"Never underestimate mysterious characters with strange hair."
A trope popular during the age of the Nineties Anti-Hero, when Heroic or Anti-Heroic men with long hair were considered Badass. These days it isn't as prevalent as it was then, but for a while it seemed every Action Hero had hair down to at least their shoulders. Usually their long hair was tied back into a ponytail (loose, flowing hair was usually the sign of the grunge bully, but not always), or else was worn in the classic mullet style (or a Hime Cut).
Often combined with the Badass Longcoat or the Badass Cape for extra Badass points. Action Girls and Dark Action Girls vary on this a lot - they might have short hair practical for fighting, or they might take this Up to Eleven with Rapunzel Hair.
Coupled with Wild Hair, this is very common among Wild Child characters, if only because they've never had anything to cut their hair with, or any reason to do so for that matter. Samurai, who traditionally grew their hair long and wore it either in a ponytail or a mage, are also likely to be this.
Note that before the Nineties Anti-Hero made this trope popular, long hair was predominantly associated with femininity in 20th century Western culture. There were exceptions, of course, and it still is, in many cases.
Anime and Manga
- Sesshomaru from Inuyasha. A lot of men in that show have long hair, but Sesshomaru's is longest, so he's the most Badass.
- A proper list: the eponymous character Inuyasha, Koga, and Naraku.
- Plus a bunch of there-and-gone-again characters, some of them very pretty.
- The "Super Saiyan 3" form in Dragonball Z, in which no matter how long your hair was in your normal form, it extends down to your waist. Special mention to Raditz, who, though he never even reached Super Saiyan 1, much less 3, had SS3-length hair in his normal form.
- In fact, Raditz's hair has inspired a great deal of fanart either recoloring his hair to make him look like Super Saiyan 3 or by drawing what his hair might look like as a Super Saiyan 3.
- Bleach has Kenpachi, Renji, Byakuya, Kyoraku, Ukitake, Nnoitra, Rose, Ilfort, and Findor.
- Ichigo after temporarily transforming into a hollow.
- Also after his most recent power upgrade.
- Grimmjow, Ulquiorra, and Aizen in their released forms.
- From Tite Kubo's other work, Zombie Powder, we have Akutabi Gamma and Ranewater Calder, but his is always in a braid (except in a profile Omake for the fans).
- Ichigo after temporarily transforming into a hollow.
- Mahou Sensei Negima gives us Jack Rakan, and Negi himself. Noticeably, as Negi steadily becomes more badass over the couse of the manga, his hair gets longer.
- Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Everyone with long hair in this series is a guaranteed badass. Period.
- Hellsing: Alucard has normal-length hair most of the time, but his hair gets longer depending on what release state he is in. The more powerful he is, the longer it grows.
- Pip and Luke count as well.
- Several male ninjas in Naruto have long hair, noticeably Jiraiya (who uses it like a weapon), Orochimaru, Shikamaru, Neji, Deidara, Inoichi and Itachi. After the timeskip, Choji has this too.
- Shiryu in Saint Seiya.
- Kanda from D.Gray-man is this trope, to the point where he looks like a girl. General Cross also has long, flowy hair.
- Also Tyki Mikk in later chapters, even though he eventually cuts it back short.
- Alex Rowe in Last Exile.
- Ray from Beyblade is the most obvious offender. Even more badass, considering he always keeps it wrapped in a white cloth, making it resemble a white tiger tail.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, Germania has long, flowing hair (occasionally with a braid or two thrown in). This is the guy who took down the Roman Empire. It doesn't get much more badass than that.
- Also, China, of the ponytailed variety.
- Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing.
- Several characters in Yu Yu Hakusho, including Yusuke himself while being possessed by his ancestor, who also sports long hair and has the epithet "God of Fighting". Also, Youko Kurama, Shishiwakamaru, Karasu, and Yomi among others.
- Shin, Rei, Toki, Yuda, and Shu from Fist of the North Star.
- Kenshin and Hiko of Rurouni Kenshin have long hair.
- Jin from Samurai Champloo.
- Vampire Hunter D with his long, curly hair.
- Hyakkimaru from Dororo. Especially since he's missing most of his body parts, yet he can still be a badass.
- Nagihiko Fujisaki (especially as Beat Jumper), overlapping with Long-Haired Pretty Boy.
- Fairy Tail, though rare, has Fried, Gajeel and Zancrow.
- Erza, Ikaruga, Mirajane, Urtear and Evergreen as well.
- Angel Sanctuary: Rosiel, Sevothtarte, Astaroth, Lucifer, Arachne, and Uriel.
- Katsura from Gintama is one of the best swordsmen in the show and leads, or at least tries to lead La Résistance. His hair goes down to his hips.
- In Hunter X Hunter, Gon has Badass Long Hair so long it doubles as Rapunzel Hair after his recent Deadly Upgrade. Justified since he forcefully aged himself at least a decade -- that's at least ten years' worth of hair growth.
- Agon from Eyeshield 21 is a villainous variant.
- Definitely Squalo from Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
- Some of the later Lancers of Digimon lean this way, most noticeably Kouji Minamoto and Kiriha Aonuma. A few Digimon also do this, such as Angemon and MirageGaogamon Burst Mode.
- Silver from Pokémon Special. More-so then any other counterpart of his, due to his Character Development, though his game counterpart eventually becomes close to this.
- Both Goki and Gessho from Kagerou Nostalgia have very long, flowing hair. The former's a lethal soldier and Blade on a Stick user; the latter's an ungodly powerful demonic entity who curb-stomps the heroes with ease.
- In Yami no Matsuei this trope is implemented in an interesting way with the humanoid forms of shikigami. You see, the length of a shikigami's hair is actually an indicator of how powerful they are, so the most badass ones end up with Rapunzel Hair.
- Tomoyo from Clannad.
- Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica with her epic Hair Flips.
- Ranma ½: Ranma Saotome, back when he had a long ponytail and was training in China. He trades it in for a badass Braid Of Action later on.
- Mousse. Sure, he may be as blind as a bat, but he can kick some ass.
- Souichi from the Yaoi manga Challengers and The Tyrant Falls in Love. His long feminine Slipknot Ponytail'd locks don't mean he isn't a terrifying person to face in a fight, especially if you're one of those homos he hates so much for "corrupting" his precious little brother...
- Luca from Saint Beast when he lets the Rapunzel Hair down.
- Superman played with this trope. Right after he came back from his "death", he wore a mullet that he often tied back into a pony tail. He cut it just prior to his marriage to Lois Lane.
- This was used in Kingdom Come, during those portions where the 1996 modern DCU was shown.
- Also in Superman: Doomsday. One of the few ways in which to tell which Superman was the clone and which was the original in the final battle is the close up shots. The clone had the traditional spitcurl, while the original had a mullet.
- Actually the fact that Evil!Supes was wearing the classic costume while Original!Supes was in black made it trivially easy to tell them apart.
- Supes looked downright awesome with a mullet. The problem was Clark having one.
- Long hair is as widespread as the Most Common Super-Power amongst females in comics - even amongst bruisers like Wonder Woman and She Hulk - and to list them all would likely mean listing 90% of all women with hair.
- Gambit, Longshot, and Bishop of the X-Men. The latter is a rare black example of this trope.
- Omega Red as well.
- Shatterstar. In fact, some fans were actually slightly disappointed when the character's recent redesign gave him shortly cropped hair.
- In fact, for a while it was safe to say long hair was more popular among the X-Men than the X-Women.
- Ultimate Wolverine sometimes has longer hair.
- Marvel's Thor has always had shoulder-length hair. Justified in that shoulder-length hair was popular among the Vikings, but it was highly unusual for an American hero in the early 1960s.
- Wallace from Sin City
- Dick Grayson had long hair for much of his career as Nightwing. Since taking up the Batman mantle, he's gotten it cut. Itchy under the cowl?
- He actually got a Close-Call Haircut in the first issue of his ongoing series in 1996.
- The entire cast of Elf Quest.
- Marvel Star Wars regularly portrayed Luke with his hair much longer than normal. Most famous is an image of a long-haired shirtless Luke firing an E-web blaster.
- The Hulk's son Skaar.
- Also Doc Samson. Justified in his case because, like the Biblical Samson, his strength is dependent on how long his hair is.
- Though recently the good doctor's gamma mutation has stablized, meaning he can cut his hair however he likes. It does remain permanently green, though.
- Also Doc Samson. Justified in his case because, like the Biblical Samson, his strength is dependent on how long his hair is.
