Follow TV Tropes

Sinister Eye Flash

Go To

When a character's eyes momentarily flash with a starry effect to signify sinister motive

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Snowy66 on Sep 9th 2018 at 7:02:57 AM
Last Edited By:
Snowy66 on Nov 20th 2018 at 8:49:21 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Needs More Examples


https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/caretaker_sunohara.png
Glowing eyes are rarely a good sign. Combine them with the usually benign twinkle, and you have the Sinister Eye Flash to signify a usually harmless character is up to mischief.

The distinction between this and Glowing Eyes of Doom is that Sinister Eye Flashes are used to figuratively indicate to the audience a character's unpleasant motive, as opposed to the character's eyes actually lighting up In-Universe... unless of course a character is Breaking the Fourth Wall. Sinister Eye Flashes also tend to be momentary, occurring just before they carry out their sinister deed.

In fact they seem to serve as a Stock Parody of Glowing Eyes of Doom, generally being used by characters who lack special powers, but still manage to strike fear into others.

Particularly common as an animesque element where a character's eyes flash with a starry effect when they are up to no good. Usually red in color, but white, yellow, and blue are used as well. Frequently accompanies a Slasher Smile or Death Glare.

Not to be confused with Twinkle in the Eye, which may look similar but has an opposite usage that conveys inspiration or motivation. See also Wingding Eyes.


Anime and Manga
  • In Angels of Death, Zack displays a cross between this and Glowing Eyes of Doom. He is legitimately an evil psychopathic Serial Killer, but he still lacks any In-Universe means of having his eyes light up red.
  • In Goblin Slayer, the titular Goblin Slayer has a single eye that flashes red through his helm in moments of rage, with the significance being this was the eye he watched his family die with.
  • In Kiss xsis, Ako and Riko do this in Episode 12 after hearing about Keita's "graduation service" and end up sneaking into his bed.
  • In Konosuba, Megumin sports the red version after getting covered with frog slime and tries to 'thank' Kazuma by hugging him.
  • In The Master Of Ragnarok And Blesser Of Einherjar, when Yuuto's harem are told they can all accompany him on a vacation to a mountain retreat, most of the girls all have eyes flashing red. Yuuto's sister even gets chills all of a sudden from another world due to this display.
  • In Miss Caretaker of Sunohara-sou, a drunk Ayaka sports the red variant when she's about to lunge at and assault the Sunohara residents.
  • In No Game No Life, Sora has a tendency to do these when he's about to subject Stephanie to a humiliating pledge. In fact in "Weak Square", both Sora and Shiro's eyes flash with yellow stars as they prepare to embarrass Steph out of spite.
  • In So, I Can't Play H!, Ryosuke does this after waking up from Lisara draining his energy where he suddenly becomes immensely perverted at the prospect of seeing up Lisara's skirt from his position on the ground. It turns out Lisara wasn't wearing panties, cue Lisara stomping his face in.
  • In Unbreakable Machine Doll, Yaya seems to cross this and Glowing Eyes of Doom. Where her eyes momentarily flash red when she gets angry at Raishin.

Video Games

  • Game And Wario: In the "gamer" game, you have to play a game on the WiiU gamepad while looking at the TV screen to see if 9-volt's mom, 5-volt, doesn't catch you. Its framed almost like a Survival Horror, and the mom has these eyes whenever she looks into the room.
  • King's Quest VI uses this as the character trait of a form-changing genie. This genie attempts to lead Alexander into death traps, but his twinkling eyes both symbolize his mischievous nature and his secret identity, allowing an attentive player to evade his attempts.
  • Deltarune: Khris turns to their head to the player and gives these after tearing out their own soul.

Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes: Near the end of Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century, an angry Daffy's eyes flash when Porky makes one snarky comment too many at is expense.

Feedback: 29 replies

Sep 9th 2018 at 8:23:32 AM

we don't have this one already? I'm positive I've seen this in some other anime, even if I can't think of specific examples. I think this is a Stock Parody of Glowing Eyes Of Doom, and I think they tend to be used by those characters who aren't physically strong but manage to intimidate others anyway (there's probably a trope for that, but with the search function broken...)

  • Game And Wario: in the "gamer" game, you have to play a game on the Wii U gamepad while looking at the TV screen to see if 9-volt's mom, 5-volt, doesn't catch you. Its framed almost like a Survival Horror, and the mom has these eyes whenever she looks into the room.

Sep 9th 2018 at 8:34:44 AM

^I did a fair bit of googling but couldn't find it. If it's there then it's got a very obscure name.

Sep 9th 2018 at 10:55:57 AM

  • Kings Quest VI uses this as the character trait of a form-changing genie. This genie attempts to lead Alexander into death traps, but his twinkling eyes both symbolize his mischievous nature and his secret identity, allowing an attentive player to evade his attempts.

Sep 9th 2018 at 1:58:27 PM

Sep 9th 2018 at 5:14:11 PM

^I went with Flash because it's usually a quick and brief thing.

Villager might be Glowing Eyes Of Doom. I think we should wait and see the context of his eyes glowing before adding him.

Sep 9th 2018 at 5:28:46 PM

It's not that worth splitting thus from Glowing Eyes Of Doom. If it can be Played For Laughs, there's no need for a separate page.

And we got issue for differentiating them in practice, too, as ^ shows.

Sep 9th 2018 at 6:21:41 PM

^I've looked there, the definition for Glowing Eyes Of Doom does not seem to cover these examples. Plus I've never seen GEOD be used on a work's page for examples like these. This is a very specific animesque element in the same line as Wing Ding Eyes.

The only reason that example was hard to tell is because it's just a trailer and the proper scene hasnt even been shown yet.

Sep 9th 2018 at 7:46:49 PM

Simply Tropes Are Not Narrow. In this case it does signify doom to the in universe characters but it's all played for comedy.

Sep 9th 2018 at 8:04:52 PM

^As I said, I rarely see people use Glowing Eyes Of Doom for these eye flashes before, despite this variant popping up everywhere.

The reason being, it's not quite the same thing as the eyes aren't actually physically luminescent like GEOD typically are.

In fact sometimes they're not even properly glowing, and are more like a star in the eyes.

Sep 10th 2018 at 12:50:05 AM

^Yeah, I reckon this is just Twinkle In The Eye Played For Laughs. If this gets discarded, someone should probably add how this tends to be done to that page though.

Sep 10th 2018 at 2:05:51 AM

Twinkle In The Eye is used to signify something completely different. That's more like someone getting an idea or inspiration. The one I have here is never used positively. It's more like a hybrid of Twinkle In the Eye and Glowing Eyes Of Doom, but ultimately still falls under a subtrope of glowing eyes.

Plus Twinkle in the Eye isn't predominantly an anime one. It's used heavily in western media, while this trope is explicitly an animesque element which may have had some western usage.

Sep 10th 2018 at 2:30:24 AM

^I read the Twinkle In The Eye page and this is definitely that. Also, Tropes Are Flexible and I'm not convinced this is an anime thing.

Sep 10th 2018 at 3:13:24 AM

While they might look physically similar, they are used for exact opposite reasons. If anything it should say Contrast Twinkle In The Eyes.

I read through the examples and none of them are to show a character's negative side.

Sep 10th 2018 at 3:18:46 AM

They might be used for different reasons, but remember that Tropes Are Flexible. The same visual indicator can be used in different ways.

Sep 10th 2018 at 3:27:51 AM

Alright. But I'm not nuking this just yet.

One more difference I'd like to point out. The twinkle tends to be a brief *DING* thing. The Flash can be brief, but it can just as easily last several seconds. This both plays into the usage, as being prolonged is part of striking up the fear effects.

Oct 5th 2018 at 2:56:19 AM

Film - Animated * Heavy Metal. When the evil Queen captures Den, she first decides to have him killed. However, because Villainesses Want Heroes, she changes her mind and decides to take him as her lover. When two of her guards make snide comments ("Jeez, not again." and "This always happens.") her eyes briefly flash red to indicate her anger.

This example has been deleted because there is no "starry effect" in her eyes when this happens, which is a requirement of the trope.

It looks like there are a couple of other examples with this problem as well (no "starry effect" mentioned).

Oct 4th 2018 at 6:15:28 AM

  • Looney Tunes: Near the end of Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24th Century, an angry Daffy's eyes flash when Porky makes one snarky comment too many at is expense.

Oct 5th 2018 at 11:16:31 AM

Tales Of Berseria: When Magilou gets her hands on Bienfu, she flashes a starry eye with a sinister smile on her face.

Oct 5th 2018 at 11:21:00 AM

Wouldn't that already be covered under the glowing eyes of doom example? Adding another similar example seems a bit much.

Oct 12th 2018 at 2:26:58 AM

^Late reply but here it is. As I said in the description, Glowing Eyes Of Doom is usually for a character's eyes glow In Universe. This one is purely an artist's choice that only the viewers will see

Oct 12th 2018 at 5:28:32 AM

^ Really? I don't think Glowing Eyes Of Doom is limited in that way?

Oct 12th 2018 at 4:53:11 PM

^Nonetheless, Sinister Eye Flash is limited this way. Which is why I think Glowing Eyes Of Doom is closer to being the Super Trope rather than the twinkle.

Nov 19th 2018 at 7:01:10 AM

Nov 19th 2018 at 2:33:57 PM

Perhaps a page action crowner would be good? Whether this could stand as a subtrope or not?

Nov 20th 2018 at 12:30:04 AM

^Hats and bombs don't work?

Nov 20th 2018 at 2:49:02 AM

^ That's unreliable, and refers more to issues beyond just "subtrope-worthy nor not".

Nov 20th 2018 at 8:49:32 PM

Okay I'll see if I have time later, bit busy with work atm

Top