In one of my previous articles I displayed an image to reinforce my argument on my concept of expressions, and today I want to explore these expressions a bit further. The image, which can be seen here, shows a number of different ‘expressions’ which I have observed as common expressions in Anime productions. Each of the expressions have their own unique touches, and in this blog I will draw similar images from my chosen anime Fairy Tail, identify them with one of the moods or expressions from the image, and see if there’s a way to link similar expressions together based on the characters eyes. Keep in mind that I may not be accurate in my identification, as this is a self-reflected study.
The first face I want to take a look expresses happiness, while keeping the characters eyes closed. I have observed that it is quite common in Anime for characters to close their eyes when they smile. This idea seems unique to Anime, and may be based on the natural human reaction to slightly squint when you smile. An example that first came to mind was Fairy Tail’s Mira Jane, a character who is always very friendly and is rarely aggressive in the series.
This face is one that demonstrates anger and frustration, often in response to an insult from another character. The hollow eyes effect, when used to signify anger, is a more visualized version of blind rage, where a character is so angry that their pupils dilate in anger. Fairy Tail’s Lucy often pulls this face in reaction to jokes or insults from characters like Natsu and Happy – the above image shows Fairy Tail’s Levy pulling the same face.
In this third image I want to explore the idea of iconography. Iconography is the use of visual language or iconography for expression emotion beyond the scope of the face. The identifiable feature of iconography in the image above is the mark known as a ‘cruciform’ on the character’s foreheads, which depicts popping veins. The above image depicts anger, through use of techniques such as the cruciform, as well as the sharp hollow eyes and the sharpened teeth that, in other situations the characters do not possess. Iconography is quite distinctive in anime and adds another dimension to a character’s expression.
Among Fairy Tail’s many story arcs, there are many side-stories that continue throughout the story. One of those recurring stories is Juvia Lockser’s obsession with Gray Fullbuster. Across the series she is seen following Gray, and often proclaims her love to him, particularly to other members of the guild. Juvia is seen in the image above with a look of love and lust, another expression which is often seen in anime productions.
This is one of the few different ways that characters cry in anime. The idea of water flowing from the characters eyes is in fact not often used in emotional scenes of the anime. Over the 30 hours of anime I watched so far this session, I witnessed this style of crying mostly in situations where there is an inadequate reason to cry, such as Happy (pictured above) being denied fish.
As is evident in the examples above, there are a number of expressions that are used widely across anime productions to convey an expression or mood.