It comes from nowhere, it strikes without mercy, and disappears again. It's a mallet the size of a circus sledgehammer, and it's evidence that anime characters watch too many Bugs Bunny cartoons or The Three Stooges shorts. An angry character — usually but not restricted to short-tempered schoolgirls — can often whip out a massive hammer with which to slam the target (and cause) of her ire upside the head.
Strictly speaking, the mallet is a metaphor for yelling at someone. This is why it comes out of nowhere and doesn't materially affect the story, because it's not real. You're not going to see a Yamato Nadeshiko or Emotionless Girl using one, because they wouldn't normally bitch someone out. It's also not a very constructive way of communicating, so other than terrifying the hero, it's not really going to change their behavior. It's largely just the author going for laughs in a way that helps establish the character, plus it's a great shorthand way of telling the story.
A recent variation is to have the character pull out a harisen, a huge folded fan made out of paper or metal, a.k.a. the Paper Fan of Doom, and smack them with that. This is usually less painful-looking than the mallet, unless she uses it to deliver a Megaton Punch.
Ironically, this is now a Dead Horse Trope in the West, where it originated; modern Western examples are typically from shows invoking anime, which has added its own touches to the mix, or from homages to Warner Brothers cartoons.
- On a commercial for the Cartoon Network, a man being stalked by a mugger calls Cartoon 911 and is advised to reach behind his back and pull out a giant hammer.
- 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.
- So pervasive and insidious is the view that Akane is a "hammer girl" (the "Weapon of Choice" kind, not the "No Natural Buoyancy" kind) that many of the Ranma ½ video games actually give her a huge wooden mallet as a legitimate attack.
- Shinobu and others in Urusei Yatsura.
- Kodomo no Omocha parodies the mallet cliché by having its characters use squeaky plastic mallets with collapsible heads.
- Parodies it mercilessly on many occasions, 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 (and almost all of the Sonic the Hedgehog games where she's playable, for that matter) has the ability to pull her Piko Piko Hammer out of nowhere, even multiple hammers if one gets destroyed.
- And her ship in the third season.
- Made better by the fact that you see it materialize as if Transported in on occasion.
- Amy is a rare character who actually fully utilises her hammer against her enemies rather than just punishing friends.
- 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.
- Carerra Marker from Karin manifests her deadly slipper from hyperspace, complete with Battle Aura.
- A better example is when Winner pulls out a spear taller than himself while proclaiming his intent to protect Karin. Lampshaded when she replies "....Where did you get that from?"
- 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.
- One Piece, in Usopp's fight against Mr. 4 he uses a gigantic 5-Ton hammer. But it turns out that the hammer is actually fake and can collapse for storage, and weighs about four pounds.
- Likewise, he uses a 10-Ton Hammer against Gothic Lolita Perona (one of the three Co-Dragons of the arc), successfully terrifying her so much that she passes out. This time, it wasn't even a real weapon; it was a freaking balloon.
- In a straighter example of the trope, one of Whitebeard's commanders can pull a giant hammer out of a small compartment in his chin.
- 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 Pokemon Diamond And Pearl Adventures pulled one 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.)
- Katekyō Hitman Reborn! 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.
- In one episode of Princess Resurrection, the main characters are fleeing from their enemies on a jet ski. During one cut back to the heroes, Hime is suddenly wielding a giant metal hammer.
- Eve from Black Cat averts this trope, as she just needs to change her hand into a mallet.
- Variant: Maka from Soul Eater has a heavy book that follows all the conventions of this trope, barring its shape.
- Also Shinigami and his gigantic hands. Students or staff pissing you off? Smack them on the head. Also good for punishing Big Bads and evil witches.
- Tsubaki also attacked Black*Star with shurikens to the forehead in early chapters/episodes.
- Guchuko, the feral mochi-mochi in Potemayo, has a portal into hammerspace inside her pants. She keeps her axe in there, for one thing, but at other times she variously keeps a snake and a pile of corn cobs. That may have been how she transported the carcass of a cow into Kyo's yard. (Quite a feat considering that Guchuko is about the size of a cat.)
- 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.
- Although not a hammer, Hinagiku pulls her borrowed wooden sword out of nowhere. Sometimes this even surprises her.
- Should be noted that this was explained and is a plot point, while the Sakuya and Nagi examples are played for laughs.
- Although not a hammer, Hinagiku pulls her borrowed wooden sword out of nowhere. Sometimes this even surprises her.
- King Dedede in the Kirby anime often hits Kirby or Escargon with a Mallet. Kirby even gets hit in the opening!
- Momoka from Eroge! H mo Game mo Kaihatsu Zanmai utilizes this against the This Loser Is You protagonist in one episode. 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!).
- The Awesome Slapstick: This is Slapstick's primary method of attack.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- Highlander and, particularly its spinoffs, makes little to no effort to explain where the immortals pull their swords from. While early on, they'd have characters wearing long coats, later on they'll have characters (particularly females) pull out swords while wearing form fitting clothing.
- While being less a Mallet and more a Megaton Hammer, Ramona Flowers uses one in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to fight her ex-girlfriend.
- As mentioned in the Comics section above, Ramona pulls this full-length sledgehammer out of a handbag that looks small enough to have difficulty containing Scott's self-respect.
- In the Tom Holt novel Grailblazers, one of the knights has an hereditary power — that any male of his line can, when reaching vaguely behind them, always grab a weapon of some sort.
- In the GURPS anime universe, one of the character abilities is the non-damage-dealing ten-ton hammer that can be pulled out of nowhere. It is ONLY available for female characters.
- In Teenagers from Outer Space, the Hyperdimensional Hammer is available to any student who pays a sum of $10.
- In Tabletop Game Brikwars, the Hammer of Punishmen and the Hammer of Discipline fall into this trope.
- Overlaps with Hyperspace Arsenal, but a vast number of video games incorporate the ability for characters to draw a weapon (or similar tool) at will from nowhere.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Amy Rose's signature weapon is a mallet that shows up out of nowhere. There's not a single TV show or video game (besides Sonic CD) she shows up in either in which she doesn't have the hammer at all (since Sonic Adventure) or in which she keeps the hammer in a logical place. It gets lampshaded in Sonic X.
[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!
- Literally in the game Patapon 2. Ormen Karmen, the Karmen chief and the Penultimate Boss, has one attack where a gigantic hammer appears in his hands and he crashes it down on the patapons. When he finishes attacking, the hammer shrinks back into the void.
- In the Super Smash Bros. series, one of Peach's attacks strikes the target with a random blunt object from out of nowhere, such as a golf club. Similarly, Ness swings a baseball bat out of thin air for his smash attack, after which the bat disappears again.
- While most of Link's equipment would fall under the Hyperspace Arsenal trope, he does acquire oversized-hammer weapons in various games, such as the Megaton Hammer from Ocarina of Time or the Skull Hammer from Wind Waker.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Prior to Oblivion, equipped items do not appear on character models until they are drawn. This can lead to a seemingly unarmed character pulling a gigantic warhammer from thin air over his shoulder upon being agro'd.
- A serious example are the Bound Weapon/Armor spells available throughout the series. Crossing over with Spontaneous Weapon Creation, the spell essentially uses magic to create a temporary Spectral Weapon Copy out of thin air. (The Bound item usually has no weight and shares its stats with Daedric level equipment, typically the most powerful generic crafting material available in the series.)
- In LEGO Batman, Harley Quinn can pull a mallet out of nowhere and bludgeon the enemy with it. This is one of the most effective melee attacks in the game.
- In Samurai Showdown V, Rimururu has a finishing move that involves freezing her opponent before smashing them with a gigantic ice mallet (which she of course summons out of nowhere.)
- Mario and Luigi use hammers fairly often. There has never been a logical place that they could be kept. Mario has even reached into the air, have a solid iron hammer the size of a garden shed appear in a puff of smoke (No, I am not kidding), which then proceeds to disappear.
- Peacock from Skullgirls can pull a hammer out of nowhere to whack an enemy with. The creepy part about this is that when she's done with the hammer, where does she put it? She shoves it into one of her empty eye sockets.
- Some of the Final Fantasy games feature an attack called Magic Hammer, where the hammer literally appears out of nowhere and smacks the target on the head.
- The Tinkerer in Dragon Nest has this as one of her skills. Sadly, it only works against stunned enemies, not ignornant teammates.
- In lieu of superpowers, Harley Quinn in Injustice 2 gets a hyperspace mallet (and baseball bat, and copious amounts of explosives) as part of her moveset to take on her often-superpowered foes.
- 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. 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.)
- The characters of Looking for Group use Hammerspace a lot for their weapons and other gear, because they certainly don't seem to carry around backpacks (despite changing their outfits from time to time) and their weapons are curiously absent when not in use. But they never pull a weapon from hammerspace just for a humorous toonish effect (not even Krunch, the huge minotaur scholar wielding a massive sledgehammer), so it's more a case of both audience and characters deliberately ignoring the question where the weapons go.
- The Warlock Richard, on the other hand, 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.
- Eddie from Emergency Exit does this on occasion, despite being male. Of course, Eddie's completely nuts anyway, so nobody gives it a second thought. In a slight subversion, the mallet becomes a powerful weapon when combined with Eddie's coolness enhancer
- In another unusual twist, it explains how he's able to do it. Sorta.
- Gwynn from Sluggy Freelance uses a baseball bat, but the principle is the same. Including pulling a bat out of a purse far too small to actually contain one.
- In Everyday Heroes, Carrie is an expert with hammers (demonstrated here and here).
- Summer isn't allowed to use a hammer, due to her super strength, so she finds a handy substitute.
- Girl Genius doesn't do this with hammers, but with every other tool that the well-equipped Mad Scientist might need.
- Tsunami of Tsunami Channel one-ups most of these by using a hammer-chuck on Professor Hasegawa.
- Lampshaded in this Badly Drawn Kitties strip.
- In The Whiteboard, Doc occasionally pulls his signature mallet out of Hammerspace
- Barely comedic example in Suicide for Hire: where'd that bat come from?
- In Kid Radd, after merging with a Superpowered Alter Ego from the sequel game, gains this ability, though we only ever see her use it to bonk Radd on the head for being stupid.
- 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.
- Gideon from Pinocchio at least twice pulls a mallet, the second time we see he pulls it out of his sleeve.
- 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?