El Goonish Shive
has an ensemble cast, with a group of eight teenage lead characters
being together in all multi-part arcs so far: In Sister
they meet at the end, Night Out
follows two groups of four (Elliot, Sarah, Tedd/Grace, and Grace/Tedd & Ellen, Nanase, Justin, and Susan), in Painted Black
the other seven characters meet to discuss how to rescue Elliot, and all eight were together celebrating Grace's Birthday Party
. The The New Students
arc of Hidden Genesis seems to follow two groups of four who go to Moperville North (Elliot, Tedd, Sarah, and Susan) and South (Grace, Nanase, Justin, and Ellen.)
Elliot, Tedd, Sarah and Susan attend Moperville North High School, where Elliot and later Ellen fought the goo. Its principal Verrückt introduced school uniforms recently. Nanase, Justin, Grace and Ellen attend Moperville South High School. Elliot, Nanase and Justin also attend the Anime-Style Martial Arts Dojo, owned by Sensei Greg.
More information about EGS characters may be found in the character statistics.
Elliot Daniel Dunkel (a play on the author's name, Daniel Elliot Shive) was once an average seventeen year-old boy and student of "anime-style" martial arts. Since the beginning of the comic, Elliot has been transformed into both an anthro-cat and a female, gained the ability to resume both forms at will thanks to a confluence of technology and magic, had a female duplicate (Ellen Dunkel) split off himself, fought a monstrous blob of goo and been beaten up by an anthro-hedgehog. A level-headed character, Elliot is often the comic's straight man.
Elliot's best friend is Tedd, who he met when Elliot saved Tedd from a bully back in elementary school. Elliot has a knight in shining armor complex, meaning he feels compelled to help those in need, especially women, even if he does not particularly like that person. When this resulted in him saving Tedd, Elliot thought Tedd was a girl. While their friendship has always been and remains platonic in nature, the two often wind up in compromising situations, particularly if one or both of them is female at the time.
Tedd Drew Verres is an androgynous
teenage boy with a knack for trouble and technology. Tedd is in love with Grace, and is Elliot's best friend. He wears large electronically enhanced glasses. Formerly shy due to being harassed for his feminine appearance, he has attained a great deal of confidence since being entrusted with developing alien morphing
technologies, which he uses in his spare time for his own amusement.
Tedd's relationship with Grace has developed quickly during the Relations storyline. He has a furry fetish alongside a number of other fetishes. As such, he likes Grace's animal forms, mainly her half-squirrel and half-cat forms, though not to the exclusion of herself. Although his role is in many ways that of a typical horny teenage boy with the addition of an obsession with transformation, his core character has forced those who judged him, particularly Susan, to re-evaluate their perceptions.
Ellen Danielle Dunkel is the female duplicate of Elliot, who was magically split from him in the Sister
storyline. She initially strove to be his "evil twin" when she saw herself as an ephemeral "extra Elliot" and promptly snapped, but has since been adjusting into an identity of her own. Elliot considers her his sister, as she now is legally; Tedd considers her a "hot female Elliot"; but how she considers herself remains uncertain, even to her, and she did not settle on a self-identity
for a long time. Although the origin and function of the Dewitchery Diamond, the object that created her, is unclear, she remains alive and well.
Ellen can shoot a beam from her hand that partially mimics the effect of Tedd's transformation gun set to "Female Variant #5". She is bisexual, but uncomfortable with her attraction to men - though she has openly admitted to finding Tedd attractive due to his naturally effeminate appearance. She is much more playful and flirty than Elliot, whom she has compared to herself as being "like [her] if [she] was being directed by George Lucas", i.e. rather wooden and deliberate. At the end of the Painted Black storyline, the sorceress Nioi cast a spell on her which has caused her to dream of a "second life" - in fact causing her to experience living the life of a female alternate of Elliot in another dimension, and apparently intended to give her the life experiences she would have had if she had grown up normally. This has led to some unexpected explorations of her personality, the most obvious of which was bringing to the surface her repressed discomfort with finding men attractive, which eventually resulted in her identifying as a lesbian.
Ellen and Nanase (who was once Elliot's girlfriend) have shared mutual attraction since the Night Out story arc. They revealed their feelings to each other at the end of the Grace's Birthday Party story arc.
Sarah Brown, at the beginning of EGS
Elliot's best friend, has been his girlfriend since the Relations
storyline. She is artistic and arguably the most normal character, with no special abilities other than pulling mallets out of nowhere
, which is a normal female trait in EGS
. Sarah is usually level-headed, considering the number of bizarre experiences she has had, and she rarely loses her temper. She once had an incident involving Tedd transforming her into a catgirl
, since which she has been extremely cautious about transformations involving herself. Shive has said that in his high school comics, she was much more of a main character, and that he hates that she's become a background character in El Goonish Shive
Grace, formerly known as Shade Tail, is a shapeshifting squirrel/alien/human hybrid who spends a good deal of her time as a human girl. She can transform into a variety of forms, including squirrel, half-squirrel, half-cat, half-hedgehog, a dplicate of Tedd, and a human girl and is capable of creating "legion" forms, which are combinations of two or more forms. Having been genetically engineered
as an assassin
, Grace is extremely powerful, and at least some of her forms are fire resistant due to her being designed to kill Damien, but she is a pacifist, terrified of abusing her strength, and only uses her offensive capacity when her friends are in mortal peril. The traits she displays most often are innocence and cuteness. She has been Tedd's girlfriend since the Relations
storyline. With the help of Tedd, she designed the clone form of a green-haired girl with African-Asian features (and without antennae) which she can assume, and goes by the name Claire when using it. This enabled her to go into the public unnoticed by people looking for her usual forms. It appears that depending on her current transformation she goes through an abrupt change in weight, which did not occur until Tedd used the transformation gun on her, her power level also greatly fluctuates depending on her form.
Half-Squirrel-Power is close to Elliot's Level
Half-Cat-Power rivals Nanase's
Half-Jeremy-Power is greater than Sensei Greg's
Her name comes from Grace Sciuridae, a deceased girl whose DNA was responsible for her human appearance. "Sciuridae" is the family of rodents which includes the squirrels and itself derived from the Greek words skia ("shadow") and oura ("tail"). The full name can be seen as a pun on the common species name 'gray squirrel' - though Grace herself appears closer to a red squirrel in her altered forms.
Nanase Kitsune is Elliot's ex-girlfriend and Tedd's cousin. She is reported to be of Japanese descent, a fact also supported by the fact that her last name is Japanese for fox. A few of her traits also resemble that of a fox. She is another student of "anime-style" martial arts
and was initially presented as the best student at the school Elliot and she attend, but it was later revealed that Elliot is holding back out of fear of hurting others (there have been no solid conclusions yet on who is the more competent martial-artist). Nanase is a dangerous fighter and magic user. She has learned to levitate
and to transfer her consciousness into little fairy
forms near her friends for communication using magic (she actually owns a cell phone, but in her words, "where's the fun in that?"). Nanase dresses provocatively when she can get away with it, as her family makes her dress conservatively in eyeshot. However, she disdains manipulative use of her looks, and her habit of choosing the good over the popular has hurt her social status at school.
Nanase's new friendship with Ellen has led to some uncomfortable self-discovery, and after some speculation from Justin, Nanase revealed herself as a lesbian to Elliot and Susan. By various ways, all main cast members came to know that, but Nanase was unaware of this at the time. Since the Night Out storyline, Nanase has been attracted to Ellen and the latter is aware of that and has voiced frustration at Nanase's reluctance to come out. Nanase finally came out to Ellen at Grace's 18th birthday party, and the two shared a kiss. She apparently came out to the others at the party off-scene later that evening, but still considers her sexual orientation a secret to everyone outside of the main group of characters. She can speak Japanese, English, and at least a bit of French.
Justin Tolkiberry is also a student of anime martial arts, though of lesser skill than Nanase and Elliot, and friends with the two. He works part-time in a comic book and trading card games store. Justin is gay
, and before he found out that Nanase was a lesbian, he teasingly suggested that she might be one. Justin's last name is a reference to J. R. R. Tolkien
and Gene Roddenberry
, and he has a geeky
obsession with The Lord of the Rings
and Star Trek
. He's also a fan of the card game Magical Gatherings
In Grace's Birthday Party, Justin's unrequited feelings for Elliot have begun to be addressed.
Tiffany Susan Pompoms was the last major character to be introduced in EGS
. Initially a friend of Sarah and an extreme feminist (even to the point of misandry
), Susan has developed friendships with all other major characters and a crush on Justin. As a reaction to seeing her father's affair with a blonde woman and her parents' subsequent divorce at an early age, events that have been partially shown in the Sleepy Time
and Grace's Birthday Party
storylines, she colors her hair dark blue and prefers and enforces the use of her middle name to avoid similarity with the blonde woman. Susan lives with her mother in a mansion and works in a video store. And as Dan Shive states in the webcomic Grace was supposed to be more evil and blonde. He says that the Shadetail/Grace character had changed to the Grace we all know and love. A remmant of the original version of Grace became her own character and she became Susan.
Susan has taught Sarah to use Hammerspace and met Nanase on the optional Moperville joint class trip to France, where both Nanase and Susan gained access to magic. Relations between Nanase and Susan were portrayed as mutually unkind in Sister, but improved to friendship when Susan let Nanase pick Ellen's clothes for Grace's Birthday Party.
As a result of being transformed into a male for Grace's party, Susan has reconsidered her views on men as a whole and begun to come to terms with her father's actions. A flashback implies that her attitudes developed as an excuse for his behavior; i.e., that according to her mother "he couldn't help it, because he's a man.
Recently, Susan has been protesting the new dress code at Moperville North’s high school by wearing a male uniform. The lack of support that she received for her protest, even to the point where over half of her feminist club quit, has left her somewhat drained.
Families and pets
- Mr. Verres - Tedd's father and a secret agent of the government, tasked with covering up alien and supernatural activity. This has led to such things as aliens wearing T-shirts that say "Human". This invariably works. He is divorced, Tedd's mother was abroad when last mentioned.
- Mr. and Mrs. Dunkel - Elliot's parents and, by extension, Ellen's parents. Very forgiving, and tolerant of weirdness to a degree that can scare others even in company such as this. It has been hinted that Mrs. Dunkel had to end her education when pregnant with Elliot.
- Mr., Mrs. and Akiko Kitsune - Nanase's family was recently introduced as consisting of an overbearing and domineering mother, a standoffish and distant father, and a little sister. The mother has Nanase under heavy pressure to study hard, dress modestly and in general accede to her norms, which is an according source of friction between the two. Nanase acts diligently to keep up appearances, which she ditches when she can get away with it. Akiko has been shown as quiet and withdrawn while Nanase and her mother argue, but covertly backing her sister up. Her character is based on a friend of Shive's.
- Jeremy - "The Creature Nature Never Intended," Jeremy is Tedd's pet resembling a cat/hedgehog hybrid, brought home by Mr. Verres. Jeremy is quite fond of Susan on the simple basis that she likes animals the least of the main cast, which is apparently instinctive with cats.
- Brownie - Elliot and Ellen's pet kitten, which Elliot believes to suffer from narcolepsy.
Teachers and students
- Greg - Creator and instructor of "Anime-Style Martial Arts" and teacher of Elliot, Justin and Nanase in that discipline. As befits a person who tried to bring techniques from animation to real life and largely succeeded, he dances on the line between genius and derangement. As a typical anime martial arts teacher, one would suspect that he's a perverted old man. Though this is not true, the fact that he is nether old or perverted is something he is greatly ashamed of.
- Principal verrückt - Principal of Moperville North High School, who believes that the school's problems can be solved through murals and has introduced school uniforms. He distinctly resembled Adolf Hitler due to his hairpiece, until he found out about it.
- Mr. Bleuel - The El Goonish Shive universe's counterpart of Darren Bleuel, a disgruntled physics teacher at Moperville South. He is particularly annoyed by Nanase's insistence on breaking the laws of physics by hovering on school property.
- Matthew William Cohen - Student Body President of Moperville North, who appears to have developed a small crush on Susan after her outburst following the announcement of the new school dress code. He is named after Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, and Billy West. Occasionally delivers pizza.
- "TC" (theater clerk) - Also known as "Da Playah", a generic gawky teenage male at Moperville North who vastly overestimates his own appeal to the opposite sex.
- Tony - A stereotyped jock jerk, Tony is a football player at Moperville North who often picks on Tedd. Grace believes he has a repressed attraction to Tedd.
- Catalina Bobcat- A wild, obnoxious girl who frequently gets detention because of her loud mouth and disregard for authority. She is a member of Susan's feminist group and holds her in very high regard. She is very hot-blooded, attacking those who insult her friends with a cry of "Jackasses!". It appears that she may be a lesbian; she recently asked Susan out.
- "Sandi" - a stereotypical blonde girl who speaks in a valley girl accent. She is the girlfriend of Tony, and a member of Susan's feminist group. She isn't unintelligent, but she appears to be very naive.
- Victor Von Hip-A student at Moperville South. He writes many pamphlets, the topics of which range from censorship to why he is the "Greek God of Pamphlets". From both his style of speech and style of dress, it can be assumed that he is a hippie.
- Melissa - Justin's former lifelong best friend, and the person to whom Justin first revealed his homosexuality, after their first and only date. She accidentally let his secret slip, which then became known to all of Moperville South HS. After that, her and Justin's friendship dissolved. Ever since, she has refused to believe Justin is gay and has convinced herself it is only a phase. To this day she is trying to win him back.
- Noah - Androgynous male friend of Melissa at Moperville South. He does not use contractions when he speaks, and one of his eyes is always hidden behind his hair.
- Liz - disgruntled teenager at Moperville North, hooked on nicotine, doesn't care much about anything.
- Matt and Rat - Characters from Dan Shive's previous (non-web) comic strip at Moperville North.
- Diane- a girl at Moperville South who seems to be focused on both her appearance and her popularity. She has frequently tried to get Nanase to sit with her and her friends, and though all of her attempts have failed she still tries to this day. She seems to treat her friend Rhoda like a loyal puppy.She also seems to be good at deductive reasoning, surmising that Ellen and Grace were new to the school simply by noticing them and their movements. She looks exactly like Susan, except her hair is shorter and not dyed and her clothes are more revealing.
- Mr. Alephnull A math teacher at Moperville South.
- Mr. Raven A history teacher at Moperville South. He is very strict, especially when compared to the more relaxed styles of Alephnull, or the Hall Monitor he got to cover one of his lessons. He has an archaic style of dress, somewhat resembling Miles Edgeworth from the Ace Attorney series of video games. On the other hand, Mr. Raven's physical appearance, particularly his facial features and hair style, resembles a mustache-less Adolf Hitler.
- Lord Tedd - Tedd's seemingly evil counterpart from the Alpha Dimension.
- General Shade Tail - The Alpha Dimension counterpart of Grace, and Lord Tedd's right-hand lieutenant. Has a different, male, human genome, which appears similar to the sample of DNA that was originally to be used to make Grace.
- The Goo - A pile of goo that Tedd apparently brought to life in science, destroyed by Elliot, which returned only to be destroyed again by Ellen in Sister. Later, it was revealed that it was actually animated by one of Lord Tedd's Demon Nuclei, sent to kill Tedd, as opposed to being accidentally vivified by Tedd.
- Nioi - An anthro-skunk ('nioi' being a Japanese word for 'scent') from the Alpha Dimension, at the service of Lord Tedd, but apparently well-intentioned toward the main characters.
- Kaoli - A young anthro-skunk ('kaori' is another Japanese word for 'scent') who was split off Nioi by the Dewitchery Diamond.
- Beta Tedd and Ellen - Dimensional Counterparts of Tedd and Elliot respectively, Beta Tedd, in an attempt at contacting Tedd (somehow through his computer), left a message to Grace (since Tedd was out) that the Goo was sent by Lord Tedd. Beta Tedd and Ellen are in a romantic relationship.
- Second Life Tedd, Ellen, Kaoli and Archie - Dimensional Counterparts of Tedd, Elliot and Nioi, while Archie's counterpart is not known. They form a band with Ellen as lead singer. Their dimension, where Uryuoms and Seyunolu are common knowledge (they participated in the Civil War), is named after the EGS story Second Life, not the game.
- Dr. Sciuridae - Former employee of the company that produced Grace and her brothers. During Grace's creation, he replaced the genome of the intended human donor with that of his deceased daughter.
- Guineas - One of Grace's three "brothers", Guineas is the oldest of the group. He is half guinea pig and half human, but appears to be incapable of human speech. When in his human form Guineas is an attractive human male.
- Hedge - Another one of Grace's "brothers", Hedge is the second oldest of the group. He is one quarter hedgehog and three quarters human. While in human form, he has blonde spikey hair and wears sunglasses. He is also defined as "Hedge; Master of Anti Climactic Moments".
- Vlad - The last of Grace's "brothers", Vlad has parents of several species, most notably birds and bats. A physically and emotionally tortured character, he found transforming between animal and human forms to be physically painful and almost fatal. Towards the end of the Painted Black story arc, Ellen permanently turned him into a human female, Vladia. Since transforming, Vladia's personality has gone from "tortured" to simply "shy and somewhat reclusive". It is possible that Ellen just turned him into a female version of his intended male human form. As part Uryuom, Vlad/ia can keep any form they have been given, and regards being human as more important than being male.
