Follow TV Tropes


Pointy Ears
aka: Pointed Ears

Go To
Space... where people have pointy ears.

What is it about pointy ears?

For some reason, the fastest, most reliable way to establish someone (or thing) as not human is to give them unusually pointy ears. Whether it be elves, aliens, or stranger fare, having those ears point skyward is all it takes to knock them down (or up) a peg.

The size, shape and length of the ears can vary, and this affects the nature of the species they're on. Normal ears with a slightly pointy tip? Probably an alien or an elf, but might be a demon or even a vampire, so be on your guard. Long and tubular pointy ears that are a bit ratty? Then it's a filthy monster/mutant that is Always Chaotic Evil and must be purged with flame. Dog or cat-like ears that move, with tufts of fur? Probably a Beast Man or Wolf Man, back away slowly without making eye contact. Or perhaps long, gracefully arching ears? Then they're obviously elves or something far above mere human, and must be treated with respect and humility because they have all kinds of kickass magic and martial prowess.

Here's a short list of these pointy-eared inhuman hobgoblins:

Note that pointed ears does occur in humans and is usually a symptom of Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, which makes a person appear 'elfine', makes them a little too overly social and friendly, and may have been the inspiration for elves.

The origins of this trope in Western culture are rooted in depictions of faeries and demons across centuries, making monsters look horrific and unappealing, pointing out a connection with animals, and/or conveying that a character is uncanny and otherwordly. Perhaps the oldest use of pointy ears in supernatural creatures are the Fauns and Satyrs from Classical Mythology, debauched beings of the wild with animalistic features such as donkey or goat-like ears, and this trait influenced other imageries. Like many other fantasy tropes, however, it was only in the artwork of the Victorian Era in the 19th century that this motif became widespread, when elves and fairies were frequently seen with such a feature — possibly inspired by popular portrayals of beings like the folkloric figure Puck Goodfellow and the aforementioned satyrs, as in folklore, elves were actually not usually described to have unusual ears in specific, with their difference from humans often being more abstract and subtle —, especially in the arts of Richard Dadd and John Anster Fitzgerald. This trait carried on and became a convention in fantasy media, and later, other genres.

A Sub-Trope of Unusual Ears.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Elves in Record of Lodoss War, Those Who Hunt Elves, Rune Soldier Louie and many other imitators of Lodoss. Dwarves, such as Ghim, have smaller, less pointy ears that look a bit more humanoid.
    • Lodoss War was the Trope Codifier for "jigokumimi" on elves; that specific style of long, tapered ear bled into every following depiction of elves in Japanese media and even into a large number of Western productions, most notably Warcraft.
  • Berserk:
    • Elves are traditional depictions of fairies that have pointy ears.
    • Oddly, the main character and roughly half the cast (including extras) early on have ears that are pointy to a lesser degree, despite being entirely human. There is no explanation for this in-story; it may just be artistic or some weird way some people from Midland are different from people in real life, but that doesn't explain the lack of new characters with pointy ears. It may simply be because the author's style has shifted, and he decided to keep Guts' ears as symbolic.
  • Inverted in The Big O, where all of the humans in Paradigm City have pointed ears. It's probably just the art style, but the show is so full of Mind Screw (it's the Trope Namer for Tomato in the Mirror) that you can't be sure of anything.
  • In Blue Exorcist demons have long, pointed ears. Rin, being a half-demon, has only slightly pointed ears when his sword, which seals his demon powers, is sheathed.
  • The demons of Chrono Crusade.
  • Claymore: Some Claymores have pointy ears, and seeing that they are half-demon, the amount of yoki an individual has might have something to do with it.
  • The Abliarsec royal family in Crest of the Stars.
  • Wei Zhijun, a Contractor from Darker than Black, has pointy ears for no apparent reason.
  • A lot of the aliens and gods in Dragon Ball have pointed ears.
    • This has actually been a minor plot point, as they helped Piccolo long-distance eavesdrop on Goku's conversation with Trunks near the beginning of the Android arc.
  • Merry from Dream Eater Merry has these.
  • Oddly, the completely human Kaseki from Dr. STONE has slightly pointed ears. None of the other humans do, at least the ones whose ears aren't covered by their hair.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 has pointy ears that make him look downright demonic, but he's human.
  • The half-elf Tiffania Westwood from The Familiar of Zero. She has to cover them to avoid the prejudices against her people.
  • The Count in Gankutsuou.
  • In Hekikai No Aion, Shizuki and Yuzuki, who are both demons and twins, have pointed ears.
  • Most of the human-looking demons in Inuyasha have pointed ears to establish their inhuman status, most notably Shippo, Kagura, Kōga and Lord Sesshomaru.
  • The Raalgon from Irresponsible Captain Tylor surely count.
  • Many of the gods and demons in Kamisama Kiss have elven looking ears.
  • All vampires in Karin.
  • Guild members in Last Exile have pointed ears, along with many nobles.
  • Agito of Lyrical Nanoha, who also has bat wings and a pointed tail, giving her a demon-like look (given that her character design is based on Etna from Disgaea).
  • The Zentraedi of Macross have these, with Zentraedi/Human hybrids sometimes expressing these in later series. A Retcon as Zentraedi from the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross series had normal ears, but after Do You Remember Love? depicted its Zentreadi with pointed ears, the convention was picked up by later Macross productions.
  • In Made in Abyss, Reg has pointed ears, though they're not prominent enough to keep him from passing as human. He's some kind of robot of unknown origin.
  • While he's not yet been seen in the games, the Metroid manga featured a pointed eared alien named Kreatz who was on Samus's squad back in her federation days. Kreatz and his partner Mauk (a hairy pig alien) were clearly designed to be shout-outs to the two founding extraterrestrial members of Star Trek's Federation, the Vulcans and the Tellarites. Interesting because the races' personalities were inverted for Kreatz and Mauk (Kreatz's species being the insulting violent one and Mauk's being proud intellectuals but assumed to be warriors due to their appearances).
  • Ilulu from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. This can probably be chalked up to her lack of skill with transforming since all the other dragons have normal ears in their human forms.
  • The Medicine Seller from Mononoke.
  • In My Hero Academia, Tamaki Amajiki sports a pair of these, presumably inherited from a parent with a mutation quirk.
  • Princess Theodora of Negima! Magister Negi Magi. In fact, quite a few Beast Men, Demons, and other non-human humanoids in the Magic World have these.
  • The catlike race of Ctarl-Ctarl in Outlaw Star.
  • In Ranma ½, the Musk Dynasty warriors, Herb, Lime and Mint, have slightly pointed ears, hinting of their partially animalistic descent.
  • Ashura in his clan in RG Veda.
  • Kurumu from Rosario + Vampire has these in her succubus form.
  • The demons (youkai) in Saiyuki.
  • In Slayers, Elves, such as Memphis, have the classic small, pointed ears, although Mellyroon, an Elf from a Non-Serial Movie, inexplicably has bigger ears. On the flip side, Brau Demons have large, grotesque pointed ears. Zelgadis, a chimera, has decent-sized elfish ears because a Brau Demon was implanted into his genetic makeup via magic.
    • Filia Ul Copt (a gold dragon who is usually in human form) is also revealed to have these in some official art, although most of the time you can't see them because of her hood with large green orbs on the sides. Other members of her race, while in human form, also have them. However, Milgazia of the Golden Dragon clan that serves the Water Dragon King in Dragon Valley and keeper of the Claire Bible however, has rounded ears in human form. His draconic true form is hinted at instead in the shape of his eyes and pupils in anime, manga and novel art.
  • Members of the strongly telepathic Jirel species in Space Battleship Yamato 2199, including Miezela Celestella and Mirenel Linke.
  • Ryoko in Tenchi Muyo! has long, pointy ears... without the points.
    • Along with Mihoshi, though hers are more subtle. This being the only time the word "subtle" can be applied to Mihoshi.
    • Long and kinda squared-off ears are a common visual shorthand for Human Aliens in Tenchi Muyo! world. Most off-world characters have them, unless they're from Jurai or Seniwa (Juraians have normal ears, since they're basically just a different race of humanity with some artificial enhancements; Seniwans like Mihoshi have much smaller traditional pointy ears and Cute Little Fangs). And Wau, of course, have nekomimi.
  • The Half-Human Hybrid Fairy people of Übel Blatt Have particularly prominent angular ears. The more fairy blood they have, the longer the ears.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Legion of Super-Heroes: The shape-shifting Durlans, like Reep Daggle, have large pointed ears in their orange default form. Those who've been made unstable by the fallout from the Six Minute War have lost this form, and instead have an unsteady default that looks more like a bunch of writhing tentacles of variable coloration.
    • Shazam!: Captain Marvel's greatest enemy and Evil Counterpart, Black Adam, has pointy ears for no adequately explained reason.
    • Superman: In the story The Jungle Line, Clark Kent has pointed ears in one panel because of one mistake on the artist's part.
    • Wonder Woman:
  • Naturally, a majority of the characters in ElfQuest have pointy ears.
  • Many characters in the comic Gold Digger, including the main character Cheetah when she goes to human form.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The shape-shifting Skrulls have pointed ears as part of their default appearance. Depending on the individual (and/or the artist), they can be anything from just slightly pointy to huge and bat-like.
    • Alpha Flight: Northstar and Aurora have slightly pointy ears (though sometimes artists forget). One story claims that it's because their mother was a Norse elf, but that story was unceremoniously disposed of later on; apparently, their ears are just like that.
    • Marvel Noir: In Iron Man Noir, this is the mark of Captain Namor's pirate crew; they slice their ears to resemble shark fins.
    • Morbius: Initially, Morbius did not have these, but later artists started adding them after which they quickly became a standard part of his appearance.
    • Sub-Mariner: Namor, a Half-Human Hybrid of man and mermaid, has these.
    • X-Men: Nightcrawler has pointy ears. Given his overall demonic appearance, it's something of a surprise that he doesn't have horns.
  • The elves in Poison Elves have exceptionally long, and very pointy, ears.
  • The Secrets of Willowmyst: Alex and Tavin, being fairies, have pointy ears.
  • Several Star Wars Legends comic books feature characters of the Sephi, who very humanlike but with pointy ears. Fae, Aleco Stusea, and that one girl who was inspired by Princess Zelda. We don't hear that much about the latter two, but Fae was said to be a thousand years old, and was believed (at least by Obi-Wan Kenobi) to be immortal.
  • There's Moloch in Watchmen, but it went totally unacknowledged there as well as in the film (and was much more subtle).

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfics Hakkōna and Kaitō Kokoro: When Kiku is in his true nekomataneko form, in addition to having human ears, he also has pointy cat ears.
  • In the Peter Pan prequel fanfic Just a Little Bit of Pixie Dust, Peter starts out with normal ears, which become pointy when he starts making too much contact with the fairies from Pixie Hollow.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Lampshaded for Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking in the Motive Rant of TuMok of Mars.
    "You have no idea how much I despise you Earthlings — your hot women, your hedonistic culture, your slavish dependence on machines, and worst of all your constant quips about my ears! Soon no human will dare mistake me for an elf again!"
  • Fanworks set in Middle-earth mention the pointy ears of elves far more often than J. R. R. Tolkien's original books. In some fan stories, characters identify elves by their ears. An elf might disguise itself as a mortal man by covering its ear tips. (Tolkien does not use the ears. In The Lord of the Rings, characters can identify elves by hearing their voices.)
    • In A Far Green Country, Nellas covers her ears. Some other characters see through the disguise and know that Nellas must be an elf.
    • In The Games of the Gods, Rachel covers her elf ears and passes as a mortal woman. Most people suspect nothing, and accept Rachel as an uncommonly beautiful human. Rachel's elven voice raises no suspicion unless she sings too much.
    • Home with the Fairies has Maddie finding creatures that might be elves, fairies or nymphs. Maddie needs a glimpse of pointed ears (hidden under hair) to decide that they are elves.
  • In With Strings Attached, one of the many subtle (as opposed to screamingly blatant) touches that makes C'hou different from Earth is that there are elves with the requisite pointy ears. However, Word of God asserts that they're merely a pointy-eared race of humans.
  • In the Fire Emblem: Three Houses fanfic You'll Get No Answers from the Blue Sea Star, the fact that Sothis has these becomes something of a plot point, since Rhea and Seteth possess them as well, but deliberately hide them. It also becomes part of a running joke about human ears being inferior.

    Films — Animation 
  • Catwoman: Hunted: Barbara Minerva has noticeable pointy ears, the only hint to her nature as the Cheetah in her human form.
  • In The King's Beard, fairies naturally have them (and Sophie briefly loses hers, which become rounded and human-like, when Jasper drains her wand). After the power of the wand starts corrupting Jasper, his ears mutate into even more distinctly inhuman ones that look almost like fins or bat-wings.
    Jasper: "I have the wand… I have the power… Woo-hoo! I even have the ears!"
  • Peter Pan: Peter has pointy ears, to give some more emphasis on the "pan" part of his name (as, of course, does Tinker Bell the fairy).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Na'vi of Avatar have fairly long pointed ears set high on their heads.
  • The vampires of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie sport very bat-like ears.
  • Hawk the Slayer: Crow, the elf archer, has pointed ears that he reveals when he first takes off his hood. This along with his constantly stoic expression leads to inevitable Vulcan jokes from MSTing viewers.
  • Maleficent reveals the title character to be hiding these under her skin-tight black cap, appropriately for a fairy.
  • Count Orlok, from Nosferatu, and his myriad impersonators.
  • Yoda from Star Wars. Very long and pointy, they are.
  • Blink from X-Men: Days of Future Past. Although why the ability to create portals would also give her pointy ears isn't known. It could be just a peculiar side-effect of having teleportation abilities since Nightcrawler and Azazel also have them.

