"A cheese grater? She has a gadget for everything! How can I ever beat her if I never know what insane gizmo she has up her sleeves?"
—Vexus, My Life as a Teenage Robot
No matter what the situation, no matter who the foe, not only did the robot's creators think of it, but the robot has the counter already built in.
Whenever the robot runs into trouble, it has exactly the gadget it needs to get it out. No matter how strange or unlikely the situation, the robot simply has to retract an arm or open a panel, and out comes a gadget that seems to have been added for exactly that purpose. It also probably carries an Everything Sensor, to spot the problem in the first place ("Danger, danger, Will Robinson!")
This trope is specific to the gadget-laden robots of movies and TV shows before and during the 1980s.
Justified in the case of robots that have access to some kind of Shapeshifting or a (usually internal) Matter Replicator. Not so justified when you are simply left to assume that the robot somehow has room for all those gadgets inside of them.
This trope doesn't apply just to robots, but it is most common among them.
See also Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids and Adaptive Armor. Compare to Crazy Prepared, which is the human equivalent. When it has never been hinted at before it's New Powers as the Plot Demands. Compare Robot Buddy. May overlap Swiss Army Weapon and Telescoping Robot.
Anime and Manga
- Mazinger Z has weapons to solve nearly any situation it can find (although it helps Mazinger is piloted by a quick-thinking Genius Ditz is able of devising new strategies -or ways to get himself out of trouble- on the fly), and throughout the series it gets upgraded equiped to combat at any enviroment. His sucessors (Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer) are similarly well-equipped. Great Mazinger has drilling Rocket Fist, swords, boomerangs, heat rays, electric rays, a Freeze Ray, generators of hurricane winds and MORE, and is piloted by a Hot-Blooded The Determinator. Grendizer is both a space ship and a Humongous Mecha, is equipped with all kind of beams, missiles and bladed weapons and it can get attached to devices let it fight at all enviroments.
- Even among Super Robots, Gurren-Lagann is legendary for this, being able to create unlimited amounts of matter and energy from MANLY SPIRIT.
- Shin Getter Robo rivals even Megas XLR in terms of do anything-ness, except it's rarely played for comedy. Need to stop a nuke from harming anything, destroy a bunch of truly humongous mecha, save Earth from an extinction-level event and completely terraform Mars, all in mere minutes? Shin Getter is your tool of choice! To be fair, it expended itself in the effort.
- Just the original one has three distinct forms with a variety of powerful weapons: Getter-1 has beam attacks, the axes, can fly and is the most maneuverable... and is piloted by Ryoma, who's so insanely awesome he can make it do things that surprise even Dr. Saotome, the Getter Machines' inventor; Getter-2 is the fastest, has a drill which it can actually shoot out, a claw-hand that crushes like a pneumatic vice, can fly(faster than 1, but less maneuverable) and can burrow underground... and is piloted by Hayato, a master of improvisation and cunning; Getter-3 had missiles, extending hands and was the best unit for ground and underwater combat... and was piloted by Musashi, a man fully dedicated to the cause and expert at keeping his more hotheaded teammates in line. Suffice it to say, if Getter Robo can't handle it, it's practically IMPOSSIBLE for ANY robot to manage it.
- And Combattler V has more weapons than probably any other Humongous Mecha.
- This was Doraemon's gimmick, though because it was partly a commentary at the time on people relying too much on technology, nearly every gadget ended up causing more problems.
- In one episode of Voltron (the Lion episodes), the team face off against a ro-beast that could become invisible and undetectable to seemingly any sensor. Eventually, the situation becomes critical when Princess Allura's lion is caught and the ro-beast was making its getaway. The team chases it while the leader frantically goes through all the possible sensor modes again to find something that can allow the team to target the enemy. Eventually, he finds that his lion somehow has a clairvoyance sensor mode that may be slow to create a clear image, but it still allows them to pinpoint the exact target on the enemy and hit it hard enough to not only make it let its prisoner go, but also knock out its stealth mode long enough for the team to unite into Voltron and take it down.
- Similarly, another episode had a robot that produced a sparkling light that hypnotized all the pilots, sending them into deep sleep. Princess Allura's helmet happened to have a visor that blocked that form of light, but let her see otherwise perfectly.
- Franky from One Piece is a do anything cyborg, with an absurd variety of weapons systems built into his body. All powered by cola.
- In Gate Keepers, there's an episode where Reiko Asagiri, the gatekeeper whose powers are channeled through her music, uses the Gate Robo. The Robo's secret weapon, GRO5V (a giant piano), is revealed which enabled her to use her powers.
- There's a Hentai about a do-anything sex doll, able to shape-shift to suit whatever fetishes her owner happens to have, called "Cosplay Sex Machine" (the owner of the particular doll the story follows is an Otaku).
- Nano, from Nichijou: A Rocket Punch (and a rocket toe, which doubles as a USB drive), a machine gun (loaded with beans), a digital clock in her wrist (and a cuckoo clock in her head), food storage (and food dispensers), a toaster and a giant wind-up key in her back ("because it's cute!"). The Professor keeps installing weird stuff into Nano, without her consent, mostly for the lulz. ¿The latest addition? A reaction function. Nano is not amused.
- Marvel superhero Aaron Stack, the Machine Man, was always sort of like this, but it was taken to its extreme and played for laughs in Nextwave. In the belly of the alien dragon Fin Fang Foom, Machine Man's chest opened up, causing improbably large swiss army knife components to pop out, including a giant corkscrew.
- And a giant forceps.
Aaron: "I could make you pregnant."
Elsa: "Not unless you could do it from over there, Clanky."
Aaron: "I am full of very useful devices."
- Many late-model Sentinels, Killer Robots made for hunting Mutants in the X-Men series, can alter themselves to produce any weapons needed to fight a particular power, especially those models from the Bad Future.
- Amazo from DC Comics is an android that can copy any superpower of any superpowered being it comes in contact with, and thus becomes incredibly versatile and capable of doing just about anything. Considering Superman himself can do an inordinate amount of things with his array of superpowers, Amazo is a nightmare.
- Same for Marvel's Amazing Android and Super-Adaptoid.
- Almost any highly-advanced comic book robot or character in Powered Armor can do this, given enough time. A great example is the latest version of Blue Beetle. His alien armor can sprout energy weapons out of his forearms, or turn his entire arms from the elbows down into energy weapons if he needs something of a higher caliber. Also saw blades, gripping claws, a giant drill, and smaller extra arms when he needs to grasp more than two things at a time. He can fly by wings, by a rocket mounted on his back, or, in a heavy storm, by a surfboard attached to his feet.
- The Engineer is this Up to Eleven.
- Both versions of X-O from the Valiant/Akklaim comics were effectively this. The original X-O was an sentient alien power armor that responded to the desires and needs of its wearer and could adapt defenses and weapons in response to his needs. The second version was referred to as a multi-purpose omni-tool (and was bonded to a scientific and engineering genius,) capable of producing pretty much anything required by its partner. It was only used as a weapon/power armor because the aliens who originally possessed it used it as such and everyone else since then simply thought that was all it was for until the end of the series.
- R2-D2 of Star Wars is the epitome of this trope, as he apparently has every tool in existence, and apparently can swim or fly (at least in his early years) as necessary.
- ...except a voice synthesizer.
- Played with as early as Empire when 3PO tells R2 he can plug in to a computer to crack the Empire's security codes and it turns out he's only plugging into a power outlet.
- Apparently the Royal Engineers of Naboo were well known for doing this to their astromech droids.
- It's a subject of considerable debate among some Star Wars fans as to whether it's physically possible to fit all the gadgets Artoo has been seen using into his frame. Given the lack of firm data on how much space is taken up by purely internal parts like his power source and "brain", it's hard to say, but it's widely presumed that over his lifetime some tools were swapped out to make room for other ones.
