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Because no one says "Like a Bat out of Heaven".
Devils are depicted with bats' wings and good angels with birds' wings, not because anyone holds that moral deterioration would be likely to turn feathers into membrane, but because most men like birds better than bats.
The quote explains the trope pretty well all by itself, so let's just jump into the many different types of wings.
- Angel wings (white bird wings) used to always represent good. While they still usually do, nowadays they can be possessed by Knight Templars or other morally unsavory folks.
- Two sets of angel wings or more are also known as seraph wings and usually means this guy is either an Eccentric Mentor, the Final Boss, or a angel belonging to a higher rank than the ones with only one set.
- Black angel wings represent Fallen Angels, nearly all the time. Occasionally, they may be certain tiers, such as archangels. Might mean Dark Is Not Evil and/or Good Is Not Nice.
- Bird wings that aren't either pure black or pure white usually represent a naturally-occurring Winged Humanoid. Probably morally neutral, with a strong chance of being a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
- Devil wings (red or black bat/dragon wings) still usually represent evil.
- Dragons are exempt from this rule as they are allowed to run the gamut of alignments without restrictions on expectations. Depending on the work, they may run the gamut of wings, too.
- Bat Wings Vampires are sometimes known to have bat wings.
- Bone wings are usually possessed by undead but occasionally mean "too evil for bat wings".
- Multicolored wings represent angels in Islamic art. In Western art, they tend more to represent a nature-spirit type of character, especially one in a tropical or rainforest area.
- Insect wings are seen on fairies and insectoid monsters.
- Butterfly wings are almost always fairies. The exception is in Eastern cultures, where butterflies can represent death, and therefore imply that, good or evil, the thing they appear on is deadly.
- Manta ray flying wings usually are an attribute of something really weird and cool, be it monster, vehicle or both at once.
- Flaming wings are usually demon wings (think Balrog) but are not evil that often (think phoenix or Gabriel). Probably 'cause they look so damn cool. And this hue hangs together with Flaming Sword just nice, isn't it, dear?
- Energy Wings: Good or evil, these are the mark of power, and lots of it.
- Mixing angel and devil wings represents a fallen angel or mixed angel/devil heritage almost all the time. So do mixing angel and bone wings and white and black angel wings. You may also see these on the Byronic Hero.
- Cape Wings tend to belong to Badass Anti-Heroes or villains.
- Metallic Wings are generally unseen outside of Heavy Metal album covers, but are quite popular there. Usually denotes the character as a Badass with The Power of Rock, in addition to other implications based on type.
- Tiny, stylized wings not connected to the body are generally there to look cute. The morality they indicate depends on what type of wing they are, though evil characters with these are usually not intended to be taken seriously.
Among an individual species/race of Winged Humanoids
, color often counts as well.
If they all have feathered wings for example, an exceptionally good or pure character will likely have white wings, while an evil one's may be black.
If a character's morally changes, their wings often change as well. This is most commonly seen as white wings turning into black wings or bat wings.
For further reading, see Power Gives You Wings
and Winged Humanoid
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Anime And Manga
- Daimos: The Baam-Seijin were an alien race of Winged Humanoids with functional, angel-like, white wings sprouting from their backs. They were not representative of their alignment at all, though, they were not portrayed like being inherently good or evil, but like Not So Different than humans (Always Chaotic Evil was completely averted). Then again, Kazuya said Erika was like an angel long before seeing her wings.
- Chimeramon in Digimon had several wings. But he was just an ultimate anyway.
- Lucemon has twelve wings that change as he grows more powerful (and evil); he starts off with all twelve white angel wings, switches to half white and half demon wings in his 'fallen angel' form, and becomes a huge black monster with twelve demon wings in his final, most demonic form. Note that even with all twelve white wings, he was a Knight Templar at best... the change just shows him getting much worse. His larva form goes back to angel wings, but discolored.
- Beelzemon shows up with black angel wings in two seasons (Tamers and Xros Wars). Instead of showing him as a fallen angel, it's more representative of redemption and second chances at life. Not to mention sheer badassery.
- Getter Robo: There were NOT "good wings" in this series. The winged Mechasaurs had bat-like, membranous wings. Getter's wings were metallic... or bat-like, which it fits since being batshit crazy is a practically requeriment for being a Getter pilot.
- In the Mazinger trilogy, the wings of the Humongous Mecha of the good guys -when they had wings- were metallic, whereas the wings of the Robeasts usually were animalistic:
- Mazinger Z: Mazinger-Z's Mid-Season Upgrade was a Jet Pack equipped with red, metallic -and razor- wings. Many flying Mechanical Beasts were also equipped with all sort of wings: bat wings (Deimos F3, Deviler X1, Archerian J5...), bird wings (Harpy X7), manta ray wings...
- Great Mazinger: Great Mazinger had two sets of wings: two red metallic wings unfolded from its back, and Big Booster (a grey Jet Pack docked on its back. Big Booster wings were triangular and grey-colored). Several squads of the Mykene Empire army were formed by animal-shaped, bio-mechanical Robeast (such like the Avian army or the Insect army), so it was usual seeing Monster Warriors equiped with wings of bat, bird or insect.
- Many arts (and in-story dreams) of X/1999 feature the two Kamuis with the good, birdlike wings and evil, batlike wings, respectively, fighting each other. Interestingly, it's the Kamui who wants to destroy humanity who has the angel wings, while the one who wants to save it gets the bat wings. Light Is Not Good indeed.
- The Gundam franchise have a few examples of this:
- The most iconic example in the franchise comes from Gundam Wing and its movie Endless Waltz (where the heroes' Gundams received stylistic redesigns). Wing Zero, which belongs to The Hero, has a quartet of angel wings, while its Evil Counterpart Epyon has draconic wings to go along with its two-headed wyvern flight mode. Deathscythe Hell has bat wings and is piloted by The Lancer, who calls himself "Shinigami" but is actually a very friendly and cheerful fellow.
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam has the Victory 2 Gundam, which possesses Wings of Light which fall squarely under energy wings; fittingly, they allow the V2 to fly at incredible speeds (enough to generate 20 Gs of force on the pilot) and can be used as gigantic blades.
- Turn A Gundam has the eponymous Gundam and its Evil Counterpart the Turn X, which wield a system called the Moonlight Butterfly, Black Goo which manifests as shimmering butterfly wings and are capable of reducing all Earth's advanced technology to sand in practically no time.
- In Gundam SEED Destiny, the Destiny and Strike Freedom Gundams feature the Voiture Lumiere high-speed propulsion system; both manifest as Wings of Light, with Destiny's looking like smaller versions of the V2 Gundam's while Strike Freedom's look a little more butterfly-esque.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 doesn't escape this trend. In the first scene of the entire series, the 0 Gundam had giant energy wings called GN Feathers (which wasn't intentional, but the result of particle leakage). The binders on the 00 Raiser resemble wings, and you can just barely make out the outline of GN Feathers during Trans-Aa Burst.
- SD Gundam Force had Zero Custom, Knight of Silver Wings and Deathscythe, Knight of Darkness/Deed the Icey Knight, who as Expies of Wing Zero and Deathscythe Hell (see above) have the same style of wings.
- In Gundam Build Fighters, the Star Build Strike Gundam can generate energy wings by manipulating the Plavsky Particles which make the Gunpla Battle possible. Said wings look like blue energy angel wings, representing Sei and Reiji's status as The Heroes as well as the incredible power the Star Build Strike possesses.
- In +Anima, Cooro's anima is a crow, so he has black wings, and is often mistaken for a messenger of death, despite the fact that he's about the most upbeat person in the entire series.
- Plus Nana, who is a bat anima, is very self-conscious about the fact she has the bat wings when she first meets the group.
- The Cape Wings sported by Femto (a.k.a. Griffith) of Berserk look very much like the wings of a demon.
- Given the bird like traits of Femto, the author may have been aiming at a hawk like appearance (hence the irony of the title "Hawk of Light" in the manga), or probably just a mixture of bird and bat features.
- Reversed in DN Angel, where Dark is a good guy (with black wings) and Krad is a violent psychopath (with white wings).
- Setsuna of Mahou Sensei Negima! is the child of a Tengu, crow demons of Japanese Mythology. She also suffers from a rare case of Albinism, making her wings white instead of the usual black, which fits perfectly with her good guy alignment. Of course, it also made her anathema to her demon heritage, and she ended up being an outcast. This gave her an enormous complex about the wings, which causes her to view herself as a monster. At least until all of her friends point out that having wings is awesome and make her look like an angel.
- The Book of Darkness' humanoid form in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's comes with six black wings, perfect for an Artifact of Doom capable of destroying a few worlds whenever it's completed. But it's revealed that it's not really evil, simply made unstable by its defective defense program.
- Hayate herself seems to have inherited both the wings and the bulk of said book's power as of StrikerS... good thing she's on the heroes' side.
- Towards the end of StrikerS, Signum gets a pair of flaming wings when unisoned with Agito, going nicely with her Flaming Sword. Again, both good and extremely Badass.
- Raising Heart often develops energy wings whenever Nanoha's about to unleash a Kamehamehadoken on someone, and Nanoha herself gains small energy wings on her shoes whenever she starts flying.
- Lindy Harlaown gets fairy wings when doing magic (being based on Nanoha's Fairy Companion from Lyrical Toy Box).
- Van's wings in Vision of Escaflowne are pure white, just like his mother's. His brother Folken's, on the other hand, are black. He explains to Hitomi his wings are black because of a fatal disease that's slowly killing him, but the "fallen angel" symbolism still stands.
- The opening Neon Genesis Evangelion briefly depicts Unit #1 with a wing shaped AT field, doubling as both Energy Wings and Seraphic Wings, symbolizing (or "symbolizes") both the Eva's moral ambiguity and role in instrumentality.
- In Ah! My Goddess, Celestial goddesses have angels with white bird wings; Devil goddesses have demons with leathery bat wings. Urd's Angel is revealed to have bird wings, one black and one white, which reveals her... mixed... parentage.
- Once a devil angel was given to Belldandy to make her evil, but it ended getting "angelificated" by her, wings stayed demon-like, but changed color from black to white.
- Most winged Cloths in Saint Seiya have angelic wings... which includes Hades, whose wings are black as pitch. Notable exceptions are the Wyvern Surplice (evil dragon,) and the Divine forms of the Dragon (good dragon) and Andromeda (fairy-like) Bronze Cloths.
