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Purple Is the New Black

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Because "Purple Shadow" wasn't as catchy, we guess.
"Isn't it weird nearly all darkness spells are either pink or purple instead of, you know, black?"

Much like Hollywood Darkness, purple is often used as a stand-in for black in comics and animation. This is predominantly because purple is easier to shade quickly and thus give the appearance of three-dimensionality; solid black objects in animation (and Real Life; see Vantablack) lack contours and look very flat. Black is also difficult to work with when Power Glows because black is the color that absorbs all colors of light.

In regard to character design, pseudo-purple hair is popular for similar reasons. It also makes a character more recognizable from a copyright standpoint. Characters who fall under the Dark Is Not Evil trope are occasionally depicted this way too, to perhaps subconsciously suggest they aren't stereotypically evil.

In older comics, blue was used because it was one of the basic pigment colors and thus inexpensive (and because Hollywood Darkness is generally blue-tinted). This has led to some mixed messages over whether (for example) Nightcrawler's fur or Spider-Man's leggings are blue, or if they're black in the same way Superman's hair is black (despite having blue highlights). Also very common in anime, where dark purple/blue hair will be intended to be black and will be listed as such in official sources.

As far as reality is concerned, this trope induces a lot of Fridge Logic, since violet is the most energetic part of the visible light spectrum.note  The explanation, however, is that this is actually why purple and blue are perceived as black: more energetic hues of light get to places and reflect on surfaces other hues cannot, giving deep shadows a disproportionate amount of blue-violet lighting. See Analysis page for the full Mind Screw that is the representation of black with colors that are not black, and the science of why this is Truth in Television.

Compare Hair Color Dissonance, Purple Is Powerful, Evil Wears Black and Red and Black and Evil All Over (several of these can overlap with this trope). Gravity Is Purple may have some relation as well.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Exaggerated in the Accel World anime. Not only is Black Lotus' metallic form shaded with a very subtle shade of lavender (a fact made more apparent when she stands next to Silver Crow) but her body is also accented with numerous purple gems and lights to give her a clear silhouette even when backlit.
  • The Big O, despite being constantly referred to in-universe as 'The black megadeus' is shown mostly as dark purple. This carries over into many of the mass-market toys (the ones for collectors tend to be actually black) to the point where some of them are near blue-violet.
  • Black Clover: Although Yami's Dark Magic spells are black, his mana itself is colored purple.
  • Bleach: Baraggan Louisenbairn is clad in black from head to toe in the manga. In the anime, his outer layers are changed to purple. However, Aizen continues to call his outfit black even in the anime.
  • Osamu's hair in Bokura no Hentai looks blue but the dialogue implies it's supposed to be black.
  • Atsushi in Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! has blue hair. In the Otome Game, it's only possible to tell it's blue if you know it's not supposed to be black...
  • Infamously, Cyborg 008 in Cyborg 009 was colored with pitch black skin in the manga, which was then rendered as a very visible purple in the 1979 anime adaptation. Made even stranger by the fact that other black characters in the adaptation appeared with varying shades of brown skin, and that the '60s anime works had also colored his skin brown.
  • Digimon Tamers
    • Inverted: Sakuyamon, who is based off a miko, has a purple light power. The darker Virus types are more associated with red.
    • Beelzemon (a Demon Lord Digimon) from the same series shoots large darkness purple blasts from his Blaster when in Burst Mode, his Blaster also is integrated to his arm.
    • In general, if something black needs to "glow", like magic circles, or as Beelzemon's "darkness blasts" above, it'll be purple.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, the main villain Enricco Pucci wears a Catholic priest robe which in the manga is always colored purple. Such robes are usually black, but less commonly purple, making it ambiguous which Pucci's outfit it meant to be. The anime changes it to be completely black.
  • In Jujutsu Kaisen, Satoru Gojo wears an outfit that's described as all-black but is colored and animated with purple or dark blue highlights,
  • In K, there are seven color-themed Clans with superpowers that appear as their Clan's color.
    • The Colorless Clan's powers appear as purple.
    • Several Blue Clansmen (including the Blue King) also have the blue-as-black hair element. (Colorless Clansman Kuroh Yatogami's hair is drawn black, though. His brother Yukari Mishakuji, also a Colorless Clansman, actually has (dyed) blue and purple hair, though).
  • In Kiniro Mosaic, Aya has blue hair, but like the previous example, the dialogue implies it's supposed to be black.
  • Umi from Love Live! has blue hair that is referred to as black.
  • In some parts of the series, Misaki in Maid-Sama! looks like she either has purple or black hair. The lighting for the episode changes so much, you could argue for either being her hair color.
  • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the Gundam Mk-II in Titans colors are said in dialogue (and in the episode 1 title) to be black, but in most if not all depictions (in-show shots, illustrations, model kits) they are predominantly dark blue, sometimes with a slight purple/indigo tinge.
  • Referenced In-Universe in My Dress-Up Darling while Gojo and Marin are shopping for the materials for the Shizuku-tan cosplay. While choosing a wig, Marin first tries to take a black one, but Gojo suggests she should buy a violet one instead so the highlights look much closer to the videogame.
  • Hinata from Naruto has (in the anime at least) hair that's a dark shade of blue, unique among the universally black-haired Hyuga clan. This is never remarked on, so presumably it's supposed to be black and is just shaded blue to make her stand out more.
  • One Piece has Gekko Moriah, whose shadow-controlling powers allow him to use his own shadow to fight in his place, with said shadow gaining purple hues when doing so.
  • In Ranma ½, Shampoo's hair is shown on the covers to be black, or at least very dark blue. In the anime, it is purple.
  • In the manga of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Anthy's hair is black, while it's purple in the TV series and movie.
  • In the anime of Rurouni Kenshin, the uniforms of the Oniwabanshuu/the Oniwaban Group have been colored purple. The original manga was bichromatic, and Watsuki's coloring has been startlingly inconsistent in general. The fans who wonder will probably never know whether the Oniwaban uniforms actually were purple, or if that was just a choice made by the animators to avoid the pitfalls of animating black.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Hino Rei is noticeably native Japanese (even though all but Aino Minako supposedly are), with long black hair — highlighted purple — and a distinct epicanthic fold. This is very notorious since she is supposed to represent classical Japanese beauty which consists of pale skin and black hair. On the other hand, Chiba Mamoru's hair is often straight black, but when highlighted, tends to be highlighted blue.
    • Luna also shows this, she is a black cat but in colored artwork and animation is bluish purple.
    • Hotaru Tomoe's hair is also supposedly black to contrast with her white skin but it has blue highlights.
    • Inverted with Queen Serenity. Her hair is actually a very pale shade of violet, but is treated as silver or white.
  • The Moon Empress in Yaiba has her hair and Playboy Bunny outfit shaded violet.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Shadow Realm is depicted with some swirls of midnight blue or black but mostly purple.
    • The Dark Magician, or Black Magician in the Japanese manga and anime, wears purple. This is due to the limitations of black and white manga (it's hard to draw a character wearing all black); in card artworks and the animes, the purple tends to be darkened considerably. When Takahashi drew the card later on, he changed it to full-on black.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Careful S., the last Superman to join the team, had his Mech Stone constantly used by Big M. to create monsters since his was the only Stone that Big M. was able to keep for a while; regardless, Careful S. is a genuine superhero despite his coldness. He's black in the first several seasons before being changed to purple from Season 10 onwards due to an Art Shift.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman to save on expensive black ink and to go with any Lighter and Softer tones, has often been depicted with a blue cape, cowl, gloves and boots. And sometimes really, really dark grey.
    • There is some debate over whether or not the Joker originally wore a purple or black suit. The purple suit has become iconic in the decades since, although famed artist Alex Ross subscribes to the theory that the Joker's suit was originally intended to be black with purple highlights, so that his chalk-white face would stand out as much as possible. Accordingly, pretty much all of Ross' (colored) drawings of the Joker feature him in black instead of the widely-accepted purple.
  • In Max Ride: First Flight, the Erasers appear to have blue fur most of the time, but in some panels their fur is either black or grey.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Grimlock's head, which is black or dark grey in every other medium, is represented as dark blue here.
  • The Ultimate Spider-Man incarnation of Venom has purple highlights.
  • A literal example happens with The Smurfs. The first comic, The Black Smurfs, features corrupted Smurfs becoming black-skinned and evil. This was changed to purple in the North American edition. This time the reason was by fear it might be interpreted as racist.

    Fan Works 
  • An interesting variation, coupled with Dark Is Evil: when Thunderstorm begins his plot to Take Over the World in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, the Earth is enveloped in purple.
  • Lamp Shaded by Yami Yugi in episode 61 of the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series where he constantly points out the "Shadow Realm" is more purple than Black.
    Melvin: Swiggity-Swaggo Realm, say hello to the Shadow Realm!
    Yami: You know, it's really more of a Purple Realm than a Shadow Realm.
    Melvin: Since I'm about to end you, Pharaoh—
    Yami: Shadows aren't really known for being purple.
    Melvin: SILENCE!
    Yami: I'm just sayin'.

    Films — Animation 

  • In Greg Howell's Light on Shattered Water, the parallel dimension's sentient inhabitants have evolved from great cats, rather than from apes. This has many implications. One of them is that they perceive colour differently from humans - to them, most dark colours are simply black.
  • Inverted in this depiction of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. Considering his shtick as the White is light...
    • Also averted in this other painting, depicting the Light of Valinor. The purple light actually does a pretty damn good job at contrast with the darkness.
  • In The Quest of the Unaligned, the Darkness-based powers of the hosheks are generally described as purple, though mostly when dealing with luminous objects (fires, lightning bolts, etc.). On the other hand, Darkness-touched moss is also purple.
  • A theme running through the occult horror novels of Dennis Wheatley, notably The Devil Rides Out, is that sentient evil announces its presence with magenta-purple light.note 
  • The trope is actually name-dropped by Mal in the first Descendants: Isle of the Lost book, when discussing her preference for purple.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Ulkesh's (Kosh II's) encounter suit is purple... and he is definitely a less pleasant, darker Vorlon than the (orange-clad) Kosh we knew.
  • In Kamen Rider Double, this goes for both the Joker and the Skull Memories, as well as their respective Riders: while the costumes are predominantly black (Joker has purple elements, while Skull adds white), their attacks glow with purple.
  • Kamen Rider Saber's Kamen Rider Calibur, the Swordsman of Darkness, has a purple suit instead of a black one as expected.
  • In Super Sentai and Power Rangers, Black Rangers tend to have purple motifs in their costumes, energy weapons (particularly noticeable when they glow), and the like. Certain times, however, they subvert it by giving the Black Ranger a gray or white aura, when there's no Silver or White Ranger on the team....usually.note 
    • Of particular note are Wolzard of Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Koragg the Knight Wolf of Power Rangers Mystic Force and Gaisoulg of Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger/Void Knight of Power Rangers Dino Fury, who are Black Knights in purple armor.
    • But averted in that the rare Violet Ranger will never be mistaken for a Black Ranger and vice-versa - Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger/Power Rangers Dino Charge and Uchu Sentai Kyuranger even had both colors in their rosters. Naturally, the Black Ranger's shade of purple is a darker shade. In Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger, another series that has both colors in it's roster note , the Black Ranger has an orange aura instead, a color which also appears on his helmet.
    • Two specific Black Rangers are interesting zig-zaggings of this trope: King Ranger and Abare Black. Because they are both individual add-ons to their respective teams, they get a lot of gold on them. Therefore, their energies are often, maybe more often than not, portrayed as gold in color, but oftentimes purple as well. Not to mention their respective Zords were more gold in color than they were black. This was the main reason that King Ranger's Power Ranger counterpart is called the Gold Ranger instead. Black Lion Rio, who is a Ranger-like main villain turned ally also follows the same rules as the previous two Black Rangers: black suit with a lot of gold, with his Zord following the same color scheme, and alternates between purple and gold as his energy color.
    • Inverted with the White Ranger from Power Rangers Ninja Steel. When the Rangers morph, they have color-coded backgrounds, with hers being purple. To a lesser extent, this applies to almost all female White Rangers, especially when they serve as the substitute for Pink Ranger, in which case, they inherit the pink association, in the case of White Swan, Zyuoh Tiger, Gao White, and her American counterpart. If there's already a Pink Ranger on the core team, her non-white energy color varies. Change Mermaid and the White Ninja Steel Ranger's counterpart ShiroNinger get light blue. The only exception to this is Ninja White/White Alien Ranger, who pretty much never gets any pink undertones. DekaSwan and her American counterpart Kat Ranger also don't count, as they're equally linked with both white and orange, which has led to debates on what her primary color actually is.
    • In Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, Sixth Ranger Zyuoh TheWorld is another zigzag. As a Black Ranger, he's represented with the usual purple energy (albeit paler compared to past examples), but also of black smoky energy usually more reserved with the darkness motifs of villains, even when he turned good. The zag to that zig is that he's also represented by two other colors, gold and silvernote , making him more of a multi-colored Ranger with Black as his primary color.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Where Silence Has Lease", the Enterprise encounters a void in space (home to a curious Eldritch Abomination) which is apparently pure nothingness, but rather than lightless black, it is mostly a cloudy dark blue.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Wicca and other neopagan circles, the fifth element, Spirit, is basically described as darkness, being defined by emptiness. It is portrayed most often as either black or purple. note 
  • The revival of European ritual magick of the FinDeSiecle saw groups such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn spring up to practice ritual magic with baroque rituals and liturgies that inevitably drew on the Judeo-Christian cultural heritage. Summoning demons or interactions with evil spirits were associated with the colour magenta, a sort of light purple shade. This was a visual clue used in his horror novels by Dennis Wheatley (see above). It should also be said that in a system of colour correspondences drawn from Hindul practice, purple is associated with spirit and Aether. This is probably where Gerald Gardiner got the idea from when he revived Wiccan practice in the 1940's.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bakugan of the Darkus element are colored black and purple.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Shows up in some art related to Black cards. For instance, some varieties of Swamps have purple colors. This is largely to give them some color, as purple isn't claimed by any of the others. Inverted, however, with some old card catalogs; Red, Blue, Black, and Green card names are all printed in their respective colors, but White is printed as purple (since, obviously, printing it as white would be problematic).
    • Frequently inverted in regard to White cards; several White spells are seen emitting a purple light.
    • Especially notable in the Theros block, where the Nyxborn Enchantment Creatures have a border that is a lighter shade of the normal color, flecked with stars. To make Black's, the entire card border is just outright purple.
  • In Nomine: Malakim wings are black, but glint purple in the light.
  • Ticket to Ride: A strange variant. In the physical tabletop version, the five player colors are red, blue, green, yellow, and black. But in any computer version of the game, black trains don't show up well on screen, so the fifth color there is purple.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: "Dark" has a purple symbol. Earth, on the other hand, has a black symbol with white lettering — so maybe black is the new brown?

