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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?