Red Is Violent

Red is a color that represents many things, like energy, love and passion. But also represents the color of rage, anger and violence, often represented by other red colored things that comes with all of that: fire and blood. This trope is all about that: violence and aggressiveness identified by this color. Don't be confused: violence does not necessarily mean evil; violence also comes with the good side, mostly seen in anti-heroes and some Hot-Blooded heroes. Also, being paired with a calm/aloof character that wears blue usually makes Red Oni, Blue Oni.

Sub-Trope of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience and a Super Trope for Fiery Redhead, Red Eyes, Take Warning, Turns Red and Bull Seeing Red. Compare AND contrast Red Is Heroic. See also Red and Black and Evil All Over (which adds black and evil to the mixture) and Bring My Red Jacket (that overlaps A LOT this trope).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Hanamichi Sakuragi from Slam Dunk is a Hot-Blooded Fiery Redhead who also was a Japanese Delinquent in the past but later he falls in love with a girl and basketball, joining Shohoku team and wearing its official red sportswear, a convenient outfit for him. Also, a kind of invoke of this trope, Shohoku members (mostly the main ones, Sakuragi included) are good at fighting and even having an ex-yankii leader in their team: Hisashi Mitsui.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, there's Asuka Soryuu Langley, an aggressive Fiery Redhead Blood Knight with red as her main color, mostly seen in her plugsuit and EVA-02.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Kyoko Sakura, an expy of Evangelion's Asuka, only as a Magical Girl Warrior and something of an antagonist at first. She has a similar personality and red color scheme (red hair, costume and weapon, along with red eyes and a red Soul Gem), to emphasize the blood that was spilled when her father killed her entire family, including himself, and led her to become so cynical.
  • Dragon Ball
    • In Dragon Ball Z, one of the new techniques Son Goku learns to defeat Nappa and Vegeta is the Kaioken, a power that can level up his strength and speed by X depending how much energy the carrier will use (Goku took it to the extreme against Vegeta), always accompanied by a red aura.
    • A kind of remaining of Kaioken can be seen at the beginnings of Dragon Ball Super starting for the first revival movie, in which the retcon of DBGT's SSJ4 is the Super Saiyajin God level, that painted Goku's (and eventually Vegeta's) hair and eyes into red.
  • Inuyasha, the titular character of Inuyasha, wears the Robe of the Fire-Rat: a bright red suit of clothes that has incredible flame-retardant powers and functions as full body armor. Accordingly, his method of solving problems is usually to attack them with his Cool Sword and ask questions later. The other members of his group wear black, blue-on-blue, or a school uniform from 5 centuries in the future.
  • Alucard from Hellsing who basically dresses in red and he's extremely violent especially because he IS Dracula.
  • Death Note: Light Yagami is a serial killer who uses the titular Artifact of Doom to kill anyone he perceives as evil. He is appropriately often shown under red light. It even extends to his allies, Misa Amane gains red Shinigami Eyes, and the Shinigami Ryuk often eats red apples.
  • Being the Evil Counterpart of his former friend Shotaro Kaneda, Tetsuo Shima from AKIRA started to use a red cape in the moment he embraces his newly powers and acts like a god.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern
    • To start, in the War of Light saga, there's the prophecy of all color of the spectre fighting between themselves, and then the Blackest Night will start when the death will rise. One of these colors is the red, that represents rage and anger and has the particularity of changing the blood of the carrier to a corrosive plasma close to lava that can spit from the mouth, apart of the proper powers of a Lantern Ring. Also, his heart is replaced by this ring, so removing the ring means killing the carrier.
    • Atrocitus, a retconned old villain of GL Hal Jordan, is covered with this color and has a lot of rage for the massacre of his complete sector by the Manhunters, time before Guardians created the GL Corps. He's also one of the starters of the War of Light creating the Red Lantern Corps and being particularily Arch-Enemy of Green Lanterns, and later Blue Lanterns, the only Corps that can stop them (and remove their rings without dying the carriers).
    • If well he's not evil, GL Guy Gardner is a Fiery Redhead who also is impulsive and sometimes with a violent nature, especially in the beginnings. Then for the Blackest Night event and onwards, he certainly becomes a Red Lantern, first against their will and later controlling it by the War of the Green Lanterns saga.
      • And about Guy Gardner, after quit to Green Lanterns in The '90s, he tried to come back as a superhero, or at least as a vigilante. First he got Sinestro's Yellow Ring, but later he got depowered when Parallax awoke in Hal Jordan. Later on an expedition to the Amazon with some obscure superheroes, Gardner found a chalice of the Warrior Water. He drank from it, and this activated alien DNA that had been implanted in his bloodline a millennium ago by a space-traveling race called the Vuldarians. He discovered new, shapeshifting abilities and which would allow him to resume his role as a superhero. This version of him, self-called as Warrior shown him mostly covered in red and it's the '90s Anti-Hero version of Gardner.
    • Supergirl became a Red Lantern in the Red Daughter of Krypton story arc. Although she was not evil -she joined the Guy Gardner squad and despised Atrocitus-, she was more violent, more aggressive and more short-tempered than her usual Hot-Blooded self. She also wore a mostly red uniform during her time with the Red Lanterns.
  • Red Hulk is a more violent and ravaging than the normal one being The Rival of the big emerald one, with the difference he can transform at will and can superheat his body to the point that he is hot to the touch. Also counts for Red She-hulk, who has similar origins than Red Hulk (and even they're relatives).
  • If well the color isn't part of their attire, Red invokes this trope. The story is about a Retired Badass agent that was attempted to be murdered by the same govenment he worked for. After killing savagely all his possible murderers, he went out of his retire putting himself back on red status, and then he'll make a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against all the ones who wanted him dead, no matter the position.
  • Hellboy himself, who's a demon's child raised by United States govenment to be a paranormal agent working for the B.P.R.D. and later by his own count.
  • Batman
    • Jason Todd, after coming back from the dead, he made a Face–Heel Turn and became a more violent vigilante than Batman himself under the name of Red Hood. If well, he's back to the good side, he stays with this identity and his violent ways.
    • In the alternate universe of Flashpoint (and in the animated adaptation), Batman is Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce, in which universe the dead is the son instead the parents, becoming him into Batman, but in a more cruel and ruthless way than Bruce, able to kill his enemies to stop menaces, being only compared with Marvel's Punisher. This version of Batman incorporated the red to the costume, mostly in the cape, the symbol and the red eyes.
    • There's also Batman of Zur-En-Arrh (who dresses in red and purple), who was an uninhibited alter ego that Bruce Wayne had constructed to protect himself in the event that his base psyche was under attack.
      I'm what you get when you take Bruce out of the equation...
    • And from Battle for the Cowl saga, one of the men who wants to take Batman's legacy is the ruthless Two-Face, who wears a Batman costume splitted in two colors as his normal motif, having one side black/dark blue and the other one red.
  • Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the most impulsive of the four turtles and also wears the color red, who was properly given to him by Splinter.
  • Good part of the outfits of the '90s Anti-Hero characters uses red in at least some part of their clothes. Some examples are Spawn, Azrael, X and even an aggressor version of Doctor Fate called just as "Fate".

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Star Wars, the Dark Side users (like Darth Vader, Palpatine and Kylo Ren) who advocate giving into hate and anger tend to use red colored lightsabers. Darth Maul and Kylo Ren exemplify this the most, with their violent personalities and brutal fighting styles. Maul also has red tattoos all over his face, and both of them have larger lightsabers than average (Maul's is double-bladed while Ren's has three blades in a cross shape, with the main one being longer than usual.)
  • TRON: Red circuitry marks the System Guard, who are Mooks of the crazed administrator Programs in both films. They are, mostly, treated as Red and Black and Evil All Over. The first line of the franchise even addresses this with Sark being called "brutal and needlessly sadistic" and Sark thanking Master Control for the compliment. In TRON: Uprising, characters like Dyson and Paige changed their original circuit colors to bright red once they signed on with Clu's faction. And then there's "Rinzler" in TRON: Legacy - a red-circuited, black-suited combat champion Clu uses as his enforcer. Clu changed the color of "Rinzler's" circuits, but not the pattern - the "T" identifier gives away the horrible truth . With Tron 2.0, the ICP System Guard are single-minded about stopping a threat, even if it means wiping out entire sectors, civilians and all, and killing the protagonist, but they aren't really evil, just extreme about doing their jobs.

    Light Novels 

    Live Action Series 
  • One of the few characters that fits this trope and its counterpart Red Is Heroic is Cole Evans a.k.a. Red Lion Ranger from Power Rangers Wild Force, an orphan that was Raised by Natives and becomes a kind of Wild Man that eventually uses red and becomes the leader of the Rangers, even when he has no previous experience.
  • Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Cosmos also fit this trope. While both combine this trope with Red Is Heroic, Cosmos specifically changes to his red and silver Corona mode when attempting to calm his opponent down doesn't work, if the opponent he's fighting is genuinely evil, or if he's really pissed off.
  • On Gotham, both the liquid and gaseous versions of the Tetch Virus are deep red. This could be justified as the virus being derived from Alice Tetch's blood, except that the antidote comes from her brother Jervis's blood, and is blue.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the five color factions of Magic: The Gathering is the red one, symbolized by a fireball. This color is usually associated with evil (but not much as the black one) but in general is the color of rage and blood, having violent (but not necessarily evil) races as Goblins and Orcs, as well raging humans as Barbarians (especially Balduvians) and Warriors in general (except army ones aligned to colors like white or blue). Also this color can make direct damage to creatures as well the player and destroy lands (fountain of mana for the player). Players that uses red often are more aggressive ones than the other colors and tends to be more impulsive at playing.
  • In general in role-playing games (included the RPG genre in video games), there's The Red Mage, a kind of mage that usually combines white and black magic and has been trained to fight instead just making magic spells.
  • As the colour of fresh blood, red stand alongside brass and bone as one of the favoured colours of Khorne, the Chaos God of violence, murder and warfare in Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000. As such it rare for Khorne’s insane followers not to include some shade of red in their colour schemes. In fact, the World Eaters were batshit murderers even before they fell, but wore blue-and-white armor, leading to an widespread belief that they never repainted their armor, simply not bothering to wash the blood off (and completely untrue, as looking at dried blood will show).
  • In Paranoia, getting a fellow citizen busted for treason is a common way to get promoted to Red clearance. Many of the really violent ones are assigned to the Troubleshooters, armed and tasked with rooting out more traitors.

    Video Games 
  • Turns Red trope is in general about this, after getting the half of the energy (or after the second round) of the Boss or the Monster of the Week, the menace becomes more violent and difficult to defeat.
  • Portal
    • The Anger Core from the first Portal game. It has a bright red eye, and contrary to the other cores, who babble complete nonsense, it snarls and growls like a rabid dog.
    • Played with during Wheatley's Face–Heel Turn in Chapter 5 of Portal 2. Wheatley himself doesn't change colors, but when he becomes Drunk with Power, a red light shines up from below him, and the camera lenses in the walls turn from sky blue to bright red. This also marks the moment where he switches from Innocently Insensitive to downright sadistic.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ganondorf is consistently associated with the color of red, and he is the perennial Big Bad.
  • Dante from Devil May Cry franchise wears red in all his outfits in the game (included the alternate universe version), having an aggressive fighting style and he Turns Red with his Devil Trigger mode, which becomes even more violent.
  • The Red Mage is a pattern for general RPG games, started by Final Fantasy, especially the first game, in which mages can use white and black magic as well can fight as the warriors.
  • Both protagonists of Arc System Works's fighting games, Sol Badguy and Ragna the Bloodedge, are Hot-Blooded guys that usually wear the red.
    • Guilty Gear: Sol Badguy usually wears in red, has a brass and rude personality and also has fire powers. He's not a bad person at all, known as the Anti-Hero of the series.
    • BlazBlue: Ragna the Bloodedge wears red and is a violent, perpetually angry guy who's a criminal and mass-murderer. But not only he's the protagonist, he's also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Pokémon has many species like this, due to the sheer number of Pokémon species out there, quite a few of which are of the Fire-type. A few of them:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue have Charizard. While it's usually more of an orange color, it's the mascot of Pokémon Red and FireRed (matching its Pokédex color classification) and is a fire-breathing dragon noted for its Blood Knight tendencies. In the anime, Ash's Charizard starts out as a lazy jerkass when it evolves and frequently sics its fire breath on Ash out of annoyance, but becomes the most ferocious fighter on Ash's team once he wins the big lizard's respect.
    • Pokémon Gold and Silver introduce Shiny Pokémon, and with them, the plot-important Red Gyarados, a member of a species known for its Hair-Trigger Temper and destructive manner.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire have Blaziken, the series' first Fire/Fighting starter with the violent, flashy moves and animations to go with it, especially compared to its contemporaries Sceptile and Swampert. They also introduce Groudon, a Legendary Pokemon who can cause great tremors, and Kyogre, a large Orca who can cause dangerous floods, to the franchise. While Groudon is a lot more blatant about it, both have Red on their design and were the cause of conflict in Emerald.
    • Pokémon X and Y has Yveltal, a Red and Black and Evil All Over Legendary Pokemon whose domain is death. They also introduce Tyrantrum, the series' first Tyrannosaurus rex Pokémon with reddish-brown scales and the ferocity to match.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon have Incineroar, an extremely manly red and black bipedal tiger with the personality of a Boisterous Bruiser heel wrestler. It's also a Fire/Dark type that specializes in unfair tactics and intimidation in battle.note 
    • A few human characters also fit the trope as well, for different reasons:
  • Samurai Shodown
  • Street Fighter
  • Another example in which this trope and Red Is Heroic overlaps is the Red Bird (a.k.a. "Red") from Angry Birds, mostly seen in Toons and The Movie.
  • Mass Effect uses a Karma Meter to determine Commander Shepard's moral reputation. The Renegade meter is colored red, and such choices usually advocate violence, intimidation, blackmail and doing petty, immoral things to achieve a greater goal. It also promotes human dominance rather than peaceful cooperation between species.
  • Mega Man X: While Zero the red robot is heroic, he's also more violent and won't hesitate on taking down enemies compared to his partner X. And before he becomes heroic, his past had him being an Ax-Crazy robot who murdered other robots on sight until Sigma (back then a good guy) stopped him - in X5, one of the plot point that Sigma (now the Big Bad) is pushing is trying to turn Zero back into his violent self; you know you're getting the bad ending if that actually happens, as he's now hell-bent on destroying X and the world, and you (as X) have to destroy him.
  • The King of Fighters series has a lot of good examples of this:

    Web Series 

    Western Animation 
  • BIONICLE: Tahu, the first generation of Fire Toa, is bright crimson, has flame powers, and is the most passionate and prone to anger of the Toa.
  • Ruby from Steven Universe is shown to be passionate and quick to anger and violence, compared to the blue Sapphire, who is serene and keeps her feelings under control 24/7.

    Real Life 
  • Being surrounded by too much of the color red can cause to become irritated, agitated and ultimately angry. Too little and become cautious, manipulative and fearful.
  • Drivers of red cars should take note! A small survey made a few years ago showed that drivers of red cars, including females, said they felt quite aggressive behind the wheel of their red car.
  • Bull Seeing Red: according to popular belief, bulls get into a violent frenzy from the color red. In reality, bulls are color-blind; they are irritated by motion, not color.