Hammerspace

From Academic Kids

Hammerspace is an extra-dimensional storage area that can be accessed instantly. The concept is jokingly used to explain how characters in animation, comics and games (Japanese ones in particular) are capable of producing objects out of thin air, usually from behind their backs or other hidden areas.

The hammerspace draws its name from a semi-common cliché in humorous anime and manga: Male character X offends or otherwise angers female character Y. Y then draws a wooden mallet –- ranging in size from large to downright ludicrous -- out of nowhere and bashes X with it. Hammering is purely for comic relief, and neither advances the plot nor causes permanent damage. The term was largely made famous by fans of Ranma 1/2. Hammerspace does have parallels in western animation. For instance, in Warner Brothers cartoons, characters often pull all sorts of things -- guns, disguises, umbrellas -- from behind their backs.

Hammerspace is also useful in explaining the peculiarities of certain video games. Thus, in console role-playing games, Hammerspace answers the question: why doesn't a character wielding a sword half his size appear to be carrying one until he actually enters combat?

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

In Japanese anime, Hammerspace may have been inspired by the fact that the traditional samurai carried their katana swords in sheaths on their backs rather than at their waists, as was more common in the rest of the world; therefore Japanese would find it less odd for someone to reach over his or her shoulder and produce a weapon.

In RPGs, Hammerspace is sometimes referred to as a magic satchel.

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