Edward (right) is short, hot-tempered and sometimes immature. Alphonse (left) is a collected, level-headed Gentle Giant
, and the younger brother by a year.
When someone mentions his or her "little brother", you usually expect a smaller, weaker individual, most likely a child or teenager. The Big Little Brother
is the polar opposite: he may be the youngest member of his family, but just so 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
When this is portrayed as strange or unusual when both siblings are full-grown adults, this can be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic
, similar to Teens Are Short
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Anime & Manga
- 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.
- 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.
- Elfman to Mirajane (but not Lisanna, who is actually the youngest sibling) in Fairy Tail.
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- 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:
(points at Al
) Big brother... (points at Edward
) Little brother. Edward:
Nice to meet you. My name is Edward Elric, and this is my younger brother Alphonse Elric... Get it? Youn-ger brot-her
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. The same can be said with two of her younger sisters, both whom tower over her and Alex. Subverted with her youngest sister, Catherine. Of course, that doesn't make her any less intimidating.
- Amue and Strongine as well, for Olivier.
- 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.
- In the manga/Brotherhood continuity, Pride turns out to be this for the homunculi. 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 better a 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 from 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.
- 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).
- 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".
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- The Weasley siblings have some more normal examples: Percy and Ron are both tall and thin, while Charlie (older than both) and Fred and George (older than Ron) are short and stocky.
- 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.
- In The Super Sentai series Battle Fever J, many of the Egos Monsters from episode 5 onward have "little brother" giant robot doubles.
- Everybody Hates Chris has Chris's younger brother, Drew, being both taller and much cooler. Chris is quite aware of it.
- In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Moseby's older brother Spencer is a little person. Spencer is also stronger, more wealthy and a grade-A Jerkass.
- Sam Winchester from Supernatural, on account of Jared Padalecki being about 6'5" and Jensen Ackles being about 6'1".
- 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.)
- 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 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, but Sabin is built like a tank.
- Strong Sad from Homestar Runner 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.
- 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.
- 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 The Simpsons, Todd Flanders is taller than his older brother Rod.
- 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, and used to be far shorter than Theodore.
- 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.