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Black Eyes of Crazy

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Who's crazy now?

Some characters just need a way to show off how undeniably evil they are. Unfortunately, pure black eyes just seem too monochrome and don't allow said character to show off an extra spark of insanity. Cue the Black Eyes Of Crazy. In these cases, the sclerae (the whites of the eyes) are black, as are the pupils, but the irises themselves retain their colour, which can vary. Generally an indication that the character is not above going on a rabid, murderous rampage, and, as such, usually coincides with Ax-Crazy, though this rule is not absolute. It also heavily overlaps with Black Eyes of Evil, due to Ax-Crazy being a subtrope of Obviously Evil.

Subtrope of "Uh-Oh" Eyes.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, anyone who becomes a Dark Signer has their sclerae darken to black and goes rather insane.
  • Bleach: The page image is Hollow Ichigo, from his fight with Byakuya. Hollows are souls who are lost to to their darkest instincts, which form a mask on their face and turn them into a monster. Shinigami can have the process of hollowification forcibly invoked on them, which, if stabilized, turns them into Visored, giving them a Superpowered Hollow Side. When they draw on their Hollow powers, their sclerae turn black and their Hollow takes control unless they've trained to suppress it, turning them into crazed berserkers.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Averted with the Big Good All Might, who is the The Cape through and through. His sclera probably aren't actually black, but his eyes are perpetually shadowed aside from his blue irises.
    • Mina Ashido is another aversion; despite actually having black sclera (as well as a generally alien-like body), she's not only a Hero, but a Genki Girl.
    • Chitose Kizuki of the Meta Liberation Army fits the bill. She's got black sclera, and is a terrorist masquerading as the CEO of a publishing company.
  • In .hack//G.U., characters who are possessed by AIDA will often gain these eyes, particularly during Ax-Crazy moments.
  • Sgt. Frog: the assassin Zoruru has this combined with red pupils, along with a half-cybernetic body covered in Spikes of Villainy and a Blade Below the Shoulder. Despite this, nobody can ever remember who he is...
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi uses this quite a lot, along with Black Eyes of Evil. In fact, Akamatsu notes that Shinmeiryu users can tap into something that's basically the dark side for extra power. While this is not actually evil in itself, it does appear to cause a great deal of bloodlust along with turning the eyes completely black.
    • Love Hina foreshadowed this late into its run. Keitaro's family own a cursed samurai sword that causes the wielder to take on black eyes and start killing or molesting anyone in sight. It took two of the world's greatest swordswomen to reseal it and even then it could still be unleashed if they're not careful.
  • In Naruto, using the second stage of Orochimaru's cursed seal turns the sclerae of your eyes black and the irises gold. Sasuke gets bonus points by using the Sharingan with the black sclera for bonus creepiness.
    • And Jugo by proxy.
    • Shukaku and Gaara, when transforming into his partial form, have black sclera and golden cross-shaped irises.
    • In the manga, Hanzo and the 3rd Raikage both inexplicably have black sclera (but they still have irises and pupils), though, in the anime, Hanzo's eyes are normal.
    • During Naruto's training with Killer Bee to control the Nine-Tails, he is made to fight his Enemy Without, a manifestation of his lingering resentment toward the Leaf Village for the ostracization he suffered as a jinchuuriki. It takes the form of Naruto, with black sclera and red (in place of Naruto's blue) irises, which return to their normal color when Naruto learns that the only way to win the fight is to accept his own feelings and move on. During his later Battle in the Center of the Mind with the Nine-Tails, one of Naruto's eyes starts to change to black and red when the Nine-Tails nearly takes over him through The Power of Hate, but meeting his late mother's spirit reverses this.
    • A specific variant of this color scheme, which also functions as Mind-Control Eyes, is seen in those brought back to life by Kabuto's version of Impure World Resurrection (which, oddly, includes the aforementioned two, who look exactly the same).
      • Kabuto himself has these when he uses his version of Sage Mode.
  • In Scrapped Princess episode 3 or 4, when everybody besides Pacifica gets put under mind control, this is expressed by turning all of their sclerae black (and their irises red). Whenever anybody is snapped out of it, their eyes return to normal.
  • Masane from Witchblade gets these when transformed. The Cloneblade usersnote  and Dual Cloneblade usersnote  gets these when they transform as well.
  • Because of a curse, Darcia of Wolf's Rain has one normal eye and one wolf eye. He hides it under a mask or eye patch. People who see it fall unconscious. By the series end, it is clear that he is more than a little Ax-Crazy.
  • Rurouni Kenshin brings us Jinei Udo. His eyes are black with golden irises and pinpoint pupils which are capable of paralyzing you if he so chooses.
  • Subverted with Renamon from Digimon Tamers: she has Icy Blue Eyes with black sclerae, but is a Lady of War with Nerves of Steel and a member of the core True Companions.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Majin Buu in his familiar fat form has normal-looking eyes when we actually see them, but his evil incarnations have eyes with black sclerae. Evil Buu (the gray form) has white irises (which, when wide enough, can be mistaken for normal eyes due to having distinct pupils), while the Super Buu and Kid Buu forms have red irises.
  • Haguro from Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest is perhaps THE scariest looking ninth grader because of his eyes.
  • Christopher Shouldered from Baccano! has red sclerae rather than black (as the result of an extreme and perpetual case of red eye), but nonetheless matches all the connotations of the trope.
  • Code:Breaker: The five "Angels" (plus Sakura when she was a child), a five-bad-band of Power Nullifiers whose eyes go jet-black when they suck the life out of power-users, in this case just for fun. Fortunately the power-users' masters anticipated that and made one of them Magneto: an iron beam in of itself isn't a power.
  • The ghouls of Tokyo Ghoul have eyes with black sclera and red pupils that show when they're in combat, excited or very hungry.
  • Averted in One-Punch Man with Genos, who has black sclerae due to being a cyborg but despite this is one of the most virtuous, self-sacrificing and law-abiding characters in the series.
  • In Thou Shalt Not Die, the local sweet girl Mashiro can get these types of eyes mixed with slit pupils for extra effect whenever she receives sufficient physical trauma. This serves as a clear sign to anyone nearby get the hell out, since she is about to go postal on anything and anyone in the vicinity, Friend or Foe.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has Risotto Nero, although he seems to be the sanest of his group.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge uses this as a way to distinguish between Monster X and his Superpowered Evil Side, Kaizer Ghidorah. When turned into a human in the Equestria Girls realm, X has normal white eyes (albeit with a red iris), Kaizer Ghidorah has black sclerae. Similarly when Aria Blaze copies some of their powers and channels Kaizer Ghidorah's energy, her features shift to resemble Kaizer's. One of which is this trope.
  • The Power of the Equinox: Dimmed Star, Twilight Sparkle's Superpowered Evil Side, has black sclera, and her pupils are both formed out of three glowing teal dots that are situated in a triangular pattern.
  • In this Warriors Multi-Animator Project based on Swiftpaw, all the Dobermann's have blacked out eyes to emphasise how "other" and inhuman they are to cats.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Santi from Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone has black sclerae and pale bluish irises.
  • In the film version of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo gets them after being corrupted by the cursed Nazgûl blade.
  • People turned into vampires by the eponymous Count in Dracula (1979) have black eyes with hellish red pupils.

  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, this is the mark of someone who has been infected with Animus. They also have black blood.
  • Small Gods has Vorbis, who comes from a desert tribe with black sclerae (it's mentioned he looks like he's wearing his sunglasses on the inside). On the Disk, where eyes are very much the window to the soul, he's bad news indeed, though of The Fundamentalist kind of crazy rather than the loud, multiple-exclamation-points type.
  • The One Who Eats Monsters: Ryn has matte black sclerae and glowing blue irises that terrify whoever looks into her eyes, befitting a predatory primordial goddess whose inability to blend in with humans saw her branded a monster. Her aggressive behaviour leads to several characters speculating that she has a developmental disorder at best and is flat-out insane at worst.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Boogeyman's eyes inexplicably turned black during his feud with Big Daddy V. Of course, Boogeyman is crazy.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The Harpy from Dragon's Dogma have these as their default eye colours.
  • King Dynal in Fossil Fighters has these, and despite being an alien, he's the only one, even among the other aliens. He's the Big Bad... until a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere pops in and he does an abrupt Heel–Face Turn.
  • In .hack//G.U. this happens to players that get completely overtaken by AIDA.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the more reclusive vampires have these, usually indicating that they do not care about trying to blend in with normal society.
    • As well as Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Can't get much crazier than that.
  • Overlord Pram from Makai Kingdom has them, though she's more manipulative than crazy. In the same game, the legitimately Ax-Crazy Berserker class has them as well, even carrying over into Disgaea 3.
  • The game-breaking Gideon class from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters have them, minus Heroman.
  • Akuma/Goki from Street Fighter sometimes has these Depending on the Artist, when not being depicted with fully red eyes.
  • Both subverted and played straight in Pokémon: black scleras are rather common, but they don't necessarily mean anything about the owner's behavior. While some bearers of them are described in the Pokedex as being violent and dangerous (Most notably Hydreigon), it's never shown to be a consistent trait among their species (if it's even shown at all).
  • The Thwomps from the Super Mario Bros. series originally had these, before shifting over to Red Eyes, Take Warning in Super Mario 64.
  • Subverted with most asari in Mass Effect, whose eyes turn black when they meld their minds with another, an action done to not only share information with others, but for lovemaking and procreating as well. If the asari is an Ardat-Yakshi, though, it's played straight.
  • Dirge of Cerberus has these with Azul the Cerulean, a huge Stone Wall of a villain, whose black-and-yellow eyes show he's not one to be trifled with.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, male Au Ra of the Xaela clan have dark sclera, which coupled with their dark scales, horns, and sharp facial features lends them an unavoidably sinister look. They're not actually evil, though the clan's culture is noted as being violent, consisting of several nomadic tribes that are constantly warring with one another over territory.
  • The Kelari race in Rift have black sclerae, but they're a case of Dark Is Not Evil.
  • The Sabbat in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines combine this with Red Eyes, Take Warning by having completely black eyes except for the blood-red irises.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt series, all Adept bosses sport such eyes after transforming into their battle forms. So far, the only exceptions are Nova, whose gigantic One-Winged Angel form comes with a face-concealing helmet, and Asimov, who sports Prophet Eyes in his human form and a complete Black Eyes of Evil in his lightning elemental form.
  • In DragonFable, recent class revamps for Necromancer and Death Knight included new artwork which gives both classes these eyes, with green and red irises, respectively. As well, Icebound Revenant is a new armor that can only be obtained with Dragon Coins; it's essentially an ice-themed variant on Death Knight, with blue irises, appropriately enough.
  • Undead in Dark Souls nearly always have sunken, black eye sockets when they go Hollow, and with the exception of the Player Character, when they look like that, they've gone irrevocably, murderously insane.
  • In Miitopia, Miis that are turned (thankfully temporarily) evil by enemies get black eyes with red sclera.
  • Astaroth from Marco and the Galaxy Dragon has blue eyes with black sclera. He’s the game’s Big Bad, and is a remorseless Galactic Conqueror who regularly exterminates the populations of entire worlds when he isn’t destroying those worlds outright.
  • Berserkers in Fate/Grand Order are prone to black sclerae, particularly those who are incoherent or nonverbal due to Madness Enhancement: Heracles, Caligula, Darius, and Lu Bu. Subverted with Asterios the Minotaur, who is fully talkative and childish more than insane.
    • Eric Bloodaxe and Penthesilea only show black sclerae during their Phantasm animations or when the latter's Berserk Button is pressed.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Chimpanzees have a dark-pigmented conjunctiva, which makes their sclerae look black. Captive chimps that have been mistreated or poorly-socialized are notoriously prone to unpredictable outbursts of violence and destructiveness.
  • Black sclerae are actually fairly common in the eyes of apes in general (apart from humans). Most gorillas have black sclerae, but a few individuals have white ones or even a "piebald" combination. It has been theorized that human beings began to favor white sclerae as it helped with non-verbal communication. White sclerae were desired in a potential mate to the point that the genes for black sclera have pretty much disappeared from humans and are now seen as "unnatural" or even creepy. Hence why this trope and Black Eyes of Evil even exist.

Alternative Title(s): Black Eyes Of Insanity, Blackshot Eyes, Crazy Black Sclera


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