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Manga / Chibi Maruko-chan

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"Hi everyone, gather around! Chibi Maruko-chan is about to start!"

Odoru, odoru, singing happily!
Odoru, odoru, dancing happily!
Odoru, odoru, my best friend for life!
- Opening theme

Chibi Maruko-chan is a popular Shoujo manga and anime series in Japan about a 9-year-old girl who lives with her family in pre-Internet era Shimizu (which is today part of Shizuoka). The main character is Momoko Sakura, named after the author's pen name, whose nickname is Maruko or Maruchan. She lives with her family of 6, including her big sister, father, mother, and paternal grandfather and grandmother, in old Shimizu-shi, today part of Shizuoka-shi.

In Japan, it is broadcast weekly on Sundays at 6:00PM on Fuji TV. In the United States and Canada, starting January 8, 2012, it is broadcast weekly (in Japanese) on Sundays at 6:45PM Eastern Time on NHK's international feed, TV Japan.

Nickelodeon India and Animax Asia used to have their own separate Asian English dubs, and a Canadian dub was Direct-to-Video.


Since 2018, a modern English dub can be found on the official channel on YouTube. The English dub is very faithful to the original Japanese version and changes almost no names or cultural aspects.

Chibi Maruko-chan provides examples of:

  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Tomozou, Maruko's doting grandfather. He can sometimes do weird things that nobody understands, like imitate Maruko or write "Work hard Japan!" on the flag Maruko has for the white team for her school's sports day. When Maruko's sister says she doesn't use her head in class, Tomozou says that when he puts on a "hachimaki" (Japanese bandana), he uses his head.
    • Maruko has this to a lesser extent than her grandfather, with her strong tendency to daydream or even go into a daze. There's even one episode about how Maruko can be absent-minded and how she doesn't know what she thinks about when she goes into a daze.
    • Advertisement:
    • Maruko's friend Noguchi.
    • Noguchi's grandfather.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sakiko, Maruko's sister, when she chooses to be nice to Maruko.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The narrator Keaton Yamada, particularly when commenting on one of Maruko and her grandpa's wild schemes.
    • Maruko herself also counts, though she keeps her comments to herself.
  • Fat Bitch: Borderline example with Migiwa. She's the female class representative who doesn't like Maruko because Hanawa likes hanging out with her more, but aside from that, she and Maruko get along okay.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Maruko and Sakiko, respectively.
  • Hair Decorations: When Maruko dresses up, she usually goes out either with a ribbon tied into a bow or with her hair arranged like Mickey Mouse ears.
  • Housewife: Maruko's mother, Sumire.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Maruko. She's lazy and a bit insensitive, but she cares a lot about the people she likes. For example, when the grandson of one of her grandpa's friends ruins the dinner by fliping the table (and being an ungrateful Jerkass the whole time), Maruko calls him out on it, even while he tries to attack her.
  • In-Series Nickname: Momoko Sakura is called Maruko, meaning "round child". This name is used pretty much to the exclusion of her actual given name.
  • Lemony Narrator: Keaton Yamada for the win.
  • Mellow Fellow: Maruko's dad, Hiroshi.
  • Odango Hair: When Maruko dresses up to go to the Momoe-chan concert, she has her mother do her hair in this style.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Maruko (red) and her friend Tamae (blue). Maruko is laid-back and gets into trouble a lot while Tamae is proper and a stickler for the rules. This is even color-coded for your convenience as Maruko often wears a lot of red and Tamae a lot of blue.
    • Maruko (red) and her sister Sakiko (blue). Maruko is lazy and messy while Sakiko is a hard worker who's often frustrated by her sister not doing what she's supposed to when it affects her.
  • Slice of Life
  • Stoic Spectacles:
    • Maruko's smart classmate Nagayama wears glasses, but he's well-liked by Maruko and the others. He calmly explains various phenomena of the natural world, ranging from rainbows to the asteroid that crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula.
    • Inverted with Maruo, another of Maruko's classmates. He's the neurotic, obsessive class government council member with swirls in his glasses.
  • The Illegible: Hanawa (the rich boy) and Yamada (the ADHD boy) in Maruko's class both have pretty bad handwriting.
  • The Movie:
    • Oono-kun and Sugiyama-kun (1990), about 2 boisterous classmates of Maruko who love to play sports.
    • My Favorite Songs (1992), about a young woman artist with quite a few music videos. She serves as a role model for Maruko.
    • The Boy From Italy (2015), about a boy from Italy who does homestay at Maruko's house and develops a crush on Maruko.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Nagayama.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Hanawa. He's the richest kid in Maruko's class, but he's an all-around nice kid.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Maruko is the tomboy, and her best friend Tamae is the girly girl. Maruko is lazy, talks in a more gender-neutral manner, sometimes hangs out with just the boys doing stuff, and does not do a lot to maintain her appearance most of the time. Tamae is proper, punctual, and feminine in her speech and mannerisms. Nevertheless, they are both social people who can be assertive when they need to be.