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Big Little Brother
aka: Big Little Sister

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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: Yeah, well, that's why I'm the tall one, "little" big brother!
Super Mario World (1991), "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.

This trope primarily applies to siblings of the same sex. It is less unusual for younger brothers to grow to be taller than older sisters, given that men are generally taller than women. If this is portrayed as strange or unusual when both siblings are fully-grown adults, it can be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, similar to Short Teens, Tall Adults. But this trope can still be played straight if he's a hulking giant while she's average-sized or petite.

This can be unintentional in long-running live-action TV series where actors cast as children hit a growth spurt during puberty and end up taller than their onscreen older sibling(s). But if it appears in film, comics, or animation, it's almost certainly a deliberate invocation of this trope.

Such height differences can also be the case with adopted, step- or half-siblings. Different biological parents means 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 literal 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 (or maybe some more general type of Sizeshifting). See Small Parent, Huge Child for a parent-child variation.

Examples with their own pages:

Other Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • In Everybody Berates Chris (MAD Magazine's parody of Everybody Hates Chris) Chris complains about getting his taller younger brother's old clothes because he's the only kid in the ghetto wearing "hand me ups".
  • 23-year-old Jerrica Benton from Jem and the Holograms (IDW) 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 (Archie Comics), 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 20s. 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 15 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.
  • Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) is the tallest of his four brothers, and noticeably taller than Leonardo and Raphael.
  • X-Men: Colossus 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 
  • As one of several side effects of Alya hijacking a reality altering wish from Gabriel Agrestre in Alya and the Harem Reality, Zoe, Chloe's younger half sister, is now taller than her. This is among several sources of grief Chloe has about Zoe in the story's universe, along with the fact she has more time with their mother and the fact Zoe is nicer and more likeable than Chloe is by Chloe's own admission.
  • Anchor Foal II: Deconstructed. Because Zephyr is naturally taller than Fluttershy, ponies that met them when they were kids tended to assume he was the older sibling, looking after his timid younger sister. By the time they reached adulthood, this led to him internallizing the idea that he has to look after her, or else who knows what kind of trouble she'll get into.
  • In Bendy and Boris: The Quest For The Ink Machine Boris is twelve and Bendy is eighteen, but Boris is tall enough to easily pick up Bendy who is the size of a small child.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Earth-27: Thanks to being shrunk by the mutagen process, Mondo Gecko is over a foot shorter than his younger sister Mona Lisa.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Our New Sister: Chickpea turns out to be a little younger than Finley and Starley who are two of her adopted siblings but is the biggest of the siblings.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Weirwood Queen: Sansa at 6'0" is one inch taller than her older brother Robb.
  • Where We Don't Belong: Played for Laughs when Fugiri (Number 13) declares Lanz her and Segiri's little brother, despite the fact that he's twice their size. Combined.
  • Used for a twist ending in this 40K short story about a Chapter serf and the Space Marine he serves, the serf being the Marine's biological older brother but now barely a fraction of his size.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: The Way of Water: Kiri absolutely towers over her adoptive older brother Spider, making her seem like the big sister despite him being a year older. This one's a justified Interspecies Adoption example, as Kiri is a Na'vi (a species that can reach up to 10 feet tall when fully grown) and Spider is a human.
  • 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.
  • In the Fantastic Beasts series, Aberforth Dumbledore is played by 6"2 Richard Coyle who is several inches taller than his on-screen older brother, played the average height Jude Law. Although camera tricks are used to make them look the same height when standing side by side.
  • 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.
  • A Loud House Christmas: Among the Loud sisters, Luna (the third eldest), Luan (the fourth eldest), and Lynn Jr. (the fifth eldest) tower over Leni (the second eldest), with Lynn being slightly taller than Leni if not the same height. In contrast, in the animated series, their heights were directly proportionate to their ages.
  • 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 5' 4" Seth Green.
  • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)": Both Donatello (6'8") and Raphael (6'5", who himself is the shorter older brother of the former) tower over their older brother, Leonardo (6'3").
  • Bubba "Leatherface" Sawyer is the baby of the family in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but he's taller and much broader than his older brothers.
  • In Virgin Alexander Hank's younger brother Trent is both taller and more mature sexually.
  • Exaggerated 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.
  • xXx: Brothers Yorgi and Kolya are both members of Anarchy 99. Yorgi is explicitly the oldest of the two and their leader. Kolya towers over him and is one of Yorgi's muscle.

  • 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 chronological 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.
  • Cyrus of The Ashtown Burials is very tall for his age, much to the chagrin of his older sister Antigone, who is shorter than average and irritated about it.
  • 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 6 feet tall.
  • The Dresden Files: Six-and-a-half-foot-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.
    • Percy Jackson and his Cyclops half-brother Tyson, who's about seven years younger than Percy but was a couple feet taller than him in his first appearance, and only gets bigger as the series goes on.
  • 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 20s 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 The Outlaw Varjak Paw, the 'Orrible Twins, Ozzie and Omar, have this dynamic, with the larger Ozzie being more childlike than his slightly older brother Omar.
  • In World Without End, Ralph is this to Merthin.

  • "My Little Brother's Appetite" by Jack Prelutsky describes how the narrator's little brother is a Picky Eater who "doesn't eat/enough to fill a parakeet" before wondering, "However did he get to be/The size and shape of two of me?"

    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.
  • David Von Erich, at 6'7", was this to older brother Kevin, himself 6'3". Averted with their younger brothers Mike, Chris, and Kerry; Chris was 5'5" and the others 6'2".

    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.

    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 14 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.
  • Makoto Naegi, the protagonist of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, is the second shortest member of his class with only Chihiro being shorter than him. Come Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, and we learn that even his younger sister Komaru is taller than him.
  • From Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and Danganronpa 3, Natsumi Kuzuryu is 5cm(2") taller and 2Kg (4.4lb) heavier than her older brother Fuyuhiko.
  • In Super Danganronpa Another 2, Kanade Otonokoji is the younger twin of her sister Hibiki but is far more mature and developed. When Hibiki tries lording her status as the older sibling over her, a drunk Kanade harshly reminds her that they're only ten seconds apart.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Hazuki is Takuya's younger sister, yet she is taller and more developed than him. One night, he finds out that the reason is that Hazuki is adopted; her real father is a classmate of his dad's who passed away moments after she was born and Takuya was one year old.
  • 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.
  • Helluva Boss: Millie's sister Sallie Mae is younger than her, despite being much taller than her. Sallie Mae is a trans woman, so it would be normal for her to be within typically-male height ranges, but height doesn't seem to correlate strongly with sex among imps and she's also taller than their parents.
  • Natural Habitat Shorts: One short is based on the fact that owls feed their strongest babies first (though in practice that's usually the oldest, so Rule of Funny is in full control). Two normal-looking tiny fluffy owlets feed on the scraps left by their "baby brother", who has an owlet's head on the body of a muscular man and a disturbingly deep voice despite still being diapered and in a baby car seat.

  • The brothers Bob and George have this dynamic, because they're recolors of Proto Man and Mega Man respectively, who don't. George is nervous and insecure where Bob is (generally) levelheaded.
  • Brother Complex: Rose is this to Jack, though she certainly didn't start out that way. In fact, she was naturally smaller than him before he left to study abroad. Turns out, this was the result of a Super Serum.
  • Prince Ossomer of Erfworld is the youngest, tallest and most muscular of the three Jetstone Princes. Prince Tramennis is the eldest and smallest.
  • Min-Seong from The Friendly Winter is a 19-year-old girl with a physical disorder that leaves her looking like a little girl. It turns out she has a step-sister she never heard of before, due to her mom abandoning her years ago, and she's of normal height.
  • The Kageyama brothers from Mob Psycho 100, with Ritsu being slightly taller and looking slightly more mature than his elder brother Shigeo.
  • Bamsoon from My Daughter Is A Zombie is a Miniature Senior Citizen who doesn't even reach her teenage granddaughter's hip. Bigsoon is Bamsoon's younger sister but towers over Bamsoon's adult son.
  • Heartstopper:
    • Nick Nelson, who is in the last few years of secondary school, and taller and more muscular than his University age brother David. He's more emotionally mature too, being a kind Gentle Giant compared to David, a homophobic Big Brother Bully who picks on Nick and his boyfriend Charlie Spring.
    • The Spring siblings are also like this. Tori, the oldest, stands at 5'2", Charlie, the middle child, is 5'11", and the youngest, Oliver, eventually grows to at least 6'1".
  • The Order of the Stick has a variant in Start of Darkness prequel book — Redcloak is immortal, so by the end of the story his younger brother appears decades older than him. He's also grown wiser, having moved on from the tragedy that originally motivated them and trying to find a new way of life for the goblins that doesn't rely on insane liches, vengeful gods, or an Eldritch Abomination. Redcloak on the other hand is still the same angry teenager who put on the Crimson Mantle decades ago.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Among the pair of cousins in the crew, Lalli is visibly taller than Tuuri, but is two years younger than her.
  • In Umlaut House 2 Sissi's older and slightly shorter brother Jack calls her "little big sis."
  • Unsounded: Matty considers Uaid, the giant construct his mother made out of a baby mountain ogre, his little brother. Matty and his friends can fit in Uaid's hand, though most consider Uaid nothing but a tool despite his being sentient.
  • In the Walkyverse, Riley is taller than Roz despite being several years younger. This is not true in the College AU Dumbing of Age, however, since in that universe everyone is younger and Riley is a petite 12-year-old.

    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).
  • Pirates SMP: While this is not apparent due to in-game limitations and only confirmed by Word of God, Acho is the taller brother in spite of being the younger one, being 6'4" to stars brother Scott's 5'8–9" (i.e. almost an entire head taller).


Video Example(s):

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


Shinju, JuJu's "Little" Sister

Marin is excited to meet cosplayer Juju's Younger Sister, Shinju, who she imagines to be a smaller version of the already petite Juju. It turns out, Shinju is much bigger than Juju... in more ways than one. Both Marin and Gojo are perplexed

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (20 votes)

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