Follow TV Tropes



Go To
When all you are is a giant head, it's hard to Face Palm.

"Hey guys, whaddya call a big head with tiny arms and legs?"
Jamie, Megas XLR

Critters which, rather than having a head and a torso, are basically heads with limbs. Usually a cartoony simplification, though Spider Limbed heads sometimes appear in horror movies and the like.

If you're not sure whether a creature has a head-torso or just a particularly thick neck, check how much their mouth can open. If it goes all the way to the groin, you've got a winner.

Another good way to check is the position of their arms. Generally a Cephalothorax's arms will be at the same height as his eyes (approximately where his ears would be except Cephalothoraxes almost never have ears, or at least visible ones)

If they are video game characters with really stubby legs and arms (or no arms at all), they are Waddling Heads.

An ancient Greek legend described a race of Cephalothoraxes called "Blemmyae" living in north Africa, which makes this trope Older Than Feudalism. You probably shouldn't think too hard about where the digestive tract or heart/lungs are located.


A specific subtrope is Oculothorax, where the "head" is mostly just one big eyeball.

Compare My Brain Is Big.

Its important to note that arachnid and crustacean anatomy features a body part combining head and thorax orginally called the cephalothorax. While it does technically fit the trope, this is the natural state of such creatures, and as such should not be listed here.


    open/close all folders 

  • Kool-Aid Man.
  • The Weight Watchers "Hungry Monster"
  • The M&M's spokecandies.
  • Honey-Comb cereal's Craver.
  • This billboard advertisement.
  • King Ding Dong on the packages of Hostess Ding Dongs.
    • Most of the Hostess mascots in general, as a matter of fact.
  • Cool Spot, the mascot for 7up from 1987 to 1997.

    Asian Animation 
  • Motu Patlu: The fireball aliens from "Fire Ball Aliens" are nothing but heads with arms, legs, and a flame on top of their heads.
  • Oddbods has the titular creatures, round jumpsuit-wearing creatures that have faces poking out of a hole on their jumpsuits.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Paddi's pet fried egg, Eggy, has his arms and legs directly connected to his midsectionless head.
  • In Simple Samosa, all of the characters are Anthropomorphic Food, mostly snack foods that are popular in India. While certain characters have more humanoid appearances, quite a few of the characters are nearly unchanged from the appearances of the original food items except with human appendages attached to them, giving the impression that they're just a head with arms and legs. Of the show's four main characters, Samosa, Dhokla, Vada, and Jalebi, the former three fall under this category.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Lagann, the Gurren, and several other Ganmen from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann; being a Combining Mecha, however, the Gurren Lagann and its larger forms have a normal humanoid shape. Lagann's identified at one point as a 'core mech', so it seems that the various Gunmen were designed headless to accommodate Lagann-types, which were designed without heads because they become the heads.
  • Many Digimon as well, specially the baby ones.
  • One Piece villain Buggy the Clown resembles one of these when he tries to assemble himself after his torso and limbs are tied up (leaving only the head, hands, and feet). He ends up stuck that way for quite a while after Luffy gives him a Megaton Punch, until Alvida finally brings him back to his crew (who held onto his torso).
  • Jama-P from Wedding Peach.
  • Psycho Jenny, one of Satan's second in commands from Devilman.
  • King Nikochan and his alien race from Doctor Slump.
  • Jibaku (actually, all the spirits) from Twelve World Story.
  • Taken to an extreme with the Yamata no Orochi from Ranma ½, a legendary dragon whose "body" is just one massive, mountain-sized head. The remaining seven heads sprout from the back of the main head. It just raises the question: with no body, no limbs, nothing but one giant head and seven smaller ones, where do the sake it drinks and women it devours go?
  • Happens at least once in Franken Fran, when a guy brings Fran his girlfriend's severed head. Although he's not actually her boyfriend, and is responsible for decapitating her in the first place. Fran manages to keep her alive by removing some of the brain and using the space to install a small system of vital organs, including a digestive tract. Later Fran attaches a hand so the head can move around. After that, she gives the victim a full, monstrous body, and she takes revenge on her "boyfriend", who discovered too late that her memory of him wasn't removed with those pieces of brain.

    Comic Books 
  • M.O.D.O.K. (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) from the Marvel Universe, pictured above. He was originally a normal human mook before he got shoved very unwillingly into the machine that transformed him. Then he used his new hyperintelligence and psychic abilities to take over the organization. Despite his appearance, he's not a true Cephalothorax. He's got a normal-looking body and a truly massive head, and can only sit or move about at all because of the floating chair thing.
  • Several species of aliens featuring the various Green Lantern comics count: Green Lanterns Chaselon and Diamalon, natives of the planet Barrio III, resemble Disco Balls with metallic tentacle limbs. Green Lantern Galius Zed and his Evil Counterpart Zilius Zox of the Red Lantern Corps are near-spherical heads with small limbs coming out of them. Whilst Blume of the Orange Lantern Corps has no limbs to speak of. He's basically just a giant flying head with a prehensile mustache.
  • X-Men foe Sugar Man, from the Age of Apocalypse.
  • Judge Kray-Tor from Marvel Comics, foe of Adam Warlock in the Silver Age adventures as written by Starlin. Bonus points for having TWO pair of arms where his ears would be.
  • Captain America villain Arnim Zola appears to be this, but the face on his torso is actually a flatscreen monitor; as a World War II era villain, he survived through Brain Uploading and uses various robot bodies to commit his experiments.
  • Iron Man in the Guardians of the Galaxy issue of Marvel 100th Anniversary Special, when he isn't using his "Iron Manites" as a battle suit.
  • Bone has Kingdok, whose eyes and mouth seem to grow out of his torso. Notably this wasn't the case in his first few appearances, and it might be a result of being controlled by the Locust.
  • Superman storyline The Unknown Supergirl has an unnamed alien race whose bodies are spherical, spiky, orange heads with tiny tentacles. Given that they only appear when the main character is experiencing hallucinations, it is uncertain whether they are real or a nightmare.
  • Tales of the Beanworld: Beans are literal sentient beans with eyes, mouth and limbs.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Goblins from the Rankin-Bass Animated The Hobbit edge onto this when they open their mouths fully.
  • In Monsters, Inc., Mike Wazowski is mostly a giant eyeball, with a small mouth and spindly arms and legs. His one eye, while big, isn't quite big enough to push him into Oculothorax territory.
  • Toy Story:
    • One of the deformed toys was a truly frightening sight for a kid's movie: A bald doll's head with mechanical spider legs made from an Erector set. Like all the other "monster" toys, though, it turned out to be good-hearted and kind.
    • Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head, are exactly that: only heads with limbs.
  • Maxum from Gandahar/Light Years. No distinct head, but a face on the front of his torso (rather like one of the aforementioned Blemmyae).
  • Humpty Dumpty from Puss in Boots.
  • In the Despicable Me franchise, the minions' heads are their bodies.
  • In Happy Heroes 2: The Battle of Planet Qiyuan, the Supermen of Planet Qiyuan are cube-shaped aliens with this kind of body structure.
  • Treasure Planet has Torrance, who is first introduced with his crewmate, Hedley, sitting on top of him.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Fairy Tales 
  • Kolobok — being from Russian fairy tale, a singing runaway round bread. In popular culture is drawn mostly as a yellow spherical head with limbs.
  • The Blemmyes were supposedly a race of people with faces on their chests that were rumored to live in unexplored parts of the world, though this was later changed to mean "India."

  • Humpty Dumpty from Alice in Wonderland. And lampshaded: Alice cannot tell whether the garment wrapped around his middle is a cravat or a belt.
  • The Kaldanes in Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Chessmen of Mars.
  • Or for that matter, the Martians of The War of the Worlds, described as blubbery heads with tentacles.
  • The Mr. Men and Little Misses from Roger Hargreaves' series of children's books. The "sort of animals" in his Timbuctoo series are cephalothorax Funny Animals.
    • Exceptions: Mr Snow and Mr Dizzy both have an "8" shape with a distinct head and body, as does Honk, a sort of seal. Mr Greedy's bulging tummy similarly makes it clear where his head is. Less certain examples are Mr Skinny, Mr Busy, Mr Mean and Little Miss Neat, whose faces are in the top halves of their ovular/rectangular bodies (see the above comment about "just a thick neck").
  • In Edmond Hamilton's The Man Who Evolved (1931), a scientist evolves himself with a machine of his own invention, his brain growing larger and larger in the process while his body shrinks to nothingness. At a certain point, he's nothing but a huge head with hands and feet sprouting just below his chin.
  • The Blemmyes of legend inhabit one of the alternate Earths in A Tale of the Unwithering Realm. They have a tough skin, are immensely strong, and have a taste for human meat. They have somewhat bizarre anatomy with ears under their armpits, their nose-holes on the top of their shoulders, and a mouth and stomach which seem to have more room than the Blemmyes' size would indicate.
  • In Animorphs #20, Visser Three morphs an alien creature called the Dule Fansa, which looks like this. A fanartist's depiction.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Nakaleen Feeder from Babylon 5
  • The In Living Color! sketch "The Head Detective": the doctors tell the partner of a detective in the ER that they could rebuild him... for six million dollars. But since the partner only has $28.45 on him, the best the surgeons can do is a cephalothorax.
  • Paroos from the Farscape episode 'A Prefect Murder' probably qualified. He was basically Father Jack's head from Father Ted, except alien and slightly better looking.
  • Inside their saltshaker-like armor, Daleks on Doctor Who look like brains with tentacles and one big eye in the middle.
  • A number of Ultra Series kaiju are made this way as one of the producers' more creative ways of using the People in Rubber Suits technique. However, they usually tend to have disproportionately tiny faces compared to the rest of their bodies. Examples include Takkong, the first kaiju to appear in Return of Ultraman and Black End the final Monster of the Week in Ultraman Leo.
  • The Super Sentai franchise and its American counterpart, are no strangers to this trope, albeit it seemed to be more common in older series. One of the most famous examples on this side of the pond is perhaps the Pudgy Pig monster that appear in the first season of Power Ranger. It even got its own Funko figure!.

