Follow TV Tropes

Following

Our Manticores Are Spinier

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stf117_conqueringman.png
Advertisement:

The Manticore (from Persian Martyaxwar, "Man-Eater") is a legendary creature from Ancient Persian folklore, said to stalk the jungles of India. Its favourite prey was humans, which it would devour without leaving any remains behind. These tales were recorded by Ancient Greek naturalists and were among the many creatures featured in the bestiaries, where they represented tyranny and envy. From there, it found its way into popular culture.

What nearly all manticores have in common is a leonine body (traditionally with red fur) ending in the tail of a scorpion or, more rarely, a dragon. However, usually, it will also possess at least some of the following attributes:

  • Instead of a sting, the tail may end in a cluster of spikes, which can be launched in deadly volleys. Both versions are almost guaranteed to be poisonous. In a few bestiaries, the manticore could also shoot from its mane. Also, many ancient texts stated only elephants were immune to a manticore's spikes.
  • Advertisement:
  • The classical manticore had the face and the ears of a human and three rows of razor-sharp teeth. In fiction, the face can range from feline to human to wholly monstrous. May also have horns.
  • While sapient and capable of speech (speaking in a melodic voice reminiscent of trumpets or pipes) in the original version, in some adaptions, manticores possess only animalistic intelligence.
  • May occasionally have bat wings, which are only found in modern fantasy depictions.

For another mythological monster with a human head and lion body, but very different connotations, see Riddling Sphinx.

Subtrope of Our Monsters Are Different and Mix-and-Match Critters.


Advertisement:

Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 
  • In Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic Manticores, also known as "Scaled Wolves", were one of the many non-human people of Alma Toran. Unlike most portrayal they are colossal, humanoid wolf-like beast with scales, with their own civilization, culture and tools. Their leader, Agares, became one of the 72 Djinns, currently in possession of Ren Kouen and can also take the form of a comparatively smaller cat-like being with scales on his body.
  • One Piece: Manticores are man-eating animals found in Level 2: Beast Hell of the prison Impel Down. The Manticore are animals with human faces, but lion bodies. Each of their faces are different, similar to actual humans. They are able to imitate human speech because their face is human-like. They are only imitating what they have heard the prisoners say and they do not know what those words mean. They may refer to panties or food. They can also stand on their two hind legs and pose like a human would. They first appeared in Chapter 529 and Episode 430.

     Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Manticores appear as an uncommon creature type, resembling winged lions with human faces, scorpion tails and mouths with far too many teeth. Their wings are normally batlike, but the manticores from the plane of Mercadia have feathered wings instead.
    • The manticores of the Egyptian Mythology-inspired plane of Amonkhet break from the pattern, instead resembling wingless tigers with scorpion tails and with their lower legs covered with black, spiked natural armor.
    • There are also masticores, mechanical wingless manticores. At least one seems to have been able to superheat its stinger in lieu of poison.

     Film 
  • The Last Unicorn: A manticore is among the animals on display in Mommy Fortuna's travelling show. It's actually a decrepit old lion enchanted to look like a manticore.

     Literature 
  • Baudolino: A manticore shows up while the heroes are trying to find the kingdom of Prester John, along other strange creatures found in bestiaries.
  • Fighting Fantasy: Manticores of various types are often encountered as dangerous monsters in the series. The Sorcery! spin off has a massive one in a cavern as the Final Boss of the first book.
  • Harry Potter: Manticores are mentioned in passing when the heroes are looking for cases of dangerous animals being spared execution. They find such a case with a manticore, but lose hope when it turns out that was because everyone was too scared to go near it. According to supplemental materials, they are sentient monsters with a leonine body, a humanoid head and a scorpion's stinger. Their poison kills instantly, while their hide deflects all charms, placing them into the most dangerous category of magical creatures.
  • Myth Adventures: Class Dis Mythed features manticores as dimension travellers from Manticora. They have average human intelligence, and can shoot lightning from their tail. Skeeve and his apprentices must save a town from a rampaging manticore. The manticore is a soldier on leave, drunk and unable to speak the local language. Trapping him and using a translator pendant allows them to communicate with the demon and befriend him.
  • Ology Series: Monsterology depicts manticores as lions with human heads, three rows of teeth and scorpion tails that can shoot poisonous, invisible barbs
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: In The Titan's Curse, the manticore Mr. Thorn acts as The Dragon to Luke and the General. He has heterochromatic eyes and his poison only paralyses. While his true form follows the classical description, he is capable of assuming human guise, and can use Partial Shapeshifting to still launch spikes. He is extremely powerful physically, but psychologically degrades over the course of the story due to being put under pressure by his superiors.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, a manticore is just a monstrously large scorpion-like arthropod (large by arthropod standards — they can still fit inside a human hand) with deadly venom and a pattern resembling a human face on its front.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles: In the tie-in guide, manticores are depicted as cougar-sized panther-like creatures that live deep in tropical forests. They have monkey-like faces and clusters of poisonous quills at the end of their tails, which they can launch at their prey and continue to pump out poison even after being expelled.
  • In Voyage of the Basset, the party encounters a manticore. He is leonine with a human face and intelligence to match. He initially decides he has to kill them, because he's under orders by the fairy king Oberon as a guard, but when the fairies tell him otherwise, he backs off.
  • Xanth novel A Spell For Chameleon. While trying to enter the Magician Humfrey's castle Bink encounters a manticora ("a creature the size of a horse, with the head of a man, body of a lion, wings of a dragon, and tail of a scorpion. One of the most ferocious magical monsters known."). Bink manages to out-think the creature and continue his quest. The following book, The Source of Magic, reveals the creature was guarding the castle as a service to Humfrey to find out if it had a soul.

     Live-Action TV 
  • In Grimm, Manticores are a particularly dangerous type of Wesen. They resemble Löwen, but are distinguished by their teeth, longer, stringy manes, and having a scorpion tail (being one of only two tailed Wesen mentioned, and the only to appear). They are fierce and are not afraid of death, and often serve in the military.
  • In Merlin, the Manticore was a creature of the Old Religion, directly connected to the spirit world. It could be summoned to the real world through a portal in the form of a box, but would die if the box was destroyed. It was rather small, though had many of the classic features: scorpion tail with extremely dangerous venom, feline body, humanoid face, mane, and sharp teeth. It could force people to do things against their will, and forced Gaius's old flame, Alice, to try and poison Uther, after she summoned it intending to use its powers for good. The plot was found out, but she was helped to escape before she could be executed for magic use. The manticore itself was destroyed by smashing its box to bits.
  • In Power Rangers Mystic Force, using their Legend Powers allows the rangers to transform into a firebird and a lion. When the firebird attaches to the lion's back, it can then rise up on its hind legs and transform into the Manticore Megazord (a Winged Humanoid with a lion's face on its chest). This may be a Woolseyism from Mahou Sentai Magiranger, where the combination is simply named "MagiLegend".

     Music 

     Mythology and Folklore 
  • The manticore legend originates from Persian folklore, and is thought to have originated as essentially overdramatized accounts of tigers. Its name in Pharsi, "martyaxwar", means "man-eater", and while this was usually translate phonetically into Greek to become "martichora", from which we get "manticore", it was sometimes translated literally as "androphagus", again meaning "man-eater". Originally depictions had it as essentially a tiger with a human head and a mouth with three rows of razor-sharp teeth, as well as a tail tipped with spikes it could launch like arrows. Over time, in medieval and later depictions, the tail-spikes became a scorpion stinger and the beast gained bat wings, leading to the manticore's most common depictions in modern fantasy.
  • In Spanish folklore, as recently as the twentieth century, the manticore was known as a type of werewolf that Eats Babies.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, manticores are Lawful Evil Magical Beasts that can fly and launch spines, while the Dragonne is a dragon with the head and overall bodyshape of a lion.
  • Palladium Fantasy: Manticores are foul-tempered predators resembling lions with goblin-like humanoid faces and tails tipped with clusters of poisonous quills. In addition to being dangerous hunters, they also have sadistic streaks a mile wide, something luckily tempered by their rarity.
  • Pathfinder: Manticores are monsters with leonine bodies, batlike wings, human heads and tails ending in clusters of poisonous spikes that they can launch at their prey. They can breed with most other kinds of lion-bodied creatures — including regular lions, dire lions, lamias, chimeras, and sphinxes — to produce hybrid offspring resembling their non-manticore parents with a manticore's spiked tail.
  • In Shadowrun, Manticores (proper name "Martichoras") are apparently Awakened lions with rows of sharp teeth and a porcupine-like bundle of spines at the end of their tails which are barbed and venomous. They prefer unspoiled and untainted envornment and have a mild allergy to pollution.
  • Warhammer: Manticores (spiked tail, bat wings, lion head and body) are found in the Chaos Wastes and can be trapped by Dark Elf beastmasters. Some Dark Elf lords also use them as mounts.

