12 popular anime hairstyles and what they say about the characters who wear them

In this article:

  • Anime hairstyles are notoriously unrealistic due to their unnatural colors and physics-defying structure.
  • Although anime hairstyles may seem strange to viewers who are not familiar with the anime, they are an effective visual shortcut that conveys what kind of personality a character has.
  • Anime hairstyles aren’t limited to anime shows – there are plenty of western anime and games inspired by anime and their hairstyles.

Orbits are everywhere.

No matter how much people like to say they prefer their shows and movies to be one-of-a-kind gems, there isn’t a single media that doesn’t have some metaphor. Whether playing straightforward metaphor, subverting metaphor, or trying too hard to rule it out, metaphors remain a guiding influence in how a piece of media is developed.

Among the most popular metaphors of the 21st century are the so-called anime hairstyles.

Anime hairstyles are known for their physics-defying size and shape as well as their unnatural colours. It seems strange to many new viewers, but anyone who just wanders off to watch a few shows quickly realizes that these anime hairstyles aren’t just stylistic choices.

They are narrative techniques that help shows communicate a character’s mood, character, and, in some cases, their values. If you’re having a hard time appreciating the quirks of anime hairstyles, here’s a quick guide to the meanings of the most prominent visual acronyms for anime.

1. Poetry protagonist

Anime Purple Hairstyles
Aoba Suzukazi walks into a crowd.

This is one of the memes that frames the anime fan community as a hero discovery game.

The hair of the protagonist or the hair of the main character is used to distinguish the focal characters from the background characters. Animations that begin with a hero walking into a crowd or on a journey, do this to give us a glimpse into the character’s daily life while making sure they’re easy to follow between wounds.

A good example of this is the scene in new game! (2016), anime about a young woman who joins a game development company, as protagonist Aoba Suzukaze moves to the headquarters of Eagle Jump.

Another one of the anime hairstyles featured in this scene is the metaphor of twin pigtails. Aoba’s hair was cut in a style meant to tell the audience that she’s too young. The only other member who wears his hair in twin pigtails is Aoba’s close relative in age.

2. A fun loving blonde

Blonde Marine Kitagawa

Blonde anime hairstyles are the easiest to adapt to new anime viewers because of how close they are to Western metaphors about blonde hair.

Blonde anime hairstyles can indicate a number of things about a character. It can either mean that the female character is a sophisticated, high-maintenance Regina George or a fun-loving girl next door. If she is paired with the dark-haired protagonist, you can be almost certain that she will be the last.

If he was a man, he would either be a loud and lively person or a shy but kind-hearted person.

Marine Kitagawa, gyaroo the hero of the story dress up my loveHe has strawberry blonde hair. She is self-confident, open-minded, and has an outspoken personality, which she uses to intimidate suitors who don’t appreciate her geeky interests.

True, the show brings her together with Gojo, the shy, dark-haired guy.

3. dreary blue hair

Ayato Kamesat blue hair
kamisato ayato from Jinshin effect It fills many metaphors about blue hair and long hair in male anime characters.

Like blonde hair, this anime hairstyle has a number of variations depending on the gender of the character you possess. When added to the female characters, blue anime hairstyles indicate that the person is shy and socially awkward.

For male personalities, blue hair means that they have a “cool” personality meaning that they are either relaxed or cold towards others.

It can also refer to rationality and calmness. Think “quiet minds” versus “reckless.” It’s basically a reversal of redheaded reckless metaphor.

Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko no basket (2012) is the quiet iteration of the Blue Hair Trophy. Reem from Re: zero (2012) falls under the metaphor of the shy blue-haired girl.

In shows where characters are known to have superpowers, blue hair denotes elemental power over water, ice, or both.

A great example of this is seen in the siblings Ayato Kamisato and Ayaka Kamisato from the video game Jinshin effect. Ayato can control the water and is known for his cunning while Ayaka controls the ice and is polite but incredibly shy.

4. Cue my dead mom

FMA mom dead hair
The Elric brothers and their mother who later died due to the curse of the dead mother.

None of these anime hairstyles will be as popular as the dead mother’s hairstyle. This style got its name because of the number of times mothers died or ended up dying later in an anime, and they got exactly this hairstyle.

As with other metaphors, it has some differences. Some dead anime moms may have hair that matches their hero child, but what doesn’t change is the side braid that wraps around her cheeks.

The hairstyle has been around in anime shows for decades but has been widely identified as a metaphor since then Fullmetal Alchemist Brothers (2009), a show about two brothers who reveal the secrets of chemistry, its events began due to the death of the mother of the film’s heroes.

5. Airhead Ahoge

Edward Elric is an outstanding idiot
Edward Elric has a delusion. His brother Alphonse did not.

Have you ever noticed how often anime characters have a single strand of hair sticking out of their heads? Sometimes it’s just a straight rise, other times it’s a wrap, but either way, it’s an “ahoge” antenna head.

“Ahoge” literally means “goof poetry” in Japanese. The character used to write ahoge can be divided into “aho” meaning stupid or foolish and “ge” meaning poetry.

Of course, not every character who has a goof is portrayed as a Joey head, but many are. FMABEdward Elric has a goof and fits the loud blonde stereotype. This may sound like a cruel metaphor, but a character is also meant to show that they are honest.

6. Childish Odango Cake

Sailor Moon Cakes Odango
Usagi Tsukino has Odango cakes featured in the original and reboot versions of sailor moon.

Similar to ahoge, Odango cakes are used on small or innocent characters. It is primarily a female metaphor, because odango buns are made by wrapping long hair around itself.

The most famous pair of Odango buns in anime history is the one worn by Usagi Tsukino, the protagonist of the ’90s anime, sailor moon.

In recent years, Odango has been updated to blend in with another trope from animation: Neko mimi. Neko mimi or cat ears are just cat ears for anime girl. The Neko mimi-style Odango is shaped like a cone to give it a pointed look reminiscent of cat ears.

Jinshin effectIronically, Keqing has this despite her reputation for being a serious workaholic.

7. Stylish hair cut between him

Your Forge Bangs
Yor Forger wears a different kind of hime cut Spy family x (2022).

Another classic anime hairstyle is the Heim hairstyle. This hairstyle is mainly paired with long straight black hair. As far as anime hairstyles go, this is the most natural look since it’s just black hair with straight bangs and short side bangs.

“Hime” means princess in Japanese, so the character who wears her hair is someone who embodies the Japanese feminine ideal. Cartoon characters with this hair will be soft-spoken, hardworking, intelligent, well-mannered, and elegant.

It is also the oldest metaphor on this list. Brown hair is a repetition of the Heian era TargameLong, straight hair was worn by the nobles of that period. Updated versions of hime hair keep the bangs and length but put the back of the hair into a bun or ponytail.

An example of the former is Yor Forger from Spy family x (2022) While for the latter, there is Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love is War(2019).

8. A Young Lady’s Ojou Curls

Elizabeth Medford Curls
Elizabeth Medford, daughter of the Marquis, wears ojo curls black butler (2014).

Ojou curls and hime hair are two types of anime hairstyles that tell audiences that the female character has a high social standing. “Ojou” means young lady, so women with the hairstyle will either be the same as their hime hair counterparts or Regina Georges in their shows.

Why the difference? While Heim’s poetry reflects Japanese feminine ideals, Ojo’s poetry symbolizes the Victorian ideals of being a noble woman Through the Japanese perspective.

Ojo hair is a glimpse into how Japanese culture perceived women from Western high society, which is why it is often worn by figures heavily inspired by Victorian ladies.

Hayati, the warrior servant (2007) Athena Tinoso wears blonde curls with a black Gothic Lolita dress but is Japanese on her show during black butler (2014) Elizabeth Medford is a literal Victorian Lady of England.

9. Pink-haired girlfriend

pink hair Chika
Chica from Kaguya-sama: Love is War (2019)

Tricky pink anime hairstyles. Although it is often used for cute and gentle characters, it is also worn by sarcastic or malicious characters in secret. In general, pink hair means that the character has a romantic personality.

One of the earliest manifestations of this metaphor is in The revolutionary girl Utina (1999) where the titular Utena has pink hair and a fantasy ideal that goes with it. The latest one is Kaguya SamaChika who is cute but enjoys teasing other characters.

while, Mary Nikki (2011) Yuno Gazi is a psychopathic Yandere who is obsessed with the main character A=male.

10. Dark-haired protagonist self-insertion

Black Hair protagonist Persona 5
Joker from the video game Persona 5 is the main character that is led by the player.

The era of dark-haired male anime characters being psychopaths with a divine complex (looking at you, Light Yagami and Lelouch) is on its way to fading away.

In the past few years, dark-haired men in anime shows and games have been softer and more hero-like because they are designed for viewers to project themselves on.

Some black-haired characters, like dress up my loveGojo and Persona 5The Joker will have, however, more established traits that give them an identity separate from the viewer, but others are practically empty slabs. This is very common in isekai Type.

at shoujo And shonen Despite the anime shows, the dark-haired heroes are still the cool guys in their shows. Just look at Millionaire detective (2020) Daisuke Kambi.

11. Icy Cool Platinum Blonde

Kerari platinum blonde
Kirari Momobami from Kakigurui (2017)

Not to be confused with characters who have hair in a warmer shade than blonde. While anime blond hairstyles mean girls can be catty, platinum blond/white haired ones are either cool or crazy. There is seldom a middleman.

Additionally, they are either geniuses, skilled fighters, or both.

Hunter X Hunter (1999) Killua Zoldyck has a cold personality, genius, and a skilled fighter.

For example, there is Kirari Momobami from Kakigurui (2017) Who is cool, crazy, and a genius. While Inuyasha from Inuyasha (2000) He’s not genius or cool or crazy, he’s a great fighter.

However, Inuyasha’s brother, Sesshomaru fits the bill perfectly. Speaking of Sesshomaru, this brings us to the last entry on this list.

12. Pretty long-haired boy

Long hair Sesshomaru
Sesshomaru shows off his long hair and Tesaiga’s long hair.

Female look, anyone?

Some men may not like seeing feminine or androgynous men in fantasy, but if there is one thing shoujo Anime shows that women love men who are prettier than them.

Anime men with long hair are often portrayed as sophisticated and gentleman. Like attractive-haired anime women, they may have a high social standing or somehow outperform other male characters.

Bishonen Hair can be Sesshomaru length or stop at or around the shoulders as Sebastian Michaelis and Howl’s do.

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