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Cape Swish

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Doyle: He likes playing the hero; walking off into the dark with his long coat flowing behind him in a mysterious and attractive way.
Cordelia: Is this a private moment? Because I can leave you alone.
Doyle: No, no, I'm not saying I'm attracted.
[A few minutes later we get a hero shot of Angel striding out the door, his longcoat billowing behind.]
Doyle: Maybe I'm a little attracted...
Angel, "I Fall To Pieces"

Not enough Dramatic Wind to blow your cape around in a satisfactory manner? Make your own! The easiest way is to turn around quickly, causing your cape to billow out behind. You might also want to hold it out with one hand as you swoop for maximum surface area, but a true master of the technique can achieve awesome cape flaring with a minimum of movement. Running forward or other sudden movements can also make a cape flare, but is less dignified. Be wary of a Cape Snag however, lest it become a Failed Attempt at Drama or worse.

This is a favorite move of any character that wears a cape, especially the Dastardly Whiplash. However, any character with a cape can pull it off. It can also be done with a cloak, robe, coat, or any similar long garment, or even with long hair.

Super-Trope to Flourish Cape in Front of Face. Compare Badass Cape, Ominous Opera Cape.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kazuo Kiriyama from Battle Royale wears a Coat Cape that swishes a bit too often in the manga.
  • Zero from Code Geass adores this trope. Every one of his incredibly dramatic public addresses is punctuated by a well-timed Cape Swish. In his R2 uniform, Suzaku does quite a few of them, too.
  • In Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, evil Magical Boy Kinshiro does this at every opportunity. In fact, there are several occasions when, fully untransformed and in his school uniform, he seems to swish an invisible cape.
  • Piccolo of Dragon Ball Z is quite good at this, though notably does it less often after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Count in Gankutsuou does this quite often.
  • Tuxedo Mask of Sailor Moon is fond of this. Kunzite was also known to do it.
  • Nobunaga Oda does one in the ninth episode of the Sengoku Basara anime adaption, right after murdering Pontiff Xavi and right before the Pontiff's chapel is burned to the ground.
  • The Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this, as do all the characters who sport capes, especially Simon and Kamina.

  • Sistine Chapel: In “The Creation of Adam”, God has sent his robes billowing and expanding to emphasize the force he's putting into Adam's creation. His flowing robes are so huge that they encompass twelve different people who surround God.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Big Fight, the rival village chieftain tells Vitalstatistix he turns his back on the to-be-defeated chief, which he does with a Cape Swish. Unfortunately his Shield Bearers think this also applies to them, so he ends up facing them again.
  • A staple of Batman, whose Cape Swish is actually weaponized. The cape contains weights, the better to smack mooks upside the head with.
  • Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation, helpfully, grants flight powers and has some (very vaguely defined) sentience. It can billow around on its own, and often does.
  • Tim Drake had an impressive cape for dramatic swishes as both Robin and Red Robin, though the practical application was different than his mentor's as swishing Tim's cape up is part of prepping it into acting as a glider.
  • Watchmen: Discussed in one of the excerpts from the memoirs of Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl. He considered trying to weaponize this trope, as his favorite pulp heroes used a well-timed swirl to make it seem they were standing a foot or so to one side of where they actually were to spoil a crook's aim, but abandoned the notion and left the cape off his costume entirely after a highly publicized incident where Dollar Bill's cape got caught in a closing door and he was shot dead by a bank robber while trying to free it.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2004): Gerard Butler's Phantom does this a lot, most notably in "Point of No Return." Because it's at the beginning of the 'Music of the Night' scene, one could have an infinite loop of cape swishing.
  • M. Bison does this EVERY SCENE in the Street Fighter movie. Seriously, every scene, at least once. Given how massive of a Large Ham he is, it's hilarious.

  • Hrathen does this in Elantris. When Sarene first sees him, she hopes he'll trip on it.
  • Severus Snape from Harry Potter is known for this, particularly when entering his classroom. It fits with his "evil bat of the dungeons" persona.
  • Bumbling magician Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn wants Dramatic Wind but has to settle for this instead.
  • A staple of The Shadow, who, in the original Pulp Magazine stories, used his cape to deflect bullets (the ability to cloud men's minds came later, with the radio adaptation).
  • Star Wars Legends mentions more than once that Darth Vader's cape streams behind him when he walks. In Death Star a gunner's hand is brushed by the edge of it as Vader passes. In Allegiance, Mara Jade can identify him from a distance because of that cape.
  • Sabre does this in The Tamuli. The heroes are distinctly underwhelmed by his theatrics.
The masked rider reared his horse dramatically, and his black cape swirled around him. Then he plunged down the far side of the crag and was gone.
"Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen in your life?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
  • Alan Statham from Green Wing attempts to do this with his lab coat, and spends a great deal of time walking back and forth and turning sharply in order to achieve this. It doesn't manage to make him any cooler.
  • Bruce Campbell in Jack of All Trades. Pretty much every scene where he's in his Daring Dragoon persona.
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus is in love with capes as a fashion accessory, to the point of swiping discarded medical capes. When he gets a chance to pitch his own series, he invents a hero called "The Capist".

  • The cloak worn by the title character in The Phantom of the Opera is designed to drape over and move with his arms, ensuring plenty of appropriately melodramatic cape swishing.
  • Carrying over from the manga, Tuxedo Mask from Sera Myu can swish a cape like it's his job. Especially while Brainwashed and Crazy. Enjoy Yuuga Yamato charming the heck out of the audience.
  • Pirelli in Sweeney Todd often makes use of these to amp up his Large Ham factor. See this footage of the 1982 tour cast.
  • Graf von Krolock in Tanz Der Vampire does this a lot, not least because the design of his cape actually forces the actor playing him to swoosh it back just to gesture- and being a musical, there's a lot of gesturing. His son Herbert rarely wears his own cape, but when he does, expect dramatic cape swishing as well.
  • In the Tsukiuta series:
    • In the idols' 2017 stage costumes (as seen in Memorial Tour and the Dance Live parts of Kurenai Enishi and Tsukino Empire), Shun has a dramatic cape that he swishes around quite a bit, fitting his image of the White Demon King. Hajime doesn't have a cape, but he has a long coat that can be used to this effect, in both this costume set, and the one from the first anime season (as seen in the above productions, and the Cyber Dive Connection dance live).
    • Hajime, Shun, and Shiki in Tsukino Empire. As commanders of fleets in this Space Opera AU, they get to show off their capes not only while dancing, but also while posing in imperial ceremonies, sword-fighting, and just generally walking around looking badass.
  • In Wicked, the musical, the choreography of "No Good Deed" ends with Elphaba swishing her cape with dramatic lighting to accompany the powerful, bitter music. It's badass.

    Video Games 


    Western Animation