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Sideways Smile

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And no, despite what you may think, it's not: :-)

This is another artistic convention seen in anime and manga, and most commonly in comedy material.

Even when a character is facing away from the viewer and only a narrow part of the side of the face is visible, facial expressions are still apparent, especially a sneaky smile that crawls up the cheek and almost reaches the ear. Real flesh-and-blood humans are anatomically incapable of this but drawn characters suffer no such limitations.

Can be used to make a Psychotic Smirk stand out or look creepier or to turn an already Playful Cat Smile even more mischievous. Not to be confused with the Cheeky Mouth, an even more anatomically impossible expression in which the mouth is shown from a 3/4th perspective even though we are seeing the character's profile.


Anime & Manga

  • Crayon Shin-chan: Many characters do this, though Shin and Hima do it the most. For those two the smile isn't just visible from the side but directly behind them.
  • Eureka Seven AO: In later episodes, Lt. Nakamura starts smiling like this as a consequence of working for Truth. It really isn't good for one's peace of mind.
  • FLCL:
    • Haruko does this a lot.
    • Kamon as well.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Lust does this early on. Combined with Psychotic Smirk.
  • Hellsing: The OVA version does this a lot with the "face-splitting smiles" of the original manga.
  • Inuyasha: Sesshomaru starts molding a smile so big it threatens to split his face. And then the smile keeps going, becoming a fanged muzzle as he takes on his true dog-demon form.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends: Sometimes, when the youkai are trying to deceive Natsume, the camera will pan to their side profile just as they are smirking deviously.
  • Ramen Fighter Miki: Miki, Megumi, and Toshiyuki all get toothy, menacing smiles when planning something sneaky or during the peak moments of a fight. The only one in whom this is not anatomically impossible is Toshiyuki because he's a dog and the elongated shape of dog muzzles lets them show all of their teeth even from the side profile.
  • Soul Eater: Plenty of characters get this, particularly Soul himself when the little demon gets in on the action.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamine and Simon smile like this when they enter their own mechas for the first time.
  • Ushio and Tora: This is Tora's default expression, both when happy or angry.

Fan Works

  • This And That: Angela lets out a positively vindictive and spiteful Psychotic Smirk when she recounts her sabotage of her creator's plan at the moment of its completion.

Films — Animation

Live-Action TV

  • Batman (1966): The semi-animated opening credits feature one of the characters doing this.
  • Inspector Lynley: Yumna gets an unconcealed look of glee on her face when she realises that Shala is pregnant out of wedlock. This is part of the big Bitch Alert that her introduction is during the episode "Deception on His Mind".


  • The cover of The Rolling Stones spin-off album Jamming With Edward (yes, that's where Cowboy Bebop got one of its episode titles from) features a cartoon strip by Nicky Hopkins, in which a sideways smile literally splits a character's face in two causing the top of his head to fall off.

Video Games

  • Mii: This is one of the mouth choices.

Web Comics

  • Coga Suro:
    • Styx, in particular, is fond of this, even having a grin so wide that the synthetic skin of its face cracks and splits in a later chapter.
    • The first Styx robot seen has this as the one expression on its immobile face —thus looking quite odd when the 'wrong' side is facing the viewer.
  • Girl Genius: The characters do this all the time, especially the J√§germonsters.
  • One-Punch Man: Saitama gets a great one after he trolls Geryuganshoop by asking for directions out of his ship.
    Geryuganshoop: Take a right, go up the stairs, and wait there for further instructions.
    Saitama: A... right?
    Geryuganshoop: E-e-exactly, a right!
    Saitama: [unsettling laugh] I guess I'll go left then!

Western Animation

Alternative Title(s): The Sideways Smile