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The Runt at the End

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In any series of ostensibly similar individuals, the last one will always be smaller than (or otherwise different from) the rest, and will often cause more trouble than the others. Just to drive the point home, they may have an Odd Name Out.

When the Youngest Child Wins, the child is often The Runt at the End, and may also be The Fool. In less sensitive works, will also often be a Butt-Monkey. Be careful, because sometimes The Runt at the End turns out to be a Pint-Sized Powerhouse.

Compare Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking, and the Super-Trope, The Last of These Is Not Like the Others, for when it's not a group of people specifically. The One Guy is a Sub-Trope about a very easy difference to use.


    open/close all folders 

  • Lil Orphan Orange (a parody of Little Orphan Annie), one of the mascots of Otter Pops, is the physically smallest character, which used to be especially apparent when all the characters were printed on the sides of the popsicles.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The majority view in Hetalia: Axis Powers fandom is that Arthur (England) is this compared with his brothers. Latvia also probably counts.
  • Weird anime example: Team Sexy Madam (Lovely Madam in the English translation) from Magical Project S was a team of adult women (housewives and office ladies) press-ganged by the villain, Ramia, to defeat Pretty Sammy with Sexy Power. Except for the sixth and final member, who was very small — and was later shown to be a popular junior high school girl.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • For human characters, Misty, whose sisters use this trope to tease her endlessly, to her annoyance.
    • The episode Riding The Winds of Change!, a Gliscor and its group of Gligar followers had one of these. Ash ended up catching it. Paul, meanwhile, caught the leader.
    • A flock of Pikipek includes a lazy and easily-exhausted Rowlet that always falls behind; this little owl is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed either. Ash would wind up catching the Rowlet later in the same episode.
  • Hellsing: Technically speaking, The Major. Of all the members of Millenium (most of whom are statuesque vampires, except for the Captain, who is a werewolf and the most statuesque of all), he stands out for being short and fat, wearing thick spectacles, not wearing a military uniform, and displaying no superhuman abilities. This is in stark contrast to his status as Millenium's beloved leader, who is extremely charismatic, and quite a skilled strategist. He's also a cyborg. Well, was a cyborg. He's kinda just a robot now...
  • Samurai 7, as seen below in the Seven Samurai example below, has Katsushiro, the Wide-Eyed Idealist and physically smallest character.
  • Black Butler has a list of six companies' curry-cooking contest competitors: Chef Turpin, Chef Rush, Chef Rickman, Chef Ripley, Chef Agni, and Butler Sebastian.
    The MC: [who is reading these names aloud] Wha... A butler...?"

    Comic Books 
  • In Fables, Bigby used to be the runt of his litter, and his name was even given by his brothers as mocking of his tiny size. They abandoned him, but Bigby got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, until he became The Big Bad Wolf of legend. His own youngest child, Ghost, is also different from the rest of his siblings since he's a zephyr, an invisible air elemental. However, the prophecy concerning the children strongly implies that his fate will ultimately be much better than that of his siblings.
  • Joe Dalton in Lucky Luke. He tries his best to act the leader, but even when that works, he just ends up the Runt At The Front instead.
  • The Cartoon History of the Universe: Featured in a crowd shot of the Mongols marching off to war.
    Runt at the end: I say, chaps, wait for me!
    Observer: Truly, in every great horde, someone always goes last.
  • In The Umbrella Academy, while all seven of the Hargreeves siblings are the same age, Vanya is The Unfavorite of their abusive father, Reginald, and is even called Number Seven to drive this home. She's also the only one who doesn't have supernatural abilities. Except not — she's actually the most powerful.
  • The introduction of Yara Flor means Cassie Sandsmark technically isn't the last Wonder Girl anymore, but she otherwise fit. While every other Wonder Girl is a , composed, Statuesque Stunner brunette whose wardrobes follow distinct themes, Cassie is a below average height, nerdy blonde who tends wear whatever she can pull out of her closet the quickest. Most likely Sandsmark will be wearing something red, but even that can't be counted on.

    Comic Strips 
  • The one where Garfield met three rats named Rip, Juanita, and Bob:
    Garfield: How'd you rats get your names?
    Rip: They call me Rip because I'm fast.
    Juanita: Juanita was my grandmother's name.
    Garfield: How about you, Bob?
    Bob: That's the sound my head makes when I run into a wall.
Bob is also the Butt-Monkey of the three siblings, and gets hit on the head by Juanita after he mistakenly introduces her to Garfield as his "brother".
  • Orson in U.S. Acres is considered the runt of the litter.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): On top of his Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) points (see below), San, the left head of Ghidorah, is by far the most redeemable of the trio. He isn't as interested in being an Omnicidal Maniac as his brother heads are (which is mainly what they want), he's curious about everything around him instead of seeing humans as nothing more than prey, insects and enemies for him to torment, and he genuinely values Vivienne Graham first as a doll and then later as a sister. The latter trait enables Vivienne to guide San through a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has Miho in this role during season zero, as everyone keeps ignoring that she exists (despite her having a loud, obviously male voice). When Tristan, Tea, and her are working at a burger joint, she can't keep up with their welcome speech.
    Tristan and Tea: Welcome to Burger World! Try our new Unhappy Meals, they come with a free stomach pump!
    Miho: [at the same time] Welcome to... the burgers. Try the new... you get a free stomach!

