This is what happens when you mix Color-Coded for Your Convenience
with Lucky Seven
. Not only is a color motif used, but the specific colors involved are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These are often identified as the colors of the rainbow
This trope was started by Isaac Newton
, who really wanted there to be exactly seven colors to match the number of musical notes, the number of planets (then
) known to be in our solar system, and days of the week. Isaac was wrong about this one, but since he was such a famous scientist, the belief that the visible light spectrum could be separated into exactly seven parts was widely held for a long time. This gave rise to the popular mnemonic "Roy G. Biv", a person's name constructed from the first letter of each color in order. Another mnemonic, more popular in Britain, is "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
Indigo is generally considered the odd man out among the seven, due to it simply being a dark blue.note
If the creator needs a few more colors to round out the cast, black
are common additions. Alternatively, some creators opt to branch out into the non-visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infrared and ultraviolet. Curiously, cyan is missing, creating a conspicuous gap between the primaries green and blue, while indigo and violet replace magenta between red and bluenote
. For printing inks and finer art, cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary colors.
The Seven Deadly Sins
- Wrath, Gluttony, Greed, Envy, Sloth, Lust, Pride often go with red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and purple respectively.
Another way to think of this trope is Chromatic Arrangement
plus four extra colors.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The seven types of Dying Will Flame in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. Each is named after an aspect of weather. Red is storm, orange is sky, yellow is sun, green is lightning, blue is rain, indigo is mist, and violet is cloud. The (orange) Sky Flame is always the leader's flame.
- Each member of the Arcobaleno has a corresponding color, fitting to their Dying Will Flames. The name also doubles as the Italian word for rainbow.
- In Shichinin No Nana, the main character is split into seven of herself, and each girl has a corresponding color. Unlike most cases, indigo is shunted for yellow-green.
- This forms the motif of the seven princesses in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, with pink, aqua, and deep blue subbing in for red, blue, and indigo, respectively. The second opening of the anime is even called "Rainbow Notes".
- The Seven Rainbow Crystals in Sailor Moon. Fought over in the correct spectral order, needless to say.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Johan Andersen and the seven Gem Beasts, all of whom are needed to summon Rainbow Dragon.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Dark Signers and their Earthbound God cards are color coded in individual colors of the rainbow.
- Rudger is red
- Carly is orange
- Demak is yellow
- Misty is green
- Kiryu is blue
- Bommer is indigo
- Rex is violet
- The emotional spectrum in Green Lantern associates each of the colors with a particular feeling. Red is rage, orange is avarice, yellow is fear, green is willpower/courage, blue is hope, indigo is compassion, and violet is love.
- Black appropriately represents the absence of emotion and death, while white represents life (see Blackest Night and Brightest Day).
- This was parodied in Linkara and Spoony's review of Warrior #4, where they become Gray Lanterns, representing apathy.
- Star Sapphires are more pink (or magenta, maybe) than violet. Because integrating them in the rainbow is actually a retcon.
- The real name of Flash villain Rainbow Raider is Roy G. Bivolo, a reference to the mnemonic.
- Batman and the Outsiders. Halo's super powers each had their own color: heat blasts (red), force blasts (orange), bright light (yellow), a stasis beam (green), mirages (blue), a tractor beam (indigo), and violet (all of the other colors at the same time).
- In a particularly impossible Union Club mystery by Isaac Asimov, we are given a list of names and asked which one would correspond to the nickname "half a ghost". The reader is expected to identify that ghost can mean spectre\spectrum(?!), and then Roy is half of that. Well, three sevenths, but indigo doesn't count.
- In The Seventh Tower, the Chosen have eight castes: one for each of the seven colors, with Violet at the top, plus a colorless "Underfolk" caste at the bottom for the servants.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has the Rainbow Guard, Renly's chosen Kingsguard, each one wearing armor of a different color. Despite Renly's predilections, it's more of a religious thing - as the Faith of Westeros has seven gods, the rainbow is viewed as a holy symbol the same way a three-leaf clover was associated with the Holy Trinity in real life.
- In The Hog, Carnacki uses rainbow-colored rings of light in his Magitek protective circle, and describes the attractive or repulsive effects associated with each color.
- In the Rainbow Magic series, this is seen with the Rainbow Fairies, as well as the series logo and title.
- Beakmans World had Roy G. Biv appear as a hippie wearing a tie-dye t-shirt and a rainbow wig.
- The Prism Memory in Kamen Rider Double.
- Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger uses rainbows as a secondary motif (the primary one is trains), combining the franchise's usual color-coding with light vs. darkness symbolism. The main team has the common arrangement of Red-Blue-Yellow-Green-Pink, while the Sixth Ranger helps complete the rainbow by being an extremely rare Orange Ranger.
- The song Roy G. Biv by They Might Be Giants is named after the mnemonic.
- The Boards of Canada song "Roygbiv".
- The Abyss tracks of Sound Horizon's Elysion are all color coded: Ark (purple), Baroque (blue), Yield (green), Sacrifice (orange) and Stardust(red).
- "The Rainbow", a trance mix on MixCloud.
Mythology and Religion
- In the Hindu religion, the deity Surya rides in a chariot pulled by seven horses (or a horse with seven heads), each of which represents one of the seven colors of the rainbow.
- In Paranoia, Alpha Complex's security clearance system was based on the Roy G. Biv mnemonic with two additions: Infrared (black), Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Ultraviolet (white).
- There have been jokes (in the actual rulebooks) about breaches of this pattern...but talking about Security Clearance Plaid is of course treason.
- Rumors of Security Clearance Gamma are also treason. Report all rumors.
- Roy-G-BIV is used as a mnemonic in the rulebook, as the name is in the proper format for a citizen of Alpha Complex (the green-clearance citizen Roy from sector BIV).
- Dungeons & Dragons
- 1st Edition
- Adventure WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. The gem eyes in 6 sarcophagi are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet: every part of RoyGBiv except indigo.
- In adventure WG6 Isle of the Ape, one puzzle required the PCs to follow color-coded corridors in the Roy G. Biv mnemonic order to gain valuable information and avoid a death trap.
- Subverted in adventure I12 Egg of the Phoenix. A puzzle to open a magical doorway appears to be based on choosing which colors to touch from a Roy G. Biv palette, but it's a trick.
- WG7 Castle Greyhawk. Level 5 is filled with Shout Outs to other Tabletop RPGs. One room has a variety of creatures each colored one of the Roy G. Biv colors as a reference to Paranoia.
- T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil. The Great Hall on dungeon level three has a magical device with parts colored red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
- The Rainbow spell give each of the seven colors a different magical effect (Bow/Arrow and Flagon/Potion options only).
- 2nd Edition
- The color of Wizshades (a type of monster) depended on how old they were. The scale was in reverse Roy G. Biv order: the youngest were violet, and the oldest were red.
- Forgotten Realms Adventures supplement. Torm's priests rub colors into their armor to indicate their rank within the church. The rank colors (in ascending order) are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (violet), missing only indigo.
- Dragon magazine
- Issue #169 short story "Swordfish and Sorcery". Ilsimar casts a spell that creates colors from a collection of fruits and vegetables: red (strawberry), orange (carrot), yellow (squash), green (mint), blue (blueberries), indigo and purple (plum).
- Issue #220 article "Bazaar of the Bizarre - Elven Magic". The Wand of Faerie Spheres has seven possible effects, each carried by a sphere of a specific color: Red (ages organic material held/worn by the target), Orange (Fireball + Wall of Fire), Yellow (blinding burst of light), Blue (sphere of force around target), Violet (Faerie Fire on target) and Chromatic (affects target as if it touched a Prismatic Sphere). Note that Chromatic replaces poor indigo again.
- Issue #242 article "Arcane Lore - Magic of Sight and Sound". The spell Chromatic Crown grants a +4 to defenses against a specific type of attack based on the color of the Crown's main gem: Red (fire/heat), Orange (acid), Yellow (petrifaction/paralyzation), Green (rod/staff/wand), Blue (breath weapons) and Violet (spells). Once again indigo is left out.
- 1st and 2nd Edition
- The following spells give each of the seven colors a different magical effect: Prismatic Spray, Prismatic Wall, Prismatic Sphere, Rainbow (Bow/Arrow option only).
- The Faerie Dragon's color went through almost all of the rainbow colors as it grew older. Starting with red, they passed through orange, yellow, green, blue and violet - all except indigo.
- Greyhawk Adventures supplement. The deity Istus could use her Spindle of Fate to cast the Web of Stars, which sent victims to another plane of existence. Any creatures sent to that plane appeared to each other to be glowing stars of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet or white (white replaces indigo).
- 3rd Edition Creature Collection. A skyquill's needles come in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet, every color except indigo. Each has a different effect on victims.
- Victoriana RPG supplement Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea. Prismatic Powders come in all seven of the colors, each with a different effect (red = burst into flame, orange = make metal/minerals decay, yellow = blinding flash, green = make plants grow, blue = create fog, indigo = make invisible things visible, violet = levitate objects/creatures).
- Champions supplement Enemies III. The supervillain Spectra's powers are color coded in this manner (Red = Ranged Killing Attack, Orange = Energy Blast, Yellow = Flash, Green = Ego Attack, Blue = Mind Control, Indigo = Desolidification, Violet = Regeneration).
- Judges Guild module Druids of Doom. The adventure takes place in a temple to the deity Astokph. The six colors associated with Astokph are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (violet), all of the rainbow colors except indigo.
- Rolemaster, Shadow World campaign setting
- Quellbourne: Land of the Silver Mist. In the ruined city of Quellburn is the Citadel of Wizards. The Mentalists' Rectangle building has a meditation chamber with floor tiles set in in rings tinted the colors of the rainbow, from red to purple (violet).
- Jaiman: Land of Twilight. When something (beings, spells and magic items) is reflected in the Mirror of Auras, the color of the reflection reveals the specific nature of that thing's Essaence. Red = Essence, Orange = Essence/Channeling, Yellow = Channeling/Mentalism, Green = Channeling, Blue = Mentalism, Violet = Mentalism/Essence. Yes, once again indigo is forgotten.
- Gethaena. The NPC character Myrlaenis has a spell called Smoke of Hues. The caster can cause the smoke from a fire to change to one of the rainbow colors, each of which has a different spell effect. Red = Rituals I, orange = Longing, yellow = Regrets, green = Dreams of Remorse, blue = Claws of Agony, and purple (violet) = Talons of Peace. Of course, it's once again poor indigo that's forgotten.
- Lejendary Adventures. The Rainbow Ram power must be one of the seven colors. Each color is effective against a specific material/energy type. Red = wood, Orange = normal door/gate/drawbridge/portcullis, Yellow = Extraordinary protection around individuals or objects, Green = stone, Blue = magical or mundane barriers, Indigo = Extraordinary protection around constructions, Violet = force fields.
- Iron Crown Enterprises Cyberspace main rules. Cybernetic thermal vision allows the user to see heat. The temperature of an object determines the color it's seen as. The colors are in reverse RoyGBiv as temperature increases: violet (19 °F and below), indigo (20-49 °F), blue (50-69 °F), green (70-79 °F), yellow (80-99 °F), orange (100-129 °F), red (130-149 °F), white (150 °F and above).
- Earthdawn. A creature using Heat Sight sees the difference between background temperature and an object's temperature as a color. As the difference increases the color goes up the ROYGBIV scale (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Extreme temperature differences appear as white.
- Carcosa: Weird Science-Fantasy Horror Setting. The sorcerous ritual "The Haunter of the Phosphorescent Vault" is used to conjure the Violet Mist. It requires the Human Sacrifice of 9 young female virgins of the various colored races of the planet Carcosa, including Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple. When the Violet Mist appears the sorcerer must give it nine gems, including red ruby, orange topaz, yellow diamond, green emerald, blue sapphire, and purple amethyst. Once again poor indigo is excluded.
- The Prism Rangers in Disgaea 2, but not the original, as only the three primary colors were used in that game.
- The alter-ego of Hugh Bliss in Sam & Max was named Roy G. Biv.
- The World Ends with You. In the bonus chapter at the end of the game, someone comments that Joshua is the "Roy G. Biv" of Tin Pin strategy.
- The downloadable game Peggle Nights has a challenge named "Roy G. Biv".
- The Seven Magypsies of Mother 3 each (but Fassad) wore a color of the rainbow. It doesn't help that they're Camp Gay.
- Interestingly, the only Magypsy that doesn't wear one of the colors of the rainbow wears white instead of indigo, making the magypsy seem as if it weren't part of the rainbow.
- In the Infocom game Hollywood Hijinx you can find Roy G. Biv's telephone number and call him up.
- Used by Sonic the Hedgehog's chaos emeralds, but in a different configuration than normal. The current setup has orange and indigo traded for cyan and white.
- The Wisps in Sonic Colors come in seven colors (not counting the white ones, which are just boost powerups). Here, red and indigo are traded for pink and cyan, with red and black only being available in the DS version.
- In Super Mario Galaxy 2, the worlds on the main world select screen follow these colors. World 1 is blue, 2 is orange, 3 is green, 4 is indigo, 5 is violet, 6 is dual-layered with yellow on top and red below, and World S is rainbow-colored.
- Rainbow Islands, natch; the gems (small and large) fit this trope (at least nominally), although the "blue" gems are actually cyan whilst the "indigo" ones are blue.
- The first seven worlds of Kirby: Canvas Curse, with the sixth being called "Ultramarine" rather than Indigo.
- Touhou has the recurring character Alice Margatroid, also occasionally referred to as "The Seven-coloured Puppeteer".
- The color of the sky in each dimension in Eversion follows the Roy G. Biv pattern turned inside out: Cyan, Blue, Indigo, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, and Purple.
- In various Zelda games, the Seven Sages are split up this way. The same goes of the Lokomo Spirits in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.
- In The Void, Color is a substance, and comes in seven varieties, six of which correspond to the classical spectrum colors — Crimson, Amber, Gold, Emerald, Azure and Violet. Indigo is traded for Silver.
- Photopia uses the colors of the rainbow as title cards and each section has text in the same color as the current title. The order of colors is: Red, Sea Blue, Gold, Sky Blue, Green, Violet. And then the very last section reveals that the titular Photopia is a device designed to entertain infants by displaying rainbows of color.
- Guild Wars 2 has the Hylek clans pigmented green, blue, yellow, orange, or red. The first two are friendly, the last two are hostile, and yellow can be either depending on their mood. An asura child idly comments it would be better if they were all friendly and there was a purple one that gave out candy. No mention is made of indigo.
- In Coryoon, the stages are Green Wood, Blue Lake, Orange Valley, Yellow Park, Red Mountain, Purple Cave, Indigo Star and finally Black Road.
- Russian superheroine Prezma ("Prism") from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe can split herself into seven color-coded duplicates, each one having a different set of light-related powers.
- The trolls in Homestuck have this. Their social caste system is based on blood colour, which can be anywhere from red to magenta. Powerful, long-lived, psychic-resistant highbloods are blues and purples, and the unstable, short-lived, psychically-gifted lowbloods are reds and yellows, with the greens and turquoises in the middle class. Each of the twelve trolls we meet fits into the spectrum, save for Karkat, who is a mutant whose blood is a super-saturated, brilliant "candy-red" instead of the more muted red normal trolls have.
- SCP Foundation
- SCP-261 ("Pan-Dimensional Vending"). One of the items provided by SCP 261 was a flashlight with 6 lenses, each a color of the rainbow (although the article didn't say so, presumably the missing color was indigo). When the flashlight was used to shine light on someone, they tasted an appropriate flavor: Red (cherry), Orange (orange), Yellow (banana), Green (lime), Blue (blueberry) and Violet (grape).
- SCP-535 ("Communicative Beaker"). When certain types of information transmission or storage come within one meter of the liquid in the Beaker, the liquid changes color as follows: red (digital media), orange (radio waves), yellow (sound waves), green (photographic film), blue (text and physical visual imagery), purple (magnetic tape), white (human brain).
- SCP-819 ("Vital Suckers"). When consumed, these lolipops drain liquid from the victim's body. The type of liquid consumed depends on the lolipop's color: red (blood), orange (gastric acid), yellow (urine), green (phlegm), blue (aqueous and vitreous humors) and purple (cerebrospinal fluid).
- SCP-839 ("Candied Worms"). SCP-839 are candy worms that, when eaten, replace one of the body's organs. The worms come in different colors: red (heart), orange (liver), yellow (stomach), green (one eye), blue (one kidney), and purple (one lung). Indigo is replaced by pink (brain).
- Rainbow Brite. The seven Color Kids are named after the Roy G. Biv scale: Red Butler, Lala Orange, Canary Yellow, Patty O' Green, Buddy Blue, Indigo and Shy Violet.
- The popular super hero cartoon Teen Titans had a character with seriously repressed emotions (necessary because her powers stem from them and require tight control) named Raven. In the episode where the two comedic characters use a mirror to step inside of her mind, we see Raven's true colors... Literally! Each side of her personality (even the parts she tries to hide normally) appears as an image of her but characterized by a different color. Although it is not just the seven colors of the rainbow, it does make sure to include them. Even the original Raven's cloak is an indigo!
- The seven daughters of Triton in The Little Mermaid each have a different color tail. If we were to arrange them chromatically: Arista (red), Attina (orange), Adella (yellow), Ariel (green), Aquata (blue), Andrina (purple), Alana (pink).
- Angels Friends:The new costumes of the eight heroes at the end of season one- by adding pink and replacing indigo by teal.
- Rainbow Dash in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Her mane and tail are all of the colors of the rainbow.