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Goblin Face

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She normally looks prettier than this. We swear.

Some works strive to make its characters look appealing in every scenario. Others, however, are willing to have normally attractive characters give off shockingly exaggerated facial expressions.

Goblin Face occurs when a character emotes to an extreme degree, making them appear much uglier than normal. The most common traits feature wrinkled skin caused by stretched facial muscles. One may also see Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, flared nostrils, and gums exposed over and under the character's teeth. Anger, terror, depression, disgust, and pain are some of the most common emotions that can evoke this trope.

Such facial expressions are normally played either for drama or comedy. This gets used because creators believe that straining the face conveys the emotion better than a more reserved facial expression, showing exactly how much stress the character is under without having to directly explain it to the audience.


Goblin Face is used sparingly by most creators, as it runs the risk of falling into Narm territory if overdone in dramatic works, or becoming unfunny if overdone in comedic ones. It's usually reserved for scenes the show wants viewers to remember most vividly.

Compare Wild Take, which also involves exaggerated facial expressions but takes them to cartoonishly overblown levels. Also compare Gonk, where the character's face is repulsive-looking by default.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: Mariah of the Egypt Nine Glory Gods tends to show hideous facial expressions whenever she gets angry, such as after discovering how Joseph and Avdol manage to avoid getting run over by a train.
  • Soul Eater: All characters forced to spend any amount of time with Excalibur make the exact same exaggerated expression of disgust. It does not matter whether or not the character even has a face, Excalibur is just that annoying.
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil: Tanya always makes extreme facial expressions. Her goblin face is best seen during her final speech at the end of the first season.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Joey Wheeler is infamous for his habit of pulling an unnervingly realistic facial expression at odds with the series's main art style, consisting of an amazingly wrinkled smile with pronounced lips and a pointy chin. While meant to emphasize his hammy, Hot-Blooded personality, Joey's "creepy chin" face is also inspired by Antonio Inoki's equally memetic facial expressions.

    Films — Animation 
  • One of the most infamous moments in Mulan II occurs when Shang blows up at Mulan near the end of the second act. His facial animation displays a shockingly extreme example of the trope.

    Films — Live-action 
  • Spider-Man:
    • Willem Dafoe dramatically wrinkles up his face several times in his role as the Green Goblin, especially when he's angry or laughing.
    • In the sequel, Peter Parker scrunches up his face while trying to stop a train with his webs, demonstrating the extreme strain his body undergoes.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Goblin Faces, along with wild takes, are a major element that makes up the signature style of Mexican animator Sr. Pelo, who is known for taking these two tropes Up to Eleven. Expect otherwise normal-looking characters in his works to regularly make absurd, exaggerated expressions for both hilarious and terrifying effect.
  • The page's image is of Vaggie from Hazbin Hotel. She is normally quite the pretty character, but has some wild faces when she's angry, making faces like the one above for when she's especially displeased.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Finn discovers in an early episode that he's afraid of the ocean. Every possible fault on his face is scrunched as a drop of ocean water lands on him.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes has many examples due to its notoriously loose art style, including Rad and Enid's facial expressions at the end of "Sibling Rivalry", and Lord Boxman's series of expressions as he searches for Jethro 2.0 in a crowd in the episode "I Am Jethro".
  • The Mask: In "The Mask Is Greener On The Other Side", the protagonist Stanley Ipkiss puts on Loki's mask for the first time, in a highly Painful Transformation. Stanley starts making up his face as the mask painfully grips onto him.
  • Samurai Jack: Played straight in Episode XCVI, while Ashi was being tortured by the Dominator. Her scrunched face demonstrates the extreme amount of pain she suffers.
  • One of the best examples in Steven Universe occurs in the episode "Message Received", when Yellow Diamond's face scrunches up after Peridot betrays and insults her.
  • Played for Laughs in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Safety". Mr. Small plays an extremely old and extremely horribly animated Scare 'Em Straight VHS video that teaches about trying to stay safe with common activities. The video's audio and visuals begins to horribly warp at the end and leaves Mr. Small rocking in a Troubled Fetal Position with a garbage basket over his head after he screams in terror over the demonic entity it just turned into. The rest of the class all have the same horribly scrunched up look of complete shock on their faces as class ends and they all walk out.