Henry: I'm sorry sir, did you say 1770s?
Mr. Magorium: Yes sir. So, as you can imagine, accounting is a brand new concept for me...
Henry: You realize that would make you at least 240 years old, sir?
Mr. Magorium: You're already hired. There's no need to show off.
You're as old as the stars themselves and might possess the power to destroy them. While some entities like you might enjoy terrorizing others and warping their minds with improbable non-Euclidean frames, you prefer to be a bit more... subtle in your interactions with humans. Or you might have a good reason for not wanting your powers and potential to be immediately obvious.
And what better way is there to hide your identity and throw off suspicion than by taking on the form of a perky high school student?
An extreme version of Older Than They Look, Really 700 Years Old covers ancient, perhaps immortal beings, and (usually) the total opposite of Really Was Born Yesterday. Subjective age only—a form of suspended animation alone does not count. Elves tend to fall into this trope quite a bit in modern fantasy in part because their Beauty Is Never Tarnished. Same with Vampires and other undead subspecies who are unaging/dying beings who get to keep their mind and body. If it's purely artistic rather than biological, it's Artistic Age. For characters who look far younger than they are, but haven't yet lived longer than a human possibly could (say, an 80 year-old woman who looks 20), they're Older Than They Look. See also Immortality Begins at Twenty, Not Growing Up Sucks. For the really, really extreme version, see Time Abyss. Optimistic characters will say this trope is sweet.
For ways in which works show off that a character is Really 700 Years Old, see Exposition of Immortality.
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- Real Life
- Broom Hilda: Broom Hilda is 1500 years old and was once married to Attila the Hun.
- In Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Marigold the unicorn has supposedly seen "oceans become forests become deserts". The fact that she is old enough to remember when a glacier covered the area Phoebe's house once stood suggests she's been around since the last ice age.
- In one Popeye storyline, Popeye ends up engaged to a mermaid (long story), and can't find a way out of it because if he does, she'll threaten to cause a storm that would flood the entire world. He later has to meet with her to discuss their wedding date. When he comes back, much to everyone's surprise, he seems very relieved. He explains that mermaids live a long time. She wants to get married on her 600th birthday, which won't be until 2062. By that time, he's certain she'll have changed her mind.
- A joke goes something like this: A 97-year-old man from a mountain village goes to the office of an insurance company and asks to open a life insurance policy for him. The insurance agent asks in surprise, "You really want to get life insurance?" The old man replies, "Yes, young man. You see, my dad and I are going to Europe." Even more surprised, the agent asks, "Forgive my curiosity, but how old is your father?" "127." "127?? And what are the two of you going to do in Europe?" "We're going to my grandfather's wedding." The shocked agent asks, "And how old is your grandfather?" "He's 150." "Come on! Your grandfather has decided to get married at that age?" "Decided? His parents are making him!"
- Violent J in "I Want My Shit".
- Fans of Neil Young sometimes joke that he is this. In 2002 Blender, a music review magazine associated with Maxim, published a photo of him looking Older Than Dirt with the caption "When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not!"
- Woody Guthrie's "The Bragging Song (The Great Historical Bum)."
I was born about ten thousand years ago
There ain't nuthin' in this world that I don't know
I saw Peter, Paul and Moses playin' ring-around-the-roses
And I'll whup the guy what says it isn't so
- They Might Be Giants' "O, Do Not Forsake Me."
O, do not forsake me, my indolent friends
O, do not forsake me though you know I must spend
All my darkest hours talking like this
For I am one thousand years old
- Brazilian singer Raul Seixas wrote (with Paulo Coelho) and recorded a song named I Was Born 10,000 Years Ago.
- The legend of the "Wandering Jew" claims that a certain Ahasver was cursed for laughing at Jesus on his way to Golgotha, so that he cannot die until Jesus' Second Coming. Supposedly, this Ahasver has been Walking the Earth for centuries and never looks any older than he was at Christ's Crucifixion.
- Changeling folklore often includes the changeling (who looks like a baby or small child) revealing that it's actually several hundred years old or 'as old as Wester Wood'.
- Pick a deity. Any deity. Unless special circumstances require it they will always appear in a form that is at least recognisably human, if not necessarily young, despite ages being anywhere from centuries to as old as the universe, or even older.
