You've seen 'em before. That great big smile...that innocent
look in their eyes that just screams "hug me!"... This is the Cheerful Child. Often female, always younger than 13, and forever with a sunny disposition on life
. They might, if they're the irrepressibly curious type, know a bit more about the world than respectable people think kids of that age ought to know.
Very common in Slice of Life
shows, or cartoons centered around and/or made for young children, where very little conflict happens. May serve as a foil to an older sibling in the latter's Coming of Age Story
. Under optimal conditions, or with some luck, Cheerful Child usually grows up to be a Pollyanna
, a Genki Girl
, or Love Freak
. Or, if male, maybe into a Keet
. Very unfortunate Cheerful Children can be a variant of The Woobie
, or worse
The Constantly Curious
are usually Cheerful Children
, as is Curious as a Monkey
Compare the Kawaiiko
and The Cutie
, which is about this appeal regardless of age, and the Adorably Precocious Child
, who may or may not be cheerful but is usually very cute.
Contrast the Troubled Child
, Creepy Child
, Deliberately Cute Child
, The Fake Cutie
, and Psychopathic Manchild
. May overlap with Token Mini Moe
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Anime and Manga
- Maggie Banning in Hook is an unusual example, as she is in peril for much of the film as a prisoner of Captain Hook. It's her innocent, positive outlook on life that allows her to see through his claim that her parents don't love her, and she lashes out at him for trying to manipulate both her and Jack. She has an idea about what's wrong with the villain, too: "You need a mommy very badly!"
- She's not too far off — when the Croc comes back to life and makes a meal out of Hook, his last words are "I want my mommy!"
- Boo from Monsters Inc
- Agnes from Despicable Me
- Young Franny from Meet the Robinsons
- Brianna, the girl who hires the Mystery Team, is rather cheerful for a girl whose parents just died.
- Jack-Jack the baby from The Incredibles.
- Shirley Temple
- Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph.
- China Girl from Oz The Great And Powerful.
- Tommen Baratheon from a A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Leonard Stecyk in The Pale King is such an excruciatingly upbeat kid that some of the school faculty want to kill him. His schoolmates hide when they see him coming.
- Two year old Lani Nita serves this function in the Breaking The Wall trilogy.
- Kalid in Someone Else's War.
- Kairn in Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead. He's also a good-natured daredevil and a foil to his new friend Zak, who daredevils after his parents were killed. Gets killed and made into a zombie, but Zak's appeals made him turn against the man who did it.
Live Action TV
- Punky Brewster. A little girl who at age 8 was deserted by her mother (after her father left their family) and was found living alone in an empty apartment by Henry Warnimont, who would adopt her. Yet she manages to maintain a positive spin on things even though once in awhile she would wax sadness about it.
- In Veronica Mars, Logan was once stuck babysitting a hyper-cheerful 11 year-old girl. Her disposition turned out to be a front.
- In Scrubs, the son of Perry Cox and Jordan Sullivan, Jack Cox, is one of these. No matter what happens to him (including being painted green and then cleaned up), he is smiling broadly and seems delighted with what is going on.
- In Round the Twist, it's pretty hard to dent Bronson's good cheer.
- Lindsey Stirling's "We Found Love" was made in Kenya and includes a number of local people. Some are children who she holds briefly or plays with. She also performs in their classroom, and they clap along happily. Later, she describes what an honor it was to be with them.
- Beth in the opera The Tender Land.
- Again, Mega Man: Roll, Roll, Roll (at age 10)
- Kirby counts as one as well (Even though he may or may not technically be an alien).
- Cheerful White Bomber.
- Pac-Man becomes one in Pac Man Party.note
- Despite the combat-oriented nature of the series, a couple of Touhou characters fit this trope. Mostly these are fairly weak characters like Chen or the Aki sisters, but then there's Bonus Boss Suwako...
- Crash Bandicoot in the 2005-2008 games.
- Cream the Rabbit from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. She's a very cheerful, kind-hearted, and optimistic 6 year old rabbit girl who enjoys playing outside, gathering flowers, and playing with her cute sidekick, Cheese the Chao. Also, both Tails and Charmy Bee fits into this trope as well, although they are both a nerd and Keet as well, respectively.
- Mistral of .hack acts like this all the time. Turns out she is a housewife.
- Link's little sister Aryll. Also Malon and Romani.
- Kulche in Loco Roco. Hey, if you can keep your smile and sing almost all the time when a threat isn't 5 meters away from you, it should count.
- Apparently, Brick from Borderlands was absolutely adorable as a little child, grinning happily as he cuddled a puppy in his massively oversized hands in the treehouse with him and his future mercenary friends. Then we get into the game, where he blows things apart with rockets, shotguns, and a pipe, and goes into furious rages where he makes people explode by punching them and screaming blood. Not for blood. Just screaming the word 'blood.' Repeatedly.
- Susumu Hori of Mr Driller is the game's example of this trope.
- In the sequel to Fate/stay night, Fate Hollow Ataraxia, Kogil serves this role. Of course... he's the younger version of Gilgamesh, who as we know is more than a little messed up.
- Ilya is also very capable of being this trope... As long as she's not commanding her nine-foot tall monster servant to rip you limb from limb because she's bored... Or trying to control your mind with magic... Or just in other ways being the perfect example of the Creepy Child.
- Ushio from Clannad.
- Pearl from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
- Only after she warms up to Phoenix. She spends most of the second game blushing and silent.
- A more straight example would be 8 years old Trucy Enigmar. Her adorable, radiant smile is so effective, it manages to cure one major character's deep depression.
- Hisui, from Tsukihime, was quite cheerful as child, until Shiki left; at which point she become not so cheerful anymore.
- Finding out that her twin older sister Kohaku is trapped in the mansion being raped almost daily (and that the only reason it's not happening to her is by Kohaku's efforts) probably had something to do with it. That, and she stays "emotionless" to keep Kohaku from reverting. Too bad Kohaku has already become an Emotionless Girl under her Genki Girl facade....
- Coco of Ever17 is technically a little old for this trope (she if 14 years old), but looks like, acts like and is mistaken for an elementary student. Occasionally she has little streaks of not-quite-despair which makes sense when you realize she's seeing the future/talking to people in the future, where she doesn't seem to exist anymore. But she cheers up quickly enough anyway and plays strange games like staring contests with dogs or pretending to be a chicken.
- Rika◊ from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. Subverted when we find out that she actually understands what's going on better than anyone else and is rather dissatisfied with her current situation, but she pretends to be happy and optimistic for the sake of her friends. Until season two.
- Maria, of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, was evidently this way in her backstory, in spite of having an Abusive Parent, but after an event mentioned in the fourth arc, became a jarring mix between this and a Creepy Child.
- Kate from Count Your Sheep.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, a Flash Back reveals that Antimony used to be quite cheerful. Surprisingly so, in light of the fact that in the present day, she's a slowly-defrosting Emotionless Girl. Apparently, the intervening years were not kind to her.
- It doesn't quite help when your mother dies and you're the one who has to guide her into the afterlife. Not to mention being abandoned by your father afterwards.
- Kat, at least through their first year, tended to be one of the most cheerful and optimistic of Annie's class, contrasting starkly with Annie's stoicism and emotional reserve.
- Quinn Akaelae, the raccoon psychic from The Cyantian Chronicles is definitely a cheerful child, clear past adulthood. Contrast to her "brother", who seems to have a darker outlook on life.
- Max from Max Overacts is usually optimistic and over energetic in his efforts to entertain himself and others.
- Schism from Discordia is a Cheerful Child... with the powers of a God.
- Mistake from Dandy and Company.
- Molly the Peanut Butter Monster from The Inexplicable Adventures Of Bob.
- Jacquline from Samurai Princess despite her less than cheerful past.
- I ate a sock!
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Molly appears to be a prime example of this trope, despite having a very upsetting past.
- Fennoswede from Scandinavia and the World
- Mimi from Fiyora Nya.
- Snuggleninja is always happy, even when he can't find what he is looking for.
- Donny of Ears for Elves is this and a Tagalong Kid, much to Tanna's despair since she has to look after him. He also always wants to play, and will hold you to your word if you say "later".
- Erika's New Perfume's titular character is this, when she isn't insanely embarrassed. Also from what little we see of Sarah before she grows up she seemed to fit this as well.
- Red from Pokemon Red And Blue is portrayed like this in There Will Be Brawl, showing him to truly care about the Pokémon and is one of the few truly Good characters in a Grey and Gray Morality setting, making his death all the more poignant, especially since it was indirectly the protagonist's fault.
- Ness and Lucas had made a cameo in one episode playing and looking to fill this trope too. They turn out to be the serial killers who killed and stuffed all the victims in the series.
- Binkyas per her description as she has a Meaningful Name for doing something rabbits do when happy, which is binkying, and she is always binkying, thus she is very happy all the time. Omitted from her description, though, she is only unhappy while sick and sad and wouldn't binky if frightened
- When one first meets her, Eglantine seems to be this, as she is excited about just about everything, even meeting those she doesn't know. Oddly, Parental Abandonment has no effect on her cheerful personality.
- Jeannette of Funny Business seems to be this trope. She is actually concealing some serious self-loathing so as not to burden anybody else with her problems. Lucy and Lewis play the trope straight, though.
- Aang in the early seasons of Avatar the Last Airbender
- Molly Cunningham from TaleSpin.
- Jazmine from The Boondocks.
- Mindy from Animaniacs.
- Orel Puppington, until Moral Orel's second season finale.
- Jake from Taz Mania.
- Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls.
- Ding-A-Ling Wolf from the Hokey Wolf segment of The Huckleberry Hound Show.
- Flapjack from The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack.
- Mac from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
- Loopy from KaBlam!
- Penny Tompkins in The Critic.
- Sneezer from Tiny Toon Adventures.
- In Phineas And Ferb, the number of times Phineas is sad or angry can probably be counted on one, maybe two hands.
- Mimi and Scooter Chan in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.
- Keef from Invader Zim takes this to somewhat creepy levels.
- Charlotte from Making Fiends takes this to rather extreme levels.
- Eugene on Hey Arnold despite his ridiculous level of bad luck. Arnold has shades of this himself, though more in the sense of being calm and optimistic than peppy and cheerful.
- The titular star of Pearlie.
- Chowder and Panini from Chowder.
- Lemony from Yakkity Yak.
- The titular character of Jimmy Two Shoes.
- Bessie Higgenbottom from The Mighty B.
- Gene from Bobs Burgers.
- T.J. Detweiler from Recess.
- Finn from Adventure Time.
- In Thundercats 2011
- Wilykat and Wilykit are a pair of plucky, eternally optimistic Artful Dodgers, despite having grown up in the slums of The Empire.
- In "Song of the Petalars" Emrick the Petalar, a foil and surrogate sibling for Lion-O, is also a young Pollyanna, quite convinced that, despite being trapped in the Briar Woods for generations, Lion-O and his Thundercats will help them find a way back home.
- Ruby Gloom.
- Numbuh Three from Codename Kids Next Door.
- Sweetie Belle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Her two friends, Applebloom and Scootaloo, are this as well.
- Mabel from Gravity Falls.
- Strawberry Shortcake and her friends (especially in the first two incarnations.)
- Butters from South Park.
- The Deegan twins in Holly Hobbie And Friends: Christmas Wishes have managed to remain largely cheerful, despite their mother's desire to shun Christmas and things related to it following the death of her husband/their father. Also, Holly and her friends to some degree.
- Pistol on Goof Troop is always cheerful, as a stark contrast to her melancholy brother and her short-tempered parents. She is often heard giggling and is usually seen with a gigantic smile, and is also a Genki Girl, which adds to her status as the Annoying Younger Sibling.