InvisibleBowstring Invisible Bowstring YKTTW Discussion

Invisible Bowstring
Bows (as weapons) don't have visible strings, but the characters use them as if they were there.
Needs Examples Up For Grabs Description Needs Help Tropeworthy?
(permanent link) added: 2013-09-10 10:00:33 sponsor: ZuTheSkunk (last reply: 2013-09-27 05:11:58)

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Probably everyone knows how bows and arrows work - you hold the wooden part of the bow, you attach the arrow's non-pointy end to the bow's string, you pull the arrow while stretching the bow and its string, you aim, and then you release the arrow, letting the physics catapult it in the desired direction.

It's a no-brainer that a string is strictly necessary in a bow. It's not very thick, but it's there, and you can clearly see it. This trope, however, applies to a situation where the string in a bow is clearly missing, and yet the bow is still being used as if it actually was there.

In video games with 3D graphics, the creators can sometimes decide to cut corners that way when creating models of bows, either because of technical limitations or their laziness. Depending on how obvious this practice is, it can result in the players' loss of their Willing Suspension of Disbelief when they look at the characters pulling the arrows on air, with no reasonable explanation.

Can be a subtrope of Lazy Artist, unless justified. Can overlap with Energy Bows, which lack strings sometimes.


  • Actually justified for Shaft from Youngblood. His bow is based upon alien anti-gravity technology, therefore nullifying the need for a string.

Video Games
  • In Clock Tower 3, Alyssa uses a bow without a string. Justified in that she is shooting energy arrows from an energy bow.
  • Bows in Disgaea games don't have strings. This allows for cooler, more impractical designs, though. Especially with Magichange system.
  • Dragon Age: Origins. Your character looks like they're pulling the string back and firing, but there is nothing to grab.
    • Dragon Age II also has this problem, but it's much more obvious since your character does some pretty dramatic poses while firing.
  • Gods: Lands of Infinity has this.
  • Kid Icarus features a curious example: Pit's bows do have strings, but only when he is shooting an arrow. They strangely disappear when not in use.
  • The first Neverwinter Nights. Curiously enough, when a bow is enchanted, the magical glow outlines where the string should be.
  • Shana and Miranda's bow in The Legend of Dragoon follows this trope, understandable for a PS1 game.


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