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Mind-Control Eyes

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"Her eyes! My God, what's wrong with her eyes?"
Shelley, The Evil Dead (1981)

A character who is under the influence of hypnotism or mind control will show this influence in his or her eyes with a visual change. This is mostly for the benefit of the audience. While people around the character may note they're "acting a little funny," usually nobody In-Universe ever notices the change.

In live-action and some forms of animation, the standard signal for mind control or possession is totally black or totally white eyes. In many Western cartoons and comics, hypnosis is represented by the eyes appearing as swirling spirals or concentric circles. Sometimes it's also represented by changes in the dilation of the pupil; the pupil will either get really small, or really large. In anime, their irises become dull, flat disks of their base color without any detail, highlights, reflections or even pupils. Obviously heavy eyelids surmount the altered eyes, and sometimes drift into a half-closed position.


A rare variation involves severe walleye in both eyes. This is a Shout-Out to a traditional Japanese artistic device: a character performing superhuman feats of swordsmanship (Musashi slicing arrows out of the air... as they're coming at his back) will be depicted as severely cross-eyed, indicating that they are using "inner guidance". Another extremely rare variation is sometimes where the pupil remains the same but the sclera (the white part of the eye) may change color.

It should be noted that in Real Life, hypnotized people's eyes are likely to dilate (i.e. the pupils get a bit bigger.) This is apparently not subtle enough for animation, which prefers to Open the Iris. Also note that some art styles have eyes with less detail than others, and so the eyes may have some of these traits already; this doesn't make them an example of this trope.


This also counts as Nightmare Fuel for some people. Not to be confused with Hypnotic Eyes, which is about people who can hypnotize others just by looking into their eyes. See also Red Eyes, Take Warning, which may be a form of this.


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  • In this Trix commercial, the Rabbit gets hypnotized, and the kids notice that his eyes have spirals in them. For a time after the commercial aired, boxes of Trix featured the Rabbit with "swirling hypnotized eyes".

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Castle Town Dandelion, people under the effect of Aoi's Compelling Voice have these.
  • Powerpuff Girls Z has two episodes that feature mind control. In "Charisma Biyōshi Monster!" ("Gigi the Great" in the dub), anyone hypnotised by the titular monster (Michel/Gilbert) has red eyes. In "Futari wa Torimakees!" ("Enter the Entourage" in the dub), people under the influence of the Torimakees get dark shadows under their eyes.
  • In Dragon Ball GT, the eyes of Baby's possessed minions glow completely red.
    • In the Garlic Jr. arc for Dragon Ball Z, those infected by the Black Water Mist have pinkish eyes. Which leads to some Fridge Logic when it's revealed that Krillin was faking being infected even though he had pinkish eyes too, as he can't alter his body like Piccolo (also faking infection) can.
  • In the Mazinger franchise (the Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer trilogy and other Mazinger series...) brainwashing, mind-control and hypnotism happened constantly. Usually the way to show the color of the sclera changed or the eyes became completely blank. An example was when Boss was hypnotized by Mechanical Beast Gumbina-M5: his sclera became greenish-yellow instead of white, and his pupils dilated.
  • Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo! gets Mind-Control Eyes when Kagato directly controls her. As an extension, her eyes also change color to a light shade of green, the same color as Kagato's sword; a good example of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience.
  • In episode 8 of the 2005 Ah! My Goddess TV show, Urd puts Keiichi under a kind of mind control to get him to kiss Belldandy, and he, of course, gets Mind-Control Eyes.
  • Kohaku in Inuyasha is often shown in this situation.
    • The same happens to Kagome Higurashi twice: when Tsubaki the Dark Priestess curses her and when the evil baby Akago attempts to brainwash her through More Than Mind Control. She breaks free pretty much on own and delivers a Shut Up, Hannibal! speech to the culprit.
  • In Hellsing Ultimate, when Alucard mind-controls someone, their eyes will typically glow like candle-flame like his. This is best illustrated in the scene when Alucard mind-controls a SWAT soldier into opening the doors of an elevator that a whole bunch of the soldier's buddies are packed in to try to escape him so that he can slaughter the whole lot of them.
  • Variable Geo: Satomi's eyes are grey, but they occasionally turn day-glow blue during the early stages of the cyber drive project. Once the process is complete, they become blank white, like M. Bison's, and she speaks in Creepy Monotone.
  • Subverted in Project A-ko. When B-ko arrives for a timely rescue, C-ko is found with Mind-Control Eyes. B-ko thinks she's been drugged; however, on coming round, C-ko explains that she "wore herself out whining and crying".
  • Digimon Adventure features Sora and Matt sulking in psychically-induced angst with this kind of eyes.
  • Digimon Tamers: This trope is played straight with Rika in the movie. Her eyes go dull when Parisitemon possesses her.
  • In Digimon Frontier, Kouichi has the dulled version of these while under the influence of Lucemon.
  • Code Geass:
    • Lelouch's Magical Eye shows a variation, with a red sigil appearing when he uses his power. His targets, however, merely have a bright red outline around the iris that appropriately flickers, fades, and returns depending on whether the power is being fought, dispelled, or not in effect. Characters retain all normal ocular features. The staff actually reworked a scene from the first episode when it was released on DVD because the victims' reactions to Lelouch almost made this defy the "for the audience's benefit" part of the trope.
    • The manga adaptation of the series (the one that shares the exact same name, that is) uses a variation of the standard Mind-Control Eyes where the victims are shown with one eye turning white with a copy of the sigil inside for the duration of the effect.
  • Kirika's pupils disappear in Noir when she goes into "Gray" mode (essentially a Heroic BSoD).
  • Sailor Moon, under the influence of "Wise Man." This also happens with Mamoru whenever he's brainwashed by the enemy, to the victims of the Death Busters and/or Dead Moon Circus in S and Super S. This trope happens a LOT in that series.
    • Although she isn't technically possessed, Usagi gets these when she turns into Princess Serenity for the first time.
    • Similar to the above, Sailor Moon gets these at the climax of S, when she forcibly manifests her heart crystal and transforms into Super Sailor Moon without the aid of the Grail.
    • Hotaru gets these when The Messiah is in control. An especially creepy example since it comes with Red Eyes, Take Warning and Glowing Eyes of Doom, which flicker on and off again, as though there's somehow a loose electrical connection.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal:
  • Ikuto has them in Shugo Chara! on the first appearance of Death Rebel. Also the X-Egg/?-Egg victims usually have them.
  • The inhabitants of Winia's hometown in Scrapped Princess all fall under this when a powerful Mauser magician orders them to kill Pacifica.
    • Oh, and humans under the effects of Providence get red eyes with green pupil-less irises. D-Knights likewise have yellow, cat-slitted eyes with green whites (excuse the expression).
  • Anzu and Jounouchi get these eyes as well as an evil voice when they're mind-controlled by Marik in Yu-Gi-Oh! Something similar happens with Mokuba when he's under Pegasus' control just before his duel with Kaiba.
    • As 4Kids apparently didn't like those boring eyes, they decided to make it a little more "magic" and "mystical" using digitally-added red (Noah arc) and golden (Battle City finals) pupils.
    • Somewhat notably, Kaiba has these eyes when he calls Yugi in the first episode to tell him that he's kidnapped his grandfather, suggesting Kaiba was either not in complete control of himself or he was compelled by some outside force to call. However, this trope was seen for no reason during the first few volumes of the manga.
    • Mokuba also has these eyes during Kaiba's duel with Pegasus. In the dub, Téa remarks that "It's like he's been hypnotized".
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters has Joey take on crazed red eyes when corrupted. Appropriate, as he's merged with the Red-Eyes Black Dragon.
    • Aki also goes through this in her Black Rose Witch persona in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
    • Asuka in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX gets these when the big bad puts her into an apparently heartless state. Oddly enough, it's actually visible to the other characters. Her brother even notes that Judai shouldn't bother treating her like his (former) friend right now, it's pointless.
  • Lina and Gourry in the last episodes of Slayers NEXT. Gourry gets them when he's captured and brainwashed by Phibrizzo. The same happens to Lina very briefly when she invokes the Lord of Nightmares through the Giga Slave and she takes over Lina's body to fight Phibrizzo in person.
  • In Shakugan no Shana most normal Torches have Mind-Control Eyes.
  • Mizkuki from Mokke gets these when she is overtaken by a very powerful spirit.
  • Pokémon 3. After Entei's cry of "You... are... MAMA!", Ash's mother Delia gains the eyes and is brainwashed into becoming little Molly's "mother". She snaps out of it when she sees Ash on television, trying to climb up the side of the huge crystal tower.
  • And a few times in the anime, for a variety of reasons. At one point Pikachu, Piplup, Croagunk, and Meowth are all hit with a Togepi's Attract, which causes their eyes to go like this and them to follow the Togepi's orders.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, characters get these eyes when they start the 'bad' kind of reminiscing. It's a step below Hellish Pupils on the anime's "things to run away from really fast" scale, and any onlookers will probably survive.
    • More of a step above, considering that the Mind-Control Eyes are actually, well, real.
    • In Umineko: When They Cry, Battler has this happen to him when he's forced to marry Erika Furudo in EP6.
      • And to similar effect in the anime, when he surrenders to Beatrice and becomes her furniture.
  • Mytho from Princess Tutu has this happen to his eyes after Kraehe rips out his heart. They even change shape.
  • In Chrono Crusade, this happens to Rosette when Aion kidnaps and brainwashes her.
  • In Ghost Stories, Satsuki's best friend Momoko Koigakubo gets them thrice when possessed by the ghost of Satsuki's mother, a dead but still powerful psychic and exorcist.
  • Cowboy Bebop: They're used in "Mushroom Samba" to indicate people under the influence.
  • Hikaru and Umi in Magic Knight Rayearth, when they come under control of the dancing illusionist Caldina. The three girls also get this when confronting the Masshin. And in the anime, Hikaru gets these on her own when mentally-attacked by Nova as Sierra tries to re-create her sword.
    • When Lafarga is brainwashed, he gets MCE too.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi Evangeline practices this on Setsuna for her apparent Secret Test of Character; Setsuna assumed it was a battle to test her will. Eva went along with it.
  • Characters sport mind control eyes for different reasons in Zatch Bell!: it usually happens when a character is shocked and at a loss for words. In Kiyo's case it is usually accompanied by a dumb-founded smile.
  • Inverted in Soul Eater. Since Maka normally doesn't have pupils, when she is in a trance, she gains pupils instead of losing them.
  • Rhiannon from Tears to Tiara gets these eyes when she is forced to give up her True Name to the evil high priest Drwc. Ironically, the one who frees her spirit is the same Demon King that Drwc wanted to sacrifice her to in the first place.
  • Little boy Keto and the rest of the other villagers of the unnamed village in Tears to Tiara 2 when the main characters happen upon their village.
  • Happens several times to various characters in D.N.Angel, most notably when Daisuke is taken inside a work of art and hypnotized into painting a place for a spirit to live in.
  • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lady Clarisse has pupil-less eyes as a result of being drugged for her wedding so she would not speak up.
  • In Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou Ran gets these upon being taken over by her Dark Dragon/Kokuryuu powers.
    • On the other hand, in one of the Hachiyou Shou OAVs this effect is used on Yasuaki's shikigami to indicate that she is, well, a shikigami.
    • For people aside from Ran, Hachiyou Shou TV also uses a different variation — pupils shrinking to dots, without visible iris (this happens to victims of Shirin's hypnotic abilities).
  • Flat eyes are used several times in Ghost Hunt to denote possessed people.
  • Subverted in episode 11 of The Daughter of Twenty Faces when Chiko notices the mind control eyes (which appear as concentric circles instead of flat).
  • Mafuyu in Seitokai no Ichizon when Minatsu brainwashes her into deciding Ken is her enemy. Then they turn red.
  • Shows up on occasion in the Ranma ½ anime, but not in the manga. Usually, it's Ranma Saotome (particularly in male form) who gets them; one anime episode has him hypnotized by an evil sorceress's ghost, while another episode has him being controlled by his evil side brought to independent life as an Opposite-Sex Clone.
  • Happens to Leo Aiolia in Saint Seiya after Saga uses his papal mindraping powers to bend him to his will. Mind you, the characters lose their sight so many times their eyes are like this almost permanently...
  • Hansel from Fairy Musketeers displays these for most of the series. It's later lampshaded when his sister, Gretel notes that she can tell another character is being controlled by the same sort of spell by the look in his eyes.
  • In episode five of Betrayal Knows My Name a little girl gets these when possessed by a demon.
  • An interesting version in Bakugan Gundalian Invaders. When kids are brainwashed, their eyes turn gold with slitted pupils. Not only is this noticed by the heroes, but they check the eyes of everyone to tell who is brainwashed or not.
  • This happened to Eureka in Eureka Seven starting end of vol 4. The Scab Coral took control of her.
    • That already was the case with Dewey's little soldiers.
  • In Naruto a phantom image of the Sharingan's tomoes appears over the iris of people or creatures being controlled by one, though this is typically seen only when the control is established or weakens. Seen with Manda, Yagura, and Kyuubi.
    • A variation crossed with Black Eyes of Evil is seen with Kabuto's variation of Edo Tensei. The sclera of the victim's eyes are permanently black; the iris remains the same color unless full control is exerted, at which point they become dull and lifeless.
    • When the Infinite Tsukiyomi is triggered by Madara, everyone who falls under its genjutsu has their eyes replaced by the Rinnegan.
  • This happens in Death Note, though oddly not with everyone whose actions are controlled by the Note - just the women controlled into committing suicide.
  • Mind control eyes are the indicator that Motoko of Change123 has let Zero out and whoever caused said eyes has about five seconds to make their peace, cause a major ass beating is about to ensue.
  • Subversion: Stocking's eyes have a look very similar to these in the The Stinger of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, however, it is unknown if their appearance hold meaning at all. Why? Because it's Gainax. We'll just have to wait for the next season.
  • Chrome gets these when under the influence of Daemon Spade's mind control in Reborn! (2004).
  • Alviss gets this when being mind controlled by Phantom in MÄR.
  • In episode 21 of D.N.Angel Daisuke gets these when under a trance by Freedert.
  • In one episode of Rosario + Vampire, Tsukune falls prey to a very beautiful math teacher, who insists on giving him extra lessons alone together so that he can bump up his grade in the class. But it soon becomes obvious that Tsukune's sudden proficiency in math has caused him to become a formula-spewing zombie with hazy eyes and no personality. Turns out that the math teacher is a lamia and was controlling him via a weird flower-like appendage on the tip of her tail that latched onto his head and presumably fed him knowledge while sucking out unnecessary thoughts, like his friends and social life. He returns to normal after Moka kicks the lady's ass in her super-vampire form.
  • In Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo, when Cruje Gapp gets mind-controlled, these eyes are shown.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Nagi gets these when she is being hypnotized by the Lelouch expy.
  • Shokuho Misaki from A Certain Scientific Railgun has permanent golden star designs in her eyes, and these show up in the eyes of the people she mind controls.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: When Nia is awakened as a Manchurian Agent, her eyes and hair become dim and less colorful.
  • Kämpfer: When the villainous Kaede entrances protagonist Natsuru seeing an opportunity to have him go and break his unwanted-haremette Shizuku (who trusts him and is a nuisance to her), Natsuru's eyes become flat-colored until he snaps out of it.
  • Panzer World Galient: In episode 3, Jordy's pupils fade and only his blue irises are visible as his mind is being controlled by the spirit within Galient.
  • Happens to everyone who got brainwashed by the Despair Anime in both sides of Danganronpa 3.
  • In Durarara!!, anyone using Saika at any given time will have bright red eyes that somewhat glow. In the series, Saika Children are identified by these eyes, however the uninformed- such as Vorona- can mistake the possession for some kind of virus or infection.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • In the first issue of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) a bunch of ponies (including the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Silver Spoon, and some background ponies from the show) and various animals have these. Unlike in the show's season 2 finale, these eyes are noticed instantly.
    • In the short How Much Is That Pony In The Window? Pinkie Pie gets this when the jingle of an ice cream wagon distracts her from modelling for Rarity.
  • When he is under Dracula's thrall in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 10, Xander's eye is a dull brown as if it has stopped reflecting light, which makes him look slightly off.
  • In the Spirou and Fantasio comics, people under the influence of the Zorglonde (or Zorgwave) get pearly white eyes. This is noticed by at least one character.
  • Supergirl stories provide several examples:
    • In Way of the World, Supergirl's eyes emit a purple radiance as she's under a mind-controlling spell.
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton, when Kara is being mind-controlled by Darkseid, their irises become red and without pupils, even though she isn't charging her heat vision.
    • In Superman/Batman #77, Kara gets glowing red eyes when she is under the influence of Scarecrow's fear toxin.
  • In Violine, Francois gets these after being hypnotized by Marushka.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Hypnota's victims have a Thousand-Yard Stare and sometimes the blue of her "bule hypnotic ray" is visible in their eyes while under her control.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Doctor Psycho fully takes over any of his victims their eyes look bulging with the veins around them sticking out.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • The Child of Love: In the final chapter Asuka’s eyes are blank as Gendo is controlling her.
    Her eyes appear to be empty of all life, suggesting that she's either sleepwalking, or...possessed by something...or someone.
  • In the 5th chapter of the Neon Genesis Evangelion fic "NonNeglecting Week", Asuka hypnotizes Fuyutsuki. While he's under a trance, he's described as having a "glazed over" look in his eyes.
  • In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan, every pony under the control of Envy in the climax has her red eyes in place of their own. They also speak in her voice.
  • In Ginny Weasley Double Life, Ginny is left with these after she is hypnotised by the serpent Milikan, but Word of God affirms that Ginny's eyes will return to normal whenever she is not in Milikan's presence even if she will continue to obey Milikan's 'orders'.
  • In fanfic X-Men 1970, the leader of an extremist group believes Marvel Girl has been captured by one of his men... until he sees his glassy eyes and realizes he has been under her control all along.
    "Walter," said Carter. "You were gone a long time. What went down up there, Walter? Walter?"
    Walter wasn't answering. Jean moved away from in front of him. Carter saw Walter's eyes, as glassy as a zombie's.

    Films — Animation 
  • A clip from 9 shows this happening to one of the characters due to some hypnoflashy lights. What makes this interesting is the aforementioned character is a sapient ragdoll and his eyes are camera shutters.
  • In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, those under the villain's mind-control spell get a green glow in their eyes.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • In The Little Mermaid (1989), upon seeing Vanessa singing on the beach for the first time, her seashell amulet emits a mist that entrances Eric. It can be seen filling the pupils of Eric's eyes with an eerie yellow glow. This shows up later, but it's not as obvious. It mostly shows up in a glint in his eyes, although you can tell mostly through his mannerisms.
    • Kaa's eyes in the adaptation of The Jungle Book turn psychedelic and colorful, as do his victims eyes when hypnotized. Though this is not the origin of this image, it may be the source of its popularity. Also happens to Baloo when he's caught up in the music of King Louie and the Monkeys.
    • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, when Kida is exposed to light coming from the Atlantean Crystal, her eyes actually become a much lighter shade of blue than usual.
  • In Finding Nemo, would-be vegetarian shark Bruce's eyes turn solid black (which is what great white's eyes normally look like anyway) when he can't control his urge to eat fish.
  • In Hotel Transylvania, those who are "vampnotized" by Dracula get pulsing red eyes. In the TV series, they get concentric red circles instead.
  • In Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, when Abraham Van Helsing uses his music to control the Kraken, its eyes burn bright red.
  • Also happens in The Secret of NIMH, when Jeremy is mesmerized by Mrs. Brisby's "sparkly".
  • There is a variation on this in WALL•E... when WALL•E appears to have lost his personality after EVE repairs him, his normally expressive eyes appear non-emotional to the point of being disturbing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981), whenever a character is possessed by a Kandarian spirit, they become grotesquely ugly, and their eyes in particular are affected, prompting a memorable line that serves as the page quote.
  • Neil Gaiman uses this a fair amount as well: in MirrorMask, when Helena gets brainwashed, her eyes turn jet black (just like those of the Dark Queen), and it goes away after she is back to normal.
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, the eyes of David Lo Pan's two would-be brides turn pure white when they are being mentally controlled.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Victor Krum, when under the Imperius Curse, which controls his mind, has glazed-over eyes.
    • Makes you wonder why it was such a problem during Voldemort's reign (according to Moody) when anyone could tell when someone was affected by it. Probably a case of the studio deciding the audience were too dumb to understand without a visual hint.
    • Fanon often solves the problem by having it be very noticeable when done hastily, and perfectly hidden when done carefully.
  • In the 1996 Doctor Who film, the temporary companion of the Doctor had the Fully-Black eyes when she was under mind control.
    • And it applied in-universe, because she couldn't activate an eye scan in this state.
  • In 28 Days Later, Infection is signaled by the victim's eyes turning red (very shortly followed by lethal aggression against anyone nearby). In the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, one character's heterochromia offers some very valuable information this way.
  • Victims of Loki's mind control scepter in The Avengers have their eyes turn pitch black momentarily, then turning into the same shade of blue as the scepter.
  • In Scanners II: The New Order, Officer Gelson's eyes turn milky white when David and Julie take over his body to infiltrate Dr. Morse's lab.
  • In Cube Zero, the mind-controlled soldiers have green eyes whenever they're "activated".
  • An interesting variant in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. When Costello's character looks into the eyes of a woman hypnotized by Dracula, he sees the image of a flying bat in the irises.
  • Bird Box: Those affected by the creatures have their eyes go bloodshot. Crazy survivors have less pronounced changes, but enough that it's easy to tell them apart with a quick look.
  • Cesare the Sohnambulist, in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, who is kept in a continuous state of hypnosis by the titular Dr. Caligari. The scene of Calagari awakening Cesare focusing heavily on him opening his entranced, blank eyes, is quite disturbing.

