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Traveling-Pipe Bulge

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Mostly found in animated and CG media, the Traveling Pipe Bulge is a phenomenon that occurs when an object moves through a pipe or hard tube, creating a bulge to tell you where it is. Bonus points if the fittings do not contract after the object passes through them, or if the object is much smaller than the pipe itself.

It's not always a pipe, it can be a water hose as well.

Sometimes used to depict Tube Travel in video games. Sister Trope to Worm Sign, Dinner Deformation and Balloon Belly. May result in Forcibly Formed Physique.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Soul Eater, a bulge is shown with the metaphorical representation of Tsubaki's soul getting captured by Youtou by a vacuum cleaner.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • In one episode of Staflik a Spagetka, it was done inside a monocular.

    Film — Animated 
  • Happens in The Nightmare Before Christmas when objects (such as Santa Claus) go down the pipe to Oogie Boogie's lair.
    • In a rare variance of this trope, Santa's transport causes bolts to pop out of the pipe. This is because the transport system wasn't designed to accommodate something as large as Santa. But, as the trick-or-treaters say, if he can fit down a chimney...
  • In Horton Hears a Who! (2008), this happens when Horton's voice first travels down the pipe to the mayor's office.
  • The Thief does this extensively while trying to sneak into the castle in The Thief and the Cobbler.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Happens in Deep Rising when the worm monsters pass through pipes.
  • A somewhat brief, but gruesome example in The Blob (1988), when the monster yanks a kitchen worker bodily through a sink drain.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • In Abobo's Big Adventure, Abobo enters the Super Mario Bros.-themed level through a pipe, which bulges as he travels through it because he's so big and muscular.
  • In ''/Antonblast, When Anton enters a pipe, a pipe extending is clearly seen.
  • In The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, these show up whenever Bugs enters a pipe.
  • Crystal Caves: One of the hazards in this game is a pipe that periodically lets out a drop of dangerous-looking liquid; this pipe has a bulge in it as part of its animation when it's about to let out a drop.
  • Many Humongous Entertainment titles have pipes that do this in the background either to show that processes are happening, or just for humorous click spots.
  • When Kirby goes behind the background in Kirby's Epic Yarn, it bulges, as do cannons when he's inside them.
  • Many tubes in LocoRoco are very flexible, allowing to stretch so a locoroco could traverse pipes and other things in one piece.
  • The plumbing in Nightmare Ned does this as Ned moves through them.
  • Pizza Tower has Oh Shit! level and Slums hub world that have pipes. When Peppino enters then, the pipes expand and show where he is in the pipe.
  • In Generation 1-3 Pokémon Cable Link trades.
  • In Stage 6 of Sparkster (the SNES version),this happens when you go inside the trumpets.
  • In the DS version of Sonic Colors, there are a few elevators in Tropical Resort which bulge when Sonic enters them.
  • Spellbound Dizzy has a few pipes that lead to new areas. One of these is actually a man-eating flower.
  • Several Super Mario Bros. games have this, starting with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. In particular, the first Mario Party game does this in the "Pipe Maze" minigame, with a treasure chest dropped into a pipe.
  • Happens in Tales of Monkey Island, Chapter 3. Although in this case it's a bile tube, not a pipe.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: Babs' Big Break, these show up whenever Buster, Plucky, or Hamton travels through a pipe.
  • When golf ball in What the Golf? goes into tubes, there is a clearly visible bulge when the ball is travelling via tubes. The ball is much smaller than the tube itself.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in the Darkwing Duck episode "Dry Hard", when The Liquidator is passing through the pipes of the city waterworks. ("Followwwww that piiiiipe!")
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum has their straws showing bulge of Frosty Freezy Freeze as they suck it from the source.
  • In the 1935 Looney Tunes short "Billboard Frolics", a cat traps a dog in a piece of pipe, which bulges where the dog thrashes around inside.
  • In one of Chuck Jones' Tom and Jerry cartoons, Jerry escapes into a gutter; when Tom follows, there's a noticeable bulge.
    • Also, any time Jerry (or tar/air/etc) goes through a garden hose.
  • Felix the Cat: "Felix Doubles for Darwin" short has a whole scene of Felix traveling through the entire transatlantic cable and then back again, pursued by apes. The pipe extends where they are in the cable.
  • Mario and Luigi in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
  • Mickey Mouse Works: Happens in the short "Pluto Gets the Paper: Street Cleaner" when Pluto is sucked into the pipes of the street cleaner which also leaves impact silhouettes.

    Real Life 
  • This is exactly how a snake swallows a prey wider than its body.