Eye Colour Change
An Eye Colour Change is when a character's eyes change colour in response to some stimuli. The colour the eyes change into depends on the event and the character, but it can be anything from a shift in hue to something as dramatic as brown eyes turning bright yellow and round pupils lengthening into slits. This is generally a sign that something major has just happened. A possession, a shift in alignment, the acquisition of supernatural power, trauma, anything significant can trigger an Eye Colour Change. Supertrope to Kaleidoscope Eyes which is about eyes working as mood rings. Does not apply to a Adaptation Dye-Job. See also Convenient Color Change, Game Face, Eye Lights Out and Demonic Possession. A frequent feature of Mind-Control Eyes.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Claymore: The eyes of a Claymore are silver until they use their Yoma powers; this turns their eyes gold.
- The title character of Rurouni Kenshin changes eye colour to correspond to which Split Personality is in command in the anime.
- Subaru Nakajima's eyes in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S are normally green, but turn gold when she enters full Combat Cyborg mode. The first time this is triggered on screen, it also coincides with Unstoppable Rage.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- A Saiyan's eyes turn greenish-blue when he turns Super Saiyan (although it's easily missable, since the other effect of the transformation is much more visible).
- Their irises also turn red when they start absorbing Bruitznote Waves when they look at a full moon, as a leadup to the transformation to a Great Ape.
- A Super Saiyan who has ascended to Super Saiyan Godhood gains red eyes to go with red hair. When the Super Saiyan God goes Super Saiyan, the eyes go back to turquoise, with the hair also matching.
- In Naruto, The Sharingan is a hereditary superpower of the Uchiha clan that allows for Awesomeness by Analysis and causes distinctive change in the eye when used; a more advanced version exists has a different look. Both are unlocked by traumatic experiences.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, humans who channel enormous Spiral Power have spirals appear in their eyes. This is seen mostly in Lordgenome, but also briefly in Kittan right before his death. Simon's eye also changes during the Giga Drill Break war with the Anti-Spiral after Lordgenome's sacrifice, as well as during the Distant Finale.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Tsuna's eyes are normally brown. However, when he goes into Dying Will Mode, they change into an orange-ish yellow.
- The eyes of NEXT in Tiger & Bunny typically change to a bright, glowing blue when they activate their abilities. This isn't the case for all of them, however — NEXT with passive abilities don't have an eye color change, the eyes of the two NEXT in Ouroboros glow orange-yellow, and Kotetsu's eyes have recently started turning red to go along with his Power Incontinence.
- In Yumeria, Neneko has violet/purple eyes, but when mental time traveler Neito takes control of their shared body, they turn green.
- InuYasha: Both the title character and his half-brother, Sesshoumaru, have eyes that go completely bloodshot-red when their demonic powers are fully released. However, Inuyasha's eyes also change colour according to whether he is in human (black), normal (gold), or youkai (red) form, because he's a Half-Human Hybrid whose human side is fully expressed during a new moon and whose demon side is fully expressed when he pushes his own natural powers to their limits (in which case, good luck getting him to restrain himself to attacking only the bad guys.)
- In Digimon Tamers, when Beelzemon makes his Heel-Face Turn, his eyes go from evil red to the green of his previous form, Impmon.
- When Lina Inverse of Slayers fame is possessed by the Lord of Nightmares in the end of Slayers NEXT, her eyes, normally red, appear golden.
- In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, vampire's eyes turn gold when they sense blood or are using their powers. Fai experiences this when he is turned into a vampire to save his life.
- Kagerou Project: Every character's eyes (which are normally either brown, yellow or pink) turn red when they're using their Eye Powers. In some cases, their pupil also becomes a slit (even if they're usually drawn without one). A more serious example comes when the usually pink-eyed Konoha's eyes become yellow with slit pupils. It (along with the rest of his costume turning black) signals that he has been taken over by the Wide-Eyes Snake and become Kuroha.
- A What Could Have Been example from Sailor Moon: Originally the girls would change eye color when transformed, Ami's turned from deep blue to babie blue, Rei's went from purple to red, Makoto's changed from hazel to green and Minako's blue eyes became gold.
- When Hakkai from Saiyuki removes his Power Limiters, his eyes change to golden catlike ones... or rather, only the left one does; the right one is artificial, made to match the other one while in human form, and therefore remains green with a round pupil. The result is somewhat unsettling, preserving a trace of Hakkai's original human self even when he taps into his demon powers.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, this is one aspect of a Ghoul's Game Face. Their eyes transform from completely normal to black schlera and red irises, an indicator of their true nature known as "kakugan".
- In Sword Art Online, Kirito's pupils changes color into gold (or maybe yellow?) when he gets really serious and pulls out all the stops
- When Tigress hijacks Flare's body in hope of learning about Teresa's mother, Teresa's eyes change from blue to green.
- The '90s Supergirl comic had Linda Danvers suspecting something was off when she saw that her eyes permanently changed from brown to blue, after being rescued from a certain death by a cult. It's because she WAS dying, and the Matrix version of Supergirl merged with her, causing some of her features to wind up reflected in Linda.
- Similarly, the Justice Society of America relaunch had a plot point where it was revealed that after Kendra Saunders (the current Hawkgirl) had attempted suicide and been revived, her eyes mysteriously changed from green to brown. This is chalked up to Kendra's soul actually departing and her aunt Shiera taking residence in her body, thus changing Kendra's eye color to what hers (Shiera's) had been
- Norman Osborn's eyes change from brown to green when he's using the Green Goblin powers. In The Pulse, this is what first makes Daily Bugle reporter Terri Kidder realize something is very wrong.
- In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner's brown eyes turning an unnatural shade of green is a common prelude to him Hulking Out.
- The Infinity League: Miranda's eyes would change colour when she activates her power. And now, so do the other characters' eyes when they use theirs.
- Justice Society of Japan: Happens to Kallen early on in the story.
- From the Harry Potter fic/fic about fic Another Life, describing the difference between a Mary Sue and her creator:
"Sarillenne's eyes are bright golden yellow, but they will sometimes turn green when she is happy, or ruby-red when she is angry. Sara's eyes are dull, greyish brown, no matter how angry she gets at the wall-to-wall rejections that make up her life."
Films — Animation
- Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit has brown eyes up until he gets squashed by a steamroller, revealing him to be a toon, at which point his natural red eyes appear. This is also the point he stops being calm and collected and starts acting outright psychotic.
- Sandy from Rise of the Guardians. When he is impaled by Pitch's black sand arrow, Sandy's pupils become darker and more prominent in response to the darkness consuming his body.
- In the BIONICLE films, Vakama's Face-Heel Turn and subsequent Heel-Face Turn are represented by his orange eyes turning sickly green, and back. Roodaka, who leads Vakama astray in the first place, has blue eyes that go red when she's angered.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: Adagio's eyes briefly flash green at one point when the Dazzlings are at the height of using their song to pit the students against each other. The eyes of their victims likewise flash green on occasion.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Lost Boys, vampires' eyes go from their natural colour to red when they transform into 'vampire mode'.
- Star Wars has the phenomenon of "Sith eyes", related to the Dark Side of the Force. They usually aren't permanent and usually manifest when the dark Force-user is enraged (Count Dooku, always calm and collected, never manifests them). Only Darth Maul, who is more or less always belligerent, sports permanent Sith eyes.
- In The Avengers, Loki's staff changes people's eyes blue when he mind-controls them. On the DVD commentary, director Joss Whedon explains that this was actually something they added in post-production to make the difference between brainwashed characters and people acting under their own will clear, and so that there was a clear visual sign in Hawkeye when he finally broke out of it, which makes his teammates taking him back more understandable.
- The Girl from The Ninth Gate (who is possibly the devil in human form) does this at several points, mostly when her Blood Lust gets going.
- Rachel from Cliff McNish's The Doomspell Trilogy has eyes that change colour depending on the spell she is using, these eyes are said to be a wizard trait.
- At the end of Septimus Heap - Magyk, Sarah Heap notices that Septimus' eyes are becoming green from exposure to Magyk when she identifies him as her child.
- Eyes are often very important in Chris D'Lacey's Last Dragon Chronicles. If it mentions someone's eye color more than once, it's a good bet that it has either changed or will change soon. Brown, blue, green, black, and violet are the most common.
- The Stormlight Archive
- It is said that if a person with dark eyes wins a Shardblade their eyes will become light. In the first book, we only see one darkeyes with a Blade (Szeth), and they only turn pale blue when he is actively using the Blade. He notes that this is unique to his Blade, so the full situation remains unclear.
- In the second book, we get more detail. Yes, darkeyes permanently turn light once you've bonded with a Blade (which takes about a week). Full Radiants also have their eyes turn light; in fact, this process is what the Shardblades are mimicking. The influence of Odium has also been shown to give spren and people red eyes, to the point that red eyes are seen as a mark of Voidbringers.
- Interestingly, Radiants not only get lighter eyes, but may have a completely different eye color, as when Kaladin goes from dark brown to light blue eyes. Dead Shardblades, on the other hand, give a darkeyes a lighter version of whatever his original eye color was (Dark brown to gold/tan, for example).
- In The Wheel of Time, users of the True Power develop black flecks swimming across their eyes as a result of overuse. With continued use, the flecks become more common, and eventually transform the eyes and mouth into caverns of flame.
- In The Door Within Trilogy, the Glimpses eyes change colour depending on their affiliation: Blue for King Eliam, Red for Paragor, and Green for neutral/undecided.
- In Roger Zelazny's Dilvish The Damned, some witches have eyes that wax and wane with the moon.
- In the Black Jewels novels: Jaenelle Angelline's eyes turn from "summer-sky" blue to "sapphire" when she's in Witch mode.
- In the Codex Alera, the Marat people take on the eyes characteristic of the animal they take as a Bond Creature. In particular, in the first book Kitai's eyes turn green when she bonds Tavi.
- In Lightning Dust'', the eponymous hero's eyes turn bright yellow from their normal blue when Klaus turns into him, while Daniel's sclera (the white part of the eyes) and pupils turn light and dark blue respectively when he becomes Crystal Eye.
- In the later seasons of Babylon 5, Lyta Alexander's eyes would turn solid black whenever she made use of the Vorlon enhancements to her psychic abilities. However she became even more powerful in the Postscript Season, she acquires Glowing Eyes of Doom instead. Possibly because the black contacts used for the old effect were painful to wear.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Whenever Willow makes intensive use of magic, her eyes abruptly turned pitch-black while closed. Then, in the series finale, when using the scythe to activate all the potential slayers, her eyes (and hair) turned white, hinting she was using powerful white magic.
- When Willow buffed up Buffy with magic to fight Adam, Buffy's eyes turned gold/yellow.
- In Forever Knight, vampires' eyes turn golden when they vamp out.
- In Merlin, Merlin's eyes turn brownish-gold when he uses magic.
- In the Kamen Rider franchise, the big, insectlike eyepieces of the Riders often change with the mode the suit is in. In a more sinister vein, they can also change with the mentality of the wearer if the powers present a hazard to his sanity (if a power-up is potentially a Superpowered Evil Side, and the Rider's eyepieces turn the color that represents that power source, you wanna be a few dozen counties over.)
- Eye color is a key part of the werewolf mythology in Teen Wolf. Alphas have red eyes, and betas have either orange or blue eyes.
- Solid-coloured eyes are used to show demonic possession on Supernatural. Showing them, rather than the natural eye colour, is voluntary for the demon so it is used for shock value (both in universe and for the audience). Low-level demons use black; more powerful ones get more colourful options such as yellow or white.
- In Doctor Who, Leela's eyes are bleached permanently blue by a blinding explosion in "The Horror of Fang Rock" - even though her vision later returns, her eye colour does not. This was a Written-In Infirmity (the actress hated the brown coloured contacts she had to wear as Leela and the production team decided to give her a break) but serves as something of a symbolic coming-of-age moment for her character, as the Doctor Pygmalioning her into a protegée has strikingly blue eyes.
- The Incredible Hulk: When viewers see David's eyes turn green, it's confirmation that things are about to get smashed...
- When Faize from Star Ocean The Last Hope gets subjected to a lot of stress, his Genetic Engineering causes him to unconsciously suppress it. This gets shown with his eyes turning red.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic's eyes are normally green, but when he goes Super Sonic, they turn red.
- Tales Series
- In Tales of Symphonia, Colette's blue eyes turn red when she loses her soul; they return to blue when she gets it back again.
- In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Emil's normally green eyes turn red whenever his "Ratatosk-mode" personality is in control (usually during battle only). When we first see him, his eyes are gray, because he hasn't invented a personality yet.
- In Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht, KOS-MOS's normally red eyes turn blue when she saves the Elsa from disintegrating upon entering the atmosphere of Second Miltia at the end of the game.
- Dangan Ronpa's Fukawa has eyes that change from a soft pinkish-grey to bright red when her Split Personality Genocider Syo is in charge.
- Throughout Kingdom Hearts, eyes change color to an orange-gold whenever someone gets too close to the darkness, or if they're a vessel for Xehanort.
- Braig's eyes change from brown to gold, after he becomes part-Xehanort.
- Terra's eyes go from blue to orange when Master Xehanort possesses him.
- Xehanort's eyes go from orange to brown and back again during the year he spends amnesiac.
- Ansem the Wise's eyes change to gold after he embraces the power of darkness.
- Riku's eyes start changing color during the time between Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II, since he still has part of Xehanort's Heartless inside him. They go back to their normal color once he's blasted by the light of Ansem's Kingdom Hearts Encoder exploding.
- Isa's eyes went from blue to orange at some point after Birth by Sleep, because he's being taken over by Xehanort as well.
- Fallen London: Minor examples pop up every now and then, and usually mean bad news. But the one established example is among Monster-Hunters, who are among the most dangerous men alive, and hunt down zee monsters for a living. The initiation ritual is to find and slaughter one of the really ferocious ones, and eat from it. This'll change their eyes to a deep Peligin, and tends to alter them in other unclear ways.
- In Mass Effect 3, any biotics that don't already have blue eyes get them briefly, along with a subtle glow, when they use their powers.
- RWBY's Yang Xiao Long has purple eyes that turn red whenever she goes in her Super Mode. Neopolitan's eyes individually change color at odd times, and so far we've seen brown, pink, and silver among the possible colors. At any given time she can have seemingly any combination of those colors, and they can change and swap which eye is which when she blinks. Exactly what this means is unclear.
- Zill from Zoophobia: Purple to green when he uses his powers.
- Homestuck has Kurloz, who uses mind control to change Meulin's (and possibly others) eyes to a deep purple.
- In The Silver Eye, certain character's have eye colours that will change with extreme emotion. This is a sign that they are descended from the Nedarians. If the Nedarian ancestors in question are Melete and Syllor Dolan, they will change to blue or black, and if they are Sienna and Augustine Lewis, they will change to red or brown.
- In Hero Oh Hero, someone looking at a menu has their eyes shift to the colour of the menu (with a picture of the menu hanging in mid air for the audience's benefit). Secretary Wu-Cha also has her eyes flash different colours when she's using her Stat-O-Vision.
- While it has not been explicitly seen yet, in El Goonish Shive eye color change is mentioned as one of the potential side-effects of a "burnout," when a magic user uses too much magic, and temporarily loses access to their powers.
- Danny Phantom: His human side has blue eyes, his ghostly Super Hero alter ego has green eyes, but whenever he turns evil (either Brainwashed and Crazy or meeting his evil alternate-future self) his eyes turn red.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Luna has normal pony eyes, but when she's in her Nightmare Moon persona, she has reptile eyes with slit pupils.
- In "A Canterlot Wedding", Shining Armor when Queen Chrysalis masquerading as Princess Cadance casts a spell to brainwash him. His eyes turn green and point in different directions. Additionally, Queen Chrysalis in the form of Princess Cadance upon casting Twilight into the dungeons at the end of part one. Her eyes flash blue-green, and her pupils turn reptillian.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: In the episode 'Emperor Stark', when someone is under the control of The Purple Man, their eyes turn purple, and return to normal color when they break free of his control.
- Gravity Falls: Mabel's eyes turn green when she's had too much Smile Dip. Additionally, looking into the Gremloblin's eyes causes the eyes of two tourists to match the creature's bright yellow ones.
- In Transformers Prime, Megatron's eyes go from red to purple when he's using Dark Energon, indicating the substance's power and supernatural influence, and the nasty side effects it has on Megatron's mind.
- Justice League introduced the idea of Green Lantern's eyes lighting up in green whenever he used his powers, which eventually found its way into comics.