Chibi (style)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Chibi (term))

Example of a character drawn in chibi style

Chibi, also known as super deformation, or S.D. is a style of caricature originating in Japan, and common in anime and manga where characters are drawn in an exaggerated way, typically small and chubby with stubby limbs, oversized heads, and minimal detail. The style has found its way into the anime and manga fandom through its usage in manga works.

Word usage and Etymology[edit]

The English term "chibi" derives from the Japanese chibi kyara (ちびキャラ, 'tiny character'),[citation needed] where chibi (ちび) is a colloquial word for very short people and children, itself deriving from chibiru (禿びる, v. 'to wear down'),[1] and kyara (キャラ) is loaned from the English "character."[2]

"Super deformed" and "S.D." come from Japanese deforume (デフォルメ, 'stylistic distortion'), itself from French déformer.[3]

Proportions and Appearance[edit]

An example of a character being drawn with typical chibi proportions

Compared to the average anime character, usually about seven to eight heads tall,[4] the head of a super-deformed character is normally anywhere between one third and one half the character's height.[5] 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 his or her design will be simplified and others will be grossly 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 in the super deformed version of the character.[6]

Media usage[edit]

One example of chibi's usage in Japanese, which brought the term to the attention of Western fans, is Chibiusa; this diminutive pet name for the daughter of Sailor Moon comes from Chibi Usagi ('Little Rabbit').[7] The chibi art style is part of Japanese culture,[8][9][10] 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.[citation needed] It is used as comic relief in anime and manga, giving additional emphasis to a character's emotional reaction.

The super deformed style has also appeared in anime-influenced American series such as Homestuck, Teen Titans, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, which feature super deformed shorts.[11]

In 2022 the Disney Channel introduced the Disney Chibiverse, program shorts, that uses dozens of Disney animated characters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 松村明 (November 2006). 大辞林 daijirin (in Japanese). ISBN 4-385-13905-9.
  2. ^ 日本国語大辞典 Nihon Kokugo Daijiten (in Japanese) (2nd ed.). Tōkyō: Shogakukan. 2000. ISBN 4-09-521001-X.
  3. ^ "Which Japanese words come from French?". sci.lang.japan.
  4. ^ "Body Proportion". Akemi's Anime World. Archived from the original on 5 August 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  5. ^ "Action Tutorial". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  6. ^ How to Draw Manga Volume 18: Super-Deformed Characters 1: Humans. ISBN 9784766114355
  7. ^ "Sailor Moon volume 3 translation". Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  8. ^ "Japanese student turns philosophers into super-deformed anime-style characters - WOWJAPAN". 4 August 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  9. ^ Rose, Mike (28 January 2013). "Clash of Clans ' 5 keys to success". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Why Japan Is Hands Down The Coolest Country On The Planet - SMOSH". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Applying 2D Japanese Super-Deformed character to traditional American animation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 November 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2018.

External links[edit]