Follow TV Tropes


World of Muscle Men

Go To
In a world where everyone held themselves to their New Year's resolutions...

Practically every single known male character in some works, excluding the occasional weakling, is unquestionably well-muscled. No matter what their body type (including fat) male characters have larger-than-average muscles. This is especially evident when there is a wide-range of body types, and the only common feature is heavy muscles.

This can be enforced in Video Games where everyone looks familiar because they all use the same model. If one male NPC has large muscles, all male NPCs have them. If it's a 3D game on a 5th-generation console, it may even be a technical limitation, as those consoles tend to make men be all or nothing, due to polygon count. Also particularly common in MMORPGs.

This is not about a lot of large-muscled men. This is where over 90% of the male cast shown has large muscles, making it seem like this body type is the norm rather than a slightly uncommon occurrence (as in Real Life).


Most of the time the same thing does not apply to women due to differing notions of what makes males and females attractive. It may even make all females look thin and frail while still being as strong as the men. However sometimes this trope can also have all the women be ripped as well.

Usually occurs as a result of Author Appeal. This can be a major source of Muscle Angst for the 10% that are not well-muscled. Compare World of Buxom and Heroic Build, as well as World of Badass, which this might become if the men know how to use their muscle. Sub-Trope of Men Are Tough.



    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 
  • Fairy Tail is a series where every male has well toned muscles.
  • If you are male, adult, and some flavor of Martial Artist in Fist of the North Star, chances are you will be ripped. Even if you're a Biseinen like Rei, an Acrofatic Mighty Glacier like Mr. Heart, an effeminate Fighting Narcissist such as Yuda, or a Apunkalypse Mook.
  • Part of the Author Appeal in Fullmetal Alchemist: Hiromu Arakawa thinks men should be muscular and big, and women should be bosomy and curvy. Specifically, in one of the omake in volume 12, "Men should be muscular and women should be va-va-voom!" Even The Hero who is The Napoleon is still tremendously ripped, as revealed during his many, many, shirtless scenes.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's male cast at the start are almost entirely buff, manly men. Way back at the beginning of the series, Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando can, at age 12, be easily mistaken for older because of this trope. However, this was downplayed over the course of the Art Evolution of Part 4 with latter parts opting for a much leaner yet still fit look for the male characters.
  • If you're a male character that is between the ages of 15 and "old" in NEEDLESS, you're ripped. No exceptions.
  • Toriko. Nearly every major male character in the series has an extremely muscled body. Except Komatsu.
  • Basically all teenage or adult males in One Piece who are not fat have a six-pack (and sometimes even when they are fat, like Hannyabal whose belly's upper part is well-toned and lower part is a beer belly). Most strong characters also have other visible muscles, but the series also likes to make the point that muscles are not everything, so while a muscular character will typically be strong, an extremely muscular character may very well be weaker than a medium-muscular one.
    • Hell, the protagonist is a scrawny brat made out of rubber; despite being muscular, he's also incredibly lean, somewhat subverting the trope.
  • Dragon Ball takes this trope to ridiculous level. Gohan developed a muscular body by the time he reached the age of five. Granted damn near every character, regardless of age, gender or even species, is a advanced martial artist in some degree in Dragon Ball, so having a muscular body at that young age wouldn't seem strange to anyone In-Universe, but still...
    • This trope is Downplayed Trope in Dragon Ball Super. Due to taking cues from Akira Toriyama Art Evolution, many fighters and gods actually have a slender build instead of being a powerpack, giving them somewhat of a realistic bodyfigure. The many Gods of Destruction are pretty slender, most of the angels don't have muscle to speak out in their elegant style, and the Universe 6 Saiyans (Well, with the exception of Kale who hulks up) have realistic child bodies.
  • Kinnikuman could actually be translated as "Muscleman". Granted, all the characters are pro wrestlers, but the only one who isn't buff is the skeleton.
  • Aka Akatoretachi no Monogatari is a series where basically every male close-range fighter is a Lightning Bruiser with a bodybuilder physique. Hayato, the Best Friend of The Hero is a tall, yet incredibly buff young man and initially looked roughly twice as big as Itsuki. The Hero Itsuki himself starts of as relatively normally built, until Training from Hell and several battles against the vampire forces results in him becoming so ripped that even the Big Bad lampshades the incredible development.

