Created By: TheBlankMage on September 5, 2011 Last Edited By: oshojabbe on July 19, 2016

Regress To Childhood

A form of amnesia where the character mentally reverts to their childhood self.

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Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Either by some malfunctioning experiment, bizarre drug, physical damage or sheer Mind Screw, the character becomes a child. This can be played for laughs, as a previously serious and mature character splashes through puddles and chases bugs, but far more often, this is a tragic case where someone just can't take the pressure. This can sometimes be a convenient, bloodless way to revert the Big Bad if they have a Villainous Breakdown. However, this can be reversed, and when it is, you can expect some Amnesiac Dissonance to occur.

Not to be confused with Fountain of Youth, which is about literally turning back into a child.

Warning! Spoilers ahead!


Anime and Manga
  • Cowboy Bebop: Tongpu, the crazy clown with the experimental weapons. - ZCE
  • Lucy from Elfen Lied is an odd case seeing as to how 'Nyu' is not entirely a childhood regression, but having to be taught continence and language again certainly apply.
  • Camille of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, although this might be considered strait up retardation. - ZCE
  • Casca of Berserk regresses to the mentality of a small child after the traumas she suffered at the hands of the demons and the newly-incarnated Femto in particular during the Eclipse. She's also rendered nearly mute.
  • Nancy of Read or Die, due to brain damage. - ZCE
  • In Samurai Harem: Asu no Yoichi, Ukyou gives Ibuki a potion that regresses her to her 4 year old self, in order to marry her. In this state, she can't remember her youngest sister, who wasn't born yet.
  • Air. Again, nothing good comes of this. - ZCE
  • Again, feel free to correct me, but Neon Genesis Evangelion? - ZCE

Live-Action TV
  • Heroes: Hiro, although no one likes to remember that particular arc. - ZCE

Video Games
  • Utawarerumono: Kuya, once a young, proud empress, snaps back into adorably depressing toddler years.

Visual Novels
  • Akiha from Tsukihime, in a rare comical example, after downing one of Kohaku's drugs. Moe ensues. (This, of course, comes from one of the spinoff manga. Happy things don't happen in the original.)

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • September 5, 2011
    • One of the High Priests of Belar in The Belgariad does this when it's revealed that UL is the father of the Gods.
    • Taken to an extreme in the Chakat Universe when a Chakat tries teleportation for the first time--hir mind is wiped completely blank. Even everything shi has learned in the womb is gone. (The use of "hir" and "shi" are not typos, but in-universe pronouns for that type of hermaphrodite).
  • September 5, 2011
    • Done to the whole adult population of Sunnydale in the 3rd season Buffy episode Band Candy.
  • September 5, 2011
  • September 5, 2011
  • September 5, 2011
    • In an episode of Angel a spell makes them all regress to their teenage personas. Liam (Angel as a teen) is quite taken aback at being in the 21st century.
    • Get Smart: a KAOS mole in CONTROL uses a regression gun on some scientists, which regress them to their very early years. It turns out that one of the scientists is the mole; she reveals herself when she pretends to have been shot by the regressor ray and says she's watches Captain Kangaroo, which wasn't on when she was a little girl.
  • September 5, 2011
    In an episode of Rugrats Stu falls off the roof and gets amnesia, reverting to infancy. He is even able to talk to the babies.
  • September 5, 2011
    • An episode of Recess involves the principal getting hypnotized into thinking he's a 6-year-old kid.
  • September 6, 2011
    One episode of Monk did this due to Monk visiting a hypnotist.
  • September 7, 2011
    Berserk's Casca ends up suffering this as a result of the traumas she suffered during the Eclipse at the hands of the demons and the newly-incarnated Femto in particular. She's also rendered nearly mute.
  • September 8, 2011
    Happened with Alexander in Seikon No Qwaser.

