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This trope existed at least as far back as Ancient Rome, where only the Patrician class was allowed to wear the expensive color Tyrian Purple. Then purple became a common color for royal robes in Europe.
Some time later, purple became associated with either femininity, or fell on the evil side of Good Colors, Evil Colors (like The Joker). But for those that thought Evil Is Cool, it just helped purple be seen as a cool color. Then it became a stereotypical color for pimps, and it was definitely cool again. Can be considered a Yin-Yang Bomb when you consider that purple is red and blue combined.
This trope comes into play if it's clothing or an item on the cool or powerful character, whether it's a hat, weapon, or Badass Cape.
Now purple is also seen as one of the "girly" shades. If that comes into play, then this trope overlaps with Real Men Wear Pink.
This is not just when any character who isn't a wimp wears purple. It has to represent power or coolness.
- In the tv series of Black Rock Shooter, Insane Black★Rock Shooter has a purple flame instead of the titular character's blue. She is also Nigh Invulnerable to the conventional fights of the series.
- Mewtwo from Pokémon is colored purple, as opposed to Mew's (Mewtwo's template) pink.
- Tieria Erde from Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
- Angelo Sauper from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn pilots purple his Rozen Zulu is even more powerful it took down lots of federation suits
- Future Trunks from Dragonball Z wears purple jacket and has purple hair.
- Piccolo wears purple outfit and has purple blood. His pupil, Son Gohan,, also wears purple.
- Tenshinhan originally wears purple pants. He ditched them for green in DBZ.
- Ginyu, captain and most powerful member of the Ginyu Force, has purple skin.
- In Berserk, the Empire of Tudor has several themed armies that are identified by both a color and an animal, such as the Black Rams and Blue Whales. The name of their most powerful and esteemed army? The Purple Rhinos.
- Psylocke, the badass ninja girl of the X Men, wears purple (in addition to her purple hair).
- The Huntress, a part of the Batman comics' Bat Family, is almost always depicted wearing purple. She's one of the only members of the Bat Family that doesn't wear all black, as well as one of the only females.
- The third Batgirl, Stephanie Brown, also has purple on her costume, and as Spoiler it's the primary color. She seems to fit the "feminine" aspect of this trope.
- Barbara Gordon's Batgirl uniform as of the 2011 reboot also has purple accents, though considerably less than Stephanie's.
- Catwoman occasionally wore purple as a part of her Spy Catsuit.
- Talia al Ghul, similar to Catwoman, is an on-again, off-again lover of Batman who is a sometimes a hero and sometimes a villain, and occasionally wears purple as the primary color of her costume.
- Starfire of the Teen Titans wears bejeweled purple leotards and monokinis.
- The Hulk has purple shorts
- Black Orchid, a super-powered detective, wears an all-purple superhero costume.
- In Watchmen, Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias' trademark colours are purple and gold.
- Samuel L. Jackson requested, and got, a purple lightsaber when Attack of the Clones was filmed. The color was written into the series as coming from a lightsaber crystal that was extremely rare and hard to actually acquire - pretty much the kind of crystal only a Samuel L. Jackson-type Jedi could hope to acquire.
- The Senate Chamber in Star Wars is also supposed to be purple (it was, according to one guidebook, the only color that no culture thought meant anger, war, or sadness).
- The Evil Queen from Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs primarily wears a purple dress.
- In Gor only Ubars (city rulers) and their family may wear purple.
- Inverted in the Sardar Mountains, the lair of the Priest-Kings (the gods of Gor), it is the slaves who wear purple.
"Why do the slaves wear purple?" I asked Misk. "That is the color of the robes of a Ubar."
- In Saga by Conor Kostick, everyone in Saga is ranked according to color based on their financial status, with the majority of the population being red and orange. The higher the color, the nicer the buildings such as malls/parks/etc you get to enter, and you have more say in the city's laws. The highest-ranking people hold violet cards, and get to wear purple to represent their status.
- In The Seventh Tower, violet is the most powerful color in the light magic spectrum. Not coincidentally, it's also the color of the highest of the seven orders of the Chosen.
- In Kamen Rider OOO, the purple Core Medals power both the hero's Super Mode and the series' Big Bad. They are also the only thing capable of destroying the other Core Medals.
- In Kamen Rider Ryuki, the sociopathic Takeshi Asakura/Kamen Rider Ouja wears purple armor, and remained the greatest threat in the Rider War for much of the series.
- From Super Sentai and Power Rangers:
- Wolzard from Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Koragg the Knight Wolf from Power Rangers Mystic Force; The Dragon and a Black Knight that could have killed the Rangers several times over if his honor hadn't led him to rationalize that they're Not Worth Killing. Though when he has a Heel Face Turn at the end, his armor goes from purple to red.
- In Juken Sentai Gekiranger/Power Rangers Jungle Fury, the first of the team's two Sixth Rangers is colored purple (and incidentally also wolf-themed like Wolzard/Koragg is).
- In Babylon 5 one of the two Drazi 'political parties' wear purple sashes. The other party wears green sashes. Each Drazi is assigned to one of the two parties at random, and then the two sides fight. The party in power is decided by which one of them wins.
- Purple is the signature colour of Prince, and he has typically associated it with being cool. He even has the Fan Nickname "His Purple Badness".
- The One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater is fortunately more friendly than he looks.
- Unless you happen to be a purple person; he'll eat your ass for that.
- The Undertaker wore purple gloves and ankle guards during the early to mid nineties.
- John Cena wore a purple shirt around late 2010 to mid 2011.
- Many wrestlers wore purple wrestling gears from time-to-time such as Edge, Christian, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Triple H, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, etc.
- WWE Diva Ivory overlapped this with Graceful Ladies Like Purple as while she called herself a lady, she was also very Badass. 95% of her outfits were purple and she even carried a purple scarf to the ring with her in her early career.
- WOO WOO WOO, You know it!
- (Adrian) Neville, former NXT Champion, debuted on WWE Raw in purple attire, and he even used purple pyrotechnics in his entrance.
- The Purple Dragons are the valiant knights of Cormyr in the Forgotten Realms Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Setting.
- In Paranoia, Indigo and Violet are way high up on the security clearance spectrum, just below Ultraviolet.
- In Japanese Kabuki, purple make up is used to identify the character as a royal or a nobleman.
- In Transformers, Galvatron, and a number of other Decepticons. Heck, the Decepticon insignia itself is traditionally purple.
- Megatron of Beast Wars is very purple, very cunning, and very powerful.
- Megatron of Beast Wars is very purple, very cunning, and very powerful.
- Artix Entertainment has some examples
- In Dragon Fable, Drakath subverts this trope until he becomes a strong purple dragon and Nythera plays it straight.
- In Adventure Quest Worlds, Chaos itself is purple Drakath is The Champion of Chaos and has Purple Armor some of The Chaos Lords are purple as well as some who are infected with chaos Desoloth himself is powerful and is purple until he became Desolich but he did have purple eyes Nythera herself her dragon form is even purple.
- In Mechquest Has The Chrono Corrupter Mech which is more overpowering and purple there is also Teravolt
- Purple is the gang color of the Third Street Saints in the Saints Row series.
- EVERY piece of technology built by the Covenant Empire is purple, from their vehicles to their starships.
- Action Girl Virginia's fuchsia Pimped-Out Dress in Wild Arms 3.
- The Administrator and Miss Pauling in Team Fortress 2. This is especially significant, given that the mercenaries all belong to RED or BLU and wear the appropriate colour - The Administrator and Miss Pauling control both of them, and so wear a combination of both colours.
- Blaze the Cat from the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
- The fuchsia outfit worn by the showgirl in Bloody Good Time.
- Magus from Chrono Trigger wears a combination of purple and (depending on the artwork) a red or blue cape.
- The final and most powerful weapon in Quake 4 is the Dark Matter Gun, whose ammo and shots glow with a purple aura.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Master Sword has a purple hilt and is much more powerful than its previous Goddess Sword forms.
- For some classes of monsters in Nethack, the most powerful species in the class is purple: demon lords, titans, dwarf kings, elven kings, mind flayers, and killer bee queens.
- Spyro the Dragon is purple, and in The Legend of Spyro continuity it's a sign of legendary power and being able to learn all Elemental Powers, not just one.
- Played with in Touhou: the Colorful Theme Naming and color schemes for the Yakumo "family" sorts its three members in order by power, corresponding to the color's light frequency: Chen (orange) is the weakest, Ran (indigo) is stronger, and Yukari (purple) is not only the most powerful of the trio, but one of the most powerful beings in Gensokyo.
- Wario is a massively strong Fat Bastard who regularly breaks through solid stone; he's probably the strongest human in the series. He wears purple overalls.
- In the MMORPG RuneScape, the main color of the god Zaros is purple, and Zaros is generally thought to be one of the most powerful beings in the game.
- Stern and Dearche from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable.
- Speaking of purple dragons, the most dangerous dragon in Heroes of Might and Magic games is the fairy dragon, who is purple. This cute abomination can cast very high level spells before your army can even move.
- Complains Of Names from Goblins has purple IME. It becomes really badass after he becomes part demon and his IME contains a huge purple demon tail.
- Tristan of Angel Moxie wears a dark violet Badass Longcoat.
- In Homestuck, purple is literally power, since the upper classes of troll society have purplish blood. Feferi and her ancestor Her Imperious Condescension are the only two trolls whose blood is tyrian purple and are as high as it gets.
- The Hero of Rage clothes are purple-ish.
- Among the clans in Drowtales the Sharen are among the only ones to wear purple, befitting their status as rulers of the Empire. The former Empress Diva'ratrika in particular is fond of it, as is her eldest daughter, Snadhya'rune.
- Thr Touched and The Sovereign appear with purple energy and purple lined text in Captain SNES.
- When Rarity plays a princess in a play in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, she wears a purple royal gown.
- The main character Twilight Sparkle is a purple unicorn who's a magic user who won the Superpower Lottery and isn't limited to a specialized discipline like other unicorns; her discipline is magic itself.
- Shining Armor, Twilight's brother, wears guard armor that is purple in color.
- Skeletor of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe wore purple clothing and a purple hood over his skull-face, certainly falling on the evil side of the trope.
- In Storm Hawks, Action Girl Starling has a purple-glowing weapon, making her stand out visually; most weapon colours in the series tend to be blue, red, or yellow.
- The eponymous hero of Darkwing Duck wears a purple outfit. Although it seems to be more of an Invoked Trope, as he only follows this trope about half the time.
- Goliath from Gargoyles is purple and leader of his clan.
- As noted above, historically purple is associated with royalty, because only the rich could afford the expensive Tyrian purple dye extracted from Mediterranean sea snails. For example, the coronation robes of the United Kingdom are purple.
- In the nineteenth century, the invention of the cheap synthetic purple dye mauvine changed this: suddenly everyone could buy purple clothes, and did, sparking a brief fashion craze. Because of this, purple was used as a colour by some republican and feminist groups, because "what had once been only the province of royalty is now available to all the people, and the same should be true of political power".
- Subverted in Spain, where purple has been associated with anti-royal populist political movements since the Comunero revolt of the fifteenth century.
- Because of this trope, purple is a color that job seekers sometimes wear in order to appear confident and powerful. On the other hand, this can sometimes come off too strongly.
- Of the visible colors, violet (purple) is the highest frequency, and thus the most energetic (and thus literally the most powerful, over any given span of time).