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Serial Prostheses

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"Remember Bilko? He disobeyed orders, and now Lord Sador's wearing his foot."

A character, usually a villain, is injured on multiple occasions and each time will have a prosthetic added, be it mechanical or wooden. In order to qualify as this trope, a character must lose at least two body parts on two separate occasions. The prosthetic can range from a simple eye patch and peg leg to the character becoming a full-blown cyborg. Can become a Running Gag if used for comedic effect. Bonus points if the wounds are self-inflicted.

Compare We Can Rebuild Him, in which a single devastating injury or death necessitates all new body parts in one go. Goes hand-in-hand with Mutilation Conga. May also overlap with Unwilling Roboticisation.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners shows this as one sign of cyberpsychosis, specifically a desire to add increasingly more cybernetic augmentations to your body until you snap and go completely insane. The cyberpsycho in the prologue is disconnected from reality by all his enhancements, and massacres dozens of people before he's finally brought down by MaxTac. Maine also flirts with it and goes completely over the edge when his friend is killed. Finally, David starts with the Sandevistan augment, and by the end of the show is a barely more than a brain in a massive robot tank, going increasingly insane despite massive injections of anti-psychotic medication every few minutes. The RPG notes that this is a common outcome of more extreme augmentations, where things constantly perceiving time as moving much more slowly certainly makes you move and react faster than everyone else, but you'll go increasingly crazy when people are slow to move out of your way.
  • In Land of the Lustrous, certain Gems (who are not truly gems, but collections of symbiotic bacteria who live in animate gems) can spread their inclusions into other materials, allowing them to survive being shattered. Phosphophyllite in particular has been shattered so much that he's (?) a patchwork being of metal, pearl, and several of his fellows' corpses. The Theseus' Ship Paradox is an ongoing theme in his arc.
  • Hakuryuu from Magi: Labyrinth of Magic keeps getting limbs cut off and replacing them with magical wooden prostheses. Definitely a case of a Handicapped Badass and he trounces our heroes. He loses an arm in Zagan's dungeon, only to replace it with a wooden on once he claims the djinn for his own, but he loses both his legs to Alibaba during their fight in the Kou Empire arc and also has to replace them with prosthetic wooden limbs.
  • My Hero Academia: Miruko has this happen to her during the Paranormal Liberation War. In the process of trying to kill Shigaraki before he can fully assimilate into his modified body, the Nomu she fights destroy an arm and a leg of hers. In the subsequent war, he uses prosthetics to make up for her lost limbs, and even switches them out when they get damaged. During the battle, she loses yet another arm to Shigaraki before finally being beaten unconscious and unable to continue.
  • Usagi-chan de Cue!!: The "admonisher" Dekao squares off against Inaba Mikami four times in total. After each defeat, he gets cybernetic upgrades.
    • Starts out with no cybernetic parts. Falls off the school's rooftop.
    • On the public beach, Dekao has an Electronic Eye (right) installed, plus rocket-propelled fists and six shoulder-mounted missiles. Gets splashed with seawater, shorts out, explodes.
    • At the school fundraiser, Dekao has missile launchers in each forearm, and from the waist down, he's a mechanical horse: a cybernetic centaur. One good kick to the head by Inaba makes him short out and explode.
    • In the shopping mall, Dekao is just a head directing a war machine on tank treads. He gets a power cable stuffed into an access panel, which electrocutes him and makes him explode.

    Comic Books 
  • Deff Skwadron has Killboy, an ork who's undergone more than 35 major bionik replacements due to flying more than 35 missions requiring more than 35 replacement fighta-bommaz. As a result, when he goes to unstick the bombing doors and the payload (a lot of angry squigs) attacks him, they don't find anything to sink their teeth into.
  • Preacher: Starr loses his leg to underground Texan cannibals and later his penis to an Angry Guard Dog.
  • Superman: The Linear Man from the 1990s comics says that he had to constantly replace parts of himself whenever he time-traveled, which explains his half-cybernetic look.
  • Zot!: Dekko undergoes repeated amputations and bionic replacements in an attempt to cure a disease that kept popping up again in what remained of his organic body. Along the way, he lost contact with his humanity and embraced his new robotic form.

    Fan Fiction 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The space tyrant Sador from Battle Beyond the Stars has a fondness for replacing his own body parts with ones taken from defeated enemies, in his bid for immortality. This turns out bad for him when his soldiers capture a Nestor clone (Nestor being a Hive Mind consisting of its entire race, who joins the heroes with a group of clones because it wants new experiences). After the clone is killed by torture, Sador claims its arm... and then discovers that Nestor can still control it. His goons manage to cut it off before it successfully chokes him to death, unfortunately.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it's revealed that Nebula was punished by Thanos every time she failed to best her sister Gamora by having a piece of her body replaced by machinery. She goes into detail to Gamora:
    Nebula: You're the one who wanted to win, but I just wanted a sister. You were all I had, but you just needed to win. Thanos pulled my eye from my head. He tore my brain from my skull, and my arm from my body... because of you.
  • Hot Shots! and its sequel use the comedic version with Admiral (later President) Benson. Any time a quick gag is called for, he reveals that he's had some body part replaced by something ridiculous due to an old war injury or accident. Asbestos skin, a basset hound's tongue, etc.
  • In Little Big Man, the traveling Snake Oil Salesman Mr. Merriweather loses several minor body parts over the time that Jack knows him, usually to an angry mob. When Jack meets him a few years later, Merriweather comments that there isn't much more he could lose.
  • Star Wars:

  • This is the basis of the short story "Are You There, Mr. Jones?" by Stanisław Lem, in which a man who had his entire body replaced by prostheses (including first one, then the other hemisphere of the brain) is sued for nonpayment by the prosthesis producer, who argues that since there is not a single organic part left in the man, he's just an inanimate collection of prostheses which lawfully belongs to the company.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Bill the Galactic Hero; none of the implant replacements for his lost foot will ever stick (we saw he was using a mechanical prosthesis in the Distant Finale to the first book, near the end of his career) but he gets a new one every book.
  • The Colour of Magic: Goldeneyes Silverhand Dactylos' backstory consists of him inventing marvels for various royals, only for his employers to mutilate him so that he couldn't repeat the invention for anyone else. When his latest employer asks why he didn't just give it all up and try flower arranging, he replies "I'm good at it."
  • Over the course of his career as an Auror, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody from the Harry Potter series has lost a leg (replaced by a peg leg), an eye (replaced by a magical eye that can see through solid objects and in all directions), part of his nose, and possibly a buttock.
  • This was the eventual fate of "The Man Who Was Used Up" in the short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. It's played for bleak laughs when he is shown to be a squeaking heap without his protheses, and his manservant "assembles" him piece by piece in front of the narrator.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In the X-Wing Series, Ton Phanan of Wraith Squadron had once been treated with spoiled Bacta that caused him to become allergic to the extremely efficient regenerative substance. Unwilling to retire from frontline service, he subsequently loses a large number of body parts and has them replaced with cybernetic implants and prostheses to be able to fight again. Despite his cheerful appearance, he is actually a Death Seeker, convinced to continue fighting until it finally kills him.
    • Hobbie Klivian from the same series is a more light-hearted version. Due to his bad luck and tendency to get shot down, he has several cybernetic limbs, and they're prone to getting damaged. In one scene from Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, Hobbie just gets slightly annoyed when parts of those limbs get torn off, musing that he'll have to replace them again.
    • Mara Jade, in The Thrawn Trilogy, mentions that the Emperor had Vader's right arm removed for his failure to save the Death Star. Splinter of the Mind's Eye has Luke hack off Vader's right arm in a lightsaber duel.
    • Luke's gone through some of this. He's only ever lost his right hand, but it's been taken off more than once. There was the original, in the movie. A one-off comic has it get infected with technological parasites, and he cuts it off himself. In Dark Empire the Emperor Reborn had it removed and replaced with one more like his father's. Years later it's destroyed in Legacy of the Force. Each time, he has it replaced again.
  • Michael Moorcock, possibly prompted by parodic references to his works by people like Terry Pratchett, wrote a deliberate self-parody acknowledging that things like The Elric Saga might have gone a teeny-weeny bit over the top, called The Stone Thing; A Man of Many Parts, in which a typical Moorcock hero admits to a woman he is wooing that life has taken its toll somewhat and practically every part of his body has, at one time or another, been replaced by a prosthetic. The deal-breaker, for the lady involved, is the Stone Thing of the title...note 
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Tin Man's backstory involved him chopping off his limbs, one by one, after a witch put a curse on his axe. He even had to replace his torso and head with tin prostheses. This creates a weird Theseus' Ship Paradox in the later book The Tin Woodman of Oz: Eventually through the gradual process the Tin Man becomes entirely made of tin, but due to the Nobody Can Die nature of Oz, his original head remains sentient and wants nothing to do with his tin counterpart.

    Live-Action TV 

  • MAD published a collection of parodies of famous novels. The parody of Moby-Dick has this happening to Captain Ahab, with him having a wooden prothesis added every time he loses a body part in pursuit of the whale. By the end of the story, his entire body is wood except for his nose, which is iron because the carpenter had run out of wood.

    Music Videos 
  • Not the song itself, but the filmclip to Broken Bells' "The Ghost Inside" is this trope to a nightmarish degree. Also a Downer Ending.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Done deliberately by the Tech-Priests of Mars and the more tech-oriented Astartes Chapters, who view flesh as weakness and get mechanical replacements for their various body parts as they go up in rank.

    Video Games 
  • Wilhelm, a boss in Borderlands 2 and a Player Character in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, was born with a bone disease which was treated with cybernetic implants... which also caused an addiction to cybernetics and gave him a new goal in life; to turn himself into a robot. In the latter game, he's still visibly human but certain upgrades in his skill tree replace some of his body parts with metallic replacements. By the time of the former game, he is more metal than meat.
  • The clockwork villain Nemesis in City of Heroes replaced his body piece by piece as it was either shot off him (he lost his legs during the American Civil War) or wore out. By the start of the 21st century, he's pretty much just a brain in a robot body (or several), and one of the story arcs covers his (possibly successful) plan to replace even that.
  • Deathborn's bio alludes to this in F-Zero GX, to the point where the only organic part of his body is his brain. This is in contrast with another character, Mighty Gazelle, who was an obvious case of We Can Rebuild Him.
  • The player can invoke this in Kenshi, due to the game allowing limbs to get cut off if they get damaged enough during combat. It's perfectly possible (and actually quite likely) for at least one member of your squad to lose all of their limbs on four separate occasions, and subsequently replace them with prosthetic limbs.
  • Scaly Pete in Maneater loses first an arm to the shark protagonist, then a leg, then gets scarred in an explosion. The Zero Punctuation review parodied his gradual Villain Decay with a picture in which he has all four limbs and the top of his head replaced by hooks.
  • Shin Megami Tensei if...: Otsuki, an insane teacher fanatically devoted to the Emperor Deity, rebuilds himself each time he's defeated by the protagonists: first he replaces his right arm with a hydraulic hammer, then his legs with tank treads and finally his entire body with a hulking mech.
  • In the backstory of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, the family nemesis Clockwerk replaced his body parts as they became old and useless with machinery powered by pure hatred, and by the time Sly faces him, he's 100% mechanical, but this trope would have applied to his past incarnations.
  • Most Cyborg enemies from Space Siege call dibs on your character's Augmentations; your bionic eye and arm are the two that are usually called.

  • Clarice from A Girl and Her Fed is already a cyborg when first appearing, but later starts adding more cybernetic implants between run-ins with the protagonists. The titular Girl is shown to have kept the robotic arm she ripped off in one violent encounter as a trophy on her mantel at home.
  • Yuri from Spacetrawler becomes a cyborg, loses some limbs (gets some PTSD), gets some mechanical replacements, engages in some violence, then gets some alien organ transplants and some more mechanical augmentation. She's currently been forcibly downgraded back a step from her form as a laser-wielding mech-spider back to her basic bipedal form.

    Western Animation