"Whatchya gonna do?"
"It's anime law: whenever a male shōnen protagonist takes off his shirt, all of his attributes increase exponentially."
Bob the Strong is going to be in a major fight, like with The Dragon
or the Big Bad
, or just with a huge amount of Mooks
. As he approaches the enemy, he-
Wait, he's taking off his shirt?
Battle Strip is when a character, especially one who is modest, either has a Stripperific
battle uniform (for the girls), or doesn't wear a shirt in a fight
(for the guys). The main reason is because clothing could restrict movement/attacks, or it's also a sign of Badass
. It also gives the opponent fewer things to grab and pin the fighter down with. However, sometimes it's just plain Fanservice
Related to The Coats Are Off
(when a character takes off his coat before joining battle), Action Dress Rip
, and Full-Frontal Assault
. Not to be confused with Clothing Damage
, when the character's clothing gets destroyed during
a battle, or Giving Them the Strip
, when clothing is torn or discarded to escape being grappled and avoid
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Anime & Manga
- The Raikage whips off his long coat in battle. Not that it covers a lot in the first place...
- It is also somewhat memetic that all male members of Akatsuki tended to lose their cloaks before their deaths, either by voluntary removal or regular Clothing Damage.
- Kimimaro removed his top when he started actually fighting. Justified in that clothes would only get in the way of his bone based powers.
- In Shaman King, during the Tournament, Horo-Horo's outfit includes an open long-coat, but no shirt.
- In Hunter × Hunter, several of the main characters will drop some of their clothes when they need to "get serious" — usually stripping down to either bare-chested (Leorio) or undershirt (Gon, Killua, Kurapica).
- Mecha Mode in the manga Ultimo. The doji masters are in their underwear (at least in the American edition).
- Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Her summonable combat gear has been optimized for her favored combat style of a Fragile Speedster, so she is not exactly wearing much in her most powerful forms.
- When the leader and former leader of Soul Society's stealth specialist squad fight, it just so happens that their most powerful moves blast off any clothing on their shoulder blades. Did we mention they were both extremely attractive female ninja (ghost samurai, and one is also a Cat Girl)? The trope is also averted, as it's also revealed that their particular squad wears sleveless inner clothes (at the direction of the former leader, realizing the technique would do this), so even at their most powerful they're still decent.
- Yamamoto is an even better example. Though, Yamamoto's sword has a tendency to set everything around it on fire, so this might be justified, as it would be somewhat hard to fight when Yamamoto himself is on fire.
- Crying Freeman often took it a step further. Before many battles, Yoh would strip completely naked.
- Yakitate Japan shows two contestants of a cooking competition taking off their clothes to freak each other out. Definite Fanservice.
- In the finale of Gunbuster, Noriko rips open a part of her uniform so that, by using the Gunbuster's motion tracing control mechanism, she can rip open the chest armor on the mecha.
- Fairy Tail
- When he and Lyon (his fellow student) prepare to fight Racer, they strip simultaneously, much to Racer's confusion and Sherry's delight.
- In the anime version of the Natsu vs. Gajeel fight, they take off their shirts.
- When Kenshiro prepares to launch his most powerful attacks in Fist of the North Star, his shirt will often disintegrate as his Battle Aura takes effect. He also usually acquires a new shirt by the end of the episode without explanation.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Dynamis burst all his clothes (except his mask) in a preparation for his becoming a One-Winged Angel. He stood a few moments completely naked, though, causing some shocked reactions from everyone present.
- Negi himself loses his shirt the first time he activates "Raiten Taisou 2".
- Jack Rakan once shredded the sleeves off his jacket simply by powering up a bit. He also tends take off his shirt for demonstrations and the like, for no apparent reason.
Konoka: Why'd he take his shirt off?
Setsuna: I don't know.
- In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Ulube rips off his uniform before he fights. And he is ripped.
Ulube: It's a good thing I prepared for this by continuing to work on my body!
- Dragon Ball
- The series mostly uses Clothing Damage as an excuse to get its male leads naked, but there are a few occasions where the heroes take off their clothes before battle.
- One such occasion is the fight with Raditz at the beginning of Dragon Ball Z, where both Goku and Piccolo were wearing weighted clothes, and stripping increased their power levels.
- Parodied in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, where Raditz didn't get that the clothes were weighted and started stripping himself until being corrected.
- In the manga Tenshinhan also always removes his shirt before battle, and eventually stops wearing a shirt altogether.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, both Amon and Professor Cobra do this before fighting each other (revealing both of them to have Adonis-like frames).
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alex Louis Armstrong does this all the time, to the point of lampshading.
Hawkeye: Did he have to strip?
Havoc: You surprised? He's clearly insane...
- New Grappler Baki
- Before a fight with Speck, Hanayama Kaoru calmly removes his shoes, grabs the hems of his pants legs, pulls up, and tears off his entire suit. He proceeds to fight wearing only a Fundoshi.
- Don't forget Doppo's fight with Dorian, where the two men first face off in suits. While the latter discards his jacket, tie and shirt to fight bare-chested, the former strips down to a pair of trunks.
- Most fights in YuYu Hakusho end with at least one fighter shirtless, but Kuwabara is the most likely to remove his shirt before the fight begins, rather than have it shredded mid-fight as many others prefer.
- The Tournament Arc in Cynthia the Mission has a few examples:
- Not only does Detective Kaipan in Kochikame go around in a Speedo, he always removes it before fighting.
- Dragon Shiryu from Saint Seiya often ends up removing his armor in the middle of his fights. Doing so will invariably lead to him fighting shirtless. In the very early anime, Shiryu fought Seiya. In the climax of the fight, both of them battle-stripped to be in fully equal conditions.
- Toriko actually used this as a battle tactic once, removing his shirt to escape the explosive bugs that Tommyrod planted on him. Granted, Toriko does have a tendency to fight shirtless anyway...
- Rurouni Kenshin has a character named Shikijo who jumped straight into battle with Sanosuke by tearing off his jacket and revealing his manly physique.
- After Satsuki sends Honnouji Academy on a "battlefield trip" to conquer the rest of Japan in Kill la Kill, Aikuro decides to retire his teacher disguise and resume his position as officer in La Résistance. More specifically, Splendid Naked Officer of Nudist Beach. His battle attire is exactly what his title would suggest.
- Both Senketsu and Junketsu combat uniforms become utterly Stripperific when in battle mode. Actually justified, as the protection they give results from augmenting their wearers rather than covering them, and besides, too much skin to uniform contact is dangerous for the wearer and may make them lose control.
- One contractor in Darker Than Black had to remove her clothing in order to use her powers. As a result, she's almost naked by the end of the battle.
Films — Animation
- Beowulf fights Grendel completely naked. While this is intended to make him look Badass, the gratuitous use of Scenery Censor makes it come off as a bit silly.
- Inverted in the film Heavy Metal. Taarna, the Last Taarakian, starts out naked and gets dressed in extremely stripperific armor to go after the Loc-Nar.
- The princesses in Shrek the Third actually tear off parts of their dresses before taking down Prince Charming's henchmen.
Films — Live-Action
- Fight Club: No shirts, no shoes. Except for Bob, who is exempt from the rule without comment or debate for obvious reasons◊.
- In Way of the Dragon, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris prepare for their big fight by taking off their shirts. Then Knuckle Cracking.
- Borderline example: In Rob Roy, the deadly fop Cunningham prepares for sword fights by removing his elaborate wig, revealing his near-naked scalp.
- Done quite ridiculously in Future War, where the Runaway somehow peels off his fully buttoned and tucked dress shirt in about half a second in the middle of the final fight. Well, not quite that he peels it off; it looks more like the shirt just accidentally fell off somehow.
- Done in Undefeatable during the infamous final battle.
- During the Corridor fight scene in Old Boy, one mook does it, after seeing his buddies get their butts kicked.
- In Mortal Kombat, Liu Kang prepares for his battle with Shang Tsung by slipping off the robe he was disguised in, revealing his bare upper body. Tsung responds by casting off his own Badass Longcoat, revealing his somewhat less badass waistcoat.
- In Jackie Chan's Who Am I? the final fight features Chan in a tag-team battle with two skilled martial artists. When Chan uses the first one's jacket and tie against him, the second one sensibly removes his before he jumps into the fight.
- Dutch strips down to some scraps of clothing and a lot of mud for his final fight with the eponymous monster.
- Billy Sole strips to the waist and then cuts a slash in his own chest with his Bowie knife while waiting to try and delay the Predator for his friends to escape. Sure, the next we see of him is the Predator ripping out his spine and skull as a trophy, but it was still AWESOME.
- The spiritual successor, Predators duplicates the Shirtless Scene (with some changes) using Royce, as the capstone homage in a movie filled with them.
- Spoofed in The Naked Gun 33 1/3 during the prison riot at the beginning, when two fat convicts rip off their uniforms... turning into two sumo fighters.
- During the climactic fight in The One, Yulaw unzips the top of his coveralls and ties it around his waist. Why? Because he's wearing the same outfit as Gabe and they're both played by Jet Li. Otherwise, the audience would be confused on who was who, and most audience members aren't proficient enough in martial arts to notice that they use different styles.
- Played for laughs in The World's End: In flashback, a young Andy rips his shirt as part of an unexplained group spat. Late in the actual plot, he rips his cardigan just prior to a bar brawl.
- In one Dragonlance story, Caramon has to fight a half-ogre bandit chief. Since he doesn't have any armour, he strips down to his loincloth.
- Modesty Blaise does this a lot in her novels, going topless to duel the fencer Wenczel in A Taste for Death, and facing the lethal Mr. Sexton not only completely naked but also greased up in The Silver Mistress. She also practices a move she calls The Nailer, where she gains extra time when she has to go through a door into a room full of thugs by walking in topless, guaranteeing that she gets the first move while most or all of the thugs are still looking at her chest. Yeah, despite the name, Modesty Blaise is pretty much made of Fanservice.
- In Cerberon, Aladavan removes his coat and shirt before his Duel to the Death, not to impress or intimidate anyone, but simply to avoid having his clothing soiled or damaged during the fight. It was a wise move, considering his opponent runs him through with an Absurdly Sharp Blade. He gets better, of course.
- One short story set in the Tortall Universe had an Action Girl take off her dress to fight. It's too expensive to rip, and she doesn't have any pants, so she just fights in her underwear.
- Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus, with Ensign Oates from "Scott of the Sahara" stripping all his clothes off as he fights the giant electric penguin.
- In the Scrubs episode "My Day at the Races", both Turk and Todd rip off their tops (with hilarious ease) during JD's Kung Fu Imagine Spot.
- In Power Rangers, we've had Leo and Cole showing off their well-sculpted physique for climatic fights, ripping their shirts off for extra appeal. Interestingly, both are Red Rangers with a lion motif — and Leo morphed just a few seconds after tearing off his shirt.
- When the opening gets revamped, the "Danny Slavin as Leo" bit goes from him fighting Stingwingers in the premiere to the famous dramatic shirt rip, so you got to see it every week!
- Speaking of Red Rangers, Daigo Kiryu pulls a spectacular one◊ before fighting against several mooks in the episode he gets his power-up form. He isn't quite as huge as Leo or Cole, but still pretty ripped.
- Parodied also in an episode of Tenacious D in which the two members of the band square off in the style of a kung-fu movie. Kyle Gass tears off his shirt to reveal a second, identical shirt.
- This is one of Hulk Hogan's trademarks, as shown at the top of this page.
- Jerry Lawler, Kurt Angle and Big E Langston have a variant where they pull down the straps of their singlets when things get serious.
- Jeff Hardy does this sometimes, as does his team xtreme stablemate Lita.
- The Rock throwing off his elbow pad before performing the most electrifying move in all of entertainment!
- Early in his career, Carly Colon wrestled in a wife beater and would often pull it off during the tail end of his matches, or when getting a "hot tag". His little brother Eddie then started a variant where he'd whip off his t shirt.
- Delirious, on his way to winning the International Wrestling Cartel's Super Indy Tournament, constantly pulled off and put back on his elbow pads during his matches.
- GURPS includes an optional rule called "Bulletproof Nudity", which allows greater defensive bonuses depending on how much clothing is revealed, ranging from sleeveless to total nudity.
- Street Fighter
- Metal Gear Solid
- In Metal Gear Solid 4, Liquid Ocelot removes his coat before fighting Snake, and fights him shirtless. This could be considered part of his 'Liquid Snake' charade as the latter was shirtless in the final battles of Metal Gear Solid while Ocelot himself was always conservatively dressed.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, The Boss unzips the front of her sneaking suit to show Naked Snake her scar before the final battle. Inexplicably, she leaves the suit unzipped for the battle and then the rest of the game.
- BlazBlue: Litchi Faye-Ling does this before a match begins.◊
- In recent Castlevania games, the Invisible Man drops takes off his hat, trenchcoat, and pants before attacking (because he's an Invisible Streaker).
- Ryu Ga Gotoku: Every time a major fight is about to take place you can count on Kazuma, his opponent or really any yakuza in general to fling off their shirt. Probably to show off their awesome tattoos.
- Final Fantasy X: When Shiva is summoned, she's wearing a cloak that she throws off dramatically (and Yuna steps forward to catch it).
- Super Smash Bros.. 4: Little Mac's entrance animation has him throw off his pink sweatsuit to reveal his boxing gear.
- Parodied in Girlchan in Paradise!! with the character of Swirly Glasses, who takes off his shirt despite being extremely scrawny and not that good in a fight.
- In Dead Fantasy, when Kairi prepares to fight Momiji, she removes her pink dress to reveal she's wearing Namine's white dress underneath. Then she turns into Namine and kicks ass.
- Men doing this is the source of the expression, "keep your shirt on".
- Bruce Lee.
- The Celts, specifically Picts, believed that nudity conferred powers of invincibility. They used woad as Body Paint.
- Most wrestlers and boxers do this.
- One of Pablo Francisco's jokes is how men should take off their pants instead of their shirts when they get into fights to freak out their opponents.
- It was not uncommon for 19th-century duellists to fight shirtless (or even, in one famous case, completely nude) — it decreased the chance of dying afterward from an infected wound.
- The "Rob Ray Rule" in the National Hockey League was implemented to keep players from deliberately stripping their jerseys off when engaging in fights. Ray was notorious for rapidly ejecting his jersey and pads when starting a fight.