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"What a woman! Eyes like pies..."

During the 1920s and going into the 1930s, animated characters were sometimes drawn with eyes or pupils that were black and circular, but shaped like a pie that's had one slice removed from it, with the missing slice being an oversimplified representation of a radial light reflection. It is remembered today as one of the most iconic features of the Inkblot Cartoon Style. Pie-eyes were widespread until around the time color became the standard for most cartoons in the early 1940s, by which time the Inkblot Cartoon Style had fallen out of favor, and Western Animation as a whole had undergone significant Art Evolution. The style sometimes appeared in comics as well, particularly the Disney ones, and others based on characters that first appeared in animation.

When it shows up in modern media, it's usually as an homage or throwback. Parodies of the Inkblot Cartoon Style will almost always employ this along with Rubber-Hose Limbs and the like.

Another variation is Crescent Moon Pupils, where the characters are drawn with pupils shaped like crescent moons.

See also Black Bead Eyes, which were also employed in black and white cartoons; Sphere Eyes, which began to replace them both around the 1940s; and Sudden Eye Colour, which happens when a character who was once pie-eyed gets more "standard" looking eyes in redesigns. Not to be confused with a slang term for being drunk, or with the results of a Pie in the Face.

Classic Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Mascot example: When the Cleveland Guardians were known as the Indians, their mascot was Chief Wahoo. His design underwent slight revisions from 1946-2018, but he had always been pie-eyed.
  • Another Mascot example: Big Boy of the Big Boy Restaurants originally had black dot pupils, but a redesign in 1956 gave him pie eyes and he's had them ever since.

    Anime & Manga 
    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Popeye characters in the cartoon sometimes had them, usually only during close-ups.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Coachman's Nightmare Face from Pinocchio has a variant— he has black pupils and green irises, but the white highlight is the pie style.

     Puppet Shows 

  • Dr. Seuss uses the crescent pupil variation on his illustrations.
  • Some non-human characters in John R. Neill's illustrations for the Land of Oz book series had pie eyes,most notably the robotic Tik-Tok.
  • Rocko The Christmas Bat: Every character but the titular one has their eyes drawn this way.

    Western Animation 

Modern Examples and Homages:

    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • The dancing flowers in the intro to Happy Family have these.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 


  • A Playmobil set with two vampire figures features these on the female vampire.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • The titular character in Double King has these kind of pupils, although he is the only one with them save for minor background characters.
  • In The Grossery Gang webseries, characters from "back in the day" are portrayed with this style of pupil instead of the standard round ones for an old-fashioned feel.
  • Most of the characters in Happy Tree Friends have pie-shaped pupils, except for Lumpy.
  • Homestar Runner: Coach Z's Old-Timey counterpart.
  • The song "The Ghost of Stephen Foster" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers has an Animated Music Video that paid homage to the Max and Dave Fleischer cartoons of the 1930's. Every character in the video is pie-eyed.


    Western Animation 
  • It was used in the 2 Stupid Dogs short "Hobo Hounds", which was made to look like an old silent cartoon.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot, which uses a Retraux style, has most of the characters with a small "slice" taken out of their eye, though Jenny has eyes like slotted screws.
  • Toot Braunstein from Drawn Together, who is a parody of Betty Boop.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Truth or Square", Patchy shows a SpongeBob short in a 1920s style, where everything has this eye style.
    • Also, SpongeBob is comically pie-eyed when he learns that he will be the cashier in "Squid's Day Off".
    • In the first movie, King Neptune and his daughter Mindy are drawn with these. SpongeBob and Patrick also briefly gain them during an extreme close up.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Silent Treatment", the girls gain these when they get trapped inside a silent cartoon.
  • Mostly everyone in the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon has this feature, a rare modern usage not meant as a throwback.
  • Mr. Hankey and his family from South Park. Also, in the episode "Red Sleigh Down", proximity to Christmas presents caused children to briefly morph into old-fashioned pie-eyed cartoons.
  • The Futurama episode "Reincarnation," which parodies several animation styles, gave these to the cast in the 1930s-style segment.
  • Used in El Tigre by almost every character.
  • The rebooted Mickey Mouse cartoons (2013-present) such as "No Service" have these eyes on everyone, with more consistency than the original black and white shorts.
  • The characters' models in some seasons of Thomas & Friends have these.
  • In the first season of American Dragon: Jake Long, nearly all the characters are drawn with these.
  • Nearly all the characters in King of the Hill are drawn with a subtle Crescent Moon variation, with the exceptions of Bill and Kahn having more standard looking rounded cartoon eyes, while Cotton and Boomhauer have Black Dot Eyes.
  • Mr. Sparkle, the Japanese detergent mascot that happened to look like Homer in The Simpsons episode "In Marge We Trust", had them.
  • The characters from Max and Ruby have pie-shaped pupils.
  • Most Harvey Beaks characters just have dots for pupils, but Piri Piri, her mother Hanzi, and Michelle have large pupils with notches in them. For the first two is emphasizes their New Aged outlook, while Michelle's is simply because she's a baby. The notches are a bit less triangular than classic examples, with a noticeable taper.
  • DuckTales (2017) characters have thin slices in their eyes as a nod to Carl Barks' style.
    • Their version of Magica De Spell is an inversion; her Hellish Pupils are triangular slits, representing the "missing slice."
  • In various scenes, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has drawn characters with black eyes (like Bow and Scorpia) as either pie-eyed or with an explicit reflection.
  • Spinel from Steven Universe is pie-eyed as a default, as shown when she was hit with the Rejuvinator and reset to that state.

    Real Life 
  • Cat clocks with moving eyes often are pie-eyed.

Alternative Title(s): Pac Man Eyes, Pie Eyes