"Interest in your bold rejection of social norms as evidenced by your dyed hair."In some cultures, hair dyed unusual colors is considered a sign of delinquency—in the west, this means colours such as blue, pink, green, and similar shades that don't usually appear in nature. In other cultures, where hair shades are typically more similar from person to person, this can include hair tinted or lightened to red or blonde as well. There are certain hair styles which are strongly associated with delinquent or punk behaviour—mohawks, pompadours, certain spiky styles, and a completely shaven head. In Japanese and other Asian works, this may have something to do with repression of excessive individualism in Asian schools—most evidently in Japan. Of course, this can lead to unfortunate misunderstandings with people who naturally have lighter hair colors. In Western cultures, unusual hair colors are less strongly associated with delinquency than they were in the past, though they are still more commonly worn by teenagers and young adults than by middle aged or older people—with the exception of the "blue rinse". However, the stigma with certain hairstyles remains, so you would probably still be hesitant about bringing home a punk with a blue mohawk to your parents. Outside of contemporary times, dyeing hair was still significant, but for different reasons. Less than a century ago, dyeing hair at all was considered a sign of badness because it was dishonest. This is why evil blondes are often dyed. During Restoration England, natural blondes commonly dyed their hair darker because everyone would think they had dyed it blonde in the first place. (This was partly because of the dangers of earlier dyes: dyeing your hair risked your health for temporary good looks.) This trope usually does not show up in settings where You Gotta Have Blue Hair. A common attribute of The Quincy Punk, subtrope of Face of a Thug when it's natural. If the hair keeps being re-dyed, it overlaps with Kaleidoscope Hair. Compare Make-Up Is Evil. See also '50s Hair, relating to pompadours.
— Wealthy, Successful Protagonist, A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Rokudenashi Blues has the entire main cast as examples of this trope. It even becomes the focus of one chapter, where an Evil Teacher makes them change their hair back to normal.
- In Bleach:
- Averted in the case of Ichigo and Orihime who have been bullied (and in Orihime's case, had her hair hacked off) for their naturally (but very oddly) coloured hair but who do their best not to cause trouble (Ichigo is less successful at this).
- Played for Laughs when the Soul Reapers show up at Ichigo's school, wearing school uniforms. Ikkaku has his pants rolled up, no socks, and a wooden sword. Renji wears his uniform relatively normal, but with his shirt unbuttoned a bit, revealing the tattoos on his chest, while also wearing a bandanna on his forehead. Onlooking students comment on Yumichika and Rangiku not looking very threatening, and Toshiro and Renji looking odd. Then they point out the scary bald guy. Ikkaku was not amused.
- Tenjirou Kirinji of Squad Zero has an enormous hooked pompadour.
- Angel Densetsu has a Deconstruction: genuine delinquent Takehisa has naturally light brown hair. He got a lot of flak for this, so he decided to go the whole nine yards. He dyed it blond and put it up in spikes to be even more delinquent looking.
- Then an In-Universe inversion occurs. Kitano has natural Delinquent Hair and tries his best to make it less noticeable. Then, of course, sensei Hishida tries to "fix" it and this trope is played straight.
- Later, the trope is played for laughs with the Butt-Monkey Ogisu: all the other delinquents laugh at his bright red hair.
- At the beginning of The Twelve Kingdoms, Youko is criticized for her naturally red hair, and her mother tries to make her dye it a more unassuming shade so that people won't assume she's a delinquent.
- Hanamichi Sakuragi from Slam Dunk is an ex school delinquent who has a bright red (dyed) pompadour. Out of his still-school gangster friends, one has a blond Funny Afro and two have smaller pompadours. When Sakuragi commits a HUGE mistake that costs Shohoku an important victory, he shaves his hair to buzzcut levels but keeps dying it red.
- In Fruits Basket, Hatsuharu got into trouble at school for white on top, black on bottom natural hair coloring, as people believed he dyed his hair. On a non-magically coloured note, Arisa Uotani also has lighter hair, of a blonde-brown shade, and was (and is still considered) a delinquent. Kyouko, Tohru's mother, also had dyed red hair and was considered a delinquent, too.
- Kuwabara from YuYu Hakusho.
