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Thread: Anime Hair Color and It's Meaning / Symbolism

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    Default Anime Hair Color and It's Meaning / Symbolism

    One of the more unusual traits of Anime and Manga is the varied and often unnatural hair colors. While the trend was probably introduced one day by a bored colorist, it's taken on an casual symbolism of its own, informed by the culture it developed in. While I think the symbolism is still fairly consistent, there are certainly no hard rules to this, so take my interpretations with grain of salt.
    Here is a basic summary of what I've learned from browsing the web, conversations with other fans, and by own brief stint watching anime:


    Black: Neutral. generally positive connotations -- keep in mind that this is the normal hair color in Japan; all other hair colors are "unnatural" in that culture, and consequently somewhat suspicious.

    Blonde: This hair color has two diametrically opposite interpretations, although which one applies in a particular case should be relatively clear.
    1. obvious power and intelligence. often calculating and self-serving.
    2. ditzy and immature. accident-prone.
    in either case, blonde-haired characters usually mean trouble.

    Brown: Nothing screams "I'm a stock character" like having brown hair. there are of course exceptions.

    Red: In women, red hair generally connotes a brazen, confident character -- often having special abilities. male characters with red hair tend to be quiet and humble, but skilled fighters.

    Grey:
    Grey hair usually connotes a character with a hidden power that will be revealed later in the series. these characters are usually very intelligent and often (although not always) evil.

    White: On younger characters, full, white hair gives a sense of dignity and style. on older characters, it may just mean they're ... well, old.

    Blue: Likable characters. shy, sweet, smart, funny. one notable exception is the Kento of Samurai Troopers (sometimes translated Ronin Warriors), who is the exact opposite. Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion might be another example. She's shy, but at least outwardly doesn't display most of the other characteristics.

    Green:
    These characters are usually good at heart, but misguided. Seen in an antagonist, it often means the character will defect to the side of the "good guys" by the end of the series. Sympathetic characters (good guys) tend to be rogue-ish but goodhearted.

    Mononoke Hime didn't really divide most of the characters into a "good guys" and "bad guys" (with some exceptions), but I think this interpretation can still be applied to San in an oblique sense.

    Pink: Generally only seen in female characters, girls with pink hair are cheerfully cute, often to the point of being downright obnoxious (as if you needed hair color to pick up on that).

    Purple: Your guess is as good as mine; there just aren't that many examples to work from. characters tend to be upbeat, but other than that, it's hard to generalize.

    Do you have something to add here? Do you disagree, or have counterexamples? (Am I full of crap? ^^

    "I hope it becomes popular." "What?" "Senjougahara Fascination!"





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    For what I've seen the color chart is pretty dead on, Blue would have to be my favorite xD Maya from Vandread says it all

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    Default Re: Anime Hair Color and It's Meaning / Symbolism

    Wow, that was really interesting. Although I don't really have anything to add since I feel that your colour char is pretty accurate. Maybe Tsumugi from K-ON might be an exception I think. She's not really a ditzy and accident prone sort of girl.

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    Default Re: Anime Hair Color and It's Meaning / Symbolism

    It certainly was an interesting read, I will try to keep it in mind for future watchings of anime ;D I can think of two characters of the top of my head with red hair that would fit that description. Makise Kurisu from Steins Gate and Erza from Fairy Tail, ooh and Kagura from Gintama! Allen Schezar from Vision of Escaflowne has blonde hair but does not fit the description of either one of those two opposites. Gintoki from Gintama has light blue hair but he certainly isnt shy, he is funny though xD haha.

    this was fun ;D thinking back on characters hair colour and figure out if they fit the description or not ;P Maybe ill add some more later on if I continue thinking on it or just simply notice it while watching :>
    Last edited by IluvAllison; 03-07-2013 at 12:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Anime Hair Color and It's Meaning / Symbolism

    When I watched Fullmetal Alchemist this thought ran through my head as well. Edward Elric and Alex Armstrong are two blonde males (Alphonse was too i suppose) and Winry and Riza are blonde females. I thought for Alex and Ed that they seemed more western in their personalities as in more confident and cocky to a degree than characters like Roy Mustang (who i thought looked Japanese more so than the other characters). Scar definitely fits the gray hair description. Envy has green hair but I figured that was just because she was green with envy.

    The blonde females of the show both like who i think are the main characters (Ed is the main and Roy is the main State Alchemist) but Idk how much their hair color plays into their personalities.

    Misato has purple hair in NGE and fits your fun description. Asuka also fits your red haired description.

    I figured hair color was nothing more than a way to quickly and easily differentiate characters but I also believe there is a certain personality flavor added with hair colors. Ill be sure to keep it in mind whenever starting new shows!!
    Last edited by GuiltySpark; 03-07-2013 at 03:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Anime Hair Color and It's Meaning / Symbolism

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post, it definitely does get you thinking about the color and how it ties into the characters traits, it definitely gets me thinking more about it that's for sure!

    "I hope it becomes popular." "What?" "Senjougahara Fascination!"





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