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Shared Unusual Trait

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An unusual physical trait that ties two characters together. The physical trait can be heterochromia, unusual hair colours, deformities or other odd traits. It could also be something that's passed down from one generation to the next. These traits can be used to identify twins, possessed people, reincarnations, clones, or a once-unknown connection between two people that indicates they are related.

Related to Family Eye Resemblance when the eyes show a familial relationship. See also Shared Family Quirks for when family members share similar behaviors or personalities, and Mark of the Beast when the trait is a sign of possession. When an entire tribe, ethnic group, or nation has these traits, that's Group-Identifying Feature.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Reiner, Bertolt and Annie each have their own, distinct nose-shape, but that also ends up having them stand out compared to most of the other 104th squad. Bertolt also has tall, elongated features that make him stand out among others, too. All three of them come from the same village that is actually a different country entirely, and they infiltrated the Walls as undercover Titan Shifters.
  • Misaki Shokuhou from A Certain Magical Index has stars in her eyes. The same stars appear in the eyes of those who she's using her mind control powers on.
  • In Claymore, every claymore warrior for the most part looks human, however their one distinct feature, least before they start tapping in their Yoma powers, is their silver eyes. In one episode the main character, Clare, who's a claymore is task with hunting down a Yoma in a city that doesn't allow claymores. To get into the city she takes a pill that limits her powers but make her appear human just by turning her eyes brown.
  • Nenene and Toki from Code:Breaker both have one blue and one brown eye. This almost gets Nenene killed when fire controller Oogami mistakes her for his despised teammate Toki who is Nenene's long-lost brother. Nenene does not seem to notice the resemblance, even when Toki is standing in front of her while Sakura says "This is your brother!"
  • Luki and Noki from Dogs: Bullets & Carnage have heterochromia (gold with a black iris, black with a gold iris, with the actual which-eye-is-which swapped between twins). They're also both powerful cyborg Child Soldiers.
  • In Dragon Ball, all Saiyans are born with black hair and eyes. This was one of the reasons why Vegeta didn't believe Trunks was of Saiyan blood since he had blue eyes and purple hair. Although, Earthlings with black hair and black eyes are also very common, which is why Gokū blended in so well with the Earthlings...if it wasn't for his monkey tail, an unusual trait that is exclusive to Saiyans (from Universe 7). Before revealing his identity to Gokū, revealing his tail to Gokū was the first proof that Raditz, his older brother, was connected to him. Raditz recognizes Gohan as Gokū's easily because he also has a tail like them.
    • In regards to another unusual trait, the fact that Saiyans' hair and eyes turn golden/blond and green (accompanied with a golden aura) upon turning into Super Saiyans is also a distinct trait they have. When Trunks was introduced, Freeza was able to identify him as one because of that phenomenon, which by the time of the story was exclusive to Gokū. The actual color combination, however, isn't so unique with Earthlings who are born with those traits naturally, and Lunch just happened to be an Earthling whose hair and eye color change to blond and green.
  • Several characters in Fire Force have white pupils, including the main character, Shinra. Curiously, none of them were born like this and their eyes changed later in life. It is implied to be because they are connected to the Adolla realm.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (specifically the manga and Brotherhood), the fact that Ed, his brother Al, and their father Van Hohenheim all have gold eyes and gold hair (not blond, gold) is an important plot point, as it marks them as descendants of the lost Xerxes civilization, with Hohenheim being an immortal survivor of its destruction.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Vivio from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has red and green eyes because Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sägebrecht from whom she was cloned also possesses those features.
    • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid introduces Einhard Stratos, a descendant of another emperor from the Belkan Age, the Supreme King Claus G.S. Ingvalt. She also has heterochromia, albeit blue and violet eyes.
  • Certain ninja clans in Naruto will have this. Most consistent are the Hyuga, all of whom possess white eyes called the Byakugan. Other examples include the Uchiha and their Sharingan, and the overweight Akimichi clan.
    • Kakashi and the Big Bad Tobi both have mismatched eyes, with one of them being a Sharingan - turns out the Big Bad is Obito Uchiha, whose left eye was transplanted to Kakashi when they were children! Side-effects include shared vision when they're near each other and having the same Mangekyou Sharingan, Kamui. Due to Mangekyou's power it is safe to say Obito would not have been beaten without Kakashi's presence. Good thing Obito gave him that eye all those years ago!
  • Asuna Kagurazaka of Negima! Magister Negi Magi has heterochromia (one eye is blue, the other is green) which mostly go unnoticed, but then in the Magical World we're introduced to Princess Arika, Negi's mother, who also shares this trait. While their exact relation isn't clear, Asuna is at least related to her to some degree and thus not the normal schoolgirl she thinks she is.
  • The Count D from Pet Shop of Horrors has heterochromia, one eye being purple and the other, whom he hides under his hair, is golden. In the manga, it's explained that this is meant to be representative not only for his non-human nature, but also for his inheritance: his father and grandfather have golden and purple eyes, respectively. Since each one has a very different personality, and D has personality traits from both, his heterochromia symbolizes this dual nature.
  • in Psychic Detective Yakumo, this is initially subverted; even though the titular character's uncle also seems to have a ghost seeing red eye like his nephew, it's actually a contact lens he wears in an attempt to understand the pain that Yakumo has experienced. It's later played straight with the red eyed man, who happens to be Yakumo's biological father.
  • Rozen Maiden: Suiseiseki has red and green eyes, and was originally nicknamed "Boatlights-chan" by fans before she became known as simply "Desu". Her twin sister Souseiseki, introduced later, has the same eye colors but reversed. Appropriately, they are foils for each other.
  • In Samurai Champloo, the villainous brothers Denkibou, Umanosuke and Toube all share pink sclera (their eye whites) on their left eyes. It's arguably the only physical trait they have in common.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, some character's pupils (specifically: Lord Genome, Kittan, and Simon) take on spiral form to indicate their mastery of the Spiral Energy.
  • Big Bad (of at least one arc) Rido Kuran of Vampire Knight has one blue eye and one crimson eye, a trait that shows up in the people he possesses. This is the first clue to Rima Touya that something's not quite right about Shiki...

    Fan Fiction 

  • In one film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes realizes that Stapleton is a member of the Baskerville family because both he and a portrait of patriarch Hugo Baskerville have webbed hands. (In the original novel, Holmes points out that Stapleton is facially a dead ringer for the portrait of Hugo when you block out of view the antiquated clothing Hugo is wearing.)
  • The Pact: Annie Barlow has one green eye and one blue eye. So does Charles Barlow, implying Annie's basement-dwelling serial-killer uncle is also her creepy incest-dad.
  • In the first Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, Dong Dong and Cha Cha, the bacteria brothers, both have miscolored eyes (two red eyes and one blue eye) because they were both born from the same parents, who were from opposing factions and had to move to a remote mountain to be able to live with each other. The members of one faction have red eyes while the members of the other faction have blue eyes.
  • X2: X-Men United: Jason Stryker has differently-colored eyes, as does the illusory little girl he creates.
  • 28 Weeks Later: Alice and her son Andy both have heterochromia. Alice is the only asymptomatic Rage carrier we know of, but it's strongly hinted Andy may have that same trait as well.

  • The generational sagas by author Edward Rutherfurd often use physical genetic quirks, such as webbed digits or white streaked hair, to illustrate a bloodline's continuity down through the centuries.
  • In A Brother's Price, all the princesses can be easily identified by the "royal red hair". There is also the Porter family, some of whom have eleven toes. The fact that Kij (who doesn't have the trait) has a daughter who has eleven toes is proof that the daughter was fathered by Kij's brother, Keifer Porter, who has the trait, and not, as Kij claims, by some anonymous man she had a one-time sexual encounter with.
  • In Dragon Bones, there is a certain shade of blue eyes that is exclusive to members of the Hurog family. Ward, who doesn't have them, nevertheless immediately concludes that Oreg, the local Friendly Ghost and the Genius Loci of castle Hurog must be somehow related to the family, as Oreg has the Hurog-blue eyes.
  • In The Godfather, Sonny Corleone has a very large penis and can only have normal sex with Lucy Mancini, who has an abnormally large vagina.
  • One Goosebumps book, My Hairiest Adventure, has the main character's best friend be a girl with heterochromia. This becomes a plot point when she mysteriously disappears and he starts seeing a dog with heterochromia around the neighborhood.
  • In the Graceling Realm series, heterochromia is the mark of a Graceling, a human born with extreme skill. Katsa's eyes are green and blue and Po's are gold and silver.
  • All the clone "shatterlings" of Gentian Line in "House of Suns" by Alastair Reynolds have one green eye and the other a "wintery jackdaw blue", since they're all male and female "facets" of Abigail Gentian. it is noted that since they have a bit of leeway from Abigail's exact appearance, in some shatterlings the mismatched eyes are toned down so much as to be unnoticeable.
  • In A. Bertram Chandler's John Grimes novels the title character has an illegitimate son that inherited his very large ears. The mother had them surgically altered to hide his paternity from her planet's nobility.
  • The horribly inbred Martense clan from The Lurking Fear by H. P. Lovecraft all have this as a distinguishing mark. They have brown-and-blue eyes apparently. This is the tip-off that the swarm of Humanoid Abominations haunting the area actually consists of their offspring.
  • In Reconstructing Amelia, three related characters all have Waardenburg syndrome, but it manifests in different ways so it's not obvious that there's even a familial connection. Amelia and Zadie respectively have differently colored eyes and a skunk stripe, and their biological father, Jeremy, is Prematurely Grey-Haired.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, certain members of House Targaryen have a physical tolerance to high temperatures and fire; also, they all share a characteristic light-silver hair and violet eyes, a trait of the peoples of Old Valyria.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • At one point Hollyleaf notes that Cinderheart always flicks her paw a certain way when grooming herself. She notices Leafpool staring at Cinderheart, and Leafpool comments that Cinderpelt used to flick her paw like that. Cinderheart is a reincarnation of Cinderpelt, and while the reader already knows this, it's one of the first times the characters see the resemblance between the two.
    • One white paw runs in Jake's family, though Jake himself didn't have one. His daughter Princess, son Scourge, and granddaughter Squirrelflight all have it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Forever (2014) uses this as a major plot point: a diver who had died in the expedition to find a sunken ship has heterochromia — one green eye, one blue. This tips off Henry to the fact that the bartender who served drinks to the victim the night of his death was the sister of the dead diver, as she has the same eyes, revealing that she had killed the man she felt was responsible for her brother's death.
  • In Kyle XY, one of the first things that tips Kyle off to Jesse's connection to him is the fact that neither of them has a belly button.
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Belly Speaker", the victim and his son (who's a ventriloquist) both have mismatched eyes, one blue and one brown. The son's Demonic Dummy, modelled after him, has mismatched eyes as well. It's later revealed that he had a twin brother who also had such eyes.

  • The play Redwood Curtain is centered on a young Vietnamese girl who was adopted by an American family. She has "eyes like a husky dog" (one blue, one dark). When she meets a homeless Vietnam vet who has similarly mis-matched eyes, she starts wondering if he could be her biological father. He's not, but he knows who is.

    Video Games 
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Lady and Arkham have heterochromia, which indicates that they're blood-related, and that relation is why she is even there in the plot. Similarly, Jester and the moon-like face object in his boss fights also having heterochromia foreshadows his identity as Arkham. The "moon face" even has similar burn scars like Arkham.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Red Prince of the Lizards has distinctive blood-red scales that mark him as The Chosen One of a Lizard prophecy and are frequently mentioned in-universe. In his personal quest, he finds the only other Lizard with the same coloration, whom he's been dreaming about all his life: the other half of that prophecy, with whom he's destined to father a race of dragons.
  • In Hades, one of Zagreus's more unusual physical characteristics are his searing, red-hot feet, a trait which he inherited from his father, Hades. It's also occasionally implied that the reason why Zagreus bleeds red like a human instead of gold like a god (and why Hades views this "weak blood" of his so derisively) is because he inherited it from Hades's ex-wife, the half-human Persephone, who is such a sore spot for him that discussion of her is banned across the Underworld.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon: The protagonist of Konquest Mode, Taven, is shown to be related to his brother and antagonist Daegon by a dragon tattoo on their faces, which are inverted mirror images of each other.
  • Iris and her twin sister, also named Iris, from Rune Factory both have green and red eyes. They used to be one woman but were magically split into two entities.
  • Promise Of Wizard: Cain and Own both have mismatched red and gold heterochromia, because Owen literally stole Cain's gold eye for use in a ritual and replaced it with his own red one.
  • In Tales of Graces, this is a sign that Lambda is inside somebody's body. It happens to Richard and later Asbel, and this carries into Tales of Graces F. When Lambda is inside Richard, his other eye is red, but when it happens to Asbel, it's actually purple, signaling that Lambda has a different relationship with Asbel than Richard.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, homunculi made by the Einzbern family have distinctly silver hair and red eyes. This applies to Ilyasviel; her mother, Irisviel, and the homunculus on which the two former are based, Justeaze.

    Web Animation 
  • Taiyang in RWBY has two idiot hairs. His daughters Ruby and Yang both inherited an idiot hair each.

  • When Abel of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures first enters the Succubus and Incubus Academy, he attracts interest because of his heterochromia and the dual batlike/birdlike nature of his wings. Both of these are traits of Quoar and his elusive clan members.
  • Sleepless Domain: In chapter ten, Heartful Punch reveals to Undine that, when they first met, she thought they might have something in common because of their shared trait of odd eyes. Typically Curtains Match the Window with Magical Girls, but HP has bright cyan eyes in contrast to her otherwise pink color-scheme, while Undine has pink pupils where everything else is blue. The exact reasons for their situations are different, but the circumstances do have similarities, as both were the result of one magical girl's power transferring to someone else. In Heartful Punch's case, she was born while her mother was still an active magical girl, whose color was cyan. Undine, meanwhile, got her pupils after her pink-themed friend Tessa sacrificed her powers to save Undine's life.
  • Slightly Damned: The jakkai Rhea and her evil father Moonshade both have an abnormally long Prehensile Tail which indicates they are both descended from Moku the snake guardian.
  • Christian Weston Chandler in Sonichu has heterochromatic eyes, though it's not at all striking. It's a feature of his Evil Twin (with inverted colors) and his Chris-Chan Sonichu form, too.