Ever since I published my first post on 7 Anime Clichés I Could Live Without, I’ve been thinking of more clichés!
A mainstay of anime, clichés play an important role in comedy as well as other areas. I think that some clichés are great at first, but quickly lose their appeal. Others are just part of Japanese culture I guess? Or maybe it’s just anime culture.
Anyways, here are 8 more anime clichés that we have all witnessed at some point.
8. The Ol’ Spit Out Your Drink Reaction
This is a pretty mainstream cliché. It goes far beyond anime and well into regular Western media. I think I have witnessed it being funny a few times, but I definitely think it’s overused. Nothing like spitting out your drink to express shock right?
Anyone else able to predict when this is going to happen? I feel like many times now I see characters in a conversation, and the character who isn’t speaking starts to take a drink – you know what happens next. It just feels so scripted at this point that I can’t help but foresee it happening.
I think that we are at the point where it’s funnier to make fun of this cliché (like 5 characters doing it in a row) than it is to use the cliché. It’s just so common that it’s almost just a casual thing – it’s lost it’s impact over the years I think.
7. Not Sleeping in a Bed = Catch a Cold
Continuation from last cliché post, this time we have a different method for catching a cold. Simply don’t sleep in your bed. I imagine less blankets also is important here. As if getting wet wasn’t bad enough, I’ve noticed multiple times characters being told they shouldn’t sleep on the floor or wherever isn’t their bed because they will catch a cold.
I shouldn’t be surprised really. At this point it’s pretty clear that if you are cold, you will catch a cold. That’s why it’s called a cold right? And don’t forget, getting a cold in anime means you become bedridden and unable to function as a human until you recover. You will have to call someone over to your house to feed you rice porridge and put a damp cloth on your forehead if you ever become inflicted with an anime cold. It’s a rough experience from the looks of it.
Stay warm, stay safe!
6. The Oblivious Harem Protagonist
All right. So I understand that the protagonist of a harem anime is basically required to be oblivious in order to keep the whole “who will they choose?” question alive. But it is pretty cliché at this point. There have to be other ways to keep the harem dynamic without falling back onto this cliché right? I don’t hate this one, but I really feel like harem anime could use a little more creativity here.
5. The Small Bust Complex
I just think this one is too frequent. Too many anime have that one girl who is super insecure about the small size of her chest. And with this we see many moments where the girl with the small bust stares at other girls with large breasts and becomes irritable / insecure about it.
And with this we usually see two paths that an anime can take:
- The girl with the larger oppai is completely oblivious as to why the girl with the smaller boobs is irritated / insecure.
- The two girls hurl insults at each other based on the size of their bosom. “Flat chested”, “Cow udders”, stuff like that.
Oh and sometimes we get the “some guys prefer small breasts” line in there too, which never helps ease the character’s worries.
I don’t know if this is a big deal for Japanese women or if it’s more of an anime thing, but I’m not really a fan of the small bust size complex. I just don’t find it very funny.
Also I managed to use 6 different words instead of just “bust” there (7 if you include udders). Not bad.
4. Nosebleeds + Coughing Up Blood
Quick disclaimer: I swear I had this written in my notes before I saw Irina’s recent post that also refers to nosebleeds. Total coincidence!
Something is just not right with many anime characters. They just seem to be very susceptible to ejecting blood from their face, either through their nose or mouth.
Nosebleeds as we know are a side effect of seeing a woman in a sexual manner. Or a side effect of seeing two men as a potential “yaoi” couple. What are my thoughts on the nosebleeds? I understand it’s an exaggeration, but I’m not a fan. I personally have never had a nosebleed, but I just think it’s kind of gross. Especially in those times where the characters shirt actually gets bloody and people react to it, it’s crazy how far some anime go with this one.
And then we have the coughing up blood. I’m a little more lenient on this one. If a character was just shot or stabbed or whatever, then sure go ahead and cough that blood up. But it gets a little weird when the blood coughing becomes a casual thing. Like in almost every fight in Dragon Ball Z. Or All Might from My Hero Academia. Or the teacher from Chivalry of a Failed Knight. I don’t dislike this one as much as nosebleeds, but it is a little odd to me.
Why settle for spitting out your drink when you can cough up blood? It has more impact I suppose.
Yep I’m going there. Tsundere is cliché. Tsundere is probably one of the most overused character personality archetypes in anime. The only other one I could think of that maybe is just as frequently used is the typical shounen protagonist.
I’m pretty hot and cold when it comes to my opinion on the tsundere character. I think it can be very well done, and in these situations I quite like the personality. Other times it’s overdone to the point where I just dislike the character solely because of how ridiculous they are thanks to their tsundere personality.
And sometimes a tsundere starts out very tsun, but then almost immediately ditch the tsundere personality completely to become just dere. Should this even be allowed? What’s the point in even starting as a tsundere in these situations?
Someone should just sit down and discover the formula for the perfect tsundere. For anime’s sake.
2. Milk’s Super Growth Properties
Are you an anime girl with a small bust? Or an anime character who is insecure about your height? Anime has the perfect solution. Just drink milk constantly!
I feel like many of these clichés are just old wives tales that exist in Japanese culture, or at least anime culture (because I don’t actually know how many are actually believed in Japanese culture). Drink milk for strong bones right? Except this whole concept is completely in the air, with multiple statistics that prove and disprove the idea. Many believe it’s a total myth (such as myself, someone with no qualifications whatsoever on this issue).
After all, calcium is already in water. And many cultures have survived centuries without drinking dairy. But maybe this is why people might buy into the milk thing in Japan, because they don’t consume very much dairy in their regular diets right?
Either way, it’s become a cliché in anime, and I don’t see it going away very soon. I don’t mind this one, because it’s sort of just another method that can be used to show a character’s insecurity about their size / height.
1. Secret Children Training Facilities / Programs
Oh man, where do I begin with this one. It’s amazing how many anime decide to use the secret children training facilities cliché to justify why certain characters have some sort of superhuman capabilities, as well as resentment.
Character is super smart? Let’s just go with the whole “character was an orphan raised in a secret facility to expand children’s minds for some sort of evil purpose”. Super strong / fast? How about the “character was an orphan raised in a secret program to create the perfect assassins for nefarious purposes”. Character is just plain messed up? “Character was raised in a secret lab that experimented on children for evil reasons”.
It’s pretty funny to think about the number of times anime stories have used this cliché. You would think it would be less common, because it’s a pretty specific situation to have. Secret children training facilities can’t be THAT common can they?
I guess anime says otherwise on this one.
In the end my ultimate desire is to see more creativity in anime. Clichés can be great, and they have a place in anime for sure; I would just like to see less anime use them as a crutch for comedy / story / character design. Of course to be creative is a risky venture, as I previously wrote about in my post about Creative Differences in Anime.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t hope someone out there is trying new things. For better or worse, more variety and creativity can only make anime better in the long run.
Until next time.
Thanks for reading 🙂