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Femme Fatale

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Whatever she did, be glad it wasn't to you.

"They're the kind of dames who can wear floor-length gowns and look completely naked. The kind with hair piled up on their head like compliant serpents, or falling down in smooth lustrous waves. Dames with hard faces and mocking smiles and eyes that sized you up and found you wanting… but you’d do, for now."
James Lileks, The Bleat for February 7, 2003

First, she turns you on. Then, she turns on you. The typical client in a Hardboiled Detective story (French for "fatal woman", idiomatically "woman to die for"). You know the type. Dressed all in black with legs up to here and shady motives, she slinks into the P.I.'s office, sometimes holding a cigarette on a long, long holder, saying "Oh, Mr. Rockhammer, you're the only one who can help me find out who killed my extremely wealthy husband." Did she do it? Do I care? Wait, where'd that saxophone music come from? Whatever her story is, whether she did it or not, she's definitely keeping some secrets.

The Femme Fatale is sexy and she knows it. Made famous by Film Noir and hard-boiled detective stories, she manipulates and confuses The Hero with her undeniable aura of sexiness and danger. Unlike the virginal and sweet Damsel in Distress (or possibly Action Girl), the Femme Fatale exploits with everything she's got to wrap men around her finger. (In some eras, use of make-up is a tell-tale sign.) He knows that she's walking trouble and knows much more about the bad guys than she should, but damn it if he can't resist her feminine wiles.

If the Femme Fatale is vying for the hero's romantic attentions she will likely have a sweeter and purer rival. The hero might decide that she's not worth the trouble she causes, but if he doesn't, then they might become an Outlaw Couple.

While related to The Vamp, the Femme Fatale is not just any seductress; she has a distinct look and feel. The main distinction is how she presents herself. If you know she's dangerous from the start, but she's sexy enough that you don't care, she's likely a Femme Fatale. On a lesser note, the Femme Fatale generally uses sensuality instead of upfront sexual advances. She may imply that you could have sex later, but she'll never promise it, not even say it — that would decrease her air of mystery and power. Her wiles may include apparent helplessness and distress, and appeals to the man's greed, desire for revenge, or gullibility, as well as the implication of possible romance or sexual rewards, while The Vamp more often relies on raunchy sex or the promise of it sometime real soon.

The Femme Fatale is generally villainous, and heroic exceptions — in an artificial context to snare the bad guy — are closer to Heroic Seductress. Frequently, she is a Wild Card, changing sides according to her own desires and goals; she does not often go through a High-Heel–Face Turn. If she's actually a kind-hearted person who puts on this facade just for fun, this is Trickster Girlfriend.

She's often The Chanteuse or the Lady in Red but possibly dressed like everyone else so as to not be Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. The Femme Fatale is one of the female character types that can often be seen wearing High-Class Gloves, especially in conjunction with her sexy evening gowns, and, during the daytime (particularly in old Film Noir movies), is often seen wearing a "fascinator" or "pillbox" hat with a partial- or full-face veil. She's definitely not above using the Kiss of Distraction.

If she can fight as well, then she's really going to be trouble.

Subtrope of Manipulative Bastard. The younger version of this is the Fille Fatale. The spy version of this is Femme Fatale Spy. If the femme fatale also eats the targets of her manipulations, she's a Literal Maneater.

If she's a prostitute, she may also be a Shady Lady of the Night.

Often, this is the characterization given to the College Widow, a Dude Magnet who lives near a male-only institution and encourages the attention she receives.

A Nice Guy might inspire her to desire innocence.

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  • The Femme Fatale is an archetype that was commonly used by the Symbolist Movement. In The Sin, Eve is portrayed almost Lilith-like in how the shadows frame her as this voluptuous lure of physical delights, a far-cry from the passive waif Abrahamic art usually portrays her as.
  • John William Waterhouse early on was enamored by the visual of a dangerous woman ensnaring a man, and he painted many 19th-century examples.
    • La belle dame sans merci, titled after the John Keats ballad, depicts a wayward woman seducing what should be an honorable knight.
    • Mythical creatures that often took the form of beautiful and seductive, but dangerous, women, such as nymphs, sirens, and lamia, were frequent subjects.

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    Comic Books 
  • Not surprisingly, due to its noirish roots, Sin City has quite a few. Almost every female character counts, and Dwight is the one that gets in trouble with them as they tend to go back and forth between Damsel in Distress and The Vamp. The most triumphant example from the series is in The Babe Wore Red. Dwight said it best:
    Dwight: The moment I lay eyes on her, I know I'm in trouble.
  • Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips places a horror spin on this trope which also serves to make the femme fatale in question more sympathetic; it's implied that she's supernaturally cursed to forever remain young and beautiful, and the spell also works to cause men to fall hopelessly in love with her to the point where it leads to their own ruin. It's clearly established that she hates her life and the effect that she has on men, but can't escape it.
  • Batman's Rogues Gallery gives us quite a few, with Poison Ivy and Catwoman standing out. They have both repeatedly tried to beguile him, though Poison Ivy cheats by using pheromones. And well, Batman technically is a detective who lives in a Vice City...
  • Spider-Man: Black Cat, being the Marvel Universe’s answer to Catwoman, is a pretty classic Femme Fatale, but while very obviously seductive and manipulative her love for Spidey is actually quite genuine and marked her turn from villainess to Anti-Hero. Although, her infatuation for the Wall Crawler managed to bring out the worst in her as well as poor MJ learned first hand.
  • Talia in Brody's Ghost is a very unusual version of the trope. She's not explicitly played up for sex appeal as she's a dead teenager, but she's the one who enters Brody's life to set him on a "case", in this case catching the Penny Murderer, has a sweeter and less snarky opposite in Brody's ex Nicole, and is revealed to be way more manipulative, immoral, and untrustworthy than she lets on. Thanks to her involvement, Brody's already crappy life is completely destroyed by the end of the series, with things only getting better thanks to outside help.
  • Blacksad: Surprisingly, mostly averted for a comic so steeped in 1950s Film Noir. Of Blacksad's love interests, Natalia Wilford is The Lost Lenore for Blacksad whose worst crime was being a bit of a vain woman, and Alma Mayer is a Brainy Brunette Nice Girl. Jezebel Karup sort of fits the archetype, but is really a subversion of the trope since the people she seduced to lead them to their doom are the leader of a racist lynch mob who also happens to be her father and his even more vicious right-hand man, not the detective hero.
  • Black Widow started off as a Femme Fatale Spy working for the KGB who used her feminine wiles to fool both Iron Man and Hawkeye. Turns out she was a victim of brainwashing though and eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn to the Avengers. She also Took a Level in Badass, not having to rely purely on seduction to be effective, having crazy She-Fu abilities and Improbable Aiming Skills which she retroactively always had. Her Ultimate Marvel counterpart is a more classically cruel Femme Fatale seducing and having sex with Tony right before betraying him and even killing Hawkeye’s family.
  • The Dregs: Arnold, who is obsessed with noir fiction, hallucinates a beautiful woman styled in midcentury glamor (complete with cigarette) at pivotal moments in his investigation. Near the end of the story he asks her to betray him since that's her role, but she merely vanishes.
  • Rocket (2017): Otta, Rocket's ex-girlfriend (an otter-alien). He didn't take the hint she was bad news when she set him up to be arrested by the Kree the last time they saw one another, and this time is suckered in by a story about reclaiming land deeds for her people from a greedy corporation. It's another set-up. At the story's climax, Otta turns out to be massively unhinged, wanting to outright eradicate her people for looking down on her, and draws a gun on Rocket.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: Darth Talon, the sexy female Twi'lek Sith Lord who has significant Foe Romance Subtext with main character Cade Skywalker, even seducing him once during his stay at the Sith Temple. She's counterpointed with Cade's main Love Interest, the equally fanservicey but significantly more wholesome Zeltron smuggler Deliah Blue.
  • Mystique of X-Men fame might as well be the ultimate comic example, a beautiful and curvaceous blue shape changing mutant woman who has tricked, seduced, and manipulated hundreds of people before cruelly betraying them all like clockwork. It’s not just gullible men or women who are enamored with her either, Mystique will even manipulate her own children into trusting her before inevitably stabbing them in the back. Granted, it is largely Depending on the Writer when it comes to how treacherous and cruel she is.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, heiress Maia Simmons knows how to subtly use her good looks in face-to-face interactions to get what she wants for her company. The trope name is even used by Griffin.
  • The female Interrogator in "Nubby's Girlfriend" betrays the All Guardsmen Party in the middle of a mission.
  • As befits a Noir Episode, the second chapter of Half Past Adventure introduces a femme fatale (actually a one-off character from the original show thirty years later) in the form of jewel thief Penelope Farthington.
  • In chapter 11 of An Impractical Guide to the Force, Anakin and Palpatine each learn too late that all 42 of Dooku's present concubines are skilled fighters, including half of them being trained Force users and one of them being Darth Talon.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Cinder has spent ten years wrapping Jaune around her little finger, making sure he craves her approval and will do whatever she says. Unfortunately for her, since they're Like Brother and Sister, this backfired a bit; Jaune is left with a rather odd understanding of what is considered appropriate behavior, and he always obeys strong-willed women unquestioningly. In particular, the fact that his first reaction to meeting a girl is to give her an honest compliment about her looks (since Cinder always liked that) earns him a rather large Unwanted Harem without even noticing.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Helga Sinclair has the sultry voice and beautiful looks of a typical femme fatale; however, she is never seen seducing anyone, and does have some hesitation towards stealing the Heart of Atlantis once she learns it is the life force of an entire civilization of people.
  • Megara of Hercules is beautiful, cynical, and mysterious. She is a Honey Trap working for the Big Bad not by her own volition, and she pulls a Heel–Face Turn after falling in love with the hero.
  • The Incredibles has Mirage, who lures Mr. Incredible onto a desert island where the Big Bad can kill him, although she does pull a Heel–Face Turn and begins helping his family when her Big Bad Boss's mistreatment of her goes too far. It is also strongly implied that Mirage feels something for Mr. Incredible, even if she knows he is married and with children. He also doesn't seem particularly interested in her but in her offer which allows him to return to his glory days as a superhero.

  • Soti from Cyber Weapon Z left Park Iro for Leiting and at first looks like an indecisive Dark Mistress. However, she's not above infiltrating the Shaolin temple to spy on the man she once loved and gain information for her new boyfriend but usually doesn't act directly against him out of respect for what they once had. Iro is often troubled by her presence since her sweet face and apparent harmlessness still get to his heart, despite the fact that she's a quite capable Dark Action Girl.

  • Calexico's "Ballad of Cable Hogue" has an Old Western version. She's only ever referred to as "Madame". Even though the narrator suspects that Madame will be the death of him, she sweet-talks him into leaving his gold with her for safekeeping. Then she leads "an army" to his hiding place and guns him down.
  • David Byrne's "Miss America" uses this as an extended metaphor for the US's foreign policy. America is a woman who seduces men then discards them when she no longer needs them. The narrator knows how dangerous she is, and he loves her anyway.
  • "Evil Woman" by Spooky Tooth, which was famously covered by Black Sabbath.
  • "American Woman" by The Guess Who, which is more of an allegory for the US itself. It was notably covered by Lenny Kravitz.
  • Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" from The Velvet Underground & Nico is literally about a seductive woman.
  • "Black Lady" by Donna Summer from I Remember Yesterday, which is more about a bad woman than one who has a black skin color.
    Black lady, black lady
    She was mean, really bad
    She was slender as a cat at night, she made the men go mad
    Well her eyes were green, and her skin was soft
    And the lady's heart was as hard as rock
  • Britney Spears's 2011 album Femme Fatale played off of this concept, as did the accompanying tour.
  • Auryn's song Heartbreaker clearly is about one of these, who seduced the guys only to leave them high and dry. This is emphasized in the music video, in which we see the 'heartbreaker', played by Úrsula Corberó, seduce the five bandmembers and 'kill' them one by one.
    She destroyed my life without shedding a tear, like an assassin
  • Pretty much the whole description of the girl in Kero One's "So Seductive".
    She looks so good when she shakes that ass
    Moving like snakes in grass, with a face to match
    But on the inside a straight killer,
    She'll reel ya in, your head spin like a gorilla … (And that's just the first stanza.)
  • "Blood on the Dance Floor" by Michael Jackson is about a woman named Susie who is a Serial Killer that seduces unsuspecting men to kill them after she's had her fun with them. And you're her next hit.
  • In the first scene of the video for Rammstein's "Deutschland", Germania is seen cutting off the head from a dead body (probably a Roman soldier, evoking Rome's Germanic Wars); in several scenes throughout the video, Germania is holding, and one time, kissing the head (which appears to be the head of Till Lindemann). This pose evokes two famous femme fatales from the Bible, Judith (who seduced Holofernes in order to murder him and cut off his head) and Salome (who used her beauty to persuade King Herod to have John the Baptist beheaded); both of them are often depicted in art together with the severed heads of their victims. The same characterization is also apparent in a different set of scenes which show Germania watching indifferently, or sometimes with apparent delight, as Till Lindemann gets beaten to a pulp in a 1920s boxing match, skewered with swords in a medieval battle, hanged as a Concentration Camp prisoner, and beaten up by a policeman in a 19th century prison. The accompanying lyrics (sung by Till Lindemann) fittingly address Germany with the lines "Deutschland – deine Liebe / Ist Fluch und Segen" ("Germany, your love is a blessing and a curse") and "Deutschland – mein Herz in Flammen / will dich lieben und verdammen" ("Germany, my heart in flames / I want to love and to damn you").

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • Delilah of The Bible handily seduces Samson into revealing the truth about the source of his strength.
  • Aphrodite of Classical Mythology often got what she wanted through seduction. For example, she offered Paris any woman he wanted if he chose to give her the Apple of Discord.
  • Soodabeh in The Shahnameh is the very attractive wife of Key Kavous who tries to seduce her stepson, Siavash. When Siavash turns her down twice, she claims Siavash sexually assaulted her. Even though the evidence is against her, she uses the aborted deformed babies of a witch to cast doubt on Siavash, who finally proves his innocence by riding through a huge fire and coming out unharmed. Even then she tries to frame Zal for losing the babies which doesn't work and Key Kavous sentences her to be hanged. Siavash knows his father will soon regret having her killed and will hold Siavash in contempt for her death, so he asks for Soodabeh to be pardoned. Soon, despite all she's done, she bewitches her husband once again and starts poisoning his mind against Siavash. When Afrasiab wages war on Iran, Siavash volunteers to go to battle to get away from Soodabeh and her schemes and this ultimately leads to his tragic death.

  • The title character of Carmen seduces the naive soldier Don José, who abandons his fiancée Micaela and his military duties for Carmen's sake, even running away with her, only to lose Carmen to Escamillo, a toreador. Enraged by Carmen leaving him, Don José kills her outside the bullfighting ring at the end, ultimately meeting his downfall.
  • Dalila from Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila. She seduces Samson with her aria "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" (My heart opens to your voice), demands he tell her the secret of his strength as a proof of his love, pretends to cry when Samson refuses, to which he ultimately tells her and is forced to sacrifice his life in order to redeem himself.
  • Subverted with Violetta Valéry from Verdi's La Traviata. On one hand, she has all the qualities of a femme fatale: wealthy, a courtesan, and very good at her job. However, she's a genuinely good-hearted woman who truly loves Alfredo and willingly ends her relationship with him at his father Giorgio's request. Then there's the fact that she's dying from tuberculosis.
  • Manon Lescaut from Massenet's Manon is a woman who abandons her lover Des Grieux for the wealthy De Brétigny, gloats her power over men, and she seduces Des Grieux from his priest training into becoming a gambler. However, she eventually realizes what she's doing by Act 5, but by then, she dies at Des Grieux's feet after he forgives her.
  • The Foreign Princess from Dvorak's Rusalka. She seduces the Prince away from Rusalka on his wedding day to her, mainly out of jealousy, and manipulates him using her passion and appealing to his frustration over Rusalka's timidness into rejecting Rusalka, thus dooming him to death, and dooming Rusalka to becoming a spirit of death at the bottom of the lake.
  • Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser. At the start of the opera, she's already seduced the minnesinger Tannhauser into debauchery, and her spell on him is prevalent throughout; during Act II's song contest at the Wartburg castle, Tannhauser is entranced into singing his love for Venus, horrifying Princess Elisabeth and the court, and causing the Landgrave and the knights to condemn him to death. At the end, however, Tannhauser is saved by Elisabeth's love, banishing Venus and allowing Tannhauser to be forgiven before his death.
  • Kundry from Wagner's Parsifal. In between serving as a messenger for the Knights of the Grail, she also acts as a seductress on behalf of the evil mage Klingsor to try and lure the Knights to their doom in a tempting flower garden of evil. As it turns out, she has been cursed for laughing at Jesus Christ while he was on the cross, and now seeks to be released from her curse.
  • Princess Salome from Richard Strauss' Salome strips before her stepfather while demanding the head of Jochanaan, and then kisses Jochanaan's severed head while declaring her love for it in front of everyone.

  • Bally's Mata Hari pinball shows the title character in her bedroom, handing over a secret map with one hand while discreetly clutching a small dagger in the other.
  • In Capcom's unreleased Kingpin, there's Trixie, the mob boss' Moll who's a sexy Lady in Red... and handy with a pistol.

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    Tabletop Games 
  • In Rocket Age Princess Stephanika, ruler of the Martian city-state Melikia uses her charms to manipulate the many Earthling diplomats that come to her court. Rumoured to have used her sexuality to keep the various imperial powers focused on one another, Stephanika may be a relatively sympathetic example.
  • Liliana Vess, the Black-aligned planeswalker from Magic: The Gathering. She sold her soul for eternal youth and beauty and doesn't at all mind leveraging her attractiveness if it'll get her what she wants. She's also an extremely powerful necromancer, ruthless, selfish, and manipulative. Her art and abilities focus equally on these characteristics.
  • Miss Scarlet in Clue(do).

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    Video Games 
  • Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode I as she lures Booker/Comstock deep into Rapture just so she can kill him.
  • Chicken Police: Natasha Catzenko is a sexy and mysterious nightclub singer, and trouble follows her.
    Sonny: I knew she was trouble the first time I saw her. She wore danger like a perfume. It was simply part of her being, and it attracted me like light attracts the moth people.
  • Maggie Chow in Deus Ex. Turns out, she's actually in league with the villains and murdered the leader of the Red Dragon triad and stole his nano-technologically enhanced sword in order to initiate a triad war.
  • Disco Elysium: Klaasje is a subversion. On the one hand: sexy, mysterious, dangerous to know, involved with industrial espionage. On the other hand: she feels guilty about the damage that her spying caused, and is hiding out in Revachol because she thinks that her former employers want to kill her. Her best ending has her go on the run to another city.
  • Carlotta Von Überwald in Discworld Noir, the extremely attractive woman who hires Lewton and who turns out to be directly or indirectly responsible for multiple murders, a Religion of Evil cultist, a werewolf, and the Disc's counterpart to the Femme Fatales in The Maltese Falcon, To Have and Have Not, and Farewell, My Lovely with elements from The Big Sleep.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. She could practically be considered the patron deity of spies and assassins, and to the Dunmer, she actually is, being the patron of the Morag Tong.
  • Bonne Jenet from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. She isn't evil per se (despite being a Pirate Girl, her Lilien Knights only steal from the rich), but she can and will use her feminine wit and sex appeal to get what she wants (she's also very flirtatious). Oddly enough, she also happens to be a Lad-ette.
  • Ultimecia in Final Fantasy VIII is this. When she's possessing Edea - who normally wears a very simple and modest dress — she makes her wear incredibly ornate and over-the-top "sexy" clothing. When you finally meet her in person, the costume she has on is, to say the least, extravagant. She uses her body to get what she wants and was openly called a Femme Fatale in the spin-off game Dissidia.
  • Olivia Ofrenda in Grim Fandango. She dates a mobster and his lawyer at the same time, and exhibits all the traits of one otherwise (true to the game's Film Noir influence.) Subverted when she helps the resistance against the main evil plot, but then Double Subverted when it is revealed she tore the leader of the resistance, Salvador Limones, to pieces and betrays Manny Calvera to Hector LeMans, who she is now also dating.
    Manny: You know, you have a really bad taste in men.
  • Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2 at first appears to be a femme fatale, but it's ultimately subverted as she quits Cerberus and makes no attempts at seducing Shepard. She actually tries to avoid a romance, at first, if a Male Shepard pursues it. Morinth however, is a straighter example, as she is found looking for prey in an exclusive nightclub.
  • Naomi in Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. According to the backstory, she seduced Richard Ames away from his wife, Nastasha Romanenko, in order to get onto the FoxDie project so she could modify it to kill Snake. She spent the game until the bombshell alternately acting very cold towards him and drooling over him. She has good intentions.
  • Sylvia Christel from No More Heroes manages to convince an impoverished otaku living in a cheap motel to use his laser sword that he got off the Internet to murder people. Granted, said otaku wasn't exactly a prince himself in terms of morality.
  • Persona 5: Invoked by Ann Takamaki's Fighting Spirit based on the title character of Carmen, who appears as an attractive woman leading along two men with hearts for heads on dog collars and chains.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Ada Wong initially showed very mild Damsel in Distress qualities in her first appearance, but by the fourth game in the series, there was no question that she was a first-class example, to the point that it's clear in retrospect that her original helplessness was playact the whole time. Trying to figure out which side the girl is on and if she's going to help you or hurt you can give you (and poor Leon) a serious headache.
    • Excella Gionne from Resident Evil 5 is also an example, being Wesker's Dragon. An example that ends up being subverted: it is she who ends up being manipulated and betrayed by Wesker, who injects her with the Uroboros virus she created. Rather than a manipulative woman behind the man, she's actually just an opportunistic Rich Bitch who is Too Dumb to Live.
  • Janet Page from Strike Commander. She's a sexy brunette Ace Pilot who has the hots for the protagonist. Though she leaves The Squad early on to join its rivals, she spends most of the game atoning for her actions and trying to win back the protagonist's favor. In the end, she offers to help him steal a cutting-edge F-22 fighter jet from the evil Internal Revenue Service, in order to take out the Big Bad with it. Once he steals the plane however, she reveals that she's only been in it for herself all along - and demands he hand the plane over, effectively at gunpoint.
  • Viletta Vadim from Super Robot Wars, starting out as The Mole of the team for Ingram and is a deadly pilot in combat. This is later subverted as Viletta and Ingram have good intentions, despite coming off as rather strict and oh-so-much a Magnificent Bastard for Ingram, not flat out evil. Her looks also gave her the distinction of being one of Excellen's 'Three Beautiful Sisters' and the only person she'd go Les Yay with. To hammer it home, her theme song was re-named to this trope when Original Generation got a US translation by Atlus (it was formerly 'Woman The Cool Spy').
  • In Thief The Dark Project, Viktoria plays this to Garrett's Noir action hero, tempting him with greed, the power of an exotic blade, and obliquely hints at the possibility of sex. Without Constantine's leadership in Metal Age, she becomes less this, but still remains Strange Bedfellows.
  • The Consort from Town of Salem can Roleblock any target (blocking their Night Ability) on behalf of The Mafia. She is the Evil Counterpart to the Escort.
  • Hilda from Under Night In-Birth. Though it's deconstructed because a) she's too dumb to convince anybody to do something she wants, b) everyone is numb to her advances because she never turns the seduction off, and c) almost everyone knows she's a crazy, idiotic Ungrateful Bitch so they don't pay her any attention. The only time her seduction actually works is on Hyde Kido, which isn't much of an accomplishment.
  • Yandere Simulator allows for the player to play Ayano as one, if they so choose. One gameplay stat is "Seduction", which, when upped, makes the male students more comfortable around you, making it easier to talk to them and ask for favors. If it's upped enough, the girls will too. When the stat is in effect, hearts hover around the student's head when talking to them.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rosé Mulan from Spirit Hunter: NG. She's flirty and dons a simple black dress, bearing an exotic name as part of her stage persona, but she deliberately keeps an air of intrigue around herself while assisting Akira with his investigation.
  • Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, Emma of Togainu no Chi is the kind of woman who doesn't tell you who she works for. She's the one who gets the plot rolling by pressuring Akira into becoming her pawn, although she lies about how she plans to use him.

  • Lucrezia Mongfish (a.k.a. literally the Other herself) from Girl Genius, as shown in her backstory. She was the beautiful daughter of the evil Dr. Lucifer Mongfish, and while she was alive she was able to seduce Bill Heterodyne and Klaus Wulfenbach with varying results for both of them.
  • Selenis Zea, the main character from Supermassive Black Hole A*, is an assassin who is willing to utilize her sex appeal and ruthlessness to accomplish her goals, one of which includes refining her cloning technology that transfer her memories and personality to one of her clones upon her death multiple times.

    Web Original 
  • Sahar of the Whateley Universe has spent several years seducing any mutant (male or female) with the right powers, so she can copy their best psychic traits. Even the campus Alphas and Intelligence Cadet Corps fear her.
  • RWBY Chibi: Cinder ends up cast as one in the Film Noir episode with Junior Detective Neptune as the narrating protagonist. Hot (figuratively and in terms of her powers), looking for a detective's help (still looking for the Fall Maiden), morally suspicious (the Character Exaggeration the series as a whole does to the canon RWBY cast puts her squarely into Card-Carrying Villain most of the time), hints at other means of payment besides cash...until Neptune's not-so-inner monologue and comically inept attempts to woo her disgusts Cinder enough to quit and look elsewhere.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Poison Ivy alternates between this and The Vamp, depending on the episode, leaning more towards the latter in her debut appearance.
  • This page wouldn’t be complete without Carmen Sandiego who’s right up there with Catwoman, Catherine Tramell and Ada Wong when it comes to iconic examples of this trope. An elusive global Classy Cat-Burglar and Villain Protagonist of a few educational mystery games and a 1994 cartoon series. The 2019 Netflix continuity reboot series, gives Carmen heaps of Adaptational Heroism making her more of a sympathetic Anti-Hero who is still very crafty and alluring.
  • Phineas and Ferb: While hardly alluring at ten years old or younger, Isabella Garcia-Shapiro played this role in the Indiana Jones-themed episode "Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Juatchadoon". She even has a card that calls her such.
  • Castlevania (2017): With how she seduced and tricked Hector into slavery, Lenore definitely counts as an example. She does become more likeable to a degree in Season 4 having fallen for Hector for real, albeit entirely off-screen and apologises for what she did to him before stepping into the sunlight. It’s more than likely Lenore being a Vampire couldn’t see the demeaning cruelty of her actions regarding Hector and being raised by the Femme Fatale queen herself Carmilla certainly didn’t help either.
  • Transformers:
    • Blackarachnia from Beast Wars plays this to the hilt when she gets a chance, towards allies and enemies alike, though she does less flirting and more fighting than is usual for this trope. The choice of a black widow spider as her alternate mode is surprisingly appropriate, though she's not without redeeming qualities.
    • The Blackarachnia in Transformers: Animated fulfills this trope whenever it's convenient for her, either with the Autobots or the Dinobots. Optimus Prime is especially vulnerable to falling for this no matter how many times she does it. It does make you wonder why she considers herself such a horrific freak when everyone with a spark seems to want to jump her thorax. Probably because of her face under the helmet.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man's Classy Cat-Burglar Black Cat has shades of this trope, willingly flirting with and helping Spider-Man to clear his name while using the same opportunity to steal jewels on the sly. Though the flirting stopped when her father (the Burglar who shot Ben Parker) decided to remain in prison to repent. She hates Spider-Man for this and will never forgive him.
  • Used in The Legend of Korra in the design of Asami Sato. With her long raven hair, beautiful figure, red clothes, fighting prowess, lack of bending, competition as Mako's love interest, and rich family, she fits this trope like a glove. It was all a subversion, because she really was nice and caring, and not the double-crosser so many fans assumed she'd be based on her appearance. And she went beyond being a Romantic False Lead for Mako - she ultimately became Korra's love interest. Asami was originally written as a femme fatale Equalist early in development but the writers liked her so much they made her a subversion instead.
