Inconsistent Coloring

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Comic reprints often change colorsnote .

Sometimes, characters' colors aren't consistent from one moment to the next, whether it's a very notable miscoloration in one panel, or consistently recolored across an entire issue. It's typically small details, such as eye color, but more major details, like hair color or costume colors, can be changed too.

It may be due to various artists. Maybe publishing issues. Maybe they're retconning or deliberately redesigning an outfit from here on out. Maybe they didn't care.

If it's actually supposed to be changing In-Universe, it also be due to things like dyes, different lighting in different environment, magic illusions, or shapeshifting, or some other explanation.

This is particularly prevalent in comics, including western comic books, newspaper comics, manga and webcomics, but can happen with other media as well. Is frequently due to different artists but can also be due to retcons or just the artist being Off-Model.

Compare to Depending on the Artist, Adaptation Dye-Job, Early Installment Character-Design Difference, Hair Color Dissonance, Unreliable Illustrator.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Wandering Son:
    • Early on the characters rarely had a stationary color in colored artwork; even within the same volume would the colors change. Eventually the manga decided on certain colors for certain characters, such as Takatsuki having black hair instead of brown as originally depicted. However other colors, such as the exact shade of Nitori's brown hair, still changed between colored artwork until the very end.
    • The middle school uniforms have a very inconsistent coloring. The manga depicts the gakuran as varying shades of pastel colors, however the in-manga shading imply this is simply artistic license and that they're a normal black. The anime went with that interpretation.
  • XxxHolic have Yuuko's and Watanuki's eyes, which have been just about every color of the spectrum.
  • Kamui from X1999, whose eyes have been blue, green, and purple in various pieces of artwork.
  • The mangaka of Miracle Girls justifies this, saying that the different colors were caused by problems made during the publishing process. The main twins hair would change between varying tones of near white, blonde, and brown depending on the cover. Their official tone was a dark brown, which the anime uses.
  • The colored art for 3-gatsu no Lion portray the Kawamoto sisters with either black hair or brunette hair. Typically, the more detailed pieces, like the ones used for volume covers, will use brunette.
  • While the covers of Ranma ˝ usually consistently show Male Ranma with black hair (though the highlight color may vary), Female Ranma's hair bounces off between black, brown, red, pink, purple, and blue.
  • Naruto:
    • Ino from Naruto has been depicted with both blue eyes and green eyes in the manga, though she's usually green eyed. The anime uses blue.
    • Boruto has purple eyes in The Last: Naruto the Movie but blue elsewhere.
    • Konohamaru's had Black Bead Eyes, then brown eyes, and finally blue eyes.
    • In chapter 500 Mirai has reddish-brown eyes. In Naruto she has either brown eyes or red eyes. In Boruto she has red eyes.
  • In Sherlock Hound, Moriarty's minion Smiley is green in the six episodes directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and brown in the other twenty episodes.
  • Aiko from Goodnight Punpun has been depicted with brown hair, red hair, and even teal hair. Her official color is a dark brown.
  • Shouko from A Silent Voice is frequently depicted in colored artwork with a near pink tone of hair. Canonically she has a dark brown hair but few artworks use the tone. The animated movie gives her reddish hair.
  • Triela from Gunslinger Girl is a Dark-Skinned Blonde however her skin tone is shaded in different ways. Early chapters often made her as light as the white characters, however later ones tend to shade her darker.
  • The pilot of Transformers Cybertron had a few shots where Optimus Prime's head had noticeably different coloring than what was used for the remainder of the series.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Chibiusa's friend Momoko had brown hair in the R and S seasons but switched to purple hair in SuperS. In the manga she has pink hair.
    • The hair color Usagi's mom switches between pink and blue in the manga. The first chapter depicted her with light brown hair. The 90s anime depicted her with dark blue hair while Sailor Moon Crystal originally opted for light purple in season 1 before also switching her to dark blue.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Karin (Korin in dubs), the magical cat, is a different color anytime he appears on a cover, to accent his strangeness. In the anime adaptations, however, he's a consistent white.
    • In the original version of Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta and Nappa infamously have completely different color schemes in their first few appearances: Nappa's armor is black and brown, instead of dark blue and yellow. Vegeta has brown hair, green and orange armor, and orange boots and gloves instead of black hair, white and yellow armor, and white boots and gloves. This is because the manga hadn't showed them in color yet, and the anime pulled an accidental Adaptation Dye-Job which later reversed. Dragon Ball Kai changes the colors for Vegeta to match his later palette, but oddly didn't bother for Nappa.
  • Exaggerated in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, as part of its general... bizarreness. Whenever color is used (most notably in the anime adaptation), characters are known to change color schemes multiple times within the same scene, usually but not always for dramatic emphasis.
  • Pokémon:
    • Tracey either has black hair or black hair with heavy green tints.
    • The switch to computer animation in late Johto caused this for several characters. For example, James' hair is either indigo, blue, or purple while Jessie's is either red, magenta, or purplish.
    • Misty's eye color has changed between blue and green many times.
  • Hori's hair in Horimiya ranges from light auburn to a very dark brown in the original webcomic and official artwork. Confusingly, the manga makes it look like she has blonde hair since it doesn't have any screentone (and other characters with canonically lighter hair do).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Dark Yugi (Yami Yugi): His eye color varies between art. In the Toei anime the color was red, which changed to purple in the second series. They've also been green, orange, brown, and blue, but it seems red is his most standard color in his official arts.
    • Ryo Bakura (Bakura Ryou): His eye color (and hair color) is never consistent across adaptations. They're blue or turquoise in the manga, green in the Toei anime, blue, purple or silver in the video games, brown in the second-series anime, and magenta red in The Darkside of Dimensions.
    • Dark Bakura (Yami Bakura): His eye color changes across adaptations, from purple in the manga and Toei anime to brown in the second-series anime. They've also been turquoise in cover art, varying shades of purple and pink in the video games, and are blood-red in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Incredible Hulk's first appearance he's gray; then from the 2nd issue on he's green (and is shown to be green in Flash Backs to the first issue). Much later it's re-retconned back to him being gray at first.
  • Triumph, in DC's Trinity miniseries, was drawn with at least four different hair colors... and they weren't similar. He started out blue, popped up with red and brown, and finally ended back where belonged at blonde.
  • Sonic the Comic had problems with eye colors in the Sonic Adventure arc. Porker Lewis' eyes changed from brown to blue and back. Everyone with Black Bead Eyes before switching to colored eyes in the Sonic Adventure arc.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Characters in the comic originally had Black Bead Eyes that would sometimes appear colored, however the colors weren't consistent. Eventually the Sonic Adventure era created an excuse to give Sonic green eyes, while everyone else was just assumed to have always looked that way. Their colors stayed stationary since then.
    • Amy had violet eyes at the beginning of the Sonic Adventure arc instead of her normal green.
  • Before he got his own comic, Midnighter's hair color frequently changed. This was because he was so rarely seen without his cowl that colorists never settled on a consensus. It was eventually explained as him constantly dyeing it different colors.
  • In her introduction, Storm from the X-Men had blue eyes when not using her powers. This was mostly kept up about a decade after her introduction, but in comics post 2000, it isn't terribly uncommon to see her drawn with brown eyes.

    Comic Strips 
  • Since most Newspaper Comics are printed in black and white, this trope can happen if a colored version is available. This can be seen in Garfield, where the house interior and appliances are not defined color-wise. Even Jon's outfit changes colors sometimes.
  • In some Peanuts color Sunday strips, Charlie Brown's trademark yellow shirt is a dark red, or green, or something else.
  • Dilbert:
    • In black and white daily strips, the point is lost that Asok the intern is meant to be Asian. He looks "white" as his face and hands are rendered in the same pale tones as Dilbert, Wally or Alice. However, in the color weekend strips, it is clear that his ethnicity is different. Owing to the limitations of monochrome publishing, this has effectively become an unintended version of this trope — Asok is white on weekdays and Asian at the weekend.
    • The colorized weekday comics from the official site are quite inconsistent about Ratbert's color. His official color is apparently orange, but he's been also colored yellow or gray. Bob the Dinosaur is almost always green (although the exact shade varies, as does the color of his belly and back ridges), but in at least one instance he became purple.
  • Because The Phantom started out in black-and-white dailies, his costume has appeared in a wide variety of colors in international reprints. In the early strips, dialogue occasionally referred to his costume as being gray. When the strip expanded into color Sunday strips, it was depicted as grayish-purple (which may have been an attempt to depict it as gray where the color registration went wonky). After a while, it was acknowledged in-text that the costume was purple. Even now, it's depicted in a wide variety of shades, from dark purple to a bright almost-blue.
  • In Donald Duck's earliest comic strip appearances, he had yellow feathers instead of white.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Lion King, Nala's eyes can be seen as changing from blue to green. In The Lion King: Six New Adventures, her eyes are gold. In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, her eyes are an electric blue. In The Lion King 1˝, her eyes are green. They are back to blue in The Lion Guard. Whew.
  • In Mulan, Mulan's armor is mostly seen as green but also as blue and brown later in the movie.
  • Aurora has three eye colors in Sleeping Beauty: Brown eyes, purple eyes, and Black Bead Eyes. In at least one scene she changed between the three. Disney Princess merchandise portrays her consistently with purple eyes, making her the only princess with an unnatural eye color. Rereleases have fixed the film so that her eyes are more obviously purple.
  • Strip "The King" Weathers from Cars normally has brown eyes, but when Chick Hicks crashes him at the end of the film, they somehow turn blue. They revert back to brown after he is helped by Lightning McQueen into reaching the finish line.
  • The Little Mermaid: Sebastian's sclerae are colored white in the film, but they're yellow in all print media.
  • Cinderella:
    • In the sequels, Lady Tremaine's dress was changed from maroon to purple.
    • Drizella's hair was a dark shade of brown in the first film, a lighter brown in the second, and jet black in the third.

    Literature 
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Despite being the protagonist of the first Story Arc and having the most official images out of any character in the series, the artist of the series can't seem to decide whether Firestar should have tabby stripes, what shade of orange his fur is, and whether or not he has Green Eyes (the canon color) or yellow. In a particularly egregious example, on the book jackets of the Super Edition books, it shows him as having yellow eyes on the cover of Firestar's Quest, even though the actual cover has him with green eyes! The books themselves never refer to Firestar as a tabby, implying he's solid-coloured.
    • Brightheart has been described as being white with tortoiseshell patches, as being flecked instead of patched, as having white patches of fur, as being an outright tortoiseshell, and being a solid brown cat. Official art has also depicted her with brown eyes. She's officially a white furred cat with ginger patches and blue eyes.
    • Longtail's design is very inconsistent. He's referred to as brown and then less than fifty pages later is called silver. Apparently the reason for this is because the Erins have different views on what tabbies look like (one thinks they're brown and another silver). Vicky however believes Longtail to be grey.
    • Thistleclaw is usually described as a gray-and-white cat with amber eyes. However, he's also been described as a "dark brown tabby" in Bluestar's Prophecy, the very book he was introduced in, a "gray-white" tom in Sign of the Moon, and "pale" in Spottedleaf's Heart.
    • In general, this sort of inconsistency has happened a lot due to the amount of authors and the Loads and Loads of Characters in the series.
  • Ozma from the Land of Oz books is described as having "ruddy blonde locks". Most official art portrays her as a brunette, though some also portray Ozma with black hair or red hair as well. Subsequently, popular fanon depicts Ozma as a brunette and most adaptations portray her as any color but blonde. Return to Oz is one of the few adaptations where she is a blonde (and even then she doesn't have a reddish tone to her hair).
  • Official art for Seeker Bears differs on whether Lusa has a brown muzzle or a black muzzle.
  • Wynne in Beansidhe's Wail is said to have eyes that change from "pale grey, to sky blue, to sea green, to violet to silver." The author says the same thing about her own eyes, saying, "A Clear Crystalline Grey That Shifts In Colour From Grey To Blue, To Green, To Violet And Sometimes Almost Silver, Depending On My Mood And My Clothes. I Have A Darker Grey Ring Around My Irises {Said To Be The Mark Of One With Faerie Blood And A Natural Witch} And Unusual *Lightning Bolt* Markings In Both Irises. My Eyes Are Quite Cat~Like, Almond Shaped. People Are Always Telling Me That I Have *Faerie Eyes* And Saying That My Eyes Are *Ancient*, *Ageless* *Endless*, And *Full Of Wisdom*"
  • Door of Neverwhere has "fire-opal" eyes of ever-changing/unclassifiable colour.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bran's direwolf Summer from Game of Thrones has gone from having gray fur to having brown to having what is a sort of beige-like color.

    Music 
  • The former Trope Namer for Eye Colour Change is "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (LSD) by The Beatles. John describes Lucy as having "kaleidoscope eyes"; that's how he knows her. Unlike most of the other examples here, he does not elaborate. Given the overall character of the song (plasticine porters with looking-glass ties? Marmalade skies?) it's implied that the eyes are actually perfectly normal—the kaleidoscope bit is probably acid-induced Mushroom Samba.

