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World of Muscle Men

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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, some examples of this trope include all of the women being jacked 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 (the Distaff Counterpart) 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. Contrast Cast Full of Pretty Boys.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • Baki the Grappler: Yujiro, Baki, Jack, Kaoru, Retsu, Biscuit, Doppo, etc. A list of characters who don't fit this trope would be much, much shorter.
  • 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 becomes a 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. Even Goku, Vegeta, and Gohan are more slender than before, albeit still obviously muscular.
  • 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, as seen in the trope image. Even if you're a Pretty Boy 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, in one of the omake in volume 12, says "Men should be muscular and women should be va-va-voom!" The men have a variety of body types, but almost every one of note is quite muscular. Even The Hero who is The Napoleon is still tremendously ripped, as revealed during his many, many, shirtless scenes. Most of the cast are in active military service, so they have reason to stay fit, even the ones that aren't really fighters.
  • 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. And in Part 3, one of the best clues for readers to identify the latest enemy Stand user would if there's a new 180+ cm tower of muscle in the crowd. At the start of Part 4, many characters were also huge and buff, but as the story progressed, Art Evolution kicked in and caused the cast to gradually slim down, with latter parts opting for a much leaner yet still fit look for the male characters.
  • Almost all of the fighters in Kengan Ashura have at least a Heroic Build.
  • 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.
  • If you're a male character that is between the ages of 15 and "old" in NEEDLESS, you're ripped. No exceptions.
  • 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 having sharp muscle definition, he's also very slender, somewhat downplaying the trope. It's played straight post-timeskip though, considering he grows fairly buff after his intense training. And after his ordeals in Whole Cake Island Arc, Luffy gets even buffer still.
  • Toriko. Nearly every major male character in the series has an extremely muscled body. Except Komatsu.

    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 exercise" and yet they still look like they've got about 2% body fat, 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 
  • 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.
  • Maybe because it's based on the Superman comics but Smallville has not just Clark but most of the males muscular.
  • 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 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).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • While humanity as a whole presents a wide range of body types from starving factory slaves to grotesquely overweight planetary governors, the Imperial Guard's miniatures are all fighting men and thus tend towards the visibly-muscular.
    • The Catachan Devils are a literal World of Muscle Men (and women): since their Single-Biome Planet consists of Hungry Jungle where making it past age ten is a considerable feat, each and every Devil has the muscles of Rambo and looks like the cast of Predator.
    • Assuming they didn't have them from violent lives before the transformation, Space Marines are seven feet tall and genetically engineered to have huge muscles to aid them in fighting the many horrible things the galaxy throws at them. Devotees of Khorne are even bulkier to better suit spilling blood for the Blood God.
    • The Tau's Fire Caste (aka the warriors) are noted as being physically bigger than other castes due to their role in Tau society.

  • 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.
  • 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 frailer.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. It took the series three games to have a playable male character who clearly wasn't quite muscular, and they remain as distinctly a minority of the cast.
  • The titular hero in Gods is shown in the intro sequence in every version of the game to be ripped, but the PC98 port takes the cake by showing the hero in dramatic poses.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 elven races became compared to their slender(-ish) Warcraft III designs.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Nearly every recurring character in G.I. Joe Extreme is ripped to hell. Even Inferno, a bald manchild with a high-pitched, screechy voice, sports a visible 6-pack.
  • 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.
    • This is parodied in He-Man sketches on Robot Chicken, where random extras all have broad chests and buff, sleeveless arms.
  • 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.