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Chromatic Arrangement

The primary colors, based on light as opposed to physical pigments, are red, green, and blue. Many writers and character designers seem to know this, as characters that are Color-Coded for Your Convenience tend to be gathered in the order of red (or pink), blue, and green at the beginning of the series. Green counts as it is a primary color of light, but not pigments. Just look at an older TV! (This may also be related to the fact that yellow rarely looks good on anyone.)

Furthermore, it is usually the case that Red is the main character, Blue is the serious/uptight one, possibly The Smart Guy, and Green is the gentle/laid-back one, possibly The Big Guy. Other team members may come later and in other colors, but red, blue, and green are always first.

Because Yellow is the third primary color of pigment, (and the fourth primary color of light according to some theories) it's fairly common to see a yellow fourth member, or to have yellow replace green. Sometimes, however, the yellow member may be a yellow-orange as, again, yellow rarely looks good on anyone.

Additionally, Green is rarely replaced by black, and sometimes red is softened to a red-orange color (or replaced by pink if it's a girl.)

A Sub-Trope of Color-Coded Characters.

Compare Rainbow Motif, which this trope has a tendency to grow into, and Red Oni, Blue Oni, which sometimes uses red and blue to mark the characters.

(This means something rather different in the world of Music; you'd have to Rearrange the Song with a Chord Progression involving more sharps and flats.)