- In Dragon Ball Z, after Goku and Gohan achieve Super Saiyan status, Chichi sees them for the first time and is dismayed that they've become delinquents. This happens again with Goten (only to be unfortunately translated as "monster" in the first Funimation Z dub) and even becomes a Running Gag in the biography mode in a video game.
- Makoto Kino of Sailor Moon isn't actually a delinquent, but her tall height, strength, long-skirted school uniform, and naturally curly light brown hair all make her fellow students perceive her as this.
- Shizuo dyed his hair blond to differentiate himself from his similar looking (but diametrically opposite in personality) brother, and kind of fits since he has an extreme Hair-Trigger Temper and works for loan sharks It's revealed in a side story that bleaching his hair was Tom's idea: Tom figured that looking the part of a delinquent would deter other kids from picking fights with Shizuo. Shizuo opposed the idea at first (rage disorder aside, Shizuo's about as far away from the delinquent persona as one could get), but eventually changed his mind when he realized just how much Tom cared about his well-being.
- Masaomi, an easygoing class clown type and former gang leader, dyed his hair blond which is ironic since his former gang is yellow.
- Walker might fit too. He definitely satisfied the delinquent part of it, but since he might be biracial, his blond hair could be evidence of Phenotype Stereotype.
- Miscellaneous thugs in the series, such as those in the Blue Squares, often have dyed hair.
- In Love Pistols, the Face of a Thug delinquent friend of Inukami has red hair and an outrageous pompadour. No info whether it's dyed or not.
- Momo Adachi, the main character of Peach Girl, is assumed to be a slutty kogal as she tans easily and her hair bleached due to her being on the school swim team and thus around chlorinated water a lot. She wishes she looked more like her friend Sae, who is petite, pale, and delicate (but a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing).
- Kitamura gives it a go in Toradora!. He dyes his hair blond, though his usual hair color appears as dark green (it was considered black In-Universe).
- Midori Days has a blond delinquent protagonist.
- In Detective Conan, a case is solved because of the differences between the styles of two writers. One was old-fashioned (lovers standing in the rain, separated by a pole was a common scene in his novels) and his delinquents almost always had bleached hair.
- Also, Kouichi from Bunny Drop dated a red haired delinquent girl, dying his hair red too during this rebellious phase. When he grew out of it, his hair went black again.
- Baptistin of Gankutsuou has red hair in a pompadour style.
- Ran, the main character of Super Gals, continually gets flack from her teacher for having bleached blonde hair with a red streak. During one story arc, she dies her hair orange, and a number of freshmen follow suit, much to the faculty's dismay. In an attempt to stem the tide of ko-gals, Naka-sen promises to cut her summer homework in half if she dyes her hair back. Instead of going back to her original black, however, Ran goes back to her usual blonde style.
- Discussed in K-On! during its yearbook pictures episode; the girls' school requires students whose hair isn't black or dark brown to bring their baby pictures to prove that their hair color is natural, and anyone who fails to do so is forced to dye their hair before their picture are taken.
- Sunohara in CLANNAD has the bleached blond variety (explicitly stated to be dyed, as opposed to a case of You Gotta Have Blue Hair like everyone else). He stops bleaching it when he gets a job.
- Shūichi Nitori from Wandering Son gets mistaken for these once she dyes her hair from a dark brown to a bright red, after falling into a funk after being submitted into an all-boys high school. It only lasts one chapter.
- The protagonist of Shikii no Juunin dyes his hair green. He's a rebellious, matter-of-fact middle schooler who smokes and doesn't want to go to school. The above-mentioned Nitori is an Expy of him in design, though due to the different art-styles it isn't that apparent.
- Eyeshield 21 has a lot of this. Two of the Ha-Ha brothers and Hiruma are bleached blonde, Agon wears his hair in dreads, and Musashi isn't a delinquent but is supposed to look like one with his mohawk.
- Kodaka Hasegawa, the protagonist of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is wrongly assumed to be a delinquent by most of his peers due to his naturally blond hair.
- Also inverted with Kobato and Sena; while they are not exactly delinquents, they behave in ways that society would deem quite unfitting, yet despite their own natural blonde hair, neither is seen as a delinquent or such by others. It's generally accepted though that this is because Kodaka's hair looks dyed, while Kobata's and Sena's look much more natural.
