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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.
  • 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.

Note: Explain how the characters are noodle people, don't just list their names, or "the entire cast", "some of the characters", or "just look at them!" instead of providing actual context. These are Zero-Context Examples and they're against the site's rules.



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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.
  • Berserk doesn't have this in earlier chapters, but Kentaro Miura's later 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 works by CLAMP where Nekoi Tsubasa is in charge of the art and character designs, particularly in ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. Though not a style used in their earlier works (where Mokona was the primary artist for the group), the stereotype set in during the mid-to-late 2000s. 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.
    • Code Geass actually gets the double whammy of not only having the initial character work done by CLAMP, but the finishing work being done by Takahiro Kimura, a Sunrise character designer who is also notorious for noodly people. Though, if you look carefully, the men actually appear to be much more noodly than the women - the women are more likely to have massive T&A and wear revealing outfits which is a Kimura trait, rather than CLAMP's.
  • 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 later on 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.
  • 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, as well as the physical effects of living in zero-G for long periods of time. 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.
  • Characters in Revolutionary Girl Utena have extremely long and spindly limbs, though the larger men also have enormous torsos.
  • Downplayed in the anime adaptation of Ouran High School Host Club. The host club members except Honey are somewhat skinny and tall. This isn't present in the manga.
  • 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 the Series: Sun & Moon are drawn with more noodle-like limbs in order to be more animator-friendly as well as fitting in with the more comedic Slice of Life setting of the series. This is most prominent with Ash, whose distinct, sharp "z" checkmarks are exaggerated to round squiggles that barely resemble anything.
  • Day Break Illusion 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.
  • Played straight in the anime of Durarara!!. Most of the cast counts 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 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.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Almost everyone in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Subverted with Rowley, Mr. Beardo, and a few other minor characters.

  • 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 suggests, 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 
  • 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.
  • Psychonauts: All but the grossly obese characters look like this, most notably Raz's dad. Hell, even the fat people have really noodly limbs.
  • Bayonetta: Most of the slim characters; the main exception is Luka, and only because of layers of clothing obscuring his body.
  • Nintendo Wii: Beng avatars where players can change their height and proportions, thinner Miis can count, at least in games and apps where their limbs are visible.
  • The Dishwasher: Everyone, 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.
  • Disgaea: The majority of the humanoid characters tend to be drawn in this style, with sticklike arms and even visible ribs on several characters.
  • World of Warcraft: The trolls 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.
  • The Thin Men from the X-COM series are noted for their tall, slender build and unnatural flexibility.

  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name has a decidedly noodley style, although it's at least justified in the case of Zombie because he's sort of... dead and emaciated.
  • EVIL: Most of the main cast are drawn in this style, with the notable exception of Kahn.
  • The "Hero Mode" versions of the characters in Homestuck, which are more typical drawn panels, as opposed to sprites. See here and the page immediately following for a good comparison.
  • Zoophobia's style is noodley for all characters, not just people.

    Western Animation 
  • Finn the Human from Adventure Time has long, thin, bendy arms and legs, as do almost all other human or humanoid characters from the show.
  • 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.
  • In Teen Titans (2003), 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 from Lucky Star 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.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Noonbory and the Super 7, MC Bory and Rosygury are tall and thin, in contrast of every other character being small and chunky.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): 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 
  • Morticia in the original The Addams Family cartoons by Charles Addams for The New Yorker has a tall, slim hourglass figure and long legs.
  • Peanuts: Spike is severely emaciated from the neck down (most likely from living as a stray in the desert) and looks like a stick figure compared to his brother Snoopy.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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.
  • Aladdin: Downplayed with Jafar - his robes give his body some bulk and thus take away from the effect, but his long, thin face and especially his very long fingers are definitely this trope. Word of God says that this was intentional, to contrast the evil Jafar with the short, round shape of the good Sultan.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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".
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Mike Teavee shrinks himself to an inch high when he fools around with the equipment in the Television Room. In an effort to placate his angry parents Willy Wonka offers to stretch him out via a chewing gum stretcher. When they're done Mike is described as being 10 feet tall and thin as a wire!
  • 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.
  • Protagoniste of The Princess Diaries Mia Thermopolis is 5'9" by the age of fourteen in the first book (when she finds about her princess status) while barely developed in hip and chest area and stays this way (probably growing more up) until book 9 breaking up with Michael when she, being herself a vegan, (coincidentally?) stress-eats meat right from the family fridge. Consequently she also makes a conclusion how meats are full of growth hormones nowadays.
  • This quote from Douglas Adams' So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish: “If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.”

  • 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.
  • 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: Legends of the Titan, 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.
  • Pom the lamb from Them's Fightin' Herds has long, stick-like legs connected to a very tiny body.
  • 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 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The teenage Calamity Girls Anne, Sasha, and Marcy have impossibly thin arms and legs, which contrasts both with the more realistically-drawn adults, and the short and squat frogs. The latter point is lampshaded very often by the frogs, who call her "Scarecrow" or other nicknames.
  • Larry Needlemeyer from The Amazing World of Gumball has a boxy head accompied by a long, thin body. In "The Laziest", however, he temporarily gets out of shape and his whole body takes on a box shape.
  • Olive Oyl in Popeye has exaggeratedly long, thin arms and legs, contrasting with Popeye's short and muscular figure.
  • 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).
  • Oscar Proud from The Proud Family is so skinny that he can disappear into a line if he turns to a certain angle.
  • 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.
  • The Head: Chen has longer and thinner limbs than anyone else. He used to work at a freak show.
  • Ready Jet Go!: While all the other characters have realistic body proportions, Jet and Zerk are both very thin. However, this is justified due to them being aliens.
  • Scooby-Doo: Lovable Coward Shaggy Rogers is the tallest and lankiest of the Mystery Inc. gang (ironically enough, with a gargantuan appetite) in contrast to the more athletically built Fred Jones.


Scary Godmother

Scary Godmother is a very skinny woman.

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