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Great Bow

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Whoever wields them is a great person too.

"Ahh, this Greatbow? I shan't need it, with no dragons to hunt. I know not if a human could even operate it, but here, thy need outweighs mine."
Hawkeye Gough, Dark Souls I
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When you take Bigger Is Better for bows, you get the Great Bow, a type of bows so large that it almost towers over the wielder. It often requires an Anchored Attack Stance to be used, and is capable of firing abnormally huge projectiles designed for shooting down large beasts or opening a hole on a wall.

Generally speaking, these type of bows can fire more powerful projectiles than ordinary bows, and using them against humanoid targets is often comparable to firing a ballista bolt toward a person. Whoever gets hit by the huge arrows would get knocked flying, or be reduced to a pile of mincemeat, if not get killed in one hit.

Due to their immense size, sometimes they can be used as melee weapons.

Compare BFG for big guns and BFS for big swords. Not to confuse with bows that merely look great.

In order to be qualified as this trope, the bow has to be as tall as the wielder, and it has to be a portable weapon. Stationary ballistae not carried by anyone don't count as this trope, that belongs to Siege Engines. However, if a character wields a ballista as a handheld weapon, it still counts as this trope.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Dainsleif Rod from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is an illegal weapon fired from a bow-like launcher that is taller than a Mobile Suit, firing ranged projectiles capable of penetrating Nanolaminate Armor. It is commonly attached onto a Graze variant, costing the left arm slot to equip the bows.
  • Olios in Yureka wields an enormous bow with arrows so large that they're compared to spears.
  • In Sailor Moon Rei is sometimes seen exercising with the yumi, Japan's traditional (and enormous) bow. As Sailor Mars, her most powerful attack Mars Flame Sniper involves a yumi made out of fire.
  • In Gamaran, Archer Archetype Arata Nakaizumi, one of the largest and best muscled men in the series, makes his return wielding the large daikyu Reigetsu (lit. Dark Moon), a bow as tall as he his (and, as previously mentioned, he's one of the tallest guys), thick and squared, it's openly mentioned that only the true masters of the Nakaizumi School can use it, and Arata does, to shoot special arrows strong enough to rip arms off their sockets and smash castle gates open.
  • Senki Zesshou Symphogear. Chris Yukine's Relic, Ichaival, can manifest a variety of long range-projectile weaponry, mainly bows (including some bigger than her), though due to her violent imagination she can also manifest things such as gatling guns and missiles.

    Comic Book 

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Detritus uses a ballista firing six-foot-long iron arrows as a crossbow. He later upgrades it to fire sheaves of arrows that catch fire from air friction and tend to spread out, to the point where just about the only safe place to be when he fires is right behind him. It's called the Piecemaker.
  • Redwall: One hare is known for a bow so huge the arrows are the size of javelins.
  • The Odyssey: Odysseus makes himself officially known to his wife when she declares she will marry the man who succeeds in stringing her husband's huge bow. Odysseus is the only one to succeed... which leaves him holding a loaded weapon in front of the men who've been abusing his island's hospitality.
  • The Stormlight Archive has supernaturally powered swords known as Shardblades and armor known as Shardplate. Large bows are referred to as "Shardbows", not because they have any supernatural abilities, but because you need Shardplate to wield one. Rock manages to use one to take down Amaram with one in Oathbringer, notably without using any shardplate at all.
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    Live Action TV 
  • In the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Series 4, 'The Watchers on the Wall', the Wildlings launch a massive attack on the Wall, supported by a couple of giants riding mammoths. One of them wields an enormous bow (not that big comparative to his size, admittedly, but still a full-draw longbow) which, when the Wildlings' puny arrows fail to reach the top of the wall (700 feet), he demonstrates to terrifying effect. His first shot smashes through the one of the shelters the Black Brothers stand in at the top of the wall; his second hits one poor sap square in the chest, sending him rocketing into the air high above the wall before plummeting all the way down to the ground on the other side. If he was lucky, he was dead before he hit the ground...

    Tabletop Game 
  • Dungeons & Dragons features a number of these as exotic weapons:
    • The Greatbow, a slightly upgraded Longbow, is described as being at least 6ft tall while strung. While Composite Longbows can be used while mounted due to being less cumbersome than the regular variety, Composite Greatbows cannot.
    • The Bone Bow, a similar weapon crafted from the bones and sinew of mammoths, explicitly has a spike for bracing it in the ground while shooting. Shooting a Bone Bow without proficiency takes the user's entire turn, in addition to the normal accuracy penalty.
    • The Footbow is a raptoran-made bow so powerful that it requires both hands to draw, meaning it can normally be used only while the wielder is flying and gripping it with their feet.
    • A number of "handheld ballistae" also exist, including the Icechucker (which shoots javelins or icicles) and the Great Crossbow. Neither come in repeating varieties, however.

    Video Game 
  • Although Juris of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk usually wields a machete and a small, foldable crossbow, he summons a bow that's taller than him when performing his Finishing Move, Grand Slam.
  • The "Ballista" skill in Armory & Machine. On use, it deals a huge amount of penetrating damage along with regular damage. Its drawbacks are that it costs 30 steel bolts as ammo per use, and it has a very long 30 second cooldown.
  • Dark Souls
    • The Trope Namer is the Dragonslayer Greatbow from Dark Souls I, a bow so large that it towers the wielder, to the point it requires an Anchored Attack Stance to be used. Naturally, due to its immense size, it can fire lance-sized projectiles made for hunting dragons, and the Silver Knights are more than happy to knock you down from the roof of Anor Londo with their bows and arrows. Hawkeye Gough, the predecessors of the Silver Knights, has his own homemade bow that is heavier, bigger, and he uses it to shoot down Black Dragon Kalameet despite being blind himself.
    • Dark Souls II has the Alonne Greatbow, a type of Greatbow brought by the Alonne Knights from the Far East to entertain the Old Iron King. Another one is the Possessed Armor Greatbow, carried by the Possessed Armors, who wield a bow and a sword at the same time.
    • Dark Souls III has the Millwood Knight Greatbow, which comes with a Weapon Skill that creates a shockwave when the arrows land onto the surface, knocking down anyone nearby. There's also a giant living at Undead Settlement, who shoots anyone next to the white branches all over the world. He's actually trying to help you, should you have the Young White Branch given by him in your inventory, he helps you to shoot down your enemies from a far distance.
    • In Dark Souls III, one of the weapons that Aldrich, Devourer of Gods (through Darksun Gwendolyn, whom he has taken control of as he slowly eats him) uses against the Ashen One is the Darkmoon Longbow, a bow that can create a flurry of bows out of sorcery. The bow can be transposed by Ludleth of Courland and accessed in exchange for the Soul of Aldrich.
  • Etrian Odyssey 3 has the Arbalist class, who wield humongous crossbows almost as big as they are.
  • Almost every bow in Monster Hunter is taller than the hunters carrying it. Granted, the bows are made for slaying monsters as large as a house. Despite their size, they are treated as fast weapons.
  • Ishtar in Fate/Grand Order has the "Heavenly Boat Maanna", which is not only an airship but an enormous bow, composed of two crescent-shaped objects connected by rope that floats alongside her.
  • Snipers from Fire Emblem apply, at least in the GBA games.
  • While ballistas doesn't normally qualifies in tis tropes, the Wolf Clan's Ballistamen of Battle Realms uses ballistas as personal weapons that they carry on their back. These men are huge enough to be able to carry use this siege weapon personally anyway.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice:
    • Genichiro Ashina's secondary weapon is a massive and rather thick bow, with which he is able to rapidly fire arrows from with ease.
    • Okami archers wield traditional yumi bows that are longer than they are tall. Truth in Television, as real life yumi were designed to surpass the heights of their wielders.

    Western Animation 
  • That hopeless coyote from Chuck Jones' Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons has tried a few times using a huge bow to catch his prey. Mostly, the fool tries using himself as the projectile. His 0% success rate remains intact.

    Real Life 
  • The Yumi is a type of Japanese traditional asymmetrical bow, the bow length towers most of the European bows, and the grip is located at about two thirds of the distance from the upper tip. While it can't fire lance-sized projectiles, its range is still impressive due to the bow's length. There's also the Daikyu note , with an even longer bow length than the Yumi.
  • The English longbow, which was person-sized (up to 2 m in length) and fired 0.8 m-long arrows at 300+ m range.
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