Manga Study Guide: Barefoot Gen/Facial features ( esp. eyes)

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Manga Study Guide: Barefoot Gen
 ← Humour Facial features ( esp. eyes) Layout → 

Manga Conventions: Facial Features

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Many manga characters have very large eyes nowadays; female characters especially have eyes larger than male ones to make them look attractive. In some cases, character’s emotions is reflected in their eyes. When the character is feeling lucky, stars might replace their eyes, or if they have desire towards money, symbols that relates to money (usually ¥/yen) show in their eyes. However, Manga characters don’t always have eyes; instead, they might have shadows over their eyes to show tension. When character’s eyes or eyebrows twitch, it tells us that the character is holding back his/her anger, laughter or shock. Sparks literally fly between characters’ eyes when they are fighting or when the illustrator wants to show a rivalry relationship.


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Many characters in manga have very small mouth, many in which are just a straight line added to their faces. Fangs in their mouths indicate that the character is angry or shocked, unless the character have had that feature throughout the story. Sometimes, features of eyes and mouth can be used together. When the character is feeling very shocked, they have oblong mouth shapes and white round eyes, along series of lines on their forehead.

When a character is sleeping, a bubble comes out from their nose, inflating and deflating. Female characters have small noses compared to male ones; in fact, it usually consists little more than a vertically short line.


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When the character is hurt physically, white crossed bandages show up on their faces. If the character is feeling angry, cross-shaped lines show on their heads which are actually popping veins. A round swelling on their fead is and exaggeration of injury.

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