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Top-Heavy Guy

"I should tell you right now, I'm kind of hard to fit. I wear a 66 long and a 31 waist."
Kronk, The Emperor's New Groove

A type of caricature style of drawing the human male figure as having a huge torso and arms, but legs that appear too small to support the upper body, either by being too skinny and/or too short. This trope is an exaggeration of male bodybuilders (or any reasonably toned man with low body fat) having the ideal "triangle" figure of a broad chest and shoulders with a narrow waist. The drawn form of this can range from a moderately large torso and legs that are just a bit too skinny, to legs that are short and stubby and the torso is freakishly huge to keep the guy still at normal height.

Bipedal animal examples of this trope are often of the humanoid torso and non-humaniod legs form of Petting Zoo Person. When it involves Super Heroes, it overlaps with Heroic Build. Also commonly seen in Captain Space, Defender of Earth!.

This still requires legs being proportionately small compared to the torso, not simply a guy with a big, muscular chest and/or arms. Real Life humans are unlikely to be Top Heavy Guys; though some animals such as penguins as well as bears and some apes when they stand on their hind legs would count as real-life examples.

Compare Heroic Build, Super-Deformed, Lantern Jaw of Justice, Hartman Hips, Most Common Superpower.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Franky in One Piece was a prominent example before the timeskip. Afterwards, it became absolutely preposterous. Why he looks like that is justified in that he's a cyborg who built himself; how he can stand is left to the imagination. Bartholomew Kuma is another prominent example. While normally Lean and Mean, Rob Lucci's leopard Zoan fruit give him a hybrid form with a profile similar to Kuma.
  • Soul Eater has Mosquito, while normally a puny old guy, has the ability to bulk himself up to fight. However, his legs do not increase in size, leaving them to dangle while he supports himself by his arms. This is lampshaded, as the first people to see it found it quite disgusting.
  • Elfman of Fairy Tail post-Time Skip.

    Comicbooks 
  • Strong Guy from Marvel Comics has a massive torso but regular legs. It isn't stylistic, his body was deformed by his powers overloading.
  • Mr. Hyde in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is muscled all around, but his torso is still too large for his legs.
  • Every Roman centurion (not the grunts, except in the Olympics one and the palace guard-types) in Astérix has a massive torso and arms and tiny wiry legs.
  • Rufo, the former boxer from Mesmo Delivery.
  • Krakkaboom of the '80s Astro City Irregulars, whose bombastic proportions are evidently a side effect of his powers.
  • Jerommeke of the Belgian comic Suske en Wiske.
  • Eddie, the gangster protagonist of Black Cherry.
  • Tom Strong acquired this physique in adulthood, having been much leaner as a boy. Several characters compare him to an upside-down triangle ("You wonderful, triangular man!") — which, incidentally, is also his Chest Insignia.
    • Evidently, it's a result of his upbringing in a high-gravity environment, coupled with the emphasis on the miracle food goloka in his diet. Tom Stone, an alternate version of Tom who wasn't raised in high gravity, is just a regular muscular guy.
  • Groo The Wanderer has massive, if slightly flabby, arms and torso ... and skinny little rubber-hose legs that don't look like they should be able to support the top half of his body, being the same diameter from ankle to thigh.

    Films — Animated 
  • Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective has this build. Being a...um...big mouse RAT!!! he has very broad shoulders, a wide chest, and overall is extremely muscular in the upper body. However, he has a teeny tiny waist and very short legs, easily fitting into a triangle shape. His head is also quite small compared to his shoulder width, despite his genius IQ.
  • In the Hellboy Animated movies, Hellboy is drawn with a huge upper body but mere human-sized legs.
  • Chanticleer the rooster from Rock-A-Doodle.
  • Wreck-It Ralph is a bit more brick-shaped than conventionally triangular, but he definitely has far, far more upper body and arm mass than his short, stumpy legs should be able to support. His hands have more physical mass than his legs. Justified by both his nature as a video game character designed in the 80's 8-bit era, and being a physical Expy of Donkey Kong in particular. He does not revert to the expected Primal Stance his physique would imply, due to being more intelligent than he appears.
  • From The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible has puny legs, whether his torso is flabby or muscular.
  • As quoted above, Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove has legs that are long, but are only slightly larger than broom handles.

    Literature 
  • Hrun the Barbarian from The Colour of Magic is described as looking like 'an apple balanced on top of a coffin', while Carrot Ironfoundersson from Guards! Guards! is described as getting his name for his built, rather than his red hair.
  • Played straight (huge torso and stubby legs) and inverted (incredibly skinny torso and massive legs) in the beach scene in Where's Waldo?.

    Live Action TV 
  • SNL once did a skit depicting a show called "How Much Ya Bench?", with Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, David Spade, Jay Mohr, and guest host Emilio Estevez as bodybuilders - who were totally not on steroids - with tiny stick legs.

    Videogames 
  • Donkey Kong Country 2 takes this to an insane degree with Klubba and Kudgel.
  • Captain Qwark of the Ratchet & Clank series, and a few enemies and bosses, such as Shellshock, the Thugs-4-Less leader, and Captain Slag.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Heavy, which an achievement image points this out.
  • Double H from Beyond Good & Evil.
  • The Gorons in The Legend of Zelda series have burly arms, big guts, and short, spindly legs.
  • Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has his legs obscured most of the time because he's wearing a kimono, but the waist is low enough to make it clear his legs are small.
    • Also true of almost all male minor characters in this game. Everyone's got bitty little legs, and the men have relatively gigantic torsoes.
    • Even some of the humanoid enemies are top heavy guys too, like the Darknuts, Wizzrobes, and Moblins.
  • Groose in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Also Demise, despite being a serious character, though it's offset by the wide skirt he wears, making his lower portion look much bigger.
  • Brick from Borderlands isn't one of the most extreme example of this trope, but his legs are noticeably thinner than the rest of his body, which keeps his body distinctly triangular.
  • The Tank from Left 4 Dead has a massive upper body, supported by fairly normal-sized legs. Its bulk is so great its lower jaw has either been forced off, or crushed, by massive pectoral muscles; it actually walks like a gorilla, using its massive arms to help support itself.
  • Muggshot from the Sly Cooper games has such an atrophied lower body that his legs don't reach the floor. He walks on his knuckles, and therefore has to stand still to shoot.
  • Though averted as far as graphical representation of the hero goes, Quest for Glory IV lampshades the trope in an instruction manual emphasizing the need for proper legwork with cautionary tales about top-heavy would-be-heroes. Naturally, it's also the first time any game allowed the hero to do any sort of exercise with his legs.
  • Blasto, an obscure third-person action platformer for the original Playstation, had a protagonist whose upper torso to lower body proportions can only be described as preposterous even by top heavy standards, with a hugely exaggerated chest, shoulders, and biceps, but comically tiny hands and legs...and that chin. Even with his stance braced for balance, you get the feeling he's going to tip over any second now.
  • Cranking the "Weight" slider to max in the first two Rock Band games will turn a male character into this.
  • Tim Schafer is fond of this character design; he's used it for Full Throttle, Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, and the non-muscular skeletal protagonist of Grim Fandango has it.
  • Darkrai from Pokémon normally has a triangular torso and a thin, spindle-like waist, with a pair of clawed arms but no legs, but when Darkrai actually does show its legs, they're actually very thin and bony.
    • The GameCube RPGs have the Bodybuilder trainer class, as well as Duking, Battlus/Somek, and Agnol (who are all based on Bodybuilders).
    • Timburr, Gurdurr and Conkeldurr from Black and White have huge muscular arms and torsos, but tiny legs. Especially Conkeldurr.
  • Minotaurs in Dragon Nest have this appearance. They drop an item called Joint Treatment that lampshades it. After all, their poor tiny knees have to support gargantuan tops.
  • Inspector Grosky of the Professor Layton series has a huge chest. His pecs are so big, the collar of his shirt is actually down near nipple level, tie and all, with his prodigious bush of chest hair poking out.
  • Sonic the Werehog from Sonic Unleashed has puny legs.
  • Agent Zero from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! has extremely tiny legs.
  • Bowser, DK, and Wario from the Super Mario Bros. series games.
  • A common complaint about male draenei and worgen in World of Warcraft.
  • Vanillaware's games almost always utilize this trope in their art designs:
    • The proportions featured on the Fighter and Dwarf in Dragon's Crown are nothing short of terrifying in this regard.
    • The titular character in Odin Sphere has arms that comprise over half of his body weight.
    • The adult Oni enemies from Muramasa The Demon Blade are another extreme example.
  • This is what your character becomes in the browser game The Douchebag Life when you bulk him up.
  • Skullgirls has Samson's independent form, detached from his host, Filia. Filia is also a downplayed, female version; she has a very heavy midsection (chubby abdomen, large breasts, big thighs, and muscly forearms) but has legs so spindly its a miracle they can support her in the first place. What makes it stranger is that they fight as a team, and most of their strongest attacks are kicks.
  • Burrito Bison, from the game of the same name.
  • Ariana from Sin and Punishment: Star Successor after her blood goes on fire.
  • The defeated warrior who appears in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Jak himself when he enters Dark Giant mode in Jak II: Renegade.
  • Crash Bandicoot has Koala Kong. Tiny Tiger also qualified until his redesign in Crash of the Titans.
  • Potemkin from the Guilty Gear series. Both his legs together are smaller than one of his gloves!

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Coach McGurk has the smallest legs and the largest torso of anyone on Home Movies.
  • Hack and Slash, from ReBoot although technically robots who roll around on single ball bearings, they fit the mold by their shape and movement.
  • Johnny Bravo, as can be seen here.
  • Joe Swanson from Family Guy. Even in the scenes where his legs work fine (such as flashbacks) his legs are kinda small.
    • Stewie Griffin falls under this trope in the episode "Stew-Roids" when he started using steroids.
  • Spongebob and Patrick fell under this trope in "The Fried Cook Games."
  • Brock Samson of The Venture Bros., who is deliberately drawn with the upper body of a gorilla but stick-like legs. It's more exaggerated in the Pilot.
  • Hego, Shego's super-strong brother from Kim Possible. The cartoon style makes you wonder how he stands up.
    • Steve Barkin, Brick Flagg, Pain King and Steel Toe, Dementor's minions (Dementor himself has short legs, but is more boxy), and Drakken to a lesser extent (almost normal-proportioned, but still with shorter-than-average legs, although this is best seen when he's not in his usual lab coat; re: "Dimension Twist" and "Rappin' Drakken"). In fact, any male character who's not rail-thin (like Ron) is almost guaranteed to have short legs.
  • Launchpad McQuack from Ducktales and Darkwing Duck has this body type.
    • Gizmoduck's form also invokes this with the tiny unicycle wheel. Fenton himself, however, has a body type more like normal ducks in the series'.
  • Vlad of the Danny Phantom series, most noticeable in his ghost form less so as a human. Dash and Kwan as well.
    • Skulker is a more blatant form.
      • Jack Fenton, except that he's more of a walking rectangle.
  • Time Squad's Buck Tuddrussel is probably the most extreme version. His waist is practically nothing. His Distaff Counterpart/ex-wife Sheila has the exact opposite body structure.
  • Duncan from Total Drama Island. He tends tower over most of the other characters when they're all sitting down, but since his legs are less than a third of his total height, he's actually one of the shortest males on the show.
  • Transformers Animated has Grandus.
  • Skips from Regular Show isn't as triangular as most examples, but he still has massive arms and straw-thin legs.
  • The Hacker from Cyberchase was an extreme version of this — a 200-to-300 pound torso on top of legs that couldn't have been more than 6 inches.
  • Standard in Batman Beyond. Batman/Terry himself is an example (even when he's not wearing the suit), but so are Bruce, most of the bad guys, even Superman when he guest stars.
  • Several burly Giant Mook-ish henchmen (and occasional Big Bad for a skit) are drawn in this style in both Looney Tunes and later Tiny Toon Adventures. The most well known might be the Arabic henchman Hassan ("HASSAN CHOP!") from Ali Baba Bunny.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does this to a few of its characters.
    • Iron Will, the minotaur from the episode "Putting Your Hoof Down", is built like this.
    • Bulk Biceps (the Memetic Bystander heavily muscled white pegasus most known for his "YEAH!" face) is a quadruped version of this trope, with an enormous head, neck, and torso tapering down to shins and hooves demonstrably smaller than most of the cast, and even smaller than some of the foals. His occasional bipedal moments reveal that he's just as ludicrously proportioned in that stance too.

    Other 
  • There's a joke about employees of a clothing store assuming that a person who is buying a shirt for one man and a pair of pants for another is actually buying a complete outfit for one guy who fits this trope.
  • This is a common look for cons, current and ex. Balanced exercise such as calisthenics and aerobics is less important in prison than the ability to hit as hard as you can. After all, even if they do work on their legs, how far are they going to get if they try running away?

Timm StyleGraphical TropesTraveling-Pipe Bulge
Toothy IssuePersonal Appearance TropesThroat Light
Time Passage BeardAlways MaleTroubled, but Cute
Too Spicy for Yog SothothAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Vampire Invitation
Testosterone PoisoningImageSource/Video GamesThe Turret Master

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