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Badasses Wear Bandanas

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The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Bandanary.note 

Kaku: Do you get stronger or something if you wear that washcloth?
Zoro: Maybe.

We all know Helmets Are Hardly Heroic, so what is a badass who likes to have their head covered supposed to wear on the battlefield? A bandana of course!

The reasons for wearing one can vary. Maybe the wearer thinks it looks cool. It can keep the wearer's hair out of their face without obscuring their vision like a helmet might. If supplies are scarce, a bandana might be the only headgear one is able to find. Whatever the reason, a bandana usually highlights just how much of a badass the wearer is, and warns others to stay out of his way.

Bandits, bikers, cowboys, and pirates tend to wear bandanas to signify them being outlaws or to reinforce their tough and gritty look. In fact, the bandana will often be worn for this exact purpose: A Lady of War would never wear a bandana, but a grizzled Lad-ette marine might. An elegant swordfighter wouldn't wear the bandana, but a rugged thief would.

Note that this does not have to be an actual bandana, and could be a do-rag or headband, which would fall under Martial Arts Headband if martial arts is involved, especially in Asian cinema. It also does not have to be worn on the head, as characters often wear bandanas around their necks.

This is frequently slapped on a Badbutt in an attempt at characterization rivaling the subtlety of Ms. Pac-Man's bow.

Related to Badass Longcoat. Both are added to a character to show they are a badass with a short visual cue, in this case, a certain type of rugged, masculine badass.

Sub-Trope of Scarf Of Ass Kicking. Compare with Cool Helmet, and a Sister Trope to Fedora of Asskicking as well.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • Nie Given from Aura Battler Dunbine wears one after becoming the leader of the guerrilla resistance to overthrow the Evil Overlord that killed his parents.
  • Dirty Pair: Kei is almost always seen with her hair up and a band tied around her head to keep it in place, which serves as an instant visual signal as to which half of the Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic she represents.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Pan from Dragon Ball GT wears an orange bandanna and is a very powerful martial artist.
    • Her dad Gohan wore a white bandanna when he participated in the World Tournament as The Great Saiyaman in Dragon Ball Z.
    • Pan's great-grandfather Bardock's signature red bandana was the cloth he used to wipe up the blood of his deceased comrades and went on to wear it in both of his eponymous specials.
  • Soma Yukihira and Ryo Kurokiba from Food Wars! both satisfy this trope, donning bandannas while cooking.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Winry, the resident Wrench Wench, wears one of these.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: Minor characters Knuckle Joe and Sirica are Cute Bruiser Star Warriors who both wear bands to emphasize their sheer badassery. In Sirica’s case, it comes with a bow attached to the back.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Domon Kasshu, the titular Gundam's hot-blooded pilot, wears a red bandana.
  • Yukimi, a modern-day gun-wielding ninja, is frequently depicted wearing a bandana in Nabari no Ou.
  • This is a typical way that Ninja of Naruto may choose to wear their forehead protector.
  • Tsurezure from Ojojojo is almost always seen wearing a bandanna and is a former child assassin (though he didn't get the bandanna until the latter part stopped applying).
  • Zoro from One Piece puts on a bandana whenever he decides to get dangerous.
  • Pokémon
    • May, an aspiring Pokémon Coordinator from Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, always wears one in her adventures, and her Contest performance always has a battling flair to them thanks to being around Ash Ketchum.
    • Sapphire, May's Pokémon Adventures counterpart, fits this trope far better due to being a tomboyish, wild girl who prefers to do Gym Battles over Contests while still wearing the signature bandana on her head.
  • Ryoga Hibiki from Ranma ½ is a major badass and wears a tiger-stripe bandana, which he can also use as a weapon.
  • Krylancelo Finrandi, the main character of Sorcerer Stabber Orphen.

    Comic Books 

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Night Unfurls, all Hunters save for Lily wear a bandana to conceal their noses and mouths like a mask, instead of wearing it on their heads like a headband. All of them are good at combat.


  • Parodied in Reaper Man. When the Dean of Unseen University starts getting extremely gung-ho about blowing up things that have been animated by the excess life-force, he removes his hat, tears a strip off his robe, and ties it round his head, explaining that this is what they do in the Counterweight Continent. The parody is firstly that the other wizards think this is ridiculous, and secondly that the Dean is a very fat man in his seventies. He also won't stop saying "Yo!" or occasionally "Bonsai!"

    Live-Action Television 
  • Charles Gunn from Angel wore a bandana in his first few appearances, but it was dropped soon after.
  • Daredevil (2015): For most of Season 1, prior to getting the big red devil suit, Matt Murdock wears a black mask with no eyeholes pulled down over his face.
  • The Defenders (2017): Matt uses Jessica Jones' scarf like a bandanna to hide his identity when infiltrating Midland Circle.
    Jessica Jones: You look like an idiot.
    Matt Murdock: It's your scarf.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Tommy Oliver and Adam Park from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers wore bandanas on occasion. Adam's predecessor Zack wore one at least once. Jason Lee Scott, the original Red Ranger, occasionally wore a red Martial Arts Headband. When the Rangers were granted new Ninja powers they gained new costumes that came with head bands as part of the ceremony.
    • Cole Evans from Power Rangers Wild Force wore a red headband.
  • The streetwise bruiser Lex in The Tribe wore one in a few first season episodes as well as his flashback episode.
  • Kid Hero Lucas Sinclair from Stranger Things wears a camouflage bandana.
  • James May sports a bandana during several of the Top Gear overseas trips, which see him doing difficult things such as finding the source of the River Nile, traveling through the deserts of the Middle East, and threatening annoying co-presenters with a machete. It also serves the far more practical use of keeping his long hair out of his face.

  • Bandanas styled after American Flags are a recurring symbol for Flobots.
  • Bandanas have always been "Miami" Steve van Zandt's onstage trademark when playing with Bruce Springsteen.
  • Juelz Santana of The Diplomats made the bandana his trademark accessory, dedicating songs like Red Bandana and Santana Bandana too the topic.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura often wear a bandana on their heads to cover their baldness. Both likely took their look from an earlier wrestler, "Superstar" Billy Graham, who did it first.
  • The One Man Gang sometimes wore one.
  • Mustafa Saed of SMW's Gangstas would wear a bandana on top of his head and another around his face, a look that would also be adopted by Konnan and Puerto Rican Street Fugitive El Niche.
  • The Undertaker used to wear one during his days as The American Badass from 2000-2003.
  • Bubba Ray Dudley sometimes crossed this with Wearing a Flag on Your Head, as he'd wear Confederate Flag bandanas.
  • Heavyweight Champion of All Pro Wrestling's Florida branch Ricky "The Rocket" Roberts wrestled in a pink bandana, as did Joey Franchise.
  • Dark Fantasy from Spain would wear a grey bandanna under her mask.
  • Randy Savage wore bandanas or headbands in the 80s, but would switch to cowboy hats in 1990. Like Hogan, Ventura and Graham, he wore them to cover his bald spot.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Erik Paulson and Mort in Dino Attack RPG. Subverted with Plastic Serpent, who doesn't do anything badass despite being loosely inspired by Solid Snake (see the Video Games section below).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Necromunda: During the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, the bandana was the signature clothing of the Badass Normal House Orlock gang, along with their biker gang style outfits. While the 3rd Edition models have moved away from this, some of the head options reference this by wearing goggles around their foreheads in a similar manner.
    • Warhammer 40,000: Red bandannas are part of the official uniform of the Catachan Jungle Fighters, renowned the Imperium over as one of the toughest and most violent Astra Militarum forces. The bandanna also ties into the Catachan's Vietnam War/Rambo look.
  • The Badass Bandana is an actual item in Munchkin.

    Video Games 
  • Yusuf from Assassin's Creed: Revelations wears a very colorful headband. It probably serves to make him a distinct character model more than anything else, but he is an Assassin.
  • Ernest from Battleborn is a badass Drill Sergeant Demolitions Expert bird alien who wields a Grenade Launcher. As indicative of the space military based faction he comes from, he wears an army bandana.
  • Frank Woods in Call of Duty: Black Ops wears a headband throughout the game.
  • The protagonist of Cave Story has a green bandana around his neck. It's all but invisible on the in-game sprite, but it's there in the official artwork.
  • Crono from Chrono Trigger wears one where it is his starting accessory which gives him a speed boost.
  • In the Fable and Fable II, bandits often wear bandanas but aren't very badass in comparison to your Hero. But you can wear a bandana; just expect people to run in fear from you.
  • The Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3 can qualify, should they manage to get their hands on a bandana.
  • Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters has Billy Kane, a mean Brit wearing a red-and-white bandanna.
  • Many characters from the Final Fantasy franchise wear them.
    • Firion, The Hero of Final Fantasy II, wears an elaborate bandanna decorated with jewels and beads.
    • In Final Fantasy V, all of Faris' pirate crew but herself wear bandanas. Every character including Faris will wear a bandanna when made into a thief through the Job System.
    • Final Fantasy VI has Locke, who is a thief that wears a bandana. He proves to be badass by saving Terra in Narshe at the beginning of the game, steals the clothes off of merchants and soldiers while they're wearing them, and in the World of Ruin, goes to a remote cave in the mountains in order to find the magicite Phoenix in order to resurrect his dead girlfriend.
    • Laguna's hulking giant of a companion Ward wears one in Final Fantasy VIII, here it gives him the impressions of a Naval soldier with his choice of weapons.
    • Lani, an axe-wielding bounty hunter and minor antagonist from Final Fantasy IX wears a bandana adorned with a feathered brooch.
    • Snow, the male lead of Final Fantasy XIII wears a black do-rag to show off his rebel-ness.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, the "Scion Traveler's Attire" that Tataru gives the Warrior in the lead-up to Shadowbringers includes a black bandana tied loosely around the Warrior's neck like a scarf.
    • The male human player character of Final Fantasy Legend II, as well as Arthur of Final Fantasy Legend III.
  • Fire Emblem has Dart and Darros, both of whom are pirates. Most enemy pirates wear bandanas as well.
  • Marcus Fenix of the Gears of War franchise is one of the most visible examples of this trope. He is only seen without his bandana twice: at the start of ''Gears of War'' and at the end of ''Gears of War 3''.
    • Dizzy Wallin also wears a bandana under his cowboy hat.
  • The Genei Tougi duology has the protagonist Kei Iwase sporting one. Notably, the cover for the first game, Genei Tougi: Shadow Struggle, featured a close up shot of his face with his red and white bandana in clear view.
  • A Waddle Dee that is used as a Joke Character Boss in Kirby Super Star Ultra wears a blue Bandana/do-rag to tell it apart from other Waddle Dees. He later appears as a main character in Kirbys Return To Dreamland where he wields a spear.
  • One of Link's equipable headgear pieces in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the Climbing Bandana, which lets him climb surfaces more quickly.
  • In Live A Live, Yun's brown hair is covered by a purple bandana at all times. While he's unsure of himself for much of the story, Shifu senses great potential in Yun to become a worthy successor to Earthen Heart Kung Fu. At the end of Yun's route, he and Shifu single-handedly defeat a small army of master martial artists and their attack animals. Yun then becomes the new Earthen Heart Master after defeating Ou Di Wan Li in single combat.
  • Solid Snake from Metal Gear. Big Boss wears one too, but his is a memento of his mentor, The Boss.
  • Metal Slug has both aspects of this trope in its playable cast: the original hero of the series, Marco Rossi, wears a simple white hachimaki, and his comrade Eri Kasamoto has a green bandana to keep her long hair in place. Ralf Jones in 6 and onward continues the trend.
  • Petra’s bandana in Minecraft: Story Mode also serves as her Iconic Item.
  • The main character and his partner are always depicted wearing a bandana around their necks in official art for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon; however, this doesn't show up in-game.
  • Gunrock in the Power Stone games wears a blue bandanna on his head to emphasise his working-class background as a miner.
  • The hero of Secret of Mana.
  • One of the (very noted) changes to Sonic's appearance in the Sonic Boom continuity is the brown bandana around his neck. Knuckles also inexplicably wears one in the old 90s OVA, coupled with an Indiana Jones hat.
  • Your hero in SturmFront: The Mutant War is a mutant-killing badass soldier wearing a red bandana.
  • Flik from Suikoden II.
  • Most Tales Series protagonists. There's even a skit about it here.
  • Mocked in Undertale by the 'Manly Bandanna' item. It's manly enough to have abs drawn on it.
  • Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness: The cover art features a human with a tricorn and an orc wearing a bandanna, giving both a nautical/piratical appearance respectively (as the game introduces naval combat to the series).
  • Dickson from Xenoblade Chronicles 1 sports a dark red one on his forehead, making him look somewhat like an old pirate.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: Seleenara is a sneaky pirate who wears an orange bandana.
  • Madness Combat, Hank and Sanford wear bandanas to signify that they're important. Which is easy considering the fact that everyone looks almost the same.


    Western Animation 
  • Motorcity: Capri, Mike Chilton's Cool Big Sis, wears one in the illustration creator Chris Prynoski drew.

    Real Life 
  • A number of real-life Badass Bikers wear bandannas as fashion statements.
  • The "Rambo" look was something adopted by soldiers in Vietnam for a practical purpose: Perspiration running down their foreheads would mix with their camouflage face-paint and hurt like hell if it got into their eyes.
  • Bandanas are a part of the Gang Banger uniform. Legend has it, the origin of this was an early member of the Crips, known as Buddha who was known to dress head to toe in blue including a blue bandana on his head, and after his death, the gang took up wearing the bandana as a tribute. And once the Bloods formed to oppose the Crips, they took up wearing red bandanas.