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Nonhumans Lack Attributes
Anatomically correct for a fish.

(discussing a Londo Mollari doll being sold on the station)
Londo: It's a mockery. It doesn't even have any — ahem, attributes.
Sheridan: Attributes?
Londo: Do I have to spell it out for you?

One of the common decency standards in comics, television, and other media is that aliens, monsters and other nonhuman creatures are never depicted with visible genitals, anuses, or nipples, even in scenes where such things should be plainly visible. This is helpful in conserving decency when the plot requires otherwise, but can serves to do the exact opposite if the nude in question is sufficiently humanoid, such as with anthropomorphic animals or mutants, especially if they also possess certain other features like Non-Mammal Mammaries (which tend to come in the suggestion of breasts instead of actual ones) and/or are normally expected to wear clothes. Even when Censor Steam or dark shadows are present to preserve decency, a silhouette or outline of the character may reveal that there is... something missing....

In most cases, this concession of realism is a subtle form of censorship — not necessarily at the insistence of meddling managers or Moral Guardians, but also because not every artist wants to actually think about such anatomical details themselves, nudity taboo or otherwise. (It's too easy to joke about what could be misheard from the art department: "Bill, do these balls look right to you?" "Yeah, they're fine. Stop playing with them and work on the legs.")

It's also a function of the Law of Conservation of Detail, especially in literature where it is merely left to the reader's imagination instead of being explicitly pointed out by the narrator; indeed, it's rare to see anyone actually address the subject onscreen. If this subject is addressed, there are a few stock explanations that are used to explain it. The most common assumption is that the details are logically present, but are obscured beneath a layer of body fur or other Bizarre Alien Biology or, more usually, is simply not important to the situation/storyline/characters/audience (delete as applicable).

The nipples variant involves a Civilized Animal, Funny Animal, or Petting Zoo Person who has at least some definition to her chest, but who doesn't have any visible nipples. They have either a subtle or distinct "puffing" to the chest, a suggestion of breasts, or flat-out breasts. This is justified by saying that the nipples are hidden under the fur. For female animals, this is used as a form of censorship as well as for Law of Conservation of Detail. For male animals however, this is just used as form of Law of Conservation of Detail because male nipples are not seen as taboo.

A subtrope of Anatomy Anomaly. Compare Animals Lack Attributes for anatomy (genital, anus, and nipple) censorship as it applies to (otherwise normal, real-life) animals in fiction, and Barbie Doll Anatomy for the censorship of humans. See also Funny Animal Anatomy and Exposed Extraterrestrials.

Fur Is Clothing, Removable Shell, and Eggshell Clothing (these usually being Played for Laughs) are a few ways it can be averted.


Examples:

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    Advertising 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: the Namekians. Dragon Ball Z Abridged lampshades this. Repeatedly. At length.
    • Many of the humanoid animals that appear through the entire series.
    • Frieza and Cell both count too.
    • Surprisingly, when Oolong turns his arms in wings to reach Pilaf before he wishes to Shenron, his clothes disappear (despite that most of his body is still the same) and he does have genitals.
    • Naturally, Rule34 tends to avert this.
  • Digimon meanwhile tend to vary. There are some seal, dog and wolf-like Digimons that play this trope straight. Then we have evolved ones, who are anthropomorphic in build, that wear pants or shirt to cover their area (Angewomon, Leomon, WereGarurumon, LadyDevimon, etc.). And then there are some that are biped yet play this trope straight (Zudomon, Renamon, etc.)
  • Averted in an instructional video about using the toilet where Shimajiro the tiger cub is actually drawn with visible genitalia when his pants are removed.
  • Vision of Escaflowne: Various non-humans are shown naked and/or pantsless. No attributes.
  • Averted near the end of My Neighbor Totoro where the Catbus is actually revealed to be extremely anatomically correct (and male) during the scene where he is shown running on top of several telephone lines while helping Satsuki and the three Totoros find her younger sister Mei. Played straight with the Totoros themselves however.
  • Justified within the universe of Attack on Titan and coupled with Barbie Doll Anatomy for the less deformed individuals. The Titans are noted to lack any sexual organs, and have no lower digestive tract. In keeping with this, they notably also do not have navels. It brings about some serious Uncanny Valley vibes, since they otherwise look like giant, naked humanoids with various deformities.

    Comics 
  • Played very straight with the Bone cousins from Bone, who never wear pants.
    • Averted with Roque Ja the giant lion, who when seen from behind has a very prominent scrotum.
    • Played also ridiculously straight with the Rat Creatures. Writer Jeff Smith even said "I never bothered to look under their fur to find out."
  • Angels in Lucifer
    • All angels in the Vertigo universe including Sandman and Hellblazer, notably) are generally depicted as genderless.
      • They are, however, still apparently capable of intercourse. The closest we get to an explanion of this is someone who has experienced this whispering in someone else's ear and her looking shocked.
  • The Silver Surfer, despite looking like a shiny human, displays no genitalia whatsoever. Presumably covered or removed as part of his transformation into the Silver Surfer. Other natives of Zenn-La apparently have the same attributes as humans, which they cover in similar ways.
    • A Twisted Toyfare Theater parody has the Thing refusing to talk to the Surfer until he puts on some pants. So the Surfer dons blue jeans. Returning thus clad to Galactus, his master says, "Pants? I didn't remove your genitals so you could wear pants!"
  • Averted in Planetary, where a naked alien Green Lantern Expy falls on Earth. He has a very disturbing mangina.
  • Lampshaded with The Vision in West Coast Avengers. U.S. Agent demands that he "show some decency" and put some clothing on, but Vision points out that clothing would be pointless since as an android, he doesn't have nipples or visible genitals.
  • The preservers in ElfQuest have androgynous bodies without genitals or nipples. Justified, as they're apparently asexual and sexless.
  • Bloom County: "No dice! Comic strip animals aren't anatomically correct!"
  • The title characters of ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" probably get a pass for being reptiles, but Splinter plays it dead straight.

    Eastern Animation 
  • This is sometimes averted in Eastern Animation, where common farm animals (dogs, chickens), when seen from behind, may have a tiny dot drawn that represents the anus.
  • Completely averted in one episode The Little Mole, where a girl rabbit becomes pregnant and gives birth... on screen.

    Films — Animation 
  • Particularly noticeable with Gus in Cinderella, because his shirt is so teeny-tiny on him.
  • Fievel in An American Tail is usually fully clothed, as are the other mice in the series, but in the brief nude scenes in which he's taking a bath he follows this trope.
  • Edmond in Rock-A-Doodle gasps and covers himself up after being turned into a kitten and realizing he's naked, despite not really having anything to cover up. He then "covers up" with a big shirt that still leaves his furry but otherwise featureless bottom half exposed.
  • Justified in Flushed Away during the Toad's Start of Darkness where the Toad actually does not have genitalia at all due to him being an amphibian.
  • Although Po from Kung Fu Panda is always portrayed as wearing only pants and nothing else, as seen in the flashbacks in the sequel, his baby form actually fits this trope.
  • This is actually a plot point in Badly Drawn Roy in which the main character is a cartoon in a live-action setting. He and his girlfriend broke up because they, uh, couldn't take their relationship to the next level (though they remained friends).
  • Averted in the films based on Richard Adams' books Watership Down and The Plague Dogs. While the bunnies in Watership Down don't have any visible genitals (which is Truth in Television, as rabbit genitals aren't easily visible in real life), the dogs in both films have visible testicles and penile sheaths.
  • Fritz the Cat doesn't show any genitals either–unless a sex scene comes up. Female characters always have visible nipples and genitals, but they usually cover them with clothes whereas Fritz is a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mystique, in the X-Men films, despite being human, is decent even while naked. This might be part of her shapeshifting (seeing as how she can look like she's wearing clothes too). Rebecca Romijn even lampshaded this by commenting that her character's costume was "strategically placed body paint, pasties, and clever camera angles".
  • The prawns of District 9 are hermaphroditic and thus self-fertilize. Despite that, interspecies prostitution is briefly mentioned.
  • Star Wars' Wookiees. You'd hope.
    • Lampshaded by Mark Hamill's initial reaction to seeing Chewbacca on the set of the first Star Wars movie: "The wookie has no pants."
  • In Dogma, angels have no genitals. Neither does Serendipity the Muse.
    "See? I'm as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll."
  • Averted with the Na'vi in Avatar, who do have them, and wear loincloths. There is some confusion over the role of the queue, but this simply allows shared emotion, memory and senses between a mated pair... which must lead to some amazing sex.
  • Averted in Star Trek VI. While on the prison planet of Rura Penthe, Kirk fights an alien prisoner and kicks him in the middle of his legs, injuring it and causing it to wail in pain. Kirk remarks that he was "lucky that thing had knees." Another prisoner remarks, "That was not his knee. Not everybody keeps their genitals in the same place, Captain." Interestingly, the camera shows a detailed closeup of the art department's version of injured alien genitalia which is plainly visible through a tear in the alien's clothing (a tear which seems to exist for no other purpose than to allow us to see the squishy and unrecognizable alien goodies).
    • Fridge Logic Given that they were in prison, it may have been difficult for big ugly to get pants with a zipper in the right location. Simply tearing a hole in the appropriate area would save him the trouble of having to take his pants off every time he needed to relieve himself.
  • The Coneheads don't have asscracks.
  • Averted in Paul.
  • Averted amusingly in The Monster Squad: "Wolfman's got nards!"
  • The Xenomorphs have no visible genitalia, although it's justified in that they reproduce parasitically.