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon Tamers - Takato (red), Ruki (blue), and Jianliang (green) were met in that order and quickly became the Power Trio and main characters. Five more came in the second half of the series, some of whom were shoved into the roles thanks to Executive Meddling, but the main trio remain quite clearly the focal characters (the next most important Tamer after them, Juri, fits in that her Digivice was yellow). The trio even has their own image song called Primary Colors.
  • Pandora Hearts has Alice for red, Gil for blue, and Oz for both yellow and green combined. This also applies for the Pre-Tragedy of Sablier Trio: Lacie (red), Glen (blue), and Jack (green and yellow)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: The three primary colors are used extensively: Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu have red, blue, and green eyes and school uniforms, respectively (hair colors mostly match, but Fuu is blonde and Hikaru's hair in the manga is pink), while the three Rune Gods are set up the same way.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew - Ichigo, Minto, and Retasu are introduced in that order, and also awakened as Mew Ichigo (pink), Mew Mint (blue), and Mew Lettuce (green) in the same order. They are then joined by Bu-ling (yellow) and Zakuro (purple), and a Japan-only PlayStation game includes a red Mew Mew, Ringo. The anime allows for some filler between these three episodes and the introduction of the others, but the first three are clumped together.
  • Same with Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: Lucia (pink), Hanon (aqua), and Rina (green), all in the first three chapters, and also in the first three episodes of the anime, although, in that, Rina didn't transform until the fourth episode. In the manga, Hanon was even called "blue" by mistake when the three were gathered (she's officially designated "aqua" to distinguish her from Noel, who's dark blue). Following them are Noel (dark blue/indigo), Caren (purple), Coco (yellow), and Sara/Seira (orange).
  • Sailor Moon can loosely fit. Moon, although her outfit is red and blue, is, according to Word of God, pink. Then comes blue, then...another red. Green is next, though, and, even in the manga, comes a few chapters before the last (at the time) member.
    • If you take Moon out of the equation then the four Inner Senshi are Blue, Red, Green, and Yellow/Orange, since again straight yellow usually doesn't look good on people.
  • Shugo Chara! does this with one person - well, one person and her Fusion Dance split personalities: Ran (red), Miki (blue), and Suu (green), "born" in that order. Yellow and white come later, following a long string of misunderstandings, self-doubt, and side switching in the fourth volume.
  • Yes! Precure 5 averts the usual red-blue-green order, opting instead for something close to the typical rainbow spectum order - pink (Nozomi), red (with orange hair) (Rin), yellow (Urara), green (Komachi), blue (Karen), and a purple Sixth Ranger (Milk).
    • One gets this trope if one goes by the characters' first lines instead of their proper introductions (pink, red, blue, green), but that might be stretching it.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle mixes it up a bit but still follows the basic convention. Syaoran wears green and brown, Kurogane red and black, and Fai wears blue and white. Sakura, who begins the series as The Chick and wears pink, doesn't count as part of the fighting trio. She gets to kick ass later, though.
  • In Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Nene wears a red suit, Priss blue, and Linna a green one.
  • The school uniform ribbon colors in Kanon are green for first year, red for second year, and blue for third year. Of the characters who go to school and wear the uniform, second-year Nayuki is introduced first, then third-year Mai, and finally first-year Shiori.
    • CLANNAD uses the same color scheme for its students.
  • While the two males got displaced after the first season, the original three protagonist mages of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha were Nanoha (pink aura), Yuuno (green aura), and Chrono (blue aura), with Fate (yellow aura) only pulling a Heel-Face Turn near the end of the season.
  • Somehow or other, Macross Frontier managed to slip out of this list until now.
    • Wait, but the only time this ever really seems to happen is with the Love Triangle, in which Sheryl is red, Alto is blue, and Ranka is green whenever Fold Quartz is involved (USUALLY, though apparently, this was a distinction that the writers actually applied halfway into the series rather than from the beginning). Wait, this actually makes sense. Alto is the only one who can competently fly a Valkyrie, Ranka can cook and worked at a restaurant originally, and Sheryl led them both to accomplish their dreams. Whoa.
      • Actually, the Hero Team pilots are color-coded like this too. Alto's red (school tie, light-show vapor, black/white/red mecha markings), Michel's blue tie/vapor/mecha, Luca's green tie/vapor/mecha. The original Macross did something similar with Hikaru and his eventual underlings.
  • Model Warrior Lily Cure, the one-off Magical Girl parody on Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, had Chiri in blue, Kafuka in pink/red, and Meru in green.
  • The Pokémon Special manga, the first character to be introduced is Red, as one would expect, but due to the games and how they were released in the West, the character formerly known as Green (who was introduced next) became Blue, and the third character, formerly Blue, became Green. So, the Japanese release averts this and the American translation utilizes this. (Yellow came later, too.)
  • In the anime, Team Rocket forms a trio as Jessie (red) James (blue) Meowth (yellow) in that order of introduction during their motto performance. Also forms a team of four with the hair color of their counterparts Cassidy (yellow) and Butch (green.)
  • Akazukin Chacha (red), Riiya (green), Shiine (blue).
  • One Piece: The top tier of the Straw Hat Pirates: Luffy, the leader, red; Zoro, the strongest, green; Sanji, the smartest (of the three, as shown in Skypea and Enies Lobby when he brings down Enel's ship and opens the gates, respectively), blue.
    • The 3 Captains: Kidd (red; the most aggressive with the then highest bounty among Supernovas), Luffy (blue; the good guy) and Law (yellow; the laid-back) who made brief alliances outside the Slave Auction House during Sabaody Archipelago arc.
    • The three pre-timeskip Admirals even have that as their codenames: Aokiji (Blue Pheasant; uses ice and is reasonable), Kizaru (Yellow Monkey; light user, relentless) and Akainu (Red Dog; living volcano, Jerkass Knight Templar).
  • The Power Trio of BB Senshi Sangokuden: Ryuubi (blue...well, "RX-78 colored", but a lot of blue), Kanu (green), and Chouhi (red).
  • Those three bad guys from Kishin Douji Zenki: Gulen (red), Gaula (blue), and Anju (green).
  • Dragon Ball Z: during the Buu saga, the saiyans that infiltrated Babidi's ship were noticeably Red (Red/Orange Goku), Blue, (Vegeta), and green (Gohan). And After Gohan's fight with Dabura, he was wearing all black.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - the Live For You OVA has Haruka (red), Chihaya (Blue), and Miki (Green) as the main stars.
  • InuYasha - In the first episodes, Inuyasha (red), with no problem being the Leader and the Big Guy simultaneously, Kagome (green)/Shippo(u) (green), who are both the Sweet Ones, and Miroku (blue), Chivalrous Pervert and the Smart Guy tied into one, travel together, and the color scheme continues. Sango joins and the colors are thrown off a bit, but not irrevocably. Her outfit is pink (close to red) and blue (a little), which is interesting because she's a mixture of the Brawn and the Calm One, and her cat's red... Not too shabby.
  • Vividred Operation - the four main characters each possess a key of red, blue, green, or yellow, which materalize magical girl outfits of the same color.
  • Jewelpet
    • Jewelpet Twinkle has Akari (pink), Miria (green) and Sara (blue), plus two less important guys who, while considered part of the team, have no specified color.
    • Happiness has Chiari (pink), Nene (green) and Ruruka (blue). While they don't wear the colors in their everyday attire, they do in the ED, and they have some personal objects of those colors.
  • Gundam Build Fighters Try has this with the 3 main characters: Fumina has a yellow color scheme, Yuuma a blue one, and Sekai a red one. This palette is also shared by their respective Winning, Lightning and Build Burning Gundams.

    Card Games 
  • Most Collectible Card Games with color coded factions use Chromatic Arrangement. The rest and change use a Light/Dark dichotomy. How much of this is due to the grandaddy using both is up for debate.
    • Magic uses white, blue, black, red, and green. Blue is The Smart Guy. Red fits more with The Lancer (to white) than The Hero, though. Green can be The Big Guy, since green's only way of dealing with creatures is a contest of sheer power, or The Chick, because its mana acceleration is faster than any other color and bleeds into other colors.
  • Star Trek' Customizable Card Game. The first three factions were Federation (blue), Klingon (red), and Romulan (green).

    Comic Books 

    Eastern European Animation 
  • In Son of the White Horse, yellow is for Fanyűvő, blueish-green for Vasgyúró, red for Kőmorzsoló, and the same for their respective princesses.

    Film 
  • Sleeping Beauty: the three good fairies are Flora (red), Fauna (green), and Merryweather (blue).
    • Subverted in Sofia the First where it turns out there was a fourth fairy, Miss Nettle (yellow), although she was a former pupil of the three mentioned until she became too ambitious.
  • All Lord of the Rings merchandise, including the special edition DVDs, was color-coded by film. Fellowship is green, Two Towers is red, and Return of the King is blue. Except, irritatingly, the Complete Recordings soundtracks: Fellowship is red, Towers blue, King green.
  • In Star Wars, the cover posters for the Special Editions (painted by Drew Struzan) followed this trope explicitly. A New Hope was colored a reddish orange, The Empire Strikes Back was a purplish blue, and Return of the Jedi was a yellowish green. It even practiced character arrangement, as all of the primary heroes were on the first poster, the villains on the second, and the ancillary heroes on the third. They can be seen here.
  • Toy Story: Buzz's voice buttons are in this arrangement.
  • The Three Caballeros are Panchito (red), José Carioca (green), and Donald Duck (blue). Panchito leads, but only because it's his third of the movie.
  • Coraline wears blue, Miss Spink wears green, and Miss Forcible wears pink in the Other World circus scene.
  • Cars both plays this trope straight and subverts it. Hero Lightning McQueen is red, racing legend Strip "the King" Weathers is blue, and villain Chick Hicks is green. The subversion occurs when they're introduced by the race announcers in the beginning of the movie, with The King introduced first and Lightning, being a rookie, introduced last.
  • Mulan:
    • The three dresses Mulan wore in her film are actually colored like this. In order of appearance, her first dress (also her default outfit, barring her training uniform and battle armor) is mostly green note , her second dress (worn by her during her failed visit with the Matchmaker) is mostly pink note , and her third and last dress (worn by her during the final battle against Shan Yu) is mostly blue note .
    • Also, the three soldiers she befriends: Yao always wears red, Chien-Po always wears blue, and, as Mulan apparently fills the green quota in her soldier outfit, Ling always wears yellow.
    • Princesses Su, Mei, and Ting-Ting from the sequel wear a different arrangement of colors: Su in yellow, Mei in magenta, and Ting-Ting in purple.
  • In Gnomeo and Juliet, the two opposing sides are represented by red (for the Capulets) and blue (for the Montagues). The abandoned lot where the two main characters meet in secret is predominantly green, and the first character to approve of the union is Nannette the frog, also green.
  • Edgar Wright's "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" of films utilizes this trope with the Cornetto ice cream the characters buy. Shaun of the Dead uses red (strawberry flavor), Hot Fuzz uses blue (Classic flavor), and The World's End uses green (mint flavor).
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie has Max as red, PJ as blue, and Bobby as green. Though Max and PJ have been wearing red and blue respectively since Goof Troop, Bobby was not wearing green in the first movie but white, and was also less apparently connected to the other two. Max is the main character, Bobby is completely laid-back, and PJ is the serious one.
  • Done in Speed Racer (according to Word of God), e.g. Speed - Blue, Pops - Red, Trixie - Pink, Racer X - Black

    Literature 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons derivative Dragonlance fantasy series employs this trope in a rather bizarre (but amusing) manner. The cover art color schemes of trilogies written by primary authors Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis are always red for the first book, blue for the second book, and green for the third. Individual books and series of books written by other authors, set in the same world, are immune to this trope. This made sense in the first trilogy in that Red=Autumn, Blue=Winter, and Green=Spring.
  • In Starfighters Of Adumar, the four pilots of Red Flight pick four sets of Adumari formalwear for their first public appearance. The leader, Wedge, is partly in green. The noble intellectual one, Tycho, is mostly in blue. The team's cynic, Hobbie, is in many clashing colors but predominantly red, and their showoff, Wes, has a purple cloak.
  • In the Belgariad, each of the seven gods and anything associated with them are a specific colour. Not surprisingly, the most explicitly good god is blue, and the evil god is red. Their father is white.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Clark is blue, Oliver is green and Bart is red.
  • The Babylon stations themselves in Babylon 5, with the eponymous B5 blue, Babylon 4 green, and the original station red. The other two stations were never shown onscreen, though Word of God is that that B2 was orange and B3 was yellow.
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs used this for the first set of powers the heroes had, with Blue Stinger as the leader, Green Hunter, and Red Striker.
    • Also, the villains. The Magnavores are Typhus (green), Noxic (blue), and Jara (red). When the series became Metallix, we had the Crustaceans: Nukus (red), Horribelle (green), and Vilor (blue).
  • Star Trek: The Original Series used this, believe it or not - Science blue, Engineering red, and Command green. Due to color technology of the time, the "green" showed up as the famous "Command gold" on television, and so it has been remembered ever since, but a relic of this can be seen both in Kirk's famous wraparound shirt and in TOS-era dress uniforms (a la the episode "Court Martial").
    • Dropped in the TOS movies in favor of the less silly looking red uniforms.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation and later series picked this back up (although several flashbacks indicate it as a recent development, with Picard wearing the red uniform of the TOS movies in his own cadet days) but with Red designated for command and Gold for engineering and security.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine moved into a more subtle use, with most of the uniform in black and/or grey and the shoulders and neck in color to designate the specialty. Most fans have agreed this looks less silly than the uniforms of TOS or Next Gen, but still keeps the beloved color coding intact.
  • The numbers on the title card of 3-2-1 Contact are designed this way.
  • Kamen Rider Agito has the main trio of Agito, G3 and Gills, though this is only when Agito is in his red "Super Mode" as his default colour is yellow.
  • Kamen Rider Decade, which has photography as one of its running motifs, sticks to this trope most of the way. Decade's armor is primarily magenta, while The Rival Diend's is cyan. No green Rider ever came along, and by the end, Rising Ultimate Kuuga took the trope back into pigments by being gold (yellow) and black, while Kivaala added white for good measure.
  • The evil wizards from Nick Arcade are Merlock (blue), Scorchia (red), and Mongo (green).
  • When Super Sentai and Power Rangers series have a Power Trio starting setup, said trio is always a Red Ranger, a Blue Ranger, and a Yellow Ranger. And for the more common Five-Man Band setup every series will have Red, Blue, Green (or Black), and Yellow rangers, with the fifth being pink. Notably, very few will have a Green and a Black ranger active at the same time.
  • In seasons 4 and 5 of M*A*S*H, the three Swamp dwellers are Hawkeye Pierce (wears a red robe), BJ Hunnicutt (wears a blue robe) and Frank Burns (rarely seen out of standard-issue army green).

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon is all about this. The three starter pokémon of every game, as well as three generations of the games, are all based upon red (Fire), blue (Water), and green (Grass). The first gen also added a yellow fourth with Pikachu.
    • And, of course, the original first generation games were called either Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green for Japan or Red, Blue, and Yellow for America. The third generation, for the Game Boy Advance, continues that theme with Ruby (red), Sapphire (blue), and Emerald (green).
    • The first of Eevee's evolutions, the legendary birds, Generation II's roaming beasts, generation III's weather trio, and the lake trio in Generation IV are red, blue, and yellow or, for the weather trio, red, blue, and green.
    • The Striaton City Gym Leaders in Pokémon Black and White are a Power Trio of triplets who follow this trope, and their signature monkey Pokemon do, too.
    • Pokemon X and Y continue the use of this trope with X and Y version and their respective mascots being blue and red. The logical direction for a possible third installment to Generation VI would be Z version and the third of the legendary trio is Zygard, who just so happens to be green.
  • The Wright Anything Agency from Ace Attorney is made up of the attorneys Phoenix Wright (blue), Apollo Justice (red) and Athena Cykes (yellow).
  • The three trap books of Myst are blue, red, and green. Sirrus (red) and Achenar (blue) blame each other for the death of Atrus, and neither want you to touch the green book, which they claim is a trap to prevent them from being freed...because Atrus is trapped in the green book, and Sirrus and Achenar were working together.
  • The Legend of Zelda is another franchise that embraces it. Its pantheon is composed of three goddesses represented by the three colors, and the Plot Coupons (and often other items) that you have to find are always either only these colors or you have to find these colors first. Din, goddess of power, is red and representative of Ganon, the Big Bad. Farore, goddess of courage, is green and representative of Link, the protagonist. Nayru, goddess of wisdom, is blue and representative of Zelda, princess of Hyrule and Distressed Damsel. Originally, green—the Triforce of Courage—was not included in the game. It could be argued they originally represented Red Oni, Blue Oni first.
  • Fire Emblem also uses this at the beginning of most games with the main lords wearing blue, followed by a pair of red and green knights. Other examples that don't fit that mold:
    • The three Pegasus Sisters of the Akaneia series are Catria (blue) Palla (green) and Est (Pink)
    • The three lords of Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword were colored in this way (in their hair). Eliwood, red; Hector, blue; Lyndis, green.
      • Lyn and Hector are swapped in terms of stereotypes, though, with Lyn being the closest to the Smart One and Hector being The Big Guy.
    • Path of Radiance subverts the lord and two knights of does this with Ike (blue), the green knight Oscar, and his brother a red axe fighter, Boyd. By the time the proper red knight, Kieran, appeared, both he and Oscar were minor characters.
      • However Ike, the commander, Soren, the tactician, and Titania, the deputy commander continue to represent blue, green, and red respectively, as the leaders of the Greil Mercenaries. Mist is a Yellow fourth by the color of her dress and as the only other Greil mercenary character to continue to even show up in cut-scenes by the end of the game.
    • Awakening after the first four main characters that always show up in cut-scenes are introduced, the next four regular characters are Sully (red), Virion (blue), Stalh (Green) and Vaike (Yellow) in that order.
  • The Original Generation copilots in Super Robot Wars Judgment stick to this, owing to their Fan Nickname "The Powerpuff Girls." Similar to the Fire Emblem example above, Katia and Melua switch roles, (gameplay and story wise) with Katia Grineal being the uptight one, and Melua Melna Meia being a bit quieter. Festenia Muse plays her role straight though.
  • In many First-Person Shooter games and most Real-Time Strategy games, the default colors are red and blue. If there's a third team (generally a neutral team or a computer-controlled ally), they are green.
    • Averted in the original Command & Conquer: Nod had red buildings and blue units, but the GDI was yellow; Tiberian Sun and Tiberium Wars cut blue out almost entirely (although blue made a cameo in TS as a Nod splinter group commanded by a GDI double agent); and Yuri's faction and the Scrin in Yuri's Revenge and Tiberium Wars, respectively, were purple. Green was never used at all for a faction color in any of the C&C games (Generals isn't really a C&C game).
    • In StarCraft (one), other than randomly assigned team colors, Zerg were purple-brownish, Terrans were silvery chrome, and Protoss were golden.
    • In Star Trek Armada II, the Federation is represented on the minimap by white, Borg by dark green, and Romulans by light green.
    • In the Red Alert series, the Allies are always blue and the Soviets are, well...take a wild guess...
    • Command & Conquer: Generals pits the USA (blue) and China (red) against the GLA (green). A minor subversion, in that blue and red are atypically fighting together against the third party.
    • A more typical example is in Dune II, which inspired Command & Conquer - the blue Atreides, red Harkonnens, and green Ordos all fight each other. Even though the original book specifically states that the Harkonnens are blue and the Atreides are green or red. But then we can't have blue bad guys and red good guys, can we? That's not allowed.
      • Red, cubist Harkonnens are featured in the Mini-series as well, though House Corrino is Gold and Blue and Atreides is Green and Brown.
  • Advance Wars: the heroes of the Orange Star army are introduced in order of Andy (Red), Max (Blue), and Sami (Green).
    • The nations also usually follow this order in the campaigns. Player one is red, 2 is blue, 3 is green, 4 is yellow, 5 is black (only in the third game, and there are a only 4 players max.; the turn order stays that way). Days of Ruin, on the other hand, ditched green for black.
    • Quake Team Fortress is one of the few FPSes supporting more than two color-coded teams. The actual number of teams is based on the map design, and since most maps are two-team affairs, red and blue are the most commonly seen colors. However, the conventional colors of the third and fourth team are, of course, green and yellow. The first map to use this convention was 4fort4.
      • Unreal Tournament follows the same scheme.
    • Supreme Commander has the green Aeon, the red Cybran, and the blue UEF. Further, in multiplayer, you're allowed to choose your color...except in ranked 1-on-1 matches, in which one player is red and one is green. Finally, a game that understands proper color opposition...
  • These are the selectable colors for characters in Team battles in the Super Smash Bros. series.
  • The magic system of Disgaea and other Nippon Ichi titles is based on this: Fire (Red), Wind (Green), and Ice (Blue)
    • And in the first game, the main characters themselves follow this: Laharl primarily wearing red, Etna wearing black, and Flonne having blue here and there on her outfit. (though from the second game onward, they're all red.)
  • Blue P1, Red P2 has been the standard for both cooperative and vs. games since the NES era. When N64 caused a need to stretch this convention to four players, they added green and yellow, though there are more examples of RBYG order than there ever was of BR order.
  • The Koei series Dynasty Warriors assigns the three colors to Wu, Wei, and Shu: red, blue, and green respectively.
  • Kingdom Hearts: when leveling up, the characters are represented by the colors that they most frequently wear: Sora is red, Donald is blue, and Goofy is green. Sora also came first, with Donald and Goofy following. (And Donald even fell onto Sora's back in their first meeting a split-second before Goofy did!) The additional characters are always represented as yellow.
    • Riku's costumes have a good amount of Blue to contrast with Sora's Red, but they also always prominently feature yellow possibly following this trope.
    • A subtle aversion: in Birth by Sleep, Terra is red-orange, Ventus is green, and Aqua is blue. The aversion is that the order in which the stories should be played (according to Word of God) is Terra -> Ventus -> Aqua, so red-> green-> blue.
  • In Darius Twin, when you're playing 2-player co-op, Player 1 is Red and Player 2 is Blue. In Single-player mode, the player is Green.
  • The three artifacts in Eternal Darkness are Red, Blue, and Green. That's also the generally agreed upon progression of difficulty levels (based on how early or late you get the healing spell).
  • In The World of Warcraft, Death Knight runes are Blood (red), Frost (blue), and Unholy (green).
    • The Alliance is blue and the Horde is red. Confusingly enough (at least for Horde players), this doesn't correspond with the name coloring for players and NPCs that show their status, ranging from blue (can't attack or be attacked) to red (hostile).
    • Each class has a color associated with it, such as white for priests, purple for warlocks, or brown for warriors.
      • Back when the Shaman and Paladin were single-faction only, their color was pink. When both sides got access to both classes in The Burning Crusade, the Shaman changed to dark blue.
    • Spell icons tend to reflect their origin. Paladin spells often heavily feature yellow (holy) while Warlock spells tend to be focused on red/orange (fire), dark purple (curses, souls) and green (demonic energies).
    • Instance portals are color-coded depending on what they lead to, purple for group content and green-blue for raids.
  • The Toad Brigade in Super Mario Galaxy follows this arrangement. The red toad is the leader, the blue toad is The Smart Guy, and the green toad performs various supporting tasks. There's also a yellow toad and a purple toad, but they don't do that much; the yellow toad pretty much just sleeps everywhere, while the purple toad mainly delivers mail.
    • The three princess characters from the Super Mario Bros. series games as a whole actually wear dresses that correspond to the subtractive colors of light: Peach wears a magenta dress, Daisy wears a yellow dress, and Rosalina wears a cyan dress.
    • Back to Galaxy, we also have the banners surrounding the planets Mario fights Bowser on at the end of all three Bowser levels. In "Bowser's Star Reactor", the banners are red; in "Bowser's Dark Matter Plant", the banners are green; and in "Bowser's Galaxy Reactor", the banners are blue.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is Blue, Knuckles is Red, and Tails is Yellow. However, there are rare occasions when the trio is Sonic, Knuckles, and Shadow (black).
    • This is taken to ridiculous levels in Sonic Heroes. All playable trios are color coded based on their power; Blue (for speed), Yellow (for flight), and Red (for power) after Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles
      • Where Team Hero is a Primary Pigment Color trio, Team Chaotix is a Primary Light Color trio terms of their auras Vector (Green), Espio (Blue) and Charmy (Red)
  • Mega Man is blue, Proto Man is red, and Bass is black.
  • Also, in Marble Madness, the Left Player (P1) was blue, the Right Player (P2) was red, and the enemy marble was black.
  • The Lufia series, displaying this trope most strongly in the earlier games. Red-haired hero, green-clothed tough guy, blue-haired somber magic users. The third installment, The Legend Returns, seems to have noticed this and turned it into an aspect of gameplay which, oddly, didn't often correspond to character color themes.
  • Your first three party members in Blaze Union are Garlot (protagonist, red), Siskier (The Heart, aqua green), and Jenon (The Smart Guy, blue).
  • The DoDonPachi series does this: The three main types of ships are Red (straight-forward shot), Green (turning shot), and Blue (wide shot). This extends to the playable characters of DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou as well.
  • Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire has Sapphire White (blue, obviously), Charotte Syphon (orange/purple), Helena Evangelin (green) and Jasmin Willoung (red), each with hair, suit and ship in the same colors.
  • The three protagonists of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, and Athena Cykes, wear outfits that are mostly blue, red, and yellow respectively.
  • Sengoku Basara has the poster boy trio of Date Masamune, Sanada Yukimura and Maeda Keiji wearing blue, red and yellow coats respectively, as well as having matching power auras to go with them.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the three main Asuran Colleges which have a signature color: Dynamics (Blue), Statics (Red/Pink), and Synergetics (Green).
  • The main trio in the Sly Cooper games follow this, with Sly being blue, Bentley being Green, and Murray being red-pink. Strangely, the trio don't seem to act their colors: Sly is the main character, and serves as the field one, Bentley is the smart one (and the leader), and Murray is the strong one.
  • Dragon Quest II has its characters follow this set up: the Prince of Lorasia wears blue, the Prince of Cannock wears green, and the Princess of Moonbroke wears (a dark shade of) pink.

    Webcomics 
  • TransStellar does this in its second issue, with Jamen having a red coat and a leading personality, Dari having blue skin and probably the highest IQ in the cast, and Zartes usually wearing green camo-pants and having an obsession with food. This troper, being the author of Transstellar, was surprised, as he did that without being consciously aware of this trope.
  • The main characters of Fall City Blues have chromatic hair colors. Lex has red (well, pink), Lucy has blue (well, teal), and Eiffel has proper green.
  • In Everyday Heroes, Summer, Carrie, and Uma tend to wear different colors, although the exact arrangement may vary.
  • If one counts Zee Captain's purple goggles as red, or uses instead the color of his/her hatband and mug, then Romantically Apocalyptic follows this trope to a T.
  • The Freudian Trio of Arthur, King of Time and Space have yellow (Arthur), blue (Guenevere), and red (Lancelot). Unusually, Arthur is the leader (although he's also the gentle, laid-back one). Also, Lancelot is uptight and Guenevere is volatile, reversing the usual Red Oni, Blue Oni symbolism. (Secondary characters also have distinctive colours, meaning the entire main cast would have a Rainbow Motif if we ever saw all of them together.)
  • In Rescuing Dara, Chivai is green, Dara is red, and Zilch is blue.
  • Homestuck's original set of kids are one of these — John is blue, Dave is red, and Jade is green — but unusually, their fourth, Rose, is purple, and John and Dave have switched the roles generally associated with their colours by this trope.
  • In O Human Star, the characters don't wear the colors themselves, but scenes from Al's perspective are tinted blue, Brendan's are tinted red, and Sulla's will probably be green judging by some of the bonus art.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup — always in that order. Pink, sky-blue, and neon-green, respectively.
    • Their Spear Counterparts are blood-red, ocean-blue, and emerald-green.
    • And this remains true in the anime spin-off Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, as well.
      • Princess was a self proclaimed Yellow fourth Powerpuff Girl who ended up becoming a villanous rival by the end of her first appearance.
      • The canonical "fourth Powerpuff Girl" is Bunny, who was created by the girls themselves. They didn't do as good a job of it as the Professor did, and Bunny, while well-intentioned, was much larger than the girls, very dumb, and somewhat clumsy. She was also unstable, and exploded at the end of the episode she was created in. She wore light purple.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks features Alvin (red), Simon (blue), and Theodore (green).
    • Also applies to their Distaff Counterparts Britney (red/pink), Jeanette (blue/purple), and Eleanor (green).
  • DuckTales: Huey (red), Dewey (blue), and Louie (green).
  • The Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister in Animaniacs carry this out somewhat: Dot wears pink, Wakko wears a blue turtleneck (and a red hat), and although Yakko usually wears brown slacks, his accent colour for props and such is green.
  • Related to the Kingdom Hearts example above; in the old cartoons starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, Mickey would always dress primarily in red and Donald in blue. Goofy's signature color is orange, but he's often depicted as wearing green as well. Given that Sora is essentially a stand-in for Mickey, Kingdom Hearts is essentially following traditions at this point.
  • Peanuts: The three main characters of the Peanuts gang are Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy. Yellow, Red and Blue respectively.
  • The "Steam Team" from Thomas the Tank Engine. James is colored red; Thomas, Edward, and Gordon are colored blue; and Henry, Percy, and Emily are colored green (though the last one is colored in a much darker shade of green). This leaves out Toby, who is colored brown.
  • Wilson, Brewster, and Koko from Chuggington.
  • The Legend of Korra sees a variation in blue Waterbender Korra as The Hero, red Firebender Mako as serious uptight The Lancer, while green Earthbender Bolin remains laid back, but within the confines of their pro-bending team the Fire Ferrets, Mako has The Leader role as team captain.
  • Ben 10 has Grandpa Max in red and Gwen in blue. While Ben doesn't wear green clothing, green is the Omnitrix's signature color.
    • In Alien Force the main trio is Ben (Green) Gwen (Pink/Red) and Kevin (Blue)
  • The Spanish kids cartoon "The Triplets" (Anna, Teresa and Helena) ("Las tres mellizas" in the original version"). Here a pic
  • The Mighty B! has the Girl Posse named Portia (blue), Gwen (red), and Penny (green).
  • The Rescue Bots from Transformers Rescue Bots consist of Heatwave (red), Chase (blue), Boulder (green), and Blades (yellow).
  • The Simpsons has Marge Simpson, with her iconic green dress, and her two older twin sisters, Patty (pink dress) and Selma Bouvier (blue dress).
  • Bad Seeds features Harvey with his blue feathers, Fee (red/magenta fur and hair), and her brother Foo (Orange fur).
  • Team Umizoomi features the members Milli (pink dress/red hair), Geo (blue hair and clothes), and Bot (a green robot).

    Real Life 
  • Political parties are usually color coded in polling news. In general, left-wing parties will be coloured red, right-wing parties will be coloured blue, liberal/libertarians/centrists yellow, green parties are green, and the far-right typically get brown colours. Independent and non-partisan candidates are various shades of grey.
    • The big major exception is, of course, the US. Before 2000, television networks on Election Night assigned red and blue arbitrarily and this would vary from channel to channel. However, after the giant catastrofuck that was the Florida count in 2000, that year's imagery of blue for Democrats and red for Republicans was firmly ingrained into the American political culture and hasn't shifted since.
      • However, news organizations still lack a consistent color standard for "independent", "polls still open, no results yet", and "too close to call".
    • In Canada, though, the Conservative Party is the standard blue, the centrist Liberal Party is red, and the democratic socialist New Democratic Party is orange. Green has also been a popular colour for right-wing parties, forcing the Green Party to use a very bright green to identify themselves. The separatist Bloc Quebecois is a light blue.
    • Irish politics, on both sides of the border, is more to do with history than economics. In the Republic, Labour uses red, the Christian-democratic Fine Gael uses blue, and the populist pro-business Fianna Fáil uses green. In Northern Ireland, republican parties use Irish colours and unionists use blue. The non-sectarian Alliance Party, as would be expected, use yellow.
    • In France, the Socialist Party (the largest left-wing party) uses pink, rather than red, as red is used by the actual Communist Party.
    • In Greece, the leftist party use green, to distinguish it from the communists, who use red.
    • Purple is a non-aligned colour and usage is split between centrist parties, issue parties, and, recently, traditionalist parties.
  • Sweden's second biggest newspaper, "Svenska dagbladet", uses this trope. News is blue, economy and finances are red, and culture/entertainment is green.
  • The Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle has a partial version of this (or used to) as well: with The Sporting Green (sports news printed on green paper) and the Datebook (entertainment news, printed on pink paper, popularly known as "The Pink Section").
  • Communism descended from Socialism (which was usually red), so communist countries chose red, and this led to the Red Scare.
  • Speaking of additive color (we were, way back at the beginning), when TV first went to color, red-green-blue network idents popped up everywhere. It helped that there were so many networks with three-letter names. Oddly enough, NET's logo was red-yellow-blue (although this is hard to tell from the surviving copies on YouTube).
  • At least in Germany, most producers colour-coded the three basic varieties of chocolate thusly: red - plain, blue - milk, green - with nuts.
  • American milk packaging is color-coded: typically, red is whole milk (about 3% butterfat), blue is 2% butterfat, yellow or green is 1% butterfat, and pink or light blue is skim. (Chocolate milk is of course coded brown.) Though some companies use purple for 1% instead.
    • Half-and-half is also usually packaged in purple.
    • Relatively-uncommon strawberry-flavored milk is oftentimes sold in pink packaging, at least in the US.
    • Whereas, in the UK, red is skimmed milk, green is semi skimmed (2% fat), and blue is whole milk. 1% fat milk is a fairly new phenomenon and colour varies by shop.
    • In Australia, full-cream milk is blue, and skim milk is either green or red. Other varieties of milk aren't really a thing and hence have no associated colours.
  • The basic Bic pen comes in three colors (besides black) - red, green, and blue.
    • Nearly every four-pack of pens or markers features these four colors.
  • In Australia, potato chips are usually colour coded as such: blue = plain, purple = salt and vinegar, yellow = cheese, green = chicken. The last two are a little more variable though. Brown is also generally honey soy flavour.
    • In the UK it's generally: red = plain, blue = salt and vinegar and green = cheese and onion, except for Walkers for which (annoyingly) the latter two are swapped.
  • Jif peanut butter lids comes in red for creamy, blue for chunky, and green for reduced-fat. The labels are vertically striped with the same colors from left to right.
  • The red-yellow-green-blue color scheme in any arrangement is practically Google's corporate trademark, using it in most of its products' logos in some arrangement or another for brand coherence.
  • ...Which was a bit awkward given that Microsoft was already using it in much the same way; the logos of Windows, Office, and MSN all used this scheme until recently. The MSN butterfly, which was always more of an orange-yellow-green-blue anyway, is the last one to retain this scheme.
    • And now Microsoft's own logo is just an arrangement of four-colored squares next to its name.

Bring My Red JacketCharacteristic Clothing ColorsColor-Coded Characters
Color Coded CharactersAmazing Technicolor IndexColor-Coded Secret Identity
The Chosen ManyEnsemblesThe Church
Big, Thin, Short TrioPower TrioComic Trio
Color-Coded CharactersColour-Coded for Your ConvenienceRainbow Motif
The Alvin ShowImageSource/Western AnimationThe Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
Chest InsigniaCostume TropesCivvie Spandex

alternative title(s): Red Blue And Green; Red Blue Green Trio
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