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Unusual Ears

In Speculative Fiction and Mythology, it is not surprising to see characters with non-standard ears. Having non-human ears is a common way of indicating that a character that otherwise looks mostly human is Not Quite Human, whether it be an alien, supernatural creature or human significantly modified through magical or pseudo-scientific means. Unusual Ears are particulary popular in Speculative Fiction television and film, where they are used as a relatively cheap way of making a Rubber-Forehead Aliens. Pointy Ears are by far the most common type, having been associated with everything from demons and magical faeries to Vulcans. In Japan, Pointy Ears are called jigokumimi, which translates to "hell ears".

In Japanese Manga and Anime, cat ears, (nekomimi) and other types other types of animal ears (kemonomimi) are particulary popular. Expect some Furry Ear Dissonance. Another common anime ear type is "antenna ears," which can be seen primarily on Robot Girls.


Subtropes


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Everyone in Utawarerumono except Hakuoro has strange ears of some sort.
  • Sanada and the entire maid team in UFO Princess Valkyrie.
  • Everyone in Loveless is born with nekomimi and a tail, and loses them once they lose their virginity.
  • Nekoko in Kannazuki no Miko has cat ears (and a tail) due to experimentation by unscrupulous scientists/doctors.
  • All of the cat-people in Mahou Shoujo Neko Taruto (also have tails).
  • Aisha Clanclan and all of the other Ctarl-Ctarl in Outlaw Star. Though the shape and position have jigokumimi aspects too, perhaps intentionally.
  • Merle, Naria, and Erya from The Vision of Escaflowne.
  • Koma in Asagiri no Miko.
  • Nya Nia from Tower of God.
  • Dejiko and Puchiko from Di Gi Charat.
  • The Cheshire Cat from Miyuki-chan in Wonderland.
  • While not actually ears, the Diclonius in Elfen Lied have horns that look like nekomimi.
  • Neneko in Yumeria wears a hat designed to look like nekomimi.\\ Do we ever see her head without that hat to know if it's just the hat or if she has nekomimi?
  • Ichigo/Mew Ichigo from Tokyo Mew Mew.
  • In .hack//Legend of the Twilight, an event prize is a set of Moe Moe fetish items, including cat ears; Shugo begins to idolize the programmer, while the girls are mortified.
  • The Medicine Peddler of Mononoke has pointed ears, in a setting where no normal human character does. This is only one of many unusual things about him that people just don't seem to notice.
  • In FLCL, the main character, Naota, sprouts nekomimi for an episode. Of course, they prove to be nothing but part of a monster slowly emerging from Naota's head.
  • Ropponmatsu 2 from Excel♥Saga has cat ears, and their unusualness is immediately noted by Iwata in the anime in the most spectacular fashion: "They're just offensive. If you have the energy to wiggle those nasty things, why don't you chew peanuts with your eyes and eat spaghetti through your nose, you offense to God?"
  • Catherine from Gintama. She's neither cute nor sexy, though.
  • Ikuto from Shugo Chara! gets cat ears and tail when he character transforms with Yoru.
  • Holo from Spice and Wolf has her very expressive wolf ears, which she always keeps hidden in public with a hood or a hat.
  • Niea and the other aliens from Niea_7.
  • Mint in Galaxy Angel.
  • Schroedinger from Hellsing is a catboy with feline ears.
  • All the girls in Otome Youkai Zakuro have these ears. Of course, they are fox spirits.
  • The Catian in Asobi ni Iku yo!!
  • Everyone in Dog Days has these or dog ears (with a few other animals thrown into the mix) except Shinku.
  • Yomi of YuYu Hakusho has six long, almost goat-like ears. It is revealed in a flashback that he once had only two ears like this, but after losing his sight, he grew another four ears in compensation; he is a demon, after all. His son Shura also has similar ears (though only two).
  • Kagome Higurashi's first act upon seeing InuYasha, sealed and stuck to a tree? (Messing with his ears). The first thing Kagome's mother says when a dog-eared boy busts into Kagome's house to drag her back to the feudal era is not "Who are you?" or "Where are you taking my daughter?" or even "Why are you dressed like that?" It's, "Your ears; are they real?" whilst reaching up and touching them. As does Kagome's little brother; it appears to be something of a family thing.
