How obvious should they be? There's all sorts of powers named 'bite' and and so on, I'm ASSUMING the character doesn't have to actually bite somebody to use them, since all the artwork in Seal of the Wheel just determines normal people doing normal ninja-fighting.
But what about Tortoise Shell? Any visible effect, or should the character just be inexplicably hard to hurt?
Should a character be moving in some characteristic way to use Scurry that somebody familiar with the Secret War might recognize, or are they just dodging like everybody else, only better?
Turret Eyes- do the person's eyes ACTUALLY move independently, or would you just invisibly apply the bonus?
There's a few powers, like Flight, that must look supernatural when they are used, but the rules are deliberately vague about this in most all cases.
Should a Jackal (for example) recognize another Jackal by his fighting style if he's using Ascended Animal Schticks?
I think it depends just how fantasy you want your game to be.
What most appeals to you?
You could have with Tortoise Shell swords bouncing off skin; an aura of a tortoise shell glowing when hit, or a partial tranformation of the body.
I've personally run it to be a slight transformation - think Bilbo in Fellowship (film) as he tries to snatch the ring from Frodo - or so many werewolf films where a heavy growl and perhaps red eyes or snarling teeth appear - although not a full transformation into the animal.
I figure that ascended powers look about as noticeable as fu powers. The Shell power of Tortoise transformed animals is not all that noticeable in comparison to Prodigious Leap or Natural Order.
In general, I have it that they're not grossly different from Fu Powers, but I always make the point of saying that they're different from fu in some way. I assume that Tranimals are passably familiar with Fu Powers, even if they have none themselves, and can recognise when Fu is being used. On the other hand, not all Fu Power users are familiar with Tranimal Schticks, at least at first, so I describe them as 'similar to a Fu Power, but subtly different. Somehow more raw and instinctive'.
Similarly, to keep some mystery about opponent Fu Powers, I only name them if the observer has a Power from the same path, otherwise it's 'a mysterious fu power' of 'that power you saw that other time'.
I don't do the equivalent with Tranimal Powers, partly because the players I've run for are familiar with the books and could recognise it anyway, but also because there's the assumed greater community of Tranimals, and hence a reason to know about all the power available.
n most cases it isn't going to be obvious or very fantasy like. Most people may think the more outlandis ones are some sort of Fu power.
You can look at the depictions of Transformed Animals and various powers that have been done for Shadowfist cards. Most of the cards can be viewed online.
Finally, check out the Tsui Hark movie Green Snake (Ching Se) as it deals with transformed animals. The monk in the film is worth studying too if you plan to do anything with the Guiding Hand. This film is mentioned in the Guiding Hand sourcebook too as recomended viewing,
The film is out with English subtitles.