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Only Six Faces

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You can only go so far with paper and scissors, after all.

"What kind of women do you prefer/identify with?"
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but have blond hair
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but have pink hair
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but have blue hair
• Cute girls who look the same as other girls but are secretly demons with dark hair
— Question 4 of the "What anime should you watch" quiz, Unwinder's Tall Comics

In Real Life, different people have different faces — barring identical twins or doppelgangers — but this does not always hold true when it comes to media. Sure, a child, teenager, and adult of both sexes will be visually distinct from each other (often solely by height), but beyond that... all bets are off.

Impossibly Cool Clothes, distinctive Hair Colors, and Signature Headgear can create an extremely powerful framing effect, meaning the rest of the character's design may be quite simple as a shortcut. The unfortunate result may be a fundamentally homogenized artstyle, exacerbated if the designs are simplified further for characters who must be easy to animate in large groups. Naturally this runs the risk of looking somewhat cheap, especially if the cast gets very large. This can be compensated with color redesigns, or sticking a character habitually into one outfit because said outfit is more distinctive than the actual character. In contrast, homogeneous outfits (like school uniforms) tend to encourage faces to be drawn differently. Because of this, a character's outfit actually changing usually means it's supposed to mark an emotional change in either them or how we're supposed to see them. A simple haircut can also mess up who the character is very easily.

Anime and manga sometimes use a large amount of eye variation (employing all sorts of non-existent eye colors (red, purple, etc.), eye shapes (slanted inward, slanted outward, slit pupils, etc) and hair variation (with unrealistic (but natural) colors and styles that defy physics), along with other distinguishing features such as scars, tattoos, etc. rather than changing the overall shape of the face itself (anime and manga also stop short at skin colors, though, because taking too much liberty with them as with eye and hair colors could result in sickly or monstrous-looking characters). This results in various instances of Ambiguously Brown characters, where skin tone is the only clue for guessing the characters' ethnicity. Similarly, early western superheroes often look alike aside from their distinctive costumes, particularly those created prior to The Dark Age of Comic Books, where pretty much every superhero was a classically handsome white guy with varying hair colours and styles, with varying eye and face shapes usually used to specifically denote ethnicity, with people of the same ethnicity tending to look alike.

Faceless Masses takes this trope to the extreme. The opposite of Cast of Snowflakes, where even the most incidental characters' designs tend to be unique and well-defined. Sounds like but is unrelated to Same Face, Different Name, which is about creators going by different monikers. A clever creator can work around this and create a Reused Character Design habit. See also Generic Cuteness (every character has the same cutesy features), Only One Female Mold (all female characters have the same body type), and You All Look Familiar (the videogame version).

This is also known as "same face syndrome"

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • This is an actual documented issue in ancient art history. Surviving burial portraits from Roman Egypt resemble each other more than real people would. The painters must have mixed and matched a limited repertoire of features, making this trope Older Than Feudalism. (This could also be due to Ancient Egyptian art's long history of making people look good, rather than realistic.)
  • Porn artist Zimmerman (well known for Rule 34-ing lots of cartoon characters, mostly Jessica Rabbit and Disney princesses) is amazing in how he can draw the same girl over 1000 times in a year, yet they are described as being different characters. Be even more amazed by the fact that he has been doing this for almost a decade and that his models range from Belle to Lara Croft.
  • Greek Statues, due to the emphasis being on human perfection. The Romans, however, have more variation.
  • Much as with Classical Greek statues, Regency official portraits tended to all look alike, "because they're painted to a romantic ideal rather than as a true depiction of the idiosyncratic facial qualities of the person in question". Historically, this contributed to Prince George marrying Caroline of Brunswick, who so repelled him on actually meeting that he immediately begged off claiming to feel unwell (and Caroline wasn't very impressed with George either, which didn't help things). The whole marriage was such a disaster he attempted (unsuccessfully) to divorce her, and a good many of his relatives started desperately trying to produce an heir (when it became clear he was never going to have any legitimate children), eventually leading to Queen Victoria.
  • Byzantine art is classified by gold backgrounds, pattern drapery, and stylized facial types. Most figures in the paintings look like they are related to each other.
  • Pretty much all figures in classically ancient Egyptian art look identical to anyone else of their gender (unless they have animal heads). This owed to Egyptian culture strongly venerating depictions of a person as how they would be seen in the afterlife, and therefore prioritizing "completeness" over accuracy (hence why they also overwhelmingly have the full body with all fingers and toes visible). One of the more notable exceptions is Akhenaten and many others from his era, who looked very distinct; scholarly theories range from it being representative of his dual nature to him pushing towards greater realism in his reign to him just being that ugly.

