Created By: DennisDunjinman on September 8, 2013 Last Edited By: DennisDunjinman on December 11, 2013
Troped

Robot Antennae

The things robots have on their heads to make them look more sci-fi like.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Antimony: Hello. I would like to enter, please.
Robot guard: Robots onl... What's that on your head?

A visual aesthetic where robots and other mechanical characters and beings can have antennae on their heads or other parts of their bodies.

A robot may have one antenna on the top or side of their head. They may have two for symmetry, or more. Antennae can be of any shape: straight, kinked or curled, and also can be plain or adorned with little orbs and other oddly-shaped accessories.

The antennae may have a purpose involving wireless communication like an older cellphone or walkie-talkie, as a sensor, or just to look cool and signal that the character is a robot.

Robot Girls in Japanese works (Anime and Manga, Visual Novels, and Video Games) tend to have so-called "antenna ears" as a visual indicator that the character is indeed a robot.

Examples

Anime and Manga

Film
  • Robot Monster. The villain Ro-Man's head is a space helmet with antennae sticking out of it.
  • Forbidden Planet: Robby the Robot has two asymmetrical circular anntennae as "ears."
  • The Phantom Menace
    • B1 battle droids have antennae of this time on their backpacks. They're controlled by a large space station in orbit, so they need it to receive signals.
    • The bounty hunter Aurra Sing of isn't a robot, but she does have a computer implanted in her head with a long antenna visible sticking out, giving her this type of appearance.
  • The giant robots and robotic flying machines in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow all had antennae for receiving instructions.

Live Action TV
  • Doctor Who: the Doctor's robot buddy-who-looks-like-a-dog K9 has two small radarlike anntennae for ears.

Toys
  • Toy robots are often designed with an antenna (some of them rotated independently of the head).
  • LEGO robot designs typically incorporate an antenna
  • The mascot for Android mobile phones.

Video Games
  • Botley, the Exposition Fairy of Jumpstart Adventures3rd Grade Mystery Mountain, has an antenna bent at a right angle on his head that he says is a powerful sensor, and he uses it to tell the player which rooms the hidden mission clues are hidden. This varies with the other robots; many of them don't have antennae, some have one or two. Eggbert has a spring with a flower on the end on his head.
  • The Clucker, a robotic mook from Sonic the Hedgehog has antennae on either side of its head. Most other enemies in the series are designed to resemble crustaceans, insects, and other creatures which normally bear antennae.
  • Clank from Ratchet & Clank is an example.
  • Both Vent and Aile gains one on their right ear in Mega Man ZX's sequel, Advent. In the first game, they lacked it.
  • Averted with Team Fortress 2 in Man vs Machine mode; the robots don't have antennae. Lampshaded with the soldier's Paper-Thin Disguise as a robot that includes a coat hanger.
  • Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening. The Automated Snowflake Inspector has one antenna with a pair of white snowflake-style bits on it. Another who has one is the Snowflake Inspector Detector, or SID, a remote-control gadget that seeks out the Inspector every time he goes missing, which according to SID is often.

Webcomics
  • Antimony of Gunnerkrigg Court invokes this trope by wearing a headband with false star-shaped antennae so she could sneak into an area restricted only to robots. The robot guard is completely fooled by her Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Robots in Freefall have these. They also contribute to the robots' Expressive Mask faces.

Western Animation
  • Mom of Futurama, leader of Mom's Friendly Robot Company, builds all her robots this way. She says that most people think she does that for the aesthetic purpose, but she really does it so she can control all the robots she sells by remote control. This hasn't stopped the show from making several juvenile penis jokes about Bender's antenna.
  • Rosie the maid in The Jetsons has two such antennae, one on either side of her head.
  • Super Friends episode "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.". The giant blue robots guarding the G.E.E.C. building each have an antenna on the top of their heads.
  • Gir from Invader Zim
  • South Park has an example of at least assuming this when Cartman dresses up as a robot complete with antennae.
  • Many characters from Robots don't have antennae. Fender has a crank atop his head that resembles an antenna. Crank and Diesel have legitimate antennae.
  • Nearly all Transformers (at least in the early generations) had helmet attachments on their heads that though horn-like in some cases were most likely antennae.
  • Most of the robots from Bolts And Blip have antennae.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • September 8, 2013
    MetaFour
    Videogame:
  • September 8, 2013
    Alucard
    Rosie the maid in The Jetsons.
  • September 9, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Robot Monster. The villain Ro-Man's head is a space helmet with antennae sticking out of it.
  • September 9, 2013
    NESBoy
    Another Futurama example:

    • In the Superhero Episode, Bender's antennae acts as a signal whenever their superhero alter egos are needed.
  • September 9, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Compare "antenna ears", a type of Unusual Ears often seen with Robot Girls in anime.
  • September 9, 2013
    TonyG
    For Bender, at least, antennae are the robot equivalent of their "manhood". Bender even calls his Little Bender.
  • September 9, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • Robby the Robot has two circular anntennae asymmetrtically attached to his head as "ears."
    • Doctor Who: the Doctor's robot buddy-who-looks-like-a-dog K9 has two small radarlike anntennae for ears.
  • September 20, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Did we used to have a trope about Robot Hair? Does that apply to this trope?
  • September 20, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ No it doesn't.
  • September 20, 2013
    Larkmarn
    • In Gundam, one of the few consistent traits throughout the multiverse of a Gundam is the iconic V-shaped antennae on its forehead. Its purpose has never been defined.
  • September 20, 2013
    RedBuster
    Magma and Silvar have Robot Antennas in Magma Taishi.
  • September 20, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Removed the hat this was given. Only give hats when the draft is ready to be launched. With the current description this one is going nowhere anytime soon.
  • September 20, 2013
    JonnyB
    The giant robots and robotic flying machines in Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow all had antennae for receiving instructions.
  • September 23, 2013
    dalek955
  • September 26, 2013
    RedBuster
  • September 27, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    ^ You're going to have to help me out and sort those examples, because I can't identify all of them.
  • September 28, 2013
    RedBuster
  • September 28, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I meant by medium (anime/toyline/videogame). And I think that Megazord is really pushing it; they're kind of like a hybrid between antennae and horns.
  • October 1, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Italicized an example.

    EDIT: Also added Forbidden Planet as the source for the Robby the Robot example since it's the first film where the character appears.
  • October 3, 2013
    Arivne
    Western Animation
    • Super Friends episode "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.". The giant blue robots guarding the G.E.E.C. building each have an antenna on the top of their heads.
  • October 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Removed the redundant Exactly What It Says On The Tin part from the description.
  • October 17, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Welp it wont let me post a link to the pic I found as a possible page image. But Google Bender's head and it'll be the first one.
  • October 18, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I don't want ONE face. Can we illustrate this trope using a montage picture instead?
  • October 18, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ A montage is a nice idea, but remember that Just A Face And A Caption doesn't aply to visual tropes; you don't need to know anything about Futurama to understand why Bender is an example of this trope.

    EDIT: A possible page quote from Gunnerkrigg Court:
    Antimony: Hello. I would like to enter, please.
    Robot guard: Robots onl... What's that on your head?
    Robot guard: Oh! Well... it's true that some robots have antennas... Hmm...
    Antimony: Also robots never lie.
    Robot guard: Hey, you're right! Come on in, friends!
  • October 31, 2013
    MercenX
    Maybe the trope name could be an exaggeration like All Robots Have Antennae.
    • In Real Life: Pretty much all early released toy robots were designed with an antenna (some of them rotated independently of the head).
    • Gir from Invader Zim
    • Real Life: The mascot for Android mobile phones
    • South Park has an example of at least assuming this when Cartman dresses up as a robot complete with antennae.
    • "official" LEGO robot designs typically incorporate an antenna
    • The Clucker, a robotic mook from Sonic The Hedgehog has antennae on either side of its head. Most other enemies in the series are designed to resemble crustaceans, insects, and other creatures which normally bear antennae.
    • Many characters from Western Animation/Robots don't have antennae. Fender has a crank atop his head that resembles an antenna. It's also possible Piper's pigtails are antennae. Crank and Diesel have legitimate antennae.
    • Most of the robots from Bolts And Blip have antennae.
    • Canti from Anime/FLCL has an a rabbit-eared TV for a head.
    • Nearly all Franchise/Transformers (at least in the early generatsions) had attachments on their heads that though horn-like in some cases were most likely antennae.
    • Clank from Ratchet And Clank is an example.
  • October 31, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But not all robots have antennae. And this isn't an Omnipresent Trope.
  • October 31, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Examples added. Thank you.
  • November 1, 2013
    OmegaMetroid
  • November 1, 2013
    DAN004
    • Both Vent and Aile gains one on their right ear in Mega Man ZX's sequel, Advent. In the first game, they lacked it.
  • November 4, 2013
    Unknown Troper
  • November 9, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I think the part about the Robot Girl "antenna ears" should be in the description and not in the example section.
  • November 13, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I suppose we're all good here?

    I'll figure out how to illustrate this trope in due time while I try to overcome my fan myopia and only use examples I know best.
  • November 15, 2013
    GeminiSparkSP
    • Zolda from Kamen Rider Ryuki (also known as Torque in the American adaptation, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight) has a pair of antenna on his forehead. While all of the riders are humans, Zolda's design is the most robotic one, and his contract monster is a full-on robot.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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