A catch-all term used for anime and cartoon characters with bizarre, improbable, or just plain goofy-looking hairstyles.
Usually, the most important characters of the story will have wild spikes or a cool-looking hairdo in order to stand out among the crowd. It may be one or more different colors that don't appear naturally in real humans (blue is a popular choice). Sometimes the hair appears semi-transparent, with the character's eyes visible through it, although this presumably represents hair fine enough that it isn't completely obscuring, rather than anything outré.
Anime Hair is very common among protagonists of anime/manga for the Shonen (Demographic), although the trend seems to be headed to more plausible styles: compare Son Goku's hair to Ichigo's.
Forms of Anime Hair include:
Implausibly, Garnier started marketing a hair-styling range called "manga hair" around 2005 or so, complete with commercials full of bounding Goku-coiffured gents and ladies. Inconceivable! It does deliver nigh-on-indestructible results and is practically water-proof. Said spikes have caused injuries to huggers.
Anime & Manga
In the world of crazy hair, there is nothing that comes close to Yu-Gi-Oh!. It would be easier to list the characters in the series who don't have anime hair, but that sure as hell won't stop us from trying.
Yugi Muto (pictured) is an absurd example, as he has two sets of colored spikes. One is yellow, with a much larger red-tipped black layer on top of it. This gets even weirder in a flashback showing the Pharaoh as a baby, which seems to imply that those actually are his natural hair colour(s).
His grandfather also has basically the same haircut, only gray and with a hat. When he was younger, it had the same coloration as Yugi's, which suggests that it's genetic.
Yugi's friends have weird hair, too. Otogi/Duke has standard black spikes, but Honda/Tristan's hair is a giant brown horn. Anzu/Tea and Jounochi/Joey both have very poofy hair that sticks out at least several inches from their head.
Kimo, Pegasus's henchman from the Duelist Kingdom arc, has a hairstyle like Tristan's, except it points straight upward.
From the very first series, Kaiba had green hair. "Screw the rules, I have green hair!"
If you think the hairstyles are bad, consider this: every time we see a younger version or past life of a character, their hair is exactly the same, except possibly shorter. The only exception is Isis, who has loose hair as an adult and braids in a flashback. So the hair is apparently genetic.
The dub has a moment in the Virtual World filler arc where a villain hoping to defeat and possess Yugi talks about how he'll be happy to walk free in a younger body, but he'll have to shave his (Yugi's) head first. This is the only mention anywhere of that hair, and it wasn't in the original.
The Abridged Series has Yugi respond saying that "Nobody, but no-o-o-body fucks with the hair."
Maximilian Pegasus, who is in his mid-20s, has silver hair that looks like some sort of corrugated sheet metal. And apparently, it's been like that since he was 12.
Jun Manjoume/Chazz Princeton with spikes that look like they were stolen from a chainsaw.
Sho/Syrus's big, light blue flop of a do.
Paradox's golden locks, earning him the Fan Nickname, 'squidhead'. Hmm...'Starfish', 'Jellyfish', 'Crabhead', 'Squidhead'...Apparently Kazuki Takahashi loves his sushi.
Yuma from Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL must be seen to be believed. He has possibly the weirdest hair the series has yet, and that really says something.
It's not just Yuma, though his black and reddish-pink shrimp 'do does deserve some recognition. Almost every single character in Zexal has at least two hair colours, even if their style isn't too ridiculous...but most of them are anyway. Case in point, the two main male duelists besides Yuma and Astral, Shark and Kaito; Shark has a purple and light blue octopus hairdo, and Kaito has a blonde and green, vaguely droplet-shaped style that has the fandom still debating over whether it looks more like an onion, a strawberry, a flower bud, or one of another hundred or so things.
Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Kimo always refers to himself in the third person as "my hair", and claims that it has super powers. At one point he refuses to let Joey into the tournament because his hair "isn't crazy enough", but fortunately Yugi's hair is "crazy enough for two people". Also, the Pharaoh needs to get his hair sharpened.
Another Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged; in Marik's Evil Council of Doom 3, Dartz's hair changes colour in every shot.
Being created in the late 80s, Ghost in the Shells Togusa', a man from the 2030s, is doomed to be haunted by his spectacular mullet throughout all adaptations of the manga.
Pick any Saiyan character from Dragon Ball. It gets even weirder once they go up to Super Saiyan levels. When Goku reaches Super Saiyan level three, he grows golden hair all the way down to his feet.
Goku lampshades his hair in the original Dragonball as seen here.
Not only that, but pure Saiyans retain the exact same hairstyle outside of powered-up states throughout their lives unless cut, and even then, it'll grow back to the same way it was before provided it wasn't cut too much.
Gets a nod in the movie when Goku tries to slick back his hair for a party - only for it to spring back up. Bulma only has a few blue streaks in her hair, though.
The title character of Yotsuba&! has green hair in four little pigtails that stick out at angles around her head. They indicate a four-leaf clover, as that is also the meaning of her name.
And then, Boris Tepes Dracula slices off both of the half-pompadours, leading to Ryu passing out. And THEN Ryu gets back up and randomly regrows the whole dang pomp to its original "Ultra Pompadour" form just before he kicks Boris' batty butt.
And in case you haven't noticed from the images, it's a heart-shaped pompadour.