- In Fist of the North Star, mohawks are the calling cards of villains whose fate is to be messily killed via martial art techniques that are capable of popping human beings like a zit.
- Pretty much the majority of the cast of Beelzebub has this going on. Makes sense, considering it's a series about an entire school of delinquents. Tojo and Kanzaki both have orange, spiky hair.
- Oga inverts the trope by having brown hair while being one of the most powerful humans in the series. Furuichi also inverts it by having silver hair, but could have gone to the non-delinquent Saint Ishiyama if not for hanging out with Oga all the time.
- Himekawa has silver hair kept constantly in a pompadour. He even sleeps with it in the pompadour style. It's apparently hereditary.
- While she's not a delinquent, Eiko from the manga Cousin dyed her hair brown in early high school and started changing in personality.
- In Kyo Koi O Hajimemasu, Tsubaki describes that her whole school looks like it's composed of delinquents. Kyota himself has long, unkempt bleached hair. It looks neater when Tsubaki cuts it, but it's still pretty delinquent-y. It actually contrasts his excellent grades.
- Miki from Life is implied to have dyed her hair blonde. She is considered a delinquent, however most of the rumors are false and she's quite nice.
- Discussed in Cromartie High School. In an early chapter Kamiyama takes advice from a book on how to be a delinquent and bleaches his hair. The subject also comes up a couple other times with Hayashida's purple mohawk which turns out to be a wig that he takes off at home.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has both Honda and hired thug Suwatari (Kemo) who have railroad spike hair. Kind of subverted with Jounouchi; despite being a delinquent, his blond hair and messy pompadour-esque hairstyle seem to be natural.
- Nakanojo from Nichijou gets mistaken for this. His mohawk is natural, though.
- The title character of Space Dandy sports a Regent pompadour, which he's quite proud (and protective) of.
- The same could be said of Josuke Higashikata from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure with his massive pomp. He has it to honor the memory of a young man who helped his mother when Josuke was extremely ill. Insulting his hair is his Berserk Button for him, as Rohan learned the hard way. Josuke's other best friend, Okuyasu has a smaller pompadour and dyes the sides of his hair.
- Implied with Amano of Livingstone, who has blond hair that might be bleached and carries a can of spray paint everywhere which serves dual purposes of cleaning up corruption and letting him tag everything.
- This trope was discussed in Episode 3/Chapter 8 of Blend-S. Some time in the past, Maika told her mother she wanted to dye her hair blonde out of her Foreign Culture Fetish, but her mother thinks she was attempting to invoke this trope (or even becoming a Japanese Delinquent herself) out of Maika's frustration of her Face of a Thug.
- Daken, the villainous son of Wolverine wears his hair in a mohawk.
- While not often seen, underneath his mask Bane sports a short mohawk.
- Noah St. Germain, the guy at the top of the criminal world in Brownsville as seen in Morbius vol. 2, has a blue mohawk. This is an invoked trope; he used to look completely average but his criminal mastermind employers had him change his appearance, presumably to make him appear more intimidating.
- Pizzazz from Jem and the Holograms is the lead singer in a metal band named The Misfits. Her default hairstyle is a bright green mohawk with some small highlights in it. Downplayed because most of the characters have brightly colored hair, however her's is green and in a mohawk so it still counts.
- The General, a recurring foe in Robin who first appeared in Detective Comics, keeps the sides of his head shaved to show off his tattoos and has dyed his hair blue in the past.
- Flashbacks to Kate Kane's "Lost Year" in Batwoman (Rebirth), show that she had a severe skater cut (think Cressida's hair in Mockingjay).
- Violet Paige, the foul-mouthed, antihero protagonist of Mother Panic, sports a shaggy bob haircut with purple highlights that wouldn't look out of place in a punk band.
Films — Animation
- The eponymous character of Coraline has blue hair in a setting where everyone else has normally-colored hair, speculated to be an attempt to get her parents' attention.
Films — Live-Action
- One of the revivifiable Mooks in The 6th Day has her hair dyed a different color every time she is brought back. She even complains about having to get it dyed (and getting her ears pierced) when revived.
- The hackers who show up to Neo's door near the beginning of The Matrix all have strange hair colours. They're clearly delinquent-type characters.
- Subverted in The Boy With Green Hair. Peter is looked on with suspicion by the rest of the town for his green hair, but he just woke up like that one morning.
- In the Japanese film Akunin, the troubled, violent Shimizu has bleached blond hair, and when Mitsuyo says that she "never expected [she] would be going for a drive with a blond guy like [him]", "blond guy" seems almost like a euphemism for "bad boy".
- In the 2011 film Warrior: Mad Dog sports a colorful mohawk to let us know that he's a Jerk Ass. He even colors it camouflage for his fight with Tommy as a Take That! to all the servicemen in the audience.
- In X-Men: Days of Future Past, it is shown that Toad sported a mohawk in his youth.
- Her Father's Daughter: Hair dye is a mark against Eileen's honesty:
I never knew Eileen to be honest about anything in all her life unless the truth served her better than an evasion. Her hair was not honest color and it was not honest curl.
- In L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, Anne tries to dye her hair black with a peddler's dye. It turns her hair green instead, and she resolves to let the incident cure her vanity.
- Spyder, one of the army recruits in M.Y.T.H. Inc in Action, dyes her hair in neon stripes. Of all the New Meat, she's the one with the biggest problem with authority.
Live Action Televison
- In the Pie in the Sky episode "The Policeman's Daughter", the eponymous character goes through a rebellious phase that includes running away from home, taking up with undesirable people, and dying her hair pink.
- Lead character Gentaro from Kamen Rider Fourze puts his hair into a rather prominent pompadour (as can be seen in the opening credits) to complete his appearance, which is that of a stereotypical delinquent...from the 1980s. Despite appearances, he is a friendly, outgoing guy who's stated goal is to become friends with everyone in the school. Does occasionally get him in trouble with the school's would be disciplinarian Oosugi.
- JK, from the same show, manages to escape any censuring of his died and heavily styled hair until an episode with a ridiculously overpowered Student Council, which forces both JK and Gentaro to actually wear uniforms and have toned-down haircuts.
- Max Asher, from MythQuest, is an older, rather quiet and reserved man. Evidently he has this opinion of Spiky Hair. Shortly after his teenage friend Alex changes his hair to impress a girl, Max's first reaction is, "My God! What happened to you? You look like you've been in a fight."
- In The Breaker, all the other (Korean) students are afraid of Jinie because of her red hair.
- Blue Beard from Banzai Run has a short-trimmed mohawk.
- Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution is very fond of this trope.
- Several members of The Zodiac Order have this. Take a third of a shot every time you see an example in the book's artwork or short stories because taking a full shot will probably kill you.
- Mama Bear has green hair.
- Chris Riven had dreadlocks.
- Leo has a mohawk.
- A common trait of hive gangers in Warhammer 40,000.
- Persona 4 has Kanji Tastumi, who, after after years of feeling like an outcast, began dying his hair platinum blond and wearing dark clothes, causing many to think he's part of a gang, as his mother explains to the protagonist. In the epilogue of Persona 4 Golden, his hair is back to it's original black color and he wears a simple white shirt, but in Persona 4 Golden: The Animation he decides to dye it back to blond after being made fun of.
- Persona 5: Japanese Delinquent Ryuji Sakamoto started dying his hair bleach blond after a Career-Ending Injury ended with him being ostracized by his entire high school. His evolved Guardian Entity, an Anthropomorphic Personification of his feelings, has spikey golden mohawk meant to look like the points of the sun.
- Sharla from the Purple Moon games uses enough bleach and hairspray—along with purple makeup and leather jackets—to give this impression off. She cuts class and acts out because her father walked out on their poor family, which also prompted her makeover; when we see her in Secret Paths to the Sea, it's just after her father left, and she has long, plain red hair and dresses conservatively.
- The main characters of Kunio-kun franchise. Kunio/Alex has gangly brown hair and Riki/Ryan has a pompadour.
- Parodied in Logical Journey of the Zoombinis with the villainous Fleens. According to the manual, they were once just troublesome Zoombinis, but keeping up their delinquent hair mutated them into the punks they are now thanks to a batch of mousse going bad.
- Official art for The Great Giana Sisters shows "Punk Giana" as wearing a mohawk with green and red hair. The reboot toned her down by giving her a more typical (if messy) hairstyle and abandoning the green highlights.
- Haunting Starring Polterguy: Poltergeist Polterguy has a well-kept mohawk on his head. In the Gainax Ending you can see that he dyed it red.
- Roughraff and Baddinyan from Yo-kai Watch are Japanese Delinquents with huge pompadours.
- Team Skull, the villainous team of Pokémon Sun and Moon, are based on street punks. The male and female grunts have neon blue and hot pink hair respectively, and the admin Plumeria has a strange double-pigtails 'do where the front two are pink and the back two are yellow.
- Implied with Delinquent trainers. They have blonde hair but black roots, implying their hair is dyed, befitting of Japanese stereotypes involving delinquents bleaching their hair.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic has normal spikes however early western official art stylized his quills as a mohawk (though his in-game sprites weren't edited). This was used in several adaptations, such as Sonic SatAM, but was eventually phased out in exchange for the cuter Japanese design. He was given a mohawk to emphasise his Mascot with Attitude element (which also was a western creation).
- In Red String, Miharu has Bleached Blonde hair and Reika has a perm and her hair is dyed/lightened to a red-brown hue; several people associate them with delinquency—more so Miharu—even though neither of them are. Both of them got restyled together in order to help Reika get over a bad experience. Later, when Miharu is transferred to a more elite school, she is required to dye it back.
- In Blue Yonder, even when trying to discover what happened to his missing family, when Blue Yonder hears the tabloids are discussing whether he bleaches his hair, he denies it.
- Lampshaded in Woo Hoo, where punk teenager Amy initially has a purple fringe in her black hair, but changes her style in horror when she realizes it's become a trope for Asian female characters.
- This seems to be the view of some people in Girl Genius - when Othar Tryggvassen finds his sister Sanaa in a deathtrap/prison, his second question is "And what have you done to your hair?" It's unknown whether he's talking about cutting it short or dying it pink.
- Angel Moxie: The detention-prone, punch-happy Tristan keeps the front of her hair dyed green. (It's naturally black.) Even though her school has uniforms and a fairly strict dress code — the kind that usually comes with rules against hair dye.
- Total Drama's Duncan (the page image) sports a green mohawk.
- Tambry from Gravity Falls has pink and purple hair. It's been like this since she was in Kindergarten.
- It is apparently natural however Pizzazz's bright green hair in Jem pins her as more malicious than the pink and purple haired protagonists. Sixth Ranger Jetta has a Skunk Stripe in her hair. Both women are a part of a band called The Misfits and are constantly trying to outshine The Holograms.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You" has Rarity lose most of her mane because she accidentally uses Zecora's magical remover potion. Once she accepts that she can't grow back her ruined mane quickly, Rarity opts to turn it into a multicolored punk mohawk. Downplayed as it's portrayed as a great fashion choice and inspires a manestyle trend long after her own mane has grown back.
- Steven Universe: The mystery girl from "Last One Out Of Beach City" has bright pink hair, a punk aesthetic, and is the Implied Love Interest during Pearl's efforts to cut loose and be more rebellious. She also rather eerily resembles a punk human version of Rose Quartz.
Pearl: I just didn't realize humans could come with pink hair...Steven: They don't. You've gotta go to the store and get this... goo? It smells really bad and it turns your hair whatever color you want.Pearl: Why would she do that?
- Though naturally Multicolored Hair is common for the Catfolk of ThunderCats (2011), Wilykit, a young Little Miss Con Artist and Artful Dodger, sports a purple Skunk Stripe.
- According to this article, Japanese students with tinted or long hair have been known have had their hair shorn on the spot by teachers, and one middle school in the city of Kitakyushu once took aside the kids with tinted hair and had staff in a designated area spray it back to black. This was broadcast on a news program.
- Happened to Yoshiki Hayashi during his high school years. It seemed his teacher really didn't like blonde, spiky hair.
- In US and UK schools dying hair "unnatural colors" (which often includes brighter red shades) is prohibited in dress codes, probably because of this trope, as are "extreme" hair styles.