Cartoon characters, even human ones, aren't always drawn to the exact specifications of real life
. This is done to give the characters a unique look, or for the sake of simplicity. A common form of Lampshade Hanging
in animated cartoons is characters pointing out such oddities in their own designs, or the designs of other characters. This usually means Breaking the Fourth Wall
, though it's possible for an example to merely lean
Fourth Wall Portrait
is a Sub-Trope
Anime & Manga
- In an early chapter of Dr. Slump, someone points out that Arale has no nostrils, and Senbei protests "Neither do I! This is a manga, for crying out loud!"
- A similar gag occurs during the first Tournament Arc in Dragon Ball. Krillin battles an unwashed bruiser named Bacterian, and is nearly overcome by the brute's body odor. Then Goku points out that Krillin doesn't have a nose, and Krillin somehow becomes immune to the smell.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!'s I-Pin suffers from terrible nearsightedness. When asked why she doesn't wear glasses, she points out that she doesn't have any ears.
- She does have ears ten years later.
- In Pani Poni Dash!, there are several gags about how Mesousa has trouble doing things because he has no fingers.
- In one episode of Pokémon, Team Rocket gets sprayed by the foul-smelling spores produced by a Gloom, and Meowth realizes he shouldn't be affected because "The cartoonists never gave me a nose!" His Team Rocket teammates aren't so lucky.
- After causing a Cosmetic Catastrophe to herself with some lipstick Squid Girl mentions having a hard time telling where lips start or end—a good question consider the show's art style doesn't normally draw lips.
- In one Speed Bump strip (by Dave Coverly), a man in a doctor's office learns why he has vision issues- it's because his eyes are just little spots!
- Calvin and Hobbes:
- Hobbes asks Calvin why he doesn't wear shorts in hot weather. Because Calvin is drawn with such short legs, he angrily answers, "Short pants touch my feet, okay?!"
- In an in-universe example, Calvin turns into one of his own drawings and wonders out loud whether he has feet or wheels.
- In one Peanuts strip Lucy asks Charlie Brown if she has beautiful eyes, and he replies "I think you have very nice eyes. They sort of look like two round dots of India ink."
- In this FoxTrot strip, Peter tells Jason his snowman looks weird because the nose is in the wrong place. Jason moves the carrot so that it is sticking out of the side of the snowman's head, level with his eyes - in keeping with Bill Amend's drawing style for the human cast of the strip.
- Done too many times to count in Homestar Runner. Strong Bad has received countless e-mails asking "How do you type with boxing gloves on?", and there have been a few jokes about how some characters (like Homestar, Marzipan, and the King of Town) have no visible arms, yet are still able to manipulate objects.
- It doesn't hurt that this is done so perplexingly and Lamp Shaded so often that The Homestar Runner Wiki has a running list of evidence for/against said characters having arms/legs or not that rivals your average JFK conspiracy list.
- One of the most awesome examples has to be sbemail "the bird," which is about various characters flipping each other off. Zero of the characters involved have visible fingers.