You should see them hatless and bald.
4. What kind of women do you prefer/identify with?
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but have blond hair
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but have pink hair
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but have blue hair
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but are secretly demons with dark hair
In Real Life
, different people have different faces - barring identical twins or rare look-alikes.
Not so in cartoons. Sure, a Child, Teenager, and Adult of both sexes will be visually distinct from each other (often solely by height
), but beyond that ... all bets are off
Impossibly Cool Clothes
or unusual hairstyles
can create an extremely powerful framing effect, meaning the rest of the character's design may be quite simple as a shortcut. The unfortunate result may be a fundamentally homogenized artstyle, exacerbated if the designs are simplified further for characters who must be easy to animate in large groups
. Naturally this runs the risk of looking somewhat cheap, especially if the cast gets very large. This can be compensated with color redesigns
, or sticking a character habitually into one outfit
, because said outfit is more distinctive than the actual character. In contrast, homogenous outfits (like school uniforms) tend to encourage faces to be drawn differently. Because of this, a character's outfit actually changing
usually means its supposed to mark an emotional change in either them or how we're supposed to see them. A simple haircut can also mess up with who the character is very easily.
As The Japanese culturally focus on eye and face shape to identify faces to a large degree, anime and manga typically uses a large amount of variation on eyes
rather than changing the rest of the face. Similarly, western superheroes often look alike aside from their distinctive costumes depending on the artist. Female characters seem especially susceptible to this, due the emphasis on the character's stylised and stereotyped attractiveness/cuteness further limiting any unusual variation.
When applied in excess to secondary characters, it can become Faceless Masses
. The Videogame version of this trope is You ALL Look Familiar
This is an actual documented issue in ancient art history. Surviving burial portraits from Roman Egypt
resemble each other more than real people would. The painters must have mixed-and-matched a limited repertoire of features, making this trope Older Than Feudalism
. (This could also be due to Ancient Egyptian art's long history of making people look good, rather than realistic.)
The opposite of this trope is a Cast of Snowflakes
, where even the most incidental characters designs tend to be unique and well-defined. Sounds like but is unrelated to Same Face, Different Name
, which is about creators going by different monikers. A clever
creator can work around this and create a Reused Character Design
When you use "Only Six Faces", it often becomes more vital to give them some other Distinctive Appearances
through the use of Limited Wardrobe
. Identical Stranger
is occasionally a byproduct of this trope. See also Generic Cuteness
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Anime and Manga
- Porn artist Zimmerman (well known for Rule34ing lots of cartoon characters, mostly Jessica Rabbit and Disney princesses) is amazing in how he can draw the same girl over 1000 times in a year, yet they are described as being different characters. Be even more amazed in the fact that he has been doing this for almost a decade and that his models range from Belle to Lara Croft.
- Greek Statues, due to the emphasis being on human perfection. The Romans, however, have more variation.
- Much as with Classical Greek statues, Regency official portraits tended to all look alike, "'cause they're painted to a romantic ideal rather than as a true depiction of the idiosyncratic facial qualities of the person in question". Historically, this contributed to Prince George marrying Caroline of Brunswick, who so repelled him on actually meeting that he immediately begged off claiming to feel unwell (and Caroline wasn't very impressed with George either, which didn't help things). The whole marriage was such a disaster he attempted (unsuccessfully) to divorce her, and a good many of his relatives started desperately trying to produce an heir (when it became clear he was never going to have any legitimate children), eventually leading to Queen Victoria.
- Byzantine art is classified by gold backgrounds, pattern drapery and stylized facial types. Most figures in the paintings look like they are related to each other.
- Archie Comics is relatively well-known for this, as a common story involves Betty or Veronica merely placing on a wig to imitate the other, leaving every other character completely fooled. In fact, the only female characters in Archie Comics not to have the same body and face type are either older women, the rare 'super-attractive' types such as Cheryl Blossom or Melody, who possess larger busts and more curves, or the Gonks like Big Ethel.
- It varies from artist to artist, sometimes Cheryl Blossom and Melody have the same body as every other girl. Cheryl Blossom is lucky enough to get a slightly different face most of the time, though.
- It is averted in Afterlife With Archie, as Francesco Francavilla manages to give every character a distinctive face and body. His Betty and Veronica are quite different (with Betty being taller, bustier and less slender than Ronnie), and it only diversifies from there.
- In one comic, Betty and Veronica both dyed their hair red. Aside from hair style, they looked identical.
- For astute readers this becomes something of a metajoke. Since Betty and Veronica are essentially identical, Archie's indecision between them is based entirely on their personalities rather than their appearance.
- Much of the cast of Scott Pilgrim restyle or dye their hair throughout the series — a very bad move considering Bryan Lee O'Malley can draw approximately 2 faces ('standard' and 'long', with optional female characteristics for the latter if you're lucky), and uses the same one for all recurring characters. Freckles are employed twice... and fail to distinguish the two identical blondes to which they're applied. This leads to interminable stretches of "Aren't those two together anymore? Who is that? Isn't she in America? I thought he was with them"...
- The comic is in black and white.
- This was somewhat fixed in the fourth volume, when the characters are given at least one unique facial characteristic. Kim is the only one that has freckles now, Wallace's eyes are always squinted, Stephen has Perma Stubble, Knives has no whites in her eyes, etc. Also, some people have different head shapes, like Knives's dad is square, Mobile is horizontally elongated, the twins are pointed vertically elongated rectangles, etc.
- Jack Kirby's women are famous for being only distinguishable by their hairstyles. His other characters, on the other hand, are so varied and diverse that it almost makes up for it.
- This is an improvement on how he drew people in the early Fantastic Four (and other comics of the time)—one letters column admitted his eight basic types bore an unofficial nickname, "Kirby's Kast of Kharacters."
- In an early issue of Fantastic Four, this was even a plot point. By simply putting on a wig and a spare FF uniform, blind sculptress Alicia Masters looked exactly like Sue Stormnote — to other characters, as well as the reader!
- Finder by Carla Speed MacNeil does this on purpose, in a civilization composed almost entirely of clans that intentionally inbreed to look like each other.
- However, the different clans (and the non-clan characters) have wide variety of very different faces.
- John Byrne (of Fantastic Four, The Man of Steel) is known for having his male faces look pretty similar (with trademark square jaws), while his female faces are entirely identical. This is especially noticeable when his Batman and Superman are on the same page: the two of them are twins who happen to wear different costumes.
- He averts this in the Generations graphic novels, starring Superman and Batman, because he draws Batman with the distinctive Lantern Jaw that he sported back in the Silver Age.
- Ditto Jim Lee. Batman and Superman appear to be clones, and all women are identical. This has caused a lot of confusion in certain parts.
- This trope was in full force in the Golden and Silver Age DC Comics. Consider all the times that Superman and Batman were able to pose as each other with no one figuring it out until they explicitly identified themselves.
- The semi-internet-famous meme 'Tony Stark Is Everyone'. Turns out that without his distinctive mustache, Tony Stark becomes Bruce Wayne. Adding glasses made him Clark Kent. From there, the permutations are endless.
- Steve Rogers. Henry Pym. Clint Barton. Wendell Vaughn. John Walker.note Jim Hammond.note They're all blonde, Caucasian males, and they were all active members of the Avengers at the same time circa 1990. And John Byrne just happened to be the writer/artist who added the Torch and US Agent to Avengers West Coast.
- Female characters in general seem to suffer the most from this trope in comic books. The older the comic, the more likely it is that all female characters have the same face, just with different hairstyles, and sometimes, with a little luck, a slightly different body type.
- During the Silver Age, Superman would run into lookalikes often - from his Kandorian cousin to a movie actor- who were so similar to him that they could (and did) pass for him. This was an intentional plot point. I guess Supes is supposed to have "one of those faces" which helps to explain his Clark Kenting - somewhat.
- Lampshaded in Tiny Titans, where Robin and Raven point out that without his hat, Zachary Zatara looks exactly like Superboy.
- Tom Grummett's characters tend to all have the same face. This makes it awkward when drawing characters who are romantically involved, such as Superboy and Wonder Girl, or Mach-IV and Songbird.
- Mark Bagley is a major offender, especially in Ultimate Spider-Man. He is often forgiven for this because he is an inhumanly fast penciller - in an era where comic fans are used to delays, Bagley has a habit of getting issues out early.
- Plus he used this to astounding effect in the Ultimate Clone Saga, wherein Peter's Opposite-Sex Clone really does look exactly like him, only female. Though Bagley does repeat his faces, they look much more like each other than any other character.
- Similarly, the Ultimate Richard Parker was immediately recognizable as the 616 version of Peter Parker.
- ElfQuest was a rare aversion. Wendy Pini kept a concordance of the shapes of eyes, facial structure, etc., so that her elves definitely weren't the same faces with different (extremely elaborate) hairdos. Although elves are all slender and have bodies that are considered attractive in this culture, there was a lot of variation in that shapeliness, on the men and especially the women.
- Greg Land is infamous not only for apparently tracing his characters from
porno magazines photos, but also for tracing entirely different characters from the same◊ photo. There have been quite a few joke campaigns to buy Land more porn just so comic readers can see some variety in his work
- Ed Benes tends to give every female character more or less the same face. This is especially noticeable in his Justice League comics, where Black Canary and Zatanna look like blond/brunette versions of each other.
