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Lean and Mean

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Nothing burns calories quite like evil.
"Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous."
Caesar, Julius Caesar

Black robes not fitting properly? Just try being a little more evil! Kicking puppies is good exercise after all! And don't worry about those meals you skip while you're scheming to take over the kingdom. Yes, the combination of your new villainous lifestyle and the laws of narrative causality will make those annoying extra pounds vanish before you can say "Are they even feeding Yzma?"

Sometimes used for an explanation, where the villain is nasty and vicious because she's so hungry. Very common among fashion-oriented shows to explain why the size 0 model is so cranky. Another explanation may be that the villain is hopped up on some substance that ravages their body as well as their mind. This is more common among recreational "junkies" (like some of the more villainous hedonists and Crazy Homeless People, for example) than among villains who take Psycho Serum as a martial performance enhancer (in which case the drug is likely to make them brawnier, not skinnier).

Also, they can be the Thin in the Big, Thin, Short Trio when being an evil group to contrast with the fuller member and the squat member.

The reverse Villainous Glutton / Fat Bastard style is also relatively frequent (cf. Ursula, the Blob), but nowhere as lampshaded as the Lean and Mean look. Also contrast Large and in Charge. Particularly skinny or gangly-proportioned villains may qualify as Noodle People. Villainous Cheekbones often winds up overlapping with this trope.

When the hero is stronger and/or dumber, this often leads to Brains Evil, Brawn Good.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Nnoitra, As Nodt and Nanana are both very thin villains, even by the thin standards of the story's characters.
  • Death Note has Misa Amane. She appears as The Ditz to most people, despite being rather clever herself and she is the Second Kira, though her low weight and lean figure can also be explained as being due to her job as a model. Light Yagami, an Evil Genius, is also very thin as described in "How to Read" and he is specifically said to have lost weight due to stress when he took on his "duty".
  • In Dragon Ball:
    • Frieza's true form is quite slender (though he buffs up again when using 100% of his power). He's a sadistic galactic conqueror who was born one of the most powerful mortals in the universe.
    • Dr. Gero is quite thin, and he's also a Mad Scientist obsessed with revenge against Goku.
    • Androids 17 and 18 (though not 16 and 19) have the physiques of normal teenagers, but they're among Dr. Gero's most powerful creations and their alternate future selves devastated Future Trunks' world. Their present-day counterparts, on the other hand, avert it as they're quick to make a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Evil Buu is nigh-emaciated, in great contrast to Fat Buu. Super Buu is more buff, but Kid Buu goes right back to being slender, along with terrifyingly insane.
    • Beerus from Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods sticks out for being very lean compared to the more muscular members of the cast, even sporting visible ribs and mostly resembling a humanoid hairless cat, and he's also the God of Destruction who could order Frieza around.
    • Goku Black, an antagonist of Dragon Ball Super, looks nearly identical to main protagonist Goku. But one of the most noticeable differences aside from clothing is that he's physically thinner. He's also, in utter contrast to Goku's All-Loving Hero status, extremely sadistic without a merciful bone in his body. Strange since Black's body is an alternate version of Goku's. Zamasu must have put less emphasis on physical training and more on just fighting powerful opponents to get stronger.
  • Izaya Orihara from Durarara!! manages to be the skinniest person in a cast of Noodle People.
  • Eyeshield 21: Purposely invoked with Hiruma, who's supposed to resemble a devil. He's mean, but he's more an anti-hero than a villain.
  • Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist. Incredibly slim and muscular with a form-fitting body suit that really extenuates the slim physique. And "mean" rarely defines someone as well as them.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, Boogy is the thinnest of the Black Hammer Gang besides Salome and is her second-in-command.
  • Hellsing's Rip Van Winkle is extremely tall and thin. For that matter, Alucard also counts.
  • Viper Snakely from Kimba the White Lion.
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino liked his women with a bit of meat on their bones, which was why the villainous Kycilia Zabi of Mobile Suit Gundam was noticeably skinnier than the rest of the female cast.
  • Orochimaru from Naruto is a fairly tall, lean man. Lean like a snake is more like it.
  • One Piece: Pre-Time Skip, the three Admirals are all tall and thin. On a side note, Aokiji doesn't quite fit the "Mean" part of this trope unlike his fellow Admirals (namely Akainu).
    • Wapol is normally a Fat Bastard, but his Extreme Omnivore powers allow him to swallow his excess bulk and become sinisterly slender. He actually describes this form as "lean and mean" in both the 4kids and Funimation dubs.
    • This also applies to Van Augur and Laffitte of the Blackbeard Pirates.
    • Caesar Clown.
    • Also, Trafalgar Law as an antihero version.
    • Donquixote Doflamingo also counts.
  • Zane Truesdale from Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX post Freak Out. He looks very underfed but has some minor muscle tone.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • One of the Joker's many nicknames is "The Thin White Duke of Death". He is also almost always depicted as being very thin, but with a wiry strength that makes him a better physical fighter than his frame would suggest.
    • The Scarecrow is so thin that he was bullied as a child for his resemblance to Ichabod Crane.
    • The Batman Who Laughs from Dark Nights: Metal is a Jokerized Batman who has the same lean build as the Joker and is an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • The Knight Watchman's nemesis in Big Bang Comics is the Pink Flamingo. He's a Captain Ersatz of both the Penguin and the Joker, combining the bird theme of the former with the flamboyant nature and slender frame of the latter.
  • Most incarnations of Ragdoll in The DCU, but in The Batman it's taken to serious extremes; the Ragdoll is a tall, rail-thin thief and contortionist who is literally capable of fitting inside a top hat. Also, as he is often depicted as frail.
    Ragdoll: I weigh seventy-three pounds.
  • Rake of the Bounty Hunters in Gen¹³. 6'5", 135 lbs, he's called Rake because of the long, metal claws on his hands. He's also a sadistic killer who likes to carve people like pumpkins.
  • In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, it's mentioned several times how skinny Johnny is.
  • Judge Dredd: The mass-murdering Judge Death is a very skinny fellow, mostly because he's an undead spirit inhabiting a corpse. He's quite tall but only weighs around 67 kg. He's also surprisingly strong for his size, being able to throw boulders into the air with ease and lift people up as if they were nothing.
  • Mesmo Delivery: Sangrecco, a people smuggler/hitman/demon? In his spare time, he's an Elvis Impersonator presumably of the king's earlier period.
  • The Mighty Thor: Loki is probably the skinniest male in Asgard. He is also one of Thor's meanest villains. Mind you, it only holds when compared to Asgardians. When compared to most normal humans, he seems pretty toned.
    • Invoked by Big Eater Volstagg in Journey into Mystery (Gillen), who explains his distrust of kid Loki by saying that, like his previous incarnation, he picks at his food.
    • Volstagg would be proud to see the obsession Loki developed with breakfast meats (especially bacon) in later series though. Oddly after the body-snatching. So this is partially that "not trustworthy" previous incarnation we're talking about. What this means is anyone's guess.
  • Many skinny aliens in Sillage turn out to be villains. Most notable of them is consul Atsukau, a corrupt politician and collector of lovers from different species, obsessed with the protagonist.
  • Mordath from Sojourn, after he came back from the dead. Before that, he was more of a Hunk, which just accentuates what he lost from his once self.
  • The demonic Violator from Spawn seesaws between this and Fat Bastard; as his alter-ego, Clown, he's an obese Depraved Dwarf with vaguely clown-paint like facial markings. As his true self, he's a spindly, emaciated, lanky-looking demon.
  • Most of the characters (save Rung) in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye are blocky and square-shaped, being giant robots, but the Ax-Crazy Whirl is lean, skinny, and almost bird-like in proportion.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Makhmud Esambayev was a dancer who occasionally did film acting, and he was extremely thin even when well into his fifties. He also specialized in bad guys, using his quick fluid movements to play up their creepiness.
    • In Sannikov Land, he portrays a sadistic, murderous shaman who manipulates the Onkilons to slaughter the main characters and almost succeeds.
    • In Upright Magic, he plays the Elemental Embodiment of fire who starts as neutral but then begins to work for the Big Bad, nearly killing some of the heroes.
    • In the film based on While the Clock Chimes, he plays a vain violinist from the wicked king’s Decadent Court.

