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Teens Are Short

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The one in the middle is shorter. Must be a teenager.

Imagine that you are making a show which features teenagers alongside adults. You want to avoid Dawson Casting, so you try to hire actual teens for these roles. But wait, these kids are taller than half the adult cast! Some of the boys are sporting beards already, and the girls might have had their "summer growth spurt." Half the audience won't even believe that they are real teens. So how do you make them look definitely younger than those middle-aged adults? Let's hire the shortest ones possible!

Part of this can be the visual effect of a show shot from a child's or teen's perspective. The adults tower over our protagonists in terms of authority, and the best way to demonstrate that is make them physically much taller (or the child physically much shorter) than they actually are or conceivably would be. This is especially true in animated shows, which can oftentimes have the child reach no higher than the parents' waist despite almost nearing adolescence. Again, it's a visual clue as to the power dynamic.


In Real Life, most people are at or near their adult height by 12-16, with girls tending towards the earlier end of that range and boys tending towards slightly later. The average height for adult males in the U.S. is around 5'9" and the average height for adult women is around 5'4".

Contrast: Dawson Casting. Or compare, as shorter/petite baby-faced actors can make a career off of it well into their thirties (even if they'd rather not). A Sister Trope to Tiny Schoolboy, in which the boy is short for reasons he can't control and it's rather noticeable among others his age. Pint-Sized Kid is the prepubescent version.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • All the pilots in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing; especially weird in how they otherwise look way older.
  • After War Gundam X does this with Garrod and Tiffa, who are fifteen, making them about two feet shorter than all the adults. This includes Roabea and Witz, who are still under twenty themselves (but don't look it). Carris, who's also fifteenish, is also a shorty.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and its various sequels and spinoffs also has this happen a lot. It's especially noticeable in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, in which the teen characters are still short despite there having been a two-year time skip.
  • While most of his teammates in Mobile Fighter G Gundam are in their early 20s, Neo-China's Sai-Saici is sixteen, and looks positively dinky next to the rest of the cast. Most pronounced given he shares a lot of screen time with the massive Argo Gulsky.
  • All but one of the teen characters in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji is especially noteworthy; his father is 6'1"/185 cm (which is extraordinarily tall for a Japanese male), yet Shinji's fourteen years old and about the same height as an eight year old. One might reasonably expect him to be at least 5'6" or 5'8", but Japanese female adults of average height (5'3" or so) loom over him. The only recurring teenage character who actually looks fourteen years old is a minor character, Toji Suzuhara.
  • In Berserk Farnese is 19 and is taller than Isidro, Schierke and Isma who are respectively 14, 13 and 15 but look way younger. They are all dwarfed by Guts, though Casca is the same height as Farnese despite Casca being in her 20s.
    • Guts has always averted this, even at 18-19 years old in the Golden Age Arc he’s 6 foot and One Head Taller (if not more) than his lover Casca and Griffith who are the same age as him. Pippin was also 19 but way taller than Guts and the rest Band of Hawk.
    • Played straight with Ricket who was tiny among his True Companions in his mid teens and even when he is 19 he still barely comes up to Gut’s chest at 5'5.
  • GUN×SWORD contains several teens who are notably shorter than the adults around them. Compare Joshua to his older brother Ray for a good example. Joshua's age is never given, but he's probably in his mid to late teens.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • At the beginning the 12-year old Goku doesn't seem to even stand up to (normal height) 16-year old Bulma's waist. Bulma herself is rather short compared to adults in the series.
    • Krillin was also pretty short as a 13 year old. It's also noteworthy that when Goku and Krillin were young teenagers, they were still shorter than Bulma and the others, especially Krillin.
    • By the time Dragon Ball Z hits, this trope is averted. Teenaged Future Trunks is taller than his dad and almost as tall as Goku, and the 17-year old Gohan (seen closer to the end of the series) is one of the taller members of the cast, despite being 5'9.
    • In the Great Saiyaman Saga Videl and Erasa barely reach Gohan’s shoulder while he’s One Head Taller. Though this has some Truth in Television as boys typically have a faster growth rate than girls.
    • Goku's case becomes a Mythology Gag in Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, where being extremely short throughout most of his teens is attributed to his alien biology.
    • Played straight in Dragon Ball Super, where present Trunks and Goten don't appear to have grown since before the Time Skip at the end of Z despite 7 years having passed by the Tournament of Power. In fact, Future Trunks' own history shows more significant growth during his time training with Gohan, than his present day iteration. That said it is established that Saiyans grow very slowly for most of their childhood but have some rather extreme growth spurts to get to their adult height.
  • At the start of One Piece Luffy and Usopp were 17, Nami was 18, and Zoro and Sanji were 19. Robin and Franky who were 28 and 34 respectively are quite taller than them. Chopper being the youngest at 16 was the shortest, being Chibi sized, though he's Heavy Point makes him as tall as Franky. Post-Time Skip Zoro, Sanji, and Nami (who are now in their 20s) are about as tall as Robin when she isn't wearing heels.
    • Coby is a ridiculous example of this, in his debut where he was 16 and much shorter than Luffy, then a few months later thanks to Garp's Training from Hell he gets an insane growth spurt and is close to Luffy in height.
  • Code Geass: One must assume that in the Code Geass universe, you don't quit growing until you hit 30. Of course, these are Clamp-designed characters, so absurdly lanky is to be expected.
    • It's surprising to see the 17/18 year old Lelouch, Kallen, and Suzaku compared to the 24 year old Clovis and the 28 year old Schneizel, Cornelia, and Jeremiah.
    • Charles (who's a towering 6'8") started out super small, and had kids who barely reached his collarbone.
    • Lelouch is almost 180 cm, which isn't really anything to laugh at. He just looks short compared to other people in the Britannian royal family who are unreasonably large. It seems that they indeed don't stop growing until much later in life.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, if you didn't have Word of God to tell you that Simon is supposed to be 14, you'd swear he was at most ten, which isn't helped by his Moe Stare or Tareme Eyes. Apparently he just didn't have a growth spurt until later on, since other teens in the series are more realistic in their heights.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure ping-pongs the issue, depending on the characters. Jotaro, Kakoyin and Josuke are tall and buff, but Koichi (nearly the same age as Josuke, or possibly the same) is a waist-height midget. One teenaged antagonist starts out tall but shrinks to Koichi's height after being beaten, as does another (presumably) adult antagonist. Officially these characters are about five feet tall, the artstyle just exaggerates their shortness.
    • Averted completely in earlier parts e.g the 18 year old Joseph Joestar stands at 6'5 inches towering over his grandmother, girlfriend and 50 year old mother.
  • The teens in Mahoromatic are somewhat short, as seen in the group shot of the first season's opening. Seems to be a Gainax thing.
  • In Girls und Panzer, this is often averted, as Hana is slightly taller than her mother, and Miho, at 16, is about as tall as the family maid, Kikuyo. Interestingly enough, in many shots with adults and children present, one of the two groups will be sitting.
  • Exaggerated in Fullmetal Alchemist. While Edward Elric is short, he's the shortest of all of the teenage characters, which are taller than him. It's eventually revealed that the reason is because Alphonse's body is absorbing nutrients from his own, which is keeping him from growing. After the Final Battle he starts growing a lot taller, to the point where he's taller than Winry. He's also 14 or 15 when the series starts. In the 2003 anime, he never hits a growth spurt and thus is short even in Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa when he is eighteen (where Winry, Alfons, Noah, and even Alphonse at the end dwarf him).
  • Magic Knight Rayearth has Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu – all fourteen – about as tall as each other, and way shorter than the adults they meet in Cephiro (barring the ones who have a childlike appearance). They're at least a head shorter than the women they meet, and barely up to waist-height on the men.
  • High schoolers in Detective Conan aren't too far from adult characters in height. Conan and his first grader peers are considerably smaller than them. In the middle is the Mysterious Child, known only as "Mary". Conan estimates her as being middle school aged, approximately 12-15, but she isn't much taller than Conan and is considerably shorter than seventeen year old Masumi Sera when they're seen together, barely coming up to Masumi's waist.
  • Tsukiuta started out as a rather extreme example - despite being only a year younger, the junior pairs were much shorter than the middles and seniors when they first started. However, this is a real time series, and over the 5+ years since then, they've grown. As adults, Rui and Kakeru are still the shortest, but the other juniors, Koi and Iku are now taller than middle members Aoi and Yoru. You, of Procella's middle pair, is taller than seniors Shun and Hajime.
  • Asta from Black Clover is the shortest teenager in the series, with his rival and childhood friend Yuno being about two heads taller despite being the same age. After the 6-month Time Skip, Asta expresses jealousy that another of his teen friends, Leopold Vermillion, has had a growth spurt while Asta himself is still short. He makes up for his short stature by being completely ripped, but it still bothers him.
  • In Yuri!!! on Ice, the under-18 characters, including Yuri Plisetski, Guang-hong, and Kenjiro, are all a head shorter than the older skaters.
  • The high schoolers in School-Live! are shorter and more kiddie looking than the Saint Isidore University students, despite them being only a few years apart in age.
  • Usagi Tsukino, the eponymous Sailor Moon, is 4'11 at 14, though she may not look it.
    • Averted slightly with her younger brother, who is 11 and starts out the expected height for his age, but then starts rapidly growing until he's almost caught up to her in the third season.
  • Averted in With the Light. By the time Hikaru enters middle school, he's taller than his mother.
  • Averted in My Hero Academia, while there are short characters like Midoriya or Mineta (and Midoryia is only a little shorter than than most other boys), everyone has plausible heights for their age, and some teenagers are pretty tall, more than some adults themselves. It helps that they're pretty athletic and have great physiques due to lots of training.
  • Itsuki Kawasumi and Ren Amaki from The Rising of the Shield Hero are 155 cm at 17 and 160 cm at 16 respectively.
  • In both Asteroid in Love manga and anime, the mothers are taller than their daughters. Yuuko is taller than Misa, who is taller than Mira, while Shiori is taller than Ao.

