A trope closely tied with the Magical Girl
and some Western superheroes, this is a character with the ability to turn into a noticeably older counterpart of themselves. The most famous use is the "Magic Idol Singer
", a pretty blatant piece of innocent wish fulfillment.
The wholesomeness of this idea is its main feature; that characters would run into rather squicky
situations if they found boyfriends or girlfriends while changed is surprisingly common, and thus this trope is often combined with Loves My Alter Ego
Occasionally overlaps with Superpowered Alter Ego
. Compare with Dual Age Modes
, Overnight Age-Up
, Sleep Mode Size
. When the change is more permanent, you have a Plot-Relevant Age-Up
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Anime and Manga
- The trope was formerly named, perhaps ironically, after one of the exceedingly few western examples of it: DC comic hero Captain Marvel. The "awkward situations with adults of the opposite sex" was played straight with Beautia Sivana, but inverted in Justice Society of America in which Captain Marvel reveals his identity to and begins dating a fellow superhero the same age as Billy Batson, and is later forced to break up with her due to misunderstandings from others who didn't know he was actually 16. His twin sister, Mary Marvel, has exactly the same power in some versions. (In the original Fawcett comics she gets the powers but doesn't age, like Captain Marvel Jr. In Jeff Smith's Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil and Mike Kunkell's Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, Mary doesn't get older and is also noticeably younger than Billy).
- Becomes a plot point in Young Justice when he is able to travel between all-kids and all-adults parallel worlds.
- Similar thing happened to his Malibu Comics Captain Ersatz, Prime from The Ultraverse. He tried to use the older form to get together with a girl he had a crush on, which really creeped her out. Meanwhile, an adult heroine was nursing a crush on Prime.
- Ultimate Spider-Man does this... sort of. He's actually 16, but usually tells people he's in his twenties when he's in costume. No one really buys it.
- Archie Comics Superhero The Fly (also known as Fly Man) was originally one of these. Young orphan Tommy Troy was given a magic ring that allowed him to transform into an adult with insect-based powers. Unusually for this trope, the age differential didn't last. By the fifth issue Thomas Troy had aged a good ten years, gaining a law degree along the way, and was drained of any lingering trace of originality. (This was concurrent with the departure of the original Joe Simon/Jack Kirby creative team.) When The Fly and other Archie Comics heroes were revived under DC Comics' Impact imprint, this trope was re-established for the character.
- Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is another western comic book example. Because time passed at different speeds between Earth and Gemworld, she was older when she visited the other world. (Plus, of course, she had magical powers! And a flying horse!)
- Bananaman, people!
- A victim of the Scarecrow's experiments, an orphan named Colin can willingly become the hulking vigilante Abuse (with reverse-embossed knuckle-dusters to match).
- Aside from Prime (see above), The Ultraverse also had Elven, a teenage girl who transformed into an adult female elf.
- Tod Holton, Super Green Beret. Check it out.
- As created by Mick Angelo, Marvelman originally had this, being a Captain Ersatz of Captain Marvel. When Alan Moore wrote the character, he had Micky Moran grown up.
- Inverted with Kevin Trueblood/Maximum Man in Welcome to Tranquility, a Captain Ersatz of Captain Marvel who is now an old man, but, when he remembers his magic word, still turns into a thirty year old superhero.
- One arc of Superman/Batman had the titular duo encounter a team of expies of The Ultimates. The Incredible Hulk expy was a cute little girl who turned into a big blue monster.
- In Colt Noble and the Megalords, an Affectionate Parody of Masters of the Universe, Colt Noble (the equivalent of He-Man) is the older alter-ego of the 13-or-so Prince Jaysen. The original one-shot starts with Jaysen fruitlessly trying to gain entry into a strip club, and ends with him enjoying himself at the club as Colt.
- This is one of the powers of the Grass Guardian in Guardians of Pokémon.
- Later, Pikachu also gets the power to temporarily age up using the Thunder Stone...but after the transformation has run out, she temporarily becomes even younger than usual.
- One particular That Guy with the Glasses Slash Fic casts Lewis Lovhaug as a high school student who uses a Power Rangers transmorpher to become the superhero "Linkara". While the age difference isn't major, Linkara is stated to be five years older than teenaged Lewis (making him roughly Mr. Lovhaug's actual age).
- In Gene Wolfe's Wizard Knight series, the hero is a young kid who is transformed into a brawny Knight in Shining Armor in a fantasy world but is still as naive as your typical Kid Hero.
- Flossie Teacakes - the 10-year-old main character finds a magical coat that magically transforms her into the young woman she dreams of being whenever she wears it.
- Come On Ossie - Oswald turns into an 18-year-old when he borrows his grandfather's medal.
Live Action TV
- In Out of This World, Evie once turned herself into an adult, becoming "Evie's older cousin Yvette," to attract a boy. Attempts to reverse it rendered her seven years old.
- In Smallville, an enchanted comic book turned a boy into an adult superhero. Chloe seemed semi-interested in him (with a Flight of Romance, no less) until she found out he was really about ten years old. Turns out, though, that the comic wasn't about a hero, but a villain's Start of Darkness, and the kid was cursed to go Ax-Crazy the moment he felt betrayal.
- Justin in Power Rangers Turbo, mostly as a result of the suit-actor being the same age as the rest of the suit-actors, while the character actor was about half the age of the other character actors, with no actual in-story handwave. He even shifted back to twelve-year-old size when he removed his helmet. (We never saw that happen directly, sadly. When the Rangers would be suited but unhelmeted around the base, Justin would be wearing a kid-sized suit, all size-shifting happening offscreen.)
- This pertained not only to Power Rangers, but in Super Sentai. Gosei Sentai Dairanger featured a 9-year-old that became the Kiba Ranger with the same circumstances. His living sword spoke for him while he was hiding his identity from the other Dairangers.
- The main characters of Big Bad Beetleborgs are all kids who thanks to a Phantasm called Flabber become their favorite heroes. (Note the only the Dairanger example has to get around adult-sized heroes sounding like kids. Even people who know the kids and meet the heroes don't ever say a word about the voice thing.
- The titular character of Merlin uses an aging spell now rather regularly to turn into an 80yr old version of himself, known as "Dragoon" most of the time, though Morgana may know him as Emrys due to her vision.
- Ace Attorney: When channeling their dead sister/cousin Mia, Maya and Pearl Fey become vessels for her spirit. All this really means is that the full-sized Mia, bust and all, turns up wearing the younger Feys' clothes. It's bad enough when she turns up in Maya's body, but with Pearl, it gets downright Stripperiffic.
- This is actually invoked in one case, when Phoenix is trying to interrogate a witness who's a Dirty Old Man. To get the witness to talk, he brings in Maya, wearing a waitress outfit that the witness considers Fetish Fuel. The witness just takes one look at her and says for her to "come back when [she's] older". Cue her channeling Mia, and the witness starts talking immediately.
- Johnny Garland from Shadow Hearts: From The New World. His actual age is... complicated, but he looks about ten years old most of the time. Towards the end of the game, however, he unleashes his hidden power, and gains the ability to temporarily transform into a rather adult-looking bishonen with a bitchin' double-ended lightsaber, unstoppable superpowers, and no pants. Which goes a long way towards justifying the fact that, in the Best Ending, he ends up living with Shania, a RIDICULOUSLY attractive and voluptuous Native American woman. And yes, he still looks like a kid most of the time. I guess most people choose not to bug them about it, since their combined power is enough to Punch Out Cthulhu.
- Will from Illusion of Gaia can transform into Freedan, an adult swordsman. They look nothing like each other, though.
- Anna, Pintsized Powerhouse of Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis, uses this trick in her Finishing Move.
- From the first Bloody Roar game, the Final Boss is Uriko, a cute but creepy little girl who, due to being Brainwashed and Crazy, turns into a young woman to fight you.
- Yellow heart, from Hyperdimention Neptunia Victory, is actually a forceably age-adjusted Peashy; her CPU form was artificially made an adult to best capitalize on her strength. She later gets her child body back, but still becomes "the big me" when she transforms.
- In Transformers: The Movie, this happens when Hot Rod opens the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, which has him grow about a foot and half, sounds much older and he becomes a RV truck in his alternate mode. Though this ends when Rodimus Prime gives the Matrix back to a fully restored Optimus Prime and becomes Hot Rod again. Of course, in the Japanese continuation Rodimus Prime gets the Matrix back and regains the larger form when Optimus sacrifices himself again
- Another TF example, this time in Transformers Animated. After discovering that she's a pseudo-Transformer, Sari Sumdac uses her Allspark-enhanced security key on herself to see if she can upgrade herself. She succeeds, converting almost instantly from a girl of approximately 8 years old, to a much taller teenager.
- Prince Adam's transformation sequence to He-Man in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) is this. Adam is a slender teenage prince, while He-Man is as badass and big as ever.
- Den from Heavy Metal.
- Numbuh Two in Codename: Kids Next Door uses his technology to turn him into a teenager, and ends up in love with Cree. Unfortunately, the transformation is only temporary, and when Cree finds out, she is disgusted that she was on a date with a kid.