Amazing Technicolor Population
aka: Technicolor People
Okay, now try a skin-colored one. Grem:
You mean a white one? K'seliss:
She means a green one. Saves-a-Fox:
I mean an orange
In the real world, the color range of human skin is fairly limited. We largely come in varying shades of brownish, and even the most generous will generally only give humans four distinct "colors": pink, brown, red and yellow. This is to say nothing of proper ethnicity
This is not so in cartoons. Animators, whether they're drawing cartoon characters or building models for a video game, have the freedom to make or draw anything they want. Thus, the normal range of human skin colors needn't have any bearing on the appearance of cartoon characters. Want your characters to be blue, orange, and silver? Go right ahead! Want a dude with a purple face to live next door to a green-skinned, not-from-space babe
? The freedom's all yours, pal! If the characters are Genre Blind
, their unusual skin tones will probably go unnoticed. If not, this may be Hand Waved
in various ways or lampshaded
Giving your characters unrealistic skin tones sounds like a great way to avoid Race Tropes
and Unfortunate Implications
, doesn't it? Well, sometimes. Unfortunately
, it doesn't always work like this. If a character is meant to be of a specific ethnicity, they will most likely have the "correct" skin tone for their ethnicity, regardless of anything else. It seems as if only "white people" get Amazing Technicolor Skin
—everyone else is left out. Still, it's a nice thought. Isn't it?
Compare Japan, which seems to do the same thing with hair
. See also Ambiguously Brown
, for when the skin tones are within the realms of possibility, but not clearly "defined". Do not confuse with Amazing Technicolor Wildlife
, where this trope is applied to animals. Related to Hair Color Dissonance
where over time the viewer's brain might percieve the skin tone to something more realistic than it actually is.
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Anime & Manga
- Zentradi in Macross (and thus the first Robotech saga) mainly have natural human skin tones, but quite a few of them have been seen to have purple, green, blue, or gray skin. In Macross Plus and Macross 7, we only see them with natural and gray skin color, and by Macross Frontier, they all have natural skin colors.
- Mazinger Z: Big Bad Dr. Hell is purple. No indication why, since he's seemingly human.
- All the members from the Noah family in D.Gray-Man have... well, gray skin. That's true of the anime version, however, in the original manga color art, they're also often drawn with skin in various shades of brown.
- In a lot of Japanese series, people in flashbacks are shown to have completely black skin (possibly referencing kabuki theater). Revolutionary Girl Utena, for instance, gives everyone this treatment in flashbacks.
- In Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato, Gamilons are shown with human skin tones until the episode where humans first encounter one face to face. From that episode on, they're all shown to have sky blue skin. Members of the second season's evil Comet Empire are all a rather icky shade of olive green (except Invidia, for some reason). In fact, so many anime extraterrestrials have blue skin that it seems to be a kind of cultural shorthand for alienness.
- For inexplicable reasons, Meg's rival Non in Majokko Meg-chan has an unhealthy looking white complexion. No one seems to mind, though.
- The Demon sisters from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, who have beet-red skin due to being, well, demons. Oddly enough, this means that Kneesocks actually turns a lighter shade of red when she blushes.
- The Oni in Momo Kyun Sword are every hue under the sun, almost all unlike normal human skin tones. The fact that Onihime does have a normal human skin color is a clue to her true heritage.
Films — Animation
- In The Film of the Book of Coraline, Mr. Bobinsky is blue, for some inexplicable reason. The medal he's wearing indicates that he helped clean up the Chernobyl disaster, so he's apparently irradiated.
- All the characters from the Land of the Living in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride are dull gray, whereas everyone in the Land of the Dead (the ones who still have skin, at least) are all bright blue.
- Half of the cast of My Little Pony Equestria Girls and My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks have skin that retains the color of their coat in pony form, presumably to avoid making the characters human ethnicities and opening a can of worms. (They almost avoided doing so, but many wished they'd taken the plunge, and the fact that pretty much everyone has had their color scheme significantly lightened has not gone unnoticed. But Not Too Purple?)
Films — Live-Action
- Guardians of the Galaxy, like the main Marvel Universe, has plenty of blue, green, yellow (not just Asiatic, but yellow) and even fuscia skin to go around in the Nova Empire.
