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In almost any work of fiction that features wolves, werewolves, or coyotes, the canine beasts will almost always be showing howling to the moon at night. On occasion this trope is applied to domestic dogs as well as their wild counterparts.
The howl at the moon is often used to show the power and mystery of the wolves. It also strays into a case of not doing the research because one, wolves howl to communicate, and two, wolves howl just as much during the day as at night.
This trope is often combined with Clifftop Caterwauling to provide atmosphere to a scene. Bonus points if the wolf is silhouetted against the moon.
If the howler is a werewolf, this usually occurs right after they transform.
Other creatures are occasionally shown howling at the moon, but wolves and werewolves are by far the most common.
Anime & Manga
- The characters from Wolf's Rain are actually invigorated during a full moon. It doesn't necessarily make them stronger or anything, but they feel tremendous joy and energy just seeing it in the sky. Joyous enough to want to howl at it.
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust does the werewolf version, with the Wolf Man howling in front of the full moon after he transforms.
- With a maw that grows from his stomach!
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the first time we see Arf transform was during the eve of a full moon in the first season. Naturally, this trope was required. In fact, it was the only time we've ever seen one of the wolf familiars howl in the series.
- In Spice and Wolf Holo the Wisewolf is introduced howling at the moon; a pretty powerful scene, as though she is in a human form, the howl is definately that of a wolf.
- Pocahontas has the line "Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?" and a shadow wolf howling at the moon in the song Colors of the Wind.
- The "Pecos Bill" section of Disney's Melody Time is used to "explain" this phenomenon in coyotes.
- Played completely straight in Alpha and Omega.
Films (Live Action)
- In the Harry Potter movie Lupin howls at the moon right after he transforms into a werewolf.
- The first time the Animorphs morph wolf, they can't stop howling at each other.
Live Action TV
- Dinosaurs: Dinos howl at the moon. Howling Day is the day a male dino first gets to howl (a la a Bar Mitzva).
- Let's not forget about the episode "Tooth and Claw" in Doctor Who.
- Worgen in World of Warcraft : Cataclysm are shown howling to the moon.
- Exaggerated in Osu Tatakae Ouendan 2 where a Wolf Man has to fight the urge to howl (and then transform) at any round object.
- Zigzagged in Okami. Amaterasu howls a few times to summon the moon, and the 'sundown' animation involves a wolf howling. But she's more often seen howling at the sun.
- Averted in Elf Quest, where they Did Do the Research.
- In Sinfest, how Slick's reaction to a woman is depicted.
- The Three Wolf Moon Shirt. Intrinsically sweet and worth five stars by itself.
- Fangface was a werewolf who always howled at the moon when he turned.
- Done on an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, as Jimmy is running frightened through the woods.
- In Futurama "The Honking" were-car Bender howls/honks at the moon.