I recently dyed my hair purple, as you do during a global lockdown, and asked people who their favourite purple-haired character is in anime. One of the most commented characters was our purple boy in the header image, Atsushi Murasakibara from Kuroko’s Basketball.
However, not to be a standard basic post meant for simple quick views and writing, I decided to look into the colour a bit. So I did some digging, reading and put together this post. If you just want to see the characters, simply scroll down to the section.
A brief history of the colour purple
In nature, purple is a rather rare colour and a hard colour to replicate. It is believed that the first use of purple dye began in the 14th-century BCE. Tyrian purple, a natural purple dye was very expensive and required a lot of effort to make and perfect. The colour also faded rapidly from the dyed material. The dye itself was extracted from certain mollusc species. Their shells were crushed and left to dry in the sun. Thousands upon thousands of shells were required to make the dye.
Due to the rarity of the colour, purple was quickly associated with royalty and nobility as well as to the extremely wealthy. This was because they were the only ones who could afford clothes made with the dye. To put into context, the dye, Tyrian Purple, was worth more than its literal weight in gold. There were times in history where it was forbidden to wear or sell the colour purple outside of royalty. To the point where people could be executed over it.
Then in 1856 with the hope of discovering a cure for malaria, William Henry Perkin, a young chemist, accidentally created the worlds first synthetic dye, which also happened to be the colour purple. It was thanks to his discovery the colour to become available and affordable for the masses.
What the colour purple means
Knowing of the struggle and expense of the colour it is rather easy to understand how purple came to mean and represent wealth, luxury and royalty. Thanks to the links with royalty and ‘upper-class’ the colour also became linked to spiritualism through the church.
The combination of blue and red lends itself to the understanding of the colour to be somewhere between the passion of red and the tranquillity of blue. Which also lends itself to the understanding that purple represents balance, wisdom and creativity.
Over time the colour has also come to represent the mystical. Different hues of the colour represent different things. For example, darker hues of purple can be used for mourning, brighter hues for wealth and lighter hues for light-heartedness.
Purple Haired Anime Characters
While I know a lot of attention and passion goes into creating characters, I doubt too many people decide on a character’s personality based on their hair colour or choose a hair colour based on their personality. With that said, here are 6 anime characters with purple hair.
1. Shinoa Hiiragi
2. Kanato Sakamaki
5. Saeko Busujima
Who are your favourite anime characters linked to the colour purple?
That number 3, is she a cat girl in Soul Eater?
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Yes she is 😁
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Interesting write up! Fun fact: purple dye was so expensive in roman/medieval times because it was made from snails! 😖
My favorite purple haired characters… hard to say but I’d have to mention Rider/Medusa (Fate) Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop) and Misato Katsuragi (Evangelion). I’m not sure what they all have in common though heh.
Your hair looks great btw!
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