  • Transformers: Ravage, the stealthy jaguar whose colors traditionally are black with either red or yellow highlights, has purple highlights on his Generations figures. His abilities have always been explicitly shadow-based, and this takes it to the next level.
  • Spider-Man: Toy versions of Spider-man's black costume sometimes get this, as a pure black costume would be visually uninteresting and, apparently, toy designers get sick of blue highlights.
  • BIONICLE: Although the usage of shadow-based powers has been depicted more or less consistently as red in media, the Shadow Kraata were still purple colored. Also, in the line's early run and the 2015 reboot, purple is a secondary color for the usually black Earth element characters.
  • In DC Super Hero Girls and its animated adaptation, Wonder Woman's normally black hair has a heavy blue tint to it.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Mythology: The "Evil Clouds" are purple and black, and the Big Bad Kronos has the same color smoke rising off of him. His minion also shapeshifts in a puff of purple-black smoke.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: One of Ann's optional outfits, Graffiti, is purple fully mixed with black shaded in. Ann's hair is also given a similar treatment.
  • Bayonetta: Purple is associated with the dark magic of the Umbra Witches in general. Apart from being the general color for magic and the powerups that boost it, the Color-Coded Time Stop of Witch Time is purple, and activating Umbran Climax in the second game causes a large burst of purple energy to occur.
  • In Breath of Fire II, Nina's "cursed" black wings appear purple in her in-game sprite.
  • In Command & Conquer, while villains do use red as a key color, a Greater-Scope Villain will use a shade of purple as their team color. Yuri's Army from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 started this tradition for the series.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Neo Cortex's normally black hair is purple.
  • In The Elder Scrolls games, black soul gems, the only soul gems that can hold the souls of sentient creatures, are often depicted with purple overtones.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The "Black Mages" that appear in the games usually wear blue robes.
    • Final Fantasy VII showed Cloud in a purple SOLDIER 1st Class uniform; Crisis Core indicated that the 1st Class uniforms are actually black.
    • In the series dark-attuned attacks and sometimes weapons are dark purple. Prominent examples include the "Dark" series of spells and the Dark Knight's signature Soul Eater ability. Gravity spells are usually black, but occasionally are purple too.
    • All over the place in the Final Fantasy XI expansion Wings of the Goddess. Most prominent in the Spitewardens, who wear purple versions of Red Mage artifact armour, though we also see it in Lady Lilith and Atomos. One story quest which involves fighting one of the aforementioned Spitewardens is literally called 'Purple is the new Black'.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy, Golbez and Cecil's darkness attacks, Sephiroth's Shadow Flare, and Terra's Graviga, are all purple and black. Golbez and Cecil cross into Technicolor Fire with Dark Flame and Rising Wave, which create pillars of purple flame. Played with with the Cloud of Darkness, her void and darkness-based beam attacks are most prominently red. Some of them are purple, but it's more a bright violet rather than the dark purple the other examples mentioned show up as.
    • Subverted in Final Fantasy XVI, the Darkness element and skills are represented by a dull pink instead of purple, while Odin, the Eikon of Darkness, is black with blue highlights.
  • The Fire Emblem series as a whole depicts Dark magic as a mix of black and purple, at least from the GBA era onward. Most playable Dark users - Sophia, Raigh, Niime, Canas, Knoll, and Etzel - wear a shade of purple or have purple hair. And in a literal example of purple being the new black, tomes of dark magic (which, in all of the other games, had black covers) have purple covers in Fire Emblem: Awakening.
  • Flight Rising: The Shadow Flight does have some black elements in its void pools, but most of its items are dark purple or blue and its banner and general Color Motif is purple. Enforced for user-submitted accents, which aren't allowed to use shades close to pure black in order to not disrupt the lineart.
  • Black Shadow from F-Zero GX has a purplish outfit, probably because it was the first F-Zero game to feature 3-D models for the pilots.
  • Elden Ring: unusually averted for the most part, as gravity spells have purple effects, but the god-killing Black Flame spells have mostly black effects with white outlines, and undead magic is a mix of black and light teal effects.
  • In God of War, this is usually not used (green, red, or even yellow are more used), but Hades' Claws have a distinct violet glow.
  • Jak and Daxter: Dark Eco has a noticeable purple tint, and Dark Jak has purple lightning sparks shooting out of him. Interestingly, Dark Jak himself is bluish-gray, as are Gol and Maia. The Dark Makers are completely purple-black, though.
  • Kingdom Hearts: The power of darkness is represented as either purple or red when it isn't just straight black.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Despite being depicted as black in the previous two games, Cynder is recolored to have a primarily dark purple palette in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon. The characters in the game, particularly the Hermit, still call her the "black dragon" regardless.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Lorwolf: The darkness and shadows-associated Darkspine pack has purple as their main color.
  • Stern's Barrier Jacket in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable is shown in official art to be black, but for her in-game model, it was given a dark purple hue.
  • In the Mega Man Battle Network series, a lot of characters and objects associated with darkness wear purple or are colored purple; DarkMan, ShadeMan, Dr. Regal (BN5) and his henchmen, most DS Navis, DarkMega (in BN5, he's the regular MegaMan with a purple tint while his anime counterpart has MegaMan's outfit colored purple), Dark Chips, Nebula Grey, and EraseMan, to name a few.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
    • The purple blob-shooting Dark Beam that can freeze enemies with charged shots. Dark Aether is visually a copy of Light Aether, but darker and purplier, and is home to the dark purple Ing(though several of their models are black, purple being used to make certain features more visible). Purple-colored doors require the Dark Beam to open them.
    • In earlier stages of the game, the unique damage received from exposure to Dark Aether's atmosphere takes the form of purple circles rising across the Diegetic Interface, evoking the look of the atmosphere "boiling" against Samus's armor.
  • In Pikmin 2, the Purple Pikmin are referred to internally as "Black Pikmin," and are a very dark shade of purple. They debuted alongside White Pikmin as well, suggesting they were originally supposed to be a black/white pair before the game decided to lean in and just call them "Purple Pikmin." Later games, however, moved away from the original implications by making Purple Pikmin much more robustly purple.
  • The shadow Plants in Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time have blue and purple in their color schemes. The Shadow Flower from Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is also blue, but she actually has black as a secondary color.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Zig-zagged in the Pokémon games:
    • Some Dark-type moves are purple, even though the icon for the Dark type is black, with purple being used for the Ghost type. Likewise, standard Shadow Pokémon are described as having a black aura, but it appears purplish when detected. A Shadow Pokémon in Hyper or Reverse Mode has a blood-red aura instead.
    • Generation I has an, ahem, interesting example of this. The original designers for Jynx gave her black skin, big lips, and blonde hair, but because it resembled a racist caricature, they gave her purple skin instead.
  • In the Puyo Puyo series, Feli, the dowsing- and tarot-obsessed Gothic lolita-clad girl, and Klug, the incredibly smug know-it-all spectacle-fancying bookworm both wear purple, possibly to signify their confidence in their magic powers. Somehow, the two fight *very* often.
  • Quake IV has the Dark Matter Gun, a powerful BFG that can launch an Unrealistic Black Hole using Dark Matter Cores. The cores, the vortex that is in the gun's gyroscope, and the vortex projectile itself use shades of twilight purple.
  • The Black Chronicle of Radiant Historia appears purple.
  • Purple is the primary color of the 3rd Street Saints in Saints Row. At the best of times, they're anti-heroic Gangbangers. At worst, they're little better than the degenerates they wage war against.
  • Shadow-based weaponry and attacks in Spiral Knights are typically purple.
  • In the GBA (and some DS) Super Robot Wars games, many units intended to be black (most notably Mazinger Z and its relatives) were either purple or nonexistent (in the case of the Astranagant), allegedly due to the GBA not displaying black properly. However, these were alongside the M9 Gernsback and Gespenst S, which were light grey but still usable enough to be black. Especially considering the Mazingers had perfectly fine black in their cut-ins.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Ganondorf has a purple flame effect on his special moves. In fact, all darkness moves in the series are represented as purple flames
    • In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Adventure Mode, Dharkon, Galeem's dark-themed counterpart, is mostly composed of black, purple, and magenta. His puppet fighters also have purple eyes with darker-colored scleras, in contrast to the red eyes associated with Galeem's. In the Final Battle map, his side of the background is mostly purple and black, while Galeem's is in a much bigger variety of light colors.
  • Tales of...
    • Tales of Symphonia does have a black Shadow, but the logo of his power is purple, though still represented with pitch black half the time.
    • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia has purple hair, but it's described in the game as "raven black". It looks black in some of his promo art.
  • Terraria uses purple to denote the shadow-like theme of the Corruption, even the craftable Shadow Armor is purple (of course, armor dye can make it black if you wish).
  • Touhou Project protagonist Reimu Hakurei has black hair in the Windows games but in the older PC-98 games her hair is purple in the portraits and box art even though her sprite has black hair.
  • In the Twisted Metal series, the gothic funeral hearse "Shadow" is predominantly purple in most of its appearances.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: The normally black-colored Venom is rendered as purple.
  • Played straight in The Darkness II, with the Darkness itself. Its tentacles are dark purple while a few details glow violet. Interestingly, the trope is played straight in another way with the cover of the game as it shows the Darkness with a light and dark brown combination.
  • In Phantasy Star Online 2, Dark techniques always have at least a tinge of purple. Arguably justified since Dark techniques have a chance of poisoning the target and poison is also commonly associated with purple.
  • The Wonderful 101: Wonder-Black is coded with the color purple in addition to black. It's the color of the "icon" for his Unite Bomb, the text splash of Unite Bomb in quick time events, the Wonder-Liner when drawing the shape for the Bomb, and the color of the Unite Bomb time-slowing explosion itself. He at least wears black without a hint of purple.
  • In World of Warcraft spells and creatures associated with both the Void and Shadow use a combination of black and purple.
  • Dragon Quest's Dark-element spells tend to be dark purple, though some Dark Is Evil enemies do appear as black.
  • In Battlerite, Ruh Kaan's shadow magic has a purple outline.
  • Exaggerated in the Marvel vs. Capcom series in regards to their depiction of Venom. In the comics, he's supposed to be black, with maybe a dark blue or purple tint. Here, he's sky blue!
  • In Overwatch, damaging or debuffing abilities used by your team are usually purple, including Zenyatta's Orb of Discord and Moira's damaging Biotic Orb.
  • In The New Order Last Days Of Europe, the Ordenstaat Burgund, the fiefdom of SS and Heinrich Himmler and also the evilest nation on the planet at the same time, is associated with the purple color. The Burgundian System, the ideological spawn of Himmler, has the purple color on the mod's ideology chart and the focus icons of Burgundy are decorated with purple shading. Considering Burgundy is also the name for a particular hue of purple, it only makes sense.
  • Shadow attacks in the Telepath RPG series are colored in black and purple.
  • Octopath Traveler: Darkness icons, spell effects, and elemental enemies are all purple.
  • Hades has a currency called "Darkness" that's represented as purple tear-shaped gems.
  • In Hotline Miami, the panthers which Jacket fights in the "Showdown" chapter (as well as the panther mask, "Brandon") are colored purple, despite being black in reality.
  • A frequent complaint against The Sims 4 is that black hair swatches all have noticeable indigo, brown, or ashy-grey undertones. While the devs have acknowledged the issue and eventually released additional swatches closer to true-black, attempts to create black hair with no undertones have so far caused Sims to walk around looking like they have a window into the void perched atop their head, which many players have described as Nightmare Fuel.
  • The Dark Weapon spell in Dark Souls II, which temporarily infuses your weapon with Dark magic, causes it to glow purple.
  • Touhou Lost Branch Of Legend: The Black mana color is represented by purple spheres.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: Each of the 12 elements that different fairies belong to has a certain color associated with it. Darkness is represented by dark purple.

    Visual Novels 
  • Miku's hair in A Profile is called black, but it clearly has some shade of purple. On the cover and in the introduction, it's a fairly bright purple, but apart from that, it tends to be grayish purple instead.
  • Fate/stay night refers to Sakura's hair as black (the Mirror Moon translation omits this detail), though it's always shown as rich purple. Confusingly, in the same illustrations, Rin's "black" hair is very close to true black.
  • Shin Kuroi in Morenatsu is supposed to be a black cat, but his fur is always shown as purple.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: Petunia the skunk has dark blue fur instead of black fur like real skunks. Then again, since this is a show full of Amazing Technicolor Wildlife, she's not the strangest example.
  • RWBY: It's cultural tradition for people born after the Great War to have individualised colour motifs and even be named after colours. Blake Belladonna's colour symbolism is officially black, but she's always used a colour scheme of black-and-white with purple accents. Her Aura is also purple. When the show needs to surround her with her colour symbolism, purple is used rather than black, such as the Volume 9 opening's radiant light framing her body; it's still intended to represent her association with the colour black, but it makes her stand out rather than obscuring her with too much dark shading.

  • Cucumber Quest's Nightmare Knight is black, but predominantly highlighted and shaded in violet tones. When he's referred to in conversation the Rainbow Speak is purple (normal text is black). His magic is also purple and starry, but in that case it is called its actual color rather than just dark or black.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Tedd's hair was depicted as purple initially for this reason. The author and the fans liked the color, however, and his hair became canonically purple. Other wacky colors followed.
  • Homestuck: The Light and Dark kingdoms are mostly symbolized by white and black Chess Motifs. However, their capital cities are not white or black; the towers of Prospit gleam in gold, while the architecture of Derse is decked in deep indigo, violet and magenta.
  • The Noordegraaf Files: Katrina has black hair that is technically a very dark purple. It's nearly impossible to notice. This is averted with every other black-haired character in the comic, who all have black or very dark grey hair.
  • Sleepless Domain: The Big Bad of the series is a mysterious girl made of shadows, whose skin is nonetheless a very deep purple. This isn't just a stylization, either, as she's actually referred to as being purple in-universe, and the form she takes on after merging with Tessa has more vibrant shades of purple and pink.

    Web Original 
  • In The Irate Gamer, the Evil Gamer creates an army of Mecha-Mooks based on the HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (whose A.I. resides in a Magnavox Odyssey). All of the robots have purple eyes, with the exception of the red-eyed head robot known as R.E.D. (Robotic Electromat Device).
  • In one episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Yami keeps interrupting a duel to remark on the show's use of miasmic purple patterns to portray the so-called Shadow Realm.
    Yami: Shadows aren't really known for being purple, you know.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Aspiring villain Tweeg wears a dark purple robe. The ambiguity of purple is fitting for a guy who wants to be a villain but never quite makes it.
  • Dragon Booster: Black draconium, a variant of the universe's fictional element, often gave off a purple glow that was difficult to differentiate from the energy glow of actual purple draconium. Moordrd, Word and Armgaddeon's mag attacks often looked purple despite black being their color motif.
  • Johnny Test:
    • In "Fangs a Lot Johnny", This is Susan's color scheme as a vampire.
    • Inverted with Mary, as her dress is indigo.
  • The Legend of Korra has this in spades with Ultimate Dark Spirit Vaatu, the Big Bad of Season 2; whenever he fires his dark beams, his Red and Black and Evil All Over motif turns purple. It's also present in his prison, and when he's released, it coats the entire Earth in a purple hue.
  • On Miraculous Ladybug, purple is the color associated with the Butterfly Miraculous the Big Bad Hawk Moth uses, and therefore his outfit when transformed and performing villainy is predominantly dark purple with some black in it. In-universe, it's a coincidence that he got his hands on this particular one to use.
    • On the blue side of things, both Marinette and Kagami have hair that's supposedly black but often appears in various shades of blue. Since the show is CGI, there's no need for the blue-use techniques; it's done intentionally as an homage.
  • Kimi's hair in Rugrats is black however often looks blue or purple depending on the scene. In All Grown Up!, Tommy's hair is also black represented as purple.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: Outer space has a purplish hue when seen from the Cerritos windows (such as the ship's lounge or crew quarters).
  • In Star Wars Rebels, Ezra's hair is blue, but Zare describes it in Servants of the Empire as black. Downplayed after Season 2, where it looks more black due to him cutting his hair.
  • In The Venture Brothers, Perky Goth Triana has wholly purple hair in the first season, which changes to black with purple highlights with Art Evolution in later seasons. This seems to imply that it was always intended to be black.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender:
    • When the lions come together to form Voltron, the red, yellow, blue, and green lions all leave a beam of light in their respective color trailing across the sky. The Black Lion's beam is purple.
    • Similarly, during Split Screen moments showing the Voltron paladins in the lions' cockpits, the other cockpits are lit in their colors while the Black Lion's cockpit is lit up in purple.
  • In Wander over Yonder, the black in Lord Hater's robes and the black uniforms of his Mooks are always depicted as purple when they're on the Skullship to contrast them with the black interior design.
  • Hay Lin from W.I.T.C.H. has blueish-purple hair, which stands out amongst the cast of mostly normal hair colored teens. Her hair is described as black.
  • A weird example in the X-Men: The Animated Series episode "Beyond Good and Evil", where Psylocke is repeatedly described as "raven-haired", but has the same purple hair as in the comics, where it's meant to actually be purple.

    Real Life 
  • Very common in dyed hair, while black hair has always been very fashionable, is also extremely common, so many people dye their hair with special dyes that add colored highlights under certain lighting conditions, with purple and other bluish colors being the most common.
  • Minzy from 2NE1 had purple streaks in her hair in the music video for "Clap Your Hands."
  • The "Pitch Black" flavor of Mountain Dew soda (a grape/citrus flavor) is colored purple rather than black.
  • When Lockheed built the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter, they first painted it in a pastel-like camo scheme that would help it hide during daylight bombing missions. When the Air Force insisted on night bombing and a black paint scheme, Lockheed recommended a dark royal blue color as black paint would stand out against the night sky. The Air Force refused and the F-117 (as well as Northrop Grumman's B-2 bomber) has flown in black ever since.
    • This is believed to have been the style of chromatic thinking employed much earlier in feudal Japan. Many people are familiar with the common "clad in black" ninja who used darkness as their cover, however the Ninja Museum of Igaryu proposes that most ninjas would more likely have worn navy blue during night jobs, to match the glow of moonlight. Black, as strange as it may sound, would stand out in the darkness of the night.
  • Black and Orange are pretty much the official colors for Halloween but considering the extreme impracticality of black colored lights, Halloween lights tend to substitute black for purple.
    • Actual "black lights" appear purple in color. They're called "black" because they emit mostly non-visible UV, along with some violet wavelengths as a side effect.
  • Purple actually makes for better camouflage at night than black.


Video Example(s):


The Prowler

Kingpin's top enforcer, a deadly supervillain clad in a high-tech suit featuring repulsor boots and strength-enhancing, razor-sharp gauntlets. After being tasked with killing the new Spider-Man, it is revealed that he is Miles's beloved uncle, Aaron Davis.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheDragon

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