Shiny Midnight Black

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

From nowhere through a caravan
Around the campfire light
A lovely woman in motion
With hair as dark as night

Curtis Mayfield, "Gypsy Woman"

This hair color is the next shade after brunette. It is beautiful, lustrous, and indicative of a great deal of care. Can be straight, wavy, or curly, short or long. Usually, someone with Shiny Midnight Black hair is the 'cool type', associated with night, shadows, and the ephemeral.

They may or may not be evil. They may or may not be intelligent, though it's more likely that they are. They may or not have a strong will, though they are usually The Quiet One even if they do have a quick temper. They are inevitably attractive.

Note that hair can be "black" and "shiny" without being Shiny Midnight Black. For characters to have Shiny Midnight Black hair, they must have blue highlights in it--'midnight' as a color is actually a shade of black so dark it appears blue when light hits it at a certain angle. Rock Lee from Naruto, for example, has shiny black hair, but it has a normal white highlight and is not considered especially attractive (his hair specifically, not the character. For that, Your Mileage May Vary).

Purple undertones are another example of the trope, for example, manga Rei/Sailor Mars and Hotaru/Sailor Saturn from Sailor Moon.

Vampires are often described as having hair as black as a moonless night, especially if they're the seductive kind.

In Real Life, it acts as a superlative trope to the brunette hair color. This is because, in most Western nations, dark hair is more commonly associated with brunettes. This is where the word in fact comes from--"brun" means "brown". Very few people in Western Europe had actual black hair as opposed to a very dark brown. On the rare occasion that this did occur, the person would be described as having jet-black, raven, or simply dark hair. However, this has changed in recent times and the description 'dark-haired' or 'brunette' has come to encompass hair on both ends of the darker spectrum. This hair color is now sometimes called blue-black.

Now add this to the traditional Blonde, Brunette, Redhead ensemble and you have yourself a Four-Temperament Ensemble cast or a People of Hair Color trope, with the SMB character often being the Lancer.

It is a far more popular (and noticeable) trope in Eastern cultures where long, shiny dark hair has long been seen as indicative of wealth and class. In Anime, expect The Ojou to fall under this bracket, particularly in older shows. Is also a favourite for the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl in horror films.

Compare and contrast with the Shy Blue-Haired Girl and Brainy Brunette tropes. Often a defining attribute of Tall, Dark and Bishoujo. Pair it with very pale skin and an air of creepiness, and you've got the Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette. Pair it with very pale skin and exceptional good looks, and you've got Raven Hair, Ivory Skin. Is naturally the opposite of White-Haired Pretty Boy / White-Haired Pretty Girl.

Examples of Shiny Midnight Black include:


Anime and Manga

  • This trope practically describes most of the cast of Inu Yasha. Especially Kagome and Kikyô, who have blue undertones and purple undertones respectively. Then you have Inu-Yasha himself, who not only has Shiny Midnight Black hair when he's human, but is also the contrasting White-Haired Pretty Boy most of the time; he's literately both opposing tropes rolled into one.
  • Nico Robin from One Piece is the only person with black hair in the series to have highlights such as these.
  • Princess Amelia from Slayers has "raven-colored" hair in the novels and in one manga adaptation, but it is usually colored as a stylized purple in art; the anime followed suit with this. She also doesn't have a wholly Ojou personality: she's a bit of an overly energetic, Wrong Genre Savvy bastion of goodness, but is actually intelligent and takes her royal duties seriously.
  • King Yuuri in Kyo Kara Maoh is identified by his black hair and black eyes (as well as his black school uniform). Also, Gwendal Von Voltaire has long black hair which contrast nicely with his Badass Longcoat.
  • Naruto:
  • Scrapped Princess: Most Artillery-type Peacemakers have this hair colour, as seen on Cz.
  • Akane from Ranma ½ has this type of hair in the anime, although not in the manga.
  • Though the shininess might just be a product of Akamatsu's drawing style, his characters Shinobu (Love Hina) and Nodoka (Mahou Sensei Negima) may count. Their calmness-level may be in question, though...
    • Because of the Adaptation Dye Job in the first anime, Setsuna was portrayed with this. It may be a case of a limited color palette than a conscious decision on the animator's part (the anime's coloring was rather dull). Also of note is Yue receiving this in Negima!? because of her and Nodoka's switching hair colors.
  • Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh.
  • Karasu of Yu Yu Hakusho is usually depicted with light purple and blue highlights in his otherwise very dark hair. It is also depicted as notably shinier than any of the others, and he even implies that he takes good care of it. (However, it turns blonde when his mask is removed.)
  • Namikawa of Yotsuba Group's shoulder length, slicked-back hair in Death Note, standing out especially in the anime among tousled, shorter styles in mostly blonds and browns.
  • Sailor Mars provides an example of the purple undertone and Sailor Pluto has green undertones in Sailor Moon. Sailor Saturn has purple undertones and The One Guy, Tuxedo Mask, has dark blue undertones about half the time, though he also has green and even occasionally purple tones as well.
  • Bleach: Despite all the black-haired characters in this manga, there are very few examples of this trope and even fewer consistent examples.
    • Yumichika is a consistent example, always being depicted with either blue or purple tones in his hair.
    • Rukia is an occasional blue-toned example. Uryuu, too.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • As the story's uncontested Ojou, Isumi has this style about her, along with being the most powerful 'good guy', highly intelligent, and very strong-willed.
    • Although lacking both the ojou status of the other characters and clearly not as intelligent, Ayumu is a lighter shade of this trope and has the greatest will of all of the characters, being the only one (as of chapter 280) to have actually confessed her feelings.
  • Soletta Orihime of Sakura Taisen. She also fits the aloof, worldly persona as described by the trope.
  • Minto Aizawa and Zakuro Fujiwara of Tokyo Mew Mew have the blue and purple undertones described above respectively. Blue tinted Minto appears to be a standard Rich Bitch but not really, whereas purple tinted Zakuro is an aloof loner.
  • Oichi is given purple highlights in her hair for the Sengoku Basara anime, which function in the same way.
  • Code Geass gives us Lelouch Lamperouge, who's Shiny Midnight Black hair is a surprising contrast to his fellow Britannians' light reds, browns, and blonds and the more toned-down blacks of the Japanese characters. Especially jarring since his hair and Purple Eyes (he's even the page image) contrast the light brown hair and Green Eyes of this best friend/rival Suzaku Kururugi...who's Japanese, supposedly. Due to his role as Zero, Lelouch is often associated with being a demon and even has his own hidden power. He's also referred to as the "Black Prince" in Fanon and possibly Canon and is associated with the Black King in Chess. Yep, Lelouch owns pretty much any trope that deals in Darkness or Blackness, so it makes sense that this would be a more obvious indication of that. It's shown that he gets his hair from his mother (and possibly another distant ancestor from the Renya manga), who is quite an important character to the overarching plot and has some hidden secrets and powers of her own.
  • Saint Seiya gives us Pandora who has purple undertones to her shiny midnight black hair colour, suggesting an otherworldy nature as opposed to just aloofness of character.
  • Hei of Darker than Black (meaningful title here) has hair and eyes that are this color.
  • Chiba from Wandering Son had blueish hair in early volumes. She's since lost the blue tint though.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Eriol, to the point of overlapping the trope with You Gotta Have Blue Hair
  • D.Gray-man's Kanda gets this in the anime while Lenalee gets green(!) highlights. Kanda gets the prittiest of pritti hairs.


  • The painting Pavonia by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Lord Frederick Leighton depicts a woman with hair like this.
  • Francisco de Zurbaran's painting Santa Dorotea depicts his subject with raven black hair.

