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In a number of series, magic is eye-based, where the eyes either fuel the magic or are the conduit for it. Examples of this are Fai in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and the Uchihas and Hyuugas in Naruto, as well as a few other families in Naruto. Is this based on a specific tradition or have a specific cultural history. If not, where was the first time this appeared in anime/manga?

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    This may be related to the old adage, "The eyes are windows to the soul." – Killua Apr 26 '13 at 20:59
  • good question , +1 – nitin Jun 8 '13 at 12:41
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First off where was the first time this appeared in anime/manga? I believe that would be Basilisk, which is based on a novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls wrote in 1958.

As I could not find a definite source saying were it came from, all I say here will mainly be speculation.

Eye powers are mainly based on Myths. On the Internet there are loads and loads of myths regarding special eye powers such as The eye Myth and the Black eye myth

There also is a statement The eyes are windows to the soul. A lot of anime eye powers are based on a soul or other form of power. One example would be Naruto:

Chakra is essential to even the most basic technique; it is the moulding of the physical energy present in every cell of the body and the spiritual energy source

Another statement that's a bit more from the scientific corner is "The eyes and mind are still one big mystery"

Even in science, it is one big mystery what your brain is exactly used for (at least some spots of the brain). As the eyes are directly connected to the brain, the scientists believe the eyes could be influenced by these unactivated parts of the brain

The 10% of brain myth is the widely perpetuated urban legend that most or all humans only make use of 20%, 10% or some other small percentage of their brains. It has been misattributed to people including Albert Einstein. By association, it is suggested that a person may harness this unused potential and increase intelligence. Though factors of intelligence can increase with training, the popular notion that large parts of the brain remain unused, and could subsequently be "activated", rests more in popular folklore than scientific theory. Though mysteries regarding brain function remain—e.g. memory, consciousness — the physiology of brain mapping suggests that most if not all areas of the brain have a function.

One possible origin is the reserve energy theories by Harvard psychologists William James and Boris Sidis in the 1890s who tested the theory in the accelerated raising of child prodigy William Sidis to effect an adulthood IQ of 250–300; thus William James told audiences that people only meet a fraction of their full mental potential, which is a plausible claim

This is also a reason why it could be used in anime/manga. As a lot of manga/anime contain fantasy objects fague theories like this provide for perfect creative potentials.

The eyes are also a good placement for special abilities. Eyes are almost always in the screen as most of an anime expressions will be shown through their facial responses (big eyes over exaggerating smiles etc etc). As a viewer, your main attention will also be placed on these body parts.

As I said this is mainly my own point of view, and will be looking forward to more answers/information.

  • What do you mean by "fantasy objects fague theories?" – кяαzєя Apr 29 '13 at 6:24
  • @Krazer was not really sure how to say that as i aint a native english speaker. Loads of anime contain non realistic, Fantasy based storys, characters, powers and such. Open theorys can be used in you own imagination to creating something totaly differing of what i could think of and so on – Dimitri mx Apr 29 '13 at 10:17
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Magic coming the eyes are part of Magic Eye Trope which can be linked to the origin of having Psychic Powers which already started in 1870, which I think is also the origin of characters having source of power or magic from their eyes.

A character's eye has great supernatural power. Usually, the eye grants the user power over perception, either the target's (illusion, mind control) or the user's (telepathy, premonitions, clairvoyance, etc). In most cases, direct eye contact or at the very least line-of-sight is required. Other restrictions may apply.

  • We know how the trope comes to be in common media, but how about anime/manga? – nhahtdh Apr 29 '13 at 6:08
  • It goes the same for anime and manga. There are a lot of examples cited at the link I have given. – xjshiya Apr 29 '13 at 7:00
  • The question asks for the origin in anime/manga though, your answer only addresses when the trope in general might have begun, but not for anime/manga. – nhahtdh Apr 29 '13 at 7:04
  • I think that's where anime/manga also came from. A lot of manga artists based their characters/characters' personalities from topic discussed from psychology, and one of good examples are psychic powers. – xjshiya Apr 29 '13 at 7:23

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