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Giant Robot Hands Save Lives

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"Don't worry, Optimus was using his soft legs to try and catch Sam and Mikayla."

In general, the hand of a Humongous Mecha would not really be safe for a human to fall on, what with them being made of metal and all.

That doesn't stop heroic souls from striving to save innocent people who get caught in the crossfire and end up falling off a building. What's more, it doesn't stop that heroic act from working in the first place!

Usually, falling on metal from a great height would be as bad as falling on anything from a great height. At the absolute best, getting caught by a giant robot should just subtract the robot's height from the total distance the person is falling, which is only useful if falling off something barely taller than the robot itself. But Humongous Mecha seems to throw that element of momentum out the window. For the best, perhaps - the rate of Heroic BSODs would probably skyrocket if would-be heroes had to spend their time cleaning the bodies of innocent women and children off of their robot's hands.

Note that this could work if the robot hand in question lightly grabbed the person around the waist with its fingers and followed them down a ways, to gradually slow the person's fall if the robot is tall enough—but this is almost never the way it's portrayed.

In (the highly unusual) case the person to be saved dies from coming in contact with the robot's hand, it's often a And Call Him "George" moment.

A subtrope of Not the Fall That Kills You….


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Suzaku in Code Geass, as seen here.
    • Kallen later saves Lelouch the same way in season 2, though in her case Lelouch is not quite in the process of falling, having just been blown out of another ship.
  • The Doraemon movie, Doraemon: Nobita and the Steel Troops, have Zanda Claus, the Mechatopian Robot Army's Humongous Mecha, revealing itself to be converted to the side of good as Doraemon and friends are getting overwhelmed by hostile robots, when a floating robot snatches Nobita into mid-air only for Zanda Claus to crush the robot in one hand and let Nobita harmlessly land on the other, carefully placing Nobita to ground level in his palm.
  • It happened several times in Mazinger Z and its sequels (Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer). A particularly awesome instance happened in the episode 28 when Mazinger Z saved Professor Yumi with a Rocket Punch when he was falling down a cliff. In the Ota equivalent manga chapter, he was falling from a flying fortress and Aphrodite A was the one that caught him. Another instance happened in the Nagai Heroes e-manga, when Diana A saved Jun.
  • Jinki:Extend, just about every other episode it seems.
  • Featured in Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure.
  • Justified in Godannar, where the super robot has an inflatable airbag that comes out of the palm of its hand.
  • Roger and Schwarzwald fall into their giant robots' hands in The Big O.
  • Macross:
    • Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and its Robotech adaptation) has a version of this, with a giant VF-1 Valkyrie hand taking hold of a girl to 'catch' her while the pilot tried to match her fall. The hand gets blown off and he has to get her into the cockpit instead.
      • The Robotech novelizations make a point of describing just how insane the maneuver was and the difficulty of matching her velocity and maneuvering in relation to her in free-fall.
      • The Macross: Do You Remember Love? version of this scene also has Hikaru catching a falling Minmei with the hands of his Valkyrie after matching velocity, and great care is put into the animation of how the Valkyrie's hand closes around her very very gently before starting to slow down. But because he didn't have that much room to slow down, and was forced to waste a lot of it matching speeds in the first place, Hikaru then proceeds to crash at terminal velocity into an abandoned portion of the Macross.
    • Macross Frontier, being the 25th anniversary milestone series, has a shout out to this scene.
    • In Macross Delta, Mirage does this in order to catch another giant robot.
      • She also does the standard version of this trope twice in episode 13, the first time to catch Hayate, the second time to catch Freyja.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • While the show tends to play mech tropes straight, this trope is averted when the protagonist actually gets out of his mech to catch the girl in his arms.
    • They use a Humongous Mecha hand to catch a... slightly more reasonably-sized mecha.
    • Played straight when Yoko falls out of the Gurren's cockpit while it's flying, and Simon pilots the thing to catch her. Then it gets knocked into the Airborne Aircraft Carrier... but it's still averted in that he flies down to catch her and matches speeds. She's also shown to be injured slightly from the impact afterwards.
    • Also, Nia in Episode 15.
  • The Gundam franchise has a few examples of this:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro tried to catch Ramba Ral with his Gundam, after the latter jumped out of White Base. However, Ramba had pulled the pin on a grenade and was killed before he reached the hand, preferring to die in battle than live as a prisoner.
      • Inverted in Yoshiyuki Tomino's original novelization of Mobile Suit Gundam. After killing her brother Gihren, Kycilia Zabi has Char take her into Zum City (Zeon's home colony) with his Rick Dom. She stands in its hand and announces that she's in which point Char tips his Dom's hand, which makes Kycilia splat against the ground below.
