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Example for a character drawn in chibi style

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 word has gained currency among fans of manga and anime. It means someone, some animal or something that is smaller in stature compared to the majority. It can be translated as "little", 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]

In English-speaking anime and manga fandom (otaku), the term chibi has mostly been conflated with the "super deformed" style of drawing characters with oversized heads or it can be used to describe child versions of characters.

Chibi style is usually used in depicting scenes which are cute and/or humorous, and it is extremely rare for it to be used for an entire anime series, like the parody of Attack on Titan: Attack on Titan Junior High. It is often used at OVAs, ONAs and manga, such as the Chibi Maruko-chan series.

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  1. ^ "Sailor Moon volume 3 translation". Retrieved 2008-05-23.