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[[quoteright:218:[[ComicBook/{{Maus}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Maus_II_cover_6993.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:218:[[SarcasmMode Aww! Cute animals! Junior'll love this!]]]]

A Mature Animal Story is a work designed for and marketed toward adults and older teens featuring anthropomorphized animals as its main cast, and which contains content that is generally considered inappropriate for little kids.

Traditionally, cartoons, comics and other stories featuring animals as major characters are treated as light, whimsical entertainment suitable for small children. While adults may enjoy such works, they are primarily marketed toward young kids, and are careful to avoid material that is either too explicit or too serious and sophisticated for children to understand. While such works still might contain some conflict, or even a DisneyDeath, it is always at a level considered "Family Friendly" and "Safe for Kids".

Also, until recent advances in CGI, anthropomorphized animals in visual mediums were mostly confined to rather silly looking costumes, cartoons and comics. These features were generally associated with less serious children's stories, and therefore weren't going to be all that big on more "mature" topics like violence. {{Talking Animal}}s in particular are often considered kids stuff.

A Mature Animal Story breaks away from this perception. The primary audience is adults and/or older teens. Stories still might be comedic, but they will also often have a serious and dark side to them. Many such works are almost entirely drama instead of comedy. They often contain graphic violence, sexuality, and profanity.

These stories involve animal characters ranging from LargelyNormalAnimal to PettingZooPerson on the SlidingScaleOfAnthropomorphism. They frequently take place in a WorldOfFunnyAnimals.

This is a SubTrope to AnimationAgeGhetto and WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids. Compare {{Xenofiction}}.

'''Please note that if it is marketed as a work for children, it is not this trope.'''

