troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Cast of Snowflakes

I think I see the Ninth Doctor in there.

"You all have such interesting faces..."
Levi, Attack on Titan

Sometimes, an artist has decided to take the time to give even the most incidental of background characters each a unique face and appearance. Doing this is time-consuming and difficult, but man does it make for Awesome Art. It also often requires the artist to kick Generic Cuteness in the face and throw it out the window — which, in turn, can make characters that are supposed to be attractive a whole lot more attractive by comparison to the other characters.

Please note that almost all the facial features of the characters are different. Slight changes in hairstyle, hair colour, eye shape or eye colour do not count. The opposite of this trope is Only Six Faces, where even the main characters tend to look alike. In video games, there are usually only six background characters (You ALL Look Familiar). Tends to go hand in hand with Loads and Loads of Characters. Sort of related to Taste the Rainbow, where a class of characters may come in a huge number of permutations. Unrelated to Special Snowflake Syndrome.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist. There are Loads and Loads of Characters, with many of them in the Redshirt Army. Nearly all of the characters (with the exception of, what, four or five out of how many dozen?) have either black or blonde hair, making facial features more significant.
    • Maybe her ability to distinguish similarly built characters is why Father looks completely different from first Hohenheim and then Ed (especially Ed, there seems to be barely a passing resemblance between the alchemist and his counterpart due to mannerisms and attitude alone) even though he is identical to them in physical features. The same tactics are used to differ Ling from Greed after they end up sharing a body and amazingly can still be fairly easily told apart from one another when they switch dominance in control.
    • And to make it more impressive: Not only are the characters in Arakawa's Silver Spoon also very different from each other, they're also quite different from the FMA characters, with occasional exceptions that are so obvious one might claim it's a deliberate Expy, such as the P.E. teacher who looks a lot like Major Armstrong.
  • One Piece is king of this. Need a big crowd of Amazons? Marauding army of Pirates? Every single one of them with have a unique face, hairstyle, outfit, and most likely, superpower.
    • But it must also be said, that One Piece kinda has it easy in creating distinct characters, as it often just features extremely bizarre character designs, unrealistic proportions and a large number of Gonks.
    • However, the biggest improvement in the art of One Piece has been the elimination of Nami clones, Eiichiro Oda has gotten much better at drawing women, giving them small details that separate their appearance, rather than just unique hair styles that most mangaka seem to use as a crutch
  • Berserk same with FMA but with hundreds of (realistic) sets of armor.
  • Monster, oh Monster. As shown in the page pic, the style allows the artist to give variety to various features, including the noses and eyes.
  • Taken to a logical extreme in Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, where the series occasionally gives names to many characters, sometimes two per second, and all of them have a distinct personality and style. In fact, the opening is a good example of how to introduce every major character in the series. However, the series will also parody the trope by giving useless names to One Scene Wonders, like Kissme!
  • Hiroya Oku's Gantz. Necessary, since the whole cast wears identical black suits.
  • Liar Game is a rather impressive example considering that each new arc introduces about 15 new characters. Not only is each character distinct but the characters facial expressions display a range of emotions wider than the vast majority of manga.
  • Black Butler definitely applies. There are whole new sets of characters in every arc, yet all of them are easily distinguishable.
    • Despite some contradictions between characters (such as Sebastian and Vincent, Bardroy and Phipps, etc.), Toboso Yana still stays within this trope by varying their expressions and overall body-language. While most of her bishies are long-jawed and narrow-eyed, one would still be able to identify them naked and bald.
  • Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru gives everyone a unique appearance in terms of build, facial structure and features, not to mention diverse wardrobes, down to the unnamed bit part characters.
  • Soul Eater is pretty good with this. Every character in the series, most notably the main cast, has unique eyes, mouths, body types, and of course, hairstyles. You could differentiate the characters from miles away. However, some characters tend to look extremely alike (such as Patty and Kim), and in the anime at least it's a subversion as background characters are greyed out and indistinct, differing from a proper Cast of Snowflakes.
  • Baccano! is a good example of this. Despite the fact the most characters are simply wearing suits and many have similar (and realistic) hairstyles, every character in the massive cast looks completely unique.
    • Durarara!!, also. Since it's set in a massive city, it applies Conservation of Detail to distinguish greater population of figures who are not cast by leaving them indistinct and grey. Still, many extras are also distinctly detailed.
  • RahXephon - all of the character designs are given unique facial profiles, making sure that everyone has a unique appearance. The only exception being the Isshki clones, but who counts them, anyhow?
  • Common with classic manga artists, such as Osamu Tezuka, Shotaro Ishinomori, Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa. Impressive when you consider that these artists generally drew most of their characters with black hair and conservative hair styles.
  • Masanori Morita, author of Rokudenashi Blues and Rookies, is very good at this. Despite none of the characters wearing particularly distinctive outfits and only a few having Anime Hair of any kind, each of them has a very distinctive face. It helps that he draws in a very realistic style.
  • Takeshi Obata is good at this . . .
    • Hikaru no Go? All the characters wear normal, everyday clothes. But all of them are very distinct and unique - including the old people, fat people, young people, etc.
    • The Death Note manga has distinct faces for nearly everyone, including random criminals who only appear once in a mugshot (though they tend to look a bit odd). Essential since there are Loads and Loads of Characters.
      • On the other hand, as the artist himself acknowledges, the female characters tend to look very similar, save for their hairstyles.
    • The one time a character (one of the Yotsuba Group executives) looks similar (yet distinct) to the main character, Light, it's fixed by Misa Lampshade Hanging.
  • Many (if not all) of Satoshi Kon's works feature this, most noticeably in Paranoia Agent, which has Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Eyeshield 21 goes above and beyond when it comes to making each character extremely distinctive. Every audience shot is filled with detailed, individualized people, and one can even spot the "regulars" amongst the crowd. And even if a character has so much as ONE notable speaking line, you can guarantee there's gonna be a little character profile for them at the end of the chapter.
    • And of course, that's not even mentioning the HUGE cast of main and secondary characters who are in football uniform 75% of the time, who are still instantly recognizable due to very distinctive body types and faces.
    • A quiz in one of the manga volumes just shows a bunch of hands and has the reader identify what characters they belong to. Yes, even their hands are unique.
  • Zetman definitely falls into this trope.
  • The 33 background students in Class 3-2 from the second season of K-On! all have distinctive character designs (although one of them looks like Mio wearing glasses, and another is an Expy of Rukia Kuchiki).
  • Darker Than Black has completely unique designs for practically every major and minor character. Most notably the contractors, who along with having very odd appearances compared to the non contractor characters, all feature completely unique and often abstract abilities, along with a unique and abstract remuneration.
    • This uniqueness even extends to characters who only show up for a few minutes at best. Burger-Kun for example. The character designs often add strange or unusual aspects to a characters appearance with no real reasoning behind it, such as Wei's elf ears, Amagiri's one eye always half closed, and Maki's heterochromia.
  • Hellsing definitely applies. While it's not a manga with Loads and Loads of Characters per se, the main and secondary characters in it are all extremely stylized with completely unique outfits, hairstyles, facial features, weapons and poses.
  • Rosario + Vampire is pretty good about this, especially post Art Evolution. Every character has distinct facial features and expressions, with various traits by which to distinguish themselves, including secondary characters and even some recurring extras. And while the series may not have Loads and Loads of Characters, with 30-some noteworthy characters in the mix it's certainly well on its way.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn! has an insane amount of characters but each of them are distinct from each other (and if there is a resemblance, expect there to be a reason).
  • Inariya Fusanosuke manages to pull this off in Maiden Rose despite the fact that 90% of the cast are wearing the same military uniform, of the same ethnicity and with no Anime Hair to speak of.
  • Anything made by Yoshihiro Togashi.
    • In any given series Togashi created, it'll even go into "Nonstandard Character Design" territory. Some of the characters he creates look like they belong to some other manga series, especially in the case of Hunter × Hunter. In some cases, it's just... weird.
  • Tweeny Witches is very good about this. Even though most of the characters are young girls.
  • Pokémon Special is usually pretty good with this, with the exception of the evil teams' Mooks. However, the Team Plasma grunts all have strikingly different faces and bodies.
  • Battle Angel Alita and its sequel series Last Order both have extremely varied character designs, even for the most minor background cyborgs. If two character resemble each other, it's likely related to plot or thematic reasons, and not the artist being lazy.
  • Shiki characters have very different faces from each other, even the ones who are only in a little while. Their body types tend to be the same, though.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a variety of distinct character faces.
  • Blade of the Immortal definitely deserves a mention. As it's set in the Edo-era Japan, most characters wear kimonos and have pretty normal hair styles and colours, but Hiroaki Samura's realistic and detailed art style allows for plenty of variation in face and body features... though fans have complained that his women look too much alike.
  • Girls und Panzer might count as an exaggerated example. In a show with 32 main characters in the protagonist team alone (and then we start adding the five main rival teams, the support cast...) they still go out of their way to try to make random background characters memorable. Then they add personal traits (as meta-characters) to the teams and tanks themselves, to the point that the sheer detail of each apparently broke the folder system.
