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 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.