Friday, April 24, 2020

kiba 牙 (Fang)

In Japanese, kiba means "fang" or "tusk," and a fang is a long sharp tooth, typically the canine teeth. In real life, humans don't have fangs—since their canine teeth are relatively short—but various carnivorous animals do, including even domestic cats.

Amanojaku 天の邪鬼, example of cat with heterochromia, one blue eye one yellow eye, kin-me-gin-me 金目銀目.
Character: Amanojaku 天の邪鬼
Anime: Ghost Stories, Gakkou no Kaidan 学校の怪談 (Episode 1)

In manga and anime, some human and human-like characters do have fangs.


The word kiba 牙 means long pointed teeth, and translates to English as either "fang" or "tusk." The difference between these two words in English is that a tusk grows out of an animal's mouth, while the fang does not.

  • tora no kiba
    The fangs of a tiger.
    Tiger fangs.
  • manmosu no kiba
    The tusks of a mammoth.
    Mammoth tusks.
  • kyuuketsuki no kiba
    The fangs of a vampire.
    Vampire fangs.
  • ooku no kiba
    The tusks of an orc.
    Orc tusks.

Since tusks are always out of the mouth, the following sentence only makes sense with fangs:

  • kiba wo muku
    To bare [one's] fangs.
    • To expose one's fangs.
    • With humans: to appear threatening, to show that you want to attack someone, typically not in the physical sense, but in the sense of being somebody's enemy.
    • Similarly:
    • shirome wo muku
      To bare [one's] sclera. (literally.)
      To open one's eyes wide. (in shock or anger.)

In anime, there are countless human characters that have fangs, however, most of them have just one single cute fang visible all the time, rather than two or four, which is actually a different sort of thing.

Sakura Hibiki 紗倉ひびき, example of anime fang, yaeba 八重歯.
Character: Sakura Hibiki 紗倉ひびき
Anime: Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? ダンベル何キロ持てる? (Episode 1)


For reference, some anime characters with kiba 牙.

Manga: Killing Bites, キリングバイツ (Chapter 1, カーテンよりこっち側は見ない方がいい)
  • Context: Uzaki Hitomi 宇崎瞳 explains what is Killing Bites.
  • {kiba no surudoi} hou ga katsu
    The side [whose] {fangs are sharp} wins.
    The one with the sharpest fangs wins.
  • sore ga "Kiringu Baitsu" da
    That is "Killing Bites."
    • In the manga, "killing bites," kiringu baitsu キリングバイツ, is spelled with the kanji for "fang," kiba 牙 and "to fight," tatakau 闘う, so literally "fang-fight." This is called gikun 義訓.
Kamado Nezuko 竈門禰豆子, example of character with "fangs," kiba 牙.
Character: Kamado Nezuko 竈門禰豆子
Anime: Kimetsu no Yaiba 鬼滅の刃 (Episode 1)
Okumura Rin 奥村燐, example of fangs.
Character: Okumura Rin 奥村燐
Anime: Ao no Exorcist, 青の祓魔師 (Episode 5)
Takanashi Hikari 小鳥遊ひかり, Kusakabe Yuki 日下部雪, example of anime fang, yaeba 八重歯.
Left: Takanashi Hikari 小鳥遊ひかり
Right: Kusakabe Yuki 日下部雪,
Anime: Demi-chan wa Kataritai, 亜人ちゃんは語りたい (Episode 4)
Lum ラム, example of anime character with "fangs," kiba 牙.
Character: Lum ラム
Anime: Urusei Yatsura うる星やつら (Episode 1, 町に石油の雨がふる)
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