Anime is so popular that it’s become a source of all kinds of memes, involving characters, plots, and story tropes. The scenes and screenshots used have been cleverly morphed into thousands of jokes.
The thing is, anime memes give off different vibes depending on who sees them: manga readers, dubbed watchers, subbed watchers, anime-only fans, etc. But even if you’ve never seen a particular anime, you can appreciate an anime meme—if you understand the context.
Here are some of the most common and popular anime memes you’ve probably seen on the web and what they mean.
10. All of Us Are Dead
The Korean series that was adapted from a webtoon called All of Us Are Dead has become the talk of the internet in past years. Of course, it’d be a waste to not hop aboard the hype train!
Though it’s a bit of a spoiler, there are memes that feature characters in the promotional image instead of the Korean actors. As a result, those who haven’t yet seen certain episodes will know who dies.
So for those who have finished watching, the meme can be funny—but for those who haven’t seen it, the spoilers can be annoying.
9. Every Trio
It’s common in shonen anime series to have a group of fighters consisting of three members.
They often boil down to a specific pattern of two guys with one girl, such as Group 7 in Naruto (with Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura), or the main trio in Attack on Titan (with Eren, Armin, and Mikasa), or the main trio from Jujutsu Kaisen (with Itadori, Megumi, and Nobara).
Then we get the main trio from One Piece, which features three guys. There’s also the trio from Demon Slayer that’s all-male, though they have a member hiding his beautiful girl-like face under a boar’s hide.
8. The Loudest Squad
There’s a popular meme about putting anime characters in one room, in which all the characters are of the same archetype: the introvert squad, the powerful squad, the yandere squad, etc. The most intriguing one is the loudest squad.
Placing Asta (Black Clover), Inosuke (Demon Slayer), Naruto (Naruto), Bakugo (My Hero Academia), Hinata Shoyo (Haikyu!!), and other loud characters in one room would be fun. Just the image of them in a single room will make you think how lively it would be.
7. Weird Camera Angle
There are a lot of pictures that speak louder than words, and sometimes the impact of the image comes from the artist’s imaginative work.
For example, there’s the absurd ultra-wide close-up angle that immediately lets you know that something is strange or forebording. The image can be paired with mundane issues for comedic effect.
The angle starts from the forehead and distorts the face’s entire shape as if viewing through a fish bowl, and it often preceeds a character losing their mind, having a breakdown, or going berserk.
6. Yuji’s Training Session
In shonen anime series, the main character often trains hard for a certain period of time to become strong and powerful, which we saw in Naruto, Luffy, Saitama, and more.
And then there’s Itadori Yuji from Jujutsu Kaisen. Who would have thought that watching movies with a cursed doll companion would make you stronger? Itadori nailed it, with a straight face lying on a couch.
5. The Hairstyle
A change in hairstyle often signifies a turning point for anime protagonists, whether they’ve grown stronger or fallen to the dark side.
Common examples include Goku and his Super Saiyan golden hair, Ken Kaneki’s hair turning white after accepting his Ghoul side, and Shinichi Izumi’s hair change after he was brought back to life by Migi.
But then there’s Saitama from One-Punch Man, who has absolutely no hair at all to signify any sort of change in character.
4. That’s Zoro!
Everyone knows that Zoro from One Piece has a poor sense of direction, and most of his time in the anime series involves him getting lost and reuniting with his crew at some point later.
It gave birth to one anime meme that makes fun of how the One Piece series would never end if Luffy recruited him as his navigator, as there’d be no chance they’d find a way to the Grand Line!
There’s also a rare scene of Zoro leading his crewmates and saying “This way.” The scene is parodied in anime memes that show him appearing in different anime series, arriving at the Allied Shinobi Forces (Naruto) or Bikini Bottom (Spongebob Squarepants).
3. Impostor Among Us
Among Us exploded in popularity several years ago for its fun and tense social deduction gameplay that involves a crew aboard a spaceship that’s been infiltrated by an alien that looks just like them.
Its iconic punchline—”There is an imposter among us”—has been used in various anime memes since then. Notable ones are usually spoilers to some degree, as they imply an impostor among the characters.
But others are more benign, like a group of girls with a boy among them or a sea of male faces with a real girl mixed in.
2. Save a Bowl of Ramen for Me
There’s one anime meme that isn’t really funny at all, but is instead somewhat nostalgic and heartbreaking—often appearing when an anime series ends.
The main character of the finished anime series waves goodbye to the main character of a still-ongoing anime series. There are a lot of variations on this meme, but the most popular one has been the “Save a bowl of ramen for me” image of Naruto and Luffy.
We can also see some characters of other finished series in the background, welcoming the main character of the just-ended one.
1. Subbed Watchers’ Power
Popular anime series often come in two versions: the dubbed version in localized languages and the subbed version with subtitles.
In subbed animes, there are times when lots of subtitles appear once—and sometimes those subtitles are split across the top and the bottom sides of the screen. For example, during a fight scene, dialogue might go at the bottom with ability name footnotes at the top.
It can be how hard to follow, especially during fast-paced action scenes full of beautiful animation that you don’t want to look away from.
This gave birth to an anime meme about how subbed watchers have superior ocular powers, able to read everything on screen at all times. Most memes use the Rinnegan or Sharingan from Naruto, but some have used the Gyo technique or Kurapika’s eyes from Hunter X Hunter.