Kid-Appeal Character

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Little. Yellow. 'Special'. Kids love him!

Sonic: It's Cream and Cheese!
Chris: Friends of yours?
Sonic: More like obligatory kid appeal characters.
Sonic F

The Kid Appeal Character is typically the character designed to appeal to a younger demographic. Cute, popular, tiny, likely to be Totally Radical, and almost always the youngest character on The Team, he's invariably obnoxious and thinks he's so totally cool, in a frantic effort to convince viewers that this is a family friendly show.

As well as that, the Kid Appeal Character is all too often portrayed as seeing The Hero and/or The Leader of the Good Guys as his Father Figure. If the Leader is also quite young, chances are he'll see him as his Big Brother. In the same regard, he may look at The Lancer as being his uncle. If a color is associated with the character, then that color would be, if not yellow (if the character is female, she'll almost certainly be pink), then frequently brightly colored at any rate.

Depending on how young he is, how nice he is, or how old his father/brother figure is, the Kid-Appeal Character will usually take one of these roles:

  • Clown. Not just any clown either, this is the Kid Clown, who hurls humor at every available point. He may be funny, he may be clumsy, or he may just be the joker of the team, playing pranks, making wisecracks and sometimes just whining about all the problems that are going on. Usually Played for Laughs, but may have a serious side.
  • Weak but Lovable. Often getting into trouble, whether it's with the enemies or with the badass members of the good team. He's still kid-appeal heavy, but less of a prankster. Their bravery as a Reckless Sidekick often backfires on them, but they have just enough nobility or good intentions to avoid being written off as useless.
  • Ankle Biter. Mega-brave young character who's awfully gutsy for his (or her) puny age, puny height, or puny strength. They may be swatted aside by the more powerful enemies, but their determination will not let them stay down. Sometimes they'll make them a Cute Bruiser so he can match the big guys, or a Fragile Speedster in combat.
  • Teen Genius (or Pre-Teen Genius). The Gen-X/Millennial type who is more tech savvy than the older generation.
  • Some combination of all of the above.

The Kid Appeal Character tends to stand out, especially in a story largely involving adult characters. Because of this any version can become The Scrappy, which is fitting since the original Scrappy was one of these. The ways this can happen is: The Clown is obnoxious as well as a Karma Houdini, the Weak But Lovable one never shows any real sign of helpfulness, the Ankle Biter slowly takes up prominence in the story over the primary characters, and as for the Teen Genius... have you ever heard the name "Wesley Crusher"? Slightly more common is for the character to acquire a Periphery Hatedom: loved by his intended fanbase, hated by everyone else.

If the Kid-Appeal Character is a member of a Five-Man Band, they're probably The Chick or The Heart as the moral center of the team, always considering the little guys. It's also possible that they're The Smart Guy instead, more adapted to modern technology than their older teammates. They won't often be The Leader, The Lancer, or The Big Guy, though, as they rarely have enough strength for any of those roles (strength of personality for the first two and physical strength for the third). A smart leader is often fully aware that the Kid-Appeal Character is not a strong front-line warrior and will assign them roles better suited towards their skills, such as being a scout (like Optimus Prime did with the former Trope Namer, Bumblebee). On the other hand, they may be explicitly not part of the team, being a Tagalong Kid (or in nonhuman cases, a Team Pet) at best. This doesn't preclude showrunners from trying to appeal to kids by giving the character their own subplots, taking care of something the main heroes are otherwise too distracted with (see the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Bionicle movies described below).

If the Kid-Appeal Character is killed off at the beginning or the middle of the series, this guarantees to lead to a much more serious route.

Kids love to purchase his toys. Fanfic writers love to give them massive sex roles and pair them up with their father figure.

See also Tagalong Kid, Bratty Half-Pint, Kid Sidekick, Plucky Comic Relief. The Bumbling Sidekick and Gratuitous Animal Sidekick are two common ways of appealing to kids. Compare Cousin Oliver or Spin-Off Babies. Parental Bonus is the inverse.


Examples

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    Anime 
  • Cowboy Bebop: Ed, being the youngest and most playful plays Kid Appeal Character to Spike Spiegel's Hero, Jet Black's Lancer.
  • Seira, the Token Mini-Moe of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, pumps up the kid appeal and has a whole season revolving around her.
  • Sailor Chibimoon of Sailor Moon does this, and became a one-girl Spotlight-Stealing Squad in season four after two seasons with her hanging around the older girls and playing with sparkly wands to match her mom's. Sailor Mercury came close, so she's a type 4.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash's Pikachu. Its species isn't that strong (though the Light Ball makes this debatable), and particularly in the first season, it got beaten by pretty much every Gym Leader at least once, but it always got back up. It's far and away the most popular character, and it's yellow. Later seasons downplay the child-like aspects, and now it behaves more as a Team Dad among Ash and his friend's Pokemon. Other Pokemon like Togepi, Piplup, Axew and Dedenne have stepped to these roles in Pikachu's place.
    • Jigglypuff, a reoccurring Pokemon who the main cast used to run into time and time again mostly appeared to provide humor in the form of a running gag. Every time it encounters anyone, it'll try to sing a song that had a side effect of putting them to sleep. It would then get mad and draw on the victim's face.
    • As far a human characters are concerned, there's Max, the younger brother of May. He is too young to train his own Pokémon, but he travels along with the rest of the cast because he loves Pokémon that much. Pokémon X and Y introduces Bonnie, the younger sister of Clemont, who fulfills a similar role.
  • Chopper from One Piece is the youngest, most innocent, and easily the most adorable member of the Straw Hats.
  • Hwang Bu-ling/Mew Pudding of Tokyo Mew Mew fits here: eight years old, wears bright yellow, equal member of the team, and dove right into danger even before she or anyone knew she had any powers. Even her Verbal Tic (nano da!) screams cute exuberance.
  • Naruto is a rare occasion where the Kid-Appeal Character is the main character. Brightly colored, often obnoxious and alternatively very weak and ridiculously strong, and to top it all off, his leader wears a mask over the lower part of his face. This is even Lampshaded in the story itself, as a few characters make the snarky observation that Naruto is the kind of person who would never be the main character in some story.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon is this in the first half, as a teenager who looks younger in a cast of young adults.
  • Goten and chibi!Trunks in the later arcs of Dragon Ball Z bring a good deal of levity and irreverence compared to the increasingly self-serious adult characters. They treat gaining planet-cracking martial arts powers and fighting ancient Eldritch Abominations as a lark.
  • In GoLion, Hiroshi "Chibi/Shorty" Suzuishi is the youngest at 12, plus he's always trying to prove himself and gets excited so easily.
  • Jinpei from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is often boastful, sometimes capable of taking out bad guys and sometimes not, and makes stupid jokes. He has occasionally felt the need to prove himself, and gone to deal with the villains. The various derived characters in adapted versions of the show have the same characteristics.
  • In Saint Beast, in comparison to the rest of the cast Gai is younger, more energetic, less mature, fun and inquisitive, and to top it off has yellow and dark brown hair.
  • Chiyo-chan in Azumanga Daioh is a Child Prodigy with orange Girlish Pigtails who has skipped up to high school. She's a source of much of the series' cuteness and humor. Chiyo has some aspects of "weak but lovable" mixed with being a "preteen genius".
  • Hana-chan from Ojamajo Doremi; she's a combination between type 1 and 2, despite being established as having some very powerful magic. Justified since she really is a toddler in an eleven-year-old's body.
  • Yayoi/Cure peace from Smile Pretty Cure!! is this. Timid yet happy, sports yellow dress and blonde hair, and obsessed with super heroes.
  • Deconstructed in Bokurano with the floating mouse thing named Koyemshi. He is a sociopath Jerk Ass who Was Once a Man with deadly powers (like teleporting you or your body parts to another dimension). He conveniently forgot the Zearth kids that piloting that robot will kill them because their reaction amused him. He shows readers that appearances can be deceiving.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • Jubilee does this by wearing a lot of yellow.
    • In New X-Men, Pixie was one of the youngest, had brightly colored wings, and was otherwise comic relief. For the few issues that focused on her before Break the Cutie (Which really didn't break her very much at all).
  • The original Bumblebee is usually portrayed in comics as being the sort who keeps trying to "prove himself" to his bigger, stronger teammates, and usually gets into trouble because of it. (Prime, for his part, thinks Bumblebee has proven himself well enough in his given role of a spy that he shouldn't feel like this.)
  • Robin was originally the weak-but-lovable sidekick to Batman, and even has the yellow cape. In fact, most comic-book sidekicks in the Golden and Silver Ages (Bucky, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel, Supergirl, etc.) were created specifically to give younger readers a character to identify with.
  • The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four is the teenager in a cast of adults. Early on in the series, he was extremely popular and was the Breakout Character with his own spinoff within a year after the series started. His popularity was one of the reasons why Marvel created other teen superheroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men.
  • Speaking of Spider-Man, when he is put into a team dynamic, such as The Avengers, he usually fits this trope as a combination of the Clown and the Smart Guy; in fact there have been team-ups where he has out and out stolen this role from Johnny Storm, to the point where he's temporarily taken Johnny's place on the FF!
  • Kimber from Jem and the Holograms appeals to the teenage demographic of the comic. She has an almost pink shade of red hair, is the youngest major character at eighteen, is the spunkiest by far, and is the most into pop culture. She even dressed as the Superbowl sharks for the Halloween Episode.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Unsurprisingly, taking example from all versions prior, Bumblebee is again this in Transformers Meta. Customarily, he is yellow, the youngest on the team, and fast (his peds are actually wheels). But his kid appeal factor is accentuated in his eccentrically childish, whimsical, and optimistic personality. He is the Ankle Biter on the team, but occasional tendencies qualify him as Weak but Lovable.
    • He is a Fragile Speedster, as Hound's analysis of him indicates when they were training in the fifth episode.
    • Despite his naivety, he has proven competent in battle when he almost got the upper hand over Barricade in the third episode and when he helped fight Starscream and ended up overcoming Waspinator, which also makes him somewhat of a Cute Bruiser.
  • To some extent, Mariko and Chiyoko from the Lucky Star fanfics Holiday Vacation and Lucky Star After Story. The former for being a Badass Adorable Genki Girl and the latter for being an Adorkable Token Mini-Moe.

    Film 
  • Star Wars
    • C-3PO and R2D2 served this role in the original trilogy. Unlike Jar Jar though, they didn't alienate adult viewers.
    • Jar Jar Binks from the prequels is a wacky, goofy and slapstick character with a funny way of talking, making him a very obvious attempt at the trope. He was highly unpopular with adult viewers.
    • The Ewoks of Return of the Jedi are living teddy bears. They play a major role in the climax of the series.
    • BB-8 in The Force Awakens is small, cute and makes for a very popular toy.
  • The Transformers film series:
    • The twins in Revenge Of The Fallen, as Michael Bay states, were meant to be this (hell, they're even stuck with Bumblebee for much of the movie)... in spite of being violent Jive Turkeys who keep beating up each other. Their toy bios essentially say that being among the few Autobots who made it to Earth made them living their dream of working directly alongside Optimus Prime, which is certainly a common trait for this type of character. Their immature wrestling and talking about being "quiet like a ninja" also highlights their relative youth.
    • In the third film, Bumblebee's kid-friendly nature gets taken advantage of by Laserbeak, who turns into a mini pink Bumblebee to convince a little girl to let him in so that he can assassinate her father.
    • In Dark of the Moon the character type is also embodied by the duo of Wheelie and Brains, who are small robots and basically act like kids during the course of the movie. Unlike Skids and Mudflap, though, they have relatively little screen time and would rather be chilling at Sam's home watching TV instead of being involved with the Robot War.
  • Skippy Rabbit from Disney's Robin Hood falls into the Ankle Biter category, with the titular Robin Hood as the object of his Hero Worship.
  • Chip from Beauty and the Beast (though he didn't originally have more than one line; the makers were impressed by the actor and wanted to see more, while also noting it as a useful chance to have kid access if not mandated kid appeal).
  • Po Ping, the title character of Kung Fu Panda, is a cute, fluffy panda warrior who constantly shouts catchphrases and is generally much more upbeat than his more serious teammates. Though Character Development and taking multiple levels in badass does give him some adult appeal.
  • The Detention Kids from The Book of Life. Trouble-making rascals who get invested in the story.
  • The Minions from Despicable Me of the Clown variety. They're annoying, they're yellow and they make Illumination millions.
  • Olaf from Frozen is a clown variety. He is a very chipper and naive snowman that Elsa accidentally brought to life. He sings songs about how he loves summer, despite being a snowman (he doesn't understand the concept of melting yet), and generally acts like a young child with a man's voice. In development the writers toned down his original personality because he was deemed too annoying instead of amusing. Olaf ended up appealing well to both younger and older audiences.
  • Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King are the laidback adoptive parents of Simba after he runs away. They're the source of many of the lighthearted moments after the movie hits Cerebus Syndrome thanks to Mufasa's death.

    Literature 
  • Gavin Darklighter plays this role in the first four books of the X-Wing Series. He starts out as a sixteen-year-old Farm Boy from Tatooine who is utterly naive and gets taunted by the rudest of his fellow Rogues, who for the most part are five to ten years older than he is. So he serves to be the newbie trying to find his place and being surprised by things that the older pilots find commonplace. While his subplots are pretty much in the background, he does go through Character Development and grow and mature. Eventually, by the New Jedi Order, he's the leader of Rogue Squadron.
  • Gavroche, from Les Misérables, of the plucky ankle-biting variety. His reaction to getting shot at by the military is to make up on the spot a song insulting French intellectuals! Then, this being Les Misérables, Reality Ensues.

    Live Action TV 
  • While several Power Rangers have Kid Appeal elements, few really seem to go so far as to be a viewpoint character kids are "supposed" to identify with. One that definitely does, though, is Justin Stewart from Power Rangers Turbo, currently the only one who was a Ranger as a kid when most are in their late teens or early twenties. Other good candidates include:
    • Max Cooper from Power Rangers Wild Force. The definite kid of the group (high school age when the others were in college at a minimum) and had childlike enthusiasm to match, but got a lot less focus than your standard example.
    • Ziggy Grover from Power Rangers RPM, a Lovable Coward, the weakest fighter on the team (he became a Ranger by accident), best buds with and sidekick to the Troubled, but Cute Lancer, and something of a viewpoint character as a Meta Guy. However, he was the same age as the other Rangers and didn't come off as all that "childlike" in comparison, being in trouble with organized crime and showing hints of being a Chivalrous Pervert.
      • Also from RPM, Sixth Rangers Gem and Gemma, who were extremely childlike (even seeming to be developmentally a year or two behind the target audience). They're more of a subversion, really; rather than being audience surrogates for kids, their immaturity came off as them being very very screwed up.
    • Another blatant one was Fred in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie. While the Rangers fought off the monsters he rallied Angel Grove's kids (and Bulk and Skull) to rescue their parents. Made all the more obvious because he's the only "civilian" character who wasn't part of the show's regular cast.
  • Mark McCain in The Rifleman definitely falls into this trope. He's sweet'n'innocent, but he can be pretty scrappy if the situation calls for it. But usually, he's there to provide a kid's perspective of the situation and to allow Lucas to become Mr. Exposition.
  • Sesame Street is a show already aimed at children (and their families) but even in that context, Elmo is a character designed to represent and appeal to the youngest members of the show's target demographic. He's the smallest cast member, has the most child-like voice, and is generally the voice of innocence and naivete.
  • Doctor Who often uses companions for this:
    • When Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert were conceptualizing their new science fiction serial, Newman told her that the Doctor needed a friend who was 'a kid who gets themselves into trouble' to appeal to the child audience, which they decided should be a teenage girl. Since it was important that it didn't appear that anything creepy was going on, she was made into his granddaughter. Verity Lambert eventually created Susan Foreman, a weird, Creepy Good alien Action Girl, but Newman had her Retooled into a 'normal girl' in between the unaired pilot and "An Unearthly Child" to make her more appealing to the child audience.
    • Susan's Suspiciously Similar Substitute Vicki was much the same, being even younger and having a cuter personality, as well as resembling a futuristic Scooter-Riding Mod.
    • Jamie - very young, naive, a bit stupid, loveable and resembling a trendy 1960s teen as much as possible considering his 18th Century origins. He was written into a pure historical serial as a very minor character, but was added to the permanent cast at the last minute because the crew realised a cute teenage Scottish warrior would be appealing to children and young teenage girls. Frazier Hines even described his job at one point as being 'paid to get the girls back from the disco'.
    • The Fourth Doctor companion K-9, a cute, Literal-Minded, brilliant but naive Robot Dog, was added for this reason.
    • The Fourth and Fifth Doctor companion Adric was something of a failed attempt at one of these. He appears as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for K-9 and was a Teen Genius conceived to represent both the child demographic and the growing cult fandom, but was notoriously unpopular due to a combination of the actor's limitations, inconsistent scripting, and a heavy dose of This Loser Is You.
    • A weird instance where the Doctor was retooled into a Kid Appeal Character was the Seventh, who was written at first as a silly, bumbling, Fun Personified clownlike figure who did magic tricks and danced and made you laugh, because the executives were aiming for a much younger audience at the time. It didn't stick.
    • The Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor pseudo-companion Strax, a good Sontaran and Minion with an F in Evil who is mindbogglingly stupid, does Slapstick and doesn't understand human concepts like gender or hair.
  • Klus from Studio100's Kabouter Plop series is very popular with children in Belgium. This might be to due his trickster and fun personality he has compared to the other gnomes from the show. Here's an example from a live show in Plopsa Indoor Hasselt.

    Music 
  • Ringo Starr of The Beatles has often been seen this way. Completely unintentional, of course, but between the fact that he was the "funny" Beatle and the fact that his solos were all rather whimsical, sweet songs about things like octopus's gardens and The Power of Friendship (while his bandmates were singing about sex and drugs), it's an understandable interpretation.
  • Emma Bunton is the youngest Spice Girl, since her nickname was Baby Spice. She's also weak but lovable.
  • blink-182's popularity exploded after they got their second drummer Travis Barker, whose sense of style and drumming ability was the epitome of cool for many 11 year olds in the late 90s and early 2000s, causing them to form their own bands.
  • Ryuto, Kagamine Rin, and Kagamine Len are this for Vocaloid. Ryuto i based on a popular kids character with a silly voice and has the youngest official age of any Vocaloid released. The Kagamine duo are the youngest of the Crypton Vocaloids, have youthful, cutesy voices, give energetic performances in official concerts, and even have the yellow color scheme.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Satoru Sayama, the first man to bring Tiger Mask to life in New Japan Pro Wrestling(Samson Kutsuwada did it earlier but in Korea). Despite having a style nothing like Tiger Mask, who was submission/power wrestler rather than a technical/high flier, it worked well enough for New Japan to try again with Jushin Thunder Liger, this time using Jushin Liger as the reference, obviously.
  • El idolo de los Niños, better known as Atlantis in CMLL, Michinoku Pro and Toryumon. Notably he wasn't been cheered by older fans for awhile into his career, when he was doing text book rudo work. But the kids still loved him. For a further bit of irony, he's never been the youngest man on any roster.
  • Chigusa Nagayo drew deafening crowds of chanting girls into AJW. Unfortunately, she and Crush Gal partner Lioness Asuka had to "retire" at 25, leading to a Face–Heel Turn and several of those inspired girls growing up to get mercilessly beaten by their former hero.
  • Tiny Tammy Jones, The Superheroes Thunderbolt & Lightning and every Farmer's Daughter in GLOW.
  • The World Wrestling Federation repackaged Hillbilly Jim as one, and kept as a baby face his entire run there.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. isn't the youngest in WWE and isn't (too) obnoxious, but he fulfills every other requirement as the Ankle Biter subset. He's tiny, wildly popular with kids, frequently wears ridiculously bright clothes, and gets picked on by the bad guys a lot. He's even had several of the bigger faces in WWE (Dave Batista most noticeably) in a big brother role at one point or another. Compared to his uncle, the original Rey Misterio, you could say he's always been this.
    • Rey plays directly to very little fans on his ring entrance. If there are kids on the sides next to the ramp during his entrance wearing merch masks, he'll walk right over and touch his forehead to theirs. One special kid will actually get Rey to take off his peel off part of his mask and put it on them, ala when Bret Hart used to take off his sunglasses and put them on a child in the front row.
  • Command Bolshoi, trained by the Japanese Women's Pro-Wrestling Project, veteran of All Japan, also known as Bolshoi Kid, U.S.shoi, Dotonborishoi, Santa Bolshoi and Piko. She stands at only 4'11 imperially, has a mask with a clown nose but has a successful career as an ankle biter.
  • After unmasking, Konnan became one in CMLL, and was enough of an ankle biter to be their first World Heavyweight Champion when they decided to introduce new titles higher than the national level.
  • Jeff Hardy, being a brightly colored dressing high flier who paints himself. Unfortunately, WWE decided to focus on his legal and substance abuse troubles, and positively contrast him against straight edge wrestler CM Punk.
  • Gregory Helms as the Hurricane, though the every classy WWE named his side kick the Super Hero In Training. Old habits diehard it seems.
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH did this with Taiji Ishimori, giving him lots of shiny, bright colored sets of ring gear and lots of lucha libre inspired moves, including Rey Mysterio's 619. It helps that he's only 5'4.
  • London and Kendrick on WWE Smackdown and Velocity, excepting that time Spanky went streaking.
  • John Cena's Never Give Up not even really a gimmick would fit this. The only people it really appeals to besides kids are women. Randy Orton accidentally added fuel to this fire by suggesting only women and kids cheered Cena.
  • Hulk Hogan (as a babyface at least) with his Boring Invincible Hero shtick and habit of telling kids to "Train hard, Eat their vitamins, Say their prayers and Believe in themselves."
  • Bobby Lashley was molded into one after being called from OVW to WWE, with the camera routinely zooming in on a father and his child chanting "Lashley, Lashley" whenever he made an entrance.
  • Eugene Dinsmore as he debuted on Monday Night Raw as a wrestling savant who was a big fan of legendary wrestlers such as the The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
  • Even though they were jobbers The Norkfolk Dolls attracted quite a few cheering girls in Real Quality Wrestling, likely because they were practically children themselves. They'd grow out of the jobber roll in time, Britani before Melodi..
  • Hornswoggle became an example after his presence failed to make Finley hated, fitting many of the same characteristics Mysterio does except he's much less competent, is either the youngest man on the roster or close to it, and is about a foot smaller than Mysterio is. And Mysterio's 5'3".
  • Kofi Kingston has been one almost his entire WWE run following his departure from WWECW. Though Kofi has a temper, which is hard to provoke but very frightening once awakened.
  • Tiger Mask's kid appeals status was parodied in Wonder Ring STARDOM with "Yuzupon Mask", who fought a child in her "debut".(that child being Haruka, a straight example)
  • The Buddy System of SHIMMER\SHINE, with Marti Belle sarcastically crediting the tag team's existence to everyone being twelve.
  • Bayley behaves the way one would expect a younger fan to on NXT, and to drive the point home she has been bound. Uniquely for this type of character, she's beloved by plenty of adult fans too. Bayley is also most likely to hug a few children during her walk to the ring.
  • Alexa Bliss showed signs of being this type of character. Given the gimmick of a Plucky Girl who loves glitter and sparkles, she proved very popular with younger fans. As a face she was a Token Wholesome, but received a Face–Heel Turn to become Hotter and Sexier.
  • Sting was this before becoming Darker and Edgier in the mid-90s. Even though he was a 6'2" ex-bodybuilder, he wore the bright colors, fought all the much larger bad guys, did a lot of charity work, was popular with children and was well-respected in the locker room. The Big Show even compared him to John Cena. However, unlike Cena, Sting was also popular with adult male fans as well.

    Toys 
  • Takua in the first years of BIONICLE. While the Toa were the main heroes - and the ones that actually got the action figures - Takua started out as the Featureless Protagonist of the first few video games (one before the Toa arrived, and the other as the Hero of Another Story). After the games he remained a major character and his character was developed as adventurous and loving to explore, but knowing to leave the real fights to the Toa. All this culminated in the Mask of Light movie, where he was the main character and became a Toa himself (renaming himself "Takanuva").
  • Monster High tends to give short, pink, girly Draculaura a ton of screentime and merchandise as she's popular with kids. Howleen also fills this role as she's the Tagalong Kid, particularly in Fright On!. Each was also given her own TV special with a plot of "we have to save (Draculaura/Howleen) from (new character X)": Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love and 13 Wishes.
  • Barbie gave us Barbie's sisters Skipper and Kelly. Skipper in particular has taken over as the "teenager", as Barbie has become a young adult since conception. Skipper is more tech savvy than Barbie.

    Video Games 
  • Imoen in Baldur's Gate. Nothing like as sexy as other female characters, Imoen is certainly the most innocent, and one of the best (and nicest) thieves you'll find. Pretty much a sister figure to the main character. And it turns out you're right, by the way.
  • The Lunar series has adorable high pitched, wisecracking baby dragons Nall and Ruby, with Nall being the clown (albeit more of a Deadpan Snarker than other examples, but still very naive) and Ruby being the Ankle Biter. Well, before Character Development, anyway.
  • Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog is probably the first Kid Appeal character Sega made, featuring in just about every cartoon as Sonic's best friend. Later games feature him as the smart one, but he's always been perfectly capable of keeping up with Sonic (meanwhile, both of the animated series made him into more a weak but lovable sort, with the SatAM version turning him into a nigh-useless prop for Sonic to rescue).
  • Pal-18 from Anachronox is a toy robot (though his owner has upgraded him with weapons and hacking systems) with a squeaky voice and a hip personality. You actually obtain his best weapon by letting him play in a playground for four hours (real time). Also, his theme color (relevant to the magic system) is yellow...
  • Relm from Final Fantasy VI is an extremely sassy ten-year-old girl who, despite her grandfather's best efforts, keeps insisting on jumping into the fray. And she holds her own!
  • Sakura Kasugano from the Street Fighter Alpha series. She was always out to prove herself against older, better-trained, and often bigger fighters.
  • Slippy Toad from the Star Fox series, being (and very much sounding like) the youngest squad member. As a pilot, he's constantly in need of saving, but he pulls his weight as a mechanic.

    Western Animation 
  • Bumblebee from The Transformers was the original Trope Namer. Down to originally transforming into a Volkswagen. Every single version of him - ever - is a kid-appeal character. They even partnered him with the human kid on the show.
  • Cheetor from Beast Wars is also yellow, fast and the youngest one on the Maximal Team. And if that weren't enough to tell that he's the kid of the team, he's got freckles. Unlike Bumblebee however, he is actually quite a competent warrior and later became The Lancer to Optimus Primal. In Beast Machines, he's replaced in this role by Nightscream
  • Wedge, from Robots in Disguise, is small, orange and gutsy, but where the typical Bumblebee-type in Transformers is fast, Wedge's assets are strength and engineering know-how. (that, and being the leader of a team that forms a Combining Mecha.)
  • Side Burn also fills the role, a clown who constantly tries to hit on non-sentient red sports cars driven by the Butt Monkey bystander.
  • This is all parodied in the Botcon script reading "Bee in the City," where Bumblebee from Animated is identified as the kid-appeal character and is asked if he's a Bumblebee or a Hot Shot (also referencing how he was originally supposed to be a new Hot Shot). Over the course of the program various characters also called him Wheelie, Side Burn, Cheetor, and even T-Bob, much to his annoyance.
  • In Transformers Prime, Bumblebee became the Ankle Biter, in accordance with the show's more serious tones, being based more on his film counterpart. But he's still paired with the youngest of the human characters.
  • According to Word of God, in Bizarro Universe Shattered Glass, Soundwave is intended as filling the Kid Appeal Character role.
  • Young Justice.
    • Kid Flash serves as a clown type. He's a jokester, dresses in a yellow costume, and has red hair.
    • Robin is the youngest of the team and has a Verbal Tic. This aspect of his character is abandoned in Invasion, where is now an adult that goes by Nightwing.
    • Beast Boy applies in Invasion as a clown type. He is also brightly colored (being completely green) and is the youngest member.
  • Marcia Mouse of Blinky Bill easily fits the ankle biter type, being a fiery Plucky Girl of the bunch.
  • Scrappy-Doo from Scooby-Doo was a famously unpopular one of the Ankle-Biter variety (though he was surprisingly strong for his size, edging towards Cute Bruiser territory).note  That said, when he isn't around it's usually Shaggy and Scooby himself who get into silly antics in the midst of monster-hunting.
  • Jade from Jackie Chan Adventures. She's not powerful enough to be a solo hero and regularly ends up getting into trouble, but she's adventurous and determined and usually finds a way to be useful.
  • Beast Boy from Teen Titans is a clown type. He's always trying to be funny and is clearly the least mature, and he usually seems to be the weakest fighter on the team. Usually. Usually.
  • Tuck from My Life as a Teenage Robot as he's the only character in the show under 10 in a cast largely made of teenagers.
  • Enzo from ReBoot was written in specifically for this purpose. The producers of the show admitted that during pre-production they were instructed to put a kid in the show by the execs and they were against having a kid "mess up our kick-ass action show." But they came to love the character, feeling he was the heart and soul of the show, and after he received a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, they worked to bring back the original kid (for a certain value of "original") because they missed him.
  • Ahsoka from Star Wars: The Clone Wars was to give the show a kid-perspective in a series filled with adults.
  • Richie Foley in Static Shock. He replaces Frieda Goren as Static's best friend because the show was geared towards a younger audience than the comics were. He's the second definition of Kid Appeal Character. He was also given superpowers because the writers were having a hard time keeping him in the episodes, but often his attempts at defeating the enemy don't work. He's been kidnapped at least four times and he's been turned into a mind slave twice.
  • In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, android Buzzwang is the Rangers' Plucky Comic Relief Robot Buddy—and a substantial portion of the fanbase will never forgive him for it.
  • Rusty the Boy Robot in Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot. He's seriously determined to be a hero and actually has enormous powers, but his inexperience is always getting in the way.
  • Ironically enough, The Wasp from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!. She's small (even without her shrinking powers), brightly colored, a Fragile Speedster, and generally more childlike than her teammates. Incidentally, she's quite popular with the older fanbase and the show's Ensemble Dark Horse.
  • Meelo from The Legend of Korra, as he is the instigator of almost all of the show's Toilet Humor, which places him firmly in the "Clown" category.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders. Friendship Is Magic is itself a kids' show, but the main cast are young adults(ish). The CMC are a lot closer to the age of the target demographic, and thus are easier for said audience to relate to.
    • Pinkie Pie also has an above-average amount of kid appeal (she's basically The Hub's mascot at this point), though the show often uses her as a means to take shots at the mentality underlying many uses of this trope (for example, "The Piggy Dance," which parodies the overly simplistic and repetitive nature of many children-directed songs, and seals the deal by causing the infant Cake twins to cry in response to it).
    • Spike appears to be this for younger males who may watch the show. He's a little boy, that's a dragon, that gets to go on adventures with older girls all day.
  • Gus Griswald from Recess, the small, cute Sixth Ranger to the main group of kids, and is weak and cowardly, but warmhearted and lovable.
  • Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), and thanks to his reception, became a Breakout Character amongst the brothers. He's the goofiest brother, likes to party and have fun, and wears an orange headband.
  • Jay in Ninjago is the least serious character on the team and makes constant jokes and seems a bit younger then the others.
  • Parodied in the Pixar Short Mr. Incredible and Pals (presented as a Show Within a Show in The Incredibles universe), where Mr. Incredible and Frozone are joined by the bunny Mr. Skipperdoo. When the "real" Mr. Incredible and Frozone watch it, neither one is impressed, to say the least.
    Mr. Incredible: The rabbit is cuddly! Kids like little cuddly sidekicks! I mean, the rabbit... it's a time-tested... okay, the rabbit bites.
  • Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls is presented as The Cutie of the group, is treated as the youngest despite the sisters all being "born" at literally the same time, and has the softest color palette (baby blue). She might seem "weak but lovable" (at least compared to her sisters) however when angered it's shown Bubbles is quite possibly the most powerful of the triplets. Bubbles is the Kid-Appeal Character in a different way in The Powerpuff Girls (2016). She's the most Girly Girl of the girls, has the softest color palette, is a fangirl prone to squealing and Wingding Eyes, and is the most internet culture savvy. Her "cute" aspect is downplayed to emphasise her excitable aspects.
  • Kimber from Jem has bright red hair, has a catchphrase ("Outrageous!"), is considerably less mature than the others, and is the youngster major character.
  • Sheegwa from Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat is the youngest and most cheerful character in the show.
  • Bunga from The Lion Guard is a clown type. He is loud, occasionally gross, rash, and has a catchphrase he uses at least once a character. He is hated by most of the Periphery Demographic due to this characterization.
  • My Little Pony G3:
    • Pinkie Pie is pink colored, friendly, and loves fun. She was ascended to The Leader in the "Core 7" soft-reboot and was treated as the mascot to G3.
    • Minty is a light green color, is Pinkie's best friend, has an unusual character tic of loving socks, and is one of the resident Cloudcuckoolander characters.


Alternative Title(s): The Bumblebee

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KidAppealCharacter