    Though I don't like admitting I've seen that. ):
  • September 9, 2011
    Live Action TV
    • Star Trek The Original Series episode "The Changeling". When Nomad inflicts amnesia on Lieutenant Uhura, she is shown as having a child-like mind and being educated at a 1st grade (about 6 years old) level.
  • July 7, 2016
    An episode of Phineas and Ferb sort of had it happen to Lawrence Fletcher (The Dad) When he loses his memories and they have to put them back in his head in order, forcing him to "Grow Up" in the course of a day.
  • July 7, 2016
    In The Belgariad, Grodeg, the leader of the Bear Cult (fanatical worshippers of Belar), reverts to childlike mentality after the combination of receiving a serious head injury in battle and the revelation that UL was the father of all the other gods including Belar making him NOT the most important/powerful deity proves too much for his mind.
  • July 7, 2016
    Temporarily happens to Evil Colonialists Sanders and Hindle in the Doctor Who story "Kinda", due to an alien device being used on them that was meant to deliver a Care Bear Stare but turned out much more powerful and unpredictable.
  • July 7, 2016
    Uh, description and title needs to make clear that it's mental regression rather than physical.
  • July 8, 2016
    • Capitalized the title.
    • Examples section

    Most of the OP examples are Zero Context Examples and have been marked as such. Each one needs more specific information about how it fits the trope.
  • July 9, 2016
    • In the Recess episode "The Hypnotist", this happens when a professional hypnotist accidentally makes Principal Prickly think that he's six years old again.
  • July 9, 2016
  • July 17, 2016
    I feel like this has some overlap with Emotional Regression. I think the distinction should be something like:

    • Emotional Regression is when someone starts acting immature due to circumstances that remind them of their youth. It's Revertigo from How I Met Your Mother.
    • Regress To Childhood is where a person reverts to their childhood self. Usually as a form of amnesia, magic, multiple personalities, etc.

    I think the following entries from the Emotional Regression page probably properly belong in Regress To Childhood:

    • The main premise of Nanaka Six Seventeen involves the title character hitting her head and then waking up with the mental age of a seven-year old.
    • Happen in one episode of Sket Dance. In the episode, Bossun got his body reverted back to a five year old's after drinking Chuuma-sensei's potion. At the end of the episode, Chuuma-sensei made another potion that returned his body to normal... but now it's his mind that reverted to a five year old's.
    • In Hamatora, Honey has the power to see ten minutes into the future after biting down on a lollipop. For much of the series she can use this power without repercussion but later her ability develops a side effect that causes her to mentally regress to childhood for a time after her power runs its course.
    • An extreme example in the United States Of Tara, one of Tara's "alter egos" is called Gimme ("give me")—an animalistic, greedy, flighty child-like version of Tara that comes out any time she feels emotionally cornered/blackmailed. It does such immature things as scream like a baby, or pee on her sleeping parents. There's also "T", the teenager alter ego, who does things like make out with her (gay) son's date.

    Some additional examples for this are:

    • In Honey I Shrunk The Kids, a power outage causes the Memory Lane Mobile to regress Diane to her 16 year old self. She goes to school with her daughter, and has to relearn enough law (under the guise of it being a school project) to get her most recent client exonerated.
    • In Series/Charmed, this happens a few times.
      • In one episode, the Charmed sisters are regressed to their teenage selves when Grams botches a spell meant to remove the sibling rivalry from her grandchildren.
      • In one episode, Prue's wish on a genie for the thrills of first love revert her to her 17 year old persona.
      • In one episode, Pheobe accidentally casts a spells when she reads a poem from her yearbook. This causes her to revert back to her teenage self. She later regresses everyone else at her 10 year high school reunion as well.
      • In one episode, Prue and Pheobe are sprinkled with fairy dust which regresses them back to a child-like state - innocent enough to see fairies again.
  • July 18, 2016
    • Nanaka Six Seventeen is about a stoic and serious seventeen year old girl who gets a head injury and regresses to be peppier six year old self.
  • July 18, 2016
    • In the fifth book of The Belgariad, with the reveal of UL being the Father of the Seven Gods, the leader of the Bear Cult was shocked about this theological discovery and his mental state regressed to playing sticks and colored paper.
  • July 19, 2016
    I don't see much difference between this and Emotional Regression.