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Beast with a Human Face

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"The face was as the face of a just man,
Its semblance outwardly was so benign,
And of a serpent all the trunk beside."
Dante Alighieri, Inferno 17.10-12

A non-humanoid creature has a face resembling a human's, or markings on its body resembling a human face.

Appreciating this fact may provoke thoughts of What Measure Is a Non-Human?, and produce an Uncanny Valley effect in viewers. Meta-wise, it can allow an otherwise-nonhuman creature to display a human actor's full range of facial expressions on-screen.

Sometimes a property of Mix-and-Match Critters. When the creature's face actually belonged to some other human character, see Face Stealer. For humans with animal appaearances and traits, see Beast Man. For inanimate objects with human faces, see It Kind of Looks Like a Face. For specific beasts (traditionally) like this, see Our Sphinxes Are Different, Our Manticores Are Spinier and Shedu and Lammasu.

The inverse of this trope, humans with heads of animals, is Non-Human Head.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Animal Land:
    • On the antagonist side, there is Bahr Milan, an artificial chimera. The second form he takes on after ejecting his head and combining with several other chimeras is hard to describe. Basically he's a horse headed giant armed multi-legged centaur-like being whose hoofed legs are arranged like jellyfish tentacles. What stands out about him other than that are the two human faces located on his torso.
    • On the protagonist side, there is also the chimera Salad Udon. He can be best described as a four legged slug lizard creature with snakes for arms. He also has a human face.
  • In Berserk, many of the apostles retain their human faces in their more demonic forms. For some though, their human faces are placed on bodies that already have regular animal-like heads and some are even situated in places where human faces shouldn't normally belong on. Two prime examples that best illustrate this would be demon forms of the Baron of Koka Castle and the Count. The Baron looks like a gigantic humanoid snake but he has a human face in his mouth. The Count on the other hand, looks like a gigantic slug but he has a human face situated on the forehead of his slug head.
  • Delicious in Dungeon has harpies, merpeople and dryads, all dungeon monsters with human faces but non-human bodies.
  • In the Spider Mountain arc of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the "Elder Brother" of the spider demon family is essentially a giant spider with a human head. He can use his poison to turn his victims into smaller spiders with human heads that become his mindless minions.
  • Inuyasha: Ryukotsusei is a dragonlike youkai who has a human face in the center of his dragon head's forehead. It's the human face that does the talking, while the dragon one focuses on spitting lightning bolts.
  • In Princess Mononoke, the Shishigami (Forest Spirit) takes the form of a stag with a human face.
  • Toriko has the Hanya Panda, a giant panda monster with a markings on its chest and belly that resembles an angry human face. There is also the Tounyuudou, monsters based on the wanyuudou youkai of Japanese mythology that resemble gigantic disembodied human heads situated on top of flaming cart wheels.
  • One Piece has classical examples in the Manticores and Sphinx of Impel Down. At least they're stated to have human faces - their faces don't look very human by most standards, but then again, One Piece is famous for having human characters who barely look human at all.
  • In the first chapter of the manga Qwan, Chikei is nearly eaten by a monster Qwan calls a Bafuku, a tiger with a man's face that makes the sound of a crying baby to lure victims. It's possibly related to (or an alternate name for) the ChineseMafu, as Qwan is set in ancient China.
  • A weird side chapter early in A Centaur's Life features a human girl taking care of a puppy with a little kid's face.
  • A number of Robeasts in the works of Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa have a fully expressive human face in addition to their monstrous one, which is shown or implied to belong to their original form.
    • Demon Lord Dante: The eponymous giant demon has Ryo embedded in its forehead, with only his eyes and nose visible (or in remakes, his upper body).
    • Mazinger Z: The Mechanical Beast Danube α1/Rhine X1 bears a female human face on its chest, which becomes animate when it fuses with its "brain" Lorelei.
    • Great Mazinger: Most of the Warrior Beasts, created by fusing a living warrior's brain into a monstrous cyborg body, have the warrior's original head visible somewhere on their body. For their enemies, this is a welcome exploitable weakpoint.
    • Getter Robo G: The Hyakki Beast Maoki is a Combining Mecha formed from a large number of Cyborg gang members. Their leader Ryuji forms part of the head in order to control their combined form, with his human face visible.
    • In DEVILMAN crybaby, Moyuru Koda's Devilman form is an enormous bull with an Eyeless Face and his original human face in the middle of his forehead. His human face is always the one that speaks when he's in this form.

    Comic Books 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search: The Mother of Faces has an aura that makes forest creatures have human faces.
  • Beasts of Burden: In Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men, the elder wise dogs encounter a pack of raccoons with human faces, devouring a dead creature.
  • In Secret Six when the Six go to Hell, Catman finds his father, whose fate is to be tied to a tree and killed, devoured and shat out again every day by Catman's mother (who his father murdered), who takes the form of a lioness with her human face. Surprisingly, this isn't her punishment- being able to do this for eternity is her heaven.
  • Superman:
    • In Superman Vol 1 138, the titular character comes across a whale which for some reason has the face of Lois Lane. It's unnerving to say the least.
    • In A Mind Switch In Time, villain Euphor turns one pickpocket into a man-headed green dragon.
    • "Rock On!" has the Empathousaur, an underground giant reptile who turns its head into Supergirl's father's to enervate her during one fight.
  • Creature Feature brings us Curtis's dog in the first issue. Erik is quick to let it be known how he feels about this.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: When Keith Griggs is stumbling through the jungle the first sign that his already gone sideways mission is about to go really bad is when he notices that a scorpion has a human face. This is because Circe has set up shop nearby and is turning the men in the area into animals and monsters.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Big Man Japan, the eponymous superhero fights Kaiju who regularly attack the city. Most of them have human faces, yet have varying degrees of intelligence.
  • Lisa in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge comes across two dogs with human faces when she goes to the Freddy's former workplace to find her possessed boyfriend Jesse. A spin-off comics reveals one of them is named "Wes".
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) had the rather infamous messed-up duplication of a homeless man and his dog, resulting in a Great Dane with the homeless man's face.
  • Vampire Vlad in What We Do in the Shadows just hasn't been the same since he lost his fight with The Beast - he used to be able to change into any animal, but now he never gets the faces right. Specifically, he turns into a black cat with a tiny human face.
  • The human-faced fish in the restaurant aquarium from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, who spend their time waiting for their turn to be served for dinner with idle conversation about life.
  • Plenty of examples of unnaturally-mutated people who retain a human face on a monstrous body can be found in the horror genre, particularly in Body Horror films like From Beyond or Leviathan (1989).
  • The premise of The Similars is that people stuck in a bus station have their faces transform into exact copies of one man, who has no idea why. Late in the film this is shown affecting animals as well, as a dog that has been left outside shows up sporting his face.

  • In The Dunwich Horror, the eponymous horror, once revealed, is shown to be a gigantic egg-shaped tentacled multi-legged Eldritch Abomination with a distinctively yard width-long human face that resembles The Whateleys'.
  • At the end of The Hunger Games, the Capitol releases Muttations, wolf-looking creatures with the faces of the dead tributes who try to kill the remaining kids in the arena.
  • Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future features some non-sapient human subspecies that are more animal-like than human. While some of these subspecies are simply ape-like creatures with human faces, some however have bodies so drastically different that the only way to tell that they are human subspecies are the human faces that they still retain. A prime example of this is the horse-like creature on the book's very cover.
  • In the Tortall Universe, one species of immortals released from the Divine Realms in The Immortals are spidrens—giant spiders with human heads. They cause a lot of trouble in the subsequent quartet.
  • Theodore Roethke's poem "The Bat":
    For something is amiss or out of place
    When mice with wings can wear a human face.
  • In Veniss Underground, some of the genetically engineered "Living Art" creations in Quin's Shanghai Circus include small monkeys with the faces of human women. His secret underground lair is also guarded by packs of dogs with human faces.
  • Robert E Howard's Conan story The God in the Bowl ends with Conan confronting the eponymous God, which turns out to be a giant snake with a human head.
  • German veterinarian and author George Simon Winter von Adlersflügelnote  wrote about an alleged human-headed foal, first described by Ambroise Paré in the 1500s, and provided an illustration of the handsome-faced "centaur" with his long flowing locks.
  • The Dreams In The Witch House by H. P. Lovecraft has the familiar Brown Jenkins, supposedly a rat with a very-humanoid face that speaks every language known to man. It isn't described how humanoid his face is, just that it resembles a human's.
  • During the final part of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry must solve the riddle of a sphinx, which is described as being basically a large cat with a beautiful woman's head.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Discussed in Man Up where Kenny's worst fear is a badger with the face of a man, a madger.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Book of Revelation contains descriptions of locusts who have the bodies of lions, tails of scorpions, and faces of men (which incidentally makes them resemble manticores). As well, the cherubs (not to be confused with putti, winged babies of Renaissance art) are said to have the face of a man as well as those of an ox, lion, and eagle. While most angels looked like winged humans, their are some types that look like borderline Eldritch Abominations.
  • A few examples from mythology around the world:
    • Buraq: A winged horse from Persian/Arabic mythology, sometimes portrayed with a human head. The Prophet Muhammed is said to have used one as a steed.
    • Harpy: Female-headed bird from Greek mythology.
    • Lammasu: Creature from Assyrian mythology with a bull's or lion's body, a man's head, and eagle's wings.
    • Manticore: A human head, lion's body, and the tail of either a dragon or a scorpion. Sometimes portrayed with wings. This being was originally from Persian Mythology, but also spread to be a creature mentioned in some European lores.
    • Sphinx: Lion with a human head, sometimes with wings as well. From Greek/Egyptian mythology.
  • From Chinese folklore:
    • Chiai Lung: Has the body of a panther, but with hooves, a human face, and a snake for a tongue.
    • Heyu: described as a pig with a human face.
    • Juru: described as a three legged duck with a human face.
    • Mafu: Tiger with a human face.
    • Shanhu: Dog with a human face.
    • Shuhu: A winged horse with a snake tail and a human face.
    • Yayu: Ox with a human face.
  • Egyptian Mythology: Human souls were said to manifest as white birds with human heads.
  • In Japanese folklore, there is a kind of youkai called a Jinmenken (人面犬), which looks like a dog with a human head and face.
  • Scorpion Men (from Sumerian/Mesopotamian mythologies): Described as creatures with human heads, lion bodies, eagle hindquarters, and with a scorpion tail.
  • The Serpent of Eden is sometimes portrayed as a snake with a human head as seen in John Roddam Spencer Stanhope's "Eve Tempted". In "The Fall of Man", the Serpent barely looks like a serpent at all, more of a salamander who's able to walk on it's hind legs. Both paintings go against many depictions of the serpent of being a baby-faced beauty (see "The Fall of Man" by Titian) or regular snake by making him(?) ugly and clearly up to no good.
  • The Four Living Creatures (AKA Hayyoth), from Ezekiel's vision in the book of the same name, described them as having four faces, one of which was a human face, along with having two set of wings.
  • Leonine Whale (Medieval European legends): A scaled Lion-like creature with a human face. Has nothing to do with whales.
  • In Colombian mythology, there are stories of a creature called "Hombre Caimán" (Alligator man), who is mostly described as having the head and arms of a human and the body of an alligator. Depending on the version though, he can be portrayed either this way or as a full-fledged reptilian humanoid.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Kingdom Death: Many of the titular monsters in Kingdom Death: Monster have human faces — oftentimes more than one — and humanlike hands on what is otherwise decidedly inhuman anatomy.
  • Pathfinder: Azruverdas resemble immense dung beetles with serene, human-like faces
  • Ravenloft: The darklord Frantisek Markov is an Expy of Dr. Moreau. For his twisted experiments in surgically combining animals and humans, he was cursed to have the head of a man but the body of a beast.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has an NPC named Passer. He's a metis, the result of a forbidden relationship between two Garou. All metis have a deformity; his is that, no matter what form he takes, his face is still human. This makes him unnerving in some forms and a downright monstrosity in his wolf form.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Archon Vhane Kyharc once unleashed a virus on a planet that turned every living creature's face into a copy of his own. This is the Dark Eldar who forces ever member of his Kabal to get their face surgically modified to look exactly like his, in theory to prevent assassination, but in truth he's just that narcissistic.

