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Rubberhose Limbs

This is when a cartoon character moves without any visible elbows or knees, so his limbs aren't stiff, but rather, bendy, like rubber hoses. Just watch pretty much any black-and-white cartoon, to give a broad example. In cartoons made before the mid to late 1930s' or so, this was intentional, for practical reasons rather than artistic ones. It all started with Felix the Cat animators Otto Messmer and Bill Nolan, and it was meant to prevent the motion of the limbs in question from looking like they were drawn through a strobe light and flickering — the basic idea was that if you didn't draw joints, you could make absolutely sure that the limbs in one frame overlapped with where the limbs were in the last frame. Higher frame rates, the development of Squash And Stretch, and an awareness of camera blur sharply reduced the need for this kind of animation as time went on, and cartoon characters all of a sudden had joints. These days, this is a deliberate artistic decision on the part of the animator — either to creep you out; to create a fun, zany, or cute character; or as a deliberate nod to the Golden Age Of Animation. In the early days, however, it was just how things were done.

In Anime, it's often used in conjunction with Super-Deformed, possibly to accentuate the childish nature of the Art Shift.

Related to No Knees, though that's mostly a side effect of a Lazy Artist. Noodle People is the non-laziness-induced version of this. A Rubber Man may be a justified version of this.


Examples

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    Advertising 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Guu in Haré+Guu usually has no elbows or hands. This is a deliberate choice to emphasize Guu's other-world-ness.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Sakaki turns all noodly when she goes to pet the cat.
  • Excel in Excel♥Saga does this whenever she gets excited, which is to say, all the time.
  • So does Poemi in the spiritual successor Puni Puni Poemi
  • Luffy in One Piece — he actually is made of rubber.
  • Kuro from Kodomo no Jikan displays an extreme version of this during one of the show's endings.
  • Happens quite a bit in Yotsuba&!
  • Fuu from Tamayura undergoes this when she becomes scared or excited.
  • Leeron from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann occasionally has these, particularly in the more comical scenes. He even has rubber hose fingers.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Mask, The Mask gets rubber hose limbs during the "El Pachuco" dance number.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner
    • Bubs originally had jointed limbs, but they eventually became rubber hose limbs.
    • Strong Bad also has them from time to time.
  • Everyone in the Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures is drawn with these.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Mr. Men, especially Mr. Tickle.
  • Olive Oyl from Popeye is like a walking pipe cleaner.
  • Referenced in an episode of The Simpsons, where Homer is mimicking Popeye while Marge calls for help and randomly starts flailing her wobbly arms like Olive Oyl.
  • Gumby's legs, and those of his horse, Pokey. Justified here though as they're made of clay.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Hill Billy"; when Billy cheers up the chicken juggler Uncle Chokey, he uses some sort of magical record player to turn the world around them into an old-timey cartoon (complete with Grim doing an homage to The Skeleton Dance), and Billy quips "Hey Mandy, I'm from the rubberhose school of animation!"
  • Mickey Mouse, his predecessor, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Felix the Cat, Flip The Frog - basically any cartoon character created before 1935 will have these, as it was the standard style at the time. The 1929 Walt Disney Silly Symphonies The Skeleton Dance does this — even on the skeletons, which looks pretty odd!
  • A major exception is Betty Boop, notable for being the first character with anything resembling proper anatomy. (She couldn't have been the original Ms. Fanservice otherwise.) She had these in her earliest appearances, but got proper elbows as part of her general humanization.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has these from time to time, as he is an invertebrate. The same thing applies to Squidward's tentacles.
  • The Fairly OddParents episode "The Good Ol' Days!", where Timmy and his grandpa become '30s cartoon characters.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • The Marvelous Misadventuresof Flapjack has several human characters, mostly the title character of Flapjack, with this. Like this.
  • Done intentionally in Horton Hears a Who!, where all the citizens of Whoville have gangly, slippery arms - the mayor can bend his arm into a perfect spiral.
  • This happens from time to time on The Ren & Stimpy Show. Here's one example.
  • The entire cast of Adventure Time.
    • Oddly enough, when Jake gets his shape-shifting powers taken away, his body suddenly has properly jointed limbs, though this is never an issue with powerless characters like Finn.
    • Although in the episode "The Creeps," Princess Bubblegum's arms are randomly more realistic than in other episodes.
  • This is seen on Fanboy and Chum Chum quite regularly, even within a few seconds of the show's opening.
  • Joe Swanson from Family Guy has legs which seem to follow no real joints due to being a paraplegic. It makes sense.
  • Everyone in WordGirl.
  • Used on occasion in Tiny Toon Adventures, especially the Kennedy Cartoons animated episodes.
  • The Warden in Superjail! has these, which makes him stand out as looney even more amongst the normal-jointed inhabitants of the rest of the world.

    Real Life 
  • Popper Phillip Chbeeb can create this illusion with his arms.


Ribcage StomachAnatomy TropesSinister Schnoz
RotoscopingLazy ArtistSkintone Sclerae
PopeyeImageSource/Western AnimationThe Powerpuff Girls

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