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Anime and Manga
- Shishio Makoto from Rurouni Kenshin wears a headband lined with steel - the only piece of armor he wears. The reasoning lies in the events of his original 'fall', when he caught a bullet to the forehead, paralyzing him for a while, and giving his enemies time to burn him. He wears the headband to ensure that it never happens again, and it does indeed prove remarkably effective...
- Gauron of Full Metal Panic! is revealed to have installed a titanium plate in his forehead due to an earlier injury, and hence is the reason he survived Sousuke's bullet to the head and lives to terrorize poor Sousuke some more.
- Bean Bandit from Gunsmith Cats tops his bulletproof ensemble with an impact resistant headband. That apparently weighs at least twenty pounds. He wears this on his forehead.
- Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure gets stuck by a bunch of knives from multiple directions while he's fighting DIO. It's revealed that at some point he shoved a bunch of magazines under his clothes and hat, which kept the knives from doing deep damage.
- In one Batman comic, the Caped Crusader is saved from a bullet to the back of the head at point blank range by a magnesium crash helmet (essentially a skullcap) he was wearing under his cowl.
- During Walter Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor, there was a story arc where Thor fights The Fair Folk with the assistance of an army veteran who turns out to have partial immunity to their glamor because of the steel plate in his head.
- Beachhead from G.I. Joe is said to have a metal plate in his head during a crossover with Trans Formers. In order to sneak through the Decepticon base the Joes cannot have any metal on or in them. Beachhead is unable to go because of his plate.
- Played for laughs in a Cattivik story where the person he just hammered on the head happens to have a 10 cm thick steel plate under his hat.
- The truck driving super hero US 1 (Or US Ace in latter incarnations) uses this to his advantage in a truckstop fight in the second issue.
- Miner Smurf in The Smurfs comic books wears a hard miner's hat version of a Smurf hat.
- Judge Dredd's iconic helmet has deflected gunshots on several occasions. He usually doesn't even flinch. Averted in "The Day The Law Died" when an SJS sniper shoots through his helmet. Luckily, medical science is advanced enough to revive him.
Film - Live Action
- The A-Team: in the movie, Lynch tries to shoot Morrison (who's wearing a hood). Instead it's Murdock, and the hood is actually filled with melted ceramic plates.
- Faster. Driver has a steel plate which he got after being shot in the head by the men he's now hunting down in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. At the end of the movie it saves his life after Cop shoots him in the back of the head.
- Scanner Cop: The Big Bad initially resists the protagonist's psychic attack because of of the steel plate on his head, though it peels away the hair around it. The cop then concentrates really hard and gets the desired result.
- Kick-Ass. After his disastrous first attempt at being a superhero the protagonist ends up with a lot of metal in his body, making it a little difficult to knock him out.
- In the old B-Movie They Came From Beyond Space, a character's metal plate prevents him from being psychically controlled by the aliens like all his colleagues.
- Bullet Proof has Jack Carter, who is shot in the head (accidentally) by his friend Archie. He uses the steel plate on Archie when he's pissed. Later he uses it as a surprise weapon against bad guys.
- In Witches Abroad, Nanny Ogg has a farmhouse land on her head, but is protected by her extremely sturdy hat. Hats that stop farmhouses becomes a running joke, reappearing in later books.
- The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. Gardener and Ev Hillman are immune to the Body Horror effects of the spaceship because they have metal plates in their heads (Gardener because of a skiing accident, Ev because of a war wound). Anne (Bobbi's sister) is apparently helped a bit by her extensive metal dental work, but not quite as much as the two with skull plates.
- The Supernaturalist: Cosmo Hill gets a piece of tank armor grafted to his skull from improvised surgery. It allows him to headbutt his way through bulletproof glass.
- The Gods Hate Kansas (published in 1964) may be the Ur-Example of the "metal plate in skull prevents mind control" variant.
- The German pulp series Butler Parker had the protagonist regularly wear a bowler with a steel insert - usually protecting him from being hit over the head or for use as a blunt weapen.
- In The Avengers, Steed's trademark bowler hat was lined with steel, though he more often used it to clonk people than to protect himself.
- In the pilot episode of the original Knight Rider, undercover detective Michael Long is shot in the face, but survives thanks to the steel plate he got after brain surgery for a Vietnam War injury. The bullet severely damages his face, but thanks to Magic Plastic Surgery he can now return as Michael Knight.
- Drop the Dead Donkey: Jerry the Camera has a "suicide by jumping" land on his head (thanks to Damien demanding he get right in underneath for the shot), however he is saved from injury due to the steel plate he has in his head from Damien's piece on why plastic bullets are safe.
- One strip of The Far Side had a construction worker standing with a toppled building resting on his helmet, with the foreman mentioning that that's why they wear hard-hats.
- A throwaway gag in a filler strip in Knights of the Dinner Table has Newt claiming his character is crouching real low and taking cover behind his 'kevlar watch cap'.
- The Dick Tracy animated series from the '50s/'60s had "Joe Jitsu" with a hat with a German WWI Helmet underneath it that protected him from a bonk on the head
- SpongeBob SquarePants: "An experienced fry cook always keeps a brick of lead under his hat." In this case, it's to protect the hat from being stomped on.
- In the Looney Tunes short "Rabbit's Kin", Pete Puma comes prepared for Bugs Bunny's Hyperspace Mallet with an Acme Stovetop Lid under his hat. The Crazy-Prepared Bugs then produces an Acme Stovetop Lid Remover...
- In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) it is shown that under his helmet Ram Man appears to have a metal plate grafted to the OUTSIDE of his head. This would certainly come in handy considering his role is to be a human battering ram. It isn't stated if this is because of an old injury but seems plausible considering his teammates Mekaneck and Fisto got their respective metal parts following battle injuries.
- Truth in Television; Bowler hats were conceived as alternatives to top hats that were better able to protect the wearer's head. A properly made one is quite rigid.
- The same goes for modern police hats (they look like soft caps, but they're quite hard). Also, the Victorian predecessors to British Coppers' distinctive dome-shaped helmets were simply reinforced top hats.
- Hard hats, of course. Which were reportedly inventednote by Franz Kafka, of all people, while he was working as an insurance agent in Prague.
- Before these there was the kettle hat, a late-medieval to early-modern combat helmet that was basically an ordinary hat of the day, but made of iron (the German and French names for the helmet, Eisenhut and chapel-de-fer, both mean "iron hat"). It was most common for commoner foot soldiers, as it could be made cheaply in large numbers (only professional armourers could make a proper helm, but any village blacksmith could make a hat out of iron) and its wide brim afforded extra protection without special fittings (and kept the soldiers from being dazzled in the bargain). They were particularly favoured by the New Model Army, which included a derivative form called the morion as part of the standardised uniform.
- Armor in general—including helmets—disappeared after the Thirty Years' War, but helmets of this type saw a resurgence in World War I, when the French Adrian and British (and later American) Brodie Helmets were explicitly modeled after the kettle hat.
- Interestingly, around the same time European lords were decking their footsoldiers in kettle hats, the Japanese daimyo gave their ashigaru (i.e. peasant footsoldiers) conical hats made of iron.
- Some companies issue baseball caps with a hard (plastic) insert to their employees as a protective device, e.g. for people loading trailers.