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When shocked or stunned emotionally, mentally or physically, the character's eyes are briefly replaced by blank white disks with sloppily-scrawled black "borders" around them. Functionally equivalent to the American Circling Birdies. Can be combined with Blue with Shock for extra impact. Glasses-wearing characters sometimes use shiny glasses instead. Note that because the pupils and iris allow light to enter the eyes, characters with blank white eyes should be blind.
This is a relatively recent trope, with all shows using it having shown up within the past decade. In even more recent media, this trope has seen a much wider range of uses, ranging from the function of making a character look funny, to simply depicting eyes on a character too far away to be drawn in detail.
You can sort of do this if you roll your eyes into the back of your head.
Anime and Manga
- Azumanga Daioh is filled with Blank White Eyes displayed in response to all manner of shock and surprise.
- Arakawa Under the Bridge Ric does this a lot. In a very Studio Shaft way. 'Nuff said.
- In Excel Saga, the emergency food supply Menchi often expresses Blank White Eyes (sometimes in combination to Blue with Shock) whenever Excel or another character jokes about eating her.
- This happens a lot in Axis Powers Hetalia, especially to England.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima, Negi is reduced to Blank White Eyes several times by the end of the first proper episode.
- Chamo-kun gets them several times.
- Happens a lot in the manga too; Negi gets them in Chapter 29 when Setsuna attempts a rather... hands on variation of a Groin Attack.
- Quite a few uses of blank black eyes in the manga as well.
- This is pretty much the default expression of anyone who sees Rakan do anything.
- We have a more serious (and frightening) example in Chapter 265, when Negi is completely consumed by rage and transforms into a monstrous demon. Though, considering that the manga is black-and-white, his eyes could have been glowing a different color, for all we know, but until then it fits here.
- Arika of all people gets those when Nagi gives her Headbutt of Love while rescuing her from her execution.
- The 2005 TV series of Ah! My Goddess has at least one instance of Blank White Eyes in its very first episode.
- Happens a lot on Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo, where confusing your opponent into submission is a valid form of martial art.
- Also seen on Shaman King, when Yoh witnesses Hao (Zeke in the US dub)'s malicious acts, and once by Anna, near the finale. (She's usually the least emotional character in the show, usually only displaying quiet anger and a deadpan.)
- This is actually employed quite a bit throughout the series to show extreme shock/surprise/fear/anger in various characters.
- Shiratori Ryuushi in Mahoraba has Blank White Eyes after receiving his off-screen punishment for not finishing his homework.
- Every time something goes wrong in Naruto. Especially when Sakura smacks him upside the head for no reason.
- Hinata, while already having Prophet Eyes, often gets these in embarrassing situations with Naruto in the anime.
- Lee gets these when Sakura confesses that she loves Naruto, and looks fairly upset afterward.
- Also in Shippuden, right after Sakura reveals how much she's learned with Tsunade. After Kakashi goes into hiding, she smashes her chakra-infused fist into the ground, causing it to tear up. The first time this happens, Naruto gets it as he's falling over (complete with a strangled "Huh?" noise.) When the smoke clears, Kakashi has these too, which shows that Sakura actually took him by surprise by doing that.
- Sasuke very rarely gets these, but when he does, it's hilarious.
- Used to great effect in most of Fruits Basket, especially by mild mannered characters shocked with the insanity around them.
- Ouran High School Host Club uses a slight variant, where the eyes are half-closed, making the eyes look like a sideways "P:.
- Subversion: On an anything but humorous note, most of Scar's victims in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga exhibit this trait.
- In One Piece a character's eyes will go blank when they are finally defeated (or defeated until it's convenient for them not to be anymore). It is virtually the only sure-fire way to tell a character has been removed from the current fight.
- Subverted with Gedatsu, Chopper's opponent in Skypiea. He's so stupid that he keeps his eyes rolled up into his head constantly, even though he can't see a thing while doing it.
- Luffy grabs a pair after Ace gets killed in front of his eyes.
- Nanoha gets this a few times as she's being introduced to magic in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, then occasionally later, such as when she first sees Yuuno out of ferret form.
- Or Yuuno himself, during the hot springs episode when he realises he's going to be in there with the girls and PANICS.
- Yuuno also gets these once when Chrono refers to him as a "ferret-changeling" as a joke.
- Nanoha also pulls those when Vita forgets her name in the A's series
- Or Yuuno himself, during the hot springs episode when he realises he's going to be in there with the girls and PANICS.
Vita: Takamachi Nantoka! ("This and That")
- Also when seeing Lindy drink her Japanese tea English-style with milk and sugar in one eyecatcher.
- Fate gets Blank White Eyes in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid after seeing Vivio transform into her Adult Mode, which looks just like the Sankt Kaiser mode, and when Vivio reminds her that she and Nanoha were quite reckless at her age.
- In Genshiken, Saki goes Blank White Eyes with her Art Shift rage.
- Blank White Eyes appear frequently in Nodame Cantabile.
- The first episode of FLCL has Naota run over by the "Vespa-woman", thereby needing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Happens to Kon and a few other characters (Mostly during Filler) during comedic moments in Bleach.
- Nishizawa in Hayate the Combat Butler, after a hawk lands on her precious candy apple. ;_;
- Hibino Fumi. Much more often than she looks normal.
- One of Tsukasa's default expressions whenever Konata and Kagami start talking about things she's too innocent to know, like fanservice or dating games, in Lucky Star. But mostly she gets those small black oval blank-stare eyes.
- Happens to everybody in the manga Yotsuba&!, most often in response to the eponymous Cheerful Genki Girl.
- Happens in Elfen Lied when Lucy gets her right horn knocked off by Number 35; she appears to be in shock/comatose (complete with white eyes) for several minutes.
- Kamichama Karin uses this a lot.
- Chrono Crusade features this several times, particularly in cases involving poor Chrono. Two examples: In the manga, this is Chrono's reaction when Rosette (in response to his urging Rosette to give an intelligent argument) calls Sister Kate an "ugly old hag". This is also Azmaria's reaction to Chrono and Rosette's dance turning into a near-brawl in the anime.
- In a no way played for laughs example: Bjorn in Vinland Saga whenever he goes berserk, his eyes turn blank white and he tears people apart with his bare hands. Happens to Thorkell now and then too.
- In Hidamari Sketch, Yuno does that all the time; while Hiro does that when the paranormal is involved.
- This happens to Mikuru Asahina in the manga of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya when her rack is grabbed by Haruhi.
- Pokémon is using this more in recent episodes, particularly with Dawn's Piplup.
- In Death Note, Ryuk's eyes go completely white when he kills Light.
- Though this is definitely not comedy-related and used differently than most other examples.
- An interesting example of this exists within Dragon Ball, where it usually denotes an Unstoppable Rage. Often accompanied by a Battle Aura if one was previously absent, and may be invoked by a Super-Powered Evil Side.
- The most notable example of this being Broly, who has this happen to him when he goes Legendary Super Saiyan
- Trunks gains these only as he becomes an Ascended Super Saiyan(or Ultra Super Saiyan), and regains his irises after he's done. Conveniently, this transformation makes him resemble Broly.
- However, in Dragon Ball Z, blank white eyes on an inert character means they're dead. Before Z, he simply used Dies Wide Open.
- In Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo, Kaoruko Odagiri gets these whenever she starts cloud cuckoolanding.
- Turns up in Soul Eater, where Kid is a curious example; it's used when he is fighting 'properly' (not bothered by symmetry), as when he fought Black Star, and when fighting Mosquito.
- It is the default expression for GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class's Cloudcuckoolander Nodamiki.
- Satou and Misaki get these sometimes in the Welcome to The NHK manga.
- In Berserk, Guts' eyes going completely white is as much of a danger sign as Glowing Eyes of Doom. Guts has two berserk modes: Tranquil Fury (rarely seen) and the White Eyes. When the white eyes appear, he is completely consumed by rage, and it only makes him stronger and more determined to kill everything he sees.
- "Eyes rolled up, quivering mouth" has become so ubiquitous in Eroge that is now has its own term, ahegao.
- Whenever Tamaki gets flustered in Bamboo Blade, her art style goes Super-Deformed (rounder, her mouth and other facial features vanish), she shuffles and fidgets nervously, and her eyes go completely white. And it's ADORABLE.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Bakura imagines taking Yugi-as-the-Dark-Magician over with Change of Heart, his eyes are pictured as this... along with a very disturbing look on his face.
- Shows up on Kina in the first chapter of Wife and Wife when Suu-chan declares that they need to buy "Essentials" before they buy a bed together.
- In Princess Nine, this shows up in a rather unexpected (and scary) way near the end.
- THE iDOLM@STER - Haruka gets this when the Futami twins are trying to discover who stole the pudding.
- Oddly enough, Dilbert has an example of this here.
- Calvin and Hobbes features every character with these, unless they have glasses or if they are shocked.
- Little Orphan Annie, one of the oldest examples.
Adoption Agent: So why adoption?
- Poncho from Pooch Cafe.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix and Edgeworth frequently do the Blank White Eyes when caught by surprise.
- Look closely at Phoenix's sprite, and you can sorta make out the pinhole pupil, though.
- On a non-humorous partial example, Ganondorf's eyes go white when he dies.
- A Nightmare Fuel example from The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask: The Zora Elegy of Emptiness statue, along with its screaming expression. Also, Fierce Deity Link from the same game.
- In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, one of the Dark Interlopers (represented as Link) in the infamous Fused Shadow cutscene has these.
- Fi from The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword has these, as does Ghirahim in his true form.
- Practically everybody in the supporting cast of Elite Beat Agents has Blank White Eyes at some point in the game. Even in the Tear Jerker levels. (Ironically, the agents are some of the characters who don't get Blank White Eyes; because they're always wearing Cool Shades).
- Ouendan probably did this even more. Heck, half of the Ouendan themselves sport this expression at a few points! (Once when they get sucked into Ancient Egypt, and when you fail to stop the meteor.)
- Mother 3 has one scrapped out frightening sequence where you fought what it could be described a nightmare incarnation of Lucas, one of their incarnation was his brother Claus in blank white eyes.
- Bubble Memories, a sequel to Bubble Bobble, uses Blank White Eyes instead of the unique eyes-struck-out-by-a-literal-black-line upon death. The struck-out-eyes are still used when Bub or Bob touch bubbled lightning/fire.
- In Kirby Super Star (Ultra), this happens with Lololo when you defeat him.
- One of Flonne's stock poses in Disgaea.
- A constant for the Iop class in Dofus and Wakfu.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty does this in a very creepy manner. After Solidus drops his mechanical tentacles halfway through the battle with him, you get a codec call from the AI Colonel and Rose, and as Rose talks to you, her eyes suddenly go blank.
- In Rayman Origins, Rayman's eyes go blank whenever he freaks out, gets hurt, or is in balloon-state (dead).
- Occasionally happens in Zero Punctuation, though it also pulls double-duty as a substitute for Open the Iris.
- Happens nearly every episode in Catface.
- Always happens in Weebl and Bob.
- There She Is has this anytime people see Doki hanging all over Nabi.
- Although without characteristic impact, every person in the Awesome Series used to have those in older episodes. This made it a recognizable trait of the series which was also made use of in mostly every fan-made episode. Characters in Egoraptor's newer works do have an iris, though.
- Seen numerous times in RWBY.
- Also appears in western webcomics, as in this strip of Loserz.
- Gunnerkrigg Court uses these, often when a character is too far away to show the normal level of facial detail. They even pop up in a few scenes that would otherwise be completely serious.
- Done, along with most other Manga-esque effects, frequently in Misfile.
- Used often in Slightly Damned.
- Happens to everyone in Bittersweet Candy Bowl at some point.
- When the Henchbot is upgraded in Girls in Space her eyes glow white.
- Inquisitor Severous, all the time in Servants of the Imperium.
- hiimdaisy's abridged video game comic strips use the blank eyes occasionally.
- Layla from Far Out There experiences this when suffering from an exceptional amount of frustration.
- Geisterdamen in Girl Genius have these. Hilariously turned into traditional use here.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Everyone has done it at least once. David may as well have it as his default expression.
- The Undertaker is pro wrestling's Trope Codifier for this. He does this so often it's pretty much part of his gimmick. When Taker rolls his eyes back in his head, most people are running away really fast because when he gets to that point in a match where he decides this is appropriate, it generally means your ass is grass and he's the lawnmower. Ironically, Taker's eyes are always white in the comic book based on him done by Chaos Comics.
- Judas Messias did the same thing in TNA for awhile before he abruptly vanished from the company.
- Done quite a few times on the Animesque show Teen Titans. Robin has them as a permanent part of his mask, presumably something he picked up from his mentor.
- In Wakfu, this happens to Sadlygrove when he goes into 'berserker' mode.
- The Swat Kats have them, as do many members of their Rogues Gallery.