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You're surrounded by bad guys, outnumbered many to one. What do you do? Call for back up? No, it's time to split up!
Detachment combat happens when a character, robot, monster, or spaceship has the ability to break into sections, with each piece capable of fighting separately.
Distinct from Pulling Themselves Together in that detaching is a feature and an attack, not the result of damage.
Anime & Manga
- One Piece
- Buggy's ability is that all parts of his body can fly around at will, but only if his feet are grounded, and he is also immune to being cut.
- Inverted with Trafalgar Law, who has the ability to detach other people's body parts and combine them with other people/objects.
- Marine captain Berry Good also has this as his power, but by becoming bouncy balls.
- Gundam series
- The Turn-X Gundam from Turn a Gundam has this as its most notable ability - its limbs can break off, and divide into smaller pieces, to fly around and attack the opponent from many directions at once with beam attacks and a strange power that dries-out the energy of opponent mechas. Recreated on great detail in Super Robot Wars Z
- The Great Zeong from the G Generation video games, apparently the original plan for the Zeong from Mobile Suit Gundam but nowhere near feasible for its time, does the same (and in fact, its various "segments" are based on Zeon mobile armors: the legs on the Bigro, the waist on the Big Zam, and the chest on the Apsaras). The regular Zeong can send its arms out on cables, and its head is an escape craft, but it's not quite the same.
- Afro Droid in Afro Samurai.
- Actually the parts in question (Afro Droid's arms) act more like wire-guided rockets than components that can fight on their own.
- Several of the giant robots fought by Mazinger Z had this ability: Deimos F3, Velgas V5 (its parts had individual rocket propulsion and could attack separately), and a third one. Mazinger Z itself and one of its successors, Mazinkaiser, also did it sometimes (detaching the Scrander Jet/Scrander Kaiser off themselves. Moreover, Mazinkaiser used its wings like a cutting, oversized boomerang).
- Kotetsu Jeeg -another Go Nagai robot- is an expert in this. Given that it uses magnetism to combining its body parts, replacing them or shooting them, Jeeg can using any of them to attack (including its head). And it employs of variants or Rocket Punch!
- Jolyne Kujo pulls this off while fighting Enrico Pucci due to her ability to unravel herself.
- In Part 5, Ciocolatta can do this with some improvisation from his stand Green Day. This leads to one of the nastiest, most gruesome useages of this trope.
- Getter Robo has used "Open Get" (decombining) to escape from enemy attacks as well as to split up and deliver a barrage of guns or wipe out a horde of minor enemies. Also, they have been known to Open Get, then combine into Getter-3 in midair and fall on the enemy as an attack.
- Big Volfogg of GaoGaiGar fame could split back into his smaller form along with his support units Gundober and Gunglue for a rush attack, then re-combine.
- Gatchaman. Called Battle of the Planets in the West. The five heroes can either go into battle in their individual craft, or combine into their super vehicle.
- Nana from Elfen Lied got her arms and legs torn off by Lucy, but her Papa gave her fake ones she can control with her vectors and she will sometimes shoot them at people for a long range attack.
- Raideen: 'God Bird, Change! Head Cutter!'
- In Macross, the Zentraedi command ship can detatch the forward weapons section to use as a separate flagship leading the assault, while the rear section acts as a rear command post.
- In Genesis Climber Mospeada, The Alpha - Beta heavy fighter splits into the light Legioss (Alpha) fighter and the Tread (Beta) fighter - bomber.
- "Arm-Fall-Off Boy" of Legion of Super-Heroes infamy. It should be noted that Arm-Fall-Off Boy was just a joke in the comic's letters page, but he became a Canon Immigrant in at least one 'boot.
- FM Enterprises' Captain Marvel could separate any of his limbs from his body by yelling "Split!", as shown in the page pic. (No relation to Fawcett's or Marvel Comics' characters with the same name.)
- Hollywood Cyborg Garrison Kane of Marvel Comics could send his limbs out to attack people. A disembodied hand slapping him in the face managed to severely gross out Deadpool.
- Many versions of the Fantastic Four's Fantasticar are able to separate into mini-vehicles each of the Four can pilot.
- The Puzzler from Superman could split into living puzzle pieces, which she could then propel at her foes.
- Steve Ditko worked on a hero that could do this. His name was Jigsaw.
- Inspector Gadget 2: G2 can break apart at the waist so that her torso and limbs work as separate combatants. Since she's a robot it's no problem.
- There's an alien from Men in Black II who starts out looking like a single tall humanoid. But when it begins to fight Agent Jay, it turns into five or six smaller aliens that fly around and attack Agent Jay by dive-bombing him.
- Arcee from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen does this, but there is a degree of ambiguity. The writers of the film initially conceived her as being one robot made of three bikes which would even combine together into a larger robot mode but the appearance of the combined mode was ultimately dropped and Michael Bay changed her into three separate robots which the toys agree with. HOWEVER, the novelization and comics portray her in the way the authors intended, with the combined mode appearing briefly in each.
- Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story can move each of his body parts separately and takes advantage of this when he has to fight. Due to his potential for sight gags though, he always gets creamed in a comical way.
- The Fighting Fantasy world has the Living Corpse, a shabby zombie-like being that, when hit for the first time, splits into six parts, all floating around and attacking independently.
Live Action TV
- Prometheus class ships in Star Trek Voyager. The Enterprise-D if you count saucer/hull separation.
- The villain in the Angel episode "I Fall to Pieces" could do this.
- Kamen Rider Double's forms that possess the Joker Memory have Finishing Moves that involve Double splitting in half vertically and striking the opponent with both halves.
- In Power Rangers RPM, Tenaya 7 can detach her (robotic) hand and send it out. Early on, she snuck it into the Rangers' HQ and pulled an All Your Base Are Belong to Us. With just her hand.
- Cluster bots in Robot Wars, going into the arena as one unit, splitting up when the battle starts. The first and most notable was Gemini, and in the middleweight division, there was Typhoon Twins - which consisted of the lightweight bots Typhoon Lightning and Typhoon Thunder connected with essentially a piece of string and a sheet of paper at the start of the match. Originally a cluster bot was judged to have lost if one of the units was rendered immobile, but this was later changed...and then changed back.
- Wild Cards has an Ace who can do this. The parts can even regrow is not reattached in time.
- Displacers from The Beyonders can do this by "displacing" their body parts.
Myth and Legend
- Nukekubi can detach their heads, which then fly off to suck peoples blood.
- The classic (fourth edition!) Magic: The Gathering card Tetravus functions much like this. It has slightly more modern descendants such as Pentavus and Triskelavus.
- Lebendtod, a variant undead from Ravenloft, have this trope as their signature ability, although it's more useful to compel Horror Checks than to fight.
- The Anatomic Separation power in Mutants and Masterminds.
- In Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, shard minds can break into shards and use it as movement and disorientation. It's not very effective though.
- Take a few feats and you can do it twice an encounter, throw it, and increase the aura.
- An epic feat makes it deal damage.
- Oh, and it doesn't have to roll to hit.
- One ability by a Prestige shard mind class has your character explode into a hurricane of shards, covering several squares, able to move the hurricane, and still being able to attack anyone inside the field. Much, much more effective.
- Take a few feats and you can do it twice an encounter, throw it, and increase the aura.
- Undead creatures of Evil biomes in Dwarf Fortress have the bad habit, when dismembered, to keep fighting as each last individual parts.Cut their hand off, and the hand may come to life and strangle you.Behead them, and the head will chase you and bite at you.Punch their teeth off, and each single tooth will raise and attack.
- The second boss in Wolverine: Adamantium Rage had four bladed arms, which he would detach and fling around at will.
- One of the bosses of G-Darius, Eternal Triangle, could split its body into three segments and trap the player in an electric triangle barrier.
- Unlike Rayman, whose power is merely a Rocket Punch, Plok can throw all four of his limbs at enemies.
- Dead Space had this twisted example of a type of necromorph (Undead-like monster enemies that attack you throughout the game). This type of necromorph attacks similarly to most other necromorphs (get close enough and slash), but distinguishes itself by being tall and spindly in build. Once you 'kill' one of these by doing enough damage to it, however, it splits up into its head and four separate limbs and continues crawling, slithering (yes, the head slithers) and attacking the player via these appendages.
- One particularly irritating foe in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was a mantis-like robot that tossed out its bladed arms when the player got too close. Thankfully, he could only do it once.
- Kingdom Hearts series
- The Guard Armor boss in Kingdom Hearts has autonomous limbs, which move and battle on their own when taken enough damage. It is necessary to defeat each of the limbs before finishing off the torso to beat it.
- Finkelstein's Experiment from the second game shares this ability.
- The Trinity Armor in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is much like the Guard Armor, except its individual parts actually turn into what resemble flying machines (i.e. its arms become a helicopter, etc.)
- Weavel can do this - his body splits apart at the waist, and the bottom half becomes a turret, while the top half starts bouncing around and slashing at you with a sword. Justified, since he is mostly robot (he just has a brain and spinal cord left).
- The game allows you to detatch your (and your opponents') limbs through powerful enough strikes or pulls (using grabbing arms). Although you will get the equivalent of a stun if you lose a limb/body part, on your next turn you will still be able to control that body part, along with your fighter. As with nearly any situation that spawns out of the game, this can create some...interesting situations. For example, if someone tears off your arm, you better damn well grab his arm (or other body part) with the severed limb so he can't throw it down to the ground to disqualify you.
- There are several game modes. Most of them are about not touching the ground outside the ring or with body parts which aren't feet/hands. One of them replaces your hands with long, thin sticks that instantly cut off every part they touch - essentially, swords. Due to arms being connected to pectoral muscles that are two orbs making up the whole chest, taking a cut or a stab to there causes the whole arm from shoulder down to fall off. But, to the point - that arm is fully capable of twitching around with its elbow and wrist, and its hand-sword is as lethal to the enemy as it was. You also don't get disqualified for it landing on the floor. Sometimes an enemy running into your severed arm is what decides of the ultimate victory of yours.
- Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity has the Serges Devil, whose use of this trope forces Mega Man to dodge its parts.
- Skullgirls: Any place where Miss Fortune has a scar on her body is where she can detach her parts, owing to her being dismembered by the mob after she swallowed an immortality-granting gem. She utilizes this extensively in battle, especially with her head.
- Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion's Alisa Bosconovitch can remove her arms during a battle. She can also detach her head and use it as an explosive.
- A specific challenge in Mortal Kombat 9's Challenge Tower requires the battle to be conducted by throwing your arms, legs, and head at your opponent. After you do, your flung limb will regrow after a certain period of time.
- Sockarang from Axe Cop, with the added twist that his arms are socks.
- In TTA, one of the "Ranks of Sanctuary" has this as his primary attack method. His secondary atack method is a giant cloud of poison gas which fills the entire arena to kill enemies who try to take their time and counter. He eventually ends up fighting an Evil Twin, leading to the line:
"Why didn't you tell me my attack patterns were so annoying?!"
- Megas XLR: The RECR could separate its limbs and torso and later recombine.
- The Teen Titans could separate their T-Sub, much like the Fantasticar. Cyborg occasionally remote-controlled his hands or limbs for various purposes, though it was never his first option.
- Star Trek the Animated Series: In the episode "Bem", the titular character was a colony creature who could separate his head, upper torso, and lower torso (at least).
- Transformers (Generation One). One episode saw Optimus Prime forcibly detached, his parts spread across the globe. His right hand (armed with his weapon) was used by the Decepticons as a turret.
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit does this often.
- Code Lyoko had the Skidblamdir, carrying four Navskids. Hilarious in Hindsight when Moonscoop produced Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes.
- This was the main gimmick of Fallapart Rabbit in Bonkers, though he always did it by accident and it was played for laughs.