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In general, the hand of a Humongous Mecha would not really be safe for a human being to fall on, what with them being made of metal and all.
That doesn't stop heroic souls from striving to save innocent people who get caught in the crossfire and end up falling off a building. What's more, it doesn't stop that heroic act from working in the first place!
Usually, falling on metal from a great height would be as bad as falling on
concrete anything from a great height, but Humongous Mecha seems to throw that element of momentum out the window. For the best, perhaps - the rate of Heroic BSODs would probably skyrocket if would-be heroes had to spend their time cleaning the bodies of innocent women and children off of their robot's hands.
Note that this could work if the robot hand in question moved downward a ways, to gradually slow the person's fall--but this is almost never the way it's portrayed.
In (the highly unusual) case the person to be saved dies from coming in contact with the robot's hand, it's a And Call Him George moment.
A subtrope of Not the Fall That Kills You.
- Suzaku in Code Geass, as seen here.
- Kallen later saves Lelouch the same way in season 2, though in her case Lelouch is not quite in the process of falling, having just been blown out of another ship.
- It happened several times in Mazinger Z and its sequels (Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer). A particularly awesome instance happened in the episode 28 when Mazinger Z saved Professor Yumi with a Rocket Punch when he was falling down a cliff. In the Ota equivalent manga chapter, he was faling from a flying fortress and Aphrodite A was the one caught him. Another instance happened in the Nagai Heroes e-manga, when Diana A saved Jun.
- Jinki Extend, just about every other episode it seems.
- Featured in Parallel Trouble Adventure Dual.
- Justified in Godannar, where the super robot has an inflatable airbag that comes out of the palm of its hand.
- Roger and Schwarzwald fall into their giant robots' hands in The Big O.
- Super Dimensional Fortress Macross and Robotech which its based from both have a version of this, with a giant VF-1 Valkyrie hand taking hold of a girl to 'catch' her while the pilot tried to match her fall. The hand gets blown off and he has to get her into the cockpit from it as well.
- Macross Frontier, being the 25th anniversary milestone series, has a shout out to this scene.
- Macross DYRL when Hikaru catches a falling Minmei with the hands of his Valkyrie after matching velocity, and great care is put into the animation of how the Valkyrie's hand closes around her very very gently before arresting her fall. Hikaru then proceeds to crash at terminal velocity into an abandoned portion of the Macross.
- Worth mentioning that this is averted in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which is strange because it tends to play mech tropes straight. The protagonist actually gets out of his mech to catch the girl in his arms. This troper also swears that there has to be at least one instance in the show where it's actually done.
- They use a Humongous Mecha hand to catch a... slightly more reasonable sized mecha. Does that count?
- There actually is an instance. Yoko falls out of the Gurren's cockpit while it's flying, and Simon pilots the thing to catch her. Then it gets knocked into the Airborne Aircraft Carrier...but it's still averted in that he flies down to catch her and matches speeds. She's also shown to be injured slightly from the impact afterwards.
- Also, Nia in Episode 15.
- The first story arc of Full Metal Panic! ends with Sousuke carrying both Kaname and Kurz in the hands of his Humongous Mecha, and at one point tossing Kaname into the air to free up the Arbalest's hand long enough to shoot down a pursuing enemy, then catching her more or less safely on her way down, all while the Arbalest is running full-tilt. Kaname is knocked out by the impact, but not otherwise appreciably injured.
- Not a giant robot hand catching a person, but saving them nonetheless in Gundam Wing. When a building collapses on Relena, Heero shields her with the Wing gundam's Shield, justified in which it actually makes a lot more sense than using the hand.
- A subversion occurred in the original Gundam anime. Ramba Ral jumped out of White Base and Amuro tried to catch him with the Gundam. However, Ramba had pulled the pin on a grenade and was killed before he reached the hand, preferring to die in battle than live as a prisoner.
- Lampshaded in Zeta Gundam when Quattro comments on how skilled Amuro is to catch an antique plane with his suit's hands without killing the pilot
- The protagonist of Genesis of Aquarion attempts this, but the person he catches gets incinerated by the blast that shortly follows the catch, so when the hand opens up again all there is is a smear of soot... and a Heroic BSOD.
- Averted in Eureka Seven. Renton catches Eureka by matching her descent speed and pulling her into the cockpit. In another instance, Anemone's mech catches both her and Dominic (it flew itself, in case you were wondering) by moving under them and slowly leveling off to cushion their landing.
- In the second episode of Transformers Robots in Disguise, Sideburn manages to save Kelly from a deadly fall - only to be disappointed, because he was trying to save her sexy sports car.
- Done by Shiro Amada in Gundam 08th MS Team when catching a falling Aina after she had been shot.
- Wonderfully averted in Crossbone Gundam (Steel Seven). Bernadette has the chance to save a falling Tobia and Europa with the X1 like this, but thinks better of it. She then uses the X1's cape and mouth exhaust to save them with an impromptu hot air balloon.
- MAR: In an example that crosses over between this and Soft Water, Snow saves herself from a fall which the watching characters clearly expect her to go splat from, she saves herself by calling on her giant snowman and landing safely in it's hand.
- RahXephon also plays with the trope: rather than touch a person directly, the Xephon is capable of encasing them in a spherical energy field that hovers slightly above the mech's hand. Thus it is able to safely grab and carry people without causing them harm.
- A similar example happens in Excel Saga. One hand of the goofy giant robot piloted by Dr. Kabapu and Gojo Shiouji (and built with taxpayer money) detaches from the body and shields the Daitenzin squad from the missiles fired by ACROSS' flying fortress. Given the kind of anime Excel Saga is, this is probably a Shout-Out of some sort.
- In Monster Rancher, the protagonists have a surveying technique in which Golem hurls Suezo high into the air. Occasionally Golem will get distracted and forget to catch Suezo, who then crashes into the ground. However, even when Golem succeeds in the catch, Suezo is still falling onto hands of stone that are maybe six feet above the ground. In one instance Golem pretends to forget and then grabs Suezo's tail just before impact.
- An early issue of The Transformers comic featured Jetfire saving a falling human by catching him. Several letters were written to Marvel about it, and awarded No-Prizes for spotting the problem.
- The third issue of the Bionicle comics had Onua save Tahu from a fall this way. Possibly justified by the fact that both participants are Mechanical Lifeforms.
- Averted in The Iron Giant. While he uses his hard iron hand to keep them from hitting the ground, he matches velocity then slows them down first.
- In Transformers Optimus Prime catches Sam when he falls from a building. In this case, at least, he seems to be lowering his hand as he catches him to slow him down.
- Although, in the same movie Bumblebee snatches both Sam and Mikaela out of midair whilst moving at high-speed.
- Right before that, the two of them had fallen from Optimus Prime's shoulder, who tried to catch them with his foot - which could have slowed them down to the point that Bumblebee could safely snatch them from the air...except the sound they make when they hit it is horrible, and suggests they cracked their ribs. Of course, they were fine.
- Although, in the same movie Bumblebee snatches both Sam and Mikaela out of midair whilst moving at high-speed.
- Terminator Salvation: Teenage Kyle Reese and his friend Star are thrown from a truck and plummet from a very high bridge. They are caught by a harvester, basically a giant terminator (with giant metal terminator hands), and dropped roughly into a transport. They seem to be uninjured.
- Hellboy II. Okay, he's not a robot, but the principle is still the same; Hellboy throws a baby in the air and catches it with his hand. You know, the one that's made of solid rock. And not just a few feet, either, we're talking a good three to five meters, enough to wind up the firing mechanism on his custom shotgun.
- Done quite literally in Real Steel, though much more feasibly than most - Max is sliding out of control, about to go over the edge of a cliff, and his belt gets caught on the hand of a buried robot.
- Inverted and played with at the beginning of the BattleTech novel The Highlander Gambit. A team of Death Commandos (Elite soldiers of the Capellan Confederation) are going through an exercise that was, in essence, a hostage rescue. The protagonist was carrying the dummy that represented the hostage, and to evacuate it while being pursued by enemy 'Mechs, threw it across a lake, landing near the rescue team that was to take the 'hostage' away. During the debriefing, the CO commented that a real human would have been severely injured, but the protagonist stated that there were medics in the Evac team and better severely injured than dead or in enemy hands and able to give up sensitive information.
- In the Discworld book Jingo, Vimes is in the burning Klatchian Embassy and saves a woman's life by throwing her out the window and into the arms of Detritus, a troll. Discworld trolls are literally made of rock.
- Happened at least twice during Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the first time to a girl, the second time to Bulk and Skull who were in a bus. Interestingly, there are actually two "Megazord hands" used in the series. Normally it's metal, but it was a black glove in the scenes when someone needed to not smack into solid steel after falling a few hundred feet. Apparently, the viewer was expected to not notice. Even as kids, everyone did.
- An interesting variant is in the movie, where the characters are already on the ground. The Turbo Megazord lowers its hand to allow the civilian Ranger assistants plus Bulk and Skull to climb up...and then promptly locks its hand into a tight fist, presumably crushing the occupants to death. Obviously, they were fine later, but it was a bit jarring. "Oh, yeah, come on up guys, let me give you a hand...CRUNCH."
- An interesting variation happens in Rescue Sentai Go Go Five / Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, where Red's Zord is a fire engine whose ladders are the Megazord's arms, and naturally, end in giant hands. These are used to enter burning buildings so that the people inside can step into the hands and be pulled to safety.
- Averted in Ultraman Neos episode 1, a HEART member's car carrying a young boy and his dog is levitated to safety by Ultraman Neos.
- No straight examples in real life yet, but sort of averted in one case. There was a military project in the 1970s to make a piloted robot meant for heavy lifting in dangerous situations. In a demonstration, its enormous metal claws were shown to be able to pick up a raw egg without breaking it. Sadly, it was never practical as it took 10 minutes to close the hermetic hatch, and another 30 to power up. An FM radio was put inside to alleviate the boredom. It was also slower than most tanks.
- If humanoid war robots were real, it would be practical to have the palms be padded in case it needs to handle anything quickly and carefully.
- In 2004, the Japanese actually developed a small mecha, with two claw-hands designed for rescue work. It is able to lift anything weighing up to 1.1 ton, and can move up to 10 kmph. It may not be fast, but it works.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise usually has the giant robot hand attacking you, but there are exeptions:
- The Gaia Colossus does one of these after the final battle in Sonic Unleashed, but it is justified in that Sonic's fall is decelerated before impact.
- In Sonic 2 and Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all fall from orbit, only to land on the wing of the Tornado while it's still moving. This also occurs at the end of Sonic Advance.
- Raidese saves Princess Shine in this manner in an episode of Super Robot Wars OG Divine Wars.
- Happens a lot in the other Transformers series as well. The only time it's justified is in the case of Sari, as she's not technically human in Transformers Animated.
- Parodied in Dexter's Laboratory. The Dee-Dee bot evacuates island natives when a volcano erupts but she dumps them in shark infested waters.
- Not a robot hand, but in an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, John Jameson turned Colonel Jupiter rescues a mother and her son from a burning building by catching them in his arms after they fall for several stories.
- In The Iron Giant the titular robot races to catch a couple of kids who had fallen from a 3-4 story building in his metal robot hand. Though when he caught them his hand seemed to be barely a meter or two off the ground, so one wonders why he even bothered...
- In My Life as a Teenage Robot, Jenny saves a man falling from the peak of a mountain by catching him a few feet from the ground.
- In Rugrats in Paris, Chuckie, controlling a giant Reptar robot, catches Angelica after she falls from a spot just above the Eiffel Tower.