On today’s podcast, in which I ramble in a distracted hurry, I discuss anime eye colours and what they mean. Possibly I overanalyzed it, but there seem to be tones of evaluating people by race, apparent intelligence, and behavior. I hope I’m wrong – anime, you’re not bigoted, are you? I know you’re better than that. Anyway, here’s the podcast:
Let’s compare “Kuroshitsuji”‘s images of Sebastian and Ciel with that of Prince Soma.
Oh, and I might have made a mistake. Excel’s eyes are green when I said they were blue. Still, they’re light in colour, so maybe the pattern still works. What do you think?
Here’s an example of contrasting normal/subdued with bright and loud. Even though Neptune’s hair is blue-green (which can’t be natural), the muted colour is more subtle than Usagi’s highlighter yellow hair. And look which one is the klutzy loudmouth and which is the sophisticated beauty.
That’s not to say that ANY anime character with blue eyes and blond hair means trouble. Sometimes, it just means they’re white, and the extra fair coloration is to make them look as un-Japanese as possible. It’s not necessarily a purposefully mean kind of Othering. Look at “Hetalia,” for example. Most of Europe is blond, as are the North America brothers. Yeah, America and Denmark are obnoxious and loud and totally fit the gaijin stereotype, but look at Estonia, Norway, Germany, and Holland. Then again… if there are so many people with typically white physical traits, then maybe the white people don’t stand out as foreign in “Hetalia.” Something to think about…
But let’s go with another, clearer example: John Brown from “Ghost Hunt.” He’s Australian, and is clearly the only non-Asian cast member, yet he’s depicted as friendly, responsible, and caring. This gets especially interesting when you compare John to the brown-eyed, brown-haired, fully Japanese Mai and Ayako. Mai is “just yer average high school student,” of course, and Ayako is a Shrine Maiden. And THEY’RE the ones who are a bit lost and emotional. So, no, it’s not applied as a straight-up stereotype. The pattern is adhered to often enough, but not all the time, and not in a purposefully hurtful way. More often than not, it seems to be stock character design, rather than an accusation. I knew you wouldn’t be racist, anime. I know you’re cool.