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), 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
Pretty much every post-apocalyptic short film on the internet does this.
Gas Mask, Longcoat
and Gas Mask Mooks
Anime & 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Black Parade, but specifically in the music video for Welcome To The Black Parade.
- 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."
- 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.