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Clingy Costume

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The zipper's stuck!

"I! Can't! Take! This! Off!... Ever."

A costumed character cannot remove their costume, or an ordinary character cannot remove their clothes. Maybe a Freak Lab Accident has fused it to their body, maybe it's the only thing keeping them alive, or the only thing keeping those around them alive, or maybe it's a cursed Artifact of Doom. Whatever the reason, they have to wear it (or a substantial part of it) all the time; removing it is either very debilitating, very dangerous, or simply impossible.

For long-running series, finding a way to remove the costume may constitute a Story Arc, and actually doing so can provide an excuse to update a character's appearance. For some characters, this is a convenient source of Angst. Some works may address problems with (or make jokes about) waste disposal or other biological needs. This is also a fetish for some people, especially those with a forced chastity fetish.

This trope is found in many traditional RPGs in the form of "cursed" equipment and weapons. Typically these items will be noticeably more powerful than equivalent gear found at that point in the game, but will almost always come at the price of having a really nasty side-effect (such as being randomly stunned or damaging yourself while fighting). Trying to unequip the item under normal circumstances WILL invoke this trope, greeting you with an ominous message about you being unable to remove it. Legitimately removing clingy costumes would usually require a special spell, item, or a paid service from an NPC to do so - sometimes at the expense of that item.

When the item is smaller than an article of clothing, then it's a Clingy MacGuffin. The Heroic Host likely can't remove the costume because it's alive and bonded with him.

Also see Limited Wardrobe, Clothes Make the Superman and 24-Hour Armor. Contrast Unlikely Spare. Not to be confused with Form-Fitting Wardrobe.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: The Berserker armor will send spikes into the wearer's body to hold broken bones in place. This makes it very difficult to remove afterwards. It took several days for Guts' companions to get the armor off him after his first fight in it.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon the suits Team Touden made out of the giant frog skins ended up like this. They didn't have enough time to tan them properly so the blood ended up sticking to their clothing. They ended up removing them between chapters. Marcille mourns that the outfit she was wearing underneath the frog skin was unsalvageable.
  • Appears in Episode 10 of Those Who Hunt Elves, with an elf knight who comes to the group and asks for help removing a cursed set of armour, complete with longswords stuck to her hands. They eventually find a way to remove the armour, but she's gotten so used to wearing it that she decides to put it back on anyway.
  • Ranma ˝: Ranma gets stuck in a cursed swimsuit, which will drag "her" into the depths of the sea unless honestly complimented by a particular man.
  • Kanokon Chizuru puts on a bunny girl costume to attract Kouta, but the bunny costume is cursed and is draining her life force, while transforming all the school girl uniforms into cosplay costumes.
  • As per the original lore, the Dullahan of Deadline Summoner cannot remove her armor.
  • Meiko from Prison School puts on an extremely tight catsuit to patrol the school grounds at night. Later on however she needs to use the restroom but can't since the zipper of the suit is stuck. She ends up having to tear the zipper off and uses the toilet nude.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: In the episode "Mystery at the Lighthouse", Ash, Misty and Brock come across Bill, a Pokémon Watcher who is stuck inside a Kabuto suit (as opposed to having actually turned himself into a Pokémon like in the game this season was based on) since he can't reach the button that opens the costume. Ash helps him out.
  • Hans from Pumpkin Scissors has to wear a protective flamethrower-wielder suit for the rest of his life because (as he found out from what happened to the rest of his unit) the anesthetic fluid inside that's meant to numb the pain of the intense heat is also a preservative- you take off the suit, and your body falls apart from the damage the flamethrower's caused you without you noticing.
  • In A.I.C.O. Incarnation, Divers wear artificial organism suits to protect themselves from the Matter. Since Aiko's body is made almost entirely of artificial organisms, the suit clings to her when she puts it on.
  • Kill la Kill: Goku Uniforms are crafted from Life Fibers that give the wearers special powers. When Ryuko encounters Kamui Senketsu, he forces her to wear him and she can't seem to take him off until later. Satsuki wears Junketsu later and her determination allows her to control him. The "clingyness" part can be justified as tiny needles stick to their bodies, drinking their blood to activate. When Junketsu is forcefully put on Ryuko near the end of the series it is literally sewn to her. It takes a huge amount of effort, and her nearly dying, to get the Junketsu off of her.
  • The manga anthology for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has Shuichi using a costume-changing machine at the casino, and accidentally forcing Maki into a maid's uniform. Very quickly, they learn it can't be removed, so Shuichi tries the machine over and over again to undo his mistake, resulting in everyone's outfits getting changed.
  • In Precarious Woman Executive Miss Black General, the hero Metal Prisoner wasn't told the experimental Powered Armor he was trying would permanently connect to his nervous system and that removing it would kill him until after he put it on. He's not very happy with the suit's creator.

    Comic Books 
  • Emp from Empowered has an inversion of this. It does fit much like a second skin. She even has to shave her pubic region or she gets what's often referred to as steel wool. However, the costume tears really easily. The more insecure the more easily it tears. Given her powers come from how intact the costume is, she's made more insecure the weaker she gets, leading to her being practically naked quite often.
  • Spawn eventually discovered that he didn't use magic to turn his elaborate cape and chains into weapons and other tools, but that his suit did so of its own will, because K7-Leetha is actually a demon noblewoman that had been bonded to him as part of the process of making him into a Hellspawn. And Leetha is very clingy indeed, complete with Spawn having to physically rip the semi-liquid and fighting-to-stay-attached suit/demon off. Leetha taunted him when he finally came back that she knew he would, calling their "relationship" deeper than any human idea of love.
  • Spider-Man:
    • There have been a number of villains with this trope, such as the Rhino, the Scorpion, Dr. Octopus (only when it comes to his mechanical arms), Venom, Carnage, and the Molten Man.
    • The Symbiotes/Klyntar (which Venom and Carnage belong to) are a species of this. They're aliens that bond to a host and use them to feed in exchange for granting superpowers. They tend to be clingy and really hate being removed from said hosts — Venom is the current page image. The Venom symbiote became a villain because Peter rejected it when he found out it was alive — and, to be fair, after he nearly killed it and Eddie's hatred corrupted it.
    • The Spider-Man movie video game hangs a lampshade on this. "Man, going to the bathroom must be a nightmare for you!"
    • Scorpion eventually escapes this... just to receive the Venom symbiote. Rhino, too, eventually manages to get rid of the costume and goes straight... for a time.
    • Spider-Gwen, after bonding with her universe's symbiote.
  • Iron Man: For a while, Tony Stark needed to wear his breastplate all the time (even under his civilian clothing) because it was the only thing stopping the shrapnel from reaching his heart.
    • In the movie, it's just the arc reactor and electromagnet which form the glowing blue part in the center.
    • The Ultimate Iron Man version of Tony Stark has a genetic problem that requires him to constantly wear biotech armor all over his body.
  • Astro City:
    • The super-villain Steeljack is coated with a liquid steel that permanently covers his entire body. He's astoundingly tough even ignoring his armor-plating, and really strong, but apparently human underneath it.
    • It is suggested that the N-Forcer is part of this trope; he is always shown as an Energy Being wearing various technological appliances.
  • In G.I. Joe (IDW), an accident with an experimental teleportation device requires Destro to wear a full-body metal suit (with face mask) to stay alive.
  • Sonic the Comic specifically mentions that the character Shortfuse is connected to the circuitry of his Cybernik armor. He finally escapes it in the penultimate storyline. His Evil Counterpart Vermin is also connected to the circuitry of his Cybernik armor.
  • This happened with Blue Devil, who was formerly an SFX-guy/stuntman. His costume is (magically) fused to him.
  • Beatrix Farmer in the short-lived Comic Book Tales of Beatrix is a (rabbit-)girl who is given a "suit of invulnerability" by hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings. It's actually a kind of force field that can't be removed, and while it keeps her safe from all harm it also prevents her from tasting or feeling things. Bummer.
  • The various Human Bombs from Freedom Fighters have to wear suits at all times to keep from, well, exploding.
  • One alternate-universe version of Captain Britain named Captain Granbretan got his powers from a magical costume that allowed him to serve as a superhero for a while. The problem is, Captain Granbretan eventually wants to stop being a superhero... and the costume, which turns out to be sentient organism, decides that it isn't going to let him.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Josie Beller was almost completely paralyzed in a Decepticon attack. She built herself a full-body exosuit that restored her mobility and gave her super powers, then called herself Circuit Breaker and started a vendetta against all Transformers. Which didn't keep it from being tin-foil covered TnA.
  • Happens twice in the original Squadron Supreme limited series:
    • As Nuke's power continues to grow, he has to wear a lead-lined suit to avoid irradiating everyone around him.
    • Thermite has temperature-based powers; he has to always wear his costume and regulator pack to keep them in check.
  • The Witchblade in the Witchblade comics/series/film/anime is either a Clingy MacGuffin or a Clingy Costume, depending on the situation.
  • In Johnny Saturn, the arch-villain Tactical, who wears power armor, is forced to wear his armor all the time for life support and mobility support after he has a stroke.
  • The Post-Crisis Captain Atom has (alien) metal permanently bonded to his flesh by a nuclear explosion. However, he's able to assume human form. Bombshell and Major Force are also bonded with samples of the metal.
  • One of the older comics variants is Vance Astro of the Guardians of the Galaxy. As an astronaut, in order to survive a thousand-year experimental sublight journey to Alpha Centauri, he was put inside a copper-lined uniform for the loooooong journey. If it is ever pierced in any way, he will suddenly age a thousand years.
  • The Beta Suit from Echo, though capable of amazing wonders and made of a wondrous new alloy, simply will not come off. This leads to some problems, as the suit seems to be slowly rewriting Julie Martin's DNA with the recently-deceased Annie, and in a little while, there might not be any of Julie left.
  • Hazmat of Avengers Academy emits all sorts of lethal chemicals and radiation and must wear a Hazmat Suit at all times to avoid killing everyone around her.
  • Ambush Bug cannot get his suit off, since the zipper is stuck. (He is that kind of superhero.)
  • Batman villain Mr. Freeze depends on his cryogenic suit to stay alive, due to a chemical accident that permanently lowered his body temperature. It isn't that he can't take the suit off, though; he's occasionally shown in a robe (or even less) in well-refrigerated rooms and other cold places.
  • Invincible hero Zack Thompson aka Tech Jacket. His suit of Adaptive Armor, from which he gets his name, is Imported Alien Phlebotinum from a frail-bodied race where everyone is equipped with a tech jacket at birth. As tech jackets are made with that race in mind, they're programmed to not let the wearer remove them. Zack only received his because its previous wearer was already dying, and so was able to make an emergency transfer to protect Zack from the explosion of its space ship. Fortunately, the tech jacket can retract into the form of a vest that fits under Zack's clothes, and it removes dirt and germs from his body for him, making it unnecessary to bathe. Also, he's been shown to be able to have sex while wearing it.
  • Wonder Woman (1942) #80 has Wonder Woman fall asleep one day (near a pond, no less), then wake up to find herself trapped in a mask that's rigged to explode.