  • Coraline, also written by Neil Gaiman, involves sewing buttons onto people's eyes as a method of brainwashing. Both this and the Mirrormask equivalent are used by an Evil Matriarch clone of the regular mother, with these exact eyes herself.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Charles Wallace is subjected to telepathic mind control by an oversized brain referred to as IT. As this occurs, his pupils shrink until they disappear, leaving blank blue eyes.
  • Victor, Ginger, Dibbler and others swept up in the Holy Wood craze of Moving Pictures have a tiny gold star appear at the center of each pupil.
  • The final book of The Hunger Games, Mockingjay, uses a mix between the unfocused and dilated pupils. Peeta's eyes are even shown to rapidly dilate and contract in short order when he's Fighting from the Inside.
  • Book the Fourth of A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Miserable Mill. On the cover, Klaus is shown with what appears to be these. It is even implied in the book, with his blank stare and wide-open eyes.
  • Artemis Fowl has a variation: Someone who's been Mind Controlled repeatedly has bloodshot eyes and jagged pupils, but no other symptoms.
  • In The Host a Soul-possessed human's eyes develop a silvery eye shine (given that the Souls' tissue and blood is silvery in color, this may or may not make a slight bit of sense). This is somewhat portrayed on the book's cover, though, as only part of the pupil appears silver, instead of the "all of it" kind of portion you'd get from eye shine. This is likely to show that Melanie is partially in control.
  • Gerard in Theodore Sturgeon's short story "Baby Is Three" (which is the central section of his novel More Than Human) has this power. His psychiatrist's reaction to being put under his control:
    Dr. Stern: My God, I didn't look at those eyes before. I could have sworn those irises spun like wheels ...
  • During the aerial Wizard Duel in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry sees Stan Shunpike fighting for the Death Eaters, but also sees in his eyes that he's been Imperioused. This prompts him to disarm him rather than stun him—and this, unfortunately, blows his cover.
  • In My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, anyone who is under Frankie the goldfish's influence develops what the narrator calls a "goldfish stare".
  • In The Mouse Watch, Dr. Thornpaw captures Ernie Mortenson, an elderly human security guard at the Statue of Liberty, and uses him as a test subject for his mind control formula. Ernie's eyes change hue several times before finally turning "an unearthly, sickly yellow color", indicating that the formula works.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville:
    • "Hug": Chloe's eyes briefly turn green when she is mind controlled and kisses Clark.
    • "Delete": Lana's eyes briefly glow with green symbols when she is mind controlled. She immediately finds Chloe and beats the living daylights out of her.
    • "Persuasion": When Clark gets mind control as a temporary ability, Lois and Chloe's eyes both glow purple as he bends them to his will.
    • "Warrior": Zatanna's mind control causes the target's eyes to briefly glow blue.
  • Doctor Who used to love doing the "unfocused eyes" version.
  • When Kahlan confesses people in Legend of the Seeker, both her and their eyes go totally black for a period. And it shows it every time she confesses someone.
  • In the original season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Tommy's eyes periodically glowed neon green when he was under Rita's control — usually at points when the spell was asserting itself over what he would do normally, although it also happened whenever it would look the most menacing and nobody was around to see.
  • Occurs in the 2013 {{Halloween Episode of Jessie. In a parody of Ghostbusters, Luke and Emma become possessed by ghost to summon a powerful demon and have extremly dark red eyes. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Supernatural:
    • One of the sure signs that someone is possessed by a demon is a flash of completely-black eyes. Particularly powerful demons show other colors in the eyes they possess — Azazel shows yellow eyes, while Lilith and Alastair show white eyes.
    • Sam's eyes glow blue when his body is being controlled by the angel Ezekiel.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost has an interesting example. The series in general has a motif of eyes, but the third Rider in the series, Kamen Rider Necrom, has an iris pattern on his faceplate that is surrounded by a circular translucent visor when his transformation is completed. The other Riders have blank faceplates. Thus, when Alain forces Makoto (Kamen Rider Specter) to transform using the Necrom Eyecon, putting him under mind control, the resulting transformation has the translucent visor over a blank faceplate, evoking the standard solid-color-eye image.

  • Rudolf in the 2016 Toho production of Elisabeth. It's very noticeable on the proshot, especially during "Yami ga hirogaru". His eyes flicker rapidly between blankness and distress as he struggles with Death's Mind Manipulation.

    Video Games 
  • In MARDEK RPG: Chapter 3, when Qualna controlled the King of Goznor, his eyes glowed solid pink. Not to be confused with the three priests so far who have similar eyes; in them it's proof of their devotion to YALORT or SOLAK and the power their deity has granted them.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • In Batman: Arkham Asylum Batman's eyes glow red when he is under the effects of Scarecrow's gas
    • And, in Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman's eyes glow green whenever Joker — who spends the game as a Tyler Durden-esque figment of his imagination following his death in Arkham City — gets close to/succeeds in coaxing the Dark Knight into indulging some of his character traits, chiefly his sadistic brutality.
  • Due to the large number of Brainwashed and Crazy in Super Robot Wars, this shows up a lot, especially on females.
  • Drakengard:
  • Terra sports a pair of these while under Kefka's control in Dissidia 012: Duodecim.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Terra and Zack Fair have this happen to them when Maleficent and Hades manipulate the darkness within their hearts respectively.
  • In the last one-sixth of The World Ends with You, everyone with Red Skull pins falls under Kitaniji's mind control, and their eyes turn solid red, and all they can say is:
    To right the countless wrongs of our day, we shine this light of true redemption, that this place may become as paradise. What a wonderful world such would be...
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Ninian has these when she opens the Dragon's Gate. An arriving Nils is able to snap her out of it (and regain her memory!) before she completely summoned a dragon. There is also a part later on when Nergal attempts to take Nils, and Nils likewise has pupil-less eyes to indicate that Nergal had put him in a trance.
    • And from Fire Emblem Fates, Takumi displays similar pupil-less eyes when he's under Demonic Possession from the true Big Bad of the game.
  • Half-lampshaded in Digimon World. A late-game boss's eyes look normal from the camera angle. The main character takes one look at the eyes and concludes it's brainwashed.
  • Two variations in the Rival Schools series:
    • In United By Fate, anyone under the influence of Justice High's brainwashing has red pupils.
    • In Project Justice, the Darkside Council's ending has all the brainwashed students in the background with these eyes.
  • Kohak Hearts in Tales of Hearts has these and a blank expression on her portrait after she becomes playable but before her soul is fully restored. After she's fully healed, she gets normal eyes and a smile.
  • Rika in the second of the Devil Angel Jibril games get flat red eyes when she is corrupted by Rokoko. Also overlaps with Red Eyes, Take Warning, since her eyes are normally brown (in civilian form) or green (Holy Angel form). Hikari in the third game averts this, since her eyes turn gold when she is corrupted by Fateus but otherwise retain their luster.
  • Two different flavours are used in the Sam & Max: Freelance Police series. The First season uses spinning spirals in the eyes to denote those under Hugh Bliss's hypnotic control. The Third season have Girl Stinky and Sal being enthralled by an Eldritch Abomination, and their eyes (even Sal's normally completely black eyes) are entirely milky white.
  • In Legacy of Kain characters under Hylden mind control sport glowing green eyes, which can flicker back to indicate a battle for control
  • In Puyo Puyo 7, when under the influence of Ecolo, Arle's eyes turn into a flatter color, accompanied by a half-closed eyelid.
    • Satan pretends to suffer the same fate in its sequel.
    • In the Recursive Spinoff RPG Madoh Monogatari, the bosses under the control of the big bad have various forms of this.
  • Hex Maniacs have them in the Japanese releases of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. For whatever reason, this was altered in international versions.
    • In Pokémon X and Y, the Hex Maniacs return, using the swirl-eye variant, and this is kept in the international versions.
  • In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Kwolok gets glowing white eyes while possessed by the Stink Spirit, and the corrupted Mora has bioluminescent green eyes matching the Cordyceps-like fungus parasitizing her.

    Visual Novels 
  • Touko in one of the endings of Suika.
  • Fate/stay night, Bad End 18. When Caster takes control of Issei and uses him to kill Shirou, the whites of his eyes turn red.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: At the end of the Strong Bad Email "cartoon", Strong Bad gets swirling eyes from staring at the green lines on the Tandy for too long.
  • RWBY: Those in the presence of the monsterous Apathy (which drian one's willpower with their mere presence) have their irises become dull and monochrome, as well as partially shutting.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • A red-write frame is used in Captain Gamer: OOC. Slightly subverted in that it's actually noticeable for the characters, and would probably go unnoticed if the Captain hadn't called attention to it.
  • In The Impossible Man, characters who were subjected to mind control, had their eyes described as being red and pupil-less.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the victims of A Clockwork Orange-reminiscent brainwashing have their pupils dilate, nearly enveloping the iris.
  • Futurama:
    • All glory to the Hypno-Toad!
    • Also in the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, Bender gets squared spirals in his eyes to indicate mind control.
  • In the Back at the Barnyard episode "Hypno-a-Go-Go", those who are under hypnosis get black/gold spirals in their eyes.
  • In Justice League Action episode "The Goddess Must Be Crazy", Wonder Woman knows right away Supergirl is being mind-controlled because her eyes glow purple.
  • When Soundwave mind-controls the Autobots in Transformers Animated, their optics turn red. This is a callback to the G1 season 1 episode "Attack of the Autobots," in which the Decepticons do the same thing, signaled to the viewer in the same way.
  • Mind-controlled animals or humans in Code Lyoko have an interesting variation: their pupils are replaced with the "Eye of XANA" symbol. The protagonists can see it, if they are looking for it. And sometimes the "Eye of XANA" flickers a little (which makes it look cooler). However, if XANA needs mind-controlled humans to look normal, their eyes will change back to normal temporarily. This doesn't always happen, though.
  • In The Batman when a mixture of Kryptonite dust and mind control spores are used on Superman, his eyes glow green.
  • Used in more or less every Looney Tunes short involving hypnosis, both the constricted pupil and spiral-eye versions.
  • Animaniacs used the spiral eyes version in a short involving Rasputin's hypnosis of the Czar.
  • Pinky and the Brain used the rare wall-eye version. When a triggering noise was heard by one of the titular characters, they would go into an uncontrollable dance ("I'm a little teapot" for Brain when he heard a tinkly bell, and a stereotypical Russian Squat-dance for Pinky when he heard a gong) with their dilated pupils swimming on the inside edges of their eyes.
  • Teen Titans uses glowing red eyes for normal mind control, as well as pink eyes in the episode "Mother Mae-Eye", when characters are under the titular character's spell.
    • Also spiral eyes in the first "Mad Mod" episode, whenever Beast Boy gets whammied by the hypnoscreens.
    • Green eyes are used in "Switched".
  • In Danny Phantom, the color of the characters' eyes signal many things, including possessed characters having the same eye color as the ghost who possessed them. Usually, everyone seems unaware of this, although when Danny Phantom splits himself into a ghost self and a human self in one episode and the ghost Danny overshadows the human Danny, the human Danny checked his eyes in a mirror as soon as he'd forced the ghost Danny out.
    • In an example that crosses over with Red Eyes, Take Warning, when Danny is hypnotised by Freakshow, his pupils turn red and (as time goes on) he gains dark rings under his eyes.
  • An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog had Le Quack hypnotize Eustace and Muriel through telivision to steal money and gold for him. Their mind-control is noticed by the purple spirals in their eyes, which are emitting from the screen.
  • In Wakfu, Iops gain exaggeratedly blank eyes as they are possessed by ass kicking.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In "Operation: D.A.T.E." the Delightful Children mind control a lot of kids causing them to get glowing blue eyes. "Operation: Z.E.R.O." reveals that the Delightfuls' own eyes - icy blue with visible sclera - are this, a result of the delightfulization process that Father inflicted upon them. When briefly transformed into their true selves - Sector Z of the Kids Next Door - they all have the same Black Bead Eyes as nearly every other character.
  • Whenever a character may be under Mr. Big's trademark Mind Control in WordGirl, their eyes have a hypnotic green glow to them.
    • Victoria Best has the power to hypnotize people with her recorder. Said victims have concentric circles in their eyes.
  • The Powerpuff Girls. In one episode Professor Utonium had glowing red eyes after Him turned all of his love for the girls into hate.
    • In another episode, Blossom is hypnotized and her eyes are replaced with red spirals.
    • In a third episode, Mojo Jojo brainwashes the Mayor; the eye that can usually be seen through his monocle is replaced with a red spiral.
  • In the second season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "The Return Of Harmony", Discord puts the heroines through a series of environments to reverse the part of their personality that keeps them friends and each one gets their own brainwashing to sweeten the deal, as shown by Kaa-esque rippling eyes.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy Morph from X-Men has an odd variation. When he first comes Back from the Dead, he's acquired an evil alternate personality (which is enslaved by Mr. Sinister), which takes on a zombie-like form, complete with dark patches around his eyes. As he mentally shifts between personas, he physically shapeshifts between forms. Later in the season, it's averted, as he's more fully brainwashed and obeys Sinister/fights the X-Men in his "normal" form, making it unclear what side he's on at any given time.
  • In the The Legend of Tarzan animated series, one episode has Queen La deposed by her leopard-men and Jane chosen as her replacement. While she's holding La's mystical staff, her eyes go blank white and she's compelled to hold it aloft and do nothing else.
  • Teamo Supremo:
    • The victims of Hypnotheria's influence will either get contracted pupils (the Teamo in "Appetite for... Dessert") or spiral eyes (the Chief in another episode).
    • When Laser Pirate gets his hands on a device that emits "relaxing" frequencies, anyone who hears these has the alternating circle type Mind-Control Eyes and speak as though hypnotized.
  • Two episodes of Inspector Gadget involved brainwashing. Those who were brainwashed had red eyes.
  • Two episodes of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers involved most of the Rangers getting mind controlled. Those under its effects had their pupils go from being fully rounded to tiny little barely-there dots. However, thanks to some animation errors there's a couple of times in one of them where Gadget's eyes appear normal even though she's under mind control.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) has a funny subversion: in one episode the Rat King captures Irma and Vernon and begins exposing them to a chemical that will eventually brainwash them into his willing slaves. By the time the Turtles find them, Vernon's eyes are notably dilated and he starts mumbling incoherently, leaving everyone to think that he's succumbed to the chemical. It turns out he's actually just passed out into a daze from seeing one too many rats crawling around the area.
  • Both the Aladdin film and TV series employ this. In the film, whenever Jafar uses his cobra-staff to entrance the Sultan, his eyes become spirals. In one episode of the TV series, when Mirage entrances the entire city of Agrabah into a sleeping spell save Aladdin himself everyone under its effects have their pupils completely vanish.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, everyone who is under the mind control effect of The Purple Man has purple pupils.
  • In Transformers: Rescue Bots the humans' eyes dilate when they are under mind control. The 'Bot's optics turn green.
  • In "D.W.'s Name Game" on Arthur, Arthur gets the spiral variant in a fantasy sequence in which D.W. turns him into her "obedient hypno-brother."
    • In the episode "What Is That Thing?", when Francine hypnotizes her cat, Nemo, he gets the spiral variant briefly before his pupils contract.
  • In "The Ballad of Sweet Strings" on Sheriff Callie's Wild West, the characters get these when Johnny Strum's songs put them under his spell. Later, he briefly gets them after being overcome by Sheriff Callie.
  • Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa: The episode "Circus Daze" features a stone that the Great Bovini uses to hypnotize people into stealing for him. The stone shrinks the victims' eyes. Boot Hill Buzzard, whose eyes are already that small, isn't affected.
  • Samurai Jack: The Ravers had glowing red eyes while under the influence of the evil hypno music.
    • The blue-furred children from the factory had the same eyes while being controlled by the Dominator.
  • Gravity Falls: In the episode "Sock Opera", Bipper, Dipper Pines possessed by Bill Cipher, has Bill's yellow-tinted, slit-pupiled eyes. It's unsettling at best, and downright creepy at worst, especially when Bipper slams his hand in a drawer whilst laughing insanely and saying;
    Bipper: AHAHAHAHAH! Pain is hilarious!
  • Kaeloo: If a character gets put under mind control or hypnosis, their irises shrink and they open their eyes wider.
  • Dinosaucers: In the episode "Trick or Cheat", Sarah's friends easily tell that she's hypnotized because her expression is of one under a trance.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Horde Prime's clones have green eyes, indicating that they are under his mind control. When he mind-wipes Hordak, Hordak's expression goes blank and his eyes change from red to green.
    • In season 5, when someone is under the influence of one of Prime's Mind Control chips, their eyes go green as well, and white circles appear where the pupils would be when Prime uses his Villain Override on them or one of his clones.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob", Mermaid Man and Barnical Boy get red spiral eyes when Plankton uses mind control shampoo to brainwash them.
    • In "Bumper to Bumper" when Mrs. Puff's mantra gets to SpongeBob's head, his eyes turn into blue spirals.
    • In "SpongeBob's Bad Habit", SpongeBob's eyes become red and white concentric circles when Hans hypnotizes him during his hypnotherapy session to find out why he has a habit of biting his nails.


Video Example(s):


I Enjoy Doing Your Chores

In a fantasy sequence in "D.W.'s Name Game" from "Arthur," Arthur Read gets red spiral mind-control eyes (inside his glasses) when his sister D.W. hypnotizes him into doing her chores for her.

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