Guess who's the bad guy.
In an age where every other hero is an Anti-Hero
, how do you tell who to root for? Why, you look at what color
the character wears, of course! In visual entertainment, who's good and who's evil is usually distinguished by the colors, and woe be to those who are colorblind
White for good
and black for evil
(why do you think it's called The Dark Side
?) is probably the oldest and most obvious classification. This can lead to Unfortunate Implications
. It can be more complex than this, of course, especially when you get into different cultural values and perceptions. (For example, in Asia many countries associate white with death and mourning [since bones are white], as it has been associated in Europe at various times. It can also denote purity
, merely because it shows dirt well.) Black can also be used as a form of Shadow Archetype
which is not necessarily evil, and nowadays, dark equaling evil is subverted as often as it's used straight; see Dark Is Not Evil
Another common pairing is red versus blue (though they are commonly used in grey vs. gray
engagements) where the hero is blue and the villain is red (as this probably results from the "good" American and "evil" British colors during the US War of Independence note
; even more Unfortunate Implications may result
). A variation on this is Red Oni, Blue Oni
, with a character that's calm being represented by blue and a more fiery character being represented by red, usually The Hero
and The Lancer
, or The Hero
and The Rival
. See also Heavenly Blue
In superhero comic books, superhero costume themes tend to rely on the primary colors (red, blue, yellow or gold) whereas supervillain costume themes tend to rely on the secondary colors (green, purplenote
gray). Most commonly, heroes wear red and blue, and villains wear green and purple.
A frequent arrangement for weapons, Eye Beams
, Laser Blade
swords and energy blasts is bright green or blue for good and red for evil, thanks to the colors of the Jedi and Sith lightsabers in Star Wars
. (However, laser weapons on the heroes' ships in Star Wars IV-VI
generally fire red blasts while the villainous Imperial craft fire green ones. This was done because U.S. weapons use red tracer rounds. Guess what color the Soviet Union used.)
It should be noted, though, that many times it's not the actual color that's used to distinguish good and evil, but the tone or shade of that color. For example, more natural or muted colors are often used for the good guys, while darker or more garish versions adorn the villains. The best example of this is probably green, which can be used for good if reminiscent of nature, or bad if it looks artificial, either by being too bright or
too dark. Confusing things further is the general rule that in sci-fi, if there are two armies, the 'good' army will be the one that wears brighter colors (Federation vs Klingons
, Rebels vs Empire
It should also be noted that colors can be used to determine that kind of person's personality and powers as well.
That said, the general breakdown is this:
- Black - Anti-Hero, Knight in Sour Armor and generally Bad Ass heroes.
- Blue - The Hero or The Lancer
- Cherry Red - The Hero or The Lancer
- Red and Blue Together - The Hero
- Natural greens - Nature Hero, Closer to Earth, The Big Guy, Sixth Ranger
- Pink - The Token Girl, The Chick, or possibly The Medic; also used for The Hero especially in Magical Girl series due to pink being seen as a Distaff Counterpart of red or blue.
- Browns and other earthy tones - Nature Hero, Closer to Earth, The Obi-Wan, Retired Badass; their use by villains is not unheard of but somewhat rare, and tends to denote a villain that relies on savagery and physical brutality over cunning.
- Gold - The Ace
- Yellow - Kid-Appeal Character
- Gray - Reasonable Authority Figure
- White and off-white - The Hero, Messianic Archetype, White Magician Girl, Deadpan Snarker
- All white - A hint of madness, religious zealotry, or a church that oversteps its bounds. Occasionally can also reflect flawless glamour or sterility, especially on The Man Behind the Man or other villains who do not like to get their hands (or clothes) dirty. Also, due to Asian cultures associating white with death as mentioned above, characters who dress all or mostly in white or have white hair are often strongly associated with death, the supernatural, etc.
- Off white A jackass. Always takes the form of an ugly suit (or, if really bad, tuxedo), as it was fashionable for a time in social groups usually perceived as obnoxious, which is also when the trope is most often invoked, although guidos and arsim are sometimes dressed in particularly egregious examples in modern media.
- Crimson red - Ax-Crazy, Omnicidal Maniac
- Navy blue - a favorite of evil chess masters and Aristocrats.
- Unnatural Greens - the villain employs toxic materials in his schemes.
- Silver- Rich Bitch, indicates wealth and arrogance.
- Purple - Evil bitches and villainesses. Popular in Japanese media; the official color of videogame evil; really popular for comic book villains and nefarious aliens, particularly in combination with green. It is also often associated with venom. As it is also the ancient color for royalty, tying it in with Aristocrats.
- Black - Card-Carrying Villain, in recent times anyway
Neutral Guys/Transition colours:
In pre-medieval, medieval and renaissance times this was taken for granted, even in non-fictional contexts sometimes. These days it's more of an Undead Horse Trope
, or perhaps even an Omnipresent Trope
, at least for fiction.
A Super Trope
to Red Is Heroic
, Primary-Color Champion
, Red and Black and Evil All Over
, Evil Wears Black
Compare Chromatic Arrangement
, Color Character
, Paint It Black
, Pink Girl, Blue Boy
, Color-Coded Patrician
, Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains
, Good Eyes, Evil Eyes
, Dress-Coded for Your Convenience
, Color-Coded Multiplayer
, Color-Coded Armies
, Color-Coded Wizardry
, Rainbow Motif
, Law of Chromatic Superiority
, Gold and White Are Divine
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The killer and detective in Death Note are lit by vivid red and blue lights respectively during internal monologue, regardless of the natural lighting of the scene. Later on, Matsuda gets yellow, and both Mogi and Aizawa get green. Even outside their monologues, Light tends to wear darker colours, while L is in an off-white T-shirt and jeans.
- Also, the ruthless and slightly unhinged Mello wears all black, while his calmer, less aggressive rival Near wears all white and has white hair.
- Then there's Misa Amane, Mello's fellow goth of the series. This trope is played even straighter with Misa, since she tones down the Lolita image considerably when she loses her memories of being a serial killer.
- However, an aversion is Naomi Misora, undoubtedly one of the good guys, who always wears black and had a fondness for leather.
- D.Gray-Man: Allen is white (hair included), Kanda is blue and black, Lavi is red, Lenalee is green / pink, and Cross is red and gold. As for the baddies, gray and black are the colors for the Noah Family.
- The demons in Ah! My Goddess have red Facial Markings, while the goddesses have blue. When Belldandy was temporarily given demon magic, her aura turned red from its normal gold. Additionally, Urd's angel is half-white/half-black, reflecting her half-demon heritage.
- In Afro Samurai, the hero wears a white shirt; his robotic doppleganger wears black. Afro's gold colored jewelery is matched by Afro-Droid's silver.
- The main protagonist's Humongous Mecha in the Gundam metaseries is always white, with red, blue, and/or yellow highlights.
- Allied and antagonist Mobile Suits, though, vary in color schemes between series (though you can bet there will be at least one enemy Ace in a red one), and sometimes there are enemy "Gundams" that share the hero's paint job.
- One thing is fairly certain: That the antagonist faction (one of them at least) will have their standard "Grunt" mecha in green.
- And recently there has been cases of pink mobile suits that have been "coincidentally" piloted by girls.(Strike Rouge and Tieren Taozi anyone?)
- Interestingly, when the main protagonist borrows the Strike Rouge, he changes its colour scheme to the usual protagonist suit scheme, suggesting that the girl in question just liked it pink or didn't know how to change it.
- This was actually explained. The Rouge had an improved battery which sent more power to the armor, turning it pink. When the hero needed it again, he loaded his own operating program into the computer for the original Strike, which wasn't set to divert the additional power to the armor and because he was in a hurry, simply took off with the "inferior" armor coloring rather than spend time tweaking his program to accept the improved armor setting.
- Gundam 00 plays this straight with GN particle emissions. Celestial Being uses drives that give off blue-green particles, whereas the antagonists give off red and gold particles. Justified in that Celestial Being uses "true" GN drives, whereas the antagonists use incomplete, reverse-engineered GN drives.
- The TRANS-AM System, however, gives the good guys' mobile suits a red-ish hue. It is most likely a reference to Char.
- The color of beam weaponry, especially in UC and AD were especially color-colored, with the protagonists using purple/pinkish colors with the villains using yellow-orangish colors. UC in particular used different colors for special suits such as Delta Plus used blue colors and Kshatriya using green. However, Wing and SEED both used a singular color (yellow and green, respectively), possibly to represent the absolute neutrality and moral ambiguity between factions.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Homunculi all have default outfits that are very dark shades of a certain colour. So dark in fact, that they appear black in all but the best lighting conditions. Also, they all have dark hair.
- In the first Yu-Gi-Oh series (also known as Season Zero), the good Bakura had natural green eyes, while his darker counterpart had purple eyes.
- Also, the Shadow Realm has a purple color scheme to it.
- Yugi's hair, though much of it is black, has pink/red and gold/yellow in it, as if to offset the "evilness" of the black.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn! portrays this trope by ring colors. Although not Cheery, Gokudera is red. Yamamoto is Blue and is very cheery. Hibari is neutral purple, since all he wants is to battle Reborn, and is also considered gold, as Yamamoto once called him the ace of the team.
- Xanxus fits in the black category of neutral. Byakuran, obviously insane, wears lots of white, and sometimes black.
- As a matter of fact, the entire Milliefiore Family wears white and black. Apparently, the members wearing white are a little bit insane for some reason, excluding Irie, of course. The members wearing black tend to have more rationality and are usually the ones who fight.
- Slayers lampshaded this; Amelia thinks that all bad guys really do wear black all the time.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny The factions are: Orb uses mostly white MS (with the nation's leader having a gold Ace Custom), while the Alliance uses black and purple ones. ZAFT, which spends time as both a heroic and antagonistic faction, goes through most of the spectrum.
- In The Big O Roger Smith, his servants, and his eponymous Humongous Mecha are all in black, whereas Alex Rosewater and Big Fau are all in white.
- In Full Metal Panic!, the first season had identical colors for Lambda Driver energy fields. The Second Raid, however, introduced color coding: Codarls always had red energy fields while the Arbalest had blue. Though if the painting of Arm Slaves count, then this is the coding:
- ARX-7 Arbalest: white color and green eyes (The Hero)
- Plan1056 Codarl: silver color, blonde ponytail and three red eyes (Big Bad)
- Plan1058 Venom: red color and single red eye (Big Bad)
- Plan1055 Belial: black color (Big Bad)
- ARX-8 Laevatein: white/red color, white ponytail and green eyes (The Hero)
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Simon and Kamina's titular mecha as primarily Red (The Hero), while the Spiral King, Lordgenome, has his mecha almost entirely black (Card-Carrying Villain). Additionally, Viral's Enkidu is mostly white. Given his unflinching loyalty to Lordgenome and the Four Generals, this seems appropriate.