    Video Games 
  • In Bayonetta, a number of the angels have human faces that aren't exactly situated properly or in places where they should belong. Noteworthy is Fortitudo, a gigantic two headed angelic dragon whose torso is dominated by an upside down human face.
  • The fourth boss of Contra: Shattered Soldier is one of these. Appropriately enough it's called Jinmen-gyo, which is Japanese for "human-faced fish".
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, both Genesis and Angeal command inhuman looking monsters that possess the human face of one or the other.
  • Dark Souls has the Cragspiders, giant, semi-flying arachnids with humanoid arms and shoulders, a bulb-like protrusion resembling a human head, and the ability to cast pyromancy in the form of flaming breath, unlike every other enemy in Blighttown which usually prefer poison or toxic. It's possible that they are the mature spawn of Chaos Witch Quelagg, another more-complete hybrid of human and spider who is also a master of pyromancy herself.
  • Dark Souls II has the Demon of Song, a gigantic frog-like demon which has a human corpse-like face nested inside its frog mouth alongside two skeletal arms.
  • Dark Souls III has the Locust Priests, giant locusts with noseless human faces, said to have been born in the Abyss itself.
  • Bloodborne has the return of everyone's favorite Dirty Coward, Patches. Here he is turning into a Nightmare Apostle/Black Widow, a giant spider. All that's left of his human form is his head and his intellect. As before he will send the player on a dangerous quest to find something and stab them in the back if they survive. If the player can beat him in a fight Patches submits and becomes a merchant to the player.
    • Also, the games poster-beast Darkbeast Paarl is a giant, electrical, skeletal, hairy werewolf-beast which dashes around on all fours. Despite this, the most unnerving thing about it is that its empty skull face is mostly human, lacking a muzzle or even beastlike fangs.
  • The Endless Forest features creepy deer with faces.
  • Final Fantasy XIII:
    • Barthandelus the fal'Cie changes forms but the basic setup of his body is the same. He can be best described as gigantic turret-like torso with an oversized human-like head in the middle and several smaller human faces on his shoulders.
    • There is also the other fal'Cie Orphan. Its first form resembles a gigantic stone knife-like monolith made up of a representation of a family. The right side of it is a mural-like body of a female angel with a human-like face. The left side of it too is similar except that it is more demonic in design and made from Barthandelus' remains complete with his middle human-like face. In the middle of Orphan is a child-like face.
    • Orphan's second form is a tiny human child-like face in a halo-like wheel. When staggered, it resembles more like an angel in structure but not exactly right. It still retains its human child-like face on an otherwise otherworldly body.
  • Grima from Fire Emblem Awakening may seems to be a demonic dragon at face value. However, doing enough damage to his Avatar from the doomed future cause Grima's mask to fall apart to reveal a human face. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia would reveal that his creator, Forneus, gave it his blood that allow Grima to grow, implying that it gain its human-like face from Forneus. It is also supported in the Valentia Accordion as it was originally a human fetus before gaining dragon-like appearances.
  • Might & Magic: Heroes VI: Lamasu are monsters with humanoid heads, bat wings and leonine bodies, the result of an experiment in which humans were magically cross-bred with manticores.
  • In the third Last Half of Darkness game, some skeletal fish are shown that have disturbingly human-like contours to their skulls.
  • In Parasite Eve 2, the Charger enemies are horse-like monsters with emaciated human-like faces.
  • Many demons in the Shin Megami Tensei / Persona series fit this trope:
    • Kingu is a dragon-thing with a face.
    • Legion consists of several red human faces with tentacles.
    • Ganga is a snake with a portion of a torso as well as a human head.
    • Vasuki is a snake with six arms and a human like face.
    • Yomotsu-Hitomi has a creepy human-like face.
    • Empusa has a dog body too.
  • The three final forms that the evil humanoid fairy Veran from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages uses in the final battle with her are three Big Creepy-Crawlies that each possess her face. They are a beetle with her head which she can retract in, a bee which has her face on top of its forehead, and a spider which has her face on its underside.
  • Taken to ridiculous proportions in Miitopia where EVERY enemy in the game has Mii facial features. This goes from butterflies to gryffons to giant spiders. Justified, since the main story of the game deals with a dark lord stealing the Miis' faces to place them on monsters.
  • Seaman features creepy fish with faces.
  • The first boss of Soul Sacrifice is a creature that looks like an apostle out of Berserk, aptly named "Leviathan". It is a giganticnote  crocodile with a human face that covers its head and upper jaw. It was originally a young prince who was never favored like his older twin and liked tortured animals, especially his favorite crocodile, to make himself feel more powerful. He became the Leviathan when he sacrificed the crocodile for immense power from a talking chalice. He got what he wanted all right.
  • Vagrant Story depicts harpies as flightless birds with a pattern resembling a human face on their chests.
  • Monster Party has human-faced dogs among the weird enemies of the first stage.
  • Axiom Verge: The Variant bosses (save for Ukhu and Sentinel) have human-like faces that can be seen both in their dialogue portrait and on their in-game sprite. This is because they were originally clones of Athetos, but mutated due to Athetos's pathogen.
  • Yo-Kai Watch has Manjimutt, a human-faced dog (he was human before becoming a Yo-Kai) along with Multimutt (a fusion of two Manjimutts) and the Legendary Dandoodle (a beautiful human-faced dog). Despite being based off of Jinmenken, "Manjimutt" is spelled differently than "Jinmenken" despite meaning the same thing (人面犬 vs じんめん犬).
  • Sphinxes (lions with human heads and wings variety) appear in Lufia: Rise Of The Sinistrals as late game enemies.
  • The Simpsons: Tapped Out had the Homer Dog available during the Every Man's Dream Promotional event in September-October 2015 . It's a normal dog that has an uncanny resemblance to the family's patriarch.
  • Shadow Yukiko in Persona 4 looks like a large red bird with Yukiko's head. This is a literalization of how she feels trapped - "a bird in a Gilded Cage".
  • The Japanese iPhone/Android game My Horse Prince (Uma no Prince-sama in Japanese) is a Dating Sim/animal-care game about the budding relationship between a Bishonen-headed horse named Yuuma and a human woman named Umako.
  • The Ravager beasts in Minecraft appear to have faces similar to their ambiguously human Illager masters, right down to the Gag Nose.
  • World of Warcraft Legion added the ur'zul, demonic hounds with the faces of multiple draenei. They're the souls of fallen draenei soldiers collected by the Burning Legion and trapped in a horrific flesh mash. Also available as a mount!

