Why so many cartoon characters only have 4 fingers

One of the most defining characteristics of cartoon characters is that most of them only have four fingers – and there are different reasons for that.

There are some rules that cartoon characters always end up following, like being trapped in unusual and incredible situations and, in many cases, being virtually indestructible, but there is one detail that has piqued viewers’ curiosity for years: a bunch of cartoon characters n ‘have only four fingers, and here’s why. Cartoon shows have been around for decades and have marked the childhood of generations of viewers, and although animated shows have evolved in terms of animation styles and themes addressed, they continue to be very popular with viewers and they still keep this nonsense. the humor and the essence that made them successful.


Cartoons give artists a chance to create characters with shapes and physical features that would be impossible to have in real life and allow them to explore different worlds and situations where the laws of physics and more are completely different, allowing these characters to survive all types of dangerous adventures and, in many cases, never get old. These days, cartoon shows aren’t just for young audiences, and in recent years there has been a wave of blockbuster animated shows aimed at a more mature audience, but there has been a wave of successful animated shows aimed at a more mature audience. a very particular detail that most of them have in common, whatever their style, themes and target audience: the characters only have four fingers.

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Many cartoon characters in TV and movies only have four fingers, and it’s a “tradition” that has gone on for decades, and different reasons for this specific design have been given over the years. The most popular explanation why cartoon characters only have four fingers is in the animation process, because drawing only four fingers instead of five is much easier and thus saves money for animators and the studio. time and money. This was especially important when cartoons were drawn by hand, but even now with technology on their side, cartoon characters still have four fingers.

The Simpsons Bart Martin

Another reason why cartoon characters have four fingers dates back to early animations, with characters like Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse, whose designs are rounded and mostly made up of circles, and the addition of five rounded fingers on one. rounded palm doesn’t have It doesn’t look good – as Walt Disney once said, if Mickey Mouse had five fingers, his hands would “looks like a bunch of bananas”. Four fingers is also a midpoint between the alien figures (who usually have three fingers) and the fall into the “strange valley” (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for example, gave Snow White five fingers but the dwarves only have four, in order to keep the fantasy element). However, it is important to point out that Japanese characters usually have all five fingers, and there are different reasons for this: an aversion to the number four due to its similar pronunciation with the word for “death”, the four fingers are considered an offensive reference to the burakumin caste and the Yakuza tradition of cutting a finger as a punishment.

As a result, many cartoon characters that are typically drawn with four fingers had to be changed to have the fifth finger in order to avoid controversy in Japan, but that didn’t apply to good old Mickey Mouse. Modern cartoons continue to have characters with four fingers – whether for tradition or simplicity in design – and in some cases specific characters have been given a fifth finger for different reasons, like God in The simpsons. Four fingers has become one of the most defining features of cartoon characters, and once you notice it in one character, you see it in everyone else.

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