    Mythology and Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Squigs from Warhammer are essentially heads with legs and a little tail. And lots of teeth.
  • Sekis, a character in "The Velvet Circle" adventure in the Demon Magic supplement for Stormbringer.
  • Vargouilles in Dungeons & Dragons are Body Horror heads with wings and tentacles, created by The Virus.
    • Modrons
    • Beholders are giant floating heads, with extra eyes on eyestalks. They look pretty comical, until their eyes start shooting rays of destruction in all directions at once. And then they vomit up their young, and you wonder if you'll ever get to sleep again.
    • Tsucora quori from the Eberron setting don't really have a distinct "head" so much as they have a blobby upper torso covered in eyes, which the primary claw arms jut out from.
  • In spite of having distinct body parts to damage, several Mechs in BattleTech look like this, most notably the UrbanMech and the Imp, though it's hard not to get this feeling off the Ursus and its skull-bodied, Gurren-like appearance.
  • The eponymous monsters in The Awful Green Things From Outer Space are blobs with legs and one large eye.
  • Greed abominations in The Others are blobs of flesh with a gaping maw, four stumpy arms, and two stumpy legs.

  • Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors qualifies in almost all productions.
  • In Shakespeare's Othello, while describing the stories of adventure he told to woo Desdemona, Othello mentions "Men whose heads beneath their shoulders grow," likely a reference to Blemmyae. The text does not clarify whether he means it seriously; some performances have Othello indicate that this is a tall tale.

    Video Games 
  • Kirby, Ristar and Starfy from their respective videogames.
  • Neopets:
    • Jubjubs are an entire species of these, as they are just creatures with head, and feet. They are often the subjects of lampshades, on how they can hold things, despite having no hands.
    • Another species, Kikos, only have heads and arms instead.
  • Half of the Super Mario Bros. enemies.
  • Pac-Man's cartoon form, also present in the Namco video game Pac-Land.
  • The Green alloy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Note also that its body is based off of Kirby's, who is listed above.
  • In Dead Space there are enemies that amount to little more than a grotesque head with a couple of arms and legs. If they kill you, they hijack your body in a rather squicky death sequence.
  • Gnaars from Serious Sam.
  • The Gnomes in Kingdom of Loathing.
  • The Nu species from the game Chrono Trigger are (usually) blue creatures like this, with (usually) moss-green mohawks on their head/body.
  • The four Giants from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask each have a Cephalothorax the size of what a giant's head would normally be, and otherwise only count as giants thanks to their incredibly long and spindly arms and legs.
  • The classic 8-bit game M.U.L.E. had several alien races for the player to choose as their avatar. Among these was the Packer, an obvious Shout-Out to Pac Man, who was essentially a big walking mouth with two stubby legs and a pair of eyes.
  • At least one monster in Dwarf Fortress. Unusually for this trope, all vital organs are still present, so you can hit the monster in the head and bruise its lung.
  • In LSD: Dream Emulator, there is an NPC that is a cephalothorax in the courtyard outside of the hotel/apartment building.
  • Custom Robo has the aptly-named "Funky Big Head" (or "Big Boys", depending on the game) line of robos.
  • In Capcom's Mega Man (Classic) series. It is used in "Air Man-type" Robot Master.
    • In Mega Man 2. The first Robot Master to use this trope is Air Man.
    • Needle Man, the needle-based Robot Master from Mega Man 3.
    • Toad Man from Mega Man 4
    • Napalm Man from Mega Man 5. Despite what his in-game sprite suggests, Charge Man is not an example; official artwork reveals that he has a separate head, just one that's extremely bizarrely shaped.
    • Blizzard Man from Mega Man 6
    • Cloud Man from Mega Man 7
    • Magma Man from Mega Man 9
    • Sheep Man and Strike Man from Mega Man 10. Sheep Man's 'face' is so low in his torso that it's barely above his pelvis.
    • Venus from Mega Man V for the Game Boy resembles Toad Man.
    • Konro Man from the obscure Wonderswan-exclusive Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future, a bipedal stove heating unit.
    • Volt Man from the rather badly made DOS game.
    • Wave Man (no relation to the one from 5), from the also-bad sequel to the first DOS game.
    • Arcade Man, Daruman, Tablet Man, and Udon Man are contest winners who were added to Rockman X Over.
  • Hansel and Gretel from NieR are giant Gunmen-like helmets with limbs.
  • The many Pokémon examples have been put into lists. See the lists of Pokémon species that consist entirely of a head, that have a base but are otherwise just a head, that have arms but are otherwise just a head, and that have legs but are otherwise just a head. Jigglypuff, Igglybuff, Elekid, Hitmonlee, Polywhirl, Polywrath, Snorunt, Budew, Nosepass, Chingling, Trubbish, and Darumaka are basically heads with arms and legs.
  • The Bomb-type enemies from the Final Fantasy series.
  • The body of Ogmo from Jumper series consists entirely of a rectangular head and two tiny legs.
  • From Cave Story, there are critters and Balrog. The formers consist almost entirely of heads (their legs are barely visible), while the latter is a soap-bar with only a face and stubby limbs.
  • Sneakers in Sneakers and Fast Eddie, two early 1980s games by Sirius Software.
  • Doom:
    • Both the Cacodemons and the Pain Elementals of Doom II are floating monster heads that shoot things at you.
    • The Spiderdemon and the Arachnatrons both take the form of a giant brain with a face on the front and tiny spindly arms carried about on a multi-legged combat chassis.
  • The titular Meat Boy, plus his lover Bandage Girl.
  • Flumpty Bumpty of One Night at Flumpty's is basically a psychotic egg-based abomination with arms, legs, and a face that takes up the whole front of his ovoid body. The same is true of the equally nightmarish Golden Flumpty.
  • Some creatures in Spore
    • An example is seen here with this creation. This creature has mouths and faces all over its body (tail, belly, legs, etc...), including on its belly. Although the belly faces could have been once considered a Belly Mouth, the small human head was crushed by the feet, making these belly faces the highest faces on the body, therefore a face that was once located on the belly was now the creature’s head. However, after some time the creature could be considered a Belly Mouth again since faces formed on its belly mouth’s belly.
  • This tiny baby creature, which you must guide through The Old Tree, doesn't even have proper limbs, just four small tentacles on its head/body.
  • The ginormous dragon angel Fortitudo from Bayonetta combines this trope with being a Multiple Head Case.
  • Some common enemies in Don't Starve have no differentiation between their head and their body, such as hounds and spiders. A few friendly mobs fit this trope as well, like Chester.
  • In the Tamagotchi digital pet toy series (and by extension the rest of the franchise), certain characters resemble heads with arms and legs. Ringotchi, the apple-shaped Tamagotchi, and Akaspetchi and Pipospetchi, the villainous Spacytchi's brothers, are two examples.
  • Grow games:
    • A recurring creatures from these games and others Eyezmaze games called Pierre is a flying ball-looking creatures with a face, two little bat wings, two tiny hands and two horns. It's often half-green, half-yellow but the colors may vary. Strangely if they are hit by a hammer, they will split be in two and a Onky will come out of it. They are fine if you stick the halfs back with glue.
    • As seen in Grow Ver 1 and Grow Valley: Tonties queens are giant white Tontie head with 2 horns and angel wings. The reason they just have a head is because their body got crushed by the weight of their head and crowns. When they try to fly they could also count as Oculothorax because tonties have a single eye.
    • In Grow Clay a group of colorful engineers builds a giant robot that have a big round head for a body.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner
    • The Cheat is little more than a squat head with stubby arms and legs.
    • Strong Mad might be more appropriately called a Thoraxocephaloid, as he's the exact opposite: A torso without a head.
  • Battle for Dream Island:
    • Every character in season 1, except for Flower and David.

    Web Comics 
  • The frogs in Blue Moon Blossom are simply heads without any limbs or appendages, implying that they have to hop to get anywhere. The frog that joins the protagonist's traveling party is shown using its tongue on occasion to grab things, however.
  • Gobules in The Mansion of E are heads with legs, even lacking arms.
  • Pussy (Real name, Nicole Paige) from Island by Arialbold has her face on her crotch where her vagina should be.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes
    • Taz the Tasmanian Devil.
    • Gossamer the red monster.
  • South Park: The "girl born without a midsection" on the Maury Povich show.
  • Dizzy Devil from Tiny Toon Adventures, inspired by Taz.
  • Stimpy from The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants. Lampshaded in one episode, when someone sat on him: "Excuse me sir, but you're sitting on my body, which is also my face."
  • ReBoot has Mike the TV and the "1" and "zero" binomes.
  • Baby Poof, from The Fairly OddParents.
  • The various Rusherz from NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core are this
  • Magnanimous (Who's a homage to MODOK from Marvel) from Megas XLR.
  • Technically, the members of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, depending on whether you consider food with a face a "head". But their faces are centered on their bodies, and none of them have actual heads, so....
  • Krumm from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters had no head, but a mouth in the middle of his chest. And that was far from being the most unusual feature of his anatomy—his eyes weren't attached to his body at all, and he had to carry them around in his hands.
  • Big Fat Baby in Histeria!, essentially.
  • The cartoon versions of the Madballs.
  • Squidbillies brings us the always naked, always greedy, Dan Halen.
  • The Sharkticons of Transformers, most notable for their role in The Transformers: The Movie, are basically a sphere with arms, legs, and a big chompy mouth in their "shark" modes.
  • A good number of characters in The Amazing World of Gumball, most notably Darwin, which is mentioned when Masami describes that "he's got legs an, you know... a head.". Although Darwin's "head" is really his whole fish body with legs attached. Depends on how you look at it.
    • This is also lampshaded by his seat in class having a stack of books just so his face can reach above his desknote .
    • Lampshaded again in "The Dream", as Gumball dreams Darwin kissed Penny, wakes up, then shakes Darwin by the knees.
      Darwin: What are you doing?
      Gumball: Trying to throttle you, but you don't have a neck!
    • Darwin mentions in "The Kids" that he's "hopin' that there's still a chance to grow a chest!"—while the screen shows a version of Darwin with a flabby chest with manboobs.
  • Garrett Bobby Ferguson from the Regular Show episode "High Score".
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has this with some of Stitch's cousins, including Kixx.
  • Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, after being stripped of his body when he was banished from Dimension X. Shredder designed and built a humanoid exo-suit for him when they teamed up.
    • The Utroms only look like brains.
  • Bump in the Night protagonist Mr. Bumpy fits this trope to a T, as does one-shot antagonist the Living Bread from the episode "Night of the Living Bread".
  • Murun Buchstansangur was a tiny cephalothorax who lived in a human-sized house and had lots of human-shaped (but Muran-sized) friends. Please don't ask why they chose that name for him.
  • All the characters in The Flumps are fuzzy lumps with faces on the front and arms and legs.
  • Everyone in Rollbots, with the exception of Vertex.
  • The Dorbees are just balls with faces and limbs.
  • The Eggpos from Two More Eggs, the goomba style enemies in Dooble's video game, are one-eyed purple heads with feet.
  • An episode of Beetlejuice has him having his head and body separated (and yes, the body could talk and have a mind on his own) and the head captured by literal head hunters (as in the sense that they were literal heads with arms and legs).

    Real Life 
  • The cephalothorax is a standard stage of development in how a child draws a human figure, that every healthy child goes through in their toddler years. It is preceded by squiggly lines and followed by a figure with a head, torso, and limbs, but no neck. (source)
  • The giant ocean sunfish is basically a fish head with fins and a fringe of tail protruding from it.
  • A puffer fish appears to be a spherical head with fins when it is inflated.
  • The evolutionary origin of water bears (tardigrades) was long disputed. The latest research shows that they are probably closely related to arthropods, i.e., their ancestors looked like primitive myriapodi, but during their evolution they lost all body segments except the head one, which now contains all their organs.
  • Also the name of a part of arachnid and crustacean anatomy that fuses the head and the thorax.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Head With Limbs


Prison Keeper

While its does have a cage hanging from the bottom of its head, its arms are attached to the head as well.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Cephalothorax

Media sources:

Main / Cephalothorax