Chibi (slang)

Chibi (ちび or チビ) is a Japanese slang word describing something short (a thing, an animal or a person). It comes from the verb 禿びる (chibiru), which means "to wear out and become shorter" (for the tip of something). The term is widely used in Japan to describe a specific style of caricature where characters are drawn in an exaggerated way. Typically these characters are small and chubby, with stubby limbs and oversized heads to make them resemble children. This style of artwork, also known as super deformed (shorthanded as SD), has since found its way into anime and manga fandom through its usage in manga works. "Chibi" can be translated as "little"(e.g. Chibi Maruko-chan, which means Little Miss Maruko etc.), but is not used the same way as chiisana [小さな] / chiisai [小さい] (tiny, small, little in Japanese) but rather cute. One example of the usage in Japanese which brought the term to the attention of Western fans is Chibiusa, a pet name for the diminutive daughter of Sailor Moon formed from Chibi Usagi ("Little Rabbit").[1]

Girl in chibi style
Example for a character drawn in chibi style


The head of a super deformed character is normally anywhere between one third[2] and one half the character's height.[3] In addition to their modified proportions, super deformed characters typically lack the detail of their normal counterparts. As a result, when a character of average proportions is depicted as a super deformed character, certain aspects of their design will be simplified and others will be exaggerated. Details such as folds on a jacket are ignored, and general shapes are favored. If a character has a signature characteristic (odd hair, a particular accessory, etc.) this will typically be prominent on the super deformed version of the character.[4]

Media usage

The "chibi" art style is part of Japanese culture[5][6][7] and is seen everywhere from advertising and subway signs to anime and manga. The style was popularized by franchises like Dragon Ball and SD Gundam in the 1980s. It is also used as comic relief in anime and manga, giving additional emphasis to a character's emotional reaction.

The super deformed art style has also appeared in anime-influenced American series[8], such as Homestuck, Teen Titans or Avatar: The Last Airbender's Super Deformed shorts.

See also


  1. ^ "Sailor Moon volume 3 translation". Retrieved 2008-05-23.
  2. ^ "A Super Deformed Tutorial" on
  3. ^ "Action Tutorial". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ How to Draw Manga Volume 18: Super-Deformed Characters 1: Humans. ISBN 9784766114355
  5. ^ "Japanese student turns philosophers into super-deformed anime-style characters - WOWJAPAN". 4 August 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  6. ^ Rose, Mike. "Clash of Clans ' 5 keys to success". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Why Japan Is Hands Down The Coolest Country On The Planet - SMOSH". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Applying 2D Japanese Super-Deformed character to traditional American animation" (PDF). Retrieved 5 July 2018.
Chibi (disambiguation)

Chibi (lit. Red Cliff) is a city in Hubei, China.

Chibi Town, in Chibi City

Battle of Red Cliffs, or Battle of Chibi

Red Cliff (film), a 2009 film about the battleChibi may also refer to:

Chibi (musician), the lead singer of the band The Birthday Massacre

Chibi (slang), a Japanese word for a diminutive person, or a super deformed style of Japanese-influenced caricature

Chibi Vampire, the English title of a Japanese manga series

ChiBi, or Cherry Belle, an Indonesian Girl group

Chibi-usa or LIttle Bunny, a fictional character in the Sailor Moon manga series


Kawaii (かわいい, pronounced [kaɰaiꜜi]; "lovable", "cute", or "adorable") is the culture of cuteness in Japan. It can refer to items, humans and nonhumans that are charming, vulnerable, shy and childlike. Examples include cute handwriting, certain genres of manga, and Hello Kitty.The cuteness culture, or kawaii aesthetic, has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance and mannerisms.

Moe (slang)

Moe (萌え, pronounced [mo.e] (listen)) is a Japanese slang loanword that refers to feelings of strong affection mainly towards characters (usually female) in anime, manga, video games, and other media directed at the otaku market. Moe, however, has also gained usage to refer to feelings of affection towards any subject. Moe is related to neoteny and the feeling of "cuteness" a character can evoke in oneself. The word moe originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Japan and is of uncertain origin, although there are several theories on how it came into use. Moe characters have expanded through Japanese media, and have contributed positively to the Japanese economy. Contests both online, and in the real world exist for moe-styled things including one run by one of the Japanese game rating boards. Various notable commentators such as Tamaki Saitō, Hiroki Azuma, and Kazuya Tsurumaki have also given their take on moe, and its meaning.


Yuru-chara (Japanese: ゆるキャラ, Hepburn: yuru kyara) is a Japanese term for a category of mascot characters; usually created to promote a place or region, event, organisation or business. They are characterized by their kawaii (cute) and unsophisticated designs, often incorporating motifs that represent local culture, history or produce. They may be created by local government or other organizations to stimulate tourism and economic development, or created by a company to build on their corporate identity. They may appear as costumed characters (or kigurumi) at promotional events and festivals. Yuru-chara has become a popular and lucrative business, with character-driven sales reaching nearly $16 billion in Japan in 2012.Popular yuru-chara include Kumamon and Funassyi, who have gained international recognition and have reached celebrity status in Japan.

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