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To go with her malevolent repertoire and on-the-go lifestyle, the up and coming Femme Fatale usually has an Evil Makeover as her first priority. One particularly useful as well as fashionable bit of personal accessorizing are the Femme Fatalons. Often filed to a painful point, and extending well past the end of the fingertip, these nails mark the woman wearing them as, at the very least, untrustworthy, and often as dangerous or predatory.
These beautiful and deadly ladies love to cut, polish, paint, lacquer, and sharpen their nails in idle moments, turning them into an instrument of pain that's stronger than steel and sharper than a scalpel. That must be some nail polish!
It's uncanny how often women with Femme Fatalons turn out to be villainesses too. While Power Hair at least has the benefit of the doubt (mostly because most people have hair), it's a rare woman who can wear these and be on the side of good. Maybe it's the claw-like look, the illusion of Creepy Long Fingers, the implied sadism and Finger Licking Evil, or perhaps just having them is itself a Red Right Hand (well, red fingernail polish.)
It should be noticed that, in combat, they are almost universally used in a slashing motion like an animal's claws, even though jabbing or gouging would be much more sensible for real human fingernails.
Non-natural long nails, like acrylic or gel extension or glue-ons, and primarily decorative nail guards or nail sheathes (these also count as Femme Fatalons, as long as they're used as a hint that the wearer is dangerous or villainous.
Weapons like clawed gloves, or clawlike extensions attached to (or growing out of the hand or fingers) are not Femme Fatalons; they're Wolverine Claws.
Despite the name, Femme Fatalons are not only worn by women, either. The occasional male villain will opt for them as well.
Anime and Manga
- Inverted in Inuyasha with both Kouga (manga-only) and Inuyasha.
- Male example in Bleach, Mad Scientist and Crosses the Line Twice Jerkass Mayuri Kurotsuchi has a single long nail on each hand.
- He's a scholar. Confucian scholars would grow out their fingernails as a sort of "See? I don't need to work!" sign. Then it sunk in that this made reading and writing awkward and they cut back to just one nail on each hand.
- Another male example in the Peacemaker Kurogane manga. After becoming gay and crazy, Suzu grows out his nails and wears nail polish.
- The two female leads from Inu Neko Jump have long, artifical nails. The main female protagonist has a habit of using them as a motivational tool on her love interest.
- Subversion: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle's Kiishim has Femme Fatalons, but turns out to be not so evil after all in later appearances. Not to mention that even initially she was Mind Controlled.
- Pachira from Magical Pokaan has these, although she only uses them to scratch people when irritated.
- The titular character of Kurohime certainly qualifies.
- There are numerous examples in Sailor Moon. Most of which are antagonists (save for a singe protagonist -- Kakyuu).
- A Male Example is Count D of Pet Shop of Horrors.
- Shakugan no Shana's Margery Daw has long, red nails.
- Male example: Hayato Jin from Getter Robo, who actually does use them in a stabbing motion. The results are never pretty.
- The Witch Blair and Medusa from Soul Eater have long nails.
- The main female character, Action Girl Makie, in Wicked City.
- Ryoko from Ryoko's Case Files has long nails in the manga.
- Arisu, the main female protagonist from Tweeny Witches, has long, red nails.
- Rue has long dark nails when she's her alternate persona Kraehe in Princess Tutu.
- Male example: Trinity Blood protagonist Abel Nightroad has long black talons while in his Crusnik form.
- Rosario to Vampire's Kurumu gets impressive Femme Fatalons while in succubus form.
- Moka is shown in the artwork as having talons while in vampire mode.
- Kanoe from X 1999 has long, red talons.
- Corona from Kannazuki no Miko has long, fake orange nails.
- Yukino from Yakitate!! Japan has talons, in spite of obvious health concerns.
- Alcyone from Magic Knight Rayearth amongst others had long nails.
- Debonair, the Big Bad of season 2, has extremely long talons.
- Balalaika in Black Lagoon has long pink talons.
- Shenhua has long red nails.
