Monday, October 1, 2018

gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ

If you have read JoJo, or if you spent too much time on the internet browsing anime memes, you've probably come across this bizarre word formed by four repeated symbols: gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ, and then asked yourself: what does it mean???

gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ as seen in the manga Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険


The word gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ is a kind-of like an onomatopoeia often used by the author of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険. It normally appears when a powerful enemy shows up to be confronted.

Gogogo ゴゴゴ as seen in the manga Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. よんでますよ、アザゼルさん。 Azazeru-kun no shiriai desu ka......? アザゼル君の知り合いですか・・・・・・? [Your] acquaintance, Azazel-kun? iya いや No. demo kore dake wa wakaru...... でもこれだけはわかる・・・・・・ But only this [I can tell for sure]. senaka ni gogogo wo matou ano kanji...... 背中にゴゴゴをまとうあの感じ・・・・・・ That sensation covering [his] back with gogogo...... ano akuma (otoko)* kanari dekiru de...... あの悪魔(オトコ)かなりできるで・・・・・・ That demon (man)*, [he has a lot of power]...... *a gikun, a different word is written as furigana.

The translation of gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ is usually *menacing* or something like that. Generally, it implies "things are getting tense." Nobody knows exactly what it's supposed to mean, but it's something along those lines.

Technically, gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ is not an onomatopoeia but a non-onomatopoeic ideophone, gitaigo 擬態語 This is because the characters in JoJo don't actually hear a gogogogo sound. Instead, the word is supposed to evoke an idea: in this case, of something menacing.

Ideophones are also called "mimetic words" for they mimic things, so you could say gogogogo mimics something being menacing.

If you thought it was an onomatopoeia, don't worry, most people will assume it is. (ジョジョの奇妙な「擬音 -

If you watch the anime adaptations, though, you'll find there's no gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ sound effect despite the lettering showing up on screen. This is contrary to zawa.. zawa.. ざわ・・ざわ・・ which you'd swear doesn't make a sound but in the anime it does.

In Other Manga

Besides JoJo, a lot of manga make use of the weird gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ sound effect, sometimes parodying JoJo.

For example, One Punch Man, wan-pan-man ワンパンマン, uses gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ in a lot of tense scenes.

Clouds parted on planet earth, with gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ written on space, as seen in the manga One Punch Man, wanpanman ワンパンマン
Manga: One Punch Man wan-pan-man ワンパンマン

(in space, nobody can hear you gogogogogo.)

Another sound effect often used in JoJo is dodododo ドドドド. It also gets used in other manga.

Sometimes, you might find a gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ that's used no in the way it's used in JoJo, but as a normal onomatopoeia for a gogogogo sound. Remember: the gogogogo in JoJo is weirdly soundless. If it emits a sound, it's probably not the same thing.

Could be the sound of the floor trembling, for example.

Gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ as seen in the manga Dragon Ball

Further Reading

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  1. Is it kind of like the non-diegetic sound cue "Dun dun DUN!!!!!" used in old corny films and often parodied nowadays?