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Yellow/Purple Contrast

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In basic complementary color theory, Color Contrast (a Super-Trope) refers to the use of any two polar opposite colors on the wheel. When such colors are put together in a single image, with almost no other color presence, the effect is called popping, or standing out heavily. This, in turn, colors films to have a strong contrasting palette. It is seen regularly in Orange and Blue, sometimes in Red and Green, and, though technically values rather than true colors, even in Black and White.
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But what about Purple and Yellow?

As the closest colors to black and white in terms of their difference, this is the strongest contrast on any colorspace. Thus it is used to indicate darkness and light, moon and sun, night and day, shades of electricity, Good Colors, Evil Colors (particularly if they are royal factions, as gold and purple are historically reserved for royalty; purple being worn only by Roman/Byzantine emperors and yellow being worn only by Chinese emperors), or any other Color-Coded Characters or motifs that can be imagined (compare the aforementioned).

Warning signals are almost always indicated by some shade of yellow or gold. Depicted positively, it signifies spirit, spirituality, a Primary-Color Champion, and a sense of warmth. Depicted negatively, it signifies body neglect (such as Gold Tooth), cowardice, and greed. Among others, wealth, blondes, and physical power can go in either direction.

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The supernatural tends to be indicated by purple or violet. Depicted positively, it signifies wisdom, depth, and balance (particularly between the Onis). Depicted negatively, it signifies poison, dark magic, a Secondary Color Nemesis, or excessive pride. Either way, Purple Is Powerful (and/or graceful).

Also compare Color-Coded for Your Convenience, and Color Coded Emotions, in which yellow usually portrays happiness and purple portrays fear or melancholy.

Important note: When adding examples, both colors have to interact at the forefront, in one manner or another (in other words, context). Otherwise, it's not this trope.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Eriol created Spinel Sun to be a contrast to Kerberos. While Kerberos is a happy-go-lucky Sweet Tooth who has a golden body with white wings and red highlights, Spinel Sun is a stoic yet hyperactive-when-eats-sweets who has a black/purple body with blue highlights.
  • Fate Testarossa from Lyrical Nanoha has both gold-colored magic and hair, which contrasts with the purple magic and hair of her biological mother Precia. Appropriately, Fate's character arc throughout her entire life is shaped in part by the shadow that Precia cast over her.
  • Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop makes prominent use of this trope in her character design, with her dark purple hair popping out against her primarily vivid yellow outfit. Spike Speigel also has shades of his trope in his own design, featuring a banana-yellow shirt underneath an indigo suit.

    Comic Books 
  • In the short lived Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Dr. Sydney Allard, an inhabitant of Sub Diego and Black Manta minion, is exposed to a strain of Joker Toxin which he drops and is driven to madness, murdering a home's inhabitants. Inspired by a purple and yellow fish at the home and said insanity, he grabs a pair of waterproof markers, colors his entire body yellow and purple, and dubs himself the Clownfish, symbolizing his insanity and philosophy of life as a joke.
  • Mister Mxyzptlk, a recurring foe of Superman, is sometimes portrayed wearing a yellow and purple tunic to emphasize his chaotic nature and contrast the preferred colors of his favorite playmate, a Primary-Color Champion.

