If there's even a name for it?

I saw this question that explains why but I'd love to know if there's a name for it. The linked question mentions superdeformed but I figured there's a Japanese name, if there's anything.

They do it in many anime (and manga) and it's used with the character is embarrassed, sometimes it's when they're tired, annoyed, or confused.

It reminds me of chibi but it's even simpler than that and doesn't really make them look like kid-versions.

From Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:

From Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood


2 Answers 2


The so-called "simple background" is essentially a montage of a particular mental landscape. Sometimes referred to as "kouka haike" (効果背景, lit. effect background) or "kouka back" (効果バック, lit. effect back), referring to a simple effect background.

The particular lines in the scene are likely some variant of "taresen" (たれ線) meaning "dripping lines". Sometimes it is also generically referred to as "tatesen" (縦線), or "vertical lines".

They both refer to the depiction of parallel vertical lines (sometimes squiggly or uneven to represent a distressed state) in a background or on a particular character's face. The lines typically of a dark blue or purple hue (they can vary by artist and context) is indexed to express how a particular character or scene feels depressed, sad, disgusted, or anguished, amongst other negative feelings.

The term is likely derived from 垂れる, referring to how the emotions of the scene or character are "dripping".

yotsubato chapter 8

we can't study, epi 1

  • Great answer, but I believe the poster is referring to the simplified facial expressions like googly eyes (as seen in the example), X for eyes, exaggerated mouth, and so on, not the background. Can you elaborate on that? Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 15:10

In all the artist references and sources I've used for drawing manga, I've never come across a standard name for the style. I've sometimes seen it referred to as deformation, with super-deformation chibi style at the end of the spectrum.

More often I've seen it referred to simply as exaggeration, as it's exaggerating the facial features and body language to emphasize the depicted emotions.

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