I just liked that gif

I know a lot of it comes from culture clash and some are just old tropes, but anime characters sure get excited about some weird things sometimes. After so many years of watching Anime they don’t really register any more but still, I sometimes think it would be so weird if anyone I know reacted like that in real life.

Like I said, I know some are cultural so these might seem like perfectly normal things to get all flustered about, but they do seem a bit odd to an uncultured foreigner like myself…

anime popsicle stick
found it here

5) Popsicle sticks

I’m not sure anyone else has noticed this but Anime popsicles are rigged. By that I mean that 9 out of 10 times they are the type with things printed on the stick which would allow one to win *something*, usually just a free popsicle. And the almost always win, unless the person eating them really wants to win….

To be fair, it’s not like the characters freak out about winning some random popsicle, well some do but not everyone, but if someone gives you that winning stick then it’s the most incredible thing in the world! Anime characters react to what comes down to being handed a buck or something, like someone’s offered them a kidney. It’s crazy! They will be forever devoted to their popsicle prince. Honestly, anime villains should just quit with the evil plans, buy an obscene amount of popsicles and just enslave everyone through the sweet gift of winning popsicle sticks!

by redjuice

4) Cars

This one is definitely due to differing cultures. A couple of years ago I learned just how complicated and expensive getting a driver’s license is in Japan and now even I’m impressed by Japanese nationals that can drive.

This said, I remember in olden days, watching slice of life anime and being puzzled when characters made a big deal about someone having a car. Living in a country where a lot of average high school students have their own cars (Canada is huge, sparsely populated and really cold, walking everywhere is not a realistic option for most people), I did not get what we special about an employed adult having one.

This trope has fallen a bit out of fashion lately but you still occasionally see characters get flustered over someone having a very average car or even simply a license. I do get why now!

by Matsunaka Hiro 

3) Natural hair colour

In a universe full of neon coloured, prismatic or rainbow hair, what do anime characters react to? Natural black hair of “classical” beauties or blonde whether fancy foreigner or scary bleached Yankee. Honestly, the only times I have personally seen hair colour commented on in anime it’s always either black or blonde. Oh I think red once but it was closely tied to character development.

It’s sort of funny for someone like me who has often had some pretty wild hair colours and is used to getting stopped by strangers on the street to comment on it, to see those colours completely ignored in favour of what should really be pretty mundane ones. I kind of like it.

anime flu
found it here

2) Colds


So not only do anime characters get colds at the drop of a hat and then become completely incapacitated by them, but everyone around them acts like it’s a huge deal. If you happen to skip school cause you have the sniffles, friends will rally to your side with supplies and treats. They will swarm you with well wishes and worry deeply about your recovery.

Heck, you don’t even need to get a cold for people to make a huge deal about it. If you were in the rain for a few minutes, anyone who sees you will immediately scold you and third towel at you, that’s if they don’t drag you directly into a hot bath. Forget your scarf on a brisk day, get ready for a comment about it from every single person in your grade.

I have had a low key cold for the past decade or so. If people were to panicky every time I sneezed, it would pretty much make up the entirety of my conversations with other people.

Sebastian’s swimsuit rocks!

1) Sweets

Anime characters can love sweets or dislike them but they are never neutral about it. If sweet stuff is shown in an anime you will most likely have at least one character physically drooling over them or stoically trying to pretend they don’t care. Often both! Or you will have some though guy openly declaring that they are not fans of sugary stuff cause yeah!

Desserts in anime are always going to get a reaction. A big one!

I realize that it’s in fact linked to a lot of classic character tropes but it is a little funny to see.

Have any of you ever notice anime characters having huge reactions to some really mundane stuff? Do you enjoy those tropes or do you find them a little childish?

playful Rini

19 thoughts

  1. I like this topic 🙂 I just left Japan recently after two years working in Tokyo. A lot of things I didn’t understand or didn’t even notice in anime took on a whole new meaning while / after living in Tokyo. Coincidently, I’ve more or less been off WordPress for the last two years due to crazy busy Tokyo life!

    You may be right about cars in the countryside / and in the past. I think these days it’s not too difficult to afford a car, however at least for Tokyo parking is expensive / a pain. I love cars, but ended up deciding not to have one while in Japan. One thing I noticed – Japan has a big car enthusiasm market, whether it’s restored American classics / street racers or whatever… The Japanese love of attention to detail and culture of working hard transforms well into car customisation and restoration. I saw many cool restored classics around Tokyo. I think some Manga / Anime artists sneak cars into episodes as a reflection of this hobby or interest. Take for example Neon Genesis Evangelion, I haven’t seen it talked about but Misato’s car is a pretty obscure / rare Renault Alpine GTA – an attempt by Renault to make a supercar when they were popular (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Alpine_GTA/A610). You can also see lot’s of shots of car magazines in her messy apartment. I like the extra depth this brings to the character. I can imagine outside of the sad story of Eva something about Misato’s passions. Another couple of examples – Misaki’s Porsche in Darker than Black and Benny’s 69′ Plymouth in Black Lagoon.

    The other one I wanted to mention was colds. The cold / flu in Tokyo is kind of famous. It has a reputation of being worse than many other places. I think it’s simply because influenza spread is increased where people are in close proximity indoors and in Tokyo this is an extreme. I think a lot of strains go around and it’s easy to catch several flu’s in one year. Last winter I had one of the worst flus in Tokyo I’ve ever had. I was so congested and I just couldn’t clear my airways haha it was horrible as I was running meetings at work. I’ve lived in quite a few countries including much colder than Tokyo and no where else did I see such sickness. It’s kind of common conversation or worry going to work in Oct/Nov/Dec/Jan etc. when the whole floor of your office might be sick and you just can’t avoid catching it. I know masks are popular but they are pretty much proven to be ineffective in studies. On a side note Japanese people often use masks for other reasons e.g. they give a sense of privacy and also people use them to have a slightly easier day at work (pretending to be sick). TL:DR I think most Japanese people are constantly worried about the flu haha!

    The one that stands out to me these days is the total overreaction to food. I love tasty food and it’s one of the reasons I was happy to live in Japan, but the reaction when tasting some dishes is really silly, but having said that it’s kinda cute and it gives anime a nice light hearted touch sometimes. A lot of Japanese people either live with parents or have small apartments and work long hours and I think one of the only times they can relax with friends is over meal, so I think dining and eating is a happy place.

  2. The popsicle stick thing, I think, is normally associated with the blue popsicle you’ve got in that image there. It’s known as “Garigari-kun” (although apparently there are other weird flavours of Garigari-kun, like tamagoyaki) and while I’ve never had one, I remember learning about them and seeing Rin get a winning stick in Blue Exorcist (I think it was). The applications of such a thing in a plot are pretty obvious if you think about it, though – demonstrating a character’s luck or how they got an item.

    Japan has a bit of a thing for lotteries in general, though – not just pachinko and slot machines, but they use lotteries for anime events or rare prizes (such as signed shikishi).

  3. I agree with all of those, but I wonder if the cold thing is some sort of culture artifact left over from the 1918 Flue pandemic which infected millions. If I remember correctly this is why the Japanese and many other asian countries wear masks when they feel sick.

  4. The cold and it’s harbingers (such as – gasp – rain) would have been my number one. How do these people surivive taifun season one wonders?

    Also, the sea. Eyes get sparkly and mouths drop open and you glue your face to the window of a bus or a train, lest you miss one single precious second of that extraordinary sight of… lots of water? Well, I do see the appeal, but it’s nothing that special, is it?

    Oh and “indirect kisses”. I’ve sort of accepted that it’s a big deal for anime characters, but, really, you’re just drinking out of the same can/cup/glass. (I suppose at least the “indirect kiss” explains the anime Akikan…)

    1. Good point abut the sea. I mean it’s an island nation, there’s so much sea…..
      Indirect kiss is also a great one For a long time I had no clue what they were even talking about

  5. Oh man, I remember getting my Japanese license was TORTURE. And although I had to jump through a set of entirely different hoops, being a foreigner with different paperwork requirements, at least I didn’t need to start from scratch (in that I already had my New Zealand license, and therefore didn’t need to take an actual tests). Even so, it was still a 6-month process. @_@

  6. This is kind of obvious, but I am always a bit bewildered how so many anime takes place in high school or has main characters who are high school-aged. Even seinen and josei manga aimed at older audiences tend to have a lot of teenage characters. They tend to romanticize high school to the point where it feels like nothing interesting happens after that age (a lot of American movies do this too, but I feel like anime does it a lot more). I wonder if this is a cultural thing or it’s just anime specific.

    This trope is hard for me to connect with because I HATED high school 😅 I went to a Catholic high school with nuns and mass every week. I couldn’t wait to leave! I know my experience is definitely not the norm, but it would be nice to see more anime where the characters are a bit older – at least college age or early 20’s!

  7. Haha, I totally agree with the popsicle one. The way that momoi fell in love with Kuroko in Kuroko no Basuke was pretty hilarious xD

  8. I always thought the way colds were treated in anime was ridiculous. If I’m stuck at home sick I’m lucky if my immediate family even gives me some food. Anime characters may as well be on their death bed every time they sneeze. They need a cold cloth on their forehead, soup made for them and to sleep the entire day.

    Based on my best friend’s experience living in Japan right now…most people just go to work /school sick with a mask on.

  9. I wish my friends treated sickness like they do in anime, I would never need to cook again xD, though I guess then I would be locked in the home of my parents not allowed to go outside because of my weak heart and then some kids come to abduct me to play. Seems nice.

    Another thing they make big in anime is C-cups and above. I mean sure the western world also makes it a thing but anime really makes it a lot bigger, in particular the inverse.
    Everyone cares in anime if you are flat. IRL you just do not get noticed. Still think that boobs are pretty mundane.

    Anything in Lucky Star bascly. I never really worried about eatng a pudding bread and such.Yet the most blown out of propotions thing I would say is actually love.
    10 year olds are already looking for someone to settle with and marry with. In a very genuine way. Back when I was ten I thought boys were gross….and I still think that + I think al men are boys… but point is “boyfriends or girlfriends” get this hyperinflated purpose in most anime, where friends start to matter less and only the parter matters. Waaay to early in their lives. Then again that might just be me , not finding it THAT important.. so now I do not know if anime is weid or I am xD

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