Created By: Kastorr on June 16, 2012 Last Edited By: flocculentCamelidae on August 23, 2012

Personaliteye

The shape of a character's eyes usually has something to do with their personality.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This trope is a while in the making. You can see a relevant TRS thread here.

If you have any suggestions for another example, run it through me in the comments, I'll let you know whether it fits. Afterwards, please tell me which part is unclear, if you suggested something that didn't make it.

Up for Grabs.
One of the most noticeable visual aspects of a character are their eyes, and in fiction, certain personality traits are more commonly attributed to specific eye shapes. When a character is rendered visually with an unusual eye shape, that's usually an indication of a specific personality trait in that character.

Eyelashes also contribute to the profile of the eye as it appears to the viewer, permitting for varying amounts of sharpness, definition, size, and expression.

This mostly comes in a few different flavors.

A sharper angle at the upper, outer edge of the eye may be an indicator of high social status, arrogance, pride, assertiveness, intelligence, a reserved personality, and aggressive tendencies. ActionGirls are more likely to have this eye type, as are tomboyish females, and characters of particularly fiery temper. Darker and Edgier (as well as Evil) characters are also more likely to have this sort of eye. If eyelashes are a major factor of the eye shape, they can also imply a preoccupation with personal beauty, which is closely related to the feminine aspects of Tertiary Sexual Characteristics. Cynical, jaded, and mature characters are all liable to have this appearance as well.

A more rounded eye shape implies a soft, submissive, humble, generous, sympathetic, or sincere character. This is common for Non-Action Guys, Damsels In Distress, and other characters who qualify for being The Chick. Rounded eyes have the added effect of appearing younger and in most cases, cuter as well. Characters with this eye shape have the tendency to be less intelligent than characters with sharp eyes. Innocent, immature, or naive characters are particularly likely to have eyes like this.

Another aspect of the trope regards the orientation of the eye on the face. In perfectly circular eyes, this doesn't matter, but for eye shapes with greater length than height, there's the factor of whether the outer edge of the eye trends downward or upward.

When the outer edge of the eye droops or angles down, it has many of the same implications as a rounded or soft eye, with particularly strong implications of passivity or submissiveness. See also Tareme Eyes.

When the outer edge of the eye angles upward, it gives many of the same implications of pointed, or sharp eyes, often with a focus on conceit, a sense of superiority, and the implication of exotic origins. See also Tsurime Eyes.

Compare Tsurime Eyes and Tareme Eyes, subtropes applying to a more specific east-asian manifestation of this trend in character design. Examples that fit all the criteria for those tropes should be placed on that page instead.


Examples

WebComics
  • Ears for Elves:
    • This comic uses pointed, upward-slanting eyes for most characters. However, Donn and Myari have much taller, more circular eyes angled slightly down that indicate their innocence and cheerfulness. The contrast is especially visible when Myari is next to her calmer brother Elon, who has standard eyes.
    • The eyes of Rolan, a high elf, are smoother and a little narrower than the eyes of the wood elves (though near-indistinguisable at a distance). The contrast with Tanna's eyes is demonstrated here, showing his refinement and her lingering immaturity. In general, her eyes are also more expressive than his.

Western Animation
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender compare Aang's eyes vs. Azula's. Aang's eyes are more rounded, and Aang has a softer, "cuter" personality, while Azula has sharp, cold eyes with a more "cold" personality.
  • Kim Possible:
    • The titular protagonist, Kim has slightly elongated ellipses for eyes, whereas her more evil counterpart, Shego has even more stretched ellipses that close in a distinct edge on the outer part of the eye.
    • Ron Stoppable has almost perfectly circular eyes, with the longer part drooping downward on the outsides. The main male antagonist, Dr. Drakken, also has nearly circular eyes, but they're cut off at the top by a particularly low Big Ol' Unibrow, leaving the upper outer edges rather sharp.
  • Most of the main cast in Friendship Is Magic have just big oval eyes, but two in particular stand out.
    • Rarity has long diamond-shaped eyes, more like a realistic human eye. This gives her character design a more graceful look, and distingishes her visually -- Rarity is meant to be the 'beautiful' one, where the others are just 'cute'.
    • Fluttershy has traditional Tareme, with an arched top and a drooping corner, which fits her shy and submissive personality.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • June 16, 2012
    Kastorr
    First of all: The working title is terrible.

    Second of all: This is my first YKTTW, please, feel free to fix any formatting errors and tweak wording where appropriate. I think my personal voice is kind of slathered all over that entry up there.
  • June 16, 2012
    nathandoe2016
    ^I made a few edits, added an example, and changed the working title.
  • June 16, 2012
    Heatth
    Given Avatar The Last Airbender is deliberately made in Animesque style, shouldn't the example go to Tsurime and Tareme? I know the point of this trope is to avoid bad examples in the already existing pages, but works with clear and deliberate eastern influence should be exempt of the 'Easter Only' rule.
  • June 16, 2012
    nathandoe2016
    But, it is a Western Animation.
  • June 16, 2012
    Heatth
    Well, yeah. And Sinfest is an American Webcomic. But the same way Sinfest is listed in Tsurime Eyes, Avatar should be there too. Avatar is deliberately taking influences from Japanese anime, so it ought to use some Japanese tropes as well, specially artistic tropes like these ones, since they are not intrinsically related to culture.

    Separating 'Eastern' to 'Western' based purely in the geography is silly and arbitrary. The reason the separation exist is to avoid Square Peg Round Trope. But once a work is deliberately taking Eastern influences, there is no reason for us to not acknowledge that.

    PS:Uh, just to make clear, I am not actually familiar with Avatar. But the example did sound like Tareme vs Tsurime, which is why I brought it up. I am concerned we are making the division purely geographic, when it should take account other influences as well.
  • June 16, 2012
    Kastorr
    Just found another example: Kim Possible. Shego is very similar in appearance to Kim, but has more pointed outer edges to her eyes. Modifying the description to permit for Darker And Edgier characters.
  • June 16, 2012
    nathandoe2016
    ^^True Heatth, and also what about Kappa Mikey the main character is drawn in a "western style" while everyone else i drawn in an "anime" style look at the trope image for Kappa Mikey and you'll see what I'm talking about
  • June 16, 2012
    Kastorr
    ^That's used as explicit contrast between Asian and western animation styles. It doesn't entirely fit, because there's some Leaning On The Fourth Wall regarding why the characters look different, and they don't particularly fit the characterization of the trope, in contrast to each other.

    On a more constructive note, I'm considering breaking up my YKTTW into bullet points or something, given all the categories and subcategories. Is that good form?

    Another point: I intentionally put the word "Shape" into the original title ("Eye Shape Personality" or something like that), because we already have a series of mostly unrelated eye color tropes that would also fit the name "Personaliteye."
  • June 17, 2012
    Kastorr
    Sorry for double post.

    This is a very wide trope, I can make something out of virtually any series or collection of renderings in which character(s) have different shaped eyes. If anybody provides a series in which this occurs, and some character names, I will write up those examples.

    If anybody doesn't quite get what the trope is about, I would love to hear why.
  • June 17, 2012
    robinjohnson
    The gods in Discworld can control everything about their appearance except their eyes. The Lady's eyes are bright green from edge to edge, without irises or pupils; Fate's eyes are windows into an enormous black void; and Blind Io's eyes are usually floating independently around the room.
  • June 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Hercules The Legendary Journeys Hera is represnted by a pair of floating eyes which are also peacock feathers (peacocks being a sacred animal to Hera).
  • June 17, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Scott Mc Cloud's series Zot gave each character a distinctive set of eyes as a way to set them all apart from each other.
  • June 17, 2012
    Kastorr
    ^^^This trope is about eye shape, not really about eye color, or just general eye properties. Also, Discworld is a collection of novels, is it not? This is a visual trope. As in, the viewer needs to see the eyes in order for it to qualify. If you can show me pictures, I can either add it, or tell you why not. Remember though, this trope is about eye shapes and angles around the edges.