     Comic Books 
  • Even non-super people in Marvel Comics and DC Comics tend to have well-defined muscles, almost as if that's the only way the artists know how to draw. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe gave stats on civilians saying "gets no regular excercise" and yet they still look like they've got about 2% bodyfat, if that. Ever notice how, in superhero comics in general, the teens (and sometimes young adults) all seem to have muscular and athletic figures long before they get their powers, etc., even when they have no reason to have such a physique beforehandnote ? This will apply to both prospective heroes and anti-heroes/villains. This is a case of Depending on the Artist lately.
  • Power Rangers have a lot in comics. However it avoids the usual Double Standard that this trope usually has since the women are just as muscled.
  • In older issues of Supergirl—and similar "girlie" comics—the men in the super heroine's lives will often be so built, their muscles appear under sweaters. The reasons for this can vary.

     Fan Works 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Maybe because it's based on the Superman comics but Smallville has not just Clark but most of the males muscular.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Pretty much every male character of significance, and many of the extras, are Mr. Fanservice. Emphasized further by frequent nudity and/or fighting while wearing nothing but loincloths.
  • True Blood seems to be inhabited entirely by underwear models.
    • Averted with a single vampire, who is effeminate and fat. When Jason wonders why, the guy explains that vampires don't change after they're turned. Even if he tried to lose the weight, his body would restore to the same state as before (as evidence by Jessica when she lost her virginity only for her hymen to grow back a few minutes later).

  • Many sports, including Professional Wrestling, most combat sports, and swimming, hardly have space for skinny athletes, only those as ripped as they get.

    Video Games 
  • The Cho Aniki series is full of ridiculously muscular men, though the first game is a bit less so than the sequels.
  • An examination of the models in the Starcraft II game will show that all the humans are heavily muscled, which makes sense since it's made by the same company that made World of Warcraft.
  • Street Fighter is like this, especially with Street Fighter IV. However, most the women are also jacked as well. This is definitely a case of Author Appeal on the character designer's behalf, as he's even admitted to liking Chun-Li's muscular trademark thunder thighs.
  • Warcraft III has this as well. For example, the standard villager's arms are about as thick as his head. Even elf units like the Worker and Druid of the Talon have highly defined muscles.
  • World of Warcraft has this in full effect. This brought some jokes over how beefy the eleven races became compared to their slender Warcraft III designs.
  • The Gears of War franchise, so, so very much. Even every single one of the male mooks on both sides of the war fit this trope, in fact.
  • From The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, all the members of a given race and sex have the same model below their head, and the models used for males have well-defined muscles.
    • In Oblivion, similarly, all members of a race and sex combo have the same model for the torso and limbs. For the males it is slim and well-muscled, and for the females it is more frail.
    • In Skyrim, although players are allowed to change how much body mass their character has, it's decided by a single slider, which changes muscle mass only. The same applies to females, but the slider also affects Bustiness.
  • In the Yakuza series, most male characters will inevitably end up ripping their shirts off at one point or another, and they will always have the body of a Greek god.
  • An overwhelming majority of male characters in King's Raid have remarkably muscular physiques. Unlike most examples, their muscular builds are surprisingly diverse. As a result, despite the series having an ever-expanding cast, the number of male characters who aren't built like professional athletes can be counted on one hand.
  • F-Zero's setting seems very American comic book inspired, including the fact that virtually every human male character (and Mrs. Arrow) has a shredded, muscular physique with abs visible under their clothes. Even the aged, chubby scientist Dr Clash has bulging biceps. A few of the characters' endings in GX (namely Michael Chain, Octoman, and Mrs. Arrow) even feature them posing at a bodybuilding competition.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), virtually all male characters (save for Orko) have bulging muscles especially in the upper body. This is even more apparent because many characters either wear very little to begin with or have some sort of clothing that fits extremely tight, almost like a coat of paint.
    • It's possible the toyline dictated this: in the He-Man toyline, every single male having the same muscular body meant that they could produce them all from the same plastic mold.
  • The character designs in Spider-Man: The Animated Series tend to look this. While it's not as extreme as say, He-Man, one has to wonder if the only reason Peter Parker manages to keep his ID a secret is because apparently all newspaper workers and science nerds are buff to start with.
  • Nearly every recurring character in G.I. Joe Extreme are ripped to hell. Even Inferno, a bald manchild with an high-pitched, screechy voice, sports a visible 6-pack.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: