Legal Jailbait

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Evangeline: Why don't you like me?
Nagi: Eh, I'm not into little girls.
Evangeline: What?? I'm over a hundred years old, you know!

Nagi: Well, then it's because you're an old hag.

There are Moe characters whose youth and innocence attract a fanbase of sexual lust in spite of an author's intentions and then there's these characters who are meant to appeal to Lolicon tastes.

Girls (and occasionally boys) who ascribe to this trope are invariably Older Than They Look adults, or supernatural beings that are Really Seven Hundred Years Old. The narrative takes great pains to remind the audience that they are adults, thereby (poorly) attempting to justify the sexualization of their apparent innocence and youth because they are technically adults, and therefore that (supposedly) alleviates the reader of possible guilt.

It's not just the guilt of the readers, mind you. There are countries where publishing acts of drawn underage sex is illegal. This is sometimes as close as the publishers can legally get if they want to sell their work in those countries. Note, however, that countries have differing laws on the matter, and what may be an effective legal dodge in one country may equal jail time in another.

Finally, this trope is also more often than not played for drama as well; the stigma of being a "forbidden object of lust" trapped in a "child's" body when one is an adult with sexual desires is a veritable goldmine of Angst driven drama and plot.

A combinatorial trope of Jail Bait Wait, Fetish Fuel Station Attendant and Lolicon. Occasionally meets There Should Be a Law. A real life version of this can be the result of Dawson Casting.

No Real Life Examples, Please This trope is full of Unfortunate Implications.

