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Cruel Elephant

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"Look, you probably can't read, fox, but the sign says: 'We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone'. So beat it!"
Jerry Jumbeaux Jr to Nick, from Zootopia
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Elephants, and their prehistoric counterparts of the mammoth, are usually seen being wise and honorable. They're herbivorous, intelligent and come off as the gentle giants of the savanna. Not all elephants in fiction are characterized like this, though. With their size, their formidable-looking tusks, and their ability to overpower just about any other animal they encounter, elephants can just as easily been seen as intimidating, and they are often portrayed as such in fiction. Consequently, there are numerous portrayals in fiction of elephants that are aggressive, hostile, and at least morally ambiguous. These elephants like to throw their weight around, usually depicted as bullies or The Brute, though they're just as capable of being intelligent.

Antagonistic elephants in fiction are rarely portrayed as outright evil, but they will often be unstoppably aggressive and ready to charge at anything that so much as looks at them funny. If they get sufficiently agitated, they'll go berserk and try to trample and crush the unfortunate protagonists, while also possibly trying to spear them with their tusks. The intelligence and wisdom common to most sympathetic portrayals of elephants is usually nowhere to be found in these cases, unless the writer is playing up the It Can Think angle. War Elephants are especially prone to this sort of portrayal. Either way, if the characters in a story encounter an angry elephant, it's a sure sign that something really bad is about to go down. And heaven help them if they manage to piss off an entire herd. While violent and aggressive elephants in fiction aren't Always Male, they're more likely to be on average than fictional elephants as a whole, presumably because it's the males who have big, scary-looking tusks.

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There is some Truth in Television, as adolescent elephants are known to bully and kill rhinos and other animals for their amusement.Note  Male elephants also go into a state called musth, which makes them extremely rage-prone, violent, and aggressive towards both people and other animals. Elephants also account for the most deaths in zoos on a yearly basisnote . "An elephant never forgets" is literal advice for zookeepers, as in "don't fuck with an elephant, because one day, somehow, it's going to get you back and the consequences will be deadly."

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The Evil Counterpart to Honorable Elephant. Mammoth and mastodon examples often overlap with Prehistoric Monster. For smaller animals with very similar personalities, see Rhino Rampage and Brutish Bulls. For an even bigger monstrous mammal, see Monster Whale.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Super has a pink elephant called Rumsshi serving as the Destroyer Deity of Universe 10. He's a lazy and vain jerkass god who tends to disregard his counterpart Gowasu's advice, yells at fighters that lose or hits them with his trunk, and refuses to acknowledge that Beerus and Goku saved his life when Zamasu tries to kill him. He's even worse in the manga, where he threatens to stomp on Gowasu despite the fact that their lives are linked.
  • One Piece: Jack "the Drought" is one of the top-ranking officers of Kaido's Beast Pirates, whose Devil Fruit lets him turn into a mammoth. He's a crazy and violent Blood Knight who enjoys wanton destruction and mass murder, who devastated the Mink's kingdom for no real reason. He's the first pirate revealed to have a bounty of 1,000,000,000 or more berries in the series.
  • 3×3 Eyes: The Lotus-Eater Machine arc reveals that Kaiyanwang's army is composed by hordes of elephant-like humanoids lead by Ganesha, the Wu of Kaiyanwang. Ganesha is portrayed as conceited towards humans and lesser demons alike, arrogant, bloodthirsty and treacherous, with not a single redeeming trait aside from his loyalty towards his lord, which, again, is motivated by the fact that his immortality relies on the health of Kaiyanwang.
  • Zoids: Downplayed, as the Elephander is a neutral machine and though it was built by a criminal empire for the purpose of flaunting it's might, it's later stolen by a Defector from Decadence. The machine's first driver is a haughty jackass, however, playing into this imagery.

    Comic Books 

    Fanworks 
  • In A Different Lesson, we have Wei Chang, an elephant overseer at the Jade Palace who comes across as a Hate Sink initially. While he has good reason to not have a high opinion of Tai Lung, he is excessively cruel in his disciplining of the snow leopard, and flat-out misogynistic towards Tigress. Indeed, Master Shifu doesn't seem to like him either, and when Tai Lung attacks him for insulting Tigress(whereas before he was shrugging off Chang's treatment of him), Shifu considers Tai Lung's actions justified and fires Chang. However, later on, we learn that Chang actually has a wife and son, and he's a lot more affectionate towards them than he is towards Tai Lung and Tigress, therefore making him a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. And then the possessed Vachir comes to visit him and... well, let's just say that Chang goes from being a straight-up Jerkass to a Jerkass Woobie very fast.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dumbo: Most of the circus elephants except Dumbo and his mother are rude, shallow, and snobby. Their leader prides herself on being a Honorable Elephant, despite her cruelty to Dumbo. There are also the Pink Elephants that Dumbo hallucinates, though they're not as cruel so much as they're otherworldly and nightmarish.
  • Ice Age: Subverted with Manny. He initially comes off as a Jerkass woolly mammoth who doesn't care what happens to Sid and is anti-social, however proves himself to be a good person at heart and hates the brontotheres who try to kill Sid for fun. Through his Character Development over the film he proves himself to be an Honorable Elephant instead.
  • Leo the Lion has Maximus, the Big Bad elephant who wants to take over the jungle.
  • The Sword in the Stone: During their Wizard Duel, Madam Mim turns into an elephant to try to defeat Merlin. Naturally, he turns into a mouse in response.
  • Zootopia has an elephant called Jerry Jumbeaux Jr. who owns an ice cream store which provides the Jumbo-pop for Nick's pawpsicle hustle. He's rude, prejudiced against foxes and refuses to serve them, and not particularly concerned about health code violations in his store.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mowgli has a version of Hathi who, while not evil, is certainly vengeful and verges on The Dreaded. Mowgli strikes a deal that sees Big Bad Shere Khan given a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Hathi's herd, and as for Lockwood, well, Hathi's revenge receives a Gory Discretion Shot which is probably for the best.
  • The Last Circus features a female elephant named Princesa who gets aggressive whenever she sees her caretaker Ramiro with another woman. Later Ramiro reveals that the elephant killed his wife.
  • Syfy Channel Original Movie: Mammoth involves scientists encountering a woolly mammoth perfectly frozen solid in ice, which they must keep cold at all times to showcase in a museum. An alien parasite unleashed from a probe finds its way into the mammoth's corpse and possesses it, causing the zombified proboscidean to go on a murderous rampage. Did we mention it can suck out a human's life force with its trunk?

    Literature 
  • Discworld: In Soul Music, the roadie to the Band with Rocks In is a strangely shaped troll called Asphalt, who is extremely short and wide in shape. He explains this is down to his previous career as a zookeeper tending to elephants, who derived amusement from sitting on him. Repeatedly.
  • Franny K. Stein: The Fran That Time Forgot has Franny enter a Bad Future where her teenage self is creating an army of five-eyed elephant monsters.
  • Journey to the West: The Yellow-Tusked Old Elephant/White Elephant is the former mount of a Bodhisatva who escaped to the human world to have some fun as a man-eating, soul-sucking monster, terrorizing a whole mountain range alongside the Blue-Haired Lion King and the Golden-Winged Peng King.
  • Sandokan: Referenced and downplayed. There are two cautionary tales warning to not provoke elephants, for they are intelligent and calm but also capable of cruel retaliations if provoked long enough:
    • One elephant had the habit of reaching with its trunk into the windows of various houses, knowing the locals would give him gifts... all except for a seamstress, who'd instead sting him repeatedly as a game until the day the elephant showed up with a trunk full of water and sprayed her at full power.
    • An elephant conductor had the habit of breaking coconuts on his elephant's head, knowing he could take it and ignoring his annoyed grumbles. One day, however, the elephant grabbed the coconut and broke it on his head, killing him.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh: Heffalumps are scary elephant-like creatures who are believed to enjoy stealing honey. Fortunately for Pooh and his friends, they are imaginary (at least in the original book — at least two adaptations make them Real After All, though the later adaptation changes them to Honorable Elephants).
  • Frank Belknap Long's cosmic horror novella The Horror From The Hills introduces Chaugnar Faugn, The Elephant God, to the Cthulhu Mythos. Chaugnar Faugn is disturbingly elephant-like in some regards, but distinctly alien in others, with ears resembling bat wings and a Lamprey Mouth he uses to drain the blood of his victim.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • Asura's Wrath: Gohma Crushers are giant elephant-like Gohma, which are the will of Gaia that actively tries to kill humans and consume their souls.
  • Dwarf Fortress has the famous tale of Boatmurdered, a Succession Game that spiralled into by far one of the absolute hilariously worst disasters imaginable in the history of the game, even by Dwarf Fortress standards. Right from the very beginning of the game, a pack of murderous elephants rampaged against the dwarves, and the players found it impossible to permanently get rid of them until they found a way to funnel molten magma into the surrounding lands around the city of Boatmurdered itself. After that, the landscape quickly turned to a sea of elephant, goblin, and dwarf skeletons being rampaged by more murderous elephants!
  • God of War: Ascension: One of the numerous enemy types Kratos faces are the Juggernauts, humanoid elephants that are first introduced rushing on screen doing a Foe-Tossing Charge on innocent civilians. They're belligerent, attacking with clubs as well as tusks and trunks, and in order to kill one, you have to hack through the thick skin on top of that Juggernaut's head until you expose its brain. Basically a War Elephant gone humanoid and sadistic.
  • Gryphon Knight Epic: One of the enemy types you face is a gigantic elephant.
  • Jade Empire: The elephant demons are some of the nastier enemies in the game, between their massive hit points and deceptively fast wide-arc attacks.
  • Mega Man has some pachyderm Reploids as enemies.
    • Mega Man X: Flame Mammoth is one of the eight Maverick generals to originally defect with Sigma in his war on humanity. He's characterized as an arrogant and cocky Reploid who looks down on those smaller and weaker than them. He's one of the least sympathetic Maverick bosses in the game.
    • Mega Man Zero: One of the enemies in the first game is Maha Ganeshariff, who's based off the Hindu god Ganesha. While serving humanity's interests, he is an enforcer for a regime that actively suppresses Reploids and is at odds with the Resistance Zero is part of.
  • Rivals of Aether features Loxodont, a minor character who takes over the throne to the Fire Empire after the assassination of Emperor Renburn and the disappearance of his sons, Zetterburn and Forsburn, and turns it into a dystopian dictatorship. He uses technology to render himself seemingly immortal, earning him the title of Endless Emperor. He is important to Clairen's back story, as she tries to overthrow him alone, but is defeated and saved by an unknown individual who then allows her to go back in time to when the game takes place, before the princes' disappearance, so she can try and save the empire from Loxodont.
  • Shin Megami Tensei gives us Girimehkala, who in Sri Lankan folklore was Mara's mount, and has a single eye that curses whoever looks in it. His SMT incarnation is best known for his ability to repel most or all physical attacks and throw Mudo skills around in addition to using slashing attacks. He's also one of the demons the Demi-Fiend uses in his infamous Bonus Boss battle in Digital Devil Saga.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
  • Resident Evil: Outbreak: File #2 has the "wild things" scenario, which shows the effect of the t-Virus on the zoo of Racoon City. The boss of this section is a giant zombie elephant called Oscar. Once the star attraction of the Raccoon Zoo, he's now nothing but a bloodthirsty juggernaut that will not stop until it kills everything in its path.

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • Animal Crackers: Eugene the elephant is The Bully who always hogs the watering hole, beats up anyone who stands up to him, and stomps on petunias in his free time.
  • Ben 10: In "Washington B.C.", a mixture of this and Raising the Steaks occurs when Doctor Animo uses his transmodulator to revive a stuffed woolly mammoth corpse in the natural history museum (as shown in the page image) before setting it on Ben, Gwen, and Grandpa Max. Ben promptly ends up doing battle against it.
  • Futurama: In "Less than Hero", one of the animal henchmen of supervillain the Zookeeper is "an elephant that never forgets... to kill!" During the Zookeeper's attack at the natural history museum, the elephant is shown eating one of the museum workers.
  • The Legend of Tarzan: In "Tarzan and the Rogue Elephant", an elephant herd is chased out of their home by Mabaya, an elephant who has gone rogue, going into a blind rage and trampling everything in his path, all while never even speaking. This also leads Tantor to believe that he might become a rogue elephant himself.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart Gets An Elephant", Bart ends up getting an elephant called Stampy, who's surly and destructive with a habit of shoving people up his mouth. The family believes this is because he's unhappy so they send him to a sanctuary to be with his kind. Despite this Stampy ends up headbutting the elephants there while Bart cheers on him. The sanctuary representative says that he is happy, but much like humans some elephants are just jerks. Afterwards Homer starts headbutting the representative.
    • In "Skinner's Sense of Snow", a flashback to the Vietnam War by Skinner shows a fellow soldier escaping from a Vietnamese prison and being seized and eaten by an elephant, which according to Skinner ate his entire platoon. Yes, really.
  • Timon & Pumbaa:
    • Ned the Elephant, a recurring antagonist, plays the image of an Honorable Elephant being influential and well-respected, but is really an arrogant, snobbish, belligerent jerk who delights in bullying and humiliating the duo.
    • In one Rafiki's Fables episodes, a mouse has the same problem with another group of elephants, so he wants to be respected by becoming other species.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Sappy Stanley from "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?" is an elephant who serves as the episode's antagonist. Stanley was once a famous American cartoon star, whose cartoons consisted of him being hit on the head by coconut-throwing chimpanzees. One of which, "Which Way to the Arctic?" was nominated for a Shloskar award in 1958. When Stanley lost the award to Bugs Bunny's "Knighty Knight Bugs", he left American cinema for France and became a big star there, spending decades plotting his revenge on Bugs. During Bugs Bunny's Zherry award ceremony, Stanley kidnaps Bugs, steals his Shloskar, and frames Daffy Duck for the crime, leaving Buster and Babs to find the real culprit and prove Daffy's innocence. Stanley himself is a parody of Terrytoons cartoon character Sidney the Elephant, a.k.a. Silly Sidney. A cartoon featuring this character (called "Sidney's Family Tree") was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject in 1958, but lost to, yep, you guessed it, "Knighty Knight Bugs".
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: The Monster of the Week of "Safari, So Good!" are shape-shifting demons, one of which takes the form of an aggressive elephant that unsuccessfully tries to capture Daphne. Although it turns out to be just a normal elephant covered in glowing make-up and hypnotized into acting vicious, just like the rest of the "demons".

 
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Gohma Crusher

The elephant-like Gohma Crusher comes for the souls of the human village.

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