"Thank heaven for little girlsSo this guy hasn't seen his childhood friend in a long time. Then they meet again, and she's absolutely stunning. He realizes that his friend that he never thought of "that way" really can be thought of "that way," usually as she starts dating someone else. If he gets her in the end, it will invariably be revealed that she had been in love with him all along; she just needed a new hairstyle and contacts for him to finally notice her. A variant of this: the first story part, they're so-so to okay looking. Cue the sequel, and BAM! knockout. There are various reasons for this; sometimes the character was too young to be thought of "that way" in the first part. In live action shows and movies, this can happen to a character when puberty hits the actor or actress like a colony drop. This is Truth in Television for many girls in their early teens, though it's not often addressed in TV or movies, where girls are absolutely ecstatic about their physical changes and the (male) attention it gets them. This can happen for a variety of reasons. It is also the reason why issues of Playboy featuring nude pictorials of former-child-stars-turned-hot-bombshells usually sell out their entire production runs. Despite the trope's name, it is hardly an always female trope and gender flips are pretty common. Contrast with Lolicon, and I Was Quite a Looker. This can sometimes lead to First Girl Wins. This sometimes overlaps with She Cleans Up Nicely and/or Curves in All the Right Places. Might happen to a Kid Hero All Grown-Up. In-universe examples only, please. Although the audience can definitely feel this way about a character, this only applies if the character's change is acknowledged in some way by another character.
for little girls get bigger every day!
Thank heaven for little girls
they grow up in the most delightful way!"
for little girls get bigger every day!
Thank heaven for little girls
they grow up in the most delightful way!"
— Gigi, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"
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Anime & Manga
- A more platonic and gender-swapped variant of this trope is seen in the first episode in the original Japanese dub of Digimon Adventure 02, with old friends Hikari and Takeru. Upon their reunion (after a couple of years of not having seen each other) Hikari compliments Takeru by saying that "You've gotten taller." Of course, easily-jealous Daisuke—and Takeru/Hikari fans—had a less platonic interpretation of this observation.
- The TV version of Neon Genesis Evangelion implies this trope with Asuka, and actually plays it backwards, depriving the audience of a straight-forward, introductory glance at her. We have not even seen the "fanservice" portions of her body before both she - now fourteen - and Misato acknowledge that she's "filled out" nicely since their last meeting - when she was closer to eight. It is only later in the series when we see her at a much younger age and how she grew up into the attractive girl she is at fourteen.
- Genderswapped in Magic Knight Rayearth. Ascot the Summoner was a little boy in the first part of the series, but when the Knights returned to Cephiro in the second part, he was a handsome teenager tall enough to tower over the girls (even more with his Nice Hat). Caldina says he "grew up" out of love for Umi, but he denies it (though his Luminescent Blush and his behavior towards Umi say otherwise...).
- Another genderswapped variation occurs in Kekkaishi: Tokine initially has difficulty seeing Yoshimori as anything but the crybaby kid she used to try and cheer up when they were younger even after other people have pointed out that he won't stay a kid forever. Events later in the manga, however, have her admitting to herself that Yoshimori is growing to be a strong, reliable young man. She even finds herself imagining how he'd look in a few years and finds her mental image of an older Yoshimori "surprisingly cool-looking."
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, the main character Edward's love interest/childhood friend/automail mechanic has been out of town with a job for months, and Edward finds her, has his limbs adjusted, and goes on his way. Winry notes to herself (as she further realizes she is in love with Ed) that his back/shoulders are broader now, and Ed is becoming a man and is no longer a child. At least in once instance, this was mostly due to Ed regaining his self-confidence and his posture improving as a result.
- Dragon Ball:
- This happens to both Goku and Chichi in the last part of the original series (before it became Dragon Ball Z). First, Bulma and company didn't recognize the 18-year-old Goku at first, having gained a couple of feet of growth and the hotness to match (Bulma herself couldn't help but hesitate a little). They could only believe it when he revealed his signature hair. Then, Goku didn't notice that the Tsundere he was fighting against in the Tenkaichi Budokai quarterfinals was the girl he agreed to marry when they were kids (she entered the tournament anonymously), and he didn't find out until Chichi revealed herself. ("But-but-but are you the same little Chichi I met so long ago?!" "Hey, of course I am!") Basically, she got tired of waiting for him and decided to approach him more on his terms...and this time it stuck.
- There's also the time that Bulma learned that (future) Trunks was her Kid from the Future. Her reaction (after the requisite GASP! of surprise, of course) was, "My kid's gonna grow up hot? Sweet!" She also has some trouble keeping her thoughts about Goku entirely platonic ever since he turned eighteen — even after he's married.
- D.C. ~Da Capo~:
- Subverted in Season 1, everyone was surprised when Sakura returned looking exactly like she did 6 years ago (a little girl). She leaves at the end of Season 1, but on her return halfway through Season 2 (years after the first story) she looks... exactly the same.
- In the sequel D.C. II, which takes place 50 years after the original, Sakura still looks the same.
- In Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, Jubei notes that Mai has grown.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!:
Setsuna: Ojousama really has grown into a beautiful young woman. Why am I so shaken up?
- A series of Age-disguising pills causes this to happen with Negi and his students a couple of times, although the girls didn't recognize it was him. Later, a few more girls get a similar effect when they see how his father looked.
- This is repeated later in the series (the Magic World arc). This time around, though, some of them are catching onto it.
- Also noted by Rakan in referring to Asuna. But since it's Rakan, he says 'Look how big you've gotten!' and pokes her breast. Followed by Asuna decking him and him pretending to fall off of Ostia.
- Setsuna's feelings for Konoka always lay in that sort of direction, but it's implied that she first consciously realised how attractive Konoka had become when she saw her dressed up in a fancy kimono in cinema town. Not that she was willing to acknowledge it just yet...
- Similarly, the young Yukari Sendo from Rosario + Vampire takes a dose of temporary aging pills in season two. To her relief, she learns that the only thing separating her from the rest of the harem is about four years—she just needs to be patient.
- Genderswapped in Lovely Complex when Risa's childhood friend Haruka moves back to Osaka and is revealed to have grown taller than her, she's impressed but can't help but think of him as the pretty little crybaby she protected when they were young.
- Tenchi Muyo!:
- Sasami. The world's most adorable girl is shown several times over the course of the series that she's going to grow up to be drop-dead beautiful — there was even a short story in the manga where Ryoko points this out to Ayeka — "Sure she's a kid now..." She's so far beyond Ryoko and Ayeka's league that the two can't even come up with a decent come-back in the OVA. The best they can come up with is insulting each other and comparing themselves to her. Or at least, that's how the two of them seem to see it.
- In one episode of the original series, Ayeka on seeing Sasami's adult form in Tsunami bemoaned the fact that her sister's beauty would soon surpass her own.
- Genshiken starts with Saki noticing her old childhood friend, who's grown into an incredible Bishōnen.
- The Colony Drop version is also used as a joke in Super Robot Wars W, where Ruri Hoshino undergoes all the physical growth she did in the six years between Martian Successor Nadesico and The Prince of Darkness in only six months between the first and second halves of the game.
- Ai Yori Aoshi's Kaoru gets this when he realizes the lovely adult woman he meets at the start of the series is the same little girl he played with as a kid. Not to mention he gets an up-close and personal introduction to just how well she developed during that first night.
- Death Note. After L's death, we come back after a few years' gap and Light's little sister Sayu has done exactly as this trope predicts, going from an adorable kid to a hottie. Matsuda even gets a crush on her, despite knowing her since she was a kid and being 11 years older than she is. Soichiro is not pleased, of course.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- England leaves the young America and tells him to grow taller and stronger. When they see each other again... oh, my. America is quite taller than England.
- There's also France's reaction to pubescent-but-not-quite-legal-looking-Italy.
Italy: What's intercourse?
France: It's something you do with someone you like! ...So, Italy. Do you like me?
- Played with when Hungary and Prussia meet as teens after she's defeated by the Ottoman Empire. Only then Prussia fully realized that the kid nation he used to fight against more than once that swore was a boy is actually a woman.
- Yuki in No Bra is all grown up to the main character...the catch is that Yuki is male. Later on, so is Kaoru. They were in the same nursery, at least.
- In the Fruits Basket manga, Momiji goes from a Adorably Precocious Child to a very handsome blond.
- Reversed when Sakura noticed that Naruto had grown up. When she asked if she looked more like a woman, he said "You look fine. You haven't changed a bit." Yeah, that was the wrong thing to say.
- According to Tsunade, this happened to Kushina, Naruto's mother.
- It also happened to Tsunade herself. Back in her genin days, she was called flat-chested by Jiraiya. The difference between her child and adult physiques was lampshaded in an omake of the anime.
- In the first episode of Basquash!, Dan realizes — a little later than Miyuki would've wished — that the busty mecha mechanic he's been hanging around with for the past few hours was his childhood friend from years ago.
- There's a variant in ×××HOLiC, as of Chapter 187, as Kohane visits Watanuki some years after he's taken over Yuuko's shop, and comments on how good she looks in her school uniform. When she responds that he's constantly saying it, his response hints at this trope.
- In RahXephon Haruka makes a comment about Ayato finally growing taller than her just before admitting to him that not only is she in love with him but that she's still in love with him, as they used to be middle-school sweethearts before the universe decided to fuck things up between them with time dilation and a mind wipe.
- In the first Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS sound stage, Shamal notes that Suzuka has become quite beautiful in the ten years since A's.
- Suzuna tries to get this reaction out of Sena in Eyeshield 21 and beats up Monta when he pulls this...on Mamori. Poor Sena gets stomped on too.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
- Leeron makes comments about this in respect to Rossiu after the Time Skip. There's also Simon, who as a teenager is a short and scrawny Beady-Eyed Loser. None of these attributes can apply to him after seven years◊.
- On the female side of things, Nia goes from cutie princess to a real knockout◊ after the time skip. It's not seen much, but Darry seems to grow up pretty nicely, too.
- In Maid-Sama!, when Misaki last knew him, Hinata Shintani was a fat gonk. Ten years later, Hinata returns as a wide-eyed Bishōnen with the personality of a hyperactive puppy and his mind set on finding his first love (Re: Misaki). In a subversion, Misaki doesn't particularly seem to notice or care very much. Her younger sister Suzuna, on the other hand...
- In the final episode of Library War, Komaki and a young neighbor that he only ever thought of as the little girl next door, until she turned nineteen or so.
- In the Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows movie, Renton commented to Eureka in the sickbay that she has grown pretty since he last saw her 8 years ago.
- Chapter 45 of Natsume's Book of Friends has a bit where a girl named Miyoko complains to a friend while walking home about how this Creepy Child she knew back in preschool named Takashi Natsume. Miyoko's annoyed because he's going to be in town for a couple of days, and since her parents invited him to stay at their place, she's gonna have to put up with him the whole time. Ugh! But enough about that, why don't they talk about who that really cute guy standing at the front door is and why he's waiting there like...Oh.
- In a scene later on in YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke stares at his childhood friend/love interest Keiko's body before remarking, "...since when did YOU start filling out in all the right places?", which promptly results in him getting smacked.
- Wandering Son:
- Yuki was surprised to see how her middle school crush grew up once he reached high school, considering she dropped out of school in middle school and became a hikikomori. Said crush later becomes her boyfriend when they met as adults.
- In high school Nitori meets up with her old elementary classmates one day. They're surprised at how handsome she's become, especially a girl who had a crush on Nitori.
- Futakoi has Nozomu and Ichijou sisters, with flashbacks and stuff.
- Tsugumi Shibata from season 1 of Hell Girl reappears in season 3 as an stunning adult, bonus points for becoming a nurse.
- The page picture comes from a hentai manga. It's an example of a common hentai "plot" in in which a guy notices a female friend of his is no longer a little girl, but a well-developed woman, and eventually they do what the genre dictates.
- In D.N.Angel, Rika decides to go check on Daisuke after he mysteriously collapsed in the middle of school. After getting flustered at the sight of his sleeping face, Riku notes that Daisuke looks a bit more mature than she remembers him being, and that it's only a matter of time before he turns into a full-blown bishonen.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, present-Mikuru is a little moe girl who (despite having a large male following) is generally referred to more as cute or adorable than hot or sexy. Her future version however, generally gets labels like "bombshell" applied to her, and whenever she does anything at all, Kyon uses adjectives like "seductively" to describe it. It's hard to tell in the anime because of Generic Cuteness, but future-Mikuru is still drawn a bit more beautiful than her younger version.
- In Miyuki, Masato feels this way regarding Miyuki Wakamatsu - who is his stepsister...
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, a brief glimpse of everyone's futures reveals that the children Rua and Ruka grow up well. Guys stare at Ruka and bump into each other, and Ruka's female friends start gushing about Rua and saying he's hot.
- In MÄR, Koyuki and Ginta already had a Childhood Friend Romance, but when he returns from MAR Heaven, she is quite impressed to see that he's stronger, taller (courtesy of Year Inside, Hour Outside training) and doesn't need glasses anymore (the latter was due to the magic of MAR Heaven—his vision cleared the moment he got there).
- In episode 4 of Burn Up Excess, we learn that when Maya (who edges out Rio and Nanvel by 1cm for the bustiest of the squad) left for the Tokyo police academy, she was a Tomboy. When she returns home to Osaka on personal business, everyone was surprised when they learned just how much she filled out while she was in the academy, and there was a Running Gag where she slugged everyone who noted it in a specifically lusty manner.
- In Love Lab, Riko's childhood friend Satoshi was very effeminate looking and teased for resembling a girl. When they run into each other in the present, she doesn't recognize him at first because he's become manly.
- In Bleach, this happens to Urahara's child assistants Jinta and Ururu after the Time Skip. Jinta became very tall and muscular, while Ururu became taller with larger breasts and attracts male attention. Also happens to Ichigo's sister Karin. Post-Time Skip, not only has she filled out considerably from her Tomboy days, she's also picked up more of her brother's spiritual awareness.
- In Kare Kano, Takefumi's appearance has changed so dramatically from when he was a fat, bullied kid that Tsubaki, the girl he liked back then, doesn't even recognize him at first. He takes advantage of this to get close to her with the intent of getting revenge on her for her only pretending to be his friend back then because a teacher ordered her to. Funnily, it later comes out that Tsubaki actually liked his fatness so much that she tries to fatten his slimmer older self back up.
- Gender-inverted in Sand Chronicles, Ann notices that her love interest Daigo has gotten taller in Chapter 2 (1.5 years after Chapter 1) and she wonders if it's why she feels nervous around him.
- Mixed with Leaning on the Fourth Wall in the Captain Tsubasa TV series. In the first episode of the original TV series's junior high arcs, Sanae Nakazawa is introduced by talking to a bunch of girls that are off-screen, with her back towards the 'camera'. She then turns and directly addresses the viewers, identifying herself as Sanae to show the fans how, in the span of three years, she's gone from an unruly tomboy to a more mature Girl Next Door.
- Ruriko from Gate Keepers is a hard nosed, responsible student by day and a powerful invader hunter by night. Her childhood friend Shun remembers her as a weak hearted sniffler.
- Bokura no Hentai begins with a group of middle schoolers and has them aging a few years. Satoshi received this. He grew from a cute lil' Wholesome Crossdresser to a tall, bishonen boy within chapters despite being younger than the main trio. Puberty hit him hard where he grew several centimeters over a sprig break and he quit crossdressing. Marika's astonished by his change in clothes but soon falls for Satoshi.
- Mika of Seraph of the End certainly grew up nicely as evidenced by his Shower Scene.
- In chapter 46 Ferid drives up in his car and holds out his hand to Mika and Yuu, with a flirtatious look and teasingly saying "I heard you two were being attacked by a dangerous vampire so I came to your rescue. Come take a ride with me. I'll save you." He plays mind games with Yuu and Mika throughout the chapter, and when Yuu turns into a demon to attack Ferid for showing them Akane's head Ferid tells Mika he's "worried for the poor guy (Yuu)" because he's says Yuu could turn into a full demon. He states he has an antidote to cure Yuu and tells Shinoa "Let us go rescue dear Yuu." Mika is adamant to keep Ferid from getting near Yuu and says "I won't let you have your way with him!" Ferid smiles and says he just wants to help Yuu. Mika says he's not going to let Ferid touch him. Crowley engages Mika in a fight while Ferid states cheerfully "Now precious Yuu is all mine." Ferid approaches Yuu and blushes saying "Wow! Haven't you grown into the cute one!! Your demon is on the verge of rampage yet you still have such clear and beautiful eyes. No wonder you are the extra special guinea pig." He then lifts Yuu's face by his chin and gets close saying "Perhaps before I heal you I'll take a little sip of your blood."
- Sin City. John Hartigan saves eleven year-old Nancy Callahan from a pedophile rapist. Eight years later he walks into a bar looking for her, and is dumbfounded when informed she's the buxom stripper (played by Jessica Alba in the movie) up on stage in the cowgirl outfit.
Skinny little Nancy Callahan. She grew up. She filled out.
- The comic strip For Better or for Worse had a slight variation: Michael returned home to find that his sister Elizabeth was actually good-looking, and remarked on this, prompting her to go mark that date on the calendar. In another strip, he noticed that she actually looked similar to his girlfriend Deanna. Brain Bleach may have been needed.
- In The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Fat Freddy goes back to his hometown and meets an attractive teenage girl who invites him home. As they're sharing a bath together, her parents come home - and Freddy realises they're his parents too, having not recognised his now attractive sister.
- Runaways has done this a couple of times:
- In the very first issue, Alex refers to Nico as "that dorky girl" who borrowed his DVDs of The Prisoner the previous year and never returned them. When he sees her again, he is literally speechless. A flashback much later on shows that the younger Nico had shorter hair, glasses, and a much more conservative wardrobe.
- In the second volume, the gang meets a future version of Gert, described in Brian K. Vaughan's script as "busty" and "very, very attractive." The Gert fans know and love is an overweight, bespectacled nerd.
- Layla Miller in X-Factor. She was stranded in the future as a prepubescent girl, and returned as a young woman, with hips and "things" as Jamie observed.
- Gender-swapped in Zot!: Short-and-nebbish Woody, who has a crush on Jenny (who of course only has eyes for hero Zot), goes to France for the summer. When he returns, he's six inches taller and quite a bit buffer. Jenny's reaction: "My God, he's adorable!!"
- Archie Comics:
Reggie: S-Sue-Suzy! You've filled out! I mean, you've grown up! I mean, I don't know what I mean! [face turns green]
- A story titled "A Date with Suzy Stringbean!" had Betty set up a date between Reggie and an old classmate who had a crush on him, Susan Starn (or Suzy Stringbean, nicknamed because she was the skinniest girl in the class). Reggie fakes an illness to get out of the date, so Betty sends Archie in his place. When Reggie sees Suzy the next day:
Suzy: Gosh, Reggie! You must still be sick! You're turning a bit green!
Betty: Yeah! Green with envy!
- Another example: The reason Jughead avoids women is because he fears his heart is going to get broken a second time; the first was when his first love and childhood friend Joani Jump moved out of town. Or maybe he who moved away from her. At any rate, in one story, when they reunited briefly, for the first time since they were about five years old, she was a knockout. Even Reggie was a little flustered when he saw her. (Archie had enough respect for Jug to leave them alone, dragging Reggie with him.)
- Astérix Legionary has Panacea, who returns after many years studying outside the village.
- Les Légendaires:
- The series takes place in a world where everyone has been turned back into a child because of a curse the protagonists accidentally caused on their world. In Book 6, Danael, after going through a Time Travel, meets with a past, full-grown version of his Love Interest Jadina. He is quick to notice he was used to the child version of her, and forgot how beautiful she was as an adult.
- Later played straight in a minor way with character Toopie, who started out as a regular child and as such was still able to grow up until she reaches 12. When the heroes meet her again, she has reached such age, and Razzia is quick to notice how much she has grown up, pissing his girlfriend Tenebris off in the process.
- Supergirl started out being depicted (and drawn) as a typical teenager, with Supergirl rarely looking more than 13 or 14 in most of her early appearances, only by the mid-1960s to be depicted and drawn as a sexy 20-something woman. Although "eye of the reader" does not apply for this trope, Supergirl becoming a woman is touched on in numerous issues, including stories where she tells her cousin Superman that she doesn't need his guidance or approval anymore.
- A 1967 issue of The Mighty Thor features the first modern encounter of Thor and Lady Sif. He is surprised because he remembers her as a child who he used to dangle upon his knees, and he now sees her as a stunning beauty. He concludes that: "By my mallet-thou art child no longer!" This was also Thor's reaction to meeting the grown-up Lorelei, Amora's younger sister, who is in the process of using magic to seduce and rape him. The last time Thor saw her she was still a child.
- An early-to-mid 60s installment of Peanuts has Linus reading the paper and fretting because...
Linus: Annette Funicello is all grown up!!
- When the 3rd Loki got his Plot-Relevant Age-Up in Young Avengers the reaction to his new teen/young adult self was stunned silence and:
Kate: Okay. Now he looks like trouble.
- In Outcast Bandicoot, Crunch is abducted when he and Tani are teenagers. It is several years before Crunch can return to Earth. Upon his return, he finds that Tani has grown up and changed in the years that passed.
- In A Pleasant Surprise, both Fluttershy and Midnight have this reaction to each other, given that they haven't met in years. Fluttershy didn't expect him to have grown up to be adorkable, and Midnight had no idea that Fluttershy had gone from cute to amazing.
- In the Buffy/Stargate crossover fic All Your Base Are Belong To Her, we catch up with Dawn as she approaches her eighteenth birthday. Although she had been cute enough even as a young teen, Dawn has come along nicely in the two and a half years since the end of Buffy Season Five, and is acknowledged by most (though not all) of the characters she meets as being a legitimately gorgeous young woman (as well as being an insufferable brat, but that's another point altogether).
- In the Harry Potter Fan Fic After the End, everyone is surprised to suddenly find out Eloise Midgen has become extremely attractive. Also Colin Creevey has become rather tall and good looking. There are a few fics out there that sometimes depict Neville has having grown out of his awkward younger phase and becoming something of a stud. No doubt, there is some influence the similar transformation of Matthew Lewis, the actor who plays Neville in the films.