  • Ravages Of Time notably manages a greatly varied roster of faces for the male cast even for those who are only around for brief or even seemingly one-time appearances. Unfortunately, with women Only Six Faces is in full effect.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia's Generic Cuteness and excessive use of Idiot Hair could make one assume it has a case of Only Six Faces. But no two characters have the same eyes. Many characters also have distinctive jawlines and expressions. Most people accusing Hetalia of having Only Six Faces probably only saw the anime pre-Art Evolution.
  • The main cast of Attack on Titan are all distinct in terms of face shape, eye shape, build, etc, which is especially impressive since almost all of them wear the same uniform.
    • Pretty much every Titan that gets any screentime is very distinctive too. Lots of the have a Fan Nickname based on their appearance.
  • A Certain Magical Index and its spinoff A Certain Scientific Railgun does a good job of this considering the Loads and Loads of Characters. Even Mikoto's clones have slight variances from her. One exception is that Shutaura Sequenzia from the Miracle of Endymion movie looks exactly like Seiri Fukiyose. The series' artist, Kiyotaka Haimura, realized this too late and apologized to the fans when the movie came out and he noticed the mistake.
  • Blue Exorcist does this really well. However, Kato also takes into consideration family relations and so you can actually see they are related by their similiar features (for example Rin, Yukio, Amaimon and Mephisto all sons of Satan) but still are easily identifiable.
  • Gash Bell is this by far! Multiple demons and their book owners are introduced, all distinguishable. Even friends, simply allies, and one episode characters are this.
  • Becomes increasingly common in Tsutomu Takahashi's works as his draftsmanship improves, with most of the characters in Sky High, Sidooh and Hito Hitori Futari all having unique designs.
  • Kill la Kill is very good at giving everyone, both important and of lesser importance, distinct appearances. The heavy stylization helps.
  • Every main and even background character in Yowamushi Pedal has a unique face and build, which is quite necessary considering the Loads and Loads of Characters, and also quite impressive when you realise that while Imaizumi and Arakita have the same hair colour, eye colour and a near identical hairstyle, they also look nothing like each other.

    Comic Books 
  • Bryan Hitch of The Ultimates fame, known for his realistic depiction of superheroes, loves drawing scenes with many characters. And they all have different faces. He is also known for drawing superhero characters who don't wear masks, and yet keeping them recognizable.
    • Alan Davis blows Hitch away in this regard, though it can be ironic, in that he often works with previously existing characters & gives them distinctive faces they didn't have before.
  • R. Crumb's recent rendition of the Book of Genesis includes a unique and detailed depiction of every single "Begat" in the entire book.
  • George Perez (Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Avengers) loves drawing huge crowd scenes better than almost anything else, and will gleefully fill a page with miniscule Where's Waldo-sized figures who each look different from one another.
  • Comic book painter Alex Ross (Marvels, Kingdom Come) is very good about this as well. He is notable for using live models for most of his work.
  • Gil Kane (Green Lantern) was always pretty good about this.
  • ElfQuest by Wendy and Richard Pini.
  • A random crowd in Sillage will usually be made up of lots of different species. If there is a pair of one species in such a scene, this might not apply, but as soon as a group made up of individuals of one species is featured, and there are no plot/worldbuilding reasons, they will get the Cast of Snowflakes treatment.
  • Astérix, which is impressive considering that almost everyone has the same bulbous nose.
    • Even more impressive if you notice that this is combined with distinguishing the ethnic groups by giving the members of the same ethnic group some subtle common facial or body traits.
  • Tintin as a lot of different supporting characters, from different ethnicities, and all of them are different. They are all represented on the inside covers of each of the modern French albums
  • Bone is great with this.
  • Sergio Aragonés sways back and forth, much for the same reason as the Japanese mangaka examples above. When you really look at a crowd scene, he makes every effort (which is very hard with his art style) to give everyone a unique appearance, while in his shorts you see characters reused very often. In fact some shorts are all one person, ala the classic Goofy sports and safety shorts.
  • Crowd scenes in DC Comics' yearly mega-crossovers. Hey, look, there's the last living Bloodlines guy! Bonus: when they include made-up heroes nobody has ever seen before as crowd-filler.
  • Done nicely in Watchmen. Dave Gibbons went to great lengths to give each character a distinctive look both in and out of costume and often used actor's faces for inspiration. The Comedian was based on Groucho Marx, while Rorschach was based off Bruce Weitz as Belker in Hill Street Blues.
