Sunday, April 5, 2020

tsuya-beta ツヤベタ - Shiny Manga Hair

In manga, tsuyabeta ツヤベタ, literally "glossy beta," refers black hair with highlights, or the technique used to render highlights on hair as well as other shiny, black things.

Examples of glossy manga hair drawn using black ink.
Manga: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, 美少女戦士セーラームーン (Chapter 6, タキシード仮面 Tuxedo Mask, Altered)


The word tsuya-beta ツヤベタ is a compound noun composed of two words, their meanings being:

  • tsuya

    Gloss. Luster. Shine.
  • beta
    In manga: filling an area with black ink.

Generally, it refers to hair drawn filled with black ink and featuring glossy highlights.

Some vocabulary:

  • tsuya-tsuya
    Glossy. Slick. (reduplication.)
  • sara-sara
    Silky [hair]. Free-flowing. (mimetic word.)
  • nameraka
    Smooth. Velvety.
  • hairaito


For reference, some examples of tsuyabeta ツヤベタ.

Shidou Hikaru 獅堂光, example of glossy manga hair drawn with black ink.
Manga: Magic Knight Rayearth, 魔法騎士レイアース (Chapter 1)
  • Context: Shidou Hikaru 獅堂光 admires the view from the Tokyo Tower's binoculars.
  • takai na! sugoi na!
    [It's so] high, [isn't it?]! Amazing, [isn't it?]!
Guts ガッツ, example of black ink used to render glossy materials like leather.
Character: Guts ガッツ
Manga: Berserk, ベルセルク (Chapter 1, 黒い剣士)
  • Guts' hair, shoulder pads, and pants are rendered using tsuyabeta.
illumi Zoldyck イルミ゠ゾルディック, example of beta-me ベタ目.
Manga: Hunter x Hunter (Chapter 26, 決戦前夜)

Here's a video showing how it's drawn:

Simpler Hair Highlights

Typically, tsuyabeta refers to the pretty, silky hair commonly found in shoujo manga, however, there are other, less silky, less pretty, simpler ways to render black hair with highlights in manga.

For reference:

やっぱし なに?人んちのペットの名前に文句あんの? あんた何様?
Manga: Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王 (Volume 1, Chapter 6, June, Page 48, 命名)
  • Context: Ayumu is a transfer student. She came from Osaka. Tomo nicknamed her Osaka, literally, because she came from Osaka. Ayumu asks Tomo if she ever had a pet, and what was the pet called. Tomo answered she had a hamster, whom she named Hamu-chan.
  • yappashi
    [Just as I thought].
    • Her naming sense is too simplistic!
  • nani?
  • hito'n-chi no petto no namae ni monku an'no?
    Do [you] have a complain [about] the name of [other] people's pets?
  • anta nani-sama?
    [Who do you think you are]?

Normally, anime doesn't have the more detailed tsuyabeta found in some manga, the one with a texture that looks like you can see individual hair strands standing out. Instead, anime highlights tend to look be extremely simple, like just a curve:

Morita Mayu 森田真由, example of betame ベタ目.
Character: Morita Mayu 森田真由
Manga: Morita-san wa Mukuchi 森田さんは無口 (Chapter 1)
Inuzuka Kiba 犬塚キバ, Rock Lee ロック・リー, example of fire eyes.
Anime: Naruto: Shippūden -ナルト- 疾風伝 (Episode 103)

Here's a more complete collection of types:


The term tsuyabeta typically refers to hair drawn using only black and white, or rather, using only black ink.

However, more modern manga, created using digital art software, easily have every shade of gray available at their disposal, so sometimes you may see tsuyabeta being used along with a third, gray color. For example:

Manga: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. 古見さんは、コミュ症です。 (Chapter 15, 登校です)


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