- Child of the Storm:
- The fic has Harry undergo this offscreen - while there isn't a time skip, he is, at first, completely oblivious and constantly surprised by how much taller he's got, and the narrative doesn't particularly dwell on it, save to remark on his height. Over the course of the story, he goes from a thirteen year old who could probably pass for eleven to an almost fourteen year old who could comfortably pass for sixteen or seventeen, after The Glasses Come Off (thanks to Asgardian magical eye surgery around chapter 57), better food and a long overdue growth spurt - one probably related to his demigod genes at that. He's noted in-universe as being well on course to being very handsome indeed and to be a growing recipient of the Female Gaze. Since he's still 13 and a bit shy, he's more freaked out by it than anything else.
- Carol's main problem is that she went through this trope prior to the story starting, ahem, developing early into her canon counterpart. The sexual harassment that results is depicted as absolutely miserable and causes Carol to develop a somewhat spiky outlook since most guys her age seek to befriend her with a view to getting with her and grown men have no compunctions about hitting on her or copping a feel. She's 14.
- Fans of The Great Mouse Detective who like shipping the titular character with Olivia (canonically a young girl) invoke this trope to enable the pairing without being squicky.
- In the How to Train Your Dragon alternative continuity fanfic, Hitchups has a parental version of this when Hiccup, having fled Berk with Toothless for two years of adventures, returns to help his people against the Red Death. To the Berkians amazement, the clumsy boy named Hiccup has returned as a mighty and tested Dragon Rider warrior on top of being a brilliant inventor and dragon expert favored by Thor himself.
- In the Kingdom of Heaven fanfic, Prelude to Heaven, Balian is tall, gangly, pale and somewhat clumsy. Then after serving in an army, turns into... well, what Orlando Bloom is. This is noted by the girl he was crushing very badly on, who didn't recognise him and had had a bad experience in the intervening years before he sweeps her off her feet as it were.
- Naruto and Hinata in Twice Shy (sequel to Two Halves). Long story short, Tsunade convinced an old student of hers to take Naruto and Hinata for training during the time skip. They come back and well... Hinata has more confidence, doesn't stutter and wears modest clothes that don't hide her figure. Naruto thinks before he talks, eats a balanced diet, is less impulsive and (due to the proper diet and training during time skip) is 6 feet tall and ripped. When they get back to the village Kiba is practically foaming at the mouth at seeing Hinata. Sakura and Ino knock on Naruto's door and look down for when he opens it thinking he's still short... they end up staring at his chest.
- Played for Laughs in the Slayers x Lyrical Nanoha crossover Blood That Flows with Vita, who is now suffering from Laser-Guided Karma for calling Signum a Boob Monster, considering that she is about Hayate's height, with Shamal's bust.
- In the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom, this is extremely common in Roy/Ed fics, though it's likely to show up any time one of the Elric brothers or Winry is paired with an older character.
- Similar to The Great Mouse Detective example above, a subset of the Wreck-It Ralph fandom will age up Vanellope in order to ship her with Ralph, this trope is justified due to a graphics update to her game as a whole or from someone messing with her code.
- Some Homestuck fics feature a grown-up Tavros with wings, like his Famous Ancestor.
- In Children of Time, Sherlock Holmes first meets Beth Lestrade when she's a fifteen-year-old, Hot-Blooded tomboy. When he sees her next, she's seventeen and has matured quite a bit in the past couple of years, acting far more like an adult than a kid. He's left unsure of how to handle it.
- Played with/subverted in a number of Steve/Bucky fics that portray Bucky as having already fallen in love with Steve before he became considerably taller and buffer (although here, it's not the result of natural growing-up but the result of a super-soldier serum) and consequently needing some time to get used to Steve's new body and/or feeling jealous/insecure about how Steve gets a lot of attention from women now and doesn't need Bucky to look after him anymore. There are a number of AU fics for them too, though, that tend to play this trope straighter.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic "Strained Reunions", a reclusive 38 year old Harry Potter is shocked to discover that the "drop dead sexy" young witch who "just showed up one day, announced she was going to have me whether I knew it or not, and hung around so much I eventually fell in love with her" is, in fact, Rose Weasley, daughter of his best friends from school, Ron and Hermione, whom he had last seen when she was only three years old. They end up happily married with children, much to her parents chagrin.
- Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has a variation: shortly after being thrown into the new timeline, Ash meets a 15-year-old Misty, whom the narration describes this way:
Ash couldn't believe his eyes as he saw her; the short, angry, tomboyish girl just a bit older than him was now a tall, angry, tomboyish girl who actually looked like one of her older sisters in body shape.
Film — Animation
- Nala in The Lion King. Simba doesn't even recognize her at first!
- In the sequel, Kiara (Simba and Nala's daughter), being the protagonist, seems to react more to "he's all grown up" than Kovu does to her when they first reunite.
- A somewhat wacky version in Brother Bear 2. By the time Kenai meets his childhood friend Nita again, she's a pretty young bride-to-be, and he's a bear. It works out in the end; Nita becomes a bear in order to stay with him.
- A platonic variation: In The Princess and the Frog, Charlotte's reaction to Tiana in the blue dress (which Charlotte loaned her after a costume ruining) is half this, half She Cleans Up Nicely.
- "Look at you. Why, you're just as pretty as...a magnolia in May."
- The Book of Life:
- The main plot is kicked off when Maria returns to San Angel after several years of studying abroad.
- Maria herself has a moment like this when she sees Manolo singing "Creep."
- Happens to Princess Odette in the The Swan Princess. With the added twist that she and Prince Derek were engaged from an early age, but couldn't stand each other because she was an incorrigible tomboy and he thought girls had cooties. It then gets deconstructed as Derek wants to marry her straight away. Odette then asks him if her beauty is all that matters to him, to which he replies "what else is there?" so Odette calls off the marriage. Derek essentially has to spend the rest of the film proving that his love for Odette is based on more than just noticing how she filled out.
Film — Live-Action
- Sabrina, the Audrey Hepburn movie, later remade with Julia Ormond, builds a story around this trope.
- In 13 Going on 30, the main character finds out that her pudgy best friend grows up to be a pretty good-looking guy. Unfortunately, he's also engaged to someone else.
- Slums Of Beverly Hills, puberty hits Vivian fast and hard, that she almost grows enormous breasts overnight.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick (and the audience) discovers that "Jack", now Kyra, not only grew up and filled out, she also Took a Level in Badass (and was very annoyed to find out that her role model had been feeding her BS).
- Just Friends stars Ryan Reynolds as the fat, nerdy teenager in love with his best friend, Amy Smart, who loves him "as a brother". He runs away and 10 years later is rich, cool, and good looking. He comes back into town where she immediately is struck by his new appearance.
- The movie The Namesake, based on the book of the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, has an example of this when Gogol/Nikhil meets Moushumi Mazoomdar again after meeting her in high school. They eventually get married, but Moushumi has an affair with a friend from college.
- Gigi. The plot pretty much turns on the fact that the male lead falls in love with the female lead without even knowing it because he considers her a child, and therefore discounts her charm and appeal until it is all but shoved in his face (so to speak)!
- This trope can be inferred in Lord Steyne's attraction to Becky Sharpe when he meets her as an adult after having had an interesting encounter with her as a child in The Film of the Book of Vanity Fair.
- In Rush Hour 3, we meet Ambassador Han's daughter again after almost ten years. Carter mentions that they should get her a teddy bear, then he sees her and adds "or a bra!". Surprisingly though, for a film series about as bawdy as PG-13 can get, it doesn't play up her attractiveness very much beyond that.
