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Shorter Means Smarter

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One's a genius, the other's insane.

"I may be small, but I have a big brain!"
Jimmy Neutron, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Being the smallest in a group will always make you smarter (and usually more agile) than the rest. This, of course, is supposed to make up for being physically weak.

Reflectively, in a Big Guy, Little Guy Odd Couple the short one is always the planner, the schemer, the wise one. The taller may be The Hero, the Dumb Muscle or the loon, the lazy one, or just the wild one, but the short guy is always somehow smarter. The Teen Genius Wise Beyond Their Years is especially often paired with a Gentle Giant, and the child in a Badass and Child Duo will often at least attempt to play the smart guy for the pair. Results will vary.

Naturally, seen often with The Smart Guy and The Big Guy of the Five-Man Band. Interestingly enough, the Trope Maker of the modern Five-Man Band, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, had a Tagalong Kid as the Smart Guy, who was only 'smart' in The Trickster sense rather than the technical sense. The two roles would become conflated later.

And, of course, everpresent in The Short Guy with Glasses.

Contrast Genius Bruiser and Badass Bookworm.

See also Brains and Brawn and Geek Physiques.


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  • In Happy Heroes, Careless S. is demonstrated to be the shortest of the Supermen and, despite being a Forgetful Jones, he has quite some intelligence and knows a lot about how weaponry works and how to build weapons of his own.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kai (or Kaisuke, in the manga) and Yamagata from AKIRA, with Kai being the short, smart guy in question.
  • Yue Ayase of Negima! Magister Negi Magi is the shortest of the post-pubescent characters, and easily one of the smartest.
  • Koushiro "Izzy" Izumi of Digimon Adventure. He and Mimi are both ten years old, but she's a good foot taller, while he's roughly the same height as eight-year-old Hikari.
  • Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking in Outlaw Star.
  • Chiyo from Azumanga Daioh, the petite resident Cheerful Child, is the most intelligent of the bunch. She's smallnote  even for her age.
  • Death Note plays with this in the cases of Mello and Near. While Mello is average-short for a man (5'7) his companions in the Mafia are all a good six inches taller than he is. Near is only 5 feet, but he's the one who takes Kira down in the end, so he must be fairly intelligent.
  • Dragon Ball Z example: Vegeta and Nappa. Notable in that shorter is also more powerful as well.
  • The Prince of Tennis: Ryoh Shishido, with is taller, stronger doubles partner Ohtori. Of course, this is in part due to the fact that he is Ohtori's upperclassman.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has the N2R Nakajima Sisters' Cinque, the white-haired Token Mini-Moe who's actually the oldest and most experienced of the bunch, one of the two strongest Numbers, and serves as the Squad Leader. She's also described as being especially "mature and adult-like" by Subaru.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, being the complete genius he was, Edward Elric would probably be the short and smart person of most of the cast, despite the fact that many others are probably just as wise, but don't fit the age group. Just...don't mention the short part to him.
  • In Case Closed, Conan Edogawa is the shortest of the Detective Boys, even shorter than the girls. This was, however, subverted with his teenage alter ego Shinichi Kudo, as Shinichi is of a more appropriate height for his age.
  • Chiriko from Fushigi Yuugi. Not only is he the shortest Seishi, he's also the youngest.
  • Naruto:
    • Inverted. The smartest character, Shikamaru, is pretty tall. Among the rookies, the title character is the shortest boy and he's also tied for being the second dumbest. After the Time Skip he's smarter, but he's also one of the taller ones. As an adult he's extremely tall, but he's outgrown most of his Idiot Hero trait by then.
    • Played straight with Dosu - he was the shortest of his squad, and was always hunched over (making him look even shorter), but was smarter and more logical than his squad.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, Muhyo is one of the most intelligent and talented Magic Law practitioners, but also shorter than virtually everyone else.
  • One Piece:
    • Nami is the shortest human member of the crew and one of the shortest grown-up characters overall (she's even shorter than Luffy!), but is both the most normal member and incredibly smart. Robin (who is very tall) is probably even smarter, though, at least as for book-smarts.
    • Also, Chopper's "Brain Point" form boosts his analytical ability and also makes him the very shortest member of the crew.
    • Completely inverted with Luffy himself. Even though Word of God says he's taller than for example Nami, he's drawn shorter than her most of time, and is all in all a little midget compared to most One Piece characters. He is also dumb as a rock.
  • Suzu from Seitokai Yakuindomo; just don't remind her.
  • Exsedol Folmo from Super Dimension Fortress Macross is relatively one of the smaller Zentradi and serves as an advisor/historian. Inverted in Macross 7 where he's one of the largest cast members, if largely by virtue of most of his crewmates being human and Exsedol himself preferring to remain at full size instead of shrinking himself like most of 7's other Zentradi.
  • Subverted in Attack on Titan: Armin's intelligence is repeatedly praised in-series, and he's the second shortest male among the 104th Trainee Corps...the only boy shorter than him among them is Connie. Krista is shorter than both of them, but her intelligence is not particularly noted). Zoe Hange and Erwin Smith, who are both called brilliant by several characters, are also fairly tall.
  • Eddie from Yo-Kai Watch is noticeably shorter than his friend Nate. He is a tech-savvy and smart kid.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Satoshi/Ash's Noctowl is aside from being a Shiny Pokémon not only much smaller than regular Noctowls, but also more intelligent than them.
  • Kenny, better known as "The Chief", from Beyblade is 4'2 despite being 11 at the start. He doesn't usually blade but instead acts as the others technician and mechanic.
  • Marucho from Bakugan is the shortest of the main brawlers and remains like that throughout the series, despite being 17 in the last season. He's also The Smart Guy of the Five-Man Band, knowing all the rules and strategies of the game.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix from the comic of the same name is much smaller than his pal Obelix, but is the brains of the duo. Hell, he is that when compared to the entire village; short of maybe Geriatrix he's the shortest guy around, and his wits is only matched by fellow Sane Man Getafix.
  • Of the three Bone cousins, the two shorter ones (Fone Bone and Phoney Bone) are more intelligent than the tallest one (Smiley Bone), although they both have different kinds of intelligence.
  • The Dalton brothers in Lucky Luke superficially extend this trope to four persons, but actually are a subversion. Joe is both the shortest and the leader of the gang, while Averell is the tallest and the most obvious dimwit. However while Joe clearly thinks he's the brains of the gang (rather in the way that Oliver Hardy's character believed himself to be much smarter than Stan Laurel's), he's actually just as stupid as his brothers, only in a different way. Goscinny himself once pointed out that Joe is merely the most malevolent or evil of the Daltons and that evil does not equal smart.
  • In Watchmen, the local crime boss leading the rioting in prison is a man named "Big Figure," who is half the height of his two thugs. His Fatal Flaw is being The Napoleon.
  • Teela from Pocket God is the shortest pygmy of her tribe, but is also a Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Inverted in Sam & Max, where the shorter Max is the less rational and more anarchic of the two.
  • Batman: Tim Drake, traditionally considered the "smart" Robin, is also the shortest. Played With when Damian becomes the new Robin—he's a genius and even shorter than Tim, but also quite a bit younger; his growth rate and the occasion Futureshadowing seem to indicate that he'll outgrow his brother eventually.
  • Archie Comics: Teen Genius Dilton is by far the shortest boy in the main cast.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Notably the Jimmy Neutron page quote comes from the climax of the film where the villains are privately laughing at a seeming suicide run by the title character by mocking his size, before he changes it.
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • Timon and Pumbaa are a subversion. Timon only thinks he's the smart one, while Pumbaa doesn't realize how smart he really is.
    • Mufasa is a wise king, but lacks the lethal cunning of his smaller, frailer brother Scar:
      Scar: Well, as far as brains go, I got the lion's share. But, when it comes to brute strength... I'm afraid I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool.
  • Disney usually inverts this trope with villains, with the taller one being the smarter one and the short one being the dumb comic sidekick. Honest John and Gideon from Pinocchio and the Walrus and the Carpenter from Alice in Wonderland are notorious inversions. Subversions of inversions include Napoleon and Lafayette from The Aristocats and Gaston and Lefou from Beauty and the Beast.
  • In Monsters University, Mike is one of the university's shortest monsters, and also among the smartest, most studious ones.
  • Peni is one of the shortest of the main characters in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, being beaten only by Spider-Ham. On top of this, she's the youngest, and got very few of the standard Spider powers (in one scene, while the other five can Wall Crawl, she has to be awkwardly wedged in between two of the others), meaning that while she's strong and quick by the normal standards for children, she can't keep up with Miles or Gwen. On the other hand, while she didn't build the Mini-Mecha she's piloting although after the main plot is resolved she does start working on a new one, she can definitely keep it running, and she's the one who steps forward whenever something technical needs doing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie adaptations of Hellboy, compare Bruiser Hellboy to his partner Abe Sapien, who's both smarter/more well-read and psychic. (Note that this is Adaptation Displacement at work; in the comics Hellboy is a Genius Bruiser and Abe has no psychic powers.)
  • Inverted in The Ice Pirates; the towering Killjoy is the smartest one of the pirates, if not the smartest person in the movie.
  • In the Star Wars universe the wisest of all Jedi is little Master Yoda. "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not.".
  • In the Home Alone movies, Harry Lyme isn't really that smart himself (he never made it to the sixth grade in fact), but he's much less stupid than his sidekick Marv Merchants.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the smartest people are also the shortest. Tony Stark and Peter Parker are 5'7", Bruce Banner is 5'7.5", and Princess Shuri is 5'5".
    • The biggest example though is definitely Rocket and Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket is a raccoon (ergo tiny) and is a tech genius while Groot tends to be very naive and ditzy.
  • In The Half of It, Ellie is the only Chinese American girl in her small town high school. She is absoutely tiny compared to everyone else. But she has perfect grades, plays a couple of instruments, and runs a profitable secret essay writing cheating scheme.

  • Marco from Animorphs is the team's manipulative, wisecracking tactician, and is frequently described as being the smallest Animorph. Which also implies being shorter than the character who is under five feet tall.
  • George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men.
    • As well as those cartoons that spoofed the movie version. Tex Avery's George and Junior is the most blatant imitation.
  • In Ranger's Apprentice, Will is constantly described as short and smart in the same breath, while his friend Horace is both tall and happy to let others do the thinking for him.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Miles Vorkosigan, under five feet tall (among other physical shortcomings) due to complications in pregnancy, is both the shortest and the cleverest member of any team he's part of. There's a direct causal link between his shortness and his smartness; though he had a fair amount of native intelligence to begin with, he set out to be the smartest in the room to counteract his physical unimpressiveness.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, arguably two of the smartest characters in the series are Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, a short Chessmaster, and Tyrion "the Imp" Lannister, a cunning dwarf.
  • In Harry Potter, it's implied that Hermione is the shortest of the group (and she's the smartest as well).
  • Kruppe from The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Frequently smarter than gods.
  • Played straight with Bean in Ender's Game, although this is justified in the Shadow series because Bean has been genetically modified. He will never have an adolescent growth spurt, but his body and brain will continue growing slowly his entire life. This makes him fearsomely smart, but he'll eventually run afoul of the Square-Cube Law and die prematurely.
  • Short is common among Deal Relway's crafty secret police in the Garrett, P.I. novels, although this is a result of recruitment bias rather than innate intelligence: Relway favors cops who can be both cunning and inconspicuous, and he knows others tend to underestimate short people.
  • A lot of Eoin Colfer's characters seem to have this. At any rate, all the Teen Genii do.
  • Silk, The Smart Guy of The Belgariad, is significantly shorter than any other male adult in the party. When first introduced he's described as being barely taller than the then-prepubescent protagonist.
  • Scobie in Don't Call Me Ishmael! is the shortest of the main characters, and the smartest. He is also the best debater on the team and good at all school subjects, except anything relating to physical activity.
  • As noted in the Film category, Vizzini from The Princess Bride falls into this. The book gives it a bit more attention than the movie, explaining that when he came to understand that his body (which is implied to be frail and possibly misshapen) was never going to get him places, he began purposely working to become exceptionally intelligent. He also specifically sought out Inigo and Fezzik for their fencing skills and brute strength, respectively, because he reasoned that with his intellect calling the shots, the three of them would be unstoppable. His career bears out his plan for many years, until he meets the Man in Black.
  • According to Aesop's Fables, Hermes distributed an equal measure of intelligence to everyone, but the dosage is stronger for shorter people than it is the taller.
  • In Freak the Mighty, tiny preteen Genius Cripple Freak serves as the "brain" to the huge, mentally disabled Max, who lends him height by carrying him on his shoulders.
  • In A Swiftly Tilting Planet, former Child Prodigy Charles Wallace is now fifteen, but can be mistaken for twelve. The prequel shows that Sandy and Dennys, the non-geniuses of the family, were already about six feet tall at that age.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mr Vandemar and Mr Croup of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Croup, though not necessarily the smarter, is the more eloquent of the two, and both are equally (which is to say frighteningly) competent at what they do.
  • Bud and Kelly Bundy in Married... with Children with Bud being the smart one and Kelly very much not. This one is probably coincidental — David Faustino (Bud) was a prepubescent when the show started, but even as an adult he remained shorter than Christina Applegate (Kelly).
  • Kerry and Bridget from 8 Simple Rules. This seems to be an unintended result of making Bridget taller (i.e. hotter) than her sister.
  • The Mighty Boosh's Naboo the Enigma, a tiny stoner shaman who probably measures out to stand less than five foot, is the smartest main character. But considering the other three are a demented jazzman, a bubble-headed pop singer and a talking gorilla, the title was pretty easy to win.
  • The smallest person on the Firefly-class freighter Serenity is five-foot-nothing, ninety-pound River Tam, and there is absolutely no doubt that she's the smartest person on the ship. Similarly, her brother Simon and the Wrench Wench Kaylee are also pretty small compared with the rest of the crew, and they're also the brains of the ship.
  • Benjamin Linus might not be the smallest guy on Lost, but he's quite a bit shorter than most of the other men — and probably the cleverest person on the island.
  • NUMB3RS: Charlie Eppes.
  • Valerie Valerie's Family: The Hogans The Hogan Family featured fraternal twins Willie & Mark; they started out about the same size, but as the actors grew up it ended up that Willie (the irresponsible one) was taller than Mark (the brainy one). Note though that these characterizations appeared before the split in height.
  • Doctor K from Power Rangers RPM - tiny, but the brains behind just about everything they have.
  • Gilmore Girls has Paris Geller who wants to remain the best in her class and is shorter than her two Brainless Beauty friends and her competition, Rory.
  • Inverted in The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon, supposedly the smartest character, is also the tallest. Though it's hard to tell, as every character on the show, aside from Book Dumb Penny, is extremely intelligent.
  • Lizzie McGuire Gordo is one of the shortest kids at school, but he is also highly intelligent and even got the chance to skip a grade and go straight to high school.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Of the many, many breeds of trolls, the smartest "natural" kind (i.e. no magical experimentation was involved) are the forest trolls, which are about as intelligent, and the same size, as the average human. Which, due to how the game classifies size categories and monster typing, makes these forest trolls Medium-sized Giants.
    • Verbeegs are giant-kin that are larger than humans but smaller than the likes of hill giants. Yet verbeegs are also more intelligent and ambitious than hill giants, allowing the verbeegs to employ those larger true giants as minions. Unfortunately for verbeegs, hill giants' stupidity means they're prone to botching the verbeegs' strategies, leading to the sight of an irate verbeeg hopping from foot to foot, screaming insults at the befuddled hill giants towering over them.


    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Professor Ace in Zophy's group, who is seemingly as diminutive as the youngers Dave and Marie, but occasionally proves that his credentials were earned. His archaeology background means that he has occasional surprising insights into ongoing adventures, and in Giant Fist he reveals that in his cowardice, he maintains a robust intelligence network to avoid getting himself in direct danger.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, the second-shortest (and youngest) character, Genis, is The Smart Guy (and also a bit of a Bratty Half-Pint). Furthermore, the most cunning of the Desian Grand Cardinals, Rodyle, is also the shortest.
    • Another Tales series game this follows into is Tales of Legendia where Jay the Unseen is one of, if not, the smartest members in the party and also the shortest. It's even lampshaded throughout the game
  • Gomar and Shioh from F-Zero are a pair of aliens who do everything together. Gomar is short, and the smarter of the two. Shioh is much taller and looks to Gomar for decision making.
  • Inverted in Professor Layton and the Curious Village. While Layton and Luke are both smart, the titular tall character is the smartest and Luke is his apprentice.
  • Reese Worthington of Backyard Sports placed in the 99th percentile in a class test and was placed in the honors program. But he's really short.
  • Zexion of Kingdom Hearts. Compare him to every one else (except Roxas and Xion), and you'll find he's the shortest out of them, especially the other "Basement Members." Then again, he's the youngest apprentice...
  • Erik from The Lost Vikings.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Miles "Tails" Prower is a mechanical genius, and his IQ is implied to be 400. He's two and a half feet tall.
    • Subverted with Dr. Eggman who is certainly one of the taller characters, even by human standards. He is also a genius with an IQ of 300 and easily one of the smartest characters in the series (save maybe his grandfather who's also pretty tall, and Tails).
  • The Engineer from Team Fortress 2 is the shortest of the nine playable classes, though always standing up straight obfuscates this. He holds 11 PhDs. The Medic is one of the tallest characters (and his posture makes him look even taller), but he is also built lightly.
  • Persona:
    • Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4 is the shortest playable character (at one point before the reveal, Yosuke even refers to her as a "shrimpy, half-pint detective"), yet she is also the most intelligent character in the Investigation Team, using her incredible powers of deductive reasoning to bring the team one step closer to finding the killer. Her tag-line in Persona 4: Arena is even "The 2000 IQ Killjoy Detective".
    • Futaba Sakura from Persona 5 is absolutely tiny compared to virtually everyone else in the game, but she's a tech genius whose hacking skills become essential to the Phantom Thieves' success.
  • Mega Man X series: X5's Shining Firefly/Izzy Glow and X8's Gravity Antonion. Both are extremely intelligent reluctant mad scientists and are the smallest bosses in their games due to being based off a firefly and an ant respectively.
  • Kiel from Rune Factory 4 is the resident Ditzy Genius and shortest of the bachelors (he's even in the running for shortest adult in town; only the Token Mini-Moe girls Amber and Xaio Pai are shorter than he is, plus Pico, the ghost with an unknown but presumably prepubescent age).
  • Penny from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the shortest of the player's three rival characters, and she's a skilled hacker and computer expert enrolled in the academy's STEM track.
  • In Freedom Wars, Citizens are genetically modified to favor brains over brawn, being intelligent while having small, energy-efficient bodies. Sinners, in comparison, tend to be only of average intelligence while being genetically modified to be strong enough to lift concrete slabs connected to rebars with their bare hands, making them more suited for combat.
  • In Kings Quest (2015), Manny is by far the shortest of the knight hopefuls - even shorter than Graham, in fact, and he's also the most intelligent. He's Graham's opponent in the Duel of Wits. He's also a slimy, cheating, scheming Manipulative Bastard. Bonus points for being voiced by Wallace Shawn, Vizzini from The Princess Bride, with more than a few allusions to that character.
  • In Super Smash Bros., Robin is the shortest Fire Emblem character in the fourth game. Robin's also the only one that's not a pure melee fighter (being primarily a spellcaster).
  • Shulk is the shortest male party member in Xenoblade Chronicles 1. He's also an engineering student back at Colony 9.
  • Dragon Age II: Regardless of whether Hawke is played as male or female, they're unfailingly taller than their best friend Varric, who is a dwarf. Varric, who is both a merchant prince and a published author of considerable renown, is shown repeatedly to be smooth, cunning, and exceptionally clever; of particular note, the devs have stated that no matter how much trouble he's in, the moment Varric is allowed to start talking, he's won. Fortunately for all of Thedas, Varric is unequivocally one of the good guys.
  • Zigzagged with the Crash Bandicoot series. The smarter characters are typically dwarf-sized scientists (Drs. Neo Cortex, N.Gin, N. Brio and even N. Trance to some people), youngsters (Coco Bandicoot and Nina Cortex) or floating masks (Aku Aku and Uka Uka), yet Dr. N. Tropy is among one of the taller ones. Ripper Roo is completely insane due to a botched experiment, but managed to educate himself by the second game. Crash himself is dimmer than both his tall girlfriend Tawna (as evidenced by Nitro-Fueled) and his somewhat taller sister (the aforementioned Coco). As for the Nitro Squad, Megumi is the shortest member and mentioned to have made perfume in Team Racing's epilogue, yet Isabella is the most knowledgeable about cars and is Amazonian compared to the others.

    Web Videos 
  • Played with to hell and back in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series with two of the Dark H—"Steves" that try to rid of Yugi and Kaiba—the audience originally lead to believe the suave-voiced villain and squeaky-voiced idiot are the tall and short Steves respectively. Then their faces, and thus, lip movements, are revealed.
  • Jeffy in SuperMarioLogan is about twice as tall as both Mario and Rosalina, yet the two latter are much more wise and smarter than him.

    Western Animation 
  • Pinky and the Brain: Even though they're lab mice and already pretty small by default, Brain is also shorter than Pinky, who's also an idiot.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Arnold is shorter than a good number of his friends by mere inches and is also one of the smartest characters on the show.
    • Helga's best friend Phoebe, who happens to be shorter than Arnold himself, as well as the shortest student in Mr. Simmons's fourth grade class is a straight-A student and easily the most intelligent student in the class. She was even (temporarily) promoted to the sixth grade.
  • The Hollow: Kai the shortest of the group and also a scientific and mechanical whiz kid.
  • Rita and Runt from Animaniacs: although Runt is based on Rain Man, he decidedly lacks his inspiration's savant skills. They also starred in one cartoon that paid homage to Of Mice and Men.
  • Mickey Mouse and Goofy also would qualify. The latter is almost twice the former's height, but probably twice as dumb too.
  • In Dragon Hunters, Gwizdo is much smaller than the enormous Lian Chu, and also the brains of the operation.
  • Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory. Not so much when paired with his much taller rival Mandark, but definitely when paired with his sister Dee Dee.
  • Severely inverted with Genius Ditz Bulkhead in Transformers: Animated.
  • Inverted in the animated TV show Aladdin: The Series, where diminutive recurring baddie Abis Mal is an absolute doofus compared to his tall, thin lackey, Haroud.
  • This is both inverted and technically played straight in The Penguins of Madagascar. Kowalski, the tallest penguin, is also the smartest. However, the leader Skipper is the second smallest but is quite intelligent at times.
  • Debatable in Invader Zim. The Irken society bases authority on height, but at least one of the Almighty Tallest is somewhat scatterbrained.
    • Zim himself is the shortest Irken known, and is about as tall as a human child.
  • Justified in The Loud House—Lisa, the family genius and resident PHD, is also the second smallest and youngest of the siblings at age 5.
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise is smarter than her tall friends Jimmy and Beezy.
  • Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo, by far the shortest and also the youngest-looking of the primary characters (though she is actually supposed to be two years younger than Shaggy, Daphne and Fred).
  • Ben 10's Grey Matter transformation. We eventually meet the race: the Galvans are a Planet of Hats whose hat is being geniuses. However, the other "smart" alien, Brainstorm, and his fellow Cerebrocrustaceans, are not so tiny.
  • Toadwart from Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
    • Even more so with his cousin, Tadpole.
  • Charles Foster Offdensen of Metalocalypse. His somewhat short stature is even remarked on by another character at one point. Bonus in that not only is he the smartest of the six main protagonists (he's been called a genius, particularly on financial matters), he's also an insanely formidable Badass Bookworm to boot.
  • Brainiac 5 from Legion of Super Heroes (2006). Then again, he is twelve.
  • Inverted in Teen Titans. The shortest member of the team is Beast Boy, who is also the least intelligent (though he does have his moments, particularly where pop culture trivia comes up); the team's Smart Guy is Cyborg, who is also the tallest and, after Starfire, second-strongest.
  • Rocky of the Looney Tunes gangster duo Rocky and Mugsy.
  • In Young Justice (2010), Robin is the shortest and youngest member of the team but is the most all-around intelligent.
  • Of the male characters on Total Drama, the four shortest—Cody, Noah, Ezekiel, and Cameron—are all intelligent and geeky (though Ezekiel's intelligence is mostly confined to the manual). There are aversions, however, including the tall, lanky geek Harold.
  • On Gargoyles, Lexington is The Smart Guy as well as the shortest, wiriest member of the Clan.
  • Inverted on Recess, as genius girl Gretchen is the second tallest member of the gang, posessing a tall and skinny geek physique.
  • In Taz-Mania, the alligator Axl tends to accidentally ruin the shorter Bull Gator's plans.
  • DuckTales (1987) has Big Time Beagle, who is about as tall as Huey, Dewy and Louie, and is easily the smartest of the Beagle Boys.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Parodied with Duck-tective, who is "better at finding clues because he's closer to the ground".
    • Downplayed with Dipper, who is a millimeter shorter than his sister Mabel.
    • Played (somewhat) straight with the policemen. While neither are exactly what you would describe as 'smart'(in fact, the exact opposite), the shorter Sheriff Blubs is at least a little smarter than the taller Deputy Durland.
  • Dan Vs. plays with the trope. Dan is in fact the shortest member of the main cast, and is shown to be fairly smart at times, but his knowledge tends to vary based on what he thinks is useful for his purposes. He is almost certainly smarter than his much taller, naive friend Chris, and by Chris' admittance it is hard to tell exactly what Dan does or does not know.
  • Inverted in Regular Show, where Rigby (the immature, hyperactive Manchild) is way, way dumber than his tall best friend, Mordecai.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron have some weird examples that downplay it, play it straight, and subvert it. Of the titular duo, Razor's just a bit shorter than T-Bone and the "gadget guy". Played straight by Burke and Murray, a couple of jerkass deliverymen who constantly mock the SWAT Kats in their civilian identities; Murray is quite a bit shorter than Burke, and just seems a bit smarter.
  • Of the three human sidekicks in Transformers: Prime, Rafael Esquivel is easily the shortest, being a twelve-year-old. He is also the smartest, having skipped several grades to be in high school with fellow humans Jake and Miko.
  • Kaeloo: Played straight with Olaf, who is the shortest of the cast, inverted with Quack Quack, who is second tallest and averted with Stumpy, who is second shortest.
  • On The Kwicky Koala Show, Joey Bungle is less intelligent than his shorter brother, George.
  • Dr. Woolly from Monster Farm is both the shortest and most intelligent of the monster animals on the farm.
  • Grojband's two smaller members Laney and Kin are noted for being smarter than the taller members Corey and Kon, with Laney being the band's Only Sane Woman and Kin being an Asian and Nerdy Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Ocellus, the changeling student from season 8 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is slightly shorter than the the other members of the young six but much smarter and more academically inclined than them.
  • We Bare Bears: Chloe Park is a Pint-Sized Kid who also happens to be a child prodigy, attending college despite being ten years old.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Entrapta, who according to Word of Saint Paul is about five foot nothing, is the shortest of the princesses bar Frosta (who's, like, eleven), and is a technical genius that Bow describes as the smartest person he's ever met. Notably, while most of the other princesses are 17-18 and shown to be visibly shorter than fully adult characters like Shadow Weaver or Angella, Word of Saint Paul also puts Entrapta at somewhere between 25 and 35 years old, meaning that she's not even short because she's young - she's easily got six, seven years on Adora, and could be anywhere up to twice her age. Possibly it's a side effect of her admittedly terrible diet?
  • The Transformers: The smartest guy in the universe, Primacron, is a little alien monkey man. A sharp contrast to the large scale and power of his creations.
  • 2 Stupid Dogs: Inverted. Little Dog is even more stupid than Big Dog.
  • Inverted in Alvin and the Chipmunks, where smart, nerdy Simon is the tallest of the trio. The same applies to his Distaff Counterpart Jeanette in the Chipettes.