Comic Books

  • Most black-haired characters in older American comics, such as Superman, had blue highlights due to the way coloring worked. Another example would be Wonder Woman.
    • One quirk of this trope popped up in old X-Men comics. Wolverine and Beast have similar hairstyles but Wolverine's hair is black while Beast's is actually blue. However, due to Shiny Midnight Black coloring on Wolverine's hair and solid black shading on Beast's, both appear to have the same color. This has led to numerous playground arguements among children over whether or not Wolverine's hair is blue or not.
    • It's not just hair, either—the script for The Sandman story "Caliope" (included in the trade paperback) has Neil Gaiman specifically asking the artist to ink as much of Morpheus's leather jacket as possible and make the highlights grey. Otherwise, they'll be coloured blue, and the printer will then make them pink for no apparent reason.
  • Winnowill, Rayek, Venka, and Haken from Elf Quest.
  • Most Archie Comics brunettes, but especially Veronica and Reggie, with their large, severe blue highlights.
    • Katy Keene as well, which got emphasized after the revival. Her hair got longer and most covers found ways to show as much of it as possible.
  • Madame Masque from the Iron Man comics. Tony Stark also had the blue-black hair color during the 80s; it coincided with his infamous jheri curl. It's really evident during the Armor Wars story arc.
  • Gaston Lagaffe has this hair color (it occasionally looks very blue), although, without many of the associated traits other than a certain kind of intelligence, he probably wouldn't merit a mention...except for the fact seemingly half his coworkers have it too.

Fairy Tales

  • The eponymous "Snow White" is a famous example from Western Fairy Tales.
  • If the heroine of a fairy tale doesn't have Hair of Gold, she will have gorgeous black hair and pale skin.
  • This trope is something given to explain the hair-color of Bluebeard—his hair is such a deep black that it seems blue.

Fan Works

  • Judging from her name, dare I mention the lovely Miss Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way from My Immortal?
  • Every character ever described as noiret(te), ravenet(te), or other faux-French terms.
  • Ami-sensei from Futari wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon. As Cure Dusk, however, her hair turns more purple-black, but still fits this trope, as purple undertones (hinting at a magical as well as aloof nature) is also an example as well as blue.

Films -- Animation

Films -- Live-Action


  • In the Book of Amber, Prince Eric is described as having hair so black it seemed blue.
  • Artemis Fowl probably falls under this.
  • Carnival of the Deepgate Codex series, although her hair is usually tangled and messy because she never takes care of it.
  • One of the wolves in the Julie of the Wolves series is described as having fur like this after self-imposed Training from Hell that would allow her to fight off an older pack member bullying her.
  • Resident Magnificent Bitch and possible series' Big Bad Melisande Shahrizai from Kushiels Legacy. The Shahrizai clan in particular are noted within the novels for possessing almost blue-black hair as a family trait.
  • His Dark Materials:
    • Will's daemon Kirjava (when she finally settles on a permanent form as a cat), is described as having fur this colour. The name is a Bilingual Bonus for anyone who speaks Finnish: Kirjava means multicoloured. Her hair is described as "having a thousand different shades".
    • Also, Mrs. Coulter in the books is described as having very dark hair, as is the Latvian witch-queen Ruta Skadi.
  • Luthien's hair is like this in The Silmarillion and enchanted to become even darker. While many of the characters have dark hair, especially Noldorin and some Sinadrin elves (this was something of an Author Appeal for Tolkien), she and her descendant Arwen—being the two most beautiful with hair having characteristic significance—are the most prominent examples.
  • Pippa Cross is either of this trope or an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette; the books note her as having very dark, almost black hair.
  • Helen Huntingdon of Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is described in canon as having "raven-black, glossy ringlets". This is in contrast to Arthur Huntingdon's own "chestnut curls". However, in a reversal of tropes, it is Helen who is the virtuous figure while Huntingdon is the rake.
  • Tazendra, Cawti, and Ibronka in the Dragaera novels are all described as having long, very straight black hair.
  • Zuleika Dobson of the eponymous novel by Max Beerbohm. True to the Femme Fatale archetype (not to mention that of the Parody Sue), she is seductive and leads all of the male leads to their destruction.
  • The eponymous horse's mane from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.
  • Bevier the Cyrinic Knight from The Elenium series by David Eddings. This would also be the case for Polgara the Sorceress of The Belgariad, except that it is mentioned that her hair is actually an extremely dark brown bordering on black. So she would fall under the Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette category instead.
  • King Jonathan and Queen Thayet of the Tortall Universe are both described as having coal-black hair.
  • Blodhgarm from The Inheritance Trilogy has midnight-blue fur all over his body, having enchanted himself to resemble a wolf.
  • Timothy Zahn, in his Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, quite liked to mention that Thrawn's hair, and particularly the eyebrows (which he was fond of arching), was blue-black. As it turns out, his species, the Chiss, tend to have this color hair.
  • Vanyel Ashkevron from the Heralds of Valdemar series has blue-highlighted black hair in his younger days (frequent magic use bleaches it until he is more of a White-Haired Pretty Boy at the end of his trilogy)
  • All the beautiful female characters in The Tale of Genji are characterized by Shiny Midnight Black Rapunzel Hair
  • Isabelle of Mortal Instruments is described as having hair "exactly the color of black ink".
  • Elphaba of Gregory Maguire's Wicked is described as having straight, glossy black hair, like "black silk, coffee spun into threads", or "night rain" as her most attractive feature, in contrast to her green skin and pointy nose.
  • The Fiery Redhead Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables desperately wants hair this color, since she finds red hair to be unbearably unattractive. She goes as far as to buy hair dye from a merchant on the way home from school and dying her hair. Unfortunately, the dye that would turn her hair a "beautiful raven black" ended up turning it green, which she admits is much worse than red.
  • Grizel Cochrane of the Chalet School is often described as having raven black hair. Joey Bettany is another example.
  • Lanfear of The Wheel of Time books.
  • Rose Fiorello of The Devil You Know by Louise Bagshawe.
  • The character Nighteye from Legenden om Ljusets rike (Eng. The Legend of the Realm of Light) series by Norwegian-Swedish author Margit Sandemo. He is described as being an American Indian boy with long, straight blue-black hair and dark eyes.
  • Lara Raith of The Dresden Files is described this way.
  • Arguably, this trope applies to the people of Kyralia in Trudi Canavan's The Black Magician Trilogy, who are either this or black and white beauties.
  • Harry Potter: Cho Chang, Harry's love interest in the first five novels, is described this way. Harry himself would also count, considering that his hair is often described as jet-black, but he tends to leave it messy.

Live-Action TV


  • Britney Spears sported a black wig in the scene where she poisons her cheating boyfriend in the music video for Toxic.
  • This is a popular trope for more gothic and/or Emo style music videos, for example with Amy Lee from the band Evanescence.
  • Let's not forget Marilyn Manson, who combines jet-black hair with extremely pale skin as part of his persona.
  • Madonna stepped away from her trademark blonde look in the video for Frozen to match the hair of her then infant daughter Lourdes.
  • The frontman for Finnish rock band The Rasmus dyes his naturally blond hair to jet black for his signature stage look.
  • Anara Atanes, former WAG and squeeze of Freddie Ljungberg, has hair with a blue sheen to it, as seen in RnB star Jay Sean's music vid for "Ride It".
  • Katy Perry has currently dyed her hair to this shade.
  • British singer Jessie J of Do it Like a Dude fame.
  • Irish singer Clare Maguire who also doubles as Raven Hair, Ivory Skin.
  • Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
  • Siobhan Fahey, formerly of the bands Bananarama and Shakespear's Sister, was famous for her gothic-looking jet black hair in her heyday. She has since, however, gone back to her natural blonde hair.
  • One half of The Nineties girl duo/band Alisha's Attic.
  • Alexandra Burke currently has this hair shade.
  • Beth Ditto, the lead singer of the band Gossip.
  • Former 1960s Canadian rock band The Jades had a single called "Blue Black Hair".
  • Currently, the girl group The Del Moroccos have covered the above single "Blue Black Hair". One of the singers even has hair fitting the eponymous shade.
  • Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders.
  • Anthea Corr, lead singer of Irish band The Corrs.
  • Lisa Origliasso, one half of the Australian group The Veronicas, has hair this shade. Her twin sister (though now blonde) also sported the hair color in their video for "Untouched".

Newspaper Comics

  • Nemi: The titular character, as well as her biker friend, who has the accompanying blue tints.
  • Modesty Blaise.


  • Serene's childhood friend Polly from the Riviera drama CDs. Polly's hair is remarked upon by everyone, including the crazy demon ghost who features as the villain of the drama she appears in.


  • Jade of the Bratz doll line.
  • Also, Sabina and, later, Tristen of the rival doll collection Moxie Girlz and Moxie Teenz respectively.

Video Games


  • Tavor from Looking for Group, aside from his Skunk Stripe. Although it's more visible when he's a ghost and has it slicked back rather than braided or whatever he did under his helmet, since during his first appearance with his helmet off, it's not particularly blue, nor particularly shiny.
  • Kimiko of Dresden Codak; in earlier strips, she was basically just drawn with blue hair, but Art Evolution has moved her more towards black hair with a blue tint.
  • Susan from El Goonish Shive has hair that literally is dark blue, but it's shown as black in the greyscale comics, and some of the earlier color comics used such a dark shade of blue that it would look black on some monitors, so there's been some confusion in the fandom. Her natural hair color is blonde; she dyes it midnight blue because her father had an affair with a blonde woman.
  • Caprice Quevillion of A Miracle of Science is another example of a dark-blue-haired character whose hair appeared black in greyscale. And it's certainly shiny.

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Aubergines/eggplants.
  • Horses with a dark blue roan (i.e. mix of white and black hairs) frequently come off as this.
  • Dita Von Teese, ex-wife of rock star Marilyn Manson, dyes her hair this shade for her stage persona.
    • Also, as mentioned under Film, the Fifties pinup Bettie Page, who was a major influence on Dita Von Teese.
  • The natural volcanic glass Obsidian is this colour.
  • Nigella Lawson varies from having hair this shade to dark brown at different times, as does fellow British TV personality Ruth Jones.
  • Ludwig Benelmans, the author of the Madeline books, described his glamorous mother as having black hair that shone blue.
  • The Queen of the Night hybrid, also known as a black tulip. The closest gardeners and hybridists have come to creating a black tulip is this,although the plant is not actually black in colour and a deep purple; it appears black in dawn and twilight hours. See here for more details.
  • Comedian and actor Noel Fielding, as seen above in The Mighty Boosh.
  • Supermodel Erin O'Connor.
  • Fashion designer Edith Head, who incorporated this hair colour into her trademark look - the thick rimmed glasses and bobbed haircut, a haircut which Anna Wintour also uses.
  • Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding recently dyed her hair to this shade.
  • Mayte Garcia, aka Prince's ex-wife.
  • Actress Shannen Doherty of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed fame.
  • Socialite Goga Ashkenazi, as seen here. She often lightens her hair, though.
  • American black bears.
  • Colombian model and actress Amalia Aviles. [dead link]
  • As do fellow Latino actors Alejandra Oraa [dead link] and Pablo Portillo. [dead link]
  • Princess Ameerah of Jordan. Her hair is often a statement piece in her fashion.
  • Actress Marija Petronijevic. [dead link]
  • Laurie Penny, journalist for the Guardian newspaper and The New Statesman, as seen here. [dead link]
  • Supermodel Lily Cole dyed her trademark red hair to jet black recently.
  • Actress Liv Tyler.
  • Actor and model Tom Welling of Smallville fame.
  • Actress Nazanin Boniadi. [dead link]
  • Ambra Bolin, Swedish fashion model, as seen here [4] and here [scroll to post #5 and look at the top and bottom pictures] [5]
  • Kim Kardashian.
  • Animals such as cats, dogs, and rats can come in "blue", which is a diluted version of a regular black coat. The technical term for this is called "slate-grey", but can look very bluish in certain lightings.
  • People of Southern European/Mediterranean, African, Amerindian, and Asian ancestry tend to have this kind of hair, though Your Mileage May Vary on the degree of blue shine.
  • Ravens' feathers have a metallic quality, so whilst they are black, they reflect colours like blue, green and purple.
  • Some tribes in Africa (especially those around the Nile) have skin like this.