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Squeaky Eyes

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"Now THAT is one loud blinker. Woke the cat up even."
Matt Chapman (of Homestar Runner fame), Ron Planet - Issue #26

Many animated characters have surprisingly noisy eyes. One can't blink in a cartoon without making all variety of noises.

Most likely, these evolved from depictions of blinking in non-moving Sequential Art. Rather than devoting whole panels to a character moving their eyelids up and down, the artist would apply an onomatopoeia or an Unsound Effect to get across the point that the character is blinking. Manga tended to use "piku", while western comics used "blink blink".

Somehow these "sounds" carried over into animation. Anime characters make sounds like "poit" or something vaguely reminiscent of "piku". Western cartoon characters make a "plunk" or "plink" sound. In many cases for the latter, the standard Stock Sound Effect for this is Hanna-Barbera's "Xylo Eye Blinks", which as its name suggests, was achieved via the use of a xylophone.

These sound effects are usually reserved for intentional blinking, the blinking that indicates confusion or incomprehension. Often, Eyelash Fluttering of the more cartoony kind is combined with a xylophone tinkling sound. Frequent, involuntary blinking (like the kind you're doing right now) is left silent, because it would be very distracting otherwise. Unless, of course, said involuntary blinking is a twitch.

A subtrope of Wacky Sound Effect. Compare Mickey Mousing, Filling the Silence, and Wink "Ding!" (adding sound effects on winks instead of blinks).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Arika in My-Otome does this a lot.
  • The girls in Azumanga Daioh sometimes have audible blinks.
  • Damn near every blink in This Ugly Yet Beautiful World has an audible ploit sound.
  • Happens regularly to the girls in Petite Princess Yucie, especially Yucie.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi's eyes make "plink" sounds when she transforms in Sailor Moon. Also, one-episode occasions of eye-noise happens.
  • Emporio Ivankov in One Piece has an attack called "Death Wink" ("Hell Wink" for the improved version) which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; blinking so hard it produces a shockwave.
    • During the beginning part of the Fishman Island Arc in the anime, Caribou has his internal monologue and his internal laughter is only brought to a halt when Franky, who finds him, blinks twice, alerting Caribou to his presence, and slinks into his barrel.
  • Happens in an episode the English dub of Cardcaptor Sakura after Tomoyo (Madison in the dub) brings Sakura back to attention.
  • Urusei Yatsura. Lum and Ataru do this at least once. Lum does it when she and Ataru are trapped inside a container and are about to kiss. Ataru does it after the container falls apart and reveals that they're surrounded.
  • Everyone in Tamagotchi has them. In particular, Memetchi's blinking sounds like tambourines and Melodytchi's blinking sounds like glass shattering.
  • Hidamari Sketch: Yoshinoya-sensei's story of what she did over the summer in episode 1 is interspersed with close-ups of her blinking with a camera shutter sound effect.

    Comic Books 
  • In Jeff Smith's Bone, the sound of Fone Bone rubbing his eyes is written out as "squinky squinky".

    Fan Works 
  • In Chapter 5 of Twinkling in the Dark, Wolfrun, Akaoni, and Majorina each blink with an audible "doink" in reaction to Joker saying a non-sequitur.

    Films — Animation 
  • Emily's eye makes a squeaking sound in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride — not when she blinks, but when it falls out/gets pushed back in. Rather more justifiable.
  • Frozen (2013): The trolls all make one simultaneously when Anna and Kristoff return to their resting place.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon does this occasionally, which comes off as rather weird and disconcerting.
  • The episode "200" from Stargate SG-1, during a Star Trek: The Original Series parody. Colonel Carter, as a thin analog of Lt. Uhura, has squeaky blinking syndrome.
  • Doctor Who : It's incredible how loud the Doctor and Donna's eyes are when they're reunited. Granted, there's a door, a room, and a window between them, so they have to have SOME way to communicate, but STILL...

    Video Games 
  • In The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain, sometimes Rathbone gets disintegrated except for his eyes, which then blink without eyelids.
  • Piston Honda has squeaky eyebrows as an audio cue for one of his attacks.
    • The Wii remake gives Mr. Sandman a distinct squeak when he winks before throwing one of his powerful, lightning-fast uppercuts. This is your cue to punch him in the face before he does the same to you. It's also an Internal Homage to the first Punch Out, where Mike Tyson would wink before throwing out fast straight punches, which did not give an audio cue, only a visual one.

    Web Original 
  • Whenever a character blinks in the BIONICLE Flash-videos, their optics make mechanical sounds akin to camera noises.
  • Both Moxxie and Blitzo have this in the Helluva Boss pilot when the former wakes up to the latter inches away from his face as he lies in bed.
    Blitzo: Whatcha dreamin' about?
    • Stolas has also been known to have loud blinks at times.

    Western Animation 
  • Zorak on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cartoon Planet, and The Brak Show would sometimes make an audible "plunk" noise when he blinked.
    • One skit on Cartoon Planet had Space Ghost making fun of this: "Loud-eyes!"
    • In another skit, Space Ghost tries to get Zorak to teach him to make the same noise. All he could manage was a comical squeak. Zorak explains what his problem is:
    Zorak: First, you have to be funky-fresh.
    Space Ghost: I'm funky! I'm fresh!
    Zorak: Next, you have to have eyelashes.
    Space Ghost: Oh.
    Which makes no sense when you think about it, but that's probably part of the joke.
    • Space Ghost actually does replicate it in a episode of Coast to Coast, causing Zorak to retort, "Hey! That's my sound effect! I'm suing!"
    • At one point Zorak blinks in rapid succession for a few seconds.''plunkplunkplunkplunkplunkplunkplunkplunk..."
  • This could be an homage to Looney Tunes. Often when a character blinked in those, there would be a xylophone or a violin pluck sound effect accompanying it.
  • On The Simpsons when forced to wear uniforms the school children lose all personality and even begin to blink in unison, creating a pronounced "squish". Skinner responds "I love that sound".
  • Also happened in one Drawn Together episode (that one with the sit-in). Especially Spongebob Squarepants Wooldoor Sockbat.
  • XR from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command makes a vaguely mechanical noise when he blinks; this may be justified by the fact that due to being a robot nearly everything he does results in a mechanical noise.
  • Among its many Mickey Mousing techniques, The Fairly OddParents! makes active use of noisy, often simultaneous blinking to illustrate confusion.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, especially Momo.
  • Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) sometimes makes very odd noises when he blinks.
  • Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls both use plinks for eye blinks and violin chords or swishes for eye movements, as part of a whole repertory of stock in-house cartoon sounds. Probably used on lots of other Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network Productions shows as well.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is very similar to the above in this regard.
  • Characters in SpongeBob SquarePants make audible blinking noises at times during Beats. The most common sound is shared with Squidward's footsteps.
  • Sid and Sue of Three Delivery tend to blink audibly when Tobey says or does something dopey or bizarre.
  • Henry and June on KaBlam!! Same with Sniz, Fondue, and the Off-Beats.
  • The eponymous mouse of the German Die Sendung mit der Maus note  has very audible eyes, to the point where they've become a trademark. (It sounds more like "clack-clack" and is done with castanets.)
  • Horrible Histories does this in every blink.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated used this often, would also be used for winks as well.
  • Used a lot in early incarnations of Scooby-Doo, usually followed by a "boing!"-accompanied Double Take.
  • Transformers: Animated had the Cybertronians do this. Justified, since they’re robots.

    Real Life 
  • Fluid can squirt between folds of the eyelid and produce a sound if they are closed fast and forcibly enough; opening them can also make a sound due to a vacuum effect (similar to smacking your lips, just much, much quieter.) No-one but you will hear it, though. And you're probably trying right now.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Audible Blink


Misery counts sheep

Ruby tries to help Misery sleep by having her count sheep. This being Misery, it quickly takes a dark turn.

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Main / CountingSheep

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