What The Most Popular Japanese Anime Phrase?

Are you one of the biggest fans of Japanese Anime? In this article, we will share with you the meaning of popular Japanese anime phrases in English. Not only enjoying fabulous scenes and stories in Japanese anime, but you could also learn and mastery Japanese as well through Anime. Not only that, within some special scenes, the famous and super cool catchphrases that we can hear in this anime even have a very deep philosophy that insanely would inspire us as well as super iconic and cute expressions.

Here are the Top 10 Most Popular Japanese Anime Phrases for you!

1. “Omae Wa Mou Shinderu” – Kenshiro

First, this super famous as well as an iconic phrase is an expression coming from a manga and anime titled Hokuto no Ken. This anime/manga series is translated to be Fist of the North Star in English. The line “Omae wa mou shindeiru” is often said by the protagonist character named Kenshiro, a martial arts master that became a hero who has a nice purpose to help the weak and kill those who run the violent rules. This anime firstly debuted in Japan in 1983.  

Moreover, the literal translation of the expression ” omae wa mou shindeiru [お前はもう死んでいる] ” in English is “you are already dead. Kenshiro, the main character of this Anime/Manga says this as his iconic line. Then, the villains of Kenshiro will say “O nani?!” as the reaction that means “What?!

We can break down the meaning of this hit phrase as the following;

[お前はもう死んでいる]
Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru

  • お前 (omae) – You (rude way of saying you or in front of me)
  • もう (mou) – already, soon, now;
  • 死んでいる (shindeiru) – die, (going) to be dead;

However, Although this phrase is very iconic, since this phrase is considered a rude expression, please ONLY use this as a joke ONLY with your friends, not more. 

2. “Dattebayo!” – Uzumaki Naruto

Second, since this phrase, a catchphrase actually, that is coming from insanely popular anime around the world, Naruto, originally a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto always stayed on the most popular must-to-watch Anime and must-to-read manga/comic in the world, let’s talk about it. This manga is then well-known as an Anime and movies series internationally. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village (namely Konoha). 

Then, Naruto says this phrase 「〜だってばよ」(dattebayo) as his iconic line, which is usually either spoken by itself only or added onto the end of something else of Naruto speaking sentences. When you are watching the sequel of Naruto Shippuden the earlier translation of this phrase was “believe it!” that changed to be “you know/ya know!“. This translation is incorrect actually, considered grammatically.

Why? It is because this phrase is actually more or less has less meaning, it is only 口癖 (Kuchiguse ‘ bad habit of speaking’)

Interestingly, this phrase is also being said by Naruto’s mother (Kushina) and Naruto’s son (Boruto) with slightly different as below:

Kushina: 「だってばね!」 Dattebane! 
Boruto: 「だってばさ!」Dattebasa!

respectively.

Moreover, Considering the original meaning, let’s break down this phrase into the following parts:

  • 「だ (da)」: the colloquial version of the copula, casual phrase of 「です (desu)」 
  • 「ってば (tteba)」: ” I said,” or, “I told you” or “I am telling you”
  • 「よ (yo)」: the emphasis particle.

On the other hand, the Japanese do not commonly say this phrase in their daily conversation. It is even hardly heard in standard Japanese speech. So, consider again not to use this when you are speaking to a Native Japanese.

3. “Kaizokuou Ni, Ore Wa Naru!” – Monkey D. Luffy

Who doesn’t know One Piece? It is a Japanese manga and anime series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. Proudly, One Piece has received an abundance of praise for its storytelling, art, characterization, and humor. This great Japanese manga and anime series has received many awards and is ranked by critics, reviewers, and readers as one of the best manga of all time. 

In One Piece, there is one of the most popular phrases said by Luffy, the main character in this manga/anime. That is 「海賊王に 俺はなる!(Kaizokuou ni, Ore wa naru!). The original meaning of the word in this phrase is as follows:

「海賊王(kaizokuou )means The Pirate King
「に(ni)」is a particle that indicates the purpose
「俺(ore)」means ”me or I (casual usually used only by men in Japanese)” 
「は(wa or ha)」is a particle that indicates the subject
「なる!(naru)」means “be or become”

Therefore, the meaning of this line can be concluded as ” (to be) The King of Pirates, I will be!” or grammatically can be translated as “I will be The Pirate King” as we found in every English translation used. This pattern of this sentence, 「〜になる(ni naru)」is commonly used in Japanese. You may use it to make any other kind of sentence indicates the purpose or direction.

4. “Yare Yare Daze!” – Jotaro Kujo

Originally, the term “Yare Yare Daze!” became very popular as the catchphrase associated with Jotaro Kujo who is the main character of the long-running Shonen manga series, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure with the titled Stardust Crusaders which debuted from 1989 to 1992. This line then appeared in the second episode of this manga series on 11th April, 2014.

Depending on the situation, this phrase has several variations of meaning. The phrase in the manga and anime series has been translated as follows

  • well well,… ” 
  • good grief,…” 
  • What a pain,…” and 
  • “Give me a break…

This phrase is actually very not often used in real conversation by the Japanese. It is very casual as you might know that in Anime, usually, the phrase is very casual to make the conversation become natural. However, some phrase is not recommended to be used when you are learning Japanese promptly.

5. “Mada Mada Dane” – Ryouma Echizen

Mada mada dane (まだまだだね commonly written in Japanese hiragana) is a phrase that has been popularized by Ryoma Echizen, a fictional character and the protagonist of the manga as well as famous anime series titled The Prince of Tennis created by Takeshi Konomi. 

Furthermore, the meaning of the phrase he often said that becomes an iconic line literally means “No, not yet” unfortunately varies depending on the situation to use the phrase. As in original Japanese, this phrase comes from the word まだまだ which means not yet. 

Specifically, this phrase can be translated as the following options as well

  • “You still have a long way to go” 
  • “Not good enough” or 
  • “Still no good” and 
  • “It’s not over yet” 
  • “You still have lots more to work on.” 
  • “You still have a ways to go.” 

in addition, in the scene when he says this line, he was saying this to disturb the minds of his rivals. Happily, to inform you that this phrase is commonly used by the Japanese, especially the word まだ (mada), you will be often heard this word said by them in the daily conversation.

6. “Tensai Desu Kara!” – Hanamichi Sakuragi

In this 6th place, choosing a legendary line said by the main character of the Japanese sports manga Slam Dunk, Hanamichi Sakuragi is a perfect choice. As you might already know what is the line, this sensational phrase has even become super popular in manga fans for many years even until now. 

Further, the phrase is 「天才ですから!(Tensai desu kara!)」which can be broken down as the following literal meanings:

  • 天才(tensai): genius
  • ですから (desu kara): it is a way of saying because/since in Japanese with a strong emphasis

Therefore, the meaning of this phrase can be concluded as “Because I’m a genius“.

7. “I don’t know everything, I just know what I know.” – Hanekawa Tsubasa

Do you know Tsubasa Hanekawa, she is the main character of the Monogatari Series. This series is stated as one of the most dialogue-heavy anime out there. Again, anime Fans are deeply attracted to the series for its narration, character interaction, and character development over anything else.

In this anime series, there is the most famous phrase, that is the line said by Tsubasa Hanekawa.

The phrase is “I don’t know everything, I just know what I know” which is originally in Japanese as follows;

何でもは知らないわよ。
Nandemo wa shiranai wayo.
知ってることだけ。
Shitteru koto dake.

Well, It is very straight and powerful right as well as very thoughtful line in this Anime. How do you think?

8. “Shinjitsu Wa Itsumo Hitotsu!” – Conan Edogawa

Detective Conan is a notably long-running Japanese anime series that also has a level of consistency like One Piece and Naruto. Like another long-running anime, it’s always there is a special scene with super wisdom that we can relate to and deeply inspire us. 

Then, there is one popular phrase that always ranked as the number 1 and said by the Edogawa Conan and Sinichi Kudo as the main character in this Anime, that is 

真実はいつもひとつ! 
Shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu!
(There is always one truth!)

As mentioned above, if we broke down this phrase, we can see the literal meaning of each word as follows:

  • 「真実(shinjitsu)」: truth
  • 「は(wa)」: a particle that indicates the subject
  • 「いつも(itsumo)」:always
  • 「ひとつ(hitotsu)」:one

Therefore, we can conclude that the meaning of this phrase is “There is always one truth”.

9. “Keikaku Doori” – Light Yagami  

Death Note is originally a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a teen genius who discovers a mysterious notebook: the “Death Note”, which belonged to the Shinigami Ryuk, where this notebook grants the user its supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages.

There is one memorable phrase during the scenes in this anime, that is 「計画通り(keikaku doori)」in Japanese. Light Yagami, the main protagonist of this super cool manga and anime series says this phrase.

To understand this original Japanese phrase, let’s see the each word meaning below:

  • 「計画(keikaku)」:plan
  • 「通り(doori)」:just as

Accordingly, it can be concluded as just as planned. This phrase fortunately is very common and considered as casual phrase. You can use this phrase as well when you talk with your Japanese friend.

10. “Nico Nico Nii!” – Nico Yazawa

Have you ever heard the phrase “Nico Nico Nii” pops up everywhere on social media and youtube across the internet as it greatly went super-viral? This cute phrase is actually a catchphrase as well as a slogan of the anime titled Love Live! School Idol Project. This phrase is said by Nico Yazawa, one of the nine main characters in this anime. 

Next, the phrase “Nico Nico Nii” is said as the most viral and take social media by storm. Do you know what does this phrase means? It turns out that it’s not an actual Japanese word. But it does have an adorable backstory.

In Japanese in particular, there is the expression “niko niko にこにこ” which is the onomatopoeia of smiling. This is a common Japanese phrase that is often said by the Japanese during their normal conversation. Therefore, we can assume that this is basically expressing that you are smiling in your heart.

In addition, this phrase is said along with the sentences as the following, which means it couldn’t stand alone. This phrase was said with the following 3 sentences, let’s see the meaning of them:

  • あなたのハートににこにこにー
    Anata no ha-to ni niko niko ni.
    You are smiling in your heart.
  • 笑顔届ける矢澤にこにこー
    Egao todokeru Yazawa nikoniko
    I will put a smile on your heart!
  • にこにーって覚えてラブにこー
    Ni ko ni tte oboete rabu niko!
    Remember Nico! Nico loves you!

Conclusion

Last but not least, as a result, we can wrap this article as the following conclusions:

  • Some of the popular Japanese phrases in Anime have a unique expression as well as meaning that is very identic to the characters.
  • All of the phrases used in manga and anime are mostly very casual and it is highly recommended to use them only in casual conversation and not use them for formal talk. 
  • Learning Japanese from Manga and Anime would be very interesting to increase the casual vocabulary for Japanese learners, not only by memorizing the catchphrases or the single phrases only but to catch the whole sentences the characters said would be more appropriate. 

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About Eka 72 Articles
Hi, I’m Eka. I’m one of the awardees of the 2016 MEXT College to College Recommendation Scholarship. I completed the one-year JASSO-Tokyo Japanese course (2016-2017) and won second place in the Japanese speech competition held internally at JASSO at that time. After that, I continued my education at NIT. Akashi College and earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree after 2 years of study. I love teaching children English and Japanese, writing blogs, designing graphics, and creating digital content. I hope you enjoy the knowledge I share here based on the experience I gained in Japan for over 5 years. Thanks!