Big Little Brother
Mario: Mama always said you were good at growing.When someone mentions his or her "little brother", you usually expect a smaller, weaker individual, most likely a child or teenager. Common sense says the taller sibling should be the older one, because he (or she) has had more time to grow. The Big Little Brother turns that common sense on its head: he may be the youngest member of his family, but nevertheless happens to be stronger, taller and overall more physically impressive than his older siblings. This may go along with the younger sibling being seemingly more mature, composed and responsible, or more generally acting and sounding older than the supposed big brother/sister. This is usually a surprise to both the audience and the characters in a story, though one Played for Laughs. Of course, it's generally less unusual for younger brothers to be taller than their elder sisters. If this is portrayed as strange or unusual when both siblings are fully-grown adults, this can be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, similar to Teens Are Short.
Luigi: That's why I'm the tall one, "little" big brother.
Luigi: That's why I'm the tall one, "little" big brother.
—Super Mario World, "Gopher Bash"
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Anime & Manga
- In Axis Powers Hetalia:
- Both America and Germany are taller than their older brothers England and Prussia, respectively.
- Seborga is the youngest of the Italies and the tallest. Romano is the oldest, but shortest.
- Yukio is this to Rin in Blue Exorcist. Ironically, because Yukio was weak as a fetus, all of Satan's demonic powers went to Rin.
- Although not taller then him, the younger Kongo twin in Eyeshield 21 beats his older twin in absolutely everything; needless to say the elder brother has a bit of an inferiority complex as a result.
- Fairy Tail: Elfman, a Gentle Giant bigger than most people, is the younger brother to Mirajane. He's incredibly protective of her, to the point that it's almost ridiculous.
- Fullmetal Alchemist
Elysia Hughes: (points at Al) Big brother... (points at Edward) Little brother.
- Alphonse Elric is the little brother of Edward Elric, but because his body has turned into a suit of armour he is much taller and stronger than his older brother. A few years after regaining his body, Ed grows taller than Al. At least he isn't dwarfed in comparison anymore. In the epilogue though Al, now a human again, is somewhat taller than his brother. As young Elysia once pointed out:
Edward: (Fuming)Nice to meet you. My name is Edward Elric, and this is my younger brother Alphonse Elric... Get it? Youn-ger brot-her.
Elysia: But younger means little. You're little.
Edward: YOU'RE LITTLE! WHERE DO YOU GET OFF...!
- While he is her younger brother, Major Alex Armstrong is still a good head taller than General Olivier, though that doesn't make her any less intimidating. The same can be said with two of her younger sisters Amue and Strongine, both of whom tower over her and Alex. The youngest sibling, Catherine, is the smallest.
- Scar is shown in flashbacks about his Warrior Monk past to have already been bigger and stronger than his more scholarly older brother.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 Al's body hasn't aged since he was transmuted. When he's revived he has the body of a ten-year-old. Ed is still shorter than most characters, even Winry, but he's far taller than his brother, until the end of The Movie where he's equal size to him. A technically non-canon OVA shows Al grew up to be One Head Taller than Ed. Unlike in the anime Edward never hit a massive growth spurt so he's still noticeably shorter than Winry as well; Winry is taller than her manga version but women like Noah still tower over Edward.
- In the manga/Brotherhood continuity, Pride turns out to be the eldest of the second generation homunculi, despite bearing the shape of a seven year old child. His "cover" is as the Fuhrer's son Selim, so he looks the youngest, but he's actually the oldest and the leader of the homunculi.
- Yuki Aiba of Infinite Ryvius. Even though his older brother Kouji is the protagonist of the series, Yuki is a bona-fide Ace, while Kouji barely squeaks into Dogged Nice Guy territory. Yuki is taller, stronger, bolder, is better looking, is a better fighter, a better pilot, a better tactician, and has a more active love life than his older brother. Kouji's only saving graces are that he's more responsible and better organized than Yuki.
- Naisho No Otome Revolver: The main protagonist is constantly bullied for looking like a girl. The bullies like forcing him to dress like a girl and he can't fight back. His little sister, on the other hand, can keep the bullies away from him.
- One Piece
- Boa Sandersonia and Boa Marigold are both taller than their eldest sister, Boa Hancock. And this is considering that Hancock herself is already more than 6 feet tall.
- Also Mermaid Princess Shirahoshi, who even as a baby was much bigger than her brothers.
- Mitsukuni Haninozuka from Ouran High School Host Club is much shorter than his younger brother, Yasuchika. Mitsukuni is the stronger anyway.
