Emoticon (Craig Blackamoor) // Welcome to Tranquility
Emoticon wears a mask which covers his entire face. The mask displays his current emotions via a LCD screen, which expresses said emotion as a text “smiley”.
This mask apparently translates Emoticon’s true feelings at the given moment and does not allow any attempts at concealment (effectively rendering him unable to lie.) Emoticon also speaks in netspeak, saying “lol” rather than actually laughing, and saying “All caps!” before yelling.
I’ve settled the issue of Frisk’s design once and for all using history and science Frisk is not truly bright yellow, they don’t truly have those eyes wider than their mouth, they don’t have that expression the entire game.
It’s just that sprite, that design, is a stand in. It is a perfect neutral human. It is a gender, sex, race, language, wealth, age, body type, and emotion neutral human. It’s not a caricature, it’s actually the farthest from a stereotype you can get, because it’s purposely made to be as neutral as possible while not looking completely nonhuman.
The science behind this actually comes from how the yellow emojis and emoticons work. The reason yellow is used because the first “smiley” was made to boost moral,so a bright yellow color was used as a green face often represented poisoning or sickness, a red face was evil or angry, and a blue face was sad. Black on yellow stands out the best compared to other basic colors. It’s why our school buses are yellow, so they are easy to find and see.
Because of this and the historic use of yellow for smileys, that shade of bright yellow gold is what is considered the standard for race neutral.
“ The yellow face has nothing to do with Asians, or with race at all. In fact, that bright gold-yellow color — a standard hue for emoticons since the AOL days — it intended to be ethnically neutral. As my colleague Abby Phillip explained in November, when emoji’s governing body proposed the new skin tones, they did it according to an actual, dermatological scale: It’s called the “Fitzpatrick scale,” and it was developed by a professor at Harvard Medical School in the ’70s to describe how different skin tones respond to ultraviolet light.”
“The new emoji reduce these six types into five by combining types I and II, and then leaving the rest alone. So the ones that display as yellow on iOS devices? They’re not meant to be part of the official racially diverse emoji set; it’s just the default color for all emoji faces, whether they’re simple smileys or full heads with hair and everything. They gain their skin tones when you match them with a modifier — that is, holding down on the emoji and selecting the skin tone you want to use from the menu of swatches that pops up as a result. The idea, wrote Unicode, was for the emoji to be as neutral as possible before being matched with a modifier:
“When a human emoji is not immediately followed by a[n] emoji modifier character, it should use a generic, non-realistic skin tone — such as RGB #FFCC22, one of the colors typically used for the smiley faces. Dark hair is recommended for generic images that include hair. People of every skin tone can have black (or very dark brown) hair, so it is more neutral.”
This also explains why Frisk has short dark brown hair, because it’s such a dominant gene usually, black hair is possible for any skin tone. Instead of making a bunch of options and eating up coding time to make it so you can customize the sprite to look as much like you as allowed by the options, Frisk’s design relies on something far stronger: your imagination. such a blank face can be interpreted in a number of ways. It’s a default poker face, watch poker, people actually make the real life version of that face, squinting a bit, trying to have relaxed eyes, flat mouth. We read in the game that the main character is saying things, laughing, scrunching up their face in disgust, crying, yet we never see any emotional change because we are supposed to imagine it, just like kids playing old pixelated games did. Games could hardly devote tons of sprites for the emotions of the player character in every possible position in the game back then. you didn’t get a Character creator menu.
Frisk cannot be a caricature of any race, because by design, they are as close to raceless as possible while still maintaining a form instantly recognized as human, which is important considering the monsters versus humans story of the game.
They have human artifacts down in the underworld, don’t you think they would have brought it up if Frisk was actually that color? Asian people are nowhere near that color. Just like how Native Americans are not actually naturally beet red, Africans are not actually pitch black, and Caucasians are not actually printer paper white.
According to the facial muscles, the “-_-” face is about the closest way you can depict the resting face when you only have 6 pixels. From this face, eyes relaxed till nearly closed, mouth shut but relaxed to be wide and not puckered and lips not pursed or parted, you are at the base “neutral” face that most people have when completely unconscious. Your eyes do not actually squeeze shut all the way when sleeping, some people even have eyes that do not squint as much and appear to be sleeping with their eyes open.
Going for such a neutral character, Toby would not go and give the character a canon iris color. The only way the eyes could be changed is to make them 1X1 black pixel with no white pixel sclera (white part of the eye) to avoid making it appear like they have black colored irises. This makes it so they look awake when in bed or fallen over, and looks pretty goofy like a Ditto face. A 4x4 eye is too big for that size head, as we see when Chara shows that look with their creepy face. 2 tall by 1 wide eyes would look too surprised and awake. When making a neutral face, this was the best way to go while still looking relatively human.
If Frisk is a caricature, then they are a caricature of the entire humankind, being as neutral as possible.
If someone draws Frisk yellow with slanted eyes, just imagine them with whatever race, sex, gender, and emotion you have in your “headcanon”. There is no true race or gender or sex or emotion or age or body type. It’s done on purpose. This is the most inclusive way to present the main character possible in an indie game worked on by one person and a few helping artists. The only way to be more inclusive is replacing the character with a floating technicolor orb with “imagine human here” on it.