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Hammerspace is a fan-envisioned, extradimensional, instantly accessible storage area in fiction. The concept is jokingly used to explain how characters in animation, comics and games are capable of producing objects out of thin air.

While this practice is best known from Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies and Disney animated cartoons, the term itself both originates in and is generally associated with Japanese entertainment.



Hammerspace draws its name from a semi-common cliché in humorous anime and manga: Male character Y offends or otherwise angers female character X. X then draws a wooden mallet—ranging in size from large to downright ludicrous—out of nowhere and bashes Y with it. The act is purely for comic relief, and neither advances the plot nor causes permanent damage. The term was largely popularized by fans of Ranma ½, as character Akane Tendo is famous as a particularly vigorous malleteer.

Hammerspace does have parallels in western animation. Inexplicable production of items dates back to the very beginning of animated shorts, predating anime, and was a fairly common occurrence during the golden age of animation. Warner Bros. cartoon characters are particularly well-known for often pulling all sorts of things—guns, disguises, umbrellas, bombs, anvils, hammers (mallets), from behind their backs. Indeed, these inexplicable productions of items from thin-air are generally considered the inspirations for the later anime analogues. The Toon role-playing game refers to this space as the back pocket.

Hammerspace in games

Hammerspace is also useful in explaining the peculiarities of many video games. This explains why a game character wielding a sword bigger than himself does not appear to be carrying one until he actually enters combat, why Everquest characters can carry up to eight backpacks and have none of them visible, etc. In fact, Hammerspace is prevalent in First-person shooters, where protagonists often have implausible carrying capacities.

Adventure games are the best example of hammerspace, as the player can often carry all the items he can pick up. The Monkey Island games are among the most notorious, involving various hilarious situations in which the hero, Guybrush Threepwood, would put humongous objects inside his pants, and later take them back out. Other notorious adventure games were Space Quest III ("You take the ladder and jam it in your pocket. Ouch!"), Simon the Sorcerer (Simon stored sizeable objects, such as a ladder, in his wizard hat), and the cartoonish Sam & Max. The Legend of Zelda is also well-known for this phenomenon, with the hero Link being able to somehow stash a bag of large bombs within his apparently pocketless tunic, as well as very numerous other tools and weapons.


Some fiction settings feature spatial compression, extradimensional storage spaces or teleportational item retrieval. These aren't Hammerspace, but in practice work much the same way.

  • TV-shows like Highlander have characters who regularly carry swords over 3 feet long under waistcoats and sports-jackets.
  • Oscar the Grouch's garbage can on the television program Sesame Street holds seemingly impossible items like a swimming pool, Oscar's pet elephant, a hippopotamus and the like.
  • The 2006 movie Ultraviolet features technobabble "flat-space technology".
  • In the Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop, the characters are able to carry items in a magical fold of space-time. The mass of the items they are able to carry depend on their magical ability, and maintaining the fold consumes a constant trickle of power from them.
  • In Transformers, the similar concept of "subspace" is used to explain where the additional mass goes when a Transformer switches forms.
  • In the Warner Bros cartoon "Animaniacs" Wakko has a "Gag bag" which he can pull almost any item from at any time.
  • Several mecha from PlayStation 2 RPG series Xenosaga are capable of teleporting in weaponry or equipment when needed. Some fans have theorized that these weapons may be composed of highly advanced nanomachines that rapidly assemble and dissassemble these devices on command.


Not much of the nature of Hammerspace is known, beyond the surmise that it contains blunt objects in vast amounts. It's clear that the Hammerspace laws of physics are fairly peculiar. This can be observed in, for example, the way that many Final Fantasy heroes are able to carry 99 Potions and 99 Hi-Potions with no trouble, but have no room to carry a 100th Potion no matter how many other items they have.

It's not certain whether a person must have personally put an item into Hammerspace to remove it, or whether they simply need to know that it is existent in Hammerspace to reach for it. The large variety of signs produced by the Ranma ½ character Genma Saotome whilst in giant panda form suggests the latter possibility, although it can also be argued this is due to foresight and careful planning, since he is occasionally seen writing the signs at an uncanny speed.

Pockets of Hammerspace, or something similar, exist behind some trees, tent-strings, rocks, and other small or narrow objects, allowing cartoon characters to hide behind things much smaller than themselves.


  • Hammerspace is often used synonymously with a magic satchel; the difference however is hammerspace is an actual extra dimension where items are stored, whereas a magic satchel uses magic to either contain these items or to access hammerspace itself—similar to how Doctor Who uses science in his space-time machine TARDIS to achieve the same results.
  • More often than not, other non-animated occurrences in film or television are explained as a plot hole in the actual film or television show, rather than the ability of a character to access hammerspace, and are dismissed due to suspension of disbelief. Examples include the live-action Highlander series, where the sword-wielding Immortals often have their weapons readily available despite their lack of a suitable container or article of clothing in which to carry a concealed sword.
  • Hammering has spread to a number of Japan-influenced webcomics, such as El Goonish Shive and Okashina Okashi. The latter spoofs traditional manga by acknowledging Hammerspace and, for example, having characters ask others if they have a particular item in there.
  • Hammerspace should not be confused with Hammertime.

See also

Home | Up | Alternative manga | Amerimanga | Amerime | Bishōjo | Bishōnen | Catgirl | Face fault | Gekiga | Hammerspace | Henshin | Kemonomimi | Progressive anime | Super deformed

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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