KyoAni has a certain style about their characters’ eyes which can be seen in Haruhi, Air, Kanon, and Clannad, and perhaps Lucky Star. While they all share the familiar reflective spot (is there a better name for that?), the Haruhi eyes have a few extra spots and the Key-based eyes have a few extra streaks plus blush marks below the eyes. Can details this subtle play major roles in defining the personality of a character?
Clannad‘s bright colors really show off how awesome these characters are. Tomoyo’s blue eyes stand out incredibly against her gray hair, and I’m surprised to see that Ryou has blue eyes instead of purple like her sister. I also wondered why there was so much purple in this series with Kotomi; I thought the twins were enough. Nagisa kinda sits alone with her brown scheme, and Fuuko at least has olive hair.
But anyway, everyone exhibits the reflective dot slightly below center with a smaller dot hidden by hair in the upper corner. And two streaks come from the lower part of the eye. I also notice now how everyone has bangs; nobody’s eyes are totally clear.
Overall they all look rather alike, except that Nagisa, Fuuko, and Ryou have rounded tops which I think reflect their soft passive natures. Kyou’s is pointed in the corner all tsundere-like (just like Kagami). Tomoyo’s is pointed in the opposite corner while Kotomi’s is kinda square. Not sure if these are part of a personality template as the others are.
Perhaps it was the quality of the scans I used, but Air‘s eyes are a little less defined in their features, achieving a sort of glaze. The reflective spot is at the top of the eye, less obscured by hair although it’s still there in every one, and the streaks and blush lines continue at the bottom. The iris is a lot more abstract compared to Clannad. Michiru’s irises almost look like fire with the way they curve around her pupils, and her personality could be compared to that. Misuzu’s eyes look like gazing into the skies and heaven, and Minagi’s have that mysterious aura with the violet. Here in Air the color variance is what defines characters.
Kanon eyes are kinda the middle ground of Air and Clannad. They have a haze to them but seem more defined in their features. Medium-sized reflective dot at top with large twin streaks at the bottom. And they’re just overall large. At least not as large as Toei’s version but still rather big. That’s fine, though, because we were all mesmerized by the story. And eyes this size can cry tons without problem.
Amano’s looks a little square, and I think I just got a poor angle of Ayu’s eyes, but everyone’s eyes look rather the same, even more so than in Clannad. There’s some color variance — and everyone has the blush marks — but I guess it was the characters’ personalities that really defined them in this series. Maybe it’s hair color, too, since that varied better. Sayuri also looks a little like Fuuko this close up.
Going further back to the time of Haruhi, these eyes look different since the extra reflective zones are dots instead of streaks. And no blush marks here, as the art style didn’t demand it. But there’s still a lot of depth. The irises themselves seem to have a reflective arc of their own, and pupils are quite visible and black. Ryoko just has the sinister eyes (although I think I got a non-normal pose) which aren’t as round as all the others. Haruhi has the tsundere corner, and Mikuru has the moeblob roundness. Tsuruya kinda has the corner, too (I had to get a left eye instead of a right), but Nagato’s doesn’t look all that different. I guess everyone’s hair played a part in this series, too.
Lucky Star probably doesn’t belong in this comparison since its art style is so different from all the rest, but there’s still a recurring theme with an inner iris (as I’ll call it). The Lucky Star characters lack defined pupils, so this inner iris helps to carve out the negative space where the irises would be. And you still have the reflective dots. Since this series is meant to accentuate moe, the eyes follow their respective archetypes.
Overall, anime eyes seem to be reflecting light at all times in some fashion. Perhaps it’s a direct result to how large they are on the face. Don’t they ever go dry in the air? That’s a ton of moisture needed to keep these eyes healthy and glimmering. And we won’t talk about the output during crying.
But I always like the explanation that anime eyes are the gateway to their souls; subtle movements of eyelashes or squinting or glimmering say so much about a change in mood or personality when body language is absent or hidden. They’re so important that hair normally isn’t allowed to get in the way. I’m sure it’s just a result of the artwork process, but the priority is interesting to note; eyelashes rule everything.
Take this YouTube video of someone coloring Hatsune Miku starting from a pencil sketch. While the development of the colors on her clothes and body is great, the entire image just never looked any bit complete until the artist filled in the eyes at around 7:30. Prior to that, everything else was done, but Miku just looked so empty and lifeless. It’s amazing how the eyes tell so much, and they didn’t even take that long to color in. The green iris part took a few seconds to fill in, but the most time was spent on the green arc and the white bubble that defined the depth of her eyes. And now we have a living character.
Going more on a tangent, the eyes of true tears (by P.A. Works, not KyoAni) seem a lot more realistic in terms of closeness to the human eye. They’re wider as opposed to taller .. and the irises don’t take up 80% of the visible eyeball, more like 55%. And everything is rounded off. And it wasn’t until now that I notice the RGB spread of Aiko, Noe, and Hiromi. Noe’s eyelash also doesn’t overtake the strand of hair in front of it. The customary reflective dots are there, but we really see pupils.
…I was originally going to write an entry of how true tears may possibly be better drama-wise than Clannad, but it somehow turned into this post. I guess I’ll write it later, because ep6 really impacted me in ways that Clannad could never do, but yet … I can’t turn my back on the endings of Fuuko’s and Kotomi’s arcs either. What’s the difference? I have to think on it…
(Oh and if you’re not throughly creeped out by all the eyeballs in this post by now, then you’re something else. I was able to ignore it by continuing to crop and paste images, but every now and then I’ll sit back in my seat and get a chill when I notice the freak of nature I’ve produced on my screen.)