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Big Little Brother

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And this is before the younger brother on the right gets his soul stuck possessing a hulking set of plate armor.
Mario: Mama always said you were good at growing.
Luigi: That's why I'm the tall one, "little" big brother.
Super Mario World, "Gopher Bash"

When someone mentions their "little brother or sister", you usually expect a smaller individual. Common sense says the older sibling should be the taller one, because they had more time to grow. The Big Little Brother turns that common sense on its head.

This may go along with the younger sibling appearing more mature, composed and responsible, or more generally acting and sounding older than the older sibling. This is usually a surprise to both the audience and the characters in a story, though one Played for Laughs. Expect the shorter older sibling to have Height Angst, especially if the younger sibling wasn't always taller.

Of course, it is generally less unusual for younger brothers to be taller than older sisters. If this is portrayed as strange or unusual when both siblings are fully-grown adults, this can be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, similar to Teens Are Short.


Often Truth in Television, particularly by the time all siblings reach adulthood. This is incredibly common to the point of expected in cases where the older sibling is a girl and the younger is a boy, but it's not especially rare for it to happen in reverse, and it's also relatively common between siblings of the same gender.

Such height differences can also be the case with adopted siblings who have different biological parents and thus different sets of height genes. This can be heavily exaggerated in more fantastical works where Interspecies Adoption is practiced; for example, if the younger adopted sibling is a giant, a Kaiju, or other similar type of massive creature, or conversely, if the older adopted sibling is a dwarf, a fairy, or other similar type of diminutive creature. Shapeshifting can also cause or amplify this height difference, especially if the older sibling is made younger or the younger sibling is made older.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Megu in Asteroid in Love is already taller than her older sister Moe when the former is still in middle school.
  • Astro Boy has Jetto/Cobalt from the manga and original anime series. Created to replace Astro Boy when he went missing, the two adopted each other as "brothers" when they eventually met. They look similar, but Jetto/Cobalt is taller and has longer hair spikes.

  • Adon from Berserk isn't small by any means, but he's still dwarfed by his younger brother Samson.
  • Dukuro's little sister Zakuro from Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is 9-years-old but she is much taller and older looking than her, appearing to be in her mid twenties.
  • D-Frag!: Roka's little sister Tsutsuji towers over her, despite being only a year younger. She is, however, far more immature than you'd expect of someone her age.
  • Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I: The titular "Beard Gorilla" is the titular Dad's younger brother but is taller and way more muscular. When Michiru's teachers first met him, they were surprised to learn that he's the younger brother. A flashback reveals that he was already taller than his elder brother even as children and used to defend him from bullies.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Genya Shinazugawa (16-years-old) is 180cm, only one centimeter taller than his older brother Sanemi Shinazugawa (21-years-old). Notably, the former was much shorter prior to the year and a half Time Skip earlier on in the story. Even Tanjiro was surprised on how much taller Genya grew in such a short time.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Alphonse Elric is a year younger than Edward Elric, but because his soul has been attached to a suit of armor, he is the taller and the stronger of the two brothers. A running gag throughout the manga and the two anime adaptations is that Alphonse gets mistaken by others for Edward's "elder brother" or even "father". It is shown a few times that even in his natural body, Alphonse was taller than Edward.
      Elysia Hughes: [points at Al] Big brother... [points at Edward] Little brother.
      Edward: [Fuming] Nice to meet you. My name is Edward Elric, and this is my younger brother Alphonse Elric... Get it? Youn-ger brot-her.
      Elysia: But younger means little. You're little.
    • While he is her younger brother, Major Alex Armstrong is still a good head taller than General Olivier, though that doesn't make her any less intimidating. The same can be said with two of her younger sisters Amue and Strongine, both of whom tower over her and Alex. The youngest sibling, Catherine, is the smallest.
    • Scar is shown in flashbacks about his Warrior Monk past to have already been bigger and stronger than his more scholarly older brother.
    • This trope is so prevalent in Fullmetal Alchemist that it eventually turns out to apply even for the homunculi! The eldest of Father's children is Pride and the youngest is Wrath, who is the only homunculus under a hundred years old. Pride (or at least his "container") has the appearance of a little boy and looks far younger than all his younger siblings, while Wrath is the only homunculus who ages like a human and by the time the plot starts is a middle-aged man who looks older than any of his immortal older siblings. The two pose as father-and-son in human society, but in private Pride acts like a villainous example of Big Brother Mentor to Wrath.
  • In GJ-bu, Mao is less concerned about being smaller than Megumi (a year younger), but the fact that her even younger sister Seira (4-5 years younger) is just 1mm shorter than her annoys her to no end.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers
    • England comes back from a long absence, and is disturbed to find his adopted younger brother America has suddenly grown taller than him.
    • Prussia's younger brother Germany is taller than him too. Some character notes say that Prussia is both shorter and less muscular due to malnutrition, although he doesn't seem to mind much.
    • Out of China's (presumably adopted) younger siblings, Thailand, South Korea and Macau are taller than he is. He doesn't seem to say anything about it either, though.
    • Seborga is the youngest of the Italies and the tallest. Romano is the oldest, but shortest.
  • Hungry Heart: Wild Striker: The Kanou brothers are a notable example. Protagonist Kyosuke, who is 16 at the start of the series already has a few inches over his older brother Seisuke, who is in his early twenties. Somewhat justified once it's revealed that Kyosuke is adopted.
  • Yuki Aiba of Infinite Ryvius. Even though his older brother Kouji is the protagonist of the series, Yuki is a bona-fide Ace, while Kouji barely squeaks into Dogged Nice Guy territory. Yuki is taller, stronger, bolder, is better looking, is a better fighter, a better pilot, a better tactician, and has a more active love life than his older brother. Kouji's only saving graces are that he's more responsible and better organized than Yuki.
  • Kiss×sis: Despite looking about five years younger then their step-brother, Ako and Riko are actually older then Keita by one year.
  • While Risa from Lovely Complex is already pretty tall, her middle school aged younger brother is even taller than her.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT, as Fate is taller and more mature than her Genki Girl sister Alicia, most people assume that Fate's the older one, a fact that upsets Alicia since she's the older one by two years.
    • The main series has Cinque, who is the fourth oldest of the twelve Numbers (and later on, second oldest of the six Nakajima sisters), but is the shortest of the bunch by far due to having been designed for infiltration. She instantly bonds with Alicia when the meet in INNOCENTS over this fact.
    • This is rather prevalent among the Numbers even beyond Cinque's lack of height, since most of them are not biologically related they were all artificially aged to different points depending on what their specialties were. For example, Sette (the youngest) is actually the second tallest of the twelve, right behind Tre (the third oldest).
    • Nanoha herself grows up to be taller than her older sister Miyuki, though this can only be seen by comparing their heights relative to Amy in the artwork for the first StrikerS Sound Stage. Whether or not she's taller than their eldest brother Kyouya is unknown, since he never shows up post-A's.
    • Among Fate's three adoptive children, Caro (the middle child) is the shortest of the three as Erio gets taller with every Time Skip and Vivio has access to an Older Alter Ego while she is the same height at sixteen that she was at ten. And she's chronologically the oldest of the three as both Erio and Vivio are clones.
  • The Kageyama brothers from Mob Psycho 100, with Ritsu being slightly taller and looking slightly more mature than his elder brother Shigeo.
  • MX0: Kokuha's Berserk Button is being mistaken for being younger than Taiga because of her shorter stature. This is a dangerous mistake to make since she is a champion martial artist and very much a Cute Bruiser.
  • Naisho No Otome Revolver: The main protagonist is constantly bullied for looking like a girl. The bullies like forcing him to dress like a girl and he can't fight back. His little sister, on the other hand, can keep the bullies away from him.
  • Naruto:
    • A possibility would be Kinkaku of the Gold and Silver Brothers. Kinkaku's birthday is March 7. He's 44-years-old, standing 6'0. Ginkaku's birthday is April 9. he's 44-years-old, standing 5'8. If the two brothers are not half siblings, or fraternal twins — with Kinkaku being 1 month older, then Ginkaku is the older one, despite being smaller and weaker than his brother.
    • Hanabi Hyuga is five years younger than her sister Hinata. As adults in the Boruto anime, Hanabi is 170 cm (5'7) while Hinata is 163 cm (5'4).
  • Non Non Biyori: Komari is the older sister of the Koshigaya family, but slightly shorter than her sister Natsumi and rather pure and innocent.
  • Okko's Inn features a Cute Ghost Girl named Miyo, who died when she was seven. Afterwards, her parents had a second daughter, Matsuki, who has since surpassed Miyo in age. That doesn't stop Miyo from being very protective of her.
  • One Piece:
    • Boa Sandersonia and Boa Marigold are both taller than their eldest sister, Boa Hancock. And this is considering that Hancock herself is already more than 6 feet tall.
    • Mermaid Princess Shirahoshi even as a baby was much bigger than her brothers.
    • Franky is much taller and broader than his older (adoptive) brother, Iceburg, especially after the Time Skip and further enhancements to his already very large body.
    • Yonji is notably taller than all of his brothers, being about 6'4 and-a-half while his Ichiji and Niji are 6'1 and Sanji is only 5'11. He's also far more muscular, being noticeably buff while his brothers are all thin. Downplayed though because they're fraternal quadruplets, meaning he's physically not actually younger than they are.
    • Justified during the Wano arc with Momonosuke and his little sister Hiyori. Due to their mother having sent him forward in time twenty years with her Devil Fruit powers, she's in her mid-twenties while he's still eight.
  • Fubuki from One-Punch Man is much taller and looks older than her elder sister Tatsumaki who despite being 28 looks to be about 15 at the oldest (and behaves like she's 10).
  • Mitsukuni Haninozuka from Ouran High School Host Club is much shorter than his younger brother, Yasuchika. Mitsukuni is the stronger one anyway.
  • Puella Magi Tart Magica: Lapin is the smallest but oldest of three sisters who fight for the English.
  • Exaggerated in Recorder and Randsell: Atsushi Miyagawa is a fifth grader who looks 17. On top of this, his older sister is in high school and looks his age.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Hiruma Gohei is much taller than his elder brother Hiruma Kihei.
  • Shingo Tsukino in Sailor Moon isn't taller than his sister Usagi, but he is smarter, stronger, and often regarded as more mature than her. Then in the second season he starts catching up to her in the height department, and by the fourth season the kid's almost taller than she is.
  • Yakumo is taller than her older sister Tenma in School Rumble.
  • Michio Kawata from Slam Dunk is way taller than his older brother Masashi. Also Sibling Yin-Yang: Michio is a Gentle Giant while Masashi is Hot-Blooded.
  • In Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Souichi at twenty-two is much tinier than his 12-year-old brother Souji, due to a case of Rapid Aging on Souji's part and a case of de-aging on Souichi's part.
  • Kotone Kashiwagi from Tonari no Kashiwagi-san looks like a normal 17-year-old. Her older sister Kotori is 32 and looks like she belongs in elementary school.
  • In Vagabond, Denshichiro is the younger brother of Yoshioka Seijuro, a tiny, pretty boy/playboy samurai who is Heir to the Dojo. Naturally Denshichiro is huge, and a stern, intimidating hulk of a man.
  • The Toguro brothers in Yu Yu Hakusho. Elder Toguro was a short, lanky, immortal trickster. Younger Toguro was a Blood Knight who lived for fighting and, as such, has honed his already tall and muscular figure to buff up when using his full strength. He was also the stronger of the two by a wide margin.

    Comic Books 
  • The French comic Asterix uses this trope in the album Asterix at the Olympic Games. During the games we see a big, muscular man fighting in the arena while his older brother encourages him from the sideline. When Vitalstatistix asks him if everyone in his family is this strong, he mentions he has an even younger brother who is even stronger than both of them. He was however unable to come to the games because he still hasn't recovered from a spanking he received from their mother.
  • Batman:
    • Jason Todd is now taller than his adoptive older brother Dick Grayson. Then again, most characters are (seeing as how Dick is seemingly the only real-world average height male in the uncommonly tall DC universe).
    • Damian (currently 13) is still shorter than Tim (16ish?), but his growth rate and Flash Forwards have indicated that he'll outgrow him eventually.
  • 23-year-old Jerrica Benton from Jem and the Holograms is 5'5 while her 18-year-old sister is 5'9, not helped by the fact she likes heels. Jerrica seems absolutely puny compared to Kimber. While as Jem Jerrica goes up to 5'11. It's even more noticeable with their 22-year-old foster sister, Shana, who is 5'2.
  • From Lucky Luke, Averell Dalton in the youngest and the tallest of the Dalton brothers. He's also implied to be the strongest in their first appearance, but it isn't mentioned after that.
  • In Mega Man, the "Worlds Unite" event allows Rock to meet his future successor and "little brother", Mega Man X. While Rock is designed to resemble and act like a child, X has the appearance and mentality of someone in their late teens or early twenties. Despite these differences in design, they quickly find common ground over how weary they are of fighting and violence, and Rock does his best to impart his own brand of brotherly wisdom as X wonders if he should have never been built.
  • In Noob that is set inside a MMORPG, level 100 avatars are generally taller than the ones of lower level players. The characters include a pair of siblings in which the younger brother is part of the elite while the older one is part of a guild struggling to progress. The present case just had the two already known characters turn out to be siblings, but seeing them side by side and the fact that the older one is a Manchild put the trope in full gear.
  • In the Post-Crisis universe, Supergirl is technically fifteen years older than Superman, but he towers over her. Even if she had not been several decades in suspended animation, her cousin would have probably outgrown her anyways.
  • Played With in Super Sons. Damian (age 13) and Jon (10) are not related, but a Running Gag has people either mockingly or mistakenly thinking that Jon is Damian's older brother due to him being taller.
  • The Belgium comic strip Suske en Wiske uses this trope in at least two albums. In de malle mergpijp, Jerom is forced to fight a giant grotkastaar (an ape-like inhabitant of Jerome’s prehistoric homeworld) who is the “little brother” of a much smaller and less impressive grotkastaar. In the album de glanzende gletsjer, Lambik finds himself in a world inhabited by cave men, who force him to fight against the little brother of their chief; a tall and muscular cave man.
  • Colossus from the X-Men was the youngest of the "All-New, All-Different" team, being 17 or 18 when recruited, but he was also the Big Guy and towered over the others in his metal form.
    • Even outside his metal form, Piotr is taller than his older brother Mikhail, who is not a short person anyway.

    Fan Works 
  • Fate to Alicia, as the latter was dead for thirty years, in Power Games. Though the latter thinks that "big little sister" sounds weird, and prefers "little big sister".
  • The Discworld of A.A. Pessimal has Johanna Smith-Rhodes, who grew up as the oldest of a family of five Rimwards Howondalandians. Andreas Smith-Rhodes, who was born two years after Johanna, fondly describes her as "my bigsister", despite being easily a foot taller and quite a lot wider and more muscular. Johanna might look up at him, call him little brother, and perhaps remind him of the time in childhood where she had to hit him so hard his ears rang for days.
  • Transcendence: Digital Curse. While Agumon was always bigger than Gatomon, the Chronodata eventually mutates his body to the point where he is as powerful as an ultimate, and so fits this trope completely.
  • It's not the Raptor DNA; Rosie (a human) declares that she will be a good big sister to Elise (an Indominus rex who is two years younger). Elise is confused, as she is a fifty-foot long dinosaur and will always be bigger than Rosie.
  • Pacific: World War II U.S. Navy Shipgirls has Enterprise as the Little Big Sister to Hornet's Big Little Sister, down to the latter having a much bigger bust size than the former.
  • In The (Edit) War for Ash's Freedom to not be Betrayed, Misty grows to be taller than her older sisters after Arceus fixes one of the clocks in the Hall of Origins.
  • In Concerning Us John is much taller than Janine and even their dynamic suggests big brother and little sister, but Janine is actually two years older than him. Growing up in Victorian Britain just put John in the role of protector far too early.
  • In Karma in Retrograde, Touya was always shorter than his younger brother Natsuo because of how his fire Quirk used so much energy combined with his naturally weak constitution. After being reverted back to his 16-year-old self by a Quirk, Touya is miffed to find that his youngest brother Shouto is taller than him by a few centimeters. He's even more dismayed to find that Natsuo towers over him.
  • Cicada Psalms: Satoshi spent most of his teens bedbound so his growth is a bit stunted. His younger sister Satoko is slightly taller than him.
  • Lori in the Loud House fic Her Baby Brother is distraught to find out from Lisa that when the Loud children finish growing Lincoln will be taller than her. As she associates height as part of her authority as the eldest, she fears Lincoln as the only one whose going to be bigger than her, will stop needing her.
  • Earth 27: Thanks to being shrunk by the mutagen process, Mondo Gecko is over a foot shorter than his younger sister Mona Lisa.
  • Invoked in Son of the Sannin where Fu declares Naruto to be her little brother despite being several months younger than him due to how tall she is.

    Films — Animation 
  • The main characters of Escape from Planet Earth are Scorch, who is tall and broad, and his "little brother" Gary, who is shorter, skinnier and, as he keeps pointing out, older despite that.
  • The Land Before Time: Spike is the adopted little brother of Ducky, but is much bigger than her because he is a stegosaurus and she is a saurolophus.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Comedian Danny DeVito is Robert De Niro's older brother. Unlike normal examples Danny's character is the more mature one, having a steady job running a deli and is getting tired of bailing out his stand-up comedian screw-up younger brother.
  • Invoked verbatim in Flight of the Navigator, where thanks to time travel, the main character's "little brother" has aged past him.
  • Four Brothers: The youngest of the four Mercer brothers, Jack, is by far the tallest of the lot. They are all adopted, after all.
  • In Halloweentown, Dylan is the oldest Cromwell sibling, but much shorter than his sister Marnie. This is Subverted in the sequels due to his actor's rather shocking growth spurt.
  • High and Tight Seth the youngest brother is easily the tallest (his actor Robert Madden is 6 ft 3). When Scott hugs him goodbye, he's noticeably taller — and Scott's actor had to stand on a pile of books for the scene.
  • A very literal example in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Nick's baby brother Adam gets progressively bigger throughout the film. Justified, as he got hit with a growth ray.
  • Rat Race Two of the racers are the Cody brothers, Duane and Blaine. Duane is the older one, but is much shorter than his brother. Duane is played by five foot four Seth Green.
  • Discussed in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Jason Ionello, who was snapped out of existence by Thanos and then resurrected five years later, is still flabbergasted at the fact that his younger brother (who survived Thanos's snap) is now older than him.
  • In Virgin Alexander Hank's younger brother Trent is both taller and more mature sexually.
  • Exaggareted in Mad Max: Fury Road. Corpus Callosum, Immortan Joe's oldest son, is just 3' 3" tall. His immediate younger brother, Rictus Erectus, is a towering behemoth of a man.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm ends up with complex variation. When Starting a New Life, the protagonist needs to pretend to be a year younger that she actually is all while ending up with an adoptive brother who is roughly a quarter of a year older than her. In terms of chonological age, her brother is actually three quarters of a year younger than her, but still taller than her. A lot of it comes from the protagonist being so small for her age that she's frequently mistaken for being at least two years younger than her actual age.
  • In The Cloak Society, 14-year-old Julie is the oldest and shortest member of the Beta Team, while her 13-year-old brother, Titan, is already six feet tall.
  • The Dresden Files: Six-and-a-half-feet-tall Harry Dresden is also more powerful than his six foot nothing older brother, though Thomas is physically stronger. In Cold Days, Harry realizes that he now looks like the older brother, and that since Thomas is a White Court vampire, he will look more youthful than Harry for the rest of their lives.
    • Played with (for laughs) with the Gruffs. The Gruffs (as in, Billy Goat) are the Summer Queen's troubleshooters (trouble? they'll shoot it), and each one is progressively larger than the one before, just like in the fairy tale. After having fought off one marginally smaller than a school bus and having been warned that its big brother was on the way, Harry begins to be seriously worried. When Harry realizes that last one has him cornered, he starts making his peace. On the way in, the Eldest Gruff casually destroys a Denarian (a Fallen Angel in a mortal host) with love and happiness. He's five feet tall and Harry defeats him with a donut.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: We get to meet Hagrid's little brother, Grawp. Grawp, being a full giant instead of just a half giant, is 16 feet tall (which makes him small, by giant standards).
    • The Weasley siblings have some more normal examples: oldest child Bill, Percy and Ron are tall and thin like their father Arthur, while Charlie (older than Percy and Ron) and Fred and George (older than Ron) are short and stocky like their mother Molly.
  • In Galaxy of Fear, the Brother–Sister Team consists of 13-year-old Tash and her 12-year-old brother Zak. The series starts with Tash being the larger of the two, but over the six months it covers they at one point get trapped in a hole with a very narrow way out, and Tash realizes to her surprise that Zak has been filling out, so she's the only one who can escape that way.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • The series features Thalia and Jason Grace. Thalia is almost eight years older than Jason, but, though her height is never actually mentioned, Jason is described as "imposing, athletic, and an all-around American boy", which may imply which one is taller. It helps that Thalia's growth is dragged back by her five years of being stuck in a tree, and when she gets to spend about maybe a year to grow up, she's stuck in age again as part of her immortality deal with the Hunters of Artemis, making her forever-15-years-old, while Jason continues to grow normally (which means that as of The Mark of Athena, where he celebrates his 16th birthday, he's literally older than his older sister! Confused yet?)
    • There's also Hazel and Nico, at least as of The Blood of Olympus. Hazel is described as a bit petite, though she dons a spatha for a weapon, while Nico has officially grown muscles as of TBO. Hazel was born around 1930, while Nico was born in maybe 1935.
  • Jack Reacher is the younger brother, but he is the better fighter and physically bigger than his brother.
  • Shichika from Katanagatari is very tall, but it's still hard to believe that Nanami is his older sister, since even in her late twenties she's only about half his height.
  • Snufkin from The Moomins is a lot taller than his elder sister, the aptly named Little My.
  • Lydia Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, age 15, is the youngest of the five Bennet sisters, but boasts of being the tallest.
  • In World Without End, Ralph is this to Merthin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of The Beverly Hillbillies had Mr. Drysdale be informed that the little brother of one of his secretaries wanted to have a talk with him. His reaction was "Send the little fellow in! I'll give him a piggy bank!" The "little fellow" was built like a linebacker.
  • Bob Hearts Abishola Bob's younger brother Douglas is several inches taller than him.
  • Genderflipped in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Dawn is taller than her older sister Buffy.
  • Everybody Hates Chris has Chris's younger brother, Drew, being both taller and much cooler. Chris is quite aware of it. Eventually subverted in later seasons when Chris' actor hit puberty, which resulted in Chris and Drew being about the same height.
    Narrator: Instead of Drew wearing my old clothes, I wore his old clothes. I think I was the first kid to get hand-me-ups.
  • Lampshaded on Clarissa Explains It All: Clarissa calls Ferguson a "little twerp" and Sam points out that he's taller than her. (He wasn't originally, but the actor grew.)
  • Fuller House takes place twenty years after Full House. It's quite noticeable that Stephanie is several inches taller than her older sister DJ.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • HBO's Ser Loras Tyrell is several inches taller than his sister Margaery, and book readers (and probably most viewers) naturally assumed that he is the older sibling. However, Word of God has established that Margaery is the eldest Tyrell child on the show.
    • Dickon Tarly, as played by Freddie Stroma, is dramatically taller than his older brother Samwell, played by John Bradley. Taken even further in Season 7, when 6'5 Tom Hopper was recast and who is not only taller but way bulkier than Stroma.
    • Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark, is much taller than Maisie Williams, who plays his older sister Arya. In fact, by Season 6, he grows up considerably (his actor is now 5'11) and is now the tallest of his siblings. In an interview for Season 6, Richard Madden (Robb's actor) says he feels bad for Kristian Nairn (Hodor's actor) for having to carry Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran's actor) around because he is so big now.
    • Lyanna's notably taller than her older brother Ned back when they were kids. Many actually thought she was the older sibling in this version because of that, but she calls Ned "big brother" in the next flashback.
    • Euron is both taller and bulkier than Balon.
  • On Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Aphrodite often refers to Herc as her "big brother," even though she's older than him by centuries.
  • Home Improvement has the middle child Randy turn out to be much shorter than his older brother Brad and younger brother Mark, which happened incidentally as the actors grew up. When he complains about that to his mom all she can say is that he can't obsess over it because you don't know where life will take you and Randy may have just had a delayed growth spurt (he never did became taller, though).
  • The Last Man on Earth's protagonist, Phil/Tandy Miller, has a younger brother named Mike who stands a good few inches taller and is much better built. He's also far more mature, competent, and successful, being an astronaut and scientist who excelled in math and basketball back in high school and committed local acts of heroism, such as saving a woman and her cats from a burning car, before the apocalypse.
  • Last Man Standing at first had all three daughters at about the same height, with Kristin and Mandy both played by adult actors. Kristin was recast in the second season with a slightly taller actress, while Eve eventually grew taller than Mandy and was pointed out when Mandy tried making a short joke. Mandy was then recast in the seventh season with a very tall actress, towering over both sisters and playfully ignoring the fact she was supposed to be shorter than the other two.
  • Rodney to Del in Only Fools and Horses.
  • In Royal Pains, Evan R. Lawson is taller than his brother, Hank Lawson, by a few good inches.
  • Matty Levan from Skins is notably shorter than his younger brother Nick; before Nick's A Day in the Limelight episode in Series 5, fans thought Matty was the younger brother because of this.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Worf (6'2" Michael Dorn)'s younger brother, Kurn is played by 6'5" Tony Todd.
  • By Season 3 of Stranger Things, 14-year-old Mike has grown several inches taller than Nancy, who is about 3-4 years older than him. They were about the same height in the first season.
  • On Succession, Cousin Greg is a cousin rather than a brother to the Roy children, but otherwise plays the trope straight: he is the youngest of the main characters and also the tallest, at 6'6" (Connor, the tallest of the Roys, is 5'11").
  • In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Moseby's taller than his older brother Spencer who is a little person. Spencer though is stronger, more wealthy and a grade-A Jerkass.
    • He also has a younger half-brother who’s a pro basketball player.
  • Supergirl:
    • While Kara is chronologically older than Alex, she is physically the younger sister and looks even younger because Kryptonians age slower than humans. That said, she is still over an inch taller than Alex, as Melissa Benoist is a Statuesque Stunner.
    • Kara is 13 years older than her baby cousin Kal-El and was sent to protect him, but because she was suspended in the Phantom Zone, where Time Stands Still, she remained her age when she came out of it 24 years later. By the time Kara crash landed on Earth, Kal-El had become an experienced, adult superhero who didn't need her help anymore.
  • Supernatural: Sam Winchester is very tall (6'4"), while his notoriously protective big brother Dean is several inches shorter (around 6'0"). Sam teases him about it on occasion.
  • In the Super Sentai series Battle Fever J, the Make My Monster Grow method is for an Egos Monster to call out its "little brother," a giant robot duplicate.
  • Alcide Herveaux from True Blood is a walking mountain of muscle, but his older sister Janice still refers to him as her "baby" brother.
  • In Victorious Tori (younger sibling) and Trina (older sibling) started off at approximately the same height, but over time, Tori became several inches taller than Trina.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker's kayfabe brother Kane is a couple inches taller and more muscular. This was noted during their match at WrestleMania XIV, when commentator Jim Ross corrected Jerry Lawler when he called Undertaker the "big" brother.
  • The rarely seen CK, little brother the notoriously small Matt and Nick Jackson.
  • This was how Crimson was introduced on TNA Impact. Cruiserweight wrestler The Amazing Red had been beaten up by Jeff Jarrett, and announced that he was going to bring in his "baby brother" to help him.
  • The Coffey brothers, Mark and Joe. Mark, despite being younger, is a few inches taller than Joe. It's not just discrepancies between their billed and real heights, either (Mark is billed at 188cm, Joe at 180cm).
  • Scott Steiner was bigger than his older brother Rick, both in terms of height and especially in muscle mass. They're both about the same size now in their old age.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Glottkin of Warhammer are triplets and Ghurk was originally the youngest (by a few seconds) and smallest, but after the brothers became Nurgle's champions, Ghurk mutated and became a giant monster that Otto and Ethrac ride into battle.

  • Moxy from Uglydolls is a head taller than her older brother, Ox. This is even despite both Ox and Moxy's giant rabbit ears that give them added height.

    Video Games 
  • Chantelise: Chante is the older sister to Elise, but also the one who gets turned into a tiny little fairy when they go off into the night to see something they were warned against.
  • Light example with Crash Bandicoot. Coco is often slightly taller and significantly more intelligent and sane than her "big brother" Crash (granted this depends on the creative team, in Crash: Mind Over Mutant for example she is shorter than Crash and almost as demented and childish as he is).
  • Darksiders, the protagonist of original game, War, is the youngest of his siblings that make up the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but he's also the largest and physically strongest, though the oldest of them, Death, is the most powerful overall. Note that War being the largest doesn't make the others "small" by any means; even the sole female Fury is comparable to a fully-grown normal human man.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Tiny Kong is an interesting example. She is the little sister of Dixie Kong that made her debut in Donkey Kong 64, and her original design resembled that of a little girl. When she appeared in Diddy Kong Racing DS, she was redesigned into a teenager, and is now much taller and looks older than her older sister. Some may not know however, that Tiny has always been taller than Dixie, as Tiny is a whole head taller than Diddy in DK64note , and Diddy and Dixie are the same size.
    • Also from Donkey Kong 64 is K. Lumsy, who is the younger brother of King K. Rool, according to the game's Japanese manual. K. Lumsy is absolutely gigantic in size compared to K. Rool.
  • By the time Drakengard 2 rolls around Seere's younger twin sister Manah is much taller than him. Justified, considering that A: there's been a Time Skip of 18 years, and B: Seere is The Ageless and Manah isn't.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has a Summon of two Minotaur brothers which make use of this trope. Of course after you fight the first one and he goes to get his Big Brother, it's alluded to that his Big Brother is literally bigger than he.
  • God of War: Zeus, while the youngest of his siblings (though much in Classical Mythology, he looks older than them) is also probably the largest of the Olympians, and much in the original myths, embodies Authority Equals Asskicking.
    • Although this is complicated by Hades, the oldest, who generally appears to be about thirty feet tall to Zeus' eight. However, the Olympians have the ability to grow to a giant size-and when Zeus uses his he is well over fifty feet. (Poseidon utterly dwarfs both of them during his boss fight, but it isn't his physical body)
  • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Lance Vance is shown to be taller than his older brother Vic.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
    • Prince Sidon is rather tall even by Zora standards (with the adult Zoras all being a few heads taller than Link), while his late older sister Mipha was a head shorter than Link. Though it's unclear if that's partly because she never reached her adult height like he certainly has. Furthermore, even as a toddler Sidon's head-tail appendage was already long enough to be dragging on the ground past his feet in contrast to his sister's shorter head-tail, implying that he would have gotten taller than her regardless of her death.
    • Played with in regards to Purah and Impa. Impa is the younger sister, but looks like she could pass as Purah's great-grandmother due to the latter's reverse-aging experiment having Gone Horribly Right. They're still around the same height though due to Impa being a Miniature Senior Citizen. This is Averted in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, however, where they are shown to be approximately the same height in their youth.
  • In Mary Skelter: Nightmares, Thumbelina is the oldest and (fittingly enough) the smallest between herself, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. She has a major complex about it too, which Jack discovers the hard way.
  • Mother 3 has the enemies Big Bro and Little Big Bro. The latter's description reads, "Adjective wise, he's caught between his size and his age. It's all very confusing."
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: Seishi Bosatsu is the tallest character in the game at 190cm, while his older brother Kannon Bosatsu is just 176cm. You can really see how big the former is every time they stand next to each other.
  • In the Neptunia series, Nepgear is slightly taller and much more mature than her older sister Neptune to the point where she is often mistaken as the older sister. Much to the latter's annoyance.
  • In Ōkami, the Sparrow Clan leader Jamba has two children, Chun and Tai. Chun is shorter than the adult Sparrows but is the elder sister, while Tai is twice as tall as the adults (and in a further bit of characterization irony, he's also a bit of a crybaby).
  • Old School Musical: Rob is much taller than his seven years older big brother Tib, and the first chapter shows this has been the case since he was three and Tib was ten.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon gives us Lillie, who is very subtly taller than her brother Gladion but is noticeably taller than the protagonist and Hau. The Anime of the Game as well as the Updated Re-release Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, however, shrink her down so any other male child is taller than her (but slightly so).
  • Played with in the Super Mario Bros. series. Luigi is taller than Mario and has his own moments of impressive heroism, but they are actually twins according to Yoshi's Island, and he is also rather cowardly and frequently lives in his older brother's shadow.
  • Undertale has Papyrus, who's taller and more responsible than his older brother Sans. However, he's also more naive and youthfully exuberant, so it's not too much of a surprise that he's the younger sibling. The Genocide route also shows that, while Papyrus is physically stronger, Sans is the more effective fighter by a country mile.

    Visual Novels 
  • Subverted with not-blood-siblings Miles Edgeworth and Franziska von Karma in the Ace Attorney games. He's seven years older and at least One Head Taller, but she insists on calling him her "little" brother.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Illyasviel aka Illya is the biological daughter of Shirou's adopted father, Kiritsugu Emiya, and his Artificial Human wife Irisviel. As such, they consider each other brother and sister for the most part (though Illya has tried multiple times to pursue a romantic angle), with Illya even calling him "Onii-chan/Big Brother". The twist is that, despite her appearance and her childish attitude, Illya's actually 18-years-old, and therefore the elder of the two, a fact that is rarely acknowledged.
    • Side material also brings up Stheno and Euryale, Rider/Medusa's older sisters, who look fourteen at best when their little sister is huge in a lot of ways. This is in tune with their appearance in Classical Mythology, where Medusa was the only one of the Gorgons saddled with mortality (godly heritage is fickle like that).
  • Minami from Liar Liar is taller than her older sister Yukari. She also seems more mature.
  • In Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow, the Nakagawa brothers play it straight since the younger brother Makoto is quite taller than his older brother and hated/loved nemesis Toru.
  • As is common for his age, Erik from Missing Stars is considerably taller than his two older sisters. It still bugs them, however.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Zig-zagged with the Brothers Strong. Strong Sad, the youngest, is not only a lot taller than Strong Bad, he's also wider. Besides this, he's also shown to be almost always smarter. He probably only lets Strong Bad pick on him because their elder brother Strong Mad is Strong Bad's ally and is even bigger than Strong Sad himself.


    Web Videos 
  • Aaron: Adam is the younger brother but is notably taller than Chris the elder.
  • Tom in Echo Chamber was overshadowed by his little brother, which serves as his Freudian Excuse for being a Jerkass to Zack.
    Dana: Everyone has an older brother that overshadows—
    Tom: I... I didn't say he was older.
    Zack: Tom's a loser!
  • Doug Walker is taller than his older brother, Rob, by two inches.
  • A case of Big Little Sister in Flander's Company: Cindy Trueman is 16, but she's way smaller than her little sister Gladys, who is SIX, and yet looks like a muscular man (with braids).

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks is the oldest in the litter except for in the 60s incarnation. He's shorter than Simon, who has a lankier design and is more intelligent and sane than him. Theodore also played this straight originally, but from the 80s series onwards, is redesigned shorter than Alvin and given a more innocent character.
  • Used as the plot of The Angry Beavers episode, "Long Tall Daggy". After the beaver brothers weekly height measuring day shows that Dagget is slightly taller then Norbert (Norbert being the older brother), Dagget goes into full on brag mode and Norbert spirals into a Heroic BSoD.
  • On Atomic Betty, Infantor's baby brother is much bigger than him, which doesn't help his Napoleon complex.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Firelord Ozai is much taller than his older brother Iroh.
  • On Blue's Clues and its reboot Blue's Clues & You!, Steve Burns's little brother, Joe (played by Donovan Patton), is taller than him. This was lampshaded in the episode in which Joe is introduced, when Steve comments upon Joe's first appearance, "You've grown!"
  • The Cat in the Hat: In the 1971 animated special, Sally appears to be at least as tall as her brother, although she is supposed to be younger than him.
  • Cow and Chicken: Cow, who is bigger than Chicken, is the little sister. She does calls Chicken "Big Brother".
  • Daria is a very minor example, with Quinn being about an inch taller than older sister Daria.
  • On Dave the Barbarian Candy, the oldest sibling, is a normal teenage girl while Dave is a hulking giant.
  • Dinosaur Train: Tiny is the oldest of the siblings, but the smallest of them, hence her name. Also, despite that Buddy is the youngest sibling, he's going to grow to be the tallest of his family, being a T. rex adopted in a family of pteranodons.
  • Droopy, Master Detective: When Le Poulet said his little brother would rescue him from jail, the viewers probably expected somebody even smaller than already small elder Poulet. The little brother turns out to be huge.
  • In Family Guy, Chris is the biggest Griffin child, but Meg is the oldest. The actual height difference is relatively minor, though he's also quite a bit heftier. "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" shows that the older siblings remain roughly the same height into adulthood, while Stewie grows up to be quite tall and lean.
  • Due to George Shrinks being shrunken to three inches, his toddler brother Junior is much bigger than him.
  • Referenced in Justice League Unlimited in a Like Brother and Sister context. The Flash, when discussing Hawkgirl's Anger Born of Worry reaction to him narrowly avoiding death, says "She's like the big sister I never had. Only, you know... short."
  • Kick Buttowski: Papercut Peterson is taller than his big brother Shogun Sanchez.
  • In Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time, Kim and Ron go forwards decades into the future, where she finds her little brothers have become tall and muscular resistance members against Empress Shego, who took over the world.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy's younger brother Zephyr Breeze is taller than both her and their parents.
    • Thorax is the younger brother of Pharynx, but post-metamorphosis he's significantly larger than him.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Word of God confirms that Phineas is two months older than his (step-)brother Ferb. Aside from being taller, Ferb generally comes off as older due to his deep voice, interest in girls and his stoicism, which makes him seem more mature.
    • Downplayed example with Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and his brother Roger. While they're both 6 feet 2 inches all, Roger's got a more muscular build than his slimmer older brother.
    • Technical example with Vanessa Doofenshmirtz and Norm the Robot Man. Norm is an adult-minded robot that's taller than any human, but he's a few months old at least and he considers Dr. Doofenshmirtz to be his father (and by extension considers Vanessa his sister), whereas Vanessa is a teenager of above-average height and is Dr. Doofenshmirtz's daughter.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: When the Girls make a fourth Powerpuff Girl named Bunny, she is noticeably much taller and stockier than they are.
  • In Prep and Landing, Noel is quite tall and broad (at least by the standard of Christmas Elves), while Wayne is short and pudgy.
  • Exaggerated in The Proud Family with the Gross sisters. The youngest sister in the trio towers over everyone, while the oldest is a half-pint.
  • Don from Regular Show, a fancy accountant who is tall, muscular, and popular. He is also Rigby's younger brother. Made extremely jarring by the fact that, out of the cast of mostly-Funny Animals, Don is the most human-looking character — more so than the human characters themselves — and he's stark naked. And constantly wants some sugar from his older brother. It turns out that Rigby resents Don for always being mistaken for the older brother because he's been taller than Rigby since they were very young.
  • Rubin Roach in Roboroach is much bigger than his older brother, Reg.
  • A variant on South Park: Ike goes through precocious puberty and gets increasingly hostile toward Kyle. At one point he dismissively calls him his "little brother," despite being five years younger and quite a bit shorter.
  • Played for Laughs in Star vs. the Forces of Evil: While the Kaiju-sized demon Wrathmelior is understandably larger than her Mewman husband or Half-Human Hybrid son, one episode shows that she also has an older sister, Exasperella, who is likewise normal sized.
    • Played a bit more seriously with Ludo, who is older but also much shorter than most of his siblings, and also lacks the wings that they have. It's implied that this is part of why his parents treated him so badly (not that they treat their other children much better, but he seems to have gotten the worst of it).
  • In Star Wars Rebels, Sabine is a full head shorter than her brother Tristan, despite being about three years older than him.
  • Vampirina: Gregoria's brother Hugo towers over her and he's her, as she calls him, "little brother".
  • Ice Bear in We Bare Bears is the tallest and youngest of the bear brothers.

    Real Life 
  • NFL defensive lineman Chris Long is a big dude at 6'3, 268 lbs, but compare him to his younger brother Kyle Long, who is 6'6, 313 lbs.
    • The Bailey brothers are similar. Older brother Champ is a 6'0, 190lb corner while younger brother Boss is a 6'3, 230lb linebacker.
  • Elle Fanning is four years younger than her sister Dakota Fanning, yet this picture would make you think it was the opposite.
  • Lena Dunham and her sibling Grace fit this trope. Whereas Lena is short, pear shaped, and older, Grace is not only slimmer, but taller than their big sis.
  • Noel Gallagher of Oasis is 5'8, shorter than his brother and bandmate Liam Gallagher, who is 5'10.
  • Mark Hamill once said in an interview that his two younger brothers are over six feet tall, compared to his 5'9" height, allegedly due to metabolism.
  • Of the Kardashians, the youngest sister Kendall is 5'11", and towers over her older sister Kim, who's 5'3".
  • Jack Kirby had a brother who was five years younger than him, and grew to be taller than him by the time they hit their teens, and he often fought off bullies who ganged up on Jack.
  • Funimation voice actor Greg Ayres is a few inches taller than his older brother Chris Ayres.
  • Guinness World Records breaker Maci Currin, who stands at a whopping 6'10, being several inches taller than her brother actually the younger sister, which makes you think it was the opposite.
  • Steve Irwin's family. Pictured here: 14-year-old Robert, already taller than his mother and almost One Head Taller than his 19-year-old sister, Bindi.
  • Eli Wallach was actually taller than his older brother Sam.
  • Elizabeth Olsen is four inches taller than her sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who are older than her by three years.
  • Luke Hemsworth is the lesser known older brother of Chris Hemsworth (middle child) and Liam Hemsworth (youngest child). The brothers get progressively taller the younger they are, with Luke standing at 5'9", Chris at 6'2", and Liam at 6'3".
  • Alejandra of The Warning, is the youngest and tallest of the sisters.
  • Charlotte Brontë was only about 4'10", much shorter than her two younger sisters Anne Brontë and Emily Brontë, particularly the latter who was about 5'7".
  • Most boys who have older sisters end up growing taller than them during puberty.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Big Little Sister, Little Big Sister, Little Big Brother


The Psychic Sisters

Wiz and Boomstick sort out this common misunderstanding.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BigLittleBrother

Media sources:

Main / BigLittleBrother