    Toys 
  • Transformers: Rumble and Frenzy, the two Cassetteicons who turn into robots were red and blue, respectively, in the original toys. However, the animated versions were blue and red. Since then, they've been alternating back and forth for the past thirty years or so.

    Video Games 
  • Cuphead: Cuphead and Mugman's White Gloves are suddenly yellow in your post-level scorecard. In this case, the inconsistency is deliberate and obvious, in reference to color illustrations of the black-and-white era of cartoons the game homages.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic's eyelids have varied wildly depending on the adaptation. In the original games, they were flesh-colored, although the number of times Sonic blinked to illustrate that could be counted on both hands. Archie went with blue; Fleetway originally had flesh-colored, but went to blue as well. Then Adventure introduced the redesign, and made the flesh-colored eyelids even more noticeable, prompting the relevant change in both comics. Finally, when Sonic X rolled around, the eyelids were made blue again, but this time the change carried over into the games as well, which has stuck ever since. This can be somewhat surreal in Sonic Generations, where Classic Sonic retains the flesh-colored eyelids but Modern Sonic has the current blue ones.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Rival in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver has red eyes in the intro but grey eyes in his sprites and official art.
    • The exact shade of colours for certain characters varies. For example, do Dawn and Lucas have bright blue hair, dark blue hair, or black hair with blue tints?
  • Somewhere between Golden Sun's character concept art and the game sprites, someone forgot what color Sheba's eyes are supposed to be—they're green in the art but purple in-game.
  • I-No from Guilty Gear is said to have eyes that change their color depending on the angle you're looking at them, but it's never been fully implemented until Xrd. (Prior artwork depicted her with green eyes or, less commonly, blue.)
  • Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII has eyes that don't actually change colour but appear either pale blue or green depending on the lighting conditions. Some players have even spotted her appearing to have heterochromia, and inconsistent official artwork certainly doesn't help the matter.
  • What is the colour of Zelda's hair in The Legend of Zelda? The sprite is a brunette but that doesn't mean much in 8-bit games. Official art has her as a brunette, a redhead, and a blonde (though the last one has a different design from the other two). The brown haired one is apparently the canon colour, but even the art-book uses the redheaded design.
  • Batman: Arkham Series: Due to Batman: Arkham Origins being developed by a different studio and Batman: Arkham Knight taking the series to eighth gen consoles, there were some inconsistencies in the coloring of certain characters' hair and/or eyes:
    • Black Mask has brown hair in Arkham City (a hole in his mask shows a patch of brown hair), but in Arkham Origins, the unmasked Roman Sionis has black hair.
    • Catwoman goes the opposite way, having black hair in Arkham City and brown hair in Arkham Knight. Considering that she has been known to dye her hair in other continuities, that could be an explanation.
    • Robin (Tim Drake) has blue eyes in City and while his hair is covered by his hood, it's listed as black in his character bio. In Knight, he is given green eyes and a brown buzz cut (promotional artwork in City depicted him with a buzz cut too).
    • Commissioner Gordon's hair was snow white in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but in Arkham Knight, his hair is a mixture of gray and brown, probably to reflect the brown hair his younger self had in Arkham Origins.
    • Riddler's hair was a sandy, light brown color in Arkham City, but dark chestnut brown in Origins and Knight.
    • Talia al Ghul's hair was the same sandy color as Riddler's in the original seventh gen version of Arkham City, but the Return to Arkham remaster for eighth-gen consoles darkened both heads of hair to the dark brown color.
    • Joker's hair is a darker shade of green in both Origins and Knight compared to the first two games.
  • Street Fighter: Vega's hair alternates between brown and blond in the games. And in both live-action movies, his hair was black.

