In many animated series, goodies and baddies are distinguished by the size of their eyes
. The Hero
, the All-Loving Hero
, and the Wide-Eyed Idealist
will all have big, open, happy, trustful, Puppy-Dog Eyes
. On the other hand, the Magnificent Bastard
, Evil Overlord
and Card-Carrying Villain
will have narrow, shifty eyes. Might be because large eyes makes the face appear more infantile. See also Beauty Equals Goodness
However, this trope is slightly more complex than it used to be. Instead of one eye size for goodies and another for baddies, there is a continuum between the Friend to All Living Things
and the Big Bad
reflecting just how good or bad a character is. On the side of good, the Badass Anti-Hero
willing to Shoot the Dog
has eyes narrower than the hero's but wider than those of the villain. Villains with wider eyes tend to be of the Knight Templar
, Well-Intentioned Extremist
, or Anti-Villain
types; either that, or they will Pet the Dog
a few times.
In a Slice of Life
series without heroes or villains, narrow eyes are often used to indicate The Cynic
See also Scary Shiny Glasses
. Common Eye Colors
are more useful to ascertain personality traits and temperament than moral alignment. Note that characters who have their Eyes Always Shut
do not really fit anywhere on this continuum, as they tend to symbolize something else entirely, whether good or evil. When this trope is used with critters
, it's Big Eyes Little Eyes
Likely unrelated but interesting nonetheless is the fact that ancient cultures often portrayed spiritual people in their art with gigantic eyes. They apparently believed that wider eyes meant someone was more capable of communicating with their gods.
See also Tsurime Eyes
, Animation Anatomy Aging
, Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains
, Color-Coded for Your Convenience
, Dress-Coded for Your Convenience
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Anime & Manga
- Played with in Code Geass:
- Lelouch Lamperouge, the resident Magnificent Bastard Anti-Hero, who is morally dubious at best, has very wide, beautiful, expressive eyes.
- Played straight with his older brother, Schneizel, who is unmistakeably a villain, and has narrow eyes.
- And again subverted with another Anti-Hero, Suzaku Kururugi, who is (like Lelouch) morally ambiguous, and yet still has wide, sparkling Green Eyes.
- Tenchi Muyo! is almost a case study in the example of Innocence vs. Cynicism. Compare the eyes of Sasami, Washu, Ryoko, and Mihoshi.
- Compare the eyes of Anti-Hero Kamui to those of Anti-Villain Fuuma. Or those of Blind Seer Hinoto to those of her evil sister, Kanoe. Or, indeed, any Dragon of Heaven to any Dragon of Earth.
- Another example: It's easy to tell that Hinoto has gone to the dark side when her eyes appear significantly narrower.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Yugi and Yami Bakura both have narrower eyes than their hosts. Malik already has narrow eyes, but his superpowered eviller side has even narrower ones.
- Used in, oddly enough, Saikano. Shuji's friend who joins the military, whose name escapes me is a Wide-Eyed Idealist, complete with literal wide eyes. On the other hand, the other soldiers, none of whom have any illusions about the state they'll return home in, all have extremely narrow eyes.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Though Col. Mustang is eventually portrayed in a sympathetic and somewhat heroic light, he initially comes across as a nasty piece of work, and possesses the narrowest eyes of the regular military characters.
- This is especially apparent when Mustang finally found Envy, and was about to give in to his hatred. His eyes almost narrowed to a slit.
- Lampshaded by Ed "Take a good look at your face before you do anything! You think you can lead a country looking like that?!"
- Ling Yao is a subversion. He's at heart a decent guy with a moral code, but his eyes are very narrow and he himself admits they look "shifty". (He's also an Asian in a cast full of Caucasians, so take that how you will.) He tries to mitigate the effect by keeping his Eyes Always Shut.
- After Greed takes over Ling's body, the eyes signify who's in charge. In the manga if the iris is colored in, it's Greed. If the iris isn't colored in (or if his eyes are closed), then it's Ling. In the manga the direction his bangs are pointing also help distinguish the two. In the anime the two are mostly distinguished by their voices, but even then Ling usually keeps his "shifty eyes" shut when he's in control unless he's being serious.
- The heroic Hohenheim and the Big Bad Father look practically identical but for the fact that Hohenheim has much friendlier-looking eyes.
- Solf J. Kimblee, a psychopathic Mad Bomber has eyes which are reptilian-looking pin pricks.
- The homunculus Pride when he drops the Selim Bradley persona, especially in◊ the animated adaptation◊.
- In the 2003 anime version, Col. Archer has unrepentantly narrow eyes.
- Beyblade: Tyson and Max have wide eyes. Ray and Kai, who both have degrees of Anti-Hero, have narrower ones.
- In Bleach, the heroes have generally big eyes, with Orihime's being the biggest. Among Soul Reapers, the greater the Knight Templar tendency, the narrower the eyes. Well, everyone except for Gin, whose eyes always seem to be closed for some reason.
- Also, Aizen. Starts out good, eyes are wide. Once he reveals that he's evil, his eyes narrow considerably.
- Death Note:
- Light normally has squinty, narrow eyes, but when he temporarily has his memory erased and becomes a good guy, his eyes widen considerably.
- It is even almost lampshaded; after losing his memory, Light asks L if his eyes look like those of a murderer.
- This happened in a cycle. In the beginning, his eyes were in the wider variety. Then, as time went by and he grew more conniving and duplicitous, they grew narrower (accompanied by an overall harshness to his features).
- Sort of used in Haruhi Suzumiya. The series does not have any heroes or villains, but Kyon, being the most cynical character, has considerably narrower eyes than the rest of the cast.
- GUN×SWORD subverts it - Van, the hero, has eyes half the size of his companions. It also plays the trope straight to a degree, however; his rival Ray has narrower eyes. This being a Goro Tanaguchi series, everyone's eyes double in width when they get pissed off, balancing things out.
- Parodied, perhaps inadvertently, in Project A-Ko. A-Ko's eyes, while wide, do not approach the massive CLAMP-influenced orbs of C-Ko. Gadgeteer Genius Psycho Lesbian B-Ko, of course, has the classic villainess eyes.
- Naruto plays this trope to a T. Naruto either has his eyes shut or open wide, fitting with his personality. When his Superpowered Evil Side takes over, his eyes narrow.
- The dark outlines around Gaara's eyes make them appear narrower when he is looking menacing, but wider when he is portrayed sympathetically.
- Averted with the first three Hokage. All three of them have very narrow eyes, but are calm and pretty much embody Lawful Good.
- Although Kazuo Kiriyama's eyes in the manga version of Battle Royale are not appreciably smaller than those of the major male protagonists, they do not reflect any light, giving them a flat, empty appearance illustrating the character's complete lack of emotion.
- The same applies to many characters in the Black Lagoon manga, most notably Revy.
- In Genshiken, while Ogiue is initially full of self-loathing and cynical, her eyes don't reflect light. Later, when she begins accepting herself for what she is and her cynicism starts to melt, her eyes begin to shine.
- Elfen Lied makes prolific use of this trope, specifically with Lucy/Nyu, who can either have large, bubbly, innocent eyes in her Nyu persona to signify her innocently ignorant mindset, or narrow, hateful, and tortured eyes (that are hidden most of the time) in her Lucy persona to signify her extremely dark, murderous, and tormented mindset. In fact, a key characteristic of a diclonius who's been pushed too far is a piercing, glazed over look in their eyes, signifying their descent into murderous misanthropy (basically every diclonius in the show goes through this at one point or another, given that Humans Are Bastards). For some of them this is essentially a permanent state.
- Subverted with Kaiji's titular lead character, whose tire-punching vandalism doesn't make him evil, just a loser.
- Trigun uses this quite a bit, especially with Vash, who either puts on his ominous Scary Shiny Glasses or gets a narrow (if not Glowing Eyes of Doom) look in his eyes, Knives, whose pupils dilate disturbingly whenever he's feeling particularly sadistic, and Legato, whose demonically evil eyes (or technically eye) are specifically focused on when he makes his opening entrance (in fact, this is one of the reasons why Vash is so terrified of him).
- Used in Get Backers especially in regard to Akabane whose eyes (which are already extremely narrow) dilate to the point that his pupils look like periods when he is feeling particularly unstable.
- Extremely noticeable in Rurouni Kenshin. Not only do all villains have narrow eyes and all the protagonists have wide ones (the wider the eyes, the more optimistic/naïve the character). Kenshin's own eyes go from wide to narrow as he gets closer to falling into his Battousai mode.
- This is also parodied after a fight (in the manga at least) when Kenshin's eyes got stuck in "Battousai mode" and he doesn't go back to normal until his friends mess with his face.
- However, it is also lampshaded and subverted once. When Anti-Hero rival Saito first appears, Sano, The Lancer, goes out of the way to point out his small, "squinty" eyes as a reason for concern. While Saito initially acts as an antagonist, he turns out to be even more tireless than Kenshin in fighting against the bad guys, living his life by the code of "Slay evil immediately". (Fans seemed to have noticed the trope too, as Kenshin's author made a note of how he received many letters from Shinsengumi fans upset at Saito's villainous look when first introducing him).
- Also subverted with Soujiro, who has big, innocent-looking eyes.
- The Genre Savvy Anji Yukyuzan not only has narrow eyes (unlike in his past, where he had wide idealist ones until being horrifyingly broken), but he applies ashes to his eyelids to make them look even smaller and squintier and have even more menacing looks.
- Cowboy Bebop: Just compare the eyes of Spike◊ and Vicious◊, and then guess which is the Anti-Hero and which is the Evil Counterpart.
- While nearly identical in appearance, there's a single major physical disparity between Monster's Johan Liebert◊ and his twin sister, Anna◊ that tells you which one's the evil one. You have three seconds to get it right.
- Played with in Princess Tutu. Ahiru, the main heroine, has huge blue eyes, even when she's in her duck form, showing her innocent, sweet nature. Fakir, a dark, brooding character who's often a jerk, has extremely narrow green eyes. He's the villain, right? WRONG! Rue—whose eyes are narrower than Ahiru's, but not nearly like Fakir's—turns out to be the Dark Magical Girl, whose eyes look significantly more narrow when she transforms. Also messed with in the second season with Mytho. Normally his eyes are nearly as wide as Ahiru's, but when his heart is poisoned with Raven's blood and a selfish, evil personality takes him over, his eyes dramatically narrow before our very eyes.
- Also used often in One Piece. Notable is how when Boa Hancock was first introduced, she had narrower eyes, but after her Freudian Excuse was exposed and she fell for Luffy her eyes got bigger. Luffy falls into this trope as well. When he's in a normal state, he's got big, cute, childish eyes. When angered, his eyes narrow considerably, making him look much older. (to add to the effect, his body is drawn to be more defined and adult.)
- In Deadman Wonderland there is a Crazy Evil Eyes version of this trope. The good-hearted, wide-eyed, main protagonist meets another good-hearted, wide-eyed, sweet girl who desperately wants to escape DW. He falls for her and soon after is betrayed. She was faking the whole time in order to drop his guard. Once she shows her True Colors her eyes become beady and wide as opposed to small and narrow.
- In yet another example of eyes changing shape after a personality change, Nia Teppelin from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Subverted in Toradora!; Ryuuji has narrow eyes paired up with a creepy stare, which make everyone but his friends think he's a delinquent, while he's actually a very Nice Guy.
- Played straight and subverted in Anatolia Story: Il Vani, Prince Kail's adviser and close friend, has extremely narrow eyes that make him look evil-ish, at the very least. The evil queen, however, has appropriately narrow eyes.
- In Hellsing, Seras is pretty much the only good guy who has wide eyes (she doesn't have the Scary Shiny Glasses either). Curiously, the members of Millenium also tend to have wider eyes, though that's probably because they have so much fun with what they do.
- It's also worth remembering that her irises turn red when she goes ax crazy
- This trope is played with quite a bit in The Law of Ueki. Particularly noteworthy is the subversion of Ueki and Kobayashi. Both have heavily slanted eyes with very thin irises (or no irises at all), a style typically used for evil characters or hot-blooded anti-heroes. Yet, one is the justice-loving Technical Pacifist hero, and the other is his lazy, friendly, and (usually) nonviolent teacher/mentor.
