Abnormal Limb Rotation Range

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"You know, that picture does look crooked."

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John Behlmann, Dairy Queen commercial (2011)

Someone who has the ability to rotate any part of their body beyond normal, which is either awesome or Body Horror.

It always falls under Everything's Better with Spinning. Rarely goes with Losing Your Head or any other body part. Some robots have that ability, but when not on a robot, it occasionally falls under Blessed with Suck.

In Real Life this is generally a result of Hypermobility or "double-jointedness".

Not to be confused for Head Turned Backwards. A specific sub-trope, for when only the head rotates, is Exorcist Head.

Examples of Abnormal Limb Rotation Range include:


Anime and Manga

  • Marine Captain Sharingle from One Piece can rotate any segment of his body under any line of axis from the power of the Wheel-Wheel Fruit.
    • Also Luffy with the Gum-Gum Fruit he can do some crazy stuff with his limbs.
  • The Dolls from Black Butler.
  • Sasori from Naruto.
  • In Dai Mahou Touge, Paya's limbs can rotate 360 degrees in all directions, making him immune to all joint locks.
  • Excel Saga: Excel; justified because she's a crazy Genki Girl.
  • Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Vérité episode 9. Ikuyo Suzuki turns her head around 360° while talking to Mariel.
  • Once in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, the very jealous Chiri was so enraged by the suggestion that Nozomu try the Tenchi Solution, that when she went into her frightening-looking Ax Crazy mode, her head started spinning sideways.
  • #9 Jean from Claymore corkscrews her sword arm 21 times in preparation for her special attack.
  • Being Humongous Mecha, several Mobile Suits in the Gundam series have the ability to rotate their hands. In the case of the F91 Gundam and the Turn a Gundam, they use this ability while holding their beam sabers to make whirling circles of death.
  • Kuroi Sabato from Blade of the Immortal had the ability to raise his arm in a perfect 90-degree angle behind him, just as easily as one would do forward, which allowed to easily strike Manji as he came from behind without even turning around. It's a wonder that the stuffed heads mounted on his shoulders didn't hinder him.

Comic Books

  • Hooty the Owl from DC Comics.
  • Owl (Leland Owlsley) from Mainstream, Age of Apocalypse, Everyone knew Daredevil was blind, Super Spidey Stories and Last Gun on Earth Universe in Marvel Comics.

Films -- Animation

Films -- Live Action

Betelgeuse: Don't you hate it when that happens?

  • Inspector Gadget has this happen to him a few times.
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland has Mad Hatter Play this trope Straight.
  • The Unborn plays this trope in a Body Horror way.
  • The demonic creature Sammael from the first Hellboy movie could do this... by dislocating its own joints and breaking its own bones. It could heal any injury almost instantly, but spinning your own pelvis around a full 180 degrees or bending every joint in your arm the opposite way they were intended to bend has to hurt.
  • In the campy horror/comedy Killer Klowns From Outer Space, one of the title monsters is "arrested" by the teenager-hating Jerkass deputy sheriff. As the klown is being shown to a jail cell, the deputy strikes it in the back of the neck with his baton. In response, the klown growls and spins its head completely around.
  • In the Thor movie, the Destroyer robot was impaled from the back and then completely rotated every part of its body to face its enemy, knocked her away, then removed the spear by standing up while the blade slid out by itself.
  • Pitch Black had Riddick do this by dislocating both his shoulders in order to escape from restraints.
  • In Austin Powers: Goldmember, the title villain is able to dislocate his legs upwards, which is useful for kicking someone in the face behind him.


  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Sima Yi is said to be able to turn his head around like an owl—signifying his wary watchfulness by giving him, essentially, eyes in the back of his head. (Oddly enough, this is used to compare him to a wolf, rather then an owl)

Live-Action TV

  • Yet another infamous example from True Blood where Lorena Krasiki has this happen to her.
  • Used as a plot point in an episode of The X-Files. At the end Scully fakes rotating her own wrist 360 degrees.
  • Happens to Curly's leg in The Three Stooges short "Idle Roomers".
  • Happens to a girl in a sketch on The Benny Hill Show called "The Lover".


  • Almost every kind of toy.
  • There are a couple of Bionicle masks that have a second face on the top, requiring the head to be turned upside-down. Thankfully only for creepy villain characters. The Vahki sets, meanwhile, can go from bipedal mode to four-legged, for which one has to bend all limbs and the head backwards. Of course, the better articulated toys can be disfigured in infinite ways, but these examples are actually "enforced" by the story material.

Video Games

  • Super Paper Mario has Mimi.
  • Kaepora Gaebora and any other Owl characters from The Legend of Zelda at the same rotation manner as the Owl from The Secret of NIMH mentioned above.
  • Okami Averts this by having Onigiri-sensei's rotating head being an illusion.
  • Kingdom Hearts II
    • Groundshaker, Living Bones and Shaman Heartless—subverted due to them having floating heads.
    • Played Straight in the same game as Strafer Heartless.
  • Noctowl and Drapion from Pokémon.
  • A fairly well-known glitch can cause this to happen in Fallout: New Vegas, as seen in this video.
  • That's also been seen in Dragon Age Origins.
  • Adam Jensen from Deus Ex Human Revolution can rotate his hands fully around the wrist. The main use seems to be Neck Snapping.
  • The various incarnations of Yoshimitsu from Tekken and Soul Calibur all have artificial arms with complete wrist rotation. It's actually highlighted in the intro movie to Tekken 2. From 3 onwards he even uses this ability in conjunction with his sword to achieve short burst of helicopter style flight.
    • Not only that but you can see the same thing happen for a custom character based off his fighting style.
    • In Tekken, several incarnations of the Jack-robots have this, most notably Prototype Jack.
  • Skullgirls' Ms. Fortune is a catgirl with a gruesome twist—she swallowed an immortality-granting gem, but had her head and limbs chopped off shortly afterward by a mafia assassin. Still bearing the scars of her dismemberment, Ms. Fortune can attack by separating her limbs along those scars. She can move her muscles independently of her skin along the lines she was cut apart, giving her the ability to stretch and twist her limbs beyond any normal capacity. Her head, too.
  • Used in the 2000 horror game Koudelka, the first in the series that would become Shadow Hearts. Basically, a man named Patrick resorts to using black magic to bring back his dead love, Ellaine. As is typical with most grief-based resurrections, said love is brought back as a soulless Monster From Beyond the Veil with the image of an angel. When the team of heroes first meet her, she emerges gooey from a demonic flower and then proceedes to hop onto the ceiling and crabwalk across the ceiling. Even after being shot down from the ceiling, the monster gets right back up (complete with bones breaking and limbs contorting to an almost hose-like consistency) and chases after the heroes, still in her crabwalk pose. This, combined with the primitive graphics and the fact she never changes her facial expression beyond Dissonant Serenity puts this squarely on Uncanny Valley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6_eDb75BoA
  • Many enemies from First Encounter Assault Recon 2: Project Origin, but special mention goes to the Abominations the player encounters throughout game, the first human test subjects and surviving failures of Project Harbinger's attempts to excel a human's brain and body to supernatural lengths. One of the abomination encountered writhes, crawls and contorts his body so inhumanely quick that it manages to easily avoid the player's attempts to shoot it.
  • Orianna of League of Legends is a Hextech/clockwork robot powered by a large key in her back. The fact she can freely twist her arms to wind said key unassisted is one of many things that others find deeply unsettling about her.

Web Original

Graham: Why did I do that?

Western Animation

  • SpongeBob SquarePants has this happen to some of the characters, including SpongeBob.
  • The Simpsons:
    • It happen to Homer Simpson in "Treehouse of Horror XVI", to parody the above Exorcist.
    • The carny son, Spud, in "Bart Carny" can unhinge all joints at once and twists his body around.
  • Wan Shi Tong from Avatar: The Last Airbender. To be fair, though, he is an owl.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has Shortstuff (#297) who can rotate his upper body (Which becomes a part of his one true place of being a ride in a carnival)
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • It happen in a Played for Laughs manner with Widow Hutchison who accidentally turns her head upside down in "The Big Answer".
    • Happens to Peaches in "To Heck and Back"
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum has this happen to Chum Chum when he comes down with "Frosty Freezy Freeze Fever" in the episode "Berry Sick".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Owlowiscious turns his head backwards. This is completely justified, as he's an owl, but it's made to look creepy.
    • In the same show (and metaseries), constant to a small degree up with the eponymous ponies, who are depicted with a (somewhat transient) humanlike forelimb rotational range and gripping ability(!), complete with bends at what would, in humans, be the highly mobile wrists, something physiologically located at another place entirely on a horse or pony's leg. None of it is at all odd or out-of-place looking for the primates watching, but any equine viewers would be terribly confused and creeped out.
    • Pinkie Pie, in the episode "Read it And Weep", turns her head a full 360 degrees a couple of times. After a moment, her whole body spins around to go back to normal.
  • Dan Vs.' Dan explained he got one of his hands free from handcuffs due to his thumb being able to rotate at any angle (I don't remember the exact words, but this is basically it).[please verify] This is only on one of his hands. The other hand he got by pulling really, really hard.
  • Kick Buttowski has this happen to Ms. Chickarelli when her head rotate 180 degrees in the episode "Detained".
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch turns his head around when the Narrator says it "wasn't screwed on just right."

Real Life

  • Owls can rotate their heads to an astounding degree, mainly because they can't move their eyes at all.
  • Praying mantises can rotate their upper body around.
  • Gibbons have ball-and-socket joints at their wrists, allowing them to twist their hands around at the wrist as well as by rotating their forearms.
  • Head Twister is a magic trick that can full under this and rarely mixed with Losing Your Head.
  • Believe it or not some people have the skill of rotating their Head, Arms, Hands, Lower Body and Feet.
  • Some prosthetic arms developed for veterans have motorized wrists that can rotate 360 degrees. "Sure makes it easy to open jars now."