When dealing with a character that has a Split Personality
, there will frequently be a striking visual difference depending on who is "in control." It's not a literal transformation, like the original Jekyll and Hyde
; it's still recognizably the same person, but the differences will be visible. This may include anything from subtle stylistic changes (the character's design becomes more hard and angular when an evil or aggressive personality is in control, but softer and more rounded when a kind and good personality is in control) to more physical things like changes in hairstyle and black bags under the eyes
. A significant vocal shift is common as well.
Some of these changes are perfectly possible to do without physically altering the person's body, like the personalities having hair that's styled differently (or one of them not styling it at all
and another styling it neatly) but the same length, or changes in body language and posture, or talking differently without completely changing voice actors, but others are firmly in the realm of Artistic License
These changes may or may not be noticed in-universe; if they are, expect them to treat the change as something intangible. They'll comment "he's like someone completely different now!" or "that's not the person I know!" rather than "hey, when did you get your hair cut?" or "did your voice just drop two octaves?".
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the most prominent examples; when his "playing card games" personality takes over, his hairstyle changes, his eyes switch from Tareme Eyes to Tsurime Eyes, his voice deepens significantly, and he's drawn to appear taller and more imposing. (The height change only happens in the anime, though.) Happens with Bakura and Marik too.
- Allelujah Haptism from Gundam 00 is a more subtle example; which personality is in control depends on which of his differently-colored eyes is hidden by his Peek-a-Bangs. Unusually for this trope, he's actually seen shifting his hair around in-universe when he changes personalities, rather than it happening automatically as a stylistic change.
- Jamie from Zoids: New Century gains swept back hair and a bold, deep voice when he becomes the Wild Eagle during air combat.
- You can tell whether Agito or Akito is in control on Air Gear depending on which eye their eye patch is on. They also have differently shaped pupils, and in the anime, drastically different voices. The third personality, Lind, takes it a step farther; he has a totally different hairstyle and cross-shaped pupils.
- In Psyren, Abyss has darker skin than Sakurako.
- Motoko, the female protagonist of Change 123. (Just look at the picture on the linked page!)
- Lucy, the main character in Elfen Lied has rounder eyes, child-like and a softer expression as her second personality Nyu.
- Razlo and Livio from Trigun Maximum have a system with fairly reasonable in-universe mechanics. When Livio's running things, he has his long hair flipped over on side of his face. When Razlo takes over, he flips it to the other side and we discover that the previously covered side of his head is bald with weird computer-chip tattoos and a wild eye.
- The manga 'Historie,' a biography of one of Alexander the Great's secretaries, starts weird, and when Alexander finally appears gets weirder. Apparently Alexander is a rather sweet little prince who developed a split personality upon walking in on his mother having an affair with a slave. That split personality is (Alexander's real-life best friend) Hephaestian, who is kind of a dick and whose presence is signified by a fixed stare and covering up Alexander's snaked-shaped forehead birthmark with his mother's makeup.
- Lady Une in Gundam Wing has a split personality (which Treize claims is his fault), and the Colonel and the Diplomat can be distinguished easily by the former having her hair up and wearing glasses, and the latter wearing it down and taking the glasses off, as well as changes in facial expression and posture.
- Sensui, the biggest single villain in YuYu Hakusho (and the mangaka's favorite) has seven personalities. We meet three, and the visible difference is as impressive as it is subtle, having as much to do with mannerisms and speech patterns as it does visual cues.
- In Saint Seiya, Gemini Saga has two personalities; when "Good Saga" is in control, he has blue hair and calm blue eyes. When "Evil Saga" is in control, he has gray hair and white eyes with bloodshot sclerae.
- Played straight with Zwei's two personalities Echo & Noise, from Pandora Hearts . It even came as a shock to the main cast when they were revealed as being one and the same person. While Echo has dead eyes, free flowing hair, dresses in uniform, has a calm/stale posture and a voice that is generally gentle/weak, though devoid of emotion. When turning into Noise her eyes go wild with ecstasy, she braids her hair with an ornament, strips of all clothing (dressing up in a nightgown and blood-red cape), moves as if she was the star of a play and shouts/screams her words.
- There is no actual split personality involved, but Molossia from Axis Powers Hetalia changes from his real Nice Guy personality to a Delinquent façade in seconds by changing his hairstyle and putting on a jacket and sunglasses when anyone but America enters his territory.
- Some of the artists who have drawn Superman, like Frank Quitely and Ed McGuiness, have made a point of giving Clark and Superman slightly different appearances to help explain why so few people make the connection between the two of them. Quitely's version of Clark, for instance, has a noticeably hunched posture and badly combed hair (whereas his Superman has the usual spitcurl). McGuiness' Superman has a perpetual squint, while his Clark's blue eyes are usually visible.
- Buddy Love in the original version of The Nutty Professor.
- Gollum from Lord of the Rings qualifies - not only does his voice change, but his appearance is also subtly different.
- Willem Defoe does a masterful job of this playing Norman Osborne/Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie. Using only facial expression, vocal changes and body language, he becomes a completely different character, Nightmare Fuel incarnate.
- Not a split personality, but when Mulan is dressed as a soldier, she is drawn with no eyelid folds and a more angular jaw to make her look more masculine.
- Thendy Bravura (also known as another dozen names) in Felsic Current incurs very visible personality changes. Often, others can tell he's just "done it again" merely by witnessing his facials features melt into a completely different countenance, before he even speaks. Their mounting exasperation to these frequent incidences is usually the source of comedy.
- The dark Cinderella adaptation Sunny Ella plays with this, as Ella sees the world (and herself) one way but the reality of the situation is much different. Ella sees herself as a beautiful fairy tale heroine with a lovely singing voice and a sunny disposition; in reality she is mute, scarred, unkempt and has violent tendencies.
Live Action Television
- They comment on this extensively in the miniseries Jekyll. Hyde is slightly taller and thinner than Jackman, he has a slightly different hairline and jaw shape, and his eyes are jet black. Of course it's the same actor plus platform shoes and different tailoring/shooting angles, but the effect is subtle and present, and many viewers who may not even notice the prosthetic changes at the start of the series will immediately be able to identify which one of them is in control by the end, even without the vastly different body language and behaviour.
- Therese Voerman from Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is a stiff Ventrue Ice Queen in a business suit. Her "twin sister" Jeanette is a slutted-up Malkavian party girl. You find our they're sharing the same body when you reach the end of their storyline, and find Therese/Jeanette wearing Therese's clothes but with her makeup and hairstyle split between Therese's professional do and Jeanette's party girl do.
- .hack//G.U.'s Sakubo lets you know who is in control by hernote hat, which changes which point is up, backpack, which changes color, eyes that switch from Tareme Eyes to Tsurime Eyes, and skirt which flares out or flattens. Her hair also gains a bit of a curve outward as Saku. Given that this is an MMORPG, this is hidden under the guise of Saku and Bo being twin brother and sister.
- In Dragon Age II, this is the case with Anders. While Justice is in control, he will have Glowing Eyes of Doom and a severe case of Evil Sounds Deep (the "evil" part may, however, be debatable), as well as a minor case of Power Echoes.
- Parappa The Rapper: Captain Fussenpepper's face turns red and his eyes become bloodshot when he's in his Drill Sergeant Nasty personality. Hairdresser Octopus's entire body turns red and his tentacles move when he's in his crazy personality.
- Dangan Ronpa has Touko Fukawa, an asocial, rude author. At the sight of blood, Fukawa reveals her other persona, Genocider Syo, an infamous serial killer. The two are discernably different in that Genocider Syo has red eyes and an Overly Long Tongue.
- Mike from Total Drama, to different degrees depending on which personality is in control. Chester is hunched over, has wrinkles and speaks in an older-sounding voice, Svetlana has eyelashes, unique irises, and lipstick, and speaks in a female voice with a Russian accent, Vito has slicked-back hair, sounds like he's from Joisey and doesn't wear a shirt (since Mike losing his shirt is what triggers the personality begin with) and Manitoba Smith has an Australian accent and a fedora (again, because Mike putting on a fedora is what triggers him). Mal has Peek-a-Bangs, a deeper tone of voice (which also has a reverb effect sometimes), and dark bags under his eyes, though he can hide everything but the occasional reverb when masquerading as Mike.
- Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys: Whenever Dr Splitz switches to his Splitzy persona, his usually well-groomed hair spikes out.