Before any fight begins or important truth is revealed, or if the character is simply standing and looking noble, a wind will invariably blow, ruffling his hair, the grass at his feet, and/or his cape if he's wearing one. Invariably the character is either facing the wind head-on (or less commonly, standing perpendicular to it) so that the effect is cool but his hair and garments won't get in his face.
Even if he's indoors.
Or in space.
Protective Pressure is a science-y way to justify this.
Subtrope of Empathic Environment.
A Super Trope to Hot Wind. Not to be confused with Fartillery, though that combination would be amusing.
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This old Dairy Queen commercial, featuring none other than Fabio.
All the dramatic motion of hair, skirts, and capes during the airbourne battle scenes seem to have wind as well.
A Dramatic Wind blows in right before Natsuki's "Marilyn Monroe moment" in episode 4 of Mai-HiME. Cue stunned looks from Mai, Mikoto and Takeda, followed by one of the reddest full-face Luminescent Blushes in anime.
Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, any dramatic scene that doesn't take place indoors or underwater (and even then, the underwater ones get it too some days... physics has no hold in this series). It seems to be more of a "Dramatic Current" or "Dramatic Wave"
End of Evangelion takes this trope Up to Eleven: when the über pissed-off Unit 01 emerges from the ruins of NERV HQ, it's enveloped in a giant tornado and all we see is a silhouette, a pair of energy wings and two Glowing Eyes of Doom. The soldiers nearby are completely terrified by it. Possible extra points for the wind being caused by Unit 01 itself which means that Yui is Genre Savvy.
Early episodes of Ranma 1/2, particularly Akane's face-off with Kuno in episode 2.
In Rahxephon it seems to follow the mysterious Reika around wherever she goes.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, commonly seen in aforementioned anime in the form of an emblazoned cape worn by Kamina or Captain Garlock for dramatic flair; alternately, in the form of the flag of the Great Gurren-dan. Notable for the fact this has even been shown to occur in space; or at the very least, the upper stratosphere.
Seto Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh! has a perpetually billowing longcoat... even when there's no wind! It billows backwards dramatically regardless of if it's indoors, underground, or in the airless vacuum of cyberspace. Perhaps he's used his fabulous wealth to install wire ribs into his coat, much like Victorian dresses.
An egregious example can be found in Shattered Angels where Kyoshiro and Kuu stand face to face with one another but the wind blows at both characters in different (opposite) directions even though they are only standing a few paces apart.
Fusanosuke appears to have a passionate love-affair with illustrating dramatic wind, particularly in the series Maiden Rose. Clothing especially gets blown about to full visual effect, but any sort of drapery will do.
Right when the colors get normal in the first episode of CLANNAD a Dramatic Wind happens. There are some other times too with wind dramatically picking up.
In one instance, Kotomi invokes the wind by opening a window.
Axis Powers Hetalia has two moments like this...although it's fair to say the drama of the moment is invariably soon after ruined, given that the show's nature is to take Refuge in Audacity.
In one of the first scenes of the series, Germany is narrating philosophically about the Roman Empire's great accomplishments; we see the grass around Ancient Rome be ruffled lightly by the wind.
In Slayers there is a spell called Diem Claw specifically for causing this effect on demand.
Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation is in near-constant billow — justified since it's 1) magic and 2) associated with flight. When he stopped wearing it he adopted a Badass Longcoat look, then a housecoat with tails, just to keep the effect.
In the Sailor Moon fic Cosmic Warriors, during a rooftop conversation between Luna and Usagi, the wind picks up as the former explains how the Dark Kingdom will kill everyone Usagi cares about to get to her.
In the Hindi movie Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gham, houses are incredibly drafty: even a small apartment seems to have high-powered fans running constantly off screen. And once the music numbers start, every conceivable thing (hair, clothes, paper, curtains, etc.) begins roiling like a poorly-built suspension bridge. Fortunately, the look is too awesome to annoy the audience.
In The Mummy, nearly every important discovery about Imhotep is accompanied by an omnious gust of wind. This is later given a lampshade when, just before the book that will release Imhotep upon the world is opened, a gust of wind blows — and one of the characters, unsettled, remarks that it does that a lot around there.
Batman in most incarnations has a cape solely for Dramatic Wind and also to provide an intimidating shadow. In the The Dark Knight Saga they changed that by making the cape into a firm glider to prevent hard landings. So now the Dramatic Wind is just an added bonus.
