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File:Gangofhats.jpg

A gang or group of people who possess some sort of specific gimmick that sets them apart from the other gangs.

Gang differentiation is pretty necessary if you've got inter-gang politics. Otherwise you've got some guys beating up other guys. The most simple (and realistic) might be a color scheme (Crips vs. Bloods) or lifestyle group (Mods vs Rockers), but TV often takes this to ridiculous lengths, dressing in totally ridiculous outfits, or only using a specific weapon.

Occasionally, a Fictional Political Party can have a theme resembling this.

Compare Planet of Hats.

Examples of Gang of Hats include:


Anime & Manga

  • A lot of the Pirate crews of One Piece are like this. To name just a few examples, Buggy the Clown's crew dresses like circus performers, Captain Kuro's Black Cat Pirates all wear little cat ears, and Arlong's crew consists of humanoid sea creature "fishmen" dressed like surfer dudes Japanese street punks.
  • The Clowns from Akira definitely fit the trope.
  • In Gintama, Yakuza groups are differentiated by hairstyle, such as All-Back and Punch Perm.
  • In Durarara, we've got the Yellow Scarves, who are traditional gang members who simply (wait for it) identify by wearing Yellow Scarves. Then we've got Dollars; the newest and biggest kid of the block; a gang formed over the Internet. Some members know each other in real life; but mostly only know each other by their online selves; and are summoned by PDA; most are extremely hardcore Otaku. Yes, it's a Weaponized 2channel. Be very afraid.
  • In Fist of the North Star, a fair amount of these are at large, especially in the early story arcs. More notable ones include the Golan army and the Fang Clan.

Comic Books

  • The comic Gotham Underground features a gang war between The 100, who all dress in black, and various gangs under the wing (so to speak) of the Penguin, who are all based on different existing DC Comics villain groups (the New Rogues copy the looks and powers of Flash villains, the Dead End Boys base themselves on the Suicide Squad and so on). A flashback to 19th century Gotham, "before the masks arrived", fits the trope even better, with various gangs based on ethnic groups, most of which are indeed wearing distinctive hats.
    • One of the Legends of the Dark Knight stories features a Joker fan club called The Joy Boys, they wear white masks and lavender t-shirts or mock-leather jackets and dye their hair green.
    • Another story features The Anti Batz a motorcycle gang united in their hatred of Batman. Their backpatch shows Batman's chest logo crossed out.
    • The Mutants in The Dark Knight Returns are very distinctive, multicoloured clothes, bald heads, bleached (or made-up) white skin and wraparound shades (at night!)
      • After breaking up they form different cliques: Sons of the Batman, with bat facial markings; Nixons, with Tricky Dick masks and grey suits; and Joker wannabees with green hair and lipstick. Two join up with the Joker's missus, who has taken to wearing Nazi-fetish gear, so they wear brown shirts and jackboots.
    • Batman, Inc. introduces Joe Average and the Average Joes, themed after blue-collar work.
  • In Y: The Last Man, the Daughters of the Amazon (the core group at least, there are various wannabes) take this to the extreme with ritual mastectomies. Needless to say, having a mutilated/missing breast rapidly becomes a Red Right Hand in post Gendercide North America.
  • The real life Mods and Rockers are awesomely parodied as the Originals and Dirt in the graphic novel The Originals.
  • Marshal Law features Ganggreen, a gang of combat veteran superhero toughs in who all wear green (except a member called Overdose, who wears black). They all seem to have personal gimmics as well.
    • There are several superhero Gangs of Hats in this series, others include the all-bionic California Bastards and the all-female Ammo-Zones.
  • The Hellfire Club in the X-Men. What started out as a gentleman's club was eventually turned into the mutant version of The Mafia. All of the major members of the club dress like 18th century British aristocrats and refer to each other as royalty with a chess motif.
  • Twisted Toyfare Theater parodied this when they showed the Warriors in the modern world as Wall Street traders. The traders all unite under the leadership of Alan Greenspan, who is murdered by Gordon Gecko, who pins the crime on the Warriors. They run afoul of such groups as the Mutually Assured Destruction Fund (Communists; capitalism is "but one of the MANY positive aspects we are experiencing under Perestroika"), the Bear-Stearns Stern Bears, the Voodoo Economists, the ninja Night Traders, the Closing Belles...
  • Astro City has the Sweet Adelines, a gang who dress like members of a barbershop quartet.
  • Marvel 2099 actually features a murderous band of Elvis Impersonators!

