Created By: Game Chainsaw on December 22, 2009
Troped

Wide eyes and shrunken irises

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A sign that a character is absolutely terrified is if the eyes are wide open and the irises and pupils are shrunken to minimum, or even absent. Give the impression that the character is screaming inside, even if they are silent with shock, it comes across as striking, and if done well, even as Nightmare Fuel or its high octane equivalent. Often a warning sign that the character is about to Freak Out.

Can also happen if a character is injured. Its a good way of illustrating shock.

Bonus points if the scene cuts away to a Scream Discretion Shot.

See also Open the Iris for the tropes physical opposite.

I wish I knew how to get a picture for this, it would illustrate it much better. Favour to ask from tech-savvy Higurashi fans, you know when Satoko finds Rika's corpse? When she's with Keiichi shortly after his Knight Templar Big Brother moment and thinks he's the killer? Her Freak Out there illustrated it strikingly. It would be perfect for this, but I can't get hold of a picture of it. Tried Google Images.

While peoples irises do shrink when they get a see something particularly scary at times, making this a bit of a Truth in Television, animation often takes it to extremes. The iris isn't that flexible, and it certainly won't disappear entirely. (We've got the Law of Conservation Of Energy to thank for that one, matter doesn't just disappear.)

Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Most of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's cast do this when they're really scared, but Satoko has a habit of giving particularly haunting moments. One of these is Satoko's reaction to Keichii standing by her best friends corpse. Satoko freaks out, believing that Keichii was responsible, and while doing so, gives a picture perfect demonstration of the trope. This happens during the Question arcs I believe. Her reaction upon getting out of the river and returning to her school, only to find her friends dead, elicits this reaction from her as well, and it is also the expression her classmates are wearing. Gives a truly ghoulish impression. Keichii does it a few times as well.
  • Characters on Yu-Gi-Oh! do this all the time.
  • Happens on a regular basis in the Bleach anime, usually when one character is impressed by another characters power/abilities.
  • Inverted by Maka in Soul Eater; her pupils are invisible unless she's particularly shocked or angry. Everyone else in the series plays this straight.
  • Most Code Geass characters, resulting in some pretty disturbing faces. See GEASS/CODE GEASS - 23 - Large 25.jpg

Film
  • A Muppet Show example of all things. In "Muppet Treasure Island," Kermit grabs hold of Miss Piggy as she starts to fall from the cliff, and ... :)
  • It occurs in Three Amigos! during the duel between Ned Nederlander and that German guy.
  • Psycho. Marion Crane's eyes, though in a Artistic License - Biology moment.
  • This happens to Jessica Rabbit in Roger Rabbit, in the only scene I can think of where you really get a good look at both her eyes ("Oh my God, it's DIIIIIIP!").
  • Flik does this in A Bug's Life.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • An example of an injury triggering this: Kim Possible's irises shrink to nothing when she is tasered by Shego in "So The Drama".

Indexes:

Rolling Updates. Really have to remember to add that at the start!
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • December 18, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • In the Webcomic Jack most of the denizens of Hell have this for their eyes -- which is understandable. When they're on the road to redemption, their irises become visible again.
  • December 18, 2009
    Cidolfas
    This isn't just small or nonexistent irises - this is a specific visual trope (specific to anime) where someone's eyes widen and irises shrink when they are frightened or shocked.
  • December 18, 2009
    SmashingMelons42
    I'm having trouble finding an example on the site. I know what you're talking about, but the closest things I've found so far are the page images for Heroic BSOD, Yandere, and a picture of Kaede from the Yandere page which I can't link to because my Wiki Fu isn't very good.
  • December 18, 2009
    Earnest
    See also Open The Iris.
  • December 19, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    I think this might actually be Open The Iris. Not sure we need this one.
  • December 19, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    This is the exact opposite of Open The Iris.

    Characters on Yu Gi Oh do this all the time.
  • December 19, 2009
    animeg3282
    This could be Close The Iris
  • December 19, 2009
    Earnest
    Well, Open The Iris does mention narrowing the iris, and it has a few examples of it. If we launch this, it would be wise to change the description and split the examples.
  • December 19, 2009
    Madrugada
    Why are you claiming that this is specific to anime? It's not. Not by a long shot. It's not even specific to animation, for crying out loud.
  • December 19, 2009
    macroscopic
    On a mostly unrelated note I Read It As wide eyes and shuriken irises...
  • December 20, 2009
    Arivne
    Anime and Manga
    • Happens on a regular basis in the Bleach anime, usually when one character is impressed by another character's power/abilities.

    I agree with Earnest that the appropriate examples be moved from Open The Iris to this trope when it's launched.
  • December 20, 2009
    Vree
    Remember to add it to Eye Tropes.
  • December 20, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In "Muppet Treasure Island," Kermit grabs hold of Miss Piggy as she starts to fall from the cliff, and ... :)
  • December 21, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Bump.
  • December 21, 2009
    Premonition_45
    It occurs in Three Amigos! during the duel between Ned Nederlander and that German guy.
  • December 21, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    in Dr Mc Ninja, the main character does just this when he is very, very angry. Lampshaded in the Alt Text.
  • December 21, 2009
    Bisected8
    Inverted by Maka in Soul Eater; her pupils are invisible unless she's particularly shocked or angry. Everyone else in the series plays this strait.
  • December 21, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Anime and Manga

    • Most Code Geass characters, resulting in some pretty disturbing faces. See [1]
  • December 21, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Ya know, if that wasn't already the pic for Freak Out, we'd have our trope image.
  • December 21, 2009
    Paradisca Corbasi
    • Also happens when a character is injured. Kim Possible's irises shrink to nothing when she is tasered by Shego in "So The Drama".
  • December 21, 2009
    JAF1970
  • December 21, 2009
    Nekiam
    Truth In Television, people's irises shrink when they see something they don't like, apparently.
  • December 21, 2009
    HorkHorkHork
    This happens to Jessica Rabbit in Roger Rabbit, in the only scene I can think of where you really get a good look at both her eyes ("Oh my God, it's DIIIIIIP!").
  • December 22, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    I think we can launch this now... just wish we had a picture. Everyone ok with the title? Any last minute index suggestions? I think Fear Tropes is one.
  • December 22, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Flik does this, too, in A Bugs Life.
  • December 22, 2009
    Earnest
    Just Launch It Already. ^_^

    For pictures, go to the Image 'pickin forum and ask for a suggestion.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ow31gfq455v98c8c6vxsbwhj