Wednesday, May 1, 2019

guruguru-me ぐるぐる目

In Japanese, guruguru-me ぐるぐる目 means "spiraling eyes," "spinning eyes," or "swirling eyes." In anime, it's those spiral-shaped eyes characters make when they're dizzy, puzzled, dazed, flustered, and so on.

The term comes from guruguru ぐるぐる, a mimetic word meaning "swirling," and me 目, "eyes."

Kukuri ククリ, example of spinning eyes.
Character: Kukuri ククリ
Anime: Mahoujin Guruguru 魔法陣グルグル (2017) (Episode 2)

Usage

In anime, the spiral eyes are generally used when a character is stunned and unable to think.

Often, when there's the situation is too much for them to handle, when it's too much information to process, when there's too much pressure to act, and stuff like that, the character becomes unable to think and act for a moment, and the eyes turn into spirals.

Sweat drops often accompany the spiral eyes when the character is trying really hard to understand something or process the situation, putting tons of effort and strain into thinking.

The eyes are also used when a character is stunned in general. In many cases, they're used when a character falls on the floor, or something falls on them, or someone falls on them. When something puts them into disarray and unable to act.

Alphonse Elric アルフォンス・エルリック, and Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック, example of spiral eyes, guruguru-me グルグル目.
Left: Alphonse Elric アルフォンス・エルリック
Right: Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Episode 12)

Examples

For reference, some examples of guruguru-me.

Spinning Eyes

In anime, the guruguru-me are sometimes animated so the eyes look like they're swirling.

Kururi ククリ, example of spinning eyes, animated.
Character: Kukuri ククリ
Anime: Mahoujin Guruguru 魔法陣グルグル (2017) (Episode 2, Altered)

Spiral Eyes

Most of the time, however, the guruguru-me are static. They're just two spirals drawn instead of eyes.

Angular

Sometimes, the spiral eyes are drawn with angular, hexagon-like spirals.

Mill Varna ミル・ヴァルナ swirling eyes.
Character: Mill Varna ミル・ヴァルナ
Anime: Meizu Bakunetsu Jikuu MAZE☆爆熱時空 (Episode 2)

Meowth, Nyaasu ニャース, and Ash Ketchum, Satoshi サトシ, example of spiral eyes, guruguru-me グルグル目.
Left: Meowth, Nyaasu ニャース
Right: Ash Ketchum, Satoshi サトシ
Anime: Pokémon, ポケットモンスター (Episode 8)

Round

Sometimes, the spirals are drawn rounder.

Sonokawa Momoka 園川モモカ swirling eyes.
Character: Sonokawa Momoka 園川モモカ
Anime: Sabage-bu'! さばげぶっ! (Episode 2)

Wide

Normally, the spirals are drawn uniformly, but sometimes they're drawn wider than taller.

Haruno Haruka 春野はるか, example of spiral eyes, guruguru-me グルグル目.
Character: Haruno Haruka 春野はるか
Anime: Go! Princess Precure (Episode 1)

Long

Normally, spiral eyes are normally drawn with turning 720°, creating just one inner loop and one outer loop, but sometimes they're drawn longer, with more convolutions than that.

Excel エクセル, example of spiral eyes, guruguru-me グルグル目.
Character: Excel エクセル
Anime: Excel♥Saga, エクセル♥サーガ (Episode 4)

Desynchronized

Normally, both spirals are rotated to the same angle, but sometimes one spiral eye has a different angle than the other.

Maple メイプル, example of swirling eyes, guruguru-me グルグル目.
Character: Maple メイプル
Anime: Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. 痛いのは嫌なので防御力に極振りしたいと思います。 (Episode 3)

Thin

Normally, the spirals are drawn with thick lines, but sometimes they're drawn with thin lines instead.

Yuuki Miaka 夕城美朱 swirling eyes.
Character: Yuuki Miaka 夕城美朱
Anime: Fushigi Yuugi ふしぎ遊戯 (Episode 1)

Messy

Swirling eyes drawn extremely messy, often using overlapping circles instead of spirals, are not called guruguru-me ぐるぐる目, but guriguri-me ぐりぐり目 instead.

Yuno ゆの, example of guriguri-me グリグリ目, "swirling eyes."
Anime: Hidamari Sketch, ひだまりスケッチ (Episode 1)

Spiral Pupils

Although it's more common to draw the entire eye into a spiral, using a simpler style, in some cases the white of the eye (sclera) is kept, and only the "pupils," hitomi 瞳, or "iris," kousai 虹彩, are drawn as spirals.

Nishikata 西片, example of spinning pupils.
Left: Takagi 高木
Right: Nishikata 西片
Anime: Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san からかい上手の高木さん (Episode 1)

Kaomoji

In kaomoji 顔文字, the "at" sign (@) can represent the spinning eyes. [顔文字のかんたん入力 - web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/masako01, accessed 2020-01-03]
  • (@_@)
  • (@﹏@)
  • (இ﹏இ`。)

Mind Control

In some cases, spiral eyes are drawn on a character that's being mind-controlled somehow, like through hypnosis or brainwashing.

  • anata wa dandan~
    あなたはだんだん~
    You're increasingly~
    • Increasingly what?!
  • fura fura
    ふらふら
    *moving unsteadily, aimlessly. In this case, swinging.*
  • doki'
    どきっ
    *thump*

Often, however, vacant eyes are used in this case instead.

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