Follow TV Tropes


Armless Biped

Go To
Who needs arms (or eyes) when you have teeth like that?

A creature with two legs but no arms (and sometimes wings). This design may be used to make a creature look more alien, or to make something appear harmless until it's too late. Armless bipeds can also be used to stylistic effect for cartoons with less realistic character designs.

Note that it's armless, not harmless — they may still have a dangerous bite, kick or tail-whip/sting, or may have psychic or magical abilities.

Note that examples only count as this for species that naturally lack arms. That is, humans and other races that normally have them don't count just because of injury or a birth defect that caused them to be born without them.

Waddling Head is this minus a torso. May result in Invisible Anatomy.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Freaks combines this with Bizarre Human Biology, as two of the eponymous sideshow performers have no arms. As with the rest of the sideshow, this overlaps with Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Frances O'Connor and Martha Morris, who portray them, didn't have arms either.
  • Godzilla: King Ghidorah has two wings and two legs, but no arms. Averted by his incarnation in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), where his wings have proper arm joints and he walks quadrupedally on his wings like bats and pterosaurs do — his other incarnations are always bipeds.
  • Kong: Skull Island has Skullcrawlers, giant lizard-monsters with two legs and a long, prehensile tail.
  • Star Wars: The Kaadus resemble duck-billed dinosaurs with ostrich-like builds and no forelimbs.
  • Tremors: The Shriekers, the second life cycle of the Graboids, are small bipedal hunters with a huge jaw resembling those of the giant worms they spawned from as their only weapon. However, Shriekers that live long enough eventually metamorphize into Ass-Blasters, which possess wings.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Extraterrestrial (2005): Gulpogs are terror bird-like animals without forelimbs, possessing only a pair of long, powerful legs.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The Awful Green Things From Outer Space: The titular things are two-legged globs with single eyes. Despite the lack of a mouth, they exist only to devour the crew of the spaceship they have infested.
  • BattleTech: While most Battlemechs have arms to some degree, some have arms that consist of nothing but a tiny missile pod, such as the Catapult and Stalker. And even more extreme, there are even a handful of mechs with no arms whatsoever, such as the Blitzkrieg.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Lindworms are born to chromatic dragons, but some rare birth defect leads them to hatch without forelegs or wings, and leaves them with stunted magical power and weakened breath weapons. Their parents drive them from their nests soon after they hatch, and other dragons will kill lindworms out of course and leave the body to rot, so lindworms who survive infancy tend to grow into bitter, hateful creatures.
    • Digesters are portrayed a vaguely birdlike/reptillian bipeds with no arms. The run around spitting acid on things, and then slurp up the dissolved remains.
    • Prior to 3rd Edition, giant striders were depicted without forelimbs.
  • Snits Revenge: The Snits. They attack by kicking.
  • Talislanta has Lopers and Striders, which are used as mounts by the Orgovians and the Kang, respectively.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000 and their spin-offs feature Squigs, best described as half animal, half fungus, half mad and half teeth. They're famed and feared for their unpredictable bounding gait and voracious ferocity, but Squigs form a surprisingly complex part of the greenskin ecosystem, serving as guard dogs, garbage disposals, livestock, and in one extremely specialized sub-species' case, hair plugs. Other races rarely appreciate this, however, as their encounters with the toothy critters come when goblins herd a bouncing horde of the things onto the battlefield, or orks strap them with explosives and send the beasts to chase tanks (or try to use the aforementioned hair-squigs as trade goods).
    • In early editions of the Epic scale version of Warhammer 40,000, the Hell-Scourge and Hell-Knight Daemon Knights of Slaanesh differ from most other classes of Knight as they lack any arms, mounting their primary weapon systems on top of their hull instead.
    • The Tau's Stormsurge lacks arms or arm-cannons like all their other battlesuits, instead it has two humongous rocket pods and a stupidly huge shoulder-mounted Plasma Cannon.
  • War Machine has light 'jacks from Cryx and Rhul factions. They come in 'necro-gothic' and 'boxy armored' flavours respectably. Some creatures from Legion of Everblight fit the trope too — for those who favours the creepy organic look.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has multiple monsters that are armless and biped, both natural, like Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon, and artificial, like Booster Dragon and Dual Assembwurm.

  • Furby looks like a fuzzy penguin with bat ears and no flippers.

    Video Games 
  • AdventureQuest:
    • There are dozens of variations on the Frogzard, esentially a toothy lizard's head, a frog's back legs, and an inexplicably furry body.
    • Also the Gizzard, with a more developed head and body. Said to be a "missing link" between Frogzards and Dragons.
  • Anarchy Online has Leets, little adorable rodents that lack a set of forelegs. An idle animation, in which they groom themselves with one of their feet, lampshades it. There are also Onagis/Pendpods, which resemble giant terrestrial seahorses with a pair of legs.
  • Dungeon Keeper: Inverted by bile demons, who are so fat that their legs have atrophied and they scoot forward on their hands and bottom.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has Alit and Kagouti, native species of predatory reptilians roughly the size of a cow with massive heads on stubby, armless, two-legged bodies. Alit are more crocadilian in their heads while Kagouti have dinosaurid frills and tusks.
  • The Eternal Cylinder: The Trebhums are this, though they make up for it by having prehensile elephant-like trunks.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Slavens and other same-class enemies. They attack by kicking, stomping and biting.
  • Geneforge: Glaahks were genetically engineered as this for no apparent in-game reason, and out-of-game to make them absolutely weird. They attack with barbed tails, which are apparently coated in some kind of poison—a hit stuns you, and in a Solo-Character Run two of them working together can prevent you from acting at all, whittling you down to nothing with you unable to respond.
  • Golden Sun: Djinn don't need arms, since they can blast you with Psynergy or augment your powers.
  • Gothic: Scavengers, Snappers and their subspecies in the first two games of the series. For the third game, the Snappers are redesigned and given arms.
  • Journey (2012): The player figure has no arms which was meant by the developers so people wouldn't wonder why they can't climb or pick things up.
  • Jumper: Ogmo is a lab creature consisting entirely of a rectangular head on two tiny legs.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:
    • The giant monster, the Imprisoned, is a mouth with legs. No eyes. No nose. And covered in black scales and feathers that wave like fire on its back. It laters gains arms, a tail, and a halo that allows it to fly. And that isn't even its final form...
    • Fi also has no arms to speak of, just a body, head and legs. This is best exemplified in Hyrule Warriors, where she moves by gliding around like an ice dancer and attacks by mostly kicking. Concept art, though, did indicate that Fi does technically have arms, she just kept them hidden under her cape at all times.
  • Logical Journey of the Zoombinis: Any Zoombinis that you create with shoes or rollerblades for feet will be this, as will Fleens generated with high heels or boots.
  • Oddworld:
    • The Glukkons, bipedal suit-wearing executives, look like this, but actually walk on their hands, their legs having shriveled in disuse.
    • The slogs are a canine variety, with big mouths with sharp teeth on a pair of fast, powerful legs about the height of a dog.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The Gekko are depicted this way. And yes — the legs are organic. 'Armless they are not.
  • Metroid:
    • Metroid: Dessgeegas, Novas/Sovas and Sidehoppers lack front limbs. With the exception of the Novas, they all have the ability to walk on the ceiling, jump toward the floor and "fall" upwards.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus: Hornoads, skreeks and motos look like armless amphibians, birds and horned lizards, respectively.
    • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
      • Metroid Prime: The Sheegoths are dangerous ice-breathing predators who only have weakspots on their backs, and no arms. Then you realise that they are the babies when you scan them — an adult one appears later, who is much bigger and meaner, and then becomes a Degraded Boss.
      • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes: Grenchlers are armless creatures that look quite similar to the Sheegoths from the first game, except they're more amphibian in appearance and are MUCH more aggressive and more dangerous, with abilities Sheegoths don't have, like firing electricity at long range and leaping across entire rooms. And then there's the one room in Dark Torvus with the Dark possessed Grenchlers, and the Grapple Guardian, which is a King Mook.
      • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has the Defense Drone, a boss fought in Elysia. It is a large mechanoid that relies on high jumps instead of walking, shooting powerful missiles, unleashing balls of plasma, and performing electrified Shockwave Stomps. Its weak point is the core behind its face, but to unveil it Samus has to hit the three antennae at its top and then use the Grapple Lasso to open up the core's carapace.
  • Minecraft: Creepers technically have four legs, but their vertical bodies make them resemble armless bipeds more than the other quadrupeds in the game.
  • Pathways into Darkness: The Headless consist of a gaping fanged mouth at about torso level with a giant tongue waving around in the air, they bend over to vomit green brains at you.
  • Pikmin:
    • The Bulborbs are stout creatures that waddle around on a pair of short legs, and use their giant mouths as their only weapons.
    • Hey! Pikmin: The Mockiwis are wingless birds.
  • Pokémon: A few Pokémon have this body type, such as Oddish, Poliwag, and Wooper. While most gain arms when they evolve, some fully evolved Pokémon also fit, such as Dodrio (an ostrich-like bird minus the vestigial wings) and Exeggutor (a palm tree with a pair of trunk-like legs). Geodude inverts the trope, as it has arms but no legs.
  • Psychonauts: The Knife Thrower enemies. How do they throw their knives if they don't have arms? With their feet.
  • Purple: Several enemies are waddling heads with no limbs besides two legs. However, the similarly designed player character has arms that vanish when not using weapons, so it's possibly the case for those enemies as well.
  • Shin Megami Tensei
    • Take-Minakata a recurring demon, has no arms. In mythology, his arms were cut off in a duel.
    • In the spinoff series Digital Devil Saga, Gale's demon form, Vayu, is an armless green creature which attacks by kicking with the bony blade on one of its feet. As does Harley's Hayagriva form.
    • Subverted with Vayu. His arms are hidden by his wings (you can see them when he guards, uses an item or does his victory pose), and Hayagriva has T. rex-esque arms hidden by little shell-thingies on his arms (observe when he uses Fire Storm or how he stands when he has Void Ice up). Dyaus would be a straigher example, because he has wings with tiny hands on the end of them.
  • Silent Hill has the Numb Bodies of 3. The first enemy encountered in 2, Lying Figures, can appear this way at a glance but actually have unusable arms bound in their own flesh. Inverted with the Twin Victims in Silent Hill 4: The Room, creatures with no legs but a pair of arms.
  • Spore: You'll usually have one of these at the beginning of Creature stage. Any more legs and you probably won't be able to afford many other parts.
  • Stardew Valley: A non-hostile Shadow Person named Krobus runs a Secret Shop in the sewers. Unlike the rest of his species, he appears to have no arms. It's unknown if this is a birth defect, or if it's just normal for members of his species to sometimes be born without arms.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Goombas, and by extension the Galoombas, Goombrats and all other related subspecies, all lack arms.
    • Bob-ombs are living Cartoon Bombs who waddle around on a short pair of legs, which are their only limbs. In their first appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2, Bob-ombs do have arms, but lose them by Super Mario Bros. 3 (with rare exceptions, such as in the credits of Paper Mario).
    • Super Mario Sunshine: The Cataquacks are large duck-like creatures with no arms or wings, but make up for it with their large bills that they use to fling Mario into the air.
    • Super Mario Odyssey has Robobrood, a boss example. Because of how tall it is, Mario has to weaken at least one of the legs so he can reach the weak points, all located in the main body. As it has no arms, it shoots its projectiles (bombs, enemies and energy discs) from its mouth-like cannon; its only other attack is running towards Mario to hurt him.
  • Tattletail is a parody of Furby with a cat-like face instead of a beak and feet like a hominid instead of a bird.
  • Undertale: The Monster Kid resembles a bipedal lizard with no arms, and wears a sweater that's essentially just a tube of fabric. They tend to trip a lot as a result.
  • Unreal: Na Pali's fauna includes a few two-limbed critters, including a rabbit-like species, tiny raptor-like creatures (appearing in Expansion Pack Return to Na Pali) and lumbering creatures that are used by (four-armed) Nali people as livestock.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: The first Tzimisce creations that the player comes across are heads with arms coming out of where the ears should be.
  • XCOM: The original trilogy has one alien with this design in each game: the carnivorous Reapers from UFO Defense, the cybernetically enhanced Triscenes from Terror from the Deep, and the explosive Poppers from Apocalypse .

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The title character, along with Marzipan, the King of Town, Homsar and a gaggle of minor characters. This doesn't stop any of them from holding things or typing on keyboards; whether they appear to have invisible arms or telekinesis varies. Marzipan and the King of Town don't even have visible legs; it's unclear whether their legs are hidden by their clothes, or if they outright lack them.
  • Kiwi!: This is actually a plot point. The titular kiwi wants to fly, but doesn't have functional wings; its "wings" are tiny barely-visible nubs. As such, the kiwi tries to simulate flight instead.
  • The Land Of Boggs: About half the characters have two legs and no arms, while the other half have two arms and no legs. The armless characters usually use their legs for anything that requires hands.
  • RWBY: Creeps look like they run on two massive legs, upon which they run quite fast. They have a tail and appear to have no arms or wings. However, the 'legs' are actually their arms; it's therefore legs that they lack.
  • First popularized by BFDI, many Object Shows, such as Brawl of the Objects, Inanimate Insanity, and Object Overload to name a few, will feature characters with no arms. Over time, variants emerged like inversions, where one has arms but no legs, and those who have no limbs at all. As such, these objects use their feet as hands but are still hindered by their condition (Except for the ones exhibiting telekinesis depending on the show). There used to be a stereotype associated with armless objects being useless (From other objects' perspective) and lacking in brains.

  • Wonderlab: The Road Home would resemble a normal girl, if not for its lack of arms.

    Web Original 
  • Brackenwood: Prowlies have only one set of limbs, which serve as both their arms and legs; they also use their prehensile tails when climbing.
  • Many of Mortasheen's inhabitants fit this trope, the most recognizable being Chainsaw Kid.
  • Nitrome: In Square Meal, you play as a troll that's one of these. It attacks by swallowing blocks (which comically distend it into a squared-off shape), then spitting the blocks enemies.
  • Petscop: The Guardian, Marvin, and Tiara are all armless. They even share the same armless torso sprite. At one point it's mentioned that the Guardian doesn't know how to open doors, possibly due to this.
  • raocow uses as his avatar Demo, who is a blue-haired armless alien demon cyclops lady. Demo is also the protagonist in A Super Mario Thing.
  • Sagan 4: Several examples.
    • Alpha timeline:
      • Capis lost their hind legs sometime during their evolution and walk on their forelegs.
      • Saucebacks never had arms in the first place.
      • Tasertongues and their closest relatives are bipedal and lack arms, instead manipulating objects with their long prehensile tongues.
    • In the beta timeline, the "neosaucebacks", similar to the alpha timeline species they were named after, are also armless bipeds which never had arms in the first place.
  • Serina: The water snuffle is an aquatic platypus-like descendant of the canary that entirely lost its wings to become a more streamlined swimmer. Its descendants, the softbill birds, never redevelop forelimbs but later evolve prehensile facial tentacles from their soft fleshy snouts, giving rise to the club-wielding bludgebird, the squid-headed squork, and the predatory grapplers, as well as boras and terries, groups of tentacle-faced flightless birds that are arboreal and terrestrial, respectively.
  • Snaiad has the Titaniformes and the Monoanticheirans, two clades of Snaiadi vertebrate-analogues that lost their forelimbs entirely. Subverted with the Tromobrachids, who initially appear to be this trope, but their "jaws" actually are their arms, playing a role in chewing food and funnelling it into their chest-located oral cavity.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: The birdlike creature seen among the show's nonspecific background monsters doesn't possess front limbs, instead only having a pair of long legs.


    Real Life 
  • The moas. Large, extinct ostrich-like birds from New Zealand that completely lacked wings. Other flightless birds had their wings reduced to a few bones, but moas lost even the joints to which the wings were attached.
  • The modern-day kiwi has two very short stubs located where its wings once were, and are covered up by its thick, feathered body. Interestingly, kiwis also have a tiny hooked claw at the end of each wing.
  • Snakes probably lost their front limbs before their hindlimbs- even today, you'll still find boas with vestigial pelvic girdles and clawed 'spurs' where their hind limbs used to be. Although they never stood upright, so that probably doesn't count.
  • There are a couple of lizard species that have lost one pair of limbs, although it's the front pair they retain and use for burrowing rather than to walk.
  • Abelisaurs such as Carnotaurus were on the process of becoming this: their arms retained a single spike-like claw, with the remaining 3 fingers being mere stumps, and their forearms had shrunk in length to the point of outright becoming part of their wrist, reducing their arms to backwards-bending stumps that were functionally useless and were getting smaller over time. Tyrannosaurs, however, were NOT going that route: The arms were reduced and had one finger fewer than those of other advanced predatory dinosaurs, but they were also ridiculously strong for arms of that size. Likewise, the feathered alvarezsaurs have very reduced arms with only one finger, but they were actually quite robust.
  • Inverted with frogs: when metamorphosing from tadpoles, their legs are the first things they gain upon reaching adulthood. They instead lose their tails.
  • Motor proteins, which transport materials along the microtubules inside cells, have a pair of "legs" that they use to grip and "walk" along the tubules' surfaces.
  • Amelia, the congenital absence or underdevelopment of one or more limbs, can result in this trope among humans. As alluded to under Film, the armless wonder was a popular feature of The Freakshow. A related condition called phocomelia, most infamous as a side effect of thalidomide (specifically manifesting in infants whose mothers took the drug for morning sickness), can also result in this.