Fake Arm Disarm

This happens a lot

"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, as 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. It's justified due to his tendency to parry attacks (and only parry attacks) with that arm, since it's so much more durable than his flesh-and-blood one. To say nothing of it being more replaceable, as Ed well knows. Losing his auotmail arm is an annoying inconvenience, but losing his flesh-and-blood arm would've put him out of action for a year or more (as was the case when he lost his other arm and had to get it replaced with a prosthetic at the start of the story).
    • 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.
  • Happens all the time in Ghost in the Shell: Arise. Pretty much every hand-to-hand fight Motoko gets into will involve at least one of these. For example, during the climactic Car Chase / battle of "Ghost Whispers", VV loses her right arm, Motoko loses her right arm, and Batou loses an arm and a leg.
  • 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, once by an enemy attack, once by Obito himself after another enemy attack infected the arm with a deadly toxin 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.
  • Elfen Lied: Nana's artificial limbs have a bad habit of popping off. Bando also shatters one of his artificial arms when he fires a 50 caliber bullet one-handed.
  • Happens to Kasen near the end of Oriental Sacred Place where she finds one of Reimu's Yin-Yang orb and ends up touching it with her artificial arm. The orb responds violently and causes her arm to explode into a mess of tatters and black mist.
  • In the first Kara no Kyoukai movie, Shiki's left arm gets possessed and she ends up cutting it off, revealing it to be artificial. In the third movie we see how she got it.
  • In the climactic chapter of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, Kurogane's fake arm gets shattered while he's attempting an attack on the Big Bad. Earlier in the story we actually saw him lose the original by cutting it off himself to save Fay from a closing dimension, and it was not pretty.

    Comic Books 
  • Invoked and exploited by Herr Starr in Preacher. In a confrontation with the hyper competent bodyguard of a man that Starr needs to kill, Starr pretends that he's trying to kick the bodyguard with his artificial leg. The bodyguard (not aware that Starr has a prosthetic as Starr only recently lost his real leg) contemptuously grabs the "kick" in the air, only for the prosthetic leg to pop off in his hand. He stares at it in shock just long enough for Starr to shoot him.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 comic Deff Skwadron, Killboy has had to replace his limbs 35 times after crashing after each of his 35 missions.

  • Averted in I, Robot, where Spooner’s robotic arm doesn’t get hurt aside from superficial damage to its artificial “flesh.” However The Reveal of it being robotic is used for In-Universe Dramatic Irony.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Furiosa's mechanical arm gets forcibly yanked off a couple of times, and she's in visible pain as a result.
  • Captain America: Civil War: Bucky, aka the Winter Soldier, attempts to rip Iron Man's arc reactor out using his metal arm. Unfortunately for him, Iron Man fires a beam out of said reactor that promptly disintegrates said arm.

  • 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.

  • In "Red vs. Blue" Season 10, Episode 9 (Fighting Fire), Agent Maine throws his bladed grenade-launcher at an Insurrectionist, cutting off his mechanical arm—and nothing else. ("Ow, my robot arm!")

     Tabletop Games 
  • A premade character in the Serenity Role Playing Game has a fancy (and expensive) Newtech electronic prosthetic arm to replace the one he lost in the Unification War. Damaging it is a major Berserk Button for him, and he makes sure to have a spare.
  • In the second edition Tabletop Game/Shadowrun sourcebook Cybertechnology, one character mentions that his cybernetic arm got damaged significantly more often than his flesh arm, due to being less careful with it. He also mentions that this meant he had to spend a small fortune over the years replacing the skin on it.

    Video Games 
  • Ana Amari of Overwatch lost a Sniper Duel against Widowmaker in the past and lost her right eye for it. The eye itself was cybernetic to begin with, but Ana has refused to replace it and instead wears an eyepatch where it was.

  • 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 Seperatist 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.
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Bunny Hugged", The Crusher offers Bugs a handshake after the match. Despite the audience's warnings, Bugs shakes his hand back, only for the Crusher to grab the arm and bite it. Bugs being one step ahead, he actually gave Crusher a dynamite stick with a glove, which blows up in his face.

  • 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!