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Noodle People

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An art style in which characters are drawn with exaggeratedly long, thin torsos and limbs. This can look rather odd if animated. The term was coined in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, although the term has also been picked up by the anime and manga fandom. Despite the floppy connotations of noodle-ness, character designs using this aesthetic frequently tend to be angular and pointy, like an uncooked noodle, especially around the joints (and, in anime and manga, possibly also the chins).

This tends to take one of two main forms:

  • One step up from stick figures, where the torso has some thickness and heads and extremities have more realistic detail, but the arms and legs are essentially lines. This seems to be rather popular in gothic and emo art courtesy of Tim Burton, and may apply to all the characters in a film, or just those emphasizing the Byronic Hero or Perky Goth traits. Example: Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
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  • A style based on fashion illustration, where the characters are impossibly slender and long-limbed, but otherwise have more-or-less normal anatomy and musculature. Especially common in josei manga. More likely to apply to the entire cast (or at least the attractive characters). Often overlaps with bishounen and/or bishoujo. Example: Doumeki and Watanuki from ×××HOLiC.

While there are plenty of tall and skinny people in the real world, the difference between them and this trope is that noodle people are impossibly and disproportionately tall and skinny, so there is no such thing as a noodle person in real life .

Has nothing to do with incidents or implements. If you wanted a trope about characters whose limbs have the flexibility of noodles, that's Rubber Hose Limbs. Compare Nothing but Skin and Bones, Lean and Mean. Contrast with Puni Plush. Frequently paired with Creepy Long Fingers and/or Creepily Long Arms.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto uses this trope on occasion, whenever something rather jarring (usually Played for Laughs) is revealed. Is coupled with Blank White Eyes, Quivering Eyes, and Facefault.
  • K, to an extent, especially the more Bishounen-looking boys. Yahiro and Kuroh are straight examples. The women have flesh on them but are still impossibly leggy, and there are exceptions; more muscular, fat, or short men.
  • Akira Toriyama has fallen into this trope in regards to his character design, just compare how characters who looked at the end of Z to how he draws them nowadays.
  • Basso/ Natsume Ono seems to be quite fond of this.
  • Originally averted in Berserk but Kentaro Miura's more recent art style tends makes a lot of the characters (especially female ones) painfully thin and gangly, just compare Guts to his True Companions, they look almost anorexic compared to him.
  • This style is most noticeable in CLAMP works ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. Though not a style used in their earlier works, the stereotype has already set in, with these two being their most popular recent works. To a lesser extent, it's still there in their older stuff (e.g. Tokyo Babylon), which has occasionally been toned down due to the difficulty of animating. It's just closer to being in line with the rest of anime's skinny, skinny waifs. It also turns up in Code Geass, which is not terribly surprising, considering its characters were designed by CLAMP.
  • The series that Sunrise did immediately after Code Geass, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, also has a decidedly noodly cast, this time designed by Yun Kouga (of Loveless fame).
  • One Piece, Oda loves drawing noodle people especially with the female characters.
    • Monkey D. Luffy is drawn in this style. Additionally, he has an elastic body, making him a noodle person on two levels. His noodliness seems to be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the scene. He has a much more defined shape and visible musculature whenever he's kicking butt, but in very comedic scenes he is so much of a noodle person that he doesn't always even have elbows or knees. Sanji also has a noodle figure (in fact when Oda draws Sanji he even does a stick figure shape for his body) averted when Sanji has less clothing on as he’s actually pretty muscular. Usopp is always a puppet/stick man (except recently when he got really fat, and then after the Time Skip where he got fairly muscular) though his skinny figure came back in Zou. Brook as well, and not just because he's a skeleton —he was just as skinny when he had flesh on those bones!
    • Justified during the fight with Kalifa of CP-9. Her Awa Awa no Mi (Bubble Bubble Fruit) gave her the ability to "clean off" power. It also smooths out the curves of the target's body, making them look very noodle-like.
    • After getting the Cow Cow Fruit, Model: Giraffe, Kaku discovers he can make himself a noodle person with his "Pasta Machine" technique. By forcing the mass of his giraffe neck down into his body, his arms and legs become much longer than normal but keep the same width, appearing very slim. This form is especially useful for a master of Tempest Kick, as longer legs mean stronger Razor Wind.
    • Despite being genuine powerhouses Aokiji, Kizaru and Akainu are very skinny and have disproportionately long noodle legs. Though Aokiji and Akainu have subverted this being shown quite muscular with their tops off.
    • The Long Leg Tribe are noodle people, Tamago in particular has sticks for legs. Averted with Blue Gilly and Smoothie as they have more curves.
  • Lupin III has most characters drawn with thin bodies, but very long arms and legs. The individual character designs have varied on being angular versus the Robber Hose - style limbs, but they're definitely spindly compared to the torso. Lupin is the skinniest, with Zenigata being the thickest.
  • Almost every work of Nakamura Asumiko. Really.
  • Nabari no Ou: It doesn't start out this way, but gets considerably worse towards the later volumes.
  • Special A. Good gods, just look at the legs.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, especially the schoolgirls.
  • Loveless
  • This style was first popularized in anime by Leiji Matsumoto, though his more comedic characters are usually short and round.
  • Mamoru Nagano also makes extensive use of it in his character designs. Even his Humongous Mecha designs are often quite spindly, most notably the Jagd Mirage from The Five Star Stories.
  • Characters as designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto mostly appear like this. Body types are pretty thin, but the real show is all in the scrawny arms and lanky legs, such as:
  • In Cowboy Bebop the heroes are all way skinnier than most shows would make them, the thickest is Jet, and it is most notable in Spike and Ed. A watsonian explanation could be the Bebop crew's chronic lack of food, and Spike's highly athletic lifestyle. The doylist reason is that many are expies taken from Lupin III, especially Spike with his long legs. Ed, having no previous incarnation, is the one who is pure noodle for noodle's sake.
  • Since author Kaoru Shintani once worked as an assistant to Leiji Matsumoto, the characters of Area 88 tend to be rail-thin. Especially noticeable with women and Saki, Mickey, and Shin.
  • The characters of the lesser-known mangaka, Hakase Mizuki. Just look at some of them! Half of them must be walking on stilts.
  • Humans and humanoid Digimon in Digimon, except Digimon Savers.
  • Star Driver, likely taking influence from CLAMP.
  • Characters in Revolutionary Girl Utena have extremely long and spindly limbs, though the larger men also have enormous torsos.
  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Mohiro Kitoh usually draws his characters like this.
  • The Sailor Moon girls are of the fashion-illustration inspired, long-limbed and willowy bishoujo look when drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, and are quite leggy in proportion to their body size.
  • The female characters of Space Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers. Starsha in particular looks impossibly gawky in an elegant sort of way. This is only to be expected, though, because the series was originally created by Leiji Matsumoto, who is (in)famous for his willowy females and gangly men.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: It doesn't start out this way, but gets considerably worse towards the later volumes. Just compare between the beginning and current volumes.
  • Kouta Hirano of Hellsing does something like this; his characters tend to be very streched. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, his thick-lined, angular style still give limbs a lot of weight despite their elongated proportions. He gets even better in Drifters, where the characters, while still quite slender, have somewhat more realistic proportions (well, except Murasaki).
  • The drawings of Hajime no Ippo evolved into a variation of this over time: during fights, the characters have a muscular torso but impossibly thin limbs. Especially glaring during the fight between Itagaki and Saeki, or in Mashiba's later fights.
  • Most human characters in Pokémon (at least the anime).
  • Il Sole penetra le illusioni uses a stylized design that makes the magical girl cast look very spindly.
  • A staple of Ai Yazawa's art style, as evidenced here.
  • Peter Chung's animation features lanky noodle people and the occasional gonk or two.
    • In Reign: The Conqueror, most of the main characters are tall and rail-thin. Alexander and his circle of friends are the most jarring examples.
  • Matoi the Sacred Slayer is another magical girl series that uses this kind of style.
  • Played straight in the anime of Durarara!!. Most of the cast count as this, though it is far more noticeable in characters like Shizuo and Izaya. Shizuo is very tall, but lacks much visible muscle mass (justified since his muscles are extremely dense) and Izaya somehow manages to be skinnier than everyone else. It becomes even more exaggerated in their final fight when their limbs are flailing almost like actual noodles.


    Comic Books 
  • Jhonen Vasquez as said above, utilizes noodle people. This is especially evident in his comics Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee!, and I Feel Sick. It's less noticeable in Invader Zim, where most of the characters are either children or very short, but it can be seen at times when adults appear. Apparently Happy Noodle Boy himself doesn't count.


  • The Gorillaz, excluding Russell and child-Noodle. It's most noticeable with 2D and adult/teen Noodle (who's aptly named).

    Tabletop Games 

  • Betty Spaghetti doll line, as the name suggest the characters limbs are extremely thin and flexible.
  • The girls from Monster High
    • Taken a step further with the spin off Ever After High who are even skinnier.

    Video Games 
  • Somewhat with the Mudokons of Oddworld.
  • Tales of Destiny 2: The official art for the game was like this, especially when it came to any female characters. The in-game art, however, is for the most part an aversion.
  • All but the grossly obese characters from Tim Schafer's Psychonauts look like this, most notably Raz's dad. Hell, even the fat people have really noodly limbs.
  • Most of the slim characters in Bayonetta; the main exception is Luka, and only because of layers of clothing obscuring his body.
  • Thinner Miis count, when their limbs are visible.
  • Everyone in The Dishwasher, including the title protagonist. The incredible amount of violence in the game, in addition to the monochrome art style, certainly is evocative of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.
  • The World Ends with You uses this style. The characters aren't just stylistically thin, but wiry with a bit of muscle tone.
  • All of the human characters in the arcade game Rolling Thunder are drawn in this style.
  • The majority of the humanoid characters in the Disgaea series tend to be drawn in this style, with sticklike arms and even visible ribs on several characters.
  • The trolls in World of Warcraft are this way, with lanky frames and long arms and legs. This is exaggerated by the male trolls' slouching posture, which makes their torso look even shorter in comparison. When they briefly stand up straight in their idle animation, they're actually the tallest characters in the game, but they're not nearly as bulky as the tauren.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Peter Chung's animation makes copious use of noodle people and gonks, but Æon Flux does so big time. The long limbs and large chests of the characters in the show were perhaps due to the action being set on a planet, not very Earthlike, with low gravity and thin air. Admittedly, that's probably an Epileptic Tree, but a petit mal one.
  • Monster Buster Club: Everyone, excluding the fat people. Just look at them.
  • In Teen Titans the whole team with the sole exception of Cyborg are a thin and gangly bunch.
  • The normal human characters in Courage the Cowardly Dog, as well as Katz.
  • Darn near everyone in TRON: Uprising.
  • The humanized ponies of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls are quite slender, even more-so than their original pony selves.
  • Most characters of Codename: Kids Next Door have thin arms and legs, and large hands and feet. Special mention to Numbuh 3, who has extremely thin legs.

Individual characters

    Anime and Manga 
  • Rem and Ryuk, two of the Shinigami from Death Note kinda look like this, especially compared to the human characters.
  • Alan Gabriel in The Big O.
  • Yoite (and Miharu, sort of) in Nabari no Ou.
  • Nnoitra Gilga of Bleach.
  • Megumi Shimizu from Shiki. Actually, most Shiki characters, exceptions being two of the nurses.
  • Done terrifyingly in The Enigma of Amigara Fault. What makes it scary? The art style is very realistic, meaning that the characters actually look like that, and they started out normal-looking, and became distorted as a result of the gradual change in shape of the tunnels through the mountain from human-shaped to extremely long and thin.
  • Meito Anisawa and his assistants are ironic examples, being the only ones in an otherwise plush-like world.
  • Crona from Soul Eater. It's apparently a result of being Denied Food as Punishment a lot.
    • A lot of people start looking like this when they give into Madness. A good example is Maka's second battle with Crona. When she starts using Madness to tune into Crona's soul, she begins to be drawn much more loosely, with her joints seeming to bend in impossible ways in the same way Crona's do on a regular basis, which suggests it overlaps with Limp and Livid.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman: Dream of the Endless. And his servant/librarian/confidant Lucien is even taller than him. About half the other Endless - Desire, Death, and Delirium, specifically - fall into this at least in some illustrations.
  • Fantastic Four: Reed Richards, Rubber Man extraordinaire, whose power very often manifests itself in a very noodly manner.
  • Likewise with other stretching heroes, most notably long-time Justice League member Elongated Man and the original stretching hero, Plastic Man.
  • Mercury of the Metal Men. Justified in that he is a robot. In fact, he loses his noodliness when the team got remoulded into human forms in a retool late into their original run.

    Comic Strips 

  • Avatar: The Na'Vi. They're basically 12-foot-tall, hairless blue bipedal lemurs.
  • Any character played by Javier Botet, who is himself a real-life example of this trope due to his pronounced Marfan's syndrome; his frame and gift for body language made him a natural creature actor, and after his breakthrough role as the original "zombie" in [REC], he's since gone on to do many more like it. His most famous role, the Crooked Man, is often mistaken for a CGI creation just because of how exaggerated it is.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Mike Teavee. He's overstretched to ten feet tall in the novel and this fate is implied for him in the 1971 movie, but the 2005 movie actually shows how "skinny" he ended up (at 5:20 in the video). Also, Charlie himself in the Game Boy Advance game.
  • Coraline has several examples. The titular character is as thin as a rod, but several other characters, like Wybie and her father, are squat and rotund. The Other Mother starts out with the (nice) legs of Coraline's real mother but gradually turns into a grotesque spider-like creature. Then there's Bobinski, who is quite fat but has absurdly spindly limbs, the exact opposite of what you'd expect from someone so agile.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind The first alien out the door is spidery, raises his long arms in greeting... and is never seen again. The reason is because that particular alien was a separately-filmed marionette and the incredibly bright lights behind were required to hide the strings. Putting it in with everything else was beyond 1970's technology.
  • Dr. Octavius Brine from Penguins of Madagascar has very thin and flexible arms and legs. Justified, as he's an octopus in disguise.
  • Queen Luna from the third Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, Moon Castle: The Space Adventure. She's practically a giant compared to the other characters due to how tall and skinny she is.

  • In Michael Chabon's Gentleman Of The Road, one of the protagonists, Zelikman, is described as looking like a "slight, thin-shanked fellow" and a "scarecrow".
  • Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files, is extremely tall at close to seven feet tall and lean, occasionally being compared to a basketball player in build.
  • In Harry Potter, Ron, Percy, and Arthur are all described as tall, gangly, and quite thin. Ron probably loses most of his noodle status after the fifth book, though.
  • Melissa Marr's Faery Court series features the Scrimshaw Sisters, faeries who are very tall and appear to be literally Nothing but Skin and Bones.
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon book franchise, a lot of characters are described as being very skinny. The most prominent being Hiccup, Camicazi and Fishlegs.

  • Takadox from BIONICLE, modeled after a mantis and being built around a single LEGO Technic beam. The likewise insect-based Krika and bat-based Chirox with their Creepily Long Arms and thin legs are runners-up.

    Video Games 
  • Waluigi of the Super Mario Bros. series, who takes the comparatively thin build of his counterpart Luigi and vastly exaggerates it to this extent.
  • Super Mario Maker features a new power-up called a "Weird Mushroom" that turns Mario into, well, this. Hell, the Weird Mushroom itself qualifies, being a lanky, realistically-proportioned version of the Super Mushroom.
  • The Tall Man of the Chzo Mythos. Couple this with his extreme height, speed and strength, and he's pretty efficient Nightmare Fuel.
  • You can create your very own Noodle Rocker in Rock Band just by setting the weight slider to minimum in the character creator. It'll give even the shortest characters skinny little stick-limbs, although only the ones who're also tall get the full Noodle Person effect.
    • This isn't really possible anymore in Rock Band 3; the character creator was overhauled to be more detailed and realistic, so the characters can't be quite as skinny as they were in the previous games. Also, all the men have fairly bulky shoulders and upper torsos even if they're at the minimum for weight and muscle, although the female characters can still be quite twiglike.
  • While the in-game art for Tales of Destiny 2 mostly averted this (though the official art did not), Reala is still oddly long and skinny. Her neck is a quite bad offender; it doesn't look like it should be able to hold up her head.
  • I. M. Meen is very gangly. All the better to dance around and sing about clever children, I suppose.
  • The Grey Jacks in Resistance are giant spindly aliens; the Grims somewhat fill this role in the sequel.
  • Miror B. of Pokémon Colosseum fame. He's by far the thinnest character seen in a Pokémon game, and is about two heads taller than the main character. The thinness of his arms/legs/body makes his absolutely massive afro even more comical.
  • Katy Kat in Parappa The Rapper: Her torso is only about twice as wide as her tail.
  • While most of the characters of Disgaea are on the thin side, Valvatorez may very well be made of pipe cleaners.
  • Yoyo in Jet Set Radio Future has very thin arms and legs.
  • The Elezen race of Final Fantasy XIV are noted for their tall and slim physiques, and extraordinarily long limbs. This is described as an evolutionary adaption to their native environments.
  • Mordecai in the Borderlands series is incredibly thin... which makes it odd that he favors huge sniper rifles and heavy pistols, overlapping with Muscles Are Meaningless.
  • In Etrian Odyssey IV, the Vessels are extremely thin, and just as frail as they appear. This contrasts them with the hardy Sentinels.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Zora all have long necks, long arms, long torsos, and have a mostly slim build. The only exceptions are Sidon (who is pretty buff and is taller than the average Zora) and King Dorephan (who is massively built and pudgy at once)
  • Thin Men from XCOM: Enemy Unknown are snake-like aliens that have been thoroughly genetically engineered to resemble humans in order to infiltrate business and government as well as carry out more covert tasks. As their name implies, one of their most defining features is a very slender and flexible frame.
  • Slenderman from "The Eight Pages". The noodly villain marauds you as you go about the game's very straightforward task of collecting the eight pages. If you run into him, it's game over and he presumably drags you away to do something horrific to you.
  • In Dark Souls III, you encounter ghost images of the various Outrider Knights, which are all taller and skinnier than the human (sorta) Unkindled One. There's one in particular (the one on the left of the image) who's a good eight feet tall, with very long and slender arms and legs. She's pretty recognisable as the Dancer of the Boreal Valley.

    Web Animation 
  • Salad Fingers.
  • The Whites from Lucky Day Forever. This was used in their design to show that Whites are inhuman in comparison to the Proles.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Fire Guy has stick arms and legs.
  • In Daria Cohens The Vampair Series Duke is exceedingly tall, and his lankiness shows as a result. A lot of his Mickey Mousing involves him bouncing his shoulders and wiggling his body in place.

  • Anna in Anders Loves Maria, contrasting with the more realistic build of the other characters.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Finn the Human from Adventure Time.
  • The main characters in Bravest Warriors.
  • Larry Needlemeyer from The Amazing World of Gumball.
  • Dee Dee in Dexter's Laboratory
  • Mirage from The Incredibles. Seriously, just take a look at her! Violet as well.
  • Olive Oyl in Popeye
  • Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog has this design, in contrast to all the other human characters, who are more realistically proportioned. Both the frogs also take on this proportion when standing upright, but that's because they're frogs.
  • Most of the cast of Scaredy Squirrel.
  • Gretchen Grundler on Recess
  • The mysterious entity known as Paddywhack on Darkwing Duck had a normal sized torso, but disproportionately long legs and arms - so much so he needed to bend double to be in the same frame as Darkwing and Quackerjack.
  • Several characters in Transformers: Prime, including Starscream, are quite long and wiry compared to the other cast members.
  • While Steven Universe draws many thin characters with exaggerated proportions, Pearl is absolutely rail thin, as are all the other Pearl-type Gems.
  • Rudy and Penny during the first season of ChalkZone, especially Rudy. Starting in season two when the show switched overseas animation departments from Galaxy Digimation and Rough Draft Studios to Sunwoo Entertainment and Wang Film Productions, the two become a little more realistically proportioned (for the show's art style).
  • The titular character of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja could count, due to his seemingly too skinny proportions. Especially noticeable when next to his best friend, Howard.
  • Lance from Voltron: Legendary Defender is drawn with a much lankier build than the rest of the main cast.
    • The Bi-Boh-Bis are literal noodle people, with extremely thin and tall, bendy torsos resembling cooked spaghetti.
  • Angus Scattergood from Rock Dog.
  • The Head: Chen has longer and thinner limbs than anyone else. He used to work at a freak show.


Video Example(s):


Scary Godmother

Scary Godmother is a very skinny woman.

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