What’s the deal with anime villains and tongues?

I can’t even touch my chin with my tongue, but he practically wears his like a tie…
(Danny from Angels of Death)

[Sick today so short and sarcastic. Shinitai! Ugh.]

I’m watching Angels of Death this week and let’s just say… heh heh heh it’s pretty funny, at least as much as an adolescent horror show about a girl that wants to die and a serial killer that refuses to kill her can be. But I’m also the weirdo that enjoys shinjuu stories so uh… maybe that’s just me.

I’m not looking to write about the show itself this week though. Nah, instead I’ve got the flu so I’m up licking my dehydrated lips all sleepless night. But mixing that cold hell with Angels of Death got me wondering, what’s the deal with anime villains and tongues?

I’m not the only one to notice it, right?

Some antagonist, usually shounen, usually insane, will whip back their head and do a mad cackle with eyeballs bulging like golf balls and tongue extending out into the freaking sky. That or the tongue spools and drools while the antagonist looms over their victim in a scene doing it’s best to retain a plausible deniability defense against accusations of sexual violence. Or if the show wants to be subtle, it’ll satisfy itself with just a good quick lick, but it’s not like the shounen anime using tongues as a basis of characterization have much subtlety going on anyway.

Keep it in your pants, creep
(Sword Art Online: Alicization)

Like… what? Why? Tasting the air or the victim or..? I don’t get it. I mean sure, it’s creepy I guess, but it mostly just makes the villain look stupid. Look at Danny from Angels of Death, he’s practically drooling like a dog or something! Isn’t he concerned about his precious bodily fluids? Wouldn’t an intense stare do just as well? The next shot reveals that he has a glass eye with two irises… isn’t that a thousand times more frightening than a lizard tongue?

TV Tropes calls it “Maniac Tongue” but it doesn’t seem a very popular page with much content. The Anime & Manga section lists the titans Dragon Ball, One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto and not much else. It’s about as shounen as I expected, but not the robust list I had hoped for.

On my own, I can add Sword Art Online and my new adolescent darling Angels of Death before my memory runs out. I’m pretty confident tongues played an important role in Tokyo Ghoul, and probably Happy Sugar Life too, but I don’t exactly remember the episode numbers. I have a vaguer sense of them in Hunter x Hunter, Fullmetal Alchemist, and A Certain Scientific Railgun, and I dunno, Mirai Nikki maybe? I’m too light headed right now to go back and check.

Anyway, I know I only average about five readers per post (hi mom), but does anyone else know of any more concrete examples? I’m sure there’s a pattern beyond whatever flu-fever dream this is. And yes, I’m drinking enough water. But that won’t stop me licking my lips, even if it might make me a villain.

Finally some subtlety? Oh, it’s Angels of Death again? Never mind.

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