    • Played straight by Shiro Amada in Gundam 08th MS Team when catching a falling Aina after she had been shot.
    • It was later lampshaded in Zeta Gundam when Quattro comments on how skilled Amuro is to catch an antique plane with his suit's hands without killing the pilot.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Judau catches Ple-2 with the ZZ's hand after she is knocked off by the shockwave from an explosion. Between the explosion's shockwave and hitting the ZZ's hand, she sustains bad injuries and dies in the next episode.
    • Gundam Unicorn has Banagher pulling this off with the Unicorn to catch Audrey as she free falls in the atmosphere. He is shown taking the time to match speeds with her before making any contact between the mech and Audrey, and he had plenty of time to do it given they were in the upper atmosphere.
    • Wonderfully averted (again) in Crossbone Gundam (Steel Seven). Bernadette has the chance to save a falling Tobia and Europa with the X1 like this, but thinks better of it. She then uses the X1's cape and mouth exhaust to save them with an impromptu hot air balloon.
    • Gundam: Reconguista in G averts this in the first episode, where Raraiya is forcibly ejected from her Mobile Suit in the upper atmosphere. Dellensen makes sure to match her fall speed and carefully scoop her up with his Suit's hand, protecting her from bodily harm, but extended oxygen deprivation still causes brain damage and reduces her to a childlike state for much of the show.
  • The protagonist of Genesis of Aquarion attempts this, but the person he catches gets incinerated by the blast that shortly follows the catch, so when the hand opens up again all there is is a smear of soot... and a Heroic BSoD.
  • Averted in Eureka Seven. Renton catches Eureka by matching her descent speed and pulling her into the cockpit. In another instance, Anemone's mech which flew itself, in case you were wondering, catches both her and Dominic by moving under them and slowly leveling off to cushion their landing.
  • In the second episode of Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Sideburn manages to save Kelly from a deadly fall - only to be disappointed, because he was trying to save her sexy sports car.
  • MÄR: In an example that crosses over between this and Soft Water, Snow saves herself from a fall which the watching characters clearly expect her to go splat from, by calling on her giant snowman and landing safely in its hand.
  • RahXephon also plays with the trope: rather than touch a person directly, the Xephon is capable of encasing them in a spherical energy field that hovers slightly above the mech's hand. Thus it is able to safely grab and carry people without causing them harm.
  • In Monster Rancher, the protagonists have a surveying technique in which Golem hurls Suezo high into the air. Occasionally Golem will get distracted and forget to catch Suezo, who then crashes into the ground. However, even when Golem succeeds in the catch, Suezo is still falling onto hands of stone that are maybe six feet above the ground. In one instance Golem pretends to forget and then grabs Suezo's tail just before impact.
  • One episode of Star Driver has Takuto in his Tauburn saving a comatose Sugata like this after he gets caught in the crossfire and his protective sphere (or whatever it's supposed to be) breaks.
  • In episode 17 of the Super Robot Wars: OG: Divine Wars, Rai rescues Princess Shine in this manner. He averts the usual illogicality of this trope by descending his Schutzwald at the same speed as she was.
    • In the original OVA, Kyosuke saves Lamia from the ODE system via blasting it and ripping her out with Alteisen's fist. Notably Lamia is horrifically mangled in the attempt being ripped in half at the torso and losing one of her arms as well in addition to being pulled out right into the vacuum of space and the only reason this didn't kill her worse then the system would have is because Lamia is a W-Series.
  • Justified in Comet Lucifer: it's not the dense robot's hands that save them, but the antigravity power that it uses.
  • Parodied and subverted in the final episode of Cannon Busters season one: Casey tries to catch Philly the Kid in Betsy's hand, but he ends up splattering messily against it and dying. Since he's immortal, he just comes back to life a few seconds later anyway.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 29, Wolnie falls off the edge of the floating Balloon City and is rescued by Wolffy, who uses his train, Sirius, to extend a giant metallic hand out to catch her.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Nobody Dies, Unit-01, acting on its own free will, saves Shinji and Asuka from falling off an aircraft carrier in this fashion.
  • Justified in The Unexpected Rookie, as the Autobots are in the world of Cars. At the start of the fight, McQueen is about to go after Skywarp (who's threatening his friend) before he knows what he's dealing with. Jazz pins him to the ground first, keeping him out of danger so he can take on Skywarp himself, allowing McQueen to safely get his friends out. Also inverted, in that Jazz pinned McQueen down instead of catching him.
  • Wonderful (Mazinja): Giant energy hand variant. When an enemy tank shot Vicky away at high speed, Wonder Red's giant hand caught her, saving the girl from crashing against anything tough.
  • Used in Cardcaptor Rad, with both Smokescreen and Sideways. In the former's case, the distance of the drop isn't mentioned, while in the latter's case there was a mediator that lessened the risk of going splat.

