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 added level of exoticism, to a condition (sickness or otherwise), a reaction to something, or a way to identify that you'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, Kaleidoscope Eyes and Technicolor Eyes. Super Trope to Animal Eyes.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Can be observed on Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler in which one of his eyes glows purple with an intricate pentagram inside it.
  • 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 Eleven when he combines Sage Mode and the Nine-Tailed Fox, giving his pupils a cross shape.
  • 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.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! Ryoko takes the form of a cat during the first episode of the OVA and has catlike 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • A popular dancer from Manyu Hikencho has hearts in her pupils one moment and stars the next.
  • 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.
  • Christopher Shouldered of Baccano! combines extremely pale irises and solidly red sclera, giving an entirely accurate representation of his personal character.
  • The Medicine Man's alter ego from Mononoke has black sclera, red irises, and yellow pupils.
  • A truly dizzying array of eye designs in Katanagatari, where multicoloured irises and strangely-shaped pupils are only the start. A few examples:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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"?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • In the anime adaptation of From the New World, village leader Shisei Kaburagi has four golden pupils.
  • Rokudou Mukuro own brand of the Rinnegan in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, with red pupils and irises shaped as a kanji/number equivalent of the power his evoking in according with the Rinne Tensei.
  • Jango from One Piece should win this trope with his sort or permanent Heart Shaped Eyes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mimata Noa, from Hatsukoi Zombie, has flower-shaped irises, for some reason. Kinda fits with her cheeful and carefree personnality.
  • In AKB0048, the idols all have hearts in their eyes and matching highlights in their hair. Graduated members have stars in the same places.

    Comic Books 

     Fan Works 
  • In Chlorine Grown Roses, Azusa Tachibana has a pink heart design in one of her eyes, which she was apparently bullied for in school.

  • 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.
  • 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.

     Live Action 
  • In Pitch Black, Riddick has iridescent silver eyes as the result of an operation to improve his ability to see in the dark.
  • The telepathic Betazoids of Star Trek have black irises while otherwise looking exactly like humans.
  • 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.

     Music Videos 

     Table Top 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 

     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).
  • Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants has rectangular red pupils.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The characters of Rick and Morty have jagged pupils.
  • Xibalba from The Book of Life, has red skulls for pupils.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Nari, one of the mascots of the 2006 Royal Flora Ratchaphruek in Thailand, has plus sign eyes.
  • 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.