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The problem with violence is that people tend to bleed when they are stabbed. Blood is scary. But changing the color of blood to something like black makes everything family-friendly, right? Pools and pools of nice, safe, black blood... Never mind the original violence.
With any luck, this is just something tacked on to fit broadcast standards, with a more realistic color used for the DVD release...
Some opt just to not show blood at all despite violence.
Black-and-white comic books (which includes most, if not all, manga) generally have black blood (where it's featured) out of necessity.
Not to be confused with cases where the "blood" is supposed to be a different color, like with robots or some aliens. It's worth remembering that a large quantity of blood (especially venous) will look close to black, which is where this colour choice comes from in the first place.
Also, please note that since it is the iron in our blood that makes it red, this trope is almost Truth in Television for the anemic. Almost.
- The trailer for The Mist retouches the blood to a black color on the face of a man who runs into the store for shelter. This is also done for the blood on the safety-rope and the bloody hand-print left on the window, despite the split-second nature of these shots.
- Trailers for the first Resident Evil flick showed zombies doused in blue gore. Blue! This is not the case in the actual film.
Anime and Manga
- School Days uses this trope (though it's red for the DVD release).
- Though for some odd reason, the second murder during the same episode has red blood, even in the censored version.
- Being made before the days when violent anime is screened during midnight, desaturated, black or white blood was the only way that Fist of the North Star could air on television at all.
- There is some genuine red blood in the anime TV series, most notably when Shin cripples Kenshiro in their first fight. You will never see it when Kenshiro makes a random mook's head violently explode, however.
- Not all of the blood in Myself Yourself is black, just everything greater than a scratch on the finger.
- In Sailor Moon's first season, one of the Shinten'nou had a Heel Face Turn and was quickly hunted down and stabbed through the chest with branch tentacles. His blood was everywhere, but it was green so it was okay to show, even on Western Television. Curiously, the other 3 generals all bled red whenever receiving injuries.
- Inuyasha makes use of this, which has the odd effect of making the wounds of the red-wearing protagonist more jarring.
- Averted in the Movies
- One of the sillier instances of Black Blood happened in Episode 13 of Bamboo Blade for Psycho Lesbian Reimi's Nosebleed. There was no reason for it to be black, but it was.
- Piccolo and other Nameks bleed purple blood in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. It should be noted that both Piccolo Sr. and Piccolo Jr. had bleed red blood in some instances - the former when he got a hole in his stomach (triggering his explosive death) and the later when he got his arm severely injured during his fight with Goku on the Budokai tournament, and severed his very own arm (only to regrow it again in a matter of seconds).
- In the censored TV versions of Dragonball Z Kai, all of Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta's blood is a brown-ish-black-ish color.
- Gen Shishio from Kekkaishi seems to bleed white blood.
- The Naruto anime rarely uses this trope, but it made an exception when Gaara kills three competitors during the Chuunin Exams, a scene that featured more blood than the rest of the series combined. The black color of the blood might be a result of the blood thickening the sand.
- In the Pokémon anime, the few times Ash is cut onscreen he bleeds black. What's odd is that you see the blood fly through the air very dramatically, but his clothes remain uncut. The reason as to why Ash's blood is black is likely because of the animation style.
- Seto no Hanayome opts for sprays of clear/rainbow-tinted fluid, an effect retained in the DVD release. (Probably a Shout-Out to Fist of the North Star which used the same manner of censor and yet still managed to be awesome in spite of itself)
- Moon Phase uses red blood for minor wounds (vampire bites), but switches to black when someone gets a hole dug into their chest.
- Bleach. To clarify, blood is only red when it drips on the floor.
- Also, it is generally more often red in the movies.
- Justified in Waq Waq; most people have black blood, except for the red-blooded "kami".
- 07-Ghost uses this from the first episode, when they bother to add in the blood at all. Very frustrating if you've read the manga and know the blood ought to be there when it isn't. Later in the series, the blood displayed becomes neon red, or magenta, but definitely not what real blood looks like!
- Just about every murder scene in Detective Conan.
- In Akira when Tetsuo makes three people explode most of their blood is black.
- In Kaiba blood is GREEN. This is consistent with the fact that 90% of everything in Kaiba's world (galaxy, technically) looks like a picasso painting, architecture included.
- In C the Money And Soul of Possibility, during a deal, Entrees lose their money through this whenever slashed or otherwise. However, this is symbolic: black blood could also mean leaking oil.
- Seen a lot in comic books, too. The Wolverine series is kind of notorious for it. In the hands of a bad artist, it can look like just blotched inking.
- In G.I. Joe—a war comic, albeit one where any named protagonist or even antagonist dying was a major plot event—blood was usually black, with the occasional redness in the "glossy patch" (where a bit of white would be on an oil slick to show it was reflective).
- In the Death of Superman storyline at some points his blood was black as Doomsday cut him but not all the time.
- Also, the Pre Crisis story introducing the revamped, SkeleBot version of Brainiac, showed Superman taking what was, at that time, an unprecedentedly graphic beating. His blood was colored black, and frankly, that just made it creepier. Then again, this was the brief period in the mid-80's when Gil Kane was inking his own work, lending a very surreal look to his normally very realistic pencils. The black blood is just one more factor making the already weird images start to veer into Nightmare Fuel territory.
- Ultimate Spider-Man had Peter Parker come home to find Uncle Ben dead and black bloodstains on the carpet.
- Hard Boiled utilizes black blood, may be justified in the case of the protagonist since he's a robot.
- City of Silence by Warren Ellis and Gary Erskine uses black blood, which is weird considering how gleefully Squicky the comic is about displaying a decadent dystopia.
- Used when Tintin is shot in the shoulder in The Blue Lotus.
- The trailer for Kill Bill Volume 1 digitally retouched the blood on the Bride to a black color for the scenes from the fight with the Crazy 88, just to get an All Audiences rating for it. In the movie itself, that fight scene was partially turned to black and white for the US release for a similar reason; audiences elsewhere got to see the gore as Tarantino intended.
- The Princess Bride uses copious amounts of Black Blood, particularly during Westley's fight with the ROUS and Inigo's duel with Count Rugen.
- For Evil Dead 2, director Sam Raimi attempted to keep his R rating by filling the Deadites with every color of fluids except red. And then splatter it all on Bruce Campbell at once. It didn't work and the movie got slapped with an X rating anyway, so they opted to release it unrated instead.
- Alfred Hitchcock famously shot Psycho in black and white, specifically so he could use chocolate syrup to represent Janet Leigh's blood in the shower scene.
- Taxi Driver uses foamy pink blood during the climactic scene where Travis Bickle goes on a one-man killing spree. Actually, it's the entire scene that had been desaturated to make the blood less offensive.
- Meanwhile, Sin City has white blood. Or, in one particular case, yellow blood. This is an artifact of the comics it's based on, which are entirely black and white (no gray!) except for the yellow Junior (and his blood). It's worth noting however that it changes from shot to shot and story to story. In "That Yellow Bastard" the blood is always white, save for the Bastard's, but in "The Hard Goodbye" pretty much all the blood is bright red (in the commentary the directors noted that the black blood just made Hartigan's face look muddy insead of beaten to a pulp, so they had to make it red). "The Big Fat Kill" throws consistency out the window in favour of interesting visuals. One character is shown with his hand blown off and spewing white blood, but when he throat is splashed red blood splashes on another character's face.
- 300 had incredibly dark blood.
- It might not really be blood, but when Silent Bob breaks open Azrael's chest in Dogma, there's lots of black evil.
- In George Romero's Land of the Dead, a lot of the blood was actually digitally colored black in order to work it's way down to an R-rating for theaters. The Uncut DVD fixes this, and shows young girls a reason why certain piercings are a baaaad idea.
Live Action TV
- Smallville is guilty of this in at least two episodes. In the first, it was justified in that the guest character was Cyborg of Teen Titans fame and it wasn't blood but mech fluids (keeping in line with the comics). In a later episode that pitted General Zod against Clark, Clark gets a bloody lip that bleeds black blood (which is odd, as Clark has been shown to bleed red blood several times before.).
- In True Blood, you can see Maryann's black blood (and heart) when Sam kills her.
- Blood is sometimes described this way in The Red Tent, particularly when it results from particularly tragic deaths, such as Death by Childbirth
- Mostly seen in the late-90s and up, recaps of bloody matches would be shown with the color out.
- And oddly enough, a forgotten character in early-'90s WCW was called "Black Blood."
- Famously, the original gold cartridge version of Ocarina of Time had Ganondorf vomit red blood when Link killed him, but this was changed to green in later releases, among other changes (such as the music in the Fire Temple, which sounded too close to the Islamic adhan for some).
- Similar to the above Zelda example, House of the Dead does something similar with it's "censored" release. All of the red bits that are result of the gore effects (so flesh, blood as well as some of the giant maggots) are changed to Green instead of red.
- The Japanese and European releases of No More Heroes turned all the blood black, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't close to being a playable Tarantino movie. A scene involved the sequence where, after defeating a woman in battle, she commits honourable suicide by depinning a grenade and holding it in her mouth, with predicable results. Since, just before, she told the main character that she was attracted to him, he awkwardly hugged her dead, still-standing, headless body. In the censored version, her head and shoulders were still attached, but completely black, ruining the impact. The sequel remains uncensored, however.
- Early Shadow the Hedgehog trailers showed enemy alien characters spewing red blood when hit, but when ESRB announced a middle rating between Everyone and Teen, the developers changed the color to green. Of course, the aliens themselves are still reddish, not to mention the similarity of our titular hero's red blood to his otherworldly creators.
- The US console release of Darkstalkers 3 uses white blood, which, at best, makes it look like sand or kitty litter. And, just to make things utterly nonsensical, Jedah's blood-based attacks are still rendered in a deep purple like they were in the arcade.
- The effect this had on Dmitri's super attack is legendary. First he turns his opponent into a pretty female (if necessary), then he bites their neck, which causes a pool of blood to form directly under them. But in the censored version, it forms a pool of white fluid. The result looks nearly pornographic.
- The original Devil May Cry downright inverts this. Everything bleeds red, even when it doesn't make sense for it to. Devil May Cry 3 backs down a little, and actually has creatures "bleed" appropriate to what they are—sand, ichor, impact sparks, whatever.
- If you turn off the "Gore" option in Alien Hominid, enemies spray flowers when stabbed.
- The Colossi in the T-rated Shadow of the Colossus all bleed black blood when stabbed or shot. Then again, it might have looked weird if they had bled anything but black, given the aesthetic of the rest of the game. "Black Blood" is actually the name of one of the tracks on the OST.
- Wander also vomits black blood after each Colossus, as well as spraying a bunch when he's killed by Lord Emon's troops near the end of the game.
- The Korean and Japanese releases of Starcraft have black blood spatters in death animations, even on Terrans. This makes some of the pro-gamer videos from South Korea look odd to western eyes.
- Even Mortal Kombat fell victim to this trope in its Japanese version. Blood is green, while fatalities are presented in monochrome.
- The SNES Total Carnage port had green "blood".
- Metal Slug has a "censored" settings, which features water instead of blood.
- In the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game for Playstation 2 and X-Box not only do the orcs and trolls bleed black blood but so do the heroes, however in the Return of the King game the enemies bleed but the heroes don't.
- In Turok 2 there is an option to change the enemies' blood from red to green.
- A hidden setting in Silent Hill 2 let you change the enemy blood to green, black, or purple if red was making you feel too squeamish.
- Destroy All Humans! usually opts for Bloodless Carnage instead, but when you use the anal probe to make someone's head explode, it bursts in a shower of green blood.
- In perhaps the weirdest application of this trope ever, in 'Splosion Man, people bleed meat. And no, not as in gibs or "bloody chunks of meat" -- things like steaks, ribs, hams, and sausages... and donuts
- The halls of Arkham Asylum in Batman: Arkham Asylum are liberally decorated with black smears and splatters. This was originally intended to be blood, but was changed prior to release so that the game could get away with a T rating.
- The Play Station 2 port of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni had this in all cases of blood in order to avoid a 18+ rating at a time where the CERO system was being reclassified. Oddly enough, the DS port restores the blood as red and still has the same rating as the Play Station 2 version.
- The Serious Sam games allow you to change the blood from red to either green or "hippie", which replaces blood smears with images of flowers and the gibs with watermelons and other fruits. You can also disable the blood (and/or gibs) entirely.
- The "kids" option in the HD makeover has the blood replaced with sparkley stars, and gibs are now candy.
- Monster Hunter Tri has an option allowing the player to turn off the blood splashes and the... uh... green splashes (or whatever bugs bleed) and possibly some other visual effects. This is actually justified by the game as it hints that it helps the Wii in the performance of the game if it's turned off. Either way the blood effects are on by default.
- In Onimusha Dawn of Dreams enemies bleed red, but you have the option of changing it to green blood or to bloodless. Averted in the third game, where there's an option for making fights even gorier (namely it allows you to bisect enemies with critical hits, though the corpses vanish almost istantly leaving no blood behind).
- In Zombies Ate My Neighbors, all of the blood is replaced with an unidentified purple slime.
- In the European and Australian versions of Castlevania Bloodlines, all of the blood is replaced with what appears to be water. Also the realistically gross-looking reddish zombies were recolored a comical shade of green.
- In Monster Party, the title screen and beginning of round screen are drenched in green stuff that was originally red in the unreleased Japanese version.
- Justice League
- The animated Batman movie The Batman vs. Dracula, while it had a few drops of red blood, but switched to black when Vampire Joker spilled the entire contents of a blood bank's vault.
- In The Little Mermaid Ursula has black blood first seen when Eric shoots a spear at her cutting her arm, then when he kills her by ramming her with the mast. Admittedly octopusses do have ink for blood so... that's okay.
- When the Disney Channel was finally convinced to show the Gargoyles episode "Deadly Force", Elisa's pool of blood was changed to be black.