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Badass outfit at lowest cost, for her and for him.
A sarashi is a long strip of cloth, usually thick cotton or bandages, wrapped tightly around the midriff up to the chest. Historically worn under kimono both by samurai (to resist injury) and by women (to present a slim figure), its association with warriors has made it a near-universal symbol of toughness in Japan.
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Though common in anime — Japanese Delinquents (particularly in classic, older series) will often be seen wearing one under their coat or unbuttoned shirt as a visible cue as to their general level of badassery — this is also a general Japanese cultural trope, often found in Real Life and applicable to women as well as to men.

For female characters, however, a sarashi can be worn as a tube top, in which the bandages are worn wrapped around only their chest, while their midriff is left bare; a sarashi may also serve as an accessory to a potentially boring outfit, as an aid in crossdressing, or simply as a way to prevent Gainaxing. In these cases the wrapping is pushed up a few inches to cover and flatten the chest (usually), and the irony inherent in using such a traditional symbol of masculinity to accentuate or disguise femininity may be deliberately invoked.

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Of course, if it's a female samurai,note  a sarashi is pretty much a given.

Compare Bandage Babe and Handwraps of Awesome.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You, the leader of the Gorira Alliance wears one under her jacket - and nothing else.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo, Kagura, and Sakaki briefly dress as male cheerleaders, with open shirts and bandage bras. Kaori is... excited to see Sakaki this way. The anime changes the designs slightly so they're wearing tank tops instead.
  • Delinquent Kunieda Aoi from Beelzebub wears a sarashi and nothing else on top aside from her Badass Longcoat.
  • Bleach: In keeping with the samurai motif, shinigami tend to wear this under their uniforms. However, it's usually only exposed if the shinigami is heavily bandaged, whether female or male. In a few cases, such as Kenpachi or some of Ichigo's bankai appearances, the sarashi is displayed as part of a rugged, badass image. Soifon has a special one made of metal that is gigantic in both size and length. It's part of her bankai and is used to control the recoil created by firing a Fantastic Nuke from her arm.
  • A Certain Magical Index's Awaki Musujime wears one sometimes.
  • Canty in The Cherry Project wears one over her skating uniform, just because it looks cool.
  • Rem from Death Note wears one.
  • Junko Hattori from Demon King Daimao has both a Sarashi and a Fundoshi.
  • Back when Uotani, an accomplished delinquent, was still "in service" in Fruits Basket, she learns that she's in the same school as the daughter of her role model, the Red Butterfly. She pictures the girl as wearing a school skirt, carrying a katana, and wearing a sarashi. In the next page, she meets the "daughter": it's Tohru.
  • Erza Scarlet sports this look as one of her most frequently equipped outfits in Fairy Tail, combined with a pair of flame print hakama pants, and her hair in a ponytail, plus a pair of katanas. The lack of her usual armor significantly increases her speed, at the cost of any defense.
  • Ling Yao from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and Brotherhood anime series wears these around both his waist and wrists, and wears an open jacket.
  • Gantz: Daizemon Kaze has one of these in combination with the open coat. It's really just the icing of Badass on this Huge cake of awesome.
  • Ryougi Shiki of The Garden of Sinners wears sarashi more-or-less consistently instead of bras. Shiki is not a fan of Western clothing. Besides the leather jacket, that is, and that's just because Kokuto picked it out.
    I have never worn anything but kimono.
    • Of course, a montage shot in Paradox Spiral (movie version) shows A LOT of bras...for some reason...
  • An open shirt and sarashi appears to be the "uniform" of Haine's yanki gang in The Gentlemen's Alliance. Also kicks the Fanservice up a notch; yanki Haine is hot, and the rest of her gang doesn't do too bad either.
  • Kondo and Kyuubei (and a whole bunch of thugs) wear these in one ending sequence of Gintama. Kyuubei's was sort of a spoiler...
    • Kagura wear one in a scene where the yorozuya disguise themselves as assassin.
    • Chin Pirako, who is actually a assassin, wear one. She's obsessed with acting like a Yakuza.
  • Several yankii in GTO: The Early Years are seen wearing sarashi at times.
  • In Chapter 25 of Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers, Hitomi gets quite a few blushing gazes from her female classmates when she wears a too-small gakuran unbuttoned with sarashi, looking very much like a Japanese Delinquent.
  • Ryuubi wears those under her martial arts uniform in Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny to keep her ENORMOUS breasts under check. Of course, it only works to a degree.
  • Naeka tries one in an episode of Kamen no Maid Guy, in order to increase her math grades (by decreasing her bust size-it makes perfect sense in context). Unfortunately, the breasts tear through it, so Kogarashi gives her a solid steel breastplate (not a Breast Plate) to compensate. Which explodes violently in the middle of the exam.
  • The Yakuza that almost rape Sara Uchida in Kasei Yakyoku wear this. It's also a pretty important detail, since one of them had a a knife concealed in his; Sara snatches it and turns the tables on them.
  • Shigure in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, being raised in a more traditional environment, always wears sarashi and fundoshi instead of a bikini when she's on a beach or at a pool.