- Exaggerated in Recorder and Randsell: Atsushi Miyagawa is a fifth grader who looks 17. On top of this, his older sister is in high school and looks his age.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Hiruma Gohei is much taller than his elder brother Hiruma Kihei.
- Shingo Tsukino in Sailor Moon isn't taller than his sister Usagi, but he is smarter, stronger, and often regarded as more mature than her. Then in the second season he starts catching up to her in the height department, and by the fourth season the kid's almost taller than she is.
- Michio Kawata from Slam Dunk is way taller than his older brother Masashi. Also Sibling Yin-Yang: Michio is a Gentle Giant while Masashi is Hot-Blooded.
- YuYu Hakusho
- The Toguro brothers. Elder Toguro was a short, lanky, immortal trickster. Younger Toguro was a Blood Knight who lived for fighting and, as such, has honed his already tall and muscular figure to buff up when using his full strength. He was also the stronger of the two by a wide margin.
- The Kuwabara siblings are a more down-to-earth example, with younger brother Kazuma being taller than older sister Shizuru.
- Yakumo is taller than her older sister Tenma in School Rumble.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, as Fate is taller and more mature than her Genki Girl sister Alicia, most people assume that Fate's the older one, a fact that upsets Alicia since she's the older one by two years.
- In GJ-bu, Mao is less concerned about being smaller than Megumi (a year younger), but the fact that her even younger sister Seira (4-5 years younger) is just 1mm shorter than her annoys her to no end.
- In Lovely Complex, Risa, who is about 5'7, has a younger brother who's a few inches taller than her. However, considering Risa's family is full of tall people, this is no surprise.
- D-Frag!: Roka's little sister Tsutsuji towers over her, despite being only a year younger. She is, however, far more immature than you'd expect of someone her age.
- In Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Souichi at twenty-two is much tinier than his twelve-year-old brother Souji, due to a case of Rapid Aging on Souji's part and a case of de-aging on Souichi's part.
- MX0: Kokuha's Berserk Button is being mistaken for being younger then Taiga because of her shorter stature. This is a dangerous mistake to make since she is a champion martial artist and very much a Cute Bruiser.
- Tomoko of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular is considerably shorter than her younger brother. Not very unusual given he's only a year younger, but it still highlights her immaturity.
- In Vagabond, Denshichiro is the younger brother of Yoshioka Seijuro, a tiny, pretty boy/playboy samurai who is Heir to the Dojo. Naturally Denshichiro is huge, and a stern, intimidating hulk of a man.
- The Belgium comic strip Suske en Wiske uses this trope in at least two albums. In de malle mergpijp, Jerom is forced to fight a giant grotkastaar (an ape-like inhabitant of Jerome’s prehistoric homeworld) who is the “little brother” of a much smaller and less impressive grotkastaar. In the album de glanzende gletsjer, Lambik finds himself in a world inhabited by cave men, who force him to fight against the little brother of their chief; a tall and muscular cave man.
- The French comic Astérix uses this trope in the album Asterix at the Olympic Games. During the games we see a big, muscular man fighting in the arena while his older brother encourages him from the sideline. When Vitalstatistix asks him if everyone in his family is this strong, he mentions he has an even younger brother who is even stronger than both of them. He was however unable to come to the games because he still hasn't recovered from a spanking he received from their mother.
- From Lucky Luke, Averell Dalton in the youngest and the tallest of the Dalton brothers. He's also implied to be the strongest in their first appearance, but it isn't mentioned after that.
- Colossus from the X-Men was the youngest of the "All-New, All-Different" team, being 17 or 18 when recruited, but he was also the Big Guy and towered over the others in his metal form.
- Morpheus and Destruction tower over their older sister, Perky Goth Death, in The Sandman comics. Subverted in that they also tower over the youngest three siblings.
- In Noob that is set inside a MMORPG, level 100 avatars are generally taller than the ones of lower level players. The characters include a pair of siblings in which the younger brother is part of the elite while the older one is part of a guild struggling to progress. The present case just had the two already known characters turn out to be siblings, but seeing them side by side and the fact that the older one is a Man Child put the trope in full gear.
- Batman: Jason Todd is now taller than his adoptive older brother Dick Grayson. Then again, most characters are (Seeing as how Dick is seemingly the only real-world average height male in the uncommonly tall DC universe).
- 23-year old Jerrica Benton from Jem and the Holograms is 5'5 while her 18-year old sister is 5'9, not helped by the fact she likes heels. Jerrica seems absolutely puny compared to Kimber. While as Jem Jerrica goes up to 5'11. It's even more noticeable with their 5'2 foster sister, Shana, who is 22.
- Fate to Alicia, as the latter was dead for thirty years, in Power Games. Though the latter thinks that "big little sister" sounds weird, and prefers "little big sister".
- Transcendence: Digital Curse. While Agumon was always bigger than Gatomon, the Chronodata eventually mutates his body to the point where he is as powerful as an ultimate, and so fits this trope completely.
- It's not the Raptor DNA; Rosie declares that she will be a good big sister to Elise (who is two years younger). Elise is confused, as she is a fifty-foot long dinosaur and will always be bigger than Rosie.
Films — Animation
- The Land Before Time: Spike is the adopted little brother of Ducky, but is much bigger than her because he is a stegosaurus and she is a saurolophus.
- The main characters of Escape from Planet Earth are Scorch, who is tall and broad, and his "little brother" Gary, who is shorter, skinnier and, as he keeps pointing out, older despite that.
Films — Live-Action
- Invoked verbatim in Flight of the Navigator, where thanks to time travel, the main character's "little brother" has aged past him.
- Four Brothers: The youngest of the four Mercer brothers, Jack, is by far the tallest of the lot. They are all adopted, after all.
- A very literal example in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Nick's baby brother Adam gets progressively bigger throughout the film. Justified, as he got hit with a growth ray.
- In Halloweentown, Dylan is the oldest Cromwell sibling, but much shorter than his sister Marnie. This is Subverted in the sequels due to his actor's rather shocking growth spurt.
- In World Without End, Ralph is this to Merthin.
- Jack Reacher is the younger brother, but he is the better fighter and physically bigger than his brother.
- The Dresden Files: Six-and-a-half-feet-tall Harry Dresden is also more powerful than his six foot nothing older brother, though Thomas is physically stronger. In Cold Days, Harry realizes that he now looks like the older brother, and that since Thomas is a White Court vampire, he will look more youthful than Harry for the rest of their lives]].
- Played with (for laughs) with the Gruffs. The Gruffs (as in, Billy Goat) are the Summer Queen's troubleshooters (trouble? they'll shoot it), and each one is progressively larger than the one before, just like in the fairy tale. After having fought off one marginally smaller than a school bus and having been warned that its big brother was on the way, Harry begins to be seriously worried. When Harry realizes that last one has him cornered, he starts making his peace. On the way in, the Eldest Gruff casually destroys a Denarian (a Fallen Angel in a mortal host) with love and happiness. He's five feet tall and Harry defeats him with a donut.
- Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix: We get to meet Hagrid's little brother, Grawp. Grawp, being a full giant instead of just a half giant, is 16 feet tall (which makes him small, by giant standards).
- Snufkin from The Moomins is a lot taller than his elder sister, the aptly named Little My.
- In Galaxy of Fear, the Brother-Sister Team consists of thirteen-year-old Tash and her twelve-year-old brother Zak. The series starts with Tash being the larger of the two, but over the six months it covers they at one point get trapped in a hole with a very narrow way out, and Tash realizes to her surprise that Zak has been filling out, so she's the only one who can escape that way.
- Shichika from Katanagatari is very tall, but it's still hard to believe that Nanami is his older sister, since even in her late twenties she's only about half his height.
- Game of Thrones: HBO's Ser Loras Tyrell is several inches taller than his sister Margaery, and book readers (and probably most viewers) naturally assumed that he is the older sibling. However, Word of God has established that Margaery is the eldest Tyrell child on the show.
- In The Super Sentai series Battle Fever J, the Make My Monster Grow method is for an Egos Monster to call out its "little brother," a giant robot duplicate.
- Everybody Hates Chris has Chris's younger brother, Drew, being both taller and much cooler. Chris is quite aware of it.
Narrator: Instead of Drew wearing my old clothes, I wore his old clothes. I think I was the first kid to get hand-me-ups.
- In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Moseby's taller than his older brother Spencer who is a little person. Spencer though is stronger, more wealthy and a grade-A Jerkass.
- Supernatural: Sam Winchester is insanely tall (6'4" or 6'5"), while his notoriously protective big brother Dean is several inches shorter (around 6'1"). Sam teases him about it on occasion.
- Alcide Herveaux from True Blood is a walking mountain of muscle, but his older sister Janice still refers to him as her "baby" brother.
- On Hercules The Legendary Journeys, Aphrodite often refers to Herc as her "big brother," even though she's older than him by centuries.
- One episode of The Beverly Hillbillies had Mr. Drysdale be informed that the little brother of one of his secrataries wanted to have a talk with him. His reaction was "Send the little fellow in! I'll give him a piggy bank!" The "little fellow" was built like a linebacker.
- Rodney to Del in Only Fools and Horses.
- Lampshaded on Clarissa Explains It All: Clarissa calls Ferguson a "little twerp" and Sam points out that he's taller than her. (He wasn't originally, but the actor grew.)
- In Melissa And Joey, Ryder is several inches taller than his older sister Lennox.
- In Victorious Tori (younger sibling) and Trina (older sibling) started off at approximately the same height, but over time, Tori became several inches taller than Trina.
- In Royal Pains, Evan R. Lawson is taller than his brother, Hank Lawson, by a few good inches.
- Genderflipped in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Dawn is taller than her older sister Buffy.
- Matty Levan from Skins is notably shorter than his younger brother Nick; before Nick's A Day in the Limelight episode in Series 5, fans thought Matty was the younger brother because of this.
- The Undertaker's kayfabe brother Kane is a couple inches taller. This was noted during their match at WrestleMania XIV, when commentator Jim Ross corrected Jerry Lawler when he called Undertaker the "big" brother.
- This was how Crimson was introduced on TNA Impact. Cruiserweight wrestler The Amazing Red had been beaten up by Jeff Jarrett, and announced that he was going to bring in his "baby brother" to help him.
- Light example with Crash Bandicoot. Coco is often slightly taller and significantly more intelligent and sane than her "big brother" Crash (granted this depends on the creative team, in Crash: Mind Over Mutant for example she is shorter than Crash and almost as demented and childish as he is).
- Played with in the Super Mario Bros. series. Luigi is taller than Mario and has his own moments of impressive heroism, however he is also rather cowardly and frequently lives in his big brother's shadow.
- Final Fantasy VIII has a Summon of two Minotaur brothers which make use of this trope. Of course after you fight the first one and he goes to get his Big Brother, it's alluded to that his Big Brother is literally bigger than he.
- In Final Fantasy VI, Edgar and Sabin are brothers. Edgar's older (though only by a few minutes), but Sabin is built like a tank.
- God of War: Zeus, while the youngest of his siblings (though much in Classical Mythology, he looks older than them) is also probably the largest of the Olympians, and much in the original myths, embodies Authority Equals Asskicking.
- Darksiders, the protagonist of original game, War, is the youngest of his siblings that make up the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but he's also the largest and physically strongest, though the oldest of them, Death, is the most powerful overall.
- In the Neptunia series, Nepgear is slightly taller and much more mature than her older sister Neptune to the point where she is often mistaken as the older sister. Much to the latter's annoyance.
- Fate/stay night: Illya is the biological daughter of Shirou's adopted father, Kiritsugu Emiya. As such, they consider each other brother and sister for the most part (though Illya has tried multiple times to pursue a romantic angle), with Illya even calling him "Onii-chan". The twist is that, despite her appearance and her childish attitude, Illya's actually 18 years old, and therefore the elder of the two, a fact that is rarely acknowledged.
- Homestar Runner: Zig-zagged with the Brothers Strong. Strong Sad, the youngest, is not only a lot taller than Strong Bad, he's also wider. Besides this, he's also shown to be almost always smarter. He probably only lets Strong Bad pick on him because their elder brother Strong Mad is Strong Bad's ally and is even bigger than Strong Sad himself.
- Axis Powers Hetalia
- England comes back from a long absence, and is disturbed to find his adopted younger brother America has suddenly grown taller than him.
- Prussia's younger brother Germany is taller than him too, though this is also not mentioned.
- Some character notes say that Prussia is both shorter and less muscular than Germany due to malnutrition, although he doesn't seem to mind much.
- Same goes to Russia, who is more than One Head Taller than his beloved older sister Ukraine. Also not quite alluded to.
- Out of China's (presumably adopted) younger siblings, Thailand, South Korea and Macau are taller than he is. He doesn't seem to say anything about it either, tho.
- Prince Ossomer of Erfworld is the youngest, tallest and most muscular of the three Jetstone Princes. Inverted by Prince Tramennis, the eldest and smallest.
- The Order of the Stick has a variant in Start of Darkness prequel book — Redcloak is immortal, so by the end of the story his younger brother appears decades older than him. He's also grown wiser, having moved on from the tragedy that originally motivated them and trying to find a new way of life for the goblins that doesn't rely on insane liches, vengeful gods, or an Eldritch Abomination. Redcloak on the other hand is still the same angry teenager who put on the Crimson Mantle decades ago.
- Bass to Cream in Two Evil Scientists.
- In the Walkyverse, Riley is taller than Roz despite being several years younger. This is not true in the College AU Dumbing of Age, however, since in that universe everyone is younger and Riley is a petite twelve-year-old.
- Tom in Echo Chamber was overshadowed by his little brother, which serves as his Freudian Excuse for being a Jerkass to Zack.
Dana: Everyone has an older brother that overshadows—
Tom: I... I didn't say he was older.
Zack: Tom's a loser!
- Doug Walker is taller than his brother by two inches.
- A case of Big Little Sister in Flander's Company: Cindy Trueman is 16, but she's way smaller than her little sister Gladys, who is SIX, and yet looks like a muscular man (with braids).
- Exaggerated in The Proud Family with the Gross sisters. The youngest sister in the trio towers over everyone, while the oldest is a half-pint.
- Don from Regular Show, a fancy accountant who is tall, muscular, and popular. He is also Rigby's little brother. Made extremely jarring by the fact that, out of the cast of mostly-Funny Animals, Don is the most human-looking character — more so than the human characters themselves — and he's stark naked. And constantly wants some sugar from his big brother. It turns out that Rigby resents Don for always being mistaken for the older brother because he's been taller than Rigby since they were very young.
- In Family Guy, Chris is the biggest Griffin child, but Meg is the oldest. The actual height difference is relatively minor, though he's also quite a bit heftier.
- Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story shows that the older siblings remain roughly the same height into adulthood, while Stewie grows up to be quite tall and lean.
- Sherman Cortez in Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Firelord Ozai is much taller than his older brother Iroh.
- On Dave the Barbarian Candy, the oldest sibling, is a normal teenage girl while Dave is a hulking giant.
- On Atomic Betty, Infantor's baby brother is much bigger than him, which doesn't help his Napoleon complex.
- Droopy Master Detective: When Le Poulet said his little brother would rescue him from jail, the viewers probably expected somebody even smaller than already small elder Poulet. The little brother turns out to be huge.
- Kick Buttowski: Papercut Peterson is taller than his big brother Shogun Sanchez.
- Daria is a very minor example, with Quinn being about an inch taller than Daria.
- Motorcity: Much like a lot of older sister/younger brothers, Mike Chilton might be this now that we know he has an older sister, Capri. She doesn't look especially short herself in Chris Prynoski's drawing though. Mike is taller than most women though.
- A variant on South Park: Ike goes through precocious puberty and gets increasingly hostile toward Kyle. At one point he dismissively calls him his "little brother," despite being five years younger and quite a bit shorter.
- Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks is the oldest in the litter except for in the 60s incarnation. He's shorter than Simon, who has a lankier design and is more intelligent and sane than him. Theodore also played this straight originally, but from the 80s series onwards, is redesigned shorter than Alvin and given a more innocent character.
- In Prep and Landing, Noel is quite tall and broad (at least by the standard of Christmas Elves), while Wayne is short and pudgy.
- Often Truth in Television, especially for a lot of guys with older sisters. In the US, at least, the average height for a woman is only roughly 5'4", whereas the average height for a man is 5'9". If genetics are kind to you there eventually comes a wonderful day where you find yourself looking down to see your big sister.
- The younger siblings often tend to be taller than their older siblings, even with girls. It's not that uncommon for an older brother to have a sister who's the same height as or taller than them.
- This can also be disconcerting for the older brothers of tall guys...although sometimes, the shorter brother makes up for it by being substantially stockier.
- Of course, if the younger brother is muscular in addition to tall, you're just screwed.
- Science says there's a tendency for younger brothers to be taller. "Males tend to increase in height with increasing birth order..." It doesn't significantly affect sisters, though.
- NFL defensive lineman Chris Long is a big dude at 6'3, 268 lbs, but compare him to his younger brother Kyle Long, who is 6'6, 313 lbs.
- The Bailey brothers are similar. Older brother Champ is a 6'0, 190lb corner while younger brother Boss is a 6'3, 230lb linebacker.
- Elle Fanning is four years younger than her sister Dakota Fanning, yet this picture◊ would make you think it was the opposite.