- In She's Out of Control, dowdy Katie gets a makeover where she gets contact lenses, a new hairdo at a professional hair salon, a new wardrobe, and her braces removed while her father is out of town. He returns to be shocked and horrified that Katie is now being chased by practically every teenaged boy.
- Norrington noticed this in Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
- A male example in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, when Padme sees Hayden Christensen-era Anakin for the first time. He replies "So have you, grown more beautiful... for a senator, I mean."
- Enrique's and Ignacio's reunion as adults after not having seen each other after grade school in Bad Education has shades of this.
- Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (released on video as Archie: Return to Riverdale): This live-action TV-movie is about the high-school reunion of the comic book characters, now adults. Jughead spends most of the movie trying to avoid Big Ethel, but he decides to confront his fears and goes to her house. She's now a supermodel.
- During the first The Fast and the Furious movie Mia mentioned this as having happened to her brother Dom in regards to his relationship with his girlfriend Letty.
Mia: Letty grew up just down the street. She was into cars since she was like ten years old. Dom always had her attention. Then she turned sixteen...
Brian: And she had Dom's attention.
Mia: Yeah, it's funny how that works out.
- In X-Men: The Last Stand, Bobby Drake has certainly noticed that Kitty Pryde's grown into Ellen Page. Even more so◊ in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- It's a Wonderful Life: George Bailey has to be strong-armed into dancing with his friend's "kid sister" Mary at the graduation party, and reluctantly agrees only as a favor to his friend. Then he sees what Mary looks like now, and isn't reluctant any more.
- In Shadow of a Doubt, Charlie notices how his niece has grown since they last met. Their relationship gets more serious afterwards.
- Isabelle from Legends of the Fall had had a Precocious Crush on Tristan and they marry when he returned.
- The infamous unreleased The Fantastic Four has Sue Storm developing a Precocious Crush on Reed Richards at the age of 13, meeting him again 10 years later with one such introduction, and marrying him by the movie's end.
- The Tina Fey and Amy Poehler vehicle Sisters features a scene where they get together with an old high school friend, after exclaiming how Tina Fey's character is still as hot as she was in high school, he sees Amy's geeky character and declares she "grew up to become a peach".
- In most variations of The Phantom of the Opera, Christine and Raoul are childhood friends, becoming involved after Christine's musical enhancement by the Phantom. In the musical version by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Raoul actually sings the line "Can it be? Can it be Christine?/What a change! You're really not a bit the gawkish girl that once you were!" in the song 'Think Of Me'.
- Spoken nearly word for word by Joe Keller about Ann Deever in Arthur Miller's All My Sons, though it's his son that's interested in her.
- The Belgariad: In The Mallorean, Silk is completely thrown when he meets up again with Velvet, who he remembers as the child who always pulled his nose. She's been in love with him for years and, now she's on adult terms with him, sets off on a determined campaign to cure him of his bachelorhood. It still takes a while for him to admit that he has indeed noticed she is now all grown up, but she gets him eventually.
- The Elenium: When Sparhawk returns from a ten year exile, the child-Queen he remembers serving is now a grown woman of eighteen and extremely interested in him. The situation completely throws him for a while, before he comes to accept it.
- The pre-reviz Magic: The Gathering novel featured the initiate druid Greensleeves, in her late teens, being spirited away by an archdruid for a crash course in advanced magic. Her brother and some trackers took a week or two to find where she managed to get to in a single night. When they arrived he saw she had grown taller, gone from a skinny youth to being, as the cliche goes, a woman with curves in all the right places—perhaps older than her brother (in his early twenties)—and lost her stutter. The implication is that her mentor did a magical version of SORAS, compressing time for her so she could learn what she needed before she needed it, which she wouldn't have if she had been taught the traditional way, over years.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has the returning Theon Greyjoy flirting heavily (and we mean heavily; there is groping aplenty by both parties) with a local ship builder's wife while talking about his sister Asha, who was a skinny little thing with knocky knees and who allegedly has grown into chain mail and leather underclothes. Surprise; the ship builder's wife is Asha, who was deliberately fucking with him. Theon is none too pleased.
- Deconstructed by Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen who had had a Precocious Crush on her champion Ser Criston Cole. She grew up a beauty but inexperienced in sex so she asked her uncle Daemon for "lessons". Gossip got out of hand and damaged her reputation and her standing with Criston. This is just one account, related by a tell-all book by an ex-jester. The whole truth may never be known.
- One Star Wars EU novel features Wes Janson (who flew back seat with Wedge Antilles at Hoth) flirting with a female pilot, who he later finds out is Han Solo's daughter Jaina.
- Invoked in Keith Laumer's Retief's War, when Retief meets a very attractive girl he has no memory of ever seeing before ("Sorry — and I do mean sorry"), although she clearly knows him. Subversion, or maybe not, since she turns out to be his cousin.
"You couldn't be over twenty-one," Retief said. "It would take more than twenty-one years to forget that face."
The girl tossed her head, her eyes sparkling. "Perhaps you'll recall the name Fianna Glorian...?"
Retief's eyes widened. "You mean little Fifi...?"
- Invoked in the Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce. When the pages come back from holiday after Keladry has started developing breasts, Owen has this to say:
"Mithros' spear, Kel, you're a girl!"
"I've always been a girl."
"But a girl girl! With a chest and everything!"
- Molly Carpenter of The Dresden Files. Harry met her first when she was "somewhere between training wheels and training bra" and doesn't realise she's turned into a complete stunner until she calls him to help bail her boyfriend out of jail. However, he still feels very uncomfortable with the idea of relating to her in any non-platonic way because he remembers when she was a little girl. It doesn't help that her father is the one person whose good opinion matters the most to Harry.
- In The Dragonlance Chronicles, Tanis notices this after he pulls Laurana down on top of him. Especially justified as he is a half-elf and she is a full elf, so he hit puberty at least a decade before she did. Also happens with Caramon and Tika. He remembers her as a little freckled brat and is stunned by what she's grown into (and what has grown onto her, if you know what I mean...) after he's been gone for five years.
- In the first Gotrek & Felix novel, the main characters save a young girl named Kat from a Chaos warlord. When they return to the region a couple decades later in Shaman Slayer, she has become a badass Beastman hunter and quite an attractive young woman.
- An interesting variant happens to Cosette in Les Misérables. Fresh out of a convent school, she's a mousy little thing who Marius (her future husband) and Courfeyrac just think of in passing as 'Mademoiselle Lanoire' for her plain black dress. Then she herself notices she's gotten pretty, and makes more of an effort to dress accordingly, turning heads wherever she goes and causing Valjean, her adopted father, a lot of anxiety. Courfeyrac notices the change immediately, but Marius doesn't - until he meets her eyes.
- Invoked several times in The House of the Spirits:
- Clara del Valle, the soon-to-be matriarch of the Trueba family, was a kinda ugly little girl at age 12 when Esteban's fiancèe and the World's Most Beautiful Woman Rosa died. Some years later Esteban, now a Self-Made Man, asks the Del Valle family for Clara's hand in marriage... and is stunned to see that the 20-year-old Clara has grown into her looks quite a bit.
- Esteban and Clara's eldest daughter Blanca was rather ugly when she was born, average-looking as a child, and a total beauty as a teenager/adult.
- Blanca's love interest Pedro Tercero was a Country Mouse as a boy, then borderline Tall, Dark and Handsome as a teen/grown man. Then he loses three fingers, but has the charisma and the singing/songwriting skills to be still very attractive in the eyes of the women around him.
