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White Gloves

"Ever wonder why we always wear these white gloves?"

Common accessory for 'cartoony' characters, especially those from decades ago. Simply, the character wears puffy white gloves, even if he doesn't wear much else. The gloves can be any length, and at least cover the whole hand (and all four of its fingers). Those that cover only the hand may occasionally have a wrist band and knuckle indentations as well. The original reason likely has roots in the black and white era of cartoons, where a mostly dark colored character could hold his hands against his chest and still have the hands be visible; Felix the Cat is notable for not wearing White Gloves and demonstrates why this is a problem.

Aside from being an animation tradition, this helps emphasize that a Talking Animal actually has hands and makes it much easier to display hand gestures and movement.

Note this entry is for inexplicable white gloves on cartoon characters, not realistic humans that wear gloves as part of a normal outfit.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • It's hard to say with Black Cat Detective. Nearly every mammal on the show wears them, but most of them are Chinese police officers, who actually wear white gloves from time to time.
  • Ragnarok from Soul Eater wears full white gloves in his big form and has little circle-hands after losing most of his souls.
  • Digimon Adventure sort of plays this - Taichi, The Hero, is the only one who wears gloves that are actually white. Most of the rest of the cast - save Jou, Takeru and Hikari - still wear gloves, just not white ones.
  • Don Patch from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo.

    Comic Books 
  • Big Eggo, the original cover star from The Beano and anthropomorphised ostrich, usually wears white gloves so it looks more like he has hands. It's a slight subversion in that the rest of his "arms" still look wing-like, and he's sometimes shown without the gloves (in which case, he has normal ostrich wings).

    Films 
  • The title character in Disney's Pinocchio has both white gloves and Four-Fingered Hands as a puppet. He loses the gloves when he becomes a real boy, as well as having a proper set of five fingers on each hand. All of the Funny Animals in the movie (Jiminy Cricket, Honest John, Gideon) also sport gloves.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Since Roger Rabbit is already white, he wears yellow gloves.

    Literature 
  • In the Polish series Koziolek Matolek, the protagonist (a white, anthropomorphic goat) always wears a pair of yellow gloves.

    Magazines 
  • Lampshaded heavily in a classic 1950s Mickey Mouse parody in MAD. On the first page, a gloveless cartoon character is being dragged off by the police for dressing indecently in public. Later, Mickey explains that his gloves are actually tattooed on, so he can't take them off, not even for swimming.

    Pinball 

    Toys 
  • Mr. Potato Head's arms are white, but he still wears white gloves (assuming he doesn't just have severely malformed wrists).

    Video Games 
  • The Pokémon Poliwhirl and Poliwrath wear white gloves for no apparent reason. Oddly enough, if Poliwhirl evolves into Politoed instead of Poliwrath, it loses its gloves. Since Poliwrath is a Fighting-type Pokémon and will often engage in punching or physical attacks, perhaps the gloves act as a type of boxing gloves of sorts?
    • The Pokémon Mr. Mime wears white gloves as well.
  • Nearly all the characters, animal and human, in Sonic the Hedgehog games wear white gloves. For the majority of the male characters, their wardrobe is limited to shoes, socks and gloves. Even echidnas born thousands of years before any of the events of any game wear gloves!
    • Coincidentally, Sonic's original design took inspiration from American cartoon characters to appeal to Americans, including Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood makes gloves one of the pieces of character equipment.
    • Even some of Eggman's robots, notably Eggrobos and other bots like Hei Hou (the Mushroom Hill Act 1 boss) have white gloves.
  • Mario and Luigi. This wasn't apparent in early games, however, as limits in technology did not allow enough colors per sprite for their hands to appear white.
    • Wario usually does, too, but in his WarioWare outfit, he wears fingerless yellow gloves with "W"s on them.
    • Anyone wearing a Tanooki Suit or Cat Suit in Super Mario 3D World will have cartoonish white gloves even if they weren't wearing any beforehand. For the Cat Suit this may be justified since they have cat paw prints on the palms which match the feet.
  • Master Hand and Crazy Hand of Super Smash Bros. are white gloves. It certainly helps them stand out against their backdrop: deep space.
  • And X and Zero in Mega Man X.
    • Actually, most reploids, if not all, have white gloves.
    • Also Bass in the original series. These are likely for preventing dust & dirt from fouling the delicate motors in their hands.
  • Ristar knows how to kick it ol' skoo.
  • Cool Spot features White Gloves on the titular Spots, as pointers directing the player toward the caged Spot, and holding a timer as the item that grants more time when collected.
  • Rayman wears big white gloves.
  • Irving Onegin in Time Hollow wears them, mostly so that the developers could pull off a reveal crossed with a Chekhov's Gun at the end of chapter five.
  • Several games have used a pointing hand wearing a white glove as the cursor: Final Fantasy series, Mario Paint, Animal Crossing series, the Wii Menu, etc.
  • Sora of Kingdom Hearts original costume was meant as a nod to Mickey Mouse, who was planned to be the main character, so his costume has red shorts, big yellow shoes and, of course, puffy, white fingerless gloves. His later costumes evolved away from the Mickey shout out and his gloves became black.
    • Sora also wears white gloves in Halloween Town. Of course, they have crosses on them, and the fingers resemble claws, though we don't know whether or not Sora's hands are now claws that are hidden by the gloves. Though given that he also has fangs and an eyepatch...
  • White Gloves must be all the rage in Toontown Online since everybody is wearing them.
  • Glover is a white glove. He and his 'brother', Cross-stitch, were worn by a wizard.
  • The final boss of The Legend of Kyrandia 2: The Hand of Fate is a white glove. It too was revealed to have belonged to a wizard near the midpoint of the game.
  • Peacock from Skullgirls wears these to cover up what are thin metal fingers.

    Webcomics 
  • The One Electronic from Rice Boy wears a pair of these. He appears to be one of the only people in his entire universe who wear gloves at all.
  • Thomas K. Dye justifies this with the hands-vs.-paws argument in Newshounds; a short spinoff featuring the puppies of some of the cast was called Kid Gloves, too, and one storyline with Lorna (the only human of the main cast for a long time) had her think she was one of the dogs; one of the first things she does is get a pair of gloves.
  • Sam, the giant cartoon rabbit (bear with me) from Zebra Girl, wears them. This allows him to slip his ropes when kidnapped by werewolves, because they didn't think about relative bulkiness of hands in gloves vs. ungloved.
  • The characters of Newton The Newt wear gloves. At least, the frog and the newt do.
  • Kali of Enjuhneer acquires a pair of these when the rest of the cast has a Plot-Relevant Age-Up. She says they simply fell onto her desk.
  • My Roommate Is an Elf. All characters wear these, and they have Four-Fingered Hands.
  • Ultra-Car from the various WalkyVerse comics like Shortpacked! has these.

    Web Original 
  • In The Cartoon Man, Roy's transformation begins when oversize white gloves spontaneously appear on his hands.

    Western Animation 
  • Mickey Mouse and other Walt Disney characters are among the oldest examples. Mickey first appeared in his signature white gloves on March 28, 1929, in The Opry House, a musical short in which he performs vaudeville acts such as snake charming and belly dancing. Interestingly, at the start of the short—when Mickey is sweeping the theatre steps before going inside to perform—Mickey is gloveless.
    • Both Mickey (Mickey and the Seal) and Clarabelle Cow (Mickey's Fire Brigade) have been shown to keep their white gloves on even when bathing.
      • Not all the time. In various comics and the cartoon Mickey's Delayed Date, Mickey bathes without his gloves.
    • In one House of Mouse short, Mickey happens upon a pair of magical gloves that look identical to his own. Hilarity Ensues.
      • And Lampshade Hanging, too:
        Magical Mouse: Wait a moment, these aren't my gloves, these are Mickey's! ...Why do we all wear these same white gloves?
    • José Carioca and Panchito of The Three Caballeros originally wore yellow and brown gloves respectively. Ignoring the fact that most comic artists (like Don Rosa) forget about the gloves completely, when they re-appear in the House of Mouse, their gloves are both significantly whiter, José's even taking on the appearance of the standard Disney white gloves, just with a slight yellow tint. At the Epcot ride, José's gloves are distinctly the proper shade of yellow but Panchito's are distinctly white.
    • Mickey actually appeared with white gloves on the title of his debut Plane Crazy, and the "The End" image, though not in the animation.
  • Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros. characters: Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, etc. As a matter of fact, those white gloves are usually the only things Bugs wears.
  • Mario and Luigi from the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, based on the video games, of course.
    • Interestingly, Mario's NES sprite lacked gloves, but most of his features (hat and moustache) were still there for similar reasons of making the character distinctive given the limited technology.
    • Mario's depiction in the Donkey Kong segments of Saturday Supercade also had him wearing white gloves, even though the arcade game sprites didn't have gloves back then either (although some early promotional artwork did have him in gloves).
  • Lampshaded in An Extremely Goofy Movie:
    Bobby: (looking at his hands) Did you ever wonder why we are always, like, wearing gloves?
    • Another thing to note that only the males wear gloves. And even some of them don't wear gloves.
    • There is also one extra in the first movie who wears fingerless gloves over his white ones.
  • In an episode of Animaniacs (coincidentally enough, titled White Gloves), Wakko's gloves (and apparently all other gloves in the show's world) are actual living beings.
    • As the Great Wakkorotti, he can use them to make music after they've been stuffed full of hot-dog condiments.
  • Several Tex Avery characters, including Screwy Squirrel, the unnamed Wolf, and George and Junior, wear them.
  • Woody Woodpecker wears white gloves.
  • On The Simpsons, Itchy and Scratchy wear white gloves, since they are a parody of classic theatrical cartoons.


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