    Films — Animation 
  • Averted in The Iron Giant. While he uses his hard iron hand to keep them from hitting the ground, he matches velocity then slows them down first.
  • In Rugrats in Paris, Chuckie, controlling a giant Reptar robot, catches Angelica after she falls from a spot just above the Eiffel Tower.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Though not a robot, the Hulk does this in The Avengers (2012) for Iron Man. This one is actually justified as he has survived some high impact collisions in that suit. If a jet hitting it didn't kill him, being caught by The Hulk wouldn't either.
  • Giant Monster Gamera: It's a giant monster hand rather than a robot, but Gamera still pulls this trope off when he saves a young boy from falling off a lighthouse. Justified as he was able to get his hand under the kid before he actually fell and thus it wasn't a very far drop. Establishes Gamera's status as a Non-Malicious Monster.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Okay, he's not a robot, but the principle is still the same; Hellboy throws a baby in the air and catches it with his hand. You know, the one that's made of solid rock. And not just a few feet, either, we're talking a good three to five meters, enough to wind up the firing mechanism on his custom BFG. The public calls him out for being reckless with the baby once he's dispatched the monster.
  • Done quite literally in Real Steel, though much more feasibly than most - Max is sliding out of control, about to go over the edge of a cliff, and his belt gets caught on the hand of a buried robot.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Transformers (2007):
      • Optimus Prime catches Sam when he falls from a building. In this case, at least, he seems to be lowering his hand as he catches him to slow him down.
      • Bumblebee snatches both Sam and Mikaela out of midair while moving at high-speed. Right before that, the two of them had fallen from Optimus Prime's shoulder, who tried to catch them with his foot - which could have slowed them down to the point that Bumblebee could safely snatch them from the air...except the sound they make when they hit it is horrible, and suggests they cracked their ribs. Of course, they were fine.
    • Done slightly more realistically in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Bumblebee flips through the air and grabs Sam and Lennox, and then continues to flip through the air until he lands. Only then does he let them go.
  • Terminator Salvation: Teenage Kyle Reese and his friend Star are thrown from a truck and plummet from a very high bridge. They are caught by a harvester, basically a giant terminator (with giant metal terminator hands), and dropped roughly into a transport. They seem to be uninjured.
  • Shin Ultraman: After she's hurled into the air during his battle with Zarab, Ultraman catches Hiroko Asami on her way down. Here though he not only is very careful to match and slow her fall first, but he uses both hands just to be sure.

  • The first story arc of Full Metal Panic! ends with Sousuke carrying both Kaname and Kurz in the hands of his Humongous Mecha, and at one point tossing Kaname into the air to free up the Arbalest's hand long enough to shoot down a pursuing enemy, then catching her more or less safely on her way down, all while the Arbalest is running full-tilt. Kaname is knocked out by the impact, but not otherwise appreciably injured.
  • Inverted and played with at the beginning of the BattleTech novel Highlander Gambit. A team of Death Commandos (Elite soldiers of the Capellan Confederation) are going through a simulated hostage rescue training mission. The protagonist was carrying the dummy that represented the hostage in his mech's hand, and to evacuate it while being pursued by enemy 'Mechs, threw it across a lake, landing near the rescue team that was to take the 'hostage' away. During the debriefing, the CO commented that a real human would have been severely injured, but the protagonist stated that there were medics in the Evac team and better severely injured than dead or in enemy hands and able to give up sensitive information.
  • In the Discworld book Jingo, Vimes is in the burning Klatchian Embassy and saves a woman's life by throwing her out the window and into the arms of Detritus, a troll. Discworld trolls are literally made of rock.
  • Alek in Leviathan falls off of a roof top only to be caught by a giant automaton. Justified in this case, as he was caught after only falling a short distance.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happened at least twice during Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: the first time to a girl, the second time to Bulk and Skull who were in a bus. Interestingly, there are actually two "Megazord hands" used in the series. Normally it's metal, but it was a black glove in the scenes when someone needed to not smack into solid steel after falling a few hundred feet. Apparently, the viewer was expected to not notice. Even as kids, everyone did.
    • An interesting variant is in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, where the characters are already on the ground. The Turbo Megazord lowers its hand to allow the civilian Ranger assistants plus Bulk and Skull to climb up...and then promptly locks its hand into a tight fist, presumably crushing the occupants to death. Obviously, they were fine later, but it was a bit jarring. "Oh, yeah, come on up, guys, let me give you a hand...CRUNCH."
    • An interesting variation happens in Rescue Sentai GoGoFive/Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, where Red's Zord is a fire engine whose ladders are the Megazord's arms, and naturally, end in giant hands. These are used to enter burning buildings so that the people inside can step into the hands and be pulled to safety.
  • While they aren't giant robots, but the Ultramen of the Ultra Series do this pretty frequently. However, it might not hurt quite as much to fall into the hands of an alien compared to a robot.
    • Averted in Ultraman Neos episode 1. A HEART member's car carrying a young boy and his dog is levitated to safety by Ultraman Neos.
    • In episode 6 of Ultraman Blazar, Yasunobu is saved after falling from an exploding balcony by Earth Garon, a Humongous Mecha, catching him just before he hit the ground.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze: Shun Daimonji takes this role when he becomes the pilot of the Power Dizer unit, even saving a bus from falling off an unfinished highway with the use of his will and strength alone. Did we mention that he's only a football quarterback?
    • However, in an aversion of the physics-breaking part of this trope, he is shown using the Dizer to catch falling objects-such as, say, Fourze himself- then spinning with the momentum and slowing them down as opposed to just a straight-up catch.
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper deconstructs the physics of this sort of thing, which grosses out Penny and causes her to lament that the romance has been killed.


    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The Sonic The Hedgehog franchise usually has the giant robot hand attacking you, but there are exceptions:
    • The Gaia Colossus does one of these after the final battle in Sonic Unleashed, but it is justified in that Sonic's fall is decelerated before impact. Not to mention that Sonic is Made of Iron and has survived huge falls before.
    • In Sonic 2 and Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all fall from orbit, only to land on the wing of the Tornado while it's still moving. This also occurs at the end of Sonic Advance.
  • Raidese saves Princess Shine in this manner in an episode of Super Robot Wars OG Divine Wars.
    • There's a variation in this in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Gaiden: Kyosuke saves Lamia from the Bartolls by plugging her directly out of the cockpit, which only worked out because Lamia is an android... but then Deconstructed because just because someone is in a robot's hand doesn't mean the person is completely safe, as she ends up getting shot down and thought to be killed only to come back later Brainwashed and Crazy. And then it's Axel's turn to repeat the same to restore her for real, and he has better luck because there's no one hiding in the shadow trying to shoot his hand down when he's not expecting.
  • In the single player campaign of Titanfall 2, the Player Character Jack Cooper falls from the top of a tower and is caught by his Titan, BT-7274.
  • In the Overwatch short "Infiltration", Sombra saves herself from a fall during a chase in a Volskaya Industries factory by hacking a dormant mecha's arm, causing it to curl up and break her fall. While she manages to graze it with her hand mid-fall (the contact being what allows her to hack it in the first place), she still falls down what appears to be a few storeys before it catches her, and yet she's no worse for wear.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens a lot in the other Transformers series as well. The only time it's justified is in the case of Sari, as she's not technically human in Transformers: Animated.
    • Happens a few times in Transformers: Prime, but sometimes it was played semi-realistically. In "Plus One", Wheeljack catches a falling June and Fowler by catching them in his hands, diving into a roll the second they make contact, then transforming into his car form. When he lets them out, they seem shaken but fine.
    • The Rescue Bot Heatwave has saved a few individuals using this method. One case is justified because he saved a robo- baby.
  • Parodied in Dexter's Laboratory. The Dee Dee bot evacuates island natives when a volcano erupts but she dumps them in shark infested waters.
  • Not a robot hand, but in an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, John Jameson turned Colonel Jupiter rescues a mother and her son from a burning building by catching them in his arms after they fall for several stories.
  • In My Life as a Teenage Robot, Jenny saves a man falling from the peak of a mountain by catching him a few feet from the ground.
  • In the Invader ZIM episode "Dibship Rising," TAK's Sapient Ship does this by holding out its mechanical tentacles in the shape of a hand and catching Dib in the "fingers."