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When you see someone wearing a collar (particularly the ones made of leather - and we're not talking about the collar of a shirt!), you can assume that they're under the control of someone else. It's also a popular device to use when brainwashing someone, and it may also be a part of a Go-Go Enslavement routine. If it's part of a person's normal costume, it's usually intended to suggest that they're sexually adventurous, and often to suggest submission (though dominant types frequently wear them too). It's especially popular with Petting Zoo People who can justify is as basically the only article of "clothing" associated with animals. This is generally intended as Fetish Fuel (and will become Fetish Fuel whether it was intended to be or not), because of the connotations of bondage and slavery.
Because slave collars are a pretty obvious sign that someone is brainwashed, under Mind Control, or, y'know, enslaved, it will often be offensive to the hero. If the hero has to fight someone wearing a collar, he may target it in the hopes that his opponent is an unwilling thrall of the Big Bad.
Anime and Manga
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni: It happens to Battler at the end of the second arc.
- Inverted in Black Cat, where Train Heartnet wears a red ribbon with a gold bell on it, like a cat's collar. He wears it after Saya is killed by Creed.
- In the manga, the choker expresses his conviction of "You are your own master" or "The only one who can tame me is myself".
- In the anime, Eve reads an Aesop fable which reads "If you put a bell around the neck of a bad cat, he'll become good, and you'll always know where he is." This causes her to take the bell-collar off of a stuffed animal (coincidently a black cat) and try to force it on him. (AND while he was bedridden after nearly being caught in the explosion of a burning oil tanker! How could you, Eve?!)
- Her distrust was due to the fact that she was once his target, and was sent to kill her. After failing (sorta by choice) on the first attempt, he went after her again, but decided to spare her life and walk away.
- Subverted in Inukami! where Keita wears only a collar as a sign of his ownership of Yoko. The thing is that Yoko wants to play this trope straight, but Keita's hard-headedness forces her to use her overwhelming powers when she wants him to comply. Recall that Keita is the master in this relationship and Hilarity Ensues.
- In Bleach, the device used to restrain Rukia and suppress her powers takes the form of a red collar with four ropes leading off of it (which can be removed).
- As Ako, Akira and Natsumi from Mahou Sensei Negima found out in an unfortunate way, people sold into slavery in the Magic World are forced to wear collars that would shock them anytime their master wishes to. And explode if you try to remove them by force. On the other hand, the collars do prevent masters from getting really abusive, and the shocks are not supposed to be used except in emergencies.
- Fate and the personified Book of Darkness from Lyrical Nanoha wear red belts around their neck as part of their outfit, likely to symbolize the domination that their Evil Matriarch and corrupted programming has over them respectively. After they are freed from their respective metaphorical chains, they continue to wear this as part of their outfit, likely because it also happens to look pretty hot.
- Juri's locket in Revolutionary Girl Utena is a necklace variation of this. Its breaking at the end of her story symbolized her finally being free of her self-destructive, one-sided relationship with the person found inside the locket.
- All the DearS in the series of the same name. It's the hat they wear, being a slave race.
- Tooya from Ayashi no Ceres wears a leather choker at the beginning, while still working for the Mikages. Before he finally removes it, he tells Aya that he chooses her over his past, and he is shown wearing Aya's favorite choker underneath. Aww.
- Eureka and Anemone in Eureka Seven. It becomes important later.
- Used humorously in Potemayo, with Nene dragging around one of Those Two Guys on a chain.
- Often used on cover art as a motif in Loveless, though Soubi also has a tattoo across his neck as a symbol of his obedience to Seimei.
- In numerous Hentais, naturally.
- Aries from Fairy Tail has one. Fitting, since she's been owned by two very unpleasant people. Hers is unusually cute and fluffy.
- Crest of the Stars: All the Barob's maids wear one; just one reason why Lafiel compares them to trained cats.
- One Piece takes it a step further : the collar around the slaves' necks contains a bomb. Should the slave try to run away, the collar will explode, severely wounding (If not outright killing) the poor guy/girl. Only the slave's master (Or a real badass) can remove them safely. And to add insult to injury, most slaves seen in the series are owned by the World Nobles, horrible jackasses who are completely above the law.
- The collar worn by prisoners of Deadman Wonderland act as this to a degree. While their will is not completely suppressed and they have some slight freedom, they are forced to participate in the deadly and degrading games of the carnival or die from the collar's poison. It also ensures they do not attempt to rebel or escape, as the result will be death by poison.
- X-Men: Enslaved mutants in Genosha wear collars that negate their powers.
- That was in the animated series -- in the comics, Genoshan slaves had full body suits grafted directly to their skin.
- In The Warlord, cat-girl Shakira wears a spiked collar in both human and cat forms. One storyline implied that she was the product of sorcerous experimentation as all of the sorcerer's other subjects wore identical collars. After defeating the sorcerer, Morgan took the collar off and threw it away. Shakira retrieved it and put it back on.
- In the premiere issue of Marvel's The Cat series, the newly-empowered Shirlee Bryant naively dons a studded collar as part of her costume. Only then does her sponsor, Malcolm Donalbain, reveal that it is a "will-nullifier" that makes her obey him. Later, Donalbain attempts to place a will-nullifier on the similarly-empowered Greer Nelson but she manages to escape, subsequently returning to put an end to his plans and launching her short-lived superheroine career.
- In West Coast Avengers #12, Tigra is captured by an unseen foe while running through the woods. Later, Graviton turns up with Tigra lying at his feet in a collar and leash and defeats the rest of the WCA. He imprisons the others, but keeps Tigra around with the goal of making her his pet.
- Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi. Princess Leia is forced to wear a collar by Jabba the Hutt. At one point he yanks her around by a chain attached to the collar: she later uses the chain to strangle him.
- Jet Li wore one in Danny the Dog, a movie where he's treated like a dog and trained to fight since childhood.
- The prisoners in the early part of "The Running Man" wear collars which explode when taken past the perimeter of the work camp.
- When the main characters in Mercedes Lackey/Andre Norton's novel Elvenblood are taken prisoner by the Iron People, they are made to wear iron collars that block their natural magic talents.
- And in Elvenbane, by the same authors, the elves use magical collars to control both their human slaves and elven subordinates.
- Timkin in Victor Kelleher's novel The Red King is forced to wear a slave collar.
- The A'dam of The Wheel of Time looks like a leash with collar at one end and a bracelet at the other, and is not only a symbol but also affects direct control over its wearer. Only works on those with magical potential. both the master and the victim must have magical potential, and given the culture that lead to using the A'dam in the first place... it's not a pretty revelation.
- Similarly, the Rada'han of The Sword of Truth (the similarity is not accidental) suppresses the magical power of the wearer and can only be removed by another magic user.
- It's also standard practice for Mord-Sith to put collars on their "pets".
- In Octavia Butler's Parable series there are shock collars worn by slaves.
- In the Gor series, all slaves wear collars.
- The Codex Alera features both conventional slave collars, which merely indicate that someone is a slave, and the far-creepier magical Discipline Collars, which kill if removed by anyone other than the one who put it on and can be used to give both pleasure (when they obey an order) and pain (when they disobey). Over time, those who are collared will gradually go insane. And the collars are used to create berserkers that will use any means to complete their orders, even if it kills or maims themselves in the process, and they enjoy it too.
- Invoked in H. Beam Piper's story "A Slave Is a Slave". A delegation of slaves (they do all the work) from the newly annexed planet Aditya mistakes Commodore Shatrak of the Galactic Empire's Space Navy for a slave because he wears the Knight's Star of the Order of the Empire on a collar ribbon (they wear slave collars), and he's bald (their heads are shaved). The commodore is not happy.
Shatrak's face turned pink; the pink darkened to red. He used a word; it was a completely unprintable word. So, except for a few scattered pronouns, conjunctions, and prepositions, were the next fifty words he used.
- In Rosemary Sutcliff's Dawn Wind, the enslaved hero wears this. After his master frees him, someone comments that he obviously had been wearing either a royal neckring or a slave collar.
- In Ivanhoe Gurth, the slave of Cedric wears this. When he saves his master's life,his master frees him, and the collar is ceremoniously sawed off.
- In Tamora Pierce's Tortall series Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, all slaves wear metal collars. The collars are enchanted to strangle any slave who goes out of a given range of a member of the owning family. The one exception is the main character herself, who manages to get hers deactivated on the grounds that she's serving a god.
- Evvy from the Circle of Magic universe is also revealed to have been a slave and worn an iron collar, although no magical element is mentioned. Being a stone mage, she was able to break it with a rock and escape.
- Members of the legions in The Stone Dance of the Chameleon, who haven been taken away from their tribes, wear metal collars. They are unable to remove these, thus the Masters are always able to identify deserters.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Original Series. Members of the Enterprise crew wear collars in two episodes: "The Gamesters of Triskelion" and "Spock's Brain". In each case the collars are high tech devices that can inflict pain on their wearers on command, and are used for control purposes.
- In one alternate universe episode of Deep Space Nine, the captured Garak is restrained this way by Worf.
- In the Doctor Who serial "The Keeper of Traken", the Melkur uses a collar to control Kassia.
- And considering who was inside that statue at the time... he gets to wear one of his own in The End of Time. And how.
- Apart from the Nebari Shock Collars, Farscape also featured the Living Ship Moya wearing a very large control collar over her hull in the pilot episode.
- The pendant Lauren wears around her neck in Lost Girl marks her as the "property" of the Ash, although the word "slave" is never used. Bo takes it off of her before they sleep together, insisting that no one owns Lauren, but then gives it back to her when she finds out that Lauren slept with her because the Ash told her too, although it should be noted that Lauren's feelings for Bo were quite real.
- The BBC series "Survivors" includes a period of forced labor in a coal mine for two of the main cast. The miners wear metal collars connected by a length of cable to help prevent escapes.
- Marvel Super Heroes by TSR: In the module "Nightmares of Futures Past, captured mutants are forced to wear inhibitor collars that prevent them from using their mutant powers.
- Invoked in The Phantom of the Opera musical, where The Phantom rips off the necklace on which Christine strung Raoul's engagement ring.
The Phantom: Your chains are still mine, you will sing for me!
- Considering it's called Slave Maker, it would have made no sense at all for this to not show up.
- Played for laughs in Tekken 5, in Lee's ending. He forces Heihachi to serve him while wearing a speedo, and this, doubling as a butterfly necktie (not made of leather). For bonus parts, Lee also plants a bomb on that 'collar' which first threatens Heihachi by giving him the image of the explosion at Honmaru (which nearly killed him) and for the second time, explodes for real (we never see). This is actually enough to make Heihachi go weak at his knees. Hilarity Ensues.
- Fallout 3 slaves usually have exploding collars that are activated if they try to escape.
- Fallout: New Vegas has the player forced into one after first meeting the Brotherhood of Steel unless he or she brought along Veronica and almost the entirety of the Dead Money DLC.
- Also in New Vegas, the Legion makes use of these as an army of slavers. In one case, a Centurion discusses how he's able to adjust the collars for maximum discomfort.
- The Vortigaunts/Alien Slaves from Half-Life wear collars and armbands which signify their status: slaves to the Nihilanth. In the second game, most Vortigaunts are free and don't wear them anymore, but there's one behind a fence at the start of the game who's forced by the Combine to be the train station's janitor.
- The prisoners in the Astral Prison in Baldur's Gate 2 must wear cursed collars that reduce their stats and are impossible to remove with normal means.
- Lamia Loveless of Super Robot Wars wears this as part of her standard outfit, symbolizing that she is an obedient doll towards the Shadow Mirror. But when she rebelled, she didn't throw it away, adding more points to her hotness. Predictably, not only she gets another hijinx where someone actually turns her Brainwashed and Crazy (and surprisingly, both brainwashers FORGOT to put her collar back for extra symbolism), she also spends her normal times (especially in Fanon) as Excellen's Uke.
- This is also a part of the standard outfit of Rider of Fate/stay night, which may imply about her times being dominated by Shinji, who abuses the hell out of her and implied to have raped her many times, and her sisters Euryale and Stheno, who in the past used to bully her. This, fortunately, is not part of her Meganekko public look.
- It's a bit more complicated than some instances of this trope, but Presea Combatir from Tales of Symphonia was in this situation regarding the crystal around her neck. And Colette was headed down the same path before others intervened.
- Iori Yagami from The King of Fighters wears one, presumably to symbolize how his blood is tied with the Orochi blood thus whenever Orochi deems it fit, he would dominate Iori's mind and throw him into an Unstoppable Rage. After the Orochi arc, however, this is still kept, just for the cool and attracting more Fangirls than Kyo because chicks dig bad boys like Iori.
- Sniper Wolf wears a collar, though whether it holds any meaning besides tying her to her wolves, being Fetish Fuel and symbolizing the enclosure of war and conflict that her entire life was taken up by is unclear.
- The Neverwinter Nights add on 'Shadows of Undrentide' has the player wearing a control collar for at lest on chapter. It shock them if they wander in the wrong direction and shatters after the death of the slave master
- The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind have a play on this in Slaves' Bracers, which are left and right bracers worn by slaves that drain their fatigue.
- Potemkin of Guilty Gear wears one. There used to be a bomb in it, and even without the bomb it makes independent movement very difficult. He wears it as a reminder of what he's surpassed (and fighting it is what gave him his tremendous muscle mass). This overlaps with Restraining Bolt, since step one of his Instant Kill is taking the collar off.
- In Final Fantasy VI, Terra was forced to wear a device called a slave crown to make her a puppet to Kefka's will at the start of the game, this is later nodded to in Duodecim Dissidia Final Fantasy this time as an actual necklace, that once again makes her Kefka's puppet.
- In Holiday Wars, April Fools' Day has a watch attached to his wrist that lets the Easter Bunny control him, as seen in this strip.
- Collar 6 is named after this accessory (and "6" refers to one of the protagonists title).
- Repeatedly Played for Laughs in El Goonish Shive out of continuity -- usually each character in a strip wears a collar with the initial of supposed Love Interest or blank if none defined. For example, here in this order: Lisa and Amanda (each other), Elliot (Sarah), Justin (Elliot), Jeremy (Tedd) (or maybe Susan (Justin)), Grace (Tedd), Hedge (no-one), Tedd (Grace), Justin again (Elliot), Lisa and Amanda (each other), Dan (no-one). Jeremy, of course, has a legitimate reason for wearing a collar ...
- In Domain Tnemrot, this is how the slaves are controlled remotely.
- Slaves usually wear these in Drowtales where slavery is just a part of everyday economy. Liriel was the most notable example of wearing one until recently, even though she was closer to a Pretty Freeloader than an actual slave, which would have entailed taking orders, not spending all the time drunk and so on.
- Kin the Yuan-Ti in Goblins has a magical leash and collar; when the leash is held, it prevents her from violent acts. Although she is now free from slavery, she has not yet been able to remove the collar.
- Kim Possible: A Sitch In Time: In the future, all the other villains wear shock collars controlled by Shego, now called The Supreme One.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 - In "The Cat Woman From Channel Six", Shredder mutates April into a catgirl, puts a mind control collar on her, and sends her to kill Splinter.
- A popular form of enslavement in some episodes of My Little Pony, usually in the form of chained metal collars.
- This is very common in the BDSM community. In fact, the choice of a collar can be comparable to the choice of a wedding ring.
- Truth in Television. Binding hands and feet can still let someone struggle. Collar the neck though and struggling become self strangulation.