Starting anime for the first time after being so used to dubbed content can be a jarring experience. As with any foreign language, tones and words might sound way too alien. And, with the kind of plots some anime encompasses, they can also just sound like plain old gibberish. The thing is that just because something is not in our mother tongue, doesn’t mean it’s inherently strange or off-putting. It just sounds foreign to us because it is. However, with anime, it tends to go deeper and veers into the category of characters making weird noises.
The reason anime characters can be found using weird words or making odd noises is just to exaggerate a persona that they might be embracing. Which, honestly, is one of the things anime does best. It raises the dramaticism and almost creates caricatures of the trope that it might be embodying. However, all of it is in good fun and just adds more flavor to the characters that might be playing on the screen. Like, think about it. Cute and over-the-top is basically what some of our favorite anime have in spades. So of course that goes to the dialogue as well.
Onomatopoeia is a pretty clever way of introducing a personal touch to characters in anime, making them stand out from the crowd. A lot of creators utilize onomatopoeia to enhance a scene or character profile, making it seem more unique by just making up words on the spot. And those words can mean anything you like, while still holding a definitive emotion when they are said. Like, think of how Naruto Uzumaki would end a lot of his dialogues with ‘-Ttebayo!’ at the end in Naruto Shippuden.
It’s things like that make the character feel more iconic and more organic as a result. It amplifies their personality, which could either grating in some cases, but only serves to make the character feel more personal. After all, even we use verbal afflictions or catchphrases that are indicative of our personality. But in anime, it actually ends up serving a purpose beyond being ‘weird’. So, let’s discuss it.
Anime And Its Iconic Sound Bytes:
Sometimes when you’re watching anime, especially if it’s subbed, the tone of the voice acting can get a little odd. The girls are often extremely high-pitched, and the boys hyper-react to a lot of actions with grunts or questioning sounds. And, I mean, you feel pretty lost.
The truth is, all of that? That is there to serve the story itself. It aids in how the story is meant to flow, and from whose perspective. If a character is innocent, they might add a lot of ‘Eh?’ sounds combined with widened eyes to highlight their naivety. If a character is exerting force, they want to showcase exactly how much and hence the odd grunting. It all just adds to the plot.
I think one of my favorite examples of anime characters with a verbal tic is Mayuri Shiina and her adorable little ‘Tturu~’ that she’d use as a greeting in Steins;Gate. It’s little things like that, which made her so endearing to fans of the series. So, when something bad did happen, it impacted us more because it played up her role as the innocent casualty in the grand scheme of the plot.
As I said, it just adds so much more dimension to the characters themselves and, subsequently, the overarching plot. Characters don’t feel like they are flat or just there for posterity’s sake. They embellish the anime with their personalities.
Why Anime Characters Making Weird Noises Can Get Too Much:
Okay, so while heightened voice acting and dramatic tics are fun, they can also get pretty old and repetitive. Think fuming Tsundere characters who need to make their disdain known by being needlessly angry and yelling.
Like sometimes, it does tend to be overwhelming. We aren’t used to such obvious verbal cues in real life because, again, anime isn’t like real life. So exaggerated sounds are there to help us get a feel for the story and the scene that is going down. But I also completely get why it’s make or break for a lot of people.
I happen to be one of them. I hate nothing more than having anime characters be overtly childish or excessively annoying by making weird noises. So, it’s up to preference. There is plenty of anime out there that veer into more realistic depictions of people that you can enjoy!