troperville

tools

toys

Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Forgot He Was a Robot
"*Huff* *Huff* *Huff*"
Oon, the magically animated armour from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

A robot is fleeing, or just running, and, what's this? It's out of breath? Ooops, it banged its head! We'd better put a bandage on that! The trope for robots whose creators forgot they were robots, just didn't care, or thought it would be useful to give mechanical characters unexplained human traits, perhaps as a way of humanising them. This may be Hand Waved (he's not out of breath, his cooling fan is cycling) or in comedies just put down to the Rule of Funny.

Not to be confused with Ridiculously Human Robots, where the traits are deliberate and are all about making the robot as human as possible. This trope is about the more obvious robots. Compare I Would Say If I Could Say.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • Lampshaded in Star Blazers. Just for the heck of it, I.Q.-9 programs himself to be able to hiccup, like a human being. Then he can't figure out how to get rid of them, and spends the HIC! whole HIC! episode HIC! hiccuping HIC!
  • Not exactly a robot, but Alphonse Elric tends to make weeping or out-of-breath noises a lot. He's a disembodied soul bound to a suit of armor. He should not need to do that. Despite making the sounds, however, he can exercise for hours without rest or sleep.

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of Marvel's Machine Man, the eponymous robotic hero is in his human guise of insurance investigator Aaron Stack at a company party. One of his co-workers spikes the punch, and Aaron drinks some — and promptly gets drunk!

    Film, Animated 
  • Pinocchio in Disney's adaptation is seen blushing, turning green from cigar smoke, and shedding tears (among other things) while he's still a puppet. (Albeit a magic puppet.)

    Live Action TV 
  • The robots on MST3K switch between needing air and not needing air, depending on the situation. Like C-3P0, Tom sometimes had references in the script to smiling or, worse, having a look in the eyes... that he hasn't got. To say nothing of them eating, their apparent ability to cry, Gypsy's inexplicable fixation with Richard Basehart, etc. Remember the mantra...
  • K-9 in the Doctor Who story "Destiny of the Daleks" comes down with Lamp Shaded but unexplained laryngitis. (This form of laryngitis explains a change of voice actor later.)

    Table Top Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, constructs are immune to a lot of things because of their type. Eberron's Warforged, being made for player characters (and intelligent unlike almost all other constructs), lack many of the immunities for balance purposes.

    Toys 
  • Transformers has this so often, and in so many different ways, that it has enough examples for an incredibly lengthy list, with various instances of coughing and breathing being the most blatantly odd/difficult to explain away examples.

    Video Games 
  • Subverted in Borderlands: Some of the more neurotic Claptraps (for example, the one outside Dr. Zed's surgery in New Haven) can be heard saying, "Oh my god, I can't breathe!" then following it up with, "It's just a recording!".
    • Played straight in the sequel with Loaders. Damage them and you'll hear cries of pain in robotic monotone.
  • Wheatley is somehow out of breath after being chased by a bird in Portal 2.
  • In the Mega Man X games, when X (or Zero) is low on energy, he clutches his chest and pants hard.
  • In the Mega Man series, Mega Man blinks every few seconds. Star Trek: The Next Generation could provide an explanation, in that Data, who is also a robot, blinks as a means to avoid Uncanny Valley.
    • In Mega Man 8 and Mega Man & Bass, Mega Man clutches his neck and starts panting. Bass does something similar.
    • In ZX Advent, Grey complains that the heat is unbearable and starts panting in one level.
    • The examples from X and later may be justified in that the robots are incredibly human like or, in Mega Man Legends' case, the people are all artificial humans and the ones that aren't, the System, are similar to Reploids.
  • Because all the squadmates in Mass Effect 2 have the same animations, Legion will often be hunched over and out of breath, or leaning against something, scratching, rolling his shoulders, or whatever else organic squadmates do. Considering that Legion's terminal was made specifically to interact with organics, it is justified in some respects that he would act like them.
  • In The Old Republic, Sith Warrior players are fully capable of Force Choking a droid. How, precisely, one induces a robot to choke in agony is not really explored, but a strong, crushing force damaging internal hardware isn't too much of a stretch.
    • Same with Trooper's Sticky Bomb, which can cause merciless assassin droids and rabid animals alike to flail helplessly until it detonates.
    • Apparently all droids have a full set of male genitalia installed, because smuggler's Groin Attack stuns them as well as it stuns organic men.
  • Not robots but undead, the draugr in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (basically barrow wights) can frequently be heard breathing. Then again, some of them do use the same Shouts as the main character, and probably need air to use them.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, robotic character Thursday can be poisoned and put to sleep just like anyone else (applies to zombies, vampires, and living puppets as well). On the plus side, you can heal and resurrect him just like anyone else as well (though he alone cannot reincarnate).
    • He can reincarnate in later games. Upgrade?
  • The robot Pal-18 from Anachronox can get poisoned, confused, and any other status effect, just like his living party members; he can also get healed and resurrected with items. (Justified because healgrease contains nanobots capable of repairing both robotic and organic bodies, and timeminder tears mess around with time and essentially snatch you back from just before you were killed.) In a related case, all these things also count for Democratus, who is not a robot but a miniaturised planet. Please don't think too deeply what it means when it takes damage, or when you pour healgrease on it.
  • In Fallout 3, Chief Harkness is really an Android, A3-21, who has undergone Magic Plastic Surgery and a mind wipe, and you have to convince him of his true self.

    Webcomics 
  • Justified in Freefall, Florence explains to a robot how while it doesn't need to breathe, the cooling fan in its body needs air. Therefore, robots need air, too.
  • Some robots in the universe of Schlock Mercenary can feel pain. Lampshaded by one, who mentions they were told feeling pain would cut maintenance costs... but not how much it would hurt.

    Western Animation 
  • Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors has Oon, the magically animated armour, who apparently breathes (though only when running).
  • Captain Future has both an obvious robot and an android in his crew. In one scene where there is a risk of depressurization in the ship, the latter is seen wearing a space helmet.
  • Taken to the extreme in Futurama, when the Brain Spawn wipes intelligence from the planet:
    Bender: Fry, help me! My heart stopped beating!
    Fry: You don't have a heart; you're a robot.
    Bender: Sure... right. Robot! (looks at his arms) Oh, Fry! My skin's all dry and clanky.
    Fry: Well, yeah. Robots are made of metal.
    Bender: Am I a robot?
    Fry: Bender, if this is some kind of scam, I don't get it. You already have my power of attorney. (leaves)
    Bender: Fry! (Gasp!) My skin!
    • Lampshaded in another episode where Bender says he longs for a world without high-tech machines, which Leela points out he is.
  • The Simpsons parodies this with a robot running from a burning scientist's lab, saying "Why, Why was I programmed to feel pain!?"
  • Transformers in all incarnations go back and forth on the scale of humanness constantly. They can survive in space but they can make breathing noises. They endure great damage and don't act like they're in any pain but other times they get hit in the face and show about as much pain as a human. They have no blood (with their blue-or-purple fuel, Energon, being Symbolic Blood in incarnations where it runs throughout their bodies in liquid form - constantly seen in Transformers Prime.) but they blush red. The Transformers Wiki has a page of considerable size dealing with the matter.
  • An episode of Samurai Jack featured a group of metal-eating robots who, of course, forgot they were robots (thanks to synthetic skin). They're defeated when, in their frenzy, they tear the skin off each other, and, seeing metal, consume each other.
  • Averted in Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and lampshaded at one point.
    Kilowog: How're you gonna get in (that tiny gap a good ways off the ground)?
    Aya: With ease. (dissipates her construct body and enters the gap as her individual components)
    Kilowog: Forgot she could do that...

Fountain of ExpiesCharactersFun Personified
Force-Field DoorSpeculative Fiction TropesForgotten Phlebotinum

alternative title(s): I Thought I Was Human For A Second There; Forgot She Was A Robot
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
22057
28