    Film — Animation 
  • Despicable Me 2: The Gru's yellow Adorable Evil Minions were subject of an experimental potion that makes Face–Monster Turn to any living creature in contact with it. So, the Big Bad Eduardo "El Macho" Perez, with the help of Dr. Nefario kidnapped Minions and exposed them to the potion, converting them into "Evil Minions", which are despised as purple thanks to the substance and becoming the Evil Counterpart of Gru's not-infected yellow Minions.
  • To obtain Maui's hook, Moana must enter through the cave of Tamatoa at the Realm of Monsters. The gold that the materialistic Tatatoa hoarded from his shell glistens so shiny, like a treasure from a sunken pirate wreck, against the supernatural purple ambience of the realm.
  • Gold and purple is a recurring Color Motif in Tangled, being the colors of the kingdom of Corona; the gold associated with the sun, and the purple associated with the royal family. Rapunzel, is a graceful, spirited young lady whose long blonde hair has healing powers, and she wears shades of lavender and mauve to signify her kindness to people and her status as the long lost princess.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Black Panther (2018), the main character, T'Challa wears the Black Panther suit with purple undertones, while his adversary and Foil, Killmonger wears the Golden Jaguar suit that is very similar but has yellow undertones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in the 1984-1986 title sequence for Doctor Who, in which the purple sequin-like lights in the background contrast with Colin Baker's blonde hair and the yellow parts of his coat.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Very deliberately used in the seventh season episode "No Pressure", where Ted finally decides he wants to let go of Robin, the entire cast is seen wearing purple for the episode. However, in the end, after Ted makes his decision, he steps outside to a sea of people — all of them sporting the Mother's iconic yellow umbrella, symbolizing how moving on from Robin was the only way for Ted to fall in love with his future wife.
    • In the episode where the mother's face is revealed, she's carrying her signature prop, the yellow umbrella, and she's wearing a dark purple dress, which symbolizes her moving on from mourning for her first boyfriend.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Luke Cage is associated with yellow, Kilgrave with purple. This is reflects their opposing relationships with Jessica. The lighting even gets in on it, with Jessica's default lighting being a cold blue, reflecting her isolation and anti-social tendencies, moving to warmer yellows as Luke helps her cope with some of her trauma, but to blatant purple as Kilgrave throws her into PTSD flashbacks. Also, the flash drive containing critical information on Kilgrave is yellow.
  • Kamen Rider Build's Best Match NinninComic Form uses the Ninja and Comic halfbodies. The purple Ninja halfbody has the Onmitsu scarf that can wrap Build's entire body to camouflage himself with the local scenery, but the yellow Comic halfbody do the opposite with its flashiness when it creates highly visible Manga Effects when using its powers. The form's description as "Shinobi Entertainer" in its Transformation Name Announcement lampshades the contrast; a shinobi operates in concealment while an entertainer thrives in the spotlight.

    Music 
With color design being a big element of album covers, this trope tends to pop up a lot, be it a straight example or one that makes use of tones that closely evoke yellow and purple. Ones that make use of or at least partly evoke this trope include the following:
  • Tonight by David Bowie features Bowie's head rendered in either blue or purple, depending on the release, with butter-yellow hair and set against a primarily yellow backdrop.
  • Music For The Masses by Depeche Mode features a mostly yellow-tan backdrop to highlight the blue-purple skies in the megaphone photograph.
  • The fourth Self-Titled Album (released in the US and Canada as Security) by Peter Gabriel uses blue-yellow contrasts to highlight the chaotic nature of the cover photo, rather than to provide any visual aid as to where to direct one's attention.
  • We Can't Dance by Genesis invokes this trope to carry a day/night theme throughout the album art, featuring "day" scenes with predominantly yellow backgrounds and "night" scenes with predominantly blue and purple ones. In both cases though, blue is used to represent the silhouettes of the father and son figures that appear on the cover art.
  • Zoolook, En Attendant Cousteau, and Chronologie by Jean-Michel Jarre (the latter of which also utilizes Red/Green Contrast and Orange/Blue Contrast). The former two primarily use it to highlight a particular point of focus, those being a yellow-tinted Jarre and a yellow ear (respectively) against an indigo background, while the latter uses multiple types of color contrasts to make each figure on the cover stand out from one another and from the blue background.
  • Three of a Perfect Pair by King Crimson features an abstract reinterpretation of the Larks' Tongues in Aspic album art, with blue analogs of the sun and moon figure against a stark yellow backdrop.
  • Tubular Bells II by Mike Oldfield features a yellow version of the iconic "bent bell" icon against a blue backdrop.
  • Hot Space by Queen uses this along with Red/Green Contrast and Orange/Blue Contrast to create the Andy Warhol-inspired Musical Squares of the band member's faces against solid-color backdrops. In the case of this trope specifically, Brian May is rendered in light purple against a yellow backdrop, which also contrasts with the dark blue rendition of Freddie Mercury and the light blue backdrop for John Deacon.
  • The standard cover for Speaking in Tongues by Talking Heads features a large blue circle against a mostly yellow backdrop, as well as a purple photograph of a lounge chair in one of the corners. Some editions of the album reverse the coloring on the album, with a yellow-orange circle against a blue backdrop.
  • Rage In Eden by Ultravox does this on both the original 1981 cover (which features an indigo head against a yellow-tan backdrop, with the face of the head on a tilted gold panel) and the revised 1997 cover (which features the UV logo in yellow against a red and purple backdrop).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The masked Arachnaman persona used by Brad Armstrong in 1991 featured a costume of purple and yellow in contrast to the red and blue costume of Spider-Man, the "inspiration" for the character.

