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Noodle People

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, 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 Xxx HO Li C.

Has nothing to do with incidents or implements. If you wanted a trope about characters whose limbs have the flexibility of noodles, that's Rubber Hose Limbs. Compare Nothing but Skin and Bones, Lean and Mean. Contrast with Puni Plush. Frequently paired with Creepy Long Fingers and/or Creepily Long Arms.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

Everybody

    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.

    Art 

    Comic Books 
  • 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 And Fairy Tales and her own comic MuZz.

    Film 

    Music 
  • The Gorillaz, excluding Russell and child-Noodle. It's most noticeable with 2D and adult/teen Noodle (who's aptly named).

    Tabletop Games 

    Toys 
  • Betty Spaghetti doll line, as the name suggest the characters limbs are extremely thin and flexible.
  • The girls from Monster High
    • Taken a step further with the spin off Ever After High who are even skinnier.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Ćon Flux, 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, pretty much define this trope. Just look at them.
  • The normal human characters in Courage the Cowardly Dog, as well as Katz.
  • Classic Disney characters like Goofy (especially Goofy) and Mickey Mouse.
  • All the characters in Class of 3000 exhibit this due to the "no straight lines allowed" art style, but Sunny Bridges and Philly Phil in particular.
  • Most characters on Codename: Kids Next Door, even the overweight ones.
  • Most characters on Pepper Ann.
  • Darn near everyone in TRON: Uprising.
  • Invader Zim
  • The general art style Adventure Time, though there are exceptions.
    • Jake takes it Up to Eleven. Being able to change shape at will, he often moves his limbs in ways that imply he has no bones whatsoever.
  • The humanized ponies of My Little Pony Equestria Girls are quite slender, even more-so than their original pony selves.
  • The kids of Hey Arnold!, with wide heads to boot.

Individual characters

    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 assitant 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comics 
  • Spike, Snoopy's brother from Peanuts.

    Film 
  • Avatar: The Na'Vi. They're basically 12-foot-tall, hairless blue bipedal lemurs.
  • The original "zombie" in [REC]. The actor is Javier Botet, and he is that tall and lanky because of Marfan syndrome. The rest were just well applied makeup and great acting.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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".
  • 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 

    Video Games 
  • Waluigi of the Super Mario Bros. series, who takes the comparatively thin build of his counterpart Luigi and vastly exaggerates it to this extent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Pretty much all of the player characters in more recent versions qualify as well. Brendan from Generation III, Lucas from Generation IV, and Hilda from Generation V are particularly scrawny-looking.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 

     Web Comics 
  • Anna in Anders Loves Maria, contrasting with the more realistic build of the other characters.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

     Real Life 
  • Underweight people, or people with the "ectomorphic" body type, can look like this. Also, people with Marfan syndrome.
  • Most animals of the weasel family (mustelidae) have very long, noodly bodies and short limbs. Downplayed with badgers and wolverines, which tend to be more stocky.


Morally Ambiguous DucktorateCartoon CharactersThe Runt at the End
Muscle AngstSkinny TropesNothing but Skin and Bones
National StereotypesComic Book TropesOdd-Shaped Panel
Non-Standard Character DesignGraphical TropesNot Drawn to Scale
Extreme Melee RevengeImageSource/Comic BooksComic Books

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