And kanji with manga
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Sparkling Eyes

In manga and anime, sometimes eyes are drawn sparkling, typically with four-pointed stars drawn in the iris, or the pupil being replaced by four-pointed star that spans the whole iris.

When this happens, it's generally because the character is captivated by something. They saw something they want, something wonderful that they like, or something amazing. They have become filled with excitement, desire, ambition, and so on.

Enshuu Ritsu 円修律, Akutagawa Taketo 芥川丈途, example of sparkling eyes.
Left: Enshuu Ritsu 円修律
Right: Akutagawa Taketo 芥川丈途
Anime: R-15, Aaru Juugo あーるじゅうご (Episode 1)

In Japanese

The word for the act of sparkling in Japanese would be:
  • kirakira
    キラキラ
    *sparkle* (mimetic word.)

Okumura Rin 奥村燐, example of sparkling eyes.
Character: Okumura Rin 奥村燐
Anime: Ao no Exorcist, 青の祓魔師 (Episode 17)
  • me ga kagayaku
    目が輝く
    [Someone's] eyes shine.

Often, but not always, sparkling eyes are drawn with one four-pointed star spanning across the entire iris. In this case, it's specifically called:
  • juuji-me
    十字目
    Cross-shaped eye.
    • Literally "十 character eye," because the juu 十 character looks like a cross.
  • shiitake-me
    しいたけ目
    Shiitake eyes. (because shiitake mushrooms are often decorated with cross-shaped cuts when used in cooking.)

Doma Umaru 土間うまる, example of me ga shiitake 目がしいたけ, "the eyes are shiitake mushrooms." The second image is altered with real mushrooms.
Character: Doma Umaru 土間うまる
Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 2)

Some anime use five-pointed star eyes instead.

Tsukino Usagi 月野うさぎ, example of star eyes.
Character: Tsukino Usagi 月野うさぎ
Anime: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, 美少女戦士セーラームーン (Episode 1)
  • me ga hoshi ni naru
    目が星になる
    [Someone's] eyes become stars.
  • me ni hoshi ga aru
    目に星がある
    There are stars in [someone's] eyes.

Lastly, when eyes shine brightly and strongly, with a huge sparkle covering the whole eye, that's typically because the character has set their eyes on something, like a predator setting eyes on a prey and ready to attack.
.
Shidare Hotaru 枝垂ほたる, example of shining eyes.
Character: Shidare Hotaru 枝垂ほたる,
Anime: Dagashikashi だがしかし (Episode 1)
  • kyupiin
    キュピーン
    *shining* (sound effect typically used with shining eyes like this.)
  • me ga hikaru
    目が光る
    [Someone's] eyes emit light. Glow.
  • kiraan
    キラーン
    *twinkle* (another sound effect.)

Examples

For reference, some examples:

Kise Yayoi 黄瀬やよい, example of eye sparkles.
Character: Kise Yayoi 黄瀬やよい
Anime: Smile Precure!, スマイルプリキュア! (Episode 35)

Hoshikawa Mafuyu 星川麻冬, example of me ga shiitake 目がしいたけ, "the eyes are shiitake mushrooms."
Character: Hoshikawa Mafuyu 星川麻冬
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S (Episode 1)

Toshinou Kyouko 歳納京子, example of "nosebleed," hanadi 鼻血.
Character: Toshinou Kyouko 歳納京子
Anime: Yuru Yuri ゆるゆり (Episode 1)

Ana アナ, example of me ga shiitake 目がしいたけ, "the eyes are shiitake mushrooms."
Character: Ana アナ
Anime: Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia, 絶対魔獣戦線バビロニア (Episode 3)

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