     Video Games 
  • In Age of Mythology, they are the myth unit for Apollo. They are red, have (non-functional) wings and launch volleys of spines.
  • In the Age of Wonders franchise, Manticores are lions with wings and scorpion tails that are Tigran units in II/Shadow Magic. In Age of Wonders 3, they serve as mounts for the Warlord's ultimate unit, and are also a powerful mount for heroes; their tails now end in several spines, but they still cannot shoot them.
  • Ark Survival Evolved: The expansion pack Scorched Earth adds a manticore as a boss, along with many other mythical creatures. It's a huge, horned, feline, monstrosity with leathery wings and the stinger of a scorpion which can shoot purple bolts and thorns, and is able to inflict torpor with its tail.
  • In Civilization: Beyond Earth, the Manticore is an alien lifeform that can shoot spheres filled with Miasma from its tail, making it the only ranged alien.
  • Dark Souls I features the Sanctuary Guardian, which is a manticore with pure white fur and four feathered wings, but lacks a human's face and has goat-like horns on its head. It can also shoot balls of lightning out of its mouth. The game's description states that no one really knows what this thing is, and the prevailing theory is that it's something like a demon.
  • Dragon's Dogma Online: A manticore with a red-hued leonine body, bat-like wings and a scorpion's tail can be found as a boss in the Northern Betland Plains. Its head is that of a human, with Pointy Ears and a Bald of Evil as well as a Beard of Evil.
  • God of War: Ascension: A manticore appears as a miniboss fought in Delphi. It is portrayed as a wyvern-like beast with a lion-like head, jaws like those of a shark which can become unhinged, dragon wings, human arms and torso, a scorpion tail and plates running down its back. The monster reproduces by laying eggs, and manticore hatchlings can breathe fire. Another one is found at Delos.
  • Golden Sun: A truck-sized manticore (scorpion tail, red lion body and the head of an old man) serves as the boss of the Lamakan desert, blocking an invisible cave. The first time you walk up to it, it roars and pushes you away, the fight starting on the second try. Underground Monkey variants include a green Magicore and a purple Manticore King.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, Manticores appears as common enemies as you climb the Tree of Life in the fourth act. They can attack either with their stinger tail (causing Poison) or get up close to your character and roar at him (causing Fear).
  • The Mo' Creatures mod for Minecraft includes manticores among its many other creatures. They come in green and dark varieties by default and in snow and fire varieties in cold biomes and the Nether respectively. They're inherently hostile, but if killed will drop an egg that hatches into a tame manticore you can ride. Tame manticores and big cats will attack each other out of hand.
  • Scribblenauts: A manticore is among the many things that can be summoned in the game. Its design is rather simplified compared to manticores in other media, simply appearing as a red-eyed lion with dragon wings and a scorpion tail. However, its sharp, angular design is a noticable contrast to the more rounded features of "normal" lions in the game. In the later games in the series, adding adjectives allows the player to give a manticore whatever personality they desire.
  • Titan Quest severely upgrades the Manticore and turns it into a Bonus Boss in a deep cavern in the Eqyptian desert (on Normal difficulty you'll find just its skeleton). The Manticore here is a massive black lion with bat wings, a skull-like face and a spiked tail that shoots venomous darts. Its most dangerous feature is the electrical Breath Weapon which can obliterate the player if he doesn't get out of the way in time.
  • Total War: Warhammer
    • Manticores are an available mount for Hero Units of the Warriors of Chaos, portrayed as ferocious, horned leonine monsters with bat wings and scorpion tails found in the Chaos Wastes, which the mightiest champions of Chaos can, at great personal peril, attempt to capture and break into a war mount.
    • A Feral Manticore, by itself, is also a unit in the army roster of the Chaos Warriors and the Norscan Tribes.
    • Hero Units who use the Lore of Beasts, including Beastman Bray Shamans, Imperial Amber Wizards and Durthu Oakheart, can learn a spell to summon a manticore in the middle of battle.
  • The Warcraft series has monsters with lion head and body, bat wings and scorpion tail, obviously inspired by manticores... called wyverns.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: While Manticore Grimm do have a scorpion tail and a mammalian body with four taloned paws, they also possess feathered wings. Their heads are bestial, almost dog-like, with large horns curving out of the foreheads like cattle. Instead of a mane, they posses a ruff of bone spikes that frame their heads like a drawn depiction of the rays of the sun.

