"More chibis," Simon said gloomily. All the characters on screen had turned into baby-sized versions of themselves and were chasing each other around waving pots and pans.
—Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes
An artistic style in anime that is generally considered both "cutesy" and humorous, in which a character is rendered in a shorter, rounder form somewhat resembling a caricature of themselves as a plump toddler.
Although most commonly used in parody or as part of promotional material, it can be found in some shows at points of extreme comedy/slapstick, or when characters are seen to be acting extremely "cute" or immature. This use of Artistic Age can mask the true age of characters, making forty somethings and fourteen year olds seem the same age.
Also known as "chibi" (Japanese for "small") in some circles, although not just confined to anime—it's a very common form of Fan Art. Name any popular character, chibi exists of them. In fact, it's almost as common as Rule 34.
In older video games with small characters compared to screen, Super-Deformed style was used mainly due to graphical limitations so a head size wouldn't be just a single pixel. In newer games, characters in cutscenes or character portraits will still depict them in more realistic proportions (for an example, in Disgaea and Cave Story). See Graphics Induced Super Deformed for that.
Not to be confused with The Grotesque.
- Around 2009, Kellogg dropped its Don Hertzfeldt-inspired "Crazy Good" ad campaign for Pop-Tarts toaster pastries in favor of "Made for Fun", which has super-deformed CGI children along with far-less-deformed adults. But then you realize that the kids' heads are bigger than those of the adults, and the only conclusion you can draw is that adults in this world don't eat Pop-Tarts. This video exposes the Fridge Logic.
Anime and Manga
- At least a quarter of Dragon Half is spent with various characters—up to and including the story's Big Bad—Super-Deformed.
- Azumanga Daioh, naturally, plays this to total exhaustion.
- The magic knights of Magic Knight Rayearth punctuate their rather serious situation with occasional brief forays into Super-Deformed comedy.
- The deities and demons in Ah! My Goddess can transform into multiple Super-Deformed miniatures of themselves. There is also a spinoff of Ah! My Goddess called Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses which concentrates solely on the goddesses' miniature selves (and a rat of their acquaintance).
- When the rats turned into Ninja-girls showed up, Keiichi referred to the first of them as Super-Deformed. This was after she'd used an air pump, nozzle in her mouth, to increase her size.
- Similarly, the trainee angels and demons in Wish have chibi forms; Angels being full-size during the day and chibi in the night, and vice versa for the demons.
- Rozen Maiden contrasts its characters' elegant designs with ventures into Super-Deformed states.
- In The Wallflower when Sunako is in one of her darker moods (i.e., almost all the time) she is shown in Super-Deformed style. She only looks normal when she is kicking ass in one form or another.
- She later gains a "hybrid" form, that is sort of "elegant chibi".
- Displayed and somewhat subverted in Fushigi Yuugi. For most of the characters, it's simply an artistic style; for the shape-shifting Chichiri, comments by other characters imply he actually takes on that appearance, or at least the height.
- Sailor Moon characters (particularly Usagi) often lapse into chibi style.
- Happens occasionally in Love Hina.
- School Rumble, too, uses this with some frequency.
- Some of the episodes of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien had short comedy sketches after the closing credits starring chibi versions of "Ayu-Ayu" and "Mayu-Mayu", an interesting contrast to the generally serious nature of the anime itself.
- The characters of High School Kimengumi spend almost half of their time in chibi form.
- Surprisingly prevalent in Gundam. SD Gundam is a sub-franchise in and of itself with model kits, shows, and games. Some stories (like the comedy shorts and BB Senshi Sangokuden) have the super-deformed mecha as characters who talk and interact with super-deformed human characters, while in others (like the SD Gundam G Generation games) the mecha are still piloted weapons as normal. Interestingly, the design of the super-deformed MS has evolved over time: in earlier works they had proportions like regular SD characters, while later works like SD Gundam Force and MS Saga use a less exaggerated version where the head and torso are large but the limbs are still detailed and jointed, making them more reasonable.
- Prince of Tennis occasionally has entire episodes devoted to showing the adventures of the super-deformed main characters in alternate universes. When the first of these gag episodes was shown just before a much-anticipated showdown, it cemented the show's reputation as one of the most bi-polar creations in all of anime.
- Ginji of GetBackers sometimes becomes super-deformed for extended periods of time, even when the rest of the characters are drawn normally. Other characters even comment on it in the manga.
- The Tokyo Mew Mew manga includes a few side stories called Petite Mew Mew, set in a fantasy land and involving kid/chibi versions of the major characters playing in a kindergarten.
- Used heavily in Kare Kano. The female lead spends at least half her time onscreen in this form.
- Very frequently appears in the Pretty Sammy series.
- Bamboo Blade uses this in its Post Episode Trailer, though usage of it within episodes isn't uncommon.
- Final Approach switches to super-deformed on a regular basis.
- Aria is well-known for having its characters switch to Super-Deformed mode extensively, which is probably only topped by ...
- Hidamari Sketch (pictured above), where the girls become Super-Deformed at the slightest provocation, adding immensely to their cuteness factor. There is even a Fan Nickname for its kind of Superdeformation: wideface. Or Nutbladder face.
- The DVDs of Mariasama ga Miteru contain parody Omake episodes in which all the characters appear in Super-Deformed mode.
- Slayers does this quite frequently for a laugh. One notable instance in Slayers Next has Lina casting a Dragon Slave to save Seillune and Amelia asking Shabranigdu to make it work; Gourry and Zelgadis are quick to berate her in Super-Deformed style ("You're a shrine maiden! Don't pray to Dark Lords!").
- Transformers Victory uses chibi versions of the characters on its title cards and eyecatches.
- Though its maintenance mode may suggest otherwise, Kemeko from Kemeko Deluxe is surprisingly stumpy for a human-piloted machine.
- Even Neon Genesis Evangelion has this, including the Rei clones and a Deformed version of Unit 01.
- Chopper in One Piece gradually turned into a chibi version of his original design as a result of Art Evolution, making him even more of a Ridiculously Cute Critter. However, the only time it really fits is in his Chopperman persona. KYUUUN SPAAARK~!
- Luffy's Heroic RROD after using Gear 3rd has him temporarily turning into a chibified version of himself.
- In the Shirow Masamune manga Dominion Tank Police, the puma sisters join the police force. Ani-puma gets bored, and wants to go out on a tank police raid. But she is over six feet tall, and can't fit in their mini-tank. Ani-puma is a type of android (or bioroid, who can tell with Shirow), and she reveals the power to release all the water in her body, and become a chibi version of herself. After the raid, Ani drinks up the contents of several water coolers, and embiggens herself again.
- The "Science Lesson" segments of Gunbuster, where Chibi Coach, Noriko and Kazumi discuss the "science" the show runs on.
- Koihime Musou makes extensive use of this.
- Suzumiya Haruhi has usually avoided this (with the exception of some of the novel pictures). The anime version of the Nyoron Churuya-san Yonkoma finally invokes this, with predictably adorable results. Nyoron~
- There's Suzumiya-chan for your chibi fix of that series. For an inversion, the normal characters and in one episode a blushing shoujo Itsuki are used for comedic effect.
- Hikari's SD mode in Amanchu arguably tends to be rather jarring, especially since it's used a lot, even in situations where one normally wouldn't do that. My gosh, does Amano have to make her eyes so creepy?
- Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na: Crescent Love uses this quite a bit.
- The manga version of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de has chibi-style Omake, sometimes in Yonkoma format (such as "Go Go Haruka Kindergarten").
- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou (both the TV series and the two-episode OVA with the same title) occasionally has short comical scenes with the character rendered in "chibi" size; also worth mentioning are the "Kotengu Classic" segments, always done in this style (if only because Kotengu is "chibi" by default).
- There's also a "chibi" Hot Springs Special for Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3.
- Mahou Sensei Negima uses this sparingly, although Misora does it in her drawings. While it doesn't use it often in the traditional sense, it makes up for it with Chibi-Setsuna, a shikigami that Setsuna uses to remotely contact people. When Chibi-Setsuna disappears, Chibi-Sayo (a Super-Deformed voodoo doll that Sayo possesses) pops up.
- Eyeshield 21 had a joke-strip about this with cell phones. Monta asks whether cell phones should be equally proportioned to their head for actual talking, at the cost of a huge and inconvenient size, or if they should be small like in real life, meaning you can't both listen and talk over the phone. Monta and Sena decided it's best just to stay normal.
- Fullmetal Alchemist likes using this to lighten up an otherwise depressing series. Though in the 2003 anime version, it drops this halfway through (with the exception of the Chibi Wrap Party OVA). This trope gives Armor!Al a chance to be absolutely adorable.
- Happens sometimes in Bleach, for example in anime episode #24 when Orihime was trying to deny that she was hungry.
- Happens a lot in Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru. Sometimes they stay in chibi-mode for a moment when in the "real world", then immediately transform back to normal.
- After its first season, the Ranma ½ series has Eye Catches with the characters in Chibi form.
- Happens quite often when Keima is explaining something to Elsea in The World God Only Knows.
- Sora no Otoshimono: Enter Tomoki Sakurai. A chibi 24/7 plushie. He only grows life-sized when he starts taking things seriously which is... well, according to how the story is played, rarely.
- Though it comes and goes with humorous scenes in The Weatherman Is My Lover, the producer is notable for never appearing as anything but Super-Deformed, even when the rest of the characters are in their normal state.
- Similar to Hidamari Sketch above, in Sketchbook the characters become chibified all the time. Especially Sora, who possibly spends more than half of her panel appearances Super-Deformed.
- Berserk's Puck. In the latter part of the manga, he's relegated to so much comic relief that he's most always playing this trope.
- Kimi ni Todoke does this a lot.
- Happens a lot in Kaichou wa Maid-sama. It's practically the the three idiots' default design.
- The Record of Lodoss War series had a bit at the end called "The Second Part", where Chibi versions of the characters ran around acting ridiculous. These skits were often a silly version of the episode you'd just watched, but often (especially in the second half of the show) The Second Part was following it's own inane plotline.
- Often used in Sket Dance, combined with Exposition Diagram, when recapitulating the previous chapters of a Story Arc.
- Sengoku Basara has "Mini Basara," which is hilarious and adorable.
- Happens frequently in The Secret Devil-chan", mostly with Kogure.
- Occurs often in Axis Powers Hetalia, usually in funny moments like drunk England.
- In The Sandman, Abel tells a sweet story about how he and his brother Cain came to live in the Dreaming. It's far more sugary than what really happened, and is drawn in this style by vaunted Jill Thompson.
- She went on to produce two actual Endless kids' books in the same style, The Little Endless Storybook and Delirium's Party.
- I.s.o., always with adorable and amusing results.
- Every so often, the characters in Scott Pilgrim are rendered like this.
- One issue of Justice League had Superman perceive everyone like this.
- Not to mention (seemingly) the entire inhabitants of the 5th dimension.
- Stephanie Brown narrates history of the Batfamily to Wendy, complete with a chibi Darkseid.
- Inverted in the Precious Girls Club books. Precious Moments drawings, figurines, animated specials, etc. ordinarily use SD proportions, roughly 2.6 heads tall, for child characters. To appeal to young girls, the Precious Girls Club brand extension intentionally went with less-deformed proportions [dead link] while keeping the distinctive eye shape.
- Hasbro has chibi lines of several franchises. "[Word related to franchise but not always actual franchise name goes here] Heroes" is usually going to be chibi. In fact, guess who makes the toyline for the Super Hero Squad?
- Bandai has created toyline history by doing this with Mobile Suit Gundam. Even without tie-in anime like SD Gundam Force or BB Senshi Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors, the SD Gundam line has spawned over three hundred model kits and countless other forms of merchandise.
- Nendoroid figure line from Good Smile Company is this to all sorts of anime characters.
- A British company, Speed Freaks Studio, makes super-deformed clay models of real life cars and bikes, including Ferraris and Lotuses, as well as super-deformed clay models of people.
- Most games in the Super Robot Wars series portray the mecha as being Super-Deformed in their battle animations. Characters, close-ups of the mecha in battle, and in the Original Generation animes, are shown at normal sizes and proportions. This is at least party done to hide the immense scale differences between the various units, given it is entirely possible to have a 12 meter tall Macross Battleroid backing up the 250 meter tall Gunbuster. This does, however, occasionally lead to odd consequences in attack animations. Super Robot Wars W finds a way to complicate thing even further, Not only having such things as as a seven-foot-tall Tekkaman lifting up a 300-meter-long Battleship one-handed and impaling it on their spear, but also things like the differences in size between the cyborg Renee in KorRyu and AnRyu's attacks, and the Powered Armor-wearing heroes who are their own units.
- However, the style has become iconic with the series. One game, Shin Super Robot Wars, used non-SD models for battle animations. Fans didn't really like it.
- But Super Robot Wars Gaiden used non-Super-Deformed models and it is seen as the best on the SNES. Then again, that elevation and facing thing may have been an adequate distraction...
- Many Japanese games have characters drawn chibi-style in long shots (I.E.: overworld mode, in towns, etc.) and normally during combat or cutscenes. This is likely to keep them recognisable when drawn small at 240p resolution.
- The first handheld port of the Guilty Gear games was a Super-Deformed version of the arcade game, Guilty Gear Petit (also known as Guilty Gear Puchi because of romanisation issues). The characters of Street Fighter also appear in chibi form in the games Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Pocket Fighter.
- Both of these were preceded by the Game Boy ports of Samurai Shodown and Battle Arena Toshinden, which chibified the characters to better fit them to the screen.
- This technique is also employed in the Neo Geo Pocket fighting games, like The King of Fighters R-1 and R-2 (which are pocket versions of 97and 98, respectively) and The Match of the Millennium.
- All the characters of the Final Fantasy series appeared like this up to Final Fantasy VII. The eighth game was the first with realistically proportioned characters, and while the ninth went back to slightly Super-Deformed (mostly for nostalgia's sake), every game since has had realistic characters.
- While the Final Fantasy Tactics and Crystal Chronicles spinoffs have so far kept this style, The Crystal Bearers uses a more realistic style.
- While Final Fantasy XI uses generally realistic proportions, the Tarutaru race's build is intentionally reminiscent of a super-deformed style.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy has all of the characters in smaller, cuter versions of their original designs.
- Almost the entire point of the Puzzle Fighter games.
- A special move (unique for each character) lets you turn your fighter into one of these in Samurai Shodown 2.
- The makers of Valis II put out for the Sega Genesis a joke version of the game, Valis SD (or Syd of Valis), with the heroine of the series, Yuko Ahko, drawn in SD/chibi form.
- The framing device of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha mini-scenario from the Triangle Heart 3 ～sweet songs forever～ fanbox used chibi versions of Nanoha and the kitsune Kuon.
- A brief scene in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai, when Rika gets mad at Hanyuu's fatalism and punishes her by eating spicy food and drinking alcohol. "Our senses are linked..."
- "Super-Deformed" is the default art style of the main Mega Man series of games (1 through 10), and all the characters are deformed even further in Mega Man Powered Up.
- Half of the The Legend of Zelda franchise, considered Lighter and Softer by the Broken Base.
- Not used in the Touhou itself, but the fan-made Virtual Paper Doll "create.swf" uses this style.
- This has become Nitrome's Signature Style, used to depict all humans (and, in one case, zombies.) Results vary.
- The "Teach Me, Miss Litchi!" segments of BlazBlue are done in this style.
- In the Tiger Dojo in Fate/stay night, Taiga and Illya sometimes take chibi form. Any other characters in the Dojo always appear as chibi.
- Tales of Graces has this as apart of their groovy chats. During time to time, you'd see a mini cut-in photo of the characters in their chibi form. This is just for laughs.
- SD Snatcher, an RPG adaptation of Snatcher with super-deformed characters and a slightly different storyline.