- Subverted in the manga Leviathan; see here. That's the character with arguably the biggest eyes so far, going "There's not enough killing yet."
- Played with in the case of General Regius from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, whose small, beady eyes, fat frame, and general temperament rang a lot of "obvious villain" alarm bells. Then he turned out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who had the same goals as the heroes of protecting the little guys, only he had the misfortune of being manipulated like a puppet by the Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
- Black Lagoon - as time goes on, Rock's eyes gradually get narrower as he becomes more jaded and cynical.
- Mayo Mitama in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has "mean-looking eyes," causing everyone to misjudge her . . . she really is mean, but everyone is so concerned with not judging by appearances that they think she must be nice.
- Both subverted and played straight in Code Geass. Both Anti-Hero Lelouch and Anti-Villain Suzaku have very big, expressive eyes. The former is one of the most manipulative and deceitful Magnificent Bastards in anime, the latter has a hidden death wish and a severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. However, the rest of the cast mostly obey this trope.
- Noir. The protagonists Mirielle and Kirika, despite both being ruthless hitwomen, have large round eyes, whereas Knife Nut Chloe has narrow eyes. Later when Kirika starts to come under the influence of Chloe, her Moe Moe eyes become noticeably narrower.
- Ken Ichijouji from Digimon Adventure 02 is a good example. As the evil Digimon Kaiser, he has narrow eyes and small pupils. After his Heel-Face Turn, his eyes become larger and more expressive.
- Played straight with almost everyone in Angel Densetsu, to the point that the two Ax-Crazy female leads have nicer eyes as they become nicer. Subverted to hell by the male lead of course.
- In Sailor Moon, the good Sailor Senshi have huge Moe eyes, and the more evil people from the Dark Kingdom/Black Moon Circus/insert latest antagonist group here have narrow eyes.
- This pattern only exists in the first arc. The second arc breaks it up with the narrow-eyed Sailor Pluto. Uranus and Neptune show up in the third arc, and when wide-eyed villains appear in the fourth arc, the pattern effectively dissolves.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! generally does this; the villains have noticeably narrower eyes then the heroes, though there are exceptions; Chao's eyes are round, and Evangeline, while having narrow eyes, only thinks she's a villain.
- In addition, Setsuna has narrower eyes then the rest of the cast when she's introduced, as Negi briefly suspects her of being a bad guy. Later on in the series her eyes are wider.
- Although given recent events, Chao is likely more of a Hero Antagonist, playing this trope straight after all.
- The eye scale is pretty straight if based on "untroubled" and "uncomplicated", with the exceptions being the characters whose facade is good enough to be semi-real. Noteworthy is that even the twins can be usually identified by their eyes. (Switch it to "Dark Eyes Light Eyes", add in the series' unusual values for "Dark" and "Light", and everybody fits in about perfectly.)
- Played up heavily in Liar Game. The incredibly gullible (at first) and generous Nao Kanzaki has anime-standard, big googly eyes, whereas the current main antagonist Yokoya has slit eyes so narrow it's sometimes hard to see them at all.
- In Dragon Ball, good characters generally have big round eyes and bad ones have narrower ones. If a bad character turns good their eyes usually don't change. In an interesting twist, bad characters' eyes are fully outlined, while good characters only have the outside edges of the eyes outlined. Again, this generally sticks if the character switches sides. Continuing that, when Goku, Gohan or Goten first turn Super Saiyan their eyes adopt the "bad guy" look. Trunks has the bad guy eyes even in his normal state due to him being related to Vegeta.
- Gohan for some reason gets fully outlined eyes after his "Mystic" upgrade and it sticks for the rest of the series.
- This is very noticeable in Fist of the North Star, especially when characters switch allegiances. For example, when Rei was originally drawn with beady eyes when he was first introduced, since his status as a hero or villain was still very dubious. Once his heroic credentials were established, he was drawn with rounder eyes.
- With the exception of Walker (whose eyes are always closed, Izaya Orihara has some of the narrowest eyes in Durarara!! (and are also noted to be very sharp-looking in the Light Novels). He is also a giant fricking asshole and is more or less the series' Big Bad.
- Umi no Yami Tsuki no Kage is about a pair of twins which acquire psychic powers. One of them turns evil. You can tell by the small, cat-like pupils she suddenly sports.
- In Sukeban Deka the main villainess pupils usually completely fill out her eyes (because, you know, she's beautiful and this is a shojo manga). But when her pupils narrow down to small little dots you know you should run for your life.
- A variation occurs in Wandering Son. The resident Deadpan Snarker, Chiba, changes between eye styles occasionally. In earlier volumes her default expression was wide-eyed like everyone else in the manga. After becoming increasingly more depressed and moody, her eye style changed to her apathetic look which both makes her look more mature and is more closed then her original look; it changed midway volume 4, one page she's her normal expression and the next she's the new one. She'll occasionally lap into the former, but typically only when she's really happy (at times even when she's happy it doesn't change though) or only for a panel or two.
- The eponymous Detective Conan applies this constantly. When he pretends to be a kid, he's Tareme Eyes— and would switch to Tsurime Eyes in meitantei mode.
- Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Specifically, in the beginning, she was Tareme Eyes, fitting her original personality. The effect of the subsequent "Groundhog Day" Loop-sque Mental Time Travel culminated into her hiding all things she considered "weak"— in addition to Letting Her Hair Down and curing her eyes with magic, her eyes turned to Tsurime Eyes.
- Kaede from Kämpfer usually has innocent looking eyes, but in episode 10, her eyes clearly shift to a more sinister look while trying to manipulate male Natsuru.
- Kamichama Karin plays the trope straight, although in this case it's at least partly due to the bad guys being a few years older than the good guys.
- In the anime of Lucky Star, Akira Kogami has either of these, swtching from wide, moe, Tareme Eyes in her Kawaiiko persona, to Tsurime Eyes with small irises and bags underneath when she's being her jerkass self.
- Darker than Black: When Hei switches from his "real" personality (stoic badass Punchclock Villain antihero) to his Secret Identity personality (adorkable Nice Guy), the main difference is a) his voice going up about half an octave and b) his eyes getting much, much wider◊.
- In Kotoura-san, Haruka's mom Kumiko has evil eyes croseed with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness for the entire season. But near the end of the final episode, when she reconciles with Haruka, her eyes change into normal ones.
- Urameshi Yusuke has big, wide, Brown Eyes. His Evil Counterpart Sensui Shinobu has narrow Icy Blue Eyes.
- In Avatar, the Na'vi have enormous eyes. The avatars' eyes are smaller, but still much larger than a human's.
- In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, everybody is squinting, all the time— but Lee Van Cleef squints harder than anybody else. He is, of course, the Bad.
- Van Cleef is supposed to have said, "Being born with a pair of beady eyes was the best thing that ever happened to me."
- Though to complicate matters, Tuco's (Eli Wallach's character) look ranges from the determined squint through to the wide eyed amazement, and he is by no means a saint.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Sméagol/Gollum's pupils dilate to show which personality is in control. Guess who has the narrower pupils.
- Harry Potter - Bellatrix Lestrange has "heavily lidded eyes". Her sister Andromeda Tonks looks a lot like her but has "wider, kinder eyes". Luna Lovegood has wide eyes.
- Likewise, while Hagrid has "bright, beetle-black eyes", Snape's are said to be black and unfathomable, like dark tunnels. And Ginny has big, bright brown eyes.
- In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei is introduced in the first chapter with a description that includes these, among other traits. Given how he ends up described, perhaps it's best not to take it all that literally.
- Very possibly inverted in A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned. While the main villain doesn't actually have bigger eyes, his irises have turned jet-black, causing him to appear to have enormous pupils. This is apparently a significant contributor to the fact that he looks Ax-Crazy (which he is).
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, the difference between Lex Luthor and Clark Kent is not too noticeable, but surprisingly, in season six, Nemesis, when Chloe is firmly Clark's most trusted friend and Lana is morally questionable, a clear comparison is made between Chloe's wide, bright eyes as she more or less pleads for Clark's life and Lana's narrow, dark ones. They could be seen as the representatives of the arch-enemies at this point.
- Possibly subverted by Ben Linus on LOST, who has done all kinds of nasty things, up to and including murder, but who has big old bug eyes.
- LazyTown's Sportacus has a pair of wide, friendly baby-blues that appear almost photoshopped in their blueness. On the other hand, Robbie not only has pale grey eyes, but also sports highly-arched eyebrows and heavy purple eye-shadow to emphasize the fact that he is indeed the villain.
- Inverted in Merlin. Morgause has huge Brown Eyes but she is a recurring villain.
- Subversion: In The Mighty Boosh, the completely non-evil Straight Man Howard Moon has narrow eyes, though is rather sensitive about them.
- Gary Trudeau specifically mentions in a collection that he drew Barbara Ann "Boopsie" Boopstein's eyes wide and round◊ — in an intentional contrast to the usual heavy-lidded, half-open◊ Doonesbury style — in order to convey her unique naivety and cheerfulness.
- Kingdom Hearts: Sora and Kairi have big, wide eyes (especially in the first game); Anti-Hero Riku's are narrower. Nearly all of Organization XIII have narrow eyes. Larxene, however, has eyes so big they rival Sora and Kairi's, and she's perhaps the scariest member of the Org. Ax-Crazy Vanitas also has large eyes by virtue of being a Sora look alike.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, one of the most prominent differences between Phoenix and Edgeworth - apart from their clothing and hairstyles - is in their eyes, making the contrast between Phoenix's idealism and Edgeworth's cynicism that much more explicit.
- In Case 1-5, Angel Starr actually has one of each, always covering one with her hair to show if she's being sweet or bitter. However, this is because she wears colored contacts to deliberately invoking this trope to have people trust her or fear her accordingly.
- Same deal with Matt Engarde.
- April May, Anita Tiala
- In those times where he appears separately (namely Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood), Tohno Shiki's Nanaya personality has narrower eyes than normal...though it might just be due to his default expression.
- The first Jak and Daxter videogame gave the (then comparatively innocent) main character and his romantic interest eyes the size of soccer balls. The villains' eyes were substantially smaller. Then, over the sequels, this was expanded upon. When Jak Took a Level in Badass at the beginning of Jak II and turned into an Anti-Hero with anger issues, his eyes shrank by about 45%. And then there are the glowing white eyes of his Light Jak form and the black pits of Dark Jak...
- Merrill in Dragon Age II has larger eyes than anyone has got a right to. She's also the nicest person on your team.
- This is the main characteristic of all the elves in the game, along with pointy ears. Even the brooding Anti-Hero Fenris has wider eyes than the humans of the team, even though they are narrower than Merrill's.
- Inverted with Fubuki Shirou of Inazuma Eleven. Normally he has a sleepy look and gentle personality, so when he gets aggressive in his plays channeling his deceased twin brother his eyes widen and he's... suddenly a lot harder to approach.
- Played straight with Kariya Masaki in GO. Turns out he's not evil though—just a jerk whenever he feels like it. Plus he's mostly ditched his goody-two-shoes act.
- Pokémon villains traditionally have beady eyes and/or a mean Kubrick Stare. So in Pokémon Black and White, when the villainous team's leader is this... doe-eyed, chatty teenager... yeah, that's a sign something's up. Ultimately played straight: the wide-eyed kid is an unwitting Tyke Bomb for his beady-eyed father.
- In Jack you can safely determine the status of a character by look of their pupils. Damned souls in Hell have tiny beady pupils, living furries, celestials and those of hell-denizen who became conscious of their sins and are eager to amend for them and escape damnation have normal eyes. Demons have glowing red eyes, Satan has pitch-black eyes and so does Jack when he gets mad.
- In Girl Genius, you can usually tell whether Agatha or Lucrezia is in control. I have yet to determine whether it is mostly by the shape of the eyes or whether it's that plus other mannerisms.
- When Lucrezia is in, she frequently ditches Agatha's glasses (for some reason).. Also, she's usually smirking, whereas Agatha alternates looking like a scared rabbit and looking like an Evil Overlord.
- In Sinfest, enlightenment enlarges the drones' eyes.
- In Bob and George, the newly awakened Megaman notices Dr. Wiley's shifty eyes.
- Disney does this a lot. In most of the Disney Animated Canon, the villains eyes are narrower than the heroes. They also tend not to reflect light, making them appear rather soulless.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender : Aang and Katara both have quite large eyes. Sokka has narrower eyes, but they are still wider than those of Azula, whose eyes in turn look narrower (read: crazier) during her breakdown. Zuko is an interesting case - his narrow eyes indicate a dark character; however, one is narrower than the other, indicating moral ambiguity right from the start.
- In book 1 Zuko is pissed off all the time, and his one good eye is contorted in frustration. Later, as his demeanor improves, his face relaxes and the eye looks bigger, whilst his scar becomes overgrown by hair. Also, young Zuko's eyes are larger than Teen Zuko, showing that he inherited more good from his mother than his father's evil.
- Ty Lee's colossal eyes seem to indicate that she isn't completely evil, which was finally confirmed in "The Boiling Rock, Part 2". Of course, Mai has eyes even narrower than Azula's, and she turned her coat moments earlier.
- In Teen Titans, the relatively naive and innocent Starfire has much larger eyes than her comparatively evil sister Blackfire.
- In The Simpsons, most characters have wide, bulging eyes - except for Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob.
- Inverted in the DCAU where Superman has squinty little eyes of just an upper eyebrow and a pupil while Lex Luthor has more normal eyes with a white to them. Also ignored in most other cases as eye size seems gender based; all ladies get big eyes no matter how evil they are.
- The Boondocks plays an interesting variation: black people have narrow eyes, white people have wider eyes. Due to its Animesque style, this makes white girls look like your average anime girl.
- Early episodes of the first Transformers episodes had a robot version of it: The good Autobots had blue eyes, and the evil Decepticons had red eyes. Taking this even further, there was an episode where the good guys were brainwashed into evil. The visual cue? Their eyes turned red.
- Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil gives wide eyes to the titular Anti Anti Christ, but narrow eyes to her father. Jesus's eyes are wide, and the nun who tries to kill Lucy has narrow eyes.
- In Recess, the antagonistic characters have narrower eyes than the protagonists.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic tends to give the good characters the standard big watery eyes while villains tend to get scary (and mostly serpentine) peepers. Even minor "villains" like Trixie and Gilda tend to have less reflections in their eyes. Spike (except for one episode) averts this, as does Discord after his Heel-Face Turn.
- Our pupils dilate when we feel friendly and affectionate, and constrict when we feel wary and guarded. Consequently, we consider large pupils a sign of warm heartedness and small ones a sign of hostility.
- Pupil size is entirely controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The effect of mood is real, but much smaller than the far more basic accommodation for light level. It likewise is not as important as the function of the autonomic nervous system. Pupil dilation is a result of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, the part responsible for fight-or-flight. An aggressor will have dilated pupils, as will someone "wide-eyed with fright." Parasympathetic stimulation, the feed-and-breed side of the autonomic nervous system, causes constriction. Likewise, cocaine and amphetamines cause dilation, which heroin causes constriction. Take a look at the size of the pupil of this young Thai boxer here◊ for illustration.
- This is inverted for cats: bigger eyes are scarier because it indicates they're looking at prey, narrower eyes show trust and comfort with whomever they're looking at.
- 19th-century women used to put belladonna (aka deadly nightshade) extract in their eyes to dilate the pupils, so they would look prettier.
- This is less crazy than it sounds. The key here is that the poison is in the dose or, in this case, the route. The deadly in deadly nightshade comes from atropine (as it's scientific name Atropa belladona suggests). Atropine blocks pretty much the entire parasympathetic nervous system, which is the calm, feed-and-breed side of autonomic regulation. The PS system causes the pupils to constrict, so atropine (and deadly nightshade) would dilate the pupil. Used low dose topically in the eye, it doesn't really affect the rest of the body, and ophthalmologists used to use atropine for many years for some forms of glaucoma (rare today). Atropine has a few uses in emergencies (nerve gas and pesticide exposure, some heart conditions). Taken systemically, deadly nightshade can live up to its name, especially before we had drugs which could counter its effects.