  • The Xenomorphs from Alien. All drones and warriors are quite thin and skeletal creatures. They too are sadistic and cunning beings.
  • In The Butchers, Albert Fish is the smallest and skinniest of the serial killers, but he possesses a wiry strength and is able to put up a good fight, and he is certainly just as evil as the rest of them, being a child-murdering cannibal.
  • Carrie (2002) makes Billy Nolan notably skinnier than most of the other characters. Jesse Cadote makes him just as much of a sociopath as he is in the book.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000): The Thin Man, one of the goons of the Big Bad, can stand toe-to-toe with all three angels and yet can also somersault through the bars of a fence. Ironically, the typically rail-thin actor Crispin Glover put on some muscle for the role, making his thinness a bit of an Informed Attribute.
  • Very early in his career, the 6'4 and 1/2" Jeff Goldblum played skinny, vicious hoodlums in three of his first six films: Death Wish (in which he's one of the "freaks" responsible for the inciting incident), Special Delivery (his biker is even named "Snake"), and St. Ives. While he's played many antagonists since then, he put on some muscle in the 1980s and while still slender isn't as thin as he was in his 20s.
  • In the first Hellraiser film, all Cenobites are rather slender, except Butterball, of course.
  • Home Alone: Inverted in the first two movies, where short, round Harry is clearly the more malevolent half of the Wet Bandit Gang. Tall, skinny Marv, by contrast, borders on Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain much of the time.
  • Hostile: The Reaper that Juliette has to keep at bay is pretty emaciated.
  • In the Loop: Malcolm Tucker. Commented on by a portly American general, who says he looks like a "squeezed dick".
  • Mars Attacks!: All the Martians are skeleton thin, and they are some of the meanest aliens in cinema.
  • Mean Girls — the Alpha Bitch Regina George is proud to be able to fit into size 5 dresses, and she's aiming to lose three extra pounds.
  • Metropolis: Joh. Fredersen, ruler of Metropolis, has an assistant only credited as "The Thin Man". And while most of his scenes got chopped out in subsequent releases, it's indicated in the 2002 restoration that he beat the crap out of Josaphat trying to find out what Freder was up to. (This may need to be edited once the full restoration with the missing scenes comes out.)
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): King Ghidorah in this incarnation has a notably more slender and elegant central body structure than the plump, chicken-like body of the original incarnation. It's still just as evil as it was in the old continuities if not even more so; seeking to take control of the other Titans and negatively reshape the planet, entirely of its own free will.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong: Mechagodzilla's torso is noticeably slim compared to Godzilla's, and it's outright malicious once Ghidorah's skull grants it sentience.
  • Freelance cameraman Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler promotes himself through theft, blackmail, and ultimately murder. Jake Gyllenhaal lost a noticeable amount of weight for the part, and the character has been compared to a coyote.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger is notably lean, particularly compared to other slasher villains.
  • In Pan's Labyrinth: the Pale Man, a nightmarish creature, is also extremely thin, sitting in front of a magnificent feast without eating any of it.
  • Star Wars:
    • General Grievous from the prequel trilogy.
    • Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin. Especially interesting because despite his amazingly Villainous Cheekbones, he was Playing Against Type after a career of playing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Van Helsing.
    • Kylo Ren from the sequel trilogy. Unlike the massive Darth Vader, Kylo Ren is tall but has a lean, fairly average build.
    • The Imperial Death Troopers from Rogue One are sleek, tall, and inhumanly threatening, a sign that they are Elite Mooks compared to the regular Stormtroopers.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: T-1000, contrasting the muscular and bulky T-800.
  • Loki in the MCU, but especially in Thor, as consistent with the comic book basis above. Tom Hiddleston even said he was precisely going for this look.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X2: X-Men United, years spent being exploited by Stryker have left Jason painfully emaciated.
    • Erik doesn't have an ounce of fat on his body in X-Men: First Class. Partially justified in that he's a Holocaust survivor who lived on the road for years and efficiently kills Nazis.

  • Beware Princess Elizabeth gives special attention to how much thinner Mary is as she ascends the throne and her reign of terror continues. This is Mary Tudor, who history nicknamed 'Bloody Mary'.
  • The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids:
  • Several characters in Discworld have this aesthetic, even if they're not necessarily evil:
    • Lord Vetinari is a scheming Machiavellian dictator and is thin as a rail, voluntarily subsisting on nothing but bread and water. (Or so it's said, although he's occasionally shown enjoying a more balanced diet. But he does seem to consider a boiled egg without the yolk to be a sufficient breakfast.) However, while he describes himself (and everyone) as evil, he is never an outright antagonist and is often on the heroes' side. Strangely, his (unnamed) appearance in the first book is as a Fat Bastard, and was generally considered to be his predecessor until Word of God confirmed they were the same character pre-Characterization Marches On (his predecessor, "Mad" Lord Snapcase, had been deposed long before).
    • Granny Weatherwax, a manipulative Good Is Not Nice character in the same vein, is also tall, thin and wears black, though her slimness is not quite emphasized as much. It's more obviously contrasted with her fellow witch and lifelong friend, the short, plump, amicable Nanny Ogg.
    • Lacrimosa in Carpe Jugulum, who actually is evil, is the epitome of this, though, especially lampshaded in that she's mostly seen from the POV of Agnes Nitt, a large girl of roughly her own age...
    • The villain of Small Gods is Vorbis, a tall, thin ascetic. In this case, it may be to emphasize that he's not corrupt in the usual self-serving, hypocritical human way, but really does believe in the harsh, brutal version of his religion that he's built up in his mind.
  • Dracula: Drac himself. For adding slimming power he could slip through the cracks of doors if necessary.
  • David Eddings' The Elenium has ascetic Primate Annias.
  • Franklin Bean in Fantastic Mr. Fox is noted for being skinny because he subsists only on cider, unlike his two Fat Bastard friends.
  • Cophthera-gn of The First Dwarf King is a Humanoid Abomination that is just a little too skinny. Pathruushkè is even worse, being downright emaciated.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series: In "The Mule", Magnifico is often contrasted against the protagonists Bayta and Toran, who are Foundation citizens. As citizens of the most technologically advanced interplanetary civilization in the galaxy, they're both fit and healthy. Magnifico, on the other hand, introduces himself as the Mule’s jester, trying to escape. He's skinny to the point of malnourishment and has a large nose and watery eyes. The Mule is a savage master, with mutant abilities and a megalomaniacal drive to conquer the galaxy. At the end, Magnifico reveals himself to have been the Mule all along.
  • In his appearance in Galaxy of Fear, the Dark Jedi Jerec is described as being painfully gaunt and on the verge of emaciation. In his later appearances, like the Dark Forces Saga, he's got more weight and muscle, perhaps because he knew he'd have to rely on the Force less and fight more and bulked up.
  • Titus Salt in The Gauntlet (2017) is a very thin man, and dislikes players winning the Architect's challenges, since every time they do, a bit of the city that he spends time building falls apart.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite):
    • Downplayed for Keith, the slim sidekick of the bully Randy. Besides helping Randy in hurting Jeff, it's implied that he just fears Randy's wrath, and even improves himself in the future.
    • As a 19-year-old Serial Killer who's supposedly been on the run for 5 years, Jeff is described to be 6'0 with a lean build.
  • Hannibal Lecter: The good doctor may prize courtesy but knows the right Berserk Button to push and is a serial killer. He is described as sleek with wiry strength, his nimble build combined with his great strength makes him extremely effective at kills.
  • In Harry Potter, Voldemort is often described as being tall and thin, with long, thin fingers. Snape is often described as thin, perhaps to invoke this trope, even though he is not evil per se. It's more implicit in the first five books, but definitely true of Draco Malfoy in Book 6 when he starts to visibly lose weight as a result of the stress of his assassination mission.
  • In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Father Hugh MacPhail's lean body and harsh exercise regimen underline his determination to destroy free will.
  • The Hunger Games: Marvel was the tallest of the Careers, at 6'3".
  • In Peter David's book Knight Life, Morgan le Fay has grown obese without the presence of Arthur or Merlin. But when Arthur suddenly appears in the present day and decides to run for Mayor of New York, she not only becomes evil but thin again.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, whose obsession with the One Ring makes him both viciously amoral and able to punch (or rather, grapple and strangle) well above his weight. That being said, he's probably not usually quite so thin; he just spends most of the story on the run with no reliable source of food.
  • The Monster of Elendhaven: Johann is a Serial Killer and Humanoid Abomination who's "tall as a signpost, thin, and conspicuously unnatural". Unluckily for his victims, he's also supernaturally hard to notice.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The titular character is described as being downright skeletal.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Villain Count Olaf is tall and thin, and said to have a hungry look in his eyes.
  • Professor James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes is described as being very tall and thin and like a lizard. This is probably to make him an Evil Counterpart of Holmes, who is himself very tall and thin.
  • Ship Breaker: Most of the crew is pretty lean, but Richard Lopez, Archnemesis Dad and Combat Sadomasochist adds a naturally whippy build and an addict's decaying physique, for a truly ravaged appearance.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Vargo "the Crippler" Hoat, leader of the murderous Bloody Mummers, is described as a tall scarecrow of a man. Bronn, the badass sellsword, is said to have a lean, wolfish look to him.
  • Timeline-191: Jake Featherston, the Hitler-esque Southern dictator of the Harry Turtledove alternate history series, is described as whipcord-lean.
  • Sally Bones from Varjak Paw is little but muscle and bones. This makes her all the more terrifying-looking.
  • In Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time novels:
    • Lampshaded when Rand notes that every skinny innkeeper they come across in their journeys turns out to be up to no good.
    • Subverted with Teslyn, a scrawny, dour member of the Aes Sedai's man-hating Red Ajah. She comes across as fairly unpleasant, to Mat in particular, but ultimately proves to be one of the more morally grounded and open-minded Aes Sedai he knows. After coming to terms with her trauma from being briefly Made a Slave, she sincerely thanks Mat for saving her life and says that he can always count on her help.
    • A particularly zealous member of the Church Militant organization Children of the Light is frequently described as gaunt. By his own admission, he's done many dark things in service of the Light.
  • The Faerie Queene: The captain of the forces attacking Temperance's castle is a giant man who is so oddly thin that he looks like a ghost.
    "As pale and wan as ashes was his looke,
    His bodie leane and meagre as a rake,
    And skin all withered like a dryed rooke,
    Thereto as cold and drery as a Snake,
    That seem'd to tremble euermore, and quake[.]"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bo-Ra in the South Korean television series Answer Me (1988), who is perhaps the most cold-hearted character on the show, maintains a stick-thin body, especially in her legs. Episode 5 shows that Bo-Ra can go without food for long periods of time. Contrast with Choi Moo-sung, who is the only overweight recurring character on the show yet is also the kindest and most altruistic character.
  • Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory is quite thin and Penny has mentioned she considers Sheldon to be skinny. Sheldon has even tried to become thinner in "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" to maximize his lifespan so that he can see anticipated technological innovations pop up in the future.
  • Frasier: Controlling, self-centered Rich Bitch Maris Crane was such an extreme example of this that there wasn't an actress thin enough to actually portray her.
  • Oswald Cobblepot in Gotham. This incarnation is rail-thin in contrast to the Fat Bastard he's usually portrayed as in the comics, as part of Adaptational Attractiveness. He actually stays thin for the entirety of the series until the very last episode, which is a Time Skip to ten years later where he's spent the intervening years locked up in Blackgate.
  • Sylar/Gabriel Gray from Heroes. In spite of being a Big Eater, he's rather thin and wiry.
  • LazyTown: Robbie's actor is 6 foot 2.5 inches tall, four inches taller than the actor playing the heroic Sportacus, but far less muscular. The vertical stripes on his default costume emphasize his skinnier frame.
  • Heckyl/Snide from Power Rangers Dino Charge. He's taller and thinner than the majority of the villains in the show and is by far the most dangerous.
  • Klingon warships from Star Trek have a leaner, no-frills design motif compared to the Starship Luxurious favored by The Federation. They also have the maneuverability and firepower to rival their Federation counterparts, going back to the skirmishes between the classic Enterprise and the D7 battlecruiser.
  • The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker keeps his weight down by running everywhere, being permanently stressed out, and living on a diet consisting mainly of coffee. Policy adviser Olly Reader likens him to "a thin white Mugabe".
    • Malcolm's actor Peter Capaldi went on to play the broody, often-cynical Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who, whose angular outfits emphasize his round head and skinny body to the point that companion Clara calls him a "grey-haired stick insect" at one point. Of course, this is a subversion — frosty and intimidating as he is to most of the people he meets, he is still the Doctor and at hearts is a Creepy Good Anti-Hero.

  • David Bowie's late-seventies persona, the Thin White Duke, although not being evil, per se, was definitely a bit sharper-edged than his other characters and more than a bit coke-fueled, therefore somewhat delusional. This incarnation of Bowie has been described as "an amoral zombie", "an emotionless Aryan superman", "a mad aristocrat" and by the man himself, "a nasty character indeed." Bowie made several pro-fascist remarks during this period that he later stated were supposed to be in-character. As far as the lean side goes, his weight plummeted to less than ninety pounds, extremely underweight for a 5'10" frame.
  • Eminem's Slim Shady character's name literally means 'lean and mean', referencing Eminem's scrawny physique at the time he created the character. According to Slim in "I'm Back", he's skinny because of his rampant drug abuse. To portray the Darker and Edgier Slim of Relapse, Eminem lost a significant amount of weight (he'd wanted to get down to the level of Christian Bale in The Machinist, but was thankfully talked out of it), giving him a striking, gaunt appearance that served to break him with the boyish Psychopathic Manchild Slim from his classic work.
  • Punk rockers, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, were generally rail-thin and extremely angry. A lot of the leanness was simply the result of not making enough money to feed themselves. Henry Rollins was noted as an anomaly in the punk world for his weightlifter's physique.
  • tool's iconic video for "Prison Sex" features a small, childlike figure menaced by a tall, lanky and malevolent figure.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The very tall and thin Sea Hag is one of Popeye's most dangerous adversaries. Bluto is strong but impulsive, while she's capable of being calculating.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons gave this option to characters with the Willing Deformity feats Tall and Gaunt. In this case, the Mean comes from the prerequisite of an Evil alignment, the assumption that people willing to fast themselves to half their natural weight or stretch themselves out on the rack probably have a few screws loose, and mostly the fact that the feats were introduced in the Book of Vile Darkness.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • The Dark Elves fit the trope very well, being a people composed entirely of vicious heartless sadists and having the slender, lean physique common to all elves. The leanness doesn't cause the meanness here, however, as their High and Wood Elf cousins are just as thin.
    • The Mourngul monster (from Monstrous Arcanum) is a causal version, however. It's a giant-mouthed ever-hungry ghost creature with a stick-thin frame and a ragged tear curtailing it at the waist. Mournguls died an agonizing death from hunger (usually after a stretch of starvation-induced cannibalism) in the frozen wastes, and their dark, all-consuming but futile hunger is all that is left of them.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Dark Eldar are half Lean and Mean, half Spikes of Villainy. It even extends to their vehicles.
    • The Necrons, being an army of SkeleBot 9000 terminators.
    • Slaanesh and their followers have a certain sensual thinness that contrasts the builds of the other gods.


  • BIONICLE: Takadox is the thinnest and tallest of the Barraki, a Slaying Mantis monster with a straight-up skeletal appearance. He's just one of six evil monsters but is a cut eviler than the rest by being a cowardly, backstabbing traitor.

    Video Games 
  • Battle Realms: The entire faction of the Lotus clan. Everyone is tall, skinny, and gangly, this is because of the paths their clan follow, in which they have to endure painful rituals which cause their bodies to rot in order to master death.
  • Battlefield Heroes: Arguably, the Nationals. Granted, it's Not exactly clear who started the war, but looking like the Nazis probably goes a long way in deciding which side they are.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: 3D Bendy is a lot taller and skinnier than his original cartoon design. You can even see his ribs and his spine. It doesn't stop him from being the fastest, strongest thing in the studio. In fact, in Chapter 4, unless the player takes certain actions to skip the cut-scene, Henry witnesses Bendy running in to fight the Projectionist, which ends quickly when he rips the other monster's head off. Afterward, the vault door that locked Henry in is all bent-up and looks like it's been forced open.
  • Baron Flynt from Borderlands and Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2.
  • Chzo Mythos: The Tall Man; more than seven feet tall, skeletal in build, but an awful lot stronger (and faster) than "he" looks...
  • The very tall and thin Darkspawn Emissaries of Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition - especially Big Bad Corypheus.
  • In Doom, some demons have this appearance to make them look nastier. This includes the Imps (and Nightmare Imps in Doom 64), and in Doom 2, the Revenants and the emaciated Arch-Viles.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Hungers are a type of lesser Daedra with long, thin humanoid frames with very little mass. Hungers are very similar in appearance to the "alien-style" Chupacabra, complete with claws, spikes, and a "sucker" mouth.
  • In Evolve, the Gorgon combines insectoid anatomy with a vaguely humanoid one, resulting in an unnerving example of this trope.
  • Hoyt Volker, the Big Bad of Far Cry 3, is a raspy-voiced South African criminal who runs a massive slave-trafficking ring from the mysterious Rook Islands. Hoyt is the thinnest of the three main male antagonists, but can still hold his own in a knife fight.
  • Validar of Fire Emblem: Awakening. Evil sorcerer, cult leader, noodle person.
  • Ryder in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in contrast to his Fat Bastard partner-in-crime Big Smoke.
  • Count Veger from the Jak and Daxter series is tall and skinny. And responsible for ruining Jak's life.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Subverted with Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. While he stands out with his lanky scarecrow-like physique and acts as a prominent antagonist, he is actually a benevolent (if mischievous) character possessed by the evil Majora, who uses Skull Kid as its personal puppet.
    • Zant, The Heavy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Though it’s somewhat offset due to his baggy clothing, his elongated arms and neck serves to make his proportions inhumanly spindly and drawn-out.
  • Monster Hunter: The Fatalis, which debuted in the original game, is a traditional Western dragon with a very slim set of proportions. And given that it's The Dreaded among literally everything that exists, hates humans, and has incinerated an entire kingdom, it's very mean.
  • Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid. Justified in that he's a psychic who floats using telekinesis rather than walking, causing his muscles to wither away to nothing.
  • Metroid: Ridley, Samus Aran's bony archnemesis.
  • Pheromosa one of the Ultra Beasts from Pokémon. It can be described as having a borderline stick-figured body. And despite it being 5'11" tall, Pheromosa only weighs 55.1 lbs.
  • The Postal Dude from Postal and Postal 2. In Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend, he's shown to have a very thin face with prominent cheekbones. He contrasts with his wife "The Bitch" who's a huge bitch, both figuratively and literally!
  • Andrew Oikonny of Star Fox.
  • Super Mario Bros. series: Waluigi, like Wario, is meant to be a grotesque exaggeration of one of the Mario Bros., and thus has spindly proportions to make him more sinister.
  • Säid of The Secret World may be more of an anti-hero than an outright villain, but he's undoubtedly callous, acerbic, exploitative, and quite amazingly greedy. Plus, because he's an ancient Egyptian Mummy, he's horribly emaciated from the embalming process.
  • Both Mitsuhide and Mitsunari from Sengoku Basara are Ax-Crazy White Hair Black Hearts who are also tall and almost skeletal in appearance. In Mitsunari's case, it's because he's too busy angsting to eat, while Mitsuhide is probably just that evil.
  • M. Bison's second-in-command FANG from Street Fighter V.
  • The above-mentioned Ridley makes an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This leaves him with a massive hitbox (he towers over most other fighters even in his Primal Stance), but only somewhat above-average weight, making him a Glass Cannon.
  • The liquid armour troopers from Syndicate (2012) are very lanky. It's particularly obvious when they spawn next to normal mooks.
  • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 is incredibly impolite (he has banged the Scout's mom and loves to boast and troll the Scout about it, which could make you feel sorry for the biggest Jerkass in the game that Scout undeniably is) and very tall and slender, which his badass-in-a-nice-suit attire makes even more noticeable. Furthermore, also alongside Scout and Sniper, he's the most prone to calling the Heavy "fatty" and "morbidly obese".
    • The Administrator, when she appears in the supplemental materials, is very thin and seems to be totally amoral, and has no emotions other than anger.
  • Tony Hawk's Underground has the protagonist's friend Eric Sparrow, who's not only mean, he's a snake willing to throw his friend under the bus just to hog all the fame for himself.
  • The Twins (2020): Buck is the skinny of the Fat and Skinny duo of murderous cannibalistic criminals he forms with his brother Bob.
  • The Thin Men in XCOM: Enemy Unknown are quite lean, and in Classic and Impossible difficulties, they are notorious for their Rookie body count.
  • Bioshock 2 features quite a few examples of these - unsurprising, given Rapture's surviving population has been living off things commonly found in garbage cans for the last ten years.
    • For a start, there's the Splicers, who are just as violently deranged as they were in the previous installment. However, unlike their counterparts from the first game, who still looked formidable enough despite all the deformities and ruined clothing, these guys are seriously emaciated. In particular, Baby Jane looks as though you could count her ribs from a distance, whilst the Crawlers cross the line into outright Noodle People due to their unique condition.
    • Meanwhile, Stanley Poole was pretty thin and gawky even before Rapture went to hell, and he's also a lying, embezzling backstabber more than happy to commit any crime to make sure his secrets don't get out, including kidnapping, child-killing by proxy, and the mass-murder of everyone in Dionysus Park.
    • Then there's the Big Sisters, who are all unusually tall and willowy on top of being brutal enforcers of the Rapture Family. It's eventually revealed that they're actually former Little Sisters who've gone through puberty, meaning they're actually the victims of an ADAM-fueled growth spurt... though the fact that they spent most of their childhoods eating nothing but ADAM and pep bars probably didn't help much.
    • Finally, there's Sofia Lamb, the game's Big Bad. An ice-cold Psycho Psychologist with a plan to forcibly transform her own daughter into a collectivist messiah with no free will, she has turned Rapture's surviving population into a cult for the purposes of destroying human individuality... and of course, she's as thin as a rake and almost tall enough to stand eye-to-eye with the seven-foot-tall Subject Delta.
  • Whiplash: The Skinny Rent-a-Cop enemies. They are thin security guards working for a company that abuses animals For Science!.

    Web Animation 
  • Chadam: The evil Viceroy is tall and lanky, with a long, thin head to boot.
  • Dreamscape:
    • The Master of the Dammed is a very tall living skeleton who rules over a very evil realm called the Unworld.
    • Melinda is a Wicked Witch with limbs longer and skinnier than even Keela, and her reputation makes her The Dreaded even among other villains like Ethan.
  • Recess Reindeer: Deegan has a pretty thin physique and is a bully.
  • Felix from Red vs. Blue is revealed to be this when out of his armor in Season 14. When standing next to Locus or Siris one can only wonder how he managed to go toe-to-toe with Carolina and Washington — both of them being Freelancer Agents — without snapping in half.

  • Daddy-Long-Legs has Mr. Scapegrace, who is one of the thinnest characters seen so far and the creepiest.
  • Flipside: The mysterious Archmage known as "The Thin Man" is infamous for inflicting magical Bio Augmentations on human victims in ways that defy the known rules of magic. Subverted when he shows up: in person, he's either Affably Evil or quite sincere in his belief that he's trying to do right by people.
  • The alternate-universe psion Minmax in Goblins. A well-balanced diet presumably isn't much of a priority for an Omnicidal Maniac Reality Warper.
  • Homestuck's Jack Noir is very lean, and very mean.
  • Fructose Riboflavin in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Most Nemesites seem pretty skinny, but Riboflavin is old and emaciated. Subverted when he disguises himself as a muscular human.
  • Richard from Looking for Group is this, but it's because he's dead and therefore dried out/decomposed/missing organs/literally just skin-and-bones (and some green goop).
  • Long Exposure has Mitch, The Bully to Jonas. This is a more complicated case, he is lean because his self-loathing led to some eating disorders that led to his current figure and his mean qualities come from being Sour Outside, Sad Inside.
  • Janice Jamison, the head of Magical Research in the Souballo Empire in Our Little Adventure.
  • Outsider: The Loroi fleet commander Stillstorm has a noticeably slender frame with prominent cheekbones and has an acidic personality and no tact whatsoever. Her few lines of dialogue are anywhere from disdainful to threatening toward Alex Jardin, the lone human character, and the systems analyst Beryl, speaking to Jardin as they're preparing to leave Stillstorm's ship to travel to a Loroi home world, notes that she's glad to be getting away.
    Beryl: Well, the commander sometimes gets... tired of looking at some of her officers. When this happens, it is beneficial to be out of her line of sight as quickly as possible.
    Jardin: I see. I had a commander like that once.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tall Thin And Evil


The Horned King

While never said to be one, the Horned King is a tall, skeletal and of course horned overlord, who seeks the Black Cauldron to reanimate an unstoppable army of the undead, so that he may used them to conqueror the world.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurLichesAreDifferent

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