  • Several characters in Kamisama Kiss qualify. For starters, Tomoe has fox ears and a lot of gods and demons also seem to have elven-looking ears.
  • From UFO Princess Valkyrie, while not exactly ears, the princesses of Valhalla all have wings on their heads that they can apparently control. Additionally, the various alien races seen throughout the series often have their own ear types.
  • Chii and the other persocons in Chobits have "ears" that open up and contain electrical connectors.
  • Hayama Akito from Kodomo no Omocha occasionally sprouts leopard ears (and tail) for comedic effect.
  • Meirin and Tamamo no Mae in Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito have fox (kitsune) ears and tails.
  • The other Mew Mews in Tokyo Mew Mew also have two animal parts; Bu-ling/Mew Pudding (monkey), Zakuro/Mew Zakuro (wolf) and Berii/Mew Berry (cabbit) all have animal ears.
  • Almost everyone in Utawarerumono (pictured above) has animal or demon ears of some description, including cat, lion, wolf, rabbit and some rather strange wing-ears.
  • In Galaxy Angel, Mint has goat ears.
  • Horo from Spice and Wolf has wolf ears and a tail, as she's a wolf-god. However, that doesn't change the fact that they look more like they belong to a fox (being red-orange with white fluffy tips). When you see her in full wolf form, her fur pattern is distinctly different from fox's, despite of sharing similar ears and tail, which are the same as on her humanoid form.
  • The Harpie Ladies in Yu-Gi-Oh! usually have jigokumimi-type ears. However, when Harpie's Feather Duster is played, they sprout extra wings and get winglike ears.
  • Quick indication of someone being a familiar in Lyrical Nanoha is the existance of furry animal ears where human ears would usually be found.
  • Kuon of Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever naturally has fox ears, being a kitsune.
  • Solty from Solty Rei has long, pointy ears/antennae that are the same color as her hair.
  • In Last Exile, some members of the Guild (Dio and Luciola are most prominent) have slightly pointed ears. They're normal-sized, just...pointed at the top.
  • Romulus from the 1 + 1/2 Nekutai doujinshi sports a pair of wolf ears, hidden under his hat. It holds true for basically all the werewolves after their first transformation, including Remus.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Kotaro, being half-inugami, has a pair of pointed ears sprouting from his head which he can somehow fold beneath his hair.
    • In the Magic World arc, large part of Magic World population have some unusual ears: jigokumimi, cat ears, sheep ears... Wearing fake cat ears becomes an effective disguise, not a decoration.
  • In the "extra chapter" of Hayate the Combat Butler, Hinagiku gains donkey ears (Though they look much more like kyuubi ears). Something similar happens when Arthur of the current series Merlin gains donkey ears.
  • The Dogsians in Asobi ni Iku yo!!
  • Yomi from YuYu Hakusho has six huge, pointy ears, three on each side of his head.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Star Trek, with its Rubber-Forehead Aliens, has many.
    • Vulcans and Romulans, of course, go under Pointy Ears.
    • Ferengi ears are a major part of their identity. They are huge and roughly equivalent to Brass Balls (men have bigger lobes than women, and good businessmen are complimented on their lobes), as well as erogenous zones.
    • The Vorta from Deep Space Nine have long, thin ears from their chin to their crown.
    • Neelix and other Talaxians in Voyager have larger and thinner ears than humans.
    • Phlox, from Enterprise, has ridgey ears. This is the least unusual feature of his anatomy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the LARP campaign set "Isole Del Cielo" (Island of the Sky), some race has Unusual Ears. Dremmach have furry ears, while Arno have big, pointed ears, with big earrings. Those are needed to calibrate the magic perception sense, so that Arno can feel a single kind of magic, instead of every kind at the same time (that would be uncomfortable). Underworld LARP has Savar and Wolven (cat and dog/wolf people respectively) who wear unusual ears as part of their costume.

