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Animal-Themed Superbeing

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She doesn't need luck. She eats nuts.
Art by Yunyin.

"I'd be far more embarrassed to dress up like, say, an animal. Now that would be silly. Face it. The hundreds of would-be badass capes who practice species crossdressing as various theoretically intimidating animals? That's one step removed from being a furry. Talk about embarrassing."
Maidman (explaining his choice of crime-fighting identity), Empowered

Animals are cool! They're scary, they have big teeth, they're fast, and they're stronger than us humans. It's no wonder that the cunning and beastly features of animals have served as inspiration for superheroes and villains for decades.

While Animal Superheroes are animals as superheroes, these characters are human, or at least humanoid. Their names can sometime invoke Something Person, but it's not always the case. These characters can also overlap with Beast Man if the hero or villain resembles their namesake. There are generally four types of this character.

Animal Abilities: Does whatever an animal can! These characters have powers, names, and personal appearances all based on one particular animal. This is the most common version.

Animal Alias: Does...something else. Usually, these characters are Badass Normal characters with an animal motif, or they are superpowered characters based on animals In Name Only. This is also where you might find martial artists who name themselves after their Chinese zodiac sign or fighting style, and use names such as Tiger or Monkey.

Mythical Monster Motif: Does whatever a mythical animal can! These characters may invoke the other three types, but the one thing they have in common is that they are named after mythical animals such as dragons, unicorns, and gryphons.

All Animal Abilities: Does whatever any animal can! These characters can channel the abilities of almost any animal or possibly even shapeshift into one particular animal or another. Sometimes, they are limited to only one type of animal or have to be in the proximity of an animal to gain its power, but it's not always the case.


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Animal Abilities

    Anime & Manga 
  • The title character of Black Cat, Train Heartnet, has abilities and other traits associates with cats, though they're not entirely obvious and simply come from training. He's primarily The Gunslinger, but has extreme jumping ability, hyper-developed vision, smell, and hearing, and his Pistol-Whipping is described as swiping a claw. He also wears a collar with a bell on it.
  • Atsushi from Bungou Stray Dogs originally turns into a white tiger involuntary every time he was presented under the moon. Under Fukuzawa's help, he's able to partially or fully transform by his own will. In human form he also has white hair and yellow eyes.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Animal Abilities is a rather common kind mutation quirk. Tsuyu Asui is a frog, the hero Selkie is a spotted seal, hero and school counselor Hound Dog is a dog, hero Gang Orca is an orca whale, and heroine Mirko is a rabbit. These quirks are usually fairly versatile, offering several different superpowers that fall under the category of 'what [insert animal here] does'. Tsuyu, for example, has super leg strength, a Multipurpose Tongue, incredible swimming ability, and slightly poisonous mucus (and later, the ability to camouflage herself). They also tend to come with animal weaknesses, such as Tsuyu being vulnerable to extreme temperatures and Gang Orca being vulnerable to drying out.
    • That being said, it's also not uncommon to see animal mutations that don't provide any benefit. The chief of police has a dog head and one of his officers has a cat's head, but they don't have anything else beyond that. Tokoyami has a bird's head, and while he does have an impressive power, the two are completely unrelated.
  • There’s a cow quirk hero in the spinoff, My Hero Academia: Vigilantes
  • One-Punch Man: Watchdog Man is an S-Class hero who wears a dog costume. He can run on all fours like a dog and has sharp senses.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Spider-Man: This is prevalent among both the heroes and the villains.
      • Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can. However, in most versions his body does not produce webs itself (he had to invent the web formula and the web-shooters), and as some fans never tire of pointing out, whether he has artificial or organic web-shooters, the webs don't come out of his butt. His vaguely defined "Spider-Sense" also puts him more into mythical territory, as it operates more like a "sixth sense" than anything encountered with real-life spiders.
      • Former villainess and Spidey's old love interest Black Cat. Like him, she had a paranormal ability, that of causing "bad luck" to people around her. She's also had more physical powers like enhanced strength, speed and reflexes, and cat-like claws.
      • The Rhino is a thug subjected to chemical and genetic augmentation that gave him vast strength and durability and outfitted with a heavy protective costume that he was trapped in for years after it bonded to his skin. A plot point for some time was his trying to get free of it and leave crime, only to get a new upgraded costume and go back to crime as he couldn't hack it as a regular Joe.
      • The Vulture is an old man in a flight suit designed to look vulture-like. Amusingly, his resemblance to the bird is helped by being bald. He was on occasion imitated by a younger guy (who stole the secret of his flight suit) and by a trio of minor villains called the Vulturions.
      • The Lizard, who combines this trope with Beast Man.
      • Stegron, a dinosaur-based character who is also a Beast Man.
      • Morbius, who is a human-vampire bat hybrid with the emphasis usually on the 'vampire' part, but has also turned into a full-on bat person.
      • There were also villains called the Grizzly, the Kangaroo, and the Gibbon, and each looked the part.
      • This was parodied with the Walrus, a super-strong idiot who had a lot of trouble coming up with a supervillainous identity, finally being inspired by the Beatles song. His battle cry: "Goo Goo Ga-Joob!" Mocked endlessly during a team-up/fight with Deadpool. Walrus describes himself as having the proportional strength, agility and speed of a walrus... which probably means that he's weaker than another man of his build.
      • Venom is Spidey's Evil Counterpart, so he is technically spider-based even if his name doesn't directly invoke a spider, though venom is a well-known attribute of several spider species.
      • Dr. Octopus is a given, with his 4 mechanical octopus-like arms (making a total of 8 limbs).
      • The Fly, also known as the Human Fly. Like Spider-Man, he's got the powers of his namesake creature, but his costume doesn't exactly scream it out loud at you.
      • And Puma, the Magical Native American and current Anti-Hero.
      • Scorpion wore a suit with a big ol' scorpion tail on the back; he was deliberately themed this way because he was created specifically to hunt down Spider-man as a kind of Evil Counterpart (scorpions being spider predators). The same character also had the role of Venom for a while.
      • There have been multiple characters named Spider-Woman over the years, as well as three Spider-Girls, two of which are Spider-Man's daughters from alternate universes.
    • The Wasp. While her husband only has ant aesthetics (see below), she has wings and "stingers".
    • X-Men:
      • The villain and sometime Magneto lackey Toad, who can leap great distances. Later, he was given a toad-like tongue and the ability to secrete slime. (Ironically, it's frogs, not toads, that do this.)
      • X-Men offshoot teams such as X-Factor, Excalibur, X-Force, and New Mutants have included many animal-based members. Wolfsbane was a member of all four aforementioned teams.
      • Catseye was a member of the Hellions, a rival team to the above-mentioned New Mutants. She could transform into a cat or a human-panther hybrid. Even in human form, she retained catlike features like slitted eyes and a tail.
    • Daredevil:
      • The joke character Leap-Frog was a man in a frog suit who could jump really high. His son took the costume to become the hero Frog-Man who frequently tried to become Spider-Man's sidekick.
      • The Owl is has a flight harness and Wolverine Claws akin to an owl's talons. Later stories also portrayed him as a Knowledge Broker, playing on the "owls being wise" thing.
    • Captain America:
      • Cobra leads a supervillain group called the Serpent Society with several snake-themed villains. Most of the original team members (like Bushmaster, Anaconda, and Cottonmouth) have snake-themed powers, whereas later additions (like Diamondback, Black Racer, and Rock Python) typically just had snake names that loosely tied into their powers or abilities.
      • Captain America's occasional Sidekick the Falcon.
      • Cap has also had enemies named the Porcupine and the Armadillo.
    • Thor has one of these as a villain: the super-fast Beast Man, Mongoose.
    • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, complete with tree-climbing claws and a bushy squirrel tail.
      • One of her would-be allies from her Great Lakes Avengers days was the Grasshopper, a heroic guard in green Powered Armor with powerful jumping ability and grasshopper stylings. Sadly, the heroes' tenures tended to get shorter and shorter each time they were featured...
    • The C-Lister (at best) mutant supervillain the Mandrill is a humanoid ape who possesses superhuman strength, agility, reflexes and climbing abilities, all traits inherited from his mandrill-like form. Nobody ever remembers these aspects because he's far more infamous for his "super-rapist" power, which has no direct correlation to his animal identity.
    • Greer Nelson started off as the Cat but later turned into a tiger woman, changed her name to Tigra and joined The Avengers. Patsy Walker would then take up Greer's old costume, becoming Hellcat.
    • The villainous Count Nefaria has a whole team of these, called the Ani-Men, deliberately mutated from human stock.
    • Marvel UK's Gene Dogs are a team of heroes who've been genetically enhanced using animal DNA. In most cases, the exact animal isn't stated, but Tyr is based on some sort of dinosaur, Panther and her replacement Cat are both feline, and Kestrel is certainly bird-themed. Downplayed with Howitzer (sea reptile DNA) and Pacer (some sort of ferocious carnivore), who don't have an overt animal theme.
  • DC Comics:
    • Batman has faced several villains of this type, such as Man-Bat, Killer Croc, and Orca.
    • The recurring villainess the Queen Bee is an alien empress with insect-like strength and speed, projectile stingers, and mind-control pollen that can turn ordinary humans into "drones" for her hive.
    • There are four versions of the Wonder Woman villain Cheetah. Priscilla Rich and Deborah Domaine were regular humans who dressed up like a cheetah. Barbara Minerva and Sebastian Ballesteros were magically transformed into actual Cat Folk.
    • Owlwoman, member of the Global Guardians and later brainwashed by Queen Bee to fight the Justice League International, has flight, enhanced senses, and (after being modified by Queen Bee) talon-like claws, which is why she chose the name.
    • Red Bee: The Red Bee uses a single trained bee to fight crime. His successor, his grandniece Jenna, uses battle armor and two big robotic bees that fire lasers.
    • Robin (1993) villain Tapeworm has a human head and upper torso, but his lower body is segmented, long and detachable like his namesake. He also smells revolting, probably because of the internal parasite nature of actual tapeworms.
    • Pantha of the Teen Titans is a young woman whose been modified with panther-based enhancements.
    • Wildcat III, Tommy Bronson of the Justice Society of America, is a were-panther.
    • Green Arrow:
  • There is a hero in The Savage Dragon named Widow who is a female character with spider-based powers including making webs. She follows the spider motif so completely that it is heavily implied and verified by Word of God that she made her webs the same way spiders make theirs.
  • Most animal-based heroes in Astro City don't appear in the comic long enough for their full power sets to be established, so most tend to be Type II (Animal Aliases) from what is shown.
    • Members of Honor Guard include Hummingbird, Stormhawk, and Wolfspider.
    • As expys of Batman and Robin, the teams of Leopardman/Kitkat and Nightingale/Sunbird wear animal-themed costumes, but don't otherwise appear to have any abilities related to their respective animals.
    • The television character Crimson Cougar has an above-average leap and claws on his costume.
    • The Lion and the Unicorn from Great Britain.
    • Cap'n Cookaburra and Wolfspider from Australia.
    • The Mock Turtle is a villain in a Power Armor suit.
    • The Otter is a small-time crook in a wetsuit. He sometimes works with The Owl and Mister Toad.
    • The original Hummingbird has the alias. Her daughter has actual hummingbird powers, which proves to be a Forced Transformation.
    • Palmetto of the Astro City Irregulars teen group resembles a giant cockroach, but hates to be called as such. Other animal-themed members include Stray, a heroic werewolf, and past member Alligator, a mutant reptile.
  • Femforce has She-Cat, who possesses enhanced strength with advanced agility and reflexes.
  • PS238:
  • The Pitiful Human Lizard: At first, Lucas only had a lizard persona, but then he tested a prototype painkiller that gave him a Healing Factor.
  • Pantha from Vampirella (not to be confused with the aforementioned character from Teen Titans). She can shapeshift into a black panther and in human form has great strength, speed, agility and claws.
  • The Shadow Hero: The Green Turtle has an image of a turtle on his cape, and is powered by an ancient tortoise spirit, but does not have turtle-themed powers.
  • The Leopard from Lime Street gained his powers after being scratched by a radioactive leopard, allowing him to do everything a leopard can and more.
  • The Goon:
    • The Buzzard, a former sheriff in the Old West who got hit by a zombie resurrection spell while still alive, turning him into a kind of "reverse zombie" - a living man who must eat the bodies of the dead. Now he can neither die nor remember his real name.
    • In the case of Fishy Pete, it's less animal theming and more just a general descriptor. Pete is a hulking fish man who talks like a pirate and runs the city docks.
  • Major Ursa, Gummi's alter-ego from Dollicious is a Teddy Bear-themed superheroine, who only solves Teddy-Bear related crimes.
  • There are a few of these in Katie the Catsitter. Madeline, as the Mousetress, dresses like a mouse, ironically despite having cats as her helpers. Katie, training to become her sidekick, briefly suggests becoming the "Moosetress" and being moose-themed, but drops that idea. There's also Eastern Screech, an owl-themed man.

    Fan Works 
  • Kitsune has the bee-themed Meliferra, in a yellow and black costume, and her real name being Beatrice Jenkins.
  • In The Secret Life of the Backyard Kids, Jorge has the strength, agilty, and sharp nails of a panther after morphing into one. According to Emily, wizards who do this stay that way for life.
  • In Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts, Catwoman has actual cat-related abilities, including enhanced night vision and the ability to communicate with cats. And fangs.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku becomes Spider-Man after being bitten by a genetically-modified spider and is mentored by a universe-displaced Peter Parker.

    Films — Animated 
  • Justice League × RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen: Batman gaining a Semblance in this world makes him switch from the usual "Animal Alias" version of this trope to the "Animal Abilities" side, with functional bat wings and enhanced vision.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • While Batman characters are usually just dress as animals, the Batman Returns version of the Penguin is a freak who acts and looks like a penguin. Catwoman is likewise a little more animalistic, her agility increases considerably, and she seemingly has nine lives.
  • Patience Phillips in Catwoman was a full-on Animal Abilities, her agility, strength and senses notably improved.
  • Applies to two of the Five Deadly Venoms. Lizard and Toad have apparently genuine supernatural abilities from their kung fu styles - Lizard can climb up walls and Toad is almost invincible.

  • Purple Quetzal from "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer" doubles as a version of this and Color Character, his powers being light manipulation and flight.
  • Members of the Order of Kresnik in We Walk the Night are empowered by Primal Spirits of animals. Each Kresnik has a totem animal that lends its abilities to them. They use these abilities to kill vampires.
  • Ziggzaged in The New Humans. Billy St. George resembles a cross between a human child and a tiger, and has a powerful roar, but his other abilities aren't very tiger-themed at all.
  • Moe Fuhrman in Suburban Senshi Rise Of The Magical Girl, has received the ability to gain the characteristics of any animal thanks to the Super Serum / Fantastic Drug Ultraforce.
  • The Perfect Run: Some Genomes like The Panda and Mosquito have animal motifs as their main gimmick. Basically, they transform into a giant version of the animal that can talk. Both the Panda and Mosquito are rather disappointed with their powers (it's why Mosquito took a second elixir), but it turns out that being a giant panda or mosquito is actually a pretty good power.

    Live-Action TV 
  • While several Super Sentai and Power Rangers teams have Animal Alias-style powers, a few teams actually use abilities and fighting styles based on their animals:
  • In Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Amazon is extremely bestial and looks like a lizardman. The same applies to the multiple protagonists of the adult remake, Kamen Rider Amazons. However, in both cases, it's less of having the abilities of a lizard and more of the fact that they fight like wild animals.
    • Most Riders just wear themed armor, but Shin Kamen Rider is an actual grasshopper-man.
    • The Riders of Kamen Rider Zero-One can use different forms based on animals, and each one has a specific specialty based on that animal; for instance, Zero-One's default is Rising Hopper (as in grasshopper) with a "Jump" ability. However, a few forms are examples of Animal Alias instead, with no real connection between the animal and power; like Vulcan's Shooting Wolf form being The Gunslinger with the power of "Bullet". Vulcan eventually acquires a Super Mode with All Animal Abilities, being All Your Powers Combined of every Rider's animal themes.
    • In Kamen Rider Saber, one of the three categories of powers is based on animals. Kamen Rider Blades uses the lion as his main power, being able to summon one to assist him; while Sabela has insect powers and abilities and Durandal has a sea creature theme. Saber and Espada also have animal powerups, an eagle with flight and wind abilities and a hedgehog for spike attacks, respectively. As with Vulcan, Blades also upgrades to an All Animal Abilities-themed Super Mode.
    • Monsters from the show are very often animal-themed, making them too many to list.
  • El Chapulín Colorado, in Spanish means "the Red Grasshopper" and some of his powers seem insect-related. His vinyl antennae can detect enemies a lot like Spider-Man's spider-sense, he can also turn grasshopper-size thanks to his "chiquitolina pills" and he also has the "Chicharra Paralizadora" (paralyzing hornet) that may be an allusion of the cricket's sound.


    • The Barraki were each themed after a different sea creature: Threatening Shark Pridak, Tentacled Terror Kalmah, Giant Enemy Crab Carapar, Psycho Electric Eel Ehlek, manta ray Mantax, and mantis (shrimp?) Takadox. Each of them also commanded an army of their respective animal.
    • The Phantoka and Mistika Makuta were themed after bats and insects, respectively. Of the Mistika, Krika appears similar to a stick insect, though his name indicates he might be some kind of cricket; Bitil is clearly a beetle, and Gorast may be designed after a mosquito.
  • The Wild Kids from SuperThings. Rather than being based on objects like the other Kazoom Kids, they are instead based on animals. They're granted various abilities that reflect the animals they became, along with outfits that blend the animal elements into them. Each Wild Kid has a SuperThing partner representative of the animal they're based on, combined with an inanimate object.

    Video Games 
  • In the F-Zero series, we have Octoman who, as the name implies, has eight arms. When asked if he could be any animal, what would he be, he answered that he would be an elephant, oddly enough.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots's boss characters have robot suits with animal appearances and abilities. Laughing Octopus's camouflage is similar to several species of octopi, for example.

