21

The squinting face that anime characters make can express a range of expressions. Here are two examples:

enter image description here From this alone we might be inclined to call it the "cute crying face." However, consider the next picture:

enter image description here

The character (Rokka from Shoujou Yokai) still uses the same face, but does not display sadness. For context, the character was being used as a weapon to punch a villain in the manga and was happy to be able to defeat the villain.

From sadness to happiness to frustration, it cannot be pinpointed to one particular emotion. They do have cuteness in common, although it's not always used to emphasize cuteness.

What is this face called exactly? Does it even have a name?

  • that eyes is just one of "closed eye" to looks more cutesy. Can you imagine both of those picture using Gin's(Bleach) or Hazama(Blazblue) "Closed eye" ? – Tanya von Degurechaff Apr 2 '16 at 10:45
  • I like to call it rekt face – jcoc611 Apr 2 '16 at 14:52
  • 3
    Sometimes Japanese students are taught how to remember the difference between > (dai-nari 'greater than') and < (shō-nari 'less than') by telling them dai-nari shō-nari forms a >< face :-) The expression dai-nari shō-nari means 'to a greater or lesser degree; to some extent' in Japanese. – snailboat Apr 2 '16 at 20:21
  • Notice how this face is NEVER used in serious situations... (at least from what I have seen) – nulldev Apr 3 '16 at 0:36
  • 1
    Your examples don't completely match the emoticon. The emoticon's mouth is a closed line, whereas the other characters' mouths are in different (open) shapes. The first image is more like >o< and the second is closer to >u< (there's probably a better symbol than u, but I'd have to go digging through the unicode pages). – Pharap Apr 3 '16 at 6:03
14

In the media/anime-verse, they do not have any specific name for themselves.

The eyes themselves form a part of the Wingding Eyes:

For animated characters, the eyes are the windows to the soul—literally. So literally, that their eyes become their innermost thoughts projected in very clear symbols for all to see.

For example, the common ones mentioned include:

  • X or +: Dead or knocked out. Comical depictions of corpses or ghosts will have their tongues sticking out as well as this.

  • Spirals: Dazed, confused, terrified, dizzy, or knocked out.

  • Stars: Excitement, determination and dreaming of fame and fortune


In the real world, these >_<, >o<, >△< are a part of Kaomoji:

Kaomoji (顔文字) is a popular Japanese emoticon style made up of Japanese characters and grammar punctuations, and are used to express emotion in texting and cyber communication.

As mentioned on the site:

Japanese emoticons are extremely diverse. Some of Internet sources state the number of 10000 but, in fact, there are much more of them. Such diversity may be explained by at least two factors:

  • Unlike Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, which are usually written in single-byte character sets, Japanese writing requires a minimum of double-byte sets with a wider scope of characters;
  • Kaomoji can express not only individual emotions, but also complex actions, objects, and even whole stories.

>_<, >o<, >△< and other expressions can be interpreted in different ways in the anime, depending on the scene being depicted, the character, the Wingding Eyes and their combination with the expression put on the characters' face.

The most common uses in anime are to depict:

  • Anger
  • Excitement
  • Embarrassment
  • Frustration
  • Jealousy
  • Pain (or to brace yourself against an incoming impact)
12

I don't know of a particular name for >_<, but if we take a look at the emoticon Unicode block we can see the following emoticons with > and < for eyes:

😆    U+1F606    SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND TIGHTLY-CLOSED EYES
😝    U+1F61D    FACE WITH STUCK-OUT TONGUE AND TIGHTLY-CLOSED EYES
😣    U+1F623    PERSEVERING FACE
😫    U+1F62B    TIRED FACE
😧    U+1F627    ANGUISHED FACE
😬    U+1F62C    GRIMACING FACE

I checked these on Chrome and Firefox, but note that not all of them are always drawn with > and < for eyes. For example, the last two are drawn with round eyes for the Twitter emoji project.

From this, we can gather that at least the Unicode name for > and < eyes is "tightly closed eyes", although "persevering face" is also pretty appropriate for some situations.


(Side note: reverse image searching the first screenshot causes Google to suggest "anime sad face")

  • 2
    Bahahhaa I was literally coming to this question to say the same thing from the unicode index hahaha "SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND TIGHTLY-CLOSED EYES" – Albert Renshaw Apr 3 '16 at 5:53
9

I think it would be more correct to call >_< wincing or bracing, based on our real world expressions:

enter image description here

Wince

make a slight involuntary grimace or shrinking movement of the body out of pain or distress.

It's usually a face you would make if you are bracing yourself for something bad, trying to hold back some pain.

I'd argue that the first face is more like >△< which is slightly different. This is more of a complaining/moaning face:

enter image description here

The subtle difference is that the former is bracing for something unpleasant, the latter is complaining about it.

There are several other related emoticons for different expressions, such as feeling shifty

>_> <_< >_>

elated

^_^

or restful

v_v

as well as combinations of other eyes and mouths

^_~

  • 1
    Lots of thing in anime are based on the real world that may not be immediately obvious - see the teardrow or cross symbols that anime characters often have for example. To me at least, the second image looks like she is bracing herself for impact. I haven't seen the show in question but as the OP says, it is a crying face, so she's in some sort of discomfort - even if that discomfort is embarassment, etc – Toshinou Kyouko Apr 2 '16 at 17:03

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