Fake Arm Disarm

"Your prosthetic arm just saved your life."
Slicer, Fullmetal Alchemist

This character has an Artificial Limb, Electronic Eye or other prosthesis, and while he doesn't have to be a full Cyborg—the rest of him can just be squishy human flesh—what he does have is far stronger, more durable and just plain better than his former body part. There's only one problem: it keeps getting wrecked. Enemies shoot like there's a bullseye on it, falling rocks gravitate towards it and it falls off at the drop of a hat like the character is some Steam Punk leper. Meanwhile, his natural appendages never suffer more than flesh wounds, despite being made of far less hardy stuff.

Often Fake Arm Disarms are used to temporarily bring a character down to normal in a way that preserves the status quo. Destroying the flesh-and-blood arm of a character would gravely injure them and provoke major Character Development, but a prosthesis can be broken or detached without endangering the character and fixed with relative ease after the fight.

On the other hand, the character can also Invoke the trope in order to protect his less replaceable limbs by leaving the prosthesis behind as a decoy while he escapes.

Frequently Justified, as realistic prostheses are usually weaker than the body parts they replace and detachable, making them easy to lose. Also, the strength of an Artificial Limb could make a character be more reckless with it, dumber ones might not realize that if they tried lifting something really heavy with said fake arm without reinforcing practically every other part of the body the prosthetic would be ripped out. And a weaponized prosthesis would be an obvious target for enemies.

Compare to the bloodier An Arm and a Leg. For a list of tropes that are prone to these, see Artificial Limbs and Anatomy Arsenal.

Subtrope of Good Thing You Can Heal.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inverted in Berserk, as Guts' metal arm is far hardier than his flesh-and-blood one, and neither takes any lasting damage (on one occasion his real arm is pierced by the monstered-out Rosine's needle-like rostrum, but is stopped by his metal arm).
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward’s arm is destroyed or heavily damaged on five separate occasions. It is destroyed by Scar; it malfunctions while Ed fights Lust and Envy due to a missing screw from Winry’s rushed repairs; it is damaged and used as bait during his fight with Lan Fan; it is unable to function in the North due to the cold; and it is destroyed by Father after which he gets his real arm back.
    • Also occurs when Scar fights the Silver Alchemist. After trading a few blows, Scar destroys the Silver Alchemist's pegleg with a Clean Cut, Single-Stroke Battle style.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex provides a few examples:
    • An assassin named Fem is hired by the South Seas Mafia to kill a multi-millionaire recluse. Section 9 stays one step ahead of her. While she monologues about the evils of capitalism, Motoko exploits it and sneaks up behind her. Before Fem can put up a proper defense with the shotgun built into her arm, Motoko twists her arm and breaks it off.
    • The Russian spy Cruzkowa has been doing her job for so long, that she's Crazy-Prepared for almost any situation. When Togusa grabs her left hand while she was running away, her arm came off. Batou has to tell Togusa to throw the damn thing away before the bomb inside exploded.
    • Batou enters hand to hand combat with Kuze later on in the 2nd season. The two are pretty evenly matched against each other, but Kuze gets the upper hand when Batou tries to swing a metal shaft at him, but gets knocked off balance. Kuze shoves the metal shaft into Batou's left shoulder, pinning him to the ground. Batou was ok, but he later remarked that it was annoying trying to get used to his replacement shoulder and arm.
  • Obito of Naruto has a right arm created from cloned Zetsu tissue and capable of regenerating after being destroyed. Said arm is destroyed on three occasions, twice by enemy attacks and once when it was too weak when he punched a boulder.
  • In the Oriental and Sacred Place manga, Kasen tries to touch one of Reimu's Yin-Yang Orbs with her bandaged arm. Merely touching its surface destroyed her fake arm, revealing there's nothing beneath the bandages but black mist.

    Comic Books 
  • Invoked by Herr Starr in Preacher. When cornered by an ex-Spetnatz, he holds his prosthetic leg out (the real one was eaten by Texan cannibals) as if readying for a kick. The guy contemptuously grabs it before it pops off, leaving him staring at it just long enough for Starr to shoot him.
  • In the Warhammer 40K comic Deff Skwadron, Killboy has had to replace his limbs 35 times after crashing after each of his 35 missions.


  • In Shadow of her Sins Sallivera's prosthetic eye is torn out by Bloody Margo. Later she claims that "The second time around the novelty wears off."
  • The Reynard Cycle: Reynard loses his Blade Below the Shoulder during the climax of Defender of the Crown. It's shattered by the same person who lopped off his hand.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel smashes Lindsey’s prosthetic hand after a fight, telling him to be thankful he only broke the fake one.
  • Arrested Development gives us J. Walter Weatherman, a one-armed man who invokes this trope when he gets involved in George Sr.’s plans to teach his kids a lesson by having his fake arm torn off in order to demonstrate what happens as a result of yelling and fighting.
  • On Friends, Joey accidentally throws the prosthetic leg of a woman he is dating into a fireplace when he thinks it is a log.
  • One of the people on Earl’s list in My Name Is Earl is a woman with a prosthetic leg that Earl destroyed. She appears chasing Earl, hopping on her one good leg, as a Running Gag throughout the series.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In the webcomic Exterminatus Now, Lothar Hex has a bionic arm, legs and eye. His arm is ripped off by Blasphemy at one point, and Rogue chops off his bionic limbs later when they are possessed by a Fernex demon.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part II,” Smithers remembers shooting Jasper while drunk. After noting that nobody reported the shooting, the police check on Jasper and discover that Smithers shot him in his wooden leg: Jasper never even noticed.
  • In Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, Lt. Raczak’s prosthetic arm is torn off several times and is once dipped in acid.
  • In Treasure Planet, Jim stabs and impairs Silver’s mechanical leg. Silver is next seen using his mechanical arm as a crutch, in a nod to the 1950 version of Treasure Island.
  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Anakin infiltrates a Sepratist compound on Nelvaan that has been performing horrifying experiments on the native population. First he was specifically chosen by the Nelvaanian shaman because he had a fake hand. Then the people who had been corrupted by the experiments tasked him to destroy the facility. Anakin does this by sticking his artificial hand in an energy sphere and stealing a critical component, but loses his robot hand in the process. The Nelvaanians see Anakin's mechanical stump as a symbol of their own freedom and respond by tearing off the arm cannons that the Sepratists placed on them and cheer Anakin triumphantly.

  • One-legged wrestler Zack Gowen made his WWE debut as a fan whom a Heel wrestler pulled into the ring and tried to give a leglock: Gowen's leg came off!