Was the title including ‘Over 9000’ a terrible decision? Yes. Is it still one of those anime memes that has surpassed a literal generation and remains iconic? Also, yes. Because let’s face it, you can’t be a weeb online and not know the most meme-worthy hits in the anime community. I’m talking anime memes so terrible and visceral that you’ll recognize a fellow weeb by them alone. And what is any community without its hallmarks? Weebs were born to be cringe, and those anime memes are our pride.
I think some of the best anime memes come out of anime becoming so globalized while still being pretty contained in its own domestic country. Like, yeah, there’s a ton of crossover between cultures, but some things just end up being lost in translation. And it’s when you get snippets like transcribing errors or ridiculously out-of-place dialogues, that you see the true potential of how light-hearted anime can be.
Like, I’m from an era where anime was exploding everywhere but hadn’t realized its full potential as an international entertainment industry. This means, the content created was very particular to Japan, which has its unique humor and, of course, etymology. So, the anime memes we got? They tended to be bad translations or voice acting that deserves its hall of fame. Now, we’ve grown as a society. But our humor is just as dead on, and anime memes are a cultural phenomenon.
So, what are some of the funniest and most memorable anime memes? Honestly, it depends on who you ask. But there are some staples in the community that are instantly recognizable. And so, here are the top anime memes, ranked and explained for the newbies out there that are just dipping their toes when it comes to anime!
“Over 9000!” – Dragon Ball Z
If I didn’t mention this, my anime fan card would be revoked. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t just a Vegeta line alone. It’s one used by Son Goku as well and has become one of the staple anime memes when referencing powerful characters in any anime.
Anya’s Smug Face – Spy X Family
This one is pretty recent but no less iconic. Anya Forger’s antics on Spy X Family have everyone in stitches, but nothing feels more relatable than her narrow smug face whenever her mind-reading powers help her out. Or even when something just works out in her favor. She might be little, but she has the smugness down to an art!
Oraoraoraora – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
At this point, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the most meme-able anime out there. Like, the anime memes this franchise has spawned are numerous. And Ora Ora Ora! was first used as a battle cry by Jotaro Kujo’s Stand, Star Platinum, during JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures: Stardust Crusaders. And it’s made reappearances in the anime pretty frequently since.
“You Smell Like A Baka, Eren Yeager.” – Attack On Titan
This is another one of those ‘Lost In Translation’ bits that ended up surpassing the actual moment it was describing. There are rarely any comedic moments in Attack On Titan, and this scene is drawn so hauntingly. But then, that is the dialogue that is being spoken. Totally breaks the immersion.
Keikaku Means Plan – Death Note Fandubs
Repeat after me: fandubs were a dark, dark era. But it wasn’t without its charms. Without it, we wouldn’t have iconic lines like the one above, which overexplained the dialogue so much, they became anime memes onto themselves.
Truck Kun – Every Isekai Ever
As far as I’m aware, Trucks do more for Isekai protagonists than any superpower ever. It’s usually what ends up killing the protagonist in real life, which gives them the opportunity to be ‘born again’ in a new fantastical world where they aren’t average as all hell. Truly, the MacGyver anime meme of Isekai.
The Power Of Friendship! – Every Shonen Ever
What is a Shonen anime without friendship saving the day at some point? Don’t even come at me, because you can think back to most mainstream Shonen over the years, and they all share that same factor: The inevitable Power Of Friendship. One of the anime memes that are more of a tradition.
Three’s The Norm – Every Shonen Ever
Also, a Shonen trope: The Quintessential Trio! It’s usually coded the same way, with two boys and one girl. But you bet the two boys are going to be rivals, and one of the trio members is going to be the sunshine/nagging mom trope. It’s just the name of the game!
Seto Kaiba Being An Absolute Gamer Dork – Yu-Gi-Oh!
The fact that Seto Kaiba, a very dramatic antagonist, was meant to be a parody of the ‘Hardcore Gamer’ trope will never not be funny to me. Like, he captures that cringe essence perfectly on a normal day, but it was his defeat to Yugi Muto that will remain one of the funniest anime memes on Earth.
WcDonalds – Every Anime Escaping Copyright Infringement Ever
This isn’t just limited to any one anime trying to skirt around copyright issues. But like, a lot of anime do this with other brands too. One of my fondest memories was the ‘Pine-Apple’ Macbook from Ouran High School Host Club as a kid and laughing at it. Ever since I’ve tried looking for knock-off brands in other anime as well. WcDonald’s just happens to be the most ubiquitous.
The Fishbowl Camera Angle – Every Edgy Villain Ever
This one came up most recently with Bungou Stray Dogs, but it’s something I remember as far back as the original Naruto series. Remember when Gaara Of The Sand wasn’t stable during the Chuunin Exam arc? And they’d show his psychopathic tendencies by weird, zoomed-in angles of his face? Classic anime memes like these end up being so unserious.
Is This A Pigeon? – Cardcaptor Sakura
While I know a lot of people wouldn’t call this the most iconic, it is the one that has remained in the spotlight for literal decades now. I’ve seen this meme transform over and over, to the point where people wouldn’t even know the anime it comes from, but they knew the meme pretty well. Ah, early-era subs and dubs, what a time that was!
It Was Me, Dio! – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Back at it again with another JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure meme! Let’s be honest, was there ever a more beloved villain with as much meme potential as Dio Brando? The man is perfectly written to the point that he never feels like he’s getting stale or old. And really, everything is kind of Dio’s fault, so this anime meme happens to not only be versatile, but factually accurate!
