Law of Chromatic Superiority

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"Oh dear...he took the red one."

Which colors are better depends on what you're doing. For instance, let's say that you want to make some really good toast. But all you have is a crappy plastic toaster with a handle that sticks down. You don't have enough money to buy a new toaster, so how do you get the perfect toast you want?

Simple: paint the toaster red. The resulting toast will be three times better than normal toast.

Red also makes every video game enemy three times stronger. And, as da Orkz say:


The Red Shirt can be a case of some colors being worse: they go down fasta.

Another example: a guy dressed all in black will always defeat opponents clad in lesser colors.

Gold is always better than silver, and silver is always better than bronze. Since bronze and gold are sometimes the same color, it makes for a complicated hierarchy.

So while red is one of the most common colors to receive this treatment, it isn't the only one. It's generally held that the rarest color in a work will be the "best" one.

Related to Color-Coded for Your Convenience and Chromatic Arrangement. Green and purple have their own pages devoted to when they're considered the best colors.

Examples of Law of Chromatic Superiority include:

Anime and Manga

  • Also known as the "Char Custom Rule" among Gundam fans, whose series uses this in spades:
    • While certainly not the origin of the overall trope, it was neatly codified by Mobile Suit Gundam, which featured legendary Ace Pilot Char Aznable, whose customized Humongous Mecha was said to be three times faster than normal versions of its type (this was later ret conned to the more reasonable 1/3 faster and being very good at kicking off ships to go faster and preserve fuel). The only observable difference between his Mecha and normal models was that his was painted red.
This has been used to comedic effect outside the series: a mall in Japan has a "Char Custom" forklift, painted to look like one of his mecha, which is held by the staff to be three times more forklift-y than an ordinary forklift and the GE Consumer Finance Char Custom credit card receives three times as many bonus points per 1000 yen spent compared to their other Gundam-related credit cards. There's even a Char's Custom PSP and Char's Custom 3DS (as bundled with SD Gundam G Generation 3D), though whether they load three times faster has yet to be tested.
    • The Char Custom Rule should also be given the Quattro Bajeena Corrollary: if red is not enough to emphasize its awesome, the mecha should be colored Gold (best example being the Hyaku-Shiki).
    • It is worth noting that the primarily-white Gundam is referred to by its enemies (the Principality of Zeon) as "the white mobile suit" and is usually recognized as such ("It's the white one! Fall back!"), the off-white GMs are superior to almost all of their Zeonic counterparts, and most other ace pilots have their mobile suits colored a certain color as well; Anavel Gato's blue-and-green Gelgoog, Johnny Ridden's red-and-black suits (similar enough to Char's colors that his being commonly mistaken for Char is a Running Gag, with "I'm not Char!" practically being his Catch Phrase, even moreso in Fanon), the suits of the Black Tri-Stars, and the most skilled (and least-famous) ace pilot, Shin Matsunaga, who piloted the only other white mobile suits in the series other than the Gundam and actually outperformed Char in the battle that made him famous (and, by having the sense to retire after the One Year War rather than getting dragged into the next half-dozen conflicts, is the one who survives the longest).
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, which otherwise has surprisingly little references to older series (especially compared to SEED), Setsuna's Gundam receives its Mid-Season Upgrade and turns red. First reaction of the technician staff? "It goes about three times faster now!" The same upgrade (Trans-Am) applies to all the other Gundams and gives the exact same performance boost.
    • There is also the Ramba Ral Corollary to the Char Custom Rule. If a machine is already red, you must paint it blue to show it has been changed. Gundam Airmaster Burst and Gundam Heavyarms Custom are instances of this.
    • Chromatic superiority is invoked - sort of - in one SD Gundam skit. The Gundams convince a bunch of Zakus to get drunk on sake so they'll turn red and go faster. Ends up being a subversion, as the drunken Zakus can barely move in a straight line, let alone at speed.
    • In SD Gundam Force, the Zakos are little more than Mooks and Comic Relief, often defeated with a single hit. Zako Red, however, is cunning, sly, and effective. There is a good reason for this, however: Zako Red is a dummy body remotely controlled by Dark Axis leader Sazabi, as seen when Red goes inert after handing Captain Gundam's stolen Soul Drive to Sazabi.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny have the elite ZAFT redcoats, who are better than ordinary soldiers.
    • In Layzner Ru Kain's Zakarl generates a red energy when using the fullest extent of its' V-Max. It also helps that his unit is painted gold compared to the rest of the empire.
  • Dilandau's guymelef in Vision of Escaflowne only differs from the mooks' in that his is red, while theirs are purple. Similarly, his armour is red, while his subordinates' are blue.
  • In Saint Seiya, the Gold Saints are the strongest warriors of all, because they wear the shiniest clothes of all (Gold).
    • Though this does get turned on its head a little as the series goes on, since the Five-Man Band of main characters technically remain low-level Bronze Saints, though their clothes develop a habit of subverting the hierarchy altogether.
  • This tradition has been carried on by many other non-Gundam Humongous Mecha series, where the most technically skilled pilot (but very seldomly The Hero himself) has a red mech: Ace Pilot Asuka's Unit-02 in Neon Genesis Evangelion, squad leader Ryoko's red Aestivalis in Martian Successor Nadesico, Hot-Blooded Ace Pilot Kamina's Gurren in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Milia Fallyna Jenius' VF-1J Valkyrie in Macross (though she's only the second most skilled pilot; the most skilled is her husband, Max Jenius, who pilots a blue version of the same craft), Death Seeker Stalker with a Crush Gauron and Blood Knight Psycho for Hire Gates' Plan-1058 Codarl-i in Full Metal Panic!, Kallen Stadtfeld's Guren Mk-II/Kashoushiki/SEITEN in Code Geass (though it was a unique model), and Elvy Hadhiyat's Alpha V-1 Vermillion in RahXephon (her Vermillion is the only one colored red; all others are either grey or black).
  • Also, the Red Lion in GoLion; Isamu Kurogane was the pilot of the ship that brought the Go Lion team to Altea and is generally considered the best pilot.
    • Akira, despite piloting the Black Lion, wears a red uniform (much to the confusion of American viewers watching the Voltron translation). This is because the team is essentially a Super Sentai Five-Man Band wearing the uniforms they would be wearing in a regular Sentai. The lions just happen to not match their pilot's colors.
  • Bleach, during a Filler episode, both paid homage to and parodied the trope by having several local kids form a Sentai squad; they then spent most of the episode arguing over who got to be the Red Ranger. They ended up both taking red, and then Don Kanonji took gold.
  • Speed Racer: the Mach 5 is mostly white, but has red trimmings.
  • Lately, Suzumiya Haruhi has been affiliating the Five-Man Band with their own colors. Guess what color Haruhi has?
  • Princess Tutu: Rue is the star dancer of the school and wears a red leotard in contrast to the blue ones of other students. Inversely, Ahiru is a complete clutz just barely keeping herself out of the probationary class and wears a white leotard.
  • Rules of Super Robot Anime in regards to this trope. If it's green and glows, it's raw evolution, incredible power, great destruction, or all three. If it's red and has a command antenna, it moves three times faster. If it's orange, it's about to be destroyed. If it's gold, you're fucked.
  • Inverted in Mai-Otome. The first years, who are meant to be the weakest in both power and skill, wear a red dress, the second years wear dark grey and the graduated Meisters run the gamut of colours. Lena Sayers, said by Word of God to be the most powerful ever, wears blue.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed attempts to invoke this trope. When asked about his trademark red jacket, he explains that it's a "manly colour that gets the blood flowing!"
  • Lampshaded in Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman: the protagonist ends up with red as his costume color because his little brother pointed out that the red one is always the leader.
  • The anime of Sengoku Basara offers an inversion to this, as red clad Sanada Yukimura was bested in one of his fights by blue clad Date Masamune (though only because Yukimura wasn't quite paying attention).
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh R, the top-ranked Card Professor uses a special black Duel Disk. It even gets compared to a black belt in martial arts in that while it isn't inherently any different from the other Disks aside from its color, it's a sign that the one wearing it is not someone you want to mess with.


