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Mad Eye

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I've got my eye on you...

If a character is deranged or has just lost it for a moment, one eye is drawn as being very different than the other. Commonly, the Mad Eye (or its iris/pupil) is much larger than the other. Can also double as an unspoken Oh, Crap! moment. For extra effect, may be paired with Twitchy Eye.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Quite a lot of the time, really. But then, he's insane quite a lot of the time.
  • Anything by Jhonen Vasquez has this.
  • The Mask: [1]
  • Falling under the "Deranged Character" subset are The Joker's eyes as drawn in Batman: RIP. There, one of his pupils is drawn slightly larger than the other, giving him a dangerous and mentally off-kilter look. The effect is so slight that it's only noticeable in close-up shots of the character, but it's definitely there. Then again, he is a Monster Clown with enough crazy to fill Arkham Asylum's halls ten times over.
  • Most Returners in Dead Eyes Open seem to have one eye permanently open with a shrunken pupil.
  • A specialty of Alan Davis. In the classic Detective Comics story "Fear for Sale", he combines this with an Expressive Mask.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bill the Cat from Bloom County.
  • Cartoonist Steve Bell started depicting Tony Blair with an increasingly mad eye. It eventually became his go-to artistic shorthand of identifying a character as Blair, even in some of his more abstract cartoons.
  • Sometimes used in Garfield, often when characters have had really strong coffee.
  • When being sarcastic or angry, characters in Big Nate often display a Mad Eye

    Films — Animation 
  • In 9, 6 has one eye slightly larger than the other as a permanent feature, confirming his Cloudcuckoolander status.
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Wiley Burp teaches Tiger how to intimidate someone using "The Laaaayyyyzzzzyyy Eyyyyye!" which is essentially an intentional evocation of this trope.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The New Guy, Luther teaches Dizzy his "Crazy Eye" which consists of squinting one eye and opening the other wide.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Ragetti's wooden eye has this effect. It's too big for his socket, the wrong color, and always pointing away from his real eye.
    • Many of Davy Jones' crewmen also have mismatched human and sea-creature eyes, notably Maccus the shark and Koleniko the pufferfish.
  • When Ellie comes Back from the Dead at the climax of Pet Sematary (2019), her right eye has a blown pupil and won't focus on anything without her conscious control, drooping down otherwise.
  • Valley of the Fangs: One of the film's lesser villains, Sun Lan, has a huge bulging eye in all his scenes. It looks like this.

  • The aptly named Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody from Harry Potter has a magical replacement eye. It's bright blue, the size of a golf-ball, has 360 rotation and can see through just about anything. It's also virtually never looking in the same direction as his other eye.
  • The unnamed old man in The Tell-Tale Heart. One eye, due to some deformity, is described as a "vulture eye" with a film over it. However, the eye drives the old man's roommate to insanity (whether this roommate is their servant, their apprentice, a caretaker or even their spouse is never mentioned).
  • The Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is described as having one eye larger than the other (accompanied by mismatched ears) due to poor artistry on his creator's part. He never really loses his cool at any point in the book, and he is never depicted as any crazier than the rest of the Ozians, so it might be considered Subverted.
  • The Red Right Hand of the mercurial Serial Killer Karkas in Galaxy of Fear is that he has one "crushed" eye.
  • Scorpion Shards: Everyone maddened by Dillon gets one dilated pupil and one pinpoint pupil.
  • Discworld:
    • Hogfather brings us Jonathan Teatime, a Faux Affably Evil and thoroughly insane member of the Guild of Assassins, whose Glass Eye is the less scary one. The one that still works has an abnormally tiny pupil; he's described as "[looking] at the world through a pinhole". Even his boss Lord Downey, a man who in the prologue accepts a contract on the local equivalent of Father Christmas from a mysterious hooded spectre, finds him rather unnerving.
    • Carcer, a particularly violent armed robber who Sam Vimes was pursuing at the start of Night Watch, doesn't stop at just one Mad Eye. At one point he's encountered by a cavalry officer who immediately and correctly pegs him as a dangerous madman:
      He'd seen eyes like that on the battlefield.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Roger Delgado's portrayal of the Master is very handsome and charming but has strikingly different eyes. One is always much wider than the other, which is unfocused and almost squinted. The effect is very disturbing.
    • The Fourth Doctor's eyes do not quite ever point in the same direction, which is a really big part of how mad he looks. (The actor is perfectly capable of pointing both his eyes in the same direction when not in character.) His pupils are also noticeably off-centre.
    • The Tenth Doctor also has slightly asymmetrical eyes. When one fan gave David Tennant's mother a painting they'd done of him with Self-Fanservice strongly averted, she commented that it was a bit boss-eyed, to which Tennant replied, "Face it, Mum, I am a bit boss-eyed."
    • In The Invasion, Vaughn's right eye is half-closed through most of the serial, until he turns against the Cybermen; after that, it's wide open.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Having a literal Mad Eye is Older Than Print: Cuchulain, the Irish folk hero. Whenever he went into one of his unstoppable rages, one of his eyes would get smaller and the other would get bigger. " ... he sucked one eye so deep into his head that a wild crane couldn't probe it onto his cheek out of the depths of his skull; the other eye fell out along his cheek." Now thats a Mad Eye.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Brian Pillman, after he became a loose cannon. Though it was more like a madman with a lazy eye, rather than anything exaggerated.
  • Cibernético has a split right pupil. And though he has had his bouts with madness, this is more a sign of, well, being a Cyborg.
  • Kane had one on Monday Night Raw after unmasking. One eye was an icier blue with a smaller pupil.
  • Kzy of Dragon Gate seems to have the same affliction Kane does. More noticeable in fact because Kzy's other eye is brown.
  • As seen in the National Wrestling Alliance, Wrestling Is, Chikara and such, Sinn Bodhi's right pupil tends to become an X.
  • Cedric Pain in Reality OF Wrestling has a tiny left pupil.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Paranoia mission has a General Ripper who "glares at his subject with one bulging and one squinting eye: paranoid fear and clinical suspicion".

    Theme Parks 
  • The Ghost Galaxy in Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy has one skeletal-eye-socket and one giant blue nebula-eye.

    Video Games 
  • King K. Rool from the Donkey Kong Country game series has one eye that is often bloodshot, and tends to bulge out.
  • Earthworm Jim: Jim himself.
  • In the re-render of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Vexen gains one of these.
  • Laverne from Day of the Tentacle has one eye bigger than the other permanently. Which one depends on what side of her head you're looking at.
  • Similarly, Doug Rattmann from the Portal games has one pupil permanently larger than the other. He's also a paranoid schizophrenic.
  • The female model for the Malkavian clan in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has two different colored eyes—one blue, one yellow. Malkavian vampires are "enigmatic and deeply disturbed," marked by their clan's curse to suffer from some form of permanent madness, and have a history of acting as a higher-up vampire's on-call Mad Oracle. In the game, if you're to play as a Malkavian, all of your dialogue options are expressed through Cryptic Conversation and Word-Salad Humor, as well as gaining the ability to know information before anyone's told you and predict future events.
  • Whenever Glottis from Grim Fandango gets excited about cars, or customizing something else with a motor or wheels, or gambling, he goes crazy-eyed, rapidly switching from one side to the other.
  • In the Creepy and Cute pack for Spore, one of the added emotes (for the creepy side of things) is a version of this. Hilarity Ensues when your creature is covered entirely in eyes.
  • In Nintendo World Cup, characters would get this when stunned by a tackle.
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • Crazy Dave. He's craaaaaazy.
    • All the zombies in the game also have larger left eyes.
    • The Strawburst plant in the second game has a staring right eye.
  • For some reason, Liara in the Mass Effect series is often shown with one eye squinting slightly more than the other, prompting many a joke along this line.
  • Chris Redfield on the cover of the original Resident Evil portrays this trope. Curse those zombie dogs.
    • In Resident Evil 7, in the message Mia leaves for Ethan during the flashback to her escorting Eveline on the ship, one of her pupils is much larger than the other.
  • The Agents of Doom from Ratchet & Clank sport mismatched eyes, to go with their slasher smile and tendency to giggle.
  • Incorporated into the designs of several of the animatronics from Five Nights at Freddy's. In the first game, Foxy has one normal eye under his eyepatch and one drooping eye; in the second, the Mangle has one eyeball and one tiny glowing light on each head.
  • When you face off against Sans in Undertale, his left eye changes from its normal "all black with a tiny iris of blue light" appearance to the blue expanding to give him the appearance of a glowing blue iris set against black sclera and a pinprick pupil, whilst his right eye remains normal. Given the fight only takes place if you're undergoing the Genocide route, it emphasizes just how hard you pushed him over the edge.
    • Seam in Deltarune has a large button for his right eye, giving him this effect.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, the mad priest and Token Evil Teammate Durance's profile resembles an ash-covered Grigoriy Rasputin, but with his left eye visibly bulging. And he is quite nuts, an eloquently hammy preacher of a goddess of flames and struggle whom he angrily calls a whore for abandoning him.
  • Pizza Tower has Peppino, whose eyes are regularly drawn mismatched to reflect how he is either crippled by anxiety or insane with fury.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Golems have one big yellow eye with tiny pupil and one rectangular eye socket much larger than the other small, yellow, pupilless eye.

  • Black Mage, from 8-Bit Theater does this a lot, and was stuck for a while after a particular bit of frustration. As he put it after listening to one of Red Mage's "plans", "That's so stupid I can't even see straight."
  • The titular amorph from Schlock Mercenary has one eye that is literally larger than the other, and the cartoonist is consistent about which is which, and what side each is on. Since Schlock can move his eyes around it doesn't really matter though.
  • Several characters in Girl Genius do this sometimes... and there's one, a construct, who really does have one eye bigger than the other.
  • Bob from Bob the Angry Flower. When Bob's scorching feral mania comes to the fore, he gets the Mad Eye.
  • Vatsy, the insane journalist from Vatsy and Bruno, is always drawn with one eye in shadow to accentuate his wrong-ness.
  • Happens occasionally in Narbonic. Most notable when Mad!Dave "convinces" the Daves to hire him as their mad scientist liaison.
  • Kano of Kagerou is frequently seen with pupils of very different sizes, though his actual eyes are the same size. The effect is halfway between Mad Eye and heterochromia.
  • Nova from Keychain of Creation, especially when in Mad Scientist mode.
  • Used in Commander Kitty to show intense pain, or to illustrate the sudden, terrifying feeling of being the Only Sane Man amongst a crazy crew that insists you get a costume change.
  • In this El Goonish Shive sketchbook strip, Dan gets this while explaining his "master plan".
  • Drowtales: One cameo character, Cac'bolg, has eyes like these. This emphasizes the fact that he's a member of Vel'Vloz'ress, the most messed up and chaotic faction in all of Chel'el'Sussoloth. Also, he seems to have some kind of obsession with poisons.
  • Sequential Art: One of the denizens sports this expression after spending too long near Hillary's disembodied happiness. Too long being something like five minutes.

    Web Animation 
  • Jason from Element Animation's The Crack has heterochromia, with one eye having a green iris. Also accentuated by his permanent case of red sclerae.
  • Bubs, from Homestar Runner, definitely looks like this, but is no crazier than the rest of the cast.
  • The eponymous character from Spoilsbury Toast Boy has this permanently, as does his sister.
  • Zero Punctuation will sometimes show these, usually of the Oh, Crap! variety, having a character with one eye as a ring and the other as a circle.
  • Nutty from Happy Tree Friends has this for both his eyes, each in a different variety: one with a constantly contracted pupil and one lazy green eye, the latter as a result of his sugar addiction. Interestingly, when he is cured in one episode, the differing colour remains while the lazy eye disappears, suggesting that part to be natural heterochromia rather than madness-related.

    Web Original 
  • This guy: o_O

    Western Animation 
  • Bumi from Avatar: The Last Airbender is a Crazy is Cool Old Master with exceptionally refined earthbending powers, surprising wisdom, and an asymmetrical stare.
  • Many characters from Invader Zim, including the titular invader on occasion.
  • The anger-prone Mr. Demartino from Daria, to the point where it looks like he's always on the verge of having a stroke.
  • Shado the Brain Thief from Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. His mad eye alternates from right to left.
  • Uncle Ruckus in The Boondocks is a delusional Boomerang Bigot with a very fake-looking glass eye that accentuates the ludicrousness of the character and his racist rants.
  • The Tick — the title character, who is never entirely straight.
  • Vince from Rex the Runt, one of the more random oddballs in claymation: given to random fits of Pavarotti and tangential one-word sentences.
  • The starring spider in the (still unfinished) Art Institute of Portland student production Tangled Web, sometimes. Then again, he's decided to become a vegetarian and is desperate to avoid the delicious, delicious fly that's just landed in his web, so can you really blame him?
  • VERY evident on Ed, Edd n Eddy. "Boy Double D. Eddy never stares at ME like that."
  • In The Critic, Duke Phillips once answered a reporter's question by telling him to "stare deep into the hypnotic powers of my EEEeeevil eeeye!" It apparently works.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Discord has red eyes with two irises of different sizes to illustrate his chaotic nature.
    • This look is sometimes briefly applied to characters as an unspoken Oh, Crap! moment.
    • This happens to characters when they suffer Sanity Slippage, often combined with Twitchy Eye.
  • Two-Face gets this treatment as an effect of stylization in Batman: The Animated Series, as does Jonah Hex in the episode "Showdown." Characters that aren't completely human, such as Man-Bat and Clayface, sometimes do this.
  • Dr. Mystico on Freakazoid!, as if his introductory speech weren't enough of a giveaway.
  • Icarus from Hercules, with a permanent red eye (possibly bloodshot, given he flew too close to the sun).
  • Débora from the Clanners shorts has a big left eye with a red iris as opposed to the right eye being smaller and black outlined white. In eating form, both eyes are colored like the right eye but the left eye is still bigger.
  • In the animated adaptation of Donkey Kong Country, whenever King K. Rool is particularly surprised, only one of his eyes bulges wide, as a nod to his game counterpart.

    Real Life 
  • Anisocoria, or asymmetric pupil dilation, can be a sign of serious neurological problems. This is also one of the first things EMTs and Paramedics check for when they suspect a concussion. Most carry penlights specifically to test this by shining it on the pupil and seeing if it reacts. That said, it can also merely be a byproduct of severe past injury to the eye, such as with David Bowie, who owed his distinctively mismatched eyes to being nearly blinded in a childhood fightnote .
  • Sir Patrick Moore, who for nearly sixty years was the face of popular astronomy on BBC TV, had this appearance - permanently - after a lifetime of obsessively looking into the heavens through the eyepieces of optical telescopes. (While undeniably eccentric, Moore could not be called insane.)
  • John Ritter had a slightly distorted pupil in his right eye, which was a result of birth defect known as coloboma, a congenital malformation of the eye causing defects in the lens, iris, or retina.
  • Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame has a perpetually droopy left eyelid — he was born unable to open his left eye at birth due to paralysis, and one operation he had at a young age was botched, leading to its current state. Thom decided against further corrective surgery and actually decided to hold onto his look as a personal badge of pride: "At that point I decided I liked the fact that it wasnít the same, and Iíve liked it ever since."