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Not Drawn to Scale

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Ira Gamagoori only has one size: "Bigger than you."

As a general rule, the depictions of the size, age, or other aspects of characters and objects in fiction are not particularly consistent. This is in large part due to the fact that people without the right training often have a difficult time scaling how large some objects are relative to others, and, considering how difficult it is to gain this kind of depth perception, it's somewhat understandable that many artists just do the best they can and don't do the research.

Clever writers will often recognize these limitations by deliberately avoiding clearly classifying character's traits like age, height, power, or minor biographical information — these technical features seldom relate directly to the narrative so they can often get away with it. Unfortunately, if someone else involved with the production wants to use these statistics for some other facet like merchandise, they can end up being defined inaccurately anyway. For some fans, this can turn into Serious Business.

Contradictions arising from the implications of this trope can get involved in pretty much any facet of fiction involving math, from Dawson Casting to bizarre tiers of superpowers. Sorting algorithm tropes can mitigate this to a large extent, as it avoids measuring anything objectively by instead only measuring things relative to other fictional objects. Even then, size and height are a consistent problem area, as most mundane objects do have general sizes, even if the writers forget this.

Your Size May Vary is a subtrope. Bizarrchitecture is what happens when an artist deliberately invokes this trope to create an eerie, otherworldly effect as opposed to an Off-Model one.

See also Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, for the omnishambles created when this trope interacts with the already-unfathomable distances involved in space travel.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kill la Kill: Ira Gamagoori provides the page image. His size varies greatly throughout the series, mostly thanks to Kill la Kill's Deranged Animation, hence the meme, "Ira Gamagoori only has one size: Bigger than you." Just to give an example, Nonon Jakuzure officially comes up to about half his height, but in a single scene he goes from his regular size to being big enough that when she stands on his shoulder, his head is bigger than her entire body.
  • Hikaru in Magic Knight Rayearth was given a precise height of 1.5m (five feet). Presumably other characters are roughly equated with her, though because of the art style many of the taller characters seem to be unusually tall applying this across the board — she's about waist height to her potential boyfriend.
  • Sailor Moon's author gave only its main character a specific height from which the others are mostly extrapolated. This became tricky as more characters were introduced, since Huge Schoolgirl Makoto was no longer the tallest character but was certainly not over six feet tall. Both the anime dubs tends to shy away from addressing this directly, while the Live-Action adaptation simply regresses it back to her original pseudo-Yankee design. Indeed, barring direct translations from merchandise, the issue of relative heights was mostly avoided, possibly because the perception of "tall" varies widely across the world. On the flip side, Usagi herself is sufficiently short that adaptations sometimes have to ignore it.
  • Averted in Blame!, where Tsutomu Nihei studied architecture for years before creating his manga, and is famous for taking incredible pains to make everything to scale.
  • Katsuhiro Otomo similarly has a near-anal-retentive attention to visual detail.
  • Astro Boy is usually stated to be nine. He looks six — apparently Tobio Tenma was a late bloomer. (This may be related to the astonishingly variable sizes in Tezuka works — height is just not a good way to determine "adult" and "child" with him.) Despite being made of metal, he's also apparently very light — it's most noticeable in the movie, where the rather spindly Tenma can lift him without apparent effort. Tezuka actually explains this discrepency in one of the intro comics he did for the collected editions. Apparently he did try making Astro look a bit older for a little while, but found the kiddier-looking version was more popular.
  • In Elfen Lied, Lucy's vectors have time and time again been said to only extend two meters. It was even used as a plot point once. However, on a few occasions they've extended a few more meters than they should. Eventually it's said that Lucy's powers are still growing: the two meters distance was her limit before she escaped, and it's been steadily increasing. At the end of the manga (six months later in-universe) she's able to spread her vectors across hundreds of miles at least.
  • One Piece is known for some crazy character designs and adult humans have been known to range anywhere from realistic heights to over twenty feet tall. Though while the consistency may vary in specific cases, when you see a character who is twice as tall as Luffy, an average young adult, the official height for said character usually turns out to be ten feet tall.
  • Compare Chiriko (4'11") and Miaka (roughly 5'2") from Fushigi Yuugi. You don't need real life comparison to see the error.
  • Eyeshield 21 relies a lot on skewed, inconsistent perspective as depiction of the characters is based on their emotional state.
    • The first time the Deimon meets Taiyou, the Sphinx players look like 10-feet-tall monsters (Murata even lampshades this). This is because the Devilbats are intimidated by the heavier, stronger, and more experienced players. By the time the two teams meet again, the Sphinx are perceived for what they really are: unusually large and strong, but still human.
    • Similarly, Mamori seems tall because she's viewed as a mature mother figure. Ikkyu is perceived as quite short because he's the Butt-Monkey of the Nagas. Height in Eyeshield seems to be indicated more by personality and perception rather than what's realistic.
    • Played with in the rematch against Ojou where Sakuraba seems even taller than usual which Musashi explains that simply by changing his posture to a more confident one he can make himself look taller, hilariously fails
  • Koi Kaze completely subverts this. Everything is drawn to scale using techniques that only a professionally trained draftsperson who does know how to draw ink-on-linen would even recognize. The artist was showing off.
