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Chibita
Chibita
Chibita as he appears in the 2015 anime.

Gender

Male

Occupation

Owner of Hybrid Oden

1965 VA

Tetsuko KuroyanagiToshiko Fujita

1966 VA

Kazue TagamiYoko MizugakiKazuko Sawada

1988 VA

Mayumi Tanaka

2015 VA

Sachi Kokuryu

English VA

TBA

Chibita (チビ太), also initially known as simply Chibi or Kan-chan, is a character created by Fujio Akatsuka, appearing in the series Osomatsu-kun. Initially starting out as a supporting character, he soon became a lead in the manga and in the 1988 anime adaptation, and was one of Akatsuka's favorite characters to write and draw for.

He is also the protagonist of his own spinoff series $-chan and Chibita and the later features Chibita Banzai and Chibita-kun, which all ran during the first run of the Osomatsu-kun manga.

An older counterpart of the character also appears in the Osomatsu-san spinoff, as part of the supporting cast.

Overview

Chibita is a small young boy around the sextuplets' age, occasionally much younger or even depicted as a small adult depending on the story[1] ..

In his earliest appearances in the manga, he is a nameless bullied boy occasionally nicknamed "Chibi" or only referred to as "Chibita" in titles, but soon earns that name and a rotating cast of family and ever-changing story settings. He is most commonly seeing living in a pipe in a scrapyard after a while.

Personality & Characteristics

Appearance

Chibita as kid

Chibita as a child.

Child (-kun)

At a diminutive 60cm[2] in -kun, Chibita is towered over by the other characters, and has a shaved bald head with a crease in the scalp and only one hair protruding from it. His head is shown to be incredibly durable. If Iyami bites Chibita's head, his teeth usually shatter or crumble.

He is also characterized by his wide eyes, pointed nose, and the "whiskers" on each cheek that are said by Fujio Pro to be evident of hardened mucus from a runny nose that has been wiped off on the face[3]. He most commonly wears a long-sleeved shirt with a single button, along with pants. The color of the shirt can vary throughout colored art, often appearing as a deep red, but is depicted as yellow in the 1988 series and pachinko game.

Chibita's appearance was not very consistent at first in the manga, changing until his final look was settled on (see "History").

Personality

Child (-kun)

Chibita is a cheeky young boy known for his strong determination and inability to give up, no matter how much he's pushed around. In the early period of the manga, he is depicted at points as a troublesome child making chaos for the sextuplets, but the setting of him being picked on by them became more frequent.

He is best known as a pure, kind-hearted child who is great friends with animals such as cats and frogs. But sometimes, he can be more devious and he is subject to play many sorts of roles. His unfortunate yet resilient nature especially tends to make him worthy of the protagonist role in dramatic stories, or scenarios where he seeks revenge on being wronged.

Chibita's favorite food is the Japanese winter dish oden. In Osomatsu-kun, he is usually drawn running with his iconic stick of oden in hand. The oden stick is often shown to have a piece of konjac on top, a ganmodoki (fried tofu) in the middle, and a narutomaki on the bottom[4].

Chibta also has a habit of getting into fights, which he almost always exits unscathed. He is generally considered an even better fighter than Osomatsu.

Speech

Chibita has a very rough accent and his pronunciation reflects that. He also has a distinct laugh of 'Kekeke'. In the 1988 anime and subsequent works like -san, he also has phrases he repeats, such as calling people 'baka' (idiot) that he pronounces as 'barou' (a rougher, slangier version of the word) and yelling "Teyande barou chikusho!", often translated as "Dammit idjit, what the hell!?" in the Crunchyroll subs for Osomatsu-san.

Relationships

See also: Family Members of Chibita

In the early manga, he had an older grade school-aged brother who he would get to threaten Osomatsu in retaliation for having been bullied[5]. He was subsequently often shown to have a constantly changing family, appearing with many different fathers or mothers, and occasionally an uncle. He was also introduced as a relative of Totoko (and initially named as "Kan-chan") in the story about his personality-changing hat[6], with her dropping him off at the Matsuno house to visit them.

When among other small children, Chibita is at times shown either as a friend of Hatabō but more often pushing the other boy around. Like the sextuplets, he can take interest in any young girls that are exceptionally pretty to him or that may be around his own age. On more than one occasion, he is shown to be directly associated with a young girl named Chikako, with attempts to be closer to her ending in dysfunction.

Although his interactions with befriending girls often end terribly, he managed to get to become good friends with the distant Jajako and give her his frog piggy bank. This is in contrast to Nanako, who he gave up on after her rudeness and fickle behavior about oden, or the tragedy of the Flower Fairy who died after he forgot to keep watering her rose.

The Sextuplets

Chibita is commonly the rival of Osomatsu and the other Matsuno brothers, striving to get revenge on them for having been bullied or to simply have fun with pranking them and instigating a fight.

There are occasions where the children are shown to get along, but this is less common compared to the above usual setting.

Iyami

Chibita most often bonds with Iyami, who acts as a sort of mentor to him and shows him kindness where people like the sextuplets fail to. The two plot against the sextuplets and others, and like to scheme together. It can be figured that due to the lack of a stable home life, Chibita relies on Iyami as a sort of substitute.

In the series "$-chan and Chibita" and "Chibita-kun"

In his first solo feature, $-chan and Chibita, Chibita is often seen with a young boy named Dorutaro, "$-chan" for short. $-chan basically acts as a substitute character for Osomatsu and the other sextuplets, at times being set in the role of Chibita's rival and enemy. In other scenarios, $-chan is his troublesome friend and partner in schemes.

In the chapters involving the two boys in standard settings (not fairy tales or period dramas), the two have similar but contrasting upbringings; Chibita is either an orphan or a generally free-roaming child, while $-chan's mother appears to not have very much regard for her son at all and welcomes the idea of him going missing from the house so she can buy more for it.

The sequel Chibita-kun feature often has Chibita acting on his own, though Iyami is sometimes seen as a partner or general supporting character as he usually would be. Chibita is usually set as an orphan or with an unexplained family situation, though a lookalike father is shown on one occasion. He is also depicted to have a younger sister named Chibiko in another story.

In Osomatsu-kun (1988 anime)

As with the manga, Chibita's connection to Iyami is his most significant relationship in the series, with him often seen at his side in schemes. But there instances where Iyami will betray Chibita and leave him to be hurt and punished, sometimes ending without resolution or only sparking a desire for revenge from the child. The first episode sets up the idea that the two have known each other prior to the series, with Chibita being excited to see that Iyami has decided to come to Akatsuka Ward.

The sextuplets frequently torment him, and even mock his dreams for getting into the school by telling him that he's a bad kid that can't get in. This only angers him. If wronged by the sextuplets, he'll pursue whatever means he can to humiliate them.

History

Osomatsu-kun (manga)

Chibita, then unnamed, first appeared in the second chapter. He was depicted with a button nose and a completely bald head, though the single hair was added in subsequent appearances and his nose shape changed.

He would then be depicted with full head of light-colored hair in a bowl-cut style, as well as having a mother and father[7]. But this setting would soon shift, with him shaving his head in the chapter and subsequent uses of that design having him get gradually closer to his finalized appearance. He at first wore a sweater with a single stripe across it, until it was changed to be the single-button shirt.

Another setting in "Osomatsu and the 40 Thieves" involved Chibita appearing with the design of a young girl with black bob-cut hair, before proceeding to shave it off and dress as a bald boy when undercover and spying on Osomatsu[8]. .

"Osomatsu-kun Grows Up"

In 1993, Fujio Pro produced a memorable beer advertisement story as part of a Sapporo Black campaign for Big Comic. The scenario takes place 25 years after the events of "Osomatsu-kun", and catches up with the cast as they enjoy the beer.

Chibita is revealed to have been a university dropout who went through a long series of jobs (including that of a newspaper boy, dishwasher, pachinko clerk, truck driver, AV actor, street vendor, window wiper, guard, and manga assistant) to eventually wind up as a chief salaryman at a company[9]. Now approximately in his late 20s to early 30s, he has grown to be 150cm and has a full head of black hair. As he's no longer often eating oden, his hand is lonely and he uses this as an excuse to bother and grope the office ladies at his job.

Foreign Names

Note: Full names in other Southeast Asian dubs are listed in the Eastern standard order.

Chibita appears with these names in dubbing and translations of the franchise outside of Japan.

Language Name Origin
Cantonese (Hong Kong) Saam Cyun Deng (三寸釘) From "Three-inch nail".
Mandarin (Taiwan) Ai Zi-tai (矮子太) "Short Son".
Korean Kandol (깐돌) "Exposed Stone", for his bald head.

The Korean name only applies to the dub of -kun aired there, and not to -san (which retains his name).

Gallery

Chibita/Gallery

Episode Appearances

1966 Anime

Chibita/1966 Anime Episode Appearances

1988 Anime

Chibita/1988 Anime Episode Appearances

2015 Anime

Chibita/Osomatsu-san Episode Appearances

Trivia

  • Though some may not count the young boy from the second chapter or the character with hair as Chibita, an omake illustration does count them as the same character in showing how his design had quickly evolved[10]. The first design resembles the character of Kantaro from Nama-chan. The design with hair referenced Sansuke in the simultaneously-running O-chan's Eleven Friends; it would eventually see use as Ganmo in Akko-chan's Got a Secret!, as well as Otasuke-kun from his own self-titled series.
  • Prior to his identification as "Chibita", the design with hair was used for two other named characters in the early chapters as well; Wakasugi[11], and Takeaki Takeyama[12]. There are some that will count these as Chibita usage, citing the Star System, but there are others that will count them as separate characters and examples of the design's "subspecies", owing to how Chibita and some similar characters are officially considered such.

The Confusion Between "Chibita" and "Kantaro":

In April 1965, the relaunched Kantaro feature in Shonen Book (running since 1963) would wrap up, only to be replaced by a new $-chan and Chibita feature the following month[13]. A solo feature titled Chibita-kun would also premiere as a one-shot in 1966, and be followed by a full series that ran through 1967-1969.

Unlike his earlier design in Nama-chan and his Adventure King-serialized chapters, Kantaro now resembled Chibita's then-current redesign and both matched up in appearance (as they had before in their earlier looks). But the rising popularity of Chibita would quickly lead to him overtaking his inspiration.

Chapters of Kantaro's Shonen Book feature were soon reprinted as a Chibita-kun collected volume, folding his adventures into those of Chibita's as well. This also lead to some being adapted as skits for Chibita in the 1966 anime series, and five chapters later being republished as Osomatsu-kun stories in the Akebono and Kodansha reprints of the series.

Some examples of the re-titling and attempts to turn Kantaro into Chibita include:

  1. "Kantaro Came to the West" (西部へきたよ カン太郎) -> "The Western Cats Have Come" (やってきましたネコ・ウエスタン), reprinted in Akebono volume 3 and Kodansha volume 4.
  2. "I'm Momotaro Kantaro" (桃太郎だよ カン太郎) -> "Chibitaro Came From a Peach" (モモからうまれたチビ太郎), reprinted in Akebono volume 3/Kodansha volume 4 and having been adapted earlier into the 1966 anime.

The eBookJapan releases of both the Chibita and Kantaro series have properly reverted this, placing all Kantaro stories back where they belonged. As a nod to how both were conflated in the past, the description for Kantaro's series reads:

“It’s said that I look just like Chibita in Osomatsu-kun, but make no mistake! I’m not Chibita, I’m Kantaro!”[14]

His official Koredeiinoda site profile also states "Kantaro is a mischievous boy who looks like Chibita, a popular figure of 'Osomatsu-kun'"[15]. It would seem the two are as separate but similar as the cases of Totoko and Akko in co-existing as themselves but never quite meeting.

However, going by how Osomatsu-kun started as Nama-chan was wrapping up, and the evidence of Chibita initially being named "Kan-chan" in the magazine printing of one chapter, the two may have been intended to be the same boy after all. The second Kantaro series could have indeed been seen as a technical first "Chibita" title, before the character was renamed and re-branded to be the better-known one. But whatever the case may have been in the 1960s, it is clear they are to be distinguished as different entities now.

References:

  1. Osomatsu-kun volume 4, chapter 2 "It's Not Easy to be a Hitchhiker" (ヒッチハイクもらくじゃない), eBookJapan
  2. Chibita profile, Koredeiinoda
  3. "What are those things like a mustache on Chibita's cheeks?", Koredeiinoda Official FAQ
  4. "Please tell me the ingredients in Chibita's oden", Koredeiinoda Official FAQ
  5. Osomatsu-kun volume 1, chapters 2 "We've Made Up Our Minds, Let's Run Away from Home" (あたまをまるめて家出をしよう) and 11 "Spoil Yourself at the Department Store!" (デパートでにげまわれ!), eBookJapan.
  6. Osomatsu-kun volume 4 chapter 1, "It's All Fine Until You Take Off His Hat" (帽子をとったらはいそれまでよ), eBookJapan.
  7. Osomatsu-kun volume 2 chapter 3, "It's a Hard Time to Sell Bananas" (バナナをうるのはくろうするぜ), eBookJapan.
  8. Osomatsu-kun volume 3 chapter 16 "Osomatsu and the 40 Thieves" おそ松と40人の盗賊), eBookJapan.
  9. Big Comic, June 25 1993, "Osomatsu-kun Grows Up"
  10. Osomatsu-kun volume 4 chapter 12, "I Won't Lose to the Sextuplets!" (六つ子なんかにまけないぞ), eBookJapan.
  11. Osomatsu-kun volume 2, chapter 13 "Go for it, Little Teacher!" (がんばれチビッ子先生), eBookJapan.
  12. Osomatsu-kun volume 3, chapter 5 "Let's Visit Trouble Instead of Papa" (パパのかわりにめんどうみよう), eBookJapan.
  13. Fujio Akatsuka work list, Koredeiinoda official site (Japanese language)
  14. Kantaro, eBookJapan (Japanese language)
  15. Kantaro profile, Koredeiinoda official site (Japanese language)