  • Before The Legend of Korra gave us Asami, the predecessor series Avatar: The Last Airbender also put a twist on this trope in the form of Jet, a sexy, charming boy who used his outer seductiveness to blind Katara to his dangerous intentions. Like many female examples of this trope, he came to genuinely care about Katara, and ended up redeeming himself - and then dying.
  • Samurai Jack ran into this type of villain twice. (Demons and bounty hunters were easy for him; seductresses, not so much.) The first one was actually Aku in disguise, and it ended very badly for Jack. The second one was Josephine Clench, also a Dark Action Girl and half of an Outlaw Couple with her ex-husband Zeke. Apparently, her typical MO was to lure a victim into a false sense of security with her charms so that Zeke could attack by surprise, and then she could strike from behind when he tried to fight him. It almost worked on Jack, but the plan fell apart when she tried to double-cross Zeke. Possibly, something like this may have been why they had divorced. It's subverted with Ashi, a deadly but sexy young lady of the Daughters of Aku who would fit the trope to a tee, but instead she attempts to kill Jack, and then romances him later.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • Femme Fatale was the name of a one-shot villainess from the episode "Equal Fights." The name was the only thing she really had in common with the trope, since she was a Straw Feminist who tried to indoctrinate the girls into "solidarity" because she really Does Not Like Men.
    • Sedusa is a bigger example. She is a mistress of seduction who manipulates men into doing her bidding and has snake-like hair she uses as tentacles for battle; both representing her Meaningful Name.
  • Rugrats has a film noir parody episode called "Radio Daze" featuring both Angelica and Lil as Femme Fatales. Angelica is the Big Bad who's after the MacGuffin - and her name is 'Madame Evil', dressed like a traditional noir villainess. Lil initially appears to be one - drugging Tommy with a Honey Trap (although since they're babies, this is just giving him warm milk so he goes straight to sleep). But she undergoes a High-Heel–Face Turn.
  • Shego on Kim Possible overlaps between this and Dark Action Girl besides kicking ass. She’s fully capable of fooling and manipulating people using her beauty. She even playfully tries seducing Ron at one point, in order to seriously piss off her rival Kim.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Rarity plays this role in "Rarity Investigates!" as part of her detective investigation, flirting with and charming some guard ponies to get information.
  • Tanya Keys in Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart plays this role. She enjoys teasing Mao Mao to the point he becomes flustered and continues to trick him throughout her debuting episode. It is also teased that she once had a "complicated" adult relationship with Mao Mao.
  • In the Love, Death & Robots episode "Sonnie's Edge", Jennifer serves as a Femme Fatale assassin for her employer/lover Dicko. She seduces and attempts to murder Sonnie for refusing to throw a match with Dicko. It doesn't end well.
  • Duck Dodgers: Played with via the Martian Queen Tyr'ahnee. She tries to woo Dodgers because she genuinely thinks he's trying to impress her with his (usually accidental) heroics. Of course, she did decide to kill Dodgers outright at one point after he turns down her advances flatly.
  • Woody Woodpecker: In "Alley to Bali", Woody and Buzz Buzzard are two sailors on shore leave who get seduced by a beautiful Balinese priestess looking for an offering of "long pig" for the local volcano god.
  • Animaniacs: Hello Nurse plays one in "This Pun For Hire", hiring the Warners to find the MacGuffin so she can take it for herself. The Warner Brothers even catcall her with "Helloooo Femme Fatale Nurse!" when she first appears.


Video Example(s):



Jade attempts to use her talent to seduce a security guard in all the wrong ways.

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Main / FemmeFatale

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