- Also: Spiral Energy is generally (although not invariably) depicted as green, such as the flames from the back of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and the Lagann's power gauge and Core Drill. Lordgenome's Lazengann has a red gauge, much like the Tron Lines of the Anti-Spirals.
- Soul Eater is a very colorful series, literally and otherwise. The given colors for evil tend to be red and black (predominantly Asura, but also madness and bad things in general), with the series grim reapers adopting the classic black-and-white combination (even down to their hair color) in contrast to the protagonists' usually bright surroundings.
- Specialist Knightmare Frames from Code Geass tend to follow this quite well:
- Suzaku's white/gold Lancelot and its ace of a pilot who serves the people.
- Kallen's red Guren could be interpreted as either The Ace or her particularly grisly modus operandi.
- Cornelia's royal purple Gloucester, as her status as a cold aristocrat.
- Lelouch's black/gold Knightmares Gawain and Shinkiro fit his Anti-Hero personality and his powerful Knightmares.
- C.C. gets a pink Akatsuki, and later a pink Lancelot Frontier.
- A Pokémon example would be the final fight scene from Pokémon: The First Movie, where Mew was surrounded by a pink force field, while its clone Mewtwo was surrounded by a blue one (though the original Mew is actually revealed to be as bad as its clone). Also, if you look very closely during said fight scene, you can actually tell which Pokemon are the clones by the fact that they are all slightly darker in color than the real Pokémon, and that they all sport black markings all over their bodies, something real Pokémon all do not have.
- The four Links of the Legend of Zelda: Four Swords manga have nicknames based on the colors they were; Green is the original, Blue is hot-tempered, Red is cheerful, and Vio (Violet, but that's a girl's name) is smart.
- The uniforms in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha show this. Nanoha has a white outfit based on her schoolgirl clothes, including a bright red bow. Fate Testarossa goes with a black uniform with dark red accents, though it remains like that even after her Heel-Face Turn.
- Eyeshield 21 isn't subtle about this in the least. In the manga, Jerk Jock Agon Kongo has normal black dread locks and wears a black, gold, and red football uniform. The anime decided to re-color him with purple dreadlocks, (which give the illusion that tentacles are coming out of his head) and a purple and blood-red uniform. Because there's obviously no way the audience would know he's bad without coloring him in purple from head to toe.
- Kimba the White Lion has the hero being a white lion while Claw, the resident Evil Overlord, is a brown lion with a black mane.
- Saint Beast has almost every character in a different shade of uniform, many of which are telling about their personalities:
- Judas is purple, connoting nobility, command, and possibly a reference to his potential for evil.
- Luca is teal, reflecting both The Lancer aspect of his character and a certain mystery.
- Goh is blue, indicating his heroic nature as well as cool-headedness.
- Rey is bright red, indicating he is passionate and both The Heart and The Chick of the group.
- Gai is white, which, along with his yellow hair, connotes innocence/naivete and energy.
- Zeus is all white, and one Jerkass God.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica uses and subverts these for pretty much every character.
- Madoka is pink, and generally acts as The Chick, sometimes combined with The Hero in previous timelines, all of which she died in due to her idealism. Eventually double-subverted when she uses her idealisticness to "become hope" and make the world less grimdark.
- Sayaka is blue, and tries to be a heroic lancer. Her selflessness and attempted independence lead to her death.
- Mami is yellow/gold, and acts as the kind and helpful mentor, with a bit of The Ace. She dies due to her own carelessness, initiating the show's descent into tragedy.
- Homura is black and purple, and appears to be evil, or at least an uncaring Anti-Hero. She isn't nearly as evil and aloof as she seems, and she started out naive and idealistic. She once wore cutesy bright red glasses, which she ditched upon becoming anti-heroic. Reversed in the last episode; she becomes more like her old self, and starts wearing Madoka's red ribbon.
- Kyouko is dark red, and appears to be madly violent. She nearly kills Sayaka when they first meet. She used to be The Hero, but she quit caring about others when her father killed himself and the rest of her family because of the magic she used to help him. She dies in a final attempt at heroism.
- Kyubey is white, yellow, and pink, and is a cute and loveable Talking Animal who dispenses magical wishes and superpowers. But not really.
- The characters from Popotan glow whenever they use their powers; the protagonists are green, Keith is dark red. Subverted in that Keith is not so much evil as an asshat, and not really an antagonistic one at that.
- Inverted in Berserk with the hero Guts being known as the Black Swordsman while the Big Bad Griffith is sometimes called the White Hawk, has white hair and usually wears all white armor. When Griffith takes on his Femto form, it is jet-black in the manga and movies, and blood-red in the anime.
- The Pretty Cure series has had various characters either play this trope straight or defy it. Of those who defy it include Nagisa and Honoka who were equally Bad Ass than their colors let on, Urara and Yayoi, who were more The Chick than a Kid-Appeal Character, and Ako, who was was just out there with her colors.
- Kill la Kill inverts the black/white relationship. The REVOCS corporation and Nazi-esque Honnouji Academy is strongly associated with the color white, whereas what little clothing the heroes wear is predominantly black and red. To further drive the point home, the Elite Four swap out their white Goku uniforms for gunmetal Nudist Beach gear upon revealing their true colors as Antiheroes All Along.
- In the Pokémon fandom, certain protagonists tend to have their eyes a specific color. For example, Red tends to have red eyes in fanworks. Leaf either gets green (if you think of her as being named "Green" or "Leaf") or blue (if you think of her as "Blue"). Same thing with Blue (who either has blue or green eyes depending on whether you call him "Green" or "Blue"). All three have brown eyes in canon. A less common variation is Ethan, who was usually known as "Gold" within the fandom prior to HGSS, has gold eyes when his canon eyes are dark blue.
- Rarer, but Brendan sometimes gets drawn with red eyes. As in "Ruby", being that that's one of the two games he's in and May has blue (as in "Sapphire") eyes. Wally also coincidentally has green ("Emerald") eyes.
- Silver is also sometimes drawn with silver eyes, like his Pokémon Special counterpart, when his eye color is red in the games.
- Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon goes against this with the Etherium, a group of villains who wear white and those who turn good get black uniforms (Anti-Hero). However, other than this, Good Colours and Evil Colours are generally kept. Smug Snake Kainatrol has a dark red colour scheme setting off her white uniform, while more sympathetic villain Mekuramast (her opponent in the Enemy Civil War) has light blue. Dark Magical Girl Millusion has dark blue-green, and the other villains wear bright green, purple, and gold (though the last one, wearing a Good Colour, gets considerably less pagetime). Asa and Yoko themselves are symbolized by pink/orange and blue/black, though these choices came from the design sheet the story was based upon and the inversion of black and white has already been stated. Dawn and Mia are both symbolized by pink and bright red.
- In My Immortal, black is good and pink is bad. What? It's true.
Films — Animation
- In Pixar's WALL•E, the bureaucratic robots (AUTO, Gopher, the "cyclops" doorkeeper) have red glowing eyes and use red forcefields. EVE, a friendly robot, has blue glowing eyes and uses a blue forcefield. The stylist/beautician robots (with female voices) are pink. WALL•E himself is school-bus yellow, indicating his naive, somewhat clumsy character.
- In the last story of The Animatrix, "Matriculated", when the captured robot is converted, his eye color changes from red to green.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 uses red to symbolise Lord Shen, the movie's Big Bad. He is also associated with white, symbolic in eastern Asia of death and metal.
- It also distinguishes him from the original Kung Fu Panda villain Tai Lung, whose color was cold compared to the gold and green associated with the heroes.
- The characters in Disney's Aladdin were specifically designed around this trope, on the notion that water is a life-giving force in the desert. Blue = good, yellow = neutral, and red = evil (because red is the death color in... Egypt?) Genie and Jasmine sport blue. The Sultan wears mostly yellow, with a splash of blue. Jafar and Iago sport red (though Iago had blue wingtips; perhaps a foreshadowing of his side-switching in the sequel). Aladdin and Abu sport purple, because they're in transition from being thieves (red) to heroes (blue). After Jafar gains control of the Genie, Genie often goes purple. And when Jafar puts Jasmine in Go-Go Enslavement, she wears a reddish-orange.
- There's some Fridge Brilliance to be had when applying this to THE ENTIRE MOVIE. Though Carpet looks mostly blue from a distance, close-ups reveal an intricate weaving of colors, including blue, yellow, purple, and red. The lamp is yellow, suggesting that the power of the lamp is itself neutral and unbiased. The guards wear yellow and black fringed with purple: they themselves are neutral but controlled by both good and evil forces. The yellow scarab, harmless in itself, becomes red as the eyes of the Cave of Wonder; similarly Jafar's staff is an innocent yellow until he activates the glowing red eyes. The disguised Jafar's cloak is a foreshadowing purple. In the sequel, Abis Mal, despite insisting how evil he is, wears mostly yellow and blue with a purple hat and belt: he's really a harmless fool who tries, and fails, to "wear" the image of evil.
- Unfortunately, the animators completely abandoned this scheme for the third movie (King of Thieves).
- Leroy & Stitch: Stitch is colored blue, while Leroy is colored red.
- The Lion King: The hero, Simba is a heroic gold lion with a brown mane and brown eyes, while the villain, Scar, is an evil brown lion with a black mane and green eyes.
- Dinosaur: The hero is a blue Iguanodon, while the villain is a red Carnotaurus.
- Beauty and the Beast: Both Belle and the Beast occasionally wear blue, Big Bad Gaston always wears red, and all of the villagers wear brown or green.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo and his henchmen always wear black, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Phoebus, Clopin, and the Gypsies all wear bright colors, and at the end of the film both Phoebus and especially Esmeralda wear white.
- Toy Story 3: Both Andy's bedroom and the Butterfly Room are colored blue (representing safety) and both the Caterpillar Room and the Incinerator are colored red (representing danger).
- Megamind first has the titular Megamind, clad in black and blue (blue skin, too), pitted against the yellow and white Metro Man, and later on, we have Megamind, still in black and blue pitted against the red and white Tighten.
