"Devils are depicted with bats' wings and good angels with birds' wings, not because anyone holds that moral deterioration would be likely to turn feathers into membrane, but because most men like birds better than bats."
— From the preface to The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis
The quote explains the trope pretty well all by itself, so let's just jump into the many different types of wings.
- Angel wings (white bird wings) used to always represent good. While they still usually do, nowadays they are also possessed by Knight Templars or other Holy Is Not Safe types.
- Two sets of angel wings or more are also known as seraph wings and usually means this guy is either an Eccentric Mentor, the Final Boss, or an angel belonging to a higher rank than the ones with only one set.
- Black angel wings represent Fallen Angels, nearly all the time. Occasionally, they may be certain tiers, such as archangels. Might mean Dark Is Not Evil and/or Good is Not Nice. They can be also associated with The Grim Reaper, especially if Death is Archangel Azrael.
- Multicolored wings represent angels in Islamic art. In Western art, they tend more to represent a nature-spirit type of character, especially one in a tropical or rainforest area.
- Bird wings that aren't either pure black or pure white usually represent a naturally-occurring Winged Humanoid. Probably morally neutral, with a strong chance of being a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
- Demon wings (bat wings with a horn instead of a thumb) still usually represent evil (or at least a primarily evil species that might have one or two good members).
- Dragons are exempt from this rule as they are allowed to run the gamut of alignments without restrictions on expectations (except for maybe color). Depending on the work, they may run the gamut of wings, too.
- Bat Wings are sometimes found on vampires, especially if they can go One-Winged Angel (though usually not literally one-winged).
- Pterosaur wings are in the same league as bat wings, but rarer. If they're not on an evil character, they are on a dinosaur person, though there is a lot of overlap.
- Bone wings are usually possessed by undead (especially undead dragons) but occasionally mean "too evil for bat wings".
- Insect wings are seen on fairies and insectoid monsters.
- Butterfly wings are almost always fairies. The exception is in Eastern cultures, where butterflies can represent death, and therefore imply that, good or evil, the thing they appear on is deadly. They may also be associated with The Mothman, a being who straddles the line between alien and fairy in modern folklore.
- Dragonfly wings may likewise appear on fairies, but usually (due to dragonflies' status as agile predators) to distinguish fairy warriors from the more decorative and/or magic-wielding butterfly-winged ones.
- Web wings are a variety without real-life counterpart where the web of a spider provides the body of the wings.note Depending on the design, either the web wings are purely web or another type of wing forms the basis with the web filling up the spaces. An example of the latter would be bone wings with spider webs between the bones. Web wings tend to be for creepy but ultimately well-meaning characters.
- Leaf and petal wings are another if rare type of wings found mostly on fairies and the occasional character with a Green Thumb.
- Manta ray flying wings usually are an attribute of something really weird and cool, be it monster, vehicle or both at once.
- Broken or tattered wings imply a similarly broken or disillusioned individual, likely a defector or an exile.
- Cape Wings tend to belong to Anti-Heroes or villains.
- Energy wings: Good or evil, these are the mark of power, and lots of it.
- Flaming wings are usually demon wings (think the Balrog) but can also go to simply badass and/or fire-themed beings (think phoenixes, seraphim or Gabriel). Probably 'cause they look so damn cool. And this hue hangs together with Flaming Sword just nice, doesn’t it, dear?
- Light wings: Can imply a connection to the sun. May be a case of Light Is Good or Light Is Not Good.
- Metallic wings are generally unseen outside of Heavy Metal album covers, but are quite popular there. Usually denotes the character as a badass with The Power of Rock, in addition to other implications based on type.
- Naturally, these are often seen on Humongous Mecha, but these are usually mechanical, airplane-like wings, unless the designer wants to get theatrical. However, different rules often apply if it transforms or combines.
- Transforming Mecha often have either wings from their alternate mode or kibble evoking the shape of wings.
- Combining Mecha with wings usually get them from one of their component mecha.
- Naturally, these are often seen on Humongous Mecha, but these are usually mechanical, airplane-like wings, unless the designer wants to get theatrical. However, different rules often apply if it transforms or combines.
- Tiny, stylized wings not connected to the body are generally there to look cute. The morality they indicate depends on what type of wing they are, though evil characters with these are usually not intended to be taken seriously.
- Cluster wings consist of various unconnected parts of wings floating in place. They may or may not be connected to the body and pretty much come in only two materials: energy and crystal. Therefore, they are multicolored by default. These wings tend to indicate an insanely powerful being, a chosen one, or something else special.
- Hybrid wings are used to communicate mixed heritage or the dual nature of the owner. There are two ways this can come about.
- A set of wings containing a wing of one type and another of another type. For instance, one a pterosaur wing and the other a dragonfly wing.
- The most common combination, which almost always represents a fallen angel or mixed angel/devil heritage, is one wing an angel's and the other a demon's. Alternatives are angel and bone wings and white and black angel wings. You may also see these on the Byronic Hero and people with Yin-Yang Bomb abilities.
- Wings with design elements of two wing types. Think butterfly wings with feathers or bat wings with insect membrane between the fingers.
- A set of wings containing a wing of one type and another of another type. For instance, one a pterosaur wing and the other a dragonfly wing.
- Upside-down wings are always the mark of something evil, though if it applies to a species there might be that one good person among them. Usually combines with devil or bone wings, but it can also combine with angel wings for that fallen or distorted angel look.
Among an individual species/race of Winged Humanoids, color often counts as well. If they all have feathered wings, for example, an exceptionally good or pure character will likely have white wings, while an evil one's may be black.
If a character's morality changes, their wings often change as well. This is most commonly seen as white wings turning into black wings or bat wings.
For further reading, see Power Gives You Wings and Winged Humanoid.
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Anime & Manga
- Cooro's anima is a crow, so he has black wings, and is often mistaken for a messenger of death, despite the fact that he's about the most upbeat person in the entire series.
- Nana, who is a bat anima, is very self-conscious about the fact she has the bat wings when she first meets the group.
- 3×3 Eyes: Members of the Hyoma clan can assimilate other beings and transform accordingly. It is noticeable that two evil Hyoma (Galga and his unnamed lieutenant) can grow bat wings, while the Noble Demon Gupta has a set of insectoid wings kinda like a dragonfly, and later does a Heel–Face Turn.
- Ah! My Goddess:
- Celestial goddesses have angels with white bird wings; Devil goddesses have demons with leathery bat wings. Urd's Angel is revealed to have bird wings, one black and one white, which reveals her... mixed... parentage.
- Once a devil angel was given to Belldandy to make her evil, but it ended getting "angelificated" by her. Its wings stayed demon-like, but changed color from black to white.
- Angel Sanctuary: Subverted. While angels have dove wings and demons have bat wings as usual, the type (and number!) of wings indicates species and rank rather than the character's morality.
- Berserk: The Cape Wings sported by Femto (a.k.a. Griffith) look very much like the wings of a demon. Given Femto's birdlike traits, the author may have been aiming at a hawk like appearance (hence the irony of the title "Hawk of Light" in the manga), or probably just a mixture of bird and bat features.
- Cardcaptor Sakura has a very rare example of portraying butterfly wings as the evil counterpart to angel wings, until it turns out the characters with these wings weren't evil after all.
- In Chrono Crusade, the demons tend to have bat-like wings, and the Apostles (children chosen to have holy powers) have white angel wings. However, the trope is somewhat subverted—Chrono, while a demon, is one of the good guys, and Joshua, one of the Apostles, is being manipulated by the Big Bad.
- Daimos: The Baam-Seijin were an alien race of Winged Humanoids with functional, angel-like, white wings sprouting from their backs. They were not representative of their alignment at all, though: they were not portrayed as being inherently good or evil, but as similar to humans (Always Chaotic Evil was completely averted). Then again, Kazuya said Erika was like an angel long before seeing her wings.
- Chimeramon has several wings, representing the various Digimon it was formed from.
- Lucemon has twelve wings that change as he grows more powerful (and evil); he starts off with all twelve white angel wings, switches to half white and half demon wings in his Fallen Angel form, and becomes a huge black monster with twelve demon wings in his final, most demonic form. Note that even with all twelve white wings, he was a Knight Templar at best... the change just shows him getting much worse. His larva form goes back to angel wings, but discolored.
- Beelzemon shows up with black angel wings in two seasons (Tamers and Fusion). Instead of showing him as a fallen angel, it's more representative of redemption and second chances at life. Not to mention sheer badassery.
- D.N.Angel: Reversed, as Dark is a good guy with black wings and Krad is a violent psychopath with white wings.
- Getter Robo: There were no "good wings" in this series. The winged Mechasaurs had bat-like, membranous wings. Getter's wings were metallic... or bat-like, which it fits since being batshit crazy is a practically requirement for being a Getter pilot.
- Haibane Renmei is about people with wings that sprout very painfully shortly after arriving to the world. Although they're merely cosmetic, their color is important: normal people have gray wings, while those who are sin-bound have black wings.
