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This is what happens when you mix Color Coded for Your Convenience with Lucky Seven. Not only is a color motif used, but the specific colors involved are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These are often identified as the colors of the rainbow.

This trope was started by Isaac Newton, who really wanted there to be exactly seven colors to match the number of musical notes, the number of planets (then) known to be in our solar system, and days of the week. Isaac was wrong about this one, but since he was such a famous scientist, the belief that the visible light spectrum could be separated into exactly seven parts was widely held for a long time. This gave rise to the popular mnemonic "Roy G. Biv", a person's name constructed from the first letter of each color in order. Another mnemonic, more popular in Britain, is "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain".

Indigo is generally considered the odd man out among the seven, due to it simply being a dark blue[1]. If the creator needs a few more colors to round out the cast, black and white are common additions. Alternatively, some creators opt to branch out into the non-visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infrared and ultraviolet. Curiously, cyan is missing, creating a conspicuous gap between the primaries green and blue, while indigo and violet replace magenta between red and blue [2]. For printing inks and finer art, cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary colors.

Example: The Seven Deadly Sins - Wrath, Gluttony, Greed, Envy, Sloth, Lust, Pride.

Another way to think of this trope is Chromatic Arrangement plus four extra colors.

Examples of Rainbow Motif include:


Anime & Manga

  • The seven types of dying will flame in Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Each is named after an aspect of weather. Red is storm, orange is sky, yellow is sun, green is lightning, blue is rain, indigo is mist, and violet is cloud.
    • Each member of the Arcobaleno has a corresponding color. The name also doubles as the Italian word for rainbow.
  • In Shichinin no Nana, the main character is split into seven of herself, and each girl has a corresponding color. Unlike most cases, indigo is shunted for yellow-green.
  • This forms the motif of the seven princesses in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, with pink, aqua, and deep blue subbing in for red, blue, and indigo, respectively. The second opening of the anime is even called "Rainbow Notes".
  • The Seven Rainbow Crystals in Sailor Moon. Fought over in the correct spectral order, needless to say.
  • One Piece's Straw Hat Pirates somewhat, the first 7. Luffy, Nami, Usopp, Zoro, Sanji, Robin (Actually purple), Chopper (Actually pink). Later Franky and Brook are introduced.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh GX has Johan Andersen and the seven Gem Beasts, all of whom are needed to summon Rainbow Dragon.


Comics

  • The emotional spectrum in Green Lantern associates each of the colors with a particular feeling. Red is rage, orange is avarice, yellow is fear, green is willpower/courage, blue is hope, indigo is compassion, and violet is love.
    • And White was tacked on as the combination of all the colors and represents life with black appropriately representing the absence of colors and death (see Blackest Night and Brightest Day).
    • This was parodied in Linkara and Spoony's review of Warrior #4, where they become Grey Lanterns, representing apathy.
    • Note that Star Sapphire are more pink (or magenta, maybe) than violet. Because integrating them in the rainbow is actually a retcon.
  • The real name of Flash villain Rainbow Raider is Roy G. Bivolo, a reference to the mnemonic.


Literature

  • In a particularly impossible Union Club mystery by Isaac Asimov, we are given a list of names and asked which one would correspond to the nickname "half a ghost". The reader is expected to identify that ghost can mean spectre\spectrum(?!), and then Roy is half of that. Well, three sevenths, but indigo doesn't count.
  • In The Seventh Tower, the Chosen have eight castes: one for each of the seven colors, with Violet at the top, plus a colorless "Underfolk" caste at the bottom for the servants.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has the Rainbow Guard, Renly's chosen Kingsguard, each one wearing armor of a different color. Despite Renly's predilections, it's more of a religious thing - as the Faith of Westeros has seven gods, the rainbow is viewed as a holy symbol the same way a three-leaf clover was associated with the Holy Trinity in real life.


Live-Action TV


Music

  • The song Roy G. Biv by They Might Be Giants is named after the mnemonic.
  • The Boards of Canada song "Roygbiv".
  • The Abyss tracks of Sound Horizon's Elysion are all color coded: Ark, Baroque, Yield, Sacrifice, and Stardust.


Tabletop RPG

  • In Paranoia, Alpha Complex's security clearance system was based on RoyGBiv with two additions: Infrared (black), Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Ultraviolet (white).
    • There have been jokes (in the actual rulebooks) about breaches of this pattern...but talking about Security Clearance Plaid is of course treason.
      • Rumors of Security Clearance Gamma are also treason. Report all rumors.
    • Roy-G-BIV is used as a mnemonic in the rulebook, as the name is in the proper format for a citizen of Alpha Complex (the green-clearance citizen Roy from sector BIV).
  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • Adventure WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. The gem eyes in 6 sarcophagi are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet: every part of RoyGBiv except indigo.
    • In adventure WG6 Isle of the Ape, one puzzle required the PCs to follow color-coded corridors in RoyGBiv order to gain valuable information and avoid a death trap. Oddly enough this was never actually stated in the module: the DM and players had to figure it out for themselves.
    • The following spells give each of the seven colors a different magical effect: Prismatic Spray, Prismatic Wall, Prismatic Sphere, Rainbow (Bow/Arrow and Flagon/Potion options only).
    • The color of Wizshades (a type of monster) depended on how old they were. The scale was in reverse RoyGBiv order: the youngest were violet, and the oldest were red.
    • Subverted in adventure I12 Egg of the Phoenix. A puzzle to open a magical doorway appears to be based on choosing which colors to touch from a RoyGBiv palette, but it's a trick.
    • WG7 Castle Greyhawk. Level 5 is filled with Shout Outs to other Tabletop RPGs. One room has a variety of creatures each colored one of the RoyGBiv colors as a reference to Paranoia.
  • 3rd Edition Creature Collection. A skyquill's needles come in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet, every color except indigo. Each has a different effect on victims.


Video Games

  • The Prism Rangers in Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories, but not Disgaea 1, as only the three primary colors were used in the original game.
  • The alter-ego of Hugh Bliss in Sam and Max was named Roy G. Biv.
  • The World Ends With You. In the bonus chapter at the end of the game, someone comments that Joshua is the "Roy G. Biv" of Tin Pin strategy.
  • The downloadable game Peggle Nights has a challenge named "Roy G. Biv".
  • The Seven Magypsies of Mother 3 each (but Fassad) wore a color of the rainbow. It doesn't help that they're Camp Gay.
    • Interestingly, the only Magypsy that doesn't wear one of the colors of the rainbow wears white instead of indigo, making the magypsy seem as if it weren't part of the rainbow.
  • In the Infocom game Hollywood Hijinks you can find Roy G. Biv's telephone number and call him up.
  • Used by Sonic the Hedgehog's chaos emeralds, but in a different configuration than normal. The current setup has orange and indigo traded for cyan and white.
    • The Wisps in Sonic Colors come in seven colors (not counting the white ones, which are just boost powerups). Here, red and indigo are traded for pink and cyan (although red and indigo Wisps appear in the DS version while some other colors are absent).
  • The Star Pieces in Super Mario RPG, with cyan replacing either indigo or violet.
    • Also, the Pure Hearts in Super Paper Mario. Though in that case, an eighth, white one is added.
      • There is also the Chaos Heart, which is black.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, the worlds on the main world select screen follow these colors. World 1 is blue, 2 is orange, 3 is green, 4 is indigo, 5 is violet, 6 is dual-layered with yellow on top and red below, and World S is rainbow-colored.
  • Rainbow Islands, natch; the gems (small and large) fit this trope (at least nominally), although the "blue" gems are actually cyan whilst the "indigo" ones are blue.
  • The first seven worlds of Kirby Canvas Curse, with the sixth being called "Ultramarine" rather than Indigo.
  • Touhou Project has the recurring character Alice Margatroid, also occasionally referred to as "The Seven-coloured Puppeteer".
  • The color of the sky in each dimension in Eversion follows the Roy G. Biv pattern turned inside out: Cyan, Blue, Indigo, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, and Purple.
  • In various Zelda games, the Seven Sages are split up this way. The same goes of the Lokomo Spirits in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks.
  • In The Void, Color is a substance, and comes in seven varieties, six of which correspond to the classical spectrum colors -- Crimson, Amber, Gold, Emerald, Azure, and Violet. Indigo is traded for Silver.
  • Photopia uses the colors of the rainbow as title cards and each section has text in the same color as the current title. The order of colors is: Red, Sea Blue, Gold, Sky Blue, Green, Violet. And then the very last section reveals that the titular Photopia is a device designed to entertain infants by displaying rainbows of color.
  • Undertale has seven human SOUL colors, each representing a trait. Here, indigo is replaced with cyan.


Web Original

  • Russian superheroine Prezma ("Prism") from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe can split herself into seven color-coded duplicates, each one having a different set of light-related powers.
  • The trolls in Homestuck have this. Their social caste system is based on blood colour, which can be anywhere from red to magenta. Powerful, long-lived, psychic-resistant highbloods are blues and purples, and the unstable, short-lived, psychically-gifted lowbloods are reds and yellows, with the greens and turquoises in the middle class. Each of the twelve trolls we meet fits into the spectrum, save for Karkat, who is a mutant whose blood is a super-saturated, brilliant "candy-red" instead of the more muted red normal trolls have.


Western Animation

  • Rainbow Brite. The seven Color Kids are named after the RoyGBiv scale: Red Butler, Lala Orange, Canary Yellow, Patty O' Green, Buddy Blue, Indigo and Shy Violet.
  • The popular super hero cartoon Teen Titans had a character with seriously repressed emotions (necessary because her powers stem from them and require tight control) named Raven. In the episode where the two comedic characters use a mirror to step inside of her mind, we see Raven's true colors... Literally! Each side of her personality (even the parts she tries to hide normally) appears as an image of her but characterized by a different color. Although it is not just the seven colors of the rainbow, it does make sure to include them. Even the original Raven's cloak is an indigo!
  • The seven daughters of Triton in The Little Mermaid each have a different color tail. If we were to arrange them chromatically: Arista (red), Attina (orange), Adella (yellow), Ariel (green), Aquata (blue), Andrina (purple), Alana (pink).

Notes

  1. There is evidence to suggest that Isaac Newton in fact considered the shade that we consider to be blue to be indigo, while cyan is what he considered to be blue
  2. (magenta is an odd color; usually if an object reflects multiple pure colors, your brain sees the average color reflected, but if only the edges of spectrum are being reflected, ie red and violet\blue, your brain sees it as magenta rather than green)
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