Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Large Sweat Drop

In manga and anime, a large sweat drop, shaped like teardrop, dripping from a character's forehead or hair, is a symbol used when a character is perplexed, bewildered, confused, or otherwise at loss of words.

It's also known as the "anime sweat drop." In Japanese, it's called ase-maaku 汗マーク, "sweat mark (mark as in a symbol, icon)."

See small sweat drop for a similar but smaller symbol.

Maria マリア, example of sweat drop, ase maaku 汗マーク.
Character: Maria マリア
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 11)


The anime sweat drop is always used when a character is reacting to what another character said or did. The exact reaction varies.

Sometimes, it's because the character is embarrassed at what another character said or did, at their antics, at an awkward situation, or at Too Much Information® such that they simply can't deal with it.

They may be confused or perplexed, and a large number of times they'll laugh it off, smile nervously, pretend they didn't see or hear anything, make an appeasing comment, and then change the subject completely.

Comedy anime often feature characters with so little common sense that they'd be honestly impossible to deal with were they real people. In such anime, instead of having someone say "what's wrong with you?!" every five seconds, the large sweat drop tends to be used instead.


The large sweat drop is often rendered at the right or left side of the forehead, or around the cheeks. It's rarely rendered at the middle of the forehead.

Like the anger mark, the sweat drop is a symbol drawn on top of the character, rather than on the character's skin. As such, the sweat drop is commonly visible on the character's hair, or floating on the background, unlike an actual drop of sweat.

Since it's pretty much always used in reaction to someone or something, it's common for the sweat drop to be drawn on the back of the character's head as the camera points toward whatever they're reacting to.

It's worth emphasizing that the sweat drop IS NOT ACTUALLY SWEAT, it's just a symbol based on sweat. Characters end up looking like they're sweating, but they aren't physically sweating. Nobody sweats on cue like this, and nobody sweats this much.


For reference, some examples:

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)
  • An utterly confused Haruka, with the sweat drop and swirling eyes.

Back of the Head

Example of sweat drops on the back of the heads of characters.
Anime: Ouran High School Host Club, Ouran Koukou Hosuto-Bu 桜蘭高校ホスト部 (Episode 4)
  • Three characters witness some cringe-worthy stuff.

Kijima Saki 貴嶋サキ, Ayasaki Hayate 綾崎ハヤテ, example of spirits floating around a gloomy character.
Left: Kijima Saki 貴嶋サキ
Right: Ayasaki Hayate 綾崎ハヤテ
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 7)
  • Context: Saki isn't sure how to deal with a gloomy Hayate.
  • Vertical dripping lines are a symbol used characters are down.

On Unsweatable Characters

An eye-ball robot with a sweat drop.
Anime: Choujin Gakuen Gowcaizer, 超人学園ゴウカイザー (OVA, Episode 1)
  • Robots lack the sweat glands necessary to sweat.
  • They physically can't sweat.
  • That doesn't stop the sweat drop from showing up on robots, though, since it isn't actually sweat.

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  1. Don't forget ablut Lina's incredible technique of using these drops