Inconsistent Coloring
aka: Kaleidoscope Eyes
Comic reprints often change colorsnote .

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. Regardless, 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.

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.


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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. 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Karin (Korin in dubs), the magical cat in Dragon Ball, is a different color anytime he appears on a cover, to accent his strangeness. In the anime adaptations, however, he's a consistent white.
  • 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.

    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.
  • In Dilbert's 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.
  • 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.

    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, and finally, in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, her eyes are an electric blue.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

    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.

    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.
  • In the Classic Disney Shorts, Butch the Bulldog 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Kaleidoscope Eyes