Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains
Whaddaya think? Friend or foe? Stryker:
Dressed like that
? Stryker: Definitely foe.
Just as good and evil can be Color-Coded for Your Convenience
, you can also tell them apart as heroes dress sensibly (more or less), and villains dress in skimpier outfits.
Although it's not that common nowadays, this likely started as a form of Getting Crap Past the Radar
. "It's okay if they dress immorally. They're the bad guys
This trope doesn't require the good guys to dress like prudes, nor to never put on revealing clothing (because, you know, Fanservice
). It's just that their regular outfits are significantly less skimpy than what the villains wear (and the heroes can dress like that with an Evil Costume Switch
The exact way an outfit is skimpier can vary. It can be anything from being more form fitting to outright Stripperific
This often overlaps with Evil Is Sexy
, except this doesn't require the villain to actually be sexy, just dressed skimpily (there can be a difference
). Furthermore, that trope often has the villains dress just as sensibly as the heroes, or the heroes to dress just as sexy as the villains (most Super Hero
comics). Neither of those is this trope.
A Sub Trope
of Dress-Coded for Your Convenience
and often closely related to Slut Shaming
. May overlap with Make Up Is Evil
Compare Good Eyes, Evil Eyes
, Obviously Evil
, Good Colors, Evil Colors
. An author that uses the Madonna Whore Complex
will often invoke this trope, which naturally leads to Unfortunate Implications
about women who show off their bodies.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Zigzagged in Bleach. Although shinigami wear far more conservative outfits than the arrancar, the most standout stripperific baddies (Halibel, Mila Rose, Grimmjow, and Lilinette) are some of the most sympathetic ones. By contrast, Loly Aivirrne, who has a schoolgirl-like skirt, thigh-high boots, and a shirt that reveals her midriff and half of her breasts, remains one of the most unpleasant characters in the series' run (in the manga at least; the anime actually gave her a good measure of redemption). However, Neliel wore a pantsuit as an Aizen-affiliated Espada, only to wear torn-apart rags upon regaining her memories as an Espada. The others, like Szayel Aporro, Nnoitra, Aaroniero, and even the Shinigami-born Aizen wear more clothing than any of the others ever do. Although Matsumoto may be presented as sexier, other than a low-cut top, she's still wearing much more than the others mentioned.
- Inverted in Black Rock Shooter, where the eponymous hero is dressed in the skimpy outfit (likely due to the author's tastes), and the villain wears something more sensible.
- In Genzo, we have Princess Kiku, who dresses like a Samurai, and Genzo as sensible heroes, while the Evil Redhead Maria Kurusu wears only a black corset, a long skirt, and boots.
- The first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The Hero wears a long-skirted uniform for her combat outfit, and her allies are either dressed casually or garbed in full military uniform. Meanwhile, The Dragon is wearing what's basically a black swimsuit with a short skirt and interestingly placed red belts, her Familiar wears even less, and the Big Bad shows Absolute Cleavage. This trope stops applying in later seasons, once Nanoha starts befriending people.
- Yaiba, where the moon empress Kaguya dresses like a Playboy Bunny (she's apparently an anthropomorphic rabbit, actually an Eldritch Abomination, possessing a human), while the heroes dress sensibly.
- Silent Möbius, where the AMP wears police uniforms (and one Miko outfit) or suits and the villains wear very little leather. When Katsumi gets possessed by a demonic weapon, she also adopts the leather.
- Yatterman. The heroes wear jumpsuits, while the main female villain wears a revealing leather outfit. Her ugly cronies also have their midriffs bared at all times.
- The girls in Lime-iro Senkitan and Lime-iro Ryukitan X, while their casual and military outfits are rather form fitting and on the short-skirted side, compared to the villains, who dress in barely-covering-anything black leather, they look positively modest.
- In the first half of Fresh Pretty Cure!, Eas, the sole female in the evil Labyrinth organization, wears a Stripperiffic black outfit complete with a bared midriff and short shorts, while the heroines wear comparatively modest frilly dresses when transformed. When Eas makes her High Heel Face Turn and becomes Cure Passion, she gets a modest frilly dress of her own.
- Star Driver. Almost all evil characters have openly Stripperiffic uniforms, while good guys usually dress modestly.
- Kinda inverted in Senki Zesshou Symphogear. Chris is introduced as a mostly clothed villain with a visor. (she still has underboob showing, though) In the episode where she begins her heel/face turn, she switches it out for a cleavage, shoulder, and thigh exposing costume.