    Comic Strips 
  • All the younger men in Apartment 3-G tend to look alike, at least in the later years when Frank Bolle is the artist.
  • All young, attractive women in Beetle Bailey over the decades, varying only by hairstyle and clothing. They're also drawn in a very different style from the men and older women, with sensuously flowing lines (which is only an exaggeration of reality). The style has shifted somewhat over the years, but the theme hasn't. Two recurring examples are Ms. Buxley and Beetle's previous girlfriend, who look about as different as they can within this technique, but mostly it applies to the hundreds of usually nameless extras Killer and the other soldiers are typically drooling after. If a young woman is drawn any other way, she's almost without exception meant to be plain or ugly.
  • Calvin and Hobbes did this, to an extent. Less so as the series progressed.
  • Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, isn't quite as bad as certain other examples on this page, but has admitted that he can't draw that many faces. This resulted in two main things:
    • Ted The Generic Guy, and
    • The Pointy-Haired Boss being related to Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light.
    • Wally was another template for characters in the early days of the strip. Even after he became a major character, jokes have been made about the Pointy-Haired Boss firing employees who look like Wally out of Mistaken Identity.
  • The Far Side: Gary Larson, even stating the trope name, once said in an interview in 1998 that he never wanted to bring the same character back in any of the Far Side strips because it felt limiting and that one scenario he made would work with a character but not another. However, he later said, "Although admittedly, as the years went by, all my stuff got boiled down to about six faces.”
  • Characters in FoxTrot are only differentiated by hairstyle, accessories and the female characters having smaller noses. Andy even changed her hairstyle early on to make her look less like Paige.
  • The original Mandrake the Magician artist Phil Davis had a tendency to draw his characters with very similar faces, except when a character was supposed to look ugly or weird for a specific reason.
  • The characters in Peanuts show extremely little variation in face and body type, being to a large extent distinguished by hairstyle and iconic costume. If you look just at the faces, Franklin has Charlie Brown's face in dark (black and white) or brown (color), while Peppermint Patty has Chuck's face with six freckles (which is rather fitting, as she is in many respects his female counterpart).
  • Lampshaded in this Pearls Before Swine strip.
  • Once George Wunder took over as artist for Terry and the Pirates, this was the rule, with all the characters — male or female — having the same face.
  • In They'll Do It Every Time, Al Scatudo had basically one male and one female face. Which was a little odd in the rare strip that featured a woman who was meant to be young and attractive...and had the same face as his frumpy housewife characters, just with lipstick and nicer hair.

  • For both The Aristocats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973), the (then) financially-strapped Disney re-used several iconic dance scenes from at least three different previously-released Disney animated films, most notably Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Deja vu, much? The dance scenes in all previously-mentioned films were drawn from the exact same live-action source material (and, in some cases, Xeroxs of that material). note 
  • In Meet the Robinsons, a few generic character models are used for minor roles and a few major characters are recycled. Art's model is used as a college student in the Another Believer montage and Franny's model is used for Lewis's mother. Which is kinda creepy if you think about it.
  • Pixar:
    • Lampshaded in the DVD commentary of The Incredibles, in which all of the background and minor characters are "played" by the same, slightly-altered CGI model (dubbed "Universal Man"). Yes, even the female characters.
    • Pixar actually did this again with Cars where some of the background characters have the exact same vehicle body style! Arguably a Justified Trope in this case, with factories turning them out by the thousands...
    • Overall, however, Pixar has been pretty good at averting this. Even when using the same model, they've been able to create pretty unique characters, whether they be background or main.
      • An example with this would be all non-hero monsters in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. They designed about half a dozen different Bodies Eyes Limbs Etc, then implemented a process that could mix and match as well as alter the color and scale of each. The end result was the ability to generate hundreds if not thousands of varied monsters that each fell into a "family" based on which Body was used.
      • For Turning Red, 303 unique background characters were created.
  • In the Disney fandom, this is called "Sameface Syndrome", a phrase which is commonly used as a criticism of face-recycling in the Disney Animated Canon, often with detractors of Frozen. It's likely due to being designed by the same artist; however, Rapunzel from Tangled, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Anna from Frozen have similarities. Rapunzel cameos in Frozen, which has led fans to believe she is Anna's and Elsa's cousin, though nothing has been confirmed.

