"So the dog brings out the trash? How can it even hold things with those knubby arms?"A character in an animated work has no apparent hands, but yet still manages to pick things up and manipulate things as if he/she did. Some do have thumbs, some don't have thumbs, and some have thumbs appear when grasping something or gesturing, but disappear otherwise. Tends to be present in either western animation or anime. Can sometimes be a feature of a Super-Deformed design. Subtrope of Invisible Anatomy.
— Mr. Dwicky, Invader Zim episode "Vindicated!"
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Anime and Manga
- The Azumanga Daioh characters in Art Shift mode.
- Doraemon doesn't have any visible fingers, yet he is able to do things normal people can do, with some minor appearance of his fingers.
- That's because he has a sticky-thing on each of his handnote . He also hates the fact that he can only play rock in rock, paper, scissors.
- Mesousa in Pani Poni Dash!. One of his many laments was that he had no thumbs or fingers of any kind, and could barely manipulate objects.
- One episode has Ash's Turtwig playing the drums despite having nubs for hands/hooves/feet.
- Jigglypuff have stubby, fingerless paws, yet one Jigglypuff has repeatedly been shown to use markers perfectly well.
- Puar the shape shifting cat from Dragon Ball.
- One Piece has Chopper, who doesn't have stubs for hands, but does have reindeer hooves. And while he can shapeshift into forms with hands, he prefers to do the majority of his medical work with his less-dexterous hooves. The author has made some attempt at explanation◊, but he shouldn't have human-levels of manipulation with his hooves like he seems to.
- Subverted in Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon. Iruru isn't very good at turning into human form, and her attempt at forming hands appears as stubby balls on the end of her arms. However, she can still hold things with them because they're made up of thousands of smaller hands.
- Most BIONICLE characters prior to the 2009 line of sets (which first introduced an original hand-piece) manipulated things with their unmoving "hands" in animation, if you can even call those pieces they had hands. Clenched fists, open palms, pointing finger — these were all accomplished by the same inarticulate LEGO piece. Even if a character had fingers, some animations still depicted objects simply sticking to their palms. Averted in the Direct-to-Video movies, in which they were given five, at times four-fingered hands. Strangely played straight in a scene from the first movie, however, when Takua uses a never-before seen magnetic force to pull a wooden staff to his palm. In fact Word of God claimed that when we don't see the characters using fingers, they utilize their magnetic abilities (also used for keeping their masks on their faces and backpacks on their backs, no matter what material they're made of).
- Kirby is able to wield swords, hammers, and umbrellas among other weaponry with his stubby little arms. The official art of Kirby and the Amazing Mirror does show his arms wrapped around objects and his cell phone only having two buttons, making it slightly more believable but in the game itself objects just hang on the end of his arms.
- Workers in Globulation, as the name implies, consist of a handful of blobs, but manage to cut trees, chip stone and make a lot of stuff up to what seems to be steam cannons.
- The Miis all lack fingers, but can handle objects like tennis rackets, baseball bats, bowling balls, and golf clubs very well. They can even drive.
- Their hands are different from game to game, ranging from floating balls to Mitten Hands.
- Several Pokémon have no toes and/or no fingers.
- In Minecraft, the player's hand is a solid cube, yet is able to hold and use items.
- All Chao in Sonic the Hedgehog, excluding the mutant Chaos. The non-human cast also lack toes, but this is more obviously seen with Big the Cat, Tikal the Echidna and Darkspine Sonic.
- Blockland has this trope in mind.
- Some Mario enemies like Shy Guys and Boos lack hands, but still grip their equipment just fine in the Mario Sports games. When someone asked Nintendo Power how this worked, they said that when they asked them how they gripped their tennis rackets in Mario Tennis, Shy Guy said something about a complex series of magnets while Boo just muttered something about "sticky ectoplasm".
- The first The Sims game.
- In the first Jet Set Radio, Gum and Pirahna look as if they're wearing mittens (although during graffiti segments, the hand holding the spray can now has fingers).
- The titular Bomberman has pink balls for hands, but despite this he is able to use bombs with ease.
- Basically every single character in Animal Crossing. The human Player Character is portrayed without fingers, but still manages to do anything a normal human can do. And more obviously, all of the animal villagers can also do every mundane activity without trouble. How can a bird villager write with their wings? How can a deer villager use a fishing rod with their hooves? How can a cat villager use a bug-catching net with their paws? Smug-type villagers in New Leaf will even mention being able to play the acoustic guitar, even though they're a mouse, or koala, or horse, or...
- Moogles in the Final Fantasy series have fingerless hands that are fully capable of wielding weapons, be they spears, staves, or rapiers.
- Inkling models in Splatoon have no toes.
- BB/Balloon Boy in Five Nights at Freddy's 2 has ball hands like the aforementioned Bomberman, except his has holes to hold his sign and balloon. Despite this, he's able to drop both items when crawling through the Left Vent and hold them again if he gets into the Office.note His Nightmare counterpart in Five Nights at Freddy's 4, however, averts this by having Wolverine Claws.
- In Happy Tree Friends, every character except Lumpy has only thumbs visible most of the time, but they still show fine motor control, such as clenching objects and manipulating small devices.
- Handy loses this ability when he's on screen (what with having amputated arms).
- Homestar Runner: Strong Bad has boxing gloves for hands, yet still displays excellent fine motor control, such as typing on a keyboard. Do NOT ask how this works. He's very tired of that question.
- He can also flip you the bird. As can Homestar, who doesn't even have hands (or arms for that matter). Don't ask how.
- The Cheat, Bubs, and Pom Pom lack distinguishable hands, but they can manipulate things just fine (and as with Strong Bad and Homestar, Pom Pom can flip the bird). Coach Z does have hands, but they're more like mittens, with a thumb and one big finger.
- In the email "fingers", Strong Bad stuck various objects onto his gloves as "fingers" in order to get people to stop asking how he types "with boxing gloves on", only to find that he was suddenly having much more difficulty typing than normal. In "Doomy Tales of the Macabre", his boxing gloves were replaced with human hands, and he wondered how to use them.
- Not only do people in Zero Punctuation have circular hands, they don't have arms; their hands just float in space. This is lampshaded by the credits once, when Yahtzee has injured himself by overusing the Guitar Hero controller:
Did no-one else think it was weird for the character in image 110 to be wearing a sling when he only has free-floating circular hands?
- Everyone from Retarded Animal Babies. This is actually lampshaded in the Thanksgiving episode where Puppy actually forces Bunny to punch a turkey with brass knuckles, but Bunny cannot put them on because he has no fingers. Puppy then proceeds to cut up Bunny's hands so that he now has "fingers."
- Pucca doesn't have fingers, neither does anyone in Sooga. This was lampshaded when a character wanted to call on a phone but couldn't dial, when she asked how this works, the others only look at their own hands and answer "I don't know."
- The Powerpuff Girls is possibly the Trope Codifier and was previously the Trope Namer.
Buttercup: Professor! Your hand doesn't work!
- Lampshaded in an episode in which the Powerpuff Girls end up switching bodies with Professor Utonium, Miss Bellum and the Mayor, leading to Buttercup having trouble using Prof. Utonium's hands. She just kind of waves it around behind the phone, without moving the fingers at all, apparently expecting it to automatically stick to her hand as usual.
- Lampshaded again when they play rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets stuck with an unwanted chore. Somehow, they're able to determine who drew what. And Bubbles always loses.
- And yet again when the Girls are forced to travel by foot and Buttercup complains that their feet clearly weren't meant for walking.
"I'm using muscles I didn't even know I had!"
- When Mojo Jojo hosted Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, he would joke about how the girls were apparently beating him with "flippers."
- The penguins in Madagascar and The Penguins of Madagascar use their flippers like hands, with their exact dexterity depending largely on whether its funny or not.
- Horses in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic can grab things with their hooves in a humanlike manner, despite producer Lauren Faust trying to get them to do so as little as possible. Although most of the time ponies use their mouths or magic to manipulate objects, there are cases where they grab things with their hooves. This is normally a script issue, one storyboard artist relating a tale of a script requiring a character to use a pointer and speak at the same time. Every once in a while they'll come up with a clever aversion though, such as an umbrella that is connected to a saddle rather than having to be held.
- Cello and fiddle-playing ponies like Octavia Melody and Fiddly Faddle mostly avert this using the articulations between hoof, fetlock, and pastern to manipulate the strings and bow.
- In the episodes "Rainbow Falls" and "Equestria Games", Pegasus ponies flying in aerial relay teams are apparently able to hold a horseshoe-shaped baton with one hoof. Some fans have suggested that the batons are enchanted by unicorns, but one pony is shown fumbling and almost dropping such a baton.
- A popular fandom explanation for this is that the ponies can use a biological version of Granular Jamming.
- My Little Pony Tales has ponies use their hooves as hands almost exclusively, with no difficulties, no explanations, and no lampshading.
- Pingu often has penguins use their flippers like hands.
- Basically everyone in SpongeBob SquarePants but the title character and Sandy lack fingers, instead having tentacles, claws, fins, and other finger-less appendages which usually gain mitten-like digits when needed.
- Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger have thumbless, fingerless hands like those of The Powerpuff Girls. Pooh and Tigger also have thumbs that appear only when grasping something or gesturing. Justified in that they're stuffed animals.
- The clay characters in Gumby, such as the title character, have fingerless hands. Justified in that they're made of clay.
- Similar to Patrick Star, they usually have mitten hands when needed.
- The way most characters were drawn in the early episodes of South Park, they only appeared to have thumbs, but they did gain fingers in order to perform certain tasks or emphasize with their hands, in the later episodes their fingers are more visible and the guest stars fingers are usually more pronounced.
- Everybody in Making Fiends has mitten hands.
- The characters in The Large Family have such hands, similar to the MLP franchise, in that they can hold objects without any problems whatsoever.
- Babar's been doing that long before The Large Family came around. Despite many times they use their trunks to hold things, they tend to carry things on their hooves. Notably in "Babar:The Movie" Arthur is seen balancing a bowl of cereal on one hand, and in the sequel series Babar:The Adventures Of Badou one scene shows a few of the castle staff letting loose and playing electric guitars (Not with their trunks)
- Dolly from Toy Story 3 has thumbless hands like The Powerpuff Girls, but she has two lines of stitching on each hand that indicate fingers. Justified in that she is a ragdoll.
- Hilariously subverted in the Show Within a Show, My Troubled Pony, that appears on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, which contains a scene where two ponies are dangling from a helicopter above a volcano.
Purple pony: (hanging onto the other pony's hoof with both of her hooves) Hold on to me, Guillermo!
Guillermo: I can't! I don't got no thumbs!
(the purple pony loses her grip and falls into the volcano)
Purple pony: Ahhhhhhhh!!!!
- A lot of the characters in The Amazing World of Gumball have hands without any fingers or clear separation between their hands and arms, including Darwin (fins), Carrie (rounded "ghost hands"), and Idaho (who has lines for arms). Any of them may grow fingers and/or thumbs when they need to use them. The Robinson family and Jamie's season three design have thumbs, but singular blocks for fingers.
Darwin: Who buys [fireworks] like this?
Gumball: People with fingers to spare.
Darwin: But as you can see (holds up hand), I don't.
- Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has fingerless pointed things for arms, but can do anything a person can do with their hands.
- Snap from ChalkZone has fingerless hands, but can easily do things a person needs fingers for easily (including playing the guitar). In the original shorts, he could gain fingers and/or a thumb when needed, but this only comes up once in a blue moon in the series itself.
- Percy and his parents from Clarence have flipper hands.
- The bear trio from We Bare Bears have paws that are stubby and although they have fingers, they stand on their stubs instead of flat on their paws.
- Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas is an insect-filled burlap sack with simple pointed extensions for arms, yet he's perfectly able to throw dice and operate a hand crank, among other things.
- Sometimes the cars of Cars appear able to lift things with their tires, while sometimes they're shown using their windshield wipers or built-in gadgets for the task.
- The Ferocious Beast in Maggie and the Ferocious Beast has no problems picking things up or even doing things like folding paper with his big, elephant-like feet.
- A Versaball jamming manipulator is a robotic appendage filled with a sand-like substance that grabs something by wrapping around it and sucking the air out of the sand. Applications to prosthetic hands are being considered.