Want another way to help show what a Yandere, Stalker with a Crush, or how distressed/depressed a character is? Don't just have them hurt themselves or another person. Instead of having them create a random wound, make it a recognizable pattern. This could take the form of a word, letters, or a symbol. The mark chosen usually has some sort of symbolism, like the name of a crush, as way to show just how obsessive the person is. It may or may not leave a scar. Done to another person, then it is torture. If it is done to themselves, then it would be a subtrope of Self-Harm, carrying a lot of the same ideas with added symbolism. Or they Couldn't Find a Pen.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- In Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest the Big Bad Haguro Dou becomes completely and crazily obsessed with protagonist (and werewolf) Inugami. He initially doesn't care about or even think twice about Inugami... until he pushes Inugami too far. Which results in Inugami showing him his true form and scaring Haguro. Haguro goes insane from it, and obsesses and stalks Inugami after that, even cutting himself all over his arm and carving the word "Inu" onto his hand.
- Baccano!: Not the skin exactly, but The Rail Tracer threatens Czeslaw Mayer with torture involving "stripping away each individual arm muscle and doing intricate carvings on the exposed bone."
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: When the League first encounters Fu Manchu he is writing on someone's back with acid or other corrosive chemical. It establishes that he's not a nice guy.
- During Bendis' Daredevil run, Daredevil (who's been in a bit of a bad place lately) fights his old enemy Bullseye for the first time since Bullseye killed his girlfriend Karen Page. Daredevil mocks Bullseye, saying that he found out about his past and tells him how pathetic he really is. After beating him down, Daredevil notices that Bullsyee now has a tattoo of a bullseye on his forehead. Taunting him about trying to have a "symbol", Daredevil grabs a nearby sharp object and carves an actual bullseye into his head.
- In the Death Note Dark Fic The Faceless L carves his own name into his flesh while being held prisoner at Kira's PoW Camp in an attempt to remember who he is.
- In another Death Note Dark Fic Monster, when Light "recovers" L he carves an "L" into his hip. L muses it's a "two percent chance that the L was for Lawliet, and a ninety-eight percent chance it was for "Light's"."
- In the infamous The Girl Who Lived series, Rose Potter magically inscribes the words "Potter stinks" into Ron's forehead just because he questioned her relationship with Hermione. (Furthermore, the only reason he is asking is because he is being Locked Out of the Loop.) This was considered a Moral Event Horizon crossing in the eyes of critics, and considered to be proof that Rose is just as horrible as Voldemort.
- In the Lost Girl fic, Scars, Bo has become lost to the darkness inside her. After she and Lauren get into a fight, Bo rapes her (all night long), and claims Lauren as her property by carving a "B" into her shoulder. Lauren is, quite understandably, left emotionally and mentally broken by the ordeal.
- Hivefled: The Makara and Peixes symbols were carved into the back of Gamzee's neck in the style of the now-obsolete traditional slave marks (troll slavery was banned when enough other species were conquered to be used instead), along with words translated from the Con Lang Alternian as "slut", "pet", "rape toy", "pail", and "worthless". The final brand, "namoha", translates as "one who is owned by a higher", and binds him forever to the Highblood. Yeah, it's that kind of fanfic.
- in the Emergency! fic "Lost and Found" Gage has three parallel lines carved into his abdomen with a knife by his captor. The man's earlier victims had them as well. He tells John it marks him as his.
- In Harry Potter, Bellatrix carves the Fantastic Slur "Mudblood" into Hermione's arm.
- In the 1996 movie Fear David carves the name Nicole (the girl he's Yandere for) into his chest.
- In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Neil Patrick Harris brands his initials on prostitutes.
- The swastikas carved by the Inglourious Basterds in the foreheads of their surviving victims.
- In Looper, when a future looper comes back to the present and starts causing trouble, a way of communicating with them is to grab their younger self, and carve words into their arm. The scars appear on the future self at the same time (the film does not follow the idea of the Stable Time Loop), and they get ordered to be at a certain place or their younger self dies rather horribly. When one future looper is late for his ordered execution, his nose and limbs start disappearing as his younger self is dismembered.
- The main character in Prey For Rock N Roll tattoos the word RAPIST on the forehead of her bandmate's attacker.
- Blackbeard carves a trident-shaped sort of mark into Jack Sparrow's chest (with voodoo, no less) in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The P for "Pirate" on Jack's right arm also counts, though it's branded, not carved; Cutler Beckett personally branded him and describes it as "his mark".
- In Stephen King's It Henry Bowers carved the first letter of his name into Ben Hanscomb's belly with a knife, and would have put his whole name down there if Ben hadn't fought back and gotten away. Ben still had an H-shaped scar on his stomach nearly 30 years later to show for it.
- It's a tattoo rather than a cut, but the principle is the same when Lisbeth Salander tattoos her rapist with the words "I am a sadistic pig, a pervert and a rapist".
- Played with in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix when Umbridge has Harry use a special quill to write down "I must not tell lies" onto a piece of paper but it magically carves the sentence into the back of his hand.
- In Gary Jennings' Aztec, after the Spaniards arrive, many of the indigenous people are taken into slavery. Their captors carve the letter "G" into one cheek, for "guerra," marking them as war captives.
- This is the central trope in Franz Kafka's "The Punishment Machine", and might well have inspired the Harry Potter example.
- In Oz Schillinger offers to be Beecher's new cellmate. Beecher accepts the offer from the seemingly helpful Schillinger, but on their first night in the cell together Schillinger rapes Beecher and "brands" him by burning a swastika design into his right buttock.
- Keller later tries to cheer Beecher up about it by showing him different patterns the swastika can changed into, but Beecher declines pointing out those involve his ass being branded even more.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "I Robot,You Jane" had Malcom, the kid who was running the show for Moloch, the demon in the computer, burning a design on his arm with some type of computer-powered laser.
- Angel. A vampire sired by Angelus adopted his Calling Card of slicing a cross in the cheek of his victims to spite God.
- In the P!nk music video "Fucking Perfect" there's a girl who carves the word "Perfect" into her arm in the bathtub.
- The "Weird Al" Yankovic sung-by-a-stalker song "Do I Creep You Out?" (sung to the tune of "Do I Make You Proud?") has the lyric:
Call you every night and hang up / Gonna carve your name in my leg / In my leg, oh, oh!
- In the webcomic Goblins, the Goblin Slayer carved the word "MONSTER" into Fumbles' forehead. Some other prisoners have had words carved into their foreheads as well, such as "COWARD".
- To Write Love On Her Arms - Renee cuts "FUCK UP" on her arm.
- Adam Dodd of Survival of the Fittest carved the word "rapist" into the chest of Cody Jenson, who had raped Madelaine Shirohara before killing her, during the conclusion of their final battle.
- Richey Edwards and his infamous 4REAL incident.
- Ashley Todd became internet famous when she said she was attacked by a Scary Black Man who carved the letter "B" for Barack Obama into her face. Turns out she was faking, and part of how it was proved was that the "B" was backward because she did it in a mirror.