    Fan Works 
  • An interesting case in the Avantasia Protag AU series. None of the characters have canon designs, but since they're from rock operas, they have vocalists. And the band Avantasia has four separate stories with some of the same vocalists "playing" different characters. In this fanfic series, each character has been given the face of their canon vocalist, and since it contains characters from all four canon stories, many of them have the same faces. Including the four main characters. This is lampshaded in-series as everyone can see it and the fact is used in various plot points.
    The man on the ground before them...was them. It was another double, though this one looked slightly older than Scarecrow.
    "It's...another one of us..." Gabriel said softly, placing his hand on the stranger's chest.
    "No way..." Scarecrow muttered, was true. The man was an exact copy in almost every way.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The 3 Little Pigs: The Movie, all three pigs look exactly the same only with different clothes.
  • Invoked by the filmmakers of Anomalisa. Michael suffers from the Fregoli Delusion, a rare syndrome in which the person believes that multiple people are the same person in disguise. With the exception of the eponymous Lisa, to Michael everyone appears to be the same generic white guy, the only variation being different clothing and hairstyles.
  • Beauty and Warrior: The only differences between the female goddesses are the colors of their clothing and hairstyles; and the only difference between the two brothers is eye color.
  • The DC Animated Movie Universe was an attempt at creating a Shared Universe by having all animated films from then onwards adopt the same art direction. This could have worked better if the character designers used a style similar to their animated series from the 90s and early 2000s, but instead they went with a style where every human and human-adjacent character had identical looks.
  • In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman find a herd of zebras, among the many herds on the game preserve, and Alex has a hard time distinguishing Marty from the others. He finally manages to identify Marty using the scar on Marty's rump from when Alex bit him in the first movie. In real life, each zebra's pattern of stripes is unique, like human fingerprints. However, it would be like trying to identify a human by using only the fingerprints through a magnifying glass, a task that would be quite difficult. To make matters worse, they're all voiced by Chris Rock, who voices Marty, and have the same general personality and speech patterns.
  • Mostly averted in Robots, which features a few background characters that are variants on the same model, but otherwise has a fairly diverse array of character designs.
  • In relation to Charles Schulz' style, this trope makes the much advertised reveal of the Little Red-Haired Girl's face in The Peanuts Movie unintentionally humorous: after all the build-up, she looks just like all the other kids, albeit with a slightly smaller nose.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature Illustration 
  • In the earlier Warrior Cats graphic novels by James L. Barry, there are hardly any variations in character design. This isn't a problem usually, because in the Graystripe's Adventure series not very many characters appeared at the same time, but in crowd shots, it's very problematic. It's especially hilarious in the gathering at the end when there are four cats in the crowd who look exactly like Ravenpaw.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Flash Gordon (2007) cast three near-identical brunette actresses in its three lead female roles, Dale Arden, Princess Aura, and Bayliss. Then it cast a slightly older version of the same actress as Flash's mother. Then they had a duplicate Dale character, Helia.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): The episode "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" presents a future where everyone is given a government-funded surgical makeover at puberty, choosing their new face and figure from a limited catalogue of stock models. The effect was achieved in the show by having a handful of actors play multiple roles.
  • In a somewhat meta example, when a new series of The Bachelor is teased, it has been commented on that the gallery of potential candidates for the titular Bachelor are often near-identical generic hunks.

