Your Size May Vary

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
This all happens on the same page.
Scale in Transformers is, not to put too fine a point on it, screwed.

This is what happens when you forget to make a Comparative Size Chart of your characters.

Giants are pretty cool guys. They punch harder, take more hits, and aren't afraid of breaking certain laws of physics. There's a problem with having giants as part of the main cast, though: they don't fit in small places. If The Hero has to lead his True Companions through the Elaborate Underground Base or the Evil Tower of Ominousness, the Gentle Giant can't really follow along if his hand can completely block off the entrance. It also becomes much more difficult to keep everyone on panel or camera if there are huge height discrepancies.

Fortunately, animators have found the solution to this problem: completely disregard any sense of scale! Sure, the giant is half the size of the building... on the outside! On the inside, he's got a good 10 or so feet of space between his head and the ceiling. This effect is particularly noticeable when size is compared to other characters; a regularly-sized human might stand about as tall as the giant's hip in a regular scenario, but the giant will easily catch that same character in the palm of one hand in a later action sequence.

The same lack of scale holds true for tiny characters as well. Unless size is specified, characters who are simply stated to be "small" tend to bounce between the size of a housecat and a rat, or for even smaller characters, a rat and a roach. Don't be surprised if a fairy who fits in a character's shirt pocket later turns out to be as big as a baseball in a later fight.

Note that this trope mostly applies to animation and special effects. It is rather... difficult... to modify the size of an actor in a live-action series. Though in some cases there might be a size discrepency due to the visual requirements of keeping two actors of wildly different heights in the same frame. See Scully Box for that. This trope does not cover creatures or characters that can change size or shape at will, though their giant or tiny forms may fall victim to this trope on their own (and see Shapeshifter Baggage).

Compare Units Not to Scale, in which overworld sprites or models in video games are left unscaled for the player's convenience. See also Bigger on the Inside and Clown Car Base, in which the scale-bending properties belong to the location, not the character. See also Depending on the Artist, Off-Model, and Animals Not to Scale.

A subtrope of Artists Are Not Architects.

Examples of Your Size May Vary include:

Large Characters

Anime and Manga

  • Digimon as a whole is very guilty of this.
    • A major offender is the Greymon from Digimon Adventure, who sometimes stands several stories tall, yet has frequently had fights within hallways of normal buildings. Another is Greymon's counterpart in Digimon Tamers, Growlmon, who was the size of a large house in his introduction, but was later depicted as being much, much smaller.
    • Ankylomon shrank after his first appearance in Digimon Adventure 02.
    • In the second Digimon Adventure 02 movie, Angemon and Angewomon are shown to be stonking larger than they usually are.
  • Pokémon: there's a page for this...
    • In the anime, Charizard's size would change all the time. It's usually about 1.5 times Ash's height (even then that's larger than the 5'07 given in the game), but sometimes seems to be about the size of a car.
    • Ash's Staraptor; sometimes it comes up to Ash's shoulder rather than about Brock's height.
    • This. [dead link] The Raticate is smaller than its pre-evo and the Fearow is also ridiculously tiny, it's normally a Giant Flyer. (This is off the subject, but Pikachu's tail is also wrong, and one of Officer Jenny's eyes is lower than the other.)
  • The EVA Units in Neon Genesis Evangelion are somewhere between 40 and 200 meters tall. One piece of concept art says Unit 01 is a more realistic ten, but unlike most mecha shows, the creators were honest enough to admit never worrying about anything aside from what would make an interesting visual, and as a result the Evas' size relative to buildings, known landmarks, people, etc., changed from episode to episode.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion seems to more consistently stick with 80m. Conversely, Super Robot Wars (where a mech's size determines it's probability of getting hit and in some games damage taken) each unit is only 15 meters for gameplay purposes.
  • Fist of the North Star to ridiculous extremes. Raoul's horse (Kokuō-gō) ranges from being a noticably tall normal horse, to casually bury a man with a single stomp (with an estimated height of one hundred feet). Humans are not an exception, as ones in the background often look freaking enormous, even compared to a big guy like Kenshiro, which elevates many from "Giant Mook" to "size of a goddamn garage". For example Zeed once stood behind a man he was about to kill and looked like he was over a story tall.
  • Not only the Zentradi of Macross, but the Humongous Mecha they pilot, have severe scale issues. A Valkyrie ought to be able to fit into the pilot's compartment of a Glaug or Regult, but they're nowhere near big enough for that to work.
    • Later series got better. In Frontier macronized Clan Clan, whose Quedluun-Rau was out of commission, has donned FAST pack and applique armor of a VF-25 over her spacesuit as if it was a Powered Armor.
  • One Piece is often surprisingly good about this, despite having characters who vary in size between about 3' tall to 8'8", and that's just the main cast. Secondary characters and especially villains can get enormous. The group of pirates known as the Seven Warlords of the Sea (see Moria below) have an average height of around 15 feet, but change slightly to suit whoever they're talking to.
    • Sometimes, though, particularly on the interior of a ship, the taller characters like Brooke will shrink ever so slightly to keep it from looking too silly that they're all able to fit under the same roof.
    • In Gecko Moria's initial appearance, his foot was twice as big as a normal-sized man was tall. By the time he actually got involved in the action, he had shrunk to a more managable 18 feet or so.
    • San Juan Wolf, the biggest character in the series, and a giant larger than any other giant portrayed so far is about the most absurd example yet. He makes the second largest character (who himself makes giants look small) seem unnoticeable by comparison, by appearing behind an island that character was on. So huge he's the building he was until recently imprisoned in, which also houses every other great criminal and was large enough that dozens of people could go missing. Uhh...
      • Lampshaded by having him break the raft that his crew (averaging about 15 feet without him) used up until this point, necessitating the need of a battleship. Both of which should be about the size of his hand.
  • Some of the bigger summons in Naruto can be subject to this. Databooks claim Gamabunta to be 100m tall, and in most appearances a person is about the size of one of his warts, but he looks even bigger in his first appearance. A more noticeable example is Gamaken who's first appearance shows him as about the size of a small house, but on his second he's as big as Gamabunta.
    • The anime handwaves this with Gamakichi demonstrating a size-altering jutsu that allowed him (and presumably other large summons) to shrink to a more convenient size if needed.
    • The Tailed Beasts also appear to vary in size. The most notable example is the Nine-Tailed Fox; his first appearance portrays him as towering around 300m over the forests on the outskirts of the Leaf Village (implying that the trees are only 50m tall), a human being only the size of his pupil. Throughout the series, he is portrayed as being about a third that size.[1] However, in the latest fight between Naruto/Kurama and five of the Tailed Beasts, the fox aura is just as big, if not a little smaller, than the other beasts.
  • Kuniko's boomerang in Shangri-La ranges from 2–3 feet long to almost her height.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • An Oozaru's size seems to vary depending on what they're interacting with. When Goku is tearing apart the castle, he seems to be almost as big as the whole thing, but when interacting with his friends, he appears to be about as big as a chunk of the castle he had earlier picked up and threw. The anime adds a bunch of padding and changes the scene around so that he stays pretty consistently on the larger end of the size scale, but that still makes him seem smaller the second time he transforms. Z and GT are a bit better about this.
    • Also Chi Chi's father the Ox King in his first appearance he was a giant and the other characters were much much smaller than he was, about midway through the series he seems to get a bit smaller but still a giant, in Z he seems to be just barely taller than Goku.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The whole series has mild elements of this throughout. The most obvious examples occur during the final battle. The two machines fight on top of, around, and with entire galaxies around them. Later, each previous version of Gurren Lagann emerges from the mouth of the next version. Even considering how big they get, this doesn't seem possible. Luckily, there are mitigating factors. 1: Rule of Cool and 2: It's Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann!!
    • It had actually been pretty good up until that point; as Lagann, Gurren Lagann, and Arc Gurren Lagann are each about ten times bigger than the stage below them (5, 50, and 500 feet respectively), while a comparitive diagram shows Arc Gurren Lagann being utterly dwarfed by the moon-sized Cathedral Terra hundreds, if not thousands, of times over. When the two do interact, the Arc Gurren easily fits inside the ship's power core. But by the final battle, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and its equally large foe are alternately big enough to throw galaxies, just about able to fit the Earth in their palms, and able to make the Anti-Spiral homeworld in the Granzanboa's head-dress look about the size of an egg compared to a human. In short, they could be anywhere between the distance between Earth and the moon and the size of two and half galaxies; a factor of millions if not billions of multiples.
      • Considering the final battle takes place not in normal space but in a Pocket Dimension whre thought can shape reality and normal laws of physics migth not apply at all, it's hardly inconcievable for the mechs and their surroundings to not adhere to normal notions of scale.
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi, from the second season of Sengoku Basara is a great example of this. The man can't seem to stay the same size for ten minutes! He can go from just a head taller than the main character in one scene, and in the next, he can be almost on par with Honda Tadakatsu. His final episode fight with Masamune features this trope in spades.

