- Yakuza members traditionally chop off fingers if they are unable to pay back a debt, or as punishment for other offences that don't warrant death.
- The four-fingered hand is taken as a derogatory reference to the burakumin social class (four fingers = four legs = animals).
- The number four in Japanese also means death.
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- Spoofed in an Oreo commercial which shows the mascot (a giant Oreo cookie) struggling to get through a security system. At one point he comes upon a hand scanner and presses his left hand to it; when nothing happens, he adds one finger from his right hand, which is good enough to open the door.
Anime & Manga
- The introduction to one Astro Boy manga chapter has Tezuka discussing how he's drawn Astro with four or five fingers at different times.
- Dragon Ball
- Piccolo and other Namekians have four fingered hands in the manga. For the anime, this was changed to five due to Japanese broadcast regulations. Doing so ruins a visual gag from the manga when Piccolo declares that he'll finish Goku off in 5 seconds and holds up a hand with five fingers, which the author Lampshades with text beneath the panel.
- Other characters such as the humanoid animals or aliens also have different numbers of fingers. The author constantly mistakes the numbers of fingers on these characters. A good example is Kyui, who has five fingers in some panels and four in others.
- Majin Buu: In the manga, he has two stubby fingers and a similar thumb in his Super Buu form, four-fingered, somewhat stubby hands after absorbing the aforementioned Piccolo and Gotenks, the standard five-fingered hands at his most humanoid after absorbing Gohan, AND a mitten-like hand with a lone thumb and stubby finger as Kid Buu. In the anime, however, he has standard five-fingered hands in all instances. Like Piccolo, this is because of broadcast regulations.
- The final J9 Trilogy Super Robot, Sasuraiger, has four red, clawlike fingers formed from its train-mode's cowcatcher... which is a strange thing for it to have, considering it's actually a spaceship designed to look like a train and there aren't many cows in space, but that's neither here nor there. The animators sometimes forget this, however, and if you look closely in some scenes it'll have standard, humanoid hands.
- Zeromaru, one of the protagonists of Digimon V-Tamer 01, is first seen with four fingers/claws, though he eventually grows a fifth, or rather, "evolves" into a form with a fifth. Four whatever reason, other monsters of his initial form are always given five fingers/claws in every other franchise work.
- The mecha in Zone of the Enders are an odd variation - their hands have three fingers and two thumbs.
- The magi in the Magi-Nation card game have four digits on each hand, though this stems from the original art style. They are also not human, but from a fantastic world. Of course, the animated series uses five-fingered hands.
- On the other (ahem) hand, the elves, preservers and trolls of ElfQuest are not four-fingered representations of five-fingered characters. They really do have only four fingers on each hand. After a few issues, the authors realized that they should logically count in base-eight, and the elves are retconned to do exactly that; Cutter gets the slightly less catchy title of "Blood-Of-Eight-And-Two-Chiefs".
- Which makes no sense, given that 'base eight' does not mean 'only eight numbers' ('base-six' goes 'one two three four five ten', so base eight would be 'one two three four five six seven ten').
- Lampshaded at least once: Cutter, attacked by a human, proposes to rectify the man's problem of an overpopulated hand as he cuts off one of his fingers.
- Much later in the series, a culture of elf-worshipping humans amputated the little fingers and surgically altered the ears of their ruling elite, believing this could make them immortal.
- Marvel Comics
- One of the effects of Ben Grimm's transformation into the Thing is that he now has four fingers and toes. In one What If? comic where he continues to mutate, he actually develops (devolves?) down to three-fingered hands.
- X-Men's Nightcrawler, has three-fingered hands and feet. The X-Men: Evolution version of Nightcrawler has some kind of holographic disguise that makes him look like a factory-standard human. Whenever he's in disguise, his fingers stick together in a Vulcan-salute formation. So does his Alternate Universe daughter, Nocturne.
- And the X-Man Longshot, though it's due to his alien/technomagical origins.
- Every character in normalman. Well, sort of. When norm found himself in the American frontier in the 1800s, the frontiersman he befriended figured he was an inbred simpleton because he only had four fingers on each hand.
- Three Fingers explores this; it is a pastiche of the Animated Actors idea, specifically the Who Framed Roger Rabbit concept that toons and humans coexist in the real world. Toons are born with a full set of five fingers, but the first toon actor to achieve real fame was Rickey Rat, a mutated toon born with only four. Toons were described as superstitious, and so many other toons began to mutilate themselves, having a finger removed in order to become successful in Hollywood; the book explores this shadowy ritual in-depth. The book is drawn in the narrative style of a TV documentary, like the True Hollywood Story or a Ken Burns film, mostly interviewees talking to the camera, with photographs intercut.
- One episode of the Futurama comic takes place in a freak show. Exhibits include Zoidberg's uncle, a bearded lady, and a five-fingered man.
- Ivy the Terrible in The Beano has four fingers, but oddly enough, other characters in her comic have five.
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog series have both the four-fingered and five-fingered hands. The SEGA-based heroes and the normal humans have five fingers while those from the Saturday morning Sonic SatAM series or Original Generation characters have four fingers. The humans with four fingers were given the name "Overlanders", while five-fingered humans are still referred to as "humans".
- This happens to Steve Harmon when he's in his Slapstick form, since he was wearing his oversized four-fingered toon gloves when he got his powers.
- The Smurfs have four-fingered hands and four-toed feet, while the humans they encounter have five-fingered hands. In their first comic book appearance in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, they were originally drawn with five fingers. In The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol , their human nemesis Gargamel has four fingers.
- Fire Breather: Duncan Rosenblatt plays this for laughs in the comic book. After being called to the principal's office, a teacher stops him for a hall pass. He promptly tries various pockets, leaving one out to show the teacher. Once in the principal's office, he shows his four fingered hand and asks "Help me out, which one is "the bird"?" Oddly, the animated film gives him five fingers.
- Lampshaded in a long-running Polish series of comic books, Tytus, Romek i A'tomek. Tytus complains about the 2002 animated movie because they "chopped off two of his fingers," while in the comic books he was always drawn with five fingers on each hand.
- The title story in Werner Volle Latte! lampshades Werner's four-fingered hands (and the artist Brösel's inability to draw women) with Werner's dream woman drawn by Jörg Reymann (both actually and In-Universe). Reymann used his own drawing style and gave her five fingers which Brösel's Author Avatar later points out explicitly, worrying how many fingers her kids with Werner would have.
- Blue Devil in the New 52 has four-fingered hands. Out of costume, though, he has five-fingered hands. Justified, as the costume is magical.
- The titular character in The Scrameustache, who is an alien hybrid, has four-fingered hands, as do the Galaxians (also aliens). The humans and Human Aliens all have five-fingered hands.
- Violator's clown form in Spawn has four fingers per hand. Since everyone else has five fingers, this is part of his human form being not quite right.
- In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, most Cybertronians have five fingers on their hands. Swerve, the loudmouthed bartender on the Lost Light, has four. There are also occasional characters who have claws in place of hands, like Whirl, but that's acknowledged In-Universe as the result of mutilation (the corrupt pre-war government would replace hands and faces with claws and cyclopean features as a form of public shaming).
- Averted by The Boondocks, where everyone has five-fingered hands. Also see the example for its animated series in the Western Animation folder below.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, most of the characters have four fingers but in one panel of a strip, Calvin is drawn with five fingers on one hand and four fingers on the other by mistake.
- The majority of comic strips such as FoxTrot follow this rule.
- The Optimist occasionally loses a finger, seen here, here, and here.
- Averted in Peanuts, where all of the characters have five fingers on each hand.
- This was averted in Little Lulu, where the characters are drawn with five fingers.
Films — Animation
- Averted with Boo, who has five fingers, but played straight with the monsters in Monsters, Inc., who all have four fingers. However, the monster who counts down to the beginning of scare floor activities starts with "we are on in seven..." and holds out his seven-fingered hand.
- Abu and the Genie have four-fingered hands while the rest of the human cast of Aladdin has five... except for the merchant who narrates the opening. Originally, he was supposed to be revealed as Genie at the end of the film, and while that was left off the final cut, the design remained. This was sort of lampshaded in the Aladdin: The Series episode "Eye of the Beholder", in which Genie tries to place his hand onto a handprint on a door to opening, but because said print has five fingers, Genie magically conjures up a fifth one.
- The Blue Meanies in Yellow Submarine have SIX fingers. At least, their leader does.
- In 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White and the Prince have five fingers on each hand, but the more cartoony Dwarfs only have four. Strangely on the 1987 reissue poster, Sleepy is seen with four on one hand and five on the other.
- Like his cartoon counterpart, Mr. Peabody in Mr. Peabody & Sherman though subverted with Sherman, who now has five fingers unlike his cartoon counterpart.
- In Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer everyone has four fingers, despite the characters being drawn semi-realistically.
- Pinocchio has four fingers as a puppet, but has five fingers after he's been turned into a human at the end of the film. Geppetto, Stromboli, Lampwick, and all the other humans have five fingers each, but for some reason, the Coachman only has four. Justified for the Coachman: he's not really a "human " Honest John the fox and Gideon the cat have four-fingered hands. Jiminy Cricket usually has four fingers, though in the educational short "You And Your Food", he suddenly has five◊ when explaining the five food groups.
- Interestingly, both played straight and averted in Wreck-It Ralph. Of the three games original to the film, only the characters from cutesy racer Sugar Rush have four-fingered hands. Characters from Hero's Duty have five fingers befitting its realistic looking design and characters from Fix-It Felix Jr. have five fingers befitting its supposed origin as an '80s Japanese-made arcade game. Oddly, the 1980 character Turbo, who otherwise has rather cartoony features like Felix and Ralph (rather than the Animesque look of the Sugar Rush characters), only has four fingers, even when out of disguise. It should also be noted that Sugar Rush is supposed to be a Japanese-developed game, Japanese-made characters usually don't have four fingers for reasons listed above.
- Madame Souza of The Triplets of Belleville has only four fingers, although given how realistic her hands were designed, it can be downright creepy looking.
- Played with in the fourth Futurama movie, where Leo Wong is dealing poker to Bender who ends up with five kings (the regular four plus a coaster that has the "King of Beers" on it). To illustrate Leo holds up a single five-fingered hand long enough for the audience to go "what the hell, he has five fingers."
- In Planet 51, Chuck Baker, the human astronaut, has five fingers on each hand, but the aliens have only four.
- Inversion: in The Thief and the Cobbler, Evil Chancellor Zigzag has six-fingered hands.
- While most of the cast of Frozen have five fingers, the trolls have four.
- Every character in Hoodwinked. In the sequel, only the non-human characters; an Animation Bump resulted in all the humans gaining a fifth finger.
- All the The Boxtrolls have them, while the other characters have five-fingered hands. It's Winnie pointing out the difference that convinces Eggs that he's a human.
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas, while Jack Skellington has four fingers, Sally has five. This varies throughout the cast: The witches and humans have five fingers, but the Mayor and Lock, Shock & Barrel have four fingers...
Films — Live-Action
- Justified in Splice. Dren has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, which is due to the fact that she a hybrid creature spliced from a unholy mixtures of animals' DNA that widely varies in the amount of fingers each species has.
- Lampshaded in Casper from 1995.
Casper: *practicing ways to introduce himself to Kat* 'Sup; I'm Casper. Give me four! ...god, I'd kill for a pinky.
- The Na'vi in Avatar have four fingers, four toes, and a base eight counting system. Given that the film's budget dwarfs many countries' annual budgets, this was probably just to be alien. The avatars have five, so it would seem intentional.
- Bumblebee in the 2007 Transformers film has these, as do Jazz, Barricade, Megatron, Dispensor and Bonecrusher.
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen also gives these to Mudflap, Skids, Jetfire and Wheelie.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon gives us Que, Brains, Soundwave, Shockwave and several generics. Laserbeak, when disguised as a pink Bumblebee, also has thesenote .
- There are several other characters either have three fingers (Sideswipe, Blackout/Grindor and Brawl, to name a few) or more than five (Starscream & The Fallen, who have six and eight, respectively).
- Inverted in Gattaca: the pianist has six fingered hands (which exists in real life, but often removed), and he plays music you couldn't play with five-fingered hands. Well, he doesn't, but just roll with it.
- Star Wars
- Zig-zagged by Grevious. At first he has two six-fingered hands, including two thumbs. But he can divide his arms, then he has four three-fingered hands.
- Since they have only eight fingers, Hutts use a base-8 counting system. Zero through seven mean the same thing in both Huttese and Basic, but anything after that is just plain confusing, which many other races have been swindled by. If they want t avoid confusion Hutts will use base-10.
- Hellboy's stone hand has only four fingers.
- Cherno Alpha, Crimson Typhoonnote and a few of the Kaiju in Pacific Rim.
- Many kaiju from numerous franchises that use elements of Godzilla's design followed his lead, with the King of the Monsters himself having three fingers and a thumb.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has four fingers on each hand.
- The Kzinti from the Known Space universe have four fingers on each hand. Bonus points are awarded for having a base-eight mathematical system, which plays havoc with the humans they meet.
- Most faerie species in The Spiderwick Chronicles (except ogres and giants which have 6 fingers).
- In The Island of Doctor Moreau, the ape-man cites his own aversion of this trope as a sign that he's a better "man" than the other beastfolk, most of whom have four or fewer digits on each hand.
- In Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?, it's mentioned that Toon cigars resemble dynamite, and sometimes there's real dynamite mixed in—explaining why so many Toons have only four fingers. (Oddly enough, when Roger temporarily becomes human, he suddenly has five fingers, much to his confusion.)
- The Centaurians in The Pentagon War have 4 tentacle-fingers on each hand. And they have four hands.
- In the Mr. Men series, all the Mr. Men and Little Misses have four-fingered hands.
- In the furry novel The Fangs Of Kaath the characters have three fingers and a thumb. And are mentioned once to count in base eight.
- Older Than Print: The Grolier Codex, a 900 year old Mayan astronomy guide, contains depictions of humans with four-fingered hands.
- Tall tale teller Hap Shaughnessy of The Red Green Show once claimed to be the one who convinced Walt Disney to do this. He says he saved Walt 20% on his hand animation costs.
- Discussed on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Tara comments that if they were animated, they'd have to have four fingers, and wear White Gloves to compensate.
- Walter Jones, the first-ever Black Ranger, was born with only three fingers and a thumb on one hand. He would often wear a prosthetic finger on set.
- The Silence in Doctor Who.
- While the title character on ALF has four-fingered hands, the humans (and certain Melmacians — maybe it's a genetic trait?) have five. When Brian is recovered from a crooked used car salesman (as in, selling stolen cars), this exchange happens over a high-four-and-a-half, to take the average:
Brian: Give me a high-five, so I know you're alive!
Alf: How about a high-four— 'cause I ain't got any more!
- Star Trek: The Original Series: The Enterprise's Scotty only had three fingers on one hand owing to an injury James Doohan sustained in the war. Doohan took great pains to hide his missing middle finger all his acting life.
- The short-lived pricing game "Professor Price" on The Price Is Right had the titular puppet used to count right and wrong answers being given four fingers on each hand to avoid an accidental middle finger.
- The characters in Dinosaurs have four-fingered hands. This is lampshaded when Earl is on drugs and he wonders why they have 8 fingers but use a counting system based on 10.
- Most characters in The Muppet Show have four fingers, even when the puppeteer wears the hand as a glove. Exceptions include Kermit and Dr. Teeth. The Swedish Chef, being a character who has to manipulate things, just has Frank Oz's hands. Gonzo only has three fingers on each hand!
- Likewise, most Muppets on Sesame Street have four fingers on each hand, but Big Bird has three, and Cookie Monster has five.
- In the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, Minotaurs and Dragonborn are shown with having three fingers and a thumb on each hand. They're the only non-human races with this array of digits. Minotaurs also have cloven hooves for feet, while Dragonborn have four-toed paws.
- The Aslan in Traveller have four digits per hand, and count in base 8. (Their leadership is called the "Tlaukhu", translated as "Twenty-Nine"; it's more literally 3 eights and five.) "Toons" has been mentioned as a derogatory nickname for them, because of the four-fingered hands association.
- Warhammer 40,000
- The Tau only have four digits a hand. The fluff has them logically using a base 8 system.
- The Orks, on the other hand (or possibly paw), have five fingers but use base six numbering. Which actually makes a certain amount of sense if you use the other hand for the second digit. Of course, this being Warhammer 40000 it all started as a joke on the theme of Orks being too stupid to count higher, to the point where they had specialist mutations (like Mekboyz and Doks) called "sumboyz" who were effectively Orky accountants because they knew the numbers that came after "lotz".
- At the Disney Theme Parks, Meet and Greet versions of any characters with four fingers will have the proper amount of digits by way of four fingered gloves.
- BIONICLE could never make up its mind:
- The original figures had either no real hands, or only two fingers or three claws. Only much later figures received articulate, fingered hands, usually the larger ones, and these had four. In '09, this phenomenon reached the smaller and medium-sized toys, as they got four-fingered graspers.
- All of the prominent characters from the first two Direct-to-Video movies had five fingers, save for those that had claws (Nidhiki, Pewku), no hands at all (Vahki robots), or had just plain weird-looking hands (Krekka). Then, by the third movie, all of the new or newly transformed characters were outfitted with only four. In the fourth movie, which wasn't part of the original trilogy, they also had four, but this time it was because the toys also had that many.
- The video game Bionicle: Heroes also decided to give the Piraka and Toa Inika four fingers, which is an understandable example of Artistic License, since their figures had no fingers at all, save for Toa Nuparu's huge claws.
- Minimates generally have formless hands with no fingers, but on occasions when fingers are required, the toys have three fingers and a thumb.
- In keeping with this reduction, when they made a Minimate of the Fantastic Four's Thing, he was dropped down to two big fingers instead of his usual three.
- Disney's Mickey Mitts Plush Mickey Mouse Gloves play with this. They stay true to the original, making them impractical to actually wear.
- Marvel' Super Hero Squad toyline, as well as the products derived from it.
- In The Grossery Gang, any humans in supplemental materials, along with any adaptations where the Grosseries have limbs, give them four fingers. Despite this, Sewer Glove, a Grossery based on a cleaning glove, has five fingers.
- All of the characters in Grim Fandango have four-fingered hands, despite being human skeletons (or Calaca dolls, depending on who you ask).
- The Ratchet & Clank games have an interesting subversion. Ratchet and any Girl of the Week characters will have five fingers. Everyone else, no matter the species, has only three. The official reason for this is because Insomniac wanted to avoid any Four is Death connotations when they shipped the game to Japan, thus everyone who was originally intended to have four-fingered hands instead has three. This includes Captain Qwark, who otherwise looks human.
- The characters in the classic arcade game WWF Wrestlefest are fairly accurate representations of real WWF wrestlers of the time — except for their four-fingered hands.
- While most characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise have four fingers and one thumb per hand, the character Fang the Sniper (A.K.A. Nack the Weasel) has only three fingers and one thumb per hand. This is generally attributed to the Yakuza idea, since he is the ONLY Sonic character always drawn with three fingers. This was lampshaded in the original miniseries where a fish robot attacks a drawing of Sonic on a rock, then mumbles about how he should have realized it was fake because it had four fingers.
- Abe from the video game series Oddworld had four fingers in the original game. It was changed to three due to controversy from Japan (scroll down to the eleventh question on the list).
- The Tauren and Trolls in the Warcraft universe only have three fingers on each hand. The Tauren's hands are evolved hooves most likely. The trolls are just trolls. Gnomes, goblins, and worgen in beast-form have four fingers per hand, as do the Pandaren.
- As he's a monkey, it would normally be acceptable, but Diddy Kong gets a special mention: he had four fingers when he was still owned by Rare (which is British), but (probably because of the Yakuza concern mentioned in the intro) he switched over to five fingers when Nintendo (which is Japanese) took over.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Amazingly, both Bowser and Yoshi have four fingers. While the former is supposed to be a villain, one would wonder why a cute little dinosaur like Yoshi have four fingers instead of five like other fictional Japanese heroes.
- The Mario Bros. and Peach in Hotel Mario. The official versions of those characters have five fingers.
- The toads sometimes had four fingered hands, although the modern design of them have five fingered baby-like hands now.
- The cat suit only has four fingers on its glove, despite the heroes wearing it over their hands.
- Many of the Non-Human characters in the Breath of Fire universe only have four-fingered hands. Garr and Jean are the most noticeable ones, though.
- Oddly enough, in Psychonauts, some characters have four fingers whereas other characters have the normal five. To further confusion, certain characters (such as Dr. Loboto) have more joints on each finger than their compatriots.
- All characters in Backyard Sports originally had four fingers on each hand. Somehow, they each grew another finger later.
- All player characters in Fat Princess have four-fingered hands. Edited to be five fingers in the Japanese release. (See Above)
- In Glover, you play as a four-fingered glove. Justified as the thumb and ring fingers are his arms, and the index and middle fingers are his legs. Having a fifth finger would be...
- Half-Life: Vortigaunts have three arms, with the third one growing straight out of the chest, with two fingers on each, and their feet don't seem to have toes, instead ending in a pyramidal... claw, let's call it.
- Character art from Torchlight shows that the characters have four fingers each, although it's hard to see in-game.
- The Kilrathi in the Wing Commander series are shown (usually) as having 4 digits, and use Base 8 numbering.
- In X-COM, most if not all Aliens only have four fingers.
- Most Pokémon that have hands and feet usually have three fingers/toes, unless they have human-shaped hands, in that case they usually have five. However, some might have four in earlier game sprites. Many usually have two toes on each foot. Which can lead to unintentionally funny moments: see, with three fingers, the index finger is in the middle, so when certain Pokémon point in the anime, they're constantly flipping each other off.
- The amateur-produced Interactive Fiction game The Mulldoon Legacy has a puzzle involving aliens whose solution involves realizing you're dealing with base-6 mathematical system, because that's the number of fingers the aliens have. The game includes an alien skeleton, with the appropriate detail mentioned, as a very subtle hint.
- Lance Galahad has them by example in Brain Dead 13, along with other characters.
- As if he weren't mysterious enough, Zer0 of Borderlands 2 is the only character in the game that has only four fingers, making even his species ambiguous.
- The vast majority of alien species in Mass Effect have only three fingers. The only exceptions are the asari, batarians, and drell, who have human-like hands, and the hanar, who have tendrils instead of normal limbs. Fans have made jokes about how hard it must be to buy gloves if you have human fingers.
- In the Mortal Kombat franchise, the Shokan (Goro and Sheeva, for example) have three fingers per hand. However, each Shokan has four arms.
- Perhaps a testament to just how serious Dragon Ball Online was to throwing out all innovations from the show, all the characters that originally had four (or less) fingers in the comic do in the game, most noticeably every last Namekian.
- Most of the characters in Skylanders.
- The animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy's are four-fingered cartoon animals. In addition the Puppet has three-fingered noodle hands and Balloon Boy has nub-like hands with holes.
- The Vault Boy from Fallout is illustrated like a 1950's cartoon character.
- Also played straight by some of the mutants.
- Mettaton, the game's resident human fanboy/robotic Agent Peacock, has four-fingered hands in White Gloves. According to Word of God, it's because all of his knowledge of humans comes from human media that has fallen into the Underground, including western cartoons, and the ubiquity of this trope left him confused over how many fingers humans usually have.
- Zig-zagged with Muffet, who is drawn with three fingers per hand (18 total) in-game, but four per (24 total) in The Merch.
- With the other monsters, it varies wildly. Most of the monsters lack hands, though those who have them are usually either shown to have three to four fingers or lack enough sprite detail to tell one way or the other. Monsters with a more humanoid shape, such as Knight Knight and Asgore, have five fingers on each hand.
- Every character in Shovel Knight was designed with four fingers per hand. This is most noticable in artwork, but in-game it can be seen on large characters like Mole Knight, Treasure Knight, Polar Knight and the final boss.
- Along with their angular features, the Jennerit race from Battleborn is known for their four-fingered hands. Both traits set them apart from more "human" denizens of the universe.
- The rather simplistic sprites used in the original Higurashi: When They Cry novels all have very large, four-fingered hands. The anime changes to the more typical five.
- Lampshaded at the end of the "Metric vs. Imperial" movie in Brain POP. Tim explains that we use the decimal system because we have ten fingers and raises both hands up to show ten... only to realize that he's missing two.
- THREE-fingered hands in the case of DSBT InsaniT, due to the simplistic art style.
- Most of the characters in Happy Tree Friends have mittenlike hands (except for Lumpy, who always has fingers, and Handy, who has nubs), but when they need fingers they have four on each hand (including a thumb).
- All characters of Cat Legend have always been drawn this way.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , having three fingers and a thumb seems to be not just an artist habit but a species trait, with some characters having three fingers and a thumb while others, usually horses or cows, have only three digits on each hand. As for humans, they tend to have a normal amount. (And yet the artist draws herself with only four digits, fueling speculation that she is secretly a Fraggle.)
- Mostly averted in Everyday Heroes, where all the human characters have five fingers ... although Uma and her father, being aliens, have only four.
- All the characters of Freefall. This is justified only in Florence, an anthropomorphic wolf, and Sam, a squidlike alien who wears an environment suit.
- Averted in Fuzzy Things, though the "tradition" is discussed in this comic
- Homestuck follows this trope with one notable exception — the Midnight Crew have varying amounts of digits. It's likely just an artistic choice, although their Dersite origins may offer an in-universe explanation. In the Descend animation, Jade is seen with four fingers except in the Hero Mode pictures where she's slapping John.
- Most of the characters in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! have four fingers — except for Ahem and the Nemesites, Starfish Aliens who have only two.
- My Middle Name's Adventure — with the exception of Winston, who only has two.
- Newton The Newt has characters with this.
- All of the characters in The Order of the Stick have only three fingers. Well, this is a stick figure comic. They're lucky they have fingers at all.
- The "Bugsby's Hand" spells have four fingers, though.
Vaarsuvius: Bugsby's Expressive Digit!
- One of them can apparently be used to display your displeasure with someone, but it happens off-screen so we can't be sure how it managed that.
- At one point a character questions whether they really even have anything that qualifies as a "thumb"
- The "Bugsby's Hand" spells have four fingers, though.
- Terinu being a gene-gineered alien, has four fingers and three toes (three and a dewclaw) like his animal predecessors. Strangely, every other alien in the series has five fingers.
- Zebra Girl averts this. Demons and Funny Animals have four fingers, but all humans have five.
- It turns out there's a reason for this in Dark Legacy Comics.
- The characters in Our Little Adventure are drawn like this.
- Penny Arcade as by Krahulik nearly always draws only three fingers and a thumb, even in relatively "realistic" stories like the recent "Sand". There are exceptions to this, such as the female assassin with the umbrella fighting the Cardboard Tube Samurai, but those are highly unusual. Compare this comic with this comic.
- Lampshaded in User Friendly, while breaking the fourth wall.
- The furries from Stubble Trouble have four fingers while the humans have five fingers. Some hoofed animals are seen with three hoof-fingers.
- This concept art◊ of Commander Badass (which predates the comic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things) shows him with four fingers, but in the comic itself, the Commander (and everyone else) has five.
- Parodied in this French webcomic, Le Geektionnerd. The characters read a human hand has five fingers, writes over it, and complains about the blog being crap.
- The Noob has four fingers on each hand, and is thus actually showing six fingers in this comic.
- In the first few strips of The Whiteboard, Doc was depicted with 5-digit hands, but shortly after the strip's name became an Artifact Title, the character design was changed to have 4-digit hands, with a note by the author explaining the change.
- In Goblins, humans and demons have five fingers per hands. The goblins and about every non-human races (including elves and dwarves) have four-fingered hands. Reptiles (like kobolds, yuan-ti or lizardfolks) tends to have three-fingered hands. All non-humans (well, those with legs anyway) also have three-toed feet.
- Karate Bears: They usually have four fingers.
- The Cyantian Chronicles averts this with most immigrant Cyantians, with the exception of foxes. Leading some fans to comment "that fox has too many fingers" when the artist slips up and accidentally draws one with five.
- My Roommate Is an Elf. All characters have these, along with White Gloves.
- Zack of Urban Jungle is only drawn with three fingers and a thumb on each hand. It isn't until this strip we learn why.
- The Packrat. Makes one wonder how different playing keyboards is with only four fingers per hand.
- Everyone in Commander Kitty, in keeping with the comic's cartoony atmosphere.
- Mutants in Endtown tend to have four fingers, one of the first things Flask noted when she was infected with the virus (after her pointed teeth) was the pinkies on her gloves flopping.
- Blue Milk Special does it...which makes it look a little weird when Darth Vader does the Vulcan salute.
- All characters, human or otherwise, in The Mansion of E have four fingers (if they have hands). This is not just an artistic convenience; when a human character visits from another webcomic, he has five fingers.
- Lyra from Heart Strings can magically project arms from her body, all of which have four fingered hands. This is much to her confusion as she used to be a five fingered human.
- It goes further when Bon Bon explains that no creature in Equestria naturally exists with more than four fingers.
- In Slightly Damned, the Jakkai and Khamega races play this trope straight. Pointed out and Played for Laughs in this post by the author herself.
- Usually, the human characters in Fluffy and Mervin have five fingers, and the Funny Animal characters have four.
- General Protection Fault: Lampshaded in this strip
- Justified in Lackadaisy by the fact that the characters are anthropomorphic cats.
- In The Cartoon Man, Roy's hands have only four fingers when in he is in his cartoon form.
- Hippopotamuses have four toes on each foot.
- Amphibians have four clawless digits on each hand, but have five digits on their back feet.
- Tyrannosaurus rex has two fingers on each hand, but four toes on each foot.
- Yet also inverted with Mononykus, whose name even means "one claw".
- While the "standard" number of digits was really five at the beginning of their evolution, the carnivorous dinosaurs usually only had four (especially the more primitive ones), but three-fingered hands were the most prominent by far. However the tyrannosaurids and alvarezsaurids (to whom Mononykus belongs) weren't the only groups to have reduced their finger numbers: abelisaurids had virtually no fingers, just stubs, and, of course, there are the birds, the most obvious examples.
- Pterosaurs had four digits on their forelimbs, one of which was modified to support their wings.
- Inverted by some of the earliest basal tetrapods, which had seven toes on each proto-foot.
Reduced Number of Toes Variant:
Anime And Manga
- Many Pokémon with feet will usually have less digits than their upper limbs (barring wings, fins, claws, scythes and tentacles). The best example is Pikachu, who has five tiny digits on each "hand" and three digits on each foot. Other examples include Clefairy, Cubone and Marowak, Rhyperior and Hitmonlee and Conkeldurr. Although, the reverse is also true, especially for Kyurem (in normal form), Bagon, Raichu, Anpharos, Growlithe and Chansey. Averted with Infernape, who actually have 5 toes on each foot.
- Ditto with Digimon. Some digimon, including more animalistic types, have three-toed feet with four or five fingered hands such as Veemon. However, others may have the same exact number of toes and fingers such as Agumon (who has three digits) and Leomon (who has five digits). And then there are the digimon who have their feet covered, such as Beelzemon or Knightmon....
- Ben Grimm has three toes per foot. Incredible Hulk did too in some very early apparances.
- In Cerebus the Aardvark, Cerebus' otherwise human son had three toes per foot, just like his father.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take this a step further — each of the turtles has only three fingers on each hand, and only TWO toes on each foot. Lampshaded in the 2003 series when Raph rates Leo's performance of a kick.
Leonardo: Hey, Raph, only a six?
Raphael: Bro, it's all I got!
- The Savage Dragon has two toes on each foot.
- Odie from Garfield has two-toed feet.
Films — Animation
- Mittens from Bolt plays this trope straight by having three-toed paws, but Bolt averts this trope by having the proper four-toed paws.
- Scratette from Ice Age: Dawn of The Dinosaurs has three-fingered hands and two-toed feet, while Scrat from all four Ice Age movies has the standard four-fingered hands and three-toed feet.
- Ducky, the animated hadrosaur from The Land Before Time, has the correct number of digits on all four limbs (four-toed front feet and three-toed hind feet), although her opposable thumbs are out of place.
- The lions in The Lion King avert this trope by having the proper four-toed paws, but the hyenas and meerkats play this trope straight by having three-toed paws. The lions also show dew-claw-lumps (thumbs) on their front paws.
- The humans in Ratatouille were animated without toes according to Word of God.
- Most Kung Fu Panda characters have four fingers and four toes, but a few particular species have three toes instead.
- Joy from Inside Out doesn't have any toes.
- In Zootopia it's played straight with all mammal species that have claws or paws such as Nick or Judy. In addition, all cloven-hoofed species, like Bellwether or Bogo, are consistently shown with three two "fingers" and a "thumb".
- This makes for an amusing sight when, as Bogo is about to kick Judy off of her case, Nick proclaims that she still has ten hours to solve it — while holding up all eight fingers.
- Happens even in literature! In Animorphs, when Rachel morphed into a cat and scratches someone, she notes that it left "three red lines" on the back of his hand. Also, ankles "reversed" when morphing anything four-footed. Applegate, a grown sci-fi author, apparently don't know about digitigrade and plantigrade feet, although the morphing process is stated to change the body at random.
- An inversion in Eragon. Dwarves and Urgals have seven toes on each foot.
- Tolkien did that inversion first in The Lord of the Rings, with the seven-toed Treebeard.
- The Diffys on Phil of the Future have five-fingered hands... but they have four-toed feet, which is a plot point when Phil has to go barefoot on a field trip.
- Most Pokémon fall under this.
- The animal characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series have no toes at all. The rare time they're seen without their shoes, they just have oval-ish lumps with no features on them whatsoever◊. However, if All-Stars Racing Transformed is anything to go by, driving through electricity or being hit with an electric All-Star move shows that the Sonic characters have toe bones. Perhaps they actually have toes but they just happen to be covered by fur?
- Happy Tree Friends usually gives characters boot-shaped feet, though they actually have three toes on each foot otherwise.
- S.S.D.D: In a couple comics Naps gets stoned and starts thinking he has too few fingers, and why he only has three toes, four or five toes would spread the weight out more effectively.
Kingston: "It would be a pain in the arse to draw though!"Naps: "Not really! Not unless you're a lazy hack!"
- On Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, characters not only have only four fingers, but only three toes.
- In the same vein, Mike, Lu & Og.
- However, in Ed's story in "Once Upon An Ed", a close-up of the giant Kankers' feet shows four toes.
- The Flintstones characters go one step further by having four-fingered hands, and three-toed feet.
- Though in "Dripper" a close-up of Fred's new "brake pads" show four toes.
- Jerry from Tom and Jerry has two-toed feet.
- Nearly all Warner Bros. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Animaniacs animal characters have three-toed feet too.
- And Bugs Bunny's feet have three dots on the bottom, two small and one large, suggesting pads like on a dog's paw. This doesn't match the number of pads a three-toed mammal ought to have: one per toe, plus a bigger pad for the sole. To make matters worse, real rabbits' paws don't have pads at all.
- And just like Jerry, Speedy Gonzales also has two-toed feet.
- A striking example in The Great Piggy Bank Robbery: the human postman's hand delivering the comics (realistically-drawn, if rather knuckly) is also four-fingered. It looks pretty odd.
- Most Disney animal characters have three-toed feet.
- Woody Woodpecker has two-toed feet.
- Woodpeckers in real life have feet with their toes in a kind of X formation — two forwards (the 2nd and 3rd digits), and two backwards (1st and 4th digits), to allow for clinging to rough vertical surfaces like tree bark. These are known as Zygodactyl feet.
- Except Three-toed woodpeckers, which, as their name implies, have only three toes (missing their inward back toe).
- Both protagonists in Sam & Max: Freelance Police, a dog and rabbit team, have three-toed feet. Lampshaded in "Moai Better Blues" from the video game series, when a tribe of foot-worshipping ocean chimps mentions that, despite fitting some general descriptors of their prophecies of the true high priest, he's ineligible for any role holier than sidekick to the high priest, because while he was blessed with feet, they're not complete. Max claims he never noticed before, and is suddenly repulsed by Sam's freakish feet.
- The cast of TaleSpin.
- The cast of Around the World with Willy Fog.
- Averted in the Popeye cartoons, where the characters have five (or in the 1950s, four) toes on each foot. Played straight by Popeye in "A Job For A Gob" and Olive in "Beach Peach".
- Used on Little People, a series of claymation shorts based on toys by Fisher-Price.
- In Regular Show, Mordecai the Blue Jay has two-toed feet.
- Lucy, the only human character on 64 Zoo Lane, and she is usually if not always shown barefoot.
- The Fairly OddParents! is actually somewhat of an inversion. From a distance, it looks like the humans only have three toes, but whenever there is a need for a foot focus scene, or a Gross-Up Close-Up, they have four toes.
- Phineas and Ferb. Lampshaded in the Cliptastic Countdown when Dr. Doofenshmirtz introduces song #4.
- Averted in Tex Avery's "Billy Boy" - the title goat grazes off the front of the wolf/farmer's clodhopper shoe. He cries out "Just a minute here! [counts toes - on one foot, mind you] 2-4-6-8-10. Nope - they all there!"
- Averted for Rick and Morty.
- Guinea pigs, capybaras, maras, and other cavies have four-toed front feet and three-toed hind feet.
- Parrots, woodpeckers, and owls have two toes that point forward and two that point back.
- There's a tribe in Africa known as the "Ostrich-Footed People" due to having two-toed, birdlike feet as a result of a hereditary mutation. Apparently it's related to what Lobster Boy had.
- Inverted with the cats living in Ernest Hemingway's Florida home. There are over 100 cats living there, and about half of them have six "toes" on each paw.
- Two-toed sloths, as their name implies, have only two clawed toes on their forefeet, with three toes on their hindfeet. Three-toed sloths, on the other hand, have three toes on all of their limbs.
- The blind, snake-like amphibious underground Olm is notable for having only three tiny "fingers" on their front limbs and two stumpy digits in the rear.
- The all-famous Tyrannosaurus rex has only two functioning fingers (with a residual nonfunctional third finger) on their forelimbs and three clawed toes on their hind feet.
- Because cats and dogs are digigrade and don't stand on their carpal pads (which come out of the wrist), they leave four-toed pawprints.