    Dave Gibbons: "I wanted them to be individuals, more like the near-caricatures common in European comics, rather than the square-jawed variations on a theme of most American comics."
  • The Dark Knight Returns involves not only a decent sized cast of main characters, but many different media pundits and man on the street interviews with the random denizens of Gotham and they all look different, except the Mutants who are trying to look alike.
  • Kyle Baker is quite skilled at caricature so the casts for his comics tend to all be visually distinct.
  • Strangers in Paradise, by Terry Moore.
  • Persepolis doesn't make every crowd look different from page to page, but in any given panel every non-fundamentalist portrayed will differ in some way from the others, even if they're all dressed identically. (Fundamentalists, however, can usually only be told apart by gender.)
  • Chris Claremont's first X-Men team follows this, with each character being very distinct from one another. You have Cyclops, who goes around wearing red sunglasses or visors. Then there's Storm, a tall, voluptuous white haired black woman in a sexy black costume. Next is Wolverine, a short guy who has metal claws and wears a yellow and blue suit. Banshee was an Irish redhead with a yellow and green costume, and Colossus is a big Russian guy who spends much of his time in his metal form. Finally there was Nightcrawler, the most distinct of them all. He resembled a blue demon, pointy tail and all, and went around in a tight red suit.
  • Although Ultimate Spider-Man suffered from Only Six Faces under Mark Bagley and Stuart Immonen's pencils, the characters got more varied in appearance when Dave Lafuente showed up and kept their new looks when Sara Pichelli took over. Originally you could barely tell Kitty Pryde from Spider-Woman. Now you could never make that mistake.
  • Usagi Yojimbo tends to follow this rule - you can generally see when an issue was a little rushed because the crowds tend to be generic dog-like creatures, but when time permits the artist/writer loves to present crowd scenes in which every face is different. The comic also has Loads and Loads of Characters, so at times one will spot a minor recurring character passing by who has nothing to do with that issue's story at all.

    Fan Works 

    Film 
  • The non-human characters in the Star Wars movies, regardless of whether they were puppets or CG, as with Ewoks and Wookiees. A marked exception is the crowd of dancing Gungans at the end of the Phantom Menace: not only are they identical, their movements are in perfect unison.
  • Also used to great effect in James Cameron's Avatar, in which the many mo-cap Na'vi are as distinguishable from each other as real humans.
  • The Hobbit: A good effort has been made to avert Our Dwarves Are All the Same and make thirteen of them all distinguishable. See here.
  • The cast of characters in ParaNorman.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ostensibly the point of paint-your-own miniatures in any number of tabletop games. Not everyone bothers, however, to paint theirs differently, or at all.

    Video Games 
  • Sometimes in video games, faces will be made and put through an "imperfect factory" using procedural generation. The result of this is that everyone looks different, without causing the artists too much pain. Extensively used in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
    • Fallout 3 uses the same engine; the absence of You All Look Familiar is impressive. (Especially amongst the ghouls, who are significantly harder to distinguish by facial features alone. They all have different-looking rotted flesh.)
  • Dishonored uses a blend of gritty realism and stylization for its character designs, which results in each of them looking in a way that indicates their function: thugs and bandits are brutish, wide-set brutes with hands as big as their heads, as are the lower city guards. Meanwhile, Watch officers and nobles are gaunt, noble-looking dudes that emanate arrogance, and Renaissance Man and famous drunkard Anton Sokolov rightly looks like a blend of Grigori Rasputin and Leonardo da Vinci. The game's character design is one of its main attractions.
  • The 3D Zelda games tend to do this with the human and Hylian characters. Whether they do it with other races, though, depends on the game and the race.
    • Special mention goes to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, in which every single character was unique, no matter what race or how minor they were. In fact, one (massive) sidequest involves taking pictures of them and turning them in to a special character, who will make neat little figurines of the pictures' subjects. Incidentally, this sidequest is one of the few in any Zelda game where stuff can be missed, which is probably why it's one of the few 3D Zelda games with a New Game+.
  • Elite Beat Agents. Some of these people seriously look like possible clients for the agents to take on.
  • Ōkami is a pro at this. Every villager in every town and city is completely different, everyone actually has a name (if Nameless Man counts as a name). Not to mention the Dragonians, Sparrows, and the Oina tribe could have been easily written off as different examples of a Planet of Hats, but instead are all completely unique. Even the Emperor's Red Shirt Army has a variety of guards that vary in appearance. What's additionally surprising is that about 99% of the characters from this 40-hour long game actually all have official art.
