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Leotard of Power

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A character fights in a skintight leotard or, more generally, a swimsuit-esque one piece. Pretty common as a Super Hero trope, especially during its Golden Age, where the costume originated as acrobats' garb and since then it isn't always used for Fanservice.

One of the leotard's advantages is that it is more "modest" or less revealing than a two-piece garment like a bikini, and thus for a long time was used in comics, games, TV shows and media to convey the portrayal of a sexy female character (or at least, "bold") without enraging Moral Guardians. Note that also, back in The '80s and The '90s the leotard (or one piece swimsuit) was "the" ultimate in fashion clothing, being much more popular than the two-piece garments and portrayed in aerobics shows, Baywatch and such, so it can be used in retro references too.


Similar to Underwear of Power, some females who wear this may suffer a Groin Attack at least once either for comedy, fan service, or simply for her enemy to really humiliate her. Especially for a Superheroine it's not uncommon because, surprisingly, some of them may be weak in that spot.

This is a Fanservice trope, the backbone of Most Common Super Power. Essentially a cross between Sensual Spandex and Show Some Leg. Will often feature a Navel Outline.

Compare Minidress of Power, Playboy Bunny, She's Got Legs, Showgirl Skirt, Underwear of Power (which is often worn in a way that pretty much looks like a leotard anyway), Walking Swimsuit Scene, Superheroes Wear Tights.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: For the climactic battle with Aizen, Yoruichi is wearing one of these.
  • Buso Renkin: (Male) villain Pampillon's outfit is...uh...rather fabulous and definitely off-putting.
  • All of the Kisugi sisters from Cat's Eye wear one. Of course, despite what some sources say, their leotards are actually unitards.
  • Kasumi Asou from City Hunter, who is as an acrobatic Robin Hood-like phantom thief. And also inspired to quoted above Kisugi sisters.
  • The seven surviving title Claymores wear an outfit like this after the time skip, often with a variant of a short skirt or Zettai Ryouiki.
  • Code Geass:
  • Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell wears a leotard with a jacket over it, and really long stockings. She later gets pants. For some odd reason, the fan consensus is that getting the pants improves her character.
  • In Gunbuster, the official uniform of the Earth Defense Force's Humongous Mecha pilots looks like a one-piece swimsuit with a sweatshirt over it.
  • Church assassins Xenovia and Irina from High School D×D wear painted-on bodysuits in battle. Accordingly, they're Fragile Speedsters, relying on maneuverability and holy artifacts their targets can't touch to get the upper hand.
  • This is actually the default pilot suit (complete with Zettai Ryouiki) used in Infinite Stratos. Well, save for Ichika's, that is...
  • Vanilla Ice from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure wears one.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Miu Furinji's leotard, which bears more resemblance to body paint than clothingnote . Justified in that she is actually a gymnast.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate Testarossa. With even less skirt than the Sailor Senshi.
    • The uniform of most of the N2R Nakajima Sisters formed after Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, which is a leotard with a jacket and chaps worn over it. The only exception is Cinque, who wears a miniskirt with leggings instead.
  • My Hero Academia: Pro Hero "Mirko" wears a white leotard with a high fur collar that helps to show off her muscular legs.
  • Not during the fighting part of the manga, but Negima! Magister Negi Magi has plenty of gratuitous scenes of Makie performing her rhythmic gymnastics. And it's a flashy routine — every time we see her practicing in anything other than her leotard, she gives a lot of Panty Shots.
    • Evangeline is more proper example of this troupe.
  • The standard Magical Girl outfit in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo is one, plus frills and other accessories.
  • Kodachi Kunō of Ranma ½ will readily fling her clothes to reveal the leotard she wears underneath with little provocation. Somewhat "justified" by her martial art being based on rhythmic gymnastics... but mainly because she's a shameless loon.
    • Played with a couple of times when Ranma in female form and dressed in a leotard finds herself changed to her male form suddenly.
  • Rina's avatar in Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation.
  • The Sailor Senshi from Sailor Moon wear sailor-collared leotards with skirts over them. Since the leotards are white, many viewers thought they were seeing Panty Shots whenever the 90s anime averted the Magic Skirt trope.
  • Saint Seiya: All of the Amazons have these as their trainers.
  • Liu Li's first military outfit in School Shock.
  • Ryoko's skintight battlesuit from Tenchi Muyo!
  • Lala's default costume in To Love-Ru is this, as it's basically a parody of Magical Girl outfits. And is a shapeshifting robot named Peke. It's also called "Dress Form", despite having more in they way of large frills on the sides than a full skirt.

  • DC Comics pretty much made this trope; nearly every other DC Comics superhero or superheroine wears a Leotard of Power, if not wearing Underwear of Power instead:
    • Wonder Woman is the classic example, which is lampshaded in Justice League, where Gordon Godfrey snarkingly compares her to a showgirl. Also played with in the movie, when Steve Trevor says "Let's get you into an outfit that doesn't get me arrested for solicitation."
      • Her original outfit was an aversion, while she showed a lot of back she wore mid-thigh culottes—baggy shorts—which she'd exchanged for tighter shorts by the time Wonder Woman (1942) started. Her shorts only shrunk into a leotard in the Silver Age.
      • There was an attempt to avert it with a jacket/pants update in Wonder Woman: Odyssey. It didn't last long.
      • During the 1970s, Wonder Woman went through a big makeover, which also didn't last too long. She sometimes wore a fringed jacket and pants and sometimes wore a minidress. Both of these still managed to show a lot of leg, because of the shortness of the dress and the fact that the pants had large circular holes in them running down the outside of the leg.
      • Wonder Woman's New 52 outfit was set to be another aversion, until her creative team opted for something closer to her traditional look. Certain covers and promotional images were even released with "pants" and "no pants" versions.
    • Phantom Lady is the trope founder
    • Just one of the many fanservices given to us by Power Girl.
    • Batman's foe Poison Ivy wears a leotard made of leaves. Given that she's practically Ms. Fanservice, it's not really surprising.
    • Huntress: The Earth Two version wears one all the time, the Post-Crisis version less consistently so.
    • Star Sapphire
    • Starfire (When her costume isn't a Chainmail Bikini, anyway.) In 52 she's mistaken for a stripper after showing up on someone's doorstep.
    • Terra of Teen Titans, alongside her Post-Crisis counterpart, Atlee. In the New 52 she wears a black jumpsuit.
    • Black Canary wears this with the addition of fishnets and a leather jacket.
    • Zatanna wears a shirt and jacket over the top half. That's because it's a classic magician look, it's her shtick. She also wears fishnet stockings, apparently because the leotard itself didn't scream "stripper" loud enough.
    • Hawkgirl / Hawkwoman, during The Golden Age of Comic Books and The Silver Age of Comic Books. Post-Crisis, she switched to a two-piece costume.
    • Supergirl's outfit was always leotard-ish, but she typically covered her hips with a skirt of at least mid-thigh length until the New 52 reboot, which made it a straight up leotard with thigh high boots. In the Red Daughter of Krypton arc, her Red Lantern outfit lacks a skirt.
    • Both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd wore one during their time as Robin, what with their costumes being based on Dick's circus leotard. One issue of New Teen Titans has Dick removing the shirt to his Robin costume revealing that the part of his costume that appears to be green trunks is actually the bottom part of a green leotard covering his entire torso. This varies from writer to writer, because sometimes they actually are depicted as green trunks.
    • Even the DC-published Animaniacs comic book got in on the act: the outwardly dumb blond Hello Nurse was revealed to be the mundane version of Hello Nurse, Agent of H.U.B.B.A., a James Bond-style superheroine with a leotard styled to look like a nurse's uniform.
  • Marvel does this as well, though not as much as DC (they generally seem to prefer spandex bodysuits instead and are shifting away from this trope):
    • Storm, (the pictured example)
    • Rogue during The '80s (though she usually wears it over another layer of tights).
      • She also wore the old Ms. Marvel costume for a very short time during the Acts of Vengeance arc, when she absorbed her powers.
    • Psylocke, for almost seventeen years. To the point that any change to her costume is met by a cry of "They Changed It, Now It Sucks!!" On the other hand, the "Thongkini" is also something divisive among fans, with some decrying it as blatant fanservice and much preferring her in the Spy Catsuit-style uniform she picked up during the late 2000s. She now seems to have settled on to the Spy Catsuit.
    • Scarlet Witch, until after Avengers vs. X-Men. Now, she wears something closer to a red trench coat.
    • Adam Warlock, historically.
    • Destiny of X-Men: Brotherhood of Mutants
    • Polaris (her classic outfit, usually worn over tights, as well)
    • Ms. Marvel, until she became Captain Marvel and opted for a more uniform like spandex bodysuit.
    • She-Hulk. A purple and white one is her most common attire unless she's in a courtroom.
    • Squirrel Girl (though she always wears it over another layer of tights)
    • Valkyrie, though again, this has changed in recent years.
    • Colossus, according to Word of God from Dave Cockrum, Colossus's costume was designed with bare legs to better show off his superpower of having a metal body.
    • Rachel Summers, during her earliest days with the X-Men, didn't have a proper costume, and was usually wearing a black leotard with some leg-warmers. When she got her first real costume, she commented about having been running around in her Danskins to that point.
    • Lampshaded at the conclusion of the Spider-Island event. A few heroes casually discuss how comfortable they are standing nude among hundreds of other people after being returned to normal, saying it feels no different than wearing their skin tight suits.
  • Incandescence is proud to wear her leotard.

    Comic Strips 
  • Ink Pen has Ms. Amazement, a Wonder Woman spoof.

    Fan Works 

  • Worn by Christopher Reeve as part of his Superman costume in a rare male example. Granted, it isn't obvious to the naked eye (as he's mostly covered in identical shades of blue so the red in the middle looks like Underwear of Power to the naked eye), but there's at least one account that describes Reeve's costume as incorporating a leotard.
  • Adam West's original Batman costume was also a leotard and tights, similarly disguised by a separate pair of briefs. This wasn't generally known until it appeared on eBay for charity, fetching over $30,000 (though the leotard was called a "tunic" in the eBay listing, it was shown separately).
    • But Burt Ward's Robin costume was not based on a leotard, even though the comics version was. Ward's costume used a T-shirt and trunks instead (and flesh-colored tights, which Ward hated).
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Psylocke wears a purple leotard as her "Horseman of Apocalypse" uniform just like her comic counterpart.

  • In Animorphs, the morphers will normally tear their clothes if they morph into bigger animals, and the clothes will fall off if they morph into smaller ones. To prevent this, they wear skin tight clothes when morphing, such as bicycle shorts, tight undershirts, and for the girls of course, leotards.
  • in Tales of an Mazing Girl Mazing Girl Wears one- though its more of a skintight jumper that cuts off at her knee.
  • The woman shown on one version of the cover of The Menace from Earth wears one.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Leela in Doctor Who.
  • In the Weird Science episode "Rock Hard Chett", Chett dons a leotard and tights after becoming invulnerable to just about anything. He vehemently resists the idea at first, until his brother points out that he should "think of it as a uniform".
    • The audience is treated to several gratuitous full-body shots, and an instance of Clothing Damage that leaves the leotard bottom and mask intact but little else.
  • For the most part subverted in the Super Sentai franchise. The pattern on the suits of several female Rangers (and at least a few male rangers) resembles a leotard, but the suits themselves cover the entire body. Played straight with Miss America from Battle Fever J who, in her transformed form, wears an actual leotard that leaves her legs uncovered.
  • Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman's iconic uniform. Lynda Carter brought the character back to her roots after a couple of very odd turns in 1967 and 1974, but dramatically changed the way we look at the character forever thanks to how she filled out the outfit. Previously, Wonder Woman was portrayed as a slim and athletic build. Afterwards in the comics, she unquestionably had the Most Common Super Power.
  • Averted in Jessica Jones (2015). In a flashback scene when the title character first tries being a superhero, Jessica rejects both a proposed superhero name and skintight costume offered by her friend Trish.
    Jessica: Jewel is a stripper's name...a really slutty stripper! And if I wear that thing, you're going to have to call me Cameltoe.

  • A common staple in Lady Gaga's wardrobe, particularly earlier in her career. These ranged from relatively simple with shoulder pads to increasingly gaudy pieces that had mirrors, crystals, spikes, etc.
  • "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé. 'Nuff said.
  • Leotards of various kinds are basically Jessie J's signature outfits.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • This used to be all over the place in Professional Wrestling, though you rarely see it nowadays unless someone is either an older wrestler or is going for that old school look.
    • The legendary Memphis wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler (now known as the priapistic screaming nut on RAW) mixed this with a My Name Is Inigo Montoya routine in which he would pull the shoulder strap down before destroying a particularly annoying opponent.
    • A Notable modern example would be Kurt Angle.
      • Like Kurt, many wrestlers with noteable "shoot" wrestling backgrounds will wear the full singlet/leotard. Such as Jeff Cobb and Chad Gable, who were both wrestled in the Olympics ("merely" wrestling, no medals). Stout Strength types also often wear a singlet, as it still lets them show off their large legs, chest, and shoulders, but covers up their usually less-than-defined midsection. Taz, Big E Langston, and Michael Elgin are high profile examples of this.

  • Truth in Television: gymnastics and figure skating.
    • Though one hopes it's less fanservice-y considering most Olympic-level female gymnasts (and figure skaters, to an increasing degree) hit their prime at sixteen.
      • Which is A-OK in most of the world, including the better part of the US (except California and couple other states). It's still squicky, though, because actually female gymnasts are at their prime not at sixteen, but at twelve, thirteen tops. By sixteen years they already start to lose their edge and finesse, compensating more by brute force.
        • This is thankfully changing with the continued dominance of Simone Biles and her power- and explosiveness-focused style, which favors relatively older athletes. For example, the top 10 finishers at the women's all-around competition at the 2021 US Championships featured one sixteen-year-old and one seventeen-year-old, and the rest were all over 18 (including two 24-year-olds, one of whom was Biles, the all-around champion).
      • Occasionally, they compensate by starvation.
      • Different in the case of rhythmic gymnastics, where athletes compete well into their twenties, and are often tall, leggy and curvy to boot.
      • But ever since 2000(?), rhythmic gymnastics leos tend to skirt the issue. Rhythmic gymnastics and "women's" figure skating tend to occupy the surprisingly obscure line between this trope and Minidress of Power.
      • NCAA women's gymnastics. At least the competitors are around twenty years old, instead of eleven.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Mei-fang of Arcana Heart wears one with the top part of a Chinese dress jacket worn over it. "Top part", as in just the collar and sleeves, to better display her assets.
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, the Paladin class has this as the armorless model.
  • The Dark Queen from Battletoads.
  • Tia Langray from Neo Geo Fighting Game Breakers wears a strapless Playboy-style leotard as part of her outfit. High cut as well to help accentuate her slender and well-toned legs.
  • Breath of Fire:
  • Of course this is a valid costume option in City of Heroes.
  • Dragon Quest
    • The piece of armor known as the "Pink Leotard" is a staple of the series. Only female characters can wear it, and it's actually one of the most powerful pieces of armor you can buy in the game. (Fanart of various characters wearing it is popular in Japan.)
    • Dragon Quest IX has the "Zenithian Leotard" (Dragon Quest IV heroine's costume). 52 defense, 10 point below Metal King Armor. It's green, and it's leaving your right shoulder naked.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy IV, Rydia wears one both as a child and as an adult along with a number of very frilly trails and sleeves. Rydia however, is somewhat reasonable compared to Rosa, who tends to switch between this and a damn bikini between actual in-game and concept arts. She is also covered in scarves and in the DS CG, actually wears two capes.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, Celes and Terra's sprites seem to be wearing these. Celes' concept art has her wearing a completely different kind of suit, but it was changed for the game for whatever reason and Terra's concept art extends it to a sort of evening dress (this may simply be a matter of a short dress being hard to show on a sprite).
    • Terra's alternate look in Dissidia Final Fantasy which is based on her FFVI sprite shows it to be a really short dress.
  • Fox Eye is fond of this from time to time:
    • Holdover has a downplayed example in the blue one-piece swimsuit Marie can find early on in the game. She starts off wearing a white one, but due to having a very fragile Life Meter, she's practically an One-Hit Point Wonder to the game's multitudes of Spikes of Doom and Frickin' Laser Beams. However, the blue swimsuit lets her survive against those longer, but only enough to protect the top or bottom half of her body before that half of the swimsuit tears away from the hazard just as fast as they can kill Marie. On top of all of that, this upgraded swimsuit is considered an "armor" by the scientists that designed it, something Marie herself questions the validity of.
    • Natica and Sandy: Underwater Rescue plays this trope more straight compared to Holdover. The player can unlock a "Power Swimsuit" skill which then appears as a Random Drop from killing fish enemies. Wearing this makes Natica invincible, draws the enemy's attention towards her instead of Sandy, and extends the length of her harpoon. All of this lasts for 10 seconds.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: Damia, Lenus, and Meru all have Dragoon armor resembling a leotard with thigh high boots.
  • Fortune's outfit in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is basically a one-piece swimsuit worn under a Badass Longcoat.
  • In the NES version of Metroid, players are able to play as a purple leotard-wearing Samus if they complete the game in under three hours. You can also play as Samus in the purple leotard without beating the game by entering certain passwords, the most famous of which is JUSTIN BAILEY. Subsequently, Samus's leotard is sometimes referred to by fans as the Justin Bailey outfit. The leotard is also seen in the second-best ending for the game.
  • In Mortal Kombat, nearly every female character does this, most often Sindel, Kitana, Tanya and occasionally, Mileena and Jade (who both have other costumes with Underwear of Power instead).
  • In the Nasuverse:
  • From Nippon Ichi:
    • After her fall, Flonne from Disgaea wears one.
    • Eclaire of La Pucelle: Tactics wears one when she's in her "dark" form. Priere as well.
  • Kasumi Yoshizawa, the newest party member added to Persona 5 Royal is a gymnast, and her Phantom Thief attire reflects this with a high-cut black leotard that helps show off her slender and shapely legs, and gives her move freedom of movement.
  • Claw users in the classic Phantasy Star series wear this. On the heroic side, there are a combat cyborg Mieu and Cute Monster Girls Nei and Rika. On the villain side, there are NM-2011 from the drama CD and Neifirst.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Maylene, the third gym leader (fourth in Platinum) wears a leotard with sweatpants. When the player encounters her walking to Snowpoint City in Platinum, she doesn't wear anything more, and lampshades her being Exposed to the Elements by saying she's done it so often that the cold no longer bothers her.
    • In Pokémon Masters, Brock's Sygna Suit incorporates a black wrestling singlet with orange trim which emphasizes his muscles.
  • Though most animal-human characters from Randle Sim Racing wear Underwear of Power, a few, mainly female characters are wearing the Leotards. Brenda, which wears a strapless corset, Foxie, who wears a sleeveless one, and Lizzie, who wears what would be considered a "Sling Leotard," which covers most of her middle, but the sides are completely bare.
  • Benikage from Rumble Roses wears one. Her skill in the ring is just as visible as most of her buns.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Cammy White is the poster girl for this trope in Fighting Games. The same series also features Rainbow Mika. Given they're each wearing a thong-cut Leotard of Power, both have their asses on full display, too. Chun-Li also wears a leotard under her qipao as seen in official Capcom concept art.
    • In Street Fighter X Tekken, Ibuki's swap costume is based on an incarnation of Tekken's Yoshimitsu and sees Ibuki wearing one as her top. It is worth noting that Yoshi himself was shirtless while wearing the outfit Ibuki's is based from, so Ibuki wearing said top is a compromise so she doesn't show her breast (though it doesn't leave much to the imagination).
  • Angela of Trials of Mana wears one. In the remake, both she and Riesz wear leotards in some of their classes (for example, Riesz wears a leotard as a Rune Maiden.)


    Web Original 
  • Justice Squad: Satirized by having the outfit being worn by a large, somewhat overweight, male.
  • Interviewing Leather: Dynamo Girl wore one of these before becoming the supervillain Leather.
    • Leather wears these sometimes (made of leather, of course), particularly in non-combat (sometimes very non-combat) situations.
    • In Interviewing Trey, both Beguile and Lady Violet wear these as well.
  • Favored by some members of the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions.
  • At Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe:
    • Kismet. Turns out, it's not too good in a cold classroom.
    • And Mega-Girl, and Gloriana, and... Well, it's a popular look for teenaged girls who are built like Playboy Playmates.
    • "Sara's Little Purple Book", the in-universe guide to both Power Perversion Potential and Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex issues, points out that unless they are specially reinforced, skintight leotards are distinctly vulnerable to tearing, especially around the chest area. For this reason, she recommends that women with the Most Common Superpower wear an armored girdle, corset or bustier of some kind either over or under the leotard.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Mr. Jules Léotard himself and his various trapeze-swinging colleagues, naturally. Lots of circus people wear them to accentuate the awesome.


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