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Why So Many Anime Feature the Star of David

Many times when a character uses magic in anime, it sure looks like there's a Star of David being used. Why?

Many times when a character uses magic in anime, it sure looks like there's a Star of David being used. Why does anime use this symbol so frequently? On some level, this trend could be seen as comparable Jewish and Christian symbolism in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where symbols foreign to Japanese viewers were picked at least on some level because they seemed "cool" and "exotic." However, this particular symbolism does often have some relevant meaning when looking at difficult occultic traditions, both Western and Eastern.

The Star of David wasn't always used exclusively by the Jewish community. It can be seen in medieval church architecture all across Europe. The Star of David wasn't adopted as the de-facto symbol of the Jewish community as a whole until the 1800s. During the Middle Ages, Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) began using it in their practices due to its significance with King David. The Star acts as a shield of God for those who use it. It could be for this reason that many anime use it when magic is involved.

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There are also more close-to-home reasons why anime and anime use the symbol. The hexagram is found on the cover of TheTibetan Book of the Dead, a Tibetan Buddhist book that describes what a soul will go through in the periods after death and before reincarnation. In Shintoism, there is also the Kagome crest (no, not that Kagome), which appears in both six-pointed and eight-pointed forms. It represents the balance of opposites, similar to the yin and yang symbology, and dates back to the 5th century BCE.  Buddhism and Shintoism are Japan's primary religious traditions, so it could be that when artists are creating a magic system for their series, they might decide to use a symbol that many viewers and readers will recognize.

A third possible reason is the hexagram's ties to King Solomon, who used magic bestowed by God to command a legion of demons to build a temple. The Seal of Solomon is found in both Jewish and Islamic traditions. It can also be depicted with pentagrams rather than a hexagram and is used to summon and control spirits. This type of magic originates from a publication known as The Keys of Solomon, particularly in a portion known as the Goetia or The Lesser Key of Solomon. This particular text instructs the reader through a ritual that will summon one of 72 great demons of Hell and how to control the demon to abide by the summoner's wishes. These demons include Beelzebub, Lucifer, Leviathan, Lilith and Paimon. Because of its association with magic and summoning, it's easy to see why some anime would want to include the hexagram in their magical system.

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One of the most well-known examples of this symbolism in anime and manga is Fullmetal Alchemist. The Homunculi's seal features a hexagram in the middle of an ouroboros (a serpent eating its own tail). The ouroboros can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, appearing on tomb walls. It represents the balance between life and death in alchemy, while the hexagram represents a balance of the elements, but also represents human creation. Thus combining the two means that all aspects of creation are in balance. Ed and Al's transmutation circles also feature slight variations of the hexagram.

Notably, the Homunculi seal design was changed from a straightforward Star of David-esque hexagram in the manga to a slightly altered design in the anime. As anime is an increasingly international market, there is a growing sensitivity to how international viewers may perceive symbols in anime. It's possible the design changes between the manga and the anime were an attempt to avoid any confusion that might have been caused seeing what's widely considered a Jewish symbol on the Homunculi. The Yu-Gi-Oh! card "Spellbinding Circle" had to replace its original hexagram image with a more abstract design when brought to the States for this reason.

Another manga usage of the Star of David is in the Pactio circle in Negima. Usually, it appears on the ground when a Pactio contract is being made, and then again on the card representing that contract, where it appears behind the person the magi has made the contract with. This contract allows the Magister to temporarily grant their power to their contract partner for a short amount of time. It also allows the partner, the Ministra, to summon a magical artifact that takes on the form of some aspect of that person's personality. The cards also allow the Magister to summon the Ministra, which would align with the King Solomon aspect of the hexagram.

There are many different reasons the Star of David appears so frequently in anime magic. Since there are many different magical systems that use the hexagram, any of them could be the inspiration. Such imagery appears less frequently in anime now to avoid confusion, but when you encounter such imagery when watching an older series, keep in mind that, in most cases, its usage probably doesn't actually have anything to do with Judaism in particular.

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About The Author
Molly Kishikawa (206 Articles Published)

Molly Kishikawa is an American artist living in Japan. Starting with the original broadcast of Sailor Moon on Toonami, she has been an avid anime fan since. Living in Japan for two years, she has seen first-hand how the country views anime and manga. She also enjoys video games, Dungeons & Dragons, and J-Rock.

