Spend enough time watching anime, and it’s hard not to notice what appear to be certain patterns repeating themselves. While no medium is free from cliche, it does occasionally feel like anime is especially happy to rely on tropes to flesh out story beats.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as some of these tropes are overused to the point of being comical, and are also occasionally subverted in unexpected ways. Deadly trucks, exceptionally serious colds, and a whole assortment of memorable catchphrases and cliches make up some of the tropes that anime fans all over the world know and love.

10 The Pan To The Sky “Ehhhh!?”

Typically deployed when a teacher reveals something shocking to the class or when a character the protagonist was rude to reveals themselves to be a new transfer student, the basic structure of this trope is fairly simple. After the shocking information is revealed, the camera cuts to the outdoors, and, as a crowd exclaims “ehhhh!?’ the camera pans up to the sky in sync with their crescendo.

Where exactly this trope originated from is unclear, but it makes sense as a budget-saving tool. Instead of having to animate a reaction shot involving an entire crowd of characters, the director can simply choose to cut outside and allow the audience’s imagination to fill in the gaps.

9 The “Umi Da!”

While it’s only possible to speculate, the likelihood that anime characters have brains hardwired to shout “umi da” (it’s the ocean) upon seeing said ocean seems reasonably high. The phrase typically accompanies the equally mandatory beach episode, which seems to find its way into nearly every show out there.

Why exactly does this trope exist, and why is it so overwhelmingly common? Maybe it’s just something voice actors like saying, or maybe it’s just a convenient way to segue into a beach shot—the true reason may never be revealed.


8 Saving Your Strongest Attack For Last

Yes, Sailor Moon could just use Moon Tiara Action at the beginning of the fight, and yes, maybe it would make more sense for Utena to just do her signature sword lunge to finish things quickly, but then the scene wouldn’t be nearly as exciting, now would it?

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The producers, artists, and story writers have to fulfill their wild battle quotes somehow, and, ultimately, there’s something cathartic and mildly euphoric about seeing a character finally finish off the bad guy with a signature finishing move.

7 Interrupted Confessions

With fireworks, uncouth side characters, and violent explosions typically being the most frequent, it would almost be possible to write an entire article solely about the ridiculous things that have interrupted love confession scenes in anime.

These can be especially frustrating because audiences sometimes have to sit through dozens of episodes waiting for a comically dense protagonist to finally come to his senses about his feelings for someone else only to have the confession interrupted by something absurd. It gets even worse when, after the distraction has passed, one of the characters loses their courage and decides to stop the whole process.

6 *Teleports Behind You*

Typically associated with the iconic exclamation “hayai!” (often translated as ‘he’s fast’), apparating behind your opponent to set up an opportune strike is a common tactic in dozens of anime fight scenes. The trope is so common that “teleports behind you” became a meme in its own right, with dozens of different variants posted all over the place.

One has to wonder, though; what if both combatants could just teleport behind each other at will? Would they just go off in an endless line of teleporting behind each other, or would one of them end up breaking the cycle?

5 Shouting The Name Of The Attack

Screaming the name of your attack seems to be a practice that is, at best, of dubious tactical value. Why would anybody want to announce to their opponent exactly which move they can expect? Wouldn’t it be better if Goku just tossed a Kamehameha at someone rather than chanting it out first?

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The answer is, of course, because, without bombastic attack names, the audience would have nothing fun to scream while watching their favorite anime fight scenes. Just try to imagine watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann without screaming every time a Giga Drill Break comes out; it wouldn’t be nearly the same experience.

4 The Isekai Truck

Watching too much anime might reasonably lead someone to the conclusion that Japan needs to undergo a serious overhaul of national road safety laws. The number of isekai protagonists who have been flung into another dimension at the hands of reckless truck drivers is so high that it seems like they need to form a support group.

It’s not just isekai, though; the deadly Japanese truck has long been on a mission to create melodrama in romance anime by bringing love interests, younger siblings, and doting parents to their tragic ends. Who’s driving these things anyway?

3 The Ludicrously Powerful Student Council

Being a member of a school’s student council in anime is serious business, with the highly respected position often reserved for the absolute elite of the school’s social hierarchy. It’s not always entirely clear what exactly these important people are so busy with, but it’s sure to be critical work.

Certain series choose to take this trope to comical places, like in Kill la Kill where the student council members are the de facto military leaders of a fascist school kingdom, or in Revolutionary Girl Utena where they organize a series of sword duels for the prize of unearthly power.

2 When The Power Limiters Come Off

Whether it’s eyepatches coming off or weights dropping to the floor, a battle scene is almost always enhanced by those moments where a character can finally reveal their true power level and fight with no holds barred. This trope also works well for villains, and moments where the bad guy reveals that they haven’t even been using their full roster of abilities are great for raising the stakes.

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Of course, this all begs the question as to why someone would want to deliberately limit their powers during a life or death battle in the first place. Why not just go all-out from the beginning?

1 When The Opening Theme Plays During The Final Battle

The hero seems to be down for the count with the villain gloating over them exhibiting a menacing presence—but it’s not over yet! The hero starts to remember the source of their resolve, and they rise to their feet as the opening theme of the show starts to play. Soon, the fight has turned around, and our heroes emerge exhausted, but victorious from battle.

There isn’t much else that brings as much sheer hype factor as hearing an anime opening serve as the score to a climactic battle. It makes things feel like they’re coming to a definitive close and calls to memory all the experiences of the show’s cast as the bad guy is finally vanquished.

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