Created By: IkedaFan on October 20, 2011 Last Edited By: InsanityPrelude on January 5, 2013

Inaccurate Character Description

When the author just Did Not Do The Research before describing a character

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Halfway through reading that new hit best-seller novel a new character is added into the cast. Meet Alice, a beautiful Statuesque Stunner standing at 5ft 10in and weighing 130lbs complete with Hartman Hips and a Most Common Superpower. But wait... did he say ONLY 130lbs?!

Inaccurate Character Description happens when an author describes physical traits that would be unrealistic or implausible in real life. It commonly happens when the character has an unusual appearance, taller or stronger than average, is a different race or different gender than the author.

It may be a case of Author Appeal in some cases but more often than not the author simply Did Not Do The Research.

It occurs often concerning the use of tropes like, Amazonian Beauty, in which the girl in question will often weigh the same as the average woman with little consideration of the fact that high muscle mass should make her weigh significantly more; Heroic Build, for the exact same reasons; Statuesque Stunner, for the lack of regard that a tall woman will not only weigh more, but may also have bigger feet and hands and larger measurements than average; Gag Boobs, Buxom Is Better and Most Common Superpower, almost always ignore that a good percentage of women in real life with huge breasts are also BB Ws or at least Hollywood Pudgy.

The trope needs examples!
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • October 21, 2011
    I'd suggest a different title: "inaccurate" makes me think more of a Cowboy Bebop At His Computer subtrope; where the description of a charater doesn't fit canonical portrayals.

    Impossible Character Description might be better. It's not that the character doesn't look like this, it's that they can't look like this (but, canonically, do).
  • October 21, 2011
    Impossible Figure maybe if this only applies to weird builds.

    If it's implausible/impossible appearances in general then Improbable Hairstyle is a subtrope.

    I don't remember the exact number but I do remember L from Death Note standing out to me and some others as improbably light. No, not because of the sweets. Because somewhere around 100 pounds is kind of silly for an adult male, of his height, who knows a martial art (I don't know much about capoeira but you'd have to have some muscle right?) ... come to think the capoeira thing may be fanon but still.
  • October 22, 2011
    It's not just L, in general measurements in anime and manga are rather off, both for men and women. Japan forgets the muscles of the strong guys have weight too and women aren't all thin supermodels. An hilarious example is Sagat, if you calculate his BMI he's ridiculously thin, to the point he should be dead, yet if you look at him, you would NEVER think that.
  • October 22, 2011
    Sure, name this trope so that's it's only about body proportions. Or even just about characters with weights too low for their figures - that's what all the examples are, right?

    "Impossible Figure" sounds like it's about someone who's unrealistically thin or muscular or something, like a barbie doll or a superhero. How about something like "Weightless Muscle"? "Good Flesh Weighs Nothing"? "Light Breasts And Brawn"? "BMI Think Not"?
  • October 22, 2011
    Voting for Impossible Character Description.

    There should be plenty of examples in bad fanfic, Mary Sue often gets this description.
  • October 22, 2011
  • October 22, 2011
    • In the Magic The Gathering novel Scars Of Mirrodin The Quest For Karn, one Phyrexian monster that the heroes encounter is described as "easily as large as a small city". The fight scene then ignores this detail and continues as if it were the size of a large tank or bulldozer.
  • October 22, 2011
    Also related to Sci Fi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale and Writers Cannot Do Math,(edit) in the sense of the height to weight ratio and such.
  • October 23, 2011
    Also voting for Impossible Character Description.

    I think we should find some more examples that don't just relate to height/weight ratios.
  • October 24, 2011
    In Punch Out!!, Little Mac weighs less than 110 pounds. Look at him in the Wii iteration of the game- 5 feet 7 inches (only short for a boxer), and lean but with significant muscle all over. Someone with that figure could not possibly be that light. Perhaps they kept it the same as in the NES game as some sort of tribute.
  • October 24, 2011
    How about Improbable Character Description?

    Implies that it's possible, but just...really unlikely.
  • October 24, 2011
  • October 25, 2011
    ^ That gets my vote.
  • October 30, 2011
    Well... I didn't intend for it to be a weight only trope but I can make it so if you wish!

    hevendor717: I love that name!

  • March 29, 2012
    It may take a whil;e to chase this down, but another height/weight thing the opposite of those mentioned: Literature: Somewhere I read that the earliest description of detective Nero Wolfe make him very tall and fat with a weight that wasn't large enough. He got rewritten not that tall.
  • March 29, 2012
    Weight A Minute gets my vote!
  • March 29, 2012
    This isn't as specific as some of the suggestions here but In 500DaysofSummer Summer's weight is described as "average" which isn't really true, Zooey Deschanel is very slight.

    Oh, and Pokemon has some famously ridiculous "facts" about various pokemon in the pokedex. One of the fire types, for example, is described as having a body temperature hotter than the sun.
  • March 29, 2012
    ^That's Magcargo, who is ironically quite low in the Tier List. He supposedly is 10000 Celsius degrees when the Sun is "only" at 6000.
  • March 29, 2012
    pawsplay has a whole article for the implausible "official" heights and weights given for comic book characters.
  • March 29, 2012
    How about Inconsistent Character Description instead?

    Note: The Bella example is Informed Ability, not this.
  • March 29, 2012
    oops, arromdee, you're right, I deleted that part.
  • January 5, 2013
    Did Not Do The Reseach, on a story character? What is there to get wrong, especially if there's no Canon? Description is, well, about something else entirely. Not Tropeworthy.
  • January 5, 2013
    I thought also of cases like tie-in novels, where there IS established canon as to what the characters look like, but the author still gets it wrong. Is that tropeable?
  • January 5, 2013
    ^ I thought it was for that kind of stuff too, like if somebody makes a movie based on a book and completely ignores the character descriptions when casting people. For example, in Jurassic Park, Alan Grant in the book is an Expy of real life palaeontologist Jack Horner, and is described looking very much like him (somewhat chubby with short beard and moustache, wears glasses and a gaudy T-shirt), while in the movie he's played by Sam Neil.
  • January 5, 2013
    Add another vote for Weight A Minute.