So you have a rather long weapon, and you don't have the Bag of Holding or any sort of Hammerspace to store and conceal it. What to do? Make it retractable, thus concealing it and possibly making it small enough to be stored without any problems. Sub-Trope of Impossibly Compact Folding. Typically, any type of the Laser Blade, Butterfly Knife, Telescoping Staff or Pile Bunker is this. Compare Shapeshifter Weapon, where a character that can shapeshift can create many weapons from their body, Morph Weapon which is a weapon that can take different forms and Person of Holding. See also IKEA Weaponry, Impossibly Compact Folding, and Wolverine Claws. Contrast with Collapsible Helmet.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Bleach: Gin Ichimaru's Shikai and Bankai, though that's not its only or main feature.
- In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Paz is shown to carry around a folding kukri which is specific enough to him that a stalker who's imitated him to the last detail has one.
- The Guyver has blades that extend out of his arms.
- Trigun: Vash and his Concealed Alternate Retractable Weapon that doubles as his HAND.
- Goku's Power Pole from Dragon Ball.
- In Tokko, Kureha's daggers are shown to be retractable. In the manga version, Sakura's sword is shown doing this as well.
- In Yaiba, Kojiro's sword has the power to grow longer or shorter at will, though it's still a pretty long blade by itself.
- The Lyrical Nanoha franchise has Garyu, a humanoid insect Monster Knight who fights using several retractable blades that come out from his arms.
- Kill la Kill: Ryuko's Scissor Blade can retract into regular-sized scissors to fit in her pocket.
- Batman's Batarangs in some media like in The Batman and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- Batgirl (the Stephanie Brown version, at least) carries around a retractable/extendable staff, as does Robin III (Tim Drake).
- Spoofed in Astérix in Corsica. The Weapon of Choice of every Corsican is a wristblade, which they're not shy to show for intimidation purposes. For the big battle at the end, they happen to have also retractable swords and even rectractable lances — doing exactly the same sound as the wristblades.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Trek: Sulu's katana
- Star Wars: Lightsabers
- The expanding baseball bat used by Griff Tannen in Back to the Future Part II.
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army: had Prince Nuada's spear/sword also with a nifty self repair or slow painful death feature.
- TRON: Legacy: The Black Guards' staffs and Quorra's sword have Laser Blades coming out of batons (on the same principle as Light Cycles and Light Jets).
- The Predator has retractable wrist-blades. The sequel Predator 2 adds a retractable staff/spear to the species' arsenal.
- The Mummy Returns has a retractable spear/sceptre.
- The Avengers (2012): Hawkeye's retractable bow.
- Babylon 5: the Minbari Fighting Pike aka Denn'Bok. Preferred weapon of the Rangers.
- Andromeda: the Force-lance, which can extend to a 2-meter-long quarterstaff.
- Unusually for this trope, force lances are also frequently used in their collapsed state as guns, and the fact that pointing them would be more difficult than a gun is explained by the use of guided bullets.
- Power Rangers: Several weapons, sometimes in an impossible manner.
- Doctor Who: In the 2005 reboot onwards, the Doctor's sonic screwdrivers usually have an extending/retracting feature. Eccleston/Tennant's is a sliding mechanism while Smith's has a spring loaded claw.
Myths & Religion
- In Shadowrun, retractable claws are available as cyberware and known by the nickname "wolverines". As well as a collapsible staff and the Victorinox memory blade which folds into a belt.
- Eclipse Phase has the "Flex Cutter" which is a machete made out of a memory polymer that becomes stiff or flexible enough to roll up with the push of a button.
- Assassin's Creed: The hidden blade(s).
- Adam Jensen's arm blades in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which can come out of his wrists or his elbows.
- The weapons in Mass Effect fold up to much smaller sizes when you're not using them.
- Jade uses a retractable staff as part of her arsenal in Mortal Kombat.
- Team Fortress 2: The Spy's Butterfly Knife.
- Dishonored: Corvo Attano's collapsible sword.
- Elite Dangerous has retractable weapons on all ships, as the Frame Shift Drive needs a smooth profile to engage. Other ships will be alerted when you deploy your hardpoints.
- Popular in Space Engineers; retracting weapons into your ship allows you to hide your ships true capabilities and protect them from damage, but it requires enough internal space for the mechanisms (pistons, rotors) to actually move the weapons about, and it's possible for damage to jam up pistons leading to the nasty situation of a jammed rocket launcher firing straight into the innards of your ship.
- Homestuck: Nepeta uses a pair of retractable claw-like weapons.
- In New Vindicators, the wizard/super-genius Jason Lamperouge crafts a magic sword that can cut through steel and when not in sword form, resembles a small cross (as in two perfectly intersecting lines, not a Christian cross) that he wears on a neckchain. It is called the Pentacle of the Blade and it extends when he speaks the word 'tonedo' which roughly means 'to shear.'
- In RWBY, a lot of weapons are collapsible. Some Fridge Logic is pointed out when discussing Jaune's collapsing shield though:
Jaune: And it gets smaller, so, when I'm tired of holding it, I can just... put it away.Jaune: (dejected) Yeah, it does...
- Robin in Teen Titans has bo staffs that retract to fit in his utility belt. So does Slade.
- El Tigre has claws that he can use to grab/attack people from a distance, due to a Variable-Length Chain.
- Optimus' axe in Transformers Animated has an extendable shaft.
- In Thunder Cats and its 2011 reboot, the Sword of Omens' default size is a dagger/shortsword. When its wielder utters a battlecry to unleash the power of the Eye of Thundera (also known as the Warstone in the reboot), the Sword becomes a longsword. The 2011 reboot explains the Sword's small default size: Mumm-ra destroyed a star system to create the special metal capable of channeling the Warstone's power. When the blacksmith forged the Sword of Plundaar and its matching gauntlet out of it, a bunch of small shards fell in the process. The Sword of Omens and the Claw Gauntlet were forged from those shards.
- In Motorcity, Mike Chilton has Spark Staff, which emerges from a miniature skull of his. His partner Chuck has a wrist-mounted slingshot that is also this.
- Truth in Television: Expanding batons, switchblades, butterfly knives, swiss army knives, and firearms with folding/clasping stocks.
- Many predatory animals have retractable claws.