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Brainy Baby

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Genius is a very rare thing, and it often takes years of education, study and work to attain it. But genius can begin to show itself at a very young age, resulting in Teen Geniuses and Child Prodigies. But what happens if it shows up even sooner than that? The result is the Brainy Baby.

The Brainy Baby is any infant with the intelligence of a rocket scientist. Not only can he speak, but he can speak 10 different languages fluently, know the complete works of William Shakespeare, and figure out how to invent time travel, all just coming out of the womb. The baby may be an Instant Expert if they're actually shown in the process of learning any of these things, given how little time they've even been alive, or they might just know them in a similar way to how someone who says Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum! can increase their knowledge by boosting their intelligence.


This is most commonly Played for Laughs, especially when the baby's hypercompetent in areas that would call for some amount of physical prowess, rather than just intellect; having a baby be The Ace, besting grown men and women at everything they do, is inherently funny. However, it can also be played straight if the intent is to show that the character has such an exceptional brain that they are to a Child Prodigy what a Child Prodigy is to a "normal" genius.

Some cases of this trope are actually smart adults or teenagers who've been subjected to reverse aging. Others are some variety of immortal and age much slower physically than mentally.



    open/close all folders 

  • Ads for baby formulas abuses this trope, especially in Hong Kong, with play-school age children demonstrating remarkable vocabularies, problem-solving abilities, and mathematical skills.
    • Parodied in the UK by an advert which showed a baby of about six months who had arranged his alphabet blocks to spell "PAEDIATRICIAN."note 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ivan Whisky/Cyborg 001 of Cyborg 009 plays the trope straight, but in the 2001 one he's a subversion. He's a very powerful telepath and telekinetic with the intelligence level of an adult, but also is trapped in the body of a baby since he was (unwillingly) given all of this through cyborg enhancements. This means, poor 001 is Not Allowed to Grow Up and, unless he's given a new mechanical body, he will remain as a Brainy Baby forever.
  • Pulmo Allen of Amuri in Star Ocean is the commanding officer of a Space Station, wears make-up and high-heels, and is called 'Professor' by her elders, all at the tender age of 3. The fact that she is an Adapter probably has something to do with it.
  • Turbo from Dr. Slump is killed and then revived by aliens, gaining Psychic Powers and a genius-like intellect in the process.
  • In Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, there are the Arcobaleno, who are known to be the 7 strongest babies in the world. They are one of the cases of reverse aging, as they were cursed in the past.
  • Mannish Boy of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of Dio's superpowered assassins, despite being a baby. In general, whatever process causes someone to develop a Stand also causes them to gain the intelligence of an adult human, even animals and plankton.
  • Roujoteki Shoujo Hinata-chan: A side chapter shows the day a newborn Hinata came home from the hospital. Her family sees her folding origami cranes with a dexterity that defies what she should be capable of. Her brother then asks if Hinata is doing it to wish their mother a speedy recovery and gets a very clear, firm nod in response. While this is the result of Hinata being born with the full memory of her previous life, big brother Haruto believes his little sister is a genius.

    Comic Books 
  • Baby Brain in the Seven Soldiers: The Manhattan Guardian flashbacks to the Newsboy Army.
  • Valeria "Val" Richards, the second child of Reed and Susan Richards, was revealed to be a genius... as an infant. She takes after her good old Teen Genius dad, a borderline Child Prodigy himself, who privately speculated that she would start playing chess by the time she reaches age 2.
  • The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius: Barry used to be this, as shown in flashbacks. As an example, he built his first telescope when he was eight months old.
  • Whizzer and Chips:
    • Baby Boffin from "The S.O.S. Squad" whose inventions are all pram-related.
    • "Master P. Brain (Science is his Game)" was a pre-teen, but the first strip showed that as a baby he invented an automatic baby-feeding machine for himself.
  • In Generation Zero, Gamete is a super-intelligent psychic fetus.
  • While Cassandra Cain is illiterate even as an adult, she had a genius for the martial arts since she was an infant. One flashback panel shows her teething on a shuriken... and then hitting a bullseye with it on a target on a far wall.

    Comic Strips 
  • Sheldon, in both U.S. Acres and Garfield and Friends, is stated to have read newspapers before he was born, thus resulting in him refusing to hatch. He's also the most philosophical member of the cast.

    Fan Works 
  • Deconstructed in the FusionFall fanfic Invisible Sun. Since infancy, Dexter has been a genius. He could understand his parents long before he could walk and much earlier than he could talk (Dexter mentions he didn't talk until age 3 because he was learning and storing information). Unfortunately, this means that Dexter heard things he wasn't meant to understand, such as how his parents hadn't wanted a second child due to money issues and how they had wished for another daughter, not a son.
  • In My Sister Leni, Lisa could talk at one month and was reading advanced books before she was one. The problem is that she didn't want to interact with others or act like a "normal baby". She preferred to study, rather than play with toys, and would get mad when others patronized her for being an infant:
    Lisa: "If you stopped to pay attention, then you'll see that I am extraordinary compared to my peers! I'm the antithesis of those slobbering, stupid, primative newborns! And yet here you are lecturing me about how the world operates, not letting me get a word in. You assume that just because I have the physical characteristics of an infant that entitles you to patronize me like I'm one of them!"

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The premise of the movie Baby Geniuses is that all babies are like this until just before they learn to speak, at which point their intelligence collapses.
  • In the Robert Rodriguez movie Shorts, two brothers use a wishing rock to wish one of them were super smart. The wish is granted to their baby sister, who informs them through telepathy.
  • In Sky High (2005), the super-genius professor becomes one of these after the Pacifier is fired on him along with the rest of the school. His intellect remains completely untouched, but since his body is that of a baby he needs to use a machine to talk to the cast, even snarking a little about needing a change of diapers later.


  • MC Frontalot's song "Bizarro Genius Baby".

    Myths & Religion 
  • The eponymous character of the medieval Jewish satirical work The Alphabet of Ben Sira, from the moment of birth, is both fully capable of speech and much more intelligent than the adults he encounters (and never lets them forget it, either).
  • Mercury/Hermes was a wayward youth at the age of one day! Not only could he talk, he invented the lyre from a tortoise shell, and stole the cattle of Apollo for a lark. When accused of the crime, his reaction was "What do you want from me? I just a little baby."
  • Taliesin, the legendary bard of Medieval Wales, was not only able to speak at birth but compose poetry and song. This is because he was reborn from Gwion Bach, the poor slave who accidentally drank some of the witch Ceridwen's potion of inspiration.
  • Legends of Merlin often have him suddenly speaking perfectly around the time he is weaned. This is convenient, because this is also around the time when his mother is about to be put to death for getting pregnant out of wedlock; Merlin, with his prophetic knowledge, testifies that his mother was raped by a demon in her sleep and thus gets her spared.
  • According to The Qur'an, Jesus (who, remember, is revered as one of the greatest prophets in Islam) spoke shortly after being born to declare he was a prophet of God. It doesn't say if he talked afterward.

  • According to his poem "The Michael Rosen Rap", Michael Rosen could walk and talk at birth, swam the English Channel at the age of 1, joined a band at age 5, robbed a bank at age 7, and became Prime Minister of England at age 8.

    Video Games 
  • Baby Amelia Earhart in the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode, "The Tomb of Sammun-Mak". As the series has a tendency to reuse characters, Baby Amelia was present in Season 2, but they're not the same character: in season 2, it was the adult Earhart who had gotten in The Bermuda Triangle and drunk too much from the Fountain of Youth, where in Season 3 it was actually the young Earhart as a baby. Either way, both of them are very eloquent, and the one who wasn't an adult goes on tomb-raiding adventures in Egypt.
  • Dr. Fetus from Meat Boy series takes this to the next level.
  • Baby Head/Hoover from Captain Commando. He built his own Mini-Mecha.
  • The Garrickson Baby from EarthBound Beginnings. Unlike most examples on this page, he actually can't speak English. However, using telepathy reveals that the baby has psychic powers. He teaches Ninten and Ana how to use PSI Teleport.
  • Moshi Monsters has the Moshling species Glitzy Boo-Hoos. They're always babies with no teeth, yet can speak and walk upright.
  • If the character profiles in Super Smash Bros. are to be believed, the Yoshi race in the Super Mario Bros. series are an entire species born with a very high I.Q.

    Web Comics 
  • Downplayed in Kurami. The titular infant isn't able to speak yet, and still acts like a baby, but considering she can apparently complete a sudoku puzzle despite being nine months old and completely blind, she definitely qualifies.

    Web Original 
  • In Dante's Infanzia, because anyone still legally considered a child in their society winds up in Limbo, anyone who can retain their sanity are able to think like anyone their actual age.

    Western Animation 
  • Pictured above: Stewie of Family Guy. A big part of the character's humor comes from him being a super-intelligent Mad Scientist (probably the most intelligent character on the show, in fact), but lacking some extremely basic knowledge that only babies would not know. For example, he still gets confused by the peek-a-boo thing.
  • A minor character of The Proud Family is a super-intelligent infant who always seems to enjoy pestering Oscar. He speaks in a deep voice and is always outsmarting and embarrassing Oscar Proud. He also doesn't seem to reveal his intelligence to anybody but Oscar.
  • Diaper Man in The Mighty Heroes cartoon. He is actually the leader and "brains" of the title group.
  • "Labretto", the Origins Episode of Dexter's Laboratory, shows Dexter talking minutes after being born and building machines while still in the crib. Professor Hawk was also described as being extremely smart as a child ("At the age of four, he made history — by receiving a college degree!")
  • The Simpsons: Maggie Simpson certainly qualifies. She's led a revolt in daycare, successfully driven a car for miles (albeit into a prison wall), and sniped mobsters without being seen...with a shotgun. And the ONLY ONE bold enough to shoot Mr. Burns with his own gun after he stole her candy! It's heavily implied that Maggie knew well beforehand that Burns deserved to get shot. At the town hall meeting, when everyone else was yelling about various things Burns had done, when Marge added that Burns was "causing us all to yell" you could see on Maggie's face that she shared Marge's anger. She's saved Homer's life how many times now? And where did she learn how to swim and fence?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • At the ripe old age of one month, Pound and Pumpkin Cake are very intelligent and very mischievous little foals. And while surges of flight and magic ability are apparently normal for foals, that doesn't quite explain the twins' level of control over their abilities. They even know how to speak — their first words are "Pinkie" and "Pie".
    • The Cake Twins have nothing on Flurry Heart. She's not only smart, she's self-aware enough and intelligent enough to have developed full-blown neuroses.
  • Ike from South Park. At age three he can barely speak, but gets to go to kindergarten early and apparently reserves the TV every night to watch the news. In one episode he reads several novels written for adults in the course of one day.
  • A flashback on Invader Zim shows Dib spelling "ALIENS" out with his blocks when he was still in diapers. He also has vague memories of being experimented on, theorizing that extraterrestrials were trying to create a "genius super-baby." Irkens in general are given PAKs and uploaded with the collective knowledge of their entire species immediately after "birth." Not that this makes them "smart," though.
  • Shown in imagine spots involving Mr. Ratburn a good number of times in Arthur. Specifically:
    • In the prologue to the episode, "Arthur's Baby", when Arthur explains to the viewers that everyone was a baby once, in one spot, an infant version of Mr. Ratburn is seen writing math equations on the wall.
    • In the episode, "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble", Arthur and his friends all worry that Mr. Ratburn's younger sister, Rodentia, is as smart as her brother, imagining that happening even during their childhood years. One of these spots involves an infant version of Rodentia doing calculus on a laptop.
    • In the episode, "Bitzi's Beau", Buster worries that his Mom is dating Mr. Ratburn and they'll get married and eventually have children. In his Imagine Spot, he is surrounded by triplet toddlers, who being the children of his Mom and Mr. Ratburn, have rat-shaped heads and rabbit ears. The triplets are all hyperintelligent and nerdy, and want him to read them long books in French. One of them even has a chemistry set, which he breaks when he falls over, and blames it on Buster.
  • The Duck Dodgers episode "Where's Baby Smartypants?" has a baby philosopher who is considered the only person that could mediate peace talks between the most warlike races in the galaxy. Dodgers actually stands in for him and does quite well... then the real philosopher gets them all riled up again.
  • Downplayed for Lily Loud from The Loud House. While Lily might not be as intelligent as her sister Lisa (a four-year-old Child Prodigy who has already finished school up through getting a doctorate degree), in most episodes that she appears in, she's shown to be very smart for someone who's only fifteen months old (a year and three months). She seems to have a pretty good idea of what's going on around her (enough that she can get in on the family shenanigans), understands her siblings, can work technology like a camera or cellphone decently, and even she finds her sister, Luan's, jokes and puns to be rather lame.
  • Time Baby, the superintelligent totalitarian ruler of the dystopian future in Gravity Falls.
  • In the Jamal the Funny Frog shorts from Oh Yeah! Cartoons, Jamal's little sister Polly is able to speak intelligently even though she's just a tadpole.
  • The I Am Weasel episode "I Am My Lifetime" showed that Weasel was intelligent and articulate ever since he was a newborn.
  • Muppet Babies (1984):
    • Bunsen is the same brilliant inventor as his adult counterpart, only smaller.
    • Also Scooter, being the little computer whiz he is.

    Real Life 
  • Believe it or not, this does happen — say hello to Adam Kirby, who was accepted to Mensa at age two after he taught himself to read and use the toilet at nine months.
  • Christian Heinrich Heineken (1721-1724) of Lübeck, the child for whom Immanuel Kant coined the word Wunderkind. He mastered French and Latin at age two and at age three wrote a history of Denmark. Most of his brief life he lived mostly on the milk of his wet nurse. His death is attributed to the then unknown Coeliac disease (he died when his diet switched to grain products like bread, etc.).


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