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Cross-Popping Veins

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"Val, you're scaring me! I can see the veins on your forehead."

When angry or outraged, a cross- or Y-shaped intersection of veins never fails to appear on an anime character's forehead and/or fist.

Occasionally, if the character gets mad enough, extra popping veins will appear in the air around them. Of late, the veins have begun to turn into a symbol like the Sweat Drop, and as seen in the illustration to the right, no longer appear to be part of the character's body. Also, there are absolutely no regulations when it comes to the size of it.

It's effective in demonstrating the character is angry despite what other emotion they may be displaying, showing the character is putting on a facade to hide their anger. In certain instances, the veins can be a precursor to a Big Ball of Violence.

Usually limited to comedic anime, but some manga have started putting them in speech bubbles, and they have also appeared in anime-influenced Western animation.

Compare Cartoon Throbbing and Frustrated Overhead Scribble.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Akumetsu has this show up from time to time as part of the Mood Whiplash.
  • Azumanga Daioh uses this frequently, especially with regards to Yukari-sensei and Tomo-chan.
  • Sebastian from Black Butler gets a few when dealing with the incompetent servants of the Phantomhive household.
  • Case Closed takes a more realistic approach, depicting the veins as more branchy and bound to the characters' foreheads rather than the cartoony cross- or Y-shaped variants on hair.
  • Crayon Shin-chan: Parodied in the Gag Dub, in the episode "Happiness Bunny's Revenge", when the Milfers' stuffed bunny comes to life to exact revenge on them for punching him.
    Happiness Bunny: You've caused me so much pain, it's made an anger-and-despair mark over my head! Look at it!
  • Doraemon: It's rare, but does occur in the manga once or twice. This appears more frequently in the anime adaptation.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure!: Cross veins appear on Miki's forehead and all around her in the background when she gets angry at Love for laughing at her tissue whiskers.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • In one scene in the 2001 anime, Shigure claims he's angry, and when no-one believes him he grabs one of these and places it on his head, and claims he's angry once more.
      Shigure: Well, don't we all look lovely?
      Kyo: I can't believe you're laughing.
      Shigure: [calmly] Oh, right. [reaches off screen, grabs a cross vein and sticks it to his head] Now I'm mad.
    • Also used nearly straight in regards to Ritsu. Poor Ritsu, who wanted to bring fruit as a gift to Shigure and the others but didn't know what kind of fruit any of them liked, brings books about fruit instead, which makes Shigure a tad frustrated. When Ritsu asks if something's wrong, Shigure turns to Ritsu and says "No, it's nothing," in a perfectly calm voice, with a nice genial smile. However, there's a Cross Popping Vein the size of his fist on his forehead. In the 2001 anime version, a giant red arrow is featured, pointing to the vein. Ritsu prepares to leave while loudly apologizing, as usual.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: Even robots get these, and they appear sometimes on the hair of human characters. Nagi gains a cross popping vein in the pool game episode and when leaving, it falls off her head. ...?
  • In Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure, two appear on Kabaton's head when he insists to the Cures that he will eat the toxic mushrooms.
  • Trigger from Kurogane Communication is the grandmaster of these, despite being a robot.
  • In Ladies versus Butlers!... You know you are screwed up if you see this.
  • In Nana, Nana K actually draws these on the omelets she makes for Takumi in ketchup.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: This appears regularly on the series' various Tsundere. Most notably, Asakura gets one when faced with Kurt Godel...and it is scary.
  • Pokémon: The Series: This was lampshaded in a particular episode where Jessie began to rapidly fill the screen with floating Cross Popping Veins, some not even touching her head.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: When the obsessively neat Chiri sports one, it appears in the exact center of her forehead in an utterly symmetrical way.
  • Soul Eater: Shinigami-sama seems to get these a lot, despite being a skeleton, and therefore lacking veins.
  • In Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure, one appears on Lala's forehead when she gets fed up with Hikaru's nonsense.
  • Rumiko Takahashi uses them everywhere in her work, especially if its comedic (except in serious fare like The Mermaid Saga or her horror-oriented Rumik World one-shots, naturally.) They're even visible through an animal's fur, scales, or feathers, and sometimes a character visibly brushes them off to represent him or her cooling off and taking things in stride.
    • In Ranma ˝ manga, this was the only way to know that Kasumi was angry, which only happened once.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Mimi's Cross Popping Vein actually makes a popping sound, it's funny.
  • Durarara!! : Shizuo Heiwajima typically has one pop up on his forehead right before he loses his temper and starts another rampage.
  • One Piece uses these rather often, usually due to Luffy being exasperating, especially in the eyes of Zoro or Nami. 4Kids Entertainment would edit these out of their dub of the series for unknown reasons.
  • In one particular scene in Maid-Sama!, Shizuko sits through a stressful situation looking out the window, completely ignoring everyone... and with a permanent cross popping vein stuck on top of her head.
  • Ritsuko is prone to this on the anime version of THE iDOLM@STER. Haruka gets one too on the OVA.
  • The Student Council Vice-President in Daily Lives of High School Boys has a constant one, as part of his Face of a Thug image.
  • In March Comes in Like a Lion, Rei is the most prone to using them, despite being the meekest member of the cast. These show up sometimes on other characters as well. However, Umino restricts their usage to the more light-hearted and humorous moments; she lets the characters' facial expressions and body language convey their anger during dramatic scenes.
  • Several characters in Kotoura-san display these occasionally, usually Haruka or Yuriko.
  • Subverted by Touko of Servant × Service. She sports a permanent one below her right eye. Chapter 11 of the manga, however, clarifies that it's a stylized birthmark — Touko herself mentions that it's "like a mole".
  • In Act 1 of Sailor Moon Crystal, a thick red set show up on angry, temporarily nonverbal cat familiar Luna as she rapidly scratches her human Usagi's face in retaliation for her upsetting apology kiss.
  • In My Hero Academia, Katsuki Bakugo does this often. To the point sometimes where he uses his explosions to get his point across.
  • Ojarumaru: These occur frequently during the 1st series. Episodes afterwards use them less frequently to the point of eventually becoming extremely rare.
  • In Excel♡Saga, Il Palazzo gets a lot of them in episode 21 when he's jealous of Key's good looks and guitar skills.
  • In Asteroid in Love, when Mira opens Ao's packing boxes without the latter's permission during the thirty-first chapter, and finds an item adressed to her, the latter character yelled, "don't open my things without my permission!" with a few cross-popping veins on the speech bubble.
  • My-HiME: Haruka sports them frequently, including during the opening song. Natsuki shows them from time to time, particularly when dealing with Nagi, or in Episode 7, when Mai pushes her head down to better observe Nao.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, it's not uncommon for characters to have cross-popping veins when they're upset or angry at another character.
  • Happy Heroes also commonly features cross-popping veins whenever a character gets angry.
  • Lamput: In "Martial Art", Lamput briefly gets a cross-popping vein on his face as he gets angry at the docs for destroying his popcorn.
  • The Founder of Diabolism Q: Unsurprising for a comedic spinoff of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, cartoonish cross-shaped veins sometimes pop up to show the characters' irritation. One such example is when Jin Ling tries to solemnly send off a lantern for his deceased parents and suddenly overhears Wei Wuxian mocking the custom for not having any truth to it, triggering the veins and eliciting the teen's anger.

    Comic Books 
  • Hybrid Force: These occasionally appear in comedic scenes when someone is angry.
  • Mr. Beaver: A small one occasionally appears on Mr. Beaver's forehead.
  • Samurai Grandpa: Harumi gains a small one on her temple when Ojichan forbids her from coming on his quest. This is because she wants revenge for her husband's death.

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Germany was prone to this whenever Italy spoke Japanese because he hated it when his love interest spoke his rival's, language. Until Italy chose them both.
  • The Darwin Chronicles: In "A Teaching Moment", Jean Grey's forehead veins begin swelling when Logan calls her "Mrs. Robinson".
    Jean leaned over to kiss Scott on the forehead, tuck his blanket more tightly around him and give the dog a reassuring pat. Then she rose from the sofa slowly, an ominous glow in her eyes and a vein pulsing at her temple.
  • Hearts of Ice: As watching an argument between Emma-O (the ruler of Afterlife) and Hoso-No-Kami (the God of Smallpox), Ranma notices a vein starting to bulge on the former's forehead.


    Video Games 
  • Characters in Breath of Fire 2 have it. Look for it in Highfort... especially with the Princess of Highfort.
  • Little Man from Friday Night Funkin' Game Mods is angry all the time, but gets these when especially infuriated.
  • Using the provoking move, Swagger, in all Pokémon games starting from Pokémon Gold and Silver, causes this animation to appear briefly on the target if it works. Ditto for Rage. And Frustration (at least in Gen III).
    • It also occurs in the Safari Zone when the player throws a rock or mud at the Pokémon, angering it.
    • The perpetually angry Pokémon Primeape is always depicted with one on its forehead. Its even angrier evolution, Annihilape, has multiple popped veins on its forehead, alongside having ones strong enough to break the bracelets on its arms.
    • Mewtwo gains this whenever it launches most of its attacks in the Pokémon Stadium/Pokémon Colosseum games.
  • In Super Mario World, when you reach the third phase of the fight with Bowser, his Koopa Clown Car has this expression while he attempts to flatten Mario with it.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has this with the Arm Muscle minigame. When Bowser's muscle expands the second time, it gets a small Cross Popping Vein. When you max out the muscle (causing Bowser to suddenly heave the ball he was carrying at Fawful Castle, pull out the Giga-Carrot, etc.), it gets a huge one. The effect goes away after the minigame is over.
  • In the Izuna games, an excite trap will cause this to appear above your head. Excite traps are actually beneficial, though: they raise your attack power by pissing you off.
  • Golden Sun: In the Going Through the Motions sequences, characters sometimes have a picture of cross popping veins in Pictorial Speech-Bubble (they do the same thing for The Sweat Drop).
  • Imagine Make Up Artist: Characters frequently display this in cutscenes when they are annoyed or ticked off, given the anime style of the game.
  • In The Nameless Mod, Trestkon's default skin has one tattooed (apparently with MSPaint) on his cheek.
  • In many of the Disgaea titles, should you see one of these pop up in a speech bubble, it's an early indication that someone's pissed off.
  • It appears a couple of times in Mother 3, inside a red circle that appears above an enemy's head.
    • It's also lampshaded at one point. At the beginning of Chapter 4, Wess complains about how Tazmily Village changed, and Fassad replies by saying, "You know, if you keep making the veins on your forehead pop out like that, happiness will only escape you."
  • The "angry" heart has this in Super Princess Peach.
  • In Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F, when interacting with the Vocaloids in their respective diva rooms, they will show this when they get angry after certain undesirable actions by the player.
  • Happens to Moe whenever he is angry in The Legendary Starfy, sometimes even on his shell.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, Isaac gets one when he picks up the Roid Rage item.
  • In Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and 5, this trope provides the image for the berserk status effect.
  • Appears at one point in dialogue in the original Japanese version of Wild AR Ms 2, though it was changed into a sad smiley face in the English translation.
  • The Puyo Puyo series has them, to go with the anime-like art style. During cutscenes in some games, characters will often have a cross-popping vein appear on or near their head when they get angry or irritated. The "Fury" status in Puyo Puyo!! Quest is represented by this, which causes affected characters to miss 50% of the time and take double damage.
  • In Honkai Impact 3rd, anger veins appear over 3D character models in dialogue scenes. Interestingly, they're used in dramatic moments as well and even villains get this.


    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss in episode 6 "Truth Seekers" has Millie get one on her arm when grabbing Loona and demanding she reopen the portal to Earth to try and rescue Blizto and Moxxie from D.H.O.R.K.S. agents.
    • In the above episode D.H.O.R.K.S. Agent 1 gets one on his forehead in frustration for Blitzo and Moxxie refusing to cooperate in the interrogation.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • In real life, bulging veins are usually a sign of physiological changes, such as aging or diseases. Strong emotion pumps blood faster, thus making it more protuberent.
  • "ANGER SYMBOL" 💢 is now an official Unicode emoji. The exact shape and colour vary between platforms.

Alternative Title(s): Cross Poppers


Hikaru and Lala

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