This is also used a little earlier in (Captain) Jack's introduction, when his braids are flying out behind him as he stands on top of the mast.
Used many times in The Lord of the Rings. For example, when Saruman is casting a weather spell from atop Orthanc, his wizard robes billow around him dramatically although it may be justified because of altitude. Wind gets faster the higher up you go, and if you're standing on top of a bloody huge tower you're gonna get hit with a Dramatic Wind. Also, he was, y'know, conjuring a wind.
In Face/Off some wind blows just in time to blow Castor Troy's Badass Longcoat as he arrives at the airport and climbs out of his car. This is the scene that introduces his character in the flesh (not counting a flashback sequence).
Shaolin Soccer: spoofed when the Shaolin monks all triumphantly assemble on a rooftop looking quite the worse for wear since leaving the monastery. One monk wears a ratty bathrobe that catches the dramatic wind like a Badass Longcoat would in a normal situation.
In the Eighth Doctor Adventures, recurring antagonist Sabbath's coat is always billowing softly. Even when he appears in the Moon's surface.
Dungeons & Dragons has a magical item called the Cloak of Billowing, whose sole property is that, yes, it billows ominously in a nonexistent wind.
DND also has a Weapon of Legacy called the Desert Wind. When the wielder grasps the hilt, it summons a gust of warm, dry Dramatic Wind for him and him alone.
3e sourcebookRaces of Faerűn recommends a slight breeze from nowhere as one of possible traits for Air Genasi (descendants of humans and Djinn or other air elemental creatures).
Of course, this is one of the classic things DMs in serious campaigns have to narrate.
Proto Man from the Mega Man series of games is a repeat offender. His long scarf would rustle in the wind even if he was standing inside a building with no visible means of ventilation. The effect was done mostly to make him look cooler then he already was.
This was noted in the Mega Man parody webcomic Bob and George, in which the titular Bob (a Protoman recolor) asks Protoman how their scarves blow around when there's no wind. Protoman replies, "We're just that cool."
Protoman and Prometheus have air vents in their backs that makes their scarves flutter. They are also just that damn cool anyway though.
The MMORPGCity of Heroes is filled to the brim with examples. Once a character has a cape, it is always blowing in his or her very own personal wind whenever they are standing still - get five caped heroes together and each one's cape blows in a different direction.
Certain powers in ''City of Heroes" actually generate their own wind, like "Hover." Most easily seen if you are in an outdoor leafy area, standing in a sea of shell casings from machine gun fire, or if someone around you has thrown the rose-petal emote from the Wedding Pack. Your hovering actually causes the debris to float up and away from you like it was caught in an updraft.
Ryu's famous Victory Pose in the Street Fighter series shows him crossing his arms and disdainfully turning his back on his defeated foe. As he does so, the wind blows his headband and hair around, regardless of location.
Sakura also does this, but she's wearing a skirt. The result is inevitable.
In Ryu's case a leaf apears out of nowhere to complete the set.
Solid Snake's notorious bandanna started off as an homage to Eighties Action Heroes, but evolved into a device to billow dramatically at convenient moments. The script for the second game even specifies this - "his bandanna streams behind him, even though there is no wind." (This was arguably done to add a sense of unreality to the moment, which was right in the middle of a build-up to a Gainax Ending...)
Extremely important in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, where Vincent Valentine's main thing is to stand around looking grim, explain things in a gravelly voice and have his cape blow dramatically.
He does that a lot. The only thing stopping him in the original game was the fact that his cape was as stiff as a board.
In Final Fantasy VIII, wind apparently follows Rinoa and Irvine, but only Rinoa and Irvine, wherever they go. Why their hair and clothing are liable to flapping dramatically in the breeze, but not, say, Squall or Quistis's, is never addressed or explained.
Squall's, too. Just take a look at some of the FMVs.
Possibly justified by the fact that the hairstyles on both of them are longer and neither pinned up like Quistis' or hairsprayed to death like Selphie's, and therefore much more noticeable while in motion. Same goes for their clothes, which appear lighter, more flowing and less fitted.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy has the Victory Poses for Bartz and Firion: they stand with their hands on their hips while their capes blow in the wind.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has a lot of this, since its theme involves the wind anyway. In particular, Ganondorf sheds his typical armor for a kimono-like outfit with enormous sleeves that flap dramatically in the wind.
The developers openly admitted that their main reason for setting The Wind Waker on an ocean, involving sailing, was, that they wanted to show of the Dramatic Wind-capabilities of the GameCube. Indeed, the cloth physics engine is still pretty impressive, although dated by today's standards.
An awesome example of Real Life Writes the Plot in Suburban Knights. While the Chicago weather nearly forced the reviewers to stop filming entirely, the constant wind of the Windy City made some scenes (especially the final battle) seem even more epic.
Used occasionally in Avatar The Last Airbender, but justified in that most of the time it happens quite high in the air, where things are naturally breezier. For instance, in the Grand Finale, Aang and Ozai's clothes ripple in the breeze as they prepare for battle perhaps a hundred feet above the ground.
Used occasionally in King of the Hill. Whenever John Redcorn shares a Native American saying or story, it is accompanied by a breeze that moves through his hair, complete with mystical flute music appearing out of nowhere.
Robin and Raven of Teen Titans have their moments with this—justified as they're the only two members with a cape and cloak. Most notably was at the end of "The End" arc, which is a double-whammy: After saving both the world and Raven from the apocalypse, the two of them stand atop the tower in the morning sun, and have a heartwarming and goddamn inspirational conversation as the wind blows:
Raven: How do you do it, Robin?
Robin: Do what?
Raven: Keep hoping. After everything that happened, everything I did, how did you still manage to hope it could all work out?
Robin: Because of you. You don't realize it, Raven, but you're actually the most hopeful person I've ever met. From the day you were born, they said you were evil—that you were created to do unspeakable things. But you wished for more. You dared to hope that you could be a hero.
Raven: I thought it was all over. And now... suddenly...
Robin: You have your whole life ahead of you. You can decide your own destiny.
In Dragon Age The Crown Of Thorns, Alim Surana, the Badass Longcoat-wearing mage, sometimes generates his own wind, like when he destroys the rock wall Branka had collapsed over the tunnel they came through and during the whole succession mess in Orzammar, when he prevented the bloodbath and stood in the middle of the assembly room, adding some Glowing Eyes of Doom and a Battle Aura for intimidation purposes.
During the Hong Kong handover ceremony and the 2008 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, China had powerful fans blowing on their flag(s) to ensure that they flapped straight out with pride.
The funeral service for Pope John Paul II.
With the notable lack of wind, dramatic or otherwise, on the moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts had a crossbar in the flag to keep it out. Notably, the crossbar jammed briefly when activated on the moon, giving the flag a "billowing" look while it was extended that has haunted Conspiracy Theories since.
In the manhwaDemon Diary, this trope is lampshaded when Raenef comments that Demon Lord Krayon's cape is blowing when there's no wind. The wind then dies down and the Demon Lord admits to commanding wind spirits to create the wind for dramatic effect.
Parodied in Excel♥Saga when Pedro faces off against Gomez: the wind blows a tumbleweed past... then three tumbleweeds... then a small army of them.
Parodied in Mahoujin Guru Guru , where Raid has monsters with fans specifically to produce this effect.
Lampshaded in Ouran High School Host Club during a duel between Honey and his brother. "When did this dramatic wind-swept field get here?" (Paraphrased)
Lampshaded again in the DVD commentary for the episode "Mori-Sempai Has an Apprentice Candidate!" by Travis Willingham not five minutes in. "DRAMATIC WIND!"
Despite dramatic Wind being a staple in a Magical Girl series, Sailor Moon is the first one to lampshade this. In one episode, Serena/Usagi stands looking forlornly out on a windy autumn day, only to spoil the moment by sneezing and having her mother show up to admonish her that she'd catch her death of cold on such a windy day.
The Slayers has a spell, Diem Claw, the sole use of which is to make the user's cape billow dramatically even when there's no wind.
Strike Man, a self-proclaimed defender of justice who is more of a nuisance than a help to the police protagonists in You're Under Arrest! likes to appear dramatically, posing on high places with dramatic wind blowing his cape... except that the wind is generated by a mini electric fan.
Parodied in Neon Toppa EVA Lagann, where after a hospital-gown clad Kamina makes an absurd speech, "The wind from the open window suddenly picked up, blowing the hem of his hospital gown dramatically. Unfortunately the garment was then blown upward, revealing?well?the reason why his backside was feeling drafty, and making several spectators feel terribly inadequate."
Those Lacking Spines lampshades this when descending from a height: 'One improbable slow-falling swooshy-coat and hair dramatic landing on their feet later, our heroes found themselves deep in the basement of the Second Darkest Tower.
Spoofed (as you might expect) in the poster for the 2008 version of Get Smart: a dramatic wind is blowing, but all it's serving to do is (a) blow one character's tie in front of another one's face (b) blow the female lead's hair in the face of the third character and (c) force the third character to hold his gun in a Pistol Pose which blocks out the fourth character's face.
Live Action Television
In Smallville, when Lois Lane is briefly the superhero "Stiletto", she brought along a fan to do this for her photo.
Parodied in Terry Pratchett's Discworld book A Hat Full of Sky, where a young witch purchases an expensive cloak designed to blow and flutter dramatically in even the lightest of breezes.
Pratchett also did something similar in his pre-Discworld novel Strata. A character's cape is mentioned as having small electrical charges pulsed through it every few seconds, keeping it in a state of permanent dramatic flutter.
Susan gets Dramatic Wind in Thief of Time, when using her Death voice to get Lobsang's attention. Of course, being who she is, she can alter reality to suit herself.
Also parodied in Life The Universe And Everything, the third The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy novel. Ford Prefect makes a portentous announcement: "He gazed keenly into the distance and looked as if he would quite like the wind to blow his hair back dramatically at that point, but the wind was busy fooling around with some leaves a little way off."
Averted, unfortunately, for poor Schmendrick the Magician in The Last Unicorn. He has no convenient wind to billow his cloak, so he has to swirl it around manually to get the desired effect.
Parodied in the third Artemis Fowl, The Eternity Code. As Artemis and crew arrive in Chicago John Spiro's coat blows dramatically in the downdraft. The narrator remarks that "it was all very cinematic."
Shree, a wind sprite, mocks this trope in the Shadowleague trilogy, and her partner Elion mentions that she tends to blow up out of nowhere at dramatic moments.
In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, this happens when Gregory gives a blessing while they are in Hell. Explicitly pointed out that it doesn't happen on earth.
Parodied in the quest "Minimum Safe Distance" in Billy Vs SNAKEMAN, when one character holds a fan up to another character who is making a dramatic speech.
In Skullgirls, one of Filia's victory poses has her letting her hair blow in the wind. Another one has Samson, the Parasite in her hair, take a human form... while Filia blows in the wind.
Parodied on the web cartoon Homestar Runner; Strong Bad's alter ego Stinko Man is an anime/Mega Man-styled character with blue hair that is always blowing in a nonexistent wind.
Another of Strong Bad's personas, First Lieuteneral Space Captainface, also gets a nice breeze whenever he appears. When appearing in person as Space Captainface, Strong Bad goes so far as to bring a fan with him, as seen in Career Day.
Sailor Venus of, like, Sailor Moon Abridged has "Revlon Wind", which, like, makes her look so totally hot, okay!
Invoked in Futurama when Zapp Brannigan is giving his dramatic speech to the DOOP tribunal,
Zapp Brannigan:Kiff, hold up that flag for me... and wave it a little for God sake.
King of the Hill: In one episode Joseph steals "The Bugabago" (Dale's van) to go "wherever 1/8 of a tank of gas will take him". In a parody of generic romantic scenes, Connie runs out and asks to go with, complete with the dramatic wind blowing her hair.
Every time John Redcorn talks about "his people", a sudden breeze from out of nowhere starts blowing his hair.
Parodied in an episode of Freakazoid! - at one point, The Lobe was standing indoors making a rant with full dramatic wind. The camera then zoomed out to show a fan specially set up to achieve this effect.
Plucky Duck parodies it in "The Return of the Toxic Revenger", where he does his dramatic intro, notices a lack of this trope and goes offscreen to turn on a giant fan. Him being an expy of Daffy Duck, of course it switches itself to maximum power and blows him away.
Parodied in an episode of Danny Phantom Where Danny is split into his "superhero" side and his "normal teen" side. The superhero side constantly has his hair and bedsheet cape blowing in a nonexistant wind.
Lightly parodied in Undergrads: when the hero's love interest shows up, there is a light breeze playing with her hair. They are indoors.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has Flint's labcoat billowing towards the beginning of the movie. The commentary reveals that the idea was that Flint has a fan offscreen to make his life seem more dramatic.