- David Aja pokes fun at himself over this in an issue of Hawkeye. Clint gets mistaken for Iron Fist (whose book Aja used to draw), and angrily asks why everyone keeps getting the two of them confused.
- A big problem for Steve Dillon, who draws faces very distinctively and very uniformly. Sadly this wasn't always the case, Dillon is an excellent draftsman, but even he has admitted to oversimplifying things in his work.
- This resulted in the "everyone is Frank" meme - because Dillon's work on The Punisher was so famous, Frank Castle's scowly mug is most noticeable when Dillon makes use of it or tries to modify it.
- Phil Noto also does this for his characters, but makes it so pretty. Ditto Jim Cheung, Olivier Coipel, Stuart Immonen ...
- David Lafuente averts this. He gives all the cast of Ultimate Spider-Man distinct faces, hairstyles, dress styles, and rarest of all, physical builds.
- Artesia. It's more like two - one for men and one for women. Mark Smylie paints almost everything with great detail - human faces being the exception. There are certain variations, like slightly wider noses, wrinkles and scars. The only way to really tell the characters apart is hair and facial hair. With the Ensemble Cast, it sometimes makes things confusing. The old Artesia website used to have a Character Sheet, but the new one does not.
- Maybe not faces, but for Kevin Maguire, it's expressions. Look at Superbuddies or his JLI runs and you'll see the same confused expressions on the faces of the JLI.
- Franco Urru's art on Angel spin-off comics - his male characters are pretty individual but his women's faces and bodies are quite interchangeable. Particularly annoying since many of the characters are based on live-action actors who don't look alike.
- Charlie Adlard's art for The Walking Dead is especially bad with this, at least in the beginning of his tenure. He seems to have one stock "Unshaven White Guy With Large Nose and Scowl" face that he uses constantly for at least three or four different main characters, and most of the women (and Glen) are only identifiable by their hair and/or hats. In shots that just show the face, the reader has little clue who they're looking at, outside of the dialogue. On top of that, the range of expression for the vast majority of Adlard's characters is exactly one: semi-stoic serious face. This is especially notable since the first six issues were drawn by Tony Moore, who actually made all of the characters look very distinct from one-another, especially Lori (Rick's wife). Tony Moore being a complete and total aversion of this trope makes Charlie Adlard's work following Moore's departure all the more jarring, though he has visibly improved over time.
- Millie the Model often consciously imitated the Archie Comics style and had many of the same artists, including Dan [DeCarlo] and Stan Goldberg. Unsurprisingly, the feature often shared this trope with Archie as well.
- Terry and Rachel Dodson draw a lot of similar faces (see quote page).
- Surprise! Rob Liefeld goes here. Once, a "top 40 worst Rob Liefeld drawings" list showcased a scan of two data profiles on two different characters; the faces were identical, and the blonde hairstyles nearly so. The list asked readers, for bonus points, to guess which of the two was supposed to be latina.
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog is often accused of taking this to the entire body. Many share a body and head type with Sonic, even if they're not hedgehogs. Many characters are distinguished by clothing elements, colored bodies, or hairstyle. This is part of the reason why the comics are immensely popular in the fan art community (one could make a drinking game out of browsing DeviantArt for recolors of Sonic). The body type is fairly easy to learn and since many characters design-wise could be dumbed down as 'different color Sonic with hair', novice artists often can fall back on tracing pages.
- It doesn't help that current artists are redesigning character who originally subverted this trope to fit it to a tee. Bunnie and Sally in particular had rather original designs before gradually being slowly retooled to look only slightly refined from standard games characters such as Cream and Marine.
- In his list of 15 Things That Are Wrong With Identity Crisis, Linkara briefly mentions that Michael Turner could only draw two faces: male and female.
- While Guillem March's male faces tend to be very detailed and expressive, his women are all drawn in a very similar manner◊: slightly pointed noses and chins, wide jawlines, pouty lips, and heavy-lidded "sensual" expressions. And huge breasts, but you probably noticed that.
- In the German comic Werner: Brösel once revealed in an interview that his characters are mostly based on a very few faces with a very few variations.
- Used intentionally in the comic Sturmtruppen, where all the soldiers share the same body type, and so do the officers. Bonvi's point was to underline how much war "de-humanize" soldiers and turns them into an anonymous mass.
- Any interpretation of super heroes by Alex Ross will be super-detailed and almost photo-realistic... paintings of the exact same guy or girl, just in a different outfit (or painted green in the case of The Martian Manhunter, etc.)
- The Smurfs take this to an extreme degree; apart from a handful of Smurfs who have characteristic features or wear an accessory, all of them look exactly the same.
- Takeshi Miyazawa's drawings tend to have a limited range of faces and body types.
- Frank Cho is somewhat infamous for this — especially noticeable since he copies his trademark "double-wide hips, toned wasp-waist/titanic jugs" combination onto every female character as well. Only the beefiest girls (She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Thundra...) fall away from this trademark look. The women are essentially clones with different hair. His male characters tend to differ quite dramatically, by contrast.
- Lampshaded in the DVD commentary of The Incredibles, in which all of the background and minor characters are "played" by the same, slightly-altered CGI model (dubbed "Universal Man"). Yes, even the female characters.
- Pixar actually did this again with Cars where some of the background characters have the exact same vehicle body style!
- Overall though, Pixar had been pretty good at averting this. Even when using the same model, they've been able to create pretty unique characters, whether they be background or main.
- The financially-strapped Disney used several iconic dance scenes, from at least three different movies, over again in Robin Hood. Along with some other scenes. Deja vu, much? All the scenes were drawn from the exact same live-action source material (and, in some cases, Xeroxs of that material).
- Done to some extent in the live-action View Askewniverse movies, as the same actor can play two or three characters in the series. Ben Affleck appeared in two roles in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, first as Holden McNeil and then later as himself.
- Walt Flanagan played no less than four roles in Clerks, and that was before he began the recurring role as the Fanboy. Kevin Smith even dubbed him the Lon Chaney of The Nineties.
- Live-action war movies can be like this, since often everyone is a young man with a crew cut wearing fatigues, a helmet and a lot of obscuring mud. If the army in question is integrated, there might at least be a Token Black guy.
- Mostly averted in Robots, which features a few background characters that are variants on the same model, but otherwise has a fairly diverse array of character designs.
- Beauty and Warrior: The only differences between the female goddesses are the colors of their clothing and hairstyles; and the only difference between the two brothers is eye color.
- A common problem in slasher films and any other horror film that serves mainly as an excuse to have various people die. Due to the lack of character development these films tend to have, add to that directors hiring similar looking actresses and actors, it can become really difficult at times to tell exactly who of the cast has died.
- In Meet the Robinsons, a few generic character models are used for minor roles and a few major characters are recycled. Art's model is used as a college student in the Another Believer montage and Franny's model is used for Lewis's mother. Which is kinda creepy if you think about it.
- In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman find a herd of zebras, among the many herds on the game preserve, and Alex has a hard time distinguishing Marty from the others. He finally manages to identify Marty using the scar on Marty's rump from when Alex bit him in the first movie. In real life, each zebra's pattern of stripes is unique, like human fingerprints. However, it would be like trying to identify a human by using only the fingerprints through a magnifying glass, a task that would be quite difficult.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, all the girls look the same, only varying by their hairstyles. Word of God says it's because Greg "thinks all girls are the same" and "doesn't quite understand them yet".
- In the earlier Warrior Cats graphic novels by James L. Barry, there are hardly any variations in character design. This isn't a problem usually, because in the Graystripe's Adventure series not very many characters appeared at the same time, but in crowd shots it's very problematic. it's especially hilarious in the gathering at the end when there are four cats in the crow who look exactly like Ravenpaw.
- All young, attractive women in Beetle Bailey over the decades, varying only by hair style and clothing. They're also drawn in a very different style from the men and older women, with sensuously flowing lines (which is only an exaggeration of reality). The style has shifted somewhat over the years, but the theme hasn't. Two recurring examples are Ms. Buxley and Beetle's previous girlfriend, who look about as different as they can within this technique, but mostly it applies to the hundreds of usually nameless extras Killer and the other soldiers are typically drooling after. If a young woman is drawn any other way, she's almost without exception meant to be plain or ugly.
- All the younger men in Apartment 3-G look like each other.
- Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, isn't quite as bad as certain other examples on this page, but has admitted that he can't draw that many faces. This resulted in two main things:
- Characters in FoxTrot are only differentiated by hairstyles and accessories. Andy even changed her hairstyle early on to make her look less like Paige.
- Calvin and Hobbes did this, to an extent. Less so as the series progressed.
- Once George Wunder took over as artist for Terry and the Pirates, this was the rule, with all the characters — male or female — having the same face.
- The characters in Peanuts show extremely little variation in face and body type, being to a large extent distinguished by hair style and iconic costume. If you look just at the faces, Franklin has Charlie Brown's face in dark (black and white) or brown (colour), while Peppermint Patty has Chuck's face with six freckles (which is rather fitting, as she is in many respects his female counterpart).
- The work of John William Waterhouse took this to extremes—the subjects of his paintings all look exactly alike, just with different clothing and, occasionally, hair color.
- Several of the Pre-Raphaelites (Dante Gabriel Rosetti comes to mind) feature this, because they tended to have a few go-to female models they used for most of their pictures. The portraits could be more accurately titled "[Model] as/in the guise of [Goddess/Mythological Figure]".