- In Terry Pratchett's Strata, the heroine is able to change her skin color at will when she feels like it; two examples are silver and jet black.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space universe, "flatlanders" of Earth are a technicolor population, but it's just fashionable skin dye.
- Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen has people of all colors that exist on earth, plus blue. (Which is mentioned very off-handedly and thus is very puzzling at first.)
- In Monster by A. Lee Martinez, thanks to a survived basilisk bite, the titular character wakes up with a different skin color every day, accompanied by a random magical power. He keeps a notebook to track the powers that come with each color — up until he gains a measure of control over this condition with the aid of the story's MacGuffin.
- Serroi, of Jo Clayton's Duel Of Sorcery and Dancer trilogies, has green skin. Subverted in that it's very unusual and marks her as an obvious mutant.
- Isaac Asimov's Forward the Foundation has a (human) judge with faint blue skin — the color gets more pronounced when she's angry.
- The blue-skinned carnival freak from Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven (mercury poisoning caused his unusual skin color).
- The Capitol and its inhabitants in The Hunger Games. They are stated to have ridiculous and freakish fashions, including body dyes.
- The Uglies series hints at this in Diego. It's made clear that more "Extreme" fashions aren't allowed in New Pretty Town but in Diego anything seems to go.
- In the web-novel Domina, Simon has purple skin, while his sister has jet-black. Probably just another cosmo; no one bats an eye at it.
- The human inhabitants of the moon in The Darkangel Trilogy can have white (not pale beige), black (not dark brown), copper, amber, blue, green, teal, or purple (possibly two different shades of that last, no less) skin. They were almost certainly deliberately engineered for it.
- The inhabitants of Tormance in David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus have many different possible skin tones, some of which don't exist in our spectrum.
- The Jewels in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance are six siblings with six different skin colors - blue, white (snow-white, not pale-white-person white), yellow, green, red, and black.
- The "Colored People" in the Xanth series. They started out as blacks accidentally immigrating from our world circa the Civil Rights Movement, and due to the rule of pun in Xanth, their kids ended up with having skin tones of pretty much every color under the sun.
- In the Mr. Men series, the Mr. Men and Little Misses have a variety of colors. The same thing occurs in The Mr. Men Show, and applies to hair as well.
- In Midnight's Children, a holy man suggests that Jesus would have had sky blue skin so as not to be of any specific ethnicity.
- Destined to Lead: The feas come in every single colour imaginable.
- Spectral Shadows has animal characters that are all sorts of different colors.
- Angel: Lorne has green skin with red horns. He is from another dimension.
- Star Trek gave us blue Andorians and Bolians, Green Skinned Space Babes from Orion, and orange Talaxians with polka dots. Most other races just have whatever colorations Earthlings have, since make-up isn't free. Thus, Vulcans can be black, white, or Asian. Klingons were played mostly by white actors in brown shoe polish in TOS, but black actors played Klingons more often as of TNG.
- "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", probably the most anvilicious episode of the original series, involved aliens who were chalk white on one side of their bodies and coal black on the other side. They were in a race war between those who were white on the right and black on the left, and those who were black on the right and white on the left.
- For its part, the Star Wars Expanded Universe has a number of humanlike aliens and "near-humans" who are brightly colored. Most are explained as being normal humans in the far past who got separated onto different planets. Different living conditions and thousands of years' worth of microevolution resulted in people with blue and pink skin. For instance, Twi'leks come in all colors of the rainbow.
- The Doodlebops, a Canadian children's TV show. The cast are all brightly colored.
- Farscape has quite a few technicolour aliens, with those in the main cast doubling as Technicolour Space Babes. There's priestess Zhaan, whose bright blue skin has a marble effect to it. This is particularly noticeable with her being bald. There's also Chiana, whose skin and hair are pale grey, with darker highlights in particular places - like her collarbone and cheekbones. Sikozu perhaps also counts, though her skin is mostly peachy-cream, there are scale-textured red-gold patches to match her bright red hair.
- From "Rapper's Delight":
''... and I like to say hello to the black, to the white, the red and the brown, the purple and yellow ..."
Myths & Religion
- In Hindu Mythology, some gods are often depicted with such skin tones. The most famous case is Vishnu, who's blue. Three of his avatars (Rama, Krishna, and Kalki) are also commonly depicted as having blue skin.
- In Egyptian Mythology, Osiris is often depicted as green, which is appropos given he's technically undead.