  • Captain America: Nazi scum Baron Zemo (the original) tried to attack the Allies with his dreaded Adhesive X, but Captain America foiled his plan and caused his pink mask to be permanently glued to his face. Zemo could talk and breathe but needed to feed through an IV. He survived for decades in South America with the mask on his face (imagine the smell!)
  • In Legacy, Darth Krayt's armor was, in fact, Yuuzhan Vong symbiotes that could not be removed from his body. And they constantly threatened to take over his body. Hey, are Clingy Costumes a Sith fashion?
  • War Woman, the Wonder Woman-esque protagonist of Chuck Austen's Worldwatch, is permanently stuck in her large winged tiara.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Without his ERG-suit, Wildfire is just a mass of anti-energy, shapeless and largely unable to interact with the rest of the world.
  • Runaways:
    • The comic originally seemed to be going this direction with Chase's fistigons, robotic gloves that shoot fire, but the idea was quickly scrapped, perhaps because the writers realized that Chase would have difficulty performing everyday tasks like holding a fork or getting dressed.
    • In one alternate universe shown in What If? ("What if the Runaways had become the Young Avengers?"), Chase gets stabbed in the chest by Victorious (Victor Mancha's evil future self) and has to wear Iron Lad's chest plate for the rest of his life to keep the wound from re-opening.
  • In H'el on Earth, H'el's attack on Superboy and Superman causes Superboy's DNA to unravel. To save him, Superman puts his battle-suit on him, stopping the process. Until he is cured, Superboy can't remove the suit or he will die.
  • In Justice League Elite, the alien "crèche" that Menagerie wears alters her body chemistry, and thus she has to wear some part of it at all times. When it's revealed that she was responsible for the murder of Bhat, the crèche is forcibly removed from her, which nearly kills her.
  • Jaeger from Robin (1993) has had his mask surgically attached to his face and it cannot be removed.
  • Subverted in the 1940s-set Top 10 Prequel The Forty-Niners. The comic's Iron Man Captain Ersatz is supposedly a scientist who was seriously injured in a lab accident and depends on a suit that is combined Power Armour and life-support. It is eventually revealed that he is actually a fully sentient robot created by the scientist, who was killed in the lab accident, and is passing as human to evade anti-AI bigotry.
  • In Red Sonja: Blue, Sonja's signature Chainmail Bikini is damaged in a fight with a demon named Bhamothes requiring her to make a new outfit out of the demon's fur after she kills him. Unfortunately, the demon's essence remains even in its fur and in the follow up series Red Sonja: Unchained, Sonja is not only unable to remove it but it turns her into a wolf demon when it comes into contact with blood.
  • In Ant, Hannah's ant costume is actually a gathering of nano-bots that form to her body, and will simply grow back even when she rips them apart.
  • Wolverine: The villain Cyber wears a suit of Adamantium armor that he can't remove. He was eventually killed by Apocalypse, who wanted the Adamantium to restore Wolverine's Adamantium skeleton and claws when he turned him into his latest Horseman of Death. Cyber drifted as a disembodied consciousness for a while, then was able to take over the body of a developmentally disabled man who had Super-Strength, at which point he got himself a new unremovable suit of Adamantium armor. Unfortunately for him, just as the armor was permanently fixed into place he discovered that his new body had a heart condition, and his armor meant that surgery to correct the issue was no longer possible. He instead had to get an external pacemaker installed, but there wasn't enough Adamantium left to protect it so the person he went to instead used Carbonadium, which is nearly as strong as Adamantium but highly toxic. Cue Oh, Crap! as Cyber realized he was now permanently stuck to it.
  • In ROM (IDW), Rom and the other Space Knights' armor is made of a shapeshifting alien metal that provides all sorts of benefits but also fuses to their skin and can never be removed once donned, which is the source of some angst for Rom. At the end of Rom vs. Transformers: Shining Armor, Stardrive's feat of tearing the armor off her body when she abandons the Space Knights is a therefore an unprecedented act, later attributed to her being a Mechanical Lifeform for whom the metal behaves differently — the same species as the metal's creator, in fact, though nobody knows this at the time.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Harry Potter fic His First Kill, Harry tries on the titular victim's Death Eater mask out of curiosity and after accidentally biting his lip, it blood-bonds with him and he is unable to remove it.
  • Littlepip, the main character of Fallout: Equestria, has her Pip-Buck merge with her leg after being exposed to Pink Cloud. There's also her companion, SteelHooves, who can never remove his full-body armor for similar reasons.
  • In Cinderjuice, the shoes loaned to Beetlejuice by the Fairy Godfather will not come off until the terms of the Magically-Binding Contract have been fulfilled. This creates a problem when he is unable, for reasons beyond his understanding, to do what's been asked of him.
  • Angel of the Bat: Da Pacem Domine presents the Suit of Sorrows in this way. It can be removed, but only when its wearer is killed or by a specially trained religious figure.
  • Vow of Nudity: Spectra's necklace, like all cursed items in the setting, is impossible to remove. It's also a curse of forced nudity, meaning the necklace is the only thing she ever gets to wear.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Star Wars, Darth Vader's bodysuit is also a life support system, and he will die without it. Vader actually has two of these, since bits of his Jedi tunic were burnt into his skin during the incident that caused him to require life support in the first place.
  • Although obviously not a full costume, Maid Marian's "chastity belt" in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
  • In Edward Scissorhands, Edward is unfinished at the time of his creator's death, leaving him with, well, scissorhands, but also seemingly permanent black leather clothing that is always somewhat visible beneath the normal clothes that are given to him to wear.
  • The Mask: The mask is pretty damn hard to remove once you put it on, painful even.
  • In Onibaba, this happens with the demonic mask when Kichi's mother tries to scare her.
  • Elysium: Max's Exosuit is surgically grafted to his bones.
  • The eponymous character of Eli Roth's Clown dons a clown outfit for his son's birthday, and then learns he can no longer remove it and it is transforming him.
  • In Lazer Team, when Zach, Hagan, Herman, and Woody try on various pieces of a set of Powered Armor found in the wreckage of a crashed spaceship, they find themselves unable to remove the pieces. Justified, as the suit pieces visibly drill into their body.
  • In One Crazy Summer, this happens to Egg (Bobcat Goldthwait) when he gets stuck in a full rubber Godzilla suit. Then Hilarity Ensues when he ends up wrecking a model condominium setup in his rampage to get out of the costume, as if it were the real Godzilla stomping through Tokyo.

