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Frames of Reference


(permanent link) added: 2010-10-09 15:52:39 sponsor: CindehQ (last reply: 2010-10-12 03:13:00)

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While glasses are universally seen as a sign of intelligence, in anime it's the shape of the frames that's telling of the personality. Generally speaking, characters with rectangular or square frames tend to have "harsher" personalities that range from emotionally distant to downright evil. Characters with the circular frames (they can be ovals or perfect circles, depending on how serious the work is) have more "soft" personalities that range from comically nerdy to shy and sweet.

Also, while someone with square frames will be more prone to scary shiny glasses, people with round glasses will have their moments too; if anything, it's scarier seeing the sweet-tempered meganekko suddenly have opaque lenses then the square-framed Mad Scientist.

This trope could possibly be an extension of Tsurime and Tareme, as characters with tsurime eyes will generally wear square frames while someone with tareme will usually opt for round frames.

Tropes involving rectangular frames:

Tropes involving round frames:

Tropes for either:

Unrelated tropes:

  • Sinister Shades and Cool Shades: Sunglasses don't count, as they're not seen as a sign of intelligence. Simply wearing a pair, regardless of shape, makes you either sinister or cool (or both).

Examples

Anime and Manga

  • Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion has somewhat rectangular frames but they are rounded at the ends. Sometimes, the light reflects off them enough to hide his eyes, cluing the audience in to his inhumane nature.
  • Bleach seems to love this trope. You can pretty much tell a character's alliance or personality based on the shape of their glasses:
    • Uryuu Ishida, while not a villain, is the hero's former rival and antagonist. Is very reserved, and depending on the person, rather cold.
      • Ishida's father wears almost rectangular glasses, but is even more emotionally distant then his son.
    • Tessai Tsukabishi is rather stoic and intimidating, so his rectangular glasses suit him perfectly.
    • Ironically, in Aizen's case, the rectangular glasses were part of his "nice guy" facade and he ditches them once he outs himself as the story's big bad. Perhaps he couldn't quite hide his evilness as well as he thought...
    • Szayel Aporro Granz is a sadistic mad scientist who wears hipster glasses.
    • For round glasses we have Nanaos Ise, a comically uptight kuudere who is staunchly lawful good.
    • Nanao's predecessor Risa Yadomaru also sports round glasses, perhaps to purposely invoke the meganekko look since she also wears a school uniform.
    • Then we have Chizuru, who has triangle shaped glasses, probably to reflect her rather...eccentric personality.
  • The stern Shiroi-sensei of Kodomo No Jikan wears the rectangle type. Mimi is shy and naturally wears circular glasses.

Film

  • The Matrix. Inside the simulation, the humans wear oval shades, while the Agents wear rectangular ones. In the sequels, as Neo and Smith become Not So Different, Neo's shades become more angular and Smith's become more rounded.

Comic Books

  • Clark Kent's Nerd Glasses are horn rimmed and not quite rectangular, the closest you can get to the "round=nerdy" part of this trope realistically.
  • In Kingdom Come, Edward Nigma (aka the Riddler) wears round bifocals that scarecly resemble question marks which fit his nerdy personality and alludes to his former life of crime.

Other

  • In the visual novel Katawa Shoujo, the intelligent, aggressive Student Council President wears rectangle frames. In contrast, the shy librarian Yuuko had oval shaped lenses (until her recent, more realistic re-design).

Western Animation

  • Subverted with Daria. Her glasses are perfect circles, but she's definitely a stoic rather then a meganekko.
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