    Web Comics 
  • The titular character in minus. has hair which ranges from blue to red to green — although this is clearly an intentional case of Kaleidoscope Hair, it has no In-Universe explanation and is never noticed by the other characters. It just varies depending on the strip.
  • Spinnerette: Mecha Maid has occasionally been shown with red or black hair, despite Word of God being that she dyes her hair purple and wears a black wig. A flashback to her as a baby also shows her with purple hair, despite her natural hair color being black.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Some of it can be justified by the comic's tendency to change color plattes between chapters, but straighter cases show up as a side effect of the fact that the comic can sometimes change small details with no importance to the plot from one panel to the next, including coloring. Some cases are particularly noticeable:
    • The collar of Reynir's only shirt was white upon his arrival and has since gone through various darker colors, ranging from blue to various shades of brown.
    • When Lalli is in full gear (that includes very long black gloves), his upper arms are always colored white and his coat has been shown to be sleveless, thus implying that he's wearing the white-sleeved version of the uniform turtleneck under his gear. The two times the comic has shown him get stripped out of his coat and long gloves, he turned out to be wearing the black-sleeved version of the turtleneck under them.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Tick, one episode has the defective superheroes gathered in a room. A continuity error or just sloppy coloring keeps depicting American Maid as alternating from black-stockinged legs to bare legs and back again, even though she is just sitting there and has neither time nor a plot reason to keep whipping her stockings on and off.
  • There's an intentional example in Yakkity Yak with Professor Crazyhair, whose hair constantly changes color. It's a rather fitting name.
  • When Speed Buggy and friends crossed over with Scooby-Doo, Speedy's pal Mark had a much darker skin tone than how he was normally shown.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In Mickey Mouse's first color film, 1932's Parade of the Award Nominees, his shorts were colored green rather than red. A few early color shorts gave him beige gloves as well.
    • Throughout the 40s and 50s, Goofy's body is either black or flesh-colored, sometimes in the same cartoon.
    • Pluto's collar was red in most of the classic shorts, but it's green in A Gentleman's Gentleman and in most media today.
    • In the shorts, Pluto's nemesis Butch is grey with a darker grey muzzle and white belly, but in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he's brown with a tan colored muzzle and belly.
    • The colors of Huey, Dewey and Louie's clothes often varied, with some projects giving them identical colors that make it almost impossible to tell them apart. Their familiar red-blue-green color scheme didn't appear until DuckTales.
  • In on episode of The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show, Linus' blanket is colored green instead of light blue. Hand Waved by a voice-over of Lucy saying that "My brother's got a stupid new blanket."
  • This happened to Sunshine in Salty's Lighthouse, the cut and paste translation of TUGS. In addition to Sunshine being a girl in Salty's Lighthouse (in TUGS, he was a boy), stock footage from TUGS episodes were used for his/her scenes, namely switching between his/her original white livery from the episode, "Sunshine", and his/her yellow paintwork in later episodes.
  • Rugrats merchandise often has Angelica with purple eyes while Angelica and Suzie's Preschool Daze has her as blue eyes. A piece of All Grown Up! promotional art also has her as blue-eyed.
  • The Legend of Korra: In his youth, Amon had dark skin like most Watertribe characters and like his brother. As an adult, his skin has lightened several shades.
  • The Simpsons: Bart's red t-shirt was colored blue in many merchant items, and even in a few commercials, during the 1990's. This was lampshaded in "Pokey Mom", when Bart is asked where his blue shirt is and says he doesn't have one.
    • One Butterfinger commercial had Lisa's dress colored pink instead of red.
  • Looney Tunes: In Daffy Duck and Egghead, the ring around Daffy's neck is blue instead of white. Then again, it was his first color cartoon and it could have been an early design choice.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Joseph started out wearing a green shirt and white shorts. But after he hit puberty in season five, he switched to a blue shirt and brown shorts. Some artists seem to have forgotten this and gave Joseph his old clothes in some of the subsequent post-puberty episodes.
    • Dale's orange Mack baseball cap is sometimes colored red.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh.
    • Similar to Sebastian, Eeyore is colored dark gray with a light gray muzzle in all Pooh movies and TV shows, but he's colored blue with a peach muzzle in almost all merchandise and promotional art.
    • Rabbit was originally depicted with yellow fur in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. In the 80s and early 90s cartoons (most notably The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), he had pale green fur. It was changed back to yellow from Pooh's Grand Adventure onward and stayed that way.
    • Like Eeyore, Tigger's white stomach and muzzle are colored yellow in merchandise and promotional art.
  • The Batman: Ethan Bennett's eyes alternated between blue, teal and green.
  • Scooby-Doo: in a few of the 1980s incarnations, Shaggy's shirt was red instead of its trademark green and he wore blue jeans instead of his brown bellbottoms.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The fish known as Fred usually murky green, but he sometimes appears light blue.
    • The fish known as Tom is usually green, but was colored turquoise in "Patty Hype".

Alternative Title(s): Kaleidoscope Eyes

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InconsistentColoring