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Big Dumb Body

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When you're a titanic, mutated beast of destruction, and a bandicoot can possess you via piggy back riding, you're a B.D.B.

A type of controlled Host that is chosen for physical prowess and ability rather than anything else (usually also being simple minded enough that possession works without a hitch, although you don't need to be smart to have a strong will...)

Can also apply to mounts, if the mount is more than twice the size of the character riding it and not at all intelligent. In fiction, Elephants and creatures of similar design are not nearly as smart as they would be in real life (bigger bodies tend to come with bigger brains, and that bigger brain will often get put to use developing social skills and such).

Regarding possessors, a Symbiote is an example where the host is usually the bigger and more physical of the parties involved, as opposed to the parasite. While a Demonic Possession usually has the opposite, where the demon is the source of the host's strength and power, however, a B.D.B. possessed by such an entity becomes a Living Bodysuit.

Most B.D.B's are Giant Mooks or even bodyguards who are forced to take the blame for killing their charge after the possessor has relieved control (though this can end with the B.D.B also being discretely killed off to further suspicion and/or confusion).

In some cases, it's safe to say that a B.D.B is a more powerful version of the standard Meat Puppet, though expected to be less common. Contrast The Dividual. Not to be confused with Dumb Muscle, though Dumb Muscle characters may end up as Big Dumb Bodies; or the Big Dumb Object, whose only common trait is that they're big (and not even that they're dumb). A Custom-Built Host will often be one of these, as its creators have no need to give it a mind of its own.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, Kelly Funk has the Jacket-Jacket Fruit power, which lets him turn into a jacket and possess anyone who wears it. Kelly's preferred host is his brother Bobby Funk, who is naturally extremely strong and resilient, whereas Kelly is physically much weaker but is an experienced hand-to-hand fighter. Together, they become a very tough opponent, combining Kelly's swiftness and intelligence with Bobby's brute strength and toughness. This is downplayed, however, in that Bobby is not dumb by any means, but terrified of fighting and completely untrained in combat.

    Comic Books 
  • Johan briefly had one in B.P.R.D. before it was killed by Captain Zombie's jaguar demon form. He's been trying with little success to clone a new one ever since.
  • Daredevil: A small scientist, Dr. Karl Stragg, transfers his brilliant mind into mob leg-breaker Ox's body under the pretense of increasing his intelligence. An unexpected consequence becomes evident when his intelligence starts dropping as time goes on and Ox's mind in his body begins to grow smarter.
  • The Incredible Hulk: On more than one occasion, villains have plotted to either steal the Hulk's powers or control his body. It usually backfires, if it works at all since his Unstoppable Rage makes him highly resistant to anything less than the strongest telepaths. In Immortal Hulk, it's revealed that the Greater-Scope Villain behind all gamma mutation across the multiverse is the One Below All, a cosmic entity that's The Anti-God. It's currently sealed in its own Hell, but it plots to create and possess gamma mutates so it can work through them to break out and destroy absolutely everything. Its ultimate goal is to possess the Hulk, elevate him to a Galactus-level entity for the next multiverse, and smash it with its bare hands.
  • The recurring Justice League of America villain General Eiling transfers his mind into the body of the indestructible Shaggy Man. In this case, the host's stupidity becomes a problem, as Eiling's intelligence doesn't survive being forced to use the Shaggy Man's tiny brain.
  • Supergirl:
    • In Supergirl (1972) #8, Medusas ghost wants to take over the titular heroine's body specifically because of her superhuman powers and not because of her brains.
    • Subverted with Wordkiller-1, an alien, body-surfing symbiote. In Red Daughter of Krypton, he transfers his soul into the body of Supergirl because she's crazy powerful and immensely strong, and he thinks that she's only a stupid girl. By the time he realizes that she isn't dumb at all, she has outsmarted him to force him out of her body and kill him.
  • X-Men: Warstar of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard is a form of this, consisting of a big guy ridden by a small one half-hidden on his back who does most of the actual thinking for the pair (and also has the ability to dish out electric shocks) — to the point that at least once when he was taken out of action, his bigger partner stopped fighting, too. Oddly, the two seem to be robots, suggesting that somebody may have designed them to embody this trope on purpose.

  • Master Blaster in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome was a genius midget on a dumb brute's back.
    "He has the mind of child!"
  • In Get Out (2017), the subjects of the Coagula procedure are selected because they are believed to be this. The Order of the Coagula fetishizes the physical attributes of black people, but they have no such respect for their mental capacity, instead believing that, by implanting their white brains into black bodies, they'd have the perfect human specimens.

  • In War of the Spider Queen, Gromph Baenre, the Dark Elf Archmage of Menzoberranzan, once took control of a troll B.D.B to detonate one of several magical traps protecting a Traitor Noble House.
  • In Animorphs, Yeerks can control a species no matter how smart they are, but their shock troops, the Hork-Bajir, fit the bill—they're seven-foot-tall dinosaurians covered with blades, but are simple-minded and peaceful in their natural state. (Those blades are actually for scrapping off edible tree bark.)
    • The Gedds were the only hosts the Yeerks had on their home planet. Its ambiguous how sapient they are, but they're basically slow monkeys that all walk with a limp—once the Yeerks had other bodies to possess, Gedds became menial workers.
    • The series reveal that humans are the ultimate version of this trope as far as the Yeerks are concerned—not as good fighters as the Hork-Bajir, to be sure, but we're stronger than Gedds or Taxxons, breed quickly, are dexterous enough to be useful, and are technologically weak enough to be conquerable. Also, apparently we're the only sapient species that numbers in the billions.
  • In The Lunar Chronicles the Lunars use their gift of Mind Control to either weaponize guards or use them as shields when they are under attack; the guards are specifically chosen because they have a weak gift theirselves and cannot withstand the constraint from other Lunars. Usually, they are not dumb, just very easily controlled.
    • Subverted with the genetically manipulated wolf soldiers. They are specifically designed as weapons of terror under the command of a leader, but controlling them is immensely hard and requires a hard training of the manipulating skills and full concentration. Different than guards or civilians, they can't be controlled in masses, just in small "packs" of six or seven maximum.
  • "The Colossus of Ylourgne" by Clark Ashton Smith: The dying Depraved Dwarf Necromancer Nathaire decides to take his revenge on the world by creating a hundred-foot-tall Flesh Golem for his ghost to inhabit. It lets him devastate the countryside, but the "Dumb Body" bit comes into play when Gaspard disrupts Nathaire's control, whereupon it docilely digs itself a grave and lays itself to rest, with Nathaire still shrieking and helpless within.
  • Discussed in Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian: The Berserkers are a unit of undead fairy warriors whose bodies have rotted away, but as spirits they have the power to possess other creatures and use them as hosts. Their leader, Captain Oro, decided long ago that he would like the chance to possess a troll and take it into battle, so as to combine its brute strength with his own tactical knowledge and cunning.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Goa'uld prefer human hosts, by which they can pose as gods, but if they want something more durable they'll inhabit an Unas, a large humanoid that is short on brains but so tough it's nigh-bulletproof. Brains aren't usually much of a consideration for choosing human hosts either; the Goa'uld will suppress the host's personality do all of the thinking on its own.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons (3.5) had an arcane/psionic prestige class called Mind Bender, which allowed characters to eventually gain mind controlled thralls (usually B.D.Bs to balance out the weaknesses of said spellcaster).
  • Warhammer:
    • Vilitch the Curseling has been magically attached to and overtaken the will of his hulking warrior twin Thomin, who acts as this for him.
    • Subverted in the case of the orc warlord Azhag the Slaughterer, who obtained the Crown of Sorcery, an Artifact of Doom containing the spirit of the great necromancer Nagash. Orcs, as it turns out, are considerably more bull-headed than humans, and as such the Crown could at best manage to distract Azhag temporarily no matter how much the spirit of Nagash attempted to possess him (leading to Azhag apparently arguing with himself out loud). The crown would also use tactics that made Azhag a terrifyingly effective conqueror (orcs always have numerical superiority, so when they start using reserves and pincer movements...), up until the crown tried to possess Azhag mid-battle, distracting him long enough to be killed.

    Video Games 
  • The premise of both Crash of the Titans and its sequel Crash: Mind Over Mutant.
  • Used by Abe in the Oddworld series through the power of Possession.
  • Messiah, revolving around possessing people, naturally features these. Especially since the high-tech dictatorship you're taking down has plenty of genetically engineered super-strong brutes running around to do the dumb labor.
  • The somewhat obscure robotic third-person shooter Metal Arms: Glitch in the System has Mighty Glacier Giant Mook "Titan" enemies who are common targets for Glitch's Control Tether — they're considerably more sturdy than Glitch or most of the enemies faced in the game, and great for plowing through enemy squads, at least while they're free of Subsystem Damage.
  • Alchemist in Dota 2 has one of these in the form of an ogre which he rides on. Unlike most examples, the two are actually buddies and Alchemist simply calls the shots for them due to the ogre being Dumb Muscle.
  • As of its Cataclysm expansion, the first example of this trope new players will encounter in World of Warcraft will usually be Helix Gearbreaker, a boss in the Deadmines. Helix is a goblin who fights atop a Lumbering Oaf. Once you kill the Oaf as part of the fight, he'll jump off and start riding on top of the players until defeated.
    • The original Naxxramas raid had Instructor Razuvious as a boss, who flummoxed players by doing absolutely absurd quantities of damage to the point that tanking was impossible. Eventually it was discovered that his Understudy minions could be mind-controlled and used to tank the boss successfully, which was the intended way to win the battle.
  • The Mini-Boss of Morph Moth's stage in Mega Man X2 is a small pink parasite-like bug that takes control of a large, durable, mostly-scrapped robot that jumps on X and fires junk. X will need to attack the big robot until it falls apart and releases the vulnerable small parasite, which will attempt to find another robot body if not killed in time.

    Western Animation 
  • Evil Con Carne has the the eponymous Hector con Carne, reduced to a Brain in a Jar, controlling the body of a bear simply by putting the jar with the brain on the bear's head. The bear is clearly technically free to do as it wishes, it's just so spineless it rarely if ever bothers to disobey.