    Web Comics 
  • Charby the Vampirate: Daray buys a manticore to ride since he's never gotten along with horses, she is very fluffy and red and makes trumpeting vocalizations. Kavonn considers her to be a ridiculous mount since she poses a danger to her rider and has a craving for human flesh.
  • Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell: Skittles is a manticore, with a lion's body, a face with a mix of human and feline features, and a scorpion's stinger. Skittles has roughly human intelligence and interests, but as a tween he is relatively immature.
  • In El Goonish Shive, there is an Aberration described as a Scorpion Bull Centaur Vampire which, while lacking explicit lion aspects, does have a mane and a great deal of chest — all in all, it ends up looking like a manticore/centaur cross.
  • Girl Genius: The Phlogiston-Powered Mantigoons, leonine machines with segmented tails tipped with powerful flamethrowers.
  • Skin Deep: Manticores have lion-like bodies, bright red fur, poisonous tail darts (usually bandaged up or removed to avoid accidents), teeth that can bite through anything, and either humanlike or lionlike faces depending on the subspecies. They can also produce a great variety of sounds such as whistles, trumpeting, fluting and other musical noises, which they use in a language of their own know as Manticorsi. They are defined as monsters since they have no "natural" way to assume human form, but are no more or less civilized than anyone else; despite this, however, they are subject to a great deal of Fantastic Racism in the magical community. Ike Sanford is half-manticore-half-buggane.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: A small manticore appears trapped in a jar by Magic Man. Finn frees it, but it later appears back in the jar, complaining that it has "some sort of hostage syndrome".
  • Class of the Titans: The season 1 finale "Time After Time" features a manticore which looks like a big lion with red eyes, a bat's wings and a scorpion's tail. In an alternate present created by Cronus, Odie is killed by the beast.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: A manticore appears in an episode where it saves Flapjack and K'nuckles when they are almost killed on one of their misadventures. Also counts as a Brick Joke, as Flapjack had initially imagined the manticore for a story he was telling K'nuckles.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Manticores are recurring creatures in the show's world. The first one is seen in the pilot, and it mostly serves as an Establishing Character Moment for Fluttershy who recreates the Androcles' Lion scene with the beast, foreshadowing that she is the Element of Kindness. Another one appears in "No Second Prances" as part of Trixie's magic act, with a slightly reworked design, including a small pair of horns. Since there aren't any humans in the setting, their faces are lion-like. They also have bat wings and scorpion tails, and may or may not have horns depending on the individual manticore. Overall, they usually serve the same roles which lions have in many works of fiction. Furthermore, supplementary material reveals they all have names starting with the letter "M" and possess some level of sapience despite their bestial appearance and behavior.

    Real Life 
  • It's thought that the idea of the manticore was derived at least partly from early encounters with tigers, with which the ancient Greeks would not have been familiar. They were, however, familiar with lions, which is why the manticore as traditionally envisioned has a lion's body.
  • The so-called "manticore beetles" of the genus Manticora, which can grow more than two inches long and are capable of preying on scorpions and tarantulas, were named after the legendary manticore. They obviously don't prey on humans, but in some African cultures they are considered symbols of death.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback