Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Laser cows! They keep the grass trim. Just like real cows! Only with lasers.
"Always program a militaristic defence mode into your toys, kids. It's just common sense!"
Mr. Sin, Sam and Fuzzy

Sufficiently humanoid robots will have super-strength and other fantastic abilities. It doesn't matter what they were built for.

Sometimes, the robot doesn't even need to be humanoid. Relatively simple non-human robots that perform mundane jobs also seem to be way overpowered and/or over-armed for their designed tasks. A robot designed to do nothing but wash windows will undoubtedly also have enough power to batter though a concrete wall if it has to.

This is especially true for Replacement Goldfish; something that's designed to emulate a cute 6-year-old boy will undoubtedly have lasers, rockets, and invulnerable titanium armor. Fortunately, this often allows them to become a Superhero. (This may, though, just be their creator's way of ensuring that the replacement does not perish in the same kind of tragic accident that took the original.)

This may be explained by it being easier to take something that's built to do industrial work and make it look like a human than build something that's as weak as a human from the ground up; however, few series come out and say this. Perhaps justified in that even robots not specifically designed to have super-lifting capabilities would have greater strength than humans because most metals are stronger than human muscle; their inability to feel pain or fatigue would also give them unlimited stamina. May also become a Truth in Television; looking at many other forms of technology with extraneous doodads, the question doesn't seem to be "Why?" but "Why not?"

It may also be justified if the robot has a secondary function as an inconspicuous bodyguard—not many attackers would expect the hired help to be able to toss them out the window. Or be packing miniguns designed for military vehicles, for that matter.

This makes them a threat when acquiring an Artificial Intelligence, or struck by lightning.

Contrast Mundane Utility, which instead of featuring meter maids with the firepower of mecha, has mecha with the job description of meter maids.

Examples of Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids include:

Anime and Manga

  • Ur-example: Astro Boy was built to replace a grieving scientist's young son, and is equipped with a 100,000-horsepower engine, rocket feet, and a machine gun that comes out of his butt, among other things. Either Dr. Tenma is very strange, or his son was even stranger. Hand-waved by having him simply retool an existing 'ultimate robot' model to look like his son, or claim that he will not only make his son a robot, but the 'best robot ever'.
    • The 1960s series explained it by saying he was originally a military robot that the Doctor was working on, and was altered at the last minute at great haste; Tenma had rather snapped after his son's death, and didn't care beyond annoyance that he was a death machine.
    • In the most recent anime series, this is explained away by Tenma giving Astro the ability to "evolve" himself. Instead of all his gadgets being built into him from the start, his body somehow creates them in response to danger. He gained his rocket boots after falling out the window of an office building & he got his Arm Cannon in a fight to the death with his evil "brother" Atlas. In this version, however, he doesn't have, ahem, rear-end gunning capability (and it's disturbing to contemplate what situation might have called for him to "evolve" it). He did have finger lasers to compensate.
    • Oddly enough, the Game Boy Advance game based on the 2003 series gives him the guns back, and they also appear in the 2009 movie, to Astro's incredulity ("I have machineguns in my... butt?!).
  • The Big O: R. Dorothy Waynewright has superhuman strength, speed and endurance despite being a Replacement Goldfish. Then again, every single android in the series is the same regardless of purpose. It may simply be a fault of construction that can't be toned down.
  • This was part of the entire plot of the Anime series Bubblegum Crisis. The original OVA series featured android laborers built by the nefarious megacorporation Genom, which occasionally went rogue and required attention by a special, heavily-armed police unit (The "A.D. Police"). Worker models were rarely seen in the original series (which had only a few episodes, and focused on the combat models and prototypes), but they turned up frequently in the TV-series re-imagining, Bubblegum Crisis 2040.
  • Doctor Slump. The only reason he built Arale was to try if he could. And she splits Earth Once an Episode and was stronger than young Son Goku in a crossover.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler seems to always have to fight these things. "No, no, you're supposed to compete in cleaning the house with it." "Then why is it firing missiles at me!?"
    • Lampshaded in that the designer of that robot is almost fired because of her over-powered designs.
  • Everything in the world is automated and Internet-capable in Mega Man NT Warrior, so the plot in many early episodes was how cleaning robots, animal/fish replicas, and yes, Meter Maids got infected by computer viruses, and then would terrorize the city with amazing powers. (For example, infected robot fish from an aquarium were able to fly through the air.) Fortunately, the premise of the series is fighting said viruses with programs. In the cartoon of the original series, the ultimate end result of battling robots against robots (that were originally for household chores) was the apocalypse.
    • Ignoring the fact that busters, giant fists, and arm-blades are standard equipment for an OS interface and web browser rolled up into an AI. It's a series that applies Rule of Cool to computer maintenance.
  • Despite the prevalence of cybernetic enhancement in the world of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, this is actually somewhat averted in a couple of episodes, late in the first season. After the Tachikomas are retired from service in Section 9, most are dismantled. The only two that survive are sold off to a retirement home and a construction company as service robots, and all their specialized weaponry is removed when they're decommissioned. After all, when you're tending to a bunch of senile centenarians, you don't really need guns in your forearms, do you?
    • It is played straight in an earlier episode where a reclusive millionare has robot maids which are armed with some deadly-looking weaponry and use it almost at the drop of a hat. They are taken down very easily though.
    • The suicidal "Jeri" androids in Episode 3 have no apparent physical capabilities beyond those of humans—one kills itself just by walking into a river to drown! It's a little unclear if the robot geishas in the very first episode had superhuman strength or not—they had their hostages pinned down in submission holds which would be difficult to break out of in either case. However, they certainly weren't bulletproof.
  • Conversely, in Mahoromatic, a combat android decides to become a maid. Naturally, she is superb as a chef as well as all things domestic.
    • Possibly a semi-subversion, as she does remove most of her combat equipment before becoming a maid, and reacquires it later on.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, while Chachamaru herself being the lead Gynoid was built primarily for combat and serving tea, her "sisters" act as a constant work force in their master Evangeline's hidden resort from Chachamaru's prototype. They can however act as a reserve army at their creator Chao or Hakase's orders.
  • Averted in Outlaw Star with Melfina and the numerous helper robots that Gilliam II uses around the ship. Melfina is very similar to humans with respect to her physical strength, and the helper robots can't even lift most objects unless the ship is in space. Gilliam II's helper robots are tiny; no bigger than a small rodent or so.
    • Melfina is quite similar to humans in physical capability because she's a "bio-android" rather than a robot, which basically means "genetically engineered human built to a specific purpose with certain programming hardwired into their genes". Possibly her skeleton is inorganic as well[1] but the point is her muscles are essentially human muscles.
    • One episode actually shows a scan of her that outright confirms this. Later in the series it's revealed that other than the modifications that allow her to interface with the Outlaw Star she's pretty much as human as anyone else, though artificially created.
  • It is never really clarified whether the 'Humaritts' of Najica Blitz Tactics are robotic, cybernetic, genetically-altered, or a combination of those... but they still definitely fall under this. While some of them are stated to have been outright designed for combat - and show appropriately impressive competency at this - at least one of the humaritts encountered was designed to be a nursemaid/assistant type... capable of taking down an army of ninjas with a Double-Bladed Sword. Clearly, when she says 'nappy-time', you NAP!
  • Dominion Tank Police: It's odd that a pair of former sexbots should have super strength and military-grade targeting computers, but Anna and Uni probably have the excuse that their boss bought them the upgrades.
  • Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya is an Artificial Human built to observe. Fans describe her as the most powerful character ever made.
  • Obots in Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal (Litterbots in the English dub) were designed to clean up trash in Heartland City, but they can do other things, like play instruments in marching bands and act as referee during the Tournament Arc. In the finale of Season One, Mr. Heartland uses them as Mecha Mooks, the function he may actually have intended them for from the start. At least one Obot (named Obami) has enough sapience to have a personality of its own, becoming Yuma's Robot Buddy and housekeeper.


  • Robots such as the ones in Westworld or The Animatrix. Why would actors and butlers need the strength to crush human skulls, or the ability to track footprints by their heat signatures?
  • I Robot featured a flashback to a car accident where a passing package delivery robot was able to rip Will Smith's arm off to free him from the car.
    • May be semi-justified as a) robots are designed to help people as one of their overriding laws, and making them too weak to do so would create a system fault as the robot wouldn't be able to do anything, but would be compelled to do something, and b) packages are heavy, man.
    • Also justified by one model of robot (the NS-4) being used for...everything, really, suggesting that a NS-4 used for package delivery would have the same specifications as a NS-4 used for, I don't know, lifting up cars in garages or something, we don't see them much.
    • Also, the brand new series of robots are even stronger (faster, better, harder etc) than the previous model. This may have been deliberate.
  • R2-D2 in Star Wars is essentially supposed to be a navigational computer and maintenance robot, yet he has a seemingly endless array of gadgets for every situation.
    • It's been speculated that astromech units were designed at least in part to do major repairs to starfighters while underway (hence the rockets), so the existence of some of that stuff isn't too far-fetched. There's also no reason to believe that any of the droids seen at all resemble stock models.
      • This was shown in Episode 1, where R2 ended up being the only droid left to finish the repairs on Queen Amidala's Royal Starship. Since he was in possession of the Royal Engineers of Naboo, he had several enhancements that few other astromech droids had.
  • Averted in the movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. In one scene the Replacement Goldfish protagonist robot is asked by the real son of his adoptive mother what "cool tricks" he can do, such as fly or walk on walls. In fact, he has no powers at all, and behaves exactly as a normal human child would when placed in danger.
    • Not entirely averted—David has one useless feature where he can interface with a telephone and talk using the voice of the person on the other end. Considering that all this does is frighten his "mother," it's questionable why he even has the ability.
  • In WALL-E the Action Girl Eve is a essentially a biological collector, trying to find evidence of plant life on Earth. So naturally, she has a high power plasma gun, enough power to make a micro-tornado by spinning, fast enough to break the sound barrier, and strong enough to hold back a huge sliding wall by herself. Those plants are apparently rough customers.
    • The speed and durability would probably be justified; she's got a lot of ground to cover, and Earth's environment can be rough. Also she's an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, so she probably explores other planets that potentially have hostile life, so she's just equipped with killer defense systems.
    • While Wall-E's cutting laser is justified, why is a trash compactor equipped with a audio record/playback function (independent from the robot's own memory)?
      • Black box?
        • Pilots aren't allowed to access their own black box data. Wall-E probably found and refurbished a working tape recorder.
    • HAN-S is far stronger than any massage robot (even a crazy one) could ever need to be. Unless of course you need to get rid of an entire squad of guard robots that happen to be in your way.
  • The Replicants of Blade Runner are granted super strength and apparently some degree of acrobatics, without exception. This makes perfect sense in some cases - you'd want the robots doing off-world construction jobs to be pretty tough cookies - but giving a "pleasure model" like Pris the ability to crush a man's head between her thighs is just asking for trouble.
    • Presumably the combat and heavy labor models were engineered first, and then somebody figured out 'Hey, if we just make them cute and change their programming, we can also use them as talking sex toys!'... without bothering to actually redesign their system architecture, hence explaining why Pris (a pleasure model) had the same physical capacities as Zhora (an assassination unit), differing only in motivation and skillset. In addition, Pris doesn't actually suceed in crushing Deckard's head, so whether her strength was augmented is debateable, and the acrobatics, well... In addition, Rachel, a secretary, and possibly Tyrell, a CEO aren't enhanced in any way.


  • Older Than Radio: Frankenstein's Monster was originally intended to be a straightforward attempt to resurrect the dead, but the monster wound up unnaturally strong. Justified in that the creature needed to be scaled up in order for postgrad student Frankenstein to operate on it. Zat vould mean he vould have an enormous schvanstuka!
  • Marvin (aka the Paranoid Android) of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • He was built with incredible intelligence and continually complains about the menial jobs the characters give him. But then, Marvin is never happy unless he's unhappy.
    • His unhappiness is explained by the (rather poorly-thought out, but what isn't with these guys?) decision by Sirius Co. to create robots and AI with "Genuine People Personalities", making them more familiar with humans. Of course, combine a genuine human personality and limitless intelligence and you are going to get a rather depressed individual. Marvin was a prototype Genuine People Personality, implying that he's even more out of whack than that.
    • Marvin is also ridiculously durable. By the time he finally breaks down, he's six times as old as the universe. It's not clear whether that's the current age of the universe, or the total expected final age of the universe, but either way seems like overkill.
    • Although he does wear out and require repairs. He's missing a leg in Life The Universe And Everything, and has received a cheap replacement. By So Long And Thanks For All The Fish (the point by which he is six times as old of the universe), he mentions that every single piece of him has been replaced many times... with the sole exception of the aching diodes he complained of wanting to be replaced when he was first introduced.
  • The Golems in Discworld are a maybe case.
    • Giving them super-strength makes sense (they are designed for hard labor) as does their near indestructibility (made of clay and animated by magic). But Mr. Pump can also sense exactly where an individual (or at least the one he is assigned to watch) is anywhere in the world. Certainly doesn't seem like a standard feature for someone whose job was to pump water for centuries. It's possible that he was given some sort of magical modification when he was given the job of parole officer.
    • Handwaved: Mr. Pump mentions that Mr. von Lipwig karmic signature (or something to the same effect) has been added to his chem.
    • Further, Discworld Golems were originally built to be messengers (Who'd, y'know, need to know how to find someone) and, until very recently, making new ones was strictly illegal (And, unlike most such laws on the Disc, this one was apparently followed). As such, all currently working Golems were made thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of years ago to do completely different jobs from their current ones, making their various abilities a bit more sensible.
  • The cyber-beasts in The War Against the Chtorr. Armoured, artificially-intelligent mechanimials with the processing power of a small government, weapons ranging from flamethrowers to titanium teeth, and instruments for taking scientific samples. Justified in that Earth is fighting off an invasion by a totally alien ecology which has to be studied at the same time as it's being fought.
  • In Henry Kuttner's Gallagher cycle, the eponymous Mad Scientist has built a superpowered humanoid robot and then spends the whole story trying to find out what was he supposed to do (whi is, by the way, opening cans). Justified, as the Gallagher's gimmick is that only his subconcious is a super-inventor, so he invents eveything while hopelessly drunk.
  • In Isaac Asimov's short story Robbie the eponymous robot was a nursemaid for an eight-year-old girl named Gloria. Naturally, it's really strong and really fast which turn out to be extremely useful when Gloria's life was in danger. When the story appears in I, Robot, Susan Calvin explains that Robbie was sold in a time before robots were outlawed on Earth.
  • There are several stories from the Bolo series of Bolos, basically football-field sized[2] supertanks with the ability to blow ships out of orbit single-handedly, being repurposed into other applications.
    • One had a Bolo redesigned as an agricultural aid. When aliens came to attack the colony, it used its agricultural tools to engineer a plague that wiped out the aliens.
    • Another is about a Bolo with its weapons stripped so it can be a tractor/digging machine... which still manages to save a colony of humans.
    • A third has Bolos placed in space and used as communications satellites, allowing them to wipe out an enemy fleet.
      • These examples are really more inversions than anything else; instead of going and putting a Wave Motion Gun on a mundane robot, it's "These were already hyper-deadly machines, we just tried to modify them to do something else." In other words, the weapons and superpowers came first, the mundanity came second. So, it's more Mudane Utility.
      • In one Bolo story, the eponymous tanks, which are referred to planetary siege units, and are easily capable of dueling with starships in orbit, are used as plowing equipment.

Live Action TV

  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation once took over the ship with his ability to perfectly mimic Captain Picard's voice and hack into his command codes. Nobody ever questioned why he could do this, or attempted to alter that function. He also had super strength, despite being designed to be as "human as possible." (Although it's revealed later that his creator did create a "normal" android, with human-level strength and intellectual capacities—in a subversion, it is this "weaker" version of the android that was actually the creator's Replacement Goldfish.)
  • Star Trek: Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram was created as a mere backup for the human doctor in a crisis. When Voyager is thrown across the galaxy (killing the human doctor) the holographic Doctor is forced through circumstance (and later his own determination) to evolve. Over the next seven years the Doctor takes on hobbies such as opera, painting, photography and sex (Let's just say I made an...addition to my program), acts as a target for Kazon ships (albeit accidentally), writes a provocative holonovel, gets transmitted across the galaxy (and back) on two separate occasions, commands the ship single-handedly in "Workforce" and is just flat-out amazing (though not always sensible) in "Renaissance Man". But, as we see in "Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy", it's nothing compared to what the egotistical Doc can do in his fantasies!
    • It should be noted, however, that the Doctor (unlike most of the examples listed, especially in-universe counterpart Data) was never designed with these capabilities. He extensively modified himself to support these new subroutines and abilities. He wasn't 'born' with them. In fact, a couple of episodes were built around the consequences of him overtaxing his base programming and 'crashing'.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, Nomad (in "The Changeling") was a combination of an Earth exploration probe with an alien exploration probe. The alien probe's mission to sterilize soil samples somehow gave it the ability to exterminate all life on an entire planet and a plasma cannon equal to 90 photon torpedoes.
  • Viki in Small Wonder is super-strong, super-intelligent, and can even fly, despite purportedly being an attempt to make a robot that's convincingly human.
  • April, the original robot girlfriend made by Warren in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was given super-human strength for no good reason. While the Buffybot arguably needed strength to sufficiently impersonate Buffy, April doesn't need the power to throw men through walls...
  • Lampshaded in Red Dwarf. Serving droid Kryten isn't particularly strong compared to a human being, but his successor, Hudzen-10, is so strong he can chop through bricks... with his penis.
    • For those playing at home, this is a double example. Not only does he have superhuman strength but has it in an appendage which a robot maid really shouldn't logically have. Unless you're in to that I suppose....
    • Kryten is regularly mocked by Rimmer for being designed to clean toilets, especially when Lister and Cat respect Kryten's leadership over his (e.g in the episode Quarantine). Kryten is actually a rather good leader (at least by Red Dwarf standards) so I guess that's a subtle example of this trope.
  • The original K9 from Doctor Who. He was built as a substitute pet for a doctor working on a space station that didn't allow dogs on board. So why's he got a frickin' laser cannon in his nose? Rule of Cool. If you could make a robot dog with a laser cannon in his nose, wouldn't you?
    • Considering the places where dogs stick their noses? No.
  • The title character in the Showtime The Outer Limits episode "Valerie 23" was a fembot who was specifically designed and created to be a companion for disabled shut-ins or people working in isolated conditions. So why was it built with lethal superhuman strength and a severe lack of impulse control? Worse, after the episode in which this gynoid went dangerously wrong, the series did several other episodes about other androids from the same company going dangerously awry in other ways.
  • Colosson from That Mitchell and Webb Look is a robot designed to calculate whether or not a number is Numberwang. Being developed during World War II by scientists who rather belatedly wondered whether it could be used for the war effort, it was fitted with laser cannons despite not actually having any military purpose. This becomes a problem on the instances it tries to take over the world.
  • In Stargate SG-1, the android Reese is equipped with a device that allows her to manipulate matter. That's not where the trope comes in. It comes in when the "toys" she makes with it turn out to be the Replicators, one of the most powerful foes in the series. Which begs the question: why did you make toys that are immune to energy weapons, can self-replicate, and reproduce on their own? There's childproofing stuff, but come on...

Tabletop RPGs

  • At least one edition of the post-apocalyptic RPG Gamma World had literal super-powered robot meter maids as a potential risk to breaking open abandoned parking meters for cash.
  • These showed up in an arcology in Shadowrun, but then an insane AI decided to use them to perform medical experiments on the unwilling inhabitants. In the latest version, one of the selling points of the new robot assistants is that they are deliberately crippled to be slower than a person and mechanically incapable of restraining a human.

Video Games

  • Indeed, in the original Mega Man game, the eponymous Mega Man was designed as a lab assistant before becoming a super-powered hero. On a similar note, all the boss enemies he fought during the first game were designed for peaceful pursuits such as forestry, garbage disposal, arctic exploration, and so on... That doesn't keep some people from wondering, however.
    • Mega Man's major weapon, the Variable Weapon System, was originally designed as the Variable Tool System, allowing him to pick up and use any object that he could find. When he was modified to include an energy converter/plasma blaster, Dr. Light also modified the VTS to the VWS, making Mega Man the single most powerful robot because he had no special ability; he could simply take the abilities of his enemies. To see what happens when a robot is designed from the ground up with the VWS in mind, take a look at X; capable of (and successful in) destroying not one, not two, but at least three powerful Reploid armies, all of which were based of his design and improved.
    • Dr. Light was so far beyond his years that only two other people in his time could come close to matching him, and it took 300 years for anyone else to match him. It took another century after that for anyone to remotely surpass him, and it specifically led to the apocalypse because of his inventions. Considering that there is one theory that Blues, Rock, and Roll are Replacement Goldfish, you'd think that it might have been better had he just not bothered.
  • The entire inclusion of Tesse, from the Neo Geo fighting game Waku Waku 7, is based on this trope. Despite officially being designed as a housekeeper and maid, and fighting with brooms and hypodermic needles, she is able to evenly match the other (quirky) fighters.
  • Maintenance droids, courier droids, and office-aid androids in Crusader are all armed to destroy possible invaders.
  • One of the villains in the third Ratchet and Clank game is Courtney Gears, a robotic pop star. Nonetheless, she has enough weaponry to engage One-Man Army Ratchet in battle.
  • Building a robotic fuel-injection system de-icer? Sounds like a good idea. Building a robotic fuel-injection system de-icer that's also a sentient AI that controls your entire research lab and is also equipped with the ability to summon rocket turret defenses and release neurotoxin? That didn't work out so well.
  • The robots in the Descent series are quite heavily armed. The strange part is that the majority of these 'bots are mining and industrial robots! Granted, that could be a justification, as robots used for blasting rock are more than capable of blasting intruders and later on it is mentioned that the robots are modifying themselves. But where are they getting the military hardware? They're mining robots!
    • The most egregious offender is the Thresher 'bot from Descent 3. It's a fucking industrial robot but it wields twin fusion cannons, which happen to be one of the most powerful weapons in the series.
    • The novels spell it out more plainly: the robots didn't start using military-grade weapons until they found the military's research lab/weapons cache on Level 17. Before that they were using repurposed mining tools.
  • In Melty Blood, Kohaku builds a robot version of her sister Hisui, "to help with housework". She probably can explain why mech-Hisui needs built-in hammer, chainsaw, lazer and glowing knife. But rockets and that crossbow thingy? Kohaku was definitely planning something.
  • The Magitek equivalent is omnipresent in Enchanted Arms. The great majority of the Golems you encounter (and can recruit) were designed for non-combat purposes, ranging from maids and farmhands, to entertainers and guides. And yet, they all have some combat-capabilities, and few of them are even restrained to a support-role. Indeed, some of the bodyguard/soldier Golems you aquire early in the game, are soon outmatched in terms of offensive power by farm-tools and dancers...
  • A very difficult, optional boss in Mother 3 is a robotic maid. She doesn't bother you until you try to take one of her master's prized possessions.
    • Might be justified in that her "master" is Axe Crazy and would probably be very protective of his belongings, and would create an advanced security system just to keep his stuff safe.
  • On the silly side of things, Mike in Wario Ware. No idea why a cleaning robot by Dr Crygor has full sentinence, flight abilities and is good at singing karaoke, but it makes for an interesting story and a catchy theme song.
  • The "AI bodies" on the spaceship Toronto in Albion were supposedly designed just as a means for the ship's computer to communicate with humans (actually there was supposedly only one), but they turn out to be extremely tough combatants armed with guns. Probably justified in that they were really designed to be enforcers. But there's no excuse for the cleaning robots, which are just about the most powerful opponents in the game. They are basically featureless spheres atop a single leg that they slide around on, and apparently attack by sort of bumping into you. The absolutely most powerful opponent and sort of final boss in the game is the housing of the central AI itself, which is indestructible and armed with a one-hit-kill laser.
  • "Mr. Handy" robots in the Fallout universe are butler robots with a flamethrower arm. Somewhat justified, since they're modified "Mr. Gutsy" models, which were designed as military bots. Still, they couldn't have removed the flaming death arm from the home helper version?
    • Hell, it's not even justified, Mr Gutsy is a militarised version of the Mr. Handy, not vice versa. Maybe the flamethrower is meant to help it cook things? It seems to be fairly rubbish anyway. Remember the one in Vault 101 obliterating your birthday cake with a circular saw?
    • Remember, this is from before the war, when things like "user survival" were seldom even considered.
      • Actually, Mr. Handy robots aren't butlers but repair and maintenance robots (in fact, you sometimes find repair tools on destroyed ones in Fallout 2). In this light, the flamethrowers and circular saws make far more sense, as do their modifications into combat tools. The fact that the Vault 101 Mr. Handy is made into a butler speaks more about the resident tinkerer of Vault 101 than the Mr. Handy models.
  • VIVIT of the Seihou series, a Robot Maid who runs on Getter Rays Spiral Power Saboten Energy who also happens to be an advanced combat android. The maid part is, well, because her creator had a Meido fetish.
  • City of Heroes: The Clockwork of Praetoria were designed to clean the streets, wash windows, and help citizens in their day-to-day lives. However, their creator Neuron decided they also needed plasma emitters, laser guns, and electric blasters built in. This is justified in story, as they are programmed to stop any criminal activity they see and help the police if needed. That being said, they are pretty much the only group of NPCs that will not attack you on sight in a world where Everything Is Trying to Kill You.
  • Invoked in Unreal Championship 2 The Liandri Conflict - Liandri advertise the strength, mobility and AI adaptability of their newest domestic robot by entering one in the year's Unreal Tournament. Devastation's curvy chassis is lampshaded in her bio, which states it was modeled after a "popular adult holoactress" to boost sales.
  • Some of the mechanical enemies in World of Warcraft are like this. The harvest golems in particular, were ostensibly built to harvest crops. Naturally, they go berserk and attempt to "harvest" the players (often with Defias bandit help).
  • Orianna in League of Legends was the daughter of a Mad Scientist and died in an accident while training for a League tournament. She was rebuilt as the "perfect daughter" with spastic mechanical movements and an emotionless voice but a perfectly functional "protector", a mechanical ball complete with EMP and gravity weapons. Although her powers are justified by firstly his desire to stop anything else happening to her, and secondly because not making her incredibly dangerous would have been a bit of an obstacle to joining the League.
  • Monster Girl Quest Paradox has an inversion of this trope in Hild. She initially seems to be a combat robot, but she has unnecessarily advanced emotions and even the ability to reproduce.
  • A lot of mechanical foes in the Epic Battle Fantasy series are described in their bestiary entries as machines dedicated to a maintenance or utility job. In EBF4, these are originally harmless machines hijacked by a rogue A.I. that found a way to weaponize their tools, and in EBF5, all mechanical foes were created by Lance, who adds weapon systems to everything, even maintenance drones, the Neon Valhalla tunneling machine is especially ludicrous with its machine guns, massive harpoon turrets and arsenal of bombs that easily qualify as WMDs.
  • HAN-D and CHEF in Risk of Rain are robots designed for non-combat purposes, a janitor and a cooking assistant, respectively. This doesn't explain HAN-D's suicide drones and absurd physical strength, or CHEF's boomeranging cleavers and built-in oven shooting bursts of fire several meters in length, making them as dangerous as well-armed soldiers and mercenaries.
    • MUL-T in Risk of Rain 2 is a multi-purpose robot assistant that got tampered with by bored technicians who thought it would be funny to teach it silly things outside its usual functions, and one of them got the stupid idea to instruct it to riddle one of their bosses full of holes. It's implied they never got the opportunity to fix their screwup, and it kept learning on its own from there.

Web Comics

  • In Megatokyo, Ping is able to lift and throw buses, despite being a PS2 accessory for non-Hentai Dating Sim games. Specifically because she was only designed to be used with non-hentai games, actually. "No" means NO.
  • In Bob and George, Protoman frequently questioned why the Robot Masters who were designed for constructive purposes, were so heavily armed (Dr. Light claimed it was in case the Gardener [Cutman] went crazy). His case is even more ridiculous as he has a megabuster and shield, but was suppose to be a butler.
    • In the original game, the Robot Masters were perilous occupation robots, but in Bob and George they largely do household chores (Cut Man is the gardener, Ice Man is the fridge, Fire Man tends the fireplace, Gutsman is the trash man, and Elecman is the power generator. Except for Bomb Man. All he does is stand there singing "I'm Just A Love Machine" No one seems to know what he does).
    • The general explanation for any robot that does not make a lot of sense to make, like half of Cossack's fleet, are the results of being drunk. Sort of a scientists version of Drunken Master.
  • Given a good Lampshade Hanging (and arguable justification) in this Sluggy Freelance strip.
  • Subverted in Freefall, where most robots are made of cheap plastic and aluminum, and are weaker than the average human.
    • While physically they are merely adequate for the intended job, many of them are far more intelligent than their function warrants. Most notably Helix is a glorified autonomous forklift, yet he's sentient enough to develop hobbies and sense of humour. Then there are sapient [In the Future We Still Have Roombas|roombas]]. This is amply explained by the fact that the robotic factories that created virtually all of the robots we've met, being forced (due to damage sustained during the initial colonization) to use the Bowman Adaptive Neuronic Network, originally designed to 'uplift' animal species. While FTL transportation is prohibitively expensive for import of consumer and industrial goods. Thus the robots become smarter as they get older... regardless of their designed purpose.
      • This runs into some serious civil rights issues, because many government officials view robots and artificial intelligences of any kind, including animals uplifted using the BANN, to be property as a function of their artificiality, yet most such entities are far better equipped mentally than even most humans (and certainly all the government officials the comic presents) to argue as to why that's not the case.
  • Justified with Schlock Mercenary's Lota, a robot designed for load-lifting- and built from the remains of a damaged flying tank. This explains the point-defence turrets... Of course, some bright spark had to go and name him "Longshoreman Of The Apocalypse". Later on the full name gets updated to "Long-gunner Of The Apocalypse".
    • The Crypt Spiders are... dammit. These robots are essentially glorified CD-readers/librarians. Justified, since they are supposed to work with big data medium. Also, since the place was damaged, and maintenance was kind of dodgy last few millions years after AI gone bonkers, so they may occasionally meet local wildlife.
  • In the gaming webcomic Ctrl Alt Del, Zeke is a robot built from a Xbox, yet he can break someone's arm with ease and hurl them through a wall.
    • You can never be sure with an Xbox.
    • Also, the Xbox was huge, weighting 8.5 lb (3.86 kg)!
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, Roofus the Roof-Repair Robot is able to defeat a pair of alien Space Pirates with ease after they destroy his beloved roof. In fairness, Roofus was designed to be strong. It was the sentience that was an accident.
  • Von Pinn from Girl Genius was created to be a nursemaid. Meet Von Pinn.
  • Warbot from Warbot in Accounting is a decommissioned weapon of mass destruction that was given a job at an accounting firm.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has those infamous Laser Cows (all named Elsie). Full package comes with razor wit and barrier-creating lasers. All of this... to trim grass:

Bob: Just like real cows! Only with lasers.

  • Pintsize is basically a walking computer. With a laser.
  • Eve from Apple Geeks could probably qualify. She was originally built to be Hawk's "companion", but has plasma swords built into her forearms, and is ridiculous levels of strong. There's also her above-average fighting abilities, camouflage, and other non-standard items. Semi-justified because Hawk is the one who built her, and he is a gigantic nerd who would love nothing more than a robot girlfriend with the works.
  • In Sam and Fuzzy, these things are commonplace. Mr. Sin's robot duplicates of Fuzzy have foot-long retractable claws, for one.
  • In Beyond the Canopy, Pedro's giant battle robot was originally designed to be his maid. Apparently his clothes get some crazy tough stains.

Western Animation

  • In the utterly disturbing episode of Invader Zim, Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy, due to temporal interference by Zim, Dib is left crippled, and then killed. However, this backfires when Dib's father, Professor Membrane instead puts his boy in the Mega Boy 3000 robot, which gives him the strength of ten-thousand little boys for no apparent reason. In fact, due to Zim's later attempts to kill him off with more time travel, to keep Dib from killing him, it just keeps on inexplicably giving the robot more weaponry.
    • Considering that this is Professor Membrane we're talking about, we're lucky it didn't wipe out humanity. The man doesn't do subtle.
    • This is pointed out on the commentary, as not only is the Mega Boy unnecessary, but so was every mechanical repair to Dib's body up until that point. Vasquez says that this was the result of Membrane getting really, really bored.
  • Bender. Period. He was built to bend stuff. What can he do? Well...
    • This is handwaved: "Like everything else, pumping is just a primitive, degenerate form of bending".
    • Also, he is property of Hubert Farnsworth. That should explain anything left over.
  • Another example from Futurama is the toy kitty-cat doll Farnsworth invented, QT Mc Whiskers, which was then redesigned by Mom to be 16 feet tall and shoot lasers out of its eyes.
    • Well, that's justified. She was turning it into a military robot.
  • In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command TV series, there is a character named Flint, who appears to be a heavily built human. However, he is actually a robot and an extremely strong one at that (In one memorable scene he brags, "I can lift 400 times my own weight and throw it too."). However, his great strength is justified because he is identified as a a "Gamma Series Construction Robot, designed for ultra-heavy lifting.".
    • The show's resident indestructible Do-Anything Robot main character is actually justified, as he was originally designed to be able to survive and be rebuilt from ridiculous amounts of damage, and later was reassembled with... many more parts than needed.
  • An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force featured ukulele-playing scorpion robots which were apparently intended as amusements at a children's theme park. They were armed to the teeth with missiles and machine guns.
    • Also subverted in another one, where after many other attempts to replace Carl's body Frylock decides he'll put it on his super-powerful robot. Upon Shake's questioning he suddenly realizes how unwise it would be to heavily arm someone whose body they destroyed and questions what he was thinking.
  • Batman Beyond had synthoids, and not only are the ones (illegally) made as "personal company" just as strong as ones made for combat (training), they're actually stronger.
  • The 1980 animated version of Richie Rich had Richie's robot maid Irona, who was basically a Do-Anything Robot and, consequently, a walking Deus Ex Machina.

Real Life

  • Human-like robots are not common yet, but this still applies to industrial robots. It doesn't matter if all you need is robotic transporter which only needs to lift empty cardboard boxes, or cigarette blocks; this industrial robot is still designed strong enough to lift 2 elephants at once. There was a small accident in a cigarette factory when one robot smashed entire stack of full boxes without even noticing. Which proves that robots really have way too much power.
  • A woman was killed [dead link] by a robotic box sorter.
  1. But most likely not - if she had artificial bones, she would have no way to make new blood cells.
  2. American football