How many of these 280 sets of anime eyes can you match with their characters?

It’s kind of an oversimplifying philistine move to think the anime aesthetic begins and ends with “big eyes,” but the fact remains that the distinct way in which eyes are drawn remains one of the most impactful aspects of Japanese animation. After gazing into the eyes of their favorite characters for decades, the script is being flipped in Tokyo as commuters in one of Japan’s busiest rail stations have anime icons staring back at them.

This week, the eyes of 280 anime characters, representing 89 different series, appeared on the walls of the underground walkway that connects the JR Shinjuku and Tokyo Metro Shinjuku Station. You might recall that this particular pedestrian passageway is one of the most coveted advertising spaces in all of Japan, which inspires designers and promoters to bring their most creative ideas, such as a massive display of every Yu-Gi-Oh! ever issued, or a giant black cat that dispenses presents.

This time around, it’s Netflix that’s behind the artistic endeavor. Video-streaming services have been slow to catch on in Japan, partially due to Japanese mainstream live-action television not producing nearly as many series as its American counterpart. The anime sector, though, is churning out more content than ever, almost all of it airing during late-night time slots, which gives streaming services a genuine benefit to offer otaku in the form of being able to enjoy extended viewing sessions whenever they have the time to start one.

▼ Anime eyes also grace nearby pillars.

Veteran fans can spend quite a bit of time examining the artwork and challenging themselves to figure out the character each set belongs to. Things start off pretty easy at the top left, with Tiger & Bunny’s Kotetsu and Barnaby.

▼ The stars of Pop Team Epic and Mr. Osomatsu cozy up in this irreverent comedy space, but which of the Matsuno sextuplets are these?

Netflix hasn’t always been seen as the friendliest entity by the international anime fan community. The company’s policy of releasing entire seasons in a complete, ready-to-watch set instead of simul-streaming them means that English-speaking fans are missing out on watching the much-talked about Violet Evergarden, which is airing weekly on free-to-watch TV in Japan. But on the other end of the spectrum, Netflix earned itself a heaping helping of goodwill with the critically acclaimed Devilman Crybaby, which it distributed in Japan as well as internationally, and so it’s no surprise that Akira and Ryo, the series’ protagonist and antagonist, are prominently featured.

▼ “When you see the eyes, you know,” reads Netflix’s anime tagline.

Whether by design or coincidence, there are a few fun Easter eggs/in-jokes for fans to find. For example, just three columns over from Cowboy Bebop star Spike (and next to his pal Jet), you’ll find Spike’s spiritual predecessor, Lupin III.

▼ Don’t give us that sad look, Spike. We all tried to stop you from taking on the entire space mafia by yourself by yelling “Don’t do it!” at our TVs.

Even non-human characters are represented, like in this column featuring Fullmetal Alchemist’s Al, Ushio and Tora’s Tora, The Ancient Magus’ Bride’s Elias, two Gundam mobile suits, and a Terra Formars cockroach alien.

Got a thing for characters with glasses? You’ll want to move all the way to the rightmost column, where Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water’s Jean heads up the bespectacled brigade.

Blondies, meanwhile, such as Attack on Titan’s Armin and Fullmetal Alchemist’s Ed, are on the far left.

Code Geass’ Leluch and Fairy Tail’s Natsu both bring their intense-face A-games.

Gundam rivals Char and Amuro are always drawn to one another, even in advertising.

Netflix’s eyes of anime ad will be up until March 4. If you can’t make it to the site in-person before then, you can console yourself with the company’s video tribute to animated peepers.

And should you wind up in Shinjuku after Netflix’s ad comes down…

…at last the entertainingly named Pansy Satellite shoe shop is a permanent part of the passageway.

Photos ©SoraNews24

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he was glad to see the Nu Gundam featured on the wall.