- A rare Real Life example occurs in Stern's Ali pinball, where boxer Muhammad Ali is light blue on the playfield.
- In Cirqus Voltaire, the Ringmaster has a bright green face, while some of the performers have uncharacteristically bright yellow and orange skin tones.
- The various alien patrons in Big Bang Bar have blue, orange, yellow, and green-hued skin tones.
- In Spectrum, most of the people featured have either light green skin or green-tinted skin tones.
- Being inspired by pulp sci-fi, the Dungeons & Dragons setting Carcosa features people that come in green, red, blue, purple, yellow, black, brown, orange, transparent, and white, plus jale, dolm, and ulfire in a Shout-Out to A Voyage to Arcturus, and neither black nor brown is negroid, and white is not caucasoid.
- Starting in second edition, a number of existing humanoid races became more colorful, such as giants and genies who could now be green or blue or what have you. Prior to this, their skin and hair color had just never been mentioned.
- Exalted has a few of these to go with the surprisingly-common blue hair, such as the Djala (nicknamed "Panda People" by the fans because of their white-with-black-patches skin).
- Then there's Jade Caste Alchemicals, who come in six different colours to match the shades of "jade" in the setting.
- New Horizon has Wafans, Ridiculously Human Robots in any shade you can imagine.
- Warhammer 40,000 generally averts this trope with humans, except for the Salamanders, who have jet black skin due to how their recruiting world is sitting almost right next to their sun. This is more noticeable in the recent edition, as previous editions had them with vaguely African skin tones, while the new ones just slapped on actual black with little regard for highlights.
- The Orks have green skin ("greenskin" is a common slang term for them) and the Tau have blue skin.
- Tyranids, to a degree, also have this, mainly because they're biologically engineered. Still, one wonders why a hive mind would consider florescent pink with reflective metals to be good for camouflage.
- Saints Row: The Third has various skin colors and lusters that do not occur naturally.
- Artix Entertainment is always known to have it
- HeroSmash has Yergan, a character with yellow skin.
- Psychonauts features a lot of blue and purple characters. It interestingly averts the "race" clause of this trope—it features a green black girl and a bright lavender Spanish man.
- Chops is a Black Canadian with red skin and green hair, though, and Milla Vodello is a Brazilian whose skin and hair are actually fairly realistic, if a little dark in the skin.
- The minor character Yoa in Beyond Good & Evil is blue. It's implied that she's "not a local," though she's still considered "human" to the game's scanner.
- Bosco of the Telltale Sam & Max: Freelance Police games is described in-game as "light purple", but has an African-American voice. His mother is a more typical "black" medium brown though.
- Hugh Bliss, who is superficially a Caucasian guy, can change his skin color to colors of the rainbow. He's actually not human at all, but rather a sentient colony of space bacteria.
- Guitar Hero World Tour's character creation mode allows the full spectrum of color to be used for hair, beard - and skin.
- Nosgoth's vampires start off as pretty standard pale, bloodless looking folks, but as they get older they tend to display a large range of color, including bright green (Vorador), yellow-green (Kain), and purple-ish grey (Umah). Then there's Raziel, who while not having skin, has dark-blue muscle tissue for some reason. It's also worth noting that the original Vampire race had light blue skin.
- Elemental - War of Magic - your sovereign can pick any skin color, whether or not you're one of the dragon-hybrid guys.
- The Sims 2. Every monstrous version of a sim has a different skin color. For example, alien hybrids are green, as are evil witches and plantsims (dark green and pale green with vines), vampires turn a shade pale, zombies become a greenish blue, werewolves are brown. Good witches don't change color, but apparently have glitter embedded into their skin for some reason.
- Not to mention the endless mods you can download from the 'net which can give you just about any skin color you desire, up to and including rainbow.
- The Sims 3 abolished the monsters (for now, anyway), but allows you to have exotic skintones right off the bat. In addition to normal skintones, there's also red, blue, and green. Plus, you can adjust it to any shade you wish. You can also set their hair or eye color to anything you wish and it will pass to their children. A man with blonde hair and a woman with black can have a child that has black hair with purple tips.
- Many of the townspeople in the game Nox have fairly normal skin, but due to character customization, you can make the player character any color you want. Of course, no one notices if you happen to be a blue bald man walking around in your underwear...
