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Opaque Nerd Glasses
Isn't wearing opaque glasses self-defeating?

They're not coke-bottle glasses he's wearing, they're paperweights in a frame. Glasses in drawn and animated media usually come in four forms — there are tiny little things that don't get in the way (see Cool Mask), so-clear-they're-almost-not-there spectacles worn by pretty girls (a.k.a. meganekko) and handsome boys, lenses meant to hide the character's eyes from anyone who wants to get a glimpse at their soul (Scary Shiny Glasses), and then there are Opaque Nerd Glasses.

Opaque Nerd Glasses are two 4-inch disks that hide the wearer's eyes behind blank white circles, that can be marked either with thin black spiraling lines, or, in the western variant, small or hazy dots denoting pupils. In some cases, the person's eyes will stay as tiny black dots even when the glasses are taken off, possibly to indicate how bad their eyesight is, or to make them look naked without their iconic glasses. They indicate that a character is painfully geeky, and is probably Blind Without 'Em.

Female characters with Opaque Nerd Glasses often reveal that they were Beautiful All Along upon their removal. Male characters may be The Short Guy with Glasses.

This trope is found more often in comedy than in drama.

Subtrope of Nerd Glasses. Contrast with Meganekko.

See also Opaque Lenses.

Opaque Nerd Glasses often play a part in the Unwanted Glasses Plot.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Princess Dia (as noted above) from Sailor Moon. In the manga, this leads the girls to speculate how another nerd, Umino, might look without his own ever-present Opaque Nerd Glasses. Word of God states that yes, Umino is completely Bishōnen without them.
  • Miyuki Miyazawa in the TV series version of All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku.
  • Miyami Soshigaya in Cyber Team in Akihabara.
  • Sakura Yamazaki in Blue Seed only wears her nerd glasses when fighting demons.
  • Kururu from Keroro Gunsou.
  • Officer Shinshi in Patlabor.
  • Naru Narusegawa in her "nerd mode" in Love Hina. However, once Naru has obviously become the love interest in the story, The Glasses Gotta Go — and when they are seen afterward, they are no longer opaque and spiralled, but simple clear Meganekko circles. Also, in the manga, she gives her Opaque Nerd Glasses to Shinobu as a "good luck" token when the younger girl is taking exams; later, Motoko uses them for the same purpose while studying to get into Tokyo U.
  • Naru's Expy Chisame from Mahou Sensei Negima! started with the same look, occasionally falling back into it during her moments of annoyance. Compare: Naru and Chisame.
  • Mousse from Ranma ˝ is a borderline exception. He has the glasses, but he's not a nerd. He is, however, an obsessive Stalker with a Crush with no common sense. He's Blind Without 'Em, yet never puts them on until after he has, for example, spent five minutes talking to a tree under the assumption that it's actually Shampoo. He also has a habit of taking them off to attempt something dramatic, then doing something stupid because he can't see. And even when turning into a duck, he still wear a pair of duck-sized Nerd Glasses.
  • In the anime version of Urusei Yatsura, the first New Year's Special has Momotaro, a legendary Japanese hero, wearing a set of these. In fact, he looks a lot like a somewhat younger Mousse.
  • Gadgeteer Genius Parfet from Vandread. They don't have the spirals, but they are extremely opaque.
  • Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club is initially introduced wearing a pair of thick horn-rimmed glasses. The club members quickly replace them with contact lenses to show her beautiful eyes. Flashbacks show that she did not wear glasses in middle school, but this is explained — she'd lost her contacts and hadn't been able to replace them.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, characters like Sadaharu Inui and Hiroshi Yagyuu wear thick glasses that hide their eyes from sight (though Yagyuu's glasses are more Meganekko-type). In fact, a running gag in the anime is to have Inui's teammates and friends attempting to to take his glasses off and see his eyes.
  • Karin and Shiho from Naruto. Shiho's are coke-bottle glasses while Karin's have thick black frames. Interestingly, both are huge Fangirls of other characters who have yet to return their interest — Sasuke for Karin and Shikamaru for Shiho. And Udon, who loves factoring.
  • Ayaori of Penguin Revolution wears Opaque Nerd Glasses most of the time in order to keep from being recognized as Peacock's number one talent.
  • A throwaway gag in Bleach has Ichigo offered a pair of these (and a Hachimaki) by a classmate who he outperformed.
  • Carly from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds wears a pair of large spiral glasses, although they're seen through on occasion. Once, when they fall off, she's seen with lines for eyes, but when Misty removes them in a later episode, her eyes are normal, and actually quite attractive. She loses them after Divine murders her. Well, they wouldn't really go with the Superpowered Evil Side that came with the resurrection. After Episode 59, they were all that was left of her... Fortunately, as the heroes have Deus ex Machina on their side, Death Is Cheap.
  • Weevil Underwood from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! had some like these, thought they were only opaque whenever the light caught them.
  • Watabe from Doki Doki School Hours though he is more of an Otaku.
  • Makoto Ariga from Wandering Son in his first few appearances. Later on you could see his eyes at all times making him a Megane.
  • Episode 9 of Gintama gives us an interesting example; an old man with Opaque Nerd Glasses. Under the glasses, he has the eyes of Miyamoto Musashi!
  • Ginnosuke from Tokyo Underground is a good example, with thick glasses complete with spirals. When he loses them for a short time, the main character (a longtime friend) doesn't even recognize him, and a few girls find him quite attractive. Chelsea, one of the other main characters, can never remember his name and defaults to "Megane-kun". He's also a rather proficient computer hacker, and ironically fights better with the glasses off.
  • Mamoru Kagemori, the title character of Kage Kara Mamoru!! (a.k.a. Mamoru the Shadow Protector), wears a fake pair of these to disguise the fact that he is a highly skilled teen ninja.
  • Sandy Grayson in Aoi House.
  • Subverted with Roberta from Black Lagoon. They're huge but they function like Scary Shiny Glasses. When they're aren't opaque, you see a glare with the fury of 10,000 Hells.
  • In The Wallflower, Kyohei wears these when he really needs to study for an exam, which distresses his fangirls as the glasses make him look much less bishonen than usual.
  • Maylene from Black Butler. Somewhat justified as it neutralizes her absurd farsightedness when not going Guns Akimbo with scopeless rifles.
  • Leo from Pandora Hearts. They're not there for correction, though. They're actually there for the opposite purpose and eventually, he loses them.
  • Nanatsuiro Drops has Keisuke, a friend of main character Haru.
  • Inverted for Katekyo Hitman Reborn!'s Koyo Aoba, who evidently can't see a damn thing through his glasses, but everyone can see his eyes. This is because they apparently work similarly to Cyclops' ruby quartz visor, except instead of lasers, Koyo's glasses simply hold back the true abilities he inherited.
  • Benzo from Kiteresu Daihyakka.
  • Eddie Sukenari from Kimi Wa Petto. Results in Bishie Sparkle and women falling all over him when he takes them off.
  • Saori of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! uses them to provoke a stereotypical otaku image. Although she does like things like anime, she is more of an ojou and doesn't have much of stereotypical traits of an otaku.
  • In a flashback, it is shown that Faust VIII from Shaman King used to wear these.
  • Invoked by Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! by putting them on only when she read a Book Of Doom that was likely written by Shinka.

    Comic Books 
  • Comic artist Scott McCloud draws himself with these in his book, Understanding Comics, and the other books in the series. No spirals, though. Also playing with it on one occasion, when he makes the point that the character he's depicting himself as doesn't really look very much like a real human — and demonstrates this by taking off his glasses, revealing there really are no eyes behind them.
  • Perhaps on a borderline of Scary Shiny Glasses and Opaque Nerd Glasses — Jonas Harrow from the Marvel universe wears spiraly glasses.
  • Superman's Nerd Glasses are sometimes Opaque Nerd Glasses, Depending on the Artist. In comics, unlike real life, the blank white circles actually do mask his appearance. Medium Awareness, anyone?
  • Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner's most recognizable appearance is that of a short, scrawny, lab-coat-wearing geek with completely opaque nerd glasses.
    • This is true as well for Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, before his original transformation took away his defective eye sight.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert is this trope personified.
  • Jason from FoxTrot always has his eyes covered with his trademark glasses. Even when he takes them off, he often squints.
  • Rob from Get Fuzzy originally wore these, though they were gradually phased out.
  • Marcie from Peanuts.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Russia with Love has Rosa Klebb wearing particularly hideous thick-framed and thick-lensed glasses in many scenes.
  • In SLC Punk!, the toughest punk in Salt Lake City wears "square" clothing and a pair of nerd glasses. Other punks assume that he's a wimp and pay for it with a bloody nose.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter: Moaning Myrtle's glasses have been described as this, including being so thick they hide her eyes sometimes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bailey on WKRP in Cincinnati wore them periodically. Almost as if she looks better with them and it definitely gave her the Hot Librarian look.
  • One episode of Kids Incorporated has Renee getting several pairs of glasses. We see her Opaque Nerd Glasses, and it is mentioned that she has two other colours and also wears contacts for concerts. Kudos to them for at least mentioning the colour variety.
  • The Tonight Show: Ernie Kovacs' oddball poet character Percy Dovetonsils wears glasses with insanely thick lenses.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • Henry Bemis from "Time Enough at Last" is a particularly famous example.
    • Oliver Crangle from "Four O'Clock" wears them too.

    Music 
  • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (the founders of nerdrock) is known for his spectacles. Bandmate John Linnell is also bespectacled, but he takes them off before going onstage.
  • A visual trademark of Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show
    • Scooter has thick glasses with his eyes on the lenses. His eyes are on his glasses, not his face. His Distaff Counterpart Skeeter has an identical pair on Muppet Babies.
    • At the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has no eyes at all behind his glasses, which gives the effect of Opaque Lenses, even though the frames are empty.

    Video Games 
  • Some characters from the Super Mario Bros. games have Nerd Glasses, such as Iggy Koopa, Professor E. Gadd from Luigi's Mansion and Professor Frankly from Paper Mario. These characters usually look (and sometimes sound) more Japanese than the others.
    • A few background characters in the Super Mario Adventures comic have these.
    • Fawful from the Mario & Luigi games sports red glasses, complete with spirals and crazy grin.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, Latooni wears these to begin with. But their size is actually functional, as they're used to help her collect an analyze data. When she finds herself undergoing a dramatic shift in appearance, she loses them altogether. In the remake for the Playstation 2, she is instead given a pair of Meganekko glasses.
    • This was parodied (foreshadowed?) in a Yonkoma where several characters tried to get Ryusei to talk her into putting the glasses back on.
  • A fortune teller named Kalifa in Skies of Arcadia has a pair of the large, spiral variant. She joins your crew once you get your own ship.
  • Lucca from Chrono Trigger has these, but actually manages to be attractive despite it. Really, she's got the transparent Meganekko glasses — you can see this in all the official art and animations, as well as her character information screen. They're just opaque in-game because of sprite limitations — it's hard to denote "glasses" without them being opaque when the lenses need to be only two or three pixels wide.
  • Chobin in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness has googly glasses, which are apparently essential to his functioning.
  • EarthBound
    • Both Jeff and Dr. Andonuts.
    • Loid from Zero.

    Web Comics 
  • Subverted in El Goonish Shive, in which one of the lead characters pretends to be Blind Without 'Em; in actuality, his glasses are high-tech espionage gear (including an X-Ray Vision feature which he removed to avoid temptation), and help hide the fact that he's so painfully girly that just looking into his eyes tends to cause Stupid Sexy Flanders moments in heterosexual males.
  • In Narbonic, Dave's glasses don't have the spirals, but function like Opaque Nerd Glasses in every other way — until he goes mad, and they suddenly become totally clear.
  • In Triquetra Cats, Rain Soricha wore a pair of these in her adopted civilian life. When she becomes a super-powered magic user, she removes them, revealing her big sparkly doe eyes.
  • Ping from MegaTokyo starts wearing these in an effort to look Hollywood Homely and fit in with the jealous girls of her class. To her horror it pretty much ends up as meganekko, no matter how nerdy the glasses.
  • Dave of Real Life Comics wears these. One strip even lampshades this trope when another character that wears normal glasses ask Dave why his glasses are opaque. It turns out that Dave's glasses are multifunctional displays with internet access.
  • Gwynn of Sluggy Freelance is a classic example of this trope, not only being Blind Without 'Em but also Beautiful All Along.
  • Piffany from Nodwick. The glasses seem only to get bigger as Art Evolution goes.
  • Meegs the wizard aprentice in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic.
  • Emojueel of Juathuur sports them.
  • Ichabod of Far Out There boasts an especially gigantic pair.
  • Jade and John in Homestuck both sport some. John's are rectangular spectacles, though they can be hard to see because the bridge isn't often drawn; Jade's are big and round. Several other characters also wear glasses, but the nerdiness of them are debatable: Sollux fits the nerdy archetype well, being an extremely good computer programmer, but his red-and-blue Cool Shades are used more to cover up his bizarre color-changing eyes than denote nerdiness; Vriska's big lenses match those requirements, but her personality really doesn't fit.
  • Mouse wears them in Squid Row, though his eyes are shown in close-up shots.
  • Both Matchu and his love interest Amber.
  • Ed, the Cloudcuckoolander of the main cast of Paranatural sports these.
  • White Dark Life: Tori was actually designed with this in mind.

    Western Animation 
  • Professor Farnsworth in Futurama has a pair of Nerd Glasses, and indeed his eyes are never seen in the series. Subverted in one episode where he needed his "reading glasses" — and put on a pair several times thicker than his already fairly enormous glasses (to the point that they looked like glass cylinders). At least somewhat of a Justified Trope: Professor Farnsworth is 160 years old. Anyone's vision would become pretty bad by that age.
  • An early example of this is Poindexter from the old Felix the Cat show.
  • The Simpsons
    • Prof. Frink wears these.
    • Milhouse's glasses may also qualify, even though you can see through them.
    • Bart wore some temporarily to correct his lazy eye:
    (Bart and Milhouse see their reflections in each other's glasses)
    Bart: (gasp) I'm a nerd!
    Milhouse: (gasp) So am I!
  • Franz Hopper of Code Lyoko. Okay, so Jérémie Belpois is pretty unfortunate in the eyewear department as well, but at least we can still see his eyes.
  • Sheldon Klutzberry on the The Replacements wears glasses that are so thick and heavy they cripple his posture and pinch his nose making him sound like Jerry Lewis. And yes, when he takes them off, he unwillingly turns into a middle-school hunk.
  • Alexa from Shape Quest.
  • An episode of Goof Troop has Max have to temporarily wear nerd glasses because he'd messed up his eyes playing videogames. With Max despondent about it, Goofy told him a story about an ancestor of theirs in the wild west who stopped a bandit thanks to his own nerd glasses.
  • Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes wears a pair on occasion. She pulls the look off nicely.
  • Arthur. Like Scooter on The Muppet Show, the title character's eyes are his glasses—the lenses are all white, with dots in them for his pupils. Most other characters end up this way when they end up wearing glasses. In earlier flashback episodes, his eyes sans spectacles were the same as everyone else's, but they soon gave him Peanuts-style floating dots instead.
  • Beth and Harold from Total Drama Island also have dotted eyes without their nerd glasses (although it's a bit more common in their universe). They are also considered to be the nerdiest of the contestants.
  • SpongeBob Squarepants wears these for safety when out jellyfishing.
  • Beavis And Butthead: Beavis gets an eye exam and when he can't read any of the letters, because, well, he can't read, is given a massively thick-lensed pair of glasses, making him functionally blind, and somehow even goofier-looking.
  • Became a major plot point in Hey Arnold! where Rich Bitch Rhonda (in karmic retribution for her earlier discriminatory attitude towards geeks by having them sit in the back of the bus) is forced to wear nerdy glasses when her school nurse and aunt reveals she is short-sighted. The humiliation in sitting in the last row prompts Rhonda to discard her glasses, but her short-sightedness causes her to get into embarrassing situations such as getting gum on her shirt and toilet paper on her shoe. Furious at the inequalities she and the geeks are forced to endure in school, she stages a revolution and gets back at one of the cool kids who forced her into the back row by refusing to budge from her first-row seat and convincing the kids to sit wherever they want (ending in the cool kid having to sit in the back row). In the end, as icing on the cake, Rhonda gets a better pair of glasses.

    Real Life 

Opaque LensesGlasses TropesScary Shiny Glasses
Occidental OtakuIndexed and NerdyOtaku
OOC Is Serious BusinessCharacterization TropesOpinion Flipflop
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