Youthful Freckles

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 and adorkable 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 a fetish to some people.

Compare to Childish Tooth Gap, another design trait used to showcase a character's youth.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Max from Beyblade.
  • Outside of Decode, Tsutomu Senkawa from Birdy the Mighty.
  • Candy from Candy Candy. Tomboy? Check. Girlish Pigtails? Check. Plucky Girl? Check!
  • Santi from Kujira No Josephina, is a pre-teen boy who has freckles on his face and the series is his Coming-of-Age Story.
  • Though an older teen instead of a child, Laughing Under the Clouds's Takeda has some freckles, is the youngest in the Yamainu and is more inexperienced and hotheaded than the other members.
  • Ja'far and Koumei in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic have them. Coincidentally they are Beleaguered Assistant to two of the most powerful men in the world.
  • Lolo Endive of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, a brown-haired Genki Girl with Girlish Pigtails.
  • 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.
    • Charlotte Linlin, better known as Big Mom, is depicted with freckles when she was a cheerful five-year old.
    • A non-canon example: Amanda from the second TV special has freckles.
  • Ahiru from Princess Tutu.
  • Sasami from Tenchi Muyo! has these, but they tend to appear and disappear depending on the scene/series/incarnation/frame of animation.
  • Makoto from Wandering Son has freckles. She dislikes them, thinking they make her look less cute. Her mother also has freckles.
  • Rebecca from Yu-Gi-Oh! has freckles, she also has Girlish Pigtails in Season One and Season Five.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Natalya Rudakova in 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 had lots of freckles as a child (as seen in a flashback in the first film), and none as an adult.


    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Inverted with Nikki Roxx, who was very pale in her youth and referred to as "La Gringa" while wrestling for LLF in Monterrey. She got more freckles as she aged, likely due to Arena Femenil being an outdoor venue. The Hollywood Homely aspect was used in TNA when she dyed her hair brown and became a target of The Beautiful People, though given she was the baby face in the feud it might have also been a subversion.

  • The Friendly Freckles Blythe doll.
  • Barbie's friend Midge has red hair and freckles.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • 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 Dangan Ronpa, 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 Monokuma, has no freckles.

    Web Animation 
  • Toothy from Happy Tree Friends, with a Butt-Monkey trait to match.
  • RWBY has Oscar, a young Farm Boy who has freckles dusting his face. This is used to show how young he is, but still having to take on the burden of being the show's former Big Good's Legacy Character, even though he is yet to be clarified about what he is facing and why is he facing it.


    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Red Hair And Freckles