  • In Last Period episode 11, the army of Android Sonyas claim that they've been patched to solve the problem with their breasts inflating and eventually exploding. This is represented as them binding their chests with sarashi.
  • Love Hina:
    • Motoko and Tsuruko Aoyama, trained swordswomen both, are occasionally seen with the sarashi bra version.
    • Kanako also uses it, for more pragmatic reasons: as a way to disguise herself whenever she's posing as someone else.
  • Due to being a traditional samurai (and occasional Mr. Fanservice) Goemon from Lupin III wears the sarashi. Bathing scenes with him will use either just the Fundoshi, or the fundoshi and sarashi.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid:
    • Harry Tribeca, being the leader of a gang of Delinquents, wears this under a long coat as part of her Barrier Jacket.
    • Micaiah Chevelle also has this as part of her Barrier Jacket. In her case, she's a Samurai Miko.
  • Ichinose Saki of Mahouno Iroha wears one as opposed to a bra.
  • Sun when she crashed Nagasumi and Lunar's Shotgun Wedding in My Bride is a Mermaid. Akeno also wears this instead of the bib in her school uniform.
  • Akira Okuzaki from My-HiME wore these to hide a secret. Also, Ninja.
  • Suzu from Nagasarete Airantou. Also, Machi wears one.
  • Naruto:
    • Bandage-style wrappings seem to be a common fashion accessory in Naruto. At least one character is seen wearing them sarashi-style. Prior to the timeskip, Ino wears them from her knees at least up to her midriff. This is most likely a case of extremely creative inventory management. For shinobi, all-purpose bandages can be used for everything from bandaging wounds to bracing sprains/breaks to using them to ensnare an opponent to passing secret messages to igniting explosives, and then probably about a dozen other uses. However, because a shinobi can only wear so many equipment pouches, and a lot of their equipment is fairly bulky, it makes sense to carry bandages already worn on the body.
    • Kurenai almost seems to wear bandages in lieu of underwear, as her arms, torso, and upper thighs are all wrapped.
    • After the timeskip, Sasuke briefly wore a sarashi covering his stomach under a sleeveless black robe during his battle with Itachi.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Likewise, Setsuna Sakurazaki, who belongs to the same sword school as in Love Hina above.
    • Kaede also uses sarashi as a bra, being a Ninja and everything.
  • Oh! Edo Rocket: While sarashi are a given in an Edo period setting, only designated action hero Ginjiro's is visible.
  • Throughout most of chapter 7 of Pretty Face, Randou wears some to try and flatten the fake breasts he's wearing at the time. The problem is, they're bonded to his chest by an extremely potent bonding agent that keeps them on for a full 24 hours, and they're huge when he was previously apparently flat. He spends most of two days unable to breathe properly as a result. Later another character slaps him on the back, causing the bandages to fall off. Hilarity Ensues when everyone sees that Yuna suddenly got MUCH larger breasts.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Ukyō Kuonji wore one during her earlier appearances, but as she began to re-embrace her femininity it disappeared from her regular wardrobe.
    • Akane and Ranma (when locked in female form) also wear tight breast bindings when it's necessary to pass off as boys. Ironically, the incident which prompted Akane to wear one resulted in probably her most memorable Fanservice scene.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Sanosuke, of course, being a badass criminal, could always be seen with his shirt half-open, exposing his highly buff chest and his bandaged midriff. (Kenshin even borrowed some of said bandages on at least one occasion after a particularly grueling battle.)
    • Kaoru also wears one under her kendo uniform (apparently as a stand-in for a bra), and appears prominently after the Clothing Damage that occurs during the surprisingly-not-played-for-Fanservice standoff at the Aoi-Ya during the Kyoto Arc.
  • Crane Yuzuriha in Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas.
  • In Samurai Champloo, Fuu is occasionally seen wearing one.
  • Kagome, the elementary schooler in Samurai Harem: Asu no Yoichi, has one. This is because she's very... developed for her age, and she uses it to hide that she is. She ends up using the cotton to bandage her implied crush's wrist, but makes sure her chest is not noticeable.
  • In the Sgt. Frog manga, Koyuki is seen wearing these a number of times.
  • Shana from Shakugan no Shana wears this in a few episodes.
  • Mira Nygus from Soul Eater would probably qualify. She has bandages covering her breasts, arms, and lower face (though NOT on her midriff).
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • Kuromaru Tokisaka in UQ Holder! (likewise the expy of the abovementioned Setsuna) also wears one around the chest area (female variant). Despite insisting that he is a guy.
  • Urusei Yatsura:
    • Ryuunosuke wears a sarashi not only to demonstrate her tough, combative nature but also as a substitute for the bra her father wouldn't let her wear.
    • Tomibaro also has a sarashi, from his bushido lifestyle and traditional clothing choices.
  • In Waratte! Sotomura-san, a girl asked Sotomura where to buy Sarashi under the assumption she was using one. Sotomura was so ashamed of the fact she had no need of Sarashi she played the Sure, Let's Go with That trope.
  • In Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Japanese nationalist Togo wears one when she attempts suicide via seppuku.
  • Kuwabara in YuYu Hakusho wears a sarashi at different times throughout the series.

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Animation 
  • Mulan, from the eponymous film, wore the breast-flattening version to pass as an Imperial soldier. The bandages she wears at the hospital tent also count.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sometimes used symbolically even in samurai films. Even though presumably everyone should be wearing one, only the designated tough guys will actually be visibly wearing one.
  • In some edits of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury, Lee's character is able to figure out someone is a Japanese spy when he spots them in a sarashi. Not so much by what he's wearing but in how he's wearing it. The man's nipples were exposed, as is standard for Japanese men (as in the page image); Chinese prefer to keep them hidden.
  • In Suicide Squad, Katana is wearing a Bōsōzoku version of her New 52 outfit, modified to depict her with an open jacket and a sarashi to cover her breasts.

    Literature 
  • The Dreamblood Duology: Hanani binds her breasts and wears men's clothing to downplay her status as the first woman in the Sharer priesthood of Gujaareh. Once she realizes that she's making herself unhappy, that it's not doing anything to mollify the people who feel threatened by her, and that she's setting precedent for future female priests, she switches to unapologetically feminine garb.
  • Ichiko in Kamikaze Girls wears a sarashi as part of her Bōsōzoku outfit.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Lift's POV chapter in Rhythm of War reveals that she's started wearing a bandage wrapped tightly around her chest even though she hasn't been injured. The implication is that she's trying to bind her breasts due to her issues with accepting that she's reached her teenage years.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The githyanki are sometimes depicted as wearing this kind of garment under their other clothes, or as the full extent of their clothes, particularly in the "Invasion!" metaplot exhibited in both Dragon and Dungeon magazines. Most often seen on their wizards in place of magic cloaks and robes, with runes of power and protection drawn along the whole length, enchanting them to protect as good as or better than most suits of regular armor.
    • Ember, the iconic monk of 3rd Edition, wears one as well.
  • One of the many wondrous items in Pathfinder is the Body Wrap of Mighty Strikes which magically boosts the wearer's unarmed attacks.
  • One Eldar Farseer model for Warhammer 40,000 has one worn over his robe.

    Video Games 
  • Arknights:
    • Kroos' alternate outfit, "the mag", has her wear one of these.
    • Upon her release as a playable character, Mudrock is shown to be wearing a sarashi underneath her sports bra.
  • As a part of her punk teen ensemble, Shayne from Battleborn wears a sarashi.
  • The Spirit from Dead by Daylight wears only this in her default outfit. Both because she was a daughter of a line of samurai, and to also invoke Fan Disservice considering her body is pale and partially dismembered after being attacked by her father.
  • The (female) samurai in Disgaea wear a sarashi, hakama, uwagi, and geta. Also Yukimaru, though being a ninja she most likely wears it for more practical reasons.
  • Female Ronin (Bushido) characters in Etrian Odyssey wear what looks almost like a standard miko outfit... with the top open to show a sarashi underneath. Male Ronin, meanwhile, are Walking Shirtless Scenes.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Yoimiya from Genshin Impact wears one.
  • Female monks in Guild Wars wear sarashi as underwear.
  • Baiken from the Guilty Gear series acquires a sarashi in Xrd Rev2 to work as makeshift Modesty Shorts. Prior to this, she let the spritework cover herself up.
  • Anghel's human form has these big time in Hatoful Boyfriend.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time character Sheik qualifies for this (more noticeable in the 3DS remake), and the style in which it's worn helps to give you a hint.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo during the first training level, Neo's Mortal Kombat-esque outfit has this on top of it.
  • The Pokémon Croagunk has a pair of white bands around its midsection that are clearly intended to evoke the appearance of sarashi, as does Tyrogue.
  • Daigo from Rival Schools wears this, as part of his delinquent getup, however, it's only visible in his Wild Daigo version, where he wears his uniform open.
  • Included, along with just about everything else, in the wardrobe options of Saints Row 2.
  • Daidōji from Senran Kagura wears one as a bra (not that it does anything to prevent Gainaxing.) Fitting, since she's the "manliest" of all the girls. Homura also wears one normally as a bra, making her seem Ambiguously Brown at first, even though she is just tanned.
  • Asuka Kazama of the Tekken series wears sarashi as part of her 'Yakuza Diceroller' special costume designed by Oh! Great in Tekken 5. In Tekken 6, one of the pieces of her alternate matsuri outfit is a pair of shorts made from cloth wraps.
  • Touhou Project: Reimu wears sarashi under her sleeveless dress.
  • The character customization parts of Soulcalibur III and IV allow you to equip a female character with a sarashi.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Auchenai Crypts, the male monks are running around bare-chested; the female monks are wearing what appear to be sarashi of the chest-wrap variety. Yeah.
    • In the "Wrath of the Lich King" expansion, two sarashi shirts (that only NPCs had been able to use previously) were added for players — one with clean bandages, and one partially soaked in blood/antiseptic.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
    • Rhyth, one of the "Dancing Trio" Yo-Kai, wears one of these. Not that she really needs to, since she's a piece of seaweed.
    • Roughraff and his evolution Badude wear sarashi as a part of their delinquent image.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Cinder, the initial main villain of RWBY, uses this under a loose vest in Volume 3, though the waist wrap stops below the navel.

    Webcomics 
  • Cadet Danni from Alone, Together is left behind and forgotten on the tropical island of Shem Sheka. She reasons that her Imperial Army uniform will soon wear out if worn every day, and she tries going naked at one point. Sunburnt nipples beget wearing a sarashi thereafter as her default outfit, making Danni resemble a Nubile Savage.
  • One character in The Law of Purple flirtatiously asks another if they'd like to see the character's sarashi. The response goes along the lines of, "I've already seen your sarashi enough" and another character asks what a sarashi is.
  • Discussed in MegaTokyo, when Erika and Largo play a ninja fighting game. Largo admires the bouncing animation for the very busty female ninja Erika plays, and Erika comments that in reality it would be inconvenient to fight hanging out like that, and that a female ninja would more likely bind herself.
  • Sleepless Domain: A guest comic gives Zoe a Japanese Delinquent-inspired magical girl outfit, which includes a sarashi worn under her Coat Cape.
  • Yuuki from Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki tried to use the bandage bra version to flatten her (well, actually, his) heroic "assets" but had to give up because she couldn't breathe.
  • Natani, a transgendernote  wolf assassin from TwoKinds, uses a sarashi to cover up his breasts and better present as male. Ironically, he's actually one of the bustiest characters in the series, and actually has to use special wraps enchanted with a variant of the Bag of Holding enchantment to make it work.
    • Also Raine, from the same comic, as of Chapter 15 onwards. (Shown later to have been made from her torn up jumper/sweater, which was used for bandages).
    • And in Chapter 20, we see Reni in one as well. Justified for her because she's a dragon temporarily adopting a human form; she has the ability to control the size of her bosom and, being from a normally breastless species with little experience in using human form, she prefers to keep herself flat-chested for comfort and better balance.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender wears wrappings similar to this as underclothes. Although there is no Word of God about it, but since the show is set in a heavily Asian-influenced universe, and probably some time in the past before bras were invented, it's just assumed that women (usually) wear them with casual clothes or clothes that don't give any support in the Avatar universe.
    • The Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, does this as well.
  • Samurai Jack is shown to have one under his robe.
  • In Sonic Boom, Amy Rose wears wrapping around her waist but over her clothes. It acts as a backbrace to stop her from injuring herself when she swings her hammer.

    Real Life 
  • It was the fashion in the late 80's-early 90's for Japanese "gangster girls" to wrap their chests.


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