  • In Star Wars, Red Squadron (the survivors of which later became Rogue Squadron, keeping the red coloring—notably, their counterpart, Renegade Squadron, didn't have red and didn't last) was considered the best starfighter squadron.
    • Similarly, in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, their elite Empire counterparts, the 181st, painted their TIE Interceptors with red stripes. Given that (outside of video games) no other Imperial TIE squadron has any visible markings at all, this makes the 181st's simple but noticeable markings very intimidating to their enemies.
    • In Alan Dean Foster's novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (Colon Cancer, anyone?), Luke is, in fact, Blue 5, not Red 5. It was changed to red because blue markings were affected by the Blue Screen technology at the time. If you look, there are no blue markings on any ship in the first movie.
    • Concerning the lightsabers, it's interesting (though probably entirely coincidental) to note that except for Revenge of the Sith, no one ever officially won a lightsaber battle using a blue lightsaber in any of the movies. In The Phantom Menace, for example, Darth Maul has Obi-Wan on the ropes until Obi-Wan takes up Qui-Gon's green saber. Or in Attack of the Clones, Anakin manages to hold his own against Dooku until his green blade is destroyed, leaving him with only a blue one. He then loses an arm. Likewise, notice how much better Luke does against Vader in Return of the Jedi with his green saber than he did in The Empire Strikes Back with his previous blue one.
      • And in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin beats Dooku by taking his red lightsaber away from him.
    • Mace Windu, the most skilled Jedi in combat (Yoda is the most powerful in general), uses a purple lightsaber, which is one of a kind.
    • More generally, if someone is wearing red armor in any Star Wars work (including the Emperor's bodyguards), they are definitely Elite Mooks. In Knights of the Old Republic, for instance, Sith Commandos wear read instead of the usual shining silver.
    • Subverted, however, with Booster Terrik's captured Star Destroyer, the Errant Venture. It ends up painted red like he'd always wanted, but it's still the same maintenance nightmare as always and does not lose the tendency to be The Alleged Starship.
  • Desirability of being associated with a favorable color is the reason why the boss in Reservoir Dogs chooses the pseudonyms of his employees.

