Sufficiently humanoid robots will have super-strength and other fantastic abilities. It doesn't matter what they were built for.
Sometimes, the robot doesn't even need to be humanoid. Relatively simple non-human robots that perform mundane jobs also seem to be way overpowered and/or over-armed for their designed tasks. A robot designed to do nothing but wash windows will undoubtedly also have enough power to batter though a concrete wall if it has to.
This is especially true for Replacement Goldfish; something that's designed to emulate a cute 6-year-old boy will undoubtedly have lasers, rockets, and invulnerable titanium armor. Fortunately, this often allows them to become a Super Hero. (This may, though, just be their creator's way of ensuring that the replacement does not perish in the same kind of tragic accident that took the original.)
This may be explained by it being easier to take something that's built to do industrial work and make it look like a human than build something that's as weak as a human from the ground up; however, few series come out and say this. Perhaps justified in that even robots not specifically designed to have super-lifting capabilities would have greater strength than humans because most metals are stronger than human muscle; their inability to feel pain or fatigue would also give them unlimited stamina. May also become a Truth in Television; looking at many other forms of technology with extraneous doodads, the question doesn't seem to be "Why?" but "Why not?"
It may also be justified if the robot has a secondary function as an inconspicuous bodyguard — not many attackers would expect the hired help to be able to toss them out the window. Or be packing miniguns designed for military vehicles, for that matter.
This makes them a threat when acquiring an Artificial Intelligence, or struck by lightning.
Contrast Mundane Utility, which instead of featuring meter maids with the firepower of mecha, has mecha with the job description of meter maids.
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Ur-example: Astro Boy was built to replace a grieving scientist's young son, and is equipped with a 100,000-horsepower engine, rocket feet, and a machine gun that comes out of his butt, among other things. Either Dr. Tenma is very strange, or his son was even stranger. Hand-waved by having him simply retool an existing 'ultimate robot' model to look like his son, or claim that he will not only make his son a robot, but the 'best robot ever'.
The 1960s series explained it by saying he was originally a military robot that the Doctor was working on, and was altered at the last minute at great haste; Tenma had rather snapped after his son's death, and didn't care beyond annoyance that he was a death machine.
In the most recent anime series, this is explained away by Tenma giving Astro the ability to "evolve" himself. Instead of all his gadgets being built into him from the start, his body somehow creates them in response to danger. He gained his rocket boots after falling out the window of an office building & he got his Arm Cannon in a fight to the death with his evil "brother" Atlas. In this version, however, he doesn't have, ahem, rear-end gunning capability (and it's disturbing to contemplate what situation might have called for him to "evolve" it). He did have finger lasers to compensate.
Oddly enough, the Game Boy Advance game based on the 2003 series gives him the guns back, and they also appear in the 2009 movie, to Astro's incredulity ("I have machineguns in my... butt?!).
This trope is arguably justified in the 2009 film. Here, Tobio/Toby meets his end at the hands of a rogue military robot. Tenma later comments that the weapons and defense systems built into Astro are for self-defense, finally stating "I won't lose him again." Here, he's shown to be clearly overwhelmed by his son's death, and seeing that his son was killed by a lethal robot, he probably saw nothing wrong with going overboard on the self-defense systems.
Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy, used the trope again in the full lentgh movie Phoenix 2772 (aka Space Firebird). Olga, the nanny robot, can transform into a car, a boat, and two forms of flying machine. She also performs decently in a battle in open space.
The Big O: R. Dorothy Waynewright has superhuman strength, speed and endurance despite being a Replacement Goldfish. Then again, every single android in the series is the same regardless of purpose. It may simply be a fault of construction that can't be toned down.
This was part of the entire plot of the anime series Bubblegum Crisis. The original OVA series featured android laborers built by the nefarious megacorporation Genom, which occasionally went rogue and required attention by a special, heavily-armed police unit (The "A.D. Police"). Worker models were rarely seen in the original series (which had only a few episodes, and focused on the combat models and prototypes), but they turned up frequently in the TV-series re-imagining, Bubblegum Crisis 2040.
Hayate the Combat Butler seems to always have to fight these things. "No, no, you're supposed to compete in cleaning the house with it." "Then why is it firing missiles at me!?"
Lampshaded in that the designer of that robot is almost fired because of her over-powered designs.