    Video Games 
  • The Rehda in Ys VI have long, outward-pointing ears and fox-like tails. Some of them dismissively call humans "Small-ears", as well.
  • Fran from Final Fantasy XII (and all viera in the various Ivalice Alliance games) has rabbit ears.
  • The Chiesters in Umineko no Naku Koro ni have bunny ears, for some reason.
  • Mariel and her Expies in the Wild ARMs games (an elw) have long, floppy, furry ears.
  • All of the Reploids in Mega Man Zero & cyborgs in Mega Man ZX seem to have these strange white headphone-like things instead of human ears, which is strange, considering that the first Mega Man had proper ears, despite being much less advanced. Certain Robot Masters in Mega Man tend to have these ears, such as Metal Man and Turbo Man.
  • Antenna ears, floppy pig and bear ears, and most other things you can staple to the side of your head are available in City of Heroes/Villains.
  • True to form, Gaia Online has a tremendous variety of ear accessories for your avatar to wear.
  • Klonoa has long, rabbit-like ears that actually add a gameplay element—they let him hover briefly, just enough to reach that next ledge.
  • Animal youkai in Touhou often have ears reflecting their animal nature:
    • Ran has fox ears, which she wears a hat over.
    • Chen and Orin both have cat ears, Orin in addition to a pair of human ears.
    • Nazrin has mouse ears.
    • Tewi, the fairies in Eientei, Reisen, Reisen II, and the moon rabbit army all have rabbit ears.
    • Mystia, oddly enough, has feathered Pointy Ears that look like wings. She's a sparrow and wouldn't normally have external ears. ** Toyosatomimi no Miko from Ten Desires has her hair shaped like animal ears.
  • Felicia from Darkstalkers.
  • Cat, tiger, lion, and wolf Laguz in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn have ears like the animals they can turn into.
  • Beastmen of Lunar usually have these. A few of the women of the species do, too, but usually they tend more towards jigokumimi.
  • The members of the Lesser Fellpool race in the Star Ocean series have ears like this.
  • Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils: Bunny has both bunny ears and cat ears as a result of a catular power plant explosion. She's less than happy about it, too.
  • Len in Kagetsu Tohya as well as a handful of other non-human characters such as Seven/Nanako.
  • Any City of Heroes character can have cat ears, and the normal human ears only "go away" if you hide them.
  • A few characters in Trinity Universe: Kanata (dog), Tsubaki (fox) and Miyu (cat).
  • March and Salsa in Eternal Sonata both have pointy ears and this is really the only thing that indicates that they are Not Quite Human, other than that March mentions that she's "never known the agogos to approach a human before."
  • One of the most unusual sets of ears in fiction is the Roggenrola line from Pokémon. You see those indentations that look like Eyes? They're ears.

    Web Comics 
  • In 9th Elsewhere, the Muse people have feathered-wings ears.
  • In Terinu instead of ears, every Galen has four to seven thin tines of bone like piano keys on either side of their skull.
  • In the Homestuck End of Act 5 flash: Upon ascending to God Tier, Jade gains a snazzy pair of dog ears to go with near omnipotence and immortality.
  • Faith in Alone in a Crowd is a Cat Girl.
  • The cast of Karin-dou 4koma are primarily youkai, so there are plenty of characters with ears to match their type, be it animal ears or some variant of Pointy Ears.
  • In My Roommate Is an Elf Jacinda and her mother have cat-like ears. Sebastian has droopy ears that resemble a dog's.

    Western Animation 
  • Odd of Code Lyoko gets cat ears added to his Lyoko avatar in Season 4.

    Real Life 

Antenna

    Anime & Manga 

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Beetleborgs episode "Buggin Out", Flabber sprouts these when he goes through stage 2 of turning into kombat gnat.
  • And the blue Andorians from Star Trek have some expressive antenna for ears.

    Video Games 
  • Multi from To Heart.
  • The protagonist Quote and Curly Brace from Cave Story. However, they're very hard to see and so it comes as a surprise when you find out that your character, Quote, and Curly Brace are robots from the surface.

    Web Comics 
  • Averted in Megatokyo, where the android Ping has normal-looking ears with big plastic earrings that contain connectors and LCD's.


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