Unlike real life, anime characters have colored hair and some have strange and unusual shapes. Ever wondered why anime has colored hair? What are the meanings of hair colors in anime? In this article, we are going to see all about Japanese hair colors, hairstyles and shapes.
Why is anime hair colored?
The reasons are obvious, colored hair is so much cooler than regular haircuts you see on real people. Another ready is that the character definitely stands out in the crowd.
It's easier to remember characters on a show with many of them by their hair style and color. Especially useful for shows that are unlikely to sustain a steady viewer base.
In some anime, one of the only ways to distinguish characters is by hair color and style, but sometimes even that isn't enough! Some anime have simple traits and can only differentiate by the type of hair.
Hair styles and colors distinguish the character, just with a silhouette you can know which character and which anime he belongs to. Another basic reason is simple, if some did, others copied. All of this ended up becoming a trend.
The origin of colored hair came from black and white
The origin of this crazy colored hair practice in anime had its origin in the black and white drawings of manga. Like this? Manga pages are printed in black and white, this is because it was much cheaper than printing in color.
Only the manga that are popular get a precious color distribution of 1, 2 or 3 pages every now and then, or get the full color magazine cover. Since mangaka had so few opportunities to draw their characters in color, they were “hungry” for color.
Read too: The 20 Most Popular Mangakas in Japan
In the 1970s, they experimented with using every possible color in their rare color illustrations. The same character ended up appearing on different covers and issues with different colored hair.
Because mangaka Miuchi Suzue and others used so many different hair colors for the same characters over a 40-year period, many readers weren't sure which hair colors were common. Even the anime had versions with different colored hair.
Over the years, mangaka found it more worthwhile to assign a specific color to their characters' hair. So those manga that had several volumes with the same character with different hair colors ceased to exist.
Meaning of Hair Colors in Anime
For some, colors have meanings and even represent the characteristics and subconscious of people. In anime is no different, we can find some patterns in characters that have a certain hair color.
Hair colors can also be used in some way in the plot, for example Ichigo being bullied because of his unusual hair color. Sometimes color is also used to indicate some of the character's personality.
Expressing hair color symbolism is just an optional by-product. Achieving symbolism through color doesn't have to make use of hair. For this reason, do not interpret the personality of certain characters just by the color of their hair.
Let's see in detail the meaning of each color, but if we could summarize it, we would do it as follows:
- Black and brown – Natural color found in serious and realistic anime
- Pink – Childishness, alienation, naivety;
- Purple – Can suggest a high social position;
- Green – Funny characters, full of energy, active and with personality;
- Yellow – Highlights rarity, superiority, a unique feature.
- Red - Represent wildness, people who are carried away by emotion and passion.
- Blue – People who are mysterious, mystical and distant from the real world;
Black haired anime characters
Black hair can refer to firm, honest, determined, independent, mysterious, powerful, practical, solid, solitary and traditional people. We can see this in characters like Kirito from SAO and L from Death Note.
In addition to the traditional, black hair can look powerful, cruel and macabre. Although black is a dark color, it is neutral and is also associated with positive personal characteristics. They can be deep thinkers who rarely need help.
- Levi Ackerman – Attack on Titan;
- Vegeta – Dragon Ball;
- Akeno Himejima – High School DxD;
White or silver haired characters
A strange and inhuman essence surrounds the white-haired characters. They are so pure that it may seem unnatural. They are usually stubborn, skillful, serene, lucid, humble and narcissistic.
Read too: Anime with White Haired Protagonists
If the character is a woman, there is a high chance that she is magical. And if the character is a man, he can be the anti-hero. If the hair color is more gray/silver, then the character is likely to be calm, poised, logical, undercover, or flippant.
- Kaneki Ken – Tokyo Ghoul;
- Shiro – Deadman Wonderland;
- Ginko – Mushishi;
- Killua – Hunter x Hunter;
Pink Hair Characters in Anime
In Japan, the color pink implies youth and innocence – younger, cuter, and childish idols are often portrayed with pink hair or pink accessories. It can indicate a kind, benevolent, gentle, spontaneous, feminine, childish, naive and worried person.
Benevolent, young, cheerful and innocent. Yet orderly, accomplished and frustrated. Characters with pink hair can cause a positive change in others. Male characters with pink hair can be a little naughty.
- Sakura Haruno – Naruto;
- Yuno Gasai – Mirai Nikki;
- Mirai Kuriyama – Kyoukai no Kanata;
Purple haired anime characters
Purple haired characters are powerful. Your goals may revolve around prestige and material possessions. Purple-haired characters are also privileged, noble, elegant, restless, intriguing, pompous, and selfish.
They can also be calm, conflicted, gentle, intelligent, intriguing, magical and mysterious. Lighter tones, tend to be more gentle, calm and prefer not to get involved in conflicts. The dark ones are confrontational and even aggressive.
- Yato – Noragami;
- Saeko Busujima – Highschool of the Dead;
- Yuri Nakamura – Angel Beats;
- Yuki Nagato – Suzumiya Haruhi;
- Rikka Takanashi – Chunibyo;
Red or red haired characters
Characters with red hair color can be described as: passionate, adventurous, aggressive, hot headed, seductive, aggressive and of course... excited! They are more likely to be tsundere, because their emotions are super explosive!
But, these traits are mostly for girls. For boys it's a little different. Male protagonists can be quite calm, humble, and disciplined. We can mention Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail and Gaara from Naruto.
- Gaara – Naruto;
- Sora – No Game No Life;
- Erza – Fairy Tail;
- Shirayuki Hime;
- Makise Kurisu – Steins;Gate;
Blonde or yellow hair characters
The typical blonde is confident, happy, naive and stubborn. Blonde haired characters are likely foreigners. (Europeans or Americans). Despite the cliché, anime also portrays blondes as dumb, childish or selfish.
Blondes or yellow hair in anime are also usually big troublemakers. It seems that these characters have charms and attract chaos. Blonde men in anime are usually humble and pure princes.
- Misa Amane – Death Note;
- Usagi Tsukibo – Sailor Moon;
- Tsumugi Kotobuki – K-On!;
- Usui Takumi – Maid Sama;
- Kurapika – Hunter x Hunter;
- Armin – Shingeki no Kyojin;
Green haired anime characters
Green-haired characters are easygoing, trustworthy, enlightened, tolerant. On the other hand, they are poisonous, jealous, and reckless. They can be sweet, fragile, reckless, envious, loyal, mean, protective, sensitive, tolerant and toxic.
They are like mother nature and can create a calm and healing atmosphere, but they can also do the opposite. Greens may make a bad first impression, but they will side with the protagonist.
- Shintarou Midorima – Kuroko no Basket;
- Zoro Roronoa – One Piece;
- C.C. – Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion;
- Amaimon – Ao no Exorcist;
- Inveja – Fullmetal Alchemist;
- Eto Yoshimura – Tokyo Ghoul;
- Helbram (Nanatsu no Taizai;
- Izuku Midoriya – Boku no Hero Academia;
- Shintarou Midorima – Kuroko no Basket;
- Tatsumaki – One Punch-Man;
Blue haired anime characters
Blue-haired anime characters are wise, talented, mature, intuitive, and introverted. They have many hidden talents that have yet to be discovered. They are also aware of their own emotions and the emotions of others.
The darker the blue hair, the more responsible the character feels. It is very common for blue haired characters to have special abilities. They are beautiful, calm, confident, delicate, balanced, cold, impartial and rational characters.
- Shino Asada – Sword Art Online;
- Nagisa Shiota – Assassination Classroom;
- Aoba – Dramatical Murder;
- Rem – Re:Zero;
- Rin Okumura – Ao no Exorcist;
- Tenya Iida – Boku no Hero Academia;
Brown or Brown haired characters
Brown is a common color for protagonist. Some characters with brown hair may be far from normal. Brown-haired characters are approachable, comfortable, charming, consistent, sincere, and enduring.
It can refer to friendly, extreme, firm, honest, impulsive, moderate, neutral, practical, persistent and predictable characters. Friendship is something very present in these characters, they are usually protagonists of everyday anime or school.
- Light Yagami – Death Note;
- Izumi Shinichi – Kiseijuu;
- Kyon – Suzumiya Haruhi;
- Asuna – Sword Art Online;
- Taiga – Toradora;
- Suzaku – Code Geass;
Types, Hairstyles and Shapes of Hair in Anime
Usually, the most important characters in anime have different hairstyles and hair shapes, wild ends or a cool hairstyle to stand out in the crowd or among the other characters. The objective is simple, to differentiate from the others, both within the work and from other works.
Some of the characters need to stand out from the crowd, both the weird hair color and the weird hair style is a very easy way to achieve this (weird clothes are also popular).
There are infinite types and shapes of hair in anime, some have become patterns and can be found in different works. Others stand out and draw attention, what do you think about seeing some of them?
The hime or ojousama hair style of long straight hair with a set of locks or tufts in front of each ear is simply the standard hairstyle of the Japanese woman common in the Heian period.
The most common hairstyle types are ponytails which represent something common. The pigtails and pigtails styles represent childishness usually worn by tsundere . Men's ponytails have a historical background in the Samurai Era.
We recommend reading: Tsundere? Deredere? List of Japanese personalities
Short hair – Female characters who have short hair are usually tomboys who usually adopt a masculine role involving action, fighting and even science.
short afro hair – Often used to indicate characters who are gangsters or involved with the Yakuza mafia. It's not just a stereotype, yakuza members generally liked this style in the 80s.
Read too: The best female anime characters
Spiral hair – Drill bits – Drills
These characters have whorls of hair that look like a partial or full drill bit, or have side locks that look like mini drill bits. These hair drills will pierce the skies! Some of these characters are:
- Mami Tomoe – Puella Magi Madoka Magica;
- Beatrice – Re:Zero;
- Miharu Shimizu – Baka to Test;
- Yamada Elf – Eromanga Sensei;
Anti-Gravity Hair – Defy Gravity – Spiky
These characters sport an unusually vertical hairstyle that defies the laws of gravity and physics! They are quite common, they are not simple goosebumps but works of art that make use of all the gel in the world.
Usually these spiky hairs are used to show characters who need to look wild and cool. Some of these characters are:
- Senku – Dr. Stone;
- Yugi – Yugioh;
- Kenpachi Zaraki – Bleach;
- Goku Son – Dragon Ball;
- All Might – Boku no Hero;
Hair with antenna – Loose thread – Ahoge
When one or two strands of hair reach the sky, it is considered a hair antenna. A single hair antenna is also known as Ahoge [アホ毛], which literally means "idiot hair", i.e. naive and funny characters.
Antennae – Similar to Ahoge refers to a pair of antennae, two strands that come out of the character's bangs. Remember some characters like that? See below some characters with antenna on their heads:
- Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist;
- Nagisa – Clannad;
- Know – Fate;
- Konata Izumi – Luck Star;
- Meliodas – Nanatsu no Taizai;
Bread Hair – Odango – With 2 Buns
These characters have one or more buns of hair on their heads. In Japanese it is called Odango which literally means round like the Japanese sweetie. The buns are placed approximately 45 degrees from the top of the head. It is often associated with Chinese characters. Some characters are:
- Tenten – Naruto;
- Euphemia – Code Geass;
- Usagi Tsukino – Sailor Moon;
- Mei Chang – Fullmetal Alchemist;
- Himiko Toga – Boku no Hero;
Hair with Ribbons and Bows
Usually anime characters have one or more ribbons in their hair, either as a headband or to tie a ponytail, form a bow or hang them freely. Do you know any of these characters below? Some are:
- Gasai Yuno – Mirai NIkki;
- Suzumiya Haruhi;
- Silica – Sword Art Online;
- Chitoge – Nisekoi;
Rapunsel's Hair – Too Long
Like the famous fairy tale heroine Rapunzel, these characters have extremely long hair that grows far beyond what you would normally expect from the average person – at the knees, feet or even trailing on the floor!
Long, flowing hair for men was considered symbols of freedom and nobility. You hair exaggeratedly long characters of many characters accentuate their character of freedom and strength, giving them an aura of movement, lightness and mysticism.
- Shiro – No Game no Life;
- Chi – Chobits;
- Hatsune Miku;
- Mimi Usa – Kodomo no Jinkan;
Is Japanese Anime Hair Unrealistic?
For some anime characters spiky hair is unrealistic, but did you know that there is a kernel of truth in all this? Yes, some Japanese people have looked in the mirror and seen their hair defying gravity.
The Japanese are primarily descended from the Yamato ethnicity, but many also include roots from other Native Japanese ethnicities (such as Emishi, Hayato, Kumaso, Ainu, Ryukyuan, and others. Some even have English and Scottish roots.
When styled, Japanese hair is more likely to retain its shape for longer periods of time than other ethnicities. This allows many Japanese people to have stylized hair thanks to its texture.
We recommend reading: Japanese Hair - Unraveling Its Origin
Strands of hair that protrude horizontally in front of the ears and loose strands of hair that defy gravity by curving upwards from the top of the head are realistic natural hair formations, some Japanese people simply look in the mirror and encounter these characteristics.
For this reason anime are quite different in their hair styles. As much as the Japanese need to follow a pattern, straight and black hair because of schools, those who follow alternative fashions easily manage to style their hair.