Created By: lebrel on May 16, 2012 Last Edited By: SeptimusHeap on February 15, 2013
Nuked

Losing Face (now with crowner)

Part or all of a character's face vanishes or is obscured to show an extreme mental state.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Per TRS, Losing Face is getting renamed and revamped. Help with a new name, improved description and more examples is appreciated.

Alt Names Crowner


What happened?
--Mikuru, Haruhi Suzumiya

A Japanese Visual Arts Trope in which a character's entire face, or just the top half, is left blank, obscured with lines or blacked out to show that they are experiencing an extreme mental state.

This may be related to the Japanese concept of On, the public face. The irony is that the moment the character becomes so transparent, so clear to viewers, their facial expressions can't be recognized -- and often, there's no need.

This occurs most often during extremely emotional scenes, or scenes of shame or embarrassment. Though characters in anime are shown crying and breaking down all the time, Losing Face happens quietly and is always serious.

Compare with Hidden Eyes. Sister Trope to Color Failure. See also Blue with Shock.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Happens in Azumanga Daioh when Kagura asks Nyamo (a P.E. teacher) to explain some bit of math during a study session. When she reluctantly admits to not understanding it, Yukari thoroughly humiliates her by showing off to the students with a speech in Gratuitous English, despite Nyamo's desperate protests that Yukari speaking English is not that impressive considering she's an English teacher. It's also quite ironic considering Yukari had tried teaching math on a whim in an earlier episode and couldn't understand it either. One wonders if she set Nyamo up, since Kagura came to her first, and she refused to help. Afterward, Nyamo is huddled in a corner, both faceless and colorless.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch is shown with his bangs obscuring his eyes at the funeral for his friend Shirley's father - because he's responsible for Mr. Fenette's death, however unintentionally.
  • Ogiue in Genshiken shows this trope shortly after she's revealed to be a Yaoi Fangirl and shortly before she tries jumping out a third story window because of it.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: This happens to Haruhi when she leaves after witnessing Kyon saving Mikuru's pictures. Also annoyingly subverted because she immediately walks into Mikuru, who can see her face and quickly reacts.
  • After Asuna's tragically unexpected and sudden death at the end of Mahou Sensei Negima!'s first animated adaption, Konoka is shown sitting alone, her bangs obscuring her eyes and the rest of her face a near-blank. Nodoka is common to this as well.
  • School Rumble: Happens to Tenma as well when she resolves to sit beside Karasuma on the bus.

Webcomics
  • In the Sexy Losers webcomic, Kenta's face is almost always drawn in this style, and most of the time he indeed finds himself in embarassing situations due to him living with his horny mum...

Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • May 16, 2012
    peccantis
  • May 25, 2012
    lebrel
    Name suggestions from the peanut gallery? peccantis offers Vanishing Face, maybe Blanked Face, Blank With Shock, Face Fog (for the blacked out / lines version, which I think is a bit more common nowadays)?
  • June 19, 2012
    animeg3282
    I need a pic :D
  • July 31, 2012
    fllthdcrb
    How about this from Azumanga Daioh (ep. 22 @ 13:35)? Admittedly, not the purest example. It also illustrates Color Failure and (mildly) Corner Of Woe.

    And the corresponding example text, of course:

    • Happens in Azumanga Daioh when Kagura asks Nyamo (a P.E. teacher) to explain some bit of math during a study session. When she reluctantly admits to not understanding it, Yukari thoroughly humiliates her by showing off to the students with a speech in Gratuitous English, despite Nyamo's desperate protests that Yukari speaking English is not that impressive considering she's an English teacher.[[note]]It's also quite ironic considering Yukari had tried teaching math on a whim in an earlier episode and couldn't understand it either. One wonders if she set Nyamo up, since Kagura came to her first, and she refused to help.[[/note]] Afterward, Nyamo is huddled in a corner, both faceless and colorless.

    BTW, what's wrong with the current name, anyway? It seems perfect to me: the visual seems to symbolize the idea of losing face pretty well. (I even found the trope by guessing the current name on the first try.) Or am I wrong? Someone in TRS mentioned there being a different meaning, but never elaborated. Just what is this other meaning?

