Follow TV Tropes


Faster Than They Look

Go To
They aren’t called “river horses” for nothing.

Tyrion: Does he frighten you so much?
Bronn: I'd be a bloody fool if he didn't frighten me. He's freakish big and freakish strong. And quicker than you'd think for a man of that size.

So you meet this character. He looks slow somehow. Maybe he's so big, maybe he's so heavily armored, maybe he wields a big weapon, maybe his legs are too small, or he looks sickly and lethargic (or even a zombie), whatever. You'd expect to easily outrun this guy.

But then said so-called "slow" guy suddenly runs really fast! Bonus points if he's mad and is specifically going after you.

Despite the above, this can apply to vehicles and animals as well. Examples of exceptionally fast individuals of an otherwise slow animal species go under the subtrope Speedy Snail.

Super-Trope to Acrofatic and Impossibly Graceful Giant. Overlaps with Lightning Bruiser if the character can be mistaken for a Mighty Glacier at first glance. Contrast Glacier Waif, who's slower than they look.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Most titans can move much more quickly than one would expect of creatures their size and shape. In spite of their awkward gaits they are still giants and thus they have much bigger strides and more power to move faster. The Armored Titan in particular looks like a Mighty Glacier because of its bulky armor, but once it sheds the armor at the back of its knees it suddenly becomes a Lightning Bruiser at the cost of gaining an Achilles' Heel.
  • Berserk:
    • Guts the protagonist himself is a 6 foot musclebound lug who wields a BFS and later in the series goes around in full armour from head to foot. This would usually make him lumbering, except in battle Guts is a blatant Lightning Bruiser who can easily keep up with ninja like opponents and one point catches two chakrams and likens it to “swatting a fly”. When Guts uses Berserker Armour this dialled up further with even the Apostles blustering that Guts shouldn’t be able make those kind of movements with the armour and weapon he’s using.
    • To lesser extent there’s Pippin, a Gentle Giant who in spite of his bulk could move surprisingly quickly at times and swing his hammer as quickly as Guts could swing his greatsword. Both he and Guts could turn the Black Dog Knights into mincemeat when working in tandem.
    • A lot of Apostles are terribly fast for their monstrous sizes. In particular Zodd, Wyald and Grunbeld could beat the shit out of Guts with a couple of quick strikes despite being four times his size in their true forms.
  • Black Lagoon: Revy comments that Torch is faster than he looks "for a fat fucker".
  • Bleach
    • It's easy to forget that despite quite a few characters carrying bulk on themselves, almost all of them can use a Flash Step technique, and some of them are fast even by those standards.
    • Marechiyo Omaeda is noticeably portly and gets mocked for his weight (rather hypocritically) by Nirgge Parduoc, only for the Arrancar to be blindsided when Omaeda outmaneuvers him with a burst of speed and shows he didn't become the lieutenant of the Stealth Division and resident speedster Sui-Feng simply for his family connections.
    • Second Espada Baraggan Louisenbairn looks like a well-muscled old man hefting around a giant axe in his sealed form and who mainly relies on Powers Do the Fighting, but with an almost casual display of Sonido he appeared right behind Sui-Feng and lightly tapped her on the shoulder while leaving her unable to follow his movement. And this was after she defeated his Fraccion Ggio Vega, who was the Fragile Speedster that she held back against before two-shotting once she got his meddle.
  • Claymore shows us Dauf. He has a big, bulky shape, and does not look very fast. But although the other Awakened Beings are still faster than him, Dauf is still impressively fast.
  • Digimon: Sleipmon of the Royal Knights is a bulky armored horse that looks far too massive to be agile, but it is nonetheless the second fastest of the Royal Knights (beaten only by the Dragon Knight UlforceV-dramon), being capable of reaching blistering speeds which opponents have trouble keeping up with.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Drum of the King Piccolo Saga is a big fat guy, but is able to Flash Step around.
    • Nappa was the easily bulkiest Saiyan introduced in the series (prior to Broly), but as big as he is Nappa was still fast enough to take off Tien’s arm in seconds and demolish the Z-Fighters until Goku showed up.
    • Vegeta displays this as a Great Ape. He's as big as a skyscraper, but his speed is unaffected; Goku himself is shocked at how fast Great Ape Vegeta can move despite his size.
    • Similarly the non-canon fourth movie villain Lord Slug in his Great Namek form could move ridiculously fast for his size and even effectively hide from Goku, allowing him to get the jump on the Saiyan. He also has very long reach thanks to his Extendable Arms.
    • Among Frieza’s henchmen there’s Fat Bastard Dodoria as well Recoome and Burter who are the tallest and most built of the Ginyu Force but all three are faster than their size suggests Burter in particular is self-proclaimed “The Fastest in the Universe”.
      • Lampshaded with Dodoria in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, after Gohan and Krillin escape from Dodoria with Dende, Gohan tells Krillin not to worry as he calculates that Dodoria‘s mass means there’s no way he could catch up the speed they’re flying at. Then Dodoria shows up attacking them from behind.
    • Android 19 and Android 16 are respectively: a fat clown-like man and a 6’9 foot red mohawked giant. Both can move extremely fast and are very strong in their own right. Android 16 in particular could get the jump on the lankier Imperfect Cell.
    • Majin Buu in his Fat/Innocent Form despite his obese body can easily kept up with the Lightning Bruiser Saiyans and displays remarkable agility.
    • Broly The Berserker and Canon Immigrant is roughly three meters tall in his Super Mode and built like a brick shithouse. None of this impedes Broly’s speed in the slightest, in fact he’s effortlessly able to grab and his smash his opponents in the blink of a eye and fly as fast as everyone else. His Spear Counterpart Kale is of the same mold.
    • Most of the Non-Serial Movie villains (e.g Garlic Jnr, Cooler, Android 13 and Bojack) are much faster than they look once they activate their One-Winged Angel forms.
    • This is so common for Dragon Ball, that the subversion actually comes as a surprise. When Trunks discovers the Super Saiyan Advanced form, he thinks it's a trump card that can be played against Cell, but keeps it a secret from Vegeta so as not to hurt his ego. However, when the form is used against Cell, the villain demonstrates that all that extra bulk provided DOES slow Trunks down, to the point where Cell can easily evade any attacks. To add insult to injury, it's pointed out that had Trunks shown his new form to the other Z-Fighters, they'd have more than likely been able to point out the flaws without necessitating a brutal beatdown.
    • A more recent and glaring example from Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is Cell Max who unlike his predecessor is the size of goddamn a building and only gets more massive in the fight. This doesn’t at all prevent him from doing the usual rapid movement behind the Z-Fighters to attack them — while upside down too.
  • Eyeshield 21: Otawara's advantage as a lineman is that while not as strong as most lineman he is faster than someone his size should be which even out againsgt Mighty Glacier like Kurita and even break through if he picked up enough speed.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Sloth is huge and, true to his namesake, he hates moving fast. But once properly motivated he Turns Red and starts fighting by slamming into opponents at high speed.
    • Alex Louis Armstrong possesses a bodybuilder's physique that would usually indicate a Mighty Glacier, when in fact he manages to outspeed the aforementioned Sloth! Notably, his alchemy has nothing to do with his own physical abilities, making this a case of Charles Atlas Superpower.
    • Scar is a Downplayed example; his physique is more toned down than Armstrong or Sloth, but he still has a muscular, stocky form. Despite this, his strategy is closer to that of a Glass Cannon, using speed and his deconstructive alchemy to end fights.
  • InuYasha:
    • The evil, man-eating demon Goshinki is ten feet tall, yet he can move fast. In fact, Inuyasha realizes during the fight that he is much faster than he looks. That Goshinki can read Inyuasha's thoughts makes him even more dangerous.
    • Another episode has the half-demon Gyu-oh. He looks like a pure human during the day, and like a pure bull-demon at night. In his demonic form, he looks big and massive, but is much faster than it seems. He was able to effortlessly fend off Sango's huge boomerang and quickly caught up with the fleeing Kagome. And he is not only strong, but also smart.
  • Massugu ni Ikou: Sora is a Dachshund. Despite her stubby lil' legs, she's quite fast and can jump high.
