In fiction with sound, you often see that Evil Sounds Deep or that Power Makes Your Voice Deep. After all, a deep, imposing voice helps stir fear into your hearts. So what if, instead, the character sounds like he inhaled helium or never went through puberty? Well, high voices are associated with children, so chances are that your character is meant to evoke a protective instinct as if they were a child. People in pain tend to use higher pitches also, as high-pitched tones tend to register as innately plaintive and "needy" to the mammalian brain. The trope applies to characters who are portrayed as vulnerable in addition to having a significantly high voice. Vulnerable character types include all varieties of The Woobie, The Ingenue, the Damsel in Distress, the Lovable Coward, and the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Because of their excessive emotional and/or physical vulnerability, these characters will typically fulfill a peripheral role of some sort, such as that of a Sidekick or Love Interest. In works where such a character is the protagonist, it usually focuses more on virtue than on heroism. They can be evil, but will not be the Big Bad, and will be at worst an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain or a Minion with an F in Evil. Though this is often more noticeable on a male character than a female character, there are female examples as well. This trope is generally not applicable to characters who shouldn’t have gone through puberty yet, as their voices will be high by default. Compare Tenor Boy for heroic characters being portrayed with high voices, though usually not as high as these. Contrast Badass Baritone, Power Makes Your Voice Deep, Evil Sounds Deep, and Vocal Dissonance. Supertrope of Screams Like a Little Girl. Not to be confused with Instant Soprano, in which the high-pitched voice is directly caused by a vulnerability being targeted.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Inverted in One Piece. Pica is a giant of a man, (and ridiculously huge when using his stone-meld power), easily the most powerful of Don Flamingo's underlings. He also has a comically high-pitched voice. He tends to squash people who laugh at it.
- Though a child when introduced, PJ grows into this role in his appearances in A Goofy Movie and its sequel. Still just as much of a pitiful mess as he was since his introduction, he now has peers whose voices have all changed, but his eighteen-year-old self sounds identical to his eleven-year-old self.
- Snow White, one of the youngest and most naďve Disney Princesses, also has a voice that’s very high-pitched.
- Little Shop of Horrors. Poor Audrey, stuck in an abusive relationship because she doesn't think she deserves anything better. Her voice is also artificially high, even squeaky on occasions.
- In Dragon Bones, while Oreg is certainly not weak, he is very vulnerable, as he's enslaved by ancient magic and has to do the bidding of the owner of a certain ring. His voice is described as "tenor" when he first appears. He is repeatedly said to look vulnerable, too.
- Arrested Development has the youngest brother, Buster, who has a higher voice than all of the other adult males on the show, (though Tobias is close) and is also a mostly-sympathetic Butt-Monkey who freaks out at the smallest things and eventually loses his hand, in contrast to a majority of unsympathetic relatives.
- In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, one of the sure signs Charlie is one of the weaker members of the cast is his extremely high voice.
- Princess Peach in Super Mario Bros., best known for being a perpetual Damsel in Distress, also sounds like she swallowed helium.
- Yarne in Fire Emblem Awakening has the squeakiest voice of all the male second gen characters and is the Last of His Kind, constantly freaking out about going extinct.
- Homestar Runner. Strong Sad’s switch from being an exaggerated Eeyore to just being a Butt-Monkey was accompanied by his voice getting much higher.
- Markiplier gives the stammering and cowardly Elsens a high pitched wimpy voice in his playthrough of Off.
- Total Drama has both the high-voiced and tiny Cody and Cameron. Though Cody is just one of many Butt-Monkey characters who is also smaller than average, Cameron stands out as being a Bubble Boy. It also has the squeaky-voiced Adversity Twins, who suffer from perpetual bad luck and countless health conditions.
- Danny Phantom, with the Box Ghost, an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Unlike many of the ghosts who have deep or at least average voices, he has a falsetto voice.
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