Pretty much everyone in Tenchi Muyo!, although Tenchi and Seina themselves are a little reasonable in the spikiness level. Washu, on the other hand, has the part around her face deliberately styled to look like a crab, and then you get to the ponytail....
It looks like she has a bush glued on her head.
Most of the female Mai-HiME cast has relatively normal hair styles, although in a small rainbow of colors (including Natsuki, whose hair is blue). There are three major exceptions, though:
Shiho's unique pink double-pigtails,
the young teacher Midori's bright red spikes, and
the even younger Alyssa and her "blondWashu feathers."
The title character of Hikaru no Go is a borderline case. Anyone with black hair and a bottle of peroxide can have blond bangs, but this qualifies due to the sheer length of time he keeps it, aging from 11 to 16 with the two-tone hair.
Aside from his huge blonde afro, Bobobo has what looks like a long, thin moustache... that's actually two of his nosehairs. WTF?
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Part 3... yeesh. We have Polnareff, with hair like a blue push-pop. But topping him is Abdul, with what can only be described as six vertical curly straws for hair. And then you get to Part 5 and there's Giorno◊. Wow. He could probably catch bullets with these things.
Although most characters seem not to notice, some people do, and Josuke tends to get pissy if people make fun of his giant pompadour.
Astro Boy has two small "spikes" of hair which, according to Tezuka, was based on his own bed-hair.
Bonus points: no matter where Astro's head is pointing, the spikes stay perfectly still.
One Piece has the Baroque Works villain, Mr. 3. His hair is a crazy topknot shaped like a big "3". And it's almost always ON FIRE.
And that's only the tip of the iceberg! You've got Buggy and his blue pigtails, Franky's outrageous Ace Ventura 'do that deflates when he's tired, Igaram's pale-blond powdered-wig-esque monstrosity that's full of GUNS, Dr. Hiriluk's wacky medical cross-shaped hair....
There is also Baroque Works' Miss Doublefinger, who could turn her giant curly blue afro (along with the rest of her body) into sharp spikes, professor Clover from the island of Ohara, Robin's place of birth and his clover leaf styled hair and it may be argued that Crocus' Crocus flower head ornaments, former crewmate to Gold Roger and acting doctor to the great whale Laboon, might in fact be a colorful crop of hair. At any rate, One Piece is full to the brim with outrageously fun character styles, and has a plethora of hairstyles.
Don't forget Usagi Tsukino in Sailor Moon. Those twin ponytails that reach to her ANKLES are first tied into the large knots we see on top of her head before they dangle that far down. Apparently, she's never heard of a haircut....
In Usagi's defence, at the beginning of the series the pigtails 'only' reached her hips, and the buns were smaller, and the manga gives a reason to why her hair gets so long, that being her body changing to what it was like when she was Serenity, but even then, Serenity (both Princess and Neo-Queen) takes it to entire new levels, with the buns being the size of apples, and the tails being so long they trail a couple of feet across the floor when she stands up, and she wears stiletto heeled shoes as well!
Some people haven't in real life, either. Look at country singer Crystal Gayle, for example. And note that Usagi's hair style does exist in real life, and predates the anime, though it's uncommon and the knots/buns are usually around half that size.
And for what it's worth, the sheer ridiculousness of her hair is Lampshaded in the story. Mamoru frequently mocks her buns, and at one point Usagi herself wonders aloud if her hair really is bizarre-looking.
The Amazons Quartet◊; It's hard to find a hairstyle weirder or more impossible to reproduce than JunJun's. (She's the one in green, in case you were wondering.)
Chibi Usa and Chibi Chibi take the odango to a next level with pointed and heart shaped buns in pink and red respectively. Even better, Chibi Usa's hair is naturally pink, even though her mom is blonde and her dad's hair is black.
Lampshaded in the Rosario + Vampire manga when Moka refers to her younger sister Cocoa (a.k.a. Kokoa) as wearing an "anime-like hairdo". (Ironically, however, Cocoa's hairstyle isn't particularly unrealistic, while Moka's is nearly floor length and turns silver on occasion.)
Kenpachi from Bleach is a solid example. His hair is pulled into spikes with little jingle bells at the end... bells, people! Amongst the upper crust Soul Reapers Renji and Byakuya also qualify. There are also some stellar examples amongst the Visoreds and the Arrancar.
Of course, Kenpachi's hair also doesn't really fit here since he purposely styles his hair into those crazy spikes, and when left alone, his hair hangs down in a rather normal way.
Kenpachi's hair style is parodied in the actual anime. One omake has him taking a long time to get ready because his arm wasn't tall enough to attach the bell to his highest spike. Being such a Bad Ass, he obviously can't ask any of his subordinates for help.
As tamer examples, it is worth mentioning Rukia and Ururu. Their hair don't seem very outlandish, except there is always a strand of it over their faces, even during battle scenes. Bonus points for Ururu's case, whose strand for some reason is always divided in an upside-down "Y" shape, framing her eyes and nose.
As of the fourth movie, when Rukia was dangled upside down by Gunjo, that strand of hair of hers didn't even move an inch. Hell, her hair, apart from the tufts of it at her shoulders, weren't moving at all.
Eve of Black Cat and her expy counterpart Golden Darkness of To Love-Ru certainly qualify, given their ability to turn their hair into fists, blades, or virtually any other item the situation calls for.
Jessie/Musashi from the Pokémon anime has very long red hair in the shape of a drop or comma... and is always looking the same whatever the angle of view. And the hairdo also seems perfectly rigid — she once slapped both James and Meowth with the tail of her hair.
Lots of characters in the Poke-verse have oddly-colored, gravity-defying, or just plain wacky hairstyles. It's far more common to see a character with an improbable (or downright impossible) hairstyle than a realistic one.
Subverted unexpectedly with Emerald's debut in Pokémon Special. His croissant-shaped hairdo is revealed in a flashback to be manufactured... his real hair reaches to his knees. Ruby was seen helping him gel it back into a crescent, raising the question of what the Pokémon world's hair gel manufacturers put in that stuff.
Magari Kazuma has the usual static-y spikes, but Nora's hair is styled to make his head resemble a dog's body, with inumimi bangs/sideburns and a long doggy-tail.
Kakashi from Naruto got hit by two attacks that disintegrated his gloves, his vest, and his headband; yet his hair was still perfect!
Sasuke's hair, Jiraiya's long, flowing, spiky white hair, or Chouji's (part two) long, brown spiky hair? Which admittedly isn't all that amazing, until he uses his Human Boulder technique and uses his hair to turn himself in to a human hedgehog (Jiraiya also used a similar attack minus the rolling).
More typically, Kisame and Ao both sport the same Johnny Bravo-esque "hair all sticking up to a point above their forehead" do,
Many characters in Steel Angel Kurumi have odd hair, but Mikhail's hair takes the cake◊. Note that it's not wind that makes strands just float out there; they stay that way inside, too, with absolutely nothing to move them.
Mahou Sensei Negima! has Ricardo, the Hot-Bloodedsenator of Megalomesembria who sports a hairstyle containing five curvy spikes that makes his head look kinda like a starfish.
Ken Akamatsu's comments alongside early drafts for Kazumi Asakura describe her hairstyle as inspired by a pineapple...
Also Quintum and Quatrum. Their sister Sextum has much more normal hair though.
Nodoka's hair is totally normal in her normal style, being down just to the bottom of her skull and then shaved underneath. Except, that is, for the fact that she possesses the magical ability to not only get a ponytail out of hair that short (which should be impossible to begin with) but to get a high ponytail at the top of her head which somehow manages to be longer than her hair is when it's down, reaching almost to her shoulders. In other words, her hair more than doubles in length when she puts it into a ponytail.
In Solty Rei the main character has hair that looks like a hollow four leaf clover. But she's a robot so maybe it makes sense.
Vash the Stampede from Trigun. In the anime his hair is one of the ways Meryl and Millie track him, and in the manga he earns the nickname "Spiky". For his early style, which points strait up, apparently without the aid of gel, and in spite of gunfights, dust and sand.
Takuma from Elf Princess Rane takes the cake, being a full parody of anime hair. It's sky blue, has two tendrils down the front (the one on his right is thick and goes down to his feet, ending in a curl, while the one on his left is straight, thin, and goes to around his belt), and is styled into an epic curled horn on his left. Said horn is so massive that he regularly has to prop it up with his hands.
The Pretty Cure franchise has given its heroines a few hairstyles that are weird even by Magical Girl standards. Cure Black and Cure White had pretty tame 'dos, but things have gotten more ridiculous with each new series. It started getting extreme with Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star, where both of the heroines had pony tails that stuck more or less straight up; possibly reached its peak when Yes! Pretty Cure 5 introduced a heroine with and odd (pink) variation on the odango hairstyle where instead of buns, she has rings, and another who has weird cones on either side of her head with corkscrew-like pigtails coming out of them; and calmed down a bit in Fresh Pretty Cure!, where the most bizarre hairstyle was an extremely long, lavender side ponytail that looked more like a giant drill than anything. It came roaring back in Smile Pretty Cure, where all five girls get wild hairdos. And let's not get into their Princess Form.
Fairly averted in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. While still different than what most people would see in real life, it's still fairly realistic. Blue hair is totally averted. A side effect is that this sometimes makes some of the characters (chiefly the girls) a bit hard to tell from one another.
While most of the characters from Detective Conan have fairly normal-looking hair, Ran Mouri (Rachel Moore) has a spike of it jutting out above her forehead.
In Soul Eater, the hair of the eponymous character is white and spiky and Black☆Star's is light blue and also spiky (but resembling a star), but Ox Ford spends much time fashioning his into two tall, pointed 'pillars' of hair and was otherwise bald until recently.
The female cast of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien sports a variety of utterly bizarre hairstyles and colors, perhaps exmplified by the hair of major character Mitsuki, which is ocean blue and roughly the length of her ENTIRE BODY. Made even more jarring by the fact that the series bills itself as a "realistic" slice-of-life drama.
The hair color/style has nothing to do with how "realistic" the drama is. Also, except the improbable hair color for people who are suppose to be Japanese, their hair are pretty much normal or at least probable, even if you don't compare them to the crazy hair in other animes.
The hairstyles of the significant characters seen so far in Shiki range from totally normal to typical spikes to this◊ and this◊. The deaths are thus far less baffling than some of these hairdos.
Nia's hair in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is pastel blue and yellow in color, and the long hair running down her back resembles cotton candy in consistency.
It also acts somewhat like a flame at times, for instance, when wind blows, it will flow in the wind like a flickering flame, and if you pay attention small parts will fly off and disappear like small bits of flame.
Sena's hairstyle from Eyeshield 21 is a cross between Goku's, Astro Boy's, and Tsuna's, as well as being two tone (though he actually develops that later on, so he probably dyed his bangs). Evidently, the hairstyle's genetic, as his dad has the same thing, except with a receding hairline. Almost as if to lampshade his very anime-esque hair cut, when he gels in down it looks EXACTLY like Astro Boy's. Milder examples are Ikkyu's Vegeta-do, Kurita's chestnut spike, Mizumachi's blonde bedhead, Monta/Komosubi/Tomgano/Yukimitsu's spikes, and Sakuraba's hair antennae.
Hiruma's is a subversion. It looks typical shonen hair, but in his flashback, it's revealed he has perfectly normal black hair. The spiky blonde do is part of his image. The same with Kotaro, whose constantly bushing his hair to make it stay spiky.
Doi◊ from Wandering Son. Not to the extent of a lot of other examples, and it does resemble styles that a lot of teenage boys in Japan sport, but it still counts (especially in later appearances).
Bakugan has a few of these. Aside from the typical natural green hairs and gravity-defying spiky hair, one character even has green hair except for a small red forelock.
Kodomo no Jikan gives us Rin and Mimi, who must have never even heard of a haircut. Knee length pigtails (with eight pink balls) and a ponytail just as long, respectively.
Sunny from Toriko has long fully controllable hair that is white, pink, green and blue. Each color strand can sense/taste different things such as heat, cold, pressure and pain. It contains billions of micro-strands that are invisible to the naked eye. He's used it as a net, to walk on water, to deflect attacks and to climb mountains. It may be the epitome of anime hair.
Il Sole Penetra Le Illusioni has this pretty heavily. Luna is most bizarre, having her hair grow in what appear to be strips, but none of the major characters have anything particularly normal. And this is a Magical Girl show, so they only get weirder when they transform.
The Kino's Journey anime adaptation gave Kino this. In the light novel she has a more plausible haircut.
Kazuki from Buso Renkin would have fairly standard Shonen Hair, if it weren't for the inexplicable M shape in there that looks like there's a misshapen pair of Triangle Shades sticking out of his head.
If that wasn't bad enough, take a look at Soya Muto◊ from the PS2 game.
Calvin gets literal Anime Hair in one comic when he uses Crisco to style his hair into two large spikes as a Shout-Out to Astro Boy.
in one strip, where he sleeps on his hair and wakes up with the front part matted down. He decides he likes it so much, he gels it to stay that way. Hobbes suggests he gets curlers for the back, but we don't see that.
Hobbes once told him that his "hat hair" didn't look too different from his normal hair.
Depending on the artist, Quicksilver sometimes ends up with hair antennae that defy gravity.
In Teen Titans, Starfire's hair goes down past her waist and merges with the stream of energy left behind when she flies.
Same with Karolina from Runaways. In this case, though, the stream of energy is her hair (she's a pseudo Energy Being).
The lack of this in comics is almost as absurd as its prevalence in anime. Aliens species (even ones from a thousand years in the future) have hair cuts and colors that would be perfectly normal today.
Star Wars Princess Leia's Danish bun hairdo looks even weirder in her manga incarnation.
Wolvie's crazy hair is parodied by Lobo. Lobo's hair seems to stand up like porcupine quills all on its own! Lobo's crazy hair is parodied by Bloodwulf, who sticks his hand in an electrical socket to get it to stand up like that.
Liz in the comic strip Committed, and her daughter Tracy, both have a haircut that goes high above their heads, then curls forwards like a dolphin's fin (and Tracy also has a variant Ahoge that sticks out from the back of her head rather than the top.) The father, Joe, has hair that goes straight forwards instead of up, making him look like he's balancing a platter on his head. It's best demonstrated with an image.
It was lampshaded before that, in the first episode no less. By the narrator.
No one knows why his hair does that. Is it static electricity? Is it hair gel? No, probably not.
Many other Calvinverse characters have this, like Dr. Brainstorm and his brother and rival Thunderstorm. The Lightning Man (who is Dr. Brainstorm's uncle) has Hershey's Kiss-shaped hair.
One character from Titan Legends has "Saiyan-hair" due to an odd change when he acquired his powers. Some more Genre Savvy characters mock this; he just tries to ignore it.
A Growing Affection: Saburo of the Grass has "light green hair" in "three, foot-long spikes" that are frequently described as looking like the trident. Ayameko of the Grass has a fairly normal style but her hair is blue on one side and slowly changes to purple on the other.
In The Legend of Total Drama Island, Chris gets a taste of this courtesy of Katie and Sadie, when he refuses once too often to let them be on the same team. They physically assault him and, among other indignities, they forcibly restyle the vain host's hair to “an irregular, spiky mane, the likes of which is rarely seen outside of anime.”
Rurouni Kenshin both plays this trope straight and averts it. Kenshin has his iconic red hair (which would be quite improbable in the period the film takes place in), while Sanosuke loses his anime spikes in favor of a more messy, disheveled look.
Takeshi Kitano's 2003 Zatoichi reboot had the title character sporting platinum blonde hair, which like the Kenshin example above, would have been highly unlikely in that era.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney somehow manages to take the already unusual and often excessive hair of the Ace Attorney series and actually make them happen in real life. Yes, this includes Phoenix's spiky hair, the judge's prodigious beard, and even Matt Engarde's Peek-a-Bangs.
Agrivex in Lonely Were Wolf Girl, uses obscene amounts of hair gel and metallic dyes to achieve improbable spiky hair styles. It's noted in narration if her Aunt ever did sacrifice in a volcano (It Makes Sense in Context) her hair would probably be untouched.
It is unclear how Nate Mitotsudaira was portrayed in the Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon novels, but the anime adaptation gives her five absolutely huge drill-hairs.
Live Action TV
Cat Valentine in Victorious has hair that she dyed an unnatural color.
Male Centauri have their hair styled into the shape of a fan as a status symbol (while the females shave their heads). As the show went on it was brought slightly more under control.
Fun Fact: This was actually a result of a miscommunication. The Centauri were originally supposed to wear their hair like humans with length signifying social standing. When Peter Jurasik (Londo) was fitted with the prosthetic for a makeup test they accidentally put it on so it would stick up straight, and Jurasik (who was well aware that it wasn't supposed to look like that) decided to go and "model" the peacock-hair for series creator JMS as a joke. JMS didn't realize he was kidding and, fearing that Jurasik was a touchy actor, told him it looked great. Jurasik, believing JMS was an eccentric director, believed him. And so the Centauri Crest was born.
Ambassador Delenn of the normally hairless Minbari's hair after her transformation into a half-human appears to be this, but JMS confirmed that its seemingly impossible configuration is made possible by a gap between her bone crest and skin.
Mrs. Slocombe from Are You Being Served? has very unusual hair indeed. She wears it in a beehive, and in every episode it is a different unnatural color. Sometimes it's blue, sometimes it's pink, etc.
Cheyne, from Season 15 of The Amazing Race. He had fans wondering how much hair gel he had to bring with him to keep his hair looking that spiky throughout the entire race.
A recurring theme in Kamen Rider. Tsukasa Kadoya had a different hairstyle for every alternate world he went to, each more ridiculous than the next. Ankh's hair is a giant curl on one side and a crew cut on the other, fittingly as he's a kind of bird spirit. It says something about the show as a whole that Gentaro's pompadour isn't really that ridiculous looking in comparison.
Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of Ancient Aliens has hair that can give Yugi Mutou a run for his money.
David Bowie has had anime hair for longer than anime has been in the West. In fact, many people like to point out that David Bowie must be very influential in Japan because almost every JRPG character looks like him.
Rogue, lead singer of darkwave band The Cruxshadows, has to sleep on a tightly rolled up pillow to keep from crushing his hair. At one time it was fairly tame, if spiky, then seemed to metamorphose into... a sort of scythe-pile... of spiky dreads... that were purple. Which has taken different forms, but never seemingly gone back to normal. The hair doesn't even seem to move.
Joy Electric's Ronnie Martin shows up in The White Songbook liner notes with a patch of hair on the very top of his head spiked straight up, and the rest of his hair carefully combed down. It's almost, but not quite, a faux-hawk.
At the height of NSYNC's fame, they were famous for experimenting with different hairstyles and hair colors. That's them being sedate.
Cú Chulainn in his ríastrad as described in the Táin Bó Cúailnge — "The hair of his head twisted like the tange of a red thornbush stuck in a gap; if a royal apple tree with all its kingly fruit were shaken above him, scarce an apple would reach the ground but each would be spiked on a bristle of his hair as it stood up on his scalp with rage."
Also, his normal hair is brown at the roots, red in the middle and blonde at the top that went to at least-his mid-back.
Sheamus has spikey red hair that only adds to his unique look.
The Miz also tends to sport a very strange hairstyle—especially in his early days in WWE—that looks not unlike a rooster's comb.
LEGO employed full-force Anime Hair in most of the minifigures in the LEGO Exo-Force line, inevitable being that it was designed with mecha anime in mind. Interestingly, the accompanying animesque character art has everyone's hair looking (relatively) normal, starkly contrasting with the minifigures themselves.
The Final Fantasy series is famous (though some would say infamous) for this.
In the original game, Cloud Strife has golden spikes that seem to shoot off in every direction. It is lampshaded often, and has earned him the nickname of 'Spiky' from his allies. His hairstyle is less extreme in future installments of the Compilation.
The villain Seymour has bright blue hair molded into shapes that could only possibly be achieved with a truckload of cement. Even better, we see him as a child in a flashback, and his hair (and really, his entire design) is exactly the same, just smaller. It's kind of adorable.
Wakka's gravity-defying peak shows him to be no slouch in the absurd haircut department either. Even underwater.
Marche in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has a big strand of hair that curls straight up at the front of his head while having some strands of hair on the back of his head that flow out like a ponytail with a mind of its own.
Crono from Chrono Trigger is sometimes referred to as "the kid with the punk haircut".
That's probably because the original character designer was Akira Toriyama
Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia's hair stands at least eight inches high, with spike-like structures jutting about. Also, his hair bounces back and forth if you make him turn around on the overworld screens.
Tales of the Abyss is funny about this, though. Tear, Jade, and arguably Anise and Natalia have perfectly probable hairstyles and colours. Guy's is verging on anime-spiky. But still, that's almost everyone in the main party...except the protagonist himself who has hip-length fire-red hair (before he cuts it) with blonde tips and gravity-defying side-bang-spikes.
Most of the Org-13 members in Kingdom Hearts have sufficient spikiness... especially Axel. The lone female member, Larxene, has Hair Antennae.
Sora and Riku? Anime Hair all the way. This is even lampshaded when the party meets Tifa. (Heads-up, she's looking for Cloud.)
Tifa: Have any of you seen a guy with spiky hair? (Donald and Goofy stare at Sora, who tugs at one of his own spikes) Tifa:(chuckles) Spikier.
Ryuuta Ipongi from Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. Kai Doumeki from the game takes this one step further, as he even has a spiky beard.
Everyone in Ghost Trick has ridiculous hair. Sissel, Lynne, Beauty, and Emma stand out in particular. Seriously, how the hell does Beauty's hair even work?! Then again, the game is made and designed by the guy who created the Ace Attorney series.
Blame it on the later design decisions; early designs for Silver had almost the same hair design, but with the vital difference that it fell backwards instead of sticking straight up in defiance of gravity and probably several state laws. (The "sticking-straight-up" effect was reserved for when he was using his psychic powers.)
One must wonder how much hair gel the Elite Beat Agents' Agent J uses to get his hair super-curly in front. It just seems to leap out like a tongue.
Birdie from Street Fighter has a mohawk with a perfect circle punched through the middle of it.
Then there's Guile. For those who don't know, this◊ is what we're talking about.
Guile may have been inspired by the man he's trying to avenge, Charlie Nash, whose hair seems to be modelled after a landing strip◊. You could land a small helicopter on it!
Disgaea generally has spiky hair across the board, though there are some notably odd styles, such as the giant cinnamon-roll pigtails that the archers sport, or Axel's purple lightning-shaped eyebrows.
Badass freakin' Overlord Zetta from Makai Kingdom may deserve special mention despite the short amount of time he spends in humanoid form. Artwork and his in-game sprites depict him with long, red, spiky hair, as per Nippon Ichi's general design. The more detailed cutscenes, however, show that he doesn't have hair so much as he wears an impeccably styled bonfire on his head, complete with bat-shaped licks of flame.
Laharl also deserves a nod, as his hair splits into two "antennae", which are equal to his total height.
In Golden Sun and sequels, the weirdest hairstyles and colors belong to Adepts with elemental powers. Non-Adept characters have more normal styles and colors.
Rival Schools has its fair share of funky hair as well. First there's Shoma, who has three huge spikes◊ of hair sticking out of his backward-facing baseball cap. Then there's Edge, who styles his long blonde hair into really tall spikes◊, and even uses it as a blunt weapon by headbutting (as if he uses Plaster of Paris for hairgel to give it such hardness). Taking the cake, however, is Yurika, who has excessively large Ojou Ringletsand cinnamon bun-esque curls at the top of her head (the latter might have served as inspiration for the previously mentioned Ron DeLite, considering Capcom owns both Ace Attorney and Rival Schools).
Akira Yuki and Jacky Bryant from the Virtua Fighter series have super spiky hair. The big polygons in the older games made Jacky's hair really spiky.
Goh Hinogami not only has super spiky hair, but it's blue.
The kid heroes of the Ape Escape series tend to have spiky hair of different degrees, with the most well-known being Spike's, for obviousreasons. Also, Specter is an example of anime fur, being a monkey and all. Another honorable mention is 3's gadget inventor Aki, whose hairstyle can only be described as "puffy".
Being based on Polnareff from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Benimaru Nikaido can be described as having a "yellow push-pop" of hair. Though he can occasionally be seen with it hanging down in long, wavy tresses, so perhaps he employs static electricity to maintain his usual style.
The game Bayonetta is probably the exemplar of this trope. Not only is her hair ridiculously long, she uses it as her SOURCE OF CLOTHING, and controls it in such a way that it's a deadly weapon.
Ichiro Ohgami, from Sakura Wars, has hair that, unless cut, refuses to be anything but spiky. Fortunately, his hair isn't anywhere near as ridiculous as most of the examples of this trope.
Blood Elves from World of Warcraft. Since some of their hairstyles were copied and made available to humans and a couple other races, them too. But the Blood Elves will forever be the Children of the Anime Hair.
As will the female Gnomes, and they were there sooner!
One notable female draenei hairdo is so spiky, it can be hard to distinguish it from their actual horns.
Geo in Mega Man Star Force has a somewhat absurd crest with spikes that'd put your eye out. There's even a special gap in his helmet for it, even in Zerker form in 2. He gets different, but no less anime, hairstyles in the Saurian and Ninja forms.
The characters of Eternal Sonata are noted for this to the degree that "Anime Hair" is listed on the game's character page under "tropes all characters have in common."
The original X-COM - Saving the world from alien invasion one wacky 80s-meets-anime hairstyle at a time.
You can bet that almost any important character in each and any Pokemon game will have a varying degree of this, sans most of the player characters until the Black and White saga.
Interestingly, hairdos seemed to be slightly more plausible in the first two generations with some minor exceptions, while from the third onwards they've been getting weirder and more elaborate
Special mentions in the first generation go to, perhaps, Misty and her single pigtail.
