Exploring the World of Anime

Facial Expressions in Anime – Leap Year Post!

Waaah!Seeing as this day only comes once every four years, I figured I might as well make my 30th post (woot!) on the elusive 29th day of February. So this will be a pretty silly post because leap years are just a wee bit silly.

I have a few favorite facial expressions that always make me laugh or go “Awwww”. Many anime series have great story lines, wonderful artistry, but I would be remiss to ignore one of the aspects of anime I truly love. The facial expressions of the characters. I will share some of these facial expressions with you.

What captures me about the expressions is that if I could make the expressions myself, I would. I find myself feeling that way but with social constraints, it’s best not  to always show what I’m feeling.

Here’s another K-on image (and no, I’m not huge fan of the show but the characters are cute). Yes, and it is the same character. She’s pretty expressive. That can be a “Just ate something really nasty” or “Oh, crap, just did something really embarrassing” face. Either way, it gets the point across.

I can't believe this is happening!

Hmph! You made me upset, prepare for a battle! I see this expression a lot with the associated hand movement. Usually someone getting into a comical battle stance.

Neck chop!

Neck chop!

The “Oh, no!” face.  You know when you see this face on an anime character, something bad or strange is about to go down.

Oh crap (clean version)


The ever adorable, puffing out cheeks, can be either a pout or fuming. If you haven’t watched Nichijou, you should. It’s funny.


I'll hold my breath until I get what I want!

Say it ain’t so! This facial expression is not limited to the face but encompasses the whole body. Hand clutching heart in dismay, other hand reaching towards heaven, knees buckling, toes turned inward; utter devastation.


The look of pure contentment. Vash used it a lot when he got his chibi riceballs. Lone-Wolf01 over at DeviantArt did a great job with this one.



There are many more lovable facial expressions but this blog post would go on for pages and pages. You don’t want that, do you? Oh, you do? Well, I’ll continue. Just kidding. Who knew 2-D characters could be so expressive?   Do you have favorite facial expressions? Do you find yourself responding (mentally, of course) with an expression you’ve seen on an anime to a situation? That’s just me? Hmmm…well, ok.

Happy Leap Year, everyone!


  1. Yea, I’ve got a few. One of my favorites is the expression on Sakamoto’s face in episode 13 of Nichijou. (Hopefully this will display). Nano was outside gathering the clean laundry off of the drying line as Sakamoto looked on. Hakase comes out and presents Nano with what she most wants in the world, a school girl uniform so she can go to school. She is so surprised and happy that she drops the laundry everywhere, including on Sakamoto’s head. He knows a flood of Moe is about to wash him away. His expression is one of utter disgust at his situation, as if he is thinking “What evil did I do in a prior life to have to put up with this sort of stuff”.

    • Nichijou was a really good show for facial expressions. I would crack up laughing especially at the Professor; her character was just funny in itself.

  2. Nichijou has tons of great facial expressions – the one that jumped to mind for me was Yukko’s face after trying the crane game:
    I thought of this too, from Gosick:

    • Oh, yes! I cannot believe I didn’t put Victorique’s facial expression up. That was absolutely the best look ever. I have it as my profile pic on Crunchyroll.

  3. I love the use of facial expressions and such in anime and manga. It can all – from the red popping veins to the blue or shaded forehead – add so much to a scene. And I don’t just respond mentally anymore… I’ve started to puff my cheeks out when I’m mad or frustrated.

    One of my favorites isn’t so much a facial expression as full on body language and mini-atmosphere. It’s when a character gets dejected, there’s blue shading around his/her head and shoulders, and he/she is crouching in a corner of the screen drawing on the ground. Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club is a prime example of someone who does the dejected post a lot. It’s just so pathetic, it’s cute.

    • Haha. I know exactly what you mean about the body language and mini-atmosphere. I put a picture there but it didn’t show up. I would say when that happens, it is pretty entertaining.

  4. Ano Natsu de Matteru has been great for silly facial expressions this season – seeing Ichika’s face light up when food and other strange ‘earth’ things are put in front of her is great.

    This is one thing anime is very good at, the exaggerated facial expressions, something that demonstrates more than any number of words and sound effects the current mood of the character.

    • Exactly! But that brings up another thought; are the Japanese this expressive visually in reality?

  5. myotherblogisatimemachine

    That was a lovely post, it put a big silly smile on my face. 🙂

  6. I was wondering when someone was going to do a post about this! I find most of the expressions cute but the white eyes tend to get annoying at times. But then again, that’s just me.

  7. The expressiveness of the characters is one of the reasons I’ve always loved anime — the medium really allows for those little breaks from reality without messing with the tone of a scene! That said, I tend to really gravitate towards exaggerated horrified expressions, though I couldn’t tell you why. I know you don’t like yaoi, but Onodera Ritsu from Sekaiichi Hatsukoi makes a lot of fantastic expressions: (I promise the link is safe! Just facial expressions!)

    Thanks for making me smile and reminisce!

    • Wow, he is very expressive! It’s nicely done. “Exaggerated horrified expressions”; I could see gravitating towards them. Expressions do a lot for an anime, adds life to the shows. I’m glad you were able to smile! You’re welcome.

  8. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wishes their face could do an anime expression in real life. A lot of these expressions would fit in real life situations. Usually when something embarrassing happens to me, I imagine myself doing one of these cute but funny anime expressions to reflect my mood.

    I also nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award: I’m really glad I found your blog. It’s worth following on a daily basis!

    • If our faces could do anime expressions, it would probably freak people out a bit but it would amuse me greatly.

      I had the perfect facial expression for this response but I couldn’t post it in the reply. Thanks for the nomination! That really makes me feel great that you are enjoying my blog.

  9. Paprika

    I used to like them, but then I got tired of the untimely over-usage of these expression in Bleach o.O seriously… one moment it’s so damn serious you’re glued to the screen… the next second they ruin it with white eyes for no reason =( gaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!! x(

    • I actually stopped watching Bleach after the second season or was it the third? So thankfully, I didn’t encounter that problem. I’m tickled at your description. Hahaha!

  10. Made me lol, good work 🙂

  11. ramipon

    awesome post ^_^

    very well written

  12. Oh yes, I do sometimes want to do dramatic anime like expressions and poses. Sometimes I think I’ve been into this hobby too much because I catch myself trying to do them. ^__^;;; Nonetheless, I really appreciate all these faces, they really bring the characters to life. I love how expressive both anime and manga is. 🙂

    • The expressions really add to the characters and the shows’ personality.

  13. The Cajun Samurai

    My favorite expression from anime has got to be Konata’s “Cat-Grin”. It’s very mischevious and cute. It’s that look of “Let’s see what kind of trouble I can stir up today…”

  14. ondineg

    I actually have one anime expression that I express mentally a lot. It’s Haruhi’s facial expression from Ouran Highschool Host Club when Tamaki is doing something annoying and bothering her (which happens practically all the time).


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