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Cephalothorax
What, you think he asked to be a giant head with limbs?

"Hey guys, whaddya call a big head with tiny arms and legs?"
Jamie, Megas XLR

Critters which, rather than having a head and a torso, are basically heads with limbs. Usually a cartoony simplification, though spider-limb heads sometimes appear in horror movies and the like.

If you're not sure whether a creature has a head-torso or just a particularly thick neck, check how much their mouth can open. If it goes all the way to the groin, you've got a winner.

Another good way to check is the position of their arms. Generally a Cephalothorax's arms will be at the same height as his eyes (approximately where his ears would be except Cephalothoraxes almost never have ears, or at least visible ones)

If they are video game characters with really stubby legs and arms (or no arms at all), they are Waddling Heads.

An ancient Greek legend described a race of Cephalothoraxes called "Blemmyae" living in north Africa, which makes this trope Older Than Feudalism. You probably shouldn't think too hard about where the digestive tract or heart/lungs are located.

A specific subtrope is Oculothorax, where the "head" is mostly just one big eyeball.

See also Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods. Compare My Brain Is Big.

Not to be confused with the cephalothorax of spider and crustacean anatomy, which is an actual body part combining head and thorax.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Kool-Aid Man.
  • The Weight Watchers "Hungry Monster"
  • The M&M's spokecandies.
  • Honey-Comb cereal's Craver.
  • This billboard advertisement.
  • King Ding Dong on the packages of Hostess Ding Dongs.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Lagann, the Gurren, and several other Ganmen from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann; being a Combining Mecha, however, the Gurren Lagann and its larger forms have a normal humanoid shape.
    • Lagann's identified at one point as a 'core mech', so it seems that the various Gunmen were designed headless to accommodate Lagann-types, which were designed without heads because they become the heads.
  • Many Digimon as well, specially the baby ones.
  • One Piece villain Buggy the Clown resembles one of these when he tries to assemble himself after his torso and limbs are tied up (leaving only the head, hands, and feet). He ends up stuck that way for quite a while after Luffy gives him a Megaton Punch, until Alvida finally brings him back to his crew (who held onto his torso).
  • Jama-P from Wedding Peach.
  • King Nikochan and his alien race from Dr. Slump.
  • Jibaku (actually, all the spirits) from Twelve World Story.
  • Taken to an extreme with the Yamata no Orochi from Ranma 1/2, a legendary dragon whose "body" is just one massive, mountain-sized head. The remaining seven heads sprout from the back of the main head. It just raises the question: with no body, no limbs, nothing but one giant head and seven smaller ones, where do the sake it drinks and women it devours go?
  • Happens at least once in Franken Fran, when a guy brings Fran his girlfriend's severed head. Although he's not actually her boyfriend, and is responsible for decapitating her in the first place. Fran manages to keep her alive by removing some of the brain and using the space to install a small system of vital organs, including a digestive tract. Later Fran attaches a hand so the head can move around. After that, she gives the victim a full, monsterous body, and she takes revenge on her "boyfriend", who discovered too late that her memory of him wasn't removed with those pieces of brain.

    Comic Books 
  • M.O.D.O.K. (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) from the Marvel Universe, pictured above. He was originally a normal human mook before he got shoved very unwillingly into the machine that transformed him. Then he used his new hyperintelligence and psychic abilities to take over the organization. Despite his appearance, he's not a true Cephalothorax. He's got a normal-looking body and a truly massive head, and can only sit or move about at all because of the floating chair thing.
  • Galius Zed of the Green Lantern Corps. And Zilius Zox of the Red Lantern Corps, who appears to be the same species as Galius.
  • Similarly the residents of the Planet Barrio III, such as Green Lanterns Chaselon and Diamalon, resemble Disco Balls with metallic tentacle limbs.
  • Blume from the Orange Lantern Corps has no limbs to speak of. He's basically just a giant flying head with a prehensile mustache.
  • Sugar Man of the Marvel Universe.
  • Judge Kray-Tor from Marvel Comics, foe of Adam Warlock in the Silver Age adventures as written by Starlin. Bonus points for having TWO pair of arms where his ears would be.
  • Captain America villain Arnim Zola appears to be this, but the face on his torso is actually a flatscreen monitor.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Goblins from the Rankin-Bass Animated The Hobbit edge onto this when they open their mouths fully.
  • Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc..
  • Toy Story
    • One of the deformed toys from was a truly frightening sight for a kid's movie: A bald doll's head with mechanical spider legs made from an Erector set. Like all the other "monster" toys, though, it turned out to be good-hearted and kind.
    • Don't forget Mr. Potato Head who is practically this trope embodied.
      • Should that be em-headed?
  • Maxum from Gandahar/Light Years. No distinct head, but a face on the front of his torso (rather like one of the aforementioned Blemmyae).

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Humpty Dumpty from Alice in Wonderland. And lampshaded: Alice cannot tell whether the garment wrapped around his middle is a cravat or a belt.
  • The Kaldanes in Edgar Rice Burroughs' "The Chessmen of Mars".
  • The 'Mr. Men' from Martin Hargreaves' series of children's books.
  • In Edmond Hamilton's The Man Who Evolved (1931), a scientist evolves himself with a machine of his own invention, his brain growing larger and larger in the process while his body shrinks to nothingness. At a certain point, he's nothing but a huge head with hands and feet sprouting just below his chin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Nakaleen Feeder from Babylon 5
  • The In Living Color! sketch "The Head Detective": the doctors tell the partner of a detective in the ER that they could rebuild him... for six million dollars. But since the partner only has $28.45 on him, the best the surgeons can do is a cephalothorax.
  • Paroos from the Farscape episode 'A Prefect Murder' probably qualified. He was basically Father Jack's head from Father Ted, except alien and slightly better looking.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Squigs from Warhammer are essentially heads with legs and a little tail. And lots of teeth.
  • Sekis, a character in "The Velvet Circle" adventure in the Demon Magic supplement for Stormbringer.
  • Vargouilles in Dungeons & Dragons are Body Horror heads with wings and tentacles, created by The Virus.
    • Modrons
    • Beholders are giant floating heads, with extra eyes on eyestalks. They look pretty comical, until their eyes start shooting rays of destruction in all directions at once. And then they vomit up their young, and you wonder if you'll ever get to sleep again.
  • In spite of having distinct body parts to damage, several Mechs in BattleTech look like this, most notably the UrbanMech and the Imp, though it's hard not to get this feeling off the Ursus and its skull-bodied, Gurren-like appearance.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Kirby, Ristar and Starfy from their respective videogames.
  • Jubjubs in Neopets are an entire species of these, as they are just creatures with head, and feet. They are often the subjects of lampshades, on how they can hold things, despite having no hands.
  • Half of the Super Mario Bros. enemies.
  • PacMan's cartoon form, also present in the Namco video game Pac-Land.
  • The Green alloy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Note also that its body is based off of Kirby's, who is listed above.
  • In Dead Space there are enemies that amount to little more than a grotesque head with a couple of arms and legs. If they kill you, they hijack your body in a rather squicky death sequence.
  • Gnaars from Serious Sam.
  • The Gnomes in Kingdom of Loathing.
  • The Nu species from the game Chrono Trigger are (usually) blue creatures like this, with (usually) moss-green mohawks on their head/body.
  • The four Giants from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask each have a Cephalothorax the size of what a giant's head would normally be, and otherwise only count as giants thanks to their incredibly long and spindly arms and legs.
  • The classic 8-bit game M.U.L.E. had several alien races for the player to choose as their avatar. Among these was the Packer, an obvious Shout-Out to Pac Man, who was essentially a big walking mouth with two stubby legs and a pair of eyes.
  • At least one monster in Dwarf Fortress. Unusually for this trope, all vital organs are still present, so you can hit the monster in the head and bruise its lung.
  • In LSD Dream Emulator, there is an NPC that is a cephalothorax in the courtyard outside of the hotel/apartment building.
  • Custom Robo has the aptly-named "Funky Big Head" (or "Big Boys", depending on the game) line of robos.
  • In Capcom's Mega Man (Classic) series. It is used in "Air Man-type" Robot Master.
  • Hansel and Gretel from NieR are giant Gunmen-like helmets with limbs.
  • The many Pokémon examples have been put into lists. See the lists of Pokémon species that consist entirely of a head, that have a base but are otherwise just a head, that have arms but are otherwise just a head, and that have legs but are otherwise just a head. Jigglypuff, Igglybuff, Elekid, Hitmonlee, Polywhirl, Polywrath, Snorunt, Budew, Nosepass, Chingling, Trubbish, and Darumaka are basically heads with arms and legs.
  • The Bomb-type enemies from the Final Fantasy series.
  • The body of Ogmo from Jumper series consists entirely of a rectangular head and two tiny legs.
  • From Cave Story, there are critters and Balrog. The formers consist almost entirely of heads (their legs are barely visible), while the latter is a soap-bar with only a face and stubby limbs.
  • Sneakers in Sneakers and Fast Eddie, two early 1980s games by Sirius Software.
  • From Doom, there are the Cacodemons, and in Doom II there are the Pain Elementals, both of which are floating monster heads that shoot things at you.
  • The titular Super Meat Boy, plus his lover Band-Aid Girl.

    Web Animation 
  • Strong Mad from Homestar Runner might be more appropriately called a Thoraxocephaloid, as he's the exact opposite: A torso without a head.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes
    • Taz the Tasmanian Devil.
    • Gossamer the red monster.
  • South Park: The "girl born without a midsection" on the Maury Povich show.
  • Dizzy Devil from Tiny Toon Adventures, inspired by Taz.
  • Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants. Lampshaded in one episode, when someone sat on him: "Excuse me sir, but you're sitting on my body, which is also my face."
  • ReBoot has Mike the TV and the "1" and "zero" binomes.
  • Baby Poof, from The Fairly OddParents.
  • Magnanimous (Who's a homage to MODOK from Marvel) from Megas XLR.
  • Technically, the members of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, depending on whether you consider food with a face a "head". But their faces are centered on their bodies, and none of them have actual heads, so....
  • Krumm from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters had no head, but a mouth in the middle of his chest. And that was far from being the most unusual feature of his anatomy—his eyes weren't attached to his body at all, and he had to carry them around in his hands.
  • Big Fat Baby in Histeria!, essentially.
  • The cartoon versions of the Madballs.
  • Squidbillies brings us the always naked, always greedy, Dan Halen.
  • Lugnut from Transformers Animated, especially his toy form.
  • A good number of characters in The Amazing World of Gumball, most notably Darwin, which is mentioned when Masami describes that "he's got legs an, you know... a head.". Although Darwin's "head" is really his whole fish body with legs attached. Depends on how you look at it.
    • This is also lampshaded by his seat in class having a stack of books just so his face can reach above his desknote .
    • Lampshaded again in "The Dream", as Gumball dreams Darwin kissed Penny, wakes up, then shakes Darwin by the knees.
      Darwin: What are you doing?
      Gumball: Trying to throttle you, but you don't have a neck!
    • Darwin mentions in "The Kids" that he's "hopin' that there's still a chance to grow a chest!"—while the screen shows a version of Darwin with a flabby chest with manboobs.
  • Garrett Bobby Ferguson from the Regular Show episode "High Score".
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has this with some of Stitch's cousins, including Kixx.
  • Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, after being stripped of his body when he was banished from Dimension X. Shredder designed and built a humanoid exo-suit for him when they teamed up.

    Real Life 
  • The cephalothorax is a standard stage of development in how a child draws a human figure, that every healthy child goes through in their toddler years. It is preceded by squiggly lines and followed by a figure with a head, torso, and limbs, but no neck. (source)
  • The giant ocean sunfish is basically a fish head with fins and a fringe of tail protruding from it.
  • A puffer fish appears to be a spherical head with fins when it is inflated.


Can-Crushing CraniumStay Ahead of This IndexChildhood Brain Damage
Humanoid AliensSliding Scale of AnthropomorphismInsectoid Aliens
M.O.D.O.K.ImageSource/Comic BooksMonica's Gang

alternative title(s): Head With Limbs
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