Exotic Eye Designs


Everyone buzzes about eye colors; they look good and they can be used to determine how a character might act like, but what about the rest of the eye? That's where this trope comes in, where characters can have vastly different pupil shapes and/or sclera colors, with the optional, but corresponding eye shadow. The reasons could vary from just being an added level of exoticism, to a condition (sickness or otherwise), a reaction to something, or a way to identify that they're not entirely human. The iris' inclusion only counts if they intentionally change color as a response to something.

Compare/contrast Hellish Pupils (some of these may overlap), Wingding Eyes, Eye Color Change. Super Trope to Animal Eyes.

Technicolor Eyes is the subtrope when it's the colors of any part of the eye that are different.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In AKB0048, the idols all have hearts in their eyes and matching highlights in their hair. Graduated members have stars in the same places.
  • Christopher Shouldered of Baccano! combines extremely pale irises and solidly red sclera, giving an entirely accurate representation of his personal character.
  • The Vestals from the New Vestroia season of Bakugan Battle Brawlers don't have black pupils. Instead, their pupils are simply a darker shade of their iris color. They also lack the shiny glint that human eyes have. Not Mind-Control Eyes in that it's a racial feature that even the good guys have and everyone is acting autonomously. They also fall under the Technicolor Eyes category.
  • Can be observed on Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler in which one of his eyes glows purple with an intricate pentagram inside it. This is the mark of his covenant with Sebastian, as a result of asking for 'as much power as he could give'; because a more obvious mark allows him more power, his eyes were the most obvious place Sebastian could put it.
  • The Otherselves in Black★Rock Shooter have gear-like pupils, and when their real selves are influenced by then, their irises become gear-shaped. Probably something to do with their Blue and Orange Morality.
  • Bleach:
    • Ulquiorra Cifer has slitted pupils, used to further emphasize his moments of Dull Surprise.
    • Ichigo and the Visoreds' scleras turn black while using their Hollow masks, while their irises turn yellow.
    • Quilge's eyes consist entirely of vertical lines when he transforms.
    • The Soul King's eyes are black holes with saltire crosses where his pupils should be.
    • When Yhwach "opens his eyes," he gains additional irises, none of which look straight ahead.
  • Shokuho Misaki from A Certain Magical Index has permanent golden star designs in her eyes. Interestingly it also shows up in the eyes of the people she mind controls.
  • In Code Geass users of the eponymous power have bird-like sigils that become visible whenever their Geass is activated. Those that fall into the command of a Geass have their scleras highlighted with the color of the Geass itself.
  • Kurumi's left eye in Date A Live is literally the face of a Victorian-era pocket watch. She usually hides it with Peek-a-Bangs, though in the past she used an eye patch.
  • In Death Parade, all of the arbiters have cross shapes surrounding their pupils, a couple shades lighter than the iris. Their eyes allow them to see the memories of the dead through data transference.
  • Nono from DieBuster has star shaped pupils. In the still illustrations that play over the end credits, they almost appear similar to Nia's.
  • In the anime adaptation of From the New World, village leader Shisei Kaburagi has four golden pupils.
  • The Tachikoma of Ghost in the Shell have distinctive triple-dot 'irises' on their spherical 'eyes'. This symbol (∴) is also used in mathematics to mean 'therefore'. "I think, therefore I am"?
  • Mimata Noa, from Hatsukoi Zombie, has flower-shaped irises, for some reason. Kinda fits with her cheerful and carefree personality.
  • In Himouto! Umaru-chan, this is apparently a trait of the Tachibana family, as Sylphin, her brother Alex and their mother has flower-shaped pupils when they get excited.
  • A truly dizzying array of eye designs in Katanagatari, where multicoloured irises and strangely-shaped pupils are only the start. A few examples:
  • Rokudou Mukuro own brand of the Rinnegan in Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, with red pupils and irises shaped as a kanji/number equivalent of the power his evoking in according with the Rinne Tensei.
  • The titular heroine of Key the Metal Idol has a pair of purple eyes with tiny pupils and a dark purple rim. To add to her seemingly robotic appearance, they look as if they are perpetually wide with shock. When Key regains her memories and her seemingly lost humanity, they're brown and more normal-looking.
  • A popular dancer from Manyu Hikencho has hearts in her pupils one moment and stars the next.
  • The Medicine Man's alter ego from Mononoke has black sclera, red irises, and yellow pupils.
  • Naruto is rather famous for this. Some characters' eyes are different because they're used for dojutsu (Sasuke's red eyes for the Sharingan, Hinata and Neji's pupil-less eyes for the Byakugan), but some characters have unusual eyes for no reason:
