This is what happens when you forget to make a Comparative Size Chart of your characters.
are pretty cool guys. They punch harder, take more hits, and aren't afraid of breaking certain laws of physics
. There's a problem with having giants as part of the main cast, though: they don't fit in small places. If The Hero
has to lead his True Companions
through the Elaborate Underground Base
or the Evil Tower of Ominousness
, the Gentle Giant
can't really follow along if his hand can completely block off the entrance. It also becomes much more difficult to keep everyone on panel or camera if there are huge height discrepancies.
Fortunately, animators have found the solution to this problem: completely disregard any sense of scale! Sure, the giant is half the size of the building... on the outside
! On the inside
, he's got a good 10 or so feet (3 m) of space between his head and the ceiling. This effect is particularly noticeable when size is compared to other characters; a regularly-sized human might stand about as tall as the giant's hip in a regular scenario, but the giant will easily catch that same character in the palm of one hand in a later action sequence.
The same lack of scale holds true for tiny characters as well. Unless size is specified, characters who are simply stated to be "small" tend to bounce between the size of a housecat and a rat, or for even smaller characters, a rat and a roach. Don't be surprised if a fairy who fits in a character's shirt pocket later turns out to be as big as a baseball in a later fight.
Note that this trope mostly applies to animation and special effects. It is rather... difficult... to modify the size of an actor in a live-action series. Though in some cases there might be a size discrepancy due to the visual requirements of keeping two actors of wildly different heights in the same frame. See Scully Box
for that. Perspective can also be a tricky thing, without meaning to some angles might give an odd size comparison even if the math is right. This trope does not cover creatures or characters that can change size or shape at will
, though their giant or tiny forms may fall victim to this trope on their own (and see Shapeshifter Baggage
Compare Units Not to Scale
, in which overworld sprites or models in video games are left unscaled for the player's convenience. See also Bigger on the Inside
, Clown Car
, Clown Car Base
, and Bag of Holding
, in which the scale-bending properties belong to the location or container, not the character. See also Depending on the Artist
, Off Model
, and Animals Not to Scale
A subtrope of Not Drawn to Scale
. Also compare Scully Box
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Anime & Manga
- In Bleach, especially noticeable with Rukia's height relative to Ichigo (and sometimes Renji). And with Yachiru's height compared to Kenpachi.
- Digimon as a whole is very guilty of this.
- A major offender is the Greymon from Digimon Adventure, who sometimes stands several stories tall, yet has frequently had fights within hallways of normal buildings.
- Another is Greymon's counterpart in Digimon Tamers, Growlmon, who was the size of a large house in his introduction, but was later depicted as being much, much smaller.
- Ankylomon shrank after his first appearance in Digimon Adventure 02.
- In the second Digimon Adventure 02 movie, Angemon and Angewomon are shown to be stonking larger than they usually are.
- In Adventure, MegaSeadramon and Ikkakumon have a battle at relatively the same size during the Myotismon arc. By Episode 16 of Adventure 02, MegaSeadramon positively DWARVES Ikkakumon.
- Dragon Ball
- An Oozaru's size seems to vary depending on what they're interacting with. When Goku is tearing apart the castle, he seems to be almost as big as the whole thing, but when interacting with his friends, he appears to be about as big as a chunk of the castle he had earlier picked up and threw. The anime adds a bunch of padding and changes the scene around so that he stays pretty consistently on the larger end of the size scale, but that still makes him seem smaller the second time he transforms. Z and GT are a bit better about this.
- Also Chi Chi's father the Ox King. In his first appearance he was a giant and the other characters were much much smaller than he was. About midway through the series he seems to get a bit smaller, but still a giant. In Dragon Ball Z he seems to be just barely taller than Goku.
- It could be argued that he's shrinking in his old age.
- This could be said for most of the cast in DBZ. Goku, who is 5'7, is constantly shown as tall or taller than Yamcha and Tien, who are 6' and 6'1 respectively. Piccolo, despite being 7'6, has been shown to be only a head taller than Goku, but literally twice as tall as Krillin. Vegeta suffers from this the least, however. He is supposedly either as tall or shorter than Bulma (he's 5'3), but he is often shown to be only an inch shorter than Goku, while looking a full head taller than Krillin, who is exactly 5'.
- Vegeta also grows noticeably taller over the course of the series. In the Saiyan Saga, he's drawn in a way that emphasizes his Big Guy, Little Guy dynamic with Nappa. Once Nappa's dead, he's drawn closer in height to the main characters.
- King Cold seems to range from 15' to 30' tall. Also, when he acquires Trunks' sword, it becomes big enough for him to wield properly.
- Hercule/Mr. Satan randomly looks 10' tall in some scenes of the manga.
- Whenever Gohan and Krillin appear in the same panel, Krillin is usually drawn so he is a bit taller than Gohan. This means that he sometimes is barely taller than a 4-year-old during the Saiyan Saga, and sometimes looks taller than he should be in the Cell Saga when Gohan has grown a lot. In other panels, his height seems more consistent.
- Fist of the North Star to ridiculous extremes. Rao's horse (Kokuō-gō) ranges from being a noticeably tall normal horse, to casually bury a man with a single stomp (with an estimated height of one hundred feet or 30 m). Humans are not an exception, as ones in the background often look freaking enormous, even compared to a big guy like Kenshiro, which elevates many from "Giant Mook" to "size of a goddamn garage". For example Zeed once stood behind a man he was about to kill and looked like he was over a story tall.
- Mazinger Z: The applied scale was not consistent at all, and it could vary from one chapter to another or even in different scenes of the same chapter. Sometimes the Humongous Mecha were too big or too tiny, and the human beings and other objects too tiny. There are plenty examples: In episode 10, a Mechanical Beast grabbed skyscrapers with one of his hands and moved them to elsewhere. And his hands seemed so big like the buildings they were carrying. Later, though, he was just so tall like Mazinger-Z (18 meters), so his hands were way tinier than they should be.
- Some of the bigger summons in can be subject to this. Databooks claim Gamabunta to be 100m tall (328 feet), and in most appearances a person is about the size of one of his warts, but he looks even bigger in his first appearance. A more noticeable example is Gamaken who's first appearance shows him as about the size of a small house, but on his second he's as big as Gamabunta. The anime handwaves this with Gamakichi demonstrating a size-altering jutsu that allowed him (and presumably other large summons) to shrink to a more convenient size if needed.
- The Tailed Beasts also appear to vary in size. The most notable example is the Nine-Tailed Fox; his first appearance portrays him as towering around 300m over the forests on the outskirts of the Leaf Village (implying that the trees are only 50m tall), a human being only the size of his pupil. Throughout the series, he is portrayed as being about a third that size — mainly because only half of his chakra is sealed inside Naruto. However, in the latest fight between Naruto/Kurama and five of the Tailed Beasts, the fox aura is just as big, if not a little smaller, than the other beasts.
- The EVA Units in Neon Genesis Evangelion are somewhere between 40 and 200 meters tall. One piece of concept art says Unit 01 is a more realistic ten, but the creators were honest enough to admit never worrying about anything aside from what would make an interesting visual, and as a result the Evas' size relative to buildings, known landmarks, people, etc., changed from episode to episode.
- Rebuild of Evangelion seems to more consistently stick with 80m. Conversely, Super Robot Wars (where a mech's size determines its probability of getting hit and in some games damage taken) each unit is only 15 meters for gameplay purposes.
- In Super Robot Wars Alpha, the EVAs are described in the mech database as being 40 meters tall.
- One Piece
- Often surprisingly good about this, despite having characters who vary in size between about 3' (7.5 cm) tall to 8'8" (264 cm), and that's just the main cast. Secondary characters and especially villains can get enormous. The group of pirates known as the Seven Warlords of the Sea (see Moria below) have an average height of around 15 feet (4.5 m), but change slightly to suit whoever they're talking to.
- Sometimes, though, particularly on the interior of a ship, the taller characters like Brooke will shrink ever so slightly to keep it from looking too silly that they're all able to fit under the same roof.
- In Gecko Moria's initial appearance, his foot was twice as big as a normal-sized man was tall. By the time he actually got involved in the action, he had shrunk to a more manageable 18 feet (5.5 m) or so.
- Though the characters that were up to his foot were themselves later shown to only be about a third of the height of an "average" One Piece character, so Moira's height is actually fairly consistent.
- San Juan Wolf, the biggest character in the series, and a giant larger than any other giant portrayed so far is about the most absurd example yet. He makes the second largest character (who himself makes giants look small) seem unnoticeable by comparison, by appearing behind an island that character was on. So huge he's the building he was until recently imprisoned in, which also houses every other great criminal and was large enough that dozens of people could go missing. Uhh... Lampshaded by having him break the raft that his crew (averaging about 15 feet or 4.5 m without him) used up until this point, necessitating the need of a battleship. Both of which should be about the size of his hand.
- There's also the fact that Wolf was imprisoned in Impel Down, despite seemingly being larger than the prison. And he's been seen in the ocean with no ill effects, so it can't be a Devil Fruit that lets him alter his size (which would negate the need for a larger ship anyway).
- This is surprisingly frequent in the anime. A crowning case would have to be with Dunsparce though. Dunsparce are normally 4'11" (1.5m) in height, approximately the height of Ash. In Following a Maiden's Voyage! though, they appear to be shorter than a Pidgey... which is 1'00 (30cm).
- In the anime, Charizard's size would change all the time. It's usually about 1.5 times Ash's height (even then that's larger than the 5'7" or 170cm given in the game), but sometimes seems to be about the size of a car.
- A good example of this is it's battle with Articuno. When it is using seismic toss, Articuno is larger, but when they are standing next to the trainers after the battle is over, Charizard is larger.
- Ash's Staraptor; sometimes it comes up to Ash's shoulder rather than about Brock's height.
- The Raticate are sometimes smaller than their pre-evo and Fearow are also ridiculously tiny; they're normally a Giant Flyer species.
- From the Ranma ˝ manga, Pantyhose Tarō's cursed minotaur-like form. It can vary between about just twice as tall as a man, to being able to fit an human being comfortably into his palm. The addition of Combat Tentacles doesn't help; their length and thickness are quite variable too.
- Toyotomi Hideyoshi, from the second season of Sengoku Basara, is a great example of this. The man can't seem to stay the same size for ten minutes! He can go from just a head taller than the main character in one scene, and in the next, he can be almost on par with Honda Tadakatsu. His final episode fight with Masamune features this trope in spades.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross
- Not only the Zentradi, but the Humongous Mecha they pilot, have severe scale issues. A Valkyrie ought to be able to fit into the pilot's compartment of a Glaug or Regult. This is because the Zentradi themselves are at roughly the same height as a Valkyrie (the Battroid mode being explicitly created so that humans could fight on an equal footing with Zentradi soldiers). However, when a Valkyrie and a Regult or Glaug are shown on screen at the same time, they are shown as around the same size — the Zentradi mecha should tower over the Valkyrie, being at the very minimum half again as high.
- Later series got better. In Macross Frontier, macronized Clan Clan, whose Quedluun-Rau was out of commission, has donned FAST pack and applique armor of a VF-25 over her spacesuit as if it was a Powered Armor.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- The whole series has mild elements of this throughout. The most obvious examples occur during the final battle. The two machines fight on top of, around, and with entire galaxies around them. Later, each previous version of Gurren Lagann emerges from the mouth of the next version. Even considering how big they get, this doesn't seem possible. Luckily, there are mitigating factors. 1: Rule of Cool and 2: It's Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann!!
- It had actually been pretty good up until that point; as Lagann, Gurren Lagann, and Arc Gurren Lagann are each about ten times bigger than the stage below them (5, 50, and 500 feet respectively — 1.5, 15 and 150 m), while a comparitive diagram shows Arc Gurren Lagann being utterly dwarfed by the moon-sized Cathedral Terra hundreds, if not thousands, of times over. When the two do interact, the Arc Gurren easily fits inside the ship's power core. But by the final battle, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and its equally large foe are alternately big enough to throw galaxies, just about able to fit the Earth in their palms, and able to make the Anti-Spiral homeworld in the Granzanboa's head-dress look about the size of an egg compared to a human. In short, they could be anywhere between the distance between Earth and the moon and the size of two and half galaxies; a factor of millions if not billions of multiples. Considering the final battle takes place not in normal space but in a Pocket Dimension where thought can shape reality and normal laws of physics might not apply at all, it's hardly inconceivable for the mechs and their surroundings to not adhere to normal notions of scale.
- Ira Gamagoori from Kill la Kill has only one set size, and that's "bigger than you". Episode 15 has what's probably the most extreme fluctuation, though: when the Elite Four are standing in a line shoulder-to-shoulder he seems to be less than twice Nonon's height, whereas just minutes earlier his head alone was larger than her entire body.
- A mild version of this occurs in Buck Godot Zapgun For Hire. Buck is taller than the average human, but how tall exactly seems to vary a bit, from being about a head taller to what seems like a few feet. There's also one panel with Buck and Hyraxx where Hyraxx seems to be about half of Buck's height, while in all other panels she reaches to his chest. However this is probably because of the angle of the shot (the view in the panel is upward from near floor-level, which messes the perspective somewhat) rather than the relative sizes of the characters changing.
- The Transformers comic features huge problems with this, with gigantic characters like Omega Supreme and Metroplex (each well over 100 feet or 30 m tall) would be giants in one scene, and be barely taller than a good-sized Autobot in the next. The cartoon series has this problem, too. Fan consensus about the size inconsistences is "Just ignore it", as they're aware of the massive Fan Wank it would entail to explain it.
- The comic is a little better about it: size changing is an explicit power that Transformers have, so it's not super insane when Megatron changes into a gun in one shot and is then much smaller when wielded in the next. In fact, tremendous use is made of out of otherwise laughable transformations because of the ability to become the actual size of whatever it is you turn into; an actual-size handgun, radio, or insect is a very good disguise for a house-sized robot to have.
Films — Animation
- The title Giant in The Iron Giant seemed to have varying sizes in different scenes. There was an interview where Brad Bird said they tried to keep the size consistent throughout, but admits that they deliberately made the Giant much taller in one early scene (the shot where where Hogarth is in the car and looks back to see the Giant silhouetted against the night sky).
- In the Cars series films, all trucks, buses, trains, boats, and aircraft are depicted as being much larger than they are in real life so that they can all carry cars inside them. Also, the Popemobile in the sequel is for some reason depicted as being much larger than the one in real life since he had to carry a car version of the Pope (who ironically resembles the actual Popemobile, except that the glass compartment in which the real Pope rides in is changed into the Pope's miter). In fact, if all of those vehicles are correctly-proportioned to the cars themselves, then none of the cars will actually fit inside them! (unless if you're a forklift, that is).
- Rankin/Bass had an issue with this between The Year Without a Santa Claus and the sequel, A Miser Brothers' Christmas. The Miser Brothers are a lot smaller in the sequel than the original.
- In Alice in Wonderland, Alice's size shifts around a little when she grows inside the White Rabbit's house. In some shots her face is visible through the window in front, in others only the top part of her face can be seen, and when she watches Bill climb up to the roof her eye takes up the entire window.
- Wreck-It Ralph: This happens quite a bit when characters from one videogame appear in another game, or in Game Central Station, particularly for the title character. Ralph is stated as being nine feet tall, and appears as a giant, especially compared to the Nicelanders (who appear 3 or 4 feet tall because of the game's graphic limitations) or Felix, the game's hero, who is between 5 and 6 feet. Yet, when Ralph shows up in Hero's Duty, a High-Definition First-Person Shooter, he's the same height as the other soldiers, including Calhoun. When Calhoun and Felix end up following Ralph into another game, Calhoun appears 6 or 7 feet tall, but Felix is depicted as a little more than half her height.
- Hungarian animated movie Cat City does this infamously and both way. It depicts a conflict between mice (small) and cats (big) with the occasionally other Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal thrown in like bats (small) and rats (somewhere in between) with no comparative size chart at all. Most jarring example is probably, when the mouse hero fits comfortably into a bottle that one of the rats drank empty in an earlier scene (where he was riding in cat's helicopter and was only a head shorter), and later stands face to face with him, coming up to the rat's shoulder.
Films — Live-Action
- Godzilla's height has varied so much it's pretty hard to tell how big he's supposed to be. Movies often cite an exact height for the monster. Originally he was supposed to be 50 meters tall. The Godzilla of The Return Of Godzilla was 80 meters tall, and he grew to 100 in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. This is all well and good, but the special effects were often... inconsistent in this way.