- V.I.N.CENT. from The Black Hole is an Expy of R2-D2 with C-3PO's personality. The spheres that serve as his "feet" have both antigravity and magnetic capabilities, and he's equipped with two lasers, four arms, a magnetic grappling line, a drill, and an oscilloscope on his chest.
- Jet Jaguar in Godzilla vs. Megalon, which was mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the line, "He's programming himself to grow bigger!"
- The T-1000 from Terminator 2 and the TX from Terminator 3 can do everything a human can, and a lot more, although that 'more' differs.
Live Action Television
- Kryten in Red Dwarf, to some extent. Described as "a robot designed purely to clean lavatories," he nevertheless has a translation mode, an egg whisk, a vacuum cleaner, radio reception, the ability to display videos, eyes with split-screen, zoom and quantel modes and, in a deleted scene, a cigarette lighter. Sadly, much of this is attached to his groinal socket. This is before we've got on to abilities he's picked up as a result of breaking his programming. And it's stated in a few episodes that he's pretty clunky.
- Viki from Small Wonder
- Averted pretty hard by K-9 in Doctor Who, who had a do-anything scanner, a dinky blaster built into his nose and a printer output for a tongue, but other than that seemed pretty useless. Among his "features" were a keyboard on his back that nobody ever used, a screen on his side that never showed anything, let alone anything useful, and tiny, tiny wheels that required a perfectly smooth surface to work. Most of this was related to the cheapness and unreliability of the prop.
- Played straight by the ubiquitous sonic screwdriver, though... unless you're dealing with wood.
- Star Trek: Voyager. Although not a robot, Seven of Nine's nanoprobes or cyborg implants were often used to solve the crisis-of-the-week.
- In The Culture novels by Ian Banks, drones have a variety of forcefields that they can fold into all manner of shapes in order to accomplish different tasks. For example, they can make a field around themselves and others to operate as a protective shield, fold a field into a tube to channel liquid or produce an atom-thin shield that can be oscillated in order to cut through virtually any material like a knife through butter (plus lasers and a variety of surveillance abilities). They are so adaptable they can even perform emergency brain surgery in the field on short notice. Do not piss off a drone.
- The advanced combat/assassination droids are literally swarms of nanobots that have all the above abilities plus they can make themselves into any kind of physical weapon imaginable (and with a "brain" that extends into hyperspace for raw data storage, they can imagine quite a bit)
- Averted in one "Bill the Galactic Hero." His Swiss Army foot rarely worked right like when he wanted a laser and it shot a condom out.
- The fasrad in the Philip K. Dick short story "Sales Pitch" is a literal Do-Anything Robot. It even serves as its own salesman. And it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you buy it.
- The Guilty Gear series has Robo-Ky, an android who flaunts his do-anything capacity with style. His body contains an endless supply of gadgets, such as: a sword, a gun, a table, a rocket launcher, two extra sets of arms, helicopter blades, a chair, a hammer, a unicycle, explosive mini-robo-Kys, and a throne for him to slouch on when he's bored.
- Some games also have Robo-Ky II, a Palette Swap of the original that can be configured to mimic most of the other character's attacks on his own toybox way.
- Huitzil (Phobos in Japan), of the Darkstalkers series.
- Mega Man's robo-canine Rush has had quite a few different modes since his debut in Mega Man 3. He initially started off with the Rush Jet, the Rush Marine, and the Rush Coil. When Mega Man 6 came around, he was able to turn into two different armor suits for Mega: a suit for powerful punches (Power), and the other (Jet), providing a jet-powered Double Jump. Mega Man 7 fused the two armors of its predecessor into one. The driving game spinoff Battle & Chase has Rush turn into a car so Mega Man can go go karting with Wily (or maybe it was just a car that looks Rush, I can't recall).
- Thursday, the multi-purpose robot from Disgaea, is shock full of weapons, sensors, and handy functions, plus a sassy personality and electronic voice. He was built by a kid genius, too. The Defenders of Earth are pretty much a 60's Raygun Gothic pastiche, so it fits.
- EDI in Mass Effect 2. Though, actually, she's a "Do-Anything AI". Try taking a drink every time Shepard says, "EDI, do something!" and she infallibly solves the current problem. ...Or better yet, don't. All The Tropes and Miraheze are not responsible for any damages that result from drinking games, including but not limited to damages to your liver and other people's cars.
- The various incarnations of Hob from Dresden Codak fit this trope, until eventually reaching Deus Est Machina levels.
- Ourox from Monsterful, Michelle's golem Bodyguard, he's a machine capable of shifting into almost anything and generating any kind of weapons, he even as the ability to fuse himself with Michelle for ultimate protection.
- He can even fuse entirely with Michelle to transform her into a Cyborg.
- Cirbozoids from Starslip Crisis are a Do Anything Species, with a biological function to suit any need. This includes, but is not limited to, secreting Ritalin, anaesthetic saliva, and the ability to spontaneously bud off any number of biological devices, or another Cirbozoid when they need a quick meal.
- This may not be all it's cracked up to be, however, because they have about seventy hojillion different waste elimination processes. This includes a "smelting cloaca" from which they excrete waste iron; this one process alone apparently has to be performed often enough to make wearing a uniform a serious hassle, and at least one other involves venting blood from gills in his back. So there are about a million different things Cirbozoids can do; one for every time they have to go to the bathroom every day.
- Ennesby from Schlock Mercenary, he doesn't have hands, instead having to rely on a sort of force-field manipulator that allows him to do everything from picking up a book to shoot as an improvised beam weapon (one of the reasons why it's mounted on a long "mani-stem" is that otherwise maser would fry the maraca itself).
- Girl Genius: Agatha builds what are best described as anthropomorphic pocket watches, which have hands and feet and seem to keep entire toolkits in Hammerspace. Anything you can do with a relatively common toolkit, these can do even if they have to climb on top of one another to reach.
- Oh, and they are self replicating (though each generation is slightly less sophisticated than it's parent generation).
- Robotic supervillain Omega, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe not only contains a vast array of built-in capabilities, he can redesign himself almost instantly when the need arises to cover a situation is standard settings don't cover.
- Megas XLR always had the right gadget for the problem at hand, and it was always slaved to Coop's Big Red Button.
- Sometimes he had too many buttons. In one episode Jamie and Kiva argue over whether he should hit the "Break Cocoon" or "Kill Giant Insect" button. In another, he had three buttons to destroy the world ("Destroy the World," "Smite the World," and "Destroy the World WORSE"), but the desperately-needed "Save the World" button was out of order.
- Button: JETS. Button near that one: HAM.
- There was even a button that was labeled "Five minutes till end of episode."
- Naturally, this Big Red Button is the context sensative button that the MEGAS XLR's battle computer runs. The computer is apparently a Deadpan Snarker, given that it at one point reads "Do something really stupid Coop." and in another instance "You heard the man kids, super destructor mode."
- "Like the same button Coop pressed five minutes ago".
- An older example would be the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Frankenstein, Jr.. Franky, as the robot was called, always had a specific gadget to get him out of every enemy trap, Including a built-in smokescreen maker that also conveniently melts ice. Of course, Franky occasionally got into trouble that he couldn't get out of, at which point his young sidekick would use his own do-anything gadget to get the robot out.
- Other examples from Hanna-Barbera are Speed Buggy, Dynomutt Dog Wonder and The Robonic Stooges.
- A more recent example is in My Life as a Teenage Robot. Jenny, the robot, has a weapon or sensor for every occasion. They don't always work, but when they fail she can just go on to the next gadget.
- The entire premise of Inspector Gadget: Building RoboCop out of a mortally wounded Inspector Clouseau instead of Alex Murphy, and arming him with... well.. everything except a gun.
- XR in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has gadgets all over the place, most sprouting from his chest, but also coming from his hands and back. Examples of these gadgets include: satellite equipment, a blender, a cigarette lighter hidden in his thumb, a safe, an electric drill, basically anything you can think of. He also stores several non-electric things like pens, an aloha shirt, the closest thing Disney has to porn magazines, pancake batter... the less sense it makes, the better.
- This is more-or-less explained in the prequel movie, where XR was originally a serious, near-indestructible (able to be repaired from ridiculous levels of damage) combat robot but was put back together when the LGMs were in a state of disarray, resulting in a massive amount of random stuff being thrown in there. Some of it is actually useful, like all those guns.
- Some Transformers had this early on, but it was dropped almost entirely by the end of Generation 1.
- Bender, the foul-mouthed, sarcastic, alcoholic robot from Futurama is a hilarious send-up of this trope. His chest cavity is a seemingly bottomless pit of storage capacity. Despite explicitly being designed for the sole purpose of bending metal, his known features include a camera, a card-shuffler, a lantern, a shredder, a spray-paint can, a lighter, a saw, a toilet, an answering machine, a corn popper, an audio recorder, a pepper grinder, a vacuum, an amplifier, a tazer, an easy-bake oven, a grill, a nuclear pile and "extentio-matic" limbs. This is a quality apparently shared by the bulk of the robot community within the series.
- Note that Bender has been X-rayed in the series, and been shown to have nothing but a couple of gears in his torso.
- And if Bender can't do it, Leela's "Wristlojackameter" can. Its uses are so poorly defined, she eventually just calls it "this thing I wear on my wrist".
- Lampshade Hanging in Ozzy and Drix, with Drix (a cold pill) who is about the closest thing the setting has to a robot:
Maria: Why does a pill need a blender?
Drix: Y'know, I've often wondered about that.
- Not exactly a robot, but the keytools from ReBoot could transform into or summon just about anything.
- There was an episode where Bob orders his keytool to do just that, as Big Bad Megabyte is lunging towards him: "Glitch! Anything!" Glitch turns into a lamp-post, and Megabyte runs face-first into it.
- When Dot was falling to her apparent death, he yelled "Glitch! Anything!", and got a spring-based fall-cushioning device on the ground to catch her. (Not quite a trampoline, but the same basic premise.)
- DuckTales (1987) has GizmoDuck, whose suit is supposed to be able to do anything, but he didn't have time to read the instruction manual. This is played for laughs later, when he's more familiar with the suit, with him being prepared for more trivial and minor things (such as having a satellite dish so his mother can watch TV on his display panel) than for the more important things.
- X5 on Atomic Betty.
- Goddard from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron is an excellent example of this trope - even the glitches in his programming, such as his ability to "play dead" (AKA spontaneously reassemble after a main core implosion), regularly come in handy.
- Jimmy later realizes that the implosion is not fun for Goddard and promises not to abuse that aspect of his talents.
- Jailbot, the Warden's loyal robotic sidekick from Superjail!, seems to have an endless arsenal of deadly and improbable weapons hidden in his side compartments, and often deploys
one after another in rapid fire fashiona dozen at once, usually when one (or none) would suffice, while performing his duties.
- He makes ice cream, too!
- A bit of a subversion occurs in Static Shock. Gear and Static are on a plane that has been hijacked and they need scissors to cut the duct tape off the captain. Static turns to Gear, who got his name because he has a large amount of stuff to do his derring-do, and asks if he has any scissors: Backpack, Gear's Empathic Weapon, springs out a dozen different tools, Gear runs down the entire catalogue, and reports: "No."
- The Jetsons: The robot maid Rosie.
- Digit, the friendly neighborhood cyboid from Cyberchase carries measuring cups, various tools, a smaller version of himself, and freshly baked scones (among other things), all inside his chest.
- Ironically in the case of the measuring cups, at least once he's been missing the cup they actually needed and they had to improvise.
- Schmeloise, Heloise's Robot Me on Jimmy Two-Shoes.