Mr. Pink: Why can't we pick our own colors?
Joe: No way, no way. Tried it once, doesn't work. You got four guys all fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black, but they don't know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You're Mr. Pink. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.

    • Ironically, Mr Pink, the man stuck with the least desirable color, is the only one who survives the film.
  • In the opening of Lilo and Stitch, Stitch escapes from his confines and steals one of the police cruisers—specifically, as an observer notes with more than a hint of concern, "the red one." Secondary material, possibly that month's issue of Disney Adventures Magazine, explained that the red one was the fastest, hence while the officers chasing him in the other pods couldn't catch him.
  • Reversed in the Clash of the Titans remake. The soldiers are all clad in red and all die like in the original, but odd-man-out, Perseus, wears a drab green fisherman's tunic and survives.
  • In Tron, all "bad guys" have red light as their theme, and even when they don't win, they're still badass.
  • Subverted in Curse of the Golden Flower. The golden army is defeated by the silver army in the end, though the Empress' red-clad Royal Guards are able to beat the Emperor's ninjas.


  • This is the entire basis of Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. The caste society in the novel is stratified by color; what color you can see and how much of it indicates your social standing and a host of other factors. Oh, and it's genetic.
  • In the Nick Pollotta novel Illegal Aliens, the speed at which you travel through hyperspace is a function of what color your ship is. When an alien engineer is asked to explain this, his Babel Fish translates the explanation that gold is fastest. The "Great Golden Ones" have the best ships precisely because they enforce a monopoly on that color.
  • Older Than Print: Haft Paykar, the epic poem of ancient Persia (modern Iran). The prince marries seven princesses from different countries and visits them each to learn their wisdom. Each princess is Color Coded for Your Convenience. In order of 'enlightenment': Black, Yellow, Green, Red, Blue, Brown, and, finally, White, for the most pious princess, whom he visits on Friday, the holy day of Islam.
  • The concept is played straight in Dragon Rider, but the norms are subverted—the golden dragon is the main villain and the good guys are silver. There was some sort of prophecy about "when silver will be worth more than gold".
  • Played with in Stationery Voyagers. Imperial Markerterion sends the Red Fleet after the Voyagers specifically because they're most incompetent team. So that, if they fail, the Voyagers can gather more useful information before being captured. The Teal Fleet has all the means to crush the Voyagers—but...doesn't. The Blue Fleet actually ends up helping them, albeit indirectly, by being more concerned with battling Yehtzig Pirates.
  • The Chosen in The Seventh Tower have a complicated caste system based around the colors of the rainbow. The closer you get to violet, the higher your social status. The various levels of their Castle are color coded and dictate where you may live—members of a certain color generally live on their own color; travel between colors isn't forbidden, but people apparently don't do it a lot. Some people have no color and are even lower ranked than red, and are, for all intents and purposes, slaves. Magic-users can't do magic with light of a color higher than their own.
  • And, of course, there's always Lu Bu's Red Hare horse in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which was reputedly supreme among horses in the day. (And possibly three times as fast.)
  • Part of a Crowning Moment of Awesome in Fred Saberhagen's Berserker story "Wings Out of Shadow". When the AI personality construct asks for its spaceship to be painted red, it's your first clue that the musician who "kept getting thrown from his horse" is actually Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron.
  • The Wind Singer had a nation with a colour-based caste system. Members of each caste could only wear that colour and had to live in the ring of the city painted with that colour.

Live Action TV

  • Toku shows are very strongly affected by this, because, in Japan, red is thought of as a heroic color. To wit:
  • Always seen in the Dalek hierarchy in Doctor Who. In the classic series, the higher-ranking Daleks would be red or blue, with the Supreme Dalek being white or black. Started again in "Doomsday" when Dalek Sec of the Cult of Skaro was clad in black, continuing with the Supreme Dalek following him in "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", which was decked out in red. The Supreme Dalek of the New Dalek Paradigm is colored white, with red now actually denoting the lowest rank, the Drones.
  • Happens a lot on Survivor. The tribes are always color coded. But everytime there's a red colored tribe, they tend to dominate the season and eventually have a member win the game (with others in the top four or five!). This happened in the All-Stars (Chapera), Vanuatu (Lopevi), Cook Islands (Aitutaki), China (Fei Long), Tocantins (Jalapao), and Heroes vs Villains (Villains) seasons. Played straighter in the Amazon, Guatemala, and Nicaragua seasons for having a red-colored merged tribe. Subverted by Bob Crowley from Gabon. Despite not being part of the red tribe Fang before the merge, he won the game by defeating former Fang members Susie Smith and Sugar Kiper. Sophie Clarke in South Pacific and Ethan Zohn in Africa also subverted it by winning even though they weren't part of the Savaii and Samburu tribes, respectively.
  • The American DVDs of House all have shiny, colorful covers—except the fifth season, which has a gray cover. Now take a guess which season is considered to be the worst by most people.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation and any series that took place during the same time period, the highest ranked officers wear red. This is a departure from the original Star Trek: The Original Series series which created the infamous Red Shirt since the lowest ranked officers wore red, were often nameless, and usually did not survive any episodes they appeared in.

Newspaper Comics

  • In The Perishers, Cloudcuckoolander Marlon is firmly convinced his soapbox cart goes faster with a red stripe on it. At one point, he tells his "mechanic", Wellington, that it needs a thicker stripe.

Professional Wrestling

  • WWE Superstar Kane is known as "The Big Red Machine" or "The Big Red Monster".
  • WWE Raw, the flagship of the promotion, is known as the "red brand", while WWE Smackdown is blue. In theory they're of equal status, but everybody still knows Raw is the A-show and Smackdown is the B-show.


  • In Lakota religion, the directions are represented by colors; note that, unlike Westerners, Lakota also consider above, below, and center to be directions.
  • Many Christian churches and religious orders assign different colors to ranks in the clerical hierarchy:
    • In the Roman Catholic church, bishops wear purple vestments, cardinals wear red, and the Pope, of course, wears white.
    • In Anglican churches, black cassocks (or sarums) are the norm—but to denote rank, Bishops can wear purple piping and Canons can wear red piping.
  • In Judaism, a dark blue dye (called tekhelet, whose exact source is uncertain and may have been a kind of snail) was traditionally used for the prayer shawls worn by observant Jews throughout the day. Today, most Jews don't wear the tallit at all times, but blue stripes still appear on them and the flag of Israel was inspired by its design.
  • In Islam, green is the preferred color and often shows up in the heraldry of Islamic countries or organizations. Other significant colors include black, red, and white, which derive from the flags of various Islamic dynasties (the Abbasids, Umayyids, etc).
  • Many printings of The Bible use this: Jesus' word's in red. Plus, he's always portrayed in purple robes.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40,000, being a game about collecting and painting armies of miniatures, naturally uses this:
    • As noted previously, the Orks have such a firm belief in the idea that red-painted vehicles go faster, their unconscious, gestalt psychic field makes it happen. This is not just fluff, but an actual rule—a Red Paint Job can be purchased for Ork vehicles (if they're actually painted red, that is) and will let them move an extra inch. Orks also associate blue with good luck, yellow with flashiness and/or dakka, black with hardiness, and hold that "green iz best", though currently, there aren't any rules regarding these colors.
    • Other armies' high-speed variants—the Eldar jetbikers of Saim-Hann, the jetpack-equipped and overcharged-engined Space Marines of the Blood Angels, and the battlesuit-focused Farsight Enclaves of the Tau—happen to have red color schemes. Purely coincidental, of course...
    • Space Marines attach certain colors to specific ranks: Librarians usually wear blue, Chaplains wear black with a bone-colored skull mask, Techmarines wear red (and have big mechanical arms), Apothecaries frequently have white armor, and Captains and Chapter Masters are likely to be encrusted with golden Bling of War. Squad leaders, if they aren't going bareheaded, tend to have a contrasting helmet color from their standard uniform. The system used by the Ultramarines has sergeants wear red helmets instead of blue, company veterans with white helms, and champions in gold.
    • If you see an all-gold uniform—whether it be on the Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard, the Adeptus Custodes, or the Emperor Himself—you're dealing with a serious badass.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has done this for ages with their dragons. Strongest of the "metallic" (good) dragons? Gold, with silver just after it. Strongest of the "chromatic" (evil) dragons? Red, with blue just behind it. Black is the second weakest, only stronger than white.
    • And, of course, the god of metallic dragons is platinum.
    • So strongly do gamers adhere to this tradition that many decried the Dungeons & Dragons movie, sight unseen, merely upon hearing rumors that its red dragons would be more powerful than its gold ones. (After it came out, of course, they had plenty of other offenses to bitch about.) Presumably, the red ones were older than the gold, as age trumps color where a D&D dragon's power is concerned.
  • In Paranoia, the ranking system is based on color, with infrared (or black) being the lowest and going up through red and the rest of the rainbow all the way to ultraviolet (white). All things painted a certain color—files, walls, floor tiles—can be assumed to be restricted to those ranks and should be absolutely avoided by lower ranks. Therefore, one of the most restricted commodities of all is paint, and the infrared market trade is fast and furious...
  • In the early Magic: The Gathering metagames, people built up their mana base in the first few turns or drew plenty of cards to get out a combo. Red does not win that way. Red wins by killing you while you're doing that. Fans of red often name their decks things like "Red Deck Wins". Of course, if a red deck fails in these turns, it's practically defenseless from then on. Blue, however, is the color most known for Game Breakers.

Video Games

  • An interesting case in Street Fighter happens with the Shotoclones (Ryu, Ken, and Akuma). Ryu wears white and is the most average out of them, having a well-rounded playstyle. Ken wears red, and his playstyle is much more fast-paced and aggressive than Ryu's. Akuma wears black (or dark blue, depending on the artist) and is the most technical of them all. His playstyle is even MORE aggressive than Ken's or Ryu's, but he can play much better mind games than both of them combined. To balance this, his health is extremely low.
  • In the Crusader games, the cream-of-the-crop, "Silencers", such as the main character, wear red armor. The next-best level of soldiers, "Elites," wear black.
  • In the computer game Diablo 2, the weakest of the creatures known as "Fallen ones" are red, the stronger version known as "carver" are blue, the strongest (called "Dark ones") are black (not counting a very special purple version).
    • The Balrog-type demon also fits. From the weakest to strongest: Balrog (pale red), Pit Lord (Bluish Black), Venom Lord (Olive Green).
    • Diablo himself: Normal (red), Nightmare (yellow), Hell (black).
  • Black clothes (furniture, houses...) are the sign of a truly superior pirate in Puzzle Pirates. Why? Because black ink costs a fortune on the in-game market, so only an extremely talented pirate would be able to pillage up enough gold to waste that much on decorating. Of course, some consider black to be pretentious and showy. These people cannot afford it.
  • The same goes in Guild Wars, where black dye is ridiculously more expensive than any other color, due to supply and demand; black dye "drops" from slain enemies more rarely than any other color. It's quite helpful in forming parties, actually; all-black armor tells the world you'll go to the ends of the Earth to shop at Hot Topic and probably aren't too fun to party with.
In fact, many players prefer to save the more valuable dyes (black and white especially, but also blue, red, and silver) as sources of ready cash in the in-game economy. White dye generally goes for about half the price of black dye, and blue, red, and silver dye are, while still much more expensive than the other colors (orange, green, brown, yellow, purple, and gray), cheap by comparison.
  • Played straight in the Guilty Gear series, with resident badass Sol Badguy dressed in red, black, and gold.
  • The Black Spathi Squadron in Star Control supposedly dedicated themselves to wandering space and "performing brave and hostile deeds" and painted their ships black with bright red stripes in order to distinguish themselves from the normal Spathi (their species' normal hat is being extremely cowardly).
  • In the Touhou' series, the Yakumo "family" of youkai display this. Yukari Yakumo, whose first name translates to "Violet", is arguably the most powerful character in the entire series. Her shikigami, Ran Yakumo ("Indigo"), is a short step below, and both are Extra Stage bosses, with Yukari being a Phantasm Stage boss. Down the spectrum is Chen ("Orange")--Ran's own shikigami—who is both a Second Stage boss and Extra Stage midboss.
  • Turns up quite a bit in the Ace Combat series:
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War has Solo Wing Pixy who, before he defects to A World With No Boundaries and becomes the final boss, flies an F-15C with a portion of the right wing painted red, representing the time that he had lost a wing during combat, but fought on, finished the mission, and landed safely; you can also unlock this custom paint job for your own F-15. Otherwise averted for Cipher, however - his "official" plane is also an F-15C, this time with blue wings.
    • Averted in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, where Yellow Squadron is the most badass bunch of mofos, and Red Squadron is one of the generic Mook squadrons.
    • Ace Combat 2 has the Z.O.E. squadron: five unmanned aircraft painted entirely red, the last of which appears as the most dangerous enemy in the final mission, flying one of the series' very first superfighters. Like with Zero, Scarface One inverts this - his official plane in this game is the Su-35, which has a paint scheme primarily consisting of the color blue.
    • Z.O.E makes a comeback in the Video Game Remake of AC2, Assault Horizon Legacy. However, Scarface One's planes are now (by default) gray, rather than blue camouflage.
  • World of Warcraft color-codes items by rarity: grey items being trash, white being "Ordinary" (trade skill items that are white have some use in game; white quality gear is never used by players beyond the first few levels), green "Uncommon" (quest reward items and harder-to-get tradeskill items), blue "Rare" (dungeon rewards and at the end of a quest line), purple "Epic" (end game content; unlike other lower colors, there are multiple tiers of purple at a given character level), and orange "Legendary" (only a handful of items in the entire game; no armor is legendary. It takes quite a while for a group of players to get a single player one of these; tradeskill items that are legendary are used to get legendary weapons). Finally, heirlooms are gear that automatically get more powerful as your character levels and can only be obtained by having a higher level character on your account send it to a lower level one (other players can't help you out here).
  • Too Human also has color-coding of items by quality; the order is grey (trash), green, blue, purple, orange, red (epic). These colors are only used for the item's inventory icon, and its actual color can be customized.
  • Katina Trask of Super Robot Wars, specifically in Original Generations, has special battle comments when fighting red mecha; one is essentially "the red ones do triple damage!". She, herself, pilots a red Gespenst. Also, any and everything that ElzamRatsel canonically pilots is painted black with red trim.
  • Mario drives a red cart to fit his outfit, although he's usually not the fastest.
    • Played straight in nearly every Mario game with the enemies (though it varies all over the place). Red Koopas won't walk off cliffs, red Pirhana Plants shoot fireballs, red Goombas fly and drop tiny Goombas.
    • Not to mention, New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a red disc case compared to the standard white.
  • Red Devil (aka Crimson Devil, Red Meteor, Red Demon, and Raven Blood) in the Tokyo Xtreme Racer (aka Shutokou Battle) games is basically a parody of Char: his car is red and sometimes has a horn protruding from the hood. No joke. And even in Japan-only spin-off Racing Battle C1 Grand Prix where pretty much all the old rivals from Shutokou Battle have circuit tuned cars (several of the bosses even use real cars like the Sun Auto CyberEVO Lancer Evolution), his car is still the same.
  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic series, red units almost always upgrade into blue units.
    • In the second game, green dragons upgraded to red dragons, which upgraded to black dragons.
    • In the third game, green dragons upgrade to gold dragons and red dragons upgrade to black ones. The black dragons are more powerful overall due to tradition, but the gold ones are faster. Many other units establish a color hierarchy as well: four out of seven basic units from the Inferno faction are coloured yellow or pink, but wind up red when upgraded.
  • In the Meet the Team videos for Team Fortress 2, the RED team version of the character class the video is named for is always used and is shown beating the hell out of the other team. Truth in Television in a way, as the game's developers track various game-related statistics, and RED tends to have a higher chance of winning.
    • Although that may be due more to the fact that RED is automatically assigned to defense in the attack/defend-style maps, which the dev team admitted are slightly biased towards defense.
  • In the Time Crisis series, there are the red soldiers. They take just about as many hits as the regular Mooks, but, unlike the regular ones whose bullets went for you about once in 30 times, these guys will almost always aim straight for you. Considering that you're downed in 3 to 5 hits, its easy to see why these guys cause many players a lot of frustration.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic plays this one straight. The normal Sith Troopers at the beginning of the game wear dark Shiny armor, but by the end of the game, in their place, you fight the higher level elite ones that look exactly the same, except with shiny red armor instead.
  • Same with the Halo series. It gets annoying, though, due to the differences between enemies. Elites go Blue, Red, Violet, Black, White, and Gold. Grunts are Orange, Red, Green, Black, and White. Jackals have Blue and Violet shields, and Brutes have a bunch of slightly different shades of Blue, then Gold and Crimson. Oh, and this isn't counting the specialist units in each race.
    • ODST also randomly added Red Drones and Gold Hunters.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora becomes three times faster when transforming to his red clothes.
  • Demon's Souls has a similar effect, Occasionally with black world tendency, you can encounter "Black Phantom" NPC enemies. Despite the name, they appear a glowing red with black cracks running through them and tend to be much stronger and harder to kill.
  • In BlazBlue, the Distortion Drives that take only 50% Heat and don't guarantee a kill have a blue background, while the sure-kill, 100% Heat Astral Heats use a black background with the character's crest overlaying in red briefly.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: The Battle of Aces, Nanoha's more powerful Evil Twin, Material-S, has a mainly black-and-red barrier jacket, compared to Nanoha's own white-and-blue one.
  • Amorphous has the Queen. It's the only red gloople in the game and its dual-wielded claws are gold. Unsurprisingly, it's the game's regular boss enemy.
  • In recent installments to the main Pokémon games, the color of your trainer card changes as you meet certain achievements and gain stars. While the number and colors have varied a bit, it always begins red and ends with black. Of course, the main things that come with this change are a few bits of dialogue change and bragging rights. Gotta love those bragging rights.
  • Planescape: Torment toys with the idea of chromatic superiority in the description for the spell Chromatic Orb.
  • In the original The Legend of Zelda, all of Link's color-coded powerups were better when red. In a twist, the monsters would always be weaker when red. All in all, though, red is better for Link. (This varies more in later games.)
    • Except the boomerang; the blue one is better. Though, to be fair, the first boomerang isn't really red; it's more of an orange or brown...
    • In The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, Link's Loftwing is "special" because it's red, the implication being that it's faster than the others. Pipit, during the prologue, won the Wing Ceremony last year, but thanks his lucky stars Link's "red terror" wasn't involved.
  • Played with in the post-end bonus chapter of The World Ends With You. The characters form a Sentai Five-Man Band. The leader is Red, Neku is first Black-n-Blue but later "demoted" to just Blue so someone else can be Black (Black is The Mole, by the way), and Joshua first wants to be Pink, but then says he should actually be Gold and later gets "upgraded" to Rainbow. (No, really.)
  • Red Slimes in Dragon Quest series are the stronger version of normal slimes, and they are females in some of the adaptions.
  • Armored Core has Nineball. Amazigh and Hari from 4 and for Answer are red but they are a subversion since you can make the same NEXT they use and play the same way they can, if not better. In the Armored Core for Answer the NEXT, White Glint is this due to it moving so fast all you see is a "white glint" and has completely custom NEXT parts...until you get your own.
  • In Okami, Orochi has eight heads, each with a different colored hat. The head with the red hat is the dominant one, getting to say all of Orochi's lines and gets the character portrait. In addition, the villain Crimson Helm has a face and hat that is identical to Orochi's dominant head, though this is because Crimson Helm was born from Orochi's remains.
  • In Elite II: Frontier, the tonnage of the ship that is attacking you is shown by different colours on the scanner. The ships you don't want to meet in combat? Imperial Courier (White), Asp (Yellow), Cobra III (Orange), and Viper (Red).
  • In The Tower of Druaga, the best and most important items are blue (exception: the Ruby Mace is superior to the Sapphire Mace).
  • Space Panic and Mr. Do's Castle invert the conventional priority by having the red enemies be the weakest. Green enemies are stronger, and blue enemies are the strongest.
  • Sword of the Stars plays with this. Drives increase in power from fission (orange) to fusion (yellow) to antimatter (purple). Lasers go red, green, purple, blue, gold. Plasma is green, yellow, purple.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's has Golden Freddy.[context?]


Web Original

  • In Red vs. Blue Reconstruction, Red defeats Blue by default, by erasing all the Blue' records.

Western Animation

  • In the Tex Avery cartoon Bad Luck Blackie, a black cat is hired by a white kitten to stop a bulldog by crossing his path and causing him bad luck (i.e., something heavy falls on him). The bulldog eventually stops the black cat by painting him white, thus negating the bad luck. The kitten comes to the rescue by painting himself black and crossing the dog's path, causing the dog to get hit by the obligatory kitchen sink.
  • In the Futurama episode, "The Route of All Evil", Cubert slaps a flame decal on the side of his home-built spacecraft, claiming it'll "make the ship go faster".

Leela: What's your scientific basis for thinking that?
Cubert: I'm twelve.

    • A similar gag happens in a Futurama/The Simpsons crossover comic where the Simpsons and the Planet Express crew are running away from enemy saucers in their ship. In order to outrun them, Homer and Fry have the idea to paint racing stripes to make it go faster.

Bender: Lightning bolts? I thought we were doin' flames!
Homer: Why not both?
Fry: Yeah, then the ship'll go twice as fast!

    • The gang do get away from the saucers, but actually, the enemy fleet was destroyed by a beer bottle lousily thrown by Bender, going uncatched by Homer's crappy hand-eye coordination, then triggering a chain reaction.
  • Though never confirmed in canon, there seems to be a Chromatic Superiority scheme amongst the ecto-energy of Danny Phantom. Four colors appear in the series - green, blue, purple, red. By some loose estimates, it seems that that's also the order from weakest to strongest. Red reigns supreme amongst ecto-energy.
    • Although, strangely, most, if not all, of Danny Phantom's abilities are of the green variety, even though he always eventually defeats his foe.
  • Lilo and Stitch even had redder things being better, in this case, not a mecha, but a police cruiser. On the website, it was stated that the red one was much faster than the standard.

"Yeah...he took the red one."

    • Lilo & Stitch: The Series also featured Experiment 627 ("Evil!") who was designed to be better than Stitch in pretty much every way. He looked very much like Stitch save for a cone-shaped head and, of course, a red color scheme rather than a blue one.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man becomes the first superhero to lead the Avengers. As people who read Iron Man's comics and/or saw the movies would expect, he mostly uses red and gold armor in this show. This incarnation even wears red as Tony Stark.

Real Life

  • Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a the Red Baron, is considered by many to be the greatest air combat pilot in the world. He piloted (of course) a red triplane. He, in all likelihood, was the one to popularize this trope.
    • Following his example, his squadron-mates started painting their aeroplanes up in funky colours as well so he wouldn't stand out quite so much. Richthofen's squadron ended up being so colorful that its actual name, "Jagdgeschwader 1", gave way to the nickname "Flying Circus". Before long, practically the entire Imperial German Air Service was trying out the Law of Chromatic Superiority. German pilots found that, while red paint didn't make their fighters fly any faster, it did make them easy to distinguish from the universally khaki-colored British aircraft in the middle of a dogfight.
  • The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black World War II fighter pilots and were credited with never losing a plane under their protection to enemy action. The infamous color of their plane tails? Red.
    • The Tuskegees' signature was inverted twice over with the 352nd Fighter Group, who became so famous that the Germans started calling them the Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney (Bodney being the city they operated out of). The inversion comes with the obvious blue nose.
  • The Luftwaffe ended up distinguishing their pilots in World War II by the color of their propeller spinner. Yellow-nosed aircraft, as Allied pilots dubbed them, had pilots with 30 kills or more. This proved to be more of a danger to the pilot than an intimidation of the enemy after the arrival of long-ranged Allied fighters on the Western Front: American pilots, confident in their superior numbers and ability to dive out of a bad situation to escape, frequently picked fights with yellow-nosed enemy aircraft in preference to lesser ones.
    • There is an apocryphal story that some American pilots in the Pacific theater would paint their propellers a different color before every battle so Japanese pilots would think they were facing different fighter squadrons each time, creating the illusion that the Americans had massively superior numbers. This is probably the inspiration for the color of the Char Custom Gundam.
  • Studies [dead link] show that "gamers have more of a chance of being on the winning side if they choose to play as a red team member as opposed to blue."
    • The same applies to athletes all the way up to the professional and olympic level, according to Discover Magazine.
      • It seems that many of the article's readers are skeptical about this, as winning factor is more biased towards level of skill than choice of color. Even a researcher in another article points out the insignificance of this research.
  • Less awesome real life example: the "black tax" levied on computers. A previous generation of Apple MacBooks come in two colors: white and black. There is a $200 difference in price between the two (black being more expensive). The functional difference? The BlackBook had a 90-gigabyte-larger hard drive (perhaps a $50 value, if you're feeling very, very generous). With the other $150, you're paying for the privilege of owning a chromatically superior computer. A similar price difference exists with chrome or stainless steel kitchen appliances over plain white enamel. Black enamel usually costs more than white, but less than silver.
    • Also Invoked for the "white is coming" ad campaign for the white Sony PSP in the Netherlands, featuring a black model and a white model fighting, which spawned a quite predictable response.
    • The Chevy Volt's very Everything Is an iPod In The Future dashboard center stack comes in "Ceramic White" or "Dark". The foremer is the only one available with the standard cloth interior, "Dark" requires one of the $1000 leather interiors.
  • The X-Box 360 "Elite" is, of course, black.
    • And the 'Special Resident Evil Edition' of the Elite is red.
  • The red cameras take better pictures?
    • Not to be confused with the RED cameras, which take better (motion) pictures and are colored black.
  • The infamous Playboy Bunnies outfits are ranked this way, with the black-colored bunny outfit signifying the highest ranking of bunny. This system has largely fallen out of use lately for the various locations of the Playboy Club (mostly for aesthetic reasons), but still occasionally plays the trope straight.
  • Practitioners of martial arts such as judo or karate wear belts of various colours to denote their skill level.
    • And, of course, the white belt is the one novices carry, a black belt symbolizes a high expertise... and the red belt is reserved for the instructors.
    • This varies from martial art to martial art and from group to group, though most share white and black as first and last. In some, a red belt is just one of the belts preceding black.
    • It works really well in Judo, with the belts going from white to black and the red belt being reserved for people of fifth dan and above. -- that is, people that can do stuff you wouldn't expect in a movie.
      • The apocryphal basis for the color-belt system lends the Law a touch of faux - Truth in Television-originally, a practitioner merely received A belt, period, when he began. A pristine white belt which, unlike the rest of the uniform, was never washed, so that the sweat, dirt, and what have you else would slowly make the belt progressively darker. So if you saw a guy with a black belt, it meant he'd been studying his particular style for a long time and was probably capable of kicking your ass before you even knew you were about to fight him. Sadly, this explanation isn't actually true—it was invented by a California dojo in the mid-20th century specifically to invoke the trope. (A bit of Fridge Logic would also make you wonder why someone from a culture that considers bathing in hot springs to be a normal part of life would let himself get so dirty that it shows on his clothes.)
    • In the Cheezic Federation of Tang Soo Doo, you start off as white, go to orange (instead of yellow in other schools), then blue, then green (which are three degrees), then red (three degrees again), then Apprentice Black (either have red and black belt), or you wear the Black Belt Gi with a red belt, then First Degree Black. You either get white or RED tape when you increase in degrees.
  • American Express cards in order of exclusivity: green, gold, platinum, black...
  • Ii Naomasa, one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's Four Guardians,[7] formed a unit dressed entirely in red armor nicknamed the Red Devils. Dressing in red, of course, made them so fast that they drew first blood in the Battle of Sekigahara.
  • Scientific studies show that people view members of the opposite sex more favorably depending on the color of their clothes. Women view men with the appropriate color as more powerful and successful, while men see women with said color as more sexy and interesting. And what color may that be? Red.
  • There have also been studies of packaging where identical detergent is put into different colored boxes and then sent out to be used by consumers. Red and yellow boxed detergents were almost always identified as more effective.
  • Purple, in some societies, came to be associated with royalty because it was expensive to produce. Sometimes, it was even illegal for commoners to possess it. It's made out of a mucus secretion of sea snails.
    • In the west, purple is the color of royalty. In Asia, it's usually yellow (saffron based dyes also being rather expensive).
  • In Chinese culture, red is considered a lucky colour and red envelopes containing money are often given out at special occasions like Chinese New Year. Naturally, this led to some clashes when Communism was adopted as the official ideology of China (since red was already its colour, naturally). Also note that black is not necessarily a forbidding or mournful colour, but white is and is used at funerals.
  • Inverted with stars:
    • The blue ones are brighter. They also "go faster", as in, have a shorter lifespan.
    • Red Dwarf stars win the endurance race, lasting longer than any other star type. A Red Dwarf can burn for longer than the current age of the universe (13 billion years).
    • Double-subverted with red supergiants, being the brightest and biggest stars in the universe before they explode into supernovae. At this point, they become the brightest anything in the known universe.
  • Even nature gets in on the act. Drab colors are used to blend in with the environment, whereas bright colors (red especially) are used to warn predators of poison (or are used by nonpoisonous creatures to bluff).
  • Everyone in the universe knows that gold, silver, and bronze mean first, second, and third best, respectively. Unless you introduce platinum. Platinum beats gold. This, of course, is based on the chemical purity (ie. lack of reactivity) and economic value of the metals for which the colours were named.
  • Inverted in US military officer ranks. Silver is always higher rank than gold. Ex. a major wears gold oak leaves, while a lieutenant colonel has silver oak leaves.
  1. Black and gold, with silver and red Super Mode
  2. Blue and silver, with a gold and black Super Mode
  3. Magenta and black, with silver and black Super Mode
  4. Has a red half-form, but his primary one is green and black
  5. The Mid-Season Upgrade is all red, but the Super Mode is purple
  6. Primarily white, red is just an alternate form, Super Mode is a steel blue
  7. inspired by the awesome red color of Yamagata Masakage's unit when he was a kid