  • In Artemis Fowl, fairies have this; some races, like elves and pixies, are pretty much indistinguishable from humans aside from this and their height. In the fourth book, Opal Koboi has her ears surgically altered so that she can assume a new life as a human child.
  • Lampshaded in the Cal Leandros series, where the pointy ears are pretty much the only thing the stories got right when they turned the hideous, murderous Auphe into elves.
  • Carnival in a Fix: Emily has pointed ears to help show that, despite her very humanoid appearance, she is not a human.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy: The daeva are all immediately distinguishable from humans by their pointed ears, although some individual tribes have additional distinguishing features. Since they were Cursed into humanoid forms by Suleiman himself, this may have been intentional.
  • In the Deverry novels, humans living near the Westfolk view them as barbarians for a number of reasons, including the claim that they crop their children's ears at birth. Jill takes one look at the long, delicately scalloped ears of the Westfolk and realises this is nonsense.
  • Discworld elves have pointy ears, as do humans with elf-blood. It's implied that they seem to have the "long, graceful" version, but this is Glamour, and they're really closer to the "ratty and inhuman" type.
  • In Dora Wilk Series artwork, were-cat Szelma has mildly pointed ears.
  • In Dracula, the count himself is described as having ears that are "pale, and at the tops extremely pointed", one feature among several that collectively present a rather unsettling appearance.
  • Eldrae have pointed ears, along with other Fae traits.
  • In an otherwise mundane Verse, Emily of New Moon has slightly pointed ears.
  • Elves in the Inheritance Cycle have these, as do human Dragon Riders after a while (though Eragon's transformation was sped up due to the Agaeti Blodhren). They can use magic to transform them into human-looking ears when they need to go incognito, or just wear a headband.
  • Journey to Chaos: Elves and tricksters have the "basically human" type of point. For the former, it's because they are classified as humanoid mana breeds. For the later, it's A Form You Are Comfortable With.
  • Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff's Kelvin of Rud series has two races of humans, one with round ears and the other with pointed ears. Ultimately this turns out not to have any great significance beyond a lame pun.
  • The Lost Years of Merlin: This is the feature that distinguishes Fincayran humans from those in our world. While living in Gwynned (Wales), some people commented that Emrys/Merlin looked like a demon. Fincayrans also used to have wings, leading Merlin to quip that they had the ears of demons and the wings of angels.
  • The fairies in The Mortal Instruments often have pointed ears. The two half fairies Mark and Helen Blackthorn also have some.
  • Though their ears are never described in the novels themselves, the Yuuzhan Vong from the New Jedi Order are often illustrated with prominent pointed ears. Otherwise, they're fairly humanlike (or would be if not for their cultural fixation on ritualized tattooing, scars, and general Body Horror).
  • The titular character of Olive Kennedy, Fairy World M.D. has these, due to being half-elf on her father's side.
  • A Poison Dark and Drowning: When describing Callax The Child Eater, Henrietta says his ears are large and pointy.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Elves are marked by them, even half-elves, as Gwenevrael has "lightly pointed ears", as said in the first book.
  • The elves of the Strands series by Gael Baudino seem to have pointy ears, although it is never actually mentioned directly in the books. Still, it is implied several times when people who have recently been transformed into Elves because of their Elven heritage are encouraged by other Elves to cover their ears with their hair, so that they may move around in public without being recognized.
  • Downplayed in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He described hobbits as having "only slightly pointed and 'elvish'" ears in a letter to an illustrator, but never in the stories themselves, and thus some have taken the fact of him putting "elvish" in quotes (and not capitalizing it) to mean that he was possibly referring to stereotypical elves, not necessarily his Elves. He similarly only ever wrote about the ear shape of his Elves once. They're referred to as "more pointed and leaf-shaped" than presumably human ears in a posthumously published glossary of Noldorin, so that words for "leaf", "ear" and "listen" are related. But as with hobbit ears, this is nowhere said in the books themselves, where ears never come up as a way to identify Elves from Men. Instead, the eyes are sometimes brought up, since regardless of their color Elven eyes have a certain light or spark that's absent in human eyes.
  • Mrs. Gorf from Wayside School has pointy ears. She can also wiggle them and stick out her tongue, turning kids into apples.
  • Whateley Universe: Sidhe (Elves), and Isokist (Aliens) have them, among others.
  • The Wheel of Time: Ogier are distinguished from humans by their long tufted ears, their eight-foot height, and other features. They don't discuss their ears in polite company, as they double as erogenous zones.

    Live-Action TV 

    Religion & Mythology 
  • The villain of the Book of Esther, Haman, is sometimes described with pointy ears, to point out how Obviously Evil he is. A traditional Purim treat is triangular cookies called oznei Haman, or Haman's ears, in Hebrew (also called hamantashen in Yiddish, and sometimes Bowdlerised to represent his three-cornered hat).
  • The idea of supernatural non-beast-like creatures like elves, dwarfs, gnomes, imps, goblins, brownies, leprechauns, fairies etc. having pointy ears is thought to have originated during the Victorian period long before J.R.R. Tolkien was born (though his elf-heavy fiction basically codified the "fantasy elf", it never mentions them having pointy ears explicitly and thus it's been often visualized and illustrated with this stereotype of elves in mind instead of anything in the texts themselves) and if not originated by the Victorians then certainly codified by their art and literature. Pointy ears were directly and/or indirectly borrowed from Fauns and Satyrs of Classical Mythology, who were Beast Men and thus part goat, deer, donkey etc. often including their ears. Fauns and satyrs also influenced the visualization of Christian demons who were given beastly attributes, and it was thus not a big leap to link "demonic" pointy ears to any humanoid supernatural creature. But it should be noted that before the Victorians, these kinds of creatures like The Fair Folk were not thought to have any concrete distinguishing features to set them apart from humans (and mostly weren't miniaturized). Instead, it was abstract stuff like unearthly beauty. Some tales depict them as needing to say they're non-human, implying there were no telltale features to indicate otherwise.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pretty much every version of elves in just about every RPG setting, with Dungeons & Dragons being the Trope Codifer for the genre.
  • In Rocket Age pointy ears are a distinctive trait of both the Martian royal and priest castes, as well as possibly the Ancient Martians they are descended from.
  • In Shadowrun nearly every metahuman race (elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, etc) has pointed ears, as such the anti-metahuman hate group Humanis Policlub uses a rounded human ear as their logo.
  • Pointed ears are so prevalant among the many races in Talislanta that it's almost easier to list the races that don't have this trait.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Eldar are a race of elf-like aliens with pointed ears, and are the futuristic equivalents of Warhammer's elf factions: Craftworld Eldar to High Elves, Exodites to Wood Elves, and Dark Eldar to Dark Elves.

  • Draculaura in Monster High has fairly subtly pointed ears.

    Video Games 
  • Adiboo: Magical Playland: Adiboo has pointy ears.
  • In Aion, "Humans" or Daevas from both Asmodian and Elyos races can have either human ears or pointed ears. In character creation, the one slider "Ear Shape" allows various ears shapes: large human ears to short human ears, then short pointy ears to long pointy ears.
  • The demon Lilica of Arcana Heart.
  • Vampire Vivi has them in Brain Dead 13.
  • In Bunny Must Die, Bobomboi and Chelsea have these.
  • Magus from Chrono Trigger has them (as does the Goldfish Poop Gang that serves under him), but it's unclear whether or not this is due to his lineage, A Wizard Did It, or a Shout-Out to Dragon Ball.
  • City of Heroes features several lengths of pointy ears in its character creator.
  • Dept. Heaven:
  • The shopkeepers in Dicey Dungeons are elflike beings with pointed ears.
  • Demons in the Disgaea series look almost exactly like humans in varying degrees, but the one common distinctive trait they all have pointed ears. Except for Adell, who had a birth defect that led him to have rounded ears, which combined with his birth parents leaving him in the care of a human couple at a young age caused him to forget that he actually was a demon.
  • Dragon Age elves obviously have them; many characters refer to them as "knife ears" for it. Kossith have slightly pointed ears as well, but as the majority of them are also Qunari and tend to be seven or eight feet tall with horns, most people either avoid them entirely or find other things to comment on besides their ears.
  • Dragon Quest:
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Races of Mer (Elves) possess the standard fantasy "Elf" version. The royal families of the Bretons (a race of Uneven Hybrid offspring of Man/Mer relations thousands of years ago) are said to still have slight points to their ears, showing their Mer ancestry.
    • Some other non-Mer (at least, as far as we know) beings also possess pointed ears, including Giants, Goblins, Ogres, and Rieklings.
    • Scamps are the weakest and smallest known form of lesser Daedra, and possess very long, triangular pointed ears in the Looks Like Orlok vein.
  • Eternal Senia: Little Fairy has them in both games, and evey fairy in Eternal Senia: Hydrangea After The Rain.
  • Eternal Sonata: March and Salsa's actual ears arch out to the side. (They also wear things in their hair that seem intended to evoke bunnies.) They're not explicitly called elves, but the idea is the same. Although you're also nice to March because, in addition to being able to mop up the floor with enemies like her sister Salsa, she's just so sweet that you'd come off as a jerk to treat her otherwise.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Medea, Circe and Semiramis all have pointy ears. No explanation is given, but it's presumed that this is a trait of magi from the Age of Gods. Though why this would be the case only for female magi and not, for example, the Caster version of Gilgamesh is unclear. Elizabeth Bathory also has pointy ears most likely due to her alleged Dragon Ancestry. Her grown-up self, Carmilla, does not have these due to having more emphasis on her vampire-like image.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Manaketes generally have these in their humanoid forms. Half-breeds sometimes inherit them, but not always.
    • Bird and dragon Laguz in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have pointed ears in their humanoid forms.
    • The Avatar of Fire Emblem Fates has pointy ears thanks to being the child of a dragon god. Their canon child, Kana also has them.
    • Certain routes in Fire Emblem: Three Houses reveals the archbishop Rhea has pointy ears she keeps hidden behind her hair. Right before the time-skip she transforms into a white dragon. Fittingly, two other character's closest to her, Seteth and Flayn are also revealed to have them in concept art, likewise hidden behind her hair. Sothis also sports pointy ears being the progenitor of Rhea, Seteth, and Flayn's people, unlike the former three, Sothis's ears are always visible. It's even implied Byleth's mother may have had pointy ears, being a homunculus close of Sothis, had them too. Each CGI still has her ears covered by her hair, and the only time they're visible her hair still keeps the full shape hidden.
  • Giraffe and Annika: Lily has pointy ears.
  • The elf-like inhabitants of whatever world the Jak and Daxter series takes place on have exceptionally long ears, with a total "ear-span" that is usually three to four times the width of their faces. Subverted in that the ears are not used to indicate anything supernatural about them - they seem to just be quirky-looking humans, and have been referred to as humans on more than one occasion.
  • The Fire Clan from Golden Sun have ears with two points (the usual pointed tips, and elongated, pointed lobes). It's not the first thing you notice about them, though.
    • In Dark Dawn, the beastmen tend to have animal-like ears. Sveta in particular has the "pointy ears with tufted ends" variety.
    • Most of the humanlike summons also have these kind of ears.
  • Tammy in I Was a Teenage Exocolonist has ears that are noticeably pointed, due to her mutation giving her enhanced hearing. The MC says she gives off the air of a fairytale princess.
  • A few original characters in the Kingdom Hearts series have pointed ears, like Master Xehanort, Xigbar and Saïx. The reason that they have pointed ears is unclear, but seeing as the three men all have Supernatural Gold Eyes and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep shows that Braig (Xigbar's original persona) gains the gold eyes and pointy ears at the same time, they could be another sign of giving into Darkness.
  • Knights of Pen and Paper 2: Elves have these.
  • In League of Legends, Word of God states that being "ascended" by magic gives you these, as can be seen on champions like Morgana, Janna and Soraka. Oddly, it only seems to affect women as male champions like Ryze don't display them.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Hylians are distinguishable from regular non-Hylian humans (such as the Holodrumians, Labrynnans, and Ordonians) by their pointy ears. They don't exactly fall towards the lower measures, though; not only are the franchise's two main heroes, Link and Zelda, always Hylians, but the Kingdom of Hyrule itself is Hylian-dominated. However, in most games, where Hyrule is an empire controlling several regions, Hylians tend to be a minority. According to this interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, this was inspired by Disney's Peter Pan.
    • It's mentioned in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past that the big ears are so Hylians can "hear the voices of the gods." Notably, in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf's ears go from normal to pointed after obtaining the Triforce of Power, despite him being Gerudo, not Hylian.
    • Early in The Wind Waker, Ganondorf orchestrates the kidnappings of several pointy-eared girls. Because Hylians are rare in this game, and Zelda is a Hylian and likely in disguise, by sending his minions to look for elf-eared females he stands a decent chance of nabbing her. Unfortunately for him, Link and his sister are also Hylians, and the latter's kidnapping kicks off the adventure.
    • The bird-like Rito in The Wind Waker have noticeably pointy ears.
    • The Kokiri also have pointed ears, as do the Sheikah. Both of these are required from a storyline perspective, as in Ocarina of Time Link thought himself a Kokiri and Zelda pretends to be a Sheikah. They have other traits, however, that set them apart, such as eternal childhood for the Kokiri and red eyes for the Sheikah.
    • In Majora's Mask, even the monkeys have similarly long ears.
    • The Minish Cap features the mouse-like Minish, who have extremely long, pointed ears.
    • The imp Midna in Twilight Princess has strange long, jagged pointed ears. They seem fairly inflexible, and are longer in combined length than the rest of her head. They even look like they might even be sharp enough to give you a papercut.
    • Demon Lord Ghirahim of Skyward Sword has only one pointed ear in his normal form; the other, rounded, ear is hidden under his hair. His final form does have both ears pointed.
    • While the Gerudo have regular ears in Ocarina of Time (per the official art), the ones in Breath of the Wild have ears just as pointy as the Hylians' and Sheikah's. The official explanation is that they've grown closer to the gods, though it's suggested that generations of interbreeding with Hylians was another (possibly related) factor.
  • In Lineage 2 all races except the Humans have pointed ears. This is to show how the Humans were created as unintentionally inferior and flawed in the world's creation myth. The Kamael have pointed ears because they are genetically altered elves essentially created to be living weapons.
    • Interestingly, Elves, Dark Elves and Fairies in the game have the standard anime-style jigokumimi while Orcs, Dwarves and Kamael ears only taper to more Vulcan-like points. The game's graphics don't render the point on Dwarf ears very well so they look round, even though official art depicts them with Tolkienesque 'leaf shaped' ears.
  • The Beastman race in the Lunar series (such as Mel, Jessica, Leo, and Mauri) have ears ranging from pointy to unusual. Ghaleon also has pointy ears but this goes unremarked upon in the games. note 
  • Fatima of Luminous Arc 2 has pointy ears, but she seems to be a normal human/witch and no one in-game comments on them.
  • Pointed ears and Cute Little Fangs are the one truly consistent physical trait that all Nippon Ichi (Disgaea, Makai Kingdom, etc.) "Humanoid" demons share, while the humans (and the angels, such as Flonne although she gains them both, along with a tail, when she becomes a fallen angel) don't have them.
  • Nosferatu Lilinor: Lilinor has pointy ears. It's more apparent in text boxes when you can see her picture.
  • The Phantasy Star series has Numans/Newmans, a genetically engineered race that resemble elves. In the original series, the ears were different between the two instances. In Phantasy Star II Nei and Neifirst have very long pointed ears that go past their heads. Rika in Phantasy Star IV has smaller pointed ears with bits of black on the ends. Phantasy Star Online's Newman race have differing ears depending on their class. Hunter Newmans have ears like Nei, while Forces have long pointed ears that stick out from the sides of their heads almost horizontally. In Phantasy Star Zero, Newman ears are much smaller, but still pointy. Phantasy Star Universe and its portable spinoffs, along with Phantasy Star Online 2, allow players to determine the shape of their newman's ears thanks to their powerful character creators.
  • Pikmin: The Hocotatians have small pointed ears, while the Yellow Pikmin has ones large enough to catch the air when they're thrown and allow them to be tossed noticeably higher than other types.
