Thursday, March 19, 2020

Forehead Shadow

In manga and anime, sometimes a shadow is drawn over the character's forehead, covering their eyes and going all the way to their nose. This shadow appears out of nowhere, regardless of the illumination of the scene.

It's a symbol to represent the character's mental state, and may be used when they're angry, devious, terrified, disgusted, among other situations.

In some cases, only the eyes or the nose is shadowed. In other cases, the forehead is drawn blue instead.

Fujioka Haruhi 藤岡ハルヒ, example of "anger mark," ikari maaku 怒りマーク.
Character: Fujioka Haruhi 藤岡ハルヒ
Anime: Ouran High School Host Club, Ouran Koukou Hosuto-Bu 桜蘭高校ホスト部 (Episode 10)


The forehead shadow can be used to represent various sorts of negative mental states, for various reasons.

The shadow can mean someone is depressed or feels down. In this case, people tend to literally look down, towards the ground, so assuming the light is above them, their face naturally becomes shaded.

Of course, as a symbol, there's no indication that the character has moved their head at all, the shadow simply appears.

Other emotions, like anger and disgust, tend to be accompanied by facial expressions featuring frowning which creates wrinkles between the eyebrows and on the nose. Instead of being drawn realistically, the wrinkles are simplified into shadowed areas.

Sometimes, blue lines are drawn across the nose to symbolize those wrinkles.

Shadows are often drawn blue when a character feels unwell. That's because, when referring to the color of the face, blue in Japanese means the same thing as pale in English, so a face turning blue in anime means the same thing as a face turning pale.

The shadow is blue, then, when the character's blood pressure drops, when they're sweating cold, when they're in shock, and so on.

Shadows are also drawn in characters that feel anxious, nervous or tense. And in characters that appear despondent, in despair, or otherwise mentally unwell. Including those that have murderous intent.


For reference, some examples of forehead shadow used in anime.


Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック, example of "anger mark," ikari maaku 怒りマーク.
Character: 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 1)
Kokkuri-san コックリさん, example of triangle eyes.
Character: Kokkuri-san コックリさん
Anime: Gugure! Kokkuri-san 繰繰れ!コックリさん (Episode 1)
Shigure シグレ, example of "anger mark," ikari maaku 怒りマーク.
Character: Shigure シグレ
Anime: Hataage! Kemono Michi 旗揚!!けものみち (Episode 4)


Some examples of "eyes that seem to be looking at garbage," gomi wo miru you na me ゴミを見るような目 .

Sakuranomiya Maika 桜ノ宮苺香, example of disgusted face, gomi wo miru you na me ゴミを見るような目. The text reads hiku' ひくっ, which means literally "pull," but in this case "repulsed," "grossed out."
Character: Sakuranomiya Maika 桜ノ宮苺香
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S (Episode 1)
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.
Character: Kotegawa Chisa 古手川千紗
Anime: Grand Blue, ぐらんぶる (Episode 1)
Yame Yukana 八女ゆかな, example of gomi wo miru you na me ゴミを見るような目.
Character: Yame Yukana 八女ゆかな
Anime: Hajimete no Gyaru はじめてのギャル (Episode 1)
  • dogeza
    The name of the pose the guy is doing in the first image.


"Priestess," Onna Shinkan 女神官, example of terrified face.
Character: "Priestess," Onna Shinkan 女神官
Anime: Goblin Slayer, ゴブリンスレイヤー (Episode 1)


Shiraha Raphiel Ainsworth 白羽=ラフィエル=エインズワース, example of blue lines on a character's face.
Character: Shiraha Raphiel Ainsworth 白羽=ラフィエル=エインズワース
Anime: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Episode 3)
Hikurakawa Sora 火鞍川曽良, Hinowa Tomori 日ノ輪泊, example of blue face.
Left: Hikurakawa Sora 火鞍川曽良
Middle: Hinowa Tomori 日ノ輪泊
Anime: Jingai-san no Yome 人外さんの嫁 (Episode 4)


Kinjou Miyoko 金城美代子, also known as Eraser イレイサー, example of yandere eyes.
Character: Kinjou Miyoko 金城美代子, Eraser イレイサー
Anime: Handa-kun はんだくん (Episode 9)
Handa Sei 半田清舟, angry and frustrated, example of "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.
Character: Handa Sei 半田清舟
Anime: Barakamon ばらかもん (Episode 8)


Aguri 亜玖璃, Uehara Tasuku 上原祐, Hoshinomori Chiaki 星ノ守千秋, example of characters sweating.
Left: Aguri 亜玖璃
Middle: Uehara Tasuku 上原祐
Right: Hoshinomori Chiaki 星ノ守千秋
Anime: Gamers!, ゲーマーズ! (Episode 6)

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