A costumed character cannot remove their costume, or an ordinary character cannot remove their clothes. Maybe a Freak Lab Accident has fused it to his body, maybe it's the only thing keeping her alive, or the only thing keeping those around her alive, or maybe it's a cursed Artifact of Doom. Whatever the reason, they have to wear it (or a substantial part of it) all the time; removing it is either very debilitating, very dangerous, or simply impossible.
For long-running series, finding a way to remove the costume may constitute a Story Arc, and actually doing so can provide an excuse to update a character's appearance. For some characters, this is a convenient source of Angst. Genre Savvy works may address problems with (or make jokes about) wastedisposal or other biologicalneeds. This is also Fetish Fuel for some people, especially those with a forced chastity fetish.
This trope is found in many traditional RPGs in the form of "cursed" equipment and weapons. Typically these items will be noticeably more powerful than equivalent gear found at that point in the game, but will almost always come at the price of having a really nasty side-effect(such as being randomly stunned or damaging yourself while fighting). Trying to unequip the item under normal circumstances WILL invoke this trope, greeting you with an ominous message about you being unable to remove it. Legitimately removing clingy costumes would usually require a special spell, item, or a paid service from an NPC to do so - sometimes at the expense of that item.
When the item is smaller than an article of clothing, then it's a Clingy MacGuffin. The Heroic Host likely can't remove the costume because it's alive and bonded with him.
Also see Limited Wardrobe, Clothes Make the Superman and Twenty-Four-Hour Armor. Not to be confused with Form-Fitting Wardrobe.
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Anime & Manga
Appears in Episode 10 of Those Who Hunt Elves, with an elf knight who comes to the group and asks for help removing a cursed set of armour, complete with longswords stuck to her hands. They eventually find a way to remove the armour, but she's gotten so used to wearing it that she decides to put it back on anyway.
Ranma gets stuck in a cursed swimsuit, which will drag 'her' into the depths of the sea unless honestly complimented by a particular man.
Meiko from Kangoku Gakuen puts on an extremely tight catsuit to patrol the school grounds at night. Later on however she needs to use the restroom but can't since the zipper of the suit is stuck. She ends up having to tear the zipper off and uses the toilet nude.
Spawn eventually discovered that he didn't use magic to turn his elaborate cape and chains into weapons and other tools, but the suit did so of it's own will, because it was a demon that had been bonded to him as part of the process of making him into a Hellspawn. And it was very clingy indeed, complete with Spawn having to physically rip the semi-liquid and fighting to stay attached suit off and the suit taunting him when he finally came back that it knew he would, calling their "relationship" deeper than any human idea of love.
Spider-Man has a number of villains with this trope, such as the Rhino, the Scorpion, Dr. Octopus (only when it came to his mechanical arms, however), Venom, Carnage, and the Molten Man.
Even Spidey himself, when he had the symbiote.
The Spider-Man movie video game hangs a lampshade on this. "Man, going to the bathroom must be a nightmare for you!"
Scorpion eventually averts this... just to receive the Venom symbiote. Rhino, too, recently managed to get rid of the costume and went straight. Well...
For a while, Tony Stark needed to wear his breastplate all the time (even under his civilian clothing) because it was the only thing stopping the shrapnel from reaching his heart.
In the movie, it's just the arc reactor and electromagnet which form the glowing blue part in the center.
The Ultimate MarvelIron Man has a genetic problem that requires him to constantly wear biotech armor all over his body.
In Kurt Busiek's Astro City, the super-villain Steeljack was coated with a liquid steel that permanently covers his entire body. He's completely human underneath it, however.
Debatably 'human'—he's astoundingly tough even ignoring his armor-plating, and he's really strong.
It is suggested that the N-Forcer is part of this trope; he is always shown as an Energy Being wearing various technological appliances.
In IDW Comics' reboot of G.I. Joe, an accident with an experimental teleportation device requires Destro to wear a full-body metal suit (with face mask) to stay alive.
Sonic the Comic specifically mentioned that the character Shortfuse was connected to the circuitry of his Cybernik armor. He finally escapes it in the penultimate storyline, his Evil Counterpart Vermin was also connected to the circuitry of his Cybernik armor.
This happened with DC's Blue Devil, who was formerly a SFX-guy/stuntman. His costume was (magically) fused to him.
One alternate-universe version of Captain Britain named Captain Granbretan got his powers from a magical costume that allowed him to serve as a superhero for a while. The problem was, Captain Granbretan eventually wanted to stop being a superhero... and the costume, which turned out to be sentient organism, decided it wasn't going to let him.
Josie Beller from Marvel's' TransformersG1 comic book series was almost completely paralyzed in a Decepticon attack. She built herself a full-body exosuit that restored her mobility and gave her super powers, then called herself Circuit Breaker and started a vendetta against all Transformers.
In Johnny Saturn the arch-villain Tactical, who wears power armor, is forced to wear his armor all the time for life support and mobility support after he has a stroke.
Like Steeljack, above, the Post CrisisCaptain Atom has (alien) metal permanently bonded to his flesh - in his case, by a nuclear explosion. Unlike Steeljack, he's able to assume human form.
Bombshell and Major Force are also bonded with samples of the metal.
One of the older comics variants is Vance Astro of the Guardians of the Galaxy (an alternate future self of Marvel Boy or whatever he's calling himself this week). As an astronaut in an experimental sublight journey to Alpha Centauri, he was put inside a copper-lined uniform for the loooooong journey. If it is ever pierced in any way, he will suddenly age a thousand years.
The Beta Suit from Echo, though capable of amazing wonders and made of a wondrous new alloy, simply will not come off. This leads to some problems as the suit seems to be slowly rewriting Julie Martin's DNA with the recently-deceased Annie, and in a little while there might not be any of Julie left.
Hazmat of Avengers Academy emits all sorts of lethal chemicals and radiation and must wear a Hazmat suit at all times to avoid killing everyone around her.
Ambush Bug cannot get his suit off, since the zipper is stuck. (He is that kind of superhero.)
The DCU villain Mr. Freeze depends on his cryogenic suit to stay alive, due to a chemical accident that permanently lowered his body temperature. It isn't that he can't take the suit off. He is occasionally seen in a robe or less in well refrigerated places.
Invincibleverse hero Zack Thompson aka Tech Jacket. His suit of Adaptive Armor, from which he gets his name, is Imported Alien Phlebotinum from a frail-bodied race where everyone is equipped with a tech jacket at birth. As tech jackets are made with that race in mind, they're programmed to not let the wearer remove them. Zack only received his because its previous wearer was already dying, and so was able to make an emergency transfer to protect Zack from the explosion of its space ship. Fortunately, the tech jacket can retract into the form of a vest that fits under Zack's clothes, and it removes dirt and germs from his body for him, making it unnecessary to bathe. Also, he's been shown to be able to have sex while wearing it.
Wonder Woman #80 has the protagonist fall asleep one day (near a pond, no less) then wake up to find herself trapped in a mask that's rigged to explode.
Nazi scum Baron Zemo (the original) tried to attack the Allies with his dreaded Adhesive X, but Captain America foiled his plan and caused his pink mask to be permanently glued to his face. Zemo could talk and breathe but needed to feed through an IV. He survived for decades in South America with the mask on his face (imagine the smell!)
In Star Wars: Legacy, Darth Krayt's armor was, in fact, Yuuzhan Vong symbiotes that could not be removed from his body. And they constantly threatened to take over his body. Hey, are Clingy Costumes a Sith fashion?
War Woman, the Wonder Woman-esque protagonist of Chuck Austen's ''Worldwatch, is permanently stuck in her large winged tiara.
Without his ERG-suit, Wildfire is just a mass of anti-energy, shapeless and largely unable to interact with the rest of the world.
Runaways originally seemed to be going this direction with Chase's fistigons, robotic gloves that shoot fire, but the idea was quickly scrapped, perhaps because the writers realized that Chase would have difficulty performing everyday tasks like holding a fork or getting dressed.
In H'el on Earth, H'el's attack on Superboy and Superman causes Superboy's DNA to unravel. To save him, Superman puts his battle-suit on him, stopping the process. Until he is cured, Superboy can't remove the suit or he will die.
In the Harry Potter fic His First Kill, Harry tried on the titular victim's Death Eater mask out of curiosity and after accidentally biting his lip, it blood-bonded with him and he was unable to remove it.
In Edward Scissorhands, Edward is unfinished at the time of his creator's death, leaving him with, well, scissorhands, but also seemingly permanent black leather clothing.
The Mask: The mask is pretty damn hard to remove once you put it on, painful even.
In Onibaba, this happens with the demonic mask when Kichi's mother tries to scare her.
Elysium: Max's Exosuit is surgically grafted to his bones.
Star Wars: Darth Bane was permanently encrusted with parasites called orbalisks. The good news: They heal you so fast a blade won't even pass all the way through before the cut heals again. They amplify your dark-side powers. They block blasterfire and lightsabers. The bad news: You have to wear special gloves and helmet or they infest your face and hands. They cause flashes ofdestructiverage. They subject you to constant agony. If any of them die, they take you with them. And they are hideous.
In Dune, the stillsuits worn by the Fremen on Arrakis are designed to be worn constantly to keep you alive in the deep desert.
And the stink that permeates both suits and sietches is frequently mentioned. Fremen bathe very infrequently, if at all, and stillsuits recycle not only breathed air and sweat, but everything.
Leto II has a variant of this in Children of Dune when he bonds to a suit of sandtrout (larval form of the mighty sandworms). By the next book, God Emperor of Dune, he's been bonded to the suit for some 3,500 years and is more of a sandworm with a human face and what USED TO BE a human mind.
In the Goosebumps book "The Haunted Mask", the main character's mask becomes fused to her face.
Norman in Rose Madder, by Stephen King, has the same thing happen to him with a rubber full-head bull mask.
In Chris Wooding's book Storm Thief, Rail cannot take his mask off because it's actually a black metal oxygen mask; without it he cannot breathe.
Live Action TV
An episode of Sanctuary had a guest star appear in a superhero suit that he couldn't take off. Will even asks him about wastes.
Imagination Movers had an episode where Mr. Knit Knots is stuck into a colorful costume, which is something he didn't like at all. He needs to take it off before the time he had to meet with his "Boring Club".
Season 9 of Stargate SG-1 has those "Marriage Bracelets" that supposedly belonged to Nuit, but were actually very odd shackles that would kill the wearers if away from each other for a period of time, used to…"reprimand" Jaffa who "lose" an important prisoner.
The Daleks of Doctor Who live inside their battle armor, which doubles as life support and transportation. Outside the shell, they're soft, octopus-like things with exposed brains and feebly wriggling tentacles.
Likewise, conversion into a Cyberman is permanent; especially so for the Cybus Cybermen, as it's just a human brain in a robotic shell.
Scorpius's coolant suit from Farscape: not impossible to remove, but if it ever is he suffers dangerous heatstroke very rapidly, as his screwed-up hybrid biology makes him unable to control his body temperature if he exerts himself even mildly.
Crippled or otherwise incapacitated superhuman Space Marines have a chance to end up in the confines of a cybernetic sarophagus called the Dreadnought, a massive hulking suit of life support/battle armour. The Space Marine within the sarcophagus will control the robotic body of the walker and experience the outside world through cybernetic neural links and sensors implanted within his life support system. The only downside with this arrangement is, they're permanently stuck inside the Dreadnought until destroyed. The Space Marines encased within Dreadnoughts are often thousands of Terran years old.
The orks, only caring about war, will often pay the tribes mek to have themselves sealed in a suit of mega armour. If that's not far enough, they can also be sealed inside a Deff Dread, a crude mini mecha. They soon discover the main disadvantage to being sealed inside a can, which is... being sealed inside a can.
In the Chaos factions, Obliterators absorb their guns and armor. Their guns replace their hands and their armor replaces their flesh. It's as painful as it sounds.
In times past, it was said that Khorne Berserkers' armour fused with their flesh, to the point that it would bleed when struck. It still provided protection from blows equivalent to the unmodified original suit though.
If you immediately asked how they go to the bathroom, the suit canonically includes "recyclers." Besides, the more pertinent question is "How do they eat?" since the armour also includes a completely sealed helmet...
Power Armour recycles the Space Marine's waste, and turns it into a bland, tasteless nutrient paste which they can survive on for a long time. Yes, their armour turns their poop into food.
Many Chaos Marines are also directly empowered by the Gods of the Warp. It definitely wouldn't be unheard of for Khorne to empower a particularly dedicated murderous psychopath to feed off death instead of food.
In the original Warhammer Fantasy, in at least the most recent editions, it's heavily implied this is what happens to Chaos Warriors once they take up Chaos Armor.
Only if the warrior gains the 'gift' of Chaos Armor more than once, in which case there is a chance that the armor will permanently fuse with him.
Malekith, Witch-King of the Dark Elves, has this going on too. Unable to deceive the Flames of Asuryan, Malekith was burned almost to a crisp when he tried to take the throne of Ulthuan. Crippled and unable to fight, he had the renegade sorcerer Hotek forge the Armor of Midnight and strapped himself into it fresh from the forge, fusing it to his body through a combination of flesh-searing heat and magic.
There's also Grafted Wargear, which is impractical to remove without killing the equipped creature.
In Infernum, this is one way to look at the "Chain of Living Armor", which increases the natural armor of the demon greatly. It's more an aversion of the trope, however, as one branch lets the character absorb it back into their flesh to move more easily/disguise they have it, and a player can flavor it any way from armor fused to their flesh to a demonic exo-skeleton to transmutation into living stone to a preternaturally tough, inflexible skin.
Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition) has a nifty creature known as the Resplendent Cloaker. It's a land-based, parasitic ray that resembles, duh, a cloak and feeds, not on its host, but on its host's injuries. On the other hand, it leeches life energy from its host to mend its own injuries.
Eberron has the prestige class Bone Knight, members of which craft armor from bone. At high level, the armor fuses with the bone knight's body and can't be removed anymore. Distressingly, while the Bone Knight gains a lot of powers that make them more and more like undead, the rules don't say the bone knight no longer needs to eat or drink, nor excreting.
Samus Aran can normally get out of her power suit at will. In Metroid: Fusion, it is revealed that her power suit cannot be removed without Samus's active participation; when she is infected by the X parasites and slips into a coma, the medics working on her are forced to surgically remove the corrupted portions of her suit.
The Big Daddies from BioShock are grafted into their diving suits.
In BioShock 2, the ordinary "Splicer" mooks have begun to melt, causing their bodies to mold into awkward shapes. For instance, Lady Smith is missing a high-heeled pump. No matter; she now has a stiletto heel-like appendage coming out of her foot.
In City of Heroes, there's Positron — when the game was first released, he was stuck in his anti-matter driven Powered Armor suit. He got better, but at the time, if his suit even caught a leak, he would have exploded with enough force to erase a metropolis from the map. In one comic, the Batman-Ersatz Manticore actually manages to bluff several supervillains into fleeing by threatening to put one of his armor-piercing arrows through Positron's suit. It's revealed in the 'Origins of Power' story arc that his superpower is that his body produces antimatter, which his suit collects and uses for power. When he was injured in the Rikti War prior to the release of the game, he lost control of that ability and was continually producing antimatter, forcing him to remain enclosed in the suit. When he was regenerated after being defeated fighting the Honoree, the process restored his control over his ability.
Similarly, Man-Bot in Freedom Force wears a powered exoskeleton that contains the energies he generates. He can't take the armor off lest his power starts killing people.
In Golden Sun, cursed armor items cannot be removed unless a healer is paid to remove it for you.
The quarians have extremely weak immune systems, and their enviro-suits filter out pathogens and germs that could make them sick. Brief exposure to outside air can, at the very least, cause fever, coughing and congestion. Worse, it can cause delirium and death.
The volus come from a Venus-like world, where both atmospheric pressure and surface gravity are higher than normal. As a result, whenever they enter the lower-pressure atmosphere that humans and other species live in, they have to wear pressure suits, otherwise they'll suffocate and their bodies will actually split open.
In Rogue, cursed armor cannot be removed. Unfortunately, the only way to know if it's cursed is to put it on.
Most every roguelike has cursed armor which behaves like that. As well as jewelry, weapons and other equipment. Throwables and ammo can also be cursed, and while that keeps you from unequipping them, you can always shoot/throw them anyway, so it's not quite as noticeable as with most other items.
At least, it's not that noticeable up until that ogre manages to get right up in your face and you realize it would be really handy to have a melee weapon out right about now.
Dungeon Crawl has a god of curses, Ashenzari. His followers deliberately wear cursed equipment — the more, the better — to gain useful abilities like identifying items, sensing their surroundings, and getting free skill boosts.
The StarCraft IItrailer shows how a Space Marine is made, including getting permanently sealed into his armor. In this particular instance it's because Tychus Findlay is indeed sealed in it thanks to Arcturus Mengsk.. This isn't always the case, since they've shown characters who put it on and take it off (Raynor, for one). Moreover, while they have cybernetics there's no way to use the bathroom in one of those things.
Many human infantry are criminals working off their sentence in a sort of a mobile prison. Presumably the suit is unsealed at the end of their "tour of duty". The career of a typical unsealed Terran Marine will typically mean getting ripped apart/severed by claws/fangs/energy blasts/psi blades/plasma blasts/explosions or just plain lead poisoning, so it's actually doing them a favor.
The artwork for Cecil's Dark Knight armor in Final Fantasy IV implies it to be this: the individual pieces are apparently tied directly onto his skin, much like a more disturbing version of shoelaces.
In the DS remake, due to the graphical limitations, there's a scene early on in the game where Dark Knight Cecil goes to bed. But he keeps his armor on - mask and all! That couldn't be comfortable. Kain does the same when you visit Inns.
The same was also true in previous iterations of the same game; not having sprites for characters with and without armor the characters merely climb into bed in full plate mail.
The entry for Famfrit, one of the Espers in Final Fantasy XII states that he was sealed inside of his armour by the gods as punishment for joining Ultima's rebellion.
Expanded in Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner, where Dingo is wearing a suit that's supplementing his internal organs, or lack thereof, which is powered by his mecha, making him unable to exit the machine, lest it kills him.
The character Python from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops wears a liquid-nitrogen suit to prevent his heightened body heat from destroying his internal organs.
In Dragon Age, dwarves who are made into golems can't remove the armour they're given, at least not after the molten lyrium is poured in with them..
There's also the Y-17 Trauma Override Harness in Old World Blues. Their occupants have long since died though.
Alcatraz in Crysis 2, although it's more because he was a corpse when Prophet found him and stuck him in the Nanosuit, it's the only thing keeping him alive.
At least in the first Digimon World, it is implied that Monzaemon are but Numemon that slide in a yellow bear costume and get stuck in there. The player per se can only make a Numemon evolve into a Monzaemon if the costume is in Toy Town, though. Actually, most puppet Digimon like \Ex\Tyrannomon and Pumpkinmon look like there's something living within the costume. Armor Digimon also seem to be unable to take out pieces of their armor without de-evolving, but certain fanfics disagree. Averted with Nohemon, who is actually controlled from the outside by a crow of all things. It's also played with Betsumon, whose existence depends on him cosplaying as other Digimon; Betsumon's costume qualifies as clingy in that he cannot take it off, but he can change its overall appearance.
Dollface in Twisted Metal: Black wears a mask that her former boss locked on to her head and nailed to her face. Her counterpart from the 2012 game put on her mask voluntarily and it's also stuck to her face, though here it's magic.
In Deverish Also, Kuroraki's magic armor is supposed to repair itself, but the magic went wrong and caused the armor to effectively weld itself shut. He's just lucky there's no helmet.
In Our Little Adventure, Rocky wore a mithril chain shirt that had a minor curse on it (An apparently embarrasing message that was invisible to him.) Rocky couldn't remove his armor until he next levelled up and got another will save to shake the curse off.
In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the villainous Shadowspawn is really an alien parasite that grafts itself onto an innocent human being, who it then slowly digests. When it finishes eating its host, it moves on to another.
From Batman: The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze suffered a Freak Lab Accident that requires him to always keep his body at sub-zero temperatures. When outside of his special prison cell, he has to wear a costume that constantly keeps him cold.
Lex Luthor from Justice League needed one of these after the kryptonite he carried around gave him cancer. He could take it off for short periods of time though.
The DCAU version of Captain Atom is living energy. His suit is the only thing that allows him to keep a coherent form, and if it is breached he explodes.
Terra's final costume on Teen Titans (unless you count the schoolgirl outfit) was an armored suit that Slade had fused with her nervous system, which allowed him to control her movements and made the suit impossible to remove.
Super Chicken and sidekick Fred infiltrate the crooked Easter Bunny's lair disguised as giant Easter eggs. After they're subjected to a hot dye bath, Fred can't get his egg costume off, and remains in it into the fade out. Obviously played less seriously than most entries here.
My Life as a Teenage Robot has a recurring "character" who was originally a suit meant as a means of making Jenny look human. She turned evil.
Better hope your diving suit, spacesuit, or hazmat suit is comfortable before you start using it in earnest. Sure, you technically can take it off, but...