Special mentions in the second generation go to Jasmine and her... thingies, Clair and her gravity-defying ponytail and Eusine with his Idiot Hair.
Special mentions in the third generation go to Roxanne's floating twin locks, Flannery's puffy ponytail, Winona's skywards-poking tufts, Juan's floating bangs, Sidney's single spike/Idiot Hair, Glacia's erm... braids, Wallace's floating curls, Greta's danishes and Tucker's whatevers.
For the fourth and fifth generations it's just easier to list the characters that do not boast some absurd-looking hair, though it's interesting to notice the fifth generation was the only one to feature relatively strange-haired player characters giving Hilbert a winged 80's haircut, Hilda a massive ponitail that sticks out of a truck driver cap, Nate a gigantic mass of who knows what squeezed into a visor and Rosa a couple of overly long pigtails topped with the largest pair of danishes ever seen since Star Wars.
Phoenix Wright from Ace Attorney possesses what could be classified as "hedgehog hair", with spikes that protrude behind his head. His wannabe double, Furio Tigre, has similar spikes on his head. (The red skin kinda gives him away, too.) Lampshaded to hell and back several times over throughout the series.
The Anime Hair hardly ends there, either. Pearl has a big pretzel on the top of her head. Ron DeLite has a pair of cinnamon buns on the side of his head that sproing outward when he's upset (which is often). Detective Luke Atmey's hair looks like he shaved his head, broke a plate, took the biggest piece, spray-painted it bright yellow, and glued it to his head. Redd White and April May both have unnatural hair colors — dark bluelavender and bright pink, respectively.
Pearl's mother, Morgan, has a giant bun-like hairdo that defies gravity. Franziska von Karma has light blue hair, and Max Galactica has bright pink/purple hair. Really, it may be easier to mention characters that don't have either an unusual hair style or color.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney takes it farther, Daryan has a 'do that's oddly suggestive (he claims that it's a shark, but considering how it droops when he loses confidence, well...), Drew Misham's looks like half of its hair was frozen at an angle from its head, Wocky Kitaki has tricolored hair(an orange curl in the middle, two yellow spikes, and the rest is brown) and both Gavins' hair makes a G at the side while the lower part looks like a drill.
This trope also gets subverted in the case of Apollo's hairstyle: the directors state that his twin spikes aren't natural and he gels them very carefully every single morning. He even says at one point:
Fate/stay night has the Hound of Culann (see 'mythology') with blue hair, Archer with spiky white, Rider purple rapunzel hair and Gilgamesh looking like a DBZ reject.
Though in Archer's case it's a side effect of using projection magic and white hair isn't unnatural to begin with.
Note that Lancer has a blackish blue hair, a hair color that is mistaken by many people to be blue but was meant to be black. Type-Moon uses this often, examples include Ciel, Sakura, and Rin (though hers is mistaken to be green), all of which are said to be black by Word of God. Rider was never human so she has a excuse.
Quite a few of the characters in Dangan Ronpa, from Mondo Oowada's◊ corncob pompadour to Celestia Ludenberg's◊ twin drills (though they're all but stated to be extensions of some kind due to a few events showing her without them) to Yasuhiro Hagakure's◊ dreadlock-afro hybrid... though most of the others do have normal hairstyles all things considered.
From Super Dangan Ronpa 2, there's Hinata's gigantic strand of Idiot Hair (even bigger than Naegi's) that sometimes wigglesduring trail scenes, Komaeda's extreme case of bed head (which is also white,) Ibuki's multi-colored hair (complete with a pair of hair horns,) and Gundam Tanaka's black-hair-with-greyish-purple streaks with one giant lock sticking straight up.
Reconstructed in Katawa Shoujo. Misha's pink princess curls, which are seen by everybody else as extremely unusual and are frequently pointed out, turn out to not be her natural hairstyle at all, but one she deliberately started wearing in order to shock and annoy her crush, Shizune, in a sort of passive-aggressive retaliation for rejecting her homosexual advances. She cuts it off later down Shizune's route, and in the end you get to a see a flashback of her from a year ago with completely unremarkable, brown, straight hair.
Penny Arcade's main characters have very zero-G hair, but Gabe once had it styled to maximum spikiness.
Megatokyo: Largo's hair. As pointed out in one of the books, Solid Snake has a mullet, and Largo's hair seems to be as long in the opposite direction. Shirt Guy Dom comes in to point out that this is usually referred to as 'disdain for gravity.'
Casey and Andy. Andy's hair has this spike that sticks forward like a narwhal. At one point, the artist decided to revert to the really pointy former hairstyle, and had Andy invent a machine to make his hair pointier.
Homestuck: John's hair has been described as Bed Hair 2: BedHarder. His Troll counterpart, Karkat takes that style Up to Eleven with some impressive Shonen Hair. Yet both of their hair styles are downright tame in comparasion to Gamzee, whose hair easily makes up a third of his body and bends and sticks in impossible ways. Dave and Dirk, on the other hand, both have hairstyles that look like birds.
Although Homestuck only uses the style part of this trope, not the colour. All human characters have black or blond hair, and all trolls have black hair. The exception is Eridan, who has a tuft of purple hair for some reason. He might dye it, who knows.
I'm pretty sure he insists it's natural.
