10 popular short characters in shonen anime

Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric is one of the most iconic short shonen anime characters (Image Credits: Hiromu Arakawa/Square Enix, Viz Media, Fullmetal Alchemist)

One of the most popular tropes in shonen anime is having a short character whose height is usually brought up in discussion time and again. While more recent shonen anime series has moved away from these gags, older series very clearly lean into them.

Even if the trope is not necessarily used as a joke, remarkably short characters feature in a vast majority of older, pre-new-gen shonen anime series. While the inclusion of this appearance quality is somewhat baffling when not used as a point of humour, there are older shonen anime series which do so effectively.

Here are ten popular short characters in shonen anime, listed in no particular order.


Edward Elric, Levi Ackerman and 8 other short shonen anime characters who have gained fans' approval

1) Levi Ackerman (Attack on Titan)

Levi in Season 3 (Image via Wit Studio)
Levi in Season 3 (Image via Wit Studio)

Attack on Titan’s Levi Ackerman is one of the most recognizable shonen anime characters in recent memory, thanks in part to the series’ success. However, his universal recognition can also stem from the rampant memeing culture surrounding him. His height seems to pop up in most discussions, with many anime fans making fun of his short stature via fan art, memes, and other creative means of expression.

Hilariously enough, Levi is just as well-known for his ferocity and skill as he is for his height or lack thereof.


2) Hinata Shoyo (Haikyu!!)

Hinata Shoyo(center) in Haikyuu!! Season 5 official art (Image Credits: Dat Weeaboo Dude)
Hinata Shoyo(center) in Haikyuu!! Season 5 official art (Image Credits: Dat Weeaboo Dude)

Haikyu!!’s Hinata Shoyo sees his height become a foundational element in both his personal story and the story of the series at large. This sports shonen anime series sees Hinata attempting to overcome the disadvantage posed by his height in order to become successful like the legendary Tiny Giant he watched play volleyball years ago.

His height usually presents itself as an obstacle that he has to overcome. Additionally, other characters in the series consistently poke fun at Hinata’s height, to great comedic effect.


3) Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric (Image Credits: Hiromu Arakawa/Square Enix, Viz Media)
Fullmetal Alchemist's Edward Elric (Image Credits: Hiromu Arakawa/Square Enix, Viz Media)

Fullmetal Alchemist’s Edward Elric also sees the shonen anime series constantly throwing his height in his face. However, unlike Shoyo Hinata in Haikyu!!, Ed is only teased for his height from time to time. His height is not inserted into the plot as an obstacle for him to overcome.

The varied reactions from The Fullmetal Alchemist’s protagonist are always hilarious since they range from complete despair to playful rage. One of the funniest bits of Fullmetal Alchemist, Elric's height is crucial to the show's success.


4) Toshiro Hitsugaya (Bleach)

Toshiro Hitsugaya (Image via Bleach|Wallpapers.com)
Toshiro Hitsugaya (Image via Bleach|Wallpapers.com)

Bleach’s Toshiro Hitsugaya has his height mentioned throughout the series but in a unique way. Typically, the only characters who reference his height are enemies, with some exceptions such as his sister and extremely close comrades.

However, in any scenario, Hitsugaya tends to simply brush it off instead of getting angry about the comment. While he does show signs of annoyance sometimes, he usually maintains his composure, which is rare amongst shonen anime characters.


5) Onoki (Naruto)

Onoki as seen in the Naruto: Shippuden anime (Image Credits: Masashi Kishimoto/Shueisha, Viz Media, Naruto: Shippuden)
Onoki as seen in the Naruto: Shippuden anime (Image Credits: Masashi Kishimoto/Shueisha, Viz Media, Naruto: Shippuden)

While his height is rarely mentioned during the Naruto series, there are many situations that highlight his short stature. Onoki is a shonen anime character who is rightfully short, being an incredibly old man by the time he first appears in the series.

Comical moments such as him standing next to Naruto and being cut off by the lower portion of the frame, or him lifting up a meteor make for great visual gags. While some auditory gags regarding his height can be found, it’s the visual comedy which is truly engaging.


6) Krillin (Dragon Ball)

Krillin as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime (Image Credits: Akira Toriyama/Shueisha, Viz Media)
Krillin as seen in the Dragon Ball Super anime (Image Credits: Akira Toriyama/Shueisha, Viz Media)

Dragon Ball’s Krillin has always been the short-statured sidekick of Son Goku. Playing second fiddle in the original series, his height doesn’t become a joke until the series' final portion and Z, when the difference starts getting pointed out to him frequently, much to the bald monk’s chagrin.

He’s one of the most iconic shonen anime characters to exist and his height only adds to his characterization. Even more iconic are the gags made at his expense, which likely helped in popularizing the trope for many series that came after.


7) Asta (Black Clover)

Black Clover: How Asta mastered Zetten, explained (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Black Clover: How Asta mastered Zetten, explained (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Black Clover’s Asta is constantly called names to remind him of his height, usually by his secret admirer Noelle Silva. His height is often used for visual gags and his enemies taunt him sometimes, but Noelle is typically the only ally to insult him for his short stature.

Asta’s immense popularity is, in part, due to Black Clover's brilliance as a new-gen series. As far as shonen anime is concerned, it features some of the best characters and upholds excellent quality in terms of storytelling. As a result, it has gained immense popularity with readers.


8) Koichi Hirose (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Koichi as seen in the Diamond Is Unbreakable anime (Image Credits: Hirohiko Araki/Shueisha, Viz Media, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure)
Koichi as seen in the Diamond Is Unbreakable anime (Image Credits: Hirohiko Araki/Shueisha, Viz Media, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure)

Koichi is from the fourth part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series, entitled Diamond Is Unbreakable. Koichi is friends with the character taking on the eponymous role of JoJo for this part, namely Jouske Higashikata. As a result, he’s considered a “JoBro” by fans, a blanket term which typically includes all sidekicks the respective JoJo-s have.

Koichi, in particular, is popular for his unique Stand ability, which seems to evolve and get stronger, and his cameo in the next part, Golden Wind. While his height is rarely mentioned in the series, he’s nevertheless one of the most popular short characters in shonen anime.


9) Aladdin (Magi)

Aladdin as seen in the Magi anime (Image Credits: Shinobu Ohtaka/Shogakukan, Viz Media, Magi)
Aladdin as seen in the Magi anime (Image Credits: Shinobu Ohtaka/Shogakukan, Viz Media, Magi)

Magi’s Aladdin is one of its two major protagonists, arguably being the more important protagonist of the two. As one of the most popular shonen anime characters around, his height poses no barrier to his excellence.

His lovable innocence and desire to protect his friends instantly draw viewers in. Additionally, his frustration when jokes were being made at the expense of his height was highly comedic and entertaining.


10) Meliodas (Seven Deadly Sins)

Meliodas as seen in the Seven Deadly Sins anime (Image Credits: Nakaba Suzuki/Kodansha, Kodansha USA, Magi)
Meliodas as seen in the Seven Deadly Sins anime (Image Credits: Nakaba Suzuki/Kodansha, Kodansha USA, Magi)

Finally, the central protagonist of Seven Deadly Sins is undoubtedly one of shonen anime’s most iconic characters. Meliodas' unique character design, which includes his childlike height and appearance, is instantly recognizable. The series provides comedic relief at his expense numerous times.

Many fans feel that the quality of writing was better in the initial stages of the anime, allowing Meliodas and other characters to shine. That said, he is still a fan-favourite.


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This article was modified on Monday, July 10, at 3:19 am.

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