Anime Hair Color

Anime Law-  Hair Color

 

As we can see from the above picture of Negi Springfield’s Class 2-A from Mahora any and all hair colors can and will be seen in anime.  This is also known as the Law of Follicular Chromatic Variability– Any color in the visible spectrum is considered a natural color.

Class 2-A

Class 2-A

 

Human hair color

Sadly, human hair and eye color is not nearly as diverse.  A small sampling of the different hair colors present in humans is shown below.

hair color

The spectrum of human hair color

The two colors missing from the above diagram are varying shades of red, and silver.

What causes Human hair color?

All colors, human or otherwise, are caused by pigments.  Pigments are chemicals that absorb certain wavelengths of light, and reflect other wavelengths.  This is referred to as an absorption spectrum and is unique to each pigment, and the reflected light is the color of the pigment.  The absorption spectrum of chlorophyll is seen below as an example.

absorption spectrum

The colors that are absorbed sets the colors that are actually observed

In the diagram we can see that chlorophyll absorbs blue and red light, reflecting green and yellow light.  This is why plants appear green in the spring and summer because they are reflecting green light.

 

Melanin is a group of pigments found in humans that colors our skin, hair, and eyes.  The role of melanin in the human body is to protect the body from excess ultraviolet radiation which can cause various mutations potentially leading to cancer.  This can be seen in the graph below.

Melanin

Absorption spectrum of melanin

 

As seen above melanin has a higher absorption rate for violet and blue light, and then slowly tapers off into orange and red light, which is less damaging to the body.  The three main melanin pigments found in humans are eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin.  The first two play a role in human hair color and the last does not.

Eumelanin has two subtypes, a black pigment, and a brown pigment

Pheomelanin has only one type and that is a redish pigment

          It is the combination of these pigments that create the various shades and hues of human hair color, all of which can be seen in our introductory picture.

Black hair– High concentrations of the black eumelanin subtype.

Brown hair– high levels of the brown eumelanin subtype with a low level of pheomelanin.

Blond hair– low levels of eumelanin and pheomelanin determining the particular shade or hue.

Red Hair– high levels pheomelanin with eumelanin determining the particular shade or hue.

Silver hair– absence of any pigments.

 

Non-human living organisms

In nature one can see a wide variety of colors far beyond what is found in humans.  This is due to other pigments being used in the place of melanin.  Two of the more well known pigments are chlorophyll and carotenoid, which also have a variety of sub-types conferring different colors.  Characters with these colors can also be seen in the introductory picture.

Blue- yes its real just rare

blue lobster

Yes they really can be blue

 

Green- Its not just for plants

green snake

Green snake

 

Orange

tiger

tiger

 

Pink

flamingo

flamingo

 

Purple

sea urchin

sea urchin

 

Conclusion

As we have just seen nature can and does use a variety of pigments that can create the colors seen in anime hair.  Therefore I have determined anime hair color to be

plausible

plausible

 

While we do not see the many anime hair colors as natural human hair colors at the present time it does not mean that it cannot happen in the future.  Mankind is constantly changing and evolving over time so it is possible that at some point in the future we acquire a mutation leading to a new hair color.  The second point is that if our evolution had taken a slightly different path we could have ended up with different hair colors; one only has to look at the bright coloration of many tropical bird species, with which we share a common ancestor in reptiles.

 

I hope that everyone has enjoyed reading this post and maybe learned a thing or two.  I am always looking for new ideas and areas of research, so please let me know if you have an anime science question you want answered.

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