I have written a number of articles about anime hair color and styles here at The New Leaf Journal. Most of my content in the series addresses how we should interpret unnatural or unusual hair colors in anime series. Today’s post will answer that question in the context of MYTH, a Japanese visual novel that was originally released in 2008 (available for purchase on Steam and Manga Gamer). MYTH is unique among my anime/visual novel hair study pieces in that it decisively answered how we are to understand hair color in its world within the first 10 minutes of reading.
Early in the game, the protagonist, Meito Tanabe, is walking to school. If he takes a detour, he will encounter a mysterious girl.
The girl is depicted as having pink hair. But is her hair drawn pink for artistic reasons or is it actually pink? Meito answered the question decisively:
Pink hair blowing in the man-made wind. That in itself was enough to catch one’s attention…Meito Tanabe (MYTH)
Thus, we learn two things. Firstly, the girl’s hair is actually pink – not just drawn that way for us. Secondly, the line “[t]hat in itself was enough to catch one’s attention” suggested that pink hair was not common in Meito’s world.
MYTH caught my attention for two reasons.
Firstly, writing about anime hair color has attuned me to look for notes and contextual cues in anime and visual novels where the characters have unusual hair colors.
Secondly, I thought that it was notable that MYTH set its hair color policy so early in the story. Consider my four previous anime hair color interpretation articles. The first two articles dealt with My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (see Iroha Isshiki article and Kaori Orimoto article). I did make hair color discoveries about that anime series, but those discoveries depended on contents in the underlying novel series. The second series I covered was Kimi ni Todoke. There, I was able to discover that most of the characters who did not have black hair were most likely dying their hair based on a scene in the middle of the first season. Finally, My Senpai is Annoying revealed that the protagonist’s green hair was to be taken literally in the second half of the series’ 12-episode run. Unlike these three series, MYTH jumped straight to the point.
I will not go too far into the world of MYTH for three reasons. Firstly, I am not done with the game. Secondly, it would be difficult to explain even if I was. Thirdly, I could not say much about it without spoiling key parts of the story. However, it should suffice to say that MYTH, a sprawling and sometimes convoluted saga, is not set in a world entirely like our own. This is evinced by the fact that the pink-haired girl that Meito runs into has a shadow whereas no one in Meito’s world does. However, in Meito’s world specifically, all indications are that the characters would be expected to have ordinary hair colors.
While this early scene in MYTH establishes clearly and beyond doubt that unusual hair colors are to be understood literally, it does not make clear whether the unusual hair colors are natural. However, the game provides later clues that these hair colors are natural – at least in some cases. While I will not delve into details here, there is a later dialogue that relates to characters with green hair as both actually having green hair and having naturally green hair.
I conclude by noting that Meito and another character from his world are depicted as having brown hair. However, Meito’s world is clearly Japan. MYTH has not addressed the brown-hair-in-Japan point directly like Oregairu did with Iroha Isshiki. However, nothing suggests that Meito is the type of character who dyes his hair – so I think that it makes sense to accept that brown is his natural hair color.