Height Angst

Height has a lot to do with how someone interacts with the world. Since people base a lot of first impressions on appearance a height that contrasts with what someone wants to look can cause them to be angsty, which can be expressed in different ways. This can come in two forms:

Compare Tiny Tyrannical Girl, Mister Big, The Napoleon, Tiny Schoolboy and Huge Schoolgirl. See Weight Woe when a character is self-conscious about their width instead of their height.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist is so insecure about his short height that it is by far his most well-known Berserk Button, often to the point that he'll assume any "insults" regarding it aimed in his direction are far worse than they really are.
  • Sachi Hayashi from the College arc of K-On! frequently shows a sensitivity to her own height, almost to the point of Single-Issue Wonk whenever words like "height," "tall," and "big" are brought up. One of her Character Tics is crouching lower when she starts to get shy.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Chiyo and Sakaki cover both ends: the first is a Grade Skipper so she's a lot shorter than the rest of the cast, the second is a Huge Schoolgirl with the usual too-tall complex.
  • Nitori from Wandering Son becomes dysphoric over her height once she begins hitting growth spurts. Takatsuki is on the opposite spectrum, wishing to be taller.
  • In Dragon Ball, Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army was so angsty about his height that intended to use the eponymous objects, not to complete his world takeover, but to wish himself taller.
  • This is the reason Aisaka Taiga (who is one of THE biggest examples of the Tiny Tyrannical Girl) of Toradora! does NOT like being called the "Palmtop Tiger."
  • Jewelpet:
    • In the opening sequence of Jewelpet Twinkle, Akari scrambles to cover her height (153 cm), but this is never addressed in the series proper.
    • Pink from Jewelpet Kira Deco was very short when she was younger and the memory still causes her a bit of angst.
  • Kud from Little Busters! is a fair bit shorter than the rest of the cast, a full head shorter than the already short protagonist, and it's one of the things she often comments on in her occasional mumbled insecure rambles.
  • A large part of Lovely Complex, with the male and female protagonists being very short and very tall respectively. It doesn't help that several characters are a Shipper on Deck for them.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya from Bleach is the youngest captain in the series' history, but because Shinigami age much slower than humans he's still physically a child, which irritates him. He's said to frequently take naps because his grandma told him that children who sleep often grow taller. Isane Kotetsu is sometimes shown to be insecure about her height, as she's easily the tallest of the female Shinigami.
    • And then, at one point during the Quincy Blood War arc, when Toshiro and Byakuya are fighting against Gerard, Toshiro actually tries to make a height joke about himself... and all Byakuya gives him is a pity laugh.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Hori is a bit insecure about being only 5'4''. He's a head shorter than most of the other characters.
  • Yugi Muto from Yu-Gi-Oh! occasionally gets annoyed when people mistake him for a pre-schooler, notably when out on a trip to a theme park with Anzu. Yami Yugi, despite originally being the same size as Yugi when possessing him, never seems to feel the same way, although he's still shorter than the rest of the gang even when drawn taller in Battle City and in the anime.
  • 16-year-old Komari from Non Non Biyori is very self-conscious of her lack of height because people keeps on mistaking her as a little girl, although she'd rather be seen as a mature Cool Big Sis to her mostly younger friends.
  • Tsurezure from Ojojojo mentions his lack of height as something that bothers him, although it's only ever brought up once. Not helped by the fact that he hangs out with and later dates a girl that's almost a foot taller than him.
  • Suzu from Seitokai Yakuindomo has her height as a Berserk Button and occasional Trigger; she actively avoids doing things that would remind herself of her physique. Outside of the sex jokes, it's the most commonly reoccurring gag in the series. This is actually used to show just how bad her fear of ghosts is when she tries to use her height as an excuse to avoid entering a haunted house.
  • Satoshi from Bokura no Hentai doesn't seem to generally dislike his height however his growth spurts were one of the effects of puberty that made him quit crossdressing.

    Comic Books 
  • The Golden Age DC superhero, The Atom, was in reality Al Pratt. He was only five feet and one inch tall, constantly being taunted for his size. Even after a boxing coach helps him become stronger, Pratt continues to get teased at his college over his size.

    Fan Works 
  • Downplayed in Bait and Switch. Eleya mentions in chapter three that she usually feels awkward on a dance floor since she tends to tower over her partner. In this case, though, her dance partner Gaarra is actually a few centimeters taller.
  • In Blue Sky, Wheatley gets upgraded from a spherical, fairly small computer body into a Hard Light humanoid body that is over six feet in height. He doesn't like this — getting used to limbs is hard enough without the excessive length — and he really wants to just fit in with humans.
  • Felix in "Good Enough". It's tied up with his concern that he's too "cute" and not good enough for Calhoun.
  • Celestia expresses this regarding her own height and mass in the Triptych Continuum. She gains a benefit in that it can be very easy for her to intimidate — but that's it. The other side of the scale contains an inability to easily have an eye-to-eye conversation, looming without meaning to, neck cramps, an entire society built underscale to her comfort requirements, designers who claim her proportions are elegant and then mentally lock up upon having them in a fitting room (followed by charging quintuple for any dubious results), and so on down the line. One of the more comedic moments in A Mark Of Appeal has her accidentally admitting that she's created diagrams for use in the unlikely event of her ever having sex, just to make sure nopony gets hurt. (They're apparently rather simple to memorize, have never been seen by the general public and if Celestia has anything to say about it, never will be...)

  • A Hard Day's Night :
    • Norm, the Beatles' manager, complains constantly about his assistant's height.
      Norm: Stop being taller than me!
      Shake: I can't help it.
    • Ringo is seen to be concerned about his height as well.
      George: What's the matter with you, then?
      Ringo: It's [Paul's] grandfather. I can tell he doesn't like me. It's cause I'm little.
      George: Ah, you've got an inferiority complex, you have.
      Ringo: Yeah, I know, that's why I play the drums - it's me active compensatory factor.
  • Lord Farquaad from Shrek is much shorter than other characters in his realm, for which he takes ridiculous measures to compensate.

  • Leo Valdez of The Heroes of Olympus is short and skinny, which does a number on his self-esteem, especially with his male compatriots all being tall and muscular save Nico.
  • In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Busman's Honeymoon, while Lord Peter is getting nearer the solution to the murder, there's this: "If I'd had more inches," said Peter, regretfully (for his height was a sensitive point with him) ..." The immediate context is that the murdered man was taller than Lord Peter, and Lord Peter thinks if he had been the same height or taller he could have figured it out earlier. His being shorter than others may have been mentioned a couple of times previously, but I'm pretty sure his height is given as 5' 10" (average) somewhere.
  • Aliera from the Dragaera novels is short for her race, and you should never comment on this because she has an incredibly deadly weapon and will end you.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, of the Little House on the Prairie fame, was short even by the standards of her day, when people in general were shorter than they are now. When she first begins to teach school, she worries that her students won't obey her because she's so small. She does have some trouble, but she manages to handle it. Fortunately she's also a Pintsized Powerhouse: while she's still a student, at one point she manages to rip the bolts out of a bench formerly secured to her classroom floor just by rocking it.
  • In The Wheel of Time, evil general Sammael hates his shortness (with Word of God even implying he'd use the One Power to make himself taller if that was at all possible). This, however, is a case where it's almost all in his head - Sammael is only slightly shorter than average. Unfortunately for him, his enemy Lews Therin Telamon, said enemy's reincarnation Rand al'Thor, and rival Quirky Miniboss Squad members Ishamael and Demandred are all tall guys.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Barney Miller: Officer Carl Levitt is only 5′6″ and believes that this is the main reason he's never made Detective. Played with in one episode where the perp is a little person note  who complains to Levitt that "you tall guys get all the breaks."
  • Leonard from The Big Bang Theory is always complaining about how short he is, and is often mocked for it. Howard is also shorter than average and is made fun of for that, but Leonard is the only one who openly angsts about it.
  • The Brady Bunch: Bobby had this in one episode, hating that he was little. But in the end, he and one of his brothers got locked in Sam's meat locker while picking up meat for one of the boys' delivery job and only Bobby fit through the window to get out and get help.
  • Chummy from Call the Midwife is taller than just about everyone else in the show, including her husband. She doesn't spend a lot of time angsting about it, but it comes up from time to time that she's always felt clumsy and awkward in part because of her height.
  • Degrassi Junior High episode 5, "The Great Race." The B-plot was Arthur and Yick being jealous of how tall Snake was, while he found his height made him unable to play soccer.
  • Ruth Buzzi had this in a Donny And Marie sketch, where she and Patty Maloney were applying for a secretarial position at a cardboard box company. While Patty had no trouble with her equipment during the typing test, Ruth's tiny desk and chair collapsed under her weight.
  • In an episode of Home Improvement later in the show's run, Randy complains to his father that his "little" brother is taller than he is.
  • George Jefferson from The Jeffersons is visibly shorter than his wife Louise, and their maid enjoys needling George about his size. Calling him "runt" is George's Berserk Button.
  • M*A*S*H: Radar is periodically embarrassed by or ashamed of his shortness; combined with others teasing him, this makes him very angry.
  • Jennifer Mosely from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has a whole subplot dedicated to her being much taller than the other girls at school. This becomes meaningless later in the series, when the other characters get older.
  • C.J. Cregg throughout The West Wing. Lots of jokes through the seven seasons, but a few that come to mind are the episode when Sesame Street comes to the White House resulting in Big Bird jokes toward CJ, and when CJ takes over as Chief of Staff and she chides the interior designer who tries to give her a small desk.
  • On The Mentalist Jayne invokes this trope when he is transferred to another team despite his objections. One of the agents on his new team is a short guy who has some residual anxiety over his height. No one in the office actually cares about the guy's height but Jayne makes the guy think that the others are mocking him behind his back. Jayne stages some height-related pranks and the short guy snaps and attacks the agent he thought was responsible. This combined with other conflicts instigated by Jayne results in the team breaking up and Jayne is reassigned back to his old team.
  • How I Met Your Mother pairs the 5'2 Alyson Hannigan with the 6'4 Jason Segel. It's played for laughs more than legitimate angst, but there is one occasion where Hannigan's character has a dream about Marshall leaving her for a woman he describes as "more height appropriate." Part of the reason for this is that Marshall's entire family is very tall. They tease him for being "the runt." When Lily visits, she's shown in a sea of midsections.

  • Connie of A Chorus Line suffers from this:
    "Four foot ten, four foot ten
    That's the story of my life
    I remember when everybody was my size
    Boy, was that great! But then everybody started moving up, and there I was, stuck at
    Four foot ten, four foot ten
    But I kept hoping and praying...
    I used to hang from a parallel bar by the hour
    Hoping I'd stretch
    Just an inch more..."

    Video Games 
  • Young Fransizka von Karma does not take kindly to being used as an example of someone who wouldn't reach the window in the flashback case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth.
  • Ricken from Fire Emblem Awakening is the shortest cast member, even shorter than his own child if you make him a father. The Future Past DLC even hangs a lampshade on this if you have him talk to his kid, though it turns out they're surprised by his size because in the future, Ricken did grow and they remember him looking like an adult man rather than a child.
  • Veigar from League of Legends being an Evil Overlord-wannabe yordle... dislikes his short size that he would constitute a lot of things with the word "short" to be a "short joke" and get pissy about it.

  • While Susan in El Goonish Shive isn't abnormally tall, she does end up at 5'9" after a magical awakening; she started at 5'6". One of the signs of this is a loud WHAM as she hits her head on a locker shelf she'd normally cleared. Nanase, meanwhile, has at times tried to get herself taller, being at 5'3". (Fortunately, they can at least short-term adjust things, with some magical assistance.)
  • Flore from Frivolesque stiffens (or even faint) anytime she meets someone who's overly taller than she is. Even though she's never talked about it, she seems to have some unexplained complex about her short stature.
  • It's unknown how short Bree Kay from Kurami actually is, but Dr. Oz, Kurami's large stuffed rabbit toy, is taller than her. And she's not happy about it.

    Western Animation 
  • Cosmo G Spacely from The Jetsons is barely one-third of George Jetson's height, which adds to the triggers for Spacely to fire Jetson once per episode.
  • In "Ewww, That's Growth" episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter and his family want to go on a really big rollercoaster, but Dexter is denied due to being too short. The resulting angst drives him to become as tall as possible, eventually allowing him to finally go on the rollercoaster by the end of the episode. This backfires when he becomes so tall that he hits the ceiling at the very end.
  • The episode "Biglet" from The Book of Pooh features Piglet getting fed up with being short, and starts wearing stilts, giant gloves, and an amplifier in his mouth.
  • In the episode "A Pinch to Grow an Ed" of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy Ed and Edd try to help Eddy become taller when he is unhappy with people mocking his short height.
  • An episode of Gravity Falls titled "Little Dipper" deals with Dipper's height insecurity after realizing his twin sister Mabel has recently become one millimeter taller than him. He finds a size altering crystal in order to make them the same height again, which just leads them to being shrunk down instead, but eventually decides to give Mabel back her extra millimeter upon realizing that he tends to best her at everything else.

    Real Life 
  • Apparently Silvio Berlusconi is sensitive about his height in real life, and is always careful about camera angles and so on. When the playwright Dario Fo played him in his work Two Headed Anomaly, he wore a dwarf puppet-suit to make it extra insulting.
  • The same applies to Nicolas Sarkozy. Except for the play part.
  • Stephen Merchant believes his 6'7" height should qualify him for disability.