Older Alter Ego

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Don't trust him Billy! Superman has an angle!
"Ta-ta-ta-ta-tata! Puberty power!"
—Yugi Mutou during transformation, Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series

Trope closely tied with the Magical Girl and some Western superheroes, this is a character with the ability to turn into a noticeably older counterpart of themselves. The most famous use is the "Magic Idol Singer", a pretty blatant piece of innocent wish fulfillment.

The wholesomeness of this idea is its main feature; that characters would run into rather squicky situations if they found boyfriends or girlfriends while changed is surprisingly common, and thus this trope is often combined with Loves My Alter Ego.

Occasionally overlaps with Super-Powered Alter Ego. Compare with Overnight Age-Up, Sleep Mode Size. When the change is more permanent, you have a Plot-Relevant Age-Up.

Examples of Older Alter Ego include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Probably used first in the first ever Magical Girl manga (though not the first anime - that was another show) Himitsu no Akko-chan, which first appeared in 1963. The Cute Witch female lead, Atsuko Kagami aka Akko, had a Magic Mirror that allowed her to take up the appearance of other people. Obviously, more than once she aged herself up to help the rest.
    • In fact, she invoked the trope in the very first time she used her mirror by wishing to become "the Queen of the Stars". The result was her becoming a Tall, Dark and Bishoujo girl in a sparkly gown.
  • Marvelous Melmo is another early Magical Girl example, in which the 9-year-old heroine uses magic candies to age into an attractive 19-year-old Panty Shot-tastic version of herself.
  • Magical Angel Creamy Mami in which a young girl became an idol singer.
  • Sailor Moon had a wand similar to Minky Momo, used several times in the first 10 or so episodes, and then was promptly forgotten about after the filler arc in the second series. The Senshi themselves are supposed to be older after their transformations, although this is not as drastic as other examples.
    • Likewise, Minako has a compact that serves the same purpose in Codename: Sailor V. Since Usagi is an Expy of her it's not surprising.
  • This was the premise of Full Moon o Sagashite. In addition to Mitsuki going from 12 to 16, she also temporarily loses the throat cancer she has as a 12 year old which prevents her from singing loudly. And in order to properly disguise herself during her first transformation she dyes her hair blonde. After that it's just assumed that Takuto and Meroko include the dye when they transform her each time.
  • In Love Hina Kaolla Su becomes older under the semi-mystical "red moon" and when her "big brother" visits.
  • This seems to be Evangeline's power in Mahou Sensei Negima; however it's revealed that her "adult form" is just an illusion. Of course, it's played around with... due to the fact that she's Really Seven Hundred Years Old and stuck in her current form because she's a vampire, Evangeline's illusion actually makes her appear younger than she really is... it's just her true form looks even younger than that.
    • Later in the manga "Age Changing Pills" start appearing, which are stated when introduced to just cast the same illusion Evangeline uses. Evidently, this illusion is fully tactile, extends or reduces actual reach and height, and doesn't cover your clothes (which can end up falling off or getting very tight).
  • Jungle de Ikou!, in which a young student gains the power to become a fertility goddess with the powers of Mother Earth in her breasts.
  • Ranma ½ features the character of Miss Hinako, a little girl who can temporarily become a full-grown woman by absorbing another person's Battle Aura. The technique that lets her do this was taught to her by Happosai when she was a bedridden child (not out of the kindness of his heart - he was being chased by nurses for stealing their underwear and wanted her to knock them out with it); the full-grown woman is a closer reflection of her true age, as the technique delays her aging.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh: When Yugi calls upon his mystical Millennium Puzzle to evoke the spirit of an ancient pharaoh into him, his voice deepens and he grows about a foot in height without raising comment from anyone. Since the cameo of the older Yugi in Yu-Gi-Oh GX has him look largely the same, this is probably just a visual aid to the audience indicating his maturity. Mocked, as well as everything else, in the first episode of Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series:

Seto: Wait, did your testicles just drop in the last five seconds or something? What the heck happened to your voice?

  • In Chrono Crusade, Chrono is usually to be found in the form of a teenage boy. However, in his full demon form, when getting power from Rosette's seal, he is a fully grown and not-unattractive man.
  • In Tenjho Tenge, Maya is usually portrayed as a really young girl, almost chibified. It seems unlikely that such a child would be sword master; however, when she gets serious she transforms into well-endowed and shapely woman, capable of making members of the male species goggle. This is actually a reversal of the trope: The buxom beauty is Maya's true form. She regularly transforms into the tyke to conceal her strength.
    • Technically she uses the child form to increase her strength.
  • When schoolgirl sportscaster Tsukuda Miina becomes the Space Rabbit Girl Warrior Tsushiro Miina in Getsumen to Heiki Mina, she takes on a notably more... "mature" form.
  • The last episode of Dai Mahou Touge uses this as part of a power upgrade.
  • Hono and Yuki from the Master Of Mosquiton OVA both have an adult form, which seems to be the form in which they can most effectively use their elemental powers. It's used as an excuse for blatant fanservice in the case of Yuki, whose transformation is usually accompanied by boingy sound effects as her relevant curves (shown in extreme closeup) abruptly, and literally, pop out of nowhere.
  • The manga Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts is centered around this trope. In a terrifyingly creepy manner.
  • Ayashi no Ceres has an odd partial example—Aya's friend and fellow ten'nyo Chidori is in her late teens, but physically looks about ten. When she transforms into her ten'nyo form, however, she looks her actual age.
  • Klein Klan in Macross Frontier does this in reverse. At normal Zentradi size, she's a physically developed adult, but when Miclonised (shrunk to human size) she becomes a physical and mental preteen.
  • ChaCha in Akazukin Chacha can use the power of her brooch (and Riiya's bracelet, and Shine's ring) to turn into a "Magical Princess" who looks to be about 16 years old. She herself looks to be about 7-8.
  • Nanaka 6/17 doesn't actually have this trope, however it is the explaination given to the main character after she suffers a severe brain injury that leaves her with no memories beyond the age of six.
    • It actually does have this trope, but only in a minor capacity - Magical Domiko does this when she uses her powers.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Koenma normally looks like a baby despite being Really Seven Hundred Years Old. When in the human world, in order to be taken seriously, he appears in the form of a handsome young man... with a pacifier in his mouth. He actually has a good reason to always carry the pacifier.
  • Both Jiyu and Freesia from Jubei-chan have adult alter-forms for serious butt-kicking.
  • In the Devil May Cry 3 manga, Alice (who resembles the protagonist from Alice in Wonderland) actually goes so far as to trade her innocence to demons for the sake of becoming older and more attractive.
  • Vivio in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid. If you've seen StrikerS it's the same one she used in the final battle, though with less black in the Barrier Jacket. Like her mom, however, she takes a very responsible approach to life-altering magics and readily promises her to never use her adult form for fun and mischief. She also displays acute awareness of the fact that suddenly growing breasts doesn't actually make her an adult. Other charecters also have a similar Adult Form, like Einhart Stratos, her rival and maybe something more.
  • In Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, Illya appears about 17 when she becomes a Heroic Spirit.
  • Played straight with Dark Magical Girl Pixy Misa in Pretty Sammy. This is presumably a reflection of Misao wanting to be a daring, attractive grown-up. Meanwhile, the heroine Pretty Sammy is basically Sasami in a silly costume (the cast-offs of her Cloudcuckoolander sponsor). Sasami doesn't want to be someone else, being rather well-adjusted.
  • Spoofed in a bonus manga chapter of Kodomo no Jikan that came with the 2nd OAV DVD. Poor Kuro remains flat-chested even in adult form, and poor Mimi gets even bigger.
  • Aram of Meru Puri transforms from a 12 year old kid into a 17 year old teenager by coming in contact with darkness.
  • There's a borderline example in D.N.Angel—the main hook of the story is that Daisuke transforms into his alter-ego, Dark, when he experiences the feelings of being in love. Dark looks older and is much taller (to the point that Daisuke gets into the habit of wearing clothing that is too big for him). However, Dark is also presented as his own individual, who has appeared in the men of Daisuke's family for several generations.
  • When Ahiru transforms into Princess Tutu, she looks noticeably older, and also becomes several times more graceful, with a melodious voice and stunning dance skills. However, it's implied that they are two different characters in the story, since the original The Prince and the Raven didn't have a duck in it, possibly not any kind of Secret Identity at all.
    • Basically, same person, different personas.
  • In Pokémon 3: Spell of the Unown, Molly decides she'd like to be older, and they make it so.
  • Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri Being magical idol singers, this isn't surprising.
  • In Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu, Guu can change into a beautiful young woman who is strong enough to defeat a bear.
  • This is how Digivolving works in Digimon Xros Wars, as opposed to the usual Evolutionary Levels.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The trope was formerly named, perhaps ironically, after one of the exceedingly few western examples of it: DC comic hero Captain Marvel. Subverted in a recent comics story in which Captain Marvel reveals his identity to and begins dating a fellow superhero the same age as Billy Batson, and is later forced to break up with her due to misunderstandings from others who didn't know he was actually 16. His twin sister, Mary Marvel, has exactly the same power.
    • Becomes a plot point in Young Justice when he is able to travel between all-kids and all-adults parallel worlds.
    • Similar thing happened to his Malibu Comics Captain Ersatz, Prime from The Ultraverse. He tried to use the older form to get together with a girl he had a crush on, which really creeped her out. Meanwhile, an adult heroine was nursing a crush on Prime.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man does this... sort of. He's actually 16, but usually tells people he's in his twenties when he's in costume. No one really buys it.
  • Archie Comics Superhero The Fly (also known as Fly Man) was originally one of these. Young orphan Tommy Troy was given a magic ring that allowed him to transform into an adult with insect-based powers. Unusually for this trope, the age differential didn't last. By the fifth issue Thomas Troy had aged a good ten years, gaining a law degree along the way, and was drained of any lingering trace of originality. (This was concurrent with the departure of the original Joe Simon/Jack Kirby creative team.) When The Fly and other Archie Comics heroes were revived under DC Comics' Impact imprint, this trope was re-established for the character.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is another western comic book example. Because time passed at different speeds between Earth and Gemworld, she was older when she visited the other world. (Plus, of course, she had magical powers! And a flying horse!)
  • Banana Man, people!
  • A victim of the Scarecrow's experiments, an orphan named Colin can willingly become the hulking vigilante Abuse (with reverse-embossed knuckle-dusters to match).
  • Aside from Prime (see above), The Ultraverse also had Elven, a teenage girl who transformed into an adult female elf.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • This is one of the powers of the Grass Guardian in Guardians of Pokémon.
    • Later, Pikachu also gets the power to temporarily age up using the Thunder Stone...but after the transformation has run out, she temporarily becomes even younger than usual.
  • One particular That Guy With The Glasses Slash Fic casts Lewis Lovhaug as a high school student who uses a Power Rangers transmorpher to become the superhero "Linkara". While the age difference isn't major, Linkara is stated to be five years older than teenaged Lewis (making him roughly Mr. Lovhaug's actual age).


Film[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Gene Wolfe's Wizard Knight series, the hero is a young kid who is transformed into a brawny Knight in Shining Armor in a fantasy world but is still as naive as your typical Kid Hero.
  • Flossie Teacakes - the 10-year-old main character finds a magical coat that magically transforms her into the young woman she dreams of being whenever she wears it.
  • Come On Ossie - Oswald turns into an 18-year-old when he borrows his grandfather's medal.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Out of This World, Evie once turned herself into an adult, becoming "Evie's older cousin Yvette," to attract a boy. Attempts to reverse it rendered her seven years old.
  • In Smallville, an enchanted comic book turned a boy into an adult superhero. Chloe seemed semi-interested in him until she found out he was really about ten years old. Turns out, though, that the comic wasn't about a hero, but a villain's Start of Darkness, and the kid was going to go Ax Crazy.
  • Justin in Power Rangers Turbo, mostly as a result of the suit-actor being the same age as the rest of the suit-actors, while the character actor was about half the age of the other character actors, with no actual in-story handwave. He even shifted back to twelve-year-old size when he removed his helmet.
  • The main characters of Big Bad Beetleborgs are all kids who thanks to a Phantasm called Flabber become their favorite heroes.
  • The titular character of Merlin uses an aging spell now rather regularly to turn into an 80yr old version of himself, known as "Dragoon" most of the time, though Morgana may know him as Emrys due to her vision.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • When channeling their dead sister/cousin Mia, Pearl and Maya Fey become vessels for her spirit. All this really means is that the full-sized Mia, bust and all, turns up wearing the younger Fey's clothes. It's bad enough when she turns up in Maya's body, but with Pearl, it gets downright Stripperiffic.
  • Johnny Garland from Shadow Hearts: From The New World. His actual age is... complicated, but he looks about ten years old most of the time. Towards the end of the game, however, he unleashes his hidden power, and gains the ability to temporarily transform into a rather adult-looking Bishonon witha bitchin' double-ended lightsaber, unstoppable superpowers, and no pants. Which goes a long way towards justifying the fact that, in the Best Ending, he ends up living with Shania, a RIDICULOUSLY attractive and voluptous Native American woman. And yes, he still looks like a kid most of the time. I guess most people choose not to bug them about it, since their combined power is enough to Punch Out Cthulhu.
  • Will from Illusion of Gaia can transform into Freedan, an adult swordsman. They look nothing like each other, though.
  • Anna, Pint-Sized Powerhouse of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, uses this trick in her Finishing Move.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Transformers: The Movie, this happens when Hot Rod opens the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, which has him grow about a foot and half, sounds much older and he becomes a RV truck in his alternate mode. Though this ends when Rodimus Prime gives the Matrix back to a fully restored Optimus Prime and becomes Hot Rod again. Of course, in the Japanese continuation Rodimus Prime gets the Matrix back and regains the larger form when Optimus sacrifices himself again
    • Another TF example, this time in Transformers Animated. After discovering that she's a pseudo-Transformer, Sari Sumdac uses her Allspark-enhanced security key on herself to see if she can upgrade herself. She succeeds, converting almost instantly from a girl of approximately 8 years old, to a much taller teenager.
  • The 2000's series reboot of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The original is more a case of Clark Kenting.
  • Den from Heavy Metal.
  • In Freakazoid!!, 16-year-old Dexter Douglas transformed into the title character after being sucked into the internet and spitted back out. Notably, his adult superhero persona is far less emotionally mature.
    • His alter-ego isn't even an adult, Freakazoid is still a teenager, just buffer than Dexter.
  • Numbuh Two in Codename: Kids Next Door uses his technology to turn him into a teenager, and ends up in love with Cree. Unfortunately, the transformation is only temporary, and when Cree finds out, she is disgusted that she was on a date with a kid.