    Comic Books 
  • Any issue of Young Justice that had them standing alongside the Justice League. Assuming that Superman and the rest were around 6 feet tall, the YJ kids looked like they were closer to 4 feet. Disconcerting, given that most of the cast was about 16. At one point in his own series Robin (Tim Drake) even lampshades it, grumbling that maybe one day he'll stop looking like he's twelve.
  • Despite having been portrayed as adults for decades, most of the founding Teen Titans members (Dick Grayson/Nightwing, Donna Troy, and Garth/Aqualad/Tempest) will all be a little shorter than their mentors. Wally West and Barry Allen are both six feet tall. Prior to the New 52, Wally was actually an inch taller than Barry. And Roy Harper/Arsenal/Red Arrow is an inch taller than Oliver Queen.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker is shown to be about the same height as Aunt May, though most other people tower over him. Even his girlfriends Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson are shown to be somewhat taller than him. Hilariously addressed when someone tells Flash Thompson that he thinks Peter Parker may be Spider-Man; Flash dismisses the idea out of hand because "Spider-Man is like, 6 feet tall!"
  • Inverted somewhat disturbingly in Darkchylde, where the title character looks like she could pass for a Swedish bikini model, despite only being 16. Her clothes often being turned into Modesty Rags doesn't help.
  • Poor Billy Batson is sixteen years old, and despite the fact that he's supposed to grow into his "Marvel" form at some point, he still looks like a short, skinny kid. Then again the burdens of being an orphan may be a contributing factor.
  • X-Men:
    • Despite being one of Marvel's top assassins, X-23 is generally depicted as being very short and slight — at times even smaller than her father/template Wolverine — and it's very common for people who've at least heard of X-23 to be left stunned when they actually see her for the first time. By the time of All-New Wolverine she's likely no older than 19, and her official height is listed at a mere 5'1".note  Her own clone, Gabby, is 13, and is actually even shorter.
    • In All-New X-Men the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, and Angel) being teenagers are drawn much shorter than the adults, even Kitty Pryde. This is quite confusing since in the 60s Jack Kirby drew them as being as tall as Magneto and other characters.
  • A justified example is Cassandra Cain, who was alone and starving between the ages of six and seventeen, so that even at eighteen she is noticeably short, despite her parents being rather tall at 5'8" and 6'2".
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Both Vanessa Kapatelis and Cassandra Sandsmark are at least a head shorter than their mothers, and neither of their mothers are very tall women. When both girls are together they seem to be the same height even though Vanessa is a couple of years older and their classmates are likewise portrayed as shorter than any of the adults.
  • Spider-Gwen: Played with, as Gwen Stacy is 19 during the first volume (due to a time-skip, she's 20 in the second volume), but is shown to be exceptionally short. Her exact height is only given as 'approximately' 5'5, but its repeatedly shown to be much shorter than that (a crossover with the above-mentioned All-New Wolverine depicts the two at the same height, implying Gwen is 5'1), especially when standing next to others billed at that height. Her father George is a full foot taller and pretty much all of her (primarily adult) villains tower over her, not unlike Ultimate Spider-Man. It seems to be something specific to this Gwen, as when she meets the Gwen Stacy of Earth-616 (AKA, the main Marvel Universe) when lost in time and space which indirectly leads to splintering the timeline to create the AU Earth-617, its said the two are the same age at this point, but 616!Gwen is a couple inches taller. Averting/inverting this somewhat, Miles Morales is about a year and half younger than Gwen, but is currently billed at 5'8. Typically he's depicted as much shorter than this when around adults, playing it straight, but when him and Gwen meet he's typically drawn a good few inches taller, despite the age gap. This makes some sense as Miles is at the point he'd be reaching his full height, and boys are typically taller than girls, but it does amusingly subvert the trend of height being used to determine youth.

    Comic Strips 
  • Averted in Peanuts where Snoopy visits his sister Belle and finds her teenage (in dog years) son is lubriciously tall and lanky.
  • Averted in Zits, as Jeremy looks like his head might hit the ceiling were it not for his signature slouch. Jeremy would tower over his mother if he weren't constantly slouching. The creative team has stated that they deliberately made Jeremy the same height as his parents to create a symbolic "power struggle".
  • Usually averted in FoxTrot, but in one storyline, Paige invites all of her friends to Peter's Halloween party. Her friends are all ridiculously short and - as Peter keeps reminding us - high school freshmen, meaning they're all about 14 years old.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm averts this. Clark (per Smallville canon) is easily pushing 6 feet, and Carol's 5'9, reaching 5'10 by the sequel, despite both being no older than 14/15. Uhtred, despite being 13, is easily the same height as Carol. Likewise, while the other younger characters are initially fairly short - Harry's initially only 5 feet and change, and Diana is notably pocket sized - it's temporary. Harry's 13, and she's 11 or 12, so both get growth spurts (and magical medical correction for stunted growth in Harry's case) leaving Harry roughly only par with Carol and Clark, and Diana close behind. Since they all come from tall families, this isn't all that surprising.
  • Averted in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, where the now fifteen-year-old Ash is mentioned to be taller than his mother. Other teenage characters in fic follow a mix of averting and playing this straight, though it's rather clearly shown that height is less a matter of teen vs adult but genetic, like in real life.
  • Averted in No Promises where the Self-Insert is six feet tall despite only being fourteen, but this is because his father King Baratheon is even taller.
  • Averted in Traveler. Less than a year into his journey, Ash is already as tall as his mother even though he's only eleven.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: From the first chapter, the Reaper judges that Ami is a teenager because of her short-ness:
    The human was so short that he doubted she was even fully-grown.
  • Donna from Sonic and Donna is under 5'0 at 13 years old. It's implied to be due to age rather than her just being short.

    Film — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Rapunzel in Tangled – supposed to be 18, and still shorter than all the adults.
    • Anna in Frozen – aged 18 and with one exception she's the shortest person in the main part of the film. Her sister Elsa is 21 and appears to be of average height. Subverted in Frozen II, where Anna's still the shortest despite being in her early 20s.
    • In Big Hero 6, Hiro Hamada is stated to be around 5'0" – pretty short for a fourteen-year-old, and further emphasized by the fact that everyone else in the movie is an adult and incredibly tall (except for GoGo and maybe Aunt Cass). It's stated in The Art of Big Hero 6 that for the first bit of the movie, everything is shot above Hiro's eye level so that we are looking down on him. However, after Tadashi's death, the "camera" moves down so that we are seeing everything from Hiro's point of view. His short height is occasionally acknowledged in Big Hero 6: The Series; in particular, when he tries to question Liv Amara at the symposium in "Something Fluffy", he has to move the microphone down. After the moderator Bluff Dunder repeatedly jokes about his height, he angrily replies he just hasn't hit his growth spurt yet.
  • Averted in Toy Story 3; 17-year-old Andy is a couple inches taller than his mom. Given the prevalence of this trope, this aversion is kind of jarring in fiction.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Not only are the teens shorter than the adults, all but two of them are lanky and noodly. It doesn't help that the adults are all stereotypical gigantic vikings, even the women.
  • In Brave, 16-year-old Merida is shorter than both of her parents. Not surprising with her father, a hulk of a man who's king of the Scots. A little surprising with her mother, though she's only half a head shorter. At least, when her mother's in human form.
  • In A Goofy Movie, Goofy's son Max goes to high school which means that he's now somewhat older than in Goof Troop. He, PJ and the other kids aren't much taller, though. Max, PJ and Bobby are still shorter than any older characters in An Extremely Goofy Movie when they go to college.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, one of the characters is Peni Parker (SP//dr), a teenage girl version of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), who is seemingly the size of a school-age child/preteen. Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy are taller than Peni despite being about the same age as her, but adult Peter B. Parker and Noir Spider-Man tower over them.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Probably explaining how Michael J. Fox got away with playing teenage parts into his late twenties. Interestingly, Back to the Future partially averted this with Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson, both of whom are over six feet. However, they also had to play middle aged versions of George McFly and Biff Tannen, so they needed to appear taller than teenage Marty in 1985.
  • For Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, casting specifically chose short actors to play the Corbulo cadets with the intention that Master Chief would tower over them in shooting, though this is justified by the Chief being a roughly 7'0" Super Soldier. Ironically enough, the Chief and his fellow Spartans are revealed at the end to be roughly the same age as the cadets, even though John is canonically 6'9" under the armour.
  • Both used and averted in British comic-action thriller of the four female leads (who are around 18 or 19) two are anything if but tall, but the petite Ophelia Lovibond and Emma Roberts certainly fall under this. Lovibond in particular has less than a two year age gap between her and the older villain played by Michelle Ryan but because Ryan is much taller, Lovibond seems much younger.
  • Mamma Mia!. While technically not playing a teen (her character is 20) Amanda Seyfried is considerably shorter than Meryl Streep (who plays her mother). She doesn't get it from her dad either - all three potential fathers are over 6 foot.
  • In her 2012 film Gone Seyfried actually takes advantage of this trope and her height in-universe. Her character is twenty something but while trying to avoid cops looking for her she joins a group of teens and successfully blends in thanks to her lack of height.
  • Mark Wahlberg's earliest roles were teens, despite his acting career beginning in his early twenties. The man is, depending on the source, no taller than 5'8".
  • Daniel Radcliffe started playing Harry Potter when he was only a little bit older than the character. However, he was 21 playing 17 by the end but he was helped in passing by the fact that he’s only 5'4". Even though Harry’s a lot taller than his Love Interest, Ginny, in the books, she’s actually taller than him in the movies.
  • In Hairspray, the main teen cast members are all significantly shorter than the actors playing their parents — compare Nikki Blonsky (4'10") with Christopher Walken (6'0") and John Travolta (6'1"), Amanda Bynes (5'7") with Allison Janney (6'0"), Elijah Kelley (5'6") with Queen Latifah (5'10"), and Brittany Snow (5'2.5") with Michelle Pfeiffer (5'6" and towering in stilletos). Not to mention Zac Efron with everybody.
  • Inverted in We're the Millers with Kenny, who is played by 6'2" Will Poulter. Played straight by the 5'1.5" Emma Roberts.
  • Subverted in Tiger Eyes; 15 year-old Davey played by Willa Holland is at least 5'5" while her mother played by Amy Jo Johnson, is 5'2".
  • Inverted in Deck the Halls, where Danny DeVito (4'10") and Kristin Chenoweth (also 4'10") have teenage daughters played by 5'8" Kelly and Sabrina Aldridge.
  • Played straight in The Duff with Bianca but subverted with many of the other high school characters. Both Jess and Casey, as well as the Alpha Bitch Madison, are obviously taller than Bianca. Note that the actress playing Madison, Bella Thorne, was 16 while filming this movie, meanwhile the actress playing Bianca, Mae Whitman, was almost ten years older.
  • Elliot Page continued to play teen roles even in his late twenties. His Oscar nominated role as a pregnant sixteen-year-old in Juno was when he was twenty. Two years earlier he had played a girl who claims she's fourteen in Hard Candy (and there are fan theories that she's really eighteen). He's only 5'1", which helps with this.
  • Shailene Woodley is a similar case. At 5'7.5", all her major roles have been sixteen-year-olds. Amusingly enough, she's also lost her virginity on-screen in five different films.
  • Keira Knightley benefited from this trope in the opposite way earlier in her career. As she was already quite tall by the time she had her Star-Making Role in Pirates of the Caribbean, she played mostly adult roles afterwards. Notably in Love Actually she was only eighteen, and both her love interests were at least ten years older than her (and her character was getting married).
  • The Hunger Games is all over the place with this one. Book Katniss is small and skinny so casting the tall and endowed-of-boobs -and-hips Jennifer Lawrence was against physical type. She was also implicitly aged up due to Lawrence's inability to pass for sixteen, even accounting for Dawson Casting. Her romantic opposite is played by an actor a little younger and definitely on the short side. His interactions with adult cast members fit the trope completely, as his older co-stars stand above his eye-line leaving him looking more childlike. Filling out the rest of the teen cast are mostly actual teen actors, but whether they were cast to fit this trope or not seems to have depended on whether the filmmakers wanted to portray them as little and helpless in the face of the adults' machinations (Rue, Foxface, several unnamed and quickly-dispatched victims) or a viable threat to Katniss in the arena (Cato, Thresh, Glimmer, Marvel). The exception to the rule is Clove who is a serious threat, but is also tiny. The filmmakers had to shoot very carefully for the sight of the very small and skinny 14-year-old actress playing Clove attacking and holding down the tall and muscular 21 year-old actress playing Katniss not be laughable. Finally, the filmmakers work hard to dwarf Katniss in the Capitol, placing her besides tall and bulky guards to emphasise her vulnerability.
  • Star Trek III: When the three prisoners on the Genesis planet are lined up together, teen Spock is noticeably much shorter than David (Merritt Butrick was 6'1"). He even seems shorter than Saavik, though this is mostly because she was wearing boots with heels and had big hair—the actors were actually the same height otherwise. Stephen Manley, who played Spock at 17, was a good match facially but stood only 5'8", four inches shorter than Spock as an adult (Leonard Nimoy was 6 feet tall). Image here.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kid Hero Peter Parker (played by 5'7" Tom Holland) is a good bit shorter than the majority of his fellow heroes. Even Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is made to look several inches taller despite he and Tom being around the same height in real life. Averted with Cassie Lang, who at 5'9 is one of the tallest female characters.
  • Somewhat averted in Enola Holmes, where Enola is as tall as her mother at sixteen. Of course, her mother, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is only 5'2".

  • Averted then used and justified in A Brother's Price. Almost-sixteen-year-old Jerin Whistler is taller than his older sisters. Later he meets Cullen Moorland, who's about the same age and shorter than said sisters, but by the end of the book has had a growth spurt. The Whistlers are all inclined to be tall, and boys stop growing later than girls do.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, it is called out repeatedly that the main characters whose biological parents are still running around look very much like their parents, only shorter.
  • Averted in Donald J. Sobol's Secret Agents Four. Bo, a sophomore in high school, is seven feet tall.
  • Averted in Harry Potter - by book six, Harry is stated to be as tall as Narcissa Malfoy, allowing him to look her directly in the eye during a tense scene. Meanwhile, Ron is repeatedly stated to be taller than him.
  • Averted in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Simon is 14 at the start of the main plot, and the books repeatedly refer to the fact that he is at least as tall, if not taller than, most of the adult men around him. When he laments being "only a boy", he's reminded by his (hulking) mentor that the world does not see a boy when they look at him, but a tall, broad-shouldered man, and thus he should stop acting like he's still a little boy. It helps that he also starts growing a beard midway through the adventure.
  • By 5 months the average kitten is roughly 75% of its adult height. In Warrior Cats, several apprentices (who begin training at 6 months) are small enough to be held by the scruff like little kits.
  • Averted in Many Waters—the fifteen-year-old twins are about six feet, which is tall by normal standards, and becomes even more noticeable when they're transported to the oasis, where people live for centuries but average about four feet.
  • There's something off about Alfie's scale in Survivors and it's likely due to this. His exact age isn't mentioned but he's a "young" dog and the others mourn his young age after his premature death. He is routinely mentioned as being a small dog, even more often than other dogs like Sunshine (a Maltese) and Daisy (a Westie/Jack Russel). The problem is Bulldogs aren't "small" despite their stocky look. The average for an American male is 50 lb. (23 kg.) and all adults should at least be 40 lb. (18 kg.). Even a 6 month old puppy isn't exactly "small". Alfie is likely small under the assumption adolescent dogs are smaller than they actually are.

    Live-Action TV 
  • My Three Sons: Mike, Robbie and eventually Chip and Ernie, are considerably shorter than their father through their teens and (with Mike and Robbie) even into their twenties. Could be explained by their taking after their mother's family; Mike, Robbie and Chip are about the height of Grandpa Bub.
  • While a good casting choice otherwise, it is hard to believe that Ladette Sam Puckett from iCarly, whose actress Jennette McCurdy is 5'1", could be the daughter of Pam, played by six-foot-tall Jane Lynch. Hollywood Nerd Freddie is also significantly shorter than his mother.
  • In the iCarly/Victorious spinoff Sam & Cat, Miss McCurdy is paired with the even shorter (barely over 5'0") Ariana Grande as Cat.
  • In the 1960s Batman series, and Batman: The Movie, "Boy Wonder" Robin is played by 5'7" Burt Ward, while most adult characters surrounding him are played by much taller actors, such as 6'2" Adam West (Batman), 6'3" Cesar Romero (The Joker), 5'11" Julie Newmar (Catwoman), and 6'6" Alan Napier (Alfred Pennyworth).
  • Heroes:
    • Everyone from Claire's schools as shorter than 5'6", with the exception of West. Claire herself is only 5'0.5" (if that). The only characters shorter than Claire are Micah and Molly, simply due to the fact that they're still below the age of puberty.
    • Elle is 24 and the same height as Claire, but tends to wear heels so she looks taller. In the online comics Elle got away with posing as one of Claire's classmates despite being eight years older than the rest of the class.
  • Kim from The Parkers is significantly shorter than both her parents (Countess Vaughn is 4'11, Mo'Nique is 5'9, Tommy Ford is 6'4''). Lampshaded by an Enfant Terrible in one episode who, when told by Kim that her father was also tall, responded with Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe.
    • In a show where a mother and her 18-year-old daughter go to college together, but the actresses playing them only have a 12 year age difference, the advertisements emphasize that Mo'Nique dwarfs Countess in every way, but especially head size, making Countess look like a pre-teen by comparison.
  • Community: Gillian Jacobs and Alison Brie are the same height (and differ in age by all of 78 days), but Britta (late twenties to early thirties) always wears heels so she is taller than late teens to early twenties Annie.
  • How I Met Your Mother: 5'7" Robin's teenage sister is played by 5'1" Lucy Hale.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Melissa Joan Hart is 5'2" making her much shorter than both of her aunts. This could, at least, be handwaved that she probably takes after her mother's family.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures:
    • Clyde was cast because of Daniel Anthnony's short stature.
    • Averted with Rani with Anjli Mohindra being cast despite being significantly taller than you'd expect a teenager to be. She's easily the tallest member of the main cast.
    • Tommy Knight as Luke Smith is the only one of the teens to be played by an actual teenager and prove that real teens aren't short.
  • The daughters on Modern Family look like homunculi compared to the actors playing their parents. This is especially notable with Haley, who is about 16 when the series begins so in real life should be already as tall as her mom. In reality, the actress playing her is actually now 23 but is petite. At least semi-justified by the fact that the characters were cast as children; while they could have found a taller actress for Haley, they had no idea how tall Ariel Winter (then 11) would be.
  • Unintentionally done in Family Ties. Michael J. Fox almost didn't get the role of Alex P. Keaton because the producers at NBC didn't think it was realistic that the 5'4" Fox could be the son of 6'3" Michael Gross, who played his father Stephen Keaton.
  • Also unintentionally played straight in Married... with Children, as David Faustino was cast as Bud Bundy when he was 13. He reached adulthood over the show's 11-season a height of 5'3, meaning he was still a head shorter than his family on TV.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has two instances of straight use followed by unplanned subversion:
    • Cirroc Lofton was fifteen but could have passed for twelve when he began playing 14-year old Jake Sisko; by the end of the series, when the character was about twenty, he was a couple inches taller than Avery Brooks (who played his father). At 6'3, he towered over most of the characters, making scenes where he was shunted off from the front on the justification that he's "just a kid" somewhat odd (they make perfect sense logically, but the cinematic language of him standing half a head taller than the people saying that made it a bit jarring, showing that Tropes Are Not Bad).
    • Five-foot-tall, twenty-something Aron Eisenberg was cast as the teenager Nog specifically so that Nog would look young compared to other Ferengi (who tend, in turn, to be shorter than other humanoids). A much older Nog appears in an alternate timeline, still played by Eisenberg, and is of course the same height.
  • Greek: All of the main cast pledges are shorter than their bigs (Rusty to Cappie, Rebecca to Casey, Calvin to Evan). Averted with Lizzi, who's shorter than most of the ZBZ pledges despite being older than everyone in the sorority.
  • Played straight on Party of Five. At the height of 5'2", Lacey Chabert was shorter than all of the adult cast members. Likewise Scott Wolf was twenty six playing the sixteen year old Bailey, yet is only 5'7". Neve Campbell was borderline, at 5'5" playing a fifteen year old. However this is Ability over Appearance as producers wanted a younger actress, but Campbell won them over with her audition - and a trait of Julia in Season 1 is that she's able to pass for twenty one with a fake ID. Jennifer Love Hewitt is another borderline example. She was 5'2 but she was also the same age as her character: sixteen.
  • Bobby Lazzarini in USA High was played by the 5'3 James Madio who was in his twenties at the time. Otherwise averted with the rest of the cast, who were much taller - and Lazz's shortness emphasised him as the Butt-Monkey of the group. Earlier in his career Madio was fourteen playing a ten-year-old lost boy in Hook.
  • Amy Davidson managed to play the middle sister in 8 Simple Rules despite being twenty six, and six years older than the on-screen eldest Kayley Cuoco. Her height was a contributing factor.
  • Godric and Tommy from True Blood. One is really 2,000 years old but was turned into a vampire at a young age, while the other is an actual teenager. Both are played by shorter adult actors. Though in Godric's case, actor Allan Hyde isn't too short (5'8), but most of his scenes are opposite the 6'4 Alexander Skarsgård.
  • A.N.T. Farm:
    • Played straight with the ANTs, being that they are preteens (being played by actors that are 13-15 years old) going to a high school, but not only are they shorter than every adult, but also regular high school students. Paisley and Lexi are taller than the ANTs but narrowly avert this compared to Principal Skidmore who is about their height. While all extras who are high school students are, for the most part, taller than the ANTs. Except for Cameron.
    • Also played straight with Cameron, whose actor is 19 years old, yet about the same height as his sister who has to be at least three years younger, while their father is over 6 feet tall, and the mother is also taller than both kids, but not exactly tall. Gibson is around the same height as Chyna's father.
  • The main cast of Austin & Ally sets up another aversion - Austin's another 14-year-old six-footer at the start, Dez is about the same height, Ally's barely One Head Shorter and hasn't shown any Huge Schoolgirl issues and Trish isn't that short.
  • This is how Jason Earles got away with playing teenage Jackson on Hannah Montana despite being in his late 20s. He's only 5'3.5". Though it eventually led to his little sister played by Miley Cyrus outgrowing him, reaching 5'4" by the end of the series.
  • In how Jason Earles's Kickin' It role he plays the Adult Child Big Brother Mentor alongside a group of kids, half of whom are taller than him.
  • On Gilmore Girls, it varied.
    • Milo Ventimiglia, who played Jess, is 5'8.5", which is actually the average height for young men his age. So part of the trick to convince audiences that he was 17, instead of Milo's true age of 24 at the time, was to dress him in baggier clothing, have lazy posture, and then play his scenes off the larger Luke (Scott Danes) and Dean (Jared Padalecki) who are both over six feet tall. The height and build differences made Milo look younger and scrappier by comparison.
    • Averted with Jared Padalecki who was 19 when he began playing Dean Forrester, but was already 6'4" making him the second-tallest member of the cast behind Edward Hermann (Richard Gilmore) who was 6'5". However, Jared's very slim frame highlighted his youth in comparison to the older men in the cast.
    • Played straight with Lane (5'1") and Paris (5'2"). Rory herself is of relatively average height at 5'5".
  • Played realistically in Dinosaurs, where 14-year-old Robbie is the same height as his father and slightly shorter than his mother, while 12-year-old Charlene in shorter than both of her parents.
  • Semi-example: Zoe Barnes in House of Cards (US) is at least a few years out of her teens, but one of the youngest main characters, which is emphasized by her short stature. If it means anything, her actress Kate Mara is 5'2" in real life and was 29 years old when season 1 was filmed.
  • With the exception of Cordelia and Dawn (who was played by an actual teenager who went through a growth spurt) all of the teens on Buffy the Vampire Slayer were shorter than most of the adults around them. Buffy and Willow were at least a head shorter than their mothers and also shorter than adult female Jenny Calendar. Xander and Oz were also both shorter than adult Giles. Referenced in the episode "Normal Again" when Buffy used the fact that her younger sister Dawn was taller than her as evidence that she might be living in a fantasy world.
  • Zigzagged on Melissa & Joey. Lennox is 5'2", roughly the same height as Melissa Joan Hart, who plays her aunt (and, as mentioned above, has previously played the trope straight) but brother Ryder is 6' 1" and towers over the both of them. Seeing him framed next to Aunt Mel on the rare occasions she doesn't wear heels is rather striking.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Tiberius is noticeably shorter than his elders, Caesar and Crassus, which emphasizes his youth and inexperience.
  • Home Improvement featured an aversion, as the boys all grew up to at least equal their parents in height — Brad and Mark grew so tall that an eventual gag in the show's opening was to have them stand in front, with their parents having to shuffle around to see past them. The exception was middle child Randy, played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who stood at five foot four and was utterly dwarfed by his younger and older brothers, as well as both parents.
  • Gossip Girl subverts and lampshades this with Serena's tutor Miss Carr. She's a young teacher on her first job and is mistaken for a student initially. She's quite petite and the eighteen-year-old Serena and Dan are significantly taller than her.
  • The Returned has India Ennenga, who is 5'2", playing Camille and Lena at age 16 in flashbacks as they are twins, but when she appears from the dead 4 years, 20 year-old Lena is played by Sophie Lowe, who is 5'7".
  • Black Lightning has Jennifer Pierce, who despite being a high school upperclassman and the child of two tall parentsnote , is only 5'3".
  • Five from The Umbrella Academy is played by Aidan Gallagher, who was 15 in the first season and stood at 5'3. Choosing a diminutive actor was a deliberate visual cue since Five is a grown man who regressed back to his teenage self after a time travel stunt went wrong, making him appear to be The Baby of the Bunch despite being the oldest by several decades. Granted, he's still taller than the 5'1 Elliot Page, who played teenagers well into his twenties by invoking this trope.
  • Invoked for comedy in the "Janet Reno's Dance Party" sketches on Saturday Night Live, featuring Will Ferell as Janet Reno dancing with a crowd of teenagers...who were all very short, making the 6'3'' Ferell look like a giant in comparison.

  • Averted with the four main teens in Hypnosis Mic (Buster Bros!!! and Samatoki of Mad Trigger Crew), who are all as tall as the adults they interact with. The shortest and most youthful-looking member among the groups is Ramuda, who's somewhere in his twenties.

  • In Spring Awakening:
    • The teenage characters are all supposed to be 13-15 years old, but in reality it's rarely feasible for actors near that age range to be hired, particularly with the amount of sexual content in the show. To disguise this they make sure the majority are short in comparison to the adult actors.
    • Averted in Hungary; many of the actors playing teen boys were hired due to being long, lanky, and gawky-looking.

    Video Games 
  • The Sims:
    • In The Sims 2, Sims at the "teenager" stage of life are shorter than those at the "adult" stage. Though Young Adult (seemingly about 18-21) is just as tall as the Adult stage, within an inch or at most two. The Teen stage does include all of puberty, though, and since the Sims don't grow within individual stages, it would have to be somewhere in the middle of the range (so it wouldn't look weird growing from Child or to Young Adult/Adult) and is thus reasonably justified.
    • Despite this trope being played straight for The Sims 3, it's averted in The Sims 4, in which teenagers, young adults, adults, and elders are all the same height. This annoyed many players as it made it very difficult to tell teens apart from adult Sims without having your Sim go over and talk to them and seeing if the romance options were available or not. EA eventually alleviated this by adding a Sim's age to the tooltip with their name that appears when you mouse over them.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, most of the soccer teams are made of 13 to 15 years old middle school students, but nearly all of them, including the relatively tall ones like Someoka are at least a head shorter than most adults. The average-sized characters are around 4'9 and only reach the chest zone of the adults.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Sora, Kairi, Roxas, Naminé, and Xion – aged 16 (at least appearance wise in the case of the latter three) as of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. They are by far some of the shortest human characters in the entire series, reaching, at times, crotch-level of other characters. It's most apparent in Kingdom Hearts II when Riku, who is merely a year older than Sora and Kairi, reverts back to his human form, he noticeably towers over the both of them. In fact, Tetsuya Nomura stated during a collaborative event celebrating the series' 15th anniversary that Sora's official height is 160cm (or about 5'3"), and that's presumably taking into account his growth spurt between Chain of Memories and II.
      • This is lampshaded however when they first arrive in the Pirates of the Caribbean world, with the Sora, Donald, and Goofy noting that things look really different (as it's rendered in a more realistic style). While Sora and the rest are still human, it's implied they may be a different variety of human than people from other worlds, explaining different appearances and heights.
      • Another, far cuter, lampshade is when Sora tries to point out the DTD password to Ansem's computer in Hollow Bastion, he has to jump to point out the acronyms. Oh, you lovable dork.
      • Roxas and Xion have it worse, since the remaining member of their trio is Axel, who is tall even by adult standards. In a heartwarming moment in III when they are reunited after more than a year of separation, Roxas and Xion cry not so much into Axel's chest as they cry into his stomach, this despite Axel having lowered his head while doing so.
    • Ventus is a Roxas lookalike and thus has the latter's lack of height as well, not helped that he is mostly paired with Aqua and Terra, both reasonably-proportioned young adults. Becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when you learn that Ventus actually came from the Age of Fairytales, meaning he must have been hundreds of years old—therefore predating not only Aqua and Terra, but his teachers Eraqus and Xehanort, as well—and yet he still looks and acts as if he is the youngest of them all.
  • The World Ends with You:
    • You don't notice it until an age 17+ character is in the same frame as one of the 15-year old heroes, but damn are those 15-year-olds tiny. Beat initially appears to be quite tall, but you later realize that the entire cast of adults positively towers over him. Even given the fact that the average height of Asian women is 158cm (5'2"), Uzuki and Konishi are also absurdly tall compared to the tallest of Neku's gang.
    • In the ending cinematic we see that real Shiki is much taller than Neku and even rivals Beat in height, but not so much as to obfuscate that adult height is still insurmountable for even the tallest of 15-year olds.
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening and the prequel manga Dante and Vergil are around 18-19 years old but suitably tall for their ages, though Arkham a grown man is noticeably taller than Vergil. Played straighter with Lady whom Dante mockingly refers as a “little girl” though by looks she can’t be any younger than 17 or 18 despite being a head shorter than both Sons of Sparda.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The majority of the Link incarnations are shown to be this. Even with his latest known age being 17 1/2, Link is mostly depicted as being no taller than Princess Zelda.
  • In Bully the main character Jimmy seems to be constantly shrinking and growing as the scene demands it. For the majority of the game he looks to be a reasonable height for a 15-year old who is perhaps a bit of a late bloomer - he's a few inches shorter than the other teenage characters, and not quite a head shorter than the adults. However, in the cutscenes he's very clearly shown to be at about armpit-level to the principal and his secretary.
  • Tales of Symphonia is an interesting example. The trope is averted by Raine and Lloyd; 17 year old Lloyd (at 5'8) is a good few inches taller than Raine, his 23 year old teacher (who is 5'5), however (though we don't know what his mother looked like) his father, Kratos, is 6'1, leaving him in the dust by nearly half a foot. At age twelve, Genis is 4'7.5 to Raine's 5'5, however by Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World he's allegedly 4'11, which means he's approaching Raine's height at a roughly normal rate, assuming he's going to be about her height and isn't going to shoot up. Trouble is, his character model hasn't changed at all, so though he should only be 6 inches shorter than Raine at that point, he still looks positively pint-sized next to her, giving the impression of this trope. There's a Z-Skit in the first game where Raine talks about how tall Lloyd is, and a C-Skit in the latter game where Genis wants Raine to notice that he grew a sixteenth of an inch.
  • Solatorobo seems to want us to believe Beast Men grow a foot between nineteen and twenty. Of the characters with given ages and heights, the teenagers are all 160cm/5'3" or less and the adults are 170cm/5'7" or more. This can't even be justified by breed: Opéra, a Russian blue cat, is taller than her two servants, Gren the kishu inu and Calua the ocelot.
  • In Street Fighter Sakura, Karin, R.Mika, Ibuki, Makoto, Ying, and Yang are a good deal shorter than most the adult World Warriors. Averted with Elena despite being the same age as Ibuki and Makoto, she's 6'0 tall.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Rebecca Chambers is 18 in Resident Evil and standing at 5'3 tall Billy, Chris and Wesker tower over her. Though interesting Jill who was 23 is only two inches taller than Rebecca.
    • Zig-zagged with the 5'6.5 Claire Redfield, she's only 19 in Resident Evil 2 but Leon, who's 21, is a good few inches taller than her at 5'10. Claire is about the same height as Ada and Annette who are older than her. In RE2make Claire is more noticeably shorter than Leon but still taller than Annette whose middle-aged and wearing heels.
    • Played straight with Sherry Birkin from the same game she’s 12 years old but she’s so tiny that she only barely comes up to the aforementioned Claire’s waist. She also looks and behaves like she’s 8 years old if not younger
    • Averted with Steve Burnside from Resident Evil – Code: Veronica who is 17, but conversely the same height as Claire.
    • Played straight with the teenage Moria Burton from Resident Evil: Revelations 2 whose much shorter than Claire or her father Barry.
  • Evolution Worlds: The main character, Mag Launcher, is stated to be sixteen in supplementary material, yet a bit of Flavor Text reveals that he hasn't grown any taller since age 10. Fellow adventurer, Chain Gun, fairs no better as she's only one year younger, yet comes up to Mag's chest.
  • Pokémon:
    • Michael from Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is implied to be around 13, or at least no younger than your typical Pokémon protagonist. However, not only is he shorter than most adults in the game, he's also shorter than the link battle models for the characters from the GBA games, who are all about 11.
    • Tim from Detective Pikachu is implied to be sixteen-to-nineteen but is shorter than adult male characters. He's the same height as the adult female characters.
  • Big Town in Fallout 3 is filled with short teenagers that are refugees kicked out of the settlement of Little Lamplight after reaching 16 years old. The vast majority of them are noticeably shorter than the Lone Wanderer. Despite the Wanderer being only 19 him/herself.
  • Ellie from The Last of Us is noticeably a lot taller in the sequel than she was in the first game (a collectible Firefly note lists Ellie's height as 5'3", which is only one inch shorter than the average height for adult women.). She’s 14/15 in the former and 19 in the latter. Girls reach their final adult height when they're between 13 and 15, so Ellie should have stopped growing by the time period covered in The Last of Us. Joel’s daughter, Sarah, was also very short for a twelve-year old.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, the teenage heroes are significantly shorter than the adults Vector the Crocodile and Vanilla the Rabbit. For example, Blaze the Cat is 14 years old and stands at 95cm. Sonic himself is 15 years old with a height of 100cm (Shadow and Silver are the same height as him). Vanilla the Rabbit is 130cm, and the 20 year old Vector the Crocodile stands at 180cm.
  • The kids in Liar Liar are first year high schoolers in the second game however even the boys are all shoulder height to the adults.
  • Toyed with in Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates, which have many teenagers in their casts as part of either their first or second generations.
    • In Awakening, the shortest male character of the whole game is Ricken, a male Child Mage who is positively tiny and unlikely to be older than 15. On the other hand/s, however, his friend Henry is probably in his mid-to-late teens and is much taller... and both are potential fathers to Brady and Yarne (second gen boys that are easily among the tallest guys) and Kjelle (the tallest second gen girl).
    • In Fates, Xander's son Siegbert and Ryoma's son Shiro completely avert the trope by virtue of being almost as tall as their fathers, who also happen to be among the biggest guys in their respective armies. Siegbert is especially noticeable since, as a refined and gentle Princely Young Man, the fans had bet on him playing the present trope straight and then were shocked when he turned out to be as tall as his dad.
  • Barbara Gordon's character bios in the Rocksteady iterations of the Batman: Arkham Series list her height as 5'11", and she looks to be about that size as Batgirl in the Batman: Arkham Knight DLC pack A Matter of Family. In the prequel game Batman: Arkham Origins, she's 5'2" at the age of 15. This creates a bit of a continuity problem as—like with The Last of Us example above—it's highly unlikely that Barbara grew 9 inches between Origins and A Matter of Family since, again, girls usually reach their peak height at around 14.
  • In Ever17 Sara, Kid (both of them) and Coco are all 16 or younger, while everyone else is at least 18. Everyone from the younger group is visibly shorter than anyone from the older.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Krile in Final Fantasy V is a sprite example. In the NES/SNES Final Fantasies, child characters had sprites that were a pixel shorter and partly faced the camera to make their proportions more childlike. Krile is fourteen, but she's given the same kind of sprite as seven-year-old Rydia was in the previous game. (The supplementary materials also state that she's about 5'1"... though her grandfather is also pretty short at 5'5".)
    • Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII is 16 years old and is by far the shortest human character in The Team. Tifa at 15 years old in the Nibelhiem Flashbackis shorter than Sephiroth and Zack but then again Sephiroth towers over most characters.
    • Final Fantasy X has Yuna whose 17 years old and stands at 5'3, and Rikku whose 16 years of old at stands at 5'2, most of the party (especially Kimahri) tower over them. Tidus is 17 like Yuna, but is One Head Taller than her standing at 5'9 and can look the 6 foot Auron in the face averting this trope.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, Hope is basically the party kid and therefore the shortest at 5'0". It really stands out when he ends up partnered with The Big Guy Snow.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, sixteen-year-old Zidane—who is not noticeably short in his home game—only comes to chest height, if that, on most of the male heroes and is barely any taller than the pre-teen aged Onion Knight. The reason for this is because his game had a cartoony, Super-Deformed aesthetic to the character designs, compared to the more realistic (or at least more traditionally "Anime") style used in most other games in the series. Rendering Zidane in a way that gave a proper nod to that style ended up with the him looking notably short.
  • In Yandere Simulator, the (entirely female except for the headmaster) faculty of Akademi High School tower over all the students, despite most of those students - Yandere-chan included - being old enough to realistically have equalled or surpassed them in height. At this point in their lives, the boys should be taller than the girlsnote , but in the game they are the same height as the girls so that the animations sync up properly.
  • Downplayed in Red Dead Redemption. While sixteen-year-old Jack is still a few inches shorter than his father, he completely towers over his mother. When Jack becomes playable at nineteen, he appears to have grown taller.
  • A trope common to the Persona series, specific examples include:
    • In Persona 3 the protagonist and the rest of the teenage main cast are almost a full head shorter than all adult NPCs despite all of them being 16-18 years of age.
    • Persona 5 zigzags this. 16 year old Joker, who's said to be 175 cm (5'9") tall, is a fairly realistic height for a boy his age, and isn't exactly "short", but is still shown to be shorter than most significant male NPCs.
    • In Persona 5 Strikers, Zenkicki, the Token Adult, is the taller than the teenaged cast, including Joker and Yusuke (181 cm, nearly 6').
  • Friday Night Funkin':
    • The Boyfriend is nineteen years old, with The Girlfriend and Pico implied to be the same; the three are much shorter compared to adult characters like The Girlfriend's parents, and The Boyfriend is only a bit taller than Skid and Pump, two children.
    • Averted with Senpai and the schoolgirls in Week 6, who have normal heights for teenagers.
  • Zigzagged in the Soul Series. Siegfried at age 16 in Soul Edge is 157 cm and the shortest male character in the series and the shortest playable character in the game before going through several growth spurts and Talim and Amy, who are teenagers throughout the series, are below the five feet line. However, other characters who were or are close to their age, Sophitia (age 18 in Soul Edge, at 168 cm), Seong Mi-Na (age 16 and 159 cm in Soul Edge), Yun-Seong (age 18 and 176 cm), Tira (age 17 in Soul Calibur III & Soul Calibur IV, at 159 cm) and Hilde (age 18 and 160 cm in Soul Calibur IV) are either taller or of average height. Also, Siegfried remains a short man even into adulthood until Soul Calibur V. This may be played straight for Soul Calibur V because Siegfried has been made taller despite being 23 in Soul Calibur IV, going from 168 cm to 172 cm, so that he is not only marginally taller than teenagers Xiba and Natsu, who are 164 cm and 166 cm respectively.

    Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Compared to all the other high schoolers, Rachel Tice and Ashley Katchadourian are quite short (the former is even shorter than the latter).
  • RWBY plays with this. Going by the height chart, most of the teenage characters are at reasonable heights for their ages... It's just that the adults are extremely tall. Also worth noting that the show denotes the difference between younger teens and older teens through height. Oscar, who is 14, is at least a foot shorter than the average height for the 17-18 year old male characters. It applies to siblings as well: Ruby (15-16) is shorter than her older sister Yang (17-18), while Weiss (17-18) is much shorter than her older sister Winter (mid-late 20s).
  • In Subway Surfers: The Animated Series, all the teens are short for their age. Jake seems between 13 and 14 but he's not even up to his mother's shoulders.

  • PHD takes this trope even further. One graduate student acquires a posse of tiny undergraduates.
  • The Homestuck kids are 13, but are about half the height of their adult guardians. However their regular appearances are not supposed to be realistic, and the guardians' appearances are more an effect of how they kids perceive them than actual true appearance. When shown in "Hero Mode", they are significantly taller.
  • Eight Cicadas is a Machinomic that uses The Sims 3, so the shorter teenage characters are enforced by the game's mechanics.
  • The fifteen year old characters in Cross Heart are all somewhat short. This doesn't get much better after the three year timeskip, however Haru apparently hit a huge growth spurt between age eighteen and age twenty, despite most girls finishing puberty by age sixteen.
  • Subverted in Something*Positive, where the main kid character, Rory, actually starts growing very early. His petite stepmom is shocked when she comes home after several months and discovers the twelve-year-old is now taller than her.
    Rory: Haven't you heard of growth spurts?
    Vanessa: ...Only in legends.
  • Pointedly averted in Leif & Thorn. Teenage Hyacinth is a full head taller than her uncle.
  • A variation occurs in SWAP Ensemble. The heights are widely varied, but all the middle school students are under five feet tall, with the exceptions of the abnormally tall Turie and Troy.
  • In Kakikomi Magical Girls, 26-year old Shiori's high school senior of a sister Mikako is noticeably shorter than her.

    Web Original 
  • Inverted in Survival of the Fittest's fourth version; most male characters turned out to be around six feet, which is pretty tall for a teenager. The girls, however, seem to have fairly normal heights in comparison. This, of course, has been lampshade hung both in and out of character.
  • Lindsay Ellis was 27 years old, but could pretty easily play a Bratty Teenage Daughter in flashbacks because she's only about five feet high.
  • Brett Vanderbrook played a 16-year-old when he was 25 in The New Adventures of Captain S and he was the shortest of the male actors. Lampshaded in an outtake of the non-canonical Christmas episode:
    Lunk: You're too short, preppy!
    Chad: I just haven't hit my growth spurt yet.
    Lunk: And you never will.

    Western Animation 

By Creator:

  • Butch Hartman often does this in his shows.
  • Seth MacFarlane is a chronic offender in all his shows…
    • In Family Guy, Peter and Lois tower over their kids Meg and Chris, despite them being 16-17 and 14, respectively. Chris's lack of height can at least be justified that he hasn't finished growing yet, but Meg would realistically have stopped growing at this point yet is a couple inches shorter than Chris, and about a head shorter than her mother.
    • American Dad!: Both used and subverted. Steve and Haley are both towered over by their parents. Same goes for Steve's friends and Haley's boyfriend/husband Jeff. Other teens depicted in the show are typically depicted as having realistic proportions, so an argument could be made that Steve is just a late bloomer. Haley though is a college student. If the cover of volume 6 is anything to go by, Hayley is just barely 5 feet tall.

By Series:

  • When Adventure Time started, Finn was somewhat short for a twelve-year old. Since then he's aged more or less in real time, but even at 15 he's still a full head shorter than the physically eighteen Princess Bubblegum.
  • The girls in As Told by Ginger start off as 12-year-olds and age into high schoolers; however, they still don't even reach their mother's noses by the end.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Straddling the line between this and Not Drawn to Scale, even 15- and 16-year old boys in Avatar: The Last Airbender find themselves more than half a head shorter than almost all but the oldest and most bent over adults. This is most obvious in when Hakoda is onscreen. He's clearly shown to be about average when compared to the other Water Tribe men, and he's more than a head taller than his son (15 or above), daughter (14 or above), and Zuko (16 or above).
    • Most of the cast are a lot taller in the “Old Friends” poster and in their flashback appearances in Legend of Korra than they are in the original show. Aang grew to be quite tall but he was only thirteen when the original show ended so this makes for him. He and Zuko ended up about the same height but Zuko grew a lot too even though he was seventeen in the finale. Katara’s also taller despite being fifteen in the finale and having already hit puberty, meaning she shouldn’t have grown all that much. By the present in Korra , Zuko, Toph, and Katara have all shrunk because they’re in their eighties.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra averts it with its more realistic art style, as the teen cast all start at about 16-17 and are about adult height. Korra starts off somewhat shorter than the others, but by the end hits a growth spurt that puts her level with or slightly taller than Bolin.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head. They're shorter than most of the other Highland High School students (save for Daria) and all of the adult characters in the show.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Robin (Tim Drake) is supposed to be 13 years old (according to side material), but he is at least a foot and a half shorter than Batman. Even during the flashback in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Tim should be at least in his late teens by that point, but still looks the same as he did before. Though the middle-aged Tim Drake has grown to a normal adult height, so maybe he was a late bloomer.
  • Ben and Gwen play this trope in Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. Both are at least a head shorter than both of their parents despite being 15 and later 16. Which is more than a little odd given that we'd already seen what they'll look like as adults; neither is short and adult Ben is downright huge. Cooper also played this straight as well in Alien Force as a 14 year old, but in Ultimate Alien he subverts it stating he "got a growth spurt". Kevin and Max (as a teen) averted this trope as both are almost as tall or exactly as tall as most adults.
  • Tina of Bob's Burgers, despite being 13, is shown barely coming up to her mother's shoulders. All the teenagers at Wagstaff seem to suffer from this, despite height variations between them. Oddly enough, this is averted in Linda's flashback to her botched high school talent show gig, where she and her band are all portrayed at their current adult heights, while ranging from 14-18 years old, respectively.
  • Also the case in Code Lyoko. Most of the teens are between 13 and 14, yet they are all very much shorter than the adults. Even Yumi, who's reaching 15, is smaller than her parents (though she comes close to her father, who's probably of typical height for a Japanese male – her mother on the other hand is quite tall). Also of note is that the girls are often taller than the boys, or about the same size.
  • Downplayed on Daria: The title character, canonically 5'2, is shorter than practically every non-kid character, and most of the teenagers are shorter than the adults, but not by much. Mack, at least, is about on par with adults like Mr. DeMartino.
  • In The Deep, Fonatine is 15 years old and 149 cm (4’10”) tall. Her mother is 170 cm (5’7”) tall.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: The title character and his best friend Frida Suarez are both stated to be 13-year-olds, but their height makes them look more like they would be 9-year-olds.
  • Played For Drama in F is for Family after Kevin sleeps with Vic's girlfriend. She hadn't realized Kevin is only 14, having thought he was just a short adult, and has a massive freakout over having accidentally committed statutory rape.
  • Laney Penn and Kin Kujira on Grojband are both 13 years old, but they are quite small compared to their similarly-aged bandmates Corey and Kon.
  • Harold Berman on Hey Arnold! is 13 years old (due to having been Held Back in School) but is only slightly taller than Arnold, who's four years younger than him, and he is dwarfed by the fifth and sixth graders, who are also younger than him. In fact, the fifth and sixth graders have the opposite problem, as most of them look more like high-school students than late-elementary students.
  • Ashley from Jem is thirteen yet only reaches Jerrica's shoulders and doesn't look much older than the eight year old Ba Nee.
  • Despite being seniors and probably past puberty, neither Kim nor Ron in Kim Possible pass an adult's shoulders in terms of height.
  • In King of the Hill, 14-year old Bobby seems to be 3-and-a-half feet tall compared to his parents. All the kids are like this at first, but soon the others begin to grow to average height (note Joseph's growth spurt), leaving people to wonder if Bobby is a late bloomer. It turns out the animators didn't want to put him through puberty simply because they would have had to cast a man as his voice actor, and they had grown attached to his current actress Pamela Adlon. Not to mention the fact that many people look small in comparison to 6'2 Hank.
  • Lynn from The Loud House is 13, but is only slightly taller than her 11-year-old brother Lincoln and is a lot shorter than 14-year-old Luan. Most of the teenage characters are notably shorter than the adults. For example, Lori, the oldest and tallest of the Loud siblings, is half a head shorter than her parents.
  • Major Lazer: 18-year-old Penny is noticeably shorter than her father, President Whitewall, and Major Lazer. Playful Hacker Blkmrkt is even shorter than Penny. According to their character bios, Penny is 5’3” and Blkmrkt is 4’8”.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: According to Lauren Faust, Luna is still a teenager by alicorn standards. This explains why she's so much shorter than her sister Celestia. This, however, is dubiously canon as Luna is treated as an adult in-universe, and the extended universe has the sisters be teens at the same time.
  • The girls in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls are easily half a head shorter than the adult characters. It's not stated in which grade they are, but since they can drive, they would be between 16 and 18 years old.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Candace says explicitly that she's five-eight, which is taller than the average American woman. Despite this, she and her teenage peers are still shorter than every adult in the show (except the humorously short old people).
  • Despite being about 14, Penny and her friends are at least a foot or more shorter than most of the adults in The Proud Family.
  • Rugrats: A minor character, Alisa Carmichael (Susie's older sister) is 16, but shown to be a head shorter than her parents.
  • Despite being a spin-off of the trope picture, Sabrina: The Animated Series subverted this with Hilda and Zelda, who are portrayed as teenagers (they are still centuries old, they are under a curse for undisclosed reasons), appear to be the tallest characters in the cast. While Sabrina and her friends are still significantly shorter than the rest of the cast, they are portrayed as much younger than the original show. The show's own spin-off, however, Sabrina's Secret Life, goes back to playing this straight. Hilda and Zelda are back to being adults (presumably their sentence was lightened) and are still taller than Sabrina.
  • Scooby-Doo: Velma Dinkley is 4'9, 2 inches shorter even the aformentioned Usagi!
  • South Park:
    • Teen starlet Selena Gomez was portrayed as barely taller than Cartman and tiny compared with the adults when she 'appeared' on the show, apparently solely due to this trope (in real life Gomez is 5'6 which is actually noticeably taller than the average American adult woman).
    • Shelley Marsh is 13, but she's about as tall as the average South Park fifth grader.
  • Steven Universe: As of "Steven's Birthday", Steven is 14 years old and Connie is about 3 months away from being 13. However, they're both half the height of an average adult. It's justified with Steven as he hasn't physically aged since he was 8, but not with Connie. By Steven Universe: The Movie, sixteen-year-old Steven is significantly taller (according to his medical chart, he's 5'-6"), but still about a half-head shorter than his father. The older teenage characters, on the other hand, tend to be about as tall as the adults, with the exception of Sadie, who's barely taller than Steven, but is actually fully grown.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Jimmy Olsen, despite being at least 16, is easily shorter than most of the cast.
  • Teen Titans: A subverted trope (it's not really most teens in the show), especially for Robin (about 15 years) and Beast Boy (approximately 13 to 14 years). Lampshaded by Cyborg in "Divide and Conquer" when he refers to Robin as being "4 feet tall and smelling like cheap hair gel".
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) several of the teen characters we meet like Zach the boy who wants to be the fifth ninja turtle, his friend Kaitlyn, and Buffy Shellhammer are so short especially compared to the turtles who are stated to be 15, the three of them could be mistaken for elementary students.
  • The main characters of Tiny Toon Adventures are supposed to be teenagers. But as the title makes clear, they're tiny compared with the Looney Tunes characters that mentor them (except for Tweety, of course).
  • Mostly averted in Total Drama, where many of the teens are as tall as, if not taller than, the adult host Chris, which is lampshaded by Beth ("wow, you're much shorter in real life!"). The few adults mentioned on the show are usually the same height as the average height teens, with the exception of Chef Hatchet. Some contestants, such as Junior (who is 13),Cody, Beth, Dawn, and Cameron, do play the trope straight.
  • Zach and Ivy from Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? are both teenagers. Their ages are not specified but Zach seems to be in the younger bracket (13-15) while Ivy is older (16-19). Zach comes up to his sister's shoulders most of the time.
  • Most of the main characters in W.I.T.C.H. suffer from this, most notably Cornelia, who is the tallest of the 5 girls, but still a head shorter than her mother.

    Real Life 
  • In Real Life, this is only pronounced when the teens' nutrition is poorer than that of their elders - the average height of French children decreased by 3cm during World War II, for instance. Static nutrition-levels (as throughout the world before 1850 and in some places such as modern-day Japan) result in teens who are only slightly (if at all) shorter. Since about 1850 the average height of north-western European and north American teenagers has however generally been greater than that of their elders, a trend that the rest of the world has begun to follow since.
  • Can be Truth in Television easily enough; sometimes genetics can be tricky, and reasonably tall people can have short kids. Generally of course the shortness doesn't end at their teenage years and they remain short into adulthood (IE, why so many twenty-something actors are able to pull off Dawson Casting so well).
  • Meet Angus Palmes, the 13-year-old boy trapped in a toddler's body.
  • Up until the mid-1950s, especially during the child labor era, it was commonplace to still be prepubescent all the way into your teens, as puberty historically started much later than it does today - in the 19th century it was 15 for girls and 16 for boys. Even today, girls who live in developing countries start menstruating a lot later than ones in developed countries. In the US, a girl’s menarche (first menstrual period) is expected at about 12.5 years of age but in India, it’s closer to 13.75.


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