  • In Bully, every character in the game is unique. One of the mini-games revolves around finding all 60 students and taking photos of them. Add the various school staff and townsfolk to that 60, and the game has over 100 characters.
  • Just about every NPC and playable character in Skies of Arcadia has a unique model, from face to body shape, with a few of the merchants being the exceptions. Impressive, given that it was an originally a Dreamcast game.
  • Metal Gear manages to give every character in the series a unique model.
  • Shenmue and its sequel (which are largely set in urban areas with milling crowds) are distinguished for having every single background and NPC character be a unique person with their own in-game home, daily schedule throughout the day and unique voice. The "special features" DVD even includes a brief description of each person. So if you see an NPC character walk by in the street, and later see someone who looks the same in a shop, they don't just look alike, they are the same person.
  • Timestalkers has around 80 unique characters, although being an RPG the enemy creatures aren't afforded such luxuries (four per 'monster family'). Still, being an RPG, it is hugely impressive. Also, non-consumable items? Yes that's right, ALSO given the same treatment. (almost, most knuckle weapons look alike unless they have a special element/material.) Even if you dislike this sort of game, its worth it to hunt down and try just to take in the attention to detail.
  • Dwarf Fortress does that on every Person and even animal. Since the visuals are bare-bones, it is shown in text, but is still an amazing example. Each dwarf has his/her own personality traits that influence how they respond to certain events and how they go about their day. And it does that not only procedural but includes genetics too! DF2010 adds even more details, now including what each creature looks like. (Here's a description of a random dwarf.)
  • Princess Waltz is notable among Visual Novels for giving every minor character their own set of unique paper dolls. In a big way, this helps to set up a big reveal around mid-game that one of those minor characters isn't so minor after all...
  • Ace Attorney tends to keep the cast as small as possible if they can get away with it, but every single character that has a name is instantly recognisable. Helped somewhat by some characters being drawn in notably different styles from the rest, such as Mike Meekins.
  • Fire Emblem games love this trope. Every one has a playable cast of at least 20 characters and a huge amount of side characters, all of whom look different. Generic enemies and Non Player Characters usually don't get this luxury.
  • Red Dead Redemption gives every NPC a unique appearance, populating entire villages with them.
    • There's still the occasional bug that spawns more than one of the same character in one town.
  • The Halo 3 Believe commercials featuring the miniatures pulled this off, no human face looked the same.
  • The Inazuma Eleven games take this Up to Eleven by having Loads and Loads of Characters (over 1000 characters in the first game, and over 2000 in the third), of which every single one has a unique set of head sprites, 3D head model, mug shot, and a short bio. And this is all crammed onto a little Nintendo DS card, mind you.
  • The cast of Morenatsu almost all look completely different. Exceptions are the Uncanny Family Resemblance of Kounosuke and Yukiharu, and Nanafuse assuming the appearance of Shun. Even in the latter case, Nanafuse has eerily distinct facial expressions that make him impossible to actually confuse with Shun.
  • Harvest Moon is well-known for this.
  • Team Fortress 2's nine playable classes were specifically designed to look different from one another, to make them easy to pick out on the battlefield. In particular, each has a distinct silhouette that can be easily identified at a glance.
    • This even extends to their weapons! For example, the Scout's melee weapons range from an aluminum baseball bat, to a roll of wrapping paper, to a wooden baseball bat, to a dead fish!
    • The extension goes so far as to include the NPC cast. It goes so far as to include a pair of twins, who are the only discrete characters who look identical.
    • The players themselves can do this even within classes. With the glut of cosmetic items and new weapons which randomly drop and the paint that can be applied to them, even an uninitiated observer can pick out different players simply by what they wear and what weapons they carry.
  • Just about every NPC in Solatorobo has a unique sprite, and even generic enemies have some personality attached to them or contain two or three permutations of the same enemy class. Lampshaded during one sidequest:
    Red: Another "unique" character I have to deal with. Gimme a break...
  • League of Legends has a cast of (as-of-writing) 109 playable characters, all of them looking and playing completely differently from each other.
  • The last few of Koei's eleven (soon to be twelve) Romance of the Three Kingdoms games have over six hundred officers... and ALL of them have a unique, hand-drawn portrait. Even as far back as the second game there were three hundred and fifty officers with less than half of them assembled from stock graphics, with none of them assembled identically.
  • BlazBlue takes this to the next level. As well as having many different looks, abilties and personalities due to the game being set in a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, all the playable characters have a unique gameplay mechanic or attack. Apart from the anime art style and the guitar work in the character themes, there is almost nothing the cast has in common.
