Blue, purple, green, no hair dye required.
There are plenty of ways to differentiate characters from each other, but one of normally limited utility is hair color. Human hair has a limited amount of variation, after all, not enough to make everyone on a half hour show once a week easily distinguished
. Thus, this trope
was born, so that artists could use the full spectrum of color. It's so common that it's mostly considered an Acceptable Break from Reality
This is especially common in anime
, where characters often have impossible hair colors. This started with manga
series that used distinctive colors on the covers to make characters stand out, even though they all had either dark or light hair in the actual black and white pictures; anime
brought it to the screen and made it a standard part of character designs.
There are several reasons why artists do this. The first, noted above, is to help distinguish characters from each other, as with Anime Hair
. It may be done to indicate character personality, such as an Emotionless Girl
with blue or white hair. It may indicate that a character is unique, if they are the only one in the cast with their hair color. Or it may be done just to suit the artist's taste for variety.
Some specific colors have subtropes
which ascribe certain character traits to them: a blue-haired girl may be shy
; a Rose-Haired Girl
may be cheerful or passionate or sweet*
; a white-haired young man is often evil
. (A White-Haired Pretty Girl
might be a Strange Girl
or Emotionless Girl
, but is usually just pretty.) Elemental Hair
may indicate elemental powers.
of Hair Colors
. When hair is depicted
as an odd color, but is supposed to be a normal color (e.g., powder blue standing in for grey), that's Hair Color Dissonance
. When the hair color is realistic but is not justified by the setting, that's Implausible Hair Color
See also Mukokuseki
and Amazing Technicolor Population
. For characters with impossible hair styles
, see Anime Hair
- The celebrated "Glowing Green Monkeys", who were created by gene-splicing lab monkeys with bioluminescent sea creatures. Their hair only glows under fluorescent light, however, and look more of a dull greenish-brown under normal conditions.
- A potential result of overexposure to cobalt or indigo dyes during industrial processes.