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Dark-Skinned Redhead

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Like most character design decisions in anime, colors are often chosen to reflect personalities more than to be realistic depictions. Although dark skin is not a particularly alien choice, it's more often used to reflect a bouncy, energetic, fiery personality than actual nationality. This probably has roots back to the ideal of Japanese beauty including pale skin, as opposed to the chain of association with tanned people being outdoorsy, and thus lively and adventurous. Add in Western associations with red hair, and you get a boisterous adventure-seeker. Bonus points if they have gold eyes.

Naturally, this includes Hard Drinking Party Girls and Tricksters of both genders. The most common combination with this skin tone is a vibrant and noticeable light color. Red is very popular, associated with all sorts of playful Japanese spirits as well as the kabuki wig, so it's also a common (and deliberately unusual looking) palette choice for demons and Cat Girls. Red's a popular hair color for other reasons as well, of course.

Note, dark skinned characters with dark hair (olive, purple, black) tend to have muted personalities.

This trope can be Truth in Television thanks to dye; notably, in Asian countries like Pakistan, dyeing hair red with henna dye is common. (Natural redheads in Pakistan—yes, they exist, especially among the Pashtun population—usually have light skin.) Dark skin with natural red hair is often seen in Oceania, especially Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. In other places, you generally only see natural red hair paired with dark skin in cases of mixed ancestry. For example, the Afro-American activist Malcolm X earned the nickname "Detroit Red" due to the reddish tinge in his hair that he inherited from a Scottish ancestor. Likewise, basketball player Blake Griffin has tan skin and red hair due to having a black father and white redhead mother. But the condition called rufous oculocutaneous albinism also causes red hair in a person with dark skin.


Sister trope to Dark-Skinned Blond. Contrast Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette and Raven Hair, Ivory Skin. Also quite likely to be Ambiguously Brown.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Tanya from Battle Athletes gets the dark skin and straight red hair treatment, like her brother. Despite the Olympic-like premise of the series explicitly telling us she's supposed to be African, she actually comes off more as a quasi-Cat Girl.
  • Naruki Gelni from Chrome Shelled Regios. She's usually fun-loving and friendly, though she takes her job very seriously.
  • Ed from Cowboy Bebop, whose behavior is all over the map. She could be of Turkish descent, as her father's name translates into Turkish, and her real first name is French (no doubt a tradition started at the Napoleonic Wars, which involved the Ottomans).
  • Daisuke/Davis Motomiya from Digimon Adventure 02 unlike his sister and mother so he might have a tan. Must be all the soccer training.
  • Kei from Dirty Pair is perhaps the prototypical dark-skinned redhead.
  • Shayla-Shayla from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
  • Kirche, the bouncy vamp from The Familiar of Zero.
  • A male version of this trope is Tasuki from Fushigi Yuugi, the energetic fire-fan-wielding bandit.
  • Karen Joshua from Gundam's OVA The 08th MS Team, the fiery CPO of the titular military unit.
  • Marie and several other characters from Haré+Guu.
  • Sousou (Caocao) from Ikki Tousen, though his personality is quite darker and more conflicted than the standard. Besides, he starts as a brunet and is only shown with red hair in the second season (Dragon Destiny). In Great Guardians, also, when Saji Genpou (Zuo Ci) drops his Saji facade and retakes his true identity of Ouin Shishi (Wang Yun), his blond hair turns into a blazing red.
  • Wangari, the Kenyan Large Ham Announcer from Little Witch Academia (2017), has brown skin and bright orange hair.
  • The princesses Tatra and Tarta in Magic Knight Rayearth. They're both from the foreign country Chizeta. So is the first-series antagonist Caldina, who has dark skin and pink hair and uses trickery and illusion to fight.
  • Ed from Meine Liebe.
  • Naruto:
    • Karui was shown to have red hair in a color page of the manga and, later on, in the anime.
    • When using her Curse Seal, Tayuya also became this. With horns and black sclera.
    • Chocho, the daughter of Chouji and Karui, is a dark skinned redhead and is Sarada's best friend in Boruto.
  • Gene Starwind from Outlaw Star.
  • Petite Princess Yucie's demon princess Greta fits the typical description, but has lavender hair, since she's also an Ojou.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In the Orange Islands saga, there was an "athletic" Nurse Joy in Pokémon like this, with a tan/dark skin as an indicator of her personality not being like the others. That and muscles.
    • In the Black and White season, Skyla has notably darker skin than in the games or other media, turning her into this.
  • Kintarou Tooyama from The Prince of Tennis.
  • Anthy Himemiya from Revolutionary Girl Utena has dark skin and deep purple hair. She's the "muted personality" type. It's implied that she and her brother are from India.
  • Jeannie from Rune Soldier Louie, though she's actually The Stoic. She is, however, a very physical warrior type, so she's not too far off.
  • Rurouni Kenshin is an interesting case. In the TV series Kenshin is not shown with particularly dark skin, but his hair is explicitly red. People actually say that his hair is red, instead of it just being a visual design element. In the OVA series, he's closer to this trope in a way that's fairly accurate for a Japanese person (dark red hair is very rare but does occur among native Japanese).
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Akane Karasuma, a.k.a. Sailor Lead Crow, a 5th season villain/Quirky Mini Boss Squad member. As she's an alien, it's impossible to tell if this combo is the norm for her people. In the manga the only other people from her world are Phobos and Deimos, who aren't this.
    • The Passionate Sports Girl Elza Gray, a one-episode character from the Sailor Moon anime. She was an old rival and friend of Haruka's and introduced her and Michiru to each other.
  • Libra Dohko from the anime version of Saint Seiya was one when he was young. And he still is, since his old form is actually a Sleep-Mode Size.
  • Saiyuki:
    • Kougaiji is a noble bad guy and seems to deliberately be in color contrast to his Evil Empress stepmother, Gyokomen Koshu (who is pale skinned with green hair). Possibly to emphasize that their personalities are complete opposites—Kougaiji is devoted to his nakama, while Koshu is prone to killing her followers on a whim. Rather than having a fiery personality, he's matched to the element and uses mostly fire attacks.
    • Gojyo could also be considered an example, since he's rather tan compared to the others. Also has bright red hair.
  • Winia Chester from Scrapped Princess is a more subdued version of this, though she perks up quite a bit around Pacifica.
  • Exedore/Exsedol's original design from Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech had the colors, but his personality is the opposite of the usual type, being The Spock instead.
  • Yoko Nakajima from The Twelve Kingdoms upon returning to the Twelve Kingdoms from Japan. In her case, she is a "taika", a person from the Twelve Kingdoms world who got carried away to Japan, and thus a shell was covering her to make sure she resembled her "parents". To be fair, the novels specifically mention that she starts out much paler, but after roughing it for several months without shelter, her skin's gotten a very dark tan. The same transformation also gives her green eyes.
  • One of the female pirates in Vandread: the Second Stage has red hair and tanned skin. It's implied that she's a high-ranking officer and didn't come along on the Nirvana because she and her crew had business on Majer. She shows up just in time to spring the crew from jail. I believe her name was "Vera" or something like that.
  • Raphael from I'm Gonna Be an Angel! has red hair and a fairly dark skin (especially when contrasted with Mikael's) and a matching bouncy and energetic personality, although he's not really Hot-Blooded. In fact, he is pretty mellow, maybe because he wasn't doing much in the series, besides playing guitar and molesting Mikael.
  • Kyou Sohma in the anime version of Fruits Basket, though the dark-skinned part is pretty much just in comparison to the other characters. It's presumably due to the amount of time he spends outside, and his hair color is a result of the curse.
  • Trinity Blood: Lilith Sahl.
  • Victory Gundam: Kate Bush from the Shrike Team
  • Rami of the Unemezoku from Arata: The Legend has pinkish-hair paired with tan skin.
  • Toujou Hidetora from Beelzebub has ginger hair and a darker skintone than most of the cast.
  • Kagura Demuri from Aquarion EVOL has both red hair, dark skin, golden eyes and a hotblooded personality. Apollo, from the previous series Genesis of Aquarion, is one too.

    Comic Books 
  • Alicia Masters was portrayed as one of these in the Heroes Reborn (Dork Age) version of the Fantastic Four.
  • Ember from ElfQuest. Dark skin and auburn hair is seen in quite a few elves of the Sun Folk, including Leetah (Ember's mother), Shenshen, their mother Toorah, and Behtia. This does not seem to be connected to characterisation, though.
  • Jezebel Jet, from Batman R.I.P.
  • Marvel villainess Mystique - dark blue skin, red hair. (Same in the movie version.)
  • "F***ing" Oyuki-chan from Empowered has light brown skin and red-orange hair, despite being one of the few Asian characters. She's tomboyish and free-spirited, but being raised in a ninja clan since early childhood has made her highly disciplined with a strict code of honor. She's foul-mouthed and socially-inappropriate to the point of creepiness.
  • Kendra Munoz-Saunders, the Latina redhead Hawkgirl from Earth 2.
  • The daughter of Archie from the main Archie Comics and Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats had her mom's skin tone and her dad's hair in her comics. She received her musical talents from both.
  • Aster of The Witch Boy, since his mother is white with red hair and his father is Ambiguously Brown. However, he is far from a Fiery Redhead in personality.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The Amazon Oenone has dark skin and dark red hair, though in her later appearances her hair was changed to black.
    • While Artemis's skin tone and facial features are subject to the whims of the artists she's always got long orange hair and in her earlier appearances was frequently depicted as Ambiguously Brown, to help her blend in with the rest of her tribe of dark skinned women of African and Middle Eastern heritage.
    • In the original Pre-Crisis comics, Oranna had fair skin and red hair. Her depiction in Wonder Woman #750 has her with tan skin and her red hair is styled into dreads.
  • Anita Fite aka Empress of Young Justice is a black girl with red hair.
  • In Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, the people of House Citrine have tanned skin and burgundy hair.

    Comic Strips 
  • Although most screen adaptations have portrayed her as more fair-skinned, the original Newspaper Comics version of Princess Aura from Flash Gordon was one of these. Of course, most Mongonians were portrayed as slightly dark-skinned, so it would have been odd if she had had a light complexion.

    Fan Works 
  • The now human Kurama in Reverse has skin so dark that he’s mistaken to have Kumo ancestry and blood-red hair. He has very hot-blooded and impulsive and is going on a massive adventure trying to run from the various bounty hunters after him around the Elemental Nations.
  • Natasha Martell in A Man of Iron is deeply tanned since she lived in Dorne - a desertic country - and has Tully red hair. Her father Oberyn proudly declares she's a skilled Action Girl and talented in the "bedroom arts".
  • In the Teen Titans Our Own League universe, M'gann M'orzz's "Megan Morse" disguise is a Black girl whose hair is a washed out pinkish orange. As Miss Martian, her skin turns green and her hair a more intense red-orange, but still has it's curly, afro-like shape. Either way, she adverts the usual personality associated with this trope by being a Shrinking Violet and strict pacifist.
  • In Coreline Invasion Of Portland, Aegis member Jennifer "Chrome" Swann is described to be African-American and Native American, and has red hair. It's explained that her hair was turned red by Terrigenesis. She's also supposed to be based on the character from Marvel's New Universe line, and the original version was a white redhead.
  • Harry Potter: In many fanarts, Roxanne Weasley, daughter of George Weasley and Angelina Johnson, is drawn in this way.

    Films — Animation 
  • Megara from Hercules. If you look very closely, you can easily tell that Meg's hair is actually a dark red color, and that her skin is slightly darker than that of Herc's.
  • Thank to a Race Lift, Barbara Gordon is this way in The LEGO Batman Movie. She's half-black and half-white but keeps her standard red hair, which she inherited from her dad.

  • Finnegan Hob from Abarat.
  • Holly Short from Artemis Fowl.
  • Ce'Nedra from The Belgariad is a dryad, and so has red hair and olive skin.
  • Vincent Katherinessen from Elizabeth Bear's novel Carnival.
  • Brier Iron-thorn in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath is an example in Western fantasy fiction. A big, strong warrior woman raised among soldiers in the sun-drenched south, she's permanently tanned dark from those long years in the sunlight and her hair is a "sullen red", an indicator of the passions and hatreds and intensity of her innermost nature, under the stern exterior.
  • In Codex Alera: Cursor's Fury, Invidia Aquitaine disguises herself as a slave with deep, red-brown skin, and coppery hair. It's justified, though, since this is a world where anyone with sufficient talent at watercrafting (magic using elemental spirits present in water) can change their appearance. And, well, the slave she was supposed to be wasn't exactly the kind you used for sweeping stables...
  • Cassidy Durant in the Dreamscape Voyager Trilogy. It's noted that most people from her hometown have red hair, regardless of skin tone, though Zayne is an exception.
  • Alia, Leto, and Ghanima Atreides from Dune.
  • Eclipse has Kyrie Dreyvor, who is often called a dark-skinned redhead in the story itself.
  • Princess Demetria in Emerald Prince.
  • Collan in Melanie Rawn's Exiles Series is noted for being darker than most natural redheads.
  • In A Fire Upon the Deep, Phan Nuwen is a grey-skinned redhead with epicanthic folds, which Ravna notes would have been an unlikely combination back on Earth and ascribes to him being "a product of post-terrestrial evolution". (The prequel, A Deepness in the Sky, establishes that he wasn't born a redhead, implying that his change of hair is a consequence of a medical intervention between the two stories.)
  • Hazel in The Heroes of Olympus is this plus gold eyes, thanks to her Divine Parentage.
  • Gideon Nav in The Locked Tomb has particularly fiery red hair, and while her skin tone is never actually mentioned in the text, the cover illustration of Gideon the Ninth shows it to be brown.
  • Quite a few of the mortok tribe in Phenomena have red hair according to Jolsah's spin-off series. Jolsah himself has purple with red stripes, and his great-great-grandfather had a dark purple.
  • In Prince of Wolves, Tara (or at least the penanggalan impersonating her after her death) has a skin tone like "crushed cinnamon" and hair like "spun copper."
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Like most poor Silerians, Mirabar is dark-skinned, but also has bright red hair as a mark of her favor from their goddess (though most people initially believe this means she's a demon).
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Ghiscari of Slaver's Bay have a dark complexion, but many have a mixture of black and red hair, like a tortoiseshell cat.
  • Josepha Walsh from the Venus Prime series has dark skin and red hair, the result of her mixed heritage.
  • Turtle Heart from Wicked is a traveling quadling glassblower that asks for Melena's help when he can't find his way. He's described as having "skin the color of roses at twilight: a dusky, shadowy red" and "hair [that] fell out in greasy hanks, sunset red". He's so handsome that both Melena and her husband Frexspar fall for him. Until he was murdered, Turtle Heart helped raise Elphaba and Nessarose. It's implied he fathered Nessa, but this is later shown to be wrong in a family tree.
  • Flinx from Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth universe has red hair and green eyes, but also dark skin.
  • In Fengshen Yanyi, some powerful Taoists and immortals possess grotesque appearences and highly unusual skin and hair colors: having red/cinnabar-colored hair is pretty common, with some of them, such as Chong Heihu and Yang Sen of the Four Saints have black faces, while two unusual ones sports bright red hair and dark red skin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape: Sikozu went through a radical makeover for the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries that saw her become more tanned while keeping her red hair.
  • Angeli in Portuguese series 'Ninguém Tá Olhando' (Nobody's Looking) often fall into this purely by dint of the fact that angeli come from all races and are all redheaded as a feature of being angels.
  • Teyla from Stargate Atlantis is dark-skinned with auburn hair to portray her alienness.
  • The Titans (2018) version of Starfire is played by Anna Diop who is black. Though she doesn't have her comic counterpart's traditional orange skin.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Although it wasn't always obvious, given she still had lighter skin than Jazz, Riptide had darker skin than most white people and had red hair, making her an example.
  • Similarly it could be missed when she was in Mexico and Puerto Rico but while still an active wrestler April Hunter was otherwise tanner than most of her counterparts, especially noticeable with her Tag Team partner Nikki Roxx, who only seemed to get freckles from the sun. After Hunter's back injury in Canada however, she returned to the wrestling circuit noticeably paler.
  • Alicia Fox, a look that most definitely was not stolen from Rihanna.
  • Whenever Melina was a redhead she doubled as this.
  • When Mercedes KV took up the name Sasha Banks, she sported this look.

  • Survival of the Fittest: Evolution gives us Holly Chapman, who fits. The tan part, according to her profile, is from living in the desert for most of her life, while the red hair comes from a habit of dying it and it just so happened that she was abducted while it was red.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Given how ertain parts of the setting of Exalted operate, it's not uncommon to find these types in the South. Dark-skinned types with hair colors that range from mahogany to copper to straight-up fire engine red aren't uncommon sights in cities like Chiaroscuro or Gem.
  • Depending on the Artist, Chandra Nalaar from Magic: The Gathering. She's definitely a redhead, but whether she's dark-skinned or just exceptionally freckled depends on who's drawing her at the current time.


  • In Cirque du Soleil's Crystal, the eponymous redheaded heroine was originally portrayed by the Iranian-born Nobahar Dadui.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Date Warp: Janet. (She's Indian.) Her hair is purple, which would traditionally be the "muted personality" type of dark skin and dark hair, but her personality is more fiery.

  • LaBelle from Charby the Vampirate is revealed to have rich brown skin to go with her vibrant red hair once the curse she was born with is canceled out.
  • Marena of Keychain of Creation and her sister, Karen. Marena is definitely a fiery, emotional, out-there woman, who flaunts her sexuality.
  • Ellen in older Questionable Content strips (exhibit A); now that the other characters aren't so pale, Ellen's skin is not significantly darker (exhibit B). Tai, on the other hand, is a more straight (no pun intended) example, as seen here. Later on it's revealed that she dyes her hair and she even lampshades the improbability of that color hair with her skin tone.
  • Dielle from Rhapsodies has reddish brown dreadlocks.
  • Saffron from Saffron And Sage. Word of God states that this character design choice was based on the colors of the actual saffron flower.
  • Sleepless Domain: Amahle Sharma, otherwise known as the Magical Girl Melty Flame, is a dark-skinned girl with fiery red hair. In her case, this was not her natural hair color — magical girls undergo a vivid change in hair color upon first awakening their powers. A flashback to before she awakened as Melty Flame shows that she originally had dark brown hair.
  • Wapsi Square is in black and white, but we know from coloured artwork by the author that Monica Villarreal is supposed to to be a Dark-Skinned Redhead, due to her Mexican as well as Irish ancestry.
  • In Weak Hero, Ben immediately stands out amongst his peers due to his striking combination of dark skin and auburn hair, which matches with his passionate personality.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Fahrin the Reaper has dark skin and punk red hair.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation