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Anime and Manga
- Berserk: The Beast of Darkness is Guts' extremely dangerous and powerful Enemy Within, and the rattling chains attached to its wolf-like body represent Guts and Schierke's measures to contain it inside Guts' subconscious.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Exodia is a Sealed Evil in a Can, split into five pieces and each piece bound. Yugi put him back together in the first episode, and he had chains on his limbs.
- In the card game, there exists Exodia Necross, which is basically a playable-monster-version of the assembled Exodia. He still has the chains and manacles on him... except they're all broken.
- Ajimu Najimi from Medaka Box appears in the real world in the state Kumagawa sealed her in: six giant screws in her body, especially the ones fastening her hand to her chest.
- Free from Soul Eater. For some bizarre reason he keeps his ball and chain attached to his foot. Not that it really impedes him any.
- In the manga he uses it in conjuntion with his ice magic to help him and Eruka get away from the prison guards.
- Cheza from Wolf's Rain, who has golden manacles and a neck chain from her time in the scientist's People Jar. Subverted in that they're so not chain-like that they look like a matching necklace and bracelets, but considering the only thing she'd respond to was the blood of a wolf (believed extinct for two centuries), the scientists understandably didn't think she'd ever move enough to get out. Or that Darcia would break in and bust her out himself.
- Iron Maiden from Shaman King.
- Mukuro from YuYu Hakusho was once a slave. Even after she becomes one of the most powerful demons in Makai, she continues to wear a manacle around one of her wrists.
- Homura from Gensoumaden Saiyuki. Those chains are supposed to be keeping his hands together, right? Then whose idea was it to make it so long?! They don't even impede his movements. Lampshaded when he puts the longer chains on Goku, and he comments how helpful they were in a fight.
- Goku himself was like for a while, too, in the entirety of Saiyuki Gaiden, and in flashbacks in Saiyuki. He does eventually get rid of them. And also, all of the main characters wear chains in the opening credits to the first anime series (as well as tight leather pants and no shirts). The mangaka originally wrote yaoi and the franchise is heavily marketed towards girls and women, after all.
- Mai-HiME Destiny's Mayo Kagura finds herself shackled with a pair of really bulky (and nigh-unbreakable) dragon handcuffs, which act as a Power Limiter for the evil Dragon Priestess lurking within her.
- Lanancuras of Shinzo has rock armor. Turns out that's the last bit of the asteroid that restrained his power, and once it's all knocked off of him in battle, he goes from powerful to god-like.
- Hinted at in Saint Seiya. Shun, Bronze Saint of Andromeda, wields the Nebula Chains on each arm: the right-arm one, with a pointed end, is meant for offense; the left-arm one, with a circular weight, defends (although it can suffer from The Worf Barrage from time to time.) While he uses these as his primary tools most of the time, woe to the foe that destroys them or forces him to take them off —at that point, Shun will shed his inhibitions, explode his Cosmo, and summon the unbeatable attack Nebula Storm.
- The characters of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle wore chains on their goth-y outfits in the Human Chess-obsessed Mafia world they stopped off in after the series took a turn for the confusing. It Makes Sense in Context, but not much.
- In King of Thorn, Alice's protector is adorned with chains, which it can also manipulate as weapons.
- Kurapika's nen ability is the ability to materialize a variety of chains from his hands with different powers.
- In Digimon Savers, Belphemon wears chains that bind him in his dormant form. In both that and his awake form, he is able to shoot lasers made out of green fire from them.
- In Fairy Tail, Virgo is also manacled, showing her servitude to her master. She really doesn't seem to mind.
- Ikari in Eyeshield 21. He's not the most powerful character in the series, so much that his teammates have to chain him up, so you'd usually see him restrained until the critical time comes. But he's pretty showy about his Berserk Button.
- Sloth in Fullmetal Alchemist. Although the chains and manacles are probably to get him to do things rather than to keep him from doing things. He'd rather not do anything.
- Haruko in FLCL has a manacle around her right wrist with a single chain link still attached. The chain link rattles as if being tugged on by some unseen force at certain points in the story in response to Atomsk - the chain link is a piece of his nose ring.
- A later series by Studio Gainax, Melody of Oblivion has Sayoko, who wears manacles which do the exact same thing as Haruko's, pointing toward the man she's in love with. The manacles are left over from when she was going to be sacrificed, but was saved by Kurofune. Also, they stop pointing toward him and start pointing to Bocca about midway through the series, for obvious reasons.
- The Yamai twins in Date A Live each have manacles(and trailing chains) on one arm, one leg and the neck. The positioning indicates they were originally chained together. A subversion in that it signifies that they were one spirit split in two rather than something bound that was freed.
- In the Mega Man EXE manga, a flashback to the origin story of Bass.EXE shows that his destructive tendencies caused him to be restrained with a code which manifested as shackles. He asks his creator if they at least make him look cool, showing that at the time, he had an innocent and optimistic personality. Then comes Bass's Start of Darkness, and the shackles are the first thing to go.
- Bungou Stray Dogs: Chuuya has a small chain on his hat. If someone's in need of being knocked down a peg (either because they're the target of the Port Mafia or because their name is Osamu Dazai) they're in for a beating.
- Superman's enemy Doomsday beat the entire Justice League to a pulp while still half-bound in the massive steel-cabled straitjacket used to seal him in the can.
- In the Silver Age, the Amazons of Wonder Woman kept their former slave shackles as handy bullet-bouncing bracelets.
- One Iron Man comic book has ol' Shellhead cabled in front of a huge laser cannon. When he gets down from there he still has cuffs and cables on his wrists, but he doesn't have time to take them off since he still has to defeat The Living Laser. At least he figures out that the cables could come in handy if he sweeps them across the floor to trip up some henchmen.
- On the cover of an Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Sonic himself wore broken manacles since the arc had him currently framed for murder.
- Ex-con The Absorbing Man, part of The Mighty Thor's Rogues Gallery, carries his prison ball-and-chain as a weapon. (Since he was wearing it at the time he got his powers, it has the same magic properties he does, so this is a matter of practicality.)
- King Kong.
- Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand. He just never bothered to take his restraints off.
- The rather inappropriately titled (under the circumstances) Hercules Unchained, as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000
- In Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Jason Voorhees has a length of chain hanging from his neck, left over from the end of Part VI, when Tommy Jarvis chained him to a big damn rock and anchored him at the bottom of the lake.
- Prince Josua of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn wears the manacle around his left wrist that his brother, King Elias, imprisoned him with. In his case, it's the humble version of the trope, and serves to emphasize his personality. It also gets a Chekhov's Gun moment at the end of the story, when it saves his life from Elias' sword blow.
- In The Scar, a castaway recounts the story of how the avanc, a gargantuan sea monster, swam out the side of a vast wall of water and plunged into the titular crack in the world, dragging along the boat-city of Armada, to which it had been tethered as a means of propulsion. Twenty miles of chain coil around its body as it falls.
- In Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol, Jacob Marley's ghost is weighed down by long chains.
- Harry Potter has the Bloody Baron, ghost of Slytherin House, whose distinguishing features are being covered in chains and blood. The last book reveals that he wears them out of guilt for killing Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter, which drove him to kill himself.
- Wyrd Sisters mentions a Barbarian Hero wearing "the outside of several bulls and enough chains to moor a battleship". Unfortunately, he commits the error of calling the Librarian a monkey... (he's an ape, people never learn.)
- Early in Snow Crash, Y.T. gets arrested for going in to a burbclave while not on official Kourier business, and while they're processing her paperwork, they handcuff her to a radiator. She picks the lock and escapes with the help of Hiro, but she still takes the cuffs and wears then on one arm like a double bracelet because she thinks it looks cool.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider Kiva has chains on his right leg and shoulders which act as Restraining Bolts, removed only when he triggers his Finishing Move and Super Mode, respectively. Chains also form a large part of Kiva's motif, whenever he changes into Bashaa, Garuru or Dogga chains appear all over the parts of his armor that change, they also spread over Kiva's body during his transformation sequence.
- Additionally, the original King of Checkmate Four wears a costume bedecked with chains; when Wataru declares himself King near the end of the series, he starts wearing the same outfit.
- It's not just limited to the Kiva's either, Kamen Rider Rey from King Of Hell's Castle has loads of chains wrapped around his arms, but instead of restraining wings, they are restraining huge ass claws.
- Ultraman Leo's younger twin brother Astra has a shackle on his left thigh, complete with broken chain.
- In the Doctor Who story Battlefield, world-destroying demon the Destroyer is chained when summoned. Then Morgaine releases him when the Doctor stops her taking Excalibur.
- The Guy, the mascot of Disturbed, is frequently portrayed with numerous chains strung across his body, often in part from having broken some restraints. Even when he hasn't, he generally wears them anyway to convey the same theme.
- In some versions of the myth of Prometheus, even after being Chained to a Rock for a few thousand years and freed by Hercules, Zeus relented but had to enforce his permanent sentence. Thus, Prometheus would continue to wear a wreath and a ring of chains. It's said that humans began to wear wreaths and rings in tribute to him.
- Ginger The Wrestling Bear, which was not a fancy nickname. Back in the 1930s through 1950s, some jokers taught a bear how to wrestle and gave it a chain to wear.
- Haystacks Calhoun was known for wearing a chain as a necklace.
- The late Junkyard Dog's chain, Ruby.
- Russian or Soviet wrestlers (in particular, the trio of Ivan Koloff, Nikita Koloff, and Krusher Krushchev]]) often exhibit this trope◊. One consequence of this tendency is the Russian chain match, a variation of the strap match in which the wrestlers are joined together by the chain.
- The late Hercules Hernandez◊ as part of his entrance attire.
- Steve Sharp wore a chain around his shoulders as well as a chain attached to a smaller chain necklace.
- The Undertaker during his Badass Biker gimmick.
- John Cena when he was the "Doctor of Thuganomics" until they changed his entire gimmick.
- Abyss used to come to the ring with chains draped across his shoulders. Said chains would often be used as weapons in his matches.
- Keith Walker of The Skull Krushers tag team was known for carrying around chain on his neck.◊
- La Amazona of IWA fame really took the fashion part◊ to heart.
- Lin "Bitch" Bairon was restrained and lead around by a chained collar when not wrestling in SMASH, so not exactly a fashion statement accept that she seemed to like it.
- Heidi Lovelace took out a chain for fashion purposes in this 911 Wrestling Photo Shoot.
- Monster Pain, though it wasn't always just a fashion statement, as Glenda Lee demonstrates at AAA's Triple Mania. She's chained him to a wall before only to see him tear it loose and assault random people, forcing her to take the reigns.
- Mr. 450 has a hooded jacket with handcuffs attached to the shoulders and their chains hanging off of it.
- "La Mas Violenta de Mexico" Sadika likes the tast of hers◊.
- The Rainmaker Kazuchika Okada took to wearing a golden chain to show how rich he was after becoming "The Ace" of New Japan Pro Wrestling, or at least of the Chaos stable. Plus it went so well with his newly died blonde hair.
- The Warhammer 40,000 character, Kharn the Betrayer, has a massive bundle of chains around the hand in which he holds his chain-axe. Yep. And he still has Intiative 5. To compare, you only have Intiative 3. He has an excuse - he's the favourite champion of the chaos god, Khorne.
- Justified - he chains his axe to his wrist so he doesn't lose it when he goes into one of his bloody frenzies. Which he does a lot.
- It helps with the speed that, before becoming chosen champino of the Patron God of Ax-Crazy, he was already a Super Serum-modified Space Marine in Powered Armour that boosts strength. The divine favour's just the icing on the blood-soaked mightily-thewed death-cake.
- From the same setting, the Black Templars chapter of Astartes usually have several chains strung about their Power Armor. These chains are symbolic, tying their weapons to their arms as a sign that they will not let them go as long as the battle goes on, and to carry various lanterns which represent them bringing the light of the God Emperor with them.
- Daemonhosts are very often depicted in this fashion - the (usually almost-naked) human host having been securely chained down before the ritual in a (usually unsuccessful) attempt to prevent the daemon summoned into them from getting free. Many other prisoners and constructs associated with Imperial Inquisitors (such as psychic Penitents) also wear chains to mark their subjugation.
- Chaos Marine Helbrutes are usually chained down to prevent their berzerk rampages outside of battle. They also tend to break free and charge about with broken chains hanging from their legs and arms.
- The page image depicts a Kyton/Chain Devil from Dungeons & Dragons. They have a magical ability to control any and all chains. The Master of Chains prestige class can do the same to a lesser extent.
- King Kondo from Monsterpocalypse
- Lawgivers, one of the spectre types from Orpheus, are wrapped in copious amounts of chains, which they can also use as weapons. The chains show they are under the direct control of the game's Eldritch Abomination, and have no free will of their own.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Xyz Monster Battlin' Boxer Lead Yoke◊. fashionable and practical, because as the anime reveals, he's so damn strong that he needs the chains to hold back his full strength. As his effect is used and his Xyz Materials are spent, the chains crack and break, finally falling off when he has no Xyz Materials, at which point he's at full strength.
- My Pet Monster had bright orange manacles with a snap-link in the middle.
- Anima from Final Fantasy X appears heavily bound by chains. But then you reach her Overdrive...
- Golden Axe III had Braoude Cragger, who was a Giant still wearing manacles. And yes, he was the strongest of them all.
- Wolf Link in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has a manacle and a short length of chain around his weapon paw (Left for the Game Cube, Right for the Wii) Of course, Link didn't break it; Midna did. He keeps it for the rest of the game.
- The chain also jingles somewhat audibly when he moves.
- Twilit Igniter Fyrus, the boss in the second dungeon, Goron Mines, also retains his chains after breaking them, which are both his weapons and the key to taking him down.
- Guilty Gear's Potemkin is a particular case. In the beginning, his gloves and collar are both a weapon and an Explosive Leash, designed to explode should he disobey or try to take them off. At the end of the first game, the dictatorship of his country is eventually overthrown and his devices are deactivated, but as of XX he still has them as a keepsake of his former life as a slave. (shotgun gloves help.) However, Potemkin's Magnum Opera move reveals their nature of Power Limiters, as he disintegrates them away and destroys the opponent in a single punch.
- Your character in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion starts as a prisoner, with (pre-broken) manacles among your beginning equipment. Many players like to hang onto them — not only do they look pretty snazzy, but they're the only non-armor hand equipment in the game, making them useful for Squishy Wizard players. And they're weightless, to boot.
- City of Heroes features the Giant Monster Jack in Irons, who is basically Smash Mook, who occasionally spawns to Drop the Hammer on Heroes in one particular Zone. His game model features manacles, an iron neck-brace, and a lot of chains.
- The game also features chains (and barbed wire) as ubiquitous costume options in character creation, which are often used by PCs to invoke this trope.
- Due to being Sealed Evil in a Can and the Bonus Boss, The Forgotten One from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was required to be Chained By Fashion. You have to wonder whether resident vampire lord Walter was conscientiously imprisoning him for the good of mankind... or just being a Jerk Ass to a defeated rival.
- In a Concept Art, but never put in the game, Cornell would've had a prisoner outfit, complete with ball and chain as a costume.
- Cody in Street Fighter Alpha 3 still wears, as part of his prison uniform, a pair of long-chained handcuffs. It's pretty clear during several victory poses that he can take them off at will, rather than actually being bound by them. He merely wears them for the challenge.
- For a more straight example. Oro in Street Fighter III bound one of his arm because of his power.
- Billy Coen, the male lead of Resident Evil 0, spends the entire game wearing a broken pair of handcuffs on his left wrist. They're probably symbolic, or something.
- The enemy Cerberus from Final Fantasy IX features manacles with broken chains on its forelegs.
- The Shadow Stalker boss in Kingdom Hearts II is wrapped in chains. When it turns into Dark Thorn, it has manacles hobbling its legs, and manacles with broken chains hanging from its wrists.
- The various forms of Iron Imprisoner from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep - and the fewer chains it's wearing, the more pain you're in for. By the time it's completely free...
- Karura keeps an immense iron ring around her neck. Don't worry, she has superhuman strength. She keeps it to remind herself that she is a normal woman and not a princess of a country that (justifiably, apparently they were huge jerkasses) turned on her race and killed/drove them all out, though she dismisses offers to remove it as it is CLEARLY much too heavy.
- Kukuri's guardian angel Abraxas in 11eyes, a representation of her soul, is restrained as much as possible. Its mouth and eyes are covered and its hands are bound. Yet it can still unleash some powerful mace attacks.
- Regal Bryant in Tales of Symphonia. In the sequel, he's taken them off, only to end up back in handcuffs. Sometimes it would appear as if Regal likes being in handcuffs.
- In Fate/stay night there's Berserker, the Greek hero Herakles, and there's Gilgamesh's magical chain, "Enkidu", which responds to any divinity a captive has by growing stronger. As the son of Zeus, Berserker's divinity is highest ever seen in the series (since Gilgamesh lost most of his long beforehand). Despite that, Berserker still manages to break free with sheer strength and rage in order to protect his summoner. He's not a straight example in that he doesn't wear any part of the chains afterwards indeed, Gilgamesh kills him shortly afterwards, but his "breaking free" moment is iconic, and a part of one of the game's video intros.
- And then there's Rider's fashionable and functional chains. Though they're not attached to any of her restraints, they're always around her.
- Mortal Kombat's poster boy Liu Kang is killed and resurrected as a zombie, complete with chains attached to his wrists. The opening video for MK: Armageddon even shows him using them in a whip-like manner to grab hold of another character, a move he isn't actually able to perform in the game. This one comes complete with total inexplicability: we saw Lang's death scene the previous game (Shang Tsung broke his neck), and there wee no chains on him then. And the zombie is explicitly Liu Kang's corpse (since we also see his spirit, mostly appearing to tell people how disgusted he is that his body was brought back wrong.
- Both Suika Ibuki and Yuugi Hoshiguma of Touhou wear manacles and chains, being oni and all. Suika also has three symbolic geometric shapes attached to her chains.
- In his character notes, ZUN even directly states that the chains were chosen to denote Suika's oni-ness. There's no way Yuugi wouldn't get her own jewelry.
- Kasen Ibaraki also has a manacle on her wrist, leading to fan speculation that she's secretly an oni.
- Bowser, of Mario fame has manacles. Given that he's a king and has never been depicted as being chained up, he only wears them truly because of Rule of Cool.
- In the GBA iterations of the Fire Emblem games, the General class has a chain which attaches their lance or axe to their arm. Why exactly this is helpful is uncertain, but that's made up for by the fact that watching a giant suit of armor throw a spear or an axe at someone and then yank it back via the chain is simply too cool to question.
- Kingdom Under Fire The Crusaders gives us Regnier. His chains are part of his armour, and you can buy different chains for bonuses to him.
- In the Warcraft universe, Liches, some of the most powerful undead creatures, have chains floating around them.
- God of War, anybody? Aries bestows upon Kratos the most Badass weapons ever forged that doubly exist so that he can control Kratos.... for awhile anyway.
- Those chains however became undone at the end of III, signifying that his service to the Olympians is now over.
- Yggdra Union has Nessiah. In fact, his chains have a name: the Chains of Conviction.
- The Divine Dragon in The Legend of Dragoon. The chains worked . . . for 11,000 years. One could call it Sealed Evil In a Can, but it's more like Sealed Dumbass In a Can given the nature of dragons in this game.
- Quite a few creatures in the Heroes of Might and Magic series, mostly the demonic ones. The sixth release has the Demented◊, a low-tier unit, but the most prominent example, hands down.
