Japanese with Anime

And kanji with manga

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In Japanese, a circle (○), maru 丸, has multiple uses: it typically means something is "correct," that an answer is "right." In this case, "wrong" is either an X mark or a check mark (✓), and a triangle (△) is half-right. It's also used as a placeholder, specially to censor words.

This article is about the circle symbol, not about a "circle," saakuru サークル, in the sense of a group of people that do an activity like drawing doujinshi 同人誌.

Different symbols used to grade exams in Japan: check marks or ticks mean incorrect, circles mean correct, and triangles partially correct.
Anime: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai ぼくたちは勉強ができない (Episode 1)
Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 1)
Anime: Nichijou no Zero-wa 日常の0話 (Episode 0, OVA)


In Japanese, an "X mark" (☓), batsu-jirushi バツ印, typically means an answer is "incorrect," fuseikai 不正解, although it can also mean something is dame 駄目, "not good," NG, "not allowed," "didn't work out." The opposite symbol is a "circle" (○), maru 丸. These symbols are also used as placeholders.

Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 11)
Friday, July 30, 2021

Gainax Stance

In anime, Gainax pose, or Gainax stance, in Japanese: gaina-dachi ガイナ立ち, literally "Gaina-standing," refers to a way for a character, usually a giant robot, or giant robot pilot, to stand imposingly as it waits for battle: with arms crossed and legs apart, due to its prominent use by animation studio Gainax, ガイナックス.(dic.pixiv.net, tvtropes.org)

Characters from Gainax series doing the Gainax pose (ガイナックス立ち).
Anime: Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster, トップをねらえ!GunBuster (Episodes 4, 5)
Anime: Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster, トップをねらえ2!DieBuster (Episodes 2, 4, 6)
Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, 天元突破グレンラガン (Episodes 3, 15, 25)
Anime: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, パンティ&ストッキングwithガーターベルト (Episode 2)
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Sunrise Stance

In anime, when a character stands with legs apart readying their sword (or other weapon) thrusting it forward, and the camera perspective is warped so the sword looks far bigger than normal, that's called a Sunrise Stance (サンライズ立ち), Sunrise Perspective (サンライズパース), Brave Perspective, Yuusha Perspective (勇者パース), Brave Stance, Yuusha Stance (勇者立ち), Fukuda Perspective (福田パース), or, in Chinese, 大張一刀流 (Oobari Ittouryuu?).(dic.pixiv.net:勇者パース, dic.nicovideo.jp:サンライズ立ち, tvtropes.org:SwordPointing)

Anime: The Brave Fighter Exkizer, Yuusha Exkaiser, 勇者エクスカイザー (Episode 43)
Anime: Onmyou Taisenki 陰陽大戦記 (Episode 20)
Anime: Aikatsu Stars!, アイカツスターズ! (Episode 37)
Anime: Hacka Doll The Animation, ハッカドール THE・あにめーしょん (Episode 9)
Monday, July 19, 2021


In Japanese, uwa'... watashi no nenshuu, hiku-sugi...? うわっ・・・私の年収、低すぎ・・・?, meaning something like "yikes... my salary, it's too low...?" is a text used in an internet ad by a job-search company called @type, which featured a woman covering her mouth in shock, presumably after realizing how little she made. The ad copy became a meme, with parodies found even in manga and anime.

うわっ・・・私の髪の毛、抜けすぎ・・・? わずか5分で、部屋から数十本の毛が拾える「都合のいい合成素材」。 抜けた毛は40万本突破!? 将来がリアルに心配だ。
Manga: Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者 (Chapter 10, もっと恐ろしいもの)
Sunday, July 18, 2021

Gendo Pose

In anime, placing your elbows on a desk and interlacing your fingers in front of your face such that it hides your mouth and you look like you're scheming something important is called a Gendo pose, in Japanese: Gendou Poozu ゲンドウポーズ, in reference to Ikari Gendō 碇ゲンドウ, from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, a bespectacled, gloved character who did this pose a lot.(dic.pixiv.net)

A collage of characters doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
From left to right, top to bottom:
Ikari Gendou 碇ゲンドウ
Hasegawa Taizou 長谷川泰三
Luhy Jistone, ルーヒー・ジストーン
Unnamed Hayate's boss
Doma Umaru 土間うまる
Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子
Nogizaka Gentou 乃木坂玄冬
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン (Episode 2)
Anime: Gintama 銀魂 (Episode 43)
Anime: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 這いよれ!ニャル子さん (Episode 4)
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 1)
Anime: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (Episode 13, OAD)
Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 11)
Anime: One Punch Man, ワンパンマン (Episode 4)
Anime: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza, 乃木坂春香の秘密ぴゃあれっつぁ (Episode 11)
Saturday, July 3, 2021

Tsukkomi Gesture

In Japan, a backhand slap on someone's chest, or, sometimes, doing the gesture on air, suggests the person is doing a tsukkomi ツッコミ, a "retort" calling out something stupid that someone else said, which is typically done in manzai 漫才, a type of comedy routine with a duo of comedians, namely the boke ボケ saying stupid things, and the tsukkomi calling out the boke.

