Oooh these are all good points! Granted, I was leaving his presence in the game out for a moment because, as you said, having him or a cut-out of a different character everywhere can creep anyone out.
You mentioned it might be the smile, but I actually think it’s a combination of the smile and eyes. I was doing some comparisons to other cartoon characters, and Bendy’s eyes look wider apart than most others.
Even though this is a ¾ shot, his pupils are still sort of close together, as if he’s looking at something. Usually what makes dolls or bad CG look immediately uncanny is if the eyes don’t appear to move or focus on anything.
Now let’s look at Bendy
Maybe nothing looks immediately off, but what happens when you try to add lines for the lower eyelids and a line to separate the eyes?
I find it appropriate that you brought up dolls, because I think that’s what his eyes kind of look like. When the eyes look all connected together, they look vacant and lifeless. And this expression never changes or moves. We have the cut-outs, but there’s also the looping animation that plays when you restore pressure to the ink machine (it was also used in the steam announcement post over on TheMeatly’s patreon). And even though Bendy is moving in that loop- with even his horns moving a little- his face doesn’t.
Toriumi: March is the month that [Maeno’s character] Haru is in charge of, right? Maeno: Yes, it’s March. And if it’s March then it’s KENN-san’s birthday. Happy birthday to you! *Maeno, Toriumi, and staff all clapping* Toriumi: It’s today, isn’t it? Maeno: *immediately* It’s today. I made sure to send him a LINE message congratulating [KENN on his birthday] as soon as the date changed.