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In Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019), Ditto can copy things perfectly, so why can't it copy eyes properly?

Ditto with incorrectly copied eyes

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    Game Freak developers Junichi Masuda and Ken Sugimori revealed that Ditto was originally based on the iconic smiley face. Its eyes and mouth are exactly like ":)", which is an emoticon representing the smiley. – Valorum Feb 13 at 15:02
46

In the anime episode where Ditto debuted it was just the specific Ditto that the party encountered that couldn't mimic faces correctly: that was the plot of the episode and by the end the Ditto had overcome the disability. However, the look became iconic and a good visual shorthand for "this is a transformed Ditto", so it stuck.

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    The Ditto in the movie was also experimented on, so it's also not necessarily a good example of what a normal Ditto would be capable of. – JAB Feb 13 at 21:30
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    From what I've seen in the anime, I think normal Dittos are only able to copy other Pokemon, not people. Zorua/Zoroark can though. – Vilx- Feb 14 at 7:44
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    This wiki page does say the same thing. – August Janse Feb 14 at 10:20
29

Shapeshifters not being able to change their eyes is a common trope, possibly as a reflection of the old sentiment that eyes are windows to the soul, and in part because it's an easy storytelling mechanism to occasionally indicate to the viewer that it's the shapeshifter while leaving it mildly plausible that the character manages to hide this behind sunglasses, tipped hats, claims of contact lenses, etc.

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