- .hack has had several winged characters: both Subaru and Ryoko Terajima had (non-functional, and in Subaru's case, tiny) angelic wings on their characters, for purely decorative reasons. Balmung also has angelic wings, and his are fully functional, given as a reward for striking the killing blow against a supposedly Hopeless Boss Fight.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's:
- The Book of Darkness' humanoid form comes with six black wings, perfect for an Artifact of Doom capable of destroying a few worlds whenever it's completed. But it's revealed that it's not really evil, simply made unstable by its defective defense program.
- Hayate herself seems to have inherited both the wings and the bulk of said book's power as of StrikerS... good thing she's on the heroes' side.
- Towards the end of StrikerS, Signum gets a pair of flaming wings when unisoned with Agito, going nicely with her Flaming Sword. Again, both good and extremely badass.
- Raising Heart often develops energy wings whenever Nanoha's about to unleash a Kamehamehadoken on someone, and Nanoha herself gains small energy wings on her shoes whenever she starts flying.
- Lindy Harlaown gets fairy wings when doing magic (being based on Nanoha's Fairy Companion from Lyrical Toy Box).
- Magic Knight Rayearth's Rune Gods Selece and Windam, patterned after a Western-style dragon and a four-winged phoenix, have metallic wings befitting their beastly forms when they transform into their humanoid shape. The Rayearth gestalt has gigantic angel wings and tiny dragon wings underneath. However, Emeraude's Rune God and Nova's Regalia have demonic wings, and Zagato's Rune God in the OAV has tattered, frayed dragon wings.
- Mazinger: The wings of the Humongous Mecha of the good guys — when they had wings — were metallic, whereas the wings of the Robeasts usually were animalistic:
- Mazinger Z: Mazinger-Z's Mid-Season Upgrade was a Jet Pack equipped with red, metallic — and razor — wings. Many flying Mechanical Beasts were also equipped with all sort of wings: bat wings (Deimos F3, Deviler X1, Archerian J5...), bird wings (Harpy X7), manta ray wings...
- Great Mazinger: Great Mazinger had two sets of wings: two red metallic wings unfolded from its back, and Big Booster (a grey Jet Pack docked on its back. Big Booster wings were triangular and grey-colored). Several squads of the Mykene Empire army were formed by animal-shaped, bio-mechanical Robeast (such like the Avian army or the Insect army), so it was usual seeing Monster Warriors equipped with wings of bat, bird or insect.
- May be a case of "destroying humanity is not evil".
- Gundam has a few examples of this:
- The most iconic example in the franchise comes from Gundam Wing and its movie Endless Waltz (where the heroes' Gundams received stylistic redesigns). Wing Zero, which belongs to The Hero, has a quartet of angel wings, while its Evil Counterpart Epyon has draconic wings to go along with its two-headed wyvern flight mode. Deathscythe Hell has bat wings and is piloted by The Lancer, who calls himself "Shinigami" but is actually a very friendly and cheerful fellow.
- Mobile Suit Victory Gundam has the Victory 2 Gundam, which possesses Wings of Light which fall squarely under energy wings; fittingly, they allow the V2 to fly at incredible speeds (enough to generate 20 Gs of force on the pilot) and can be used as gigantic blades.
- ∀ Gundam has the eponymous Gundam and its Evil Counterpart the Turn X, which wield a system called the Moonlight Butterfly, Black Goo which manifests as shimmering butterfly wings and are capable of reducing all Earth's advanced technology to sand in practically no time.
- In Gundam SEED Destiny, the Destiny and Strike Freedom Gundams feature the Voiture Lumiere high-speed propulsion system; both manifest as Wings of Light, with Destiny's looking like smaller versions of the V2 Gundam's while Strike Freedom's look a little more butterfly-esque.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 doesn't escape this trend. In the first scene of the entire series, the 0 Gundam had giant energy wings called GN Feathers (which wasn't intentional, but the result of particle leakage). The binders on the 00 Raiser resemble wings, and you can just barely make out the outline of GN Feathers during Trans-Am Burst.
- SD Gundam Force had Zero Custom, Knight of Silver Wings and Deathscythe, Knight of Darkness/Deed the Shining Knight, who as Expies of Wing Zero and Deathscythe Hell (see above) have the same style of wings.
- In Gundam Build Fighters, the Star Build Strike Gundam can generate energy wings by manipulating the Plavsky Particles which make the Gunpla Battle possible. Said wings look like blue energy angel wings, representing Sei and Reiji's status as The Heroes as well as the incredible power the Star Build Strike possesses.
- In Gundam Build Divers, Riku’s 00 Sky, being part Destiny Gundam, can create energy wings from its GN Drives and, like the V2, could use them as shields.
- In Naruto, Chouji's red pill of power burns all the stored fat in his body, and gives butterfly wings of pure energy. Sasuke has two hand-like "wings" on his back when he releases the cursed seal. The users of Kujaku in the anime get a swallow-like configuration. The Seven-Tailed Beetle has 3 pairs of dragonfly-like wings and a tail, despite it being an armored Rhinoceros Beetle.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Setsuna is the child of a tengu. She suffers from a rare case of albinism, making her wings white instead of the usual black, which fits perfectly with her good guy alignment. Of course, it also made her anathema to her demon heritage, and she ended up being an outcast. This gave her an enormous complex about the wings, which causes her to view herself as a monster. At least until all of her friends point out that having wings is awesome and make her look like an angel.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: The opening briefly depicts Unit #1 with a wing shaped AT field, doubling as both Energy Wings and Seraphic Wings, symbolizing (or "symbolizes") both the Eva's moral ambiguity and role in instrumentality.
- Phantom Thief Jeanne: The size and color of an angel's wings aren't simply decorative, but denote how much divine power they have stored. Full angels have large, pure-white wings, while the fallen angels, like Fin's true form, and the lowest rank of angels loyal to God, including Access Time, have pitch-black wings.
- Princess Tutu: Due to all the bird imagery, there's plenty of this to go around.
- Princess Tutu and Princess Kraehe sprout white and black (respectively) bird wings at different points. It's more about White Swan/Black Swan than angels, though.
- Kraehe and Mytho get black wings on their costumes frequently during season 2. They have feathers, but since the wings attach to the arms and spread down to the legs (and they're out to steal the hearts of young maidens), it's very reminiscent of the vampire wings/cape.
- Also, there's a small set of insect/fairy wings on Tutu's costume, indicating her short lifespan.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
- Madoka has aethereal wings in the form of abstract angel wings, to symbolize her ascension. Homura gets what might just be the most awesome pair of Energy Wings to ever exist after Madoka's ascension. See for yourself◊.
- After Rebellion, Homura gains black-feathered wings to contrast with Madoka's angelic aesthetic after becoming a demon. Maybe.
- Reborn! (2004): Subverted with Byakuran, who originally has sparkling angelic wings. Then played straight when these are replaced by wings of High-Pressure Blood.
- In Sailor Moon's final storyline, Usagi’s Eternal Sailor Moon form has a set of wings on her back. Terrible if you’re fighting in your own home.
- Saint Beast: All the angels who get sealed in hell have their formerly shining wings turned black.
- Saint Seiya: Most winged Cloths have angelic wings... which includes Hades, whose wings are black as pitch. Notable exceptions are the Wyvern Surplice (evil dragon,) and the Divine forms of the Dragon (good dragon) and Andromeda (fairy-like) Bronze Cloths.
- Soul Eater:
- One chapter, actually called 'Black Wings Versus White Wings', pits "angel" (or so she daydreams briefly) Maka with her winged Grigori soul, up against Gopher — a boy with a similarly shaped soul, only one filled with dark magic that has, it seems, turned the wings black.
- Similar demon/angel imagery was used between Maka and Crona, although then Maka's wings were just the shape of her soul and Crona's were only physical objects.
- This trope was actually discussed when Maka first used her power to have newly-appointed Death Scythe Soul grow wings in weapon form: the first set of wings he makes are bat-like, which upsets Maka, who was getting a little too into the angel image. She insist he makes some "cute" little, detached feathered wings and he complies, but said wings turn out to be hard to fly with. When they have to fight, Maka realizes her mistake and instead has Soul make three sets of wings, which are feathered but much larger and more badass-looking.
- Maka and Soul get 'wing' decorations on her hair and the back end of his scythe-form for their final 'black blood' dress/armour transformation, only for them both to turn white when Crona uses the black blood to seal Asura. As per Maka's fantasies, she does indeed look rather like an angel. Albeit a very angry and determined one. Some extra pages found in the collected version of the chapter explained why this happened: when Asura tried to keep Maka and Soul from leaving his body, he removed the black blood by accident.
- In Tenchi Muyo!, the Light Hawk Wings signify massive power within the series:
- Befitting their status as an intergalactic superpower, the Juraian Empire's ships uses special trees from the great tree Tsunami
- Tsunami, both the goddess and the battleship that hosts her tree, can unleash ten Wings. Theoretically, she can unleash more, but going over ten would destroy the universe. This power also passes down to Sasami.
