A-Cup Angst

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If only I had a pair...

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In many cultures, large busts are usually more popular with men than small ones. But not all girls can be that well-endowed, and while some wear the "ironing board" title with pride, others have low self-esteem as a result of their conspicuous lack of cleavage.

This can be for a variety of reasons, but the most common are the belief that Buxom Is Better, being mistaken for a kid, and being thought of as childish and immature because of her small chest.

Things commonly done by this type of small chested woman:

  • Wearing loose clothing.
  • Trying to make herself appear more busty than she really is, such as using a push up bra or using Fake Boobs.
  • Being offended when other people comment on the smallness of her breasts.
  • Jealously observing another girl's huge breasts in a Beach Episode, Hot Springs Episode, Furo Scene, or in any other opportunity.

This could also apply to any woman that is under a d-cup (B-cup Bitchiness, C-cup Cynicism).

Contrast Petite Pride and Buxom Is Better. Compare Big Breasts, Big Deal for self-image with bigger assets. In anime fanspeak this type of character is called a Pettanko.

Examples of A-Cup Angst include:


  • In Real Life this is common enough among Japanese girls that weekly or monthly shojo manga publications more likely than not include breast enlargement ads, or at least diet ads that promise to not take anything off the rack. Aside from the usual before-after photos, exciting exclamations and shiny products, there are specific ad mangas: 8 to 12 pages of A-Cup Angst and Buxom Is Better played straight enough to put a ruler to shame with no other content.
    • Ad for Chasteberry E: Meet miss Pettanko. Her life sucks. The boys don't even know she exists. She attempts to ask her crush out, he awkwardly evades. She knows the solution is to develop breasts. Cue desperate attempts, and finally success when a friend tips her off about the product. 3 months later she has gone from zero to cup E or so, attracts the Male Gaze wherever she goes, and is happily together with her crush.

Anime and Manga

  • Any female in any anime or manga who gets upset when told that a kimono looks good on her is suffering from A-Cup Angst, no matter how well-endowed she might actually be.
  • Nanoha of Eensy Weensy Monster. Her boyfriend Hazuki was shocked to the point of dropping something when one of her friends made an offhand comment about "them".
  • The OVA of Tenchi Muyo! gives Princess Ayeka a little of this when she realizes that Sasami will grow up to look like Tsunami.
    • Her arch-rival Ryoko also rarely misses a chance to tease Ayeka about her breast size. Which is not, in fact, small. It's just that nearly every other adult female in the series has very noticeably larger breasts.Especially her own mother, Misaki.
  • Rukia from Bleach, in the Bount Arc; at one point she flies into a rage after Kon compares her chest to a vertical wall. It's sort of an Out of Character moment, though: normally, her flat chest is neither a point of pride nor a sore spot, and if she gets some fanservicy shots they go more for her nice legs. (Then again, Chizuru certainly doesn't seem to mind comparing.)
    • Rock Musical Bleach - Live Bankai Show also features Rukia laughing creepily when she and Momo Hinamori outnumber Yoruichi. She starts shouting loudly that breast size is unimportant. Cue Yoruichi singing and placing each of their hands to her breasts multiple times throughout the song.
    • A straighter example would be Hiyori, who got really, really ticked off when Mayuri called her a boy. It get weird when she explicitly says (yells at him) that she will show him her boobs to prove she is a girl during that scene.
    • Another straight example is Shino from the thirteenth division, who's not happy to hear from others that she hasn't developed in her.
  • Sera in Detective Conan is a milder example. Shas small breasts and even gets mistaken for a boy on a regular basis, but she mostly just shrugs it off aside of a few comments. ("They're due to pop out one of these days...")
  • Lina Inverse of The Slayers, a very dangerous Black Magician Girl, also has a huge inferiority complex about her chest size — she's been known to Dragon Slave people who comment on it — despite the fact that her bust is small only compared to some other anime females. Although it's not really evident later, this was magnified in her first series traveling with an annoying overly busty sidekick (who showed it off to boot).
    • While she's probably better endowed than almost everyone else on this page, Lina has had the bad luck of accumulating lots of overly busty female allies. Plus the youngest of the group, Amelia, already outmeasures her and is still filling out. So she thinks she's flatter than she actually is...and if you tease her about it, she's liable to blow up your entire village with you as Ground Zero.
    • In at least a few of the earlier OVA's she drawn very flat, but does grow with the series to having at leas tsome sort of chest.
    • The artists seem to note that Lina really didn't have much to complain about in earlier season and decided to draw her flatter later...giving off the impression that her breasts SHRUNK as she got older.
  • In Flame of Recca (and specially in the manga), "Princess" Yanagi is very flat-chested. She is incredibly embarrassed by, as Kaoru describes them, her "two lil hills" and feels jealous of girls with bigger racks then hers.
  • Numerous girls in Mahou Sensei Negima, the most obvious one being Anya, who believes the main reason that Negi is making Pactios with his students and training with Eva is because of their boobs. Nodoka and Yue also qualify, to the point that we're even treated (warning: Furo Scene) to a "pettanko" Unsound Effect.
    • Natsumi Murakami seems older, although slightly built herself, and displays the insecurity far more blatantly. It does not help that she is rooming with Ayaka and Chizuru, two of her most... maternal... classmates.

Chizuru: Ara! What's wrong, Natsumi-chan?
Natsumi: None of them are middle-school sized! T_T

  • Yuuko of Amaenaideyo!!. She gets in a few Skinship Grope moments with Chitose, mentioning how envious she is of her larger bust. She's only slightly larger than Hinata.
  • Pachira from Magical Pokaan once (secretly) mail-ordered a bust-enhancing machine, with minimal results.
    • The machine was the real thing and was working fine, but Pachira had to return it before she could get more visible results, which made her Pettanko status hurt even more.
  • Minami-ke plays with this trope in relation to Mako-chan.
  • Minami of Lucky Star, who is completely flat. Any tactics she used to combat this just ended up making her taller. She, Konata and Yutaka also released a joint Image Song album that collectively titled them the "Mune Pettan (Flat Chested) Girls". Really, her angsting on her boobs has gone to an Once an Episode frequency.
  • The epilogue of the Love Hina manga featured Ema Maeda, young student moving into the quasi-legendary Hinata House. Shinobu mistakes her for a guy in the bath, and Hilarity Ensues with a distant Call Back to Keitaro's own naked chase that started the series.
  • Mahoro from Mahoromatic longs for bigger breasts; it's an inferiority complex fueled by Suguru's fondness for porn and Ms. Shikijo's endless taunts. Since she's a combat android, her flat chest was probably just a practical design choice. In fact, to her chagrin, it's actually the deciding factor in one fight (she body-slams her opponent, shouting "Bitty booby attack!").
    • The Triomatic girls poke fun at Mahoro's small chest at one point in the end theme of season one. The second-season end theme is all about chest size, but this time it's Minawa they're hassling, and they're a bit more subtle. ("If you worry about every little thing, you can't live your life"). Actually, Miyuki and Chizuko are in the same boat—Rin decidedly isn't, as she occasionally reminds them.
    • We learn just how big a hangup this is for Mahoro in her All Just a Dream episode. She dreams of ordering an enlarging machine, only for it to work on everyone but her (including the male Suguru). The second half includes the notorious "OPPAI-MISSILE!" scene, which must be seen to be believed. The sheer amount of mental energy she puts into this makes you wonder if Suguru's grandfather has a point when he accuses Mahoro (she of the "dirty thoughts are bad" Catch Phrase) of having a mind just as dirty as everyone else.
  • Chika Ogiue in Genshiken. In the Hot Springs Episode, Sue (who speaks almost entirely in anime quotes) pulls the "Status symbol!" gag while pointing at her, quoting Mayumi.
  • Aimi of Love Pheromone from Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge. She's destroyed entire buildings over being called flat-chested.
  • Hikaru, Umi and Fuu from Magic Knight Rayearth are like this, when the women from Cephiro take them for a bath, and found out that these women completely out-boobed them. But then again, they're 14 years old...
  • Tomo from Azumanga Daioh uses her lack of endowment relative to Sakaki to get a handicap when competing against her in a footrace, claiming that Sakaki had an eight centimeter advantage (Tomo still loses). Later on, Yomi mocks her size in a locker room scene, much to Tomo's anger. However, Tomo's definitely not the least endowed girl of the group (that distinction going to Osaka and, obviously, Chiyo-chan), just the one who gets jokes made about it.
  • The main girl of the manga D-cup Hunter is a Pettanko that dresses up as a superheroine and sexually assaults and humiliates innocent big-breasted women because the boy she liked told her, to her face, that he wouldn't date a girl without big hooters.
  • Louise, of The Familiar of Zero. Saito has said there was "nothing" there, and considering almost every other female (especially Tiffania) in the show is extremely busty, Louise really gets aggravated over this. Violently aggravated.
    • In episode 2 of the third series, Louise goes into an over-the-top extended rant denouncing large breasts.
      • Except that immediately after coercing Saito her Love Interest into declaring his preference for small breasts over large ones, he is caught in a compromising position with Tabitha, who is even flatter than Louise... resulting in a new insecurity for Louise, and of course more pain for Saito.
  • In fact, if you are Tsundere, wrathful, Loli and voiced by Rie Kugimiya, you are guaranteed to have the DFC. Other than Louise, there's also Shana, Nagi and Taiga. And now[when?] we also have Aria.
      • Let's -not- forget Rizelmine, shall we?
      • There's also Touka, Yuuki and arguably even Yuuhi (Not loli, but otherwise applies). Seems the woman voices either this kind of character or someone who is the exact opposite (Like Shannon from Umineko no Naku Koro ni).
      • There's also Mika.
      • Even the video game characters she voices are like this. See Marta from Tales of Symphonia 2: Dawn of the New World below.
      • Subverted with Nena Trinity, especially after she grew up...
      • Iori Minase is one of her first roles from 2005. The recent iDOLM@STER anime gives her an episode where she tries competing with Azusa by padding her chest literally WITH MELONS. She's never shown to angst over her chest again and in the games this is averted, her chest size is never brought up.
  • The eternal loli Vita of Lyrical Nanoha, who got the label of "flat chest" on an official sketch and has had her moments of snippiness in regards to breast size in the Sound Stages. Seriously, calling your leader a Boob Demon with a follow-up on how the size of a woman's breasts are inversely proportional to the size of her heart?
    • There's a Demotivator that shows her drinking milk while fantasizing about developing a voluptuous figure. "DREAMS. Everybody has them."
  • Honoka from The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye gets a lot of rib for her flat chest and unlady-like behavior.
  • Like Lina Inverse above, Akane Tendo from Ranma ½ isn't really flat; she's actually well-proportioned for a 16 year-old. However, she has extremely deep insecurities about her bust size, especially when her sisters, her rivals and even her fiance all make her look small by comparison (and he even flaunts it.) Naturally, this is milked for all the humor possible.
    • Those insecurities get even worse when Ranma asks her if she's gotten smaller. Cue Akane breaking out the magazines that show you how to "get a bigger bust through exercise."
    • Ukyo Kuonji isn't that much bigger then Akane. She avoids Pettankohood, however, because she doesn't really have any insecurities about her bust size. About her looks in general/attractiveness as a woman, yes, it's hinted (mainly in the anime) that she does have some worries in that department, but that's more because of being a Bifauxnen and thus worrying that Ranma won't see her as a woman.
  • Asu no Yoichi's Ayame. This is such a major part of her character that Yoichi was able to recognize that an impostor wasn't her simply because her breast size was too big.
    • Naturally it's also a very sore spot for her, as her other sisters are quite well endowed. Made even worse when it turns out that she's even out-boobed by her youngest sister, Kagome, who's in elementary school. Yes.
    • Notably, she's still decently endowed, Yoichi is able to get a substantial handhold, if she were in the real world, it's just that every other girl in that world is so large.
  • Yukari Sendo from Rosario + Vampire. Yes, she's only eleven (she's a Kid Genius, so she's in a class full of teenagers), but she does get teased about her flat chest quite a bit... and teases the highly busty Kurumu about her chest on occasion, as well. So, yeah, clearly she's insecure about being flat.
    • In Season Two of both the manga and the anime she takes "grow older pills." Although still no Kurumu, she certainly will have nothing to worry about in a few years.
  • Nagi in Kannagi. She's well aware that Jin has a love of big breasts after finding his Porn Stash. When he joked that her chest had gotten bigger in one episode, Nagi said that if he spoke any further, she'd rip his Ahoge off his head.
  • When young, Tsunade from Naruto. Her team teased her about her flat chest. Which grew quite a bit later.
    • Sakura has twice shown irritation over her small chest size. This is a popular subject among fanfiction writers and occasionally doujinshi artists.
    • There's also Karui. In her first appearance, she and Omoi argued over the possible reasons that they could have been called by the Raikage. Omoi thought he was going to be scolded for putting mayonnaise on his potatoes and for gaining weight; the argument started, however, with Omoi suggesting that Samui's back problems stem from her large breasts, which he mentions that Karui doesn't need to worry about. Karui gets pissed and responds by kicking him.
  • Fuu from Samurai Champloo is a bit insecure about her small breasts, especially when Mugen teases her about them, although it's implied that he does it because he likes her and doesn't want to admit it. In one episode, she poses for a nude painting and is flattered that the artist gave her a more impressive chest.
  • In Elemental Gelade, Cisqua is often teased by Kuea for her flat chest. Her fear of water is a mixture of being unable to swim and being unable to fill out a swimsuit. Even Cou teases Cisqua about it during a hot spring scene where he accidentally saw her topless. Plus in the anime, one of Cou's old friends calls Cisqua "bro" (despite the fact that she's wearing a dress), which causes her to flip out and attack.
  • Yuya from Samurai Deeper Kyo has a complex and gets teased quite a bit about this by the title character. She's actually very booby by "real life" standards.
  • Liechtenstein from Axis Powers Hetalia. She once goes out wearing a boyish military uniform, and when an old lady thinks she's a boy, the poor girl gropes her chest and goes Blue with Shock.
    • In one Doujin, when she goes to retrieve her ribbon from the "Lost Object Office For The Things Fan Artists Forget to Draw", she goes near to a "boing" sound effect of the type used to emphatise large-breasted characters. The "boing" effect runs away from her. [dead link]
    • Brought up again in the fourth manga volume. Not only she's seen interacting with the more boobielicious Hungary and Ukraine, but one of the national dresses discussed is the infamous Crete dress code that let the Minoan women expose their milkmakers. Cue the Oh Crap from Liech.
    • Austria's genderbend also seems to be portrayed this way. In a webcomic on Pixiv, Austria and Liechtenstein are seen mourning about it. Also, one artist also on Pixiv drew her, Prussia, and Germany: with Germany at the big size (G Cup), Prussia at the middle size (E cup), and Austria as the small size (B cup).Link is here
    • Japan's Nyotalia self is often portrayed this way too, especially since the canon sketches of her don't exactly emphasize her assets the way sketches of many other Nyotalia nations do. In one Pixiv fanart [dead link], she's shown weeping about having no chest compared to the extremely well-endowed Greece's.
    • Taiwan isn't as super flat as Liechten, but she seems to be rather... troubled when she sees that the European females (save for Liechtenstein) are not only well-endowed, but not afraid to show it...
  • In Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun Houjou Reika has small breasts and that gets particularly highlighted by Tsukimura Mayu's huge boobs. At one point, while wondering what's wrong with hers, Reika finds a solution worthy of a true ojou-sama: to make small breasts fashionable. The next episode's opening omake shows that through application of her huge wealth she has succeeded in making small breasts most desirable and big breasts a cause for humiliation; to the point that Mayu gets chased out of town for her breasts.
  • Maka from Soul Eater. Soul's nickname for her is "Tiny Tits." It never ends well for him.
    • At around 13 Maka's young enough to grow out of this, and her concern about it. Being around a group of older rather well-endowed girls can't help, though.
  • Momoko in Wedding Peach Abridged. She inevitably is compared to her Hot Mom by her own father.
  • Akina Nanamura in UFO Princess Valkyrie is flat chested and jealous of Valkyrie's breast size and is constantly harassed about it by her companion, Hydra, who also has large breasts (when she is not sealed away by Akina's Miko magic).
    • Akina is once accidentally given bigger boobs in one episode. Rather than freak out like normal when caught up in such things, she's positively ecstatic!
  • Mikan Sakura from Gakuen Alice. At one chapter, Natsume had rubbed her chest before, commenting that it's not round, yet. Another example that when Mikan and her friends were eating candy to turn into older teenagers, Mikan appears with a flat chest (or at least that was what Natsume has stated).
  • Poor Meru from Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei has major issues both with speaking to other people out loud and with her flat chest. She compensates for the former through spiteful, abusive emails, and the latter with an inflatable bra, which blows up on first use.
    • Chiri has this as well. In one manga chapter, she comes to clean Nozomu's house, and wants to straighten things so there is less "dead space". Nozomu comments that she has her own dead space, wearing a bra that's too large for her. She responds that she uses the space effectively and pins him to the wall with knives. In another instance, Majiru is advised to inoculate himself against groping women later in life by doing so now, and is told to go for small breasts. He chooses Chiri and has a Color Failure when she turns her terrifying Game Face on him.
  • Taiga Aisaka in Toradora! is seriously embarrassed by her lack of breast size, and Ryuuji Takasu uses his sewing skills to help build her up.
  • Kiko from Darker than Black, as her boss Gai Kurosawa is ever-so-helpful to point out. She responds by threatening to sue him for sexual harassment.
    • Suou in the 2nd Series counts as well
  • Nana from To LOVE-Ru. "Well EXCUSE ME FOR BEING FLAT-CHESTED!" Not at all helped by how bosomy her twin sister has grown.
  • In Cyber Team in Akihabara we have Kamome, who at 13 is quite troubled for not being developed fast and big enough, to the point she regularly stuffs her bra. Meanwhile, we have Uzura, a Schoolgirl Lesbian who have an absolute passion for flat chested girls, to the point that she turns her attentions from Hibari to Kamome (and, in The Movie, towards Tsubame), as she realizes that each girl is flatter than the former. Kamome is not happy about having Uzura behind her because of the implications.
  • Kouyama Mitsuki in Full Moon o Sagashite is a pettanko to some extent. Well-endowed Meroko teases her for this in the beginning, brutally calling her "Puchipai" (puchi means tiny and pai means breasts) Mitsuki, as the teenage Full Moon blushes and says "I have breasts when I'm in THIS form!" When she turns back into a 12-year-old in the anime, Meroko again remarks that "her chest returned to normal" and Mitsuki asks her not to stare. Later on in the manga, Mitsuki develops a bit more after her 13th birthday but interestingly even as a true teenager (16) at the end, her chest does not look much bigger... (rather surprising for a main character from Arina Tanemura). Doujinshi artists also go out of their way to emphasize that Mitsuki is a indeed a loli character and quite DFC.
  • The heroine from Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo is a pettanko, despite having a partial American ancestry. "I wish I could have a body born of THAT DNA...!"
  • Kisara of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. It doesn't help that she's pretty much the only post-pubescent female in the cast without large breasts.
    • And while Kenichi's sister Honoka is a bit too young (13) to be worrying that she'll be flat forever, she is nonetheless self conscious over it. Then again, if most of the girls you knew looked like Miu...
      • She won't have to worry, her mom is pretty busty herself.
  • Hinagiku of Hayate the Combat Butler is often dismayed by this. Even though she rarely complains, Nagi is also concerned about it.
  • Seika of Princess Lover thinks she doesn't have a chance to win the guy. Considering her opponents I guess it's noticeable.
  • Student Council's Discretion has a couple of gags along this line.
    • In the pilot episode, Ken tricks Kurimu (through Duck Season! Rabbit Season! dialogue) into saying pettanko. After crying into her friend Chizuru's bigger chest for comfort, it only made her feel worse.
    • In the penultimate episode of the first season, Minatsu asks Kurimu, "President, where's the pettanko?" i.e. "Where's the flat (stamp)?" Trauma ensues.
  • Kamen no Maid Guy has Liz, who hates Naeka solely because Naeka has enormous boobs.
  • In Crayon Shin-chan, a running gag is the constant competition on anything between two of the schoolteachers Midori Yoshinaga and Ume Matzuzaka. A running gag within the running gag is their cup size rivalry, for example during a swimming class, laying down side by side on the floor and trading insults as to who was more like plains (as opposed to mountains).
  • Suzuna in Eyeshield 21. It doesn't help that the only other female character of note is Mamori who is...fuller up top.
  • Sae in Hidamari Sketch. For example, when Yuno was discussing her arts program electives (2D-, 3D- or digital arts) with Hiro and Sae...

Yuno: Sae-san probably chose 2D?
Hiro: Yup, she was 2D. She's clear about what she wants to do.
Sae: *Head Desk* ... Sae is 2D ...

  • Erutis from Demon Diary is quite flat-chested, and complains about it in an Omake which also includes a picture of her with an arrow pointing to her chest and the label "no bosom" (and one pointing at her legs: "stubby legs"). She says that this is the reason she was mistaken for a guy at first by many readers. The peculiar thing is that her chest doesn't really look all that flat; she's easily a B-cup. She just wears a baggy top.
  • Beauty Pop has Kiri. As pointed out by a kid.
  • Macross Frontier has Ranka Lee, who while normally not very angst driven about it, does start to get worried at the Miss Macross Contest when she's surrounded by so much Buxom Is Better and Gainaxing that she really starts to sweat it. It doesn't help that her best friend, who is the most well-endowed character on the entire show, then tells her size doesn't matter.
    • The Movie also Plays with this. At one point Ranka is making a photoshoot for a construction company, wearing a swimsuit. The suit is modeled after the company, including its slogans. So, naturally, the phrase "Under development!" is written upon Ranka's left breast.
  • Kasumi/Misty from Pokémon, moreso in the manga than in the anime and moreso in the early anime episodes. She was teased for being "scrawny" and "looking like a boy" (often by Ash and often resulting in some impromptu abuse). In the manga, Ash even remarks that she could use an evolution stone to "evolve herself". This leads to a hot spring scene where the water supposedly promotes evolution, so she pours the water over her chest...um, yeah. Weird, since she is very well-endowed in the manga.
    • It should be noted this only applies to the anime. The games and most adaptations have her being rather well-endowed (though not on the level of other girls her age such as a few female protagonists), even as an eleven/twelve year old. She doesn't angst obviously, and is often called beautiful.
  • Ookami-san gives us both the titular Ryoko Ookami as well as her best friend, Ringo Akai. Of course, they probably wouldn't be too concerned about it, if a certain Lemony Narrator didn't call frequent attention to the fact.
  • Inami-chan of Working!! is put out by her small chest, but it isn't that notable until Takanashi's crossdressing is larger than her that she begins to be bugged by it. Quite notably.
  • "Bare and Slippery" Fumika from Seikon no Qwaser. She goes to a Corner of Woe after an amnesiac Sasha asks if she was a girl cursed to be a boy too.
  • Disturbingly invoked and subverted in Eiken. Yuriko laments her "tiny A-cup boobies." These would be A-cup only in comparison to the...ah, ample plumage the other women boast.
  • Marin and Moe of Brigadoon Marin and Melan are both anxious about their nearly non-existent bosoms. (Given that they're in their first year of middle school, they have time to develop.)
  • In Steel Angel Kurumi, there is a variation where both Karinka and Kurumi are jealous of each other. Karinka wants to have big breasts like her sister, but Kurumi wishes hers were smaller (and she even mentions back pain which is common in real-life women with large breasts).
  • In Tegami Bachi, Niche, who hates milk, downs two mugs of tea because they have milk in them when the better-endowed Sylvette says that milk helps you grow up big and strong (or something like that). Niche, being a Maka, is weak to things that are hot. Like tea.
  • In Popotan, the youngest girl complains about her small breasts a number of times.
  • In one episode of Keroro Gunsou, Natsumi (who's about 14 years old) gets jealous of her mother Aki's breasts, even though Natsumi is no slouch in that department either. Not to mention there's a whole episode revolving around Momoka (who's twelve) having issues about being petite.
  • In K-On!, when Ritsu sees Mio in her bikini, she really notices Mio's breasts... and hits her in the face with a beach ball. (The subject hasn't come up a lot so far, though.)
  • Artificial Human Ai from Video Girl Ai was supposed to be busty, but being played in Youta's broken VCR caused her breasts to shrink down to almost nothing. She becomes annoyed when she finds out about this.
  • In Bloody Maiden the captain of the ladies' spear fighting club is a senior who's the same cup size as the freshmen. The girls who do posses large breasts and the fact that the whole team is not shy about being naked around each other only makes her attitude worse.
  • In episode 12 of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza, Alice-chan had a moment of this. A ping-pong ball had got caught in Haruka's cleavage. When it was finally out, Alice picked up the ball and dropped it onto what would be her cleavage if she weren't a grade-schooler (or at least having the body of one). Her sigh and expression of disappointment when the ball just fell to the floor....
  • Inverted in One Piece. Kuina, Zoro's childhood rival, had angst for developing breasts at all, because it reminded her that she was becoming a woman.
    • Also, played for laughs during the Arlong Park Arc, where Sanji is infuriated at Zoro for even suggesting Nami fits this Trope, as she certainly does not.[1]
  • Mikoto Misaka of A Certain Scientific Railgun is self-conscious of the fact that some of the younger students of Tokiwadai Academy have a bigger bust than she does.
  • Nanako Misonou from Oniisama e.... It's only mentioned once, however: when she and her close friend Mariko take a bath together, and she notices that Mariko is VERY well endowed for her and Nanako's age.
  • "Deconstructed" in Manyuu Hikencho, where Buxom Is Better is taken to its logical conclusion - boobs mean everything, and a flat chest makes you less than human. A special mention goes to people who lost their breasts: the oppressive government employs a clan of ninja who steals bust size from those who they feel don't deserve it, and the protagonist is a former member who acts Just Like Robin Hood in this regard. (And yes, this is an actual anime that was not considered a hentai. Barely.)
  • Sayaka in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo is teased about this, even when she transforms into an adult form. She's a little worried about it, but it mostly just appears when someone else brings it up negatively.
  • Nanael from Queen's Blade is essentially the only female in the world without a bustline, and it bothers the hell out of her. Especially once she has to room with a priestess whose breasts are almost the size of Nanael's body.
  • Wendy and Levy both suffer from this in Fairy Tail, though Wendy is more worried about being flat-chested when she's older, considering she's only 12.
  • Kiyomi from Squid Girl does not let anybody see her original Tanabata wish for larger breasts, going so far as to completely ink over the side of the paper charm that she wrote it on. The viewers only get to see the original wish for a fraction of a second.
  • Deconstructed in the manga Chi To Mizu ("Blood And Water"), in which a mercenary plastic surgeon meets a teenage girl who was so insecure about being flat, she underwent illegal breast augmentation surgery to become an idol singer. Unfortunately. her faulty, leaking implants are slowly killing her. He offers repeatedly to remove them, but realizing she'd be flat again she chooses instead to keep them despite the consequences.

Comic Books

  • Sophie Bangs in Alan Moore's Promethea is described by one of the past Prometheas as "flat-chested and neurotic", with the implication that that's what the typical candidate for Promethea-hood is like.
  • When Henry Bendix first recruits Jenny Sparks into Stormwatch, The Authority's predecessor, she agrees on the condition that she doesn't have to wear spandex, saying "I don't have the chest for it". Most artist renditions since have been faithful to this concept. This did not hamper her sex life in the slightest, though living 80 years as an attractive 20-year-old who loves to party surely helped her there. Swift (being a typical Tibetan) was pretty flat-chested during the Warren Ellis run/ending of Stormwatch, but when the artists for The Authority drew her, she was given a much more substantial rack that got handwaved into being a "20-grand boob job."
  • Jubilee of the X-Men sometimes takes this role. In Generation X, which focused on the younger and less well-known of Xavier's students, her modest figure was used to contrast her against the model-esque Monet St. Croix. Sometimes Kitty Pryde takes this role, too. But much like Swift above, when Jubilee transitioned into the New Warriors relaunch, she lost her mutant powers, but gained two cup sizes in the bargain. (Granted, she was 13-14 for most of her comic history.)
    • Entertainingly lampshaded in Uncanny X-Men #268 - Jubilee is listening in to a conversation between Wolverine and the more commonly-endowed Psylocke and Black Widow. She glances up at the two women in their skintight costumes, peers down her vest to see how she matches up, and then drops her head in her hands with a frustrated expression.
  • Yelena Rossini from Transmetropolitan is just a bit touchy on the subject, which makes a certain amount of sense when you consider that she spends most of her time in close proximity to Channon.
  • Vanessa, a teenage supporting character in the old Wonder Woman comics, tended to bemoan her lack of breasts and was stated on one occasion to stuff her shirt.
  • Wilhelmina "Will" Vandom, the teenaged leader of the interdimensional Guardians in W.I.T.C.H., is quite explicit about it. She frets about her scrawny appearance, and prefers to be in her older, more tittacular Guardian body. As most of the art seems to show her arching her back and sticking out her chest in Guardian form, you can guess why. Actually if you look at the second picture there, she's clearly staring down at her enhanced breasts with excitement in the middle image!
    • Also, Hay Lin likes her Guardian form... like, alot. This is driven home in one episode: Cornelia's mother embarrasses her in front of the others by jokingly implying she stuffs her bra after seeing Hay Lin transformed and buxom, believing it's a Halloween costume with false breasts. Hay Lin suddenly looks angry and humiliated, and puffs up her chest some more to (over)compensate.
    • Subverted with Cornelia. Even if Irma often laugh at her for being flat-chested, she doesn't mind—after all boys agree she is the prettiest in the group. Not coincidently, she is the only who stays flat-chested in her "magical" form.
  • Ninjette's cheerily drunken confession to Empowered as to the reason she was in the employ of various thugs rather than a member of the Superhomeys summed this trope up (and unlike many artists, when Adam Warren invokes lack of the Most Common Superpower, he does not use half-measures).

"I can't be a goody-goody heroine 'cause I don't have a nice, big rack! *urrp* Can't be a good girl without a good set, right?"

  • Justice Society of America has Stargirl quip to Power Girl: "Can I be you when I grow up?"
    • This image by fan-favourite Amanda Conner shows Supergirl having this reaction to Power Girl as well, despite the fact that Power Girl is Supergirl's Alternate Universe counterpart (but now resides in the same universe with her; it's complicated). If you believe that universe's Superman, it was supposedly a "perfect" universe as well.
    • ...Although to be honest, pretty much everyone is this in comparison to Power Girl.
    • Subverted: Jamie Shaffer has been short and "underdeveloped" her entire life, so she complains about society's "beauty norms" and blah blah blah...and as soon as she got the chance, she started getting bigger and bigger and bigger breast implants. The only thing that stopped her from getting even bigger ones was a viral zombie apocalypse exploding around her.

Fan Works


  • Kitten Braden, the heroine of Breakfast On Pluto, although she prefers to call herself a "svelte gamine," as she indignantly informs the peep show customer who complains about her lack of endowment. Although in Kitten's case, this is only to be expected, since she's biologically male and not on any sort of hormone therapy.
  • In Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, one of the town residents is this. She uses a variant of bra stuffing to make herself seem otherwise and keeps her small breasts a secret from the entire town.
  • In the medieval comedy Gladiatrix, the heroine's newly acquired French husband is disappointed over her lack of breasts. When she magically acquires breasts during the course of the movie, she's able to return home and tell her husband to carry out numerous household tasks.
  • They Call Me Bruce?: The title character comments on the fact that the nude woman sent to massage him has "breasts like a boy". She seems rather embarrassed by this.
  • The song "Itty Bitty Tittie Committee" from the film Junior High School. [dead link]
  • Samantha "Sam" Baker from John Hughes' Sixteen Candles. According to his little brother, she's "only eating carrots to increase the size of her breasts." Sam later says about her bridesmaid dress: "I don't have one-tenth of the bod to fill the stupid bust up."
    • They're so perky!
  • In the first Gidget movie, Sandra Dee is doing some sort of exercise to help pump her chest out.
  • Bridget Fonda has this in Singles.
  • Thora Birch in American Beauty is seen early in the movie looking up breast augmentation on the internet. This is a peculiar example because she's shown to be quite amply endowed later in the film. (The script was likely written well before the actress was cast. It's never explained—perhaps her "angst" is less about the size than about the shape or natural asymmetry of her breasts, which are other reasons women get surgery).
  • Cameron Diaz's character in Bad Teacher suffers from this.


  • There's a mean-spirited prank plays off this trope in Real Life:

I just heard a joke so funny it'll knock you flat! [looking at chest] Oh, I see you've already heard it.


  • A major theme in Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.. Margaret and her friends are sixth graders who can't wait to grow. They envy their classmate Laura Danker, who already has.
  • In The Princess Diaries, Princess Mia's biggest insecurity about her appearance is her extreme lack of a chest - it was pointed out several times by Lana that she doesn't even need a training bra.
    • Granted, by the end of the series she has C-cups.
  • Based on a True Story, Catalina, the teenaged protagonist of the Colombian novel, later international franchise "Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso" is a dark play on this trope. Catalina's real reason for wanting a bigger chest is to catch a rich boyfriend who'll buy her luxuries and get her out of her poor neighborhood, like the ones her bustier friends have. The catch is that those "rich boyfriends" are drug dealers and traffickers. She tries to approach that "rich world" by becoming a prostitute, but her beginnings are harder because most of her potential clients prefer chicks with "more meat". She eventually gets a bust augmentation from a Back-Alley Doctor and marries a minor boss of a Cartel, but she's still under her pettanko complex, by that point she has lost her True Love and any chance of escape, and eventually the brutal reality of the shady world she has gotten into hits her hard. When she is forced to reverse her boob job in a Life or Limb Decision, it's become the last straw for her, so she arranges a Suicide by Hitman to end her suffering. Anvilicious much?
  • In the Discworld series, Magrat Garlick has been described several times as being a physical match for an ironing board with two peas on top of it. Although being flat is not her defining characteristic in terms of attractiveness (the author also makes note of hair which refuses to cooperate) she certainly does seem to be very self-conscious of it.
    • Now imagine how she must have felt in Wyrd Sisters when, having stuffed her bra among other preparations, she takes a quick survey of her assets upon encountering Verence and finds that her stuffing has descended approximately to her waist.
    • In the animated Wyrd Sisters, Magrat fits neither qualification-her breasts are roughly B-cups and her hair is long and straight. In deference to Pratchett's constant descriptions which paint her as less than ideal if looks are your thing, the animators gave her a big nose. Also she has a rather dull voice not given to expressing emotion, although this has little if anything to do with physical appearance at all.
    • Also from Discworld, Monstrous Regiment opens with Polly Perks being annoyed that, when doing a Sweet Polly Oliver, she didn't need to bind her breasts.
  • Lisbeth Salander in the first book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium series. Because of her flat chest and the fact that she's short and skinny, she is often mistaken for a 14 year-old. Her legal guardian even uses this fact to his advantage when he drugs and rapes her. He claims no one will believe he raped her since her small cup-size means she's not a turn-on (yeah, he's a jerk). In the second book though Lisbeth has gotten breast implants.
  • The Doctor's companion (later ex-companion and Adventurer Archaeologist) Bernice "Benny" Summerfield from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels. One could probably draw quite a few conclusions about certain novel writers by counting up the number of times per book some of them have felt the need to mention her legendarily petite rack.
    • Benny's creator, Paul Cornell, had a character describe her (in dialogue) as having "no tits".
    • Trix MacMillan, from the Eighth Doctor Adventures, is a less-prominent example, so to speak. Her breasts aren't big enough for her to have what you'd call cleavage. This only seems to bother her when she's feeling especially self-conscious, though. Also, she has some kind of sex-work-ish career in her Backstory, although that isn't necessarily saying a lot, at least in Real Life, and she manages to look glamorous and another character actually has nice things to say about her rack... but he Really Gets Around and has a 6'6" ex-girlfriend, so maybe he's not all that picky.
  • Jame in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath is flat-chested and self-conscious about it. She's flat to the point of being mistaken for a boy all the time (being rather tomboyish doesn't help, of course). The master thief she's apprenticed to in the first book thinks she's a boy the whole time, even when she strips to the waist in front of him. After that, she gives up trying to tell him otherwise; granted, he's eccentric and has bad eyesight, but still. She also doesn't ever understand the crushes other characters have on her, convinced that there's nothing worth looking at in her. (One suspects she's rather blind to what she does have...)
  • In the fourth book of The Belgariad, Castle of Wizardry Princess Ce'Nedra has a suit of armor made for herself, and makes a point of trying to get a Breast Plate much larger than her actual chest. She settles for one just breasty enough that she won't be mistaken for a boy in armor.
  • Older Than Feudalism: At the end of the Song of Solomon. "I have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What will we do for her on the day she's spoken for?" The speaker, however, says "my breasts are like towers".
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Brienne of Tarth, in addition to being riotously masculine all around, is flat to the point that she may as well not have breasts at all. Jaime once comments that she's like the Hound with teats—or would be, if she had any teats. She's not terribly concerned with her bust in general, but her flatness is part of the overall lack of femininity that often distresses her, as she is so often taunted and rejected for her appearance and knightly ambitions.
  • This is practically the entire focal point of Girl, Fifteen, Charming but Insane.
  • Hilda in Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast also refers to her regrets at her lack of, er, development at many points, especially in comparison to stepdaughter Deety, who has the Most Common Superpower.
  • One of the concerns Calliope, the main character in Middlesex, have while growing up is being totally flat-chested. At least until truth about her Intersex body is discovered.
  • In S.L. Viehl's Blade Dancer, Jory isn't sure why people are staring at her tits when she takes her shirt off to treat an injury, and compares herself unfavorably to full-blooded Jorenian women in that regard.

Live-Action TV

  • Dialog from the Veronica Mars episode "Meet John Smith," where Veronica is trying to change her flat tire:

Troy: Flat?
Veronica: As God made me.

  • Yamada Naoko in the live-action Japanese dorama Trick is constantly teased about her flat chest by all the male characters and is quite bitter about it.
  • A running gag in Married... with Children is Marcy being mistaken for an adolescent boy due to her flat chest and short hair.
  • This, along with her short stature, is one of Claudia's main insecurities in Party of Five. If only the show had run a few more years we could have seen Claudia (and Lacey Chabert) get over this in a big way.
  • iCarly: Carly's "flat-chestedness" during early (in Season 1) and middle (season 2 or 3) puberty has been humorously referenced in a few episodes.
    • In iSaw Him First:

Carly: What's that supposed to mean?
Sam: Why won't you ask your new helping bra?
Carly: (looks down and gasps) There's nothing wrong with a little help.

    • And in iFight Shelby Marx:

Carly: I'm not a twig. I'm getting curvier every day.
Freddie: I know.
Carly: Eyes up, dude.

  • Apparently, Lizzie McGuire, Kate ditched Lizzie and Miranda as friends once she "developed", only lending to Lizzie's insecurity regarding her size. Many episodes made reference to bras, Lizzie's lack of curves, etc., which seemed unlikely towards the end of the show, when Hilary Duff got older and obviously well-endowed.
  • Grace in Will and Grace is insecure about her bust size to the point of using a water-filled bra at one point. (Comically, it got punctured... while she was attending an exhibition of watercolor paintings.)
  • Spear Counterpart: On Degrassi the Next Generation, J.T. Yorke has a really small penis.
  • In the 'Spin the Bottle' of Angel, a mistaken spell has all of the characters reverting to their teenage minds, but realizing they are in their adult bodies:

Cordela: (looks down at her chest) I've filled out
Fred: (looks down at hers) and I'm... apparently not gonna

Jack: Do we have any more money?
Janet: I'm sorry, Jack, I'm flat.
Jack: Never mind that. Do you have any money?

  • Eun Bi from Flower Boy Ramyun Shop gets upset when Chi Soo justifies touching her chest as it's not much different from his.
  • On Cheers, jokes made at Diane's expense using this Trope, usually by Carla, was a Running Gag.


  • Parodied in the stage play Psycho Beach Party, where the female lead laments her figure to the audience while topless ("It's like I have the body of a boy!")... and while played by a boy.
  • (In)famously, Val in A Chorus Line, who never grew the womanly attributes necessary for Broadway success, so she went to a plastic surgeon and got them installed.
  • In the play Tintypes, one of the roles is relegated to a small-chested actress who wears a strapless dress at one point in the show. The comment "The only thing holdin' that dress up is a city ordinance!" is quick to follow.

Video Games

  • Seems to be a trope common to Nippon Ichi's Tactical RPGs in general. Either you're a washboard or an Eiken character, and of the main female characters, only Prier from La Pucelle: Tactics, Rozalin from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, and Artina from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten are on the other end. The only average girl is Asagi. It's worth noting that between La Pucelle and Disgaea, there was a noticeable change in character design, mostly due to lead artist Takehito Harada taking the place of former lead Ryoji Majima, which evidently switched the direction of the Author Appeal.
    • Soul Nomad and The World Eaters features an entire race of aquatic pettanko.
    • Etna and Flonne from Disgaea. In the first game, Etna and Flonne's Pettanko status is actually vital to their employment; for undisclosed reasons (possibly Rule of Funny, possibly a result of his mother's death), their master Laharl (who is himself an older-than-he-looks boy) has a deep aversion to breasts. Simply seeing a buxom woman freaks him out, and even induces weakness and nausea (one part of the game actually has a battle where a chorus of big-breasted she-demons constantly chant positive words, his other weakness, and Laharl rapidly gets weaker) - nobody really wants to know what'll happen if he actually gets sent to Marshmallow Hell or a similar situation. Being as flat as they are is the only reason he can put up with them. In fact, in the anime adaption, when Laharl faints and falls face-first against Flonne's chest as a result of seeing Jennifer, he suddenly revives and makes a confused comment that Flonne's cured him.
    • The manga adaptation of Disgaea 2 adds the Dimension Guide Friday to this list. She's a member of the absolutely flat Archer class. Just how absolute this is is shown in a series of Yonkoma at the end of the book.
    • Their parent company, Nippon Ichi is personified in Hyperdimension Neptunia. She is, of course, flat as a board and angry about anyone who mentions it.
      • It doesn't help that she has her chest (wrapped with bandages where her breasts would be) completely exposed. She's pretty much asking for it.
  • Colette of Tales of Symphonia. She can even earn the title of "Ironing Board" depending on a game event.
    • Marta of Tales Of Symphonia 2: Dawn of the New World gets a title like this as well. Hey, she is voiced by Rie Kugimiya, after all.
    • Likewise, Norma of Tales of Legendia. She's not flat chested per se, she just perceives herself as such. It doesn't help that the other female members of the party are stacked.
    • For that matter, Arche in Tales of Phantasia and Anise in Tales of the Abyss (though Anise may be excused for only being 13).
      • To be fair, though, Arche only calls herself flat-chested in the game when compared to Mint. It doesn't seem like a fair comparison when Arche tells Mint that she "has the biggest tits [she's] ever seen!"
    • This is the basis of a few skits in Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3. In one skit, Frio (the game's male protagonist) sees Arche and Calo (his female counterpart) together and begins gleefully shouting about the "Pettanko Girls". Arche joins him in teasing Calo, who responds by reminding Arche that "He said Pettanko Girls! With an 's'!" Cue savage beatings of Frio.
    • Estelle of Tales of Vesperia, while not exactly flat chested, still wishes to be more like Judith. Rita, on the other hand...

Estelle: "They're...bouncing."
Judith: "What are you looking at?"
Estelle: "I wish I could bounce like that."

  • Ibis Douglas in Super Robot Wars. In a series where girls of her age just manage to have well endowed breasts, she happens to be a Pettanko and has no bouncing cut-ins, contrast with the other heroines. Even a loli that she took care of (in Alpha 2) has an adult form which has bigger breasts than her. Obviously her status as a Pettanko has been the subject of jokes. But it doesn't stop her to be a champ of Moe Moe girls amongst fans.
    • In Super Robot Wars Reversal, one of Duminuss' Loli Quirky Miniboss Squad, Tis, has this as her plight (never mind that she's a loli). In a heart-wrenching moment of sacrifice, Duminuss asked what they wanted if they are to be reborn, Tis answers, "I want a body with sexier form and bigger breasts".
    • And in the spinoff game Endless Frontier, we have Suzuka as the resident Pettanko. So much Aschen calls her Princess Flat/Pettanko-hime, and most of the time she's praised about being beautiful, it mostly has something to do with her exposed belly.
      • It doesn't help Suzuka that she's in the quadruple digits in age and still has a non-existant chest. Then there's Xiaomu, like-wise a loli. It also doesn't help the self-esteem that they're in a group with two of the bustiest women in SRW and the third one is definitely not lacking.
  • Chihaya Kisaragi from The Idolmaster. Her bustline, 72 centimeters, has become something of a magic number for Idolmaster fans. In fact, if you Google for "72cm" and set the language to Japanese, guess what the top result is. (The Japanese Uncyclopedia also lists the "Chihaya" as a unit of measure for length...)
    • She wasn't that much of having such thing as this is mostly fandom-based. But this becomes an Ascended Meme in the anime, during the Beach Episode whereas just by looking at Azusa and Takane's assets, she lets out a dejected grunt.
  • Shino from Izuna Legend of the Unemployed Ninja fits this to the point that one of the comics on the game's website refers to her as the first flat-chested character on the DS. It gets to the point that in the sequel, this is the primary description her sister gives people when trying to find her. Although it later turned out it wasn't her sister.
    • Sounds like the people who wrote that comic have never heard of Maya Fey.
  • Lilith Aensland, "sister" of the huge-breasted succubus Morrigan in the Darkstalkers / Vampire videogames is a strange inversion. Although she tends to act 'as if' she didn't notice the size difference, it's the rather busty Morrigan that makes a big deal of it every time Lilith gets the attention Morrigan is craving, while Lilith is not bothered by her flatness. See Morrigan's ending in Super Gem Fighter Mini-Mix for an especially clear-cut example.
  • Castlevania Judgment has Maria obsessing over her relative bust size in story mode, going so far as to attack someone for not appreciating their own endowments.
  • A throwaway line for a female player in the initial dialogue of the Neverwinter Nights 2 community module Dark Waters suggests the player may be one (despite the fact that all of the character models have reasonably sized breasts).
  • Bridget from Guilty Gear XX appears to be one of these. The reality is much different. The only giveaway is his quite prominent man hands.
    • May is a more straight example (hurr-durr). Her first thought after defeating Baiken is astonishment at how big her breasts are.
      • She has some serious issues if fairly ample breasts are greater cause for astonishment than FRIGGIN' MISSING AN ARM.
        • Well lost limbs are quite common among pirates (due to the dangerous work conditions)
  • Touhou has lots [2] of Pettankos, although most fall under Petite Pride. Of the others, the most notable examples are Sakuya (pictured above), who pads her bra (if Fanon is to be believed, although it's well on its way to Discredited Meme), and Parsee, who is heavily associated with jealousy, usually manifesting as "breast envy" in fanworks.
    • Amusingly, ZUN's art for Parsee actually does indicate that she has a bust, which in theory makes her more stacked than most other Touhou characters. However, "breast envy" is great for Les Yay, so Fanon marches on...
    • Said Fanon also holds that even mentioning the word "pad" in Sakuya's presence is a Berserk Button that's liable to get you stabbed.
  • Eruruw of Utawarerumono although this is generally the mostly expressed sentiment. She actually tends to feel physically inferior to the entire cast (jealous of Urtoriy's breasts and hair, Touka's face, Karura's hips/effortless physical upkeep and that Kamyu has such large breasts despite being the same age or maybe younger) though they also tend to feel the same way about themselves. But even Mukkur is disappointed by her breasts. Yes, the cat.
    • Mukkur was disappointed because she didn't produce milk. though.
  • Lina in Riviera: The Promised Land. One of the villains calls her "flatty". If you pick the "Small-chested..." dialog option, Ein loses relationship points with her. Go figure.
  • Noel Vermillion from BlazBlue. During story mode Taokaka refers to her as "lacking lady" and after their fight Noel talks to herself about ways to make her breasts grow, including having a boy massage them. Bang Shishigami mistakes her for a boy at first and she attacks him for it. She also contemplates asking Litchi Faye Ling ("Boobie Lady") about how to get them bigger. Litchi chases Noel around during one story path trying to get her to cosplay as various things, including May, the loli pirate from Guilty Gear, because the costumes don't fit Litchi.
    • Ironically, Rachel may be flatter than Noel, but she's not as insecure about it, or indeed, anything.
      • But Rachel has the overall proportions and look of a young child. Noel's figure is lacking only in the chest.
    • Even though Tsubaki has way bigger breasts than Noel, she does get into a bit of this when Taokaka gropes her breasts and calls them "average".
    • Kokonoe has some issues with her chest size as well (Noel is the only one smaller than her). Near the end of Noel's Help Me!! segment, Noel points this out and Kokonoe chases her off the stage. In Makoto's, the two of them have a chat and, when breast size gets involved, Kokonoe almost throws a tantrum (Makoto's the inverse - she's smaller than only Litchi, and a display shows up to compare them).
      • If Relius' gag reel is to be trusted, Makoto is very aware of Kokonoe's breast envy.

Makoto as Ragna: "Kokonoe, did you steal my boobs?"

    • Platinum the Trinity, though, despite having the size of Rachel, takes this Up to Eleven in her Gag Reel and features Platinum having a dream where she had to unite with many of the small-chested ladies (and some... dudes, but minus Kokonoe) to fight against the 'Boob Queen' (Litchi depicted as an Evil Overlord, hammy at that) in a parody of a Magical Girl battle. 'Boob Queens minions include the top three bustiest ladies in the setting (as seen in the picture above), and Ragna. Since this IS Platinum's dream, one can wonder just how insecure she is to her own breasts, despite the age. Oddly, Trinity Glassfile, one of the souls residing in Platinum's body, seemed to have no problem with her original body's breasts (big it was).
  • Leanne/Reanbell from Resonance of Fate has much attention drawn to her breasts' lack of size, mostly by Vashyron. She tends to react with violence whenever it happens, although her insecurity is somewhat justified by the fact that she's 21 but looks like she just hit puberty.
    • "All we have are raisins."
  • If we are to believe Ayla, Marle from Chrono Trigger is one.
    • Ironically, Lucca is visibly flatter than Marle, but doesn't get any flack about it.
  • Word of God says that Blaze the Cat in the Sonic the Hedgehog series is rather... shy about her breast size (or lack thereof).
  • Sara Smith from Bliss Stage First and Final Act:

"I'm TRYING to make my breasts look bigger... I figure that people won't take me seriously because I look like a girl, not a woman..."

  • Atelier Iris's Lita Blanchimont.
  • Kai from Samurai Warriors 3, even though she doesn't seem to be all that flat, she's actually pretty well-endowed. Played with, as Ujiyasu told her she "still has much to grow" in order to invoke this reaction rather than outright tell her she needed to grow up.
  • Mayu Uzaka of Lightning Legend Daigo no Daibouken is very conscious about her cup size, and demeaning her this way is her Berserk Button. Of course, this is used for maximum comedy during her encounters with resident snarky Gag Boobs character Misa Atago. There's even an unlockable concept art where Mayu and Misa are wearing swimsuits, and in which Mayu has a jealous look towards Misa's rack.

Visual Novels

  • Key Visual Arts games seem to like this. In her own H-scene, Ayu of Kanon starts apologizing because her chest isn't as big as Nayuki's.
  • Kyoko from Crescendo generally holds this attitude about herself.
  • Akiha Tohno, the Tsundere Ojou from Tsukihime, is well aware of her small assets, but that doesn't really prompt out until the more intimate scenes in her route of the game ("'I have small breasts, so I was scared you might not like them.' Akiha is blushing so hard that even her ears are turning red..."). Fandom took this aspect of her personality and ran with it.
    • The sorta-sequel Kagetsu Tohya features one possible path where Shiki walks in on her changing and, for some reason, is compelled to comment that her chest is "steep as a cliffside". Unsurprisingly given the nature of the characters involved, this leads to a Bad End.
      • Added irony: Akiha and Saber have the same bust size. Saber, however, is more likely to have her breasts overstated. Rank B Charisma can go a long way.
      • Becomes an Ascended Meme in Carnival Phantasm when Shiki comments on how Akiha has grown in every parts except her breasts; even being regressed into a 4-years old mentally didn't stop her to turn red and presumably beat the shit out of Shiki.
  • As pointed above, Saber from Fate/stay night also has an small chest, but canonically she isn't that bothered by it (save in one of her sex scenes), and fan artists tends to give her some extra cups in doujinshi. Then Fate/EXTRA, whom features an alternate Saber with an bigger chest and a borderline Stripperiffic outfit, was released, and suddenly fandom decided that FSN!Saber was afflicted by the same breasts woes that plagues Akiha.
    • In the sequel/fandisk Fate/hollow ataraxia, there is a scene where Lancer crash Shirou and Saber's date in a pool. Lancer then commits the mistake of commenting on how Saber could need to fill more her bikini top. Saber's reaction is to immediately beat the guy black and blue.
  • Rika Furude of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni berates herself for this, despite being twelve years old. Rika's technically centuries old. The constant time loop that she goes through keeps reverting her physical body back to a younger time point, and she never reaches puberty. Near the end of the series, she resolves to grow up to have huge breasts, which is a lot more poignant than funny, given the context.
  • Setsuna Kiyoura from School Days. It doesn't help that both her best friend (and half sister, in the games) Sekai Saionji and her love rival Kotonoha Katsura are much better endowed.
  • Kazuna in Kara no Shoujo. Reiji jokes that while her belly may be big due to pregnancy, her chest is as flat as ever.

Web Comics

  • Ronin Galaxy: Taylor on page 55.
    • Though Giancarlo uses her small bust as an insult, Cecil seemed to be at least slightly interested. If only for verification.
  • Secret from Keychain of Creation displays elements of this, particularly around Marena.
  • The now-defunct adult furry webcomic Shayla The Pink Mouse. For Shayla, it was both the size and the number of breasts other (anthro) women had compared to her.
  • In Peter Is the Wolf, we meet Cherry, a Chinese-American Were-Raccoon-Dog (don't you dare call her a Tanuki!) of modest proportions in human form who is inordinatly proud of the D-cups she sports in were-form... until she sees the were-forms of Sarah the Werewolf and Ashley the Were-Vixen.
    • Sarah herself, in her human form, isn't exactly big either, thought it seems to vary from page to page.
  • Flora from Twokinds.
  • Megatokyo: Although she doesn't seem too self-conscious about it, it's been noted that Nanasawa Kimiko is rather flat-chested - both in her initial appearance at Anna Miller's, when she apparently was wearing inserts to work, and again during Piro's conversation with Tsubasa over the internet after Kimiko's radio outburst makes her an instant star.
  • In The Magnificent Milkmaid, one villain (JuGGGz) fought in an early adventure starts out like this. Made fun of by everyone else, rejected by a boy she has a crush on, incredibly insecure. The series bible outright says that, in her mind, breast size determines a "woman's worth" and she despises being puny. So naturally she gets help from a mad scientist to grow breasts bigger than her entire torso and then some which she can make larger still, at will. Brutally, cruely subverting Bigger Is Better, her supervillain career is brought to a close when the boy she had a crush on actually laughs at her new physique, and calls her "grossly oversized". As if that weren't enough to crush her hubris, she tries later to take down another villain, a lesbian teen vampire (don't ask) and is handily overpowered and sexually humiliated in public.
  • In her sometimes semi-autobiographical webcomic The Fart Party the author/artist Julia Werz tells of the day in the 7th grade when a cute guy that she had a crush on sat next to her in the lunch room and out of the blue asked her what her bra size was. She was so surprised that she immediately blurted out "32AA" without thinking and was known as "Tiny Tits" for the rest of the school year.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Zoe's first appearance has her wondering if she should get a push-up bra after a rather buxom lass pulls I Have Boobs - You Must Obey! on Riff and Torg. Judging by later appearances, she either got that push-up bra or hit a second puberty.
  • Sarah from El Goonish Shive doesn't normally seem bothered by her relative lack of endowment, but sometimes it becomes an issue....
  • Yuko from Johnny Wander (both in comic and in real-life).
  • Kiley from Ménage à 3, so much so that when she dreams of being a professional therapist, she also dreams of having large breasts to go along with it, and when Yuki mentioned that her girlfriend had small breasts too, she cried tears of joy.
  • Eerie Cuties:
    • Chloe started out this way, believing being flat chested (with freckles and glasses) made her a bad succubus. Ironically, as soon as Nina convinced her to stop being so shallow, she started to have growth spurts...
    • Layla felt a little frustrated next to a buxom Succubus and openly admitted her jealousy. Nina, being a sister of Layla and daughter of Maria, sometimes feels inadequate, especially after Layla teases her about this. Later she got her figure temporarily "improved" by magic, and all the boys are almost drooling, so now Layla feels inadequate... especially after Maria used this golden opportunity to pick on her the way Layla teased Nina earlier. After all the transformations Nina did stop worrying and start using what she got to maximum effect (even on her previously one-sided and now slightly dazed crush), however.
  • Abigail in Dangerously Chloe had a rather amusing reaction when a Succubus shapeshifted into more buxom form right before her eyes. Later, when she meets Naomi, Abby's gaze gives away her persistent interest in this matter.
    • Pandora isn't as well-endowed as some other succubi, but looks fine... with her own figure. However, when she tried to pass as Chloe the difference becomes obvious... and we learn that "Bigger Is Better" principle also applies to the horns. She looked like chewing on a lemon. Though normally she is confident and doesn't think of it as a problem, especially compared to non-succubi: Pandora isn't jealous of e.g. Charity's greater "assets", it's Charity who gets to be jealous despite her best efforts.
  • Elven has Dana preparing to use I Have Boobs - You Must Obey! skill. This involved some... Lock and Load Montage.

Danalach: Don't judge me!

  • The artist of Living With Hipster Girl and Gamer Girl once drew a lineup of the comic's four named females: title characters Sophie and Erika, both D-cups, in 1st and 2nd place, B-cup Clara in 3rd, a rough sketch of Artur (yes, a male) in 4th, and 5th-place A-cup Elly glaring out toward the reader and saying, "Ha, ha, Very funny..."
  • Discussed in this Girl Genius strip:

Zeetha:Does this make my chest look too big?
Agatha: No.
Zeetha: Drat.

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, the booby fairy skipped both Lily Turner (Wallflower) and Jadis Diabolik (She-Beast) when it was handing out the Most Common Superpower.
    • Also, played with in the Ayla stories, where Ayla helps one person at powers testing get implants to fix this, and get the guy she likes. When one of her own relatives close friends wants Gag Boobs to become a stripper... Ayla rejects that whole-heartedly.
    • Jade Sinclair (Generator) is closer to the flat girl who worries about her lack of size and maintains that childishness too. In fact, she still looks like she's about eleven.
  • When in costume, Bungie of the Global Guardians uses her Rubber Man powers to increase her bust size as part of her "disguise". She's normally rather small-breasted, and figures if people are looking at her chest when she's in costume, they won't be looking at her face.
  • Foxy from Zorak's let's play of Pokémon Quartz after a certain trainer told her to take off her pants and jacket and then losing:

Roker(sic) Travis: All the small things...
Foxy: Hey, I’m not that old, I know I’ll fill out later

  • The titular Tori from the Isekai web novel Tori Transmigrated by "Aila Aurie" was a forty-year-old career woman with a generous bosom before she was apparently killed in a train crash and reincarnated as Victoria de Guevera, a fourteen-year-old girl with no chest to speak of -- and of all the annoyances and difficulties of her new life, that's one of the things that bothers her most (well, outside of being cast as the villain of a Japanese dating sim game bound for an unpleasantly fatal Bad End). It's not until she's seventeen or so that her breasts start developing appreciably.

Western Animation

  • As mentioned above, WITCH has Wilhelmina "Will" Vandom, a boyish looking redhead who is openly displeased with her chest's small size, and Hay Lin who has similar concerns about her undersized breasts. They grow up (and how) in Guardian form, pumped up to about D-cups, and much happier for it. Will is especially prideful about her buxom Guardian body.
  • Sharon Spitz, the title character of Braceface, is constantly and excessively insecure about her chest, being completely flat-chested. So much so in fact that she tried on one episode to increase her breast size with a pneumatic pump... her breasts literally explode.
  • This is one of the reasons that Hayley on American Dad is such a bitch, as she's apparently bitter about not "filling out" the way she wanted. One episode had a flashback to her early teens when she angrily screams at her parents "This is as big as they're gonna get?!" and then torches the house in anger. Now that is Pettanko, friends.
    • Actually, she torched the house because she had a big zit on her cheek. Her parents were trying to fend her off with a stapler when she got mad about her breasts.
  • A throwaway line hints that Angelica is this on Rugrats: All Grown Up!. Apparently she's a little bitter that her bra-stuffing campaign didn't turn out the guys like she wanted... considering she practically has no breasts when she stuffs her bra, one wonders if her chest is concave without it.
  • Despite not being particularly flat-chested (like, at all) Jen on 6Teen is this, especially around her sister. She went as far as to try flashing some guys to get attention.
    • Conversely, Caitlin is flat-chested, and is revealed to pad her bra.
  • An amusing variant happens on Family Guy. When Peter is feeling self-conscious about his own less-than-average endowment, Lois tries to reassure him by saying, "I care about the size of your penis as much as you care about the size of my breasts," to which he runs out of the room crying.
  • Subtly lampshaded in Phineas and Ferb. Candace goes to Jeremy's pool party, but when she sees him there, he's chatting with a blonde, busty, curvy girl who's wearing the same swimsuit as she does. When Stacy tries to calm her down after she freaks out, Candace responds with "She wears [the swimsuit] better!".
  • Downplayed in Hazbin Hotel; Vaggie isn't very well-endowed, and while she never mentions it herself, she is rather annoyed when Angel Dust and Husk tease her about it.

Real Life

  • This angst is very common. Wikipedia says that, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. More than 300,000 (you read that right) were performed, only in 2007, only in the USA. There is a very good chance it is the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the world.
  • Gigi Edgley (Chiana on Farscape) is very small-breasted, though you perhaps wouldn't know it from looking at her in costume. In an interview with TV Guide, she recounted telling her family that the Chiana makeup took three-and-a-half hours to apply, leading her father to joke "Oh, so they spend half an hour on your face and and three hours on your tits?"
  • Jane Birkin is a combination of that and a Hot GRANDMA.
  • Kelly Ripa often comments on her small breasts during the host chat segments on Live With Regis And Kelly.
  • Salma Hayek suffered from this in her teens as she told it it on David Letterman's show.
  • Reeeeally weird inversion: Australia bans graphic depiction of too small breasts. Because the people responsible thought adult A-cups were covert child porn.
    • Apparantly, and rightly so, this was laughed out of office the same week. Sadly, the internet doesn't tend to follow up on these things...
  • Pornstar Kitty Jung, pre-implants. Also pornstar Melissa Ashley, which caused some authorities to believe her films were actually child porn.
  • Keira Knightley doesn't have much in the way of boobs or hips; the best word for her figure is "boyish". Evidently it bugs someone, because in all the promo material for that King Arthur movie she was in, she's been Photoshopped into a D-cup.
    • It clearly doesn't bother Keira herself though. She was publicly very angry about the decision to photoshop her breasts and has been disparaging of US magazine covers, which she claims she cannot be on 'without at least a C cup because it "turns people off."'
    • In a similar vein, there was a bit of a flap when Emma Watson was apparently photoshopped for the promotional image for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was reverted once the folks involved realized that they didn't need to be turning someone who in-universe is basically a high-school sophomore into a sex symbol. (Puberty did that on its own.)
  • In the True Life episode, "I Hate My Small Breasts", they had a woman who was an A cup but worked as a go-go dancer and pole dancer. Of course, this led to her wanting to get breast implants...
  • Because of the mechanics of late-life breast growth, many transgender women have problems with breast growth - either inadequate size or immature shape, if not both - leaving them with natural breasts of the relative size of a girl in early adolescence. For many, implants are the only option for proportionally-sized or -shaped breasts.
  • The Thai government is concerned about nationwide A-Cup Angst that compels many women to go under the knife. In response, they have endorsed an alternative to breast enlargement surgery known as the "Thailand Breast Slap" said to enlarge feminine assets by one to four inches. For those of you that would like to know, four inches of growth would enlarge small A cups to full D cups.
  • Margaretha Zelle MacLeod (far better known today as Mata Hari) initially made her name as an exotic dancer -- but despite baring the rest of her body during her infamous performances never uncovered her breasts, because she was self-conscious about how small they were.

  1. Truthfully, Zoro did not, having called her a "small thing", meaning "small fry who is too forgiving for her own good, but Sanji did not know that.
  2. Everyone in the cast, if one goes by ZUN's official art, though official art from other sources for the fighting game spinoffs indicate actual size variance between the characters.
  3. Which provides the page picture for I Have Boobs - You Must Obey!