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(discussing a Londo Mollari doll being sold on the station)

Londo: It's a mockery. It doesn't even have any -- ahem, attributes.

Sheridan: Attributes?

Londo: Do I have to spell it out for you?

One of the common decency standards in comics, television, and other media is that aliens, monsters and other nonhuman creatures are never depicted with visible genitals, anuses, or nipples, even in scenes where such things should be plainly visible. This is helpful in conserving decency when the plot requires otherwise, but can serves to do the exact opposite if the nude in question is sufficiently humanoid, such as with anthropomorphic animals or mutants, especially if they also possess certain other features like Non-Mammal Mammaries (which tend to come in the suggestion of breasts instead of actual ones) and/or are normally expected to wear clothes. Even when Censor Steam or dark shadows are present to preserve decency, a silhouette or outline of the character may reveal that there is... something missing....

In most cases, this concession of realism is a subtle form of censorship -- not necessarily at the insistence of meddling managers or Moral Guardians, but also because not every artist wants to actually think about such anatomical details themselves, nudity taboo or otherwise. (It's too easy to joke about what could be misheard from the art department: "Bill, do these balls look right to you?" "Yeah, they're fine. Stop playing with them and work on the legs.")

It's also a function of the Law of Conservation of Detail, especially in literature where it is merely left to the reader's imagination instead of being explicitly pointed out by the narrator; indeed, it's rare to see anyone actually address the subject onscreen. If this subject is addressed, there are a few stock explanations that are used to explain it. The most common assumption is that the details are logically present, but are obscured beneath a layer of body fur or other Bizarre Alien Biology.

The nipples variant involves a Civilized Animal, Funny Animal, or Petting Zoo Person who has at least some definition to her chest, but who doesn't have any visible nipples. They have either a subtle or distinct "puffing" to the chest, a suggestion of breasts, or flat-out breasts. This is justified by saying that the nipples are hidden under the fur. For female animals, this is used as a form of censorship as well as for Law of Conservation of Detail. For male animals however, this is just used as form of Law of Conservation of Detail because male nipples are not seen as taboo.

A subtrope of Anatomy Anomaly. Compare Animals Lack Attributes for anatomy (genital, anus, and nipple) censorship as it applies to (otherwise normal, real-life) animals in fiction, and Barbie Doll Anatomy for the censorship of humans. See also Funny Animal Anatomy and Exposed Extraterrestrials.

Fur Is Clothing, Removable Shell, and Eggshell Clothing (these usually being Played for Laughs) are a few ways it can be averted.

Examples of Nonhumans Lack Attributes include:


Anime & Manga

  • Dragonball Z: the Namekians. Dragonball Z Abridged lampshades this. Repeatedly. At length.
    • Many of the humanoid animals that appear through the entire series. Freeza and Cell both count too.
    • Surprisingly, when Oolong turns his arms in wings to reach Pilaf before he wishes to Shenron, his clothes disappear (despite that most of his body is still the same) and he does have genitals.
    • Naturally, Rule 34 tends to avert this.
  • Digimon meanwhile tend to vary. There are some seal, dog and wolf-like Digimons that plays this trope straight. Then we have evolved ones, who are anthropomorphic in build, that wear pants or shirt to cover their area (Angewomon, Leomon, WereGarurumon, LadyDevimon, etc.). And then there are some that are biped yet plays this trope straight (Zudomon, Renamon, etc.)
  • Averted in this instructional video about using the toilet where Shimajiro the tiger cub is actually drawn with visible genitalia when his pants are removed.
  • Vision of Escaflowne: Various non-humans are shown naked and/or pantsless. No attributes.
  • Averted near the end of My Neighbor Totoro where the Catbus is actually revealed to be extremely anatomically correct (and male) during the scene where he is shown running on top of several telephone lines while helping Satsuki and the three Totoros find her younger sister Mei. Played straight with the Totoros themselves however.


Comics

  • Played very straight with the Bone cousins from Bone, who never wear pants.
    • Averted with Roque Ja the giant lion, who when seen from behind has a very prominent scrotum.
  • Angels in Lucifer
    • All angels in the Vertigo universe including Sandman and Hellblazer, notably) are generally depicted as genderless.
      • They are, however, still aparantly capable of intercourse. The closest we get to an explanion of this is someone who has experienced this whispering in someone else's ear and her looking shocked.
  • The Silver Surfer, despite looking like a shiny human, displays no genitalia whatsoever.
  • Averted in Planetary, where a naked alien Green Lantern Expy falls on Earth. He has a very disturbing mangina.
  • The preservers in Elf Quest have androgynous bodies without genitals or nipples. Justified, as they're apparently asexual and sexless.
  • Bloom County: "No dice! Comic strip animals aren't anatomically correct!"
  • The title characters of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" probably get a pass for being reptiles, but Splinter plays it dead straight.


Films -- Animation

  • Particularly noticeable with Gus in Cinderella, because his shirt is so teeny-tiny on him.
  • Fievel in An American Tail is usually fully clothed, as are the other mice in the series, but of course in the brief nude scenes in which he's taking a bath he follows this trope.
  • Edmond in Rock-a-Doodle gasps and covers himself up after being turned into a kitten and realizing he's naked, despite not really having anything to cover up. He then "covers up" with a big shirt that still leaves his furry but otherwise featureless bottom half exposed.
  • Justified in Flushed Away during the Toad's Start of Darkness where the Toad actually does not have genitalia at all due to him being an amphibian.
  • Although Po from Kung Fu Panda is always portrayed as wearing only pants and nothing else, as seen in the flashbacks in the sequel, his baby form actually fits this trope.
  • This is actually a plot point in Badly Drawn Roy in which the main character is a cartoon in a live-action setting. He and his girlfriend broke up because they, uh, couldn't take their relationship to the next level (though they remained friends).


Films -- Live-Action

  • Mystique, in the movie versions of X-Men, despite being human, is decent even while naked. Of course, this might be part of her shapeshifting (seeing as how she can look like she's wearing clothes too). Rebecca Romijn even lampshaded this by commenting that her character's costume was basically "strategically placed body paint, pasties, and clever camera angles".
  • The prawns of District 9 are hermaphroditic and thus self-fertilize. Despite that, interspecies prostitution is briefly mentioned.
  • Star Wars' Wookiees. You'd hope.
    • Lampshaded by Mark Hamill's initial reaction to seeing Chewbacca on the set of the first Star Wars movie: "The wookie has no pants."
  • In Dogma, angels have no genitals. Neither does Serendipity the Muse.

 "See? I'm as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll."

  • Averted with the Na'vi in Avatar, who do have them, and wear loincloths. There is some confusion over the role of the queue, but this simply allows shared emotion, memory and senses between a mated pair... which must lead to some amazing sex.
  • Averted in Star Trek VI. While on the prison planet of Rura Penthe, Kirk fights an alien prisoner and kicks him in the middle of his legs, injuring it and causing it to wail in pain. Kirk remarks that he was "lucky that thing had knees." Another prisoner remarks, "That was not his knee. Not everybody keeps their genitals in the same place, Captain." Interestingly, the camera shows a detailed closeup of the art department's version of injured alien genitalia which is plainly visible through a tear in the alien's clothing (a tear which seems to exist for no other purpose than to allow us to see the squishy and unrecognizable alien goodies).
  • The Coneheads don't have asscracks.
  • Averted in Paul.
  • Averted amusingly in The Monster Squad: "Wolfman's got nards!"


Literature

  • Averted in Neil Gaiman's Troll Bridge, where the Troll's penis is described not because it is any way relevant, but because it stood out to the narrator.
  • Averted in Michael Chabon's Summerland, where after Ethan tells Cutbelly the werefox to get off his stomach (so he could breathe properly), the fox flips backwards off the boy, temporarily exposing his equipment, to Ethan's shock and dismay.
  • Averted in Wild Cards with The Walrus, an alien undercover agent who looks very much like an anthropomorphic walrus. It is mentioned that it has quite peculiar genitalia (although not really described) and is a hermaphrodite.


Live-Action TV

  • When the Alien Autopsy was presented on Fox, they pixilated the part of the "body" where the genitals would be, if it had any. (And truthfully, it looked like it was lacking.)
  • The Asgard from Stargate SG-1. Justified, as they don't reproduce. When we see precloning Asgard popsicles, the relevant area is hidden behind the frost.
  • Naboo the Enigma from The Mighty Boosh is an alien, and reveals this about himself at Howard's birthday party.
  • Played with in the Farscape episode "The Flax." A male alien drops his pants to show the crew murals on his legs from being in prison. The crew lampshades this trope with Zhaan even saying "For an anthropoid biped, there seems to be something missing." This is later hilariously explained when the alien is revealed to be the female of her species and in love with D'Argo.
  • In addition to the page quote above, Londo Mollari also averts this trope by using his... *ahem* "Attributes" to cheat in a poker game. Hilarity Ensues when one of the other players accidentally puts a glass of ice water down on the appendage in question.


Tabletop Games

  • In an early Dragon Magazine article, "The Psychology of the Doppleganger", a captive doppleganger's lack of genitalia or nipples in its natural form was openly discussed, as it provided its human captors with evidence (confirmed via interrogation) that such Dungeons & Dragons monsters had no true gender, and bred by changing into a gendered creature's shape and mating outside their own species.


Video Games

  • Possibly Vortigaunts in Half-Life. Totally alien so anything goes, but a featureless crotch is good for the censors.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Rakghouls aren't shown with genitalia, despite being hairless and shiny. This is never addressed within the story, IIRC, even though rakghouls are humans transformed by The Virus. At one point, humans transform into Rakghouls in front of your eyes -- their genitalia appear to have instantly disappeared (along with the eyes, and the fifth finger, and... A lot, really).
  • One of the few things that you can't give your Spore creatures is genitalia, although you can place body parts designed for other purposes where they should be.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise primarily features animals without clothing (or very little anyway, as they usually at least wear shoes and White Gloves), except in case of the females (and Charmy Bee, who wears an orange vest and a flight helmet). None of the male characters are shown to have genitals, thankfully. Even Charmy.
  • Twelve from Street Fighter III.
  • Very, very much averted with Satan in Dante's Inferno, where the attention to detail is far from subtle, probably to conform to some popular depictions of the character. (Oddly, in the pre-rendered cutscenes these critical areas are consistently obscured by shadows. Go figure.)
  • Played straight in both Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario 3D Land where the Tanuki Suit, unlike many traditional depictions of the Tanuki, is very anatomically incorrect. Justified since both games are supposed to be made for kids.


Web Comics

  • In El Goonish Shive, Grace's fur covers unsightly parts when she is naked. This is even lampshaded by Greg. Somewhat justified due to the whole Voluntary Shapeshifting thing.
    • The Uryuoms, who are shapeshifters as well, actually do lack attributes when they don't need them.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, this was true of Aylee for about 80% of the strip's run. When this trope is finally Averted, Torg becomes highly disturbed.
  • Subverted in Sonichu. At first, the title character seems featureless (he is based on Sonic after all). However, in issue 8, the author dedicates a good dozen pages to describing how his Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal characters' sexual anatomy works and how some characters can walk around naked without exposing their genitals... culminating in a graphic depiction of electric-hedgehog-Pokémon-on-electric-hedgehog-Pokémon intercourse.
  • Both lampshaded and subverted in this strip of Buck Godot: Zap-Gun for Hire. Buck, on the run from an ardent pursuer, drops into the rooftop garden of his best friend (and bartender)'s fiancé, Tal. Both she and her husband-to-be are Thuxians, vaguely resembling somewhat "softer" versions of the Xenomorphs from Alien. Tal was apparently sunning when Buck dropped in, and is thus buck-naked, which causes her to complain loudly about Buck's sudden appearance. He silences her, however, by pointing out that since humans and Thuxians are biologically incompatible, he wouldn't even know which parts of her could be considered "naughty". Then he comments on how her plumb thorps bring out the sway of her tail, and promptly gets Megaton Punched through a window. (The lesson, my friend: Buck Godot ALWAYS knows more than he lets on.)
  • This page of Exterminatus Now plays with the trope by talking about it with regards to Pokémon, despite the fact that at least two of the main characters seem to be subject to it.
  • PvP has Skull, a large, fat, blue naked troll. Several characters have commented on his lack of genitalia, particularly when he was dating a normal human girl.
    • Skull mentioned at one point that trolls are asexual, which immediately got used for a Pun.
  • Averted in favor of Scenery Censor with Crunch the troll in ~Dumnestor's Heroes~, who doesn't have enough fur to viably cover up the parts in question anyways.
  • Order of the Stick addresses the issue here in regards to reptilian humanoids.

 Gannji: It's called a genital sheath, look it up.

    • Possibly averted in the same comic with a different species. The Oracle, a kobold, mentions having balls, but in context (insulting someone with "Lick my orange balls"), he may have been joking.
  • Averted in Digger: we don't see anything because it's not that kind of comic, but given Ursula Vernon DID do her research It is alluded to that The People (a race of sentient Spotted Hyenas) DO have pseudo-penises. As for Digger herself, It's hard to tell: She never wears any trousers, but given she's a female wombat, it's not like there would be much externally visible, or of interest to non-wombats, anyway.
    • The flying rats are either all female or suffer from this though.


Western Animation

  • Pretty much any time you see an anthropomorphized animal
    • But they will wear a towel around their hips (or whatever) when they come out of the shower.
  • Killface in Frisky Dingo.
  • At one point in American Dad, Roger mentions to a date that he doesn't have any genitals.
    • It's okay. She had both.
  • Bugs Bunny may have actually averted this trope in the short The Wabbit Who Came to Supper, during a scene in which he's coming out of the shower and his towel slips, revealing what looks like a white fur-covered penis for a couple frames. This has pretty much been discredited by most, though-- it was most likely supposed to just be a gap between his legs and above the towel, through which either the bathtub or another part of the towel is visible. The animators at Warner were never above slipping things past the radar, though, so it isn't completely out of the question.
  • Averted in Retarded Animal Babies where Puppy is actually drawn with visible genitalia (even when he's wearing clothing), but played straight with the other Animal Babies.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force featured several relatively anthropomorphic food items, who all expressed sexual attraction to women (Master Shake likes to look at dirty magazines alone), but none of whom wear clothes or show their genitals.
    • The episode where Shake sells Meatwad to the circus featured the "prince of Saturn" (or was it Neptune?) sent to Earth to reproduce with our women. This one was a notable aversion, he revealed his genitals and they were horrific (and thus his mission failed), that's why he's running a circus now instead of still trying to take over the planet.
  • The original Crazy Frog video infamously averted this. It's a particularly strange case because actual frogs don't have visible external genitalia at all.
  • Regular Show: Oddly, Mordecai and Rigby are pretty much the only Funny Animals without some sort of clothes on. Rigby's brother Don (who's also naked but drawn with a MUCH more human-looking anatomy) lampshades this:

 Don: Remember when you started walking around naked? I thought you were SO cool.

  • The Amazing World of Gumball averts this with the title character. He spends a great deal of one episode naked due to a laundry mishap and another because Darwin ate his clothes, and his genitals are pixellated.
  • Parodied in the Saturday TV Funhouse Yogi Bear parody "The Anatominals". Both "Kogi" and "Boo" seemed to be smuggling potatoes in their underwear, and Cindy Bear and her coyote friend have their own issues.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic lampshades this; Fluttershy is embarrassed when Rainbow Dash yanks the sheets off of her, despite the lack of any visible genitalia. Later on, Twilight quite literally shakes her naked flank in Princess Cadance's face, treating the viewers to a view of featureless pony arse.



Nipples Variant

Comic Books

  • Sally Acorn in Sonic the Hedgehog comics (and the Sonic Sat AM cartoon) can be either fully nude save for boots, or wear only an open vest. Either way, she has obvious breasts without nipples.


Video Games


Webcomics

  • Amy, created by the creator of Sabrina Online prior to the latter and its titular character, had defined breasts without nipples.


Web Original

  • Subverted in Sonichu. While some of the characters do appear topless with seemingly featureless breasts, issue #8 explains that the females of the Sonichu species have retractable nipples.


Western Animation

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