Tuesday, January 21, 2020

jito-me ジト目

The anime stares you see from time to time where a character's eyes become half-open, half-closed, are called jito-me ジト目 in Japanese.

Suzumiya Haruhi 涼宮ハルヒ, example of staring eyes, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 (Episode 射手座の日)

Terminology

The term jito-me ジト目 comes from the phenomime ji~ じ~, which mimics someone staring at someone else, and more broadly something not moving at all.

Example of jiiii じ~~~~ stare. Source was altered for perfect loop.
Anime: Absolute Duo (Altered)
  • jiiii
    じ~~~~
    *stares*

Like other mimetic words, ji~ じ~ can be be turned into an adverb through the to と particle, becoming jitto じっと, which means "without moving."
  • jitto tatsu
    じっと立つ
    To stand still.
    To stand without moving.
  • jitto miru
    じっと見る
    To see still. To look at [something] still.
    To keep looking at something without moving.
  • jitto mitsumeru
    じっと見つめる
    To stare at something without moving.

According to both Pixiv and Niconico dictionaries, in the Japanese anime fandom, jito-me ジト目 originally refers to half-closed eyes of characters that are displeased for some reason.

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

By contrast, the term han-me 半目, or hangan 半眼, "half-eyes," is a broader term that refers to the half-closed shape, no matter the emotion of the character. For example, if a character is sleepy and their eyes are half-closed, it's han-me, but not jito-me, since they aren't staring at anything.

Similarly, some characters have half-closed eyes by default in their design. Naturally they aren't constantly staring at things, so it's han-me, not jito-me.

However, some people just call any half-closed eye jito-me, as if the word was synonymous to han-me. So there are people for whom the two terms are different, and there are people for whom the two terms are identical.

Nick Wilde, example of half-closed eyes, han-me 半目.
Anime: Zootopia (Movie)
  • In English, half-closed eyes that look like the person is flirting with someone or trying to be sexy are called bedroom eyes.
  • Nick Wilde has permanent bedroom eyes.
  • It's not like he's staring at people constantly.
  • In Japanese, someone would probably call these jito-me instead of han-me anyway.

Examples

Most of the time, anime stares happen when a character is angry, mad, or annoyed, because they didn't like what another character said or did.

Takagi 高木, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san からかい上手の高木さん (Episode 2)

Naturally, any character can get mad and stare at another, but these stares come overwhelmingly from female characters mad at male characters for some reason.

Meidri メイドリー, example of disgusted face, gomi wo miru you na me ゴミを見るような目.
Anime: Ishuzoku Reviewers, 異種族レビュアーズ (Episode 1)

Consequently, there's some overlap between these scornful eyes, which can be judgmental stares, and gomi wo miru you na me ゴミを見るような目, which are disgusted stares.

However, it's not like anime stares only happen if someone is mad at someone else. There are also judging stares that are judging the situation, not people.

Hitori Bocchi 一里ぼっち, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu ひとりぼっちの○○生活 (Episode 1)

There are also pouting stares.

Chitanda Eru 千反田える, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Hyouka 氷菓 (Episode 19)

And knowing stares.

Kousaka Honoka 高坂穂乃果, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Love Live! School Idol Project (Season 2) (Episode 7)

These can all be called jito-me ジト目, since they're staring, or han-me 半目, since the eyes are half-closed.

Salama サーラマ, Muse ミュース, Kobori コボリー, Kanie Seiya 可児江西也, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Amagi Brilliant Park, 甘城ブリリアントパーク (Episode 9)

デフォルメ

When simplified, the jito-me ジト目 eyes are drawn as half-circles.

Akatsuki アカツキ, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Log Horizon, ログ・ホライズン (Episode 24)

Note that this is a pretty troublesome shape.

Hachikuji Mayoi 八九寺真宵, example of anime stare, jito-me ジト目.
Anime: Nisemonogatari 偽物語 (Episode 1)

That's because jito-me ジト目 is supposed to be about a character staring at someone else, and this shape is often used when a character is doing the exact opposite: they're averting their eyes, looking away from someone, probably because they're embarrassed or something.

Aioi Yuuko 相生祐子, example of me-sorashi 目逸らし, "averting one's eyes."
Anime: Nichijou no Zero-wa 日常の0話 (Episode 0, OVA)
  • me wo sorasu
    目をそらす
    To avert one's eyes.
  • me-sorashi
    目逸らし
    Eyes-averting.
    When a character is looking away from something.

References

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