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Collapsible Helmet

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Heroes or villains who avert Helmets Are Hardly Heroic still rarely want to bother about putting it on, or removing the helmet and carrying it along. For them, there's a simple solution: the Collapsible Helmet.

Picture the scene, the hero (or indeed villain) is wearing their Powered Armor or other such suit. And then they reveal themselves with an unbelievably cool helmet that just slides, clicks, folds and does all manner of other mechanical origami.

Through some Applied Phlebotinum, this helmet can usually fold into the armor as if no longer existing. When needed again, it can be summoned back in the blink of the eye.

The helmets often appear to not need any human interaction, and they usually just fold open with the minimum of fuss. Very handy for a Dramatic Unmask.

Even if it could be done in Real Life, this would probably still be a bad idea. The multiple moving parts would certainly weaken the helmet and compromise its protective value in a fight or a crash. Not to mention you wouldn't want to accidentally hit the switch at the wrong time. Or that some stray hair get caught between two pieces. Thus, this trope falls fully under Awesome, but Impractical.

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A subtrope of Cool Helmet and Cool Mask. Also a minor form of Instant Armor and Technology Porn. Compare with Retractable Weapon.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Guts's Berserker Armor from Berserk. And that helmet? Looks like the head of a stylized hellhound, symbolic of Guts's inner beast. (It didn't before.)
  • Zero's helmet in Code Geass. Unusual in that the actual faceplate has to be removed by hand after the rest of the helmet retracts into it. Instead of being built for protection, Zero had the helmet designed so he can conceal his identity while still being able to use his Magical Eye, which needs direct eye contact to work (facilitated by a hidden panel on the mask opening with the push of a button). In the second season he has it further modified with a retractable plate over his mouth so he can eat and drink without removing the mask.
  • Casshern Sins: Casshern has a helmet that retracts into his collar when not in use. Although it's a downplayed example, because in the entirety of the show we never actually see it do this, as he's either wearing it or not wearing it but is never shown donning it on or taking it off. We only know thanks to development material.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Mordred's Cool Helmet integrates into her armor at will. This actually impacts how she fights, since she can only use her ultimate Noble Phantasm when it's off and while it's on it helps hide her identity; in addition to physically covering her face, it serves as a secondary Noble Phantasm that prevents enemy Masters and Servants from easily discovering her skills or abilities. Using her strongest move requires her to reveal her identity freely, thus it deactivates.

