"I should tell you right now, I'm kind of hard to fit. I wear a 66 long and a 31 waist."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-humanoid 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.
—Kronk, The Emperor's New Groove
—Kronk, The Emperor's New Groove
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.
- "Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo" has some pretty long legs, but they're ridiculously slim for such a muscular guy, and there's seemingly not enough room in the area they come together in to actually fit a groin. It's the least odd thing about his appearance, really, considering the seventies attire, blond afro, and grill-mark tattoos lining his arms.
- 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.
- 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. Justified since such proportions are normal for a rooster.
- 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.
- Mitch from ParaNorman. His legs are noticeably smaller and shorter than his muscular arms. Despite this he can punt a zombie head 100 yards.
- As part of the distinctive art style of The Book of Life, several male characters' Heroic Builds are exaggerated to this, giving them enormous, muscular shoulders and tiny skinny legs.
- Played straight (huge torso and stubby legs) and inverted (incredibly skinny torso and massive legs) in the beach scene in Where's Waldo?.
- Played for squick in Sabriel. Kerrigor first appears inhabiting a magically created construct body he's tried to model to resemble his living appearance - emphasis on tried. Apparently, 200+ years of undeath leaves one's memories of what being human is like rather foggy, and the construct resembles a twisted parody of a man more than anything, complete with having a grotesquely over-sized chest matched with spindly limbs. As Mogget points out, it's not a body that a vain man like Kerrigor would really want people to see.
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.
- Kings Of War ogres have over-muscled upper bodies and small legs. Trolls take those proportions up to eleven.
- 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.
- Ganondorf 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.
- 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.
- Salvador the gunzerker from Borderlands 2 follows this trope a bit closer than Brick from the first game, with legs that look as if they were placed onto the wrong body◊, due to steroid abuse stunting his growth.
- 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, a 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, Brütal 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.
- 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.
- As of Sonic Boom, Knuckles also qualifies.
- The bigger characters in general such as Vector The Crocodile, Storm The Albatross and Bark The Polar Bear tend to have big, routound upper bodies and stubby legs.
- Of course, who can forget Eggman with his rather round belly and pencil-thin legs? Some designs give him fatter legs, though those designs tend to play this trope even MORE straight by making his legs significantly shorter compared to his arms and torso.
- 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:
- 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.
- Ranger Ken, Uber Frills, and Blue Tongues (both regular and Uber) from Ty the Tasmanian Tiger have this build. (So does Bull the boar, but the effect is lessened by his quadrupedal stance.)
- Potemkin from the Guilty Gear series. Both his legs together are smaller than one of his gloves!
- Juan from Guacamelee!.
- Nigel from Space Quest VI: Roger Wilco in The Spinal Frontier has a huge upper body and very skinny legs, as best demonstrated when a behavior-modifying chip causes him to go into a striptease.
- Craig Marduk in Tekken is built this way (even moreso starting with Tekken 5). Tekken 7 newcomer Gigas also has this appearance (in addition to being Ambiguously Human in the first place).
- 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◊.
- Dave the Barbarian, even though he's not exactly the heroic type.
- 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'.
- Taurus Bulba takes this ludicrous extremes, wherein his lower body, legs and feet are so small as to be almost nonexistent, whilst his upper body is like that of a champion body builder. A pretty standard build for cartoon bulls, all things considered.
- 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.
- Skulker is a more blatant form.
- 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. His human counterpart from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks averts it, though, his torso being muscular but his legs more correctly proportioned. Ironic given the opposite effect in the standard bodies.
- Lampshaded by the normally Cloudcuckoolander, Lola Bunny, in The Looney Tunes Show when she and Bugs encounter a bodybuilder at the gym.
Lola: Wow, your body proportions are weird. You should do less weights and more cardio.
- Eddie Brock in The Spectacular Spider-Man. It becomes a lot more exaggerated once he becomes Venom.
- In contrast to his rotund main-series counterpart, Dr. Eggman in the Sonic Boom universe has this kind of build. He's still shaped like an egg, but an upside-down one.
- Commander Feral from SWAT Kats has a very bulky upper body that contrast his rather skinny legs.
- 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?
- Though neither human nor male, the Bigfoot seen in the Patterson-Gimlin film has this body type, with extremely short legs for a hominid creature of that size. It's posited that as this is a very rare body type for someone that height, that this is one of the best clues that it wasn't a fake.