Eyes Are Unbreakable

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The anti-Eye Scream. When even though in all likelihood one's eyes would be harmed during a fight, or in a nasty accident etc., the eyes remain, remarkably, unharmed. This is seen often in works trying to avoid being Squicky. All the same, eye damage is rarely seen in modern works, as it has become something of a taboo.

This is the case pretty much whenever you see a character with a big, deep scar over his eye.

Related to The Dead Have Eyes. The opposite of Go for the Eye.

Examples of Eyes Are Unbreakable include:

Anime and Manga

  • A certain Uzumaki chapter has a bit of this. A character's face is slowly turning into a spiral funnel, and at certain point her eye isn't affected, though most of the head around it is.
    • Which makes it nightmarish when her eye finally detaches from her remaining face, rolls around and goes spiraling in the funnel like it was going down a drain.
  • In the Fist of the North Star movie, you get to see the nukes drop. There is a closeup of one unlucky soul caught in the epxlosion, and everything but his eyes disintegrates.
  • Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist has a huge scar over both his eyes from an explosion, but then the one who did blow up his face could control the explosion very precisely and probably wanted him to suffer, not to die.
  • Mello from Death Note had the entire left side of his face burned off in an explosion, yet his eye is completely intact, able to blink, and preseumably working owing to his undiminished ability to aim a gun.
  • In One Piece, several characters have scars over their eyes (such as Shanks and Rayleigh) but their eyes are perfectly functional. After the Time Skip, Zoro subverts this trope by having his scarred eye permanently closed. He can still kick ass, though.
  • Claw from Kimba the White Lion is a Subversion. He has a scar across his left eye, but unlike most characters with eye scars, his left eye is always closed.
  • Subverted with Kakashi from Naruto. When we first see his left eye unmasked it looks like this is the case, as he has a long deep scar over it. But later we learn that his eye actually was destroyed. He just got a new one transplanted by his ninja medic teammate.

Comic Books

  • In X-Men Forever Perfect Storm is slashed across the face by Kitty Pryde (who accidentally gained one of Wolverine's claws), a slash which goes over her eye. The eye still functions perfectly.

Films -- Animated

  • Scar from The Lion King has a deep scar running down his face. Whilst it goes directly through his left eye socket, his eyeball is perfectly fine.
    • This is perfectly possible, since any mammal will instinctively shut its eyes when struck to face. If the cut isn't too deep, it will just injure the eyelid, but not the eye itself. It helps that the eyes are somewhat sunken to the skull, so a slashing cut has even less chance of actually hitting the eyeball.
  • Similar to the Scar example above, Wolf from Chirin no Suzu has scar across his eye.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Vampires in Near Dark repeatedly take third degree burns from sunlight, but their eyes never take damage.
  • A very jarring example occurs in The Dark Knight with Two-Face (pictured above). The left side of his face is burnt off completely, but for his huge unblinking eye, which still works just fine, despite having no way of keeping moist. Or functioning at all.
    • Of course, it's entirely possible he was blind in his left eye - it's not like we see him take an eye test.
    • It's an Aluminum Christmas Tree. Take a look at Chase No-Face below.
      • Original concepts called for the eye to show some form of disfigurement or discoloration as well, but the taboo against (shown) Eye Scream stopped that.
    • Speaking of Batman, the charred body of Max Shrek at the end of Batman Returns has creepily intact eyes.
  • An American Werewolf in London: Jack, David's dead friend, becomes more and more decayed but his eyes are just fine.
  • In Darkman, the explosion that get the titular hero disfigured is actually shown by a close up refection in his eye. However when we next him his eyes are pretty much the only part of his face left.
  • A Terminator never loses its red eye, but always loses the eye covering.
    • In this case, their eyes likely ARE unbreakable, or very near so.
  • In A Knight's Tale, Count Ademar explains in detail how dangerous eye slits are, and how knights usually tilt their chins to avoid getting shrapnel in their eyes. No fictional knight ever has had shrapnel enter their eye holes.
    • ... because they tilt their chins or are super-badasses who just need to scream their own name to gain an unbreakable shield?
  • In the Japanese horror classic Audition, the killer loves to sew eyes shut and poke needles under the eyes, but never harms the eye directly.
  • Happens twice to the same guy in Constantine. When the half-demon Balthazar is sprayed with holy water, the left side of his face is eaten away but his left eye is O.K. Later on, after Constantine blows his face off his body with dragon fire, his right eye is still in perfect condition.
  • Partial aversion: Darth Vader. Lord Vader's eyes still function, but his corneas were burned away. This is why, when his mask is lowered onto his face in Episode III, the lenses have a red-tinted HUD.
  • Played straight in Superman Returns when a thug attempts to shoot the title character in his eye, the bullet crinkles on impact.

Live-Action TV

  • In Any Given Sunday, to demonstrate the violence of football, in one scene, someone's eye is torn out and is lying on the field. While on the surface, this might seem to be a subversion of this trope, but in actuality, the eye itself is completely undamaged other than being removed from the socket (e.g., it's not crushed or even bloody). It's packed into a resealable plastic bag for (presumably) re-attachment.
  • In House, patients come in with all sorts of horrible conditions, and treatment has ranged from amputations, removal of one hemisphere of the brain, to death. However, not one single patient has yet lost an eye. The most severe damage eyes take is eyes turning red or yellow, or temporary blindness. Interestingly, when blindness has occurred, never has it been because of eye damage, but because of pressure to the optic nerve, a brain parasite, or brain damage. Blood may pour from every single orifice in the body, except eyes.
    • However, that's only if you don't count the Season Two Finale. Even if it never really happened, we still saw a guy's eye burst out of its socket..
  • No corpses in CSI have ever had damaged eyes. They are either intact or gone completely.
    • A season 9 episode features a woman whose eyes have been gouged out by her killer's thumbs.
  • The Three Stooges poke each other in the eyes so much, it's a wonder they all can still see.
  • The original Life Meter in Knightmare is a slowly disintegrating head. The eyes remain when all the other flesh has gone, and then outlast the skull. When they're all that's left, they look at each other before spinning away out of shot.
  • In one episode of NCIS the victim of the week was missing an eye. He had apparently gouged it out and swallowed it. During autopsy, the eye was recovered and found to be fully intact.
    • In another episode a serial killer specifically leaves the team an intact eye and they figure he cut it out from a dead or unconscious victim. It turns out that the eye was taken out during a violent struggle but remained intact.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day has two examples. When the world is cursed by not being able to die (though not heal), one man gets blown up, and his body is charred and most of his flesh is gone, but his eyes are still there and functioning. And yet another lady gets put into a car crusher IN A CAR, and a zoom in reveals a single eye bopping back and forth.
  • Averted in Breaking Bad when Gustavo Fring gets half their face blown off by Walter's booby trap on Hector Salamanca's wheelchair. While the eye socket is shown mostly intact, it is completely empty.


  • Crash Bandicoot's explosive-death animation leaves only his shoes and his eyes.
  • This is one of the concessions to taste in Carn Evil, along with your opponents' lack of internal organs. The unintentionally humorous result is that an opponent with no remaining face has its eyes bulging out of its ruined flesh. (Yes, this game has Gorn by the bucketload.)
  • Semi-example: Sir Daniel Fortesque, the protagonist of Medievil, is a living skeleton reanimated after 100 of lying still in his crypt, and despite having lost all of his skin, muscle tissue and a jawbone, he still has one functional eye left. His other eye wasn't quite so lucky, seeing as he died by catching an arrow with it.
  • In the Day of Sigma OVA for Mega Man X, after Sigma launches a missile barrage on Abel City, X charges his hand until it glows white-hot and tries to gouge Sigma's eyes out. This gave Sigma his trademark scars, but did nothing whatsoever to his eyes.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, hitting a hobo with too much cold damage causes it to shatter, leaving behind nothing but its eyes.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 "Meet the Spy" video, the Soldier gibs the Blu Spy's head, and the latter's eye goes flying off.
  • Pac-Man makes this Older Than the NES: When he eats a ghost, its eyes remain.
  • Keldorn and Imoen from Baldur's Gate II both have visible scars over one eye, but the eyeball itself is perfectly fine. Imoen's may be justified by being surgery scars from Irenicus' 'treatments'.
  • In Fallout 3, blowing an enemy's head apart causes intact eyeballs to fly hither, thither and/or yon. This is almost certainly an application of the Rule of Funny.
  • If you throw a bundle of TNT sticks to an enemy with low energy in the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs arcade game, he will explode, leaving only his eyeballs flying away.
  • Initially played straight in Conkers Bad Fur Day, where fooling Franky The Pitchfork into attacking animate piles of hay causes them to disintegrate and only leave their eyeballs behind, which then keep staring at Conker. Subverted right afterwards by running over them, which causes them to be squashed.
  • In Rise of the Triad, the player routinely gibs enemies, blasting them into chunky kibbles, but very often, a perfectly intact eyeball will slide down the screen.
  • Prehistorik Man has the Looney Tunes version in the first tree level.
  • The Facebook game "Zombie Lane" features sentry guns, powerful twin-barrelled cannon that blow zombies of all sizes to shreds if they come too close. One of the few bits large enough to land is an eyeball that bounces on the ground, and it is the last part of a killed zombie to fade.

Visual Novels

  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hanako has right side of her body (and face) covered with burn scars from a childhood tragedy. But according to the Word of God, her right eye is not damaged.
    • Still, one wonders how that eyelid is able to open properly, being covered in scar tissue...
      • There are real life cases of burn victims who suffered extensive yet superficial burns, so that they didn't lose the eyes but the eyelids were left unable to open properly, a problem solved by some reconstructive surgery. Hanako has most likely undergone some.

Western Animation

  • Common in Western Animation, when characters' faces have something blow up in front of their face, turning their entire face chalky black. But not their eyes.
    • The Looney Tunes cast can actually do more than "entire face chalky black". A character can be burned to ashes, and his eyes will stay in the air a few seconds, audibly blink a few times even though there are no eyelids left, then fall onto the little pile of ashes.
    • Given the number of times Daffy Duck has had his bill blown off, he has amazingly never been poked in the eye. Fridge Logic would dictate that perhaps on at least one occasion, his bill should splinter and poke him in his eye.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Master Shake has undergone nearly every single possible injury with intact eyes. The one time his eyes were damaged, he received prosthetic eyes.
  • In Drawn Together a man shoots himself in the head, turning his face in a blackened splatter, but leaving his two, blinking eyes intact.
  • Averted by Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender has a scar running across most of one side of his face, from his nose to his ear. His eye is surrounded by damaged tissue and looks unharmed, but Zuko lacks peripheral vision.
  • In Gargoyles, Hudson has a scar across one eye. The eyeball itself is intact, but he is blind on that side.
  • Averted in ThunderCats (2011) Panthro has a scar over his right eye, but the eye is milkier than his left, drawn matte, dull and pupilless. Word of God is that he can still see, but has glaucoma in that eye.
  • Combined with Smoldering Shoes for an Imagine Spot in My Life as a Teenage Robot. Sheldon steals Jenny's blueprints to see what makes her tick, but then Vexus gets a hold of them, and Sheldon realizes he'll have to tell Jenny how Vexus has them. But in the Imagine Spot, when he does tell her, Jenny vaporizes him, leading to the above combo.

Real Life

  • The cat Chase No-Face, who lost her nose and eyelids in a car accident but lives a normal life, needing only a dash of eyedrops twice a day and a dark room to sleep in.