It’s not surprising that the creators and even translators of some of our most loved anime are cultured in memes. After all, they are the ones writing all the hilarious moments we can relate to. In fact, there are several instances where memes you’ve likely seen and shared before were referenced in anime. Let’s take a look at 5 memes and 16 times they gloriously appeared!
1. Reaction Guys
We’ll begin with a classic. The Reaction Guys is one of the most well-known meme templates and has been floating around the internet since 2003. It depicts a comparison between the audience’s reactions to something boring in the first panel and something they feel excited about in the second panel. The Reaction Guys have references in multiple anime, the most recent being Komi Can’t Communicate episode 3 when Komi’s classmates feel electrified at the thought of seeing Komi’s kissing face. Previously, the cameo appeared in Bakemonogatari episode 9, iDOLISH7 episode 3, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid episode 10, and Recently, My Sister Is Unusual episode 7. It creates the perfect chance to show a hilarious reaction to something.
2. “No thoughts, head empty”
“No thoughts, head empty” is an internet catchphrase and meme template used when someone simply has no brain cells left to use. It makes homage in episode 2 of the anime shorts series BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!☆PICO～OHMORI～ when Rimi Ushigome and the other Girls Band Party members struggle to decide on a new menu item for Saya’s family bakery. I’m sure many of us can relate to this sometimes…
3. “I think I forgot something.”
Even a meme based on an American TV sitcom has made its way into anime. This part in Gabriel Dropout episode 3 mimics a memorable scene in Two And a Half Men Season 2 episode 16 when character Alan says he believes he forgot something. Charlie then replies “If you forgot it, it must not have been important,” and the camera cuts to Alan’s son Jake who is left at school in the pouring rain. In Gabriel Dropout, Gabriel and Vignette similarly realize too late that they left poor Satania crushed under a door.
You can watch Two And a Half Men on Amazon Prime Video.
Images via Crunchyroll
4. Salt Bae
Ah yes, the Salt Bae meme you may have used to show everyone your inner boujieness. This meme is the most common one found in anime and most recently appeared in The Dungeon of Black Company episode 9. Before, Salt Bae also made cameos in How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom episode 4, Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy episode 4, Black Clover episode 24, My Girlfriend is a Shobitch episode 7, Dr. Stone episode 13, Tensura episode 20, and Jashin-chan Dropkick season 2 episode 5. What better way to execute a cooking scene? Bottom line: Japan seems to love Salt Bae.
5. Rick Roll
Lastly, this one is a true surprise. Steins Gate: 0 makes reference to the famous rickroll meme based on an unexpected appearance by artist Rick Astley in his “Never Gonna Give You Up” official music video. In episode 10, Kurisu becomes frustrated when Rintarou provokes her into reciting the iconic lyrics with him. She totally got rickrolled!
Images via Crunchyroll
Referencing a meme is probably the most cultured move an anime creator could make, and this has been done several times in anime. Let’s appreciate the creators’ and subbers’ relatable sense of humor and look forward to more fun meme references in the future!