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They're all Japanese. Even the redhead. Yeah.

Some characters have hair colors that are possible, but very uncommon for the setting, like blond and orange in feudal Japan. The show is otherwise realistic, but the writers don't want all the characters to have the same hair colors.

This trope shows up mostly in Asian works, since hair colors other than black or dark brown are still quite rare there, but is by no means limited to that part of the world. A black character with blonde hair would be a good example.

Usually, this is at least a little justified. The character might have foreign parents, or dye their hair, or something more interesting. Other times, the reasons are left to the viewer's imaginations.

When hair colors become humanly impossible, we have You Gotta Have Blue Hair.

Examples of Implausible Hair Color include:

Anime & Manga

  • Vision of Escaflowne has Hitomi Kanzaki, who has light brown hair and green eyes.
  • Rurouni Kenshin, the redheaded ronin from 19th century Japan. Though redheads are known to exist naturally in Japan, they're still incredibly rare.
    • This is lampshaded in the first episode where one of the characters identifies Kenshin as the Battosai because of his red hair and the scar on his cheek.
  • Naru from Love Hina has red hair.
  • Azumanga Daioh has Chiyo (pictured above with black-haired Osaka and Kagura), who is a redhead. Most of the other characters have black hair, though, which makes this at least at a little more plausible than the other examples.
    • Given Chiyo's mysterious parentage...
    • Natural Japanese red-heads do exist, but they are extremely rare, and no one brings attention to Chiyo's hair color even though it's something the cast should notice as outlandish, even if it is plausible. Then again, she's also a child prodigy, which is also extremely rare.
  • Ah, My Goddess! would fit into plausible hair, except that one of Those Two Guys is blond. Aside from him, all characters in Ah My Goddess either have black hair or are goddesses or, in a few cases, both. Considering that one guy is the one human who has blond hair, it's pretty close to actual Japanese demographics. (He's also a leather-and-shades-wearing punk biker with spark plugs for earrings; it's likely that he bleaches it -- see the notes for Midori no Hibi below.)
  • Digimon generally has hair colors that naturally occur on humans (except for a few, like purple-haired Miyako), but for a nearly all-Japanese cast, we're talking an inordinately high amount of blond, red, and brown hair.
    • The blonds of Digimon Adventure, Yamato and Takeru, are part-French, and Touma is part-Austrian, so that, at least, is reasonable. The same explanation doesn't seem to be the case for the other blonds present in the series, Yamaki, Izumi, Kiriha, and Yuu (the latter of whom has a brunette sister).
    • Do Jou, Ken, and Jianliang have black hair stylized to appear as blue, or is it outright dark blue/indigo? We may never know.
    • Let's not forget the Digimon Emperor and his spiked hair, which is not one but TWO shades of blue! It's somewhat justified as it's the result of his costume in the Digital World which disintegrates upon his Villainous Breakdown, but his real hair is still an obvious indigo, so...
  • Allen Walker of D.Gray-man has naturally white hair. However, this is justified as it's the result of intense psychological trauma, his original hair color being brown.
  • Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer has a few blondes here and there amongst the black and brown. (The outrageous hair colours are reserved for the Angels, who are all robots.)
  • Tamaki, Renge, and Hani from Ouran High School Host Club all have blond hair, and the Hitachiin twins are both redheads.
    • Tamaki is half-French and Renge is full French. They, at least, have a reasonable explanation.
      • Renge is at least half-Japanese on her father's side. Just look at her surname: Houshakuji.
    • The twins have brown hair in the manga.
    • Honey's hair is more of a very, very light brown. Renge's hair is more of a light brown, as well. And, Tamaki's hair was originally also light brown before the anime changed it to blond to emphasize his foreign heritage.
  • Mai and Ayako from Ghost Hunt are redheads, while Takigawa has brown hair. (John Brown is Australian and blond.) It is implied, at least in Mai's case, that she dyed her hair.
  • Midori no Hibi has plausible brown or black for all characters except the leads, blonde Seiji and greenheaded Midori. However, Seiji having brown hair in flashbacks implies that he dyes it, leaving Midori the only character with an impossible hair colour. Her real body has hair a darker shade of green. (By the way, the Japanese word for green is "midori".)
    • Seiji may be a yankii. Anyway, in many anime, having blond hair for a male japanese character would be a short cut to saying "This guy here is a delinquent!"
  • Most of the Fruits Basket cast has either typical black/brown hair or blond/red hair. Some of the Zodiac members have more unusual hair colors, but this is due to their curse, and others will remark about the unusual color.
    • This is lampshaded several times. The most hysterical lampshade would probably be when the student council president demanded that Hatsuharu show him physical proof that that was his natural hair color...and Hatsuharu complied. By dragging him into the nearby bathroom.
    • In the manga, Kyo's homeroom teacher prevents him from skipping class by threatening him with a box of black hair dye.
  • Practically all the main characters of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro have blond or silver hair, although in many (but not all cases), this is to show either that character has criminal connections (dyed blond hair is common in Japanese street gangs) or is not human.
  • Ultra Maniac has a few people with blonde hair. Nina is justified because she's a witch, but on normal people, it's a bit jarring.
  • The characters in X 1999 all have fairly typical black or brown hair, but Kotori and her mother both have inexplicable wavy blonde hair.
  • There are a surprising number of auburn-haired Japanese in Martian Successor Nadesico, but it's otherwise realistic if you consider blue or purple hair to be stylized black, and you remember that Ryoko and Inez are both dye-jobs (and Inez's nationality is pretty vague anyway). Ruri gets a pass for being a Rei Expy (see below).
  • Akagi Shigeru of Akagi and his body-double Hirayama Yukio both have silvery gray hair, despite being fairly young. No one in the series thinks it's strange at all.
  • Baccano! has all but one character that keeps it away from probable hair colors (very few have black hair, but most of the cast is either American or European) -- Sylvie Lumiere. She's mentioned to be silver-haired in the books too, so we can't even claim that she's a stylized blond.
  • Some versions of Area 88 give the lead character blonde hair for no readily apparent reason, though it could be quasi-justified by him being a Heroic Bastard.
  • The Medicine Seller in Mononoke has very pale blond hair in feudal Japan, which, like his Facial Markings and Pointy Ears, goes inexplicably unnoticed by those around him.
    • There's also the blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman from the Zashiki-Warashi arc.
  • Misa in Death Note, though it's possible she dyes it.
    • For that matter, Light has light brown.
      • And Near's is snow-white. There's no particular reason to believe he's Japanese, but it's not substantially more plausible for a Westerner.
      • Fan theory states that he's albino, which could theoretically make him Japanese, but this raises the question of why his eyes aren't red.
      • Most Albinos don't have red eyes.
  • In Sailor Moon, Usagi and Minako both have blond hair, while Makoto has auburn hair.
    • Chibi-Usa has pink hair. Her mother is blonde, her father has black hair. Not only does she have an odd hair colour, but neither of her parents share her hair colour. What has Sailor Moon been up to?
      • There is an actual reason for Chibi-Usa's pink hair. In the original manga designs, Usagi was going to have pink hair herself. Though that decision was scrapped, Chibi-Usa's pink hair remained.
  • Bleach:
  • Soul Eater has a variety of hair colours ranging from the implausible to the impossible. An example of the former would be Maka's hair, in that her mother is suggested to be Japanese and her father has bright red hair (worth noting that the other Japanese women do have black hair). Maka's own hair is more a light brown.
  • Lampshaded in Sket Dance in the online dating plot arc, where Himeko and Bossun become e-mail sweethearts without knowing it. Since Himeko told Bossun through e-mail that her hair is dark (and it's otherwise blond), when they are about to meet each other for the first time, she dyes her hair black to keep the masquerade. When Bossun (not knowing why she is at the meeting place) asks her why she dyed her hair, she answers that it's none of his business and that it's anyway unnatural for a Japanese to have blond hair.
  • In Weiss Kreuz, Aya's hair is bright red, and Yoji and Omi are both blond. Yoji's might be bleached, but flashbacks indicate that Aya and Omi's hair colors are most likely natural (and their other family members are all dark-haired).
  • Revy from Black Lagoon has has purplish-black hair. Hair dye may be involved.
  • Almost every character in Saiyuki, making the Chinese have rainbow hair and the Western foreigners have silver hair when they're only 19 years old.
  • Sage/Seiji Date in Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers is blonde yet explained to be from the prominent Japanese Samurai family of Date Masamune.
  • Early artwork of Yuki's boyfriend in Wandering Son had him with blond hair, while everyone else in the manga has realistic colors. The next volumes clear it up, giving him brown hair.
  • Mariko from Elfen Lied has blond hair in the manga, despite both her parents being Japanese with realistic hair colors.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni is full of examples, especially for a cast that's (supposedly) pure-bred Japanese.
    • There seems to be a trend with red hair: both Battler and Ange share the same dark red hair color, but their parents have different hair colors (might be disputed, since Battler's mother isn't ever described in detail and isn't even his real mother). Eva is a Fiery Redhead, and Maria shares the brown-red hair color.
    • Kyrie has white hair, which no one questions. Note that her skin tone is the same as the other women, so she's probably only a White-Haired Pretty Girl, or her hair turned white really early. At the very end of the story, Battler's hair also goes white, which symbolizes his acceptance of that fact that she was his real mother.
    • Natsuhi has Multicolored Hair that starts out as light brown, goes to brown, and ends with (you guessed it!) red.
    • Krauss and Rosa both have really light brown hair.
    • Natsuhi's daughter, Jessica, is the only (human) character in the cast to have blonde hair.
  • Eyeshield 21: For all its wackiness, is actually pretty good about hair colors. Most of the cast either has brown or black hair, and those who don't clearly dye their hair (they all have black eye brows). However, there are still a few exceptions in the cast; most notably, Taka's been a white-haired pretty boy since childhood, Agon was light-haired as a child, and Sakuraba's hair ranges from light brown to blonde.


  • The main villain of Demolition Man (played by Wesley Snipes) is a black man with blond hair. No explanation for this is ever given.


  • In A Game of Thrones, the three children of King Robert Baratheon all have blond hair, even though Robert is dark-haired and every other child ever born to a Baratheon and Lannister (all of the Lannisters are blond, including Robert's wife Cersei) has had dark hair. The children are later revealed to actually be the offspring of the queen's brother Jaime. Cersei hated her husband and hardly ever slept with him, but had carried on a sexual relationship with her twin from childhood.

Live Action TV

  • It was lampshaded in The Nanny. Grandma Yetta frequently mentioned that it was odd that the dark-haired Max had three blond children.

Video Games

  • Every girl in the original arcade of The Idolmaster has dark brown or black hair. Except Yayoi, whose hair is red with no explanation. Later, when the game was ported to the 360, some of the girls' hair became dark blue (like Chihaya) or dark purple (Azusa), but that can be considered stylized black, while the brown haired girl's hair lightened. Then, they introduced Miki, who has...blonde hair. Turns out, she dyes it. When Idolm@ster 2 came out, they added Takane, whose silver hair remains unexplained.


  • Pretty much all the main characters of Megatokyo. This is tricky to spot because nearly all the strips are black-and-white, but you can see it in the rare coloured strips and book covers. Kimiko has a light-brown-blonde colour. Erika's hair is orange-red. Largo's hair is the same colour as Erika's (a bit darker in some illustrations). Ping's hair changes colour but is usually very pale. Miho's hair is purple, but given who she is, it may not be natural.
    • Ping is a robot video game accessory from Sony, so hers is relatively excusable.
    • Largo and Piro are similarly excusable, seeing as they're American and just currently living in Japan.

Western Animation

  • On Avatar: The Last Airbender, Suki has red/auburn hair despite practically the entire Avaverse being an Asian Fantasy Counterpart Culture.
    • It's definitely not red--it's more of an auburn or even sienna (some kind of "warm" brown), and in some episodes, it looks like a darker, more ordinary brown.
  • Chris Griffin of Family Guy has blond hair, despite the fact that his father's hair is brown and his mother's a redhead. None of his grandparents have blond hair either. His hair probably stems from the original design for his mother Lois, who was a blonde until they changed it.
  • Violet from The Incredibles has long raven black hair while both her father and younger brother have yellow hair and her mother has brown hair. It's possible that her parents carried a black recessive gene.
  • Coraline's parents both have dark brown hair while her own hair is blue.

Real Life

  • With current Japanese culture being quite Western-inspired, it's not uncommon for Asian girls to dye their hair. Also, Asians (especially Koreans) can have light brown/dark blonde hair, although it's very rare. South Asian people, like the Kalash, Nuritani and Tajik, can have light blond hair. Hell, even blond Mongols exist.