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/CatShitOne'' involves cute rabbits as killing machines fighting in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar.
** Similarly, ''Anime/PenguinMemories'' is a serious drama in which a Vietnam vet deals with his inner demons--and yes, all the characters are [[EverythingsBetterWithPenguins penguins]].
* ''Manga/GingaNagareboshiGin'' and its sequel, ''Anime/GingaDensetsuWeed'' are about talking dogs. Kid-friendly, right? ''Hardly'' -- there's some very disturbing stuff (including a dog who ''castrates his enemies'') in ''Weed'', and ''Gin'' is even more violent, and that's not even counting the ''manga''.
* ''Anime/OruchubanEbichu'' is a comedy about a cute little hamster and her unmarried owner. Almost every joke is about sex.
* ''Anime/CatSoup'' is an abstract, existential short film based on the extremely dark comics of artist Nekojiru. But hey, all the characters are cats!
* ''Anime/WolfsRain'' is an anime about wolves. It's a violent and depressing {{seinen}} anime where in the first episode Kiba tears out a man's throat in front of a child.
* ''Anime/RingingBell'' is [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids a dark and frequently violent revenge tragedy about an adorable little sheep]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* During the 1930s and 1940s the ''Tijuana Bible'' phenomenon began to blossom. These were pornographic comic strip parodies of famous characters like Franchise/MickeyMouse and Franchise/DonaldDuck, drawn by anonymous artists. As Creator/ArtSpiegelman has correctly said: "These were the forefathers of the UndergroundComics of the 1960s and 1970s."
* ''ComicBook/{{Circles}}'' is a story about the lives of a group of gay men, going through the standard issues of the time (homophobia, relationship dramas, AIDS, grieving people dead [[spoiler:due to '''all''' of those incidents]], et cetera), with the main characters depicted as rather fuzzy mammals. Notably, however, the characters are actually contextually human beings; we're only seeing them through a "furry lens", and the illustrated novel that concludes the comic does in fact describe them as such rather than the anthropomorphic animals they are in the visual art.
* ''ComicBook/FritzTheCat'' and its two {{Animated Adaptation}}s, ''WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheNineLivesOfFritzTheCat''. Graphic sex, graphic violence, drug use, and satirical social commentary, all set in a WorldOfFunnyAnimals. Creator/RobertCrumb continued making comic strips with antropomorphic animals doing adult stuff ever since, such as ''Those Cute Little Bearzie Wearzies'' where a fuzzy bear couple that looks absolutely cute act more like a typical RealLife couple by having foul mouthed arguments and having sex with each other.
* ''ComicBook/OmahaTheCatDancer'': An adult comic strip with anthropomorphic animal characters who engage in sex, but is otherwise not vulgar. It's more about relationships between people and also touches sexual topics, but in a tasteful and thought provoking way.
* ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'' involves adorable anthropomorphic animals, the main character being a ''rabbit''. The setting, however, is FeudalJapan with all of the cultural baggage thereof, including ''kirisute'', the traditional right of the samurai to kill any commoner who offends him. There is exploration of death, relationships (including forbidden relationships, illegitimate offspring, widowhood, etc.), various ''extremely'' nasty monsters from folklore, political intrigue, crime and punishment, and a very messed up judicial system.
* ''ComicBook/{{Maus}}'' is a retelling of the author's father's experiences during UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust, including his stay at Auschwitz. Jews are mice, Germans are cats, Americans are dogs, and Poles are pigs.
* While later iterations of ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' were relatively kid-friendly, [[ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage the original comic]] was rather gritty and featured plenty of violence and death.
* Benoit Sokal's ''ComicBook/InspectorCanardo'' is about a detective duck in a world of talking animals. The protagonist is a drunk, people get killed, prostitutes and rapists are commonplace. Definitely not for children.
* Swedish comic strips ''ComicBook/ArneAnka'' and ''ComicBook/{{Rocky}}'' are filled to the brim with {{funny animal}}s. They're also filled with alcohol consumption, sex and deep, deep cynicism.
* ''ComicBook/{{We3}}'', by Creator/GrantMorrison, is about three talking animals trying to find their way home; the covers feature "missing pets" notices written in childlike style. Kids'll love it, right? Sure! Except for the scenes featuring the cybernetic animal soldiers literally ''tearing apart the soldiers sent to kill them'', the part where [[spoiler: the rabbit ''explodes while hurling itself at a car'']], and all sorts of graphic violence in between. Oh, and it's being adapted into a movie directed by the guy who made ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda''.
