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In anime and manga fandom, there is quite a lot of jargon that most people within the community don’t quite get. Thus, it is broken down and explained to them. In Japanese, the term “chibi” is a derogatory word used to describe people who are small in stature, or in contemptuous reference to little kids. In anime fandom, however, the term is used merely to refer to characters small in stature, or to the somewhat minimalistic anime art style which is characterised by deformed characters with large heads and small appendages. These characters tend to be the cutest in their respective universes, so we decided to put together a list of ten chibi characters. This is an updated list of top 10 chibi characters– the previous list of Chibi Characters can be found below.
10. Mihama Chiyo – Azumanga Daioh!
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2002 – October 2002
At only 10 years old, Mihama Chiyo is the one strangest student in her high school freshman class. An academic prodigy with an affinity for cute plushies, Chiyo is only one of several eccentric individuals in this class, and her homeroom teacher, Tanizaki Yukari, is no exception. Alongside Chiyo, there are students like the energetic and tomboyish Takino Tomo, her best friend Mizuhara Koyomi with an extremely short fuse, as well as the athletic and tall beauty with intimidating looks but a gentle personality, Sakaki. Together, this quirky group of girls navigates their adventure-filled school lives with laughter, absurdity and sometimes, even a sobering account of their high school lives.
Of the group of girls in this series, Chiyo is without a doubt the cutest of the bunch. With her small frame and childlike way of speaking (who would’ve thought?), Chiyo is of course, the series’ chibi character. Chiyo’s academic brilliance saw her become a high schooler 6 entire years before her peers – but that isn’t important. Did you know that her pigtails are detachable? As already discerned by Sakaki, there is more to the chibi character Chiyo than we actually think…
9. Akatsuki – Log Horizon
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2013 – March 2014
Thirty thousand Japanese gamers one day find themselves trapped in the world of the popular MMORPG, Elder Tale, after its latest update. Unable to logout, the gamers are forced to live their everyday lives within the confines of the game. Socially awkward college student Shiroe, a veteran of the game, sets out to learn to live in his new world, leading other gamers and NPCs alike in order to bring stability to the virtual city of Akihabara. Together with his friend Naotsugu and the fierce assassin Akatsuki, Shiroe aims to make the best of his new reality.
The petite but fierce assassin, Akatsuki, is a skilled player within the world of Elder Tale. She bears some kind of affection towards Shiroe and dutifully calls him her master. Her somewhat cold and steely persona aside, Akatsuki has some truly adorable moments in Log Horizon and she does her job as the series’ resident chibi character really well – but the contrast between her adorable frame and visage and her terrifying dexterity in combat makes her one our favourites.
8. Aisaka Taiga – Toradora
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2008 – March 2009
Takasu Ryuuji is a gentle, kind-hearted high school student. Unfortunately, his extremely intimidating face often has him labelled as a delinquent. Aisaka Taiga on the other hand is a petite student in Ryuuji’s class who is anything but frail and gentle. Armed with a wooden katana and an explosive personality, Taiga is known as the “Palmtop Tiger”. The two meet up as a result of an embarrassing accident and Ryuuji learns that Taiga has a sweet side – she is crushing hard on the student council president and Ryuuji’s best friend, Kitamura Yuusaku. What’s crazy is the fact that Ryuuji also has a crush, and it’s Taiga’s best friend, Kushieda Minori! Crushing on each other’s best friends, Taiga and Ryuuji form an impromptu alliance in order to help each other achieve their crushes.
Aisaka Taiga’s reputation speaks for itself. She’s the Palmtop Tiger, a sharp-tongued, short-fused barrel of explosives that decks the halls of Ohashi High School on a daily basis. Her temperament makes her incredibly difficult to approach despite her incredibly small frame. Despite first impressions, Taiga is generally good natured to the point of giving up her own happiness for her best friend’s sake.
7. Cell Jr. – Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 1989 – January 1996
Five years after winning the World Martial Arts tournament, Son Goku now lives a peaceful life with his wife, Chichi and son, Gohan. That all changes, however, when Goku’s older brother, Raditz, lands on Earth one day, claiming to be one of the few surviving members of the Saiyan race – which includes Goku himself! The Saiyans were a proud warrior race but after their homeworld was annihilated during Goku’s infancy, they are but a memory. Raditz drops the bomb about Goku’s alien heritage and his pre-programmed goal to destroy and conquer planet Earth. Raditz attempts to recruit Goku as an ally, but he refuses, prompting the beginning of another intense, battle-filled journey led by Goku.
The Android Saga brought on a myriad of powerful opponents, but none were as terrifying as the biologically engineered abomination that was Cell. Upon achieving his Perfect Form through absorbing both Androids 17 and 18, Cell decided to not only terrorise Gohan, but the rest of the Z-fighters. Cell gave birth to seven mini-Cells, each just as powerful as their daddy, so they would slaughter the Z-fighters and push Gohan to the edge. The Cell Jrs looked just like Cell, but smaller and more menacing due to the simple fact that they couldn’t speak. Each squeal of delight from a Cell Jr was followed by the agonised throes of the Z-fighters. Small definitely does not mean weak.
6. Gion – All Out!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2016 – March 2017
A rugby team is made up of different individuals of different stature and temperament. At Kanagawa High School, the small but gutsy Kenji Gion decides to join the rugby club. Alongside his classmate Iwashimizu, the ever-dutiful vice-captain Hachiouji and of course, the overwhelming but enigmatic captain, Sekizan. They must learn to work and together despite their differences in personality and physical ability in order to become the best.
At 159cm, Kenji Gion is by no means what one would imagine when rugby is mentioned. However, convinced that he’ll undergo a growth spurt, Gion wears oversized clothes. Obviously self-conscious about his height, Gion goes ballistic whenever he’s called short, but his loud and rambunctious personality shows that he is “tall” of character. Upon starting school at Kanagawa High, Gion decides to go against what is normally thought of people his height and join the rugby team.
5. Hagimura Suzu – Seitokai Yakuindomo
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2010 – September 2010
On his first day at Ousai Private Academy, a formerly all girls’ high school, Tsuda Takatoshi is reprimanded for his untidy uniform by the student council president, Amakusa Shino. As an apology for delaying Tsuda for his first class and also, because she believes that the student council requires a male opinion on decisions regarding male students. As a result, Tsuda finds himself becoming the vice-president of the student council – on his first day. He soon realises however, that the student council members are extremely eccentric, with President Shino being a total pervert, secretary Shichijou Aria sharing the President’s taste for all that is erotic and lewd and the petite treasurer, Hagimura Suzu, who is very self-conscious about her height (or lack thereof). Join Tsuda as he navigates his new high school life surrounded by a student council that is anything but normal!
Hagimura Suzu is about as tall as the average elementary school student. As a result of her small stature, Suzu is incredibly sensitive about matters involving her height – to the point of violence. She broke out into a screaming mess of vulgar insults and threatened to assault a foreigner who was asking for directions simply because he said, “Thank you, little girl”. Best course of action around this chibi? Pretend she isn’t one.
4. Aladdin – Magi
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2012 - March 2013
Around the world have appeared numerous labyrinths said to be containing incredible treasures. These labyrinths are apparently the handiwork of the Magi, a rare class of extremely powerful magicians who guide certain individuals to dungeons in order to help them build their empires. Djinns are supernatural beings which rule over the labyrinths and grant successful labyrinth conquerors their immense power, as well as granting them the chance to be king candidates – individuals who have the potential to rule the world. Aladdin is a young magician, eager to explore the world after living a life in isolation with no one but his mentor, Ugo – a djinn encased within Aladdin’s flute. After a certain accident, Aladdin befriends one Alibaba Saluja, who suggests that conquering the nearest dungeon would be the only way to make amends. Thus begins Aladdin and Alibaba’s adventure which will end up deciding the fate of the very world.
Aladdin is a small child who should be around an elementary schooler’s age. Hidden within his tiny, friendly and totally unimposing frame is an immense power. Despite being incredibly powerful, Aladdin is a friendly and cheerful little guy with a sense of justice beyond his years and a caring heart. He does, however, sometimes display some worrying perverted tendencies, which for some, are incongruous with the adorable little hammer-pants wearing magician.
3. Shana – Shakugan no Shana
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2005 – March 2006
The Crimson Denizens are mysterious entities from a different universe who thrive on human beings’ energy of existence. The remnants of each Crimson Denizen’s meal is the scant remainder of a person’s soul – a “Torch”. Torches are the ephemeral reminders of one’s existence and once gone, it’s like the person never existed. In order to combat the Crimson Denizens’ murderous eating habits, the Flame Hazes are warriors trained to combat them. One day, Sakai Yuuji’s life changes forever when he is attacked by a Denizen. However, before the Denizen can reduce Yuuji to but a memory, he saved by a nameless Flame Haze – a young girl with burning eyes and crimson hair. Before Yuuji can even begin to understand his situation, she tells him that he has long been reduced to a Torch. All that awaits him is a solemn removal from existence.
The nameless Flame Haze who appears just in time to “save” Yuuji ends up getting the name “Shana”, because Yuuji just couldn’t stand the fact that she had no name. Shana is a petite young girl, about the same age as Yuuji. When fighting, Shana’s hair and eyes burn a deep, fiery red and she wields a flaming katana. Just as her hair and eyes let on, Shana has a feisty, fiery personality and quite the sharp tongue. However, as the series progresses, we see her develop confusing romantic feelings towards a certain individual and in some respects, she becomes a regular teenage girl.
2. Elucia “Elsie” de Lute Ima – The World God Only Knows
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2010 – December 2010
Katsuragi Keima is a high school student known online as the legendary “God of Conquest”, because he can conquer any girl’s heart… Well, girls of the 2D variety. In dating sims, Keima reigns supreme. Offline, however, Keima’s unhealthy obsession with dating sims has caused him to prefer the two-dimensional world over real life. One day, he accepts a challenge to prove his dating sim supremacy but it turns out to be a call for help from a naïve demon called Elucia “Elsie” de Lute Ima, who has a mission to retrieve run away evil spirits which have escaped from Hell and found refuge in the human world. The only way for Keima to capture these spirits is to conquer the thing he hates most: three-dimensional girls. Held hostage by a deadly which now has him shackled to Elsie, Keima has no choice but to prove that he’s worthy of the title of “God of Conquest” by finding his way around the hearts of real-life girls!
Possibly the cutest character on this list, Elucia “Elsie” de Lute Ima is an adorable demon from Hell with a cheerful disposition and a sweet, pure and innocent personality. Despite being a demon, one that is assigned to capture evil spirits from Hell, Elsie is actually scared of the dark and of ghosts. At a fairly petite 159cm, Elsie isn’t the most imposing character on the show, and because of her height and personality, she just could not be left off this list.
1. Ika Musume – Shinryaku! Ika Musume (Squid Girl)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2010 – December 2010
Due to the levels of pollution in the ocean, a certain evil monster has risen to the surface with the intention of taking over the human world. Ika Musume, a ruthless and dangerous…ly adorable little girl who makes squid ink spaghetti and works at the Aizawa family’s seaside seafood restaurant in order to work off the debt she incurred as a result of her shenanigans. Now working as a waitress at the restaurant, Ika Musume’s mission to make humanity pay takes a backseat as she uses the various wacky adventures and encounters as a means to learn more about the human world. However, will her experiences with the Aizawa family prompt human annihilation at Ika Musume’s hands? Or will she have a change of heart and go back to whence she came?
Remember when we said that Elsie is the cutest character on this list? We lied. Ika Musume is everything a chibi should be: absolutely adorable with a killer personality. Ika Musume’s somewhat dark reason for being on the surface contrasts with her incredibly quirky, eccentric personality. She is by no means imposing and her adorable squid hat (which is actually her head and she dies if it’s removed) sprouts ten comical tentacles that make her a formidable but loveable adversary. Her curiosity knows no bounds, and surprisingly, she is capable of grasping complicated human concepts as exhibited when she learned the English language in almost no time at all. Small, adorable, loveable and intelligent; with some episodes of the series being dedicated to a mini chibi version of herself, it only makes sense that Ika Musume is our top chibi anime character… for now.
Chibi characters, despite being quite an integral part of anime culture, are often overlooked for their contribution to our enjoyment of the anime and manga we love. One chibi we love not for his small frame but for his massive heart is Edward Elric, the protagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist series. Willing to give up so much for the people that he loves and being totally self-conscious of his height while simultaneously not letting his small stature take away from his conviction, Edward is by all means a top chibi character. However, Edward loses chibi status as the series progresses. Chibi’s small frames, or chronically deformed bodies sometimes create immense humour. Other times, regular sized characters shrink down to chibi form in order to convey their emotions a lot better. On a whole, there is something poetic about being able to derive so much from characters who are so little.
If you've watched enough anime, you've come across at least one chibi character. What is a chibi exactly? Well, "chibi" comes from the Japanese word "small," but it is different than the actual word used for small: "chi". "Chibi" is a term used to describe a person who is small but cute! Most people who aren't as familiar with anime characterize chibi characters as characters with larger heads, big eyes, and disproportional bodies. That may be true in some cases, but not all! A good example of this would be Chibi Usa from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon who is very cute and small, but proportional in size, although her ego could stand to decrease a bit.
You may not understand the point of a chibi is, but really, chibi characters or chibi modes are so cute and they provide a lot more emotional range for characters! They are just so much more expressive! Now, let us check out the top 10 best chibi characters in anime!
10. Hiiragi Tsukasa (Lucky☆Star)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2007 - September 2007
Lucky Star is one of those slice of life animes that just reminds me too much about everyday events from conversations to hanging out with friends. Despite it being so realistic in its portrayal of student life, the characters are such adorable little chibis! All of are technically chibi characters, but one of my top in the anime has to be Hiiragi Tsukasa!
Tsukasa is the younger of the Hiiragi twins and unlike her older sister, Tsukasa is easily distracted and gets sidetracked very easily as seen when she attempts to clean her room or study for class, but it makes her so cute! Tsukasa is shy and forgetful with a talent in cooking, but it all adds to her charm!
9. Tsukishima Kirari (Kirarin Revolution)
- Episodes: 153
- Aired: April 2006 - March 2009
Kirari is a mix between the small and cute chibi, and the chibi with big eyes and a large head. She is a whole different type of idol compared to other more recent idol anime like Love Live! My favorite part about Kirari aside from her innocence and kindness is her love of food. That is so different from other idol anime or anime in general that have the female characters constantly on diets or talking about how they should eat fewer sweets. She inhales food and is shown to eat massive portions prepared by her father in comparison to the other characters. Of course, I suppose it isn’t fair when she's an anime character, but I like that she doesn't promote starvation for a certain appearance.
Adding to her charm is her complete inability to do anything. I mean that in a nice way, really I do. She can't even do her own hair or cook, and Kirari relies heavily on her cat Nyaa-san to do everything from brushing her hair to cleaning her room. When Nyaa-san is gone, Kirari is completely defenseless, on her own, and oh so adorable that you can't help but want to give her hug! She is just too cute.
8. Kujyou Suzune (Kamichama Karin)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 - September 2007
I don't want to spoil anything about who Suzune is, but dressed in his bunny hoodie, he is an adorable young child that will tug at your heartstrings! Suzune is a mysterious character that comes into Kamichama Karin which already is known for its adorable chibi characters, but Suzune has that childlike innocence that captures your heart instantly.
Suzune's innocent charm and love for his parents make him one of the cutest chibis! You can't help but want to help him with his quest. If you're interested in this bunny-clad cutie, check out Kamichama Karin!
7. Kitashirakawa Tamako (Tamako Market)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2013 - March 2013
I have to say, I like a girl who likes food! Tamako is an adorable, Japanese high school girl who works at her father's mochi shop. She has just one thing on her mind: mochi! And who doesn't love mochi? She is constantly thinking about new ways to make mochi fun for the season and how to sell more to please the customers.
Tamako is just a girl who loves her mochi. She doesn’t worry about her weight or anything, which I love about her. She is very simple minded and oblivious, but that just adds to her cuteness. Tamako is also very honest, even teasing her childhood friend for not giving her a birthday gift the past year. She is very much uncomplicated, but at least she has a passion for something and will pursue it with her whole heart. That's what makes her so loveable!
6. Koyama Mitsuki (Full Moon o Sagashite)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: April 2002 - March 2003
If you have ever read anything by Tanemura Arina, you'd know that aside from her beautiful artistry and dramatic plots, Tanemura-sensei draws the cutest cat-like chibi characters! When converted to an anime, Full Moon o Sagashite loses the cat-like chibis, but still maintains small and cute characters!
Mitsuki is the main character of Full Moon o Sagashite who attempts to use the last part of her life to sing professionally in hopes of finding her childhood love. Her situation may be dire, but she maintains her childlike innocence and works hard to do what she can to achieve her dream. I am in awe at her tenacity and perseverance throughout the series even in the face of the most morbid and tragic situations. For a character so physically weak and fragile, Mitsuki somehow is able to stand strong amongst even the strongest characters even though she's such a little girl!
5. Taneshima Popura (Working!! [Wagnaria!!])
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2010 - June 2010
Oh, Popura....she's a senpai unlike other senpai. Despite her age, Popura resembles a little child to the point that many customers at Wagnaria question why there is a child amongst the staff. She has a childlike personality, but still attempts to act as a proper senpai to her kouhai at Wagnaria.
Unfortunately for Popura, no one takes her seriously. She is constantly being bullied by Jun when he is looking for someone to vent his frustrations on, and treated like a small child by Souta. Souta even asks Popura to be his little sister for an episode. Poor Popura! Still, she works very hard despite her circumstances. Wouldn't you like this cute chibi to serve you at Wagnaria?
4. Sohma Momiji (Fruits Basket)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2001 - December 2001
There is something about bunnies that make you want to cuddle them, isn't there? Well, now you can without them running away! Momiji from Fruits Basket is the adorable rabbit from the Chinese Zodiac. For all of you girls out there, all you have to do is hug him and he becomes a lovable bunny! He's one of the few characters who isn't scared of transforming around Tohru to the point that he will openly hug her at school! Still, my favorite scene with Momiji is the one of him swimming in the onsen. Can you even believe that he's a high school student?
With his enthusiasm and energy, Momiji will capture your heart. He has his own circumstances, but still, he sees the sun shining. Being a member of the Sohma family isn't easy, but Momiji makes it look like nothing can get him down. Don’t you just love his positivity in such a negative situation?
3. Reborn (Katekyou Hitman Reborn!)
- Episodes: 203
- Aired: October 2006 - September 2010
When talking about chibi characters, you just cannot forget Reborn from Katekyou Hitman Reborn! Even if you have not seen the anime, you have seen this little guy one place or another. Reborn is the adorable tutor of Tsuna, the main character of Katekyou Hitman Reborn!, and the strongest hitman.
Reborn is your stereotypical chibi characterized by his large head and small body, but it all wraps up in one adorable package! Despite his appearances, do not be fooled. Reborn is amongst the strongest of his kind. With his adorable packaging, you can't help but take him lightly, however don't drop your guard! He is a force to be reckoned with. Easily, though he is one of the top chibis on the list because he is not helpless nor useful only for that cute factor. He is a character to be revered!
2. Nakahara Sunako (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2006 - March 2007
Ah, Sunako is a chibi unlike any other. Unlike some anime, Sunako stays in chibi mode throughout most of the series until she appears "lady-like" Everyone in the anime does notice the difference between her chibi mode and lady mode, but Sunako feels much more comfortable as a chibi.
It's hard to describe Sunako as cute, but I could say the same for the characters who are supposed to be "bishounen". Still, I like Sunako compared to other chibi characters. Sunako knows what makes her happy and will do anything to get what she wants, but she does go out of her way to take care of the annoying bishounen that plague her life. Despite her aversion to the light of the beautiful people, Sunako goes to great lengths to protect them. It's also very fun to see her wreck total havoc amongst the population. Am I wrong?
1. Doma Umaru (Himouto! Umaru-chan)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2015 - September 2015
If you've been paying attention to the anime this summer season, you have probably come across Himouto! Umaru-chan at least once. Umaru is a beautiful high school student perfect at everything, but when she goes home, she becomes a chibi otaku who loves junk food.
She has had 2 different chibi modes: her hamster chibi mode and her adorable chibi mode, which isn't seen that often. In her hamster chibi mode, Umaru is clad in a hamster hoodie, plays video games and reads manga, and throws tantrums to get her way. In her other chibi mode which I consider to be much cuter, Umaru is not wearing her hamster hoodie and actually resembles her pretty girl self. In either mode, Umaru only has one thing on her mind: lazy time! She resembles much of what I aspire to be in my life. Well, kind of, but she does live a pretty good life. At first I had a hard time liking her, but now, I love her! She is so silly and cute, how could you not? Well, maybe if you were her brother...
Chibis come in all sorts of characters from cute and cuddly to dark and morbid, but they always add a nice touch to an anime. Some honorable mentions would be Tsukimiya Ayu from Kanon, Naoe Riki from Little Busters! and the spirits of Kyouko's from Skip Beat! There are so many chibi characters out there, are there any that you like? Do you prefer fan drawn chibis or chibis that are actually in anime?