Every hardcore anime fan has some. Things about the anime medium that make them groan, cry, or maybe even wish they were never an anime fan. While these things seem a little extreme, some nuisances are so ingrained within the medium that it begins to add to an overwhelming amount of negativity with each series, limiting what one can enjoy among the vast selection.
We’re not gonna focus on these things today. Instead, I’m gonna nitpick like it’s my career.
Two things to focus on for the title of this post are “trivial” and “pet peeves.” This Top 10 is going to focus on recurring aspects of anime that, ultimately, don’t matter to quality or overall experience. Things that some kind of just squint their eyes at or tune out whenever it happens. These are things that some watching a reviewer call out would consider “nitpicking,” in that it doesn’t really matter compared to the bigger picture any story or series tries to evoke. Nevertheless, this list details the ten trivial things in anime that really irritate me—so much that I dedicated an entire list to them. “Old Man Yells At Cloud” meme, anyone?
#10: Tailing a “Couple” on Pseudo-Dates
This isn’t too common of a trope in anime, but it tends to permeate itself in romance and especially in harem anime. The set-up goes like this: The (usually) male lead is placed (occasionally forced) within a situation where they go out with a potential romantic partner. An outside party (or a single individual) tail them in secret due to jealousy or some playful curiosity. An entire episode, or at least a majority, is then spent following the “couple” as they experience the wonders of wherever they go, and never each other—hence my issue with this.
It’s always the same thing. They aren’t an actual couple, and anime characters never take the initiative ever™, so it won’t change no matter the public setting. Every time this happens in anime, it doesn’t change anything. It’s just filler, a scenario staple of jealousy and continued tension that won’t solve anything, because 100% of the time, the pursuing party has nothing to worry about/take notes on. It’s essentially two friends going on a fun outing. If it’s at all entertaining, it’s because of the personalities of those on the pseudo-date… and, well, male leads? Yeah.
#9: “Oh Yeah… It’s My Birthday Today!”
Who forgets their birthday?! Who forgets their birthday?!
Am I really the most narcissistic person in the history of time to think that this is so strange?! I really cannot comprehend how someone, especially teenagers who have all sorts of free time and naivety, can possibly forget such a momentous day of celebration and free stuff! Why does this become such a notable sequence in anime? Bad writing? I wouldn’t doubt it?!?
This is a really trivial thing, especially because a character forgetting their birthday doesn’t even affect a plot at all. Most often, they forget their birthday and others remember it and make their heart go doki doki. That’s it. It’s just… who forgets their birthday?! And why is it so common in anime?! Is it Japanese culture of repressed individuality? I don’t understand!
#8: Parents Don’t Exist
This is a really common trope. You dive into an anime, and you’re introduced to the characters. Most likely, they live alone, because their parents work abroad, or they’re dead, or they were abandoned, or they’re in another area while their kid gets an opportunity to experience adulthood, I guess. Whatever the reason, the kid’s alone.
There are two problems I have with this. 1. Parents are cool. Their experience and input could be a great accompaniment to the angstiness of the teenage heroes. Whether positive or negative, should writers incorporate them, parents can absolutely play a pivotal role in the development of their kids. 2. What better way to provide the opportunity for steamy situations then to not have parents in the way? Obviously, we’re gonna have members of the opposite sex sit in the same house for whatever reason and get flustered because “sdhbvlsjdf sex sdkjgdsdfsdfds!!!!” The blatancy of it is disgusting and it bothers me.
#7: Everything Must Be EITHER Delicious or Awful
And they alllllllllllways announce it.
It’s like a game. A plate of food is presented. Either the character will take a bite and make some super-exaggerated face of mirth or repent to a God they didn’t believe in to whisk them away from this Earth. Always one or the other. I understand series want to liven up the daily experiences of life and all, but one could really do better than to show good food being put into someone’s mouth and having them exclaim to the world that it’s phenomenal. I get it. Food’s pretty good. I’m fat enough.
On the opposite side, having food be atrocious is never funny to me. Try as anime series might, it’s always the same spiel: someone is horrible at cooking and no one wants to offend them. So they attempt to stomach their inept cooking out of respect, and their reactions are usually astronomical. You know what would be funny? If someone took a bite and, with a blank face, said, “Wow, this is fucking terrible.” That’d be pretty good.
#6: American/English Characters MUST Have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes
This is kind of like a stupid “triggered” thing that bothers me, but it bothers me nonetheless. Almost like having all Asian characters in a hypothetical American cartoon have slanted eyes, pasty white skin, and a black-colored bowlcut haircut.
The most common hair and eye colors in the world are both brown (according to every Google search I’ve made leading up to this post). These numbers fluctuate by region, obviously, but even for Europe and America, straight-blonde isn’t all that common, and blue eyes in America is apparently under 16%. The research I found labeled it as “light-colored hair” (which is annoyingly vague) being most common in European countries, but if you ask anime, we all look like the Aryan race.
Looking at most of these pet peeves, a lot of them boil down to a lack of variety. Why can’t the American person have red hair with green eyes and freckles? Dark-brown hair and dark-brown eyes? Or, God forbid, darker skin? In my experience, anime tends to make everybody in the western world a blonde beauty with ocean-blue eyes. We’re… not all like that… at all. If you wanted something more true to life, you’d have the American be heavier. Can we have some variety? Please?
#5: Childhood Friends Are Required To Be Lovers
Fun fact: If you look up “anime childhood friends” on Google, two of the top guesses to finish it include “romance” and “fall love.” That’s how deep this stereotype is.
It is a constant theme. The familiarity between two people for an extended period of time gives rise to a feeling of not being able to go on without their presence. This generally gives way to romantic attachment. I get it. But this is a stereotype that has become so overdone that there’s also a stereotype that childhood friends “never win” (which was another Google top guess). How about we just stop having childhood friends fall in love with each other?
A lot of the times, they’re not even in love with each other; it’s more likely to be one-sided. Usually the female (because harems) childhood friend will develop a sense of longing for the aloof and dense male childhood friend, because he’s all she knows. What better way to make a series more interesting than to see childhood friends act as friends and nothing more? Even more so, between heterosexual characters of the opposite sex? I think it’d be intriguing to see, for example, a male friend go to a female friend for advice on attracting the opposite sex, except the results don’t end up having the girl falling for the guy. Y’know, sweet platonic support from a trusted peer of the opposite sex. Just a thought.
#4: Female Perverts
Nope. Nothing blatant at all about this. Totally natural for women to go up to other women and molest them for reasons of personal pleasure. Am I right, ladies?
But let’s not be sexist. Boys are just as likely to go up and give each other a swift pat on the dick. Hell yeah, that’s how all the dudes greet each other here on Earth. Fondling each other and admiring the girth of our squirts. Just a bunch of bros hangin’ out, y’know?
Yeah, but seriously, this trope can go away forever.
#3: All Women Worry Over Their Breasts
Okay, yeah, alright. Women think having big breasts makes them more desirable or more woman-like or whatever. Alright. Cool. But every woman? All of them?!
This wouldn’t be that much of an issue for me if it wasn’t in every anime! All genres, all types, all ages (okay, that’s a little overexaggerative). At least one joke revolves around how a woman with bigger breasts makes others around her self-conscious. Every time! It’s so annoying! I’m sure not every woman cares about how big their breasts are! Anime seems to paint the picture that a woman’s assets are everything!
Let’s use the same argument as the prior pet peeve: Why not make some jokes about the size of men’s dicks? That’d be something a little different. As a man myself, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about it whatsoever. They won’t do it, because that’d most likely be attacking the main demographic’s pride, and that’s a sin as a business. Still, it’d be something different—and as I said before, most of these are annoying to me simply as a lack of creative variety.
#2: Hand-Over-Head Modest Act
You talk about “trivial” things, this might be the most trivial… except maybe what’s to come.
I hate this action. The hand-behind-head, “haha did I do thaaaaaaaaaat?” shit that characters do. I see it everywhere—not even just anime! Video games, too! It’s literally everywhere and has become so synonymous with anime that anyone who does it in any form of media is instantly labeled as “anime” to me. Also, it’s not cute. I want to punch people in the face when they do this in anime.
I really don’t know what it is that I hate so much about this. The face? The fact that it happens in 99% of all anime? The unfunny humor or praise from others that precedes it? Every time I see it I grooooooooooooan. Can these characters do nothing else to be modest? Just say, “Oh, stop it!” and kick them in the face or something… actually I think that’s been done before. That was neat.
This is it. The most trivial thing ever at #1 on this list. A noise. A noise that anime characters make after taking a long swig of something (usually alcohol). And I FUCKING HATE IT.
“PUAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” A sound that usually sounds like this. Long, loud, obnoxious, and every anime that features a heavy drinker does it. Occasionally, they’ll do it multiple times an episode, and multiple times an episode, I want to mute the playback. It doesn’t even need to be alcohol, either; someone who drinks a lot of water can do it, too.
I drink substantial amounts of liquids sometimes. I don’t go “PUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” I exhale normally, like a normal person who doesn’t try to be obnoxious. Why is anime trying to annoy me with stupid sounds? Anime characters do enough by making mouth sounds during any and all silences for no reason (almost made the list). This is basically the “Nail on the chalkboard” sound for me when it occurs. I’m gonna start an online petition to get it banned from anime forever. Anyone wanna pre-sign?
What are some trivial things that annoy you in anime?
For more Top 10’s on this topic, feel free to look through the accompanying archive!