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Some characters just need a way to show off how undeniably evil they are. Unfortunately, pure black eyes just seem too monochrome and don't allow said character to show off an extra spark of crazy. Cue the Black Eyes of Crazy. In these cases, the sclerae or sclera (essentially, the white portion of the eyeballs) are black, as are the pupils, but the irises themselves retain their colour, which can vary. Generally an indication that the character is not above going on a rabid, murderous rampage, and, as such, usually coincides with Ax Crazy, though this rule is not absolute.
Subtrope of Uh-Oh Eyes.
Anime & Manga
- In Tower of God, Season 2, a character named Rabdevil appears. Though not evil per se, he is strongly associated with demonic powers and his entire color scheme from his clothing to his shortly trimmed hair is black-yellow. So why shouldn't his eyes be that way, too?
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, anyone who becomes a Dark Signer has their sclerae darken to black and goes rather insane.
- In Bleach, Hollows (normal ones, i.e. excluding Menos and the hybrid Arrancar) have this as a defining characteristic and tell-tale sign of their now inhuman nature. The group of Soul Reaper-Hollow hybrids known as Vizards, of which the male protagonist becomes an unofficial member, gain this feature as part of their Hour of Power-limited "Hollowfic" or "Hollowfication" mode - as well as when their Super-Powered Evil Side manages to take over their bodies, as pictured.
- In .hack//GU, characters who are possessed by AIDA will often gain these eyes, particularly during Ax Crazy moments.
- Keroro Gunsou: the assassin Zoruru has this combined with red pupils, along with a half-cybernetic body covered in Spikes of Villainy and a Blade Below the Shoulder. Despite this, nobody can ever remember who he is...
- Mahou Sensei Negima uses this quite a lot, along with Black Eyes of Evil. In fact, Akamatsu notes that Shinmeiryu users can tap into something that's basically the dark side for extra power. While this is not actually evil in itself, it does appear to cause a great deal of bloodlust along with turning the eyes completely black.
- In Naruto, using the second stage of Orochimaru's cursed seal turns the sclerae of your eyes black and the irises gold. Sasuke gets bonus points by using the Sharingan with the black sclera for bonus creepiness.
- Shukaku and Gaara, when transforming into his partial form, have black sclera and golden cross-shaped irises.
- In the manga, Hanzo and the 3rd Raikage both inexplicably have black sclera (but they still have irises and pupils), though, in the anime, Hanzo's eyes are normal.
- A specific variant of this color scheme, which also functions as Mind Control Eyes, is seen in those brought back to life by Kabuto's version of Impure World Resurrection (which, oddly, includes the aforementioned two, who look exactly the same).
- Kabuto himself has these when he uses his version of Sage Mode.
- In Scrapped Princess episode 3 or 4, when everybody besides Pacifica gets put under mind control, this is expressed by turning all of their sclerae black (and their irises red). Whenever anybody is snapped out of it, their eyes return to normal.
- Masane from the Japanese Witchblade gets these when transformed.
- Because of a curse, Darcia of Wolf's Rain has one normal eye and one wolf eye. He hides it under a mask or eye patch. People who see it fall unconscious. By the series end, it is clear that he is more than a little Ax Crazy.
- Rurouni Kenshin brings us Jinei Udo. His eyes are black with Golden irises and pinpoint pupils which are capable of paralyzing your lungs if he so chooses.
- Subverted with Renamon from Digimon Tamers: she has Icy Blue Eyes with black sclerae, but is a Lady of War with Nerves of Steel and a member of the core True Companions.
- In Dragonball Z, Majin Buu in his Super Buu and Kid Buu forms has the Red Eyes, Take Warning variation of this trope.
- Played for Laughs in Fairy Tail.
- Haguro from Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest is perhaps THE scariest looking ninth grader because of his eyes.
- Christopher Shouldered from Baccano! has red sclerae rather than black (as the result of an extreme and perpetual case of red eye), but nonetheless matches all the connotations of the trope.
- Code Breaker: The five "Angels" (plus Sakura when she was a child), a five-bad-band of Power Nullifiers whose eyes go jet-black when they suck the life out of power-users, in this case just for fun. Fortunately the power-users' masters anticipated that and made one of them Magneto: an iron beam in of itself isn't a power.
- The vampire planeswalker Sorin Markov apparently has black sclerae and golden irises; in the actual card, this is hard to notice, since the image, obviously made smaller, doesn't focus much on the eyes.
- How is he crazy?
- Subverted in Legion of Super-Heroes, where two members of the Legion, Superman X and Timber Wolf, have eyes like this.
- Gambit of the X-Men has these, and his irises exemplify Red Eyes, Take Warning, but he is neither evil nor crazy. Usually.
- It should be noted that, despite the fact that he's usually a good guy, he did have a reputation in his hometown as "Le diable blanc"-- people saw him as a demon because of his red-on-black eyes.
