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Robot Antennae

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You won't BELIEVE the reception he gets.

Antimony: Hello. I would like to enter, please.
Robot guard: Robots onl... What's that on your head?
Antimony: These are my antennas, because clearly I am a robot.

A visual aesthetic where robots and other mechanical characters and beings can have antennae on their heads or other parts of their bodies.

A robot may have one antenna on the top or side of their head. They may have two for symmetry, or more. Antennae can be of any shape: straight, kinked or curled, and also can be plain or adorned with little orbs and other oddly-shaped accessories.

The antennae may have a purpose involving wireless communication like an older cellphone or walkie-talkie, as a sensor, or just to look cool and signal that the character is a robot.

Robot Girls in Japanese works (Anime & Manga, Visual Novels, and Video Games) tend to have so-called "antenna ears" as a visual indicator that the character is indeed a robot. Compare Robot Hair and Vertical Mecha Fins.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • President Rag from Astro Boy looks completely human except for a pair of communications aerials sticking out from behind his ears.
  • Various Robot Buddy sidekicks from movies in the Doraemon franchise will have a single protruding antennae on top of their heads, a contrast to the titular robot cat who doesn't have any. Notably Mikujin from Doraemon: Nobita's Dorabian Nights, Log from Doraemon: Nobita's Drifts in the Universe and Poko from Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Kingdom.
  • Canti from FLCL has a rabbit-eared TV for a head.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: The Robot Girl Chachamaru has antennae in place of ears.
  • All the Variable Fighters in Super Dimension Fortress Macross have small laser turrets for heads with between one and four moveable barrels that point forward in combat but are held pointing up and slightly backward when at rest for seemingly no other reason than to invoke this trope.note 

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, a vast majority of the robots inhabiting planet Xing Xing have an antenna on their heads.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Chappie has animal-like antennae that act like Expressive Ears.
  • Forbidden Planet: Robby the Robot has two asymmetrical circular anntennae as "ears."
  • The Phantom Menace
    • B1 battle droids have antennae of this time on their backpacks. They're controlled by a large space station in orbit, so they need it to receive signals.
    • The bounty hunter Aurra Sing isn't a robot, but she does have a computer implanted in her head with a long antenna visible sticking out, giving her this type of appearance.
  • The Bye-Bye Machine from Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: I Love Wolffy has two antennae sticking out from the sides of its head.
  • Robot Monster. The villain Ro-Man's head is a space helmet with antennae sticking out of it.
  • The robot in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has what appears to be an antenna atop its head. Of course, the Martians wear helmets with antennae on them, so this might just be a Martian aesthetic.
  • The giant robots and robotic flying machines in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow all had antennae for receiving instructions.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: the Doctor's robot buddy-who-looks-like-a-dog K9 has two small radarlike antennae for ears.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A large number of Battlemechs in BattleTech have one or two head-mounted antenna, evoking this aesthetic.
  • The Tau Empire in Warhammer 40,000 have this as a common aesthetic feature to their technology, from their drones to their vehicles to their helmets. These were deliberately chosen by their concept artists and model designers to give them an animesque visual profile while reinforcing their Higher-Tech Species image.

  • Toy robots are often designed with an antenna (some of them rotated independently of the head).
  • LEGO robot designs, such as Tee Vee and Magma Drones, typically incorporate an antenna or two.

    Video Games 
  • Ascent Crash Landing: Blip has one sticking up from his head.
  • Quote and Curly from Cave Story, both being ridiculously human robot soldiers, have the aforementioned "anime variety" of robot antennae.
  • Botley, the Exposition Fairy of Jumpstart Adventures3rd Grade Mystery Mountain, has an antenna bent at a right angle on his head that he says is a powerful sensor, and he uses it to tell the player which rooms the hidden mission clues are hidden. This varies with the other robots; many of them don't have antennae, some have one or two. Eggbert has a spring with a flower on the end on his head.
  • The third giant boss in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (aka Earthwake) has one such antennae. It's disguised as the lightning rod on a building when it's inactive, and is apparently electrified enough that Giant Luigi takes damage if he tries to jump on the boss when its armour isn't active.
  • Both Vent and Aile gains one on their right ear in Mega Man ZX's sequel, Advent. In the first game, they lacked it.
  • Pajama Sam 2: Thunder And Lightning Aren't So Frightening: The Automated Snowflake Inspector has one antenna with a pair of white snowflake-style bits on it. Another who has one is the Snowflake Inspector Detector, or SID, a remote-control gadget that seeks out the Inspector every time he goes missing, which according to SID is often.
  • Atlas and P-Body have these in Portal 2. Whenever a player is using voice chat in-game, the tip on their respective robot's antenna glows.
  • Alpha in Robot City has an antenna on both sides of his head. You have to reattach them and his arms at the beginning of the game, since he was damaged some time before your arrival.
  • The Beholders and Armed Cops in Scrapland have these.
  • The third colossus in Shadow of the Colossus has two ear-like blocks on the side of its head, and two longer horn-like blocks above them.
  • The Clucker, a robotic mook from Sonic the Hedgehog has antennae on either side of its head. Most other enemies in the series are designed to resemble crustaceans, insects, and other creatures which normally bear antennae.
  • Train Your Minibot: The titular Minibot has two triangular antennae kinda like Chappie's.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Justified in Freefall: humanoid and non-humanoid robots have radio antennae for wireless communication and software updates. They also contribute to the robots' Expressive Mask faces; some can even flex them to form a question mark or wag in excitement.
  • Antimony of Gunnerkrigg Court invokes this trope by wearing a headband with false star-shaped antennae so she could sneak into an area restricted only to robots. The robot guard is completely fooled by her Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Robots in The Mansion of E feature these.
  • Jeph Jacques pokes fun at this in one installment of Questionable Content which shows two robots fighting, one of which has an antenna on its head.
    Author blurb: Never bring a goofy antenna to a robot fight

    Western Animation 
  • Most of the robots from Bolts & Blip have antennae.
  • Futurama:
    • Mom, leader of Mom's Friendly Robot Company, builds all her robots this way. She says that most people think she does that for the aesthetic purpose, but she really does it so she can control all the robots she sells by remote control. This hasn't stopped the show from making several juvenile penis jokes about Bender's antenna.
    • When Bender causes Leela to go deaf and unable to listen to the opera Fry composed for her, the Robot Devil offers mechanical ears in exchange for her hand. To do this, he plucks Calculon's twin antennae and sticks them directly in Leela's ears. Calculon doesn't mind because he owes the Robot Devil a favor for granting his... ACTING... TALENT!
    • Matt Groening's original designs for Bender included curly antennae on the sides of his head to indicate ears which were dropped from the final design. In season four the cast are all temporarily de-aged into child versions of themselves and Bender's younger form has the antennae as a Development Gag.
  • Rosie the maid in The Jetsons has two such antennae, one on either side of her head.
  • South Park has an example of at least assuming this when Cartman dresses up as a robot complete with antennae.
  • Super Friends episode "Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.". The giant blue robots guarding the G.E.E.C. building each have an antenna on the top of their heads.
  • Nearly all Transformers (at least in the early generations) had helmet attachments on their heads that though horn-like in some cases were most likely antennae.

Alternative Title(s): Robot Antenna