    Visual Novels 
  • The turtles in Spirit Hunter: NG's Urashima Lake are possessed by the spirits of various dead fetuses, which mold their shells to resemble a human baby face. This is in reference to the turtle that appears in Urashima Taro's tale.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Dog in Twig is a massive four-legged Cyborg with a human face hidden behind long dark hair. It also seems to have human-level intelligence, but is The Speechless due to its jaw being a twisted metal wreck.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: Carter Pewterschmidt's purebred dog gets knocked up and everyone assumes Brian did it, until the litter comes out and they all have Ted Turner's face.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) episode "The Manhattan Project'', April and Casey encounter giant worms brought from Dimension X, and are freaked out by a baby worm that has a human baby's face.
  • The titular creature of The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Butterfly" is an even stranger variation than usual: it's a butterfly with a series of live-action photographs of a human's face (that of one of the show's crew) that changes as the butterfly changes expression.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic", has a jellyfish scientist called Dr. Manowar who was stung by a monstrous jellyfish called "Big Lenny" and lived. "Big Lenny" is a large purple-red jellyfish with a face that resembles a scowling mask and kills fish with its sting save for the aforementioned doctor.
  • In one segment of Brad Neely's Harg Nallin Sclopio Peepio, Bruce Willis stars as a large dog with skin-toned fur and his head as a part of an Overly Long Gag about Bruce Willis staring in every role in a movie titled "Bruce Willis".
  • Koh the Face Stealer on Avatar: The Last Airbender is an Animalistic Abomination with the body of a centipede and a seemingly infinite collection of faces, many of which are human.
  • Being a pony-centric show, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic evokes this with pony-faced beasts. A sphinx (wings, lion body, pony's head) appears in the season 7 finale, and of course, there's Discord, who is described as having "the head of a pony and a body made up of all sorts of things".
  • On Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Star and Marco once went to a dimension of cats with human faces. We're shown Star getting one of the cats' attention, followed by it turning around and telling her to look away in a deep voice.

    Real Life 
  • Blobfish typically look like fish in their natural environment. However, when taken out, their low-density flesh droops down and give it a very fat ugly big-nosed big-lipped human-like face.
  • Heike crabs (Heikea japonica) have markings on their shells resembling human faces and are not eaten for this reason. The legend from which they get their name is that these crabs contain the spirits of the samurai who threw themselves into the sea when the Taira were defeated at Dan-no-ura, a famous battle which actually took place in ancient Japan.
  • The Human-faced Carp is a type of hybrid breed specifically to have what looks like a human face. What look like human eyes are actually the fish's nostrils.
  • The Pacu, a large pirahna relative, has eerily human-like teeth which are mainly used for crushing nuts. Same goes for the sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus. The deep-sea squid Promachoteuthis sulcus has lips which also bear a strange resemblance to human teeth.
  • In most Mexican and Latin American amusement parks, it is common to find freak shows whose main attractions are creatures with human faces but the body of an animal, such as alligator women. Being cheap freak shows, these are all fake.
  • The man-faced stink bug has markings on its back that coincidentally resemble a human face, similar to Heike's crabs. It's been likened to a grumpy uncle.


Video Example(s):


Cat Possessed By An Angel

Seiji's cat gets a face when he's possessed by an angel.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BeastWithAHumanFace

Media sources:

Main / BeastWithAHumanFace