- Trees derived from the Tsunami tree all can create their own Light Hawk Wings. The lower the generation, the lesser number of wings. Ayeka's Ryu-Oh, a third-generation tree, creates three wings.
- Tenchi Masaki himself being able to manifest Light Hawk Wings was something of a big mystery as he could summon three wings and use them to create armor and a sword. Then he encounters Z, who can summon five wings, is quite the psychopath and nearly kills Tenchi. As it turns out, Tenchi is an avatar of the Tenchi-verse's God, while Z is an anomaly created by Tokimi messing with the fabric of reality to find the being more powerful then her or her sisters. After Tenchi accidentally kills Z, Tokimi resets time and resurrects Z without his powers and with his family alive as atonement for ruining Z's life.
- Befitting their status as an intergalactic superpower, the Juraian Empire's ships uses special trees from the great tree Tsunami
- Trinity Blood: Inverted, as the sociopathic twin Cain has three sets of white wings (which do give him an Eldritch Abomination vibe) and Abel has black (just one pair, but they do cool things like electrocute people and suck vampire blood). Bonus points for Abel's wings tattered and broken appearance.
- The Vision of Escaflowne: Van's wings are pure white, just like his mother's. His brother Folken's, on the other hand, are black. He explains to Hitomi his wings are black because of a fatal disease that's slowly killing him, but the "fallen angel" symbolism still stands.
- X/1999: Many arts (and in-story dreams) feature the two Kamuis with the good, birdlike wings and evil, batlike wings, respectively, fighting each other. Interestingly, it's the Kamui who wants to destroy humanity who has the angel wings, while the one who wants to save it gets the bat wings. Light Is Not Good indeed.
- William-Adolphe Bouguereau: The devil in the background of Dante and Virgil in Hell can mainly be identified as a demon because of its large bat wings, which it uses to fly past the ghosts in the foreground.
- Hieronymus Bosch: The left panel of "Haywain Triptych" shows the rebel angels being cast out of heaven — in this case, they start developing insect wings.
- Sandro Botticelli: The Sistine Chapel's fresco The Temptations of Christ gives the Angels feathered, white wings to indicate their loyalty and holiness while Satan tries and fails to disguise his black bat wings, giving away his identity as a withered and corrupted angel that only wishes to make the heroic Christ as disgusting as him.
- Alexandre Cabanel's The Fallen Angel: To reflect his fall into darkness, Lucifer's wings are blackening. Meanwhile, the still loyal angels have white wings with a Heavenly Blue tint. Though all of the wings are depicted as bird-like, regardless of alignment.
- Michelangelo Buonarroti:
- The Angel in the Basilica of Saint Dominic is as innocent as his fluffy dove wings are white.
- The demons in The Torment of Saint Anthony all have insane looking wings that look like they're made of black leather, green moss, or red reeds. Without exception, they all indicate wickedness and decay. This is an odd example though as Michaelangelo's painting is based on an earlier work by Martin Schongauer.
- Magic: The Gathering: Generally speaking, angels have white bird wings (sometimes bearing markings like those of regular birds) and demons have batlike or draconic membranous ones (sometimes depicted as tattered or rotting). The steeds of the archons, a distinct group of angelic creatures associated with White's harsher and more unforgiving side, typically have white, birdlike and glowing wings. Within this generality, certain cases are also notable:
- Fallen Angels — i.e., angels associated with Black rather than White mana — tend to have pitch-black wings.
- Angels associated with White's other enemy color, Red, tend to have wings that are partly or entirely red — Akroma, for example, has reddish wings patterned like a hawk's, while Flamebalde Angel's wingtips are stained blood red. When the archangel Avacyn began to fall into corruption, her wings became stained with red as a result.
- Filigree Angel, like most of the natives of Esper, is physically enhanced with the metallic substance etherium. In her case, she has wings made out of delicate metal filigree.
- Kaalia is a legendary human cleric with two sets of wings, one white, feathered, and angelic and the other red, leathery and demonic, representing her willingness to ally with any power angelic, demonic or draconic for the sake of fulfilling her quest of revenge.
- Unstable Unicorns: The Archangel Unicorn from Control has bird wings, while the Nightmare Unicorn from Chaos has bat wings. However, the Shadow Unicorn and the Valkyrie from Chaos have bird wings, in what may be a case of Dark Is Not Evil.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The being pictured on Change Of Heart has one white angel wing and one black devil wing to show its power to change the target's loyalty.
- DC Comics:
- Batman doesn't fulfill this trope, but he invokes it for all it's worth—half the point of the cape is to make him scary.
- Green Lantern: The Red Lantern Bleez once had angelic wings, until they were broken by a member of the Sinestro Corps. Upon becoming a Red Lantern and becoming infected with Rage, her wings turned skeletal.
- ElfQuest plays with this trope. The first elf to have wings is Tyldak, who already could fly without them but wanted the particular freedom birds have. So, he turned to Winnowill, a healer, who gave him what he wanted but morphed his entire body into an elf-pterosaur-bat hybrid as a means of control. His leathery wings, therefore, are less a sign of him being evil and more a sign of him being touched by evil. Millennia later, he tried to undo Winnowill's work but was killed before he could. His son Windkin developed the same obsession with bird-like freedom but made a better choice of healers to turn to. Leetah and Snakeskin gave him translucent bug-like wings hanging from his arms that he can easily wrap up if they'd otherwise get in the way.
- In Vol. 4, the title character's hypermembrane deploys structures that resemble skeletal wings. Emp herself is definitely not evil, but the suit itself is deeply, deeply enigmatic at best.
- We later meet Divangelic, a pair of Conjoined Twins; the twin on the right is Vanity, a devil; on the left, we have Charity, an angel wielding a kind of morningstar. Each has one wing, in the classic design.
- Lucifer: The title character had his bat-like wings cut off before the start of the series. Separated from him, they regenerated into the old white-feathered angelic type. They remained white-feathered and angelic even after he reclaimed them, but it would be hard to argue that he was evil by that point (just wholly selfish and occasionally vindictive).
- Marvel Comics:
- Spider-Man, as originally designed by Steve Ditko, had web wings between his arms and torso. They were only there to look cool and he couldn't actually fly with them. Once Ditko stopped drawing Spider-Man, the wings stopped appearing. They've made a return as of late, notably in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where they do allow Spider-Man the ability to glide through the air after a jump.
- Spider-Woman as originally designed by Marie Severin also had web wings between her arms and torso. They don't technically allow flight, but give her such amazing gliding that as long as the air currents are cooperative she's effectively flying. The wings are iconic to the original Spider-Woman, but haven't shown up on any other.
- X-Men: Angel has white feathery wings during his early incarnation. Later, he is grabbed by Apocalypse and experimented upon, and his wings become metallic and retractable and capable of shooting poison-tipped feather-blades as well.
- Top Cow Productions: Inverted. The Angelus (bad) has white feathered wings, while The Darkness (Anti-Hero) and The Witchblade (good) have bat wings.
- In the Miraculous Ladybug one-shot Angel with Black Wings, white wings are considered angelic while black wings are seen as unlucky, to the point that most were wiped out in the past. Lila naturally spread rumors that Marinette hid her wings because they were black, convincing her Fair-Weather Friends to turn on her. As it turns out, she always had white wings, but hid them so she wouldn't be placed on a pedestal; revealing the truth ruins Lila's reputation.
- The Chase: Subverted and discussed; lunar pegasi suffer prejudice for having bat-like wings (among other things), yet are no more likely to be good or evil than any other pegasus. Similarly, despite having feathered wings, gryphons are portrayed as especially vicious and predatory.
- Depravare: The Shinigami Righteous has black feathered wings and the Shinigami Kira has bone wings.
- Good Omens: Most Fan Fics in the Fan Dumb tend to play this painfully straight, regardless of the fact that it's explicitly said that angel wings and demon wings are the same, save for the fact that demon wings are better groomed.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Angels such as Rason and Gabriel have, of course, white-feathered wings, succubi such as Kurumu has demonic bat wings, and the chronoflies all have butterfly wings.
- In Skin and Feathers, an Once Upon a Time in Hollywood AU, everyone has either birdlike or batlike wings. Wing type is a genetic crapshoot, not a reflection of character, but in-universe movies play this trope straight by usually casting bird-winged actors as heroes and bat-winged actors as villains.
- Split Second (My Little Pony) has two examples:
- Thorn, a Dracolich, has bone wings with a membrane of black smoke that burst out from his back and retract back to under the skin when not in use.
- Death also has bone wings, but instead of a membrane, his wings are a portal to the afterlife.
- Star Wars Paranormalities Trilogy: Subverted with Maesterus. Initially, a regular humanoid, until he grows a pair of demon-like wings. He later grows a second pair on those wings. However, he's more of an Anti-Villain. And the end of Episode I is pretty much putting on the track to a Heel–Face Turn.
- Those Lacking Spines: Parodied with Jeffiroth in his One-Winged Angel form:
Add wings. Lots of wings. Three sets of wings; an angel's, a demon's, and a fairy's. Add one more wing that slipped in there by mistake, a shiny rainbow-colored feathery one that might be found on more exotic species of parrots.
- Wingfics usually have the character given feathery angel wings, of which he is inexplicably ashamed.
Films — Animated
- The Book of Life: Big Bad Xibalba, the ruler of one of the bad afterlives, has black angel wings. Until his Heel–Face Turn.
Films — Live-Action
- Flu Bird Horror is a SyFy direct-to-TV movie about plague-carrying giant flying featherless... things. With bat wings. Which the cast inexplicably insists on calling "birds" anyway. Either the CGI couldn't do feathers cheaply enough to match the already-shot live footage, or what should've been Bat Horror got retitled to milk the avian-flu scare's hype.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Amongst the four main Kaiju in this movie, all of them except Godzilla are fliers. Mothra, the Titan with the most benevolent personality towards humans by far, possesses beautiful, multicolored Butterfly Wings, with hints of Light Wings via her God Rays. Rodan, a highly aggressive and volatile flyer who's known as the Fire Demon (and temporarily sides with Ghidorah but still isn't as evil as him) possesses pterosaur Hot Wings. Ghidorah, a genuinely evil Titan who's actually an alien, has Bat Wings/Demon Wings.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Balrog has demonic wings wreathed in smoke and flame.
- Maleficent combines bird and bat wings: they resemble those of an eagle while having a spike similar to a bat thumb to add Spikes of Villainy.
- Ultraman Cosmos 2: The Blue Planet: There are flying kaijus on both sides, the peaceful, benevolent Reijas who defends the Earth, and the hostile, invasive Scorpiss. The former's wings are semi-translucent resembling manta rays and angelfishes, while the latter's resembles insects such as wasps or hornets.
- Accel World:
- The Hero Silver Crow has sleek metallic wings made up of a number of retractable fins in his signature colour. The anime adaptation changes them to Stationary Wings made up of High-Tech Hexagons.
- When Crow's flight ability is stolen by Dusk Taker, Taker's wings are black leathery things more like a bat's, befitting his status as the villain of that arc.
- When Crow first equips the Armor of Catastrophe in Book 5, he has hooked Razor Wings which are described as resembling an arsenal of weapons (the art makes them look somewhat like bottle-openers).
- Crow's second-order incarnate technique "Light Speed" gives him highly-detailed energy wings shaped like the wings of a real bird, a pure manifestation of his desire to fly. The movie Infinite Burst uses a simpler visual of Crow becoming surrounded by a Battle Aura while Light Speed is active.
- The angelic entity Metatron has two sets of wispy energy wings that resemble streams of white flame, which she can lend to Crow in place of his own. Infinite Burst changes these to feathered wings for Metatron and ribbonlike structures for Crow.
- Kuroyukihime designed her net avatar with purely aesthetic butterfly wings, which are both elegant and reflect the incredibly deadly abilities of her duel avatar Black Lotus.
- Deryni: When the Archangels manifest, they're represented with energy wings — except for Uriel, the Angel of Death, whose wings have green-black raven-like feathers.
- In The Divine Comedy, Satan's wings are directly compared to a bat's because they have no feathers, showing his corruption. In contrast, the holy and perfect angels of Purgatory are described as having pure white or pure greennote "eternal pinions, that do not moult themselves like mortal hair". Gustave Dore's art further depicts the Malebranche, devils who torment the souls of corrupt politicians, as having traditional batlike wings.
- Dragons in Our Midst: Inverted. Bonnie and Gabriel (good guys) have draconian wings, while the Watchers (bad guys) have multiple angelic wings.
- Etgar Keret: In a short story, there's a lonely man who believes a superstition about a local hole in a wall that grants wishes screamed into it. He wishes for an angel to become his friend, and later he meets a winged man with typical bird-like angel wings who befriends him. The man is somewhat of an arsehole, and at the end of the story, when he asks him to fly around, the angel refuses, so he pushes him off the roof they're on only to find out he can't fly and just crashes on the curb. He realises that the alleged angel was no angel, just a liar with wings.
- Freckles: When a character finds a black feather, he contemplates this trope.
"A feather dropped from Heaven!" he breathed reverently. "Are the holy angels moulting? But no; if they were, it would be white. Maybe all the angels are not for being white. What if the angels of God are white and those of the devil are black? But a black one has no business up there. Maybe some poor black angel is so tired of being punished it's for slipping to the gates, beating its wings trying to make the Master hear!"
- Good Omens: Both angel and demon wings are the same, despite what some of the cover art suggests, though angel wings are described as being less groomed (because demons are more stylish). The Broken Base rages to a ridiculous degree over the colour of the wings; the division is between those who portray angels with white wings and demons with black wings and those who interpret "the same" to mean they all have white wings (who usually take it as Serious Business). Which is silly, given that the colour is never specified on either side in the book, and the characters are all shapeshifters anyway, so they could have octarine wings for all we know. The one exception is Azrael/"Death", whose wings are described as being more like wing-shaped holes in space.
- The Guardians (Meljean Brook): Demons have batlike wings, while Guardians have white feathery wings. Among the Guardians, Michael's wings are black, one of the signs he wasn't born human, but half-human and half-demon.
- High School D×D: Most reincarnated or supernatural beings have wings, which they can retract at will:
- Angels have white feathered wings, natch. Higher-order angels have multiple pairs, to a maximum of six. Their leader, Archangel Michael, has wings which are gold rather than white.
- Fallen Angels have black feathered wings. Again, the more powerful ones have multiple sets.
- Devils only ever have a single pair of thin bat wings, emerging from low on their back. The only exception to this rule are the members of the Phenex Clan, who have Hot Wings instead.
- Akeno was the child of a human and fallen angel before she became a devil. When she taps into her father's powers one of her devil wings transforms into a fallen angel wing (not that she likes to).
- The half-human/half-devil Vali Lucifer uses a pair of wings that are half white dragon scale, half energy. They're actually the basic form of Divine Dividing. He also has four sets of devil wings rather than one, something unique to descendants of the original Lucifer. His later Diabolos Dragon Lucifer form upgrades this to six pairs, which can transform into Attack Drones.
- Issei isn't that skilled with his devil wings, but after becoming more experienced with his Balance Breaker form he can grow large dragon wings from his armor. His incomplete Juggernaut Drive incorporates some of Vali's "Divide" abilities, transforming him into a giant, gaunt Draconic Humanoid with skeletal wings that drain the life from their surroundings. His All Your Powers Combined form, Cardinal Crimson Promotion, gives him energy wings that resemble a more ornate version of Vali's. His next form after that, Diabolos Dragon God, causes these wings to split in two.
- Many Waters: The seraphim (good) and the nephilim (evil) all have feathered wings, but the seraphim's wings are in warm shades ranging from red to gold, whereas the nephilim's wings are colored in cool, dark shades of blue and purple.
- Paradise Lost: In the first twenty lines, God is described as "with mighty wings outspread dove-like" as an immediate sign of his innocence. From there, comparison of angelic and divine wings to eagles and pure white birds are common to indicate regality and goodness. In contrast, the demons have Red and Black and Evil All Over wings that make them look like swarming bees.
- In Penryn and the End of Days, while not good per se, feathered wings are those of actual angels, while angels fallen from grace have leathery batlike wings. There is quite a variety of wing colors among the angels, but Raffe's are pure white.
- Perdido Street Station: The slake-moths have dark color-changing wings which are literally nightmarish to any sentient creature that looks at them. The moths aren't exactly evil, more like amoral eldritch horrors, but they're smart enough to use their wings as weapons.
- Prospero's Daughter: In Prospero Regained, Miranda's energy wings cause much consideration of her background. And Astreus's regaining angelic wings indicates that heaven is not closed to him.
- In Rachel Griffin, The red-eyed Raven is revealed to have black angel wings, and to be Good is Not Nice.
- In Wereling (2009), Moriel is an angel with black wings, falling into the Good Is Not Soft exception. If demons have wings, they're batlike. The Fae have your typical insectoid wings, but don't be fooled.
- Wicked Lovely: Played with — with the few fey that have wings, that is.
- Keenan's summer court has a sucubus named Cerise, who seems to be a rare exception to the bat wings=evil rule.
- Likewise, Bananach, who is arguably the series' only non-grey villain, has black angel wings.
- So does Irial, though. It could just be a dark court thing.
- The Fair Folk are famous for having Blue-and-Orange Morality, which makes it somewhat hard to say where any of the characters are on the good/evil scale. Irial, at least, is chaotic and neutral or a Noble Demon at worst.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Sephrilian has devil wings.