    Comic Books 
  • Nova has a collapsible helmet. While it doesn't exactly fold into the armor, the usually hard Nova Corps helmet becomes fabric, for easy storage when removed. With a simple "flik", a Corpsman can turn it back into a hard helmet, which can keep them breathing in space, among other things.
  • Iron Man's helmet, like the rest of his armor, can be collapsed in different ways. Traditionally, it could be depolarized, becoming like cloth (much like Nova's helmet above) for storage in his briefcase. Since implementing a facemask with his first red-and-gold armor, it can usually be flipped up over his head as well (or, in the case of the Silver Centurion armor, flipped up and into the helmet). And, of course, more recent developments have allowed the helmet (and the rest of the armor) to collapse into himself when not in use.
  • Batwoman (Rebirth): Future Kate's Batwoman uniform has one, complete with a built-in wig.
  • East of West: The armored suits worn by the soldiers of Mao have a simplified version of this.
  • Carol Danvers has one of these in her Captain Marvel costume as designed by Jamie McKelvie.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Iron Kid: Violeta encases her face in a collapsible mask when fighting in order to protect her facial components and look cool.
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    Fan Works 
  • Masses to Masses (a Mass Effect fanfic): After the events of Virmire, Ian talks his armorer into making him a helmet very similar to Isaac Clarke's.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The page image comes from the Stargate movie, where the iconic, intricate Egyptian Mythology-inspired helmet/masks of the alien Horus Guards, Anubis, and Ra fold into themselves in an impressive display of digital effects.
  • In TRON: Legacy, the helmets worn by Clu and Quorra fold back at proper times for a Dramatic Unmask. Sam Flynn's costume also automatically generate the appropriate helmet for the Disc Wars or the Light Cycle match. Justified in this case, as this is in cyberspace where you don't have to obey physic laws nor keep track of extraneous objects.
  • Lost in Space (movie adaptation):
    • The normal spacesuits have collapsing helmets that seem practically holographic.
    • Major Don West (Matt LeBlanc) acquires a segmented, full-covering facemask that slides over his head and clings to his skin when about to enter the fight against the alien spiders.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man:
      • Tony Stark has a very simple version of this, where his face plate just slides up or down as necessary.
      • In the second film, Whiplash's armor has a fully collapsible mask, but there's enough room in the considerably bulky suit for this to work.
      • The same film has the Mark V suit where not only is the helmet collapsible, the whole suit is. Even then, the helmet is notably the last part of the suit to deploy.
    • By the time of Captain America: Civil War, Stark's technology has become so advanced that Iron Man's Mark 46 armor, as well as War Machine's, have fully collapsible helmets.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord has a facemask which assembles bit by bit and disappears into a device behind his ear when he isn't using it.
    • Black Panther: The Black Panther's second costume is made from nanomachines, and thus is wholly collapsible into the collar the king is wearing. T'Challa no longer has to remove the helmet part manually, as it vanishes or reforms with a thought.
    • In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott and Hope's helmets collapse back into their collars.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Beyond the already established examples from previous films (notably, Star-Lord and Black Panther), Iron Man's armor and Spider-Man's Iron Spider suit being now too constituted of nanomachines, the helmet parts can come and go in a blink whenever they need to emote. A new helmet can even reform if the first one is torn off, as happen to Iron Man while fighting Thanos.
    • Captain Marvel (2019): Kree body armor can manifest a helmet at will, allowing the suit to serve as a life-support system underwater or in space. The titular heroine has one of these, just like her design in the comics.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Beyond the usual suspects (Ant-Man, Iron Man, War Machine, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, The Wasp, and the unusual ones like Pepper Potts in her "Rescue" armor), the quantum suits are made from nano-tech and can fully collapse. The helmet parts are the first to come off after a trip, even if the rest of the suits stays. This allows the protagonists to show their faces at almost all times, except when the helmets are absolutely necessary, i.e. during trips in the Quantum Realm. Owing to the difficulty of applying this trope to users with long hair, in the case of Thor once more having long hair and now a shaggy beard as well, the movie cheats by only showing him with helmet either already on or off, never forming like the others. Likewise with Rocket, due to being an alien raccoon.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: Mysterio's iconic Fishbowl Helmet joins the long list of superhero headgear that disappear into the collar of the costume in a blink of the eye. Subverted in that, unlike the others, the fishbowl exists solely as part of Mysterio's holographic disguise.
  • In Spider-Man 3, New Goblin has a facemask that seems to disappear completely in his costume when opened. Not that he wears it that often.
  • Dark Helmet has one in Spaceballs, with a Vader-esque faceplate that slides up and down (often at the worst possible moment).
  • Man of Steel: The helmet part of the Kryptonian armors can collapse or build itself from just a collar, as seen when Lois Lane is given one to allow breathing within the Kryptonian environment of the ship. The helmets seem to be made of form-fitting force-fields that can also turn opaque or transparent as needed.

    Literature 
  • The Stormlight Archive: Radiants have been spotted doing this with their Shardplate. Notably, modern Shardplate can't do this, so Dalinar is left wondering how they keep taking off their helmets and putting them back on the second he's not looking.
  • Riesel Tales: Two Hunters: Ramy's helmet is not able to be put on in the conventional sense: it emits from the collar of the suit as a series of ribbons that weave around her head and solidify.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Stargate SG-1 series, no doubt for budgetary reason, the intricate helmets of the original movie are very rarely shown. The impracticality of such helmet design isn't really relevant to the Goa'uld; being visually impressive as part of their God Guise is much more important than the helmets actually protecting them from harm. Helmeted Jaffa guards might be Elite Mooks but they're still disposable in the end, and the Goa'uld themselves have personal Deflector Shields to provide their actual protection from harm.
    • The pilot, "Children of the Gods", however, gives the Serpent Guards (and Apophis) more low-key Collapsible Snakeface Helmets that just sorta awkwardly stick up in the air when open. One episode implies that they collapse like the Horuses; Teal'c is helmeted, we hear the helmet-open noise when he's offscreen, and he's then shown with no helmet at all instead of an open one. This, however, never happens again.
    • The classic Horus helmets from the movie, even when they are seen, again due to budget reason, either do not open at all, or just aren't shown to onscreen like the serpent ones — with the exception of a disguised Teal'c on two occasions, with a fully-functioning Horus helmet. Interestingly, and awesomely, the second occasion shows us the helmet closing, which we didn't see in the movie, or on that first occasion.
  • Most Tokusatsu shows have this form.
  • Commander Kaagh of the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet, from The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Last Sontaran". Strangely, there don't seem to be any other Sontarans in the Whoniverse who do this.
  • The Orville: Krill soldiers have helmets that retract at the push of a button. It's eventually revealed that they have an extreme sensitivity to light, which is why they need the helmets and why they don't use them during an indoor firefight.
  • In the Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Earth-X, Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Reverse-Flash's facemasks can dematerialize with the push of a button, as if they were holographic. This come handy for a Dramatic Unmask when they reveals their faces to their Good Counterparts.

