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Cheated Angle

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Art by AnnouncerGuy.
Gumball: Yeah, there's a lot of things you've never seen me do.
Darwin: You mean like how I've never seen you from profile?
Gumball: What do you mean?
Darwin: Well, like how you always hold your head at a three-quarter angle because you look weird otherwise.

In character art, especially animation, it's usually best to create a character with an identifiable feature. The problem comes in some cases when that feature might only be visible from certain angles, or might be reduced to something less than its full iconic status (or even misinterpreted as something else). Some might see this as being a Lazy Artist, and so overcompensate for the problem. For some characters, the usual rules of proportion and perspective are ignored, and that feature is drawn anyway. Commonly, characters with tails, horns, or ears might have those drawn even when they should be hidden by other parts of the head or body. This is known as a 'cheat'.

In Video Games and CGI animation, this trope is usually enforced with sprites. Sprites are two-dimensional images, so they have to always be facing the camera because they look paper-thin when viewed from any other angle. However, sometimes sprites are used in that fashion to make something look sharp, particularly in older games and ones which don't have much processing power.

In 2D overhead-view games, doors on most buildings always face south so that the player can easily see them, since there usually is no way to change the camera angle.

A subtrope of Distinctive Appearances. Unmoving Plaid is the subtrope of this for patterns that don't move with what they're attached to. Compare Cheeky Mouth, Ambidextrous Sprite, and Social Semicircle.

Of course, Tropes Are Tools; sometimes cheating angles is preferable — be it to keep that distinctive feature visible, or to avoid a distracting tangent line (ie., when outlines appear to connect or overlap in a way that makes the composition or perspective of an image visually confusing) that would be caused by drawing it "correctly". In addition, this happens all the time even in live action. Visual storytelling requires reality to bend in order to tell the story with all the important information. Individuals will stand unusually close together so that no one is cut off by the frame, give enough room for the camera to follow them into a confined space and actors will stand on boxes so they don't disappear behind the tall people.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akagi. Generally speaking, Nobuyuki Fukumoto's character designs have a bunch of very specific-looking angles and slotting them together is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Asteroid in Love:
    • Ao has two strands of hair that refuses to be pushed down, which can be on either side of her head based on the author's needs. Her current picture on the character sheet have those located to her left (right side to the viewer), while the previous one has those on her right.
    • Mira's hairpin is a minor case. It's always on the right side of her head, but it can appear in the front or back as the author wants to.
  • Astro Boy's iconic headspikes. Action figures of him usually end up looking extremely awkward as a result. The 2009 CGI film had multiple models that were interchanged to ensure that his hair looked "correct" in each shot.
  • The titular Birdy Cephon Altera of Birdy the Mighty has this in regards to her bangs in the original manga and OVA, with the side facing away from camera being more spiky than the side facing the reader/viewer.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Page picture: Goku has a very distinctive shape to his hair that is always maintained no matter which way you view him. It even has the ability to completely flip direction based on the direction he's looking. The 3D video games do a good job of rendering it in a way that preserves the shape when viewed in profile and head on. Like the Astro Boy example above, it doesn't translate into action figures though.
    • The Dragon Balls themselves always have their stars visible and facing the camera even when they're moving, suggesting balls are transparent and the stars are inside them. (Which would explain why the characters always see the stars from whatever angle they’re looking at the dragon balls.) This makes the stars themselves an example of this trope, since they act like 2D objects always facing the camera, and you never see one star overlapping another.
      • This is an interesting example of an in-universe manifestation of this trope: as was revealed in one of the Dragon Ball Super manga chapters, looking the same no matter what angle you look at them from is an intrinsic property of Dragon Balls, and therefore part of their magical nature. Which must make them freaky as hell to actually handle. The dragon god Zalama, creator of the planet-sized Super Dragon Balls that came before all the others, actually filed a patent for the effect.
  • The most distinctive part of Yuno in Hidamari Sketch are her X-shaped hairpins that she puts on both sides of her head. However, those were often drawn on the back of the head when the angle required it—and in the cover of the sixth volume of the manga, to compensate for her hair being covered by a hoodie, she drew X's on the hood over where her hairpins should have been.
  • In the anime of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency, Joseph's hair would do this at times. This would be most apparent when he'd turn 180 degrees to the camera. This doesn't apply to 3D models, though.
    • The same applies to Kakyoin's "hair noodle" in Stardust Crusaders which switches randomly from his left side to his right side depending how he turns his head.
  • Similar to the page image, Tsumugi from K-On! has thick semicircular eyebrows that frequently flip upside down for certain expressions. Lampshaded in an Omake video where Yui tries to catch them mid-change but ends up being distracted.
  • In Kotoura-san, the curved cowlick on Haruka's head switches sides constantly and often multiple times in a single scene.
  • Many Lyrical Nanoha characters are drawn with a distinctive poof of hair that gravitates towards whichever side of their face is less-shown by the angle of the shot.
    • In a bit of a funny dedication to accuracy, most of the franchise's Figma releases included two hair fringes, with the hair poof on the left and right on each, in order to replicate this on a 3D object.
  • In Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, the main character's hair in his demon form is always shown in its entirety from any angle.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Ash's Pikachu is almost never drawn without the tail projecting outward and prominently visible, even when it should be behind him or otherwise blocked.
    • Jessie's hair as well. See here, for a particularly egregious example. She's facing away from the camera, her hair is pointing to the right. She turns 180 to face the camera, and her hair is still pointing off to the right.
    • With his hat off, Ash's hair will flip just like Goku's in the above comic.
    • Pokémon with lateral eyes may be drawn with their eyes facing forward in front-facing shots.
  • Sonic X took this rule and ran with it, so that no matter which way Sonic was facing, only three spikes would show. This made Sonic look odd from the front, and downright ridiculous from the back.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Seto Kaiba has a trademark tuft of hair that comes down between his eyes and curves over one side of the bridge of his nose. The direction of the curve often magically switches sides depending on which angle he is shown at (it nearly always curves over the side of his nose closest to the camera).

  • Ancient Egyptian 2-D artists did not use or value realistic perspective. Images were meant not to record actual appearance in 3D space, but to create a kind of ideal diagram of the individual or event pictured. For this reason, Egyptian artists drew different body parts on the same figure using different angles, making each part look as recognizable and complete as possible while avoiding overlaps that could hide something. So on the same figure, you'll see the face, arms, and legs in profile, while the eye and torso are shown frontally.
  • David: Michelangelo Buonarroti indulged in Artistic License – Anatomy to make David's hands and head larger so that they would be more visible when viewed from far below since it was originally placed on a roof.
  • The Last Supper: It would be a lot harder to identify Jesus and the Apostles if half of them were on the opposite side of the table with their backs towards the audience, so Leonardo sacrificed realism and put every character in the fresco on the same side of the table.
  • Madame Moitessier by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. He was so captivated by her beauty he had her seated next to a mirror as an excuse to show a 3/4 view and her profile in the same painting, but given how she is orientated, her reflection in the mirror is all wrong.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Simple Samosa, there are several instances where Jalebi is seen from a side angle, but the giant swirl on her head still appears as it would when she's seen from the front.

    Comic Books 
  • It's extremely rare to see Chilean comic book character Condorito facing front.
  • The two 'horns' of Doctor Strange's collar are typically drawn to retain their hook shape, even when one of them would be straight-on from the viewer's perspective.
  • Played with in the Grant Morrison run of Doom Patrol: Mr. Nobody's character design doesn't just use cheated angle, he himself IS a cheated angle! Anyone who looks directly at him can only see him from the periphery of their vision, and his form remains the same two-dimensional design no matter where he's viewed from or what he's doing.
  • Monty the Dinosaur: No matter which side of Monty's head is visible to the reader, his eyes are shown on that side of his head.
  • The title characters from the Franco-Belgian comic The Smurfs have round caps with a rounded end pointing forward (in their first appearance in Johan and Peewit, they were pointy hats bent at the end, until Art Evolution changed it). They mostly appear at a 3/4 view, sometimes at full profile, and rarely in front view, at which point (no pun intended) the hats still are shown facing sideways.
  • Both Spies in Spy vs. Spy are rarely shown in front, and when they do, their pointy noses are always facing bottom.
  • Marvel artists' notes on how to draw Nightcrawler from the X-Men say how they must draw his tail with a curve in it (when character is drawn from the front, with legs apart) so the tail wouldn't look phallic. This has the added bonus of emphasizing that his tail is prehensile, even when he's not actually doing anything with it.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Mike Deodato's stylized art has a tendency to include "boob flounder," meaning that when only one breast should be partially visible in profile due to a character facing to the side or away from the viewer both breasts are visible.
  • Jimmy Five from Monica's Gang has a distinct hairstyle (if you can call it that) which consists of five strands of hair sticking out of his head (with the two lower two flattening the top of his head), and it was designed for all 5 hairs to be visible from any angle, even in profile or in an upward view. This becomes a problem when the character has to be in 3D, however, and as a result, all of his hairs either stay flat on his head (a case for most of his merchandise such as this one), or in some cases, such as CGI animations, add a mess of other hairs that completely contradict the fact that he is only supposed to have 5 of them, just so it can retain its shape in different angles (which doesn't work most of the time).

    Films — Animation 
  • In the The Angry Birds Movie and its sequel, Mighty Eagle and the other eagles almost always have their beaks pointing to the side, even when facing straight ahead.
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy: The large tuft of bangs in Arlo's Messy Hair which sticks out across his forehead is always facing away from the camera. Whenever he turns his head, the bangs flip from one side to the other. It even happens during front-facing shots.
  • In The Book of Life, the curly top section of Manolo's hair is never seen straight on, even when he turns - the curl simply flips from one side to the other, depending on which way he is facing. From the front, the direction of the curl appears to depend on whatever looks best for the scene. The same thing applies to his father, who has the same hairstyle as his son.
    • Averted with the red skulls that form Xibalba's irises/pupils, which, with one exception when Xibalba is finding Manolo's greatest fear, always turn to face wherever he is looking, even if that means they are no longer facing the camera or even recognisable as skulls.
  • Fear's head from Inside Out is almost always facing the side.
  • The Peanuts Movie has every character cheat angles at some point; Lucy's hair switching sides when they move their head is probably the most notable example. Meanwhile everyone faces forward, yet their faces are shown from profile at a 3/4 angle.
  • The Lion King
    • Pride Rock, for some reason, is mostly seen from the left to which the front is faced on the inside and from nowhere else.
    • 1 1/2 shows Pride Rock from several angles early in the movie, along with dramatic music and Timon narrating.
    • In The Lion King II, Pride Rock is always seen from the right to which the front is faced on the inside except in one shot at the very beginning, three in the middle, and end of the film.
  • In Mulan, the topknots on Mulan and Shang are cheated up slightly to keep them visible even when they would otherwise be blocked in a front angle view.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Not exactly a perspective error, but in Star Wars, the Death Star is always shown so the superlaser dish is facing the viewer. The only exception is the occasional view from behind when the superlaser is firing, but it's never shown without the laser visible in an establishing shot.
  • Sark's carrier in TRON is always shown from the starboard side, which is where the bridge sits. The only exception is when the MCP shows a wireframe of it to Dillinger in the beginning of the film.

  • Most of the characters in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are rarely drawn outside of the 3/4 view, with a few exceptions.
  • In Discworld's Pyramids, it's implied that one character actually "walks like an Egyptian" — whether he picked it up from being around the art for so long, or people started drawing like that because he was around so long, isn't clear.
  • Kipper the dog has a huge forehead when seen from the front, but his forehead shrinks when he turns to the side.
  • A short story included in China Miéville’s Three Moments of an Explosion collection describes the nature of death inexplicably changing, causing anyone who sees a human corpse to perceive it lying flat with its feet facing them no matter where they’re standing. Old 3D video games are specifically cited as a visual reference point. An experiment gets mentioned in which multiple people stood around the same body, each one seeing its feet pointing at them and them alone. When they were asked to reach out and touch the feet… the results aren’t described, but are said to be shocking, and proof that the effect is objective as well as subjective.
  • A majority of the characters from the Mr. Men who have pointed noses don't usually show their front views (except for Mr. Nosey). The worst offender is Mr. Rush in the 90's cartoon, as he simply flips.
    • Mr. Uppity is somewhat odd. He is usually seen with a monocle, but it often flips at different eyes. The 90s cartoon decided to give him two so there won't be any confusion.

     Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Original Series would almost exclusively show the Enterprise from the starboard side. The reason was the 11-foot filming model had the electronics and lighting fed through the port side, which made the model makers only add detail to anything seen from the starboard side. The Remastered episodes using a CGI model was able to provide more dynamic wraparound shots of the Enterprise.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation had a similar issue with a 6-foot model of the Enterprise-D. The saucer section made the model so top heavy the only way to mount it properly was upside down along with the camera, resulting in the majority of the shots of the ship being from either from the side or underneath. A 4-foot model created around season five resolved the balancing problems, which let them do top-down shots for the first time.

  • The problem of trying to represent a round world on a flat surface inevitably leads to distortions of size, shape and relative position on maps — you want to be accurate in one area, you have to completely sacrifice another. Hence the popularity these days of the Robinson projection and other maps that just go ahead and imitate the curvature of a globe, which means they're somewhat inaccurate in all categories but give you a better idea overall of what you're looking at. The only hugely distorted spots on these maps are the poles, and who cares about the poles unless you're going there?
  • This is often true with generic clip-art of certain real-life astronomical objects. The Moon is always shown with its near-side (the side facing the Earth) facing the viewer, the planets Jupiter and Neptune are always shown in a way so that the Great Red/Dark Spot is facing the viewer, etc.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The title character of Li'l Abner always has the part of his hair towards the reader regardless of what angle he's being shown from.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin's spikey hair behaves in much the same way as the Dragon Ball example shown in the page image, looking noticeably different only when seen from directly behind. Ears are fudged in a similar fashion — they look much the same whether seen from the front, side, or behind.
  • Peanuts:
    • The comic strip almost never shows characters directly from the front. When the kids face the readers, they're actually in very subtle three-quarter view. The only characters who are ever shown from the front are Snoopy and Woodstock, and even this is incredibly rarenote . For the animated specials, the animators avoided turning the characters around too much, transitioning quickly from one position to another in order to stay true to how they are represented in the strip. The CGI movie also faithfully recreates the quirky perspective of the comics in full 3D, to an unusual but captivating effect.
    • Snoopy and Woodstock have a further peculiarity in that their heads are drawn exactly the same from both profile and three-quarters views; the only thing that changes is the position of their eyes, and Snoopy's nose. This leads to a dilemma for official merchandise, where they're most often depicted Eyes Always Shut so their eyes don't look odd from the front or profile.
    • Except for a few strips early on, Snoopy's house is always seen from the side, making it all the more feasible for Snoopy to lie comfortably on the roof.
  • In Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Marigold the unicorn is always drawn with her forelock behind her horn (e.g. here). Lampshaded by the author as "it's magic".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • An infamous aspect of professional wrestling is that backstage segments that involve the wrestlers watching TV will have the wrestlers awkwardly watching the screen from the side a few feet away so that the camera will have clear shots of both their faces and the screen.

  • In Tamagotchi, Tamagotchis with beaks or muzzles tend to be drawn with both eyes visible even when viewed from the side so that the shape of the beak/muzzle remains the same, with Kuchipatchi and Pochitchi being two examples. The 2009 TV show averts this by having Kuchipatchi's eyes aligned normally when he's seen from the side.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing games starting with Wild World have a "rolling log" effect on the world that causes an exaggerated curve on faraway objects. The full extent of the effect can be seen if the camera is zoomed out past the normal field of view. In New Horizons, the curve actually flattens out if the camera is adjusted to the overhead view.
  • A mild example in Assassin's Creed Origins: the predator bow has an Arrow Cam unlockable ability. However, a normal-sized arrow would be too difficult to guide, so the developers made the arrow that you pilot during arrowcam about three times as large as a normal arrow. This can be revealed if you use the "photography" mode to move the camera and take a screenshot while still guiding the Predator arrow.
  • Cookie Run:
    • In a rather exaggerated example, almost every single Cookie character has this trope applied to them. They are almost never seen in profile, due to their features being barely visible in that angle. However, recently, Devsisters has started to play around with the angles a bit, especially in Cookie Run Kingdom.
    • On the subject of Cookie Run Kingdom, Trader Touc is the opposite of the Cookies; he is never seen in an angle other than in profile, as his large toucan beak would just look weird in any other angle. In addition, some of the Cake Monsters, especially canine ones, qualify for this trope, only being seen in a 3/4 or profile angle, but this is a downplayed example given that they are often seen in other angles in promotional material.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • The Mario Brothers from the original Super Mario Bros. game always have their head to the side they're walking towards, even when they aren't moving and the rest of their body is facing the screen. The only time they ever fully face the viewer is if they're dying.
      • Averted in Super Mario Maker, where Mario will face the player when you start a level in the 100-Mario Challenge.
    • In just about every Mario game up to World, however, they're depicted at a 3/4 view all around, creating the odd appearance that they're running slightly off to the side of where they're actually facing.
    • Rosalina's face for some reason, is never seen from the right. Occasionally, her bangs are drawn so they cover the left side of her face instead, allowing us to see her right eye, but that is only because of an illustration error.
    • Originally, Goombas stood and walked the opposite of the Mario Bros.: they actually walked sideways, so that they always face the viewer, much like a crab.
    • This is evoked by the Paper Mario series, as the characters are 2D sprites in a 3Dish storybook environment. As a result, the characters are animated in the same 3/4s angle even when moving towards you. When placed alongside the Mario & Luigi cast in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (after Paper Mario started emphasizing the paper in a more literal way), this looks especially odd.
    • In the character selection screen of Mario Party 10, all character portraits are facing forward, except Yoshi's, which is 3/4 angled, because otherwise it would look weird.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Sonic's spines tended to be fudged in his original design. Seen from the side, you see three rows of spines protruding from the back of his head. However, seen from the back, it looks more like two rows, with the middle and top spines being parallel. And seeing him from the front just looks weird — the games tried to avoid direct front and back views except for brief glimpses during turnarounds and the pseudo-3D Special Stages. Other early media had different ways of handling this: Sonic the Hedgehog CD redesigned Sonic in the animated sequences to make him more visually appealing from multiple angles, while western comics and animation styled the quills as a "mohawk" of sorts (though they tended to avoid those angles anyway). Early 3D models made the spines protrude straight outward, changing the silhouette. This sort of thing is likely one reason why Sonic's design was overhauled for Sonic Adventure, so that his spines could be more easily parsed in 3D. Sonic Generations introduced a 3D "classic" Sonic model that manages to capture his original silhouette from most angles.
    • Starting in Sonic Unleashed and continuing through Sonic Frontiers, the 3D games ensure that Sonic's Cheeky Mouth is always on the side of the face closest to the player. If you look directly at the camera, turn the camera just a little bit left or right, and watch Sonic's mouth switch sides.
  • The pigs from Angry Birds are almost always seen from the front. Meanwhile, Hal and the Mighty Eagle are almost always seen from the side.
  • BlazBlue: Hazama's Lifelink Aura is always angled to appear as a perfectly circular ring around him.
  • Panel de Pon: Not only does Lip's ponytail always appear to stick straight up regardless of whether or not her ribbon or head should block it, but outside of Ambidextrous Sprites, she is never drawn outside of a three-quarters shot facing left or head-on, likely because the artist couldn't figure out how to get her hair to work from any other angle.
  • Microsoft 3D Movie Maker has McZee, whose eyes always face the viewer no matter where the rest of his face points. This Picasso-like look is made even weirder by the fact that he's rendered in 3D. The eyes actually roll around his face.
  • Some weapons and armor (usually staves and shoulder armor) in World of Warcraft have dangly bits or hanging strips of cloth represented by 2D sprites that always have exactly the same orientation on the screen. This looks fine most of the time, but when viewing a player with one of these equipped from a top-down perspective, the dangly bits appear to defy physics, sticking straight out from the character, parallel to the ground.
    • Warcraft III was optimized for the limited performance most computers could offer in 2002, when they were only just starting to step out of the shadow of the Pentium II. The game was played from bird's eye with some limited perspective change possible, so models of buildings (which were always facing the same way) were lacking polygons in parts that were meant to be facing away from the camera. Any spherical object, especially if small, was a 2D drawing that was always facing the camera (billboarded). The "glow" emitted by a Hero Unit was similarly a bunch of billboarded transparent planes that looked brighter when stacked on top off each other, but sometimes they would clip through the hero model, looking awkward.
  • In the original Doom, any dead monsters always face the player. If their legs are facing you, you can actually circle around them and watch the legs follow you around. This was presumably done to save space; all monster animations are drawn from eight directions (though a few make do with five and mirror the three left-facing directions for the right ones), because monsters could infight... except their death animations, since even with infighting the vast majority of monsters would be killed by you, so they never bothered making death animations for the other seven directions.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a polygon-based game designed to recreate the sprite-based top-down 3/4 perspective of A Link to the Past. In order to do this, many objects in the game lean backwards at an angle, so that from the camera's perspective they appear to be standing up straight while you're looking down on them. This article shows what the game would actually look like if you could move the camera. One way to see this in-game is the statues in the swamp; if you morph onto a wall near a statue, you can see that it's leaning back.
  • Look up some fan art of Alphys from Undertale and compare it to the official sprites from the game. It's clear that her head was not designed to work three-dimensionally, and that fan artists almost universally take liberties to turn it into something that will. The official figurine by Fangamer greatly resembles the in-game sprite and looks rather odd when you look at her face on.
  • All vehicles and characters in Metal Slug series only have one side sprite, but they also posses elaborate turning animations. Rebel Soldiers, for example, might at first fire by bracing his rifle against his left shoulder. However, if player passes him, he will switch shoulders and maintain his sideways view, just flipped around. Same happens with vehicles with their weapons visibly traveling from one spot to other to keep their sideview.
  • In Shantae, the titular character's bangs flip from side to side depending on the angle.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: Much like the My Little Pony examples below, Oleander's mane changes sides depending on which way she's facing, with her bangs always behind her head, otherwise her face would be obscured from any other angle. The game's Ambidextrous Sprites help, though.
  • In Bug Fables, one of Kabbu's eyes is always in shadow, no matter what angle he's shown from, and his illuminated eye is always closest to the camera. The one time he's shown head on, in his menu screen portrait, one of his eyes is still hidden.
  • Subverted by The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. The Princess' wolf form shows two eyes and two ears on both sides, which might make you think it's this trope. Nope, she just has four eyes and four ears, with two on each side.

    Web Animation 
  • Donut from the Battle for Dream Island series is almost never seen from any angle that isn't front or back view. Mostly, the animators will cheat by simply moving his hole (which serves as his mouth) and eyes to different parts of his body to give the illusion of him looking in different directions. He is only ever seen from profile twice; once in "Getting Teardrop to Talk" where he is knocked down on the ground due to Four's screeching, and in the second version of the TPOT intro, where he turns around to look at an explosion behind him.
  • Happy Tree Friends characters are sometimes prone to this, especially Lumpy the moose, whose mismatched antlers always tend to switch places so the upper pointing one faces the same direction as his snout.
  • Both Homestar Runner and The Cheat for some reason are never seen from the front. Some older cartoons actually do portray Homestar from the front (and, though camera angles conspire to keep it to a minimum, he does, occasionally, get seen from the front in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People). There appear to be two reasons why he's not drawn like this anymore: First, his characteristic underbite is incredibly hard to portray like this, and second, in order to stay in view, his eyes have to drift, flounderlike across his face as he turns. This is especially awkward in Homestar's real-life puppet form, where there is no such fluidity. Check out the old music video shorts for the weirder side effects of this trope. The eyes are even felt so they can be moved between shots.
    • Strong Sad and Bubs exhibit this as well — their heads are always placed partly in front of their bodies, which means that showing them from a full side angle would be pretty much impossible to make look right. This is demonstrated by some unfortunate camera angles in the video game.
  • Angel Dust from Hazbin Hotel will always have his hair shown from the side regardless of what angle his head is facing akin to the Goku example above.

  • Awkward Zombie: Lampshaded by Roy here, where he says his hair always points to the left no matter what direction he faces.
  • One strip of Casey and Andy mentions that the cartoonist had to move the cat around slightly between frames because otherwise it wouldn't be visible in one of the side and top view.
  • While most characters in Ganbare Douki-chan are designed with asymmetrical hairstyles that work well from all angles, Douki-chan's trademark shorthair ponytail cannot be fully seen from dead-on. Because of this, when seen from the front (or at certain unorthodox angles), the tail is drawn oddly jutting out from the bottom-left or bottom-right of her face in a similar manner to Mickey's ears. At points, the tail can travel so far to the side that it nearly (or wholly) intersects with her ear, and at other points, the tail isn't cheated and is obscured by her face. For what's implied to still be her natural hair, this trait can come off as unusual and strange.
  • In Dan Thompson's stylized comical adventure strip Rip Haywire, femme fatale/love interest Cobra's black hair is nearly always behind her head, no matter the angle, effectively framing it.
  • In Slightly Damned, Buwaro's pet rock Thadius is always drawn exactly the same way regardless of angle, because otherwise the readers wouldn't be able to tell it apart from other rocks.
  • In Out There, the lead character Miriam has two strands of hair that stick out from the top of her head, and always do so at the same angle, whether she's facing you, in three-quarters view, or in profile, as this strip shows.
  • Mike of Something*Positive is almost never shown straight on, probably because of his enormous wedge-shaped nose.
  • Kevin of Kevin & Kell always has one ear flopped over — the furthest one from the audience. Which technically means if he turns his head, his ears are flopping and unflopping. The author readily acknowledges this in the FAQ as a stylistic choice, and even points out the Li'l Abner example.
  • Mike Warner of It's Walky!, the sequel comic Shortpacked!, and their AU spinoff Dumbing of Age, has hair that juts outwards at the same angle at all times. In fact, this ended up posing a problem for the artist when Mike figurines were in pre-production and he needed to find out how to angle the hair in the third dimension.
  • Reginald from Nedroid is always drawn facing sideways. One mailbag demonstrated why.
  • Characters in Homestuck tend to have distinctive features that flip a la the Dragon Ball example above (hair, and in one particularly memorable case, Spades Slick's arm), but other features, such as the designs on the kids' shirts and the trolls' horns, stay oriented the way they should.
  • Sleepless Domain: A signature element of Undine's hairstyle is her swirly wave-like bangs, which always appear swept to the same side she happens to be facing (as can be seen here). This is as opposed to other characters like Kokoro and Tessa, both of whom have prominent bangs that always face the same side.
  • The Master Stars in L's Empire are per Word of God always seen from the same angle and are unaffected by changes in lighting. The fact that Dark Star is able to change their angle is treated as a case of Beyond the Impossible.
  • The Rant for strip #119 from Concerned discusses the trope, even linking to a screenshot showing that, to get the proper angle for Frohman looking over the dead Combine soldier in the fifth panel of that strip, his model had to be angled about 45 degrees forward. It also mentions a case regarding a conversation in strips #83 and #84, between Frohman on the ground and Father Grigori up on the rooftops - for shots from over Grigori's shoulder, Frohman's model standing properly on the ground worked well, but for shots from over Frohman's shoulder, his model had to be lifted about ten feet off the ground to look good.
  • Queen Felicia from The Fuzzy Princess has the eye farthest from the reader covered by her hair, regardless of which angle she's facing.
  • In Ennui GO!, Izzy wears her hair long on top and flipped to one side while the sides and back are buzzed extremely short, but whichever way she's facing, her hair will always be flipped to the opposite side so the reader can see her face. This contrasts with other characters like Sarah and Vanitas who have bangs that always cover one eye no matter where they're looking.

    Web Original 
  • Some typical memefaces, but especially Trollface and Yao Ming. This image of various memefaces with one half of them mirrored over the other half to give an approximation of a straight-front view gives a good demonstration - some of them actually look pretty decent when mirrored like this, but the ones that cheated the angles for the original memeface are disturbing.
  • Most of the comics on Bitstrips feature either heads in 3/4 or front profile, as the side view is usually ugly and non-expressive.
  • Discussed on a Nostalgia Critic making-of video, where he is conducting a coffee pot (it Makes Sense In Context). Doug points out that he's actually turning his body slightly towards the camera so it's easier for the audience to tell what's going on.

    Western Animation 
  • Mickey Mouse
    • The classic example: Mickey's ears are a legacy of his original rubber-hose design and a major part of the company's visual identity, with almost all depictions of the character to have both ears appear (and as round) at all angles. This also applies to Minnie and any other mouse characters.
    • Played straight in the first Kingdom Hearts game, but not in the sequels, presumably because his increased presence in realtime scenes made it impractical. His various official art from the series do, however feature it. Other video games and 3D cartoons, such as Epic Mickey or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, have the ears animated specifically to fit the familiar look.
    • Lampshaded in one episode of House of Mouse when it's revealed that Mickey starches his ears to make them look round from every angle.
    • Averted in Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas , in that Mickey's and Minnie's ears are static and unmoving. This was the first time they ever appeared in 3D CGI, and in future CGI appearances, their ears were made dynamic to always face the camera. The same goes for their noses, as detailed a few lines down from here.
    • DuckTales (2017) parodies this when a shipwrecked Donald bases a Companion Cube on Mickey. It's made out of three watermelons, so the "ears" have a literally circular profile from any angle.
    • Mickey's nose is also cheated. From the side it points up, but viewed face on, it appears flat.
  • Family Guy
    • Stewie's head retains the same, familiar football-like shape from virtually all angles, despite the fact that the shape should change slightly depending on where he is in relation to the camera. Lampshaded in a conversation between "Griffin Peterson" and "King Stewie" in a flashback:
      Griffin: Hey, you're the guy whose profile's on all the coins! You know, your head looks really weird from the side.
      Stewie: Yeah, we didn't... think that through when we started...
    • Brian is rarely ever seen from any angle other than 3/4 (especially from the front), which keeps his large muzzle prominently visible at all times.
    • While it's rare for any character in the show to face the camera head-on, Joe in particular looks quite bizarre when he briefly does so in this segment, due to his prominent Lantern Jaw of Justice.
  • Commissioner Gordon's cowlick in Batman: The Animated Series. In an audio commentary, one of the artists lamented that the cowlick was always slightly to the side, even when it should have shifted with the angle. Special mention goes to the episode "House & Family" which possibly has the only instance of his hair from the front when Commissioner Gordon shifts his head from one side to the other while talking to Pamela Isley at her home.
  • Dr. Girlfriend in The Venture Brothers first season had a hair curl that didn't lend itself to changing angles (but worked fine in the deliberately static design) — when the animation later became more fluid, it looks like her hair was altered to 'read' better.
  • The Owl House: The swept-up part of Luz's hair is always facing away from the camera, and flips sides whenever she turns her head.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • Phineas and Ferb's faces are very rarely shown straight on. This trope was especially common early in the series, and applied to several characters, including Perry and Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Later on, however, a lot of the characters with cheated angles, Ferb included, are shown from different perspectives more often; Phineas remains the only consistent exception.
    • Major Monogram (and by extension, his son, Monty), whose eyes are drawn on the same side of his face, like a flounder, has his eyes switch sides depending on which direction he is facing.
  • Regular Show
    • Mordecai is almost never seen head-on. And when he is, his head feathers are still at a 3/4 angle.
    • And whenever Rigby is seen from the front, his nose actually moves to where his forehead would normally be! This only applies when Rigby needs to look exaggerated, though, as at one point he is seen from the front in a mirror, and his nose is where it should be from that angle.
  • Futurama
    • Fry's cowlick keeps its distinctive shape, regardless of what angle you're looking from.
    • Leela's bangs always cover the side of her eye and forehead, regardless of which way she's facing. This also means you will almost never see her face drawn from a straight-on view.
    • Calculon's antennae in "Calculon 2.0"—the one closer to the viewer is always angled lower than the one further away. Strangely, their angles stay consistent in other episodes.
  • Matt Groening characters in general, such as those from The Simpsons and Life in Hell typically have this problem due to their distinctive overbites. So while they are frequently seen from 3/4, the side, and the back, it's rare to see them from the front.
    • Speaking of Simpsons, Lisa and Maggie's signature star-shaped hairdo looks pretty much exactly the same regardless of angle.
  • Ami Onuki from Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. Whenever she turns her head, the flower in her hair stays facing front.
  • South Park:
    • Chef's head is almost always seen from the front, even when he's walking to the left and right. He was seen from the side in early episodes, but the creators decided this looked too weird.
    • There were no 3/4 angle character shots until Season 8. That's right, Season 8.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, despite being one of those rare characters whose design lends itself well to unique angles, is rarely, if ever shown from the side. The few times he is, it's probably to demonstrate why: his face literally disappears from the audience's view from that angle. Other times, his face IS visible from the side, where it's awkwardly jutting out from the side view.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • The heads of the entire Watterson family stay at a 3/4's angle at all times, no matter which way they're facing. In Darwin's case, his whole body never shifts from that angle. Richard's head was shown from the front in the first season, but never after that. Molded 3D models of the Wattersons were made and the front views are indeed rather unusual looking. Lampshaded in "The Ollie", when Darwin points out Gumball is always in 3/4, and Gumball flinches at briefly being shown in profile.
    • One model sheet shows the rectangular shape of Juke's head and Ocho's body obscure their faces in profile, thus animators are instructed to never draw them from this angle.
  • In the earliest episodes of American Dad!, Francine's hair was always draped over the shoulder closest to the camera. Ditto for Hayley.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show. Ren's mouth always looked good when either facing left or right, but animators seemed to have issues when drawing him faced head on. Sometimes they had his mouth pointing down, other times they drew a "side mouth," and other times the animators just didn't bother with making his lips pointed.
  • Downplayed in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Some of the characters have plainly-asymmetrical mane styles, but unless they are shown actually turning in the scene, they will almost always be drawn whichever way doesn't obscure their eyes - any exceptions to this are generally done for the sake of expressiveness, such as allowing an anxious character to hide behind their own hair. Technically applies to the crest of all their manes as well, which always curls around in the direction of the viewer (unlike human hair, horses' manes are rooted in a single strip running down the back of the head, and the show generally reflects this correctly).
    • For a prominent example, see some Vinyl Scratch fan art. No matter if she is turned to the left or to the right, her very asymmetric and iconic mane is always drawn in a way that doesn't obscure her face.
    • Flim and Flam's ears move in and out of their hats depending on the angle of their heads. This is averted with the merchandise of the characters.
    • This is perhaps at its most obvious with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, whose ridiculously huge, magical, flowing manes would obscure their heads from the wrong angle. Strangely, there are times when they cheat and there is no obvious reason for the animators to do so, such as flipping the orientation from a fore shot to a shot from one side, when they could have just as easily put her mane on the opposite side in the fore shot. Note that they are never, ever seen from the side that their face is completely obscured from.
    • Hasbro's merch, as well as some licensed merch, suggests that the ponies have their cutie marks only on one side. The show, however, always shows a pony's cutie mark, regardless of from which side you see the character. This seemed to play this trope straight until top-down views in later seasons showed both cutie marks at once.
    • Some ponies love to wear a flower in their manes, either occasionally or all the time. Said flower appears on whichever side of the pony is shown. And to top this off, when one of these ponies is shown head-on, there's still only one flower (although usually the place on the other side of the head where a second flower would be is obscured by the mane).
    • The highlights in Twilight Sparkle's mane are always on the viewer's side of her horn, even though they don't obstruct anything, unless she turns arorund on camera. Needless to say that the same goes for her crest. And for Moondancer.
    • "Amending Fences" is a triple first for Minuette. For the first time after spending several seasons as nothing but a background pony, she becomes a character. For the first time, she turns on camera. And thus, for the first time, we get to see the other side of her mane. Zig-zagged in this case, for whenever she doesn't turn her head, her mane is mirrored again.
    • This is so common that Tempest Shadow who only appears in the show in the finale deserves to be mentioned as an aversion: Neither her eye scar nor her scarf is mirrored. And that's even though her appearances are so few and far between, not to mention short, that one has to wonder if it was worth the effort.
    • Later Equestria Girls installments tone this down, and the mirrored hairstyles have become much rarer to never seen again.
    • The side of Sweetie Belle's mane as an adult is also a little inconsistent depending on the angle. It's always shown behind her head, but it sticks out just enough when viewed from the side or 3/4.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Subtly Played for Laughs with Duchess. Her design is already a little off, and the few times she actually turns around on-screen, she flips like a cardboard cutout. (Whether this is meant to be taken as a stylistic gag or not isn't clear, however...)
    • Parodied in this bumper for Cartoon Network.
  • The Mr. Men Show:
    • Characters with non-symmetrical hair styles (eg. Miss Calamity and Miss Naughty) would often get this trait. Though it's not because they have a complete turn around (Lynda's interview with Renegade does show a complete modelsheet of Miss Helpful, who also has a non-symmetrical hair style), but rather because the animators are either lazy, or just forgot about it.
  • Most characters in The Fairly OddParents! are drawn from a 3/4 angle. For example, it is especially noticeable with Timmy Turner's hair, which faces the direction he is facing, but is facing to the right when seen from the front. Averted in merchandise and when he is in Jimmy Neutron's universe, where the other side of his hair is always visible.
    • Timmy's parents are also rarely, if ever, seen from the front.
  • From Mixels, Flain's beak is always shown from a 3/4 angle, even when facing forwards.
  • Steven Universe
    • Pearl's nose is, outside of a few in-between frames, always cheated a little to the left or right when she's seen from the front to keep its distinct pointed shape visible. Interestingly, her equally pointy hair is almost never cheated at any angle. This goes far enough that her model sheet doesn't have her from the front. There's even a shot during the musical sequence "It's Over, Isn't It?" where the camera rotates a full 360 degrees around Pearl and we still don't see her nose straight-on for even a moment, but her hair is briefly seen from that very angle during the same shot.
    • Blue Zircon's hair is styled in a crescent-shaped cowl. From the side it looks like it's pointing straight forward, but when viewed from the front the cowl points either left or right depending on how she is standing.
    • Spinel is an homage to classic rubber hose animation, especially in her original form shown in the movie. Her old heart-shaped hair buns act exactly like Mickey Mouse's ears, remaining visible and heart-shaped regardless of what angle the rest of her is shown from, and her pigtails occasionally stick out at odd angles as well.
  • The Powerpuff Girls' large eyes and round heads make them look very strange from profile, so they're drawn from that angle as little as possible.
  • In Maya and the Three, the Gran Bruja has a ridiculously large nose, which is always seen sticking out the side of her head, with the nostrils always facing her front. The cheat is particularly noticeable in the first episode when she looks back and forth in a panic; her nose snaps straight from one side to the other without ever being seen face-on, with the side with the nostrils switching each time so they stay facing the camera. Same thing happens with the Jungle King in episode 4, who has a similar (if not quite as oversized) nose.
  • In Gravity Falls, Trickster God Bill Cipher is almost never seen from the side; he's completely flat and when shown from the side simply resembles a thin yellow line, completely losing his iconic triangular shape. He doesn't even turn around most of the time, instead shifting his face from one flat side to the other if he needs to. This changes in the series finale whenever his shape becomes three-dimensional and it becomes more reasonable to show him from the side.
  • Almost all the characters in Peppa Pig suffer this, as they only ever face in two directions and both eyes are always on whatever side of their face is facing the viewer. Like with My Little Pony, this is averted with the merchandise.
    • This led to a meme where a hypothetical face-on view of Peppa would show her with two eyes on each side of her face, plus a Cat Smile to represent how her mouth was also on both sides of her face.
  • Muzzy in Gondoland constantly shows its cast from the side due to most of the characters having big muzzles and noses.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head: Beavis is almost always drawn from the side or at a 3/4 angle to get the profile of his face, in contrast to Butt-Head, who is drawn both in profile and straight-on. The standard view of both characters looking straight toward the camera, with Butt-Head drawn straight-on and Beavis a 3/4 angle.
  • Elliott from Earth: Elliott's bangs always face the direction furthest from the camera.
  • Work It Out Wombats!:
    • Zadie's hair flips sides when she turns her head. While we do see Zadie head-on, her hair is always to the side.
    • Neither Leiko nor Duffy are ever seen from the front. It's especially noticeable for Leiko, as her hair flips sides whenever she turns her head.


Video Example(s):


Gumball in Profile

While the entirety of the Amazing World of Gumball is rendered in a 3/4 angle anyway, in true Gumball fashion, this trope ends up lampshaded when Darwin points out that Gumball always holds his head at a 3/4 angle.

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (72 votes)

Example of:

Main / CheatedAngle

Media sources: