Color Failure

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

In Real Life people can turn pale when ill or shocked. In Anime they can go grayscale. These events are always played for comedy and characters once grayscale they can be unresponsive or completely frozen in place.

See also Blue with Shock and Blank White Eyes, artistically different and most of the time less extreme versions of this. Compare Deliberately Monochrome.

Examples of Color Failure include:

Anime and Manga

  • Hidamari Sketch, Sae (and Hiro) do this when Yuno and Miyako first mention that Yoshinoya is their teacher.
  • School Rumble: Harima does this after a rush to complete one of his manga, in a Shout-Out to a certain boxing anime.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Poor Chiyo-Chan gets like this after one ride with Yukari, who Drives Like Crazy, and it basically shows that she's gone through a very traumatic experience. She goes white again the first time the "Yukari-mobile" gets mentioned after the aforementioned trip.
    • Yukari does it when she is informed that she just effervesced into the wrong class.
    • Kagura, upon realization that there are actually quite a few grades on the test that far surpass her own.
    • After Minamo is reprimanded by Yukari, of all people, for interfering with the girls' studies, she sits in the corner with her knees to her chest and without color for the rest of the evening.
  • K-On! shows this many times with Mio, and once with the entire band.
  • Fruits Basket
  • Kyouran Kazoku Nikki: Teika does it out of shock/surprise.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: usually to Tamaki, but most of the characters have had one of these moments.
    • One episode (the one with the Genre Savvy "reverse harem" girl) had all of them do this after she calls them so.
  • FLCL
  • Lucky Star: Hiyori whites out and slowly dissolves away after staying up all night to beat a deadline.
    • And Anime Tencho turns Minoru white in a Lucky Channel segment. This is a pun, as a literal translation of "Shiraishi" is "Whitestone."
    • The entire group of four main characters has a Mass "Oh Crap" version of this when Tsukasa asks why a certain dog command is called "chin-chin" (Japanese children's word for penis).
  • Happens to Yuki and his sister and father in the Gravitation anime when Shuichi shows up in a hideous dress and makeup, pretending to be Yuki's fiancee.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Index and Aisa do this (plus Thunder Rage) when Komoe starts happily talking about how Touma was a naughty boy, and how "various things" happened. "Another one?" "That bastard."
    • Komoe-sensei gets another one when she sees her class wrecked after a fight.
  • Soul Eater: When Excalibur arrives in the Death Room in episode 46, several seconds pass of Shinigami, Yumi and Spirit in color failure...until they turn back to normal and promptly resume their assessment of the ongoing mission, ignoring Excalibur's repeated statements of "Fool!".
    • Earlier on in the series, Black*Star goes through this multiple times while trying to overcome a jar of water that sucks out your soul.
  • This frequently occurs for comedic effect in the Mahoromatic series.
  • At one point, Nako and Uruka of Steel Angel Kurumi 2 are being chased by a giant statue of Buddha. It Makes Sense in Context. Sort of.
  • This happens to Taiga a few times in Toradora!!, such as when she see her crush Kitamura naked. Also, all the boys in class 2C end up this way when the person who led their campaign to unite and outvote their competition on what to do for their school festival ruined the very same campaign by doing a lottery draw instead of majority vote.
  • It happens to Itsuki in SHUFFLE! when the main character gets a higher test score than him.
  • This happens a few times in Chrono Crusade. In one instance, Chrono does this when Rosette calls Sister Kate an "ugly old hag", in another Rosette does this when Chrono faints into Satella's breasts.
  • Kurimu in Student Council's Discretion, lampshaded.[context?]
  • Happens a lot in Ninin ga Shinobuden, usually to Kaede.
  • In Naruto, Sakura does this when Pakkun notes that they use the same shampoo.
  • Keroro Gunsou has this happen to Dororo whenever he's driven to the Corner of Woe. It also happens to Keroro in episode 3 when he uses the "Space Plant Dreaming Alpha" to generate some pleasing hallucinations. The latter is lampshaded in the dub, when Tamama remarks that one of the side effects of the plant is "pigment loss".
  • In the first episode of Full Metal Panic!? Fumoffu!, Kaname exhibits this when Sousuke reveals that he took the gang leader's kid brother hostage.
  • One Piece: When Garp reveals the uh... family circumstances of the Monkey family, then remarks he probably said a bit too much, he asks everyone to please forget what he just said, every marine there, the entire Strawhat crew and everyone nearby simply freezes and goes white with shock.
  • America in Axis Powers Hetalia after he finally gets a look at his own weight.
  • Rozen Maiden has this happen when Suiseiseki steals Hina Ichigo's strawberry. Suiseiseki turns around and claims that Hina Ichigo stole from her. Cue Hina Ichigo turning white as Suiseiseki starts fake crying to gain sympathy.
  • In some of its more comedic moments, the Pokémon anime does this often. One good example was when Marilyn (who's obsessed with cute Pokémon) didn't think Dawn's Piplup was cute. Piplup ended up pulling an example of this trope and staying like that for the rest of the scene.
  • In Eureka 7, protagonist Renton not only suffers color failure, but emits a color failure field extending about a foot around his body when his crush's adopted children brutally cut down his "compatibility" with her - in front of her.
  • Nichijou its standard fare for nearly everyone to get this sometimes even combined with Blue with Shock.
  • A common reaction of anyone who hears trivia from a mameshiba
  • In Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!, Makabe, one of the game research club members, suffers a particularly brutal/hilarious one after Sena, one of the other members, blurts out that she has no trouble fantasizing about Yaoi, and then says that she dreamt about Makabe getting gang-raped by the entire club the night before. While it shocks the entire club upon hearing that, poor Makabe turns completely white, and a few scenes later, still hasn't recovered from it.
  • Every time Gilbert sees a cat in Pandora Hearts.
    • Oz gets one after Elliot spoils him on his favorite book.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys
    • The boys' reaction when Mei finds Tadakuni using her skirt (plus a few other items) in High School Boys and Skirts.
    • Again in Episode 2 when Tadakuni and Yasunori discover Nago can look pretty in a convex mirror.
    • Yanagin discovered in High School Girls are Funky -- Ramen that NAGO didn't even knew it was her who was making a duel—despite winning over Yanagin twice.


  • Five Hundred Days of Summer has an epic one. It also doubles as a Heroic BSOD.
  • Bandit Queen has a scene which washes out to nearly all white during a scene with the Queen exacting some revenge on the Thakur.
  • This is generally the effect of the arsenal of the Blue Meanies in Yellow Submarine.
  • A Bugs Life featured a variation of this: Whenever Molt is frightened, his exoskeleton will turn white and fall off his body.

Live Action TV

  • In Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, one retired officer forgets the name of the Green Ranger, who is immediately shown black and white and crouching in the Corner of Woe a la Dororo of Keroro Gunsou fame.
  • In the first episode of Merlin, the villain kills a maidservant by draining the life out of her, resulting in this.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Samson from Destiny Fails Us loses his color when he embarrasses himself in front of Lily.
  • During the Birthday Party in El Goonish Shive, Nanase does this twice after discovering that Ellen knows that it's her who picked out Ellen's outfit for the party. Shortly afterwards it happens to Tedd, when he learns the party theme was for his benefit, and Grace is now blaming herself for not realising he wouldn't be comfortable.
  • The normally tough Aeris from VG Cats has a color failure when she looks at Donkey Kong for too long.
  • Rhea from Slightly Damned does this sometimes. Looks perfectly Justified.
  • Herbert from Sinful constantly suffers from Color Failure, usually when he's just been hit by the Clue Bat.
  • Poharex becomes pale after accidentally activating his healing power for the first time. He then passes out, as using this power had exhausted his energy.
  • .:Sandbox:.: Yosie has one of these in the first Spam Dump.

Web Original

Western Animation