Eyes Always Shut

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
You better hope they stay shut.

Harry: I could do it with my eyes closed!
Tommy: You do everything with your eyes closed.

3rd Rock from the Sun, "Same Old Song and Dick"

This describes a character who appears to have their eyes shut constantly, except, perhaps, for a few instances of surprise or shock. Nevertheless, they still give every indication of being able to see - which implies that this characteristic is actually more of a pronounced squint.

This is an old device to imply wisdom; more recently, it's been subverted as a device to show "wise guys." This device, when used to show a "wise guy," is called "Kitsune No Me" in Japanese ("fox's eyes" or "shifty eyes" in English).

A common variation of this trope is to make the character close his or her eyes into an arc rather than a simple horizontal line. Characters whose eyes are fixed in that position are generally optimistic and almost always unconditionally happy, but more often down-to-earth instead of ditzy. These characters may be prone to comic obliviousness, but outright stupidity is rare.

Finally, closed eyes are sometimes used to depict people who are down and out with their lives as a sign of depression.

Where Eyes Always Shut and Beware the Nice Ones overlap, the character's eyes may open when it's time to get dangerous, usually right before unleashing that Limit Break or entering a state of Unstoppable Rage. This is not uncommon among Affably Evil villains; if the villain always puts up a happy facade, expect those eyes to open when the Berserk Button is activated, just before that final transformation or ultimate attack is unleashed. Either way, the character's now-visible eyes may follow other various Eye Tropes as well.

When this trope occurs as a result of the art style, it becomes "Youngblood's Disease", according to Linkara.

Not to be confused with the Stanley Kubrick film, Eyes Wide Shut.

Examples of Eyes Always Shut include:

Anime and Manga

  • Shown above, Gin Ichimaru in Bleach. He has only been seen opening his eyes on very rare occasions, once when attacked, once when attacking, and during his final confrontation with Aizen. Also, if artworks count, the cover of one of the manga issues depicts Ichimaru with his eyes open.
    • Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto also keeps his eyes shut, except when he wants to show he's serious (or seriously surprised).
    • Captain Unohona of the fourth division closes her eyes, and all smiley, utters a threat (as perceived by her victims), occasionally opening them to emphasize her scariness, when she is trying to intimidate them. Does it work? HELL YEAH!
  • The flame dragon Setsuna in Flame of Recca literally keeps his single eye closed. If he opens it, anyone who sees it is instantly annihilated.
  • Master Korin, Bulma's mother and the 'fat' version of Majin Buu from Dragon Ball.
    • Goku once forces one of Korin's eyes open. All he sees is a fish swimming through water.
  • Takeshi/Brock in Pokémon. As well as practically everyone in his family, except for his mother. There is one scene in the series' long, long history where we finally see them open, but it's not nearly as dramatic as one could think.
    • In The Ninja Poké-Showdown, Brock's eyes open when Ash's Charmander accidentally uses Flamethrower on him.
    • His eyes open for a single frame when he gets beaned in the back of the head by Jessie's Arbok in Who Gets to Keep Togepi?.
    • One of the few women to actually enjoy his constant flirting is the Frontier Brain Lucy/Azami. Upon returning home at the end of the episode, it is revealed that she keeps a group of Pokémon as pets, all with the same squinty eyes implying that her attraction to Brock was due to this feature.
    • These days, his eyelids are likely to balloon in those situations you'd expect other characters' eyes to do so. A few times when he's being shocked and his body starts flashing, his skull shows the slits instead of circular eye sockets. Make of that what you will.
    • His eyes also open when he's being bishounen, but all they ever show is basically a glistening squint.
    • It's actually played with in the webcomic Super Effective. The first time Brock appears, another trainer hangs a lampshade. A good couple of issues later, we finally see the punchline of this particular Brick Joke.
  • Justified in Black Blood Brothers: Sei is so powerful that he has to keep his eyes shut at all times; the two times he opens them, he kills a bunch of vampires and opens the magical barrier protecting the Special Zone, respectively.
  • Bunta Fujiwara in Initial D
  • In the original series of The Slayers, Rezo the blind priest. However, that's not because he's a trickster so much as because if he opens his blinded eyes, he'll release the fragment of the supreme demon god, Shabranigdo, imprisoned within, a fact he remains unaware of until he heals his eyesight and does so. Another example is the appropriately-named Inspector Wizer.
    • Rezo's copy too. Why he doesn't open his eyes considering that the story says his eyes were healed is another question. He doesn't have a demon sealed in him like Rezo.
      • The reason he kept his eyes shut in the anime is simply because Eris tried to fool the Slayers gang to think he's the real Rezo. In the original novel, however, he had a damn good reason to keep them shut even after the gig was up: he had been fused with a mazoku and it caused him to have extra mouths where his eyes should have been. Yikes.
    • Xelloss "the Trickster Priest" opens the eyes wide (displaying the vertical pupils) and stops smiling when he ceases his tomfoolery and becomes serious. Given that he's the most powerful Mazoku short of godlike Dark Lords, it's not a good sign. And of course, in this case we cannot write off eyes closed by the lower eyelid (sometimes it's clearly visible) as a stylistic choice.
  • Chichiri in Fushigi Yuugi—he opens his eyes only when speaking seriously.
    • This is justified. He's just wearing an Eyes Always Shut mask because he has a disfiguring facial scar, including one missing eye. He takes the mask off to speak seriously. (On the other hand, how he makes vivid facial expressions with the mask on the rest of the time, or is able to see, is never explained...)
  • Koizumi Itsuki (although he opens his eyes much more frequently than most Eyes Always Shut characters), and in a few cases the narrator Kyon, in Suzumiya Haruhi.
  • Yakumo Fujii in 3×3 Eyes.
    • Only in the first season, afterwards he has them open much of the time. Symbolic, perhaps?
    • Yakumo, by default, has his eyes shut. Only rarely does he opens them. This is shown throughout the entire manga series, which is the entire series.
  • Cho Hakkai in the first Saiyuki Gensomaden anime.
      • Including driving with his eyes shut
    • Moreso, Shien (part of the Homura Trio) in the non-manga anime arc.
    • And chin yisou too.
    • Koumyou sanzo
  • Vato Falman, an officer in Roy Mustang's circle, in Fullmetal Alchemist. In the manga and the new anime, there's Ling Yao, who chooses to do this voluntarily, along with always trying to smile, due to the fact that, although he's a pretty nice guy at heart, he happens to have "shifty eyes."
    • Well/interestingly played with Ling, in that when his eyes aren't closed, you know either he means business or there's something seriously wrong. For instance, when he merges with Greed, when Greed is in control his eyes are always open, but when Ling's in control his eyes are often closed except in serious situations.
    • Also in Fullmetal Alchemist, Fuhrer King Bradley keeps his eyes (though one is hidden behind an eye patch) closed the vast majority of the time.
      • Also Fritz Lang, Bradley's Alternate Universe Double from The Movie.
      • When Bradley opens his visible eye it means he has dropped his friendly persona and let his true, aggressive, vicious self shine through. And if you can see his other eye, start running. Fast. Not that it will help, since the Evil Eye makes him a nearly invincible/unstoppable fighter.
  • Richard Wong/Mr. Utsumi, Patlabor's sneaky recurring antagonist.
    • Captain Goto exhibits this trope frequently as well. He fits the trope quite well as he is both wise and cunning, being on top of a situation well before others clue into it.
  • Vincent Law in Ergo Proxy. Here, the closed eyes seem to indicate passivity and/or weakness, although he opens them with increasing frequency over the course of the series. Early on though, they tend to open in Let's Get Dangerous moments.
    • Also pays homage to Plato's 'Theory of Forms'. Once Vincent leaves the dome, he opens his eyes to the truth of the outside world once again.
