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It doesn't need depth perception to destroy you.
It seems that if you want to give a (Killer
, or Humongous Mecha
a really sinister look, you have to build it with just one eye.
Similar to the Uncanny Valley
, by deliberately giving androids a characteristic that is not human, you're making the audience realize how creepily in
-human they actually are. For more standard robots or Humongous Mecha
, a single eye denotes a sinister asymmetry not found anywhere in nature (except the flounder). It doesn't help these eyes are lidless and usually glow
a relentless red
, creating the illusion of a singular and evil focus.
Can easily be justified (though rarely is) by the mention of a rangefinder of some kind, removing the need for stereoscopic optics.
Almost always a type of Glowing Mechanical Eyes
. Contrast Faceless Eye
. Frequently prone to Eye Lights Out
. For the organic version, see Cyclops
open/close all folders
- The Zaku isn't the only example from Gundam, simply the best known. Pretty much all the antagonistic factions in UC and CE use monoeyes (normally in the colour of red) for all their mobile suits; Zeon, the Titans, Axis Zeon, Neo Zeon, and ZAFT all use monoeyes almost exclusively.
- And the only reason OZ's mobile suits don't count is that their mono-eye is so large, it takes up nearly the entire "face", and makes them The Blank.
- The Maganac Corps' mobile suits also features a monoeye camera.
- Even the non-Super Prototype Federation suits from the UC Gundam series, specifically the GM and its derivatives also feature monoeye cameras. They're just less obvous since they don't glow and are hidden behind a visor. This is most clearly shown in the OVAs such as War in the Pocket, Stardust Memory and Unicorn.
- While the Space Revolution Army of Gundam X have the traditional mono-eyes, early Earth Federation mobile suits have the more unusual triple-eyes.
- In Gundam 00 the old-school Tierens have the monoeye, the Flags and Enacts (and their predecessors) have one visible eye (if you look closely) above the reflective mask (with a scar like marking down the left side that lights up, for dramatic effect) that covers most of the robots face, and the Alien like GN-X series have four eyes.
- Don't forget the Death Army.
- Zeta Gundam is more egalitarian: both the AEUG and the Titans use mobile suits with monoeyes (Rick Dias for the AEUG, and the Zaku-based Hizacks for the Titans).
- In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, there is a Earth Federation mobile suit named Genoace, a mass-production unit with one big eye (similar to the OZ-MS from Wing) and the Genoace Custom, which has a smaller eye (actually a small visor, but it's still its eye). On the other hand there are the MS used by Vagan, which all possess a single strip-like sensor across their faceplate.
- And now, with the Gala and the Elmeda, the series has its own share of Zeon-looking mobile suits.
- And the mobile armor Sid.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Unit 00. On a side note, unit 01 had two eyes, and 02 had four.
- ...and the Mass Production Type EVA units have no apparent eyes.
- 1+2+4=7, and seven eyes shows up a lot in the Book of Revelation (and under Lilith's mask). Thus, there weren't any more eyes to go around for the Mass Production Units.
- We also have Jet Alone, who, much like Maximillian mentioned in The Black Hole (see Film section), appears to have a "furrowed" cyclopean eye, that doesn't even resemble an eye that well. Also, much like Maximillian, it resembles a very sinister grin.
- The Phantoma's and Raptors in Zone of the Enders.
- Generation 4 and 5 Knightmare Frames in Code Geass have a single large sensor, also known as a Factsphere, though they have a sort of "four-eyed" plate covering it. Played straight with the Black Knights' Gekka and Akatsuki series, and averted with any of the Ace Custom/Super Prototype suits (sans the Zangetsu, being a customized Akatsuki).
- GunBuster, unlike most of the examples on here, is another instance of the protagonists using a one-eyed machine. GunBuster has even been referred to the god of all Zakus.
- The Shapes in Texhnolyze.
- The I- and M-versions of the Codarl from Full Metal Panic!. The prototype has three eyes; actually, the others kept them as well, they just remain unused. In a way, the mass-produced M9 fit this trope as well since it has a single, rotatable eye behind a green visor which is lowered when ECCS is engaged (the prototype has two eyes, as do every other mecha in the series).
- Subverted in Super Dimension Fortress Macross, the very first Valkyrie had a single eye (although it was blue, usually a "heroic" color). With the exception of the Sound Force mechs in Macross 7, all other Valkyries either go for the mono-eye, multiple distributed eyes (Michael's unit in Macross Frontier), or, most frequently, visors.
- The Zentraedi mecha play this straight though, since all of them have glowing red mono-eyes.
- The series being based upon The Odyssey, Ulysses in Ulysses 31 had to fight a cyclops of course. A gigantic mechanical cyclops.
- In GaoGaiGar, EI-14 has two eye-sockets, but only one eye that keeps changing place, thus making it qualify as a Cyber Cyclops. Then again, it is a Zaku...
- In Mazinkaiser, when Baron Ashura captures Mazinger Z, he/she modifies it to his/her own tastes. One of the eyes, damaged in the fight, is left unrepaired, which is actually a hindrance as that cut the Kyoushouryuku Beam attack's power in half.
- M-11, the Human Robot, from Marvel's Agents of Atlas. His monoeye primarily adds to his inscrutable nature.
- Subverted in X-Factor. In an alternate future, Cyclops has become a cyborg with several robotic limbs, but while he's still named 'Cyclops', he also seems to have mastered his optic powers and no longer wears the distinctive one-eyed visor.
- ROM Spaceknight manages a heroic example even combined with the Faceless Mechanical Glowing Eye.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye actually provides a reason for why some of the bots have cycloptoid heads it's a fantastical form of mutilation called Empurata, where their heads and hands are replaced with boxy cyclops heads, so they could be publicly humiliated and shamed for going against the corrupt government.
- HAL 9000 from Two Thousand One A Space Odyssey couples his Creepy Monotone with an unblinking, cyclopean eye.
- Maximillian from Disney's The Black Hole. "Furrowed" brow added for increased Evil Value.
- It's also easy to mistake as a grin, all the more disturbing when he's chopping people up.
- The City of Lost Children has a religious cult of blind men with one electronic eye who kidnaps kids.
- Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) fires his disintegration beam from a single ominous point under his opened visor. In the remake, Gort has a single glowing red eye behind the visor — there's a good moment when one of the characters realises the eye is following him as he walks across the room.
- AUTO, the sinister auto-pilot from WALL•E, in a nod to HAL.
- Also, the 'keyboard robot' from the scene where WALL-E and EVE are going into the elevator is a subversion, since it waves good-bye in a friendly manner as they are leaving, having learned the behavior from WALL-E's earlier greeting.
- Non-sinister example: R2-D2.
- However, there are many sinister robots with this feature in the same series. The IG series of assassin droids, for instance, along with the G0-T0 Infrastructure Planning Systems, and the IT-0 Interrogator droid.
- The IG units actually have many eyes, though one large one is most noticeable as it tends to face front while the others stare off in all directions.
- The film adaptation of Lost in Space featured "The Robot" with a big red eye and was reprogrammed by Dr. Smith to kill the crew. After being rebuilt and reprogrammed with loyalty, his new shape has a bubble head much like the one in the TV Show.
- In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), the Giant Mecha that stomp through New York and the Squid Robots that search the Flying Legion airbase have only one eye. Other Killer Robots in the movie have two, though.
- Ravage has been designed with single eye in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. And he's a panther. A giant, one eyed panther. With guns. Made out of razors.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Shockwave is a spot-on example with all tropes present and correct. He's a giant mecha, with a single glowing-red-eye-of-evil. What more could you ask for?
- Gigan is a giant space cyborg kaiju with only one eye...that can shoot a cluster of laser beams.
- GERTY from Moon. Monotone, HAL-like voice? Check. Single, camera-like eye in the middle of his control panel? Check. Subverted in that we don't know for the first half of the film if he's on the protagonist's side or not. It turns out he very much is.
- The Fabrication Machine in 9 bears a striking similarity to HAL.
- AMEE from Red Planet. Not a scary cyclops at all until the inevitable malfunction turns it decidedly unfriendly.
- It's not just the malfunction, though. The malfunction only makes its self-defense the highest priority. So when the crew start to openly talk about removing its power source, AMEE perceives it as a threat to itself and switches to combat mode.
- Meet the Robinsons villain Doris is a cyber cyclopian bowler hat.
- The giant alien probe in Monsters vs. Aliens.
- Pacific Rim:Crimson Typhoon◊ and Horizon Brave◊ are both mono-eyed robots.
Live Action TV
- The Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. Notable in that their "eye" is a horizontal red LED light that swoops from side to side. Humanoid cylons in the new series aren't one eyed, though their spines do light up during, err, more intimate moments. (Retcon'd as it being a "metaphysical" lighting up rather than a literal one).
- Speaking of Cylons: Saul Tigh
- KITT in Knight Rider, another Glen Larson production, had a similar array of lights on the car's nose as a Shout-Out to his earlier series. Since this light array is KITT's scanner, it could be considered an eye of sorts.
- In Doctor Who, Daleks have a single eye-stalk protruding from their travel machines, which has changed color over the years. It's now decidedly yellow with an obvious pupil, as the production team want it to look like there's an actual organic eye at the end of the stalk.
- The Lady Cassandra's little spider-like robots had one glowing eye in the new series episodes "The End of the World" and "New Earth".
