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Badasses Wear Bandanas

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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 Nice Hat or 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.
  • May from Pokémon always wears one.
  • Ryoga Hibiki from Ranma ½ is a major badass and wears a leopard 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.

  • Pvt. Vasquez from Aliens gives an excellent Lad-ette example.
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Gizmo the Mogwai puts on a bandana (a move inspired by his watching Rambo) when he Takes A Level In Badass. He goes on to kill a Gremlin that has turned into a giant spider monster by firing a burning arrow at it and setting it on fire.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots! Part Deux when our muscular shirtless hero is standing with his back to the camera tying on his bandanna, except when he turns round we see he's tied it around his eyes. He then walks straight into a tentpole.
  • Will, Jack, and many other pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean franchise wear bandanas.
  • Sgt Jones in Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment invokes this trope when he puts a bandana on before capturing two would-be thieves.
  • The titular character of Rambo, is one of the most iconic and famous examples of his trope. Being an iconic action hero that's plenty badass and has worn it in almost every movie, the only exception being the exception of the fifth and final installment.
  • In Tora! Tora! Tora!, the mechanics chief gives Commander Fuchida a hachimaki for good luck just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    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.

    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 

    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.

    Web Comics 

    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.