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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wingedhussar_9341.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[{{UsefulNotes/Poland}} A Polish Winged Hussar]], [[BlatantLies preparing to provide air support against]] TsaristRussia.]]-]

->''"They might look fancy, but the truth is that they really don't work at all."''
-->-- ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei''
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%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

A character has, obtains or shows wings. These wings don't do anything. They don't help the character fly. They don't throw lasers. They don't flap! [[BreadEggsMilkSquick They don't even eat people!]] Even if you ''are'' able to fly (whether or not you could before), the wings clearly aren't responsible in the traditional aerodynamic sense. They just appear because they look [[RuleOfCool cool]]. This trope is for all wings that don't have an actual use, regardless if they are [[PowerGivesYouWings won from an upgrade]], [[OneWingedAngel appear in the character's real forms]], [[WingedHumanoid or they have been all the time in the character.]]

This trope appears principally in VideoGames and {{Anime}}.

Related to PowerGivesYouWings, and to a lesser extent, AwesomeButImpractical and WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic. See also GoodWingsEvilWings, as these useless wings may serve for identifying a character at least.

Compare GogglesDoNothing, for clothing and accessories that are there for the sole purpose of looking cool. See also StationaryWings.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime]]
* Adam, Eva Unit 001 and Arael in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''.
* In ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'', the Haibane have small wings. They can move a little, but never fold or really flap. The wings are always held stiffly behind them or to their sides.
** The series' trailer has an extremely quick flash of an X-ray of a Haibane wing, which indicates that only half of the wing bones are outside their body; the other half, required to fold them, lays flat in their backs. A fan theory suggests that they break out all the way when the Day of Flight arrives.
* There are several {{Winged Humanoid}}s in ''TowerOfGod'' who can't fly, leading to rather funny situations when Androssi knocks people off platforms.
--> ''Apparently ''those'' wings were not made for flying…''
* In one episode of ''Anime/{{FLCL}}'' Khanti is seen wearing little black wings and an obviously fake halo. They don't do anything except convince [[CloudCuckoolander Mamimi]] that he's a god...
* In the ''Manga/OnePiece'' Skypiea arc, the Shandians and Skypieans all have funky wings on their backs that do nothing.
* Subaru in the ''Franchise/DotHack'' anime has tiny wings. Her character is a DigitalAvatar, so it kinda makes sense.
* When Signum of ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'' gains a new [[FusionDance Unison form]] at the end of the show, she gets a spiffy set of flaming wings to go with it. Of course, since she could already fly even before that, they're mostly just there to look cool.
** Hayate's black wings also seem to only be there for the PerpetualMolt effect, though [[spoiler:[[ArtifactOfDoom the Book of Darkness]]]], the original owner of those wings, did use them to help her with her initial lift-off.
* Wings that do ''something'' are viewed as a "power" in ''SaintBeast'', meaning most angelic characters have wings that do nothing if it's not granted to them. These wings tend to be hidden as such.
* Subverted in ''Anime/AngelBeats!'': Tachibana uses her "Angel Program" to create wings to make her seem more "angel-like." They're beautiful and seem to be mere decoration--until the moment she actually uses them to glide off a building.
* There's a half-example in ''RozenMaiden'' where Suigintou's wings do ''something''--act as weapons--but have absolutely nothing to do with flying.
* Franchise/SailorMoon's [[FrillyUpgrade Eternal form's]] seem to be purely decorative.
* Cell's wings in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' are a real waste in a series where flight is all about Ki. He flexes them occasionally, but the fact that he loses them in one form says everything.
* In ''Anime/MaiOtome0Sifr'', [[spoiler:Lena Sayers]] has extremely long wings as part of her [[spoiler:psudo-[=HiME=]]] powers. It's not clear if they have a purpose or not since she can fly anyway, and the only time we see them is right after her [[PhlebotinumBreakdown robe breaks]].
* Franchise/{{Gundam}} doesn't seem to be sure whether it wants to play this trope straight or subvert it. In some cases (such as Destiny, Freedom, Deathscythe, Aile Strike, Force Impulse and Zeta Gundam), the wings are just there for show, though Freedom does hide two guns in them, and Strike Freedom uses them to store its [[AttackDrone DRAGOON system]]. In other cases (such as the Tallgeese, Wing and Wing Zero) the wings actually serve a purpose, as they contain several thrusters inside to increase speed. They're still static, except for Wing Zero in [[TheMovie Endless Waltz]].
* This is the case for the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Angel]] and [[CuteMonsterGirl Imp]] races of humans in ''{{Manga/Centaur No Nayami}}''. Since they can't use their wings to fly, there are in-universe theories for why else they would have evolved - protection from harsh weather is one.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* After Medusa's departure from the Frightful Four (obvious EvilCounterpart to the ComicBook/FantasticFour), the Wizard sought a new supervillain to replace her. Among the applicants was a fellow named the Osprey, who had nifty-looking wings attached to his back. When the Wizard discovered the wings were nothing but decoration, and that the Osprey had no powers at all, he stuck an anti-gravity disk on the fellow and sent him floating helplessly into the upper atmosphere.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'': the John Lennon of New Zork (as opposed to protagonist!John) has wings but is otherwise human, so he can't fly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The hippogriff in the film of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban'' has wings that flap, but based on how smoothly he rises, they're not what makes him fly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* One of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'''s oldest arguments is over whether or not the Balrogs actually had wings. If so, they didn't save it from falling down the pit with Gandalf.
* In one of Creator/BruceCoville's [[Literature/MagicShop Book of Magic]] anthologies, the story provided by Coville is about a teenager who wanders into Elives' Magic Shop and ends up purchasing a home magic kit thematically inspired by the metamorphosis trick of stage magic shows. Rather than switching places with an assistant, he finds that it gives him wings--which don't work. He continues to follow the instructions, but grows increasingly agitated as it's becoming harder and harder to hide them from his abusive uncle, and they still don't let him fly, so his dreams of getting away from said uncle are as kaput as ever.[[spoiler: Fortunately for our protagonist, he manages to keep them under wraps until he's finished the process, after which they fill out and do let him fly, and by the time his uncle finds out, he's already headed out the window.]]
* In the book ''Literature/StormThief'' there is a character named Vago, who is a giant genetically engineered golem with wings, though technically they do let him glide he can't actually ''fly''. This is lampshaded/justified by TheDragon when he says that he had overseen Vago's creation and insisted that they give him wings despite the technicians telling him that Vago was too heavy to fly but was able to glide on strong wind currents.
* Peregrine in the ''WildCards'' series while often called an Ace is actually a Joker-Ace, i.e. someone who was both physically mutated by the disease and gained superpowers as a result. Her wings would allow her limited flight, or at least gliding, but she actually uses specialized telekinesis to fly. She avoids the stigma of Jokerhood because her wings are pretty, unlike most Joker mutations.
* The InsectoidAliens called S'krrr in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: TheSwarm'' possess vestigial wings which an observing human can immediately tell are useless for flight - but later it does turn out that S'krrr poets use them to make [[BugBuzz wingsong]] which [[AlienArtsAreAppreciated even people of other species find intriguing]]. [[spoiler: Wingsong can also be used to calm TheSwarm, temporarily.]]
* In the world of ''Literature/RedRising'', members of the caste of sex workers are often surgically altered to suit their owner's tastes. The addition of useless but pretty wings are a popular addition, fused to the victim's body by surgeons known as Carvers.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Multiple Media ]]

* [[Franchise/{{Bionicle}} Hahli Mahri]] has wing for fins that she used underwater to great effect, but became useless after she turned into an air-breather again.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* In ''MagicTheGathering'', [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1781 Whippoorwill]] is a bird and has wings, but cannot fly. Art guidelines have been changed so as to prevent this kind of confusion in current sets.
** Subverted in an older card, the Winged Golem's flavor text tells that the wings were meant to be ornamental, and it learned to use them by itself. For a small mana cost, it can fly for one turn.
* In ''ChangelingTheDreaming'', you can have wings as either a merit or a flaw. As a merit they do indeed allow you to fly, while as a flaw they get in the way a lot and make clothes shopping hard (but they look cool).
* In ''WraithTheOblivion'', some wraiths will spontaneously develop vestigial wings after [[DeadToBeginWith waking up dead]]. This, and other physical alterations, is related to their psychology, somehow.
* In ''{{Witchcraft}}'''s follow-up game Armageddon, angels and fallen angels can have wings or not and are able to fly either way. However, having wings does improve maneuverability in the air.
* ''{{TabletopGame/Warhammer}}'''s Kislev faction, as a mash-up of various Eastern European cultures, boasts Winged Lancers and the heavier [[PraetorianGuard Gryphon Legion]] for cavalry, obviously inspired by the hussar pictured above.
* The Dark Angels space marine chapter from ''{{TabletopGame/Warhammer 40000}}'' applies similar feathered banners to its [[MyHorseIsAMotorbike Ravenwing bikers]].


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething Nina]] from ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' has a pair of wings that do absoloutely nothing. Justified in that her race's gene pool gets progressively weaker every generation, as every heroine ([[LegacyCharacter also called Nina]]) from the other games get some kind of special ability from their wings.
* ''VideoGame/FableIII'' will feature wings that pop out of the Hero's back, and so far as anyone can tell they exist only to look awesome and show just how badass good/evil the Hero is.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' loves this trope. See OneWingedAngel and PowerGivesYouWings.
** Also, some versions of Moogles can fly, but others can't (including almost all of the ones in Ivalice) yet have wings anyway.
** The moogle in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' can fly, but it's stated that it flies by magic, and that its wings are just for show.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''
** In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaDawnOfSorrow'', a Winged Humanoid soul gives Soma Cruz visible wings. They increase his luck. That's it.
** Averted in ''VideoGame/Castlevania/OrderOfEcclesia'', where Volaticus does the same thing - but Shanoa ''can'' use them to fly. Good luck doing Large Cavern without them.
* The Reapers and Angels in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''. Both have wings and can fly, but use not their wings to fly, but their Psychic Powers.
* Tabuu in in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Super Smash Bros Brawl]]'' gains wings for precisely one [[OneHitKill attack]]. They don't seem to do anything (given that he seems to be able to [[NotQuiteFlight levitate]] and [[TeleportSpam warp for short distances]], anyway), but since WordOfGod says that [[spoiler: Sonic]] weakened said move by attacking them, they may serve some purpose. Since there's very little reason for them to be wings specifically, though, they still count.
** Before the wings were weakened, they could take out ''[[MemeticMutation everyone(!)]]'' with one attack, so while the wings aren't for flying, they serve a purpose. The attack was basically at will too, so only a [[spoiler:sucker-punch from someone really fast who hadn't appeared up to that point]] could do much about it.
* Almost all wings in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' are decorative. [[AllThereInTheManual Even without wings, almost all of them can fly]]. [[ZigZaggingTrope Most of the fastest flyers in the series have wings... but retracting them doesn't seem to affect their speed.]]
* Many games with VirtualPaperDoll features (e.g. ''GuitarHero 5'' and ''[[TonyHawkProSkater Tony Hawk's Underground 2]]'') have wings as character creation items. Even ''MortalKombat Armageddon'', which had characters that could ''fly'', gave your character the possibility to add wings to their design, but not a move to put them to work (not even a mo-capping from Sindel, who can fly without wings).
* Everyone in the world of ''BatenKaitos'' has wings, which allow them all to fly. [[GameplayAndStorySegregation In battle]]. Outside of battle, they still use stairs, ladders, etc, and most buildings are one or two stories. This is subverted in ''Baten Kaitos Origins'', where characters fly around with wings outside of battle, and the main character uses them to dash about and jump over large gaps.
** And yet, they still are reluctant to build anything with more than two floors, or put doors anywhere but at ground level.
** Early in the first game, you're told that the wings aren't as functional as they look - short flights, like in battle, are fine, but you're going to fall a ''long'' way if you try to get any further than that. The wings ''used'' to be more functional, but over time they've atrophied. That's why they have flying boats. As for buildings, it would be an unnecessary mindjob to draw up building plans with the door on a higher level (you have to take into account that there's going to be a very large hole on an upper wall). Just because they have limited flight doesn't mean [[PlanetOfHats their entire society is based around their wings]].
* Demonic Dreadlords, Illidan Stormrage and other Demon Hunters in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} 3'' have huge bat wings, but can't fly. One of the Dreadlord's [[StopPokingMe vocalizations if clicked]] has him saying, "[[LampshadeHanging If I have wings, why am I always walking?]]" Most ridiculous are the Pit Lords, enormous scaled demonic centaur things with a set of woefully inadequate wings sprouting from their humanoid torso.
** Although the Pit Lords can use their wings as shields.
* Dragon Disciples in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights'' gain wings at level 9. Flight is not implemented in the game, so these wings do nothing.
** Kaelyn in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' Mask of the Betrayer and Persey in the Tales of Arterra mod both explain when asked that their wings aren't powerful enough to fly with, but make wonderful waterproof cloaks when it rains.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'' and ''DCUniverseOnline'' all allow for a character to have or lack wings entirely separate of the ability to fly. They at least flap when they jump.
* In ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'', the hero starts out with only decorative wings, but acquires flight power in the [[EleventhHourSuperPower final stage]]. In the Game Boy sequel, they can slow his descent and Pit is again able to obtain a powerup that allows {{flight}}. In ''Uprising'', he's still incapable of flight, and Palutena has to [[EnigmaticEmpoweringEntity personally]] [[SupernaturalAid bestow]] the "Miracle of Flight" upon him, in order to let him fly for 5 minutes at a time.
** In ''Super Smash Bros. Brawl'', Pit can flap his wings in the form of three Double Jumps or activate four seconds of free flight as a special move (both are replenished by landing on the ground). He has neither of these abilities during the story mode cutscenes.
* Several characters in ''{{Baroque}}'' have wings, but are never seen flying--not even the Archangel, who has the only wings that look big enough to be functional. The protagonist can also acquire (fake) wings which grant various effects (immunity to Poison, Vitality regeneration, etc.), but never the power of flight.
* In ''LegoStarWars,'' you can play as Watto, the Toydarian junk dealer from ''ThePhantomMenace.'' His normal mode of travel is flying, but don't try it over a chasm...
* In the various Atari ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' games (like ''VideoGame/GodzillaDestroyAllMonstersMelee''), the creators made a point to ensure that the only flying monsters were those who rarely touched the ground, like Rodan, Mothra and Megaguirus. While this isn't a big deal for burrowing Megalon (whose wings only appear when he opens his shell) or teleporting Gigan (whose ability to fly in the films was due to jet boosters not seen on his design) Destoroyah sports not one but two pairs of enormous, bat-like wings that do absolutely nothing. This is especially frustrating, since the movie Destoroyah spent half its onscreen appearance in the air.
* In ''StarOceanTheLastHope'', your winged WhiteMage Sarah has huge wings but is described both by the game and in her own words as being incapable of flight, though she can glide. In any case [[spoiler: her ending has her get over this and properly fly.]]
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' has a fairly unusual example with cave [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]]: they have wings incapable of flight, which their description implies worked before they became adapted to the underground. But the thing is, regular dragons ''don't have wings at all'', [[FridgeLogic which implies]] they're either descendant of a type of dragon not in the game or that they grew wings which served no purpose after coming underground.
** [[WordOfGod Toady has said]] that dragons will have wings to fly at some future point. He's waiting until he can program them to use it to devastating effect.
** Some titans and forgotten beasts don't fly even when they do have wings, while [[spoiler:demons]] do whether or not they have them.
* In ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey III'', the [[SquishyWizard Zodiac]] class features large, artificial, crystalline wings in all of its character portraits. While they appear to allow the Zodiacs to hover in place in said portraits, they don't serve any kind of purpose whatsoever in gameplay.
* The Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Druddigon. Despite having wings, it's not a Dragon/Flying-type--it's just a Dragon-type and doesn't have Levitate. [[GameplayAndStorySegregation According to the Pokedex]], it uses its wings to take in sunlight for warmth.
** The ostrich-like Doduo and Dodrio are [[InvertedTrope inversions.]] Despite having no wings, they can learn the move Fly.
** The original Japanese name for Fly can be translated as both "Fly" and "Sky Jump".
* In ''{{SSX}} On Tour'' you can get bat wings as an accessory. This Troper has had to explain to suspicious multiplayer opponents ''many times'' that, in fact, the Wings Do Nothing.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}!'' has the titular character. He's a bug that has wings, but they're too small and thus he is unable to fly. In the sequel ''Bug Too!'', he gains the ability to hover for a short distance, but he hilariously flaps his arms to do so instead of using his wings.
* Elysium in ''VideoGame/SoulCalibur V'' sprouts wings in her VictoryPose and [[LimitBreak Critical Edge]] animation, but can't use them to recover from a RingOut.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]

