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Battle Tops

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"Spinning round me, things are finally happening
Step up to me; this dance fight will be legendary
Their chances are thinning
I dodge bullets when I'm spinning
New plans are just beginning
I've hit the top!"
The Megas, "Can't Stop the Top"

It moves too fast to touch, yet it stays in one place. It's so stable, military jets use them to stabilize themselves. And it's so cheap and plentiful, every toy store's bargain bin has them. It's the gyroscope, also known as the top. And in the world of fiction, there are some who decide to weaponize them. There are two common ways to go about this:

The first is to spin some tops, then throw them. They will either throw them at the opponent, counting on the impact force plus it being a rapidly-spinning object; or they will throw them at the ground, where they will either stay in place and deal damage to anyone who touches them or drift around along the ground, making it difficult for opponents to maneuver around. Tops differ from other ground-based obstacles in that they trace irregular paths and will move faster when they touch each other. In rare instances, it's not so much that it spins as much as the spinning creates something more dangerous, such as whirlwinds or lightning. In these cases, a top is the optimum shape for something to spin around real fast without any additional input of energy or anything to hold on to the object.

The other approach is to actually spin themselves like a top as an attack. This is distinguished from ordinary Spectacular Spinning in that the fighters are either shaped like a top by default or can convert themselves into a top-like shape, with a point at the bottom. They follow top-like movements and may have a long stick over their heads. May overlap with Spin to Deflect Stuff in this sense.

Whether they deploy tops or spin like one, there is always the option to make them even more painful to touch by modifications, such as spikes or blades along the rim to create a makeshift and portable buzz saw, using durable materials to be reused again and again, or to tweak the weight for maximum kinetic force.

In any case, expect these characters to have very good balance.

Subtrope of Improbable Weapon User and Spectacular Spinning. When the axis of rotation is turned parallel to the ground and a string thrown in, it's Killer Yo-Yo.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Battle Angel Alita, motorball second league champion "Caligula" Armburst has an ability to transform into one.
  • This is the premise of every incarnation of Beyblade. Beyblades are spinning tops that sometimes contain mythical beasts within them, which typically emerge during battle and fight opponents using various moves and powers.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Gido tosses tops infused with nen (life force). When hit, Gon (pictured above, trying to dodge the tops) remarks that they hit like a sledgehammer. If the opponent gets too close, Gido can then spin like a top himself.
  • Shippo in Inuyasha has an arsenal of tops.
  • In One Piece, Captain Buggy's First Mate uses spinning tops in one of his attacks.
  • In Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask inexplicably goes through a brief spinning top phase; Presumably to keep with the holiday theme of the movie, during the Sailor Moon S movie, instead of employing his deadly throwing-knife roses, Tuxedo Mask launches a spinning top at the face of one of Princess Snow Kaguya's more unfortunate Snow Dancers.
  • Giant mecha Voltes V has the Ultraelectromagnetic Top attack. It has hard blades, comes in twos, manipulated by the giant robot using its belt, and are colored RED.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kaiba's 1st generation Duel Disk uses a rotating holoprojector.
  • Spinning tops is one of Ryotsu's past time hobbies in Kochikame. In the first movie, it was used to cut an out-of-reach bomb wire.

    Asian Animation 
  • Infinity Nado involves a lot of combat between people's Infinity Nados, little toy tops that can summon fighting creatures called Spirits and are put together in a similar vein to Beyblade.
  • Animation/Kodama, Ends up having spinning tops in the later seasons.

    Comic Books 
  • A one-shot Batman called the Spinner used spinning objects as his theme. His weapons included a giant spinning top Batman was forced to nudge aside with the Batmobile.
  • The weapon of choice for The Flash villain The Top.
  • Similarly, giant tops are a favorite weapon of Superman's enemy Toyman.

  • The Laughing Larrys from James Alan Gardner's novel Hunted. A spinning spherical robot that shoots razor-sharp flechettes in all directions. It makes a laughing noise while it flays you alive.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Shiro/Kamen Rider Yuuki, the main antagonist of the third Kamen Rider Den-O film, uses wooden exploding toy tops as one of his weapons. As a necromancer, he also uses them to resurrect an army of Imagin for the final battle.
  • Kamen Rider Meteor from Kamen Rider Fourze uses his Meteor Storm Switch as this for his finisher.


    Tabletop Games 
  • There was a board game called Battling Tops back in the 60s and 70s. The tops were spun up to speed using threads wrapped around them.

    Video Games 
  • Maori from Arcana Heart has a top which she balances in her arm what she occasionally uses to attack, though usually at short range. Her Critical Heart even has her using it as an arrow head.
  • Kirby introduced a Top form in the Anime series.
  • In Landstalker, there is a boss called "Spinner" who attacks by turning into a ball and rolling at the player.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: In its final form, Majora's Wrath, the titular mask attacks with a pair of whip-like appendages and razor studded spinning tops.
    • The Spinner in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a top-based battle vehicle. In addition to allowing Link to ride through magnetic rails and over quicksand, it can also be used as a cog to operate large machines or structures. It can also attack small enemies and is vital to defeat one of the bosses, Stallord.
    • The Spinner returns as an unlockable weapon for Link in Hyrule Warriors where it has been massively beefed up. In addition to being able to attack all enemies with it, it has become a full-fledged fighting style giving Link impressive skateboard like attacks. Link can also summon multiple Spinners making stepping stones, traps, or he can launch the spares at enemies. The weapon has gained a Lightning elemental affinity meaning it can store electricity and create an electric charge around Link that fries enemies.
  • Top Man in Mega Man 3 and his counterpart, TopMan.EXE in the Mega Man Battle Network series. Both can spin or toss tops, although Mega Man is only able to copy the spinning. There's also the second stage of the battle with Elpizo in Mega Man Zero 2, where one of his attacks involves a flying, spiked, golden top.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has the Quad drones as well as the Quadraxis boss battle, which can curl up into spinning top shapes. The former can only be stopped by bashing into them using the Boost Ball.
  • Pokémon:
    • Hitmontop is based on a combination of a spinning top (hence the name) and capoeira martial arts. A mini-game in Pokémon Stadium 2 is a battle between four Hitmontops with the goal of knocking the others out of the ring.
    • Mega Slowbro seems to have been inspired by this as well. The Shellder that was clamped onto Slowpoke's tail has now enveloped most of its body, and it stands and spins on its Slowpoke tail like a top.
    • There was also an early, unreleased and unnamed Pokemon that was a top-like cat creature. This idea most likely turned into Hitmontop.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, one of the attacks of the Jew class is to spin a dreidel that pinballs between your enemies if properly executed.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, one of the bosses, Topmaniac, IS a top. He is the leader of the Topmen, smaller sentient tops. The latter return in Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • In Super Monkey Ball 2, an early stage is called "Spinning Top." The sole obstacle in this stage is a humongous top would knock the monkey completely off the stage if touched due to its spinning. The goal ring is located dangerously close to where it spins, and 1-up yielding bananas are hung from its edge.
  • ROB from Super Smash Bros. can charge up and launch a top from Gyromite. It stays in place and damages any other player who touches it. ROB can move over and pick it back up to throw it again. The charge time determines how long the top remains spinning.

    Web Video 

     Western Animation  
  • The Batman "Bird of Prey": Penguin's umbrella acts as one of these which destroys a few rooms of Wayne Manor.
  • Chanukkah Zombie's space fighter from Futurama shoots dreidels.
  • The Spinning Tops of Doom in Kim Possible.
  • The weapon of the Bee Miraculous in Miraculous Ladybug is a trompo. Chloé wields it as her "superhero" alter ego, Queen Bee.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas And Ferb-Busters!" the kids play a 4-person game of "Battling Tops of Doom" (possibly as a Shout-Out to the Kim Possible example). The tops are something like 20' tall, and the players ride inside them.
  • In one episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Toyman unleashes a gigantic top that generates electric fields against Superman.