    Literature 
  • Averted in Neil Gaiman's Troll Bridge, where the Troll's penis is described not because it is any way relevant, but because it stood out to the narrator.
  • Averted in Michael Chabon's Summerland, where after Ethan tells Cutbelly the werefox to get off his stomach (so he could breathe properly), the fox flips backwards off the boy, temporarily exposing his equipment, to Ethan's shock and dismay.
  • Averted in Wildcards with The Walrus, an alien undercover agent who looks very much like an anthropomorphic walrus. It is mentioned that it has quite peculiar genitalia (although not really described) and is a hermaphrodite.
  • This trope comes into play In-Universe in the Magic: The Gathering story "Dragon's Paw" by Edward Bolme. Urza magically creates a dragon to aid him in his experiments, but doesn't bother to give it a gender. The dragon talks him into making it stronger and bigger and eventually wants to be given a gender. When Urza admits that he's not sure how, the dragon convinces him to let it do the work - and uses this newfound control to sever the link between dragon and mage and flies off into the world.
  • In a fantasy/comedic novel from L. Sprague de Camp, the main characters summon a demon who's clearly devoid of genitals despite being otherwise human-like. When he's asked about the mating, he explains that the members of his race "grows" genitals in the right season.
  • A villainous character in the Well World novels passes through the Well and is sent to a hex populated by frog-like creatures. Transformed into one of them by the Well, he's perplexed by his new body's lack of external genitalia; one of his first questions, upon meeting the hex's natives, is how they have sex.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When the Alien Autopsy was presented on Fox, they pixilated the part of the "body" where the genitals would be, if it had any. (And truthfully, it looked like it was lacking.)
  • The Asgard from Stargate SG-1. Justified, as they don't reproduce. When we see precloning Asgard popsicles, the relevant area is hidden behind the frost.
  • Naboo the Enigma from The Mighty Boosh is an alien, and reveals this about himself at Howard's birthday party.
  • Played with in the Farscape episode "The Flax." A male alien drops his pants to show the crew murals on his legs from being in prison. The crew lampshades this trope with Zhaan even saying "For an anthropoid biped, there seems to be something missing." This is later hilariously explained when the alien is revealed to be the female of her species and in love with D'Argo.
  • In addition to the page quote above, Londo Mollari also averts this trope by using his... *ahem* "attributes" to cheat in a poker game. Hilarity Ensues when one of the other players accidentally puts a glass of ice water down on the appendage in question.
  • Averted in the tokusatsu Lion Maru where Lion Maru's costume has a visible penis.

    Pinball 
  • Played straight in Devil's Dare, where the assorted green-skinned demons are completely naked but sport no genitalia or nipples at all.
  • Similarly, the merwomen of Barracora wear nothing and show nothing, even on their Non-Mammal Mammaries.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In an early Dragon Magazine article, "The Psychology of the Doppleganger", a captive doppleganger's lack of genitalia or nipples in its natural form was openly discussed, as it provided its human captors with evidence (confirmed via interrogation) that such Dungeons & Dragons monsters had no true gender, and bred by changing into a gendered creature's shape and mating outside their own species.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the asexual Orks reproduce through spores rather than sex. Nothing's actually been confirmed, mind you, but we're pretty sure any genitalia is vestigial at best (they seem as vulnerable to Groin Attacks as anyone else due to Rule of Funny).
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse one of the physical features of the Crinos form is "vulnerable features like genitalia withdrawn".

    Video Games 
  • Possibly Vortigaunts in Half-Life. Totally alien so anything goes, but a featureless crotch is good for the censors.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Rakghouls aren't shown with genitalia, despite being hairless and shiny. This is never addressed within the story, IIRC, even though rakghouls are humans transformed by The Virus. At one point, humans transform into Rakghouls in front of your eyes — their genitalia appear to have instantly disappeared (along with the eyes, and the fifth finger, and... A lot, really).
  • One of the few things that you can't give your Spore creatures is genitalia, although you can place body parts designed for other purposes where they should be.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise primarily features animals without clothing (or very little anyway, as they usually at least wear shoes and White Gloves), except in case of the females (and Charmy Bee, who wears an orange vest and a flight helmet). None of the male characters are shown to have genitals, thankfully. Even Charmy.
  • Twelve from Street Fighter III.
  • Very, very much averted with Satan in Dante's Inferno, where the attention to detail is far from subtle, probably to conform to some popular depictions of the character. (Oddly, in the pre-rendered cutscenes these critical areas are consistently obscured by shadows. Go figure.)
  • Played straight in both Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 3D Land where the Tanuki Suit, unlike many traditional depictions of the Tanuki, is very anatomically incorrect. Justified since both games are supposed to be appropriate for kids.
  • Averted for several monsters in the God of War series. The gorgons and harpies have boobs, and in God of War 3 the centaurs have barely noticeable sheaths.

