"Honda was best known for his bad-as-shit samurai helmet, which, aside from generally looking totally fucking awesome, was adorned with gigantic stag's antlers that stuck up out the top of the helm and looked pretty much as badass as deer antlers can possibly look (which, evidently, is more badass than you might think)."
Helmets of all shapes and sizes.
One thing that makes a helmet cool is a crest of almost any shape and size on it. History is full of Cool Helmets, from the Greek Chalcidian helmet worn by Hoplite to the Roman gladiators' ornate helmets to Japanese Kabuto to the German Pickelhaube. These helmets influenced the designs of various other helmets across medias.
Of course, many characters who wear a Cool Helmet may not truly need
protective headgear, especially in the case of beings of godlike power who barely have to worry about head injuries. A helmet may have some other practical function, or be worn simply because of vanity.
A villain in a Cool Helmet might be a nerd underneath
of Nice Hat
A Sister Trope
to Cool Crown
Compare Collapsible Helmet
Contrast Helmets Are Hardly Heroic
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Anime and Manga
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has some cool helmets, such as Purple Haze's (pictured above) in Part 5, and D&G's in Part 6 (which Jolyne thinks makes him look like a knight).
- The Berserker Armor from Berserk has a cool helmet in the shape of a hellhound that only appears when Guts is in an uncontrollable fury ... Basically, see Guts' face; you may be ok. See the Helmet; you are going to die.
- For that matter, every single armor-wearing mook. The common rabble occasionally has a funny bug-eyed one, but the themed armies have stuff that comes out of a medieval cartographer's nightmare (whales, rams...). And then there are the Apostles...
- In Super Robot Genre shows, wearing a Cool Helmet is just so common like a Latex Space Suit. It is justified, since the pilot can easily get his head hit. It is averted in some shows like Kotetsu Jeeg (where Hiroshi transforms into the Humongous Mecha and therefore he does not needs helmet) or Neon Genesis Evangelion, where the pilots wear hair clips provide a neural interface (played straight with the Evangelions themselves - Eva-01 has a horned helmet). Some straight examples:
- Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z (and Sayaka Yumi). He began wearing it along his Latex Space Suit after his first battles because his head got hit several times. It must be mentioned "Kabuto" is Japanese for "helmet" (which references the pilot commanded the mecha from a cockpit located in the head -which was unheard of until that series- AND Kouji is Mazinger Z's real mind)
- Tetsuya Tsurugi and Jun Hono from Great Mazinger.
- Duke Fleed, his Love Interest Hikaru Makiba and his sister Maria from UFO Robo Grendizer.
- Ryoma Nagare from Getter Robo.
- Sanshiro Tsuwabuki from Gaiking.
- Akira Hibiki from Raideen.
- Hyoma Nagare and his team from Combattler V.
- Kenichi Go and his team from Voltes V.
- Kazuya Ryuuzaki from Daimos.
- Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam and many of Char Clones (such as Zechs Marquise and Carozzo "Iron Mask" Ronah) wear these. And, for that matter, almost all noteworthy Gundams have that iconic "V crest, vulcan head cannons, and protruding mouthpieces."
- Viral's Enki in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had a full-circle crest. So did Gurren Lagann itself... the same crest in fact, albeit now resembling asymmetrical horns. (They tore it off Viral's Gunmen).
- Celty's helmet in Durarara!!, notable for having two crests that are shaped like cat ears.
- Speed Racer has a cool racing helmet.
- The racers of Future GPX Cyber Formula have cool-looking racing helmets. Even Leon has one, which is pink and has a heart on it.
- The various helmet designs in Nanatsu No Taizai worn by various characters are so intricate looking that they wouldn't look out of place in Berserk.
- As befitting of a post-apocalyptic conqueror, Raoh of Fist of the North Star has an awesome-looking horned helmet. Because Raoh is one of the biggest Badasses of the series, a good sign that a given fighter is a force to be reckoned with is if they manage to break said helm while fighting him.
- Quite a few monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but especially Jonouchi's Flame Swordsman. Now that's a helmet!
- The Holy Knights in "Nanatsu No Taizai" have the coolest helmets in the series.
- Jack Kirby had loads of fun with this trope when he was drawing issues of The Mighty Thor.
- Thor now noticeably only wears his when fighting, whereas he and other Asgardians used to wear them more often. Loki almost never takes his off.
- Thor and Loki, naturally, have the most recognizable, even if both's finer details are Depending on the Artist
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: After his reincarnation as Kid!Loki, Loki's gold headband doesn't have his horns, but a little V that looks like them (the V is also on his tunic). The headband also has little wings over his ears—like the the ones on Thor's helmet. Commentary on how he could still be good, perhaps?
- X-Men: Magneto's helmet
- Judge Dredd
- Johnny's helmet in Strontium Dog.
- Doctor Fate
- Star Lord. We dare you to name a cooler-looking Helmet.
- AstÚrix is a non-stop parade of both cool and uncool helmets, from the winged helm of the title character to the rather silly-looking one of his sidekick Obelix. Also overlaps with Planet of Hats, since different European tribes uses distinct helms: menacing WWI-like pointed-tipped with horns for the Goths, severe and beautiful hoplite Mycenae helms for the Greek, flamboyantly-horned for the Iberian, the standard Roman legionary helmets, their elaborated and crested counterparts for centurions, spectacular and lavishly decorated for gladiators and no helm at all for the Corsican.
- Iron Man has a really cool helmet to match with his Power Armor.
- Ultimate Captain America has worn a cool helmet in World War II, and in modern times when leading The Ultimates against the forces of evil.
- In the mainstream Marvel Universe, Cap has a rather Cool Helmet for when he uses his motorcycle.
- Galactus cares not what lesser mortals think of his mighty helmet!
- His daughter Galacta has a Cool Helmet too, modeled after her dad's.
- Dream of the Endless from The Sandman has a helmet fashioned from the skull and spine of an Eldritch Abomination that he killed when it and two others tried to invade the Dreaming (he used the bones of the other two to build a pair of gates).
- Acroyear, Bug, Karza, and Arcturus from Micronauts. Although Arcturus eventually stopped wearing his.
Film - Live Action
- Star Wars has several iconic helmets, including Darth Vader's and Boba Fett's. (Heck, even the Mooks in this franchise have Cool Helmets.)
- Darth Vader's is spoofed in Spaceballs with the character Dark Helmet, who sports a helmet the size of his torso. His voice is deep and booming with his visor down, but when he flips it up he reveals that he's a nerdy, bespectacled Rick Moranis.
- The iconic camo helmet from Full Metal Jacket might qualify. With "Born to Kill" and a peace sign on it, and bullets in the strap.
- In various fantastic forms Spikes of Villainy crest the helmets of The Teutonic Knights in Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky.
- War movies where officers (American officers in World War II movies in particular) wear their rank insignia on their helmets would count. Indeed, one of the more famous photos◊ of General Patton in Real Life was him wearing the helmet with the stars on it, while scowling at something.
- King Agamemnon in Time Bandits sports an awesome Mycenaean helmet.
- The Rocketeer has a very distinctive helmet.
- The Last Border has Duke and his eagle helmet.
- The Kurgan's improvised helmet in Highlander, made from an animal skull of some kind, with the skin still on.
- The Lord of the Rings: Sauron's helmet in the live action films resembles a metallic horse skull with giant spikes.
- Top Gun featured the various pilots having custom artwork on their helmets, which of course also helped the audience easily which helmeted-and-masked character they were looking at.
- Cobra Commander has one in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. More so in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, where he dons his classic mask from the cartoon.
- In Man of Steel, the Kryptonians wear full body armor, but their helmets are mostly made of shaped forcefields that enclose their heads. They are of variable opacity, will deflect any Earth weapon, and also serve to shield their wearer against sensory overload while on Earth—'Cool Helmet' indeed.
- Magneto's helmet in the X-Men movies, at times even horny.
- RoboCop has a pretty cool helmet that recalls that of Judge Dredd (it covers his eyes but his mouth is visible). When the role was being cast, Peter Weller was chosen partly because he could emote well with only the lower part of his face showing.
- General Kael in his skull-faced helmet that he rarely removes.
- Inverted when Madmartegan finds some fancy armor that comes with a dorky-looking helmet with a tassel and nasal bar. He loses it pretty quickly.
- In the Discworld novels Vimes has a serious dislike of Cool Helmets, partly because fancy armour isn't what being a Watchman is about, and partly because the Palace Guard have them. When he was Captain Vimes, he was entitled to two dollars a month "plumes allowance", but never claimed it, as Commander he is sometimes forced into dress armour that includes this.
- Gor: in the city of Port Kar, Captains (those who command 5 or more ships) can be identified by a crest of sleen fur on their helmets.
- Pilots in the X-Wing Series, and indeed in the rest of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, have relatively plain helmets — still, they can paint them. Wedge Antilles has a particular pattern on his which comes up in Starfighters of Adumar.
- Almost every character in the medieval epic Orlando innamorato has some sort of cool helmet; the audience is constantly reminded of how Rinaldo got his.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium there are many cool helmets. Turin had the Dragon-Helm of Dor-Lomin, which had a crest in the shape of a dragon, Tuor has the winged helm left by Turgon in Vinyamar, and the kings of Gondor have the helm Isildur wore during the Last Alliance.
- In battle, the emperor of MelnibonÚ wears "a black helm, with a dragon's head craning over the peak, and dragon's wings flaring backward above it, and a dragon's tail curling down the back". But because he's also a sorcerer, some of the comic artists gave him a silly pointy hat instead.
- A Song Of Iceand Fire is loaded with these.
- Sandor "The Hound" Clegane wears a helm in the shape of a Dog's Head. After his apparent death if was stolen by Rorge, and later Lem Lemoncloak.
- His brother Gregor ask The Mountain has a fist on his.
- Robert and Renly Baratheon both have Stag's antlers on their helmets.
- Edmure Tully's helmet has a leaping trout.
- The grand prize goes to Tywin Lannister who has roaring lion with an outstretched paw.
Live Action TV
- Game of Thrones:
- The Hound and the Knight of Flowers have the most distinctive helms in the series.
- Ser Loras Tyrell wears King Renly Baratheon's antlered helm at the Battle of Blackwater as part of his elaborate disguise.
- Virtually every incarnation of Kamen Rider.
- The various themed helmets of Super Sentai and Power Rangers.
- In Mighty Morphin's third season, this applies not just to the Rangers but also to Rito Revolto, who wears a camo-painted army helmet.
- Quite a few Monsters of the Week had Cool Helmets, but the Pudgy Pig's Spartan-style helmet was one that stood out. It was as big as he was! (Of course, he had a body-shape that was kind of... odd. It was kind of hard to say which part of him was his head and which was his torso.)
- Top Gear's Badass Driver The Stig.
- The pilot helmets worn in Battlestar Galactica.
- Many of the Starfury pilots on Babylon 5 had custom artwork emblazoned on their helmets, in addition to their fighters' Nose Art (usually working on a similar theme), inspired by similar uses by Real Life pilots.
- B.D. of Doonesbury spent most of his life wearing these, until his leg was blown off in Iraq. His hair has been clearly visible ever since.
- During the Iraq War, Doonesbury had President Bush wearing a Roman general's helmet, which got progressively battered as the war dragged on.
- These appear in Gottlieb's Target Alpha and Solar City (both Science Fiction versions of El Dorado); Target Alpha uses brightly-colored helmets with fins as part of its Space Clothes ensemble, while Solar City gives its alien natives ornate winged helmets.
