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Freckles are associated with being young and given to both children and teens to emphasize their age. It can also be used to brand a younger person as a misfit, perhaps because it's a easily visible mark that other children can make fun of.
Freckles are caused by exposure to sunlight, especially on those with fair skin. The propensity to freckle is determined by genetics. Redheads are genetically associated with both fair skin and freckles, although Hollywood tends to overemphasize the connection, similar to Significant Green-Eyed Redhead
Because freckles are caused by sunlight exposure they are associated with those who run around outside all the time, symbolizing youthful energy (in both positive and negative forms). Freckles can be used to symbolize youthful innocence as well. They can also be a sign of poverty, as poor children are more likely to be Free-Range Children
Aside from the association with red hair, different hair colors combined with freckles can indicate something about the character:
Black hair and freckles
: This character may be East Asian with a touch of But Not Too Foreign
Brown hair and freckles
: Such characters are often Hollywood Homely
, especially nerds. But it can be found on the Girl Next Door
characters as well.
Blonde hair and freckles
: Common on the Bratty Half-Pint
, and somewhat of the Phenotype Stereotype
of American southerners
Some archetypes commonly given freckles include:
Girls with freckles have some additional associations, as freckles tend to be associated with girlish innocence. They are Fetish Fuel
to some people.
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Anime & Manga
- Ahiru from Princess Tutu.
- Gemini Sunrise in Sakura Wars V.
- Makoto from Wandering Son has freckles. He dislikes them, thinking they make him look less cute. His mother also has freckles.
- Sasami from Tenchi Muyo! has these, but they tend to appear and disappear depending on the scene/series/incarnation/frame of animation.
- One Piece
- Ace has these; odd given that he's in his twenties and a great deal less childish than his brother Luffy. His backstory though makes it pretty clear that he fell under the Bratty Half-Pint category.
- His mother also had these, and she clearly fell into Plucky Girl territory.
- A non-canon example: Amanda from the second TV special has freckles.
- Max from Beyblade.
- Candy from Candy Candy. Tomboy? Check. Girlish Pigtails? Check. Plucky Girl? Check!
- Outside of Decode, Tsutomu Senkawa from Birdy the Mighty.
- From Anpanman, Yakisobapanman's younger sister, Yakisobakasu. Her name's actually a pun on yakisoba (like her brother, her head is made out of yakisobapan, a bun filled with yakisoba, so the noodles act as their hair), and of sobakasu, which means "freckle".
- Lolo Endive of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, a brown-haired Genki Girl with Girlish Pigtails.
- Several characters in Attack on Titan have them.
- Marco Bott is the Brown haired, adorkable variant.
- Ymir has the Black-haired variant, which works since she has Titan powers and is from a completely different culture/group than the rest of the cast.
- Hannah is the standard red-haired variety.
- Ilse Lagner had them, which is significant since she was an Identical Stranger to Ymir. It confuses a Titan she encounters, and allows her to leave vital information behind in her Apocalyptic Log.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Natalya Rudakova in The Transporter 3, playing the kidnapped daughter Frank is forced to drive around with him. She certainly proves troublesome until they warm up to each other.
- Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean has lots of freckles as a child, and none as an adult.
- The Friendly Freckles Blythe doll.
- Barbie's friend Midge has red hair and freckles.
- Yuuko Shirakawa of Katawa Shoujo, a college student who works part-time as a librarian and waitress and isn't much older than Hisao or his classmates, has them. The same applies for one nameless girl in Lilly's route who is said to be an underclassman, the only student not in third year apart from the April Fool's Day character Rika.
- In Danganronpa, Junko Enoshima has a light dusting of freckles over her nose, which she tells Naegi is one of the things that gets airbrushed out of her glamour shots. It's a plot point, actually: the girl who presents herself as Junko and has freckles is not Junko, but her twin sister and decoy Mukuro Ikusaba. The real Junko, the Big Bad behind the evil Monobear, has no freckles.