aka: Child Prodigies
"I rocked harder than you when I was five years old!"A young genius - in their pre-teen year. Any genius below 12 is eligible for the title of a Child Prodigy. Sometimes ignored or discriminated by those who consider them Just a Kid. Tends to be an Innocent Prodigy at times due to their age. In a setting with mostly older cast, a Child Prodigy Grade Skipper might be introduced to appeal to a younger demographics. Very often The Smart Guy on The Team, particularly in Super Robot shows. Note that although the character is likely to be both this and Wise Beyond Their Years, they are two different tropes because intelligence and wisdom are two different things. This trope also may overlap with Adorably Precocious Child or Innocent Prodigy. See also Brainy Baby which is the even younger counterpart and Teen Genius for the older. For the record, despite some Real Life uses of the term, a teenage/high school-age character in college would be a Teen Genius, not this trope.
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Alternate Reality Games
- I Love Bees: Yasmine Zaman was a six-year-old prodigy who never lost at backgammon because she could gauge the way the dice came out of her hand and roll anything she wanted.
Anime and Manga
- Chiyo-chan in Azumanga Daioh is 10 when she starts high school. While she consistently gets better grades than everyone, being 5 years younger than everyone means she has problems during P.E. and Sex Ed talks.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Negi, kinda. He graduated from Wizarding School at the age of nine and became a teacher in Japan and mastered the language note , too. Later on, when he starts learning combat techniques and training seriously, it takes him about 9 months to become one of the most powerful combatants alive. To be fair, Negi spent an inordinate amount of time in magic resorts, scrolls, and the like, to the point where he's now actually twelve years old. Oh, that is only the beginning. As the first volume pointed out—remember, back when he was only 9!—Negi has a degree from Oxford. A college degree, in one of the foremost schools in the entire world, at NINE.
- Kurt Godel is also explicitly stated to be one of these. (Or at least, he was when he was still a child.)
- Negi's father, Nagi, also qualifies, at least in regards to combat. And only combat. He was one of the strongest men alive when he was about twelve, culminating with him defeating a god in single combat when he was seventeen or so.
- Edajima Heihachi from Sakigake!! Otokojuku is capable of fighting a group of monkeys at the age of 7. When he is ten years old, he have read and remembered the content of a whole shelf of thick books, which includes some higher level of Mathematics. At the age of eleven, he is specially admitted in Tokyo Imperial University and is capable of breaking prison bars.
- Yukari Sendo from Rosario + Vampire is an 11 year old genius in a class full of teenagers.
- Rimone from Simoun is extremely young even for a Sybilla, which doesn't prevent her from being an Ace Pilot rivaled only by Aeru and Neviril.
- Kotoko from Divergence Eve,The reason being that she's an advanced android.
- Becky from Pani Poni Dash!. Graduated from the MIT and teaching high school girls... at eleven years old.
- The 10-year old Erio Mondial from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, who had already achieved a Mage Rank of B before the show started while his teenage companions were still struggling to achieve the same rank.
- Rumor has it that Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate were even sillier examples, being AAA-Rank Mages under the TSAB's employ when they were younger, but eh... who believes such rumours? (Link may be NSFW)
- It's revealed in the supplementary manga of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha that the math used in earth and Mid-Childa are very similar, and using advanced magic requires a firm grasp of mathematical formulas. Needless to say, Nanoha and Fate are math geniuses who always ace the subject in school, much to the chagrin of the competitive Alisa, and Fate even helped Nanoha's teenage sister Miyuki with her school work when she was nine.
- Son Gohan from Dragon Ball Z is a prime example, both physically and academically. He's smart enough to study advanced biology at age 4, builds an amphibious sandsurfer/boat a few months afterwards, and by the time he's 10 years old he has enough latent power to unleash the equivalent force of a Supernova.
- Ai Haibara from Detective Conan is implied to have been one: if she has a PhD and already led The Syndicate's lab before the age of 18, she must be one in her preteen years.
- Hiroki Sawada from the Non-Serial Movie Phantom of Baker Street is more of a book example; he was a grad student in MIT at the age of ten. However, a mixture of Parental Abandonment and Intelligence Equals Isolation means his case is not played for the laughs.
- The titular character seems like a Child Prodigy to those who don't know his true identity. He's actually Older Than He Looks due to an 'un-aging' pill, but even so he is a Teen Genius. And according to the OVA's, Shinichi/Conan was a Child Prodigy when he truly was a child.
- Sou Touma from Q.E.D., likewise, is MIT-graduated before high school age; he is now in a High School for the needed socialization to prevent Intelligence Equals Isolation.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- May Chang is about thirteen, but she has the mentality, mannerisms, and fighting skills of an adult. She was even able to decode Scar's brother's research notes mostly by herself. Justified in that she is a Child Prodigy out of necessity rather than genetics as being the Fallen Princess and only hope of a dying clan and being charged with such clan's future, besides probably dealing with assassination attempts that Ling says are common for people in such position, makes you mature fast.
- The Elric brothers. They tried to raise their mother from the dead when they were 11 and 10, and had learned alchemy by themselves when much younger. Winry probably also counts - c'mon, were you able to make mechanic limbs when you were eleven? While valid, that makes it sound even more extraordinary than it is in context; the FMA universe is more technologically advanced than ours in the area of Artificial Limbs, so it's not just a matter of Winry being a Gadgeteer Genius. The FMA manga clarifies that automail "mechanics" are actually closer to surgeons then the people fixing your car. So a more real-world applicable question would be "Were you successfully performing surgery on amputees when you were 11?" And neuro-surgery at that, since they have to link up all the nerves.
- Seto Kaiba is not only a Teen Genius, but he beat Gozaburo in a chess match in order to get him and Mokuba adopted. When he was TEN. THAT takes SKILLZ!
- In the manga, he cheated.
- Rebecca Hopkins; she's taking College classes by the time she reappears for the Doma arc... Even in the dub, where she was eight as opposed to twelve in her initial appearance.
- Seto Kaiba is not only a Teen Genius, but he beat Gozaburo in a chess match in order to get him and Mokuba adopted. When he was TEN. THAT takes SKILLZ!
- Megumi "Nodame" Noda in Nodame Cantabile is shown to have been a piano prodigy as a kid.
- Kanon Hayashi in Kanon by Chiho Saito was a violin prodigy when she was a little girl, able to play brilliantly even without proper training.
- Kai of Piano No Mori is a musical genius who started play at three and doesn't receive any formal lessons until he is ten. he can play almost any piece perfectly after hearing it once.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- As a pre-teen nation-tan, Japan started working on his own alphabet few moments after his brother, China, taught him to write.
- Belgium was already a trading and businesses whiz as a little girl nation, according to the Hetalia Bloodbath 2011.
- A young Greece is depicted attempting to discuss "the concept of time and our relation with moussaka."
- A whole slew of characters from Naruto. To name a few: Sasuke Uchiha, Kakashi Hatake, Neji Hyuuga, Gaara, Itachi Uchiha, Naruto's Disappeared Dad Minato Namikaze, Killer Bee, and Naruto's son Boruto Uzumaki.
- In Hayate the Combat Butler, while most of the qualifiers are 13, and thus Teen Genius material, Maria entered the school at 10 and graduated at 13. Nagi, Isumi and Sakuya are most of the way through their first year of High School, meaning that they were Child Prodigy material. Nagi doesn't even attend classes and is still considered one of the top students before Hayate comes along.
- The Professor in Nichijou, despite being eight years old, has managed to build, among other things, a speech-giving scarf and a Ridiculously Human Robot (which she constantly modifies without the robot noticing).
- Taiki Kudou in Digimon Xros Wars who is not aware that he is this. He is both exceedingly athletic and intelligent, and has engaged various sports like a pro. Further more he is capable of forming brilliant strategies within a flash of a second in the heat of battle.
- Wendy from Fairy Tail might also count as she was able to learn her offensive spells just by seeing Natsu use it once.
- Katie Lindberg from Alyosha was one of these before maturing into a Teen Genius. She achieved a near-perfect SAT score at the age of 6 and graduated at the top of her class at MIT when she was 12.
- Subverted in Kaleido Star. May Wong was an ice skating prodigy in the past, but she kept it only as a hobby and pursued becoming an acrobat in the Kaleido Stage instead.
- Minoru from Chobits is only 12 years old but he is a computer genius who is an expert on persocoms, and knows the answers to almost all of Hideki's problems when he gets screwed over by technology.
- Leonard and Tessa Testarossa of Full Metal Panic! once qualified, having solved some of Einstein's more famous equations before the age of six. By the time of the story they've aged up to Teen Genius.
- Horribly subverted in Gundam AGE. The Unknown Enemy has 7-year-old Desil Galette, who at his "tender" age shows massive talent to pilot mechas as well as Psychic Powers-like abilities, making him an X-Rounder. So what do his bosses do? They completely overlook that he's a sadistic Creepy Child and has the mood swings proper of a child his age, making him a battle commander without any supervision or proper training/education. Desil then orders a retreat from a certain victory merely because he got bored, and when in charge of the second X-Rounder that they conscript... he uses her recklessly in battle and accidentally kills her.
- In an episode of Pokémon, the trio meets an archeologist who has earned her PhD at the age of eight.
- Vladimir from Shounen Note is a talented, 12 year old boy soprano.
- James-Michael from Steve Gerber's Omega The Unknown, thanks to having been raised by robots.
- The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius: Actually, calling Barry Ween a child prodigy is kind of like calling Damien a naughty kid; Barry has invented dimension travel devices, working lightsabers, time machines, jetpacks, and ray guns. He secretly runs several multinational corporations in order to finance his experiments, and he can plan and execute a break-in of a top secret (and heavily guarded) government facility in the space of an afternoon. He's ten.
- Valerie "Val" Richards.
- Sapientín from Zipi y Zape.
- Jack B. Quick from Tomorrow Stories is a rural Black Comedy version of this.
- Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes counts; even though he performs badly in school and misbehaves, he has an amazing vocabulary, an endless imagination, and is amazingly aware for a six-year-old kid.
Calvin: I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an impenetrable fog! Want to see my book report?Hobbes (reading Calvin's report): "The dynamics of interbeing and monological imperatives in Dick and Jane: a study in psychic transrelational gender modes."Calvin: Academia, here I come!
- This is common among the Technocracy in Mage: The Ascension. In Panopticon Quest, Serafina Awakened at age nine - and was a little bit put out to find that Henriette had beaten her by Awakening at five. The Damien Academy is a high-stress hothouse school designed to encourage the children of high-ranking Technocrats who go there to Awaken.
- Star Wars
- Anakin Skywalker, thanks to his robotics and piloting skills (which are themselves considerably empowered by the Force).
- Most of the Old Republic Jedi probably count as they were trained from birth (or not long after).
- The professor's son from The Great Debaters is in college at 14.
- That kid from Revenge of the Nerds attending college (and joining a frat!) at age 10, his name was Wormser.
- Real Genius is about a school full of these, including the main character Mitch, his friend Chris, and Lazlo, the guy in the closet.
- Josh Waitzkin in Searching for Bobby Fischer.
- From Little Man Tate, Jodie Foster's directorial debut, Fred Tate (played by Adam Hann-Byrd, also known for The Ice Storm) reads at age two without having been taught, and in second grade paints with a mature grasp of art history.
- The title character of Matilda. At the beginning of the film she starts school and, due to her voracious appetite for books, is already able to multiply large numbers in her head and has an extensive knowledge of literature.
- Near in L: change the WorLd is a mathematical genius and solves Maki's homework for her, which turns out to be the secret of the antidote to the virus she carries.
- In The Book of Life, even at the age of 9, Manolo showed a natural talent at bull fighting.
- All the children in School of Rock has some exceptional talent that Dewey (played by Jack Black) utilized to help the band out (e.g. Billy with costume design, Tomika with singing) but Gordon and Summer are traditional examples. Gordon with computers and Summer with organizational skills.
- Also Reality Subtext applied to the kids in the band. The actors and actress who bass, guitar and drums all started musical training at an early age.
- Artemis Fowl counts, being an evil criminal mastermind at age 12. He began his schemes at the age of 10 though.
- The Enders Game series. Half the IF is commanded by a bunch of prepubescent kids. Judging from Alai, puberty wreaks havoc with your political and military judgment.
- The titular character in Matilda is so smart, she can multiply large numbers in her head and develops psychic powers.
- Computer Jack from the GONE series could hack into a complex police-computer by the age of nine and was only six when he became his school's official tech support. He's so adept in computer science, that in HUNGER he managed to operate and turn off the ENTIRE town's electricity permanently via the 60 year old power plant computer in less than two hours with a bullet in his leg!. He hasn't even hit puberty yet.
- Sophie from Child of the Hive is shown at the age of seven capable of speaking near-perfect German after only three lessons. She also has knowledge of Latin by that age and is later shown reading a book in the original French. As a teenager, she is acknowledged as being a mathematical genius and being extraordinarily good at computer programming.
- Otto of the H.I.V.E. Series was tinkering with the phones at his orphanage at the ripe old age of four. He asks to be homeschooled because his teachers are too slow for him. He can program a fully functioning robot by the age of twelve.
- June Iparis frome Marie Lu's Legend Trilogy. Though not a child at the time the story is told, being this is her most notable trait. It's even the title of the second book in the series.
- Eden, Days younger brother, is a straighter example. In one particular instance, Day reminices about asking him for help fixing an old radio. Eden was four at the time.
- Rosie Wilder from The Baby-Sitters Club. Naturally the kid gets paired with Claudia.
- Older Than They Think: one of the first novels to feature a Child Prodigy was The Hampdenshire Wonder in 1911. The protagonist is not only a genius, but a truly superintelligent little kid who judges the whole human culture an "elementary, inchoate, disjunctive patchwork"... at age four and a half. He's right, and TV Tropes proves it.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society: All four members of the Mysterious Benedict Society (with the possible exception of Kate, who is less Book Smart, but has plenty of skills and general intelligence to make up for it) were chosen specifically because they were some version of this trope. Constance, however, takes the cake. Sure, she's stubborn, sleepy, and slightly bratty- she's also TWO YEARS OLD.
- Jon Masters from Dale Brown's books was a child prodigy in the past who's retained his genius in adulthood. In Wings of Fire it turns out that Dr. Kelsey Duffield is actually a nine year-old girl.
- Dairine from the Young Wizards series. At age 3 she decided that she was going to learn everything, by age 4 she taught herself to read, and by age 5 was reading from encyclopedias all by herself.
- Ollie of In the Keep of Time was a very precocious reader for her age; after her jaunt into the past, this has to be re-taught to her.
- A disturbingly large percentage of the Remillard clan of the Galactic Milieu trilogy start out at this - and that's not even counting their incredible psychic powers.
- The Blue Children from Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Time, transformed through the influence of a civilization in the distant future. "Prodigy" doesn't even begin to describe how frighteningly advanced (and creepy) they are.
- Euphemia in My Godawful Life by Michael Kelly
- The Thursday Next books have Tuesday.
- Star Holmes, in the Mark Clifton novella Star Bright. At three she constructed a Moebius Strip and while she didn't know what it was called, she knew what it did. By age five she was an accomplished time traveler. Clifton wrote many stories and novels, but is remembered for this one. It became an X Minus One radio play.
- In J.R. Lowell's 1972 thriller Daughter of Darkness, Willie is this, and a sometime Deliberately Cute Child, allowing her to do her Ritual Magic in peace.
- Charles Wallace Murray in the Madeline L'Engle book A Wrinkle in Time is this, though only his family knows it. Since he refused to talk until age four, and refuses to talk to those who aren't family, he is labeled as "dumb" by the townsfolk. In reality, he's incredibly bright. His mother reads him medical journals as bedtime reading, and he is also able to decipher people's emotions. As a result, he has a hard time relating to his peers. When he does display his intelligence, he is told he is a liar or to stop showing off. He also has a problem with being bullied. However, he still shows signs of being a child; he is incredibly proud of his intelligence and thinks himself, at times, infallible. He is warned against it by the Ladies, though it eventually leads to his posession by IT.
- Leonard Stecyk in The Pale King. At 11 years old, he participates in the Meals on Wheels charity, volunteers as a crosswalk guard and hall monitor, donates his ice cream money to UNICEF, has been to origami camp twice, writes letters to publishers about textbook errors, fields all calls and inquiries with regards to his mother's hospitalization, attempts to reorganize his homeroom's seating structure for maximum efficiency, and writes individualized letters of apologies to his bullies. He also intentionally gets a few Bs on his report card solely to ensure he never gets too prideful of being an overachiever.
- Bertie Pollock, five-year-old, Italian-speaking saxophonist in the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. He Just Wants To Be Normal, but has a Beloved Smother who, despite being an amateur child psychologist, cannot understand this (and also sees an actual child psychologist who's even worse).
- Millicent Min: Girl Genius by Lisa Yee is about an 11-year-old high school senior who is forced to tutor her archenemy who flunked the 6th grade and play volleyball over the summer in order to socialize with normal people her age.
- Hours: Although all the children at Bethel Woods Orphanage are above average, Seth takes the cake. By age 9 he had to purposefully dumb down his algebra schoolwork so as not to destroy the bell curve, and by age 11 he invented a machine which defied known physics (out of duct tape and spare parts, no less).
- Flight To The Lonesome Place: While twelve-year-old Ronnie's Photographic Memory allows him to learn quickly, he also is shown doing advanced physics equation to disprove the concept of parallel univeres.
- Those That Wake's sequel has Aaron, son of the CEO of Intellitech,
- The Saga Of Ragnar Lothbrok: At the age of three, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye composes his first impromptu poem and joins his brothers in their attack on King Eystein, and goes with them to raid Southern Europe right after that.
- In The Giver, Benjamin, a classmate of Jonas', spent so much time volunteering (between the ages of eight and eleven) at the Rehabilitation Center that he came up with machines to facilitate the rehab and knew almost as much as the directors.
- Egil's Saga: At age three, Egil is "as big and strong as other boys of six and seven" and already "clever with words". When his father Skallagrim does not want to take him to a feast at Egil's maternal grandfather Yngvar's, Egil rides to the feast all alone. At the same feast he recites his first poems.
Live Action TV
- Smart Guy: Titular Character (9/10 years old) goes to high school
- Hannah Montana: Rico was a side character, till he joined high school at the same time as the core cast.
- Doogie Howser: Doogie Howser, M.D, in his backstory. In the present he's a Teen Genius instead.
- River Tam from Firefly. In the show's present and the R. Tam Sessions, she's a Teen Genius. She was definitely a Child Prodigy when she was younger, but the only time this shows up on-screen is the flashback at the beginning of "Safe".
- Micah Sanders from Heroes shows incredible political prowess and was able to lead the resistance against a Government Conspiracy at the age of eleven. Oddly enough, his actor Noah Gray-Cabey is somewhat of a prodigy in real life too. By the time he was 4 he was on Ripley's Believe It Or Not for his amazing piano skills - notably being the youngest soloist to perform with an orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. By the time he was 9 years old, he was in a 9th grade math class.
- Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter from The Chosen. Especially Danny.
- Goodness Gracious Me has an utterly hilarious take on a child prodigy in this video.
- Major Nelson had to babysit a kid with a 153 IQ once on I Dream of Jeannie.
- Janice in Head of the Class.
- Gary Coleman's character in the TV movie, The Kid With The 200 IQ.
- This is Reid's Back Story in Criminal Minds; currently he's a twenty something (triple) PH.D (making him an Omnidisciplinary Scientist). Definitely suffered a bit of the Intelligence Equals Isolation (or at least bullying), as seen in at least one episode where he explains that he was "a 12 year old child prodigy at a Las Vegas public school" which is how he knows that Team Mom Hotchner "kicks like a nine year old girl." (It Makes Sense in Context) This is also why at least Gideon, the team's Papa Wolf, insists on calling him Dr. Reid in front of people meeting the team so they won't see him as Just a Kid.
- The backstory of Walter O'Brien on Scorpion has him as one of these. The opening scene of the first episode (and used in the opening monologue of each episode since) had him being arrested at the age of 11 for hacking into NASA's computers to get their blueprints for the space shuttle (he wanted a copy for his bedroom wall). In the present, Paige's 10-year-old son, Ralph, is shown to be one as well.
- The backstory for Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory as he went off to college at 11. Another Teen Genius turned Omnidisciplinary Scientist, when he went to Germany at age 15, he was a visiting professor, not a student, and he got his first PhD (he has two at present) at age 16. May possibly be seen as a Deconstructed adult version of this trope. His early successes have fueled his large ego, making him quite insufferable to those around him. He's around 30, but still has the emotional capacity of a kid since he didn't have a normal childhood. And his vast intelligence alienated him from his own family.
- Will Robinson of Lost in Space was an electronics prodigy.
- Malcolm in the earlier episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, also his younger brother Dewey (though he plays dumb so he doesn't get the same harsh treatment as Malcolm). Stevie, Lloyd, Dabney, and Cynthia also fit.
"The way my brain works is like a beehive. And every one of the bees is like your brain."
- In one episode, Malcolm has to work with another child genius who's so smart, he makes Malcolm feel inadequate.
- The backstory of Charlie of NUMB3RS is that he is a math child prodigy. When he was three or four, he was able to multiply four digit numbers in his head.
- Dr. K from Power Rangers RPM starts out as this. In fact, her drawing scientific equations on the sidewalk was what attracted Alphabet Soup agents to kidnap her and raise her in their think tank to develop weapons—at age five. It gets worse, a lot worse, from there.
- Two words: Justin Stewart.
- The new Disney Channel show A.N.T. Farm is all about 11-year-old child prodigies who are allowed to skip to high school. ANT stands for "Advanced Natural Talents".
- In the episode of The Fifties Science Fiction series Tales Of Tomorrow "A Child Is Crying", Lily is a nine year old genius who is also an Emotionless Girl. She is so smart she can make predictions with stunning accuracy based on calculations and the US government takes her from her parents to devise defense strategies against a nuclear attack by the Russian. Unfortunately she predicts the world will be destroyed by a nuclear war and that it is unavoidable.
- The Doctor from Doctor Who is implied to have been one, even by Time Lord standards. He's mentioned as having sealed the Medusa Cascade by himself when he was "just a kid" at the age of 90, which factoring in the natural Time Lord lifespan lasting anything from hundreds to thousands of years, was probably equivalent to a Teen Genius.
- The show Smart Guy was centered around this type of character, a ten-year-old in high school.
- Howie from Max And Shred is nine years old and is a helpful assistant to Teen Genius Alvin. She even installed an incredibly complex home security system at the Ackermann's house.
- CSI featured a rather twisted example: when a teenage boy is on trial for killing The Libby of his school, his sister Hannah, a twelve-year-old who's skipped grades and attends the same high school with him, confesses that she really did it. Unfortunately for CSI, she's not just book-smart; she's also The Chessmaster and manages to manipulate all the facts and people involved in the case. She finally tells Sara her brother did do it all along, after her brother's been acquitted.
- Lady Gaga taught herself how to play piano by ear at the age of four. She went on to become classically trained and wrote her first ballad at thirteen (after prodigy age, but still)
She taught herself piano at 4, wrote her first song by 13, and was playing in bars and nightclubs by 15. While that seems illegal, she had breasts, so no one cared. —Cracked
- Noodle of the Gorillaz arrived in the UK in a Fed-Ex crate at age ten, with nothing but the clothes on her back and speaking no English. She promptly stepped out and began playing guitar like a virtuoso, and instantly won her position in the soon to be famous band. Despite technically being an underage illegal immigrant living with a bunch of dysfunctional rockers.
- Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick revolves around a fictional child prodigy named Gerald "Little Milton" Bostock, an eight year-old boy who, according to the album cover, wrote the lyrics for a poetry contest.
- Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan began writing for piano while still in his single digits, and composed the song "Tears" upon his father's death at age ten. Listen to this song. A ten-year-old wrote that.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous examples of all (more information is below under Real Life).
- FoxTrot: Jason Fox builds model rockets that provoke diplomatic incidents with China, can write viruses that crash the Internet, does math equations (involving integrations), for fun, apparently built a "miniature warp engine" during science camp, and is ten years old.
- Commander Keen:
- Commander Keen is an 8-year old genius. He's already built a rocketship capable of interstellar travel (Dubbed the 'Beans-with-Bacon-Megarocket!) According to the first game, the thing runs on (Dad's) everclear, gets power from (Mom's) car battery, and uses (Mom's) vacuum cleaner (modified) for ion propulsion. Other things Keen built include an interstellar transceiver (the reception was bad, but it did get a signal worth investigating) and a fully-functioning wrist computer (complete with a Pong clone!).
- Keen's archenemy Mortimer McMire. The final boss in the original trilogy; Keen's got an IQ of 314, Mortimer has an IQ of 315.
- His spiritual successor, Andy of Heart of Darkness, one-ups him by building an INTERDIMENSIONAL craft... and a plasma-cannon. (Keen's zap-gun is not his own invention - he 'borrowed' it from the Vorticon base on Mars.)
- Jennifer of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is said to have been a child prodigy and quite a technology genius, but by the time the plot happens she's no longer a child.
- The protagonist is apparently a battling prodigy in Pokémon. S/He begins their journey years before most other people, at age 10 - 14 (RBYG FRLG for eleven) years old. You not only beat everyone in your region (two for GSC and HGSS) with ease, including the Elite Four and Champion, but take down a gang of terrorists (two gangs in Emerald).
- In The Sims 2, the highest aspiration rankingnote for child Sims is "Child Prodigy". However, the game's not programmed to let children do things like go to college or write novels, so it's not really possible to make a legitimate Child Prodigy without using mods.
- Sim children in The Sims 3 can write novels, become a chess master and build time machines.
- Genis from Tales of Symphonia is right on the border between this and Teen Genius. Somehow he is the best friend of Book Dumb Lloyd Irving and is 12 years old. In the Japanese version his name was very obvious ("Genius"). Rita from Tales of Vesperia is a Teen Genius, but she started researching blastia technology and magic when she was ten.
- Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sunny from Metal Gear Solid 4 is a computer prodigy. She was raised by a computer for most of her developmental years. In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, she's an engineer who has designed and overseen the construction of an aircraft capable of travel at Mach 23. Revengeance takes place in 2018. She is ten.
- Relm from Final Fantasy VI. She's so good at painting that Owzer, the world's biggest art collector, wants a painting from her. She's also the best Magic user of the game, but to many this doesn't make up for her otherwise useless attributes in battle.
- Mechanic Puck from Vanguard Bandits. He works faster than the best engineers in a nation and is small enough to fit under the seat of one the ATACs he works on.
- Albert Wesker of the Resident Evil series is eventually revealed to have been one of these.
- Alexia Ashford became a a top Umbrella scientist at the impressively young age of ten.
- Raz from Psychonauts is often considered one, what with all of that "One in a million" talk from Oleander, and Sasha's willingness to work with him.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, we meet Prince Innes as an adult in his early-to-mid 20's, but Moulder's supports with Vanessa explain that he was one of these. At age 10-12 he was already defeating famous adult archers with ease and doing so via his own efforts. (i.e., he refused help or advantages when he was offered., etc.)
- Nino from Fire Emblem Elibe is a 13-year-old Dark Magical Girl who, by the time we meet her, has a foot here and another on Teen Genius. This is because, despite being illiterate, she taught herself magic almost completely on her own through the prior years, via watching and memorising her Lady of Black Magic abusive mother's spells.
- Leon Gheste from Star Ocean: The Second Story is a prime example of this trope. Aside from being a doctor at age 12, he is also the sharpest mind in the largest country on the planet and the creator of the Lancour Hope.
- Luke Triton from Professor Layton is a bit of a puzzle master for his age. It is assumed that Clive was a Child Prodigy, as well, as after his adoptive mother died, he went straight into business with a newspaper and then used the woman's money to create an underground London.
- Also in AzranLegacy Hershel i.e. Descole was mentioned to be one.
- Pearl "Pearly" Fey from Ace Attorney. Her cousin Maya has said that she's the most powerful medium ever in the Fey clan, and she's 9. Too bad her mother Morgan is a total Evil Matriarch/Stage Mom who tries to use Pearl as her ticket to take leadership of the clan...
- Ryoko Kano from Fighter's History is a judo user who started doing it when she was 3 years old.
- The Jedi Consular in Star Wars: The Old Republic was one of these according to their master, who comments on their being stronger and more adept at using the Force at six, than she had been until her late teens. Their life-long affinity for the Force is implied to be the reason why in cutscenes, they occasionally don't even bother using their lightsaber when being rushed by attackers, preferring to simply use the Force to casually blast them clean across the room.
- Dr. Liara T'Soni in Mass Effect was one of these, having gotten her doctorate in archaeology and spent over fifty years uncovering Prothean ruins, becoming one of the foremost experts in the galaxy when it comes to all things Prothean. Unfortunately, her theories and research is often dismissed by her peers, since as the asari can live for over a thousand years, being only 106 makes her "little more than a child" in their eyes.
- Evil loli Kira Daidouji from Arcana Heart is only 11 years old, but already has a PhD. in elemental science, and has since constructed her own sentient ball of slime that can do anything she wants it to. Don't ask.
- In Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai, Monshiro has skipped grades to enter Kawakami High. She also accepts challenges from, and bests, everybody in her class (1-S, so no pushovers) at everything from running a race to a cooking duel. The only thing she's no good at is fighting, for which she has her overwhelmingly powerful bodyguard to cover for.
- In Sluggy Freelance Bun-Bun is initially reluctant to let little girl Jaya onto the pirate crew he's setting up, 'til he finds out about her hereditary knack for it.
Bun-Bun: Little girls can't be pirates! What do you know about robbing and plundering?Jaya: Well, my dad's an investment banker and my mom's a lawyer ...Bun-Bun: Welcome aboard, First Mate!
- Scarlett from Plus EV, who's following in her father's footsteps as a professional poker player.
- Zokusho Comics: Jack is awfully young to be throwing around so many powerful combat spells. Especially when one character has already been assassinated for having access to combat magic.
- Girl Genius has Gil. When most Sparks (AKA Mad Scientists) break through as teenagers, he manifested his powers as a young boy. Agatha originally started breaking through as a five year old girl, but her uncle put a Power Limiter on her, stopping her from acting like a Spark. She lost it thirteen years later resulting in a Teen Genius instead.
- Felix from Cloudscratcher in regards to machines, to the point where Cool Old Guy Scotty is his apprentice.
- In Brennus, there's a rather heartwarming relationship between two Child Prodigies, the Gadgeteer Genius Macian and the artistic Reality Warper Ember. They're both incredibly powerful metahumans, and together, They Fight Crime. Less heartwarmingly, they're fighting a group of merciless psychopaths called the Savage Six.
- The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Jane's student Adele is eight years old, and she has these classes as her post-curricular activities: ballet, opera, intermediate Latin, advanced marine zoology, and she went to applied physics boot camp. She's bilingual in English/French, though that might not be that special for a Canadian child. She also likes analysing art and she draws beautifully.
- Scott Manley's daughter Skye, who has made several EVE Online videos.
- In Arthur all the kids act like the Brain is a super-genius, and he uses big words his parents have to look up, but he's really just much more knowledgable than average for his age.
- Chester McTech of Beverly Hills Teens.
- A.J. of the Fairly OddParents. He is in fifth grade and only ten years old and not only does he have the highest I.Q. in his school and his town of Dimmsdale, he frequently invents items which that are futuristic such as a suspended animation tube in one movie. He also can make several clones of himself and is apparently an adviser to the government concerning technology issues.
- Dexter of Dexter's Laboratory along with his rival Mandark. And Dee Dee, for all her kookiness, is a really good dancer. She can dodge lasers while doing ballet!
- Phineas and Ferb.
- Perhaps due to the show rule that nobody is "a jerk or an idiot", even Buford, whose theme song claims that "he's got the IQ of gum", is shown to have a fondness for Voltaire and existentialism.
- Considering that gum in this universe is the thing that comes with existentialist trading cards ("I'll give you two Satres for a Nietzsche!"), perhaps the comparison makes sense...
- In Venture Bros. there is Master Billy Quizboy, who is a Quiz Boy, that being an underrated branch of Boy Genius.
- It is revealed in one episode that "Master Billy Quizboy" is actually over 30.
- Wade and the Tweebs in Kim Possible.
- Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.
- Anais Watterson, the younger sister of the title character to The Amazing World of Gumball, is only four but attends junior high with her 12-year-old brother.
- Stewie from Family Guy can build time machines and a multi-verse transporter and yet he is only one year old, although the show also depicts him as an Enfant Terrible in between homosexual skits.
- Gretchen Grundler from Recess.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "the Cutie Mark Chronicles", Twilight Sparkle was shown to be one, after a loud explosion caused her to have a major case of Power Incontinence. She was so magically powerful that Princess Celestia decided to take her on as her personal student. Presumably, the first thing Celestia taught her was how to keep her powers under control.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders are shown to be this in "One Bad Apple". Not only do they build a motorized parade float from scratch AND rig it with a timer-activated booby trap to send it careening off of a cliff at exactly the right time, they also are able to manipulate Babs Seed into stealing it so perfectly that when she shoves them from it, they land on a mattress they placed earlier to cushion their fall.
- Cyberchase: Inez. Case in point: this 9-year-old girl knew the scientific family that hawks belong to.
- Team Galaxy has Brett, a serious boy genius. Unlike his partners, he actually enjoys homework and mental exercises, and is often annoyed at the lack of intellect the other marshalls possess. Early on, he also detested being called a "kid", although that aspect was later dropped.
- Hey Arnold! gives us both of the Pataki sisters.
- Older sister Olga was this as a little girl, as a piano prodigy and an straight A+ student. Since the Patakis turned out to be stage parents, she became extremely emotionally stunted because of it — though being a Stepford Smiler, she has only told Helga about this.
- Younger sister Helga is a much more subtle version of this trope (and it's never really ventured on). It's only revealed in bits in pieces such as being the only one (other than Olga) to score a 100 on the school's aptitude test, learning a Shakespeare play in one night (though not seeming particularly interested in anything he's written earlier on), winning poetry contests several times and having her shrink bring up her above average knowledge.
Dr Bliss: "That's very astute for a 4th grader."
- Inspector Gadget: Inspector Gadget's niece Penny, so much so that she and their dog Brain are the ones who actually do most of the work.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has Aang, Toph, Katara, and Azula, each of whom is shown to be extremely talented in their respective superpowered martial arts. All of them become Teen Geniuses as the series progresses.
- Aang is the youngest Master Airbender in history and a Physical God who mastered all three remaining bending arts within a span of twelve months, a feat that took many years for the previous Avatars.
- Toph is 12 years old and already the self-proclaimed “Best earthbender in the world”. She backs this talk up by beating the crap out of people twice her size and who have much more experience. She is also the inventor of metalbending, a skill previously thought to be impossible. And to top it all off, she's blind and uses Earthbending as a way for her to "see".
- The only thing that was holding Katara's waterbending skill back was lacking any sort of tutelage. Every single waterbender in the Southern Tribe was wiped out by a war of attrition, leaving only her; she wasn't surrounded by Earthbenders like Toph, she literally had no one but herself to teach her. Once she overcame endemic male chauvinism in the Northern Tribe and studied under the tutelage of Master Pakku, she went from novice to favorite student in a very short time, and was even entrusted by Master Pakku to complete Aang's waterbending training once Team Avatar departed the North Pole.
- At a very young age, Azula was shown pulling off firebending techniques her older and relatively skilled brother Zuko had problems with. She is also one of three characters in the original series knows how to use lightning. This is in addition to also being a tactical genius.
- The sequel series The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City" shows us Aang's successor, young Avatar Korra of the Water Tribe, who manages to out-prodigy even Aang himself. She is introduced having taught herself rudimentary Waterbending, Earthbending and Firebending by the tender age of four, in a universe where an Avatar is traditionally not notified of their status and multiple Elemental Powers until their Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday.
- Aang's grandchildren, Jinora, Ikki and Meelo, are also airbending prodigies despite starting the series being respectively 10, 7 and 5 years old. Jinora in particular is a skilled airbender and very smart for her age, to the point that in the Book 3 finale, she was anointed an airbending master at the age of 11, becoming the new youngest master airbender in known history, beating her grandfather by a year. It's even more impressive considering that Jinora isn't the Avatar like Aang was.
- Amon is considered to be one of the most powerful water benders ever. He mastered traditional waterbending around the age of 11. He mastered his fathers forbidden bloodbending technique by the age of 14.
- South Park:
- The Broflovski brothers. Ike moreso and more blatant than his older brother. Ike's entered kindergarten 2 years early, watches conservative political commentary, makes a macaroni replica of The Last Supper, has been hired to help cover up a massive jewel heist and is a knight in Canada. As of seasons 15ish he's only 4.
- Kyle's also no slouch. He's regularly portrayed as the top student in his class, has the highest capabilities with the computer, including photoshopping a photo to fool the Japanese government to stop whaling and get his best friend out of trouble and single-handedly thwarting a terrorist attack with some inspired Google-fu. He's also shown more than a slight capability with philosophy and managed to remove himself from reality.
- Cartman is a Child Prodigy only, and ONLY when motivated by evil.
- Blossom is the brains of The Powerpuff Girls. This becomes subverted in "Him Diddle Riddle" when the villain makes the girls take their SATs (as part of a series of real-time challenges to find the Professor), and Blossom scores a measley 10 while Bubbles aces it with a 1075 score.
- Egghead Jr. in the Foghorn Leghorn Looney Tunes shorts.
- The Simpsons: Lisa Simpson is extremely intelligent and a talented saxophone player. She has great interest in science and environment.
- Transformers Prime: Rafael "Raf" Jorge Gonzales Esquivel is a master computer programmer and hacker. He's been able to understand code since he was three.
- Lincoln Clark and Fenwick in Dogstar are both scientific geniuses.
- Poindexter, the nephew of the Professor in the 1958 Felix the Cat TV cartoons.
- Kim Ung-Yong of South Korea was reported with an IQ of 210 in the mid-1960s. He was a guest student in physics at Hangyang University at three (both his parents were professors there) and appeared on Japan's "World Surprise Show" at four composing poetry, speaking four languages and solving integral calculus problems. NASA paid for him to attend Colorado State University and then hired him at age 11. He worked there until he was about 17, later saying it was monumentally boring and he missed his mother. He went home and changed fields entirely. Today he is a professor of civil engineering at a college near his home town.
- Akiane Kramarik, who began painting religious visions as young as age 8, often in a realistically photographic style. Her art has a restful quality reminiscent of Thomas Kinkade. She is completely self-taught and her paintings routinely fetch hundreds of dollars. (She is considered a commercial artist rather than a fine artist like Teen Genius Amanda Dunbar, who started painting at 13.)
- This is also how Sulamith Wulfing got started, except she began at four and went to art school as a teenager.
- Somerset Hughes of London was cited along with Ung-Yong in the Guinness World Record Book as having an IQ above 200.
- Srinivasa Ramanujan. He made theorems at age 12 that you could get a PhD for proving today. He was an unparalleled mathematical genius. Especially considering that he started out working alone, using a little old reference book listing 6000 theorems with no discussion. And he flunked his school exams because his English wasn't good enough.
- Masako Ichijou aka Empress Haruko aka Empress Dowager Shoken, wife of Emperor Mutsuhito aka Meiji. She learned to read complicated poetry at age 4, started writing at age five, started reading Chinese at age 7, and by age 12 she was an expert koto player.
- Seiyuu Hiroko Kasahara debuted in a lead role when she was 12 years old.
- Yoko Honna, who was around 10 when she started her career.
- A few Chess grandmasters, specially world champions. Small example: Jose Raul Capablanca learned to play chess at the age of 4 and had beaten the Cuban national champion by the age of 12!
- Sho Yano, who started university by age 9 and was in medical school and studying for a PhD on the side by age 12. According to news reports, he was (deep breath....) reading by age 2, writing by age 3, composing music at age 5, scored 1500 on his SATs (out of 1600) at age 8, entered college at age 9, entered medical school at age 12, finished his Ph.D. in three years, and in 2012 got his M.D. from the University of Chicago at age 21. His IQ is estimated at over 200. Oh, and he's also a concert pianist who's played at the Ravinia festival. Do you have an inferiority complex yet?
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. If not the outright Trope Codifier, he's certainly the most famous example. He started playing piano at age 3, was composing by age 5, and wrote his first symphony at age 8. He was also known to have been challenged by famous musicians during his youth in improvisation contests, where the performer would compose on the spot and try to outperform his rival in this manner. He disposed of all of them. It's said that after they gave up, he would say, "any more?"
- French pianist and composer Camille Saint-Saens gave his first public piano recital at age 11. For an encore, he went back on stage and asked the audience to name any of the 35 sonatas for piano by Beethoven, which he would then play from memory.
- Jazz pianist Art Tatum learned to play church hymns and piano rolls at 3. Rumors would circulate that he played piano rolls meant for two people (and he was blind).
- Blaise Pascal started his mathematician career when he was nine.
- John Stuart Mill had one of those Make Your Child A Genius dads. He was crammed from an early age and while he enjoyed a lot of his studies, his emotional health suffered and he had a nervous breakdown at twenty. It took him years to recover, but eventually he became one of the preeminent philosophers of the 19th century.
- While undoubtedly gifted, William James Sidis had a Make Your Child A Genius dad as well. No one knows how intelligent he really was because his parents tended to exaggerate. He entered Harvard at age 11, graduated at age 16 and later taught math there. His much-publicized "mental breakdown" may actually have been his parents' coverup for his Socialist activism, which had gotten him arrested on May Day 1919. Sidis' friend said "had one great cause — the right of an individual in this country to follow his chosen way of life".
- Schoolteacher Benjamin Heath Malkin, an acquaintance of William Blake, was accused of force-educating his children when his five-year-old son Thomas died in 1806. Thomas was your standard child prodigy who ran an imaginary country, Allestone (with maps) on the side. His death was prolonged and unpleasant. A doctor visited the day after he died to give Malkin a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about Thomas having died of "brain fever" from overstudy, citing Thomas' "large head" as proof. Malkin actually had to request an autopsy to prove the cause of death was inflammatory bowel disease. As if to bear this out, Malkin's other kids were also child geniuses and had fine adult careers.
- In 1955, the poet Minou Drouet rocked France with her semi-surreal poems. She became a world-renowned celebrity. Controversy raged around her and she was repeatedly tested to ascertain that she, not her overbearing stage mother, had written the poems. The constant demands for proof wore her out. From "My Friend the Tree" and "White road, where do you go?" she started writing stuff like "My heart has become nothing but a stupid little mayonnaise whisk". To a friend, she confided: "Our street is vomiting journalists nonstop. It feels like the whole world is after me. I wish I were dead. They keep on and on at me with their questions. I think the only words I can utter are fear, pain, death." She was nine years old.
- Barbara Newhall Follett (born March 4, 1914 to literary parents) who at four demanded her own typewriter and at eight had nearly completed her first novel, The House Without Windows, about a little Nature Hero girl who finally becomes a Nature Spirit and disappears in a cloud of butterflies. When the manuscript was destroyed in a fire she rewrote it from memory and it was published when she was twelve. Also at eight she began creating a Con World, Farksolia, with a Con Lang to express feelings and experiences in nature. She became an apprentice sailor on a schooner and wrote Voyage of the Norman D at fourteen, along with a series of travelogues. When her father deserted the family, Country Mouse Barbara moved to New York City and became a clerk-typist. She married at 18, tried to make it work and failed. Her novel Lost Island concerns an adventurous clerk who is shipwrecked with a friend on a Deserted Island, is subsequently "rescued" and by the end is back in NYC, restless and miserable. On the evening of December 7, 1939, Barbara left her home and was never seen again. Nobody really knows what happened that night.
- Composer Jay Greenberg (b. 1991) has been compared to Mozart and other musical prodigies. He entered the Juilliard conservatory at age 11, and had written five symphonies by the time he was 13.
- This dude. Jacob Barnett, age 12, reportedly has a higher IQ than Einstein and has developed his own theory of relativity.
- Marvin Hamlisch had shown musical aptitude at a young age, enrolling in what is now the Julliard School Pre-College Division at age 7. One of his earliest songs written in his teens was sung by Liza Minnelli on her debut album.
- Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger referred to the autistic children in his practice as "Little Professors".
- Actress Alicia Roanne Witt started out this way. Her high-IQ exploits were covered in several newspaper articles starting when she was five.
- Educator Howard Spicker believed child geniuses, what he called "bright" children, were actually relatively common, but went unrecognized because they don't fit the profile of what people think a child prodigy should be like.
- Jacques Offenbach started playing the violin at six and was a composer and had learned the cello by age nine. He quickly got too big for his home town and when he was 14 his father sent him to Paris to study cello. Offenbach was such a jokester and goofball he could never really focus on his studies, although he was widely recognized as a truly virtuoso cellist. He was booted out of the conservatory at 15 and the next year found a permanent appointment at the Opéra-Comique. This eventually led him to the career he wanted: writing the raunchy satirical comic operettas that made him famous.
- Georg Philipp Telemann: Despite being discouraged from music by his family (because music was then considered neither a really honorable trade nor a lucrative one), he taught himself to play the violin, recorder and piano as a child. Composed his first pieces of music as a ten-year-old, at which age he already started to substitute for the cantor teaching the upper classes of his school. Composed his first opera, Sigismundus, at age twelve, after which his mother confiscated his musical instruments and sent him to a school in another town in a vain attempt to stop him from "wasting his time" on music. "Unfortunately" young Telemann was encouraged in his musical endeavours there by the local church superintendent.
- The German word for this is of course Wunderkind ("miracle or wonder child"), which also entered the English language as a loanword. It was coined by philosopher Immanuel Kant with reference to Christian Heinrich Heineken of Lübeck (1721-1725), who had mastered French and Latin at age two and at age three wrote a history of Denmark, and for years lived mostly on the milk of his wetnurse. His death at age four is attributed to the then unknown Coeliac disease (he died when his diet switched to grain products like bread etc.).