  • Star Wars: Darth Bane was permanently encrusted with parasites called orbalisks. The good news: They heal you so fast a blade won't even pass all the way through before the cut heals again. They amplify your dark-side powers. They block blasterfire and lightsabers. The bad news: You have to wear special gloves and helmet or they infest your face and hands. They cause flashes of destructive rage. They subject you to constant agony. If any of them die, they take you with them. And they are hideous.
  • Dune:
    • The stillsuits worn by the Fremen on Arrakis are designed to be worn constantly to keep you alive in the deep desert. They are frequently mentioned as having a permeating stink, seeing that Fremen bather very infrequently, if at all. Stillsuits recycle more than just air and sweat - they recycle everything.
    • Leto II has a variant in Children of Dune when he bonds to a suit of sandtrout (larval form of the mighty sandworms). By the next book, God-Emperor of Dune, he's been bonded to the suit for some 3,500 years and is more of a sandworm with a human face and what USED TO BE a human mind.
  • In the Goosebumps book "The Haunted Mask", the main character's mask becomes fused to her face.
  • Norman in Rose Madder, by Stephen King, has the same thing happen to him with a rubber full-head bull mask.
  • In Chris Wooding's book Storm Thief, Rail cannot take his mask off because it's actually a black metal oxygen mask; without it he cannot breathe.
  • The alien Parshendi of The Stormlight Archive actually grow armor upon entering warform, and keep it until they shift to another form.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension Sonic is briefly tricked into wearing one of these. It prevents any movement on voice activation and can only be deactivated by somebody else; but seemingly anybody else, which means it's easy to get out of if somebody friendly finds you.
  • In the Great Ship series, the Remoras - a subspecies of humanity who lives on the exterior hull of the Greatship - are permanently sealed in their spacesuits; it is a Uterine Replicator when they are conceived, and is grown and added onto as they age. To ask a Remora to take off their suit is both a fundamental offense and outright impossible without a fusion torch.
  • A Body Horror example the very short story Walls of Nigeria by Jeremy Szal, where a soldier can't take off his exoarmor because its actively growing into him.
  • In the Deltora Quest novel Shadowgate, the protagonists meet the Masked Ones, a group of travelling entertainers who all wear masks. The majority of them wear normal masks, but the inner circle wear masks that make them look half-animal, and it's later revealed that their masks are joined to their skin, making them unable to be removed.
  • Perry Rhodan: Alaska Saedelare got afflicted with a fragment of an alien life form stuck in his face as a result of a transporter accident. Looking at it caused people to go mad - usually fatally so. So, Alska had to wear a mask over the fragment to not kill everyone he meets. When he centuries later gets rid of it, after a long while - he had gotten used to living as normally as an undying man can - a representative of the Higher Powers "gifts" him a new one as he is more the mask than the man beneath.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Sanctuary had a guest star appear in a superhero suit that he couldn't take off. Will even asks him about wastes.
  • Imagination Movers had an episode where Mr. Knit Knots is stuck into a colorful costume, which is something he didn't like at all. He needs to take it off before the time he had to meet with his "Boring Club".
  • In Star Trek, Borg have bodies with armor firmly fused on.
  • Season 9 of Stargate SG-1 has those "Marriage Bracelets" that supposedly belonged to Nuit, but were actually very odd shackles that would kill the wearers if away from each other for a period of time, used to... "reprimand" Jaffa who "lose" an important prisoner.
    • Also, the "Atoniek armbands," which only come off after the wearer's immune system rejects the virus the armbands use as an interface. Hopefully, the wearer hasn't gone into fatal organ failure before that happens.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Daleks live inside their battle armor, which doubles as life support and transportation. Outside the shell, they're soft, octopus-like things with exposed brains and feebly wriggling tentacles.
    • Likewise, conversion into a Cyberman is permanent; especially so for the Cybus Cybermen, as it's just a human brain in a robotic shell.
  • Scorpius's coolant suit from Farscape: not impossible to remove, but if it ever is he suffers dangerous heatstroke very rapidly, as his screwed-up hybrid biology makes him unable to control his body temperature if he exerts himself even mildly.
  • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder had this happen to Tommy when Jason David Frank was unavailable except for voiceovers for a while.
  • An episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a super-powerful glove that is impossible to remove as long as the wearer is still alive.
  • An episode of Fridaythe13th The Series had a cursed cape that made its wearer irresistible to women while they were wearing it, but would age them to a shriveled husk within seconds of being removed.
  • The Artifact of the Week in an episode of Warehouse 13 is a pair of underwear which belonged to a wrestler. They manipulate the wearer's mass and end up very difficult to remove, threatening to turn the unlucky SoB into a blackhole.
  • A very light example in the Stick Stickly TV special Stuck, where much of the plot revolves around Stick getting an ice skate stuck on his foot.
  • An episode of Victorious had Tori let Cat put zombie prosthetics on her, only for Cat to accidentally use an industrial-strength adhesive to apply them to Tori's face, requiring Cat and Trina to go out of town for a solvent while Tori had to act in a play.

    Myth & Folklore 
  • Crossing into the Becoming the Mask territory, a Korean folktale tells of a lazy guy who wished to live a life like the cattle in the fields, without any human work or duties. A strange old man showed him a bull mask and a bull hide, and told him to put them on for his wish to come true. He did and was immediately turned into a bull, and the man sold him to a farmer. He warned that this bull should never eat a radish, because it would kill him. After some time working day and night as a bull, the youth have had enough and ate a radish to die, only for the mask and hide to finally come off and become human again.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Occurs several times in Warhammer 40,000:
    • Crippled or otherwise incapacitated superhuman Space Marines who have a noteworthy career have a chance to end up in the confines of a cybernetic sarcophagus. This sarcophagus, besides being a life support system able to sustain a Space Marine indefinitely, is specifically designed to function as the cockpit of the Dreadnought walker. The Space Marine within the sarcophagus will control the robotic body of the walker and experience the outside world through cybernetic neural links implanted within his life support system and sensors built into the Dreadnought. The downside of this arrangement: they're permanently stuck inside the Dreadnought until it's destroyed, often killing the pilot, and they sometimes undergo neurological decay, sometimes hallucinating about their setting or forgetfulness not unlike Alzheimer's. The Space Marines encased within Dreadnoughts are often thousands of Terran years old.
    • For Space Marines being encased within a Dreadnought, and to be able to continue to battlefield service, is considered the highest honor for one who is otherwise permanently incapacitated by injury. For Chaos Space Marines, qualifications for being ensconced within a Dreadnought are similar, but it's seen as being a punishment for failure and personal defeat. They are forced to keep on living and fighting, though they can't enjoy the pleasure of battle and slaughter personally and have to do it through a numbed sensory apparatus from having to experience battle secondhand through the Dreadnought's sensors. This difference of perception very much comes from the two factions' different mindsets, and the fact that loyalist dreadnoughts are usually kept in hibernation between battles (for up to centuries at a time), so they don't experience the everyday problems of having weapons for arms, while Chaos dreadnoughts have their weapons removed and made to wait until they're deemed worthy of fighting again. Is it any wonder they have a special rule that makes them fire on their own side sometimes?
    • The orks, who only care about war, will often pay the local Mekaniak (or "Mekboy") to have themselves sealed in a suit of mega armour. If that's not far enough, they can also be sealed inside a Deff Dread, a crude mini-mecha. They soon discover the main disadvantage to being sealed inside a can, which is... being sealed inside a can.
    • In the Chaos factions, Obliterators and Mutilators have Fleshmetal Armor. The name should say it all. It comes from their bodies mutating and twisting under the power of Chaos so that their bodies and equipment warp and fuse, absorbing their weapons and armor. Their weapons replace their hands and their armor replaces their flesh. It's as painful as it sounds. The same goes for any Chaos Space Marine with the "Daemon" rule, as they invariably have melded with their armor (but for balance reasons most do not actually have Fleshmetal Armor).
    • In times past, it was said that Khorne Berserkers' armour fused with their flesh, to the point that it would bleed when struck. It still provided protection from blows equivalent to the unmodified original suit though.
      • If you immediately asked how they go to the bathroom, the suit canonically includes "recyclers", which can recycle body waste into a nutrient rich form that is fed back into them intravenously or as an edible, bland paste. Yes, their armour turns their poop into food. Also many Chaos Marines are also directly empowered by the Gods of the Warp. It wouldn't be unheard of for Khorne to empower a particularly dedicated murderous psychopath to feed off death, or to drink blood through their mouth grill (or have it turn into a fanged mouth) instead of eating food.
      • And while this is largely part of abandoned lore, a few pieces of lore have picked it up again, and it expanded to more forces than just those of Khorne.
  • In the original Warhammer Fantasy, in at least the most recent editions, it's heavily implied this is what happens to Chaos Warriors once they take up Chaos Armor.
    • Only if the warrior gains the 'gift' of Chaos Armor more than once, in which case there is a chance that the armor will permanently fuse with him.
    • Malekith, Witch-King of the Dark Elves, has this going on too. Unable to deceive the Flames of Asuryan, Malekith was burned almost to a crisp when he tried to take the throne of Ulthuan. Crippled and unable to fight, he had the renegade sorcerer Hotek forge the Armor of Midnight and strapped himself into it fresh from the forge, fusing it to his body through a combination of flesh-searing heat and magic.
  • In Exalted, the First And Forsaken Lion has been permanently welded into his armor for failing his Neverborn master.
  • This is the flavour of the Magic: The Gathering card Living Armor.
    • There's also Grafted Wargear, which is impractical to remove without killing the equipped creature.
  • In Infernum, this is one way to look at the "Chain of Living Armor", which increases the natural armor of the demon greatly. It's more an aversion of the trope, however, as one branch lets the character absorb it back into their flesh to move more easily/disguise they have it, and a player can flavor it any way from armor fused to their flesh to a demonic exo-skeleton to transmutation into living stone to a preternaturally tough, inflexible skin.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition) has a nifty creature known as the Resplendent Cloaker. It's a land-based, parasitic ray that resembles, duh, a cloak and feeds, not on its host, but on its host's injuries. On the other hand, it leeches life energy from its host to mend its own injuries.
    • Second Edition also had a suit of armor called the Black Prison. Crafted by a Demon Prince, it's incredibly powerful and makes the wearer no longer need to eat, sleep, or even breathe once they put it on. However, due to having been crafted by a Demon Prince it's also cursed- once donned it can't be removed as long as the wearer lives and and eventually it drives its wearer permanently insane, causing them to go on a murderous rampage until they're eventually killed. Oh, and just in case someone had the bright idea of removing it by letting themselves be killed then raised from the dead? When you die in it your soul is automatically sent to the Demon Prince who crafted the armor, and he's not going to give back any souls he gets.
    • Eberron has the prestige class Bone Knight, members of which craft armor from bone. At high level, the armor fuses with the bone knight's body and can't be removed anymore. Distressingly, while the Bone Knight gains a lot of powers that make them more and more like undead, the rules don't say the bone knight no longer needs to eat or drink, nor excreting.
  • Rustynuts's armor from The Insane Quest of Unfathomable Randomness. He's had it on for so long that it's rusted to his body.

    Video Games 
  • The heroine of the Metroid franchise, Samus Aran, can normally get out of her Power Suit at will. In Metroid Fusion, it is revealed that her Power Suit cannot be removed without Samus's active participation; when she is infected by the X Parasites and slips into a coma, the medics working on her are forced to surgically remove the corrupted portions of her Suit.
  • The Big Daddies from BioShock are grafted into their diving suits.
  • In City of Heroes, there's Positron — when the game was first released, he was stuck in his anti-matter driven Powered Armor suit. He got better, but at the time, if his suit even caught a leak, he would have exploded with enough force to erase a metropolis from the map. In one comic, the Batman-Ersatz Manticore actually manages to bluff several supervillains into fleeing by threatening to put one of his armor-piercing arrows through Positron's suit. It's revealed in the 'Origins of Power' story arc that his superpower is that his body produces antimatter, which his suit collects and uses for power. When he was injured in the Rikti War prior to the release of the game, he lost control of that ability and was continually producing antimatter, forcing him to remain enclosed in the suit. When he was regenerated after being defeated fighting the Honoree, the process restored his control over his ability.
  • Similarly, Man-Bot in Freedom Force wears a powered exoskeleton that contains the energies he generates. He can't take the armor off lest his power starts killing people.
  • In Golden Sun, cursed armor items cannot be removed unless a healer is paid to remove it for you.
  • There are two occurrences of this in Mass Effect:
    • The quarians have extremely weak immune systems, and their enviro-suits filter out pathogens and germs that could make them sick. Brief exposure to outside air can, at the very least, cause fever, coughing and congestion. Worse, it can cause delirium and death.
    • The volus come from a Venus-like world, where both atmospheric pressure and surface gravity are higher than normal. As a result, whenever they enter the lower-pressure atmosphere that humans and other species live in, they have to wear pressure suits, otherwise they'll suffocate and their bodies will actually split open.
  • In Rogue, cursed armor cannot be removed. Unfortunately, the only way to know if it's cursed is to put it on.
    • Most every roguelike has cursed armor which behaves like that. As well as jewelry, weapons and other equipment. Throwables and ammo can also be cursed, and while that keeps you from unequipping them, you can always shoot/throw them anyway, so it's not quite as noticeable as with most other items.
    • Dungeon Crawl has a god of curses, Ashenzari. His followers deliberately wear cursed equipment — the more, the better — to gain useful abilities like identifying items, sensing their surroundings, and getting free skill boosts.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • The animatronic suits in the games are full of sharp metal so if you were to get in one, voluntarily or not, you would be crushed and mutilated before you could escape.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 revealed the Springlock animatronics that could also be worn like a costume. Phone Guy's instructions make it very clear that doing this is incredibly risky as the spring locks can come loose very easily (even by breathing on them), which would cause all the animatronic goodies to spring back into place and impale the wearer like an iron maiden. In fact, Serial Killer William Afton was trapped and seemingly killed this way inside the Spring Bonnie suit. But he always comes back, his soul reanimating his corpse within the suit as the murderous "Springtrap".
  • The StarCraft II trailer shows how a Space Marine is made, including getting permanently sealed into his armor. In this particular instance it's because Tychus Findlay is indeed sealed in it thanks to Arcturus Mengsk.. This isn't always the case, since they've shown characters who put it on and take it off (Raynor, for one). Moreover, while they have cybernetics there's no way to use the bathroom in one of those things.
    • Many human infantry are criminals working off their sentence in a sort of a mobile prison. Presumably the suit is unsealed at the end of their "tour of duty". The career of a typical unsealed Terran Marine will typically mean getting ripped apart/severed by claws/fangs/energy blasts/psi blades/plasma blasts/explosions or just plain lead poisoning, so it's actually doing them a favor.
  • The artwork for Cecil's Dark Knight armor in Final Fantasy IV implies it to be this: the individual pieces are apparently tied directly onto his skin, much like a more disturbing version of shoelaces.
    • In the DS remake, due to the graphical limitations, there's a scene early on in the game where Dark Knight Cecil goes to bed. But he keeps his armor on - mask and all! That couldn't be comfortable. Kain does the same when you visit Inns.
    • The same was also true in previous iterations of the same game; not having sprites for characters with and without armor the characters merely climb into bed in full plate mail.
  • The entry for Famfrit, one of the Espers in Final Fantasy XII states that he was sealed inside of his armour by the gods as punishment for joining Ultima's rebellion.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, one of Link's important tools is the Deku Mask, which turns him into a tiny plant-like monster. Link is cursed with it by the Skull Kid at the start of game, but he is able to cure himself and others when he recovers the Ocarina of Time. Afterwards, Link can play a song that turns curses and restless spirits into masks that grant Link some new power. Ironically, Link is faster as a Deku, and needs the form's abilities to finish the game.
  • Expanded in Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner, where Dingo is wearing a suit that's supplementing his internal organs (or lack thereof) which is powered by Jehuty's life support systems, making him unable to exit her lest it kills him.
  • The character Python from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops wears a liquid-nitrogen suit to prevent his heightened body heat from destroying his internal organs.
  • In Dragon Age, dwarves who are made into golems can't remove the armour they're given, at least not after the molten lyrium is poured in with them..
  • Fighter Roar suffers from this problem in Endless Frontier EXCEED. Wouldn't be that bad if the main crew didn't decide to go relax in an onsen.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Cursed equipment cannot be removed until a priest performs the skill Benediction on the character.
    • Dragon Quest: As soon as you equip the Cursed Belt, the game informs you that "The Cursed Belt is squeezing thee tightly."
  • Hakuoro of Utawarerumono wakes up with a horned white mask stuck to his face.
  • Ratchet's armor in Ratchet: Deadlocked is implied to be this, with only his helmet being able to easily be removed.
  • The Ghost People in Fallout: New Vegas add-on Dead Money are trapped in their hazmat suits, since the buckles rusted due to the toxic cloud.
    • There's also the Y-17 Trauma Override Harness in Old World Blues. Their occupants have long since died though.
      • The Stealth Suit Mk. II is the other kind of clingy. It has a pathological need for your approval.
    • Frank Horrigan in Fallout 2 is permanently grafted into his Power Armor.
  • Alcatraz in Crysis 2, although it's more because he was a corpse when Prophet found him and stuck him in the Nanosuit, it's the only thing keeping him alive. It's not even up to him now, as the Nanosuit is semi-sentient and was so badly traumatized by its previous user's death that it refuses to be separated from Alcatraz because doing so would kill him too.
    • By the time Crysis 3 rolls around, Alcatraz has finally expired and the Nanosuit is now essentially Animated Armor being operated by a digital backup of Prophet's mind. In this case, Prophet cannot take off the suit because he literally is the suit now - but he can command the suit's nanites to reconstruct the suit into a visually near-identical copy of his original human body without affecting any of its internal functionality.
  • At least in the first Digimon World, it is implied that Monzaemon are but Numemon that slide in a yellow bear costume and get stuck in there. The player per se can only make a Numemon evolve into a Monzaemon if the costume is in Toy Town, though. Actually, most puppet Digimon like \Ex\Tyrannomon and Pumpkinmon look like there's something living within the costume. Armor Digimon also seem to be unable to take out pieces of their armor without de-evolving, but certain fanfics disagree. Averted with Nohemon, who is actually controlled from the outside by a crow of all things. It's also played with Betsumon, whose existence depends on him cosplaying as other Digimon; Betsumon's costume qualifies as clingy in that he cannot take it off, but he can change its overall appearance.
  • Dollface in Twisted Metal: Black wears a mask that her former boss locked on to her head and nailed to her face. Her counterpart from the 2012 game put on her mask voluntarily and it's also stuck to her face, though here it's magic.
  • The various forms of the Sith Stalker skins from The Force Unleashed are, in flavour text, stated to be permanently attached to Starkiller's body, although you can swap it out in gameplay. He gets them fused on in the non-canon Dark Side ending, but extra missions played after said ending - such as Tatooine and Hoth - have no more restriction to swapping skins than any other part of gameplay.
  • Barik in Tyranny had the bad luck of being caught up in a magical storm that fused his armor along with bits and pieces of the weapons and armor of the battlefield fallen to his body. While this gives him impressive defenses in-game, it's also an utter pain to live with. In the Bastard's Wound DLC, his personal quest gives you the chance to finally help him remove it at the cost of his commander Graven Ashe's life.
  • In Sonic Labyrinth, Eggman puts on Sonic a special pair of sneakers that prevent him from using his Super-Speed. He has to collect the Chaos Emeralds to get them off.
  • Before the events of Soulcalibur IV, Siegfried is left mortally wounded after he and Nightmare clashed with the newly restored Soul Calibur and Soul Edge, respectively, a clash that created so much energy that it created a myriad of effects across the world. Soul Calibur is able to save Siegfried's life by transforming his armor into a crystalline suit, but because it's the main thing keeping him alive he can't take it off. By Soulcalibur V, he no longer needs the crystalline armor to sustain himself, since Soul Calibur left a fragment of itself inside his body to sustain him.
  • The Dvar of Age of Wonders: Planetfall are descendants of people trapped on an inhospitable mining world when the collapse of the Star Union destroyed all FTL travel and communication. Since leaving their hazard suits would be suicide outside their habitats the entire Dvar race has evolved to wear them constantly (they were trapped a long time), and cannot handle direct atmospheric exposure any more, even on non-hostile worlds. The Dvar campaign follows Inessa Zhelezo's attempt to use the Xenoplague as a means to kick-start Dvar evolution to the point that they can leave their hazard suits behind, while her father Korvin believes the Dvar are better off keeping to the old ways.

  • In Deverish Also, Kuroraki's magic armor is supposed to repair itself, but the magic went wrong and caused the armor to effectively weld itself shut. He's just lucky there's no helmet.
  • In Our Little Adventure, Rocky wore a mithril chain shirt that had a minor curse on it (an apparently embarrassing message that was invisible to him). Rocky couldn't remove his armor until he next levelled up and got another will save to shake the curse off.
  • Punchline, in Super Stupor, gained his powers (such as they are) when he fell into an industrial vat of toxic adhesive chemicals. One effect is that the mask he was wearing became permanently bonded to his face.

    Web Original 
  • Forever Costumed, a gallery of women trapped in animal costumes. Worst off is Jessica Peel and Gena Kelly, who are trapped in a two-person horse costume with no arms.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1545 is a two-person llama costume that traps its wearers inside until they die of hunger or thirst, unless they are forcibly removed.

    Western Animation 
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • From Batman: The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze suffered a Freak Lab Accident that requires him to always keep his body at sub-zero temperatures. When outside of his special prison cell, he has to wear a costume that constantly keeps him cold.
    • Lex Luthor from Justice League needed one of these after the kryptonite he carried around gave him cancer. He could take it off for short periods of time though.
    • The DCAU version of Captain Atom is living energy. His suit is the only thing that allows him to keep a coherent form, and if it is breached he explodes.
  • Spoofed on Invader Zim with Chickenfoot, an ordinary man on a chicken costume whose zipper is stuck, and thus thinks he's been mutated into a chicken foot, neither fully man nor chicken.
  • In one episode of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings (2002), Simon draws a mlion mask on his chalkboard. Said mask appears on Lily's face, which scares away everyone who sees her. When she tries to take it off, it refuses to budge. Simon rectifies this by drawing strings on the mask.
  • Terra's final costume on Teen Titans (2003) (unless you count the schoolgirl outfit) was an armored suit that Slade had fused with her nervous system, which allowed him to control her movements and made the suit impossible to remove.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: The Rhino, Dr. Octopus (only when it came to his mechanical arms), Venom, Molten Man, and even Spidey himself (when he had the symbiote) in. Most of the villains embrace the powers their costumes give them and don't care about their predicaments, but Molten Man is just a normal kid who is tortured by his unremovable armor, which can only be activated or deactivated by someone else.
  • George of the Jungle: Super Chicken and sidekick Fred infiltrate the crooked Easter Bunny's lair disguised as giant Easter eggs. After they're subjected to a hot dye bath, Fred can't get his egg costume off, and remains in it into the fade out. Obviously played less seriously than most entries here.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has a recurring "character" who was originally a suit meant as a means of making Jenny look human. She turned evil.
  • In Samurai Jack, the Spy Catsuits worn by the Daughters of Aku are actually composed of a tar-like magical substance fused to their skin, which the daughters were thrown into as children. It takes Ashi several hours of vigorous abrasion using rocks to remove hers as part of her Good Costume Switch.
  • The Smurfs (1981):
    • In the episode "Hats Off to Smurfs", Vanity's new yellow hat becomes this after his face starts becoming disfigured from soaking it in water. Since the hat was made from magic fabric created by Gargamel, the Smurfs make a similar hat for the evil wizard to wear while soaked in water in order to force him to come up with the antidote.
    • Smurfette's dancing shoes in the titular episode cannot come off her feet, requiring Papa Smurf to use a magic spell to transfer them to the evil imp's feet.
  • Gems in Steven Universe are Technically Naked Shapeshifters, however Peridot cannot shapeshift, and describes her clothes as being "melded" to her body, implying she can't change them without damaging it or regenerating her form entirely. When Peridot is wearing something else, it seems she's actually wearing them over her regular clothes.
  • The Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Brothers Carry-Mouse-Off" combines this with Gone Horribly Right, in which Tom disguises himself full-body as a white female mouse to try and attract Jerry to his doom, but ends up attracting the unwanted attention of many other male mice. Then Tom tries to get out of the female mouse suit, only to find the zipper is stuck, and then a bunch of other hungry cats show up, thinking Tom really is a mouse...
  • On The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "Pooh Oughta Be in Pictures", Tigger makes a giant carrot costume for Christopher Robin's monster movie. When the others think he's a real monster, he tries to take the costume off, but the zipper is stuck, and his pleas to "Get me outta here!" are misinterpreted as him having been Swallowed Whole by the carrot.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, when Lady Wi-fi attempts to unmask Ladybug on live television, she finds out the hard way that her mask is magically bonded to her face and can only be removed by taking off her Miraculous.
  • In Sofia the First, Amber has a magic costume that Cedric gave that won't come off. The fairy godmothers undid it.
  • Over the Garden Wall: In "Schooltown Follies", the wild gorilla rampaging around the schoolhouse is actually Miss Langtree's fiancee Jimmy Brown stuck in a costume.
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, Vicky puts on a costume to scare Timmy in the woods and gets stuck in it. She ends up being mistaken for Bigfoot and ends up in a zoo.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Billy asked Grim for a cool costume for a Renaissance Fair, so Grim conjured him up a cursed suit of armor that wouldn't come off until Billy attained a victory in contest. Any contest. Billy probably wouldn't have minded too much except for the Potty Emergency.

Alternative Title(s): Permanent Costume