Anime Character Expressions: The Roundup

LOL Fang-Tan Group.jpg

To me, a lot of what makes anime unique is the facial expressions that characters use. I’m kind of a sucker for these, and any anime that (over)uses them will usually get my vote. I thought it’d be fun to use the Summer 2006 anime as a case test for these expressions.

LOL Fang-Tan Group.jpg
This is my new desktop wallpaper!

To me, a lot of what makes anime unique is the facial expressions that characters use. I’m kind of a sucker for these, and any anime that (over)uses them will usually get my vote. I thought it’d be fun to use the Summer 2006 anime as a case test for these expressions.

The Blush

Blush.jpg
Okay, so maybe the blush isn’t so much an anime facial expression as it is an add-on. Blushing just makes a cute girl (or boy, I guess…) cuter! I’ve noticed this a lot recently while watching anime. I seriously can’t get enough of it! I especially like the squiggly line one.

The Sweatdrop

Sweatdrop.jpg
It always used to confuse me that anime characters would have only one gigantic pore that would create a big ball of sweat on their heads. Now the sweatdrop is like second nature! This technique is used to show that a character is silently startled or worried about something. Apparently in anime, even inanimate objects can sweat.

Beady/Squiggly Eyes

Squiggly Eyes.jpg
The squiggly eyes are a classic anime expression. You can tell I like this one just by looking at the site’s header. Assuming that it’s the Tenma one… The squiggly eyes are used to express confusion or hopelessness. Here’s a good example of the combination blush/squiggly eyes combo. Priceless!

XD

XD.jpg
XD is one of my favorite expressions ever. If you can’t see it, the ‘X’ is the squinty eyes and the ‘D’ is the mouth. I really don’t know why I like it so much, but any anime using this expression will likely be watched by me. XD is good for showing either extreme happiness, or annoyance.

The Popped Vein

Popped Vein.jpg
Whoa, it’s an expression that people use in real life! The popped vein is just an exaggerated version of the real life counterpart. There’s not much to say about it; it’s pretty kawaikunai… But still funny.

Orz

Orz.jpg
What anime expression list would be complete without orz? Orz is a way for characters to show complete and utter defeat. I’ve always wanted to try this one in real life. Fortunately, I’ve never had the chance…

Emotional Facial Contortion

EFC.jpg
The Emotional Facial Contortion is a (thankfully) rare anime technique. It’s used to show surprise or anger in a dramatic (non-funny) way. Among the Summer anime, I’ve only seen it used in Coyote Ragtime Show. Hopefully it’ll be limited to that.

There’s a bunch of other expressions I haven’t included that I didn’t see in the Summer anime. This includes :3, 3_3, and probably a bunch of others I’m forgetting. I’ll probably cover these sometime in the future.

36 thoughts on “Anime Character Expressions: The Roundup”

  1. wow im such a moron so thats what orz is. i always looked at it from the japanese character version so the “orz” never meant anything to me lmao 8D

    THanks for the insight
    btw i think the angry version of XD is XO

  2. Yeah, I didn’t quite know why it was being called a wall paper until I noticed it was a tessellation. Pretty awesome, huh?

  3. You missed
    Super Deformed
    That expression where the eyes go into horizontal D shapes and the pupils go into points and the character says “betsu ni…”
    Mangalated – Where a character is so surprised that he/she becomes deanimated for a second and the art changes to a pencilly style

    Also, that is my current wallpaper – awesome ^_^

  4. Good article but what’s up with flowers growing out of people’s heads? I keep coming across it, and have no idea what it’s supposed to convey…

  5. Great article !

    However you missed the no-eyes face, you know when characters are extremely dramatic and suddenly their eyes disappear because it is a sad scene.

  6. heheh… nce.. BTW.. What anime did “the Blush” , “The Popped Vein” , “The Facial Contortion” and the “XD” came from?? >_< wanna watch those hahah!! thx

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  8. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!|

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