Created By: Degraine on August 31, 2011 Last Edited By: Degraine on September 3, 2011

Excessive Articulation Syndrome

More moving parts equals cooler.

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Rolling Updates. Getting some more examples, but could always use more.

The natural result of cross-pollination between Rule of Cool, Technology Porn and copious amounts of time and money to lavish on intricate detail.

In the real world, equipment and technology built for situations that exert high stress such as combat or harsh environments are designed to be as simple - and therefore reliable - as possible while still fulfilling their function. In fiction, this is often blatantly ignored in favour of showing off the skill of the designers, artists and/or practical effects department in making something that would be highly impractical in the real world, but looks really awesome.

Can appear in a surprising number of Speculative Fiction genres. Cyberpunk, Steampunk and many other kinds of 'punk can be veritable treasure troves of this if the creators have the time, motivation and budget to spend on drawing or animating lots of moving parts.

A subtrope of Awesome, but Impractical, and often a good source of Technology Porn. Swiss Army Appendages and Swiss Army Weapons frequently fall into this.


{{Anime & Manga}}
  • Any Combining Mecha or Transforming Mecha falls into this trope. See those pages for a list.
  • Humanoid Giant Mecha as a whole count regardless of the amount of detail shown, since a bipedal robot of 'giant' size just wouldn't work in Real Life the way they are portrayed in-universe.

  • Bicentennial Man's opening titles consist of this.
  • The onscreen assembly of Iron Man's suit is a glorious twenty seconds of this. In the sequel, Tony's Mark V suit assembles itself.

  • Transformers and its adaptations into television, anime and film, obviously. Taken a step further with the Autobot and Decepticon combiner teams that turned into even bigger robots, then taken Up to Eleven in some continuities when transformation is shown to be an integral part of their society back on Cybertron, with buildings cities and occasionally planets that can transform.
    • The [[Film/Transformers live action movies]] deserve special mention for going out of their way to avoid issues that plague other adaptations of the franchise like Your Size May Vary and Kibbles and Bits, and also spending umpteen millions of dollars on expressing this trope.

Video Games
  • Arms Forts are MASSIVE mobile weapon-fortresses, to the point that a Giant Mecha is to an Arms Fort what a kitten is to a Giant Mecha. That being said, most of them have more moving parts than a car factory.
  • Heavily augmented characters in Deus Ex: Human Revolution can have body parts that transform, and a few of the trailers showcase the main character's complex and highly lethal cybernetic upgrades.
  • in the Metroid series, Samus's Power Armor has the ability to transform into a rolling ball and in Metroid Prime the first person perspective shows off her Arm Cannon's Swiss Army Weapon properties.
Community Feedback Replies: 6
  • August 31, 2011
    Yep I'm pretty sure we don't have this, and I've Seen It A Million Times.

    Ill post later with examples when I remember some.
  • August 31, 2011
    Seems a little YMMV, hence your trepidation in your opening disclaimer.

    But I'll bite, Arms Forts are MASSIVE mobile weapon-fortresses, to the point that a Giant Mecha is to an Arms Fort what a kitten is to a Giant Mecha. That being said, most of them have more moving parts than a car factory.
  • August 31, 2011
    Definitely worth consideration as an article. I watch movies and play games all the time and often ask myself "How is that tank/car/robot/weapon able to even MOVE with all those moving parts?"

    Metroid Prime tends to play this straight. Samus' suit has a LOT of moving/transforming parts (the morph ball, for one). It's even lampshaded by some data logs of the Space Pirates trying to replicate Samus' suit and weapon tech.
  • August 31, 2011
    See also greebles?
  • August 31, 2011
    I would have started filling out examples but I'm kind of new to formatting TV Tropes articles. It was also 2am by the time I posted this. What heading would Transformers go under, seeing as it spans several kinds of media, pretty much all of which include it?

    ^I don't know about greebles, they're kind of related to the idea of increasing detail to make something look cooler, but this is specifically about implausible/impractical numbers of moving parts. Somewhere An Engineer Is Crying.
  • September 1, 2011
    I'd also mention the Transformers movies. Some of those robots look ludicrously least, compared to what the toys and cartoon shows used to look like.