    • A trait (minus the Drives) that BlazBlue shares in common with its predecessor Guilty Gear, naturally.
  • Cave Story: Pretty much every named character has a unique talk sprite and game sprite. Even the Mimiga are easily identifiable from another; it's impossible to mistake Jack for Santa, Sue for Torokonote , Fat Mimiga for Fishing Mimiga, etc.
  • Xenoblade has a long list of Non Player Characters, almost every one of which has a unique appearance. Even among the generic, unnamed Non Player Characters, it's almost impossible to find two exactly identical.
  • The various personalities and races of WildStar are as bright and colorful as the world itself.
  • Good luck finding two background NPCs, let alone player characters, who look even remotely alike in Skullgirls. Well, aside from the Egrets, but they're a special case.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle mixes aspects of Araki's evolving art style without completely succumbing to the homogenization and lower muscle mass of his current art, and as a result, there's a lot of diversity.
  • Writers for the Star Trek Online Foundry find that hitting the "random" button once or twice is a very good way to create individualized extras for their missions. Many authors take full advantage, although there's a hard cap to how many custom NPCs you can have in a given mission. There's also a godly number of premade NPCs that are useful.
  • Every Wonderful One in The Wonderful 101 is unique. All 100+ of them. Each one has their own name, superhero alias, outfit, signature weapon, catchphrase, and pointless set of stats, as well as each one coming from different cities in the world.
  • Dangan Ronpa is very good at giving all the students very distinct looks from each other, helped by the fact that some are drawn in different ways to others. This is even worked in as a plot point, as the fact that twins Ikusaba and Enoshima have different faces is what leads Naegi to the truth.
  • Each and every customer in the Papa Louie series of time-management games has their own dress style and facial appearance. In the two latest games, which introduced holidays, the toughest customers even get their own Halloween costumes.
  • The characters in the flash game Click 'em Up and the sequel are all different from each other (not counting on using the same characters in the same level). Heck, some even have abilities and they are clicked different as well.

    Web Animation 
  • The CCC series does to a large extent.
  • Homestar Runner gives a unique character design to every character. Strong Bad, Strong Mad, and Strong Sad are brothers and don't resemble each other in the least. The only characters who even look remotely like each other are Homestar and Homsar, and that's because Homsar started as a one-off joke to make fun of a misspelling of "Homestar".
  • Every student in Monster High has their own distinct look, as well as being different creatures.

    Webcomics 
  • Generic Cuteness is a rule in Chirault and it's sometimes hard to tell whether someone is a he or a she, but the latter is caused exactly by this trope: some guys are more effeminate than others and some ladies are more masculine than them. So the end result is fairly diverse.
  • Opplopolis has a large cast of various ages, body types and ethnicities. Even the aliens are surprisingly distinguishable, despite their uniform, circular eyes.
  • Guilded Age has quite the unique cast. Even besides the obvious body types differences between races (humans, gnomes, dwarves, elves, savage beasts, etc.), all of the characters have instantaneously recognizable faces.
  • Background characters in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! tend to have unique faces. Even characters who initially appear as just random people in a crowd will typically return later with distinct names and personalities.
  • Characters in Penny Arcade tend to look unique except in the first two years or so of the strip.
  • Last Res0rt uses Faceless Masses for massive crowd scenes like the arena audience, but otherwise hews to this pretty nicely.
    • Doesn't stop readers from mixing up Vince and Nate though; yes, they're supposed to be a Wrestling Family (after a fashion), but Cypress at least has bluer skin (and curly hair), Damien has those headwings, and they both have different hair colors.
  • Sluggy Freelance is pretty good in this respect, at least with any character that shows up in more than one comic. The comic also deserves a special mention in the sense that it's not only the faces that are distinguishable, but characters' body shapes as well, even between characters who have the same general type of figure. (Well, at least you can see the differences if you know how to look. They can be subtle, just like in real life.) It did take some Art Evolution since the beginning to achieve this.
    • The comic takes advantage of this in dimension-travelling storylines — it's actually rare to run into someone in a different dimension who isn't an alternative version of a main character or one of those unique minor characters.
    • The demons of the Dimension of Pain are all unique to the point of not visibly fitting the definition for being of the same species, or even genus. During the Dimension of Lame invasion, some caught on with fans enough to get more exposure. Some "Outsider" mutants found later on have the same trait.
  • How I Killed Your Master
  • Lackadaisy Cats: All the characters are highly distinct and defined in every way.
