It’s true of almost every anime fan out there, that they want to see their favorite anime characters as children. Whether it’s framed as the epic beginning of a pirate king or a well meaning age reversing spirit that turns back the clock as a “reward”, some of the most popular episodes of an anime series often feature the main character temporarily as a child. In fact, this trope is so popular there are anime that turn the main character into a child for the entire series! What is it that makes us fans love these episodes or series so much? Is it that we fans love seeing the familiar chibi-fied, is it that fans just can’t resist the chubby cheeked adorableness of characters in kid form, or is there just something special about seeing a little hint of our favorite characters back story? What ever the reason, there’s no denying that these anime moments are too precious to miss! So if you just can’t get enough of anime characters as their kid selves, than here are some anime that will really make your day!
The anime One Piece is one of the few anime that nearly every single main character has a back story that features that character as a child. Luffy dreamed of becoming a great pirate because as a kid he idolized the pirate Red Haired Shanks, who used to frequent the tiny seaside village where Luffy grew up. As a child Luffy learned how to be a scrappy fighter, to be daring and always reaching for his goals, and of course he also got his most prized possession (his hat) from his childhood around the redheaded pirate. And we as viewers have the joy of getting to see it all! Likewise, we get to see why Zoro fights with three swords from his childhood tragedies, we get to see why Nami relates having money to having safety through her childhood losses, we get to see why Usopp loves telling tall tales, and why Sanji is obsessed with never wasting food, all from their childhood experiences. In One Piece, what happened in each character’s childhood really made the characters who they became. And thankfully, we get to see both the adorable chibi adventures and the piratey results!
They say “No good deed goes unrewarded”, but sometimes the reward might be more than you bargained for! That’s exactly what happened when Natsume noticed a spirit under a bridge. The yokai seemed to have gotten stuck in a bucket and couldn’t get out. Natsume, ever a good person, volunteered to help the spirit out and get it unstuck. The yokai was a good(?) one and granted Natsume a reward with it’s powers. Unfortunately for Natsume, this yokai’s magical power was to return youth to things and people. Most of the encounters this yokai has with humans is when it happens to meet withered old monks who help the yokai as it travels around the countryside. With the yokai’s powers, it can turn back the clock and can make the old monks young again! But for a spirit seeing, yokai helping teen who is already plenty youthful, it turns him back into his child self! And even worse, until the “reward” can be reversed, Natsume only has the memories of his child self too.
Detective Conan is probably the most iconic chibi-fied anime character in history! This anime is the story about a crime fighting teen detective named Shinichi that gets ambushed while investigating a murder at a theme park. The two goons that ambush him force him to drink an experimental poison, but instead of killing the under aged sleuth, it shrinks him! Now, very much looking like his child self, Shinichi has to investigate what is this secret organization that tried to kill him, keep it secret from his high school crush and best friend Ran that he’s been shrunk, and also continue to fight crime. All at once! Good thing Shinichi is a pro and thinking on the run, because it takes mere moments for him to make up an alias for himself. And with a little help from his next door neighbor and mad scientist friend, he ends up living with Ran and her detective father. A perfect place to continue fighting crime incognito.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
In the anime My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! the main character Catarina is fated to die a very unpleasant death at the hands of her fiance the crown prince. And she knows all about her unfortunate fate from a young age because she’s been isekaied into a villainous role of her favorite video game. When Catarina realizes that she must live as the child version of the game’s villain, and eventually grow up to be the villain of the game, she vows to do everything she can to change her fate! Or if she can’t do that, at least try to get banished rather than killed. So she learns to farm and take care of herself, so when she is a outcast, she can still survive. It’s this cheerful can-do attitude of the child Catarina that all the other characters as children in the game grow to love. It’s not just at the beginning of the series that we get to see Catarina’s sweets obsessed, gardening loving, tree climbing cuteness. Throughout the whole series we get to see flash backs of how Catarina managed to charm the hearts of the people around her as an energetic and optimistic child.