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Femme Fatalons

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The more impractical, the eviler.

Sanageyama: Lady Satsuki's sharpening the fangs of the rebellion.
Inumuta: Nails, to be accurate.
Kill la Kill, "Far from the Madding Crowd"

A fashionable bit of personal accessorizing are Femme Fatalons. Often filed to a painful point and extending well past the end of the fingertip, these nails mark the woman wearing them as, at the very least, untrustworthy, and often as dangerous or predatory.

It's uncanny how often women with Femme Fatalons turn out to be villainesses too. While Power Hair at least has the benefit of the doubt (mostly because most people have hair), it's a rare woman who can wear these and be on the side of good. Maybe it's the claw-like look, the illusion of Creepy Long Fingers, the implied sadism and Finger Licking Evil, or perhaps just having them is itself a Red Right Hand (well, red fingernail polish). They also imply that the wearers consider themselves above manual labor, overlapping with Aristocrats Are Evil and Idle Rich, or they're vain, since a lot of effort goes into maintenance. In works aimed at children, a woman wearing stiletto nails is always a Child Hater.


Non-natural long nails, like acrylic or gel extension or glue-ons and primarily decorative nail guards or nail sheaths (like these) also count as Femme Fatalons, as long as they're used as a hint that the wearer is dangerous or villainous.

Weapons like clawed gloves, or clawlike extensions attached to (or growing out of) the hand or fingers are not Femme Fatalons; they're Wolverine Claws. An easy rule of thumb to follow is that if they're primarily for looks, they're Femme Fatalons. If they're primarily intended as weapons, they're Wolverine Claws.

Despite the name, Femme Fatalons are not only worn by women, either. The occasional male villain will opt for them as well.

Not to be confused with Femme Fatale. Compare Finger-Lickin' Evil or actual claws. Often found along with Fangs Are Evil. May be paired with I Broke a Nail.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Male example in Bleach, Mad Scientist and Crosses the Line Twice Jerkass Mayuri Kurotsuchi has a single long nail on each hand. He's a scholar. Confucian scholars would grow out their fingernails as a sort of "See? I don't need to work!" sign. Then it sunk in that this made reading and writing awkward and they cut back to just one nail on each hand.
  • Another male example in the Peacemaker Kurogane manga. After becoming gay and crazy, Suzu grows out his nails and wears nail polish.
  • The two female leads from InuNekoJump have long, artificial nails. The main female protagonist has a habit of using them as a motivational tool on her love interest.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-'s Kiishim has Femme Fatalons, but turns out to be not so evil after all in later appearances. Not to mention that even initially, she was Mind Controlled.
  • Pachira from Magical Pokaan has these, although she uses them to scratch people when irritated.
  • Rue has long dark nails when she's her alternate persona Kraehe in Princess Tutu.
  • Male example: Trinity Blood protagonist Abel Nightroad has long black talons while in his Crusnik form.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • Kurumu gets impressive Femme Fatalons while in succubus form.
    • Moka is shown in the artwork as having talons while in vampire mode.
  • Ichigo and Mint are shown to have long feminine pink nails in their stock footage henshin animation in Tokyo Mew Mew. Zakuro has glowing purple nails in her animation. Ichigo has a Diagonal Cut moment when she slashes Kish in an episode.
  • Sae from Peach Girl has nails and has the habit (in the manga, anyway) of leaving gouges in other people's cars.
  • The female antagonists in the Saber Marionette J universe have talons and make good use of them.
  • Kasumi Tendo in the 11th OVA episode of Ranma ½ has claws from being possessed by an Oni and uses them to give her dad a shoulder massage.
  • Velsper's familiar, Wasp of the Blue Lance, has long claws in Ah! My Goddess.
  • Subverted by Dominura from Simoun who has long, red nails and is initially introduced as a mysterious and ambitious woman, intent on upsetting the current way of things in Chor Tempest. However, she eventually turns out to be somewhat of a Broken Ace and develops quite cordial relationships with the rest of The Squad, especially with her partner and paramour Limone.
  • Cheza in the final Wolf's Rain episode begins to "bloom", which results in her nails growing longer.
  • Two antagonist mermaids in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch have claws.
  • The demon principal in Devil Hunter Yohko has Kurumu-like talons which she uses as weapons.
  • Vandread's Jura Elden finds time to manicure her nails while maintaining a shield around a planet in one of her attempts to get Hibiki to make babies with her.
  • Haruka Hasegawa from Moyashimon has long matte black nails and is shown to be able to draw blood with them.
  • The latest episode of Kiddy GiRL-AND introduces Rubis, an assassin who transforms into a animal-like creature and extend the nails on both her hands and feet as weapons. Also an example of Finger-Lickin' Evil.
  • Naruto Uzumaki when he uses the Kyuubi powers, Sasuke in his cursed state, and occasionally Kiba Inuzuka. But Nii Yugito, the Nibi jinchuuriki, who is a woman, has the longest nails by fair, on both her hands and feet.
  • Episode 44 of Mobile Fighter G Gundam has a shot of Allenby Beardsly with claws while under the control of the Berserker System.
  • Lilly Five team member Ellie in Shaman King has a french manicure which serves as the medium for her oversoul which becomes a set of claws.
  • In the first episode of One Piece, the evil Alvida has long, sharp red nails.
  • A number of characters from Dragon Ball have this trait, perhaps most noticeably Namekians because the first one of them introduced was imagined as a demon. Unlike most of the examples on this page, they're a male looking One-Gender Race.
  • Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist has the power to grow her nails incredibly long. They can also retract into her hands and must be pretty strong, since they never break. Although she does use them for slashing, mostly, she uses them to stab people.
  • Black Butler has a male example. Undertaker has long black nails, and he is Ambiguously Evil.
  • Satsuki of Kill la Kill takes the road less traveled by and turns her toenails into lethal weapons.
  • Saint Seiya: Ophiuchus Shaina's uses them quite often in combat, and she can even coat them in electricity when she uses her signature attack Thunder Claw.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • In Dick Tracy, Master Poisoner Newsuit Nan had long sharp fingernails which she used to scratch her victims and induce poison into their bloodstream.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Casanova Frankenstein, the villain from the film Mystery Men has these. Used for comic effect, as he prefers to attack with the sharpened nail of a single outstretched pinky.
  • David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China rounds out this manly manicured trio. He used his in conjunction with his evil Black Magic.
  • The Brazilian horror character Coffin Joe has ridiculously long fingernails, which he uses to gouge people's eyes out.
  • In the French action movie The Nest (Nid de guêpes), villain Abedin Nexhep is introduced with a shot of his long (for a man) and manicured nails. Any notions you might form about him being a cossetted hands-off type is later gruesomely punctured, along with the throat of one of the cops.
  • In Dennis the Menace, Dennis's mother's antagonistic boss has red fake nails and even taps them on a divider as she walks along in one scene.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the witch who is the Sheriff of Nottingham's mother has long and sharp nails, which she uses to cut herself.
  • Winifred Sanderson from Disney's Halloween movie Hocus Pocus has these. With all her crazy hand motions, it's kind of hard to miss, especially when she uses one like a knife to cut through a window screen.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange has long nails in several of the Harry Potter films. For that matter, so does her male boss Voldemort — which isn't surprising, as he Looks Like Orlok (though he's an Evil Sorcerer instead of a vampire, and he lacks the nose and hunchback).
  • Ravena in Snow White and the Huntsman wears a finger guard with a metal claw on it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman definitely wears them with style.
  • Male examples are more common than female in Pirates of the Caribbean. Barbossa has long, sharp, blackened fingernails, and Davy Jones has pointed nails on the fingers that aren't mutated into tentacles. However, the prize has to go to Sao Feng, whose nails are long enough to curl.
  • In Skyfall, icy henchwoman Severine wears these, lacquered purple and gold. They go with her absurdly vampy beaded dress and were intended to evoke the appearance of a dragon. However, unlike other examples, she's not presented as a Femme Fatale, being more a prisoner of her employer than a willing partner.
  • In Oz the Great and Powerful Theodora sprouts a set when she does her Face–Heel Turn. They're the first thing we see of her new "wicked" form.
  • In the comedy Volunteers a Dragon Lady uses them to impale fruit so she can eat it.
  • The Force Awakens: Bazine Netal, the First order spy in Maz's bar, wears pointed black finger caps.
  • Count Orlok, the vampire from Nosferatu, is an early male example. Definitely overlaps with Creepy Long Fingers.
  • In Never Too Young to Die The evil hermaphrodite Ragnar has a very sharp fingernail he uses to kill multiple people with.

  • One of the female smugglers in Flood Tide has long fingernails.
  • The Warden of Holes paints her nails with polish made from rattlesnake venom (and then scratches her minion with them when they are still wet, causing him severe pain and injury).
  • Another male example: the Star Wars Expanded Universe character General Melvar has very long fingernails. Very long, metallic, reflective, sharp fingernails. He's even shown to have cut himself with them by accident before. Aaron Allston's run on the X-Wing books, basically a canon Fix Fic for the book in which Zsinj and Melvar were introduced, explains that this is part of an act to make himself look like a stereotypical evil/psychopathic Imperial, both to make his enemies underestimate him and to impress/intimidate pirates he's trying to recruit.
  • The Chancellors of the Capellan Confederation in Battletech wear the last three nails on each hand extra long and extra sharp following the fashion of Chinese emperors in Real Life history. Of course, the emperors weren't half as likely to have them artificially reinforced...
  • Coraline: The Other Mother has long thin fingers with red nail polish on each fingernail.
  • In The Witches, the Mage Species are Always Chaotic Evil and have several Red Right Hand features, including long, catlike claws, which they hide with gloves.
  • The Wheel of Time: The aristocracy of the invading Seanchan Empire all wear long fingernails, which are painted to denote their precise rank. The first few encounters overlap solidly with Aristocrats Are Evil and Agent Peacock, as they're slaveholders and quite effete by Westland standards, but later books portray them with much more nuance.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Maila Nurmi as Vampira had long pointy nails.
  • There's never any doubt that Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is evil, but she definitely has these. She kills Kendra, a Slayer, in the season 2 finale by cutting her throat with a single nail. Also offhandedly comments "I didn't like that bartender. His eyeballs got stuck to my fingers." ([licks fingers])
  • A Yellow Peril villain from Get Smart had these, going as far as to cut up apples and carve statues with them. Agent 86 comments that this is probably how he is able to afford an underground lair. "Think how much money he saves on knives!"
  • Numerous villains in Charmed (both male and female) have had long nails.
  • In Farscape, Aeryn Sun's mother apparently had these, as she escaped capture by using them to slice open her own arm to pull out a knife she apparently had surgically implanted just in case.
    • In "Incubator," Scorpius' nanny had red, talon-like nails. For that matter, so did Scorpius as a child, though he evidently trimmed them before he started wearing his coolant suit.
  • One minor character had long nails complete with a diamond piercing in the pilot episode of Dark Angel. She even went so far as to offer to show Max how sharp they really were.
  • Huntress from the TV series Birds of Prey (2002) had long nails.
  • Referenced in Scrubs: JD and Turk like to put Bugles (cone shaped corn chips) on their fingers and pretend they have "witch nails". Turk accompanies this with an Evil Laugh.
  • Abaddon, who is a Knight of Hell, has long red nails in Supernatural. Also the Alpha vampire; when he's captured and strapped to a chair, he uses a particularly long nail to cut through the leather cuff holding one arm.
  • Exaggerated with Kali in Teen Wolf. She not only has (apparently) permanent, black-painted claws on her hands, but on her bare feet as well. Why no one (aside from the main characters fighting her) ever noticed a woman walking around with no shoes or socks and large sharp claws on her toes is never addressed.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Dreams in the Witch-House", the witch has some razor-sharp nails which she uses to claw bloody marks into Walter's back.
  • Several characters on Claws have this, although it makes sense as they work in a nail salon.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • Luna Vachon as a manager, rattling and scratching things with her claws while barking orders. As a wrestler, not so much.
  • MsChif sharpens her nails, seemingly just for this effect, as she's much more likely to back fist than scratch.
  • Melina was proud of hers on Smackdown and made sure to keep them protected even when attacking, which ironically lead to her using more legal forearms and axe handles more frequently than punches. Less so after she got her first shot at the Women's Championship.
  • Luscious Latasha's come to flat points, but they've still gotten long enough for her to describe them as "claws" and "duck nails".
  • During the lead up to Amazing Kong's (first)retirement in SEAdLINNNG she grew her nails out to the point she couldn't make a good fist without her gloves, in contrast to Tag Team partner Aja Kong, who typically removed the gloves when she got serious.
  • Peruvian Princess Amanda Rodriguez has nails that come to noticeable points, though this seems to be purely aesthetic and not factor into her matches.
  • Salina de la Renta began wearing pointy nail extensions when she became a manager in Major League Wrestling. The better to direct her minions at the objects of her scorn.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Even BattleTech has them. One of the affectations of the wealthiest citizens of the Capellan Confederation is to grow the fingernails on the last three fingers of each hand to a length of ten centimeters and decorate them with gem chips and gold leaf, and reinforce them with carbon fiber, turning them into claws able to cut through leather.
    • The most famous named 'Mech in the game, Yen-Lo-Wang, was originally modified to feature enormous titanium nails on its left hand as a reference to this trend. These nails were not just cosmetic, and in the rules were treated as inflicting as much damage as a hatchet. Justin Xiang, Yen-Lo-Wang's pilot, famously killed a minor rival in his heavier Rifleman with the nails by stabbing into its weak back armor and ripping apart its engine, causing the Rifleman to explode.
  • Pathfinder has several examples: Feiya, the iconic Witch, has extra-long nails. Changelings (an almost-literal Mage Species born from unions of Hags and human men) have these as a racial feature.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Dreadfleet, the artwork for the Big Bad, the vampire pirate Captain Noctilus, depicts him with gauntlets that sport long, sharp claws. These appear to be mostly ornamental rather than practical, a visual reference to the long claws/nails sported by some vampires in fiction.
    • In Warhammer 40,000 the background for Lelith Hesperax, leader of the Drukhari Wych Cult of Strife, has had her fingernails reinforced and sharpened to a fine edge so that she can kill her foes even when otherwise unarmed. This isn't represented by her in-game rules however.

  • A lot of actors who play Herbert von Krolock in Tanz Der Vampire have these. Some just have the nails attached to gloves, however, and sometimes, his hands just look exquisitely manicured.
  • In The Golden Apple, Achilles warns that Circe will "scratch your heart out with her long red fingernails."
  • In The Women, Sylvia in the first scene is showing off her nails, which have been painted a new shade called "Jungle Red." Nancy says it's good "for tearing your friends apart," a quip which Sylvia resents. Mary admires the shade, but the chatty manicurist who gave it to Sylvia also divulged some gossip about Mary's husband keeping another woman. At the end of the play, Sylvia and the other woman are sore at Mary for having cattily outwitted them, and she says, "Well, I've two years to sharpen my claws," and flashes her fingernails—"Jungle Red, Sylvia!"—before leaving the two ladies alone.

    Video Games 
  • Many of the female villains in the Lunar series have long, manicured nails.
  • Elexis Sinclair from the PC game Sin: Episode 1 has long red nails.
  • Final Fantasy loves these (unsurprisingly). Interestingly, they have about as many male examples as female.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening has multiple examples:
    • Aversa, a classic Femme Fatale, has dangerously sharp nails and is both the head henchwoman of Validar and a uniquely talented sorceress. She can eventually be turned to the player's side through DLC, but retains her villainous appearance down to her nails afterward.
    • Validar himself has very long nails, which make his hands look like claws given the generally shadowy lighting he's found in.
    • Gangrel, king of Plegia at the start of the game, also has long nails. He, too, can be recruited by the player through DLC.
    • Excellus, a Valmese member of the Grimleal and Smug Snake to hell and back, also has long painted nails. Unlike the others, his are actually maintained without looking like claws.
  • Luise Meyrink from The King of Fighters franchise has long blue nails.
  • Lady Claire from the first Luminous Arc has long, purple nails. However, despite having talons and dressing like a femme, she seems to be weepy and rather "un-fatale".
  • Suikoden II has Karen, a dancer you can recruit into your army, who can be used in regular battles. She uses her long, sharp nails as her weapons, and (amusingly enough), has them upgraded by being sharpened at the blacksmith's. (So does every other weapon in the series - including things like woks, book belts, and hammers, but still.)
  • Darklaw of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney sports a golden gauntlet version of this, which gauntlets are only used for show during the game. A borderline case because they could double as actual weapons. Their use as a prop for magic does not count, especially since her magic is revealed to be just hypnosis and other stage magic.
  • Alraune, from Bayonetta 2, has absurdly long and sharp nails, which are one of her primary weapons.
  • In Return Of The Obra Dinn, we have mermaids, whose fingernail claws are capably designed to tear off human flesh. This is what happens to the Formosan Royal Bun-Lan Lim, who stays low on one lifeboat while Edward Nichols' fellow mutineers are getting slaughtered by mermaids, and ends up with a Slashed Throat by one of them who is strangling her.

    Visual Novels 
  • Arcueid Brunested from Tsukihime has vampiric claws.
  • Gaap from Umineko: When They Cry has long, red nails.
    • Rosa Ushiromiya is described as having nails that are long and sharp enough to tear apart blankets and magical stuffed lion cubs.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc gives us both Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba. Granted, it's debatable how evil the latter is, but she's imitating the former, who we learn is the Big Bad.


    Western Animation 
  • In ReBoot, Hexadecimal plays this trope straight.
  • The original The Transformers series had the (male) Decepticon Scourge with bright pink sharp "fingernails".
    • In Transformers: Prime, the evil characters have much sharper fingers than the heroes. Unsurprisingly, Airachnid has them, being the primary evil female character of the show. Starscream's claws actually seem to vary in length depending on how evil he's being in that scene.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The original series:
      • Azula and Mai, though they later cut them. Although Ursa (nice lady, from what we can tell) had them too, so maybe it's just Fire Nation fashion for nobles and royalty. Azula also uses the slashing motion in combat in her first episode, giving Zuko three nice straight scars.
      • Hama, both with her fingernails and waterbent claws which she throws at a tree. The first hint that she isn't some sweet old lady is her using water she sucked from plants (killing them) to create talons of ice.
    • The Legend of Korra:
      • Red Lotus combustionbender P'Li is a Downplayed example. Her nails, while not particularly long, are painted red-black.
      • Earth Queen Hou-Ting has very long green nails with golden nail coverings on the pinky and ring fingers. Long fingernails were often a fashion of imperial Chinese aristocracy in real life.
  • Family Guy plays with this trope: when Meg Griffin gets Lust-like fingernail growing powers, everyone scoffs at her for having such a lame and useless power.
  • Morganna McCawber from Darkwing Duck has femme fatalons. She started off playing this straight, but within her first episode she was already moving into Dark Is Not Evil territory and soon managed to pull off a complete Heel–Face Turn without a hitch, in the process becoming the title character's Love Interest.
  • A popular girl from Danny Phantom—angry from losing a beauty pageant—threatens the main character's best friend with her sharp, but "perfectly manicured" nails.
  • Clover in an episode of Totally Spies! gets these when she's put under Mind Control by an evil manicurist.
  • Skung of Ōban Star-Racers has Femme Fatalons powerful enough to rip through metal.
  • Murdoc Nicalls from Gorillaz is a male example.
  • The villainous and untrustworthy Roodaka sports large claws in the third BIONICLE movie. She even runs them over Vakama's chest when trying to talk him into betraying his partners. Her toy, ironically, doesn't even have hands.
  • Gargoyles: Demona, being a gargoyle, boasts these; even in her human persona of Dominique Destine, she files her fingernails into sharp points.
  • Steven Universe: White Diamond has long, black fingernails that are clawed at the tips, as opposed to the smooth tips of her fellow Diamonds' fingers.

    Real Life 
  • New York Tong leader Mock Duck had long fingernails. In Chinese tradition, this was a status symbol, signaling that he was too important to do manual labor.
  • Cixi- the last strong leader of the Last Chinese imperial dynasty (and a Big Bad from the perspective of people ranging from Chinese revolutionaries to Western Leaders) had these for similar reasons to Mock Duck. Long fingernails were attractive in the imperial court for the reasons mentioned before. Couple that with Cixi's career involving working her way from being an imperial concubine- through allegedly acting as a Femme Fatale - up to being an Imperial mother to being the true power, and she can at least be accused of it. Though like real life the situation was Grey-and-Gray Morality and how truly bad she was is disputable, her formidably sized nails are not.