C.C. And Pizza Hut Were Couple Goals – Code Geass
Maybe this isn’t one of those anime memes many fans remember, but it happens to be one of the few times an anime wasn’t trying to dodge copyright issues and it ended up being so hilarious. One moment, you’d be having this very serious monologue about the class difference with Lelouch Lamperouge. And then the camera pans to C.C. eating Pizza Hut like it’s the only food on Earth. The funniest product placement ever.
Dead Mom Hair Curse – All Anime Moms Are Dead
I mean, this isn’t even a secret. If a character is a mother figure that is kind and sweet, with brown hair swept in a side ponytail? Well, it was nice knowing them because you know they aren’t surviving. It’s such a weird coincidence that we’ve seen repeated in anime such as Tokyo Ghoul and Attack On Titan.
People Die When They Are Killed – Fate: Stay/Night
Let it be known that the only Fate entry I can take seriously is Fate/Zero. Because everything else is anime meme central. And this line by Shirou Emiya is so ingrained in my head, that I use it as a joke even with my non-weeb friends. This is one of those anime memes that will always be a banger.
Itachi Choking Sasuke Is A Cultural Icon – Naruto
The numerous edits I’ve seen of this specific scene speak for its popularity. Like, this was such a pivotal moment, with it being the first time we see Itachi Uchiha in action and not as a flashback. And yet, that neck grab of Sasuke Uchiha is so awkward, it’s been meme’d to infinity.
Naruto’s Obsession With Sasuke, Period. – Naruto Shippuden
Speaking of, Naruto Uzumaki’s entire thing with Sasuke is the stuff of anime meme legends. There has been no other character so single-minded in their obsession with another character. And yet, it isn’t supposed to be even a little bit romantic. But that’s also likely why the SasuNaru ship went from a crack ship to a legit anime ship that gets referenced in Western Animation.
Anya Forger and Yuji Itadori Are Long Lost Siblings – Spy X Family/Jujutsu Kaisen
This one is pretty self-explanatory. When two protagonists from wildly different anime happen to exude the same baby energy, with similar features? The siblings’ joke just makes itself. With Anya and Yuji Itadori’s pink locks and trouble-magnet tendencies, this one ended up being a pretty wholesome anime meme!
Dabi’s Dance Taking Over The 2020 Election – My Hero Academia
This cemented anime as a permanent pop culture fixture and not a temporary trend. I mean, who would’ve thought that the big Dabi reveal from My Hero Academia would out-trend one of the most anticipated political events in the world? But hey, it did. And it was worth every anime meme that it spawned.
Is That JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Reference? – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Man, will we ever reach the same heights when it comes to quality memes that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has already accomplished? Even if you’re not a JoJo stan, you’ve probably used the ‘Is That A JBA Reference?’ anime meme somewhere online. And really, that just explains how the franchise has become a pillar of the anime industry.
‘Useless’ Sakura – Naruto Shippuden
I’m actually not a fan of this one, but I also understand why it exists. Like, let’s be honest, Sakura Haruno was not written well at all. Like, she was the apprentice to a Sanin, just like her teammates. And she even goes on to marry Sasuke. And yet, her presence is practically non-existent. Ever since then, any underutilized female character has been dubbed a ‘Sakura’. Wasted potential!
Ash Ketchum Is Forever 10 Years Old – Pokémon
It feels like Ash Ketchum has been 10 years old for as long as I’ve been alive and, yeah, that’s pretty much the case. We’ve been seeing Ash on TV since 1995 and it feels like he’s Peter Pan, never growing up. Hey, at least he finally became the Pokémon World Champion. It was a very, very long time coming.
“I’m Gonna Take This Chip…And Eat It!!!” – Death Note
Early dubs man, what can I say? Specifically with Light Yagami, whose voice acting would feel so over-the-top in the anime. But it worked, bizarrely enough. Like, it played up the megalomania that Light was starting to have. So, of course, even eating a chip becomes a performance. One of the OG anime memes!
Everything Is Gonna Be Daijobou – Crossover Time!
The fact that this meme uses a picture of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo means everything to me. Like, what even? Daijobou translates to ‘I’m Ok’ in Japanese, but over here it’s used more sarcastically. But hey, here’s to having things actually be Daijobou for us all someday!
Asuka Calls You Pathetic – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Asuka Soryu and bullying the protagonist – Name a more iconic duo! Neon Genesis Evangelion is usually pretty heavy but this one scene has become so iconic, solely due to how scathingly the line is delivered. Like, I do not envy Shinji here.
“My Job Here Is Done!” – Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon does not get credit for having some of the best comedic timing among 90’s anime. You’ve heard of damsel-in-distress, get ready for Man-That-Is-Useless! Tuxedo Mask utters this line to Sailor Moon, who very innocently states he didn’t do anything to help before he makes a flashy exit with no explanations. Truly, an anime meme that works everywhere.
The Sister/Brother Complex – Anime Meme From Hell
Look, I only stand this damn meme when it’s Yor and Yuri in Spy X Family, and that too because Yor’s already married to Loid Forger. They don’t make it creepy there. But Lord knows the Sibling Complex is an anime meme in itself.
Anime Glasses Glare – Every Cunning Anime Character Ever
Are you even an anime fan if you haven’t tried to emulate the glasses flare at least once? From Bleach to Elfen Lied to ToraDora!, this is one anime meme that is so ubiquitous that it’s been parodied in other anime.
The Ghost Stories Dub – The Anime Meme Of All Time
I was going to not explain this one because I love it when newbie fans discover the Ghost Stories dub and I can see their WTF faces. Because it’s one giant anime meme itself, with the voice actors explaining how they had free reign to go ham. The result? One of the most ridiculous anime to ever exist. I love it.