Like office desks and lava lights and Bert, who is a cannibal."
Hammerspace is the notional place that things come from when they are needed, and where they go back to when not. The term was fan coined as the place cartoon characters and anime/manga characters would store the overly-large hammers and assorted weaponry they had a propensity for hitting each other with, especially for comedic effect.
The actual location of hammerspace is very hard to determine. There seems to be a great deal of it behind people's backs and on the opposite side (from the camera, that is) of thin things like lampposts and slender trees. It also hides in people's own body, coats, closets, clown cars, large sacks, and occasionally down their bras and pants.
Further research into the exact location of Hammerspace awaits solution of a few more basic questions. Such as: "What happens when you turn a Bag of Holding inside out?" and "Why is the inside of the TARDIS only that much larger than its exterior?"
It's also referred to as "hyperspace", but that term gets a little confused with the SF term related to Faster-Than-Light Travel (see Subspace or Hyperspace). Just to confuse things further, "subspace" is a word used in Transformers fandom for Hammerspace. It is called "katanaspace" in Highlander fandom, "back pockets" in the cartoon roleplaying game Toon, and referred to simply as "Elsewhere" in the Fantasy Kitchen Sink roleplaying game Exalted.
There are multiple versions, in order of size:
- Basic Hammerspace: This version contains only a few things, not because it is limited in capacity, but because that is all it is ever used for—for example a large weapon, or Optimus Prime's trailer. It is usually played for convenience, and most viewers give it a Hand Wave, although there is occasional Lampshading.
- Game Hammerspace: Used frequently in games—many of your inventory items are much too large or too heavy to be carried normally, and this is where they are stored until they are used. Game Hammerspace may or may not be infinite, depending on whether your inventory has a limited number of items or weight, but it still holds many things without spoiling the lining of your coat.
- Infinite Hammerspace: This version is played with a bent towards comedy. It can traditionally hold as much as the joke requires it to hold, may have multiple dimensions to its capacity (eg somebody looking in and finding one thing, closing the 'door' and looking in again to find something else), and often gets larger as the show goes on. If it reaches a limit, it is as a joke.
To take even more comedy out of what is already impossible, a character with established access to Infinite Hammerspace may, after packing it full of things, finally fill it up. With Basic Hammerspace, they are more likely to lose access to it for some reason and be unable to retrieve an item.
All Point-and-Click adventure games had this to an extent or another, because of the technical limitations of the medium preventing these games from having the hundreds of thousands of sprites necessary to represent your character holding any combination of inventory items you can have. So it's usually treated humorously instead.
The term "Hammerspace" originated in the Ranma ½ fanfiction community, ironically largely as a result of Fanon, as neither the titular Ranma nor the character most often associated with it (Akane Tendo) exhibited this trope to an excessive degree, though it was present in the source material.
Sub Tropes include:
- Bag of Holding
- Bottomless Magazines
- Compressed Hair
- Hammerspace Hair
- Hammerspace Hideaway
- Hammerspace Parachute
- Hyperspace Arsenal
- Hyperspace Holmes Hat
- Hyperspace Mallet
- Hyperspace Wardrobe
- Impossibly Compact Folding
- Misleading Package Size
- Person of Holding
- Shake Someone, Objects Fall
- Stomach of Holding
- Talking with Signs
- Treasure Chest Cavity
- Trouser Space
- Victoria's Secret Compartment
- Wallet of Holding
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Films Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- The GEICO gecko is apparently an expert at using hammerspace; he is shown to be able to hide a cell phone and wallet larger than his entire body on his person, confusing his boss. Further confusing the boss is that neither he nor the viewer sees the gecko produce the items. The cell phone was already on the table and the wallet is seen only after he turns back around after he talks to a waiter.
- Cara Confused from the UK's Confused.com ads has been shown to pull various objects from her pocket, including a house! Many people have "confused" this for something dirtier, as the way every instance is animated seems very out of context.
- In Guardian Fairy Michel, Salome makes sure the Black Hammer Gang lives up to their name by pulling hammers from nowhere.
- Happy Heroes: In one episode of Season 7, Little M. praises Big M. for pulling out a weapon from thin air, adding that it's just like something you'd see in a cartoon. Except that weapon was actually one of several that was stuck on Big M.'s back from an incident that had happened just before he pulled one out.
- General: The term "Hammerspace" originated in Fanfic, most likely for Ranma ½, though the effect itself stems back to the earliest days of animation and graphic fiction.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Parodied several times. From clothes to books to Death Notes to flowers, the characters' backs can store them all.
"It's alright Italia-kun. I always bring spare cosplays with me." He reached into some sort of secret compartment behind his back, pulling out an identical outfit to the one the brunet was currently wearing. Seriously, how do anime characters have such an ability?
Japan disappeared into a bathroom for a short amount of time before reappearing, now clad in a sharp black suit and tie with a white dress shirt and black pants, taking hexagonal glasses from his pocketor wherever anime characters store all their stuffbefore putting them on.
"Humph." The larger scoffed back. He then reached into the magical space all anime characters have, whipping out a book conveniently titled 'How to Catch a Runaway Italian'.
Both reached into the magical space all anime characters have, extracting black notebooksJapan's having unidentifiable symbols on its cover as Italy's had 'Death Note' clearly printed on it in gothic lettersbefore taking out pens and colored pencils as well, opening the pages before scrawling in them.
Giggling, the auburn reached into the magical space all anime characters have, an exquisite bouquet of utmost grandeur popping out from behind his back. "Tada!"
- A Crown of Stars: The Avaloni soldiers know how creating their own pocket space. In chapter 53:
Shinji: Where did you get this?
TJ: Holdout Pocket technique. A little spatial fold tied to your personal space, good for keeping an emergency backup weapon or something handy. I also keep cold drinks in mine. Its not a hard trick to learn. First year Weapon Theory stuff. I could probably teach you pretty quickly if youve got a gun or a knife youd like to try it on.
- Heavily used in Black Queen, Red King, where there's a spell to generate it.
- Powers the main character's Bag of Holding in FREAKIN GENSOKYO.
- Thousand Shinji: Asuka instinctively summoned axes and other bladed weapons out of thin air. She did not knew where she pulled them from or where they went go to. She only knew she was brandishing a weapon whenever she need one and it disappeared after fulfilling its purpose.
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures and Teen Titans crossover fanfiction A Shadow of the Titans, Jade mentally Lampshades this with Suzano and his staff (bonus points for actually using the word "hammerspace").
- Mercury uses and abuses the Keeper's storage ability in Dungeon Keeper Ami to great effect. It can be used to construct complicated machinery and architecture, store spells for later deployment, catch falling minions and deposit them safely, and teleport.
- Duke Libasheshtan sees Ami holding a sample of what appears to be holy power, and in his confusion he assumes she must have been carrying a container of it, but can't work out where she would have been carrying it, since her outfit is rather minimal (a side effect of her Dungeon Heart's corruption).
- As a fanfic of the above, the Keepers of Dungeon Keeper of Love and Justice have the same abilities.
- Calvin grabs a bicycle out of nowhere in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series. "Hey! Where'd you get that bicycle?"
- Nanaki (Red XIII) seems to have this in the fic "Courage to Change the Things You Can". It's used as the story's 'real world' explanation for the massive amounts of storage space the game gives you, but no one else understands how he's doing it and whenthe fic's O.C. main character finally gets mad enough about it to demand an explanation Red replies "I understand your confusion. But I like all of you too much to risk making your primitive hominid brains explode from the revelation."
- Lampshaded in the Memoirs of Inuyasha's father. The narrator several times wonders where his clothing and equipment go when he transforms into a dog.
- In James Bond fan film Diamond's Cut, terrorist sniper at the beginning of London scene uses a laser sight. Try as hard as you might, there is no way youre going to find it on his rifle, probably because the actual effect was obtained through the use of laser pointer.
- Homestuck high; Eridan carries a guitar in his pocket. Particularly bizarre in that the canon actually has sylladexes, a form of technology which would actually permit this, but they seem to be absent from the rest of the fic.
- Used and discussed in the fanfic Tails of the Old Republic, a crossover/ Fusion Fic between Sonic the Hedgehog and the videogame Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Tails basically carries a portable pocket dimension in his tails, and he even calls it Hyperspace Inventory. It's not perfect, however, and Tails feels the weight of everything he's carrying, and his hammerspace can implode if he loses all his Chaos power. Carth Onasi eventually dubs it "tailspace".
- Loopers in The Infinite Loops have what they call a subspace pocket. Not only can these hold quite a bit, they also carry between loops. The oldest loopers are said to be able to carry entire solar systems in theirs.
- Another type appears in Ruby Rose's "Pocket Lemons", which give a non-Looper an approximation of a Pocket when consumed.
- In the Darkwing Duck fanfiction series, Negaverse Chronicles, Quackerjack tends to pull random toys/weapons, cups of coffee, and other assorted object out of... somewhere.
- In Romance and the Fate of Equestria, Anti-Hero Venni wears leather garments covered in pockets, from which she produces a variety of weapons and other useful supplies. Falls into this trope when she produces a wrecking ball and a hang glider, which are apparently collapsible.
- In A Long Journey Home, Jasmine and Myrddin both have one for their Focii. It apparently works but storing them in their soul.
- Parodied in one episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: Melvin draws the previously invisible Millennium Rod from behind his back, saying:
"I will now use the Millennium Rod, which I keep clenched between my buttocks, to send this duel to the shadow realm!"
- In the fanmade My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic series Doctor Whooves and Assistant, Ditzy insists that ponies have "pockets" to store things, even when they're not wearing anything. The Doctor finds the idea absurd, until he accidentally pulls out his sonic screwdriver from one.
- As Dreaming of Sunshine is a Naruto fanwork, this comes into play as one of the first applications for seals that Shikako makes use of. Interestingly, in Shikako's case, she uses them on her own body frequently, sealing important, useful, or valuable items directly to her person.
- Humorously mentioned in Child of the Storm, as all mothers and grandmothers (specifically Alison Carter) seem to be able to pull an inexhaustible number of tissues out from some hidden place on their person when comforting a crying (grand)child.
- As a Recursive Fanfiction of Dreaming of Sunshine, the fanfiction Sugar Plums uses much the same concept with storage seals, though to a greater extreme in this case the character Ume is bundled in wraps that are covered in storage seals. She can control the wraps at will and also tell which one has the right item she's looking for when she needs it. It's unknown how much stuff she stores on her person at any time, but in another crossover fiction someone mistakenly takes the wraps and puts it in an industrial washing machine, which results with the wraps releasing the contents and completely destroying the laundry room (partially because Ume had a TRUCK stored on her person).
- The Sailor Senshi in the Sailor Moon/Ranma ½ crossover No Chance for Fate have this as part of their base powers which they can also access out of transformation. There was no other way to explain where they did get their items in canon in many situations.
- In The Emerald Phoenix, Izuku somehow whips out a large notebook despite wearing his skintight hero costume, which doesn't even have pockets. Even more ridiculously, Toru pulls out a glass cutter during the heroes vs villains exercise even though she's nude.
- In Peanuts fanfiction Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime, Lucy Van Pelt suddenly pulls a football out of nowhere, prompting Charlie Charlie Brown to bluntly ask where she got it from.
"Charlie Brownnnn," called Lucy, ominously.
He looked in her direction.
She was holding a football.
"Where'd you get that?" he asked, wonderingly.
"That isn't important."
- In the first chapter of crossover fanfic Displaced, the Joker pulls out a Tommy gun "from absolutely nowhere".
- This is an explicit power of one of the characters in This Bites!. After eating the Human Human Fruit: Model Child, Going Merry becomes a human girl. She still has aspects of her true caravel while a human, which includes storage space. She can keep just as much inside her coat pockets as she could carry as a full ship, the item easily slipping in and out of her pocket with no issue. It's simply chocked up to the usual case of "Devil Fruit Bullshit".
- With This Ring: The ability for power rings to store items in a subspace pocket is canon, but since his ring is based on avarice, Paul uses and abuses it much more extensively to accumulate all manner of material goods. He stores food, clothing, appliances, construction materials, weapons, armour, and at one point, the complete records of play-testing a custom set of Warhammer rules, which he kept on a stack of paper large enough to completely fill a hallway, for reasons he can no longer remember.
- All Mixed Up! brings a variation on this trope usually being present in the spines of agents, in both other fanfics and in canon media. Instead, pockets have infinite storage capacities, and agents can pull gadgets and other things they need out of them at a moment's notice.
- BIONICLE movies: The Toa keep all their supplies, tools, etc. in hammerspace, but it's never made clear where they put them (the animation just shows the objects retracting "into" their solid backside). The novels at least give them the benefit of carrying satchels.
- It's also implied in other media that this is where the Makuta kept their excess parts when shapeshifting into smaller forms.
- In the wider lore, Toa store tools and equipment (like their spare masks) in shrines called "Suva" which they can summon at a whim.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Brent pulls a pair of giant ceremonial scissors from seemingly nowhere, but then stores them down the back of his pants after showing them off.
- Disney Animated Canon examples:
- Pinocchio: Jiminy Cricket pulls out a pair of glasses that, while proportionate to his large head, are far too big for his back pocket.
- The Three Caballeros: Both Jose Carioca and Panchito are prone to pulling items out of thin air, including telescopes, musical instruments, and capes. True to this trope's name, during the "Baia" segment Jose actually pulls out a mallet from behind his back.
- Cinderella: After Cinderella's fairy godmother offers to help her get ready for the ball, she searches around for her magic wand, before remembering that she "put it away." She then uses a special hand motion to make the wand appear out of thin air.
- Alice in Wonderland: The items Alice needs to "access" Wonderland appear out of nowhere.
- Aladdin: In the Cave of Wonders, both Aladdin and Abu don't have anywhere to put the lamp, since Aladdin's pants don't have pockets, and Abu doesn't have anything big enough to hold it, so when both are preoccupied, the lamp disappears, and reappears when needed.
- Tangled: Rapunzel carries Flynn's satchel around for nearly a day in spite of the fact that she had nothing to carry it in, and she was with Flynn the entire time.
- How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup has a modest Hammerspace where he keeps a notebook that's too big for a pocket. Moreover, when he puts it away, he just shoves it under his vest in the general direction of his back and lets go.
- The Road to El Dorado: Miguel manages to keep the map in his shirt easily, which could be explained by the fact that his shirt is tucked into his trousers, but the map appears to disappear whenever he puts it in his shirt, as it doesn't affect how his shirt lies in any way. Chel and Tzekel-Kan are more direct examples: Chel manages to hide a pair of dice on her despite her outfit having no visible pockets, though at least dice are small, and Tzekel-Kan keeps an entire book under his shirt, if you could even call it a shirt.
- Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas: All the crew members of Sinbad's ship have to empty their pockets of weapons onto a table before going into the royal palace. Cue Jed spending about twenty minutes depositing a huge pile of swords, pistols, knives, etc., on top of a table.
Kale: Time to go, Jed pack it up.
Jed: [still pulling out swords, then stuttering from all the stuff he pulled out] Aw, man...
- Spiderman Into The Spiderverse: During his tearful goodbye, Spider-Ham gifts Miles a cartoon hammer that will fit in his pocket.
- In The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny and its video, Abraham Lincoln "took an AK-47 out from under his hat / And blew Batman away with a rat-tat-tat-tat".