    ^^For the most part, live-action is not susceptible to this trope, for the same reason as Green Eyed Redhead isn't usually an example in live-action.

    ^I'm not sure how to take Zot. For the most part, characters have pretty straightforward pseudo-realistic eyes. You have a monkey with angry eyebrows, and someone with hyponosis eyes, but really, the eyes on these characters seem to have very little to do with their actual characterization. Zot has unique eyes, but he has his own trope already.

    Giving me pictures of the characters in question would greatly help.
  • June 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • June 17, 2012
    Kastorr
    It doesn't fit, because Hera herself has normal eyes, it's just that symbols of her influence superimpose a feather over her (normal) eyes. There is something to be said about the suggestion of an eye that the feathers exude, but inherently, they don't change the fact that the shape of her eye is normal and human.

    Live action, unless drastic measures are taken to disfigure an actor's face, is pretty much exempt from this trope.
  • June 19, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    ^^Well, there's a page in Scott McCloud's Making Comics where he briefly brings up Zot and how he indicated to each character's personality by giving them each different eyes. They can vary wildly, and had a chart for comparison, but unfortunately I can't get you the picture at this time.
  • June 20, 2012
    Sheora
    This seems to me like a supertrope to tropes that pertain to eyes and personality traits. I would, instead of marking as a comparison, make Tsurime Eyes and Tareme Eyes subtropes to this. Eye color tropes can arguably be included in this category as well. Perhaps Personaliteye would be the supertrope category, while Eye Shapes and Eye Colors would be the subcategories with the individual tropes falling therein. I think this entire concept is far reaching.

    I would not discount non-visual medium as physical descriptions are common in written works. A character's physical description is often carefully crafted to reflect their personality traits.

    Also, the size of eyes should be included in this. Larger eyes are an indicator of innocence, while smaller eyes are seriousness and maturity. Compare the characters of Sailor Moon for example. The most innocent and childish characters have very large eyes (Usagi, Chibiusa) while the more serious and mature characters have smaller eyes (Setsuna, Haruka).

    I did a quick edit to fix a typo as well.
  • June 20, 2012
    animeg3282
  • June 20, 2012
    Kastorr
    ^^^I have a hard copy of Making Comics. I'll look into it and see what you're talking about. Edit: I found what you were talking about on page 72. There are definitely things you can pick up from those charaters, based on eye shape. I'm not actually familiar with the series, though, so I can't verify the implications of characterization. If you can write up the example, I'll add it.

    ^^Thanks for your input! I appreciate it. I originally intended this as a supertrope to Tsurime and Tareme eyes, although I didn't reflect that very well in my writeup. Eye size seems like an appropriate thing to account for here. I'll get around to implementing that in a bit, but if you get around to it first, you can feel free to edit it in. Your bit about including characters in non-visual mediums will be taken into consideration, but this trope would have to undergo a bit of an overhaul to accommodate.

    ^That is another good example that can probably be regarded as a subtrope. If you look at what those shapes suggest about her personality, you can see it fits fairly well with the implications of my suggested super-trope here. My concern is whether or not those would fit better on the Tsurime/Tareme pages, or if it should go here. Marking the line between this trope and Tareme/Tsurime is kind of obnoxious to deal with.

    I'm trying to figure out whether I should split this page in two. One for eye colors, and one for eye shapes. Also, I just realized...Would this make a better analysis page or something? Or is it actually tropeworthy?

    Thanks for your input, everybody.
  • July 5, 2012
    Telcontar
    I think this is a trope -- eye shapes do indicate similar stuff in a variety of works, though there aren't many examples at the moment. Here's one; the last split panel in the second comic link could be a page image, but only with a caption containing something like a three-word summary of their personalities.

    • Ears For Elves:
      • This comic uses pointed, upward-slanting eyes for most characters. However, Donn and Myari have much taller, more circular eyes angled slightly down that indicate their innocence and cheerfulness. The contrast is especially visible when Myari is next to her calmer brother Elon, who has standard eyes.
      • The eyes of Rolan, a high elf, are smoother and a little narrower than the eyes of the wood elves (though near-indistinguisable at a distance). The contrast with Tanna's eyes is demonstrated here, showing his refinement and her lingering immaturity. In general, her eyes are also more expressive than his.
  • July 17, 2012
    Kastorr
    Thank you, Telcontar, that does in fact look like an example. I'm confused by what you were trying to convey in your first paragraph. Please clarify.
  • July 28, 2012
    Sheora
    I would keep this intact as a single, reaching concept. As I suggested before, you can split the subtropes into the categories of size/shape and color. I think this is an important trope to refine and get launched because it does tie together a huge set of tropes.
  • July 29, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Did nobody mention Windows Of The Soul / Windows To The Soul?

    ... and I see trouble up ahead.
  • August 5, 2012
    flocculentCamelidae
    Nobody did, actually. I seem to have missed it. Those seem like they may very well cover it. To be perfectly frank, this is more my personal vendetta against the "JAPANESE ARTS ONLY" restriction on Tareme/Tsurime eyes. I am trying my damnedest to have the wiki represent some sort of non-japanese examples for those universal concepts, since the wiki at large seems reluctant to admit them into that page.

    I'll keep working at this here and other places until some solution comes up to rectify some of the flagrant discrimination taking place against non-japanese examples on this wiki. Specifically, when there is some page willing to take obvious examples for Tareme/Tsurime eyes that are not Japanese, and are therefore arbitrarily inapplicable.

    As far as I can tell, it started off in "trouble." I'll see if I can't get Trouble to pay attention and do something.
  • August 5, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    @ Kastorr Take a look at the trope page for English Rose; there's a mention of eye shape as part of it, so I think it should be in your little index list on this page when it launches.
  • August 5, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Yeah, we all have an axe to grind against some tropes -- though that's not actually the "trouble" to which I was referring.
  • August 6, 2012
    RJSavoy
    As I suggested in the YKKTW thread, we could call this "Harsh Eyes, Gentle Eyes" or "By The Shape Of Their Eyes". Make it a supertrope of both Tsurime/Tareme and Animation Anatomy Aging. And perhaps merge together Tsurime and Tareme, as they are design traits that only make sense in relation to each other (so the example list would list which characters from each work fit one or the other, and only if it has both is it an example).
  • August 7, 2012
    Escher
    Most of the main cast in Friendship Is Magic have just big oval eyes, but two in particular stand out:

    Rarity has long diamond-shaped eyes, more like a realistic human eye. This gives her character design a more graceful look, and distingishes her visually -- Rarity is meant to be the 'beautiful' one, where the others are just 'cute'.

    Fluttershy has traditional Tareme, with an arched top and a drooping corner, which fits her shy and submissive personality.
  • August 18, 2012
    flocculentCamelidae
    Escher, I appareciate the example, but next time, please format it correctly.
  • August 18, 2012
    flocculentCamelidae
    This trope is going to go kaput in a while. An alternative to the amazingly cumbersome bit of literature has come about, and, should it work out, it will cleanly replace the position that this trope was going to fill. If any of you have any last-minute objections, complaints, or points to discuss before this is probably deleted in a week or so, Now's the time.
  • August 19, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Which alternative is that?
  • August 19, 2012
    Grain
    There is a saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. Maybe the trope could be named Soul Windows, or something like that.
  • August 23, 2012
    flocculentCamelidae

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=p6v7mo7ijfibdri6rhi9pejx