- The barbarian hero in Paragon wears one.
- The hero in Gorgar is wearing nothing but a loincloth and a winged helmet.
- The protagonist in Space Riders is wearing a futuristic metal inverted bowl helmet.
- Magneto is never seen without his helmet in Stern Pinball's X-Men.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Warhammer has the various knightly orders, all of which sport varyingly ridiculous(ly awesome) helmetry. The Bretonnians, who have the highest concentration of knights in their army, are naturally even more extravagant.
- The general rule in Exalted is that this is the only thing helmets are good for. The 2nd edition source book adds that Storytellers willing to go more "gritty" can implement rules for wearing helmets, and it's entirely possible to get artifact helmets that have special effects, but not wearing a helmet isn't necessarily about impracticality, it's about not crumming your style.
- BIONICLE: various Glatorian and Agori wear helmets as part of their 24-Hour Armor.
- Considering the masks that everyone always wears, it's hard to find a character who doesn't fall under this trope.
- Hero Factory
- Mega Man: several iconic helmets, most memorably for the eponymous hero Mega Man, his brother Proto Man, and The Rival Bass in the classic series, and X and Zero in the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series. And of course, the Boba Fett Expy himself, Vile/Vava.
- X's helmet upgrades deserve special mention; many of them are Cool Helmets layered over X's regular Cool Helmet.
- The eponymous Viewtiful Joe has a V-crest on his helmet, and may have been inspired by Quick Man from Mega Man 2.
- The Masked Man from Mother 3
- Pokemon Black And White: Samurott uses a shell as its helmet.
- Variations of this are available as costume options in City of Heroes.
- In addition to the numerous Tin Tyrants featured in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, we also have the Warrior of Light with his very nice helmet with big pointy horns coming out the top, and The Onion Knight with his helm with some impressive plumage.
- Gabranth's EX Mode is to just don his helmet and separate his Dual Weapon into two smaller weapons. His game profile actually specifically states that the helmet isn't just an aesthetic change, it really is the source of his power.
- Persona 3: the history teacher wears a samurai helmet in class. One sidequest requires the MC to obtain another of his helmets from him.
- In the Soul Series, Kilik wears a hawk-shaped helmet that covers his whole head in V, and Hildegard... Well, her entire suit of armor is pretty cool, but the helmet is a big part of it.
- Monster Rancher Evo: Gaufre never removes his. Turns out it's a custom of his village to not show your face to non-family.
- The Spartan helmets from Halo, naturally, given that the main protagonist never shows his face.
- In the later games, Covenant troops (particularly the Elites and Brutes) tend to have increasingly◊ ornate◊ helmets◊ as they advance in rank.
- Isaac's RIGs in the Dead Space series have very distinctive helmets. They're iconic enough that the cover of the second installment simply featured the RIG's face shield.
- Covert Front takes place during the time when Imperial Germany was around, so there are plenty of Pickelhaubes to go around. Though it is certainly unexpected to see Manfred, a butler wearing one.
- Winged helmets like the Griffon's Helm or the Helm of Honnleath in Dragon Age: Origins.
- The first time you see Captain Diomedes in Dawn of War II, he's wearing a bitchin' white command helmet, which he sadly removes when he becomes playable in Retribution (although it's available as a commander item as part of a bonus pack). Commander (Vanilla) Ice can sport one after an update that grants the helm of command as commander-use wargear.
- The main character's helmet in Marathon, which resembles a helicopter flight helmet with vacuum capabilities. Which can be obtained to be worn in Halo 3's multiplayer.
- Shovel Knight's Propeller Knight wears a helmet topped with a propeller that allows him to fly. It's even got a couple of handles for him to hang on to as he floats around. Never mind propeller flight not even having been invented yet in medieval times.