  • Pokémon Black and White: Grimsley the Dark-type trainer has pointed ears to go with his overall vampire motif. It's not explained in-universe why he's one of the only — if not the only—human characters to have them.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: The Manna, as seen with Trill in this official screenshot.
  • The Princess Maker series: Mainly fairies:
  • Puyo Puyo:
    • Panotty the elf has pointy ears.
    • Lidelle, a demihuman, has ears like this as one of several of her quirky features.
  • Half of the races in Rift. Interestingly enough, this applies whether or not you split humans and elves by faction. (The Defiant, however, have the edge on pointy ears.)
  • Shantae: Shantae (2002), Shantae: Risky's Revenge:
    • The title character has these, because she's half-genie.
    • The half-genies seen in Shantae and the Seven Sirens show that all half-genies seem to have pointy ears.
  • Splatoon has the Inklings, a race capable of shapeshifting between squid and humanoid forms. While on their humanoid forms, they sport pointy ears meant to look like squid fins.
  • Star Ocean:
    • Rena, uniquely among the Expelians in Star Ocean: The Second Story. (and its anime, Star Ocean EX), because she's actually Nedian; the other Nedians have the same Unusual Ears. The Vanguardians who play a minor role in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time seem to have a similar appearance. It's also mentioned in the in-game dictionary that some Expellians started to develop pointed ears within the last four hundred years.
    • Members of the Fellpool and Highlander races in First Departure have ears like this. Featherfolk, which are native to the same planet, do not (though they are Winged Humanoids).
    • Myuria Tionysus, and the entire race of Morphus in the game Star Ocean: The Last Hope exhibit extremely long ears, sticking out at an impossible angle. This is implied to be because they are an offshoot of the Nedians. The Eldarians also have very Vulcan-like points.
  • Sunset Overdrive: The devil mask on the front of the Feel the Burn flamethrower has pointed ears.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia, all elves and some half-elves have pointy ears. the ears of the elves are pointier however, much to the disfavor of the half-elves. It seems to vary by the individual: although none of them have ears as pointed as the elves, Botta's are quite tall, Kvar's rather shorter, and Yuan's are perfectly rounded, just to name a few examples. Raine and Genis deliberately style their hair to cover their ears to hide the lack of points.
    • Tales of Berseria: Magilou is an Ambiguously Human witch with sharply-pointed ears. A set of larger pointy ears that stick outward are a cosmetic item, and the description that Magilou is not an elf (which don't appear to exist in this setting).
  • Touhou Project has an... interesting history with this trope. Basically, ZUN can't draw ears, and usually hides them behind hair or hats. When he does draw them they turn out pointy regardless of whether they probably should. The first character to get ears, Parsee, is widely accepted as having Pointy Ears in fanon, and has had them semi-canonized by Touhou Ibarakasen ~ Wild and Horned Hermit... The next, Orin, is a Cat Girl, so the fandom mostly pretends that she only has cat ears.note  Then Double Spoiler ~ Touhou Bunkachou gave ears to its Tengu protagonists, leading to something of an uproar in the fandom. Now some fans have decided that all youkai have Pointy Ears, others stick with them for Parsee and the tengu, and the rest just stopped caring.
    • Even more strange for Parsee since the hashihime youkai is the vengeful spirit of a cheated human housewife...
  • Twisted Wonderland: Malleus and Lilia, being full-blooded fairies, have these.
  • Warcraft:
    • Mainly the Blood Elves and Night Elves. Their ears are so long and pointy that they extend past their head, making them the best example for this trope in Western video games.
    • Elven rangers in Warcraft II had neat slightly pointed ears of roughly human size... in artwork and character portraits. The actual sprite has those huge flapping sheets. Of course, with such small figures running around the screen, the excessively long ears might been simply a way to say 'elf' at that resolution. Warcraft III, however, has both units and character portraits in 3D, and as a result, the elongated ears have snuck back into portraits and became canon.
    • Troll males have elongated ears, while females have theirs shortened as a part of enhancing the Cute Monster Girl appeal.
    • Goblins and orcs have a more humanlike ear shape with a slight point.
    • Alien race Draenei have almost human-like ears slightly pointed, though theirs evoke the stern Spock feeling.
    • Worgen have these for a different reason, due to their being lupine in appearance. Other Beast Men such as tauren and pandaren avert this as their animal counterparts don't have pointed ears either.
  • Everyone's favorite greedy Anti-Hero/game designer, Wario, has pointy ears. He doesn't seem to be a supernatural being, though, at least not any more than Mario himself. His partner in the Mario spin-offs, Waluigi, also has this trait.
  • White Noise 2: One of the creatures, Darcy, has pointy ears.
  • The High Entia in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 are humanoids with Mercury's Wings who also have pointy ears. Quite are few of them are part Homs, and are (generally) distinguished by their smaller wings and lack of the aforementioned pointy ears.

    Visual Novels 

  • 180 Angel: Many demons and devils have these, including Lilith and Xavier.
  • Many characters in Beyond the End have pointy ears, with Cain being the most prominent. They're on the shorter end, but are Expressive Ears.
  • Everyone in Chirault has really long, pointy ears. In the words of the author, this is "for no adequately explained reason other than that this is not Earth, so why not?" Also, they're a Shout-Out to Jak and Daxter.
  • The fae in City of Trees have traditional pointed elf ears.
  • The half-elf Merlow in Court of Roses has pointy elven ears that wiggle in his sleep, much to everyone's amusement.
  • Darken: Elves have distinctive pointed ears in the Dungeons & Dragons-based setting. Surface elves have been almost wiped out by their Evil Counterpart Race the dark elves, so the survivors take pains to hide their ears; the dark elves have a distinctive enough appearance that the ears aren't important.
    Human: Hey, you with the ears!
    Komiyan: ...We all have ears, y'know.
  • In Daughter of the Lilies, elves have extra-long pointed ears that extend past their heads, while orcs' ears are pointed but only elongated by an inch or two. Brent, an Uneven Hybrid, has only a slight point to his ears from his orc grandparent.
  • In DDG, Netta and Callista have pointy ears. By implication, so do all the other guides.
  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night: Dracula and his brides naturally have them due to being vampires. When Helsing first inspects Lucy after her second bite, her ears being partially mishappen along with the pale skin alerts him to the vampire attacks. When she turns completely, it goes full pointed. When Minerva, Lucy's mother, reveals she's a vampire during an attempted rescue, her ears are one of the first features to change. Mina's likewise start morphing after she gets bitten as well.
  • Everyone in Ears for Elves has this, and each different demographic of elf is defined by their ear design.
  • The immortals in El Goonish Shive, complete with Lampshade Hanging by Mr. Verres. Immortals' ears are super-long, and more so with age. Elves, which are half-immortals in EGS, have more conventional pointy ears.
  • The Jägermonsters of Girl Genius, Super Soldiers created by the Heterodynes to serve as military personnel.
  • Ingress Adventuring Company: The main character Toivo Kissa and his daughter Rosemary have the pointy ears of their elvish heritage.
  • The elves of Inverloch have six-inch long, tapered ears that stick out from the sides of their heads. (Although they are flexible enough to be comfortably slept on or tucked into hoods.)
  • The Man in Grey in Jenny and the Multiverse has pointy ears. Alongside his grey skin and peculiar eyes, this clearly marks him out as some kind of metahuman or non-human, but his origins remain shrouded in mystery as of Chapter 2.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Tamaryu (dragon) and Sara (snake) have pointy elfish ears that are usually hidden by their hair. Elly (demon), however, has longer and pointier ears that sprout perpendicularly from her head.
  • People from Sønheim in Leif & Thorn.
  • The Cyll of Linburger.
  • Lotus Cobra Is Evil: From "Favorite Zendikar Card," Nissa Revane, Elf Planeswalker has them.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Noyes and Azalea both have Pointy Ears, a unique trait among human or supposedly human characters, although no one in-story remarks on them.
  • The angels in Misfile have these. Since demons are basically fallen angels, this makes some sense. Angels have some obfuscation abilities, so nobody comments on them.
  • In My Roommate Is an Elf, elves and trolls have these.
  • Newman has pretty much all the characters have these since they're of various fantasy types: gnomes, elves, vampires, dwarves, pixies, etc.
  • Malène the Succubus in Not Quite Daily Comic has pointy ears (and Hellish Pupils).
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Given the limited art form, the only kind of ears at all visible are Pointy Ears (unless you're an animal). True for elves, goblins, hobgoblins, sylphs, and a few others. Mocked with Pompey, a half-elf, who has a pointy ear… on only one side.
    • This is also the reason Half-Elves won't ever feature more prominently in the story. The Giant just can't take them seriously.
  • Outsider: The Loroi are Space Elves with pointed ears, as well as blue to bluish-gray skin tones. Despite these features, one of the major plot points is that humans and Loroi are shockingly similar in appearance, in a setting where alien species tend to look radically different from each other, leading to questions about if humans and the Loroi species are somehow related.
  • In Quantum Vibe many first-generation inhabitants of L-5 habitat were genetically engineered to have pointed ears. Nicole is a descendant and has the ears, though she usually covers them with her hair.
  • The Guardians (and any later bearers of Original Augments) in RetroBlade all have pointy ears. The longer an Augment is borne, the pointier the ears become. The Guardians themselves (having borne Augments for Millennia), have long pointed ears resembling a goats, but a new bearer's ears would be a bit closer to human.
  • Actually a plot point in RPG World as far as the early strips when Hero encounters Cherry. Keen-eyed viewers will note her ear being misshapen though likely to just brush it off as part of the early art of the series and, curiously, she keeps them hidden behind her hair past that point. Later on however when the protagonists are making their way through a forest and get ambushed by elves. The one leading attack exposes her as a elf by pointing out her pointed ears.
  • Most of the common vampires in School Bites.
  • Aisha, who's an elf, from Slimy Thief has pointy ears. She a thief and elves are uncommon where she's living, so she covers her ears with a veil to not bring attention to her.
  • Tales from the Interface has a green alien named Babu who has pointy ears.
  • Terinu and all other Ferin have pointy ears set on the level of their jawline.
  • Walking in the Dark has this as a features of vampires and they can hide them to blend in with normal people.
  • Most of the people appearing in The Weave have pointy ears — hardly surprising, as they are The Fair Folk. After her first contact with fairy magic, protagonist Tally's ears appear pointier, too.
  • Yayne and Sparkes Lukanta from The Wretched Ones, along with various minor characters, have these.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, demons, including the half-demon Yokoka and Mao, have pointy ears.
  • Aside from his green skin, Zukahnaut's alien protagonist is just a pair of pointy ears removed from looking like a fairly passable (if ugly) human.

    Web Original 
  • Critical Role: Campaign Three: Laudna is a semi-undead human with unusual pointed ears that she covers with jewellery. Episode 17 reveals that they weren't a result of her transformation but were cut into points when she was hanged as a threat to a half-elf with naturally pointed ears.
  • Taerel Setting: Both the Zu'aan and the Kin'toni have these in many of the lore pieces if it is mentioned at all. For the zu'aan, their pointed ears are nearly perpendicular to the skull and cheekbones and the kin'toni have varying ears, such as the Meullton kin'toni who have ears that stick outward and are three to three-and-a-half inches in length with a "pointy edge", the Hathdani Kin'toni Clan and the A'voreld Kin'toni Clan who are mentioned as having pointed ears. It would probably be easier to list the examples that avert this trope than play it straight.
  • Mortimer Rafflesworth Everton-Smythe from Adventure Is Nigh has such a mess of a family tree that it averages out to an otherwise normal (if dashingly handsome) man with pointy ears. He calls himself a "half-elf" to avoid explaining all the disparate Half-Human Hybrid pairings that made up both sets of grandparents.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: some congenital conditions, like Stahl's ear or Williams syndrome may produce pronouncedly elf-like pointy ears on humans.
  • Audio ears. Devoted cosplayers won't need their fancy latex ears anymore. That particular site has been found to be a hoax, but there is actual ear pointing surgery available.
  • Some people are actually born with one or both ears pointed. However, it's usually operated on when they're young. Occasionally they straighten out on their own as the baby grows.
  • If you sleep so one of your ears is folded when you're young, that ear will grow slightly pointed.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pointed Ears


Vampire Martin

Martin wakes up as a vampire with a purple suit and a high-collared cape.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ClassicalMovieVampire

Media sources: