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Glowing Eyes

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Glowing eyes are a character designer's shorthand for power. Want to show that someone is about to unleash a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown? Give them Glowing Eyes of Doom. Has a robotic creature been activated? Better turn on their Glowing Mechanical Eyes. We all know that Power Glows; presumably since eyes are the windows of the soul, glowing eyes are a good way to show off someone's Life Energy. May be an indication that someone's just triggered their Super Mode. This trope is famous enough Memetic Mutation over it occurred.

This is a supertrope of:

Other related tropes:

But not all glowing eyes are necessarily one of these.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse Elric is forced to exist for several years as Animated Armor. The eyes glow to show that he's "in there." During the few instances when his consciousness is separated from the armor, or he is possessed by another force, the eyes cease to glow.
  • Interviews with Monster Girls: Hikari gets these in any sort of flash photography. Takahashi speculates that vampires have the same additional reflective membrane in their eyes that most wildlife with nightvision have, leading to this effect. That said, she's a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, and there's no suggestion that she's in any way evil.
  • K: The Red King, at least the one in season 2.
    • In the last episode of season 1, Rikio's sunglasses come off and his eyes glow as he uses his powers. None of the other Clansmen and Kings, Red or otherwise, show this, although some (e.g. the Silver King) glow all over. Though, Kusanagi could be hiding it under his Cool Shades, like Rikio.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Old Stickfingers' eyes, however many they happen to be at any given moment, glow with a pale green fire.

    Comic Books 

  • In the Buffy/Stargate crossover fic All Your Base are Belong to Her, Dawn's eyes glow emerald whenever she activates her link to the Stargate Network. In an effort to maintain a low profile, she obtains a pair of designer sunglasses to wear whenever she's forced to do so in a public situation.
  • Child of the Storm: Multiple:
    • Doctor Strange tends to have these when he wants to appear more eldritch and otherworldly.
    • Harry's eyes have been known to glow gold and Thor's have been known to glow electric blue/white. In both cases it is a very good idea to start running.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: The cultists in Nightmares Yet to Come have glowing golden eyes, though not all the time, allowing their members to pass for normal.
  • Winter notes in RWBY: Scars that Ruby's unnaturally silver eyes have a slight glow to them. This hints at the special powers Ruby wields.

    Film — Animated 
  • One of The Twelve Tasks of Asterix involves being able to resist the hypnotic gaze of Iris the magician, who has glowing eyebeams he can switch on like car headlamps. Iris tries to hypnotize Asterix into believing he's a boar, but keeps getting distracted by the Gaul's comments about his eyes. ("How do you do that?", "Can you make them light up one at a time?" and "They must be handy for reading in bed.") Eventually Iris becomes so confused he ends up hypnotizing himself.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Descendants and its sequels and spinoffs, Mal's magic manifests by having her eyes glow green.
  • In Ghostbusters II, a possessed character finds this trope handy for walking down a corridor with the lights out.
  • The MonsterVerse Godzilla’s eyes glow blue whenever he charges his atomic breath.
  • In The Incredible Hulk (2008), Bruce Banner sports these when he transforms into the title character.
  • In The Scribbler, the main character — who suffers from Split Personality syndrome — uses an experimental electroshock device (the "Siamese Burn") to systematically erase her excess personalities. Trouble is, it also causes blackouts — during which she upgrades the device with whatever scrap electronics she can find. By film's end, using the device gives the user near-superhuman powers, of which Glowing Eyes are but a side effect.
  • In Warcraft (2016), whenever a magic user casts a spell, their eyes glow in appropriate color.


  • Hattie & Hudson: Hudson's yellow eye's glow at night.
  • InCryptid: Johrlac eyes turn white when they actively use their telepathy. Sarah says it's due to some unknown bioluminescent compound in their Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Iron Widow: When people are actively channeling their qi, their eyes and meridian lines glow with the colour of their primary element.
  • Many creatures shown in Liv in the Future have eyes that glow for reasons unknown: Cats, rats, dogs...
  • Lone Huntress: Centuries of microevolution have resulted in Gaians possessing eyes that glow in times of stress. As a result, people attempting to stare down Lisa tend to quickly back down when her counter-stare begins to shine. The ironic twist: Lisa is a introverted amazon convinced that No Guy Wants an Amazon, and suffering from extreme social ineptitude. Her eyes are glowing because she's TERRIFIED of human interaction.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Daleks", the animals surround the fire with glowing eyes. The eyes go out when the people frighten them off.
  • In Helix, Doctor Hiroshi Hatake hides glowing silver irises behind brown-tinted contacts, suggesting Professor Guinea Pig hobbyism apart from the unregulated viral research Arctic Biosystems is conducting.
  • In Jupiter's Legacy, Chloe's eyes glow when she uses her powers.
  • In Sapphire and Steel, Sapphire's eyes glow bright blue when she's using her powers. Interestingly, the same is not true of Steel, or indeed any of their colleagues.
  • In Smallville, Doctor Fate gets glowing golden eyes during this transformation sequence and dimmer red eyes in other times.
    • Clark's eyes tend to flash red when he's using his heat vision or blue when he's using his X-Ray vision.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In the final scene of "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich", Nino Lancaster's eyes glow, revealing that he is the master of demons.

  • The original 1982 cover of the KISS album Creatures of the Night had all four members of the band with glowing eyes.
    • The video for "I Love It Loud" ends with a group of kids who have been hypnotized (due to watching the video) all having glowing eyes and walking outside in a zombie-like fashion. The band is also shown to be like this in the last shot.
  • Some of the kids in the video for Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart"', literalizing the hook "Turn around bright eyes."

  • Higher-end versions of the AC/DC pinball have the Underworld, a mini-playfield that is shaped like a flaming head with glowing white LED eyes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • A topaz dragon's pupils fade with age, until their eyes becoming glowing, fiery orbs with no visible divisions.
    • The eyes of magma and smoke drakes glow like burning embers.
    • A sunwyrm's eyes seep with seemingly liquid light.

    Video Games 
  • The protagonist of Eldritch Lands: The Witch Queen's Eternal War, Queen Sofia Nitshe, has glwoing purple eyes, a sign of her immense powers of crystal magic.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • When Samara is using her biotics in some cutscenes her eyes will glow blue.
      • All quarians get glowing eyes that can be seen through their faceplate, though it's possible that they've always had them but you couldn't see them through the opaque faceplates that you saw in the first game.
    • Mass Effect 3:
      • The synthesis ending gives glowing eyes to everyone in the galaxy.
      • A faint blue glow is added to the iris any time a biotic uses their powers.
  • Warcraft:
    • Warcraft II: The Paladins have glowing yellowish-orange eyes.
    • Warcraft III: The Priests have growing blue eyes as well, presumably because they're high elves.
    • World of Warcraft sure loves its glowing eyes. A lot. Lots of races have glowing eyes. (See also Glowing Eyelights of Undeath and Glowing Eyes of Doom.)
      • All members of the Draenei race have glowing blue (or white, depending on the artist) eyes. Their fellow Eredar who made a Deal with the Devil to turn into demons have their eyes turn glowing yellow as well as gaining red skin and Spikes of Villainy.
      • Male Night Elves have glowing golden eyes and female Night Elves have glowing silver eyes in-game. In the original cinematic for World of Warcraft, a night elf's eyes reflect light like a cat's, not glow. This makes sense, as the night elves live up to their name by living where it's always night. Still, almost all official art shows their eyes as glowing like in the game graphics, which also makes them like the other elves, below.
      • In the Burning Crusade expansion, Blood Elves had their eyes retconned from ghostly white to glowing green eyes that are a side-effect of their addiction to demonic magic. High Elves also had their eyes changed from white to glowing Blue. This was probably related to Color-Coded Characters.
      • And, for all races, several headpieces (usually tier set headgear) confers glowing eyes, especially Rogue and Warlock sets, but found in the odd Paladin and Hunter sets too. The exceedingly odd hunter Tier 6 Gronnstalker set, is covered in glowing, moving eyes. [1] (Click on the screenshot.)
      • The Death Knight Hero Class has glowing blue eyes, to signify their reanimation by the Scourge. If you play a race that already has glowing eyes, the Death Knight eyes will overwrite them.
      • Virtually all the epic mounts in the game have glowing eyes, even the common ones that can be purchased. How did all these beasts of burden get these glowing eyes? No one in-universe seems to notice or care.
      • The five (six counting Malygos) Dragon Aspects all have glowing eyes. Once they lose their Titan gifted powers at the end of Cataclysm, after Deathwing's death, the four remaining Aspects lose their eye glows. In a cinematic, too, so it's definitely not a model quirk.
  • In Runescape, there is a whole set of auras that produce the purely cosmetic effect of glowing eyes in your choice of black, orange, white, red, purple, yellow, blue, or green.
  • The Glukkons from the Oddworld series have glowing eyes. It's explained that Glukkons developed them after shutting themselves away, so they didn't have to see the moon with the Mudokon pawprint on it. Which opens a whole 'nother can of fish...
  • The Little Sisters in BioShock have green glowing eyes. The Big Daddies' helmets, meanwhile, also glow for some unknown reason, though glowing eyes are the most likely explanation, and it has the same effect either way. (They're also Color-Coded for Your Convenience.)
  • The Deer God has eyes that glow blue. Combined with the God's bright white avatar, the effect is unsettling.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, the hallmark of someone who has been infused with Mako energy and Jenova cells is permanently glowing irises. Downplayed in the visuals of the original game and in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, where the glowing eyes are just rendered as an unusually bright eye colour, but Final Fantasy VII Remake makes Cloud's glowing eyes very obvious and disturbing.
  • A costume item in LittleBigPlanet 2.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, glowing golden eyes are a trait of Vampires, as revealed in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC. It's implied that this is a trait which is Invisible to Normals, and can only be seen by certain other supernatural beings (such as the Dragonborn, who has a draconic Aedric soul).
  • Puyo Puyo: Starting with 20th Anniversary, Sig's red eye will glow when he uses his Hydrangea spell, which is notably also the only time he uses his red arm for any of his attacks, further hinting at his partial demon heritage.

  • Aurora (2019):
    • These are a common feature of gods, whose incarnations' eyes tend to glow a solid, undifferentiated color — Vash's eyes glow blue, for instance, while Tahraim's glow white and the storm god Tynan and the fire god Caliban have yellow ones.
    • Alinua's eyes glow green when she uses her life magic.
  • Impure Blood: Dara has glowing eyes normally hidden by Opaque Lenses. They can glow red as well as blue, when she's annoyed.
  • Off-White: The White Spirits have glowing blue eyes and the Black Spirits have glowing red eyes.
  • Outsider: When Loroi capable of psychokinesis use their powers, their irises glow.
  • El Goonish Shive: The character that goes by the screen name "Tengu" has glowing pupils, as seen here.
  • Marooned: If a Mindstone chooses you, you get these, along with Power Makes Your Hair Grow and Power Dyes Your Hair.
  • Plume: Corrick's eyes glow golden with magic all the time, but truly flash when he uses his powers.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Lalli, from time to time. Since it tends to show up in his nightime scouting scenes, it is possible that it is some kind magical night vision.
  • Slightly Damned: Demons eyes glow to augment their already good night vision to the point where they can see in total darkness (extremely useful since total darkness is what Hell has at night) but their eyes also glow when angry or about to kill. The demon's eye color also determine what color the eye glow is. So far there have been seven colors (Red, Yellow, Blue, Purple, White, Orange and Green).
  • Castoff: Both Vector and Arianna have these. It seems to be tied to magic somehow. Arianna's eyes glow when she casts spells, but Vector isn't a trained mage and has permanent glowy eyes. He does, however, have a lot of magical potential. Rori and Marina also have what seems to be natural, untrained magical talent, and their eyes glow when they use it.
  • Skin Deep: Unless magically disguised, the eyes of a sphinx glow. They are said to have magical power even greater than the dragons.
  • Sleepless Domain:
  • Wake of the Clash: Ghost has eyes that glow bright blue with varied intensity when using his powers. Depending on the scene, they may glow bright enough that his irises disappear.
  • Everyday Heroes: Summer Mighty has to wear a mask to cover her eyes, since she also suffers from occasional Power Incontinence.

    Web Animation 
  • Meta Runner: Tari’s eyes glow blue whenever she warps into a video game and to a lesser extent, whenever she uses her UI vision. She and Evelyn also have glowing eyes on their Hidden Heroes avatars, respectively purple and orange.

    Web Original 
  • Mage Life: Every magical being of enough power or skill eventually gain a pair.
  • Whateley Universe: Mystery Woman, mentioned in Steel Ribbon, has "glowing green eyes".
  • Worm: The only visible indication of Codex's power — besides the brain damage and amnesia — is the glowing eyes of her victims.
  • Glowing eyes on its own is a popular memetic shorthand for portraying...well, exactly what the description says. Especially if it's humorously for an rather mundane situation or trigger for it that the subject apparently would disagree with the label of mundanity.
  • There is a DeviantArt user called "delta7447" who is fond of these, often adding them for no reason except to show off his OCs' power, but was willing to parody their use in "Nothing Like The Sun", where the main character's constantly glowing eyes are an annoyance because she cannot turn them off, even though she is otherwise all-powerful.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Zatanna's Eyes

Zatanna eyes glow blue whenever she uses her magic.

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Main / GlowingEyes

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