Blank White Eyes

When shocked or stunned emotionally, mentally or physically, the character's eyes are briefly replaced by blank white disks with sloppily-scrawled black "borders" around them. Functionally equivalent to the American Circling Birdies. Can be combined with Blue with Shock for extra impact. Glasses-wearing characters sometimes use (Not So) Scary Shiny Glasses instead. Note that because the pupils and iris allow light to enter the eyes, characters with blank white eyes should be blind.

This is a relatively recent trope; almost all shows or manga using it having shown up within the past decade. In even more recent media, this trope has seen a much wider range of uses, ranging from the function of making a character look funny, to simply depicting eyes on a character too far away to be drawn in detail.

See also Prophet Eyes for characters whose eyes are always completely white, and Color Failure for when they lose color all over. In some cases, it can also overlap with Dies Wide Open.

You can sort of do this if you roll your eyes into the back of your head.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh is filled with Blank White Eyes displayed in response to all manner of shock and surprise.
  • Bamboo Blade: Whenever Tamaki gets flustered, her art style goes Super-Deformed (rounder, her mouth and other facial features vanish), she shuffles and fidgets nervously, and her eyes go completely white.
  • In Berserk, Guts' eyes (or his good eye post-Eclipse) going completely white is as much of a danger sign as the Glowing Eyes of Doom. Guts has two berserk modes: Tranquil Fury (rarely seen) and the White Eyes. When the white eyes appear, it means that he is completely consumed by Unstoppable Rage, and that anything within the reach of his BFS is going to die very, very messily.
  • Bleach: Happens to Kon and a few other characters (Mostly during filler) during comedic moments.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Happens a lot. Confusing your opponent into submission is a valid form of martial art.
  • Chrono Crusade features this several times, particularly in cases involving poor Chrono.
  • In Death Note, Ryuk's eyes go completely white when he kills Light.
  • Dragon Ball: It usually denotes an Unstoppable Rage. Often accompanied by a Battle Aura if one was previously absent, and may be invoked by a Superpowered Evil Side.
    • Broly has this happen to him when he goes Legendary Super Saiyan
    • Trunks gains these only as he becomes an Ascended Super Saiyan (or Fan Nickname Ultra Super Saiyan), and regains his irises after he's done. Conveniently, this transformation makes him resemble Broly.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, blank white eyes on an inert character means they're dead. Before Z, simply Dies Wide Open was used.
  • Happens in Elfen Lied when Lucy gets her right horn knocked off by Number 35; she appears to be in shock/comatose (complete with white eyes) for several minutes.
  • In Excel Saga, the emergency food supply Menchi often expresses Blank White Eyes (sometimes in combination to Blue with Shock) whenever Excel or another character jokes about eating her.
  • Fairy Tail: By the time Natsu fights Laxus during the Battle of Fairy Tail arc, Laxus has officially become so mad with power that he loses all reason and tries to destroy everything and everyone. His state of madness is generally indicated by Blank White Eyes, and he regains his irises and pupils during his brief moments of lucidity.
  • The first episode of FLCL has Naota run over by the "Vespa-woman", thereby needing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Fruits Basket: Used to great effect, especially by mild mannered characters shocked with the insanity around them.
  • GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class: It is the default expression for Cloudcuckoolander Nodamiki.
  • In Genshiken, Saki goes Blank White Eyes with her Art Shift rage.
  • In Glass Mask, characters get this look when they're surprised, but also in moments of intense concentration.
  • Episode 21 of Gundam Build Fighters has everyone in the battle arena sporting these during the latter moments of Reiji and Aila's battle.
  • Hanayamata: Used extensively to picture surprise reactions, first of which is school girl Naru's bewilderness when what appeared to be like a piece of her dream come to life, a graceful "Fairy", suddenly offers her to dance together.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler
    • Nishizawa, after a hawk lands on her precious candy apple.
    • Hibino Fumi. Much more often than she looks normal.
  • In Hidamari Sketch, Yuno does that all the time; while Hiro does that when the paranormal is involved.
  • The iDOLM@STER: Haruka gets this when the Futami twins are trying to discover who stole the pudding.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, the main protagonist Tsuna had blank white eyes in one scene and the anime artists took it one step further by adding black shading around his eyes.
  • In Kin-iro Mosaic, Alice often has Blank Blue Eyes.
  • Lucky Star: One of Tsukasa's default expressions whenever Konata and Kagami start talking about things she's too innocent to know, like fanservice or dating games. But mostly she gets those small black oval blank-stare eyes.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Nanoha gets this a few times as she's being introduced to magic, then occasionally later, such as when she first sees Yuuno out of ferret form.
    • Or Yuuno himself, during the hot springs episode when he realises he's going to be in there with the girls and PANICS.
    • Yuuno also gets these once when Chrono refers to him as a "ferret-changeling" as a joke.
    • Nanoha also pulls those when Vita forgets her name in the A's series
      Vita: Takamachi Nantoka! ("This and That")
      Nanoha: IT'S NANOHA! NA-NO-HA!
    • Nanoha, when seeing Lindy drink her Japanese tea English-style with milk and sugar in one eyecatcher.
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, Fate gets Blank White Eyes after seeing Vivio transform into her Adult Mode, which looks just like the Sankt Kaiser mode, and when Vivio reminds her that she and Nanoha were quite reckless at her age.
  • Shiratori Ryuushi in Mahoraba has Blank White Eyes after receiving his off-screen punishment for not finishing his homework.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Negi is reduced to Blank White Eyes several times by the end of the first proper anime episode.
    • Negi gets them in Chapter 29 when Setsuna attempts a rather... hands on variation of a Groin Attack.
    • Negi get this, along with Luminescent Blush and Jaw Drop a few hours after receiving Nodoka's love confession.
    • Quite a few uses of blank black eyes in the manga as well.
    • This is pretty much the default expression of anyone who sees Rakan do his usual Crazy Awesome things.
    • In Chapter 265, when Negi is completely consumed by Black Magic Unstoppable Rage and transforms into a monstrous demon. The manga is black-and-white. In theory, a color adaptation can have his eyes glowing a different color.
    • The High Queen Arika of all people gets those when Nagi gives her Headbutt of Love while rescuing her from her execution.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya manga: This happens to Mikuru Asahina when her rack is grabbed by Haruhi.
  • In the Nana anime, Hachi gets these when Takumi brings her shoes for "a tiny person" (their future daughter), and she misinterprets him and remembers Sachiko.
  • Naruto:
    • Every time something goes wrong, such as when Sakura smacks Naruto upside the head for no reason.
    • Hinata, while already having Prophet Eyes, often gets these in embarrassing situations with Naruto in the anime.
    • Lee gets these when Sakura confesses that she loves Naruto, and looks fairly upset afterward.
    • Also in Shippuden, right after Sakura reveals how much she's learned with Tsunade. After Kakashi goes into hiding, she smashes her chakra-infused fist into the ground, causing it to tear up. The first time this happens, Naruto gets it as he's falling over (complete with a strangled "Huh?" noise.) When the smoke clears, Kakashi has these too, which shows that Sakura actually took him by surprise by doing that.
  • In One Piece:
    • Character's eyes will go blank upon final defeat (the term "final" being used loosely). It is virtually the only sure-fire way to tell a character has been removed from the current fight.
    • Subverted with Gedatsu, Chopper's opponent in Skypiea. He's so stupid that he keeps his eyes rolled up into his head constantly, even though he can't see a thing while doing it.
    • Subverted with Kaku, as a show of how he was Graceful Loser unlike most villains, he doesn't get these, instead looking serene like he's sleeping when he's defeated.
    • Luffy grabs a pair after Ace gets killed in front of his eyes.
    • The children from Punk Hazard, when the effects of the drug Caesar Clown fed them take their toll.
    • Played for Laughs in the filler Warship Island arc: a Marine soldier gets them after Apis accidentally kicks him in the nuts.
  • One of the earliest examples: Oruchuban Ebichu uses it on occasion, usually with the title character.
  • Ouran High School Host Club uses a slight variant, where the eyes are half-closed, making the eyes look like a sideways "P".
  • Pokémon is using this more in newer episodes, particularly with Dawn's penguin-like pokemon Piplup.
  • Record of Lodoss War anime features another case of the white-eyed berserker in Orson. He is normally The Stoic and one of the nicest characters of the anime, but when the white eyes appear — usually when someone's hurt his partner Shiris or anyone else he cares about — it is generally not advisable to be anywhere in his general vicinity.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal: Though it typically lacks comedic Art ShiftsThe Klutz Usagi exhibits these briefly while suffering Agony of the Feet, after her "Sailor V Kick" meant for her Annoying Younger Sibling Shingo instead hits their shutting front door.
    • Played for Drama when the Senshi are brutally attacked by Metallia and lose consciousness.
  • In Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo, Kaoruko Odagiri gets these whenever she starts cloud cuckoolanding.
  • Shaman King:
    • Seen when Yoh witnesses Hao (Zeke in the US dub)'s malicious acts, and once by Anna, near the finale. (She's usually the least emotional character in the show, usually only displaying quiet anger and a deadpan.)
    • Employed throughout the series to show extreme shock/surprise/fear/anger in various characters.
  • Soul Eater: It's used when Kid is fighting 'properly' (not bothered by symmetry), as when he fought Black Star, and when fighting Mosquito.
  • Vinland Saga: Whenever Bjorn goes berserk, his eyes turn blank white and he tears people apart with his bare hands.
  • Wife and Wife: Shows up on Kina in the first chapter, when Suu-chan declares that they need to buy "Essentials" before they buy a bed together.
  • In the first episode X-Men anime by studio Madhouse, Dr. McCoy is presenting a lecture to his students about recent experiments he's performed in enhancing cephalopod intelligence, and has brought one of his test subjects, a squid, to demonstrate. Receiving a call from the X-Men, he declares he's leaving, but will give the class over to the squid he brought while he's gone. The students laugh it up... until the squid activates a vocalizer and calls them all to order, whereupon they sprout these.
  • Yotsuba&!: Happens to everybody, most often in response to the eponymous Cheerful Genki Girl.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Bakura imagines taking Yugi-as-the-Dark-Magician over with Change of Heart, his eyes are pictured as this... along with a very disturbing look on his face.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes features every character with these, unless they have glasses or if they are shocked.
  • Little Orphan Annie, one of the oldest examples.
    • Discussed in a "Two A-Holes" sketch on Saturday Night Live.
      Adoption Agent: So why adoption?
      Female A-Hole: I love the movie Annie.
      Male A-Hole: You ever heard of Little Orphan Annie?
      Adoption Agent: Yes, I know it.
      Male A-Hole: Yeah, it was an old comic strip. Annie had no eyeballs. Then they did the movie version - guess what? She had eyeballs!
      Adoption Agent: And your point is?
      Female A-Hole: We want a baby with eyeballs.

    Video Games 
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix and Edgeworth frequently do the Blank White Eyes when caught by surprise.
    • Look closely at Phoenix's sprite, and you can sorta make out the pinhole pupil, though.
  • On a non-humorous partial example, Ganondorf's eyes go white when he dies.
  • Practically everybody in the supporting cast of Elite Beat Agents has Blank White Eyes at some point in the game. Even in the Tear Jerker levels. (Ironically, the agents are some of the characters who don't get Blank White Eyes; because they're always wearing Cool Shades).
  • Ouendan probably did this even more. Heck, half of the Ouendan themselves sport this expression at a few points! (Once when they get sucked into Ancient Egypt, and when you fail to stop the meteor.)
  • Mother 3 has one scrapped out frightening sequence where you fought what it could be described a nightmare incarnation of Lucas, one of their incarnation was his brother Claus in blank white eyes.
  • Bubble Memories, a sequel to Bubble Bobble, uses Blank White Eyes for Bub or Bob instead of the unique eyes-struck-out-by-a-literal-black-line upon death. The struck-out-eyes are still used when either of them touch bubbled lightning/fire.
    • SPACE Puzzle Bobble: When Bob(blun) is used and the board is almost full, his eyes go blank and his jaw drops before he pushes it back up and his eyes go back to normal (and the animation loops).
  • In Kirby Super Star (Ultra), this happens with Lololo when you defeat him.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, some monster varieties like serpents and treants sport these whenever they get hit.
  • One of Flonne's stock poses in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
  • A constant for the Iop class in Dofus and Wakfu.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 does this in a very creepy manner. After Solidus drops his mechanical tentacles halfway through the battle with him, you get a codec call from the AI Colonel and Rose, and as Rose talks to you, her eyes suddenly go blank.
  • In Rayman Origins, Rayman's eyes go blank whenever he freaks out, gets hurt, or is in balloon-state (dead).
  • When you find out his name, Doopliss in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
  • In Cave Story, Balrog does this whenever he is defeated by Quote.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

     Visual Novels 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker is pro wrestling's Trope Codifier for this. He does this so often it's pretty much part of his gimmick. When Taker rolls his eyes back in his head, most people are running away really fast because when he gets to that point in a match where he decides this is appropriate, it generally means your ass is grass and he's the lawnmower. Ironically, Taker's eyes are always white in the comic book based on him done by Chaos Comics.
  • Judas Messias did the same thing in TNA for awhile before he abruptly vanished from the company.

    Western Animation