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Invisible Bowstring
Nope, it's not visible even against the sun.

Probably everyone knows how bows and arrows work - you hold the wooden part of the bow, you attach the arrow's non-pointy end to the bow's string, you pull the arrow while stretching the bow and its string, you aim, and then you release the arrow, letting the physics catapult it in the desired direction.

It's a no-brainer that a string is strictly necessary in a bow. It's not very thick, but it's there, and you can clearly see it. This trope, however, applies to a situation where the string in a bow is clearly missing, and yet the bow is still being used as if it actually was there.

In video games with 3D graphics, the creators can sometimes decide to cut corners that way when creating models of bows, either because of technical limitations or their laziness. Depending on how obvious this practice is, it can result in the players' loss of their Willing Suspension of Disbelief when they look at the characters pulling the arrows on air, with no reasonable explanation.

Can be a subtrope of Lazy Artist, unless justified. Can overlap with Energy Bows, which lack strings sometimes.


Examples

Comics
  • Actually justified for Shaft from Youngblood. His bow is based upon alien anti-gravity technology, therefore nullifying the need for a string. Presumably the point of this is making it easier to store and maintain.

Video Games
  • In Clock Tower 3, Alyssa uses a bow without a string. Justified in that she is shooting energy arrows from an energy bow.
  • Bows in Disgaea games don't have strings. This allows for cooler, more impractical designs, though. Especially with Magichange system.
  • Dragon Age series:
    • Dragon Age: Origins: Your character looks like they're pulling the string back and firing, but there is nothing to grab.
    • Dragon Age II also has this problem, but it's much more obvious since your character does some pretty dramatic poses while firing.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition averts this, however.
  • Gods: Lands of Infinity has this.
  • Kid Icarus features a curious example: Pit's bows do have strings, but only when he is shooting an arrow. They disappear when not in use — they seem to be made of light or something like that. Of course, his bows can also be taken apart and used as swords, so the string would have to be done away with in that event anyway.
  • The first Neverwinter Nights. Curiously enough, when a bow is enchanted, the magical glow outlines where the string should be.
  • Shana and Miranda's bow in The Legend of Dragoon follows this trope, understandable for a PS1 game.
  • Guild Wars plays this trope straight, while its sequel inverts it with visible bowstrings and invisible arrows (while aiming).

Toys

Western Animation
  • Hank the Ranger's bow in Dungeons & Dragons has no string — unless Hank readies an arrow, in which case a magical one appears. His arrows are the same, in that they only show up when he mimes notching one.


Invincibility Power-UpVideo Game Items and InventoryIt May Help You on Your Quest
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Dragon Age IIImageSource/Video GamesRed Eyes, Take Warning

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