  • Over the course of the twenty episodes of the Tenchi Muyo! OVA series, the Masaki house goes through at least four distinct versions. Most of the changes are due to remodeling (or complete rebuilding), but episode 3 reveals that the earliest version of the house is impossible: the lounge doesn't fit inside the exterior walls, the kitchen has exterior windows where there should be an interior wall, and so on. One scene requires Aeka's bedroom to be on the second floor of one side of the house, facing the lake, while a second scene, only minutes after the first, requires it to be on the third floor of the opposite side of the house, in a location that doesn't exist at that point in the story and facing a direction that makes nonsense of the earlier scene, while Sasami is seen standing in a corridor that doesn't exist prior to episode 7. Different animators may have been working from different floor plans. Or maybe Yog-Sothoth was the architect. Considering that there are 3 gods in residence, this might be entirely justified.
  • Persona 4: The Animation does this quite a bit, but one of the more noticeable examples comes in episode 6. At one point, when Naoto Shirogane and Kanji Tatsumi are talking together, Naoto looks like the top of her head reaches Kanji's chest. In a shot a few seconds later, she looks like she's only up to Kanji's waist. If that wasn't enough discrepancy, later when they're walking together, she's roughly at Kanji's shoulder.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, the Shenlong Gundam has an extending dragon claw for a right arm; while it has a very obvious overall length, in several episodes it extends well beyond that. The Mid-Season Upgrade version from Endless Waltz gets a Hand Wave solution, having the claw be mounted on a "chain" of segmented red boxes that apparently fold into each other when not in use.
  • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Neo Russia's Argo is a large man. However, he's still within a realistic human height. But in his introductory scene, he is shown to be easily twice the size of Domon. Episodes after that have him appear his regular height. Similarly, the Greek Gundam fighter's introductory episode exaggerates his size as well, even beyond Argo! Later episodes reveal he is in fact a giant of a man, but still smaller than his intro scene depicted.
  • In The Boy and the Beast, Kumatetsu doesn't have a consistent body type. Sometimes, he has a body of a chubby and buff young adult, other times he has a body of a pro wrestler, and sometimes he has a body of an skinny fit man. Part of this has to do with fact the movie takes place over several years, but still.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • The series has rather infamous football fields whose depicted length is based on the emotional state of its protagonists. On a decisive game, the field has been calculated to become 10 kilometers long.
    • The actual characters don't look much better, as the largest guys like Jitou or Hyuuga or Nakanishi can easily morph into giants when the focus is on them.
  • Captain Tsubasa's "successor", Hungry Heart: Wild Striker, is somewhat less exaggerated... emphasis on somewhat. At times the protagonist Kyousuke Kanou is shown as tall but more or less realistically so, but at others he's drawn so huge that he barely fits in a normal Japanese car.
  • Koichi in Diamond is Unbreakable is canonically 157cm, or five foot two. He's much more frequently drawn much shorter. A fairly infamous picture is him with Giorno, who is supposed to be just four inches taller but looks twice the height.
  • A weird case of this is Yu-Gi-Oh!. Yugi and Dark Yugi/Yami/Atem are meant to be the same height; they share a body, after all, and when Atem gets his own body, it's the same height as Yugi's. (Official statements claim them to be 153cm, or just barely over five feet.) However, for the sake of visually showing Atem as more dominant and mature and Yugi as more childish and vulnerable, Atem is usually drawn more or less to scale with his canon height (short by the standards of a teenage boy but not outlandishly so), while Yugi ranges from "looks like a grade schooler" to "looks like a hobbit."
  • Blue Comet SPT Layzner: When Roanne gets a promotion from Ru-Kain himself towards the end, he seems to suddenly grow several inches; the end of the OVA shows him "back" to his normal height, as he rejoins the group and they go greet the returning Eiji.
  • One-Punch Man: Just how tall is Tatsumaki supposed to be? She can be anywhere from "up to her sister's shoulder" to "shorter than the ten-year-old Child Emperor" depending on who's drawing her and what version of the story it is. Some fans joke that her real size is the opposite of Gamagoori, "smaller than you".
  • Fist of the North Star likes to occasionally depict various enemies Kenshiro faces as being far larger than they should be. This is especially evident in the anime, due to events being less visually ambiguous. In the first episode of the anime, for instance, Zeed looks to be about a head or two taller than Kenshiro in most shots, especially while Kenshiro is attacking him: certainly an absolute giant of a man, but within the realm of possibility. Then when Zeed gets knocked off his feet, he suddenly grows to roundabouts twice Kenshiro's height. And when we see the shot of him landing, Kenshiro seems to be barely bigger than one of his shins.
  • Kengan Asura is fond of giving characters fairly reasonable "official" heights and then ballooning them up into giants depending on the need of the shot. Julius Reinhold is easily the biggest recipient of it. He's officially 205cm tall, or around six foot nine, which is already an enormous size (especially when accounting for his insane physical bulk), but he's usually drawn as at least two heads taller than his rival Wakatsuki, who is 193cm/six foot four.

    Comic Books 
  • In Superman story Must There Be a Superman?, the titular hero bumps into a cluster of spherical alien spores whose size varies depending on the panel, ranging from larger-than-a-human to football-sized.
  • An interesting art mistake occurred in The Ultimates 3, in which Wolverine was drawn as smaller than the male Ultimate members. While his main universe version is supposed to be small, in the Ultimate Universe he was officially stated to be 1.81 meters (a skosh under six feet) tall from the very start. As this was one of many errors which saw the 616 versions of the characters transposed onto the Ultimate universe versions in one way, shape or form, it's possible that this one is down to research failure on the part of the artist and / or writer.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Hans the Hedgehog": The titular character is a half-human, half-hedgehog being whose size seems to vary depending on the scene: on the one hand, he is able to play average-sized bagpipes; on the another hand, he rides a rooster.

    Films — Animation 
  • According to the film-makers, the balloons holding up Carl's house in Up were rendered bigger in long shots for the sake of visibility.
  • Tangled: One of the many magical abilities of Rapunzel's hair appears to be changing its size as necessary. At times, it's long enough to stretch the length of the tower or be used to swing across long distances, and at other times is short enough to tie into a floor-length braid or is just the right length to wrap herself in. It's also never too heavy for her to carry, but again, it's magical.
  • The bugs in well... A Bug's Life took plenty of liberties when scaling the characters. The easiest example is Manny, a mantis that's only slightly taller than an ant.
  • Officially, the minions in Despicable Me are about 105cm tall, or about three and a half feet. Most humans are about 2-4 times taller than them, so the Despicable Me franchise is apparently populated by giants.
  • An official movie poster for Ernest et Célestine shows the main characters' police mugshots, and they show that Ernest stands at 7 feet tall (a little more than 2 meters) whereas Celéstine is only 5 inches (12,7 centimeters). On the official character height chart, however, she is only a head shorter than the young bear Léon, whom is about as tall as a toddler in comparison to the adult bears, including Ernest.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The alien mothership in Close Encounters of the Third Kind appears to change scale from one shot to the next — in its first full reveal it appears several times larger than the mountain it's supposed to be landing in front of. (It also famously casts a dark shadow despite being festooned with lights.)
  • Star Trek (2009) upscaled the Enterprise from the original series design to nearly twice as long. This was largely because they wanted to keep an extremely oversized shuttlebay (the original carried 2 while the new version had at least 10). The Abrams' Enterprise was designed to be only moderately bigger than the original (280 meters to 360 tip of the saucer section to end of the nacelle) but the official statement now is 700 meters, about the same size as the Sovereign class Enterpise-E. This has resulted in conflicting size comparisons between shots.
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, for a scene involving the characters climbing a vertical shaft, they wanted it to seem like a genuinely MASSIVE tunnel. Official schematics list a Constitution class ships like the Enterprise as having around 24-25 decks (some areas in engineering aren't officially classified as Decks), but "Deck 79" appeared and fans were appropriately curious.
  • Some believe that a ship travelling at warp magnifies its visual appearance several times over, which is why the Klingon ship seems to be half the size of the sun in The Voyage Home
  • The ape in King Kong (1933) is taller in the city than on Skull Island. The life-size hand and head replicas were also not to the same scale.
  • When West End Games created Star Wars d6, they wrote up the sizes for a large number of ships and vehicles. Problem was, they basically pulled the numbers for them out of their butts, rather than attempting to scale through images (which, to be fair, they had to; it was 1987). Most early Star Wars Legends material used the RPG books as a source, which led to their rather odd sizing choices often spreading to other stories.
    • The Executor was guessed by West End to be about eight kilometers long (compared to 1.6-kilometer Star Destroyers). This is really hard to swallow if you look at any given picture of the Executor next to a Star Destroyer, with it easily dwarfing them at least ten times over. Executor's official length ended up changing multiple times, being sized up to 11.6 as an attempted compromise before finally being nailed down at 19 kilometers. This was stated in-universe to be the result of confusing intel; there were multiple Executor projects, some of which were fake, and some versions of the project had it being far smaller than it ended up being, which was the version that got dug up by the Rebels and distributed.
    • Though not quite as notorious, West End suggested the AT-AT to be around 15 meters tall. This might be based on claims by ILM that this is what the models were scaled to, but if so, it doesn't measure up to shots of the walkers from The Empire Strikes Back, such as them being able to crush four-meter-long snowspeeders underfoot, the roomy appearance of Veers's command station, or especially the scene of Luke grappling up to the stomach of one. Most fans settled on 22.5 meters as a reasonable estimate, which seems to have been accepted as their canon height.

  • J. K. Rowling is known for this. Hogwarts's shifting floor plan was developed so that she could Hand Wave discrepancies, such as Dumbledore's office being on the second floor in book two and on the seventh floor (down the hall from the Room of Requirement) from book five onward. But of course, A Wizard Did It. Similarly, the Burrow is said to actually look like it's probably propped up by magic, the Room of Requirement grows as required, and many confined spaces, like the flying Ford Anglia and the tent from the Quidditch World Cup, are Bigger on the Inside.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Dante provides some scattered measurements for places and things in Hell (such as the distance around one circle and the height of a giant); from these, one can attempt to infer the overall dimensions of Hell, but the results are wildly inconsistent. But considering that it's Hell, see Alien Geometries.
  • In the Honor Harrington series, David Weber's original conception of the ships' sizes suffered from failure to appreciate the Square-Cube Law, resulting in some of the larger ships being less dense than tobacco smoke and forcing him to Retcon the sizes in an event referred to as the Great Resizing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • While Babylon 5 tends to be consistent with the size of its ships (although there have been some lapses concerning Minbari and Centauri ships) a strange thing happened to the White Star class between Season 4 and 5. While from its appearance up to the end of Season 4 it was always shown to be around 150 m in length, including a lengthy battle scene at the end of Season 4 were the ships can be easily compared to both the Earth Alliance Omega class destroyer and the Thunderbolt fighter, both of which had canonical lengths, an episode of Season 5 set aboard a White Star required for it to be able to carry 4 Minbari fighters side by side, which in turn required it to be 3 times as long. Cue retconning the length of the White Star to 450 m despite the earlier scenes clearly showing it as 150 m.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the USS Defiant was designed to be a small, dedicated warship when The Federation generally avoided such titles. In general the actual measurements should allow it to fit inside the saucer section of the TOS Enterprise, and while it is usually portrayed as being rather small, at other times it would barely fit inside the TNG Galaxy Class saucer section. The problem was worse in the days of physical models, which were never built on the same scale and so had to rely on composite shots and forced perspective tricks. At other times it's done for dramatic effect, as the arrival of the Enterprise-E in Star Trek: First Contact either makes the Defiant really small or the Ent-E very large to highlight the scene as a Gunship Rescue. Ex Astris Scientia has an article about several problems with the Defiant including contradictory sizes.
    • As highlighted by the same site, the station itself had a similar problem: the interior sets and the exterior model are designed to completely different scales; the exterior is well over twice the size the interior implies.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation was notorious for changing the apparent and/or relative size of ships from episode to episode. This was primarily because of two things: first, they actually had two models of the ship built, which were different sizes (and shapes) and they reused stock footage like mad; and second, because of the motion control done ships were composited together anyway, so they were free to scale them as much as they felt they could get away with. Another problem is that there are no reference points in space. As a result Klingon ships of the exact same type ranged from a few times larger than shuttles to a few times larger than the Enterprise itself (though they're canonically half its size) depending on where they were relative to the camera. While it was eventually established that there are at least three different types of Klingon ships that are identical in appearance but wildly different in size, that still fails to explain away all such discrepancies.

  • The opening titles to Star Trek: Voyager include a sequence where Voyager is seen reflected off a gas giant's rings. The Voyager would need to be several thousand kilometers in length for this to occur. Even if it wasn't a gas giant, it would need to be much, much larger than its canonical length.
  • The interior of Starbug on Red Dwarf gradually gets larger throughout the series, with more rooms appearing between series five and six, and a even more major change in series seven, even though the crew were supposedly trapped on the same ship the whole time. As Lister tried to explain, when their future selves killed their present selves, the future Starbug (with various extensions and modifications) merged with the present one. In reality the show got a bigger budget and could have more lavish sets. Of course some fans complained that this rather spoiled the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in space aboard a tiny junker of a spaceship trying to find the lost mothership.
  • The Battlestar Galactica movie The Plan does this to the Cylon baseships. At one point there is a fleet of them surrounding Caprica, and the camera is moving through space, causing both the ships and the planet itself to change appearance due to parallax. It basically makes the basestars look like they're a few hundred kilometers across. The shifting camera even causes one of the baseships to rise from over the planet's limb (meaning it was on the other side of the planet), and its shape can still be discerned. In fact, by comparing the size of the baseship to a raider, and then a raider to a person, a Colonial human must be somewhere around the size of a football field. A pretty clear example of Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • British pro wrestling used to be divided into weight divisions, like boxing. Until matches were regularly televised, the main interest was in the large, heavyweight competitors, and the lighter divisions tended to be used as supporting bouts. However, when matches began to be televised, the smaller wrestlers gained much more of a following, as so long as both competitors were about the same size, it was hard to discern their weight.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The click-base version of BattleTech known as Mechwarrior Dark Age suffered pretty badly from this; a 35 ton light 'Mech, the Cougar, took up nearly the same volume as a 70 ton heavy 'Mech, the Thor. This was due partially to a lack of sculpt restrictions—apparently, many of the Battlemech and vehicle model artists were not limited by anything other than the base size and a general maximum height to work from, leading to units with all manner of confusing size issues (the Centurion and the Legionnaire both weigh 50 tons, but the latter's bulk takes up nearly 50% more volume above and beyond the presence of its BFG).
    • Mostly averted by the original game's tabletop miniatures. Due to having more rigorous design control, most of the metal minis are in scale to each other in terms of relative mass and volume, even if that scale is a little nonsensical overall due to Hollywood Density.

  • Transformers:
    • This is a particular issue in the original cartoon and many comic series based off of the property. Characters will change size depending on how new they are (larger and more intimidating when introduced, shrunk down once someone else is). To say nothing of the toys themselves (Deluxe class figures are roughly 6 inches, so a Bumblebee and Optimus Prime toy would be about the same size). It's so bad that the Transformers Wiki's page on Scale is in the category "Things that don't exist".
      • It's even present in other series to varying degrees (not as often as the G1 cartoon, but still worth mentioning). Transformers: Cybertron in particular has serious issues with scale in the alternate modes or even robot modes being oversized depending on what's convenient for the animators. For example:here, Thundercracker isn't supposed to be much bigger than the guys currently on top of him (Scourge and Crumplezone) in that image, meaning either they inexplicably shrink or he grew ten times or more in size. There's also the time Vector Prime was much bigger than he really is (he's about same size as Optimus, yet here he's almost Godzilla-sized when compared to him).
  • The Marvel Legends line is somewhat infamous for oddball scaling. The toys are meant to be 1/12-scale, which should make most male characters around six inches (15cm) tall, but many come in at more around six and a half, and it's very common for figures of bulkier characters like Thor to add another half-inch or so onto their height. This can result in even relatively average-sized characters towering over toys from other lines that are meant to be in the same scale as them. Conversely, toys of larger characters, like The Thing, often suffer from the opposite problem of being too small, as their huge bulky designs make them difficult to budget in, resulting in them actually being shorter than your average figure.
  • This applies to many figurines in general, specifically ones having to do with video games. The disproportionate sizing is similar to Super Smash Bros. sizing.
  • BIONICLE had little consistency.
    • Early Toa figures were generally smaller, then got much bigger due to more complex limb designs, while the final series was made up of low-budget miniature figures roughly the same size as the originals, yet in the story they were nearly the same height.
    • In visual media, character sizes only vaguely followed the toy designs and sizes were based on what looked dramatic. The movie Web of Shadows is a good example, characters change scale in every scene and sometimes seemingly triple in size, such as when Keetongu rises over Sidorak (the larger of the two in toy form) due to a leftover idea of an unused concept that had Keetongu as a giant.
    • The Tahtorak is said to be 40 feet tall officially, but in the comic it stands nearly twice as high. Similarly, Kahgarak are stated to be 18 feet wide, but the one in Web of Shadows is closer to 50-60 feet without its legs fully spread out. In both cases, their main toys (the Tahtorak MOC and the Kahgarak combiner model) are far smaller than even the "official" heights relative to other figures.
    • Mata Nui is said to be 44 million feet tall in his Great Spirit Robot body, close to the diameter of Earth, while early concept art had him as about the size of Europe, with its head smaller than LEGO's home, Denmark. Nearly all visual depictions follow the smaller concept rather than the finalized one, but in some places the robot barely seems a few hundred feet tall. This was a consideration in the Mata Nui Saga artwork, where the robot had to be drastically scaled down to fit on the same image as the normal-sized characters.

    Video Games 
  • Supposedly in Bully, Petey Kowalski is short for a boy of 15. This would not be a problem if Jimmy and Gary weren't so (relatively speaking) close to his height. Either Jimmy and Gary are short too or the female students at the school are about 6'5" each. Girls do tend to be taller than boys at that age, earlier puberty making them grow sooner but not as much. Probably not that tall, though.
  • Final Fantasy characters are often cited by official supplementary material as having ages which seem absurdly young compared to their in-game sprites and portraits, not to mention their roles in the story.
    • Perhaps the most egregious example being the Mysidian Half-Identical Twins Palom and Porom from Final Fantasy IV, whose age is cited as 5. For what it's worth, the GBA remake did make their portraits look younger (probably no younger than 7-8, though).
    • Another egregious example is Quistis Trepe in Final Fantasy VIII, a Garden instructor who the manual identifies as being the same age as most of her students, which may make the school's hesitancy at her competence a little more understandable. For once, this is somewhat plot-relevant. We even get to see it when the characters travel to Trabia Garden and they remember that almost all of them grew up in the same orphanage, Quistis included. Quistis is one year older than most of the key characters and graduated in the previous class. So the Garden was indeed a little hesitant, but not about her abilities (which were quite ample, thank you) — it was mostly about her inexperience.
    • This does become rather amusing when characters from varying games have to interact with each other in Dissidia Final Fantasy. For example, Bartz from Final Fantasy V is officially older than Squall of Final Fantasy VIII but you wouldn't know it from seeing the two of them rendered side by side. Let's not even touch how Zidane's Genome heritage apparently means that he can't clear the five foot mark.
  • Pokémon is probably one of the more extreme examples, concerning Pokédex information. A surprising number of Pokemon are significantly smaller (and sometimes larger) than most people, including the animators of the anime, would assume just by looking at them. Their weights also similarly vary. It's distinctly implied that the values given in the Pokédex are averages, not solid numbers.
    • A noteworthy example is the Rock Snake Pokémon Onix, which, although being 8.8 m long and made of boulders (the diameters of which range from Red's height to double his height), weighs only 210 kg (463 lbs).
    • There's also Wailord, a whale blimp-like Pokémon that is 47 feet long yet only weighs about half a ton. Turns out this was intentional this time, to give Wailord a density low enough to float on water. It is the "Float Whale Pokémon", after all.
    • In the anime, Ash once allowed a Hippopotas (a hippo-like Pokémon almost twice the length of Pikachu) to hitch a ride on his head, like Pikachu or Aipom usually does/did. Pikachu weighs about 5.8 kg (13 lbs). Hippopotas weighs over one hundred pounds (more than 45 kg).
    • As does Cacnea (weighing in at about 51 kg [113 lbs], to be precise), yet in the anime, Gardenia was picking one up and swinging it around like it was nothing. Either she's much, much stronger than she looks, or it's a particularly small Cacnea.
    • Though she is deceptively strong, Sapphire has been seen with her Aron on her shoulder in Pokémon Adventures. Aron weigh (on average) 60 kg (132.3 lbs).
    • Spinda. The height of a five-year-old, the weight of a terrier.
    • Most mons are seriously underweight for the volume. For example, depending on how you take the Wailord measures (height vs length, they're either has about the same density as air at the heaviest, or a bit lighter than hydrogen. This may make some sense, as Wailord are based on beach balls. Onix are 8.8m (nearly 29 feet) giant stone snakes weighing about 210kgs (463 pounds). Rapidash weigh an average of 95kgs, while a real-life light riding horse weights around 400-500kgs. Tauros is 88.4kg, while a real-life bull weights around 500 to 1000kgs.
    • The height of characters of the day is also in rather wild flux. If one considers Brock to be a slightly-less-than-average-sized young adult (although most sources give his age at around fifteen), every few episodes the cast runs into ten-foot-tall bearmen.
    • Played very straight in the in-game battles. They give a good example of which Pokémon are bigger than the others, but not by how much. The smallest Pokémon in existence, Joltik, is less than four inches long, but is drawn bigger than a trainer character's head.
      • As of X/Y, the sizes of the Pokémon have gotten a little better in the case of smaller species like Joltik, who are now noticeably smaller than the others, though still not to scale. The largest Pokémon like Legendaries are still barely any larger than a lot of Pokémon which they should be several feet taller than, though. This gets especially ridiculous for Wailord and Eternatus, two Pokémon noted for being extremely large, but which are only about the size of a pony in-battle compared to their trainers.
  • A somewhat literal application of this trope: In an issue of Game Informer magazine, the creators of Red Faction: Guerilla reported that the new, highly realistic physics engine, used to show the effects of damaging things, would allow the player to damage a building enough to topple it. It turned out that many of the buildings they'd designed have proven to be structurally unsound, and collapsed under their own weight shortly after being placed in the environment. Consequently, the devs have had to learn some architecture to continue work on the game. Explained by Volition themselves here.
  • Cautionary tale: Bungie hired real architects to design the environments from Oni. One of the most-cited problems with the game's art direction was that the environments look samey and boring. Bungie had previously been known as very Game Mod-friendly, but the prospect of editing tools was made rather unlikely due to the fact that Oni's characters were made and animated with 3DS Max and its levels were built with AutoCad. Both are tools of the trade for their respective professions, and both cost thousands of dollars a copy.
  • City of Heroes suffered from this pretty badly, since the default height in the incredibly robust character creator was nearly 6 feet, and went all the way up to 8 feet. As a result, characters of realistic height could be dwarfed by civilian NPCs, then there's the great big Super-Soldier whom you kept hitting right in the crotch... and then let's not get started on the borderline Chaos Architecture that were the indoor building maps. To make things worse, the game's own development team couldn't seem to make heads or tails of their own height system, routinely creating supposedly regular university professors who were nevertheless tall enough to give any NBA player an inferiority complex. Worse still was that even at "normal" size, most cars looked so small that a person would have to drive them with his head between his knees. On the other hand, aside from the wildly varying "normal" heights, there really weren't too many things "more giant" than they need to be when it comes to giant monsters.
  • More a "game engine designers have no sense of scale" one: in Pangya, the hole elevation reading is frequently way too large given the visual evidence. Case in point: character standing in bunker just below the green with ball at her feet. Surface of green (and hence hole level) is just above waist height. Hole elevation reading? Two point one metres. Making Hana (a typical schoolgirl), just over eleven feet tall.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake's height and weight was given as 180cm and 63.8kg (5'11", one hundred and forty pounds), which would be pretty badly underweight even for a man who wasn't very toned and muscular. This is all the more egregious because his height and weight was given in (the otherwise completely implausible and insane) Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as 178cm and 75kg(5'10", 165 lbs). It's a pretty sensible weight for an average man of 5'10", but not for a buff man. Muscle is much denser than fat, so muscular people tend to have a high body weight for their size. A more reasonable weight for someone as ripped as Snake would be in the range of 81-86 kg/180-190 lbs. Arnold Schwarzenegger during The '80s weighed over 100 kg despite — indeed, because of — having very little fat but plenty of muscle.
  • The Twisted Metal series has this in spades. The most notable instance is probably when Axel, a man on a platform stuck between two giant wheels, drives next to the "civilians" in the game, and appears about four or five times taller than they are. He, the motorbike guy, and other "small" vehicles are all as tall as most houses.
  • In the Crusader games, the grenade launcher mounts a 10-round magazine. How big is each round? 9.2 centimeters long. No, it's not shoulder-mounted. No, the magazine is never rendered as sticking out. Of course, the game pretty much redefines Hyperspace Arsenal to begin with...
  • Metroid: Samus is stated to be 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) and 198 pounds (90 kg) when not in her Power Armor, which is what you expect from a Super-Soldier that has often towered above most people. This stayed the same until Other M where Samus is clearly shorter. Or everyone else is just really freaking huge.
  • Mass Effect 2
    • The Normandy SR-2 is a ship that is (judging by in-game descriptions) at least four decks tall, with the top deck (Command Centre and the cockpit) alone being noticeably several feet higher than any human character (including Commander Shepard). However, the ship is modeled to be much smaller during its appearances in the Suicide Mission. While the crashed ship looks relatively massive when the specialists first exit it, it becomes much smaller during the end run, when Shepard (and his team, if they survived) run towards the Normandy, which is hovering in mid-air. The ship itself is modeled to be just slightly larger (height-wise) than Joker, who is standing at the port airlock and is almost as tall as the ship itself. This is also prevalent during several other in-engine cutscenes where the main cast directly enter the Normandy itself.
    • This also applied to the original Normandy from the original game; there doesn't seem to be enough vertical room for the lower decks where the cargo bay and tantalus drive core are for them to fit in it. Upon reflection, it's clear that the interior wasn't designed with the exterior in mind for both ships, to the point that most of the windows on the SR-2 are perfectly straight when the hull is in fact curved.
    • In cutscenes the krogan are huge, towering over every other character. However, in the gameplay itself, everybody is the same height. The developers had to settle for this compromise, since larger krogan kept getting stuck in objects all the time in the playtesting.
  • For similar reasons as krogan, in Dragon Age: Origins, golems, which are supposed to be 10 feet tall, look larger in cutscenes than in gameplay. Shale, the golem in your party, even mentions their legs being chiseled down by a previous master because they kept getting stuck in doors, which is a Development Gag since the exact same thing happened to the game designers before they shrunk their model. You can see Shale's originally scaled model at one point in The Fade.
  • Freelancer: When flying in space, full-size planets are no larger than a few hundred meters in diameter.
  • Don't ever try to reconcile the sizes of the vehicles, your character's size, the sizes of the buildings, and the sizes of the evacuees that emerge from the buildings in Blast Corps. It will only end in headaches and tears.
  • Super Robot Wars does this on purpose through the use of Super-Deformed character sprites, thanks to the height discrepancy between some of the Humongous Mecha. For example, Z2: Hakai-hen has Votoms and Code Geass (with mecha that average 4 meters/13 feet) and Gurren Lagann (whose title mecha eventually reaches the size of a galaxy); imagining anything from the former damaging the latter would be impossible without the concession.
    • The games usually work around this by using size classes: From SS(Man-sized, such as Tekkaman Blade), Small(12-20 feet, like Code Geass), Medium(Mobile Suit-sized), Large(most Super Robots), LL(Spacecraft). Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was given size Infinity, and used Applied Phlebotinum to re-size all other friendly and enemy units to the same scale to make a fight of it. Note that this can lead to some very strange size tricks when you combine certain attack animations between units of entirely different scales, such as a Tekkaman lifting a battleship with one-hand, the Macross Quarter shoving an entire aircraft carrier inside a tiny Nightmare Framenote , or the Kill Animation of Chirico's Limit Break(where he pops the hatch of his mech to finish the enemywith a pistol) occurring during the Gurren Lagann finale.
    • For even more confusion, though the games do acknowledge these size classes, and frequently even list them, this isn't shown much in the graphics. If they aren't all the same size, the aforementioned Tekkaman Blade, for instance, is usually depicted as being about pretty short next to a Gundam, and a Super Robot like Getter-1 is usually shown as One Head Taller or so, but were they to scale, Tekkaman would be about three pixels tall, and Getter-1 would be about twice the size.
    • Precisely once has SRW used non-SD sprites, that being the oft-maligned Shin Super Robot Wars /. The sprites were still Not Drawn to Scale.
    • Emphasized in SRW spin-off Another Century's Episode, which uses full-sized machines and gladly points it out, as in official screenshots where Dunbine is shown to be as big as the Alpha Azieru's head.
  • With a handful of exceptions, all of the character sprites in the main Touhou games are roughly the same size, regardless of whether this really makes sense. The spinoffs also disagree with each other, but that's a different trope.
  • Due to the clashing art styles, happens in Project × Zone. Lampshaded if you pair Bahn with Yuri and Estelle, Estelle mentions it's nice to rely on an older person, causing Yuri to point out that Bahn, a tower of muscle, is actually younger than them as he's a high school student.
  • This happened in the first MechCommander game due to the use of sprites to render their units. 'Mechs of differing classes did not scale appreciably in terms of size, which was cited as one of the aesthetic problems with the game. A first glance did not appreciably say much about a 'Mech's size relative to other 'Mechs, to the point where a bulky but agile Timber Wolf and the even larger but slower Warhawk took up about the same screen space. Its sequel, using fully 3D rendered models in combat, had no such issues, and lighter 'Mechs and vehicles now properly scaled to their heavier peers.
  • Take your pick of any Fighting Game series that officially lists heights for its characters and then compare the in-game sprites/character models. You'll notice that most of these measurements are not portrayed accurately at all, making the supposed height differences negligible. The only exceptions are the characters whose height (or lack thereof) is an explicitly crucial aspect of their design.
    • Possibly the most egregious case of this is Olimar in Super Smash Bros., who is about an inch and a half tall in his native Pikmin series and yet is just barely smaller than most other characters in the roster. Justified, as in the canon of Super Smash Bros. (such as it is) they're all Living Toys; presumably, they're not actual size. Olimar's size problems got a bit of a Lampshade Hanging with the Hocotate Bomb item, which is clearly Olimar's spaceship from the games and identical to the one in Olimar's Final Smash, only not scaled up and therefore the size of a football.
    • Likewise, Kirby is officially 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall, but appears about a meter tall in relation to other characters, not just in Smash Bros., but even compared to the few human characters in his own series (Ado/Adeleine in Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and Samus Aran's cameo in Dream Land 3). King Dedede is only about twice his height despite being a heavyweight in Smash.
    • Especially egregious is Sagat, reintroduced as DLC for Street Fighter V. His official stats are 226cm (7'5")... and 98kg (216 lbs), which is ridiculously lightweight for a man his size. For comparison's sake, in his prime, retired NBA player Shaquille O'Neal- who sported a somewhat similar (if more realistic) build- checked in at 7'1" and 324 lbs (216cm/147kg).
  • BlazBlue:
    • Noel's breasts are several times stated to be very flat. Flat as a board or to the point that they don't exist. However, her sprites and many of her artworks depict her breasts as much bigger than A-Cup.
    • Jubei is officially 123cm tall, but when he finally became playable, he's deliberately given a larger sprite to not make him a Game-Breaker.
  • The Star Trek Online character creator suffers from this a little due to having separate sliders for adjusting overall height and the lengths of the legs and torso. If one sets a character's height in inches with one setting, it is possible to completely change this by adjusting the leg or torso length without any sort of acknowledgement from the overall height setting. Thus a character may be a considerable number of inches taller or shorter than stated.
    • Variations on this are in fact endemic to game character creators (such as the above City of Heroes). The simplest way to create a skeletally animated character model modifiable based on sliders is to link specific sets of mesh vertices to each slider with specific start- and end-points to linearly interpolate each such vertex along. This naturally produces additive effects when sliders combine to affect total height; the alternative is to define first absolute scales, then relative proportions, then individual sliders (producing feedback to other sliders), then nonlinear slider-vertex connections. While this reflects how artists work mentally, it's less obvious an approach to the programmers who actually have to design the system and make it work on schedule.
  • Rather prevalent in Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Mario characters are scaled down, so that their average size is a bit closer to the average of the Sonic characters - similar to the Smash Bros. For example, Sonic (100cm, 3'3") is always shown as slightly taller than Mario (155cm, 5'1"). Two pairs of characters also stand at the same height as each other canonically, but the scaling makes the Sonic character much larger - Peach and Eggman (185cm, 6'1"); along with Daisy and Vector (180cm, 5'11").
  • Anyone familiar with the size of units in StarCraft knows that the in-game unit sizes do not match their actual sizes. Things like SCV's are comparable to Marine's for model size, however SCV's are much much larger than a person, and a Thor is certainly not the size of a Siege Tank but taller. A battlecruiser or Mothership is an egregious example as Motherships barely outsize a carrier, and Battlecruisers are barely bigger than a Thor despite both being gigantic transport-battle spaceships big enough to level colonies. Heck, an Ultralisk is basically the size of two queens stacked atop one another despite Queens being relatively sized against marines while Ultralisks are humongous. Of course, in cutscenes and visuals not using in-game engine assets, the models are properly sized such as the opening cinematic of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm when a battlecruiser nearly crushes city when crashing. These size discretions can be ignored with the excuse that, if these units were properly sized, seeing the battlefield during a game would be difficult.
    • Hero units are another example. Tychus's army is made up of hero-unit terrans, and each is based on a class of unit in the game. Tychus is essentially a marine, Rattlesnake is a marauder, and Vega is a Ghost (just to name a few), but if you take a second to put Tychus near a marine trained by Raynor during a Coop match, he's almost three times the size of these people which would make him like fifteen feet tall, despite him being the same size as Raynor in cutscenes who is the same size as other marines. Alarak, Nova, Fenix, Stukov, and many others do this too.
  • A number of characters in Fate/Grand Order are shown taller or shorter than their listed heights. Nobunaga is a particular offender; she's supposed to be about 152cm (a hair under five feet) but is usually a head shorter than her frequent companion Okita, who is only six centimeters (two and a half inches) taller. Her sprite is actually a little shorter than Nero's, despite being canonically a little taller than her.
  • World of Mines: Level sizes tend to be inadequate or bizarre, presumably for balancing purposes. Germany has 767 tiles while Russia has 2,435 tiles, but on the world map, it's clear one is much bigger than the other.

    Web Comics 
  • MegaTokyo kicks this trope to the curb. Before changing careers to "full-time comic artist", Fred "Piro" Gallagher was, by trade, an architectural draftsmen.
  • The Life of Nob T. Mouse does this on purpose since it was originally supposed to look like a child had drawn it.
  • The artist of El Goonish Shive has repeatedly mentioned in the comics' commentary the work he goes through to avert this. He's very meticulous about defining characters' heights and drawing them to scale.
    • This is partially due to the extreme prevalence of transformation magic in all forms throughout the comic meaning that characters' exact sizes and proportions are usually plot-relevant.
  • This is normally averted in Kubera, as character sizes are important element of its visual worldbuilding. However, there are times when it's necessary, according to the author. This is due to the fact that all relevant non-human characters are shapeshifters. Their true form is usually a Kaiju, but size increases along with character's strenght, and the top powerhouses' true forms are the size of a planet or even larger. Normally, everyone uses A Form You Are Comfortable With, as it makes interactions easier - both for the characters and for the author to draw. However, when everyone powers up for combat, their size may vary, especially if there are three or more characters of different size in the same frame.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • A commercial gave Cute Bruiser Toph, the shortest member of the main cast, an official height of 5'1". On this scale, background characters sharing the screen with her have been as tall as ten feet. The artbook, however, has Toph listed around a foot shorter than what the commercial stated.
    • As acknowledged in the DVD Commentary, it's not consistent whether Sokka and Aang are skinny and scrawny or lean yet muscular.
  • Candace from Phineas and Ferb is explicitly 5'8" but suffers from a noticeable case of Short Teens, Tall Adults. She's either this trope or the adults are just abnormally tall in their world.note 
  • Bonnie from Kim Possible is referred to as being 105 pounds. She doesn't look nearly that thin. For her height, 105 would be underweight.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer is stated to weigh about 239 pounds and be six feet tall, which doesn't really jibe with his common portrayals as borderline morbidly obese.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, Plankton is apparently two inches tall. Because SpongeBob himself is four inches tall according to his driver's license, this would mean that Plankton should be about half his height, but he's drawn to be shorter than that.

Alternative Title(s): Artists Are Not Architects