|“||Usually humans, the polite ones, at least, would call those like me monsters. Skin-shedding freaks...||”|
Lycanthropes ( ライカンスロープ ) are a race of wolf-like humanoids known for their speed and ability to shapeshift between their human and beast form. Creatures of legend, they are believed to be rare, or even non-existent due to their natural ability to hide and disguise themselves as humans, and perfectly fit into human society without being noticed. Their status as Danger Beasts is debatable, as they can also change into humans. They are intelligent, social beings, and often live in communities or groups.
Many characters of Akame ga Kill: Mitternacht are lycanthropes, such as Nari, one of the main “protagonists”.
Originally inhabitants of the Southern Country referred to as "the other race", lycanthropes were thought to appear around the same time as Danger Beasts, being a mysterious and unique race capable of transforming from man to beast. This trait sparked immense hysteria in multiple areas over the perceived threat posed by the werewolves, which was called the "Wolf Scare". Eventually, when the Emperor came to power under Prime Minister Honest's influence, a mass production of silver and a mass extermination was ordered to purge the populace of lycanthropes, resulting in the majority of the species either wiped out or forced into hiding, along with the executions of innocent humans suspected to be lycanthropes. Driven out of the Southern Country by General Liver's attack, most of the beasts who have been caught in their true forms have been chased out of their homes and lands and have resorted to stealing and even killing to survive. If they were captured, they were often placed into concentration camps in the Capital, where they were starved and tortured with silver until they finally died.
Lycanthropes themselves came close to declaring war on the human race, but ultimately decided otherwise and separated themselves from humanity. Eventually developing distrustful tendencies of all other races, they became a hermit race, completely avoiding humanity altogether and going into hiding. They were known to rip apart Danger Beasts and leave their gutted bodies behind as a warning to anyone who dared come close.
With the collapse of the Empire and belief of lycanthropes fading into folktales, tensions have eased and some lycanthropes have went back to blending in with humans, since such a lifestyle was somewhat easier and the Wolf Scare had passed. Still, there are few who know about the lycanthropes, one side claiming they are Danger Beasts in disguise and in need to be exterminated, and on the other proposing that they are a race much like humanity yearning for recognition and equality, though this side is very limited.
Despite their fearsome capabilities, not all lycanthropes are dangerous to humans; many still avoid human contact, and some even work altruistically, if clandestinely, to aid humanity. Many others have even turned to pacifism.
They have an ancient and distinct culture, and they do have their own language (which is very similar to real-world German and Nordic languages) but the exact details are well hidden from the gaze of humanity. What can be said for sure, however, is they tend to keep to themselves, and more sociable ones often stay together in groups of caravans, living off the lands and coating their homes in foliage and allowing grass to grow on their rooftops, making them harder to see from a bird’s eye view. Because of their rarity, as well as the unique abilities they often possess, encountering a lycanthrope, let alone such a settlement, is an incredibly rare occurrence, with most people going their entire lives without encountering one knowingly. It also helps that their societies are primarily nocturnal, as opposed to the day-favoring human populaces.
They are very protective of individuals in their families; interestingly they do not have “packs” the way normal wolves do, but their social living situations are more or less a mated pair of lycanthropes with their children if any. However, while they are not as close with other members of a particular community, they are capable of, if not encouraged, to acknowledge other lycanthropes with a similar regard to family. Any child of a lycanthrope settlement, whether it belong to one individual or another, is valued and cared for very much among any lycanthrope nearby. If one goes missing, the whole community comes together to search.
Their diet consists of varied meats, fish, grains, and gourds, though they are capable of eating anything a human can, perhaps more. Pork and mutton are the most popular of these. Sensitive to oils and fats, they generally prefer cooking methods that enhance these flavors, and texture is of great notice when preparing meals. Small markets and trades in lycanthrope settlements often sell these, as well as pelts, animal hide, and wool, which are high demand for clothing.
The many games and traditions of lycanthropes have emerged from their love of the land and their attachment to it, such as wrestling, wood-carving, racing around the woodlands which they reside in (which total territory can stretch for miles) and even writing. They love storytelling, and many regardless of age pass down tales they have heard from each other or human populations. Hunts are called by heads, or the more dominant parent, of the families residing in a lycanthrope community (and it is not male-favoring; any gender can be head of a family), and is regarded as a sacred practice. On a set date, usually at the stroke of midnight, families gather to send out chosen members for a Hunt. These members, even from separate families, act as a group, running out into the dark forests and working together to bring in prey (which is usually “marked”; more than one prey can be marked for a Hunt) for the community waiting for them. If a Hunt is successful, a celebratory feast will be held, and the coat of the most challenging Danger Beast holds as a trophy, proof of skill and bravery.
It is true that many lycanthropes do lose themselves on full moon nights, though the exact time on those nights they transform varies per individual. They are very much aware of it as well, and many actually stay up the prior day to prepare for their complete transformations; it is also believed that by abstaining from sleeping, a lycanthrope’s complete, more monstrous form would be more inclined to seek rest. Usually lycanthropes are able to completely transform once they hit adolescence, though there have been exceptions. Many remedies and sedatives have been made to make their complete forms less aggressive, and more willing to rest during full moon nights. These are implied to be painkillers, or small doses of wolfsbane mixed with other ingredients to tame out the more harmful byproducts.
Lycanthropes also communicate through body language, and prolonged eye contact is only reserved for those who are of close and/or personal relations, otherwise it may come across as confrontational. Full-on confrontations between lycanthropes, however rare, do happen, whether it be if an individual feels like a certain crime or wrong has been done (and the practices of lycanthrope tradition are expected not to be broken; they are very much like laws of human populaces), or if personal issues need to be settled, and there is no other way of resolving such. These are issued as duels, and battles between lycanthropes outside of a duel are forbidden due to the injury one could easily cause to another compared to other things. Duels usually begin by both lycanthropes changing into their incomplete forms, and after authorization by the other members or heads of their respective families, they clash their own claws against each other, sending off sparks in an intimidating display. This also serves as a second chance to any of the two lycanthropes to call off the duel, but if not, then battle is certain. Duels take place outside of a village, usually in a forest clearing. Other families stand as witnesses to this duel, and children are encouraged to watch, as it could prove to be a valuable lesson. A lycanthrope duel is violent and fast-paced, hard to perceive even to the most seasoned human combatant, as each furious and ferocious movement is a blur, sparks and blood flying as claws and fangs meet, sounds of ringing and harsh grating like blades being tempered on an anvil, as well as snarling and pained growling; the collisions of their strength shake the surrounding trees, yet each movement counters another brilliantly. Such duels can be settled in the blink of an eye, or continue going until the sun is on the horizon. It is not a celebratory or a sport-type event; it is to be viewed solemnly, and with the hope that it resolves soon. The way such a duel ends is only with the admitted defeat of a participant, or unconsciousness. Death is not an uncommon outcome. Even the winner will have to come to terms with the consequences of their actions.
Those who have committed a grave enough crime, one agreeable by their own or all other families to be unforgivable, they are banished from that community, set out to find somewhere else to live on their own.
Deliberate bites upon humans by lycanthropes with the intention of turning them into other lycanthropes, depending on the situation, is considered a serious offense due to the fact that it risks revealing a lycanthrope residence in a particular area to humanity, and it is a careless exercise of a potentially-dangerous ability. With the possibility of that human turning into a lycanthrope, it raises a number of concerns of whether or not that individual can be trusted with the knowledge of the community existence or that kind of power. The one who had bitten that certain human will be questioned. There are exceptions, however, if the human has been bitten for good reason, which may include, but not limited to, the human growing to be a lycanthrope’s potential mate, or if that human’s life is on the line (in this case, this is a human who is considered to be an innocent; lycanthropes try to preserve innocent lives when they can, but a “life-saving bite” is not an action that they will try often.). Consent is also a very important detail regarding to the severity of a lycanthrope bite. is Overall, it is a complicated case that not many lycanthropes like to deal with.
On one hand, lycanthropes can appear just like a regular person. They cannot appear as humans they create, but ones they are born as, and have their own diverse, unique face, just like any other human. The only telltale sign of their true nature are their eyes, which possess a retroreflective quality that allows light to reflect off of their eyes, much like most animals.
In their incomplete form, which can be summoned at will, they appear much like their human forms, but have more hair throughout their bodies, with the addition of their eyes taking more of a wolf-like quality in terms of color; the sclera turning black and the eyes commonly along a warm color range as shades of reds, oranges or yellows (while the other colors, blue and brown, are possible, they are rare) and they grow fangs and claws. Pointed ears are a distinct quality as well.
They retain most of their intelligence and self-awareness in this state, but develop a more easily angered and restless demeanor. Lycanthropes with skill in the transformations can learn to control this.
In their true form, which can only be activated from the full moon's light, werewolves appear taller than an average person, with a human-like muscular build. Coarse hair covers their bodies, which is usually dark to help them natural blend in to the dark. Sharper and more curved claws armed in their fingertips, and more fearsome fangs and canines packed into giant jaws. They mostly have the heads of wolves, though slightly reformed to have a slight, barely visible mirror to their human face. A thicker mane, which mirrors their human form's hair, is located on the tops of their heads and around their necks.
Though they lose control in this form and become more savage and unpredictable, there is some proof that the complete-formed lycanthrope retains enough knowledge to assist its killing; recognition of victims, evasion of traps, and human cunning.
Powers and Abilities
|“||Now you've done it. Now you've REALLY done it. From here on out, things are gonna get ugly. You don't want any of what I am now, trust me.||”|
Lycanthropes are known for being incredibly powerful creatures, the more battle-hardened individuals reaching the tiers of the Special Class Danger Beasts, and even further during full moons. Though they are naturally incompatible with Teigu and therefore unable to wield such weapons, they are still able to keep up with Teigu users by themselves.
Shapeshifting: Lycanthropes have the unique ability to shapeshift from man to beast and back. A controllable transformation can be unlocked by feelings of extreme anger or grief, thereafter the lycanthrope can change at will. Experienced individuals who have gotten used to the transformations compare it to "breathing". However, even they are forced to transform into their bestial state during the full moon, feeling the pull of moonlight like no other beast. More often than not though, each transformation is extremely straining and/or tiring on their bodies, and many cannot repeatedly transform in the span of a week.
Full Moon Power: Their signature ability, lycanthropes can reach the absolute peak of their strength during a Full Moon. While the exact reason is unknown, the full moon's lunar lights grants even the weakest lycanthropes unimaginable and almost-unbeatable power for one night. On top of mountain-breaking strength and lightning-speed, a lycanthrope under the full moon attacks with reckless abandon and unparalleled ferocity. However, in exchange for this power, they are forced to transform into their complete forms, and lose most control, turning into ravenous creatures with the urge to hunt. They are also known for harming themselves in their crazed states, (it is hinted that the reason why they turn feral is because going that far into their transformations leave lycanthrope bodies in near-constant pain) and when they are found the following morning in human shape, they more often than not have self-inflicted injuries.
Bestial Strength: Even in human form, lycanthropes naturally boast inhuman strength, even if their human bodies don't appear muscular or well built, being able to punch through fortress cells with minimal effort. In wolf form, their strength bursts many times fold, in a completely different realm from their human strength. While in a rage, the adrenaline output in the lycanthrope's primal anatomy causes its strength and power to temporarily but drastically increase to fear-inducing levels.
Wolfish Stamina: A characteristic of regular wolves as well, lycanthropes are absolutely relentless, and it takes a very, very long time for them to physically tire out. They can keep moving, hunting, and fighting at optimal efficiency under almost any circumstance. This has allowed them to track prey without rest and also gives them the advantage of being mostly fine while exhaustion begins to overtake their prey.
Enhanced Speed: Lycanthropes are also known for their speed and reaction time. This ability is tremendously powerful at its peak, easily enabling a lycanthrope to strike with effectively invisible speed, landing a withering barrage of blows upon an opponent practically instantaneously. This ability also translates into a lycanthrope inflicting incredible damage, for the tremendous speed combined with its hardened, fearsome physique generates formidable kinetic impact.
Immense Durability: Lycanthropes are extremely tough and can shake off normal attacks from Teigu users. It is said normal weaponry cannot yield hindering results in human form, and they cannot pierce their skins in their complete forms.
Regeneration: Lycanthropes are very difficult to kill, unless one is prepared for the worst. They are capable of healing from the most grievous of wounds and even lost hearts, broken bones, and extreme burns over the course of physical activity, and act as if nothing happened. It is hinted their healing is temporarily improved by eating animals and even chunks out of opponents in extreme times. Their healing also takes part in their inner body functions, as they cannot get easily intoxicated from alcohol or sick as easily as humans can. Their bodies are also able to fight off most poisons and venom.
