And kanji with manga
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

torogao トロ顔

In Japanese, torogao トロ顔 is an NSFW term meaning "drowsy face." It's often mistranslated and misinterpreted as "melting face," in particular in the meme know your gaos.

A torogao is a facial expression of (sexual) pleasure with eyes heavy, half-closed, implying the character is intoxicated or lethargic, robbed of their strength by something that felt too good.

The words "drowsy" and "groggy" are terms for such state in English, although they typically refer to sleepiness. I can't find a better word for this, so I guess torogao translates to "drowsy face."

Fujiwara Chika 藤原千花, example of torogao トロ顔.
Anime: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Episode 11)
  • Context: food is delicious.
  • kan'in 完飲
    Drinking it all. (in this case, ramen.)

This term was featured in the meme template know your gaos.

Meaning

The term torogao トロ顔 comes from torotoro トロトロ, which means "to feel drowsy," among other things, and word kao 顔, "face," that becomes gao 顔 due to rendaku.
  • torotoro
    とろとろ
    For a solid to melt, such that it become "sticky," "gooey."
    Losing force. For a fire to weaken. For a train to slow down.
    To feel sleepy. Drowsy. Groggy.
    • This is a mimetic word.
    • All usages of torotoro imply losing strength.
    • By the way, dorodoro どろどろ means viscous like mud.
  • me ga toron to suru
    目がトロンとする
    (For someone's) eyes to be "toron." (literally.)
    (For someone's) eyes to be [heavy].

"Melting Face"

The term torogao is often mistranslated as "melting face," as in a face of "melting" pleasure.

It's also mistakenly interpreted this way in Japanese, because the Japanese word for "to melt" happens to start with toro:
  • torokeru
    蕩ける
    To melt.

Therefore the right word would be:
  • torokegao
    蕩け顔
    Melting face.

You could say that torogao is a type of torokegao, but not every torokegao is a torogao. If a character is "melting" in pleasure but their eyes are wide open or completely closed, for example, that's clearly different from the definition of torogao.

In other words, "melting" is too broad, torogao is a lot more specific.

Ristarte リスタルテ, examples of "nosebleed," hanadi 鼻血.
Anime: Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者 (Various Episodes)

Examples

As one would expect, torogao is mostly a pornographic term, so you'll rarely find instances of it in your normal, regular TV anime.

Araragi Karen 阿良々木火憐, example of torogao トロ顔. Picture from the infamous toothbrush scene.
Character: Araragi Karen 阿良々木火憐
Anime: Nisemonogatari 偽物語 (Episode 8)
  • ha-migaki purei
    歯磨きプレイ
    Tooth-brushing play.
    • ha-burashi
      歯ブラシ
      Toothbrush.
    • migaku
      磨く
      To polish.
      To brush [teeth].

In fact, it's easier to find an example of this case from a character "drowsy" in the sense of falling asleep.

Izumi Konata 泉こなた, drowsy, drooling.
Character: Izumi Konata 泉こなた
Anime: Lucky☆Star, らき☆すた (Episode 4)
  • Since this has nothing to do with pleasure, it doesn't count as torogao, even though it's drawn pretty much the same way as torogao.

Note that eyes half-closed in general are called han-me 半目. When those half-closed eyes are staring at someone, typically judgingly, they're called jito-me ジト目.

Mumei 無名, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Character: Mumei 無名
Anime: Koutetsujou no Kabaneri 甲鉄城のカバネリ (Episode 4)

References

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