The Dress Code of True Heroes note
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
. SO 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.
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.
Yellow is the go to for a third color (besides black and white). But if yellow is paired with either red or blue instead of being a complete RBY trio it tends to get overshadowed since its a less dominant color.
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, gray - think The Joker
, Green Goblin
or Lex Luthor
's iconic Power Armor
of Good Colors, Evil Colors
, Red Is Heroic
and Blue Is Heroic
Contrast Red and Black and Evil All Over
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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)
- Sailor Moon: while other characters typically only had one prominent colors and another one 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.
- 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.
- Ash Ketchum has primary colors in his all of his outfits, but his original and Hoenn outfits had it the most. He still tries to keep has at the very least blue pants and a bunch of red and blue details on him.
- Digimon: a few of the goggle boys and almost all of their partners have this design, if only in their final forms. Sometimes to result of a Fusion Dance of a Red Oni, Blue Oni pair.
- Kenshiro 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 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 has his blue hair and copious amounts of red in his glasses and cape.
- Gurren and Lagann themselves are mostly red with yellow and blue highlights.
- Speed Racer wears a blue shirt, red shoes and yellow gloves. His 'M' logo is also red.
- Most Super Robots from the 70s and 80s used these kind of color schemes:
- For most of the series, 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.
- Superman: Blue tights, red cape, briefs and boots, yellow belt and accents on his logo. The modern Trope Codifier if not the Trope Maker.
- 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) still stayed.
- Spider-Man: Red and blue body suit. The legs have more blue, the torso has more red. 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, a red belt buckle 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 and trades the blue with green as she drifts into Villain / Anti-Hero territory.
- Magneto, in contrast, wears purple tights.
- Daredevil: Red tights.
- Red Tornado: A red android with a blue cape and yellow arrow designs down his arms and head.
- 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.
- Both Captains Marvel are primarily red with yellow accents, with the Fawcett/DC Comics version also having a white cape and the Marvel Comics version having black (highlighted with blue, at least in old printing processes).
- 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.
- Iron Man: Red and gold.
- The Mighty Thor: Blue armor, a red cape, and blond hair. His sometime enemy Loki wears green.
- The Fantastic Four: Blue tights. In contrast, Doctor Doom wears a green cloak.
- The Flash: Red with yellow accents.
- Jay Garrick, the original Flash, also offsets it with blue pants, as opposed to the red bodysuit that Wally and Barry sport.
- Inverted with the Incredible Hulk, who is usually green with purple pants, highlighting how the character is more monstrous than the usual hero.
- Robin is mostly red, with some yellow accents (and either green or black, depending on which Robin and when). In his Lighter and Softer versions, Batman also has a costume that is primarily gray and blue with bits of yellow (logo and utility belt). In contrast, villains such as The Joker, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Ra's al Ghul, Killer Croc, Two-Face (sometimes), the Mad Hatter (sometimes), and Catwoman (classic) all favor green and/or purple.
- Discussed by Mr. Glass in Unbreakable, that heroes are in primary colors and villains in secondary.
- Wreck-It Ralph, being a video game antagonist, wears orange and brown. The game's hero, Fix-It Felix Jr., wears blue.
- Toy Story: Sheriff Woody wears blue jeans, and a yellow with red plaid shirt. Also wears a red ascot. In contrast The Rival and later The Lancer Buzz Lightyear wears green and purple.
- 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.
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.
- And, of course, when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine took a Darker and Edgier turn midway through its run, the uniforms were changed to being mostly gray and black, with the primary colors muted and relegated to the wrists and neck.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Takua's best friend Jaller wore yellow (gold in some media) and red, and his pet crab Pewku was blue and yellow in her earliest appearances (her set changed this to brown and gray).
- Lhikan (whose mask was later given to Jaller) was gold and red. Many similarly colored Matoran also appear in the Legends of Metru Nui movie's crowd shots.
- The Kardas Dragon has plenty of red, blue and yellowish gold on its body, along with black and silver.
- Brutaka and Tarix sport yellowish gold and blue.
- Super Mario - blue overalls, red shirt and hat, yellow buttons.
- 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.
- Chrono Trigger: Crono - Fiery red hair, a blue tunic, and a yellow kerchief ensures you won't lose sight of him.
- 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)
- Alm in his Awakening redesign has red and yellow accents to his blue armor. In his original design they were red and green accents however.
- Roy, Eliwood and Hector.
- Lyn's costume was blue with yellow trim and very subtle red accents. Her Awakening redesign plays it even straighter by changing her obi to be bigger and deep red.
- Micaiah may or may not be an example. Her default attire is mostly purple but has red, blue and yellow accents. At tier 2 she has a whitish pink dress, blue cape and yellow ugg boots, at tier 3 she has a pale blue dress, red cape and yellow heels.
- Chrom only wears desaturated and darker blue clothes with a yellow trim, however his is usual sword and its scabbard are is red.
- Captain Falcon of F-Zero - blue body suit, red helmet, yellow boots and nipples.
- Isaac of Golden Sun wears a blue outift with a red breast plate and a yellow Scarf of Asskicking.
- 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 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.
- Medabots - Ikki wears blue shorts and a red shirt with a yellow button on the collar.
- 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.
- Zero on the other hand is primarily red and yellow.
- In contrast, Sigma wears green and purple armor.
- 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.
- All three of the MOTHER main protagonists wear this color scheme:
- Ninten wears a blue shirt with yellow stripes, blue shorts, red socks, blue shoes, and a red and blue baseball cap. In most fanart, he is also depicted with a red bandana around his neck in order to differentiate him from the similarly dressed Ness mentioned just below.
- Ness wears very similar clothing as Ninten above, except that his shoes are red. It should be noted that in-game, Ness wears a yellow backpack, but in Smash Bros it's depicted as brown.
- Finally, Lucas wears a striped red and yellow shirt, and blue shorts. His shoes are red and yellow.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , Phoenix Wright 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. Departures from this include May and Brendan, who add green accents in Emerald; Dawn, who wears at least as much pink as red, if not more; and Hilda, whose outfit is mainly black and white though it is offset by blue shorts and various pink accents. Rivals are also more prone to wearing secondary colors, though Silver, Cheren, and Hugh wear primaries like the PCs do (with Silver's in a darker shade reflecting his Anti-Hero status). 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.
- Street Fighter: Ken Masters wears a red gi and Chun Li wears a blue qipao.
- In contrast, the evil Vega wears purple trousers.
- 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.
- 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.
- The new Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon finally balances Alvins red shirt and yellow A with blue jeans.
- Captain Planet: Blue body, red 'clothes' with a yellow emblem.
- 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.
- Fat Albert: Red shirt, blue jeans.
- Freakazoid!: Red underwear, blue skin, yellow logo.
- 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.
- Jimmy Neutron wears a red T-shirt with a yellow logo on it, and blue shorts/jeans.
- Zahara of Spider Stories was nearly a full on blue bottom, red top before foregoing becoming closer to just being red. However she still has yellow gold trims on her dress and wears cyan blue flower petals so...
- ThunderCats: 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.
- 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.
- Classic Disney Shorts:
- Mickey Mouse: Red shorts and yellow shoes. Buttons are either white or yellow, depending on the continuity.
- Donald Duck: Blue suit and hat with red bowtie (black on some cartoons) and white and yellow accents.
- Pluto The Pup: Yellow with red collar.
- Goofy: Bucks the trend with a mostly green-orange color scheme. Exact coloring varies Depending on the Artist, but the default seems to be orange top, green vest and blue pants and hat.
- 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.