    • Which is even more impressive when you remember that they are, in fact, anthropomorphic cats.
  • Zoophobia.
  • Sakana
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name has a number of distinct characters with different faces, heights, body language (which gives them fairly distinct silhouettes, though nearly all of them have similar builds), and color schemes. Check 'em out!
  • Mattel's Monster High, amazing since it's a flash cartoon.
  • El Goonish Shive's secondary and minor characters vary considerably, in some ways moreso than the main characters who by comparison suffer from Only Six Faces.
  • The Meek has a rather distinct cast, where no one person looks like another, all the while using realistically-drawn cartoon figures.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court also does quite well with its Cast of Snowflakes.
    • To the point where the creator only half-jokingly points out that random background characters are not related to the main story in any way.
  • Bobwhite. No two sets of eyes, heads, noses, colors, shapes, and bodies are the same, and all characters who only appear in one or two comics has a distinct face you'd be able to pick out if given a picture of them. Some of them even have stories and backgrounds!
  • Ethan Nichole's series (Chumble Spuzz, Axe Cop, and Bearmageddon) are all examples of this, but note should be made of Axe Cop's main sidekick, who changes identity every few pages and always looks completely different: first he's Flute Cop, resembling Sipowitz from NYPD Blue, until he gets some dinosaur blood on him and becomes Dinosaur Soldier, who is an anthropomorphic t-rex built like Schwarzenegger. Later updates include him becoming Viking Cop, Ghost Cop, and Avocado Soldier (who soon gains a unicorn horn and becomes Uni-Avocado Soldier).
  • All of the cast in The Dreamer look quite distinct from each other, even more so in the art evolution.
  • Paranatural does a good job making every character visually distinct.
  • The Walkyverse features Loads and Loads of Characters, all of whom can be identified quite easily. See this poster for examples. Note that the only reason some of the people on the far right look like those on the left is that they are the same characters, but from another universe.
    • When Dorothy was introduced, some commenters noticed a resemblance to Amber, and dubbed her Blonde Amber. Art Evolution has since diverged their appearances more, and the similarity was lampshaded when Danny revealed that he became interested in Amber primarily because she sort of looked like his ex Dorothy.
  • Dresden Codak: The artist makes a point of designing characters this way (mildly NSFW).
  • Hero Oh Hero has 100 unique sprites already in reserve, each with their own design (even the ones wearing uniforms or otherwise sharing outfits).
  • Interesting semi-example Grrl Power. You'd expect Harem, capable of Self-Duplication, to have all her clones look exactly the same, since they're, you know, clones. Nope, she and her four other clones all have different hairstyles, hair colors, and outfits!
  • Every single character in Weapon Brown is a parody of a syndicated comic strip character. Crowd scenes are a who's who of different characters by different artists spanning more than a century of the genre.

    Western Animation 
  • Disney's Fillmore! has a distinct love of using distinct background characters. Often one-shot characters from previous (or even future) episodes...
  • The various secondary, minor, and background characters in Daria.
  • Occurs in The Simpsons largely by virtue of the fact that they keep making episodes and never throw anything away. Bumblebee Man? Disco Stu? Permanent residents.
    • Futurama went through a similar process. So much so that one of the last scenes of Into the Wild Green Yonder has a crowd shot containing every adult character at once (it was originally supposed to be every one ever, but a joke necessitated them to remove them because it hinged on there not being any children present).
    • In fact, Matt Groening has a rule of thumb for character design that's become widely known as "The Groening Rule" stating it should be identifiable by silhouette.
      • See The Simpsons Movie for a similar scene, the mob scene includes characters who haven't been seen for over a decade!
  • Both main and background Gravity Falls characters alike have very unique designs.
  • Every Total Drama character has a unique design and none of them look even a little bit alike, even though all the girls have the same Hartman Hips.
    • Word of God says this was done intentionally so that each character could easily be recognized in silhouette.
  • Phineas and Ferb has this in spades.
  • The characters in Hey Arnold!.
  • Pretty much any Cartoon Network show has characters who are distinctive.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender. Some of the earlier episodes have repeated designs for background characters, but by and large it follows this trope. If you recognize a specific character design from an earlier episode, you may be pretty certain it's the same individual. Once had a whole flock of 12-year-old boys who were in identical costumes and bald. They were all distinguishable. The main characters also routinely swap hairstyles and costumes, and remain completely recognizable.
  • Kim Possible tends to reuse certain background characters who have their own distinct looks, behaviors, and even voices. Many an Ensemble Darkhorse has been birthed from this.
  • Turtles Forever, featuring the best animation quality in the two series, uses this to great effect during crowd shots. Often done on purpose to feature many cameos from all over the 25-year franchise.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine - both the sculpted character faces/expressions and the engine models themselves, with a handful of exceptions.
    • Most new characters in Season 5 had look-alike faces - large, round chin and nose, high cheeks, round eyes.
    • From Season 7, Arthur, Emily, and Murdoch all had round faces, oblong eyes, triangular noses, and small mouths, just with different proportions.
    • Diesel, 'Arry & Bert, and Splatter & Dodge from The Movie are all based on the same engine type, just different faces and paintwork.
    • Stanley, Billy, and Charlie are all practically identical builds of tank engine, again, with different faces and paint.
  • Family Guy and American Dad!: despite a pretty simple art style, every character (even relatives) looks distinct from one another; even background and one-off characters each look unique in nearly every way possible.
    • In the former show, the exception seems to be family members — Lois and Meg have similar faces, along with Lois' mother. Peter is also a dead-ringer for his biological father.
      • Brian's cousin Jasper looks almost identical to him, with a few noticeable differences.
  • Everybody in We Are the Strange.
  • In Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, ever character, including unnamed extras and Red Shirts, is distinct from every other character. Even when the troopers are wearing full helmets that obscure their faces they can be identified by their armor and name tags. The one time it is averted it becomes a vital clue to the team that something is wrong, as they notice that they keep passing the same people all throughout a town.
  • On The Amazing World of Gumball, every character has not only a different design, but also a different art style.
  • John Kricfalusi and Spumco produced shows, such as The Ren & Stimpy Show and The Ripping Friends. Of course, all of it is done with full intention, since this is John Kricfalusi we're talkin' about.
  • The characters in Ed, Edd n Eddy.
  • X-Men: Evolution. Head character designer Steven E. Gordon is often praised for unique character designs for each person, even minor background characters. However, clothing designing is often very similar and reused (Boys tend to wear sagging pants and exposed boxers, while girls tend to show off their stomachs). The facial designs and haircuts are so unique, that when two characters have slightly similar appearences (Amara and X-23, both being young, short, with dark skin and brown hair) some fans make a big deal about how much they look alike, despite being completely different (Both have different builds, different skin tone, and different hair cuts and shades).
  • Sym-Bionic Titan has this, the neighbors, military personnel, random citizens, and school students all look VERY different. Some occur several times, but if they go to the same school, this is justified.
    • An added bonus is that they seem to have individual personalities as well, the students primarily.
  • The characters of Recess.
  • Huntik: Secrets & Seekers is good about this, having unique designs for everyone, even random civilians and Suits.
  • Motorcity, especially since the characters still have a more realistic shape with some cartoony features, much like Anime.
  • Goof Troop and its two movies have significant variance in important characters, minor characters, and extras in terms of head shape, face and ear shape, body shape and physical size, and even the degree of anthropomorphism applied to the Petting Zoo People and what animal characteristics are retained, which can vary significantly even within one family. Even the characters who are meant to physically take after one another (Max after Goofy, PJ after Pete, Pistol after Peg) have significantly different faces and head shapes.
  • Impressively, the meerkats in the crowd scenes of The Lion King 1˝ all look distinct, despite having similar body shapes and no clothes to help distiguish them.
  • Moral Orel, a stop-motion example. While some faces/designs are shared occasionallyNote , most of the models are very distinct, usually by noses or the shape of their head.
  • Popeye always had very unique character designs for the main characters, though background characters could suffer from Only Six Faces.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes due to the fact that everyone except for Jimmy and Heloise are Cartoon Creatures.
  • Steven Universe has quite a diverse cast, even among the secondary characters.

    Real Life 
  • The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang contains approximately 8,000 terracotta soldiers. And each one looks different.
  • Occurs with any 'mass scale miniature' or otherwise not created for a gaming/collectible purpose. There was a Belgian exhibit with 855 knights and footsoldiers engaged in combat, and every single face was readily distinguishable from another. Quite an amazing feat considering the figurines were something like 1/25-1/30 scale. Feel sorry for the poor bastard's hand.
  • Actual people in real life, of course.
    • If you go to two universities or spend a long time there, you will start to notice very similar people studying the same thing in each place or class. It's quite eerie, really. They're still different people, but not too different.
    • Inverted to varying degrees for people with face-blindness.

Casting GagCharacters and CastingThe Cast Showoff
MonsterImageSource/Anime and MangaExpository Hairstyle Change

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
108152
2