- Fallen: All angels and Nephilim have white angelic wings. Since the only truly evil characters are Azazel and Lucifer, and their wings are cut off, it is not clear if anyone has different wings. While the Powers believe all Nephilim are inherently evil, the few shown on-screen (including the main character and his Love Interest) are shown to be decent people (teenagers, usually). In fact, the Powers change their minds once Archangel Michael shows up to tell them that their self-imposed quest to hunt down Fallen Angels and their offspring is not a part of the Creator's plan.
- Good Omens (2019) gives Aziraphale white feathered wings and Crowley black feathered wings.
- Lucifer (2016): In a bit of a subversion, the titular character has white feathered wings, despite being the actual devil, while his unfallen brother Amenadiel has black feathered wings (which start rotting when he falls, and recover when he finds himself again). In season 4 it turns out that Lucifer's wings have turned red and scaly as a result of his killing Pierce.
- Supernatural: Because seeing an angel's true form will burn your eyes out of their sockets, Castiel does the next best thing and shows off shadow wings. Angel wings in general seem to be attached to the background. Dead angels may have their wings show up as scorch marks on the ground around them, and Raphael's wings are represented by arcs of electrical current.
- Wizards of Waverly Place has Rosie, who is an angel. The Reveal Shot showing her wings actually being black rather than white is used to show that she's evil, as she's actually an Angel Of Darkness (similar to a Fallen Angel or demon).
- Xena: Warrior Princess: In the season five premier "Fallen Angel" Xena and Gabrielle, having died in the season four finale, are attacked while ascending to heaven by a hell-bound Callisto. Most of the demons have bat-like wings; angels have feathered wings. Additionally, while regular angels have white wings, the Archangels (Michael, Raphael, and Lucifer) have black wings.
Mythology and Religion
- Aztec Mythology: The goddess Itzpapalotl had butterfly wings... made out of knives. In accordance with this and the Aztecs' Blue-and-Orange Morality view of the gods, she's simultaneously a warrior goddess, an Eldritch Abomination, and the ruler of one of the nicer heavens.
- Classical Mythology : When the Erotes are depicted with wings, it's with angel wings. Except for one. Anteros, the essential companion of Eros, has feathered butterfly wings. Similarly, Eros's wife Psyche has butterfly wings. Classical Mythology holds butterflies as symbol of the soul. Therefore, with either combination love and life are joined.
- In cryptozoology and modern folklore, The Mothman is usually depicted with, naturally, mothlike wings, and will lean into the ominous and mysterious implications of the Macabre Moth Motif. This is in contrast to the original accounts by supposed eyewitnesses, who mostly described the creature as more birdlike, but once the name "mothman" stuck, most artistic depictions followed suit.
- Devil's Dare: The various minor demons have large leathery dragon wings.
- Anathema: All shrouds have wings. What they look like is entirely up to the player.
- Anima: Beyond Fantasy: If you summon the Priestess arcana she will protect you with a shield that consists of several pairs of white, angelic wings. Fallen Angel Dinah is accompanied there of a pair of spirits each one taking the form of a feathered wing, one white and the other dark.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Older editions closely follow this trope. Angels had pretty, feathery wings, as did Couatls and Lilends (other good-aligned outsiders, though theirs were rainbow coloured), demons and devils either had bat-like wings or black feathered wings. In 4th Edition, however, demons and devils still have the bat wings and the occasional black feathered wings, but angels lacked alignment restrictions (instead following the alignment of whichever god they served), and they also no longer had feathered wings, opting more for wings of fire, energy or metal. Couatls retained their feathery wings but fell under the Knight Templar classification. Fifth Edition reverted most of these changes back to their 2nd and 3rd edition versions.
- Jasmine in the Forgotten Realms comics and Lost Gods is as close to normal human as Winged Humanoid with spelljamming and planewalking experience can ever be — she is a normal human, but after an encounter with goddess incognito she got wings, and their form changes to fit the current plane. So well that in the Abyss she was mistaken for Alu-fiend by locals. Good luck making any assumptions regarding her nature or disposition on this basis.
- For that matter, spelljamming vessels of elven design have butterfly-shaped living wings (sails/air-recycling plants). Some other ships are shaped like birds, several light ships are built like Hymenoptera (starting from Dragonfly). The Spelljammer itself resembles enormous manta ray.
- One of Planescape sourcebooks sort of lampshaded this with a mention that one of the reasons avariel (winged elves) rarely planewalk is that they are frequently mistaken for Celestials. Which isn't bad on the Good planes, but means more of unfriendly attention in other places.
- Glouras (Underdark fairies) has moth-like wings. It's just a part of "cave life" theme, though. They're nice little sprites... usually.
- D&D 3.5 Complete Divine has "Favored Soul", character class for the character who's chosen of a particular deity. One of the high-level class features is a pair of wings. Favored of good deities get feathery angel wings while favored of evil deities get leathery demonic wings. (If your deity is neutral, you get to choose.)
- Draconic wings tend to follow the "actual dragon" exception, with the quirk that "actual dragon" is interpreted very broadly, to account for all the dragon-like and dragon-associated creatures out there (including, of course, several variants of humanoids). Notable within this group are the whimsical, Chaotic Good fairy dragons, who have colorful butterfly wings.
- The 5th Edition supplement Xanathar's Guide To Everything lampshades the trope by asking why there aren't any bat angels (complete with a doodle of an adorable cartoon bat with a halo).
- In In Nomine all the demons that have wings have bat wings, all the winged angels have feathered wings. The Malakim, who are the game's equivalent of Paladins have black feathery wings. They are incorruptible, and each swears an oath to destroy all demons.
- Broadly speaking, winged demons and devils usually have black, red or green membranous wings, while winged celestials have the usual light avian pinions. However, numerous exceptions and notable cases exist.
- The archdevil Mephistopheles is notable for having three sets of evil wings at once — he has black feathered wings, blood-red draconic wings and fiery, burning wings sprouting from his back. Another archdevil, Belial, is a shapeshifter who take any form he chooses, but typically appears with one red, fiendish wing and one white feathered one. Beelzebul has twinned swarms of flies instead of the angelic wings he used to have before he was struck down by Asmodeus for impudence, and the demon lord Deskari has similar swarms hovering over his back.
- Among the empyreal lords, the archangel Vildeis, patron of martyrs and bitter crusades, has feathered wings stained red with her own blood. The archon Zohls has pure white bat wings, and the azata Black Butterfly, who is strongly associated with outer space and constellations, has butterfly wings resembling holes into the night sky. Ragathiel, the archangel son of the archdevil Dispater and a minor goddess of fire, has five wings made out of flame — he used to have six, but one was torn off by his father when Ragathiel deserted Hell for Heaven.
- Balisse angels, which are formed from the souls of evildoers who forsook their former ways and embraced good, have wings made out of fire.
- Leukodaemons have the rotting wings of carrion birds.
- Pallid angels, servitors created by the dark goddess Urgathoa in mockery of true celestials, resemble true angels in every respect save for their ink-black wings.
- Sorcers of celestial descent can, at high levels, manifest white angelic wings.
- Sarenrae, the goddess of the sun and a former archangel herself, likewise has angelic wings.
- Bliss dragons have white bird wings instead of the usual membranous ones, fitting their status as the purely good variant of planar dragons.
- The Weeper, a misshapen monster that rules the Trough of the Rough Beast within the Pit of Gormuz, has one rotten and broken wing. It used to have two, but the other was hewn off long ago.
- On the weirder end of things, gathlains have symbiotic plant wings and the alien elohim have shelves of bracket fungi for wings. Mothmen wings vary in appearance and may look like anything from tattered moth wings to shining butterfly wings to sheets of fire only barely shaped like wings at all. They're also decorative, as mothmen fly without flapping their wings and move easily in any direction through the air. Regardless of their shape and size they constantly change color, appearing indigo, bronze, green, red, gold, white, or any other color you care to name.
- Broadly speaking, winged demons and devils usually have black, red or green membranous wings, while winged celestials have the usual light avian pinions. However, numerous exceptions and notable cases exist.
- Summoner Wars: Angels and archangels have feathery wings like those of birds, and fight for the Vanguards, one of the only really good factions in the game. Winged Mutants have leathery wings and fights for the Filth, who are by and large the most evil faction.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Scourge models have either feathered wings or bat wings. They are a generally nasty sort too.
- Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, sports Angel wings. He's also one of the few unambiguously good people in the setting - and (being 40k) Too Good For This Sinful Galaxy.
- Black Crusade: Heretics can gain wings as a mutation. Heretics aligned to Khorne gain bat wings, Nurglites get fly's wings, Slaaneshi heretics get beautiful, gossamer-like "pinions", and followers of Tzeentch get bird's wings. Unaligned or Chaos Undivided characters are subject to the whims of players and the GM. Since all Heretics are, by definition, evil on some level, the Khornate wings are the only one that plays this trope completely straight.
- Angels in America: The Angel's pure white wings turn black when she wrestles Prior.
