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Femme Fatalons

Sanageyama: Lady Satsuki's sharpening the fangs of the rebellion.
Inumuta: Nails, to be accurate.
Kill la Kill, "Far from the Maddening Crowd"

A fashionable bit of personal accessorizing are Femme Fatalons. Often filed to a painful point and extending well past the end of the fingertip, these nails mark the woman wearing them as, at the very least, untrustworthy, and often as dangerous or predatory.

It's uncanny how often women with Femme Fatalons turn out to be villainesses too. While Power Hair at least has the benefit of the doubt (mostly because most people have hair), it's a rare woman who can wear these and be on the side of good. Maybe it's the claw-like look, the illusion of Creepy Long Fingers, the implied sadism and Finger Licking Evil, or perhaps just having them is itself a Red Right Hand (well, red fingernail polish).

Non-natural long nails, like acrylic or gel extension or glue-ons and primarily decorative nail guards or nail sheaths (like these) also count as Femme Fatalons, as long as they're used as a hint that the wearer is dangerous or villainous.

Weapons like clawed gloves, or clawlike extensions attached to (or growing out of) the hand or fingers are not Femme Fatalons; they're Wolverine Claws. An easy rule of thumb to follow is that if they're primarily for looks, they're Femme Fatalons. If they're primarily intended as weapons, they're Wolverine Claws

Despite the name, Femme Fatalons are not only worn by women, either. The occasional male villain will opt for them as well.

Compare Finger-Lickin' Evil or actual claws. Often found along with Fangs Are Evil. May be paired with I Broke a Nail.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Gender flipped in InuYasha with both Kouga (manga-only) and InuYasha.
    • Kagome in the 1st film produces glowing claws when she's possessed by the film's Big Bad.
  • Male example in Bleach, Mad Scientist and Crosses the Line Twice Jerk Ass Mayuri Kurotsuchi has a single long nail on each hand. He's a scholar. Confucian scholars would grow out their fingernails as a sort of "See? I don't need to work!" sign. Then it sunk in that this made reading and writing awkward and they cut back to just one nail on each hand.
  • Another male example in the Peacemaker Kurogane manga. After becoming gay and crazy, Suzu grows out his nails and wears nail polish.
  • The two female leads from Inu Neko Jump have long, artifical nails. The main female protagonist has a habit of using them as a motivational tool on her love interest.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle's Kiishim has Femme Fatalons, but turns out to be not so evil after all in later appearances. Not to mention that even initially, she was Mind Controlled.
  • Pachira from Magical Pokaan has these, although she uses them to scratch people when irritated.
  • Rue has long dark nails when she's her alternate persona Kraehe in Princess Tutu.
  • Male example: Trinity Blood protagonist Abel Nightroad has long black talons while in his Crusnik form.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • Kurumu gets impressive Femme Fatalons while in succubus form.
    • Moka is shown in the artwork as having talons while in vampire mode.
  • Ichigo and Mint are shown to have long feminine pink nails in their stock footage henshin animation in Tokyo Mew Mew. Zakuro has glowing purple nails in her animation. Ichigo has a Diagonal Cut moment when she slashes Kish in an episode
  • Sae from Peach Girl has nails and has the habit (in the manga, anyway) of leaving gouges in other people's cars.
  • The female antagonists in the Saber Marionette J universe have talons and make good use of them.
  • Kirasaku Made from Suteki Tantei Labyrinth has talons which she uses as her weapons.
  • Kasumi Tendo in the 11th OVA episode of Ranma ½ has claws from being possessed by an Oni and uses them to give her dad a shoulder massage.
  • Velsper's familiar, Wasp of the Blue Lance, has long claws in Ah! My Goddess.
  • Vandread's Jura Elden finds time to manicure her nails while maintaining a shield around a planet in one of her attempts to get Hibiki to make babies with her.
  • Haruka Hasegawa from Moyashimon has long matte black nails and is shown to be able to draw blood with them.
  • The latest episode of Kiddy GiRL-AND introduces Rubis, an assassin who transforms into a animal-like creature and extend the nails on both her hands and feet as weapons. Also an example of Finger-Lickin' Evil.
  • Naruto Uzumaki when he uses the Kyuubi powers, Sasuke in his cursed state, and occasionally Kiba Inuzuka. But Nii Yugito, the Nibi jinchuuriki, who is a woman, has the longest nails by fair, on both her hands and feet.
  • Episode 44 of G Gundam has a shot of Allenby Beardsly with claws while under the control of the Berserker System.
  • Lilly Five team member Ellie in Shaman King has a french manicure which serves as the medium for her oversoul which becomes a set of claws.
  • In the first episode of One Piece, the evil Alvida has long, sharp red nails.
  • A number of characters from Dragon Ball have this trait, perhaps most noticeably Namekians because the first one of them introduced was imagined as a demon. Unlike most of the examples on this page, they're a male looking One-Gender Race.
  • Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist has the power to grow her nails incredibly long. They can also retract into her hands and must be pretty strong, since they never break. Although she does use them for slashing, mostly, she uses them to stab people.
  • Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) has a male example. Undertaker has long black nails, and he is Ambiguously Evil.
  • Satsuki of Kill la Kill takes the road less traveled by and turns her toenails into lethal weapons.

    Comic Books 
  • The cover of Sabrina the Teenage Witch #90 uses this as a metaphor for Sabrina being tempted to The Dark Side—one hand has rounded nails with pink polish, while the other has sharp nails with a coppery polish.
  • Lady Deathstrike from X-Men has REALLY long clawed hands. In some versions, it's artificial while in others, they're adamantium claw fingernails.
  • Nekra, a recurring adversary of Spider-Woman and, later, The Avengers, always wears her nails long and sharp, as if her sickly pale skin and black outfit weren't proof enough.

    Film 
  • Casanova Frankenstein, the villain from the film Mystery Men has these. Used for comic effect, as he prefers to attack with the sharpened nail of a single outstretched pinky.
  • David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China rounds out this manly manicured trio. He used his in conjunction with his evil Black Magic.
  • The Brazilian horror character Coffin Joe has ridiculously long fingernails, which he uses to gouge people's eyes out.
  • In the French action movie The Nest (Nid de guêpes), villain Abedin Nexhep is introduced with a shot of his long (for a man) and manicured nails. Any notions you might form about him being a cossetted hands-off type is later gruesomely punctured, along with the throat of one of the cops.
  • In Dennis the Menace, Dennis' mother's antagonistic boss has red fake nails and even taps them on a divider as she walks along in one scene.
  • The villainess Yzma has long purple nails in The Emperor's New Groove, as well as in the sequel, Kronk's New Groove.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the witch who is the Sheriff of Nottingham's mother has long and sharp nails, which she uses to cut herself.
  • Winifred Sanderson from Disney's Halloween movie Hocus Pocus has these. With all her crazy hand motions, it's kind of hard to miss, especially when she uses one like a knife to cut through a window screen.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange had long nails in several of the Harry Potter films
  • Ravena in Snow White & the Huntsman wears a finger guard with a metal claw on it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman definitely wears them with style.
  • In Skyfall, icy henchwoman Severine wears these, laquered purple and gold. They go with her absurdly vampy beaded dress, and were intended to evoke the appearance of a dragon.
  • X-Men:

    Literature 
  • One of the female smugglers in Flood Tide has long fingernails.
  • The Warden of Holes paints her nails with polish made from rattlesnake venom (and then scratches her minion with them when they are still wet, causing him severe pain and injury).
  • Another male example: the Star Wars Expanded Universe character General Melvar has very long fingernails. Very long, metallic, reflective, sharp fingernails. He's even shown to have cut himself with them by accident before. Aaron Allston's run on the X-Wing books, basically a canon Fix Fic for the book in which Zsinj and Melvar were introduced, explains that this is part of an act to make himself look like a stereotypical evil/psychopathic Imperial, both to make his enemies underestimate him and to impress/intimidate pirates he's trying to recruit.
  • The Chancellors of the Capellan Confederation in Battletech wear the last three nails on each hand extra long and extra sharp following the fashion of Chinese emperors in Real Life history. Of course, the emperors weren't half as likely to have them artificially reinforced...
    • Scaled up to ridiculous awesome when Justin Xiang Allard, fighting in the arenas of Solaris VII with the Capellan stables, modified his 'Mech with extra-long sharpened armor plates on the fingers of its one hand. Actually came in handy in some of his fights.
  • Coraline: The Other Mother has long thin fingers with red nail polish on each fingernail.
  • In The Witches, all witches have long, pointy nails.

    Live Action TV 
  • Maila Nurmi as Vampira had long pointy nails.
  • There's never any doubt that Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is evil, but she definitely has these. She kills Kendra, a Slayer, in the season 2 finale by cutting her throat with a single nail. Also offhandedly comments "I didn't like that bartender. His eyeballs got stuck to my fingers." ([licks fingers])
  • A Yellow Peril villain from Get Smart had these, going as far as to cut up apples and carve statues with them. Agent 86 comments that this is probably how he is able to afford an underground lair. "Think how much money he saves on knives!"
  • Numerous villains in Charmed (both male and female) have had long nails.
  • In Farscape, Aeryn Sun's mother apparently had these, as she escaped capture by using them to slice open her own arm to pull out a knife she apparently had surgically implanted just in case.
    • In "Incubator," Scorpius' nanny had red, talon-like nails. For that matter, so did Scorpius as a child, though he evidently trimmed them before he started wearing his coolant suit.
  • One minor character had long nails complete with a diamond piercing in the pilot episode of Dark Angel. She even went so far as to offer to show Max how sharp they really were.
  • Huntress from the TV series Birds of Prey had long nails.
  • In the episode "Prom Night" of Full House, one of the main female characters wears very long, red fake nails for the prom, and they get some attention. In the end, they mysterious come off without her noticing and get stuck to her date's rear end.
  • Referenced in Scrubs: JD and Turk like to put Bugles (cone shaped corn chips) on their fingers and pretend they have "witch nails". Turk accompanies this with an Evil Laugh.
  • Abaddon, who is a Knight of Hell, has long red nails in Supernatural.
  • Up to Eleven with Kali in Teen Wolf. She not only has (apparently) permanent, black-painted claws on her hands, but on her bare feet as well. Why no one (aside from the main characters fighting her) ever noticed a woman walking around with no shoes or socks and large sharp claws on her toes is never addressed.
  • In the Masters Of Horror episode "Dreams in the Witch-House", the witch has some razor-sharp nails which she uses to claw bloody marks into Walter's back.

    Pinball 

    Role Playing Games 
  • Even BattleTech has them. One of the affectations of the wealthiest citizens of the Capellan Confederation is to grow the fingernails on the last three fingers of each hand to a length of ten centimeters and decorate them with gem chips and gold leaf, and reinforce them with carbon fiber, turning them into claws able to cut through leather.

    Theater 
  • A lot of actors who play Herbert von Krolock in Tanz der Vampire have these. Some just have the nails attached to gloves, however, and sometimes, his hands just look exquisitely manicured.
  • In The Golden Apple, Achilles warns that Circe will "scratch your heart out with her long red fingernails."
  • In The Women, Sylvia in the first scene is showing off her nails, which have been painted a new shade called "Jungle Red." Nancy says it's good "for tearing your friends apart," a quip which Sylvia resents. Mary admires the shade, but the chatty manicurist who gave it to Sylvia also divulged some gossip about Mary's husband keeping another woman. At the end of the play, Sylvia and the other woman are sore at Mary for having cattily outwitted them, and she says, "Well, I've two years to sharpen my claws," and flashes her fingernails—"Jungle Red, Sylvia!"—before leaving the two ladies alone.

    Video Games 
  • Many of the female villains in the Lunar series had long, manicured nails.
  • Elexis Sinclair from the PC game Sin: Episode 1 has long red nails.
  • Final Fantasy loves these (unsurprisingly). Interestingly, they have about as many male examples as female.
  • Luise Meyrink from the King of Fighters franchise has long blue nails.
  • In Dragon Age, the Desire Demons sport deadly sharp nails of their own.
  • Lady Claire from the first Luminous Arc has long, purple nails. However, despite having talons and dressing like a femme, she seems to be weepy and rather "un-fatale".
  • Male example: At the end of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker takes a drug that causes him to mutate into a hulk like form with ridiculously long fingernails.
  • Suikoden II has Karen, a dancer you can recruit into your army, who can be used in regular battles. She uses her long, sharp nails as her weapons, and (amusingly enough), has them upgraded by being sharpened at the blacksmith's. (So does every other weapon in the series - including things like woks, book belts, and hammers, but still.)

    Visual Novels 
  • Arcueid Brunested from Tsukihime has vampiric claws.
  • Gaap from Umineko no Naku Koro ni has long, red nails.
    • Rosa Ushiromiya is described as having nails that are long and sharp enough to tear apart blankets and magical stuffed lion cubs.
  • Dangan Ronpa gives us both Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba. Granted, one of them isn't evil, per say, but she's imitating the other, who we learn is the Big Bad.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Reboot, Hexadecimal plays this trope straight.
  • The Transformers original series had the (male) Decepticon Scourge with bright pink sharp "fingernails".
    • In Transformers Prime, the evil characters have much sharper fingers than the heroes. Starscream's claws actually seem to vary in length depending on how evil he's being in that scene.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Azula and Mai from though they later cut them. Although Ursa (nice lady, from what we can tell) had them too, so maybe it's just Fire Nation fashion for nobles and royalty. Azula also uses the slashing motion in combat in her first episode, giving Zuko three nice straight scars.
    • Hamma, as both her fingernails and as water-bending produced claws which she throws at a tree. The first hint that she isn't some sweet old lady is her using water she sucked from plants (killing them) to create talons of ice.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Red Lotus combustionbender P'Li is a Downplayed example. Her nails, while not particularly long, are painted red-black.
    • Earth Queen Hou-Ting has very long green nails with golden nail coverings on the pinky and ring fingers. Long fingernails were often a fashion of imperial Chinese aristocracy in real life.
  • Family Guy plays with this trope: when Meg Griffin gets Lust-like fingernail growing powers, everyone scoffs at her for having such a lame and useless power.
  • Morganna McCawber from Darkwing Duck has femme fatalons. She started off playing this straight, but within her first episode she was already moving into Dark Is Not Evil territory and soon managed to pull off a complete Heel-Face Turn without a hitch, in the process becoming the title character's Love Interest.
  • A popular girl from Danny Phantom—angry from losing a beauty pageant—threatens the main character's best friend with her sharp, but "perfectly manicured" nails.
  • Clover in an episode of Totally Spies! gets these when she's put under Mind Control by an evil manicurist.
  • An episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has April getting her DNA mixed with a cat, which immediately results in her growing claws.
  • Skung of Ōban Star-Racers has Femme Fatalons powerful enough to rip through metal.
  • Vanna Pira from the movie Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf has long red nails.
  • Murdoc Nicalls from Gorillaz is a male example.
  • The villainous and untrustworthy Roodaka sports large claws in the third BIONICLE movie. She even runs them over Vakama's chest when trying to talk him into betraying his partners. Her toy, ironically, doesn't even have hands.
  • Demona from Gargoyles and not just her gargoyle talons, but even in her human persona of Dominique Destine she files her fingernails into sharp points.
  • Nails from Static Shock is a meta-human, or 'Bang Baby', with a metalic skin and bones with razor-sharp fingernails that are vertually claws that would make Wolverine jealous.
  • She Zow foe Tara has razor sharp fingernails that she can launch as a missile weapon.
  • Magpie from Beware the Batman has extendible fingernails which she also uses as Wolverine Claws in combat.

    Real Life 
  • New York Tong leader Mock Duck had long fingernails. In Chinese tradition, this was a status symbol, signaling that he was too important to do manual labor.


Feather FlechettesAnatomy ArsenalFinger Firearms
Fashion-Victim VillainVillainous Fashion SenseFur and Loathing
Fauxtivational PosterJustForFun/TropemanteauFictionary
Feather FingersHand TropesFilm the Hand
Feather FlechettesNatural WeaponFartillery
Fangs Are EvilPersonal Appearance TropesFiremen Are Hot
Faux Affably EvilEvil TropesFiller Villain
Oz: The Great and PowerfulImageSource/Live-Action FilmsThe Wolfman (2010)
Fee Fi Faux PasJust for PunFeng Schwing
Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White SuitObviously EvilFor the Evulz
Feminist FantasyAdded Alliterative AppealFertile Feet

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