- Magic Knight Rayearth's Rune Gods Selece and Windam, patterned after a Western-style dragon and a four-winged phoenix, have metallic wings befitting their beastly forms when they transform into their humanoid shape. The Rayearth gestalt has gigantic angel wings and tiny dragon wings underneath. However, Emeraude's Rune God and Nova's Regalia have demonic wings, and Zagato's Rune God in the OAV has tattered, frayed dragon wings.
- .hack has had several winged characters: both Subaru and Ryoko Terajima had (non-functional, and in Subaru's case, tiny) angelic wings on their characters, for purely decorative reasons. Balmung also has angelic wings, and his are fully functional, given as a reward for striking the killing blow against a supposedly Hopeless Boss Fight.
- Haibane Renmei is about people with wings that sprout very painfully shortly after arriving to the world. Although they're merely cosmetic, their color is important: normal people have gray wings, while those who are sin-bound have black wings.
- In Chrono Crusade, the demons tend to have bat-like wings, and the Apostles (children chosen to have holy powers) have white angel wings. However, the trope is somewhat subverted—Chrono, while a demon, is one of the good guys, and Joshua, one of the Apostles, is being manipulated by the Big Bad.
- In Naruto, Chouji's red pill of power burns all the stored fat in his body, and gives butterfly wings of pure energy. Sasuke has two hand-like "wings" on his back when he releases the cursed seal. The users of Kujaku in the anime get a swallow-like configuration. The Seven-Tailed Beetle has 3 pairs of dragonfly-like wings and a tail, despite it being an armored Rhinoceros Beetle.
- One chapter of Soul Eater actually called 'Black wings versus white wings', pits 'angel' (or so she daydreams briefly) Maka with her winged Grigori soul, up against Gopher - a boy with a similarly shaped soul, only one filled with dark magic that has, it seems, turned the wings black.
- Similar demon/angel imagery was used between Maka and Crona, although then Maka's wings were just the shape of her soul and Crona's were only physical objects.
- This trope was actually discussed when Maka first used her power to have newly-appointed Death Scythe Soul grow wings in weapon form: the first set of wings he makes are bat-like, which upsets Maka, who was getting a little too into the angel image. She insist he makes some "cute" little, detached feathered wings and he complies, but said wings turn out to be hard to fly with. When they have to fight, Maka realizes her mistake and instead has Soul make three sets of wings, which are feathered but much larger and more badass-looking.
- Maka and Soul get 'wing' decorations on her hair and the back end of his scythe-form for their final 'black blood' dress/armour transformation, only for them both to turn white when Crona uses the black blood to seal Asura. As per Maka's fantasies, she does indeed look rather like an angel. Albeit a very angry and determined one. Some extra pages found in the collected version of the chapter explained why this happened: when Asura tried to keep Maka and Soul from leaving his body, he removed the black blood by accident.
- Proof that Playing with a Trope is not good, either: In Bleach, one of the final forms of the Big Bad was him, with butterfly wings. As the entire fandom dissolved into fits of helpless laughter, it was made clear just why this trope exists.
- Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne: The size and color of an angel's wings aren't simply decorative, but denote how much divine power they have stored. Full angels have large, pure-white wings, while the fallen angels, like Fin's true form, and the lowest rank of angels loyal to God, including Access Time, have pitch-black wings.
- In Tenchi Muyo!, Tenchi Masaki possesses energy wings, and are definitely a sign of power. Later on villain Z has them as well, only he has more.
- Subverted in Angel Sanctuary. While angels have dove wings and demons have bat wings as usual, the type (and number!) of wings indicates species and rank rather than the character's morality.
- Inverted in Trinity Blood where the sociopathic twin Cain has three sets of white wings (which do give him an Eldritch Abomination vibe) and Abel has black (just one pair, but they do cool things like electrocute people and suck vampire blood). Bonus points for Abel's wings tattered and broken appearance.
- First subverted with Byakuran in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, who originally has sparkling angelic wings. Then played straight when these are replaced by wings of High-Pressure Blood.
- In Saint Beast, all the angels who get sealed in hell have their formerly shining wings turned black.
- Due to all the bird imagery in Princess Tutu, there's plenty of this to go around.
- Princess Tutu and Princess Kraehe sprout white and black (respectively) bird wings at different points. It's more about White Swan/Black Swan than angels, though.
- Kraehe and Mytho get black wings on their costumes frequently during season 2. They have feathers, but since the wings attach to the arms and spread down to the legs (and they're out to steal the hearts of young maidens), it's very reminiscent of the vampire wings/cape.
- Also, there's a small set of insect/fairy wings on Tutu's costume, indicating her short lifespan.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Madoka has Aethereal Wings, in the form of abstract angel wings, to symbolise her Ascension. Homura gets what might just be the most awesome pair of Energy Wings to ever exist after Madoka's ascension. See for yourself◊.
- After Rebellion, Homura gains black-feathered wings to contrast with Madoka's angelic aesthetic after becoming a demon. Maybe.
- In Accel World Silver Crow has sleek metallic wings made up of overlapping plates in his signature colour. When his flight ability is stolen by Dusk Taker, Taker's wings are black, leathery things more like a bat's, befitting his status as the villain of that arc.
- ElfQuest reverses this with Tyldak, whose arms were converted into bat-like wings by Winnowill. He initially comes across as a jerk, but turns out to have a heart of gold.
- Inverted in the Top Cow universe. The Angelus (bad) has white feathered wings, while The Darkness (Anti-Hero) and The Witchblade (good) have bat wings.
- Angel of the X-Men has white feathery wings during his early incarnation. Later, he is grabbed by Apocalypse and experimented upon, and his wings become metallic and retractable.
- In Vol. 4 of Empowered, the title character's hypermembrane deploys structures that resemble skeletal wings. Emp herself is definitely not evil, but the suit itself is deeply, deeply enigmatic at best.
- And later we meet Divangelic, a pair of Conjoined Twins; the twin on the right is Vanity, a devil; on the left, we have Charity, an angel wielding a kind of morningstar. Each has one wing, in the classic design.
- The title character of Lucifer had his bat-like wings cut off before the start of the series. Separated from him, they regenerated into the old white-feathered angelic type. They remained white-feathered and angelic even after he reclaimed them, but it would be hard to argue that he was evil by that point (just wholly selfish and occasionally vindictive).
- The character of Bleez of the Red Lantern Corps once had angelic wings, until they were broken by a member of the Sinestro Corps. Upon becoming a Red Lantern and becoming infected with Rage, her wings turned skeletal.
- Batman doesn't fulfill this trope, but he invokes it for all it's worth—half the point of the cape is to make him scary.
- Wingfics usually have the character given feathery angel wings, of which he is inexplicably ashamed.
- Most Fan Fics in the Good Omens Fan Dumb tend to play this painfully straight, regardless of the fact that it's explicitly said that angel wings and demon wings are the same, save for the fact that demon wings are better groomed.
- Parodied with Jeffiroth of the Kingdom Hearts fanfic Those Lacking Spines in his One-Winged Angel form:
Add wings. Lots of wings. Three sets of wings; an angel's, a demon's, and a fairy's. Add one more wing that slipped in there by mistake, a shiny rainbow-colored feathery one that might be found on more exotic species of parrots.
- In the Death Note fanfic Depravare the Shinigami Righteous has black feathered wings and the Shinigami Kira has bone wings.
- Subverted with Maesterus in Star Wars: Paranormalities. Initially a regular humanoid, until he grows a pair a demon-like wings. He later grows a second pair on those wings. However, he's more of an Anti-Villain. And the end of Episode I is pretty much putting on the track to a Heel-Face Turn.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Angels such as Rason and Gabriel have, of course, white feathered wings, succubi such as Kurumu has demonic bat wings, and the chronoflies all have butterfly wings.
- Xibalba from The Book Of Life, has black angel wings.
- Ridiculously, this trope applies to the mutant "birds" from Flu Bird Horror, a SyFy direct-to-TV movie about plague-carrying giant flying featherless... things. With bat wings. Which the cast inexplicably insist on calling "birds" anyway. Either the CGI couldn't do feathers cheaply enough to match the already-shot live footage, or what should've been Bat Horror got retitled to milk the avian-flu scare's hype.
- The Balrog in The Lord of the Rings had bone wings wreathed in smoke.
- Maleficent combines bird and bat wings: they resemble those of an eagle, while having the bat thumb to add Spikes of Villainy.
- In the novel Good Omens, both angel and demon wings are the same, despite what some of the cover art suggests, though angel wings are described as being less groomed (because demons are more stylish). The Broken Base rages to a ridiculous degree over the colour of the wings; the division is between those who portray angels with white wings and demons with black wings (usually the Fangirl subset) and those who interpret "the same" to mean they all have white wings (who usually take it as Serious Business). Which is silly, given that the colour is never specified on either side in the book, and the characters are all shapeshifters anyway, so they could have octarine wings for all we know. The one exception is Azrael, whose wings are described as being more like wing-shaped holes in space.
- When the Archangels manifest in the Deryni novels (during ritual magic), they're represented with energy wings — except for Uriel, the Angel of Death, whose wings have black-green raven-like feathers.
- Played with in Wicked Lovely, with the few fey that have wings, that is.
- Keenan's summer court has a sucubus named Cerise, who seems to be a rare exception to the bat wings=evil rule.
- Likewise, Bananach, who is arguably the series' only non-grey villain, has black angel wings.
- In The Guardians, demons have batlike wings, while Guardians have white feathery wings. Among the Guardians, Michael's wings are black, one of the signs he wasn't born human, but half-human and half-demon.
- The slake-moths in Perdido Street Station have dark color-changing wings which are literally nightmarish to any sentient creature that looks at them. The moths aren't exactly evil, more like amoral eldritch horrors, but they're smart enough to use their wings as weapons.
- Inverted in Dragons in Our Midst. Bonnie and Gabriel (good guys) have draconian wings, while the Watchers (bad guys) have multiple angelic wings.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Miranda's energy wings cause much consideration of her background. And Astreus's regaining angelic wings indicates that heaven is not closed to him.
- In a short story by the Israeli writer Etgar Keret there’s a lonely man who believes a superstition about a local hole in a wall that grants wishes screamed into it. He wishes for an angel to become his friend, and later he meets a winged man (typical bird-like angel wings) who befriends him. That man is somewhat of an arsehole, and at the end of the story, when he asks him to fly around, the angel refuses, so he pushes him off the roof they’re on, only to find out he can’t fly and just crashes on the curb. He realises that the alleged angel was no angel, just a liar with wings.
- In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles when he finds a black feather, he contemplates this trope.
"A feather dropped from Heaven!" he breathed reverently. "Are the holy angels moulting? But no; if they were, it would be white. Maybe all the angels are not for being white. What if the angels of God are white and those of the devil are black? But a black one has no business up there. Maybe some poor black angel is so tired of being punished it's for slipping to the gates, beating its wings trying to make the Master hear!"
- In Rachel Griffin, The red-eyed Raven is revealed to have black angel wings, and to be Good Is Not Nice.
- In Penryn and the End of Days, while not good per se, feathered wings are those of actual angels, while angels fallen from grace have leathery batlike wings. There is quite a variety of wing colors among the angels, but Raffe's are pure white.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Sephrilian has devil wings.
- In Supernatural, because seeing an angel's true form will burn your eyes out of their sockets, Castiel does the next best thing and shows off some seriously Bad Ass shadow wings.
- Angel wings in general seem to be attached to the background. Dead angels may have their wings show up as scorch marks on the ground around them, and Raphael's wings are represented by arcs of electrical current. Each angel may show their wings differently, but they are all Bad Ass.
- In the Fallen mini-series, all angels and Nephilim have white angelic wings. Since the only truly evil characters are Azazel and Lucifer, and their wings are cut off, it is not clear if anyone has different wings. While the Powers believe all Nephilim are inherently evil, the few shown on-screen (including the main character and his Love Interest) are shown to be decent people (teenagers, usually). In fact, the Powers change their minds once Archangel Michael shows up to tell them that their self-imposed quest to hunt down Fallen Angels and their offspring is not a part of the Creator's plan.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: I believe there was an episode of Xena playing in heaven/hell. Xena and Gabrielle went to heaven, while Callypso went to hell. During the episode Xena voluntarily goes to hell to save Callypso. In Heaven, all angels have feather wings, though if I remember correctly there are also good angels with a black set of wings. In Hell they all have bat wings.
- Wizards of Waverly Place has Rosie, who is an angel. The Reveal Shot showing her wings actually being black rather than white is used to show that she's evil, as she's actually an Angel Of Darkness (similar to a Fallen Angel or demon).
Mythology and Religion
- The various minor demons in Devil's Dare have large leathery dragon wings.
Tabletop RP Gs
- In In Nomine all the demons that have wings have bat wings, all the winged angels have feathered wings. The Malakim, who are the game's equivalent of Paladins have black feathery wings. They are incorruptible, and each swears an oath to destroy all demons.
- In the older editions of Dungeons & Dragons, they followed this trope. Angels had pretty, feathery wings, as did Couatls and Lilends (other good aligned outsiders, though theirs were rainbow coloured), demons and devils either had bat-like wings or black feathered wings. Now, demons and devils still have the bat wings and the occasional black feathered wings, but angels no longer have alignment restrictions, and they also no longer have feathered wings, opting more for wings of fire, energy or metal. Couatls retain their feathery wings, but now fall under the Knight Templar classification.
- Jasmine in the Comicbook//Forgotten Realms comics and Lost Gods is as close to normal human as Winged Humanoid with spelljamming and planewalking experience can ever be — she is a normal human, but after an encounter with goddess incognito she got wings, and their form changes to fit the current plane. So well that in the Abyss she was mistaken for Alu-fiend by locals. Good luck making any assumptions regarding her nature or disposition on this basis.
- For that matter, spelljamming vessels of elven design have butterfly-shaped living wings (sails/air-recycling plants). Some other ships are shaped like birds, several light ships are built like Hymenoptera (starting from Dragonfly). The Spelljammer itself resembles enormous manta ray.
- One of Planescape sourcebooks sort of lampshaded this with a mention that one of the reasons avariel (winged elves) rarely planewalk is that they are frequently mistaken for Celestials. Which isn't bad on the Good planes, but means more of unfriendly attention in other places.
- Glouras (Underdark fairies) has moth-like wings. It's just a part of "cave life" theme, though. They're nice little sprites... usually.
- D&D 3.5 Complete Divine has "Favored Soul", character class for the character who's chosen of a particular deity. One of the high level class features is a pair of wings. Favored of good deities get feathery angel wings while favored of evil deities get leathery demonic wings. (If your deity is neutral, you get to choose.)
- Draconic wings tend to follow the 'actual dragon' exception, with the quirk that 'actual dragon' is interpreted very broadly, to account for all the dragon-like and dragon-associated creatures out there (including, of course, several variants of humanoids).
- The being pictured on Change Of Heart has one white angel wing and one black devil wing to show it's power to change the target's loyalty.
- Scourge models in Warhammer 40,000 have either feathered wings or bat wings. They are a generally nasty sort too.
- Also from the Black Crusade RPG, Heretics can gain wings as a mutation. Heretics aligned to Khorne gain bat wings, Nurglites get fly's wings, Slaaneshi heretics get beautiful, gossamer-like "pinions", and followers of Tzeentch get bird's wings. Unaligned or Chaos Undivided characters are subject to the whims of players and the GM. Since all Heretics are, by definition, evil on some level, the Khornate wings are the only one that plays this trope completely straight.
- One of the reasons we know Sparda is badass in Devil May Cry is that he has three pairs of wings. One bat and two insect.
- Many of the main character demons in the Disgaea series have small wings, including Flonne, who has little angel wings that become bat ones after she becomes a fallen angel. In addition Prinnies also have them.
- Planescape: Torment has two subversions: Fall-From-Grace has traditional succubus bat wings, but is an Ascended Demon (or, at least, one who's chosen to be good). Trias the angel has a charred skeletal husk left of his angel wings after the prison guards in Curst burned them. In Trias' case, it's a Double Subversion — his wings burned off when he fell from Celestia.
- In Final Fantasy Fables, Chocobos Dungeon, Rafaello switches between white feathery good wings and black feathery evil wings each time he switches between his innocent Rafaello personality and the evil personality of The Destroyer. Complete with a Perpetual Molt every time the switch happens. The Destroyer himself has evil insect/butterfly wings.
- At the end of Castlevania 64, Malus approaches the player on a winged horse. It would be suspicious enough by itself (assuming you don't know the spoiler), but the horse has bat wings. That's not something you usually see on Pegasus-types.
- In Grandia I, Icarians, like Feena and Leen, can grow energy wings when wielding their powers.
- Millennia of Grandia II is part of the evil god Valmar, so she has bat wings. At the end of the game, Elaine, who Millennia used as a vessel, but is a good nun, sprouts angel wings.
- Meta Knight has bat wings, but tends to be a hero, just with some rather dark motifs. Galactic Knight is just the opposite, with angelic down-spewing wings, but an (apparent) history of destruction.
- Zero-Two is an even better subversion: it's got angel wings, but it's an Eldritch Abomination that wants to suck all happiness from the universe.
- In Anima Mundi - the Angels are shown with white prismatic feathery wings, Mephistopheles has the classic leathery batwing.. Lucifer has one fully black feathered wing, and one wing stripped to the bone
- The Angels of the Diablo series all have bright tendrils of light, though we only ever see one in action in a cut scene, and he gets his ass kicked (granted, he was doing pretty well until the second Prime Evil started ganking him).
- The wings are never visible, but Oda Nobunaga and Akechi Mitsuhide still keep shedding pitch black and pure white feathers all over the place anyway in Dynasty Warriors. Played straight at first, but Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good has started to creep in.
- In the Metroid games, Ridley is an example of a dragon whose Devil Wings do indicate his evilness. In the Metroid Prime subseries, the cybernetic Meta Ridley is upgraded with partial-Energy Wings. The latter is subverted partway through the Meta Ridley boss fight in the original Metroid Prime, where Ridley becomes far more dangerous after his wings burn away from all the damage he's taken.
- In Tales of Symphonia, the Mooks of Cruxis all have Angel Wings, some of them black, however they are not much better than drones. All the plot-significant angel characters get energy wings of various colors. Except Remiel, who has white feathery wings. He turns out to be evil.
- As she grows in power, Collette develops energy wings with a butterfly-like shape. Kratos turns out to have a similar pair.
- Final Fantasy likes this trope, after all it is the series that coined the term One-Winged Angel.
- Final Fantasy II, The Emperor has six angel wings as the Emperor of Heaven.
- Final Fantasy VI, Kefka has four purple-bordering-on-white angel wings, and two purple-bordering-on-black demon wings.
- Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth has six white angel wings in place of a lower body, and a black angel wing in place of a right arm. His spin-off appearances have since incorporated a black angel wing over his right shoulder as part of his iconic appearance.
- Crisis Core, the game's prequel, has the wings Colour-Coded for Your Convenience—the main antagonist Genesis and those imbued with his power have a black angel wing, while Zack's mentor Angeal has two white angel wings, as do those he's passed his cells onto.
- Dirgeof Cerberus, Vincent Valentine adopts leathery bat wings as Chaos.
- Final Fantasy VIII, Big Bad Ultimecia has black angel wings, Squall's love interest Rinoa has white angel wings on her outfit and sprouts actual wings in her Limit Break after becoming a Sorceress. Adel, a minor antagonist, has black wings of a unique design◊, most closely resembling bone wings.
- In Final Fantasy XII Vayne gains a set of mechanical-energy wings when he fuses with Venat for the last of the Boss Rush on the Bahamut.
- And then in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, most of the above examples return, wing motifs intact. And then of course, from the original Final Fantasy, is Chaos. He has a pair of demon wings, though it's not very impressive compared to the rest since he is a demon.
- In the first Kingdom Hearts, Cloud hides a single black bat-wing under his cloak, contrasting with Sephiroth's angelic wing. By the time of Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud no longer has his wing (yes, Donald mentions that he looks different), whereas Sephiroth now has two additional wings sprouting out of his thighs.
- In Super Smash Bros.. Brawl, the final boss has Energy Wings and certainly lives up to them. For some reason, they look like butterfly wings too.
- Mostly averted in World of Warcraft. There are good and evil representatives of essentially every race present in the game. However, none of them are playable races or their allies, so you tend to end up killing them. Bone wings with scraps of flesh in between on undead dragons, which don't possess enough free will to have an alignment. Feathery angelic wings on harpies, who are mostly bad but descended from a good (but angry) minor deity. Bat wings on the demons, also mostly bad, but there are some apparently neutral(ish) ones.
- Jak's Light form in Jak 3: Wastelander has very, very glowy radiant energy wings. Take a peek◊.
- In the Shin Megami Tensei games, all angelic beings have shining, feathery wings, naturally... up to and including Lucifer's "beautiful" form (known as Helel in the Persona series.) On the other hand, Satan, Lucifer's demonic form, and most devils have nasty leather wings.
- Bear in mind that wings are not a reliable gauge of morality in this series, where basically everyone is out for themselves.
