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Expressive Accessory
Only a few of the possible expressions from Zeetha's headband.

An item that changes based on the expression or condition of its master, though it usually has no reason whatsoever to do it.

Expressive Shirt is a Sub-Trope.

Related to Empathy Pet, which is the animal companion version of this trope. Compare to sister tropes Expressive Hair, Expressive Mask and Eye Glasses.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The headbands on Ninin Ga Shinobuden.
  • Taking this concept to its logical extreme, it's not uncommon for Humongous Mecha with humanoid faces to mirror their pilot's expression. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's mecha even lip sync to their pilots' dialogue. From the same series, Yoko's skull hairpin sometimes expresses her emotions, like when she realized that the men desperately needed a bath, the pin made a ">_<" expression while Yoko was holding her nose and pretty much doing the same.
  • Chouhi from Koihime†Musou wears a tiger hairpin that always mimics her expression.
  • In Lucky Star, Tsukasa has her bow droop when she's sad in episode 18 and the OVA, and spike up when she's shocked in other episodes.
  • Princess Snow's snowman pendant in MÄR. It's a magic pendant, though.
  • Yuki's cat-belt… thingie in Saki.
  • The skull on Kuromi's forehead in Onegai My Melody does this.
  • Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Minami Shimada's hair ribbon, as well as Himeji's bunny hair clips.
  • Pita-Ten has the toy bunnies in Misha's hair frequently mirroring her emotions. The fancomic The KWM Championship (included in the Pita-Ten Official Fan Book Vol. 2) played with this with Misha, after losing an important battle to Koboshi (It Makes More Sense In Context), pretending to be as cheerful as ever...while her hairbunnies glare in a rather unsettling manner.
  • Heihachi from Samurai 7 has a little doll attached to the hilt of his sword that sometimes changes to reflect the general mood Heihachi was in at the time.
  • Kuromi in Onegai My Melody and sequels. Her black joker-hat has a skull logo that corresponds to her mood change.
  • Amu's hair pins in Shugo Chara! change whenever she character changes, with what she's changing to depending on who she changed with. Most other characters usually have a new accessory pop up out of nowhere.

    Comic Books 
  • Astérix's winged helmet.
    • Parodied in Asterix and his Friends, a compilation of comics by various Franco-Belgian Comics artists drawn as a tribute to Uderzo. One story imagines the characters in an alternate universe based on medieval Germany, where Asterix complains to Getafix (a wizard in this universe) that the enchantment on his magic helmet has worn off and the wings no longer move whatever expression he makes.
  • Adam Warren has used this in several of his works. Considering that most of these involve high tech adventures, there are some allowances. Sometimes a tag on the shirt expressly says that it can do this.
    • When he was illustrating for Gen13, the winged skull tattoo on Grunge's chest exhibited Expressive Shirt tendencies.
  • There was a character in The Mask who was a huge fan of “Big Head” (that's what everyone calls whoever is wearing the mask at the time) and had a picture of Big Head on the back of his jacket. After he actually got the mask himself, the picture on the back of his jacket changed to his own face, and basically became this trope.
  • In Batman, the "ears" on Harley Quinn's hat often go up or down like dog ears depending on her mood; may overlap with Expressive Mask.
    • Or Expressive Hair, as without the hat her twintails do the exact same thing. They're probably stuffed in there.
  • Dilbert's tie.
  • Wade Duck's inflatable water toy from U.S. Acres.
  • In Groo The Wanderer, the head of the Minstrel's lute changes into a different object in every panel. Admittedly, not necessarily based on his emotional state, though.
  • The Intimates features Sykes, an extremely powerful psychic who has a "null field" around his head to keep his powers in check. Sykes doesn't talk, but his null field takes different shapes depending on what he's doing at the moment — for instance, a camera, when he's paying close attention to a lecture.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Ace Attorney fancomics on this blog, the pin on Phoenix's hat tends to change its expression to match his. Same with the face-like scar on Kristoph's hand.
  • One of the most stereotypical Common Mary Sue Traits is eyes that change color to reflect different emotions. Why anyone would want to have their emotions so blatantly on display is a mystery, as is why other characters don't think to exploit this trait to become The Empath.

    Video Games 
  • In Paper Mario, the clouds Lakilester and his girlfriend rode on matched their expessions.
  • BlazBlue: Litchi Faye-Ling (aka Booby Lady)'s hair pin is an animate (or possibly living) tiny panda. It occasionally moves on it's own, sometimes even leaping between her cleavage after a match (with her laughing about it).
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Meathook's skull tattoo may be something of an edge case, since he does that on purpose.
  • Occassionally, Suwako's hat in the Touhou series. Her defeat picture in the fighting games, for example, has its googly eyes crying in pain. Fanworks, naturally, take this to the extremes, to the point that her hat has gained its own Fan Nickname of Pyonta.
  • Gust's hat from Neptunia has a grand total of two expressions: = and ><

    Visual Novels 
  • A couple of examples in the Ace Attorney series:
    • Moe, the clown from case 2-4, wears a hat with a mouth on it that mimics his expression.
    • In a more bizarre example, Shelly de Killer communicates in case 2-5 through a walkie-talkie that looks a bit like his face and which changes expressions to match his mood. In the second Investigations game, he carries around an ice cream cone that resembles his facenote  that acts similarly, while he himself remains impassive.
    • When she isn't using it, Athena Cykes' Widget turns into this. This particular case is fully justified since it's an electronic device explicitly designed to read emotions.
  • When Kouri of the Visual Novel Brass Restoration is in her plain clothes, her bear purse mirrors her expression.

    Web Comics 
  • Big Boss' alligator hat in Let's Destroy the Shagohod! which cries alongside the user.
    T-The Boss and I used to make bad puns together... T_T
  • Zeetha in Girl Genius wears a headband with a face on it that mirrors her facial expressions. For example... Otherwise identical faces on her harness don't do this, nor those on her swords. The similar one on the Baron's sword, however... This appears to be a Skiffandrian art.
    • More generally this is a quirk of Phil Foglio's style and can be found in other works as well, including XXXenophile.
  • The hat of Eric in Loserz. He himself is unaware of this, as it says only "Star Wars" when he's not wearing it, although his friends occasionally notice it change.
  • The Zombie Hunters has Jenny's signature, much-loved orange bear hat.
  • Eerie Cuties even mentioned Layla's skull-shaped "emotive hairpin" on the cast page.
    • Stephanie Kane of Paranormal Monster Squad has the "sister" to that hairpin in the "Lingonberries" two-part crossover with Eerie Cuties (gifted to her by Layla). It enables Layla to know how Steph's doing (one crossover strip had Layla's pin have X's for eyes—meaning Steph was in life-threatening trouble).
  • Homestuck: The expression on Nepeta's cat hat matches her own.
  • Precocious' Tiffany wears a smiley-face pin whose expression occasionally changes to match its wearer's mood.
  • Lakitu's cloud in Brawl in the Family #442: Lakitu.
  • In The Wotch, Evan's shirt has a big "E" on it (Most characters call him E). When he turns into a 4-year old girl, it changes to a lowercase "e", and most people call him Lilly (Lil' E). During Chapter 17: Adventures in Babysitting, when Lilly gets a magical age-up to her teens, her shirt has a cursive, lowecase "l".
    • It is worth noting that at first, Lil'E's shirt still has an uppercase E on it and she is basically Evan as a hyperactive 6-year-old girl. As Lil'E turns into Lilly, developing a separate personality who occasionally shows up in Evan's thought bubbles, her dress starts showing the lowercase e. And "Missy" (Miss E) is teenage Lilly, not simply female Evan, hence the "l" instead of an "e"
  • From Gunnerkrigg Court, Antimony infiltrates the robot basement using a clever disguise her fake antennae are seen drooping with her emotions.

    Western Animation 
  • Wade the Duck on the U.S. Acres segments Garfield and Friends wears an innertube with a ducky on it that mirrors his facial expressions. This trait carried over from the little-known U.S. Acres strip.
    • Jim Davis must have liked this trope. In the Garfield Halloween special, Garfield wears a pirate hat with a skull and crossbones that mirrors Garfield's expression. At one point when the boat Garfield's in with Odie capsizes, the skull and crossbones jumps off the hat and swims away.
  • In Disney's version of Little Toot, the title character (an anthro tugboat) had a steam whistle that mirrored his expressions.
  • The Chuck Jones cartoon The Bear That Wasn't, based on a book by fellow Looney Tunes director Frank Tashlin, has a factory foreman whose photo ID has the same expression that he has.
  • Unterbheit minion Catclops of The Venture Bros. has a single cat on his forehead instead of an eye; the cat generally shares his expression.
  • On My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Apple Bloom's bow is like this, drooping when she's in a funk (as seen near the beginning of "The Cutie Pox").
  • Simpsons writers and animators love using cigarettes and cigars to telegraph character reactions. A smoker—typically Krusty, Lunch Lady Doris, or Patty and/or Selma—is nonplussed by a statement or event, but remains impassive. The only indication of the smoker's feelings is ash falling off of his cigar.
  • Transformers Prime does this with robot kibble. Starscream's wings droop when he's frightened or sad. Bumblebee's door wings are much the same way (and it really helps since he can't talk).
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Brain Drain" Isabella's bow goes droopy when she's sick.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Mood Rings
  • A popular item available at anime cons is a pair of cat ears that are animated, changing with the wearer's brainwaves based on a sensor on their forehead. These different modes are supposed to correspond with emotions, but reports are mixed for how accurately they do this.

DisneyesqueGraphical TropesExpressive Ears
Exposed to the ElementsCostume TropesExpressive Mask
Everything Trying to Kill YouImageSource/Web ComicsFunctional Magic

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