    Pinballs 
  • Clu still sports one of these in the TRON: Legacy pinball.

    Video Games 
  • Dead Space:
    • Isaac Clarke of Dead Space 2 has various versions of his Resource Integration Gear, all of which have one of these helmets that can fold away and be stored in his suit. Often however, the helmet appears to unfold at points where it would not necessarily be a good idea, for example, when Stross attacks Isaac. It's left ambiguous as to whether this is the result of a design flaw, Isaac's own suicidal urges, or a little bit of both.
    • Dead Space 3 shows another problem: damage can result in the helmet not deploying. This nearly proves fatal when Isaac crash-lands on a frozen planet.
  • Dino Crisis 3, features collapsing helmets for the protagonists, in addition to other collapsing doo-dads on their high-tech space suits, such as jet packs.
  • A Fantasy example: Zant from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. In one of the final scenes before you fight him to the death, he finally reveals his face underneath the foreboding, evil helmet... among other things. He and his helmet return in Hyrule Warriors, where his introduction and chest-opening cutscenes show it open and close.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • Downplayed in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, where Ratchet's Commando helmet has a retractable oxygen mask that extends in certain locations ingame where breathable air isn't abundant, such as in the vaccum of space, underwater, and at high altitudes.
    • In Ratchet: Deadlocked, the helmet on Ratchet's suit will collapse during cutscenes when he's not actively shooting something. When the shooting is about to begin again, it goes right back on.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus features the return of this feature, this time transforming during gameplay rather than cutscenes.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Vanitas' doesn't so much collapse as it does melt away. However, a previous scene shows him putting the helmet on normally.
  • While not straight-up helmets, almost all cyborgs in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance have a face plate that snaps on over their eyes and/or mouth, Raiden included, although his can be done manually in VR Mode.
  • In one of the trailers for darkSector that looked very little like the game that eventually came out, the Powered Armor used by Hayden Tenno has one.
  • Myst IV: Revelation: The spiritual masks that the Protectors wear while "Dreaming". Apparently they also vanish entirely when removed.
  • Star Trek: Elite Force has the Hazard Team equipped with optional helmets that can be equipped in case they need to enter an environment with a hostile atmosphere. These helmets are stored in their transport buffers when not needed.
  • Mass Effect has helmets like this on all armor. Mostly it's noticeable for having it only seal when entering hostile environments while still having a faceplate that stays up, but if you want to more easily see characters' faces you can set it to fully retract during dialog.
  • Halo 4: The Didact's Helmet takes this a step further by assembling from free floating pieces, along with the rest of his armor.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Atlesian Knights are humanoid robots. However, when they enter combat mode, a helmet plate appears over their faces.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Wakfu OVAs, Count Harebourg's Xelor mask folds open or closes automatically when he wishes so, along with a block of ice encasing it that he removes or forms with his cold powers.

    Real Life 
  • While a full-head helmet is still beyond Real Life, folding bike helmets are beginning to hit the market (mostly in Europe). These are mostly three piece designs with sides that fold or slid into the larger center piece making up the Front, top, and back of the helmet. A four-piece design can be found here.
  • Some motorcycle helmets incorporate secondary hinges so they can either flip up at the visor like normal or the entire front faceplate can slide back like in the film version of Iron Man. They're especially popular with long-distance bikers because it allows them to eat or drink without having to remove their helmet and doesn't muffle their speech.
  • While a full-realization of this trope in Real Life is generally regarded as too Awesome, but Impractical to do, downplayed versions of this trope have been historically common. Many feudal cultures have developed military helmets with lower-able visors, removable masks, or attachable chain-mail so the warrior wearing it could adjust their degree of protection, visibility, and intimation depending on the needs of the particular situation.
  • There are also folding or stackable hardhats being sold as emergency gear for earthquakes in Japan.
  • There is, or was at some point, someone developing a mix of a bicycle helmet and an airbag. Worn as a collar normally, when its accelerometers detected a crash or fall, it deployed an airbag-like helmet.

Alternative Title(s): Helmet Origami

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