    • Coincidentally, Vincent Law and the above mentioned Gin both share the same Japanese voice actor.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX makes special use out of this trope; Professor Daitokouji/Professor Banner usually has his eyes shut. He eventually reveals himself to be one of the villains in disguise, whereupon he opens his eyes. They remain open until his defeat, whereupon they close again for the last few minutes before his death. His spirit, when manifest as himself and not a ball of light, still has him with his eyes shut in later seasons.
    • Kind of justified, since his eyes are BLOOD RED.
      • Wasn't his hair white when he had red eyes? His eyes could've been another color when he had black hair. However, we might have to go to the Hair Tropes for another story.
  • Both Mitsune Konno (appropriately nicknamed "Kitsune") and Kaede Nagase (from Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima, respectively) do this; the latter is legitimately wise (although Book Dumb) while the former is more of a "wise guy". Also, Kitsune usually appears with only one of her eyes open, and very rarely opening both (if surprised, for instance, like when she learns from Keitaro that he confessed his feelings to Naru).
    • Kaede opens her eyes to a gleaming slit during the Mahora tournament. The effect is unsettling.
    • She also has them open in the Chapter 305 during her fight against Dynamis, and she looks pissed.
  • Mokona used to have its eyes always closed in Magic Knight Rayearth, so it came as a bit of a shock when one of the Mokona Modokis suddenly opened them in Tsubasa Chronicle after sensing one of Sakura's feathers.
  • Ohno from Genshiken is another passive example - except when she's in otaku mode. Then you get the scary Blank White Eyes. She has normal eyes in the manga.
    • However, Ohno's fellow cosplayer and later boyfriend Tanaka plays this trope straight, both in the anime and manga. His face is constantly drawn with very little expression except for the closed eyes and slight smile.
  • I-pin from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, though only in her standard child form.
  • Hap from Eureka Seven
    • Also Gonzy. Turns out this is because he's actually a Coralian who was sent to observe the crew of the Gekko, and opening his eyes would reveal his true nature (Coralians having distinctive rings in their irises, and usually odd coloration as well).
  • Subverted somewhat in the first episode of Romeo X Juliet. A wealthy socialite with Eyes Always Shut appears to have them literally shut - he sweeps in unannounced in a scene, plucks the wrong lady from the dressing room amidst declarations of love for "my honey", and proceeds to take her to a ball... all without being aware that he's dating the wrong girl.
  • The eponymous Zatoichi (both old version and new) is a blind swordsman who walks around with his eyes closed all the time. At the end of the new version, he does open his eyes briefly for an interesting exchange with a mob boss.
    • Also, there is a comic scene in the new Zatoichi in which he has eyes drawn on his eyelids - so much so, one of the characters gets flustered, thinking he is staring at her.
  • Ichi is also a blind assassin it's hinted that she's Zatoichi's daughter; at the very least she's trying to find him.
  • Shusuke Fuji and Renji Yanagi from The Prince of Tennis. They only open their eyes when they're really serious about something. Yanagi's case is even more extreme than Fuji's; when he fully opens his eyes during a match in the manga, his teammates say they had never seen him like that, unlike Fuji who opens his own eyes more or less often.
  • Heihachi in Samurai 7.
  • Wanyuudou in Hell Girl, but only in his human form; in his wheel form, he appears with both his eyes open.
  • Digimon's Neemon frequently has his eyes closed. The Japanese card game suggests that he is lazy or frequently sleepy, but in the show he is perfectly energetic. Previous seasons had Gennai for the wise variation.
    • No, Neemon's fallen asleep at times in Frontier. He's also not very smart, in contrast to Bokomon.
  • Inuyasha's Soul Piper's eyes are usually closed. You do not want to be the cause of his opening them.
  • Watari from Death Note. Also simultaneously inverted with L who never closes his eyes, even when he sleeps according to one character. And then, in their joint death scene, Watari opens his eyes and L closes them.
  • Takashi Yamazaki from Cardcaptor Sakura, although he does open them when someone steps on his foot. Chiharu has apparently noticed this, as she remarks at one point that his eyes "are just lines".
    • Also from CCS, the anime version of Clow Reed, though he had them open in the manga.
  • The kindly old scientist and inventor Dr. Mayzel from the Spriggan OVA anime movie (Japan 1998). Although you can clearly see his eyes behind his glasses, they're constantly closed and drawn as upturned curves. In contrast, the character looks rather different in the print manga where he wears Scary Shiny Glasses.
  • In Saint Seiya Virgo Shaka, one of the most powerful Golden Saints, maintains his eyes shut to actually keep his power under control. When Phoenix Ikki finds out, after sorta recuperating from Mind Rape inflicted by Shaka himself, he tricks him into cutting off all of his senses and overpowers him in a suicidal maneuver, winning their fight and earning Shaka's respect for outsmarting him.
    • Shaka's Lost Canvas counterpart Asmita, however, is blind.
  • Saemon Kisaragi, the Master of Disguise from Basilisk. He's only seen with his eyes open after killing his foes, and even then...
    • Another big example is Saemon's friend and superior, Hyouma Muroga. Similarly to Shaka, he's not blind per se, but his special powers (reversing people's murdering instincts on themselves, making them commit suicide instead) are so strong that he can't turn them off, therefore he'd rather keep his eyes closed to avoid hurting his allies and loved ones too. His nephew and pupil Gennosuke also has the same power, but is able to keep it at bay so he doesn't need to close his eyes.
      • Also, there's a small variation in the original novel. Hyoma is able to control his powers, but can't open his eyes unless it's at night because they're light-sensitive to the point of pain.
    • Another variation, in both manga and anime: the Igas possess a special cream named "Seven Days Ointment" that seals the user's eyelids completely for at least seven days, forcing them to keep their eyes closed. Both Gennosuke and Oboro are affected by it: Gennosuke has a dose of it thrown at him by Hotarubi, whereas Oboro rubbed some on her own eyes to not use her abilities on her own clansmen.
  • Naruto usually closes his eyes when he's concentrating his chakra or thinking (for some reason, he has them closed for nearly all of the second episode!). It also adds to his fox-like appearance. Perhaps as a result of Character Development or just Art Evolution, he does this less and less as the series goes on.
    • When Sai is first introduced in Shippuden, he is constantly wearing a phony smile with closed eyes. Despite the fact that he is repeatedly called on it, he doesn't actually stop until he has had sufficient character development.
    • Akamaru is a dog with always-shut eyes, which succeeds in giving him a somewhat mischievous appearance. This disappears when he takes on human form for the "man beast clone" jutsu, or in very rare moments of extreme surprise.
    • Chouza Akimichi is another example - until very recently, his eyes have never been shown open - although he's more of a down-to-earth Gentle Giant than a mischievous type like Naruto.
  • Fujita Goro/Hajime Saitou of Rurouni Kenshin. He actually has naturally squinty eyes (which Sanosuke notes when first meeting him), and they appear closed while Saitou is "acting" as Fujita, which makes him look more like a "nice guy". Once Kenshin recognizes him at the Kamiya dojo, however, this is dropped completely for the rest of the series.
    • Also from the series, Chou the Sword-Hunter keeps one eye closed at all times except from when starting to lose the upper hand in a fight. Seeing as this is in a somewhat realistic swordsmanship manga, it could be a shout-out to the practice of closing one eye when trying to piss off an opponent. He's basically saying: "You'd be too easy to beat if my perception was normal."
  • Ezra from Vandread has these, obviously to emphasize her wise, motherly persona.
  • Taro from the first season of Hanaukyo Maid Tai.
  • Serpico from the Berserk manga. On the few occasions you see his eyes, almost always during a fight, it marks his Let's Get Dangerous moment where he drops the foppish persona. Though in somewhat of a subversion, his motives are always clear and he sometimes goes out of his way to state them.
    • Pippin had this trademark way before Serpico entered the story, though, and only ever opened his eyes once.
    • Sort of half-played with Guts. After the events of the Eclipse, his right eye is permanently closed. He seems to still have perfect depth perception, though, considering how accurately he uses knives, his crossbow, and various attacks that require perfect precision.
  • Kuroudou Akabane from GetBackers, usually accompanied by a small smile, though he will open them when he's in a truly good mood.
  • Media from Pani Poni Dash!.
  • From Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny, the incarnation of Zhao Yun, Chou'un Shiryuu, is practically like this. Apparently, while almost every characters always had their clothes torn one way or another, she manages to keep her clothes clean and never torn from attacks, all when she's fighting with eyes closed. She rarely opens them, if she did, it's probably for a brief of time and in a non-combat situation.
  • Howdy from the TV show Hamtaro.
  • Lee Linho in R.O.D the TV.
  • Professor Go in Giant Robo. He only opens his eyes when learning something that horrifies him.
  • Kabapu's assistant, Ms. Momochi, in Excel Saga never opens her eyes.
  • Higsby/Higure from Megaman NT Warrior/Rockman.EXE.
  • Maiza from Baccano! always has his eyes closed, even while being shot.
    • Additionally, there's Tick, Elmer and Nick (not to be confused Nicholas). Goose looks like his eyes are always shut, but closer inspection shows that they're just really, really narrow.
  • Benitora of Samurai Deeper Kyo has his eyes shut most of the time, except when he's shocked by something. The English translation of the manga hangs a lampshade on it, but in the Japanese, he's talking about getting laid.
  • Yasaburo, retainer to House Saotome in Macross Frontier.
  • Mokona in ×××HOLiC almost always has its eyes shut, as noted above. Also Mugetsu.
  • Ranger in Transformers Super God Masterforce
  • Wolfgang Grimmer in Monster.
  • Italy in Axis Powers Hetalia is usually drawn with eyes that resemble equals signs.
    • Aside from some of the official art advertising the manga/anime, he only opens his eyes TWICE in the course of eighty-some episodes. They even make fun of it in one strip, in which he wakes up, opens his eyes, and gasps. A caption underneath states "'I tried opening my eyes today!' - Italy".
    • Made even better during Bloodbath 2011, when one of the requests was that he keep his eyes open. After about ten seconds, all the other characters were freaked out, and Germany ended up covering Italy's face (because he thought it was "too limpid").
  • Minoru Shiraishi in Lucky Star. That is, until Akira abuses him one time too many...
    • Konata. I dare you to find a single comic or episode where her eyes open for a whole scene.
  • Fujisawa from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World
  • Kinko from Binbou Shimai Monogatari has these, probably to emphasize that she is the older and thus more mature one of the Echigoya sisters.
  • Ramenman. Opens his eyes occasionally, but they're usually closed.
  • Shouka from Saiunkoku Monogatari. His perpetually closed eyes seem to indicate his wise and easygoing personality. On the rare occasions he's seen with his eyes open, it typically means very bad things for someone, since it indicates that Shouka is appearing in his role as the deadly assassin known as the Black Wolf.
  • Haruka's and Akane's mom in Kimi Ga Nozomi Eien. She would easily be considered a Hot Shounen Mom if not for this.
    • She's still a hot shonen mom regardless of it, just of the slightly older variety.
  • In Darker than Black, Hei in his "unassuming nice guy" Li Shengshun persona has a broad smile and either closed eyes or wide open eyes, but when being his actual self, has open Mind Control Eyes and a stoic personality.
    • Amagiri has one Eye Always Shut, which gives him a cheerful appearance and fits his personality fairly well.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni has Virgilia. Trust us, you REALLY don't want her to open her eyes. In the anime, though, they made it closer to "Eyes Half Shut".
  • Lau in Black Butler.
    • Who is also voiced by Koji Yusa (the same person who voices Gin and Vincent). Is there a pattern here?
  • Mocked in Eyeshield 21 with the sumo wrestler Omosadake, who everyone knows has Eyes Always Shut, because he's literally too lazy to open them. They also look nothing like the usual versions, being extremely swollen.
    • There's also Yamabushi from the Shinryuuji Nagas, whose eyes aren't even slightly cracked when he cries.
  • One recurring villain from Aiki, a poison user, has her eyes perpetually half-lidded at best. Until Chapter 39 - when Kageyusu knocks her syringe out of her hand, her eyes pop open and remain open.
  • Saburo Watanuki in Penguin Revolution, another instance of the trope being used to indicate a wise and good-natured character.
  • In the Area 88 TV series, Roundell not only has an eyepatch but his one good eye is always shut...until he suffers a flashback at in inopportune time and it snaps wide open. Watch out for that cliff!
    • In the Area 88 manga, Hoover and Ryoko's father are also drawn with their eyes always shut.
  • Angel chara Eru from Shugo Chara.
  • Kamui from Gintama is shown with his eyes closed more often than not.
  • Saku, the drummer in Beck always has his eyes shut to the point where they are even joked about in the dub (a life guard refers to him as the one with the "squinty eyes").
  • Shino from Kannagi, despite having her eyes closed all the time, still manages to be the hottest character in the series. According to her best friend, something bad apparently happens when she opens them.
    • She opens her eyes when singing, which is stated as the reason why she doesn't sing in the karaoke episode.
  • Neko-san, from Shinobi Life, is Beni's minor-character-Meido. She never opens her eyes, regardless of when the situation obviously calls for it.
  • IGPX: Team Black Egg's frontman Ricardo Montazio. One can wonder how he can pilot one of those mechs without having his eyes visibly open.
  • Toyama Sachi from Jubei-chan.
  • Tamami from Chocotto Sister.
  • Koma from Hyakko—not surprising, since she can be seen as an Expy of Tamami.
  • Code Geass: Nunnally Lamperouge/vi Britannia has her eyes permanently closed. Her blindness is said to be psychosomathic, and it's believed it comes from the trauma of witnessing her mother's bloody assassination, which also left her crippled. Telling truths, the specific cause of Nunners's blindness is a Geass-induced trauma, given to her by her father as a plan of his Xanatos Roulette. She 'wakes' up just in time for Lelouch..
  • Variation in Saki, Fukuji Mihoko rarely opens her right eye since her eyes are Mismatched Eyes that can activate her Geass Awesomeness By Analysis techniques.
    • Bundou from her team is a straighter example.
  • Brother Matthew from Trinity Blood. He only opens his eyes once or twice when he is being exceptionally evil.
  • From .hack//Sign, A-20. It shows that even though all the characters are drawn the same way, hers is much more cartoony-looking than most others.
  • Kuran, a leakage girl in Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!
  • Balladbird Lee in Gungrave. When he actually opens them...it ain't pretty.
  • Konoha in Please Teacher!
  • July, the sword wielding Robot Girl assassin from Coyote Ragtime Show always has her eyes closed.
  • Nonohara Kaede from Hayate the Combat Butler was never seen opening his eyes. In addition to his Eyes Always Shut, he's always smiling.
    • Izumi Segawa's eyes are often shut as well.
  • Futugami, the Columbo-esque reporter in RahXephon has his eyes shut most of the time, and generally opens them at moments indicating that his seemingly bumbling persona is Obfuscating Stupidity. He also fits the wise and kind elder version.
  • Woon-suk/Ah-dol or Yureka
  • Chiffon Fairchild from Freezing. Perhaps one of the few genuinely kind, sane people among the crazed, blood-thirsty Amazon Brigade that is West Genetics...and is apparently also the strongest among them, having the nickname "Matchless Smiling Monster".
    • Chapter 86. She finally opened them.
  • Jinroku, the third teacher at Itoshiki-sensei's three teacher school is almost always shown with a heavy squint and a smile on his face, seemingly making him the nice and wise version. On the other hand, there's some evidence including a rather large tattoo on his back and his ability to avoid the scrutiny of cameras, that he had a rather dark past, likely in the Yakuza. In the scene with the tattoo reveal, he exhibits the Beware the Nice Ones/Obfuscating Stupidity version, as his eyes open slightly, giving him slitted, evil-looking eyes.
  • Walker Yumasaki from Durarara!! keeps his eyes closed constantly. He does open them very briefly in episode 18 though.
  • In Detective Conan, Ayako, Sonoko's older sister, is never seen with her eyes open. (Also, "Sleeping Kogoro's" eyes are always shut when he is "solving the case," though granted this is because he literally is asleep.)
    • Some guest characters are also fox-faced, and Okiya Subaru's eyes are just evil little white dots in the middle of black eyelid lines.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Kimiyoshi almost always has his eyes closed. A subject that even his english VA, Kyle Hebert, joked about at an anime convention, comparing him to Brock from Pokémon.
  • In the manga Et Cetera, Baskerville's eyes are almost always closed...it's a very bad sign if he has them open. However, he almost always has them open while he's Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Like the character Sai from Naruto, the character Ren Tsugura from Skip Beat! will occasionally smile with his eyes closed. It is these smiles that Kyoko identifies as a smile that says, "I'm really mad at you but I'm able to hide it", with no one but Kyoko being able to recognize it. Further supporting this, it's only the smile he makes with his eyes open that is genuine.
  • Chizuru from Squid Girl. Every single time she opens her eyes, terror sweeps whoever she looks at, regardless of species, sex, or age.
    • It turns out she's just squinting because of bad eyesight. She spends a chapter with them open after she gets contacts, but gives them up when she realizes that having her eyes open all the time makes everyone else nervous.
  • Yuji's Hot Mom from Shakugan no Shana has her eyes closed most of the time.
  • Paz in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex keeps his eyes as narrow slits almost all the time, probably to emphasize his vaguely hostile gangster-look.
  • Gabal from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Tamako from RIN-NE always has her eyes closed in a cheerful expression.
  • Minerva in Maken-ki!. She at first tells that she does this because it makes her look "older and wiser". Later we discover that the real reason for this is to limit and hide away her inter-dimensional teleporting ability.
  • Nekoyashiki in Rental Magica very rarely open his eyes. This is one thing that makes him appear more mysterious.

Comic Books

  • The Western ur-example is Captain Marvel (the one who is not Shazam). He's been drawn with normal eyes this millennium, but for the great majority of his history they were always closed.
    • The early Joe Shuster illustrations of Superman were also very squinty, which predate Captain Marvel.
      • Alex Ross continues to draw Superman with squinty eyes. He says its not to give off an attitude or look wise, its just to make him look like he's doing actual work when performing feats of strength.
  • Jughead, of the Archie Comics comic books and television show typically has his eyes closed. It's referred to on-panel by other characters often, even down to the fact that this should render him blind. (A case of either Lampshade Hanging or Genre Savvy.)
    • Let's not forget the time when the gang convinced Jughead to open his eyes, upon which he couldn't see a thing due to bright light.
    • In some stories, though, he has his eyes partially open, like so and like so. As is often the case, it's not as dramatic as you'd think.
    • And don't forget once he was coaxed into opening his eyes for a group photo, only to have everyone else in the shot blink once the photo was taken.
  • Both Grandma Ben and Lucius Down from Bone.
    • Except when Grandma is talking very seriously.
  • Before the time-travel flashback thing, Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse started drawing Japanese character Dawn Enjo with permanently squinted eyes, which she hadn't done before. No one is entirely sure why.
  • V in V for Vendetta. His "face" is a mask and the tiny eye slits serve to prevent anyone getting so much as a glimpse of his face.
  • Rob Liefeld's artwork depicts characters so they look like they're always squinting. It is referred to by reviewer Linkara as "Youngblood's Disease".
  • Ironically, of all characters to have their eyes closed most of the time, you'd think this would never apply to a character who's entire schtick, his whole reason to exist as a character, is to keep an eye on multiple universes and watch over all of them. But nope, The Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths seems to spend most of his time in an expression of frustrated lamentation, or thinking, Or, hell, just tired. He IS connected to every single atom of every single universe that the Anti-Monitor is destroying, which means The Monitor gets weaker as each universe dies.
  • Igrath of Dreamkeepers. Justified as he is blind.
  • The Saint of Killers from Preacher (Comic Book) has fairly permanently closed eyelids.
  • Jon's mother from Garfield; she does open them when startled or surprised though.
  • Beetle Bailey always has his hat (or his helmet) over his eyes—even when showering.
    • It's lampshaded in one strip, where the chaplin gently admonishes Sarge to see things from Beetle's perspective. The final frame shows Sarge with his hat covering his eyes down to his nose:

Sarge: Here's half of Beetle's problem, right here.

  • Usagi Yojimbo: Zatoichi parody Zato-Ino, the blind swordspig. Several other characters like Gen, Katsuichi-Sensei, and Priest Sanshobo are "squinty".


  • A comical example from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Flint's dad has a huge monobrow which obscures his eyes for most of the film, but which moves upwards to reveal them on a couple of occasions where he's shocked.


  • The Warcraft novels wrote by Richard A. Knaak feature the green dragons doing this, both in drakanoid and humanoid form. in this case it not only symbolizes their wisdom, but also their ability to see through the Emerald Dream. Specifically, they view their presence in the world of Azeroth as them dreaming. Ysera, queen of the Green flight, has opened her eyes three times in recorded history. She can apparently still see though.

Live-Action TV

  • Harry from 3rd Rock from the Sun. French Stewart, the actor who plays him, is naturally "squinty" and rarely has his eyes open more than slightly. This is particularly pronounced when he smiles, and he plays it up for comic effect. Parodied in the first episode:

'Harry: I can't see through my eyelids!
Dick': Open them!
Harry: Oh, they're manual!

  • Gilbert Gottfried is also "squinty" in most of his live-action performances.
    • He started doing this to overcome stage fright. Now he doesn't feel comfortable not doing it.
  • Ditto the late Dennis Wolfberg.
  • And Jimmy Kimmel.
  • And Renée Zellweger.
  • Joel on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In the first episode filmed, he actually showed up extremely tired, but the cast and crew liked the result on film; for the rest of the series, Joel was portrayed in a relaxed, almost sleepy demeanor with half-shut eyes and a relaxed, calm voice.
  • "Sparky" Mortimer, then-10-year-old sports reporter seen on The Late Show With David Letterman, would squeeze his eyes closed for the first few words of anything he said.
  • David Puddy of Seinfeld.
    • When Jerry asks if Elaine had noticed an irritating habit of his (David had been overusing the "high-five"), among the several things she lists is "...that squinting thing he does?".
  • Janice from The Muppet Show.


  • Chiffon Fairchild from Freezing has this as her most notable physical feature. She is also one of the more sane Pandoras


  • Milo from the animated musical group Prozzäk.
  • Noodle from the animated musical group Gorillaz. One eye is seen open in a closeup at the beginning of the Tear Jerker-combined-with-Nightmare Fuel video of "El Manana".

Video Games

  • Formerly pictured alongside Gin used to be his Expy Hazama from BlazBlue. When we are first introduced to him, he seems like a very minor character in Noel's story, but then he starts revealing his true, more psychopathic nature and by the story's true end he's revealed as the Big Bad, real name Yuuki Terumi. And in the 2nd game we learn that not only is he a Magnificent Bastard, but also a Man Behind the Man as well. He also opens his eyes much more frequently than his predecessor. Still doesn't stop him from being a sexy, Badass Smooth Criminal.
  • Kliff Undersn in Guilty Gear (he has one eye open in his VS portrait in GG1).
  • Moogles, frequently, in the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series. Though some recent games, such as Final Fantasy XII and the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance series have Moogles with their eyes open. MiniMog from Final Fantasy VIII was the first ever Moogle to have its eyes open... But it didn't have a pom-pom either.
    • This makes perfect sense though since Moogles are supposed to be winged moles, an animal known for having its eyes closed.
    • And despite that moogles from the Ivalice Alliance has their eyes opened, Horne from Final Fantasy XII has his eyes always closed, along with a pair of glasses.
  • Juno in Mega Man Legends.
  • Dr. Noel Chandler in Star Ocean the Second Story. He is shown as being an animal researcher which is appropriate to the wisdom stereotype.
    • Dorne Murtough from the original Star Ocean 1 also has his Eyes Always Shut.
  • Wendolo from Super Robot Wars 3 and Super Robot Wars Original Generation.
  • The "Aisha" and the "Chia" species in Neopets.
    • Interestingly, in the Aishas' profile, they are clearly shown blinking, implying that the "shut" look is what their eyes actually look like.
  • Ini Miney from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney always has her eyes shut. Even in her driver's license photo. The Ini we see, however, is actually Mimi Miney, who's impersonating her sister and keeping her eyes shut to fit the role (hers have a very distinctive look). When her facade cracks later in the case, she opens her eyes.
    • Shelly DeKiller is also another Eyes Always Shut.
      • Frank Sahwit, Marvin Grossberg, and Winfred "Big Wins" Kitaki (whose Big Ol' Eyebrows look like Scary Shiny Glasses because of it) also follow this trope.
      • Both ambassadors in the fifth case of Investigations as well. On Alba they signify age and wisdom, on Palaeno they mark him as a cheerful, if a little ditzy person. Of course, in Alba's case, it's a front.
  • Natsume in the four first four .hack games also displayed this characteristic, in addition to referring to herself in third person at seemingly random points.
  • Captain Olimar in Pikmin.
  • Redd the Fox in Animal Crossing. He fits the Japanese view of "fox eyes" perfectly—he operates a black market that sells goods for an outrageous price, although you can occasionally find treasures only available in his shop.
    • In addition to high markup, Wild World makes him the only outlet for paintings... which are frequently counterfeit.
  • The Happy Mask Salesman from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time He also opens his on occasion, but only when he's not happy. This, combined with his general creepiness and un-movements (everyone else in The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask and Ocarina of Time moves normally. He shifts from one position to another instantaneously.) make him the source of much Nightmare Fuel, but he's not presented as being very wise or very mischievous. However, he is well-traveled and a normal guy doesn't carry around quite that many magical masks (then again, Link winds up with a large collection of them throughout Majora's Mask, so maybe he just goes through Termina often and keeps his eyes open...well, figuratively, anyway.) In the end, we don't know much about him.
    • Also in Majora's Mask are Sakon the thief, who makes off with Kafei's Sun Mask and the Bomb Shop owner's Blast Mask, and Keaton, a cunning, riddle-telling fox.
    • Speaking of The Legend Of Zelda, Tingle never opened his eyes in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker.
  • The Miis on the Wii can also have these.
  • Then entire cast of Metal Gear Solid, due to the limits of PS 1 graphics.
  • Wang Koh-San from Art of Fighting 3
  • Ysera The Dreamer from Warcraft is described as always having her eyes shut, even if she's up and moving she sees the world from her mind's eye through the emerald dream. Her eyes do open, but only when things get very ugly, and it's only been said to happen twice; When her big brother figure, the god Malorne was slain during the third war, and again during the cataclysm, where the sundering of the world has left her fully awake.
  • Kelvena from Xenogears
    • Mentioned in Xenogears Perfect Works as being what she does in order to keep her high Ether power in check. She can be seen with them open during the out-of-Gear battle against all four of the Elements.
  • There are typically a couple for every game in the Harvest Moon franchise. The trope usually sticks upon those of characters at old age, or apparently girls who are meant to be represented of beauty.
    • Then there's Toby/Tao from Tree of Tranquility that is neither, but he does fit the "always cheerful" type. However, in his case, eyes that are always shut appear to be a genetic trait: His uncle and cousin have them too, and if he marries Renee, their son Matt has them too. "They say he's got my eyes."
    • Lyla only opened her eyes once, for like 6 seconds. Go figure, she has Purple Eyes.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni's Virgilia has this tendency. Her eyes do open a few times, but the smile that always accompanies it is so creepy, it might just be better if she always kept them closed.
  • Many Pokémon: Zubat, Wobbuffet, Skitty, Snorlax, Makuhita, Cyndaquil, Abra, Swinub, Uxie...
  • It's amazing that Kenshin, one of the backup dancers in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, can dance so well considering that he always has his eyes closed. A Let's Play of the game jokes that he accidentally glued his eyelids shut.
  • Just about everyone in Full Throttle, though they do open their eyes wide in surprise now and then.
  • Exit Fate: Angel's eyes are closed in both her portrait and all but one sprite, causing a common misconception among fans that she's blind.
  • Goro Daimon and his son, Kogoro, in the The King of Fighters series.
  • Ayako Yuuki of Variable Geo always has her eyes shut. She is The Ditz of the game.
  • Oscar in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn has his eyes always shut and is always smiling.
    • Kieran refers to him as a 'squinty coward!' in one of their support conversations... not that Oscar seems to care.
  • Gretchen Hasselhoff in some Backyard Sports games; her eyes are closed into an arc.
  • Prosecutor Ito, JudgeMan.EXE's operator, in MegaMan Battle Network 6
  • Madotsuki, the protagonist of Yume Nikki. Probably because she sleeps nearly all the time.
  • Ms. Accord from Puyo Puyo never opens her eyes.
  • Both Male and Female Healers in Disgaea always have their eyes closed, with the females lampshading it in Disgaea 3.

Female healer (paraphrased): My eyes don't open very often. But don't worry. Even if our eyes meet, you won't turn to stone. Hehehe.

    • The only time one was seen with her eyes open was in an art piece for Makai Kingdom, which also activates one of the optional map events.
  • In Valkyria Chronicless, there's Leon Schmidt who never seems to open his eyes, not evening when he's piloting an aircraft...
  • Hubert Brixham from Valkyria Chronicles II, although it is explained that one of his eyes was infected back when he was a sniper. Having both eyes closed doesn't seem to prevent him from catching one of his students turning around during a test. He only opens his eyes when he's shouting, which is rarely. There's also the clairvoyant Inghild from the same game who is never shown opening her eyes.
  • Craftlord Tyram and Amariss, the protagonist's mother, from Summon Night: Swordcraft Story and Master Blaire from Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2. Amariss and Blaire open their eyes occasionally.
  • Two different characters from Morenatsu—Kyōji and Tetsuya. Epileptic Trees notwithstanding, neither character has said or done anything all that treacherous.
  • Richard Wong from Psychic Force. Aside of having his eyes closed all the time, he pretty much controls TIME and is quite The Chessmaster as well.
  • In Jabless Adventure, most of the Squids.
  • The goddess Morrighan in Mabinogi. when she opens her eyes, it means some serious shit is going down.
  • Chester's battle and overworld sprites in Super Famicom version of Tales of Phantasia are drawn with his eyes perpetually closed (except when he takes damage). His portrait has his eyes merely squinted.
  • Raikoh, the hero of Otogi: Myth of Demons, and he never opens them, ever.
  • The hero of the flash game Second Person Shooter Zato. (As the name suggests, the hero can't see himself, but can see through the eyes of his enemies.)

Visual Novels

  • Snake from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. In his case, the eyes aren't simply an artistic device—his eyes really are shut all the time, and it's one of the first things viewpoint character Junpei notices about him. He is, in fact, blind. He only opens them three times:
    • In one of the puzzles, when Seven/Clover/Snake/Junpei spell "pipe" in a cheer-leading fashion. Snake has his eyes wide open as he shouts "Gimme a P and an E!"
    • In the Safe Ending, Ace tells Snake that he killed Clover - and exactly how he did it - and Snake snaps and his eyes open as he swears to kill Ace. It's actually pretty terrifying.
    • When they're putting together what happened to Snake, his eyes are open in the still where he's going for the DEAD. Though as it turns out, that wasn't Snake at all.
  • Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai: Tatsuko is perpetually sleepy, and thus, her eyes are almost always shut. Unless her precious Yamato-kun is missing. Then... Unstoppable Rage.
  • Katawa Shoujo has two examples. First we have the eccentric Nurse who never appears onscreen with both eyes open, and only occasionally actually opens his left eye. The other example is Lilly Satou, who doesn't always have them closed, just about half of the time. This is justified by the fact that she is completely blind and doesn't have much reason to open them.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • The King of Town from Homestar Runner.
  • Red.
  • The foxes in Mudy Quest, too.
  • The eponymous Pucca.
  • Dorroile in Something Awful‍'‍s District Bulletin series. Eventually inverted—when he finally opens his eyes, they become constantly wide and unblinking, thus conveying as little expression as they did when closed.
  • Yue from Chuugoku Yome Nikki

Western Animation

  • Gaz in Invader Zim. She actually does open at least one eye when she needs to be more expressive [dead link] (even in the intro). Other background characters play it more straight.
  • Shriek from CatDog. Lampshaded on more than one occasion.
  • The Nearsighted Mr. Magoo.
  • Captain Fanzone in Transformers Animated. He's been in a couple of episodes where he wasn't consistently drawn this way. It's apparently from the two different animation studios that make the show interpreting his character model differently.
  • Chef's mom and several Chinese people on South Park have their eyes shut most of the time.
  • A sentient basketball that only Shake could see from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Hypnogerms".
  • Gus Duncz from Mission Hill is drawn exactly like an aging Captain Marvel, so much so that I'm tempted to think it's intentional.
  • Mom Arbuckle, in the Garfield and Friends series
  • Numbuh 3 in Codename: Kids Next Door.
  • A partial example: Popeye always has his right eye shut, except when in shock, a common explanation is it was injured in a fight.
  • Cosgrove in Freakazoid! does this. He did open them three times in the series, in "The Cloud" presumably as an effect of the mountain air improving his mood, and in "The Island of Dr. Mystico" in shock at the actions between Freakazoid and Dr. Mystico at the dinner. No reason given why they opened in "The Wrath of Gutierrez", though. Unless food is that much Serious Business (he opened them while ordering food).

Other Media

Real Life