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Older Than They Look

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"If she tells you she's 26, and looks 26, she's damn near forty!"
Chris Rock, "No Sex (in the Champagne Room)" note 
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Sometimes characters don't look their age. Whether it was a deliberate artistic choice on the behalf of the creator (usually to make the character more attractive or to legally fulfill a fetish) or something much deeper and linked to their characterization and the plot, this character will be older than they look. Although still within the normal range of the human lifespan (for that setting, anyway), this character will look noticeably younger than their age. Sometimes even improbably younger; it's not unheard of for a seeming teenager to be over the hill chronologically.

This is an extremely common trope in Speculative Fiction, where Functional Magic or Applied Phlebotinum can be used to explain the characters appearance being at odds with their age.

When science fiction or fantasy takes this trope Up to Eleven, it leads to Really 700 Years Old, The Ageless, or a Time Abyss. See also Age Is Relative and Improbable Age. Not to be confused with Older Than They Think. Contrast with Younger Than They Look. If they're just drawn in a way that makes them seem older, it's Artistic Age. When a character is played by a much younger actor, it becomes Hollywood Old unless the difference is justified. When the actor is older than the character they portray, it's Dawson Casting (although the actor themselves may just fit this trope, justifying the Dawson Casting).

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This is a Super-Trope of Never Grew Up.

Compare Mistaken Age, Age-Inappropriate Dress. For characters that don't look younger than their age but are still good-looking, see Silver Fox. Contrast Animation Anatomy Aging.

Remember, this trope doesn't cover characters who are impossibly old, just much older than they look. For characters who are impossibly old, see Really 700 Years Old and Time Abyss.


Examples


    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: A relatively Downplayed example; Kalo is stated by the creators to be around 30. However, due to the art-style, he is about the same height as (or slightly taller than) Careful S., who is implied to be a middle-schooler. However, he is a Adelian and they may age differently from people.
    Music 
  • Futari No: Nana and Lili are depicted in music videos from ages 7 to 21. However, due to Harumaki Gohan's chibi-like art style, combined with a dash of Hairstyle Inertia, the only physical difference between their 7-year-old and 21-year-old selves is their height. It would be reasonable to see them at age 21 and assume that they're 15 at most. Nana especially.
  • Eazy-E: His short height and relatively youthful voice makes it extra surprising to learn that he was actually the oldest member of the N.W.A.
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Alternative Title(s): Fauxli, Older Than He Looks, Older Than She Looks

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Death Becomes Her

Lisle Von Rhuman reveals her true age.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

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Main / OlderThanTheyLook

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