For extra exoticism, just add tanning lotion.
Like most character design decisions in anime, colors are often chosen to reflect personalities more than to be realistic depictions. While dark skin is not a particularly alien choice, it's more often used to reflect a bouncy, energetic, fiery personality than actual nationality. This probably has roots back to the ideal of Japanese beauty including pale skin, as opposed to the chain of association with tanned people being outdoorsy, and thus lively and adventurous. Add in Western associations with red hair
, and you get a boisterous adventure-seeker. Bonus points if they have gold eyes.
Naturally, this includes Hard Drinking Party Girls
of both genders. The most common combination with this skin tone is a vibrant and noticeable light color. Red is very popular, associated with all sorts of playful Japanese spirits as well as the kabuki wig, so it's also a common (and deliberately unusual looking) palette choice for demons and Cat Girls
. Red's a popular hair color for other reasons
as well, of course.
Note, dark skinned characters with dark
hair (olive, purple, black) tend to have muted personalities.
This trope can be Truth in Television
in some Asian countries, like Pakistan, where dying hair red with henna dye is common (natural redheads in Pakistan - and there are many - usually have light skin). Dark skin with natural red hair is common in Oceania, especially Vanuatu. In Japan, teenagers will sometimes dye their hair red after bleaching it. This therefore applies to the more tanned characters.
Sister trope to Dark-Skinned Blond
. Contrast Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
. Usually a type of Red-Headed Hero
. Also quite likely to be Ambiguously Brown
. But sometimes. You Gotta Have Blue Hair
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Anime and Manga
- The immature ranker Quant from Tower of God. Here's◊ proof.◊ Fellow family member Quaetro, and likely the rest of the family, count too.
- Pictured to the right: Gene Starwind from Outlaw Star.
- Perhaps the prototypical Dark-Skinned Redhead, Kei from The Dirty Pair.
- Marie and several other characters from Haré+Guu.
- Shayla-Shayla from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
- Daisuke/Davis Motomiya from Digimon Adventure 02 unlike his sister and mother so he might have a tan.
- Tanya from Battle Athletes gets the dark skin and straight red hair treatment. Despite the Olympic-like premise of the series explicitly telling us she's supposed to be African, she actually comes off more as◊ a quasi-Cat Girl.
- Ed from Cowboy Bebop, whose behavior is all over the map. She could be of Turkish descent, as her father's name translates into Turkish, and her real first name is French (no doubt a tradition started at the Napoleonic Wars, which involved the Ottomans).
- Petite Princess Yucie's demon princess Greta fits the typical description, but has lavender hair, since she's also an Ojou.
- Similarly, Anthy Himemiya from Revolutionary Girl Utena has dark skin and deep purple hair. She's the "muted personality" type. It's implied that she and her brother are from India.
- A male version of this trope is Tasuki from Fushigi Yuugi, the energetic fire-fan-wielding bandit.
- Karen Joshua from Gundam's OVA The 08th MS Team, the fiery CPO of the titular military unit.
- Resident martial-artist and Gentle Giant Kanna Kirishima of Sakura Taisen. She hails from Okinawa and, in later games and series, losses some of her darker complexion and bright red hair.
- Winia Chester from Scrapped Princess is a more subdued version of this, though she perks up quite a bit around Pacifica.
- The princesses Tatra and Tarta in Magic Knight Rayearth.
- Naruki Gelni from Chrome Shelled Regios. She's usually fun-loving and friendly, though she takes her job very seriously.
- Kirche, the bouncy vamp from Zero no Tsukaima.
- There was an "athletic" Nurse Joy◊ in Pokémon like this, with a tan/dark skin as an indicator of her personality not being like the others. That and muscles.
- Yoko Nakajima from The Twelve Kingdoms upon returning to the Twelve Kingdoms from Japan. In her case, she is a "taika", a person from the Twelve Kingdoms world who got carried away to Japan, and thus a shell was covering her to make sure she resembled her "parents". To be fair, the novels specifically mention that she starts out much paler, but after roughing it for several months without shelter, her skin's gotten a very dark tan. The same transformation also gives her green eyes.
- Akane Karasuma, aka Sailor Lead Crow, 5th season villain/ Quirky Mini Boss Squad member from Sailor Moon. As she's an Alien, it's impossible to tell if this combo is the norm for her people. The only other people from her world are Phobos and Deimos, who aren't this.
- Also, Elza Gray, a one-episode character from the Sailor Moon anime. She was an old rival and friend of Haruka's and introduced her and Michiru to each other.
- Jeannie from Rune Soldier Louie, though she's actually The Stoic. She is, however, a very physical warrior type, so she's not too far off.
- Exedore/Exsedol's original design from Macross/Robotech had the colors, but his personality is the opposite of the usual type, being The Spock instead.
- Sousou (Caocao) from Ikki Tousen, though his personality is quite darker and more conflicted than the standard. Besides, he starts as a brunet and is only shown with red hair in the second season (Dragon Destiny). In Great Guardians, also, when Saji Genpou (Zuo Ci) drops his Saji facade and retakes his true identity of Ouin Shishi (Wang Yun), his blond hair turns into a blazing red.
- Kintarou Tooyama from The Prince of Tennis.
- Karui from Naruto was shown to have red hair in a recent color page.
- When using her Curse Seal, Tayuya also became this. With horns and black sclera.
- Kougaiji from Saiyuki is a noble bad guy and seems to deliberately be in color contrast to his Evil Empress stepmother, Gyokomen Koshu (who is pale skinned with green hair). Possibly to emphasize that their personalities are complete opposites - Kougaiji is devoted to his nakama, while Koshu is prone to killing her followers on a whim. Rather than having a fiery personality, he's matched to the element and uses mostly fire attacks.
- Gojyo could also be considered an example, since he's rather tan compared to the others. Also has bright red hair.
- One of the female pirates in Van Dread: the Second Stage has red hair and tanned skin. It's implied that she's a high-ranking officer and didn't come along on the Nirvana because she and her crew had business on Majer. She shows up just in time to spring the crew from jail. I believe her name was "Vera" or something like that.
- Libra Dohko from Saint Seiya was a *gorgeous* one when young◊. And he still is. Since his old form is actually a Sleep Mode Size, once he recovers his youth...Squee!
- Ed◊ from Meine Liebe.
- Rurouni Kenshin is an interesting case. In the TV series, he's not shown with particularly dark skin, but his hair is explicitly red. People actually say that his hair is red, instead of it just being a visual design element. In the OVA series, he's closer to a Dark-Skinned Redhead in a way that's fairly accurate for a Japanese person. (Dark red hair is very rare but does occur among native Japanese.)
- Raphael from Tenshi Ni Narumon has red hair and a fairly dark skin (especially when contrasted with Mikael's) and a matching bouncy and energetic personality, although he's not really hotblooded. In fact, he is pretty mellow, maybe because he wasn't doing much in the series, besides playing guitar and molesting Mikael.
- Kyou Sohma in the anime version of Fruits Basket, though the dark-skinned part is pretty much just in comparison to the other characters. It's presumably due to the amount of time he spends outside, and his hair color is a result of the curse.
- Trinity Blood: Lilith Sahl.
- Victory Gundam: Kate Bush from the Shrike Team
- Rami of the Unemezoku from Arata Kangatari has pinkish-hair paired with tan skin.
- Toujou Hidetora from Beelzebub has ginger hair and a darker skintone than most of the cast.
- Alicia Masters was portrayed as one of these in the Heroes Reborn (Dork Age) version of the Fantastic Four.
- Ember from ElfQuest. Dark skin and auburn hair is seen in quite a few elves of the Sun Folk, including Leetah (Ember's mother), Shenshen, their mother Toorah, and Behtia. This does not seem to be connected to characterisation, though.
- Jezebel Jet, from Batman R.I.P.
- Marvel villainess Mystique - dark blue skin, red hair. (Same in the movie version.)
- "F***ing" Oyuki-chan from Empowered has light brown skin and red-orange, despite being one of the few Asian characters. She's tomboyish and free-spirited, but being raised in a ninja clan since early childhood has made her highly disciplined with a strict code of honor. She's foul-mouthed and socially-inappropriate to the point of creepiness.
- Another non-anime example is Sikozu from the Farscape movie, though her series form doesn't count.
- Many of the Aiel from The Wheel of Time.
- The Aiel aren't naturally dark skinned, they are tanned. The parts of their skin covered by the Caidin'sor are actually very pale.
- Finnegan Hob from Abarat.
- Brier Iron-thorn in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath is an example in Western fantasy fiction. A big, strong warrior woman raised among soldiers in the sun-drenched south, she's permanently tanned dark from those long years in the sunlight and her hair is a "sullen red", an indicator of the passions and hatreds and intensity of her innermost nature, under the stern exterior.
- Holly Short from Artemis Fowl.
- Alia, Leto, and Ghanima Ateides from Dune
- Ce'Nedra from The Belgariad is a dryad, and so has red hair and olive skin.
- In Codex Alera: Cursor's Fury, Invidia Aquitaine disguises herself as a slave with deep, red-brown skin, and coppery hair. It's justified, though, since this is a world where anyone with sufficient talent at watercrafting (magic using elemental spirits present in water) can change their appearance. And, well, the slave she was supposed to be wasn't exactly the kind you used for sweeping stables...
- Zones of Thought: Phan Nuwen is a grey-skinned redhead with epicanthic folds, "a product of post-terrestrial evolution".
- Quite a few of the mortok tribe in Phenomena has red hair according to Jolsah's spin-off series. Jolsah himself has purple with red stripes, and his great-great-grandfather had a dark purple.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Ghiscari of Slaver's Bay have a dark complexion, but many have a mixture of black and red hair, like a tortoise shell cat.
- Vincent Katherinessen from Elizabeth Bear's novel Carnival.
- Josepha Walsh from the Venus Prime series has dark skin and red hair, the result of her mixed heritage.
Live Action TV
- Teyla from Stargate Atlantis is dark-skinned with auburn hair to portray her alienness.
- Although most screen adaptations have portrayed her as more fair-skinned, the original Newspaper Comics version of Princess Aura from Flash Gordon was one of these. Of course, most Mongonians were portrayed as slightly dark-skinned, so it would have been odd if she had had a light complexion.
- Given how certain parts of the setting of Exalted operate, it's not uncommon to find these types in the South. Dark-skinned types with hair colors that range from mahogany to copper to straight-up fire engine red aren't uncommon sights in cities like Chiaroscuro or Gem.
- Depending on the Author (or rather, the artist) Chandra Nalaar. She's definitely a redhead, but whether she's dark-skinned or just exceptionally freckled depends on who's drawing her at the current time.
- An option in pretty much any game with a "Create-A-Character" mode. Even the rare ones like Fallout 3 that have a setting for race don't restrict hair colors based on it.
- Ganondorf and the Gerudo from The Legend of Zelda series. Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess takes it Up to Eleven.
- The beast-taming bandit Moses from Tales of Legendia.
- Reid Hershel of Tales of Eternia is a Dark Skinned Redhead of the tanned variety, with his skin colour reflecting his athletic, outdoorsy disposition; his skin tone may also be a deliberate attempt to visually set him apart from other Inferians, of whom one of the distinguishing traits is pale skin.
- Jaffar from Fire Emblem 7, Tethys from Fire Emblem 8, and Fiona from Fire Emblem 10.
- Brave Fencer Musashi has Gingerelle, an arrogant beauty queen and captain of the Thirstquencher Empire. While not so much the energetic type, she did have a powerful presence and tended to lord it over her little sister most of the time.
- Almalexia, a non-anime example from Morrowind, has dark gold skin and red-hair.
- Lucia from Devil May Cry.
- Psyme from Sigma Star Saga is a purple-skinned redhead.
- Asad in Suikoden Tierkreis.
- Akuma (aka Gouki) of the Street Fighter series is a bloodthirsty martial artist with dark skin and wild red hair. His "Shin Akuma" form in Capcom vs. SNK takes it even further, with dark red skin and pure white hair.
- Crimson Viper, from Street Fighter IV, is darker-skinned than the other girls in the game, but not to the same degree as Akuma.
- Shauna - a bandit leader and the Hero version of the Gypsy class - from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters.
- In a rare western example, Ronny and Sally Dobbs from Backyard Sports.
- Nym from Black Sigil is a wild child with dark skin and red hair.
- Early concept art shows Alyx Vance as one of these.
- Jin of Yo-Jin-Bo, complete with spunky personality.
- Maria Torres from Trauma Team. She's a Fiery Redhead, too.
- As of Dynasty Warriors 6, Sun Quan has an element of this, as compared to the rest of the pasty cast, he is quite swarthy.
- Half-Calishite (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture mishmash of Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and others depending on who you ask) Khalid of Baldur's Gate is shown to have short red hair if you remove his helmet.
- Pirate boss and snarky Fire Adept Eoleo in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn fits perfectly, being the tannest player character in the series to date, implicitly from a lifetime of doing pirate-y things, since he and his parents had a lighter complexion in The Lost Age.
- Every character in Evil Zone is an Affectionate Parody of a manga/anime genre or archetype; Cute Bruiser Midori is the Dark-Skinned Redhead.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Mistral. In her case, she's a maniacal Blood Knight who states that she only feels alive in battle.
- One of the dancing girl sprites from the "Beat it & Eat It!" level of The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures.
- Marena of Keychain of Creation and her sister, Karen. Marena is definitely a fiery, emotional, out-there woman, who flaunts her sexuality.
- Ellen in older Questionable Content strips (exhibit A); now that the other characters aren't so pale, Ellen's skin is not significantly darker (exhibit B). Tai, on the other hand, is a more straight (no pun intended) example, as seen here. Later on it's revealed that she dyes her hair and she even lampshades the improbability of that color hair with her skintone.
- Wapsi Square is in black and white, but we know from coloured artwork by the author that Monica Villarreal is supposed to to be a Dark-Skinned Redhead, due to her Mexican as well as Irish ancestry.
- Guy from Two Guys and Guy.
- Although there are many people that dye their hair red in Drowtales (mostly the Vloz'ress), Nel'ralka & Genaninote both seem to be natural redheads, there's another unnamed Sarghress in chapter 30note , to name but a few.
- In Dragon Mango, there are more than one -- a fact exceedingly annoying to a character who thought "dark-skinned redhead" ought to be an identifying trait.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Texan hero Firedrake is a black man with pumpkin-orange hair. It's a side-effect of his powers.
- Survival of the Fittest: Evolution gives us Holly Chapman, who fits. The tan part, according to her profile, is from living in the desert for most of her life, while the red hair comes from a habit of dying it and it just so happened that she was abducted while it was red.
- Ms. Sara Bellum from The Powerpuff Girls.
- Sari Sumdac from Transformers Animated. She also appears to have red eyes for some reason. Eventually justified since she's not fully human.
- Wuya from Xiaolin Showdown.
- Anna Maht from World Of Quest.
- Starfire from Teen Titans. And she's actually an alien.
- Kim Possible in "Graduation, Part 2". ◊ ◊
- Lua from Kong: The Animated Series.
- Kiva Andru from Megas XLR.
- Max from Batman Beyond, whose hair is dyed pink.
- Kelly from Stoked.
- Saffi, from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Otto, from Rocket Power. Well, same goes for his sister, Reggie. Most of the characters are some shade of orange with bright hair and could fit into this trope.
- Wakfu gives us post-episode 22 Sadlygrove. He goes through the sunburn from hell first, though, among other things.
- Yoko from Team Galaxy has red hair with blonde streaks.
- Megara from Hercules. If you look very closely, you can easily tell that Meg's hair is actually a dark red color, and that her skin is slightly darker than that of Herc's.
- The Girl of the Week in the Johnny Bravo episode "Buffoon Lagoon".
- Darren and Ginger's baby, in the last episode of As Told by Ginger.