Brown hair and brown eyes are sort of a very normal combo, aren’t they? Don’t get me wrong, some of the most beautiful people in the world have brown hair and brown eyes. In fact, most of them do. But brown is the most common colour for both hair and eyes, so it isn’t that out of the ordinary.

And for anime, where both of these features come in the full rainbow of colours, having a character with both brown hair and brown eyes can feel a bit like a default setting before you got a chance to get all the customization done.

But is that really the case? Do brown-haired and brown-eyed characters actually stand out in anime because they aren’t sporting crazy hues? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular anime characters with brown hair and brown eyes to see just how special they are!

Instead of doing my usual subjective top 5 list, I actually went on a bunch of ranking sites to try to find a sort of consensus of popular anime characters with brown hair and brown eyes. These are the characters most anime fans thought of when they thought of those features. I figured it would be interesting to see what comes up!

9- Movie Heroines

This is a bit vague isn’t it? Ok so Mitsuha from Your Name came up a lot as well as most of Miyazaki’s heroines. He does seem to like putting a nice brown-haired, brown-eyed girl as his lead in movies!

What I did notice is that all of these were girls and most of them had a few things in common. They are all rather strong-willed, secure and very determined young ladies. I guess that does make for a good heroine in general!

8 – Yui – K-On

I’m not sure whether it has run its course, but I see K-On mentioned less and less these days. There was a time when it was one of those quintessential anime I would hear about every other week or so but in recent years, it’s only very occasional.

Still, K-On was a huge anime success that helped popularize its genre and it starred a lovable airhead with huge brown eyes and pretty brown hair. That “every girl” persona was a big part of Yui’s success as a character that captured the hearts of viewers.

7 – Hori – Horimiya

I believe that Hori made it to the list mostly because the anime is so recent. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Horimiya and I was thrilled to see so many others had enjoyed it. However, I’m not sure Hori’s character was the fan favourite and I would be surprised to still see her make the list in a decade or so.

In this case, Hori is very pretty but otherwise a rather typical high school girl, at least on the surface. And that’s an important part of the plot and her character. I think that may have motivated the choice of giving her a more common eye and hair colour, even though the show does feature people with green or pink hair.

6 – Osamu Dazai – Bungo Stray Dogs

We have our first man on the list. And he certainly breaks the streak of noble characters we had going on. Hori might have a temper but she’s generally a good person. Dazai… well it’s debatable.

Dazai is the resident smart*ss/troll of the series, and he mostly serves to inject some humour and make his coworkers want to kill him. Although he does generally come through in a pinch. He’s a genius, and extremely eccentric and most of the time, it’s hard to tell if he’s a hero or a villain. The only average thing about the guy is his hair and eye colour.

5- Thoru Honda – Fruits Basket

And we are back to the leading ladies.

The Fruits Basket remake was a huge success. I really should watch it at some point. And why shouldn’t it be, it’s a classic story of love and magic… and Zodiac signs. I have a soft spot for the manga and original series in my heart but now that the dust has settled on the remake, I am intrigued!

At the center of it all, is almost perfect little Thoru. If there is one thing I could reproach the story, is that Thoru is pretty much a Mary Sue, but she’s such a charming one that you’re going to fall in love with her anyways. She is the stabilizing element and the “normal” one in a story where “normal” is unusual and desperately needed. Her clam brown eyes and beautiful brown hair are a comforting sight for all.

4- Haruhi Shimizuya

Most of the main cast of The Melancholy of Haruhi Shimizuya have brown hair and brown eyes. Even Asahina is technically said to have red-brown hair so only Yuki is the odd man out, which makes sense… This said Haruhi is the one people thought of no one even mentioned Kyon or Itsuki.

It’s sort of great that The Melancholy features a cast of anything but ordinary characters yet gives them all this very relatable colour palette! You know, writing about this made me want to watch some more Haruhi, I hope I find a way to watch the movie where I am.

3 – Light Yagami – Death Note

We got another boy! I’m going to attribute Light’s consistent presence in lists of either brown-haired or brown-eyed anime characters to the incredible and enduring popularity of Death Note. Say what you will about it, but you can’t deny that a heck of a lot of people watched that anime… I didn’t. I liked the manga though! For a while, I thought Light was blonde.

In any case, Death Note is mostly realistic with the character designs so it’s not that surprising to have a Japanese student with brown hair and brown eyes. Considering the character. It would sort of be odd for him to be any different. I really don’t know why I was picturing him blonde. Maybe it’s all those movies with evil blonde guys in them…

2- Haruhi – Ouran High School Host Club

I’m not going to lie; I was surprised to see Haruhi on so many lists. Surprised but happy! I like Ouran and I really like Haruhi! She makes that show!

Once again, this is a case where the straight man, I guess that could be a pun in this context, is the character with the least remarkable colours. Makes sense, Haruhi isn’t about appearances after all.  I do realize that this is a character archetype in shoujo manga for a reason, and the hair and eyes are part of it, but you know, it works in a lot of contexts.

1-      Sasha – Attack on Titan

Zooey was a close second for Attack on Titan characters. Once again, AoT is a show with fairly realistic character designs. No one has blue hair or anything. However, unlike Death Note, it doesn’t take place in Japan and most of the characters are “European”. This means we have a bit more diversity and a lot more blondes. I looked it up and although it’s not always easy to tell, there really aren’t that many characters with brown hair and eyes in the show.

But there is Sasha and Sasha is great. Of course, she’ll make an appearance here. Attack on Titan is one of the most popular anime to have come out in recent years and its ongoing final seasons have made sure that it’s fresh in the mind of anime fans. Considering the powerful and emotional character arc Sasha is put through, it’s no wonder she made a huge impression on fans. In many ways, Sasha is also an every girl. Optimistic, good-humoured and joyful, even has a healthy appetite! But considering the circumstances of Attack on Titan, it is amazing that anyone could remain that way.

Here’s my takeaway. Popular anime characters with brown hair and brown eyes are more often girls (this is probably true for any anime character in general). And a lot of them have traits in common. They aren’t the shy type for instance. Most of them are independent and very kind to those around them. They also tend to be the never give up types. Basically, they tend to be the embodiment of Yamato nadeshiko. Unlike certain blonde magical girls for example!

However, in the rare instances that the character is a male, they are awful. If not straight-up villains, they have tons of flaws and undesirable characteristics. If you see an anime boy with brown hair and brown eyes, you better run!

12 thoughts

  1. Adding a few more names to the mix: Shinpachi from Gintama, Akito from Nadesico, Toshihiko from Kemonozume. All characters from the nineties & noughties, come to think of it. (Hat tip to Dawn-chan.) These men aren’t douchey geniuses, smugly assured of their superiority, who bestride our puny world like a Colussus. For the most part they’re just regular dudes, fundamentally decent but with their share of frustrating flaws. One of their defining traits is their tendency to get swept along by others, for better or worse. Oh, does Yasaburou from Eccentric Family have brown hair? Would make an exception for my man. Has a better claim to it than Natsume, at least!

    I view the yamato nadeshiko archetype differently. Prim, polite lady with impeccable etiquette. Quiet, patient & forgiving. Outwardly kind, but emotionally distant. Soft-spoken, mild-mannered & devoted to traditional roles. Typically strays from conflict, preferring to make her points indirectly. That may make her seem submissive, but she shows steely resolve to fulfill her duties, and can fiercely fight back when the need arises. I usually associate yamato nadeshiko with long, dark hair. Hinata from Naruto grows into that role, more or less. Tsubaki from Soul Eater roughly fits, too.

    Subversions of the archetype for comedic effect are also popular. Yumeko from Kakkegurui seems a well-behaved girl of good stock. In reality, she’s a degenerate thrill-seeker, who repeatedly orgasms while gambling. You could view Yor Forger as a double-subversion, of sorts. Gentle, reserved lady who’s actually a vicious killer, who’s actually lovingly devoted to her family. On the flip side, Rei from Evangelion is nothing but a stripped-down version of the facade, her agency snuffed out by design. A twisted fantasy, cruelly reduced to its basest components, just to make a point.

    Coming back to brown hair & brown eyes… How did Kumiko from Euphonium fare in your research? I thought for sure she’d be pretty popular, given how “relatable” she should be.

    1. As good and relatable as Kumiko can be, I hadn’t thought of her until I read your post!

      I’d straight up vouch ma waifu Katou Megumi til the day I die lmao

    2. I don’t remember Kumiko coming up at all now that you mention it. I wonder why, it’s a pretty recent and popular anime

  2. Actually, guys with brown hair and brown eyes were pretty common protagonists in the nineties/early 2000s. I’m thinking of the Irresponsible Captian Tylor, for example. Or any harem protagonist (Ah My Goddess, Love Hina… it’s probably why Keima from The World God Only Knows has to have brown hair and eyes. It was sort of the harem default. (And it’s still not uncommon, I think: We Never Learn, Rent-a-Girlfriend…) I think it’s the harem protagonist combo: the avarage everyman.

    Also curious: do you see Natsume (he with the Book of Friends) as blond? I’d consider him a light-brown-haired character with darker-brown eyes. (I just checked a picture to make sure.)

      1. I keep forgetting brunette is a thing. That’s definitely it, though. (Silver haired Natsume sounds awesome.)

    1. Light’s hair is a repeated talking point in the manga. Since it’s soft brown and not black
      I remember it was a big deal for some reason but no one bats an eye at Misa being blonde

  3. Wow, great observations! I totally didn’t notice that a lot of the characters even had brown eyes! I knew that Haruhi and Toru had brown eyes, but I didn’t notice it at all about Dazai and Light! And you’re right the girls do kind of have similar personality traits. Great read!

  4. And now for the dissenting opinion from the Deity Goddess Desire, a known red Fur/red eyes female…

    (looks at fur, sticks out tongue) “Cute. Does your Velian Deer shaded humans come with their own croissant fetishes too? Bleah. I may not be the bright ray of Dismal Disney that my fellow red fur Geeky Sparkles is, but I am tail to snout all red… Except the parts that are white. Or black. Or some other shade depending on artist renditions… Seriously. You bland humans and your limited color palette. Stick some color on your furless forms and your so happy. Sigh. How Do you stay warm at night.”

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