A Japanese Visual Arts Trope
in which a character's entire face, or just the top half, is left blank, obscured with lines or blacked out to show that they are experiencing an extreme mental state.
This may be related to the Japanese concept of On
, the public face. The irony is that the moment the character becomes so transparent, so clear to viewers, their facial expressions can't be recognized — and often, there's no need.
This occurs most often during extremely emotional scenes, or scenes of shame or embarrassment. Though characters in anime are shown crying and breaking down all the time, Losing Face happens quietly and is always serious.
Compare with Hidden Eyes
. Sister Trope
to Color Failure
. See also Blue with Shock
Anime & Manga
- Happens in Azumanga Daioh 10 minutes into episode 22 when Kagura asks Nyamo (a P.E. teacher) to explain some bit of math during a study session. When she reluctantly admits to not understanding it, Yukari thoroughly humiliates her by showing off to the students with a speech in Gratuitous English, despite Nyamo's desperate protests that Yukari speaking English is not that impressive considering she's an English teacher.note Afterward, Nyamo is huddled in a corner, both faceless and colorless.
- Code Geass: Lelouch is shown with his bangs obscuring his eyes at the funeral for his friend Shirley's father - because he's responsible for Mr. Fenette's death, however unintentionally.
- Ogiue in Genshiken shows this trope shortly after she's revealed to be a Yaoi Fangirl and shortly before she tries jumping out a third story window because of it.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: After Asuka's attempt at kissing Shinji turns sour, she is very briefly seen making this face, just before she leaves the screen. It's a subtle visual clue that she was actually deeply hurt by how badly it went.
- Haruhi Suzumiya: This happens to Haruhi when she leaves after witnessing Kyon saving Mikuru's pictures. Also annoyingly subverted because she immediately walks into Mikuru, who can see her face and quickly reacts.
- After Asuna's tragically unexpected and sudden death at the end of Mahou Sensei Negima!'s first animated adaption, Konoka is shown sitting alone, her bangs obscuring her eyes and the rest of her face a near-blank. Nodoka is common to this as well.
- School Rumble: Happens to Tenma as well when she resolves to sit beside Karasuma on the bus.
- In the Sexy Losers webcomic, Kenta's face is almost always drawn in this style, and most of the time he indeed finds himself in embarassing situations due to him living with his horny mum...
- The artist of Ears for Elves takes inspiration from manga and uses this on several characters. It happens to Elon here, after an exasperating attempt at warning Myari about the forest that ended with his embarrassment.