Tuesday, March 17, 2020


In comics, plewds are one or a few sweat drops drawn spilling away from a character's head. In manga and anime, this can symbolize worry, vexation, impatience, or relief, and it's drawn more commonly in manga than in anime.

  • aseri
    Anxiety. Impatience. A feeling of urgency when things aren't going the way you want.
    • aseru
      To feel anxious. To feel impatient.
Akaza Akari 赤座あかり, sweating.
Character: Akaza Akari 赤座あかり
Anime: Yuru Yuri ゆるゆり (Episode 1)


For reference, some examples of plewds in manga and anime:

どうしたの?ちよちゃん あ あのっ 私 コンピューターって全然 触ったことなくてっ
Manga: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Volume 2, Chapter May: Part 2)
  • Context: Chiyo is troubled.
  • doushita no?
    [What happened]?
  • Chiyo-chan
    (character name.)
  • a ano' watashi
    konpyuutaa tte zenzen
    sawatta koto nakute

    あ あのっ 私 コンピューターって全然 触ったことなくてっ
    [Y... you see,] I've never touched a computer.
絶対恋だと思ったのに~ 恋・・・?猫だよ
Manga: School Rumble, スクールランブル (Volume 1, Chapter ♭01 Wonder Woman)
  • Context: Tsukamoto Tenma 塚本天満 sees her younger sister, Tsukamoto Yakumo 塚本八雲, packing a lunch box for someone. She guesses the food is for a boyfriend. It turns out she was just feeding a stray cat.
  • zettai koi dato omotta noni
    Even though [I] absolutely thought [it] was love...
    But [I] was sure [it] was [it] was love...
  • koi...? neko dayo
    Carp...? [It] is a cat.
細くて硬いから指切っちゃいそう ピーン
Manga: K-On!, Keion! けいおん! (Volume 1, Page 30)
  • Context: Hirasawa Yui 平沢唯, who started learning to play the guitar, tells her impressions about the guitar strings to Tainaka Ritsu 田井中律.
  • {hosokute katai kara} yubi φ kichaisou
    {Because [they] are thin and hard}, [it feels like] [it] will cut [my] fingers.
    • Emanata: two plewds.
  • piin
    *sound effect of light turning on*

The Nichijou series is a bit peculiar about this symbol because the teacher character spills sweat practically every time she speaks. This is probably due to her timid nature.

Sakurai Izumi 桜井泉, spilling sweat.
Character: Sakurai Izumi 桜井泉
Anime: Nichijou 日常 (Episode 1)

A peculiar variant are waves of plewds drawn shooting away from a character.

Bonobono ぼのぼの, Shimarisu シマリス, example of sweating waves of plewds.
Left: Bonobono ぼのぼの
Right: Shimarisu シマリス
Anime: Bonobono ぼのぼの (1995) (Episode 1)
  • In Bonobono, various characters sweat all the time.


The term "plewd" was published in the book The Lexicon of Comicana, by Mort Walker, published in 1980.

Plewds are one of the most useful devices to show emotion. Here's one example: Lady discovers her slip is showing. A few more plewds — her shoulder strap broke. An eight-pleweded lady. We'll leaver her plight to your imagination.
Book: Walker, M., 1980. The lexicon of comicana, p. 28

In the back cover blurb of the book, the coinage of the term is attributed to Charles Rice.

In the early 30's, a humorist named Charles Rice attached labels to certain cartoon devices. He called sweat drops "plewds" and the dust clouds behind a running person "briffits." This inspired Mort Walker to do some further research and, in 1964, he produced an article for the National Cartoonists Society magazine titled, "Let's Get Down To Grawlixes." It was a tongue in cheek spoof of the plethora of "comicana" found in most comic strips.

It's worth noting that plewds, being a type of emanata, are drawn on the air coming out of the character's head. This is distinct from sweat drawn on the face of the character. Notably, this means that the famous large anime sweat drop IS NOT a plewd, but another type of symbol.

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