Follow TV Tropes


Pile Bunker

Go To

Sometimes, a big old enemy mecha or monster wants to press the hero. Whether a long-range engagement fails, or they're just more keen on a close encounter, they've come face to face with the enemy and want to take it down pronto. What's the weapon that really gets the point across best? None other than the pile bunker, a weapon that shoots a single spike forward, which then retracts so it can be fired again, just like a pile driver.

A common weapon in the Real Robot Genre and other Sci-Fi works, but not necessarily used by the mecha themselves, as there are sometimes hand-held variants. Also, oddly, a uniquely Japanese trope, with very few non-Animesque Western examples. They work much like Real Life pile drivers, but rather than operating continuously (for example, hydraulically), they typically work with a one-shot chemical charge that drives the metal stake or penetrating spike, complete with Spent Shells Shower and a revolver mechanism.

Pile bunkers are sometimes built into a special gauntlet or arm for mecha or humans. Other times, they can take a more external form, like that of a massive gun. Often, like with drills, it is justified by the need to penetrate heavy armor or barriers.

The spike usually returns to its original position after each "shot" (though how is not always apparent). Also, the pile bunker's firing mechanism must be made from incredibly strong materials, or it will explode (or at least have a very good chance to be damaged) every time the spike strikes the target, similar to a gun with a jammed barrel. Alternatively, it won't be able to penetrate a tough enough target. Also note that it would need to include a stopper made from equally strong materials that prevents the spike from simply flying out of the barrel like a bullet, thus having much greater attack range, which begs the question of why the spike, in fact, isn't simply fired like a bullet (although it could potentially be justified if the spike has to be made from specific, very expensive materials so that making multiple bullets out of them would be unaffordable, or if it is too heavy to carry additional spikes).

Can be the cause of a Facepalm Of Doom. Usually an Ammo-Using Melee Weapon. Guns that fire the spike away should go into the nailgun category.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Featured prominently in Armored Trooper VOTOMS and its spinoff, Armor Hunter Mellowlink. The hero of the latter especially likes to finish off his opponents with the pile bunker attachment on his AT-rifle. Armored Troopers, on the other hand, work on the principles of this trope via punching with the arm, as they spend rounds to quick-fire a punch, without a stake or spike present.
  • The Big O has these as one of its signature weapons. Each of its massive arms contains a piston which is used to amplify its punches.
  • In Bleach, Gin primarily uses his Zanpakuto (an extending sword) like a pile bunker.
  • Dai-Guard's Knot Buster and Knot Punisher. Justified, since they have to be very precise, easy to use and very powerful to accurately destroy Fractal Knots. And they have to grab the Heterodyne in order to hold it still before using the piledriver.
  • Digimon Crusadermon has one of these built into his/her arm, though it shoots magical blasts instead of stakes.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: Loz wields Dual Hound, a left-handed gauntlet with twin electrified prongs that function like a pile punker.
  • In Gamaran, Banri Omiya wields a special "kuda yari" (tube spear) and, thanks to the above-mentioned tube, can use it to stab, withdraw and stab again at a very fast speed, like a pile driver indeed.
  • Charlotte Dunois' Rafale Revive Custom II from Infinite Stratos can carry a pile bunker weapon module hidden in its left shield.
  • Inuyasha Ginkotsu from the Band of Seven is shown to have one built in his chest, but is destroyed before he can use it on Inu Yasha.
  • Ikoma has one as a weapon of choice against the Kabane from Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.
  • The movie adaptation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's gives Reinforce a parasitic pile bunker as a physical representation of her corrupted Defense Program. According to supplemental material it's an Ancient Belkan Anti-Armor weapon modified from a wrist-mounted spear thrower.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam F91 introduced a weapon called the Shot Lancer which effectively combines the Pile Bunker with the Jousting Lance; its main goal is to let pilots disable enemy mobile suits without triggering a catastrophic reactor explosion (which is extra bad when you're in a space colony). The Shot Lancer also turns up in the sequels Crossbone Gundam and V Gundam
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: the mace wielded by Gundam Barbatos is equipped with a Pile Bunker that fires from it's tip. The Graze Ein also has a pair of these mounted on each arm. Ein uses one of them to critically injure Shino, and another one for breaking the Barbatos Wrench Mace. Unlike most examples, they are single use and once fired, they detach themselves instead of retracting.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sachiel, the very first Angel encountered, has one in its palms (when retracted, the spikes extend from the Angel's elbows). It pierces right through the protagonist's mecha's eye, in a very painful-looking way.
  • In Symphogear Hibiki Tachibana is unable to make her Gear summon weapons, so instead she learns to convert its wrist and calf armor into piston-like structures which can be "fired" to add more force to her punches and jumps. By the second season she has upgraded to rocket-propelled pile bunkers, and can use them as a delivery system for the team's Combined Energy Attack.
  • Zoids:
    • The CP-08 Pile Bunker used by Rev Rapter and Iguan is likely the Trope Namer.
    • By Zoids: Genesis many different Zoids carry small pile bunkers used for pivoting.

