In anime, big characters can be intimidating, powerful, and destructive. But not always! In fact, small anime characters often hide incredible power within their tiny stature.
Anime is a magical playground where anything goes. Physical size has been subverted so many times that it's almost expected for diminutive characters to have tricks and secrets up their sleeve.
Of course, the longer an anime series goes before revealing the hidden power within a small character, the more surprising it ends up being. Too soon and there's very little impact.
Here are some of my favorite examples of small anime characters who are far stronger and deadlier than they physically appear to be.
14. Yachiru Kusajishi (Bleach)
With Yachiru perched on Kenpachi's shoulder, it almost looks like she's using him as a bodyguard. And why wouldn't she? Kenpachi is a fierce swordsman and one of the strongest Captains in Bleach.
But actually, Yachiru is herself quite capable. Our only regret is that Bleach never fully explored how strong she could be.
Yachiru's calmness and easy-going attitude in dire situations tells us how confident she is in her ability to get out if needed. She also has a sinister aura that's as terrifying as Kenpachi's during his fight with Ichigo.
13. Pikachu (Pokemon)
Ash's Pikachu is a small, cute, electric Pokemon—but he packs a lot of power within his tiny frame, enough to defeat larger opponents like Charizard. The loyal Pikachu stays by Ash's side throughout his journey, and eventually earns him a world championship title!
12. Jaw Titan (Attack on Titan)
Compared to the other Titan Shifters, the Jaw Titan has a noticeably smaller physical frame. Despite the size disadvantage, the Jaw Titan possesses incredible speed and agility, plus powerful jaws and claws.
In many ways, the Jaw Titan is the fiercest of the Titan Shifters, to the point that he nearly got the best of Eren's Attack Titan. (If he wasn't interrupted by Captain Levi, who knows how things might've gone.)
Seriously, the Jaw Titan is so strong that his jaw is the only thing that's able to shatter the Warhammer Titan's crystal cocoon.
11. Tanya von Degurechaff (Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil)
She's small and young, but Tanya von Degurechaff is a nasty threat to her enemies on the battlefield.
Despite being a young soldier, she possesses the coldness, ruthlessness, and tactical prowess needed to excel in a war-stricken era.
Funny thing is, before Tanya was a soldier, she was actually a salaryman who was killed in his real world before being isekai'd into this alternate world. I guess that explains it!
10. Rimuru Tempest (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
Whether in true "slime" form or in human form, Rimuru Tempest is always small. In fact, while in slime form, he's often carried by his subordinates like Ranga and Shion.
But Rimuru is no ordinary slime. He's a Demon Lord! He possesses many different skills, attributes, and immunities that he obtained through his Predator ability (including Veldora, who resides within him).
9. Krillin (Dragon Ball)
Krillin may not be as strong as the Saiyans of the Dragon Ball universe, but he's far stronger than any other human like him.
He proved himself worthy of being one of the Z Fighters during the Tournament of Power, hosted by the Omni-King Zeno, which involved fierce participants from many different universes.
8. Eri (My Hero Academia)
This cute little child shouldn't be taken lightly. Eri has the Quirk called Rewind, which allows her to return anything to any of its former states, and it works on people, too.
In other words, Rewind can take an object or person so far back that it eventually ends up in a state when it didn't exist.
Fortunately, once she came under the care of Pro Heroes, her Quirk became much more stable and less dangerous to be around.
Related: The Best Superhero Anime Series
7. Tony Tony Chopper (One Piece)
Chopper is the ship doctor of the Straw Hat Pirates. He's cute and looks harmless and vulnerable, but there have been times when he fought alongside the crew as a close-quarter fighter.
He has many different forms, including the Monster Point, which allows him to transform into a gigantic monster. In this form, he's able to take on Queen and even send his opponents flying.
6. Makarov Dreyar (Fairy Tail)
The former guild master of the Fairy Tail guild, Makarov Dreyar, is a small old man who has the magical ability to turn himself gigantic and full of raw strength in times of need.
Apart from his brute strength, he's also talented in using other magic attributes, including Light Magic.
He can also use the Fairy Law, a technique that's exclusive to Fairy Tail. It's a wide-scale attack that deals heavy damage to those he deems to be enemies, leaving his comrades safe and unscathed.
5. Alluka/Nanika (Hunter X Hunter)
Alluka is totally harmless, at least until she starts asking for something. When everything she's requested is granted, Nanika appears to grant any wish to the fulfiller, no matter how impossible the wish.
But if her requests happen to go unfulfilled, that's when things get dangerous. She'll crush and dispose of anyone who fails to give her what she wants, along with those who are associated with them.
4. Gon Freecss (Hunter X Hunter)
Killua would be a pretty good choice for this spot, but he's clearly dangerous and skilled from the very beginning. Because of that, we're going with Gon instead.
Gon started off as a young boy determined to pass the Hunter Exam so he could go out and look for his father. With every step, he grew more powerful, eventually becoming the powerful boy he is now.
What makes Gon truly terrifying and powerful is that he's willing to give up his own life in exchange for tremendous strength, which he does when he seeks vengeance for the death of Kite.
3. Nezuko Kamado (Demon Slayer)
Demon Slayer has a great example of this trope in Nezuko Kamado. She's a demon who can turn herself into a cute childlike form, which allows her brother, Tanjiro, to carry her in a box strapped to his back.
Yet when it comes time to battle, she's as deadly as any other demon. When she turns herself back into her normal state, she grows sharp nails that can tear through demon flesh.
Nezuko also has a badass ability called Blood Demon Art: Exploding Blood, which allows her to ignite any of her own blood that was spilled and cause great harm to enemies caught within.
Related: The Best Demon Characters in Anime
2. Zeno (Dragon Ball Super)
Grand Zeno the Omni-King is a small creature in Dragon Ball Super who's feared by everyone, even the powerful Gods of Destruction.
With his bodyguards always by his side, it seemed at first that this "king" was impotent and vulnerable, unable to do anything on his own.
But in truth, the Omni-King is an overpowered being who can annihilate entire universes with ease, which he demonstrated to frightening effect during the Tournament of Power.
1. Captain Levi (Attack on Titan)
Compared to the other soldiers of the Scout Regiment, Captain Levi is quite a bit smaller in stature. In fact, his size is poked fun at throughout the Attack on Titan series.
But don't let his height deceive you. He's by far the most skilled Titan Killer in the series. He's fast, he's wild, and he's deadly.
He was even able to take on the Beast Titan alone and successfully extract its Titan Shifter by slicing open their nape. He's so skilled that Commander Erwin trusts him and believes fully in him.