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Puni Plush

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An art style alternative to the tall, skinny design that is typical for Bishoujo Series. Puni Plush avoids straight lines, emphasizing a character's curves, especially the face and hips, that can give to the cast an overall short, childlike look. Most common in Romantic Comedies or Slice of Life anime and manga, but sometimes used in less obvious ways. Shows with prominent Moe content often use this art style as well. Often leads to Artistic Age of the "looks younger" variety.

Take this trope to its extreme and you get Super-Deformed. Contrast Noodle People. See also Thick-Line Animation; both styles are not complete opposites by definition, but Puni Plush favors soft, thin lines while the latter tend to emphasize angles and points— but there's no rule that says that something can't have bold lines and a rounded design. Not to be confused with the species from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.

By the way, 'puni' comes from a Japanese word, ぷにぷに (punipuni), meaning "squishy."


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    Anime & Manga 
  • All of the students in Hanamaru Kindergarten. These are some of the smallest and roundest toddlers anywhere in fiction.
  • The younger characters of Higurashi: When They Cry, such as Satoko and Rika. Rena strikes a variable medium between this and Mion's leaner, more angular form; depending on the scene she could fall more toward or away from Puni Plush.
  • Lucky Star is probably the most notable example, which is even mentioned in the theme song. The manga tends to have a character even more Puni Plush at the beginning and end of each chapter. The beginning is more notable than the ending sketches, due to the character sketches still having them in a Plush-like state.
  • Made in Abyss uses this style for its child characters, most notably the main characters Riko and Reg, whose features avoid nearly any use of sharp angles. This is intended to clash dramatically with the dark themes of the series and also draws a notable contrast with the adult characters, who display sharp, angular, and drawn features (with the overall effect of making the children look innocent and cute, while the adults are haggard, worn-down and world-weary).
  • Manabi Straight!. Especially jarring when it's removed to accommodate a Beach Episode and the girls suddenly look much older. They're supposed to be 15-16 years old at the start of the series, and after a four-year Time Skip, they still look the same.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Daily Life uses a very rounded art style due to it being from the perspective of Kanna. It's even lampshaded in the afterword of volume 7, which says that the two most important things to drawing her are making her look squishy and soft. The other works in the series do something similar, but not to the same extent.
  • School-Live! uses this in a Zombie Apocalypse setting thanks to being a faux Schoolgirl Series. It also zigzags this trope. The main girls and Sensei-chan Megu-nee are drawn this way, but later in the manga we meet university students and they mostly don't. The zombies are also drawn in a realistic style post-Art Evolution. Over time the manga began to lose some of its Puni Plush design and make the characters look more slender, but the anime adaptation uses the original style.
  • To Heart: The manga has a particularly plush-like style compared to the anime and original visual novel.

    Comic Books 
  • As observed with Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O'Malley's style straddles the line between this and Thick-Line Animation: while the art style doesn't look light in the slightest, very few characters are drawn with sharp lines and angles, and teenagers and young adults tend to look at least like pre-teens.

    Films — Animation 


    Video Games 

  • The indie game, Arise: A Simple Story uses this style to its near-full potential; all the characters and the environments are very simple, smooth, and well-rounded, both in-game and within the memory collectibles, which conversely take on a watercolor style.
  • Most of the heroes of the Earth Bound series are 12 to 13 years old, but it's very hard to notice. There's a reason why the likes of Ness and Lucas may be classified as adorable children. (Lucas's woobiness doesn't quite help either.) The American version of the figurines has them aged up physically. This is especially visible on the Ness figurine (Super Smash Bros. uses the original Japanese version worldwide). Adult characters are also depicted with big heads and stumpy limbs.
  • Yggdra Union poses an interesting example in that even the items get some puni. Perhaps not surprisingly, the game (and the entire Dept. Heaven series, since its release) was art-directed by the creator of GA and Kuro above; Kiyudzuki is famous for her puni-moe characters (though she doesn't always draw this way).
  • Several early Harvest Moon games had art like this. It's mostly been dropped since Island of Happiness in favor of Bishōnen and Bishojo. If you didn't know any better, you'd think the protagonists were preteens at most. Yet, they're supposed to be in their 20s and up. The hints drop when you can drink beer and wine and are expected to get married. It's especially jarring in games like Harvest Moon 64 and Harvest Moon: Magical Melody.
  • Animal Crossing: The player doesn't even look pubescent but can move out, drink coffee, pay taxes, and is heavily implied to be an adult. Averted in New Leaf, where everyone more resembles Noodle People.
  • In the original Higurashi: When They Cry (and sister-series Umineko: When They Cry) sound novels, all the characters are drawn like this, full with Four-Fingered Hands (though this is more due to Ryukishi07's limited drawing skills than anything intentional). It can be a bit jarring when the murders and paranoia start to kick in. The console remakes and Steam rerelease use more slender art styles.
  • Most of the character art in the Panel de Pon games (at least the ones that have characters) is done in a soft, round style somewhat reminiscent of girls' cartoons from the 1980s, making the already cute cast of characters look even more adorable and chubby. The only exceptions are the character portraits used in Two-Player and Vs. modes, which use more realistic character proportions.
  • The art in the first Shepherd's Crossing is very soft and squishy. The second game, however, trades this in for a more realistic anime art style. Since some of the characters are the same between games, it makes for a very clear dichotomy.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker uses this for many of its characters, including Link and Tetra/Zelda, who have proportionally large, oblong, rounded heads, large eyes, and smaller bodies with shorter limbs, with their hands and feet being small or almost non-existent.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Magi-Nation, at least in its original incarnation. Even the fierce Hyrens were kind of cute and chubby.
  • Fionna from Adventure Time has a lot more curves than the typical Noodle People in that show. Her designer says she's meant to look 'chubby cute.' Considering she's the Distaff Counterpart of Finn, it makes sense. He's kind of a chunky kid (?) and women hold their weight in different places.
  • Class of 3000 use a style that favors curves above straight lines—especially noticeable in the character design, as everybody looks super-rounded.
  • All the child characters in the Madeline Animated Adaptation have round, plump heads.
  • The ChalkZone episodes done by Sunwoo Entertainment (which animated episodes of seasons two and three) gave Rudy and Penny a more rounded look by making their limbs a little wider than usual and overall gave the two a more softer, rounder look (which was a sharp contrast to the first season's Noodle People look to the two that Galaxy Digimation gave them). While there are a few fans who loved Sunwoo's episodes due to them managing to make Rudy and Penny even cuter with the more puni plush art style, they also qualify as Off-Model, as none of the other studios utilized this look.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, instead of the somewhat more realistic horse designs from previous generations, uses a simplified art style with a tendency towards curved, rounded lines that makes the ponies look cute (well, cuter) and plump.

  • Fireman Sam Rob Lee's signature art style for the first 4 series included very rounded faces,heads and noses, this is especially notable in characters like Sam,Penny,Elvis, Steele and Trevor, the child characters like Norman also feature rounded faces, Sam's face is ovoid and oblong shaped being more wide and curved while Penny's face is more circular, the style of uniform and body shapes is also quite round and plump,the round curves combined with Sam's bright cartoony curved eyes give him a cutesy, Moe aesthetic, this continued into series 5 with added creases to show realistic texture.

  • Tiny Toon Adventures has a rounded art style which results in teenage characters looking much younger than they're supposed to be. Of course, they are toons.
  • Work It Out Wombats! uses a curved art style to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.