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Colour-Coded Emotions

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Losing him was blue like I'd never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you've never met
But loving him was red
Taylor Swift, "Red"

An emotion a character is experiencing can be identified by what colour the character, or whatever they have is or turns in to. A character might turn red when they are angered or embarrassed, yellow when happy, or blue when sad. The background might even change to the same colour the person is. Sometimes, a character will change clothes to reflect what they feeling that particular day. Someone with an Aura Vision might be able to tell what mood another person is in by the colour their aura emits.

The trope is pretty old as the Seven Deadly Sins originally had colors associated with them. Envy is green (yes, that's where the whole Green-Eyed Monster idea came from), Lust is blue (in some languages, a porno is actually called a "blue film" and a horny person is said to have a "blue mind"), Pride is purple (the color of royalty), Wrath is red, Gluttony can be pink or orange, Greed is gold, and Sloth is light blue or cyan.


Here's a list of colours commonly used to identify several emotions:

  • Red: Anger, embarrassment, passion, or lust.
  • Blue: Shyness, sadness, or calmness.
  • Yellow: Cowardice, happiness, or caution.
  • Green: Disgust, envy, friendliness, or greed.
  • Purple: Pride, fear, or courageousness
  • Grey: Depression, regular sadness, or stoicism.
  • Black: Coldness or mournfulness.
  • Pink: Cheeriness, embarrassment, or love.
  • White: Shock, fear, coldness, or mournfulness.

A subtrope of Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. See also Blue with Shock, Colour Failure, High-Pressure Emotion, and Mood Ring Eyes.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ah! My Goddess, Belldandy can see Keichi's moods as colored auras.
  • Koro-sensei from Assassination Classroom can change his skin color to show his emotions, since he is almost always smiling. The list is:
    • Yellow: His normal color.
    • Yellow with green stripes: Mocking contempt.
    • Orange with circle shape: Right answer.
    • Purple with X shape: Wrong answer.
    • Blue: Shock/sadness.
    • Magenta: Sleepy/relaxed.
    • Pink: Blushing.
    • White: Poker face/bewildered.
    • Red: Angry.
    • Pitch black: Extreme anger.
    • Blinding white glow: Pissed off beyond reason.
  • Doraemon: Occurs in "Soap Bubbles". People under the effects of the Soap Bubble Straw have a black color surrounding their body, showing that they are cold and mournful.
  • Due to the games showing him with barely any expressions, this had to be done for Meta Knight in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, by changing the colors of his eyes under his mask.
    • Blue: Proud.
    • Red: Angry.
    • Green: Suspicious.
    • Grass Green: Serious.
    • Pink: Amused.
    • Dark Yellow: "Closed" (This would be retconned in the following games)

  • "Suicide - Blue", "Homicide - Red" and "Genocide - Yellow" from the Patchwork Horrorshow portfolio from Aza Smith's Grindhouse and Watercolors fit this criteria.
    • "Suicide - Blue" shows depression, using blue as the color of tears.
    • "Homicide - Red" shows rage, using the color of blood.
    • "Genocide - Yellow" shows apathy, using the color of bile and poison.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern:
    • The Emotional Spectrum, which associates a specific color to an emotion, and these emotions are what power up the lantern rings. Red is Anger, Orange is Greed, Yellow is Fear, Green is Willpower, Blue is Hope, Indigo is Compassion, and Violet is Love. There is also White and Black, representing Life and Death itself.
    • The Phantom Ring enables the user to tap into the entire spectrum. A Phantom Lantern's powers and appearance change to match the Corps of whatever their emotional state is at the time.
    • Ultraviolet, part of the invisible emotional spectrum, seems to be associated with shame and self destruction.

    Fan Works 
  • Water elementals shift colour according to their mood in Diaries of a Madman. Within the dream realm, dreams are also coloured according to the type of dream it is, and the emotions of the dreamer.
  • Domoverse: Caroline sees emotions this way.
    • Dark Red: Murderous Rage
    • Baby Blue: Safety
    • Black: Hate
    • Green: Happiness
    • Dark Forest Green: Jealousy
    • Orange: Fear
    • Sunny Yellow: Playful/Happy
  • The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time Novelization: Fairies' colours can change depending on their mood, most often portrayed by Navi. So far:
    • Red: Anger, Sense of Danger
    • Yellow: Fear, Attention Grabbing (Fittingly, she uses this colour when Link targets an enemy, as she is trying to grab his attention), as explicitly said in the seventh chapter.
    • Neon Green: Shock
    • Pink: Possibly love or care, since she was rather embarrassed when she noticed her pink glow for the first time.
  • With This Ring: The Emotional Spectrum, as originally from the Green Lantern. Interestingly, the SI's thoughts and speech are often coloured Orange, and on occasion, the other colours of the spectrum. The Green Lanterns also demonstrate this, but so do other characters who feel particularly strong emotions.
  • Triptych Continuum: There's a spell that detects intents of spells, as seen in the second chapter of Triptych, which visualizes a given spell as a specific color thematically related to the intent behind it:
    her field flared as the spell picked up the traces of power, changed color to reflect intent.
    But not from her own steady pink to the typical angry red displayed by a dedicated arsonist. Shimmering gold, slightly metallic with just hints of sparkles around the edges, nearly invisible in the warm gleam of soft yellow. A color she'd never personally seen before, one she didn't associate with a deliberate burn.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney/Pixar's film Inside Out has the emotions be color-coded: Joy is yellow, Sadness is blue, Anger is red, Disgust is green, and Fear is purple.
  • Tangled: Pascal the chameleon sometimes changes color on emotions, e.g. when he's startled and scared by Maximus suddenly dragging Flynn away, he turns red. This is downplayed however, because most of the color-changes he has in the movie, are him matching colors with his environment, or even color-changing on will for fun.
  • Home: The Boov change colors to reflect emotions. Red is anger, yellow is fear, orange is happiness, blue is sadness, and pink seems to be affection. In addition, Oh has a bad habit of turning green (possibly with guilt) when he lies.

  • Drones in The Culture often display a coloured force field to show what mood they're in: blue for formal, white for angry, red for pleasure and so on.
  • In Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy,Maleficent's skin changes colors depending on her mood. It's a light purple when she's either happy or nervous, but turns green when she's bitter.
  • In The Witchlands, various Threads (lines representing feelings and connections of a person) have different colours to represent various emotions. Iseult, who can see Threads, often comments that she feels like she's living in the middle of a rainbow.
  • The Idrian royals from Warbreaker have hair that changes colour depending on their emotions. Black for neutral, red for passion, embarrassment or anger, white for fear and golden-blonde for happy or content. They can control it to some extent, along with the length of their hair, which becomes a minor plot point when one of the princesses is trying to conceal her emotions.
  • In Alice, Girl from the Future, there are indicators, animals that changes color depending on its emotions (among them are yellow for mistrust, dark green for content, transparent for admiration). The first indicator (and the only more or less plot-relevant one) appears in The Voyage of Alice (it is Demoted to Extra but still there in its animated adaptation, The Mystery of the Third Planet).

  • Blue Train by John Coltrane. The album cover is blue, just like the title and the title track. Coltrane is shown contemplating, suggesting he's feeling blue.
  • Blue by Joni Mitchell has a blue colour for the same reason as the album example above.
  • Colors by Halsey, discussing the color gray, its relation with depression and how that all affects Matty Healy from The 1975.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000: The four Chaos gods are the embodiments of a specific emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is red, Tzeentch (hope) is blue, Slaanesh (desire) is either pink/purple, and Nurgle (despair) is green.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, this is used to hilarious effect in Swirling Spriggan. Otherwise averted, however: emotions fall strictly under Red, though characters aligned with other colors obviously feel emotions.
  • In the New World of Darkness, characters with Aura Vision can identify people's emotions by the colours in their auras.

    Video Games 
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, CYAN's complex hologram turns yellow when she experiences fear or anxiety, white with sorrow, and green when deep in thought.
  • In Fallout 2 with the Empathy perk you see in blue what responses will get a calm reaction, red for anger, and the regular green for neutral.
  • Golden Sun uses little emoticons to represent character's emotions. Red for angry, yellow for happy, and blue for sad.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Sith Warrior and Inquisitor, classes that draw their power from rage, glow red when using their 'recovery' move. Jedi doing an equivalent move glow golden or blue instead.
  • In Zoo Tycoon, your animals have colored emoticons appear over their head to indicate their mood at certain times.
  • In Super Princess Peach her vibe powers are represented by colored hearts: Yellow for joy, green for calmness, red for rage and blue for sadness. On the same vein, enemies will be colored the corresponding color when they are affected by one of the vibes.
  • Athena Cykes from Ace Attorney has Widget, a necklace computer that aids her in reading the emotions of others and defaults to her own emotions: red for anger, green for joy or happiness, yellow for shock or surprise, and blue for sadness or fear.
  • The androids from Detroit: Become Human all have a circular LED light in their right temple. Blue is the default color, yellow is for when the android is deep in thought or wirelessly interfacing with other androids, and red is for danger, stress or critical damage.
  • In The Sims 4, the various emotional states that Sims can enter are each represented by a color: Red for angry, orange for tense, yellow for embarrassed, reddish-orange for uncomfortable, green for happy, neon green/yellow for energized, light blue for inspired, blue for confident, dark blue for sad, purple for focused, light purple for dazed, magenta for playful, pink for flirty, grey for bored, and fine has no color at all.
  • In the Borderlands 3 DLC "Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck", Krieg's personalities are split between a red version that represents his Psycho side and a blue version that represent the remnants of his sanity.

    Web Comics 
  • In the second season of Captain Ufo, Celeste wants to interrogate a comatose prisoner, so she enters his mind thanks to Dr. Marcuus' machine. The environment is usually a white-ish void, but memories are colour-coded (given the situation, red or blue/violet for anger and sadness).
  • In Superline, Erin's emotion manipulation powers allow her to create physical manifestations of emotional energy, and each emotion has a specific color. As a subset of this power, she also has Mood Ring Eyes that correspond to the same colors.

    Web Animation 
  • In Hanazuki: Full of Treasures, this is applied to the Moonflowers (specifically, the white parts of their bodies), their Alterling companions, and their Treasure Trees: Red for feistiness, orange for wackiness, yellow for happiness, lime green for fear, dark green for mellowness, emerald for jealousy, blue for sadness, teal for glamor, purple for bravery, lavender for inspiration, pink for love, raspberry for hope, and black for despair.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Aladdin: The Series had the characters enchanted by colored gemstones which instilled them with corresponding emotions—blue for depression, green for envy, yellow for fear, etc.
  • An episode on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, where Jimmy gets banned in the science fair, features a device that detects emotion through colour and music genre. For instance, when Cindy feels happy, the device shines yellow as it plays a sunny tune; when she spots Jimmy, the colour turns red as the music shifts to heavy metal; and while she feels regret and accidentally puts her hand on the device, it turns blue and plays, well, blues.
  • Kim Possible: The Moodulator, a device that changes emotion, is coded by colour. E.g, yellow for happy, blue for sadness, pink for love, and red for rage.

    Real Life 
  • Many animals that are capable of changing the colors of their skin often do this to display their emotions to others of their species or to potential predators. For example, chameleons will become brighter when they're feeling excited or black when extremely agitated. Squids take this a step further by rapidly changing colors to display to potential mates, warn rivals or even disorient their prey.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Color Coded Emotions


Inside Out

The five Core Emotions have distinct colors: Joy is yellow, Sadness is blue, Anger is red, Disgust is green and Fear is purple.

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Main / ColourCodedEmotions