- Of particular note is Tezcatlipoca. One of his titles is Telpochtli, "The Young Man", and he was perpetually presented as the most youthful-looking of the gods. And if you think that means Immortality Begins at Twenty, think again; Telpochtli was explicitly depicted as a teenager. Which honestly explains a lot.
- Some of the Akkadian texts on Mesopotamian kings have said kings living for 25,000 years and up.
- Methuselah in the Book of Genesis is said to have lived for 969 years, and is the longest-lived normal human in The Bible. In older American culture, his name used to be proverbial for old age.
- Welcome to Night Vale:
- Due to time working funny in Night Vale quite a few citizens are substantially older than they look. An episode showcasing some recordings of radio host Cecil's past shows has his first broadcast at the settlement of the area sometime in the 18th century, and later ones on the invention of radio, Pearl Harbor, and Bill Clinton's presidency.
- Recently (in the novel), attention is paid to Jackie Fierro, who runs the local pawn shop at the young age of nineteen, and has been nineteen for "several decades".
- Many characters on both sides of the war taking place in Rplegacy's fantasy crossover RPG are a lot older than they look: Princess Zelda is anywhere in the range of hundreds or thousands of years old but looks like a young adult, the various Ainur on both sides have been around since the dawn of time, Thor is essentially immortal, and the Pevensies are technically many decades old after spending a lifetime in Narnia as royalty and then returning to England at their original ages. There are also some races present which exhibit great longevity, such as the Númenóreans, who are longer-lived than other Men, and the Yngvi (elves) native to Caranom, whose age cap is at about a thousand years but age very slowly.
- Most BIONICLE characters have lifespans that can reach six digits, yet many of them are seen acting like kids. In the case of the Matoran Universe races, this makes some sense, since they were created that way and most of them don't visibly age, at least normally. Outside that universe, where beings are born fully organic, this gets a little strange. Especially Gresh, a rookie fighter who acts like a teenager, despite also being a few dozen millenia old.
- Damn Yankees:
Lola: Joe, you make me feel girlish — and I'm 172 years old.
- The title character of Iolanthe is a fairy who looks like a 17-year-old girl. In the backstory, she married a mortal and had a son, Strephon; in the play, his age is 25. This causes problems for Strephon when he is seen in Iolanthe's company, since no one will believe that's she's his mum.
- The opera singer Emilia Marty, in Karel Čapek's play (and Leoš Janáček's opera) The Makropulos Affair, is really 300 years old. She gets more than a bit tired of life, however.
- The Tsukipro Multiverse has a few examples:
- In Tsukino Hyakki Yakou, Hajime and Shun are Kurotenko and Shirotenko, divine fox spirits who rule over the Spirit World. They appear just as the main setting's Hajime and Shun (in their early 20's), but they adopted the Oni, Shiki, when he was a baby. He has grown up and raised Tsubasa and Soshi, and all of them also appear to be in their 20's. The earliest stories in this setting take place hundreds of years ago, and feature the characters in their mature forms, as do the stories set in modern times.
- In Tsukino Empire, Shun has ruled over the remnants of humanity for centuries. Though he appears publicly as the second prince, the entire imperial family are actually just illusions that he created, and they have been that way for what would have been generations.
- In Machine Elements, which takes place in the same world as Tsukino Empire but 3000 years later, Hajime has been alive, though asleep, through that whole time, and he looks the same.
- Arcueid in Tsukihime is actually 800. She might not count due to sleeping most of the time, but she doesn't age, either. Her sister is at least as old as Arcueid is, has probably spent the entire time active and looks only about 14, making her perhaps a better example.
- Len from the pseudo-sequel Kagetsu Tohya appears to be a little girl of about ten, but at the very least has lived several human lifespans.
- All the Fate/stay night Servants, as they all appear using bodies based on their prime of life despite coming from time periods any time from a few years into the future to 6000+ years old. This is kind of explained by the Root pulling them out of our traditional sense of time, and holding them in a kind of suspended animation between each Summoning.
- Girls' Love Visual Novel Akai Ito has Asama Sakuya, who is 17-centuries old despite looking early 30s. She says that she's old enough to drink alcoholic beverages and rent adult videos.
- The sort-of sequel Aoi Shiro has Kohaku, who is about 1000 years old despite looking like a young boy. Unfortunately, due to having a flawed immortal body, she spend most of that time in torpor. However, that is nothing compared to her estranged foster father, Ba Rouryuu, who was there during the age of the gods (i.e. at least as old as Sakuya, above).
- The physically 9-11 (no one knows) years old Furude Rika in Higurashi: When They Cry, thanks to the "Groundhog Day" Loop. Unlike Hanyu and most other examples, maturity matches mental age, though this is deliberately hidden so as to not freak people out.
- This also applies to Hanyuu to a lesser degree due to her not being in her true form to begin with.
- As of Gou, this applies to Satoko Houjou as well.
- Beatrice in Umineko: When They Cry looks 20 but is a 1000 year old witch… or so she claims. She is actually a 19-year-old human, and all her stories about her "distant past" are either invented, romanticized, and/or refer to her defunct mother and grandmother, who both had the same name.
- There's also the other two 1000-year-old witches, Bernkastel and Lambdadelta, though the question remains as to whether they're actually real or not.
- In Code:Realize, the Apostles of Idea - whose number includes Saint-Germain - have been granted Resurrective Immortality by Omnibus for the purpose of monitoring and guiding humanity's development to keep them on "the correct path." Omnibus, their leader, is implied to be the Biblical Eve. As such, they're all a lot older than they look; Saint-Germain claims to have been around for thousands of years.
- Aside from The Endless in Sandman, there are a few other examples. One being Hob (who later went by Robert) who boasted to fellow tavern patrons in 1389 that he had decided not to die. Everyone does it just because everyone else does, but he wasn't going to go along with it. The personifications of Death and Dream happened to be sitting nearby incognito, and decided it would be amusing to take him at his word. (His curmudgeonly reaction to the Ren Faire he visits five hundred years later is amusing.)
- Diego in Havenfall Is for Lovers looks about thirty, but is actually a vampire who's been around for about five hundred years, long enough to have taken part in the Spanish invasion of the New World. Razi and JD may likewise be much, much older than they seem; their profiles only state that Razi "looks 35" and JD "looks 25," with no indication of how long either of them has actually lived.
- A majority of the characters in Obey Me! – One Master to Rule Them All! are angels and demons who are thousands of years old.
- Neurotically Yours: Turns out Foamy the squirrel is in fact over 400 years old and maybe even older.
- Ozpin in RWBY has been cursed to reincarnate for thousands of years, as divine punishment for failing to stop Salem. His Odd Name Out hints at this; the Colorful Theme Naming is an in-universe tradition, which Ozpin long predates. Salem herself is also as ancient as Ozpin, but in her case she was cursed with immortality and being left alone on a planet with no other humans for ages, as a punishment for trying to disrupt the natural order of life and death.
- DSBT InsaniT: Waterfall Girl looks like a young woman, but that woman is just a vessel she uses to communicate with the mortal world.
- Dreamscape: Melissa has lived for several lifetimes due to mastering the cycle of death and rebirth, giving her Resurrective Immortality.
- Many if the characters of hololive have ages listed in the hundreds, if not thousands, of years, if they are listed at all. To name a few examples from the English branch: Calliope Mori is a grim reaper who has existed since the concept of death was invented, Kiara Takanashi is a phoenix with Resurrective Immortality, Ina'nis Ninomae is a Humanoid Abomination whose official age listing is blotted out with ink, and Gura Gawr is an Atlantean who lost count of her age around 5000. The only member who seems to be of a normal age is Amelia Watson, but even that's debatable given her being a time traveller.
- Charlie from Hazbin Hotel is in her 200's, but looks about the same age as her 22-year-old girlfriend Vaggie.
- There are many, many characters in Orion's Arm who are hundreds or thousands of years old due to a huge variety of technologies ranging from advanced medical technology to mind uploading. Regardless of age most people in the Sephirotic Empires appear to be whatever age they want to be.
- In WarpZone Project, this is the case of Eve Bones. She's been alive at least since Renaissance times, as she mentions that one of her rings dates from that period.
- Like most vampires, the title character of Carmilla falls into this trope. She was born in 1680, but she looks like a college student.
- The Sources Lys and Sin in Noob. Lys is described as a young woman in the novels and called a "kid" by a character describing her at some point. Sin looks like he's twelve according to his own descriptions. Both get somewhat of a physical Age Lift when they show up in the movies (mostly because the person planned for Sin had to hit puberty sooner of later), but still looks quite young for their multiple-millennia age.
- Dad: Despite looking like an ordinary middle-aged couple with a teenage daughter, Dad claims that he and Mom are really "five-eons old", and that Daughter has been alive for three eons.