- The generally excellent (in terms of both SFX and story) Godzilla vs. Biollante features a particularly grievous blunder in scale in a scene featuring a psychic girl standing on an oil platform facing down Godzilla. Godzilla was supposed to be 80 meters tall. He looked maybe 20.
- It should be pointed out that each era of the Godzilla films takes place in a different universe (this is especially evident in the Millennium series, in which, apart from two exceptions, each film takes place in a separate continuity), thus it's reasonable the monsters aren't completely identical.
- This was kind of spurred on by real world changes. A 50 meter monster is huge in mid-twentieth century Tokyo (geographically busy locations tend to have strict building codes), but would look a bit silly in the modern city. Incidentally, the original Gojira is a painstakingly accurate snapshot of a city that no longer exists. All the buildings Godzilla destroys were real buildings, down to the little shopping centers.
- A major point of criticism for The Godzilla Power Hour was that Godzilla's size varied greatly within scenes, such that Godzilla could carry the entire ship with two hands while a human character can just barely fit in his palm in a later shot.
- Godzilla 2000, in its Chroma Key scenes, manages to occasionally do this to Godzilla in the same shot. This is caused by having the screen portions with the human characters zoom in/out or move at different rates from the screen portions with Godzilla.
- The Roland Emmerich / Dean Devlin 1998 Godzilla, as Roger Ebert and other critics noted, constantly changed size within the film as well.
- In Godzilla Final Wars, either Godzilla shrank or Zilla grew, in their short scene together Zilla stands nearly as tall as Godzilla despite his horizontal build.
- Ditto King Kong, who was able to straddle the World Trade Center and loom over the skyline of New York in the posters for the 1976 and 1933 movies, but was somewhere around 20 feet tall in the film, tops.
- In the 1976 remake, Kong's size varies quite dramatically from scene to scene, most likely for the same reason. It has been said that "King Kong is as BIG as he needs to be."
- In the original, he also gets bigger when he arrives in New York. So it's not so much "everything is bigger in America" as "America makes everything bigger"?
- A tip of the hat to Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, whose main character never appears to be 50 feet tall. Most of the time she appears to be only two stories high, while in other times she stands almost as tall as an electric pylon, making her about 75 feet at least. As for the famous poster, there she seems to be between 150 and 200 feet.
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Oliphaunts appear to half or double in size every time the camera moves.
- Gimli and the halflings seem to change height in some scenes.
- Avoiding this was a major concern of the Transformers film series, not only regarding the established height of these giant robots but regarding how they transform from their alternate mode into those giant robots. They had to fit inside their vehicle. Realistically Optimus Prime's original cab-over design would have resulted in a relatively small robot mode, and so they made him a full tractor rig in order to give him enough mass. Same thing with Bumblebee's change from a VW Beetle into a Camaro. They also had to play with Starscream's transformation scheme so that he didn't completely tower over every other robot, if it was similar to G1 Starscream he should have been upwards of 60 feet (18 m) tall. Still, there were some intentional shifts in scale, mostly in regards to being a visual cheat: Optimus was able to hold Sam and Mikaela in one hand and later pinched a pair of glasses between his fingers—the glasses would be over a foot (30 cm) long in comparison.
- Every Star Trek series is guilty of this, as are most if not all of the films. Ex Astris Scientia has frighteningly exhaustive articles about some of the most variably-sized spacecrafts in the franchise.
- The 2009 Star Trek film upscaled the Enterprise from the original series design to nearly twice as long. This was largely because they wanted to keep an extremely oversized shuttlebay (the original carried 2 while the new version had at least 10). The Abrams Enterprise was designed to be only moderately bigger than the original (280 meters to 360 tip of the saucer section to end of the nacelle) but the official statement for the movie is now is 700 meters, about the same size as the Sovereign class Enterpise-E. This has resulted in conflicting size comparisons between shots.
- In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier for a scene involving the characters climbing a vertical shaft they wanted it to seem like a genuinely MASSIVE tunnel. Official schematics list a Constitution class ships like the Enterprise as having around 24-25 decks (some areas in engineering aren't officially classified as Decks), but "Deck 79" appeared and fans were appropriately curious.
- In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the Klingon Bird of Prey is initially seen looming over a small spaceship, and then shown to be considerably smaller than the Enterprise. Extrapolating from the two scenes would appear to indicate that the aforementioned small spaceship is about the size of a typical single-family house, which is not consistent with the scenes set on board it.
- Klingon Birds of Prey varied widely in size from tiny things with a crew of a dozen to capital ships the size of the Enterprise D. This was eventually retconned as being several different classes with the same external design and nickname.
- Elliot's size in Pete's Dragon frequently keeps changing. In some scenes, he's a big as a house, in others, he's just a bit larger than the humans.
- Christian Humber Reloaded: Season-Bringer, the dragon who's described as being roughly the length of a small country and weighs about as much as a continent. Until he somehow manages to be the copilot in a small spacecraft that's only big enough to seat two people...
- Mecharu and George of Snow Angels, due to Rule of Funny.
- Humongous Mecha scenes in Super Sentai and Power Rangers have been inconsistent of late as The Powers That Be get a bigger CGI budget. The rubber suits for the Zords are the same size even when the mecha, as seen in effects shots, aren't. Bear with us for this one, 'cause it's sort of hard to explain quickly or without the names:
- In Power Rangers Dino Thunder (adapted from Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger), the main Humongous Mecha is the Thundersaurus Megazord, whose three component mecha (called Dino Zords) fit inside the gigantic Brachiozord. One of the Thundersaurus' attacks involves sliding down Brachio's tail... something that would be impossible if the Thundersaurus was the size it would have to be if it's formed from the Dino Zords (given the size the individual Dino Zords are when seen leaving Brachio.) In other words, when doing this attack, Thundersaurus apparently shrinks from being larger than Godzilla to being about two car-lengths. Also, additional Zords are also seen being released from Brachio, at a size that makes it impossible that they could all fit inside Brachio at once. There are even scenes in Abaranger that showed all the many Dino Zords inside Brachio's inner compartment... something that would require Brachio to be at least five times bigger than the size it's seen to be when alongside other Dino Zords.
- In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, the Lightspeed Megazord is the main formation. When the Rail Rescues (giant train cars that carry the Lightspeed Megazord's component mecha) form the Super Train Megazord, and it's seen in relation to the Lightspeed, the Lightspeed looks like a ten-year-old standing next to Daddy. However, when both are in the same fight, the Monster of the Week is the same height as Lightspeed when in a shot with Lightspeed, and the same height as the Super Train when in a shot with the Super Train.
- Power Rangers S.P.D. outdoes Brachio in terms of Bigger on the Inside-ness. The Delta Squad Megazord is the main formation, about the size of the other seasons' main formations (such as the Lightspeed and Thundersaurus Megazords.) Its components, the five Delta Runners, are released from the interior of the base, a building comparable in size to other downtown buildings, and we've seen enough of its interior to account for a great deal of its interior space. It's revealed that the base has its own Humongous Mecha formations, one humanoid, one vehicle. When releasing the Delta Runners while in its vehicle formation, we get to see where they're stored — and they take up the entirety of the base's interior. Even if all we've seen of the base's interior is all there is, making it so that people only occupy a few floors... there's just no way. And later, new jet-based Zords are introduced, and launched from the base in its standard building formation, and when it opens to release them, the base appears to be entirely hollow. Even if the jets are primarily stored in the underground hangar we find out about later on, there's no way the place they're launched from and the building's interior can coexist. Apparently, 90% of SPD's Earth headquarters exists in Hammerspace. The funniest thing is, that the SPD control room has a console that looks suspiciously like a TARDIS console.
- Probably the series' greatest offender is Serpenterra. In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Serpentera is immense, making the Rangers' Megazords look like humans in comparison. In Power Rangers Wild Force, Serpenterra has noticeably shrunk, as Cole seems to be the same size the Red Dragon Thunderzord was.
- A classic scene of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has an overgrown Goldar reaching for an escaping bus. The bus is the size of a matchbox compared to Goldar's hand. The very next shot show Goldar toying with the bus, now about same size as Goldar's own fore-arm.
- A running joke in M St 3 K is that the Satellite of Love varies dramatically between scenes. Sometimes it's presented as being just the main room, the theater, and a hall between them, while others have a swimming pool, tennis court, and entire farm that Mike somehow managed to never notice.
- The relative scale of BIONICLE characters varies wildly from medium to medium.
- A very early example is a Nesquik cereal TV ad (since promotional CDs were given away in cereal boxes back then), in which Toa Tahu appears among a group of human kids, and seems to be about as tall as a normal adult. According to official supplementary story material, he is actually about 7 and a half feet tall.
- The infamous introduction scene from the movie The Legend Reborn has a supposedly 40 million feet tall Mata Nui robot looking considerably shorter when standing, not even reaching out of the planet's atmosphere. This robot and its smaller prototype also caused a lot of head-scratching for comic illustrators, since they had to appear small enough to fit into pictures with normal-sized characters.
- Even when it came to the toys, scale issues still arose when comparing older figures to newer ones. The original toys have usually been short and stout, while later, more articulated figures used longer limbs and larger body pieces, and thus became taller themselves, even though they were supposed to be the same size as their ancestors. This was only ever addressed in the '08 storyline, in which it was explained that an energy source caused the Light Matoran to grow larger than normal. Just to let you know how things have changed since the line's debut in '01: the small Matoran have grown to be almost as big as the original Toa toys. In turn, the first Toa sets only reach up to the later Toa figures' waist.
- The movie Web of Shadows tops all these examples. In it, the relative scale of the characters varies from scene to scene. According to the toys, the Visorak spiders are about as big as the Toa. The movie enlarged them quite a bit, but that's no big deal. However in one shot, a Visorak walks through a hall filled with Matoran-imprisoning spheres, and is no larger than those. Yet those spheres are small even compared to the Toa. Later Sidorak appears, and is the same size as the Visorak from earlier (his toy is at least two or three times its size, though). This would mean that Sidorak is the size of a puny Matoran, but that can't be, as he towers over the Toa, who in turn rise way above a regular Matoran's height. Then Keetongu appears. At first, his size compared to the Toa is about the same as the scale of their toys, as in, Keetongu's just slightly taller. But in a later scene, the immense Sidorak only comes up to his waist (thanks to some serious Forced Perspective)! Yet if we take the toys, Sidorak is supposed to be taller by about two heads. Finally, in the last scene, even the short Norik reaches up to Keetongu's waist, which would be impossible, given that Norik is same size as a Matoran! His figure doesn't even come up to Keetongu's knees, by the way.
- The Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000 are famously victims of this. Depending on the Artist, they can be just about seven feet tall, or in the vicinity of ten feet tall. And that's not even getting into their pauldrons, which either look impressive or look impressive and block peripheral vision.
- Notable examples from Generation 1 include a motorcycle transformer becoming as large as a helicopter when forming the leg of a Humongous Mecha, and one about the size of Optimus Prime being able to accommodate a Formula One racer on each of his legs. Robots that transformed into transformer-scale cities were often shown to be no larger than the rest of their fellows who were supposed to be able to fit comfortably inside them. The list goes on.
- In the G1 movie, Unicron and everyone around him vary in size according to the needs of the scene.
- The scale issue is Transformers is best left to a Wiki that can give it an article unto itself. (Note the category "Things that don't exist".) The average Transformer, it seems, is about the same size as King Kong or an EVA unit.
- Astrotrain deserves special mention. He transforms from a 21 m (70') locomotive (shown to be normal sized compared to others) to a 56 m (184') shuttle (assuming a real life shuttle) — or into an even bigger shuttle, as witnessed by his ability to carry an entire Decepticon team inside of him — including Devastator. And yet Astrotrain's robot mode is as tall as Megatron.
- Broadside, another Triple Changer, makes things even stranger. His alt-modes are a moderately large space jet and an entire aircraft carrier, which is probably the single biggest scale disparity in G1. Broadside's robot mode is even more confusing; depending on the time of day, he can be anywhere from as tall as Springer (like his toy) to as tall as Ultra Magnus (which is easy to fit into shots) to as tall as Devastator (which is mostly a concession to "hey, this dude is a giant boat, maybe make him bigger than the dude who's basically three cars stacked together."
- To make a long story short-ish: Transformers tend to be just the size the plot needs them to be, and the sizes of robot modes in relation to vehicle modes don't always add up, with small cars and jumbo jets turning into robots of the same height in the original series. Any robot whose purpose isn't to carry others (and some who are, in the case of Astrotrain) will be this standard size. As for the carrier robots, they're often bigger, but not big enough to account for their great interior space... which is also subject to change based on who's inside. The planet-sized Transformers the same problem of being inconsistent or huge-but-not-huge-enough: standard Transformers look like ants at a distance that should render them invisible, unless Megatron's the size of Rhode Island. Later series at least try when it comes to scale — notice Transformers Animated Starscream towering over everyone but Megatron (and the Decepticons in general are bigger because they transform into aircraft instead of cars), and movie Starscream being almost triangle-shaped so he won't — but still have problems.
- Also, there's the matter of specific parts of a bot while transforming. The half of Bumblebee's car mode that becomes his feet shrinks as the rest of him seems to grow out of it, so he won't be as Chibi as the keychain-sized toy he's inspired by. Other times, the feet remain the size of the car-half they're formed from as the rest of him just grows and grows and grows out of it. Then again, he is a volkswagen, so perhaps for him alone it's justified.
- There are worse cases. Omega Supreme has a sort of dual-vehicle mode, as a train (with track) that's much smaller than the rocket that's composed of just his forearms. When the rocket takes off, the train and track disappears, to reappear when he lands.
- True to form, Transformers Prime features this as well. It's like they aren't even trying to hide this, as Arcee transforms into a standard motorcycle and yet fills up Jack's garage in robot mode. Just look at her!◊ Especially amusing given Transformers Energon, where Arcee (a human-scaled motorcycle in this series as well) was frequently alongside its main human sidekick, and was barely a couple heads taller than he.
- The fact that Megatron, Soundwave, and the cassettes change size drastically when they transform indicates that Transformers obviously have some sort of technology to change mass and volume. Therefore it's reasonable to assume that they all possess this ability to one degree or another. Still doesn't explain the characters who are smaller than they should be, like the Seekers.
- This image◊ does a pretty good job of showing the problem. Of note is the largest character seen: Scout-class Depthcharge, whose toy comes up to Bumblebee's waist, transforms into a seventy-meter corvette boat. A scale-accurate robot mode would be about the size of Mechagodzilla.
- Endive from Chowder is sometimes shown to be much larger for comedic effect.
- The Looney Tunes short Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk has Bugs Bunny deal with a giant that varies in scale from scene to scene. In one scene, his head is slightly bigger than Bugs, but later Bugs is able to enter the giant's ear and gets lost in his hair. Most egregious of all is the scene near the end when Bugs goes down an elevator built into the beanstalk and tells the giant to take the stairs. For this one scene the giant has somehow shrunk down to be only about two or three times as tall as Bugs!
- Also in "Hot Cross Bunny" the head scientist who wants to switch Bugs' brain with a chicken's his height varies throughout the short, sometimes he's like two feet taller than Bugs and other times he's a foot shorter than him.
- Gantu from the Lilo & Stitch franchise varies in size too, especially in the TV series. One scene he towers over Lilo's house, the next he could conceivably fit inside it.
- In the episode "Planet Jackers" in Invader Zim, Zim and the jackers look enormous in relation to Earth, and IIRC we could see the curvature of the planet from their perspective while Zim was getting crushed on it. Not as extreme as some other examples, but still....
- The DuckTales episode "Ducky Horror Picture Show" featured a big ape named Ping Pong. When he first comes in right before the second commercial break, he's about as tall as Scrooge's Money Bin. But right after the ad break, he suddenly gets smaller than the Bin so that he can climb it and relax on the roof.
- Phineas and Ferb
- Phineas is usually shorter than Isabella, but sometimes he's the same height or taller.
- On the episode "Attack of the Fifty Foot Sister", gigantic-Candace climbs Doofenshmirtz's building King Kong-style, meaning it is several times taller than her. In the episode "The Lizard Whisperer" Steve is able to easily reach the roof of the same building despite supposedly being forty feet. Possibly justified in that both sizes were just estimates the characters came up with, but compared to other things around them Candace still seemed much larger than Steve did. (And for the record, Doofenshmirtz's building is known in another episode to be at least thirty-eight stories tall.)
- Lampshaded by Lisa in The Simpsons episode "Simpsons Tall Tales".
'Scuse me, Paul Bunyan
never fought Rodan
. And his size seems to be really inconsistent. I mean, one minute he's 10 feet tall, the next his foot is as big as a lake.
- Scooby-Doo could be terrible with this some times. For example, one episode's monster of the week was a panther-headed giant taller than most trees. Yet, after they'd managed to knock him down, Freddy walked up to him and unmasked the (now human-sized with no explanation whatsoever) monster.
- Another egregious example came in an episode where they were facing down a monster called the Snow Beast, which was essentially a large, furry tyrannosaurus (or at least what the general public thought a tyrannosaurus looked like in the 70s). In most outdoor scenes, it was positively massive, at least 50 feet tall. But it also appeared in one scene indoors, in a hall that couldn't have been more that 12 feet tall, and it's head didn't even brush the roof!
- Bonbon from My Little Pony Tales. She's a Big Eater though, which may be a scapegoat to the artists.
- The animators of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic can't decide how big Big Macintosh is. In some cases he's One Head Taller than the other ponies; in others he's only got a few inches over a typical adult mare. Observe this photoset.
- In the 2008 commercial of Orangina, you have chameleon strip dancers who are as big as the rest of the cast. But then at the 1:16 mark, you see a chameleon dancing to one of the plant people... who are small.
Anime & Manga
- Though she's hardly giant, Teddy in Eiken. In the back of the first volume of the manga the author admits that he draws her without much aforethought so both in and out of costume her size can vary greatly from panel to panel.
- In Pokémon Special, in one panel Black's Munna looks a lot bigger than it previously did. This is worth pointing out because his Munna bellyflopped on his head and looked like it should've sent him toppling over. Fans joked that constantly feeding off Black's dreams made it fat.
- The main character of Ginga Densetsu Weed, Weed, varies in size from scene to scene. He's a puppy, so he's smaller than the rest of the dogs, but how small depends on the scene.
- Luffy of One Piece has always been pint-sized compared to his opponents, but in the start of the series, he seemed to be of average height compared to most background characters and civilians in the story. Except for a few serious moments where is drawn more mature-looking, he is now One Piece's size equivalent of Kid Goku.
- Nami is even shorter than Luffy, which is saying a lot in this series. Despite this, she is usually drawn with very long legs and an oblong, slim body so that she looks like a Statuesque Stunner. In some panels, she is correctly drawn shorter than Luffy, Zoro, Usopp, and Sanji (or same height/slightly taller if she is wearing heels), but in other panels she seems to tower over them and is almost the same height as Robin.
- In Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto, the height of the anthropomorphic cats varies between scenes, with scenes depicting just those characters generally depicting them as roughly one or two feet (30-60 cm) tall, while scenes in which they interact with human characters frequently give them apparent heights of up to a meter.
- Suzu of Seitokai Yakuindomo. Her shortness tends to change depending on how much exaggeration of it is needed for a given gag. For comparison, her height generally seems to be between crotch to lower chest on Takatoshi.
- Marvel's Official Handbooks are a handy reference point for every fanboy who wants something to argue over. By way of an example, Wolverine has been consistently listed as 5'3" (160 cm), and Jubilee an inch or two (2.5-5 cm) taller. Despite this Wolverine tends to tower over Jubilee, to the point where she must be about 4'6" (137 cm). When they stand next to other characters, their height tends to appear more as listed.
- The Silver Age bottled city of Kandor was blatantly subject to this. It was a shrunken city where the buildings were visibly several inches tall. That scale would mean the city would only be a block or so in size, yet the people in it were microscopic and the city was a whole city of millions of inhabitants.
- The inhabitants themselves suffered this, too; when outside the bottle they could go from microscopic (to the point where Superman needed his telescopic vision to see them) to an inch tall.
- Doll Man's shrinking ability is supposed to be limited to switching between his normal height and 6 inches (15 cm) tall, but he has been portrayed anywhere from a few inches to a couple of feet tall, often varying in size within a single story. One comic cover shows him large enough to be tied to separate bathtub faucet knobs, while another cover has him smaller than a handgun.
- A Sylvester and Tweety comic book story from Gold Key Comics has the (very Off Model) Sylvester constantly shifting in size throughout the comic, to the point where in one panel he is apparently fifteen feet (4.5 m) tall and towering over humans like a giant.
Films — Animation
- In Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket goes inside a lock to pick it. The lock seems to be no deeper than Jiminy is tall, and yet the scenes from inside the lock make it seem cavernous. Also, Jiminy is significantly larger in long shots simply because he'd be invisible otherwise.
- In Madagascar II, the penguins' size changes a couple of times throughout the movie. Usually they are a couple inches shorter than the monkeys, but in one scene Skipper is small enough to to fit in Mason the monkey's hand.
- Warren T. Rat, Big Bad of the film An American Tail. At one point he is dwarfed by the fat rat at the sweatshop, and later, is shown the same size as the rest of the cats in his gang. It seems his size varies depending on whether or not he's in his rat costume, which if you think about it makes what at first may appear a Paper-Thin Disguise into Fridge Brilliance.
- In JungledyretHugo the titular Hugo is about the size of a small cat, his size tends to vary throughout the first movie, in one scene he is small enough to fit inside a dollhouse, sleep in the bed, and climb down the little stairs.
Films — Live-Action
- Foreign translations of The Hobbit simply cannot agree on Gollum's size. Sometimes they keep him about the same size as Bilbo, sometimes (such as in the Japanese translation), he's enormous, much larger even than a human.
- The Moomins and other characters in the original books don't seem too concerned with maintaining the same size, though you may miss it if you don't pay attention. Sometimes they seem to be much smaller than you'd think from visual adaptations, where they've been kind of standardised. An obvious example is when they trap the ant lion in Finn Family Moomintroll; it's dangerous and could eat them, and an illustration shows its head being bigger than Moomintroll, but right after that, they capture it in a jar.
- Little Britain plays this for laughs in the Dennis Waterman sketches.
- The Fraggles in Fraggle Rock are (on average) 18 inches tall. The actual puppets were twice that size, but split-screen and other visual tricks were used in the rare times they interacted with a human, dog, or other thing that could be used as an easy scale reference. Usually. There are some times when it's clear the Fraggles aren't really that small, most obviously during their appearance in A Muppet Family Christmas.
- In Hatoful Boyfriend, the size of the birds is all over the place. The parakeets in the bird cafe look normal-sized, but a Chukar Partridge is able to overpower the human heroine, three pigeons are able to physically intimidate her, and a finch is able to give the heroine a ride on a scooter. A rock dove is also able to drag the heroine along, but at the same time her human physical strength is prized by the other birds (which she can grab and throw out of the window as punishment) and she has an outrageously high Vitality stat. There is also a scene where Hiyoko thinks the defeathered corpse of a dove is "either a chicken or a turkey", implying it's somewhere between those two sizes. A scene in Bad Boy's Love featuring an office, then an inserted close-up of a pigeon silhouetted at the desk, can be extrapolated to a guess that turkey size seems about right.
- Sponge Bob Square Pants
- Plankton tends to vary in size even within the same scene. Generally, he is anywhere from the size of a golf ball and small enough that a microscope is required to see him.
- The size of Bikini Bottom and its citizens also tend to change from episode to episode in comparison to the environmental surroundings. It's easy to understand that sometimes the characters are depicted as human-sized living in a city underwater, and other times they're smaller than David Hasselhoff's foot.
- Kim Possible: Ron Stoppable's Nonhuman Sidekick, Rufus, usually rests comfortably in Ron's pocket. When other characters aren't around for comparison, though, Rufus tends to be somewhat larger in comparison to furniture and other objects, about the size of a small cat. To be fair this is Truth in Television, rats, mice, cats have bones very similar to most small children and can fit into places that are a bit smaller then they are.
- The Fairly OddParents
- Timmy Turner isn't particularly small, but still falls victim to this trope from time to time. Regular-sized adults frequently clench him in a single hand, and one scene in an early episode actually shows Timmy standing in his dad's hands, no larger than a basketball.
- Trixie Tang, also not particularly small, is always depicted as being taller than Timmy, but how much taller she is than him also tends to vary.
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers characters are sometimes subject to this, even when Nimnul's ray gun isn't involved. Especially see Queenie from "Risky Beesness": her size relative to the Rangers changes for no apparent reason over the course of an episode.
- Woody Woodpecker: Woody stands two or three feet (60-90 cm) high most of the time, yet there are times where he seems to be much smaller. In one cartoon, for example, he is able to fit through the finger holes of a bowling ball.
- Bobby Hill's of King of the Hill height varies from episode to episode especially in the later episodes, in some episodes he reaches Hank's shoulder and in others he barely reaches his stomach.
- Dexter's Laboratory. Dexter is usually shown to be probably half as tall as DeeDee and around knee high to his parents, but sometimes he seems much smaller (though sometimes this is clearly intentionally done to play on his insecurities about his height).
- In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Nanomech looks about 3 or 4 inches in most shots (a little smaller than Greymatter), but then Kevin was able to shoot him out of a regular drinking straw, which would make him less than 1/4 of an inch tall.
- The Alien Swarm movie that introduced Nanomech explicitly shows him shrinking.
- Total Drama Island
- Fans on the show's Wiki have pointed out that Noah's height varies from scene to scene and season to season. He's supposed to be the third shortest, but in the newest season he's close to Tyler and Owen in terms of height, so either he grew on purpose or not having him on the show for a season made the animators mess up.
- Cody's height also varies, usually compared to Gwen.
- And then there's Sierra; she's the tallest girl by a wide margin and the third-tallest regular cast member, but her height isn't entirely consistent. In the most notable case of this, she was standing next to Duncan in on shot, who's on the upper end of average. In the first shot, he was about level with her chin. In THE VERY NEXT SHOT of them, he was nearly as tall as she was.
- Eddy of Ed, Edd n Eddy is the shortest of the older kids, but how short tends to vary. Usually, he is about up to Edd's chin and up to Ed's chest in height, but one episode depicts him as a being shorter than even Sarah and Jimmy, the youngest of the characters. However, that particular episode was about how he hates that he is short and longs to be taller, so it may have been done for that reason.
- Danger Mouse and Penfold would occasionally be the size of humans whenever the animators forgot they're supposed to be tiny.
- While not strictly a character, NICOLE of the Sonic Sat AM cartoon would vary from the size of a pocket calculator to the size of a textbook between appearances.
- Though they're all highly anthropomorphised, the mice in Cat City are normally of realistic size compared to the cats. However the rats who appear with them both side-by-side in different scenes mess up the whole thing. They seem to be just a little bit shorter than the cats, yet at the same time aren't that much taller than the mice. Most jarring of all, Grabowski (a mouse) fits comfortably into a bottle that one of the rats drank empty in one scene, and later stands face to face with him, coming up to the rat's shoulder. Also, a bunch of chickens appear in one shot, and are apparently as small compared to cats as they are to humans in real life.
- Happens all the time in Ren and Stimpy, due to the show's Off Model / Rule of Funny / Grossout Show nature. Characters can wildly change size from one shot to the next, usually to set up a physical gag.
- Hanna-Barbera's 1975 redeux of Tom and Jerry had Jerry (who curiously wears a bow tie) the same size he was in the original theatrical cartoons at the start. As the series went on, he suddenly grew to where his head reached the bottom of Tom's belly.