- Shao Kahn, the Big Bad of Mortal Kombat, not only has a Cool Helmet, it got cooler as the franchise progressed, until Mortal Kombat 9 where it was one of the coolest in the history of Fighting Games.
- Team Fortress 2: a lot of the Nice Hats obtainable in the game fall under this. They still don't provide any protection from being shot in the head.
- Metal Gear Online allows you to wear various helmets in all sorts of colors, from camouflaged Kevlar helmets to red helicopter flight helmets to purple motorcycle helmets. Of course, they don't really do anything, and it's not uncommon to see shirtless people wearing ballistic helmets, but the helmets look cool.
- As its equipment list is based on several real-life armories, Mount & Blade inevitably has a respectable number of cool helmets. The most protective helmet, the winged great helm, is at once the largest and most obviously decorated headgear available.
- The standard uniform of the Helghan empire in Killzone
- Blacklight Retribution: All of the helmets. All of them. In particular, there are also several special versions of existing helmets, which range form decals, to battle damage.
- In The Adventures of Lomax, Lomax's helmet. It can be thrown like a boomerang, it can be thrown to explode (somehow multiplying itself in the process), its plume can stretch and grab certain surfaces, it can work like Helicopter Hair, and of course, wearing the helmet provides a protection from being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
- In Nefarious, Crow wears a helmet with mounted headlamps that matches his Powered Armor.
- PlanetSide 2 is rife with cool helmets and Nice Hats, such as the Terran Republic's stormtrooper-esque "Dreadnaught" helmet. TR helmets generally have red Glowing Mechanical Eyes goggles or wide faceplates, gas masks, and are built with a sleek but practical aesthetic. New Conglomerate helmets have hard edges (the NC do not believe in "the curve") and generally appear more robotic, with many helmets lacking a faceplate. Vanu Sovereignty go off the deep end in terms of complexity, with sharply creased lines making many of their helmets look like they're wearing a crustacean for a hat. The most popular VS helmet, Avalon, also incorporates a hood. The Player Studio marketplace allows players to design their own Cool Helmets (and other cosmetics) and sell them for real money after they get artistic approval from the developers.
- In XRS: The suit features a unique helmet design.
- In The Mansion of E, Rosemary wears a winged mining helmet.
- Nodwick's helmet is actually rather plain, but it has sentimental value to him (it was given to him by his mother).
- № 1 from Hell(p) wears one that looks like a customized WWII-era German Stahlhelm, but with a flat top adorned with a flowing red crest.
- G.I. Joe: About half the good guys, three fourths of the bad guys, and all of the Mooks have Cool Helmets, and there's far too much of a variety to describe them all here. (Of the good guys who don't, several have Nice Hats.)
- Looney Tunes
Elmer: I will do it with my spear and magic helmet!
Bugs: Your spear and magic helmet?
Elmer: Spear & magic helmet!
Bugs: Magic helmet?
Elmer: Magic helmet!
Bugs: (dismissively) Magic helmet...
Elmer: Yes, magic helmet, and I'll give you a sample.
- Another Looney Tunes example is Marvin the Martian's Roman helmet.
- M.A.S.K.! With their mighty power, they can save the da-a-ay!
- Kick Buttowski's helmet is just a mass produced model he got from the toy store...but don't tell him that. To him, its an irreplaceable object of awesome, without which he couldn't be a daredevil.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender spoofs this with Aang trying on this outfit. Unfortunately, he couldn't move in it.
- In "Suited For Success", from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Rainbow Dash's redesigned dress includes an improbably cool-looking Roman legionnaire's helmet.
- Except it wasn't cool. The purpose of it was to look silly.
- Equestria's Royal Guards also have cool helmets, resembling the military gear of ancient Pegasus soldiers.
- In the Crystal Empire two-parter episode, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy end up jousting while wearing extremely fancy helmets similar to the Royal Guards' helmets, that use their own manes for the crests.
- Nightmare Moon's helmet deserves special mention for looking not only cool but downright frightening despite (or because) of its simplicity.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door a lot of operatives have cool helmets; Numbah 86 and Numbah 362 have ones that are made from colanders (which would seem a lot cooler if you had a picture).
- In Thundercats 2011
- The Clerics, a Church Militant Praetorian Guard to a Catfolk Lion monarch, wear gold lioness helms with full hood and veil as part of Full Body Disguises, while head Cleric Jaga breaks the pattern with a nicely spiked metal helm ornamented with a gem.
- The Conquedor, a merchant slaver, wears a modified conquistador's morion.
- Both the Armor of Omens and Armor of Plun-Darr have helmets based on a lion and Egyptian death mask, respectively.
- "Red" has one in Motorcity. He gets a new, cool one after he is hired by Kane.
- While few Transformers wear actual helmets, many (it's perhaps even fair to say most) have heads designed to look helmeted. Or they have helmets that are part of their head, depending on how you want to look at it.
- With the iconic Pickelhaube of WWI (often colloquially known as "kaiser helmets) and the ultra-cool Stahlhelm of WWII (both notoriously used by motorcycle gangs today), the Germans have always been in the Cool Helmet industry. (See The Teutonic Knights, above.)
- The German Stahlhelm itself was modeled after the sallet. It was THE knightly helmet during the 15th century.
- Space helmets.
- The knightly heaume, or Great Helm (the "barrel helm"), which covers the whole head, and is usually equipped with camail. Bonus for a crest, such as ostrich feathers or deer antlers.
- The Japanese kabuto started out ornate, then during the general piece of the Edo period grew more so. At no point did it stop being cool. A nice example would be Kanetsugu Naoe's helm◊, decorated with the metal Kanji for love.
- Custom artwork is popular as decoration for motorcycle helmets.
- Roman helmets were very advanced for their time. Many had impressive-looking horse-hair crests that look like mohawks on the rank-and-file soldiers. Historians speculate that the crests helped commanders see which direction the soldiers were facing from a distance.
- The Greek Corinthian-style helmet, a variation of which was seen in 300.
- The Spanish morion can also be this. It's that helmet you always see conquistadors wearing.
- While the Chinese People's Liberation Army Marine Corp's helmet is just a clone of the American helmet, the way in which they are always shown to wear their helmet makes it qualify. They always have a pair of goggles on top of their black helmets and under no circumstances◊ have ever been seen actually wearing them over their eyes◊. When they do require some form of eye protection, instead of wearing the pair on their helmet, they tend to opt for their own sunglasses/shooting glasses. The reason for this is probably a closely guarded state secret.
- With the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace the whole uniform is pretty cool, but the helmets are a big part of it.
- Vikings didn't put horns on their helmets, but they did manage to make their helmets cool without sacrificing their efficiency in combat by invoking Faceless Mooks. Look at this thing◊! The only thing sticking from there would be this viking chieftains Badass Beard. (Note: Yes, that is a modern made helmet, but it is based on the real thing.)
- In the Modern US military, wearing an OPS-CORE FAST◊ or Crye Airframe is a mark of being a part of SOCOM, rather than the standard issue Advanced or Lightweight Combat Helmets that everyone else wears.
- Likewise the Russian Spetsnaz and their Altyn◊, K6-3◊, & Rys-T◊ heavy combat helmets with armored faceguard.
- The Flight Helmet is one of the coolest helmets by far, the iconic Flight Helmet consists of protective eyewear, oxygen mask, and the actual helmet. There's also the Helicopter Gunship version, which while not nearly as all-concealing, have what's basically a high-tech monocle. Either version is highly awesome and practical.
- A few figures of Japan's Sengoku era were noted for their awesome helmets. Such as Date Masamune and his crescent moon adorned helm, Honda Tadakatsu and his badass Stag horn helmet and Naoe Kanetsugu's "Love"◊ helmet.