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Bright Is Not Good
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..."
—Quote from Warhammer 40,000
Can't touch this.note 

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.

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.

Examples

Anime and 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.

Comic Books
  • 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.
  • 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.

Eastern European Animation

Fan Fic

Film
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Azazel's skin is vivid red.

Folklore
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • The tabletop game Polaris is practically 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.
    • The Eldar are all clad in brightly colored armor, but they are loyalty is to their own race, and are willing to let everyone else burn.

Video Games
  • Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI wears an outfit with many vivid colors and different patterns on it. He destroyed the world half way through the game.
  • Ozma from Final Fantasy IX is essentially 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.
  • The eponymous mask from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is exceptionally colorful for being so exceptionally cruel.
  • 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.

Webcomics

Western Animation

Real Life
  • 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!"
    • Though an aurora itself, if you are not in the northern locales for the borealis or in Australia for the australis, is a very bad sign of another apocalyptic hazard - if you're seeing an aurora in, say, Los Angeles, expect all your power and electronics to be obliterated almost instantly from the EMP via a Carrington-event level solar flare.
  • Aposematism includes the use of vivid colors by animals as a warning sign against predators. The most famous example is the poison dart frog.
  • 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. Oh God, 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. Needless to say, many are explosive/toxic/otherwise dangerous.
  • Hexavalent chromium (which is a carcinogen) solutions are yellow-orange.
  • 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. They have much shorter lifespans, giving less time for life to evolve, they give more harmful radiation of various kinds (sunstorms, UV, etc), and after their main sequence is over, they grow into supergiants (turning this trope Up to Eleven) and then bang as supernovas.
    • 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 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.
  • Boranes burn with a bright, apple-green flame. They are also extremely toxic and have the distressing habit of bursting into flame upon contact with air.
  • Sodium is a silvery white metal, which has to be kept in an unreactive environment. If exposed to air, it will immediately oxidate; if set on fire, it will oxidate violently, with a bright yellow flame. Mixing sodium oxide with water will produce a corrosive lye; but putting pure sodium in water will result in hot, boiling lye and a gust of hydrogen - yeah, no smoking allowed.
    • The reaction is VERY exothermic, and a sodium pellet as large as a pea thrown in water produces enough heat to initiate oxidation of the escaping hydrogen (read "detonate or at least set aflame")


Blood-Splattered InnocentsSubverted InnocenceBroken Ace
Amazing Technicolor BattlefieldAmazing Technicolor IndexCaptain Colorbeard
Light Is Not GoodMorality TropesDeath by Materialism
Breakout VillainVillainsThe Brute

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