Examples of Legal Jailbait include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • 900-year-old ChibiUsa of Sailor Moon is technically an example, but she's a lot more childlike a lot more often than she is mature and adult. However, Naoko does sometimes write her as acting more adult/mature than Usagi, so it varies. Not that being more mature than Usagi takes very much; there are probably several genuine ten-year-olds who do it on a daily basis.
  • By far the most extreme example of this trope is Al Azif, the lead heroine of Demonbane. Despite taking the appearance of a young girl, Al Azif is in fact the avatar of the Necronomicon (yes, that Necronomicon); she's stated to be several thousand years old, but given the history of the Necronomicon, may actually be many times that age.
  • Evangeline A.K. McDowell of Mahou Sensei Negima is a 500+ year old vampire with the body of a 10 year old girl, dressing in Elegant Gothic Lolita style. But boy is she BITTER about it.
    • There's also the magic age changing pills, which change the pubescent (though still young) students into younger girls (or vice versa, for Negi and Kotarou).
    • Inverted by the third princess of the Hellas Empire. She's 30, but Hellans live longer than humans, so claims to be closer to 10 so Rakan will spoil her. Backfires on her when Rakan says little kids aren't allowed to drink alcohol and orders fruit juice for her.
  • Mina Tepes of Dance in the Vampire Bund has the appearance of a nine year old child. Although her age hasn't been confirmed neither in manga, nor in anime, she seems to continually beat the watcher around the head that she's much older. How much -- is a viewer's guess.
    • The manga eventually shows that it's not her true form but a pretense she uses to avoid arranged marriage.
  • Uber-Otaku Girl Izumi Konata, 18 years old but appearing HALF that age.
    • Constantly lampshaded throughout the anime. Notable examples include: Asking her friends to pretend they're her sisters so she can get the children's discount, not having grown an inch on Measuring Day, and wearing a School Swimsuit that was apparently issued in elementary school to her.
  • Hagumi Hanamoto from Honey and Clover.
  • Fuko Ibuki from Clannad after being awaken from the coma. She has a childish mind, understandably.
  • In Spice and Wolf, Holo's human form is explicitly described in every adaptation as that of a fifteen year old girl, in spite of being over four-centuries old and implied to be more experienced in "that" aspect of life than Lawrence (who has actually embezzled his mentor's treasury as a boy to visit houses of ill-repute). Though bear in mind the "legal age" does not quite exist in Medieval Times yet, so Holo's frankness with her sexuality is not so much squicky as it is unusually "improper" for a young lady of her era and in-universe Values Dissonance due to lacking human social mores.
  • Centuries old tree Goddess Nagi of Kannagi appears as a perky, flat-chested 15 year old schoolgirl.
  • Mimi of Mnemosyne looks like a child but is really much older thanks to her immortality.
  • In a similar vein, Minnie May Hopkins of Gunsmith Cats.
  • Morino Ichigo of Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins, frozen in a 15 year old body after being in a coma for six long years years, (which acted more like Suspended Animation) and is hence 21 years old.
  • An in-universe example of To Aru Majutsu no Index: while the audience is never meant to find Komoe-sensei sexy, she is lusted by several members of the detention-class she holds. Though the fact that her apartment is littered with beer cans and cigarette is evidence to her adulthood, she is still a warm, innocent and romantic child at her kind heart.
  • Konjiki No Yami (aka Golden Darkness) of To LOVE-Ru is the most feared shapeshifting assassin in the galaxy, with the appearance of an adorable 14 year old blonde. In one of the episodes, she claims her age to be "24 years old by Earth reckoning".
  • The Yaoi manga Okane ga Nai barely avoids being labeled Shotacon by clearly stating that the child-like Ayase is nineteen years old. He still looks and behaves like a twelve-year-old.
  • Shizuku the Mizuchi of Omamori Himari. Her exact age isn't specified, but she is at least 100 years old and looks about ten, gets just as many NSFW Fan Service shots as the more mature-looking girls, and has spent most of the series blatantly and obviously trying to get the teenage male lead into bed.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has Vita, a Ridiculously Human Program who has the body of an eight-year old despite being a few centuries old. Her appearance is a bit of a sore spot for her and she gets annoyed whenever someone refers to her as a kid. This isn't helped at all by the fact that her "sisters", who are roughly the same age, both have permanent large-breasted 20-something bodies. There's also the combat Cyborg Cinque, who happens to be one of the oldest members of the Numbers despite having the body of a child.
  • Black Jack has hints of BlackJackXPinoko. Pinoko looks like a second-grader, whereas she's actually 18–22 years old in any given episode.
  • In-universe example in Ouran High School Host Club with Honey, who looks about 6 and actually is the eldest of the Club, at about 18.
  • Detective Conan gives us Haibara Ai, the biochemist who is responsible for creating the drug that turned Shinichi into Conan, and is a victim of the exact same poison. Her real age, as Miyano Shiho/Sherry, is approximately 18, but due to the effects of APTX-4869, she appears to be no older than eight.
  • Chrono from Chrono Crusade is a demon that appears to be about twelve years old in his sealed form, but his true form appears to be in his early twenties and he's really at least half a century old, possibly about 85 in the manga. This is Lampshaded in the manga by Satella, who "likes younger boys" and is happy to be able to flirt with him guilt-free.
    • There's also Florette "Fiore" Harvenheit, who appears to be fifteen, but when you do the math she's actually about twenty-five. This is because Florette was killed at the age of fifteen, and Fiore is a "doll" made out of an artificial soul and Florette's reanimated body.
  • Ageha in Toshiue no Hito is mistaken for jailbait, but she is an 26 year old widow who just has an underdeveloped body.
  • Amber of Darker than Black qualifies. Though she's likely at least in her twenties or early thirties, her renumeration for using her time-manipulation power is aging backwards, so during the main course of the first season, she looks like a fifteen-year-old.
  • Washu from Tenchi Muyo!. Prefers taking the body of a twelve year old, but is really 20,000 years old... and has the sex drive to match.
  • Kuonji Miyu from They Are My Noble Masters looks like a very young girl, despite being in her early twenties.
  • Mimina from Ladies versus Butlers! is 19 but looks 8. The main character Akiharu even comments on this, mistaking her for another student's younger sister, accidentally molesting her, then getting accused of being a lolicon.
  • Futari Ecchi plays with this. A neighbor of the protagonist couple looks really young for her age. Every single panel that features her nude and/or having sex with husband features a little note mentioning her actual age.
  • Nagato Yuki from Haruhi Suzumiya is an interesting straight trope/inversion/aversion ... thing. We see her on the day she's created looking like a 15 year old girl. Kyon meets her when she's 3 years old but then after the time loop of Endless Eight is now over 500 years old. She still appears 15. It can make the head hurt.
  • This is zigzagged to hell and back in Excel Saga. Cosette is, throughout the series, depicted as a normal nine year old girl (although a highly skilled assassin). Dr. Shioji, while never overtly doing anything inappropriate, is always shown surrounding himself with young girls, heavily implying that he's a pedophile. The final episode of the anime, which was banned from the air has these two meet up and go into a Love Hotel. After getting out of the shower, Cosette reveals her Gag Boobs and declares herself to be "a fully consenting adult". Shioji storms out of the room.
  • At the end of the |Ghost in The Shell film Batou puts The Major combined with program 2501 into the body of a child. She asks if he goes for that sort of thing. He reminds her that the illegal body trade which he had to depend on for a quick body didn't allow him the luxury to choose.
  • Blood Alone: The implied future for female lead Misaki, played for gentle angst. A young girl who has been turned into an unaging vampire, she has a crush on her 20-something protector but knows it will never go anywhere because she'll never become an adult woman.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Captain Boomerang Jr. once declared his love for Supergirl, but while she is chronologically an adult, she's biologically sixteen. They were together for a while though.
  • In Green Lantern, in the late 80s and early 90s, Hal Jordan was romantically involved with Arisia, who (when introduced) appeared to be and was described as 13 (Earth) years old. (26 of her planet's years.) He steadfastly discouraged her crush on him until she subconsciously used her ring to physically age herself up to adulthood over the course of a few weeks. He then justified getting involved with her because the ring had also given her mental maturity. Much later it was retconned that "due to the elongated orbit around its two suns, thirteen years on Graxos IV were like two-hundred and forty on Earth." This nominally decreased the creepiness (or perhaps reverses it, making Hal the jailbait), though it contradicts the original comics.
  • S'aru from Red Hood and the Outlaws looks like a preteen and lounges around half-naked, but he's really over 400 years old.


Fan Fic[edit | hide]

  • An unintentional version has been known to cause problems in The Lord of the Rings fanfic with fans who've only seen the movies and aren't aware that the nonhuman races age slower than humans in bookverse. Hobbits come of age at thirty-three, so a sixteen-year-old hobbit is roughly the equivalent of a ten-year-old human, and elves aren't counted as adults until they're fifty.
    • Affected them in the movie universe, too. Apart from the hobbits' ages getting shuffled, Orlando Bloom's Legolas went from "these trees make me feel young again, as I have not since I traveled with you children" (he's between 500 and 3000 years old), to getting a pat on the arm and a "let it go, lad" from Gimli, who's only 139.
  • The Not So Short Second Life of Bree Tanner offer the gem of a double subversion, Bree and Alec are both biologically teenager (15 and 14 respectively) when they are turned, but Alec is around 350 years old.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In Let the Right One In Eli has been twelve...for a long time.
  • Played with in The Santa Clause, when Scott meets an elf who looks ten, but is several hundred years old. He innocently remarks about her looks and she is the one who takes it the other way:

Scott Calvin: You know, you look pretty good for your age.
Judy: Thanks, but I'm seeing someone in wrapping.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • An often overlooked effect of prolong in Honorverse is that it prolongs not only the life, but development as well. It was explicitly mentioned in one book that third generation prolong receiver of 20 years would look 13 as per our experience,[1] with consequent squicking of various backwaters' inhabitants, unused to apparent children manning warships.
    • It's considerably worse than three-to-one; as you get older, aging (and development) slows down, so at thirty you look about fifteen. The limit is not known, as no third-gen prolong receivers have yet noticeably aged beyond their twenties.
      • Allison Harrington (who just broke her second hundred) looks, from the descriptions, about thirty. Honor, who's also third-gen and 62, is barely in the twenties by the look alone.
    • And then there are the (very few) ill-fated fourth-generation prolong receivers, who just don't mature. At all, apparently. This unfortunate consequence has caused Beowulf to tighten up their rules again.
    • Ragnhild Pavletic (who appears in Shadow of Saganami) is a third-generation Prolong recipient, who also was cursed with a slow maturation rate and small stature, making her look like she was eleven or twelve. A certain level of frustration was hinted at this in the book, especially considering one of her fellow middies was a former pleasure slave, bio-engineered to be a sex toy.
  • Claudia in Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire was turned when she was five (eleven in the movie). Due to the limitations of undead physiology, however, sex is entirely subtextual.
  • Xulai in Sheri S. Tepper's The Waters Rising looks "about seven or eight" when the hero first meets her which disturbs him because he finds himself inappropriately attracted to her. Imagine his relief when her body changes to match her true age of twenty.
  • In Ian McDonald's Cyberabad Days a number of rich Indian families have their offspring genetically engineered in the womb both for superior intelligence and long life. This however comes at the price of aging literally half as fast, This results in marriages between people who are chronilogically in their late teens or twenties but have yet to reach puberty physically. Or worse between one spouse (usually the wife) that is normal and a husband that is physically nine or ten.
  • Sylvia Martius in Stationery Voyagers is really at least a century old. But she thinks like a 12-year-old and gets treated like one by everyone around her. In 60 years' time, she's managed to mature enough to be treated like a 17-year-old.
    • Stella-Marie is an inversion: She was mechanized as a child, and put in a teen robot body. She still thinks like a 7-year-old; and only the most die-hard Robosexual would even consider her.
  • Tessa of The Dresden Files is well over one thousand years old, but in her human form looks like a pretty, 15-year-old girl. It's partly why Harry doesn't really go for her seduction routine. (The whole "freaky human-headed mantis demon" thing also contributed.)
    • Also, Esmeralde Batiste from Changes, a Red Court vampire whose flesh mask resembles a grown woman with childlike proportions.
  • In Charles Stross' Eschaton series there is a subculture of people who have themselves altered via nanotech surgery to look prepubescent. They have a symbiotic relationship with another subculture.
  • In-universe example in Wheel of Time: the grandfatherly general Gareth Bryne is romantically involved with (and later proposes to) Suian Sanche, who is chronologically around the same age but due to a magical mishap appears young enough to be his granddaughter. A few characters mention how odd their pairing seems in passing, but nobody seems to have too big a problem with it. Possibly justified in that magic-using women (and presumably men, not that that many survive long enough for it to be an issue) in that setting age more slowly; presumably they must be used to being seen with apparently much older men.
  • In Replay, during one of their Groundhog Day Loops, Jeff is 18 and Pamela is 14.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • An episode of Law and Order SVU had a 17 year old dating an older man despite her having the body of a 10 year old. Notable in that the main source of her angst was the fact that her father treated her like she was one.
  • Star Trek
    • An inversion in Star Trek: Voyager: Kes is a young adult and looks like one. Her race lives for only 9 years and thus physically and mentally matures at an appropriately accelerated pace. At the start of the series, Kes is two one (her second birthday is in the season 1 finale). This doesn't stop humanlike-aging Neelix (and, in an alternate timeline, Tom Paris) from doing the deed with her.
    • Another Star Trek inversion. In one episode of TNG, several characters are in a transporter accident which physically regresses them to children, though their minds remain completely intact. When one of them snuggles suggestively up to her husband, he's instantly squicked out, even though she's mentally and emotionally the same person. The philosophical questions behind this really aren't explored any further.
      • Miles did at least figure out that he can still comfort Keiko and that they would figure out the rest later. Thankfully it wasn't necessary.
    • Yet another is the TOS episode "Miri", where a long lived, but emotionally and physically 13-14 year old girl has a crush on Kirk. At the end of the episode, when confronted with how he resisted her charms, Kirk replies "I'm not fond of older women."
  • Juliet in Wizards of Waverly Place passed as a high school student, including dating one, despite being a vampire 2,193 years old.
  • The producers of To Catch a Predator made increasing use during its run of 18-year-old actors to pose as underage children to meet the alleged predators when they show up at the decoy house for sex. They fooled virtually everyone.
    • One question this raises is why the alleged predators are in trouble at all, if in reality they're visiting an 18-year-old, and besides all of their previous interactions had been with adults posing as underage children. The reason is that they solicited someone whom they understood to be underage for sex, which is sufficient for legal purposes.
  • Being Human (UK) had an episode featuring a 40-year-old vampire who looked about sixteen. (The actor was twenty.) His adoptive vampire parents threw a big party for him, where he was encouraged to drain a willing victim and then have sex with his adoptive mother. Even he was squicked by the whole thing.
  • One episode of She Spies had Cassie, Shane and DD investigating a charity run by two brothers whose poster child was a disabled little girl called Amy; it was a con racket which the "girl" - actually an adult woman whose aging system was slowed down due to illness - was the ringleader of. Amy's disability, on the other hand, was for real. Too bad DD didn't find out until after she dragged Amy from her wheelchair and shoved her onto the ground...


