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Significant White Hair, Dark Skin

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Just as Raven Hair, Ivory Skin makes for quite a striking visual design, so does the inverse: a character with white or silver-colored hair and skin that is dark enough to heavily contrast with it. All the more notable since, unlike the former, this combination of traits is very rare for young people to have in real life, though not impossible either. As a result, characters with these traits will stand out even more, while also having an appearance that is compatible with realistic settings and more naturalistic character designs. This visual contrast is especially common in Japanese media due to a lot of manga being drawn in black-and-white, and thus the contrast between dark skin and light hair on a character will stand out even stronger on the page.

Many times the character's striking appearance is the result of unusual circumstances, be it the influence of the supernatural, being from an alien or magic-inclined race, causing their white hair to double as a case of Mystical White Hair. Other times it's the result of severe trauma or medical experimentation which may also grant them unusual abilities that an outsider might perceive as supernatural. In some cases, they don't have any unusual powers at all, and the character has the combination of traits for the simple purpose of making them visually stand out more for viewers' sake. At any rate, something about them is special, and the creators want viewers to take note.

It should be noted that it's not nearly as uncommon to see a combination of dark skin with blonde hair (that usually darkens in adulthood) in certain groups native to the Pacific Islands, such as Melanesia and the Aboriginal people of Australia, or among mixed families.


See also Significant Green-Eyed Redhead for another trope that uses a rare eye and hair color combination to draw attention to a character. Often connected to Ambiguously Brown for non-live action examples, particularly in cases where the character's dark skin is an aesthetic choice to contrast with their hair color rather than a deliberate indication of the character's ethnicity.

Note that this trope is not for examples where a dark-skinned character simply has white hair as a result of old age. Also note that this trope is not for characters who have dark skin of a color that is not humanly achievable; for that you want Amazing Technicolor Population or Green-Skinned Space Babe.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess: One of the main characters in the series is Urd, who alongside her sisters Belldandy and Skuld serve as the Norns, goddesses who oversee the past, present, and future respectively. Some of Urd's physical features, namely her brown skin and silver hair, cause her to stand out compared to her sisters. These traits were inherited by Urd from her mother, the demon queen Hild, and help her stand out among the cast.
  • Black Butler has Agni, an Indian man with dark skin and white hair who is prince Soma's loyal Battle Butler and right-hand man, and one of the strongest fighters who doesn't need to contract with demons.
  • Zapp Renfro from Blood Blockade Battlefront is Ambiguously Brown with unexplained white hair, serves as Leonardo's bodyguard, and is one of the two masters of the Big Dipper blood manipulation martial arts.
  • Canaan is a tan Middle Eastern girl with platinum blonde hair as a result of Disease Bleach from being injected with the Ua virus, which also allows her to perceive additional senses with her eyes.
  • April in Darker than Black, being an Expy of Storm from the X-Men, is a Black woman with short white hair and the Contractor-granted ability to control weather.
  • Deadman Wonderland's Karako Koshio, who has short white hair and tan brown skin, is one of the titular Deadmen able to crystalize her blood into a barrier.
  • Archer is one of the seven main Servants in Fate/stay night has tanned skin and white hair. The reason for his unusual appearance: his true name is EMIYA, aka the adult self of Shirou Emiya, a pale redhead. It has been mentioned that this is caused by the strain on his body from tracing, and overuse of magic and magical tampering in this series is known to cause Disease Bleach and change peoples' appearances in general.
  • Kotomine Shirou is the administrator of the Red Faction in Fate/Apocrypha, and his tanned skin and white hair deliberately evoke Archer, though this ends up being a Double Subversion. Despite his name and appearance, he doesn't have any relation to Shirou Emiya, but his Mystical White Hair is indicative of the fact that he is not just a mundane human but an incarnated Servant. His true identity is Amakusa Shirou Tokisada, and his dark skin is said to be the result of deep tanning from years of digging in the desert for artifacts.
  • The Ishvalans from Fullmetal Alchemist all have dark skin, white hair, and red eyes as their ethnic trait, and were subjected to a horrific genocide. Characters who possess these traits stand out for being some of the few survivors of that genocide and face a lot of discrimination in-universe for it. This isn't the case in the 2003 anime, where most Ishvalans have dark hair and only Scar (due to stress in the Ishval War) and the elders have white hair.
  • Integra Hellsing is the last heir and leader of the Hellsing Organization and the master of the vampire Alucard. Despite being of British nobility, she has dark skin and blonde hair that is almost white. The 2001 TV anime implies that her dark skin is specifically the result of being half-Indian on her mother's side.
  • Enrico Pucci from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean is a Black man with gray-white hair since birth. He's considered unassuming-looking in-universe, but his unusual combination of hair and skin color compared to the rest of the cast is an early hint that he's much more than he initially seems, as he is the true user of the stand Whitesnake and the Big Bad of Stone Ocean. His fraternal twin brother Weather Report shares his white hair but not his brown skin, and is an important supporting character, though not as prominent as Pucci. Pucci is also the only man Dio trusts with his ultimate plan to reach Heaven, which he spends much of the story attempting to achieve and almost entirely succeeds.
  • Jormungand's Jonah is the show's deuteragonist and has white hair and red eyes despite being a young Child Soldier and a dark-skinned West Asian.
  • Zafira of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has white hair, dark skin, and wolf ears, and is able to turn into wolf form as one of the Wolfenkritter, alien humanoid programs whom Hayate is able to pass off as foreign relatives.
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic: People from the country Heliophant have darker skin than the rest of the characters and exclusively white or silver-ish hair. The country seems to be based loosely off of Egypt, and the characters' skin tones link their backstories together even when it wouldn't otherwise be apparent and mark them as "exotic" everywhere else in the world.
  • My Hero Academia has Mirko, whose real name (Rumi Usagiyama) is Japanese, but has visibly tan skin and white hair reflecting her Quirk.
  • Many of the inhabitants of the Hidden Cloud Village in Naruto have dark skin and African features, and several of the most prominent ninja among them have white hair, such as the Raikage and his sworn brother and jinchuriki Killer B.
  • One Piece:
    • When King is finally unmasked by Zoro, onlookers take his dark skin and white hair, along with his black wings and ability to spontaneously create fire, as confirmation that he is a Lunarian, who were once reputed to be Gods that lived atop the Red Line before Mary Geoise was built. The World Government is willing to offer a substantial reward for tip-offs as to their whereabouts, prompting King to burn his own allies so that they can't sell him out.
    • When the Seven Warlords are abolished and replaced with the Seraphim, the Superior Successor to the Pacifista, it is eventually revealed that the SSG created the Seraphim by splicing the Lineage Factor of both Lunarians and the former Warlords. As such, all the Seraphim look like child versions of the Warlords except with black wings, added pyrokinesis, dark skin, and white hair (and artificially-recreated Devil Fruit powers that complement their fighting styles).
  • Outlaw Star has Aisha Clan Clan, whose dark skin, white hair, and pointy ears highlight her status as the token alien member of the cast compared to everyone else who is either human or patterned after humans and thus has a more natural combination of skin and hair colors.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Unlike his sister Anthy, who has dark hair to go with her dark skin, Akio Ohtori has silver-white hair, the visual combination adding to his exotic allure and also making him stand out as the show's Big Bad.
  • Saint Seiya: Chrysaor Krishna is a dark-skinned Indian man with white hair in the shape of a mohawk, and is one of Poseidon's seven Mariner generals.
  • Soul Eater's Fire and Thunder are the transforming Demon Weapons of the African Meister Kilik Rung, and accordingly have white hair and brown skin.
  • Loran Cehack, the protagonist of ∀ Gundam, has dark skin and silver hair and is revealed to not be from the Earth but is rather a member of the Moonrace, a group of humans who colonized the Moon to escape a technological dark age.
  • Tsume in Wolf's Rain has dark skin and silver hair to reflect that he is actually a wolf projecting an artificial human disguise.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Two of the native Egyptian characters have white hair to go with their natural brown skin, distinguishing them as holders of the seven Millennium Items:
    • Malik Ishtar from Yu-Gi-Oh! is part of an ancient Egyptian lineage responsible for protecting the Pharaoh Atem's secrets and the holder of the Millennium Dagger.
    • Thief King Bakura, Bakura's past incarnation, was an ancient Egyptian master thief who had natural silver hair, just like his current Japanese incarnation. He was the previous owner of the Millennium Ring and sealed his soul within it to create the dark persona of Yami Bakura.

    Comic Books 
  • The Trope Codifier for this in Western media is Ororo Munroe aka Storm, one of the leading members of the X-Men comics and all of their adaptations. She is a Black Kenyan princess with distinct silver hair and blue eyes which she inherited from her mother, who came from a long line of African priestesses, and was worshiped as a goddess due to her appearance and her Weather Manipulation powers.

  • Children of Blood and Bone: Among the people of Orïsha (an alternate history Nigeria) are those known as divîners, who have white hair and the capability to learn magic. However, when King Saran took over he learned the secret of how to disable magic, and ever since divîners have no power and are marked for prejudice by their darker skin and white hair. A decade later, the protagonist Zélie able to unlock her power and later on she inadvertently grants Amari power too, who is not a divîner but whose hair also turns white.
  • Pirotess from Record of Lodoss War has dark skin and silver hair befitting her status as a Dark Elf, as the series' lore is heavily based on Dungeons & Dragons. She's the series' Evil Counterpart to the heroic elf Deedlit and the only noteworthy female combatant among the antagonists.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • In Bayonetta 2, Loki is a dark-skinned boy with dreadlocked white hair who is later revealed to be the incarnation of the good half of Aesir, God of Chaos.
  • Devil May Cry 4 has the mysterious Gloria, who has dark skin and bleach-blond white hair. Turns out, she's a disguise donned by the heroine Trish to infiltrate Fortuna.
  • Fenris, one of the party members from Dragon Age II, has dark skin and silver-white hair which is implied to have been a result of Disease Bleach from the magical treatments that etched lyrium onto his skin and allow him to shift through solid matter.
  • One of the major characters in Final Fantasy X-2 is Baralai, who is a dark-skinned human man with silver hair despite his young age. He leads one of the major political factions in Spira, and the game builds towards him being the Big Bad although it ultimately turns out to be Nooj, who's possessed by the vengeful spirit of Shuyin.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses's Dedue is a large dark-skinned man with white hair who is a member of the Duscur ethnic minority who were mostly wiped out in a genocide a decade prior. He loyally serves Dimitri, who saved him from being killed at that time.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Venom is a British man with dark skin and long white hair who becomes the leader of the internationally-feared Assassin's Guild.
    • Ramlethal Valentine has dark skin, white hair, and is one of the three Valentines created by the Universal Will off of Aria Hale.
  • Gungrave: Sherry Macdowell-Walken was a biracial Asian/African American woman with black hair during life, but after she is killed and reanimated as a Deadwoman, she gains white hair to contrast her dark skin.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Xehanort has silver hair and darker skin, which seems to carry over from incarnation to incarnation, as Young Xehanort, Master Xehanort, Terra-Xehanort, Ansem Seeker of Darkness, and Xemnas, five different incarnations of the same guy, all have the same shade of skin and silver hair despite Terra having lighter skin prior to being possessed.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • K' (and by extension, his clone Krizalid) are NESTS' only success at implanting the Kusanagi family's inherited pyrokinesis abilities in another human via genetic manipulation. It's unclear whether K' always had dark skin and white hair or if it's the result of the cloning process, as various other clones created by NESTS also exhibit darkened skin compared to their originators, but Whip (who is a clone of K's sister Seirah) has pale skin and dark hair.
    • Shen Woo is an extremely skilled brawler with bright blonde hair and dark skin to contrast his Chinese name. It's implied that he's not actually a Shanghai native as Shen Woo is not his real name, with some implication that his appearance is tied to his Mysterious Past, and one common theory being that he's an amnesiac Krizalid.
  • The Last Blade: Setsuna is an evil demon who possessed the body of a newborn and the main villain of the second game. Given that his host was a native ethnically Japanese child, his dark skin and silver hair cause him to stand out even further from the rest of the cast.
  • One of the recruitable party members is Star Ocean: Till the End of Time Peppita Rosetti, a dark-skinned dancer with white twintails. Her appearance is explained as the result of her being a Human Alien.
  • Drebin from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a Black man with bright white hair who is one of Snake's major allies against the Patriots offers arms, upgrades, and intelligence to Snake in his fight against the Patriots.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Elena is a Black woman from Kenya with short white hair and is one of the series' more prominent New Generation characters.
    • Urien has white hair and is Ambiguously Brown, though his skin is much darker in combat mode. He's one of the franchise's major villains and the brother of the Big Bad.
  • Tekken's Raven is a Black Canadian McNinja with white hair who serves a mysterious organization dedicated to stopping the Mishima Zaibatsu. He joins the protagonist Lars as a major ally to take down Azazel and a rogue Jin Kazama.
  • One of the playable fighters in Virtua Fighter is Vanessa Lewis, who has brown skin and white-to-gray hair. It's unclear if her hair was always white or if it's the result of Disease Bleach from being forcibly imprisoned.
  • Xenosaga has T-ELOS and chaos, who are revealed towards the end of the game to be the Biblical figures Mary Magdalene and Yeshua (here, the divine half of Jesus Christ) respectively, with their dark skin being the result of their Middle Eastern ancestry. While chaos' hair was always silver-white even in the Biblical era, T-ELOS/Mary's wasn't, and seems to be a result of her corpse's conversion into a cyborg.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has chaos's Expy Alvis, the Ambiguously Human seer for the High Entia royal family who has silver hair and tan skin that stands out in contrast to the High Entia, who have Mystical White Hair as a racial attribute but are light-skinned. The end of the game reveals him to be the personification of the supercomputer that oversaw the creation of the world they live in and thus the closest thing the universe has to a true God.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has Elma, a visual Expy of T-ELOS who shares her dark skinstone and unnatural white hair despite seeming to be an ordinary human working for BLADE. The game's ending reveals that she's actually an alien in disguise and that her true form (a visual Expy of T-ELOS' counterpart KOS-MOS) looks nothing like her mimeosome body. Thus the white hair on her mimeosome serves as foreshadowing that she didn't actually have a proper human template to base her mimeosome on like the rest of the human cast.
  • Perun from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has dark skin and long white hair which she ties in a ponytail. She's a Blade, a race of mystical beings.

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: Campaign Two: Reanminere/"Reani" is modeled in appearance after her player Mica Burton, who is African American, except with white-blonde hair and golden freckles befitting the character's celestial heritage as an aasimar.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane features Ekko, who has dark brown skin and white hair. This dark skin/pale hair combination makes him stand out among the rest of the cast, especially as both the tritagonist of the show and the leader of the Firelights, a third-option group opposed to both Silco's crime syndicate and Piltover's enforcers.
  • Kida, the female protagonist of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, is the princess of the long-lost civilization of Atlantis, whose people all seem to share her white hair, dark skin, and longevity.
  • Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe from Avatar: The Last Airbender has the same brown skin as any other Water Tribe member. She was born with dark hair and unresponsive. The Moon Spirit saved her life, turning her hair white.
  • The Legend of Tarzan: Queen La is a Vain Sorceress with black skin and cream-coloured hair, the only character in the whole series to sport this combination. Her unusual appearance is an example of Mythology Gag linked to her book counterpart's Atlantean ancestry (see the Atlantis: The Lost Empire example above), but the In-Universe explanation is given by a Waziri elder: she was originally a member of his tribe (in which all women have normal black hair) who gained control of Black Magic and achieved a Soul Jar-fueled immortality. His account implies that her magic is partly, if not entirely, responsible for this contrast.
  • Miraculous Ladybug has the black Max Kanté's normally dark hair become silvery as the superhero Pegasus.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Mara, the prior bearer of the power of She-Ra before the current wielder Adora, had dark skin and naturally dark hair but when activating her She-Ra form her hair would magically turn blonde.
  • King Alfor and his daughter Princess Allura in Voltron: Legendary Defender were redesigned to have brown skin and stark white hair in this version. As a result, Allura (as the scion of a lost alien civilization and the main characters' Mystical Waif herald) stands out among the human main characters.