- Monster High is about monsters. Many, many kinds of monsters. They're no more evil or good than humans, so any wings only are part of their particular monster heritage. Harpies have bird wings, Western dragons have dragon wings, the insectpeople have whatever insect wings are appropriate, etc. Of note are Batsy, Bonita, and Cupid. Batsy is said to be a white vampire bat and commonly assumed to be a hupia.note She has wings that look like solid graffiti and it's not known what they're supposed to represent. Bonita is the child of a skeleton and a mothperson and therefore has bone wings shaped as moth wings. And Cupid is implied to be a bone elemental, whose wings were given to her when she was adopted as a newborn by the Cupid household. They are made of bone and look like a broken-open ribcage. Possibly in reference to her wings being a divine gift, they attach differently than other wings. Others use pegs to attach to the shoulders, while hers hang from her neck. This remained true when she was moved over to Ever After High and was made to have angel wings.
- My Little Pony: The first generation ended up with three types of winged ponies, all, of course, good. The first are the Pegasus Ponies with feathered wings. The second are the ethereal Flutter Ponies, whose wings will have to be described as a cross between insect wings and soap bubbles. In the animated show, they have their own culture separate from the other ponies and the breeze created by their wing movement has magical properties. The third and last are the Winger Ponies, which are two lines of small ponies with butterfly wings. It works to understand Flutter Ponies as fairies and Winger Ponies as pixies. Incidentally, as far as the toys go, these non-pegasus wings are among the first things to break in any pony collection.
- Averted with the Elyos and Asmodians — they have angel wings and black angel wings respectively and are about the same in terms of good and evil. Played straight with the Balaur, who have the bat "Devil" type of wings. Note, however, that the Asmodians did have bat-like devil wings in pre-release demonstration versions of the game which can still be found on a few Asmodian enemies.
- Elyos and Asmodians alike can have glowing bat wings if they equip Storm Wings or Tiamat's Spectral Wings.
- Anima Mundi: The Angels are shown with white prismatic feathery wings, Mephistopheles has the classic leathery batwing.. Lucifer has one fully black feathered wing, and one wing stripped to the bone
- Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean: Kalas has one angelic wing and one metallic wing. Sure enough, he does a Face–Heel Turn, though he later returns to the good guys. Interestingly, when he's off being evil, his wings are stereotypical 'good' white angel wings; upon Heel–Face Turn-ing, his wing reverts to a light shade of gray. More generally, everyone has wings in this series. In fact, the false Big Bad of the first game is the ruler of the only country where people don't use their wings in combat (they have a cultural preference for their technology, which includes Steampunk jet boots).
- Black/Matrix: The angels and devils, although it's not always clear-cut insofar as morality and in wing association go. Johann from the Zero games has gray bird wings, while Moses from the first game has white bat wings. There is also the "White Devil", a devil with white wings normally attributed to angels.
- Nu-13 has wings made of magically levitated swords: She can unleash a world-destroying evil, but doesn't really mean to. Her imperfect copy, Lambda-11, sports the same look.
- Her predecessor, the much more powerful Mu-12, Sword of the Godslayer: Kusanagi, has nigh-identical magically levitated sword-wings, but hers can also transform into a Big Fucking Laser Blade when she swings them in unison. In case you haven't been clued in yet: Mu-12 is world-destroyingly evil, has the power to pull it off, and fully intends to go through with it.
- In Bravely Default, Airy's final form has 5 pairs of insect wings attached to her body, some of which even coming out of her head. For bonus points, the song that plays during her boss battle is the aptly named "Evil Wings".
- Breath of Fire: Nina has wings along with the rest of Wyndians. In Breath of Fire II, however, she has dark purple wings which signify her as an evil omen in Wyndian Prophecy, yet ironically instead of bringing disaster, she helps save the world. On the other hand, Myria in Breath of Fire III is portrayed as a four-winged angelic being which makes her appear to be on the side of good until you realize, upon closer inspection, that her wings are upside down.
- Castlevania 64: At the end, Malus approaches the player on a winged horse. It would be suspicious enough by itself (assuming you don't know the spoiler), but the horse has bat wings. That's not something you usually see on Pegasus-types.
- Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia: Gaining the Volaticus Glyph grants Shanoa the power of flight, and upon using the Glyph, she sprouts a pair of black angel wings.
- Champions Online has wings of almost every sort and, since there's no option to be a villain, you can have truly demonic-looking superheroes flying with wicked-looking wings.
- City of Heroes: Wings run the entire spectrum from Feathered to Batlike to Bone to Insect/Butterfly and even technological while also coming in varying sizes. The player can choose whatever kind he/she pleases and color them to their liking.
- Devil May Cry: One of the reasons we know Sparda is badass is that he has three pairs of wings — one bat and two insect.
- Diablo: The Angels all have bright tendrils of light, though we only ever see one in action in a cut scene, and he gets his ass kicked (granted, he was doing pretty well until the second Prime Evil started ganking him). The counterexample is the most explicitly evil angel (from a human point of view), Malthael the angel of Death, whose wings look skeletal and made of mist.
- the Disgaea: Many of the main character demons have small wings, including Flonne, who has little angel wings that become bat ones after she becomes a fallen angel. In addition Prinnies also have them. Seraph Lamington has the three-set seraph wings. He ends up being an Eccentric Mentor and the final boss.
- Dragon Quest:
- Dragon Quest V: In contrast to Queen Treacle and her fairies' butterfly wings, the demon Bjørn has one pair of furred, black bat wings.
- In Dragon Quest IX, the Celestrians have white, feathery wings. However, after being corrupted by his hate for humanity, Celestrians Corvus' wings lose their feathers, revealing them as green and bat-like underneath. King Godwin, another boss and villian, has a second form which has bone wings.
- Dynasty Warriors: The wings are never visible, but Oda Nobunaga and Akechi Mitsuhide still keep shedding pitch black and pure white feathers all over the place anyway. Played straight at first, but Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good has started to creep in.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Mephala is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. Her Daggerfall appearance gives her bat-like "glider" wings connecting from her sides to her wrists.
- Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is likewise "obscured" to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She has a Fallen Angel backstory and is typically considered one of the "good" Daedra, but definitely has elements of Good is Not Nice present. Some depictions, such as her statue in Skyrim, show her as a beautiful woman with angel-like wings.
- Winged Twilights are a bat-like form of lesser Daedra with some harpy-like traits. Though they serve the typically "good" Daedric Prince Azura, Winged Twilights possess traditionally "evil" bat-like wings.
- Final Fantasy likes this trope; after all, it is the series that coined the term One-Winged Angel.
- Final Fantasy II, The Emperor has six angel wings as the Emperor of Heaven.
- Final Fantasy VI, Kefka has four purple-bordering-on-white angel wings and two purple-bordering-on-black demon wings.
- Final Fantasy VII:
- Sephiroth has six white angel wings in place of a lower body, and a black angel wing in place of a right arm. His spin-off appearances have since incorporated a black angel wing over his right shoulder as part of his iconic appearance.
- Crisis Core, the game's prequel, has the wings Colour-Coded for Your Convenience—the main antagonist Genesis and those imbued with his power have a black angel wing, while Zack's mentor Angeal has two white angel wings, as do those he's passed his cells onto.
- Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent Valentine adopts leathery bat wings as Chaos.
- Final Fantasy VIII, Big Bad Ultimecia has black angel wings, Squall's love interest Rinoa has white angel wings on her outfit and sprouts actual wings in her Limit Break after becoming a Sorceress. Adel, a minor antagonist, has black, spiky, semi-cluster wings.
- Final Fantasy XI: Aerns have butterfly/manta ray wing hybrids. Considering they are near-faceless, extra-dimensional, creepy critters, they fit perfectly.
- In the Chains of Promathia expansion, Selh'teus gains large, multi-colored, feathered wings after he joins with Phoenix.
- In the Wings of the Goddess expansion, the player character and Lilisette each have one bird wing that manifest in certain emergencies because they are the metaphorical "Wings of the Goddess" there to prevent the world from going all crapsack.
- Also in the Wings of the Goddess expansion, Lady Lilith has huge bat wings. Guess whose side she's on.
- In Final Fantasy XII Vayne gains a set of mechanical-energy wings when he fuses with Venat for the last of the Boss Rush on the Bahamut.
- And then in Dissidia Final Fantasy, most of the above examples return, wing motifs intact. And then of course, from Final Fantasy, is Chaos. He has a pair of demon wings, though it's not very impressive compared to the rest since he is a demon.
- In Final Fantasy Fables, Chocobo's Dungeon, Rafaello switches between white feathery good wings and black feathery evil wings each time he switches between his innocent Rafaello personality and the evil personality of The Destroyer. Complete with a Perpetual Molt every time the switch happens. The Destroyer himself has evil insect/butterfly wings.
