Since Asskicking Equals Authority
and Authority Equals Asskicking
, your average Big Bad
tends to be (appropriately enough) big
- however, a frequent subversion of this is for the big cheese to be a half-pint
. Generally this will be taken to an extreme degree, and accentuated by giving him two Giant Mook
Almost invariably The Napoleon
, with a Berserk Button
about their height. Alternatively (or as well, if they're too dumb to notice the irony
) they might have an Ironic Nickname
along the lines of "Mr. Big". This might be a reference to their sizable reputation and influence
, combat skills
, or personality
. Often got their position due to intelligence or deviousness that compensates for their lack of physical threat - if Shorter Means Smarter
, this guy is a genius
Will often be introduced with a Big Little Man
, Hitler Cam
, or Big Shadow, Little Creature
shot, either as a simple Visual Gag
or because his shortness will eventually be The Reveal
Contrast Large and in Charge
. Compare Killer Rabbit
, Pintsized Powerhouse
. Has nothing to do with
rock band Mr Big
. Or the James Bond adversary
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Anime and Manga
- Garlic Jr. from Dragon Ball Z. Alternatively, Pilaf from Dragon Ball.
- Regarding Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta is the shortest of the Saiyans and at the time of his introduction easily the most powerful. Frieza also qualifies, given Zarbon and Dodoria's relative size to him.
- In Dragonball (Before the Z), the Red Ribbon Army was led by Commander Red, who was extremely short. This would turn out to be relevant to why his organization kept clashing with the protagonists in the first place: he was after the Dragonballs himself simply to wish himself taller.
- The Major from Hellsing is very short and fat, but he's easily one of the most effective leaders in the show.
- "The Baby" (real name unknown) from Monster.
- Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Probably one of the most dangerous alien targets that the Gantz team had to kill was Nurarihyon, a child-sized old man who was always accompanied by his two monstrous sub bosses, an angry-looking Tengu and a giant dog wearing Heian Era attire, who are several feet taller than him. Nurarihyon had the highest point count out of all the previous targets and was a shapeshifter capable of transforming into a variety of different forms, including a 50-foot giant made out of WOMEN. He was also nearly invulnerable and had Frickin' Laser Beams.
- One of the earliest examples in comic books is the Big Man of the early Spider-Man comics. While his costume made him look like he actually was a tall and heavy guy, he was eventually revealed to be a cringing slender lightweight under his padding and elevator shoes. Nonetheless, he was evidently charismatic and intelligent enough to earn the trust and loyalty of the Enforcers, who helped him take over all the other criminal operations in New York City for a while before Spider-Man exposed him.
- Fancy Dan, a member of the Enforcers, is also a rather small man, albeit highly self-confident and possessing well-nigh legendary martial arts skills. He was also charismatic and intelligent enough to be shown running his own criminal gang many years later in the Spider-Girl comics.
- Big Figure from Watchmen. Averted somewhat in the film as he remains relatively cool despite Rorschach's digs about his height. His bodyguard is not quite so restrained and suffers for it.
- In the film, Danny Woodburn turns in an excellent performance in this scene as someone who's trying very hard not to show that Rorschach is leaning on his Berserk Button and almost succeeding.
- Joe Dalton from Lucky Luke.
- The Batman villain Scarface - and the Ventriloquist is still a small man compared to Scarface's mooks.
- The Dummy inverts this setup, being small man disguised as a ventriloquist dummy, fooling even his own underlings into believing their boss is an eccentric who insists on speaking through a dummy.
- Another Batman villain, The Penguin, has always been depicted as a small man, sometimes comically so. He is, however, shown to have a good deal of Stout Strength when fighting, and his Mooks, while almost always taller, are often no more physically intimidating than he is. (Exaggerated in the later episodes of the animated series, when the Penguin ran a nightclub and employed a number of leggy dames in snowbunny costumes, he was about the size of a tall child, and even the women looked like titans next to him!)
- Odin Quincannon from Preacher.
- Nappy Klains, The Napoleon of Crime, "They call you that because you're small and evilly ambitious!" in World's Finest #154. He's short enough to pass for a pre-teen boy with the aid of heavy makeup.
- Grigori "Little Greg" Irinescu, The Don of the Vampire Mafia in Top 10, who has to stand on his desk so people can kiss his ring without getting on their knees.
- Vizzini from The Princess Bride.
- Master of Master/Blaster in The Road Warrior
- Mr. Big from For Your Height Only, a Filipino James Bond take-off in which both the villain and hero are midgets.
- Swan from Phantom of the Paradise. 5'2 Paul Williams' evil multimedia mega-tycoon plays against 6'4 William Finley's naive antihero.
- Cubby Khan from Pocket Ninjas. Explained by his being very young, so I guess there's one thing in that movie that makes sense.
- Texas Jack in The Great Race. No berserk button about his height, but all the male main characters and all of his own henchmen are several inches taller than him. However, he's still by far the most feared fighter in the town.
- Rory Breaker in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, the short but ruthless leader of the black London gangs. He's described as "that psychotic dwarf with an afro." His two massive bodyguards rarely have their heads in frame.
- Dark helmet in Spaceballs.
- Big Tits Zombie features a dwarf Yakuza boss.
- The Forbidden Zone (the Richard Elfman movie) is ruled by King Fausto, played by Herve Vechillaise. He's already king of an entire dimension, and has plans to somehow create a zombie baby army (and navy, and air force, and marine corps...) to conquer the rest of the galaxy.
- Cutler Beckett of Pirates of the Caribbean.
- The Mule in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. Played entirely seriously. He does however have psychic powers that he uses to control people.
- A kind of strange version in A Song of Ice and Fire. Paezhar zo Myraq, better known as 'The Little Pigeon', is a slave owner and general in the Yunkish army. He is only five feet tall, and has his slaves specially bred for height, and wear stilts into battle, making them 7 feet plus. Most of the other regiments in Yunkai have similarly elaborate and impractical gimmicks, since the only fighting they've done for years is mock battles against each other.
- A canine example is Big Fido from Men at Arms, the toy poodle Adolf Hitler Expy in charge of a gang of much larger dogs.
- Picrochole, the diminutive petty king from Gargantua.
- The fearsome Director Sato from Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol stands at a towering four feet eight inches.
- Eldest Gruff from Small Favor is the elder brother of a gruff approximately the size of an elephant, and makes ominous booming sounds when he walks. He's five foot nothing.
- Jasper Batt Jr. from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle starts this way, but ends up growing bigger for the second phase of the fight. And for the third phase, he gets really big.
- Salazar from Resident Evil 4. He fits the mold spectacularly, being a Napoleon-inspired short guy with two large bodyguards ( genetically engineered monsters, no less) flanking him. Oddly he breaks a tradition of sorts in video games by sending one after you at once and then fighting alongside the second (as opposed to watching on the sidelines and having both double team the player).
- In MouseHunt for Facebook, the Nerg Chieftain Mouse is the smallest mouse in the tribe. It's also the most difficult one to catch in the Nerg Plains.
- The LEGO Adaptation Game for Pirates of the Caribbean turns Cutler Beckett into one of these as a caricature of the movie character's rather less extreme shortness.
- One of the villains in Borderlands 2's "Captain Scarlett and her Pirate Booty" DLC campaign is Sandman, a midget pirate captain. It's implied that he keeps order among his men via his vicious reputation, and the fear inspired by his massive enforcer the Big Sleep. Interestingly, nobody mentions his small stature except for he himself, and Scarlett is afraid of a one-on-one confrontation with him, describing him as being very strong.
- At the end of level 28 in New Yankee in King Arthur's Court the "Dark Lord" was uncloaked only to reveal a midget on stilts. Destroying his fortress during it earns you the "Napoleon" achievement.
- The Mayor of Townsville in The Power Puff Girls
- Lord Farquaad in Shrek. He's very sensitive about his frankly childlike stature, and tries to appear taller however he can. His palace is also the closest a medieval building could come to being a skyscraper. ("Do you think he's compensating for something?")
- Bigtime Beagle from DuckTales.
- King Koo-Koo in Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure is about the size of a squirrel compared to the heroes, and is very, very touchy about it. His ultimate ambition is to be the largest king who ever lived, which he can only achieve by nonstop laughter. In the meantime, he makes up for his diminutive stature by reigning from a throne mounted on several elevated platforms high above his courtroom.
- Clyde from the Ant Hill Mob in Wacky Races. Slightly subverted in that his henchmen are just as vertically challenged as him.
- Mr. Big, the shadowy ruler of Pottsylvania in Rocky and Bullwinkle, was actually six inches tall.
- The mob leaders in The Triplets of Belleville were pint-sized dons flanked by bodyguards three times their size.
- Skulker from Danny Phantom.
- Cavitus from 3-2-1 Penguins! is small but wears a suit to disguise it.
- King Malbert from Igor.
- Many depictions of Napoleon Bonaparte portray him this way. Napoleon was actually around average height for a Frenchman of his time period, but soldiers tended to be larger and burlier than the average man for obvious reasons, causing him to look fairly undersized around his fellow soldiers. This effect was amplified by the fact that he was most often seen around the elite (i.e. larger and taller than average for soldiers) Imperial Guard. He was given the affectionate nickname "The Little Corporal" by his men. Britain, his sworn enemy, seized upon the perception and lampooned him in propaganda cartoons as a midget tyrant. Further confusing issues for the British, Napoleon was 5'3 tall in French measurements, but due to the fact that French feet were longer than Imperial feet this equated to 5'7 in British measurements.
- In French, the word "petit" is usually interpreted to mean "little", but it can also mean modest or thin. The play-on-words was likely intentional among his soldiers (for endearing effect) as well as British propaganda (for slanderous effect).