Aioi Yuuko 相生祐子 doing a tsukkomi on Minakami Mai 水上麻衣 by slapping on her chest with the back of her hand.
Left: Minakami Mai 水上麻衣
Right: Aioi Yuuko 相生祐子
Anime: Nichijou 日常 (Episode 1)
Friday, July 2, 2021


In Japanese, nandeyanen なんでやねん, meaning literally "why is [it]," is a phrase popularly associated with tsukkomi ツッコミ, the act of "retorting" and the comedian doing retorts in manzai 漫才, a type of comedy done by a duo where one says something stupid (the boke ボケ), while the other "retorts" by saying they're wrong or questioning them, sometimes physically hitting them, e.g. with a backhand slap on their chest.

Left: Buddha, ブッダ
Right: Jesus, イエス
Manga: Saint☆Oniisan, 聖☆おにいさん (Chapter 4, 初舞台)
  • Context: Jesus doing a tsukkomi on Buddha.
  • nandeyanen!
    Why is [that]!

This phrase is in Kansai 関西 dialect, and Kansai is associated with manzai, so one can guess its popularity is due to manzai comedians from Kansai using it.


In Japanese, boke ボケ means "idiot," or something stupid someone does, specially in comedy.

何か用でしょうか? 話を今してんのはこのオレだッ! 誰が質問していいと言ったッ!? このボケがッ!
Manga: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Part 5: Golden Wind, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 黄金の風 (Chapter 2 (441), 黄金体験その②)
Thursday, July 1, 2021


In Japanese, tsukkomi ツッコミ means "retort." In manzai 漫才 comedy, in a boke and tsukkomi routine performed by a duo of comedians, the boke ボケ is the idiot doing or saying something ridiculous, while the tsukkomi is the "straight man" who retorts, reacting to, pointing out, or calling out the ridiculousness of the boke for the audience. For example:

Nakano Azusa 中野梓 hits Hirasawa Yui 平沢唯 with a harisen ハリセン paer fans while doing a manzai 漫才 comedy bit.
Left: Hirasawa Yui 平沢唯
Right: Nakano Azusa 中野梓
Anime: K-On!!, Keion!! けいおん!! (Season 2) (Episode 9)
  • Context: Yui and Azusa do a manzai bit in front of an audience. Yui says:
  • watashi no hou ga senpai desu ga, Azu-nyan no hou ga chakkari shiteru-n-desu yo
    Even though I'm the [older] one, it's Azu-nyan who is chakkari!
  • Hitting Yui with a harisen ハリセン, Azusa says:
  • sore wo iu nara "shikkari" da!
    If [you] are going to say that, [it] is "shikkari"!
    • This is a tsukkomi on Yui saying a common phrase wrongly.
    • shikkari shite-iru
      To be holding together well.
      To be responsible, mature, in the sense of having one's life in order, of not being lax. To be dependable. (something you'd expect from someone older.)
    • chakkari
      Shrewd, in the sense of never missing a chance to profit from a situation.

Often, the boke is an unpredictable, random, crazy character that completely lacks common sense, and is complemented by a more logical, grounded-on-reality tsukkomi character, who is there to provide a sane point of view in the comedy and try to insert some common sense in the show.

Fist Hitting Palm

In anime, sometimes a character gestures bringing down a fist on an open palm, like a hammer hitting a drum, when they have an idea, an epiphany, in their "ah!" moments when they finally understand or realize something. This is sometimes accompanied by an idea light bulb.

Character: Fujioka Haruhi 藤岡ハルヒ
Anime: Ouran High School Host Club, Ouran Koukou Hosuto-Bu 桜蘭高校ホスト部 (Episode 1)
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Flower on Head

In manga and anime, sometimes a flower sprouts out of a character's head as a manga symbol, meaning they're merry, carefree, happy-go-lucky, having no worry in the world, peaceful. It's used when a character is in love, or when they're being silly, stupid, as it means they've stopped being serious.

Patalliro, パタリロ, example of character with a flower sprouting out of his head.
Character: Patalliro, パタリロ
Anime: Patalliro!, パタリロ! (Episode 2)

Flower Background Effect

In anime, sometimes flowers are used as a background effect symbolizing that a character is peaceful, happy-go-lucky, carefree, easy-going, specially if they're in love, thinking about romantic things, or if they have a gentle, fuzzy personality.

Karuta Roromiya 髏々宮カルタ, example of flower background, overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖).
Character: Karuta Roromiya 髏々宮カルタ
Anime: Inu x Boku SS, 妖狐×僕SS (Episode 9, Stitch)