  • Blue Jay from Heroes Unite/Heroes Alliance can transform into his namesake and also has a sonic screech attack. Also Kaine the White Tiger who is a were-tiger.
  • In Jungle Juice, all insect humans have a wide array of powers based on the insect they're merged with. For instance, Suchan was merged with a dragonfly, gaining its wings, powerful compound vision, and incredible speed in flight.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Parodied twice in the filler story "Stick-Figure Tales of Cotton". Torg's superhero origin story is that he was bitten by a radioactive rabbit and gained special powers: "I'm Lost All My Hair and Teeth Man!" But then some aliens cured him and actually gave him the "power of the bunny", and he became Captain Hippity, who could, uh, jump or something. Riff, on the other hand, didn't become an actual animal-themed superhero, but the concept was parodied in his origin story, too: His parents were shot, Batman-style, whereupon he became "Orphan-Boy", with the proportional speed, strength and dexterity of someone without parents. (Then the aliens helped him become a real superhero too.)
  • Isla Grace from Professor Amazing and the Incredible Golden Fox: receives a fox-shaped engagement ring from her husband-to-be, Parker, which gifts her with the ability to transform into a fox (both anthropomorphic and full fox versions). She then feels it's only appropriate to put her new powers to use in the service of her community.
  • Strawberry from Frog Raccoon Strawberry is a rare case of this trope applying to an Animal Superhero, being an anthropomorphic raccoon in a frog suit with frog powers. And strawberry powers too in one of her Super Modes.
  • In El Goonish Shive, a guest comic features the main cast as superheros with Elliot as "Big Cat" with the powers that come with being able to transform into an anthropomorphic cat.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: The Avatar superpower means that you can hold a magical spirit and gain powers from it. Anyone holding an animal spirit falls into this: Kodiak has the powers of the bear; Silverwing has the powers of the eagle; Aquerna has the powers of the squirrel.

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Bees is a bee-themed superhero who fights crimes and resolves bee-related situations with more bees. However, he has no control over the insects and ends up making most situations worse.
  • CollegeHumor: Parodied in the two-episode cartoon Furry Force, which stars a group of four werebeasts who only stop their nemesis Victor Vivisector because he'd rather kill himself than fight them.
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the viewer may at first suspect Bad Horse is just an Animal Themed Superbeing. Surprise!

    Western Animation 
  • Much like the film section above, the Batman: The Animated Series and The Batman versions of the Penguin character are more animal-like than his comic counterpart.
  • The heroes from ThunderCats all had cat-themed appearances, powers, and gadgets. They were actually aliens but somehow, everything about them was modeled after jungle cats of Earth.
  • Monkey Fist from Kim Possible had the hands and feet of a monkey and was a master of Monkey Kung Fu.
  • In Barbie in Princess Power, Kara and her cousin's costumes have butterfly motifs, as butterflies gave them their powers.
  • In Gargoyles, Wolf of the Pack started as an Animal Alias, but became this when he willingly spliced himself with wolf DNA to become stronger.
  • PJ Masks: The 3 (4 as of season 2) hero's suits and superhero names are based on a cat, owl, gecko and armadillo respectively. As for their powers, the trope is zigzagged. Catboy's super agility and sharp hearing, Gekko's Chameleon Camouflage and Wall Crawl, Owlette's ability to fly, enhanced vision and wind powers, and Armadylan's Rolling Attack are powers one could expect from a hero with that animal motive, while other powers like Catboy's superspeed or Gekko's/Armadylan's Super-Strength, are not.
  • Clyde Donovan's pretend superhero alter ego in South Park, Mosquito. He was bitten by a radioactive mosquito, and has the powers of flight, controlling other mosquitoes, and drinking his enemies' blood. He also makes buzzing noises constantly as a Verbal Tic, even in writing.
  • Molly of Denali: Oscar's idea for a superhero is Niinjii, who is themed after a lynx.

Animal Alias

    Anime & Manga 
  • My Hero Academia has the superhero team the Wild Wild Pussycats, consisting of Mandalay, Pixiebob, Ragdoll, and Tiger, who all wear cat-ear-themed headsets and cat tails with their costumes, but their quirks have nothing to do with cats.
  • One-Punch Man: "Snake Fist" Snek is an A-Class hero who fights like a snake.
  • Ratman: The hero transforms in to a Venom-like being and in it's later stages has a rat's tail, but it doesn't really seem a lot like a Rat ability-wise.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (aka G-Force) depicts bird-themed teens fighting in a birdlike ship.
  • Wild Tiger and Rock Bison from Tiger & Bunny. Their names come from the Eastern Zodiac.
    • Actually, when you think about it, many of the NEXT heroes (and some villains) are based on the Eastern Zodiac. Barnaby (Bunny), Dragon Kid, Ouroboros, ect.
  • If we were to go by their lion-like mech designs, the heroes from Voltron would also count.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, animals are a popular theme for Ghouls establishing their disguises.
    • The One-Eyed Owl, the legendary Ghoul that rampaged a decade prior to the series and later became the leader of Aogiri.
    • Kaya "Black Dog" Irimi, who leads a gang of dog-masked Ghouls called the "Black Dobers".
    • Enji "Devil Ape" Koma, who leads a gang of ape-masked Ghouls with a fighting style heavily influenced by primates.
    • Touka "Rabbit" Kirishima, who dons a rabbit-themed disguise. As an Ukaku, her fighting style favors speed and agility.
    • Ken Kaneki, who becomes associated with Creepy Centipedes later in the series. He begins wearing an Eyepatch of Power with centipede embroidery and has a Kakuja with centipede-like tails.
    • Shachi, a powerful Ghoul Bare-Fisted Monk. His nickname means "Orca", and his kagune resembles the tail of one.
    • In the sequel, there's the snake-themed Orochi, Nishiki Nishio. His mask is modeled after a python's head and his kagune resembles a snake's tail.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics:
    • Batman, naturally enough, is bat-themed to play on the fears and superstitions of the criminals he fights.
      • Spoofed in the comedic Batman: Black and White story "Batsman: Swarming Scourge of the Underworld", whose protagonist is bats-themed, plural: his origin story involves an entire flock of bats flying through his window instead of just a single bat, so his costume has lots of tiny toy bats dangling off it and his bat-signal is an oval with the silhouettes of many small bats instead of one huge one.
      • This goes for the Batfamily as well: the various Robins, Batgirls and Batwomen.
      • Technically, Robin's schtick was originally based on Robin Hood (ASBAR, of all things, remembered this), but in-universe, he's prone to nicknames like "Bird Boy", so people definitely believe this trope is in play.
      • The same goes for Catwoman and her Spear Counterpart Catman.
      • The comic version of Penguin isn't really penguin-like, either; his appearance is short with a long nose, and he often has a fondness for birds, but he lacks any distinct penguin abilities.
      • There are also Killer Moth and Firefly, who wear insectoid armor.
      • Zebra-Man, whose powers have nothing to do with zebras, despite having a black and white striped skin. It's even pointed out by Harley Quinn when they work together in the Suicide Squad.
    • Black Manta, from Aquaman comics and the Secret Six.
    • Superman: The various Nightwings (Superman, Dick Grayson, Power Girl, Chris Kent...) and Flamebirds (Jimmy Olsen, Ak-Var, Bette Kane, Supergirl, Thara Ak-Var...) are named after Kryptonian animals (mythological beings in the Post-Crisis universe).
    • The Blue Beetles generally fall under this, either being superpowered but not having a beetle's powers (like Dan Garrett and Jaime Reyes), or being a Badass Normal with a beetle theme (like Ted Kord). The closest any of them get to Animal Abilities is Jaime using beetle wings to fly.
    • Robin (1993) villain the Redback Spider, or just Redback, doesn't have any spider abilities, though she does carry wrist-mounted "fighting needles" filled with and covered in spider venom.
    • Bronze Tiger, Suicide Squad member and Richard Dragon's brother through having the same Parental Substitute sensei.
    • Wildcat, Ted Grant, one of the Justice Society of America's three old men, is a Badass Normal boxer.
    • Tiger, Judomaster's Japanese-American Kid Sidekick. He actually got the name due to Rip calling him "tiger" in the same way one might say "kid" or "sport" and his costume does not reflect the animal at all.
  • Green Arrow foes:
    • Hyrax
    • Skylark (triplet archers)
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The various characters who have used the name Ant-Man actually don't really have ant powers. They shrink. Sometimes he/they can also control ants, which while not something ants actually do is at least ant-related.
    • Black Widow is a spy and superhero who isn't as hung-up on the spider-imagery as certain other Marvel heroes. Although a couple of her costumes prominently show a black widow spider, the visual reference is most often kept to just an hourglass. Most of her gear is named with a spider-motif (Widow's Web, Widow's Bite, etc.). The Black Widow name is more often used metaphorically to tie with her melancholy past — specifically, it notes her original training as a metaphorical Black Widow, being a female assassin and spy specialized in using the Honey Trap maneuver to complete her missions.
    • There was an obscure villain from The Golden Age of Comic Books called the Armless Tiger Man. He was a man, he was armless... the tiger part of his name is a mystery, but most likely stems from his focus on killing people with his teeth.
    • Spider-Man has a few of these in his rogues gallery as well:
      • The Jackal looks like a green monster and likes to clone people. Not exactly jackal-like behavior.
      • The Beetle fought Spidey as well as Daredevil and Iron Man multiple times. He wore a Powered Armor that kinda-sorta looked beetle-like due to his wings that folded up when not in use, but that was it. He later changed his name to Mach-5 and joined the Thunderbolts.
      • There is also Black Cat, who eventually becomes an Anti-Hero. She had luck powers for a short period of time and then lost them. However, she gained cat-like abilities such as retractable claws, night vision and enhanced speed, agility, balance and strength. She lost these powers too and has since regained her bad luck powers putting her back in the category of type 1.
      • The Chameleon doesn't actually blend in with his surroundings, rather, he simply wears disguises to look like other people. The animal part is mostly in the name.
      • White Rabbit is a Lethal Joke Character with no actual powers.
    • The Spider-Woman/Thunderbolts character Gypsy Moth is another example of a character whose powers are indirectly related to her name. She can telekinetically unravel cloth. She later started going by Skein, although White Rabbit insisted on her using Gypsy Moth as a member of the Menagerie.
    • Black Panther is a Super-Soldier in a cat-like suit. His sense of smell is enhanced, but so are his hearing and eyesight.
    • Wolverine:
      • The titular character might appear at first glance to have an animal motif, since he has enhanced senses and claws, but those are very generic animal traits. His claws pop out of the back of his knuckles, which does not happen in the animal kingdom. Then you get into his metal skeleton, Healing Factor, and the fact that his blue and yellow striped costume does not resemble a wolverine at all. Some later made attempts to change this a bit to various degrees of success. Wolverine is more "animal symbolism" than anything; his power-set invokes the wolverine's reputation as an extremely tough and aggressive creature that can basically shred whatever it's going after.
      • The same goes for his villain, Sabretooth. He does have fangs, but certainly not massive ones like his namesake, and his primary weapon are his claw-like fingernails in any case.
    • Patsy Walker, formerly an Archie-like character from some Slice of Life Golden Age comics, inherited Greer Nelson's original suit (see Tigra above) and named herself Hellcat. (Turns out the Golden Age comics were stories written by the "real Patsy's" mom. Everyone from them exists, but anything too wacky for the mainstream Marvel Universe was probably Mrs. Walker using artistic license.)
    • A recurring character in the Sub-Mariner series is Stingray, a guy wearing a red and white Powered Armor suit. It can go underwater... but it can also fly.
    • The X-Men had Maggott, a short-time blue-skinned member whose power was that he had two giant maggot-like creatures that could eat anything; they were not autonomous, but were in fact part of his digestive system. They had to re-attach themselves to him and transfer the partially digested food to him to be metabolized and excreted. You can kinda see why they didn't keep him around for long.
  • Most animal-based heroes in Astro City don't appear long enough for their full power sets to be established, so most seem to fall under this category:
    • Nightingale and Sunbird, expys of Batman and Robin.
    • Earlier, there was Leopardman and Kitkat.
    • The Lion and the Unicorn from Great Britain combine this with Captain Geographic.
    • As does Kookaburra from Australia.
    • The Otter is a small-time crook in a wetsuit and breathing mask.
  • Billy the Cat in The Beano is a teenage superhero who wears a cat themed outfit and is very acrobatic. But doesn't really seem to have the powers of a cat.
  • Calico (2020): The titular hero is a New York City-based vigilante who metes out justice in particularly brutal fashion, but doesn't have any cat-based powers.
  • The Magical Native American American Eagle first appeared in Contest of Champions (1982), and is perhaps the only character to invoke both this trope and Captain Patriotic.
  • In PS238, Charles is given the code name "Greyhound" when he joins the rival Superhero School, Praetorian Academy. In this case it seems entirely random, as it has nothing to do with his teleporting ability.
  • Stray: The Doberman and The Rottweiler. They were a Father-Son Team of dog-costumed vigilantes who fought criminals in their city. They had a bunch of dog-themed devices to aid them in their job.
  • Both Nite Owls from Watchmen, but to different degrees:
    • Nite Owl I, Hollis Mason, named himself after the metaphor (after his police co-workers noted he ditched afterwork drinks to "work"), instead of directly after the bird. As a result, his costume had no obvious owl motifs (aside from the brown color scheme), and his MO was based around more mundane, straightforward martial arts more than anything else.
    • Nite Owl II, Dan Dreiberg, styles himself directly after actual owls. Not surprising, since he is an actual, published ornithologist. His costume is outfitted with a stylized set of googles, cape and cowl that actually makes him look like a giant owl, and he uses a wide array of flashy Batman-esque owl-themed gadgets. The most notable is his ship, a silent, bespectacled aircraft lovingly nicknamed "Archie" (short for "Archimedes"). We eventually learn that over-the-top superhero costumes are a bit of a sexual kink for him.

    Fan Works 
  • Domoverse: Super Bear, being a hot pink polar bear with a demon tail and horns.
  • The Tick vs... MY HERO ACADEMIA! has multiple instances of people using animal hero names, with one example being Izuku, who uses "Jack Rabbit" as his Pro Hero alias and "Aphid" as his Vigilante name.
    • Tsunotori follows his example when she becomes Tree Leaper.
    • And of course, the Tick.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The eponymous Black Cougar is a Ridiculously Human Robot who's aided by a legion of action figures.
  • The Black Scorpion TV-movie series features a Batman-esque heroine.
  • The Pumaman has powers... just not any that are related to pumas.
  • Zebraman spoofs Japanese toku series with the eponymous hero imagining himself as a Zebra-themed superhero who has few zebra-like qualities.
  • Three of the Five Deadly Venoms - namely, Centipede, Snake, and Scorpion - are Badass Normal types whose animal theming informs their combat styles in non-supernatural ways.

  • Lone Wolf from the eponymous series. The name mostly invokes the Noble Wolf trope and the fact he's the Last of His Kind. Though he sure has plenty superpowers through his Kai disciplines, none are especially wolf-inspired. Some illustrations use a wolf motif, for example as a belt buckle in The Skull of Agarash. Said graphic novel also superimposes the image of a wolf's head over Lone Wolf's face to show he's using his psychic powers.

  • The pulp character The Spider was a hero more along the lines of The Shadow and had little to no resemblance to his namesake.
  • Zorro is Spanish for "fox".
  • The Moth Club in The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, whose aliases are chosen by Amy Thomsett/Kentish Glory, who just likes moths. She can levitate, Light Fingers/Large Dark Prominent has superspeed, and the other two don't have powers at all. (Eventually, Amy is able to develop her levitation into flight, and the moth name becomes more appropriate.)

    Live-Action TV 

  • Red Panda Adventures: The Red Panda and the Flying Squirrel are normal humans who fight crime with the aid of gadgets and powerful hypnosis powers in the Panda's case. The powered supervillains often follow similar theme naming, such as the Super Speedy Jack Rabbit and the Mad Monkey. When the heroes face the Electric Eel, the Flying Squirrel asks if he has eel powers to go along with his Shock and Awe.

  • Simon from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues has an evil split personality known as the Dark Dragon. They gain the superpower to control plasma, which lets them create, absorb, and control fire (alongside electricity). Besides that, they don't possess any draconic traits.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Pathfinder adventure features a Robin Hood-style masked vigilante called the Red Raven.
  • Exalted has many Exalts with names in this model — especially Lunar Exalts (who are animal-focused shapeshifters), but many others, too, such as Panther. Many powers likewise use animal theme naming, such as Graceful Crane Stance and Eagle-Wing Style.
  • GURPS Supers has, as a sample character, The Fox. Not only is he not based on vulpines, out of the rest of the supers he's a mere Badass Normal — all the character points, but no outright superpowers, just a lot of ability in Dexterity and Fencing. (How do the others feel? One of the chapter art illustrations shows him with two other heroes on the Moon to help ... somehow.)

    Video Games 
  • Many superhero and supervillain characters in the F-Zero series have Animal Motifs going for them, such as Captain Falcon, Blood Falcon, and Beastman. Captain Falcon returned in the Super Smash Bros. series as well.
  • In the Metal Gear series, every member of FoxHound, past or present. Solid Snake, Grey Fox, Decoy Octopus, Sniper Wolf, Vulcan Raven, Psycho Mantis. Some of these are superhuman, but none of their abilities fit the animal theme.
  • Persona 5 has Ann Takamaki (Panther), Yusuke Kitagawa (Fox), and Goro Akechi (Crow). This would be continued in Persona 5 Strikers with the addition of Zenkichi Hasegawa (Wolf).

    Visual Novels 
  • The members of the Syndicate, the vigilante team who make up the main cast of Villainous Nights, each have an animal alias and wear a mask with the corresponding motif: Wolf, Cat, Badger, Falcon, and Bat. Aside from Cat (electricity), their elemental powers correspond in some degree to their animal alias: ice for Wolf, rock and earth for Badger, and wind for Falcon. Once the heroine joins them, she acquires the alias "Monarch," as in butterfly.

  • Mystery Horse from Realm of Owls took his name from, well, a horse and has super powers. At least he claims to have.

    Web Original 
  • The Legion of Nothing has Larry, a wearer of Powered Armor, a.k.a. the Rhino because he's tough and flightless, who goes undercover as the Frog, who's green and bouncy!

    Western Animation 
  • G.I. Joe has the terrorist group Cobra as enemies. Almost all of them were named after snakes or reptiles, but the similarities were usually few and far in between. Eventually it was decided that they were a front for Cobra-La, an ancient cult of Lovecraft ripoffs that were half-snake; Cobra Commander, formerly a con artist turned megalomaniac, became a snake-person under his mask.
  • Parodied in Phineas and Ferb, where Phineas and Ferb become a bird-themed superhero called "The Beak", and Candace makes a super-villain persona for herself called "The Danger-raffe". It's just as ridiculous as it sounds, especially when Candace dragoons Stacy into being her henchman "The Danger-bil".
  • Also parodied in Doug, where the title character constantly imagines himself as Quailman.
  • The Venture Bros. villain The Monarch has neither the abilities of his insectoid namesake nor an accurate understanding of what its abilities actually are.
  • In Gargoyles, there's a villain group called The Pack who has canine-based personas: Fox, Wolf, Dingo, Jackal, Hyena, and Coyote. When offered a choice of upgrades, Wolf choose the Half-Human Hybrid option. Also, in one episode, Fox was a werewolf... uh, werefox(?) due to the mystical amulet, The Eye of Odin.
  • The second Turtle Titan in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) adopted the turtle motif from the original T.T. — Michelangelo.
  • Episodes of South Park have Cartman dressed as "The Coon" in a raccoon based costume.
  • Parodied in The Fairly OddParents! with Cat Man, a wanna-be superhero portrayed by Adam West.
  • Mummies Alive!: The armors allude to different Egyptian sacred animals: Ja-Kal-falcon, Nefertine-cat, Armon-ram and Rath-snake. Big Bad Scarab has a beetle, as the name implies.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, each Miraculous is based around a specific animal and its themes, and their wearers transform into superheroes or supervillains with outfits reflecting the particular animals. Their abilities have little or nothing to do with the real animals, aside from the black cat-themed Chat Noir having night vision and superior hearing as minor aspects of his powers (as well as claws). Instead, they each get generic superhuman strength, agility and durability, along with a set of unique supernatural powers loosely based on the animals' symbolic meanings — Ladybug and Chat Noir being good and bad luck, respectively.
  • In Spider-Woman, the titular Spider-Woman's main powers are flight and shooting laser beams, just like real spiders.
  • The Tick:
    • The Tick is a parody of this. He doesn't appear to have any tick-related powers (except probably his Nigh-Invulnerability), and this is lampshaded in the first episode of the animated series, where a bystander asks him if he sucks blood.
      Bystander: What sort of costume is that supposed to be?
      The Tick: "Costume"? No costume, friend. I am, simply: the Tick.
      Bystander: Well, you can't be "the tick". Ticks are arachnids: They got eight legs.
      The Tick: ...How do you know I don't?
      Bystander: Ticks suck blood. Do you suck blood?
      The Tick: Uh... yeah! I... suck blood all the time!
      Bystander: Yeah, right.
      The Tick: Look! I got a straw right here, pal, you want a demonstration?!
    • Further parodied with Arthur, who has a moth suit that lets him fly but otherwise doesn't use a superhero identity or any such thing. People keep referring to him as "the bunny guy", assuming the suit is a rabbit costume and that it makes him this trope.
    • Barry from the original comic and animated series also took the superhero name "The Tick" for himself. Like The Tick, he also has no tick-related superpowers: He's a rich guy who became a superhero because he wants to hang out with other superheroes. He's none too pleased to meet the titual character.
      Barry: Where's the jerk who calls himself 'The Tick'?!
      The Tick: I am that jerk!... Who wants to know?
      Barry: You stole my superhero name, you parasite! I! Am! The! Tick!
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "A Beautiful Mine", Sheen plans to use his share of the gang's asterubies to fight crime as "Dingoman".
  • Koala Man parodies this. As the trailer demonstrates, the titular hero is just an ordinary dad trying to fight crime in a Koala mask with no formal training or gadgets.

Mythical Monster Motif

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Kid from Tiger & Bunny. As mentioned in the Animal Alias section above, she is named after her Zodiac sign.

    Comic Books 
  • The Savage Dragon was named as such because he was green and had a fin on his head which barely invokes a dragonlike appearance. Outside of his great strength, he had no dragonlike powers such as breathing fire or flying.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The villains the Unicorn and the Griffen. There were also two villains named the Sphinx (a man and woman respectively). Curiously, they were Egyptians but the mythical creature was technically Greek. The famous Egyptian statue was given a Greek name.
    • The Alpha Flight member Sasquatch looks the part.
    • Spider-Man, once again, had a few of these villains:
      • The multitude of Green Goblins and Hobgoblins over the years.
      • He also had a joke villain named the White Rabbit who based her persona completely on the character from Alice in Wonderland.
    • X-Men: Multiple characters have been called Phoenix and Thunderbird. Thunderbird was a Native American mutant named after the mythological bird, while the Phoenix is a cosmic force of nature... that channels the appearance of a different mythological bird for some reason (according to Excalibur, it had something to do with an ancient sorcerer who contacted it, recognized the similarities with the bird of legend and thought of it as such. The Phoenix decided that she rather liked this idea, and so became the cosmic firebird that the universe fears/reveres.
    • The Defenders have a villain named the Gargoyle, who can turn people into stone with a touch.
  • DC Comics:
    • In Kingdom Come, Beast Boy eventually changed his name to Menagerie and could take the form of any fictitious creatures.
    • Richard Dragon's chosen name is often shortened to "Dragon" and there is a common dragon motif in his casual clothes. He remains a Badass Normal (considered the best male unarmed, unpowered fighter in the DCU) despite the motif.
  • In PS238, an adult hero with flame abilities is called Firedrake.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers
  • In Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Kiva is a vampire, and can gain enhanced forms based on a werewolf, a gillman, and Frankenstein's monster. His Super Mode is dragon-based, to the point where he can actually turn into one later in the series.
    • The villains in Kamen Rider Wizard are Phantoms, evil spirits based on mythological creatures; for example, the main Phantoms include a Phoenix, a Medusa, and a Gremlin. Wizard himself gets his powers from the Dragon Phantom that's trapped within him, though the animal theme doesn't come out much until he uses a form that really starts drawing on the Dragon's power. Kamen Rider Beast has a similar deal, only the Phantom powering him is a Chimera, crossing into "All Animal Abilities".
    • While Kamen Rider Build pairs various animal powers with something else (see under All Animal Abilities), his ally Kamen Rider Cross-Z exclusively uses dragon powers.
    • In Kamen Rider Saber, one of the three categories of powers is based on mythical beasts. Saber and his Evil Counterpart Calibur are both themed around dragons, while Buster uses the powers of Genbu the Black Tortoise and Falchion has a phoenix. Blades and Espada also also have secondary mythical beast themes that they can use; a pegasus and cerberus respectively.
    • Kamen Rider Gotchard has several categories of powers that can be mixed with one another, and both supporting Riders make use of fantasy creatures in their mixes:
      • Kamen Rider Majade pairs mythical beasts with astronomical objects, such as sun-unicorn and moon-cerberus.
      • While initially only using vehicle powers, Valvarad eventually upgraded to incorporate "Occult" creatures (cryptids and Youkai) as well. His main form is a fusion of an Oni and a Cool Car, and he can augment it with further pairs like Orochi-excavator and angel-helicopter.

    Video Games 
  • F-Zero has a racer that calls himself Phoenix and comes equipped with wings on his racer.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Gargoyles David Xanatos wears a Powered Armor based on the eponymous heroes.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug example above crosses into this territory with the Dragon Miraculous, one of a set based on the Chinese Zodiac and the only Miraculous modeled on a mythical creature rather than a real animal.

All Animal Abilities

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: The Jaguar has all the powers of the animal kingdom amplified a thousandfold. For instance, summoning the toughness of a rhino's hide grants him invulnerability comparable to Superman.
  • DC Comics:
    • Animal Man: Buddy Baker started off simply using the abilities of any animals nearby, but eventually grew in power to the point where he can utilize the abilities of any animal on the planet, and then the universe.
    • Teen Titans: Beast Boy can turn into any animal he pleases, even extinct or fictional species.
    • Vixen: The Tantu totem allows Mari Mc Cabe to access the abilities and even mass of any animal she chooses (e.g. when she channels an elephant, her mass increases to the point that her model-thin body can crush full-grown men). Her powers also apply to non-terrestrial animals, so long as she is familiar enough with the species' capabilities.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Alpha Flight: Snowbird is an Inuit demigoddess who can morph into any animal of her choosing... provided it is native to the Canadian Arctic.
    • The Avengers: Silverclaw can transform into humanoid versions of any animal native to the Amazon rainforest.
    • Champions: Snowguard is an Inuit girl with the same powers as Snowbird, except that she can mix-and-match.
    • Sub-Mariner: Namor was once able to mimic the abilities of sealife, but that power has been long forgotten.
  • All Fall Down: Phylum was this, being able to turn into any animal he wished. Now he's a chimpanzee for life.
  • Shaman's Tears: Joshua Brand is granted the power to call on the ability of any animal by Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit of the Sioux. Possibly it is limited to those found on the North American continent, but this is not clear.

  • Animorphs is about a group of teenagers who, thanks to some Applied Phlebotinum given by a dying alien, can acquire DNA from any animal they touch and then "morph" into it for up to two hours (after which they become Shapeshifter Mode Locked). They can morph into humans and even aliens as well.
  • Daine the Wildmage from The Immortals quartet. It started off as Speaks Fluent Animal, but through the series she gained Animal Eye Spy and Voluntary Shapeshifting. By the third book she can give herself bat's ears for a moment to listen better, or owl's sight to see in the dark. By the climax of the fourth book, Daine's able to transform into complex hybrids of several animals.
  • Animan of Other People's Heroes is able to transform himself into various animal forms using totems carved for him by a shaman. At one point or another, he's portrayed just about every animal-powered superhero or supervillain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The shortlived Cult Classic television series Manimal concerned a man who could turn into any animal he wished.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider OOO can mix-and-match select animal-based powers, for instance he usually defaults to a combo that has a hawk's eyesight, a tiger's claws, and a grasshopper's leaping ability. Using three powers from the same group (insects, big cats, heavy mammals, birds, sea creatures, etc.) grants him a Set Bonus.
    • Kamen Rider Build pairs various organic powers with inorganic ones, and the "organic" half is usually an animal. His options include Rabbit for speed and jumping, Gorilla for strength, Hawk for flight, Hedgehog for spikes, etc.
    • Kamen Rider Revice gives its Riders animal-themed powers; and while each has a default powerset themed after a specific animal, they can adopt other powers with each Rider manifesting them differently:
      • Revi and Vice can not only switch between forms that each use general traits of a different animal, but they can also work in conjunction, Two Men, One Dress style, to "transform" into the animal they're channeling. Evil and Live (Jekyll & Hyde alter-egos of a single person) can also use different forms, but without a partner they can't become the animals themselves.
      • Jeanne and Aguilera, instead of doing form changes, gain animal-themed weapons; like peacock Combat Hand Fans, a turtle bazooka, or a shoebill scythe.
      • Demons, Over Demons, and Destream mutate their own bodies with beastly attributes, such as grasshopper legs or a scorpion stinger tail. (Vail uses the prototype of this system that may or may not have this function.)
      • Chimera, Daimon, and Juuga are each empowered by multiple animals and can simply use their abilities as needed.
    • Kamen Rider Gotchard can combine powers from several different categories in pairs, and half of those categories are animal themed: Insects, Animals in general, "Ancient" (dinosaurs and other prehistoric life), and "Occult" (cryptids and Youkai). As a result, most of his available forms have some sort of animal basis, and a few are even mashups of two animals.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The druid class from Dungeons & Dragons has this trope as one of its signature abilities. Just how large a range of animal sizes and/or abilities a Wild Shaped druid can potentially take on, and how advanced in Character Level they must be to access a given shape, depends on the game edition and (sometimes) sub-class.

    Western Animation 
  • Jayna, one of the Wonder Twins from Superfriends, can turn into any animal as her half of their Wonder Twin Powers.
  • The Kratt brothers in Wild Kratts use their suits to gain powers from any animal they touch, provided that Aviva has designed the proper equipment for that animal.


Choujin Sentai Jetman

The Super Sentai series for 1991.

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