    Web Comics 
  • Both lampshaded and subverted in this strip of Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire. Buck, on the run from an ardent pursuer, drops into the rooftop garden of his best friend (and bartender)'s fiancé, Tal. Both she and her husband-to-be are Thuxians, vaguely resembling somewhat "softer" versions of the Xenomorphs from Alien. Tal was apparently sunning when Buck dropped in, and is thus buck-naked, which causes her to complain loudly about Buck's sudden appearance. He silences her, however, by pointing out that since humans and Thuxians are biologically incompatible, he wouldn't even know which parts of her could be considered "naughty". Then he comments on how her plump thorps bring out the sway of her tail,note  and promptly gets Megaton Punched through a window. (The lesson, my friend: Buck Godot ALWAYS knows more than he lets on.)
  • Averted in Digger: we don't see anything because it's not that kind of comic, but given Ursula Vernon DID do her research It is alluded to that The People (a race of sentient Spotted Hyenas) DO have pseudo-penises. As for Digger herself, It's hard to tell: She never wears any trousers, but given she's a female wombat, it's not like there would be much externally visible, or of interest to non-wombats, anyway.
    • The flying rats are either all female or suffer from this though.
  • Averted in favor of Scenery Censor with Crunch the troll in Dumnestors Heroes, who doesn't have enough fur to viably cover up the parts in question anyways.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Grace's fur covers unsightly parts when she is naked. This is even lampshaded by Greg. Somewhat justified due to the whole Voluntary Shapeshifting thing.
  • This page of Exterminatus Now plays with the trope by talking about it with regards to Pokémon, despite the fact that at least two of the main characters seem to be subject to it.
  • The Order of the Stick addresses the issue here in regards to reptilian humanoids.
    Gannji: It's called a genital sheath, look it up.
    • Possibly averted in the same comic with a different species. The Oracle, a kobold, mentions having balls, but in context (insulting someone with "Lick my orange balls"), he may have been joking.
  • PvP has Skull, a large, fat, blue naked troll. Several characters have commented on his lack of genitalia, particularly when he was dating a normal human girl.
    • Skull mentioned at one point that trolls are asexual, which immediately got used for a Pun.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • The alien Aylee, who would occasionally shift form as a response to a new environment, mostly had nonhuman forms with no such attributes. Even her brief "buxom blonde secretary" form had a uniformly scaly exterior. Eventually she would adopt a form so human that she actually does have "human female naughty parts" under her wings-dress, though she's still green, which naturally causes embarrassment and some downright distress before she realises human nudity rules now apply to her.
    • Mospinispinosp, the snake-woman-demon from the Dimension of Pain, has a human figure (without legs) but a featureless, scaly texture.
    • Lacey, a woman possessed by a lacewing demon, takes on a different demonic appearance at times, like most other possessed humans. In her case, her dress opens to form wings, which is handily accompanied by her body turning featureless too.
    • Most demons do actually wear clothes, indicating there may be something underneath. This also applies to Satan — except when drawn by Ian Mc Donald, when he's pantless and featureless.
  • Subverted in Sonichu. At first, the title character seems featureless (he is based on Sonic after all). However, in issue 8, the author dedicates a good dozen pages to describing how his Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal characters' sexual anatomy works and how some characters can walk around naked without exposing their genitals... culminating in a graphic depiction of electric-hedgehog-Pokémon-on-electric-hedgehog-Pokémon intercourse.
  • Tyson Hesse's infamous Sonic parody plays the trope straight like the source material, then plays it for laughs with Super Sonic's inexplicable briefs.