    Films — Animation 
  • Snot Rod from Cars appears to lag behind the other Delinquent Road Hazards, the only time he ever catches up is whenever he sneezes. Snot Rod is the only Road Hazard not to be based on a Japanese tuner car (he is based on an American drag racer instead), the only Road Hazard to be colored with warm colors (he is colored orange, while everyone else is colored purple, green, or blue), and according to his toy bio, he is the youngest member of his quartet. Also in Cars, Mater is literally known as a runt and he's the only child that Lizzie and Stanley ever had. He's small for his size to be a tow truck because tow trucks are actually normally bigger than him. He can sometimes get in a lot of trouble and others think of him as a fool. He was probably born very little too. He also seems younger than the rest of the Radiator Springs town residents.
  • This is almost a signature trope for the works of Walt Disney:
    • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
      • Dopey is perhaps the best-known Disney example, being smallest and, well, dopey, and also the only one without a beard. Although it's Doc with the Odd Name Out that's always recited last.
      • Snow White also has a turtle who keeps lagging behind the other animals. By the time it catches up, the others are already on their way out.
    • Dumbo has the titular big-eared baby elephant bring up the end of the parade of marching circus elephants until he trips on his ears and lands in a puddle.
    • Peter Pan:
      • The small pirate in the green coat and the red hair is one, which is troublesome when they perform a dance and hit their bodies as he can't keep up.
      • When the Lost Boys go out on a trek, Michael always seems to be the one bringing up the rear.
    • Fantasia has several:
      • In the Chinese Dance part of the "Nutcracker Suite", performed by dancing mushrooms. The tiniest one (called "Hop Low" by the animators) has trouble keeping in step with the rest.
      • The little black Pegasus foal in the "Pastoral Symphony" section, who likewise can't keep up and generally screws up ... until all the others are frolicking in a rainbow when the black one comes fluttering down for a perfect landing, the soul of decorum.
    • The King of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, who is very small and meek compared to the large Queen.
      White Rabbit: Introducing her royal majesty, the Queen of Hearts!
      [entire crowd cheers; King tugs on the rabbit's coat]
      White Rabbit: [unenthusiastic] And the king.
      Small Voice: Hooray!
    • Hathi Jr. from The Jungle Book, who brings up the end of the column of marching elephants.
    • Played for Drama in The Lion King. Simba is searching the gorge where his father fell, and he hears the scuffle from one straggling wildebeest trying to catch up to the herd... and following the straggler draws his attention to his father's corpse.
    • Thalia, the short, plump muse in Disney's Hercules.
    • In The Emperor's New Groove Kuzco was chased through the forest by a pack of jaguars, all of them big and scary, and the last one a cute little cub.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Airplane! has a funny one near the end with a long line of emergency vehicles driving onto the runway at the airport in Chicago to deal with the about-to-crash flight from Los Angeles. The vehicles get increasingly puny and ridiculous, ending up with the likes of a beer truck and a weiner-mobile.
  • Animal House: Before the Delta Tau Chi members launch their mission of sabotage against Faber College's homecoming parade, there is a "tick-tock" montage (with eerie music by Elmer Bernstein) of several of the guys checking their watches to see if it's time to go. Everyone is wearing an expensive watch that marks the time as precisely eleven o'clock—except for Bluto, whose watch is really cheap-looking and broken, and is showing a blatantly wrong time to boot—because he's wearing it upside down.
  • Subverted in a memorable action sequence in Tim Burton's Batman Returns. Batman is on the street at night beating up a gang of criminals dressed as circus clowns, all of whom are either karate experts or are armed to the teeth. Suddenly he finds himself surrounded by, from left to right 1) a clown wielding a rocket launcher, 2) a clown swinging some nunchucks, 3) a clown brandishing two Japanese swords, and 4) an ordinary-looking woman (ordinary by the gang's standards, anyway) with curly blonde hair, a pink dress, no weapons, and a cute (but growling) poodle at her feet. Batman electronically programs a throwing disc to hit all four criminals, and when he throws it, it knocks out the three clowns fairly quickly—but never hits the woman because her dog jumps up impossibly high and catches it in its jaws! The dog runs off, and not only does Batman never get his weapon back, but it's used against him later in the movie. (There's also a second subversion in that the woman is the third-ranked member of the entire gang, and by the movie's climax is serving as The Dragon after Batman nabs the number-two man.)
  • Explicitly invoked as homage by Steven Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with the little red light that trails behind the larger, more physical-looking UFOs — and causes more trouble and fuss.
  • Electra Glide in Blue where the lead character, a motorcycle cop, is almost a foot shorter than his fellow officers. It's underlined in the opening sequence.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Each of Ghidorah's heads have a distinct personality of their own, and the heads' names are Ichi, Ni and San, meaning One, Two and Three in Japanese. The head named "Three" has the quirkiest and most distinguishing personality, exhibiting curiosity, a slow attention span, and panic at facing Godzilla, and it gets picked on and treated as a runt by the middle head in particular.
  • The entire reason the Home Alone movies exist is because the main characters are this, to the point that they are accidentally left behind on family trips.
  • Every time the stampeding animals go by in Jumanji, a very fat rhino slowly trots after them as it huffs and puffs for air.
  • Shows up in The Magnificent Seven with Chico, the inexperienced young gun tagging along behind the other more experienced gunslingers on the ride to the Mexican village.
  • This trope makes an appearance in the original 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street: At the climactic moment of the film, a parade of burly bailiffs stream into the courtroom each toting two large bags of mail; the parade ends with a smaller bailiff carrying a single bag.
  • The Monkeybirds in MirrorMask are all named Bob, except for Malcolm, who is also the only one with a blue beak. Al the Bobs seem to pick on him for these reasons.
  • The director's cut of Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult, which was the version shown on American television, had an extra gag when Frank Drebin was arriving at the state prison (going undercover as an inmate to infiltrate a gang of terrorists). Frank is led past cells containing increasingly intimidating criminals: a guy so tough he lights matches by scraping them across his face, a guy so tough he lights firewood by scraping it across his face, an African lion, and… a mime, who is not in a cell and who thinks he's in an "invisible cage." (In the theatrical version, only the first two guys were shown.)
  • Shows up as well in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (also by Tim Burton) in the scene at the shopping center, when Pee-wee, tormented by the theft of his bicycle, begins to imagine seeing bikes everywhere. Bikes of all kinds are pedaled past him, and they start getting increasingly smaller until a remote-controlled toy bike "driven" by an action figure zips past.
  • Say Anything... sees Lloyd Dobler consult a group of guys about how to deal with a breakup; they give him uselessly lunkheaded, wannabe-macho advice, including the last of them, a kid who looks like he's in middle school who counsels him that all girls are bitches.
  • Seven Chances: A major action sequences has Buster Keaton running down a hill, desperately dodging an avalanche of enormous boulders. After all the boulders pass, Buster stops to catch his breath, and one last cantaloupe-sized rock knocks him off his feet.
  • This follows from Seven Samurai, with Katsuhiro tagging along with the much older samurai. Of course, Kikuchiyo is the real odd one out of that group.
  • In The Sound of Music, one of the children asks Uncle Max if they're really going to sing in a concert tonight. He says they are and reads their names from the program. Since they're listed in order from oldest to youngest, Gretl is at the end of the list, which leads to this exchange:
    Gretl: Why am I always last?
    Max: Because you are the most important!
    Gretl: [face lighting up] Oh!
  • In a brilliantly timed and executed visual gag in The Three Stooges' short "Calling All Curs," the boys are forced to beat a hasty retreat when the dinner bell sounds at their dog hospital and a massive clusterfuck of pooches stampedes down the hall... followed after a brief delay by one lone scrawny little pipsqueak of a mutt.
  • The nine kids who attend the big gang meeting in The Warriors include their "tagger", Rembrandt, who is the smallest of them all and the most naive (and also the only Latino in the gang, although this is never mentioned). The video game based on the film reveals that he was the last to join (only a couple of months before the big meeting) and brings out the Big Brother Instinct in the other members. He does succeed in punching out a Mook when the gang gets cornered in a subway restroom (after blinding the guy by spraying him in the face with his paint can).

  • In the crossover between Engine Sentai Go-onger and Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, part of the big showdown involves the Reds of both teams being chased by Mooks. The Uguts transform into motorcycles for the Nanashi to ride, but one Uguts fails to transform, and he instead has to piggyback a Nanashi around, trying (and failing) to catch up with the rest.

  • In A Brother's Price, this is discussed as something that happens to youngest siblings, and mentioned as the reason why it is preferable to time pregnancies carefully, with at least a year in between, to avoid it.
  • In Finland, the last person of a line who is smaller than the others is referred to as "the tip of the tail" after a scene in the country's national novel Seven Brothers, where the titular siblings are mocked in a song which ends by calling the youngest brother Eero, who's always lagging behind, the tip of their tail.
    • Eero is also the smartest of the lot, though his quick tongue often puts him at odds with his brothers.
  • From Discworld, the City Watch has Nobby Nobbs, who is shorter than most dwarves, unsavory, and ugly enough that he has a signed statement from Lord Vetinari confirming that he's human.
    • And Vetinari himself once asked if they were forged!
  • In Charlotte's Web, Wilbur (the pig) is literally this trope. He is saved by Fern, who begs her father not to kill him because he is smaller than the other pigs.
  • The title character in Madeline.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's A Daughter Of The Lands, the mother singles out Kate to not go to school because she's the youngest.
    "The difference is that I am past sixty now. I was stout as an ox when Mary wanted to go to school. It is your duty and your job to stay here and do this work."
    "To pay for having been born last? Not a bit more than if I had been born first. Any girl in the family owes you as much for life as I do; it is up to the others to pay back in service, after they are of age, if it is to me. I have done my share."
  • In The Hobbit, Bombur, the last of Thorin's dwarves, is an overweight, incompetent comic relief character who appears whenever someone has to trip and blunder. And then it happens in a cursed river that makes him fall in a slumber and the rest have to actually carry the quite girthy, all things considered, runt for hours.
  • Stephen King's It has Stanley Uris, the token Jewish kid and Lovable Coward of the "Losers' Club." He's far from being the smallest of the boys (and he's bigger than the girl of the group, of course), but when the kids go down into the sewers to hunt a monster that has been killing and eating children, Stanley is the most visibly nervous of the bunch and is so scared that he trails behind the others when they make their way into the heart of the sewer system. His dawdling eventually gets him captured by the town bully (whose gang has been stalking the Losers' Club) and nearly cut with a switchblade knife before the bully and his gang are frightened off by the monster. Later, the monster attacks the Losers' Club and grabs Stan first because he is the most fearful and "You all taste so much better when you're afraid!" Then it is time for Eddie Kaspbrak, the literal runt of the group, to step up and spray the monster in the face with battery acid from his asthma tube.
    • Sadly, Stanley is the only one who can't handle going back to face It again as an adult, and kills himself.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Rickon Stark is the youngest of the Stark children and receives less focus than the rest.
    • Among the Lannisters is Tyrion Lannister, who is a dwarf, and is often looked down upon by everyone, despite being the smartest of Tywin's children.
    • Among the Baratheons, Renly is both the youngest, skinniest (though only in comparison) and the least martially able; having for brothers two men regarded as being in the running for being the best warrior (Robert, in his prime) and the best commander (Stannis) in Westeros. The fact that Renly actively prefers courtly life and politicking is a constant source of scorn and dislike from the elder brothers Baratheon.
  • October In The Chair: The main character of October's story, a little boy, is mostly only called the Runt because that's the nickname he got from his brothers and everyone else seems to like his brothers so much they run with it. His real name is Donald.
  • Animal Inn: Book 6 features Tiny the piglet, who's literally the runt of his litter (the smallest of ten), and whom Val is given as a present since his former owner feels Val would take better care of him and out of gratitude for Doc saving the entire litter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Corporal Jones in Dad's Army is smaller, stands at the end when the troops fall in, and always comes to attention half a second behind everyone else.
  • When Val Kilmer hosted Saturday Night Live, he reprised his Jim Morrison character from The Doors in a skit about the dead Morrison forming a rock band in Heaven. He picks several deceased rock musicians... and then his final pick is jazz great Louis Armstrong, whose musical style doesn't mesh with that of the others at all, so they just have him play a trumpet solo at the end of every song.
  • In the sausage episode of Good Eats, Alton makes Italian sausage. After filling up a long tube of edible collagen, he pinches and twists the collagen to make the links. The very last link is a bit smaller than the others, but it's usually the one that gets cooked and eaten first.
  • In both The Borgias and Borgia, Joffre/Goffredo Borgia in much younger, much less deadly, and a much more minor character, than his three elder siblings.
  • Peaky Blinders: Finn Shelby is probably a decade younger than his siblings, all of whom are grown adults.
  • A Lower-Deck Episode of Hawaii Five-0 ends with the crew standing in a line: Jerry's sister (a tall, curvy Latina), Jerry (a 6' Gentle Giant), Kamekona (an even bigger Big Fun), Flippa (Kamekona's cousin with a Strong Family Resemblance), Eric (Danny's average-height nephew), and little Max at the end (who is also a grown man, but only 5'6" at most).
  • The Umbrella Academy: As in the comics example above, Number Seven (this time a trans man named Viktor, played by 5'1'' Elliot Page) is the physically smallest and weakest of the adopted Hargreeves kids, as he has no powers. Emphasized by being the last one numerically (Seven). And subverted when it turns out he has the strongest powers of them all.
  • Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory is this. Much is made of the fact that he's the only one of the guys (and the only one of the group besides Penny) who doesn't have a Ph.D. Played straight in "The Griffin Equivalency" and is the shortest of the guys in the group.
  • Played with in How I Met Your Mother, where the Runt is MARSHALL. Yes, the 6'4" lawyer that towers over the whole group is the Runt. Every man in his family is EVEN BIGGER.
  • Babylon 5: The eponymous space station is the Runt. The previous four stations were of a larger and more elaborate design, but after Babylon Four mysteriously disappeared, there wasn't enough money to build a replacement on the same scale. So B5 ended up as a slimmed-down version of the concept.

  • The little ant who's always stopping to do things in the song "The Ants Go Marching One by One".
  • 10 in a bed and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over." Until everybody but the little one fell out.
  • And this little piggy went "wee wee wee wee" alllll the way home. Why? Who knows?

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, King David was significantly smaller and less important-looking than his brothers.

  • There is a RiffTrax gag in the Transformers movie poking fun at a short man hanging in the back of the group at an army meeting.
    Kevin: Hehe. Hey, look at that little eager guy in the back there.
    Bill: [in a high, nasally voice] I want to help too, sir!

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Little Guido Maritato of ECW Full Blooded Italians. He ranged from lazy little man who let the larger men handle all the hard work to violent little man with a Hair-Trigger Temper who jumped at any chance to fight he got. Ironically, he slid further towards the latter when the larger the number of larger men were around him.
  • Then there's Maria Kanellis, who, before she Took a Level in Badass, was depicted as not quite up to par with the other WWE Divas.
  • This role was filled by Hornswoggle, a dwarf in King Bookah's Court. His Badass Decay started when he became the last of several cruiserweights to enter an open match for Chavo Guerrero Jr.'s title at the 2007 Great American Bash. To the surprise of everyone, he won the title after pinning Jamie Noble (who served as the Butt-Monkey of WWE for several months afterward because of this). But instead of giving him a chance to rise to the occasion as the years have gone by, WWE instead retired the cruiserweight division.
  • Moose, a woman much shorter than them whom The Beautiful People had hired for the purpose of dealing with ODB and Roxxi Laveaux.
  • In the summer of 2010, when The Nexus were still a major threat, Heath Slater was the puniest of the faction and was mocked by John Cena for having long red hair similar to that of the Wendy's hamburger chain mascot.
  • Ivelisse Vélez in the original incarnation of Valkyrie, her being the loudest, most openly hostile besides on-off affiliate Sweet Saraya, the shortest and definitely the most ambitious.
  • Jimmy Jacobs became so in Ring of Honor's S.C.U.M. after his year-long redemption quest was thwarted by Kevin Steen. He and Steve Corino ended up ousting Steen from the group and installing Matt Hardy as the new leader.
  • Solo Darling in Daffney's All Star Squad, where her teammates double as her figurative babysitters.
  • Among Moose's various ROH managers, R.D. Evans, Prince Nana and Stokely Hathaway, Veda Scott was the runt of the group who turned about to be the one who cared the least about helping him and turned on him in favor of Cedric Alexander once Moose's winning streak had come to an end.

  • Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, a group of male ballerinas (yes, you read that right) demonstrate the trope nicely in this pas de quatre from Swan Lake.
  • In Of Thee I Sing, when the Presidential baby is about to be born, the White House receives baby carriages from many world countries (France, of course, is not one of them). These are presented in a long line, and the last is a wee one from Scotland.
  • In the West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket — the last kid to find a Golden Ticket — comes off as this compared to the other four, who are all far better-off and often more glamorous than he is. Nobody thinks this kid will be the one to win the secret super-prize of the tour and he and Grandpa Joe are always bringing up the rear. Of course, another way he differs from the others is being the one kid who doesn't cause trouble during the tour of the factory...
  • In Sera Myu: Petite Étrangère, when Rubeus is introducing the evil Droid copies of the senshi, he says that the Droid copy of Sailor Moon was a failure. Coming onto stage last, it's shorter than any of the other senshi or Droids, flails about erratically when it moves, and behaves generally immature when facing off against Sailor Moon.
  • During "Keep it Gay" in The Producers, Roger deBris introduces his production team, all of whom are flamboyant Camp Gay archetypes with the exception of the last: lighting designer Shirley Markowitz, a squat, flannel-wearing Butch Lesbian with a deep voice.

    Video Games 
  • While they're all the same size, the cut scenes in Wario Land II commonly featured one Spear Goom who would run into the others, causing them to flip around and glare at him before continuing on.
  • Similarly, whenever a mob of Shy Guys runs around in Paper Mario 64, there is always a straggler who manages to trip before catching up.
    • Same with X-Nauts in the sequel.
    • The last sheep during the Sleepy Sheep's attack animation. Lampshaded in Super Paper Mario where one of the Sammer Guys is named the "Last Sheep".
  • The opening sequence of Super Mario Bros. 3 also does this — a group of 3 Koopas go past, and then one lone Koopa Troopa follows at twice the speed, trying to catch up to the rest.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story:
    • Bowser's ultimate attack, the Broggy Bonker, when executed perfectly, results in a gang of Blitties running by to help Broggy mob the enemy. There is of course a brief pause between the time the penultimate Blitty runs offscreen and the time the last one appears.
    • During the Fawful Theater sequence, there is one female Goomba who always is late to her lines.
      Male Usher Goomba: Please find a seeeeeeat!
      Female Usher Goomba: Eeeeeat!
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, a group of cowardly castle guards run away from having to help someone across a certain very dangerous field (so Link has to do it) and the pint-sized, plump one at the end is the last to run away. Hilarity and annoyance ensue.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • There's a group of ogres that patrol across the Badlands. They walk in a line and the last one is about one-third the size of the others.
    • And then, there's Mazzranache, the evil pink tallstrider of Mulgore. As of Cataclysm, she's followed by a new clutch of babies. The last in line is not only a runt but skitters around erratically.
    • Beauty, the core hound boss in Blackwing with her litter of pups Lucky, Spot, Buster.. and Runty. Runty stays in the back during the fight and hides and is a nonissue through the fight, yet he is still targetable and even killable. If you do, though, prepare for a world of pain from his mother who gains a 200% damage buff when the little guy is killed. And to drive home how much of a runt he is, he has a buff that doesn't do anything, but simply has the description "He's trying his best..." It's heartbreaking.
  • Live A Live:
    • Although all members of the bad guy caveman tribe in the caveman section are Palette Swaps, there's the one guy who keeps getting left behind, assigned the difficult tasks, and falling into pits while the others move on.
    • Also happens in the opening segment of the same chapter, where the hero is chased by a stampede of mammoths, followed by one tiny one.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, the mini-game Mog House (the least likely candidate for being Side Tracked By The Gold Saucer) has as its ending a long line of little baby Mogs ("Moogles" in every other FF) ending in a tiny little one who trips.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Scout, stated as the youngest of nine boys in his backstory, is even called "the runt of the litter" in his official wiki biography. Gameplay-wise, though, he's the fastest of the team (though he has the least HP).
  • In the original American Pac-Man, the fourth ghost ("Clyde") is the only one whose name doesn't rhyme and is the ghost who's least aggressive and most likely to do something stupid in-game.
  • MechQuest has cowboy-themed mechs available, one of which has a horse stampede as an available attack. Every so often, once the horse silhouettes have gone past, a little one will patter across the screen.
  • In Star Wars: Dark Forces (one of the first first-person shooters, coming right after Doom), you play as Rebel agent Kyle Katarn, who, after helping to destroy the first Death Star (from the original movie) in a prelude mission, embarks on a quest to foil Darth Vader's subordinate General Mohc (pronounced "mock"), who has designed and built an army of "Dark Troopers" - robot stormtroopers coated in a rare bulletproof metal that are so physically powerful they can wield rocket launchers the size of tree trunks and reduce entire Rebel bases to smoking ruins. After fighting your way through a dozen missions during which the enemies you face get more and more dangerous, you finally sneak aboard Mohc's ship, the Arc Hammer, where all the Dark Troopers are being constructed. Then, after slaying a mini-army of the robots, you confront the head Dark Trooper - General Mohc himself, unrecognizable behind a wall of impenetrable armor. Once you have killed Mohc (using one of his own weapons), you make your getaway to a cargo ship linking up with the Arc Hammer, hurrying to the cargo bay only to confront... a single brown-shirted Imperial officer, whom you can easily destroy with a couple of pistol shots or even a single punch to the jaw, pathetically trying to stop you from escaping. (In the game manual, the programmers even admitted that they only put this little guy at the end just as a contrast to show how immense the arriving cargo ship is.)
  • In Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe, one of Alice Margatroid's spell cards called 'Dolls "Lemmings' Parade"' has her summoning a swarm of dolls what rush onwards, with the last doll she summons will just casually stroll forwards.
  • In KanColle, the concept "sister ships" are usually translated as "one uniform, one body type per-class", so the differences between "youngest" ship to their "older" sisters can be very jarring. Haguro and Sakawa looked like teenage girls while their older sisters from Myoukou and Agano class respectively are adults (exceptionally so with the Myoukou class) while Kirishima in contrast looks gigantic from her older sisters in her Kai Ni beside being the only one with glasses. But there's no one more glaring than Samidare. Samidare (the sixth) is the last of Shiratsuyu class's Circle One and the only one with different uniform (and character designer), making her look like the name ship of a different class altogether when seeing her younger sister Suzukaze (the tenth) from Circle Two. And as far as the game concerned, she is; when calling others from Circle One her "friends" contrast with Harusame (the fifth), who calls them Big Sisters.
  • Touken Ranbu has the oodachi: Ishikirimaru, Taroutachi, Jiroutachi, and...Hotarumaru. There's no reason given anywhere for why Hotarumaru's human form is a young boy (like the tantou shortswords) instead of an adult (like the rest of the oodachi and other large swords), especially since Hotarumaru is older than both Taroutachi and Jiroutachi and the actual sword being longer than Ishikirimaru. As a bonus, Hotarumaru is the only four-petal oodachi, meaning that it's very likely that he'll be the last oodachi a player acquires.
  • In Undertale, there is Temmie Village. Citizens are Temmie, Temmie, Temmie, Temmie, Temmie, Temmie, and Bob. While Temmie usually talks in weird internet speech, Bob is able to speak proper English and seems a lot less excited than the others.
  • Happens to Kirby in both Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land and Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. In the former with Kirby being the runt of a lot of Kirbys (120 to be exact), and the latter with Kirby being the last one in a parade of different mooks.

    Web Animation 
  • In Yogscast's animated music video for "Diggy Diggy Hole", when the dwarves are attacked by goblins, we can see three of normal size, a big one... and comically stunted one at the end.

  • Among the dev'esses of the Sarghress clan in Drowtales, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that Sang and her son Kor'maril Niz'zre are this trope given that the other characters (including the token human) tower over them, but Kor'maril is one of the highest-ranking Sarghress and a certified badass in his own right, while Sang is described by the author as "small and mean" and an old friend of Quain'tana. Long story short, in the drow world, this trope tends to be a Pint-Sized Powerhouse if they have managed to survive that long.

    Web Videos 
  • In the opening credits to the Beasts of War 2014 Gaming Awards, the hosts are all introduced in waist-up shots, while Sam barely gets his shoulders in frame.
  • Pokémon Legends Neo: Ghetsis: The last legendary titan Lockstin talks about is Reginger, a golem made out of candy and gingerbread. Lockstin specifically notes that Reginger is the smallest of the legendary titans and one of the last ones Regigigas made.
  • "Silent Monks Singing Halleluia". Watch the small monk second from the right (okay, almost at the end) whenever his group lifts their signs up high.

    Western Animation 
  • The last bird to take his seat in the Adventures In Music cartoons, "Melody" and "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom". The character is also a Vocal Dissonance, as he's a bass, and the rest of the characters are sopranos and tenors.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh had an episode about questing for the Land of Milk and Honey, featuring a herd of heffalumps thundering past, followed by a very small heffalump chanting "The land of milk and honey! The land of milk and honey!"
  • Benny in Top Cat.
  • Exaggerated in the Disney animated short, Goliath II; the titular baby elephant who brings up the end of the column of marching elephants is the size of a mouse.
  • Goofy: In the short "Double Dribble" Merrithew, one of the players on Polytechnical University's basketball team, is comically short compared to the other players. He gets his chance to prove himself when all the other players on P.U.'s team get injured and ends up scoring the winning basket.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • "A Corny Concerto" fused this with an inversion of "The Ugly Duckling": a black duckling (a kid version of Daffy Duck actually) attached itself to a family of swans, adding a discordant visual and auditory note to their graceful progress.
    • In the Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoon "Ready, Set, Zoom!", when the Coyote dons an Acme Female Roadrunner Costume and is chased not by the Roadrunner but by many other hungry coyotes, the last coyote is noticeably smaller than the others.
    • In "Another Froggy Evening", when the frog's latest victim is thrown to the lions and tigers, the last feline in the pack is a cameo of tuxedo kitten Pussyfoot from the Marc Anthony shorts.
    • In the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon Little Red Riding Rabbit, The Big Bad Wolf discovers several other wolves in Grandma's bed and hustles them out. He starts to climb into the bed, only to have a smaller wolf (who was under the pillow!) scamper out after the others. The gag was repeated in the Sylvester cartoon "Little Red Rodent Hood", with cats instead of wolves.
    Sylvester: Everybody wants to get into the act!
    • In Hare We Go, Bugs is aboard the Santa Maria in 1492. As weeks drag by with no land in sight, the crew turn on Bugs - he quickly tacks a framed painting of an island on the ship's rail and cries out "Land!". All the crew jump through the frame and overboard...then a little crew guy runs up, and Bugs has to help him over the rail.
    • At the end of Scaredy Cat, Sylvester goes back to the house with a tree to save Porky, and sends all the mice packing. The last mouse who runs away is notably smaller than the rest.
    • Episodes featuring Taz the Tasmanian Devil often have a swarm of animals running for their lives from Taz, usually with a turtle, who predictably isn't a very fast runner, bringing up the rear end (often to warn Bugs that Taz is coming). This gag is repeated in Taz's own show, Taz-Mania.
  • Even Scooby-Doo has the gang of teenagers (and the dog)... plus Scrappy Doo, who always wanted to fight the ghosts.
  • The animated adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth did this with King Azaz's senior advisers.
  • A particularly early episode of The Fairly Oddparents had Timmy wishing for "a ton" of clones of himself in order to deal with all the chores imposed on him by Vicky. Cosmo and Wanda do the math and figure out that it adds up to exactly "forty-four and a half Timmies". After Timmy gives the orders to his clones, they all march out of the room grunting like soldiers. Right after the 44th Timmy? A half-sized clone with a high-pitched voice.
  • MGM and Warner Bros. both use this trope in a number of animated shorts with animals ranging from hounds to crocodiles. The runt usually says "I've been sick."
  • Of course, The Simpsons does this a great deal:
    • One episode centers around the nuclear plant's workers' union. Every time they hold a vote, everyone votes Aye, except for one nebbish little voice that chimes in with "Nay". Eventually Homer asks "Who keeps saying that?" Cut to a beefy blond guy and The Runt at the End. The runt points at the beefy guy and says (in that same voice) "It was him! Let's get him, fellas!" As the other workers pound the guy into pudding, the runt chuckles.
    • From the same show, when a mob war between Fat Tony's mob and the Yakuza erupts on their front lawn, Homer, in a moment of Genre Savvyness, recognizes the little Yakuza member as a Pint-Sized Powerhouse.
      Marge: Maybe we should go inside.
      Homer: But Marge, that little guy hasn't done anything yet. Look at him! He's gonna do something and you know it's gonna be good.
      [door closes behind Homer]
      Little Japanese Mobster: Hiiiiya!
      Homer: Aww.
    • Another episode had Mr Burns releasing the hounds, where the usual procession of vicious guard dogs is followed by the elderly and obese "Crippler", who has apparently been around since the Sixties.
    • In the episode in which the Springfield Elementary school bus crashes into the ocean and drifts off to a desert island, Bart has to swim down to the submerged bus to retrieve emergency supplies for himself and the rest of the kids. He sees various huge, scary sea creatures as he swims past, and finally has to confront a gigantic puffer fish...which then exhales, deflating down into a tiny minnow. Bart laughs and turns to leave — and then the little fish bites his butt, ripping off a portion of his swim trunks (so you could say the fish "ate his shorts").
  • The Russian animated version of Treasure Island had the runty pirate at the end who kept having to catch up to the rest.
  • The creeping foot fungus in Courage the Cowardly Dog has the Big Toe (mob boss), 3 bland henchmen, and one more inept henchman as the pinky-toe.
  • Tom had a similar experience in Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Brothers Carry Mouse Off". Tom dressed himself as a female mouse to catch Jerry and ended up chased by other tom-cats, the last one of them quite small but hoping to catch him as much as the rest.
  • Happens twice on Phineas and Ferb when Doofenshmirtz decides to clone himself and in another episode when he clones Perry. The botched version of himself doesn't seem to understand the situation and believes Perry to be a bunny. When one of the Perry clones come out awkwardly Doofenshmirtz feels very affectionate towards the poor creature, trying to teach it to use words instead of hitting people (even though the rest of the clones are an army).
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In "Falling to Pizzas" (part of "Career Oppor-Toon-ities"), after Calamity Coyote tries unsuccessfully to steal pizza from Little Beeper, who works as a delivery bird for Bombino's, Bombino's offers free pizza slices to the next ten customers. Calamity tries to get one, but is trampled by Plucky, Hamton, Shirley, Fifi, Furrball, Dizzy, Montana, Elmyra and Gogo. When it looks like Calamity still has a chance, Sweetie runs over him as well. To add insult to injury, the above mentioned trample him again while running the other way after having received a free slice.
    • "High Toon" had the Coyote Gang, which comprised of Wile E., a couple of Dumb Muscle coyotes, and a tiny coyote who looked like a Palette Swap of Calamity.
  • In an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, an Adventurer Archaeologist named Daring Do is running through the jungle, pursued by several predators. Including a tiger, a panther, a cheetah, a lynx... and an adorable little house cat. May also be a Shout-Out to the above "Another Froggy Evening" example.
    • This is mirrored later in the episode when Rainbow Dash tries to break into the hospital to finish reading the book. Dash runs afoul of two battleaxe nurses, an angry doctor...and an adorable little trainee filly.
  • One "U.S. Acres" cartoon on Garfield and Friends had Roy Rooster win a game show reminiscent of Let's Make a Deal. The host keeps encouraging him to continue trading up for ever more impossibly fabulous prizes, up to and including eternal life. Roy then decides to trade up one more time and finds that he has won...a dirty sock.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • "Almost Got 'Im" features several members of Batman's Rogues Gallery playing a card game at a nightclub and sharing stories about the occasions when they "almost got" Batman. You wouldn't expect Killer Croc to be the least threatening of the bunch, but he is; as the others' descriptions of their Death Traps get more and more elaborate, Croc fails to impress:
      Joker: Who wants to go next!
      Croc: ME! There I was, holed up in this quarry, when Batman came snooping around. He was getting closer... and closer...
      Poison Ivy: And?
      Croc: I threw a rock at him!
      [the others stare dumbfounded for a few moments, then decide to just ignore Croc]
      Croc: [sheepish] It was a big rock...
    • Subverted by "Sid the Squid" in "The Man Who Killed Batman". He is the smallest and most pathetic of a gang of crooks but is also the one who always comes out smelling like a rose because of his ridiculously good fortune.
  • In Maya the Bee Animated Adaptation, the last ant in the troop is shorter and clumsy.
  • Private Snafu: In "Three Brothers", Snafu's brother Fubar is working in the K-9 Corps. As a target dummy. He gets pursued by a pack of attack dogs. The last one, lagging behind the others, is a tiny and extremely yappy Chihuahua.
  • Ninjago: The last nindroid off the manufacturing line in season 3 was made with the leftover raw material, and thus came out around half the size of the others. Cryptor dubs him "Min-droid."
  • Wild Kratts: Roly-poly Dandelion the groundhog lags behind the other animal babies in "A Creature Christmas", when the rescued young creatures rush en masse to the WKs and trample the villains.

    Real Life 
  • Pluto used to be the runt at the end of the Solar System until it was demoted to "Dwarf Planet" status because it was clearly the largest of a belt of similar objects.
    • Inverted with Mercury, however, now the Solar System's smallest planet again, it is also the planet closest to the Sun.
    • Averted with Ceres during the time it was considered a planet, being in between Mars and Jupiter with the rest of the Asteroid belt, until it was demoted for the exact same reason Pluto would be a hundred-fifty years later.
  • The vowels A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.
  • In the famous photo "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima," Ira Hayes (the marine farthest left) can't reach the flagpole as his comrades raise it.
  • Piglets always nurse at the same teat and the farther down the teat the less milk it gets, resulting in the piglet on the end being the smallest.
  • Ringo Starr to the other three Beatles. Although he's now commonly understood to be a better drummer than everyone assumed, he was nonetheless the Odd Name Out, and certainly far smaller than his bandmates.
  • There are 48 "contiguous" states in the U.S., which are, as the name implies, all pieces of one big rectangularish block of land. But there's two more states: Alaska, a frozen wasteland on the other side of Canada, not bordering any other states... and Hawaii, a chain of islands thousands of miles out to sea. On a map of the country, these last two usually appear awkwardly floating below the rest.
    • Or off to one side.
    • Of the 13 original colonies, Rhode Island gets this reputation. Founded not by intrepid pilgrims or pioneering explorers, but by folks who got kicked out of other New England colonies. It was the last of the 13 colonies to join the union and still the smallest state in the country, often winding up as the butt of jokes about how tiny and unimportant it is (when people even remember it's there).
    • in /r/Stateball (a U.S. state-specific Polandball "spinoff" site), Delaware is specified in the drawing tutorial as "irrelevant" and therefore must be drawn smaller than all of the other states.
  • Often happens in sausage-making; there's usually one link at the end that got less filling, and so is a bit smaller than the other sausage links.
    • Likewise, if you find a packet of ground beef that's less full than the others in the supermarket meat department, it was the last one packed out of a batch.
  • Eggs in a clutch typically hatch in the same order they were laid, such that the smallest chick in the brood will be from the last egg laid. Being smaller, that youngest chick is often pushed to the edge of the nest by its older siblings, is fed last by the parents, and is most likely to starve if food isn't extra-abundant that season.