- Used as a literal Ass Pull in Sherry Vine's and Peppermint's Telephone Parody, where various utensils are pulled out off Sherry's tush... including a ladder!
- Thor of Norse Mythology could make his hammer Mjölnir shrink to an incredibly tiny size, and be pulled out of seemingly nowhere, and is perhaps the first user of this trope. Frey owns the ship Skíðblaðnir that he can fold up and stick in his pocket.
- In traditional Chinese folklore, many powerful people essentially had sleeves that could store everything. Being trapped in one was generally a sign that you were screwed.
- In the Cool Kids Table game The Wreck, this is how Lazy Boy is able to carry around a rolling dolly, stepping stool, and five-foot long rod without encumbering himself.
- An episode of Monday Night RAW saw Triple H, known for carrying around a sledgehammer, facing off with Randy Orton holding a sledgehammer. Orton suggested they both drop their weapons and just go at it like men. Triple H agreed, both men ditched the hammers they were carrying, and then, after stepping into the ring and removing his jacket, HHH pulled another full-sized sledgehammer out from behind his back and proceeded to chase Orton away. Now, yes, the second hammer was concealed behind his back the entire time, held by a special rig, but the fact that someone managed to pull off the illusion of Hammerspace on a live television program was impressive.
- Beneath the ring could count, as everything including a kitchen sink has been pulled out from under the ring. Hornswoggle even lives under the ring and apparently, so do a bunch of similarly sized people. At first, it was just a joke by JBL, but then after being sued by Hornswoggle, DX has to go under the ring and not only find a full sized courtroom, but a building! So yes, on WWE shows, under the ring is officially Hammerspace. It's also been known to contain a portal to Hell.
- Dead Fantasy Part II. Yuna reaches into her clothing and pulls out two ether bottles to revive an exhausted Tifa. They're so large that there's no way they could have fit in her clothing normally.
- Characters in Lego Pirate Misadventures routinely pull guns, and in one case, a spear, out of nowhere.
- There is no way Ren's gun-blades should be able to fit into his sleeves, let alone leave no sign that they're there. Nevertheless, that's exactly what happens.
- Professor Ozpin is always seen with either a cane or a coffee mug, never both. The most blatant occurrence is during the show's very first trial which happens on a cliff edge and in the forest below. Ozpin sends the students off while nursing coffee, no cane in sight. Then he's seen monitoring the lesson while leaning on his cane, no coffee mug in sight. Before this event, the fandom already had a Running Gag that the cane and the coffee mug are the same item, morphing between the two states whenever Ozpin Must Have Caffeine. This event gave that gag wings.
- An observation among the fandom is that some of the mechshift weapons would be hard to make in real life. Most appear to just telescope, but Coco Adel is able to carry around a retractable minigun in a handpurse. It's implied that the purse is just as heavy as the gun, since Coco uses it to bludgeon a few Grimm to death.
- Cinder Fall can apparently use her fire powers to summon a pair of blades, which can also double as a bow. There's no indication yet as to exactly what is going on (Cinder has always been something of an anomaly), but her clothes do glow when she summons them.
- In Volume 2, Ruby and Yang get a 1-foot mail tube from their father Taiyang, which turns out to contain Zwei (the family's pet Corgi) and a letter asking the girls to watch him while Taiyang is away on business. After Yang gives the tube a couple of shakes, a gigantic pile of canned dog food and a can opener also drop out of it.
- While most of the above examples are the result of Volumes 1-3 having limited animation, volume 7 introduces Fiona Thyme who has this as an in-universe Semblance. Her first onscreen use is to literally pull a whole truck with supplies into the palm of her hand.
- In X-Ray & Vav, Hilda reveals that X-Ray and Vav's "overundies" are essentially utility belts connected to another dimension, giving them access to all sorts of gadgets. X-Ray, then, decides to have A Date with Rosie Palms.