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Look around the room you're in. Notice anyone with particularly prominent, exaggerated, or high cheekbones? Yes? Chances are, he or she is the one out to get you.

Villains seem to have a tendency toward quite noticeable cheekbones. It's far more common in animated works, as facial features are often exaggerated. This trope is quite often seen on The Baroness or the Dragon Lady. It's perhaps because sharper cheekbones lend a face a sharper, more angular look, which can convey intense emotion more easily sometimes, or (as with Lean and Mean) because of the unsettlingly skeletal, deathly appearance it can give you.

Compare Lean and Mean and Evil Is Sexy, if you so desire. Contrast with the Lantern Jaw of Justice, for the good guys.

Examples of Villainous Cheekbones include:

Animated Films

Anime and Manga

Film - Live Action


  • All illustrations of Lord Vetinari from the Discworld series portray him with very sharp features, including these.
  • Crowley from Good Omens. But he's only technically evil.

Live Action TV


  • David Bowie (who played the aforementioned Jareth) put his high cheekbones, which were further accentuated by his near-bony appearance at the time, to good use for the sinister stage persona of The Thin White Duke in The Seventies.


  • Cirque Du Soleil examples, often accomplished with the help of makeup or masks, include Fleur and some of the Nostalgic Old Birds in Alegria and the Counselor and his equally wicked son in KA. However, in Cirque prominent cheekbones are not exclusively for the evil, but sometimes used for friendly Tricksters (KOOZA) or similarly mysterious-but-good characters (the Great Chamberlain in Nouvelle Experience).

Video Games

  • Klogg from The Neverhood.
  • Diablo, full stop
  • Bioshock 2: Sofia Lamb. Not cartoonishly exaggerated, but hers are by far the most prominent of the entire cast. Seriously, all of Rapture hangs off those cheekbones.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

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