  • One Piece:
    • In the Thriller Bark arc, Nami, Chopper and Usopp are being chased by zombies. When the three start running and think the zombies can't chase them, suddenly the zombies start sprinting at them. But not long after, the zombies have to catch their breath as they lack the stamina.
    • There's the gigantic zombie Oars, who despite his size can move and react quickly to Straw Hats' attacks. Probably justified in that he has Luffy's shadow powering him courtesy of Moria's powers.
    • Chopper himself in his Heavy Point transformation is ironically shown to move quite fast for his size. When he was first shown using this form in combat, he took down both Luffy and Sanji quickly and got the jump on Wapol. The same sentiment applies to Chopper’s towering Monster Point, which in spite of its size could react to the Flash Stepping Kumadori and smash him out of the air.
    • Bartholomew Kuma is a 22ft-tall cyborg with a big upper body who nonetheless is able to Flash Step around. He cheats; his Paw-Paw Fruit power helps him (by "pushing" himself so fast, at that).
    • Jinbei is a massive, rotund Whale Shark Fish-Man. Yet in spite of his bulk he can run extremely fast and keep up with slimmer, speedier fighters effortlessly. Lampshaded Gecko Moria during Marineford arc. “You're fast for a big fellow”.
    • Franky post Time Skip is even more top-heavy than was before and his bulky frames does Word of God make him the slowest Straw Hat. However Franky is still shown to move remarkably fast in combat and he can still unleash Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs as seen with his fights with Senior Pink and Luffy (the third fastest Straw Hat) in the non-canon Film Gold Short Special.
    • All of the Four Emperors have displayed this trope at some point or another:
      • Big Mom is a very obese Gonk, but is perfectly capable of chasing down a fleeing Sanji (the second fastest Straw Hat). She can also keep up with Brook (the fastest Straw Hat).
      • Kaido is an extremely muscular Top-Heavy Guy...and the instant he sobers up, he can Speed Blitz Luffy.
      • Whitebeard, gives the appearance of a Mighty Glacier due to his age...but was able to Flash Step right behind Admiral Akainu in an instant.
      • Shanks was able to intercept Akainu in an instant with absolutely no forewarning of his presence on the entire battlefield.
  • Pokémon:
    • Played for laughs in an episode showcasing Slowpoke and Shellder. When Team Rocket tries to force their newly caught Shellder to clamp onto Slowpoke's tail and forcefully evolve it into Slowbro, Slowpoke is not a fan of this idea and is promptly chased around by Shellder, much to Team Rocket's frustration.
      Jessie: I thought you were a Slowpoke!
    • Gardenia's Turtwig was also portrayed this way. It's a Turtle Pokémon that walks on four legs... and moves at super speed.
    • Ash's Snorlax looks like a sluggish Mighty Glacier, but proves surprisingly Acrofatic.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Fuji of the Ten Swords is a literal giant, yet is so fast that the gang at the Oniwabanshu place didn't even notice his presence until after he had cut half the inn down.
  • Thorkell "the Tall" from Vinland Saga is a ridiculously tall and muscular mountain of a viking, and the World's Strongest Man in terms of sheer brute strength. He's also much faster than you'd think looking at him. Thorfinn, the main character and a Fragile Speedster who is about half Thorkell's size, is horrified in their first battle when he realizes that, despite Thorkell's height and bulk Thorkell, isn't much slower than Thorfinn.

    Comic Books 
  • People often make this observation about The Incredible Hulk (for example The Wasp in the first issue of The Avengers). While they assume being a massive slab of angry green muscle would slow him down, his Super Strength also allows him to move his mass with ease. In another issue Quicksilver tried running rings around Hulk, who unimpressed took him out with a well placed lovetap.
  • While he isn’t usually as powerful as the aforementioned Hulk, The Thing from Fantastic Four in spite of his rocky exterior is actually quick fast. Ben has frequently held his own and kept up with strongest and fastest characters in Marvel even against a Physical God like Thor.
  • X-Men: Colossus is often described as moving with far, far more speed and agility in his metallic form than his bulk (and name) would lead anyone to expect. Though characters have also noted that he's still slower than other characters of similar strength level who aren't made of metal, like Hercules or Wonder Man.
  • The Juggernaut. Many, many heroes and villains have made the mistake of assuming Juggs is just a lumbering moron and are in for a rude awakening when they discover he can go 600 miles per hour and even approach the speed of freaking sound at top speeds. His preferred fighting style is charging at his opponents at high speeds flattening them or smashing them through walls.
  • In Red Robin Tim gets taken by surprise by "Goliath"'s speed and almost loses his life for it. He normally wouldn't make such an assumption based on appearance but he was in a hurry and had noted that Goliath hadn't been able to grab Tam, an untrained civilian, but didn't realize Goliath hadn't really been trying to.
  • Nightwing once refers to this trope when fighting Blockbuster, along with the fact that he is not this trope, but another one.
  • Solomon Grundy an Elite Zombie is usually presented as a Mighty Glacier, except the majority of his close quarter battles he still moves incredibly fast for his size. Even Superman the strongest and fastest Flying Brick has been snatched and punched out of the air by Grundy multiple times.
  • Both Darkseid and his Marvel Expy Thanos are massive as the Hulk and many foolish foes and fans underestimate their mobility. As in spite of their bulk, both of them can keep up Flying Bricks and move at great speeds, Thanos in the particular has repeatedly overpowered Silver Surfer who can go faster then light.
  • Beta from The Walking Dead is a huge and obviously strong man, towering over even other large characters, but in several fights he also proves himself to be startlingly fast and nimble. Negan spends part of their fight screaming that Beta shouldn't be able to move so fast and to stand still already, and even Jesus, who is experienced in Parkour and practically a Dance Battler, is surprised by Beta's speed and agility. Justified when Beta is finally unmasked; he was a famous world class athlete before the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • John Byrne likes this trope - "How can something so big be so fast" or some variant thereof is practically an Author Catchphrase for him.
  • Galactus usually has speed matching his gigantic size, but they have been many instances of him somehow getting the jump on heroes with superior speed and even blitzing them with his attacks. O’l purple helmet has even gone up against the likes Dark Phoenix and Thor and more or less kept up with them. Like his former Herald Silver Surfer, Galactus can travel faster than light, although thankfully he only does so in space.
  • Sovereign Seven had Walter Thorson, aka Reflex, a seven foot tall man with a heavily muscular physique, who looks powerful, but bulky and slow. Except that he's the team speedster, and once nimbly dodged Bart Allen during his Impulse days.
  • When Spider-Man first fought the Rhino, he made the mistake of assuming the large criminal would be too slow to land a hit on him. The Rhino himself was banking on Spider-Man making this mistake.
  • Doomsday is a hulking, grey, boney beast, who can run like an Olympic sprinter and blitz the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, the Many's shuffling, jittery and spasming body language in their humanoid forms disguises how frighteningly fast they move when they're on the offensive.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • At the end of the first season, Goku figures that now Vegeta's transformed from a roughly 5 foot tall humanoid into a skyscraper-sized ape, he'll be stronger but a lot slower-ohgodhe'sjustasfast!!!
    • In the second season, Gohan assumes that he and Krillin will easily be able to outfly The Brute/Fat Bastard/Dark Action Girl Dodoria after getting in a couple of sucker punches on Dodoria and fleeing. He's just as wrong as his father was about Vegeta.
      Krillin: Not gonna lie Gohan, that was not your smartest move.
      Gohan: Oh come on Krillin, we have a ten mile lead on him. Factoring in our speed and velocity and his mass, there's no way he should be able to catch up. [Dodoria shows up right behind them throwing Ki Manipulation at them both]
      Krillin: Well, look who's wrong!
      Gohan: There's always room for error!
  • Gigant Edge, one of the mid-bosses in Kirby: Revenge of Dream Land, has become this trope as part of the game's increase in difficulty over Kirby's Return to Dream Land. While he was a slow-moving, easily predictable Warm-Up Boss in the original game, his Revenge incarnation has a Shield Bash attack that sends him hurtling across the screen with very little warning.
  • In Heart of Ashes, Kathryn sees in one of her visions Ancalagon the Black, the largest dragon to have ever lived in Middle-earth. He was big enough to block out the sun and crush three mountains underneath him when he eventually died, yet much to Kathryn's astonishment, he was able to fly quickly and nimbly as much as his noticeably smaller brethren.
  • In the first chapter of Quantity of Quirks, Izuku is five and a half meters tall and weighs almost four metric tons, but is even faster than Iida, something several characters state makes no sense. Considering that Izuku's essentially Kaido, complete with the ability to become a great eastern dragon, Izuku being as fast as he is makes sense.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf is repeatedly noted as being much faster than someone bigger than the Mountain (himself an example) should be. He doesn't exactly dodge arrows, but he does move his shield fast enought to block them.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many Kaiju are this even if they don't seem particularly agile. Most incarnations of Godzilla for instance don't even need to run to easily outpace fleeing crowds, mostly due to having strides dozens of meters long.
    • One of Godzilla's rivals, Gamera. Despite being, you know, a turtle, Gamera pulls some truly stupid feats of speed, agility, and dexterity for something of his size.
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Bombur, by far the largest and fattest of the Dwarves, outruns the entire company after hearing the roar of Beorn. Also features some great reaction shots from the others that were actually not scripted, as they genuinely had no idea actor Stephen Hunter could run that fast in a fat suit.
  • In the first Jurassic Park film, John Hammond mentions that they have clocked the T. rex's speed at 32 mph/51.5 kph. Impressive for a 20 foot tall, 25,000 lb creature.note 
  • Abby from Let Me In is a vampire who looks like a 12-year-old girl. When she sees some school bullies trying to drown her boyfriend, Owen, she rages and tears four humans apart in less than five minutes.

  • In Dragon Bones it is mentioned that Ward looks slow, because he's so big, but is actually quite fast.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane is perhaps the largest man in all of Westeros, an almost eight foot tall tower of muscle. He is also one of the better swordsmen, in part because, as Bronn notes, while he isn't exactly fast by normal standards he's certainly quicker than you'd expect a man his size to be, and one hit from him is all it takes.
    • Gregor's younger brother Sandor "The Hound" Clegane isn't quite as big, being a "mere" 6'6 and also thickly muscled, but Master Swordsman Jaime Lannister considers him one of the most dangerous opponents one could face because Sandor is much, much faster than his size and build would indicate and a vicious fighter as well.
  • In Animorphs Jake morphs into a rhino. When he does it for the first time, he himself is surprised that he is much faster than he expected.
    • Much later in the plot, a girl named Colette morphs into a crocodile. Cassie is surprised to learn that crocodiles are not only strong and resilient, but also fast.
    • Likewise, a girl named Kelly morphs into a bull. Marco is impressed that she is not only strong and resilient as a bull, but also fast.
  • Frank Zhang from The Heroes of Olympus looks very overweight. But he is a demigod, and therefore physically much stronger than an ordinary human, but also much faster. Some monsters who fought him were surprised at how quickly he could attack or dodge them.
  • Harry Potter: Rubeus Hagrid, a half-giant hybrid, stands 8'6" and extremely bulky. He is also described as being incredibly fast and agile.
  • The taratzes from the German SF series Maddrax can move on two legs as well as on all four. Even on two legs they are so fast that they can easily catch up with a fleeing human. But if they walk on all four legs, they can reach fifty to sixty kilometers an hour. Because they look like giant rats, you don't immediately realize how fast they really are.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil: Sabah, the Captain, is over seven feet tall, often described as a giant and wields an enormous war-hammer. Still, she moves like lightning, faster than any normal human could.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Love & Monsters", the Abzorbaloff pretends it is very slow and comments on how big and sluggish it is, but when it actually pursues Elton it turns out it's just as fast as he is.
  • Lampshaded in a 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, when Seth Meyers remarks of Barbara Birmingham (Kenan Thompson) being, "Way faster than she looks", after she attempts to assault him in the blink of an eye.

  • The Nash Rambler in the Playmates' "Beep Beep", which easily keeps up with a Cadillac at full speed.
    Now we were doing a hundred and twenty -
    As fast as I could go
    The Rambler pulled alongside of me
    As if we were going slow
    The fellow rolled down his window
    And yelled for me to hear
    "Hey buddy, how can I get this car
    Out of second gear?"
  • Steriogram's Walkie Talkie Man.
    He's fat and he don't run too fast -
    But he's faster than me -
    Last night at the show we saw him -
    Going out of his tree -

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The gist of Calvin Tankman's gimmick. He's stocky, nearly four hundred pounds and purposefully shows off his bulging(but not hanging) gut as he lumbers before the match, before suddenly approaching much more quickly.
  • Brock Lesnar is built like a tank and hits like a truck, but he can put on bursts of speed which allow him to catch a fleeing opponent.
  • Like Brock, Braun Strowman is six-foot-eight and 385 pounds, renowned for his beastly strength— he has flipped a semi truck— but his speed makes him extra terrifying. One of his trademark attacks is a running shoulder charge on the outside, which often hits his victims with enough speed that they are sent flipping head over heels.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In BattleTech, when the Clans invaded the Inner Sphere in 3049, Inner Sphere forces observed the 95 ton Gladiator omnimech and were horrified when it was able to run short distances at 86 kph, speeds normally seen in mechs half its size in the Inner Sphere. To a lesser extent, this applied to many Clan omnimechs because the prevailing idea in the Inner Sphere was that you could choose any two of armor, firepower, and speed for a mech, but the Clans had lighter engines, armor, internal structure, and weaponry than the Inner Sphere did so they could build mechs that had all three.

    Video Games 
  • A quest in Uldum in World of Warcraft features Harrison Jones (an Indiana Jones Expy) in a fistfight with a large burly man, in reference to the famous propeller scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He says to the player:
    Harrison Jones: My dad always said the big guys hit hard, but they're slow... I don't think my dad ever fought this guy!
  • Half-Life: Those that think a Gargantua is slow due to their giant-nature will prove first-timers very wrong, since not only can they run swiftly, they can more than keep up with you, and if you dare to look back as they're chasing you, you'll be VERY spooked. This is shown quite prominently during the event in the "Surface Tension" chapter when Gordon is running for his life after being dislodged from crawling through his normally-safe vent-turing, forcing Gordon to run from the ever-gaining Gargantua whilst it easily dashes cars in its way like plastic toys, as shown in its Black Mesa variation here.
  • Metroid: It doesn't really come up in the games, but the official strategy guide for Super Metroid lists Samus Aran's weight without her Power Suit as 90 kilograms or 198 pounds, while lists the suit's weight as equal to that of Samus herself, which would make a total of 396 pounds, yet she moves very fast and jumps very well even while wearing the suit, with none of that weight seeming to affect her at all.
  • Pokémon:
    • The move Trick Room can cause this effect as it inverts turn order — the slower Pokémon will start moving first, leading to this result.
    • Miltank, a large cow Pokemon with impressive physical bulk, has a fairly respectable Speed base stat of 100. (For the record, that's equal to Charizard)
    • Stoutland, a plump dog Pokémon, has a base speed of 80. The rideable Stoutland in Alola are also rather fast, their girth seemingly having no impact on their speed.
    • An inversion with Escavalier: Its Pokédex entries mention it as flying around at high speeds. In gameplay, it's one of the slowest fully evolved Pokémon.
    • Slaking, a giant ape that is depicted as lazing around. Its name is even a play off slacking, yet it has 100 speed.
    • Eiscue is a penguin Pokémon, and penguins aren't known for their speed (at least not on land). However, when the ice around its head breaks, its speed skyrockets to a blistering 130.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Nemesis of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis looks to be as strong as a mammoth and tough as an ox, yet walks towards you at a slow, deliberate pace. However, once you get far enough away from him, he starts sprinting towards you for a running punch, outpacing your own running speed.
    • The Ustanak of Resident Evil 6 is also deceptively quick for its size, something that Sherry lampshades.
    • Mr X from Resident Evil 2 (Remake) unlike the previous example does mostly act like The Juggernaut with a lumbering march, and Leon and Claire can easily run circles around him in a open space. Underestimating his speed is a suicidal move however, as at short distances Mr X can punch and grab the player characters with astonishing speed, then there's his Super Tyrant form in the Final Battle where Mr X becomes a complete Lightning Bruiser.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • A variant: some characters do move as slowly as you'd expect (King Dedede, Bowser, Donkey Kong etc) but some of their attacks come deceptively quick. Wario, on the other hand, really does run that fast.
    • With the addition of Character Customization in the fourth game, you can make those characters much faster than normal.
  • Letho of Gulet from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is easily over six foot and almost as broad as he is tall, along with possessing a sleepy eyed, brutish look. This nicely disguises the fact that he's a wickedly smart Manipulative Bastard, along with the fact that he's lightning fast and possessed of a skillset that's more rogue than tank. More than a few opponents who really should know better find themselves dead before they've even found the time to underestimate him, the others spend their last moments cursing themselves for doing just that.
  • Barret from Final Fantasy VII and it's remake is a hulking Scary Black Man with a massive Arm Cannon. While you'd think he'd be outpaced by his more skinny companions, you be mistaken as Barret has often shown to keep up with Supersoldier Cloud and Cute Bruiser Tifa in most cases including dodging More Dakka from Shinra Mooks. In the remake Barret is the slowest party member during combat, but in cutscenes he's quite quick on his feet.
  • Paladins
    • While the other Flank champions are small to average in size, Buck is large and has a burly physique that is more fitting a Front Line champion. However, his muscular legs can propel his bulk far and fast with his Mighty Leap.
    • Ash is a heavily armored Front Line champion who carries a BFG. However, her mobility skill, Shoulder Bash, covers large distances at breakneck speed, which is balanced by her having to windup before rushing. In contrast, other Front Lines either have short range mobility skills or none at all.
  • Uncharted gives players the option of playing as "Doughnut Drake", a morbidly obese version of the normally svelte and agile protagonist, Nathan Drake. Despite his much larger frame, Doughnut Drake can run, jump, fight, and hide just as well as his thinner counterpart, making him much faster than he looks.
  • The fastest animals in the racing minigame of Uncle Albert's Magical Album are the snails and the tortoise.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Rewrite, Kotarou encounters a giant dinosaur familiar. Since it's so big, he expects it to be lumbering and slow and for the human agents fighting it to speed around it like in games, but the dinosaur actually catches up to them and easily crushes them in two huge steps.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Terraspin is frequently mistaken for being slow due to having the appearance of a turtle, but being a living hovercraft he is actually incredibly fast.
  • Prince Derek from Disenchantment is "surprisingly fast for a beach ball of a boy" according to Odval.
  • Droopy. A slow and melancholic basset hound who nevertheless manages to travel hundreds of miles/kilometers in a matter of seconds, always there when the villain doesn't expect him to be so.
  • In The Legend of Vox Machina, Professor Anders is a middle-aged, heavyset man who looks like Humpty Dumpty. However, while fighting Percy deRolo, he proves to be quick and agile enough to dodge several bullets.
  • Done In-Universe when The Simpsons go on an African safari. Marge looks through her binoculars at a far away cheetah lying under a tree. "He doesn't look so fast to me." During the time between her looking through the binoculars and putting them down the cheetah runs up and sticks its head in her face.
  • In an episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Kingpin reveals that he's actually really fast despite his size.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Rose Quartz is roughly 8-feet-tall and chubby, but a flashback to a battle early in the rebellion shows her Flash Stepping and generally dashing quickly around the Ruby bodyguards.
    • Yellow Diamond is 20 or 30 feet tall, tall enough to make booming noises with each step, and in "Reunited" she dashes across the battlefield at almost Flash Step speeds before stomping on her opponent without missing a beat.
  • Total Drama:
    • Owen appears to be a unathletic, sluggish, fat boy, and in most cases this is true. However if you present food to him a distance away, he can outrun anyone in between him and said meal.
    • This trope is also lampshaded in "Wawanakwa Gone Wild" where Gwen tries to catch a duck, but when she gets close, it suddenly runs off at an incredible speed in Road Runner fashion, leading her to say: "Last time I checked, ducks waddled."

    Real Life 
  • Hippos and elephants are both much faster than one would suspect from their bulk, with both having been clocked at nearly 30 mph/48.3 kph (roughly as fast as a galloping horse), at least for short sprints.
  • With their short legs, long bodies and tendency to lie around, many people discover the hard way that crocodiles and alligators can easily outpace a human.
  • While usually slow-moving, gorillas can reach speeds of 30 mph/48.3 kph in short bursts.
  • With an adult male weighing over a ton at most, the eland (genus Taurotragus) is the heaviest species of antelope, yet can run at speeds of up to 25 mph over short distances. Adults can also jump up to 8 feet 2 inches from a standing start — behold!
  • Many Real Life ships are surprisingly fast, due to the fact that a very big ship can fit a very big engine. HMS Dreadnought, launched in 1906, displaced 20,000 tons, was as long as one and a half football fields, and could make 21 knots under full speed. A heavily armed fortress that could travel 24 miles in an hour. USS Iowa, launched in 1943, displaced 45,000 tons, was as long as two and a half football fields, and could make 33 knots, able to cover nearly 40 miles in an hour. The modern day Nimitz class nuclear carriers weigh in at 100,000 tons, are longer than three football fields, and can make better than 30 knots without ever needing to stop to refuel. A very big ship will also have a very long waterline, contributing to very fast hull speed.
  • Trains can appear to move slower than they are. This effect is called the size-speed illusion and it can be fatal. Drivers don't expect a large and long train to be moving that fast until it's too late.
  • Many swimming animals, such as penguins, turtles and seals, look very sluggish as they waddle along on land. Once they get in the water they are surprisingly quick by comparison. As this video shows, some turtles can be fast even on land.
  • The fastest reptile is the Leatherback Sea Turtle, which can swim at 21 mph/33.8 kph.
  • Thanks to a 1500 horsepower gas turbine engine, the 60 ton M1A2 Abrams tank can cross the battlefield at 42 miles per hour on roads (and 25 miles per hour off-road). In fact the limitation on speed is the comfort of the crew and reliability of the treads rather than engine power, which is why the speed is intentionally limited by a governor. Ungoverned M1 from the first production line(with smaller guns and less armor) could go as fast as 80 mph/128.8 kph. It should be noted that this is was the defining distinction between a Main Battle Tank as a Lightning Bruiser and older Mighty Glacier Heavy Tanks and Fragile Speedster Light Tanks.
  • Grizzly bears may be pretty bulky, but they're known to be able to reach a speed of 35 mph/56.3 kph. For the record, the top speed of a human being (Usain Bolt at least) is somewhere around 27 mph/43.5 kph.
  • Both breeds of Corgi are known for their short legs, but they're so short because they're herding dogs. In order to avoid being trampled they need to be quick-footed. As a result, they're nimbler than they look.
  • African buffaloes are notorious for being much faster than they look. Not only can they run fast, but they are also surprisingly agile.
  • American bison are another species known for their quick speed over short distances: in a sprint they can outrun race horses. Yellowstone National Park has signs warning visitors that although they look slow, the average bison can run roughly three times as fast as the average tourist, so keep your distance. And that's not even mentioning their ability to jump twice their own height from a standing position.
  • Wombats. They're the tanks of Australian Wildlife, but if they feel threatened, they can and will break out into sprints of up to 40km/h.
  • Sometimes the case for hand weapons:
    • Broad-bladed swords and axes are often assumed by the lay person to be heavier and clumsier, just because they look bigger when viewed from the side. Actually, many types are surprisingly thin when viewed edge-on, making them as light and sometimes even lighter than the kinds of weapons which lay people associate with agility.
    • European Two-handed swords come in various types, with the common feature that they're big enough to require two hands to use effectively (unlike the longsword, which is meant to be gripped with two hands but is small enough to be used one-handed in a pinch). Many examples of Spadone and Montante were crafted to be relatively light and nimble for their length and proportions, enabling them to be used either in one-on-one fencing or to fend off multiple attackers.
  • Standing six-foot-three and weighing over three hundred twenty pounds, Larry Allen has a well-deserved reputation as one of the strongest men ever to play professional football, holding several NFL weightlifting records. In his rookie year, however, he showed that he had speed to go with his strength, running down a much smaller linebacker from behind to prevent a touchdown off of a pass interception.

Alternative Title(s): Faster Than You Look