When a cartoon character needs to inflict some Amusing Injuries on their foes, they can somehow pull a weapon of their choice from nowhere. Comically oversized hammers, anvils, and dynamite are common choices. The weapons (and the injuries they cause) then disappear as easily as they appeared, often as soon as they leave the screen.
Of these weapons, hammers are likely the most commonly used, to the point where the mysterious place they come from was named Hammerspace.
Sometimes, the character has an explicit ability to access Hammerspace, but the Hyperspace Mallet usually runs on pure Rule of Funny. In addition to using Hammerspace as a gag in its own right, it also lets animator or cartoonist create whatever Slapstick gag they want without worrying about what a character has on hand.
It's a Dead Horse Trope in the West, where it originated, but it's well alive in Anime and Manga. There, it commonly appears when a short-tempered schoolgirl enters Pervert Revenge Mode, and she attacks the source of her ire with a giant hammer or a Paper Fan of Doom. Modern Western examples are usually references to Anime or the original Western cartoon shorts.
This is a subtrope of Hammerspace where the retrieved object is used for Slapstick. Hammers which don't disappear when not in use, or which inflict non-Amusing Injuries, are at Drop the Hammer. Harsh Word Impact is for when the injuries are just a metaphor for emotional impact.
- Kaori in City Hunter; She pulls an over 100t iron hammer out of nowhere to beat Ryo up. In one of the anime episodes, Kaori is shown to have purchased a new hammer at a boutique before the action of the episode started.
- In the alternate timeline of Angel Heart, Shanin picks up this ability from Kaori's heart inside her. We later find that Kaori's sister can also do it.
- Ranma ½ uses it on occasion.
- Fanon makes it far more prominent and always has Akane Tendō to be the one to use it; this actually varies depending on continuity. In the anime, Akane only uses a hammer four times: the 3rd and 5th season episodes "Ryōga's Miracle Cure!" and "Into the Darkness" respectively, the OAV "Team Ranma vs. The Legendary Phoenix", and the 1st movie "Big Trouble in Nekonron, China". It's only slightly more prominent in the manga, and just about everyone has used it, from Kodachi (the first person to wield it) to Sōun Tendō to Happōsai to Ranma Saotome himself.
- In the manga Akane most frequently uses her fists, samurai weaponry such as shinai and bokken, or usually any blunt object at hand. She doesn't really use a mallet more than anyone else.
- In the manga, Ranma actually uses one too — on Ryōga, when this one is trying to get rid of a powerful, yet shameful painting on his tummy.
- Kodocha parodies the mallet cliché by having its characters use squeaky plastic mallets with collapsible heads. From Hayama asking Sana to take out her hammer (and then stealing it and hitting her with it) to Hayama showing off his martial arts skills by dodging it (prompting Sana to pull out another one and smack him with it with an obligatory "Too slow!").
- The Beach Episode of Mai-Otome shows Mashiro whipping out a squeaky mallet with which to assault Nagi.
- Amy Rose in Sonic X has the ability to pull her Piko Piko Hammer out of nowhere. She has this ability in most depictions; however, this is the depiction which most frequently shows her using her hammer for comedic purposes instead of just using it in fights against her actual enemies. She can even use multiple hammers if one gets destroyed, and use them while in her spaceship in the third season. You can even watch the hammers materialize out of thin air on some occasions. It gets lampshaded.
[Amy throws hammer at Eggman's airship]
Eggman: We got your hammer up here, so you can't touch us!
[Amy pulls out another hammer out of nowhere]
Decoe/Bocoe: Ah!! Another one!
Bokun: She's got more hammers than a hardware store!
- Sunako in The Wallflower has the ability to materialise a Grim Reaper's scythe in times of... fragile sanity. It isn't metaphorical either — she occasionally uses it as a tool and other characters react somewhat understandably when the already scary Sunako is suddenly holding a scythe that's taller than she is.◊
- This is apparently a genetic trait, as Sunako's father also materialises a wooden sword in a lightning bolt when he is angry.
- In the Kirby anime, much like in the games, King Dedede has a hammer like this. However, it's far more likely to be used for comedy in the anime than the games.
- Additionally, in one episode of the anime, a group known as the Otakings decide to create a Show Within a Show about Fumu (aka Tiff). The show in question is intensely Fanservice-laden, creeping everyone out. True to this trope, Fumu is so uncomfortable with the show (as well as the fact that they followed her around and recorded her actual voice in order to take phrases out of context and use them for the show) that she pulls a large hammer out of nowhere and chases the Otakings with it.
- A variation in Love Hina, Episode 18; Sarah MacDougal, who has a history of throwing and/or breaking pottery, does so this time by seemingly pulling them out of nowhere.
- Misty used such a mallet in a few occasions in Pokémon, especially on Brock. She seems to be particularly talented, as she once even produced a gong to wake Ash and Pikachu up.
- In the Pokémon Adventures manga, the Gold/Silver/Crystal arc main character Gold can conjure a billiards stick out of seemingly nowhere, despite the fact that it looks about as tall as he is. Jessie has also pulled mallets out of hyperspace, as well as frying pans.
- The unnamed TV reporter from Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! pulled a mallet out when she was aggravated with Hareta; however, the entire gag was that he was popping out of holes in the ground like a game of Whack-A-Mole.
Cameraman: W-what are you carrying that around for?
- Kaname from Full Metal Panic! often uses a hyperspace Paper Fan of Doom to punish Sousuke. (Actually, she can be seen sometimes in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu actually carrying said Paper Fan of Doom in her school portfolio.)
- Reborn! (2004) apparently uses this several times:
- Reborn's shape-shifting chameleon turns into a mallet which he hits people with (most notably Tsuna and Lambo) when they don't answer his questions correctly, or when he's technically annoyed with them.
- He's also done that to the Arcobaleno Skull, too, when in the filler arc, Skull screwed up his Trial, and Reborn ticked off about that Don't forget that Colonello added his fists into this, and the Skull asks for Lal's mercy, and she just simply gives the cold shoulder.
- Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan uses this as one of its central gags; the whole focal point of the anime is the title character producing a giant spiky club from nowhere and brutally killing the protagonist, only to revive him seconds later. She also appears to take a hologram-phone device from her panties at some points.
- Hayate the Combat Butler characters seem to love this one, most often with Sakuya pulling out her paper fan to smack people. Nagi pulls out a spiked hammer when Hayate annoys her.
- Momoka from Eroge! H mo Game mo Kaihatsu Zanmai utilizes this against the This Loser Is You protagonist in one episode for comedy. To be precise, she manages to lift a huge gray one ton hammer above her head.
Tomoya: (trying to calm Momoka) Anyway, put the hammer down.
- The title character of Léonard le Génie often pulls hammers, anvils and other heavy, blunt objects from his beard to punish his clumsy assistant Basile.
- A modern western example / subversion / Shout-Out can be found in the Scott Pilgrim books where Ramona Flowers will often pull large weapons out of her subspace handbag. Including a hammer (+2 against girls!).
- In one strip of the Italian Comic Lupo Alberto, one of the two characters starts talking about old comics and their "special effects", until the other one, annoyed, reminds him the last one, A.K.A. said "Mallet that popped out of nowhere used to punish the bad guys".
- Harley Quinn would often use a giant cartoony mallet on her victims.
- In the second issue of Ninja High School, ninja heiress Ichikun Ichinohei whips a big hammer out of nowhere when she gets angry at the sight of her rival Asrial flirting with Jeremy Feeple. Unusually, despite being so heavily inspired by mangas like Urusei Yatsura and Ranma ½, Ichikun uses it to hit Asrial for flirting, instead of hitting Jeremy for being flirted with.
- In Pearls Before Swine, Rat once had a "Mallet o' Understanding" which he'd whip out to use on other characters who displeased him.
- Baby Blues: To make fun of the mallet that's in the WB cartoons, they use baseball bats, teddy bears or newspapers instead. The mallet DID appear in one comic, but one of the kids (Hammie) is taliking about Tom and Jerry.
- Second Wind: In Chapter 10, Usopp, Johnny, Yosaku, and Nojiko all use these to hit Zoro when he makes his intention to fight the fishmen clear. Zoro is not amused, especially when he remembers how he was captured last time; the Death Glare and Slasher Smile he gives them in response are terrifying.
- In New Life and New Battles Lily Potter hits James with one when he complains that Harry is drawing female attention earlier than he ever did.
- In its first appearance in Ranma ½: The Abridged Chronicles, Kodachi calls out "Hyperspace mallet!" as she attacks with it.
- Gideon from Pinocchio at least twice pulls a mallet, the second time we see he pulls it out of his sleeve.
- Jose Carioca pulls one out from behind his back in The Three Caballeros.
- In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Ham, being a living cartoon character, uses one to dish out one heck of a Curb-Stomp Battle on the Scorpion. He even gives it to Miles as a keepsake before returning to his home dimension, saying it'll always fit in his pocket.
- In the 1992 Marx Brothers homage Brain Donors, Harpo-equivalent Jacques pulls a huge wooden sledgehammer out of nowhere when the decision is made to "take care of" egotistical ballet star Volare. He is, unfortunately, restrained from actually using it.
- In one scene in The Mask, the title character pulls an enormous mallet out of his pocket in order to smash an alarm clock.
- GURPS Mecha, which covers quite a bit of anime material (because that's where a lot of mecha appear), has rules for this trope, which it refers to as "Shojo Mallet". The ability to produce such a mallet is only available to female characters.
- In Teenagers from Outer Space, the Hyperdimensional Hammer is available to any student who pays a sum of $10.
- In Puyo Pop Fever, Ms. Accord grabs a giant mallet out of nowhere to hit Raffina, whom she doesn't want remembering the battle with Popoi she just had, or the fact that Accord set up the flying cane search.
- In El Goonish Shive not only do the currently female characters pull hammers out of nowhere, but Dr. Germahn, at one point, gives a lengthy, Techno Babble-laden explanation of the spatial anomalies that make this possible (in particular, only female characters can do it, and only in comedic scenes). Susan is particularly adept at using the hammers, having demonstrated (offscreen, admittedly) the ability to juggle 3 Hyperspace Mallets and a food-tray at the same time.
- In one twist of the trope, Susan once hammered the local Jerk Jock not because he did something to her, but because he pushed aside Tedd. Elliot and Sarah are left wondering why she was able to do so. "He's just that androgynous."
- In a later more serious turn Susan told she was taught how to use the hammers in more dangerous circumstances (though non-lethal, it's still a magical weapon). And later was rather surprised to discover their original purpose. During that revelation it was revealed Hyperspace Mallets would henceforth no longer be accessible but Susan could still access special versions of them using her own magical abilities.
- Parodied in the second strip featured here of Narbonic.
- The sweet pacifist healer White Mage of 8-Bit Theater carries a giant holy hammer (usually invisible) with which she smacks Black Mage around in response to his lewd pick-up lines. (Or when he kills people. Or when he suggests doing lewd things with dead people. Take your pick.)
- Looking for Group: The Warlock Richard often manifests odd items from nowhere for humorous effect and Fourth Wall Breaking; at one point he explained that "[his] mind can make arrows", so his mind probably can make dice, too.
- Wakko Warner from Animaniacs used a mallet as needed...of course, definitions of "as needed" are flexible on that show.
- The sizes of mallets he uses are also quite flexible, ranging from the semi-sensible, to the ridiculously-large. In one short, the Warners are filling in for Plotz's sick secretary and Wakko has trouble with the photocopier. His solution is to smash the offending machine with a mallet that's about half the size of the room.
- Inspector Gadget had one in his hat, held aloft by a gloved mechanical arm. In the second live-action film, G2 did this as well.
- The classic Looney Tunes shorts are probably the Trope Maker or at least Trope Codifier. It seems to be a fundamental law of physics in the Looney Tunes world that mallets will always and only exist in situations when someone deserves to be hit with one. Mind you, the Looney Tunes can pull anything from behind their backs if it would be amusing at the time.
- The Devil does this to Pluto several times during Pluto's trial in Hell in "Pluto's Judgement Day".
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: Rolf smacks Edd with the "Hat of Discipline," which is essentially a giant mallet-hat.
Edd: ...What is that, Rolf?
Rolf: The Hat of Discipline. DO YOU LIVE IN A CAVE?!
- Kaeloo: Where exactly do all those differently-sized mallets Mr. Cat uses come from?
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Tooth and Nail", Rocko buys the "12 steps" from Chuck and Leon. When he refuses to admit his nail-biting problem to them, one of them comes up to him, generates a mallet out of nowhere and bashes Rocko on the head with it.