- Tránsito Soto was a rather ugly but charmingly plucky teen Hooker with a Heart of Gold when she befriended Esteban Trueba and he gave her some money so she'd make it in the city. Esteban found her again some years later and saw that, even with a tacky dress/hairstyle combo she had on, she looked much better. Each time they meet through their lives, Tránsito has grown further into her beauty until the last time, where she's a very old and serious-looking Miss Kitty.
- In Youth in Sexual Ecstasy, in the protagonist's backstory when his big sister started to grow up and develop, their then stepfather started to harass her and molest her, until one night after coming home drunk, he attempted to rape her but was stopped by their mother. Later the protagonist sees a recent picture of her and sees that she further grew into a real beauty.
- In Överenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt, Edvard suddenly has a realisation of this kind about his cousin Beatrice. And being the sociopath that he is, it only makes him across as a total creep.
- In Shimmering Splendor, a retelling of the Eros/Psyche myth, Psyche was very plain-looking when she was young and her family and neighbors grew so used to her plain looks that they didn't realize how much she changed as she grew older until a newcomer to the town tried to abduct her in the middle of the night.
- The Brady Bunch: Season 5's "Peter and the Wolf" has Greg (desperately) trying to get one of his buddies to date his girlfriend Sandra's cousin, Linda (on a double date to the drive-in movie theater). All of them say no. Why? Because when Sandra last saw Linda several years ago, she was a nerdy girl in pigtails and thick horn-rimmed glasses, and wearing braces. Greg then talks Peter into posing as one of his buddies ... and then needless to say, on date night, Linda had grown up -- hotter and sexier than ever!
- In Boy Meets World Cory and Shawn are stunned when they find out Topanga went through puberty during summer vacation.
Shawn: "That's a nice blouse." (stares at Topanga's chest)Topanga: "Thanks, I got it over the summer."Shawn: "Summer was very good to you."Topanga: "At least what I grew is real." (Rips Shawn's fake sideburns off)
- The Wonder Years;
- It happens with Kevin's cousin in an episode starring Soleil Moon Frye.
- Reappears in the sitcom Working, when the two Wonder Years actors meet in this setting.
- Parodied in The Monkees episode "The Monkees in Texas". Mike visits his aunt in the Lone Star State and meets his cousin Lucy, whom he has not seen in years and of course is now gorgeous. He marvels over how the knock-kneed girl with bad teeth he used to hang around with is now a beautiful swan, until his aunt informs him that he is confusing Lucy with his other cousin, Clara, who still looks the same.
- Gender flipped in Sister Sister. Tia and Tamera's neighbor Roger was always trying to get a date/a kiss/SOMETHING from either one of them and they'd always blow him off with "Go home, Roger!" Over one summer, however, he goes through puberty, turns into a hunk ("from AS IF...to ALL THAT!"), and the girls spend an episode fighting over him before realizing they'd still rather just be friends with him.
- Twisted in an episode of Two and a Half Men, where a homely childhood friend of Alan's shows up, now a knockout. As Alan and Charlie compete for her affections, she reveals she had starved herself and had plastic surgeries to make herself beautiful, so she could rub it in their faces for teasing and ignoring her in high school.
- The second episode of Blossom is called..."Blossom Blossoms". Three guesses as to what it's about.
- Towards The Republic: When Sun Yat-sen first met little Song Qingling, she was a seven-year-old girl. And when he met her again years later, she had grown into a nubile young woman whose childhood crush on him had become full-fledged love.
- In the first episode of The Steve Harvey Show, Steve finds out that Regina Grier, the fat girl he tormented in high school, is (1) no longer fat and (2) now his boss at the high school he teaches at.
- Malcolm in the Middle:
- There's an episode where Malcolm meets a female friend after the summer holidays, and can't work out why she's suddenly slouching around in baggy jumpers snapping at people. Turns out she... filled out, and isn't used to the male attention she's started getting because of it. Malcolm tries to be understanding, but can't quite concentrate... Particularly funny because the last time she appeared, Malcolm's mom confidently predicted she would ''fill out'' in front of Malcolm, his friend, and her parents.
- Another episode featured an incredibly sexy babysitter hired for the boys, who turned out to have been an old classmate's of Francis'. Francis calls them from military school, and we see his image of her as an obese, awkward nerd.
- That '70s Show: "Oh my God, it's Casey Kelso and he's so DREAMY!" Also played with in regards to "Eric's Hot Cousin!"
- An episode of Cheers has Sam reuniting with an "old" flame and her daughter, who was a child when he knew them before, but now not so much. He tries to sleep with both mother and daughter.
- Growing Pains:
- Mike, on the first day of school, spots an incredibly beautiful girl in the halls and spends the day following her around trying to get her to tell him her name. She seems to know him already. Turns out that she's "Buck-Toothed Becky," whom he used to mock for getting corn stuck in her braces.
- Mike's friend Boner catches Carol in her night gown, ogles her chest, then says to her "Well, they're growing quite nicely."
- Doctor Who:
- Amy Pond in the episode "The Eleventh Hour". The Doctor meets her first when she's seven, and after accidentally time travelling 12 years doesn't recognize the older Amy at first since she's understandably grown since five minutes ago. The sexy aspect of this trope is shown too, as she's wearing a kissogram outfit that shows off her impressive legs, not that the Doctor notices.
- The cricket bat to the head may not have helped.
- "The Girl in the Fireplace" features a similar time jump with the Doctor first encountering Madame de Pompadour at the age of 7. When he meets her again — a few minutes later by his reckoning — she is played by the gorgeous Sophia Myles.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In the episode "Him", Xander and Willow come to the simultaneous realization that the girl they've both been ogling is Buffy's kid sister Dawn.
- The Mayor gets all teary-eyed seeing Faith go on a torture/kill date with Angelus. "She's not a little girl any more."
- In the episode "Making the Girl", Castle runs into a model who knows him from somewhere, but who he doesn't remember. She gives him her phone number anyways, much to Beckett's chagrin. His teenage daughter informs him that the model in question is in fact the gangly girl who used to babysit her years before, making Castle feel like a Dirty Old Man.
- Castle has this reaction to his own daughter while at a sci-fi convention. After cooing to Beckett about how cute Alexis was dressed as a little Princess Leia, he later freaks out when she walks by (under)dressed in a stripperiffic cosplay outfit.
- Inverted on Friends when Monica is all grown down between her first and second meeting with Chandler. There's only a year gap but she loses a ton of weight and he's totally gobsmacked.
- On Maury, he will often feature people who used be nerdy or obese (or both) who improved their looks (usually with plastic surgery). The girls are often Stripperiffic and the guys are usually muscle-bound beefcakes.
- In Teen Wolf, Kate made a predatory "this one grew up in all the right places" comment towards Derek, implying his physique was gained during the six years when he and his sister were away from Beacon Hills. It implies that he wasn't considered "grown up" when she sexually manipulated him.
- After listing off the varying ways in which America isn't doing to well at the moment, Stephen Colbert consoles the crowd at the Clinton Global Initiative by pointing to Matthew Lewis's successful conquering of puberty.
Colbert: And, most importantly, Neville Longbottom now looks like this. I think we can all agree that that is a real message of hope.
- On a recent episode of Glee, Kurt is seen looking significantly buffer and flexing muscles previously not seen in his stage combat class at college, joking with his friends that he's "finally hit puberty." Several people, girls and guys alike, look on appreciatively while Blaine, his fiancé, jealously eats Cheetos in the background.
