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Shed Armor, Gain Speed

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Solid Snake: Mei Ling, Samus took her clothes off!
Mei Ling: That's just her in the Zero Suit, Snake.
Snake: Without that bulky Power Suit, she's gotten a lot more agile... You know, I bet if I took off all this heavy gear, I could catch her...

A form of Multiform Balance, where a combatant sheds their armor for the sake of speed. Unencumbered by the weight, they're less resilient, but much more mobile. This can turn them from a Mighty Glacier or Stone Wall into a Fragile Speedster. In cases of extreme power level or where Armor Is Useless, this can lead to the armor effectively being a Power Limiter and/or invoking the Bishōnen Line. The Action Dress Rip is related, in that they're both sacrificing clothing for mobility, though the circumstances are usually fairly different.

Compare Didn't Need Those Anyway!, which often overlaps with this trope when it comes to video game enemies. If it happens to a boss, it's probably a sign that he Turned Red. Compare also Disposable Vehicle Section; sometimes overlaps when the thing being shed is the vehicle's protective armor. Compare Power Harness for when Powered Armor was designed with this principle in mind to begin with.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Robin Mask of Kinnikuman uses his armor as a form of Power Limiter; When he takes it off during his match against Kin in the Choujin Olympics, he becomes much faster and agile. In fact, Robin strips himself of all of his armor and metal decorations, save his helmet and mask, during his fight against Junkman. Robin then becomes so fast that he literally runs rings around the evil wrestler.
  • Erza Scarlet of Fairy Tail is known for her "Equip Magic," which lets her summon weapons and armor out of thin air. She also has a Sarashi form with no armor that greatly boosts her speed and attack power in exchange for almost no protection (in this case, it's because she's focusing all her magic power into offense, and by the point she uses this, her enemy has likely proven they can tear through her defensive armors anyways).
  • In GUN×SWORD, Priscilla does this in her introductory episode when she sheds her Humongous Mecha's armor to increase its speed and mobility in a battle with the protagonist.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, the NT-1 "Alex" is outfitted with a special Chobam Armor which makes it incredible resilient, but kills its mobility and agility. Once it's ejected, the suit is much faster, having been designed to A) not be completely useless with all the extra weight, and B) keep up with Amuro Ray's Newtype reflexes. However, the very Oldtype Christina McKenzie is out of her league with it.
  • Inverted in Mobile Suit Gundam F91. The titular Gundam's high output and use of its Biocomputer require tremendous cooling, and one solution turned out to be the Metal Peel-off Effect (MEPE). Basically it transfers heat up its outer layers of armor material and dissipates it, with the added effect of playing merry hell on an opponent's visual sensors as they continue to register a mobile suit where there are only dissipated armor particles. (Later versions of the F91 remove this by limiting its output and using more advanced cooling materials, but it's made clear that it can be restored.)
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Neo-America's Gundam Maxter can eject its chest and shoulder armor for improved performance. Its shoulder armor actually mounts on its fists, improving its attack as well.
  • The prototype Stark Jegan from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack-MSV (basically canon mecha designs that didn't make it to the screen) had additional armor and armaments that it could eject in order to increase its speed.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Virtue Gundam can eject most of its armor to become the more maneuverable Nadleeh Gundam. However, the Nadleeh was not intended as a combat unit — as most of its capacitors and weapons are in its armor, it's much weaker than Virtue and never used in battle except as a last resort.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Mikazuki sheds Gundam Barbatos's heavy armor and overclocks it in order to defeat Graze Ein.
    • The Gundam Kimaris was a powerful, armored, and ultimately a bulky, cumbersome machine. When rebuilt into the Gundam Vidar, as little armour as possible was attached, and even what there is has slots cut in it to reduce weight As a result, the Vidar is a Glass Cannon that is nigh impossible to catch.
  • Chirico does this in the Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Big Battle OVA, shedding a full sixth of a standard Scopedog's weight off to create the Light Scopedog custom unit. (This sort of customization is also pretty standard in the setting.)
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Jean-Pierre Polnareff's stand, the knight-like Silver Chariot can shed its armor for a more skeletal, much faster form. When the armor is off, Silver Chariot can move so fast that it seems that there are five of them. Avdol only manages to defeat Polnareff by setting up a trap with his Crossfire Hurricane attack. Unfortunately, the only other time Polnareff uses this ability is when he becomes Brainwashed and Crazy and tries to kill the Joestar crew again. There is another time where he used it on Hol Horse to stop a bullet. It would work easily if the bullet wasn't completely homing.
  • A power limiter example rather than a simple speed boost, but in one episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Joey talks about how his card "Gearfried the Iron Knight" really wears its armor to control its own power, before removing that armor with a spell card to transform it into the powerful "Gearfried the Swordmaster."
  • Pokémon: The Series: Shell Smash in the game is a move that breaks a Pokémon shell, trading defense for speed and power. But since Pokémon's body parts breaking on-screen may be iffy, the anime gets around it in various ways.
