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Retractable Weapon

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So you have a rather long weapon, and you don't have the Bag of Holding or any sort of Hammerspace to store and conceal it. What to do? Make it retractable, thus concealing it and possibly making it small enough to be stored without any problems.

Sub-Trope of Impossibly Compact Folding. Typically, any type of the Blade Below the Shoulder, Laser Blade, Butterfly Knife, Sinister Switchblade, Telescoping Staff or Pile Bunker is this. Compare Shapeshifter Weapon, where a character that can shapeshift can create many weapons from their body, Morph Weapon which is a weapon that can take different forms and Person of Holding. See also Idiosyncratic Mecha Storage, IKEA Weaponry, Impossibly Compact Folding, and Wolverine Claws. Contrast with Collapsible Helmet.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Gin Ichimaru's Shikai and Bankai, though that's not its only or main feature.
    • Renji Abarai's Shikai and Bankai allow his weapon to extend during his strikes.
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Paz is shown to carry around a folding kukri which is specific enough to him that a stalker who's imitated him to the last detail has one.
  • The Guyver has blades that extend out of his arms.
  • Trigun: Vash and his Concealed Alternate Retractable Weapon that doubles as his HAND.
  • Goku's Power Pole from Dragon Ball.
  • In Tokkô, Kureha's daggers are shown to be retractable. In the manga version, Sakura's sword is shown doing this as well.
  • In Yaiba, Kojiro's sword has the power to grow longer or shorter at will, though it's still a pretty long blade by itself.
  • The Lyrical Nanoha franchise has Garyu, a humanoid insect Monster Knight who fights using several retractable blades that come out from his arms.
  • Kill la Kill: Ryuko's Scissor Blade can retract into regular-sized scissors to fit in her pocket.
  • Kirio Inasa's Elezaar Scythe from Ushio and Tora has a telescopic handle and its blade can fold multiple times, which allows Kirio to carry the normally cumbersome polearm inside a comparatively small bag.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
  • Batman's Batarangs in some media like in The Batman and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
  • Batgirl III, Stephanie Brown, carries around a retractable/extendable staff, which she picked up from her long time romantic partner Robin III/Red Robin III, Tim Drake, who was the first fellow vigilante to accept and train with her.
  • Spoofed in Asterix in Corsica. The Weapon of Choice of every Corsican is a wristblade, which they're not shy to show for intimidation purposes. For the big battle at the end, they happen to have also retractable swords and even retractable spears — doing the exact same sound as the wristblades.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Larry Niven's Known Space: variable swords (Monofilament wire reinforced with a stasis field) extend from and retract into the handle, their state only obvious from the ball at the very tip of the blade to reduce accidents from not knowing where the blade actually is located.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda: the Force-lance, which can extend to a 2-meter-long quarterstaff.
    • Unusually for this trope, force lances are also frequently used in their collapsed state as guns, and the fact that pointing them would be more difficult than a gun is explained by the use of guided bullets.
  • Angel: The titular character used single retractable arm blades on each forearm - notable in that they were wooden stakes specifically for fighting vampires. He tended not to use them in later series though when the show moved away from it's original detective-style
    • Wesley Wyndam-Price had one in later series after he took a level in badass. Special mention as it could function as an 'assassin' style short blade or fold out into a fully-fledged longsword via an 'unfolding' method that was one of the cooler special effects to appear on the show.
  • Babylon 5: the Minbari Fighting Pike aka Denn'Bok. Preferred weapon of the Rangers.
  • Doctor Who: In the 2005 reboot onwards, the Doctor's sonic screwdrivers usually have an extending/retracting feature. Eccleston/Tennant's is a sliding mechanism while Smith's has a spring-loaded claw.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, Thor could shrink down his hammer Mjöllnir so that he could fit it inside his clothes. For this reason, Mjöllnir-shaped pendants are common in that part of the world.
  • Journey to the West: Sun Wukong's iron-banded rod is the quintessential Telescoping Staff, and when not in use, he shrinks it to the size of a toothpick and keeps it behind his ear.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Shadowrun, retractable claws are available as cyberware and known by the nickname "wolverines". As well as a collapsible staff and the Victorinox memory blade which folds into a belt.
  • Eclipse Phase has the "Flex Cutter" which is a machete made out of a memory polymer that becomes stiff or flexible enough to roll up with the push of a button.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Shrink Item spell can be put to this usage, turning weapon into apparently inoffensive trinkets until a command word is spoken. It can also be rendered permanent, although theoretically it doesn't work on magic items.note 
    • The Savage Species splatbook introduces "Hideaway" weapons, which magically fold up on pressing a stub, leaving an unconspicuous and easy-to-hide cylinder fitting in the palm.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY, a lot of weapons are collapsible. Some Fridge Logic is pointed out when discussing Jaune's collapsing shield though:
    Jaune: And it gets smaller, so, when I'm tired of holding it, I can just... put it away.
    Ruby: But, wouldn't it still weigh the same?
    Jaune: [dejected] Yeah, it does...


    Web Original 
  • In New Vindicators, the wizard/super-genius Jason Lamperouge crafts a magic sword that can cut through steel and when not in sword form, resembles a small cross (as in two perfectly intersecting lines, not a Christian cross) that he wears on a neckchain. It is called the Pentacle of the Blade and it extends when he speaks the word 'tonedo' which roughly means 'to shear.'

    Western Animation 
  • ReBoot
  • Robin in Teen Titans has bo staffs that retract to fit in his utility belt. So does Slade.
  • El Tigre has claws that he can use to grab/attack people from a distance, due to a Variable-Length Chain.
  • Optimus' axe in Transformers Animated has an extendable shaft.
  • Wakfu:
    • Rubilax isn't so much retractable that size-shifting; its normal form is between the size of a short sword or dagger, but it can turn into a BFS (with Volcanic Veins in option) in a hitch.
    • Some air pirates also have sword-lances that can change size.
  • In ThunderCats (1985) and its 2011 reboot, the Sword of Omens' default size is a dagger/shortsword. When its wielder utters a battle cry to unleash the power of the Eye of Thundera (also known as the Warstone in the reboot), the Sword becomes a longsword. The 2011 reboot explains the Sword's small default size: Mumm-ra destroyed a star system to create the special metal capable of channeling the Warstone's power. When the blacksmith forged the Sword of Plundaar and its matching gauntlet out of it, a bunch of small shards fell in the process. The Sword of Omens and the Claw Gauntlet were forged from those shards.
  • In Motorcity, Mike Chilton has Spark Staff, which emerges from a miniature skull of his. His partner Chuck has a wrist-mounted slingshot that is also this.
  • In Super 4, Alex's sword blade is retractable, being half as long when in its sheath. He once elongates it much further to use as an impromptu perch, although that's in an Imagine Spot.
  • In one of the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons, Homer discovers a plot by Kang and Kodos to Take Over the World by impersonating presidental candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. When he threatens to tell everyone, the two "deal with" Homer by revealing a giant device that telescopes ominously towards him...before a tiny nozzle comes out and hoses him down with rum so that nobody will believe him.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Diana's magic staff can retract to the size of a baton for ease of carrying. She also often uses its telescopic properties to boost her pole jump. It's also self-repairing, so snapping it in two is only a short problem.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Expanding batons, switchblades, butterfly knives, swiss army knives, and firearms with folding/clasping stocks.
  • Many predatory animals have retractable claws.

Alternative Title(s): Extendable Weapon


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