Films — Live-Action
- TRON is probably one of the best-known "blue heroes, red villains" works. This carries over into the newest film TRON: Legacy. In both, it's a case of Exaggerated and Justified Trope, as a Program's Tron Lines give away its alignment, function, and origin. The best example of this is when Rinzler (aka the "believed deceased" Tron) snaps out of Brainwashed and Crazy. His lines change from orange-red to bluish-silver.
- Strangely inverted in the Intellivision version of TRON Deadly Discs — Tron in that game is red while the MCP's warriors are (mostly) blue.
- The video game sequel, Tron 2.0, takes this farther with an extended color-coding scheme. Good guys are blue, neutrals are yellow, and villains are red (for security programs), sickly green (for virally infected programs), or purple (for the rival company's programs), depending on their affiliation.
- The Space Paranoids portion of Kingdom Hearts II has a similar setup, since it's directly based on Tron.
- The simplest way to tell apart good and bad robots (i.e. bluish three-laws compliant vs reddish Big Bad-controlled) in the not-actually-Isaac Asimov-based I, Robot.
- The Dark Knight Rises: Good is black, bad is brown. This is especially obvious when Batman dressed in Black leads the Gotham Police (who wear black uniforms, despite being boys in blue) in the Bat (comes in black), while Catwoman (black catsuit) rides the Bat-Pod (also comes in black). Bane wears a brown jacket, and the League of Shadows/freed inmates all wear brown or orange gear, and their stolen Tumblers are all in brown camos because they hadn't been repainted black yet. This also tips you off early on that Catwoman is destined for a High Heel-Face Turn
- In the Star Wars movies, the Jedi typically use blue or green lightsabers, while the Sith always use red. Star Wars spacecraft however, reverse the trope, with the heroes' ships usually firing red laser blasts and the bad guys' craft firing green. The only character to go against the scheme is Mace Windu with his unique purple lightsaber, showing how important he is. The actor playing him specifically asked for it so he would stand out more easily onscreen.
- In the original trilogy, clothing followed a fairly simple white = good/innocent, black = evil metric:
- Luke as a farm boy: pure white clothing. See also Leia as rebel princess.
- Han solo: black vest over a white shirt (his lawless exterior conceals a good interior
- Darth Vader: Pure black, evil all the way down
- Stormtroopers: White armor over black under-clothing (ostensibly the space cops/good guys but actually evil underneath)
- Luke in danger of falling to the Dark side: black clothing, ripped in ROTJ to reveal it's actually white underneath
- "Neutral" characters that help the heroes, but aren't heroes, dress in brown (Chewbacca, Obi-wan)
- The Expanded Universe also expands the colors Jedi can use. Jedi lightsabers can also come in purple, yellow, orange, one color with flickery little bits of another color (yes, seriously, it's canon), bronze, silver, gold, and so on. Sith continue to have red lightsabers, though. In Expanded Universe material, it's shown that constructing one's own lightsaber is an important ritual for a Jedi, while Sith sometimes actually get theirs off of a mechanical assembly line. Sith lightsaber crystals are synthetic, which is why they are red: to contrast with the natural crystals of the Jedi.
- Exar Kun, perhaps the most powerful of the ancient Sith lords, wielded a double-bladed blue lightsaber.
- In the computer RPG Knights of the Old Republic, you can scour caves for light-saber crystals, amongst the nesting grounds of nasty arachnid critters. Non-red crystals can be found in the crystalline formations around the eggs, but they're scarce and require a lot of searching. If you search the eggs themselves, you'll find a red crystal every time, as they're a by-product of the arachnids' reproductive cycle, but harvesting them destroys the eggs, so each one you recover comes at the cost of destroying an innocent life. A bit of a Broken Aesop, considering how many of the adult arachnids you have to slaughter your way through in order to reach the nests in the first place. Especially as you don't gain any dark side points for it.
- Furthermore, the Jedi classes are loosely distinguished by colors: Guardians (specialise in lightsaber combat) with blue, Consulars (specialise in the Force) with green, and Sentinels (specialise in a bit of both and some other things) with yellow. It's supposedly traditional for Jedi to use a lightsaber that matches their own class, but there are numerous exceptions. And there's nothing stopping you from subverting this in your playing style with a black-robed, red-saber, heroic Player Character. The most powerful robes in game, though, are pitch black for an evil character and ivory colored for Light Side.
- In the books, there is at least one instance of a good guy's lightsaber crystal generating a red blade by pure coincidence. Luke got a Darth Vader flashback, but squashed it quickly.
- This probably has roots in Lucas' original intention, in that the colour of a lightsaber's blade depends on the wielder. Originally Luke's lightsaber was supposed to be red when Vader activated it. They scrapped that idea though, obviously.
- In episodes IV through VI, hand-held blasters always fired red bolts regardless of affiliation. However, in The Phantom Menace, the Trade Federation blasters fired red while the Republic blasters fired green. In Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Republic blasters fire blue bolts, while Separatist blasters continue with red.
- The color-coded droids of the Trade Federation tell you what they are programmed for (general, pilot et cetera).
- The same goes for the clones, with their color-accented armor matching their job or combat role. It's especially evident in the Battlefront series and Republic Commando.
- Averted by the Republic Diplomatic Corps, a.k.a. the people whose ship Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were using in the beginning of The Phantom Menace. Their ships are all deliberately painted that nice, dark, Ax-Crazy kind of red...to show that they're full of peaceful Republic diplomats.
- On the remastered collector's edition of Return of the Jedi, George Lucas comments about the costume choices for the Empire and Rebels. Empire uniforms typically were colorless (black or white) or otherwise subdued to make them less friendly. Rebel uniforms however used natural colors to emphasize warmth and friendliness. This was particularly noted during the Endor scenes where the Rebels wore camouflage and the Empire did not — which is just as easily explained by the Rebels being, y'know, smart enough to actually use camouflage.
- Even within the "good" side, there is an aspect of potential Fridge Brilliance to the blue vs. green colouring. Qui-Gon uses green, Obi-Wan uses blue, and Luke Skywalker uses blue in The Empire Strikes Back and green in Return of the Jedi; the Fridge Brilliance is in how much like Qui-Gon was more trusting of Anakin than Obi-Wan was, Luke was more trusting of Vader in Return of the Jedi than he was in The Empire Strikes Back.
- An expansion of this is that while there are plenty of exceptions, blue lightsabers often seem to used more often by younger, inexperienced Jedi while green seems to be favoured by Older and Wiser Jedi like Yoda. Luke's decision to change his saber colour could be said to reflect his maturity in the third film.
- And of course, as mentioned above, the Rebels' spacecraft fire red lasers, and the Empire's spacecraft fire green lasers. In the prequel trilogy, this is inverted and subverted with the Republic's fighters firing green lasers, and the Separatists' firing red lasers.
- Fridge Brilliance in that the Republic and the Empire shoot green and blue lasers, and the Separatists/Rebels use red ones. This may be because green lasers are more powerful, and the guys who rule the galaxy are probably better able to afford it. The Separatists used red lasers because their armies were entirely made of Cannon Fodder. The Empire only used green lasers in space (and not on the ground) because aerospace superiority would be vital to maintain blockades, whereas the ground troops are not valued much now that the rulers are evil.
- Or it could just be that Green lasers represent Law (Lawful Good for the Republic, Lawful Evil for the Empire) while Red lasers represent Chaos (Chaotic Good Seperatists who became Rebels).
- In a mild subversion, the most numerous bad guys, the Imperial stormtroopers and clone warriors are dressed in white armour. As the MAD parody noted, this must have been the idea of Muhammad Ali, lord of Earth.
- Every version of The Three Musketeers ever filmed features (good) Musketeers in blue and (bad) Cardinal's Guards in red. Historically, both groups wore blue, and in both real life and the original Dumas novels, the two groups simply had a fierce rivalry rather than being a good/bad dichotomy.
- However, it is not unjustified because of the association with the colours of the men the two units served. The Musketeers were part of the kings, and blue was the royal colour of France since Louis IX (the royal arms showing golden fleurs-de-lys on blue), while Cardinal Richelieu wore the scarlet robes of a cardinal and his family arms were three red chevrons on white.
- In Logan's Run the Sandmen all wear black and silver uniforms.
- Most sports movies have the main character/team's final opponent(s) wearing black uniforms, and it's almost certain they will cheat at some point in the match.
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the protagonists have white smoke when they Apparate, and the antagonists have black smoke.
- Although all of the main characters in Equilibrium, both evil and good, wear black for the majority of the film, the climactic final battle sees the protagonist in a stunningly-white ceremonial uniform, while every one of the antagonists he fights — from the motorcycle-helmeted goons to the Big Bad himself — is dressed entirely in black.
- Used in The Great Race. The hero, The Great Leslie, wears white. And all his gear is white. His car, his rope, his grappling hook, his pipe, his clothes. He even gets hit with a white pie in a pie fight. The villain, Professor Fate, wears black and his car is black.
- The only time that John Woo avoids his usual "white villain, black hero" color scheme is in the final church shootout of The Killer, which has Hitman with a Heart Ah Jong in a white suit and the villain Johnny Weng and many of his men in black suits. But then again, Ah Jong is the one who ultimately dies, and Weng was finished off by Jong's friend, Cowboy Cop Inspector Li Ying, who in turn was arrested by the entire police force for shooting Weng in front of them.
- American Ninja: Ninja Joe is decked out in a black ninja outfit for the final battle. The enemy ninja army are also decked out in exactly the same black ninja outfit. The only way to identify Joe is by his red belt, which from many angles can't even be seen. I guess it's a cunning plan on Joe's part.
- Used and lampshaded in Destination Moon. Each of the astronauts has a differently colored spacesuit so the audience can tell them apart when their faces are not visible. One of the character specifically says that the suits are brightly colored to stand out on the moon's surface, and different colored so that they can tell each other apart.
- Extreme Prejudice (1987). This modern-day Western has both the sheriff (Nick Nolte) and the villain (a former friend turned Mexican drug lord played by Powers Boothe) wearing white hats; in fact the latter wears a pristine white suit while Nolte mostly wears a black shirt.
- An in-universe example in the finale of Gladiator when the Genre Savvy Commodus with his aimed heroic victory in the arena, where the villain wears White to cast himself as the hero, while the hero Maximus is in Black armour, and earlier a full helmet.
- In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the titular army glows red once they are activated by Prince Nuada. When Johan takes control of one soldier, it glows blue.
- Weirdly applied in The Road Warrior, where some fighters who defend the gasoline-rich community wear white, in defiance of the ragged and dusty garments of everyone else. Probably more symbolic of their civilized qualities than "good" per se, as it's not exactly "good" to sucker a passing stranger into a diversionary suicide mission, while you head for the hills with the petrol.
- In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow, the evil ninja, always wears white, while Snake Eyes, the good ninja, always wears black.
- El Mariachi and Desperado both invert the traditional white/black symbols. The Mariachi wears a black mariachi outfit, while the villain always wears white.
- Inverted in Ladyhawke, where Captain Navarre dresses like a stereotypical villain, wearing all black with a flowing cape lined in red (he's even blond), and yet is a noble hero. Meanwhile, The Dragon wears primarily white and gold, and the Big Bad is a Sinister Minister wearing all white.
- In Curse of the Golden Flower, the soldiers in the chrysanthemum rebellion wear golden armor, while the king's soldiers wear silver.
- Sergey Bondarchuk's Waterloo goes some way to portray Blücher's Army of the Lower Rhine as menacing and somewhat sinister by associating it with the colour black, even to the extent of deviating from historical facts.
- Inverted in the film City of Angels: The angels, who are good, all wear black trench-coats.
- David Lynch often uses red and blue in his films — though given the sort of things that typically happen in David Lynch movies, they tend to subvert the usual coding. Blue is obviously evil in Blue Velvet, while red is evil in Twin Peaks.
- Movie-verse Transformers continues the tradition: The Autobot good-guys have glowing blue eyes, whereas the "evil" Decepticons have glowing red eyes.
- Also inverted in the penultimate scene in Enter the Dragon: Han's men wear white gi, while the prisoners, who descend on the scene while Lee and Roper are fighting Han's men, wear mainly black outfits.
- In Heathers, the three main Heathers only wear their own colors and the protagonist, Veronica, wears black and blue to show her outsider status inside their clique. Heather Chandler wears red, showing her leadership status. Her red hair bow shifting to Heather Duke shows the latter's replacement of the former. And Veronica snatching it back from her is used to symbolize the end of the Heathers. The homocidal J.D. is clad entirely in black, showing him as the villain.
- In David Eddings' novels, the good guys and their MacGuffin are blue, the bad guys and their MacGuffin are red. Every. Single. Time.
- Lampshaded by Silk, who was disappointed that the Cthrag Sardius (The Malloreon's MacGuffin) couldn't have been green for a change.
- Deities tend to be color-coded as well, appearing in a particular shade of light whenever they show up.
- The Elenium does avert black armor = evil with the Pandion Knights, however, who are on the side of good, even if the main protagonist tends toward Anti Heroism at times. The Corrupt Church still wears red, of course.
- In The Lord of the Rings, the Istari are all associated with a specific color: Gandalf the Gray, Radagast the Brown, and Saruman the White (there were also two more Istari known as the Blue Wizards, though they're only mentioned briefly in some of Tolkien's other works and never actually appear). When Saruman becomes corrupted, he styles himself Saruman of Many Colours, though still uses a white hand or S sign as his symbol. When Gandalf returns to Middle Earth, he replaces Saruman as Gandalf the White. Sauron is associated with black and red. His banner is a red eye on a black field.
- In the fight on the bridge of Khazâd-dűm, Gandalf's sword Glamdring glows blue (as Elvish swords always do in the proximity of evil creatures), while the Balrog's sword glows red, similar to the page image.
- Gondor/The Reunited Kingdom, being an entire nation of badass heroes, has black as its main heraldic color.
- In the original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it's specifically pointed out that Dorothy is seen as a Good Witch by the Munchkins because she wears blue (the color of Munchkinland) and white (symbolizing witchiness). As one of many parallels, Wicked has Nessarose (a.k.a. The Wicked Witch of the East) specifically wear blue and white as her Boarding School uniform colours, before she turns evil.
- Wicked - particularly the musical - is built around a subversion of this trope; everyone assumes Elphaba is evil because of her lurid green skin. She is, in fact, the misunderstood heroine.
- Bruce Campbell relates an interesting anecdote in his autobiography, "If Chins Could Kill", about how costume designers use this trope to subtly enhance the story, as on the set of "The Hudsucker Proxy" his character started dressing in lighter colors and gradually got darker as he became more sinister.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, when the Gray Knights have determined that Uriel and Pasanius are not Chaos-tainted, the ceremony afterwards includes not only arming them again, but giving them white cloaks, explicitly a symbol of their purity.
- Sometimes in fairy tales, more often in illustrations, the heroines are fair (blonde) as a hint to their purity and innocence and the villainesses are dark (brunette or black-haired). Who knew moral standards were dictated by hair color? Averted by Snow White (whose mother wished for her to have hair as black as ebony).
- In the Dragonriders of Pern books, the eyes of dragons (and fire-lizards) change color according to their state of friendliness (or mood). Calm, happy dragons have green/blue eyes; angry, violent or fearful dragons have red/orange eyes.
- Of course, that's not counting the way the entire species is Color-Coded for Your Convenience, with color determining size, rank, and mating behavior (and as a consequence, the riders are also color-coded, since everyone's place in the hierarchy is based on what kind of dragon they ride).
- Reversed in the Sword of Truth Series, where the villain of the first book wear pure white, and the protagonist wears black since the fourth book. Oh, and one woman only wore black because of a subconscious desire to escape evil.
- For the most part, it seems that red is good and green is bad in the Harry Potter series. Gryffindor House is represented by scarlet red and gold, the non-fatal combat spells normally used by the heroes (Stupefy and Expelliarmus) create red light, and the Weasleys all have flaming red hair. Conversely, Slytherin House is represented by emerald green and silver, the Killing Curse used pretty much only by the bad guys (Avada Kedavra) create green light, and two snakes employed by Voldemort (the basilisk and Nagini) are both described as being greennote . However, there is one huge dent in this pattern — it is constantly mentioned that Harry has green eyes while Voldemort has red eyes.
- This is justified late in the series when it is revealed that Harry has part of Voldemort's soul in him
- Also, Beauxbatons school uniforms are pale blue, Durmstrang are blood red. Hogwarts basic black.
- Inverted in Mikhail Akhmanov's novel The Faraway Saikat with the Kni'lina, a race of bald Human Aliens whose color-coding system (among many other things) is different from that of the humans. In the past, their homeworld of Yezdan only had one moon. A large passing asteroid was snatched up by Yezdan and turned into the second moon, with the tides and earthquakes causing widespread devastation for the Kni'lina. Since then, the Kni'lina consider green to be a warning/danger color, thanks to their second moon having a greenish hue. In contrast, red is the morning color (i.e. good). Hence, on all their consoles, if all indicators are red, then all is well. Once they start turning green, that's when you have to worry.
- Somewhat averted in the Honor Harrington universe in that the uniforms of the Royal Manticoran Navy are black, and they're (among) the good guys, but played straight in Shadow Of Freedom. A Solarian representative to a planet run by a dictatorship snarks to herself that the local Presidential Guard dresses in black uniforms, just like the "elite" troops of every tin-pot dictatorship on backwards planets everywhere. Of course, the uniforms of the Solarian Office of Frontier Security Gendarmerie security forces are also in black uniforms...
- In Deltora Quest the colour schemes of the Tribes/Territories are generally made up of earthy tones or bright primary colours (you can tell the Gems are good because they're brightly coloured). Everything associated with the Shadow Lord or his minions, on the other hand, tends to be ugly grey, black, or dull red (usually grey).
- The Star Wars: Jedi Search novel by Kevin J. Anderson features a Force-sensitivity detector that allows to analyze a person and displays a halo if she is Force-sensitive, blue for the light side and red for the dark side. But anyway, Luke Skywalker is too dumb to figure out what the colors mean.
- Inverted and lampshaded in Gregor The Overlander when the Bane (an evil giant rat) is pure white, and Gregor is dressed in completely black armor. Gregor thinks that with that color scheme, everyone would be rooting for the Bane if this was a movie (except for the fact that he's, you know, a giant rat).
- It's subtle, but the hero and villain of Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah are color-coded, and it's even called out on the surprisingly honest (if abstract) cover (if you have the paperback, which includes the back cover): Jack (hero and supposed deity) is in his dirty but white bunny suit when he's taking care of business (and the cover image even includes a little golden halo), while the Princess (villain and devilishly evil) is in pink (the stereotypically feminine sister of red), giving the book a blatant visual "Heaven vs. Hell" conflict.
- Extremely prevalent in Smallville.
- Clark normally wears lots of reds and blues. Red jacket/blue shift is basically his only outfit in the middle seasons. When he becomes detached to humanity, he wear blacks.
- Chloe usually wears a lot of bright colours and you know something is wrong when she wears black. Or white.
- Lex almost always wear black.
- Lana wears so much pink in the first three seasons it has become a Running Gag. It got more varied later and goes all black when she becomes shady in middle-late seasons.
- Zod and all Kandorians wear black or a dark, murky green/brown.
- Another indication is the "speed aura", a translucent trail left behind by a character with Super Speed. Bart Allen (good) has red, Zod in Lex's body (evil) has orange, Lana has a faint purple aura when evil and a burning orange aura when good, making it the straightest example, Raya (good) has yellow, Maxima (neutral-ish) has green, Bizarro (evil, but interestingly, when masquerading as Clark his aura turns blue; we'll leave the question of whether it is covered by Willing Suspension of Disbelief to you) and Brainiac (Obviously Evil) had black, Doomsday (pure evil) has dark grey, Alia (evil-ish) has white, Stephen Swift (good) has gold, Major Zod has white/yellow when he still in an uneasy alliance with Clark, but once demonstrated a black aura later (it is actually recycled footage of Bizarro in flight, though).
- In Merlin, we have:
- Merlin. He wears Blue and Red, both Hero colors. In his evil form, he wears purple and kind of acts like he's on his period the whole time. (ergo, evil bitch)
- Morgana. Her favorite colors are white (Deadpan Snarker), Dark Blue (Evil Aristocrats), Green (as a neutral character in the first two seasons and as Sickly Green Glow in season 3), and, as a Card-Carrying Villain in Season 4, Black.
- Arthur wears Red (The Hero) and Gold (The Ace)
- Gaius wears Brown (Nature Hero, The Obi-Wan, Retired Badass)
- Freya wears Brown (Nature Hero)
- Agravaine wears Black (appearing as a Badass hero to Arthur, while actually being a Card-Carrying Villain)
- Gwen wears pinks and light purples (Token Girl and sort of The Medic sometimes)
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow has light-red hair and green eyes. When she goes dark in Season 6, her eyes and hair turn black. We can literally watch her transformation back as her hair and eyes gradually take their natural color again later. Later, in Season 7, when she does a strong spell but DOES NOT go bad from it, her eyes and hair are pure white.
- In American Gothic, Spirit Advisor/angel Merlyn is always depicted dressed in white, while Sheriff Lucas Buck (the Devil Incarnate) is quite often dressed in black. Faux Symbolism?
- The Sci-Fi Channel's Dune miniseries is heavily color-coded. Not just the costumes, but the background lighting and set coloring followed this convention. The Harkonnens are all red all over. The Imperial Corrinos are purple and gold. The Atreides primarily wore tan and white. Fremen wear brown and dark orange. Spacing Guild members wear black robes to fit in with their "neutrality" and almost priestly function.
- Note that the novels clearly state that the Atreides colors are green and black, the Harkonnens blue, and the Corrino scarlet and gold (with black and gray for the Sardaukar).
- Doctor Who frequently contrasts the generally more casual and natural tones (with some incarnations as the exception) against clinically sterile white high tech (especially during the black and white era of the Second Doctor) or gray gunmetal environments. (Significantly, the Doctor switched from darker clothes when the series switched from black and white to color.) The Doctor's Evil Counterpart, the Master, wears black, except when in disguise.
- In "The Trial of a Time Lord", the Sixth Doctor's multi-colored suit is in stark contrast with his antagonist
Knacker's Yard Farmyard Valeyard's black with-white-trim robes. Made all the more jarring when it is revealed that the Valeyard is actually his evil self.
- It should be noted that the Sixth Doctor plays with this trope; while all the other Doctors tend towards black, brown, beige, or otherwise muted colors, the Sixth, the most anti-heroic Doctor, wears almost ludicrously garish colors, and even has blonde, curly hair.
- Subsequent novels and audio dramas reclad him in blue.
- The End of Time plays it straight with the Doctor in a brown suit and blue shirt, and the Master in a black hoodie and jeans and a red shirt. And the Big Bads? The Time Lords wear red robes with black and gold accents. Clearly they're evil.
- Played with by the colour scheme of Davros' new Daleks with their friendly gold and off-white cream-colored scheme. (But then he originally designed them while passing himself off as a good guy in "Revelation of the Daleks".)
- And played with in "Victory of the Daleks", where the "New Paradigm" Daleks are color-coded by function— all in fairly bright and cheerful hues.
- Firefly has browncoats and purplebellies. Though it usually comes up in conversation only. The two creepy bad guys are known as the "hands of blue."
- The general costume and set design uses this trope as well. The Serenity uses a lot of warm and friendly reds and browns, and Mal, Zoe, Inara and Kaylee are usually wearing a variety of red (if you count pink for Kaylee). Alliance uniforms, ships and buildings are sterile blues and grays. Neutral ground tends to be dusty brown.
- Although the superpowered characters of Heroes are Not Wearing Tights and tend to realistically cycle through varied daily attire, there are a few noticeable costuming patterns. Beat cop Parkman tends to wear jackets in various shades of blue. Single mom Niki wears normal clothes while her evil split personality Jessica likes all-black femme fatale suits. Boy Scout Hero Peter Petrelli ends up in white quite a bit. And Ubervillain Sylar really, really likes black.
- LOST: Jacob wears white, Jacob's nemesis wears black (this plot point was apparently foreshadowed since the pilot, when Locke tells Walt about how backgammon has two players, two sides, one light and one dark). Subverted, however, by the fact that this color more reflects their philosophy (humans are good but flawed vs a more cynical view) and neither appears to have an upper hand morally (Jacob seems to have caused the death of Nadia and basically manipulates everyone in their past to come to the Island while Jacob's nemesis manipulates Locke in order to take his body.
- In any given Power Rangers show, you can tell what character is what ranger when they're in civilian clothes, since they'll usually be wearing that color.
- The good guys' colorcoding also fits the trope quite well. The Hero is almost always red. Blue will almost always be, if not The Lancer, the smart, technique-instead-of-Heart-based character that makes a good Lancer (less like TV Genius Billy and more like Kai, Sky, and Theo - experts who get stuck playing second fiddle to the Rookie Red Ranger.) The last two loners, Dillon and Will, are both Black Rangers, though far from all Black Rangers are like this. Also, the three Rangers to wear purple started their careers beating up on the good Rangers (well, we had one Ranger-like Dragon who didn't defect, one who did, and one good guy who went through a few episodes Not Himself before becoming a Ranger.) It doesn't reach the point of every character to wear a given color being an Expy of the last, but colorcoding does sometimes happen.
- There does seem to be something of a Memetic Mutation that all Black Rangers are either rebellious loners or extremely serious and that Green Rangers are air-heads and/or the comic relief of the team, but there are plenty of exceptions with both colours.
- Major political powers in Star Trek have colors that they use for hull paints, transporters, warp nacelle glows and weapons. The Federation is fond of blue and red, although it currently uses orange weapons. The Romulans and Borg prefer green, while the Klingons favor both red and green. The Cardassians use yellow for everything, and the Dominion uses purple and blue.
- On the few occasions when their true forms are glimpsed, Deep Space Nine's Prophets and Pa-Wraiths follow the blue for good, red for evil version of this trope.
- In addition, every incarnation of Star Trek has different-colored uniforms to denote what division personnel work in. In every pre-TNG timeframe series, Red = Operations/Death, Blue = Science/Medical, and Gold = Command. In TNG and later series, the meanings of Red and Gold are swapped. This is lampshaded in "Trials and Tribble-ations" when characters from Deep Space Nine go back to the original series era.
- Mira, Henrik, and Glen from the original Vintergatan 5A all wear jumpsuits with primary colors, though for a reason — they're the ones that came pre-supplied with the spaceship, they didn't have those colors original. Irina wears an orange space suit from Russia. Peo doesn't have any heroic colors, instead wearing a black cab driver's uniform, but the one who supplied the spaceship didn't know he was coming along.
- In the 1969 adaptation of Alan Garner's The Owl Service, each of the 3 main characters is always attired in a particular colour: Gwyn in black, Alison in red, and Roger in green. These were the 3 colours of electrical plug wiring at the time, and the person to 'earth' the power the 3 of them have created is Roger, who of course is wearing the colour which matches with this wire.
- Blake's 7: Blake favored light colored clothing and earth tones. Avon favored dark clothing and leather, which only got darker and nastier-looking the further he plunged off the slippery slope. Cally seemed to have a thing for blues while Dayna liked jewel tones. Vila's clothing was as drab as possible, probably because he did not like drawing attention to himself. Mercenaries Tarrant and Soolin favored gray. Their nemesis, Servalan, had it both ways - wearing mostly whites for most of Seasons 1 and 2, switching to black for Seasons 3 and 4. Travis, however, was always in black.
- In Stargate SG-1, the Tau'ri usually wear blue on-base and green offworld (justified: those are standard US Air Force and Marine Corps uniforms). Asgard ships come in dark gray and shiny white. The Goa'uld use gold and purple (for decadence) and armor their Jaffa in silvery gray, and Anubis' Kull warriors are armored in jet black. That gets subverted after the Jaffa pull a Heel Race Turn, then played straight when the Lucian Alliance appropriates Goa'uld technology for their own use.
- In Stargate Atlantis, anything Wraith is bluish purple.
- In the episode "Ripple Effect" of Stargate SG-1, SG-1 teams from alternate realities are redirected to the show's Stargate Command, all wearing different uniforms so that we can tell them apart. One team wears an all-black uniform, and who would've thought that they'd be the ones behind the entire disturbance.
- So you know all those Gospel songs about a train to Heaven, and you want to flip it around, talk about a train to Hell (only, of course, without being that explicit). What's the fastest, easiest way to ensure that people get what you're talking about from the first few words of your song? Call it a Long Black Train.
- Bonnie Tyler's music video for "Holding out for a Hero" shows her singing while being menaced by three bad guys dressed in black and rescued by a hero dressed in white. This is the full extent of the characterisation of these figures.
Myths & Religion
- In The Bible, scarlet is often associated with sin, while white is almost always holiness. This is especially significant in the sacrifices, where the innocent substitutes for the guilty and (literally with lambs, symbolically with Jesus) white becomes covered in scarlet.
- In F-14 Tomcat, the player protagonist, "Hitman", is dressed entirely in a white flight suit. The protagonist, the Russian General Ripper Yagov, wears a dark green suit with a black helmet.
- When Hulk Hogan did a Face-Heel Turn and started the nWo, he traded in his traditional red and yellow gear for black and white (which soon became the official colors of the nWo). Sting also traded in his colorful neon garb for black and white during this angle, though in his case, it was to symbolize his transformation into a brooding Anti-Hero.
- When Sin Cara debuted in WWE, he was a Face dressed in blue and gold. The Costume Copycat Heel who took his place while he was on suspension dressed in these colors too, until the genuine article came back and revealed the ruse, at which point he switched to black and silver.
- Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons is an obvious example. Not only are all Spectrum agents specifically color-coded, the leader of the good guys is one Colonel White and the main agent of the baddies is Captain Black.
- While there are no good or bad guys per se in Fraggle Rock, the Fraggles are typically colour-coded according to their personality; particularly the Five-Man Band. Gobo, The Hero and most balanced of the group, has fuchsia hair and wears a multi-coloured and multi-hued outfit. Red, the Cute Bruiser Action Girl, has bright red hair and clothing. Wembley, the high-strung and indecisive Tagalong Kid, has yellow hair and a banana-tree pattern shirt. Mokey, the spacey Granola Girl, has pale green hair and wears earth-tones. Boober, the perpetually angsty Grumpy Bear and Smart Guy, doesn't really wear much besides his hat and scarf, but his hair and clothing are all dark-coloured.
- This seems to work for other Fraggles as well. Cantus, The Obi-Wan and Trickster Mentor, dresses in a gauzy purple robe, befitting of his mystical personality and wisdom. Manipulative Bastard Convincing John dresses in a confusion of colours, like a stereotypical used-car salesman.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Metallic dragons (gold, silver, copper, brass and bronze) are good and chromatic dragons (red, green, black, white and blue) are evil. Some settings also include gem dragons (amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire and topaz), who are neutral. The idea of color-coded dragons was probably lifted from the Dragonriders of Pern novels, particularly given that metal-colored dragons are physically larger than their non-metallic counterparts in both Pern and D&D.
- The Eberron campaign setting plays with this. Whereas dragons all have "Always [Character Alignment]" in the core books, in Eberron this is changed to "usually" or "often". Surprise your party with a principled revolutionary red dragon fighting against a charming but tyrannical gold dragon!
- Talislanta: Everyone in Aaman wears pure white, because it's a repressive theocracy. Green is the favored color of Cymril, although it hasn't been mandatory since the game's first edition.
- In Avalon Hill's Rise and Decline of the Third Reich the German counters are black with bone-white markings, evoking the colors of death. Their minor allies are a dull, lifeless-looking gray, while the Italians are a sickly light green. The Western allies are much more colorful, while the Soviets are a neutral-looking brown.
- Exalted: Green is considered unfortuitous, due to association with the Green Sun of Hell. Gold and Silver are considered good, due to their association with Unconquered Sun and Luna. Red is considered good within the Realm and bad anywhere else, since it's the color of Scarlet Empress.
- There were paired productions of Julius Caesar and Antony And Cleopatra where each of the major political factions had costumes of a single color palette to make the action easier to follow. Antony's (the hot-headed military man) faction was red while Octavian's (the calculating politician) was blue and Crassus' (the weak truce-keeper) was white.
- In many productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, including the filmed 2001 revival production, Jesus is always in white and tan, and Judas is always in red and black.
- A Streetcar Named Desire: The first time you see Blanche she's all in white. Hell, even her name means "white".
- Also of note is the men's poker game, which Williams emphasizes should be lit in raw, primary colors. And there are big ripe watermelon slices on the table.
- Another example is Williams' direction for Stella's kimono in the Act 4, Scene 1 - it should be bright blue, a departure from her usual color scheme. This is just after the "STELLA!!" scene, which implies that Stanley and Stella have just had sex.
- Productions of Romeo and Juliet frequently have the Montagues in blue, the Capulets in red, and the prince and his kinsmen in purple or black/brown. It might be because the Capulets are "fiery" and the Montagues (or Romeo at least) are "watery" or it might be so Juliet can wear pink and Romeo can wear blue.
- Likewise, A Midsummer Night's Dream often color codes the couples with Hermia and Lysander wearing pink/red and Helena and Demetrius wearing light/dark blue. Many productions go further, dressing the Puck in green, Titania in Silver/White, Oberon in Black/Gold, the Mechanicals in earthy tones etc.
- The game company Bungie color codes enemies in most of its games. Marathon, Oni, and Halo all had enemies who used the same model but different colors indicated they had more health and did more damage, and were higher-ranked. Contrasted with the muted greens and browns of the human military, this actually inverted the typical Sci-Fi convention that the heroic army wears brighter colors.
- Many Turn-Based Strategy games have allies in blue and enemies in red, especially if there's a "radar" where individual characters are represented as dots. Fire Emblem and Super Robot Wars are both examples of this.
Blue Soldier: Good sir, will you join our cause?
Red Soldier: Sure, I'm tired of wearing red anyway.
- Advance Wars, however, colors the player's units red in its campaigns, and enemy units (assuming there is only one enemy faction in the scenario) are usually blue or black.
- Battle for Wesnoth does something similar in it's solo campaigns. Player characters have a red circle, while enemies and allies will have a wide array of colored circles, with each army getting a color.
- There is a long-standing military convention of using red for "enemy" symbols and blue for "friendly"; see the Real Life section below.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The Soviets are red, the Allies blue.
- Justified in that Soviets were, of course, communist, hence "Reds."
- And in the Yuri's Revenge expansion pack for Red Alert 2, the renegade faction led by Yuri is purple.
- The earlier Dune games (made by the same people as Command & Conquer) took this trope to a ridiculous degree by having blue Atreides (good guys) and red Harkonnens (bad guys), with the Ordos being a sickly green. Note that the books don't have the Ordos, and that the Atreides are a (natural) green (and black), with the Harkonnens blue and the Corrino being scarlet and gold. But apparently, you're not allowed to have green good guys and blue bad guys in an RTS.
- They also get the emblems wrong: while the Atreides are correctly given a hawk, the Harkonnen symbol from the novels is a griffin, not a ram (as depicted in the games).
- Oddly, however, it seems you are allowed to have green good guys and red villains: the original Command and Conquer had a green-and-gold scheme for the GDI, and a red-black-silver scheme for Nod.
- Ace Combat has a tendency to give the protagonist's nation a flag with cool colors, especially blue, while the antagonist nations tend to have hot colors, especially red.
- City of Heroes/City of Villains: While the characters themselves are not subject to this trope, the intro and character design screens and all the main screen interface elements are, to the point that some players refer to City of Heroes as "Blue Side" and City of Villains as "Red Side". Additionally, Pocket D — the extradimensional night club accessible from both games — is red from the middle of the dance floor all the way to the villains' entrance, and blue from the middle to the heroes' entrance.
- It occasionally goes beyond that into powers. The Energy Blast powerset is blue-white for heroes and red for villains, and the same goes for lightning.
- Now averted as Power Customisation has finally been implemented, but the default powers are still the same.
- The developers have noted this, and mention that the armour and banners of the alien-fighting Vanguard group, who will work with both heroes and villains, are gray and purple to indicate their (supposed) neutral morality.
- And now, Going Rogue has a yellow interface, symbolizing the different moral choices presented in the game.
- The Loyalists' emblem is golden, and the Resistance's emblem is blue.
- In Deadlock, each of the seven races are represented by a different colour - and that's the only thing visually separating many of their things, such as tanks and flags. The colours are often somewhat representative of the races (the Cyth get black and are the most devious and "evil" of the races, whereas the mighty Tarth warriors get a dark, blood red).
- In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, a character, Gurdy even draws attention to this after your character catches him swindling a naive professor out of a lot of money. He indicates his bright red clothing and compares himself to a poisonous flower, saying that his bright red colors warn the wise not to deal with him.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the hero, Phoenix, wears blue, while the primary antagonist for the first game, Edgeworth, wears red. Or, well, maroon. Edgeworth doesn't stay a villain, but it continues to fit his role as The Rival.
- As of the Apollo Arc, the hero Apollo wears all red, and Big Bad Kristoph Gavin wears blue.
- Played straight in Final Fantasy VI with white healing spells, black damage spells, and gray status altering spells.
- Phantom Brave - You can pallet-swap your characters based on title, but the life bars follow the "blue ally, red enemy, yellow neutral" scheme.
- In Star Wars Battlefront 2 the player's team is always designated as blue and the team they play against is red. However the colour corresponds to which ever team the player chooses, not the teams themselves.
- World of Warcraft colors the nametag of each player according to this, blue being allies (or PvP-disabled enemies in some zones and servers) and red being hostiles. Inbetween we have green for allied NPCs and yellow for neutrals, as well as orange for unfriendly (which is mostly the same as neutral, except that you can't talk to them).
- There are also special colors for classes, item rarity, and spell types.
- Outside of gameplay mechanics, there are also elements of this trope in the storyline. Blood Elves took to wearing red in mourning of their fallen brethren. As a result, the High Elves (who the Blood Elves have had a bit of a falling out with) never wear red. There are also elements of color coding in the dragon flights. Red, Green, and Bronze dragons are (for the most part) good. Black dragons are evil, and Blue dragons are only evil in Northrend. The creation of the Twilight Dragonflight also adds purple, dark blue, and magenta to the list of evil dragon colors.
- Sanger Zonvolt and Elzam Branstein from Super Robot Wars are both enormously Badass and both temporarily work for the Necessarily Evil antagonists in Original Generation. Accordingly, they favor black Humongous Mecha with yellow trim and black Humongous Mecha with red trim, respectively. Especially noticeable in Elzam's case since he goes through nearly half a dozen mechs in a given continuity, and paints every one of them black and red. And names them Trombe.
- Isn't it interesting that all the protagonists in Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent have green eyes, and all the non-pseudoroid antagonists (including Master Thomas) ALL have red eyes?
- Ever since Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, blue has been the colour of the humans (later the Alliance) and red of the orcs (later the Horde). Warcraft III subverted this by making the orcs commit a Heel-Face Turn but keep their traditional red colour, as well as bringing in the undead Scourge (purple = evil), night elven Sentinels (blue or teal = good, natural) and demonic Burning Legion (green, purple, red = evil).
- The third game also gives the option to turn your units blue, allies teal, and enemies red, literally colour-coding them for your convenience.
- Gears of War includes lights on the guns which change color whether a COG (Blue) or Locust (Red) is wielding them.
- The sequel has the colour of players in multiplayer appear more red if they are Locust or blue if they are COG the farther away they are.
- In the Resident Evil series heroic Chris favors green, Leon and Jill wear blue, while Claire and Ada wear red. And of course, Big Bad Albert Wesker is always decked out in black.
- Leon is something of a combo-breaker in that he does seem to favor blue, but half the times he appears he wears no blue at all, instead wearing black, brown, army green and/or dark gray. Also, his original outfit was a police uniform, so he didn't get any say in picking the color.
- Count Bleck, the Big Bad of Super Paper Mario, wears all white - though all of his powers are black or violet.
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds puts soldiers in different coloured suits to represent what side they're on (with instant repaints and costume changes upon being converted by a Jedi).
- In EVE Online, friendly targets are highlighted with a blue background while hostiles are highlighted with red. Thus, the two most common rules of engagement are called Not Blue Shoot It (defaults to hostile) and Not Red Don't Shoot (defaults to friendly).
- Knights of the Old Republic: Every character-page picture has a colored background reflecting their force alignment. Neutrals will have gray, dark siders have red background, and light siders have blue (and at the very top, they will stand in a pillar of radiant light, against a dark-blue starry sky backdrop). They will also take on an increasingly hostile stance the darker they get.
- There was also an aversion of this in the second game. At one point on Onderon, you come across two aliens arguing about who the people should support, the good Queen Talia or the two-faced General Vaklu. The alien in support of the "evil" General is blue-skinned, while the one supporting the Queen is not only red-skinned, but has horns!
- There was also a subversion in the form of Atris, who is a Jedi dressed in the whitest of pristine white with a blue lightsaber and is even depicted in the game's promotional material as the 'face' of the Light Side for the game. She goes Sith towards the end, without the obligatory Evil Costume Switch for black, and even before then never appears as anything more than a judgemental, self-righteous bitch.
- Blue and red were also used throughout the interface as shorthand for "light side"/"dark side", which was carried over to Jade Empire for Open Palm/Closed Fist ratings as well. In Mass Effect, however, this changes to blue and orange (no relation) to emphasize that Renegade is less about card-carrying villainy and more about pragmatism.
- The Shin Megami Tensei games have traditionally used blue/white for the forces of the Law (religious nutjobs) and red/black for the forces of Chaos (plain evil or Ani Hero depending on the game).
- In FAMOUS: Evil Cole shoots red lightning, while Good Cole shoots blue lightning.
- Sonic the Hedgehog has this trope smeared all over it. Sonic (the hero) is blue, Knuckles (the tough guy) is a cherry red, Amy Rose and Rouge the Bat (the chicks) have extensive pink colouring, Shadow the Hedgehog (Anti-Hero) is red and black, and Eggman is covered in red, yellow, and black - good old evil commie colours.
- Team Chaotix include a lot of the transition colours, alluding to their use as more neutral characters.
- It's still going on - Princess Blaze consists of much purple (for royalty). Silver is almost entirely white, with some hints of gold and blue as a Messianic Archetype.
- In all of Koei's Warriors series, allies have blue life bars, enemies have red ones, and neutrals yellow. This color scheme extends to the game map.
- Kessen II, another Koei game set in the Three Kingdoms period, switches the colours of Wu and Wei, to give Wu, the allies of the player's faction Shu, a suitably "good" blue and Wei, the enemy, a more appropriately "evil" red.
- The fairy targeting systems of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask has the fairy turn blue if it's targeting a NPC, yellow if it's targeting an enemy, and green if it's targeting an inanimate object.
- Not to mention that Link wears green (with brown/blonde hair), Zelda usually is wearing white (with blonde hair), and Ganon is usually wearing black (with red hair).
- AND Zelda has blue (Nayru), Link has green (Farore), and Ganondorf has red (Din). Also, Ganondorf's magic is almost always purple, contrasting with Zelda's blue magic.
- Also, the Master Sword's hilt is always blue or indigo, and the blade glows blue or white, which always contrasts to the villains main colors (usually red and/or dark purple).
- The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords sees Link split into four, wearing red, green, blue, and purple respectively. (Fanon usually sees each Link as having a different personality.)
- The Homeworld series in terms of ship, ion beam and hyperspace colors. Homeworld 2 is this trope:
- Hiigaran: blue/green/gray ships, blue ion beam & hyperspace
- Vaygr: red/gray ships, green ion beam & hyperspace
- Bentusi & Progenitor: yellow ion beam & hyperspace (Bentusi ships are golden, Progenitors are brown/gray with a single red stripe)
- In Red Faction: Guerilla multiplayer, you are always on the blue team, regardless of which side you're dressed as. Everyone whose business it is to kill you always shows up on your screen as red.
- The first Red Faction is even worse for this; all the miners except Eos wear identical red suits, and all the Ultor Guards wear similar blue suits. The Mercs are a bit more technicolour, but their headquarters are all an ominous black.
- Done differently in Red Faction II, where your commando team are colour-coded rather than everyone. The player character Alias is protagonist red, Tangier is stealth gunmetal gray, heavy weapons guy Repta is green, sniper Quill is electronic yellow, vehicles guy Shrike is crazy blue, and leader Molov is in stately muted tones.
- The Red Faction: Origins telemovie adds to this, with the demented, violent, zealous White Faction wearing, um, white.
- The Eagle Vision in Assassin's Creed I lets Altair and Ezio use their instincts to color-code people, allies are blue, potential enemies are red, and quest targets are yellow. Also, while Assassins traditionally wear white hooded robes, both the Templar-aligned Rodrigo Borgia and Hunter wear black instead.
- In the RPG Albion, you enter a dungeon with red and green pressure plates. The green plates have positive effects (they open doors that block your way, or treasure rooms), while red ones more or less negative ones (they release monsters or open rooms with cursed items). There's also a room with a blue pressure plate, which serves as a bait for anybody curious to find out what it does. (It opens a trap door, sending the party crashing down below.)
- In the newer Persona games, player characters always summon their Personae with a blue aura. Shadows and Non Playable Persona users have a Red Aura.
- In Mother 3, the Magypsies are wizard-like entities that live millenia long lives. They each represent a color of the rainbow(Aeolia=Red, Phrygia=Orange, etc.), except for Locria/Fassad/Yokuba, who has betrayed the Magypsies, and now sports white(absence of color in pigments).
- The Big Daddies and security devices in BioShock all use their lights' colors to indicate their allegiance — green if they're on your side, red if they're hostile to you. This can be explained by Ryan wanting to avoid another Suchong incident for the Big Daddies (letting the public know when not to approach one). The security bots can be explained as intimidation value, as can the siren; thieves get scared if a screeching, red glowing machine gun armed bot comes flying at them, and they stop thinking properly long enough to get shot.
- The rollermines in Half-Life 2: Episode 1 are similar; they're normally blue, but when they've been reprogrammed by Alyx they turn yellow. Then when they are about to explode they turn red.
- NetHack: Unicorns are color-coded by alignment: black/chaotic, gray/neutral, white/lawful.
- In Mitsumete Knight, the country you're fighting for as a mercenary, Dolphan Kingdom, has a blue and white crest and its soldiers' armor is light blue, while the enemy country, the Dukedom of Procchia, has a red and black crest and its soldiers' armor is jet-red. Subversion in that the enemy side has sympathetic characters and reasons to fight, while Dolphan is ruled by a Deadly Decadent Court who will discard you like an old rag by voting a law explusing all foreigners from the country, after you win the war for them.
- Color-coding is employed in Final Fantasy VIII to highlight the parallels and contrasts between Squall and Seifer: Squall, a Good Is Not Nice Anti-Hero, wears mostly black and has dark hair, while his Rival Turned Evil Seifer, who has aspirations toward knighthood, is blond and wears a white Badass Longcoat.
- In The Legend of Dragoon Emperor Doel, the evil purple trope straight, being the Emperor as well as the Dragoon of Thunder. Lloyd, Meru, Lenus, and the rest of the Winglies have white hair, referred to as platinum in-game. The good guys are bound to their elements though, which means they play about half the colours straight and subvert the rest.
- If there is something consistent in Touhou, it's that characters in red are violent and Purple characters have certain aura of nobility.
- Mega Man X is mostly blue, and plays The Hero in his series. Zero remains the same shade of red in both his Ax-Crazy and Lancer periods, but has black armor as a powerup. Axl's normal form subverts the trope, as he's black and gray without being an Anti-Hero. Lumine combines white and purple, and plays the trope very straight. As for the original series, Mega Man is blue and cyan, while Bass is black and purple.
- ''Mega Man Zero plays with this on multiple accounts. Zero (Good Is Not Nice) is mid tone red and dark blue (subversion of dark blue being evil as it seems to be for providing contrast in his sprite). Harpuia is natural green and white, but is an antagonist. Foreshadows him being a decent person stuck in a bad situation. Omega (Ax-Crazy) is blood red and dark blue.
- In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, soldiers from The Empire use lasguns with a red beam, while those faithful to Chaos wield green ones. This being 40k, you ultimately can't call either faction good, though.
- In the X-Universe series, the Good Republic, Evil Empire trope is subverted with Grey and Gray Morality. That said, the factions that are generally treated as good and evil tend to follow this trope. The Argon Federation uses gunmetal gray, and the Kingdom of Boron use bright green. The Split Dynasty uses rusty red, and the Paranid Empire uses bluish purple. The neutral Teladi Space Company leaves their ships mostly unpainted, which translates to dark gray and tan.
- Meanwhile, the unaligned Terrans paint their ships white with black trim, pirates add Nose Art of red flames and paint the ship red, Xenon ships are black, and Kha'ak ships are purple.
- The only ghost in Pac-Man who actively chases Pac-Man is the red one. It's interesting to note that his American name is Blinky, since one of the stereotypes associated with cold-blooded killers is their reluctance to blink.
- In Sword of the Stars II, the Horde Zuul use dark colours◊ while their Prester counterparts use white and gold.◊
- The Bomberman series often portray a rivalry between the Bomberman in the white suit and the Bomberman in the black suit. The Bomberman Land series takes this trope further by having a full team of color-coded characters and giving them all names like "Cheerful White", "Cool Black", "Cute Pink" and so forth, explaining what each character's color represents.
- In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, helpful characters are represented with a prominent motif of a particular shade of yellow in their design - Big Boss's yellow stripes, Kaz, Amanda and Chico all wear various yellow scarves, Cécile has a yellow necklace, and Huey has a yellow detail on his wheelchair. Antagonists are represented with a prominent motif of a particular shade of red - red details on Pupa, Chrysalis, Cocoon and Peace Walker, Coldman has a red pocket square, Strangelove wears a red coat and a red tie, and Zadornov has a literal Red Right Hand. This becomes foreshadowing when you notice Paz wears a red coat and a red bow.
- Red vs. Blue. It's in the name, it's lampshaded, averted, subverted, and generally thrown out the window starting with the first episode. However, when they wrote the first episode, it was merely making fun of that aspect of Halo's multiplayer, so it was entirely justified.
- Generally ignored or lampshaded with the BG crew — they're more or less team colored. Even Donut. Doc wears purple because he's on loan to both Red and Blue teams, but becomes the villain when O'malley possesses him. He returns to being a pacifist when O'Malley leaves.
- The Freelancers take this trope and throw it through a meatgrinder. To whit:
- Agents North and South Dakota both wear green/purple. One is the nicest, friendliest, team-centric, most heroic mercenary you've ever met, and the other is a jealous, competitive, backstabbing, second-stringer.
- Agents Wyoming and Maine wear white armor. For Maine it could be argued that he fits the crazy mold. Wyoming, however, is merely a coward.
- York wears tan.
- While Carolina starts as a hero...
- Tex actually fits this, being the distilled anti-heroine badass that she is.
- Wash wears black armor; though he was introduced as a relatively-light anti-hero, he was adorkable in the backstory and an actual effective villain later, though never even remotely as effective an Agent as Tex, Maine, York, or Carolina.
- There's the anonymous blue guy though Played Straight in that he turns out to be the very laidback Butch Flowers.