  • Enforced by the limits of the medium in The Champion Pub, where every boxer has the exact same character model.

  • The work of John William Waterhouse took this to extremes—the subjects of his paintings all look exactly alike, just with different clothing and, occasionally, hair color.
    • Several of the Pre-Raphaelites (Dante Gabriel Rosetti comes to mind) feature this because they tended to have a few go-to female models they used for most of their pictures. The portraits could be more accurately titled "[Model] as/in the guise of [Goddess/Mythological Figure]".
      • Edward Burne-Jones only does one face, usually from the same angle (three-quarters profile) with the same long thick neck and broad shoulders. When it's supposed to be male he puts a beard on it and covers up the neck with armor. It's Janey Morris (his model) plays everyone in the universe. Particularly pronounced in his stained-glass windows in Birmingham St Chad's, where Janey Morris is Jesus, the Madonna, and the hosts of heaven.
  • Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, whose human painting subjects are almost always facing forward with the same moon-faced vacuous expression. There is very little variation in the faces that Botero can paint, usually employing facial hair or glasses to modify exactly the same face over and over again.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Dinosaurs, also made by Jim Henson's team, has unique suits, etc., for only the extended Sinclair family and some of the supporting characters (namely Roy, Monica, Spike, and Mr. Richfield); all the rest are "played" by a group of customizable costumes which are used for minor characters such as the other Wesayso employees and students seen in the school, and were comprised of both full costumes and hand-puppets.
  • Oobi: Since all of the characters are literal hand puppets, the crew had to find creative ways to make sure the characters didn't all have the same face. This led to some characters having their fingers extended, some having them curled, and others having a fist-like appearance.
  • There are only a few designs for Anything Muppets in Sesame Street, so some characters are recognisably the same puppet with different hair. This is most obvious with the more distinctive ones such as Fat Blue (Simon Soundman, the customer in the Grover waiter sketches, Dad Twiddlebug) and Orange Gold (Guy Smiley, Don Music, Prince Charming).

  • For practical reasons this has been the case with most if not all doll lines, namely American Girl, using a few stock face moulds depending on the doll's ethnicity or unique traits if any. The only other things distinguishing the dolls from each other are their hair, skin colour, outfit, and their backstories.
  • LEGO had a stock smiley face for all figures during the '70s and '80s. Sometime in the '90s, they decided to use more different prints (like bearded man, guy with sunglasses, etc.). They do new faces regularly, but lines like City are still plagued with this - for example, most of the policemen have the same grumpy expression, and there seems to be only three different female head prints; this is possibly justifiable in how City figures are supposed to be generic everymen with no designated characterisation. Conversely, licensed themes handle this better because the main characters need to be identifiable, but they still spam the more generic-looking heads like the Norman Osborn one (who accordingly was also a Nazi, a Communist, his own son Harry, and the goddamn Batman) for mooks and guards.
    • Then there's BIONICLE, which in the early days had only twelve different masks for the entire population of Mata Nui, and later possibly the entire universe. Virtually every mask introduced after the beginning was a one-off for the characters on whom they were used, with very rare exceptions, while almost everyone else still just had the same original twelve. Also, underneath the masks? The same four or five head pieces, further exacerbated by the first film trilogy which made all the heads the same — but at least background extras weren't "allowed" to wear the same mask types as the main characters.
      • This later became a problem when masks became the only unique part of the toys. After the Inika line, almost all Toa-level figures had a standard template for how they're built. While some of them are visually different, construction-wise they were all nearly the same, and a simple armor swap can make one Toa look like another (or a bad guy). Adverted with the Barraki and Mistika Makuta lines, who all had unique construction making them vastly different from each other, even in the same line (the Barraki, in fact, were only similar in the construction of their "skull", while the Mistika Makuta had nothing in common at all).
    • On Bara Magna, every character used the same headpiece, and not all of them had helmets that covered their face. The youthful and overactive Berix even wore the same type of face-revealing helmet as the veteran, "beyond his prime" Ackar, so aside from their colors, their heads looked the exact same. The movie of that year only made things worse: due to CGI shortcuts, every character belonging to the same tribe looked the same, whether they were mere extras or plot-relevant characters.
    • In BIONICLE, the recycling of masks reached its most bothersome level in 2006 and 2007. In '06, the six Matoran sets were given the exact same masks in the exact same colors as the Toa Metru from '04 (okay, Dalu's was half a shade lighter), not recolors, which annoyed the mask collectors quite a bit. They released a figure called Umbra the same year, who again was given one of those six masks, meaning that LEGO passed the chance to release a recolored mask twice under a year. In '07, the toy of Sarda was likewise given a standard Toa Metru mask. What's strange is that all the other reused masks of that year were recolors, and even Idris, who came packaged with Sarda, was given a recolored mask for some added collectible value.
    • Played with in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars line. Clone troopers are meant to all have the same face, and LEGO used the same face for the Boba Fett figurine. However, they also gave the same face to all other Mandolorians and the Senate Commandos, who are specifically stated to NOT be clones.
    • Mixels plays with the idea, too. While all the Mixels are completely unique from each other, the Nixels, their enemies, are simply black-and-white cube creatures, with the only difference being three different types of ear toppers. This ends up highlighting how uncreative the Nixels really are, in contrast to the Mixels' high creativity levels.
  • Minimate faces only have eyes and mouths, no noses, so they tend to look a lot alike. The Mobile Action Xtreme line takes this to new heights, with each two-pack of figures sharing one identical face.[1]
  • Most My Little Pony toys have the same mold and only differ in color, hair, and symbol markings.

    Visual Novels 
  • It's been pointed out that most female and some male characters drawn by Nasuverse co-founder and main artist Takeuchi Takashi can be turned into each other just by changing their eye color and hair. To say nothing of his ever-growing army of "Saberfaces."
  • Winged Cloud tends to reuse the same base character models for various entries in their Sakura visual novel series. This is most easily demonstrated in the free Idle Game spin-off Sakura Clicker, where every enemy has variants that look exactly the same save for their hairstyle and skin tone.

  • Achewood falls into this trope at times. Since the introduction of Ray, Pat, and Roast Beef, it has been revealed that the majority of the animal population are cats (dogs have been established as typically non-anthropomorphic and excluded from the animal underground.) In keeping with Onstad's generally minimalist art style, most of the cats are interchangeable in terms of facial features. There are three or four body types and a couple of heads to go with them, and generally the eyes, muzzle, and ears of the cats are exactly the same (exceptions being Ray and his family, as well as his ex-current-ex-business partner-ex-girlfriend Tina, who have been identified as American Curls.)
  • Anime News Nina parodies the tendency for all Bishōnen in any given anime series to have the same generically pretty face in this strip.
  • APT Comic has a habit of one face per species, to emphasize the rest of the differences.
  • Bricktown simultaneously subverts and plays this trope straight. All characters' eyes are large and circular, though women have proportionally-larger eyes than the men, and their faces are generally similar; however, among the cast of 10 main characters, they all have differently-sized and -shaped eyebrows, have noses of various sizes and basic shapes, unique irises, their individual facial proportions are all radically different, unique hair, and they all have uniquely-shaped heads Each character sports a unique body type, as well, (even muscular characters have different levels of bulk), and most have unique heights as well (of the main 10 characters, only 4 — Greg, Jen, Curt, and Randy — are of similar height). The result is that, even with the simple faces, it's incredibly easy to pick out which character is which, even when they have different clothes or hair than usual. And this was BEFORE the comic was colored in.
  • Champions of Far'aus: As most of the humanoid characters are depicted with Black Bead Eyes and next to no other facial features, one of the easiest ways to identify who is who at a glance is by their hair, clothes, & accessories. The extra features on non-humanoid characters allow for slightly more variation.
  • David Cheung (of which Chugworth Academy is the only creation of his work-safe enough to have a page on this wiki) is notorious for having exactly one female face.
  • College Roomies from Hell!!! has often been accused of this, particularly the gigantic noses of all the characters.
  • Concession was originally like this, with cat, mouse, wolf, and pangolin looking almost exactly alike. After being called out on this several times, the artist initially excused it by saying that a more realistic pangolin face would look ugly but later redesigned the characters to look more distinct from each other.
  • A common criticism of Ctrl+Alt+Del is that the art style involves most characters having nearly identical facial features. This image is provided for examination. Memetic Mutation has branded this expression B^U because it looks like said digits turned sideways, and by extension, its author is often called Tim B^Uckley. He has gotten better at drawing faces as of late.
  • Almost everybody in Cyanide and Happiness has the same exact face and body structure, and the same goes for the animated shorts as well (though it has lessened a tiny bit). Granted, you can only really go so far when it comes to drawing stick figures in a gag comic. Got lampshaded in this particular strip.
  • Everyone in Dominic Deegan would be almost indistinguishable from one another if they all shaved their heads if not for the eyelashes and occasional orc fangs. Mookie is not above lampshading it on occasion. One such example can be seen here.
  • The Dumb_RWBY webcomic takes this to an absurd degree. Not only does everyone (save Zwei and Yatsuhashi) have the same face, but they all have the same constant facial expression. Granted, this is probably intentional.
  • Dan Shive of El Goonish Shive has noted that three of the main female characters have the same face. He's tried to give each of them a little more individuality, but points out that changing their faces too much would mean they'd no longer look like the people they're supposed to be. He averts it a lot better with characters created later in the series.
    • And before that, with a Show Within a Show character.
    • In-story, the fact that Susan and Diane look and sound identicalnote  save for hair color and clothing choice is noted and implied to be significant. They're later thought to possibly be twins separated at birth when it's discovered they were born within minutes of each other, then half-sisters due to Susan's father cheating on her mother, then finally it's revealed they have an Uncanny Family Resemblance as Adrian Raven unknowingly fathered a child centuries ago that Susan is descended from and Diane is a contemporary child he didn't know he had; he had assumed for all his life that he was incapable of having a child.
  • Adam Ellis was accused of copy-pasting faces and expressions in his work while still at Buzzfeed, to the point that he would lampshade it in his own comics (ie, complaining about recolored sprites in video games to an identical but recolored Adam). Since leaving Buzzfeed, he's gotten better about not copy-pasting (he's no longer on a tight deadline and can work at his own pace), but his art style does suffer from same-faceness sometimes.
  • A common criticism of Fluttering Feelings is this. Characters tend to look very similar, even their hairstyles can look similar, and it can be confusing at times to tell people apart (especially if they haven't appeared for a while).
  • Homestuck's simple style means that all the child characters have the same body shape and facial structure. This trend is carried over even into the more detailed shots.
    • Taken even further with the inclusion of the ectobiological parents of the original protagonists, whose features are similar on purpose. The most extreme example thus far being John and Jake, whose facial features are exactly the same.
    • However, it's also inverted to an extent — with the exception of the John/Jake parallel mentioned above and the obvious similarities between alternate sessions, each and every member of the cast has distinctive facial features and design, to the point where it's fairly simple to recognize characters even out of a huge crowd.
  • Housepets! was prone to this during its first year; most of the characters looked alike, and it was difficult to tell cats apart from dogs. The strip underwent a major art style revision about nine months into its run, which significantly improved the situation, although there are still occasional hang-ups; for example, Peanut and Fido have identical faces.
  • How I Became Yours (as well as the sequel, Rise of the Agni Army) has this something terrible. Mostly because the artist traces her face over and over again, and only bothered to trace one character's face for her OCs.
  • Many of the characters in Jack are essentially the same model with different markings. It's very hard to tell what species some of them are meant to be without being told (Arloest is a panda; Farrago is a ferret; it's hard enough to tell them apart, let alone discern their respective species).
  • In The Mansion of E, all gnolls look alike, except for their hairstyles.
  • MegaTokyo: Many readers can barely differentiate between the female characters if they don't wear insane outfits — even Piro is androgynous enough to be confused for one of the girls in a few scenes!
    • One omake has Piroko and Piro side-by-side. Possibly a Lampshade Hanging.
    • The fans find endless amusement in pointing out that Piro could very well be his girlfriend's twin sister, especially as his bangs grow ever longer.
    • Kimiko gets a bit of it right back due to her small bust and non-existent hips, though it's mostly Piro's fault for looking like her.
    • This is more so with the male characters Dom, Matsui, and Inspector Masimichi Sonoda. As can be seen in this strip where Matsui has to be captioned to identify who he is. The other similar-looking man present is Dom (obviously).
    • The female characters' eyes have much larger irises, but besides that, all the faces are identical. They apparently have lots of eye/hair color variation...but the comic's normally in black and white.
  • Misfile has this issue with secondary characters: combined with the downright glacial progress of the story (not unheard of to spend two weeks of real-time covering one conversation) it can make it extremely difficult to remember who they're talking to sometimes...
  • Played with in The Order of the Stick, which has Only Two Faces. The faces are male and female, differentiated by the position of the eyes and mouth (women have both positioned lower on the face, suggesting more delicate features and smaller chins; the difference is showcased by the storyline in which Roy uses the Belt of Gender Changing and his features shift accordingly). However, in this case, the trope is justified because they're, well... stick figures. Xykon is the only member of the cast who completely stands out, as he is a skeleton.
    • Even that variation gets lampshaded when Redcloak creates some Xykon decoys by getting some skeleton monsters and dressing them up like him.
      • The skulls in question aren't the least bit similar in shape to the heads of living characters.
  • In some really early strips of Penny Arcade, Gabe and Tycho looked very similar. It got better, so now they look very different.
  • Queen of Wands had one face for almost all of the female characters besides Angela, and one for the male characters besides Felix, giving a generic sameness to Donna, who was supposed to be older and heavier (judging by spin-off Punch an' Pie with a different artist), and the various males in the background.
  • Several characters in Questionable Content look strangely alike. Sometimes, it's Strong Family Resemblance (Marten in particular seems to have inherited his mother's entire face). There's also the strip where it's pointed out how much Marten and Dora look alike (leading to incest and Your Mom jokes.)
  • Real Life Comics does something similar.
  • Shortpacked! points out that this happens in Batman (and other media) all the time (the comic itself is a clear aversion, thankfully).
    Oracle: Enhancing, and... oh my God... All females look exactly the same.
    Batman: Check the hairstyle.
    • Also subverted later on. Some of the characters do strongly resemble each other, and the possibility is presented that there is a good reason why.
      • One of the running jokes in the Dumbing of Age comments section is calling Dorothy "Blonde Amber." The similarity was also noted in the strip itself.
  • Kristofer Straub's Checkerboard Nightmare and its successor, Starslip Crisis, have identical-looking humans except for hair and costuming. The strips don't suffer for this, though. Lampshaded in this Starslip Crisis strip.
  • The Toon Teens Comic's only distinct facial features are Noodle and Chris's mustaches, Lilly's antlers, and Cesar's eye scar.
  • Though he has no meme associated with him, Scott Ramsoomair of VG Cats is often criticized for the same thing. Ironically, it used to be praised for not falling into this trope, before people started really paying attention and noticing that most characters have the same insane look on their faces as the art evolved. It could be related to the fact that he is obviously relying on his computer a lot more. While Leo and Aeris did always look like essentially palette swapped versions of each other, it can be pointed out that the different facial expressions often look very similar now, I.E. pissed-off character A looks like pissed-off characters B, C, and D, or at least a lot more than before. It doesn't help that yes, they do tend to look pretty weird.
  • In The Whiteboard, the humans (for the most part) only have one face. The furry cast is more varied... mostly.
  • xkcd, with the exception of a handful of early pieces, tends to have zero faces. For a long time, the only body types were male (circle-headed stick figure), female (circle-headed stick figure with hair), and the recurring characters Black Hat Guy and White Beret Guy. Later comics added more hairstyles, but still no faces.

    Web Original 
  • All of the characters in the ASDF Movie series have the same appearances, this is often the joke.
  • Most of the women in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse have the same hairstyle, face, and body type, with the obvious exceptions of Barbie, her family, and her friends. (And Raquelle.) Justified in that the series takes place in a community of living Mattel dolls.
  • All the characters in Vinnie Veritas's CCC series would be indistinguishable with shaved heads and the same clothes, but thanks to his utterly awesome character design (by which I mean unique clothes and unique hair) he manages to make it Cast of Snowflakes at the same time.
  • All the women of comic-style illustrator Garett Blair suffer from a bad case of this. His unanimously praised gallery seldom gets any criticism at all, adding to the prevalence of this trope in comic books illustration.
  • Only the color of the human characters eyes change in DSBT InsaniT and Dreamscape, which relies on clothing style and accessories for Distinctive Appearances.
  • Happy Tree Friends is an especially egregious case, being that most of the characters are different species. With few exceptions, nearly all the characters have flat faces, pie eyes, heart-shaped noses, and buckteeth (including the carnivorans and ungulates), and are all the same size except for Lumpy. You could say this is Stylistic Suck though, considering the show's premise.
  • Every single character in object shows such as Battle for Dream Island and Inanimate Insanity share the same face and limbs. It's the objects themselves that identify them.
  • Jacksepticeye, Markiplier and Thomas Sanders all play at least four different characters on their own, leading to fanart having this.
  • Webcomicker Jeinu seems fed up with this enough to start a tutorial series teaching amateurs how to avoid this very trope.
  • Justified in The Most Popular Girls in School as most of the characters are Barbie dolls.
  • Nekci, Kety Perr, Medoner, and Beyonce all share the same facial design in The Nekci Menij Show; in the same show, Rhenna, Keshir, and Lady Gags also share a similar facial design, though they are not identical.
  • The Nostalgia Critic likes to reuse cast members for different characters on his show, which quickly becomes noticeable because his cast is very small.
  • Poser (and other 3D art programs). If you are lazy (or poor), all your characters will look the same (Even if you fiddle with the facial expression knobs).
  • Only One Face in the case of the main cast of Red vs. Blue, as the main characters are all wearing Spartan armor. The only exceptions are the occasional alien (who all look alike except for color and size), Andy, Sheila, and Vic. Season 9 averted this strongly when CGI was used heavily to show the faces of several different characters, all of whom looked quite distinct.
  • RWBY:
    • While masked by the huge variation in color, anime-style hair and attire, and even height, nearly every character can be expected to have the same face and body as ever other character of their gender. Only One Female Mold was also a factor, as there were two models for stockier men, but no variation among the women's bodies apart from very subtle differences in breast size. Men with unique character models began being introduced in the fourth volume, women with unique models in the sixth.
    • Crowd scenes in the second volume fall victim to You All Look Familiar; the first stage of growth past the featureless silhouettes that were background characters in the first volume, were crowds of people a bit too much less distinctive than the major characters, often with several copies of certain individuals in the same shot.
  • Sanrio Boys runs into this, in part from the art style borrowing from typical Shoujo manga aesthetics. Of the main boys, two of them have a half-lidded "serious" face, while the other three have a round, bright-eyed "playful" face. While this is downplayed somewhat in the blogs by depicting them with a wide variety of expressions, this is emphasized in the anime and visual novel adaptations, which standardizes their appearances.
  • Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, the creators of Smosh, would reuse themselves as the many different characters that appear throughout their web series, which occasionally led to some Acting for Two moments. This can be excused since the cast is pretty small (at least initially) and it's just generally funnier.
  • Everyone in Eddsworld has the same eye shape and no nose, with the main differences being the hairstyle and, for the four main characters, what color hoodie they're wearing. The most notably different of the main cast is Matt, who has a square chin, a distinct hair shape, and an overcoat over his hoodie.

    Real Life 
  • Some people suffer from a disorder called prosopagnosia (also called Face Blindness), the inability to differentiate between faces. To these people, real-life people all look the same (barring hair color, skin pigmentation, body shape, and very specific details such as scars). The fact that Real Life people generally don't have a distinctive outfit or hairstyle makes interacting with people extremely confusing for people suffering from prosopagnosia.
    • A limited form of foreigner face blindness can occur as both an actual phenomenon (as the distinguishing features of an unfamiliar group may be different) or psychological (not bothering to look for any differences).
  • Members from a certain family will look like each other; such as the family in this photo for example.