- Final Fantasy XI Aerns have butterfly/manta ray wing hybrids. Considering they are near-faceless, extra-dimensional, creepy critters, they fit perfectly.
- In the Chains of Promathia expansion, Selh'teus gains large, multi-colored, feathered wings after he joins with Phoenix.
- In the Wings of the Goddess expansion, the player character and Lilisette each have one bird wing that manifest in certain emergencies because they are the metaphorical "Wings of the Goddess" there to prevent the world from going all crapsack.
- Also in the Wings of the Goddess expansion, Lady Lilith has huge bat wings. Guess whose side she's on.
- Flandre Scarlet from Touhou has multicolored crystal wings. She's a Person of Mass Destruction.
- Marx and Marx Soul of Kirby Super Star and Kirby Superstar Ultra have similar metallic jewelled wings. One is a final boss. Another is... a VERY final boss. Still miles behind Flan though.
- Speaking of Touhou, it actually has a rather fair share of winged characters, mainly in the PC-98 series, but in the Windows series too. Mystia has feathered ones (she's a bird youkai), Aya is often also portrayed with feathered wings (she's a tengu), Remilia has bat wings (she's a vampire). Cirno the tomboyish ice fairy has wings made of solid ice crystal (not that she needs them). Nue Houjuu is an Ex-Boss with the random ability to conceal her true form and abstract vaguely doodle-ish wings.
- Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean: Kalas has one angelic wing and one metallic wing. Sure enough, he does a Face-Heel Turn, though he later returns to the good guys. Interestingly, when he's off being evil, his wings are stereotypical 'good' white angel wings; upon Heel-Face Turn-ing, his wing reverts to a light shade of gray.
- Everyone has wings in this series. In fact, the false Big Bad of the first game is the ruler of the only country where people don't use their wings in combat (they have a cultural preference for their technology, which includes Steam Punk jet boots).
- In Nexus War, angel character classes can get white feathery wings, demon classes can get leathery bat wings (except for Void Walkers, who get to say "Screw the laws of physics" and walk through walls), while neutral classes use some other means of getting around. (Super Speed, targeted reincarnation, teleportation, or turning into a bat.)
- Wings in City of Heroes run the entire spectrum from Feathered to Batlike to Bone to Insect/Butterfly and even technological while also coming in varying sizes. The player can choose whatever kind he/she pleases and color them to their liking.
- Champions Online is similar and since there's no option to be a villain, you can have truly demonic-looking super heroes flying with wicked-looking wings.
- BlazBlue's Nu-13 has wings made of magically levitated swords: She can unleash a world-destroying evil, but doesn't really mean to.
- Her predecessor, the much more powerful Mu-12, Sword of the Godslayer: Kusanagi, has nigh-identical magically levitated sword-wings, but hers can also transform into a Big Fucking Laser Blade when she swings them in unison. In case you haven't been clued in yet: Mu-12 is world destroyingly evil, has the power to pull it off, and fully intends to go through with it.
- Only in the True Ending of Continuum Shift. Thanks to a sacrificial blowout of Ragna's left arm through the power of the Idea Engine, Mu's back to being goody-goody Noel. And thanks to a month with Tager, Kokonoe and her best bud Makoto, Noel (and Mu by extension, when she reclaims the power of the Azure) is staying good.
- Astranagant in Super Robot Wars Alpha has this when using the T-Link Feather attack
- Dizzy from Guilty Gear has a blue angelic wing named Undine and a black (it's actually green) angel wing named "Necro". Undine takes on the form of a woman, while Necro appears as a grim reaper. It's quite obvious they don't get along very well.
- In Dragon Quest IX, the Celestrians have white, feathery wings. However, after being corrupted by his hate for humanity, Celestrians Corvus' wings lose their feathers, revealing them as green and bat-like underneath. King Godwin, another boss and villian, has a second form which has bone wings.
- In Starcraft, when Kerrigan gets turned into the Queen Of Blades she gains exoskeletal wings. Which are all bladed and can move faster than the eye can follow. Her title isn't for nothing.
- Essentially averted in the Fire Emblem games set in Tellius. None of the winged laguz tribes in the game are universally aligned, and that a good number of the player character winged laguz with stereotypically "bad" wings (like Nealuchi (raven wings) and Kurthnaga (leathery black dragon wings)) are among the most noble of the laguz seen in-game. Naesala, the most morally ambiguous Laguz shown also has raven wings, however. The herons you see in the game also have pure white, feathery wings, and they all contain huge amounts of Balance, but it is stated that white wings are restricted to the royal family.
- Fire Emblem:Uses this in the games with the Divine Dragons like Akaneia and Elibe. The friendly Divine Dragons have feathery angel wings, while the enemy manakete tribes tend to have leatery dragon wings or fire wings. Here's a good example in video form.
- Nina has wings along with the rest of Wyndians in Breath of Fire I and II, but in II she has dark purple wings which signify her as an evil omen in Wyndian Prophecy, yet ironically instead of bringing disaster, she helps save the world.
- Sarah of Star Ocean The Last Hope has Angel Wings, but can't fly. Both of the Bonus Bosses have Energy Wings, and will grow up to two additional pairs after being defeated, to signify increased power.
- In Jade Cocoon 2, The Chosen One of Light, Kahu is given a pair of angel wings that mark him as Elrihm's champion. The Chosen One of Darkness, Levant gets a pair of purple demon/bat wings once his true form is revealed.
- Gaining the Volaticus Glyph in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia grants Shanoa the power of flight, and upon using the Glyph, she sprout a pair of black angel wings.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic V, most angels have white bird wings, but the Seraphim's wings are bloodstained to mark them out as agents of holy war and vengeance. Demons have bat wings which appear to be upside down, emphasizing their chaotic nature.
- In Terraria, you can craft a pair of each. But besides material and appearence, they do exactly the same.
- In RuneScape the angel-like Icyene, followers of the Good Is Not Nice god Saradomin, have white feathery wings. The aviansie, followers of Lawful Neutral god Armadyl, have feathered wings also, although theirs are mostly brown/earthy tones. The various demon races, who follow the Chaotic Neutral god Zamorak and his True Neutral predecessor Zaros, who are both propagandised as evil in the game's lore, have leathery bat-like wings.
- Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell: The heroic Johnny has feathery angel wings, while the Big Bad, Satan, has leathery demon wings.
- In Problem Sleuth, which affectionately parodies a lot of tropes like this, Demonhead Mobster Kingpin has the black, batlike "evil" wings, while Problem Sleuth's Selplchritude has the white angelic ones.
- In Homestuck, Jack Noir has crow wings. He is not a good guy. At all. On the other hand, post Act 5, PM has white wings for the same reason and is one of the good guys.
- The angels from the Land of Wrath and Angels have white wings, but Light Is Not Good under the nocturnal trolls' reversed black/white symbolism, and they prophecy the coming of the Lord of All Angels — Jack Noir.
- Also, any troll who ascends to god tier will gain fairy wings, befitting their insect-like life cycle, regardless of being good or bad. Legendary rebel hero, the Summoner, also had fairy wings outside of the game.
- Lots of creatures have wings in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures . "Angels" have feathery wings, "Demons" have bat style wings, Fae have insect style wings, and Cubi have two pairs of feathered or bat-like wings (sometimes both). Generally you want to give them all a wide berth; the Fae aren't malicious but have a well deserved reputation for having mercurial mood swings, Angels are generally manipulative, and most Demons and quite a few Cubi view beings as prey.
- Also the most powerful Cubi possess three pairs of wings.
- Regina (a young Demon) has mixed wings (one demon wing and one bone wing) because she thinks it looks Bad Ass
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Nemesites are butterfly-like aliens. The sympathetic Princess Voluptua has beautifully patterned wings, while the villainous Fructose Riboflavin has plain, frayed wings described as moth-like. In-universe, this is probably because Riboflavin is much older than she is.
- In Zebra Girl, Sandra gets bat wings after she's turned into a demon.
- In Goblins Kore finally uses a paladin power, and as a result temporarily manifests screaming faces on chains forming two huge wing shapes.
- Duv has a single white angel wing that marks her out as the savior of all goblinkind (she used to have two, but one was burned off in a fire). Then again, Light Is Not Good...
- Wapsi Square: Tina with black wings. Then, she is a collection of demons inhabiting a body where the soul took off.
- Squid Row How to tell apart Good Angel, Bad Angel in cherub form.
- In El Goonish Shive Nanase's fairy dolls have butterfly wings, her Guardian Angel form has angel wings, Vlad had combination bat and bird wings (justified because his creation involved bat and bird DNA among other types), Sirleck has bat wings, and the Taurcanis Draco has reptilian bat wings as befits a dragon like creature.
- In Galactic Maximum, dragons have flaming bat wings.
- In Pibgorn, proposing to Drusilla gave a demon angel wings.
- In The Order of the Stick: Celia (Lawful Good) is Sylph with four white insectish wings; Sabine (Chaotic Evil) is a succubus, has dark leathery bat wings.
- In Exterminatus Now, recognizing an angel in a demon-infested site is clinched by the white bird wings.
- In Sinfest, enlightenment produces a change from fly-like, buzzing wings to butterfly ones.
- In Moon Crest 24, Aleck von Zander is notable for having both a pair of angelic, and demonic wings. Though the angelic ones are smaller and very fluffy.
- The eponymous characters of Gargoyles have leathery wings (which come out usually as bat like, though Brooklyn has pterosaur wings and Lexington's are like a cross between a bat and flying squirrel), and yet they're the protagonists. Though people do find them terrifying to look at. Other gargoyles have feathered wings, but their moral alignment tends to vary.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, although Nightmare Moon has feathery wings, they're stylized to have very bat-like shape.
- Discord has one angelic and one demonic wing, quite fittingly. Although this may be explained by him being a Mix-and-Match Critter.
- In the episode "Luna Eclipsed", Princess Luna arrives in a sinister carriage pulled by Pegasi with accordingly sinister bat wings. Despite this, they don't show any signs of being evil. However, the point of the episode is that since Luna was evil, she has to tone down some things like that (and the Voice of the Legion that can cause gale-force winds) if she wants people to accept her change instead of screaming "Aaah! Nightmare Moon is going to kill us!" and running for the hills.
- Queen Chrysalis has torn insectoid wings, adding to her creepiness.
- In The Fairly Oddparents, all the fairies have fly wings (The pixies have the same kind, but square-shaped). The anti-fairies have bat wings.
- In The Smurfs: Falan the evil fairy in "The Magic Rattle" has bat wings compared to good fairies.
- Cherubs that are turned evil in "Hearts N Smurfs" also have bat wings.