7 Manga Characters with Heterochromia

The Mysterious Count D from Pet Shop of Horrors. Story & art by Matsuri Akino. Asahi Sonorama.

As a resident of the United States, I will be the first person to say we love our national theme days. July alone has the ever-popular National Ice Cream Day and National Hot Dog Day– but the themes aren’t just confined to food! National U.S. Postage Stamp Day and National Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day also happen this month. Guess what falls on today? National Differently Colored Eyes Day. And to celebrate this obscure theme, here is a list of manga characters with heterochromia.

1. Count D (Pet Shop of Horrors)

Count D from Pet Shop of Horrors. Story & art by Matsuri Akino. Asahi Sonorama.

A classic character with two differently colored eyes from a now-classic manga. Pet Shop of Horrors was my jam back in the day: creepy monsters, lethal pacts, and a mysterious shopkeeper? Sign me up. Count D remains an enigma for much of the series. Human or monster? Immortal or eternally young? We may never know. Count D is also the rare heterochromatic character who does not possess a red eye.

2. Ciel Phantomhive (Black Butler)

Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler. Story & art by Yana Toboso. Yen Press/Square Enix.

Manga characters with heterochromia are often marked as special—and not just because of their mismatched eyes. The character of Ciel Phantomhive wallows in angst-laden specialness. Despite his age, he does Queen Victoria’s dirty work as her watchdog. His family was tragically killed when he was younger. In fact, he suffered horrible atrocities as result of that massacre…which led to his making a pact with a demon. Does it count as heterochromia when one eye is a different color because it bears the seal confirming the demonic agreement? In my book, it does.

3. Seijuro Akashi (Kuroko’s Basketball)

Seijuro Akashi from Kuroko's Basketball. Story & art by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. VIZ Media/Shueisha.

No one will ever accuse Kuroko’s Basketball of strict adherence to realism. I’m not referring to the basketball maneuvers and tactics either. Seijuro Akashi, a member of the Generation of Miracles, developed heterochromia out of stress. More accurately, he developed a second personality due to stress and he manifests heterochromia when the other personality is in control of his body. Don’t ask. I can’t explain how that works.

4. Hatake Kakashi (Naruto)

Hatake Kakashi from Naruto. Story & art by Masashi Kishimoto. VIZ Media/Shueisha.

One of the most skilled ninja in Naruto, Kakashi is best known as the teacher of both Naruto and Sasuke. Kakashi’s differently colored eyes don’t come from genetics or psychological stress. They come from, er, surgical transplants. Despite not being a member of the Uchiha clan, he bears a sharingan eye—courtesy of a teammate and friend from his childhood.

5. Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)

Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul. Story & art by Sui Ishida. VIZ Media/Shueisha.

Speaking of surgical transplants, poor Ken Kaneki, right? He goes on a date with a hot woman, discovers she’s a terrifying monster when she tries to eat him, gets into a terrible accident at a construction site, and then wakes up to find that ghoulish flesh has been implanted into his body. Now he has an overwhelming hunger for human meat. Kinda sucks, if you ask me. Kaneki’s mismatched eyes represent the two sides of his nature.

6. Saitou Yakumo (Psychic Detective Yakumo)

Saitou Yakumo from Psychic Detective Yakumo. Story by Manbu Kaminaga. Art by Suzuka Oda. Kadokawa Shoten.

My personal favorite on this list, Yakumo’s heterochromia gives him supernatural abilities. More precisely, his left red eye allows him to see ghosts. It’s caused him lots of problems in his life—his mother tried to kill him, ahem—so he hides it behind a contact lens. Truly, the most practical of everyone on this list. An eyepatch, really? Draw more attention to it, why don’t you?

7. Shoto Todoroki (My Hero Academia)

Shoto Todoroki from My Hero Academia. Story & art by Kohei Horikoshi. VIZ Media/Shueisha.

The inspiration for this entire list, Todoroki literally embodies both hot and cold. Having the ability to control fire and ice, Todoroki struggles to come to terms with both sides of his nature. Or rather, he’s fine with his ice abilities but despises his fire abilities because they remind him of his father. Thankfully, he meets My Hero Academia‘s protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, who inspires him to embrace heroic ideals and pushes him to accept his powerful fire side.

And that’s it for this list of manga characters with heterochromia. Does it feature some of your favorites or do you think there’s an egregious oversight? Let us know in the comments!

Vernieda Vergara

Vernieda Vergara

Writer. Manga and webtoon aficionado. I hail from Washington D.C. where I consume too much media and cause only a little trouble. Tweet me @incitata.