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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.

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Examples

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    Anime and 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.
  • 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 importing 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.

    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.

    Film 
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    Video Games 
  • Most of the heroes of the EarthBound 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).
  • 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, but due to their face stays the same as ever, so to some this isn't totally a good thing.
  • 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.

    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.

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