anime tropes
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Best Anime Tropes That Keep the Memes Coming

Anime is full of tropes that can be predictable but still entertaining. While some tropes trigger a wave of eye-rolls, others have launched themselves into meme infamy.

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There are too many anime tropes to list. Many will be thrown in depending on the genre, making some anime feel formulaic and predictable. However, some tropes, no matter how often they show up, bring a burst of serotonin. For example, everyone loves a good beach episode but maybe not the trauma that can come after a day of fun in the sun. There are a few tropes that have become widely popular and infamous through the amount of memes and fanbase content created around them. These are the top anime tropes that have created some of the best memes to grace the internet.

Best Anime Tropes Ranked

5. Power of Friendship

sailor moon
Image via Netflix

No matter the odds, the main character has prevailed thanks to his or her friends being by their side. A character could be beaten half to death but suddenly gain an immense power-up the second a friend is in danger. Many anime, such as Sailor Moon, Fairy Tale, Naruto, Gurren Lagann, and My Hero Academia are all great examples.

Many have questioned the logic behind the Power of Friendship, which has led to a vast amount of memes spanning decades of content and generations of fans. The trope’s ridiculousness has even led to theories like the One Piece isn’t a treasure but it is actually the friends we made along the way. Between a thousand-year-old demon with unbeatable powers versus a fifteen-year-old kid with friends, I would bet money on that fifteen-year-old any day.

4. Mom’s With a Side Ponytail aka Dead Mom Hair

Trisha Elric Full Metal Alchamist Brotherhood
Image via Bones

While the loose side ponytail was originally chosen to show that the character was a housewife, fans soon started connecting the dots and realized that there was a correlation between dead mothers and this hairstyle. The side ponytail quickly became known as “dead mom hair.”

Fans started to notice the pattern in 2014 after a Tumblr post pointed out that the mothers in Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Anohana all had the same hair and all met the same fate. Things quickly escalated once more fans started finding more examples like the mothers in Tokyo Ghoul and Toyo ESP. Since then, fans have become just as traumatized by the hairstyle as millennials have with trucks carrying giant tree logs, going as far as to warn their own mothers to never wear the hairstyle. They are only half serious.

3. The Rise of Truck-kun

truck kun
Image via The Escapist

With the rise of Isekai anime comes the rise of Truck-kun, a trope that has manifested into its own character. Often in Isekai anime and manga, the main character is whisked to another world but in order to get there, they have to die in our world first. The most iconic way these characters die is with the same kind of truck as they walk across the street.

Fans noticed that the truck carrying out the deed was often the same make and model for almost every anime. These trucks became known as a single truck, killing characters every time, and fans named it Truck-kun. Truck-kun had a purpose and it was going to kill and send people to different worlds. In 2017, a list of Isekai protagonist causes of death was compiled, which was updated in 2018, revealing Truck-kun was the cause of 37 deaths. It came in third after general accidents and unknown causes. The meme has become so popular that Truck-kun has gained its own Wiki page.

2. Spot the Main Character

spot the main character
Image via The Escapist

One of the longest-running anime tropes is designing the main character or characters in a way that makes it painfully obvious that they are important characters. In a sea of ordinary-looking people in muted colors stands someone with giant spikey multicolored hair with bright clothes.

This trend in anime led to the creation of the “spot the main character” meme. It consists of an image like the one described above with just the instruction “spot the main character.” Other memes have taken a more sarcastic note, pointing to a random plain person next to the main character, claiming that they are surely the protagonist.

1. Toast of Tardiness

Daily Life of High School Boys
Image via Showgate

A classic trope in anime is a high school student running to school with a piece of toast in their mouth as they acknowledge that they’re late. The trope appeared enough in anime that it sparked a fan posting a picture of themself with toast in their mouth fake running with the caption, “I’m late for anime school.” This launched a series of memes mimicking the setup, with people posting pictures of different objects captioned “I’m late for X school.”

Eventually, anime creators got in on the joke, making fun of the trope in anime itself. The best example is Daily Life of High School Boys in which the three protagonists are often running late to school. One has toast in his mouth, Tadakuni, while the other two will have random foods. At one point one of the friends mentions that they are supposed to be running with toast in their mouth. The Toast of Tardiness meme has officially come full circle and I don’t see it leaving any time soon.

For more anime content, check out which soccer anime are the best ones to binge-watch.

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Jordan Althoff
Jordan Althoff has been a contributing writer for The Escapist since February 2023. Prior to that, they wrote at Gamepur. Jordan is an RPG, cozy game, and Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast. If there is a story to be told, they are happily playing that game. In between games, they do all things nerdy or cause chaos making their next cosplay.