- Ouka of the Dot Hack series has these.
- Ichigo and Mint are shown to have long feminine pink nails in their stock footage henshin animation in Tokyo Mew Mew. Zakuro has glowing purple nails in her animation.
- Ichigo has a Diagonal Cut moment when she slashes Kish in an episode
- Pixie from the Monster Rancher anime has long red claws, as does Poison. Lilim has long black claws.
- Several male & female characters in Saiyuki.
- Cross Dresser Ryo Hayama from the manga Bremen has inch long fake nails.
- Reiko Katakura in Aishiteruze Baby has long green nails.
- Arukenimon in an episode of Digimon Adventure 02 shows off some long purple nails.
- Lilithmon in Digimon Xros Wars.
- Towa-chan from D.N.Angel has long, purple nails.
- Sae from Peach Girl has nails, and has the habit (in the manga anyway) of leaving gouges in other peoples' cars.
- Momo also has long, manicured nails. However she hasn't used them as weapons.
- The female antagonists in the Saber Marionette universe have talons, and make good use of them.
- A couple of the female characters in the manhwa Faeries' Landing have talons. These include Bast and Lady Samsin.
- Maria Kawai from the manga A Devil and Her Love Song.
- Kirasaku Made from Suteki Tantei Labyrinth has talons which she uses as her weapons.
- Kayla from the Highlander the Search For Vengeance has long red nails.
- Rachel from Red Garden has long nails, as does Lula, who actually uses them in combat.
- Maya Natsume from Tenjho Tenge is shown having long, airbrushed nails in the opening.
- Simca has long nails in the Air Gear manga.
- Mutio of Blue Submarine No. 6 has long purple nails.
- Aisha uses claws to attack Gene in an episode of Outlaw Star.
- Kasumi Tendo in the 11th OVA episode of Ranma Half has claws from being possessed by an Oni, and uses them to give her dad a shoulder massage.
- Velsper's familiar, Wasp of the Blue Lance, has long claws in Ah! My Goddess.
- Bee from Kia Asamiya's manga Dark Angel has really long, silver nails.
- Dominura from Simoun has long, red nails.
- Cheza in the final Wolf's Rain episode begins to "bloom" which results in her nails growing longer.
- Two antagonist mermaids in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch have claws.
- The demon principal in Devil Hunter Yohko has Kurumu-like talons which she uses as weapons.
- Maaya Nanako has long red nails in the Umisho manga.
- Vandread's Jura Elden finds time to manicure her nails while maintaining a shield around a planet, in one of her attempts to get Hibiki to make babies with her.
- Meca Hanasaki from Naoko Takeuchi's short manga series, Toki Meca, wears fake nails.
- Haruka Hasegawa from Moyashimon has long matte black nails, and is shown to be able to draw blood with them.
- Arcueid Brunested from Tsukihime has vampiric claws.
- The two main girls of Nana have long red and pink polished nails respectively.
- Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne - Fin Fish has black nails after her Evil Makeover upon revealing her true allegiance .
- Hiroko Matsukata from Hataraki Man has a french manicure.
- Kanae Morino of Aquarian Age has claws in her alter form, and Yoriko's shadow self can extend hers.
- The demon Yuzuha and offspring Mayuka from the 2nd Tenchi Muyo! film have claws.
- Harumi Chono of Paranoia Agent wears fake nails when she's her other personality.
- Male example: Larva from Vampire Princess Miyu. Whose nails are so hard that he can stab and behead Shinma with them.
- Gaap from Umineko no Naku Koro ni has long, red nails.
- In the Visual Novel, Rosa Ushiromiya is described as having nails that are long and sharp enough to tear apart blankets and magical stuffed lion cubs.
- Several of the female antagonists from Sorcerer Hunters have long nails.
- In the first opening of Toradora!, there's a close-up shot of Ami Kawashima blowing a bit on her manicured fingernails.
- Eco in Seikoku no Dragonar (Dragonar Academy) has these which become evident in combat and scenes where she uses her enormous, though often untapped power, essentially like talons or claw style long nails in her case. Anya, Navi and a number of other characters have them too, often used in combat or in a suggestive or combat related way.
- The latest episode of Kiddy Girl-and introduces Rubis, an assassin who transforms into a animal-like creature and extend her nails on both hands and feet, as her weapons. Also an example of Finger-Lickin' Evil.
- More male examples: Naruto Uzumaki when he uses the Kyuubi powers, Sasuke in his cursed state, and occasionally Kiba Inazuka.
- But Nii Yugito, the Nibi jinchuuriki, who is a woman, has the longest nails by fair, on both her hands and feet.
- Episode 44 of G Gundam has a shot of Allenby Beardsly with claws while under the control of the Berserker System.
- Lilly Five team member Ellie in Shaman King has a french manicure which serves as the medium for her oversoul which becomes a set of claws.
- A woman in the second Detective Conan (Case Closed in America) movie has press-on nails that glow in the dark. She is killed a one comes of as she struggles with the killer, and the characters observe this and what press-on nails are to begin with.
- In the first episode of One Piece, the evil Alvida has long, sharp red nails.
- Ashley of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru.
- Blue Rose in Tiger and Bunny has cool blue fingernails.
- Msyu from C the Money And Soul of Possibility.
- A number of characters from Dragon Ball have this trait, perhaps most noticeably Namekians because the first one of them introduced was imagined as a demon. Unlike most of the examples on this page, they're a male looking One-Gender Race.
- The cover of Sabrina the Teenage Witch #90 uses this as a metaphor for Sabrina being tempted to The Dark Side--one hand has rounded nails with pink polish, the other has sharp nails with a coppery polish.
- Ice from Kabuki has diamond-tipped fingernails which can be used to claw people's faces off, but it's not really clear whether they're her actual nails or just detachable.
- One of Chesire's (a Teen Titans foe) trademarks is her artificial nails, which she poisons and uses for assasinations.
- The murderer in one issue of The Maze Agency used her long nails to cut her victim's throat.
- Kevin, serial killer/ninja from Sin City sports razor sharp talons that can cut straight through skin.
- Femme Fatalons are a signature feature of the look that Vampirella sports, right up there with her teeny weeny little red bikini or monokini and, of course, her fangs. And she can and often does use them in combat.
- Curiously, the fighting virtues of Vampi's Femme Fatalons (and those of other Action Girl protagonists who have them, like Red Sonja and Cavewoman) disappear completely against tentacle attacks. In fact, otherwise powerful Action Girl heroines with the Femme Fatalons seem to especially commonly be victims of Naughty Tentacles, turning them into a Distressed Domina in those situations, requiring rescue. Perhaps because of the "bad girl" element that the long deadly nails bring to their look.
- Red Sonja has long sharp nails too when she takes her gloves off.
- Cavewoman has these too, along with an impossibly skimpy string bikini outfit just like Vampirella and Red Sonja.
- The Shade Durza in the film version of Eragon has these.
- John Malkovich, I mean King Galby also has press-on nails.
- Casanova Frankenstein, the villain from the film Mystery Men has these. Used for comic effect, as he prefers to attack with the sharpened nail of a single outstretched pinky.
- David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China rounds out this manly manicured trio. He used his in conjunction with his evil Black Magic.
- Kevin, the farm boy cannibal from Sin City, more so than in the original comics.
- The female member of Griff's gang in Back to The Future Part II, made worse by her on-screen proclivity toward the unprovoked Groin Attack.
- Several of the women in the James Bond series have talons. A few noteworthy examples were Helga Brandt from You Only Live Twice, Tiffany Case from Diamonds Are Forever, Solitare from Live and Let Die, and Magda from Octopussy.
- The villainess in the unofficial film Never Say Never Again has somewhat long red nails.
- The Fairy Godmother in Shrek 2 has long pink fingernails.
- Both of The Scorpion King films had Femme Fatalons.
- Jada Pinkett Smith's character Peaches in A Low Down Dirty Shame.
- The Brazilian horror character Coffin Joe has ridiculously long fingernails, which he uses to gouge people's eyes out.
- In the French action movie The Nest (Nid de guêpes), villain Abedin Nexhep is introduced with a shot of his long (for a man) and manicured nails. Any notion you might form about him being a cossetted hands-off type is later gruesomely punctured, along with the throat of one of the cops.
- In Dennis the Menace Dennis' mother's antagonist boss has red fake nails, and even taps them on a divider as she walks along in one scene.
- The villainess Yzma has long purple nails in The Emperors New Groove, as well as in the sequel, Kronk's New Groove.
- In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the witch who is the Sheriff of Nottingham's mother has long and sharp nails, which she uses to cut herself.
- Winifred Sanderson from Disney's Halloween movie Hocus Pocus has these. With all her crazy hand motions, it's kind of hard to miss, especially when she uses one like a knife to cut through a window screen.
- Bellatrix Lestrange had long nails in several of the Harry Potter films
- One of the female smugglers in Flood Tide has long fingernails.
- The Warden of Holes paints her nails with polish made from rattlesnake venom (and then scratches her minion with them when they are still wet, causing him severe pain and injury).
- Another male example: the Star Wars EU character General Melvar has very long fingernails. Very long, metallic, reflective, sharp fingernails. He's even shown to have cut himself with them by accident before. Aaron Allston's run on the X-Wing books, basically a canon Fix Fic for the book in which Zsinj and Melvar were introduced, explains that this is part of an act to make himself look like a stereotypical evil/psychopathic Imperial, both to make his enemies underestimate him and to impress/intimidate pirates he's trying to recruit.
- The Chancellors of the Capellan Confederation in BattleTech wear the last three nails on each hand extra long and extra sharp following the fashion of Chinese emperors in Real Life history. Of course, the emperors weren't half as likely to have them artificially reinforced...
- Coraline: The Other Mother has long thin fingers with red nail polish on each fingernail.
Live Action TV
- Maila Nurmi
- There's never any doubt that Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is evil, but she definitely has these. She kills Kendra, a Slayer, in the season 2 finale by cutting her throat with a single extremely sharp nail.
- A Yellow Peril villain from Get Smart featured these, going as far as to cut up apples and carve statues with them. Agent 86 comments that this is probably how he is able to afford an underground lair. "Think how much money he saves on knives!"
- Numerous villains in Charmed(both male and female) have had long nails.
- In Farscape, Aeryn Sun's mother apparently had these, as she escaped capture by using them to slice open her own arm to pull out a knife she apparently had surgically implanted just in case.
- In "Incubator," Scorpius' nanny had red, talon-like nails. For that matter, so did Scorpius as a child, though he evidently trimmed them before he started wearing his coolant suit.
- One minor character had long nails complete with a diamond piercing in the pilot episode of Dark Angel. She even went so far as to offer to show Max how sharp they really were.
- Huntress from the TV series Birds of Prey had long nails.
- In the episode "Prom Night" of Full House, one of the main female characters wears very long red false nails for the prom, and they get some attention. In the end, they mysterious come off without her noticing and get stuck to her date's rear end.
Role Playing Games
- Most cyberpunk-style games have some variant of these. In Cyberpunk 2020, for example, they have "Scratchers", which are implanted metal or carbo-glass fingernails, though they're designed to cut on the bias, so you have to slice crossways, not rip downwards.
- Shadowrun also has them, in the form of "Hand razors", which are 2.5-centimeter chromed steel or carbon fiber blades that either replace the user's fingernails or slide out from beneath synthetic nail replacements.
- Rifts has "Razor Fingernails" which can be used in a slashing or clawing attack.
- Even BattleTech has them. One of the affectations of the wealthiest citizens of the Capellan Confederation is to grow the fingernails on the last three fingers of each hand to a length of ten centimeters, and decorate them with gem chips and gold leaf, and reinforce them with carbon fiber, turning them into claws able to cut through leather.
- Roodaka sports large claws in Bionicle which point to her villainous and untrustworthy nature.
- Only in The Movie, though. Her toy, ironically, doesn't even have hands.
- A lot of actors who play Herbert von Krolock in Tanz der Vampire have these. Some just have the nails attached to gloves, however, and sometimes his hands just look exquisitely manicured.
- In The Golden Apple, Achilles warns that Circe will "scratch your heart out with her long red fingernails."
- Many of the female villains in the Lunar series had long, manicured nails.
- Elexis Sinclair from the PC game Sin: Episode 1 has long red nails.
- Final Fantasy loves these (unsurprisingly). Interestingly, they have about as many male examples as female.
- Illua, the main antagonist of Final Fantasy Tactics a 2 has long nails, which are blue.
- The Cloud of Darkness of Final Fantasy III and Dissidia, a lady who gives players either nightmares or... other kinds of dreams, has long sharp nails (or claws, possibly; no game she's been in has striven to clarify).
- Seymour Guado has long sharp nails in the same game. And they're lilac.
- Kuja has long red manicured nails in Dissidia Final Fantasy.
- All female viera in Final Fantasy XII have long, square-tipped nails. It's unknown whether male viera follow the same grooming habits as none are depicted in any of the games.
- The Emperor of Final Fantasy II has always been depicted with long, claw-like nails, likely serving as a Red Right Hand, but the...interesting take on the character shown in the FMV opening to later remakes of the game really takes it Up to Eleven, as you can see. Damn, that's a nice manicure. And it's set to make a possibly-even-more-glorious return in Duodecim, the sequel to Dissidia. Name and number of your manicurist, please, Mr. Palamecia.
- In Final Fantasy XIII Galenth of all people has them. (For those of you who haven't played the game, he's an old, pope-like man).
- Luise Meyrink from the King of Fighters franchise has long blue nails.
- In Dragon Age, the Desire Demons sport deadly sharp nails of their own.
- Lady Claire from the first Luminous Arc has long, purple nails. However, despite having talons, and dressing like a femme, she seems to be weepy and rather "un-fatale".
- In Re Boot, Hexadecimal, plays this trope straight.
- In a rather...interesting genderswap, the Transformers original series had the (male) Decepticon Scourge with bright pink sharp "fingernails".
- Azula and Mai from Avatar: The Last Airbender, though they latter cut them. Although Ursa (nice lady, from what I can tell) had them too, so maybe it's just Fire Nation fashion for royals. They also appear on Hamma, as both her fingernails and as water-bending produced claws which she throws at a tree.
- Azula also uses the slashing motion in combat in her first episode, giving Zuko three nice straight scars.
- Family Guy plays with this trope: when Meg Griffin gets Lust-like fingernail growing powers, everyone scoffs her off for having such a lame and useless power.
- Morganna Mc Cawber from Darkwing Duck has femme fatalons. She started off playing this straight, but within her first episode she was already moving into Dark Is Not Evil territory, and soon managed to pull off a complete Heel Face Turn without a hitch, in the process becoming the title character's Love Interest.
- A popular girl from Danny Phantom--angry from losing a beauty pageant--threatens the main character's best friend with her sharp, but "perfectly manicured" nails.
- Clover in an episode of Totally Spies gets these when she put under Mind Control by an evil manicurist.
- An episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has April getting her DNA mixed with a cat, which immediately results in her growing claws.
- Skung of Oban Star Racers has powerful Femme Fatalons to rip through metal.
- An episode of Teen Titans has Starfire going through some sort of puberty Body Horror, one of which is the sudden growth of her fingernails.
- Vanna Pira from the movie Scooby-Doo & the Reluctant Werewolf has long red nails.
- Murdoc Nicalls from Gorillaz is a male example.
- Coga Suro has Hades, whose 100% Synch Mode has these.
- Most Jägers in Girl Genius have fingernails turned into claws. Jäger General "Mamma" Gkika keeps her claws neat and painted red at all times.