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Telescoping Robot

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When in trouble, or in need of opening a file of whoop-ass, a Super Robot's limbs extend, armor appears, Death Rays will sprout up from nowhere, hatches will open up in various parts of their bodies to reveal missiles (beware the missile codpiece and bustier!) and they become ten metric tons heavier than before. The cooler sequences will qualify as Technology Porn.

See also Transforming Mecha, Hyperspace Arsenal, Swiss-Army Weapon, Impossibly-Compact Folding, Retractable Weapon, and Shapeshifter Baggage. Can lead to a Macross Missile Massacre. Human-sized robots with this power are usually Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids and/or Do Anything Robots. A related trope usually used by non-robots is the Extended Disarming.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mazinger Z: Mazinger-Z has two extendable, razor-sharp axe blades (properly named Iron Cutter) embedded into its forearms, several drilling missiles stuck into its upper arms, and its belly has a hatch to launch MORE missiles from. And then you have his Mid-Season Upgrade Jet Pack, the Jet Scrander, which can shoot shurikens from the wings. New Mazinger (a one-shot story set on an alternative universe) went deeper in this trope, and in one scene, many hatches opened up all over its body, revealing dozens of missiles underneath.
    • Great Mazinger: Great Mazinger stores one sword in each shin, several cutting blades along its legs, and the buckle-like glass adorning its midsection is a hatch that opens up to launch a missile from. Oh, and two wings and a Jet Pack can unfold from its back.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Grendizer has one scythe stored in each shoulder that can be joined to form a twin-ended weapon called the "Double Harken". The blades could also fly away as PrecisionGuidedBoomerangs. And that's still discounting all the weapons hid in its flying device.
    • Mazinkaiser: Mazinkaiser has THREE blades hidden in its body (two of them in its shoulders and the bigger one in its chest), and its midsection stores seemingly endless numbers of giant missiles (In Mazinkaiser's Super Robot Wars appearances, The ammo counter for this attack was, at least once, set to 99).
  • Combattler V: The Humongous Mecha and the individual vehicles had more weapons than any other Humongous Mecha. Its arms alone could store its fists, a three-pointed dagger to make its ramming move easier, an assortment of sharp projectiles, a blow-torch, a clamp...
    • To drive the point home, Combattler's attack list in Super Robot Wars Alpha was three pages long (most units barely fill one).
  • Voltes V: Its belt was in reality two whips, its midsection stored a couple of spinning tops, the ornament on its chest hid his sword's blade...
  • Daimos: The ornament on his chest were in reality two daggers, and they covered a hatch that opened up to reveal its Chest Blaster. Its feet were armed with retractable spikes...
  • Gundam:
    • Gundam 0080 has a puzzling example of this near the end of the series, where the Gundam NT-1's forearm-plate opens up to expose a set of minigun barrels that, themselves, could not fit in the forearm. It turns out that there are diagrams to explain the arm gun's operation...with still no explanation of how those long, protruding barrels fit under smaller, backward-sloping armor covers, but it at least explains how it carries ammunition, since the entire forearm's main support structure is...the ammo drum itself.
    • ∀ Gundam: Turn A Gundam can similarly fit tons of weapons and other junk inside of it. Unlike most examples, this is justified, however, as the Turn A is almost completely hollow. It has virtually no internal mechanisms, using special I-field generators to move around. According to design notes, the Turn A actually has the power to teleport equipment from specialized arsenal bases into the multipurpose silos in its chest.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: The Shenlong Gundam and its Mid-Season Upgrade Altron Gundam can turn their arms into dragon's head-shaped claws, which are shown extending well beyond the length the arm segments would suggest. The Endless Waltz version of Altron has even longer range, but also a potential justification since the fangs are mounted on red, accordion-like segments which seem capable of telescoping or hiding within each other for storage space.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Gurren Lagann! Giga Drill Breaker! They actually give it a Hand Wave in the that they're using "Spiral Energy", which is explicitly able to create matter out of nothing. Which is also something of a deconstruction, as overuse of this will eventually result in "Spiral Nemesis", which will create so much energy and mass as to make the entire universe implode.
    • Played straight with Viral and Kamina's second fight, wherein Viral responds to the Gurren-Lagann's boost of power by turning his Ganmen's face into guns.
  • In Genesis of Aquarion, the titular robot has an attack called the Infinite Punch, which causes Aquarion's arm to open up and another arm to extend out of it. Now imagine that new arm opening up and extending out its own. Repeat the process until Aquarion is able to stand 10 miles away from the enemy, throw a punch, then have that chain-punch extend to the point that it smashes the enemy into the moon.
  • Getter Robo: The three forms of each Getter tend to look very little like their component parts as well as nothing like each other, then there's the issue of all its weapons. Hand-waved by the use of Getter Rays which, in an idea later recycled by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, will cause the universe to collapse if overused. The use of advanced nanotechnology is also shown, if Getter-1's transformation sequence from the OVA is to be believed.
    • Nanomachines are an OVA-only explanation, the manga chalks it up to Getter Rays. That's also why Getter Go has no hidden weapons or illogical combinations — it runs on plasma.
  • Many of the megadei in The Big O (including the title robot) can do this.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Both the anime and the manga versions of Chachamaru. Although she's primarily a quiet girl, at times she reveals anything from gatling guns to massive swords. These weapons can be as big as she is, at times. She is a magical robot, though.
  • The first in anime was the "Synchron System" in the J9 Trilogy (Braiger, Baxinger, and Sasuraiger), which enabled ordinary-sized cars and motorcycles to change into hundred-ton mecha.
    • Much like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the mechanism behind this actually becomes a major plot point, as it also figures in a scheme to increase Jupiter's mass to the point where it could become a second sun.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Agents of Atlas: M-11 is a robot who's equipped with telescopic limbs, a Death Ray, and Electro-Hands, among other things.
    • Daredevil: Stilt-Man wears a suit of Powered Armor with extending legs — and this is his only superpower. The second Scourge had telescoping legs in his bag of second-hand villain tricks, presumably based on Stilt-Man's design. The depowered mutant Tattoo showed up in New Warriors using the Stilt-armor plus extendable arms, though she fared even worse than old Stilty, dying in one of the team's first battles. At least she didn't take an anti-tank missile to the nuts.
    • In Excalibur (Marvel Comics), Karima Shapandar looks like an ordinary human until she deploys her endless array of instruments of destruction. She got a redesign upon her move to X-Men, sadly.
    • Machine Man is an android who is best known for his telescoping limbs in addition to other functions. Originally, this was fairly conservative, but the deliberately absurdist comic Nextwave took it to, well, absurd levels, and it has stayed that way, with Aaron being able to sprout multiple chainsaws from each hand or his chest at will. Semi-justified by the fact that he has modified and upgraded himself over the years.
  • Robotboy's Super Mode. When activated, asskicking ensues.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Iron Giant: The Iron Giant when in war mode. He at least has the space for most of it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • R2-D2 from Star Wars. Every hatch, detail, bolt and panel opens up and has an improbable number of really nifty devices behind them. The Expanded Universe later justified it by saying that the R2-series of droids are designed to be highly modular. So presumably a lot of his tools get switched out or replaced offscreen or between movies.
  • In what serves as The Stinger to Zack Snyder's Justice League, Batman has a meeting with the Joker in the Bad Future, and he's accompanied by Cyborg among others. When a turned-evil Superman shows up, Cyborg readies his multiple weapons, including his Arm Cannons and a minigun.

  • In the first The Stainless Steel Rat novel, Jim diGriz asks his Special Corp robot if it has any compartments he can use to stash his clothes as he has to change into another disguise. The robot then appears to explode as all kinds of drawers and hatches open up in its body.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Small Wonder: VICI. Once she even began malfunctioning after extending her neck too much and getting a thingamajig disconnected

  • Voltaire: In "The Mechanical Girl", when a wicked king takes the eponymous girl away from her father and tries to force her to become his bride, she grows to "seven times her size" and unleashes a massive hidden arsenal upon the king and his kingdom.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Mekton Zeta RPG called this "Expanding Plasma" as a shout-out to Braiger. (It's a line from its theme song.)

  • Masters of the Universe featured several such characters, usually cyborgs rather than robots (such as Mekaneck, who could stretch his neck incredibly long). While the toys obviously kept the telescoping to the realm of physical possibility, their depictions in comics and cartoons frequently threw reason out the window.

    Video Games 
  • KOS-MOS from Xenosaga. A mild subversion. While KOS-MOS does have a tendency to pull weapons out of "thin air" she actually justifies it for them. Her Knife and Gun are pre-equipped in compartments (she IS a robot and thus is not physically limited by the flesh rule) and her R-blade/Drill/Cannon are morphed from existing body parts. Her REALLY flashy weapons though are explained that she calls them through the U.M.N. and thus is essentially warping new weapons in from another place (not actually carrying them on her person) much in the same way as characters summon A.G.W.S. and E.S. units.
  • The Clumsy Robot from EarthBound (1994) is a cute little thing that would probably come up to your knee, and also contains enough ordnance to level a city block. And still has enough room for some sandwiches.
  • In James Pond 2: Codename Robocod, the protagonist can extend his midsection to grab onto ceilings and high platforms.
  • NextDoor, a short horror game, has one room with seemingly multiple women in black in different sizes. The sole woman is able to use her limbs to reach through a hole in the wall.
  • Persona 4: Arena: Robot Girl Aigis can pull chainguns, missle launchers, anti-air cannons, jetpacks and more out of her back.
  • In Team Fortress 2, Some of The Engineer's constructs, most notably the sentry gun, have this happen, mainly when being upgraded.
  • In Space Engineers, concealing weapons underneath ship armor is very popular. On the other hand, the ship actually needs the internal space to fit the weapons and the mechanism to deploy them. It's also liable to end in disaster if the pistons or rotors jam, which can cause rockets to misfire straight into the delicate internals of the ships. The trailer for the Xbox One port has a space station with turrets that rise out from hidden ports.
  • In Skullgirls, Robofortune's Catastrophe Cannon Blockbuster has her deploy multiple cannons depending on which level you perform the move at. At level 5, she ends up deploying a Wave-Motion Gun larger than she is.


    Western Animation 
  • Doctor Gross from Adventure Time is a Cyborg whose "mods" work like this, with her proclaiming her "scissor hands" and "telescopic legs" to be no different than artificial hearts or glasses. Her Mix-and-Match Critters and protege Tiffany have similar abilities.
  • Bobert from The Amazing World of Gumball can go from just a little shorter than Gumball, to a massive freaking, gun-covered battle form when he gets pissed.
  • The titular Big Guy from Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot has telescoping machine guns, missile launchers, thrusters, grenades, and a lighter all built into his frame. He does have the bulk to contain it all within him, but it would effectively leave him an empty shell with no servos to actually move (let alone having enough structural integrity to sustain the amount of damage he does).
  • Dynomutt, Dog Wonder: Dynomutt's most commonly displayed ability is his telescoping limbs.
  • Futurama:
    • Bender seems to have whatever abilities the plot needs, including arms that extend well beyond the plausible.
    • The Masked Unit from "Raging Bender" has an unassuming day-to-day form, but then Bender starts to insult him and he expands his triangular chest into his pro-wrestler form. (Strangely for a comic spot, this is one of the most realistic examples on this page, as the Masked Unit's frame only takes up more room in silhouette and is visibly hollow. Robot pro-wrestling is entertainment, after all, so it's not like he needs to be stronger.)
  • Inspector Gadget, while technically a cyborg, has telescoping arms and legs, as well as various tools that extend of all parts of his body.
  • Invader Zim:
    • GIR of will occasionally deploy a plethora of weapons from his head.
    • Zim's PAK (kept on his back) also contain an array of devices as needed, mainly his telescoping spider legs.note 
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, Mr. Cat experiments on Quack Quack in a laboratory to give him telescoping limbs.
  • Frequently played straight and parodied (as with everything else in the show) in Megas XLR.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: XJ9, known as Jenny to her friends, can telescope her limbs and neck thousands of feet, sometimes attached to a giant spool as thick as she is tall. And we've lost count of how many weapons she has in her Hyperspace Arsenal after about two hundred. The only real limit to her power is Rule of Drama. First, she can't "retract" (if that's the right word) without some hardware work, which means she can't appear "skinny" (and since she's a teenage robot she considers this a problem). Second, adding more upgrades to her form (as she did compulsively in one episode) will start adding unsightly mass that restricted her movement.
  • Razzberry Jazzberry Jam: The Keymaster 3000 consists of a pair of mechanical arms that pop out of a tiny pouch when activated. Just looking at it, it is abundantly clear that the arms should not be able to fold up inside that pouch.
  • The Robonic Stooges has The Three Stooges as cyborg/robot/android secret agents with telescoping limbs and other built-in gadgets.
  • Robotboy: The main character goes from doll-sized to adult human-sized regularly and has a small army's worth of weapons.
  • Parodied in Samurai Jack in "Jack VS Aku". One of the assassins ordered by Aku is a gigantic robot with a telescoping cannon built into his chest... that extends reeeeeally far. By the time it has fully extended, the bore of the barrel is so tiny that the bullet that comes out is the size of a pea and has almost no velocity leading it to bounce harmlessly off of Jack's sword. Moreover the comical length of the cannon cause the robot to lose balance and fall over. And then he explodes.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! loves this trope. Not only the Super Robot himself has it but also the monkeys, all able to transform their small hands into much larger weapons.
  • This is part and parcel of the Transformers franchise. For instance, the original Megatron turns into a pistol which is usable by either Starscream or a human, depending on the situation. Where does the extra mass come from, where does it go? Officially, they all have a personal pocket dimension that holds the extra mass when they're not using it, including guns, optional hand attachments, all the various cassettes Soundwave and Blaster store in their chests, and Optimus Prime's trailer (before becoming a Powermaster). However, this isn't always explicitly stated.
    • In The Transformers, Soundwave can go from a tape player to a 5-story robot.
    • Transformers: Animated:
      • Longarm earns his name by being able to extend his arms (and legs) to great length. This is only a small part of his shapeshifting abilities, which let him change his robot mode almost entirely to hide the fact that he's actually Shockwave, Megatron's eyes and ears on Cybertron.
      • Swindle (and Sari after her upgrade) display the more standard variant of massive amounts of weaponry folding out of their bodies.
  • The Zeta Project: Zeta was designed as a Killer Robot who uses a Holographic Disguise to get close to his targets. His head and limbs can change size to account for differently sized individuals.


Video Example(s):



The cyborg's ultimate has them pull miniguns and laser cannons out of themselves and blast the enemy to pieces.

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Example of:

Main / TelescopingRobot

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