When shocked or stunned emotionally, mentally or physically, the character's eyes are briefly replaced by blank white disks with sloppily-scrawled black "borders" around them. Functionally equivalent to the American Circling Birdies. Can be combined with Blue with Shock for extra impact. Glasses-wearing characters sometimes use (Not So) Scary Shiny Glasses instead. Note that because the pupils and iris allow light to enter the eyes, characters with blank white eyes should be blind.
This is a relatively recent trope; almost all shows or manga using it have shown up in the 21st century. In even more recent media, this trope has seen a much wider range of uses, ranging from making a character look funny, depicting a frightening berserker rage, depicting someone knocked out or dead, or simply depicting eyes on a character too far away to be drawn in detail.
See also Prophet Eyes for characters whose eyes are always completely white, and Color Failure for when they lose color all over. In some cases, it can also overlap with Dies Wide Open.
You can sort of do this if you roll your eyes into the back of your head.
- Assassination Classroom has this as the students' usual reaction to any of Koro-sensei's shenanigans or one of their classmates saying or doing something absurd. The anime combines it with full-body shaking when it gets too absurd.
- Azumanga Daioh is filled with Blank White Eyes displayed in response to all manner of shock and surprise.
- Bamboo Blade: Whenever Tamaki gets flustered, her art style goes Super-Deformed (rounder, her mouth and other facial features vanish), she shuffles and fidgets nervously, and her eyes go completely white.
- In Berserk, Guts' eyes (or his good eye post-Eclipse) going completely white is as much of a danger sign as the Glowing Eyes of Doom. Guts has two berserk modes: Tranquil Fury (rarely seen) and the White Eyes. When the white eyes appear, it means that he is completely consumed by Unstoppable Rage, and that anything within the reach of his BFS is going to die very, very messily.
- Casca is briefly seen with white enraged eyes (eerily similar to Guts) after she slaughters three rapists.
- Bleach: Happens to Kon and a few other characters (Mostly during filler) during comedic moments.
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Happens a lot. Confusing your opponent into submission is a valid form of martial art.
- Bungo Stray Dogs has this with Chuya's Corruption mode in chapter 31.
- Chrono Crusade features this several times, particularly in cases involving poor Chrono.
- In the manga, this is Chrono's reaction when Rosette (in response to his urging Rosette to give an intelligent argument) calls Sister Kate an "ugly old hag".
- In the anime, this is Azmaria's reaction to Chrono and Rosette's dance turning into a near-brawl.
- In Death Note, Ryuk's eyes go completely white when he kills Light.
- In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the series has events where the main heroes undergo extreme pressure to give their all in a fight, blanked out eyes are sometimes used to portray their push to go beyond:
- Under intense stress to fully charge his Thunderclap Flash: Six-Fold, Zenitsu was portrayed with fully blanked out eyes, for the first time he showed the technique off.
- When under great pressure to give all of his power into his techniques, there are times Tanjiro’s eyes go fully blank in effect, such as him doing his all push it through against the Upper Rank Gyutaro.
- Dragon Ball: It usually denotes an Unstoppable Rage. Often accompanied by a Battle Aura if one was previously absent, and may be invoked by a Superpowered Evil Side.
- Broly has this happen to him when he goes Legendary Super Saiyan.
- This happens to his alternate-universe female counterpart, Kale as well.
- His canon counterpart also gets these when he explodes with rage from witnessing is father's death.
- Trunks gains these only as he becomes an Ascended Super Saiyan and regains his irises after he's done. Conveniently, this transformation makes him resemble Broly. He also gets them in Dragon Ball Super when he awakens his Super Saiyan Rage form.
- In Dragon Ball Z, blank white eyes on an inert character means they're dead. The earliest example for this would be Radditz after he was killed by Piccolo. Before Z, simply Dies Wide Open was used. (example: Krillin, when he was killed by Tambourine)
- Broly has this happen to him when he goes Legendary Super Saiyan.
- Happens in Elfen Lied when Lucy gets her right horn knocked off by Number 35; she appears to be in shock/comatose (complete with white eyes) for several minutes.
- In Excel♡Saga, the emergency food supply Menchi often expresses Blank White Eyes (sometimes in combination to Blue with Shock) whenever Excel or another character jokes about eating her.
- Fairy Tail: By the time Natsu fights Laxus during the Battle of Fairy Tail arc, Laxus has officially become so mad with power that he loses all reason and tries to destroy everything and everyone. His state of madness is generally indicated by Blank White Eyes, and he regains his irises and pupils during his brief moments of lucidity.
- The first episode of FLCL has Naota run over by the "Vespa-woman", thereby needing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Fruits Basket: Used to great effect, especially by mild mannered characters shocked with the insanity around them.
- GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class: It is the default expression for Cloudcuckoolander Nodamiki.
- In Genshiken, Saki goes Blank White Eyes with her Art Shift rage.
- In Glass Mask, characters get this look when they're surprised, but also in moments of intense concentration.
- Episode 21 of Gundam Build Fighters has everyone in the battle arena sporting these during the latter moments of Reiji and Aila's battle.
- Hanayamata: Used extensively to picture surprise reactions, first of which is school girl Naru's bewilderness when what appeared to be like a piece of her dream come to life, a graceful "Fairy", suddenly offers her to dance together.
- In the manga adaptation of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mikuru Asahina gets these out of shock when Haruhi grabs her chest.
- Hayate the Combat Butler:
- Nishizawa, after a hawk lands on her precious candy apple.
- Hibino Fumi. Much more often than she looks normal.
- In Hidamari Sketch, Yuno does that all the time; while Hiro does that when the paranormal is involved.
- The Idolmaster: Haruka gets this when the Futami twins are trying to discover who stole the pudding.
- In Kiniro Mosaic, Alice often has Blank Blue Eyes.
- When Yuriko found her mother hanged herself in the manga.
- When Haruka saw a vision of a violent scene in episode 8's stinger, in which she immediately collapsed due to Heroic BSoD.
- Lucky Star: One of Tsukasa's default expressions whenever Konata and Kagami start talking about things she's too innocent to know, like fanservice or dating games. But mostly she gets those small black oval blank-stare eyes.
- Lupin III: Part II: In Episode 4, Jigen displays an early example of the "KO-ed"/modern variety after Lupin hits him over the head with an oar.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Nanoha gets this a few times as she's being introduced to magic, then occasionally later, such as when she first sees Yuuno out of ferret form.
- Or Yuuno himself, during the hot springs episode when he realises he's going to be in there with the girls and PANICS.
- Yuuno also gets these once when Chrono refers to him as a "ferret-changeling" as a joke.
- Nanoha also pulls those when Vita forgets her name in the A's series
Vita: Takamachi Nantoka! ("This and That")
Nanoha: IT'S NANOHA! NA-NO-HA!
- Nanoha, when seeing Lindy drink her Japanese tea English-style with milk and sugar in one eyecatcher.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, Fate gets Blank White Eyes after seeing Vivio transform into her Adult Mode, which looks just like the Sankt Kaiser mode, and when Vivio reminds her that she and Nanoha were quite reckless at her age.
- Shiratori Ryuushi in Mahoraba has Blank White Eyes after receiving his off-screen punishment for not finishing his homework.
- In the first episode of Marvel Anime: X-Men, Dr. McCoy is presenting a lecture to his students about recent experiments he's performed in enhancing cephalopod intelligence, and has brought one of his test subjects, a squid, to demonstrate. Receiving a call from the X-Men, he declares he's leaving, but will give the class over to the squid he brought while he's gone. The students laugh it up... until the squid activates a vocalizer and calls them all to order, whereupon they sprout these.
- Kimihito, the protagonist of Monster Musume, has this as his default expression more or less, usually due to being in the middle of shenanigans caused by his Unwanted Harem. The few moments of seriousness are punctuated by his eyes being completely normal.
- In the Nana anime, Hachi gets these when Takumi brings her shoes for "a tiny person" (their future daughter), and she misinterprets him and remembers Sachiko.
- Every time something goes wrong, such as when Sakura smacks Naruto upside the head for no reason.
- Hinata, while already having Prophet Eyes, often gets these in embarrassing situations with Naruto in the anime.
- Rock Lee got these when he opened the 4th Gate against Gaara.
- Lee also gets these when Sakura confesses that she loves Naruto, and looks fairly upset afterward.
- Also in Shippuden, right after Sakura reveals how much she's learned with Tsunade. After Kakashi goes into hiding, she smashes her chakra-infused fist into the ground, causing it to tear up. The first time this happens, Naruto gets it as he's falling over (complete with a strangled "Huh?" noise.) When the smoke clears, Kakashi has these too, which shows that Sakura actually took him by surprise by doing that.
- Kakashi also got these when Konohamaru did a Sexyno Jutsu of a naked Sasuke and Sai.
- In a more serious variant, whenever someone with a Sharingan sacrifices an eye's sight to perform Izanagi or Izanami, the now-blind eye's iris loses all color, becoming a featureless white, while the pupil is also grayed out.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
- Negi is reduced to Blank White Eyes several times by the end of the first proper anime episode.
- Negi gets them in Chapter 29 when Setsuna attempts a rather... hands on variation of a Groin Attack.
- Negi get this, along with Luminescent Blush and Jaw Drop a few hours after receiving Nodoka's love confession.
- Quite a few uses of blank black eyes in the manga as well.
- This is pretty much the default expression of anyone who sees Rakan do his usual things.
- In Chapter 265, when Negi is completely consumed by Black Magic Unstoppable Rage and transforms into a monstrous demon. The manga is black-and-white. In theory, a color adaptation can have his eyes glowing a different color.
- The High Queen Arika of all people gets those when Nagi gives her Headbutt of Love while rescuing her from her execution.
- In One Piece:
- Character's eyes will go blank upon final defeat (the term "final" being used loosely). It is virtually the only sure-fire way to tell a character has been removed from the current fight.
- Subverted with Gedatsu, Chopper's opponent in Skypiea. He's so stupid that he keeps his eyes rolled up into his head constantly, even though he can't see a thing while doing it.
- Subverted with Kaku, as a show of how he was Graceful Loser unlike most villains, he doesn't get these, instead looking serene like he's sleeping when he's defeated.
- Played for Laughs Usopp, Franky, Zoro, Sanji and Robin get creepy white eyes◊ when they succeeded in trapping Oars.
- Luffy grabs a pair after Ace gets killed in front of his eyes.
- Sanji gets these when he’s particularly enraged or Burning with Anger, see Thriller Bark or Fishman Island.
- The children from Punk Hazard, when the effects of the drug Caesar Clown fed them take their toll.
- Charlotte Katakuri, nuff said.
- Played for Laughs in the filler Warship Island arc: a Marine soldier gets them after Apis accidentally kicks him in the nuts.
- Oruchuban Ebichu uses it on occasion, usually with the title character.
- Ouran High School Host Club uses a slight variant, where the eyes are half-closed, making the eyes look like a sideways "P".
- Pokémon: The Series: This trope is rare in the Pokemon anime, but was utilized somewhat frequently during the Sinnoh saga, especially with Piplup. It tends to appear more when a character is really angry.
- Pretty Cure
- Fresh Pretty Cure!: In Episode 6, Love gets these when she's told she has to have carrots for dinner (which she hates).
- Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure: In Episode 12, the four Cures, stunned, all get these when they learn that Abraham the film director is an alien controlling a giant man body.
- Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure: In one episode, Asumi gets these while failing to use chopsticks to eat a salad, much to Nodoka's panic and her parents' confusion. She is offered a fork instead.
- Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure: In Episode 1, Rosemary collapses on a bench due to overwhelming hunger. When Kome-Kome comes back to him after failing to find food, his eyes have gone completely white.
- Princess Jellyfish has a dramatic example when Shu wakes up naked in bed and made to believe that he had sex with Inari while passed out. He gets very agitated, and when he arrives home, he looks completely dazed and his eyes are hollow.
Shu: So I was assaulted, wasn't I? Ha ha. I see. That's right.
- In Reborn! (2004), the main protagonist Tsuna had blank white eyes in one scene and the anime artists took it one step further by adding black shading around his eyes.
- Record of Lodoss War's anime adaptation features another case of the white-eyed berserker in Orson. He is normally The Stoic and one of the nicest characters of the anime, but when the white eyes appear — usually when someone's hurt his partner Shiris or anyone else he cares about — it is generally not advisable to be anywhere in his general vicinity.
- Sailor Moon Crystal: Though it typically lacks comedic Art Shifts — The Klutz Usagi exhibits these briefly while suffering Agony of the Feet, after her "Sailor V Kick" meant for her Annoying Younger Sibling Shingo instead hits their shutting front door.
- Played for Drama when the Senshi are brutally attacked by Metallia and lose consciousness.
- In Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo, Kaoruko Odagiri gets these whenever she starts cloud cuckoolanding.
- Shaman King:
- Seen when Yoh witnesses Hao (Zeke in the US dub)'s malicious acts, and once by Anna, near the finale. (She's usually the least emotional character in the show, usually only displaying quiet anger and a deadpan.)
- Employed throughout the series to show extreme shock/surprise/fear/anger in various characters.
- Soul Eater: It's used when Kid is fighting 'properly' (not bothered by symmetry), as when he fought Black Star, and when fighting Mosquito.
- Vinland Saga: Whenever Bjorn goes berserk, his eyes turn blank white and he tears people apart with his bare hands.
- Wife and Wife: Shows up on Kina in the first chapter, when Suu-chan declares that they need to buy "Essentials" before they buy a bed together.
- Yotsuba&!: Happens to everybody, most often in response to the eponymous Cheerful Genki Girl.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Bakura imagines taking Yugi-as-the-Dark-Magician over with Change of Heart, his eyes are pictured as this... along with a very disturbing look on his face.
- Played for Laughs in Yu-Gi-Oh! R, when Jounouchi does this often enough to count as a Running Gag.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Everyone who is controlled by Darton in Great War in the Bizarre World has white eyes with scrawled borders.
- In comics superheroes having white eyes, large or small, dates all the way back to the The Phantom whose artist Lee Falk was inspired by Greek busts. Falk explained the lack of irises gave a “inhuman” quality to the statues which he repurposed for his hero The Phantom. The trend has stuck with characters to this day.
- Batman and co having expressive white eye lenses in their masks use this trope to great effect. Some fans are even get disgruntled when Batman is portrayed without the white eyes.
- Spider-Man has big wide expressive white eye-lenses things that widen when he’s surprised or narrow when he’s enraged◊. People have also noted there’s a level of Uncanny Valley on Spidey compared to other Marvel heroes whose eyes’s can be seen in their masks, making Spider-Man more unnatural.
- In Chapter 4 of Glitter Force: Into the Glitterverse, Mikayla's eyes go white as she is mind-controlled to insist on Nagisa's name being Natalie.
- Angel had "Rm w/ a Vu" with Cordelia being possessed by Dennis and trying to break down a wall Dennis was died inside.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Cordelia being blind when she is under a witch's spell in "Witch".
- Dawn briefly gets these in "After Life" and even breathes fire.
- Let the Right One In: The vampire who attacks Naomi and her partner has his eyes entirely white, which freaks both of them out (they don't realize that he's not a human).
- Dilbert: In this strip, Asok sells his soul, and while he is in his soulless state, he sports blank white eyes.
- Calvin and Hobbes features every character with these, unless they have glasses or if they are shocked.
- Little Orphan Annie, one of the oldest examples.
- Discussed in a "Two A-Holes" sketch on Saturday Night Live.
Adoption Agent: So why adoption?
Female A-Hole: I love the movie Annie.
Male A-Hole: You ever heard of Little Orphan Annie?
Adoption Agent: Yes, I know it.
Male A-Hole: Yeah, it was an old comic strip. Annie had no eyeballs. Then they did the movie version - guess what? She had eyeballs!
Adoption Agent: And your point is?
Female A-Hole: We want a baby with eyeballs.
- Discussed in a "Two A-Holes" sketch on Saturday Night Live.
- The Undertaker is pro wrestling's Trope Codifier for this. He does this so often it's pretty much part of his gimmick. When Taker rolls his eyes back in his head, most people are running away really fast because when he gets to that point in a match where he decides this is appropriate, it generally means your ass is grass and he's the lawnmower. Ironically, Taker's eyes are always white in the comic book based on him done by Chaos Comics.
- Judas Messias did the same thing in TNA for awhile before he abruptly vanished from the company.
- Living Dead Dolls: Posey, Ms. Eerie, Envy and Damian.
- A non-humorous example from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The Zora Elegy of Emptiness statue is depicted frozen with these in a screaming expression.
- Practically everybody in the supporting cast of Elite Beat Agents has Blank White Eyes at some point in the game. Even in the tearjerker levels. (Ironically, the agents are some of the characters who don't get Blank White Eyes; because they're always wearing Cool Shades).
- Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan probably did this even more. Heck, half of the Ouendan themselves sport this expression at a few points! (Once when they get sucked into Ancient Egypt, and when you fail to stop the meteor.)
- Mother 3 has one scrapped sequence where you fought what could be described a nightmare incarnation of Lucas. One of its incarnations appears to be a ghostly visage of his brother Claus, frozen in an eerie expression with blank white eyes.
- Bubble Memories, a sequel to Bubble Bobble, uses Blank White Eyes for Bub or Bob instead of the unique eyes-struck-out-by-a-literal-black-line upon death. The struck-out-eyes are still used when either of them touch bubbled lightning/fire.
- SPACE Puzzle Bobble: When Bob(blun) is used and the board is almost full, his eyes go blank and his jaw drops before he pushes it back up and his eyes go back to normal (and the animation loops).
- In Kirby Super Star (Ultra), this happens with Lololo when you defeat him.
- In Kirby Star Allies, this happens with Gooey upon getting defeated in The Ultimate Choice.
- Enraged Miis in Miitopia have unsettling pitch-white eyes.
- In Tales of Symphonia, some monster varieties like serpents and treants sport these whenever they get hit.
- One of Flonne's stock poses in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
- A constant for the Iop class in Dofus and Wakfu.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty does this in a very creepy manner. After Solidus drops his mechanical tentacles halfway through the battle with him, you get a codec call from the AI Colonel and Rose, and as Rose talks to you, her eyes suddenly go blank.
- In Rayman Origins, Rayman's eyes go blank whenever he freaks out, gets hurt, or is in balloon-state (dead).
- When you find out his name, Doopliss in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
- Done a several times with Mario himself in Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Paper Mario: Color Splash, and Paper Mario: The Origami King whenever he freaks out or finds something alarming.
- In Cave Story, Balrog does this whenever he is defeated by Quote.
- Non-comedic example in Creature Shock, but when you rescued Catherine, her eyes suddenly turns blank white. And then her body contorts and twists away as she began Hulking Out - turns out she's infected with an alien virus and converted into a monster.
- In the Game Over cutscene of Catherine, Vincent's corpse has him dead with eyes open and completely blank, with an expression on his face frozen in a look of utter horror, is shown in the real world.
- Persona 5: Humans whose Shadows are destroyed end up with pupil-less white eyes and dark blood bleeding out of their mouths. This includes the subway conductor who crashes a train near the beginning of the game.
- Sakuna Of Rice And Ruin: When Sakuna is shocked at being banished her eyes are like this and a Jaw Drop.
- Shantae: Half-Genie Hero: This is a stock pose for both Shantae and Mayor Scuttlebutt.
- Neptunia: Played for Laughs; this can be used to express anything from excitement to nervousness to shock to exasperation to frustration. Humorously, the black circle outline is thick and solid, making it look like the characters' eyes have been replaced by Oreos.
- In Metroid Fusion, the SA-X is physically indistinguishable from Samus in her original Varia Suit except for having eyes like this, indicating its status as The Soulless. In Metroid Dread, this blank eye effect carries over to X-infected Chozo when we can see their faces.
- In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Rex, Pyra and Azurda sport these for a split-second as their reaction to Poppi awakening with the personality of a subservient maid to her driver, Tora. Of course, because the game is much more Animesque than its predecessor, it's to be expected.
- Ace Attorney:
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix and Edgeworth frequently do the Blank White Eyes when caught by surprise. Look closely at Phoenix's sprite, and you can sorta make out the pinhole pupil, though.
- Athena Cykes gets blank white eyes during some of her expressions, usually when she's especially or comically pissed.
- In a less comical sense, Morgan Fey and Dahlia Hawthorne gain these when giving their withering Death Glares. Perhaps this foreshadows their familial relation.
- Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star's The King always has eyes like these. In every single one of his heads.
- Occasionally happens in Zero Punctuation, though it also pulls double-duty as a substitute for Open the Iris.
- Happens nearly every episode in Catface.
- Always happens in Weebland Bob.
- There she is!! has this anytime people see Doki hanging all over Nabi.
- Although without characteristic impact, every person in the Awesome Series used to have those in older episodes. This made it a recognizable trait of the series which was also made use of in mostly every fan-made episode. Characters in Egoraptor's newer works do have an iris, though.
- Characters in RWBY Chibi often go white-eyed, though Blake seems to be the one that does it the most.
- Hell, Weiss did it◊ in the actual show. Finding out that you're about to go on a dangerous mission with only Oobleck for help would be enough to provoke this reaction for someone in real life.
- Happens to everyone in Bittersweet Candy Bowl at some point.
- Discussed and lampshaded in The Cobra Days
- Layla from Far Out There experiences this when suffering from an exceptional amount of frustration.
- Geisterdamen in Girl Genius have these. Hilariously turned into traditional use here.
- When the Henchbot is upgraded in Girls in Space, her eyes glow white.
- Gunnerkrigg Court when characters far away, these are rarely used to replace the usual Black Bead Eyes at that distance.
- Hiimdaisy's hiimdaisy's abridged video game comic strips use the blank eyes occasionally.
- Consistently used in Homestuck to depict ghosts, spirits, sprites, and other noncorporeal characters.
- A common sight in panels of I'm the Grim Reaper, whenever the author needs to display comedic frustration.
- Also appears in western webcomics, as in this strip of Loserz.
- Done, along with most other Manga-esque effects, frequently in Misfile.
- Characters in Polandball are always portrayed like this. Drawing characters any other way is considered "cancer" by the r/polandball community.
- This happens a lot in Rain whenever characters are shocked or flustered. Likely due to its Animesque style.
- In Rascals, during the beach fight on this page and here when the group meets Issy's parents.
- Sleepless Domain: Blank white eyes are used on occasion to show that a character is shocked or exasperated. For example, here, when Undine gets frustrated with trying to exercise, and here, when Zoe is shocked by Rue falling unconscious.
- Used often in Slightly Damned.
- The go-to shorthand for when a character is well and truly pissed in Weak Hero is when their eyes go completely white. Used most prominently with Ben, as the blank white contrasts strongly with his dark skin.
- In Welcome to the pharmacy!, when Elena can’t understand one client’s english accent, she just stands there stunned, with her eyes gone blank.
- Very noticeably used in the 2013-onwards Mickey Mouse shorts, exactly as one would expect them to be used. It's quite surreal, especially considering how the animation style otherwise isn't at all Animesque.
- Done quite a few times on the Animesque show Teen Titans. Robin has them as a permanent part of his mask, presumably something he picked up from his mentor.
- In Wakfu, this happens to Sadlygrove when he goes into 'berserker' mode.
- The SWAT Kats have them, as do many members of their Rogues Gallery.
- Happens most frequently in earlier episodes of Adventure Time.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 1", Tirek's victims have all the color removed from their eyes, leaving only a greyscale pupil.
- In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Altar of Mortis", in a case of Dies Wide Open, Ahsoka's eyes are rolled into the back of her head after the Son of Mortis temporarily kills her.
- Mighty Magiswords: In the minisode "Pig Iron", Vambre gets these when she rants about her disdain for pants.
- In Gallavants, Shando has these while Blinded by the Light in the catacombs.