Follow TV Tropes


Waddling Head

Go To
Clockwise from top left:
A Waddle Dee, a Pooka, a Pirate Goom, and a Met/Metool/Mettall/Mettaur.

First you draw a circle
Then you dot the eyes
Add a great big smile
And presto! It's Kirby!

There are a large number of video game enemies and creatures which physically resemble giant heads with eyes and feet. These bizarre creatures are commonly The Goomba in their respective games and may become associated with their franchise if they appear in multiple installments.

Where or what these strange creatures' internal organs are is a mystery. The most they have with regards to other limbs are stretchy, stubby stumps or flippers in place of arms or hands. Otherwise, expect them to lift and manipulate objects, if they must, with Invisible Anatomy. Occasionally they lack any arms or legs at all having to bounce or roll to get from place to place.

The reason for this is partly because it's cute but mostly because of practicality; back in the 8-bit era, most video game sprites had to fit in 16 x 16 squares. The easiest way to design a recognizable yet harmless-looking character with that many pixels is to just draw a big-eyed face, and put feet on the bottom to justify its ability to walk.

Although most commonly associated with enemy creatures Player Character examples are certainly not unheard of; again, due to system constraints an easy way to design a recognizable character in low resolution is to make their head as big as possible with this trope being the logical conclusion.

A subtrope of Cephalothorax, Cartoon Creature, and Our Monsters Are Weird. See also Super-Deformed. The exact opposite is Tiny-Headed Behemoth.


    open/close all folders 

Enemy and NPC examples:

    Action Adventure 
  • The ghosts in Ufouria/Hebereke.
  • Inexistence Rebirth: One of the enemy types Hald can encounter in the game looks like a little brown head on feet with green hair (which may or may not be grass).
  • Bubbles in The Legend of Zelda are skull versions of this. They either hop around or use tiny wings to fly.
  • Balrog from Cave Story. Though he's not exactly an oval, really. Interestingly, in the early version of the game, this character design was a common level enemy, rather than a specific character. (Perhaps Puu Black is a remnant from this stage of development?)
  • The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang has enemies that are waddling heads of garlic.

  • The Dread Heads from Crüe Ball are skulls with sandaled feet that wander the playfields.

    Platform Games 

    Puzzle Game 
  • Number Munchers and the hostile Troggles.
  • The various enemy characters in Fruity Frank.

    Role-Playing Game 

    Shoot 'Em Up 
  • Rendering Ranger: R2 have a boss called the Skull Crab - a gigantic robotic skull on four crab-like legs, waddling around the area while shooting projectiles at you.
  • Yukkuris in Touhou Project fanon are essentially these, though "bodied" versions do exist. Prehensile Hair may or may not be included.
  • The true form of the final boss from the arcade game NARC, Mr. Big, was a giant head.

    Tower Defense 
  • The Minirobots from Mini Robot Wars, who bear a huge resemblance to the above-mentioned Metools from Mega Man. They're not so much waddling heads as they are standing heads, however, because they are not shown walking in-game.

    Other Video Games 
  • In Chulip, Michio Suzuki. Also, your dad, though you don't find that out until almost the end.
  • Littlewood: Wompers, the creatures with whom the the Player Character must avoid contact to not have their mining session cut short, consist almost entirely of big heads with a toothy mouth and have barely noticeable feet.

Playable Characters:

    Action Adventure 
  • Dizzy of the Dizzy series is an egg with boxing gloves, as are the other Yolk Folk.
    • The monsters from the arcade spin-off Fast Food go even further: they have no arms.
  • Both the titular characters of Head Over Heels.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Pencil Whipped has the recurring Dooby Dummy enemies, gigantic oval cartoon heads on spindly legs.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game 

    Maze Game 
  • Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are probably the Ur Examples. Although the official artwork has always shown them with arms and legs, their earliest games took it a step further by showing them as "pizza shaped" heads in-game. His Super Smash Bros. appearances actually incorporated this into his character. He can switch between his anthropomorphic form and his "pizza" form freely depending on what attacks he uses.

    Platform Game 
  • The titular character of Armillo, and his brother, have round bodies that are mostly taken up by their heads, with four stubby legs on the bottom. Armillo doesn't do a lot of "waddling," though, as he mostly moves around by curling into a ball and rolling.
  • The main character and many enemies in Gimmick! (1992)!
  • Kirby of the Kirby series is a rare Player Character example, but his foes include such quintessential waddling heads as Waddle Dee.
  • Starfy resembles a Waddling Head more than a five-limbed aquatic creature rightfully ought to.
  • In Mega Man: The Sequel Wars, playing as the character "Man" reduces all major characters to being heads with feet like the Metool enemies.
  • Most characters in Purple are waddling heads, including the player character.
  • BLOB, the protagonist of Starquake.
  • Miss Chack'n & Mr. Chack'n from Chack'n Pop. They have three-fingered hands, but no arms. Mr. Chack'n does have legs but shows it only when he jumps.
  • The NewZealand Story has a neckless, legless, tiny-winged player character that is supposed to be a kiwi bird.
  • So Many Me: Filo and all of his Mes are little green blobs with legs.

    Puzzle Game 

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Cube from Live A Live is a robot with a round head and skaters.
  • Pokémon:
    • Many Pokémon are like this. In the fourth generation games, there's a new section in the Pokédex for body-types. Oddish, Poliwag, Bonsly, Seedot, Azurill, Shroomish, and Tangela are amongst the many.
    • As of Pokémon X and Y this is a common body shape for the newly introduced Fairy type with Jigglypuff, Clefairy, and Marill all becoming part Fairy type.
    • Falinks combines this trope with The Worm That Walks in that it consists of a leader Waddling Head and five assistant ones that stand and walk in tight single-file formations that result in them looking like a big caterpillar.

    Rhythm Game 
  • The Patapons (and their enemies) of Patapon

    Run and Gun 
  • Atomic Robo-Kid have you playing as one, a robotic head on stumpy legs while shooting enemies with your Arm Cannons. You can even fight a few Mirror Boss enemies, robots with your design and attacks with your same weapons.

    Survival Games 
  • The Trebhum from The Eternal Cylinder are this trope by default. Those who gain body mutations, however, tend to move closer to being generic Armless Bipeds, as these mutations give a more defined separation between body and head.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Buding's pet dinosaur, Qiuqiu, is nothing more than a round sphere shape with stubby claw arms, feet, and a tail.

    Comic Books 
  • In Castle Waiting, Affably Evil demon Leeds usually manifests as a demonic humanoid head directly attached to a pair of short goats' legs.
  • In Saga, the two ladies who welcome The Will to Sextiliion have bodies consisting of large heads and long legs.

    Films - Animation 

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Often left out of adaptations including Tenniel's illustrations and the Disney feature films, Alice became one from eating the size-changing mushroom for the first time abbreviating her proportions until her foot pressed against her chin. She is sometimes depicted as still having hands in this form Depending on the Artist, such as in Lewis Carol's own original drawing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythBusters: Jamie Hyneman once made an (adorable) army of Waddling Head robots in order to see if a platoon marching in lock-step across a bridge could collapse it.
  • "The Head Detective" sketches on In Living Color! featured your typical Cowboy Cop who happened to be one of these. He'd bring down the baddies by getting his partner to toss him at them.
  • A common Amusing Injury on Super Dave involved the titular inept stuntman being smooshed into his helmet, leaving only his head and feet. This was also the series mascot and was briefly available as a plush toy.

  • The gryllus was a comical grotesque who fit this trope give or take extra or even chimeric body parts popularized in ancient paintings by Antiphilus. Though the exact features of the original grylli are lost to time, they would appear over the centuries in medieval artwork all the way into the Renaissance such as in works by Hieronymus Bosch. Not to be confused with one of Circe's named victims, supposedly they are also victims of a disfiguring curse.

  • Mr. Potato Head might be one of the oldest examples of this trope. He is a Waddling Potato-Head.
  • Furbies are waddling hamster-owl heads.
  • Poppin' Hoppies, a mushroom-like head and almost circular feet {foot) with toes, connected by a spring and suction cup. Pushing down on the head turned them into this trope; they would pop up randomly when the suction cup lost its suction. These were originally part of a board game but expies may also have had an independent existence.
  • Tamagotchi has too many to count, but Oyajichi from the Japanese and Bill from the internation versions of the original stand out. However, artwork and later versions of Bill show he has a body that's obscured by his enormous bonce.

  • The webcomic Kid Radd has Bogeys as the Goombas of the fictional Kid Radd game.
  • User Friendly's Dust Puppy.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Molly's pet tentacle bunny Snookums is basically this, although he hops instead of waddling.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has Fluffy. Fluffy is actually a dog. The same comic also has creatures called mows, which were the result of a failed attempted to clone Mab. They look like Mab deformed into this style, looking like a cuter version of Mab's head with a stubby version of her wings.
  • Deconstructed in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire; the Beemahs are a race of digitigrade Waddling Heads, and as a result require assistance with vital life functions, which is used to force them into slavery.

    Web Original 
  • Fuzzy fits the bill.
  • The characters in the Tales of the Blode flash animations.
  • Vocaloid: Tako Luka, which can be described as a Super-Deformed version of Luka's head with octopus tentacles.
  • JubJubs in Neopets (cute fluffballs with humanlike feet) and Kikos (inexplicably bandaged spheroids with clawed hands on the ends of two bendy arms). JubJub feet seem dexterous enough to serve in the office of hands. Kikos are aquatic creatures that use their arms to swim or paddle; on land they bounce.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes: Marvin the Martian temporarily became this trope whenever his doomsday devices backfired, reducing him to a helmet waddling around on oversized shoes.
  • Many of the characters from VeggieTales, such as Bob the Tomato. Though in his case it's more of a Bouncing Head since they also have no feet.
  • The title character of Fat Dog Mendoza.
  • The Owl House: The Bat Queen's babies are a trio of semi-realistic humanoid baby heads with bat legs and wings. The Queen herself has the same basic design, but is the size of a minivan.

     Real Life 
  • Cephalopods could be considered a real life equivalent of this (their name literally means "head foot" in Ancient Greek).
  • Some species of frogfish resemble these, as their pectoral and pelvic fins have evolved to function as legs and feet, helping them walk along the sea floor.

Alternative Title(s): Walking Head