Exactly What It Says on the Tin
: A character's ears are used to express their emotions.
Unlike its cousin tropes, Expressive Hair
and Expressive Mask
, actually leans towards being realistic because this is one way many animals in Real Life
show how they're feeling. This obviously doesn't apply to human ears, though, so it's guaranteed all of the characters who use this trope are Not Quite Human
Compare Unusual Ears
Anime and Manga
- Many Pokémon including Pikachu and Meowth
- Expressive ears were found on Deedlit in Record of Lodoss War. Being one of those foot-long eared elf varieties helped.
- Utawarerumono, (the people also have expressive tails).
- Na'vi in Avatar is another example.
- * In Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Final Wars, King Seesar's ears would perk-up whenever he was excited or surprised.
- The Empire Strikes Back. When Luke manages to lift the X-Wing fighter partially out of the swamp Yoda's ears rise slightly in awe. When Luke fails to lift it all the way out Yoda's ears droop down. Watch it here, 8:15-8:40.
This advert for lager, for example◊
- Star Trek parodies and spoofs often give this attribute to Spock:
Table Top Games
- Garfield will sometimes lay his ears back when he's angry or frightened.
- The Traveller Adventure. Vargr (bipedal wolf) characters were shown as having Expressive Ears, including flattening the ears against the skull when afraid.
- Blood Elfs in World of Warcraft do this with the emote system: if they're sad or scared their ears will droop, and when they cast spells in general their ears wiggle along with the casting animation.
- Orko from He Man has been shown to have his ears droop down when sad.
- Toothless in the film of How to Train Your Dragon has ear-like projections that serve the same function.
- The ponies of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic have these.