In the world of anime, the eye color gives extra life to the nature of the character that can easily be remembered by the audience because of its uniqueness. Like real people, there is also a different color used in the eye of the anime character which adds variety. Most of the time the creator of the anime show to its audience the personality of a specific character based on the color of its eyes, and one thing is for sure all of the people who watch anime notices it even on the first time.
For sure many of us are curious so let’s find out what’s the meaning behind those colors. That’s why I am going to provide further explanation about the eyes drawn in anime and manga. The details I am going to discuss mainly consist of the eye color, which is stated by authors and fans to have a special meaning.
What do The Different Eye Colors Mean in Anime?
There are different categories when identifying the meaning of the eye color of every
character. Most of the time the character’s eye color tells the personality or trait whether he/she’s calm, intelligent, scaredy-cat, cheerful person, or somewhat shady character.
In a fantasy-themed story, the eye color can symbolize what is the power that a character possessed, or sometimes it tells us what type of creature the character is, whether if it’s an elf, monster, demon, holy creature, etc.
The color white depicts peace, freedom and solitude. But in anime when shocked or beaten physically, the character’s eyes are replaced by a pure blank white written all over their face. It simply shows that a character with blank white eyes is unconscious for a while or it was badly beaten that needs to be treated right away.
Some may use white eyes in anime to show a character’s blindness. But in the case of the Naruto series, white eyes are the trademark features of the Hyuga clan, which grants them access to the Byakugan, which grants them enhanced vision.
In “One Piece” blank white eye is mostly used to show that a person or an enemy is already beaten. Even the Dragonball series use white eyes when someone gets severely beaten up. Other anime series also use black white eyes if someone gets killed with their eyes opened up.
Nowadays, this trope has seen a variety of uses, like making a character look funny (For example Saitama, Saitama has a tiny black eyeball so it’s safe to say that he has a white eye. It is meant for him to have a funny look despite his godly strength since the series is a comedy)
Black is a plain color and has so many interpretations. Typically, the protagonist of the story is often designed with black eyes. (Ex. Luffy, Kirito, L). If it’s not a special character, it is often used for side characters and extra characters for its simplicity.
Other authors use black eyes to match black hair color for some anime characters as well, such as Shikamaru from Naruto and Law from One Piece. A character who possesses this eye color has a strong sense of justice and compassion for others.
Also, a person who has black eyes is a type of person who will do everything to achieve their goal. Whatever challenges come in their way they will do everything in their power to overcome them. On the contrary, black eyes depict something shady, like a sinister, tricky, or deceitful person.
Speaking of black eyes, the black sclera is also used in some anime or manga series. The black sclera often portrays a special condition that a character is undergoing, such as a powerup. But mostly, this is used to portray a symbolism of a sinister type of powerup or form, just like in Bleach when a Visored uses their mask or in Naruto if someone gets revived by the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation.
A character with red eyes possesses a strong characteristic since red is mostly known as strong color. Bravery and not fearing anything are one of the main characteristics of a person who has red eyes. Red eyes are also known to be commonly used for monsters and other evil creatures in the anime and manga world.
Some instances also show that red eyes may portray a special ability that a character possesses, such as an upgrade or a second form. The most notable example of this is the Sharingan in Naruto, and how Observation Haki is used in One Piece.
Sometimes, red is used in a character that is something ancient or myth in the story, just like the vampires or other vile creatures that hold incredible power. But usually, fire-wielders or the person who can control fire has red eyes, matching their destructive ability. Some red-eyed characters are often known as short-tempered. Even Vegeta would look more hot-headed if he had red-eyes, which surprisingly compliments his appearance if you imagine it.
Some anime and manga designs may use red sclera as a major powerup for a character. Just like the personality of red-eyed characters, powerups involving red sclera often portray a berserk-like state.
Color that symbolizes peace, clarity, and innocence also like the color black it is always used as an eye color for a protagonist. A character with blue eyes is known for being calm, intelligent, and a person who is good at analyzing things whether it’s a brawl, basketball, or assassination. (Ex. Kirito, Naruto, Nagisa).
Characters with blue eyes tend to act in a well-planned and organized way. They are not the type of person who is easily affected by their emotions. So most of the character that has blue eyes are scared to become an opponent and because of their personality, they are not easy to beat or outplayed.
Since green is considered a rare color in anime it gives its owner a special aura or
unique vibes compared to others. Most of the characters with green eyes are iconic and easy to remember for being soft, gentle, and lovable characters like (Oreki Houtarou, Izuku Midoriya, Makoto from Free).
These characters are known for being gentle and they tend to care about other living things. It makes sense since we all know that the color green is bound to nature so it’s natural that a character with green eyes shows some care in their environment.
Yellow eyes are the rarest color in all anime. Even I had a hard time looking for characters who possess yellow eyes. It is so rare, that it is oftentimes used when a certain character undergoes powerups, and some may possess god-like powers. Some yellow-eyed characters probably have high authority in the series.
But as far as my observation goes, yellow eyes are often shown to characters who have a cat-like appearance of characteristic. Some even show yellow eyes with a slit in the center to further elaborate on someone acting or possessing features present in a cat.
Brown eyes are the most common eye color in the world, and even in anime, brown is usually used in the common characters or sometimes in the supporting character. Brown eye color means simplicity, in anime especially the fantasy ones, you can see a brown-eyed color main character if he/she is just a normal person or someone who doesn’t have magic.
The roles that a brown-eyed character has in the series are often miscellaneous as well. Some might be a weapon wielder, farmer, tavern keeper, or just a merchant that you see in the town. But in some anime or spice of life-themed anime, there are many brown-eyed characters even the main protagonist of the story, because the spice of life shows a scenario that is somehow relatable to real-world situations, which is why brown was mainly used in the eyes of the character.
Purple is a color used in a character with a mysterious personality. It’s like, that
The character’s eyes have something to tell. It is something that the audience needs to pay attention to.
A character with purple or violet eyes has a deep backstory, sometimes it’s either they make unspeakable things in the past or there’s someone or situation in the past that changes which they need to settle the score with in the future. Usually, you can see this eye color in the antagonist of the story or a strong mysterious character where its purpose is still unknown and soon to be unfolded.
The eyes are one of the primary factors when deciding what would be the color or the
design of every character, and what their character of background may be. The eyes must be strictly considered since children are one of the biggest fan-base of the anime who happen to love seeing a variety of colors.
But for adult fans, the eyes oftentimes portray the characteristic, which is why I love to explain the details above. Sets of eye color are also used depending on the genre of the series. For example, if the genre of the story is about horror, authors often use black, red, purple, and gray are usually present in the character design. On the other hand, if the theme is about nature or an adventure to the wilderness, green, blue, and brown colors are often used.
Are Eye Colors In Anime And Manga The Same?
Eye colors in anime and manga are similar to each other. Although there are other circumstances where the manga and anime’s eye color are not the same at all. Most of the time, it happens due to a technical error with the anime artists. Sometimes, the creator and the management decided to change the portrayal of the character at the last minute once the anime is being produced.
But in popular anime series like One Piece, Haikyuu!!, and Bleach, the eye color from the colored page into animation is similar to make it more original. However, One Piece is also known to change the color of a character in the anime version not just with their eyes, but with their overall color theme.