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File:Kaleidoscopeeyes.jpg

Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,

A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
The Beatles, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

Eyes say a lot about a person. Both Common Eye Colors and Uncommon Eye Colors already give a sense of character from the moment you see them, often with Mismatched Eyes for the particularly odd ones. But some characters don't subject themselves to one particular set of eyes. Oh, no, they have a range of colors and combinations, sometimes linked to their emotional or mental state. Their eye color might change with their mood or their particular personality, giving a visual cue of what's going on in their head at the time. People rarely stop and think about how a fully functional "Mood Ring Eyes" would negatively impact the possessor's lives. She would never be able to lie about her feelings or secrets. Any crush, any secret resentment, any boredom during somebody's story, would instantly and undeniable be aired.

Are you writing an original character for Fan Fiction? Here's a bit of advice: be careful and consistent with this trope if you want anybody else to take the character seriously. Unless there's justification within The Verse for the character's race or ethnicity, this is often lumped as a Mary Sue trait.

Sometimes referred to as Mood Ring Eyes, this trope refers to when the character's eyes change on their own. Minor sight gags (har, har...) such as Blank White Eyes don't count and neither do contacts. This refers to when a character's eye color is subject to change on its own for more than just irrelevant emphasis on a particular moment.

Ethereal or otherworldly characters tend to have this trait. Glowing Eyes of Doom and Dull Eyes of Unhappiness are subtropes of this. Compare Kaleidoscope Hair, for the same thing in a different place.

In Real Life, human eyes can appear to change color, but it's usually in response to the lighting and/or the colors nearby; emotion only has an effect if the person's eyes are watery from sadness, anger, or joy, or if the dilation of the pupil makes the eye look darker or paler. Extremely pale blue or gray eyes may also show some variation depending on the blood flow to the iris. However, in almost all cases, the change is very slight -- gray eyes may look more blue-gray or greenish-gray in certain lights, or flecks in the iris may become more or less visible. Dramatic changes like blue to hazel are practically unknown.

Examples of Kaleidoscope Eyes include:

Music

  • The Trope Namer is "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Beatles. John describes Lucy as having "kaleidoscope eyes"; that's how he knows her. Unlike most of the other examples here, he does not elaborate.
  • The Panic! at the Disco song of the same name.


Anime

  • Judai in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX gains either Eyes of Gold or Mismatched Eyes whenever he swaps personality.
  • Catherine Bloom in Gundam Wing has eyes that, in extreme close ups, appear to be shimmering, changing color constantly. Interestingly, this is also done to represent a character using the ZERO system... one wonders what would happen if Catherine used the ZERO system...
  • The title character of Rurouni Kenshin changes eye color to correspond to which Split Personality is in command in the anime.
  • A lot of characters in Naruto change eye color to correspond with things such as demonic possession, unlocking their powers/going into Super Mode, or just giving off a killer vibe. The Mangekyo Sharingan looks like, and actually means kaleidoscope.
  • Super Saiyans in Dragonball Z change their eyes to Green as part of their Super Mode.
  • The amateur film from Suzumiya Haruhi has one of Mikuru's Mismatched Eyes constantly changing color. The second novel explains this as Haruhi putting her a different contact lens every day they shoot the film. It turns out this actually causes Mikuru to fire something from her eyes depending on the color of the lens, from ultraviolet lasers to micro-black holes to rifle bullets.
  • Kurapika from Hunter X Hunter, whose eyes turn scarlet red upon rage. This is actually characteristic of his clan, that has been slaughtered so those eyes could be stolen and sold as a jewel.
  • The eyes of a Claymore are silver until they use their Yoma powers; this turns their eyes gold.
  • In Yumeria, Neneko has violet/purple eyes, but when mental time traveler Neito takes control of their shared body, they turn green.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's eyes change colour while in his Hollow form. Not only are they now yellow, the white changes to black.
    • He also tends to get glowing blue eyes sometimes, like he did right before beating Renji. But that's just an anime gimmick. There's no such indication in the manga.
    • Actually this happens to all of the vizards if I'm not mistaken.
  • Meta Knight's eyes do this in Kirby of the Stars depending on what emotion he's experiencing. Justified since the mask hides his face, and they needed SOME way to show his emotions. When he's unconscious, they're a dull, dark yellow.
  • In Inuyasha, both the title character and his half-brother, Sesshoumaru, have eyes that go completely bloodshot-red when their demonic powers are fully released (in the latter, this only happened once with his transformation. The rest of the time, he's only been decidedly angry, and his transformation was stopped/interrupted.)
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Tsuna's eyes are normally brown. However, when he goes into Dying Will Mode, they change into an orange-ish yellow.
  • Subaru and Ginga's eyes in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha turn a bright yellow when they use their combat cyborg abilities. The first time we see this Subaru goes absolutely berserk and takes down/drives away three of the Numbers, including one who is one of the strongest among them. But this also comes with ignoring all attacks directed at her and likewise ignoring all defense or dodging, resulting in massive damage to her devices. Likewise, Ginga is also later unable to use her normal magical abilities after being brainwashed and only has her enhanced cyborg capabilities. This is possibly one reason they don't use them generally.
  • The most notable example in Death Note are Light's eyes; they are red when he thinks about killing others as Kira, otherwise they have a pretty brown color.
    • L also have such switches sometimes to blue and both of them change hair colour this way aswell. Its more of a artistic way of making the mood more obvious, rather than actual change of colour.
  • The eyes of NEXT in Tiger and Bunny typically change to a bright, glowing blue when they activate their abilities. This isn't the case for all of them, however -- NEXT with passive abilities don't have an eye color change, the eyes of the two NEXT in Ouroboros glow orange-yellow, and Kotetsu's eyes have recently started turning red to go along with his Power Incontinence.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, the Mew Mews all have fairly normal eye colors when not transformed, but when they are their eyes are the same colors as their hair and outfits (Ichigo's are pink, Minto's are blue, Retasu's are green, Bu Ling's are yellow, and Zakuro's are purple). In the manga, their eyes are always color coded even when they are not transformed.
  • In Fairy Tail Zeref's eyes go from pitch black to blood red whenever he's pissed off.


Comic Books

  • In Endless Nights, Delight's eyes change from green to blue during her brief appearance. This was probably the norm for her, before she turned into Delirium and acquired her present Mismatched Eyes.
    • After her change of status, it's interestingly subverted: While the rest of Delirium is highly mutable owing to her nature, her eyes are almost always the same. They only change when she briefly pulls herself together to help Dream, both eyes becoming the same color to represent her temporary sanity.


Film

  • Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has brown eyes up until he gets squashed by a steamroller, revealing him to be a toon, at which point his natural Red Eyes, Take Warning appear. This is also the point he stops being calm and collected and starts acting outright psychotic.
  • The cute French vampire from Innocent Blood has literal kaleidoscope eyes that go all swirly with different colors when she's aroused/in full vamp mode.


Literature

  • Dragons and firelizards in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books have these, with their eye colors reflecting their mood.
  • In Alan Campbell's Deepgate Codex series, angels have eyes that change colour according to their emotions. This makes the angels unable to hide their emotions, which can be impractical, but also makes it easier for others to trust them.
  • Wolf Larsen from The Sea Wolf makes this Older Than Radio
  • The Shang Dragon in Tamora Pierce's Lioness Rampant has a severe case of Mood-Ring eyes.
    • So does Briar from the Circle of Magic books, although they're mentioned so inconsistently that it seems like a Retcon half the time.
  • The title character from the novel The Moorchild has eyes that change color depending on her moods, a telltale sign that she is actually a half-fairy changeling. This and other signs of her obvious otherness cause her fellow villagers to fear and shun her.
  • Airosian eyes in The Peace Keeper Force are limited to shades of blue, but they do shift from almost-white blue to almost-black blue, sometimes in the span of a single panel, and with all the shades inbetween.
  • In the pre-reviz Magic: The Gathering novel The Prodigal Sorcerer, the elves are all martial artists with Kaleidoscope Eyes that reflect their mood.
  • In David Eddings' The Belgariad, Polgara's eyes are one of the few reliable indicators of her mood, flashing "a steely grey" when she's angry, and softening to blue when she's not.
    • This does happen in real life, although it's based on lighting conditions and not actual color changing.
  • Aliera e'Kieron in the Dragaera series has eyes that change color according to her mood: they are normally green, change to grey when angry, and then to blue when very angry. Since Aliera is violent even for a Dragaeran, this feature allows her eyes to be used as a barometer of one's personal safety. In this case, the bizarre color is partially explained by the fact that Aliera's mother is the Demon Goddess Verra.
  • In A Hero Born and A Hero Reborn, this is a mark of a ChaosRider, called Chaosfire. Considered a stigma because, "Once you're touched by the Chaosfire, you're considered capable of anything."
  • Jason Bourne has eyes that mildly change color depending on the clothes he wears.
  • Yuuzhan Vong Supreme Overlord Shimrra Jamaane has these, due to mqaaq'it implants. They may be shiny mood-ring eyes, but the hideous scarring and other Yuuzhan Vong traits make it a little hard to consider it Sueish in his case. You know, just a bit.
  • Door of Neverwhere has "fire-opal" eyes of ever-changing/unclassifiable colour.
  • Charlie Bone in the Children of the Red King series has a "cousin" who can do this. She is, in fact, a very old shape shifter and her eyes can't remember what color they are supposed to be. In the story it is unnerving to other characters and is treated more as a Glamour Failure.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Emily of New Moon. Her eyes look purple or purple-grey, and a few times they appear black because of the dilation of her pupils when she's taken by strong emotion.
  • Rapunzel of Xanth has this as her power. Unless it was her hair colour; I can't remember.
  • Kir Bulychev has in one of his books a race whose eyes change based on personality - blue and gray for good ones, yellow for bad, orange for the worst.
  • In the Stephen King novel, Needful Things, Leland Gaunt's eye colour changes depending on who sees him.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen series of books, the character Anomander Rake has eyes that change color depending on his mood.
  • Rachel from Cliff McNish's The Doomspell trilogy has eyes that change color depending on the spell she is using, these eyes are said to be a wizard trait.
  • Wynne in Beansidhes Wail is said to have eyes that change from "pale grey, to sky blue, to sea green, to violet to silver." The author says the same thing about her own eyes, saying, "A Clear Crystalline Grey That Shifts In Colour From Grey To Blue, To Green, To Violet And Sometimes Almost Silver, Depending On My Mood And My Clothes. I Have A Darker Grey Ring Around My Irises {Said To Be The Mark Of One With Faerie Blood And A Natural Witch} And Unusual *Lightning Bolt* Markings In Both Irises. My Eyes Are Quite Cat~Like, Almond Shaped. People Are Always Telling Me That I Have *Faerie Eyes* And Saying That My Eyes Are *Ancient*, *Ageless* *Endless*, And *Full Of Wisdom*"
  • In Roger Zelazny's Divlish the Damned, some witches have eyes that wax and wane with the moon.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Gods of the North", the woman (with obvious magic) also has eyes that change.

 Her eyes were likewise neither wholly blue nor wholly grey, but of shifting colors and dancing lights and clouds of colors he could not define.

  • The Doctor, in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, apparently has eyes like this, although they really are usually blue (and the descriptions aren't usually this overwrought).

 [...]his eyes were something else again. As he strode towards her, they glittered, seeming to change colour from moment to moment – first an honest brown of earth and nature, then a peaceful green of inner strength and eternal hope, then finally a piercing electric blue.

    • Also, Fitz's eyes are almost always grey, but are inexplicably described as blue shortly after he's introduced. To be fair, grey and blue are a lot alike. Sabbath's eyes can be brown, green, or black.
  • Piper's eyes in The Heroes of Olympus were described like this. It should be noted that she turns out the be a daughter of Aphrodite.
  • The vampires of Twilight. They go from (dark, coal, midnight, ebon) black to (liquid topaz, liquid gold, liquid amber, burnt umber) gold (for the "vegetarian" vampires) or blood-red (for those that drink from humans).
  • The Kressari are given these in the Star Trek Novel Verse, the trait having been introduced in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine relaunch and referenced in the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch. On screen, the Kressari makeup gave them very stiff, inflexible faces. The books gave them colour-changing eyes as the primary means of expressing themselves.
  • Yasmini, the Femme Fatale of Talbot Mundy's King of the Khyber Rifles has lovely Blue Eyes ...which can also turn brown, or green, or hazel, or yellow, or reflective, or glowy. It's notable that King, the hero, finds this to be extremely creepy, and not alluring.
  • Minor example in the Black Jewels novels: Jaenelle Angelline's eyes turn from "summer-sky" blue to "sapphire" when she's in Witch mode.
  • From Truancy: Origins, the albino Milady usually has blue eyes, but in the right lighting (read: when she is threatening somebody or the mood is intense) her eyes flash red.
  • In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom novel Magic to the Bone, Zayvion has Brown Eyes with flecks of gold -- until he leaves the magic grid, whereupon they are brown. When he drives back, his eyes turn pure gold with only flecks of brown.


Live Action TV

  • In the later seasons of Babylon 5, Lyta Alexander's eyes would turn solid black whenever she made use of the Vorlon enhancements to her psychic abilities.
  • In the first episode to introduce Reverend Jim in Taxi, Jim asks the other people around him what color his eyes are. It takes a few minutes of looking to decide on a consensus. (Brown.)
  • Max's iris in Dark Angel shortened and her pupil grew(Atleast in the first season) when she used her zoomy-vision powers to look at things far away.


Myth and Legend


New Media


Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker gave Link these in early beta versions - his eyes would flash red when he got into a battle. This was dropped for the final version, though.
  • Doom: When the protagonist is invulnerable, whether because of an invulnerability sphere or the invulnerability cheat code, his eyes change to glowing yellow.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Colette's blue eyes turn red when she loses her soul; they return to blue when she gets it back again.
    • And in the sequel, Emil's normally green eyes turn red whenever his "Ratatosk-mode" personality is in control (usually during battle only).
  • In the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sonic's eyes turn a deep red/maroon/brown when he goes Super. They're normally green.
    • Starting with Sonic the Hedgehog 3, they turn from black to green.
  • In the Xenosaga games, KOS-MOS's eyes will change from their default red to blue when Shion is in mortal peril and Mary Magdelene decides it's time to step in and save her. In the third game they turn blue with the defeat of T-elos and remain that way until Zarathustra has been destroyed.
  • During any given cutscene in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, one can tell when a kombatant's Unstoppable Rage kicks in -- his or her eyes turn yellow.
  • Alice Margatroid from the Touhou series has this for apparently no reason other than her title "Seven-Colored Puppeteer" Her eye color can be Yellow, Golden, Green or Blue, and very light or very dark, nearing black, depending on the game you're playing, and on the extreme case of the fighting games, which sprite you're looking at.
    • Sakuya Izayoi's eyes are normally blue. However, some early pics of her have her with red eyes, so Fanon dictates that her eyes turn red when she uses her time-stopping abilities.
  • The MMORPG Aion has a playable race called the Asmodians, whose eyes glow yellow normally but change to red while in combat.
  • In Starcraft II, the various Adjutants have color-changing eyes, but they are usually blue. Confederate Adjutant 23-46 changes its eye colors to reflect different individuals during its playback - Edmond Duke, Sarah Kerrigan, Jim Raynor, and Arcturus Mengsk.
  • Grunty from Banjo-Kazooie normally has yellow eyes, but when she turns beautiful during the Game Over screen, her eyes turn brown.
    • Also, Tooty, Banjo's younger sister normally has blue eyes like her older brother Banjo, but when Grunty turns her ugly during the Game Over screen, her eyes also turn brown.
  • Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII has eyes that, as mentioned at the bottom of the trope description, don't actually change colour but appear either pale blue or green depending on the lighting conditions. Some players have even spotted her appearing to have heterochromia, and inconsistant official artwork certainly doesn't help the matter.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D, if one of your dream eater allies has a change in their personality, their eye color (And shape) also changes to reflect it.


Tabletop RPG

  • Cyberpunk 2020, as well as presumably other systems with a similar setting, includes colorshifting as a decorative option for cyberoptics, aka artificial eyes.
  • In previous editions of Forgotten Realms, the god Vhaeraun had this according to mood (gold for triumph, blue for amusement, red for anger, green for curiosity), accompanied by Kaleidoscope Hair to match.


Web Original


Webcomics

  • In Penny Arcade's Grimm Shado arc, Further Songs of Sorcelation, careful observation will reveal that Grimm Shado's eyes seem to change color with every strip.
    • Sometimes because of colour bleed or dodge or something in that series they look brown, but one eye is supposed to be red, and one eye is supposed to be purple. They match the special effect flames that come off the Wolverine-style wands.
  • Cherry, one of the Renfields in Bloody Urban has eyes that can be blue, brown, one of each, or both at the same time at any given time.
  • In Girl Genius eyes of Feetmen ("zuper-engineered sqvirrels or zumting") sometimes are white and sometimes green, and when Klaus was really mad at one and devised a rather devious punishment his eyes turned from white (on the previous page) to yellow.
    • In "Fan Fiction" sidestory where a teenage girl is telling her younger siblings the stories of the Heterodynes and inserts her own Mary Sue, who embodies many Sue tropes including this one.
  • The title character in the Star Trek Parody Sue comic Ensign Sue Must Die has eyes that change color in every strip, along with her hair highlights and beauty mark.


Western Animation

  • Danny Phantom: His human side has blue eyes, his ghostly Superhero alter ego has green eyes, but whenever he turns evil (either Brainwashed and Crazy or meeting his evil alternate-future self) his eyes turn red.
  • In some incarnations of Transformers Autobots all have blue eyes, while Decepticons have red. Guess what usually happens when somebody switches sides.
  • Gir of Invader Zim had three different colours for his eyes as well as other parts. His default colour is light blue, red for focused and/or violent, and black for asleep or dead.
  • Strip "The King" Weathers from Cars normally has brown eyes, but when Chick Hicks crashes him at the end of the film, they somehow turn blue. They revert back to brown after he is helped by Lightning McQueen into reaching the finish line.
  • Are Nala's eyes green or blue?
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas: When the Grinch turns good, his eyes actually change from red to blue.


Real Life

  • As with hair color, many people are born with lighter colored eyes than they wind up with as adults, as exposure to sunlight results in melanin production. It's a one-way process though.
    • People born with blue or green eyes may also notice them change colour or gain a greyish tone
    • lot of people also change the colour to pale blue when they get old.
  • Our pupils dilate according to certain emotional states, best known to happen when we look at somebody we love or are attracted to. This can make the eyes look darker.
  • Eye colours can change as a result of injury. David Bowie's green eye is the result of (rumour has it) being punched by a person wearing a ring, which permanently dilated that eye's pupil. Usually this kind of thing is permanent.
    • Blood can also stain the iris, usually permanently.
  • People with Central heterochromia may also appear as this.
  • Hazel eyes (a mix of varying degrees of brown and green pigment) can appear to change color, based on lighting conditions. It's the second-rarest non-albino eye color in humans, after green.
  • People (and some animals) with extreme forms of albinism may have eyes that alternate between blue, grey, violet and red, depending on the lighting.
  • Glasz eyes - think Chris Colfer or Benedict Cumberbatch - can vary between blue, grey, and green, depending on the lighting.
  • Babies of European ancestry might be born with blue eyes, but that color can change after one to three years.
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