    EDIT: Would it be useful to separate the visual trope from what it symbolizes? In that case, I could see how a different name would be needed. EDIT 2: Updated to note markup.
  • July 31, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Losing Face is a concept that is deeper than this trope. Plus the name does not indicate this is an art style.
  • August 2, 2012
    ccoa
    Bumping since a TRS thread is waiting on this.
  • August 2, 2012
    Xtifr
    I'm a little amazed I have to point this out, but: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/lose-face.html

    Note that the English phrase comes from the Chinese, but the Japanese visual trope may be partly related (the concepts of face are similar).

    I'm amazed our many Anime fans aren't providing dozens of examples. As for the name, how about something like Too Embarrassed To Have A Face? That may be a bit long, but it gets the idea across.
  • August 2, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • August 2, 2012
    Amaryllis
    Literally Losing Face, to distinguish it from the figurative concept? Or Literally Blanking Out? Emotional Blank Out?
  • August 2, 2012
    fllthdcrb
    FWIW, I like Blank Face Of Shame the best out of these, as it's a reasonable length and still manages to include what seems to be the meaning. It also accurately describes the visual, as long as the visual is the blank version, though if the face is sometimes obscured in other ways, I wonder, is it okay to call it "blank"?

    I thought of Literally Losing Face myself, but figured it was too awkward somehow. But the more I think about it, the better it sounds.
  • August 2, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The "literally" losing part can include other reasons a face is lost.
  • August 3, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • September 11, 2012
    lu127
    Alright, I'm picking this one up.

    I've put up the picture. I think an illustration will help us communicate the concept better.
  • September 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Of course, but how about what name to use?
  • September 16, 2012
    fllthdcrb
    Well, there are a few suggestions already. What if we put it to a vote? Or does anyone have further ideas?

    I'd vote for Literally Losing Face. After consideration, I think it works quite well: still a reasonable length, is an accurate description, and is not tied to any specific meaning (forget what I said before; after ^^^^ that remark, I realize it's a good thing). And it's not awkward after all. Does everyone think it sounds like a visual trope?
  • September 16, 2012
    Xtifr
    Literally Losing Face still seems somewhat ambiguous to me. Maybe something like Disappearing Face would help avoid the all-too-easy confusion here.
  • September 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • September 16, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^ Happens "during extremely emotional scenes, or scenes of shame or embarrassment." If that "or" were an "and", I might agree. I've seen it indicate shock almost as often as shame.
  • September 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Were you replying to my post?
  • September 19, 2012
    lu127
    Wow, no examples at all? Come on, the point is to flesh this out a little. I'd have thought the description is clear enough.
  • September 19, 2012
    surgoshan
    Literally Losing Face seems like it would refer to someone actually losing their face, like that episode of Doctor Who. I think Blank Face Of Shame would work best.
  • September 20, 2012
    fllthdcrb
    ^^ Hey, I provided one. It's just one, but that's something.

    Well, I actually noticed one or two other, more minor, examples in Azumanga Daioh. Maybe I could add those too. I don't have examples from other works, though, that aren't already listed.
  • December 7, 2012
    Oreochan
    I'm bumping and grabbing this draft because it and the TRS thread were languishing for months.
  • December 7, 2012
    Oreochan
    I don't like most of the suggested names here. Losing Face has broader meanings so I think it shouldn't be included in the new title. Literally Losing Face sounds like a character actually lost their face, so it's misleading. Blank Face Of Shame is the closest but I think it's missing something...

    Do we need a new page quote? I don't really feel the current one represants the trope much.
  • December 7, 2012
    KylerThatch
    How about instead of Blank Face Of Shame, we use Blank Face Of Emotion to cover all bases?
  • December 7, 2012
    Oreochan
    ^ That's not bad.
  • December 8, 2012
    Oreochan
    Nevermind.
  • December 11, 2012
    Chernoskill
    In the Sexy Losers webcomic, Kenta's face is almost always drawn in this style, and most of the time he indeed finds himself in embarassing situations due to him living with his horny mum...
  • December 11, 2012
    Kernigh
    I like Blank Face Of Emotion. My second choice is Face Fog. I am against Losing Face and Literally Losing Face.
  • January 5, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping this to get it done.
  • January 5, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Blank Face Of Despair. Faceless Despair, No Face For Emotion... That's all I can think of. Something that brings the state of emotion into the equation.
  • January 29, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
  • February 15, 2013
    lu127
    Finished the rename, moved everything in. Discarding this.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=b1yfjgl5hn0hx13ikdp4ob2g&trope=DiscardedYKTTW