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Good Eyes, Evil Eyes

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Becoming Brainwashed and Crazy would remind people why Night Furies were so feared to begin with.

"Huge eyes means good!"

Goodies and baddies are distinguished by the size of their eyes. The Hero, the All-Loving Hero, and the Wide-Eyed Idealist will all have big, open, happy, trustful, Puppy-Dog Eyes. On the other hand, the Magnificent Bastard, Evil Overlord and Card-Carrying Villain will have narrow, shifty eyes. Might be because large eyes makes the face appear more infantile. See also Beauty Equals Goodness.

However, this trope is slightly more complex than it used to be. Instead of one eye size for goodies and another for baddies, there is a continuum between the Friend to All Living Things and the Big Bad reflecting just how good or bad a character is. On the side of good, the Anti-Hero willing to Shoot the Dog has eyes narrower than the hero's but wider than those of the villain. Villains with wider eyes tend to be of the Knight Templar, Well-Intentioned Extremist, or Anti-Villain types; either that, or they will Pet the Dog a few times. And much of this visual language about the portrayal of eyes can be flipped around with a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing or a Face of a Thug.

In a Slice of Life series without heroes or villains, narrow eyes are often used to indicate The Cynic.

See also Scary Shiny Glasses. Note that characters who have their Eyes Always Shut do not really fit anywhere on this continuum, as they tend to symbolize something else entirely, whether good or evil. When this trope is used with critters or monsters, it's Big Eyes, Little Eyes.

When there are two entities on opposite ends of the moral spectrum sharing headspace and vying for control of their body, this eye design change may be used to denote who is in control, resulting in some overlap with Eye-Dentity Giveaway.

Likely unrelated but interesting nonetheless is the fact that ancient cultures often portrayed spiritual people in their art with gigantic eyes. They apparently believed that wider eyes meant someone was more capable of communicating with their gods.

See also Tsurime Eyes, Animation Anatomy Aging, Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains, Color-Coded for Your Convenience, Dress-Coded for Your Convenience.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Protagonists generally have big eyes, with Orihime's being the biggest. Among Soul Reapers, the greater the Knight Templar tendency, the narrower the eyes. When Aizen is revealed to be the Big Bad, his eyes shift a being a gentle droop to sharp and pointy, to reflect the revelation that his kind demeanour was a mask for his true cold, evil personality.
  • Played with in Code Geass:
    • Lelouch Lamperouge, the resident Magnificent Bastard Anti-Hero, who is morally dubious at best, has very wide, beautiful, expressive eyes.
    • Played straight with his older brother, Schneizel, who is unmistakeably a villain, and has narrow eyes.
    • And again subverted with another Anti-Hero, Suzaku Kururugi, who is (like Lelouch) morally ambiguous, and yet still has wide, sparkling green eyes.
  • Darker than Black: When Hei switches from his "real" personality (stoic badass Punchclock Villain antihero) to his Secret Identity personality (dorky yet cute Nice Guy), the main difference is a) his voice going up about half an octave and b) his eyes getting much, much wider.
  • Death Note:
    • Light normally has squinty, narrow eyes, but when he temporarily has his memory erased and becomes a good guy, his eyes widen considerably.
      • It is even almost lampshaded; after losing his memory, Light asks L if his eyes look like those of a murderer.
    • This happened in a cycle. In the beginning, his eyes were in the wider variety. Then, as time went by and he grew more conniving and duplicitous, they grew narrower (accompanied by an overall harshness to his features).
    • On the opposing side of the cat-and-mouse game, L has eyes that, while dull and baggy, are pretty wide and round in contrast to Light's narrow, angular eyes.
  • In Dragon Ball, good charactersnote  generally have big round eyes and bad onesnote  have narrower, more triangular shaped ones. If a bad character turns good their eyes usually don't change, such as with Yamcha, Tien and Piccolo. In an interesting twist, bad characters' eyes are fully outlined, while good characters only have the outside edges of the eyes outlined. Again, this generally sticks if the character switches sides. Continuing that, when Goku, Gohan or Goten first turn Super Saiyan their eyes adopt the "bad guy" look. Trunks has the bad guy eyes even in his normal state due to him being related to Vegeta.
    • Gohan for some reason gets fully outlined eyes after his "Mystic" upgrade and it sticks for the rest of the series.
    • A more literal example would be Launch from the Kid Goku chapters. In her blue-haired state she is sweet and gentle, and so has massive round eyes. In her yellow-haired state she's gun-happy, aggressive and vengeful, where her eyes take on a triangular shape.