* ''DemonCandyParallel'' explicitly states that the wings of incubi are for "decoration" rather than use.
* ''SlightlyDamned'' has Sun Pendants, which grant angels their wings. However, when Buwaro, a demon, ends up owning a sun pendant with no anti-demonic defences, it gives him stylish but obviously non-functional miniature wings.
* ''AlienDice'': Lexx has wings, but never flew outside battles.
* ''Webcomic/{{Subnormality}}'': The Sypix has wings, but walks everywhere. Justified in this case as she have to file flight plan each time, and she didn't want to file each time she went somewhere.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' Seraph robots has decorative vestigal wings. At least [[SuperPrototype S1]] [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=428 moved fast]] enough that they ''may'' have been an aerodynamical adjustment, but on [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=9 S13]] they only helped to [[TheWoobie look plain sad]].
* Used and subverted in ''[[DanAndMabsFurryAdventures DMFA]]''. Dan [[http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_357.php doesn't know how to fly using his wings]] but later [[spoiler:when his cubi heritage kicks in]] in turns out [[spoiler:he can do [[http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_974.php other things with them]]]]
* X and Alexis from AMagicalRoommate grow wings, but their wings aren't strong enough to fly with. They can fly with a weightlessness potion, however.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Originals ]]

* A lot of online avatars and self-portraits do this.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* The guardians in ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'' all have small wings in their magic forms. While they do flap when they fly, they are actually useless, as evidenced by the episode where they [[BroughtDownToNormal lost their powers]] and instantly dropped out of the sky.
** In the comic [[BlowYouAway Hay Lin]] was the only one who could even fly at all.
* Eventually subverted in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''. In the first season the Monarch and his henchmen's butterfly wings seem to be purely decorative - [[WordOfGod the writers intended]] for the Monarch using his wings to fly in the early season 2 episode ''Hate Floats'' to be a big deal, but this didn't come across in the animation - ''then'' in the season finale, the henchmen discover, to their shock, that they can, in fact, fly.
-->'''Henchman #24:''' Why did nobody tell us this?! This changes everything!
* Dragon Maleficent from ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' has wings coming out of her back, but for some reason her dragon form cannot fly.
* The Twins' father in ''{{Superjail}}'' appears as a large, winged balloon-like creature. But due to the tiny size of his wings, they're unable to help him fly when he's injured and generally just flap uselessly as he speaks.
* Borderline example: A certain [[MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic brony]] sub-faction has noticed that pegasus wings do ''something'', but they sure as hell aren't providing lift in the usual way; "biological AntiGravity drives" is the prevailing fanon. Scootaloo is a straighter example, but that's an actual in-universe disability according to WordOfGod.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_hussars#Tactics Polish hussars]], as pictured above, were often depicted in art with large ornate wings as part of the uniform. It's unclear whether hussars actually went into battle with the wings and what use they could possibly have. Some theories suggested that they might deflect blows from certain angles or that the vibrating feathers make an eerie noise during a charge. On the other hand, so much drag and extra weight would probably counter whatever small advantage they might have provided, making it unlikely that they were anything more than parade dress.
* Many flightless birds have highly vestigial wings that are useless for flying. Some species use their wings for other purposes, including penguins, which use their wings while swimming, rheas and ostriches, which use them as running aids and display structures, the kakapo, which uses them for gliding, and the kagu, which uses them for display and gliding, possibly among others.
* Many species of Deinonychosaur dinosaurs (the [[RaptorAttack "raptors"]]) could glide or fly, and even species that are considered to be flightless, such as ''Velociraptor'' itself, have quill knobs, something that doesn't exist in flightless birds. One theory is that they used their wing feathers like modern raptors do, flapping them for stability as they clung to and attacked prey. Others suggest they used their feathers for Wing Assisted Incline Running, or in other words, ''flapping their wings so hard they can run vertically''.
* Reproductive-caste ants and termites use wings to fly in search of a mate, but after mating these have no purpose and are shed or bitten off. Most queen ants dissolve the wing muscles for nutrition after shedding. Species where queens are wingless usually can't found a colony by themselves as they're missing the wing muscles, and would starve on their own.
* Creator/BorisVallejo [[WordOfGod has stated himself]] that the wings he paints on his models are purely aesthetic.
* Mesopotamian art often shows gods and other supernatural beings with wings, but they never show them in flight.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_cat Winged cats]]: as stated in TheOtherWiki, the origin of such "wings" is either matted fur for longhaired cats, a skin disease or conjoinment/birth defect.
[[/folder]]

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