Created By: ZuTheSkunkSeptember 10, 2013 Last Edited By: ZuTheSkunkSeptember 27, 2013
Troped

Invisible Bowstring

Bows (as weapons) don't have visible strings, but the characters use them as if they were there.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

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.


Examples

Comics
  • 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 PS 1 game.

Toys


Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • September 10, 2013
    Larkmarn
    This is also very common in toys.

    Many Robin Hood, Green Arrow or Hawkeye figures suffer from either this or stiff plastic strings.
  • September 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Stringless Bows would make up for a less awkward title.
  • September 10, 2013
    Alucard
    Shana and Miranda's bow in The Legend Of Dragoon follows this trope, understandable for a PS 1 game.
  • September 10, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ that.

    ^ magic bows too, in their dragoon form at least.
  • September 12, 2013
    TrueShadow1
  • September 12, 2013
    MrRuano
    Actually justified for Shaft from Youngblood. His bow is based upon alien anti-gravity technology, therefore nullifying the need for a string.
  • September 12, 2013
    DAN004
    Sometimes Energy Bow will lack a string.
  • September 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ But don't Energy Bows usually have a string made of energy instead?
  • September 12, 2013
    Nomic
    Non-videogame example: bow-wielding models from tabletop wargames, such has Warhammer typically don't have strings on their bows since the scale of the models would make sculpting them pretty much impossible.
  • September 12, 2013
    LordGro
    Invisible Bowstring would be a more concise way of phrasing the title.
  • September 12, 2013
    AgProv
    Also present in military miniatures, where the limitations of casting in metal, resin or plastic preclude providing strings on archer figures' bows. Some makers have tried, but the result, on a 25mm figure, is generally vastly over-scale and looks horrible. Hell, I see we already have this... I'll try and find representative pictures.

    This explains why they leave the bowstrings off: these figures are less than an inch tall
  • September 12, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Paradisesnake: I did say "sometimes", didn't I?
  • September 13, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    I edited the entry to include the examples you provided so far, thanks.

    Since it appears that the trope isn't videogame-specific, would anybody be willing to try to come up with a more general description? Not to mention all the "compare with X, see also Y" stuff.
  • September 13, 2013
    spacemarine50
    What about bows used on violins and similar instruments?
  • September 14, 2013
    Arivne
  • September 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Thirding that.
  • September 14, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • September 14, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    Invisible Bowstrings it is, then.

    @spacemarine50: This specifically refers to bows as in weapons that shoot arrows.
  • September 17, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    Bump
  • September 23, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    Bump?

    If there's no activity after the third bump, I guess I'm gonna discard...
  • September 23, 2013
    DAN004
    Improve description plz.
  • September 24, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    I would, if I knew how.

    That's why I asked for someone to help me a couple of comments earlier.
  • September 24, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    wouldn't discard this if i were you. think about the effort you would have wasted.

    YKTTW's pretty quiet these days, i can relate.
  • September 24, 2013
    m8e
    Don't discard it, if you give up on it just leave it as is.
  • September 24, 2013
    Cider
    subtrope of lazy artist (unless justified)
  • September 24, 2013
    joshbl56
    For games you could add:

    • 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 is much more obvious since your character does some pretty dramatic poses while firing.
  • September 25, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    I tried to rewrite the description, any better?

    Thanks to Cider and joshbl56 for the examples.
  • September 25, 2013
    lakija
    • In Clock Tower 3, Alyssa uses a bow without a string. Justified, in that she is shooting energy arrows from an energy bow.
  • September 25, 2013
    Cider
    From Kid Icarus, Pit's bows do have strings, but only when he is shooting an arrow. They strangely disappear when not in use...if that counts I don't know.
  • September 26, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    Uh. Is it normal for the image caption to display on top in YKTT Ws?

    Also, should the title be in plural or singular? Considering Energy Bow...
  • September 26, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    singular works better if you ask me.

    2013-09-24 08:51:44 Cider

    don't see why it would be. how lazy would you have to be to not draw a freakin line? at least Skintone Sclerae and Black Bead Eyes would reduce quite a bit of stuff to animate.
  • September 26, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    Someone removed a hat? Why?
  • September 27, 2013
    DAN004
    What's the image source? (From what game, I mean?)
  • September 27, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ After a quick googling, it would seem to be from Dragon Age. Not sure which game though.

    EDIT: Okay, it's from Dragon Age Origins.
  • September 27, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    Edited the image so that it links to the game in question. Sorry, I forgot.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable