Abnormal Limb Rotation Range

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"These aren't just pants, these are magic turnaround pants!"
John Behlmann, Dairy Queen commercial (2011)

Someone who has the ability to rotate any part of their body beyond normal, which is either awesome or Body Horror.

Rarely goes with Losing Your Head or any other body part. Some robots have that ability, but when not on a robot, it occasionally falls under Blessed with Suck.

In Real Life this is generally a result of Hypermobility or "double-jointedness".

Not to be confused for Head Turned Backwards. A specific sub-trope, for when only the head rotates, is Exorcist Head. For performers who bend far in the expected range, see Contortionist. If somebody's limbs get bent unnaturally-far because they've been stuffed or dragged into a too-small space, that's Fold Spindle Mutilation.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece
    • Marine Captain Sharingle can rotate any segment of his body under any line of axis from the power of the Wheel-Wheel Fruit. For some reason, he doesn't have this ability in the anime.
    • Also Luffy with the Gum-Gum Fruit; he can do some crazy stuff with his limbs.
    • Buffalo has the closely-related Spin-Spin Fruit, though this seems limited to his limbs and dreadlocks. He can spin them fast enough to be makeshift propellers, though.
  • The Dolls from Black Butler.
  • Sasori from Naruto. However, it's justified because Sasori's body isn't really his body; it's a highly advanced marionette. The only thing left of the real Sasori is the small cylinder in the center, presumably containing his heart.
  • In Dai Mahou Touge, Paya's limbs can rotate 360 degrees in all directions, making him immune to all joint locks.
  • Excel Saga: Excel; justified because she's a crazy Genki Girl.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Tai La Vérité episode 9. Ikuyo Suzuki turns her head around 360° while talking to Mariel.
  • Once in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, the very jealous Chiri was so enraged by the suggestion that Nozomu try the Tenchi Solution, that when she went into her frightening-looking Ax-Crazy mode, her head started spinning sideways.
  • Nike from Air Gear had his shoulder blades removed (one assumes he just keeps his arms in place with his ridiculously powerful muscles). Thanks to this, his arms have an unlimited range of movement.
  • #9 Jean from Claymore corkscrews her sword arm 21 times in preparation for her special attack.
  • Being Humongous Mecha, several Mobile Suits in the Gundam series have the ability to rotate their hands. In the case of the F91 Gundam and the Turn A Gundam, they use this ability while holding their beam sabers to make whirling circles of death... or, for the latter, to do the washing.
  • Kuroi Sabato from Blade of the Immortal had the ability to raise his arm in a perfect 90-degree angle behind him, just as easily as one would do forward, which allowed to easily strike Manji as he came from behind without even turning around. It's a wonder that the stuffed heads mounted on his shoulders didn't hinder him.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Makuramon's human form is capable of rotating his head 360 degrees.
  • Happens very briefly in Puni Puni Poemi, and never occurs again. Would be a BLAM if the whole OVA weren't so darn weird to begin with.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure
    • Stroheim is able to turn his arms in any direction he wants after he becomes a cyborg.
    • To say nothing of the Pillar Men's ability to bend so much, they can stuff themselves into a ventilation shaft smaller than a person's hand.
      • As said above, Santana (the Pillar Man in question) breaks all of his bones to achieve this. The best example would be Whamuu's Holy Sandstorm. He twists his forearms so quickly that they form tornadoes powerful enough to smash through stone pillars.
    • Joseph, similar to Stroheim above, can bend his fingers almost fully around when he gets a new hand to replace the one he lost.
  • Bungou Stray Dogs's Lovecraft, being a literal Lovecraftian Humanoid Abomination, is fully capable of bending in every which way, usually shown as him tilting or turning his neck at unnatural angles. One has to wonder if he even has bones at all.
  • In Murciélago, Koumori Kuroko has a habit of doing an owl-like 90-degree head tilt, which only enhances her already-apparent insanity.

    Comic Books 
  • Hooty the Owl from DC Comics.
  • Owl (Leland Owlsley) from Mainstream, Age of Apocalypse, Everyone knew Daredevil was blind, Super Spidey Stories and Last Gun on Earth Universe in Marvel Comics.
  • The DC Super Villain Ragdoll completely revolves around this. He's triple-jointed, meaning that he can bend any of his body parts to any position he wants. His youngest son, the Secret Six's Ragdoll, was born with normal joints. Daddy Doll didn't take to kindly to this, and had all of his joints replaced with omnidirectional ball and sockets, so he bend in every possible, and even some impossible ways. It helps that he has the stated superpower of superfast surgical recovery...
  • One of Spider-Man's lesser-known powers, famously emphasized by Todd McFarlane during his run.

    Fan Works 
  • Lyra has this in the Triptych Continuum due to an unusual degree of just about full-body double-jointing, leading to some rather nonstandard postures which virtually nopony else can replicate. Just watching her stretch can be a mildly traumatizing experience.
  • Similarly, the Lunaverse iteration of Lyra is specifically noted to be amazingly flexible for a pony, capable of bending her limbs and back in ways that would badly hurt just about anypony else.
  • In Fate/Long Night, Arturia gets an artificial arm with a wrist and elbow that can rotate all the way around. She is inspired to train new sword techniques to take advantage of this.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Regan from The Exorcist, the Trope Codifier.
  • The above Exorcist example is parodied in Son of the Mask.
  • Beetlejuice:
    Betelgeuse: Don't you hate it when that happens?
  • Inspector Gadget has this happen to him a few times.
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland has Mad Hatter Play this trope Straight.
  • The Unborn plays this trope in a Body Horror way.
  • The demonic creature Sammael from the first Hellboy movie could do this... by dislocating its own joints and breaking its own bones. It could heal any injury almost instantly, but spinning your own pelvis around a full 180 degrees or bending every joint in your arm the opposite way they were intended to bend has to hurt.
  • In the campy horror/comedy Killer Klowns from Outer Space, one of the title monsters is "arrested" by the teenager-hating Jerkass deputy sheriff. As the klown is being shown to a jail cell, the deputy strikes it in the back of the neck with his baton. In response, the klown growls and spins its head completely around.
  • In the Thor movie, the Destroyer robot was impaled from the back and then completely rotated every part of its body to face its enemy, knocked her away, then removed the spear by standing up while the blade slid out by itself.
  • Pitch Black has Riddick do this by dislocating both his shoulders in order to escape from restraints.
  • In Austin Powers: Goldmember, the title villain is able to dislocate his legs upwards, which is useful for kicking someone in the face behind him.
  • The creatures in Splinter exhibit this trait, largely because their victims become Puppet People.
  • The TX from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines can rotate her head, arms and legs 360 degrees.
  • In the opening scene of Hardcore Henry, when Henry's cybernetic parts are being installed and tested, his newly-attached foot and shin can be seen spinning around and around, almost as if it's screwing itself into place on his stump.
  • One of the defining characteristics of the Saeki Family from the Ju-on franchise (and its American incarnation The Grudge) is that they contort themselves as they move, moving their limbs in unnatural ways as they walk on all fours (sometimes on the walls and ceiling).

    Literature 
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Sima Yi is said to be able to turn his head around like an owl — signifying his wary watchfulness by giving him, essentially, eyes in the back of his head. (Oddly enough, this is used to compare him to a wolf, rather then an owl)
  • Kevin Grothers from The Red And The Rest takes this to nearly Rubber Man levels. It is very much played for horror.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Yet another infamous example from True Blood where Lorena Krasiki has this happen to her.
  • Used as a plot point in an episode of The X-Files. At the end Scully fakes rotating her own wrist 360 degrees.
  • Happens to Curly's leg in The Three Stooges short "Idle Roomers".
  • Happens to a girl in a sketch on The Benny Hill Show called "The Lover".
  • Pair of Kings has the Prince tarantula person baby of the episode "Two Kings and a Devil Baby" who rotates his head 360 degrees.
  • Happens to Phil Diffy using his Wizard to rotate his head 360 degrees to freak out Marle so she won't like him in the Phil of the Future episode "Pheremonally Yours".
  • The Suliban on Star Trek: Enterprise could rotate their wrists 360 degrees.
  • In an episode of Dinosaurs parodying The Exorcist, Baby does this when he reaches the Terrible Twos.
  • As ghosts, Chen Family in American Horror Story: Roanoke crawl on all fours in impossible ways not unlike the Saeki Family from the Ju-on franchise.

    Pinballs 
  • Captain B. Zarr from The Party Zone can rotate his head the full 360 degrees.

    Radio 
  • Played for laughs in The Goon Show episode "The White Box of Great Bardfield", when Seagoon is attempting an escapology challenge.
    Seagoon: Right! Now I'll just get my leg over my right shoulder... Urghh... Rotate my ankles in circles... Bend my head under my glasses... Burghhh... Space my arms round my waist, up my back, under my chin. At the same time bend my legs up under the base of my skull... Eurghhh... Eurgghhh....There [puffing] How's that?
    Grytpype: You silly twisted boy.

    Tabletop Game 
  • In BattleTech, BattleMechs without a shoulder, upper and lower arm actuators (aka nothing but an Arm Cannon) can flip their arms 180 degrees to fire at targets directly behind them. In the BattleTech Expanded Universe Warrior Trilogy Justin Allard gets a nasty surprise when he thinks he's gotten behind an enemy RFL-3N Rifleman only for it to flip its arms backwards and send autocannon fire crashing through his VLK-QA Valkyrie

    Toys 
  • Almost every kind of toy.
  • There are a couple of BIONICLE masks that have a second face on the top, requiring the head to be turned upside-down. Thankfully only for creepy villain characters. The Vahki sets, meanwhile, can go from bipedal mode to four-legged, for which one has to bend all limbs and the head backwards. Of course, almost every Bionicle toy has a level of abnormal movement (often in the limbs), owing to the ball-and-socket joints commonly found as part of the construction, with the better articulated toys capable of being disfigured in infinite ways, although the examples listed are actually "enforced" by the story material.

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Kaepora Gaebora from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at the same rotation manner as the Owl from The Secret of NIMH mentioned above.
  • Ōkami Averts this by having Onigiri-sensei's rotating head being an illusion.
  • Kingdom Hearts II
    • Groundshaker, Living Bones and Shaman Heartless — subverted due to them having floating heads.
    • Played Straight in the same game as Strafer Heartless.
    • The Peepsta Hoo dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D predictably has this, being an owl. However, it can rotate its head a full 360 degrees, and can do the same with its face (Which indicates what mode of attack it's in).
  • Noctowl, Drapion and Rowlet from Pokémon.
  • In the PC version of Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone Professor Quirrell does this so Voldemort can see Harry face to face.
  • Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution can rotate his hands fully around the wrist due to his cybernetic arms. The main use for them seems to be Neck Snapping.
  • The various incarnations of Yoshimitsu from Tekken and SoulCalibur all have artificial arms with complete wrist rotation. It's actually highlighted in the intro movie to Tekken 2. From 3 onwards he even uses this ability in conjunction with his sword to achieve short burst of helicopter style flight.
    • Not only that but you can see the same thing happen for a custom character based off his fighting style.
    • In Tekken, several incarnations of the Jack-robots have this, most notably Prototype Jack.
  • Skullgirls' Ms. Fortune is a catgirl with a gruesome twist— she swallowed an immortality-granting gem, but had her head and limbs chopped off shortly afterward by a mafia assassin. Still bearing the scars of her dismemberment, Ms. Fortune can attack by separating her limbs along those scars. She can move her muscles independently of her skin along the lines she was cut apart, giving her the ability to stretch and twist her limbs beyond any normal capacity. Her head, too.
  • Used in the 1999 horror game Koudelka, the first in the series that would become Shadow Hearts. Basically, a man named Patrick resorts to using black magic to bring back his dead love, Ellaine. As is typical with most grief-based resurrections, said love is brought back as a soulless Monster from Beyond the Veil with the image of an angel. When the team of heroes first meet her, she emerges gooey from a demonic flower and then proceedes to hop onto the ceiling and crabwalk across the ceiling. Even after being shot down from the ceiling, the monster gets right back up (complete with bones breaking and limbs contorting to an almost hose-like consistency) and chases after the heroes, still in her crabwalk pose. This, combined with the primitive graphics and the fact she never changes her facial expression beyond Dissonant Serenity puts this squarely on Uncanny Valley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6_eDb75BoA
  • Many enemies from First Encounter Assault Recon 2: Project Origin, but special mention goes to the Abominations the player encounters throughout game, the first human test subjects and surviving failures of Project Harbinger's attempts to excel a human's brain and body to supernatural lengths. One of the abomination encountered writhes, crawls and contorts his body so inhumanely quick that it manages to easily avoid the player's attempts to shoot it.
  • Orianna of League of Legends is a Hextech/clockwork robot powered by a large key in her back. The fact she can freely twist her arms to wind said key unassisted is one of many things that others find deeply unsettling about her.
  • Tails of the Sonic the Hedgehog series can rotate his two tails as if they were an airplane prop in order to fly. And never gets them tangled. Ever.
  • This happens all the time in QWOP. Whenever the runner falls down, and sometimes even when he's running, his legs bend in all kind of ways that they shouldn't.
    • CLOP, a game very similar to QWOP but with a unicorn as the protagonist, has its fair share of limbs going all over the place, too.
  • In the MechWarrior series, most BattleMechs have roughly the same rotation capacities as a human, due to them being relatively realistic - usually they have a max torso pitch of 30-45 degrees (can be increased by crouching/bracing in Living Legends), and a max torso turn of about 90 degrees either left or right. However, several mechs in Mech 4 and Living Legends have abnormal rotation for its combat advantage - the Rifleman Anti-Air mech can rotate its torso a full 360 degrees, and can aim its elbow-less arms straight up and straight down, for example.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The famous Lets Player Chuggaaconroy claims he can rotate his head 180 degrees in a Tag video.
  • LoadingReadyRun: Crapshots brings us this.
    Graham: Why did I do that?
  • As part of a Running Gag, Polnareff can rotate his head in Vaguely Recalling JoJo.
  • Helen in Twig has extensive bodily modifications that allow her to do this, as well as granting her an iron grip and the ability to dislocate parts of her skeleton at will. It's very disconcerting coming from someone that looks about twelve.
  • Mannequin from Worm has replaced most of his body with tinkertech. His various appendages are attached with chains, giving him pretty much unlimited range of movement, including spinning like a helicopter rotor.
  • The Exorcist example gets spoofed again in a deleted scene of Smosh's "If Scary Movies Were Real". Regan (played by Anthony) tries to rotate her head, but she could only do it a quarter way before breaking her neck and proceeds to cry out for help.
  • Famous Let's Player Markiplier can turn his feet backwards and walk with them. It's really fucking creepy and he knows it.

    Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has this happen to some of the characters, including SpongeBob.
  • The Simpsons
    • It happens to Homer Simpson in "Treehouse of Horror XVI", to parody the above Exorcist. He also does it again with audible crunching noises in the car with the family screaming him to turn the head to the left instead farther to the right.
    • It also happens to Maggie Simpson in "Home Sweet Home-Diddily-Dum-Doodily" and the unusual thing is.. it's not a Halloween episode!
    • The carny son, Spud, in "Bart Carny" can unhinge all joints at once and twists his body around.
  • Wan Shi Tong from Avatar: The Last Airbender. To be fair, though, he is an owl.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series
    • One episode has Shortstuff (Experiment 297) who can rotate his upper body—which becomes a part of his one true place of being a ride in a carnival.
    • In "Holio", Pleakley becomes so dedicated to yoga that he ends up in most strange poses.
  • Rocko's Modern Life
    • It happens in a Played for Laughs manner with Widow Hutchison who accidentally turns her head upside down in "The Big Answer".
    • Happens to Peaches in "To Heck and Back"
  • Muriel in Courage the Cowardly Dog does this in the episode "Demon in the Mattress" when an evil spirit takes over her body.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum has this happen to Chum Chum when he comes down with "Frosty Freezy Freeze Fever" in the episode "Berry Sick".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Owlowiscious turns his head backwards. This is completely justified, as he's an owl, but it's made to look creepy.
    • In the same show (and metaseries), constant to a small degree up with the eponymous ponies, who are depicted with a (somewhat transient) humanlike forelimb rotational range and gripping ability(!), complete with bends at what would, in humans, be the highly mobile wrists, something physiologically located at another place entirely on a horse or pony's leg. None of it is at all odd or out-of-place-looking for the primates watching, but any equine viewers (or any viewer with any knowledge of equine anatomy, for that matter) would be terribly confused and creeped out.
      • A notable example is in "Magical Mystery Cure" where Pinkie Pie is trying to buck apples, slightly misses her targeted spot on the tree, and ends up with her leg against the tree with the joint visibly bending the wrong way. Fans found the image freaky and wondered if it meant she broke something.
    • Pinkie Pie, in the episode "Read It and Weep", turns her head a full 360 degrees a couple of times. After a moment, her whole body spins around to go back to normal.
  • Dan Vs.' Dan explained he got one of his hands free from handcuffs due to his thumb being able to rotate at any angle (I don't remember the exact words, but this is basically it). This is only on one of his hands. The other hand he got by pulling really, really hard.
  • Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil has this happen to Ms. Chickarelli when her head rotates 180 degrees in the episode "Detained".
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch turns his head around when the Narrator says it "wasn't screwed on just right."
  • Ragdoll appears in The Batman as a burglar who can use his triple-jointed abilities to bend his body in normally impossible ways.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Stewie Kills Lois", Stewie manages to flip his head upside-down while taunting Brian over Lois's (apparent) death. He then gets stuck in that position and tries to get Brian to call a chiropractor for him.
  • Bender from Futurama, being a robot, can rotate his head a full 360 degrees. He uses this ability to frighten some new arrivals from the 20th century (Kill all humans!! Kill all humans!!).
  • Steven Universe: Pearl and Garnet's Fusion Dance, Sardonyx, has a second set of arms attached to her waist, and no less than four segments (upper body, waist, lower body, and legs) that can rotate independently of each other. Alexandrite (the same fusion, plus Amethyst) also has the segmented waist.
    Steven: You're so articulated!

    Real Life 
  • Baseball pitchers stretch their shoulders and elbows so that their arms bend far backwards when throwing. This gives their throws a sort of slingshot effect. It's not unusual to see still shots of pitchers with their arms bent nearly horizontally backwards.
  • Between using their beak as a hand and the fact that their eyes do not move in their sockets, many birds can rotate their heads through a large range of motions. The owl pictured is an example.
  • Cats, lacking collarbones, can turn their heads further than people, to the degree of being able almost look backwards.
  • Praying mantises can rotate their upper body around. By insect standards, their heads also possess an abnormal rotation range, having flexibility that's closer to that of most vertebrates.
  • Gibbons have ball-and-socket joints at their wrists, allowing them to twist their hands around at the wrist as well as by rotating their forearms.
  • "Head Twister" is a magic trick that can fall under this, or rarely be mixed with Losing Your Head.
  • Believe it or not, some people have the skill of rotating their head, arms, hands, lower body and feet.
  • Some prosthetic arms developed for veterans have motorized wrists that can rotate 360 degrees. "Sure makes it easy to open jars now."

Alternative Title(s): Abnormal Joint Rotation Range, Hypermobility

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AbnormalLimbRotationRange