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Hellish Pupils

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A character's pupils are slitted like a cat's or snake's, or rectangular like a sheep's or goat's, to indicate that they're channeling something nasty (or that they are nasty, period). Often paired with a red or yellow eye color to accentuate the wrongness. Also applies to eyes with such unusual designs that they seem wrong in the worst way.

Curiously, nobody ever seems to notice this if the character isn't a known antagonist. It's a Red Right Hand to identify trouble to the audience.

Sometimes this is the Glowing Eyes of Doom with the dimmer switch turned down.

A subtrope of "Uh-Oh" Eyes. May overlap with Animal Eyes, generally when the eyes of animals associated with evil and sinister motives, or those of animals with strange or unusual eye shapes, are used. Not to be confused with evil schoolchildren.


Compare Fireball Eyeballs.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sumire from Venus Versus Virus has cross-shaped pupils along with Red Eyes, Take Warning while in her Berserker state.
  • Xellos the Priest of Slayers has these, along with purple eyes. Naturally, they serve as a Red Right Hand to his true nature as a Monster, and he only shows them when he's being serious
  • Used by Evangeline A.K. McDowell of Negima! Magister Negi Magi whenever she taps into her vampiric powers: the pupils slit, the sclera turns black and the iris starts to glow yellow. Interestingly enough she only does this AFTER she relinquishes her antagonistic role, for such purposes as scaring the shit out of Anya for the lulz.
  • Used by certain of the Aoyama girls in Love Hina, typically right before doing something violent/evil. Happens somewhere around Chapter 70. Naru also gets a pair in Volume 8 on Parakelse Island.
  • The Lunatic Magician from Delicious in Dungeon has creepy keyhole shaped pupils.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Many of the Homunculi have these. In fact, you can note the contrast between human eyes and homunculus eyes in the 2003 anime version when Envy feeds Wrath incomplete Philosopher Stones.
      • It's not immediately obvious, because Ling usually has his eyes closed, but there is a noticeable difference between Ling's normal pupils when he's in control and his homunculus pupils when Greed is in control.
    • Kimblee, who is human but a complete psycho has creepy, reptilian eyes.
    • King Bradley a.k.a. Wrath has his Ouroboros mark on his left eye, covered by an eyepatch.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo Kurosaki does this whenever his inner Hollow is about to take over, changing the color of his irises to yellow, and the color of his eyeballs to black, with a half mask to boot. Later in the series, he gains the ability to Hollowfy at will, making the aforementioned changes to his eyes and assuming the full mask, altering his voice as well.
    • Ulquiorra Cifer's pupils are slitted. When he activates his second sword release and transforms, the sclera of his eyes change from white to dark green and his green irises become yellow. In this form, his pupils are still slitted.
    • Yhwach, Arc Villain of the final arc, gains two extra pupils in each eye when using The Almighty.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Gajeel Redfox has slitted red eyes, like those of a lizard or dragon. Makes sense, since he's the Iron Dragon Slayer, was raised by a dragon, and is easily the most feral of the seven Dragon Slayers shown so far.
    • The Raijinshuu: Evergreen's and Bickslow's eyes glow underneath their Power Limiter, whereas Fried's sclera turn black with a glowing purple pupil.
    • Rogue has eyes identical to Gajeel's, though he is a calm if not somewhat overconfident person who gracefully accepts defeat and the idea that he may have overestimated himself, and shows kindness and consideration to others without even having to have Natsu beat the idea into him. The only design purpose they seem to serve is to make him look more like Gajeel.
  • Noir:
    • Kirika's eyes become blank and soulless slits when her "other" personality awakens. In this case, her partner Mireille very clearly notices that something is wrong, making her more attentive that most people in animeland.
    • Chloe has similar, if only slightly softer eyes all the time, indicating how she is far more deeply and closely indoctrinated to her role as Noir, than either Kirika or Mireille.
  • The half-yoma fighters in Claymore have eyes that are normally silver — these turn into gold eyes with slitted pupils once they start to tap into their yoma power.
  • If someone's eyes do this in Higurashi: When They Cry, they're in big, big trouble. It means that whoever in that scene has normal eyes is hallucinating, and is about to go Ax-Crazy. If someone's eyes lack pupils, that's a sure sign of craziness or emotional brokenness.
  • Tyranno Hassleberry/Kenzan from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX gets Hellish Pupils whenever accessing the power of his "Dinosaur DNA" that he gained from a bone transplant from an accident at a fossil dig.
    • Then when Judai enters Haou mode or becomes Haou Judai, his eyes turn an evil yellow. After fusing with Yubel, they then turn green and yellow, same as hers.
  • This is also one of the defining traits of the Dark Signers — they have very small pupils as well as black sclera.
  • Around half the characters in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, and almost any other show involving otherwise Badass Normals with some form of berserker ability.
  • Vinegar Doppio from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Vento Aureo gains nightmarish black pupils with smaller black dots around them whenever his Diavolo persona takes over or influences his body.
  • Several different characters in Get Backers begin to reveal that they carry Stigma, their pupils forming a cross, which indicate that've surpassed mortal restrictions towards the end of the manga. Generally, characters use special contact lenses to hide this trait. When they remove the lens, however, even running away is generally not going to do much good. Other characters don't bother to hide it at all. Taken to its extreme by the Voodoo King, who has three eyes and has Stigma in all three of them.
  • Train Heartnet from Black Cat sports a cat's slit eyes, although it seems to highlight his feline features more than it makes him evil. When the slits become especially pronounced, however, bad things start to happen. He manages to scare an entire squad of bodyguards into submission just by walking past them with these eyes.
  • Naruto:
    • Whenever Naruto begins using the Nine Tailed Fox's power, his eyes turn red and his pupils become slits. Real foxes actually do have eyes like this except they are orange, yellow, or brown instead of red.
    • Orochimaru has yellow eyes with slitted pupils to further the snake motif.
    • When Gaara's demonic side comes out, his eyes turn yellow, with pupils shaped along with the sand that envelops his body.
    • The Sharingan eyes, which are possessed by Sasuke, Itachi, Kakashi, and various other characters, and when activated are red and have three extra comma-shaped pupils surrounding the center.
    • Naruto again, when he completes the Sage mode, accompanied by "froggy" eyes with rectangular pupils.
    • The series has plenty of these, with the Rinnegan, Orochimaru's eyes... actually, most of the Akatsuki seems to have strange eyes.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Kyo is possessed by the Cat spirit of the Zodiac; thus, when he's angry or otherwise extremely emotional, his eyes become yellow and slitted. Played almost always for comedy in the anime, but the manga uses it half the time for dramatic effect.
    • In the manga, Yuki has a similar effect; on occasion, he's displayed something like the Rat's eyes, where his eyes lighten and his pupils disappear altogether.
    • On the other hand, Hatsuharu, when he goes Black Haru, goes from this to this. Akito has done this too. Basically, if Natsuki Takaya draws someone's pupils clearly defined, then something's going down...
  • Only sort of an example (as the character is clearly not human), but Ryuk from Death Note has red pupils. (Another shinigami, Rem, has the classic gold-eyes-slit-pupils.) A clearer example is any character who makes the shinigami eyes trade, who have demonic red pupils.
  • Another not-really-human example: Arcueid from Tsukihime. Whenever she gets really, really angry, her Hypnotic Eyes turn Gold and slitted, at which point only the strongest of characters can fight back, or even move.
  • The Blade Children in Spiral all have slit pupils (and crazy hair colours). They don't seem to actually exist, as the characters constantly talk about how the only way to identify one is their missing rib.
    • This is kind of weird, actually. With the five primary Blade Children, the boys always have the slit-pupils, while the girls only have them when they're feeling something very strongly. The anime uses this to good effect in one episode focusing on Sayoko Shiranagatani, a Blade Child who has amnesia and is being targeted by a Hunter. The camera constantly focuses on her eyes when she's in danger, and her pupils never go down to slits the way Rio's or Ryoko's would, emphasizing the point that she's escaped the Blade Children's fate.
      • Or the fact that she's completely deadpan and emotionless in that episode. Anyway, the above only works with the anime; in the manga, Blade Children's pupils go weird when they're feeling murderous - either actually fighting or just being threatening. (It makes the threatening very effective.) That also stands for the boys and is particularly striking in Kanone's case, as his eyes go from large and kind-looking to just freaky.
    • And then Hizumi's eyes are just crazy all the time. (It's in fact sort of related.)
  • Alucard of Hellsing manifests slitted, cat-like pupils when using his Hypnotic Eyes in the manga. Recent chapters have shown Integra Hellsing's eyes like this in some panels, though whether this is a side-effect of keeping a fully powered Alucard under control or just a sign of being extremely pissed off is not addressed.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • When the not-quite-a-vampire Arystar Krory drinks the blood of an Akuma, his hair stands up and his eyes get this black veiny sunken look to them. He is a good guy, though.
    • Allen Walker has a cursed eye, which goes black with concentric red rings when he spots an Akuma.
    • Beside having goden eyes in his noah form like all Noah, the earl of Millennium has slitted pupils.
      • Major spoiler ahead Allen Walker in his Noah form too. This serves as a Foreshadowing that the memory inside Allen is that of half the Millennium earl Hellish indeed.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • Kiria. Bonus for them being different colored Hellish Pupils, specifically one vertical slit, one horizontal.
    • This is also a common trait among vampires, except Outer Moka (and even then, her Superpowered Evil Side has them).
  • Karin, a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire from Karin (aka: Chibi-Vampire), usually has normal eyes. Whenever she gets stressed out, her pupils remain circles but also gain vertical slashes — a merge of human and catlike pupils in one package. Her eyes also apparently turn gold.
  • The Black Cloaked cultists in My-Otome get gold cat's eyes when they draw upon the power of the Slaves.
  • All of the demons in Chrono Crusade have these (of course), but some are more evil than others — in fact, the title character (Chrono) has them, and he's one of the good guys.
  • Rokudou Mukuro of Reborn! (2004) has a red eye whose pupil is actually kanji that cycle from one to six, from the six realms concept in Buddhism. Each kanji represents a power derived from one of the realms...yes, including Hell. However, the one Mukuro believes to be the worst is the fifth realm, the one of humans.
  • Bardiche of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha used to have a slitted eye in its Power Crystal. When Fate switched sides, the eye is never seen again (barring her transformation in the A's movie).
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler Manga only, Hinagiku and Wataru. It might symbolize their aggressive personalities; as they're certainly not evil. Certain other characters get them when being sneaky/violent, but these two sometimes have them when not doing anything in particular. There is no meaning, yet. In the anime adaptation, the Superintendent and Wataru normally have the eyes, and Hinagiku can summon it when she gets really annoyed.
  • In Soul Eater Arachne has spiderweb patterns on her eyeballs; Medusa (shown above) has snake-like eyes; Asura has 'eyes' inside his eyes (more like vertical eye-shaped irises).
    • Not to mention when Black Star starts showing signs of turning out like his father (who nearly became another Kishin) his pupils sometimes have yellow stars appear in them.
      • More recently his has taken on a blue color
      • Akane from the spin-off also has them.
    • This is also inverted somewhat since some normal characters have strange pupils (for example Kid has multi-shaded gold coloured irises while Maka's aren't even visible unless she's getting worked up).
    • Kid's eyes can look kind of creepy. Can't see another example of it, though, so might be a one-off. In his case, the main physical indication he's other than human has turned out to be his hair.
      • When he becomes a full Shinigami, his pupils permanently turn into skulls.
      • Another slightly off indication would be whenever his eyes are drawn triangular and blank white. This has shown up in two particularly intense/serious fight scenes - when he's forced to fight both Black Star and later Mosquito 'seriously'.
    • Blair's human form features yellow irises and slitted pupils, akin to Medusa. Justified that she's actually a cat.
  • Sukeban Deka: Remi Mizuchi, the Arch-Enemy of the heroine Saki, has creepy snake-like narrow pupils to reflect her perverted and diabolical nature, as well as her association with snakes.
  • Outright subverted in The Law of Ueki by the title character Kosuke Ueki, who has very narrow slit-like irises (possibly just pupils and no irises at all), and yet he's a very kind and just person. The same is true for his mentor Kobayashi... when his Scary Shiny Glasses aren't in full swing, that is.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō has this in spades because let's face it, it's full of fucking youkai.
  • Yomi of Ga-Rei. It's much clearer in the prequel anime, Ga-Rei -Zero-. Either way, she's more of an Anti-Villain than anything else.
  • A subversion of this can be found in Natsume's Book of Friends, where the protagonist has slitted eyes, but this indicates not that he's a nasty youkai but that he can see them. Played straight with some youkai, who also have slitted eyes and at least start off rather nasty.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • Kisara has catlike eyes. Initially this depicts her as vicious, but a new light gets thrown on this with the discovery that she is actually a closet Kindhearted Cat Lover.
    • Aagard Jum Sai, the Muay Thai master of Yami, has asterisk-shaped pupils. Not sure how that works.
  • Subverted with Bloody Monday's Fujimaru and his dad, whose Hellish Pupils show up when they're about to do something heroically badass.
  • Subverted/played as a variant of Mystic Eyes in the manga adaptation of Breath of Fire IV. In this 'verse, Hellish Pupils are seen as Dragon Eyes, signs that the bearer is of great destiny and possessed with Psychic Powers of being a Seer of the future not to mention being a Physical God. (This even extends to a summoner-character developing Hellish Pupils when voluntarily possessed by Cool Big Sis Deis.)
  • PandoraHearts:
    • Charlotte, also known as Lotti. Also Zwei and Leo.
    • The previous Glen AKA Revis has them too.
  • Andrea of Gankutsuou has these, which help to highlight his insanity.
  • Digimon Tamers has Guilmon do this whenever he smells a Digimon. His normally round pupils go slitted and he starts growling. And it may be due only to their extremely strong bond, but the one time in the series that Takato lost his temper, his eyes underwent the same transformation.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha is a half-demon that has Supernatural Gold Eyes with slitted pupils. Considering what those tropes usually represent it is a little surprising that not only is he a good guy he's the hero. Now, if his pupils turn more slitted and blue and his sclera red, then we have a problem.
    • The same applies to Sesshoumaru. (This also gives a really good excuse to flee; you don't want to mess with an unbelievably large, powerful, angry, and regally fluffy dog demon lord.)
    • Many, if not most, bestial Youkai also have slitted eyes. And yes, that includes Shippo and Kirara.
    • Koga's eyes in fact have no pupils. By the time of his introduction, we've decided that if a character has not-round pupils, they ain't human.
  • Black Butler:
    • When Sebastian is acting especially demonic, his eyes are a dark shade of pink/pinkish red and his pupils are slits
    • Also, In episode 12 of Season 2 Ciel also gets turned into a demon, and is shown a few times with eyes similar to Sebastian's.
  • Cell from Dragon Ball Z has these in his first form.
  • All Dream Demons in Dream Eater Merry have eyes with pupils of nonstandard shape, which occasionally glow white. Merry herself has rectangular pupils like a sheep's.
  • In Sugar Dark, the main character/prisoner/forced grave digger/former private Reed meets Raven, a young mischievous boy who was among the mysterious masked people who ordered him to bury one of the Eldritch Abominations and humanity's ancient enemy called the "Dark". He doesn't appear to notice (or perhaps not to further question - what with shit happening to him in such short intervals) that he has goat's eyes.
  • Used occasionally in Wandering Son, typically for Anna or Riku (both characters have Tsurime Eyes), but not in a negative manner. It's just used as a cartoonish effect.
  • Berserk: Guts gets these when he's in his standard action kill-kill-kill mode, which are merely his irises drawn in scribbled detail (its the Blank White Eyes or Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises that you need to really look out for). Griffith, on the other hand, has piercing white slitted irises when he is in his Godhand form that is Femto. It makes his Kubrick Stare all the more terrifying.
  • When Yakumo from 3×3 Eyes draws power from Amara, his eyes become completely white with no pupils at all, along with some other demonic changes.
  • In Kuroko's Basketball, the former captain of the Generation of Miracles, Akashi, has these.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Apocalypse no Toride (Fortress of The Apocalypse) where the four juvenile delinquents encounter a giant mountain of rotting zombies controlled by an androgynous naked man on the top, using the zombies like a grotesque throne. When Maeda (the most innocent of the gang) catches its attention, said naked man (who was about a half-mile away) uses the zombies to move like a hideous organism at lightening speed, until its only a foot in front of the terrified youth. A close-up reveals that it has Sharingan-like eyes, with three smaller eyes inhabiting each of its pupils.
  • Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss has them. So does Mizuki, Sukuna and Akura-Ou.
  • Arlong from One Piece, when angry, has bloodshot eyes resembling those of a Sea King that's about to attack. Not even Nami, who spent eight years forced to work under him, ever saw him this pissed off.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the eyes of the Remnants of Sephiroth have catlike slits for pupils — as do those of Sephiroth himself, though less pronounced. When Cloud is suffering from a particularly intense spasm from the Geostigma disease, his eyes briefly turn like the Remnants'.
  • In Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh has red eyes with snake-like slit pupils. This is emphasized in an extreme close-up on one at the end of Episode 12, and the pupil dilates and contracts several times as he talks.
  • Demons in Saiyuki tend to have slitted pupils when not wearing Power Limiters.
  • Mashiro from Thou Shalt Not Die ends up with these types of eyes after she snaps.
  • Dogma has cross-shaped pupils. Somewhat ironic when you consider that he's a demon.
  • Sendo from Hajime no Ippo, tying in with his nickname 'the Naniwa Tiger', sometimes displays these, most prominently in chapter 1091 in his fight against the Mexican champion Nargo.
  • Dororo (2019): Hyakkimaru and Dororo have the same dark red eyes, but Hyakkimaru's eyes alternate between having slit demonic pupils when he is fighting and round human pupils when calm or emotional.
  • In Excel Saga, people from the lost civilization of Solaria have yellow cat eyes, a trait Il Palazzo, Doctor Kabapu, and Miwa Rengaya share.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU's Spectre sometimes manifests images of skulls where his pupils should be, terrifying those who see him face-to-face.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Super Sonic, the resident Omnicidal Maniac in Sonic the Comic had red spirals instead of pupils. In some stories they seemed to reflect his demeanour; when he was at the peak of his evil powers the spirals were large enough to fill his eyes, but when he was good they shrank noticably.

     Eastern Animation 
  • In Suur Toll, Vanatühi the devil has three red pupils.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Justified in Rango: Rattlesnake Jake is a western diamondback rattlesnake, so it makes sense for him to have slit pupils. The flaming-red irises certainly aid the hellish look, though.
  • Professor Screweyes from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. True, his left eye is actually a screw buried deep on his eye socket, but the fact that the screw's slit is in a vertical position (instead of in a diagonal or horizontal one) pretty makes it look like the pupil of a snake or a cat.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Master in the Doctor Who movie. The last time we saw him in the series, he was fighting off the effects of turning into a cat-like creature with the same result.
  • Megumi the Yurei spirit does this in the American version of Shutter, she has a scene where her eyes widen and her pupils go inhumanly small. Very creepy effect.
  • In Aliens, Lance Henriksen wanted to have his android character sport a pair of Hellish Pupils while performing his Facehugger autopsy, but director James Cameron declared that Henriksen's eyes were creepy enough as-is.
  • Dren in Splice has cross-shaped pupils, as an indicator of her hybrid nature
  • In In the Mouth of Madness, the ax-wielding maniac who attacks Trent early on has eyes with two pupils that overlap one another.
  • In Galaxy Quest, Sarris's eyes are yellowish-green with dual pupils (one large one and a smaller one next to it).
  • The aliens in Battleship have sensitive lizard-like eyes with slit pupils.
  • Evil magic user Zenobia does this in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger manifesting feline eyes (for a few seconds) when using her full powers. (She does this twice during the film.)
  • Employed subtly in Let the Right One In: Eli's pupils turn slitted in the dark and when her inner vampire comes to the fore.
  • Poor Thomas Jerome Newton. Beneath the contact lenses he wears as part of his Alien Among Us disguise, he has reptilian eyes — yellow with slit pupils. He's a Tragic Hero and a subversion of this trope, but it doesn't keep his human mistress from regarding his true form as hideous.
  • The devil mating with Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby is shown to have yellowish cateyes. Their baby is suggested to have inherited them as well.
  • Lucifer in Angel Heart has these.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has Judge Doom in his Toon form such scary eyes that they could count as Eldritch Abominations.
  • The Mummy (2017): As part of her Obviously Evil design Ahmanet has two pupils (w/ irises) in each eye.
  • Due to having a soul no more, Miles Creighton displays these twice in Chiller; first when he wakes up after being brought back from his cryogenic sleep, and when he dies for good in front of his mother in the ending.

  • The mage Raistlin from the Dungeons & Dragons-derived Dragonlance Saga has pupils shaped like hourglasses, a side effect of a magical talent he received when young. Naturally, Raistlin has Supernatural Gold Eyes, too.
  • The Sidhe in The Dresden Files almost exclusively have these, unless they're going to some effort to hide it (it's sometimes a little more ambiguous with ones who were originally human), being almost exclusively referred to as 'feline'. Like cats, the Unseelie/Winter Sidhe are predators by nature and enjoy toying with their prey (to quote the protagonist, "these people think the Saw movies are hilarious"). The Seelie/Summer Sidhe tend to be far less creepy, but even they tend to walk the Good Is Not Nice line and have a serious case of Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • Good Omens: A. J. Crowley has yellow, snake-like eyes (six thousand years ago he was a snake, hence the fact that he occasionally hisses, doesn't blink much, and can do 'odd things' with his tongue), hence his Cool Shades. Crowley is a demon who lives in a fantastic London flat, designed the M25 London ring-road as one of his most evil deeds, and drives a Bentley. His shades are pretty damn cool.
  • Harry Potter: The Big Bad Voldemort has slit-pupiled, red eyes. They were ordinary brown eyes in his childhood; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reveals that the change was part of an Evil Makes You Ugly transformation brought on by creating an excess of Soul Jars.
  • Mr. Teatime, the psychopathic assassin from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Hogfather has jaundiced eyes with creepy pinpoint pupils. The fact that he only has one eye doesn't detract from this - indeed, his glass eye is described as being the less creepy one.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Ares has these in the form of literal hellfire when he removes his Cool Shades. They get hotter as he gets angrier, at one time melting his sunglasses.
  • The Westfolk (elves) from Katherine Kerr's Deverry novels all have catlike eyes (big irises and slit pupils), though they aren't exactly harbringers of trouble... most of the time...
  • The Witcher: All Witchers gain catlike eyes during their mutation. This enables them to see in the dark, but also makes them distinctly more badass. And, coincidentally, in bright light as well (Pointed out in-text, when Geralt's pupils turned into thin slits, giving him an advantage in a fight). A cat's eye not only looks cooler, it's simply more awesome.
  • A somewhat minor (can The Dragon have a dragon?) villain in the X-Wing Series, the petty crime lord Zekka Thyne, has red eyes with diamond-shaped pupils edged in gold, which reflect light when he's in the dark. The heroes are very happy to take advantage of this and shoot him when he's trying to sneak around. (It happened twice, and one of them even warned him earlier that if he slipped up he'd be tracked down by his "double-diamonds". No one told him about goggles, apparently.) Justified in that he's apparently some kind of Half-Human Hybrid.
  • The Hot Witch in Alchemy by Margaret Mahy has eyes that initially appear normal, but turn yellow and catlike when examined closely. Somewhat surprisingly, she's a good guy—the antagonist is even creepier.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: The Anti-God Lord Foul has sickly yellow eyes "like decaying fangs". It's not entirely clear what is meant by this simile, but it's probably not anything good.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is represented (in visions, and from there as a metaphor) by a great eye, with a slit pupil and yellow like a cat's, and rimmed with fire. In Peter Jackson's film version, of course, that eye was Sauron.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novel Champion's Trial, Kei Takahashi is being transformed into a humanoid wasp. His eyes turn yellow-green with red pupils, which is nasty enough; however, his pupils then begin to divide, over and over, becoming the compound eyes of an insect. Creepy.
  • Shahmeran in the League of Magi stories has eyes that go vertically slitted like a snake's whenever she manifests her powers (but remains in human form.
  • The Knife in The Dollmaker has eyes that look like hourglasses. She's not really evil, but she's definitely inhuman, and doesn't have much against a little light murder.
  • In Dark Heart, this is the first sign of Myrren Kahliana's dark side emerging, along with her developing magical power.
  • Warren the 13th:
    • Subverted with Sketchy, who looks terrifying in part to his slit-shaped pupils, but turns out to be very friendly.
    • Aunt Annaconda has these to make her look similarly creepy, and possibly to indicate that she's a witch. They're especially prominent during her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Malediction Trilogy: The Winter Queen appears to human girl Cecile as a perfectly beautiful woman, with glossy black hair, silver eyes, pearly teeth and perfectly manicured rosy nails. However, from time to time, especially when she loses control of her temper, her real nature pushes through her glamour, showing things like claws, pointed teeth and eyes with slit pupils. And she is highly dangerous, planning total destruction of all trolls.
  • Empire Of Sand has a variant: the Maha looks like a charismatic but normal Silver Fox except for his pupils, which show that the insides of his eyes have a fractured gleam like light on broken glass, betraying that there's an entirely inhuman power within his body.
  • Beasts Made Of Night: Children are exposed as Sin-Eaters when their Puberty Superpowers activate and their pupils turn white.

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Members of Species 8472, one of Trek's few completely non-humanoid alien races, have cross-shaped eyes. How nasty are they? The Borg are terrified of them.
  • The Silicates (AIs) of Space: Above and Beyond also had crosshair eyes.
  • Those infected by the Cheetah taint in the Doctor Who story "Survival" develop cat-like pupils. The Master retains these in his next appearance, in Doctor Who: The Movie.
  • On The Sarah Jane Adventures, the Bane have pupils somewhere between heart- and apple-shaped.
  • 'Deathwalker' from Babylon 5 had cat eyes.
  • The X-Files:
    • Seen at the end of "Terms of Endearment" revealing that the supposedly 'normal' wife of the demon is actually a demon herself.
    • And in "Die Hand Die Verletzt", when the teacher-demon-lady-whatever-thing was carrying out her/its rituals.
    • Also in "Teso Dos Bichos", a rather infamous episode featuring sewer killer pussy cats summoned by a jaguar spirit, a shaman of Ecuador had cat-like eyes as well.
  • Inverted on Criminal Minds, when a homicidal taxidermist replaces the realistic glass cat eyes of a preserved bobcat with the real eyes of the man who'd brought the animal in to be stuffed.
  • The Wraith of Stargate Atlantis have both the slitted pupils and the yellow iris. And they are pretty creepy. Well, at first.
  • The "defiant pupil" in Zoo is a distortion of the left eye's pupil, which all of the unnaturally-hostile animals seem to display.
  • Crowley, demonic co-protagonist of Good Omens, has yellow slit-pupiled eyes that have sclera or not depending on how snake-like he's feeling at any given moment. Between the contact lenses and the dark sunglasses, one suspects actor David Tennant was doing a lot of his acting effectively blind...

    Myth and Legend 
  • Virgil describes Charon as having eyes "like hollow furnaces on fire."

  • The Devil in Devil's Dare has green pupils with reptilian slits.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Kermit the Frog obviously isn't evil but he does have odd horizontal pupils with a bulge in the middle. Real frog species feature a variety of pupil shapes as well as irises often colored similarly to the rest of the frog, meaning that some species do have eyes resembling Kermit's, such as the leopard frog.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One piece of Warhammer art depicts a pair of eyes with the eight-pointed star of Chaos for pupils. As a general rule: if you are in the Warhammer world and you see someone with those symbols in their eyes looking at you, it may be time to take a long vacation. And it's probably best if you don't stop to pack.
  • Urik von Kharkov, a Ravenloft darklord who can change into a panther, develops slitted pupils when he gets angry.

    Video Games 
  • Killer Croc and Copperhead from the Batman: Arkham Series. Killer Croc is full-on humanoid reptilian, while Copperhead still looks human enough, minus the bonus long forked tongue.
  • When Chris gets possessed by Orochi in The King of Fighters '97, his eyes become slitted and either red or yellow; however, this only part of the transformation.
    • Goenitz also gets slitted pupils before fighting in The King of Fighters '96; and in the Neo-Geo pocket games, the Heavenly King version of Yashiro and Chris also have these kind of eyes. Shermie? Who knows.
  • Beckett from Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has slitted cat pupils and eyes that are completely red — a side-effect of his vampire clan. He is, however, neither a villain, trouble, nor particularly sinister — the worst he'll do is be sarcastic at you.
  • Sephiroth, Big Bad of various incarnations of Final Fantasy VII, has the slitted cat-like variety, compounded with those oh-so telling "Mako" eyes. His eyes were always like that, even before he turned bad, presumably because of Jenova's cells. This is especially evident in Crisis Core.
  • Disgaea:
    • Many demons have this. Rozalin of the second game and other members of Veldime's Snow Clan takes it a step further by having white slitted pupils.
    • (Human) Princess Sapphire, from the third game, has white star-shaped pupils. Seeing as she's conclusively off her nut, it would be safe to call them hellish.
  • Rikku and the Al Bhed people of Final Fantasy X have spiral-shaped pupils. They're not evil, though, just quirky and a tad ornery. Yuna has one eye like this, as she's half-Al Bhed (Rikku is actually her cousin, in fact).
  • Solid Snake has slit pupils in the Nintendo GameCube remake of Metal Gear Solid. However, they only appear in that particular game and he's not terribly evil despite the violence supposedly latent in his genes.
  • The World Ends with You:
    • The first step of Konishi's One-Winged Angel is heralded with her taking her glasses off as her eyes turn into green cat's eyes. Her monstrous form, appropriately enough, is Tigrus Cantus.
    • Minamimoto's eyes, on the other hand, are constantly yellow and catlike — his form is Leo Cantus.
  • Resident Evil:
  • In Shadowverse, Nicola's pupils noticeably shrink when he is genuinely pissed.
  • If you pay close attention to the skits in Tales of Symphonia you'll notice that Presea's pupils are black while the pupils of the rest of the cast are white. She's not evil though.
  • Humanoid Shadows in Persona 4 have these. Once denied by their human counterparts (the last step to being killed by one is to shout "YOU'RE NOT ME!"), they turn into full-out Glowing Eyes of Doom just before the transformation.
  • Lara's Doppelganger in Tomb Raider: Underworld has pupils that constantly reflect light like a cat's.
  • The PlayStation game, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (loosely based on the movie) allows the player to control multiple characters throughout the game, including three dinosaur characters. The strength of the dinosaur characters' attacks are governed by an "Instinct" meter in the upper corner, which takes the form of an eye. The eye starts off as a green iris with a large, circular black pupil. The character can pick up items to change this, including a Full Instinct item, which makes the eye in the corner a blazing red, with a slit pupil. This Instinct boost causes the player's attacks to be significantly stronger, and the player must kill enemies in quick succession in order to keep the Hellish Pupil, otherwise the eye color begins to transit backwards through orange, yellow, and back to green, with the pupil changing back to a more circular shape. Obtaining Instinct and keeping it maintained is an important part of gameplay, as having full Instinct can make bringing down even the hardest of bosses a matter of only attacks hits, so it really pays the player to obtain the Hellish Pupil and keep it that way.
  • Nessiah from Yggdra Union's eyes were probably like this, considering that the one that's in the Gran Centurio has a slitted pupil.
  • Klonoa from his eponymous video game series, is a heroic example, with catlike slit pupils surrounded by equally catlike golden irises. The pupils have widened somewhat over the course of several installments and spinoffs and currently resemble Sonic the Hedgehog's eyes more than the full-on cat eyes he had in his first game. Then again, Klonoa IS a Cat.
  • Date Masamune from Sengoku Basara has slitted pupils (well, one at least), despite being an ordinary human by the game's standards, and though questionably insane he's by no means evil. However he is often referred to as a "dragon", and whether this is to be taken literally or not his design sports a lot of dragon motifs.
  • Touhou Project offer Nue, who's missing her pupils almost entirely (they're just darker red spots). Despite ZUN being famously bad at character art, he does normally color eyes correctly, so much of the fandom accepts this as intentional. The Scarlet Sisters Remilia and Flandre also sport slit pupils.
  • Morrigan of Dragon Age: Origins has cat's-eye pupils and Supernatural Gold Eyes. Unsurprisingly, she's a Token Evil Teammate and a shapeshifter.
  • Catherine likes this trope. Vincent briefly displays rectangular goat-style pupils each time he wakes up from a nightmare, Thomas Mutton has eyes shaped like the spear of mars and the cross from the mirror of venus, and Catherine and Vincent have variants of these in the True Cheater ending.
  • The Materials from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games possess these, signifying their connection to the Darkness of the Book of Darkness.
  • As mentioned in Literature, Witchers in The Witcher tend to have these of the slit catlike variety.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Rider possesses square pupils, and as they're usually covered in the original game people only realize this right before being Taken for Granite by her powers.
    • Gilgamesh from the same game has slitted pupils and red eyes, Which is a trait all demigods have.
    • So does Lancer; it might be Fate-continuity shorthand for marking out someone who's got divine ancestry; Lancer is Cu Chulainn, ergo his dad is the god Lugh, and Gilgamesh WOULD be two-thirds divine (not sure how that one works...), but he's had his godly-rating dinged by the fact that he really doesn't like the gods very much and is thus his usual, er... charming self at them.
    • Rin has slitted pupils when she's angry. While she is a magus, it's probably artistic license more than any indication of anything abnormal. She has box pupils in Shirou's dreams. As does Rider under her mask. This isn't a coincidence.
  • The dragon's eyes in Dra+Koi are slitted even as a human. The protagonist thinks they look reptilian.
  • In Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Marco's eyes morph into reptilian slits during her final confrontation with Astaroth.

  • Last Res0rt: Jigsaw's pupils and irises turn red, with the whites replaced by black, when she really loses her temper. It's one of the signs that she's a vampire, and her powers seem to get a significant boost when it happens. It's not something she wants people to see, though - she's trying to keep the fact that she's a vampire under wraps.
  • Vriska Serket from Homestuck has one normal eye and one eye with seven pupils, though she considers them to be seven different eyes. It fits the "hellish" part perfectly, since she's the Token Evil Teammate (and considering where she lives and who her teammates are, that's really saying something!) It also fits her "eight" Numerological Motif.
  • Kit from The Dreadful has vertically slitted eyes, to go with her demon girl motif.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the transformation from normal pupils to this is used here to signal the beginning of Grace's (almost) Unstoppable Rage.
  • Most Hellhounds in Wurr spot these. They are nicer than they look.
  • in Commander Kitty, Zenith combines this with Red Eyes, Take Warning when she meets her "sworn nemesis" Nin Wah again.
  • Satan, being Satan, has snake-like pupils in Satan and Me.
  • Tower of God:
    • Urek Mazino, a neutral but freakishly powerful character, has red eyes with pupils that are vertical ovals, if not quite cat-like.
    • The anime adaptation gives Rachel clearly vertical pupils, though they're not actually cat-like either so it's not very noticeable. This seems kind of random since she's about the most ordinary human around. It can be taken to foreshadow that she's far more villainous than she seems.
  • Dio Varus from Black Haze has these in his demon form and accidentally in his human form. Unusually for this trope, the sudden change to this is exactly what alerts Rood to the fact that Dio isn't human.
  • Ava's Demon: Unusually shaped pupils are common in the setting, but demon hosts are distinguished by having unusually colored pupils as well. A flashback shows that Odin's pupils changed from black to red after the near-death experience that opened his connection with Pedri.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: Both Scarlet and Brook have slit pupils, making this a likely trait among reapers.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Shyralis has snake-like slitted eyes, and this disturbing appearance is part of the reason why she was bullied as a kid.
  • In More Tales of MU, a dragon is described as having "jagged diagonal pupils".
  • Tetras from The Motley Two, a descendant of Homestuck's Vriska Serket described above, has four pupils in total (three in the left eye). Her Numerological Motif is, of course, four.
  • Hazbin Hotel features plenty of characters like this, being set in Hell after all. Many characters have no visible pupils, Cherri's pupil is a yellow "x", and Alastor's pupils turn to radio dials when he goes into his Nightmare Face, made all the creepier by him not blinking when he does this.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants creepypasta "Red Mist"/"Squidward's Suicide" is about Squidward getting hyperrealistic red Glowing Eyes of Doom and being told to kill himself before it comes, which he does at the end. The song he plays at his performance is also titled "Red Mist", and for some reason, it gives several audience members the red eyes. The Red Mist phenomenon seems to be named after the red and misty vision/appearance the eyes give.

    Western Animation 
  • In Code Lyoko, the symbol of the AI antagonist XANA is a stylized eye. Humans and animals possessed by XANA have their pupils replaced by this symbol. (It also appears somewhere on all of XANA's monsters in the virtual world, usually as a weak spot.)
  • The version of Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. the Vulture) seen on The Spectacular Spider Man has comma-shaped pupils, which look particularly odd when he's out of costume.
  • Beast Wars:
    • Megatron doesn't just have regular red eyes, he also goes around with reptilian pupils when he's in Robot Mode. This becomes especially noticeable when he goes Transmetal.
    • Gentle Giant: Rhinox gets red glowing slit-pupiled eyes when he is temporarily turned into a Predacon.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • Several characters get these in the episode "Splicers", from getting animal DNA "spliced" into their own.
    • Derek Powers had this even before becoming Blight. His eyes were black with white pupils.
  • Futurama:
    • Bender has square pupils. Okay, so all of the robots do. Not like they're the paragons of future society, though.
    • All glory to the Hypnotoad!
  • Pandamonium: The cosmic villain Mondraggor has catlike slit-pupils.
  • Jinx of Teen Titans has narrow, cat-like pupils, but she's not exactly "evil," just fell in with the wrong crowd.
  • Disney's The Legend of Tarzan played fast-and-loose with the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs in many ways. The main example of this trope? Queen La, now melded with the Leopardmen and given a pair of catlike eyes.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Most of the Mutes have solid colored eyes with slit pupils, Kipo developing these reveals her condition.
  • Chase Young from Xiaolin Showdown.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Princess Luna's evil persona Nightmare Moon has cat-like green eyes with slitted pupils.
    • Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings has, not one, but two irises in each eye, accompanying the viper pupils.
    • The unicorn Generic Doomsday Villain King Sombra has slitted pupils, red irises and green scleras, and on top of all that, his eyes emit a purple mist.
    • Inverted with Grogar, who has normal pupils despite being a goat, but played straight with his Crystal Ball, which has a goat pupil floating in it while on standby mode.
  • The Diamonds from Steven Universe have diamond-shaped pupils.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • The dream demon Bill has one massive, yellow-tinged eye with a slit pupil. Anyone who makes a deal with him and is subsequently possessed also has the creepy eyes, as well as an unnaturally detailed face.
    • Gompers, the Mystery Shack's goat, has similar eyes...which isn't all that unusual for a goat.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Light Spinner, before she became Shadow Weaver, cast a dangerous, forbidden spell, side effects of which include inverted Y-shaped pupils.

    Real Life 
  • People who have undergone cataract surgery are often left with keyhole-shaped pupils on the surgical side.
    • A coloboma in the iris can also lead to keyhole-shaped pupils.
  • A certain defect in the iris can result in a cat's-eye-like appearance.
  • While slitted pupils are most commonly associated with cats and reptiles, they also show up on some sharks.
    • Foxes have eyes like this too.
    • Goats also have hellish pupils, but they are more rectangular and are horizontal instead of vertical. This can make them creepy looking to some people.
  • Funny enough, the most dangerous, venomous snakes (the Elapid family), and big cats, have round pupils.
  • Tache noir de la sclerotique gives this sort of effect, crossed with plenty of Eye Scream, but actually is a sort of subversion, in that it's the sclera that's hellish. It's generally a side effect of Dies Wide Open, as a result of air getting into the open eyes of the corpse (who obviously can't blink to clear them anymore). Don't look it up if you have a weak stomach or nervous disposition.


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