- Fire Emblem:
- The franchise uses this trope in games with the Divine Dragons, like Fire Emblem Akaneia and Fire Emblem Elibe. The friendly Divine Dragons have feathery angel wings, while the enemy manakete tribes tend to have leathery dragon wings or fire wings. Here's a good example in video form.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance: Essentially averted. None of the winged laguz tribes in the game are universally aligned, and that a good number of the player character winged laguz with stereotypically "bad" wings (like Nealuchi (raven wings) and Kurthnaga (leathery black dragon wings)) are among the noblest of the laguz seen in-game. Naesala, the most morally ambiguous Laguz shown also has raven wings, however. The herons you see in the game also have pure white, feathery wings, and they all contain huge amounts of Balance, but it is stated that white wings are restricted to the royal family.
- Glass Wing: The protagonist, Mayfly, and the antagonist, Ferace, are demons, but of different kinds. Ferace looks like a giant, chimera-like skeleton with bone wings. Mayfly is indistinguishable from a human but for the cluster of nine crystals on her back that are ordered into three wings. Her kind of demon is appropriately called Glass Wing. Demons are sensitive to degeneration, which makes them lose their sense of self and bloodthirsty, although Glass Wings are special in that they are immune to this fate. Ferace abducts Mayfly to study her wing crystals in hopes of gaining immunity for other demons too and rips out seven crystals before Mayfly can escape.
- In Grandia, Icarians, like Feena and Leen, can grow energy wings when wielding their powers.
- Millennia of Grandia II is part of the evil god Valmar, so she has bat wings. At the end of the game, Elaine, who Millennia used as a vessel, but is a good nun, sprouts angel wings.
- Guilty Gear: Dizzy has a pair of sentient angelic wings - a white wing named "Undine" and a black wing named "Necro". Undine takes the form of a blue woman, while Necro appears as a green grim reaper. Undine’s few attacks are usually defensive, while Necro will utterly wreck any threat to Dizzy, no matter the cost (or her objections), and can even possess Dizzy in the direst of circumstances. It's quite obvious they don't get along very well and one of her taunts is the two wings arguing with each other.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic V, most angels have white bird wings, but the Seraphim's wings are bloodstained to mark them out as agents of holy war and vengeance. Demons have bat wings which appear to be upside down, emphasizing their chaotic nature.
- In Jade Cocoon 2, The Chosen One of Light, Kahu, is given a pair of angel wings that mark him as Elrihm's champion. The Chosen One of Darkness, Levant gets a pair of purple demon/bat wings once his true form is revealed.
- Jak 3: Wastelander: Jak's Light form has very, very glowy, tentacle-like, radiant energy wings.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- In the first game, Cloud hides a single black bat-wing under his cloak, contrasting with Sephiroth's angelic wing. By the time of Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud no longer has his wing (yes, Donald mentions that he looks different), whereas Sephiroth now has two additional wings sprouting out of his thighs.
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] Riku has a powerup that has him sprout small bat wings. It's probably only there to look cool, but Riku is something of a poster boy for Dark Is Not Evil.
- For that matter, Riku's Keyblade, Way to the Dawn. Originally, it was a sword manifested by darkness with its blade design being a devil wing, tying with the initial idea of dark being evil. However, come Kingdom Hearts II, upon Riku becoming said poster boy, the evil-looking sword is turned into the Keyblade. While it still prominently features devil wings in its design, such a longer and straighter one from the blade and part of its guard, it now incorporates angel wings as the key's teeth and the other half of the guard, the two guard wings even reversed in a yin-yang fashion.
- Meta Knight has bat wings but tends to be a hero, albeit with some rather dark motifs. Galacta Knight is just the opposite, with angelic down-spewing wings, but an (apparent) history of destruction.
- Zero-Two is an even better subversion: it's got angel wings, but it's an Eldritch Abomination that wants to suck all happiness from the universe.
- Marx and Marx Soul of Kirby Super Star and Kirby Superstar Ultra have similar metallic jewelled wings. One is a final boss. Another is... a VERY final boss. Still miles behind Flan though.
- Metroid: Ridley is an example of a dragon whose demon wings do indicate his evilness. In the Metroid Prime Trilogy, the cybernetic Meta Ridley is upgraded with partial-Energy Wings. The latter is subverted partway through the Meta Ridley boss fight in the original Metroid Prime, where Ridley becomes far more dangerous after his wings burn away from all the damage he's taken.
- Neopets: The faeries are elementally classified by six types (and then there are some individual faeries that don't seem to fit a classification): Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Dark, and Light. Water faeries are mermaids, but the rest have wings. Dark faeries have demon wings and are with anviliciously rare exception evil. One queenly-looking dark faerie, Drakara, has feathered demon wings. Any faerie classification other than dark consists of mostly good individuals. Air, fire, and light faeries have color-themed wings, although the fire faerie Nuria's wings are composed of fire. Earth faeries have leaves as wings, with the morally ambiguous Ilere having dried leaf wings and the island faerie Jhuidah having petal wings (though she's never identified as an earth faerie). The tooth faerie and the negg faerie have insect wings, while the snow faerie has fuzzy angel wings. Grey faeries are essentially fallen angels and thus have broken wings.
- In Nexus War, angel character classes can get white feathery wings, demon classes can get leathery bat wings (except for Void Walkers, who get to say "Screw the laws of physics" and walk through walls), while neutral classes use some other means of getting around. (Super Speed, targeted reincarnation, teleportation, or turning into a bat.)
- Persona 5: Your Protagonist's eponymous Persona Guardian Entity, Arsène, sports black angel wings, to match his Anti-Hero personality. The wings of Satanael, his Ultimate Persona, are similarly feathered at their base but become bat wings at the end.
- Planescape: Torment has two subversions: Fall-From-Grace has traditional succubus bat wings but is an Ascended Demon (or, at least, one who's chosen to be good). Trias the angel has a charred skeletal husk left of his angel wings after the prison guards in Curst burned them. In Trias' case, it's a Double Subversion — his wings burned off when he fell from Celestia.
- In RuneScape the angel-like Icyene, followers of the Good is Not Nice god Saradomin, have white feathery wings. The aviansie, followers of the much nicer god Armadyl, have feathered wings also, although theirs are mostly brown/earthy tones. The various demon races, who follow the Chaotic Neutral god Zamorak and his True Neutral predecessor Zaros, who are both propagandised as evil in the game's lore, have leathery bat-like wings.
- Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell: The heroic Johnny has feathery angel wings, while the Big Bad, Satan, has leathery demon wings.
- Shin Megami Tensei: All angelic beings have shining, feathery wings, naturally... up to and including Lucifer's "beautiful" form (known as Helel in the Persona series.) On the other hand, Satan, Lucifer's demonic form, and most devils have nasty leather wings. Bear in mind that wings are not a reliable gauge of morality in this series, where basically everyone is out for themselves.
- In Starcraft, when Kerrigan gets turned into the Queen Of Blades she gains exoskeletal wings. Which are all bladed and can move faster than the eye can follow. Her title isn't for nothing. Once she is transformed into a Xel-Naga, she gains "light tendrils" similar to angels from Diablo.
- Star Ocean: The Last Hope: Sarah has Angel Wings, but can't fly. Both of the Superbosses have Energy Wings and will grow up to two additional pairs after being defeated, to signify increased power.
- Super Robot Wars Alpha: Astranagant has this when using the T-Link Feather attack
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tabuu has Energy Wings and certainly lives up to them. For some reason, they look like butterfly wings too. Palutena and her Light Wings and Pit and Dark Pit (with there respectively white and black Angel Wings) are the most obvious examples, but the rest of the winged cast is less straightforward: Meta-Knight has Devil Wings, but this is mostly a relic of his Lawful Evil past as he is always with the good guys in the Subaspatial Emissary storyline (but the trope was played at first in the debut trailer against Pit or when he encounters Marth for the first time), and Bayonetta and her Butterfly Wings are certainly not fairy-like, but definitively deadly. Charizard and Ridley both have Dragon Wings (of course), but are in opposite teams. Finally, Galeem has four sets of Angel Wings swirling around his core, but he is a very evil entity who causes The End of the World as We Know It.
- In Tales of Symphonia:
- Cruxis' Mooks all have angel wings, some of them black. All the important angelic characters get cluster energy wings of various colors. Except for Remiel, who has white feathery wings. He turns out to be evil.
- As she grows in power, Collette develops energy wings with a butterfly-like shape. Kratos turns out to have a similar pair.
- Near the end of the game, Lloyd, the main protagonist develops white and blue hawk-like energy wings.
- In Terraria, you can craft a pair of each. But besides material and appearance, they do exactly the same.
- Touhou Project has its fair share of winged characters, mainly in the PC-98 series.
- Mystia is a night sparrow and has feathered ones, as does Aya, who is a tengu.
- Remilia, a vampire, has demon wings. Mima's portrayal in Touhou Soccer gives her demon wings, which count six in her final form. Her wings may or may not be composed of shadows.
- Cirno the ice fairy has cluster wings made of solid ice crystal. Flandre has multicolored crystal wings that evoke the look of cluster wings. She's a Person of Mass Destruction.
- Nue Houjuu has abstract hybrid wings. The right one is three red tendrils that end in the shape of half-scissors, while the left one is three blue devil tails. She's one of the most powerful characters and an exceptionally rare kind of youkai.
- Daiyousei is a greater fairy who has wings that hold the middle between angel wings and insect wings, with a hint of tree branch to it.
- Mokou is an immortal human, but due to being associated with the houou she's on occasion symbolically depicted with Hot Wings. She's one of the most powerful characters.
- World of Warcraft: Mostly averted. There are good and evil representatives of essentially every race present in the game. However, none of them are playable races or their allies, so you tend to end up killing them. Bone wings with scraps of flesh in between on undead dragons, which don't possess enough free will to have an alignment. Feathery angelic wings on harpies, who are mostly bad but descended from a good (but angry) minor deity. Bat wings on the demons, also mostly bad, but there are some apparently neutral(ish) ones.
- Dreamscape: Keela has retractable demon wings. They look more like jagged kites than straight-up bat wings to reflect her Dark Is Not Evil nature. Kaila has demon wings like Keela, but hers are thinner and more curved.
- anti-HEROES: Angels have white avian wings, while fiends have black ones. Aldran and Eldhin, being the children of an angel and a fiend, have gray wings.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: Lots of creatures have wings. "Angels" have feathery wings, "Demons" have batlike wings, Fae have insect style wings, and Cubi have two pairs of feathered or bat-like wings (sometimes both). Generally, you want to give them all a wide berth; the Fae aren't malicious but have a well-deserved reputation for having mercurial mood swings, Angels are generally manipulative, and most Demons and quite a few Cubi view beings as prey.
- Also the most powerful Cubi possess three pairs of wings.
- Regina (a young Demon) has mixed wings (one demon wing and one bone wing) because she thinks it looks badass.
- In El Goonish Shive Nanase's fairy dolls have butterfly wings, her Guardian Angel form has angel wings, Vlad had combination bat and bird wings (justified because his creation involved bat and bird DNA among other types), Sirleck has bat wings, and the Taurcanis Draco has reptilian bat wings as befits a dragon-like creature.
- In Exterminatus Now, recognizing an angel in a demon-infested site is clinched by the white bird wings.
- When Kore finally uses a paladin power, he temporarily manifests screaming faces on chains forming two huge wing shapes.
- Duv has a single white angel wing that marks her out as the savior of all goblinkind (she used to have two, but one was burned off in a fire). Then again, Light Is Not Good...
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Nemesites are butterfly-like aliens. The sympathetic Princess Voluptua has beautifully patterned wings, while the villainous Fructose Riboflavin has plain, frayed wings described as moth-like. In-universe, this is probably because Riboflavin is much older than she is.
- MS Paint Adventures:
- In Problem Sleuth, which affectionately parodies a lot of tropes like this, Demonhead Mobster Kingpin has the black, batlike "evil" wings, while Problem Sleuth's Selplchritude has the white angelic ones.
- Jack Noir gains crow wings once he dons the Black Queen's ring. He is not a good guy at all. When he gets a Next Tier Power-Up that makes him exponentially more dangerous, his wings change: they remain black and feathery but take a shape that is more angelic than avian. This dark angel appearance is a reference to the author's previous comic (he dubs Jack "the Anti-Sepulchritude").
- Later, PM gains the same type of wings as Jack but white, reflecting her role as his equal, opposite and nemesis.
- The angels from the Land of Wrath and Angels have white wings, but Light Is Not Good under the nocturnal trolls' reversed black/white symbolism and they prophecize the coming of the Lord of All Angels — Jack Noir.
- Trolls who ascends to god tier gains fairy wings, befitting their insect-like life cycle, regardless of being good or bad. The legendary rebel hero, the Summoner, also had fairy wings outside of the game.
- The only good adult cherub seen in the comic has white feathered wings, while the evil adult male has black ones.
- In Moon Crest 24, Aleck von Zander is notable for having both a pair of angelic and demonic wings. Though the angelic ones are smaller and very fluffy.
- The Order of the Stick: Celia (Lawful Good) is a sylph with four white insect-like wings; Sabine (Chaotic Evil) is a succubus with dark, leathery bat wings.
- In Pibgorn, proposing to Drusilla gave a demon angel wings.
- In Sinfest, enlightenment produces a change from fly-like, buzzing wings to butterfly ones.
- Squid Row: How to tell apart Good Angel, Bad Angel in cherub form.
- In Zebra Girl, Sandra gets bat wings after she's turned into a demon.
- Wapsi Square: Tina with black wings. Then, she is a collection of demons inhabiting a body where the soul took off.
- In The Fairly OddParents!, all the fairies have fly wings (The pixies have the same kind, but square-shaped). Cupid and his cherubs have angel wings, and the anti-fairies have bat wings.
- Gargoyles: Almost all gargoyles have leathery wings, most often bat-like, but there are other designs. Some, such as Brooklyn, have pterosaur wings, while Lexington is an example of a gargoyle with wings attached between his arms and torso, and Desdemona has lower wings to go with her upper wings. There was also a member of Demona's clan whose wings stood vertical like a butterfly's. The only gargoyles known to have something other than leathery wings are the members of the London Clan. Some are still all-leather, but most combine it with fur or feathers, and at least Staghart has full bird wings. The three gargoyles that were revived as cyborgs all have metallic wings. Despite the general demonic appearance of the gargoyles, they're the protagonist race, with only about three evil members.
- The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus: Subverted with the Knooks, who have bat wings and are allies of Santa.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Numerous characters are winged, and these wings often reflect their nature to some extent.
- Princess Celestia has white, feathery wings.
- Nightmare Moon's wings are feathery but black and stylized into a sleek, streamlined shape.
- Discord has one avian wing and one batlike one, fitting his chaotic nature — the rest of his body is a chimeric assemblage of random creatures' body parts.
- In "Luna Eclipsed", Princess Luna arrives in a sinister carriage pulled by pegasi with accordingly sinister bat wings. Despite this, they don't show any signs of being evil. However, the point of the episode is that since Luna was evil, she has to tone down some things like that (and the Voice of the Legion that can cause gale-force winds) if she wants people to accept her change instead of screaming "Aaah! Nightmare Moon is going to kill us!" and running for the hills.
- Queen Chrysalis and her changelings have torn insectoid wings, adding to their creepiness. When the changelings undergo a species-wide Heel–Face Turn, their wings become whole and colorful.
- When Twilight and the human versions of Rainbow and Fluttershy transform in Equestria Girls, they gain wings similar to their pony counterparts. The Dazzlings gain see-through, sharp, and featherless wings, similar to their fins in their true siren forms.
- Sunset Shimmer has been on both ends of the spectrum. In the first movie, her demonic form had black bat wings; her post-Rainbow Rocks Super Mode has phoenix-style Hot Wings, showing how she's changed from her old self. Her Friendship Games Super Mode has Energy Wings somewhere between phoenix-like and angelic.
- Midnight Sparkle, Sci-Twi's nightmare form, has bird-like (visibly feathered) black and purple wings.
- In Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, the good Gwenevere's mount, Sunstar, is a rare unicorn that also has (feathered) wings. It contrasts with the evil Kale, whose dragon Grimm has dragon wings. However, it is not in condemnation of all dragons, because the baby dragon Sugar, who also has dragon wings, is in training to be a future jewel rider's mount.
- The Simpsons: Subverted in "Lisa the Skeptic", where everyone (except Lisa) assumes that a fossil of a winged humanoid is an angel despite the wings clearly being bat-like instead of birdlike. It's not even a real fossil, just a promotional stunt.
- The Smurfs (1981):
- Falan the evil fairy in "The Magic Rattle" has bat wings compared to good fairies.
- Cherubs that are turned evil in "Hearts N Smurfs" also have bat wings.
- She-Ra: Princess of Power:
- Queen Angella of Brightmoon is a major hero for the Rebellions and, as her name suggests, she sports a gorgeous pair of functional angelic white wings on her back.
- Her counterpart for Team Evil is Hunga the Harpy Queen, who also has feathery wings to fly with. Unlike Angela's, hers are colored a muddy pink with a pair of class at the joint. This seems a characteristic of her entire race.
- The characters Sweet Bee and Flutterina have stylized insect wings based off a bee and a butterfly respectively. Unlike Buzz-Off, Sweet Bee is also much more humanoid.
- Vultak is the Horde Zookeeper, and flies by way of feathered wings colored dark purple that resemble a vultures.
- Though named for a demon, Imp actually has more batlike wings which contribute to his hybrid appearance. They're also pretty small, which makes him appear quite pudgy as well.
- Hordak can transform his body into different machines. This includes transforming his legs into a thruster while his arms become mechanical airplane wings in keeping with his technological motif.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Heroic Warrior Buzz-Off is a primary colored humanoid bee with two giant insect wings he can fly around with.