Follow TV Tropes


Adaptation Dye-Job

Go To
Who knew blonde actresses were so hard to find?
Kurz: What's up with her hair color?
Kalinin: Since when is black hair out of the ordinary? Especially for Japanese people?
Kurz: Uh, you mean blue hair?
Kalinin: No, I mean black hair! See? It says here right in the book!

So you've just watched The Movie of your favorite series. And it was good. There was one detail, however, that they missed. The main character's hair, blond in the original, was brown, and the wacky sidekick's hair was a darker shade of yellow than usual. His eyes went from blue to brown. And why was the villain's jacket orange?

At least that's the most common version of this trope. For some reason as a work moves from one medium to another, characters' hair and eye colors will be changed, costumes will be toned down, color schemes will be swapped about or adjusted. While occasionally there may be a justification for this (as may be the case for works which were originally in Black and White or monochromatic), more often than not it is just a random change made as a work is adapted.

One particularly common adaptation dye job for costumes is that more often than not, in a movie adaptation, everyone now wears black. (This is mainly due to Rule of Cool and black just looking good on camera.) Conversely, in animated adaptations, colors are often brightened, diversified, or flattened, to make things easier on the character artists and for maximum visual clarity on a small screen.


It is unclear why matters of color are one of the things executives target first, but it can cause problems down the line if any of the original color choices had symbolic meaning.

This is usually excused in the case of Legacy Characters. Usually. It's also generally justified when casting for a live-action version of a work, as most casting directors favor, you know... acting ability over resemblance to the original character. And as shown in the examples, live-action also has different aesthetic considerations to animation, meaning different choices must be made for things to look good. But some fans bring it up regardless.

Related to Spell My Name with an "S". Can be related to Race Lift, if the skin color changed with the hair. Though the visual effect can be similar, this is not related to Palette Swap.


Dyeing for Your Art can avert this, though it won't always. See also Hair Color Dissonance, Early Installment Character Design Difference, Inconsistent Coloring, Suddenly Blonde, and Sudden Eye Colour.

Example subpages:

Other examples (sorted by the original media)

    open/close all folders 

    Card Games 
  • In the Magi-Nation game (video and card), Kid Hero Tony Jones was a blond. In the cartoon show, he inexplicably went black-haired.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Jonathan Joestar, The First Jojo, Jonathan is described as having purple hair, much like his All Star Battle appearance rather than the game/2012 anime's blue.
  • Depending on the Artist this occurs in Sonic the Comic – Online!, the fan-continuation of Sonic the Comic. Artists switch between the SegaSonic eye colors and the Fleetway colors. For example, whether Amy has green eyes or brown eyes depends on which they prefer. Sometimes they change colors within the same issue.
  • This is rather unclear in the case of Soichiro in Kill la Kill AU, as, canon-wise he was usually he was seen in flashback, which are shown in a kind of sepia, or in silhouette (as is the case of a childhood photo of Satsuki) so we normally haven't a clue what color his hair was, leading for it be guessed on. Here its shown as being kind of brownish. Likewise, this is somewhat the case with Rei, whose hair in canon is something of a lilac, not lavender, however, some of the comics vary as to what shade her hair color is.
  • In Cellar Secrets, this is averted in the case of Shiro, Ryuuko, and Satsuki's hair colors, as they are as they are in canon, however, Nui's hair either a tawny-ish or something of a very light brown, instead of blonde as in canon, along with it being shorter. Likewise, Uzu's hair is dyed green but his natural hair color is a dark brown, Nonon's hair is a darkened auburn, instead of pink, Houka's hair is onyx, and Rei's hair was dark gray (almost black).
  • In Marvel Infinites, Franklin Richards now has brown hair rather than the blond hair he has in the comics.
  • The Marvelous World Of DC
    • Queen Hippolyta is blonde, instead of black-haired like her daughter Diana. Just like in the Silver Age and the DCAU.
    • Hellboy has brown eyes instead of the Supernatural Gold Eyes he has in the comics. And in Anung Un Rama mode, they go red and he gains two more of them, like his father Trigon.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku goes from having green hair to black hair due to being Kryptonian in this story. His eyes also go from green to dark brown.
  • In Live a Hero, this trope is taken to its most literal extent. Because Izuku is not Inko's biological son, his hair is naturally black. He dyes it green in order to feel closer to her.
  • Rokuna, an imported character from Mon Colle Knights, had her hair not only significantly lengthened for a beehive but also changed from green to brown for the Lucky Star fanfic Starbound.
  • Earth 27 sees Chloe Sullivan go from blonde to black to distance her from her original actress Allison Mack after Mack's involvement in the sex cult, NXIVM, came to light.
  • In Legend Of The Monkey God, Goku's tail is red rather than brown, as is his fur in Oozaru form. Similarly, Goku's ki is red rather than blue.
  • In EVA Sessions: Someplace Vast and Dry, Kaworu Nagisa's hair is blue instead of the canonical silver grey. Justified in that he was created by SEELE using Lilithian cell samples stolen from NERV during the Golden Army terrorist incident.
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): The Suou family (Tatsuya, Katsuya and Kazuya) are said to be redheads, even though in the original material it's auburn. It's generally lamphshaded as Strong Family Resemblance, as red hair in Japan are extremely unusual.
  • In Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee, Rina Tennoji has pink colored eyes that match up with her hair color rather than the yellowish tan colored eyes that her canon counterpart has.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Soul of the Dragon: In the comics, Lady Eve is black-haired while King Snake is blonde, but here they're blonde and redheaded, respectively.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017):
    • Belle's hair is Emma Watson's natural light golden brown instead of the darker chestnut brown of the original animated Belle.
    • Mrs. Potts has younger-looking auburn hair in her human form instead of elderly-looking white hair, while her son Chip's human form is changed from blond to brunet.
    • Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Plumette all wear white wigs in their human forms, while the animated versions displayed their own red or chestnut brown hair, or in Cogsworth's case like most 18th Century men, at least wigs that were natural shades of brown, while Lumiere had natural ginger hair.
    • The three Village Lasses (a.k.a. Silly Girls, a.k.a. Bimbettes... Gaston's fangirls) are brunettes instead of the original Dumb Blondes.
  • Cinderella was a strawberry-blonde in the animated Disney film, but is made a much lighter shade of blonde in Cinderella (2015). Lady Tremaine had grey hair but now has red hair. Anastasia's red hair is darkened to auburn and Drizella's dark hair is lightened to red. The Duke, black-haired in the animated film, has a bright orange mustache here. Likewise, since the Fairy Godmother is younger, she now has blonde hair instead of white.
  • Later Disney films change the characters' hair/eye color for either the marketing or film sequels:
    • The Little Mermaid (1989) gives Ariel's sisters different eye colors in the prequel The Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning.
    • Cinderella originally had something like a strawberry blonde/red hair color going on, but the merchandise sells Cinderella dolls with clean blonde hair.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a small detail changed about Esmeralda's eyes. Her name is Spanish for "emerald", which reflects her eye color. However, the sequel depicts her with blue eyes.
    • The Lion King definitely had something weird going on with Nala in the sequels. Her original eye color was teal, but she has blue eyes in Simba's Pride, green eyes in 1 1/2, and blue again in The Lion Guard. Kiara had a similar issue. Her eyes were teal like Nala's at the end of TLK, but were changed to red like Simba's in Simba's Pride. (Though fanon believes them to be two different cubs).
    • Even though Rapunzel from Tangled is revealed to be a brunette towards the end of the film, all of the dolls (and almost all the licensed books) have her with long blonde hair. Granted, they tend to depict her the way she looks in the film before her hair reverted to its original color. Surprisingly enough, if you look closely in Frozen, you'll see what's supposedly Flynn and Rapunzel, and Rapunzel's hair is in its short brown rendition (likely because using the blonde hairstyle would make no sense). Tangled: The Series has her with the signature blonde hair however there is an in-series reason for it, and it takes place before Tangled Ever After so it's a Foregone Conclusion she will be back to being brunette by the end.
  • Lady and the Tramp (2019):
    • Lady is red and white rather than light brown and tan.
    • The Tramp isn't pale grey anymore. He's now more of a greyish-black and off-white instead.
    • The bulldog is white with brown spots instead of being completely tan.
    • The horses pulling the dog pound wagon are Chestnuts rather than gray.
    • To name two human examples too, Darling and Aunt Sarah both have black hair (and receive a Race Lift) rather than light brown and gray.
  • In the stage version of The Little Mermaid (1989), Ariel's sisters often have their tail colors switched up, e.g. on the 2016-2017 tour, Alana (originally violet) was yellow, Aquata (originally blue) was orange, Arista (originally red) was blue, Adella (originally yellow) was indigo, Andrina (originally indigo) was red, and Atina (originally orange) was violet. In addition, all six mersisters, who were originally various shades of blonde and brunette, (usually) have their hair colors changed to match their tails.
  • In Mad Monster Party, Felix Flanken had brown hair and Francesca had red hair. The Comic-Book Adaptation by Dell Comics instead made it so that both had black hair.
  • The Dinoco logo's appearance and design actually vary depending on which film it appears in. In the Toy Story series films, it's colored red and features an Apatosaurus (just like the logo of the now-defunct Sinclair Oil company, which looks similar), but in the Cars series films, it's instead colored blue and features a Tyrannosaurus rex (the name Dinoco comes from the Sunoco Oil company, the official fuel of NASCAR, which is also colored blue).
  • Pinocchio: The Blue Fairy is given blonde hair, even though the book explicitly describes her with blue or turquoise hair.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The live-action Assassination Classroom movie subjected this to a lot of characters, including Nagisa and Kayano. Karma, oddly enough, still has his red hair.
  • Cloud Atlas: Sonmi-model fabricants are implied to have white hair in the novel; in the film they have black hair with a few streaks of bright color.
  • Harold Ramis' brown upright Eraserhead-esque hairdo was replaced with a blond pompadour and rat-tail when Egon Spengler was translated from movie (Ghostbusters) to cartoon form (The Real Ghostbusters). Likewise, Ray's hair went from Dan Aykroyd's brown to red. In case this wasn't enough to distinguish the main characters, they all got different colored uniforms as well. Janine Melnitz became a spiky-mulleted '80s fashion plate. Her later-seasons look, somewhat more subdued, was then ported to the second live-action movie (although it meant Annie Potts now wore a bright red wig rather than her natural brown hair being shown).
    • Half the characters went through adaptation eye-color changes, too: Egon's eyes went from Ramis's brown to blue, Ray's from Aykroyd's brown and green heterochromia to brown, and Peter's from Murray's blue/bluish hazel to green. Even Egon's glasses changed color, from silver wire rims to bright red much thicker frames.
  • The eponymous kaiju in Godzilla (1954) was originally either a charcoal grey or brown skin tone (it's not clear which, since the film and all known production photos are in black and white) with bone-white dorsal plates. The poster for the American re-edit, Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956) opted to colour him a bright green, with pink/magenta-coloured spines. Green Godzilla would persist in American media for decades (such as in The Godzilla Power Hour cartoon and Godzilla: King of the Monsters comics), even long after later colour films confirmed that Godzilla is dark grey. It wasn't until Godzilla 2000 there would actually be a theatrical Godzilla that really was green (a very dark green however).
  • Audrey in The Little Shop of Horrors is a brunette. However, she is almost always a blonde in the theater adaptation.
  • Gottlieb's Mayfair, based on the film version of My Fair Lady, depicts the brunette Audrey Hepburn as a redhead (on the backglass) and a blonde (on the playfield).
  • British biopic Official Secrets is an odd example. The end of the film features Stock Footage of the real Katharine Gun, who is more or less a poster child for a middle-aged blonde Englishwoman. She's played in the film by svelte brunette Keira Knightley.
  • In an inversion of the way this trope usually plays out, the novelization of Pacific Rim turned brown-haired Hermann Gottlieb into a blond (it also gave him a German accent as opposed to the stuffy English one he uses in the film, and made no mention of the fact that he walks with a cane). This is justified by the fact that the novelization was based on an earlier draft of the script rather than the film itself.
  • Molly's Game: The real Molly Bloom has dark brown hair, while Jessica Chastain's portrayal of her has reddish-brown locks.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians was infamously maligned for its many inaccuracies (the director decided not to read the book, full stop) but one of the most grating to fans is that Annabeth, whose blonde 'princess curls' are constantly mentioned, was played by Alexandra Daddario, a brunette. Her hair is changed to a golden blondish color in the sequel without any explanation. Daddario also retains her natural blue eyes in the films, despite the defining trait of Athena's children is having the same shade of grey eyes.
  • Star Wars: In Rogue One, Forest Whitaker was cast as Saw Gerrera, despite looking nothing like his animated rendition. Rebels sticks to the Rogue One design, except for the eyes. His eyes go from blue in The Clone Wars, to green in Rebels, then to brown in Rogue One. And that's not even mentioning his skin tone, or "Forest Whitaker eye".
  • In John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie are (respectively) a Blonde, Brunette, Redhead trio. For the movie adaptation, however, Alex becomes the brunette (Cher), Jane the redhead (Susan Sarandon), and Sukie the blonde (Michelle Pfeiffer).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Between the miniseries of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and Season 1 of the series proper, President Roslin's hair goes from dark brown to a more obviously dyed-looking auburn. This is almost certainly simply a failure to match the earlier colour, since more than a year elapsed between the filming of the two, but since the series follows on immediately from the events of the miniseries, it gives the impression that the President somehow found time to do a new dye job despite being extremely busy and having other things on her mind...
  • In the Casablanca TV series, Rick goes from dark-haired and brown-eyed to being played by blond, blue-eyed David Soul.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Gilligan's Island: In the animated spin-offs, Ginger was changed from a redhead to a blonde in order to ward off potential complaints from Tina Louise overusing her likeness.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Amy has blonde hair in the movies, but in the T.V. series, she's a redhead.
  • Legion: Legion is black-haired in the comics, but his TV counterpart's hair is light brown.
  • Dax from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive went from having black hair to having it gain a blue tint in the UK comics. The latter is possibly a case of Purple Is the New Black.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Kirk's eyes are hazel and McCoy's are blue. In the reboot movie it's the exact opposite.
    • Bally's Star Trek pinball has Spock wearing a green full-body jumpsuit on the playfield.
  • Wonder Woman (1975):
    • Steve Trevor, blond in the comics and most adaptations, is here played by the brunet Lyle Waggoner. The same thing happens to Paula Von Gunther.
    • And the exact opposite happens with Fausta Grables, who was brunette in the comics but played by the blonde Lynda Day George on the show.
  • Young Sheldon: Mary and Missy Cooper are blondes in this show, even though they have brown hair in The Big Bang Theory. It's possible that either their hair turned darker as they got older (which is a common occurrence with natural blondes) or they dyed it when they were older. Also applies to Mary's eye color, as Zoe Perry has blue eyes while Laurie Metcalf has brown eyes.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, Thor had red hair, but The Mighty Thor turned him into a blond. Likewise, Loki is a redhead, but he is often portrayed to have dark hair.
  • There have been multiple interpretations of what Jesus looked like. Some movies have actors with either brown or blue eyes and few examples have him with blond hair.

  • In the stage version of Anastasia, Anastasia's hair is changed from red to dark blonde, while the blonde Sophie becomes the black-haired Lily.
  • In Animal Crackers, the Professor (Harpo) makes his entrance with balloons in his mouth, which he proceeds to inflate. Spaulding (Groucho) asks him, "You haven't got strawberry, have you?", and he produces a red one. The 1930 movie version, being filmed in black and white, changed "strawberry" to "chocolate".
  • For the movie adaption of A Chorus Line, at least three female characters who are usually known as brunette or redheaded were switched to bleach blonde.
  • In the original stage production of Grease, all five Burger Palace Boys had dark hair. In the film adaptation, Kenickie and Roger (who was renamed "Putzie") are blond. While Sandy was intended to be a blonde, the first actress cast for her on Broadway was a brunette, as well as the first actress to play her in the 2007 revival. However, the popularity of the film (and the creators' intent) usually means that blonde women will be cast in this part.
  • Since the entire cast of Hamilton except King George is required to be non-white, it's more or less guaranteed that every character who was actually blonde or redheaded (including Hamilton himself, who had auburn hair) will have brown or black hair instead. This is partly due to Lin-Manuel Miranda's insistence to have "historical from the neck down, modern from the neck up", meaning that characters who would have worn wigs (such as Washington or Jefferson) are bald or black-haired instead. (This insistence also leads the actor playing Mulligan to wear a beanie or durag during Act I, which, despite not being specifically a dye-job, is non-historical headwear nonetheless.)
  • In the libretto of Puccini's Madame Butterfly, the title character's son is described as having blond hair and blue eyes, despite being half-Japanese. Frédéric Mitterand's 1995 film version and many recent stage productions have more realistically given him dark hair and dark eyes instead, with the text changed accordingly.
  • In the 2018-19 stage version of Moulin Rouge!, Christian has longish light brown hair instead of short black hair, while Satine is changed from a redhead to a brunette woman of color.
  • An all-Asian production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street who thought a blonde wig would look odd on a clearly Asian actress steered around the problem of Johanna's frequently invoked blonde hair by simply changing all references to her "yellow hair" to "raven hair" and removed the Wigmaker's Song (which lists several different shades of blondness, so Anthony will know how to refer to Johanna's particular hue) entirely.
    • A production with a redheaded Johanna similarly removed the Wigmaker's Song and changed "yellow" to "fiery".
      • Another production had a Johanna that was clearly a brunette, yet kept the Wigmaker's Song and all references to yellow hair, much to the audience's confusion.
  • Tanz Der Vampire:
    • Sarah Chagal had straight red hair in The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck, but in early stage productions she was a curly-haired brunette. However, in newer productions, she's still a redhead.
    • Magda, the maid, was a blonde in the movie but has red hair in the German, Austrian and Japanese productions of the musical. (She's still blonde in Poland, Hungary and Russia).
    • Alfred is an interesting case: brunette in the film, but on stage has whatever hair the actor has. This leads to the need for the costume department to make a wig that looks like the actor's hair for his dance double in the Act II Dream Ballet.
    • Except in the Hungarian version, where for some reason Alfred's dream ballet double has a freaking buzz cut.
    • Count von Krolock in the movie had short grey hair and in the very first production of the musical his hair were still grey, but much longer. However, in all the productions who came after he has long black hair (sometimes grey-streaked).
    • Herbert, von Krolock's son, had short golden hair in the movie, but in Austrian and German stage productions his hair are pulled back in a shoulder-length ponytail. The hair color always kept changing: sometimes it's pure white, sometimes it's dark with heavy white streaks, sometimes the streaks are blond rather than white, sometimes it's blond with dark streaks or it's just blond. However, in almost all non-German-language productions (except the 2009 Vienna revival) Herbert has really long, flowing, platinum blond hair. The Japanese production is the only one in which he has long, black hair like his father.
  • Vanities originally portrayed Joanne and Mary as blondes and Kathy as a redhead. The 2000's musical version made Joanne a brunette, resulting in a Blonde, Brunette, Redhead trio. In turn, the ACT Theatre production in Seattle switched Joanne and Kathy's hair colors to better correspond with their personalities. Oddly, a promotional shot of the finale from the Pasadena Playhouse version has Joanne and Mary's hair colors switched, as they were supposed to change their hair colors in-story, but they ditched the wigs and kept the actresses' normal hair colors for the actual production.

  • The BIONICLE Direct-to-DVD movies offer tons of examples:
    • Most characters were given additional colors not found on their toys, while some colors got removed, seemingly on an individual basis rather than following any set rule.
    • All the characters were given fully grey heads in place of the colorful "brain" pieces seen on the toys.
    • Pewku the Ussal crab went from being blue and yellow to a more realistic brown and gray. These colors were carried over into her tie-in toy as well.
    • The eye colors of Tahu and Turaga Vakama (pink), Gali (yellow), Lewa (lime green), Turaga Nuju (blue) and Turaga Whenua (dark green) were all changed to a reddish-orange.
    • The mostly metallic-gray, silver, black and bright red armor of Makuta became dark red with prominent green corrosion-spots.
    • Takanuva's dark-gold and white color scheme was replaced with all-gold.
    • Some of Gali's primary and tertiary colors were switched: her silver armor was made the same dark blue as her mask, feet, and hands, while her dark blue torso became silver.
    • Hahli's yellow eyes turned blue.
    • Toa Lhikan's and Toa Vakama's lime eyes, as well as Onewa's dark blue eyes and Turaga Dume's dark orange eyes turned bright yellowish-orange. However, Vakama's original green eyes were later used to represent his Face–Heel Turn.
    • Nokama's orange eyes became blue.
    • Nuju's and Kopaka's blue eye color was replaced with orange or red for their telescopic eye-piece.
    • The transparent bright lime "cheek" colors of the Rorzakh became solid black, and the bright blue on the Zadakh was replaced with solid yellowish-brown. The latter's blue eyes also became lime green.
    • Nivawk may be the most egregious case, as the originally black and silver-colored creature became striking red, purple, yellow and bright blue for his movie appearance.
    • Krekka's dark blue armor was recolored dark green.
    • Nidhiki's green eyes were replaced with red and yellowish-orange for the pupils.
    • Roodaka's orange eyes were changed to blue, although the turned red when she got angry.
    • Keetongu's red eye became blue.
    • The Toa Metru gained bright chest and shoulder armor and lots of color variation in their muscles, replacing the dull dark hues of the toys. Their Hordika forms also have subtle changes, mainly replacing their grey or silver with individual colors.
    • The dual-molded half silver masks of the Metru Nui citizens were strangely not featured in the corresponding films at all.
    • The Mata Nui robot's lime green eyes became yellow.
  • In the Garbage Pail Kids Cartoon, two of the five main Garbage Pail Kids had different hair colors from how they were depicted on the original trading cards:
    • Terri Cloth is a redhead instead of a blonde.
    • The hair on Split Kit's good half is brown, when he had blond hair on his original trading card.
  • Jem:
    • In a rare instance of a release-related dye job, Pizzazz was always depicted in doll and animated form with bright green hair. The R1 Rhino masters inexplicably changed her hair color to a dull olive blond - and also redid the green parts of her costume to match this.
    • In a doll-related change, the title character is known for her pink hair, but the dolls were always blond. Promotional art for the show (such as this) that showed up on places such as doll boxes and VHS covers depicted a realistic art style gave Jem predominantly pink hair but added blonde bangs. All of the characters also had more "realistic" hairstyles for the period, but were still reasonably close to their animated and doll line styles.
  • And in a non-human example, the Transformers fandom gives us the never-ending FIRRIB debate. The characters Rumble and Frenzy from The Transformers cartoon were identical except for being blue and red, respectively. Their original toys, on the other hand, are red and blue, respectively - and the comics went with that. (FIRRIB stands for "Frenzy is red, Rumble is blue." It also comes in FIBRIR, for... well, you get the idea.)
    • In the Japanese dub of the G1 cartoon, the error was corrected by reversing the characters' identities, which worked well since they were depicted as interchangeable anyway.
    • The Generation One Sweeps (and Scourge) toys have beards the same color as the face (white or very light grey). In the cartoon, they shift between dark greyish blue, blue, dark grey, and black.
    • And from Transformers Zone, there's Kain/Cain, the Human Alien Bishōnen known primarily for his Ho Yay with the TFs' other human(oid) sidekick, Akira Serikawa. In the OVA, his hair is blue. In a scan from the artbook "Transformers Visualworks," it's blond, becoming more orange near the tips. In the story pages, it's green. No two versions of this guy have the same hair color! (Also, his animated clothing is blue. Everywhere else, it's red.)
    • Most depictions of Arcee are portrayed as being colored pink, but in Transformers: Prime, Arcee is colored blue.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amnesia: Memories
    • The heroine originally had light-brown hair. The anime gave her a more dark-tea colored brown shade, and added a gradient of her signature rose-y pink to her tips.
    • Rika has very pale, almost platinum hair that has a green-ish sheen to it. The anime altered this to a simple blonde, matching her eyes.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • In the sound novels and manga, Keiichi has blue eyes. They're the exact same shade as Rena's in the manga, but darker (and with a slight purple shade; mostly in the remakes) in the sound novels. In the anime, however, they're full-on purple.
    • A larger example is in the live-action movie adaptations. All the oddly colored characters have "natural" colored hair. This caused a backlash because you couldn't easily tell the girls apart. Rika has short hair instead of long hair, Satoko has longish hair instead of short hair, and the teens look similar if they aren't in their Higurashi costumes (which they usually aren't).
  • OZMAFIA!!: Dorian Gray has blue hair instead of his original blond.
  • Steins;Gate: Kurisu Makise has chestnut brown hair in the original visual novel. In the anime adaptation, she has red hair instead.
  • Umineko: When They Cry's anime adaptation changed everyone's eye color, which didn't work well since it was plot related.

  • Hetalia: Axis Powers had an official chart of the different hair and eye colors on the author's blog. The anime slightly lightened or darkened the hair of almost every character.
    • Examples of this include Sweden being changed from a light blond to a sandy brown (before switching back to blond in his later animated appearances), Italy's hair changing from brown to auburn (sometimes a saturated red), Belarus going from platinum blonde to dark blonde, China's black hair changing to brown, and the other blond characters either having their hair darkened or changed to a more saturated yellow shade.
    • Himaruya himself has also been inconsistent when it comes to hair and eye colors: Prussia originally had dark blond hair and blue eyes, but now his hair varies from being platinum blond to outright white or grey, while his eyes are now either red, "red-violet", or pink. Russia, Finland, Latvia, and Iceland originally had blue eyes, but appear with violet ones in later illustrations. Belarus and France also occasionally receive violet eyes instead of their usual blue. UK's shade of blond varies throughout all colored illustrations, Canada's hair was originally two-toned, and Hungary is either a blonde or brunette. Monaco was also originally a brunette with brown eyes, but was quickly changed to a blue-eyed blonde (and even then, her shade of blonde can vary).
      • The anime furthers the eye color confusion by giving Finland brown eyes (he had blue/violet in the manga), while changing Lithuania and Estonia's green eyes to blue, Latvia's violet eyes to an aqua blue, and the Italy brothers' brown (Veneziano) and green eyes (Romano) to gold. Sweden's eyes were also initially changed from green/blue to brown, but were reverted in his later appearances.
    • Germany wears a green uniform in the manga, but the first four seasons of the anime changed it to teal (unless his jacket was undone), possibly to downplay the SS connection. His Iron Cross was also removed. The fifth season reverted his uniform back to its manga coloring.
    • Hetalia: The Beautiful World (the fifth series) undoes some of the previous anime dye jobs, with Belarus back to being a platinum blonde, and Romano having green/hazel eyes. But it again plays this trope straight with giving Iceland blond hair to match the other Nordics, when his previously established hair color was silver in the manga. France is also given platinum blond hair, as well as a very pale complexion, when his hair in the manga is a darker shade of blond. Belgium's hair also suddenly goes from being golden blonde to a mousy brown.

    Web Videos 
  • The Comic-Book Adaptation of Noob (that has its own page) has varying degrees of that, but the most visible is Gaea's dress and hair becoming lighter. The reason is that the comic is supposed to look more like a video game than the webseries with generally brighter colors. Another more technical one is that both dark brown and black exist among the actors and the dark browns were probably made lighter to not have too many dark-haired characters.
  • The Nostalgia Chick pointed out that the real life John Smith from Pocahontas was short, portly and brown-haired, unlike the tall, blond Adonis we get in the Disney adaptation. Knowing John Smith, he wouldn't want it any other way.
  • In There Will Be Brawl, Ike is given black hair, likely to differentiate him more from Marth.
  • YouTube artist LavenderTowne (Haley Newsome) discusses this trope in a series of videos where she draws characters of various books based on their described literary appearances and comparing them to their film adaptations. This is beginning with Harry Potter.

    Western Animation 

     Real Life 
  • Ancient Rome often gets this. Many movies, shows, and games portray Italians of antiquity as looking (and sounding) Northwest European. However, genetics tests have repeatedly shown that the Romans should have looked much like Italians today (central/southern Italians specifically; northern Italy AKA Cisalpine Gaul wasn't considered Italian until after Julius Caesar's death), and thus, had features noticeably different than the typical Englishman or German. This is bared out in what little examples of well-preserved contemporary paintings and mosaics have, such as the realistic frescoes at Pompeii (~150 miles southwest of Rome) and the older tomb paintings at Tarquinia (~60 miles northeast of Rome), which depict mostly olive-skinned people with dark eyes and hair (as well as other typical Mediterranean features such as curly hair and large noses), plus a smattering of pale light-eyed blondes/redheads, matching modern Italian looks.
    • The rareness of light features such as pale-to-ruddy skin, blonde/red hair, and blue/green eyes was commented on in many Roman sources, with northern "barbarian" peoples such as the Gauls and Germans being specifically noted for having this appearance. Wigs and dyes to give the appearance of light hair even became popular for a time in Rome among women due to its perceived exoticism and rarity.
  • Bolívar, el Héroe has this in almost every historical character, putting them strange hair colors.
  • In 1994, it was discovered that Ramesses II was a redhead, an uncommon but very much possible phenotype in North Africa. You'd never know by films such as The Prince of Egypt or A Tale of Egypt keeping Ramesses black-haired.
  • Many dinosaur picture books will actually have the dinosaurs colored differently in each book depending on the illustrator. This is because, apart from a handful of feathered species, no one really knows what color dinosaurs really are, so it's up to the illustrator's imagination to determine what they really look like.
  • Similarly, many astronomy picture books and clip art will often portray Mercury as being bright orange and Pluto being steel-blue despite both being gray in real life. Though Pluto is mostly orange on its southern hemisphere. Its largest moon, Charon, however, is completely gray like Mercury.
  • In The Tudors, Henry and Catherine of Aragon (both with reddish hair in Real Life) were played by brown-haired actors. On the other hand, while Natalie Dormer (a blonde) was cast to play the famously dark-haired Anne Boleyn, she convinced producers to let her play Anne as a brunette. The former caused some consternation among the producers and investors of the series when an English PR flack, asked why Henry was to be played by a brown-haired actor, replied with melodramatic insincerity that it was "just so sad" but Henry had to be played by a handsome actor - implying that it was obviously impossible for a redheaded actor to be handsome! Officials at Showtime and the CBC were not impressed, especially given the common North American belief that the English dislike of red hair is nothing but plausibly deniable anti-Irish prejudice.
  • Wolf Hall, unlike The Tudors, has the right hair color for Henry, but its Anne Boleyn, who rather famously had dark eyes in real life (and is correctly described as having them in the book!), has blue eyes.
  • The real Balto had dark brown fur and a patch of white on his chest. The Balto animated film gave him greyish-brown fur with lighter fur going from his chest to muzzle. It also gave him an Adaptation Species Change from dog to being a wolf-dog hybrid.
  • Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill: Socks' markings aren't the same as the real Socks. His face is more simplified. The real Socks also had yellow eyes, not green eyes.

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Dye Job


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: