Tuesday, July 26, 2016

おまけ, Omake - Meaning in Japanese

Everyone loves omake おまけ, right? The omake in manga, the omake in anime, even the omake in games. Even the omake in real life! Wait, what? What does omake mean again?

Honestly, it's easy to get confused. The word omake is one of those that get thrown around by fans a lot but nobody ever says what it really means. An omake おまけ is, basically, something which is "extra" or that you get besides something else.

For example, say you buy a burger at some fast food and you get an ice cream for free with your order. That ice cream, it "was an omake," omake datta おまけだった.

But that's not all. An omake can also be something you get extra that is not good at all and you don't really want. Like say your best friend makes a pun so bad you end up killing him for it, you lose your best friend and "on top of it you become a criminal," omake ni hanzaisha ni natta おまけに犯罪者になった.

Omake in Anime and Manga

When we talk about omake in anime and manga we're normally talking about content which is either at the start, middle or end of the episode, chapter, or volume and that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story.

Extra information about the world or characters is a kind of omake. Character profiles with age, blood type, favorite food, hobbies, etc. are omake. Some "comics with four panels," yonkoma 四コマ, are omake. Even illustrations and pin-ups that would be hard to put in the middle of the manga or anime story can be omake.

In a number of action manga, the omake is a panel or mini-comic with jokes about the characters themselves, including, sometimes, fourth-wall breaking.

おまけ 2巻からは主役交替で『焔の錬金術師』が始まります transcript from manga 鋼の錬金術師
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist / Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師
  • omake おまけ
    (featured by the end of the first volume.)
  • ni-kan kara wa shuyaku koutai de
    "Honoo no Renkinjutsushi" ga

  • From the second volume, due to switching of main characters,
    "Flame Alchemist"
    will begin.
    • The Japanese title of Fullmetal Alchemist is:
    • Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師
      Steel Alchemist.
    • Which refers to alchemist title given to the main character, Edward Elric. Hence, if the main character changed, the title of the manga would change too.
    • This is omake is a joke implying he, the Flame Alchemist, wants to steal the show away from Edward Elric, the Steel Alchemist, and become the main character of the series.
    • What's announced, of course, doesn't actually happen. In volume 2 the Steel Alchemist remains the main character..

Examples of Omake

In Shingeki no Kyojin 進撃の巨人 (Attack on Titan), details about the 3D maneuver gear and about the walls of the story can be found at the start of certain chapters in the manga. This information is also shown. In the first and second part of some of the anime episodes. Both forms are omake.

In the anime Gintama 銀魂, though it's difficult to say given the nature of the anime, there are some scenes which appear at the start and end of some episodes that can be considered omake. For example, the ones where Gintoki calls himself Ginpachi-sensei and answers certain questions. These take a couple of minutes and usually have nothing to do with the story of the episode itself.

Even games can have omake. The series Metal Slug, for example, used to include drawings of characters and machines of the game that could be unlocked and seen as the player progressed through the game.

Three examples of omake おまけ: details about the 3DMG from Shingeki no Kyojin 進撃の巨人 (Attack on Titan), an illustration of a machine from Metal Slug, and a scene from Ginpachi-sensei from the anime Gintama 銀魂

One last thing about omake... are omake really "extras"? Are extras really extras? If you pay for something and get it plus something else, haven't you just paid for it and the extra, too? Where does the thing really ends and the omake really starts? Who knows!

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