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Multi-Armed Multitasking

You look in the mirror and see three heads looking back at yourselves with five eyes and seven arms and think to yourselves, how do we septo-wield? Or better yet, how can we write our book, cradle our baby, and make paper airplanes at the same time? Practice, that's how.

Please note this has surprisingly little to do with Excuse Me While I Multitask, if you're thinking about wielding weapons with many arms you still need some form of Multiarmed Multitasking; it just belongs in Multi-Armed and Dangerous. If your extra limbs are for walking, they belong in Spider Limbs.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Ceres from Ōban Star-Racers an Animesque racing series co-produced by French and Japanese animation studios.
  • In Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Ika appears to specialise in this with her tentacle hair.
  • Spirited Away - Kamaji operates the bathhouse boiler room. He has six spidery arms, which he uses to multitask: reaching into the hundreds of herb cabinets, pouring boiling water, grinding potions with his yagen (related to a mortar a pestle, but using a wheel in a narrow trough) and responding to wooden tags on ropes signalling requests from the bathhouse above.
  • Franken Fran oftentimes attaches her head to a special multi-armed body in order to perform particularly complex surgery.

Comic Books
  • In Ironwood, first mate Tif makes full use of all four of her hands while having a threesome with a jinn and a crewmate.

Fan Works
  • There was once a Mortal Kombat fan fic where Sheeva was driving somewhere with the heroes, and had two arms on the wheel, one on the transmission, and one out the window (and no, it doesn't mention how she learned to drive).
  • Zany To The Max
    • Sekoila Zarner has four arms and four legs, and she is a great example of this trope.
    • Usually subverted with Wacka and Wakka. They have two arms each, so if the arms on Wacka's side are doing one thing, and the arms on Wakka's side are doing another, it doesn't count. However, if one of Wakka's (or Wacka's, it doesn't matter) arms is holding a book, while her other arm is holding a glass of water, it does count.

Film
  • The bar-tending octopus cartoon from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • The twin Mission Controls from Men In Black.
    • the mail-sorting alien in MIB 2.
  • Long John Silver in Treasure Planet isn't multiarmed but still manages to pull off this trope in the kitchen, thanks to his multi-purpose cybernetic arm with little armlets.
  • From Spider-Man 2, Dr. Octopus does this when he built the new sun-generator machine, with his long metallic tentacles. Justified by the tentacles being intelligent in their own right and each one having its own camera.
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones featured a restaurant run by a chef with four arms named Dexter Jettster a Besalisk, subverted in that the diner owner has only one primary arm.
  • At one point in Terminator 2 the Voluntary Shapeshifter T-1000 grows a third arm to pilot a helicopter and load a machine gun at the same time.

Literature
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    • In Life, the Universe and Everything, Arthur's extreme Unknown Rival Agrajag has built a Temple of Hate devoted to him, the centrepiece of which is a giant statue of Arthur with multiple arms. He discovers that each one of them depicts one of the many, many times he has (unwittingly) caused the death of one of Agrajag's former incarnations.
    • Subverted with Zaphod Beeblebrox, who gave himself a third arm and then does nothing at all with it. (Except, supposedly, ski-box.)
  • A four-armed One-Man Band appears in the Discworld We R Igors Diary.

Live-Action TV
  • Pilot from Farscape. One episode notes that having the mental capacity for Pilot's specific brand of multitasking is very uncommon and more important than the multiple arms themselves, because Pilot is required to manage and regulate dozens on-board functions at once.
  • The short-lived 1970s sci-fi sitcom Quark featured Interface, a four-armed alien woman who worked as an intergalactic switchboard operator connecting calls between ships.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze has the Hand Switch, which equips Fourze with an extra arm (attached to his leg) that's outright stated to be for this. While he works on solving a math problem, it disassembles a bicycle. Thus far its not been shown to have any type of combat potential.

Music
  • Played with in Trout Fishing In America's "Two Brains", in which the narrator proposes growing extra legs and arms (and a second brain) to keep up with everyday life so he can do more at once without being stressed out.

Mythology
  • Hindu Mythology several gods (Shiva for one) are usually depicted with multiple arms each holding symbolic instruments like scales and scythes and swords.
  • Different Buddhas are sometimes depicted with many arms.

Video Games
  • In Magrunner Dark Pulse, the six-armed Gamaji is the main character's mentor and can seen in-game manipulating multiple data screens and holding a cup of coffee at once.

Web Original
  • An episode of RT Shorts involves Geoff having additional arms surgically added so he can communicate over more social networks at once.

Tabletop RPG
  • GURPS has the Multiple Arms advantage available for player characters, but you also need to buy special coordination to use them fully- otherwise they are only good for holding things, not performing more than one task at a time.
    • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Ananasi werespiders can take this ability, though it's a fairly high-level spell, since it requires a fair deal of mental skill.
  • Techpriests in the Warhammer 40,000 universe can do that.

Webcomics
  • Played with and subverted - and then played straight for good measure - in Schlock Mercenary. One of the mercs, a guy named Andy, belongs to a race of four-armed aliens. During his initial interview, he bragged about quad-wielding handguns, but Thurl just pointed out that he still only had two eyes, so no matter how many weapons he's got, he'll only hit one target. There has been incidents where he HAS used it, though - including wielding a two-handed assault-rifle and two handguns at the same time - but it's been purely for intimidation-value. Or sometimes just for fun.
    • Schlock himself has demonstrated on multiple occasions that he can not only form extra hands when needed, but also use them quite effectively. The fact that he can have multiple eyes (if he can get hold of them) means he could aim at multiple targets.
  • Spinnerette uses her 6 arms to knit - all at once.
    • While using silk she produced herself.
  • At Arm's Length: When not fighting evil, Ally, Reece and Sheila are not above using all four arms to cut corners in mundane activities.
    • The entire Enchanter race, which is naturally four-armed, is built around this trope.
  • Snap Fahrenheit, the titular main character of How To Raise Your Teenage Dragon, is a four-armed dragon.
  • Lakshmi in Brat-Halla is based on the Hindu goddess of the same name which gives her the requisite four arms. Puts them to good use on a date with Loki.

Western Animation
  • Elzar in Futurama. The DVD commentary mentions that the animators went out of their way to have each arm work independently rather than have each arm on either side move in the same way.
  • SpongeBob does this taking care of the baby scallop, probably other times as well.
  • Squiddly Diddly did this sometimes. (In fact his pic on The Other Wiki shows him playing three musical instruments at once.)
  • In The Simpsons, a cutaway shot of the Earth shows a vaguely Hindu-esque being frantically pressing buttons in the core, apparently to keep the world working. He pauses briefly to wipe his forehead with one of his hands and sigh with exhaustion.
  • One episode of Dragon Tales featured a dragon with six limbs running a concession stand.
  • In an episode of Arthur, the titular character has to clean a room, and his dad tells him "Many hands make light work." He imagines it literally. Buster does the same later in the episode.
  • Spydra in Gadget Boy & Heather does this at times in a few episodes, making full use of her six arms simultaneously.
  • In the cancelled series Stripperella, a supervillainess with six arms pilots a blimp all on her own, with two hands on the wheel and the remaining four on switches and buttons. She also utilised six pistols at one go in the earlier portion of the episode, allowing her to use them as a makeshift machine gun.
  • Gravedale High features Miss Webster, a six-armed teacher who frequently made use of all of her arms during class.


Multi-Armed and DangerousOtherness TropesMultiple Head Case
Multi-Armed and DangerousHand TropesNails on a Blackboard
Disappears into LightImageSource/Video GamesMan vs. Wild

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