Everything in the world is automated and Internet-capable in Mega Man NT Warrior, so the plot in many early episodes was how cleaning robots, animal/fish replicas, and yes, Meter Maids got infected by computer viruses, and then would terrorize the city with amazing powers. (For example, infected robot fish from an aquarium were able to fly through the air.) Fortunately, the premise of the series is fighting said viruses with programs. In the cartoon of the original series, the ultimate end result of battling robots against robots (that were originally for household chores) was the apocalypse.
Ignoring the fact that busters, giant fists, and arm-blades are standard equipment for an OS interface and web browser rolled up into an AI. It's a series that applies Rule Of Cool to computer maintenance.
Despite the prevalence of cybernetic enhancement in the world of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, this is actually somewhat averted in a couple of episodes, late in the first season. After the Tachikomas are retired from service in Section 9, most are dismantled. The only two that survive are sold off to a retirement home and a construction company as service robots, and all their specialized weaponry is removed when they're decommissioned. After all, when you're tending to a bunch of senile centenarians, you don't really need guns in your forearms, do you?
It is played straight in an earlier episode where a reclusive millionare has robot maids which are armed with some deadly-looking weaponry and use it almost at the drop of a hat. They are taken down very easily though.
The suicidal "Jeri" androids in Episode 3 have no apparent physical capabilities beyond those of humans—one kills itself just by walking into a river to drown! It's a little unclear if the robot geishas in the very first episode had superhuman strength or not— they had their hostages pinned down in submission holds which would be difficult to break out of in either case. However, they certainly weren't bulletproof.
Conversely, in Mahoromatic, a combat android decides to become a maid. Naturally, she is superb as a chef as well as all things domestic.
Possibly a semi-subversion, as she does remove most of her combat equipment before becoming a maid, and reacquires it later on.
In Mahou Sensei Negima!, while Chachamaru herself being the lead gynoid was built primarily for combat and serving tea, her "sisters" act as a constant work force in their master Evangeline's hidden resort from Chachamaru's prototype. They can however act as a reserve army at their creator Chao or Hakase's orders.
Averted in Outlaw Star with Melfina and the numerous helper robots that Gilliam II uses around the ship. Melfina is very similar to humans with respect to her physical strength, and the helper robots can't even lift most objects unless the ship is in space. Gilliam II's helper robots are tiny; no bigger than a small rodent or so.
Melfina is quite similar to humans in physical capability because she's a "bio-android" rather than a robot, which basically means "genetically engineered human built to a specific purpose with certain programming hardwired into their genes". Possibly her skeleton is inorganic as well but the point is her muscles are essentially human muscles.
One episode actually shows a scan of her that outright confirms this. Later in the series it's revealed that other than the modifications that allow her to interface with the Outlaw Star she's pretty much as human as anyone else, though artificially created.
Though she was immune to an alien plants mind control in one episode.
It is never really clarified whether the 'Humaritts' of Najica Blitz Tactics are robotic, cybernetic, genetically-altered, or a combination of those... but they still definitely fall under this. While some of them are stated to have been outright designed for combat - and show appropriately impressive competency at this - at least one of the humaritts encountered was designed to be a nursemaid/assistant type... capable of taking down an army of ninjas with a Double-Bladed Sword. Clearly, when she says 'nappy-time', you NAP!
Dominion Tank Police: It's odd that a pair of former sexbots should have super strength and military-grade targeting computers, but Anna and Uni probably have the excuse that their boss bought them the upgrades.
Her backup is just as powerful. Makes some sense in universe as she was built to observe the only thing powerful enough to wipe out her boss.
Subverted in Armitage III: we're led to believe Armitage is a Third, a highly advanced model of robot created to act as an incubator for human babies, but in fact she's a Third prototype created from the much more dangerous Assassinroid template - the "missing link", if you will, between the two models. Which explains why she can deflect bullets just by holding her arms in front of her face, and survive a grenade blast aimed directly at her.
Robots such as the ones in Westworld or The Animatrix. Why would actors and butlers need the strength to crush human skulls, or the ability to track footprints by their heat signatures?
In I, Robot, though we only see the latest, newly introduced NS-5 model of robots (which given their secret purpose, would make a lot of sense for them be as agile and powerful as they are,) the implication seems to be that all the common household robots have always been very strong and fast regardless of whether they were designed with world domination in mind or not.
In a flashback to a car accident, we see a passing package delivery robot leap into the water and punch through the window of a submerged car to pull Will Smith to safety, who loses his arm in the process. Said robot appears to be of a model that predates the NS-4, who in turn are shown to be easily outclassed by the NS-5.
The justification for this would probably have something to do with the fact that all robots are programmed to throw themselves into danger at the drop of a hat to aid any human in danger. And then there's the fact that they seems to use one general-purpose model for damn near everything,which may potentially require heavy-lifting and/or ninja agility at some point or other.
R2-D2 in Star Wars is essentially supposed to be a navigational computer and maintenance robot, yet he has a seemingly endless array of gadgets for every situation.
It's been speculated that astromech units were designed at least in part to do major repairs to starfighters while underway (hence the rockets), so the existence of some of that stuff isn't too far-fetched. There's also no reason to believe that any of the droids seen at all resemble stock models.
This was shown in Episode 1, where R2 ended up being the only droid left to finish the repairs on Queen Amidala's Royal Starship. Since he was in possession of the Royal Engineers of Naboo, he had several enhancements that few other astromech droids had.
Averted in the movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. In one scene the Replacement Goldfish protagonist robot is asked by the real son of his adoptive mother what "cool tricks" he can do, such as fly or walk on walls. In fact, he has no powers at all, and behaves exactly as a normal human child would when placed in danger.
Not entirely averted—David has one useless feature where he can interface with a telephone and talk using the voice of the person on the other end. Considering that all this does is frighten his "mother," it's questionable why he even has the ability.
The Action Girl EVE is a essentially a biological collector, trying to find evidence of plant life on Earth. So naturally, she has a high power plasma gun, enough power to make a micro-tornado by spinning, fast enough to break the sound barrier, and strong enough to hold back a huge sliding wall by herself. Those plants are apparently rough customers.
The speed and durability would probably be justified; she's got a lot of ground to cover, and Earth's environment can be rough. Also she's an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, so she probably explores other planets that potentially have hostile life, so she's just equipped with killer defense systems.
While WALL•E's cutting laser is justified, why is a trash compactor equipped with a audio record/playback function (independent from the robot's own memory)?
Simple: recycling. WALL•E's shack shows that the little Used Future box knows how to recycle bulbs, televisions, video playback, spare parts for itself, etc. The audio record/playback function might just be a simple old radio grafted onto WALL•E's body on a whim.
The Replicants of Blade Runner are granted super strength and apparently some degree of acrobatics, without exception. This makes perfect sense in some cases - you'd want the robots doing off-world construction jobs to be pretty tough cookies - but giving a "pleasure model" like Pris the ability to crush a man's head between her thighs is just asking for trouble.
Presumably the combat and heavy labor models were engineered first, and then somebody figured out 'Hey, if we just make them cute and change their programming, we can also use them as talking sex toys!'... without bothering to actually redesign their system architecture, hence explaining why Pris (a pleasure model) had the same physical capacities as Zhora (an assassination unit), differing only in motivation and skillset. In addition, Pris doesn't actually suceed in crushing Deckard's head, so whether her strength was augmented is debateable, and the acrobatics, well... In addition, Rachel, a secretary, and possibly Tyrell, a CEO aren't enhanced in any way.
He was built with incredible intelligence and continually complains about the menial jobs the characters give him. But then, Marvin is never happy unless he's unhappy.
His unhappiness is explained by the (rather poorly-thought out, but what isn't with these guys?) decision by Sirius Co. to create robots and AI with "Genuine People Personalities", making them more familiar with humans. Of course, combine a genuine human personality and limitless intelligence and you are going to get a rather depressed individual. Marvin was a prototype Genuine People Personality, implying that he's even more out of whack than that.
Marvin is also ridiculously durable. By the time he finally breaks down, he's six times as old as the universe. It's not clear whether that's the current age of the universe, or the total expected final age of the universe, but either way seems like overkill.
Although he does wear out and require repairs. He's missing a leg in Life, the Universe and Everything, and has received a cheap replacement. By So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (the point by which he is six times as old of the universe), he mentions that every single piece of him has been replaced many times... with the sole exception of the aching diodes he complained of wanting to be replaced when he was first introduced.
Giving them super-strength makes sense (they are designed for hard labor) as does their near indestructibility (made of clay and animated by magic). But Mr. Pump can also sense exactly where an individual (or at least the one he is assigned to watch) is anywhere in the world. Certainly doesn't seem like a standard feature for someone whose job was to pump water for centuries. It's possible that he was given some sort of magical modification when he was given the job of parole officer.
Further, Discworld Golems were originally built to be messengers (Who'd, y'know, need to know how to find someone) and, until very recently, making new ones was strictly illegal (And, unlike most such laws on the Disc, this one was apparently followed). As such, all currently working Golems were made thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of years ago to do completely different jobs from their current ones, making their various abilities a bit more sensible.
The cyber-beasts in The War Against the Chtorr. Armoured, artificially-intelligent mechanimials with the processing power of a small government, weapons ranging from flamethrowers to titanium teeth, and instruments for taking scientific samples. Justified in that Earth is fighting off an invasion by a totally alien ecology which has to be studied at the same time as it's being fought.
In Henry Kuttner's Gallagher cycle, the eponymous Mad Scientist has built a superpowered humanoid robot and then spends the whole story trying to find out what was he supposed to do (whi is, by the way, opening cans). Justified, as the Gallagher's gimmick is that only his subconcious is a super-inventor, so he invents eveything while hopelessly drunk.
In Isaac Asimov's short story Robbie the eponymous robot was a nursemaid for an eight-year-old girl named Gloria. Naturally, it's really strong and really fast which turn out to be extremely useful when Gloria's life was in danger. When the story appears in I, Robot, Susan Calvin explains that Robbie was sold in a time before robots were outlawed on Earth.
There are several stories from the Bolo series of Bolos, basically football-field sized*
supertanks with the ability to blow ships out of orbit single-handedly, being repurposed into other applications.
One had a Bolo redesigned as an agricultural aid. When aliens came to attack the colony, it used its agricultural tools to engineer a plague that wiped out the aliens.
Another is about a Bolo with its weapons stripped so it can be a tractor/digging machine... which still manages to save a colony of humans.
A third has Bolos placed in space and used as communications satellites, allowing them to wipe out an enemy fleet.
These examples are really more inversions than anything else; instead of going and putting a Wave Motion Gun on a mundane robot, it's "These were already hyper-deadly machines, we just tried to modify them to do something else." In other words, the weapons and superpowers came first, the mundanity came second. So, it's more Mundane Utility.
In one Bolo story, the eponymous tanks, which are referred to planetary siege units, and are easily capable of dueling with starships in orbit, are used as plowing equipment.
Live Action TV
Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation once took over the ship with his ability to perfectly mimic Captain Picard's voice and hack into his command codes. Nobody ever questioned why he could do this, or attempted to alter that function. He also had super strength, despite being designed to be as "human as possible." (Although it's revealed later that his creator did create a "normal" android, with human-level strength and intellectual capacities — in a subversion, it is this "weaker" version of the android that was actually the creator's Replacement Goldfish.)
This is a case of Power Creep, Power Seep. At the start of the series, Data was so human that he became drunk just like the rest of the crew in The Naked Now. Later in the series, an arrow or a javelin could potentially incapacitate him. By the time of the movies, he could shrug off machine gun fire and had a built in deployable flotation device.
Star Trek: Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram was created as a mere backup for the human doctor in a crisis. When Voyager is thrown across the galaxy (killing the human doctor) the holographic Doctor is forced through circumstance (and later his own determination) to evolve. Over the next seven years the Doctor takes on hobbies such as opera, painting, photography and sex (Let's just say I made an...addition to my program), acts as a target for Kazon ships (albeit accidentally), writes a provocative holonovel, gets transmitted across the galaxy (and back) on two separate occasions, commands the ship single-handedly in "Workforce" and is just flat-out amazing (though not always sensible) in "Renaissance Man". But, as we see in "Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy", it's nothing compared to what the egotistical Doc can do in his fantasies!
It should be noted, however, that the Doctor (unlike most of the examples listed, especially in-universe counterpart Data) was never designed with these capabilities. He extensively modified himself to support these new subroutines and abilities. In fact, a couple of episodes were built around the consequences of him overtaxing his base programming and 'crashing'.
In Star Trek: The Original Series, Nomad (in "The Changeling") was a combination of an Earth exploration probe with an alien exploration probe. The alien probe's mission to sterilize soil samples somehow gave it the ability to exterminate all life on an entire planet and a plasma cannon equal to 90 photon torpedoes.
Viki in Small Wonder is super-strong, super-intelligent, and can even fly, despite purportedly being an attempt to make a robot that's convincingly human.
April, the original robot girlfriend made by Warren in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was given super-human strength for no good reason. While the Buffybot arguably needed strength to sufficiently impersonate Buffy, April doesn't need the power to throw men through walls...
Maybe Warren's just kinky that way. He even made her growl.
Lampshaded in Red Dwarf. Serving droid Kryten isn't particularly strong compared to a human being, but his successor, Hudzen-10, is so strong he can chop through bricks... with his penis.
For those playing at home, this is a double example. Not only does he have superhuman strength but has it in an appendage which a robot maid really shouldn't logically have. Unless you're in to that I suppose....
Kryten is regularly mocked by Rimmer for being designed to clean toilets, especially when Lister and Cat respect Kryten's leadership over his (e.g in the episode Quarantine). Kryten is actually a rather good leader (at least by Red Dwarf standards) so I guess that's a subtle example of this trope.
The original K9 from Doctor Who. He was built as a substitute pet for a doctor working on a space station that didn't allow dogs on board. So why's he got a frickin' laser cannon in his nose? Rule Of Cool. If you could make a robot dog with a laser cannon in his nose, wouldn't you?
Considering the places where dogs stick their noses? No.
The title character in the Showtime The Outer Limits episode "Valerie 23" was a fembot who was specifically designed and created to be a companion for disabled shut-ins or people working in isolated conditions. So why was it built with lethal superhuman strength and a severe lack of impulse control? Worse, after the episode in which this gynoid went dangerously wrong, the series did several other episodes about other androids from the same company going dangerously awry in other ways.
Colosson from That Mitchell and Webb Look is a robot designed to calculate whether or not a number is Numberwang. Being developed during World War II by scientists who rather belatedly wondered whether it could be used for the war effort, it was fitted with laser cannons despite not actually having any military purpose. This becomes a problem on the instances it tries to take over the world, but luckilly there's a failsafe so that he can be deactivated whenever he's shown a picture of a chicken.
In Stargate SG-1, the android Reese is equipped with a device that allows her to manipulate matter. That's not where the trope comes in. It comes in when the "toys" she makes with it turn out to be the Replicators, one of the most powerful foes in the series. Which begs the question: why did you make toys that are immune to energy weapons, can self-replicate, and reproduce on their own? There's childproofing stuff, but come on...
Also applies to Reese herself since she was created by a human presumably for companionship (certainly not for hard labor or fighting) but she's pretty strong and has the aforementioned ability to create dangerous "toys."
Tabletop RP Gs
At least one edition of the post-apocalyptic RPG Gamma World had literal super-powered robot meter maids as a potential risk to breaking open abandoned parking meters for cash.
These showed up in an arcology in Shadowrun, but then an insane AI decided to use them to perform medical experiments on the unwilling inhabitants. In the latest version, one of the selling points of the new robot assistants is that they are deliberately crippled to be slower than a person and mechanically incapable of restraining a human.
Curiously averted in one of the sample NPCs from CHAMPIONS who was specifically stated to be merely human in strength because it was difficult enough making a humanoid robot that was as strong as a human, much less stronger. Averted with some of the other cybernetic NPCs, however.
Indeed, in the original Mega Man game, the eponymous Mega Man was designed as a lab assistant before becoming a super-powered hero. On a similar note, all the boss enemies he fought during the first game were designed for peaceful pursuits such as forestry, garbage disposal, arctic exploration, and so on... That doesn't keep some people from wondering, however.
Mega Man's major weapon, the Variable Weapon System, was originally designed as the Variable Tool System, allowing him to pick up and use any object that he could find. When he was modified to include an energy converter/plasma blaster, Dr. Light also modified the VTS to the VWS, making Mega Man the single most powerful robot because he had no special ability; he could simply take the abilities of his enemies. To see what happens when a robot is designed from the ground up with the VWS in mind, take a look at X; capable of (and successful in) destroying not one, not two, but at least three powerful Reploid armies, all of which were based of his design and improved.
Dr. Light was so far beyond his years that only two other people in his time could come close to matching him, and it took 300 years for anyone else to match him. It took another century after that for anyone to remotely surpass him, and it specifically led to the apocalypse because of his inventions. Considering that there is one theory that Blues, Rock, and Roll are Replacement Goldfish, you'd think that it might have been better had he just not bothered.
The entire inclusion of Tesse, from Waku Waku 7, is based on this trope. Despite officially being designed as a housekeeper and maid, and fighting with brooms and hypodermic needles, she is able to evenly match the other (quirky) fighters.
Maintenance droids, courier droids, and office-aid androids in Crusader are all armed to destroy possible invaders.
One of the villains in the third Ratchet & Clank game is Courtney Gears, a robotic pop star. Nonetheless, she has enough weaponry to engage One-Man Army Ratchet in battle.
Portal- Building a robotic fuel-injection system de-icer? Sounds like a good idea. Building a robotic fuel-injection system de-icer that's also a sentient AI that controls your entire research lab and is also equipped with the ability to summon rocket turret defenses and release neurotoxin? That didn't work out so well. Given what else we have learned about Aperture Science in the supplementary canon and sequel, "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" is probably its unofficial motto.
The robots in the Descent series are quite heavily armed. The strange part is that the majority of these 'bots are mining and industrial robots! Granted, that could be a justification, as robots used for blasting rock are more than capable of blasting intruders and later on it is mentioned that the robots are modifying themselves. But where are they getting the military hardware? They're mining robots!
A few of the "mines" double as weapons caches for the military.
The most egregious offender is the Thresher 'bot from Descent 3. It's a fucking industrial robot but it wields twin fusion cannons, which happen to be one of the most powerful weapons in the series.
The novels spell it out more plainly: the robots didn't start using military-grade weapons until they found the military's research lab/weapons cache on Level 17. Before that they were using re-purposed mining tools.
In Melty Blood, Kohaku builds a robot version of her sister Hisui, "to help with housework". She probably can explain why mech-Hisui needs built-in hammer, chainsaw, laser and glowing knife. But rockets and that crossbow thingy? Kohaku was definitely planning something.
In Enchanted Arms, the Magitek equivalent is omnipresent. The great majority of the Golems you encounter (and can recruit) were designed for non-combat purposes, ranging from maids and farmhands, to entertainers and guides. And yet, they all have some combat-capabilities, and few of them are even restrained to a support-role. Indeed, some of the bodyguard/soldier Golems you aquire early in the game, are soon outmatched in terms of offensive power by farm-tools and dancers...
A very difficult, optional boss in Mother 3 is a robotic maid. She doesn't bother you until you try to take one of her master's prized possessions. Might be justified in that her "master" is Axe Crazy and would probably be very protective of his belongings, and would create an advanced security system just to keep his stuff safe.
On the silly side of things, Mike in Wario Ware. No idea why a cleaning robot by Dr Crygor has full sentinence, flight abilities and is good at singing karaoke, but it makes for an interesting story and a catchy theme song.
The "AI bodies" on the spaceship Toronto in Albion were supposedly designed just as a means for the ship's computer to communicate with humans (actually there was supposedly only one), but they turn out to be extremely tough combatants armed with guns. Probably justified in that they were really designed to be enforcers. But there's no excuse for the cleaning robots, which are just about the most powerful opponents in the game. They are basically featureless spheres atop a single leg that they slide around on, and apparently attack by sort of bumping into you. The absolutely most powerful opponent and sort of final boss in the game is the housing of the central AI itself, which is indestructible and armed with a one-hit-kill laser.
"Mr. Handy" robots in the Fallout universe are butler robots with a flamethrower arm. Somewhat justified, since they're modified "Mr. Gutsy" models, which were designed as military bots. Still, they couldn't have removed the flaming death arm from the home helper version?
Hell, it's not even justified, Mr Gutsy is a militarised version of the Mr. Handy, not vice versa. Maybe the flamethrower is meant to help it cook things? It seems to be fairly rubbish anyway. Remember the one in Vault 101 obliterating your birthday cake with a circular saw?
Remember, this is from before the war, when things like "user survival" were seldom even considered.
Actually, Mr. Handy robots aren't butlers but repair and maintenance robots (in fact, you sometimes find repair tools on destroyed ones in Fallout 2). In this light, the flamethrowers and circular saws make far more sense, as do their modifications into combat tools. The fact that the Vault 101 Mr. Handy is made into a butler speaks more about the resident tinkerer of Vault 101 than the Mr. Handy models.
Except that butler versions of Mr. Handy were also shown in the virtual reality simulation in Fallout 3 and in its promotional material. Look, basically they do everything.
VIVIT of the Seihou series, a Robot Maid who runs on Getter RaysSpiral Power Saboten Energy who also happens to be an advanced combat android. The maid part is, well, because hercreator had a Meido fetish.
City of Heroes: The Clockwork of Praetoria were designed to clean the streets, wash windows, and help citizens in their day-to-day lives. However, their creator Neuron decided they also needed plasma emitters, laser guns, and electric blasters built in. This is justified in story, as they are programmed to stop any criminal activity they see and help the police if needed. That being said, they are pretty much the only group of NPCs that will not attack you on sight in a world where Everything Is Trying to Kill You.
Invoked in Unreal Championship 2 The Liandri Conflict - Liandri advertise the strength, mobility and AI adaptability of their newest domestic robot by entering one in the year's Unreal Tournament. Devastation's curvy chassis is lampshaded in her bio, which states it was modeled after a "popular adult holoactress" to boost sales.
Orianna in League of Legends was the daughter of a Mad Scientist and died in an accident while training for a League tournament. She was rebuilt as the "perfect daughter" with spastic mechanical movements and an emotionless voice but a perfectly functional "protector", a mechanical ball complete with EMP and gravity weapons. Although her powers are justified by firstly his desire to stop anything else happening to her, and secondly because not making her incredibly dangerous would have been a bit of an obstacle to joining the League.
In MegaTokyo, Ping is able to lift and throw buses, despite being a PS2 accessory for non-hentaiDating Sim games. Specifically because she was only designed to be used with non-hentai games, actually. "No"meansNO.
In Bob and George, Protoman frequently questioned why the Robot Masters who were designed for constructive purposes, were so heavily armed (Dr. Light claimed it was in case the Gardener [Cutman] went crazy). His case is even more ridiculous as he has a megabuster and shield, but was suppose to be a butler.
In the original game, the Robot Masters were perilous occupation robots, but in Bob and George they largely do household chores (Cut Man is the gardener, Ice Man is the fridge, Fire Man tends the fireplace, Gutsman is the trash man, and Elecman is the power generator. Except for Bomb Man. All he does is stand there singing "I'm Just A Love Machine" No one seems to know what he does).
The general explanation for any robot that does not make a lot of sense to make, like half of Cossack's fleet, are the results of being drunk. Sort of a scientists version of Drunken Master.
Many of them in turn are far more intelligent than their function warrants. Most notably Helix is a glorified autonomous forklift, yet he's sentient enough to develop hobbies and sense of humour.
This is amply explained by the fact that the robotic factories that created virtually all of the robots we've met, being forced (due to damage sustained during the initial colonization) to use the Bowman Adaptive Neuronic Network, originally designed to 'uplift' animal species. Resultingly, the robots become smarter as they get older... regardless of their designed purpose.
This runs into some serious civil rights issues, because many government officials view robots and artificial intelligences of any kind, including animals uplifted using the BANN, to be property as a function of their artificiality, yet most such entities are far better equipped mentally than even most humans (and certainly all the government officials the comic presents) to argue as to why that's not the case.
Justified with Schlock Mercenary's Lota, a robot designed for load-lifting- and built from the remains of a destroyed flying tank. This explains the guns...
Of course, some bright spark had to go and name him "Longshoreman Of The Apocalypse". Later on the full name gets updated to "Long-gunner Of The Apocalypse".
In the gaming webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del, Zeke is a robot built from a Xbox, yet he can break someone's arm with ease and hurl them through a wall.
You can never be sure with an Xbox.
Also, the Xbox was huge, weighting 8.5 lb (3.86 kg)!
The Muses, clanks created to inspire and teach, are another example. It makes a bit of sense that the Muse of Protection would be able to fight. It makes less sense that the Muse of Dance is equipped with the ability to emit enough electricity to kill a man.
Warbot from Warbot In Accounting is a decommissioned weapon of mass destruction that was given a job at an accounting firm.
Kat is in the process of invoking this trope for Robot. The body she made for him is that of a super-fast parkour ninja but it's merely a temporary one "cobbled together from spare parts" while she works on one that's even more ridiculous. And Robot doesn't even have a purpose to be designed for, so Kat is doing this entirely to make him maximally awesome.
Eve from Applegeeks could probably qualify. She was originally built to be Hawk's "companion", but has plasma swords built into her forearms, and is ridiculous levels of strong. There's also her above-average fighting abilities, camouflage, and other non-standard items. Semi-justified because Hawk is the one who built her, and he is a gigantic nerd who would love nothing more than a robot girlfriend with the works.
In Sam and Fuzzy, these things are commonplace. Mr. Sin's robot duplicates of Fuzzy have foot-long retractable claws, for one.
In Beyond the Canopy, Pedro's giant battle robot was originally designed to be his maid. Apparently his clothes get some crazy tough stains.
Dirk Strider in Homestuck has built two robots to have rap-offs with. The more talented robot, Sawtooth, is equipped with a pair of massive rocket launchers hidden under its cape. Of course, since Dirk lives After the End in, and this a direct quote, "Sea Hitler's water apocalypse", one can hardly blame him for wanting a bit of...additional security.
In the utterly disturbing episode of Invader Zim, Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy, due to temporal interference by Zim, Dib is left crippled, and then killed. However, this backfires when Dib's father, Professor Membrane instead puts his boy in the Mega Boy 3000 robot, which gives him the strength of ten-thousand little boys for no apparent reason. In fact, due to Zim's later attempts to kill him off with more time travel, to keep Dib from killing him, it just keeps on inexplicably giving the robot more weaponry.
Considering that this is Professor Membrane we're talking about, we're lucky it didn't wipe out humanity. The man doesn't do subtle.
This is pointed out on the commentary, as not only is the Mega Boy unnecessary, but so was every mechanical repair to Dib's body up until that point.Vasquez says that this was the result of Membrane getting really, really bored.
The super strength is explainable, since the girders Bender is designed to bend are enormous and (obviously) made of thick metal. The stretching arms and legs presumably assist in this. Though why a bending unit would require a hammerspace chest cavity is anybody's guess.
Another example from Futurama is the toy kitty-cat doll Farnsworth invented, QT Mc Whiskers, which was then redesigned by Mom to be 16 feet tall and shoot lasers out of its eyes.
Well, that's justified. She was turning it into a military robot.
Yes, but she did the same with his previous one, turning it into a "colossal Tammy Tinkle doll". One cannot begin to hazard a guess as to the needs of that one.
In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command TV series, there is a character named Flint, who appears to be a heavily built human. However, he is actually a robot and an extremely strong one at that (In one memorable scene he brags, "I can lift 400 times my own weight and throw it too."). However, his great strength is justified because he is identified as a a "Gamma Series Construction Robot, designed for ultra-heavy lifting.".
The show's resident indestructible Do-Anything Robot main character is actually justified, as he was originally designed to be able to survive and be rebuilt from ridiculous amounts of damage, and later was reassembled with... many more parts than needed.
An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force featured banjo-playing scorpion robots which were apparently intended as amusements at a children's theme park. They were armed to the teeth with missiles and machine guns.
Also subverted in another one, where after many other attempts to replace Carl's body Frylock decides he'll put it on his super-powerful robot. Upon Shake's questioning he suddenly realizes how unwise it would be to heavily arm someone whose body they destroyed and questions what he was thinking.
Batman Beyond had synthoids, and not only are the ones (illegally) made as "personal company" just as strong as ones made for combat (training), they're actually stronger.
Human-like robots are not common yet, but this still applies to industrial robots. It doesn't matter if all you need is robotic transporter which only needs to lift empty cardboard boxes, or cigarette blocks; this industrial robot is still designed strong enough to lift 2 elephants at once. There was a small accident in a cigarette factory when one robot smashed entire stack of full boxes without even noticing. Which proves that robots really have way too much power.
If you design a robot to lift things and make it only strong enough to lift empty boxes, then the only people that will buy it are people who need empty boxes lifted. If it can lift a couple of tons, then it has a lot more potential applications. Also, it's a general engineering practice to overdesign anything that might lift something over someone's head by a factor of ten or more as a safety margin.