If anime chibi's have a common power, it's the power of cuteness!
The Japanese concept of kawaii is prevalent in anime culture, such that even the darkest of series can have one or more cute characters. The Japanese word "chibi" translates to "little," and it's one of the most potent forms of kawaii there is.
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Chibi characters have small bodies with big eyes and heads. However, they're not always human. There are cat chibi, hamster chibi, and even devil baby chibi. Characters are sometimes rendered in chibi form as part of a gag or to convey a certain aspect of their personality, There are even shows whose entire casts are chibi.
Chibiusa Tsukino, or Sailor Chibi Moon, is the daughter of Sailor Moon. In contrast to the blond, normal-sized, magic-wielding princess of 30th century Earth, Chibiusa has pink hair made to look like bunny ears. Her cute chibi appearance is heightened by her feisty personality and her favorite things — such as pudding, rabbits, and the colors pink and red. Her dream is to become a lady like her mother, but in her desperation to do so, she often acts immature which just adds to her cuteness.
BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!☆PICO is a mini-series spinoff of BanG Dream!, with the characters all in chibi form. Toyama Kasumi is the leader of the band. From rocking out on her electric guitar to a crowd of three people to interrupting an important band meeting to declare she's hungry, she has plenty of cute moments in the series.
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Kasumi's hair is done up to look like cat ears, and she has some adorable ideas of how to improve the band's live show. Some of her adorable ideas include flying around on stage like a pigeon or a shooting star.
Armed with a suit, big black eyes, and a cool calm and collected demeanor, Reborn is as cute as it gets. Reborn's true form is that of a grown man, but the Arcobaleno Curse caused him to shrink down to the size of a child. The fact this little guy is the world's strongest hitman is unfathomable but also very cute. The idea of this innocent-looking infant who looks like he's dressed to go to a costume party actually using guns and other weapons to kill people is somehow endearing. And then there's the pacifier that he wears around his neck.
Umaru Doma's chibi form is her true form, not the one that resembles a regular girl and behaves impeccably outside her house. When she enters "hamster mode," Umaru reveals her true self: an otaku who wears a hamster hoody, is lazy and immature, eats junk food, watches anime, and plays video games. For all her faults, it's hard to deny just how adorable Umaru is in her true form, especially when she's outside acting like any other well-adjusted schoolgirl, all the while harboring a secret — and very cute — identity.
Poyo is a round cat that 22-year-old Moe Satou finds in the street and adopts. Poyo is so round and fluffy he is sometimes mistaken for a pillow. But he is also lightning quick — particularly when he hears a bag of chips being opened — and he can jump, although he is prone to falling. Just as cute as his appearance are his vocal and facial expressions. Poyo has surprisingly sharp claws and is very heavy. While people comment on how cute Poyo is, they aren't sure what kind of animal he is, which somewhat irks his owner.
Potemayo is a cute cat-eared creature who got her name from a mayonnaise potato package when she was trapped in the fridge, where she suddenly appeared one day. The relationship between her "owner" Sunao Moriyama and Potemayo is adorable in itself. Potemayo usually sits on his head and accompanies him to school, drawing doodles and showing his classmates. She has an adorable way of speaking and is very protective of Sunao — which she makes clear in the first episode when she eats the lunch Sunao's crush prepared for him.
Mao is one of the cutest anime babies and also happens to be a devil. One day, a baby with a tail and bat wings on its head shows up in Honoka Sawada's bed, sleeping peacefully. Having always wanted a family of her own, Honoka looks after Mao despite being only 14 years old. Mao usually wears an adorable dinosaur costume which allows him to breathe fire, although he's often rolling around in just a nappy. Even though each episode of Chibi Devi! is only 5 minutes long, there are 75 episodes, and plenty of Mao to enjoy.
Having been abandoned by his parents, Kotaro has to fend for himself. He lives alone in an apartment complex but quickly makes friends with his neighbors. He uses an old-fashioned way of speaking and doesn't say things a typical four-year-old does, to charming effect.
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Watching Kotaro do adult things like laundry, cooking, and shopping is adorable, even if it's also a bit sad because of his situation. For all his perceived maturity, there are times when viewers see Kotaro just being a kid, having fun with friends, or watching his favorite cartoon Tonosaman — a samurai he idolizes and emulates.
Petit Charot is the half-sister of the titular protagonist Di Gi Charat. She is a calm and quiet catgirl with large cat ears and an interest in the occult. Her little tail wags when she's excited about something, and like Di Gi Charat, she can shoot beams out of her eyes — although she's not very good at it. One of the most charming things about Petit Charot is the fact she ends her sentences with "nyu." She is so cute, in fact, that one particularly taken customer tries to buy her in the shop where Petit and Di Gi Charat work.
With his sparkling eyes, his little round hamster ears, his innocent nature, it's almost impossible to resist the Hamtaro's cuteness. He's the leader of the Ham-Hams and must set a good example. The fact that Hamtaro's so selfless and is always looking out for his friends makes him even more adorable. He has a special bond with his owner, Laura, who he can't bear to be apart from for long. Always happy, curious, and energetic, just watching Hamtaro nibble on sunflower seeds is enough to make one weak at the knees.
Edd Rose is a writer, painter, a player of video games and watcher of anime. He has lived in China and Japan and now writes for Comic Book Resources from Edinburgh, Scotland. He has written novels and read at literary festivals. He has an alternative mindset, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).