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Disgaea series:
  • In Tales of Symphonia, we have Presea Combatir. Thanks to some Applied Phlebotinum that went bad and froze her aging, she's physically twelve years old, but chronologically 28. To put this in perspective, this means she is the second-oldest usual member of the party; beating out even the resident Casanova. Played for drama once the spell is broken, and she realizes that she's been stuck in time for half her life.
  • From the Nasuverse, there's Tsukihime's Len, who is an unspecified number of centuries old and looks about ten in her human form. She's also a Succubus who is very intimate with teenage Shiki Tohno.
    • Nasu's works also feature a less extreme example in Ilya from Fate/stay night. She also looks roughly ten to twelve years old, but is actually in her early twenties. She isn't one of the main character's potential love interests, but that's because her planned route was scrapped in preference for expanding the Heaven's Feel route.
  • Boys Love game Gakuen Heaven takes place in a high school with teenaged love interests... save for Professor Umino who is a teacher in his 20's but looks to be about twelve.
  • The Harvest Moon series has Luna, one of the possible bachelorettes. Her exact age is unspecified, though she is old enough to get married. She's also a short girl with Elegant Gothic Lolita clothes and Girlish Pigtails.
    • In the next game her height is gone, she's even taller then her sister. Lumina also counts in Special Edition. She uses the same model as her fourteen year old design from A Wonderful Life and its Distaff Counterpart, despite being sixteen (eighteen in the west). She ages quickly though; she changes to her older design in the next chapter.
    • Katie also looks, and acts, young but insists that she's an adult; she's a bachelorette also.
  • Absolute Obedience features two characters as "targets" that appear to be very young teenagers, but are officially 18 and 19.
  • Wild ARMs 3 features Beatrice, the true villain of the game that is revealed very late in. She appears to be a young girl, maybe 12 or 10 or even younger, but is actually an ancient Dream Demon who has been masterminding the entire games plot for years.
  • Remilia and Flandre Scarlet of the Touhou games both count, as they're 500 and 495 year old vampires, respectively, but have the bodies of ten year old girls. At least Remilia can act mature when she wants to. Flandre, on the other hand, amps up the Squick by having the mind of a child due to centuries of isolation. Touhou contains plenty of these characters, who range in age from Cirno, at least sixty years old, to Suwako, at least two thousand years old.
  • Dirge of Cerberus, the Final Fantasy VII "sequel," features Shelke. She's nineteen, but physically stopped aging, leaving her in the body of a nine-year-old but with a very mature behavior.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Crewman Anthony tries to invoke this trope to justify his attraction towards centuries-old female demons who happen to look like beautiful young women. It backfires horribly when the latest object of his affections, the demon Moh Shuvuu, not only has the body of a little girl but also the personality of one, and she's more than understandably squicked. As is the player character.
  • In the Blade Runner game, one of the endings features your character running off into the sunset with a suspected replicant that looks like a 14 year old girl. About 75% of the time it turns out she's actually human, but when she's a replicant her real age (like all replicants) is under 4. As an android, her age is probably not considered an issue.
  • Rachel Alucard of BlazBlue fame is thousands of years old.
  • Angelia Avalon from Arcana Heart willingly froze her age when she was 10 years old.
  • The fifth Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, has Babette, who looks like she's about ten, and is a member of the Dark Brotherhood. She's actually a several centuries old vampire. When you first enter the Sanctuary, she is telling the others about her latest mark, with the implication being that she seduced a pedophile.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Chibi-Sue in Ghastlys Ghastly Comic is thirty-six, but is trapped in her Super-Deformed chibi body. Normal men want nothing to do with her, but she's creeped out by the idea of pedophiles mistaking her for a child or using her as a substitute.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • A few have popped up in The Gungan Council, but Toph Graystone is notable for using Toph as an avatar despite being 18.
  • The Cute Monster Girl in Monster Girl Encyclopedia enjoy eternal youth, with some stop aging in child-like state, and most have a lifespan far longer than that of a human. So while some monsters look like children, there's a good chance they're Older Than They Look and Really 700 Years Old. The Sabbath cult also has spells that can reverse aging. Downplayed in universe, since marriage to monsters is illegal in anti-monster kingdoms, so it doesn't really matter if they're legal or not age-wise, since Monster's aren't, period.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

"I'm 18, silly, I only look eight!

  • The Warner siblings in Animaniacs are Older Than They Look. They appear to be between the ages of six and twelve, but are at least sixty. Dot is rather sexualized in the series. Outside of the series this is a common joke when characters count their age from the moment of creation rather than their character designs—many child characters have outlived multiple generations of fans by this reckoning.
  • In the "Live Filming" of an episode of The Cleveland Show, 15 year old Roberta states in a drunken rant she is actually 25.
  1. Given that third-gen prolong should be administered at around ten, this gives about three-to-one ratio