Tuesday, April 30, 2019

reipu-me レイプ目

In Japanese, reipu-me レイプ目, "rape eyes," is the most common term for eyes drawn without a sparkle.

Synonyms in Japanese include utsuro-me 虚ろ目, "vacant eyes," maguro-me マグロ目, "tuna eyes," yandere-me ヤンデレ目, "yandere eyes," and sen'nou-me 洗脳目, "brainwashed eyes," In English: empty eyes, dead eyes, lifeless eyes, soulless eyes, and mind-broken eyes.

The situation can be described as hairaito ga kieru ハイライトが消える, "the highlight disappears," because the white sparkles on the drawings of irises are called highlights, or me ga shinderu 目が死んでる, "the eyes are dead."

Example of vacant eyes.
Anime: Goblin Slayer, ゴブリンスレイヤー (Episode 1)


In manga and anime, empty eyes are used for various reasons, but, in general, they represent some sort of mental collapse.


Traditionally, they're used when a character has been traumatized by something.

Aqua アクア, example of vacant eyes.
Anime: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! この素晴らしい世界に祝福を! (Episode 5)
  • After being useful for once, Aqua becomes traumatized.

Since a lot of times the trauma comes from rape, the empty eyes are often drawn on rape victims, which is where the term "rape eyes" come from.

Of course, that sounds kinda weird because "rape eyes" sounds like it's the eyes of the rapist, just like the expression "rape face," but it turns out we're talking about the eyes of the victim of rape, it's literally the opposite. Don't ask me. I didn't make up the term. I'm just explaining it.

Anyways, the so-called "rape eyes" can show up in a variety of situations that, as it turns out, have nothing to actually do with rape.

Takakamo Shizuno 高鴨穏乃, example of vacant eyes.
Anime: Saki Achiga-hen 咲-Saki-阿知賀編 Episode of Side-A (Episode 3)
  • Shizuno is temporally traumatized after losing really badly in mahjong.

The term reipu-me レイプ目 can still be used in these situations in Japanese. As I mentioned before, it's the most common term to refer to this thing.

However, some people don't like the word "rape," for obvious reasons, so they prefer to call it something less heavy, like utsuro-me 虚ろ目, "vacant eyes," or maguro-me マグロ目, "tuna eyes." The latter is used because the eyes are dead like a tuna's.


Sometimes, the empty eyes are used when a character has simply given up fighting or resisting something, rather than being outright traumatized by something. In other words, empty eyes can represent hopelessness.

Manga: Goblin Slayer, ゴブリンスレイヤー (Chapter 6)
  • naremasu yo
    [You] get used to [it].

Another way to describe these eyes that have been given up on things, specially when they is:

While reipu-me is more for things like trauma, me ga shinderu is usually for when a character's eyes suddenly change while they say negative things.

Anime: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく (Episode 12)
  • Context: something good happens to Chiyoda Momo 千代田桃.
  • iya, matte yo
    No, wait.
  • nanka okashii
    Something is weird.
  • {watashi ni konna happii ga furikakaru} hazu ga nai
    There's no way {something happy like this would happen to me}.
    • furi-kakaru
      To fall on [someone]. To befall. (compound verb.)

Furthermore, when a character's eyes lose the highlights because they've given up on someone, as in, they're so grossed out they've lost hope in that person as a human being, they think someone is a lost cause, there's a different term for that:

Kotegawa Chisa 古手川千紗, example of disgusted face, gomi wo miru you na me ゴミを見るような目.
Anime: Grand Blue, ぐらんぶる (Episode 1)
  • Context: it was like she was looking at walking garbage.
  • {{gomi wo miru} you na} me
    Eyes {like {[they] are seeing trash}.

Mind Control

Similarly, empty eyes are also drawn on characters that have been hypnotized, brainwashed, or under some other form of mind-control. While under the effects of hypnosis, etc., they aren't thinking, they're just following commands, so it's like their head is empty, too.

In some cases, spinning eyes are used instead of empty eyes when a character is mind-controlled.


Characters that are mentally unwell or unstable can also have have empty eyes drawn on them. This happens when they snap and stop thinking like a normal person, usually doing something completely insane and disturbing, like murdering everybody.

Yandere Eyes

A certain type of dere, the yandere ヤンデレ, which is mentally sick somehow and in love with someone, is famous for featuring empty eyes from time to time, hence why the eyes are also known as "yandere eyes."

Kinjou Miyoko 金城美代子, also known as Eraser イレイサー, example of yandere eyes.
Anime: Handa-kun はんだくん (Episode 9)

Another way to describe these is just as yabai やばい, "dangerous."

ああ 大丈夫だよ 彼女は いやいや どう見ても目がヤバイよ
Manga: Handa-kun はんだくん (Chapter 19, 半田くんとストーカー)
  • Context: two guys are looking for a dangerous stalker.
  • aa
  • daijoubu dayo kanojo wa
    大丈夫だよ 彼女は
    • kanojo wa daijoubu da yo
      She's alright. (in other words, it's not her.)
  • iyaiya
    No, no.
  • dou mitemo me ga yabai yo
    No matter how [you] look at [it], [her] eyes are dangerous!

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