When it comes to anime, everyone seems to have the genres and series they like, ranging from action to romance and everything in between. Because the medium is based on animation, creators have a lot of creative freedom to express their characters’ emotions in interesting and daring ways. From Hunter x Hunter until Jujutsu Kaisenthere are plenty of intriguing and memorable characters.
Smiling is often seen as a pleasant and welcoming gesture, but in anime there are more than a handful of moments when smiling can be terrifying. It’s often the mean or evil characters that put on a scary and horrifying smile, but there are some specific instances where it comes from a beloved source.
8/8 Sukuna – Jujutsu Kaisen
Anime as a medium is fascinating because it is home to a variety of genres that viewers love. With Shonen series like Jujutsu KaisenOne go-to moment that always excites viewers is when a character exudes unrelenting confidence and smiles en route to an impossible fight. The frightening of Jujutsu Kaisen is that when the main character Yuji Itadori smiles in a fight, it probably isn’t him.
Sukuna is a legendary cursed ghost who lives in Yuji and just happens to have a grin that stretches from ear to ear. Anyone who witnessed Sukuna’s smile probably didn’t live long enough to tell anyone how terrifying it was.
7/8 Dimple – Mob Psycho 100
Now, for the most part, Dimple can serve as comic relief in his ghost form Mob Psycho 100, but fans may forget how creepy he was as some sort of cult leader. His followers wore masks with a dead hollow smile. He had a mask that also had red circular cheeks to match the rosy cheeks on his face.
They often say that cult leaders are charismatic and sympathetic leaders, but his smile comes across as being exposed to the Joker’s nitrous oxide from a random person.Batmancomic. After his death, he transforms into a floating green fog ball that still retains his trademark red cheeks, but thankfully he rarely puts on the smile that helped him develop cult status.
6/8 Ryuk – Death Note
In the Obituary anime, viewers are introduced to a deadly god creature often referred to as the Shinigami named Ryuk. He serves as the catalyst of the anime and is indirectly responsible for Light’s journey with the obituary. Ryuk is a large gray-blue entity with sporty hair that you would see on a Dragon Ball character.
His eyes are unpleasant to look at, which doesn’t help with the fact that his mouth full of razor-sharp teeth feels like he’s always half smiling. It’s similar to when someone is shy in public but wants to appear nice so they half smile across the room. Only this time it is done by a two meter high demonic thing.
5/8 Caster – Fate / Zero
The Lot series is a very expansive and complex narrative world filled with dozens of stories. In Fate Zero the audience is introduced to the Caster class of the Fourth Holy Grail War. It happened to be a man named Gilles de Rais, whose ubiquitous need for violence was a perfect match for the serial killer tendencies of his master, Ryuunosuke Uryuu.
Caster’s facial expressions are often discussed among the fandom for their obnoxious nature, including his smile. It is not the expression one makes when welcoming another, but rather the kind of elation one feels when one has fished prey.
4/8 Tomura Shigaraki – My Hero Academia
From its introduction in My Hero Academia, the villain known as Tomura Shigaraki has always come across as a bit of a creep. However, as he grows in both maturity and strength, his once surly smile has turned into a creepy signature of his.
Part of why his smile seems so horrifying is due to the decaying nature of his face. He tends to smile with one hand in front of his face, but it’s so iconic that it could clearly be seen as day anyway. When he starts to smile, everyone understands that he has nothing on his mind but to cause evil intentions on whomever he pleases.
3/8 Smiling Titan – Attack on Titan
This post contains spoilers forr Attack on Titan, so be careful. As an anime full of terrifying giant creatures known as Titans, there are many instances where a smile is downright terrifying. The most notable case, however, is the Titan named specifically for its facial expression, one known as the Smiling Titan or Abnormal Titan.
When it attacks the Jaeger family and Eren is forced to watch his mother die, the Titan is believed to have been just a random attacker. It turns out that this particular Titan was the first wife of Eren’s father, who was turned into a Titan when she was caught and charged with treason. Attack on Titan has a way of connecting things in the most emotionally draining way possible.
2/8 Mad Pierrot – Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is considered a top-tier anime because it did such a good job of delivering a story full of comedy and drama, navigating a line between serious and lighter shades. No one knew that the episode titled “Pierrot le Fou” would welcome a nightmare-feeding entertainer turned lab experiment known as Mad Pierrot.
He has a genuine smile that reads like a man trapped in his own body. An important part of scaring a smile has a lot to do with a character’s eyes, and to Mad Pierrot, it feels like his bright red eyes never even blink because he’s trapped in an infinite gaze.
1/8 Nanika – Hunter x Hunter
The Zoldyck family is full of a bunch of strange characters who each played a part in Killua’s life. Many of them are not good people, but the most interesting of the bunch isn’t introduced until the last arc of the 2011 Hunter x Hunter animation. Her name is Alluka Zoldyck and she is Killua’s possessed younger sister.
She just happens to have an entity inside her called Nanika that acts as both a blessing and a curse. Anyone familiar with horror knows that kids can be scary very easily and Nanika has an emotionless dead smile that is both unnerving and terrifying.
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