Animalistic Senses: Their senses of sight, hearing, and smell are incredibly sharp. They can see in the dark with no trouble, can easily hear the heartbeat of their prey meters away, and can smell the scent of targets miles away. They even have a minor sixth sense, as they can sense danger incoming, but cannot exactly pinpoint which direction without other senses.
Animal Empathy: Lycanthropes have the ability to sense the emotional state of animals on a basic level such as fear, anger, happiness or pain. They can even communicate with them to make the animal aware of their actions and or their intent.
Teeth and Claws: Though more of a characteristic, a lycanthrope's claws are extremely sharp and tough; so sharp in fact, that collision with other objects ignites sparks. This enables them to rend through a variety of substances including fabric, wood, stone, and even some metals. Their strength also adds to their ability to tear through targets, and helps them climb or scale. Their teeth in particular are strong, and are slightly curved backwards. This ensures that they have a good grip on whatever they bites down on. They have a very powerful bite force combined with this; many who are aware of the lycanthrope's existence are extremely cautious of it.
Infectious Bite: While in beast form, lycanthropes can turn humans into other lycanthropes through a bite, or so much the saliva reaching the human bloodstream. However, there is a 50% chance the human will die from the bite alone.
Silver: A rare metal considered purely meant for killing lycanthropes, silver can severely harm and even kill a lycanthrope should it reach any vital organs. Not only is it the only material that can create lasting damage to a lycanthrope, but it also acts as a counter against the beast's fast healing, slowing it down to almost completely stopping it. It is unknown why only this peculiar metal can kill one.
Wolfsbane: Lycanthropes can get sick from being exposed to the poisonous plant through ingestion or scent. In extreme cases, it can cause hallucinations or physically weaken them, no matter what form.
Transformation Toll: After every transformation despite their endurance and stamina, the changes tend to put strain on a lycanthrope’s body, leaving them sore and tired, and vulnerable to attack. Even experienced individuals can only transform a few, if not one time, in a span of few days; the more a lycanthrope transforms, the worse the backlash on their body, and the slower they are able to turn each following time without a proper period to recover.
Other Lycanthropes: Injuries from other lycanthropes, especially more powerful ones, do not heal as quickly as normal injury, and repeated attacks from their own kind can kill them.
Overtaxing Their Healing Factor: In the event in which a lycanthrope is beaten or exposed to severe injury without pause, too much consecutive attacks prove to be challenging to their healing factors, and injuries will take longer to recover the more damage there is. Theoretically, it is possible to "kill" them this way without silver, though they will completely repair themselves eventually and get back up after a comatose-like period of healing.
Fire: Fire injuries are a curious case; technically classified under ‘overtaxing their healing factor’, though lycanthropes can usually heal faster than most types of fire can burn them. However, should a lycanthrope somehow be reduced to nothing but ashes, they cannot recover, and would most likely die.
Heightened Senses Disadvantage: While impressive, since every sense of a lycanthrope is amplified many times over a human's, and that can be exploited. For example, piercing, loud sounds and frequencies can cause a lycanthrope to double over in pain and cover its ears in attempts to dampen the noise, and sudden, bright flashes can temporarily blind and stun a lycanthrope worse than how it would effect a human.
Price of Full Moon's Power: In exchange for a power boost, they are forced to uncontrollably go into a berserker state, causing harm to every living being around and losing recognition of human allies, making the full moon-triggered lycanthropes to attack. A lycanthrope’s normally great vision in this bloodlusted state is somewhat narrowed, and concentrated mostly on movement from potential prey. It’s known to be more harmful to themselves than to anything else in this state, and it strains their body more than their controlled, incomplete transformations.
- Inspired by the creature of same name from Western folklore and legend.
- The term werewolf was chosen not to be the name of these creatures by the author, as it would be too on-the-nose.
- While not exactly Danger Beasts, lycanthropes are not entirely human either, which puts them in a class of their own.
- The Wolf Scare was inspired by the real-world fear of communist takeover in the 20th Century, called the "Red Scare".
- Lycanthropes, like actual wolves, are primarily carnivorous.
- The lifestyle of lycanthropes took inspiration from the actual culture of Vikings and a small bit of Native American Navajo arts, given their love and appreciation of the land.