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Evil Is Bigger

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And this is before he takes the form of a giant, demonic Pig Man.

The David vs. Goliath plot is where the hero is the underdog in comparison to the villain. One of the easiest ways to have this come across visually to audiences is to literally make the villain physically larger.

Aside from the villainous characters themselves being big, their tools and resources also tend to be bigger. If the hero has Powered Armor, the villain has a Humongous Mecha. If the good guys come from The Good Kingdom, the bad guys come from The Empire. If the hero has an average-sized Cool Sword, the villain has a BFS. At the climax of a Speculative Fiction work, the villain may go One-Winged Angel to increase his size and strength. In High School settings the local Alpha Bitch tends to be taller than the Cool Loser heroine (and she usually wears heels, so she tends to look even taller). The list goes on and on.


Furthermore, this trope is hard to invert, because the language of visual media has built connotations of size being directly proportional to strength and power so thoroughly that it is genuinely hard to make a smaller villain without the audience developing concerns and undeserved sympathy for the antagonist having to face off against a big, strong hero; it requires lots of time and effort to work through this tendency prior to any such confrontation between hero and villain. One common solution for the inversion is to make the smaller villain a Pintsized Powerhouse and/or much more intelligent and cunning than the hero. These villains include among their ranks the Depraved Dwarf, Mister Big, and evil examples of The Napoleon and Killer Rabbit.

This is the reason why Large and in Charge is more common among villains.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, most of the evil guys tend to be veritable behemoths of muscle or fat, or at least very tall and imposing. Our heroes, except for Franky and Brook, are average sized and Luffy himself is a bit on the short and scrawny side, though that doesn't hold him back one bit.
  • Guts from Berserk is no shrimp himself, but the Apostles and other monsters he faces tend to be gorilla-sized at the very least; plenty are the size of a house once they go One-Winged Angel, and the very biggest are more like mountains.
  • Bleach. Almost all Soul Reapers are human size, while most hollows are larger than human size (and some of them are a lot larger than human size).
    • Many Arrancar hollows have Resurreccion forms that are much larger than their normal human-like forms.
  • Zig-zagged across the Dragon Ball franchise:
    • The climactic battles Goku faces against both Demon King Piccolo and his Reincarnation namesake in Dragon Ball involve the latter supersizing themselves - and Goku wasn't all that big to start with.
    • Zig-zagged with Freeza: he is pretty small in his normal form, but grows bigger and bigger with forms two and three. When he reaches his final form, Krillin expects a huge monstrosity, but Freeza ends up more than one head smaller than Goku. note 
    • Goku's fight with Cell includes a shot of the two of them squaring up to each other, highlighting that Cell is about a head taller even without his weird, organic crown.
    • Super Buu is visibly taller than any of the heroes, including Piccolo or the grown-up Gohan. Kid Buu, by contrast, is an outright shrimp...and a mindless, planet-destroying force of nature.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam The Federation focuses its resources on producing one kind of mobile suit. The Principality of Zeon, in contrast, squanders its resources on the construction of a number of huge mobile armours, including the Brau Bro, the Elmeth, and the colossal Big Zam (itself piloted by seven-foot tall Admiral Dozle Zabi).
    • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the Titans are the ones who build the Psyco Gundam and the Psyco Gundam Mark II, both of which stand the height of a small skyscraper. Those mobile suits designed by Paptimus Scirocco, while not as huge, still tend to be larger than average, with his portrayed by Dave Batista (6'6''), Dario Delacio (6'8'', and his exoskeleton added a lot of size) and Kane (7' 0"(!)), respectively.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • Several of Supes' most powerful enemies, like Darkseid, Mongul, Doomsday and even Lex Luthor in his power suit, are notably larger than him, although Luthor's typically smaller than him without the suit.
    • Kept in Smallville despite Clark Kent played by the 6'3'' Tom Welling - Alder, Doomsday and Titan are portrayed by Dave Batista (6'6''), Dario Delacio (6'8'', and his exoskeleton added a lot of size) and Kane (7' 0"(!)), respectively.
  • While they are both powerfully built, highly experienced warriors with super-human powers, the fact of the matter is that Wolverine is 5'3" (160cm) and his Arch-Enemy/Evil Counterpart Sabretooth is 6'6" (198.1cm)
  • The Mighty Thor averts this with Loki who is typically drawn as being smaller than Thor, though some of the Thor's other enemies, like Surtur, Kurse and Mangog play this straight.
  • Iron Man nemesis Titanium Man towers over our hero, in a colossal battlesuit that, Depending on the Artist, has been anywhere between 8 and 11 feet tall.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge plays it straight, subverts, and averts it depending on the situation.
    • Godzilla Junior, resident Big Good kaiju, 100 meters tall. Grand King Ghidorah, resident Arch-Enemy, 150 meters tall. Godzilla is larger than the gyaos he fights however, it's more a matter of their being more than one.
    • Arguably one of the most benign and heroic kaiju, Mothra, is also the smallest of the core six in terms of mass.
    • Subverted with Godzilla Senior's "children". The most heroic, Godzilla Junior, is the smallest; but it's Ambiguously Evil Xenilla who's in the middle. The largest is Biollante, who is a neutral party.
    • Monster X is the "good" side to the split personality and is around 100 meters tall. Kaizer Ghidorah is his Super-Powered Evil Side and is 45 meters taller as well as more massive.
    • The Sirens are older and with the exception of Sonata, taller than the Rainbooms.
    • However in the Crystal Empire Arc, Xenilla's unicorn body is slightly larger than King Sombra despite being the Lesser of Two Evils and going after Sombra; though King Sombra is larger than Princess Cadance.
    • Though both can shift in size to shrink or grow, in their default forms, Goddess of Creation, Harmony is smaller than God of Extinction, Bagan.
    • Both Godzilla Junior and Xenilla, when they finally team up, are smaller than a charged up Grand King Ghidorah.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Sunday, from The Man Who Was Thursday is described as "too big to process." He's not more than eight feet tall, however, but his terrifyingly jolly personality can't possibly hurt...
  • Gregor Clegane from A Song of Ice and Fire, AKA "The Mountain that Rides", known to some fans as "The Mountain that Rapes", possibly the worst ordinary human in the series (out of quite a lot of competition), and also the largest. For Game of Thrones, they had to get one of the strongest men in the world to even get close to portraying him right, and George R. R. Martin plainly said no man in the world could reach his proportions due to blatant violation of the Square-Cube Law.
  • In Redwall, Vermin are invariably larger than Redwallers, though badgers tower above all others (and are good guys).
  • Animorphs:
    • Inverted in one sense - the major villains, the Yeerks, are actually slug-like Puppeteer Parasites who require hosts to stand against the other species (both humans and aliens), who are both much taller than them. This doesn't make them less dangerous in any way.
    • Played straight with Big Bad Visser Three, a major antagonist with the morphing power who uses it exclusively to go One-Winged Angel on the heroes.
  • One of Odium's primary minions in The Stormlight Archive are the thunderclasts, giant stone monsters several times bigger than a human.
  • Tolkien described Sauron's physical form in The Lord of the Rings as, "Very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic."
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, the Grey Angels are all not only omnicidal, but also over three metres tall.
  • In Dante's The Divine Comedy the Giants surrounding the deepest pit of Hell are chained and so big Dante first mistakes them for towers. However, Lucifer, the ultimate representation of evil, is so big that his arms are to giants what giants are to mortal men.
  • In Thud!, once Vimes comes back to his senses after having the Summoning Dark egg him on for weeks about the need to take vengeance on the dwarfs who'd attacked his home, he feels quite sickened about having beaten up their bodyguards. It's mentioned that humans always tend to feel this way after human-vs-dwarf melees, because by human standards dwarfs are child-sized, so harming them makes a human feel like a villain or child-abuser. Indeed, when Vimes first attacks a dwarf in the novel, this trope is side-stepped because the dwarf is about to kill someone even smaller: Vimes' infant son.
  • In The Book of the New Sun, the undines who serve supreme bad guy and Cthulhu Expy Abaia are an aquatic race of giant, and eternally growing, women. Severian at one point describes them as having fingers as long as his own arms. Their good(is) counterpart, the hierodules, are of regular human size. Baldanders, who tall-but-not-remarkably-so Severian fights a duel against at one point, is another example of an extremely large and decidedly nasty person, frequently described as a giant.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: George R.R. Martin has said that there isn't anyone in the world who could physically match the way The Mountain is described in the books, but they sure try hard to get it close. He is a character of such massive size that the 6'9" professional strongman portraying him in Season 4 is introduced via a low-angle shot to make him seem even bigger. For the curious, he was originally construed as being nearly 8 feet in height and around 420 pounds which aren't measurements a human could reach and be able to walk.
  • In the various Stargate series, bad guys always have big armies, big ships, big empires, and big egos.
  • Played straight fairly often in Star Trek, where the usually very impressive Enterprise will be dwarfed by the bad guys' starships (some expanded-universe materials indicate this was invoked by the Romulans, who designed their D'Deridex class with a lot of empty space, resulting in a ship that is much larger than Starfleet's Galaxy class but only somewhat larger in actual mass, crew and decks). Within the TV series (as opposed to the the movies) the most overt examples are TOS's Planet Killer and TNG's Borg Cube.
  • Being an homage to Star Trek, The Orville features the titular ship usually facing off against the much larger Krill destroyers and battlecruisers. While we do get a glimpse of one or two Union heavy cruisers (which are almost as big as Krill warships), they're never around to take on the bad guys.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The word "Titan" is usually synonymous with giant, and while not all the Titans in Greek Mythology were evil, many were. Cronos broke his promise to his mother by refusing to free the Hekatonkheires after overthrowing his father, ruled as a tyrant, and consumed his children to prevent them from turning against him; it was only due to his wife Rhea's intervention that Zeus was spared and was able to defeat him. The Titans who sided with him were hardly innocent either.
  • In Norse Mythology, the Jotuns, or giants, were the eternal enemies of the gods of Asgard. Although their actual size varies depending on the story, the most powerful ones (like the illusionist sorcerer Utgard-Loki) tended to be the biggest.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Most of the factions in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are taller than humans: the Elves / Eldar, Orcs / Orks, the forces of Chaos (especially Khornates), Lizardmen, Kroot... An exception in 40K is the Tau, who are shorter and less physically capable than humans (which is why they prefer to shoot their enemies from miles away) - but by the standards of the setting, they tend to be a lot nicer than humans. The Skaven in Warhammer Fantasy are also smaller but have far, far greater numbers... and definitely count as evil (the Skaven also play this trope straight with some of their units - the Stormvermin are a rare breed of Skaven that are bigger and stronger than normal humans and then there's the various bio-engineered monsters like the Rat Ogres).
    • Take to extreme levels in 40k (as usual) with the C'Tan star gods, who were so massive outside their necrodermis shells that they didn't even notice planets.
    • When they're not doing it with individual troops, they're doing it with armies. As a general rule, the Imperium or Empire is always going to be outnumbered in any situation featuring troops of equal or lower quality on the tabletop, and especially the case in the novels. This is doubled in the case of Space Marines, who are enormous compared to a lot of their opponents (eight feet tall, covered in Powered Armour, genetically enhanced out the wazoo), but it's a response to an incredibly dire situation if there are more than a hundred Space Marines involved, while Orks and the smaller Tyranids generally appear in swarms.
    • The Norsca are basically Vikings taken straight from a Heavy Metal album cover, and are naturally bigger than southerners... and that's before you get into stuff like Chaos armor and mutations.

    Video Games 
  • In most Sci-Fi FPS shooters the evil alien race is usually 7 or 8 feet tall on average, with their Giant Mook members being even larger. Often this makes them easier to shoot, without really making them any stronger.
  • Halo:
    • The Elites and Brutes (the Covenant's two main Elite Mook species) respectively average at about eight and nine feet tall, while the Hunters are twelve feet tall. By contrast, even the average height of humanity's heavily-augmented SPARTAN Super Soldiers is usually "only" a little over seven feet tall while in full armornote ; even Jorge-052, one of the tallest Spartans to be shown in the games, is "merely" 2.235 m (7'4") out of armornote . As a side note, the game Jorge was introduced made the Elites, Brutes, and Hunters even bigger (or more accurately, was the first game in the series to finally depict Elites, Brutes, and Hunters as being the same size as what the manuals had always claimed they were).
    • Averted with the Covenant's Grunts, who are on average somewhat smaller than normal humans, though slightly stronger.
    • The Covenant's Jackals/Skirmishers and Drones play with this; both species are on average somewhat taller than baseline humans, with the former also generally more agile and the latter stronger and more resilient, but both species are small, weak, and frail compared to the augmented and power-armored Spartan protagonists of the series, and the Jackal/Skirmishers are even more fragile than baseline humans due to their hollow bones.
    • While the Covenant's main political leaders, the Prophets, average at about seven feet, as a rule they're frail and a bit hunchbacked due to their sedentary lifestyle.
    • The Big Bad of Halo 4, the Ur-Didact, is over 11.4 feet tall, as befitting the former leader of the Forerunners' Warrior-Servants. Additionally, his main Elite Mooks, the Promethean Knights, average about ten feet tall. Most of the other mechanical Forerunner Mecha-Mooks in the series are also pretty big, but, with the exception of the vehicle-sized Enforcers and the Spartan-sized Soldiers, are dwarfed by the main protagonists.
    • The Warden Eternal, introduced in Halo 5: Guardians, controls a bunch of giant robot bodies who absolutely dwarf the Spartans.
  • Halo's predecessor, Marathon, featured the Pfhor, an organization of alien slavers and their slaves. Most Pfhor are slightly taller but thinner than humans, however their Hunters are much larger. Humans stand at about the abdomen of the average hunter, while the largest ones are over twice as tall as a human. Then there are the enormous Pfhor juggernauts, which are flying cybernetic tanks. Meanwhile, the S'pht, a species that the Pfhor enslaved, are relatively small. Averted with the largest creature in the Pfhor, the Drinniol, which, being a slave, bears no ill will towards its victims.
  • Half-Life: Alien Grunts are also around eight feet tall. Again, subverted by the Alien Slaves and Alien Controllers, who are as big or smaller than a human. Played straight again with Gargantuas and Manta Rays, but those are living tanks and living fighter-bombers respectively.
  • Resistance: Chimera units are taller than normal humans.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Ganon is always bigger than Link and Zelda combined. Even in his human form, Ganondorf (as shown in the trope image), he can be up to twice as tall as them regardless of whether Link and Zelda are adults or kids. In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, he's even noticeably taller than his fellow, less evil Gerudo. Funnily enough, the Gerudo did end up being portrayed with the same 7+ foot adult height as Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the same game where they Took a Level in Kindness and consider Ganondorf's Gerudo origins a shameful mark upon their tribe's honor.
    • Ghirahim in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword plays this straight when he goes One-Winged Angel, where he's about a head taller than Link and noticeably bulkier (in his normal form he and Link are the same size). Demise plays it straight even in his humanoid form where he's around the same height as Ganon's human form, but is also much bulkier with his arms alone being thicker than Link's torso.
  • Bowser of the Super Mario Bros. series is always bigger than Mario and the other protagonists, despite his varying size from game to game.
  • Dr. Eggman, from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, stands about twice as tall as the heroes (just over six feet, as opposed to Sonic, who stands at 3'3").
  • In the Gradius series, bosses are gigantic, no exceptions. Your fighter has to fight giant spaceships a hundred times its size, huge statues, giant fiery dragons, and brain-like abominations of the Bacterion Empire the size of small planets.
  • Archimonde in the final level in Warcraft III is far larger than any other unit and is basically invincible. In addition, all the demonic units have far more health than the player's units or his computer allies', are physically larger, and do "chaos damage" which is resisted by none of the armor types.
    • Present in World of Warcraft with dungeon and raid bosses. Anywhere from five to forty players need to be able to target and track their actions so the bosses are bigger. This ranges from bosses being twice as tall as normal (even if there something that's normally human sized) to behemoths so large they don't fit on the screen unless you're as far away as possible.
  • In Infinity Blade, almost everything is bigger than you, except the final boss.
  • M. Bison of Street Fighter is a man of very large stature, especially in the Alpha series, though Zangief and Sagat are always bigger than him.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the 2D games, enemy sprites were always bigger than the player sprites.
    • It's a general rule in the series that villains are, on average, larger than heroes. It's thrown into sharp relief for Dissidia: Final Fantasy: the only villain/hero pair where the villain is smaller/shorter than the hero is Squall and Ultimecia, because Squall has movie-star proportions while Ultimecia may be tall, but still a woman.
  • In Shank, every boss is bigger than Shank in gameplay. Averted in cutscenes for most of them.
  • In Sword of the Stars II, the Suul'ka, Liir Great Elders gone mad, even the smallest of which are bigger than any other races' Leviathans.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Reapers are absolutely massive in size, with the largest Reapers being nearly twice the size of the Destiny Ascension, the largest non-Reaper ship in the galaxy. And they also have firepower and defenses to match. Reaper Destroyers are much smaller, but compared to the ground forces they go up against, they practically hit Kaiju proportions, and also have defenses to match. Anything less than constant orbital bombardment or reengineered Reaper weapons to a Destroyer's weak point are basically the equivalent of throwing rocks at them.
    • As a general rule, if there are two forces involved and one of them has something huge - a Brute, Praetorian, YMIR mech, Geth Colossus or Atlas mech, just to name five - then the force with the huge thing is the bad guy.
  • The Space Pirate Ridley of Metroid is always much larger than his Arch-Enemy, Samus Aran. His size usually varies between each game in the series, sometimes reaching up to almost twenty feet in Metroid: Zero Mission, but even in his smaller appearances (like the intro for Super Smash Bros. Melee, his playable appearance in Ultimate, and the original Metroid''), for example) he still towers over her. He's still dwarfed by other pirates such as Kraid or Phantoon, as well as his boss in the Zebes-based games, Mother Brain.
    • Metroid always has its villains be a lot larger than Samus due to them being aliens and thus having a different builds compared to a standard human. Dark Samus and the SA-X are the notable exceptions to the rule since they are clones of Samus and thus they're the same size as her. When the SA-X goes One-Winged Angel, it becomes a lot bigger.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron averted this due to the Autobots and Decepticons sharing animation models for characters and enemies, which meant they were usually typically close in size, and in the case of the latter game, the Autobots had the larger GiantMooks with their Titans and also had Metroplex who was by far the largest character in either game, and also had one of the few cases of Optimus Prime being larger than Megatron.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt the Warriors of the titular Wild Hunt stand a head and shoulders taller than normal humanoids. At one point one of their ranks is seen outside his suit of armour, confirming that this is indeed the natural size for some of the Alder Folk, accentuating their otherworldly nature.
  • As apex predators, the monsters of Evolve are definitely large, with the smallest among them being six meters tall and the largest nearly four times that. Their size is directly proportional to the threat they pose, since they get a power and health boost every time they grow.
  • Dawn of War: Averted for the most part due to Units Not to Scale (A very tall human reaches up to the bottom of a Space Marine's Shoulders of Doom, here every infantry unit is around the same size), played straight for the humanoid top-tier units (Daemon Prince, Bloodthirster, Avatar of Khaine). The best example is the first game's Daemon Prince Sindri Myr, who clomps around with a selection circle the size of most buildings. If flyers had been present then, they'd probably be around his waist.
  • Played straight in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The Elder One is something like nine feet tall, ensuring he'll tower over the Player Character regardless of which race you pick.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, even though they are often shrunken down for balancing purposes compared to their home series, some of the playable villain characters usually find a way to still be bigger than their nemesis since they are usually heavy-weight fighters. A notable exception is King K. Rool in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While K. Rool was usually bigger than the Kongs in his own series, Donkey Kong is also a heavy-weight fighter in Smash, putting them at roughly the same size.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers:
    • Justified in most versions, as most of the Decepticons tend to favor larger military vehicles for their alt-modes as opposed to the smaller civilian vehicles favored by most of the Autobots.
    • One exception is the movies, which in an attempt to keep a realistic scale, led protagonist Optimus Prime (whose alternate mode is a HUGE truck) to be taller than most Decepticons. That said, Megatron is generally depicted as noticeably bigger than Prime.
    • Beast Wars subverted this in its final season where Optimus Primal's Optimal Optimus form was much larger than Megatron. Transformers Prime played this trope straight in its first two season with Megatron being the same height as Optimus while being bulkier, but subverted it in its third season when Optimus Prime was upgraded to be both taller and bulkier than Megatron.
    • Unicron takes this up to 11, as he's the size of a small planet. It's even lampshaded in this action figure commercial
    • Played straight in Transformers Animated, although to an inconsistent degree - Your Size May Vary is a franchise-long issue for Transformers. The Decepticons are typically presented at least as being a head taller than Optimus Prime, but in some shots they're over twice his height.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the heroes are children who fight evil adults, so this Trope is usually applied by default, except in the cases with child villains. (And some of them, like the Delightful Children, have adult-sized Mooks most of the time.)
  • The Smurfs are really small, so pretty much every villain in the cartoon is bigger than they are. (But then, so are most of their allies.
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears took this a step further. Not only is the Big Bad (and most humans in general) bigger than the heroes, but the villains' Mooks are a group of ogres bigger than he is, which he is somehow able to keep in line.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Most of the major antagonists are bigger (or in Tirek's case, end up bigger) then the average pony. In fact, the only one who is normal sized is Sunset Shimmer! She becomes good though as of the second movie, Rainbow Rocks. When Princess Luna became Nightmare Moon out of jealousy, she made herself Celestia's size to go with the rest of the Evil Costume Switch; she's normally larger than mortal ponies but smaller than 'Tia. Starlight Glimmer is also an aversion, but, just like Sunset Shimmer, she also turns good.
  • Ancient Evil Bloodwolf of The Adventures of Puss in Boots is so large he towers over the entire cast save for the giant Golem.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Bye-Bye Bluebeard", the eponymous killer is a giant of a man, standing six feet eleven inches tall.
  • All Hail King Julien Exiled has Koto and his mountain lemur tribe who have nearly twice the body mass over any other lemur character. Their size even has a bit of Truth in Television to it as they are all indri lemurs, the largest species of lemur in existence.
  • Inverted with Spongebob Squarepants: the most recurring threat of the cartoon is Plankton, who is the smallest character of the recurring cast.

     Real Life 
  • Inverted as far as Rats and Mice are concerned. While the stereotypes and tropes associated with them indicate that people fear and despise the bigger and more aggressive looking rats, in truth rats are easier to tame into loyal pets (and are one of the few animals to have been proven to have a sense of compassion) while the smaller mice will still attempt to bite and flee even when trained. Alarmingly, mice will attempt to devour their body weight in blood if given a safe opportunity.
    • Although in their dealings with one another, rather than with humans, it's played straight: wild rats eat mice without hesitation, and even domesticated rats that aren't hungry are likely to roughhouse with a mouse until it dies.