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Not Allowed to Grow Old

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Ah, the Time Skip. Some fans' favorite moment of the series. Everyone is stronger, smarter, more attractive. The kids are teens, the teens are adults and the adults, still adults.

This is somewhat Truth in Television; if only a few years have gone by, the difference between how much an adult changes and how much an adolescent does can be drastic. There's a much more visible difference aging from 10 to 15 than there is aging from 35 to 40.


However, this gets particularly noticeable when after reaching a certain age, adults in a series stop showing signs of aging at all. No wrinkles, no gray hairs, no change in build, and often no costume changes or new hairstyles, either.

See also Absurdly Youthful Mother and Hollywood Old.

Not to be confused with Not Allowed to Grow Up; may overlap with Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In CLANNAD, none of the characters seems to age after the Time Skip. Nagisa's mother still looks as young as she was back when was able to pass as a high-school girlnote .
  • After the time skip(s) in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Leeron still looks the way he was in early episodes, even when the other older characters during the early episodes are already geezers and grandmas.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, some human characters do not age much throughout the series, despite having a difference of 23 years between the start and the end of the series. For example, in the Buu Saga Yamcha and Tenshinhan look like they're in their 20's, even when they should be over 40 years old.
  • In Boruto, many adult characters do not look very different from what they looked like in Naruto Shipuuden. The events of Boruto happen 15 or 16 years after the end of Shipuuden (Not counting the epilogue).
  • This is sadly common with anime and manga, as a lot of anime/manga artists don't know how to draw "old people," so often they'll have adult characters look and/or continue to look fairly young (20-30) even if they're supposed to be pushing 40-70.

    Comic Books 
  • Inverted and Played for Laughs in Asterix: When there were flashbacks to Asterix's birth or childhood years, the village's oldest resident Geriatrix appeared unchanged.
  • The defining example of this in American comics are the characters of DC and Marvel. Dick Grayson went from childhood to (in modern comics) his mid-20s, yet Bruce Wayne hasn't aged a day. (And Bruce, unlike his pal Clark, doesn't have superpowers as an excuse/handwave.) The same goes for Dick's fellow Titans and the DCU's other younger characters versus their older Justice League counterparts.

    Fan Works 
  • In Pokémon Rusty, Red and Bill don't look like they've aged a day over the 20 years since Red's journey in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Meanwhile, Red's Unknown Rival Ralphie, once a Bug Catcher Red defeated handily who's apparently younger than him (Red is in turn younger than Bill) is balding and overweight after 20 years. This is because the series uses sprites based on those from the original game.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's Frozen: By the end of the prologue (just before their deaths) Elsa and Anna's parents still look like they're in their early twenties, despite their daughters now being 18 and 15. The mother in particular just looks like a taller, brunette version of her teenage daughters.
  • The Lion King has a few examples. Most are justified because lions age differently from the other animals in the film.
    • Most noticeable in the timeskip sequence when Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa are walking across the log, Simba goes from lion cub to adolescent to adult. Timon and Pumbaa don't change at all. It takes around 2-5 years for a lion's mane to grow. Nor do they visibly age at all from Kiara's birth to her adulthood in the sequel.
    • The most triumphant example is probably Zazu, who presumably had been employed by Mufasa for sometime before the series began (and in earlier script drafts and the stage musical, was confirmed to have been babysitter for Mufasa himself), but from Simba's presentation ceremony as a cub at the start of the 1st film, to his full-grown daughter finding a mate and inheriting the kingdom at the end of the 2nd. He hasn't aged a day. However the lifespan of a wild lion is about 10 years, where wild hornibills can live for up to 45 years. He probably still has at least one or two more generations left in him before he turns gray.
    • On the other hand, Simba looks pretty much the same from Hakuna Matata (where he would be about age 5) to the finale of Lion King II a full generation later (about age 10 and should be getting old or at least significantly weaker than Kovu in his prime).
  • The Prince of Egypt: While the adult male characters are shown to noticeably age after the second time skip (Moses, Rameses, and Aaron especially), Miriam and Tzipphorah don't age at all.
  • Also happens in Sleeping Beauty: None of the characters who were adults during Aurora's baby shower look any older sixteen years later. This is possibly justified for Flora, Fauna, Merryweather, and Maleficient since they're fairies, but there's no excuse for King Stephen, his queen, or King Hubert.
  • Tangled: Rapunzel's birth mother. This is especially noticeable because her husband has grown a few more wrinkles and grey hair since their daughter's disappearance eighteen years before, while she hasn't aged a day (apart from maybe a few tired lines under her eyes).
  • And Disney's Tarzan. Kerchak, Kala, and the other adult gorillas don't look or move any differently from when Tarzan was a baby, despite Tarzan looking to be in his early twenties by the time Jane arrives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Vikings: By the fifth season, 20 years have passed and many characters not even born at the beginning of the show grow into adults. Male characters visibly age over the seasons, with their hair graying, lengthening and sometimes receding. The women, on the other hand, show no signs of age. This is especially pronounced in the case of Lagetha, who has a grandson who is nearly an adult yet is still as youthful and blond as ever.
  • Outlander: Claire and Jamie start out the show being in their thirties, and season 3 has a long Time Skip after which they should both be in their fifties. However, there is minimal indication that they're any older other than Claire having a salt-and-pepper wig (and she eventually dyes her hair anyway) and Jamie using reading glasses.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age:
    • Despite Dragon Age II taking place over the course of seven years, none of the characters so much as change haircuts, let alone age.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition takes place around ten years after Dragon Age: Origins, but few of the returning adult characters look like they've aged at all. (Leliana and Loghain in particular have been accused of looking younger.)
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • As far as we can tell, none of the Disney characters age at all - Huey, Dewie and Louie have been selling stuff to heroes for at least a decade, and are still kids.
    • Ven, Terra, and Aqua look the same before and after a 10+ year timeskip, while Sora, Riku, and Kairi all look different after only a 1 year skip. Magic is involved in some of these cases, however: Ven's been in stasis in Castle Oblivion, while Aqua is trapped in the Realm of Darkness, where time does not pass.
    • Organization XIII is either affected by this, or Immortality Begins at 20, it's hard to tell. Ienzo was a young child, while Lea and Isa were in their early teens when they lost their hearts. They've since aged normally, but the rest were already adults and don't look any different ten years on, apart from some of them having longer hair.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - After the seven-year skip, only the kids are shown to have changed to adults. Only exceptions are Ganondorf, and to a small extent Ingo, who received a new costume
  • Between the third and fourth generations of Record of Agarest War, Alberti grows from a teen to middle age. Between the fourth and fifth generations? No change, even though there was a nearly 20-year Time Skip both times.
  • Final Fantasy XIV plays the trope both ways. The game takes place five years after the era of the Calamity (basically the original 1.0 version of the game before the reboot that became 2.0), but everyone, including the player character if you had a character back then, more or less looks the same all around. The exceptions to the trope are Cid and Minfilia; Cid grows a beard while Minfilia looks a bit older and has more developed breasts.
  • The Ace Attorney games has a seven year time skip between Trials and Tribulations and Apollo Justice. The recurring Judge, who is elderly, looks no older than he did before the time skip. Likewise, Larry Butz, who was in his mid twenties when he appeared in the original trilogy, doesn't look any older when returns for one case after the several year time advancement.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne is allowed to grow old, but not to die. This leads, in the Distant Finale, for an incredibly ancient-looking Bruce Wayne, who must be at least over a hundred, to still be kicking around the Batcave.
  • In The Flintstones specials that take place when Pebbles and Bam-Bam are teenagers and adults their parents Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty look exactly the same as they did in the original series when they were babies.
  • Averted in the Rugrats spinoff All Grown Up! which takes place ten years after the original series, all the adults have wrinkles, greying hair, and thinning hairlines, even Grandpa Lou looks a little older.


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