- CT wears brown. She's the least down-to-earth person there is.
- The Director and Councilor actually play this one straight, wearing all black and often remaining in shadows.
- Lampshaded in this Arthur, King of Time and Space strip.
- According to Axe Cop, green is the colour of good guys.
- Done with various colors of latex in Collar 6.
- El Goonish Shives Big Bad wore black.
- Greenroom, a new webcomic, actually linked to this page when talking about one of the characters.
- Off-White Subverts this. The black and white spirits seem neither good, nor evil, and are not always completely white or black (Iki, the suspected white spirit wolf, is gray, and a white spirit Raven is black).
- The Order of the Stick on at least four occasions character's clothes have changed to indicate alignment shift:
- Belkar's clothes turn white when a Wisdom boost gives him empathy and briefly makes him intend to become Good.
- Miko Miyazaki's uniform turns gray when the gods punish her for murdering Shojo.
- When Vaarsuvius makes a Deal with the Devil, their robes turn black and their speech bubbles switch to a black background.
- Lampshaded when Haley notices the color change and starts panicking over the implications. Belkar calls her on being prejudiced and overreacting which calms Haley down. Belkar being Belkar, he then whispers a congratulations to them for coming over to the "deep end" of the alignment pool.
- When Durkon is turned into a vampire by Malack, which by D&D mechanics forces an alignment shift to Evil, his armour becomes dark grey and black.
- Lampshaded in Our Little Adventure by Umbria when talking to two Angelo's Kids missionaries here.
- Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has this in spades. Both inverted and played straight in that Dr. Horrible (the villain/protagonist) wears white while Captain Hammer (the hero/antagonist) wears black. Dr. Horrible's white outfit also represents his innocence and kindness, which is sharply contrasted when he switches to a blood red lab coat to represent the blood on his hands, and as a standard villain color to demonstrate that he's taking his villainy more seriously.
- The Dark Overlords from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes, as probably expected, dress in dark clothing.
- The MMORPG in which Noob is set has different colored cursors for the members of each player faction (yellow for the Empire, red for the Coalition, green for the Order). The cursor turns grey if a player get kicked out of their faction, which means they can be attacked by all three. Early-Installment Weirdness from the webseries gave Game Masters blue ones.
- Hero Lab is an educational contest for kids to design "scientific" superheroes. Not surprisingly, the "hosts" presenting the challenge fit all hero (blue, white)/villain (red, black) tropes (not only the color ones) to a T. It will be interesting whether the kids entries also do that.
- The guns on G.I. Joe shoot red or blue lasers, depending on the affiliation of the shooter.
- Sometimes, the laser guns would even change their color to accommodate the wielder. A Joe could pick up a discarded Cobra rifle and still be assured of it firing his own team color (this was probably an animation error rather than intentional, but it's fun to imagine that there's a "good/evil" switch on the side of each weapon).
- This is parodied in the Homestar Runner "Cheat Commandos" toons, where the bad guy organization is literally named Blue Laser.
- You can tell how old a show was by the color of the weapons. In the early animated series, the Joes had red beams but Cobra had blue beams. Later on the two sides have switched colors.
- The original Transformers is incredibly heavy with this. In its early years, the Autobot ranks were crowded with bright primary colors (come on, Optimus is covered in red, white and blue), while the Decepticons ranks are crammed with the more murky shades - especially popular was gray, black, purple, and dark blue (with the white, red, and blue Starscream standing out as the big exception). In its later years, colors diversified a bit more, although 1987's range of toys adhered quite closely to a pattern of gray, black and red for Autobots, and teal, blue and purple for Decepticons. One aspect that maintained a long enduring standard (until the movieverse) involved the symbols - the Autobot symbol was always red, while the Decepticon symbol was likewise purple.
- It's notable that Hasbro recognised that the Decepticons are predominantly purple, and actually recoloured toys that were largely purple to other tones. The most prominent example was Armada combiner Tidal Wave, who started as a purple and black tribute to Shockwave (who was actually called Shockwave in Japan), but wound up covered in earth tones when brought to North America.
- The Transformers cartoon series took the color-coding pattern to the next step, introducing a basic convention of blue eyes for Autobots, and red eyes for Decepticons. This was an unswerving constant in the first year of the cartoon, but was played with come the second year by the yellow-eyed Decepticon thrust, and while the basic pattern was employed through to the end of the show, more and more exceptions continued to appear. Something that was maintained a lot more consistently, however, was the color-coding applied to the team's paraphernalia: Autobot laser blasts, spaceships, headquarters and machines and devices of all shapes and size were a golden orange in color, while the Decepticons favored their iconic purple.
- Strangely averted with Beast Wars. Optimus Primal, Rattrap, Rhinox and Dinobots had red eyes.
- In Transformers Animated, the red and blue eye concept was revisited with much stricter use: the only exceptions being the purple-peepered Decepticon Swindle, who is only given those eyes because he had them back in the 80s, and was a favorite character of the show's art director and Jetfire, for the sake of keeping the orange and blue coloring with his twin brother Jetstorm. Autobots come in a variety of colors, but all of the Decepticons are primarily purple (except for the Starscream clones, which are given the color schemes based on the Starscream-recolor characters in Generation 1.
- The movieverse has colorful 'bots and gray 'cons. The Devastator components make up the few exceptions.
- In Code Lyoko, the villain XANA is most often identified by the color red. Most notably, the towers activated by XANA are surrounded by a red halo (blue is neutral, green when activated by Jérémie, white by Franz Hopper). There are many other examples, like the Digital Sea turning red when XANA's creatures are about to attack.
- William originally wore a white, gray, green and blue costume on Lyoko, but it changes to a black and red one once he becomes The Dragon under XANA's control.
- Ulrich's swords normally glow blue whenever he strikes or parries, but they glow red in the hand of any warrior controlled by XANA, making such swordfights look like direct shout outs to Jedi vs. Sith duels.
- Even before she turned evil, Lydia from Barbie & The Diamond Castle dressed in muted red and purple, as opposed to the other muses, who wore blue and royal purple.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender , The Water Tribes are blue, the Earth Kingdom is green, the Fire Nation is red, and the Air Nomads were either yellow or a lighter shade of blue.
- Comparing the greens worn by Long Feng and the Dai Li to most other members of the Earth Kingdom, you'll notice theirs are much darker (to the point of being mistakable for black), symbolizing their corruption.
- The Grand Finale completely mess with this trope, having two determining fights happening in parallel: Aang/Ozai and Azula/Zuko. Both were red, or a kind of orange, versus blue. But in one fight, Blue was good, in the other, blue was evil.
- On the classic 1960s Spider-Man, want to know who the villain is if they aren't already established in the comics? Their skin is green. Even if they are entirely normal humans. And no one really notices.
- ReBoot color codes the character's Icons.
- White and black: Nothing special
- Gold and black: Guardian
- Green and Black: Viral minion
- On Gargoyles the clan's eyes would glow white when they were angry, while Demona's would glow red. Played With later when Angela showed up; hers were red too, and Word of God says that the color is actually determined by sex.
- Roger Ebert spent about 99% of his review of The Pebble and the Penguin ranting about this trope instead of, you know, reviewing the movie.
- Samurai Jack tends to dress villains in red, black, or green (Aku's colors), and puts good guys in white, brown, or other earth tones. Morally ambiguous characters (Like The Scotsman) will have a mix of both.
- Detentionaire has some red-vs-blue symbolism, but here, red generally indicates good (the Red Tazelwurm, Lee's hair) and blue bad (the blue robot Tazelwurms, The Serpent's hair). A slightly more on-the-nose example would be Borrage's robotic eye changing from its usual red to blue whenever he's being Mind Controlled by the bad guys.
- In the British children's series, TUGS, the Star Tugs are all painted yellow with red, white, and blue smokestacks, while the Z-Stacks are all painted brown with black smokestacks. The American Cut-and-Paste Translation, Salty's Lighthouse averts this by making the Z-Stacks friends of the Star Tugs.
Real Life / History
- Originally, the term "Black Knight" referred to men who, for some reason or another, removed their tabards and placed thick dark furs over their shields to hide their heraldry, so as to disguise themselves. Needless to say, a lot of these weren't nice men, and the term started to carry negative connotations.
- It doesn't hurt the Nazis' frequent presentation as cartoonish villains that their flag was red, white and black. Nor does it help that certain divisions, like the SS, used almost jet-black uniforms. Even the standard service uniform for Johann Average Wehrmacht Soldier in Europe was a dark gray.
- Even as far back as World War One or earlier, the Second Reich preferred uniforms with darker colors and the iconic, mean-looking pickelhaube - which was a huge boon to Allied propagandists in WWI who wanted to paint the conflict as a clash of Good Versus Those Evil Huns. Oh, and their flag was also red, white and black - in fact, Hitler deliberately copied those colours for the Nazi flag.
- Red vs Blue in Sports rivalries seems to crop all over the world. In The Beautiful Game, you have:
- England: Liverpool vs Everton. Manchester United vs Manchester City. Southampton vs Portsmouth.
- Germany: Bayern München vs. 1860 (also from Munich)
- Australia: Western Sydney vs Sydney FC. Adelaide vs Melbourne Victory. Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne Heart.
- Iran: Persepolis vs Esteghlal.
- Korea: Seoul vs Suwon.
- Bulgaria: The "Eternal Derby" CSKA Sofia (red) vs PFC Levski Sofia (blue).
- After the fall of communism in Bulgaria in 1989, the newly-formed right wing party took a blue color, while the socialists (former communists) retained their original red. Many still perceive this as a Good vs. Evil symbolic. This is subverted by others.
- In U.S Military Wargame operations, the U.S and friendly forces are referred to as "BLUFOR", standing for "Blue Forces". The bad-guys meanwhile get called "OPFOR", for "Opposing Forces".
- Western military forces as far back as the First World War have been using blue and red as standard colours for map symbols representing allied and enemy forces, respectively. This was a change for the British, who had previously been using red for their own forces due to their traditional red coats. NATO militaries have adopted the same colour scheme, with the addition of yellow for unknown forces. Many strategy video games follow this convention, as noted in the Video Games entry above.
- Reds vs. white symbolized (communist/socialist) revolution and counter-revolution. Note that both colours can be either good or evil, and this was present in propaganda of both sides. For example: here the colour red is used to connect the Trotsky to Satan◊, while these posters use it to symbolise defiance and the hope for a bright new future◊.