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Shoulder Cannon

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A Sub-Trope of Unusual Weapon Mounting, basically it's a weapon (such as a Gatling Gun or rocket launcher) mounted on the shoulder(s). Usually involves Powered Armor. The issues of recoil and the attendant potential for spinal injury, not to mention the difficulty of reloading a magazine that's way back there, are almost never addressed. Though the aforementioned link to power armour can Hand Wave most of the problems away so simply it's hardly worth mentioning.

Compare Backpack Cannon, which may be mistaken for this as they usually extend over the shoulder.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Unit 02 (and presumably Unit 03 and Unit 04) has a spike launcher in its right shoulder pylon that Asuka uses to great effect on Mass Production Evangelion Unit 10.
  • Several military labors and most notably the Saturn model in Patlabor.
  • Most Gundam shows have one of these (and/or a Backpack Cannon), the original being the Guncannon.
    • The Gelgoog Cannon was derived from the discontinued Zaku Cannon concept, which was topheavy and unstable due to its backpack-mounted 180mm cannon. The Gelgoog Cannon used a beam cannon instead of physical shells, eliminating recoil. However, too few were ready by the end of the One Year War to help the Zeon forces (but then, the same was true of every Gelgoog variant, including the basic model).
      • Along similar lines was the Federation's GM Cannon. In trying to adapt the twin shoulder cannon concept of the Guncannon onto a standard GM frame, they found it couldn't support the twin cannons. So they took away one cannon, and made the legs heavier to lower the center of gravity, so that the cannon could be fired while standing or running. The later (and heavier) GM Cannon II would have beam cannons, and would also mount them on the backpack.
    • Special mention goes to After War Gundam X and the Satellite Cannons: shoulder-mounted beam cannons that fire a shot that can vaporize an army. The cannon takes so much power to fire that the energy for it has to be beamed to the Gundam from a generator complex on the Moon.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has a few also:
      • Virtue & Seravee's GN cannons. The former is also a Swiss-Army Weapon when detached as Nadleeh can dual-wield them Gangsta Style.
      • Gundam Throne Eins' GN Mega Launcher which is normally stored folded up and requires another Gundam to power and aim it like a mounted weapon.
      • The beam cannons on 0 Raiser become this for the 00 Raiser.
    • Several of the Gundams in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, though you could forgiven for forgetting given how rarely they are used. Wing, Deathscythe and Heavyarms all mount extra Vulcan cannons on their shoulders while Sandrock uses a couple of single-shot missile launchers. Wing Zero ups the ante with rotary beams cannons which are more powerful (or at least fire faster). Wing Zero and Heavyarms see the most use, probably because Wing Zero's twin beam cannons are overkill and Heavyarms's most famous tactic is firing everything.
      • The Kamiki Burning Gundam in Gundam Build Fighters Try has one on its left shoulder, firing an beam blast in the shape of the word "Kamiki" at his opponents.
    • Exclusive to the novelization of Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, the Second V has a big Mega Beam Cannon mounted on its left shoulder. Edward Second V from SD Gundam World Heroes, being based on the mech, also has this by proxy.
  • Heavy Metal L-Gaim: Nei Mo Han's heavy metal had these. You thought her mecha just had oversized shoulders...until she aimed them at you and fired.
  • Scourge in Transformers: Robots in Disguise had shoulder-mounted rocket launchers.
    • Demolishor, from Transformers: Armada, is a more literal example, with large missile launchers forming his shoulders. In addition, Overload can form an extra pair of shoulder-mounted cannons for Optimus Prime (either in his Super Mode, or when combined with Jetfire).
    • In Transformers: Cybertron, Optimus Prime, when combined with Wing Saber, has a pair of shoulder gatling guns.
  • Mazinger Z: Several Mechanical Beasts were equipped with them. One example were the ninja siblings Blazas S1 and S2, or Winder A2. Their shoulders were fitted with missile launchers.
  • Panzer World Galient: Assault Galient's beam gun and Monocot's flash arrow pod. Panzer artillery troops are fitted with long cannons on their shoulders to shoot dozens of explosive projectiles every round.
  • Some Knightmare Frames from Code Geass, particularly the Gawain, which keeps a pair of Hadron Cannons in nacelles mounted on its shoulders.
  • In Macross: Do You Remember Love?, the VF-1 Strike Valkyrie configuration has a dual beam cannon mounted on its right back. When transformed into Batroid mode, the beam cannon folds over the shoulder to aim straight ahead.
    • The Macross Cannon itself. While it was able to fire perfectly fine while in gunship configuration in the first episode (and indeed, it was its intended purpose) the... disappearance of the Fold Engines left a gap between the cannon and the power generators, requiring the Macross' Humongous Mecha configuration to bring them back together. The Macross Cannon then ended up stretched upwards on its shoulders, the Shoulder Cannon to end all Shoulder Cannons.
    • The Zentraedi side has the Nousjadeul-Ger, which has a cannon that deploys over it's right shoulder, as well as the Glaug which has a similar cannon, except for the fact it is always facing forward.
    • Macross Frontier gives us the Queadluun-Rhea, which is pretty much a direct remanufacture of the Queadluun-Rau from the original series, but with an added cannon from the above Nousjadeul-Ger, except this time it deploys over the left shoulder. The movies then give us the VF-25 equiped with the Tornado Pack and the YF-29 Durandal which have a pair of over-shoulder cannons.
  • A Mecha-Mook in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha had a pair of giant shoulder cannons. It got blown up before it could finish charging it.
  • Tekkaman Blade has the Voltekka shoulder cannons used by the titular character and the other Tekkaman (other Tekkamen mounted theirs in the chest).
  • Shoulder-mounted weapon batteries are a staple of Real Robot mecha.
  • Deconstructed/parodied in Sgt. Frog, when Fuyuki is equipped with a pair of these in episode 10 - it causes serious ear damage when they go off.
  • The Zoanoid Vamore in Guyver.
  • One Piece: Franky has them, but he hates using them because they actually dislocate his shoulders. After the timeskip, he modifies his shoulders to do away with that limitation, and even replaces them with a rocket launcher.
  • Issei in High School D×D gains the Illegal Triana move that has three forms. One of the forms is the Bishop form where he gains two shoulder mounted cannons and fires a huge blast of energy from it.
  • Halo Legends: The eponymous mechanized suit of Prototype includes this along with various other weapons.
  • Fang of the Sun Dougram has shoulder weapons for many of its units, such as the Blockhead, Roundfacer, Bigfoot, and Ironfoot's missile launchers. The titular Dougram is not this. Its gigantic linear cannon is actually a Backpack Cannon.
  • Parodied in Ah! My Goddess, when a rubber band fights goes out of control and Peorth starts shooting giant rubber bands from twin shoulder cannons to counter Urd's super-strong spirit and Skuld's tank.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Iron Man:
    • War Machine, typically in the form of a Gatling gun on one shoulder and a missile launcher on the other. The weapons are mounted on rails that allow them to shift onto the back. It was notably the first Iron Man suit built by Tony Stark to incorporate shoulder-mounted weapons, as Tony preferred his hand repulsors and chest-mounted Uni-Beam.
    • The NTU-150 remote unit, which followed the War Machine suit, stored shoulder cannons inside its body when not in use. Its follow-up, the Modular Armor, had a few different types of shoulder cannon modules available to swap out. Tony would, much later, begin incorporating much smaller weapons into the shoulders.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Predator:
    • The infamous shoulder-mounted, servo-turret "Plasmacaster" used by the Predator. It is aimed using a targeting laser in the Predator's mask, which means it can accurately aim and fire while keeping its hands free.
    • In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a Predator picks up another plasmacaster from the body of another Predator and attaches it to its other shoulder. Thus, the hunter now has two guns.
    • In The Predator, one character learns the hard way why trying to use a plasmacaster without a targeting system is a bad idea when he accidentally blows his own head off with one.
  • Godzilla:
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The Giant Robot that guarded the underwater entrance to Dr. Totenkopf's island had a shoulder mounted missile launcher.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Like his comic book counterpart, War Machine has a Gatling Gun on his shoulder in Iron Man 2. War Machine actually has his gun mounted on a moving arm on a rail along his back, enabling the gun to move from shoulder to shoulder as well as point in every direction. It can even fire directly behind and up (as seen in the trailer).
    • Tony himself has multi-shot dart launchers in his shoulders in the first movie. In the second, too, but they don't work as well against armored targets.
  • RoboCop 2. Cain's mechanical body has a shoulder mounted cannon. Watch it in action here, starting at 2:25.
  • Worf's Isomagnetic Disintegrator from Star Trek: Insurrection.
  • Short Circuit: Johnny Five and his brothers all had shoulder-mounted lasers.
    Johnny Five: Hey, laser-lips! Your momma was a snowblower!
  • Coyote Tango from Pacific Rim has two, thanks to taking visual inspiration from Mobile Suit Gundam's Guncannon.
  • The heavily-armed Jacket battlesuits worn by soldiers in Edge of Tomorrow included in their arsenal a pair of high-powered canons that extended up from the back of the soldier's shoulders.