- Played with in various ways in Fate/Stay Night. This is first played straight with Saber and Rider, one of whom who wears a fully-covered Battle Ballgown, and the other a Stripperiffic mini-dress, and then averted with Saber and Caster, both of whom are fully and totally covered. However, later on, Rider turns out to be actually good, and when Saber becomes corrupted and turns into The Dragon, her clothes cover her even more. During the final fight between Servants, this trope is actually inverted with Saber Alter and Rider, who have their roles reversed.
- While the females in Naruto all dress modestly no matter their alignment, the male villains tend to reveal their torso far more often then the heroes.The best examples are Zabuza, who only wears pants and Sasuke's infamous long-sleeved shirt which reveals most of his torso.
- Project A-Ko has the initial villain, B-Ko, wearing a plate bikini power armor when she finally faces A-Ko directly (instead of just using one of her numerous combat robots). She continues to wear it for the attempts they both make to recover C-Ko from the aliens (including D, who comes at them both with a sword, after ditching her trenchcoat to reveal a plate bikini). They also land in a laundry storage room at one point that contains nothing but panties. That seriously need to be washed. B-Ko, meanwhile, spends the entire film wearing her school uniform (albeit slightly worse for wear after a while).
- One Piece demonstrates a rare example of this trope demonstrated for both sides on the same character. Kalifa from the CP 9 arc initially has a short skirt and shows a little cleavage, but when she drops her cover she adds some fishnet stockings and additional cleavage.
- Marvel's Hellfire Club, where the ladies dress in fetish gear and Sebastian Shaw likes to bare his chest for action.
- In Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, the dark witch's outfits are even skimpier than those of her good sister, and that's really saying something.
- Parodied, along with most of the The Dark Age of Comic Books, in Grant Morrison's one-shot Doom Force. The villainess first shows up dressed fairly sexily, which her brother finds disgusting - because she's wearing too much clothing. She obligingly switches to exotic lingerie. The brother, meanwhile, later shows up in a speedo and pasties.
- In DC's Young Justice, Arrowette fears she's turned evil. "I'll have to get a tight, skimpy black leather outfit that shows off my cleavage. Oh god. I'll have to get cleavage."
- Turns out to be a Brick Joke: the payoff comes in a later story, World Without Young Justice, in which Bedlam has managed to Make Wrong What Once Went Right so the three YJ founders don't exist. This universe's "Dark Arrowette" is indeed wearing a skimpy black leather outfit. And has cleavage.
- The Unfortunate Implications of this trope are lampshaded in an issue of Avengers Academy where the Avengers confront Cyclops' post-Schism X-Men team. Hawkeye (IIRC) says of Emma Frost, "I knew someone who dresses like that couldn't stay a good guy!", to which Tigra responds, "What does that make me? Doctor Doom?"
- The comparison shows up when a DC or Marvel good gal gets brainwashed or possessed or simply chooses to be bad.
- Some examples from Marvel comics: The Phoenix (Jean Grey?) as the Hellfire Club's Black Queen in the Dark Phoenix Saga, the Invisible Girl (as she then was known) turning into skimpily and spikily dressed Malice in Fantastic Four #280, and Madelyne Pryor when she became the Goblyn Queen. Meanwhile, when Emma Frost became a good guy, she started wearing a slightly less skimpy costume in Generation X.
- Inverted with Starfire, whose costume is essentially a skimpy swimsuit, and her sister/dark counterpart Blackfire, who wears a full bodysuit.
- This is the case more often than not in the Shadowchasers series. Female heroes never wear anything more revealing than a Bare Your Midriff outfit (at least, not willingly), while most female villains lack much modesty at all. (Of course, many of them are temptresses by choice or by species, meaning their outfits are more-or-less professional attire.)
- In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dr. Frank N. Furter often dresses in nothing more than a corset, fishnets, heels, and short shorts (or panties...). When others "succumb" to his power, they start dressing this way.
- Princess Aura's metal bikini with shoulders & cape from the 1980s film of Flash Gordon, although some of the heroes were wearing pretty immodest outfits too.
- In The Lair of the White Worm, the entire cast is dressed in a manner fitting people living in the English countryside. That is, except for Lady Marsh, who wears very little and happens to be an evil vampire worshipping an Eldritch Abomination.
- Bellatrix Lestrange◊ from the Harry Potter films counts, at least in Order of the Phoenix.
- While this can fit the comics too in a way, the only skimpy mutants in X-Men: First Class either started or ended on the evil side: Mystique (doesn't wear clothes, except when she was still with the X-Men), Emma Frost (a bikini or cleavage for most of First Class - the "Wolverine" version doesn't count!) and Angel Salvatore. Although this is because all the female mutants end up on the Brotherhood's side, and all the women in the movie are used for fanservice.