Film

  • The generic gangs in Joel Schumacher's Batman films qualify (see especially in Batman and Robin during Barbara's street race scene); you might even be able to include the various Mooks who work for certain Batman villains: Joker's men all wear purple or dress as clowns, Two-Face's men all wear two-colored masks, etc.
  • The Axe Gang in Kung Fu Hustle all wield axes and perform choreographed dancing in perfect unison. This is more due to Brother Sum's personal style than any consensus among the membership.
  • Name any gang from The Warriors. Each seems to have a gimmick.
    • Also notable for the sheer number that were planned: for every gang you see in the movie there's another that only made it into the video game, and three or four that only existed in the scripts (all of them have names).
  • The movie Mystery Men has several such gangs: the Disco Boys all dress as disco dancers, the Frat Boys are all college fraternity members (known for their lethal hazings), etc. The scene in which Casanova Frankenstein rallies the different gangs together is a parody of a scene from the film The Warriors. When the heroes are attacked by the Disco Boys, they tease them for their hat-inappropriate weapons (guns, a lead pipe). "What are you, the Disco Plumber?"
  • The gangs in Gangs of New York show signs of this. In fact the gang name (and slang term) "plug ugly" comes from their hats. "Dead Rabbits" comes from a Gaelic word that means something around the lines of "tough guy", but someone misheard it and it stuck. It's also Truth in Television (or literature and (later) film) -- the gangs in the novel are Flanderizations of actual gangs from the 19th Century. The Dead Rabbits would actually carry a dead rabbit on a stick when they invaded a rival gang's turf. That's how you knew they were there for blood.
    • Much more disturbing is the fact that the Hell-Cat Maggie character (that girl in the film with the teeth filed into points and who would fight with iron talons tied to her fingers)... is almost straight Truth in Television. She didn't routinely bite patrons' ears off and keep them in a jar behind the bar, though. That would be Gallus Mag's schtick. Old school gangsters did not fuck around.
  • Alex and his droogs in A Clockwork Orange wear identical outfits, including codpieces, bowlers, and canes. This is intended to be the current fashion of his lifestyle group, as evidenced by fellow patrons of the Korova Milk Bar. Billy Boy's gang wears Nazi regalia and ruffled silk dress shirts. In the films used for Alex's treatment, we see a number of other gangs wearing strange and identical uniforms.
  • While not gangs per se, the various racing teams in the Speed Racer movie all had themes (the Viking team, the snake team, the military team, etc.) and they even had silly hats too.
  • The Road Warrior, of course. Leather and black-clad mohawked punks versus the mostly white-clad defenders!
  • In the original Death Race 2000, each car has a theme that is carried over to the driver and navigator's dress and persona. The R Emake used ethnic prison gangs instead, due to its Twenty Minutes Into the Future setting.
  • In Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny, the guys are molested by a gang that is a parody of the gang from A Clockwork Orange, complete with similar theme music. In the DVD commentary, the filmmakers stated they considered parodying The Warriors before settling on Alex and his droogs.
  • The Mexican, partying Rojos and the European, dignified Baxters in A Fistful of Dollars.
  • In Kill Bill, O-Ren's gang The Crazy 88 all wear identical black suits and black domino masks. The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad counts to a much lesser extent, because they appear to only follow a theme in their code names.

Literature

  • In the second Circle Opens book Street Magic, Briar comes across a number of gangs that use different ways to identify themselves. The main antagonists of the novel belong to a gang that uses a garnet nose ring for identification (provided by Big Bad Lady Zenadia).
  • In Bruce Bethke's novel Headcrash, the protagonist runs into a gang dressed as high school athlete stereotypes, called the Letterjocks.
  • The gangs seen in the last book of The Nights Dawn Trilogy are good examples of this. Banded together to defend London from the possessed, there are Blairs (in business suits, named for Tony Blair), macho lesbians with silver eyes and some others.
  • The novel Aiki by John Gilbert includes a number of gangs based around martial arts themes as well as a gang of Drag Queen Warriors.
  • In the book version of A Clockwork Orange, Alex emphasises that he and his gang all wear a uniform of the latest fashions. When he forms a new gang after recovering from his ordeals, they wear a completely different outfit due to changing fashions.

Live Action TV

  • The PCH Bike Club from Veronica Mars. All Latino bikers from the wrong side of the tracks, all high schoolers (or at least high school age).
  • Half of the stables seen in Professional Wrestling. For example, WWE has had The Spirit Squad (a gang of male cheerleaders) and Demolition (whose uniform included facepaint and bondage gear), WCW had The Varsity Club (a stable built like a high-school/college sports team) and The Dungeon of Doom (filled with ridiculous, horror-movie-style gimmicks), and TNA once had The Flying Elvises (a group of Spot Monkey Elvis impersonators).
    • The original Nation of Domination in the WWF was very much an aversion, as its members were a black supremacist and his protege (Faarooq and D-Lo Brown), a white biker (Crush), a Puerto Rican (Savio Vega), and two Pretty Fly for a White Guy rappers (PG-13). However, after they broke up and each member other than the rappers formed their own stable (The New Nation, Disciples of Apocalypse, and Los Boricuas, respectively), each of those stables fit the trope to a T.
  • Witnessed in Power Rangers RPM, although, apart from the Mob that Ziggy once tried to join, they mostly seem like a bunch of sad sack clowns. Probably justified in that most of the world was essentially nuked in the Backstory; powerful crime syndicates just wouldn't have the support structure they need in Corinth.
  • Henchmen on Batman always have themes related to the Special Guest Villain. In the case of frequently-recurring villains, the theme may be more related to the villain's latest scheme than to the villain's own motif. For example, in "Catwoman Goes To College," her henchmen wear Gotham City University sweaters and "freshman beanies," and are named Penn, Cornell, and Brown.
  • The various teenage tribes on the post-apocalyptic soap opera The Tribe are identifiable largely by costumes and color schemes (Locos wear red and black; Demon Dogs wear silver; Mozquitos are all female and dress like dominatrices with insect masks, etc.), except for the main tribe, the Mallrats, who all wear very individualistic costumes, being a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.

Tabletop Games

  • Cyberpunk Tabletop Games like to use this. For example, Shadowrun had the Halloweeners (wore masks while committing crimes) and the Scatterbrains (who dressed like clowns). Cyberspace had the Models (young male models) and the Skateboys (ride skateboards).
  • Mutants and Masterminds has the Looking Glass Gang who look characters in Alice in Wonderland, with powers to match.
  • The Warhammer 40000 Gaiden Game Necromunda centers around an ongoing gang war fought entirely by Gangs of Hats.
  • One of the coolest things about the D&D campaign module "Night's Dark Terror" is that every one of the several tribes of goblins, orcs, gnolls and forth is a Gang of Hats, with its own distinctive garb, weapons, tactics, and territory. Even the culture of some tribes is described.
  • Ninja Burger feeds off this trope, with the eponymous burger-delivering ninjas competing against other Gang of Hats fast food delivery companies like Pirate Pizza, Samurai Burger, Banditos Burritos, etc.

Theater

  • The Jets and Sharks of West Side Story. Each has a different ethnicity and with their own dance moves.
    • The Jets are made up of various white ethnicities, while the Sharks are all Puerto Ricans. Aside from that (and the fact that the Jets seem to favor jazz music while the Sharks dance to salsa), there doesn't seem to be much difference between the two gangs - which is rather the point of the play.
    • An Israeli short film called West Bank Story parodies it, with Israelis and Palestinians as the "gangs". Like Kung Fu Hustle, the makers of that film seemed to realize that any group with its own dance number cannot be Serious Business.
      • Did we mention that the "gangs" are actually fast-food restaurants? With almost exactly the same menus? With ridiculous alliterative names ("Kosher King" and "Hummus Hut")? And ridiculous hats?

Video Games

  • The Grand Theft Auto games before San Andreas used this to an extent, it kinda dropped as the series progressed. Or rather, it was a curve. The original game had pretty nondescript organized crime, GTA 2 had a circus of gimmicks, GTA 3 had some thematic stuff, Vice City had ethnic gangs that emphasized the ethnic part, and in San Andreas, the street gangs (Grove Street Families, Ballas, Varrios los Aztecas, Los Santos Vagos, Rifa) all identify by color scheme. This is also the first game where the different ethnicities aren't united as one gang (for example, there are several black and Latino gangs vying for territory control and power). GTA 4 expanded this even further.
  • The various enemy gangs from Jet Set Radio definitely qualify. The Love Shockers are all (female) jilted lovers, the Poison Jam are all huge guys who are really into monster movies (to the point where they all wear monster masks), and the Noise Tanks are all techies who mess around with electronic and mechanical gadgets.
  • City of Heroes and City of Villains fall under this: Each of the gangs has a distinct gimmick (which is also the source of their varying supplies of metahuman powers). For example, the Skulls are nihilists who wear skull-masks and wield netherworld powers, the Hellions are Satanists with fire powers, the Freakshow are Cyberpunk anarchists who modify themselves with Psycho Serum and Artificial Limbs, the Warriors wield medieval-style weapons with a classical Greek and Charles Atlas Superpowers, the Tsoo are covered in magical tattoos or dress like Ninja, and so on...
  • Champions Online isn't much different in that regard. The five gangs of Westside are sometimes referred to as the Tsoo Rejects, the Hells Angels Rejects, the Asylum Rejects, the A Clockwork Orange Rejects, and the Mobster Rejects (or just Reject Rejects).
  • Bully, being essentially GTA in High School, naturally uses this too, with the various 'factions' of Bullworth Academy. The Preppies all wear Aquaberry-brand sweaters, the Jocks all wear letter jackets or letter sweaters, the Greasers slick their hair back and wear leather or denim jackets, the Nerds are all either underweight or overweight and wear garish green sweaters...
  • The goons of the different mafia families in The Godfather videogame wear color-coded trenchcoats.
  • River City Ransom. For each gang, all members wear the same color of shirt, and their names follow a trend implied by the name of the gang.
  • The different chapters of the Inferno gang in Spikeout, a "white trash" crew, a gang who all wear camouflage trousers, a group who are all sturdy guys in motorcycle leathers, an all-black-all-poser crew, a bunch of guys in Hawaiian shirts, an all-Chinese Kung Fu gang, an all-Japanese Yakuza gang, a gang dressed in sports gearetc.
  • The various gangs of Manhunt (the Skins, the Smileys, etc.) are a less light-hearted example.
  • Team Aqua and Team Magma in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
    • Frequently Lampshaded by the gang members - "Who do you think has cooler outfits, Team Magma or Team Aqua?" "You can't be a member of Team Magma, you're not dressed the part!"
    • All the evil teams wear the Dark-Type hat, except Cipher. Their type of choice is usually Shadow.
    • Team Galactic wears no hats, but their uniform is quite distinct.
  • Both Saints Row titles, being Grand Theft Auto clones without shame, follow the color-coding scheme for the various street gangs. In the second one, you can even choose the Saints' hat.
  • Several factions in Fallout: New Vegas wear very distinctive outfits - while the Powder Gangers' prison clothes and NCR Rangers' standard uniforms are to be expected, Caesar's Legion dress in surprisingly detailed roman costumes, and The Kings all dress like Elvis.
    • To a degree, Caesar's Legion's roman costumes serves as uniforms (Caesar dreams of the Roman Empire IN AMERICA!, so roman costumes are just part of the package), and naturally the NCR Rangers and ordinary NCR forces having uniforms are to be expected - they are part of the army of an organised state. The Great Khans, on the other hand, are merely a bunch of organized raiders/a tribe with a theme of Generic Eastern Horde (their historical knowledge aren't up to snuff for anything more unless you personally educate their leader).
    • There's also the Three Families of Vegas. The Chairmen all emulate the Camp of the Rat Pack, including speaking like them. The White Glove Society are all pompous Upper Class Twits who believe they're better than others and wear White Masks of Doom for the mysterious allure (when in actuality, it just makes them really creepy). The Omertas are essentially The Mafia and are all rude and foul-mouthed.
  • MadWorld 's Varrigan City is home to a bunch of gangs. The stages in the first area consist of punks and thugs, Asian Town (mishmash with Japanese and Chinese cultures) is homed to guys in martial artist gear and ninjas, Mad Castle is a full on Monster Mash (zombies, psycho killers, and grim reapers), Area 66 has soldiers, robots, and aliens, and almost all of them appear again at different intervals at Casino Land.

Web Original

  • Survival of the Fittest usually averts this with its gangs, even in the Wretched Hive Denton where the gangs are literally everywhere. The only two gangs with a real "hat" are the evangelistic Knight Templar Prophets, who dress in priest robes and terrorize the "unfaithful", and the Ax Crazy Jackals who're collectively insane enough to make The Joker shit himself, and at any one time just want to cause as much mayhem and chaos as they can. They're often said to be more like animals than men.
  • In Red vs. Blue, the Red and Blue armies wear, respectively... red and blue. Big shock, right? The only characters with armor colors outside of this is the medic working for both armies (who wears purple), the colorblind recruit who accidentally goes to the wrong base at first (in yellow), and the Freelancers, who are... definitely not red or blue.
  • ASH Universe: The New York Macoute have a pseudo-voodoo theme going. The Cyber-Nostra are a gang of cyborgs as are the Rust Brothers and, as for the Jolly Molecules, they're best described as junior MadScientists.
  • In Urban Rivals each clan has their own hat. The All Stars are all sports jocks, Roots are hippies, Montanas are Italian mob, Ulu Watu are surfers....

Webcomics

  • The various street gangs in Tales of the Questor: The Vipers, the Royals (who wear purple) and the Redcaps (you have three guesses).
  • Parodied in Sluggy Freelance when the Canadian Mafia (run by an expy of Snidely Whiplash) sends an 'army of sixty' to tackle the assassin Oasis...when we actually see them, they're all in identical black outfits with "ARMY OF 60" written on them.
  • Both the Midnight Crew and the Felt of Homestuck have very specific themes for each group, but both gangs mainly stick to gambling motifs (card suits, slang terms for billiards and dice, etc). The Felt also all have specific abilities related to time travel or manipulation, and actual hats with their Numerical Theme Naming's numbers on them.
  • Various urchin gangs in Guttersnipe, including the Junior Repunchicans (a gang of young conservatives), the Skunk Tops (who all sport black and white mohawks)and the Vajazzlers (apparently an all-female roller derby based gang).


Western Animation

  • Batman Beyond had the Jokerz, who were based on the Akira example above.
    • They're also emulating the Joker, with one of them (it's actually a bunch of not necessarily connected gangs all over Gotham) lead by a guy named J-Man who blatantly copies the Joker's appearance. The Movie had one of them run by the real Joker.
    • Their rivals are the "T"s, who all have tattoos of the letter T on their faces (oddly enough, making them look like the superhero Mr. Terrific) and names that end in "ty". Considerably lamer by comparison.
  • The Gangreen Gang of The Powerpuff Girls. They are all green.
  • In El Tigre we have the Moustache Mafia, who commit crimes using their...moustaches. Yeah, it's a weird show.

Real Life

  • The Molasses Gang.
  • Truth in Television: Bloods and Norteños wear red, Crips and Sureños wear blue.
    • Even truer back in the old days
    • More Truth in Television, in and around L.A.: The Grape Street Crips wear purple, especially Laker gear, The Avenues tend to favor Dodger hats, as the "LA" is supposed to stand for Las Avenidas, 18th Street wear any football jersey with 18, with the favorite having been Randy Moss's #18 when he played for the Raiders. MS-13, though, take this to a frightening level where the most hardcore of them cover their faces with gang tattoo, the most favored being the Devil Horns the gang adopted as their gang sign. In other words, the metal horns, or for college football fans, Texas' "Hook'em Horns" gesture.
  • Subcultures, if we count them as "gangs".
    • A gang is just a subculture with a common enemy...
      • And guns. Don't forget the guns.
  • They might not be a gang (as such) but you can, if you're savvy, differentiate between different brands of Chassidic Jews by their hat. One group wears luxurious Russian-style fur hats, another group wears traditional wide-brimmed hats and so on.
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