A Space Marine's armour is bright with heraldry that proclaims his devotion to his Chapter and the beloved Emperor of Mankind. Our principle is that what the enemy can see, he will soon learn to fear..."Generally, bright colors are used to create a jolly atmosphere or to show a character's extrovert personality. However, sometimes they can hide an unexpected threat. And you may notice it only when it's too late. Why? Probably because you were distracted by all those vivid colors. Compare Light Is Not Good, contrast Dark Is Evil and Evil Is Not Well-Lit. Expect it to show up in a Stepford Suburbia, or even more probably in a Crapsaccharine World. Monster Clown is a typical character that fits this trope. Not related to smart and evil characters (you should look at Evil Genius or Wicked Cultured for this). For another kind of Bright Is Not Good, see Idiot Hero. Supertrope to Sickly Green Glow, the specific color family of yellowish green that indicates radioactivity, toxicity, acidity, or biohazard; and Hollywood Acid, again, typically a bright green or yellow. No Real Life examples unless they're scientific ones, please. This is not a trope for petty grievances about a color being associated with a political party or a sport team you don't like. Oh, and this trope is definitely not about Bright Noah being evil.
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Anime & Manga
- The last two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion are a complete psychological breakdown (and recovery!) which feature the most saturated, brightest colors in the series at many parts.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: A Talking Animal, colored white and pink? How dangerous could it be?note
- Some of the witches' domains are riots of colour as well, but the one that takes the cake is Charlotte, drawn and coloured like a Disney Acid Sequence.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Cytomander is an avian beastman with what seems to be peacock DNA. Despite being bright and colorful he is a villain (admittedly a sissy one) and possibly the most psychotic of the Four Great Generals.
- In Kill la Kill you have Ragyo, who wears brightly colored clothing so extravagant that Lady Gaga would probably tell her to tone it down a bit. She also projects a rainbow-colored aura wherever she goes. And she is The Man Behind the Man of the anime later outright Big Bad, one of the most cruel and unforgivable villains in anime ever, and a serious contender for the title of "Worst Anime Mom". The same anime has Nui Harime, who wears a bright pink lolita dress, but is just as bad as Ragyo. This contrasts the Dark Is Not Evil theme of the protagonist, who is Red and Black and Evil All Over, without the actual "evil" part.
- Princess Tutu has Drosselmeyer. He wears a long coat of various vivid colors, has big pinkish,red eyes, and long flowing white hair. However, he is a huge sadist that constantly cackles at the heroes' misery and plans on finishing their story with the most tragic ending possible.
- In Hotarubi No Tomoru Koro Ni, the fireflies glow quietly and beautifully in the night of the wake. This is not a good omen by any means, as it announces the protagonist being trapped in what seems to be a parallel world where they are the only living humans, and where various things try to kill them.
- Batman: The Joker's most famous outfit is purple, along with an orange shirt and a green tie. He also has green hair and white skin. Many incarnations add bright red lips to the mix.
- In Green Lantern, the Corps with the brightest lights, the Sinestro Corps and Agent Orange, are the most evil. The usual "primary = good; secondary = evil" trope doesn't play out here either, with the Sinestro Corps and the Green Lantern Corps being the opposite of what you'd expect from their colors. There's also the Reds, who aren't exactly "good" (though they're more vengeance-oriented berserkers than being "evil" in the traditional sense).
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Regime!Superman retains his trademark blue, red, and yellow costume for the first four volumes after he becomes a murderous, world-conquering Knight Templar. He pulls an Evil Costume Switch at the start of the fifth volume.
- In the Transformers franchise, Decepticons often favor dark colors. However, in the Dreamwave Comics G1 series there's a bright orange-and-yellow repaint of Starscream called Sunstorm. He is a totally unhinged radioactive berserker. It was apparently going to be revealed that his madness was due to The Fallen within his mind, but Dreamwave went under before his story could be completed.
- Clive Barker's Next Testament: Wick, the Father of Colors aka God the Father from the Old Testament, is a kaleidoscopic creature whose whole body is covered in vibrant colors. However, he's a malevolent, impulsive, hedonistic deity who harbors nothing but ill will for all humanity.
Eastern European Animation
Films — Animated
- Alameda Slim from Home on the Range, especially in his Villain Song.
- In Toy Story 3, Woody, Buzz, and the rest are running on a Conveyor Belt of Doom, hoping to escape the garbage shredders. Rex spots a light at the end of the tunnel, thinking it's the sun (and thus, outside to freedom). Nope, it's the incinerator.
- Lotso, the movie's Big Bad, is a bright pink teddy bear that smells of strawberries and looks unassuming; however he's quite possibly the most evil of all of the bad guys within the franchise.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie Boogie whenever he is in the spotlight is very bright and it absolutely fits with his sinister carnival, cheap fun-house, clownish style. The contrast to the gothic colored good monsters is reminiscent of Batman and the The Joker.
- Tamatoa from Moana. He's a gold-encrusted giant crab who lives in a bright cave of treasures and even has a Villain Song called "Shiny" (which is a visual and auditory homage to David Bowie), who even has his own bioluminescent light. He's also a human eater, a cannibal, and incredibly smug.
Films — Live-Action
- In TRON: Legacy, where everyone is Color-Coded for Your Convenience, CLU and his mooks wear black robes with luminescent lines.
- CLU and his army actually use harsher colors (reds and oranges) while everyone else uses light, brilliant shades (blue and white) for their lights. Castor, on the other hand, wears all white.
- In X-Men: First Class, Azazel's skin is vivid red.
- The association of witches with the color black is fairly modern; before that they were most commonly depicted wearing garishly patterned multihued clothing. Almost proto-psychodelic, which may in fact be related to the association of witches with toxic and hallucinogenic plants such as belladonna. See Paul Devereux's The Long Trip: The Prehistory of Psychedelia.
- Garish clothes were a result of association with Gypsies, commonly depicted as wearing outlandish (in the eyes of an average medieval European), multicolored clothes. Also true for Gypsies themselves who were (and sometimes still are) stigmatized as petty thieves and connivers.
- Hastur from The King in Yellow and the Cthulhu Mythos.
- In The Lord of the Rings, evil wizard Saruman declares himself no longer the White Wizard, but Saruman of the Many Colors.
- From Harry Potter
- Avada Kedavra, the Killing Curse, is cast as a vivid green light.
- Rita Skeeter always dresses in bright colors, and used to be the biggest bitch in the Potterverse...
- ... until Dolores Umbridge and her obsession with pink came around in Order Of The Phoenix.
- In an example that's not evil but definitely dangerous, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its many adaptations present Wonka's Factory as a bright, colorful place, often to the point of Amazing Technicolor World, and its owner/creator's outfit follows suit. But there's a lot of stuff in his factory that really should not be tampered with or tasted, and not heeding Mr. Wonka's warnings about them seriously results in all manner of crazy disasters. Also, in the 2005 film and 2013 stage musical adaptations, Charlie's environment and costumes therein are outfitted in grays and earth-tones while the four well-off brats come from much more colorful places
- The Knight Templar Faith Militant of A Song of Ice and Fire wear rainbow colored cloaks to symbolize the Seven Gods of the Faith.
- The tabletop game Polaris is built around this trope, as it deals with a perfect civilization under the stars whose destruction is heralded by the appearance of the sun. The dawn's first appearance is described in the gamebook: "Light coming up from the edge of the sky, colors redder than stars, new shades that had never been seen, yellow and green and golden through the icicle walls, burning out the stars from the sky, brilliant and impossible and beautiful and alien."
- Followers of Slaanesh (Chaos god of hedonism and excess) in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are Sense Freaks who wear hideously garish clothing and choking perfumes at all times, being so blasé it's the only way they can feel anything. One Chaos Space Marine Legion devoted to Slaanesh wears pink and black armor for the same reason.
- This is pretty much the principle for all Space Marines, barring a handful that actually care about stealth and wear more subdued colours. But they're still an 8-foot, half tonne killing machine so it seems a bit of a lost cause.
- The Eldar are usually clad in brightly colored armor, but their loyalty is to their own race, and they're willing to let everyone else burn.
- The Mordian Iron Guard Regiment of the Imperial Guard dress in bright colored dress uniforms and look more ready to go on parade than to battle.
- Hilariously subverted with Ork Kommandos. They know how to use camouflage, but not all of them quite grasp that the colors should blend in with their surroundings. Sometimes they paint themselves in purple or orange reasoning that clashing colors enhance the effect (the enemy can see how well hidden you are from farther away!). The subversion comes in that, since Orks unconsciously warp reality, it still works as camouflage.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, several Zmei (Wyrm dragons) are vividly colored. Rustarin's scales are a shimmering sapphire blue; Trevero's scales are blood red; and Illyana's scales sparkle with all the colors of the rainbow. Despite their colorful appearance, they're also among the most powerful Wyrm minions this side of Malfeas.
- Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI wears an outfit with many vivid colors and different patterns on it. His goal is to destroy the world.
- Ozma from Final Fantasy IX is a big colourful swirly energy ball thingy. It is what happens when God has an abortion. It's the toughest boss in the game, and, thankfully, optional.
- The entire world of Spira in Final Fantasy X is, as a rule, vividly colorful and sunny. It's also described by a few characters later in the game as being a "Spiral of Death," and the bright colors are there to distract everyone from their misery.
- The real world in Devil May Cry's reboot is gloom and somber while the demon world has extremely vivid colors.
- Hyper Light Drifter: Oooooooh yes. The world is replete with bright, pinkish reds pale, sickly blues and greens. Sounds like a jogging outfit from The '80s, but instead it dips the world straight into the Uncanny Valley and emphasizes a sense of worldwide wrongness.
- The eponymous mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is exceptionally colorful for being so exceptionally cruel.
- On a meta level, the game has a very colorful, almost saturated color scheme, yet is arguably the scariest entry in the franchise (it's basically about as close to a horror game as an official Zelda title will likely ever get).
- PlanetSide has the Vanu Sovereignty and the New Conglomerate rebels, which have bright purple/teal and bright blue/yellow armor, respectively. The Sovereignty are fanatically devoted to (forcibly) "uplifting" humanity. The Conglomerate are devoted to personal freedom, corporate profits, libertarianism, and laissez-faire capitalism.
- World of Warcraft has the Scarlet Crusade who are all armored and red all over. They are an order dedicated in eradicating the Undead Scourge, a noble intent, but their methods involve killing or torturing anyone suspected to be part of the undead or infected by the plague. Which is anyone not part of the order. It doesn't help that one of their leaders is actually a Dreadlord.
- The resident villainous group of Pokémon X and Y, Team Flare, dress in eye-searingly bright orange suits that they consider high fashion, but several NPCs note to be horribly tacky.
- In Evolve, the monster adaptations are brightly colored and just as lethal as the originals.
- Freddy Fazbear's Pizza is full of balloons, streamers, children's drawings, and candy-colored animatronics. And death.
- Roommates is generally black and white but from the occasional color illustration The Fair Folk like bright colors a lot, like the Monster Roommate is fond of golds, his mother (and Card-Carrying Villain) whites and pale blues, his sister bright purples etc., also several resident psychos like bright reds way too much.
- Posey from The Sanity Circus dresses in cheery red colours and, in the early chapters, is often set against bright bloom backgrounds. She is a fear-eating Eldritch Abomination in the form of a small girl.
- The Gigglepies and their Crapsaccharine World from The Fairly Oddparents.
- From the the good ol' 80s series and comics through Cybertron, Starscream of Transformers had a red, white, and blue color palette, the same as Big Good Optimus Prime, and generally brighter and friendlier colors than the darker-colored Decepticons. He really stands out amongst the Seekers, his Palette Swap buddies from the original series. You've got Starscream's bright and friendly colors next to Skywarp's black, Thundercracker's dark blue, and the mass-produced Mooks' light purple. Of course, he is, well, The Starscream.
- Giffany from the Gravity Falls episode "Soos and the Real Girl" is an Animesque character from a dating sim whose color scheme is primarily bright pink. She also turns out to be incredibly possessive, to psychotic extremes.
- A sudden, bright flash/lighting up of the horizon or even worse, the entire sky accompanied with sudden heat can only mean one of three things: a nuclear bomb has just exploded somewhere nearby, an asteroid or comet has made entry into the Earth's atmosphere, or a gamma ray burst has hit the earth. The flash from any of these is powerful enough to blind you and its heat can do anything from cremate you alive to give you a slight sunburn, depending on what happened and how far you were from it. A distant flash on the horizon not accompanied by sudden heat can be distant lightning or fireworks (or in some locales an aurora), but a flash with heat always means "something very, very bad is happening and whatever the hell you do don't look at it!"
- Aposematism includes the use of vivid colors by animals as a warning sign against predators.
- The most famous example is the poison dart frog.
- The Monarch Butterfly, which is toxic to birds...and is actually mimicking the Viceroy Butterfly, which is not poisonous, but tastes like aspirin.note
- Some animals have bright colors despite not actually being poisonous to fool potential predators. Unfortunately for them, not all predators are that easily fooled. It's pretty risky to draw attention to yourself via bright colors when you don't actually have anything protecting you.
- The mantis shrimp. It's brightly colored, probably much more colorful than our eyes and brains can handle - especially since it has 16 varieties of cone receptors in its eyes (compared to the 3 varietes we have), allowing it to see an almost impossibly wide light spectrum. It also looks really cute, in an alien sort of way. It also brutally, happily murders everything around it with its claws, delivering dismembering supersonic punches which deal massive damage even when they miss, because the water around the claw starts boiling due to friction caused by the speed of these punches. It's strong enough to punch through aquarium glass (which, coupled with the aforementioned bloodlust, makes it a poor choice for most aquariums) and injure human beings, and has earned an affectionate nickname thumb splitter, since that's what will happen if you try to touch it. Oh, and those claws? They're so tough that scientists would love to replicate their structure, in case it can be reproduced in human scale and used in the military.
- Chemical hazard labels have bright backgrounds to be easily spotted.
- Many chemical substances present themselves in colorful crystals, or burn with pretty colors. Many are explosive/toxic/otherwise dangerous.
- An astronomy example: the brighter or more vivid the star's color, the worse it is for evolving life. Bright blue stars are the worst for evolving life. Red stars are bad, too. Red dwarfs are too small and cold, red giants too bright and unstable. Mediocre whitish or yellowish stars (yellow-white F class, the Sun's G class or the yellower-than-Sun K class) are the best for Earthlike planets. And, finally, Zig-Zagged with brown dwarfs, which aren't candidates for life-bearing planets at all. While the name doesn't sound very bright and therefore the trope seems to be averted, they are actually deep glowing red and worse (colder) than red dwarfs, playing it straight.
- Fire. As the temperature grows higher (and thus more dangerous), the color of the flame shifts from red, to pink, to bright blue. This is common knowledge among fire-fighters.
- Many animals react violently or panic at the sight of the color red, because they take it as a sign that one of their companions has been wounded and is bleeding heavily.
- The colors of certain dinosaurs have been figured out thanks to microscopic pigment cells in the fossils of their plumage. Most of them had fairly dark colors. The brightest of them? Sinornithosaurus, a hawk-like predator that was decked out in red, grey, yellow and black. Ironically, its colors are thought to have been used for forest camouflage.
- For this very reason, strong lamps have been used in interrogation rooms to extract confessions from criminals or hostile agents.