  • Elfen Lied makes prolific use of this trope, specifically with Lucy/Nyu, who can either have large, bubbly, innocent eyes in her Nyu persona to signify her innocently ignorant mindset, or narrow, hateful, and tortured eyes (that are hidden most of the time) in her Lucy persona to signify her extremely dark, murderous, and tormented mindset. In fact, a key characteristic of a diclonius who's been pushed too far is a piercing, glazed over look in their eyes, signifying their descent into murderous misanthropy (basically every diclonius in the show goes through this at one point or another, given that Humans Are Bastards). For some of them this is essentially a permanent state
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Though Col. Mustang is eventually portrayed in a sympathetic and somewhat heroic light, he initially comes across as a nasty piece of work, and possesses the narrowest eyes of the regular military characters.
    • This is especially apparent when Mustang finally found Envy, and was about to give in to his hatred. His eyes almost narrowed to a slit. Ed notices this and says, "Take a good look at your face before you do anything! You think you can lead a country looking like that?!"
    • Ling Yao is a subversion. He's at heart a decent guy with a moral code, but his eyes are very narrow and he himself admits they look "shifty". (He's also an Asian in a cast full of Caucasians, so take that how you will.) He tries to mitigate the effect by keeping his Eyes Always Shut.
      • After Greed takes over Ling's body, the eyes signify who's in charge. In the manga if the iris is colored in, it's Greed. If the iris isn't colored in (or if his eyes are closed), then it's Ling. In the manga the direction his bangs are pointing also help distinguish the two. In the anime the two are mostly distinguished by their voices, but even then Ling usually keeps his "shifty eyes" shut when he's in control unless he's being serious. Also, when they're open, Ling's pupils tend to look somewhat smaller than Greed's.
    • The heroic Hohenheim and the Big Bad Father look practically identical but for the fact that Hohenheim has much friendlier-looking eyes.
    • Solf J. Kimblee, a psychopathic Mad Bomber has eyes which are reptilian-looking pin pricks.
    • The homunculus Pride when he drops the Selim Bradley persona, especially in the animated adaptation.
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), Col. Archer has unrepentantly narrow eyes.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, much later into the series it is show Tamayo’s eyes used to look more like those of a fierce demon, when she still was bound to Muzan’s will; after she breaks free from Muzan's curse her eyes become more similar to that of a human, although with a very sad expression.
  • Tenchi Muyo! is almost a case study in the example of Innocence vs. Cynicism. Compare the eyes of Sasami, Washu, Ryoko, and Mihoshi.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Yugi and Yami Bakura both have narrower eyes than their hosts. Malik already has narrow eyes, but his superpowered eviller side has even narrower ones.
  • X/1999:
    • Compare the eyes of Anti-Hero Kamui to those of Anti-Villain Fuuma. Or those of Blind Seer Hinoto to those of her evil sister, Kanoe. Or, indeed, any Dragon of Heaven to any Dragon of Earth.
    • Another example: It's easy to tell that Hinoto has gone to the dark side when her eyes appear significantly narrower.
  • Used in, oddly enough, Saikano. Shuji's friend who joins the military is a Wide-Eyed Idealist, complete with literal wide eyes. On the other hand, the other soldiers, none of whom have any illusions about the state they'll return home in, all have extremely narrow eyes.
  • Sort of used in Haruhi Suzumiya. The series does not have any heroes or villains, but Kyon, being the most cynical character, has considerably narrower eyes than the rest of the cast.
  • GUN×SWORD subverts it - Van, the hero, has eyes half the size of his companions. It also plays the trope straight to a degree, however; his rival Ray has narrower eyes. This being a Goro Tanaguchi series, everyone's eyes double in width when they get pissed off, balancing things out.
  • Parodied, perhaps inadvertently, in Project A-Ko. A-Ko's eyes, while wide, do not approach the massive CLAMP-esque orbs of C-Ko. Gadgeteer Genius Psycho Lesbian B-Ko, of course, has the classic villainess eyes.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto plays this trope to a T. Naruto either has his eyes shut or open wide, fitting with his personality. When his Superpowered Evil Side takes over, his eyes narrow.
    • The dark outlines around Gaara's eyes make them appear narrower when he is looking menacing, but wider when he is portrayed sympathetically. This one has a diegetic explanation, as he is explicitly sleep-deprived since falling asleep will allow Shukaku to take over; when he no longer has to worry about that, he's able to get more sleep, so he can be nicer, and the outlines around his eyes resultingly become less prominent.
    • Subverted with the first three Hokage. All three of them have very narrow eyes, but are calm and pretty much embody Lawful Good.
  • Although Kazuo Kiriyama's eyes in the manga version of Battle Royale are not appreciably smaller than those of the major male protagonists, they do not reflect any light, giving them a flat, empty appearance illustrating the character's complete lack of emotion.
    • The same applies to many characters in the Black Lagoon manga, most notably Revy.
  • In Genshiken, while Ogiue is initially full of self-loathing and cynical, her eyes don't reflect light. Later, when she begins accepting herself for what she is and her cynicism starts to melt, her eyes begin to shine.
  • Subverted with Kaiji's titular lead character, whose tire-punching vandalism doesn't make him evil, just a loser.
  • Trigun uses this quite a bit, especially with Vash, who either puts on his ominous Scary Shiny Glasses or gets a narrow (if not Glowing Eyes of Doom) look in his eyes, Knives, whose pupils dilate disturbingly whenever he's feeling particularly sadistic, and Legato, whose demonically evil eyes (or technically eye) are specifically focused on when he makes his opening entrance (in fact, this is one of the reasons why Vash is so terrified of him).
  • Used in Get Backers especially in regard to Akabane whose eyes (which are already extremely narrow) dilate to the point that his pupils look like periods when he is feeling particularly unstable.
  • Extremely noticeable in Rurouni Kenshin. Not only do all villains have narrow eyes and all the protagonists have wide ones (the wider the eyes, the more optimistic/naïve the character). Kenshin's own eyes go from wide to narrow as he gets closer to falling into his Battousai mode.
    • This is also parodied after a fight (in the manga at least) when Kenshin's eyes got stuck in "Battousai mode" and he doesn't go back to normal until his friends mess with his face.
    • However, it is also lampshaded and subverted once. When Anti-Hero rival Saito first appears, Sano, The Lancer, goes out of the way to point out his small, "squinty" eyes as a reason for concern. While Saito initially acts as an antagonist, he turns out to be even more tireless than Kenshin in fighting against the bad guys, living his life by the code of "Slay evil immediately". (Fans seemed to have noticed the trope too, as Kenshin's author made a note of how he received many letters from Shinsengumi fans upset at Saito's villainous look when first introducing him).
    • Also subverted with Soujiro, who has big, innocent-looking eyes.
    • The Genre Savvy Anji Yukyuzan not only has narrow eyes (unlike in his past, where he had wide idealist ones until being horrifyingly broken), but he applies ashes to his eyelids to make them look even smaller and squintier and have even more menacing looks.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Just compare the eyes of Spike and Vicious, and then guess which is the Anti-Hero and which is the Evil Counterpart.
  • While nearly identical in appearance, there's a single major physical disparity between Monster's Johan Liebert and his twin sister, Anna that tells you which one's the evil one. You have three seconds to get it right.
  • Played with in Princess Tutu. Ahiru, the main heroine, has huge blue eyes, even when she's in her duck form, showing her innocent, sweet nature. Fakir, a dark, brooding character who's often a jerk, has extremely narrow green eyes. He's the villain, right? WRONG! Rue—whose eyes are narrower than Ahiru's, but not nearly like Fakir's—turns out to be the Dark Magical Girl, whose eyes look significantly more narrow when she transforms. Also messed with in the second season with Mytho. Normally his eyes are nearly as wide as Ahiru's, but when his heart is poisoned with Raven's blood and a selfish, evil personality takes him over, his eyes dramatically narrow before our very eyes.
  • Seen with some of the characters in the anime Wolf's Rain Cheza being a great example of this with her red on red pupils.
  • Also used often in One Piece. Notable is how when Boa Hancock was first introduced, she had narrower eyes, but after her Freudian Excuse was exposed and she fell for Luffy her eyes got bigger. Luffy falls into this trope as well. When he's in a normal state, he's got big, cute, childish eyes. When angered, his eyes narrow considerably, making him look much older. (To add to the effect, his body is drawn to be more defined and adult.)
  • In Deadman Wonderland there is a good eye/crazy evil eyes version of this trope. The good-hearted, wide-eyed, main protagonist meets another good-hearted, wide-eyed, sweet girl who desperately wants to escape DW. He falls for her and soon after is betrayed. She was faking the whole time in order to drop his guard. Once she shows what's Beneath the Mask her eyes become beady and wide as opposed to small and narrow.