    Video Games 
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Gameplay-wise, the first game has this in the form of Bonnie and Chica, a lavender-colored rabbit mascot and a yellow chicken mascot respectively. Both display contrasting AI behavior when making their way to your office:
      • Bonnie will always try to enter your office through the left doorway. He's also the quickest and most persistent of the two, often being the first to exit the stage and capable of skipping past multiple rooms, even appearing right next to your office at the drop of a hat. While this means you have to deal with a big purple bunny trying to kill you constantly, he thankfully tends to give up and retreat rather easily once you shut the door in his face and wait for him to leave.
      • Chica will always try to approach you from the right side of your office, and doesn't pester you as much due to only travelling towards you one adjacent area at a time, making her somewhat slow. She's much more stubborn than Bonnie, however, and can wait right outside your office for longer periods of time, forcing you to drain more power keeping her at bay.
    • Throughout the franchise, the colors yellow and purple are frequently used to give prominence to the most important and/or dangerous characters in the story. Sometimes these characters are in conflict, others the character features both colors at once in some way. The original Five Nights at Freddy's, for example, has Golden Freddy, a yellow version of Freddy Fazbear that behaves much more supernaturally than the other haunted robots, appearing and disappearing at will and, in the first game, crashing your game if he kills you. On the other side is William Afton, colloquially known as "The Purple Man" for the sprite used to represent him starting from Five Nights at Freddy's 2. He is the Greater-Scope Villain of the franchise, whose indulgence in child murder kicks off the entire plot of the games, as his victims' souls are what haunt the animatronics out to kill you, and who used a yellow animatronic suit to lure children to their deaths.
    • Golden Freddy doesn't appear in Five Nights at Freddy's 3. Instead, a yellow version of Bonnie the Bunny nicknamed "Springtrap" is your main foe. However, the trope still kicks in as scenes between the levels reveal that the Springtrap is Afton the Purple Man, trapped and maimed inside the animatronic yellow rabbit.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 4 is a departure from the lore in many ways, with the Purple Man making only a brief cameo unrelated to the plot. However, purple and yellow are still prominent in Fredbear, an animatronic who replaces all the others once he becomes active, moves at fast speeds, and is second only to an all-black version of himself known only as "Nightmare". His design is similar to Golden Freddy, a yellow Freddy Fazbear, but with a purple top hat, bow tie, and buttons instead of Freddy's and Golden Freddy's black.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location has as its last big reveal a second "Purple Man", William Afton's son Michael, who seems to actually be purple due to being rendered undead following possession by a rogue animatronic, Ennard, who expelled itself from Michael. The game ends on a monologue by Michael saying the last thing he must do is track down his father, at which point Springtrap appears on the screen. In the following Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, it's heavily implied that Michael is the player character making a last stand against Springtrap, identified in the credits as William Afton, and the remaining animatronics once and for all.
    • To cap it all off, there's Ultimate Custom Night. The way it's presented means there's little concrete confirmation, but popular speculation is that the game is William Afton's Ironic Hell and that he is being tortured by one of his victims, identified only as "The One You Should Not Have Killed", and implied to be Golden Freddy, as he appears fading and twitching should you challenge all of the animatronics at their hardest difficulty and win.
  • The first Saints Row game had the Third Street Saints as the protagonists trying to clean up Stillwater and take out all other gangs, the most powerful of which is the Vice Kings, a yellow-clad gang that deals in vice-relates crimes like prostitution or gambling with a legitimate hip-hop record company as a front. They were even formed to combat Los Carnales and their leader Benjamin King used to run with the Saints' leader Julius.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Just as Mario and Luigi share a Red/Green Contrast, their rivals Wario and Waluigi share a Yellow/Purple one. Wario's yellow applies nicely to his greed and desire for gold and money. Waluigi's dark purple goes in likeness to his vanity, sense of pride and brooding nature.
    • Wario himself has a Yellow/Purple Contrast in his own color scheme too, having purple overalls alongside his yellow cap and shirt. In his case, purple signifies evil, as he's supposed to be an evil Foil to Mario, as well as poison, since he's... kinda gassy.
  • The Blacklight Barbican in Pandora's Tower juxtaposes the bright, yellow energy from the Dawn Tower with the dark, purple energy from the Dusk Tower. It serves as the core of the two aforementioned towers (which pay homage to the god of light and the goddess of darkness respectively), and is there where the protagonist battles the Dual Boss (the Master who employs light energy and the one who employ dark energy, again represented respectively by yellow and purple) of both towers. The Barbican also provides the gateway to the the Centrum (the whereabouts of the Final Boss).
  • This trope pops up in two early major conflicts in the Dynasty Warriors series. Firstly, in the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the two forces clashing are the Imperial army and the Yellow Turban rebels, who have armies clad in purple and yellow, respectively. Secondly, in the battle of Hu Lao Gate, the two forces involved are the anti-Dong Zhuo coalition, and the Imperial army, now lead by the tyrannical Dong Zhuo. The coalition is lead by Yuan Shao, who has his troops wear gold coloured armour, while the Imperial army retains their purple colour scheme.
  • In Golden Sun, the Earth element is associated with the color yellow, while its polar opposite, wind, is associated with the color purple.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Zelda's golden-blonde hair contrasts with Hilda's dark purple hair. As cross-dimensional counterparts, this also shows in Zelda's magic being associated with light while Hilda's is associated with shadow. Late in the game, it's revealed that Link and Ravio have a similar contrast.
  • Two of the Dashing Prince's many Cousins showcase this in Katamari Damacy:
    • Velvet, one of his Royal Cousins, has a violet dress with a flared skirt that makes her resemble a bell or a UFO, with a golden yellow ring around its outer hem and matching yellow for the frame around her face. She's noted to be one of the haughtiest of his cousins, priding herself on her supposed maturity and acting like an Ojou.
    • Second Cousin Miki, meanwhile, wears bright, sunshine yellow with purple tights and is a Spirited Competitor who aims to place in the top three of any contest she enters. Though she tends to only place in the top six instead, she doesn't let that get her down. This also creates a Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast between her and Velvet.

    Webcomics 
  • In Homestuck, the kingdom of light Prospit, whose job is to protect Skaia from Derse, is decked out entirely in yellow with the inhabitants in white, and players who visit Prospit in their dreams wear yellow pajamas. The dark kingdom Derse, which is at war with Prospit, is themed in purple with the inhabitants in black, with its dreamers wearing purple pajamas.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Yang is mostly associated with yellow and tan, but has noticeable purple (mostly her eyes, as well a purple sash on her left leg). In the case of her eyes, it represents the mingling of her father's blue eyes and her mother's red eyes. Taiyang notes Yang has a lot of her mother's qualities, but Yang also takes a lot after her father (and as a result, is a much better person than Raven).

    Western Animation 
  • Tasha the bossy yellow hippo and Austin the shrinking violet kangaroo from The Backyardigans. They are the two who appear least often on the show. When they do appear in an episode, it's usually as a team, such as the mountain cavemen in "Cave Party", the mad scientists in "Scared of You", the ice factory workers in "The Secret of Snow", or the tourists in "The Swamp Creature".
  • The dynamics between Chowder and Panini can be this, with Chowder as the ambitious, excitable, yet danger-prone apprentice who is abhorred by Panini's advances, and he wears purple clothing, and Panini who is a more reserved apprentice who is obsessed with Chowder, and she wears yellow clothing.
  • Darkwing Duck is a heroic character with a huge ego befitting the varying shades of purple in his outfit. His Evil Twin is the greedy Negaduck, who wears a yellow jacket (and red and black accessories).
  • A variation with Fanboy and Chum Chum. While both ditzes, Fanboy is the slightly more sensible of the duo and his costume is mostly purple with a lime green bodysuit, while Chum Chum is a joyful keet and his costume is mostly yellow with an orange shirt.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • When going on Friendship Missions, purple-coated Twilight Sparkle and yellow-coated Fluttershy go along. Both are shy but intellectual ponies, with Twilight as a socially awkward yet analytical Bookworm, and Fluttershy as a timid yet a great animal caretaker.
    • Mane-wise, blonde Applejack, and violet-haired Rarity, though polar opposites, go together on Friendship Missions with Applejack providing hard work, strength, and integrity, and Rarity providing style, charisma, and a sense of charitability.
  • The Venture Bros.: The Monarch — nominally the show's main antagonist but in practice more of a Villain Protagonist — wears a mix of shades of orange and yellow. His rival villain for the first two seasons, Phantom Limb, wears purple.


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