This Means Warpaint

A subtrope of Body Paint where, just before a conflict, a character will take some sort of paint — or improvise with something closer to hand like mud or ashes — and apply it just below the eyes. The effect is something like Tribal Face Paint or army camouflage, and the implication is clear: The Gloves are Off.

Sports players, especially in American Football, often do this before matches. Ostensibly, this is to reduce glare from the sun (this was examined by the MythBusters, who deemed it plausible) but its hard to imagine that it's entirely accidental that they're also making themselves look like warriors.

Compare Lipstick and Load Montage, where ordinary makeup is applied as if it were a preparation for battle, and Nose Art, when this is applied to a Cool Plane.


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     Anime And Manga 
  • Mellowlink Arity, of Armor Hunter Mellowlink, paints four lines across his face whenever he's about to kill somebody. In fact, the image of Mellowlink with four lines of his own blood painted on his face is easily the most iconic image in the OVA.
  • In Princess Mononoke, just before the boars attack the mining town, there's a sequence of them using their snouts to warpaint each others' faces with mud.
  • In the Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita OVA, Gally/Alita draws under her eyes streaks of blood from a friendly dog Grewcica pointlessly slaughters. In the manga, she does the same with streaks of tar before commencing battle with Makaku. The streaks become an iconic part of her look, added to her face as permanent marks when she joins the Motor Ball circuit and persisting even across multiple bodies and rebuilds.
  • Combined with Lipstick and Load Montage in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Daily Life when Kanna applies some makeup to Fafnir, claiming it will help him in his upcoming battle (read: selling his doujins). The end result resembles a clown, but neither of them are familiar enough with human culture to realize that he looks ridiculous.

    Comic Books 


    Live Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Some tribes of orcs in both Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 will put various warpaints on themselves, their weapons, their mounts, and/or their vehicles prior to battle. They believe that certain colors and designs have special powers, and will emphasize that color depending on their preferences for combat (Evil Sunz love fast vehicles, so they paint their trukks and bikes red because Red Ones Go Faster).

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed III Connor puts on warpaint before going after Charles Lee for the last time.
  • Invoked in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, if you get the Fierce Deity's Mask. It can only be used in boss battles, and the first time you get it is right before you face Majora; the Fierce Deity himself has warpaint on his cheekbones and forehead. Link putting on the mask is pretty much as close as a Zelda game gets to this trope.

    Web Comics 
  • Played with in the second "That Which Redeems..." arc of Sluggy Freelance during a flashback. Dungeon guard Amospia's boyfriend runs into her home to tell her the demons have invaded, only to discover that she's already wearing her warpaint, which takes hours to put on. He quickly realizes she must have expected the attack, sees through her excuse, and demands to know where her dungeon key is. She gave it to the demons in an attempt to save her boyfriend from the frontlines so they could escape together. To say things didn't go as planned would be an understatement...

    Western Animation