  • In yet another example of eyes changing shape after a personality change, Nia Teppelin from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • In Hellsing, Seras is pretty much the only good guy who has wide eyes (she doesn't have the Scary Shiny Glasses either). Curiously, the members of Millenium also tend to have wider eyes, though that's probably because they have so much fun with what they do. It's also worth remembering that her irises turn red when she goes ax crazy
  • Subverted in Toradora!; Ryuuji has narrow eyes paired up with a creepy stare, which make everyone but his friends think he's a delinquent, while he's actually a very Nice Guy.
  • Played straight and subverted in Red River (1995): Il Vani, Prince Kail's adviser and close friend, has extremely narrow eyes that make him look evil-ish, at the very least. The evil queen, however, has appropriately narrow eyes.
  • This trope is played with quite a bit in The Law of Ueki. Particularly noteworthy is the subversion of Ueki and Kobayashi. Both have heavily slanted eyes with very thin irises (or no irises at all), a style typically used for evil characters or hot-blooded anti-heroes. Yet, one is the justice-loving Technical Pacifist hero, and the other is his lazy, friendly, and (usually) nonviolent teacher/mentor.
  • Subverted in the manga Leviathan. That's the character with arguably the biggest eyes so far, going "There's not enough killing yet."
  • Played with in the case of General Regius from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, whose small, beady eyes, fat frame, and general temperament rang a lot of "obvious villain" alarm bells. Then he turned out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who had the same goals as the heroes of protecting the little guys, only he had the misfortune of being manipulated like a puppet by the Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
  • Black Lagoon - as time goes on, Rock's eyes gradually get narrower as he becomes more jaded and cynical.
  • Mayo Mitama in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has "mean-looking eyes," causing everyone to misjudge her . . . she really is mean, but everyone is so concerned with not judging by appearances that they think she must be nice.
  • Noir. The protagonists Mirielle and Kirika, despite both being ruthless hitwomen, have large round eyes, whereas Psycho Knife Nut Chloe has narrow eyes. Later when Kirika starts to come under the influence of Chloe, her Moe eyes become noticeably narrower.
  • Ken Ichijouji from Digimon Adventure 02 is a good example. As the evil Digimon Kaiser, he has narrow eyes and small pupils. After his Heel–Face Turn, his eyes become larger and more expressive.
  • Played straight with almost everyone in Angel Densetsu, to the point that the two Ax-Crazy female leads have nicer eyes as they become nicer. Subverted to hell by the male lead of course.
  • In Sailor Moon, the good Sailor Senshi have huge Moe eyes, and the more evil people from the Dark Kingdom/Black Moon Circus/insert latest antagonist group here have narrow eyes. This pattern only exists in the first arc. The second arc breaks it up with the narrow-eyed Sailor Pluto. Uranus and Neptune show up in the third arc, and when wide-eyed villains appear in the fourth arc, the pattern effectively dissolves.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi generally does this; the villains have noticeably narrower eyes then the heroes, though there are exceptions; Chao's eyes are round, and Evangeline, while having narrow eyes, only thinks she's a villain.
    • In addition, Setsuna has narrower eyes then the rest of the cast when she's introduced, as Negi briefly suspects her of being a bad guy. Later on in the series her eyes are wider.
    • Although given recent events, Chao is likely more of a Hero Antagonist, playing this trope straight after all.
    • The eye scale is pretty straight if based on "untroubled" and "uncomplicated", with the exceptions being the characters whose facade is good enough to be semi-real. Noteworthy is that even the twins can be usually identified by their eyes. (Switch it to "Dark Eyes Light Eyes", add in the series' unusual values for "Dark" and "Light", and everybody fits in about perfectly.)
  • Played up heavily in Liar Game. The incredibly gullible (at first) and generous Nao Kanzaki has anime-standard, big googly eyes, whereas the current main antagonist Yokoya has slit eyes so narrow it's sometimes hard to see them at all.
  • This is very noticeable in Fist of the North Star, especially when characters switch allegiances. For example, when Rei was originally drawn with beady eyes when he was first introduced, since his status as a hero or villain was still very dubious. Once his heroic credentials were established, he was drawn with rounder eyes.
  • With the exception of Walker (whose eyes are always closed, Izaya Orihara has some of the narrowest eyes in Durarara!! (and are also noted to be very sharp-looking in the Light Novels). He is also a giant fricking asshole and is more or less the series' Big Bad.
  • Umi No Yami Tsuki No Kage is about a pair of twins which acquire psychic powers. One of them turns evil. You can tell by the small, cat-like pupils she suddenly sports.
  • In Sukeban Deka the main villainess' pupils usually completely fill out her eyes (because, you know, she's beautiful and this is a shojo manga). But when her pupils narrow down to small little dots you know you should run for your life.
  • A variation occurs in Wandering Son. The resident Deadpan Snarker, Chiba, changes between eye styles occasionally. In earlier volumes, she had Tareme Eyes like everyone else in the manga. After becoming increasingly more depressed and moody, she was given apathetic looking Tareme Eyes. Starting midway through volume 4, she would occasionally switch back to her original Tareme Eyes while really happy.
  • The eponymous Case Closed applies this constantly. When he pretends to be a kid, he's Tareme Eyes— and would switch to Tsurime Eyes in meitantei mode.
  • Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Specifically, in the beginning, she was Tareme Eyes, fitting her original personality of Cute Clumsy Girl and Shrinking Violet. The effect of the subsequent "Groundhog Day" Loop-sque Mental Time Travel culminated into her hiding all things she considered "weak"— in addition to Letting Her Hair Down and curing her eyes with magic, her eyes turned to Tsurime Eyes.
  • Kaede from Kämpfer usually has innocent looking eyes, but in episode 10, her eyes clearly shift to a more sinister look while trying to manipulate male Natsuru.
  • Kamichama Karin plays the trope straight, although in this case it's at least partly due to the bad guys being a few years older than the good guys.
  • In the anime of Lucky Star, Akira Kogami has either of these, swtching from wide, moe, Tareme Eyes in her Kawaiiko persona, to Tsurime Eyes with small irises and bags underneath when she's being her jerkass self.
  • In Kotoura-san, Haruka's mom Kumiko has evil eyes croseed with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness for the entire season. But near the end of the final episode, when she reconciles with Haruka, her eyes change into normal ones.
  • Urameshi Yusuke from YuYu Hakusho has big, wide, brown eyes. His Evil Counterpart Sensui Shinobu has narrow Icy Blue Eyes.
  • W-Change!!: Maki Kisaragi has wide, round eyes when in her "main" personality. When she becomes Dark Maki, her eyes become sharp and narrow. And when she becomes her Ax-Crazy third personality, her pupils become tiny dots.
  • Hades Project Zeorymer, Masato has a split personality issue. Whenever his violent alter-ego takes over, his eyes change into evil eyes.
  • Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! subverts this a bit in the last episode. Kinshiro goes from evil eyes to good eyes during his Heel–Face Turn, but they go practically back to normal despite the fact that he stays turned. Turns out it was just an emotional moment.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1999):
    • The heroic characters, like Link, have big eyes. The evil Ganondorf on the other hand has small, beady eyes.
    • Downplayed. The mysterious and villainous-seeming Sheik has Tsurime Eyes while Princess Zelda has large Tareme Eyes. Zelda and Sheik are the same person. When Zelda's consciousness resurfaces, Sheik gains tareme eyes.

    Comic Strips 
  • Gary Trudeau specifically mentions in a collection that he drew Barbara Ann "Boopsie" Boopstein's eyes wide and round — in an intentional contrast to the usual heavy-lidded, half-open Doonesbury style — in order to convey her unique naivety and cheerfulness.

    Fan Works 
  • Half Past Adventure, much like its source material, describes the villainous Bandit Princess as having "catlike eyes" — although it uses the same phrasing to describe the non-villainous Huntress Wizard, making this a Downplayed Trope.
  • Pure Light: The corrupted dark dragons are marked by their glowing yellow eyes.
  • Past Sins: In "A Secret Between Friends", Twilight reveals that she's giving Nyx eye-disguising glasses because her natural slit-pupiled eyes look like those of aggressive and mostly villainous beings:
    Twilight: There are only a couple of things I know that have eyes like that. Dragons, the changeling queen, and... well, Nightmare Moon.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney does this a lot.
    • In most of the Disney Animated Canon, the villains' eyes are narrower than the heroes'. They also tend not to reflect light, making them appear rather soulless.
    • The stereotypical Disney Princess look is focused on the main character's huge eyes. In Frozen, despite the fairly realistic art style, both Elsa and Anna have eyes larger than their wrists.
    • In Brother Bear, when Koda's mother is shown at the beginning, she lacks sclerae, while her spirit has them (due to being more affectionate).
    • Similar to the above, Brave has Bear Elinor get sclera-less eyes when she loses her humanity, and have sclerae otherwise.
    • In Zootopia, most animals have big eyes with sclerae but lose them when they turn savage.
    • In Monsters, Inc., Randall has a constant squint that gives him a hostile, contemptuous look. It's revealed in Monsters University that he squints because he's very short-sighted and pre-Face–Heel Turn he wore a pair of giant Nerd Glasses that made his eyes look wide and innocent.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2 (pictured above), being under the dark Bewilderbeast's control causes the dragons' pupils to turn into creepy reptilian slits.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Avatar, the Na'vi have enormous eyes. The avatars' eyes are smaller, but still much larger than a human's.
  • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, everybody is squinting, all the time— but Lee Van Cleef squints harder than anybody else. He is, of course, the Bad.
    • Van Cleef is supposed to have said, "Being born with a pair of beady eyes was the best thing that ever happened to me."
    • Though to complicate matters, Tuco's (Eli Wallach's character) look ranges from a determined squint to wide-eyed amazement, and he is by no means a saint.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sméagol/Gollum's pupils dilate to show which personality is in control, with the bad one getting narrower pupils.

  • Harry Potter
    • Bellatrix Lestrange has "heavily lidded eyes" and is one of the most sadistic characters in the series. Her sister Andromeda Tonks looks a lot like her but has "wider, kinder eyes".
    • Luna Lovegood has wide protuberant eyes, signifying her eccentric but friendly nature.
    • Hagrid has "bright, beetle-black eyes", and is a very warm character, who is Harry's first true friend. Snape's eyes are said to be as black as Hagrid's but unfathomable, like dark tunnels. This aligns with Snape's cold and reserved nature.
    • Voldemort, after his resurrection, has dark red eyes resembling a snake's, contrasting Harry 's own bright green eyes.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei is introduced in the first chapter with a description that includes these, among other traits. Given how he ends up described, perhaps it's best not to take it all that literally.
  • Very possibly inverted in A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned. While the main villain doesn't actually have bigger eyes, his irises have turned jet-black, causing him to appear to have enormous pupils. This is apparently a significant contributor to the fact that he looks Ax-Crazy (which he is).
  • Subverted in The Belgariad by Silk, who repeatedly helps save the world but suffers from beady, ratlike eyes that ruin most first impressions.
  • Nearly always played straight in the works of Sofia Prokofieva. Big, bright, clear eyes = reliably good. Piercing, sharp, gleaming, usually dark = irredeemably bad.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a strange installment in the Kamen Rider franchise, as the Riders all have cartoony eyes on their visors. Good-natured Riders, such as Ex-aid, generally have wider pupils and natural eye colors. Evil Kamen Riders have unnatural eye colors and tend to have narrower pupils. Genm in Dangerous Zombie form has one blood red eye and a blue one, fitting the insane nature of his character. Kamen Rider Cronus has black pupils, fitting his coldhearted nature. Both of these are the Big Bad at one point in the story.
  • In Smallville, the difference between Lex Luthor and Clark Kent is not too noticeable, but surprisingly, in season six, "Nemesis", when Chloe is firmly Clark's most trusted friend and Lana is morally questionable, a clear comparison is made between Chloe's wide, bright eyes as she more or less pleads for Clark's life and Lana's narrow, dark ones. They could be seen as the representatives of the arch-enemies at this point.
  • Possibly subverted by Ben Linus on Lost, who has done all kinds of nasty things, up to and including murder, but who has big old bug eyes.
  • LazyTown's Sportacus has a pair of wide, friendly baby-blues that appear almost photoshopped in their blueness. On the other hand, Robbie not only has pale grey eyes, but also sports highly-arched eyebrows and heavy purple eye-shadow to emphasize the fact that he is indeed the villain.
  • Inverted in Merlin. Morgause has huge brown eyes but she is a recurring villain.
  • Subversion: In The Mighty Boosh, the completely non-evil Straight Man Howard Moon has narrow eyes, though is rather sensitive about them.
  • The Doctor in Doctor Who has been played by a succession of extremely odd-looking blokes, but almost all of whom have had much bigger eyes than average, with the Fourth (Tom Baker) and the Tenth (David Tennant) having exceptionally large and expressive eyes. The exception is the Sixth (Colin Baker), whose eyes are rather small for his face. The Fourth and Tenth are two of the most popular and beloved and the Sixth is one of the least... hmm.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Sora and Kairi have big, wide eyes (especially in the first game); Anti-Hero Riku's are narrower. Nearly all of Organization XIII have narrow eyes. Larxene, however, has eyes so big they rival Sora and Kairi's, and she's perhaps the scariest member of the Org. Ax-Crazy Vanitas also has large eyes by virtue of being a Sora look alike.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, one of the most prominent differences between Phoenix and Edgeworth - apart from their clothing and hairstyles - is in their eyes, making the contrast between Phoenix's idealism and Edgeworth's cynicism that much more explicit.
    • In Case 1-5, Angel Starr actually has one of each, always covering one with her hair to show if she's being sweet or bitter. However, this is because she wears colored contacts to deliberately invoke this trope to have people trust her or fear her accordingly. Matt Engarde also has a hairstyle that produces this effect.
    • This trope is also used by April May and Alita Tiala to show their moods.
  • In those times where he appears separately (namely Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood), Tohno Shiki's Nanaya personality has narrower eyes than normal...though it might just be due to his default expression.
  • The first Jak and Daxter videogame gave the (then comparatively innocent) main character and his romantic interest eyes the size of soccer balls. The villains' eyes were substantially smaller. Then, over the sequels, this was expanded upon. When Jak Took a Level in Badass at the beginning of Jak II: Renegade and turned into an Anti-Hero with anger issues, his eyes shrank by about 45%. And then there are the glowing white eyes of his Light Jak form and the black pits of Dark Jak...
  • Elves in Dragon Age II have much larger eyes than any of the human characters. Depending on the character in question, this either plays the trope straight or subverts it. Hawke's elven companions, Merrill and Fenris, have wider eyes than the rest of the group (though Fenris has narrower eyes than Merrill, being an Anti-Hero), and Merrill in particular is one of the nicest companions.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cole has the biggest puppy dog eyes out of everyone in the inner circle. Being a spirit of compassion, he is arguably the most good of all the companions.
  • Inverted with Fubuki Shirou of Inazuma Eleven. Normally he has a sleepy look and gentle personality; so when he gets aggressive in his plays, channeling his deceased twin brother, his eyes widen and he's... suddenly a lot harder to approach.
    • Played straight with Kariya Masaki in GO. Turns out he's not evil though—just a jerk whenever he feels like it. Plus he's mostly ditched his goody-two-shoes act.
  • Pokémon villains traditionally have beady eyes and/or a mean Kubrick Stare. So in Pokémon Black and White, when the villainous team's leader is this... doe-eyed, chatty teenager... yeah, that's a sign something's up. Ultimately played straight: the wide-eyed kid is an unwitting Tyke Bomb for his beady-eyed father.
  • Inverted in Undertale: the human child has their Eyes Always Shut and can become an Actual Pacifist and All-Loving Hero in the Golden Ending, whereas the Fallen Child has large eyes, a ready smile, and the unrelenting drive to murder everybody in the world.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Luke's eyes are drawn noticeably wider after his Important Haircut, reflecting the significant shift in attitude that went along with it. It might also be indicative of the fact that, as a replica, he's chronologically ten years younger than he looks.
  • In Miitopia, the Miis come at some point across a dragon boss with angry Mii eyes which attacks them on sight. Once it is defeated, the Mii eyes are sent back to their real owner and the dragon, who was in fact suffering from Demonic Possession, is revealed to be a very cute and friendly dragon named Dominic with small, beady black eyes.
  • Zigzagged in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
    • The ringleader of the killing game, the mastermind, Tsumugi Shirogane has rounded, Tareme Eyes, that aren't especially strange or interesting to look at. After being revealed, they start glowing and appear to have unstable, spiralling patterns.
    • Maki has bright red, intimidating eyes drawn very sharp. They even start glowing when she's really pissed off, becoming sharper with shadows around them. Ultimately, Maki is not a villain and despite the creepy factor of her eyes, they actually happen to be very wide.
    • Korekiyo and Kirumi both have extremely sharp, narrow eyes. Both are Blackened.
    • Tenko and Angie have notably large and round eyes, fitting their optimistic and excitable personalities. Out of the two of them only Tenko can really be considered 'good', as she firmly believes in moving forward and protecting Himiko, while Angie uses her religion to brainwash many of the students and form a cult-like student council.
    • Gonta has ridiculously sharp, small and narrow eyes, not to mention they're red. He's actually one of the nicest characters, though he's tricked into killing another participant.
    • Similar to Gonta, Kaito has narrow and sharp eyes, but is really a nice guy. Even as the final Blackened, he collaborated with Kokichi in order to save Maki's life.
    • Invoked by Kokichi, who usually has large, round, childlike eyes that give him an innocent look which he uses to his advantage, as he is a ruthless Manipulative Bastard. Although, when he really gets mad, his eyes become large and sunken in, turning black and spirally with almost no sclerae. However, he's actually on the side of the students and resents the killing game, giving his life in an effort to end it.
  • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, all the heroes and heroines have huge, brightly-coloured eyes that dominate their faces, although Barret hides his behind his Cool Shades in scenes except his emotional ones, and Cloud's are intimidating Occult Blue Eyes that he tends to hold in a Clint Squint, only opening up to their full, enormous size in scenes where he's startled into dropping his mask. All the villains have smaller eyes, with Sephiroth's being the smallest, a menacing shade of green and with Hellish Pupils.

  • In Jack you can safely determine the status of a character by look of their pupils. Damned souls in Hell have tiny beady pupils, living furries, celestials and those of hell-denizen who became conscious of their sins and are eager to amend for them and escape damnation have normal eyes. Demons have glowing red eyes, Satan has pitch-black eyes and so does Jack when he gets mad.
  • In Girl Genius, you can usually tell whether Agatha or Lucrezia is in control, since when Lucrezia is in, she frequently ditches Agatha's glasses (for some reason)... Also, she's usually smirking, whereas Agatha alternates looking like a scared rabbit and looking like an Evil Overlord.
  • In Commander Kitty, you can tell what state Zenith is in by looking at her eyes. In her normal mode (evil), she has black pupils and a dark line above her eyes for her glower. In safe mode (good), she has solid white pupils and seemingly wider eyes. And when she snaps and becomes a brain uploading Omnicidal Maniac, her eyes glow solid blue.
  • In Deities, after Death kills Lucifer, his pupils resembles Lucifer's when he becomes angry. This transformation is seen in this strip.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang and Katara both have quite large eyes. Sokka has narrower eyes, but they are still wider than those of Azula, whose eyes in turn look narrower (read: crazier) during her breakdown. Zuko is an interesting case - his narrow eyes indicate a dark character; however, one is narrower than the other, indicating moral ambiguity right from the start.
    • In book 1 Zuko is pissed off all the time, and his one good eye is contorted in frustration. Later, as his demeanor improves, his face relaxes and the eye looks bigger, whilst his scar becomes overgrown by hair. Also, young Zuko's eyes are larger than Teen Zuko, showing that he inherited more good from his mother than his father's evil.
    • Ty Lee's colossal eyes seem to indicate that she isn't completely evil, which was finally confirmed in "The Boiling Rock, Part 2". Of course, Mai has eyes even narrower than Azula's, and she turned her coat moments earlier.
  • In Teen Titans, the relatively naive and innocent Starfire has much larger eyes than her comparatively evil sister Blackfire.
  • In The Simpsons, most characters have wide, bulging eyes - except for Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob.
  • Inverted in the DC Animated Universe where Superman has squinty little eyes of just an upper eyebrow and a pupil while Lex Luthor has more normal eyes with a white to them. Also ignored in most other cases as eye size seems gender based; all ladies get big eyes no matter how evil they are.
  • The Transformers had the robot version, based on eye color: The good Autobots had blue eyes, and the evil Decepticons had red eyes. Taking this even further, there was an episode where the good guys were brainwashed into evil. The visual cue? Their eyes turned red.
  • Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil gives wide eyes to the titular Anti Anti Christ, but narrow eyes to her father. Jesus's eyes are wide, and the nun who tries to kill Lucy has narrow eyes.
  • In Recess, the antagonistic characters have narrower eyes than the protagonists.
  • The Grinch, in his Animated Adaptation, is depicted with blood-red pupils up until his Heel–Face Turn, after which they become blue.note .
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The show tends to give the good characters the standard big watery eyes while villains tend to get scary (and mostly serpentine) peepers. Even minor "villains" like Trixie and Gilda tend to have less reflections in their eyes. Spike (except for one episode) averts this, as does Discord after his Heel–Face Turn.
    • In Inspiration Manifestation, when Rarity is succumbing to the influence of the spell, her eyes glow freakish green, and the usually enormous irises shrink. When Spike is showering her with kind words of praise and support, her eyes return to their normal limpid pools of blue.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: While there is no visual indication of this, Numbuh 1 and Numbuh 4 are able to tell that the Mirror Universe counterparts of Lizzie and Numbuh 3 from "Operation: P.O.O.L." are evil just by looking into their eyes. When the Destructively Nefarious Kids all pull a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the special, Numbuh 1 mentions Eizzil's eyes look much kinder.