Type: Character Cliché
What made it popular: Originator unknown. But it obviously bears some resemblance to Japanese Fox Masks as they make the characters appear in a similar fashion.
Cliché Level: Low
Where can you find it: Bleach, Utawarerumono, Slayers, Full Metal Alchemist, Ergo Proxy, Basilisk, Darker Than Black, Naruto, Umineko no Naku Koro Ni etc.
Kitsuneme refers to characters who normally keep their eyes shut, even when for example they are talking to others or even fighting, their eyes will simply remain shut. Kitsuneme itself can be literally translated as “Fox Eyes”, the characters have been probably named this way due to closed-eye anime characters bearing a resemblance to the traditional Japanese Kitsune Mask. The name is also quite correct and defining as most of the time these characters are really sly and cunning.
Why it’s bad: It’s not that common of a cliché as others, but it is still frequent just enough to be noticeable and classifiable. The moment you see a character with Kitsuneme it is a tell-tale warning sign that this character is either very smart and wise or very cunning and stealthy, sometimes both. It reveals their character early on, which lessen the surprise effects of their actions that they will undoubtedly do during the course of the anime.
The subcliché here is that whenever these characters actually open their eyes, you can expect some shit to go down, as things “just got serious”. Sometimes it is also used to hide the existence of an eye-power that a kitsuneme character has that are oh so common in anime (Basilisk, Full Metal Alchemist), making them able to take out their enemies via a surprise attack by simply opening their eyes.