I've noticed - and indubitably, others have, too, as noted on this TV Tropes page - that often, whenever a "nerdy" character wears glasses in anime, they have a spiral shape on them. Examples are easy to find, with popular examples including Saori from Oreimo: Saori glasses

In particular, I became curious upon noticing them in Berserk, on Puck's "business" glasses:

Puck glasses

I was just wondering, since this trope seems so ubiquitous in Japanese cultures and rare in others - what is the origin of this design? What about the spiral shape is intended to elicit an aura of "geekiness", and what major origins or influences led to its widespread use today?


Nerds are usually depicted in media to weak very thick glasses. This is probably true in any country or culture. The spiral is just the way manga and anime artists illustrate the very thick glasses. Instead of drawing concentric circles or some other style, they just draw spirals as it's easier that way.

  • This sounds fair enough, but if it were that simple, I'd expect this simple way of depicting thick glasses to be drawn universally as well - not just in Japan. Cultures like America tend to depict thick glasses using dotted pupils instead... I'm interested in knowing the reason for the difference, but at least I know the origin now. – kayay78 Sep 18 '18 at 19:54
  • 1
    Your question was asking for the origin, so that's what gave in my answer. If you want to know the reason for the difference between American comics/cartoons and Japanese manga/anime, then can you please rephrase your question? – VXD Sep 19 '18 at 8:32

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