A character's age isn't always easily apparent. There's "youngin's" who are OlderThanTheyLook or ReallySevenHundredYearsOld, and "adults" who are YoungerThanTheyLook. However, sometimes the character's age is obfuscated -- not from the rest of the cast, but us viewers.

For whatever reason, the artist has taken ArtisticLicense in how they depict the character's age. They might be drawn as younger or older than they really are, or in vague enough strokes that we superimpose whatever age we want on the characters.

'''This can serve a few different purposes:'''
# The character looks older than he or she is. This is often done in order to depict {{Fanservice}}, violence and other mature behavior that would otherwise be very inappropriate if the characters actually looked as young as they are. Some viewers [[FridgeLogic might still find it inappropriate]] upon learning the character's canonical ages. This is much like a drawn version of DawsonCasting. See also ReallySevenHundredYearsOld.
# The character looks younger than he or she is. Artists probably do this to have mature storylines without losing younger viewers (and depending on the genre, it can also be applied for a [[LoliconAndShotacon particular kind]] of fanservice). This is somewhat like casting HollywoodHomely and GenericCuteness, in that everyone is drawn in such a way that they seem attractive, or in this case the same age.
# The character models are sufficiently undefined that the player/viewer can superimpose whatever age they want on the protagonist, thus effectively bridging most any age gap to draw in a wide spectrum of viewers. Older and younger viewers will feel surprised after they [[AllThereInTheManual find out their real age]] and realizing it's not the same as theirs.
# The character's ''precise'' age never figures into the design and is meaningless except in very broad terms from a story standpoint; it's specified only because of the common insistence that audiences can only relate to characters their age.
# The creator is deliberately concealing the age of the character from the audience in service of a later plot twist.

See also VagueAge, AgeIsRelative.
!!Examples of Type 1.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'':
** The protagonists are all depicted as young men in their late teens/early twenties, but are actually ''13-15''. Considering the violence in the series, this may be to avoid the connotations of violence against children. Considering they all underwent TrainingFromHell around when they were ten years old, there are fans who [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation consider their adopted father]] to be an inordinately cruel man rather than a WellIntentionedExtremist. Case in point, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Athena-manga22.jpg this]] is, at most, a 15 year old girl and that's assuming at least 1-2 years have passed since the beginning of the series to that point.
** Not to mention the Gold Saints, who all looked to be in their Mid 20s at least, yet when their ages were revealed only a few of them are past 20, with the oldest among them (Saga) being 28, in particular Aiolia who looks to be in his 30s, and has one of the [[BadassBaritone deepest voices]] you'll hear was only 14 [[spoiler:when he died]], and [[BigGuy Big Guy]] Aldebaran being only 20, despite looking to be in his Late 30s-40s. This was most likely due to the author [[DidntThinkThisThrough not thinking that much]] about it given the discrepancies caused to certain plot points.
** The SpinOffspring anime ''Anime/SaintSeiyaOmega'' somewhat averts this. The new protagonists are around the same age range as the original ones and actually look like it, except for Haruto, who looks like he's, at most, 16.
* In ''{{Manga/Ranma}}'' has flashbacks in which characters look far younger then their actual age. When Akane is thinking about her past with Dr. Tofu, she resembles 6 year old while her elder sister towers over Akane and wears a high school uniform. There is actually only a three year difference between them, meaning Akane was actually 12 or 13 around that time. Similarly a flashback to Tatewaki Kuno's HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood depicted the very tall LordErrorProne as an extremely short kid who looked around 6. Kuno is 17 and the flashback was 4 years ago, making him 13 in the flashback.
* The main human (or equivalent) cast of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' look at least nineteen but are actually in the 15-17 range. Ironically, Rukia looks the most like that age, but is ReallySevenHundredYearsOld. What makes this even more bizarre is that Chad is ''explicitly'' [[YoungerThanTheyLook Younger than He Looks]] on top of that. The 15 year old Orihime from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' is famous for her rather large breasts. Likewise Ichigo and most of the other male teenage protagonists have exceptionally mature, chiseled bodies. When a TimeSkip happens, this is naturally reflected by the now 17 year old Orihime having [[GagBoobs even bigger breasts]] and Ichigo having an even more chiseled body. Since they already looked practically like adults before the time skip, there was little else to do.
* The manga version of ''Literature/BattleRoyale'' suffers from this. They are all supposed to be 15 to 16 years old, the usual age to be during your last year in middle school, but the artist's style has most of them look ''at least'' like they are old enough to be close to graduating high school around age 18. Shogo and Mitsuko are two of the worst offenders, looking (and acting) like they are in their twens.
** Some of the students suffer from Type 2, where they look to be about 10 years old and being pretty small for their age.
* According to WordOfGod, [[http://www.quazacolt.com/dmmlq/yoko.jpg Yoko]] from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' is ''[[http://community.livejournal.com/gurren_lagann/517861.html#cutid1 around 14 years old]]''. The same age as KidHero protagonist Simon, who is quite a tad shorter.
** [[AllThereInTheManual It has been explained]] that living underground for so long (with no visible sun) has messed up the calendar, and Nia is the only human with an accurate age.
** Also, Simon himself falls more towards the opposite extreme (perhaps to emphasize his KidHero aspect) as he's pretty damn short ''for his age'' (he's 14, but most people estimate him to only be about four feet tall).
** Note that Yoko's appearance barely changes after the TimeSkip when she's twenty-one, indicating that she might be older than 14 pre TimeSkip since a 7 year change in your later years is less noticeable.
* Almost everyone in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', a show where middleschoolers look like highschoolers while the highschoolers look like they're in their twenties. Considering what kind of messed-up stuff goes on later in the series, this may actually be a good thing. The only exception is that elementary schoolers look like elementary schoolers, which makes Nanami look like one hell of a paedophile for liking Tsuwabuki, despite the fact that she's only thirteen herself. In fact, the only teenagers that do look their age are thirteen-year-old Miki (who's voiced by [[Creator/AyaHisakawa a woman]] in the Japanese version and is given a more [[Creator/JimmyZoppi boyish voice]] for English) and Shiori, who seems to be the same grade level as Juri (first year of high school).
* Most of the characters in ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' actually look their proper age (fifteen-year old Lina, twenty-two year old Gourry, and fourteen/fifteen year old Amelia, who, despite her [[{{Moe}} roundish face and large bustline,]] is mid-height), Zelgadis definitely ''doesn't'' look like he's the sixteen years of age he is in the anime. It isn't just his [[CursedWithAwesome chimeric]] appearance either; his voice is deeper than Gourry's is. In the original novels, he's a far more plausible twenty.
* Except for Echizen Ryouma and a few other first-years, none of the players on ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'' look like they're supposed to be in middle school.
** Lampshaded when Kawamura's father thinks team captain Tezuka Kunimitsu is the coach, and offers him booze.
** Konomi Takeshi originally intended for the characters to be in high school, but was asked to change the setting to middle school for whatever reason. He agreed, but didn't bother changing the character designs.
* ''Anime/WitchHunterRobin''. Robin is 15. She falls in love with Amon, who's 25. You wouldn't be able to tell they're supposed to be different ages without being told - they both look mid-twenties.
* Show of hands: who here thinks Masaru and Toma from ''Anime/DigimonSavers'' look fourteen (especially considering that nineteen-year-old Masaru looks ''exactly the same'' in the DistantFinale)?
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'' everybody in the central cast looks older than they should. For reference, here are the protagonist [[http://aboutgundamwing.com/GlossaryImages/ep46_Heero.jpg Heero]] (age 15; looks about 18) and TheRival [[http://aboutgundamwing.com/GlossaryImages/ep45_ZechsSm.jpg Zechs]] (age 19; looks about 23), except for Quatre (also 15) who looks ''younger''.
** [[TeensAreShort Until you see one of the Gundam pilots standing next to an adult.]]
** Of course this is just following a long ''Gundam'' tradition: some particularly weird ones are [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ Judau]] [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6a/Judau_Ashta.jpg Ashta]] (age 14; looks at least 17), [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Bright]] [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/86/Bright_Noah_%28Gundam%29.jpg Noa]] (age 19; looks at least 22), and [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Kacylia]] [[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/gundam/images/2/23/Kacylia_Zabi_%28Gundam%29.jpg Zabi]] (age 27; looks at least in her late 30s). Though Heero at least looks closer to his given age without the near-permanent scowl. In nearly every case, [[ImprobableAge it would be more realistic if the characters actually were the age they appeared to be]].
* The main characters in the ''Manga/BattleRoyale'' manga are all supposed to be 9th graders, ages 14 to 15, (except Shogo, who got held back) but most of them look like they're in their twenties at least. Possibly to make all the [[{{Gorn}} extremely graphic violence]] a little easier to swallow.
** Shogo looks like a 40 to 50-year-old ShellShockedVeteran. He's...oh, sixteen?
** There are also some characters that are type 2; Yutaka, for example, appears to be about ten. This, however, is TruthInTelevision: there are quite a few people in early high school who look younger than they actually are.
* Umi and Fuu from ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'' should've looked a bit like 16 or 17. But they're really 14 years old. By contrast, pint-sized Hikaru is a Type 2 --the two others first thought she was in ''grade school'', and she admits she's a little small for her age...
* Show of hands: who here could tell [[Manga/DragonBall Son Gohan]] was no older than eleven/twelve in the Cell Saga, just by looking at him? And who here thought he was ''at the very least'' sixteen? No wonder videogames call this form TEEN Gohan, instead of giving that monicker to...well, teenaged Gohan from the Buu saga (who is just "Gohan"). The manga makes this worse. While he looks relatively shorter, his well defined muscles still makes him look like a teenager, and he's ''nine!''
** Also, Goku barely looks any different when he's 12 at the first world tournament he attends than he does at 15 when he's at the second. He only shows a significant change in appearance in the TimeSkip where he went from 15 to 18. Same applies to Chichi, albeit she never appears as a 15-year old in the manga.
** In addition, Goku's look never changes from the time he turns 18 to the time he gets de-aged by Black Star Shenron at about fifty. This was hand-waved in one of the dubs by Vegeta, who says that Saiyans age much slower than humans so that they can fight for longer.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' does this a lot, mostly with antagonists:
** The Sound Five were ''fourteen'' years old and look seventeen/eighteen, except Kimimaro who is fifteen and almost looks like a thirty-year-old (though that's at least partially because of his super-stern attitude/look on his face and {{i|ncurableCoughOfDeath}}llness).
** Hidan is 22, but looks about 30. Deidara is 19 and Jugo is 18, but they both look like they're in their mid-twenties (although when he stands next to someone else it becomes apparently that Deidara is relatively short).
