Manga Iconography

Manga Iconography is a anime/manga concept
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Common visual conventions seen in manga and anime to convey emotions, often for comical effect.


Various examples of Manga Iconography
Various examples of Manga Iconography

Over the years mangaka have developed a visual language within manga to convey emotions in a very exaggerated way. As with most manga conventions, they have also migrated into anime. Sweat Drops, Popping Veins and so on all generally convey different emotions, but may appear on characters at the same time, to express both sadness and anger for example. Examples of these different visual cues are listed below:

  • Sweat Drop - The Sweat Drop is a popular icon that can be used to express nervousness, worry, embarrassment or confusion.
  • Blushing - Blushing is an exaggeration of real-life blushing, blushing can be used to convey embarrassment, arousal, happiness or to show a character is drunk or even ill.
  • Cross-Popping Vein - The Popped Vein is usually red or black in color, and occasionally blue or purple, popped or "cross-popping" veins are shown to convey anger or frustration.
  • Gloom Lines - Gloom Lines are usually a dark blue or purple color, parallel lines appear on the face, above the head or in some cases even behind characters as a large backdrop. Straight lines may represent mortification, fatigue, or even horror, while wavy lines may represent depression or disgust.
  • Visible Sigh - The Visible Sigh is a sign of exasperation, a small cloud often resembling a mushroom appears from their mouth, sometimes accompanied with a sound effect.
  • Dizzy Eyes - Dizzy eyes, usually replacing eyes with black swirls, indicate dizziness, confusion or show a character is unconscious.
  • Heart Eyes - Heart eyes, usually replacing eyes with large red love hearts, indicate affection, attraction or full-on love.
General Information Edit
Concept Name Manga Iconography
Japanese Name:
Romaji Name:
Aliases Anime Iconography
Exaggerated Emotional Iconography
Visible Sigh
Gloom Lines
Sweat Drop
Popped Vein
Cross-Popping Vein
Dizzy Eyes
Heart Eyes
Spit Take
1st manga book:
1st anime episode:
1st anime movie:
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