  • In Dale Brown books, CID units can mount various weapons on a backpack that goes over the shoulder, such as Grenade Launchers or 20mm autocannon. Tin Men starting from Warrior Class have Lightning Gun electrodes on their shoulders.
  • An extreme version from The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy in the Star Wars Expanded Universe is D'harhan, an old partner of Boba Fett who has undergone extreme cybernetic augmentation to replace his head with a laser cannon powerful enough to blow holes in small starships.
  • The Mobile Infantry in Starship Troopers wear battlesuits that can shoulder-mount auto-targeted shotguns, grenade launchers, and even nuclear rocket launchers to enable each soldier to take the place of a pre-armor squad. This awesome capability, and the armor that has it, is sadly left out of the movie.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech's Humongous Mecha can have shoulder mounted weapons easily enough; the iconic example is probably the Hunchback line of 'Mechs. Usually this is just fluff for weapons actually mounted in the side torso during construction, but advanced rules allow for the presence of actual 'shoulder turrets' with wider-than-normal firing arcs.
    • Very much more obvious in the Hollander series, which takes 'shoulder cannon' to its most literal and bizarre extreme.
    • A standby for the series' numerous Power Armor models as as well, starting with the missile racks on the Elemental battlesuit and working all the way up to 'Mech grade lasers mounted in the shoulders of some suits, as opposed to an Arm Cannon or something similar.
  • League of Legends: Invoked by Viktor who has a miniature robotic arm attached to his left shoulder that fires beam attacks.
  • Most the mecha in MechQuest have slots for shoulder mounted weaponry.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Tau battlesuits frequently mount railguns and missile launchers on their shoulders.
    • Space Marine Terminators can have racks of missiles on their backs, and they fire automatically too.
    • Reaver and Warlord Titans can have these, but at a much larger scale, loaded with weapons that are generally intended to kill other Titans or lay waste to entire battlefields with only one or two shots.
    • Eldar Wraithlords and War Walkers (and probably their Titans) can have these too, but the spirit/pilot has to aim them himself.
    • Arkhan Land, basically the 40k version of Indiana Jones but with cybernetics and a red robe, had a shoulder-mounted micro-nuclear machine gun with some of the most advanced targeting systems in the galaxy. Artwork shows someone who's basically Gandalf as the Predator.
    • One item from Inquisitor, the Mind Impulse Unit (MIU), permitted the wearer to fire a gun without using his hands. This led to Shoulder Psycannons, much to the distaste of anyone within weapons range.
    • The Ultra-Tech supplement has a shoulder mount for any large weapon. Naturally, they're difficult to aim.
    • In the Wild Cards supplement, the Modular Man can have two of these, one on each shoulder.
  • Shadowrun
    • Cybernetic mounts capable of holding heavy weapons can be installed on the shoulder or upper back. Their targeting is controlled by the user, and can be tied in with other cyberware.
    • The Ballista is a shoulder-mounted missile launcher. Capable of tracking aerial targets while leaving the user's hands free, it is a favorite among those who think they might end up in a serious fight against a dragon.
  • Battlelords of the 23rd Century: Various armour options allow for shoulder-mounted weaponry, all computer-controlled which can be normal weapons or missile-defense types. The more expensive models can include automated independent targeting systems.
  • The Khadoran "Behemoth" heavy warjack would like to introduce his two shoulder-mounted bombards . Say "hi" !
  • The original design of Mutant Chronicles Capitol hero Big Bob Watts has two cannons strapped to his shoulder pads. The new design has them slung under his forearms.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones MC-850 "Leadarm" armor has a shoulder mount for an auto-firing medium weapon.
  • Myriad Song has Waldo Turrets as a possible mod for exoskeletons.

  • Extremely common in BIONICLE, particularly the later years, with numerous characters such as Krekka, Nuparu Inika, Maxilos, Krika, Pohatu Nuva in his Adaptive Armor Sky Form, the Mahri Nui Matoran, Malum, and, in the reboot, Narmoto. They became so common that some sections of the fandom have taken to calling their headcanons "Shouldercanons".

    Video Games 
  • Evil Genome: Scarlet Storm, a robotic Killer Gorilla, has laser cannons on both shoulders which can cover the whole arena with beam attacks.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Platinum mounts her heavy cannons off her shoulder. Suitably powerful attacks actually do knock her off her feet, though regular attacks are better balanced for her.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: The pirate Skabb's main source of projectiles is a miniature cannon mounted on his back.
  • Incision has the Feral Armament, a powerful zombie-demon-robot who has twin missile launchers attached to each shoulder, which it'll use to unload a Macross Missile Massacre on you during it's boss fight.
  • Metroid Prime:
    • Elite Pirates have shoulder-mounted plasma cannons. The Omega Pirate has two of em.
    • Some of the Ingsmashers in the second game also have shoulder cannons.
  • Mega Man X: Vile/VAVA has a cannon attached onto his right shoulder, with an ammo belt arching over his back. In X3, he ditches the ammo belt for his cannon, but adds an additional missile launcher on his left shoulder.
  • MechWarrior, set in the BattleTech universe, has the same shoulder mountings available. The Hollander II and Solitaire featured in Mechwarrior Living Legends take the shoulder cannon to its logical extreme, with an entire shoulder being replaced by a massive cannon, the Hollander's being so large that the cockpit must be mounted on the opposite shoulder. The cannon becomes the Hollander's Achilles heel, as it often mounts a Gauss Rifle that will explode catastrophically when destroyed, often taking out the entire mech with it.
  • Back Weapons and Extensions in the Armored Core series are mounted on the shoulders. The weapon types range from grenade launchers, to chain guns, to laser cannon.
  • Not actually present in game, but this is apparently how Elcor in Mass Effect use weapons. Since Elcor resemble a cross between an elephant and a gorilla, come from a high gravity world and are quadrupeds, it's pretty much required. Their strength and naturally tough hide turn them into a sort of living weapons platform.
  • In the multiplayer mode for Mass Effect 3, the N7 Destroyer Soldier has a shoulder-mounted missile launcher. This is a class power rather than a weapon and therefore has unlimited ammo. Unlike most powers, however, the Hawk Missile Launcher isn't activated to fire a missile at a chosen enemy, it gets turned on and will continually fire missiles at enemies in front of the N7 Destroyer, though at the cost of reduced shields as long as the power is turned on.
  • Super Robot Wars loves this trope.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars: The R-2 Powered has 2 5-barreled energy guns, one per shoulder, which later turn into the SRX's arms and hands.
    • The Schutzwald has a pair of energy cannons, essentially a Gespenst modified for an artillery role.
    • The Shadow Mirror's R-Eins also has a pair of energy cannons, and is a flying Elite Mook.
    • Let's not forget about the Shadow Mirror's Landgriez and Laz Angriff, who have a lot of shoulder-mounted internal weaponry.
    • Super Robot Wars Compact 2: Finally, there's the Alteisen's Square Claymores, which are titanium ball-bearing launchers.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron: Soundwave and Trypticon
  • As with Comic Books above, Iron Man and War Machine, in the Marvel vs. Capcom fighting game series, complete with Calling Your Attacks by trope name ("Shoulder Cannon!")
  • Doom:
    • Revenants from Doom II have two shoulder-cannons that fire guided and unguided rockets depending on the game tic and are considered one of the more tougher enemies in the roster. They make a return in Doom (2016) and Doom Eternal with a new laser ability.
    • The Revenants from Doom³, hpwever, fire "drunken" homing missiles one at a time or two together depending on the demon's mood.
    • The Doom Slayer in Doom Eternal has the shoulder-mounted Equipment Launcher with the ability to launch a flame belch, ice bomb, and frag grenade.
  • Gene Troopers has your Cyborg partner, Trigger, whose shoulder has a Gatling Cannon built into it.
  • Justice from Guilty Gear has these.
  • Blastoise in Pokémon gains two of these upon evolving. Its further Mega Evolution, Mega Blastoise, loses these two smaller shoulder cannons and gains an enormous Backpack Cannon and a wrist-mounted cannon on both arms instead.
  • The Death Knight from Spear of Destiny is essentially a walking gun. Two miniguns, and two shoulder-mounted homing rocket launchers. Some of the WolfenDooM mods by Laz Rojas also feature Grosse guards with similar shoulder cannons.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The Lonesome Road DLC features shoulder-mounted miniguns as one of the new weapons.
  • The Hunters from Marathon are not only decked out in heavy armor but also sport a shoulder-mounted plasma cannon on their right side.
  • The main antagonist of Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, the Pirate Master has an massive pirate cannon on his right shoulder.
  • As expected the Predators from Alien vs. Predator (Capcom) both wield shoulder-mounted plasma casters.
  • Front Mission offers the occasional shoulder mounted gun of some variety alongside missile racks. Most commonly, the shoulder gun is a Gatling gun of some description.
  • Heavy Gear 2 allows Gears to carry shoulder mounted weapons. While rocket packs or missile weapons are most common, the game also allows weapons ranging from small anti-infantry machine guns up to rotary Anti-Air cannons to be installed on a shoulder mount, up between the collar and the shoulder joint proper.
  • Given sufficient space, any Mobile Suit can be modified to carry one or more in MS Saga: A New Dawn. The various shoulder weapons are rendered separately from the body parts of a Mobile Suit and so suits that never carried shoulder weapons in the original fiction may have them here. The most impressive example in the game is the 680mm artillery cannon taken from a fallen enemy, and is so large and powerful that it cannot be installed on any but the most advanced ranged combat units.
  • In Slave Zero, the player has access to one handheld weapon (machinegun or energy gun) and a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: Player character Wilhelm can get one of these if you invest heavily enough in his Cyber Commando skill tree. The "Vengeance Cannon" activates when his shields go down and fires incendiary laser blasts.
  • Wrathof Earth: All of your primary weapons in this first-person MS-DOS game are shoulder mounted energy cannons and rocket launchers. The only weapon that isn't shoulder mounted is your very weak, emergency use infinite-ammo wrist-mounted blaster.
  • Multiple classes of Titan in Titanfall 2 utilise general-purpose shoulder mountings called Acolyte Pods to mount various weapons, including missiles, lasers, and sonar probes.
  • Earth Defense Force 2025: The Fencer, first introduced in EDF 2025/4.1, can equip various shoulder-mounted cannons, mortars, and missile launchers. They're often not as strong as handheld weaponry is, but they're easy to use and helpful as a secondary set of weaponry. The exception to the rule are the missile launchers that require Air Raider guidance to use; they're capable of absolutely ridiculous damage compared to other weapons of comparable level as long as you can maintain a safe distance to use them.
    • Earth Defense Force 5: The Fencer's shoulder mounted weaponry is now essential to their new dash jumping capabilities that let them essentially soar around the battlefield at high speed while raining down mortars on the enemy. The accessories that allow for multiple rapid dashes and jumps in a row completely change how the Fencer plays, allowing them to maintain incredible mobility while using their long-range weaponry.
  • Sunrider has many, many Ryders with shoulder-mounted weapons.
    • The Black Jack mounts two laser cannons on the outside of each shoulder. Its successor, the High Roller, ditches them for a single, much stronger Backpack Cannon laser.
    • The Paladin has a battery of four double-barrelled kinetic cannons mounted on its shoulders and back.
    • Ryuvian Nightmares mount a large missile pod on the left shoulder, and three laser cannons on the right shoulder. The Nightmare Ascendant likewise has a missile pod on its left shoulder.
    • PACT Bombers, Pirate Bombers, and the Havoc/Calamity all sport enormous torpedo launchers on both shoulders.
  • In Kingdom Hearts III, the Toy Box world has two toy Gigas mechs, specifically the Gunner Class (purple) and Speed Class (blue), that each use a pair of shoulder mounted cannons for their respective special attacks.

    Web Comics 
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the Powered Armor developed by Tailor for the Toughs have the option of mounting a cannon on each shoulder. What's more, they can detach and function as autonomous drones. Tailor dubs them, in this autonomous function, "Paul-Drones".

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Teen Titans, Cyborg had one when he drained the Titan's Tower of energy in episode "The End (Part 1)" in order to fight off Slade and his Mooks.
  • Numerous Transformers in various continuities have these:
    • In the G1 cartoon, several Autobots have shoulder-mounted weapons of various kinds, including Bluestreak, Hound, Mirage, Perceptor, and Trailbreaker.
    • G1 Soundwave has something on his shoulder that looks like a microphone and becomes part of his altmode.
    • If Megatron has a BFG that's not on his arm, it's usually one of these.
  • In episode 19 of Generator Rex, the incredibly destructive Humongous Mecha Evo seen in the flashback sports a pair of these that function just like Rex's "Slam Cannon". That's because Rex was the Evo, he just doesn't remember because after flipping out like that he loses his memory. What's preventing a repeat performance? Nothing.
  • The Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Super Robot has this one. As well as about every other Super Robot trope...
  • Air Enforcer from Skysurfer Strike Force has a missile launcher for each shoulder.
  • In Shadow Raiders Femur, the terminal coward of the team, has a shoulder cannon that takes aim while he's hiding behind stuff.
  • The Venture Brothers very briefly had a member of the O.S.I. team called "Tank Top". He wears part of a tank as a top, with the collar being an open turret hatch and the main gun mounted on his left shoulder.
  • In the Mighty Max episode "Beetlemania", the beetle-like aliens' Humongous Mecha (humongous by beetle standards — it's "only" somewhat bigger than Norman) Beetle-Ra has shoulder cannons among its armaments.


Video Example(s):


Super Mechagodzilla

The futuristic aircraft Garuda attaches to Mechagodzilla's back, creating the combination Anti-G Combat Machine known as Super Mechagodzilla! With Garuda and Mechagodzilla's firepower combined, Godzilla now faces a dramatic and arduous battle, one in which his continued existence shall be challenged...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CombiningMecha

Media sources: