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Incredible Shrinking Man

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"To God there is no zero. I still exist!"

Waldorf: Aww, a great little actress.
Statler: Yep, and getting smaller all the time!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!

Bees and moths whirr above you like helicopters. Flowers and blades of grass loom over you. Familiar household objects are like huge, immovable obstacles. Your fellow human beings blot out the sky with their immense, towering girth. Sound like a bad case of the Mondays? Think again: you've been shrunk!

The plots of Shrinking Man stories tend to involve hapless victims of Applied Phlebotinum suddenly becoming one finger tall (Magic Pants included), struggling to navigate a formerly friendly environment (such as a house or yard) and spending the rest of the episode trying not to get killed or eaten while attracting the notice of normal-sized folks who might be able to change them back to normal. Don't expect the message to get across to normal people immediately, but do expect those same people to become unwitting hazards to the tinies - after all, people don't just shrink randomly, so why should they be concerned about something like that happening?

As it generally violates the Square-Cube Law, this is usually an example of Rule of Cool.

A subset of being a Sizeshifter. Often times this is how the human protagonists are introduced to (and/or imprisoned in) the Mouse World. When used in a video game, can be the setup for a Macro Zone.

If the characters are shrunk down far enough, they could embark on a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot.

Depending on how the shrinking works, they may or may not get their clothes to shrink with them—resulting in Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing if they do, or Empty Piles of Clothing if they don't.

See also Sizeshifter. Contrast with Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. See also Shrink Ray. If their voices also sound small, that's Resized Vocals. For characters who are naturally small, see Lilliputians.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Chapter 72 of The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You, Nano falls victim to this thanks to one of Kusuri's drugs. As taking the neutralizing drug would be lethal to her in her current state, she has to wait for it to wear off naturally.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: The ayakashi medium can modify their omokage duplicates to be smaller. Since Shadow Mei is an omokage with a will of her own, she can shrink herself small enough to ride on a paper airplane.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, this happens to Chiyo (who's short to begin with!) during Sakaki's Dream Sequence in episode 8.
  • Buso Renkin: In the manga version of the series, both Victor and Tokiko are shrunk after getting hit Madoka Maruyama's Bubble Cage buso renkinnote . While Victor isn't shrunk by much, Tokiko was reduced to the size of a doll until she defeated Maruyama.
  • Happens in the Cardcaptor Sakura TV episode where Sakura is shrunk by the Little card.
  • Doctor Slump: The "Big-Small Ray Gun" is one of Senbei's inventions that can make any object big or small. It reappears several times later, like in a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot where Midori was ill because of a mosquito in her body. Senbei and Arale use the invention to shrink down to very small sizes in order to enter Midori's body and get rid of the mosquito.
  • Doraemon has various gadget with this effect like the "Small Light", a lamp similar to a flashlight that can shrink objects and people to minuscule sizes. Another tool that is used in a similar capacity is the "Gulliver Tunnel", which causes a person to grow or shrink depending on which entrance he takes; however, its ratio of shrinking and enlarging is fixed.
  • In one episode of the original Dragon Ball, Bulma develops an invention that can shrink anybody. Master Roshi decides to use it to watch Bulma go to the bathroom. He doesn't get to see her go, but he does get flushed down the toilet.
  • Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia: In episode 12, each gate of Kur shrinks Ishtar due to taking away part of her divinity. By the sixth gate, she's small enough to ride Fou.
  • Happens in Ghost Sweeper Mikami, when the eponymous Action Girl is hit by a dart from a spirit and in few hours she's shrunk to the size of a Barbie doll. She and her assistants must find the culprit and exorcise him, lest she will keep shrinking and disappear.
  • Hiroshi from Hell Teacher Nube wakes up one day to find himself no larger than a mouse. Of course, the reality of the situation is stranger still.
  • In Himechan No Ribon, Himeko Nonohara gains the ability to do both this and Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever later on. Of course, since she doesn't want to give away her secret, she uses the latter a lot less than the former.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Golden Wind: Happens to Narancia when he's attacked by Formaggio, whose Stand, Little Feet, has the ability to shrink his victims by stabbing them with his dagger-like index finger. Formaggio can even turn the Stand on himself for narrow escaping!
    • Stone Ocean: This also happens to Jolyne after coming across Gwess, whose Stand, Goo Goo Dolls, shrinks anyone Gwess wants to shrink so she can keep them as pets. Anyone who rebels against her gets torn apart by the Stand.
  • Happens in one episode in the anime adaptation of Kochikame when the main character Ryotsu was shrunk by the wizard from Heaven. He goes through mishaps in the police box and later helped taking out criminals holding up hostages.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, this happens to most of the main cast in the chapters where the Arc Villain reveals herself and has her minion shrink her targets for capture.
  • In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, this happens to Elma in a chapter of "Elma's Office Lady Diary" after she eats a mysterious apple she found lying on the ground.
  • A One Piece filler character, Lily Enstomach, has the ability to become smaller than humans, despite being a giant.
  • An episode of Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl features a Xatu using its powers to shrink Ash, Dawn, and Barry, leaving them small enough to ride on Pikachu, Piplup, and Heracross respectively.
  • One episode of To Love Ru has Rito at the receiving end of Lala's shrinking machine. Considering this is To Love-Ru, you can expect what comes from Rito's new perspective.
  • Pretty Cure:
  • One episode of Urusei Yatsura has Lum's cousin Jariten trading an ice cream for a bottle that can shrink big things. When he shows it to Lum, she becomes the size of a mouse, forcing him to find the scarecrow he got it from to get a bottle that will return her to normal size.

    Asian Animation 
  • Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink centers around Logger Vick attempting to use a Shrink Ray on Briar and Bramble to stop them from stopping him in his attempts to cut down trees. Vick does succeed in landing a shot on the bears, but only when he himself was near them, putting all three of them at heights shorter than grass blades. They subsequently have to work together to find a way back to normal size.
  • Flower Fairy: In Season 2 episode 39, a fairy casts a magic spell that inverts the sizes of the main characters, causing An'an and her human friends to become small while An'an's fairy companion Kukuru grows to the size of a normal human. An'an and her group find that they've been shrunken to the point that they're smaller than an earthworm, as they encounter one on the ground.
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 5 episode 47, Doctor H., who is being mind-controlled by Big M., uses a shrinking spray on the heroes, which also gets on Big M. and Little M. by accident. The three episodes following it form a short Story Arc about the heroes interacting with a bunch of ants in an ant village.
  • Lamput: In "Shrunk Doc", the docs use a shrink ray to make Lamput tiny. A bump during the drive back to the lab causes the ray to shrink their vehicle; Lamput is still inside the car and drives it to evade his pursuers.
  • Motu Patlu: In episode "Chote Chote Motu Patlu", Motu and Patlu accidentally get themselves shrunk by Dr. Jhatka's new shrink ray. The two spend the episode trying to get others' attention so they can return to normal.
  • There are several instances of this trope in Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf.
    • Wolffy invents shrinking pills in episode 3, as well as enlargement pills to go with them.
    • In the season Marching to the New Wonderland, the goats and Wolffy are shrunken down to the size of a bug. They help an actual bug to deliver energy seeds to the top of a tree, since those are the life force of the sun.

    Comic Books 
  • The Atom: Every Atom has this as their power; some plots involve them or other characters shrinking and then having the size controls taken away/break.
    • And of course, there was the appearance of Ray Palmer's Atom at the end of Identity Crisis, wherein he shrinks out of existence after finding out his ex-wife killed Sue Dibny.
    • In The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman rescues Ray from a deserted island in a strange universe full of monsters. Except that he's actually trapped in a Petri dish, fighting what would normally be micro-organisms.
    • Ray's also lampshaded some of the oddities of his powers. When questioned about how people can breathe when they're barely the size of a cell, he admits that he has no idea how and he just goes with it.
  • Bumblebee from the Teen Titans and Doom Patrol was accidentally reduced to the size of a small toy. Unlike most shrinking superheroes, she has yet to find a way to regain her original size.
  • Superman:
    • The Super Duel In Space reveals that the Kryptonian entire city of Kandor was shrunk to microscopic size by Brainiac. Superman retrieved it and he kept it in what appeared to be a five gallon water bottle. Whenever Superman and Supergirl wanted to go in there, they had to shrink their bodies.
    • In Supergirl (1972) #2, Kara shrinks herself and one of her teachers to go in the Bottle City of Kandor and find a cure for her professor's illness.
    • In Krypton No More, Supergirl shrinks her body to meet up with the Kandorian council and hear about the J'ai invasion.
    • War World: Alien overlord Mongul kidnaps Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and another Superman's friend, shrinks them and traps them into a crystalline energy cube.
    • Let My People Grow!: Superman shrinks down to mouse-size when he is hit by Brainiac's shrinking ray. Brainiac himself becomes too tiny to be seen by the human eye after getting hit by his own ray.
    • The Death of Luthor: The eponymous villain's shrinking ray temporarily turns several bank guards into ant-sized men.
  • Many comic book characters have shrinking (or size-changing in general) as their primary superpower (i.e. Ant-Man, The Wasp...)
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • This happens to Donald Duck, Scrooge and the nephews (along with Scrooge's whole money bin) in several different comic books by Carl Barks and Don Rosa. One of these was also "adapted" into a DuckTales (1987) episode, except that the episode had almost nothing to do with the story aside from the premise of the characters getting shrunk.
    • One quasi-educational story from the early '60s had Donald take his nephews (through an uncannily prescient virtual-reality device) on a trip through the mundane everyday world while shrunk increasingly smaller to encounter phenomena more fantastic than any make-believe reality the nephews could think of.
  • Happened to Bart, Milhouse and Homer in an early issue of The Simpsons ("I Shrink, Therefore I'm Small").
  • Almost every incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a story of this type. The first cartoon (and subsequently, the Archie comic book based on it) did this during the "Eye of Sarnath" arc in an episode called "The Incredible Shrinking Turtles". The Mirage comic book has this as Donatello's current status quo (as of May 2009). The second cartoon had the episode "The Incredible Shrinking Serling", where time travel (don't ask) makes him the size of an action figure.
  • The Fantastic Four found themselves in a variant situation when they are captured by Doctor Doom and placed in a machine where their consciousnesses were transferred into miniature duplicates of themselves in a tiny simulation of a town called Liddleville. Eventually, they break out, manage to defeat Doom in their mini-versions and restore their consciousnesses to their real bodies.
  • In the Marvel Universe in general, anyone who shrinks below a certain limit (apparently somewhere between cellular size and molecular size) shifts into a "microverse" - the theory is that a shrinking person is actually displacing their mass extradimensionally, and when 99.99999999999999% is over there, the rest (and consciousness) follows. Among the notable inhabitants of microverses are Psycho Man, Jarella (a lover of the Hulk for a while), and the (now Exiled from Continuity) Micronauts.
  • Colossal Boy has this power in the 2004 relaunch of Legion of Super-Heroes. So why's he called Colossal Boy? Because he's from a race of giants, and has the power to "shrink" down to six feet tall. He insists on being called "Micro-Lad."
    • More traditionally, Legion regular Shrinking Violet, who comes from the planet of Imsk where everyone has shrinking powers.
    • Also from Imsk is her evil counterpart Micro Lad, part of a group of radicals that were responsible for kidnapping Violet and replacing her with Durlan actress Yera. In the Reboot continuity, there was another Imsk hero named Ion who was a candidate for Legion membership before Micro Lad killed her.
  • The graphic novel In The Small features this happening to every human on Earth due to a mysterious blue flash. Shrunken, terrorized by animals and unable to use most technology, they need to rebuild everything in miniature.
  • In the revived Xombi series from 2011, John Rozum introduced Nun the Less, a nun who gained shrinking abilities after she ingested bad shrimp when she was 16.
  • In Big Bang Comics, the Captain Ersatz equivalent of the Atom is the Hummingbird, who was shrunk by an alien ray that was destroyed before he could be re-enlarged. As such, he's stuck permanently at a maximum height of six inches, though among his powers is the ability to temporarily shrink even smaller.
  • In the Dark Horse Monsters story "Jungle of the Giants!", an Absentminded Professor who is guilty of Parental Neglect is shrunk down by his vengeful son and placed inside of a terrarium to fight for his life against a huge (to him) lizard he genetically engineered.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Queen Atomia's "hydroxo gas" can shrink people to microscopic size.
    • Paula von Gunther developed a liquified form of the hydroxo gas to shrink people and Gerta's Enlarging Machine to bring them back to their normal size.
  • The eleventh issue of the Ewoks comic book had Kneesa shrunk by the Fleebogs.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes features several strips in which Calvin, usually with no explanation, finds himself either changed to the size of an insect, or acting out the role of a bug itself. Since these episodes, from what we can see, are entirely within his imagination, they usually end in an anticlimax when a parent interrupts his reverie.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Pedro has one storyline in which Ordep hatches a world domination scheme that involves shrinking everyone else in the world, including Pedro.

    Fan Works 
  • In Huge Success, Tony decided to look at Dr. Pym's pym particles without permission and ended up being 6 inches tall.
    • Some form of shrinking happens in many of GirlX2's stories, often due to "Lilliputian Syndrome."
  • In With Strings Attached, the four get shrunk on their quest for the second piece of the Vasyn, though George fixes himself as soon as he has a lot of room to do so.
    • Actually, all of the humans in the chapter have been shrunk. The four manage to find a gun that will unshrink everyone.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, one of the magic potions they take from some muggers turns out to be a shrinking potion. Paul, obliquely referring to his scene in Help!, jokes that he'll probably be the one who has to use it. Sure enough, later on, he does.
  • The Mega-Shrinker 5000 from Calvin & Hobbes: The Series invokes this.
  • In Loved and Lost, an alternate version of the 2nd season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle defeats Queen Chrysalis and her Changelings by using a power-consuming spell that can shrink multiple beings at once. All the Changelings are turned tiny enough to trap the entire army in a glass jar. They're soon back to their normal size and locked up in cells, though.
  • In The Loud House fanfiction The Nightmare House, Lori's nightmare ends with her being shrunk and put in a jar.
  • In Living Dolls Harry and Snape's four-year-old grabs Draco's wand during a domestic argument and wishes that they were living happily together like her dolls, resulting in their becoming doll-sized.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Ant Bully centers around the ants that main character Lucas Nickle bullies finding a way to get even, by shrinking him with a specially-brewed potion while he's asleep. Though Lucas is initially standoffish towards the ants, The High Queen suggests that he live among the ants at his new diminished size. Lucas obliges, and eventually begins making friends with a few of them - which is good, because before he was shrunken, Lucas was goaded into signing a contract by an exterminator who's going to be coming by in a few days. Thus, the lives of Lucas and all of his compatriots are at stake unless they can band together and fight back.
  • In the Dot and the Kangaroo sequel Dot and Keeto, Dot goes to eat the root that enables her to talk to animals so she can apologize to some ants her brother was tormenting, but she accidentally eats the root next to it, which makes her shrink down to the size of a bug (and makes her able to talk to them). After trying to get the attention of her brother and mother, she goes on an adventure among the bugs until her friend Kangaroo shrinks down, too, and brings her some of the root that will restore her to her normal size.
  • Happens to MK after she witnesses the death of the queen of the leaf-people in Epic (2013).
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The Super Adventure, Mr. Slowy invents a ray to shrink the goats to microscopic size, allowing them to explore Mr. Slowy's snail and walk alongside the bacteria in the snail who are battling each other.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The most famous film example is The Incredible Shrinking Man with Grant Williams. Due to exposure to a mysterious dust cloud, the main character starts to gradually shrink.
  • The Marvel character Ant-Man gets his power from being the Incredible Shrinking Man, demonstrated to great effect in his eponymous film.
  • This was the basis for the plot of the live-action movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, along with its sequel, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and the TV series that followed, also called Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
  • In The Beatles movie Help!, a character uses a special injection to shrink Ringo's finger in order to remove a sacrificial ring naming him an offering to a Hindi god, but misses and hits Paul in the leg, whereupon the scene cuts away to a card reading "The Exciting Adventures of Paul on the Floor".
  • Fantastic Voyage, in which a submersible is shrunk to microscopic size to be injected into a comatose spy to laser away the clots that are killing him. This has been pointed out, more than once, leads to a stupid conclusion where the people abandon the ship (which is being consumed by a white blood cell) and swim to safety, being extracted from the tear ducts before they return to normal size automatically. We're to assume that the consumed debris of the sub would not grow to normal size and explode the patient.
    • The Novelisation of Fantastic Voyage was written by Isaac Asimov, who insisted on writing in that the sub did get removed at the end specifically to avoid the whole "sub expanding and killing the patient" issue.
  • The Phantom Planet, where an astronaut lands on a tiny planetoid and, as soon as he breathes their air, shrinks to six inches tall (without his clothing). He later grows back to normal by breathing the air in his spacesuit tank. (This caused the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew to riff ,"So people are just balloons?")
  • In Innerspace Tuck is shrunk down to microscopic size for an experimental fantastic voyage through the body of a rabbit, but winds up injected into Jack when all hell breaks loose at the lab.
  • Done for horror in The Devil-Doll, wherein the Anti-Hero protagonist takes advantage of a Mad Scientist's research by shrinking people to a height of eight inches, smuggling them into the homes of his enemies, and using them to take revenge.
  • The (semi-)titular villain in Dr. Cyclops shrinks the protagonists down to doll size For Science! and terrorizes them, leading to a David Versus Goliath style climax wherein the tiny people drop "Dr. Cyclops" down into a uranium mine. They eventually return to normal size at the end.
  • The Uncanny: In "Quebec province, 1975", Lucy uses black magic to reduce her cousin Angela to the size of a mouse.
  • In Downsizing, people voluntarily undergo permanent shrinking as part of a plan to extend the Earth's resources - if we're smaller, we use less!
  • The Troma film Getting Lucky is a Sex Comedy that uses this to put the main character Bill into an otherwise-impossible sexual scenario - he attempts to fix the bicycle of his crush Krissi, but his wish-granting drunkard leprechaun friend Lepkey trying to shrink a tool that's too large results in him and Bill shrinking down with it. The two are left stranded on Krissi's bike seat just moments before Krissi herself gets on the bike and rides to school, resulting in Bill ending up inside her panties. His attempts to climb up her crotch to escape only result in him bringing her to a screaming orgasm during class (and getting himself covered in her juices), and Bill subsequently gets tossed around her underwear during cheerleading practice and then smuggled into the girls' locker room.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: I Love Wolffy 2: Wolffy invokes this by having himself, along with Wolnie and Wilie, use his invisibility pills, which they use to get out of the cannibals' cauldron. When the tribe leader sees Woffy, Wolnie, and Wilie are seemingly gone and angrily shakes the water, she forces Wolffy, Wolnie, and Wilie out of the cauldron.

  • Happens twice in Animorphs. Once, a tiny (ant-sized, with inversely proportional egos) alien race called the Helmacrons shrinks some of the Animorphs. The second time, the Helmacrons enter Marco's body, so the Animorphs have to shrink themselves in order to enter Marco's body and stop the Helmacrons from killing Marco. Unfortunately, they anticipated this, and sabotage the ray so they're even smaller (Rachel morphs an elephant that's still smaller than a Helmacron boot).
  • The Incredible Adventures of Karik and Valya has two kids drinking some liquid and shrinking to insect size, then being whisked into nature by a dragonfly. Needless to say, the whole thing is very dangerous.
  • Shrinking is one of the less bizarre experiences Alice has in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants has the titular Professor use the Shrinky-Pig 2000 on the entirety of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, building and all, after everyone laughs at his Unfortunate Name, and forces them to change their names in response. George and Harold (Fluffy and Cheeseball at the time) eventually escape by using that device's inverse, the Goosy-Grow 4000, to enlarge a paper airplane and fly away.
  • Used in one of the Danny Dunn children's scifi adventures, Danny Dunn and the Smallifying Machine. Danny and his friends are shrunk to a quarter-inch in height and must deal with finding sustenance, surviving nature, and eventually attracting the attention of one of the scientists who created the machine in order to return to normal size.
  • Two books in the Eerie, Indiana series use this. The Incredible Shrinking Stanley, in which Stanley gets splashed with special soap from the Eerie laundry mat and starts shrinking, and The Dollhouse That Time Forgot where Marshall, after exploring a house that looks suspiciously like the dollhouse his sister just bought, finds himself getting smaller and smaller.
  • The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson, on which the movie The Incredible Shrinking Man was based (almost all modern editions of the novel even add the "Incredible" part to the book's title, as the movie is more famous).
  • The 1936 short story He Who Shrank takes this beyond all limits: a Mad Scientist injects his assistant with a serum that will make him shrink indefinitely. Said assistant shrinks to subatomic sizes, discovers that every atom is actually a solar system, lands on a planet, shrinks below the size of the atoms of that planet, and so on without end. It's a handy way of visiting innumerable planets without a spaceship.note  The end of the story has the protagonist visit our Earth.
  • The plot of the young adult book "The Sixty-Eight Rooms" by Marianne Malone. Complete with a fight with a cockroach.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, when Rachel and Kirsty turn into fairies they shrink in size.
  • The two kids in Sixty Eight Rooms are shrunken to five inches. They are regular size when in the miniturized rooms and leave to enter into the past.
  • This is Mike Teavee's karmic comeuppance in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when he fools with the Television-Chocolate Room's setup so he can be "sent by television". After all, if an image one sees on TV is smaller than the actual object was.
  • People who visit future worlds via the mystical Solstice in James P. Blaylock's Land of Dreams emerge into a later era to find themselves much smaller relative to things around them. Human beings gradually "acclimate" and expand to an appropriate size for humans in the world they're visiting, but their clothes stay small; when Jack and Skeezix travel into future Rio Dell, they're forced to borrow some dolls' dresses or else go naked when they outgrow the garments they'd arrived in.
  • Evelyn Sibley Lampman's The City Under the Back Steps details the adventures of two children in an ant colony after they're shrunk to ant size.
  • Mr. Men:
    • Mr. Uppity's story involved him getting shrunk down by a goblin's magic to teach him a lesson to not be a Jerkass.
    • The last spell that Little Miss Magic casts on Little Miss Bossy to stop her being bossy involves shrinking her down after she insults Mr. Small.
    • "Adventure With Minibeasts" involves Little Miss Inventor, Mr. Happy, Mr. Strong, Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Bossy, Little Miss Tiny and Mr. Tickle getting shrunk down to find Miss Tiny's thimble.
  • In "Unjust Desserts" of the Nintendo Adventure Books, Mario has to shrink himself down and enter Yoshi to rescue Luigi, whom Yoshi swallowed after eating a cursed cherry on a birthday cake.
  • The Golden Age science fiction novel The Girl In the Golden Atom involves a scientist and his friends who find a way to shrink and re-enlarge themselves, and discover a subatomic world inside one atom of a gold ring. Naturally, given the title, the hero meets a pretty girl there and they fall in love, while he and his buddies also help the locals overthrow a tyrannical regime.
  • In The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, the eponymous hero gets shrunk to a few inches tall by the tomte.
  • The Graphic Novel: In The Small has this happen to the entire human race as they are reduced to six inches tall after an unexplained Blue Flash Cataclysm, the plot follows Two Teens as they forge a community in the now much larger (and more dangerous) world.
  • Moongobble and Me: In book 3, Edward gets shrunk to blend in with the titular "evil elves" so he can swipe a dangerous magical item from them. He grows back to normal while he's asleep later.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Aliens in the Family: One of Snizzy's experiments causes Heather to shrink.
  • Mexican comedic superhero El Chapulín Colorado had his Pastillas de Chiquitolina (Tinyline Pills), which he could take to shrink in size. It usually led to more grief for him, since before he takes them he's a mediocre hero and after he takes them he's a mediocre hero who's also tiny and helpless.
  • Happens in Power Rangers Zeo ("A Small Problem") and Power Rangers Turbo ("Honey, I Shrunk The Rangers").
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch has one of her "magic diseases" where her guilt causes her to shrink.
  • Family Matters did this once, too.
  • In one episode of The Greatest American Hero, Ralph gets another copy of the suit's manual from the original aliens - but shrinks himself while experimenting, gets scared by an ant, panics and goes back to normal size, leaving the manual shrunk... I guess they also gave him an Idiot Ball to go with the replacement manual.
  • This was the premise of Dr. Shrinker.
  • In Doctor Who, a specific component of the TARDIS can change the size of things, and presumably relates to how a TARDIS can be bigger on the inside.
    • The early serial "Planet of Giants" featured the First Doctor and companions trying to stay alive in a typical suburban home after a TARDIS malfunction reduced them to the size of bugs.
    • In "The Time Meddler", the First Doctor permanently crippled the TARDIS of the Meddling Monk by removing the "dimensional control" so the other Time Lord couldn't get back into his (brand new, more advanced) TARDIS; afterwards, the console room was too small for him to fit inside.
    • In "The Invisible Enemy", the Fourth Doctor temporarily removed the "relative dimensional stabilizer" from his TARDIS to shrink clones of Leela and himself so they could be injected them into the doctor's brain to fight a virus (in an homage to Fantastic Voyage).
    • Later, another rogue Time Lord weaponized one in "The Armageddon Factor" (but wound up shrinking himself and the Doctor instead of the enemy).
      • The Master similarly uses a "Tissue Compression Eliminator" weapon which kills people by shrinking them, possibly the same technology but without the normally associated life support mechanisms allowing subjects to still breathe and such.
      • In "Planet of Fire", they meet a minaturised Master who had an accident while working on his TCE.
    • Some similar non-Gallifreyan technologies showed up occasionally.
      • In "Carnival of Monsters" the Third Doctor accidentally landed the TARDIS inside a "compression field", where the people on the outside were giants in comparison. Anything removed from the compression field returned to normal size within a few seconds. (The first thing so removed was the TARDIS, because it was interfering with the compression field. A giant hand reached in and picked it up.)
      • In "The Pirate Planet", the Fourth Doctor encountered a bad guy who kept the shrunken remains of planets he'd destroyed as trophies.
      • In "Last of the Time Lords" the Master transforms the Doctor to physically represent his current age (around 900), with the Doctor becoming a gnome-like 5 inch tall man. (This may not count because it's shrinking by old age, but it's still shrinking nonetheless).
      • In "Flatline", aliens from a 2-dimensional universe steal "dimensional energy" from the TARDIS, resulting in the TARDIS shrinking to a size where Clara can pick it up and fit it in her purse. This only affects the exterior shell of the TARDIS though, the interior is still the same size due to being Bigger on the Inside. This does result in the Doctor being trapped inside though (since the exterior is too small for him to fit through the exit). The exit is still large enough for the Doctor to fit his hand through the opening and pass objects to Clara though, which results in some amusing scenes where a hand comes out of her purse holding a hammer that couldn't have possibly fit in said purse.
  • Land of the Giants was a variation on this trope; while the main characters didn't shrink, they found themselves In a World… of 72-foot people, so the effect was the same.
  • Farscape "I Shrink, Therefore I Am". The crew are shrunk by bounty hunters to make them easier to transport and control. Sikozu immediately starts listing all the reasons why this is impossible (their brains should be too simple to function, and they shouldn't be able to breathe normal-sized air molecules) until Rygel tells her to just shut up and accept that the impossible has happened. The episode ends with a fight between Crichton and the Villain of the Week, with each trying to shrink the other and resize themselves. Needless to say, someone ends up getting squashed nastily.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "One Little Ship": A runabout is sent to study a Negative Space Wedgie whose shrinking effect is already known (the fact that the explorers will be shrunk is a matter of great amusement to those staying behind). Unfortunately the Defiant is captured by Jem'Hadar and the now miniscule explorers must help the crew take back the ship. One scene has Bashir and O'Brien having to exit the runabout to alter a circuit — because they can't breathe the full-sized air molecules outside, they beam a bubble of the runabout's air inside the circuit's casing. The episode ends with Odo and Quark pulling a rare practical joke on Bashir and O'Brien, by pretending they haven't "quite" returned to full size.
  • On Misfits of Science, seven-foot-tall Dr. Elvin Lincoln had been working on a treatment that would make him shorter; he overdid it a bit and wound up with the ability to make himself six inches tall at will. The clothes issue is Lampshaded, as he keeps a set of doll clothes with him to change into when he shrinks.
  • "The Mighty Mites" segment of Owl TV revolved around a group of kids who shrink themselves at will to study insects and other small creatures.
  • The first half of the two-part Mork & Mindy episode "Mork In Wonderland" centers on Mork shrinking after taking a cold capsule (the explanation is that the capsule is supposed to shrink the nasal membranes in humans, but Orkans are entirely membrane). In fact, he shrank so small that he ended up inside a micro-universe that had an analog of Mindy in it.
  • In the Lois & Clark episode "It's A Small World Afterall", Lois' high school classmate shrinks her rivals with the help of a special perfume, and holds them captive in a dollhouse. Clark also gets shrink to 6 inches tall. Thankfully, he still has all of his powers.
  • In the Charmed episode "Size Matters", the Charmed Ones get shrunk by a demon with a shrink wand.
    • Later on in the episode "Scry Hard", after witnessing his newly mortal father get injured by a demon's plasma blast, Wyatt shrinks Leo and Piper, and locks them in a dollhouse replica of the Halliwell Manor, to keep them safe.
  • Sesame Street had a two-part story in which Big Bird was shrunk to about the size of a Twiddlebug.
  • The Sunny Side Up Show: In one segment, Kelly and Chica look at bugs, eventually deciding to "shrink" the Sunshine Barn so, on the count of three, they do so and hold life-sized plushies of the bugs. Kevin looks at the duo through a telescope and is astonished to see that they shrunk the barn. Eventually, they're back to normal.
  • In The Wild Wild West episode "the Night of the Raven", Dr. Loveless shrinks James West and a Native American princess.
  • Done with Magellan in the Eureka's Castle special Don't Touch That Box!.
  • The episode "[[
My Incredible Shrinking Master]]" of I Dream of Jeannie has Tony shrunk to 6 inches tall. He must climb to tabletops and avoid a huge cat (whose meows sound like lion roars). In another episode, Jeannie's bottle is missing; she says she'll sleep in Tony's bed then shrinks Tony to six inches tall inside a drawer. So he sleeps there, on top of a book.
  • The 1950s series World of Giants had a secret agent who had been shrunk to 6 inches tall. In the first episode he must get past a cat then climb to a desk top and dial an immense phone.
  • The Avengers (1960s): Steed gets shrunk down to a few inches tall by a shrink ray in "Mission...Highly Improbable". He still manages to save the day.
  • British children's show Grandpa in My Pocket revolves around a boy whose grandfather can turn three inches tall at will whenever he wears a magic cap that he owns.
  • In Arrow's third season finale, Ray is making some adjustments to his Atom suit, which causes an explosion, and he is presumed dead. In the fourth season, he is revealed to have been shrunk, and somehow survived for many months before being captured by the Big Bad. He is returned to his normal size after being rescued, and his suit now allows him to shrink at will.
  • In the fourth season of The Flash (2014), this happens to Cisco and Ralph after an encounter with a metahuman who can shrink things. Their powers still work, but are proportional to their sizes. They return to their normal sizes after getting affected by the metahuman's powers again.
  • Parodied on the Late Night with David Letterman sketch "The Incredible Shrinking Guy", with Chris Elliott in the title role. The sketch shows Chris encountering a mouse. He is unable to find an object to defend himself with until he grabs a nearby bottle and smashed it over the mouse's head. When Dave asks him about the bottle, Chris has a hard time explaining how he found an object small enough for him to handle.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Four O'Clock", the fanatical Conspiracy Theorist Oliver Crangle plans to shrink all of the so-called evil people whom he believes are trying to destroy the United States at four o'clock. When the time comes, Crangle is shrunk himself.
  • Hey You! What If...: "You Could Shrink Yourself?" has Zigi being shrunk down to the size of a mouse to retrieve the remote control from and under the couch, and then explains all of the physical changes this would actual entail.
  • Odd Squad:
    • The episode "The Potato Ultimato" revolves around Otto shrinking due to accidentally eating Olaf's potato salad, which was made with a Shrinking Potato, with Olaf, Olive and Oren forced to journey through Precinct 13579's Potato Room to get a Growing Potato to reverse the effects.
    • "Substitute Agents" has the Mobile Unit be shrunken and trapped inside of a snowglobe souvenir and gradually being turned into plastic figurines by Sue Venir, a villainess who turns various things and people into souvenirs for her own amusement.
  • A German TV movie Großer Mann ganz klein! sees a woman's boss shrunk by a special fish she had bought for him, and thus she and her daughter have to take care of the now tiny man, while she finds herself falling in love with him, and vice versa.
  • Strange Days At Blake Holsey High: In an episode fittingly titled "Shrink", the short-statured Josie - frustrated with her height - inexplicably shrinks to the size of an action figure. She uses her new stature to investigate one of the show's conspiracies before growing back to her normal size.

  • Daniel Amos have a song named "Incredible Shrinking Man", which uses the imagery as a metaphor for feelings of insignificance and powerlessness in modern society. The album with that song, Vox Humana, also has a short story in the liner notes, where the narrator suddenly finds himself shrinking until a small pebble becomes, from his perspective, an impassible mountain.

    Music Videos 
  • In ABC's "Poison Arrow" video, Martin Fry gets shrunk by the unattainable love interest's magic face powder.
  • In the Preschool Popstars video for "I Didn't Mean to Burp", the Asian girl shrinks, runs around in an area full of ice cream cones, eats one, grows back to normal, then shrinks again after drinking something but goes back to normal for the chorus.

  • Balrasht from The Fallen Gods is a forest giant who's been shrunken down small enough to fit in Tuatha's hand. The party gets hit with this in episode 4 as well, and end up having to do battle with a group of slugs and a flail snail in order to return to regular size.
  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, one of Lucas's elevators does this, allowing those who enter to view a diorama as if it were actual size.


    Tabletop Games 
  • One memorable scenario from the early days of Dungeon magazine involved the player characters being shrunk down to the size of gaming miniatures by a malfunctioning magical orb. Unusual in that, aside from the usual small animals posing a deadly threat, many previous groups of travelers had already fallen prey to this effect, forming themselves into Wacky Wayside Tribes that feud over the resources of a small garden.
  • In Crimestrikers, one of Gadgeteer Genius Esperanza Sixtos' inventions is the Shrinksphere, a kind of reverse Pokéball that absorbs people into a sphere, where they stay in what amounts to a luxury hotel room. It's used to capture villains and smuggle the heroes in or out of enemy territory. In the episode seed "Shrunk and Disorderly", a Phlebotinum Breakdown with the Shrinksphere causes several Crimestrikers to get stuck at 15cm/6" tall.

    Theme Parks 

  • In 2011 Tongue and Groove Theatre in Austin, TX did a stage version of The Incredible Shrinking Man. Scott Carey's journey of shrinking smaller and smaller was depicted through shadow puppetry, pantomime, and other visual effects. Clips of the production can be seen here.
  • In Twice Charmed, Franco DiFortunato shrinks Cinderella to the size of a mouse.

    Web Animation 
  • In Banana-nana-Ninja!, Seppuku is eaten by an opponent and his size continually shrinks as he makes his way through her body, finally escaping and returning to his full size when she sneezes.
  • The Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse episode "The Shrinkerator", where Barbie and Raquelle are shrunk by Ken's shrink ray.
  • Karekore The Half Blood: Kage shrunk after he drank a shrinking serum that he mistook for water, that Hisame got from a client.
  • In the Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers episode "Mini Italians", Mario, SMG4 and X eat a Poison Mushroom and shrink down in size. Mario figures out the trio can go swimming in toilets with this ability, however the other two want to go back to normal. And that's how they spent most of the episode trying to find a Mushroom.

  • In U.F.O., Queen Pamela's hostages are shrunk down to the size of small rodents and put in a gerbil cage.
  • Unsurprisingly, shrinking shows up a number of times in El Goonish Shive:
    • The "Germahn Labs" Q&A strips frequently feature Shrink Soda, which is exactly what it sounds like. The original recipe shrinks people out of their clothing, although Amanda later attempts to invent a version that shrinks your clothing too. It's not entirely successful, in that it does shrink clothing, but not as much as it does people..
    • Rhoda later gains access to a spell that allows her to shrink people, although she is eventually able to solve the clothing issue.
    • Tedd also created wands that allow people to shrink down to half scale. In this case, the spell does shrink clothing with the person, so no one shrinks out of their clothes.
  • In Emergency Exit, Saya accidentally gets shrunk by Eddie's shrink ray.
  • Teeko from Chirault gets shrunk by an accidental spell from an unlicensed mage. Finding a way to return her to her former size seems to be a major plot point.
  • Magick Chicks once had Melissa shrunk by upset Hekate. Out of clothes, not that she did wear a lot in the first place. And then turned into a flying pixie wearing only laced wings.

    Web Original 
  • Some size warpers in the Whateley Universe can do this. Sizemax can either be a 30-foot giant or a couple inches high.
  • Small Problem is a blog ostensibly written by Debby Small, who's 6½ inches tall.
  • SCP Foundation
    • SCP-881 ("Little People"). SCP-881 is 9,891 humans, animals and plants shrunk down to tiny size by the side effects of the destruction of another SCP. They initially ranged from 2 millimeters to 15 centimeters high, but over time some were created that were even smaller. Being so small however, many of the men of the towns had been sneaking out and causing pregnancies with normal sized women by crawling inside them.
    • Deconstructed with the resizing device SCP-1056. Shrinking or resizing people with it usually results in their brains and internal organs undergoing re-arrangement or ceasing to work correctly. (In particular, if you're shrunk, your brain becomes smaller and thus you become dumber.)
  • Operation Mikroorganisation is a 13-episode German web series about a teenager who shrinks after drinking a potion he purchased through a television shopping channel.


Video Example(s):


Mickey Mouse Gets Shrunk

Upon coming across a toy witch that magically comes to life; Mickey gets shrunken down and has to explore the surrounding areas at an actual mouse size; while also boarding a toy train along the way.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / IncredibleShrinkingMan

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