An art style in which characters are drawn with exaggeratedly long, thin torsos and limbs. This can look rather odd if animated. The term was coined in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, although the term has also been picked up by the anime and manga fandom. Despite the floppy connotations of noodle-ness, character designs using this aesthetic frequently tend to be angular and pointy, like an uncooked noodle, especially around the joints (and, in anime and manga, possibly also the chins). This tends to take one of two main forms:
- One step up from stick figures, where the torso has some thickness and heads and extremities have more realistic detail, but the arms and legs are essentially lines. This seems to be rather popular in gothic and emo art courtesy of Tim Burton, and may apply to all the characters in a film, or just those emphasizing the Byronic Hero or Perky Goth traits. Example: Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- A style based on fashion illustration, where the characters are impossibly slender and long-limbed, but otherwise have more-or-less normal anatomy and musculature. Especially common in josei manga. More likely to apply to the entire cast (or at least the attractive characters). Often overlaps with bishounen and/or bishoujo. Example: Doumeki and Watanuki from ×××HOLiC.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Naruto uses this trope on occasion, whenever something rather jarring (usually Played for Laughs) is revealed. Is coupled with Blank White Eyes, Quivering Eyes, and Facefault.
- K, to an extent, especially the more Bishounen-looking boys. Yahiro and Kuroh are straight examples. The women have flesh on them but are still impossibly leggy, and there are exceptions; more muscular, fat, or short men.
- Basso/ Natsume Ono seems◊ to be◊ quite◊ fond◊ of◊ this.◊
- This style is most noticeable in CLAMP works ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. Though not a style used in their earlier works, the stereotype has already set in, with these two being their most popular recent works. To a lesser extent, it's still there in their older stuff (e.g. Tokyo Babylon), which has occasionally been toned down due to the difficulty of animating. It's just closer to being in line with the rest of anime's skinny, skinny waifs. It also turns up in Code Geass, which is not terribly surprising, considering its characters were designed by CLAMP.
- The series that Sunrise did immediately after Code Geass, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, also has a decidedly noodly cast, this time designed by Yun Kouga (of Loveless fame).
- One Piece, though mostly just with women.
- Monkey D. Luffy is drawn in this style. Additionally, he has an elastic body, making him a noodle person on two levels. His noodliness seems to be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the scene. He has a much more defined shape and visible musculature whenever he's kicking butt, but in very comedic scenes he is so much of a noodle person that he doesn't always even have elbows or knees. However, Sanji is pretty much always a noodle man and Usopp is always a puppet/stick man (except recently when he got really fat, and then after the Time Skip where he got fairly muscular). Brook as well, and not just because he's a skeleton —he was just as skinny when he had flesh on those bones!
- Justified during the fight with Kalifa of CP-9. Her Awa Awa no Mi (Bubble Bubble Fruit) gave her the ability to "clean off" power. It also smooths out the curves of the target's body, making them look very noodle-like.
- Lupin III has most characters drawn with thin bodies, but very long arms and legs. The individual character designs have varied on being angular versus the Robber Hose - style limbs, but they're definitely spindly compared to the torso. Lupin is the skinniest, with Zenigata being the thickest.
- Almostevery◊ work of◊ Nakamura Asumiko. Really.
- Nabari no Ou: It doesn't start out this way, but gets considerably worse towards the later volumes.
- Special A. Good gods, just look at the legs.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, especially the schoolgirls.
- This style was first popularized in anime by Leiji Matsumoto, though his more comedic characters are usually short and round.
- Mamoru Nagano also makes extensive use of it in his character designs. Even his Humongous Mecha designs are often quite spindly, most notably the Jagd Mirage from The Five Star Stories.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion. Most noticeable with Asuka and Rei in their plugsuits; just look at the torsos. Although not that that distracting on screen, these life size figures can be quite disturbing. There's also the Evas themselves.◊ Their proportions are so slim, if their origin didn't let them ignore the laws of nature, they would be unable to stand.
- In Cowboy Bebop the heroes are all way skinnier then most shows would make them, the thickest is Jet, and it is most notable in Spike and Ed. A watsonian explanation could be the Bebop crew's chronic lack of food, and Spike's highly athletic lifestyle. The doylist reason is that many are expies taken from Lupin III, especially Spike with his long legs. Ed, having no previous incarnation, is the one who is pure noodle for noodle's sake.
- Since author Kaoru Shintani once worked as an assistant to Leiji Matsumoto, the characters of Area 88 tend to be rail-thin. Especially noticeable with women and Saki, Mickey, and Shin.
- The characters of the lesser-known mangaka, Hakase Mizuki. Just look at some of them! Half of them must be walking on stilts.
- Humans in Digimon.
- Star Driver, likely taking influence from CLAMP.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Mohiro Kitoh usually draws his characters like this.
- The Sailor Moon girls are of the fashion-illustration inspired, long-limbed and willowy bishoujo look when drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, and are quite leggy in proportion to their body size.
- The female characters of Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers. Starsha in particular looks impossibly gawky in an elegant sort of way.
- Hayate the Combat Butler: It doesn't start out this way, but gets considerably worse towards the later volumes. Just compare between the beginning◊ and current◊ volumes.
- Kouta Hirano of Hellsing does something like this; his characters tend to be very streched. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, his thick-lined, angular style still give limbs a lot of weight despite their elongated proportions.
- The drawings of Hajime no Ippo evolved into a variation of this over time: during fights, the characters have a muscular torso but impossibly thin limbs. Especially glaring during the fight between Itagaki and Saeki, or in Mashiba's later fights.
- Most human characters in Pokémon (at least the anime).
- Il Sole penetra le illusioni uses a stylized design that makes the magical girl cast look very spindly.
- A staple of Ai Yazawa's art style, as evidenced here.◊
- Peter Chung's animation features lanky noodle people and the occasional gonk or two.
- In Reign: The Conqueror, most of the main characters are tall and rail-thin. Alexander and his circle of friends are the most jarring examples.
- Matoi The Sacred Slayer is another magical girl series that uses this kind of style.
- Jhonen Vasquez as said above, utilizes noodle people. This is especially evident in his comics Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee!, and I Feel Sick. It's less noticeable in Invader Zim, where most of the characters are either children or very short, but it can be seen at times when adults appear. Apparently Happy Noodle Boy himself doesn't count.
- Hell, Jhonen himself is pretty close to a Real Life example.
- Most of the Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Ash Mongoose is probably the most extreme in this regard.
- Foo Swee Chin (a.k.a. FSc) art style consist of this. As seen in Nightmares & Fairy Tales and her own comic MuZz.
- The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film tells the story of The Three Brothers with CGI animation in this style: nearly everyone looks as skinny as the skeletal Grim Reaper.
- Just about every Tim Burton stop-motion film.
- The freakish Medeiros girl in [REC].
- The Kaminoans◊ from Star Wars Attack Of The Clones.
- Depending on the Artist the Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 may qualify. Some versions are very lean but still normal-looking by human standards while others are monstrously spindly creatures whose sleek, high tech armor is just as bulky on them as a Space Marine's titanic Power Armor is on a human frame.
- Somewhat with the Mudokons of Oddworld.
- A good majority of the characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, including the eponymous character himself, especially after Sonic Adventure.
- Tales of Destiny 2: The official art for the game was like this, especially when it came to any female characters. The in-game art, however, is for the most part an aversion.
- All but the grossly obese characters from Tim Schafer's Psychonauts look like this, most notably Raz's dad. Hell, even the fat people have really noodly limbs.
- Most of the slim characters in Bayonetta; the main exception is Luka, and only because of layers of clothing obscuring his body.
- Thinner Miis count, when their limbs are visible.
- Everyone in The Dishwasher, including the title protagonist. The incredible amount of violence in the game, in addition to the monochrome art style, certainly is evocative of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.
- The World Ends with You uses this style. The characters aren't just stylistically thin, but wiry with a bit of muscle tone.
- All of the human characters in the arcade game Rolling Thunder are drawn in this style.
- Slenderman from "The Eight Pages". The noodly villain marauds you as you go about the game's very straightforward task of collecting the eight pages. If you run into him, it's game over and he presumably drags you away to do something horrific to you.
- Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name has a decidedly noodley style, although it's at least justified in the case of Zombie because he's sort of... dead and emaciated.
- EVIL: Most of the main cast are drawn in this style, with the notable exception of Kahn.
- Our Little Adventure's art is like this.
- The "Hero Mode" versions of the characters in Homestuck, which are more typical drawn panels, as opposed to sprites. See here and the page immediately following for a good comparison.
- Zoophobia's style is noodley for all characters, not just people.
- Tim Burton used such a style for the puppets in The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. He also draws like this, judging by his various storyboards.
- Peter Chung's animation makes copious use of noodle people and gonks, but Ćon Flux does so big time. The long limbs and large chests of the characters in the show were perhaps due to the action being set on a planet, not very Earthlike, with low gravity and thin air. Admittedly, that's probably an Epileptic Tree, but a petit mal one.
- Monster Buster Club: Everyone, excluding the fat people. Just look at them.
- The normal human characters in Courage the Cowardly Dog, as well as Katz.
- Darn near everyone in TRON: Uprising.
- Invader Zim
- The humanized ponies of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls are quite slender, even more-so than their original pony selves.
Anime and Manga
- Rem and Ryuk, two of the Shinigami from Death Note kinda look like this, especially compared to the human characters.
- Alan Gabriel in The Big O.
- Yoite (and Miharu, sort of) in Nabari no Ou.
- Nnoitra Gilga of Bleach.
- Megumi Shimizu from Shiki. Actually, most Shiki characters, exceptions being two of the nurses.
- Done terrifyingly in The Enigma of Amigara Fault. What makes it scary? The art style is very realistic, meaning that the characters actually look like that, and they started out normal-looking.
- Meito Anisawa and his assistant are ironic examples, being the only ones in an otherwise plush-like world.
- Crona from Soul Eater. It's apparently a result of being Denied Food as Punishment a lot.
- A lot of people start looking like this when they give into Madness. A good example is Maka's second battle with Crona. When she starts using Madness to tune into Crona's soul, she begins to be drawn much more loosely, with her joints seeming to bend in impossible ways in the same way Crona's do on a regular basis, which suggests it overlaps with Limp and Livid.
- The Sandman: Dream of the Endless. And his servant/librarian/confidant Lucien is even taller than him. About half the other Endless - Desire, Death, and Delirium, specifically - fall into this at least in some illustrations.
- Fantastic Four: Reed Richards, Rubber Man extraordinaire, whose power very often manifests itself in a very noodly manner.
- Likewise with other stretching heroes, most notably long-time Justice League member Elongated Man and the original stretching hero, Plastic Man.
- Mercury of the Metal Men. Justified in that he is a robot. In fact, he loses his noodliness when the team got remoulded into human forms in a retool late into their original run.
- Spike, Snoopy's brother from Peanuts.
- Avatar: The Na'Vi. They're basically 12-foot-tall, hairless blue bipedal lemurs.
- Any character played by Javier Botet, who is himself a real-life example of this trope due to his pronounced Marfan's syndrome; his frame and gift for body language made him a natural creature actor, and after his breakthrough role as the original "zombie" in [REC], he's since gone on to do many more like it. His most famous role, the Crooked Man, is often mistaken for a CGI creation just because of how exaggerated it is.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Mike Teavee. He's overstretched to ten feet tall in the novel and this fate is implied for him in the 1971 movie, but the 2005 movie actually shows how "skinny" he ended up (at 5:20 in the video). Also, Charlie himself in the Game Boy Advance game.
- Coraline has several examples. The titular character is as thin as a rod, but several other characters, like Wybie and her father, are squat and rotund. The Other Mother starts out with the (nice) legs of Coraline's real mother but gradually turns into a grotesque spider-like creature. Then there's Bobinski, who is quite fat but has absurdly spindly limbs, the exact opposite of what you'd expect from someone so agile.
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind The first alien out the door is spidery, raises his long arms in greeting... and is never seen again. The reason is because that particular alien was a separately-filmed marionette and the incredibly bright lights behind were required to hide the strings. Putting it in with everything else was beyond 1970's technology.
- Dr. Octavius Brine from Penguins of Madagascar has very thin and flexible arms and legs. Justified, as he's an octopus in disguise.
- In Michael Chabon's Gentleman Of The Road, one of the protagonists, Zelikman, is described as looking like a "slight, thin-shanked fellow" and a "scarecrow".
- Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files, is extremely tall at close to seven feet tall and lean, occasionally being compared to a basketball player in build.
- In Harry Potter, Ron, Percy, and Arthur are all described as tall, gangly, and quite thin. Ron probably loses most of his noodle status after the fifth book, though.
- Melissa Marr's Faery Court series features the Scrimshaw Sisters, faeries who are very tall and appear to be literally Nothing but Skin and Bones.
- In the How to Train Your Dragon book franchise, a lot of characters are described as being very skinny. The most prominent being Hiccup, Camicazi and Fishlegs.
Live Action TV
- Waluigi of the Super Mario Bros. series, who takes the comparatively thin build of his counterpart Luigi and vastly exaggerates it to this extent.
- Super Mario Maker features a new power-up called a "Weird Mushroom" that turns Mario into, well, this◊. Hell, the Weird Mushroom itself qualifies, being a lanky, realistically-proportioned version of the Super Mushroom.
- The Tall Man of the Chzo Mythos. Couple this with his extreme height, speed and strength, and he's pretty efficient Nightmare Fuel.
- You can create your very own Noodle Rocker in Rock Band just by setting the weight slider to minimum in the character creator. It'll give even the shortest characters skinny little stick-limbs, although only the ones who're also tall get the full Noodle Person effect.
- This isn't really possible anymore in Rock Band 3; the character creator was overhauled to be more detailed and realistic, so the characters can't be quite as skinny as they were in the previous games. Also, all the men have fairly bulky shoulders and upper torsos even if they're at the minimum for weight and muscle, although the female characters can still be quite twiglike.
- While the in-game art for Tales of Destiny 2 mostly averted this (though the official art did not), Reala is still oddly long and skinny. Her neck is a quite bad offender; it doesn't look like it should be able to hold up her head.
- I. M. Meen is very gangly. All the better to dance around and sing about clever children, I suppose.
- The Grey Jacks in Resistance are giant spindly aliens; the Grims somewhat fill this role in the sequel.
- Miror B. of Pokémon Colosseum fame. He's by far the thinnest character seen in a Pokémon game, and is about two heads taller than the main character. The thinness of his arms/legs/body makes his absolutely massive afro even more comical.
- Among the Pokémon themselves, Pokémon Sun and Moon added Pheromosa, a humanoid cockroach with very thin arms and legs that are more than twice the length of it's torso, and a long thin neck that supports a very wide head. These actually give the Pokémon an elegant appearance, looking more like a refined woman than a Creepy Cockroach.
- Katy Kat in Parappa The Rapper: Her torso is only about twice as wide as her tail.
- While most of the characters of Disgaea are on the thin side, Valvatorez may very well be made of pipe cleaners.
- Yoyo in Jet Set Radio Future has very thin arms and legs.
- The Elezen race of Final Fantasy XIV are noted for their tall and slim physiques, and extraordinarily long limbs. This is described as an evolutionary adaption to their native environments.
- Mordecai in the Borderlands series is incredibly thin... which makes it odd that he favors huge sniper rifles and heavy pistols, overlapping with Muscles Are Meaningless.
- In Etrian Odyssey IV, the Vessels are extremely thin, and just as frail as they appear. This contrasts them with the hardy Sentinels.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Zora all have long necks, long arms, long torsos, and have a mostly slim build. The only exceptions are Sidon (who is pretty buff and is taller than the average Zora) and King Dorephan (who is massively built and pudgy at once)
- Thin Men from XCOM: Enemy Unknown are snake-like aliens that have been thoroughly genetically engineered to resemble humans in order to infiltrate business and government as well as carry out more covert tasks. As their name implies, one of their most defining features is a very slender and flexible frame.
- Anna in Anders Loves Maria, contrasting with the more realistic build of the other characters.
- The main characters in Bravest Warriors.
- Larry Needlemeyer from The Amazing World of Gumball.
- Dee Dee in Dexter's Laboratory
- Mirage from The Incredibles. Seriously, just take a look at her!
- Olive Oyl in Popeye
- Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog has this design, in contrast to all the other human characters, who are more realistically proportioned. Both the frogs also take on this proportion when standing upright, but that's because they're frogs.
- Most of the cast of Scaredy Squirrel.
- Gretchen Grundler on Recess
- The mysterious entity known as Paddywhack on Darkwing Duck had a normal sized torso, but disproportionately long legs and arms - so much so he needed to bend double to be in the same frame as Darkwing and Quackerjack.
- Several characters in Transformers Prime, including Starscream, are quite long and wiry compared to the other cast members.
- Pearl in Steven Universe.
- Rudy and Penny during the first season of ChalkZone, especially Rudy. Starting in season two when the show switched overseas animation departments from Galaxy Digimation and Rough Draft Studios to Sunwoo Entertainment and Wang Film Productions, the two become a little more realistically proportioned (for the show's art style).
- The titular character of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja could count, due to his seemingly too skinny proportions. Especially noticeable when next to his best friend, Howard.
- Lance from Voltron: Legendary Defender is drawn with a much lankier build than the rest of the main cast.
- Angus Scattergood from Rock Dog.