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Everyone buzzes about eye colors; they look good and they can be used to determine how a character might act like, but what about the rest of the eye? That's where this trope comes in, where characters can have vastly different pupil shapes and/or sclera colors, with the optional, but corresponding eye shadow. The reasons could vary from just being added level of exoticism, to a condition (sickness or otherwise), a reaction to something, or a way to identify that you're not entirely human. The iris' inclusion only counts if they intentionally change color as a response to something.

Compare/contrast Hellish Pupils (some of these may overlap), Wingding Eyes, Kaleidoscope Eyes and Technicolor Eyes. Super-Trope to Animal Eyes.

Examples of Exotic Eye Designs include:

Anime and Manga

  • From Bleach, Ulquiorra Cifer has slitted pupils, used to further emphasize his moments of Dull Surprise.
    • Visoreds' scleras turn black while using their Hollow masks, while their irises turn yellow.
    • Ichigo has his eye color change from brown to blue in the anime, usually when he's about to kick someones' ass after finding his resolve. It only happened twice - first against Renji, then against his Inner Hollow.
    • The Reigai in the Invading Army arc change their iris color into bluish purple. It's one of the best ways to determine if you're talking to the real Shinigami or not.
    • Kirge Opie tops it all with having his eye design consist entirely of vertical lines.
  • In Code Geass users of the eponymous power have bird-like sigils that become visible whenever their Geass is activated. Those that fall into the command of a Geass have their scleras highlighted with the color of the Geass itself.
  • In Eureka Seven Eureka has a circle parallel to the iris, while Anemones' eyes each have a single straight line etched across them.
  • Naruto is rather famous for this. Some characters' eyes are different because they're used for dojutsu (Sasuke's red eyes for the Sharingan, Hinata and Neji's pupil-less eyes for the Byakugan), but some characters have unusual eyes for no reason: Kiba has dog pupils, and Ino has no pupils at all.
    • Orochimaru also has yellow eyes and vertically slitted pupils to further his resemblance to, y'know, a snake.
      • Also Naruto himself in sage mode, which gives him toad-like square pupils.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Nia (pictured above) has cross-shaped pupils made to resemble hippy-era flowers. Her father has spiral-shaped pupils, although it's implied that his eyes changed when he mastered Spiral Energy.
  • In Tenchi Muyo! Ryoko takes the form of a cat during the first episode of the OVA and has catlike eyes.
  • In Yumekui Merry most Dream Demons have unique pupil designs, sans Chaser John Doe, who wears a mask. The eponymous Merry Nightmare has horizontal pupils, while Chukai has cross-shaped pupils, Engi has triangular pupils, Rainsborough has his pupils resembling the Tick-Tack-Toe symbol, and Chris Evergreen has tilting H-shaped pupils.
  • Cheza from Wolf's Rain has pink scleras, red irises and no pupils. Then again she is a genetically engineered flower-human hybrid.
  • The characters in Xabungle all have minus-driver (flathead) screw pupils. Since both the Civilians and Innocents have them, it's a property of the inhabitants of this work's Zora (Earth).
  • The Otherselves in Black Rock Shooter have gear-like pupils. Probably something to do with their Blue and Orange Morality.


  • The witchers in The Witcher series have cat-like eyes with slit pupils, as a side effect of their mutation that allows them to see in the dark.

Live Action

  • In Pitch Black, Riddick has iridescent silver eyes as the result of an operation to improve his ability to see in the dark.
  • The telepathic Betazoids of Star Trek have black irises while otherwise looking exactly like humans.

Music Videos

  • At the end of the famous "Thriller" video, mostly out of exoticism, Michael Jackson turns towards the camera to reveal that he has snake eyes.

Table Top Games

  • In Magic: The Gathering, the vampires of the plane Innistrad all have black scleras and red or yellow irises.
  • in Yu-Gi-Oh, The Gusto have whirlwind-shaped pupils, which indicates that they are part of the same clan.

Video Games

  • The Al Bhed in Final Fantasy X have green eyes with swirled, spiral pupils. Spirals are a recurring thematic element in the game.
  • Princess Sapphire Rhodonite from Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice has eyes with white, star-shaped pupils.
  • All CPUs and CPU Candidates in Hyperdimension Neptunia and Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk. 2 have a power symbol in their eyes when in HDD.
  • More than a few characters in Skullgirls, most notably Valentine with cross-shaped pupils, and anyone who becomes a Skullgirl who gets their eyes changed so that the pupils look like halves of a red skull.
  • Chen Meilin from Rusty Hearts literally has stars in her eyes.
  • In the epilogue of Tales of Graces, Asbel has a glowing ring within the pupil of his left eye.

Western Animation

  • At first glance, Bender from Futurama seems to have standard Matt Groening style Cartoony Eyes. If you look closer, you'll notice that he has square pupils.
    • Actually, every robot in the series (Or at least any robot with eyes) has square pupils as well.
  • Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants has rectangular red pupils.
  • The Twinkle-Eyed Ponies from the original My Little Pony. They had strange gemstones (sequins on the toys) where the iris and pupil would be otherwise.

Real Life

  • Other species naturally have eyes that look very different from human eyes. This gives rise to the trope Animal Eyes (from general animalistic eyes on a character) and Hellish Pupils (Animal Eyes being used to indicate sinister intentions).
  • Snakes have vertical slits for pupils. Goats and sheep have blocky horizontal rectangles for pupils and yellow sclera. Cats have pupils that vary from looking similar to human pupils to becoming narrow vertical slits in bright lights. All of these eyes are generally seen as unsettling at the least and outright scary at the worst, which contributes to their use under Hellish Pupils. More examples are listed on that trope's page.
    • Fire Bellied Toads have heart shaped pupils, contrasting with their green/orange/black "warty" bodies.
  • The campaign to find Madeleine McCann made heavy use of the coloboma in her right eye as a means to identify her.
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