- In Yume Nikki, the Mall-like world is full of people of many different colors. The character Shitai, aka Dead-Guy-On-The-Pavement, has green skin. This is probably because he's dead and rotting, but a lot of fanart depicts him as a handsome man who just happens to be green.
- City of Heroes allows you to create characters with skin in any of thirty shades spread across the rainbow or ten monochromatic shades from white to black in addition to a wide range of 'normal' skin shades. The NPC characters use this to a greater or lesser extent; for example, in the Outcasts NPC villain group, characters with ice powers have pale-blue skin, characters with fire powers have red skin, and characters with stone powers have grey-brown skin. The members of the Trolls NPC villain group all have skin that is a light green, a side effect of their use of the drug Superadine.
- Geneforge. In the earlier games, only spellcasters had funny skin colors, but more recently, anyone could be blue, green, or hot pink.
- The Fire Clan of Golden Sun have some spectacular skin colors. Among the major antagonists, Saturos is blue, Agatio is green, Karst is pink, and Menardi is white except for her ears, which are dark red. They also appear not to be entirely human, since they have scales, Pointy Ears, Facial Markings, and equally bizarre hair colors. It's never really in-game mentioned beyond "kind of strange-looking".
- Turning into dragons wasn't obvious enough?
- Again, it doesn't really come up in idle chatter, and the protagonists' parents get turned into a dragon, so what does that mean?
- The Beastmen of Morgal in Dark Dawn also tend to get pretty outrageous fur colors, especially since they're supposed to be... well, animal-people. The band alone contains a bubblegum-pink Cat Girl, a teal green fox, and a dark blue wolf. The king of Morgal is also blue-furred and has brown hair. Rather disconcerting. After the firing of the Apollo Lens, everyone left in Morgal apparently has gold fur now, bar Sveta who wasn't there during the firing.
- Also in Dark Dawn, Blados of Tuaparang has blue-white skin. He was initially assumed by fans to be from Prox, but lacks the pointy ears and scales (and, you know, is from Tuaparang). Another character from his hometown looks entirely human aside from having Anime Hair and horns, so again, "not entirely human" might be the cause.
- Inverted in The Dishwasher - everyone has completely white skin, regardless of actual race. The Chef is, according to the creator, quite black, but appears just as ashen as everyone else.
- The Double Dragon arcade games have technicolor palette swaps of the enemies in later areas, such as the green Abobo (probably an intentional reference to The Incredible Hulk) and blue Burnov.
- In a world where every car has a different paint job, the Putt-Putt series is bound to play this straight. It gets even better when you find you can change his color. It always starts out purple.
- Pajama Sam has light blue skin, as with most of the other "normal" characters in the series.
- In Jak and Daxter, the Sages' skin colors correspond with the type of eco they're the Sage of. So Samos Hagai, sage of green eco, has green skin, the Blue Sage is blue, and the Red Sage is, unsurprisingly, red.
- In the Amiga and NES versions of Maniac Mansion, the Edison family all have cyan blue skin, while the rest of the human characters are "flesh" colored.
- In Move or Die, Carla's skin is a strange bluish white color. She's probably supposed to be really pale from not being allowed outside.
- Mass Effect's asari range anywhere from light blue and teal to dark purple, even green, in one case. Salarians run the gamut from red to green to gray to yellow. Krogan are a pale yellow, the hanar are a bio-luminescent pink, and the drell are seen in varying shades of green, blue, and yellow with red "gills". Suffice to say, it's a very colorful galaxy.
- This is brought up by Shepard when Mordin Solus mentions how humans are the most genetically diverse species of all. Shepard points to all the different colors of other races. Solus brushes him off saying that physical appearance is only one factor in genetic diversity.
- Canonically, there's Blanka's green skin in Street Fighter, as well as Oro's yellow, Necro's bleach white, Gil's blue and red and Seth's gray. While Dhalsim and Urien have more mundane dark skin colors, alternate color schemes like to give them all manner of strange, unnatural skin colors.
- Akuma goes through this trope a lot. Canonically, he's a simple Dark-Skinned Redhead, though alternate color schemes will sometimes give him ashen gray or dark red colors. When he becomes Shin Akuma, his skin also sometimes turns dark red, and as Oni it becomes blue.
- In EarthBound, the overworld-sprites of human enemies are a blue-skinned color-swap of their benevolent versions.
- Also, the battle-sprite of the Cranky Lady has purple skin, while her overworld-sprite is as blue as the others. The stronger version, the Extra Cranky Lady, has the same overworld-sprite, but a tanned battle-sprite.
- Floating Point: As the entire story takes place Inside a Computer System populated by A.I., the living Programs have a rainbow array of skin tones. This should result in no bias, but one character deliberately changes his skin to a neutral grey to avoid any preconceived notions about his background or temperament.
- In the MediaGlyphs Project, a bias-free pictorial language based on Chinese grammar, the genderless human figures appear in blue, green, orange, and purple.
- Monster High: An overwhelming majority of the characters have odd skin tones, which is justified by the fact that they're all monsters.
- Ingesting certain silver-containing compounds causes argyria (silver poisoning, in short), the symptoms of which include one's skin turning blue. Certain other unhealthful conditions can cause red, yellow, or orange skin.
- A particular enzyme deficiency can also cause blue skin. Read the Straight Dope on the Blue Fugates.
- On a related note, prolonged contact with copper will turn your skin green. It's not a myth or something made up for that episode where the main characters get scammed on their class rings, it really happens and it's the primary reason why you won't see many copper ring bands, earring hooks, or anything else that stays tight to the skin.
- Stan Jones, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate as a Libertarian, consumed home-made colloidal silver out of fear of Y2K problems, causing his skin to permanently become a blue-gray color.
- Chrysiasis(gold poisoning) does the exact same thing as argyria where the skin turns blue-gray.
- Eating nothing but carrots for an extended period of time will turn your skin orange, most obviously your palms and the bottoms of your feet. The effect will wear off once you change your diet.
- This is because of beta-carotene, which is sometimes used as a yellow/orange food coloring, such as in the drink Sunny Delight (Sunny D). There have been reports of children turning orange because they drank Sunny Delight in excessive quantities.
- In Irish and Old Norse, describing someone as "black" would indicate their hair color, not skin color. People with black skin would instead be called "blue skinned."
- Jaundice, a symptom often associated with sickle-cell anemia and malaria, gives the skin a nasty, lemony-yellow color.
- Albinos, heroic or otherwise.
- Full-Body tattoos.
- In a fascinating and extremely rare genetic disorder, certain biracial children have been born with a "stripe" down the middle of their bodies (particularly their stomachs)- a dividing line between the dark and the light skin. Chimerism is more common in certain animals. Tortoiseshell cats have two lines of skin cells covering different parts of the body.
- Some fake tan products don't quite get the color right and dye your skin orange instead.
- A certain type of birthmark known as the Mongolian spot (warning: link contains picture of a baby's bottom) causes the skin around the lower back and buttocks in small children to appear blue. While most common amongst people of East Asian descent and Polynesians, it has been recorded in children across the ethnic spectrum.
- Kids without "proper" flesh-toned crayons/pencils/markers/et cetera will frequently default to more colorful options. Oranges seem to be common.
- Strawberry marks aren't all that uncommon in babies, but some are born with unusually large patches of bright red areas due to those. Rare cases have them covering half the face or more — this can be corrected with cosmetic surgery, usually. Can also occur with children afflicted with large areas of hemangiomas — some of the skin will have the large, bright red masses, but other areas are just flat and red. This is also often dealt with surgically, especially if the hemangiomas get too large. Mikhail Gorbachev's forehead mark is perhaps the best-known example.
- The "Blue Fugates" of Kentucky have literal blue skin due to a genetic condition where they have high levels of methemoglobin. The father and four of the seven children he had with his normal-complexioned wife all have it, while the others do not. Besides them, the condition is very rare due to being a recessive gene.
- If one ingests the element Gallium (or drinks it due to its melting point below body temperature) in extreme qualities they will turn blue. Specifically their blood will turn blue because Gallium will act as a substitute for iron in forming hemoglobin, the chemical that gives blood its color and caries Oxygen. Gallium hemoglobin works just as well as normal hemoglobin and we all have a little inside us naturally, except they are blue.
- Even without genetic abnormalities or unusual diet, healthy human skin can be any shade of brown imaginable, and ranges from extremes of nearly white to blue-black. This is an amazing variety considering most of it only developed in the last 30,000 years or so of our evolution.