Red, blue, yellow... Primary, but it works in a superhero-ish kind of way.We know that Red Is Heroic. And sometimes even Blue Is Heroic. There's almost no better way to say your character is a hero than giving them a costume that is primarily red, blue and sometimes yellow for good measure. If you see a character wearing both red and blue prominently, chances are they are The Hero, the main character, or at least playing for the good guys' side. With blue typically symbolizing heroic resolve and caring, while the red stands for righteous passion and strength, it is a good visual shorthand to the audience that this is a person you can trust. Red and blue are both strong colors that balance well and are commonly paired together. Usually blue below the belt and red above whether wearing armor, dresses, superhero tights, or as simple as blue jeans and a red t-shirt. Yellow is the go to for a third color (besides black and white). The other typical set up is that most of costume will be blue, an iconic piece of it (such as a hat or a cape) will be red, and yellow will be used for accents, trims, buttons, logos, and other accessories. Sometimes a heroic institution may make a point of giving its members red, blue and yellow uniforms. If it's just a small group however you may be looking for Chromatic Arrangement or Color-Coded Characters. This trope may have stemmed from the early days of comicbooks in which heroic characters typically had color schemes that sported Primary Colors (Red, blue, yellow, like Superman) while villains typically had secondary colors (Purple, green, orange, gray - think The Joker, Green Goblin or Lex Luthor's iconic Power Armor). A Sub-Trope of Good Colors, Evil Colors, Red Is Heroic and Blue Is Heroic. Contrast Red and Black and Evil All Over. The inverse is a Secondary Color Nemesis.
—Lana Lang, Superman: The Animated Series
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Anime And Manga
- Almost every single main character's Gundam has a blue body, red boots, and yellow accents (such as its head crest). This serves not only to identify a hero in the broad sense by invoking the trope, but also to make each new hero the 'new version' of the iconic Amuro in The Original Gundam. You find it with the Shining Gundam, Wing Gundam, Captain Gundam and Shute his human companion, the Strike and Impulse Gundam, Gundam Exia. Most of their upgrades and titular Gundams follow suit.
- Nanoha Takamachi Magical Girl costume has been intentionally colored white, blue, red, and yellow to resemble a classic Gundam.
- Sailor Moon: while other characters typically only had one prominent color and analogous color for accents, Moon had two: a blue skirt, red boots and gloves and bows, also complimented by the standard yellow tiara and her yellow hair. Word of God states her representative color was pink, and certain manga art, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal makes the red a pink-red.
- Cubix: Robots for Everyone: Conner wears mostly white but has red and blue trims on his shirt and pants. He's the hero that finally activates and bonds with Cubix.
- Goku of Dragon Ball, pseudo example, wearing orange and blue, but a noticeably redder shade of orange than a few other characters with the same costume (like Goten). Of course when he turns Super Saiyan, his hair becomes golden yellow.
- Luffy wears a red jacket, blue shorts, and a yellow hat. He's the happy go lucky captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, and the lead character.
- Digimon: Like the Gundam example, most of the goggle boys and almost all of their partners have this design, if only in their final forms. Sometimes the result of a Fusion Dance of a Red Oni, Blue Oni pair. This applies to Omnimon as a result of fusion between The Hero and The Lancer, Davis, and most of the Veemon line, the heroes from day one, have it as well. Susanoomon is another hero/lancer fusion, the Emperorgrermon top half was red, and Magnagarurumon bottom half was blue. Shinegreymon gets it in his final two forms, and then Taiki and Tagiru and the entire Gumdramon line have it in the next series.
- Kenshiro the hero of Fist of the North Star wears blue with a red undershirt.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Jotaro Kujo's ensemble in part 3 was a blue school uniform and cap with a red undershirt as well.
- Gurren Lagann: Simon, The Hero, wears a blue jacket with red accents in the first season, and has more yellow accents after the timeskip. Also wears red and yellow goggles.
- Similarly, Kamina, the Supporting Leader, has his blue hair and copious amounts of red in his glasses and cape.
- Speed Racer wears a blue shirt, red shoes and yellow gloves. His 'M' logo is also red. He's of course the titular character and hero.
- Most Super Robots from the 70s and 80s used these kind of color schemes:
- The respective titular Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, and UFO Robo Grendizer are all black and silver with red and blue parts.
- The original heroic Getter Robo uses some combination of red, white, and yellow in all three of its forms.
- The lead robots of the Robot Romance Trilogy all have primary color schemes. Combattler V and Voltes V are mainly blue with some red and white accents, while Daimos is mostly red with some white and black.
- Raideen, the titular hero is red and blue with some yellow bits.
- Gekiganger 3, being THE Affectionate Parody of 70's robot shows, also sports the blue/red/yellow combo, along with some gray parts.
- For most of the series, the hero Hayato Kazami from Future GPX Cyber Formula wears a blue racing suit with red trimmings and yellow parts (except for his Sugo Winners suit). His team's logo also has red, blue and yellow colors in it.
- The various incarnations of the iconic Asurada is a white car with blue and red trimmings on it, along with the Garland series, a blue and white car with red trimmings.
- Detective Conan: Conan himself wears a blue jacket, red tie, white undershirt.
- Ronin Warriors: Ryo's Wildfire armor is primarily red, but has some blue elements plus the yellow crest. The other warriors' armor are typically one analogous color(such as Hardrock being orange and brown).
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Yusei Fudo has an iconic blue jacket (and acts as the Blue Oni to his friends) paired together with his red D-Wheel and helmet. And his criminal marker on his face is yellow.
- Superman: Blue tights, red cape, briefs and boots, yellow belt and accents on his logo. The modern Trope Codifier if not the Trope Maker. As the most iconic, quintessential super hero, his 75+ years of publication have pushed the prominence of this trope.
- Most of the other members of the Superman family follow suit, including Supergirl and most versions of Superboy. Power Girl's costume is mostly white, but has red/blue/yellow accents.
- Ambiguous or evil versions of the Super-family generally go for Red and Black and Evil All Over. Notable exceptions who keep the primary color scheme are Ultraman and Cyborg Superman.
- For the inversion, when Lex Luthor battles Superman personally he uses green-and-purple Powered Armor. Other villainous colors worn include Brainiac (purple and green), Mr. Mxyzptlk (purple), Parasite (purple), Metallo (silver), and Darkseid (navy blue).
- Wonder Woman: A red and blue Leotard of Power, blue on bottom, red on top, yellow accents such as the WW logo, belt and golden lasso. Her New 52 design replaced the yellow accents with silver ones, but the red and blue (being the primary component of the trope) are always present.
- Spider-Man: Red and blue body suit. The legs have more blue, the torso has more red. Being Marvel's most popular hero has also done a lot to promote this trope. In contrast, many of his Rogues Gallery (including the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, the Lizard, the Vulture, the Jackal, etc.) favor green and/or purple.
- Captain America, leader of The Avengers and definitely the Big Good of the Marvel Universe, also wears blue and red. Many All-American heroes invoke this as blue and red are two of USA's colors, along with white.
- The X-Men dress code changes it up a bit by being blue and yellow with red accents (such as the X insignia or just leaving out their red hair.) Notably three of the most prominent characters all do this in some way, Wolverine typically has a red belt. Cyclops has the red bar in his visor, and is sometimes depicted with his reddish brown hair out. Jean Grey also does the yellow and blue costume, red hair variation before she becomes the Phoenix. Then she trades the blue with green as she drifts into Villain / Anti-Hero territory.
- Red Tornado: A red android with a blue cape and yellow arrow designs down his arms and head. His evil sibling Reds don't have blue capes, so it's easy to tell the heroic one at a glance.
- Stargirl: wears a blue costume with red and white trim (representing America) but carries a yellow staff and is almost always depicted with flowing blonde hair (representing heroism.)
- When Ms. Marvel took a promotion to Captain, she started wearing a mainly blue costume with red accents and yellow trim. The next Ms. Marvel followed her lead in this color scheme.
- The Mighty Thor: Blue armor, a red cape, and blond hair. He's the hero and king of Asgard. His sometimes enemy Loki wears green.
- Jay Garrick, the original Flash, also offsets his red costume it with blue pants. The more iconic future Flashes opted for Red Is Heroic on its own however.
- Inverted with the Incredible Hulk, who is usually green with purple pants, highlighting how the character is more monstrous than the usual hero.
- Papa Smurf. Red suit, white beard, blue skin. He's the Big Good and father figure to all the little Smurfs who just wear white.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Discussed by Mr. Glass in Unbreakable, that heroes are in primary colors and villains in secondary.
- Gipsy Danger from Pacific Rim is dominantly blue with a yellow visor, yellow turbine, and small red markings here and there.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Roger wears red overalls with yellow buttons and a blue patch, and a blue tie with yellow polka dots. His wife Jessica is a Lady in Red, with red hair to boot.
- In the first Jurassic Park film, protagonist Alan Grant wears a blue denim shirt and a red bandana. Tim wears the same colors as a reflection of his idolization of Grant, and heroine Ellie Sattler's layered shirts are similar-but-feminized shades of pink and purple.
Live Action TV
- In every Star Trek production, the Starfleet uniforms are some variation of black and a primary color, from TOS's colored sweaters over black shirts to Enterprise's blue jumpsuits with colored piping.
- In Super Sentai and Power Rangers; red, blue, and yellow Rangers are constantsnote while Rangers of other colors may or may not be there. This is especially noticeable in seasons when the team (before Sixth Rangers) is a Power Trio instead of a Five-Man Band, so those three colors are all there are.
- The green-clad Dragon Ranger from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger was a villain before turning good. Same for the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Green Ranger and his Evil Laugh.
- Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger and Power Rangers Ninja Storm had a trio in primary colors and The Psycho Rangers (at first) in crimson and navy blue. Ninja Storm hung a lampshade when one of the Rangers questioned which of the nearby enemies to fight and another answered "anyone not wearing a primary color".
- Lampshaded again in Power Rangers RPM. When Ziggy (Green) attaches his Zord to the core trio's Megazord, Flynn complains that it "throws the 'primary colour' balance off."
- On rare occasions, you can get a Ranger or allied hero that sports all three colors at once: AbareMax/Triassic Ranger (red with yellow trim and bits of blue), and MagiShine/Solaris Knight (blue and gold armor with a red cape). Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has another one in one of its tie-in movies (navy blue with yellow and red accents), but unfortunately, it's a case where darker colors equal villainous; his name is Deathryuger.
- Smallville has Clark Kent's main color scheme that of red and blue, where he used to almost always wear a red jacket over a blue t-shirt, or a blue jacket over a red t-shirt. He would also wear a red or blue flannel plaid shirt with occasionally white variants. This is mainly due to his farming duties. When he starts doing heroic things in Metropolis all people see is a red and blue blur. When Chloe first meets Kara before she becomes Supergirl she says, "I should have known you were Clark's cousin from all the primary colors."
- The Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who, who wore a red coat, yellow trousers and hair, and blue accessories (a neck ribbon and watch chain). This leads to an absolutely eye-searing effect, which was part of the point of dressing him like this - it's supposed to represent his massive ego and tastelessness.
- Altogether more subtle, publicity photos of the Twelfth Doctor in costume show him in a navy blue Crombie coat with red lining.
- The hero, Takua, zigzags this. In his first appearance in the Game Boy Advance game Quest for the Toa, he has a blue mask, yellow torso, arms and eyes and red feet. In the game's sequel, the Mata Nui On-Line Game, his torso and arms are red and his feet are yellow. His toy ditched yellow for even more blue, and had no eye colors. The Mask of Light movie gave him yellow eyes again and a yellow Heart Light. Upon transforming into a Toa, however, he became gold and white.
- The Kardas Dragon has plenty of red, blue and yellowish gold on its body, along with black and silver.
- Super Mario - blue overalls, red shirt and hat, yellow buttons. He was designed as the hero of Donkey Kong after Shigeru Miyamoto lost the rights to use Pop Eye. Since then, he's gone on to become the most iconic hero, and character period, in gaming. Essentially the Superman of his medium.
- Heroes wear primary, villains wear secondary: Bowser has green, while Wario and Waluigi both feature purple.
- There's an interesting mix with Luigi—Green cap and shirt with blue overalls. Kind of makes sense once you discover how some games allude to Luigi's Dark Side.
- Although Link is typically associated with green, his iconic Hylian Shield has a red bird and yellow Triforce against a blue field.
- Chrono Trigger: Crono - Fiery red hair, a blue tunic, and a yellow kerchief ensures you won't lose sight of him. He's the hero, and for most of the game a required party member.
- Dillon's Rolling Western: Dillon, the old west hero and titular character, is a yellow armadillo with a bright red shell and blue scarf. The scarf has some thin yellow patterns on it too.
- Almost every Fire Emblem Lord wears this color scheme too. Usually blue clothes with a yellow trim, and a red cape (at least on the inside of it). Marth kickstarted the trend, followed by Celice, all four Elibe Lords. Ike sported this color scheme as the Hero of Tellius, despite not being a noble like previous heroes. Micaiah wears it as well in much sublter fashion. Chrom only wears desaturated and darker blue clothes with a yellow trim, however his is usual sword and its scabbard are is red. In addition to being the main characters, they also cause an instant game over if they die, so it's important to watch them on the map.
- Captain Falcon of F-Zero - blue body suit, red helmet, yellow boots and nipples. Despite having a very loose plot, he's the series' most iconic character, default choice for player one, and the Smash Bros. representative. The anime adaptation makes it that 'Captian Falcon' is a mantle, not an individual, making the color scheme even more relevant.
- Despite Venus adepts association with the color yellow, Isaac the hero of Golden Sun wears a blue outift with a red breast plate. The only yellow on him are his Scarf of Asskicking and blonde hair.
- His son Matthew in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn wears a blue jacket, red shirt, and a scarf so similar to Isaac's that fans often say it is the same one.
- Kingdom Hearts: Being a Mickey Mouse stand in, Sora's costumes are primarily red, yellow, and black. However to invoke this trope as the hero, he does have bright blue eyes, a blue stripe near the hilt of his sword and subtle blue accents on most of his costumes. Usually the belt, hood, or undershirt.
- Mega Man is usually just blue, but some incarnations will give him red and yellow accents. MegaMan.exe and Geo Stelar are the straightest examples.
- Mega Man X is blue with red accents by default, but in his higher level armors he gains plenty of yellow trims as well. As he becomes more heroic he embodies the trope even more.
- Originally averted in Metroid as Samus' armor is orange and yellow with green accents. However when they finally codified her under armor Zero Suit, it's blue, with a pink design on the back and red scrunchie, and offset by her long yellow blonde hair. Under her hard exterior is an iconic hero.
- All three of the MOTHER main protagonists wear this color scheme. Ninten and Ness, the first two heroes, wear nearly identical clothes. A red and blue baseball cap, and a blue and yellow striped shirt, among other elements.
- It's played with Lucas and Claus. Claus wears the iconic blue and yellow striped shirt, and has bright red hair instead of a cap. He's much more heroic and extroverted, which leads to his downfall. This leaves Lucas, the more timid brother, to grow into the main hero. He wears a red and yellow shirt and blue jeans, invoking the trope in a different way than the heroes before him.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , Phoenix Wright, the titular character and main hero, wears a blue suit and red tie, with a yellow pin and chain. This can also be extended to him and his two assistants as a whole—Phoenix being the blue aspect, Apollo the red aspect, and Athena the yellow aspect.
- Pokémon protagonists tend to feature primary colors with blacks and whites in their wardrobes. Some of the female ones replace red with pink. In further contrast, villains favor black, white, and grey (except for Team Flare, who almost all wear eye-searingly bright red).
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the player can act in movies, including a superhero series. In these movies, the player is cast as the hero and is dressed up in bright primary colors; while Brycen, as the villainous Brycen-Man, wears purple with green accents.
- Raphael/Phantom R of Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure wears a blue suit with red trim (and matching red tie and hair).
- Sonic the Hedgehog is blue and wears red shoes. Also, the current modern Sonic design has yellow buckles on the red shoes.
- Also, the Power Trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are primarily blue, yellow, and red, respectively.
- One of the trailers for Super Smash Bros. makes a point to compare four big mascots in terms of their primary colors: Mario representing Red, Sonic and Mega Man each representing Blue, and the newly-revealed Pac-Man representing Yellow.
- The titular Homestar Runner has a red shirt and 'blue soles glued to the bottom of his feet.' His hat is also blue with a red brim.
- Captain Planet: Blue body, red 'clothes' with a yellow emblem. He's the nature loving campy hero summoned when all the kids' powers combine.
- Discussed, but not enforced, in Danny Phantom. Danny's costume is black with white accents. In one episode he accidentally splits himself in half; one half is his goofy, slacker side, and the other half is his dedicated, heroic side. The heroic side begins acting like a stereotypical comic book hero, and insists that his costume should have a cape and be in bright primary colors.
- Donald Duck: Blue suit and hat with red bowtie (black on some cartoons) and white and yellow accents. For a time he was featured in many more shorts than even Mickey, and spawned a lot of duck themed spin offs in the 90s especially.
- Fat Albert: Red shirt, blue jeans. While it's just regular clothes, he's the only kid to wear these colors, and the titular main character.
- Freakazoid!: Red underwear, blue skin, yellow logo. The series is a satire of superhero conventions, so its natural that the main character would sport the mot recognizable color scheme.
- Even comedy is not immune. Fry from Futurama wears a red jacket and blue jeans.
- Bart Simpson also wears a red T-shirt, blue shorts, and is drawn with stark yellow skin (because of the art style), though its debatable whether he is the main character or if it's Homer (who wears blue pants and a white shirt).
- Arnold from Hey Arnold! wears a bluish teal sweater and blue jeans, with a red with yellow plaid button down shirt that hangs out from under his sweater like a skirt. He also has a blue cap and wild blond hair. He's the moral center of the kids at PS 118, and of course the main character.
- Jimmy Neutron wears a red T-shirt with a yellow logo on it, and blue shorts/jeans. Again the main character, and usually the leader of his group of friends.
- Zahara of Spider Stories was nearly a full on blue bottom, red top before foregoing becoming closer to just being red to invoke this trope as the princess and main character.
- Thunder Cats: Lion-O wears a blue costume and a yellow/gold gauntlet. Both are accented by the red Thundercats logo, and his big bright red mane of hair. He's the chosen lord of the Thundercats.
- Transformers: Optimus Prime part of the trope image. In fact, the Autobot logo is usually red and many Autobots are primary colors, while the Decepticons have purple as a signature color and the Constructicons specifically are known for being purple and green. Having the good side in red and the bad side in purple places them in the opposites of the spectrum, so not only they're differentiated by primary and secondary colors, but also by "hot" and "cold" colors (darker blue for bad guys, light orange for good guys).
- Young Justice: Kaldur, the new version of Aqualad designed specifically as The Leader of this version of DC's teen heroes (as opposed to the traditional Robin), wears blue pants and a red shirt with a yellow belt buckle. He also has blond hair. In the comics his pants are darker, almost black, but he has more yellow decals on his shirt.
- The Star Tugs from TUGS are all painted yellow, with red, white, and blue smokestacks. A few of them even wear red or blue hats as well.
- Steven Universe wears blue jeans, red sandals, and a red t-shirt with a gold/yellow star. Garnet is mostly red, but her outfit also incorporates navy blue, and she has yellow stars on her gauntlets. For double points, one of her three eyes is red, another is blue. And for triple points, she is a fusion of Ruby and Sapphire, who are red and blue respectively. Her second outfit switches the palette more towards Purple Is Powerful.