- In "Four to Doomsday," on Monarch's spaceships, the protagonists were sometimes followed by floating metal spheres with one eye (basically alien CCTV cameras).
- WOTAN in "The War Machines", named after a one-eyed god from Saxon mythology.
- In Power Rangers Mystic Force/Mahou Sentai Magiranger - Oculous of the Ten Terrors/Cyclops of the Infershia Pantheon had a single red eye, but he was merely the most techno-based of the ten and not an actual robot.
- Venjix in Power Rangers RPM is a more typical example, in what is almost certainly a deliberate homage to HAL - but only when he's in his massive computer cylinder form. His robotic bodies throughout the season all have two eyes.
- Another heroic example is Gypsy and Cambot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, though Cambot's eye is the camera. It's hard to tell, though, if Tom Servo counts as this as well.
- The start-up image, advertising image, and "logo", for lack of a better term, of the Android smartphone operating system is a single red robotic eye that looks suspiciously like HAL's.
- The armor of the New German Republic in Rifts.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the Tau Empire's armor gives their soldiers this appearance.
- One of the Ork heads in the Nobz kit also has a bionik bonce with a single slit eye. And an exhaust that makes it look like the Ork is smoking with it.
- The Necrons have two units sporting this, the technosorceror Crypteks and elite sniper Deathmarks.
- The aptly-named Cyclops assault battlemech from BattleTech has a head which is totally dominated by a red/black eye, which is where the cockpit is housed. In MechWarrior 4, the eye is the mounting point for a laser cannon, while the cockpit has been moved down into the torso.
- Keetongu from BIONICLE. Subverted in-story, where it's explained he has his real eyes hidden behind the visible one.
- Shockwave from Transformers.
- There's also Whirl, who (like Shockwave) got his inhuman appearance from being imported from an earlier toyline.
- The white-armored Overwatch Elite from Half-Life 2 have only a single, big red eye. This is probably done to suggest they are highly modified Elite Mooks with wires coming out of their eye sockets and connecting to a big camera.
- And the ever-elusive, doggedly-persistent Combine Assassins.
- Not to mention the flying sentries.
- This was lampshaded in the parody webcomic Concerned with the Elite Mooks suffering from poor depth perception because they have only one eye.
- Various Mega Man enemies, including Big Eye, the various Joes, the Pantheons, Variants, Galleons, and Devils.
- Mega Man Legends has the Reaverbots, each of which is one eyed in the first game. In the others some have more.
- A digital example: LaserMan.EXE from Mega Man Battle Network.
- Proto Man has a single glowing eye behind his visor in Mega Man 3 when he was sporting his Break Man disguise.
- Metal Gear Ray of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty had a monoeye.
- To be more accurate the unmanned mass production Rays had monoeyes.
- Although Cyborg Ninja Gray Fox in the first game does have two eyeholes in his mask, the single glowing red sensor in the middle is far more conspicuous.
- Servos in The Sims 2 are one-eyed, but they're only evil if you want them to be.
- The cute machinegun turrets in Portal.
- Not to mention, GLaDOS when you finally see her, plus her little robots that are attached each have one eye.
- Really, all of Aperture Science's robots are one-eyed, such as Wheatley, Atlas and P-Body, and the Rocket Sentry.
- The Geth from the Mass Effect series have heads consisting essentially of one eye at the end of a thick tube. Certain spirits in Dragon Age II use similar body shape.
- Many soldiers in Deus Ex wore glowing visors to obtain an air of Cyber Punk inhumanity, such as the NSF, MJXII, and commandos.
- Also, the artificial intelligence Icarus uses a singular eye with metallic plating surrounding it as an avatar. Its successor Helios also has a prominent eye, but the rest of its "face" looks vaguely biological, almost like a cephalopod.
- The Avatar and Purifier in the Command & Conquer series are the epitome of this concept, although some could say they have in fact seven eyes, just the other six are in the chest, yet, they have a really dark badass look and just one glowing red eye in the head. There's also the Redeemer, which is significantly larger.
- The Brotherhood of Nod also has Enlightened cyborg infantry, with a distinctive cross-shaped eye.
- The Scuzzer droids from Startopia each have a single red lens, in a fairly obvious homage to HAL.
- In Sword of the Stars, ships with the AI command section have a KITT-style eye in place of a bridge.
- Commander Keen 5 has robotic enemies that have a disc shaped body with a black bar on the equator. The bar has a cylon-style red dot that move around until it locates the player.
- Castle Crashers features one of these as a boss.
- The "Big Sister" of BioShock 2 certainly evokes this trope.
- Also the "Rosie" style Big Daddies from the first game.
- Enemy robots in the Descent series typically have either a single glowing red eye or a Cylon-style oscillating eye.
- The CY prototype from Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 has a monoeye that glows a reassuring yellow. Plus it looks like it's made of scrap and a strong wind could shatter it.
- BlazBlue's Robot Girl boss ν-13 has two forms. An apparently human form with a fancy eyepatch, and her obviously mechanical battle form with a single visor eye.
- The Kirby series has a number of cyclopean enemies, the following of which are mechanical:
- Heavy Mole from Kirby's Adventure is some kind of underground digging machine with a single half-closed eye. It also shoots missiles with a similar monoeye on the head.
- HR-H from Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards is a strange lighthouse/crab robot that serves as the boss for Shiver Star.
- Capsule J from Kirby Super Star is basically a mechanical Waddle Doo with a jetpack instead of Eye Beams. It was redesigned and renamed for the DS remake, though, and no longer looks like this.
- Metal Guardian from Kirby and The Amazing Mirror is a large floating orb with a single eye that shoots lasers.
- The Aeon Galactic Colossus of Supreme Commander is perhaps the perfect representation of this. Not only is it immense, but has a single eye, which also doubles for it's Eye Beams projector.
- Krimzon Guard scuttler robots and the Uber-Bot 888, in the Jak and Daxter series.
- KAOS's third head in Donkey Kong Country 3.
- The Robo Knight boss in Wonder Boy III Monster Lair has a Cylon-type mono-eye.
- One of the signature characteristics of the Neuropa faction in Metal Fatigue.
- In the Contra series, this is a common trait in robotic bosses. However it also features Browny and Brownie who are two heroic examples.
- Magnemite and Beldum from Pokémon.
- The robots in The Journeyman Project.
- The Claptraps in Borderlands have only one eye each, but they're hardly threatening.
- Most of the generic robot enemies (specifically, the Proto and Bugger lines) in Chrono Trigger apply.
- Justified in Team Fortress 2's Mann Vs Machine game mode. The Demoman robot has a single eye, but the actual Demoman has one eye as well, with his missing eye covered by an eyepatch.
- In Tales of Phantasia, one of the enemy types found in the city of Thor is a family of robots that possess a single eye and hover above the ground.
- The alien drones in Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta.
- Warframe Update 10.5 has General Sargas Ruk wearing a face mask with a single glowing "eye".
- The Gorgies and a few other robots in Vanquish.
- A few Transformers, most notably Shockwave from Generation 1.
- For The Movie toyline, there were a number of extra characters such as Dropkick added to shore up the numbers. Nearly all of the "extra" Decepticons or non-sentient drones have one eye for a face while the Autobots have regular humanoid faces and two eyes.
- Transformers Animated has Shockwave, although he doesn't always just have the one eye. There's also Lugnut, but he's defined by the very human trait of zealous loyalty to his leader (also, Word Of God is that those things on the side of his head are eyes, so that means he has five of them).
- Transformers Prime has Shockwave again, largely based on his Fall of Cybertron appearance.
- Nearly every Transformers property has Shocky in there somewhere. Sometimes due to trademark loss, he's called Shockblast instead. One thing remains in all incarnations, though, and that's the single eye in the center of his head in lieu of anything like a face.
- TriClops from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). He's a cyborg who has three eyes, but can only use one at a time. Each one has a different power and color.
- The Donald Duck cartoon "Modern Inventions" had a one-eyed robot footman. Not evil, really, but rather imposing... and insists on taking one's hat, much to Donald's chagrin.
- On Batman: The Animated Series, the giant computer HARDAC in "Heart of Steel" had a single glowing red lens that flashed in time with his speech.
- The second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a couple, including killer robots created by Baxter Stockman and Viral, a rogue A.I. in the year 2105, whenever she's in "her" physical form.
- Megas XLR has these too, as a shoutout/parody of the Gundam's Zakus. In the last episode, Rearview Mirror, we see an army of these things. Coop, the Glorft, and an Alternate Universe Jamie proceed to kick their collective asses.
- Heloise's snow-making mecha on Jimmy Two-Shoes, though it looks more cute than scary.
- Another cute one: Bucky O Hare's Robot Buddy, Blinky.
- Nox's outfit◊ in the first episode of Wakfu is meant to intentionally invoke this look, despite Nox not actually being a robot. His strongest creation, Razortime, also has this appearance.
- Professor Ojo (Spanish for "eye") has a cyber helmet that invokes this aesthetic in Young Justice.
- The robot spy, from the Jonny Quest episode of the same name, is an iconic example.
- Monban in Littlest Pet Shop (2012) sports a visor-like area with one glowing red light. Despite his extreme versatility and destructive firepower, he's used mainly as a security guard for the Largest Ever Pet Shop.
- Many washing machines, especially at laundromats, have a large, round window in the front. It is hardly designed to evoke fear, but it still has the look of a one-eyed machine.
- Lot of actual robots, usually running on simple primitive sensors have this design.