More From Molly Kishikawa

Manga iconography

Visual language of Japanese manga

Japanese manga has developed its own visual language or iconography for expressing emotion and other internal character states. This drawing style has also migrated into anime, as many manga stories are adapted into television shows and films. While this article addresses styles from both types of output, the emphasis here is on the manga origins for these styles.

The popular and recognizable style of manga is very distinctive. Emphasis is often placed on line over form, and the storytelling and panel placement differ from those in American comics. Impressionistic backgrounds are very common, as are sequences in which the panel shows details of the setting rather than the characters. Panels and pages are typically read from right to left, consistent with traditional Japanese writing.

Iconographic conventions in manga are sometimes called manpu (漫符, manga symbols)[D 1] (or mampu[D 2]).

Because manga is a diverse art form, however, not all manga artists adhere to the conventions most popularized in the West through series such as Akira, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, and Ranma ½.

Panel characteristics[edit]

There are several expressive techniques typical (and some of them unique) to the manga art form:

  • Screentone: Transparent adhesive sheets manufactured with a distinctive pattern (typically, some form of dots or hatching, but also including a variety of flashy effects like stars or explosions, or commonplace scenes such as cityscapes, schoolyards, and natural landscapes), these are cut out and overlapped on the panel to introduce shading and detail that would be time-consuming or unfeasible to draw by hand. Increasingly, physical tone sheets are being replaced by computer-generated equivalents.
  • Expressive dialogue bubbles: The borders of the speech/thought bubbles change in pattern/style to reflect the tone and mood of the dialogue. For example, an explosion-shaped bubble for shouting,[D 3]: 122  or an angry exclamation. Manga usually follows the normal Western comic conventions for speech (solid arc extending from the character's head)[D 3]: 122  and thought bubble (several small circles used in place of the arc).[D 3]: 122  The latter bubble style is often used for whispered dialogue in manga[citation needed], which can confuse Western readers.
  • Speed lines: Often in action sequences, the background will possess an overlay of neatly ruled lines to portray direction of movements. Speed lines can also be applied to characters as a way to emphasize the motion of their bodies[D 3]: 14  (limbs in particular). This style, especially background blurs, extends into most action based anime as well. Converging speed lines can be used to emphasize focus, as if the camera were quickly dollying toward the subject.
  • Mini flashbacks: Many artists employ copies of segments from earlier chapters (sometimes only a single panel) and edit them into the story panels to act as a flashback (also applying an overlay of darker tone to differentiate it from current events). This can be considered a convenient method to evoke prior events along with visual imagery. In situations where a character's life events flash across his/her mind, a splash page may be used with the entire background consisting of segments from earlier chapters.
  • Abstract background effects: These involve elaborate hatching patterns in the background and serve to indicate or strengthen the mood of the plot. It can also illustrate a character's state of mind. A few examples:
    • Instead of conveying quick motion, speed lines can be used to dramatize a character's determination, high spirit, argumentative or combative mood, etc.[citation needed]
    • Dense gauze or cross-hatch patches or contours for a mysterious, ominous mood, etc.[citation needed]
    • Thinly dotted or iconic (with heart shapes, animal shapes, spirals, etc.) screentone for a fun, jubilant mood.[citation needed]
    • Pitch-black background for a serious mood.[citation needed]

Facial features[edit]

While the art can be incredibly realistic or cartoonish, characters often have large eyes (female characters usually have larger eyes than male characters), small noses, tiny mouths, and flat faces. Psychological and social research on facial attractiveness has pointed out that the presence of childlike facial features increases attractiveness.[1] Manga artists often play on this to increase the appeal of protagonists. Large eyes have become a permanent fixture in manga and anime since the 1960s when Osamu Tezuka was inspired by Disney cartoons from the United States and started drawing them in this way.

Furthermore, inside the big eyes, the transparent feeling of pupils and the glares, or small reflections in the corners of the eyes are often exaggerated, regardless of surrounding lighting, although they are only present in living characters: the eyes of characters who have died are the color of the iris, but darker. Sometimes this death effect is also used to indicate characters who are emotionless due to trauma or loss of conscious control because of possession (ghost, demon, zombie, magic, etc.). In characters with hair partially covering the face, the eyes that would otherwise be covered are often outlined to make them visible, even when the hair is particularly dense and dark.

Certain visual symbols have been developed over the years to become common methods of denoting emotions, physical conditions and mood:


Eye shape and size can be exaggerated or changed altogether. Love-hearts and doe-eyes indicate an infatuation, while stars indicate that the character is star-struck. Spirals indicate dizziness [D 3]: 14  or confusion, while flames or wide empty semicircles indicate that the character is angry or vengeful. When dead, unconscious or stunned, "X X" sometimes used as an indication of the state, comically or euphemistically.[D 3]: 51  A single large "X" to represent both eyes means crying rigorously, or death, comically.[D 3]: 50  Eyes may be replaced with "> <" to represent a variety of emotions, such as nervousness or excitement. Eyes without pupils and with reflective glints indicate a state of delirium.

Enlargement of the eyes, where they become huge and perfectly round with tiny pupils and no iris and going beyond the reach of the face (often shown with the mouth becoming like a stretched semicircle, the point of which extends past the chin) symbolises extreme excitement. Similarly, turning eyes into two thick half-circles, conveys a cute, delighted look (see Character design section below).

The character's eye shapes and sizes are sometimes symbolically used to represent the character. For instance, bigger eyes will usually symbolize beauty, innocence, or purity, while smaller, more narrow eyes typically represent coldness and/or evil. Completely blackened eyes (shadowed) indicates a vengeful personality or underlying deep anger. It could also indicate that someone's being a wise-guy type, particularly when accompanied by grinning. A character's eyes are shadowed regardless of the lighting in the room when they become angry, upset, something is wrong with them, or they are emotionally hurt. Bubbles forming in the corner of a child's or female character's eyes often indicate that the character is about to cry.


Mouths are often depicted as small, usually rendered with one line on the face. A fang peeking from the corner of the mouth indicates mischief or feistiness (unless, of course, the character has fangs normally). A cat mouth (like a number "3" rotated 90° clockwise) replacing the character's normal mouth, and usually accompanied by larger eyes may also represent mischief or feistiness (a notable exception being Konata Izumi from Lucky Star, whose usual mouth shape is this).


Again, noses are often depicted as small, with only a brief L-shaped mark to locate them. With female characters, the nose can sometimes be removed completely when the character is facing forward. In profile, female noses are often button shaped, consisting little more than a small triangle. A nosebleed indicates sexual excitation following exposure to stimulating imagery or situation. It is based on a Japanese old wives' tale.[2] A balloon dangling from one nostril (a "snot bubble") indicates sleep.

Head and face[edit]

Cruciform popping veins above eye on the left and large sweat drop above eye on the right with eyes closed and eyebrows curved indicating the person is both confused and annoyed by something another person has said

Sweat drops are a common visual convention. Characters are drawn with one or more prominent beads of sweat on their brow or forehead (or floating above the hair on characters whose back is turned). This represents a broad spectrum of emotions, including embarrassment, exasperation, confusion, dismay and shock, not all of which are necessarily considered to be sweat-inducing under normal conditions.[D 3]: 9  Actual physical perspiration in manga is signified by even distribution of sweat drops over the body, occasionally on top of clothing or hair.

Throbbing "cross popping" veins, usually depicted as a hollow cruciform in the upper head region, indicate anger or irritation.[3][D 3]: 39  These shapes can sometimes be exaggerated, and placed on top of hair when the character is facing away from the viewer. Further throbs indicate additional anger. However, some manga such as Doraemon use smoke puffs to represent anger, and does not have the vein insignia.

A red cheek or hatchings on the cheek represent blushing, usually used when embarrassed by romantic feelings,[D 3]: 25  while oval "blush dots" on the cheeks represent rosy cheeks. This can sometimes be confused with a scribble on the cheek, indicating injury. Sometimes when the character is expressing strong emotions, such as sadness, a long blush through the nose would appear.

Facial shape changes depending on the character's mood, and can look from round apple-shaped to a more subtle carrot shape.

Parallel vertical lines with dark shading over the head or under the eye may represent mortification, fatigue, or horror.[D 3]: 24  If the lines are wavy, they may represent disgust. A far cuter way to represent frustration/mortification is (mainly for female/young female characters) that they tend to puff out their cheeks while their line is delivered in a gruff voice, an elongated "3" showing puffed lips, to emphasize that puffed look.

Hair colors of anime characters are not just selected randomly. In some cases they express significant elements of that person's character (based on color symbolism in Japan[citation needed]).

  • Black: Power, evil, emptiness, sadness, depression, mystery, sophistication, intimidation, death[citation needed]
  • White: Fear, simplicity, innocence, humility, apathy, heaven (can also mean death)[citation needed]
  • Blue: Patience, peace, calmness, cold, stability, dependability, loyalty.[citation needed]
  • Purple: Royalty, wisdom, spirituality[citation needed]
  • Red: Passion, aggression, energy, love (basically strong emotions)[citation needed]
  • Pink: Femininity, purity, childlike, love, kindness[citation needed]
  • Orange: Energy, balance, enthusiasm, warmth, attention seeking[citation needed]
  • Blond(e): Joy, wealth, heaven, childlike, courage, foreigner[citation needed]
  • Green: Fortune, envy, harmony, life, vigor, tranquility[citation needed]
  • Silver/Gray: Reliability, intelligence, maturity, stoicism, boredom[citation needed]
  • Brown: Comfort, simplicity, endurance[citation needed]

Character design[edit]

To better elicit a more emotional response with the audience for a certain character, a manga artist or animator will sometimes use certain traits in the character's design. The most common features include youthfulness as a physical trait (younger age or pigtails) or as an emotional trait such as a naive or innocent outlook, a childlike personality, or some obvious sympathetic weakness the character works hard to correct (extreme clumsiness or a life-threatening disease) but never really succeeds to get rid of.

See also: Moe (slang)

Other artistic conventions[edit]

Other artistic conventions used in mainstream manga include:

  • A round swelling, sometimes drawn to the size of baseballs, is a visual exaggeration of swelling from injury.[D 3]: 55 
  • A white cross-shaped bandage symbol denotes pain.[D 3]: 55 
  • In older manga, eyes pop out to symbolize pain, as shown in Dragon Ball.
  • Thick black lines around the character may indicate trembling due to anger, shock or astonishment.[4][D 3]: 107  This is usually accompanied by a rigid pose or super deformed styling.
  • Sparks literally fly between the eyes of two characters when they are fighting,[D 3]: 59  or simply glaring at each other (in this case, their eyes may also be connected by a lightning streak).
  • A character suddenly falling onto the floor, usually with one or more extremities twisted above himself or herself, is a typically humorous reaction to something unexpected happening.[D 3]: 118 
  • All facial features shrinking, the nose disappearing, the character sometimes lifting off the floor and the limbs being multiplied as if moving very fast symbolizes panic; if the same but with larger facial features it symbolizes comic rage or shock. Some may come with a yellow spark like symbol near their head.
  • Exaggerated facial features signify anger. Examples such as star-like eyes with dark shading surrounding them while the face is framed by a red and black background imply comedic and/or understated rage. Others may include white circular eyes with slanted eyebrows and a square jaw with sharp teeth or even burning eyes with gritted teeth.
  • Tear drops cascading down from the eyes or forming a twin fountain indicate either intense joy or sadness.
  • An ellipsis appearing over a character's head indicates a silence, implying that something is going unsaid.
  • A drooping head may indicate sorrow or depression.[4] Some may come with lines drawn of the hunched character or over their eyes. Variations with wavy lines and white circular eyes can imply embarrassment.
  • More often than not, character colorizations tend to represent the character in some way. A more subdued character will be colored with lighter tones, while a flamboyant character will be done in bright tones. Similarly, villains are often colored in darker tones, while colder characters will be given neutral tones (black, white, gray, etc.).
  • Characters push their index fingers together when admitting a secret or telling the truth to another.
  • An odd white shape (more often than not, something close to a mushroom) that appears during an exhale represents a sigh of awkward relief or depression.
  • A wavy ghost coming out of the mouth is often a comical representation of depression, mortification,[D 3]: 40  or a comedic and figurative death. This is a reference to the hitodama, as is the above example.
  • Cherry blossoms indicate a sweet or beautiful moment. This is a reference to Mono no aware.
  • A flower blossom falling off its stem may indicate death or, more commonly, loss of virginity.
  • Unbound hair may represent freedom, while hair that is tied back may represent some form of either literal, figurative or emotional enslavement of some kind.
  • Sleeping people may be indicated by having a bubble coming out of the nose, said bubble inflating and deflating as they snore.[D 3]: 60  This is usually done when the character sleeps at an inappropriate moment (e.g. during class, at work, outside, in public, in an unusual pose or location, etc.).
  • Sometimes, when a character screams or is surprised, they will do The Scream pose.
  • Twitching eyebrows or eyelids may indicate anger or shock that the character is holding back.
  • Negative imagery or rapidly dilating eyes often indicates either severe shock or a severe psychological effect.
  • The image of something cracking or shattering often signifies either death or a serious event.
  • Dark shading over the eyes or the eyes' omission while showing the face often suggest a silent or sullen disposition.
  • Twinkling or star-like eyes with a smile often signify excitement while heart-shaped eyes imply immediate attraction to someone or something.
  • A serious bloody nose (often mimicking a waterfall) often indicates a romantic or infatuated reaction from male characters.
  • A character with white eyes, a stern look, and a dark atmosphere around them can imply barely concealed rage at someone or something.
  • Suddenly changing the character's eyes into Valentine hearts can also indicate that they are madly in love with another character.
  • Smoke or steam coming out of the character's nose indicates that the character is aroused.
  • When one character sharply criticized or brings up a topic that is quite sensitive to another character, the impact of their words are sometimes symbolically shown by having their word bubble form an arrow that metaphorically pierces the other person they are talking to.
  • The panel turns red with speeding background effects and the angered character grows large while yelling at the character(s).
  • Speed lines appear when the angry character strikes the character(s) in an exaggerating fashion.

See also[edit]



Other references[edit]

  1. ^"Babyfaceness". and Universität Regensburg. 2002-07-15. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  2. ^Van Huffel, Peter. "Tanioka Yasuji". Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  3. ^"Cross-Popping Veins". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  4. ^ abNorimi, Morisaki (October 2005). "How To Draw Manga: Lesson Three". Shojo Beat. 1 (4): 258.
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Did you know that the swastika in Japanese is called manji do you often appear in anime and manga? In this article, we will see various presences of swastika in Japanese Culture.

In the West, swastikas are often censored, criticized and viewed with hateful looks because of Nazism. Do anime and manga face it the same way?

What some do not know is that the swastika actually has nothing to do with the atrocities committed by Nazism, there are different swastikas called manji that are religious symbols of Buddhism.

We even write an article talking about the true meaning of Buddhist and Nazi swastika, if you have not read, we recommend reading, as we will not talk about the meanings in this article.

What does kan manji kanji mean?

Perhaps you are curious about the meaning of this kanji [卍], we know that it is a Buddhist symbol, but what is its etymology in the Japanese language? What is the use of it in anime and manga dialogues?

By consulting 卍 in the dictionary, you find it claiming to be a sign of auspiciousness that means the whorl of the chest of the Indian god "Vishnu".

The word has no particular meaning, but it can in some way indicate something dangerous, strong, and incredible as a god. Of course, this symbol is much older, which leaves its meanings more unknown.

Nowadays this symbol 卍 among young people usually has the same meaning yabai, that is, meaning none. This is a slang used to refer to both good and bad things.

Suástica nazista e suástica budista – diferenças

Schoolgirl girls usually type the expression majimanji [マジ卍] which means the same thing as majiyabai, an exclamation point used to refer to something incredible, exciting, terrible or indescribable.

So whenever you find such a symbol present in some manga or anime dialogue, just come to the conclusion that it means the same thing as yabai or it means nothing.

The lack of meaning makes the slang meaningless, perhaps just to leave the older ones confused when watching conversations on Line and Twitter.

We believe that the motif of the swastika will be used after maji, be it such a word is euphonic, it fits well in the text to highlight the messages and also has no real meaning like the ideograms.

Manji - a suástica nos animes, mangás e cultura japonesa

The Swastika in Tokyo Revengers - Tokyo Manjikai (Touman)

No anime and manga Tokyo Revengers you find a reference to the Nazi swastika in the name of the main gang of the anime called Tokyo Manjikai.

The gangue is nicknamed and abbreviated as touman [東卍] and the swastika are also often used decoratively to separate the title from the manga [東京卍リベンジャーズ].

The swastika is also prominent in the cape of the tankobon volumes, and the characters wear clothes with swastikas equal to the gangue of the 70s of real life.

The manji in the name of the gang will probably come from the name of the gang leader: Sano Manjirou. Toukyou Manji-kai can literally mean "Tokyo Swastika Association".

Manji - a suástica nos animes, mangás e cultura japonesa

The swastika in Bleach - Bankai

Maybe you don't know, but Bankai [卍解] is written with the swastika. That word means nothing, it was hardly an invention of the author, but it is called the final release.

Before the bankai the skill with the sword is called Shinkai [始解] which means initial version, initial release, first upgrade or something like that.

The main character also has a manifested power called Fullbring or Kangen Jutsu in which his sword makes a sign quite reminiscent of the swastika.

Manji - a suástica nos animes, mangás e cultura japonesa

Manji-Poosu - Swastika pose

A passing fad in Japan is called manjipoosu [卍ポース] where the Japanese made a swastika can to take a picture or something.

The Japanese also already had the mania to say Manji [卍] when taking a photo as a pose in the same way that some say cheese (cheesu) before taking a photo.

That scene can be seen in the Kaguya-Sama anime where students do this pose to take a picture. There are different ways to do this pose, some use only the arms, others use the arms and legs.

Manji - a suástica nos animes, mangás e cultura japonesa

Swastika being used as an Exclamation! 卍卍

On the Internet, swastika is also often used as an exclamation point at the end of sentences, being repeated three or more times.

Again the swastika gains the same meaning as yabai, referring to something exciting or exciting, making the surprised young man write his sentences using 3x the swastika 卍卍卍.

The number of swastikas does not matter much, it is usually typed in the same way as laughter [wwwww]. Sometimes the swastika is used to contain a word in the middle like 卍 whatever 卍.

Just like lol it’s not just written on occasions we’re laughing at, it also doesn’t need to be added just when you’re surprised or excited about something.

The swastika appearing in the anime

In addition to the above, the swastika appears in various situations in the anime. Be it on the forehead of villains, on the bottom of Buddhist temples or even on Google maps.

See some other occasions where swastika makes appearances in anime:

  • Yu Yu Hakusho's villain has a manji tattooed on his forehead.
  • In One Piece, a swastika was incorporated into the crest of the Whitebeard pirates.
  • In Naruto, the Caged Bird label is a manji symbol on the manga, but the anime has changed to an "X".
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, there is a Yakuza-like faction called "Hishimanji" that uses the swastika just like the Nazis.
Suástica nazista e suástica budista – diferenças

As you can see, the appearance of the swastika ends up being censored when it comes to going west. Unfortunately the people of the world have a certain preconception against the religious symbol, the fault of the Nazis Malucos.

The Japanese know that the Manji has absolutely nothing obscure, it is just a very common religious symbol and seen in different localities and temples in Japan.

Categories Mango, Nihongo, otaku

See our related articles


Anime and manga have a unique visual language that conveys character emotions and thoughts. Many of us “regular” anime watchers are so familiar with these symbols that we don’t give them a second thought. These symbols (like the vein popping out, as shown to the left) can make anime confusing for people new to anime. I found my first experience with chibi swaps jarring and uncomfortable. Some symbols are easier to understand than others. We will cover the most common and incomprehensible symbols in this article.

Easily Understandable

  1. Speed lines
  2. Abstract Background Patterns
  3. Eye symbols
  4. Crying large tear drops
  5. Sparking a rivalry

What happened?

  1. Popping vein
  2. Sweat Drop
  3. Cat Mouth/Fangs
  4. Nose balloon
  5. Ghost coming out of mouth

What the….?

  1. Bleeding nose
  2. Falling flat
  3. Colored lines dropping over character
  4. Chibi deformation

These and other symbols appear in various degrees in anime and manga. Some genres, such as comedies and “slice of life” stories, show them more often than others . Action and drama occasionally use these symbols for comic relief, for example Bleach or Death Note.

Speed Lines

Speed lines are lines that appear in the background or over a character to denote speed. Speed lines are more common in older anime than in modern anime. Speed lines are used to keep the feel of reading a manga or simply keep the animation budget down. In modern anime, where action is expected to be crisply animated, speed lines are used for comedic effect or to accent an intense action sequence.Speed lines are common in American comics as well. They are simply a good way to convey motion in a motionless media.

Abstract Background Patterns

Sometimes in scenes the background abruptly switches to an abstract background. This swap is used to emphasize what the character is feeling. Often the background is composed of symbols from our list above. Swirls are used when a character is confused or overwhelmed. Speed lines are used to show the character’s energetic mood. Backgrounds vary based on context. Most of the time, they are easily understandable.

Sometimes these backgrounds are animated to further show what the characters are thinking or feeling. Fast animations or twirling spirals show how quickly the character’s mind is working, much like gears in a clock. Wavy lines show irritation or upset emotions. Colors such as bright red are used for anger. Darker colors like purples or blues are used to show the characters are feeling sick, upset, or depressed. Background swaps are usually abrupt.

Eye Symbols
The eyes in manga and anime are used to convey a wide range of thoughts and emotions. Eyes have gotten larger since the 80’s and allow artists to show emotions clearly…if you know the icongraphy. Most tend to be obvious from reality. People’s eyes lift up into arcs when they are happy and fall downward when sad. Pupils constrict and eyes widen when we are scared. In anime these subtle queues are exaggerated. The slight upward or downward arc becomes a complete arc. Constricted pupils and widened eyes become enormous eyes with tiny dots for pupils. Some symbols are not so obvious, however. X’ed eyes or spiral eyes are used to show dread, illness, and confusion. Sometimes the eyes completely disappear when a character bows their head in sadness or depression. The eyes are replaced with vertical lines and blue or purple colors to show depression or sadness. Eyes with sparkles and white dots are cute. Often they are flashed to help a character get their way. Think Puss-in-Boots from Shrek.

Many of the eye symbols in anime have made it online as emoticons:

  • ^_^   very happy.
  • -_-    apathetic or irritated
  • O_O  afraid. very awake, surprised
  • O_o   confused and mildly disturbed by something
  • @[email protected] confused, dizzy or overwhelmed  – in anime these are spirals
  • X_X   dead figuratively or literally

Crying Large Teardrops
This one is pretty self explanatory. Waterfalls of tears shows how upset a character is. Most of the time it is used for comedy. Normal sized tears are more common in dramas and more serious scenes.

Sparking a rivalry


This one is pretty easy to understand as well. Anime and manga just takes the phrase literally. Two characters glare at each other and a spark passes between then. Soon after they fight. This is usually used when 2 characters first start their rivalry. This is common in shows like Pokemon and Yugioh.

The Strange

The next set of symbols are a little stranger for people new to anime and manga. They are not as easy to understand as speed lines and eye symbols. Like eye symbols, these symbols are iconic to anime. Anime’s icongraphy ( as it is called) nicely conveys emotion and thoughts… but only if it is well understood. To those of us used to them, they seem natural. It is easy to forget that anime is extremely exaggerated compared to most other art styles.. Most symbols are visually showing phrases we say such as “wound up” or “forked tongue.”

Popping vein


Technically speaking this symbol is called a cruciform popping vein. Like other symbols it is exaggerating reality. When some people are irritated or angry veins tend to pop out as their blood pressure increases. Often on their forehead and hands. As more popping veins…pop out… on a character, they are growing more and more irritated or angry. Most often these symbols show up on the heads of characters ( over their hair  etc) and on clenched fists. Rocking cruciform veins show winding irritation or anger. These characters are “wound up” as we like to say in America.

Sweat Drop

This is another iconic symbol. It means the character is  anxious or confused. The number and size of the sweat drops shows the degree of the emotion. Sometimes these are used with a blush across the character’s face to show embarrassment. Blush colors determine what type of embarrassment is being experienced. Blue blushes are severe embarrassment mixed with anger or depression. Red blushes are romantic embarrassment. Both blushes and sweat drops can be occupied with a popping vein if the character is feeling angry embarrassment. When combined with shocked eyes, like the example image, it shows how the character feels stunned and/or confused about the situation. Perhaps its best described as an “What is this?” moment.  Sweat drops appear in the same locations as popping veins.

Cat Mouth/Fangs

This is one of the odder ones. Abruptly characters (usually female) swap in a cat mouth or grow fangs. This swap doesn’t mean the character is a cat demon or a vampire. Rather, she is feeling “catty.” This is yet another literal visual interpretation of a common phrase. Cat fangs or mouths just show the character is feeling mischievous.

Nose Balloon
Nose balloons are the Japanese ZZzzzzZZz symbol. The character is sleeping. When the balloon pops, the character wakes up. I am not exactly sure where they got this symbol, other than a snot bubble.

Ghost coming out of mouth

This is a play on the saying “scared to death.” This symbol often looks sort of like the character it belongs to. The ghost usually appears when someone is extremely shocked or horrified. The character isn’t usually actually scared. More like shocked to death. These scenes can involve someone trying to stuff the soul back into the body for further comedy.

Finally, these symbols are the most jarring and difficult to understand at first. They involve drastic (very drastic) changes to the look and feel of the anime or manga before jarring the viewer back to the more “normal” style. These abrupt switches can leave new viewers lost, but each has specific purposes in conveying situations and emotions.

Bleeding nose


Anime characters seem to just spout blood from their noses at random times to have the blood disappear like it never existed. These nose bleeds can easily kill a normal mortal. Nose bleeds are one of the more obscure symbols. They represent perverseness or sexual arousal. As to why anime and manga artists selected nose bleeds is a matter of opinion. Censorship may play a role. Or their mothers always told them, “if you have dirty thoughts you will get a bloody nose.” Just like your mother told you that “if you don’t behave you will get nothing but a lump of coal for Christmas.”

Falling Flat
Japan is known for having earthquakes, but that isn’t what is happening when characters randomly fall on their face. Falling flat is a way to show irony or a reaction to a (bad) pun. I have felt that way about some jokes and puns I have heard.

Colored Lines dropping over character/Color Face
This symbol is very situational. Similar to backgrounds these lines and color fills represent the thoughts and emotions the character is feeling. Red vertical lines typically mean anger or embarrassment. Blue wavy lines shows awkwardness, depression, or sadness. Purple shows shock and feeling sick in the stomach. Horizontal lines can mean the character’s attention is grabbed by something. These lines are accompanied by sweat drops, popping veins, and other symbols. They are rarely used alone. Their main purpose is to emphasize the other symbols.

Chibi deformation

This is the most troubling of symbols for new viewers. The style change is so drastic it makes you wonder if you accidentally sat on the tv remote! These short, round and cute versions of characters are called chibis. They are used to convey a comedy break in an otherwise serious story, a very ironic situations, and just generally lighthearted scenes. Some comedy anime are done entirely in the chibi style. They are meant to look like dolls or children to lend silliness to a scene or storyline. Chibis are just fun.

There are other symbols in anime such as people sneezing when they are being talked about by others. In America we say our “ears are burning.” A small white mushroom shaped cloud is exhaled when a character is relieved about something, and there are many more. Anime’s visual language is what sets it apart from other animation styles. The symbols give anime its charm. At first they come off as just plain weird, but over time and repeated exposure the symbols feel natural. They clearly show what characters are feeling and thinking. A single sweat drop is better than a verbal explanation. Anime is already (in) famous for characters explaining their actions and shouting the names of their attacks. “Wind SCAR!” “Over NINE-THOUSAND !” Like they’ll never see that attack coming…

Like this:




Of anime symbol

Al is not one of those. He likes to be persuaded. And who do you like. - Nobody. - Yes, okay, I don't believe it.

ANIME LOGO QUIZ - 35 Logos (Very Easy - Hell)

Said that there was not much seed in it and that this time they were going to work with me until it was full. All this time, my pants were down to my ankles, and I felt stupid and unhappy. At the door, she paused a little, turned around and said sarcastically that she would take the gag off me, because she was sure that I would not call my mother.

Then she asked: "Ask her to come and look at you?" I begged her not to. She laughed and said that now I am begging her about it, and when she returns, I will have to beg her to make me cum again, otherwise she will definitely.

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The branch also decided to go to the market, When they left, N. sat down next to me and began to thank me, she also began to hint to me that her daughter did not take part in our night games. And would very much like me to stay for one more night, I had until Monday, and I promised her that we had two nights ahead, I would not torment you, the next night was unforgettable, at lunchtime we drank again, and Vovchik grunted and went to bed very early, when I went to shower, Vovana's sister came into the bathroom (I don't remember her name) giggled, washed her hands, looked at my dick and asked me not to jerk off, as I was standing again.

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