    • Kiba has dog pupils, Ino has no pupils at all, and Kurenai has red eyes with a darker red ring around her pupils (bearing a slight resemblance, especially in the black-and-white of the manga, to the multiple concentric circles of the Rinnegan despite her having no eye-based powers at all).
    • Orochimaru also has yellow eyes and vertically slitted pupils to further his resemblance to, y'know, a snake.
    • Naruto himself in sage mode, which gives him toad-like square pupils, and vertical slits in his pupils when in the Nine-Tailed Fox forms. Turns it Up to 11 when he combines Sage Mode and the Nine-Tailed Fox, giving his pupils a cross shape.
  • In No Game No Life, Tet's right pupil is of a diamond shape, and the left one is of a spade shape, fitting with him being the God of Games.
  • Jango from One Piece should win this trope with his sort or permanent Heart Shaped Eyes.
  • Queen's Blade: Elina's eyes are usually blue, but whenever she switches to Cat Girl mode, they change color and become amber with slitted irises, like a cat's.
  • The Mongol Khan and his descendants from Shut Hell have, similar to the Rinnegan, several concentric circles within the iris. It's probably designed to make them look slightly unhinged.
  • Used in Soul Eater for various characters heavily under the influence of of Madness.
    • Black Star, when going mad, has his pupils replaced by white stars.
    • Stein's eyes were completely covered by large lights extending over his head like horns during the attack on the moon.
    • Crona's iris and pupils would sometimes be replaced by spiraling thorns, especially after absorbing Asura.
    • Asura has red irises and vertical pupils shaped like EYES.
    • A minor example compared to the others, but Maka is one of the only characters in the series without pupils.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! Ryoko takes the form of a cat during the first episode of the OVA and has catlike eyes.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Nia (pictured above) has cross-shaped pupils made to resemble hippy-era flowers. Her father has spiral-shaped pupils, although it's implied that his eyes changed when he mastered Spiral Energy. Late in the series, when Kittan uses his Giga Drill Break, his pupils also become spiral shaped, as well as Simon's when he makes his final charge at the Anti-Spiral.
  • Venus Versus Virus:
    • Virus' all have eyes that are in cross shapes.
    • Sumire's Green Eyes turn red when she goes into Berserker mode. Her pupils turn into crosses much like a Virus' eyes.
    • Lucia has a golden cross-shaped eye that she hides underneath an eyepatch. As a child she was mocked and ostracized for her unusual eye.
  • Several witches in Witch Craft Works. Rinon is the clearest examples with pupils rather like Nia's from Gurren Laggan but Ayaka's irises appear to change shape slightly when she's using her full power as well.
  • Amo and Tachikawa in World Trigger both have rather odd eyes. The latter's eyes don't even seem to have pupils, looking more like the eyes of a fly.
  • Cheza from Wolf's Rain has pink sclera, red irises and no pupils. Then again she is a genetically engineered flower-human hybrid.
  • The characters in Xabungle all have minus-driver (flathead) screw pupils. Since both the Civilians and Innocents have them, it's a property of the inhabitants of this work's Zora (Earth).
  • In Yumekui Merry most Dream Demons have unique pupil designs, sans Chaser John Doe, who wears a mask. The eponymous Merry Nightmare has horizontal pupils, while Chukai has cross-shaped pupils, Engi has triangular pupils, Rainsborough has his pupils resembling the Tick-Tack-Toe symbol, and Chris Evergreen has tilting H-shaped pupils.
  • Zeon from Zatch Bell! has a more menacing version of this trope, with what looks like white 'sparks' in his pupils and white streaks on his irises.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • Xibalba, from The Book of Life, has red skulls for pupils.
  • Norman, Mr. Prenderghast, and Agatha from ParaNorman all have faceted irises and pupils, which probably has something to do with their ability to see ghosts.
  • All the primary characters in Rise of the Guardians have unique designs in their eyes based on their powers or jobs. North and Jack share blue eyes with frost patterns radiating outward from the pupil. Toothiania has purple-pink eyes that have an opalescent design in them. Bunny's eyes are grass-green with a grassy pattern radiating from the pupil. Sandy's eyes are golden-brown with a sunburst pattern radiating from the pupil. Pitch's eyes are silver with a faint yellow sunburst radiating out from behind dark pupils, reminiscent of a solar eclipse. Baby Tooth has hetero-chromatic eyes, one pink and one blue, with a similar crystal pattern as Toothiana's.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The poster art for the 1990 film Frankenstein Unbound (Roger Corman's final directorial effort to date) shows a patchwork eye. The effect isn't nearly so striking in the film itself.
  • In Pitch Black, Riddick has iridescent silver eyes as the result of an operation to improve his ability to see in the dark.

  • Eclipse has the Cessairu, whom are described to have eagle-shaped pupils. These eyes actually work in granting them incredible accuracy whenever they shoot someone.
  • Dragons in Tooth and Claw are said to "whirl" their eyes, though precisely what this entails is never fully articulated. The implication, however, is that every dragon has spiral-shaped pupils, and the hues of their iris and sclera shift and spin outward. A dragon's eyes are kept open upon their death by an attending parson to ensure they don't whirl, so no one mistakenly begins eating the body while the dragon is still alive.
  • The witchers in The Witcher series have cat-like eyes with slit pupils, as a side effect of their mutation that allows them to see in the dark.
  • Discworld gods cannot change their eyes. Fate's are black with stars, and the Lady's are green. Not the iris; the whole eye.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: "The Pilot" has a young woman named Heather with an unusual form of heterochromia that leaves a yellow five-pointed star on her left iris.
  • The telepathic Betazoids of Star Trek have black irises while otherwise looking exactly like humans.

    Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the vampires of the plane Innistrad all have black scleras and red or yellow irises.
  • in Yu-Gi-Oh!, The Gusto have whirlwind-shaped pupils, which indicates that they are part of the same clan.

    Video Games 
  • The Al Bhed in Final Fantasy X have green eyes with swirled, spiral pupils. Spirals are a recurring thematic element in the game. One of Yuna's eyes is the same way, hinting at her Al Bhed heritage.
  • Princess Sapphire Rhodonite from Disgaea 3 has eyes with white, star-shaped pupils.
  • All CPUs and CPU Candidates in Neptunia have a power symbol in their eyes when in Hard Drive Divinity. Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 1 also introduces MarvelousAQL, whose pupils are shaped like musical notes.
  • More than a few characters in Skullgirls, most notably Valentine with cross-shaped pupils, and anyone who becomes a Skullgirl who gets their eyes changed so that the pupils look like halves of a red skull.
  • Meilin Chen from Rusty Hearts literally has stars in her eyes.
  • In the epilogue of Tales of Graces, Asbel has a glowing ring within the pupil of his left eye, signifying that he has absorbed Lambda's power.
  • The female Tico in Devil Survivor 2 has star-shaped pupils.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, the newly-born princess Lucina's Brand of the Exalt, which appears somewhere on the body of all Ylissean royalty, manifests in her left eye. This is how the Lucina from the future proves her identity.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, the priestess Mitama has star-shaped pupils. Her supports with her father Asama state that she inherited such eyes from him, but the player can't see them since Asama keeps his Eyes Always Shut.
  • Kuromujō and Shiromujō from Onmyōji have red sclerae.
  • Xerneas from Pokémon X and Y has x-shaped pupils.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series, Robot Girls Aigis and her "sister" Labrys have gray rings in the middle of their iris'.
  • Super Smash Bros. has a zoom-in to Rosalina's eyes (well, eye) in her reveal trailer, which shows she has twinkling stars in them. Very appropiate for a cosmic guardian.
  • Chung from Elsword has blue eyes with pupils shaped like dog paw prints.
    • Lu and Ciel both have pupils shaped like four-pointed stars, which also match their Symbol Motif Clothing.
  • Callie and Marie from Splatoon have plus sign-shaped pupils to help distinguish them from the player characters, who all have round pupils.
  • Wicked from Caligula has pink, heart-shaped pupils, contrasting her otherwise-brown eyes.
  • Except for Mechanica, all of the playable characters in ARMS have black lines through their irises that spiral outward, playing into the game's coil motif. The direction and density of the spirals varies depending on the character, however.
  • In Kantai Collection USS Iowa has star shaped pupils.
  • Orisa from Overwatch has unique quarter-shuttered eyes that freely close and rotate around to give her a lot of different expressions. By default, they stay in the form of a horizontal squint, and when she gets serious, she occasionally changes her eyes to badass crosses... and she also frequently makes an ^_^ face while happy and an X_X face while being shot at, among others.
  • Platinum from BlazBlue has heart-shaped patterns in her eyes, complimenting her role as the series' Magical Girl.

     Visual Novels 
  • Concentric rings in the iris are very common in Dangan Ronpa, but Hajime Hinata, protagonist of Super Dangan Ronpa 2, has a diagonal line across both of his pupils, resembling a prohibition symbol, while one of the masterminds of the game, Izuru Kamukura, has crosshair symbols in his.
    • In a spin-off game Absolute Despair Girls, the Warriors of Hope have these: Masaru Daimon has flame pattern, Kotoko Utsugi has a speech bubble, Jataro Kemuri has a scalpel, Nagisa Shingetsu has diamonds, and Monaca has a manji pattern.
    • In New Dangan Ronpa V3, the mastermind Tsumugi Shirogane's irises show the symbols "V" and "3" on them when she cosplays as the previous Danganronpa characters.
  • In Her Tears Were My Light, the character Space has eyes filled with stars.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: CHEN's eyes have 3 dots behind the pupils.

    Web Comics 
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Alice's pupils are shaped into hearts. It's a result of her magic symbol, which usually pops on skin. Eyes are a unique case.
  • Most characters in Ava's Demon have oddly colored or shaped pupils.
  • Drowtales has "tainted" characters who gain red eyes as a result of Demonic Possession, either willingly or unwillingly, but with two variations depending on what direction the possession goes. If it becomes a Symbiotic Possession either through a special ritual or happens naturally they gain a white spiral in place of their pupils, while if the taint takes over them completely their eyes become entirely red with a white ring in them.
  • The phoenixes in "Webcomic/Hexane" each have their symbol on their eye in place of a normal iris and pupil.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Elza's square pupils indicate her ability to become a sage—if not for being a Lovable Sex Maniac. Youkai like Tamaryu (dragon) and Sara (snake) get slit pupils when they get serious.
  • Sparklecare: Dr. Cuddles not only has heart-shaped pupils, but the light reflected in his eyes has a spiral shape.

     Western Animation 
  • At first glance, Bender from Futurama seems to have standard Matt Groening style Cartoony Eyes. If you look closer, you'll notice that he has square pupils, as do all robots in the series (Or at least any robot with eyes).
  • The members of HJ 5 from Kuu Kuu Harijuku have heart-shaped catchlights on their pupils.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): In addition to the two white catchlights as MLP, the characters' pupils have various pink and purple catchlights, while the pets have their white catchlights on their iris.
  • The Twinkle-Eyed Ponies from the original My Little Pony. They had strange gemstones (sequins on the toys) where the iris and pupil would be otherwise.
  • The characters of Rick and Morty have jagged pupils. Some of the aliens seen in the show also have oddly shaped pupils.
  • Squidward from Spongebob Square Pants has rectangular red pupils.
  • Steven Universe: The Diamonds (or at least Yellow and Blue) have diamond-shaped pupils.

    Real Life 
  • Other species naturally have eyes that look very different from human eyes. This gives rise to the trope Animal Eyes (from general animalistic eyes on a character) and Hellish Pupils (Animal Eyes being used to indicate sinister intentions).
    • Cuttlefish have W-shaped pupils.
    • Some octopodes and frogs have pupils shaped like the number 8.
    • Plecostomus catfish have pupils that resemble the Greek omega symbol while constricted.
    • Venomous snakes have vertical slits for pupils. Goats and sheep have blocky horizontal rectangles for pupils and yellow sclera. Housecats have pupils that vary from looking similar to human pupils to becoming narrow vertical slits in bright lights. All of these eyes are generally seen as unsettling at the least and outright scary at the worst, which contributes to their use under Hellish Pupils.
    • Fire Bellied Toads have heart shaped pupils, contrasting with their green/orange/black "warty" bodies.
    • The house gecko has slitted pupils with scalloped edges, and when its pupil is fully constricted (as in the photo), it closes to a vertical series of pinpoints instead of a thin line or single dot.
  • The campaign to find Madeleine McCann made heavy use of the coloboma in her right eye as a means to identify her.
  • This blind screech owl, named Zeus, has eyes that resemble constellations in a night sky.