    Western Animation 
  • Killface in Frisky Dingo.
  • American Dad!
    • Roger mentions to a date that he doesn't have any genitals. (It was okay; she had both).
    • In another episode, he claims it's just imperceptibly small due to years of steroid abuse.
    • Yet in several other episodes, Roger has sex with human women as though he has identical genitals to a normal human male.
      • This was at some point lampshaded when Roger (in his "Jenny" persona) had sex with Steve's friend Snot when Steve asks, "You're an alien how is that even physically possible?!" to which he tried to explain how but was interrupted. According to what he could say, his species doesn't have conventional genitalia in the human sense but they clearly have them, though not that we could see.
  • Bugs Bunny may have actually averted this trope in the short The Wabbit Who Came to Supper, during a scene in which he's coming out of the shower and his towel slips, revealing what looks like a white fur-covered penis for a couple frames. This has been discredited by most, though— it was most likely supposed to just be a gap between his legs and above the towel, through which either the bathtub or another part of the towel is visible. The animators at Warner were never above slipping things past the radar, though, so it isn't completely out of the question.
  • Averted in Retarded Animal Babies where Puppy is actually drawn with visible genitalia (even when he's wearing clothing), but played straight with the other Animal Babies.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force featured several relatively anthropomorphic food items, who all expressed sexual attraction to women (Master Shake likes to look at dirty magazines alone), but none of whom wear clothes or show their genitals.
    • The episode where Shake sells Meatwad to the circus featured the "prince of Saturn" (or was it Neptune?) sent to Earth to reproduce with our women. This one was a notable aversion, he revealed his genitals and they were horrific (and thus his mission failed), that's why he's running a circus now instead of still trying to take over the planet.
  • The original Crazy Frog video infamously averted this. It's a particularly strange case because actual frogs don't have visible external genitalia at all.
  • Regular Show: Oddly, Mordecai and Rigby are the only Funny Animals without some sort of clothes on. Rigby's brother Don (who's also naked but drawn with a MUCH more human-looking anatomy) lampshades this:
    Don: Remember when you started walking around naked? I thought you were SO cool.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball averts this with the title character. He spends a great deal of one episode naked due to a laundry mishap and another because Darwin ate his clothes, and his genitals are pixellated.
  • Parodied in the Saturday TV Funhouse Yogi Bear parody "The Anatominals". Both "Kogi" and "Boo" seemed to be smuggling potatoes in their underwear, and Cindy Bear and her coyote friend have their own issues.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays with this. In "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", Fluttershy is embarrassed when Rainbow Dash yanks the sheets off of her, despite the lack of any visible genitalia. Yet in "A Canterlot Wedding", Twilight Sparkle shakes her naked flank in Princess Cadance's face, treating the viewers to a view of featureless pony arse.
    • In the general run of the show, attention is inadvertently drawn to their lack of attributes by the way their tails always point up rather than staying in line with the spine and frequent from-behind perspectives.
  • Brian from Family Guy has been the butt of several penis jokes, despite his own lack of visible genitalia. Brian claims it gets pulled inside when he stands up. Truth in Television; dogs have a sort of retractable penis on their belly that normally rests inside a sheath.
  • Even though Sponge Bob Square Pants showcases species that would not have external genitalia in real life and are shown lacking them, the male animal characters in the show have lampshaded this trope from time to time.
    • SpongeBob has been seen completely naked (well, completely naked except for his shoes) in multiple episodes. In "Spongebob Naturepants", Scenery Censor is used to cover that area most of the time, but it can still be seen a few times. In "Hooky", he is traumatized when Pearl and her friends (as well as the audience) sees his non-existent genitalia.
    • Patrick and SpongeBob become Invisible Streakers in one episode and terrorize the town. Mr. Krabs catches them and puts them on show before they have a chance to get clothes on. They try to use their hands to cover their nudity, but it is obvious they have nothing to hide.
    • Squidward usually wears a shirt and no pants. It doesn't seem to stop him from being embarrassed when he finds himself naked in public.
    • Mr. Krabs is completely naked when Plankton uses a machine to switch lives with him (a variation on the "Freaky Friday" Flip) since Plankton is usually completely naked. Even though it is obvious that he has no genitals, Plankton is still mortified to see him in the nude.
  • Averted. Odd's dog, Kiwi, is obviously NOT neutered.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 this is played straight with Splinter and Leatherhead and Possibly subverted with the Turtles themselves, if you look closely, the Turtles in this version have a bit of plastron that goes between the legs forming 'built in pants' as it were one can only assume this means their 'naughty bits' are underneath the shell.


Nipples Variant

    Comic Books 
  • Sally Acorn in Sonic the Hedgehog comics (and the Sonic Sat AM cartoon) can be either fully nude save for boots, or wear only an open vest. Either way, she has obvious breasts without nipples.

    Film 
  • Averted with Commander Vachir from Kung Fu Panda, who is a rhinoceros with visible nipples on his bare chest.
  • Moto Moto the hippo from Madagascar: Escape to Africa has this.
  • Played with for laughs in Ice Age III. Scrat is a saber-toothed squirrel...thing, and is presented with neither visible genitals or nipples. Until a patch of fur gets ripped off his chest, revealing two nipples on the skin underneath. The female Scratte plays this straighter, with the impression of having breasts, but once again no visible nipples.

    Pinball 
  • The merwomen of Barracora have breasts but no nipples visible.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • Amy, created by the creator of Sabrina Online prior to the latter and its titular character, had defined breasts without nipples.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted in Sonichu. While some of the characters do appear topless with seemingly featureless breasts, issue #8 explains that the females of the Sonichu species have retractable nipples.

    Western Animation 


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Male-to-Female Universal AdaptorFunny Animal AnatomyNon-Mammalian Hair
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alternative title(s): Aliens Lack Attributes; Monsters Lack Attributes; Humanoid Animals Lack Attributes
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