"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), Shed Armor, Gain Speed, The Glasses Come Off (a Badass Bookworm removing his glasses before fighting), 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 a battle.
— Kurama, Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged
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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 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. Though mainly it's just to show off how surprisingly ripped the old man is.
- 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
- Gray has a habit of stripping to his boxers because his training in ice magic involved running through a blizzard in his underwear. It's very clear that he's intended to lure in an Estrogen Brigade.
Lucy: Um, why did they strip?
- 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.
- Erza often switches to skimpy, revealing outfits during a fight. Justified as her armors give her abilities during a fight.
- 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!
Konoka: Why'd he take his shirt off?
- 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.
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. Frequently he destroys his own shirt by flexing.
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:
- Hypnotized Araya throws off her school uniform shortly into the fight, revealing a skimpier and frillier outfit.
- Padre Phantom enters the ring in a Baron Samedi-inspired outfit, then slips it off and fights wearing only trunks.
- Lingyu Bao enters the ring by doing a flip off of the school roof, slipping out of his jacket long the way.
- 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.
- Played for Laughs in The Devil Is a Part-Timer!—when Suzuno attacks Maou, she's horrified that he begins to undress, and then neatly folds his clothes before actually fighting. Like he would risk ruining his MgRonald's uniform. He's still wearing a tank top with his boxers, but when her first attack blows it off, she screams at him to stop stripping.
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kenichi takes off his chainmail shirt before his climactic battle with Shō Kanō. Justified in this case as the chainmail only barely blocked Shō's initial attack and Kenichi didn't want anything that would weigh him down more than absolutely necessary, since the extra weight could mean the difference between life and death against someone like Shō.
- The Incredible Hulk is a common example. No fanservice involved. Unless...note
- Superman has a common variant, when he's not ducking in a phone booth you can bet he's taking off his Clark Kent getup in this fashion.
- The "Death of Clark Kent" story actually has him do this when he removes his shirt and cape before fighting Conduit.
- One X-Men storyline has Storm returning to Africa to deal with bad guys invading her hometown. At one point, when in full 'weather goddess' mode, she chooses to battle wearing nothing but always-strategically-placed lightning because she wants to show herself as a force of nature.
- Necromancers in Death Vigil have a tendency to take off their shirts when using their powers. Allistor's dialogue suggests it's a matter of comfort, in that their sigils tend to itch when in use, so removing their shirts help alleviate it. It doesn't stop Sam from complaining every time a Necromancer strips down around him.
- In one Knights of the Dinner Table storyline, one of the guys runs Sara's character in her absence. When Brian points out that shedding encumbrance increases her chance to gain initiative, they take this to the logical conclusion and have the character charge into battle naked carrying nothing but a weapon. This works for a while, but eventually gets her killed. Sara is not amused when she finds out.
Films — Animation
- The title character of 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. In their case, it's more justified than usual, in that their dresses are slightly restrictive, and they need the freedom of movement in a fight.
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 Oldboy (2003), 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 The Shallows Nancy uses the remaining sleeve of her wetsuit to hang from the bouy she's stuck in order to retrieve some flare ammo that are floating in the sea, but when the shark attacks the buoy, since her wetsuit is still attached to the buoy, Nancy is forced to remove her wetsuit in order to survive and combat the shark. Also qualifies as a Giving Them the Strip.
- In The Legend of Tarzan, Tarzan, who had spent most of the movie in hiking gear, strips to just his pants before preparing to face his ape brother in battle.
- 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.
- There are several scenes in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy where Vin rips off her Pimped-Out Dress in order to be able to fight effectively. Vin doesn't find it very remarkable to be running around in her underwear (it apparnetly doesn't cover much less skin than what she used to wear as a street urchin) but more or less everybody else does.
- in the Aubrey-Maturin novel HMS Surprise, Stephen Maturin takes off his shirt to fight a pistol duel, because he doesn't want cloth in the wound.
- 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.
- Super Sentai / Power Rangers:
- In America, we've had Leo and Cole showing off their well-sculpted physique for big fights, ripping their shirts off for extra appeal. Interestingly, both are Red Rangers with a lion motif.
- Leo's case is particularly gratuitous, as he morphs about five seconds later. Moreover, 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! (Interestingly, the opening was revamped with the clip before the episode it came from aired.)
- Doggie Kruger of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger twists this trope. When he transforms, his coat vanishes thus making him shirtless, before his Dekamaster suit gives him his ranger uniform. His SPD counterpart Anubis Cruger has him toss out his coat as the ranger suit forms beneath. The former applies this trope more because we actually see a moment where he is shirtless unlike the latter.
- 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.
- Angel. As Physical God Illyria is about to fight Team Angel, she strips off all her clothes (causing her underling to Jaw Drop) then uses her powers to replicate a skintight leather catsuit, presumably so the audience will worship her too.
- 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. As does Jack Swagger, Kevin Nash, and pretty much any wrestler who wrestles in singlet-type gear is pretty likely to pull down the straps, usually to telegraph their Finishing Move.
- 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.
- One of Taichi Ishikari's signature spots is to pull off his pants in the middle of the ring...he usually has shorts on underneath.
- After Brazo De Oro Jr became La Máscara, his tecnico gimmick became wearing several articles of clothing and stripping more and more them off the longer his matches went.
- Dramatic Dream Team: Danshoku Dino and Michael Nakazawa wore multiple thongs, which they continually stripped off during a match, almost to the point of them getting naked.
- Since coming back from injury after Wrestlemania 32, Cesaro comes out in a nice suit before pulling it off to reveal his tights underneath.
- Pretty much a staple for brand extension era WWE Superstars since merchandise sales are a big part of the business, with many entering the ring wearing their T-Shirt and other merchandise, which they remove for the match. John Cena is probably the most obvious. Others have standard entrance gear like jackets, robes, etc. that they will remove.
- At WSU event, "Portugal's Perfect Athlete" Shanna wore three tops, the first being a Brazilian football uniform, which she took off after scoring a goal on Hania. A fan in the front row handed her two dollars, so after winning the match Shanna took off her regular top and skimmed the crowd to collect more dollar bills, which she stuffed down her bra.
- 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
- In Street Fighter III, Alex does this before every fight in the style of Hulk Hogan, and Urien makes his suit explode into nothing and leave him wearing nothing but a loincloth.
- Bison also throws off his cape in his pre-fight animation in Street Fighter II. He fights with his cape on in the Street Fighter Alpha games, however.
- 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).
- Yakuza: 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.
- This is a gameplay mechanism in Senran Kagura where you can activate Frantic mode by making the character strip into their underwear, turning them into Glass Cannons.
- In Bayonetta the titular character's outfit is made of her hair, which she uses for a variety of attacks. She gets more Stripperiffic with every combo she performs and her clothes come off entirely whenever she summons a demon to finish off larger enemies.
- In Fate/hollow ataraxia, when Gilgamesh decides to use his full power, he loses the upper half of his armor and goes topless.
- 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.
- Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures - Dance Floor Fight has an Aversion as Michael explains the New Jersey protocol for confronting another man who tries to dance with his girlfriend.
Burnie: Oh this is Jersey style! Does the shirt come off?Michael: The shirt does not come off.
- Ears for Elves: In this guest comic (canonocity unknown), it's revealed that Elon's diary has a story about him being The Hero, ripping off his shirt, saving the day when Luero is conveniently defeated, and having a make-out session with Tanna and Zalanna.
- In The Order of the Stick #436, during the Battle of Azure City, the Death Knight rips his Xykon-decoy robe, revealing his heavy armor, before charging at the breach.
- Strip 457 of Brawl in the Family had Future Badass Luigi doing this before his battle with Ganon.
- Puripuri Prisoner of Onepunchman rips all of his clothes off before fighting. He calls this "transforming into Angel Mode".
- Captain SNES: The Game Masta saw Alex doing this when impersonating Hulk Hogan. Katt wanted to imitate the move, and Alex forced himself to tell her not to do it.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Abyo of Pucca always rips off his shirt before he fights.
- Cars: Mater actually blows off his hood about halfway through his bullfight with Chuy the bulldozer (just right after his Disney Death) in the Cars Toon "El Materdor".
- In one episode of Bob's Burgers Choo-choo insists that he and Gene take off their shirts prior to a fight. When Bob tries to break it up Choo-choo's father arrives and takes off his own shirt, as he plans to beat up Bob.
- Happens in one episode of Adventure Time:
Finn: No more games. No more PAJAMAS!!! (rips pajamas)
- In the season 2 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight's friends throw off their bridesmaid gowns as they charge to get the Elements of Harmony during the Changeling invasion of Canterlot.
- Used in the Duck Dodgers episode "Pig of Action", when a very buffed-up Eager Young Space Cadet defies K'Chutha Sa'am (Yosemite Sam) to a duel, and they both rip their shirts (revealing nipple-rings for the Cadet).
- Parodied in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "The Fry Cook Games". For the final contest, Bun Wrestling, Spongebob rips off his bathrobe to reveal he's wearing a Speedo. Patrick rips off his to reveal... a business suit. He rips that off that to reveal his Speedo.
- In "Karate Island" both Sandy and Master Udon tear apart their clothing before fighting each other.
- In the South Park episode "The Losing Edge", Randy Marsh would take his shirt off before starting a drunken brawl with a rival team's dad during the Little League games. This always lead to him being arrested by the police with his shirt off and his pants around his ankles.
- 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.
Random Celtic warrior: I am not afraid of you, and to prove it, I have just laid my dong on your sword.
- Folk wrestlers and bareknuckle boxers in the old days would often remove their shirts for bouts. Today fighters have to wear special garments like shorts or leotards.
- 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 duelists to fight shirtless (or even, in one famous case, completely nude) because it decreased the chance of dying afterward from an infected wound. When women began fighting topless epee duels for this reason, the male public considered it titillation, which is why those women tried to make sure that no man would be in the vicinity to spy on them.
- 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.