- Another counterexample is Jericho of the Teen Titans. When he's about to possess someone, he makes eye contact with the victim and the whites of his eyes go black. (Mind you, he was crazy for a little while, but hey, that happens to everyone in comics
sometimesat least once.)
- Doctor Robotnik/Eggman and Doctor Finitevus from Sonic the Hedgehog. Interestingly enough, Robotnik's crazy red-on-black-eyes were first revealed in issue #200, when he was defeated by Sonic one too many times.
- The Red Skull, Depending on the Artist. Carried on to the X-Men animated series and the Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes animated series.
- Santi from Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone has black sclerae and pale bluish irises.
- In the film version of Lord of the Rings, Frodo gets them after being corrupted by the cursed Nazgul blade.
- King Dynal in Fossil Fighters has these, and despite being an alien, he's the only one, even among the other aliens. He's the Big Bad... until a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere pops in and he does an abrupt Heel Face Turn.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the more reclusive vampires have these, usually indicating that they do not care about trying to blend in with normal society.
- Overlord Pram from Makai Kingdom has them, though she's more manipulative than crazy. In the same game, the legitimately Ax Crazy berserker class has them as well, even carrying over into Disgaea 3.
- The game-breaking Gideon class from Soul Nomad have them, minus Heroman.
- Akuma/Goki from Street Fighter sometimes has these, when not being depicted with fully red eyes. It depends on the artist.
- Subverted in Pokémon: black scleras are rather common, but they don't mean anything about the owner's behavior.
- The Whomps from the Super Mario Bros. series games.
- Subverted with most asari in Mass Effect, whose eyes turn black when they meld their minds with another, an action done to not only share information with others, but for lovemaking and procreating as well. If the asari is an Ardat-Yakshi, though, it's played straight.
- Dirge of Cerberus has these with Azul the Cerulean, a huge Stone Wall of a villain, whose black-and-yellow eyes show he's not one to be trifled with.
- The Kelari race in Rift have black sclerae, but they're a case of Dark Is Not Evil.
- The Sabbat in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines combine this with Red Eyes, Take Warning by having completely black eyes except for the blood-red irises.
- In Drowtales, Asira'malika Val'Jaal'darya has darkened Sclerae (believed to be the result of a failed medical experiment). It's not clear if she's this trope played straight, averted, or subverted, but she does have an evil laugh.
- In Girl Genius, the very minor and not-particularly-crazy (but still likely Sparky) character Dr. Vg had red eyes with black sclera. Tinted glasses were used to hide this.
- Dr. Schtein from String Theory gets prosthetic eyes after an accident. They're black with red iris apertures.
- Played straight and subverted in The Zombie Hunters. All classes of The Undead have black sclerae with Glowing Irises Of Undeath, though the Basilisk, a class with a paralyzing gaze, has red irises. Charlie, a partially revived zombie restored to sentience, is a subversion, sporting one human eye and one undead eye, which he hides with a contact lens.
- Wayward Sons: Kronos got these after the star core incident, along with his powers.
- SCP-040 Evolution's Child is a subversion, having only one eye with a black sclera and defying the traditional roles of evil and insanity.
- The Ask Loona blog features an Alternate Character Interpretation of Princess Luna from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic who has gone insane from her 1000 years of isolation on the moon and now sports these kinds of eyes, along with the occasional black Tears of Blood... something.
- The villain of the Christmas Special, The Flight Before Christmas, has black sclerae and an insatiable appetite for flying reindeer.
- In Gargoyles, Coldstone has one mechanical eye with this effect, comprising of a red iris and black sclera.
- Shan Yu of Mulan displays these, in the Eyes of Gold variant.
The Nostalgia Chick: Is he suffering from jaundice or something?
- Older Than You Think: the 1949 Looney Tunes short Bee-Deviled Bruin has Papa Bear develop these (white irises on black) after finding out all his attempts to get honey were for naught as Mama had a cupboard full. Actually pretty scary.
- In both The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sat AM Sonic the Hedgehog, Dr. Robotnik is shown with black eyes and red pupils (in contrast with the Japanese depictions of the character, whose eyes were almost always hidden by Scary Shiny Glasses).
- Both Father and Son from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- In Allegro Non Troppo 1, all the animals are brightly colored and cartoony except for those jerkass apes with red eyes and black sclera, who are the only ones seen killing other animals on purpose and not for food. They eventually ruin the planet after creating religion, war, and civilization for, despite evolving into humans, they're still vicious, greedy animals.
- In ThunderCats (2011) this is Downplayed with Rascally Rabbit the Drifter, who has white iris-pupils on black sclerae. He's merely a frustratingly opaque and Eccentric Mentor Trickster Mentor.
- The redesigned Joker for The New Batman Adventures had black eyes with white pupils.