- The Marine: Triton's down-to-earth wife Kate wears a denim jacket, white tank top, and jeans. Bad Girl Angela wears a leather getup with a leopard top. And, if memory serves, heels. In a swamp chase. Compare.
- The Tin Man recent Sci Fi Channel original film with Neal McDonough and Zoey Deschanel, the evil sis had some costumes.
- Let's just say there was a reason why the flying monkeys in this version were nicknamed "boobmonkeys".
- The Mirror Universe in Star Trek
- While Mirror Kira's black jumpsuit shows rather less skin than normal Kira's red uniform it's still a lot more openly sexual.
- One gets the sense that Charmed was trying to use this trope, only the female lead characters were so Stripperific that it would have been hard to make the female demons even more so; therefore, the Charmed Sisters are only marginally less sexy than the female demons. Male demons would seem to be a straighter example of this trope, at least in the later seasons, when you had fellows like Zankou using leather outfits as a symbol for their status as evil demons.
- Compare Colonel Deering (good) with Princess Ardala (bad) in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives a controlled example with vampire/human Willow, the same character except for alignment. Upon discovering how tight her vampire self's corset is, human Willow comments, "I guess vampires really don't have to breathe." She later delivers the gem: "I'm a bloodsucking fiend! Just look at my outfit!"
- There was also Faith, who, while not exactly Stripperific, tended to show a lot more cleavage than Buffy (and wear generally tighter outfits).
- Averted in later seasons. After she became good, she wore the exact same clothes she normally did.
- Stargate SG-1 played with this trope a bit. While Carter and Dr. Frasier were always well covered up, the female Goa'uld were generally pretty Stripperific.
- In the episode "The Warrior", a lot of the males wore similarly skimpy outfits when not in the uniforms they were made to wear by their former masters.
- As with the anime, in the live sction series of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, it's hard to miss Queen Beryl's rather generous chest. It's especially noticable compared to the scouts' modest street clothes and Sailor Fuku.
- This happens with some of the seasons of Power Rangers: compare the suited heroes and heroines to villainesses such as Divatox and Vypra.
- It's usually carried over from the corresponding Super Sentai, where several villainess characters have been played by well-known former "adult" actresses.
- Back when she first debuted in the late 90s, Stephanie McMahon wore tasteful formal and semi-formal outfits. When she first turned heel to join up with Triple H and D-Generation X, she switched that look for tank tops and leather hot pants. Exemplified with her 2003 Heel Face Turn and she was wearing business suits and modest clothing.
- Sable may have had skimpy outfits occasionally as a face (The Slammys, her infamous hand-print bikini) but in the ring she almost always wore fairly modest gear. However after her Face Heel Turn she frequently wrestled in just short-shorts and a very revealing bra. Her trademark Spy Catsuit also made a lot more appearances when she was heel.
- Inverted with Ivory when she joined Right To Censor. As a member of a stable of prudish parodies of the Moral Guardians and Media Watchdogs, Ivory wrestled in a non-flattering blouse and bow tie and a very impractical ankle-length black skirt. Thus her opponents would always be more exposed than her.
- The Eldar from Warhammer 40000. The good-ish Craftworld Eldar tend to wear long robes and full body armour. Their evil cousins, the Dark Eldar, wear comparatively little to show off their lithe bodies and combat prowess: this is especially true for the Wyches.
- The Final Fantasy series is a fan of this.
- Rinoa, the hero's girlfriend and good girl, versus Sorceress Ultimecia, the game's ultimate villain. Rinoa may be prettier, but evil gets a dress where the neckline ends at the crotch. And then it's slit up a little further for good measure.
- Also, Edea's dress shows a fair bit of cleavage while she is the villain, but when she turns good, her dress changes to something that covers her chest. Then again, she's possessed by Ultimecia when wearing the black dress, so she's probably been borrowing her fashion sense.
- Sorceress Adel wears nothing but a skirt. This is Fan Disservice, however, as Sorceress Adel has the build of a man.
- Final Fantasy X seems to follow it at first- with both men and women. Although many of the male protagonists aren't wearing full shirts, Seymour is showing even more than that (to the point of being the male equivalent of Absolute Cleavage). Yunalesca is just wearing a bikini. Jecht never wears a shirt either - and the player eventually finds out that he's currently Sin, the ungodly horror tormenting the entire world. The subversion is that he is still one of the good guys. Yuna, on the other hand, is The Messiah and wears a skimpy kimono, Wakka shows half of his torso, Tidus shows even more and Lulu has an interesting dress. So in the end just about everyone is explicit, and the trope thoroughly subverted.
- Final Fantasy III gave us the Cloud of Darkness, a woman wearing a cape, paint...and that's it. All other female characters in the game are significantly more dressed up.
- Final Fantasy IV plays with this as pretty much every female boss can't be bothered to wear more than a bikini (especially Barbariccia), while the female leads are wearing actual clothes. Adult Rydia pushes this though.
- And Final Fantasy IX's fine male example, Kuja.
- This also carries over into the spin-off Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Just compare the Cosmos and Chaos female characters. Terra wears a fairly normal outfit, albeit with a miniskirt, though she is wearing tights underneath. Shantotto, as someone (marginally) on Cosmos's side, wears a full uniform. Cosmos herself is wearing a long white gown. Meanwhile, the Chaos side only has two women - and they're Ultimecia and the Cloud of Darkness, mentioned above.
- It gets a little amusing in the Prequel game, Dissidia 012, where we see that several heroes were on Chaos's side in the previous war. Terra loses the leggings and skirt in favor of a white leotard and a hip scarf, and Tidus seems to have developed an allergy to shirts. Runs in the family, I guess. Cloud actually gains more clothing with much fancier armour, but also adds more jewellery, and Jecht is exactly the same despite being a good guy.
- The Dark Queen of Battletoads. The Battletoads subvert the trope, being the heroes, and also muscular, almost naked eyecandy.
- Inverted in Knights of the Old Republic 2, in which the more light-side of your female party members (Mira and the Handmaiden if the player is male) expose a lot more skin over the course of the game than the darker pair (Visas and Kreia). The Twin Suns, two female Twi'leks that are minor bosses on Nar Shadda, play this trope straight by wearing less than any female party member, except for the Handmaiden in her underwear.
- In Luminous Arc series, the first stripperiffic female antagonist character you meet WILL Heel Face Turn. Subverted with the second female antagonist that appear will has much less revealing outfit eg.Priel,Elicia and Yorg. Valerie will switched to much more revealing outfit when she reveal her true identity.
- In Mass Effect, your teammate Liara wears a perfectly ordinary tunic of the sort many female NPCs are comfortable wandering around in public wearing. Her mother Benezia, suffering from a case of More than Mind Control, has an Impossibly Low Neckline to show off her huge...tracts of land.
- Also played straight in the sequel, where Shepard's nicest female allies (Tali, Ashley, and Liara) run around in the same sensible clothes as in the first game, the more morally questionable ones (Miranda and Samara) have extremely close-fitting outfits (with Absolute Cleavage in Samara's case), and the only thing the psychotic one (Jack) wears from the waist up is tattoos and a leather strap that's only just wide enough to cover her nipples.
- Oddly enough, you get a bit of this with some of the male characters as well. Thane shows off a strip of bare chest (for medical reasons, apparently), and Grunt has bare arms (in both cases more skin than any non-Asari alien in the first game displays), and are also the most Renegade of your team (unless you download Zaeed, but that's another story).
- Zaeed's armor doesn't cover everything either. So yes, this game includes several male examples.
- Also subverted in Dragon Age: Origins with Morrigan's... outfit as compared to the nice modest Chantry robes Leliana shows up wearing. While Morrigan is a bit mean and a ruthless anarchist, she is still one of the heroes. While one of your clues that Ser Cauthrien can be reasoned with is that she wears perfectly ordinary heavy armor, almost everybody is dressed sensibly if you ignore the pure fanservicey skintight robes that every woman not in armor wears.
- In Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake wears a (admittedly a little revealing, but mostly fairly sensible) Spy Catsuit. His Evil Twin, Liquid Snake, walks around only in tight trousers and a coat undone at the front. He has no shirt. The game takes place in Alaska.
- Lunar The Silver Star. Luna wears a peasant dress at first, then practically nothing after her (apparent) Face Heel Turn.
- While all the women of the Vile Tribe shown in Silver Star Story Complete and beyond wear rather skimpy clothes, it should not be a shock which one of them chooses to make a Face Heel Turn later in the game considering that she's the most conservatively dressed of the three.
- I-NO of Guilty Gear is...improperly dressed. Works for "That Man", who appears to be The Man Behind the Man. Though this is kind of subverted because the heroine, Dizzy, is wearing even less.
- On the other hand, Dizzy doesn't have a winpose where she takes her clothes off...
- Somewhat averted with the player characters in Champions of Norrath. While they're all technically good guys, you can play as a Dark Elf Shadow-Night, and the female version of that class is one of the two most covered female characters. The most skimpily dressed one is the Desert Mage, who is the only one with Absolute Cleavage.
- While every female in Blood Rayne is some degree of Stripperiffic, Rayne's costume is somewhat protective compared to Ephemera's skin exposure and Feral's animated tattoos. In the first, Rayne's mentor, Mynce, shows more leg, and later is revealed to be a traitor.
- Subverted, however, at the end of the game as Mynce is not actually a traitor but reveals herself as a Double Agent just before she's killed by the Big Bad.
- Golden Sun is a minor example, as Mia, Jenna, and Sheba all dress modestly, with nary a hint of cleavage to be seen (Mia's a justified case, as she comes from a snowy mountain region). The villainous Karst, on the other hand, runs around in a midriff-baring top, mini-skirt, and thigh-high boots. Her big sister, Menardi, however, wears a dress that's every bit as modest as the heroines'.
- Lampshaded in Mortal Kombat 9, as seen above in the page quote. Stryker sees Millena and automatically assumes she's a foe. Fellow cop, actually Kabal, says "dressed like that?" and Stryker says "definitely foe." (Note that while Millena is, indeed, evil, her outfit seems to be standard attire for female warriors of the Outland, and a few them are rather decent (Kitana is an example).
- League of Legends plays this trope straight and subverts it at the same time. While most of the females are stripperific, All the well-dressed female champions are good.
- Played with a bit in La Pucelle. Princess Eclair normally wears a Battle Ballgown, while her Superpowered Evil Side wears sexy black lingerie. However, the circumstances where Dark Eclair first shows up seems to suggest that that's just Eclair's normal sleepwear.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, Rouge, the vain, rather selfish Anti-Hero, dresses in clothes that show off everything she's got to maximum effect, and Harmless Villain Wave has a bared midriff and may not even wear a shirt; while Amy, Cream, and Blaze dress up modestly, and Tikal, being undead, doesn't even have anything to show off. Shade is evil but is fully clad in armor.
- Inverted in Star Fox Adventures - resident (faux) Action Girl Krystal is the Stripperiffic Ms. Fanservice in Chainmail Bikini, while Big Bad General Scales normally dresses in full uniform or armour.
- In Fallout New Vegas, female members of the Fiends gang dress like pole dancers. Your companions Veronica and Cass dress like they might have to work outdoors in a harsh climate.
- In Immortal Souls, Isis Corporation Agents wear Badass Suits, John and Raven wear skintight but fully concealing clothes, and the Templars wear full-body Power Armor. Meanwhile the Black Witch and Juliet are Stripperiffic via Clothing Damage for the former and Of Corsets Sexy for the latter, as well as Juliet's female gang members also dressing equally sexy.
- In Brain Dead 13, this is played straight in Vivi's Funeral Salon in that Lance, the bumbling hero, is fully clothed, while Vivi is a big-breasted villainess in a black, skimpy, midriff-baring outfit.
- A Very Potter Musical, once he gets his body body back, Voldemort wears nothing but a cape, tight pants, and tap shoes for the rest of the play. Evil Is Sexy, indeed. His outfit is actually far more revealing than Bellatrix's (who dresses rather modestly except for a pretty high slit in her skirt), in an unusual subversion.
- On Atop The Fourth Wall, Linkara notes that while men gain more clothes from a Face Heel Turn, women always become skimpier. He uses evil! Mary Marvel's miniskirt as a prime example.
- Protectors of the Plot Continuum Agents wear bulky black military fatigues. Compare this with the skimpy or overly ornate clothing of the average Mary Sue...
- While The Order of the Stick's lead female, Haley, usually gets by with nothing sexier than a bare midriff, her Evil Counterpart Sabine is prone to do things like engage in battle wearing a schoolgirl outfit (granted, Sabine is a succubus). Other female antagonists, notably Tsukiko, also dress skimpily.
- Homestuck: compare White Queen and Black Queen's outfits.
- The main characters in At Arms Length wear reasonable shirt and pants combos into battle, but their arch nemesis Temujin looks like she bought her outfit from the barbarian section of Victoria's Secret.
- Ally's outfit might still count as Fetish Fuel, however.
- Averted with Kiley, who wears a tube top.
- Transformers Animated: Compare Arcee and Blackarachnia's designs and see which parts of their bodies resemble exposed skin.
- Arguably applies to Blackarachnia all by herself in Beast Wars. Compare her original body to her post-Heel Face Turn outfit and try to spot the "skin". And then there's Airazor, who seems to be a fairly modest Maximal from the get-go.
- Teen Titans offers what could be considered an inversion. The female villains are usually dressed more conservatively than Starfire, who flies around in a midriff baring shirt and a short skirt, and Raven, who, under the cloak, wears a ridiculously tight looking leotard.
- Comic book Starfire takes this a step further, they had to put more clothes ON her for the cartoon. She's even naked occasionally in the comics.