* ''ComicBook/{{Blacksad}}'' is a FilmNoir style series of graphic novels about a black cat private detective named John Blacksad and his various cases set in a WorldOfFunnyAnimals version of 1950's America. It doesn't hold back from showing blood, fatal injuries, wounds, controversial topics (e.g. racism), and sex.
* ''ComicBook/{{Grandville}}'' - the main character is an anthropomorphic badger who is a private investigator. It's set in a SteamPunk fantasy setting, and features plenty of sex, violence, and politics.
* The characters in the ''Sandbox'' comics by Swedish artist [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joakim_Pirinen Joakim Pirinen]] are anthropomorphic teddy bears, while their plots often deal with sex, drugs, violence, and disturbingly psychedelic visions.
* The infamous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Pirates Air Pirates Funnies]]'' was a short-lived underground parody comic which featured Creator/{{Disney}} characters in adult situations, such as having sex and taking drugs. Disney sued the makers of the comic for copyright infringement, which apparently was exactly what they wanted.
* ''ComicBook/AlbedoErmaFelnaEDF'' kickstarted much of this trope as a deadly serious MilitaryScienceFiction series where the furries usually follow up on the action with [[ActionFilmQuietDramaScene serious discussions about the sociopolitical ramifications]].
* ''ComicBook/PrideOfBaghdad'' has blood and at one point a lioness flashbacks to being gang raped (It's not shown, but still.) Also, [[spoiler: they all die at the end.]]
* ''ComicBook/TomPoes'' is about the adventures of a bear and his friend the little white cat. It's a children's comic strip, but has very AntiquatedLinguistics and gentle adult satire that will be understood by adults better than children. Creator Marten Toonder used it to openly poke fun at the Nazis when they were at their most powerful (and right on his doorstep). The series is still considered one of the most mature and "literary" European comic strips.
* ''ComicBook/HowardTheDuck'': The original comic strip was about a cigar chomping wisecracking duck and not intended for children at all.
* ''BB Wolf and the 3 LPs'' uses the characters of ''Literature/TheThreeLittlePigs'' in an allegory about racism in 1920's America. It's quite violent - the wolf protagonist's family is killed when the pigs burn his home, and he graphically tears open two pigs as part of a RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
* ''ComicBook/BeastsOfBurden'', which pits adorable pets against all manner of supernatural terror.
* Sherlock Fox, its as kid friendly as you would expect [[Literature/SherlockHolmes the novel-series it was based on]] to be. Towards the end of the first volume there is a case of a secret society eating flesh - now remember, the comic is set in a world of PettingZooPeople, so eating flesh there is pretty much [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalism]] and is considered as such in-universe.
* ''ComicBook/{{Animosity}}'' is the story of a world where animals around the world suddenly become sapient and able to talk... and a dog and his girl get caught in the crossfire of a war between humans and animals.
* ''ComicBook/RoverRedCharlie'' by Creator/GarthEnnis depicts TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt through the eyes of some domesticated dogs who [[InnocentInaccurate don't quite understand what's happening to "the feeders"]].
* ''ComicBook/TheMiceTemplar'' is filled with lots of cute mice and other small, adorable critters. But the story itself is heavily religious and contains a plethora of {{Gorn}}, and is essentially about a young hero trying to stop a tyrant while also trying to [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder figure out who he can trust]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' was aimed at adults early on but as it grew more popular it became more kid friendly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/673833/1/Amazing-Zoo-Crew-The-Harmony-Trap The Harmony Trap]]'' is an M-rated fanfic with an AlternateUniverse version of ''ComicBook/CaptainCarrotAndHisAmazingZooCrew''.
* ''FanFic/MemoirsOfAMaster'' is a ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' story where Po and the Furious Five read the personal memoirs of Master Shifu; a tale of trials and profound loss experienced by a martial arts master who found redemption where he least expected it through Po.
* Pretty much any ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' M-rated fan fic falls under this trope, such as ''Fanfic/SonicXDarkChaos'' and ''Fanfic/PrisonIslandBreak'' [[PeripheryDemographic (yes, there are tons of adult Sonic fans)]]. They will be mostly {{Lemon}}s and {{Dark Fic}}s, often with [[ObligatorySwearing a dash of strong profanity]]. Even though they have cuddly, colorful cartoon animals familiar to children, they're only for the eyes of adults (or anyone that can handle such content)!
* ''FanFic/WhatLiesBeyondTheWalls'' is a ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' fanfic that not only contains explicit sex scenes, but also focuses on [[WarIsHell the brutality of war]] and how it can easily corrupt others. It also shows how [[GreyAndGrayMorality gray]] the world really is, and doesn't waste time revealing that everyone on both sides isn't 100% good or evil.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Felidae}}''. To quote the entry: "Despite being an animated film, it is ''definitely'' not for kids. The film contains graphic violence, disturbing images, adult language, and cat sex. Yes, ''cat sex''."
** It's basically a noir drama with cats. It has the language, sex, and violence but instead of humans in fedoras we get cute cats.
* ''Literature/ThePlagueDogs'' is an animated film based on a book by Richard Adams, author of ''Watership Down''. It's about two dogs that escape from a research lab and attempt to live in the wild. It starts with a dog drowning as part of an experiment involving how long it can tread water. The tale highlights the cruelty of animal research and vivisection. In America, the film was rated PG-13.
* As noted above, ''WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat'' is probably the very first example in history of American animation, produced back in 1972. It revolves around the {{Pornomancer}} Fritz hanging out with stoners, having sex with everyone and...forget it, there is not much plot, aside from emphasizing the movie's X-rating.
* There's also the animated film of ''WesternAnimation/WatershipDown'', which has cute little bunny rabbits...who get snatched by hawks along with being bloodily killed and get into brutal fights.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The oldest example of this trope may be the ''Literature/ReynardTheFox'' stories from the 13th century. It's a medieval poem about a KarmicTrickster fox character who brutally murders, rapes, steals from other animals and has to be brought to court. The story has a lot of adult content, with even a Catholic priest who is apparently married and has his penis bitten off by one of the animals.
* Many fairy tales who are kids' entertainment nowadays weren't originally intended that way. In earlier centuries these stories were told to children and adults alike and often featured content that would not be considered child friendly today. A good example is ''Literature/LittleRedRidingHood'', where the wolf character was mostly intended originally as a seductive man lusting for young girls.
* Anna Sewell wrote ''Literature/BlackBeauty'' as a lengthy social commentary on animal welfare, politics, religion, and social justice, including living conditions for the working-class poor. While there's probably not anything that's inappropriate for younger readers (aside from a couple rather gruesome depictions of dead and suffering horses), much of it would probably go straight over their heads. Versions of the book are frequently marketed to children, but these have typically been heavily edited or rewritten entirely.
* ''Literature/AnimalFarm'' is more or less a breakdown of UsefulNotes/JosefStalin's part in the [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober Russian Revolution]], portrayed via animals throwing a farmer out of a farm and then running it themselves. The pigs are the communists, they raise dogs as their police, and the sheep pledge their full support to everything said to them without thinking about any of it. All sorts of FridgeHorror ensues, such as the horse being sold to a glue farm while the pigs periodically read letters they claim the horse wrote to them from his retirement pasture. Fortunately, nobody really thinks of it as a book for children, although it is often taught at middle school level (13/14-year-olds can usually grasp what's going on, and if you teach it alongside the actual history of the Russian Revolution and Stalin's regime, it makes for a good introduction to the concepts of {{allegory}} and {{satire}}).
* The third book in ''The Literature/{{Wicked}} Years'' series is about the Cowardly Lion. In true ''Wicked'' fashion it's a DarkerAndEdgier, very adult retelling of ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz''
* ''Literature/ThePlagueDogs'' by Richard Adams, as noted above under film.
* ''Felidae'' by Akif Pirinçci, the basis for the animated feature also mentioned above under film, and the eight subsequent books in the series.
* ''Literature/JonathanLivingstonSeagull''. The author, Richard Bach, always had trouble with publishers and librarians on what genre they should label the novel. They couldn't label it children literature due to the contents being too adult (without being violent or sexual), but also they felt reluctant to label it adult due to the characters all being talking seagulls.
* Most of Creator/KyellGold's output.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The video for Music/{{Metallica}}'s "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpF8Wa2yQH0 Here Comes Revenge]]" is the dark tale of a SerialKiller who is haunted by his victims. Both predator and prey are PettingZooPeople.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Roleplaying Games]]
* ''Roleplay/RubyQuest''. To quote the entry: "Cute anthropomorphic animals right out of ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing''... in a setting that's basically Creator/HPLovecraft meets ''Franchise/SilentHill''." The sequel, ''Roleplay/NanQuest'', also counts.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Videogames]]
* ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' stars a drunken squirrel and features ToiletHumour, sexual innuendo, swearing, and an M rating.[[spoiler:..all capped off by a TearJerker of a DownerEnding.]] It originally was a normal, cute FunnyAnimal platformer which is why a younger Conker pops up in ''VideoGame/DiddyKongRacing''.
* ''VideoGame/ADogsLife'' is a T rated game where you are a dog trying to save his love interest from being cat food.
* ''VideoGame/FeralFury'' is a gritty, blood-soaked twin-stick shooter[=/=]RogueLike starring a Panda SpaceMarine.
* ''VideoGame/NightInTheWoods'' features a cast full of anthropomorphic animals. It also features alcohol, swearing, vandalism and [[spoiler: [[BreadEggsMilkSquick cult sacrifice.]]]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}'' is a webcomic about a bootlegging gang in [[TheRoaringTwenties Prohibition-era]] UsefulNotes/StLouis, with plenty of gunfights, killings, and several [[TheSociopath sociopathic characters]]. There is painstaking attention to period-appropriate detail, with one exception: all the characters are anthropomorphic cats.
* ''Webcomic/{{Jack|DavidHopkins}}'' is a FurryWebcomic about a rabbit who is also TheGrimReaper. Most of the stories take place in the afterlife or involve death in some form. This comic can get ''very'' {{NSFW}} at times.
* ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'' features a comedic WorldOfFunnyAnimals based on ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog''... mixed with ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', with all the blood, gore, death, and {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that implies. Thus, it largely deals in adult-oriented BlackComedy, with plenty of profanity to go with it.
* ''Webcomic/DrugsAndKisses'' features the misadventures of several pot-smoking, vodka-swigging anthropomorphic animals.
* ''Webcomic/SandraAndWoo'' is about a preteen girl and her talking pet raccoon. It also features strong language, jokes about erections/fetishes in general, and arcs about mature topics like drug use.
* ''Webcomic/{{Sparklecare}}'': Despite being a comic about colorful {{Funny Animal}}s and {{Cartoon Creature}}s, the comic takes pride in being as gory and disturbing as possible.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* ''Literature/{{Tasakeru}}'' is a series about cute, fluffy [[FunnyAnimal talking animals]] like squirrels and rabbits... which involves bloody warfare, racism (speciesism?), religious intolerance, MindRape, and not a little innuendo.
* ''Animation/TheCatPiano'' may qualify, being about PettingZooPeople[=/=]Anthropomorphized cats who were being kidnapped in order for the titular piano to be played (it stabs a nail through a cat's tail every time a key is struck, making the cat yowl the note). Particularly the ending, where the catnapping human ''[[LaserGuidedKarma slips in his own blood and falls off a tower to his death]]''.
* Arguably a lot of [[UsefulNotes/FurryFandom furry online roleplays]] end up this way. ''Roleplay/DarwinsSoldiers'' is a good example. It features intense violence, cursing, sexual activity and some pretty heavy themes.
* ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'', a Flash cartoon series about cute animals getting into BloodyHilarious mishaps where [[TheyKilledKennyAgain most of them end up dead]].
* ''Roleplay/RubyQuest'' and its SpiritualSuccessor ''Roleplay/NanQuest'' both use minimalist drawings featuring characters with animal aesthetics to narrate stories about grotesque BodyHorror, CosmicHorror and SurvivalHorror set in {{Eldritch Location}}s. Unsettling stuff. Once the blood starts spewing, the stories' target audience becomes a bit clearer.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/FatherOfThePride'' was a short-lived CGI cartoon featuring cute animals living in Siegfried & Roy's private zoo. It features plenty of adult humor.
* ''WesternAnimation/AlfredJKwak'', aimed at children, but alluded at very adult topics such as racism, Nazism, apartheid, AIDS,... in a way that is sometimes subtle, but other times very direct.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Duckman}}'': An underground comic strip adapted to a TV adult animated series starring mostly anthropomorphic characters and topics such as politics, sex, drugs, society issues,...
* ''WesternAnimation/BojackHorseman'' is set in a WorldOfFunnyAnimals and humans where every so often puns are made at the expense of species, has large absurdism themes and can be '''extremely''' silly. It's also a no-holds-barred deconstructive take on the dark side of celebrity and fame, the question of happiness as a destination or a path, how the world can be large and meaningless especially compared to how small scope we are, depression, drug addiction, the true meaning of life, how shallow and self-destructive existentialism can be on the face of practicality and even does the unthinkable: it directly addresses CarnivoreConfusion in a world where anthropomorphism is a thing. Needless to say, the result is [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything not too dissimilar to how animals are processed and consumed for humans to eat]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'' is a show where all the cast are {{Funny Animal}}s. That being said, there are jokes about sex, drugs, alcohol, and even Nazis.
[[/folder]]

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