Created By: Weaver on July 11, 2011 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on November 29, 2015
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Post-Apocalyptic Gasmask

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Indexes: Apocalyptic Index, Who Was That Masked Index?, Costume Tropes

For reasons that are not quite clear, if there's one item that seems to have become visual shorthand for post-apocalyptic settings, it's the gasmask (part or not of a Hazmat Suit). Generally this is due to the air being poisoned in some way (which leads to Fridge Logic if you think about it too much; in real life, poisoned air never lasts that long, and if it does, it might involve things where a gas mask wouldn't be sufficient), although there are occasional cases where the masks are present for no obvious reason. They are wandering round after an apocalypse with the only protection their own oxygen supply.

This is common among Steampunk, both in stories relating to the genre and IRL among Steampunk scenes.

Pretty much every post-apocalyptic short film on the internet does this.

Gas Mask, Longcoat and Gas Mask Mooks are related. Also a Sister Trope to Post-Apunkalyptic Armor.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Coppelion, everyone wears them (except the protagonists) when going into the Tokyo because of the nuclear meltdown.
  • Desert Punk Most characters wear gasmasks in the deserts created by the nuclear war. Not only do they serve as a defence against the frequent poison attacks they have built in binoculars and personal air-conditioning units.
  • In Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, both the manga and the movie, almost everyone carries gas masks in order to deal with the highly toxic atmosphere of the Sea of Corruption.

Film
  • In Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, the "generic" mutants all wear coveralls and gasmasks. (It's hard to tell but a couple of cutscenes seem to imply that their faces are gasmask shaped!)
  • Humans of the future in The Last Mimzy must wear respirators and green body-suits because they cannot withstand the toxins in future-Earth's environment.
  • Total Recall (2012): The resistance all wear gas masks when outside their sealed base in the "dead-zone" of London, an uninhabitable wasteland made toxic from the use of chemical and biological weapons.
  • Space Battleship Yamato: The Gamila's Orbital Bombardment has made the surface of Earth so deadly that Susumu has to wear thick clothing and a gasmask to scavenge for useful materials.
  • The Book of Eli takes place some thirty years after an obvious nuclear war. We see the hero wear a gas mask in the opening scene in a contaminated forest where dust falls from the sky.

Live-Action TV
  • The Doctor Who episode "Genesis of the Daleks". The lands outside the sheltered cities of the Kaleds and the Thals has become so toxic from their war that their soldiers have to wear gasmasks to survive in the open.

Music
  • The Black Parade, but specifically in the music video for Welcome To The Black Parade.

Tabletop Games
  • Unhallowed Metropolis has a fondness for gasmasks for its Zombie Apocalypse setting, particularly since it is part of the uniform for the Deathwatch. It even describes itself as "the gas-mask chic role-playing game of Neo-Victorian horror."
  • Warhammer 40K: Krieg is an even harsher example of a Death World than most (in 40K, that's saying something): their planet was subject to a massive nuclear war, and as a result they wear gasmasks all the time, whether at home or off-world. It goes very well with the WWI trenches look (which Krieg now looks like).

Video Games
  • In Metro 2033 and its sequel Metro: Last Light, Moscow has been contaminated after nuclear war. Gasmasks are required for traversing irradiated tunnels and the surface, and since filters only last so long these sequences are effectively Timed Missions. Last Light has a dedicated button for wiping off any dirt, water, or blood that's spilled on the mask.
  • Fallout: despite featuring an irradiated wasteland, gasmasks are not a requirement but Powered Armor suits which feature gasmasks are emblematic of the franchise.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas's first DLC, "Dead Money", the main enemies are the former inhabitants of the casino, heavily mutated and still wearing their (presumably ineffective) gas masks and hazmat suits.
  • The entire S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.
  • The Combine from Half-Life 2 outfit their soldiers in white gasmasks. Being either plain humans in uniforms or cybernetically enhanced converts, they don't actually need the masks for anything seen in-game and it's mainly to dehumanize them. It's possible that Civil Protection could use them for deploying non-lethal riot control gas or on offworld assignment invading other dimensions.
  • Gasmasks are ubiquitous in The Last of Us as they are needed to protect against the airborne spores of the Cordyceps fungus that has destroyed most of humanity.
  • In the early 90s game Burntime, a gasmask is required to survive in locations affected by poison gas, and also (along with an overall) as a radiation suit for those irradiated places. Some NP Cs portraits also feature gasmasks.

Web Comics
  • Romantically Apocalyptic
  • The setting of Gone With The Blast Wave is pretty apocalyptic (radiation and buildings appear to be in a state of disrepair). It's not apocalyptic enough that it prevents 3 factions fighting using tanks and planes. Each of the three armies has its own design. All the characters wear gas masks, due to the city's high levels of pollution, poison gas and fallout.
  • Circa After The Apocalypse also follows this trend.
  • Paranatural has a wallpaper available for download which shows the main characters in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and Ed is shown with a gas mask.
  • In Concession Roland's art thesis was a post-apocalyptic fashion exhibit that was heavy on gas masks, and included a performance.

Web Games

Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • July 14, 2011
    Weaver
    Bumping since it got buried unusually quickly.
  • July 16, 2011
    BraveHoratio
    The Doctor Who episode "Genesis of the Daleks" uses this.
  • April 6, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Bump. In Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, the "generic" mutants all wear coveralls and gasmasks. (It's hard to tell but a couple of cutscenes seem to imply that their faces are gasmask shaped!)
  • April 12, 2012
    hummingbirdcake
    • The Black Parade, but specifically in the music video for Welcome To The Black Parade.
  • April 13, 2012
    chicagomel
    Wasteland Empires on Facebook,especially the sprites of some troop types. (video games)
  • April 26, 2012
    morenohijazo
    The Combine's masks from Half Life. Do they count?
  • April 26, 2012
    Vaun
    The entire S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.
  • April 26, 2012
    wotnoplot
    Should we say something about the fact that they are wandering round after an apocalypse with the only protection their own oxygen supply?
  • April 27, 2012
    KZN02
    Anything to relate it with Hazmat Suit?
  • April 28, 2012
    CorsairPixie
    This is common among [[Steampunk]], both in stories relating to the genre and IRL among Steampunk scenes
  • May 17, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Humans of the future in The Last Mimzy must wear respirators and green body-suits because they cannot withstand the toxins in future-Earth's environment.
  • May 18, 2013
    Olaf_Merchant
    Webcomics
  • October 25, 2013
    Astaroth
    Please expand on the Zero Context Examples
  • October 25, 2013
    dalek955
    • All the characters in Gone With The Blastwave wear gas masks, due to the city's high levels of pollution, poison gas and fallout. Each of the three armies has its own design.
  • October 25, 2013
    Earnest
    Potential page pic.


  • October 25, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Please do not put pictures in your replies as it's against the YKTTW Guidelines. Just link them instead.
  • October 25, 2013
    arbiter099
    expanded some of the videogame ZC Es

    Gas Masklongcoat and Gas Mask Mooks seem related
  • October 26, 2013
    KantonKage
    In Coppelion, everyone wears them (except the protagonists) when going into the Tokyo because of the nuclear meltdown.
  • October 26, 2013
    Bisected8
    • In Fallout New Vegas's first DLC, "Dead Money", the main enemies are the former inhabitants of the casino, heavily mutated and still wearing their (presumably ineffective) gas masks and hazmat suits.
  • May 15, 2014
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: Krieg is an even harsher example of a Death World than most (in 40K, that's saying something): their planet was subject to a massive nuclear war, and as a result they wear gasmasks all the time, whether at home or off-world. It goes very well with the WWI trenches look (which Krieg now looks like).
  • June 6, 2014
    captainsandwich
    The setting of Gone With The Blast Wave is pretty apocalyptic (radiation and buildings appear to be in a state of disrepair). Its not apocalyptic enough that it prevents 3 factions fighting using tanks and planes. Almost every person shown is wearing a gas mask.
  • June 6, 2014
    Arivne
  • August 5, 2014
    jormis29
    • Total Recall 2012: The resistance all wear gas masks when outside their sealed base in the "dead-zone" of London, an uninhabitable wasteland made toxic from the use of chemical and biological weapons.
  • January 8, 2015
    jormis29
  • January 9, 2015
    PistolsAtDawn
    • Paranatural has a wallpaper available for download which shows the main characters in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and Ed is shown with a gas mask.
  • January 12, 2015
    TriumphForks
    Humble suggestion to change the title to Post Apocalyptic Gas Mask, which flows a bit better to me. Thoughts?
  • January 12, 2015
    Arivne
  • January 12, 2015
    DAN004
    I swear, the title WAS "apocalyptic".
  • January 12, 2015
    eroock
    Film:
    • The Book Of Eli takes place some thirty years after an obvious nuclear war. We see the hero wear a gas mask in the opening scene in a contaminated forest where dust falls from the sky.
  • January 12, 2015
    jormis29
    • Gasmasks are ubiquitous in The Last Of Us as they are needed to protect against the airborne spores of the Cordyceps fungus that has destroyed most of humanity.
  • January 13, 2015
    Arivne
    ^^^ According to the Change History for this YKTTW the title has never been "Post-Apocalyptic...".
  • January 13, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ then it might've been just me.
  • January 13, 2015
    TriumphForks
    On another note, what is the Fridge Logic in wearing a gasmask in an environment where the air has been poisoned (if I'm interpreting the passage correctly)? I say this out of curiosity, not criticism; it might be obvious to most people. ^.^
  • October 31, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ maybe in real life, poisoned air never lasts that long.
  • October 31, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ And if it does, it might involve things where a gas mask wouldn't be sufficient.

    Also a Sister Trope to Post Apunkalyptic Armor.
  • November 1, 2015
    Chernoskill
    Videogames

    • In the early 90s game Burntime, a gasmask is required to survive in locations affected by poison gas, and also (along with an overall) as a radiation suit for those irradiated places. Some NP Cs portraits also feature gasmasks.
  • November 1, 2015
    zarpaulus
    Webcomics
    • In Concession Roland's art thesis was a post-apocalyptic fashion exhibit that was heavy on gas masks, and included a performance.
  • November 13, 2015
    morenohijazo
  • November 25, 2015
    DAN004
  • November 25, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
  • November 29, 2015
    morenohijazo
    ^ and ^^: added.
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