- Mighty Final Fight was obviously created because the NES couldn't handle the huge sprites of Final Fight, but the Lighter and Softer characterization affirms the super-deformed aesthetic.
- Super Dodge Ball, River City Ransom and most other Kunio-Kun games. The few exceptions include the very first game, Renegade.
- Jackie Chan and Josephine in Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu.
- The now-defunct Ghastly's Ghastly Comic has chibis as subspecies of humanity. One recurring character, Chibi-Sue, is a thirty-six-year-old chibi woman who can't have a normal relationship, as the only men interested in her are pedophiles. She also lacks fingers (a common trait of super-deformed characters), making her life suck all the more.
- Durkon, Belkar and all other dwarf and halfling characters in Order of the Stick have smaller bodies than humans and elves but their heads are the same size, and so look disproportionately large on them.
- Lampshaded by Belkar here.
- The Succubus protagonist from Krakow, Kia, has a demonic spell that can Chibi-fy people—including herself. Two words: Chibi Nazi!
- Loserz used this as a kind of special effect several times, like here.
- There's also this one. The author himself defines the last panel as "the best panel EVER".
- Occasionally used in Everyday Heroes, for example here.
- The characters of Misfile periodically become chibified.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures will turn a scared character into this form for a panel.
- Lilformers does this with Transformers and other pop-culture characters.
- Lizzy, page 30 makes fun of these.
Lord CJ: I'm a chibi, ain't I kawaii...?
- Blip uses this during a Pensieve Flashback: Partway through Liz's memory of a nasty argument, both K and Mary transform into chibis and remain that way until the flashback ends. This seems to be indicative that Liz thought they were both acting immaturely, and it's certainly indicative that Liz is deliberately exaggerating the events for the benefit of her audience.
- Lesser angels and demons are depicted as chibis all the time.
- Done stealthily in Homestuck: It's hard to see because it's permanent and the protagonists are kids, but when they do something awesome (AKA Hero Mode), they're dechibified.
- Khaos Komix goes a little heavy on the chibis, usually for comic relief.
- Springiette is all-chibi.
- Dangerously Chloe has characters chibi-fied when someone is having a "cute" moment. Including cases when characters are being cute about something.
- Questionable Content got anthro-PCs somewhat chibi-like. And then there's deliberately chibi Momo, with jokes about her Animesque-ness. Eventually, an update turning those blobs into proper hands is released.
- Open Blue's Series Mascot is a Super-Deformed Captain Ersatz of Cthulhu known as "Kukulu".
- RWBY's Ruby when she geeks out in her first moments on the Beacon campus; also the images in her "thought bubble" as she races to find a partner in the Emerald Forest during the Beacon initiation.
- There are whole deviant ART groups collecting chibifications. Such as Chibis Anonymous. Or The Emperor's Chibis (yes, it's chibi- Warhammer 40,000).
- Teen Titans has many forays into Super Deformity.
- Used in the out-of-continuity shorts of Avatar: The Last Airbender that were available online and on the second season DVD. To achieve the main series's particular sense of realism, the creators set down some boundaries as to what they could and couldn't use for comic effect. With the shorts, Mike and Bryan, who are fans of the crazier variety of manga and anime, were able to pretty much let themselves go.
- One episode of Danny Phantom had Jazz revealing her plans to Maddie and Sam on how to stop the villains, shown in Super-Deformed style. Also, Chibi Paulina.
- Snarf from Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) is basically a Chibi-Smaug as a Shout-Out to Rankin Bass' film adaptation of The Hobbit.
- The Superhero Squad Show, and even moreso the accompanying toys.
- Martin Mystery Has these moments from time to time, as well as its sister show Totally Spies!!
- Wakfu's season 1 has a whole spin-off, Mini-Wakfu, using the characters as Chibi for short vignettes mirroring the plot of the episodes they follow. Super-Deformed version of the characters appears also in the series proper, in Flashbacks or Imagine Spots.
- My Life Me uses this at least Once an Episode, often at strange moments.
- Handy Manny is all chibi all the time.
- Super Why! is likewise all chibi all the time.