- Edward Burne-Jones only does one face, usually from the same angle (three-quarters profile) with the same long thick neck and broad shoulders. When it's supposed to be male he puts a beard on it and covers up the neck with armour. It's Janey Morris (his model) plays everyone in the universe. Particularly pronounced in his stained-glass windows in Birmingham St Chad's, where Janey Morris is Jesus, the Madonna and the hosts of heaven.
- Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, whose human painting subjects are almost always facing forward with the same moon-faced vacuous expression. There is very little variation in the faces that Botero can paint, usually employing facial hair or glasses to modify exactly the same face over and over again.
- There are only a few designs for Anything Muppets in Sesame Street, so some characters are recognisably the same puppet with different hair. This is most obvious with the more distinctive ones such as Fat Blue (Simon Soundman, the customer in the Grover waiter sketches, Dad Twiddlebug) and Orange Gold (Guy Smiley, Don Music, Prince Charming).
- Enforced by the limits of the medium in The Champion Pub, where every boxer has the exact same character model.
- LEGO had a stock smiley face for all figures during the 70s and 80s. Sometime in the 90s they decided to use more different prints (like bearded man, guy with sunglasses, etc.). They do new faces regularly, but lines like City are still plagued with this - for example most of the policemen have the same grumpy expression, and there seems to be only three different female head prints; this is possibly justifiable in how City figures are supposed to be generic everymen with no designated characterisation. Conversely, licensed themes handle this better because the main characters need to be identifiable, but they still spam the more generic-looking heads like the Norman Osborn one (who accordingly was also a Nazi, a Communist, his own son Harry, and the goddamn Batman) for mooks and guards.
- Then there's BIONICLE, which in the early days had only twelve different masks for the entire population of Mata Nui, and later possibly the entire universe. Virtually every mask introduced after the beginning was a one-off for the characters on whom they were used, with very rare exceptions, while almost everyone else still just had the same original twelve. Also, underneath the masks? The same four or five head pieces, further exacerbated by the first film trilogy which made all the heads the same — but at least background extras weren't "allowed" to wear the same mask types as the main characters.
- This later became a problem when masks became the only unique part of the toys. After the Inika line, almost all Toa-level figures had a standard template for how they're built. While some of them are visually different, construction-wise they were all nearly the same, and a simple armor swap can make one Toa look like another (or a bad guy). Adverted with the Barraki and Mistika Makuta lines, who all had unique construction making them vastly different from each other, even in the same line (the Barraki, in fact, were only similar in the construction of their "skull", while the Mistika Makuta had nothing in common at all).
- On Bara Magna, every character used the same headpiece, and not all of them had helmets that covered their face. The youthful and overactive Berix even wore the same type of face-revealing helmet as the veteran, "beyond his prime" Ackar, so aside from their colors, their heads looked the exact same. The movie of that year only made things worse: due to CGI shortcuts, every character belonging to the same tribe looked the same, whether they were mere extras or plot-relevant characters.
- In BIONICLE, the recycling of masks reached its most bothersome level in 2006 and 2007. In '06, the six Matoran sets were given the exact same masks in the exact same colors as the Toa Metru from '04 (okay, Dalu's was half a shade lighter), not recolors, which annoyed the mask-collectors quite a bit. They released a figure called Umbra the same year, who again was given one of those six masks, meaning that LEGO passed the chance to release a recolored mask twice under a year. In '07, the toy of Sarda was likewise given a standard Toa Metru mask. What's strange is that all the other reused masks of that year were recolors, and even Idris, who came packaged with Sarda, was given recolored mask for some added collectible value.
- Played with in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars line. Clone troopers are meant to all have the same face, and LEGO used the same face for the Boba Fett figurine. However, they also gave the same face to all other Mandolorians and the Senate Commandos, who are specifically stated to NOT be clones.
- Mixels plays with the idea, too. While all the Mixels are completely unique from each other, the Nixels, their enemies, are simply black-and-white cube creatures, with the only difference being three different types of ear toppers. This ends up highlighting how uncreative the Nixels really are, in contrast to the Mixels' high creativity levels.
- Minimate faces only have eyes and mouths, no noses, so they tend to look a lot alike. The Mobile Action Xtreme line takes this to new heights, with each two-pack of figures sharing one identical face.
- The design style for Sonic the Hedgehog characters tends to be very strict. Nearly every character has either Sonic's or Tails' facial structure, and even in terms of body have the same 'noodle limb', bobblehead like proportions, albeit with slightly varying height. Minor characters tend to subvert this however.
- Mass Effect 1 had many alien background characters cycle through the same small number of faces. It was actually justified in-universe, when a Turian that didn't have much prior contact with humans couldn't tell what gender Shepard was, and later commented that humans "all look alike". The sequels brought more depth to character faces, but background characters still appeared with stock faces.
- Knights of the Old Republic was little better. There was only one face for each race, and only a couple for humans. Even the player character could only select from a few stock faces, and could quite possibly run into a face clone. The second game also had as a plot point the fact that The Handmaiden looks different from her five otherwise identical sisters (given a Hand Wave as being a trait of her species that makes all same sex siblings look alike) is a sign of her illegitimacy, not that you can tell since they all use the exact same model.
- Perhaps somewhat understandably, Final Fantasy XI does this, with most races having only 8 faces per race/gender combination, and a palette-swapped version of each face to give an alternate hair-color (the Tarutaru race has only 4 faces per gender, offering 4 sets of coloration per face instead of two). This is only a strict limitation on PCs and the quested NPC fellows (who were further limited to a subset of these), but even some story-important NPCs showed very little differentiation from these models (most egregious example from off the top of this editor's head is Doctor Shantotto, who is Tarutaru Female face 4-A in relatively common mage gear, with some custom animations), and most general NPCs who are neither very young nor very old use the same faces as PCs. Also, each race/gender combination is identical from the neck down, with both sexes of Tarutaru being thus identical to each other as well.
- This is a complaint with quite a few MMOs. Most MMOs without extensive character generators tend to have very few facial choices per sex/race combination. World of Warcraft, for example, tends to average somewhere around eight faces per sex/race combo, and usually only two of each of them look good enough to use most of the time. True, you can change hair color and shape, and facial hair, but that's really barely anything, and most of those favor heavily towards one style. Even one of the rare examples that shouldn't be, City of Heroes, tends to lean towards this; while they have a lot, lot, LOT of options, only a few are really, honestly usable for "normal" looking characters. The rest are a bit too close to Uncanny Valley half the time to be tolerable.
- It's an awfully common thing for the awfully generic products that fill 90% of the Dating Sim market. This is visible in almost everything, stock character designs, stock plots, stock character types, stock Photoshop glowing pink, etc. This YTMND animation gives a really good example.
- The characters featured in that animation are all designed by Naru Nanao; a couple of them even come from the same game. Her later designs vary a bit more.
- This also follows with anime based on h-games (AIR, Kanon, etc.) which tend to have only one face — well, maybe two, one for boys and one for girls.
- Possibly the worst offender is Aoi Nishimata, possibly best known as one of the character designers for SHUFFLE. (Examples: One◊, Two◊, Three◊, Four.)
- Forget stock 'designs', the game Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru uses the same three character pictures for any random students who aren't part of the main cast. This includes several named characters who are part of the Student Council during Takako's plot.
- A common source of mirth when talking about Half-Life is how every guard or scientist in the Black Mesa complex has the same face (well, for scientists there are two alternating faces). This became more awkward when the models were given names and turned into unique NPCs in the sequel. Maybe they were short on employees and decided to clone themselves repeatedly?
- Akira Toriyama, maker of Dragon Ball (see above), has been the character designer for a number of games, including Chrono Trigger and every single Dragon Quest. And, true to form, nearly every single character in those games has a visual counterpart to be found in Dragon Ball.
- They even used the small variations in character designs as a central focus in the character design system of Dragon Quest IX, where players could make hundreds of possible character models... using only about eight faces.
- In a couple of rare examples (such as Dragon Quest Swords, where none of the characters have spiky hair/Goku eyes, and a few are wearing decidedly Baroque-era or gothic outfits) he breaks out of the six faces mold, but when he phones it in (such as with Tobal No. 1 and Blue Dragon), it's really obvious that he is.
- In Backyard Baseball and other Backyard Sports games, all characters, besides the 30 main ones, are based off of a few models.
- Tetsuya Nomura is often accused of succumbing to this trope. At least there's an in game excuse for all the characters that resemble each other in the Kingdom Hearts games. In Kingdom Hearts Sora, Kairi and Xehanort, each have several look-a-likes for various reasons. You can be certain that every single time you notice someone bears a physical resemblance to someone else, it will be significant. This is so rampant in the series that it almost wasn't a surprise when we found out Vanitas looks like Sora. So far, Riku is the only core member of the main cast to not have a doppelganger, unless you count the Riku Replica.
- Almost every Final Fantasy after The Advent Children, characters in CG movies tend to look very similar. This expands to Kingdom Hearts above and Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals.
- The girls of the hentai Bible Black are not only limited to a single face, they all have the same body figure, and CGs featuring more of them will clearly show that they all have the same heights. It's like they are all clones with different hair and accessories.
- The anime series mostly attempts to avert this, as the character designer seems to have done their best at making the women as distinguishable as possible from one another. Character models show that, at least for the named characters, they attempted giving each male and female different figures and body types, and all of them are different heights. This is not completely averted however, as certain characters do look quite a bit alike and un-named background characters are sometimes identical to others.
- The guys of Dead or Alive are easy to tell apart, but the girls all have the same vaguely-childlike face, and the same build. It gets even more noticeable when you look at Team Ninja's fanart of Chun-Li and Cammy, though they tone down the former's Hartman Hips. Close inspection reveals that there are, in fact, two female models in the game, the tall, incredibly well-endowed Caucasian, and the petite, yet still incredibly well-endowed Asian (or half-Asian).
- Curiously, the older DOA titles used a 'trick' to get around this to a limited degree: character heights that varied (particularly among women) much more than other 3D fighters, where women overwhelmingly tend to be the same height. In particularly, shorter fighters have a handy advantage of ducking under attacks more easily, since their reach is rarely affected as well.
- Dead or Alive 5 (and afterwards) made a point of giving the female cast different face models, which siblings most closely resembling each other, finally catching up, and advertised the fact.
- Akihiko Yoshida is notorious for this. Almost every character he designs (particularly in games like Final Fantasy Tactics and sequels, and Final Fantasy III (DS)) has the same face, albeit with a few characteristics. It's quite an accomplishment when even some of the males and females look the same.
- The biggest culprit here is that he rarely gives the characters noses. It is really difficult to differentiate characters when one of the biggest facial features is just missing.
- The Witcher had this bad. A very obvious shortcoming of the game's graphics department was that there were only one or two models for merchants, old ladies, old men, hookers and so on, as a result of which most NPCs of a particular type looked like identical twins. This stands out even more because even named and important NPCs share some of these repetitive models.
- In The Sims 1, there are only about 8 faces and 3 skintones (dark, medium, light) to choose from for each gender and age group (adult or child). In The Sims 2 and 3, this is changed and the "Create A Sim" options are greatly improved. However, in The Sims 2, the NPC's or Townies often only have faces from the pre made faces in CAS, leading to various nicknames by fans (e.g. the mailwoman Dagmar Bertino has "Face 1", which is considered to be the prettiest face).
- Players sometimes invoke this by only allowing Face 1 and Face 2 townies to marry and breed with their playable sims, leading to challenge families where You All Look Alike.
- The old Infinity Engine games, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, etc, were all full of color Palette Swaps and identical-looking NPCs. Even many quite-well characterized NPCs were virtual clones of a stock model. Protagonists were frequently not exempt, with one build, one basic outfit, and one face for the male and female of every race. Customization came down to hair, skin, and clothing colors. Despite this, major characters often had impressively detailed rich portraits.
- Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? did this with its witnesses by taking a few figures and randomizing its color palette. Ingenious when you realize that all the crooks are done up the same way.
- The NPCs in Epic Mickey, if they're plot-unimportant, will tend to look like clones of Dippy Dawg, Horace Horsecollar, or Clarabelle Cow. This is justified in that they're unused concept art and non-final character designs for the same characters. This is here because there were plans and potential to use a number of forgotten Disney characters and stands out more because the plot-important characters look wildly different from each other.
- Bioshock 2 has this with the little sisters in the final cutscene (good ending).
- World of Warcraft offers about 8 or 9 face options per race/gender. While many of the male faces get used, female faces are rarely used unless they're one of the couple of youthful, smooth faces available for that race, making female characters more likely to look like clones of eachother.
- One particular troll female face is known as "cutefase" (note spelling). Whereas other troll faces have wrinkles, deepset lines, and cranky expressions, cutefase is young, smooth, and appears either deadpan or "under the influence." Virtually all female trolls will use this face. The term cutefase is often also applied to an orc female face with smooth features and the forsaken female face that lacks visible decay (the last of which is also called the "dollfase").
- Female tauren and worgen faces are notoriously difficult to distinguish from one another. This is further exacerbated by the fact that all female worgen have pale green eyes and the same expression, while female tauren only have four non-death-knight-specific options.
- The Mario series is a big offender when it comes to non-human characters. All characters who are Toads, Goombas, Koopa Troopas, etc. tend to have exactly the same face and body, sometimes being distinguished by their clothes or facial hair (or, in some Koopa Troopas cases, shell color). And all Yoshis look exactly the same except for their color scheme (and many times, even the colors repeat). While all members of a species looking the same makes sense when they're enemies, it gets annoying when you're dealing with actual characters: It's impossible to tell if you're looking at the "main" Toad or a generic one, or whether the green Yoshi Mario rides through the different games in the series is always the same one. And the fact that the names of the "main" Toad and Yoshi are just "Toad" and "Yoshi" respectively doesn't help, either.
- Touhou: Not only is ZUN susceptible to this with his famously crappy character art (which arguably got worse in this regard from the shift between PC-98 into Windows), but so are some of the official manga artists, such as Aki Eda (Silent Sinner in Blue) and Makoto Hirasaka (Touhou Sangetsusei).
- One step up in the fighting games. As far as Alphes's character portraits go, everyone has the same face.
- THE iDOLM@STER - All the girls are distinguished only by their hair, body types and eye color. The face template for all of them is the same. The anime managed to make it less noticeable, though.
- Arthur's Quest: Battle for the Kingdom, at least according to the Something Awful review: "You start out in....some town, somewhere. But this is a special clone town, one that's populated by about 12 people with about 3 or 4 unique looks. You'd think they would have at least bothered to make a few more models, or at least position the people so that identical twins aren't standing right next to each other."
- Neverwinter Nights does this oddly. There are dozens of unique character portraits... but with each random NPC getting one from this selection, they get repetitive anyway, with it not helping that the portraits are always the same, not modified slightly the way characters in a work with this usually can be.
- Almost averted in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, since most of the inhabitants of Hyrule City fit this trope perfectly.
- In the X-Universe games, a given NPC is usually generated by picking from a list of roughly half a dozen faces per race and assigning a race-appropriate name from a similar list. Major characters such as Saya Kho sometimes get their own face.
- Save for Campbell, Dr. Betruger, Counselor Swann, Theresa Chasar and Sergeant Kelly, the NPC's in Doom 3 have all the exact same Asian, middle-aged white or young white male faces. There are two black males in the first level, though, but that could be Hand Waved as them being twins.
- Super Robot Wars UX: In one case, Richard mixes up Shizuna for Izuna as the twins look the same, and Shoko laughs at all of them looking the same. Shizuna thinks the same about the Gundam-faces.
- Former SNK and current Capcom artist, "Shinkiro", possesses an almost photo-realistic (if slightly creepy) art-style. The thing is, all his characters have more or less the same face and their expressions seem limited to "serious", "creepy grin" and "manic grin".
- The 2005 video game The Warriors has all gangs except the Warriors (who have the protagonist cast and 9 "New Bloods) use just 9 different characters, no more. Even then, in a lot of cases, one of the characters will be the gang's warlord who, as you'd expect only appears once, and as a boss, so apart from him/her, there are usually only 8 gang characters; what's more, you can often see several clones of the same character in one fight because you'll be fighting multiple gang members throughout the game.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo has this for all the minor NPC characters, those who are more important get a slightly different face along with different hair style/color and/or such.
- All the characters in Vinnie Veritas's CCC series would be indistinguishable with shaved heads and the same clothes, but thanks to his utterly awesome character design (by which I mean unique clothes and unique hair) he manages to make it Cast of Snowflakes at the same time.
- All the women of comic-style illustrator Garett Blair suffer from a bad case of this. His unanimously praised gallery seldom gets any criticism at all, adding to the prevalence of this trope in comic books illustration.
- Webcomicker Jeinu seems fed up with this enough to start a tutorial series teaching amateurs how to avoid this very trope.
- All of the characters in the ASDF Movie series have the same appearances, this is often the joke.
- Happy Tree Friends. This is an especially egregious case, being that most of the characters are different species. With few exceptions, nearly all the characters have flat faces, heart-shaped noses and buckteeth (including the carnivorans and ungulates) and are all the same size except for Lumpy. You could say this is Stylistic Suck though, considering the show's premise.
- Only One Face in the case of the main cast of Red vs. Blue, as the main characters are all wearing Spartan armor. The only exceptions are the occasional alien (who all look alike except for color and size), Andy, Sheila, and Vic. Season 9 averted this strongly when CGI was used heavily to show the faces of several different characters, all of whom looked quite distinct.
- Nekci, Kety Perr, Medoner, and Beyonce all share the same facial design in The Nekci Menij Show; in the same show, Rhenna, Keshir, and Lady Gags also share a similar facial design, though they are not identical.
- Only the color of the human characters eyes change in DSBT InsaniT and Dreamscape, which relies on clothing style and accessories for Distinctive Appearances.
- Most of the women in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse have the same hairstyle, face, and body type, with the obvious exceptions of Barbie, her family, and her friends. (And Raquelle.) Justified in that the series takes place in a community of living Mattel dolls.
- Some people suffer from a disorder called prosopagnosia (also called Face Blindness), the inability to differentiate between faces. To these people, real life people all look the same (barring hair color, skin pigmentation, body shape and very specific details such as scars). The fact that Real Life people generally don't have a distinctive outfit or hair style makes interacting with people extremely confusing for people suffering from prosopagnosia.