Karkat's hair has a right angle in it. Seriously, look at it!◊
El Goonish Shive has some rather odd hairstyles, although largely confined to the supporting cast, apart from Grace's enormous Hair Antennae. Noah has really long hair with Peek-a-Bangs and a ponytail that doesn't look entirely attached to his main hairdo, Vlad's hair has weird bits that stick up at the back despite having Rapunzel Hair (also bicolored hair; it's blond with black tips), Damien had a weird mullet-thing, Hedge's hair is basically a bunch of hedgehog spikes... the list goes on.
Nosfera from the web comic of the same name sports a mild example.
Look closer. It's not a dome, it's long hair held up in a bun with a headband and short bangs/fringe. This is most obvious in the episode when the Gaang dress up to enter the Earth King's party and she wears her hair down for the first (and only) time.
Also, Zuko's season-one ponytail thing looks... improbable at best.
Mai's buns-with-ponytails are also pretty odd.
A more straightforward example is Aang's hair in his first two nightmares.
The Real Ghostbusters. Egon Spengler. To this DAY, I'm trying to figure out how he got that curl... tube... thing.
The movie established that he wanted to drill a hole in his head. Presumably, he got as far as his hair before Peter could stop him.
Robin in the animated Teen Titans is given spiky, upright hair (which according to one waking-up sequence requres half a jar of gel). And let's not even get into Jinx's◊ hair.
Hak Fu from Jackie Chan Adventures has spiky red hair. But seeing as he's a parody of an anime character, it's to be expected.
Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, where Pocahontas gets various crazy hairstyles during the song "Wait 'Til He Sees You".
In Code Lyoko, Odd Della Robbia has spiky blond hair with a purple spot in front. The prequel episode implies that it isn't naturally spiky (at least in the real world), but that he uses gel to keep it that way, inspired by his Lyoko avatar.
But it seems like the purple spot is natural, since it doesn't fade when he takes a shower, goes swimming, or, in one episode, is almost drowned by XANA.
Danny Phantom: Vlad Plasmius. Seriously, HOW does he style his hair like that? Does he just dump 300 L of hairgel onto his head?
Ember got dibs on the flaming ponytail before him, though.
And Skulker before her.
They did date, apparently...
Danny himself qualifies, too. He has a spiky, reverse mullet of some sort: business in the back, party in the front. Meanwhile, every other human (and many a ghost, even) on the show has varying degrees of perfectly normal hair you'd find in everyday life.
Sam has a pony tail that somehow stays upright and falls forward.
Dib's hair on Invader Zim is like a scythe blade, pointing back over his head. Possibly hereditary, since his dad has a similar hairstyle, except it's shaped more like a lightning bolt.
Well, we do see in one montage into the future well, kinda that his hair continues to grow longer, with more "lightning jaggies" showing up as he gets older.
Hell, look at Gaz's hair style, which looks like the open mouth of a crocodile. Weird hair must run in the family.
The title character in Ćon Flux, along with some minor characters.
Subtly Lampshaded in one episode when Aeon accidentally gets her hair wet and it falls in her face. She has to comb it straight, indicating that she in fact makes an effort to make it look like that. At later points in the series she is again shown with straight hair.
When the Rowdyruff Boys first showed up to mess with The Powerpuff Girls, they had pretty normal hairstyles. But once Him resurrected them, in addition to removing their initial weakness, he made their hair grow out and spiked them up a bit. The girls' reaction upon seeing their new hairstyles, of course, is to laugh.
Brick: Stop laughing! What are you laughing at? Blossom:(mockingly) Oh no, look who's back with mean hair! Bubbles:(also mockingly) Oh, whatever shall we do? Buttercup:(the same) How can we defeat their scary new hairdos?
Pretty much everyone in Trollz has this, except for Simon, the Big Bad, and Jasper, who USED to have an enormous afro. Then Amethyst cast a spell and removed his hair permanently.
Every character in Storm Hawks to some degree, most notably the main characters.
Brett and Yoko from Team Galaxy both possess wacky hair designs. In fact, in one episode, Yoko panics when her pigtails are cut off, resulting in a more modest hairdo.
Mohawks, bihawks and all other non-winged hawks.
The so-called "morning hair."
The late Nineties and early 2000's was a time of rather bizarre hair. (For shorthand, the majority of the time NSYNC was popular.) One of the more sedate was spiky peroxide-blond hair. Dying it unnatural colors like red, blue and green wasn't uncommon, and in general mens' hair got a little weird.◊
The Rupicola, also known as the cock-of-the-rock, is a bird that lives in tropical and subtropical rainforests whose bright orange crest nearly covers its entire face.
Pretty much every species of Bird of Paradise would count, too.
Japanese female pro wrestler Bull Nakano◊. And people say the Polnareff / Benimaru / Paul Phoenix hairdo is impossible!
How about hair that can stop a bullet? Briana Bonds, of Kansas City, Missouri, was shot in the back of the head (with a 40-cal bullet) by a man she'd been dating. Her hair weave protected her from anything more than slight bleeding. Check it out.
Ryan Conferido from Quest Crew has this... Sometimes.
David Bowie has been described as the closest there is to a real-life anime character. At his most flamboyant Bowie's epic mane went well beyond mere '80s Hair and straight into anime territory. Particularly that towering 'do he sported in Labyrinth.