Badass Cape

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Respect the cape!
"Deathurge claims to be an embodiment of the latent self-destructive impulses in all sentient beings, appearing to certain people who have lost their will to live and grants them oblivion. [...] He also claims to be protecting the universe from "the chaotic blight of aberration called life", a questionable attitude indeed. Spiffy cape, though."
Bring On The Bad Guys
"Then he looked over at me, and y'know what he said? "You can't handle the cape." And he took it! He took my cape, Skeets! Do you know how it feels when Superman tells you you can't handle a cape? Not good..."

Capes have the obvious effect of making the wearer look larger and more imposing. Thus artists often use them as a way to make characters look Badass. Just look at Batman over there. He just wouldn't look half as awesome without his cape.

The reasons for this are many. The color might provide a fetching counterpoint to the rest of their clothes, or else blend with them to give the wearer a dynamic silhouette. It may make them look even bigger than they really are. In the right conditions they can wave in the wind and look dramatic and striking. Lack of wind can be accommodated with a Cape Swish.

But the main reason for this is that in the days of circuses, the strongmen often wore tights and a cape, thus the association with toughness in characters. The trope was then grandfathered into the present day by Superheroes.

This can apply to any character, whether it be a hero, sidekick, villain, and it doesn't even have to be a superhero setting.

This can also count if the actual capes have some sort of abilities. Thus the capes themselves are badass.

Often overlaps with Superheroes Wear Capes, All-Encompassing Mantle. Does not necessarily overlap with The Cape (trope). May be used as an Improvised Parachute.

Compare Badass Long Robe, Badass Longcoat, Black Cloak, Scarf of Asskicking, Caped Mecha, Ominous Opera Cape, Pimped-Out Cape.

Examples of Badass Cape include:

Anime & Manga

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Fate Testarossa wears one, because she's sort of kinda like a villain. For a while. From a certain point of view.
  • Getter Robo: Getter-1's Getter Wing ability is a dramatically unfurling red cape that allows it to fly. Buster Shield is an even more dramatic cape that deflects laser beams.
  • Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann wears a cape that has an affinity for blowing in the Dramatic Wind. Simon later uses it too. It blows dramatically even in space.
    • Kamina is the embodiment of this trope.
    • A humongous version of said cape was also used by the Super TTGL in The Movie. And by humongous, we mean the biggest damn cape ever conceived of in fiction or otherwise.
  • Crossbone Gundam features Gundam-sized capes that provide two practical purposes; stealth [the capes are black, most of the series takes place in space] and a special coating that lets them absorb a few beam hits before being destroyed, sort of like extra ablative armour.
  • In Digimon V-Tamer 01, an Omnimon effectively weaponised his cape by throwing it in the face of his opponents, blinding them long enough to utterly thrash them.
  • Zero from Code Geass. Always has it, even in the middle of battle.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Endless Sorcerer Battler wears one after Taking A Level In Badass.
  • Piccolo from Dragonball Z, one of the best examples of this can be found in movie special 8, especially when Piccolo's heroic save of Gohan from certain death(at the time)
    • Piccolo's cape is attached to heavy weighted shoulder pads. He uses it for training and takes it off to fight. Gohan gets one just like it for the Cell Games.
    • Garlic Jr in the, you guessed it, Garlic Jr Saga.
  • Éclair from Kiddy Grade combines badassery and gracefulness by Roof Hopping while wearing one, as seen in a flashback.
  • While D of Vampire Hunter D is already a badass alone with his skill, his cape only doubles, if not triples that level of coolness. And Meirlink from the second movie deserves a mention as well. He must have studied Batman, because not only could he glide with the thing, he block a freaking sword strike with it!
  • Space Pirate Captain Harlock wears a cape. Oh boy does he ever. It's often very hard to tell what ratio of man to cape he is, but he's definitely all pirate.
  • Adol Christin gets a badass cape near the beginning of the anime Ys II: Castle in the Heavens. What makes it so badass? Well, for one, it's purple. Second, it lets him use magic - specifically, shooting fireballs from his hand. Turns out he uses this more than he does his sword.
  • Yuuki from Saki starts wearing one after she Took a Level in Badass for the Nationals.

Yuuki: I'll show all of you... our prefecture isn't weak at all!!

  • Half the characters from One Piece. Crocodile, Hina, lots of High-up Marines, even Luffy once (on a cover). Although, theoretically they're not capes, just specially-draped coats.
  • Integra from Hellsing, but only for formal occasions. Suits her, she looks like a nice lady from the outside but will kick your butt with her fencing swords.
  • Kain Blueriver from Lost Universe, though he's regularly mocked for it by others. At one point in the dub, he even mentions Captain Harlock by name.
  • Mewtwo, in the Pokémon anime. And goddamn is it awesome.
  • Dr. Black Jack keeps a lot of his medical tools in his cape, such as scalpels that he can whip out and throw at people.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Hiko Seijuro's cape helped make him into a badass, even during peacetime. There are springs at the shoulders that exerts a counter-pressure on his body in order to maintain not only his strength, but the Hiten Mitsurugi style so he won't release all of its power on enemies.
  • Guts from Berserk. Just look at this guy.
  • Tuxedo Mask, from Sailor Moon.
  • Sayaka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica wears one. She still dons one after she becomes a Witch.
  • Nakago in Fushigi Yuugi wears something very similar to a cape
  • Sawada Tsunayoshi of Katekyo Hitman Reborn, courtesy of his Cool Pet Natsu/Nuts.
    • Said cape was based on the one used by the founder, Vongola Primo.
  • Ganpachi in Ultimate Teacher.

Comic Books

  • Cloak from Cloak and Dagger, of course, is a cloak rather than a cape. In fact he's nothing but a cloak. He's also otherworldly, dark, and conflicted.
  • Spawn. The cape even has a life of its own!
  • Spider-Man: Mysterio usually has a purple cape to go with his 'fishbowl' and green outfit, which both helps negate the cheesiness of the headgear and let him look more, well, mysterious. He's also got things attached to hold it on that have eyes on them.
  • Batman wore his cape this way long before it was popular. Still does!
    • Robin always wears a cape. Nightwing doesn't. The presence of a cape has however been given several justifications in canon beyond the theatrics; it contains armor and you can grab someone who's falling from the roof of a train.

Nightwing: Huh. Makes me rethink the cape issue.

    • That, and Batman's cape lets him glide in some versions.
    • Batman Forever had Batman covering himself with his fire-proofed cape in order to shield himself from the flames of a burning building that Two-Face trapped him in. Only Batman could have pulled this off.
    • Batman's cape is so awesome that it actually has the ability to change size. (Particularly evident in Batman the Animated Series) When he's investigating for clues inside, the cape comes down to his knees, but when posing on a rooftop dramatically, it grows longer than his whole body . Now that's badass!
    • Batman's cape has always been badass more or less. It's resistant to fire, acid, bullets, chemicals and has weighted ends to beat people senseless with, and makes it much harder to determine any vulnerable spot. Sometimes, it's detachable to deal with situations when its caught by something or someone. Of course, this is a direct result of Bats being Crazy Prepared.
      • Not to mention that this troper always found the cape to be an essential part of his scare tactic against criminals. Which is scarier when you can't see any details: a guy standing on a rooftop, or a GIANT BAT ABOUT TO EAT YOUR SOUL.
    • It's an all-purpose cape. It's intimidating, (gives a giant bat silhouette, which is a big part of the scare tactic) hold weapons, (with the weighted ends and the fireproofing) and overall, he looks kind of silly without it.
  • Superman. Duh. Not so much badass as just plain awesome, though. Plus, in some incarnations, it's said that the entire planet of Krypton wore badass capes.
  • In Johnny Saturn, imposing characters such as Utopian and Tactical have badass capes. Elect, the original superhero, wears a cape over a cloak! Of course, he is the source for a great many characters in the Johnny Saturn/Spire City World.
  • Storm from X-Men most of the time. Her capes are usually also attatched to her braclets, to the point where it's practically a definitive piece of her design.
  • V from V for Vendetta. He's so badass, he's an anarchist.
  • Quasar, who is effectively Marvel's Green Lantern. His cape, it's full of stars...
  • Even Donald Duck can look bad-ass in a cape, as he proved in Paperinik New Adventures. In his more dramatic moments, you can sense the inspiration from the Batman himself.
  • The Mighty Thor usually wears a big red cape.
  • As did Doctor Strange, with the added cool factor that the cape granted flight powers.
  • As well as DC equivalent Dr Fate. Both Fate and Strange's capes are often shown billowing and wisping about as though they're enchanted to fluctuate in size and length which is likely for both characters.
  • Subverted hard in Watchmen, where Hollis Mason recounts that Dollar Bill's cape got him killed: It was caught in a revolving door when he tried to prevent a bank robbery, making him an easy target for the gun-toting robbers. What makes it even more tragic is that the costume was designed by people sponsoring him for public appeal. Mason speculated that if he designed it himself he may have realized how bad an idea it was. Oddly, both Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice wore capes easily twice the length of Dollar Bill's, yet never seemed to suffer any consequences.
  • In Fables there's the Witching Cloak, which makes its wearer all but invulnerable, is (nearly) indestructible itself, and allows its wearer to teleport anywhere (even between worlds), carry huge loads, and change form.
  • Mister Miracle has a large green cape. The original MM costume was that of a circus performer, which explains its presence, but when Scott Free took up the mantle, his cape was for more than just looks. It's been an Improvised Parachute and a portable shield and shelter against all sorts of attacks. Its size means that it can be wrapped around the wearer (and maybe another person or two) to provide all-round protection if needed.
  • The Master of Magnetism, Magneto, rocks an imposing purple/red cape in almost every incarnation.

Fan Works

  • Inverted in With Strings Attached. To hide his permanent metamorphosis into a muscular winged demigod, John gets a magical cloak that makes him look like his skinny normal self. It's mostly a pain in the ass for him, as it snags on things, it's hot, and it gets smelly.


  • Sleeping Beauty: Maleficient. She's in a setting where a cape would be justified. But what she has is so over-the-top it gives her a Crowning Moment of Awesome but Impractical every time she moves.
  • As a result of Dracula, capes tend to be a stereotypical item for a vampire to wear. Thank you, Bela Lugosi.
  • In France, the name for swashbuckling films is "films de cape et d'épée", literally "cape and sword movie", referring to the two essentials ingredients of the genre.
  • Lampshaded in Love at First Bite: "It's the cape. Chicks dig the cape."
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader. That is all.
  • Deconstructed in The Incredibles, along with many other superhero tropes. Edna points out the inherent danger of dragging a long cloth behind you in rather gruesome ways.
    • Syndrome's death is caused by his cape, reminiscent of Strato-Girl's.
  • In The Return of the King Aragorn eschews the Badass Longcoat he's been wearing for the whole trilogy for some kingly armour and a long, black-and-red cape.
    • Before that, he spent much of the adventure wearing an elven cloak like the rest of the Fellowship, but the cape on his King of Gondor getup is much more badass.
  • Etienne Navarre of Ladyhawke is the film's unequivocal hero, yet dresses like a stereotypical villain. Naturally, he looks extremely badass in his ensemble, and sports a magnificent flowing black cape with red lining to complete the look.
  • Dollars Trilogy: The Man With No Name's poncho is the definite western example.


  • The eponymous Mistborn of the Mistborn trilogy wear these. They have all sorts of nifty adaptions that just make them so freaking awesome. They are the status symbol of the 'verse.
  • In Soon I Will Be Invincible, supervillain Dr Impossible admits that his cape gets in the way during the inevitable fight scene, and is uncomfortable in hot weather, but feels that the psychological advantage imparted by a dramatically billowing cape outweighs the disadvantages.
  • Erast Fandorin often wears a cape. It's nothing extraordinary, really; this is late 19th century Russia. Still, notable for the movie version of State Chancellor, wherein he uses said cape to catch bullets.
  • Dragaera's Morrolan e'Drien. Vlad thinks he just wears it to look cool, and frankly, he's probably right.
  • Wardens in The Dresden Files have gray cloaks as their uniform, and dear god can they be Badass.
    • This is even more cool because they are enchanted so that they never become stained or dirty, including the mention that blood splattered on the cloaks during combat just flows off the fabric. This means that no matter how hard or dirty the fight, a Warden's cloak of office is always recognizable to ensure their authority.
  • Pontius Glaw from Eisenhorn, in his final "form", wears a cape so badass it's made of many, many small blades. When a Redshirt gets in the way of the cape, he... crumbles. Sort of.
  • John C. Wright's Mists of Everness features two instances of this: Azrael de Gray, also referred to as "That crazy guy in the pimp outfit," and Pendrake, who either wears this or an especially floaty Badass Longcoat.
  • Deconstructed in Simon R. Green's Hawk and Fisher novels, where the Badass Battle Couple are obliged to wear capes as part of their Watch uniforms; however, Hawk hates his because it gets in the way during fights. He puts up with wearing one for Fisher's sake, but seizes any plausible opportunity to "accidentally" abandon or destroy his (smothering fires, ditching it when it's pinned to the wall by a crossbow bolt, etc). A subversion, as going capeless doesn't diminish Hawk's Badass Quotient one bit.
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, Red Flight ends up wearing Adumari clothing and Wes Janson, the showman of the group, goes with a massive cape with glowing nebulous shapes on it. Later, in a fight, he whips it off and uses it to entangle his opponent's weapon, later grousing that he liked that cape. His friend assures him that they'll find him something even more flashy.
  • In The Shattered World, Kan Konar the cloakfighter is a Badass because of his cape. His fighting style is one that traditionally employs the cloak as both a weapon and a defense: it's got razor-sharp bone shards in its hems, blinding-bright phoenix feathers concealed in its lining, and a strangling-cord clasp. And that's just the start of what it's good for.

Live Action TV

  • The hero of NBC's The Cape, naturally.
  • Those who grew up on the Power Rangers will remember the Magna Defender from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy who had this and an awesome horned helmet along with a Cool Sword and pump action energy rifle/shotgun
    • The Magna Defender could also count as a Legacy Character in series, the season was in anyway.
  • In the Mork and Mindy episode 'Watcher of Earth,' an alien named Xerko came to Earth and challenged Mork to a battle. Before the battle, he put on a Badass Cape... only to tear it off in an exaggerated twirl.


  • The video for Pink Floyd's song "High Hopes" features … well, you can't doubt that cape's epic. Anyone know how they were able to keep cranes and such out of the shot? There's NO way that guy could actually walk in that thing without some help.
  • Doctor Steel is sometimes seen wearing a black PVC cape.
  • Ichiro Mizuki singing "Ima ga Sono Toki Da" "CHANGE GETTER!!"

Video Games

  • While the original Sequel Hook in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ showed the main characters of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep with this trope added to their armor. However, due to the fact that having them in the game proper would have caused lag during co-op play, they didn't appear there.
  • Super Robot Wars gives us the Aussenseiter Trombe, a giant robot with an equally giant Badass Cape. One of its' attacks involves ripping the cape off and throwing it at an enemy to conceal their vision before blowing them away with its' twin hand cannons.
    • The Vysaga also wears one, complete with plenty of dramatic swirling and whatnot.
  • Mario in Super Mario World has a cape that allows him to fly, and which can be used to deflect projectiles in Super Smash Bros..
  • Magus in Chrono Trigger wears a cape that looks really cool when he levitates.
    • Flea, on the other hand...
  • Both Bass.exe and Colonel.exe from the Mega Man Battle Network series have badass capes and Colonel.exe will blind you with his then Kills You In One Hit (or down to one hp if undersht is equiped)!!!
  • Meta Knight of the Kirby series wears one that can turn into bat wings.
  • RuneScape has a variety of normal capes that every player can wear, but there are some special ones that stand out, like the Fire cape which is made out of lava and has its own animation, and is given to players who beat the second hardest boss in the entire game. Also it has the Skill capes, given to players who max the level in any skill, which has the ability to increase the skill level of the player who operates it to 100 temporarily, and come with their own emote.
  • Oda Nobunaga in Sengoku Basara. He even uses it to attack people.
  • Ezio in Assassin's Creed II has a cape that actually does something - it decreases his notoriety so he doesn't get in near as much trouble with the law.
    • More specifically, he has several capes. The Plain Cape is just for looks; the Medici Cape sets infamy to 0 when you're in Florence or Tuscany; there's also another cape for Venice. Those three are all gotten at various points in the story. There are also, apparently two "secret" capes: one you only get during some festival; and the Auditore Cape, rewarded at the end of the Feather sidequest, which does the opposite of the others (that is, infamy is set to max in all cities).
      • On a more practical note, it also helps to conceal most of his weaponry when he's walking in public.
  • Yo and Bo of Yo-Jin-Bo wear capes "because they are cool," and frequently mock Jin's fashion sense because he doesn't wear one.
  • Many Final Fantasy characters love their capes, hero and villain alike. More prominent in the earlier games which took place in medieval settings with Yoshitaka Amano as the designer, once Final Fantasy VII hit and the series shifted to a modern setting designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the characters prefer to use Badass Longcoats. However, capes still appear.
    • Most noticeable in Dissidia Final Fantasy, where every character from Final Fantasy VI and earlier has some sort of cape in at least one of their outfits. The most Badass Cape arguably belongs to Golbez of Final Fantasy IV, so large it passes into All-Encompassing Mantle, whirls and flaps in the air with every movement he makes, and his block and intro animations are Cape Swishes.
    • Odin also sports one whenever he appears.
  • Given the 'strongman' description above, is it any surprise to hear that Street Fighter's Zangief has an opening animation where he starts standing shrouded in a cape, then flings it away?
    • M. Bison wears a cape as well, which he sometimes wears during actual fights.
  • Utsuho from Touhou is a nuclear powered hell raven that wears a starry night cape over her wings. Fellow Final Boss Byakuren also wears a cape, if a considerably less mind-bending one. Then there's Wriggle, but, as a stage one boss, she's not exactly badass, with the cape mearly standing in for her insect wings.
    • From PC-98 land is Yumemi Okazaki, who wears a black and red cape.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum, of course. Not only does it look badass, it lets you glide, either to cover ground quickly or to kick someone in the face and you can slap someone in the face with it to stun them.
  • Big Bad vampire Night of Wallachia from the Type-Moon fighting game Melty Blood uses his cape as his primary weapon.
  • The Colonels of the Pigmask Army in Mother 3 wear an 'Awesome Cloak' that Lucas can equip if they drop it after battle.
  • At low and middle levels, the capes in World of Warcraft often adhere to this trope; the longer the cape, the more badass the wearer is likely to be (as long capes can't be worn by low-level characters).
  • The Dragon-type trainers in the Pokémon games, most notably Lance, have a predilection for these. Lance seems to be able to make his billow at will.
  • Nearly every tier 3 promoted character in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have capes. The ones that don't have capes have long flowing robes or coats, both of which behave like capes anyway.
  • Valvatorez from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten has one.
  • Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess.
  • Rance is a rare Heroic Comedic Sociopath/Loveable Sex Maniac example of this trope.


Web Original

  • In Sailor Nothing the Dark Generals wear black opera capes, although their originals in Sailor Moon wore reasonably practical military uniforms.
  • Shroud, in the Whateley Universe. But she's animated matter, so she can really make her cape billow, since it's part of her.
  • Madras, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, had telekinetic control over cloth (and only over cloth), so he wore a costume that included a ten-foot long cape made of canvas. And he used it as a weapon.

Western Animation

  • The title character of Cybersix wears a long, flowing one that dramatically blows behind her while she's Roof Hopping during the night.
  • Vampyro of Wakfu has a very valuable self-flapping cape.
  • Darkwing Duck considers this a basic part of being a crimefighter, along with his hat and mask.
  • Parodied in Fairly Oddparents. Dark Laser tries to lure Timmy to the side of evil and one of his arguements is that he gets to wear a cape and that "chicks dig the cape". Laser himself also does look much more menacing with his cape.
    • Don't forget Timmy's hero look from the special Abra-Catastrophe!
  • Swat Kats villain Dark Kat has a huge cape.
  • In Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders many characters are wearing capes, but only the baddie, Lady Kale, has a truly badass one: huge, flowing in dramatic wind and motion, and used by her in a theatrically evil manner. (Not so much badass when it lands over her head, though.)
  • In ThunderCats (2011) Big Good King Claudus wears a black and cape that billows in every Sword Fight.

Real Life

  • Gaius Julius Caesar always put on his red cape before going to battle himself.
  • Players in the NFL wear capes in cold weather. Easier to put on and off with all the gear, but Rule of Cool also has something to do with it.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt wore capes to accomodate and/or camouflage his braces and wheelchair, but the coolness of the total effect is not to be denied.
  • The Highland belted plaid has a rough resemblance to a cape and of course it is worn by Scottish Highlanders.