- Mr. Guyur - An Uryuom scientist attached to Project Lycanthrope, who had a unique phsyical abnormality which allowed him to produce viable Uryuom eggs without the aid of another of his kind. These eggs were consequently used to create Grace and her brothers. Mr. Guyur (whose name translates as 'tail') was eventually murdered by Damien. Damien's callous disregard for Guyur, whom Grace considered her father, caused the latter to attack him.
- Damien - A pyrokinetic villain with a god complex who attempted to use Grace and her brothers in his plot to rule Earth, but destroyed himself in a rage while fighting Grace. His name Damien is probably a reference to Damien Thorn from The Omen series who killed those who raised him before eventually trying to take over the world.
Other strange characters
- Demonic Duck - Characters occasionally distract each other by pointing away and yelling "Hey, is that a demonic duck of some sort?!". It always is. Sometimes it complains about feeling used. The duck (who is not demonic despite his looks) has a high-school education, a knack for illusions and is a member of the local Distraction Union. He has stated that he "gets all sorts of action" with human women, although he may have been lying or exaggerating.
- William and Gillian - An Uryuom couple who asked Mr. Verres to help improve their morphing device, leading to the transformation gun.
- "The Immortals" - Two obscure beings who are secretly watching Elliot. They are forgetful and apparently somewhat incompetent.
- Magus - A shadowy ghost who seeks to arrange his own resurrection (after a supposed "demise" caused by a powerful explosion) that would have something to do with Elliot or himself (it's not totally clear) being hit by a Female Variant #5 beam. He is probably the cause of Ellen's "birth", as he calls himself her father (Tedd shot Elliot with the transformation gun using Female Variant #5, he doesn't know the real reason why he shot Elliot, it was probably due to "Mastermind", hereafter the gun breaks down, later Ellen-Elliot touches a magic diamond and Ellen is split off).
- "Child of Chaos" - An immortal who thrives on uncertainty. Her plans are unknown, but they apparently involve Magus. On the physical plane, she appears in the form of a little girl (weak physically) while in the spirit plane she is a powerful "near godlike" entity that appears as a constantly changing mass of shadows.
- Agent Wolf and Agent Cranium - Two paranormal investigators working with Mr. Verres. The three were sent to check out the site of a recent dimensional shift, where they eventually encountered the "Child of Chaos". Their names are a play on Agent Fox Mulder and Agent Dana Scully from The X-files. Agent Cranium bears a resemblance to Noah, both physically and in style of speech, but Dan has not confirmed or denied a relationship.
- Dan - Daniel Shive's anthropomorphic squirrel avatar breaks the fourth wall by its presence and is as such restricted to filler. The character design was initially only intended to be an average of the cast's characteristics and was converted to male some time after it became an avatar. The author now uses either (or, at times, both) as the situation calls for.
- Minion - Dan's Uryuom minion; the duties of a minion are strikingly similar to those of an Administrative Assistant, but with higher pay. Minion is dry-witted, level-headed and usually a foil to whatever weirdness Dan has going on.
- Writer's Block - A malicious flesh-colored rectangle about the size of a dog, with a face, claws and a tail. Can talk in thought bubbles; speaks in sounds reminiscent of a cow crossed with a cat. The manifestation of the author's writer's block. Does not usually appear in Canon, but appeared during the party to taunt Susan.
- Writer's Sphere - The Writer's Block's worst fear, an onslaught of too many ideas.
Dr. Germahn's team
- Dr. Germahn - A "stereotypical German scientist" who pops in to provide "scientific" explanations. As the amount of suggestive gags involving the main cast has decreased, the crew of Germahn Labs has been picking up some of the slack.
- Amanda - Dr. Germahn's busty and gullible lab assistant and often an unwilling volunteer in his weird experiments, often involving shrinking.
- Lisa - Amanda's roommate and friend and Dr. Germahn's attorney. Cheerful, friendly and bouncing-off-the-walls reckless with real talent in messing with people. She has been hinted to be a lesbian and may have a crush on Amanda, who remains completely oblivious despite Lisa's fairly overt manipulations.
- Alice - Dr. Germahn's receptionist and niece. She seems apathetic towards her work and coworkers, although this may simply be the result of boredom.