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Black Blood
Violence against humans: unacceptable.
Violence against squid-people: acceptable.

The problem with violence is that people tend to bleed when they are stabbed. Blood is scary. But changing the color of blood to something like black makes everything family-friendly, right? Pools and pools of nice, safe, black blood... Never mind the original violence.

With any luck, this is just something tacked on to fit broadcast standards, with a more realistic color used for the DVD release...

Some opt just to not show blood at all despite violence.

Black-and-white comic books (which includes most, if not all, manga) generally have black blood (where it's featured) out of necessity.

Not to be confused with cases where the "blood" is supposed to be a different color, like with robots or some aliens, or it's an indication of a severe condition (say, being fatally poisoned). It's worth remembering that a large quantity of blood (especially venous) will look close to black, which is where this colour choice comes from in the first place.

This is common in some video games as a form of Adjustable Censorship, where the player has the option of changing the blood color from red to something less realistic.

Also, please note that since it is the iron in our blood that makes it red, this trope is almost Truth in Television for the anemic. Almost.

If you're looking for high class aristocrats, you want Blue Blood. If you're looking for "black" in the sense of African, you want Pass Fail.

Not to be confused with Black Blood Brothers, The Blackblood Alliance, or Blood Is the New Black. Or Black Blood of the Earth. Or the other Black Blood of the Earth.


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • The trailer for The Mist retouches the blood to a black color on the face of a man who runs into the store for shelter. This is also done for the blood on the safety-rope and the bloody hand-print left on the window, despite the split-second nature of these shots.
  • Trailers for the first Resident Evil flick showed zombies doused in blue gore. Blue! This is not the case in the actual film, natch.
  • The trailer for Hollow Man edits the color of the blood used in a Jump Scare to find the invisible man to a dark brown color, making it look like the character threw coffee.

     Anime and Manga  
  • School Days uses this trope (though it's red for the DVD release).
    • Though for some odd reason, the second murder during the same episode has red blood, even in the censored version.
  • Being made before the days when violent anime is screened during midnight, desaturated, black or white blood was the only way that Fist of the North Star could air on television at all.
    • There is some genuine red blood in the anime TV series, most notably when Shin cripples Kenshiro in their first fight. You will never see it when Kenshiro makes a random mook's head violently explode, however.
    • Averted in the 1986 film by Toei Animation in its full-gorifed glory and film series by North Star Pictures.
  • Not all of the blood in Myself ; Yourself is black, just everything greater than a scratch on the finger.
  • In Sailor Moon's first season, one of the Shinten'nou had a Heel-Face Turn and was quickly hunted down and stabbed through the chest with branch tentacles. His blood was everywhere, but it was green so it was okay to show, even on Western Television. Curiously, the other 3 generals all bled red whenever receiving injuries.
  • InuYasha makes use of this frequently - blood is most likely to look darker on characters wearing darker clothes. This can have the odd effect of making the wounds of the red-wearing protagonist more jarring.
  • One of the sillier instances of Black Blood happened in Episode 13 of Bamboo Blade for Psycho Lesbian Reimi's nosebleed. There was no reason for it to be black, but it was.
  • Piccolo and other Nameks bleed purple blood in Dragon Ball Z. It should be noted that both Piccolo Sr. and Piccolo Jr. had bleed red blood in some instances - the former when he got a hole in his stomach (triggering his explosive death) and the later when he got his arm severely injured during his fight with Goku on the Budokai tournament, and severed his very own arm (only to regrow it again in a matter of seconds).
    • In the censored TV versions of Dragon Ball Z Kai, all of Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta's blood is a brown-ish-black-ish color.
  • Gen Shishio from Kekkaishi seems to bleed white blood.
  • The Naruto anime rarely uses this trope, but it made an exception when Gaara kills three competitors during the Chuunin Exams, a scene that featured more blood than the rest of the series combined. The black color of the blood might be a result of the blood thickening the sand.
  • In the Pokémon anime, the few times Ash is cut onscreen he bleeds black. What's odd is that you see the blood fly through the air very dramatically, but his clothes remain uncut. The reason as to why Ash's blood is black is likely because of the animation style.
    • Averted a few other times, like when Misty got cut on a vine or when N got attacked by a Pokemon.
  • Seto no Hanayome opts for sprays of clear/rainbow-tinted fluid, an effect retained in the DVD release. (Probably a Shout-Out to Fist of the North Star which used the same manner of censor and yet still managed to be awesome in spite of itself)
  • Moon Phase uses red blood for minor wounds (vampire bites), but switches to black when someone gets a hole dug into their chest.
  • Bleach. To clarify, blood is only red when it drips on the floor.
    • Also, it is generally more often red in the movies.
  • In Waq Waq, almost everyone has black blood. Like Soul Eater above, it's not a form of censorship but rather a plot point: red blood is a prophesied trait of the "kami".
  • 07-Ghost uses this from the first episode, when they bother to add in the blood at all. Very frustrating if you've read the manga and know the blood ought to be there when it isn't. Later in the series, the blood displayed becomes neon red, or magenta, but definitely not what real blood looks like!
  • Just about every murder scene in Detective Conan.
  • In AKIRA when Tetsuo makes three people explode most of their blood is black.
  • In Kaiba blood is GREEN. This is consistent with the fact that 90% of everything in Kaiba's world (galaxy, technically) looks like a picasso painting, architecture included.
  • Rave Master does this. The most obvious example is the second opening which has short scene with Haru's face covered in black good.
  • In [C] - The Money and Soul of Possibility, during a deal, Entrees lose their money through this whenever slashed or otherwise. However, this is symbolic: black blood could also mean leaking oil.
  • In Danganronpa: The Animation, blood is pink as a holdover from the video game, although they could probably have gotten away with red on TV. See Dangan Ronpa's entry below.
  • Italian dubs of various anime edit blood in many ways: sometimes they just recolor it in black/brown (as in most of the above examples), sometimes they just make the whole scene either in black and white (Detective Conan, One Piece) or in sepia tones (One Piece, only in the Alabasta arc although)... but the most absurdous one was in the earlier episodes of Naruto, where they not only made the blood black, but also gave grey skin to the characters when bleeding (the scene in episode 6 when Naruto stabs his hand with a Kunai becomes very narmful, with a lot of scenes showing grey skin with his clothes, hair and everything else still in full color.

     Comic Books  
  • Seen a lot in comic books, too. The Wolverine series is kind of notorious for it. In the hands of a bad artist, it can look like just blotched inking.
  • In G.I. Joe—a war comic, albeit one where any named protagonist or even antagonist dying was a major plot event—blood was usually black, with the occasional redness in the "glossy patch" (where a bit of white would be on an oil slick to show it was reflective).
  • In The Death of Superman storyline at some points his blood was black as Doomsday cut him but not all the time.
    • Also, the Pre Crisis story introducing the revamped, SkeleBot version of Brainiac, showed Superman taking what was, at that time, an unprecedentedly graphic beating. His blood was colored black, and frankly, that just made it creepier. Then again, this was the brief period in the mid-80's when Gil Kane was inking his own work, lending a very surreal look to his normally very realistic pencils. The black blood is just one more factor making the already weird images start to veer into nightmare territory.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man had Peter Parker come home to find Uncle Ben dead and black bloodstains on the carpet.
  • Hard Boiled utilizes black blood, may be justified in the case of the protagonist since he's a robot.
  • City of Silence by Warren Ellis and Gary Erskine uses black blood, which is weird considering how gleefully Squicky the comic is about displaying a decadent dystopia.
  • Used when Tintin is shot in the shoulder in The Blue Lotus.

    Film 
  • The trailer for Kill Bill Volume 1 digitally retouched the blood on the Bride to a black color for the scenes from the fight with the Crazy 88, just to get an All Audiences rating for it. In the movie itself, that fight scene was partially turned to black and white for the US release for a similar reason; audiences elsewhere got to see the gore as Tarantino intended.
  • The Princess Bride uses copious amounts of Black Blood, particularly during Westley's fight with the ROUS and Inigo's duel with Count Rugen.
  • For Evil Dead 2, director Sam Raimi attempted to keep his R rating by filling the Deadites with every color of fluids except red. And then splatter it all on Bruce Campbell at once. It didn't work and the movie got slapped with an X rating anyway, so they opted to release it unrated instead.
  • Alfred Hitchcock famously shot Psycho in black and white, specifically so he could use chocolate syrup to represent Janet Leigh's blood in the shower scene.
  • Taxi Driver uses foamy pink blood during the climactic scene where Travis Bickle goes on a one-man killing spree. Actually, it's the entire scene that had been desaturated to make the blood less offensive.
  • Meanwhile, Sin City has white blood. Or, in one particular case, yellow blood. This is an artifact of the comics it's based on, which are entirely black and white (no gray!) except for the yellow Junior (and his blood). It's worth noting however that it changes from shot to shot and story to story. In "That Yellow Bastard" the blood is always white, save for the Bastard's, but in "The Hard Goodbye" pretty much all the blood is bright red (in the commentary the directors noted that the black blood just made Hartigan's face look muddy insead of beaten to a pulp, so they had to make it red). "The Big Fat Kill" throws consistency out the window in favour of interesting visuals. One character is shown with his hand blown off and spewing white blood, but when his throat is slashed red blood splashes on another character's face.
  • 300 had incredibly dark blood.
  • It might not really be blood, but when Silent Bob breaks open Azrael's chest in Dogma, there's lots of black evil.
  • In George Romero's Land of the Dead, a lot of the blood was actually digitally colored black in order to work it's way down to an R-rating for theaters. The Uncut DVD fixes this, and shows young girls a reason why certain piercings are a baaaad idea.
  • The New Zealand psychological thriller The Ugly had literally black blood. According to TOW: "Author John Kenneth Muir writes in his book, Horror Films of the 1990s, about how this visual cue may suggest that Simon (the film's serial killer) never saw his victims as being human, making it easier for him to kill."
  • From Dusk Till Dawn features buckets and buckets of blood, but the vampire blood is green and not red. According to Word of God (on the DVD commentary), this was because the censors were OK if the blood was green.

     Live Action TV  

  • Smallville is guilty of this in at least two episodes. In the first, it was justified in that the guest character was Cyborg of Teen Titans fame and it wasn't blood but mech fluids (keeping in line with the comics). In a later episode that pitted General Zod against Clark, Clark gets a bloody lip that bleeds black blood (which is odd, as Clark has been shown to bleed red blood several times before.).
  • In True Blood, you can see Maryann's black blood (and heart) when Sam kills her.
  • In Helix, this is Justified as a marker of infection with The Viruses NARVIK-A and NARVIK-B. NARVIK-A infectees hemorrhage to death and liquefy into a black mess, while NARVIK-B infectees develop highly visible Tainted Veins and begin to excrete black mucus and Bad Black Barf from their mouths.

    Literature 
  • Blood is sometimes described this way in The Red Tent, particularly when it results from particularly tragic deaths, such as Death by Childbirth
  • Orcs and other evil creatures in the Lord of the Rings universe are sometimes described to have black blood, though whether this is literal or figurative is left as an exercise to the reader.
    • It's probably not figurative, since the black blood of Gothmog's troll guards caused Hurin's axe to smoke and wither in The Silmarillion.

     Professional Wrestling  

  • Mostly seen in the late-90s and up, recaps of bloody matches would be shown with the color out.
  • And oddly enough, a forgotten character in early-'90s WCW was called "Black Blood."

     Video Games  
  • Famously, the original gold cartridge version of Ocarina of Time had Ganondorf vomit red blood when Link killed him, but this was changed to green in later releases, among other changes (such as the music in the Fire Temple, which sounded too close to the Islamic adhan for some).
    • Twilight Princess displays a brief but rather large gush of black blood when attacking Shadow Beasts.
  • Similar to the above Zelda example, House of the Dead does something similar with its "censored" release. All of the red bits that are result of the gore effects (so flesh, blood as well as some of the giant maggots) are changed to Green instead of red. However, bloody marks that appear on-screen upon getting hit are still red.
  • The Japanese and European releases of No More Heroes turned all the blood black, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't close to being a playable Tarantino movie. A scene involved the sequence where, after defeating a woman in battle, she commits honourable suicide by depinning a grenade and holding it in her mouth, with predicable results. Since, just before, she told the main character that she was attracted to him, he awkwardly hugged her dead, still-standing, headless body. In the censored version, her head and shoulders were still attached, but completely black, ruining the impact. The sequel remains uncensored, however.
  • Early Shadow the Hedgehog trailers showed enemy alien characters spewing red blood when hit, but when ESRB announced a middle rating between Everyone and Teen, the developers changed the color to green. Of course, the aliens themselves are still reddish, not to mention the similarity of our titular hero's red blood to his otherworldly creators.
  • The US console release of Darkstalkers 3 uses white blood, which, at best, makes it look like sand or kitty litter. And, just to make things utterly nonsensical, Jedah's blood-based attacks are still rendered in a deep purple like they were in the arcade.
    • The effect this had on Dmitri's super attack is legendary. First he turns his opponent into a pretty female (if necessary), then he bites their neck, which causes a pool of blood to form directly under them. But in the censored version, it forms a pool of white fluid. The result looks nearly pornographic.
  • The original Devil May Cry downright inverts this. Everything bleeds red, even when it doesn't make sense for it to. Devil May Cry 3 backs down a little, and actually has creatures "bleed" appropriate to what they are — sand, ichor, impact sparks, whatever.
  • If you turn off the "Gore" option in Alien Hominid, enemies spray flowers when stabbed.
  • The Colossi in the T-rated Shadow of the Colossus all bleed black blood when stabbed or shot. Then again, it might have looked weird if they had bled anything but black, given the aesthetic of the rest of the game. "Black Blood" is actually the name of one of the tracks on the OST.
    • Wander also vomits black blood after each Colossus, as well as spraying a bunch when he's killed by Lord Emon's troops near the end of the game.
  • The Korean and Japanese releases of Starcraft have black blood spatters in death animations, even on Terrans. This makes some of the pro-gamer videos from South Korea look odd to western eyes.
  • Even Mortal Kombat fell victim to this trope in its Japanese version. Blood is green, while fatalities are presented in monochrome.
  • The SNES Total Carnage port had green "blood".
  • Metal Slug has a "censored" settings, which features water instead of blood.
  • In the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game for Playstation 2 and X-Box not only do the orcs and trolls bleed black blood but so do the heroes, however in the Return of the King game the enemies bleed but the heroes don't.
  • In Turok 2 there is an option to change the enemies' blood from red to green.
  • A hidden setting in Silent Hill 1 and 2 lets you change the enemy blood to green, black, or purple if red was making you feel too squeamish.
  • Destroy All Humans! usually opts for Bloodless Carnage instead, but when you use the anal probe to make someone's head explode, it bursts in a shower of green blood.
  • In perhaps the weirdest application of this trope ever, in 'Splosion Man, people bleed meat. And no, not as in gibs or "bloody chunks of meat" — things like steaks, ribs, hams, and sausages... and donuts
  • The halls of Arkham Asylum in Batman: Arkham Asylum are liberally decorated with black smears and splatters. This was originally intended to be blood, but was changed prior to release so that the game could get away with a T rating.
  • The PS2 port of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni had this in all cases of blood in order to avoid a 18+ rating at a time where the CERO system was being reclassified. Oddly enough, the DS port restores the blood as red and still has the same rating as the PS2 version.
  • The Serious Sam games allow you to change the blood from red to either green or "hippie", which replaces blood smears with images of flowers and the gibs with watermelons and other fruits. You can also disable the blood (and/or gibs) entirely.
    • The "kids" option in the HD makeover has the blood replaced with sparkley stars, and gibs are now candy.
  • Monster Hunter Tri has an option allowing the player to turn off the blood splashes and the... uh... green splashes (or whatever bugs bleed) and possibly some other visual effects. This is actually justified by the game as it hints that it helps the Wii in the performance of the game if it's turned off. Either way the blood effects are on by default.
  • In Onimusha Dawn of Dreams enemies bleed red, but you have the option of changing it to green blood or to bloodless. Averted in the third game, where there's an option for making fights even gorier (namely it allows you to bisect enemies with critical hits, though the corpses vanish almost istantly leaving no blood behind).
  • In Zombies Ate My Neighbors, all of the blood is replaced with an unidentified purple slime.
  • In the European and Australian versions of Castlevania: Bloodlines, all of the blood is replaced with what appears to be water. Also the realistically gross-looking reddish zombies were recolored a comical shade of green.
  • In Monster Party, the title screen is drenched in green stuff that was originally red in the unreleased Japanese version. Somehow, the level start screen and the entire second half of the first stage are still covered in red blood.
  • Dangan Ronpa uses pink blood to avoid an 18+ rating. As such, murder scenes look like they're splattered with Pepto-Bismol. This actually adds to the crazy, hopelessly childish theme of the game.
  • The German release of Team Fortress 2 and the Meet the Team shorts has the classes bleed oil instead of blood. However, the German version of the Meet the Sniper short still contains the red blood.
  • Dragon Age: Origins inverts this, for some reason. While many characters will remark on how the Darkspawn's tainted blood is black, all blood effects are rendered in bright red, no matter the race or species of the victim.
    • The Warden can claim that this is a common misconception and it's actually red, but it burns when it touches you.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance changed its red blood to white blood for the Japanese release. However, this does make fit as the cyborg character from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots had artificial white blood. One character in the Japanese version did keep red blood - Samuel - which helped reinforce the division between him, a human with a robot limb, and the full-body/almost full body cyborgs battled in most of the game.
  • This is likely being done in Jojos Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle to both mimic the black-and-white coloring of the manga as well as keep the game from venturing beyond a Teen rating.

     Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • Averted in Ears for Elves here, which is suprising for a black-and-white comic. It's the only time color has been used in the main comic; the artists said that a great thing about making a webcomic was the ability to experiment.

     Western Animation  
  • The animated Batman movie The Batman vs. Dracula, while it had a few drops of red blood, but switched to black when Vampire Joker spilled the entire contents of a blood bank's vault.
  • In The Little Mermaid Ursula has black blood first seen when Eric shoots a spear at her cutting her arm, then when he kills her by ramming her with the mast.
  • When the Disney Channel was finally convinced to show the Gargoyles episode "Deadly Force", Elisa's pool of blood was changed to be black.
  • There was a censored version of the Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode "Mind Pollution," where Linka's cousin Boris cuts his arms on broken glass...and incriminating recolored puddles could be seen. (However, a different shot or two with red blood remained!)


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