- The Qunari of Dragon Age fear mages even more than the rest of Thedas. Qunari mages are chained, collared, masked, have their mouths stitched shut, and are restrained with special control rods by their handlers. Despite this, in-game they are still as powerful and dangerous as any enemy mage.
- Though Voldo doesn't own costumes with chains on them, there is a memorable mission in Soul Calibur IV. Nightmare has ravaging the countryside and as you chase him down you come across a large town that is destroyed and abandoned. The description explains that in the chaos, many prisoners were released (possibly by nightmare) from the local dungeon including a guy who is found clanging onto a wall like a spider. He simply hisses at the hero and attacks him. He has so many restraints that he completely absorbs most damage and the only way to defeat him is by using power attacks to throw him forcibly across the walls for concussion damage.
- In Astal, Astal carries broken handcuffs on his wrists after escaping from imprisonment on the moon.
- Gaige from Borderlands 2 has a pair of handcuffs on her belt, kept over from her arrest. They serve as a fashion statement, since she is into anarchy and punk, and may also be used for... other stuff.
- Sengoku Basara has Kanbe Kuroda, The Starscream and Butt Monkey of the third game, who is always seen in chains because he is a prisoner. He runs around very slowly because of the ball and chain that hobble him and tie his hands together, but he's also a surprisingly powerful fighter. It's often implied that he would be a menace to all of Japan if he got his manacles off, though this is stymied somewhat by a combination of his bad choices and worse luck.
- In the Shin Megami Tensei series, some demons have chains on their bodies, such as Hecatoncheirs, Angels, and Grendel, who has chains for hair.
- Secondary protagonist Cyrille from Shining Force EXA, has these binding her to her book. While most video game characters that wear chains are freaking strong, Cyrille is the opposite. She's a frail and bookish magician-type, who's more into standing far away and shooting foes with her crossbow pistol or zapping them with magic.
- Rosa from the Bayonetta series had a thick, metal collar welded around her neck with shackles attached to her wrists and ankles connected by chains, although they don't seem to actually impede her movement. They were placed there when she was incarcerated by the Umbra Witch clan for breaking their code by having a child with a Lumen Sage, and they possibly act as a Power Limiter. In Bayonetta 2 she even uses them as an Improvised Weapon to slaughter several angels during the Witch Hunts ... well, in the cutscenes anyway.
- In Corpse Party: Cross Fear, due to how she's lashed out at the hospital staff, Kaori has been forced to wear manacles connected by a chain. One of her first goals after being pulled into the cursed school is finding a way to get them off.
- Prosecutor Simon Blackquill from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is a convicted murderer, so in order to prosecute cases he is forced to wear manacles on his wrists. Though they seem somewhat pointless at first, they do prevent him from finger pointing which is serious business in Ace Attorney court. With one exception he nevertheless breaks the chain between the manacles EVERY SINGLE DAY that he appears in court, signalling that things are getting serious and allowing him to use razor wind. In one case he even broke the chain BEFORE HIS OPENING STATEMENT. (That case was personal for him.)
- In Disney's Aladdin, the Genie's wrist cuffs disappear when Aladdin wishes for the Genie's freedom, but he ends up wearing them anyway later on.
- To hide the tan lines?
- "The only thing I'm a slave to is fashion."
- This was controversially invoked in an Adidas shoe design that was quickly canceled before official release.
- Lady Gaga. Pick a costume.
- Escape artists regularly appear in chains so they can later wriggle out of them. Many pictures show Harry Houdini wearing chains and little else, to demonstrate that he wasn't hiding any keys.
- Owney the Postal Dog◊, mascot of the U.S. Railway Mail Service in the 1890s, was a travel-loving mutt who habitually hitched rides on the postal trains to travel hundreds of miles cross-country. To ensure their beloved mascot's safety from animal-control officials, the postal workers registered him for dog-license tags in dozens of towns and cities, eventually linking them all together with lightweight chains to construct a full-body "vest" the little dog could wear during his travels.