** Itachi already looks significantly older than his official age of 17 when he's introduced, and a static character design leads him to look almost the exact same during flashbacks when Sasuke was 8 (which would make him only '''13'''). [[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/naruto/images/c/c1/Uchiha%27s.png A family photo]] shows that he's always had those weird creases that make his face look a lot older than he is even as an adult since he was apparently ''born'' with them. Though the manga also shows a young Itachi without the markings so it's vague if he's had them forever or not.
** Alternatively Kakashi looked pretty much like a teenager when he passed his chunin exams-- except that he's supposed to be six. Either Kishimoto forgot, or Kakashi was a very early bloomer. Fortunately for him, he doesn't look much older than Naruto when they are respectively 40 something and 30 something. Though of course, keeping half his face covered doesn't hurt...
* Yumiko from ''LightNovel/YokuWakaruGendaiMahou'' is 15 years old, but her body frame is closer to Misa, who's in her 20s.
* In the classic mecha series ''[[Anime/{{Daitarn 3}} Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3]]''. Banjo, the main character, is 18 years old, but looks, acts, and is treated as a man at least in his late-20s, possibly even early 30s. More of one of the early-bloomer types.
* In ''Manga/BlackCat'', Woodney, Train's imposter, is revealed to only be 20 years old. [[http://onemanga.com/Black_Cat/44/10/ He doesn't look 20]].
* Jin from ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' has a face that looks more like someone in his early thirties, but he's actually only 20. Him complaining about his back hurting in one episode doesn't help either.
* Lucia, from ''Manga/VenusVersusVirus'' is only fifteen years old, though she looks like she is at best eighteen. The fact that she {{smok|ingIsCool}}es doesn't make it any better. She looks more her age in the manga, [[ArtEvolution beginning at]] volume 4, though.
* Rei and Asuka from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' appear roughly seventeen despite being fourteen, presumably for the sake of TheMerch. Contrast them with their alleged classmate, Hikari. Even Shinji seems younger than he is in comparison.
* Zoro and Sanji of ''Manga/OnePiece'' are a lot younger than they look. Neither of them were twenty before the TimeSkip, but looking at them, you'd expect them to be in their twenties already. [[FridgeBrilliance Perhaps]] because Zoro has been big on TrainingFromHell since early childhood, and Sanji is a chain smoker.
* ''Manga/MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' has this (especially with 13-year-old heroine Lucia), mainly because Hanamori Pink can't seem to draw any female character (besides [[EnfanteTerrible Yuuri]] and [[KidAppealCharacter Seira]], both very young girls) flatter than a D-cup. And that's why [[ShesAManInJapan changing Lady Bat to a girl]] instead of a WholesomeCrossdresser doesn't work.
* ''Manga/ZettaiKarenChildren''. Before the TimeSkip, the main heroines are 10 and look 10, but afterwards, they're 12 and look more 15-16.
* ''Manga/WanderingSon'' has a few characters, mostly Doi and Chiba (especially Chiba). The latter did look like a ten to eleven year old at first, but starting around volume 4 her appearance became more of a mid-aged teenager. It matches her personality change.
* The predecessor to ''Wandering Son'', ''Shikii no Junin'', relied heavily on ArtisticAge. The characters can't be older then 11, but they all look like they're at least 16. It doesn't help that with ArtEvolution, whenever Shimura draws the protagonists in her later styles he looks like his actual age (and [[{{Expy}} a lot like Nitori]]).
* ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'''s characters have appearances based on their personality, maturity, or whatever their shtick is, despite all of them being around the same age (15-18). The series is very self-aware, however, and never fails to lampshade how absurd some of the characters look.
* In ''LightNovel/BludgeoningAngelDokuroChan'', Zakuro is canonically 9, when physically she looks about 18, due to her... features.
* ''Franchise/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' appears to take place in a strange alternate reality wherein [[http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/jojo/images/f/f7/Jonathan_e_Dio_primo_incontro.png/revision/latest?cb=20140109163342&path-prefix=it twelve-year-old boys look like they're twenty.]]
** The most blatant example of this trope in fiction is Jotaro Kujo, [[http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080110031930/jjba/images/2/29/Jotaro_Kujo_Part_VI.jpg who looks younger in Part 6 as a man in his 40s]] than he did as [[http://imalbum.aufeminin.com/album/D20120207/832099_5Y51NXW3YZ2V1HO2PB3FZLYSXLM3IS_46-04-jotarou2_H124351_L.jpg a 17 year old high school student in Part 3]], although this may be a side-effect of having a Stand.
* The main protagonist of ''Anime/OnlyYesterday'' looks 40-50 years old sometimes, because of the lines on her face and her homeliness. This is to emphasize her ChristmasCake status. Her actual age? ''[[YoungerThanTheyLook 28 years old]]''.
* Arguably in ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'': Yomi being the OnlySaneMan, she sometimes looks as old as her teachers. It helps that her teachers also sometimes look younger than they are, as well.
* All over the place in ''Manga/SugarSugarRune'' The ten-year-old characters look like they're around 13, while all the junior high characters look like they're in their ''twenties''. Not helped by the show's bad case of MostWritersAreAdults.
* Most of the main cast in ''Franchise/SailorMoon''. They are only 14 years old, but look like they are around 17, if not more. This is most noticeable with Haruka and Michiru and the Sailor Starlights. They are around 16-17, yet they look very mature and almost old as Setsuna, who is in her early to mid twenties.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'': Integra Hellsing is a young woman in her early twenties, but due to the way she's drawn, how tough she looks thanks to the CrapsackWorld she's in, and her no-nonsense personality, you'd be forgiven for believing she's in her late twenties to early thirties. Poked fun at in the AbridgedSeries, where she insults the band of Nazi vampires chasing her by proclaiming how it took a whole squad of them to capture a twenty two year old woman and their response is "She's TWENTY TWO?"
* The students of class 3-4 in ''Manga/GreatTeacherOnizuka'' are in their final year of junior high, making them approximately 14 years old; this isn't too unrealistic in the early manga, which draws them with the mature-yet-still-scrawny builds you'd expect from teenagers in the later stages of puberty. The anime and later portions of the manga, however, depict them as looking akin to 16/17 year old high school students, which is jarring given Onizuka's early annoyances of teaching a class that's younger than he expected.
* Misty in ''Manga/TheElectricTaleOfPikachu'' is only twelve. This is very hard to notice due to the HotterAndSexier nature of the manga, even when they toned down her design in later chapters.
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime itself, Ash, much like direction Sugimori was taking in the games' artstyle as best seen in remake protagonists, looks ''at least'' 12 as of the ''XY'' saga, thanks to his more defined features, sideburns, tanned skin, and thinner frame. The major crush [[TheChick Serena]] has on him and the occasional vaguely sexual imagery that comes out of it doesn't help at all. While it has never been officially stated, it can be safely assumed [[NotAllowedToGrowUp he's still 10 officially]]. The following ''Sun and Moon'' arc reverts Ash back to looking around 10.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Pretty much all Western comics, especially Marvel and DC. Characters who are supposed to be in their early- or mid-teens are regularly drawn with the musculature and...[[MostCommonSuperpower endowments]] of someone much older. This is so pervasive that listing the exceptions would be easier.
** Likewise, most Western comic artists are sketchy on drawing small children, so often kids who are especially young will look a couple of years older for simplicity. [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Valeria Richards,]] for example, is supposed to be four or five but most artists draw her to look closer to nine or ten (often she's the same height as her brother who IS [[VagueAge nine or ten)]]. Other times, particularly unskilled artists will just give children the proportions of adults but make them as tall as children.
* The characters of ''ComicBook/ArchieComics'' can lean into this. Sometimes they look more like college kids than high schoolers. Even the DawsonCasting-prone cast of ''Series/{{Riverdale}}'' look younger (Cole Sprouse looks like an actual teenager, unlike his Fonz-ish comic book counterpart).

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''{{Fanfic/Ruin Value}}'' conceals Luna, Celestia's, and Discord's ages in service to concealing the story's true nature as a [[spoiler:StealthPrequel]].

[[folder: Film -- Animation]]
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon is full of this. Take the Franchise/DisneyPrincess characters for example. Do either Jasmine from ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' or Aurora from ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' look sixteen? The fact that most of the Princess characters are under eighteen surprises many fans, though since ''WesternAnimation/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'', more and more princesses are explicitly over eighteen. In comparison to previous princesses in their age group, Merida from ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' and Moana from ''Disney/{{Moana}}'' are designed to look young.
* Teegra in ''WesternAnimation/FireAndIce'' is rather tall, busty and curvy giving the impression she is her late-tens/early-twenties, but she is supposed to be 15-years old.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Angela in ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'' is actually nineteen, even though she looks to be mid-thirties or so and often adopts the mannerisms of a little girl. This was done to make her look [[RuleOfScary more than a little off]].
** Eddie, meanwhile, is 23 according to the [[AllThereInTheManual Book of Lost Memories]], but his attitude, appearance, and backstory seem more suited to a high school senior or college freshman.
* ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'': when Cloud first shows up in the game he's only 14 years old...but, Cloud doesn't look any different than usual, and is voiced by Creator/TakahiroSakurai and Steve Burton, like always. The only reason you buy that he's a kid is his ''attitude''.
** Looking at Angeal, you'd think he's hitting his mid to late thirties, what with the muscles and the PermaStubble. Turns out he's actually 25 years old, born ''after'' Genesis.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'': Mario and Luigi's facial hair tends to make them look like they're in their late 30s or 40s, but they're actually in their mid-twenties, according to Miyamoto.
* Ages are amazingly hard to judge in general in the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' universe. For an excellent example, let's take Auron from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'': he's widely considered to be a great warrior from the past generation, has plenty of wrinkles and greying hair, and yet is only thirty-five. Then again, his life has sucked badly enough to make him prematurely decrepit. [[spoiler:And being dead and still aging probably didn't help either.]]
** This causes a lot of problems in the spin-off ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'' - Bartz looks and acts closer to Zidane's age (16) and is practically babysat by the extremely mature and stoic Squall. This tends to shock people to learn that Squall is only 17 and Bartz is his ''senior'' (and in fact one of the oldest heroes) at 20.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'''s Balthier counts as well. In the English dub, he sounds and acts like he ought to be mid-thirties or so (the age of his voice actor, basically.) The [[AllThereInTheManual manual]] puts him in his early twenties, which rather ruins things. Plenty of stuff that sounds [[DeadpanSnarker pleasantly snarky]] from an older man just sound [[{{Jerkass}} like a young punk talking]] when the character is so young...[[spoiler: Except for the fact that, being trained to become a Judge since early childhood, he can easily back up everything he boasts about...]]
** Same with Larsa. He's keenly intelligent, manipulative, and definitely one of the big movers of the plot, [[spoiler: ascending to the throne of Archadia by the end of the game]]. How old is he? ''Twelve!''
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Several of the protagonists look at least three or four years older than their supposed age (usually assumed to be eleven without confirmation, though after generation 5 they have been leaning more towards their mid teens). This is especially noticeable when it comes to the female characters, who tend to be more...developed than an average 11-year old (and sometimes more so than half the adult female cast). A common complaint with Red and his rival Blue in the remakes is that they no longer look eleven, with their slender, somewhat adult-like proportions and less childish facial structures. So much so, in fact, [[VocalDissonance they sound at least 13]] in the English dub of ''Pokemon Origins''. In the [[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver timeskip]], where they're fourteen now, they look around sixteen or seventeen (or at least Blue does; it's difficult to see if Red has changed much at all).
** In ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'', the protagonists are once again stated to be eleven. The female protagonist actually does quite look her age, with her flat chest, large eyes, round face, and childlike proportions, but the male protagonist had thrown off many into thinking they were a few years older; though he ''can'' pass for eleven. Not helping is the 3D models, while far more to scale than in previous generations, not being ''exactly'' to scale, making the protagonists, Hau, and Lillie appear taller than they should be.
** Misty is implied to be Red's age but by ''Heartgold'' and ''Soulsilver'' can pass for someone several years older than fourteen.
** In a similar case to Red and Blue above, Silver in the ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' remakes also looks like a teenager, with his thin and adult-like proportions, sharp facial features and all, when he's supposedly the same age as the player character.
** Let it also be known the seemingly at least-40 years old [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Cyrus]] is ''27''. Given his [[DarkAndTroubledPast backstory]] though, it's possible that he aged prematurely due to stress and trauma.
** Supposedly Cheren from ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' was designed to look fourteen. While not as mature looking as others, most fans pinned him more around fifteen or sixteen. His design in the sequel seems a bit older than people assume from a sixteen year old.
** Many characters could also count as Type 3s.
* One ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' [[YonKoma 4Koma]] pointed this out by comparing Sanger Zonvolt and Tetsuya Onodera. Sanger is 29 but looks like he's in his mid to late thirties, making him a Type 1, whereas Tetsuya is the same age but looks like he's in his early to mid twenties, making him a Type 2.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' is full of this throughout the titles. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' we have Shad, who looks and acts like someone in his late 20s ''minimum'', but is apparently the same age as Link... Which is 17. Link himself is often mistaken for being in his early-to-mid twenties when the oldest Link's are in their late teens.
* The three lords of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheBlazingBlade'' haven't reached 18 throughout the 2-year timespan in the story (Eliwood and Hector are 16-17, Lyn is 15-16, though age lifted into 18-19 outside Japan) but they look at least in their 20s. Rebecca and Nino are 15 and 14 respectively and while their faces and the rest of their body fit their age, they are drawn with very long legs in official art, giving an illusion of making them look older as well.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* It can be hard to remember that most of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' characters are under eighteen. Their personalities and voices match their ages, but characters like Yang and Blake can pass for being in their early twenties.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'': ''Every single character.'' Seriously, they're supposed to be elementary schoolers, but most of the characters look to be between the ages of 13 and 15, with some of the kids such as Binky and the Tough Customers being able to pass for as old as 17. The ''preschoolers'' who are D.W.'s age are the ones who look more like elementary school kids. To make matters worse, whenever a character has an illusion of the future, when the characters are ''supposed'' to be in high school, they are drawn to look like they're in their early twenties at the least.
* ''Franchise/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
*** Azula: a stern, tall ''14-year-old'' who easily intimidates her brother ([[TheDreaded and everyone else]]) despite being two years younger than him. It could be the make-up though, since she looks younger without it.
*** Ty Lee is fourteen; however, this is often forgotten given her physique.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'':
*** Bolin is sixteen when introduced, but his muscular physique makes him look older. In future seasons, he has barely changed despite being in his twenties.
*** Asami in Book Four is in her mid-twenties but, looks a few years older. Fans joke her hairstyle makes her look maternal.
* Emily from ''Literature/LittleBear'' looks like she's probably ten at minimum, but she only turns ''seven'' partway through the series.
* The characters in ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'' look older than their [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog main continuity]] counterparts but WordOfGod is that they aren't. Amy is still twelve, Tails is still eight, and both Sonic and Knuckles are still sixteen, but they seem a few years older.

!!Examples of Type 2.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/ManabiStraight'' is all over this. All of the (18-year-old or so) students are [[PuniPlush cute and rounded]], looking about 10. It then lampshades it when members from another school, who are the same age as the protagonists, show up. They do indeed look perfectly 18-like.
* ''Manga/LuckyStar'' has the girls end the series as 18-year-olds that look like middle-school children or younger. Fans of the series have to [[NeverHeardThatOneBefore constantly fend off]] {{lolicon|AndShotacon}} jokes. Doubly so for Konata, who even by the standards of the show [[OlderThanTheyLook looks young]]. And then there's Ms. Kuroi, who is canonically in her late twenties, but could pass for a teenager.
* ''Manga/SevenSeeds'' has Koruri. She's the same age as the rest of her team, but being [[ACupAngst underdeveloped]] and having a rather cute, round face makes it easy for others to mistake her as being younger. Haru is surprised to learn that she's actually ''a year older'' than him.
* All those classmates of Nagi in ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler''? Yeah, they're 13-14. They look about 10-11. The 16-17-year-olds look like 14-year-olds. Except Maria, who looks her age (17) despite Hayate claiming she looks older. (Note that in the manga, it was the READERS who asked that...go figure)
* ''Anime/{{Transformers}} Kiss Players''. So very much. For reference, the titular Kiss Players are all in their twenties. They are all drawn to look somewhere around 8 at the oldest, and very disturbingly sexual things happen to them. Artist Yūki Ōshima says he did it "to make jaws drop". [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Image:LegionRape1.jpg It worked]].
* Most of the main cast of ''Anime/EdenOfTheEast'' don't quite look their listed ages of 22 or 21, but rather more like 15-17 year old teenagers (or, in [[LittleMissSnarker Micchon]]'s case, like a preteen).
* [[Manga/YuGiOh The manga]] and [[Anime/YuGiOhFirstAnimeSeries first anime series]] of ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' lampshade this; little Yugi is so short that he has a hard time convincing people that he's a high schooler.
* Kosuna from ''Manga/DesertPunk'' looks about 10-12, but is supposed to be 14.
* In the splatter-horror manga ''Manga/BioMeatNectar'', Kiryuu Shinpachi is the new character added in the final act. He appears to be six and a half feet tall, looks like any beefy hair metal guy from the late 80's and is 13 years old. He also has a job as a fisherman and can operate a boat expansive enough to house almost 4000 people.
* While many characters from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' fall towards the other side of this, Haku looks almost the same age as the rookie from Naruto's class (though taller), but WordOfGod states his age to be 15. The fact that Haku's first appearance prompted Kakashi to state there are people stronger than himself but younger than Naruto (12 at the time) probably adds to the confusion.
* Despite the fact that L in ''Manga/DeathNote'' is intended to be twenty-four, he appears to be younger than the seventeen-year-old Light.
* In ''31 Ai Dream'', a shojo manga by Creator/ArinaTanemura, the main character is a 31-year old woman who is [[FountainOfYouth returned to her teenage years]]. However, as her 31-year old self, you'd expect her to be around her early-to-mid twenties, because of her natural beauty, the fact that she's a {{Meganekko}}, and the manga's art style.
* The main characters of ''Manga/SchoolLive'' are in their third year of high school, but the {{Moe}} art style makes them look as though they're in middle school at most. Yuki's [[KiddieKid childish behavior]] doesn't really help. Later college students appear and they look more their age, despite only being a few years older than the high schoolers.
* In the flashbacks to ''Manga/YourLieInApril'' the children are usually drawn looking younger than intended. Eleven year old Kousei barely looks like an elementary schooler.
* At the end of the middle school portion of ''Manga/WanderingSon'' the characters are meant to be fifteen but don't look it. Puberty quickly catches up to the characters in the high school chapters though.
* The women in ''Rock it, [=GIRL=]!!'' are meant to be adults (except for one who is seventeen), and we even get a flashback of Suzuhara in high school, however they're drawn in a way that makes them look like middle schoolers ''tops''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/ScottPilgrim is a major offender. Thanks to O'Malley's artstyle, all the characters that are in their 20's, including Scott himself, who looks a lot teen-ish for a 23~24 years old.
* Lt. Q.P. Dahl from Wally Wood's ''[[ComicBook/SallyForthWood Sally Forth]]'' is the leader of his squad, despite being half as tall as everyone else and resembling a bald, prepubescent child.

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* Depictions of the Finding of Jesus in the Temple nearly universally portray a child far younger than twelve by any cultural or historical standard.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* VideoGame/{{Iji}} is supposed to be twenty but she looks like she's about high school age. Despite canonically being a decent height for a man, the size of her gun gives her the appearance of SmallGirlBigGun, and she lacks certain assets that could make her look older.
* The protagonists of the ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' games are implied to be adults but look like elementary schoolers. ''New Leaf'' fixes this a bit by making them into lanky NoodlePeople.
* Almost ''everyone'' in the ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' series:
** The main characters (in particular, your own character and potential spouses) often look to be about their teens at oldest despite ''getting married and drunk''. Your potential spouses' parents tend to look maybe in their 30s or 40s, but anyone younger almost always looks like they haven't even hit puberty yet. Bonus points if the game is in {{chibi}} style.
** Rather {{squick}}y in the UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 version of ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonAWonderfulLife'', where the 14 year old girl (Lumina) in the Gamecube version is now apparently 18 and available to marry...without changing her appearance at all, though post-marriage she instantly has her adult design after a small timeskip. In the JPN version she was sixteen in ''SE''. Many fans don't even realize Lumina was 14, thinking she was 10 or 11. ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonDS'' avoids this by using her adult design from the start.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'': Does Ness [[http://starmen.net/mother2/images/official/clay_m2ness.png seriously]] [[WordOfGod look 13]]? Note that those in charge of localizing the American version clearly didn't think so, and made a new clay model that makes him look considerably older, to the point that he could almost pass for 13. [[http://earthboundcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/claycompare1.jpg Compare the two models for yourself]].
* Nearly the entire cast in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' to greater or lesser extents.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'': Link in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'' is obviously in his mid-to-late teens in his official artwork and this applies to him in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening'' too. The portraits in the latter game make him closer to "young Link" but it's likely the SuperDeformed style at fault. There is less of an excuse for the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'', where he inexplicably looks several years younger than before. Even though according to ''[[WordOfGod Hyrule Historia]]'' [[MindScrew the three Links are one and the same]] and the ''Link's Awakening'' and ''Oracle'' games take place after ''A Link To The Past''. There are two versions of the main ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'' official art: One with in the [[http://zeldawiki.org/images/c/cc/Link-ALBW.png ALTTP style]] and another in [[http://zeldawiki.org/images/e/e7/ALBW_Link_Drawing.png Oracles style.]] That Link is the descendant of the ''[=ALTTP=]'' Link but suffers from the same problems. He looks even younger than Zelda and Hilda.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** Krile in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' is fourteen and drawn as such in Amano's designs. Her ingame sprites, however, make her look ''much'' younger--capes and robes trail on the ground, her White Mage hood has kitty ears, and there's a lot of pink. To cap it off, her battle sprite faces the front like the child characters from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', none of whom were over ten years old.[[note]]The Onion Knights from [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII III]] did too, but their age isn't stated.[[/note]]
** Probably for RuleOfSymbolism reasons, Cloud in ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'' is depicted as having the face of someone in his mid-teens during a portion of the game when he's about 20. His face abruptly shifts to his ''Advent Children''-style look for the Secret Ending, which depicts him as the "SOLDIER" from the original game... but that scene can only take place a year later, maximum.
* Almost all the kids from Destiny Islands in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. Sora and Kairi are fourteen in the first game but could easily pass for someone two or three years younger. Tidus and Selphie both look even younger, and it isn't helped by Selphie's love of jump roping or her dress which are commonly attributed to younger kids, though in Tidus' case he has a little bit of muscle. Remedied in the sequel, where puberty has caught up with the kids.
* Inklings in ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'' are at minimum fourteen but their designs and [[TeensAreShort builds]] make them seem younger. Callie and Marie seem like adults but they're approximately seventeen. However, they all look a fair bit older in official art, suggesting that their in-game depiction is a stylistic choice.
* This is part of the [[ArtStyleDissonance appeal]] of ''VisualNovel/LiarLiar''. All the characters are drawn in a soft, {{animesque}} PuniPlush style and are all [[TeensAreShort underdeveloped looking]], while the content itself is a playfully dark tale about an AxCrazy girl trying to kill her boyfriend.
* The PuniPlush artstyle of ''VideoGame/PokemonLetsGoPikachuAndLetsGoEevee'' means that the protagonist's look younger than the previous protagonists. They're likely intended to be eleven, just like Red and Blue from the original ''Pokémon Yellow'', but more resemble eight or nine year olds.

[[folder: Webcomics]]
* The characters in ''Webcomic/WelcomeToRoom305'' are college students but the ''Scott Pilgrim-esque'' art style makes them look like high schoolers. It's even worse in actual flashbacks to high school, where they look like ''primary schoolers''.
* The main characters of ''Webcomic/CrossHeart'' are supposed to be fifteen at the start however they can pass for middle schoolers. This doesn't clear up after the three year timeskip. Subverted when they're shown as adults though.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Raku from ''WebAnimation/NekoSugarGirls'' looks, sounds, and acts like a teenage anime fangirl but lives with her roommate and friend, Koneko. The finale reveals she's old enough to have long since finished college.
* Certain characters in ''WebAnimation/TheMostPopularGirlsInSchool'', such as Rachel Tice, look younger than their intended ages due to what dolls are used to play them.
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' is guilty of this with their middle-aged characters, to the point that they can easily disguise themselves as high-school/college-aged students at Beacon Academy.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' there's [[OppositeSexClone Danielle]] who (at least her human half) looks like an 8-year-old...despite being 12 [[CloningBlues (sorta).]]
* The Music/{{Gorillaz}} cast age in real time, but 2D still looks barely out of his teenage years despite currently being ''thirty-three''.
* The art style to ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueAction'' makes characters like Franchise/WonderWoman and Franchise/{{Batman}} look like teenagers, instead of in their mid 20s to mid 30s.

!!Examples of Type 3.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The anime ''Anime/OsamuTezukasMetropolis'' has some combination of 2 and 3. The protagonists range in age from "children", teenagers, middle aged and 50-something, yet they're all drawn with the same simple and aesthetically pleasing lines and generally short/young-looking bodies. Though the adults are clearly adults, their age seems to hover anywhere from 30 to 60, and the younger protagonists can be misidentified as having any age from 12 to 20. This seeming of childlike innocence is contrasted with the very dark and grim setting and plot.

[[folder: Film -- Animation]]
* The Furious Five in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' are all FunnyAnimal or otherwise anthropomorphic animal characters. Their ages are left largely vague. Po is implied to be in his early thirties but can seem as young as his late teens, while Tigress can be anywhere from her mid twenties to being in her forties.

* ''Franchise/{{Barbie}}'': Barbie, Ken, and her other similarly-aged friends are whatever age the plot or toy demands. She can be the president of the USA one day and a high schooler another. Barbie was originally a teenager, however ever since her sister Skipper was allowed to become a teenager Barbie has usually been played up as ''at least'' being in her early twenties. However, she can still be presented as a teenager whenever it's needed (such as in ''WebAnimation/BarbieVlog''). ''WebAnimation/BarbieLifeInTheDreamhouse'' mercilessly lampshades and jokes about Barbie's VagueAge.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' all the characters are {{chibi}}, so their real age is hard to pin down by just looking at them. Their ages ranged from a 6 year old white mage to a 33 year old knight and Quina, who's an nonhuman gag character with little in the way of biographical information like age or ''gender''.
* Most characters in ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' may be ReallySevenHundredYearsOld, but that doesn't mean that characters don't find themselves subject to this by merit of just comparing age. We seriously doubt that you would have guessed that Mao and Raspberyl are about the same age (1578), that Yukimaru is 20, or that Adell (17) is younger than Almaz (18), without looking at their listed ages.
* In the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' franchise, while Sonic's age is stated to be 15, his actions, size, design, and manner of speech make it just as easy for him to be whatever age the player is, though it has been noted that [[VideoGame/SonicGenerations he was once much younger than he is in the current game series]]. This was actually a retcon on Sonic Team's part. The original design was given the age ''16'', making him even older than current Sonic. For ''Generations'' they decided to make him a younger Sonic due to his shorter, chubbier design and the fact his adventures were before the modern design. ''Forces'' muddles this up by stating that classic Sonic is from an alternate dimension, which means he could be 15 as easily as he can be a preteen.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Two words: WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse. And any other WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts characters, really. They're whatever age is needed. Goofy is usually several years older than Mickey but all else is left vague.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'' makes it hard to tell who's what age. Agent Lee and Agent Bennett are particularly ambiguous, while fandom assumes West is younger than the other characters due to his personality. But everyone else is arguable.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': The ages of the mane cast are [[VagueAge intentionally vague]] to the point that they could really be interpreted as being anything from teenagers to being around thirty or so. The Apple Family Reunion episode revealed that the cast was (1+8*x) years old, leading to a fandom riot about whether the cast was 17 or 25. The ''Equestria Girls'' movies don't exactly clarify things as characters who are explicitly several years apart in Equestria are in the same grade.
* The ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'' characters are apparently old enough to have been young adults during TheSeventies. This pins them as being in their forties during the series however they look ambiguous enough to be as old as that to as young as their twenties.

!!Other Examples

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Class 3-A in ''Manga/{{Negima}}'' is all around 14-15 years old. Their actual character designs run from Type 1 (Mana, Kaede, Chizuru) to Type 2 (the Narutaki twins), and even some who actually ''look'' like teenagers in the middle. This has gotten ''[[PlayingWithATrope numerous]]'' {{lampshade hanging}}s.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' have largely avoided this with the main cast (especially the girls) actually looking relatively like 14/15-year olds. Bianchi (18) and Adult Lambo (15) who are Type 1 and the two 5-year olds who are Type 2 are some of the more noticeable exceptions.
** ''Really'' jarring when, in a flashback, Gokudera is of a normal height at three years old.
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' has a case where three major characters (Firo, Luck, and Claire) were all roughly the same age (19, give or take a year), but don't look like they could be. Firo's Type 2 status [[OlderThanTheyLook has been pointed out in the books]], but few would ever pick up on the fact that Luck is physically ([[{{Immortality}} and chronologically]]) ''younger'' than Claire unless they looked at their family photos.
* ''Manga/KamichamaKarin'' has both Type 1 and Type 2; the younger characters (around 12-13) look more like elementary schoolers than middle schoolers, where as the older characters (14-15) look more like highschoolers.
** Everyone except the older characters is drawn as a chibi, which makes accurately ageing them just by looking very hard to do.
* In ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' it's all over the place. The 104th trainee squad consists of 15-17 year olds, some of whome look their age, and others who don't. This trope come more into play, however, with character's whose ages are never mentioned. Levi, Hanji, and Petra all look like they could be close in age to the protagonists, though they could be anywhere from three to ten years older. Levi is also quite short and much smaller in stature compared to some of the others, making him appear younger. [[spoiler: WordOfGod is that Levi is over 30.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteSpace'' has ''[[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many]]'' [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters characters]] who fit in both Type 1 and Type 2. For Type 1 example, there is Terzi, who is 33 yet appears to be somewhere around 50s. As for Type 2, there is Hierarch Myagmar, who is 37 but looks like a man in his late twenties.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' has plenty of characters who fit both Type 1 and Type 2. For example, Red and Blue are canonically eleven but in the remakes of ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'' they look like teenagers. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Emma from ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', who is said in-game to be sixteen but looks younger and is treated years younger than the [[VagueAge vaguely sixteen to nineteen]] year old protagonist.

* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', amusingly enough, plays this trope '''both''' ways with the same characters. In the standard art style, the thirteen-year-old cast looks much younger (somewhat justifiable in that everyone was almost set to be ten years old), but in most of the alternate ArtShift styles which regularly crop up, everyone looks between sixteen and eighteen. Admittedly, [[MostWritersAreAdults no-one actually acts like they're thirteen]]; it's pretty clear that age is meaningless beyond protagonist John Egbert's birthdate being an ArcNumber.
** Aggravated even further with [[spoiler: the post-[[ResetButton Scratch]] universe. The new set of protagonists are explicitly stated to be fifteen years old, but they look identical in age to the original four heroes.]]
** There are also the [[spoiler: pre-Scratch trolls]], who are all confirmed by WordOfGod to have been around nineteen years old at the time of their deaths. Their ghosts have the same childlike sprites as every other protagonist does.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' {{invert|edTrope}}s the fourth type; the title characters were originally supposed to be nine, but test audiences of various ages related to them, so [[WordOfGod the creators]] have declared them to just be "[[VagueAge less than fifteen]]."