    • In Pokémon the Series: Black & White: Cilan's Dwebble/Crustle simply exits out of its shell and glows white. That white energy breaks off and reveals the Pokémon bathed in red energy, signifying speed and power gained.
    • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon Kiawe's Turtonator knows, and has used, Shell Smash. However, it neither leaves nor breaks it shell. Its shell simply goes white and break off into energy fragments, which shows the Pokémon glowing red with speed and power.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Bui's armor is used as a Power Limiter. Before he takes it off he's a ponderous Mighty Glacier, but upon shedding it he's a Lightning Bruiser and now capable of flight.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: During the battle with the Juppongatana, Hiko Seijuurou tells the giant Fuji to lose the armor because, though it protects him, it restricts his movements. Hiko then curbstomps him anyway.
  • Fate Testarossa from the Lyrical Nanoha franchise is already a Fragile Speedster, but in StrikerS, she adds the "True Sonic Form" to her armor, which essentially trades whatever meager defense it still provided for another speed boost. Her enemy at the time notes that she can be killed with a single blow in that form—but fails to take into account that you can't hit someone who moves so fast you can't see her.
  • In Fate/Zero, Saber discovers during her fight with Lancer that his weapon can ignore magical objects (like her armor), so she removes it to gain a boost in speed with little cost since it wasn't actually protecting her. Which he'd planned for, he actually had a second weapon that causes much more dangerous wounds but could be blocked by armor.
  • In Broken Blade, the ancient golem Tyrfing goes into battle wearing enormous plates of bolt-on armor, which only it is strong enough to carry. If those become too damaged to help anymore, Rygart drops them and gets about 200% faster.
  • In Attack on Titan, the Armored Titan is able to go from a Mighty Glacier to a (relative) Fragile Speedster by shedding the armor at its joints. This grants it increased mobility and speed, but creates an Achilles' Heel that soldiers are already trained to exploit. As such, doing so is a risky gamble.
  • Dragon Ball GT: Sixinglong/Nouva Shenron wears armor that protects him with heat similar to the sun, making it almost impossible to attack him. When Super Saiyan 4 Goku is powerful enough to withstand the heat, he discards his armor and his already impressive speed skyrockets.
  • One Piece:
    • Although he doesn't shed actual armor, Rob Lucci's use of the Life Return technique is essentially this trope. Using the technique in his half-leopard hybrid form, he turns his bulky and resistant body into a much slimmer form. What he loses in power and defense, he gains in agility and speed.
    • Similar to the above example is King. King being a Lunarian grants him several powers, including a flame on his back that he can extinguish and reignite at will. While the flame is burning, King is ludicrously tough, to the point of being Nigh-Invulnerable. When the flame is out, King becomes much faster, but loses his insane resilliance to attacks. Zoro figuring this out is the key to allowing him to defeat King.
  • Jil's armor in The Tower of Druaga is extremely heavy, surprising anyone who tries to pick up a piece of it when he's not wearing it. The advantages of this are not made apparent until his final confrontation against his older brother Neeba who holds the power of a reincarnated Druaga in the finale of the 2nd half. His armor is lost piece by piece until he's left totally unarmored. Even he is stunned by how fast he can suddenly move and how high he can jump when unencumbered by its weight.
  • A variant in My Hero Academia: Shed Armor, Gain Power. The pro hero 'Fat Gum' is able to absorb kinetic energy with his Kevlard. The thing most people don't realize is he can release the energy stored in his fat, burning them off and turning him lean, and deliver them into one single devastating blow.
  • Bastard!! (1988): After Princess Sheila's armor gets caught in the scenery, Dark Schneider tells her to discard her armor because all it will do is slow her down and she does it. While she does seem to move better without it and it makes it easier for him to carry her, it is possible he said it just so he could see her in her skimpy outfit under the armor.
  • Digimon Frontier: MagnaGarurumon has an attack called "Starlight Velocity" that he can only use when he drops his heavy weaponry and armor.
  • Naruto: During his fight with Gaara in the Chunin Exam arc, Rock Lee removes the heavy ankle weights he is wearing which drop to the ground with a loud crash. He becomes insanely fast after this.
  • In Zoids: Wild, when Quade activates his Awakened Wild Blast, Zaber Fang ejects several pieces of armor and starts moving significantly faster. As the fight against Demise continues, more armor gets damaged, destroyed, or ripped off, and each time Zaber Fang gets a bit faster.

    Comic Strips 

  • In A Brighter Dark, Xander removes most of his armor before dueling Ryoma so he will be able to dodge and move faster. Even with the extra speed he is still barely able to keep up against Ryoma.
  • In Elementary, Anselm Blackwood (an OC based on Zack Fair) sometimes took off his armor to boost his speed.
  • Subterranean Queen in Hero's Harem will destroy her rock clothing to increase her mobility, especially since anyone strong enough to require said mobility can easily pierce her hardened magma clothes anyway.
  • In The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 Link performs some kind of spinning back kick (to Ganondorf's jaw). Ganondorf muses that he never knew Link could use his feet or was that agile. Link then reminds him he's not weighed down by his entire The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time arsenal (which he estimates at a hundred pounds) this time.
    With all of those hindrances, Link was fast. Without them... Ganondorf pushed the thought down.
  • In The Portal, Blizzard sheds his armour for a huge speed advantage in his final battle against Zobek.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: After she starts working with the US military, Alex does ask about the possibility of body armour, but it's pointed out that her silvery morph gives better protection than anything she could wear, and she needs to limit her weight in order to have spare telekinesis when flying.
  • Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse: Navy Captain Chaser Kiyoshi wears an armor-plated Badass Longcoat that doubles as a training aid cum Power Limiter, causing her dramatic coat-shedding to not only look impressive, but also enable her to employ her full Super-Speed and Super-Strength.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A downplayed example, at the climax of 300, Leonidas discards his shield and his helmet both to lull his enemy into a false sense of security and give him the mobility he needed to have a Defiant Stone Throw at the Persian king and wound him before Leonidas and the rest of the Spartans are killed.
  • In Man of Steel, at the film's climax, Zod sheds his Powered Armor. This allows him to gain Flying Brick powers by exposing him to the Earth's atmosphere, giving him the ability to fly thus turning him from a Mighty Glacier to a Lightning Bruiser, as the exposure also gives him both Super-Strength and Super-Toughness that compensates for the loss of his armor.
  • First Knight: As part of the celebration of King Arthur's betrothal to Guinevere, several able-bodied young men tried braving the Gauntlet (a mechanical obstacle course). Everyone who went through the Gauntlet wore heavy protective padding, and promptly got pushed off the Gauntlet. When Guinevere agreed to give a kiss to the first man to clear the Gauntlet, Lancelot immediately braved the Gauntlet, but without the padded armor. Needless to say, he skated through the contraption, although he opted not to kiss Guinevere.

  • Accel World: Cyan Pile is a variant. Normally his movement is restricted by the massive, unwieldy Pile Bunker he wears on one arm. However, in book 4 he develops the incarnate technique "Cyan Blade" which discards the outer portion of the bunker and transforms its pile into a lightweight katana, allowing him to move and fight far more swiftly. This comes at the cost of range and most of his Special Attacks, so in later battles he switches between the two modes as needed.
  • In Paradise Lost, the angels of God adapt to the satanic invention of artillery by throwing away their swords, spears, and shields to allow them the speed to zip past demonic cannon volleys and knock 'em down. To further the anti-armor rhetoric, the armor the demons wear prevents them from dodging the swift angels' surprise attack.
    "Thir Arms away they threw, and to the Hills
    Light as the Lightning glimps they ran, they flew.
  • In Spells, Swords, & Stealth, Eric the town guard has been wearing armor for years. When the NPCs have to pretend to be adventurers in order to spare their town the wrath of the Mad King, Eric is the natural choice for wearing the paladin's heavy armor. However, during a fight with demons, he ends up stripping off the armor and discovers that all the years of wearing armor have given him excellent musculature that allows him to be quick and nimble, as well as stealthy, without it. He very quickly reclassifies himself as a rogue. He gets new armor later, but it's special lightweight armor that doesn't encumber him.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels says that Rebel engineers would frequently strip off hull plating and extra weight from the Y-Wing in order to give it extra speed for some types of operations.
  • In Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, this is a formal technique called Break Purge. By removing most of their armour and concentrating energy to the remaining pieces, a Drag-Knight can increase their offence and speed at the expense of defence. Celis is a specialist in this technique and often uses it against tough opponents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in the zombie episode of Community. At the climax, Troy dons his Halloween costume: a cardboard version of the power loader from Aliens. While it does give him a little bit of protection from the Technically Living Zombies, it also gives them more to grab onto and slows him down. He quickly sheds it and wonders why he thought that it would be a good idea.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Cold War" Skaldak sneaks out of his Ice Warrior armor, gaining not just speed but more importantly maneuverability and stealth, allowing him to crawl around in ducts and attack people unexpectedly.
  • Shurikenger from Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger (and his American counterpart, the Green Samurai Ranger from Power Rangers Ninja Storm), have this transformation as their Super Mode. In their default morphed form, they appear to wear a large golden vest that acts as armor and weighted gear; and when entering their Super Mode they quickly discard the vest, which granted them - along with a new visor (by the top part of the helmet spinning around) and a samurai saber - extra speed.
    • Impressively when the golden vest hits the ground, it ends up shaking, cracking and leaving a crater from its sheer weight. Alongside that, discarding the vest reveals that the diamond logo on the suit actually has wings on its sides (that the vest covers up). Which emphasizes the speed boost the Super Mode gives.
    • Similarly, the mecha Senpuujin/Storm Megazord used by the main trio, can do a similar transformation into its Lightning mode, trading its bulky frame for a sleeker, quicker form that however can only last for a few minutes.
  • Occurs a few times in Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Agito:
    • An organic version happens in Kamen Rider 555, where the Dragon Orphenoch sheds most of his skin and muscle mass to turn into a sleeker skeletal looking form, which is fast enough to keep up with the Faiz Accel form that's reputed to be as fast as the speed of sound.
    • In Kamen Rider Kabuto, all Kamen Riders initially transform into a bulky Masked Form, which can shed its armor with the command "Cast Off" to become the sleek and super-fast Rider Form. The Worm, the enemy race of the series, can do a similar thing, where a bulky Salisworm is able to shed its skin to molt into a stronger but sleeker form, able to move at the same Super-Speed as the Rider Forms can.
    • In Kamen Rider Double, Accel's Trial Super Mode has sleeker and less bulky armor to go with its Super-Speed ability.
    • The third form of the title character in Kamen Rider Gaim resembles a heavily armored samurai. His transformation to his final form involves him throwing off his armor to reveal a sleeker form. While his final form is not explicitly shown to be faster than the previous, the official website does state there is an increase in speed and agility.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has something similar to Kabuto above where the Riders start out in a bulky, Super-Deformed "Level 1" form and then have a "Level 2" form where they shed their bulky armor, becoming less physically powerful but much quicker and more agile. Later on, Ex-Aid gains an example like Gaim, where his penultimate form is basically a bulky suit of Powered Armor (resemling his Level 1 form) and in order to transform into his Super Mode he sheds the extra armor.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O has Kamen Rider Geiz's Midseason Upgrade Geiz Revive Shippu trades the thick armor and enormous strength of Revive Goretsu for Super-Speed so great that even being able to predict the future isn't enough to reliably dodge Geiz's attacks.
  • Daredevil (2015): Inverted. Matt initially shrugs off Claire's suggestion that he get body armor to protect himself, saying armor would just slow him down. He reconsiders after a near-fatal fight with Fisk and Nobu.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Technically possible in Dungeons & Dragons, but generally impractical to do in combat. Heavy armor increases a character's AC, but caps the bonus they can gain from high dexterity and reduces movement speed. At absurdly high levels of dexterity, a character might be better off wearing no armor and possibly buying enchanted clothes, even in terms of the one thing armor is supposed to be good for.
  • Legion Recon squads in Warhammer 40,000s varient game the Horus Heresy, have the option to take Recon Armor. Reducing their armor save but giving them infiltrate and bonuses to moving through terrain.
  • Possible in Pathfinder with the armored coat, a special medium armor that only requires a move action to don or remove. Useful for characters with levels in classes that are heavily impaired by armors but would really like an extra protection from time to time. Magic items such as the bracers of armor exist, but they are way more expensive and cannot beat a +5 armored coat in terms of armor bonus and extra special abilities.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls (carried on to Elden Ring) has a mechanic where your roll changes depending on how close to your equip load limit you are- a quarter or less and it's faster and covers a longer difference, halfway there and it's normal, and if you encumber yourself right up to the limit then your roll is slow and awkward. The community has dubbed these as fast rolling, medium rolling, and fat rolling respectively. The latter is to be avoided, given how Armor Is Useless in most of these games.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Pokémon:
    • The move Autotomize causes the user to shed part of its body armor in order to gain speed. This raises speed by two levels and also lightens the user (weakening moves that do more damage to heavy Pokémon, like Low Kick and Grass Knot, and strengthening the ones that do more damage to light Pokemon, like Heavy Slam and Heat Crash).
    • The move Shell Smash is inspired by this trope. All of the user's defensive stats drop by one, but their offensive stats (including speed) increase by 2. Gen 9 introduced the ability version of Shell Smash called Anger Shell, which only happens when the user has half or lower health. Additionally, the move Fillet Away (unique to the Pokémon Veluza) is a variant in which, rather than dropping their defenses, the user sheds surplus flesh to increase their speed and offensive capabilities.
    • The Ability Weak Armor represents this similarly. Every time a Pokémon is hit with a physical attack, its Defense drops a stage, but its Speed increases one. Its Japanese name Broken Armor makes it even more apparent.
    • Shelmet and Karrablast exhibit this when they evolve. They only evolve when one is traded for the other. Effectively, mid-trade, Karrablast swipes Shelmet's metal shell. Karrablast slows down and becomes the Mighty Glacier Escavalier, while the newly-unencumbered Shelmet evolves into Accelgor, which is in the top five fastest non-legendary non-Mega Pokemon ever released.note 
    • Type: Null also shows this when it evolves into Silvally — Type: Null's heavy helmet breaks apart, giving Silvally the boost in base speed to match the rest of its stats. Silvally is also lighter than Type: Null due to this. Its defensive stats aren't actually affected, though; the helmet is a Power Limiter to prevent Type: Null from going berserk from its RKS System, and the evolution happens when its bond with its Trainer allows control of it.
    • Minior has the unique Shields Down ability, which starts it out with a thick layer of armor that gives it strong defenses and protection from status ailments. Once its health dips below half, the armor breaks apart, revealing its faster, more offensively-oriented, core.
    • The move Scale Shot, available via move tutors or naturally learned by Roaring Moon, is a multi-hit attack that drops its user's Defense by one stage but increases its Speed by one stage.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, whenever Samus uses her Final Smash, she sheds her Varia Suit and fights in the skin-tight Zero Suit she wears underneath, becoming lighter and much, much faster, as observed by Snake in his Codec conversation with Mei Ling. If you choose to start a battle as Samus in her Zero Suit form, she emerges on the stage with pieces of her power armor falling off of her, which can be picked up and thrown at opponents right from the start of the match. Smash 4 and Ultimate do away with this quirk and make both forms of Samus separate characters.
  • In God of War III, Hercules is decked out in armor that makes him move slowly, and which Kratos knocks off bit by bit. When the armor's gone completely, Herc becomes much faster, but can be defeated in only a few more hits. Unfortunately it also becomes tougher to get those hits in, because for the first time in the fight Hercules will be trying to dodge.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, heavy armor offers the best protection, but is cumbersome and loud. It's not uncommon for players to don armor in close combat and then stash it in their inventory when moving across the landscape or sneaking. Though becoming skilled enough with heavy armor eventually allows you to make so that it weighs absolutely nothing when you wear it, allowing you to move at full speed, while the loudness issue can be solved by putting a Muffle enchantment on the boots or simply casting the Muffle spell when needed.
  • In Mega Man X2, if you remove Crystal Snail's protective shell with Magnet Mine, he'll move quickly and wildly around the arena until he gets hold of the shell again.
  • Wild Wuerger from Super Robot Wars: Original Generation. As part of its finishing move it sheds its armor and reveals a pair of bladed wings, with which it launches a series of blindingly-fast attacks. One of Arado's possible lines when using this maneuver is even a Shout-Out to Kamen Rider Kabuto.
  • In Virtual-ON Oratorio Tangram, Raiden can sacrifice 90% of its health and all of its V-Armor in exchange for a massive boost to speed.
  • In Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, the Pharaoh Zombie is initially the slowest zombie in the game since it's wearing its sarcophagus, but that makes him one of the toughest with an insane amount of health, immunity to being paralyzed, and the fact it can survive an explosive plant, which are usually a OHKO. Once it takes enough damage, the sarcophagus breaks and while he still has a Zombie Gait, he's one of the fastest zombies in the game.
  • In PAYDAY 2, the Second Wind skill from the Ghost's Silent Killer skill tree increases movement speed by 30% for 5 seconds when the player's armor breaks. Acing the skill also applies to other players once the effect is triggered.
  • Little Fighter 2: Louis, who wears full body armor, is one of the slowest characters in game. However, by executing a specific key combination he will eject his armor off his body and become Louis EX, the fastest character in game.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the Great Sacred Treasure used in the Final Battle combines this with Transforming Mecha. It starts by shedding a few weapons in transformation to Pursuit Mode. When Hades bombards it, in morphs into the more naturally controlled Mech Armor Mode. When Hades breaks off the cockpit, the two primary jet engines reattach into Ultra-Light Mode. When Hades completely smashes the thing, Pit salvages its major cannon to deliver the Final Strike.
  • In Space Pirates and Zombies, players can have their ships jettison their armor plates to increase their speed. The catch is, you can't get the armor back. It doesn't see much use in normal missions, but is a necessary trick to win one of the bounty hunter missions.
  • In Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, promoting Zuika to the Terminator class gives him a chitinous armor. When his health drops below 30%, the armor breaks, dramatically increasing his movement speed and replacing his normal attack with a Flash Step strike that has increased range and deals double damage.
  • In Robotech: Battlecry, you can choose to pilot an armored version of any given Veritech fighter in multiplayer — you start in your humanoid Humongous Mecha mode and are forced to stay that way due to the heavy armor and numerous missile pods installed on your legs, chest, and shoulders disabling the Veritech's ability to change modes. This leaves you in the slowest possible form, as the additional armaments and protection hamper the Battloid mode's mobility, but provides an exceptional defense boost as well as a lot of missiles to throw around. In an emergency, however, you can execute the 'purge' command, which ejects all that extra armor and weaponry, reverting the Veritech to its standard model and re-enabling transformation.
  • Played with in Valkyria Chronicles. General Jaeger's tank the Lupus has extra armor plating, slowing it down. The speed it gains after they're destroyed isn't a "boost" so much as it finally being able to go its regular speed. Its no less durable than a heavy tank without them either. The only real drawback being that the radiator(every tank's weak spot) is finally exposed.
  • Inverted in Kaiju A Gogo with one of Ginormasaurus's tier 2 abilities, which gives a boost to armour in exchange for reduced speed.
  • Warframe:
    • Chroma can use the Effigy ability to animate his pelt into a fire-breathing dragonnote . As he's no longer wearing the pelt, this causes his Armor stat to drop but boosts his running speed.
    • Xaku can use the ability Vast Untime to explode their outer shell leaving a skeletal frame that can move faster. Unlike most examples of this trope, Xaku does not become more fragile, suffering no penalties in durability. They, in fact, become tankier by virtue of increased Evasion, meaning enemies are less likely to land a hit.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, Dunban's skill trees contain abilities that increase his Agility and Evasion if he isn't wearing armor. This leads to the surprisingly deadly strategy fans term "Naked Dunban".
  • Overlaps somewhat with Disposable Vehicle Section in Spy Hunter. Once the Interceptor is reduced to 25% of its maximum health (or on player command in the sequels), it turns into a motorcycle. The two-wheeled Interceptor is lighter and faster, with better handling and acceleration, but loses a significant portion of its protective body panels, Rail Gun, Turbo Boost, and all defensive weapons.
  • In Cursed Treasure 2, there are several enemies and bosses who lose their armor when reduced to some fraction of their maximum health, greatly boosting their speed. The game calls this a "Final Rush."
  • This is a favored tactic in Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django which put a de facto level limit on armor by giving you running speed boosts with every level up, while stronger armor weighed more and reduced your running speed. Most players preferred having a base running speed faster than the Dash ability and would opt for no armor at all (until they found the Earthly Robe with it's 28 defense / 8 weight) in favor of being able to take extra hits.
  • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: Fencers who take the Phantom Duelist title can learn the Lightweight passive skill, which gives them a bonus to evasion based on how many armor slots they leave empty.
  • The Iron Doll in Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge is a massively armored slow-moving knight... until you knock him down to half health, he sheds the heavy armor, and starts leaping around with a spear. It's an odd kind of balance because with the armor he's the easiest of the four bosses, and without it he's the hardest of them.
  • A few of your available tanks in World of Tanks work this way. The most overt example is the KV-1S, which you acquire after training with the KV-1. Though using the same base chassis and several of the same parts, the 1S is nimbler but less durable. In a broader sense, this is how French battle doctrine evolves as you advance in tiers. Up to tier 4, their vehicles are very slow, but very well armored...then at tier 5, you go from the AMX 40, an adorably duck-shaped slab of steel, to the AMX ELC bis, an incredibly tiny but fragile tank that zips around the battlefield and sets the tone for later French vehicles.
  • Hitler in Wolfenstein 3-D starts out in a suit of Powered Armor, which is visually impressive but is actually statistically identical to all the game's other bosses. After you destroy said Power Armor, Hitler comes out to fight you himself; he's noticeably faster than other bosses, but only has about half as much health.
  • Monster Hunter: World:
    • Kulve Taroth starts the fight clad in a massive layer of gold armor which protects her from attacks but also makes her move extremely slowly. The majority of the fight involves breaking the armor apart, leading into the final phase where she is unarmored and significantly faster.
    • Shara Ishvalda starts its fight covered in a layer of thick rock armor which must be broken. Once the armor falls off, Shara is notably faster, though still relatively slow.
  • Late in episode 1 of Traffic Department 2192 there is a mission whose first half involves driving a slow, unarmed, but heavily-armored truck into the enemy Vulture HQ. The truck carries two things: a Vulture Mark II hoverskid, which is your cover for getting inside, and a bomb powerful enough to level the building. The second half involves escaping from the newly-ruined HQ building in the Mark II, which has had its armor stripped to the bone in order to be carried in the Truck in the first place.
  • Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars: Armored enemies carry huge shields that make them move slowly. If they are not defeated quickly, they will lose patience and drop their shields to start sprinting at the player.
  • Daemon X Machina: The online-only boss Zeruchroar is a heavily armored Colossal Immortal. At the halfway point of the fight, it discards its armor, increasing speed as the trope dictates. Problem being, Zeruchroar was already fast to begin with! In stage 2 it's so fast as to effectively be an Evasion Tank, and its weaknesses change because the underlying frame has different resistances than its armor. On the plus side, the discarded armor pieces make good choices for throwing back at it.
  • Titan Quest: The Epic rarity Pavise Shields, that reduce Movement Speed when equipped, unlike most other shields.
  • Junkworld has the Junk Mutt enemies, fast-moving psionically animated scrap in the form of dogs. When they lose most of their health, their out armor breaks off and they turn into a Nimble Hound that's weaker but even faster.

  • Exterminatus Now has the team explain to a scientist that armor would slow them down and only be useful at close range. And if they let demons get into close range, they're dead, armor or not.
  • Parodied in an early The Order of the Stick comic, where Elan, misunderstanding how this trope works in Dungeons & Dragons, believes he can remove all of his clothes and become impossibly nimble and stealthy. (He can't. The bonus does exist, but only for removing actual armor.) Of course, since nobody wants to look at him when he is naked, Elan believes it works better than he thought. It becomes a minor running gag that anyone who is naked is said by Elan to be "invisible".

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: NRG has a bulky, nigh-impenetrable containment suit that offers great strength, durability and defense against elements, even mind control. He can shed the armor to reveal his much slimmer true form, which possesses flight, intangibility and more intense energy output.
  • In Peppermint Rose Rose ditches her armor early on to keep it from weighing her down.

    Real Life 
  • World War II:
    • In 1943 the Royal Air Force mounted an Airstrike Impossible on several dams in Germany, codenamed Operation Chastise, which was later made into the book and film The Dam Busters. The preparations for the raid included removing armor plating and the amidships dorsal gun turret from the Avro Lancaster bombers used in the raid, in order to save weight and gain back some of the speed they'd lose by carrying the raid's purpose-built 10-ton bomb underneath.
    • Similar changes were made to the "Silverplate" B-29 Superfortresses that were designed to drop the first atomic bombs.
    • The Doolittle Raid took this to extremes, stripping most of the weapons, armor and bombs out of the B-25 to allow an army medium bomber to fly off a navy carrier.
      • In the vein of the Doolittle Raid above, this was basically the main tactic to keep damaged bombers in the air if you lost more than one engine. B-17's and B-24's were sturdy planes, but once that second engine sputtered out, that's when you start dumping the load: Extra bombs, guns, ammo, fuel, radios, oxygen tanks, bomb sights, wounded/dead crew members...basically, anything that wasn't bolted down or vital to the operation of the aircraft or survival of the crew had to go now if you didn't want to stall out and have a nose-first meeting with the ground. Keep in mind that such bombers generally kept armor protection to a bare minimum to begin with; the amount of armor necessary to protect a heavy bomber would have rendered it useless as a bomber due to the extra weight.
    • Medal of Honor recipient Tony Stein, while storming enemy pillboxes at Iwo Jima (the weapon used for this feat is listed under Removable Turret Gun), removed his boots and helmet so he could move faster when running back for more ammo. He did this eight times total, carrying a wounded Marine back with him each time.
    • The Soviet KV-1S was this for the KV-1. The KV-1, when first introduced was an absolute brute of a heavy tank, with frontal armor that was practically impervious to the anti-tank guns used by the Germans at the time. However, it was extremely heavy and slow. Thus the attempt to alleviate this by removing some of the armor in the KV-1S. Unfortunately, this lack of armor meant that the tank was only as well protected as the much lighter and cheaper T-34, which also had the same 76mm gun and thus the KV-1S and was slightly faster. The KV-1S was then given a further upgrade to the KV-85, which had a new turret with an 85 mm gun that offered better protection, but this was merely a stop-gap while its replacement, the IS-2, was being finalized.
  • Modern soldiers wear only as much gear as absolutely necessary due to this. Sure a full flak vest with bullet-proof plates will offer a lot of protection against small arms fire, but they're going to go for the much lighter anti-frag plates unless being shot at is likely, and no flak vest at all if IEDs are unlikely, etc.
    • As a matter of fact, a common disability claim for modern vets is back and knee problems due to how much gear they're required to carry, including the plate armor. Depending on their mission, soldiers have varying requirements of how much they're supposed to carry, although more experienced troops will keep additional optional gear to a minimum. While shedding armor improves mobility, it's the rare soldier that can outrun fragmentation from a bomb going off.
    • Bomb disposal technicians have very heavy duty suits available to mitigate the effects of the blast should the device they are attempting to disarm detonate during the attempt. If the device is sufficiently powerful that it would be lethal regardless of the suit the technician will typically forgo the suit as they are extremely cumbersome and fatiguing to wear - the advantages are that the unarmoured tech enjoys superior manual dexterity which is very important and can run faster should it transpire that the device is primed to explode at any moment.
  • While not armor, this is the theory behind the use of drop tanks. They allow fighters (and less often, bombers) to carry additional fuel for extra range, then drop them to decrease weight and drag for better speed and maneuverability.note 
  • A Spartan saying admonished soldiers to "come back with your shield or on it," defying this trope. Spartan shields were large and sturdy enough to carry a human body, and thus they were extremely cumbersome; to run at full speed (i.e. to flee from a battle), a soldier would have to throw away his shield. Hence the command to "come back with your shield," i.e. victorious, "or on it," i.e. dead. To be clear, a field army was allowed to make an orderly Tactical Withdrawal upon its leader's command if the situation turned against them; what they were trying to prevent was men dropping their weapons and abandoning their comrades in an "every-man-for-himself" fashion.
  • Knights on foot. If the knights were ordered to fight dismounted, they could shed their greaves and sabatons in order to gain more agility and mobility. Some also wore lighter but more mobile brigandine cuirasses instead of plate cuirass, or left the back plate away altogether, insisting they would never turn their back to the enemy anyway. Since the foot combat with knightly weapons such as two-handed sword or pollaxe requires much agility, this is a Justified Trope.
  • Numerous battle pictures from medieval times show even otherwise fully armored men declining to wear gauntlets on their hands. Though it did not give them more speed as such, using bare hands permitted finer control of one’s weapon, which could make stabbing between the plates of an armoured opponent easier. Sometimes it might have been for no other reason than the individual finding gauntlets uncomfortable to wear. Obviously, the tradeoff was that the fighter would need to be more careful about blocking or avoiding blows that could hit the hands, and without passive protection they were more vulnerable to taking a hit to the hands which they did not see coming.
  • Samurai armor was designed for individual pieces to be removable in response to circumstances such as terrain. For example, some field manuals recommended wearing the cord for holding up the thigh guards (haidate) over the cuirass instead of under it, allowing the haidate to be quickly removed if the warrior needed to run faster, or perhaps wade through a marsh. The large shoulder guards (sode) might be removed in order to scale a wall without them getting in the way.
  • In American football, there has been a recent emphasis on slimming down, both in terms of padding and for the players themselves. Modern shoulder pads are sleek and slim, compared with the enormous pads of the 90s and earlier. And a lot of players are cutting weight in order to be faster in today's quick-hitting, pass-heavy game. Runningbacks are now better off if they're quicker and better able to run pass routes, and there aren't a whole lot of "battering ram" backs anymore. Offensive and defensive linemen are still big, but there's more of an emphasis on maintaining an athletic build rather than carrying around a bunch of dead weight.
  • In the late 16th century, some military writers such as Sir John Smythe complained that the new crop of knights and men-at-arms were in the habit of discarding pieces such as their leg armor or pauldrons to lighten their load when the going got tough.
  • This is basically how plate armor gradually disappeared from European battlefields during the 17th century thanks to the insoluble dilemma that increasing firearm effectiveness presented.
    • In The Late Middle Ages, you only needed relatively thin armor plates to make edged weapons and arrows glance off, especially if the steel was hardened and tempered. Full head-to-toe armor might weigh 45-60 pounds depending on the individual and their level of protection, which may sound like a lot but which is actually quite manageable. This changed as the guns which had been present in the 14th and 15th centuries started to get more powerful, more numerous, and more accurate over the course of the 16th century. In order to make armor proof against the more powerful arquebus and musket, you had to thicken the plates and add reinforcing pieces to the most vulnerable areas, so that the average weight of each armor component kept increasing over time. It got to the point where an armor that covered the entire body in bulletproof plates would simply be too heavy and taxing on the wearer's stamina to be practical, so they kept removing pieces bit by bit.
    • The first type of armor to be abandoned was horse armor, since it was really expensive and there was no way a horse could carry both its own armor and a heavily armored rider anymore when every piece was getting heavier. The only piece of horse armor that some people continued to use was the shaffron to protect the front of the horse’s head. Next went armor for the rider’s feet and calves, then the rest of the legs, then the arms, and pretty soon most cavalry were only wearing backplate, breastplate, open-faced helmet, a left hand gauntlet that went up to the elbow (the left hand was a common target for horsemen because it holds the bridle; the right hand was protected by the sword's basket hilt), and a thick leather buff coat underneath. A buff coat could stop a sword cut, or a long distance/ricochet bullet that had already spent most of its energy, so some soldiers took their chances with just a buff coat at the risk that a solid hit to somewhere without plate armor might seriously wound or kill them. They would also ditch their helmets and wear "secrets", metal skull caps small enough to fit under their hats, which were unlikely to stop a bullet but were effective against sword blows.
    • By the 18th century, the only foot soldiers who wore bulletproof armor were sappers who worked close to the walls exposed to enemy fire during sieges, while the cuirasses and helmets of heavy cavalry were normally only thick enough to protect against bladed weapons such as sabers, bayonets, and light lances, as well as the occasional low-energy bullet. It took a long time after that for technology to make military body armor widespread and practical again.
  • The prehistoric marine crocodile Metriorhynchus achieved this trope through millions of years of evolution—unlike most known crocodilians, Metriorhynchus lacked osteoderms (armored scales), having most likely lost them in its evolutionary history to make it a faster and more efficient swimmer. However, this left it more vulnerable to attack, especially seeing as it shared the oceans with 20+ foot long leviathans like Liopleurodon. To quote Nigel Marvin in Walking with Dinosaurs, "it has sacrificed defense for speed".
  • An inversion: most tanks and armored vehicles, when first introduced, tend to compromise somewhat on armor for the sake of mobility. The higher-ups who issue the specifications know that things such as speed, reliability, fuel economy, and ease of transport are at least as important as protection for the weapons system to perform its operational or strategic role. In contrast, crews care very little about the big picture and are naturally most concerned with whether the vehicle will protect them if they get shot or blown up. And they have a point, because inevitably the weaponry available to the enemy will advance, or the vehicle will be called upon to face a hazard it was not designed for. The tendency, therefore, is for a vehicle to be progressively up-armored throughout its service life, often at the expense of speed, reliability, etc. Unless components such as engine, suspension, etc. are upgraded in proportion, the vehicle eventually gets so overweight that it becomes necessary to design a new model to replace it.


Video Example(s):


Pharaoh Zombie

The Pharaoh Zombie (second row from top) is very slow in his sarcophagus but is much faster once it is destroyed.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShedArmorGainSpeed

Media sources: