An accessory which characters never actually use but which is noticeable enough they must consciously choose to wear it.
For example, a Discredited Trope
from the Dark Age
of American comic books was superhero costumes featuring a large number of pouch-covered belts and harnesses - which never actually seemed to be used.
This is a Super Trope
to the following tropes:
Compare with Chekov's Gun
(not to be confused with Chekhov's Gun
). Also related to Cosmetic Award
and Badass Bandolier
. A Set Bonus
can make such an item a subversion.
Before adding examples, Please make make sure that they don't fit in a Sub trope.
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Anime and Manga
- Yuuno's side-pouch in Lyrical Nanoha, which we never see him use. Some Fan Web Comics (Omake (?)) have made speculations on what he places in there◊.
- Sailor V's mask is this. Unlike Sailor Moon's similar mask in the manga it has no point aside from obscuring her face. When she becomes Sailor Venus she continues to wear it offscreen for a bit and during her introduction (probably so viewers/readers know that she and Sailor V are the same person) ditches it once she joins the team and her identity is never revealed due to it.
- Yoh's headphones from Shaman King. They're such an integral part of his character that seemingly every villain calls him "headphones" at one point or another,
but when do we actually get to see him using them? but he stops using them after the first few chapters.
- Supposedly he has them in the first place to block out other people's thoughts. How headphones help avoid mind-reading is another big question. In reality they belong to his father and he stole them so he could feel closer to him.
- In the Anime of the Game Sands of Destruction, Kyrie's knife is this. In the game, he dual-wielded knives, but in the anime he was turned into a Non-Action Guy and Distressed Dude. The knife remained part of his design as The Artifact, and is never used.
- Rob Liefeld is notorious for giving all of his characters costumes with dozens of tiny pouches, including pouch belts on their thighs, which never seem to be used.
- Used on-and-off by Deadpool, whose pouches are almost never used. When they are used, they have contained action figures (of himself), wallet, keys, and (on one occasion) a pancreas. Then again, he's Deadpool. Logic doesn't work on him.
- Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot wears flippers all the time, in case he needs to swim.
- When Star Wars first came out, did anyone question why Chewbacca was wearing what looked like a clunky sash and nothing else? The Expanded Universe eventually established it was a bandolier containing various tips (explosive, armor piercing) for use with his bowcaster.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who: The Doctor has rather Rummage Sale Reject costumes, but the fifth Doctor also wore a piece of celery in his lapel.
Tenth Doctor: (
Taking the piss out of Mocking his fifth self, to his face.) Hey! I'm the Doctor, I can save the Universe using a kettle and some string and look at me, I'm wearing a vegetable!
- Stage dressing example: French musical duo Justice perform on-stage behind a giant modular synthesizer setup named "Valentine"◊, surrounded by a series of 18 Marshall Cabinets and a giant lit cross. None of this equipment is functional.
- Non-wardrobe example: the one man band Atom & His Package had a gizmo with lights and buttons and levers but it did absolutely nothing. He had it on stage simply because it looked cool (all he used was a guitar and a CD of prerecorded backup music).
- Similar to the previous example, Jonah Matranga of Far, Onelinedrawing, and many other projects often performs with a scale model of R2-D2, nicknamed "Are Too". However, it is somewhere in between this trope and Goggles Do Something Unusual because the model also houses a functioning drum machine complete with R2-D2 sound effects, and is used so prominently that tracks such as "Smile" credit the drums to Are Too.
- Buckethead wears a chicken bucket on his head. It doesn't contain any chicken.
- With the exception of a few that confer a Set Bonus, this is the purpose (or lack thereof) of all the Nice Hats in Team Fortress 2.
- In RuneScape, among the myriad of armor and weapons, several pieces of equipment offer no stat bonuses whatsoever, such as the Brass Necklace and Cyclopean Helmet, relegated to only serving cosmetic purposes.
- Implemented, much to fans' chagrin, in the Super Smash Bros. series with Ganondorf's sword. Ganondorf likes to show off his sword after winning matches or taunting, but he never actually uses it. To quote Masahiro Sakurai, the lead developer of Super Smash Bros. Brawl: "What are you putting it away for? Use it! People tend to make fun of Ganondorf for this." Really, though, it seems the developers are making fun of the fans with it.
- A lesser example is how Captain Falcon refrains from using his personal sidearm in the games as well. Doesn't stop him from using Ray Guns and Super Scopes, though.
- The Kongs of the Donkey Kong franchise wear accessories such as neckties, hats, shirts, etc. that only exist so you can tell who's who.
- Kingdom Hearts II adds hoods to Sora and Kairi's new outfits. Sora never actually uses his in-game, but its inclusion at least makes sense, considering his original outfit had a hood as well. Kairi takes this Up to Eleven: she has a hood on her spaghetti strap short dress for no conceivable reason: it's just there because it is.
- Kim Possible: Kim and Ron's commando mission suits in "A Sitch In Time".
- Shego's supervillain outfit has a leg pouch she's never been seen to use.
- Bender and many other robots in Futurama have antenna that serve no apparent purpose, which gets a Lampshade Hanging several times. First when the thing turned out to be interfering with the satellite transmission in his new apartment, and Fry says he should just cut it off since it doesn't do anything, after which it's treated as a robot equivalent of his penis. Again when it's suggested he has a toilet somewhere in his body and pushing down on it flushes. Subverted again when Mom says most people think she puts antenna on her robots just to make them "more science-fictiony" but they really let her take control of everything with a remote control.
- Jewelry, in general, is this. The vast majority of it has no practical function aside from telling everyone around you how much money you have to spend on pretty but useless trinkets. Historically, it was a way to display family wealth and social status.