Top-Heavy Guy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
TF2 top heavy 9348.png

A type of caricature style of drawing the human male figure, as having really huge torso and arms, but legs that are too small to support the upper body, either by being too skinny and/or too short. The effect is usually a triangle with legs (heck, some drawing books actually say to draw the male torso as a triangle). The form of this can range from a moderately large torso and legs that are just a bit too skinny (usually when the rest of the cast is drawn with realistic proportions), to legs that are short and stubby, and the torso is freakishly huge to keep the guy still at normal height (usually when the rest of the cast has cartoonish figures). And even then, there can be other variations.

This trope might originate from the notion of the ideal man having lots of muscles in the arms and chest, but not really caring about the muscles in the legs.

Bipedal animal examples of this trope are often of the humanoid torso and non-humaniod legs form of Petting Zoo Person. When it involves Super Heroes, it overlaps with Heroic Build. Also commonly seen in Captain Space, Defender of Earth!

This still requires legs being too small to support the torso, not simply a guy with a big, muscular chest and/or arms.

Compare Super-Deformed, Lantern Jaw of Justice, Hartman Hips, Most Common Superpower.

Examples of Top-Heavy Guy include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Franky in One Piece was a prominent example before the timeskip. Afterwards, it became absolutely preposterous. [dead link] Why he looks like that is justified in that he's a cyborg who built himself; how he can stand is left to the imagination. Bartholomew Kuma is another prominent example.
  • Soul Eater has Mosquito, while normally a puny old guy, has the ability to bulk himself up to fight. However, his legs do not increase in size, leaving them to dangle while he supports himself by his arms. This is lampshaded.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Strong Guy from Marvel Comics has a massive torso but regular legs. It isn't stylistic, his body was deformed by his powers overloading.
  • Mr. Hyde in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is muscled all around, but his torso is still too large for his legs.
  • Every Roman centurion (not the grunts, except in the Olympics one) in Asterix has a massive torso and tiny wiry legs.
  • Rufo, the former boxer from Mesmo Delivery.
  • Krakkaboom of the '80s Astro City Irregulars, whose bombastic proportions are evidently a side effect of his powers.
  • Jerommeke of the Belgian comic Suske en Wiske.
  • Eddie, the gangster protagonist of Black Cherry.
  • Tom Strong acquired this physique in adulthood, having been much leaner as a boy. It's possible that this is a side-effect of the high-gravity environment in which he was raised and the emphasis on the miracle food goloka in his diet. Several characters compare him to an upside-down triangle ("You wonderful, triangular man!") -- which, incidentally, is also his Chest Emblem.


Films -- Animated[edit | hide]

  • Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective has this build. Being a...um...big mouse RAT!!! he has very broad shoulders, a wide chest, and overall is extremely muscular in the upper body. However, he has a teeny tiny waist and very short legs, easily fitting into a triangle shape. His head is also quite small compared to his shoulder width, despite his genius IQ.
  • In the animated Hellboy movies, Hellboy is drawn with a huge upper body but mere human-sized legs.
  • Chanticleer the rooster from Rock-a-Doodle.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Hrun the Barbarian from The Colour of Magic is described as looking like 'an apple balanced on top of a coffin'.
  • Played straight (huge torso and stubby legs) and inverted (incredibly skinny torso and massive legs) in the beach scene in Where's Waldo.


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • Donkey Kong Country 2 takes this to an insane degree with Klubba [dead link] and Kudgel.
  • Captain Qwark of the Ratchet and Clank series, and a few enemies and bosses, such as Shellshock [dead link], the Thugs-4-Less leader, and Captain Slag.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Heavy, which an achievement image points this out.
  • Double H [dead link] from Beyond Good and Evil.
  • Ganon in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker has his legs obscured most of the time because he's wearing a kimono, but the waist is low enough to make it clear his legs are small.
  • Groose
  • Brick from Borderlands isn't one of the most extreme example of this trope, but his legs are noticeably thinner than the rest of his body, which keeps his body distinctly triangular.
  • The Tank from Left 4 Dead has a massive upper body, supported by fairly normal-sized legs. It actually walks like a gorilla, using its massive arms to help support itself.
    • In the sequel its mass has increased to the point where its lower jaw has either been forced off, or crushed, by massive pectoral muscles.
  • Muggshot from the Sly Cooper games has such an atrophied lower body that his legs don't reach the floor. He walks on his knuckles, and therefore has to stand still to shoot.
  • Though averted as far as graphical representation of the hero goes, Quest for Glory 4 lampshades the trope in an instruction manual emphasizing the need for proper legwork with cautionary tales about top-heavy would-be-heroes.
  • Blasto, an obscure third-person action platformer for the original Playstation, had a protagonist whose upper torso to lower body proportions can only be described as preposterous even by top heavy standards, with a hugely exaggerated chest, shoulders, and biceps, but comically tiny hands and legs...and that chin. Even with his stance braced for balance, you get the feeling he's going to tip over any second now.
  • Cranking the "Weight" slider to max in the first two Rock Band games will turn a male character into this.
  • Tim Schafer is fond of this character design; he's used it for Full Throttle, Brutal Legend and even the non-muscular skeletal protagonist of Grim Fandango has it.
  • Darkrai from Pokémon normally has a triangular torso and a thin, spindle-like waist, with a pair of clawed arms but no legs, but when Darkrai actually does show its legs, they're actually very thin and bony.
    • The GameCube RPGs have the Bodybuilder trainer class, as well as Duking, Battlus/Somek, and Agnol (who are all based on Bodybuilders).
    • Timburr, Gurdurr and Conkeldurr from Black and White have huge muscular arms and torsos, but tiny legs. Especially Conkeldurr.
  • Minotaurs in Dragon Nest have this appearance. They drop an item called Joint Treatment that lampshades it. After all, their poor tiny knees have to support gargantuan tops.
  • Inspector Grosky of the Professor Layton series has a huge chest. His pecs are so big, the collar of his shirt is actually down near nipple level, tie and all, with his prodigious bush of chest hair poking out.
  • Sonic the Werehog from Sonic Unleashed has puny legs.
  • Agent Zero Syro: Ripto's Rage has extremely tine legs.
  • Bowser, DK, and Wario from the Super Mario Bros. series games.
  • A common complaint about male draenei and worgen in World of Warcraft.
  • The proportions featured on the Fighter and Dwarf in the upcoming Play Station Vita title, Dragon's Crown, are nothing short of terrifying in this regard.
  • The titular character in Odin Sphere has arms that comprise over half of his body weight. This is unfortunately not even played for humor, it is just part of the game's bizarre art style.
  • This is what your character becomes in the browser game The Douchebag Life when you bulk him up.
  • Burrito Bison, from the game with the same name.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • From The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible has puny legs, whether his torso is flabby or muscular.
  • Coach McGurk has the smallest legs and the largest torso of anyone on Home Movies.
  • Hack and Slash, from ReBoot, although technically robots who roll around on single ball bearings, they fit the mold by their shape and movement.
  • Johnny Bravo, as can be seen here.
  • Joe Swanson from Family Guy. Even when he got the use of his legs back, his legs were small.
  • Brock Sampson of The Venture Brothers, who is deliberately drawn with the upper body of a gorilla but stick-like legs.
    • Slightly toned down between the Pilot and the main series.
  • Hego, Shego's super-strong brother from Kim Possible. The cartoon style makes you wonder how he stands up.
    • Steve Barkin, Brick Flagg, Pain King and Steel Toe, Dementor's minions (Dementor himself has short legs, but is more boxy), and even Drakken to a lesser extent (almost normal-proportioned, but still with shorter-than-average legs, although this is best seen when he's not in his usual lab coat; re: "Dimension Twist" and "Rappin' Drakken"). In fact, any male character who's not rail-thin (like Ron) is almost guaranteed to have short legs.
  • Launchpad McQuack from DuckTales (1987) and Darkwing Duck has this body type.
  • Vlad of the Danny Phantom series, most noticeable in his ghost form less so as a human. Dash and Kwan as well.
    • Skulker is a more blatant form.
      • Jack Fenton, except that he's more of a walking rectangle.
  • Time Squad's Buck Tuddrussel is probably the most extreme version. His waist is practically nothing. It's also noted that his Distaff Counterpart/ex-wife Sheila has the exact opposite body structure.
  • Duncan from Total Drama Island. He tends tower over most of the other characters when they're all sitting down, but since his legs are less than a third of his total height, he's actually one of the shortest males on the show.
  • Transformers Animated has Grandus.
  • Skips from Regular Show isn't as triangular as most examples, but he still has massive arms and straw-thin legs.
  • The Hacker from the kids math show Cyberchase was an extreme version of this- 2-300 pound torso on top of legs that couldn't have been more than 6 inches.
  • Kronk from The Emperors New Groove has legs that are long, but are only slightly larger than broom handles.
  • Standard in Batman Beyond. Batman/Terry himself is an example (even when he's not wearing the suit), but so are Bruce, most of the bad guys, even Superman when he guest stars.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Buttlord GT's Mr. Huge, a Vegeta Expy, has the power to grow his torso and arms to gigantic proportions, while retaining a regular-sized head and legs.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • When apes stand up in a bipedal gait, they'll normally look like this due to their long arms, large chest and relatively short legs. However, they normally walk on all fours.