- On an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter, Juan Epstein's slightly younger sister puts in an appearance. Barbarino remembers her—but not quite like that.
Barbarino: So, Carmen... you've filled out!
- Subject of the songs "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" and "Next Door To an Angel" by Neil Sedaka.
- "Little Sister" by Elvis Presley
- "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners can be interpreted as this.
- Easily interpreted in the song "Valleri" by The Monkees.
"She's the same little girl who used to hang around my door
but she sure looks different than the way she looked before..."
- "Shout" by the Isley Brothers.
- "The Little Girl I Once Knew" by The Beach Boys
- "Big Girl Now" by New Kids on the Block featuring Lady Gaga
- "Daddy's Money" by Ricochet
- "One of the Boys" by Katy Perry
- "All Grown Up" by Johnny Horton
- Steely Dan: Well, we used to play when we were three—how about a kiss for your "Cousin Dupree"?
- Gorillaz's Noodle caused rampant Viewer Gender Confusion in her Phase 1 preteen days, became more obviously feminine (if still with a tomboyish style of dress) in Phase 2 at the age of thirteen and fourteen, and is now a pretty and more obviously-feminine young woman in "On Melancholy Hill".
- Control by Janet Jackson from the first person point-of-view.
- "She Hasn't Always Been This Way" by Doc Walker combines this trope with Unrequited Love Switcheroo, as the singer realises that his friend's sister (who used to have a crush on him) has now grown up into a very attractive young lady who won't give him the time of day.
"She hasn't always been this way. I really can't believe how much that girl has changed. She's out of my life, she's out of my reach, I'm out of her mind, she's out of my league..."
- An angle in ECW between Tommy Dreamer and Raven revolved around a fat girl named Beulah McGillicutty whom Dreamer and Raven had both known at summer camp. Dreamer had made fun of her at the time for her weight, see, and so she fell in with Raven. Beulah grew up not just to be a hottie, but according to many wrestling fans, the most classically beautiful valet of all time. She ended up with Dreamer in both the storyline and real life.
- In a more sentimental and nostalgic way, in Fiddler on the Roof. In the song "Sunrise, Sunset", the older characters come to terms with a young couple getting married. "Is this the little girl I carried, is that the little boy at play? I don't remember growing older, when did they?"
- Played with in The Yeomen of the Guard. To avoid execution, Col. Fairfax masquerades as Leonard Meryll, who's been away in the army for years. When Leonard's sister Phśbe greets him in front of everybody, Fairfax is baffled and has to be told who she is. He quickly covers with "Why, how you've grown! I did not recognize you!"
- The comedy Two and Two Make Sex spends the entire second act establishing this fact then sitting back and watching the consequences. George discovers that Jane, who he's been having an affair with, is in fact Janey, a girl he hasn't seen since she was three. He was reminded of this fact by his old football friend, Jack, who just happens to be Janey's father.
- Regine Engstrand in Ghosts. It is strongly implicated by all the other characters (up to and including Helen Alving). that she has "filled out" and has become quite attractive.
- Barbie has not one, but two kinds of dolls with "growing up" mechanisms that give them taller statures and larger breasts.
- 8 year old Kaylie from Hunter: The Reckoning returns in Hunter: The Reckoning: Redeemer as an 18 year old hottie.
- Averted Trope - What Red is to Asellus in Sa Ga Frontier. Asellus used to babysit him when he was a kid, it helps that she hasn't aged a day because of the whole being a half-Mystic issue. But there is no relationship between Red and Asellus other than her watching him when he was younger
- Male example: In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Nabooru, upon meeting up again with Link after seven years, expresses much annoyance over the fact that she never gets the chance to give him that "Something Special" now that he's a smokin' Bishōnen.
- Applies to the entire cast of Persona 2 Innocent Sin. Tatsuya and Jun are plenty good-looking in their own right, but Lisa, Eikichi, and Maya are this even moreso. Lisa, being Caucasian, was mocked for her appearance when she was a child, but grew up to be the envy of her high school, and Eikichi, a popular and skinny Visual Kei fanatic was an obese, shy loser as a kid. Maya looks drastically different as an adult, having developed nicely and grown her hair out to the point that the others don't recognize her.
- Rydia from Final Fantasy IV, after she spends some time in the Feymarch.
- An example that was a good 4 years (IRL) in the making - in Guild Wars pre-searing there was, once upon a time, a cute little girl named Gwen. She wanted to find her missing flute, and occasionally cast healing spells on you if you had her follow you. After the events of the Searing, the entire countryside was destroyed, and many people died. We never got to find out what happened to her, except we found her broken flute...Three expansion packs and 4 Years later, we got Guild Wars: Eye of the North (GW:EN) expansion. Guess who came back as a fully grown-up woman! (plus full backstory). The player eventually gets to attend her wedding (no, not to the player, to another NPC)
- Sherry Birkin goes from the Tagalong Kid in Resident Evil 2 to the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter in Resident Evil 6.
- In Tales of Graces Asbel, Cheria, Hubert and Richard end up looking mighty fine after the Time Skip. Asbel and Richard became Bishounen, Hubert proves that Nerds Are Sexy and Cheria is hot with a mini-skirt to boot.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Kyle and Syrene's C support has them realize that they met as teenagers (Syrene was a Pegasus Knight in training for Frelia, Kyle was a squire for the Renais military, some years ago he ran some errands for his country in her land and she helped him with that). Cue Kyle being surprised to see that the cute girl he befriended years ago is now a beautiful Lady of War.
- In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, there's a platonic example in regads to Finn and his childhood friend Selphina:
Fin: "So this is the little girl with the braids...?"Selphina: "Ten years can make a difference. I'm now married to Glade!"
- El Presidente's Daughter to Juan in Guacamelee!.
- Sera is amazed how much older Hope is in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Justified, since she travelled 10 years into the future and sees the young teenager "suddenly" aged by a decade into a young man. A Live Trigger option during the game can also be used to lampshade her reaction.
- Dart is amazed at how much Shana has changed in The Legend of Dragoon. She was a scrawny 13 year old when he left but now she's an 18 year old young woman, and she doesn't want to be Dart's "little sister" anymore either.
- In World of Warcraft, adventurers who ran the original Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon came to the aid of Awbee, a dragon whelp tortured to near death by Blackrock orcs. In the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Awbee returns to the dungeon as a fully grown adult dragon and repays the favour to the adventurers.
- When introduced in the first Yakuza game, Haruka was a cute 9-year-old kid. As the series progresses, she grows into a cuter kid. By Yakuza 5, she's 16 and has grown quite beautiful. Yakuza 6 shows her as having grown into a beautiful woman of 20.
- Puberty seems to favor the cast of Clock Zero a lot considering how gorgeous everyone is in the future. Nadeshiko gets this reaction by Nakaba in the Drama CD and in the bonus epilogue, while Madoka also gets this reaction from Nadeshiko twice: as Bishop and as his adult self from Nadeshiko's present timeline ten years after the main plot has ended.
- In Fate/stay night, Shirou mentions early on that lately he's been getting this feeling for Sakura.
- Waver Velvet in Fate/Zero: short, scrawny, wimpy nerd. Waver Velvet ten years later: Officially voted #1 TILF of the Mage Association.
- There's a weird "instant" version that happens in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games with Nick's spirit medium sidekicks Maya and Pearl. In The Verse, whenever somebody channels a spirit, they take on the physical appearance of said spirit. Naturally, when Nick's very busty Spirit Advisor Mia gets summoned by either her teenage sister or her 8-year-old cousin, the... er, maturity is very noticeable. In Trials and Tribulations, the third game, an old man who goes to a coffee shop to ogle the waitresses refuses to talk to Phoenix, who then semi-concocts a scheme to get Maya employed at the coffee shop. He then convinces her to come with him to meet the old man, who looks at her uniform with obvious lechery...until deciding that she's too "small". Cue the spirit possession, and the much more "developed" Mia begins questioning the old man, who is only too happy to provide answers. Lampshaded afterwards when Mia states she "can't believe Maya called [her] for this!" before dispossessing her sister.
- One of the most interesting bits of Tokimeki Memorial 2. The game features an interactive prologue where the protagonist is in grade school, and meets the various female characters as children. After the prologue, the protagonist moves out of town, and is only reunited with his childhood friends when he starts high school (the game proper): naturally, they're all grown up. The protagonist and Hikari, his closest childhood friend, regularly have discussions of how much and in which way they have changed, throughout the storyline. Also, if the protagonist is a Track & Field Club member, and sees Hikari if he peeks at the girls' bathroom during Summer Training Camp, he'll make a comment on how much she has grown physically.
- In the words of Umineko: When They Cry's Battler Ushiromiya: "Jessica has breasts now!" Much of the family is surprised too to see that Battler's a tall bishonen now (if a horny, immature one).
- "Uncle" Kunihiko in My Forged Wedding does not have an immediate reaction to seeing the protagonist again once she arrives in Tokyo from Kyushu after graduation from university. Instead, he continues to think of her as the little girl he used to babysit, and only begins to become aware of her as a woman halfway through his route, with a sudden corresponding change in the way he treats her once the realization hits him.
- Played with in If My Heart Had Wings: Aoi did already confess to Childhood Friend Ageha before he left, but he'd merely innocently mistaken his worries about leaving for love and didn't really have a crush on her yet. And in process of confessing, he inadvertently offended Ageha by claiming that he wants to go out with her because she's One of the Boys, meaning that in the meantime until they meet again Ageha deliberately tried to invoke this trope by making herself into a cute girl in the hopes that he'd be shocked and humbled when he returns. He's definitely surprised to see his young, boyish friend having turned into a such a pretty girl... but he doesn't remember the comment, and as soon as they start interacting again they fall into familiar patterns. It's not until they get caught in the rain one day and see each other half-naked and wet that it hits the both of them that they're the opposite gender and damn attractive, too.
- In Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Saionji is a classical dancer who looks like a child despite being the same age as the rest of the cast. However, the only reason she looks like that is that the cast is trapped in a simulation and look the same as they did when they first entered Hope's Peak academy. Later on, the main character, Hinata, finds a newspaper clipping from the real world that shows how Saionji really looks, and she's definitely grown up, looking taller and much more mature.
- Scary Go Round did this in early 2008 - after a three-year absence, the hero's former student-exchange partner becomes worthy of his romantic attentions after straightening her hair and getting contact lenses. She has also become magically cool, interesting and something of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the latter probably due to the fact that she is French. Meanwhile the audience is encouraged to laugh at her little sister, who is as ugly now as the elder was three years ago. In 2014, the little sister has gotten the same treatment. That's her on the right, in the hoodie.
- Dream Tales comics, "A Tale of Two Sisters," "The Big Splash" and "Regression to the Mean" feature a younger sister outgrowing her older sister.
- Gordito in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, as Doc himself put it, "got handsome" over the course of the Bad Future.
- In El Goonish Shive, Elliot notes this about Sarah's older sister here.
- Kingdom Hearts: "Hey Sora, I have boobs now!"
- In Kubera, Leez is a gonk (though she's usually drawn with Generic Cuteness in deference to her status as a main character) who gets scowls all the time. Flashforwards and a temporary Plot-Relevant Age-Up show that in a few short years she will be a curvy Statuesque Stunner who turns heads everywhere she goes. And she'll die shortly after. The Plot-Relevant Age-Up was a warning: It was showing her guardian what she would look like twelve hours before her death.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: One of the early fights features a version of Dende's little brother, Cargo, who by this point in time is an adult.
- Questionable Content plays with the idea in this strip, though in this case the "she" in question is a daydreaming robot.
- Sticky Dilly Buns plays with the trope a couple of times — once for each gender:
- When the bisexual Zii encounters ingenue Ruby for the first time in years, having last seen her as a child, she remarks that Ruby has "grown into a very fine young woman." While Zii shows no signs of active sexual attraction in the ensuing conversation (Ruby may be naive, but she's somehow very obviously straight in every way), she's happy to talk to her as a sexual being.
- The teenage Dillon used to babysit a little boy named Julian. When Julian turns up to visit in the present, he turns out to have grown impressively; the gay Dillon's first response is "Oh, my!". However, Dillon can't get over the idea of Julian being a child, and hence isn't comfortably attracted to him; unfortunately, both Julian and Yaoi Fangirl Ruby promptly start looking for ways round this.
- The Nostalgia Critic:
- The host went through all the stereotypical downfalls of puberty at about thirteen, but as he's bragged, thankfully grew "handsomener— han— hand— han— ner, prettier" when he got older.
- A lot of commenters on the A Simple Wish review seemed to have this reaction to Mara Wilson when she confronted the Critic at the end.
- The Nostalgia Chick's Nella greets Mara Wilson with the following:
Nella: Holy shit, Matilda, you've got a great rack!
- In the five-part story that begins Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Monterey Jack had known Gadget when she was younger; when he and his two friends first meet her in the story, he exclaims that he hasn't seen her "since you were knee-high to a knee!" (Slightly inverted because Jack shows more a paternal attitude towards her than anything else, since he was friends with her dad and she probably thinks of him as a favorite "uncle".)
- Parodied with Stewie and his old dancing school rival Olivia in Family Guy. Stewie falls in love with her because "she's all grown up," but she looks just the same as before.
- In Goof Troop, Max hasn't seen his (now college age) cousin Debbie in a while. By his own admission, she's now super hot.
- Happens in the Kim Possible movie A Sitch in Time, to both Kim's little brothers and Wade.
- On Phineas and Ferb:
- Baljeet has this reaction when his old childhood friend Mishti comes to visit and looks like she's a teenager; he refers to her transformation as "turning into a girl" (given the flashback of them playing soccer in the mud, she seems to have been something of a tomboy). Somewhat like the Family Guy example, because both Baljeet and Mishti seem to be preteens who last saw each other as children.
- Doofenshmirtz has the same reaction when his old childhood friend Grulinda moved to Danville; she was a tomboy who used to dump water on his head because she liked him but he was too petty to see it that way. He was stunned speechless when he saw her.
- Portrayed in South Park episode "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society", where the male fourth-graders behaved like apes when they saw Bebe's naturally-developing chest.
- Invoked in the Terrytoons short, "The Wolf's Pardon"; Taking place in a 'verse' where the figures of Mother Goose stories have grown up, the Big Bad Wolf, having spent the last ten years in prison, realizes that Little Red Riding Hood must have become more…(Traces an hourglass shape, wolf whistles). He goes to her home and finds that while Red does appear more shapely, her face looks a bit goofy with thick-lensed glasses.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Running With Scissors", Marco becomes stuck in another dimension where time flows faster than on Earth. When Star arrives to retrieve him, he's gone from a scrawny teen to a rugged man mountain. Star can barely keep her eyes off him or keep her sentences coherent. Much to his regret, his body reverts to his 14 year old self when he returns to Earth.
Marco My hot bod! Where did it go!?