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.
- 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.
- 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.