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Everyone knows that wearing a longcoatnote feel free to mentally substitute Badass Cape in this description as needed is one of the surest ways to show that you’re a Badass, because nothing says “don’t screw with me” more than having a long dark coat billowing out behind you as you walk. So how does one ratchet up the stakes when such a character is reallyserious about delivering a beatdown? They take that coat off.
Basically, when someone loses his coat, his badass level increases drastically. He can still be defeated, but he will look good while doing it and be very hard to put down. It could be argued that this effect is why Badass Longcoats exist in the first place.
In an actual combat situation, this does make sense. Coats and cloaks look great but are also bulky and tend to move about on their own quite a bit. This restricts the wearer's movements and limits their effectiveness in battle. Shedding the coat will not only make movement easier but also deny the enemy a potential grappling point. This also has the added advantage of getting the garment out of the combat zone. After all, who wants to get blood on their badass coat?
Bonus Badass points if you are shirtless beneath the coat, or if you're wearing pants with suspenders. Badassness levels will also increase exponentially if you're wearing business-like attire underneath - the nicer, neater, and more expensive the better. Heck, the Badass level increases even if you're wearing a sleeveless shirt. EXTRAbonus points if the coat is revealed to be weighted clothing.
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Anime & Manga
In Angelic Layer, Sai's angel Shirahime once shed her coat during a key battle.
Against Yoruichi, Soifon sheds her captain's haori to reveal a skimpy uniform that's designed to expose the parts of the body that Shunkou reinforces to prevent destruction upon activation. Yoruichi reveals she can do it, too and her coat is blasted off her body under the force of her activation.
Kyouraku wears a woman's kimono over his captain's haori. He never takes them off until he fights Starrk. When the fight finally gets serious, Kyouraku sheds the woman's kimono. When the fight gets even more serious, he sheds his haori as well. Yes, his fight was so serious, the coats came off twice.
Both Piccolos in Dragon Ball. In the younger one's case, it makes even more sense as his cloak is weighed for training purposes.
Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric (pictured above) takes off his coat when getting into serious battles, but he also inverted this at one point. After some downtime while hiding from the enemy, he made himself a new coat, even though it would allow him to be identified easily. Putting the coat on was his way of saying he was done running.
Alucard gets stronger as he loses his coat; as the various pieces of clothing he wears act as a means to restrict his vast and considerable power, it's a Justified Trope.
Integra dramatically rips hers off in response to the Major's "Come, let us make war!"
Also, the Captain in his fight against Seras. It's the first time we get to see his power as a werewolf. It's also the first time we find out that he wears no shirt under his jacket.
In Hyakujitsu No Bara, Klaus throws off his coat when he challenges Taki to fencing in front of the troops. Bonus points for the Shirtless Scene, sarashi-like bandages, and being blasé about the fact he still was recovering from very serious injuries.
There's a running joke among the Naruto fandom that any Akatsuki member who takes off or loses their cloak in a fight will be dead by the end of that battlenote So far, this has been the case every single time.. However, that also means that whoever they're fighting is tough enough for them to play for keeps.
It should be noted that only three of them (Sasori, Kisame, and Kakuzunote Four if you count Asura Pain.) took off their cloaks intentionally. The rest lost theirs as a result of Clothing Damage, except for Hidan and Deva Pain who just had theirs ripped open. However, when Konan fights Tobi, Konan dies with her cloak still on (although it opens a little after she dies), while Madara survives despite losing his cloak.
Weirdly zig-zagged with Luffy; he takes off his iconic hat when things look rough... then puts it back on when things get serious.
The Strawhat crew tends to wear environment-specific clothing over their normal getups, perhaps specifically so they can invoke this trope and take them off (as in the final set of fights in the Alabasta arc).
Inverted: Roronoa Zoro wears a bandanna tied around his left arm which he specifically puts on his head whenever he gets serious enough to use all three swords at once, and then takes it off to signify the fight is over.
In the movie tie-in Chapter 0, Garp and Sengoku use the nice suit variant, flinging off their coats before fighting Shiki. Garp also has the habit of flinging away his coat and his suit jacket whenever he prepares to toss one thousand cannonballs in a row barehanded, complete with cracking his knuckles.
At one point, Crystal takes off her coat that she always wears while going off to save a boat belonging to Bill the Pokemaniac by capturing a Flaafy and a Dunsparce that were attacking the boat. She leaves the coat off until she goes to rescue him from a cluster of Staryu at an amusement park. At that point, it is revealed that the shirt she wears underneath her coat is sleeveless and that she wears wristbands underneath its sleeves.
And in a more traditional example, Giovanni and Red both do this before the climactic battle in the FRLG arc.
After arriving in the nick of time to interfere help out with Akane's match against the Dojo Destroyer, Ranma smiles smugly and takes off her Chinese jacket, then pulverizes the foe in a single panel. One wonders why she even bothered taking it off.
Similarly, in the movie he rips off his Badass Longcoatthat represents his status as the commander of the Takeda army before he and Masamune go at each other, signaling that his desire to fight Masamune is personal and unrelated to the Takeda and the Date being enemies.
Thorkell literally tears his coat off when fighting Thorfinn for the last time in Vinland Saga.
Yami Yugi of Yu-Gi-Oh! fame repeatedly throws off or switches his jacket to "cape-style" when he's ready to get serious in a duel. Oddly enough, while it's a recurring trait in the manga, in the anime he only ever does it once.
Fairy Tail: If the character is male and wearing a coat, vest or other article of clothing on his torso, it will be discarded as soon as things get serious. Especially if that character is Gray.
Fujiko's introduction in Lupin III: Dead or Alive comes from a mix of tropes. She enters a gladiatorial area in a cloak covering her entire body, hiding her face as well. General Headhunter removes it for her by throwing boomerang-knives that circle her and destroy her cloak, which is taken as a signal to begin combat.
A particularly impressive version of this is pulled off by Shadow the Hedgehog in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. In an alternate future where Shadow is king, an aged Sonic attacks him. Unfortunately for him, Shadow is still in his prime because he was created to never age. To illustrate this, Shadow throws off his royal cloak, and beats Sonic into the ground before it hits the floor.
Once The Punisher is ready to get messy he tends to remove his coat, revealing the black, skull-adorned T-shirt underneath.
Marv is very fond of his long coats, but in “A Hard Goodbye” he removes it at several points. Though removed for unrelated reasons (providing warmth and coverage for a naked woman, using it as a decoy), he tends to kick the most ass without it. Then again, considering just how many of the murders he commits and the beatings he gives are preceded by the words "That's a nice coat you've got there," maybe that’s not too surprising.
Likewise, Wallace, the main character of Hell and Back has no coat for the later part of the story for stealth purposes, resulting in much asses being kicked.
Mr. Pendulum in Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse not only increases in asskicking, he also increases in size.
In The Dark Knight Returns, when Batman faces off against the Mutant Leader for the second time, he removes his cape. This is actually for a practical reason; Batman lured him to a giant knee deep mud pit, where a cape would have simply gotten in the way. It's also to represent the fact that Bruce realized that the only way he could win was if he fought smarter than the Mutant Leader, as opposed to the spectacular failure of brute force from their previous battle.
Blade does this right before going sword-to-sword with Drake in the third film.
Not a coat, but you can count on Bruce Lee to kick a lot more ass if his top is torn or removed.
The Dark Knight Rises. Bane wears a prominent Badass Longcoat with shearling collar throughout his reign of Gotham, but shrugs it off in the melee between the police and his mooks when he sees Batman has returned and is coming towards him.
It happens a few minutes before the final confrontation, but in The Good The Bad And The Ugly, Clint Eastwood removes his longcoat to place it over a dying man, and instead dons the iconic poncho.
In Jackie Chan's Who Am I? the final fight features Chan in a tag-team battle with two skilled martial artists. When Chan uses the first one's jacket and tie against him, the second one sensibly removes his before he jumps into the fight.
Neo takes off his coat after the most iconic Bullet Time sequence in The Matrix. Morpheus also gets one of these moments in the second movie.
The Lord of the Rings has an excellent example: Gandalf sheds his grey cloak in Théoden's hall, revealing himself to be Gandalf the White, and all that goes with that name. He proceeds to be a badass wizard.
Exaggerated in Rob Roy: Before the climactic duel, Roy removes his heavy jacket and Cunningham his opulent frock coat. Cunningham also removes his wig, which shows that he expects this duel to be far more even than the previous ones he fought and that he is willing to forego vanity to improve his odds.
In The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, after the Chief has finally had enough of Fendall Hawkins undermining his authority and breaks his sword on his knee, the two men begin taking off their coats while everyone else tries to keep them from beating each other up.
Qui Gon and Obi Wan dramatically take off their outer robes before facing Darth Maul, who also sheds his cloak.
Obi-Wan and Vader also do this right before their duel in Episode III. Probably the main reason this doesn't happen in Attack of the Clones is the fact that both Obi-Wan and Anakin already lost their outer robes before their fight with Dooku (and Dooku didn't take off his cape because it protects him with its magic).
Obi-Wan also drops his robe before leaping down to face General Grievous and his Mooks. The man must have left robes all over the Galaxy. note The Star Wars Visual Dictionary mentions that the robe he dropped before Grievous was his sixth one since the beginning of the Clone Wars.
Asajj Ventress in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, who is always shown wearing a long skirt when not fighting. Because the animators found it too difficult to animate her skirt during fight scenes, Ventress always removes her skirt before engaging in a lightsaber duel with the heroes (in fact, when she escapes after losing she will always leave her skirt behind). She stops doing this altogether from Season 3 onwards, however, as by then Ventress actually stopped wearing a skirt permanently.
Doc Holliday shrugs off his coat as he raises his shotgun during the standoff at the OK Corral in Tombstone. Done rather quickly considering he was holding a double-barreled shotgun, but he had the duster draped over his shoulders instead of wearing it properly.
In Transporter 2, Frank carefully takes off his jacket, folds it and puts it on the hood of his car (declaring that he'd just had it dry-cleaned), before proceeding to wipe the floor with the teenagers that tried to steal his car.
Near the end of the second book of the The Wheel of Time, Rand has his first real duel against Turak, an invading Seanchan lord. Throughout the novel, Turak is certainly ruthless, if rather effeminate and dainty. His servants retrieve everything for him, his fingernails are long and painted, he wears long, flowing robes, and he speaks in a light, almost sing-song voice. When Rand and company try to steal the Horn of Valere back from him, it turns out to be a trap to allow Turak to engage the heroes himself. He removes his robe, revealing a chiseled, muscular body, and then whips out a heron-mark blade, revealing him as the first true Blademaster Rand has to face in the series.
In the "Al Caponegang vs. Jesse James gang" simulation of Deadliest Warrior, Al Capone sheds his longcoat in preparation for the fight with Jesse James. Unfortunately for him, Capone loses the fight when one of James' men shoots him through some jail bars.
In the Smallville season 9 finale "Salvation", Clark Kent disposes of his coat before proceeding to kick Zod's ass.In the rain.
The Fourth Doctor took off his coat at the end of the Doctor Who serial Meglos. He did it to turn the title character's scheme of masquerading as the Doctor back on him to infiltrate his base...and booby trap his superweapon to destroy the planet.
Played for laughs in an episode of Alf. Lynn notes that an angry visitor has taken off his jacket, apparently in preparation for a fight. Alf quips that someone should stop him before he wipes his shoes.
Done countless times in Highlander: The Series. It helps that the longcoat is practically mandatory for a Highlander immortal.
Subverted in "Comes a Horseman" where it marks the end of an epic confrontation. After Mac confronts Methos in front of the GMC Jimmy, both guys throw their coats into their cars and drive away.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Lucien does this in "An Invincible Summer'' when he confronts a local thug who has pushed Mattie down and slapped Jean. He strips of his suit coat and proceeds to pound the crap out of the thug with Good Old Fisticuffs.
Sherlock Homes: In "The Solitary Cyclist", Woodley slaps Holmes across the face. Holmes proceeds to calmly remove his hat and coat, hang then up and then lay a serious beatdown on Woodley.
GURPS Martial Arts supplement included an optional rule intended to simulate this very trope called "Bulletproof Nudity". This rule gave characters combat bonuses if they were wearing less clothing. The key was that you couldn't just walk around in a thong, you had to normally wear appropriate clothing and take it off or have it shredded during the fight.
Long coats in Shadowrun often serve as armor, making exercising this trope stupid at best and suicidal at worst.
In Squaresoft's The Bouncer, the Big Bad, Dauragon C. Mikado, wears a Badass Longcoat for most of the game, including when you first get to fight him. In the Final Boss Fight, he starts out wearing it, too, but after you knock enough health off of him, he tosses the coat and becomes aLOTstronger. In the True Final Boss Fight, he removes the suspenders, too, and fights you full-on shirtless.
In Deus Ex: Human Revolution Adam Jensen wears a Badass Longcoat in his everyday life, but when going to serious assignments he leaves it home, wearing only a bulletproof vest and his cybernetic implants above the waist.
Averted by both Nero and Dante in Devil May Cry, and then completely inverted by Dante in Devil May Cry 3, where he has a badass putting-the-coat-on moment and proceeds to kill a small army of demons.
The moment you enter combat time in Fallout 2, the Deathclaw NPC Goris drops his monk-like robe to rip the enemy a new one, then puts it back on to hide his features from friendly commoners.
In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth walks around most the time in a Badass Longcoat, and most of the time he's still able to kick ass without breaking a sweat. In his final fight, he wears no coat, which gives him only a pair of pants and boots. The joke is, that fight is impossible to lose.
Rugal Bernstein in The King of Fighters 1994 first fights in a full tux and without using any of his special moves, but ditches the jacket and shirt for round 2 when he gets serious on your ass and shows you why he is the definitiveSNK Boss. In his subsequent appearances, he has kept the green t-shirt he wore underneath.
Zero briefly wears a Badass Cape at the beginning of Mega Man Zero 2, and pulls it off, ready to kick ass when the Neo Arcadian military spot him.
Nearly every single coat worn in the Metal Gear Solid series. It is especially prevalent in the fourth game, as four characters (Old Snake, Raiden, Vamp and Liquid Ocelot) lose their coats to become even more Badass. Raiden in particular becomes twice as badass putting the coat back on during his 'I Am Lightning' moment. note It must be explained that he did this after losing both of his arms. Also happens to Volgin, the Boss and the Sorrow in Snake Eater, Ocelot, Solidus Snake and Fortune in Sons of the Patriots, and Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid.
Justified by "Mr. X", a mass produced model of tyrant whose trenchcoat acted as a Restraining Bolt. Meaning it mutated from a large, mysterious looking man to something more reminiscent of the other tyrants...and a lot less friendly.
In Yo-Jin-Bo, Bo sheds his cape (and allows it to be shredded) to gain the upper hand when facing off against Kasumimaru.
Throughout the Kirby series, Meta Knight removes his cape before dueling Kirby.
Saya's final part of her support attack in Project X Zone has her tossing her coat revealing quite the eye-candy before catching her two swords in the air and slashing them to her enemy.
Some of Erica's attacks have her tossing off her nun outfit, revealing a cute cat suit beneath.
In the Heaven's Feel Route of Fate/stay night, Dark Sakura seems to kill Kotomine, leaving only his priest’s robes behind. But in the true ending, when Shirou goes to destroy Avenger, he finds Kotomine barring his path. This is the only scene in the entire game where Kotomine isn't wearing his coat, and it's also his most badass — he manages to give a really long speech and nearly beat Shirou to death, despite the fact that his heart completely ceased to function hours ago.
Not just hours ago, he literally survived 2 days without a functional heart, seemingly living off of awesomeness.
In There Will Be Brawl, Luigi had worn his trenchcoat throughout the series. He took it off during the penultimate episosde, after Red dies in an explosion. Luigi covered his body using his coat and walked off to start the final battle.
In the trailer of RWBY, Ruby's hood and cape either disappear or turn into a Scarf of Asskicking before she starts kicking ass.
Used as a form of non-verbal Duck Season, Rabbit Season in the Looney Tunes short "Big House Bunny": Bugs Bunny finds himself in prison locking horns with guard Yosemite Sam (here called Sam Schultz). Bugs bets that Sam wouldn't be so tough without his uniform and dares him to take it off and fight. Sam takes off his guard uniform while Bugs takes off his prisoner garb. Bugs then "decides" that Sam is tough enough and puts on Sam's uniform, while Sam puts on Bugs' uniform. Bugs then blows the whistle and the other guards beat up Sam and take him to a cell.
Samurai Jack tears off part or all of his kimono at least every other episode. Usually loses the top knot, too.
This happens incidentally in outdoor contact sports, like rugby or American football when the weather gets cold.When a player is on the bench, they'll often put on a coat (or drape it over themselves in football, the coat won't fit properly over the chest and shoulder pads). When it comes time for them to sub in and do violence, they shrug off the coat and run onto the field.