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I specifically want to know which manga or anime started the trend, so I can reason from there to the how question, in order to not make general assumptions.

There was a time in manga/anime where blue hair was abnormal. For example, from the short clips I've seen of the anime "アタックNo.1", it contains mostly black-haired girls, a couple of brunettes and a sparse blonde. No one there is pink/red/blue-haired. Same with Princess Knight.

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    I don't think it's that unusual that you'd want to see colorful hair styles in a country where most people have black hair. Also, manga is monochrome, so only cover page, a rare colored page, or textual description can be used to convey color. Also this post.
    – Hakase
    Jan 18 '16 at 22:06
  • I like a more "This or that anime/manga was the first one to draw anime characters blonde/blue, so drawing a path from here we can start eliminating these assumptions" answer.
    – Folaht
    Jan 18 '16 at 22:44
  • @Hakase All the answers on the question you linked are trying to explain why the characters have unnatural hair colors. This question seems to be asking "Can we identify when this became part of the anime art style?"
    – Torisuda
    Jan 19 '16 at 4:37
  • Just a guess. Maybe from Wild Arms (PSX game). The main hero of WA 1 and WA 2 was blue haired. Jul 12 '16 at 15:09

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