a prison for the main source of corruption in the game, and fill the expected roles.
- Runescape has a dungeon where armies from the God Wars are still battling it out. The leaders of two of those armies are an Icyene named Commander Zilyana and a demon named K'ril Tsutsaroth. The two appear to be rivals, and are often seen together.
- Inverted in this El Goonish Shive filler strip.
- Seraphim and Asmodeus in Megatokyo.
- In The Order of the Stick, the Bureaucratic Devas and the celestial here are both female, and the IFCC Directors and Qarr are all male. Sabine gets a pass for being a Horny Devil.
- Buwaro & Kieri, main characters in Slightly Damned. But Buwaro starts out completely naive and un-demon-like, and eventually he and Kieri fall in love. Other angels and demons come in both genders.
- Donald's Better Self showcases the struggle between Donald Duck's responsible and devious personalities; while they're both clearly male, what with looking exactly like Don, his good self is voiced by a woman. Oh, and both angel and devil's voices are easy to understand, unlike Don himself.
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars the Daughter is the embodiment of the Light side of the Force, while the Son is the incarnation of The Dark Side.
- Likewise, in The Legend of Korra, Vaatu, the spirit of darkness, is male, and Raava, the spirit of light, is female. Exceptionally bizarre because they draw on Yin Yang symbolism, which assigns darkness to women and light to men.
- Raf and Sulfus from Angel's Friends.