    Fan Works 
  • The Night Unfurls: The Good Hunter pulls out the Stake Driver in two occasions in the original version — the attack on the Malys Estate, and the hunt for Mandeville. A heavy gauntlet with a large stake strapped to it, it is strong enough to reduce a mutant to Ludicrous Gibs. The resulting explosion from this trick weapon can also stagger nearby foes, making them vulnerable to any incoming attack.

    Films (Live Action) 
  • In No Country for Old Men, one of Anton Chigurrh's favorite weapons is the captive-bolt pistol which he uses both the kill people and punch the locks out of doors. The weapon, explained by Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, shoots out a spike and immediately retracts it. It's usually used for killing livestock.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn, Seth Gekko attaches a wooden stake to the end of a jackhammer to create a pile bunker for use against vampires.

  • Accel World: Cyan Pile wields an enormous arm-mounted one as his signature weapon, with his Special Attack "Lightning Cyan Spike" letting its spike extend to impossible lengths. It's later revealed that the trauma which produced Pile's avatar came from his time in kendo club, where older students put the fear of life in him by practicing their thrusts on his neck. When he confronts this trauma he develops the incarnate technique "Cyan Blade", which allows him to pull the spike out of his pile bunker and transform it into a much less cumbersome katana.
  • In Hiroshi Sakurazaka's All You Need is Kill, the Jackets used by the Japanese troops carry one of these with a clip of twenty charges. They're only marginally effective, but still one of the best options they have.
    When they first told me its magazine only held twenty rounds, I didn't think anyone could live long enough to use even that many. I was wrong. Mine had four rounds left. I had missed fifteen times—maybe sixteen.
  • In No Country for Old Men, both the book and the film, Anton Chigurh wields a captive-bolt pistol which is a Real Life version of this used for dispatching cattle humanely.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Piledrivers are a potential melee weapon that mechs can use in BattleTech. They're not very good, but this isn't surprising since they're civilian construction equipment that can be used as an Improvised Weapon and not dedicated anti-mech weapons in their own right. They sometimes show up in the famous battlemech arenas of Solaris 7, but since those are explicitly Robot Wars writ large their practicality or lack thereof plays second fiddle to the Rule of Cool.
  • The Catalytic Hammer in Lancer is part of the Tortuga's equipment package, but any mech in the game can mount one if they have the correct licences. The weapon's flavour text even references the name "pilebunker."

  • The M.S.G Weapon Unit MW28 Impact Edge is a pair of spring-loaded Pile Bunkers, and the magazine at the top acts as the trigger for them. It received a re-release which is included in the Frame Arms Girls Architect kit.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a toyline character named Dirtbag. He was a mutant mole with a jackhammer he used as a melee weapon.

    Video Games 
  • Armored Core series has this as one of the melee weapon styles, trading the range of bladed weapons for high damage.
  • Ashes 2063 has a gas-powered jackhammer that, when upgraded once to the "Smackhammer" in Afterglow, replaces the flat end with a spike like a proper pile bunker. It works similarly to the chainsaw in Doom, except it pushes the target away rather than pull the player towards it. Alt-fire revs up the machine for a single stronger, stunning strike, but it costs ammo to stay revved up.note 
  • Bloodborne has one in the form of the Stake Driver, a weapon that can be used with the spear-like blade either extended or retracted and causes a detonation at the tip if an attack is fully charged with the blade retracted.
  • Also by From Software, the now-forgotten Xbox 360 game Chromehounds featured several versions of these, but powered by hydraulics, not explosives.
  • Dig Dug's Taizo Hori wields a giant Pile Bunker in Namco Capcom.
  • Earth Defense Force 2025 / Earth Defense Force 4 in Japan: The Fencer Power Armor character has a variety of pile bunker-like weapons available to them some causing additional effects like explosions inside the target from forcefully injected plasma. Earth Defense Force 5 also sees the Fencer equipped with pile bunker-like weapons, such as the Blasthole Spear.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: Not the titular Giant Fist itself, but the final unlock character Power King can augment his punches with a steel blade that thrusts out at the end of the attack with an additional button input, retracting it after.
  • The Power Fist in Fallout 4 can be modified like this. The Puncturing Power Fist upgrade straps a block of concrete with pieces of steel rebar sticking out to the power fist's impact plate. This increases the fist's damage and gives it armor bypassing capability.
  • One of Barret's Arm Cannon attachments in Final Fantasy VII.
  • The Machinist class in Final Fantasy XIV receives a lategame summon which always finishes its attacks with this attack, complete with name.
  • Those in Front Mission look very much like some Armored Trooper VOTOMS versions.
  • The Scale, the fourth boss of Furi, wields a pair of pile bunkers.
  • While he doesn't use one himself, Slayer from Guilty Gear has this as the name for one of his special moves, which is a sliding straight Megaton Punch (that supposedly punches with the force of an actual pile bunker).
  • Lost Planet has them as a hand-held weapon, and one for the mecha.
  • Mega Man 11 has the Robot Master Impact Man, who uses this as his weapons of choice. Mega Man acquires the Pile Driver after beating him which combines this with Dash Attack. Bonus points for being named Pile Man in Japan.
  • Metal Slug:
    • 5 has it as the Slug Gunner's melee weapon, although this one can't really shoot over a distance.
    • In Metal Slug 3D, one of the weapons that can be fitted to the customizable Slug is a Pile Bunker that can be shot out on a chain or used as a ramming tool. Another part having a similar function is the Gunner Arm, essentially two Pile Bunkers placed onto the Vulcan parts. Speaking of which, if one equipped all the Gunner Parts, the Slug will transform into the aforementioned Slug Gunner.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • The Dragonators are building-sized pile bunkers powered by steam or clockwork and used to spike monsters that are large enough to be targeted.
    • The "Wyrmstake Cannon" of the Gunlance class is a form of Pile Bunker. The Hunter will thrust at a monster, pull the trigger to fire the spike, and, if you can actually hit something with it the spike will detach and explode after a couple of seconds, dealing damage to whatever part of the monster it hit while ignoring any defense.
  • Aigis acquires one in Persona 4: Arena which she uses to start off her All-Out Attack.
  • Ragnarok Online has a weapon by that name, but with no special qualities other than its incredible power (and weight), and a skill that truly goes with the trope — it's an attack used by Mechanic class while in their Madogear and it has a good chance to cancel any defensive spells or skills on the target it strikes. The only downside of the skill is that you need to equip the no special qualities weapon mentioned above.
  • This is the strongest but slowest melee weapon option in Rogha Armor Force. It had the most limited targeting arc (mostly consisting of attacking directly ahead in a single linear direction) and takes the most time to recharge between attacks, but makes up for it by destroying any non-miniboss enemy with a giant steel spike through the face.
  • R-Type Final has several ships with a pile bunker in place of a charged laser weapon. The bunkers do absolutely immense damage, in some cases more than enough to One-Hit Kill a boss... but they're extremely short-ranged and getting close enough to use them without killing yourself is very difficult.
  • S.L.A.I.: Steel Lancer Arena International features the Carro's 'pile hammer' melee weapon. As might be expected, it is a slower but more powerful close-range weapon that attacks directly ahead of the Carro in a straight line. The problem is that SLAI is a third-person high-speed arena-combat mech-sim, and thus the pile hammer is not nearly as effective a melee weapon as other manufacturer's offerings.
  • Steel Battalion: Line of Contact introduces the Garpike, a VT whose signature weapon is the pair of Bang Needles flanking its sides, which punch through their target and explode.
  • A pile bunker is one unlockable weapon that the titular protagonists of SUGURI and sora can both use in their respective games. Using it like with other melee weapons will grant temporary invulnerability to the player, with the one in sora also having the ability to charge the attack for more damage.
  • The Alt Eisen of Super Robot Wars has a Revolving Stake mounted on the right arm. The machine's Mid-Season Upgrade (the Alt Eisen Riese) and variants all carry the same weapon.
    • Similar Original Generation weapons include Rapiecage's Magnum Beak, the equipable weapon "G-Impact Stake", the claws wielded by the Strike Guarlion in the Record of ATX manga, and Cerberus Ignite's "Ignite Pike". Additionally, Haken Browning from Endless Frontier wields the Night Fowl assault rifle with an underslung stake below the barrel of the weapon, just like Mellowlink.
  • Many of the walker-type robot characters in Tobal 2 use this as their melee attack.
  • Chuck has one as his weapon in Wild ARMs 5, making him one of the 3 melee characters.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tsukihime: Ciel's and Riesbyfe Stridberg's conceptual weapons, Seventh Holy Scripture and True Apocrypha respectively, are magical examples. Notable in that Ciel's weapon, Seven or Nanako (Literally means Seven Girl), is sapient, and can transform into a girl.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Weaponized Jackhammer