Giant Germs

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You're gonna need a cold pill the size of Manhattan to cure that.

They cause diseases and you can never truly escape from them. So it is only natural that the creators of media exaggerate bacteria to make them seem even scarier than they need to be. Due to a lot of regular bacteria looking like ovals and other basic shapes, many forms of media also make germs look like actual monsters which, due to how disgusting germs can be in Real Life, can lead to potential Nightmare Fuel. Many times these creatures are represented as amoeba-like Blob Monsters.

Given that the Media is the Media, expect to see all other manner of microorganisms or even parts of the human immune system similarly depicted.[1]

There are four main types of larger than life germs:

1. A germ that is a Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever kind of creature that smashes buildings and the like.
2. The second kind is usually as small as as a dog, but can be troublesome, becoming a Cute Bruiser, a Team Pet (if it decides to join the hero), or an Adorable Evil Minion (if it is controlled by a villain).
3. "Good germs"; these are usually medicine or some kind of bacteria that can combat the other, more evil germs. these are sometimes more humanoid than evil germs, and are also usually seen in a Fantastic Voyage Plot -like setting.
4. Germs that in-universe are, in fact, as small as real life germs are. These, like the good germs, are usually involved in a Fantastic Voyage Plot and are usually the reason the protagonist venture into another body in the first place. many times they are more inhuman-like and can merge with the second kind of germ-type, but are usually bigger than the hero.

Remember: Giant Germs aren't necessarily evil, they just need to be big enough to interact with other characters.

Examples of Giant Germs include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Moyashimon: Tadayasu - and only Tadayasu - can interact with bacteria. He sees them as insect-sized.
  • Some of the mushi in Mushishi are essentially giant spirit-bacteria.
  • The Giant Germ which appears in nine different episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Pokémon has Solosis and its evolutions, all of which are giant cells. There's also Deoxys, a giant, humanoid space-virus.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In the Don Rosa Scrooge McDuck story "The Incredible Shrinking Tightwad", Scrooge and Donald are eventually shrunk down to microscopic size due to the effects of a malfunctioning shrinking ray, and are menaced by a horde of microbes.
  • In a Super Goof story, a villain used a ray gun to enlarge animals. In the final battle, Super Goof was pitted against a van-sized amoeba.
  • Strictly speaking, both Protys from The Legion of Super Heroes are Type 2. Members of the same species, their bodies were undifferentiated masses of protoplasm without individual cells or even a nucleus.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Fantastic Voyage (naturally enough) features Type 4 -- normal-sized germs (and other organisms and organelles) which end up oversized compared to the miniaturized humans who encounter them.
  • Evolution used a giant microbe. Technically, it's an amoeba...
  • The B-Movie The Flesh Eaters features the titular micro-organisms joining together to become one large creature.
  • Star Trek III: The Search For Spock has a set of microbes that get supersized thanks to the Genesis Effect. Later, they get so big that Captain Kruge gets to have a fight with one of them!

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The oldest known example of this trope dates back to a French pulp adventure Une Invasion de Macrobes/The Invasion of the Macrobes published in 1909.
  • The sixth volume in the Magic School Bus spin-off book series is entitled The Giant Germ and is (as might be guessed) about the exploration of the microscopic world by Ms. Frizzle and her class.
  • In some Choose Your Own Adventure books that involved some shrink-ray device, a few bad endings had microbes (e.g. paramecium, or white blood cells) attach themselves to a object which returns to normal size. In the case of a amoeba, it took Kentucky for breakfast, then Lousiana for lunch. Even at their normal microscopic size, they look very large.
  • The Belgian sci-fi/horror book La sortie est au fond de l'espace by Sternberg starts like this. All the microbes start growing, making the Earth uninhabitable in a series of scenes between horror and Black Comedy. For the survivors who fled in a spaceship, It Got Worse.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

Music[edit | hide]

  • One somewhere between type 2 and type 1 in size appears in passing in Rob Balder's song Muppet Laboratories:

It isn't easy working in the Muppet Laboratories.
So maybe you could help me with this giant germ.
Would it kill you? Okay, maybe.
Germ enlarger seemed like a good plan.
Beaker thought so, now it's got his head...

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In Pandemic, the disease cubes are as big as cities on the board! Though they're supposed to be more symbolic than representational.
  • The Giant Germ card from the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game.
  • Phyrexian Living Weapons in Magic: The Gathering come into play automatically attached to a 0/0 Germ token. The germ can't survive on its own outside of the weapon, but with a few buffs to its toughness and power it's possible to beat things up with a giant Germ.

Toys[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The comic Irritability played with this once, with Chappy bragging about his victory over a giant plankton.

Chappy: It was huge!
Tatanya: Like this? (Pictures a building-sized plankton screeching "RAR!")
Chappy: ...for a plankton. (Pictures himself grasping that same plankton, now about the size of an apple, and saying "I have u now!")

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Osmosis Jones is filled with Type 3s and Type 4s.
  • Johnny Bravo episode "The Incredible Shrinking Johnny" ends with an amoeba accidentally enlarged to giant size, which proceeds to chase Johnny and Carl down the street.
  • Superman the Animated Series featured a brief appearance by ameoba enlarged to human size in the episode that introduced the giant ape "Titano".
  • The Amoeba Boys are a gang of three dimwitted crooks in The Powerpuff Girls. They're about the size of humans, and sort of float along the ground.
  • Swat Kats had a legion of gigantic purple bacteria monsters in its second episode, "The Giant Bacteria". The trouble is, they didn't much look like germs, possessing eyes, mouths and a definite torso shape with arms and legs, due to the first one having originally been an ordinary guy (more or less) who gets mutated by Mad Scientist Dr. Viper.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The largest known single-celled lifeforms on the planet are amoeba-like protista called xenophyophores. They run about ten centimeters across. Small by monster standards, but positively Kaiju-sized by cell standards. They are found exclusively in the deepest parts of the ocean.
  1. And let's not even get into confusing viruses and germs.