Comic Books


  • Godzilla's height has varied so much it's pretty hard to tell how big he's supposed to be. Movies often cite an exact height for the monster. Originally he was supposed to be fifty meters tall. The Godzilla of Godzilla 1985 was eighty meters tall, and he grew to one hundred in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. This is all well and good, but the special effects were often... inconsistent in this way. The generally excellent (in terms of both sfx and story) Godzilla vs. Biollante featured a particularly grievous blunder in scale in a scene featuring a psychic girl standing on an oil platform facing down Godzilla. Godzilla was supposed to be eighty meters tall. He looked maybe twenty.
    • It should be pointed out that each era of the Godzilla films takes place in a different universe (This is especially evident in the Millennium series, in which, apart from two exceptions, each film takes place in a separate continuity), thus it's reasonable the monsters aren't completely identical.
    • This was kind of spurred on by real world changes. A fifty-meter monster is huge in mid-twentieth century Tokyo (geographically busy locations tend to have strict building codes), but would look a bit silly in the modern city. Incidentally, the original Gojira is a painstakingly accurate snapshot of a city that no longer exists. All the buildings Godzilla destroys were real buildings, down to the little shopping centers.
    • In-universe explanation, the second Godzilla (in the Heisei series) was created by newer and stronger weapons than the first Godzilla (in Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, he's created by contemporary nuclear weapons, very powerful indeed). So "better weapons = larger monster" when it comes to Godzilla.
    • A major point of criticism for The Godzilla Power Hour was that Godzilla's size varied greatly within scenes, such that Godzilla could carry the entire ship with two hands while a human character can just barely fit in his palm in a later shot.
      • The Roland Emmerich / Dean Devlin 1998 Godzilla, as Roger Ebert and other critics noted, constantly changed size within the film as well.
      • In Godzilla: Final Wars, either Godzilla shrank or Zilla grew, in their short scene together Zilla stands nearly as tall as Godzilla despite his horizontal build.
  • Ditto King Kong, who was able to straddle the World Trade Center and loom over the skyline of New York in the posters for the 1978 and 1933 movies, but was somewhere around twenty feet tall in the film, tops.
    • In the 1970s Dino de Laurentis remake, Kong's size varies quite dramatically from scene to scene, most likely for the same reason. It has been said that "King Kong is as BIG as he needs to be."
    • In the original, he also gets bigger when he arrives in New York. So it's not so much "everything is bigger in America" as "America makes everything bigger"?
    • By rights, Kong, who climbs buildings, should be much shorter than Godzilla, who knocks them down. But when they appeared on screen together, they were about the same size.
  • The titular Giant in The Iron Giant seemed to have varying sizes in different scenes. There was an interview where Brad Bird said they tried to keep the size consistent throughout, but admits that they deliberately made the Giant much taller in one early scene (the shot where where Hogarth is in the car and looks back to see the Giant silhouetted against the night sky).
  • A tip of the hat to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, whose main character never appears to be 50 feet tall. Most of the time she appears to be only two stories high, while in other times she stands almost as tall as an electric pylon, making her about 75 feet at least. As for the famous poster, there she seems to be between 150 and 200 feet.
  • The alien mothership in Close Encounters of the Third Kind appears to change scale from one shot to the next—in its first full reveal it appears several times larger than the mountain it's supposed to be landing in front of. (It also famously casts a dark shadow despite being festooned with lights.)
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the Oliphaunts appear to half or double in size every time the camera moves. Gimli and the halflings seem to change height in some scenes (which is not too distracting, given the races are actually about the same height) but the film-makers managed to be remarkably consistent throughout all three movies.
    • Incidentally, Oliphaunts aren't consistent in the books either, Sam being an Unreliable Narrator whose fear and awe might have "enlarged" them in the retelling.
  • The 2009 Star Trek film upscaled the Enterprise from the original series design to nearly twice as long. This was largely because they wanted to keep an extremely oversized shuttlebay (the original carried 2 while the new version had at least 10). The Abrams Enterprise was designed to be only moderately bigger than the original (280 meters to 360 tip of the saucer section to end of the nacelle) but the official statement now is 700 meters, about the same size as the Sovereign class Enterpise-E. This has resulted in conflicting size comparisons between shots.
    • In Star Trek V The Finale Frontier for a scene involving the characters climbing a vertical shaft they wanted it to seem like a genuinely MASSIVE tunnel. Official schematics list a Constitution class ships like the Enterprise as having around 24-25 decks (some areas in engineering aren't officially classified as Decks), but "Deck 79" appeared and fans were appropriately curious.
  • Avoiding this was a major concern of the Transformers Film Series, not only regarding the established height of these giant robots but regarding how they transform from their alternate mode into those giant robots. They had to fit inside their vehicle. Realistically Optimus Prime's original cap-over semi-truck design would have resulted in a relatively small robot mode, and so made him a long nose semi. Same thing with Bumblebee's change from a VW Beetle into a Camaro. They also had to play with Starscream's transformation scheme so that he didn't completely tower over every other robot, if it was similar to G1 Starscream he should have been upwards of 60 feet tall.
    • Some shifts in scale occur, mostly in regards to at least being visible. Optimus was able to hold Sam and Mikaela in one hand and later pinched a pair of glasses between his fingers, realistically the glasses would be over a foot long in comparison.

Fan Works

  • Christian Humber Reloaded: Season-Bringer, the dragon who's described as being roughly the length of a small country and weighs about as much as a continent. Until he somehow manages to be the copilot in a small spacecraft that's only big enough to seat two people...
  • Mecharu and George of Snow Angels, due to Rule of Funny.

Live-Action TV

  • Humongous Mecha scenes in Super Sentai and Power Rangers have been inconsistent of late as The Powers That Be get a bigger CGI budget. The rubber suits for the Zords are the same size even when the mecha, as seen in effects shots, aren't. Bear with us for this one, 'cause it's sort of hard to explain quickly or without the names:
    • In Power Rangers Dino Thunder (adapted from Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger), the main Humongous Mecha is the Thundersaurus Megazord, whose three component mecha (called Dino Zords) fit inside the gigantic Brachiozord. One of the Thundersaurus' attacks involves sliding down Brachio's tail... something that would be impossible if the Thundersaurus was the size it would have to be if it's formed from the Dino Zords (given the size the individual Dino Zords are when seen leaving Brachio.) In other words, when doing this attack, Thundersaurus apparently shrinks from being larger than Godzilla to being about two car-lengths.
      • Also, additional Zords are also seen being released from Brachio, at a size that makes it impossible that they could all fit inside Brachio at once. There are even scenes in Abaranger that showed all the many Dino Zords inside Brachio's inner compartment... something that would require Brachio to be at least five times bigger than the size it's seen to be when alongside other Dino Zords.
    • In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, the Lightspeed Megazord is the main formation. When the Rail Rescues (giant train cars that carry the Lightspeed Megazord's component mecha) form the Super Train Megazord, and it's seen in relation to the Lightspeed, the Lightspeed looks like a ten-year-old standing next to Daddy. However, when both are in the same fight, the Monster of the Week is the same height as Lightspeed when in a shot with Lightspeed, and the same height as the Super Train when in a shot with the Super Train.
    • Power Rangers SPD outdoes Brachio in terms of Bigger on the Inside-ness. The Delta Squad Megazord is the main formation, about the size of the other seasons' main formations (such as the Lightspeed and Thundersaurus Megazords.) Its components, the five Delta Runners, are released from the interior of the base, a building comparable in size to other downtown buildings, and we've seen enough of its interior to account for a great deal of its interior space. It's revealed that the base has its own Humongous Mecha formations, one humanoid, one vehicle. When releasing the Delta Runners while in its vehicle formation, we get to see where they're stored—and they take up the entirety of the base's interior. Even if all we've seen of the base's interior is all there is, making it so that people only occupy a few floors... there's just no way. And later, new jet-based Zords are introduced, and launched from the base in its standard building formation, and when it opens to release them, the base appears to be entirely hollow. Even if the jets are primarily stored in the underground hangar we find out about later on, there's no way the place they're launched from and the building's interior can coexist. Apparently, 90% of SPD's Earth headquarters exists in Hammerspace.
    • Probably the series' greatest offender is Serpenterra. In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Serpentera is immense, making the Rangers' Megazords look like humans in comparison. In Power Rangers Wild Force, Serpenterra has noticeably shrunk, as Cole seems to be the same size the Red Dragon Thunderzord was.
    • A classic scene of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has an overgrown Goldar reaching for an escaping bus. The bus is the size of a matchbox compared to Goldar's hand. The very next shot show Goldar toying with the bus, now about same size as Goldar's own fore-arm.


  • The relative scale of Bionicle characters varies wildly from medium to medium. A very early example is a Nesquik cereal TV ad (since promotional CDs were given away in cereal boxes back then), in which Toa Tahu appears among a group of human kids, and seems to be about as tall as a normal adult. According to official supplementary story material, he is actually about 7 and a half feet tall.
    • The infamous introduction scene from the movie The Legend Reborn has a supposedly 40 million feet tall Mata Nui robot looking considerably shorter when standing, not even reaching out of the planet's atmosphere. This robot and its smaller prototype also caused a lot of head-scratching for comic illustrators, since they had to appear small enough to fit into pictures with normal-sized characters.
    • Even when it came to the toys, scale issues still arose when comparing older figures to newer ones. The original toys have usually been short and stout, while later, more articulated figures used longer limbs and larger body pieces, and thus became taller themselves, even though they were supposed to be the same size as their ancestors. This was only ever addressed in the '08 storyline, in which it was explained that an energy source caused the Light Matoran to grow larger than normal. Just to let you know how things have changed since the line's debut in '01: the small Matoran have grown to be almost as big as the original Toa toys. In turn, the first Toa sets only reach up to the later Toa figures' waist.

Video Games

  • Super Mario Bros.: Bowser's size tends to be consistent within individual games of the franchise, but varies greatly within the series. At the smallest, Bowser has been barely double Mario's height. At the largest (not counting the times Kamek and Kammy enhanced Bowser with spells), Bowser is almost Kaiju-like.
    • Bowser's size changes massively in Super Mario Sunshine. When he's sitting with Bowser Jr. in the ending, he's about the size you might assume an adult of his race would be compared to him. In the boss battle preceding it, however, he's enormous.
      • Bowser Jr. himself has changed sizes throughout games. In Super Mario Sunshine, he's smaller than Mario. In New Super Mario Bros., he's just slightly taller than Mario. In Super Mario Galaxy, he is as tall as, if not taller than, Peach. He shrinks back down to his Sunshine size for spinoffs, though.
      • Maybe it's a sign that he's growing with age?
      • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii Bowser Jr. is the same height as Larry and Wendy, the middle-height Koopalings. He's overshadowed by Roy, Iggy and Morton (especially Morton, he's HUGE). Jr.'s pretty stocky, however, taking after Bowser, Morton and Roy in that regard.
    • Princess Peach's size has also slowly increased over time. She used to be much smaller than Mario post Super Mushroom. These days, she's about One Head Taller than him in the same state. Heck, she's even taller than freaking lugi nowadays.

"I thought it'd be nice to have her as a playable character, but the Toad characters had a similar physique to a Mario character than Peach does."

    • They actually went and explained this in Bowser's Inside Story. Bowser's adrenaline makes him randomly grow to kaiju sizes from time to time, though in the game it only kicks in during extreme emergencies and it's the only way to save his life.
    • And now in Super Mario Galaxy 2, it repeats. Bowser is now really huge (he's big enough to stomp all over Toad Town, and for Peach to fit in the palm of his hand) and he's shown sitting on a castle as a throne. But in this case it's justified as coming from the power of the Grand Stars; whenever Mario beats one out of him he shrinks to normal size.
      • And the Sun appearing at the end of the final level of the first Galaxy. When Mario arrives there, it's huge and full of holes, and his final battle with Bowser even takes place inside that Sun, but when Bowser is defeated, he is seen standing on the Sun's surface, except that the Sun is now smaller and no longer hollow!
    • And the castle at the end of World 4 in the original Super Mario Bros. When Mario beats World 4-3, the castle is huge, but at the start of World 5, the castle is tiny!
  • Similar to Bowser, Petey Piranha is pretty inconsistent in his size. In his first appearance in Super Mario Sunshine he was as big as a small house. In Mario Kart Double Dash!!, Petey is as large as Donkey Kong. His size grows again in Super Smash Bros Brawl.
  • To anybody who has ever played World of Warcraft, what they do with the heights of bosses (especially at later levels) seems somewhat ridiculous. Just look at the fight with Illidan in the Black Temple. Illidan's size can be somewhat justified because he consumed the Skull of Guldan and is a giant evil demon night elf thing, but Akama and Maiev are -also- just as big as he is - which is considerably larger than the average player. Same thing goes for Kael'thas, Lady Vashj, and pretty much every other major end boss whose larger size isn't explained by ties to the Old Gods or the Lich King.
    • This is usually handwaved as a game mechanic. Important characters intended to be fought by players are usually scaled to make them easier to find and target without visual obstruction: 5-man bosses may be slightly bigger than normal trash mobs, while 25-party bosses are very large. Even the game's pvp-able racial leaders are slightly bigger than their generic counterparts.
    • When you've got 25-40 people all trying to fight something, making it the same size as the people involved is just going to lead to pain. Regular mooks do much the same thing, though; ogres in the starting areas are the same size or slightly smaller than the player characters; ones in later levels tower over the players.
    • Highlord Tirion Fordring, is nearly 3 times as tall as a human. And he is a (very important) friendly NPC.
    • Malfurion Stormrage appears twice as tall as his wife, Tyrande Whisperwind, in Cataclysm.
      • To be fair on this one, Malfurion was recently turned into a Biological Mashup. The same process making him get bigger is not so unreasonable.
    • While player characters are always the same size as other players of the same race/gender combo, the pets of hunter players grow as they gain levels. Additionally, some large pets like Devilsaurs, which are essentially tyrannosaurs and taller than many buildings, will shrink to a more manageable "slightly bigger than the largest playable races" size when tamed.
      • This trope is particularly ridiculous in the case of the Caverns of Time raid, The Battle of Mt. Hyjal. You start off with Jaina Proudmoore helping you out. She's a normal-sized NPC you can encounter several times throughout the game. But in this raid? She's around 20 feet tall. For no reason. Thrall is similarly enbiggened.
    • Bridging points both made above and below in the Warcraft III example, player size can also vary with various spells and items. Highlighting the Power = Size formula, we currently have this endgame weapon, which can allow players to practically reach raid boss size after gaining several stacks of the effect.
  • This shows up in Warcraft III as well, with Heroes being arbitrarily larger than normal units (seriously, compare the Paladin to the Peasant; ho-lee shit). There's pretty good odds that it's something to do with the Warcraft Universe itself; wherein size is actually a good indicator of power, and as characters become more powerful they actually grow bigger.
  • Lavos from Chrono Trigger is supposed to be the size of a town or a mountain, but when you're actually fighting him he's not even the size of a house, and his head is only the size of a door.
    • This is more a case of Units Not to Scale, since it's only his map sprite that appears to be huge in proportion to the surrounding landscape. Lavos' map sprite size relative to that of the players' map sprites is roughly the same as his close-up image relative to that of the players.
  • A subversion of the usual: Jocinda Smith from Backyard Sports is supposed to be rather short. When you actually play as her, she's one of the tallest on the field.
  • Ridley from the Metroid games initially seemed to be only slightly taller than Samus. Then, in the 3D games he was given a dramatic size increase to the point where he can hold Samus in one claw. This was often brought up in online discussions about why Ridley wasn't a playable character due to size reasons in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and spawned the "Ridley is too big!" meme.
  • In the Katamari Damacy series, every member of the royal family varies in size from level to level. The cousins are the most obvious, as they can go from being a few centimeters tall to a kilometer in height to better suit the scale of the level they're in. The King himself can either stand on the Earth and tower at about 3000 kilometers, or he can be several orders of magnitude larger than the Earth itself.
  • Much like the anime, the Digimon games often do this, but at least once they manage to do it within the same game. As an example, Beelzemon and Gallantmon are both roughly the same size (around six foot, based on the buildings) in the opening cutscene of Digimon World 3.

Web Comics

  • A mild version of this occurs in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire. Buck is taller than the average human, but how tall exactly seems to vary a bit, from being about a head taller to what seems like a few feet. There's also one panel with Buck and Hyraxx where Hyraxx seems to be about half of Buck's height, while in all other panels she reaches to his chest. However this is probably because of the angle of the shot (the view in the panel is upward from near floor-level, which messes the perspective somewhat) rather than the relative sizes of the characters changing.
  • Megatokyo: The size of rent-a-zilla is awfully inconsistent. Here, it's around twice the size of Yuki, here it's about the size of a four-story building, while here Yuki seems to be about the size of rent-a-zilla's eye...
  • In this week of strips from Narbonic, the author's commentary points out that she couldn't keep the giant robot's size consistent from one day to the next.
  • Lampshaded in Djali the Giantess's character page description in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob.

"Like any proper dai kaiju ('giant critter'), her size varies from one scene to another, and that is as it should be."

Western Animation

  • Transformers. Hoo-boy. They managed to avoid it in the 2007 movie, with any exceptions (Frenzy's head fitting into a cell phone) being arguable or having Hammerspace be an implicit ability of the AllSpark. Notable examples from Generation 1 include a motorcycle transformer becoming as large as a helicopter when forming the leg of a Humongous Mecha, and one about the size of Optimus Prime being able to accommodate a Formula One racer on each of his legs. Robots that transformed into transformer-scale cities were often shown to be no larger than the rest of their fellows who were supposed to be able to fit comfortably inside them. The list goes on.
    • In the G1 movie, Unicron and everyone around him vary in size according to the needs of the scene. He is anywhere from several kilometers tall (when handling Galvatron) to the size of Cybertron (whose size can also vary; using an earlier episode of the cartoon as reference, is about the size of Earth's moon, although if this were true, the planet he consumed at the start of the movie was too small to even be considered a planet). The comic adaptation states Unicron has a diameter of 120,000 kilometers, which is comparable to Saturn.
    • The scale issue is Transformers is best left to a Wiki that can give it an article unto itself. (Note the category "Things that don't exist".) The average Transformer, it seems, is about the same size as King Kong or an EVA unit.
      • Broadside transforms from an Earth jet into an entire aircraft carrier. Astrotrain deserves special mention. He transforms from a 21 m ( 70') locomotive (shown to be normal sized compared to others) to a 56 m (184') shuttle (assuming a real life shuttle) - or into an even bigger shuttle, as witnessed by his ability to carry an entire Decepticon team inside of him - including Devastator. And yet Astrotrain's robot mode is as tall as Megatron.
    • To make a long story short-ish: Transformers tend to be just the size the plot needs them to be, and the sizes of robot modes in relation to vehicle modes don't always add up, with small cars and jumbo jets turning into robots of the same height in the original series. Any robot whose purpose isn't to carry others (and some who are, in the case of Astrotrain) will be this standard size. As for the carrier robots, they're often bigger, but not big enough to account for their great interior space...which is also subject to change based on who's inside. The planet-sized Transformers the same problem of being inconsistent or huge-but-not-huge-enough: standard Transformers look like ants at a distance that should render them invisible, unless Megatron's the size of Rhode Island. Later series at least try when it comes to scale - notice Transformers Animated Starscream towering over everyone but Megatron (and the Decepticons in general are bigger because they transform into aircraft instead of cars), and movie Starscream being almost triangle-shaped so he won't - but still have problems.
      • Also, there's the matter of specific parts of a bot while transforming. The half of Bumblebee's car mode that becomes his feet shrinks as the rest of him seems to grow out of it, so he won't be as Chibi as the keychain-sized toy he's inspired by. Other times, the feet remain the size of the car-half they're formed from as the rest of him just grows and grows and grows out of it. Then again, he is a volkswagen, so perhaps for him alone it's justified.
    • True to form, Transformers Prime features this as well. It's like they aren't even trying to hide this, as Arcee transforms into a standard motorcycle and yet fills up Jack's garage in robot mode. just look at her! Especially amusing given Transformers Energon, where Arcee (a human-scaled motorcycle in this series as well) was frequently alongside its main human sidekick, and was barely a couple heads taller than he.
  • Endive from Chowder is sometimes shown to be much larger for comedic effect.
  • The Looney Tunes short "Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk has Bugs Bunny deal with a giant that varies in scale from scene to scene. In one scene, his head is slightly bigger than Bugs, but later Bugs is able to enter the giant's ear and gets lost in his hair. Most egregious of all is the scene near the end when Bugs goes down an elevator built into the beanstalk and tells the giant to take the stairs. For this one scene the giant has somehow shrunk down to be only about two or three times as tall as Bugs!
  • Gantu from the Lilo and Stitch franchise varies in size too, especially in the TV series. One scene he towers over Lilo's house, the next he could conceivably fit inside it.
  • In the episode "Planet Jackers" in Invader Zim, Zim and the jackers look enormous in relation to Earth, and IIRC we could see the curvature of the planet from their perspective while they were fighting on it Zim was getting crushed on it. Not as extreme as some other examples, but stil...
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "Ducky Horror Picture Show" featured a big ape named Ping Pong. When he first comes in right before the second commercial break, he's about as tall as Scrooge's Money Bin. But right after the ad break, he suddenly gets smaller than the Bin so that he can climb it and relax on the roof.
  • On the Phineas and Ferb episode "Attack of the Fifty Foot Sister," gigantic-Candace climbed Doofenshmirtz's building King Kong-style, meaning it was several times taller than her. In the episode "The Lizard Whisperer" Steve is able to easily reach the roof of the same building despite supposedly being forty feet. Possibly justified in that both sizes were just estimates the characters came up with, but compared to other things around them Candace still seemed much larger than Steve did. (And for the record, Doofenshmirtz's building is known in another episode to be at least thirty-eight stories tall.)
    • Phineas is usually shorter than Isabella, but sometime's he's the same height or taller.
  • Lampshaded by Lisa in The Simpsons episode: "Simpsons Tall Tales".

Lisa: 'Scuse me, Paul Bunyan never fought Rodan. And his size seems to be really inconsistent. I mean, one minute he's 10 feet tall, the next his foot is as big as a lake.

  • Scooby Doo could be terrible with this some times. For example, one episode's monster of the week was a panther-headed giant taller than most trees. Yet, after they'd managed to knock him down, Freddy walked up to him and unmasked the (now human sized with no explanation whatsoever) monster.
  • Bonbon from My Little Pony Tales. She's a Big Eater though, which may be a scapegoat to the artists.
  • In the Cars series films, all trucks, buses, trains, boats, and aircraft are depicted as being much larger than they are in real life so that they can all carry cars inside them. Also, the Popemobile in the sequel is for some reason depicted as being much larger than the one in real life since he had to carry a car version of the Pope (who ironically resembles the actual Popemobile, except that the glass compartment in which the real Pope rides in is changed into the Pope's miter). In fact, if all of those vehicles are correctly-proportioned to the cars themselves, then none of the cars will actually fit inside them! (unless if you're a forklift, that is)
  • Rankin/Bass had an issue with this between The Year Without a Santa Claus and the sequel, Miser Brothers'Christmas/ The Miser Brothers are a lot smaller in the sequel than the original.

Small Characters


  • In the 2008 commercial of Orangina, you have chameleon strip dancers who are as big as the rest of the cast. But then at the 1:16 mark, you see a chameleon dancing to one of the plant people... who are small.

Anime and Manga

  • Though she's hardly giant, Teddy in Eiken. In the back of the first volume of the manga the author admits that he draws her without much aforethought so both in and out of costume her size can vary greatly from panel to panel.
  • In Pokémon Special, in one panel Black's Munna looks a lot bigger than it previously did. This is worth pointing out because his Munna bellyflopped on his head and looked like it should've sent him toppling over. Fans joked that constantly feeding off Black's dreams made it fat.
  • The main character of Ginga Densetsu Weed Weed's size varies from scene to scene. He's a puppy, so he's smaller than the rest of the dogs, but how small depends on the scene.
  • Luffy of One Piece has always been pint-sized compared to his opponents, but in the start of the series he seemed to be of average height compared to most background characters and civilians in the story. Except for a few serious momemnts where is drawn more mature-looking, he is now One Piece's size equivalent of Kid Goku.
  • In Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto, the height of the anthropomorphic cats varies between scenes, with scenes depicting just those characters generally depicting them as roughly one or two feet tall, while scenes in which they interact with human characters frequently give them apparent heights of up to a meter.

Comic Books

  • Marvel's Official Handbooks are a handy reference point for every fanboy who wants something to argue over. By way of an example, Wolverine has been consistently listed as 5'3" (about 1.6 metres), and Jubilee an inch or two taller. Despite this Wolverine tends to tower over Jubilee, to the point where she must be about 4'6". When they stand next to other characters, their height tends to appear more as listed.
  • The Silver Age bottled city of Kandor was blatantly subject to this. It was a shrunken city where the buildings were visibly several inches tall. That scale would mean the city would only be a block or so in size, yet the people in it were microscopic and the city was a whole city of millions of inhabitants.
  • Doll Man's shrinking ability is supposed to be limited to switching between his normal height and 6 inches tall, but he has been portrayed anywhere from a few inches to a couple of feet tall, often varying in size within a single story. One comic cover shows him large enough to be tied to seperate bathtub faucet knobs, while another cover has him smaller than a handgun.


  • In Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket goes inside a lock to pick it. The lock seems to be no deeper than Jiminy is tall, and yet the scenes from inside the lock make it seem cavernous. Also, Jiminy is significantly larger in long shots simply because he'd be invisible otherwise.
  • The Oompa Loompas in the Tim Burton version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory vary in size from about 18 inches tall to Deep Roy's actual size.
  • According to the filmmakers, the balloons holding up Carl's house in Up were rendered bigger in long shots for the sake of visibility.
  • In Madagascar II the penguins size changes a couple of times throughout the movie, usually they are a couple inches shorter than the monkeys but in one scene Skipper is small enough to to fit in Mason the monkey's hand.


  • Foreign translations of The Hobbit simply cannot agree on Gollum's size. Sometimes they keep him about the same size as Bilbo, sometimes (such as in the Japanese translation), he's enormous, much larger even than a human.

Live-Action TV

  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the USS Defiant was designed to be a small, dedicated warship when The Federation generally avoided such titles. In general the actual measurements should allow it to fit inside the saucer section of the TOS Enterprise, and while it is always portrayed as being rather small at other times it would barely fit inside the TNG Galaxy Class saucer section. The problem was worse in the days of physical models, which were never built on the same scale and so had to rely on composite shots and forced perspective tricks. At other times it's done for dramatic effect, as the arrival of the Enterprise-E in Star Trek: First Contact either makes the Defiant really small or the Ent-E very large to highlight the scene as a Gunship Rescue.
    • Ex Astris Scientia has an article about several problems with the Defiant including contradictory sizes.
  • Little Britain plays this for laughs in the Dennis Waterman sketches.

Western Animation

  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton tends to vary in size even within the same scene. Generally, he is anywhere from the size of a golf ball and small enough that a microscope is required to see him.
    • As Spongebob advanced as a series, and especially when the movie came out, they made it fairly clear that the residents of Bikini Bottom are all about the natural sizes that your average artificial sea sponge, crab, or starfish normally would be. This reasonably justifies comparing Sandy Squirrel and even Plankton to the rest of the cast, but still doesn't quite explain Pearl, who is a teenage whale.. Even if she was just a baby, she'd still be about 7 times larger than all of Bikini Bottom.
    • Perhaps this trope is averted with her since she's usually always the same consistent size compared to everyone else, but is only depicted as being small so she can exist as a character. Lets not even get Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy involved in this, since they are actual humans. I guess the Rule of Funny applies there. The size of Bikini Bottom and it's citizens also tend to change from episode to episode in comparison to the environmental surroundings. It's easy to understand that sometimes the characters are depicted as human sized living in a city underwater, and other times they're smaller than David Hasselhoff's foot.
  • Kim Possible: Ron Stoppable's Non-Human Sidekick, Rufus, usually rests comfortably in Ron's pocket. When other characters aren't around for comparison, though, Rufus tends to be somewhat larger in comparison to furniture and other objects, about the size of a small cat. To be fair this is Truth in Television, rats, mice, cats have bones very similar to most small children and can fit into places that are a bit smaller then they are.
  • The Fairly OddParents
    • Timmy Turner isn't particularly small, but still falls victim to this trope from time to time. Regular-sized adults frequently clench him in a single hand, and one scene in an early episode actually shows Timmy standing in his dad's hands, no larger than a basketball.
    • Trixie Tang, also not particularly small, is always depicted as being taller than Timmy, but how much taller she is than him also tends to vary.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers characters are sometimes subject to this, even when Nimnul's ray gun isn't involved. Especially see Queenie from "Risky Beesness": her size relative to the Rangers changes for no apparent reason over the course of an episode.
  • Woody Woodpecker: Woody stands two or three feet high most of the time, yet there are times where he seems to be much smaller. In one cartoon, for example, he is able to fit through the finger holes of a bowling ball.
  • Warren T. Rat, Big Bad of the film An American Tail. At one point he is dwarfed by the fat rat at the sweatshop, and later, is shown the same size as the rest of the cats in his gang. It seems his size varies depending on whether or not he's in his rat costume, which if you think about it makes what at first may appear a Paper-Thin Disguise into Fridge Brilliance.
  • Bobby Hill's of King of the Hill height varies from episode to episode especially in the later episodes, in some episodes he reaches Hank's shoulder and in others he barely reaches his stomach.
  • Dexter's Laboratory Dexter is usually shown to be probably half as tall as Dee Dee and around knee high to his parents but sometimes he seems much smaller (though sometimes this is clearly intentionally done to play on his insecurities about his height.)
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Nanomech looks about 3 or 4 inches in most shots (a little smaller than Greymatter), but then Kevin was able to shoot him out of a regular drinking straw, which would make him less than 1/4 of an inch tall.
    • The Alien Swarm movie that introduced Nanomech explicitly shows him shrinking.
  • Fans on the Total Drama Island Wiki have pointed out that Noah's height varies from scene to scene and season to season. He's supposed to be the third shortest, but in the newest season he's close to Tyler and Owen in terms of hieght, so either he grew on purpose or not having him on the show for a season made the animators mess up.
    • Cody's height also varies, usually compared to Gwen.
      • And then there's Sierra; she's the tallest girl by a wide margin and the third-tallest regular cast member, but her height isn't entirely consistent. In the most notable case of this, she was standing next to Duncan in on shot, who's on the upper end of average. In the first shot, he was about level with her chin. In THE VERY NEXT SHOT of them, he was nearly as tall as she was.
  • Eddy of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy is the shortest of the older kids, but how short tends to vary. Usually, he is about up to Edd's chin and up to Ed's chest in height, but one episode depicts him as a being shorter than even Sarah and Jimmy, the youngest of the characters.
    • However, that particular episode was about how he hates that he is short and longs to be taller, so it may have been done for that reason.
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold would occasionally be the size of humans whenever the animators forgot they're supposed to be tiny.
  • While not strictly a character, NICOLE of the Sat AM Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons would vary from the size of a pocket calculator to the size of a textbook between appearances.

Video Games

  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, the size of the birds is all over the place. The birds in the bird cafe look normal-sized, but a Chakar Partridge is able to easily overpower the human heroine, three pigeons are able to physically intimidate her, and a finch is able to give the heroine a ride on a scooter. A rock dove is also able to drag the heroine along, but at the same time her human physical strength is prized by the other birds (which she can grab and throw out of the window as punishment) and she has an outrageously high Vitality stat. There is also a scene where Hiyoko thinks the corpse of a dead dove is 'either a chicken or a turkey', implying it's somewhere between those two sizes.
  1. mainly because only half of his chakra is sealed inside Naruto