- Jackie Estecado of The Darkness. For the Videogame adaption they cut his armor, pointing out that his "civilian" look was awesome enough on it's own, this likely had something to do with it.
- Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- In Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow sports a lengthy dreadlocked-braided-beaded mane, intended to proclaim his Lovable Rogue / Magnificent Bastard / Anti-Hero status. The character is now so closely associated with that hairstyle, you can refer to 'Jack Sparrow hair' and people will know what you mean.
- Randy "The Ram" Robinson of The Wrestler.
- Mel Gibson wore his hair in a mullet in the first three Lethal Weapon movies before finally bowing to modern hairstyles in the fourth.
- Steven Seagal wore his hair long all of his films except the one in which his character was required to have short hair, Under Siege, in which he played an active duty Master Chief Petty Officer in the Navy.
- Most of the heroic cast of the The Lord of the Rings films.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme sports a powerful mullet in Hard Target
- Escape from New York: Snake Plissken.
- The Joker in The Dark Knight.
- Rambo (especially in the third part).
- Ardeth Bey from The Mummy Trilogy.
- Gabriel Van Helsing.
- Vincent in Pulp Fiction.
- Cameron Poe in Con Air.
- Star Wars: Qui-Gon Jinn.
- Both Thor and Odin.
- Another Action Girl example: Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves fights Robin in hand to hand combat, and then is shown to have waist-length curly hair.
- Antonio Banderas in Desperado and Once Upon a Time In Mexico.
- Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army has long, flowing and unbound hair that whips about dramatically as he fights.
- Tarzan. No barbers in the jungle.
- Conan the Barbarian.
- Jamie and most of the other leading men in the Outlander series.
- The Elric Saga: Elric of Melnibone.
- Anyone as badass as Snow Crash's Raven has earned the right to wear hair like this.
- In the Aubrey-Maturin series, Jack Aubrey pays homage to Lord Nelson and other heroes of his youth by continuing to wear his hair in a long queue years after most navy men are cutting it short. His long-time crew members follow suit. This causes trouble for Barrett Bonden eventually: he loses a wrestling match when his opponent manages to grab hold of his queue.
- Joscelin of Kushiel's Legacy. In fact, most of the D'Angeline warriors.
- Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.
- Roshaun from Young Wizards.
- Solomon Kane.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: An enforced trope with the Dothraki. All warriors wear braids with bells in them that mark notable achievements in battle. If you're defeated in battle, you must cut your braid off. Thus, the longer and louder the warrior's braid, the more Badass he is. The main Dothraki leader in the first book, Khal Drogo, sports a braid that trails past his waist. He's never been defeated.
- The Icewind Dale Trilogy: Drizzt Do'Urden wears his white hair long.
- Dark Life has Pretty.
- The nameless P.O.W. in Beachwalker has long black hair, and can end you with nothing but one forearm free.
- Tommy Oliver of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Made fun of in Dino Thunder and in Forever RED (film).
- Duncan MacLeod in Highlander the Series. He always kept his tied back in a ponytail, at least in modern day. During flashbacks he occasionally had short hair, and occasionally wore his long hair flowing loose, depending on the time period. Averted in the final season, where Duncan got an Important Haircut (possibly because Adrian Paul was tired of the ponytail).
- Eliot from Leverage is The Big Guy and has slightly-below-shoulder-length hair; usually it hangs loose but he occasionally pulls it into a ponytail, especially when he knows he's about to get into a fight.
- Sawyer and Sayid of Lost.
- Lorenzo Lamas in Renegade (1992-1997).
- Dog the Bounty Hunter
- Jax Teller and Opie Winston on Sons of Anarchy, although Opie usually conceals his. Since they're both BadassBikers they got BadassBeards to go along with it, Jax as of season 3.
- The Eighth Doctor, in the Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie. Also, the Eleventh Doctor sports one for quite a bit of "The Wedding of River Song."
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Hercules and Iolaus.
- Not as extreme as some examples, but in Smallville Lionel Luthor started out as one of these. As he got more and more obsessed and evil his hair got longer; by Season 3 it fell at least to his shoulders. His Important Haircut at the end of the season marked the beginning of his Heel Face Turn; fortunately, it did not induce Badass Decay. The alternate, still-evil Lionel from the last two seasons has 'our' Lionel's badguy-days hair cut.
- Ronon Dex of Stargate Atlantis.
- Sully in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. His hair length varied over the series and during the movies, but it was always long and almost always loose. Sometimes he wore a bandanna to keep it back.
- Tyr Anasaze from Andromeda. Most badass on the crew, longest hair on the crew. Until season 4. The one where he died.
- Deputy Tommy "Hawk" Hill in Twin Peaks.
- Worf from the Star Trek franchise, as well as many other Klingons. Wild dudes have wild hair, apparently.
- Sam Winchester of Supernatural has gotten pretty shaggy over the years, which makes for a visual contrast with brother Dean.
- Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, as was truth in television.
- Gackpoid, the purple-haired samurai from Vocaloid.
Oral Tradition, folklore, Myths and Legends
- Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Triple H, and a lot of other pro wrestlers have kept this trope alive past the 90's and into the 2000's and 2010's.
- In particular, Edge and The Undertaker both combine it with the previously mentioned Badass Longcoat. In fact, 'Taker even has a fairly awesome hat.
- Justified, the hair was intended to hide a wrestlers face (to protect kayfabe) when they were telling the next sequence of moves to their opponent, and it also assists in selling certain moves that require the wrestler to avoid contact with the mat to keep themselves from getting a legitimate injury.
- Surprisingly prevalent in Warhammer 40,000:
- The God-Emperor of Mankind.
- Eldrad Ulthran, Chief Farseer of Craftworld Ulthwe.
- Several of the Primarchs, namely Sanguinius, Corax, Lion El'Jonson, Fulgrim, Leman Russ, and Jaghatai Khan. The Blood Angels, the Space Marines descended from Sanguinius, still have a number of Badass Longhairs, such as Dante and Mephiston.
- Most Castlevania protagonists, and some antagonists, have this.
- All of the Belmonts have longer hair except for Reinhardt Schneider (second from the right in the picture).
- His other identity, Genya Arikado, has black hair that is shorter than his original blonde 'do. But just by a little.
- Soma Cruz
- Some Final Fantasy protagonists fit into this, although it's mostly villains, with Sephiroth probably being the most famous example.
- Riku from Kingdom Hearts started as The Rival who is a good guy who explored villainy, then was possessed by the big bad and had some Fighting From the Inside, then had an another side another story, then Took a Level in Badass and turns into a mysterious protector and THEN becomes the awesome lancer. Oh and he has long hair.
- Zero from Mega Man X and Zero. No matter what body he has, it is always there.
- Magus from Chrono Trigger has a Cape/Longhair combo going on.
- Aribeth and Nathyrra in Neverwinter Nights, possibly Elanee and Shandra in Neverwinter Nights 2, definitely Gann in Mask of the Betrayer, and potentially the player in all of them.
- Kratos if you consider his hair long enough, Zelos, Yuan, Regal and the Big Bad Yggdrasil in Tales of Symphonia. Also, Richter, in the sequel.
- In Tales of the Abyss had Jade, Asch, Tear and Van. Subverted with Luke, who is a complete Jerkass until his Important Haircut.
- Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia. It's also worth noting that his entry on the character page has more than
fiveten different kinds of Badass tropes attributed to him, so his position as our current trope poster boy is well-earned.
- Nephi from Black Sigil, already a Badass Longcoat, has long flowing green locks.
- Yo-Jin-Bo has Muneshige, whose hair is up in a ponytail (which inevitably comes down in his Good ending), and Bo, whose hair is very long and sleek and (by his own admission) quite feminine.
- Kain from Legacy of Kain. He has not changed his hairstyle in over a thousand years.
- Mr. R from Boy Love game Kichiku Megane is an example of this with his long braid. The fact that he's in effect the instigator of the entire plot prevents this from being a simple case of just looking pretty.
- Bayonetta and Jeanne count. Mostly since their hair contains their power and is used to manifest their powers and demonic summons. Including a demon who PUNCHES GOD'S SOUL INTO THE SUN! Can't get much more badass than that
- Star Ocean the Second Story has Dias Flac.
- Gulcasa of Yggdra Union, Blaze Union, and Yggdra Union has bright red hair that goes down past his knees, and the man is a One-Man Army you do not want to piss off. The symbolism of his long hair goes further than just badassery, though; he was abused as a child, and keeping his hair as long as it is shows that no one can ever pull it or use it to restrain him now that he's grown up and become powerful.
- Fire Emblem has a ton of examples of this trope, and most of them are of the myrmidon/swordmaster class (the series' internal Ur Example is Navarre). Probably because they critical hit often and their critical hit animations are particularly flashy.
- The biggest example is Shanan from the Fire Emblem Jugdral games. We met him in the first part of Seisen no Keifu as an adorable short-haired boy who looked up to his aunt Ayra and felt powerless for not being able to stop Lady Diadora's kidnapping and brainwashing. Flashforward 17 years and the grown-up Shanan not only has let his hair grow to his hips, but he's taken many levels in badass.
- From Sengoku Basara we have Keiji, Mitsuhide, Yukimura, Nagamasa and Kotaro.
- Dynasty Warriors. And Samurai Warriors. Combined, there are too many to count.
- Arthas Menethil from Warcraft. And Varian. And Thrall. And Magni. And Muradin. And Deathwing in his humanoid form. And more!
- Shou from Burning Rangers fits this trope. He had long silver hair tied up in a ponytail but was also the oldest and most experienced member on the crew. Bar maybe Chris.
- The Arishok of Dragon Age II.
- Street Fighter Alpha gives us Ken Masters. We mostly remember him with shoulder-length hair, but in the Alpha continuity his hair was down to his back.
- Maxim of Girl Genius.
- Equius Zahhak of Homestuck, whose hair is black, straight and extends just down his shoulder. Well befitting the trope, he was perhaps the most Badass of the trolls for a good part of the story, being a stoic Genius Bruiser whose most defining characteristic and ideal (love of musclebeasts aside) was being STRONG.
- Brock Samson of The Venture Brothers wears his hair long.
- Samurai Jack has very long hair that he keeps bundled up into a samurai's topknot. When it comes undone, you are about to have an asswhooping.
- Chase Young of Xiaolin Showdown.
- Lots of characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang however is bald most of the time.
- Finn of Adventure Time, though he keeps it as Compressed Hair under that Nice Hat of his. He shaved it off, anyway, but it grew back quickly.
- Lance and Solomon of Sym-Bionic Titan
- Van Kleiss of Generator Rex. Rex has even made a few comments about it here and there.
- Nightwing (future Robin) in Teen Titans, although he also falls into the category of Long-Haired Pretty Boy.
Future Beast Boy (balding): Man, that is so unfair!
- The 2011 version of ThunderCats has Flash Back character Leo, a Catfolk Long-Haired Pretty Boy with an impressive lion's mane to match his status as Rebel Leader, and The Drifter, a mysterious, highly Eccentric Mentor with unkempt, straw-filled hair, and a habit of playing trickster to seasoned swordsmen.
- Basically 90% of Heavy Metal bands, especially during The Eighties, and all Hair Metal bands.
- Robert Plant,
- Cormac Neeson of The Answer.
- Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria
- Roger Daltrey of The Who
- Jim Butcher, though not anymore
- Neil Young
- Walter Becker of Steely Dan
- Guitarist Steve Vai
- Crazy Horse
- Trace Adkins
- Jerry Goldsmith rocked the Cool Old Guy ponytail.
- The male citizens of Sparta were required by law to have long hair. The father of Spartan law, Lycurgus said that "long hair adds beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one." Before battle, the Spartans would carefully comb and braid their hair, partly to keep it out of the way, but also because braids added extra protection against blows to the head.
- Most samurai, though they tied their hair in topknots. Tying one's hair was commonly interpreted as a sign of a devotion to the one's master. Ronins didn't tie their hair. Thus the common image of a wild, unruly ronin with an equally wild mane of hair.
- Secular knights wore their hair long and tended to be clean shaven. The Knights Templar averted this by shaving their heads bald and growing long beards.
- Magglio Ordoñez, formerly.
- Played straight and averted by the Vikings; they could have long hair, but the warriors mostly cut it chin-length to prevent it from being a liability in battle.
- Troy Polamalu. His long hair has become iconic in the city of Pittsburgh.
- Wild Bill Hickcok
- Studies show that Native Americans keeping their hair long can acutely benefit their senses, making them better at hunting or in combat.