is a specific style of Japanese caricature
A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.Caricatures can be...
where characters are drawn in an exaggerated way, typically small and chubby, with stubby limbs and oversized heads, to make them resemble small children. This style is referred to as chibi by Japanese and English anime fans.
The super deformed style is part of Japanese culture and is seen everywhere from advertising and subway signs to anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....
Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...
It is often also used on anime and manga in brief interjections to show an extreme or exaggerated emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...
, such as anger or surprise, that would be difficult to portray or would seem out of character if expressed on a more realistic face. They are meant to be cute and are often used in humorous diversions from the storyline.
Recent trends in anime have shifted away from super-deformed character designs, yet the traditional anime character designs remain.
Proportions are often measured using head length as a guide. The average adult is considered to stand seven (1:7) to seven and a half heads tall. Idealized figures are often drawn eight heads (1:8) in length.
The head of a super deformed character is normally anywhere between one third (1:3 ratio) and one half (1:2 ratio) the character's height, often a golden ratio
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989...
(38 percent), with the eyes taking up much of the space on the head. Some artists may use alternative proportions. There are other exaggerated proportions (such as the 1/5 proportion, as used by Tales of Eternia
is a Japanese PlayStation action role-playing video game released by Namco on November 30, 2000, selling 873,000 copies and later ported to the PlayStation Portable on March 3, 2005, selling 398,000 copies. Tales of Eternia's characteristic genre name is...
, etc.) that are popular in anime, but are not considered SD.
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 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.